Blood Blockade Battlefront
Episode 1 also reviewed here:
Also known as:
Kekkai Sensen
Medium:
Year:
2015
Director:
Rie Matsumoto
Writer:
Kazunao Furuya
Original creator:
Actor:
Keywords:
Country:
Language:
Format:
13 episodes, including a recap episode 10.5 but also a double-length finale
Url:
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Review date:
11 October 2016
Kekkai Sensen
Tomoko wants to watch this show, because one of her Japanese friends praises it highly. I'd been expecting it to be good. It's not. Admittedly it looks great, with explosive animation, tons of imagination and lots of action. However it's got Cowboy Bebop Disease, or perhaps Baccano, Space Dandy, etc. Superb production values, but a cast and storyline I mostly don't care about.
The ambitious production might also have been a factor in the show's production problems. Episode 11 aired a week late, with a recap episode to fill in. Episode 12 thus couldn't air at all, thanks to the timeslot having been booked by a Durarara!! season finale, so it ended up airing three months late (albeit double-length). That threw the fans a bit too, especially since the show is basically a load of random cool stuff thrown in a bucket with only a modicum of ill-explained plot.
I'll go over the set-up. Three years ago, New York was attacked by an alien dimension and now it's full of monsters and called Hellsalem's Lot. Our hero, Leonardo Watch, will join a secret society called Libra. What do they do? Be the anti-heroes of random adventures, mostly. What's their objective? Buggered if I know. Who are they? Well, there's Klaus Von Reinherz (cool), Zapp Renfro (twat), a woman in a black suit (I couldn't even tell you her name), a man in a grey suit (ditto), another woman (I'm completely lost now), possibly some other people (I've stopped caring) and a fishman who shows up in ep.9 and is actually quite funky. These people have adventures. No, let me rephrase that. Cool stuff happens around them. None of it matters. It's just a bunch of unrelated stuff that means nothing, happening to some people who mean nothing.
However it looks exciting and awesome, so there are people who like it. I liked ep.3, though, in which Klaus plays alien death chess. The burger-loving mushroom squid man in ep.6 is sort of lovable too. Oh, and the "blood" thing in the title comes from some people being able to extrude hardened blood from their bodies to make weapons.
I tended to drift a bit. I'd find myself struggling to stay awake more often than usual. During the show's first half, my favourite bits would generally be a few minutes at the end of some episodes about Leonardo meeting a girl who calls herself a ghost. Her name's White or Mary Macbeth and apparently she's not in the original manga, by Yasuhiro Nightow (Trigun, Gungrave). Remind me never to read that. (Trigun is fun and even sometimes sweet but brain-explodingly stupid, whereas Gungrave is... okay, just do a Google image search. The prosecution rests.)
In fairness, I wonder if might there perhaps be motifs or themes going on. Forgive my vagueness. That's not an attempt to damn with faint praise. There might well be something interesting underneath the hectic anti-storyline, e.g. the crosses, church and Christ references. To be honest, though, the show really doesn't seem to be trying to be deep.
It probably didn't help that I watched the show all at once. Watching it on broadcast, week by week, might have worked better since it's basically just a bunch of cool episodes. It's a cool show. No arguments there. You've got to love all those monsters in New York, which has apparently been animated with breathtaking fidelity to the original. The visuals are luscious. It's more evocative of New York than a lot of live-action TV and films that were actually shot there. Also the characters are at least likeable, which puts it ahead of Baccano, Durarara, etc. Leonardo's a thoroughly nice chap who's in Hellsalem's Lot to try to help his sister (although that doesn't come up much). Klaus is great. The fishman is great. Even someone like Zapp is a dick in a way that's still entertaining to watch.
I don't hate this show. I wouldn't get in fist fights with its fans or anything. However I was close to fast-forwarding in one episode, I never really saw the point of it all and I groaned on seeing that the last episode was double-length. I finished it out of stubbornness, not because I gave a damn or anything. I wouldn't recommend it.
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