Saya is a girl adopted by a former American soldier in Okinowa Japan. She came to live with two brothers (also adopted) a year ago. Her father said little about her circumstances, but Saya can't remember who she is. That changes as rumors circulate about vampires attacking people. Monsters known as chiropterans are behind the killings. It turns out that Saya is the only person who can kill them. Her blood causes a chiropteran to turn to crystal. But why?
More mysteries and hardships await Saya. Going through these trials will be the only way she can discover the truth about who and what she is. Will she be able to accept it once she knows?
Blood+ is a tough one to review. It's like the second half (episodes 26-51) is the real anime, and the first half is a prequel. It takes the characters and story and fills it in, but it's just that: filler. I try to not pass judgement on a show early on. Blood+ quickly left me so indifferent this became tough. It starts out too much like a Hollywood action flick. It's predictable, with a frail plot, and poorly developed. It did establish the characters well, even if I didn't like most of them. Kai is the most annoying idiot on the planet, and Saya is bent on watching everyone die around her until she's finally forced to fight.
The first half does have some decent parts, but oddly enough it's the parts distanced from the main plot. The farther it got from Saya and chiropterans the more I liked it. This didn't bode well for the show, especially as I passed the 20 episode mark and I still didn't give a damn about what was happening. In episode 26 Saya decides she'll FINALLY fight. Whee.
I was totally unprepared for the second half. If there was a back story, I figured it probably didn't matter. Blood+ hadn't done much with the characters or story, or history. The second half has all of that, and it's actually pretty GOOD. I have no idea who decided to beat the crap out of this animation studio with a clue stick to get their shit together, but they have my thanks.
As characters get their back story, they feel solid. Blood+ goes beyond that though, and characters show an incredible amount of growth and change. Saya goes from annoying generic scared school girl to cold and distant. Kai grows from an idiot kid, to a compelling, strong and determined man. Some characters break down entirely. This level of development turned out to be an unexpected treat, and what I most remember Blood+ for.
The first half was Saya vs monsters, but in the second half she gains a true nemesis, and named adversaries. Vague hints about people being up to no good comes finally come together in a true sinister plot. A third faction known as the Shiff come out of nowhere, and it's unclear what their intentions are, or even what side they're on. That's a pretty big shift considering most of this was only hinted at in the first 26 episodes.
The dub is both good and terrible. Christopher Nissley hasn't done any other work in the anime industry, but his voice as David is unlike anything else I've heard and a true stand out performance. The rest of the cast does fine except when it comes to the foreign accents. I have no idea why they even tried because the results are terrible. If you can overlook that, the rest is just fine, but I'd go with the sub.
Blood+ is a long journey with half being mostly a drag to watch, but the second half turns out to be a pretty good anime. When I think a series is good, I feel compelled to watch more (sometimes staying up late), but Blood+ never became that kind of title for me. I think patience pays off, but the time investment is asking a lot of the viewer. The first half can't really be skipped either, as it establishes characters. Their transformation only has meaning when you understand what they were. There's too much much wind up time to recommend this one, but it's not bad.
Mao: What's up with the dress and the sword? Is that like a renascence fair? I didn't think she was into that stuff.
Screen Caps: >