Blood Lad premiered as a manga in September 2012, was turned into an anime in July 2013 and finally brought to America September 2nd, 2014. It’s about a vampire gang leader who falls in love with a human girl who unfortunately dies after they meet. The show follows their exploits as he attempts to bring her back from the dead, because she’s totally unattractive when not alive, by traversing the monster realm. Sounds pretty tight, but how does the show hold up over the course of the series?
Blood Lad: The Complete Series (Viz Media)
When it comes to Blood Lad, a show catering to ages 14 and up, there are plenty of good things going for it. The premise is solid, as it presents Staz, young vampire gang leader who’s bored of his rich lifestyle. He gets whatever he wants, including lots of human things younger people today love which allows the show to name drop Playstation and other pop culture icons. His latest must-have is Fuyumi. She’s a real human girl, who lives in the human world, but when he does get her and brings her back to the monster world a bad thing happens. Since he’s a gang leader he has turf wars going on all the time, and in a scuffle a plant-controlling competitor sneaks a plant into his apartment which promptly eats her. Once he deals with the jagweed (pun intended), he finds that Fuyumi is just bones. Sounds, crazy right? It is, because this show is basically anime ADD, with constant changes of pace, references and weird stylistic choices.
Those things are so wide they go past her arms!
The show briskly introduces the monster world, a world filled with all sorts of monsters from werewolves to teleporters, although Staz lives in what looks a lot like our world. To be more specific, it looks like Tokyo, not very special, but throughout the adventure (about halfway through the series) we get to see some interesting locales, like floating gothic castles. It does seem odd that Staz is interested in Japanese things since he lives in what looks like Japan, but I guess the monster world isn’t technically Japan.
In some ways this series is like Scott Pilgrim as Staz has to fight for Fuyumi even though he doesn’t care much for her now that she’s dead. That means plenty of fight sequences with plenty of magic and monstrous powers at play. In between the fights Staz encounters a teleporting girl named Hydra Bell. She’s a lot of fun, and her teleporting abilities are put to full use in fun and interesting ways. In one scene for instance, Bell is attacked by Staz, but she throws two portals up which makes Staz punch himself. Along with Bell there are other supporting characters that are fun and colorful, something a show like this really needs to keep the energy and interest up.
The style of the animation is quite good too. It’s constantly moving, with tons of color and interesting designs flying by. There’s a touch of CGI integrated into the show which sometimes don’t flow so well with the look and feel, but it enhances the magical elements when they come up. One aspect I really loved was how the show freezes time, or slows it down, to show how fast these characters move and think. This is used a few times for comedic effect and it works.
My only gripe with this series is the blatant exploitation of women in the show. They are drawn with enormous breasts, with camera pans and zooms to force your eyeballs on these gargantuan melons. There’s plenty of bending over and odd sexual things too. For instance, in one scene Fuyumi is talking too much and Staz sticks his finger into her mouth. Phallic much? There’s a time and a place for this, and it’s all in good fun, but I felt it went too far at times and was rather inappropriate. I know if I were 14 again I’d probably love this element, but I can’t help but think it’s tainting how young boys might view women.
Is It Good?
This is a good show, with plenty of energy and inventive ideas at play. The show is so fast paced, with neat storytelling elements kicking things into new gears all the time I can’t help but think everyone can find something enjoy.