Blood Lad – 03

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It might not be the best, but I think Blood Lad may be the most consistent show of the season so far – and it’s pretty darn good, too.

This is going to be one of those seasons where the blogging choices are brutal.  It’s turning out to be a pretty good one, especially for summer, but it’s also a season like we get sometimes where there are a large number of shows in a very narrow quality range (at least so far) and not many that really stand out as slam-dunks.  Too many to blog if I keep them all, but how do you choose when there’s so little to choose between them?  Not to mention it’s also another of those seasons where most of the shows in my orbit are crammed into two days – in this case Thursday night and Saturday and Sunday night, Japan broadcast time (there are simply too many Saturday shows to cover in one day, especially factoring in Hunter X Hunter’s Sunday morning slot).

Blood Lad is a perfect example of this.  It’s a Sunday show, competing for my time against the likes of Uchouten Kazoku (which has won a commitment from me now), Kaminai (which would have until it took the turn it did this week – now it’s back in limbo, pun intended), Kimi no Iru Machi and Kingdom (better than ever, despite killing of its best character last season).  And truth be told, Blood Lad is probably more than good enough to blog absent external factors – it has a terrific cast, a nice blend of comic styles, enough but not too much meta-humor and Brains Base visual creativity.  It may not lend itself to blogging as well as some others because it’s a pretty straightforward comedy, but it would be an awfully good series to let slip away.

I think by now everyone should have a good idea whether Blood Lad’s humor will work for them, because it’s been very consistent across all three episodes.  I especially liked this week because it featured a heavy dose of Mamejirou.  I love that little… whatever – he’s great visually, and Saitou Chiwa really is one of the best comic actresses in anime.  My favorite Mamejirou moments this week came during the boxing match, especially when he turned into Mickey from the Rocky films (whose theme song was obviously being parodied as well.  It’s also been pointed out that the parody is actually Danpei Tange from AnJ, but that makes me think Micky might himself have been inspired by AnJ.  It’s always seemed clear Stallone was heavily influenced by it.).  But one of the things I really like about Blood Lad is that it’s one of those shows with no throwaway cast members – even the smaller roles like the pigeon carriage-drivers are given a comic personality, and all of the major characters (probably least so Fuyumi, truth be told) are well above-average in terms of sheer personality and wit.

Another character I have a special bias in favor of is Hydra, and if it’s because I can’t stop thinking of Haruhara Haruko every time I see her, so what?  If you’re going to homage you may as well homage the best, and you can’t do much better than FLCL.  She’s got loads more funny moments this week, including her interaction with the OniQlo manager, and she’s got Level E potential in the troll department.  She sends Staz (who’s also one of the best MCs of the season, by the way) off on a wild goose chase to the wild West Demon World in search of the Book of Human Resurrection.  This is another clever comic conceit – I especially loved the tumbleweed that sprouted legs and casually exited stage right – and it’s the territory of Wolf Boy (Terashima Takuma, whose career has apparently survived being one of the ringleaders of the Kokoro Connect hazing scandal).  Here’s another winner of a character – a nice foil for Staz, and the show plays off the “are they friends or rivals?” gag for some pretty good mileage.

Above and beyond that it’s just good, straightforward comedy – the boxing match, the big reveal that Hydra had the book all along followed by the clunker that none of the main cast can read it, the subplot with Yoshida and the broken figure.  The timing is excellent, the performances universally excellent and the sight-gags clever.  This ain’t brain surgery but as I’ve said many times, making comedy look this easy is one of the hardest things a show can do.  Good anime comedies are actually a pretty rare bird in most seasons – this being no exception – so I have a full appreciation for them when they come along.  Whatever my blogging decision with Blood Lad – full posts, digests or other – you can bet that I’ll be watching it and enjoying the hell out of it.

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  1. A

    Nice read as usual.

    Just a heads up on though.
    It's supposed to be Danpei Tange from Ashita no Joe:

    (Removed the old comment because the links felt too long.

  2. T

    Hey I know you can do what you want on your blog but putting spoilers in an unrelated shows post was kind of a bummer for me. I watched Blood Lad and read this post before Kaminai and it lessen what was a pretty good episode to me. You comment on spoilers frequently so I thought I would ask you to be a little more conscious on same day posts.

    But onto this show I hope you continue to blog this one. I imagine that the comedy's are pretty hard to write about but I would imagine that this one has a little bit more than Servant x Service. Both are really good but that fact that this one has a plot(despite how zany it is) I hope you can find time to continue with this one.

  3. Sorry about that. I actually posted on Kaminai about 36 hours after it was released subbed though, to be honest. And of course, not everyone is going to agree about who the best character is – I'm sure lots of moepigs love Ai.

  4. T

    Ya I get that it was partly me because I was out of town so I couldnt watch everything until Monday, US time. It was just mainly a bummer because I was going to watch it immediately after reading this post and was like damnnnnnnn I know who Enzo would consider the best. Not a real big deal just thought I would give a heads up on it.

  5. i

    I find SxS and WakaMote both better comedies and just as consistent. Blood Lad has a bit of a laid back comedy style, where I chuckle a bit at most each episode rather than roar in laughter. I guess its one of those comedies which you have to click with just right to enjoy. Solid but unremarkable for me, sad for a comedy.

    On another note, you think Chiwa Saitou is great at comedy and yet her best role and funniest role is in a series you despise. Somewhat like saying you love Barcelona and hate Messi.

  6. I can't call S x S consistent – it's had two excellent eps and one terrible one. That's the definition of inconsistent.

    Also, it's nothing whatsoever like Messi and Barca. She's had over 100 roles – I have to like all of them to consider her great? And if I don't like a series it's rarely the seiyuu's fault. It's pretty arrogant in any case to assume the role you consider the best is the role everyone else will too.

  7. i

    Not everyone found Touka annoying, I found her plenty cute when her hopes were dashed away so blatantly.

    You don't have to consider all of Chiwa Saitou's roles but in general most people would consider that one role to be her very very best. I just noted that its a bit strange to say you like her acting but dislike the role that gave her fame. Its like saying you love Hugh Jackman but hate Wolverine, the only role most people even know he's in.

    On the arrogance bit, I don't think I need to point it out but that is my opinion, just like how you constantly labelling shows (Kingdom) as bad, good, great, the best, etc. or seiyuu/characters (Kaminai) ranging from grating to amazing in your posts being yours.

  8. Sorry, no offense intended. But I've never bought into the "lots of people think it so it must be true" argument. It's hardly Chiwa's (or any of the other seiyuu's) fault that Monogatari is as bad as it is. And there are plenty of people besides me who don't like that franchise.

    If people think Wolverine is the only role Hugh Jackman has played, that's their problem. I'm sure he'd hate to think he's being judged solely based on that part.

  9. M

    Your bias is strong with this one. I don't think the external factors qualify enough for blogging about something when the outcome is as inherently average as the source material. i.e, lipstick on a pig.

  10. M

    Unless of course you really want to salivate all over your favorite seiyuu week after week.

  11. k

    What's wrong with being average as long as it's also entertaining? Maybe I just have low standards, but I don't think a show has to be exceptional to be enjoyable.

    (And you say "salivating over your favorite seiyuu" as if it was a bad thing…)

  12. M

    Nothing wrong with average material (especially those that get better) but average comedy is a whole other business. But here the overall package sucks balls.

    Salivation is great in your own time maybe? Sad to think anyone would want to read fervid descriptions of that week after week though.

  13. Yeah, the eyepatch should have given it away but it's the voice that threw me. In fact, it almost makes me wonder if Mickey was party based on Danpei. It's certainly been suggested that AnJ was an inspiration for Stallone in writing Rocky.

  14. f

    Unlike Maxulous, I'm all for Blood Lad. True the plot may be pretty straightforward, but I think the character interactions and how even the minor characters can leave a hilarious impression (I died at the carriage pidgeons bit) make this show worth watching. The pacing is good, too. At no point did I ever find myself feeling rushed; the episode also always seems to end off at an appropriate cliff-hanger. This show may not be a revelation where there are deeper meanings to ponder, but it's still very solidly made and funny.

  15. k

    Re: Terashima's career, it's not as much "survived" as there was no noticeable dent. (Same with Kanemoto Hisako from what I can tell.) He has had five main/major character roles this year (Wolf here, Otoya in UtaPri 2000%, Dantalion in Makai ouji, Mugai in Mushibugyou, Kobungo in Hakkenden) and he's been cast to play the main character in Log Horizon. Also, there seems to have been an effort to disconnect him and Kanemoto from the incident since it's died down, looking around it seems the only time they're mentioned by name is in sources that that offer a rundown of events. This, and the fact that as far as I'm aware neither of them has received a punishment and in fact both of them keep getting roles, appear at events, etc. pretty much indicates that whatever really happened it was a screw-up on a higher level, and Terashima and Kanemoto are not held at fault.

    I know some people still hold a grudge, and this will be fuel for haters forever, but even back then I thought the whole thing seemed more like gross corporate incompetence than any malice, and it doesn't seem any different now. (Really, that's the only logical explanation I can think of for the whole mess.)

  16. H

    I'm in the camp that doesn't really get much out of this show. Maybe one or two funny moments so far from the whole 3 episodes. Maybe some of it is that I just don't like the look of the show at all, esp. Staz and Fuyumi. The only characters I like are Deku and Mamejirou.

    It's not actively turning me off (like Sadist-Fest 2013:Danganronpa), but it's just something to watch when there's nothing else (and I'm not in the mood for Mushibugyou).

  17. R

    I like this series but no precisely for its comedy efforts. Maybe the smoothness in general is what i like.
    About comedy on the season, if watamote is closer to a "drama" for some people (me), maybe the most underrated series of the moment and the most comical is love lab. Throwing away the generic mid-school girl prejudice, it's really fun and maybe the most comical series of the season.

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