Blood Lad – 08

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The little show that could just keeps delivering.

I figured going in that it was a mistake to watch Blood Lad later in the same day as the most recent episode of Uchouten Kazoku, which was so brilliant and profound that it pretty much left me bled dry of emotion.  It seems as if a much more modestly-aspiring show like this would naturally pale in comparison, but in hindsight Blood Lad was actually the perfect choice for a follow-up.  In the first place almost anything was going to pale in comparison to that Uchouten ep, but Blood Lad is so unpretentious and content to be exactly what it is and do a damn good job of it that it was the perfect complement.

I’ve said from the beginning that Blood Lad wasn’t quite in the same class as Hataraku Maou-sama, the show I originally compared it to, and while that’s probably still the case I have to give this show its due.  Unlike Hataraku this series has consistently gotten better week after week, and seems poised to end with the best run of episodes in the entire series.  The plot gets bigger and bigger without being a jumble, more and more characters are introduced without resorting to bland archetypes or losing touch with the cast that’s already in place, and the whole experience is a ridiculous amount of fun.  There’s great imagination in place here – a fully-realized fantasy world that’s a funhouse-mirror reflection of our own, every nook and cranny imbued with a good deal of sardonic wit.

There was certainly a full-on explosion of development this week, both in terms of plot and new characters.  There’s Beros (Asano Masumi) the cop from Demon Acropolis who uses Liz’ arrival to get at Braz, who she needs to arrest him under the orders of the King, Wolf Daddy (he’s going to be played by Wakamoto Norio).  It’s certainly not hard to imagine a connection between Wolf Daddy and Wolf Boy, but that’s a matter left for another day, at least for now.  Meanwhile, Fuyumi’s kidnapper has been revealed to be Hydra Knell, none other than the younger brother of Bell, who seems not to have been in on Fuyumi’s kidnapping.  In fact that appears to have been ordered by their mother, Neyn, played by yet another huge name in Mitsushi Kotono (Misato Katsuragi herself) who even Hydra is afraid of.  And then there’s Snowman (Tsubayaki Shiro) the boss of South Demon World, who tips Staz off to Knell’s identity.  I love the fact that South Demon World is a riff on Miami Beach, just as West Demon World had a Wild West feel to it – it just adds to the wry atmosphere that pervades this show.

Much of the episode, though, is built around the confrontation between Bell and Staz.  It’s certainly no surprise that Bell is in love with him, but we saw quite a different side to her as she dealt with that.  His obsession with Fuyumi understandably rubs her the wrong way, especially when he dismisses her as a treasure hunter while Fuyumi is a one-of-a-kind collectible.  And there’s the simple, practical matter that she isn’t going to sell out her brother, which leads to a duel with Staz she would likely have pushed for anyway.  It’s both sad and quite funny (and brilliantly drawn, with a ton of clever wit), especially when she has to surrender her nether clothing (including usagi panties) to escape Staz’ magical trap.  I’ve said for a while that these two have much more chemistry than Staz and Fuyumi, and it’s really on display here – they’re awesome to watch going at it.  Their interplay is hilarious but Bell’s dismay over Staz’ lack of feelings for her – and the notion that he might become aware of hers for him – is quite genuine and even emotionally powerful.

The only downside to all this, really, is that we only have two episodes left in this ridiculously short 10-episode run.  As the cast and story expand without losing a step it becomes clearer and clearer that Blood Lad could easily support two cours or more, never more one full cour – and it’s not even getting that.  What a shame – there’s no way all these loose threads can be tied up in a satisfactory way in two episodes, and the 10-episode commitment (or lack thereof) exposes a pretty strong belief on the part of the production committee that the show isn’t going to be a hit on Blu-ray and DVD (and in fact, by only greenlighting 10 eps they effectively create a self-fulfilling prophecy by sending that very message to potential buyers).  One need only look at all the terrific characters who didn’t even make the screen this week and the fact that it was a stellar episode in spite of that to realize just how much potential Blood Lad is going to leave unfulfilled.  It’s certainly a common story in today’s anime environment, but no less frustrating for all that.

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  1. C

    Its getting pretty close to the manga ya know Enzo. Kind of a pity really.

  2. i

    Service! Service! That's all that ever comes to mind when I think of Kotono. And the voice of god is in too. Seiyuu galore. The other connection is the same hair colour but that just might because Wolf Daddy is old.

    I didn't like Bell much but this episode really did wonders for her. And they do definitely have more chemistry, very hot and reactive chemistry, than Fuyumi and Staz. But Fuyumi is surely a quiet well-endowed Yamato Nadeshiko rather than a wild one like Bell.

    Manga sales were surely the reason behind production and is definitely very common. A non-harem or non-BL anime with little moe and a modest, though well used, budget isn't going to sell BDs. Knowing this will you purchase a set Enzo?

    I generally only buy (that too only DVD) when I really love a show. Chihayafuru is the latest example of one I bought though if I can get my hands on Shin Sekai Yori I will.

  3. M

    Believe it or not, they have gone through a lot of material in only 8 episode. About 24 chapters out of 30, so they should be done with all available material by the end.

  4. M

    Kind of late but…I take back what I said about there only being 30 chapters. There is more. They just haven't been translated…

  5. R

    Just like with Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, Brains Base is adapting an interesting manga only to stop in the middle 🙁
    This really needs a 2nd season.

  6. H

    When's Tonari S2 pls? I heard they wrapped up the mango. Would be nice to have proper closure becuase that was one of the more unique romcos last year along with Drool anime..

  7. Well, I honestly don't expect an S2 but there is an OVA, which no one has subbed.

  8. Z

    Is it really that good it needs a second season? Looks decidedly average at best. If it's not even at the level of something like Hataraku Maou-sama I don't even want to know.

  9. M

    "Not even at the level of Hataraku" makes it sound like Hataraku was a mediocre show at best,when many found it a damn good comedy – so far,I consider it the best comedy anime the year and I'm sure many others do so as well.

    I don't necessarily think Blood Lad needs a 2nd season though(even if it could work out) but not because it's bad or anything,I find it very enjoyable & fun to watch,but because it seems like it can provide a satisfying ending with just 1 cour…almost,as it's missing those much needed 2-3 more episodes.However,even with just 10 eps I think it can have a somewhat satisfying ending.

    At least for me,this will be a entertaining short anime of summer 2013 that I won't be forgetting anytime soon.

  10. Z

    Hataraku had its moments but it wasn't that funny. I certainly didn't lol all that much while watching it.

    I think 2nd seasons are best given to series with greater gravitas that actually need them rather than comedy series (where the plot is most often of secondary importance to comedy).

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