Sunday, March 17, 2013

Black Blood Brothers

Black Blood Brothers (sometimes abbreviated as BBB) is an action-packed vampire series that originally started out as a light novel series. the series runs for 12 episodes, being released in the fall of 2006. The protagonist is Mochizuki Jiro, and his little brother, Kotaro, as they attempt to get into the Special Zone, a city for vampires. over the course of the story we are introduced to many different characters and concepts, all in the midst of chaos and lots of sword fighting. while it might sound cookie cutter in nature, it actually works out very well.

Pheonix Wright + Major Armstrong x Vampire = This Dude.

Jiro is a guy with a tragic past. to keep the story going, we learn of his history at a snail's pace, which can be a touch frustrating (don't be surprised if you find yourself on wikipedia, spoiling it for yourself), but is necessary to tie the whole of the story together. accompanying the pair on their descent into this new and scary tract of land is a woman called Mimiko, who works for some ambiguous organization known only as "The Company". Mimiko is a Compromiser, which we come to learn over the course of the series is a sort of mediator designed to help vampires into the Special Zone and help work out problems between vampires and humans (or Black Bloods and Red Bloods, as the series calls the two).

Some of the visuals in this series might be a wee bit disturbing.

Mimiko starts off as a bit of an everygirl, but over time she grows some balls and shows us a real headstrong personality, which isn't afraid of danger or speaking her mind (even to her superiours). the rest of the characters have their own personalities and motives as well, making this a rather complex view into the world of Vampire Politics. even finding a place to live comes down to politics in the Special Zone, making it rather tough for Jiro and company, considering his reputation as both a badass and a trouble magnet. despite the real intentions being revealed as time goes on, it grows a touch frustrating seeing all the obstacles they run into, helped none by Jiro's stubbornness, or everyone else's willingness to overlook Jiro's past acts of heroism for his kind.

I mean really, he's done a lot for the greater good.

despite the roadblocks, the trio make their way in the world in which they live, skirting danger and drama at every turn. the setting for this type of story is just right, and the same can be said of the flashbacks (which is good, cause there's A LOT of them). the past plays an important role in this series, with many of the important events mentioned happening either 10 or 100 years prior. the Special Zone itself is a lovely place, sporting lots of buildings (great for fighting and destruction!), a canal, and some other nice visuals, making it a welcome peace amidst the shifting tides of power. 

The series uses very little CGI, even for the special effects, which is quite refreshing considering how much of a crutch it has become in recent series.

the soundtrack is, in my opinion, one of the best i've heard for an anime in a very long time. there are those few series which stand out in one's mind for their music, and the classics that come to mind are Cowboy Bebop, The Big O, and .Hack//SIGN. i feel this series deserves to be placed in the category of "new classics" in that regard, along with the likes of Sword Art Online (boasting the composer from //SIGN) and Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope; marking the first reunion of the composers of Bebop). the light, jazzy tunes, the dreamy orchestrals, and the rising battle themes all suit the series to a t, lending an air of "just right" to every detail, from the slice of the Silver Blade to a mellow afternoon at a cafe. combined with the opening and ending themes, this is definitely one you'll want for your collection.

Peaceful visuals mean peaceful tunes. ^^

not much can be said about the style, other than "it's sort of typical for this time and type". it doesn't have the squared eyes and giant features known to the 90's series (in fact, the girl has smaller features than some people, which isn't common), and it isn't super-unique, as in the cases of Soul Eater and The Big O. it's a mid 2000's shonen piece, through and through. that's not to say it's a bad thing, and some people have features you might not see in other series (the noses were a bit western in comparison to some series i've seen), but otherwise the series remains another blip on the radar in terms of styling.

Dem Round Eyes. >w<

overall, it took me a long time to finish this series, simply because i just never got around to it. i regret that, if only because it was a very enjoyable ride, with the story and its richness moving along at a perfect speed to keep the viewer engaged. some plot elements move a bit slowly for my taste (*coughbackstorycough*), but it really kept me yearning for more, for the next episode and the next plot twist. i actually miss it now that it's over, so there's a good chance i'll watch it again, haha. and that sort of says it all, it was rich enough plot-wise that it'll keep people (well, me anyway) coming back for more, even when it's over. (doesn't help that the ending is one of those open "it's never over" types, but in a way that's a good thing, since at the end i was uplifted, because i knew that they would just keep doing what they do, even if we weren't able to watch them do it.)

The ending really eases any concerns you may have about things turning out alright.

Black Blood Brothers is available from Splazm, A-M (German), NF, and is licensed for distribution by Funimation Entertainment.

Getting little girls to do your dirty work isn't nice. But then, Gunslinger Girl didn't have a problem with it, so when in Rome...

4.5/5

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