Ah... vampires... I despise vampires. I hate them with a burning passion due to the cliché way they are depicted in pop-culture. Ever since Twilight was released and for some reason people enjoyed it (I did not!), paranormal romance has been in. Hell, even when I go to the book store to buy some new books and mangas there's an entire section labeled Teen Paranormal Romance. The concept is overrated and overdone. I've only ever read one book series I remotely liked involving it, and it's not about vampires. Considering this anime came out the year after the original Twilight book made its first appearance, I was nervous that it would be riding the same path as it: cheesy, poorly written, and all together disappointing and boring. As you can imagine, even when my close friend CrazyBeverly96 recommended it to me, I was wary to watch it. After all, I have my reasons to avoid ANYTHING involving vampires. Wow, was I wrong.
This is one of the parts I worried about the most. I was praying it wouldn't be cliche, and I was right, it wasn't. The complicated set up with red-bloods (humans) and black-bloods(vampires), and the various clans of vampires makes the show interesting. It also added an aspect similar to in Wolf's Rain where the characters try to 'find paradise', which in this case, turns out to be a city where humans and vampires coexist peacefully.
The story chronicles the lives of two brothers, Jirou and Kotaru, who are traveling together. The two don't share much resemblance (actually, none at all...), but hey, neither do Ed and Alphonse in most of Full Metal Alchemist. Speaking of which, the anime follows a well-used trope in anime of having two brothers (or at least brotherly figures), one older and one younger, who go on their adventures together. So that's a bit of a downside.
While obviously predictable in certain sections, and with a few measly plot holes, the story still flows nicely. There's enough unique content to make it very interesting, and the character backstories are deep enough to keep someone watching interested.
There's not too much to complain about in this department. Character designs are fitting and unique, like Jirou's outfit and both brothers' googles. Action sequences are pretty good, there aren't a lot of moments where someone could look at the show and get lost on who's hitting who. The backgrounds, while detailed and somewhat varied, have a tendency to be too dark in most of the city sequences and too bright in others, like in the wintery forest with the Dark Princess of the North. Overall, pretty good. Once again, it's not the best I've ever seen, but it's still definitely above average.
I was surprised by the lack of gore and bloodshed(Being that this is a show about vampires), but in some places it seems to follow along what some anime made for younger teenagers or kids do with: ‘That guy just had his arm ripped off! Wow, there’s not a lot of blood.” I’ve heard people say there’s quite a bit of blood and gore, but really, it’s not that bad. If you’re looking for loads of gore, find a horror anime like Corpse Party: Tortured Souls that doesn’t censor blood at all.
It's always fun to write the part of the review about the section you enjoyed the most in the show. For me, it was definitely the sound. Both the opening and the outro music were great, but the opening is definitely what I liked the most about the show. It was fitting to the series’ action. The voice actors were great, very fitting for the characters they were portraying.
I'll just focus on the three main ones here, as the others are all fine in my opinion. My only issue would be that one would almost wish the show was a bit longer so that the more minor characters got more time in the spotlight... or in some cases more depth in general.
Jirou: Dark, handsome, complicated, and with an interesting past, he's just the kind of character I love. His design is unique and obviously fitting. It's tiring when watching animes to always see the same kind of lighthearted heros all the time. Characters like Jirou are a nice twist that helps break from the usual heroes/heroines. His weaknesses are in touch with those of traditional vampires, ie. sunlight, water, etc... And NO he does not sparkle...
Kotarou: The younger brother of the two vampires. He's so adorable it burns. He's innocent, a bit on the naive side, and all together the antithesis of his older brother Jirou. He's a great foil character for Jirou, and lightens up the show in it's darkest moments... I can't reveal too much more about him, because... well, SPOILERS!
Mimiko - the reigning heroine of the little band of heroes in their not-so-merry adventures is mature and relatively calm. She is once again, an interesting alternative, and prefers to compromise instead of fighting if possible(duh...) She's strong enough to deal with vampires and other things that would otherwise cause a weaker character to fall apart.
It exceeded all of my expectations.
I would recomend it.
Black Blood Brothers is a very good anime. It’s just a 12-episode action series that honestly does not take very long to finish. There is so much excitement and thrills packed into it that I think any action fan will want to watch this.
The story follows two vampire brothers moving to an area called the “Special Zone” where they will be able to exist peacefully with humans and other vampires. The older brother, Jirou, bravely prevented a disaster at the hands of a vicious group of vampires known as The Kowloon Children in a war 10 years prior. However, certain survivors among The Kowloon Children are still out to get him.
That animation is great. It skillfully uses darkness to emphasize the fears of the characters during dangerous moments and moments of uncertainty. They also use the light well to symbolize hopefulness and the care that the characters have for one another. All action sequences flowed well and grabbed you in every second. Some of The Kowloon Children were very scary as monsters should be and brought a good sense of horror to the show. However, possibly the most chilling thing would be the transformation that occurs when others are turned into Kowloon Children.
I loved the music in this anime it fit so well for what this anime was trying to be, a dark action show with some fun, yet deep characters. The voice acting in the Japanese version and surprisingly in the English version is wonderful. The actors all fit their characters perfectly; giving them exactly the voices you would expect them to have.
This is the unfortunate thing about short animes: If there are too many a character in them, then there’s no way that they will all be able to have their fair share of development. This rings just as true in Black Blood Brothers. We hardly learn a thing about the secondary characters, which is a shame as some of them are pretty interesting; we never even get to learn what the main antagonist’s motivations are for constantly plaguing Jirou’s life. The main characters do get some development, but it’s really just learning to open up to each other; that’s it. I still think that the main characters are unique and very likeable, but I am not attached to them the way I am with characters from longer series who have had time to go through far more development.
If you like following the misadventures of some very fun and enjoyable characters, topped with a good amount of action and drama, I think you will like this one. The comedy scenes will put you at ease and the violent scenes will make you anxious to see how the main characters will get through the trouble. The big reveal at the end may make you glad that the anime ended where it did, but even so I will certainly remember this anime for how much fun it is.
I don’t know if you notice lately or before but there was been a numerous amount of anime with vampires in the main element. Much like movies in the past, present and the future, the vampire boom has been around anime ever since the ‘80s (as far as I know) and there were many hits such as Hellsing, Blood: The Last Vampire, Karin, Vampire Hunter D and many others to be named. But I wonder what can be different about this series or different from any vampire media……well, let’s hope it won’t be like that other vampire franchise but let’s focus on this now.
During a war called the Hong Kong Crusade, an Old Blood Black Blood Brothers, Jiro Mochizuki, a.k.a. the Silver Blade (Gintō), fought and defeated the Kowloon king and also most of the Kowloon Children. Ten years later, Jiro heads to Hong Kong with his little brother, Kotaro Mochizuki, in hopes of reaching The Special Zone, a thriving secret city where Vampires live. They soon realize that a plan to infiltrate the Special Zone is being hatched by the Kowloon Children survivors. As they travel to The Special Zone, Jiro encounters enemies from the past and new threats that may endanger the safety of the Special Zone. The abduction of Kotaro, by one of the Kowloon Children, thrusts him even further into the battle.
Most of the time in the series, they place the story of Jiro and his late lover in the beginning segments before the main plot surfaces onto the screen. It can be confusing for the first few times if that story doesn’t intersect too much with the original focus but it didn’t seem to bother me in the that track time. The pace for the show wasn’t really quick but for an 12-episode series, it didn’t drag out too long and it got to where it needed to be at that time but at the series’ end, it should added at least one more episode to explain some further details but then again it was one of those “you have to read the manga to find out more” type of show but it’s mostly saying, “Read for once in your life, you lazy fuck!!”.
The characters in this series are not as flattering or even noteworthy of being memorable. Jiro plays the archetype of the vampire who still mourns for his lost love and somewhat an unstoppable force to reckon with……well, not really. Water is his weakness. Yes, we can survive bullets and sometimes the sun since he does be in the daylight but water can really mess him up. Kotaro…….should I feel bad that the first I see him in the show and he was banging on the coffin and Jiro beat him around, I laughed at that? But, yeah, Kotaro is basically the cheery comic relief of the show and he’s not really helpful in this and the fact he does get kidnapped and put in danger a lot. He just seems more to get in the way of things then actually helping out. Mimiko wasn’t too bad of a character to deal with, although she does chastise Jiro many times in the story. The only other character that actually does contribute to the story is Cassa, once friends with Jiro and his lover, Alice Eve (not the actress) but betrayed him by killing her. Every other character (like Kelly Wong) gets tossed aside from show altogether, practically not caring whether their story matters at all.
The animation is rather bland and uninteresting. It looks well done with 50% of the fight scenes but there’s nothing more to that. Group TAC & Studio Live, the companies that provided the animation, really don’t have anything else noticeable in their resume, aside assisting other animation studios on their projects but I don’t know if they’re going to have any future projects after this. The music is also surprisingly dull, albeit has a switch of melodic tone from the OP song to the ED song. The BG music was nothing to expect anything new but average at best.
FINAL VERDICT: It would be cliché to say Black Blood Brothers brought nothing interesting or exciting to the table but it holds up to be pretty average in my book. Some parts you’ll find to be remotely watchable and consistent but aside from that, it can be a mess to go through with. I would say BBB is only good for a one-time watch and that’s it.
So, Black Blood Brothers gets the final grade of 6/10 PLANET TYRO RATING: VANILLA
I really did like the show, though I found it a bit hard to pick out what was happening now and happening back during the attack on Hong Kong because of some of the flash backs. Kotaro is a really cute and funny character, always getting into trouble and is a good contrast to his very old sounding brother, Jiro. It’s nice that they had kept a version of the real vampire myths. They kept the *cough* feelings that happen when a vampire bites another, and some of the stuff about their weaknesses and such. The play between a couple of people is rather fun including the strange Rinsuke Akai who seems to be rather flamboyant. He had no reason being there except for to be a yaoi fan girls dream.
The animation is rather nice and fluid though we have one of the same problems as other shoes where we get the stupid motion lines. It’s supposed to make it seem rather fast but it just feels cheesy most of the time. There are a lot of times that it does look cheaply made and characters look out of proportion, but I still like the show when it doesn’t. I like how they change to a sort of grayer tone for when they show a flashback though I don’t understand why they don’t do it to the flashbacks of the Kowloon War.
The voices in the English dub are actually pretty fitting to the characters and not to off-putting. One of the problems I had was when some of the other characters were brought in. Their voices would ether be to low for me to hear and when I turned it up, the loud voices and music hurt my ears. The music has a pretty nice pop art sound to it and then it was balanced with a little bit of the piano music, and I never had trouble with it overpowering the scenes. Most fit pretty well though they did have some of side-walk walking music that made some characters fun.
Black Blood Brothers is in all accounts a cop-out anime, practically a collection of elements that have been tested many times before it did and sold well. This show tried to take as few risks as possible and went for the established formula others made in the past. But it still failed to be good as it forgot the most important thing all series need. Excitement!
My overall feeling for this show is formed by its many negatives and not its few positives, which to be frank are nothing much to write about. So this review will be a list of thing I didn’t like in this anime, starting with the most serious and proceeding with the least important.
1) Incomplete story
Although the overall scenario is actually very good, what we get to see in the anime is just a small part of the big picture. We see some stuff happening in flashbacks and some hinted for the future but we never see the whole story because it was stopped mid-way. Supposed the manga continues the story, supposed a sequel can always be made. I only know that a lot of things were left out and we only get a very vague image of what the heck is going on.
The story is about a vampire super soldier fighting evil organizations of vampires, who want to … we are never told. What we are told is that this world is willing to have coexistence between humans and vampires and that many people are willingly offering their blood in order to keep the other kind peaceful. Plus, chances of turning into a vampire are not that high. So yeah, having a setting where we see coexistence is quite interesting. The problem is with the villains who have done stuff in the past and plan to do a lot more in the future. We never get to see all that and it can be very disappointing.
What we only see is a rather linear and simplistic adventure of the main character going from place to place and fighting villains. Not exiting at all.
2) Annoying main character
At first, the lead reminded me of a much calmer Alucard (from Hellsing), as he was a vampire dressed in red who was fighting other vampires to protect the humans. But in reality, he is a lot closer to Vash (from Trigun). He is the typical noble warrior, acting too goody with everyone and doesn’t want to hurt innocents; the result of which is stupid by default. He clearly has no qualms about killing hundreds of vampire soldiers in the beginning of the show but he is more than willing to stop his attack and let the villains escape or heavily injure him if they are holding hostages. As noble as that sounds, I ensure you that it is nothing but lame in practice. The villains will escape and kill far more innocents or will almost lose his life for a nobody.
What is even more stupid is how he has no problem killing vampires who are brainwashed to attack him. Otherwise, they count as innocents as well. Why are they an exception? Because of the berserk state they are in? Killing their controller would revert them back to how they were.
Also, he keeps around him two very annoying and problematic side characters. They are there just for trouble so it is nothing but stupid to take them with him everywhere he goes or act all weak and passive next to their shallowness instead of just slapping them to get serious about it.
3) Annoying side characters
Let’s talk about them as well. One is his brother, a very young cheerful vampire boy. People around him are cut to pieces and he will just ask for ice cream. He is so out of touch with reality, it is plain stupid. He will always trust people, always want to play, always say only the sweetest things; GAH I feel like strangling him. He is supposed to offer a bright side to the story and even act as a comic relief mascot animal with all that optimism of his. But for all we see he is nothing but a delusional idiot who always gets kidnapped or ending up in the middle of the battle, forcing his brother to keep side-tracking in order to get him back. He is not as uber-awful as Raki (from Claymore) but he shares the same ridiculous archetype.
The other is this neurotic office girl, who is the typical damsel in distress yet as soon as they stay next to each other, keeps hitting him and insulting him like he is a lowlife. Why do women act like that in anime? It is so terrible and not funny at all.
4) The villains’ motives
Because we don’t get to see them. We see how stereotypically evil and megalomaniacs they all are and that is pretty much all of it.
That is an easy one. Powerful vampires could control lesser ones to do anything they want, thus turning them to drones and cannon fodder in battles. They are mostly just innocents trying to have a normal life yet with this cheap plot element the villains can have as many foot soldiers as they want. As cool as it sounds, it is just trashing the personalities of everyone if they have no free will.
6) The hero’s hat
Just because it looked cool on Alucard or D, doesn’t mean that a big hat will look good on anyone. In this case, it was drawn in a way to make the hero look stupid.
7) Average production values
Animation and sound are just average; there are no heavy artistic overtones nor are there great voice acting and smart dialogues. The main intro song was nice to listen for a few times but that’s it.
Piece all the above together and you can see why I found this to be nothing but a simplistic adventure with annoying characters and wasted potential. But to be honest the fight scenes had decent choreography which was not mostly magic attacks doing any shit the scriptwriter wants. Besides stopping bullets and mind control, all the rest of the action was cool hand-to-hand or swordsmanship goodies. Too bad that was the only plus.
There is also a side detail where having your blood sucked gives you an orgasmic feeling and the ability to read the sucker’s mind for a while but it was never looked upon much. Another wasted potential.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 5/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (typical)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (doesn’t exist)
CHARACTER SECTION: 3/10
Presence 0/2 (annoying)
Personality 1/2 (stereotypes)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 0/2 (doesn’t exist because of the open ending)
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (nothing worth rewatching)
Memorability 1/4 (meh, just go watch Trigun or Hellsing)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10
It went way too easy with its own merits and lost it early.