I have a full confession to make about this show. When it was first airing, my first viewing of the series was stalled significantly due to the fact that it seemed trite, boring, and repetitive. Throughout most of my time with the series, I found the characters to be deeply cliche, the narrative to be predictable, the suspense to be canned. So, after it had finished airing, I decided to marathon the rest on a whim due to lack of shows at the time. And I'm glad I did, because all of my complaints became defenses. Every single thing you hate about Blood-C is put there intentionally to through you off of what is one of the most self-aware send-ups of the anime industry I've ever seen.
On a very surface level, the plot follows Saya, a ditzy schoolgirl who happens to live at and train in a shrine on a secluded island. She eats sweets, pets stray animals, and acts like an all-around klutz. Her friends are pink-haired, silly twins, and her love interest is a stoic, yet bashful boy. But by night, she becomes a deadly swordswoman, murdering brutal creatures called Chiropterans in a horribly bloody fashion. So, to recap, a cutesy nerd turns into a badass by night and protects her town in secret. Yep, this sounds like a remarkably worn premise, no?
Unfortunately, I cannot reveal the mind-boggling twist that occurs to you at the end of the series. It would ruin the effect of the show, which is to beat you into submission by using every single contemporary anime cliche imaginable. Terrible slice-of-life shows, dull grimdark action series, and other popular genres are merged together into a homoculus of stereotypes, making for an experience that is throughly and utterly predictable. Until, all of a sudden, it isn't. In the last 2-3 episodes, everything you thought up until that point is brutally subverted. Everything wrong with the modern anime industry is laid bare, put up on the chopping block, then (literally and metaphorically) butchered. In the end, we get one of the most beautifully meta-analytic works to come out of the anime industry since Neon Genesis Evangelion.
The show is certainly beautiful to look at as well. Character designs by Clamp are brought to vivid life thanks to the vibrant animation by Production IG. Backgrounds are simply gorgeous to look at, despite their usage during some of the shows more intentionally dull parts. Fight sequences are tight and move along at a nice, brisk pace, and result in buckets of satisfying gore. Most impressive to me, though, are the freakish monsters. Almost every single one of them is the stuff nightmares are made of, and I often questioned how in the heck they were conceived. Raw imagination oozes from the aesthetics of the show, in more ways than one.
Background music is very solid. Definitely nothing that's wholly special, but it gets the job done depending on the scene, and for a show that is trying on a lot of different styles at once, that's definitely an admirable job. The opening and ending clips, however, are definitely exceptional, and are in fact some of the best in recent years. Most impressive to me is the opening, which combines Japanese, English and French to an awesome, thrashing J-Rock song, and tops it off with some excellent animation.
Blood-C is supposed to infuriate you, and supposed to bore you at times, and supposed to make you roll your eyes. It does this with the express purpose of making you realize most of the problems with the anime we watch today, and to anger you as everything you took for granted is coldly snatched away at the last second. This show is a coldhearted smack in the face to works by studios like Kyoto Animation, and a sneering jab at otaku who keep throwing money at slice-of-life and moe series. While some of the execution is a bit sloppy, its intentions are in the right place.
Some people call the writers of this series "trolls" for how they wrapped up. Me? I call them brilliant for having the guts to pull a fantastically cruel practical joke on everybody, including myself.
overall score: 9/10
overall score: 6/10