Mochizuki Jirou, the Silver Blade, is an Old Blood. Ten years ago he fought the Kowloon Children, beings who were a threat to mankind and to vampires, in the Holy War. In the present, Jirou is trying to get to the Special Zone, a place where vampires and humans live alongside each other, with his brother; their guide is Mimiko Katsuragi, mediator for humans and vampires. But the brothers soon discover that the surviving Kowloon Children can also gain access to the Special Zone – if they receive an invite from a Royal within it. Who invited the Kowloon Children, and will Jirou be able to defeat them once more?
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. Story (8/10): 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. Animation (7/10): 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. Sound (9/10): 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. Characters (7/10): 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. Overall (7.5/10): It exceeded all of my expectations. I would recomend it.
Ten years earlier in the Hong Kong Crusade the Silver Blade defeated the Kowloon King and destroyed most of his vampire offspring. Now Jiro Mochizuki, AKA the Silver Blade, and his younger brother Kotaro head to the special zone, a vampire sanctuary where Jiro plans to immerse his sibling in the community there. Unknown to our hero is that the remaining Kowloon Children plan to enter the special zone and wreak havoc on the peaceful inhabitants inside. If I was only given one word to describe this series, I'd go with dissatisfactory. That's not to say it's bad, because it's interesting enough, I just left feeling sort of unfulfilled. I've talked to friends who've watched it as well and mostly I get the impression that they thought it was beyond awesome, but I can't bullshit myself on this one, I thought it was average. That could be because I'm only a casual vampire fan, I mean I loved Blood+ but can we really consider that a hardcore vampire story? What it is, is that you'll watch the entire series, stand up and suddenly feel like you're missing something.It's only twelve episodes long, which is fine, but by the end it felt like I'd only watched about five or six episodes, like these twelve are only the setup for the meat of the story. They spend a lot of time revealing Jiro's past and who everyone is, then they have one big fight and it's all over. You take your favorite action series, for example and start with that first micro-arc they give you to establish character, setting, and plot and then end it. It was an interesting take on vampires, however, not anything super new. It will keep you guessing and interested, but be warned that you may be in the minority with me who found the ending okay but lacking. Animation and sound were good. Animation was pretty great but nothing to lose my mind for. I watched the dub and I thought the voice actors did great.For all you people who aren't thrilled by dubs it's watchable if you prefer english. Because the series spends a lot of time showing flashbacks and getting to know our cast, characters are the driving force behind the entire series. It starts out slowly, revealing only what we need to know at a good pace and eventually ending with a well formed idea of who these people are. You'll have your favorites, mine was Zelman Clock, and your least favorites, wasn't a big fan of Jiro. Most of them fall snuggly into roles we've seen many times before but luckily they're characters we like. One problem I encountered was that some of the characters slip through the cracks a bit. Everyone's always focused on Jiro and Kotaro,(like Jiro's the goddamn emperor of vampires or something) I would have liked to learn more about Zelman, or the Lord Dragon kid, or the antagonist's side of the story. You don't get a good sense of why the villian is the villian other than them going against the hero's. Otherwise good.Overall, if you're looking for something deep and meaningful look elsewhere cause this ain't it. While the series is fun in it's own right it's not anything you want to go giving up your first born son to see. In fact skipping it is perfectly acceptable. The ending felt as if it were only the beginning with a couple of questions left unanswered (though not many) and only a feel for few of the cast which in my mind is inadequate story telling. The story is a fine blend of suspense and humor, but a surprising lack of gore for a show about creatures who suck peoples blood.I give this one a six out of ten because even though it was lacking on certain plot points, it was still enjoyable. A good series to add to your anime resume if you have the time, if not, don't sweat it you aren't missing much.
THE STORY: Interesting, that's about how I'd sum up this one. A different take on yet another vampire driven anime, Black Blood Brothers takes many of the old traditional vampire strengths, weaknesses, and effects, which was very nice to see. The show progressed at a rather unorthodox rate, with minor 30 second flashbacks and seemingly no real direction to speak of. Episode after episode, I caught myself changing my underlying theory for where the show would be ending up and came to the realization that this would be an anime about the characters. The story is there but the characters are really what it's all about when all is said and done and I appreciated it in that regard. If you're a story buff then you may want to move along, not to say that it was disappointing so much as it was middle grade. Nothing too impressive to see here. There really isn't a ton of backdrop to any of it aside from the main overbearing questions. By the time the anime touches on the universe it is showing us the main characters all know each other through and through and they spend little time telling the viewers just what the hell is going on.THE ANIMATION: The animation that the artists employ in BBB is a nice blend of the traditional style of anime, but the presence of modern technology was definitely noticed. Very smooth, it was equally enjoyable to watch the humorous exploits of the three main party members, as well as the intense action sequences. The weapons clash with a refreshing brilliance that reminds me a bit of Afro Samurai, and like it, BBB impressed. The style of buildings and such aren't anything to marvel at and neither are most of the character's garments, with the exception of the main character Jiro, whose clothes are similar to that of what I'd expect to come out of a warlock's closet! His outfit is refreshing in contrast to the last few anime that I've watched and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Finally, the techniques that the vampires and such perform throughout the series have a nice shiny glow to them that make me "ooo"-"aaahh" frequently. SOUND: I don't know if anyone is going to argue for the sounds that this series employs. Like many anime the sound was there, but it wasn't noticeable enough to stand out. It was simply dull wallpaper in the living room, I pass by without noticing it... at all. I watched through all of Black Blood Brothers and not once did I say "I really enjoy the soundtrack!" or other comments of the like. CHARACTERS: Characters! The characters in BBB are the driving force and they do not disappoint, with great vocal appearances from favorites Christopher R. Sabat (can FUNimation do anything without throwing him in there somewhere?), Jerry Jewell, and Kent Williams (though not in any lead roles). There is a very diverse span of character personalities present in this anime, from cold and calculating to childish happiness. BBB implements, quite effectively, a plethora of voice talents, all suiting their characters roles amazingly. I was particularly happy to hear Jerry Jewell and fell in love with his character Zelman. As I've said this series is moved by characters and with characters as great as these it is hard to foul up. OVERALL: Overall Black Blood Brothers was far from what I expected. I enjoyed it very much and think that most will not be disappointed, it is well worth the 12 episode time-frame. I would have liked to have seen more done with it though and feel that it falls short of its potential.
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