Blade is the fourth Marvel attempt to get a piece of the pie out of the anime fans and once again it’s just wasting its precious money on lame adaptations. I have watched all three previous shows and I could already see from the pilot episode it is following the exact same pattern as those. It is quite safe to say that I knew in just a few minutes that it is mediocre at best since the makers repeat the same crap as before. To be honest, up to now Marvel derived anime were slowly getting more interesting, meaning the makers were slowly learning how to make a good action show and we had the more than obvious analogy of Iron Man < Wolverine < X-Men. You see, the action was getting better and the amount of heroes was increasing which was making each attempt a bit more enjoyable than the previous one. So I expected for Blade to be even more enjoyable for improving the formula further but to my disappointment it is the worst of them all. And don’t tell me I reached to conclusions too early; it is more than obvious if you see the storyboard and the execution in comparison to the other three.
First of all the music part is by far the best thing in this show as those rock pieces are nice to listen to lots of times. All the rest are terrible. Just 3 minutes in the show and you see that the bad guys are nothing but dumb vampires attacking innocent civilians and being vaporized by the hero. There is nothing interesting about them, they are just cannon fodder. Hell, they don’t even fight in an interesting way; they are just brainlessly attacking with claws and get owned in less than a second because Blade moves faster than light or something (lol at the after image he leaves as bait; what is this, early Dragonball episodes?). Great strategy there guys; too bad Solid Snake is better.
What is even worse is how these mooks are killed. It is true that in some stories with vampires they are instantly combusting when they die but this is plain laughable. They don’t burn and turn to ash with a few bones remaining to fizzle away in the wind. I mean it was so cool in the live action trilogy or even in From Dusk Till Dawn. So what crappy way to combust is this here? They just go poof and disappear like it’s a Digimon being defeated. Plain horrible; they look like kagebushin rather than monsters with personality.
What is even worse than even that is how they look like. In an attempt to flavor their appearances, they are all sorts of combinations. Just imagine a vampire catfishman who uses vampire cats and water as hindrance. Weird? How about vampire chicken? Vampire imps? Vampire ninjas? This is plain ridiculous, especially when it is pointless. No matter how they look, they are equally weak and use the exact same dumb technique of “running towards the opponent with no plan at all”.
There are also human collaborators to the vampires, called familiars. Not only they are even easier to beat than vampires yet they have the nerve to attack Blade in hopes of defeating him with simple clubs. They are also idiots enough to have tattoos on their wrists showing the vampire insignia of the guy they are working for. Amazing secrecy people, do you have the map to his lair drawn on your ass too?
And then there is the Big Bad of the show, whose actions make no sense. He clearly is ten times stronger than Blade, continually defeats him easily and continually lets him escape despite the more than obvious fact that he needs his blood to complete an experiment. Instead of capturing him single-handily, he keeps sending his troops to be massacred by Blade and he just walks away when he has him cornered. Yeah, that makes sense. It’s called the “We can’t have a showdown before the last episode” strategy.
There is zero interest in the action and it is supposed to be an action show. Since the first episode, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to already figure out the animators are using the exact same choreography as before. Random slashes and gunshots, most of which are done with still frames and a cheap fire effect covering the monsters. And all vampires are defeated in less than a second with a simple punch or kick before they are set on fire; as if they are made of paper. They are not even shown suffering before they die. Hell, they are not even shown being damaged much before dying. Hell, there isn’t even a body remaining as proof a battle took place there.
Furthermore only vampires are killed in this show, as normal people always survive or just fall unconscious. This is of course done because the show is supposed to be for teenagers and thus it couldn’t be too brutal. And for some reason vampires don’t count as people but as Digimon, so it’s ok to kill them. Anyways, my point is that normal people are always spared but vampires are killed. And since both are defeated equally easy, that ends up making the vampires to look far weaker than normal people! Shouldn’t a story full of dark areas and vampires be scary or unsettling? Well this one here isn’t in the slightest. How can you be afraid with such piss poor weak adversaries? They look stupid too.
This is a retelling of the action live movies and it is nothing we haven’t already seen. They aren’t even trying to make a twist with an already simplistic plot (and don’t tell me there is complexity in the Blade movies). I practically felt like I watched the first movie repeating in the exact same way, with far less interesting action and atmosphere. So ok, Blade is after the guy who bit his mother. Doesn’t that make him his creator? Why is he after the guy who thanks to him he is now so cool and saves people from vampires? He should be in-dept to him. Yet all he does is killing random vampires, as if he has nothing else to do. That gets tiresome fast.
As for the story? Aside from Blade chasing after Big Bad it is practically random traveling around the world and fighting mooks, while listening to the overblown dramatic tales of unimportant people you will never see again past the episode they appear in. So practically there is NO PLOT AND STORY THAT FITS IN TWO LINES OF TEXT. Heck, even the major secondary characters that aid Blade are a weak girl, a grandpa, and a dog. Does that sound interesting? Nope.
As you can tell early on, my impressions of Blade are veeeery negative. It is a mediocre work like all the other Marvel derived works, and thank goodness it is the last. Now Madhouse can you please try harder?
Look, this is a simple anime: it's based off the Blade series, and sorta reminded me of the movies in some aspects. It's not aweful bad, but it's clearly a very forced attempt to get American stories into the Japanese market. Points for the Wolverine cameo though.
Now let’s get into Marvel Animation. Like DC Comics is having trouble with their theatrical releases aside from the Nolan Batman movies, Marvel is doing worse in their animation department considering from I heard on the internet about the two beloved series Spectacular Spider-Man & the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes got canceled mostly due to Disney being a part of Marvel and after seeing Ultimate Spider-Man, fans were pissed at the result of that show and while that happened, Marvel decided to cross into anime territory along with the help of studio MADHOUSE with Marvel Anime, a 4-part anime project that reintroduces them for Japanese audiences and the following feature players were Iron Man, Wolverine, X-Men & Blade. Now I’m only covering the Blade anime for today as the others will be on another day (summer 2013, coming soon).
Erik Brooks was half-man, half-vampire after his mother Carol was attacked by a vampire named Deacon Frost. He sought assistance from Noah Van Helsing and over time, vampires worldwide fear him as the "Daywalker" or "Blade". He investigates a vampire organization in Asia called "Existence" starting from Japan all the way to Southeast Asia.
Okay, I know most of you have heard some of this plot before and if you haven’t, you didn’t see the first Blade movie.
Yes, the plot of Blade hunting down Deacon Frost for killing his mother is a part of the first movie but in the series, the killing of said mother takes place in England, which I heard that Blade was originated from in the comics so yeah, Blade is British.
Joining the hunt alongside Blade is Makoto, a female vampire hunter who at first hunts Blade for killing her father, even though she should’ve been hunting for Frost since he turned him into a vampire and Blade was just doing his job and making sure she doesn’t die. There is also Noah Van Helsing, most likely the one who supplies Blade with weapons and for that, he does a better job of that than Shen from the live-action TV series and he has a wolf-dog whose name I don’t know or too lazy to find out.
Most of Frost’s flunkies or either vampires of the High Council are served as easy targets for Blade whether he comes close and it doesn’t seem much of a fight but just as a fly in his face and the weirdest (and dumbest) thing about it whenever Blade finishes an adversary, he calls out a move like it’s a damn videogame move. All the other very minor characters in the series often share their backstories but we as an audience can’t get too close to them since after that episode, that part never gets mentioned again. Even Deacon Frost just turns out to be a pretty generic villain and yet I don’t know this version of Blade is better or worse than the Stephen Dorff version and yet both versions want the vampires to rule the world, even going against the purebloods……which is the exact same thing that happened in the movie but in here, it feels too much of what we already seen in most action-oriented and/or comic book series.
So, in the U.S., the show (along the other Marvel Anime) aired on the formerly geek-centric G4 and the dub of this was made by Studiopolis, Inc., an ADR production company who worked on dubs (either anime or Western animation) in the past such as Afro Samurai, Blood+, Bleach & Naruto. The voice of Blade in this effort was Harold Perrineau, whom you know from Lost, OZ & Link from The Matrix Reloaded & Revolutions and he was fairly decent in his part, not better but still better than Sticky Fingaz’ effort.
While the animation by MADHOUSE does look very beautiful and dark to look at but the action scenes animated there rate from sub-par to weak, since I mentioned the calling-out your move when finishing an enemy earlier and the character design of Blade looks……odd in some way but not in a bad way but very strange. The music overall is awful in this series, mostly a generic rock theme for the series that never fits the tone whatsoever and the rest of the music is standard anime music but not exactly being a standout.
FINAL VERDICT (THE ANIME): Very, very uninspired and overall boring. I will say that plot is more Blade-focused rather than going for the other characters’ less important side story and most of Blade’s past in the series has more detail added than the movies but the action gets rather too repetitive too quick and too monotonous. I can’t judge the whole Marvel/MADHOUSE project too quick since those I’ll check out later but for this one, I’ll say watch only once.
As always I try to do a review of an anime which lacks one here on AP or the ones with a crappy review like 5 lines long etc. AND as always my review will be spoiler free with describing only the bare minimum that you will get from the first episodes or something irrelevant. And feel free to comment even if you wanna write something negative:) I love to argue:P
I had high hopes for the story and overall quality (in my opinion story highly determines the overall quality of movie/anime) of the last Marvel based anime. I even mentioned in some of my earlier reviews (I did a review of all Marvel anime series) that there would be a pattern, at least I hoped for a pattern. The pattern was that there would be a not so good anime (Iron Man) then good one (Wolverine) then bad again (X-Men) and then good one again (Blade). Unfortunately Blade’s story is much like the one in Iron Man and what I mean by that is that it’s too Japanese. Iron Man story was watchable, the Japanese elements and influence was acceptable and somehow didn’t hurt that much. On the other hand, Blade’s story is pure over-the-top Japanese style. I really liked the trailer and the looks of Blade himself, I was rewatching it constantly before the premiere being hypnotized by this “Braduu”. First 2-3 episodes were ok, we got Blade in Japan huntin some vamps he encounters a Japanese vampire hunter – cool! The story itself is about a man/vampire who killed/sucked Blade’s mother and thus turning Blade into a “daywalker”, well more about finding that vampire rather than about him. Sounds interesting yes? Of course it does sound interesting, even I was interested “hey that’s nice we got a cool story arc about creating Blade, they will actually make a good continuous story from start to end, not like in X-Men”. Boy was I wrong.. what we get instead is a clone of Power Rangers/Sentai show. The formula of every episode is very simple and from time to time we get some main story plot points (just like in Power Rangers). Blade is searching for the “head vampire” traveling from country to country or from island to island. Each country/island offers a new type of enemy, I mean vampire! We get flying gryphon vampires, we get ninja vampires, we get other vampires.. it really looks like a kids tv show where the super hero meets new type of enemies every episode and what do we get at the end? A mashup boss battle of all type of vampires? Yes:) Especially funny is how the main villain boss runs away or changes the base from episode to episode, also very much Japanese sentai show. To make it even more Japanese they even gave an armored dog that helps beating up the vampires. Now hold on a second…the dog bites a vampire and the vampire turns into ash? But the dog got normal teeth.. and how come the dog is fast enough to dodge an immortal super being (a vampire) attack? It just makes no sense this dog is so super smart super tough it could be an anime about him. To make us weep even more they decided to add in Kikyo (the same awesome Kikyo from Wolverine), and we get a little story about Kikyo being Blade’s friend in some dojo where they learn how to fight with katanas. To say not more, the story is uber-boooooring and I don’t recommend it, not to vampirism fans, not to anime fans, not to Blade fans.
Animation is the same as in every Marvel anime. Looks crisp nice, backgrounds are highly detailed, the fights are done very nicely. As I said earlier “Blade” is very Japanese in its style and it’s not only the story, characters and the dog. Even animation bits got something nihongo added to it. Blade fights with a katana, nothing new here he always fights with it. But in the anime (maybe it appears in comics I’m completely unfamiliar with Blade’s true story and comics past) he uses a variety of attack stances. Not sure if you know what I mean, for example when a character in anime is trained by some school/family at sword fights he uses a special stance/style of that school/family. Usually during the attack the character also screams the name of it like “Shigure Sounen Style Stance 4: The Water of Deception!” and we get a cool frame stop, colors inverted or sth and a HUUUGE kanji sign appearing with the name of that attack. After this interlude the action goes on and we see the enemy drops in pieces or similar stuff. The same is here, Blade got 3 or 4 (I don’t remember it anymore) attacks. It looks cool I admit but as I said there is only 3 or 4 and one of them is a special stance which he shows only in the last fight (also a cliché of this family/school style attacks). Very nice lookin but too Japanese in my opinion.
Character design is also nice, Blade is looking fine other supporting characters also. Even the frickin dog (Razor) is done finely. For my taste the bizarre vampires from different countries are not so great. The overall details on them are fine but the main design is not very complicated or interesting enough to catch your eye for a longer time. Opening and ending are very low on production value, it looks like a trailer shot from some unused scenes, it doesn’t invite you to stay and watch the episode. How to put it in short? The quality is MADHOUSE but some design elements are not good enough.
Music is there, I think.. when I’m not sure it means the music wasn’t bad but also wasn’t great. It’s just there to add up to the whole picture. You have to have some music don’t you? So nothing much to say here even in the opening and ending parts. Music is ok it’s a sorta metal theme that suits Blade and vampire hunting but it also doesn’t kicks ass like “Feel My Claws” made for Wolverine by Takahashi Tetsuya nor does it set the mood for slaying vampires.
Voice acting is on high level. Every character has a suited voice nothing bangs you in the head with some misplaced actors, maybe the dog could bark a little more…
Oh boy.. I waited for this part of the review. We get some wide range of all kind of characters in this one. We got Blade the vampire hunter, everyone knows him he’s cool, he’s swift, he’s BLADE. As far as I know the character looks like modern Blade (there was some time in comics when Blade was different but the usual Wesley Snipes Blade is the most common), I won’t talk about his past or his attitude towards others and his behavior because I’m not familiar with Blade in comics. All I can say about him is that for a normal person who knows him from movies (for me) he acts as one should expect.
But I can talk about other characters which I believe were design for the sole purpose of this anime. First is the female lead and Blade’s sidekick Makoto, she is the Japanese vampire hunter who at firsts wants to kill Blade but then joins him in his fight. Makoto is a typical Japanese heroine she uses some kind of silver blade-knuckles to eradicate vamps. Her actions and motives are acceptable (I mean she doesn’t do anything horribly stupid) and she even shares Blade’s main motive – finding the head uber-vampire Deacon Frost who sucked her father. And so we move on to main villain – Deacon Frost, the 4-fanged vampire (others got only 2 upper fangs). From what we see he is much stronger than any other vampire he is even stronger than Blade, he can knock him down in one punch and yet he runs away all the time. We don’t get much of a story about him and know nothing about his past, as a villain he should be threatening every time we see him. But he is depicted in such a way that I don’t see him as main villain.
As a supporting cast we get Kikyo, which I mentioned before, Hellsing (probably some descendant of Van Hellsing) and Razor the dog (formerly Hellsing’s dog but he attaches to Makoto). Hellsing is just for a very little and at the end so not much to say about him, he sails on a ship with his crew hunting vampires and supporting Blade with new types of weapons for vampire slaying. Kikyo is the same as in Wolverine, proud and arrogant and wants to best Blade in sword skills. Razor.. OH YEAH GO RAZOR!! I fuckin hate that dog. It was one of the worst ideas I have ever seen in any anime in my whole life. I already said it but lets recap, Razor is an armored white husky (it looks like husky) which kills vampires with his teeth (which are not silver nor holly I assume) and from time to time tackles them. He is faster, smarter and stronger than every vampire in the anime (maybe except for Frost). Every scene with Razor is a razor in the eye, everything is absurd from fighting to dodging bullets and other projectiles, other characters get wasted and injured all the time but razor is all fine:) It makes no sense, every time I saw Razor I LOLed, I really laughed out loud, a burst of laughter if you prefer.
The time has come again and the epic journey of jointed MARVEL-MADHOUSE anime series has come to an end. At this point you should know what I think about this anime, comparing it to other Marvel series it’s the worst. And saying that X-men was better is a big thing, Wolverine, Iron Man, X-Men and Blade that is my order of “coolness”. Should you watch Blade? I highly recommend..avoiding it. It’s not for anime fans (the over-the-top parts make even the veteran anime watchers laugh), it’s not for Blade fans (I believe the story is butchered to pieces when compared to Blade comics) and it’s not for vampirism fans (design of the different kind of vampires sucks and the overall story sucks). Even the anime-planet team forgot about this god forbid piece of shit and didn’t add the screenshots for it, that should tell you how bad it is. Will we see another USA-Japan joint forces in anime production? I don’t think so, at least not soon. The only good one, Wolverine, was flamed by the fans of original Wolverine design, and even thou everything was perfect in it it received low scores because people just didn’t feel right about this Logan.