Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond

Alt title: Kekkai Sensen & Beyond

TV (12 eps)
Fall 2017
4.273 out of 5 from 5,649 votes
Rank #532
Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond

Second season of Blood Blockade Battlefront.

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Lights! Camera! Action! image

Episode 1

Lights! Camera! Action!

A Phantom Hospital Ward Rises image

Episode 2

A Phantom Hospital Ward Rises

Day In Day Out image

Episode 3

Day In Day Out

Werewolf Mission: Chainpossible image

Episode 4

Werewolf Mission: Chainpossible

One Butler's Blitzkrieg image

Episode 5

One Butler's Blitzkrieg

Get the Lock Out!! image

Episode 6

Get the Lock Out!!

Branchial Blues image

Episode 7

Branchial Blues

Desperate Fight in the Macro Zone, Part 1 image

Episode 8

Desperate Fight in the Macro Zone, Part 1

Desperate Fight in the Macro Zone, Part 2 image

Episode 9

Desperate Fight in the Macro Zone, Part 2

Bratatat Mom image

Episode 10

Bratatat Mom

Spectral Eyes, Phantom Vision, Part 1 image

Episode 11

Spectral Eyes, Phantom Vision, Part 1

Spectral Eyes, Phantom Vision, Part 2 image

Episode 12

Spectral Eyes, Phantom Vision, Part 2

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In case anyone hasn't watched the original Blood Blockade Battlefront, here's the skinny; it's a heavily stylised series which can effectively be summarised as a blitzkreig for the eyes, in that it constantly pelts you with new and unnecessary characters and comedic sub-plots until it's easy to forget what the franchise is actually supposed to be about. The show's attitude to world-building, narratival construction, characterisation and character development are similar to my attitude towards cooking; don't spend too long on anything and hope it looks impressive enough to fool yourself. Thankfully, this season Bones has decided to actually include things such as, y'know, character-centric narrative arcs, and BBB is all the better for it. Though we're still following Leonardo Watch, the young man who gained new eyes from an eldritch entity and found himself working for a clandestine pseudo-vampire-hunting group in a half-Otherworld New York (the whole set-up is really too bizarre and winding for me to go into more detail here) this time the extended cast is allowed to shine in episodes that explore their backgrounds and personalities. As we're still in very monster-of-the-week territory, there are very few arcs that survive the entire season, more-so vignettes and brief fly-by tours of supporting characters' lives, but it beats the hell out of the weird last-minute-profundity of season one, and I actually found myself being able to tell what the heck was going on most of the time, which helped immensely. Generally, when an episode in Beyond begins a story, it carries it to the end credits rather than dropping it halfway, as did the capricious child that was the first season. Still, style remains the main draw of the franchise, boasting as it does a carefully-selected soundtrack, a mostly rapid pace and a really interesting way of melding New York topography and gritty underground-resistance imagery with sky-high monsters that, in the BBB universe, are actually fairly commonplace. Characters are, sadly, still more visually interesting than wholly compelling AS characters (and there at least three too many of them), and while the last two episodes are strangely engrossing for a series that finds more comfort in rapid car chases and exploding blood crosses, we're still not exactly looking at Fullmetal Alchemist here, folks. One thing that I would love to see more of in a prospective third season is more of a focus on interpersonal relationships, as the likes of Leonardo and Chain, or K.K. and Klaus, feel like they have more meat on their shared bones than has been picked at in the franchise thus far.  TL;DR I'm not quite sure what makes fans of the series think of this as anything more than "just decent", but if you were a fan of the first season (or if you liked aspects of it but yearned for more focused storylines and character arcs) then you should be well-served here. '& Beyond' IS, whatever else I might think of BBB, a marked improvement over the first installment and if we can improve from here then I think this might really be a grower. And please continue leaving the Black and White and Lord of Despair or whatever stuff for cameos and flashbacks, because they aren't needed and I really don't miss them.


*Kekkai Sensen S1 spoilers* Helsalem's lot is my city I was always a bit confused a bit by the direction the plot of the original Blood Blockade Battlefront was taken in, for an anime that started out as a perfect example of pure action, fun, great animation, and brilliant characters in something you can actually relax your critical eye around it sure went down a dark path of edginess quick, didn't it? But luckily this time around the cute vampires are gone and the rest of what you love is present. You have your generic looking protagonist in Leonardo Watch back at it again with his signature special eyes which are still only good for two things: looking up his enemies' defensive skirts and figuring out magic tricks. He does much less of this in this sequel though, as our brockesque lead takes a backseat to the more interesting members of Libra. There's an episode dedicated to almost every important member of the crew that weren't covered enough in the first series, and that's what the story consists of. The episodic style makes a comeback in this way. Every episode has a unique dialogue style fitted to the character the episode covers and some sort of enemy for them to fight. This persists over 8/10 of the episodes, where two-parters focusing on newer characters take up the other 4. What mostly seperates this from its predecessor in terms of story is the way multiple interesting things are taking center stage at the same time instead of a battle or two happening in the background while the story focuses on the intricacies of leonardo's peace of mind. I do like how there's no overarching plot this time since B^3 didn't do that very well and it works better without it. The attacks are still as cool as ever, but the first episode steals the rest of the anime's thunder in episode 1 when it coems to animation. Yutaka nakamura's signature sakuga style returns and god damn is it beautiful. The first half of the first episode is by far my favorite thing to come out in the 2017 season, and a contender for best animated sequence all year. too brilliant not to put here. Episode 5 had an almost redline-esque car scene, proving nakamura isn't out of bounds when it comes to trying new things. Simply beautiful stuff. The sound is phenominal and it's one of the only shows this year that's caught my attention. The opening is so quirky and it fits, the ending as well, the OST is used exceptionally well. I view the characters similarly to the way I did season 1, very creative cast each one of them different, a few newcomers that were fun to watch, but Chain, Gilbert and KK's characterizations shot up quite a lot for one. Plenty of others too but those took the cake for me in their episodes. Not all of them were balls-out action, though their animation budget wasn't wasted even for the more lighthearted ones and didn't fail to make them intense either. Individually the stories make perfect use of their situations too. I never felt the need for more focus on anything else when chain was phasing through walls to deactivate a bomb or while gilbert was chasing down brainheisters. They're almost short movies, all in a line. An extremely satisfying ending that still leaves room for more, tons of stuff about the world expanded on, more humor- totally worth it. I love this show. Not much to complain about besides episodes 8 and 9 being a bit weak.

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