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Kekkai Sensen – 04

「BLOOD LINE FEVER」
“BLOOD LINE FEVER”

Kekkai Sensen is so cool it’s illegal in 67 countries and two protectorates.

I’m running out of superlatives for the stylistic accomplishments of Blood Blockade Battlefront. I guess it’s not shocking that a pastiche of BONES, Gainax, Nightow, Baccano! and Matsumoto Rie would be off the charts, but it could just as easily have been a disaster mixing those elements. Instead, though, it’s fabulously fun to watch – the visuals are gorgeous and there’s always something going on (I have to pause this show as much as any since Evangelion just to keep up), the music is God-tier, and the cast is as well. Seriously – it can’t possibly be safe to add Ishizuka Unshou and Ootsuka Akio in one episode, can it? Won’t someone please think of the children!

It seems as if we took a major step closer to giving the plot some much-needed cohesion this week – it felt very much like a canon episode rather than a one-off – but we’ll see. Once again, though, irrespective of the content the experience of consuming it was fantastic. We start out on a subway ride with Leo conversing with someone apparently only he can see – a ride on which he also sees a creature with a beautiful red aura, like crimson wings (take the time to read the ads on the subway car and the signs and billboards in general – a lot of wit and care has gone into them).

Then it’s on to a party at Libra where Unshou’s Patrick is introduced, a larger-than-life weapons specialist with a personality (and voice) to match. Again, don’t blow through this – watch what’s happening in the background. Sonic is getting slowly hammered, revelers are drinking “Blur Moon” (re-branded Coors masquerading as craft beer), Zapp is being his usual butt-monkey self as K.K. is apparently trying to seduce him, and the attention of the background characters is subtly drawn to Leo when he starts talking about what he saw on the subway. That’s pretty damn important, it seems – for amidst all the other monstrosities in this mythology, it seems vampires are here too – and they’re not remotely benign. They’re referred to as the “13 Elders” and it seems they’re invisible to normal human vision (as long as they want to be, anyway). That makes Leo a game-changer.

The highlight of the ep for me is the introduction of Ootsuka’s Blitz “Lucky” Abrams – a great actor, a great name, a great premise and a great character. The collective groan at the party when Klaus says it’s time for the “Specialist” is the first major clue something is up, but Steven only tells Leo that the man they call “Lucky” is one of the greatest monster hunters ever, Klaus’ mentor – and that he’ll likely be showing up soon on his own.

The first real clue of the brilliant joke about to play out comes when we see Lucky walking towards us in true action-hero style across an airport runway, he sneezes (because he’s being talked about, you know) and a place crashes and bursts into flame. The reason Libra knew Blitz was coming, as it happens, is a crash landing at Newark – it seems that because of his long battle with the vamps, he’s under a curse which brings disaster to everyone around him but leaves him unscathed. “Lucky” is the ultimate double-edged sword – hell, a double-edged sword with no hilt – and a succession of hilarious catastrophes like a meteor striking a “ultra-sorcerous whatsit” ensues, as Zapp provides a running bitch-track.

The decision is made to use Leo’s eyes to best advantage, starting with a piece of paper clutched by a severed Elder hand which “47 top agents” died to procure (whether at the hands of vamps or being too close to Lucky, who knows), supposedly containing the names of the 13 Elders. Then, a trip (by train) to the heart of darkness – the “hole” beneath Hellsalem’s Lot where Blitz intends to use Leo’s eyes to search for the Elders. Interestingly, Blitz is much more cavalier to the risk and pain to Leo in all this than Klaus – but Leo indeed does see much. There are a lot more than 13 Elders down there, “thousands” Leo thinks, until he collapses bleeding from his eyes.

Meanwhile, K.K. and Steven are battling a couple of Elders who’ve revealed themselves and slaughtered a battalion of police. It seems that for these two at least, their very blood is a weapon of great power against the Elders – but no so much so that the pair of them aren’t stomped and seemingly on the verge of being wiped out before Klaus shows up and saves the day in his usual GAR fashion, using the female vamp’s name to seal her. The implication here is that this is the real purpose for which Libra exists, why it was created, and that the rest of the story up to now has been preamble (that would certainly explain the English title). I’m no ready to go quite that far yet, but this plotline certainly has the markers of being a significant one.

The other angle explored here is that mysterious stranger with whom Leo speaks on the subway. There’s an obvious connection with White even before we see them together late in the episode, and while this newcomer appears to be a boy if I’m not mistaken he’s also being played by Kugimiya Rie. There could and probably is some vampire connection too, especially as it seems neither of them is visible to humans without the God Eyes (and that White’s “brother” has red eyes himself). Happily, the manga readers will be just as much in the dark about this as the rest of us until the anime chooses to explain it.

Don’t blow past the preview - Kekkai Sensen has so much cool it spills out over the edges of the episode itself and infects the OP/ED and preview. Ishizuka and Uchida Yuuma (Sonic) are hilarious and obviously having a great time.

 

Preview

April 26, 2015 at 8:04 pm
24 comments »
  • April 26, 2015 at 8:12 pmRyan Ashfyre

    Am I the only one who thought that the Vampires’ aura looked suspiciously like a Geass? I can’t be the only one, can I?

    Seriously though, awesome episode. I’ve watched it six times already and I still can’t get enough. I can’t even remember the last time I liked an anime this much to do that.

  • April 26, 2015 at 8:57 pmReverseTales

    I think Blitz is my most favourite character so far.

    Apparently the nature of the curse is for him to meet fatal accidents, but his own luck is so great it doesn’t affect him. Instead, it just ends up splash damaging everyone around him.

    Hence the title “Lucky”. His own luck is great, but he brings disaster to everyone near him.

  • April 26, 2015 at 9:52 pmAqueousCactus

    As a disillusioned anime fan, this show is exactly the shot in the arm I needed to get back into it… it helps that it has elements of all my favorite anime rolled into one super stylish package.

    I hope this series does well (this is exactly the kind of series that will kick ass here in the States), as I NEED another season.

    • April 26, 2015 at 10:22 pmGuardian Enzo

      Well, rumors based on production schedule are split cour – we can hope. And yes, this is another BONES show that should be tailor-made for Western audiences.

      • April 27, 2015 at 10:01 amBigFire

        At the rate they’re burning through the chapters, at the end of episode 5, they’ll have finished 3/7 published novels already. And they’re going out of their way to skip the small character building chapters. Show Spoiler ▼

  • April 26, 2015 at 9:55 pmhaseo0408

    White´s brother left me wondering with many questions, if he´s a vampire does that mean he was turn? Leo didn´t mention anything about White´s aura when he met her and I doubt a vampire need to be in a hospital. Also, the boy who´s overlooking Libra´s battle in the first episode has white hair and crimson eyes and is seeing in the opening walking in a azure flame hell-like city, no matter how you look at it his whole apearance screams vampire.

    I have to say I´m pleased to see vampires in this story, maybe it´s because I´m huge fan of Stephen King and this series has references and it fiting to see vampires so powerfull in city with name can be pronounce Jerusalem´s Lot. Can´t wait to see what´s next.

  • April 27, 2015 at 12:32 amRonin8317

    The manga elaborate a bit more on the 2 vampire in the episode (chatper 5). The girl was an Elder Vampire, and the guy is someone she turned into a vampire recently. Their story however is omitted to give time for White, her brother, and Leo : but I’m not complaining :-P

    The scene with the train is brilliantly done, it didn’t even stop!!

  • April 27, 2015 at 3:26 amAmiluhur

    “Just now, that ultra-sorcerous whatsit got knocked out of the sky by a meteor! I’ve never seen anything get hit by a meteor before!”

    God, this line got me laughing like mad!

  • April 27, 2015 at 4:09 amNoragami!

    This show is so great..!

    Style + substance
    Great music
    Awesome OP & ED

    This reminds me of a Hamatora done right, minus the mystery stuff.

  • April 27, 2015 at 5:35 amilion4o

    Don’t give your number to someone called “the King of Despair”!!!
    ….also, Klaus’s cuteness level just went over 9000! :D

  • April 27, 2015 at 7:10 amKF

  • April 27, 2015 at 7:18 amlorenzo

    The first part of this episode was a comedy jewel. Zapp’s expressions were EXHILARATING. Especially the one he first makes at the party, knowing that Abrams will come in town. I need to make a poster out of that.

  • April 27, 2015 at 9:58 amBigFire

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 27, 2015 at 10:51 pmsivilyslare

      Gosh this is a spoiler… Somebody please remove it. I’m sure they can still elaborate upon Abrams, and as for the other thing, you never know when they might include it. Augh.

      • April 28, 2015 at 6:04 amGuardian Enzo

        Sorry – just saw it.

  • April 27, 2015 at 10:36 amkittyraider

    Was next episode’s Sonic the Monkey Preview, where he can talk after given Konnyaku an Doraemon reference?

    Also, The Party. Man, you got to watch it times after times…the background gags and details deserves such reviewings.

    Why was the Vampires ignored Chain streaming the entire fight via a camcorder? Is that one of her powers, or they just didn’t give a damn?

    Perhaps Leon get used of his God Eyes so much so strange things and those that average people can’t see are considered normal by him. And, do that God Eyes power extends to Photographs and Videos? He can analyze anomalies in the fight via streaming video on a smartphone – something others cannot. Is that also the reason why White are still in the Photos…but only he can see?

    • April 27, 2015 at 11:15 amJubei

      Well, konnyaku sounds a bit like honyaku (translate). It’s not the first time I’ve seen this very gag (I remember Yotsuba from “Yotsuba&!” describing her father as a konnyaku seller instead of a translator).

  • April 27, 2015 at 11:30 amWtragedy

    Anyone understand what the big deal is with the picture in White’s hand? Was it the photo that Leo took and saw that White showed up in it?

    Except that she doesn’t show up in the picture in the eyes of others?

    • May 1, 2015 at 5:09 amAstoim

      It seems to be a park with 13 structures in it, like cocoons. 12 are broken/open/hatched, the last on the right seems whole…

  • May 18, 2015 at 3:18 amanimemangadaisuki

    thanks for the summary ! i am getting really cnfused after the newest ep7 , everyone in the commet section keep calling that guy king of despair, and white being a dead and all, and how those vamps are not visiable to normal human eyes, how did i miss all this points?? got to re watch those ep again!