In a village many years ago, there was an incursion of monsters and a girl with a sword who killed everything around her: monsters, villagers, and the military, all while she has a crazed look in her eyes. In the present, there is a girl named Otonashi Saya who seems to be a normal high school student, except that she has no memories of more than a year ago. After a trip to the hospital with her foster brother Kai, Saya returns home alone and sees a small crowd around a man playing a cello. The music gives her a strange vision of a girl running in a large castle-like building. This girl takes out a key and reaches to open a lock. Saya tries to call out to stop the girl in her vision, but trips into some bushes, attracting the attention of the crowd in front of her. She runs off embarrassed and returns home to find her foster father George and little brother Riku playing catch. At family restaurant, Saya discovers that she’s left her track shoes at school. As she’s heading out the door, she runs into David, a man who has business with her father. After Saya leaves, the two men discuss her, with George refusing to hand her over and David labels her as George’s replacement daughter. David leaves an envelope of money that he calls this month’s share before he walks out. Sneaking into school, Saya runs into the cellist from before, Hagi, who pulls out a dagger. This frightens Saya enough to run the other way, bumping into one of the teachers. He searches the grounds where she was but can’t find anyone. As he passes under a tree walking towards her, a giant arm appears and pulls him up. Various squishy noises later, his limp and bloodied body falls down. A large monster soon follows, prompting Saya to run. At home, Saya’s friend Kaori comes by with Saya’s shoes, so George calls Kai to go check up on his sister. Saya gets injured by her pursuer and seems to have no where to run when she spots the cellist again. He throws a dagger that takes out the monster’s eye, but Saya gets knocked unconscious by the subsequent flailing. Hagi takes her body and runs to a science lab. He tells her that the monsters are called Yokushu, beasts that drink the lifeblood of others. While talking, he takes a sword out of his cello case, unravels his demonic looking hand, and cuts it. When Saya refuses his outstretched bloody hand, Hagi drinks his own blood and then tackles Saya out of the way when the Yokushu jumps for her. Kai has arrived at school by now and follows the bloody floor to the same room. He comes in to see Hagi kissing Saya and depositing his blood into her mouth. Hagi then tells her to fight, evoking in her memories of that night many years ago and of the girl opening the padlocked door. Saya’s eyes dilate red.
OP: 「青空のナミダ」 by 高橋 瞳
ED: 「語り継ぐこと」 by 元ちとせ
The first time I listened to the OP, I didn’t like it that much since it sounded like an average Takahashi Hitomi song. After hearing it a few more times, I like how the song starts, but the chorus still doesn’t really stand out. The ED just grates on my nerves. It begins slowly enough, sounding like a song that Hitoto Yo would sing, but the way Hajime-san inflects her voice on the high notes grates on my nerves. I’m not sure if that’s part of that style of song or what, but I have a hard time standing it.
I was a bit taken aback by the bloody manner in which this show starts. It’s to be expected since it is called Blood+, but that opening scene was a lot more violent than I thought they’d have for the same timeslot that ran Gundam SEED. However, any initial reservations I had were brushed aside when I saw the rest of the episode: Blood+ becomes an engaging story of horror and mystery. Everyone seems to harbor a mysterious past, and Saya is no different. I just wonder if she’s the crazy-eyed girl from the beginning. Hagi reminds me a bit of Wolfwood or any other action show hero who uses a carrying case in battle. I find it interesting that he has a normal hand in the flashback Saya has of him, but a mutated one by the time he finds Saya. I could speculate all over the place, but I’m sure it’ll be revealed as the series continues.
Production I.G does a great job animating Blood+. The characters are drawn well and the brief CG shots didn’t look out of place. This looks to be a show with a pretty big budget, especially since they have western composers Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer working on the music. The atmosphere the music creates is just perfect: ranging from the pleasant seaside ride to the increasingly scary music when Saya is on the run. In fact, the lack of creepy music lulled me into a false sense of security, and so I was completely surprised when a giant hand comes out of the tree to grab that teacher.
I’ll admit that this was not a series I was wholeheartedly looking forward to when I first decided on the schedule this season. I haven’t seen any of the Blood movies, and so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately, I am more than impressed enough by this first episode to keep watching. And hopefully I can go the entire season without mentioning how much better than GSD this is…
Closing Thought: What’s with the shoujo-ai between Kaori and Saya?