「ダークヒーロー・ライジング」 (Daaku Hiiroo Raijingu)
“Dark Hero Rising”
A lot of people didn’t seem to realize that this was going to be the last episode of Blood Lad and I hate to break it to you folks, but it is. This series was only scheduled to be 10 episodes long and I’m not sure if that’s because there was a lack of material (doubt it… there’s 49 chapters of manga written and we’ve only reached 30 so far) or if it’s just to generate overall interest in the series to boost sales. Either way, we’re left with a mild cliffhanger and although I’m not dying to see more of it, it’s sad to see the series end so abruptly. Like I said, the entire series feels almost like it’s been a long trailer for what’s to come and there’s a ton of potential in the show that’s still unseen.
As a finale, I thought a lot of questions that I could’ve potentially had were all answered and then some. A lot of viewers always contemplated on the family history of Fuyumi and that was all clarified – her mom is in fact a half-demon and her father is a normal human (who very much loves and cares for her). On the other hand, Bell’s father is a full-blown demon who has two children (and even explains the differences between Bell and Knell’s abilities) who also cares deeply for Fuyumi for a different reason. Hydra Heads ( Fujiwara Keiji) acts like Fuyumi’s father-figure in the demon world by questioning Staz’s motives and even goes so far as to feed him deadly dumplings (Robotics;Notes anyone?). I can really feel a sense of responsibility and obligation from Heads’ perspective (to protect Fuyumi) because of how Fuyumi’s father gave up Neyn in the past. Neyn doesn’t strike as me someone worth fighting over, but you can’t argue with love right? I thought Heads had all the right intentions in mind and as little screen time as he had, he’s quickly become a strong force behind Fuyumi and Staz.
The eventual couple that is Staz and Fuyumi still feels so unnatural to me. Perhaps it’s because the two don’t have enough chemistry… or maybe it’s because I just don’t like Fuyumi but it’s almost like Staz’s effort is wasted on restoring Fuyumi to life. In fact, there’s no reason why Staz is so attracted to her blood in the first place. That’s one question that I wish was answered during this finale. It feels forced onto the audience that these two are meant to be together “just because” and not to say that it will never work, but they are just one couple that I cannot ship for the time being. I can see why the ending sequence shows Bell and Fuyumi being counterparts now. Not only are they half-sisters, but they actually have a lot in common (Staz being the main topic). They also get along very well which I’m surprised to see – Bell doesn’t seem like the type to go down without a fight so I’d like to see her actually make an attempt for Staz’s affections once in a while.
There’s very little time dedicated to the rest of the characters due to time constraints. For instance, the fight over Staz’s territory is kind of random and unnecessary. It goes to show that Staz has good right-hand men and demons are noticing his signs of weakness but not much else that adds value. Liz and Braz also manage to disappear (for the time being) and the biggest reveal was left until the last 30 seconds… they’re reviving their dead father! Bum bum bum~ What is this madness that requires a second season?! Great cliffhanger that doesn’t leave me dying for more, but enough to interest me in a second season (if there is one or maybe I can just read the manga). Wolf also is getting summoned (by his father?) so that’s probably going to lead somewhere. In all honesty, all these side stories left hanging makes the finale feel weaker and less conclusive which might be what they’re going for – but leaves me quite incomplete and unsatisfied.
Blood Lad has been another one of those action/supernatural shows that you really don’t need much background knowledge or attention span to love and appreciate. It’s fun and fast-paced because the characters are all quite unique and comedic in their own ways. The episodes are all consistently enjoyable so if the first episode draws you in, the rest of them won’t let you down. I found the initial hump of character introductions to be quite average, but the crazy goose chase afterwards makes it worth watching. Unfortunately there’s an underlying story that is just hinted at and with only 10 episodes, there’s a lot left to be desired. This anime would’ve benefited from being at least 12 episodes (given the amount of manga material left) but this adaptation has been quite faithful to its original source so no complaints there.
I have my love and hate for some characters (Fuyumi vs. Bell) and that’s changed a lot since I first started watching. Whereas Fuyumi felt very flat and used to develop plot throughout the entire series, Bell has grown from annoying to awesome in my eyes. Staz was a refreshing face to watch as a protagonist since his personalities quirks were neither overused or forgotten (his references was amusing) and his family is even more crazy than he is. The other faces that were met along the way were kind of used as side characters and then randomly mentioned here and there. Wolf was one that I wish had more plot involvement as well as Liz. That’s definitely not a fault in the show though because it’s obviously hard to squeeze all that in 10 episodes. Overall, I thought the pace and use of characters was well done since nothing in the anime felt out of place or mentioned without purpose. The finale does feel a little lackluster since there are a lot of side stories left open-ended. It’s not a huge cliffhanger, but the story feels incomplete and hints strongly at a second season. This series has felt like a great ride upwards on a roller coaster, only to let you kind of sit and dangle at the top – great build up, but no climax yet.
TL;DR – @RCCherrie: Well at least it wasn’t a cliffhanger… Worthwhile watch but deserves to be 12 eps at least. OVA in December! No more of this “first-girl-wins” business please. I like seeing unpredictable couples in my vampire shows.