OP: 「NENTEN」 by Mili
Just from the first few moments, there’s already a huge difference in the setting and plot of Bloodivores compared to all the other vampire anime I’ve seen lately. For one, this story is based several years after the outbreak of vampires in society – and clearly from the get-go, the humans have triumphed over the vampire race. Rather than letting vampires run rampant in the cities, there are controls and patrol in place to make sure that people aren’t just killing others left and right. Compared to other serious series like Owari no Seraph where vampires have taken over the world, Bloodivores tries to contain them. This is also not meant to be a comedic series so unlike Blood Lad or SERVAMP which are more lighthearted, Bloodivores feels like it’s going down the angst-y dramatic route of anime. There are hints of dark pasts and tragedy amongst the main characters and that’s guaranteed to be a plot device for this series going forward. In a nutshell, while Bloodivores doesn’t scream originality, it’s also not completely stock anime either.
The series opens up with a cold opening – a car chase between the cops (or BST as they’re called) and our main characters. Flash back to earlier in the day, Mi Liu (Akabane Kenji), Win Chao (Yamaguchi Shouhei), Zou Anji (Kitamura Eri) and Chen Fong (Ichiki Mitsuhiro) plan to rob a bank. What starts off as a successful run, turns into a car chase as Anji tips off the BST and they’re caught red-handed. Unfortunately for the gang though, what they thought was just a charge for robbery turns into a murder charge! The 15 individuals that they held at the bank while robbing it turn up all dead – even though all 4 of them claim to be innocent. The sentence – death. And the ending illustrates just how serious this anime is when the 4 teenagers are shot to death in the bank of the van. However, even though we end on a cliffhanger, the preview (and synopsis) gives it away by showing the characters alive in the next episode. They’ve been held up in a jail of some sorts and unknown monsters are coming at them. Say what…?!
My initial impression of the episode was a) wow, they kept the Chinese names for these characters (with Japanese honorifics which sounds weird) and b) the animation is pretty subpar for anime these days. To address the first point, the Chinese names for the characters are due to the fact that the anime is based off a Chinese webcomic and not a Japanese one. It’s weird to me that they wouldn’t change the names for the characters (given that they don’t speak Chinese), but it’s likely they wanted to stay true to its source material. That reasoning contradicts why they would rename the series though (originally titled 时空囚徒 or “Time Prisoners” in English) so… there goes my logic for that. So far, it seems like the anime has rushed through the beginning to get the main characters into jail where the rest of our story takes place. Just from initial comparisons, Liu also behaves a lot more like his age (a teenager) in the webcomic than he does in the anime. My impression of him so far is one of a more mature, angst-y teen. The comic also focuses a lot more on Liu as the main character, following his time in jail and his father etc. compared to the anime that seems to focus on the 4 friends as a group. For all those that like reading manga in full color, I’d highly recommend reading the webcomic since it’s actually well done (the drawings are also nice to look at) and the plot moves quickly (each chapter is also short).
And this leads me into my second point – the animation. Relatively subpar but to be expected. Creators in Pack don’t have the largest portfolio under their belt so it’s understandable that their resources are limited as well. The webcomic certainly has a lot more detail, blood/gore and all that lovely stuff that comes with what you’d expect from a vampire-themed story. The action panels are also more detailed and actually show the damage being done which is something that’s completely missed in the anime. I’m not sure if it’s a way to censor the material or just because the animators can’t fully do the scenes justice but it’s something I haven’t overlooked. Besides the omission of certain shots though, the character designs remind me of older anime with the pointy chins and the lack of real fluid animation. It feels like a compilation of single frames with some 3D animation thrown in and it’s not my cup of tea. I will give it to them for the background music and ending sequence at the end. I like most of Anabel’s music (e.g. GANGSTA.) despite whether or not she’s performing it and this one suit the mood well. Overall, the animation doesn’t deter me from enjoying the show for what it is but it might not be as pleasing to the eyes.
Although Bloodivores doesn’t live up to the webcomic that inspired the anime, I can’t say that it doesn’t meet expectations because I wasn’t expecting the crème of the crop with this one. As a vampire-themed anime, I’m not seeing a ton of them; nor does the anime focus them too much (yet?). I’ll have to see more of it to see where exactly it defers from the source material and whether it can hold up as a series on its own. There’s some potential here; given that the back half of the episode was more interesting and held my attention, but I’ll really have to develop a liking to the characters for it to carry through this season.