A Review, or Rather Excoriation, of Blood C

This is not the my first review of Blood C.  There exists a prior draft to this article, but the extreme animosity expressed therein toward this show alarms even me.  So, I offer you another review of this show written with equanimity.  Those of my dear readers who liked Blood C may be surprised that it aroused so much hatred in me,  but, as this review progresses, you’ll probably concede that it could not but have produced such a reaction.

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I base this review on the ten episodes which I watched, and the first seven were rather pleasing to me.  I like the homey atmosphere of the town and school during the daytime hours.  Saya has such a sweet and pleasant personality coupled with stalwart courage and devotion to duty.  I enjoy the hard-hitting nature of the fights.  Concerning these things, I have nothing but praise for this show.

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But, around episode five or six certain darker aspects of the show came into focus and eventually led to themes and ideas which would have led to its authors being burned at the stake in any European country prior to the 18th century–even though they expressed no doctrinal heresy.  But, I think that these writers are heretics in a larger sense: they belittle the human spirit and despise the sacredness of the person.  If anyone were to act according to these things, their psyche would come to positive harm.

Not the best way to catch a person falling from a tree.

Not the best way to catch a person falling from a tree.

Of course, what ought to have tipped me off is the copious amounts of blood spilled in this show.  But, so many other anime use blood either for the sake of realism (most of them) or for the sake of emphasizing certain themes (e.g. Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal to emphasize the darkness of Kenshin’s way of life) that I confess to overlooking the gratuitous manner in which Blood C has the heroine covered in blood or has blood pouring out of her foes and victims.  It is human to enjoy hard struggles and feats of courage; it is inhuman to delight in simple bloodshed.  As for why I ignored such an obvious tip off, see the second paragraph.

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What finally convinced me of the show’s perverse character was episode 9, where Saya’s entire class is massacred by a monster.  (Except two anyway–one of whom perishes in the next episode.)  A few people die before Saya decides to draw her blade and fight the monster.  Now, a true heroine does not sit back and calmly decide whether or not to attack a murderous monster.  She immediately attacks the thing.  Worse yet, the monster avoids Saya to prey on her classmates and friends and kills each one of them, as they piteously cower in terror .  Finally, when there are no more students to kill, Saya goes into vampire mode and cuts down the monster.  (Should this not have happened after the first death?)  As a matter of fact, of all the opportunities Saya has to save someone, I don’t think that she ever succeeds and, in certain cases, she waits for the monster to have its fill before acting.

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What kind of artistic vision is this?  One cannot justify this slaughter as part and parcel of tragedy, because tragedy acknowledges human emotion.  Another thing which escaped my notice until episode 9 was how detached Saya was to the deaths of her friends, and how ineptly the anime rendered emotion.  The series can show happier emotions, but even these seem to be vacuous.  Of the deeper emotions of grief, love, and magnanimity, it shows a few tears shed by Saya and she gets headaches when she remember her past or the deaths of her friends; yet, it cannot convey the inner reality of these emotions to the audience, and your humble blogger wonders how much the concepts of grief, love, and magnanimity mean to the creators.  In regard to her lack of pathos and inability to understand romantic love in particular, I cannot but compare Saya to the insensible protagonist of Albert Camus’ The Stranger.

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Then, episode 10 came, where Saya allowed her boyfriend and penultimate school friend to be devoured.  Ought not Saya be shown a little pity?  At the same time, ought not Saya have shown more grief for the demise of yet another friend and have shown more solicitude for his survival?  Having finished end of this episode, I decided that I had had enough of the way this show trampled on everything true, good, and beautiful and could not bring myself to watch the last two episodes.

But, how do other of my dear readers feel about this show?  Do I go overboard in my criticisms?

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6 comments on “A Review, or Rather Excoriation, of Blood C

  1. dmdutcher says:

    I haven’t seen Blood-C, but the original Blood: The Last Vampire showed that Saya despite her appearance was not human, and acting for her own reasons. The manga amplified it, and in essence told us that Saya had absolutely no reason to like us considering what we did to the vampires. In a way, it’s weird that in anime we have so many characters that are hybrids or crossbreeds tainted with alienness or evil act so altruistically towards people. Maybe Blood-C plays this straight; I’ll have to check it out.

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    • You have a point there. But, it does seem like each of the Sayas are different. The original is a cold and efficient killer (the length of the film didn’t give her time to be anything else), the Blood+ (my favorite of the three) one is almost Shinji-esque, while the last is bubbly and courageous but insensible. It’s good to know that the manga gives Saya more depth, I might read it.

      You might want to check Blood C out, but I can’t guarantee a good experience. As much as I liked it in the beginning, I wish that I could take back the five hours I spent watching it in order to watch something truly meaningful or at least truly fun. It mostly panders to people’s dark sides, if you know what I mean.

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  2. Genki Jason says:

    I hated the initial parts of Blood-C – too nice and not enough grit that the original OVA and Blood+ had. That turned out to be a deliberate tactic on the part of the makers who wanted it to be a big mystery with a shocking reveal. The anime franchise was always pulpy and blood-thirsty but the initial part of this series was too nice and too drawn out so that when the twist came it was late in the day.

    Saya is meant to be a blank slate kept in a happy world who gradually wakes up to the evil in it. At the end we have seen many elements Saya’s fragmented psyche and the effects of the control exercised on her by others.

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    • My main problem with this series is that it struck me as rather vacuous. It’s possible to have either a nice, carefree series or a gritty, dark series, but a series needs heart. There must be meaning in a story.

      I thought that there might have been meaning in Saya’s relationships and her duty toward defending the town, but practically all her relationships are severed or proved false by episode 10. And Camus’ Mr. Meursault probably would have reacted with more emotion than Saya. These twists gut the meaning out of the story and makes it positively unbearable to watch. And this is coming from a fan of Ernest Hemingway, who was a member of the Lost Generation! Even if the author argues that traditional values are false, there must be an argument for another system of values or an impetus for the audience itself to seek the truth.

      But, do the last two episodes really add meaning to the story and make it worthwhile to watch?

      The original OVA and Blood+ were great experiences, though. I wish that they had been able to make the third installment as wonderful.

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      • holysorrows says:

        “but practically all her relationships are severed or proved false.”

        The assumption of false relationships carries perfectly for what is revealed in those last episodes.

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      • Probably. Everything might fit together in the end; but if these episodes essentially explain Saya’s inhumanity, it would not be worthwhile to me. You see, I am a humanist, so I’m more interested in exploring a human psyche. (An animal’s psyche is occasionally interesting too.) A monster’s psyche holds no interest for me, though I must say that Smaug or Grendel seem more human than Saya.

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