Anime: Blood Lad
Studio: Brain’s Base
Original Run: Jul 8, 2013 to Sep 9, 2013
Genres: Supernatural, Action, Comedy
Staz Charlie Blood is a vampire who rules over the eastern part of the demon realm. Though rumored to be powerful, ruthless and merciless, the truth is that Staz is simply an oblivious otaku obsessed with all things Japan. When the human teenager Yanagi Fuyumi somehow wanders into the demon world and into the clutches of Staz’s underlings, he’s overjoyed as Fuyumi is his best chance of experiencing authentic human culture.
But Fuyumi doesn’t stay alive for long amongst the deadly denizens of the demon world. She resurrects as a ghost though and Staz vows to being her back to life, not only to get his fill of the human world but also because of the strange draw he felt towards Fuyumi back when she was human.
However, resurrecting a human is easier said than done and Staz’s path is littered with obstacles including old friends and even his own family.
Blood Lad is one of those shows that I had fun with at times but found a chore at other times. On the whole, my opinion is that it’s not a particularly good show just like it’s not a particularly bad one. It’s a mixed bag and how you react to it is entirely up to you. Personally, I was entertained but not impressed.
I’m not a huge fan of comedy genre but I appreciate a nice laugh as much as the next person and in this regard at least, Blood Lad delivers. The best part of this anime is its humor which is born from the interactions between its crazy cast and the crazier situations they find themselves in. The characters are a bunch of quirky individuals and there are a number of combinations of clashing personalities that makes this show a fun watch. Each of their adventures is always good for a chuckle or two. Even when things take a turn for the tragic or dramatic, Blood Lad manages to insert its comedic elements into the mix in a way that feels natural rather than forced.
That said, the serious elements in it are also interesting in theory but most of these story threads never really go anywhere so in the end, they’re unsatisfactory. In its ten-episode run, Blood Lad presents us with everything from human resurrection to political strife to love triangles and then leaves us hanging on every one of these aspects. The ending doesn’t even feel like a season finale; it’s too abrupt and nothing’s resolved.
Blood Lad’s biggest flaw though is not its plot but its heroine Fuyumi and the central relationship between her and the hero, Staz. Well, it’s supposed to be the central relationship but Fuyumi is the weakest character in the show and Staz’s attachment to her is just there without any particular reason, neither of which help to sell the main thread of this story to the audience. And when the other characters and interpersonal relationships among them are far more engaging, Fuyumi and Staz end up looking even more boring than the writing makes them out to be. On the bright side, these other elements are prominent enough to compensate for the main romance (?) which helps salvage the plot but on the flip side, that means the parts where the story homes in on Staz and Fuyumi are the worst of the bunch even though it should be the opposite.
Ultimately, I liked Blood Lad well enough when I watched it but I doubt I’ll spare much thought to it in the future. A re-watch is most certainly not in the works. If another season ever appears, I will check it out.
The characters of Blood Lad are quite charming despite (or maybe because of) the majority of them having very skewed moral compasses. The star of the show is Staz, a vampire obsessed with otaku culture who’s all too willing to ditch his territory and underlings to traipse across the demon world for the sake of his obsession with a human turned ghost girl. He’s selfish and a self-professed dark hero but mostly, he’s just silly. He’s adequate as the protagonist but this show has better characters to offer. The same can be said of Fuyumi who’s ostensibly the female lead but is blander than unflavored rice. In a word, she’s boring, particularly when contrasted with Blood Lad’s more colorful figures. Her entre personality can be summed up as ‘nice, quiet and blushes a lot’.
Moving on to the more fun folks, we have Hydra Bell, a spatial magic user who stumbles upon Staz and Fuyumi while searching for a thief. Their relationship is initially antagonistic without being malicious but then Bell ends up as a troublesome ally. She’s tricky and mischievous and prone to using rather extreme measures when it comes to proving a point. Bell brings her own unique energy to the show whenever she’s onscreen and never fails to entertain. Another such character is Wolf, a werewolf – shocking, I know – who’s Staz’s old friend and rival. He’s a brash guy who manages to be simultaneously tough and soft. His complicated relationship with Staz is the driving force of his character but unfortunately, we don’t get to see him develop all that much.
Two of the best characters in this anime are Braz and Liz, Staz’s older brother and younger sister respectively. Braz, with his deceptively amicable demeanor and quiet manipulation, steals the spotlight whenever he appears. He’s not the most pleasant person out there and the show makes no attempt to hide it, instead using it to its full potential. Liz is a little girl starved for affection and she behaves just like the confused child she is in a manner that’s endearing rather than irritating. She’s one of the more innocent characters in Blood Lad for all that she can send people to an infernal prison in the blink of an eye.
There are a number of other fun people that pop up like Bell’s family, a mad scientist and his experimental monster, a three-eyed critter with an attitude etc.
Art and Music:
The best word for Blood Lad’s art style would be ‘unique’. There are plenty of bright shades that look good together. The character designs are all fairly standard and even bland at times but they still stand out thanks to some vivid color choices that pop out of the screen. The color shifts during comedic situations help with this. On the whole, Blood Lad’s art is messy in a way that works.
The opening theme is ViViD by May’n and it both visually and aurally captures the wild, relentless energy of the show. It’s catchy as well and more than likely to get stuck in your head. Handle with caution. BLOODY HOLIC by Yuuka Nanri is the ending theme and it’s much calmer than the opening and also rather pleasant to listen to despite not being all that memorable.
Blood Lad’s central premise is a bust but it has other elements that contribute to making it a very entertaining show.