Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blood Lad: Savior of the Summer

After several weeks of procrastinating (6, to be exact) I finally managed to catch the first episode of Blood Lad and I have to say that I am very pleased with it.  I had honestly lost all hope for new shows this summer but this one really came out of left field and pleasantly surprised me with how good it was.

Synopsis: The main character is Staz, a vampire who is pretty much the king/gang leader of his little slice of the demon world.  Another thing about him: he has a strong fascination with humans, Japan specifically.  So yeah, dude's a huge otaku. Figurines, manga shelves, the whole nine yards.  Things shake up when Staz's gang find a human girl has strayed into his territory.  [spoiler spoiler spoiler], things happen and now Staz and Fuyumi (that's the girl) are off on a quest to the human world [for reasons undisclosed...just watch the first episode].

For starters, the show looks great.  I don't know if it's a case of "first-episode-animation-budget-blowout" or if the studio [Brains Base, most notable for Baccano! and Durarara!!] is just awesome that way.  It's colorful and has an art style that is refreshingly unique without going too far.

Just look at those goddamn tiles!

So far, I really enjoy Staz as a character.  While his rampant fandom is funny, there are moments where he reveals a not-heavy-handed inner anguish over his nature.  He talks about how he just wants to be his own person and not feed on humans.  Fortunately for him, vampires in this series can sustain on more than just blood.  In fact, the matter has thus far gone unaddressed.  I get the impression that the creator [Yuuki Kodama] is treating the issue in a similar fashion to the way E. E. Knight treats a dragon's penchant for abducting maidens in the Age of Fire series (they're awesome, read them).  In the books, human women smell really good to dragons and drive them a little crazy.  They just really like being around them.  From Staz's first meeting with Fuyumi, I get a similar impression -- that vampires don't need to feed on humans, they just find it really hard to resist.

It's unfortunate, but it's impossible to put humans and vampires together these days without straying into the realm of Twilight subject matter.  I will say though, even though Blood Lad addresses Staz's reluctance to feed on human blood, it manages to stay away as well as is humanly possible.

Another thing that I enjoy about the show [and I don't know how well this will stay as the story progresses] is the personification of various demons and folkloric figures in the demon world.  I have always had a taste for shows that feature various yokai in human form.  Yozakura Quartet, Nurarihyon no Mago (Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan in the states), Inu X Boku, and Rosario + Vampire to name a few.

Meet Saty, I think she might be "Sati" from Hindu mythology, we'll see.

Long story short, one episode in and Blood Lad is a good ride, and I strongly recommend it.

Also, I will never say "no" to a show that gives Eva a good nod.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

mini-post: Summer 2013 update

Blegh, fuck my life.

Everything I've tried out so far has been a bust.  Thankfully, though, that hasn't been terribly much (I blame Dark Tower and Borderlands).  I will, however, say these small bits.

Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi was okay.  Not great, just okay.  I watched the first episode and got about halfway through the second one before I was just not-wowed enough to say to myself "I can put this down and not feel bad about it".  Now, don't take this to mean that I think it's bad, it just...didn't really grab me.  People may keep up with it and--who knows-- it may really pick a few more episodes in.  So I will say this: Not a terrible show, but not for me.

I also sat through the entire first two episodes of Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu, the show that GAINAX got behind.  I was dismayed to find that it was not entirely the K-On with gunplay I was expecting, which led to the realization that GAINAX is not synonymous with Hideaki Anno (creator and director of Evangelion).  It's about a girl who doesn't really connect with others and wants a fresh start in high school.  She doesn't really know who she wants to be and finds herself (on multiple levels) in the C3 club at school (war games with airsoft).  Sounds like K-On, just replace "C3" with "Light Music", but it was missing a certain je ne sais quoi that I really loved in the past.

And I have to be honest, I got through the first two minutes of Fantasista Doll before I thought to myself "I have made a terrible mistake".  Could be good, could be great, but I don't really think I'm the right person to find out.

But there's some good news on the horizon!  I'm finally going to see Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Advance at Otakon, which is in a week :D

They won't be showing the dubbed version, but the Eva-fans in the gang are pointedly tired of waiting.

Also Legend of Korra comes back this September