Anime Spotlight: Blood Lad

Blood Lad is an anime based on a manga series by Yuuki Kodama. The anime aired on Japanese television from July 7-September 8, 2013. As of this writing, VIZ Media holds the North American streaming, home video, and download-to-own rights for Blood Lad.

The main character of Blood Lad is a powerful vampire named Staz Charlie Blood who is the boss of his territory and doesn’t really like being a vampire. Staz is also big into Japanese anime and manga, as well as video games. When a human girl named Fuyumi Yanagi manages to wander into his territory, he is overjoyed to meet someone from Japan. Unfortunately, Fuyumi dies in the Demon World, with her bare soul being left behind. Staz promises Fuyumi that he will find a way to bring her back to life; in the meantime, he helps to sustain her by allowing her to suck his blood. As the series progresses, it’s obvious to the audience that Staz has feelings for Fuyumi, although he doesn’t seem to realize that he does.

The two are joined by a young woman named Hydra-Bella, a top-level spatial magic user who is looking for the person who stole her black curtain and cast it. This curtain is what allowed Fuyumi to wander into the Demon World in the first place. As the series progresses, Hydra-Bella develops feelings for Staz; as you can expect, Staz is just as clueless about Hydra-Bella’s feelings as he is to his own feelings toward Fuyumi.

Staz reunites with his old friend, Wolf. Another layer is added to the love triangle when Wolf realizes that he has developed feelings for Fuyumi.

Later in the series, as Staz is trying to get clues on how to resurrect Fuyumi, he is forced to see his estranged siblings, Braz D. Blood and Liz T. Blood. Through the introduction of Braz, the audience, along with Staz, learn a secret about Staz.

Near the end of the 10 episodes of the series, important revelations are also made about Fuyumi and Hydra-Bella.

When I watched the first episode of Blood Lad, I thought it was rather humorous, especially since the humor in that episode focused on Staz’s otaku interests. However, even though the series remained comedic through the 10 episodes, Staz’s otaku interests were downplayed dramatically after the first episode. I can only think of three or four references to Staz’s otaku interests in the remaining nine episodes of the series. With how much emphasis this received in the first episode, I had assumed that this would be a running gag throughout the series. It turned out I was wrong. But when the otaku references do make an appearance, I found them to be rather funny; this could be due in large part to the fact that several of the references are made about the Dragon Ball franchise, which is an anime and manga franchise that I enjoy.

Fuyumi is a very sweet character, but she isn’t exactly the brightest person in the cast. It’s not to say that she’s stupid, but she did come across as a bit naïve at times. Hydra-Bella was a character that was hard to figure out for most of the series, so it was hard to know at times if she was a protagonist or an antagonist. Near the end of the 10 episodes, her motivations seemed to become a bit clearer.

Right now, I’m not entirely sure what Wolf’s purpose in the series was, because after his introduction, he was only around regularly for a couple of episodes. After that, he only popped up in brief scenes every now and then.

Braz was a complicated character. On the one hand, he comes across as really caring about his younger brother, Staz; but on the other hand, he was a scheming and conniving character. His feelings toward his little sister, Liz, however, seemed to be a bit clearer. When Liz was first introduced, she loved Braz greatly and disdained Staz. However, as she spends time around Staz and Fuyumi, her attitude seems to change. There were some other characters introduced, but if I talk about them, I’d be providing “spoilers.”

Overall, I found Blood Lad to be an enjoyable series, with the right mix of humor and plot to keep me coming back week to week. However, episode 10 seems to end just as a new plot element is introduced. According to Wikipedia, there are nine volumes of the Blood Lad manga released in Japan at the time I’m writing this piece. I’m wondering if, within these 10 episodes, the animation studio either caught up or were just about to catch up to the manga. If so, that could explain why the series ended the way it did. To me, it also feels like there’s a setup for a second season in place, but as of this writing, there doesn’t appear to be one anywhere on the horizon.

I would be willing to say that Blood Lad will probably appeal to anime fans who enjoy Soul Eater. This series may also appeal to viewers who enjoy humorous series that feature supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves, etc. However, if you decide to watch Blood Lad at this point, just be aware that the story does not conclude at the end of episode 10.

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