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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Black Blood Brothers, Chapter 1 - Bad Tidings
Black Blood Brothers, Chapter 1 - Bad Tidings
FUNimation // Unrated // February 26, 2008
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted March 7, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Series:

Vampires are traditionally the villains in anime series and movies, but not all of the time.  Karin, the unfinished Geneon series featured a family of (mostly) friendly vampires but that was played for laughs.  Black Blood Brothers is a more serious action show that has a vampire protagonist who is, ironically, trying to stop the spread of vampirism through the human race.  This first volume (of three) is a good start to what promises to be a fun show.

A decade ago the humans and vampires were at war, a conflict that nearly destroyed both sides.  This was caused by a new blood line of Vampire, the Kowloon Children.  In this world vampires play by Anne Rice's rules, where a human has to be feed vampire blood in order to be turned into an unloving creature.  The Kowloon Children weren't like that however.  They were like the classic vampire who could turn a person with just a bite.  Not only that, they were aggressive and more violent, and were set on taking over the world.

That's all in the past now.  After the war it was thought that none of the Kowloon Bloodline survived and as time went on that hope was considered to be proven when none of them turned up.

Now vampires live openly together with humans in the Special Zone and Jiro, a 100-year-old vampire who is near the last of his line, is traveling with his younger brother Kotaro to the Special Zone for some important but not fully explained reasons.  They start their journey becoming stowaways aboard a cargo ship and staying in their coffins, but they had no idea that they weren't the only ones.  Another group of vampires are on the ship too, and soldiers from The Company are looking for them.  When Kotaro gets caught in the crossfire, Jiro has no choice but to arise himself.  Faced with an old and powerful vampire, the soldiers stand no chance until Kotaro falls overboard and has to be rescued.

Once on the mainland, Jiro is aided by Mimiko, a Compromiser from the Mediator department of The Company.  Her job is to help vampires live in peace and to keep their continued existence a secret from the rest of humanity.  Together the three people trek off to the Special Zone, but things aren't that easy.  When they bump into the vampire group from the ship again, the Company men are in close pursuit.  The Company has some evidence that a Kowloon Child is traveling with this group, though they don't know which one it is.  To make sure they destroy it, The Company has decided to wipe out the whole faction, and nothing that Mimiko can say can change their minds.

This was a very good show.  The action was fun and exciting but the background story was also enticing.  The show just gives glimpses of what occurred during the Kowloon war and it's obvious that something terrible happened to Jiro at that time.  Just who Kotaro is, and why he's so important, hasn't been explained, but it's clear that he's more than your average vampire.  The mystery added to the action makes for a very enjoyable program.

The DVD:


Audio:

Viewers have the choice between the original Japanese audio and an English dub, both in stereo.  I alternated audio tracks as I often do and found both of the two choices fine.  There isn't much use of the soundstage with much of the action centered on the screen.   There is a bit of directionality and panning but not as much as I was expecting.  I was also surprised that there wasn't a 5.1 track for the English dub too.  There's a good amount of action in the show and it would have been helped by a more engulfing track.  There weren't any audio defects worth noting and both tracks are solid.

Video:

This show comes with a 1.78:1 anamorphic image that looks really nice.  The colors are strong and the lines are nice and tight.  Aliasing, something that has plagued anime releases in the past, is very minor on this disc and the only other defect I could notice was some minor banding in a few scenes.  Otherwise this disc looks great.

Extras:

This disc comes with some solid extras.  First off I was surprised to see that commentary tracks by the Japanese production staff were included.  It's in Japanese, of course, but their comments are translated with subtitles.  I know this has been done before, the Revolutionary Girl Utena Movie comes to mind, but it's pretty rare.  Now I'm not a big fan of commentary tracks by the English voice actors, but I found these to be a little more rewarding.  They could actually talk about the production of the anime.  The first episode has the two female leads being joined by the creator of the manga, and though he occasionally would stop talking to watch the show, it was nice to hear his comments on how he thought the program turned out.

There's also a clean opening and closing and some TV spots for the show.

Final Thoughts:

This show has a lot of promise.  The four episodes contained on this disc cover the first story arc, and if the rest of the show is like this disc, FUNimation has picked themselves a winner.  Highly recommended.
 

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