Funimation has released the entire series of Black Blood Brothers in a nice, compact slipcased set. This vampires vs. humans story set in the future has some nice twists, a great protagonist, and features electrifying fight sequences that offer plenty of entertainment. If you missed the series when it was originally released, now's a great time to pick it up.
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.
Ten years have passed since the war and now vampires live openly together with humans in the Special Zone. 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 undead on the ship. Another group of vampires are on board 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. The Companies goons are still following them, and though they hook up with a group of other vampires heading in the same direction, one of their number turns out to be a Kowloon Child.
Once in the Special Zone, things don't go well either. Jiro is well known for the work that he did for the humans during the war, but he also has the reputation of being a trouble magnet. Not only does he have a problem finding a place to live, but there are people out to kill him. Old acquaintances pop up and things that happened in the war come back to haunt the old vampire. There's obviously something going on, some sort of conspiracy, but can Jiro figure out just what's happening before he's killed?
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 which makes the mystery of what happened all the more enticing. Piecing the story together from flashbacks scattered through the episodes is one of the fun things about the series.
There's a lot of continuity and some fun and interesting characters. The program also has some exciting action scenes. Jiro's had 100 years to perfect his fighting technique and so the battles he's in are always dynamic and explosive. There is a problem with the show however and that's the fact that it's only 12 episodes long. They really try to cram too much into the short space and that makes the show feel rushed and hurried. Even so, it's well worth checking out.
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.
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.
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 instead of just goofing around in a sound studio.
There's also a clean opening and closing and some TV spots for the show.
This was a fun show that was over too quickly. Moving at a fairly
fast clip, the show feels rushed in parts, but that's a minor complaint
at best. The enjoyable action show comes with a solid recommendation.