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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Blood +: Volume one
Blood +: Volume one
Sony Pictures // Unrated // March 4, 2008
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted February 26, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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 Show:

Everyone loves a good vampire story, right? I mean, with regards to anime Trinity Blood, Blood: the Last Vampire, Hellsing, and Moon Phase are some pretty popular series. 2005's Blood+ joins their illustrious ranks though with backing by Production I.G. and Aniplex it's fair to say that it has the potential to stand out amongst the crowd.

If you're familiar with Production I.G. then you'll know that they were put on the map thanks to their work with Ghost in the Shell. Aniplex has worked on numerous titles as well though in relation to Blood+ they had their hand in the making of Blood: the Last Vampire which actually inspired this series. To further the ties between all three projects is Junichi Fujisaku who was a writer for Ghost in the Shell and co-developer for Last Vampire. As you're coming into Blood+ it's safe to say that if you have an affinity for the two aforementioned titles you'll instantly feel a pull towards this new one.

Owned by Sony, Blood+ is receiving a somewhat interesting method of release which is significantly different than the rest of the anime market does. Rather than sending individual volumes to stores and then releasing a boxed set sometime down the road Sony has done both out of the gate. Not only can you walk into a shop and buy volume one today but if you're so inclined you could pick up the complete series just as easily. Sure you're going to pay for the boxed set but it's awesome to have that option if you want to experience the whole show at once rather than dispersed over months as the single discs come out. With that being said this review is only for the first volume (though fellow Anime Talk member John Sinnott will be reviewing the complete collection soon enough).

With five episodes on the first disc, the opening volume of Blood+ gives us a decent look into the series. If you watched Blood: the Last Vampire then you'll almost instantly recognize the character of Saya. She's an amnesiac school girl with short hair and a penchant for feeling déjà vu over things from her previous life. Her life seems to be relatively normal as she goes to classes, hangs out with friends, and lives with a seemingly loving adoptive family. The blissfulness doesn't last long and eventually a bloody curtain is drawn to unveil her true nature.

When vampiric beasts known as chiroptera appear Saya is sprung into action with a katana in hand and expression of bloodlust upon her face. It's a bloody duel that can end in only one way; Saya standing victoriously. At the beginning she doesn't completely understand things because it would appear that she was in hibernation for quite some time. She bears dual personalities and they seem to be at war with each other at first. One wants nothing more than to return to her "normal" life while the other desires to fight and rid the world of the chiroptera. Throw in a little bit of a military element and you have a plot lining the backburner that makes things very interesting early on.

As Saya's life is turned upside down what she knows as her family begins to crumble around her thanks to the darkness of the world. She's forced to choose between not only life and death but also loyalty and duty. Unable to escape her past it's fascinating to watch as she's brought back into the fold, or rather the fold drags her back in. It's a world filled with chiroptera, chevalier, queens, a military organization known as Red Shield, and ancient mysteries. In between all of that is a girl that stands on the cusp of learning her true history and trying to cling onto her fading regular life.

If you like shows that take time to brew then Blood+ is definitely one to check out. It's surreal, somewhat somber, and insane with action all at the same time. It's safe to say that the Blood franchise has been fully realized and the background for the show goes well beyond anything I could have imagined. Fans of series like Ghost in the Shell, Witch Hunter Robin, and the original Blood: The Last Vampire movie absolutely must watch this show. The supernatural spin is fantastic and the character development goes above and beyond. If you have the finances I'd say definitely pick up the complete series right now but if you're on a budget the individual volumes are worth every penny.

The DVD:

Video:

Ironically enough, even though Blood+ is a recent show with some high production values it is presented with a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. Where is the anamorphic widescreen that this series called for? I have to say that I'm disappointed but when it comes to this program I suppose beggars can't be choosey.

Thankfully the video quality showcases all of the quality that I was hoping to see. The picture is brilliant and clean the entire way through with no compression artifacts whatsoever. There is some grain that appears here and there but those feel like moments that were designed that way for a reason. The contrast for this series is quite nice with a dynamic use of color and you'll notice that red dominates everything else once the blood starts to flow. Overall this is a gorgeous looking series with some fantastic designs that lend themselves well to the look of the show.

Audio:

In some ways the audio for Blood+ also turns out to be kind of disappointing. A 2.0 stereo presentation for both English and Japanese languages does not offer the sense of immersion that an action-suspense series like this demands. The quality of what is here is very good thankfully and it's entirely free of flaws. The dubbings for both languages also stands out with the Japanese feeling only slightly more natural by comparison. In both tracks I do have to say that the music is phenomenal and it certainly left an impression.

Extras:

There are no extra features available for the first volume of Blood+. That's a shame because some comparison to Blood: the Last Vampire would have gone a long way to tying the two projects together.

Final Thoughts:

Blood+ was a series I had been eagerly anticipating for quite some time and I'm happy to report that it didn't let me down in the slightest. The first volume was as good as anyone could have asked for and though the series gets off to a somewhat slow start I have no doubt after watching the quality here that it only gets better. I can't wait for the next installments and find myself very tempted to pick up the series box set that is already available. I rather like being given the option to buy a whole series or only a few episodes at a time. Kudos to Sony for releasing the show in that manner and I hope it's something other publishers take interest in. Highly Recommended


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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