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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Blood+: Volume Two
Blood+: Volume Two
Sony Pictures // Unrated // June 17, 2008
List Price: $24.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted June 10, 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
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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 so right out of the gate it stands out among the crowd of would be vampire gods.

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.

The license is owned by Sony and while Blood+ is being aired on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network it is also receiving a simultaneous DVD release. A while ago you may have read a review by fellow Anime Talk contributor and all around anime guru John Sinnott. He reviewed the whole first half of the series while I checked out the first volume. In case you missed it Sony has decided to release Blood+ in a remarkably different way than most anime publishers. Rather than picking up individual volumes you also have the option to snag the whole enchilada (well, first half of the enchilada at any rate) if your little heart desires.

Blood+ is kind of a complex little show as far as vampires are concerned. Saya is an amnesiac school girl who feels pangs from memories of her former life. She's more or less a normal kid with an average life but early on in the show there are some startling revelations. As it turns out she is actually a weapon of sorts to battle the chiroptera who are vampiric monsters that spring up every now and then. The show got rather complex early on in the first volume but the second has just arrived so hopefully many things will get cleared up.

This installment opens right where the last one left off with David, Saya, and Haji searching through a laboratory for Saya's father George. While there they discover something that links the U.S. Military in Okinawa to the happenings revolving around the chioptera. Naturally the U.S. operations don't want this information leaked so they launch an assault on the laboratory while Saya and the gang are still there. This episode offers some serious weight as we discover that George is actually dead. This is a major moment for Saya and her brothers to develop early on in the show and thankfully the producers take full opportunity of that.

The death of George serves as a nice way to mature Saya's brothers and it also helps solidify the emotions of her human side. Once that element is all taken care of and out of the way Saya gets back to business as normal and attends a Vietnamese school and while there discovers something known as the Phantom. As is the case with everything else in this show it's all connected somehow and Saya finds herself right in the center.

This particular storyline involving the Phantom takes us up to the end of this disc and there is quite a lot of continuity in between. If you have passed on the collection version of Blood+ for whatever reason and are looking at the individual releases then this is a strong volume. It starts out kind of slow with more of a focus on character development but once that occurs the show kicks into gear and moves forward. This is a solid batch of five episodes from a show that is a cut above the rest. Check it out and you won't be disappointed.

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. Subtitles are included for English, French, and Korean.

Extras:

Once again there are no bonus features on Blood+. It's very disappointing though I suppose it's not surprising considering the boxed set apparently includes some material that the individual volumes will not receive.

Final Thoughts:

After watching the first volume of Blood+ my expectations for the second installment were rather high. Thankfully the five episodes here did not disappoint in the least and the balance between action, storytelling, and drama was handled appropriately. This volume furthers Saya's story and deepens her character so if you enjoyed the first you'll be quite pleased with the second. If you haven't taken the bite for this series then you'll most likely want to grab the boxed set if possible but if you want to space out your viewing then these individual volumes come 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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