|Reviews & Columns|
TV on DVD
Reviews by Studio
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
DVD Talk Radio
The M.O.D. Squad
DVD Talk Forum
DVD Price Search|
Customer Service #'s
Blood+: Volume Three
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. In all fairness though, Blood+ is well on its way to being crowned king (or is that queen?) of the hill.
If you're familiar with Production I.G. then you'll know that they were put on the map thanks to their efforts 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.
Chances are very good that, by now, you're familiar with the Blood+ license. The show is being aired on Adult Swim and Sony has already released a collection of the series on DVD, with these individual volumes that followed. The show follows the life of Saya, an amnesiac school girl who has hidden memories that are only just beginning to bubble to the surface at the start of the show. It is quickly revealed that she's a vampire who has been locked in battle with monsters known as chiroptera. The plot gets a little more complicated than that, but essentially there's more to the story than meets the eye and one of the most interesting parts is Saya's battle with her humanity. She becomes a weapon against the chiroptera and events in the first two volumes push her past the mourning of her human father and towards an inevitable conclusion with something known as the Phantom in Vietnam.
The bulk of this third installment features Saya and her companions working their way through Vietnam. They do what they can to blend in, and Saya even attends a Vietnamese school in order to get closer to her target. During a school dance, the Phantom attacks, and naturally Saya has to fight him off, but before all is said and done it's quite evident that Saya hasn't truly awakened yet. This prompts the Phantom to disappear once again and brings about the end of Saya's portrayal of a school girl on this mission. She leaves with Red Shield in pursuit of Diva, her twin sister, and eventually comes to an experimental facility that is the definition of a nightmare.
It would appear as though children from all over Vietnam have been brought to this place and transformed into chiroptera. A massive battle ensues which involves Saya's team and Red Shield being attacked by demonic little vampire children. Naturally it's creepy as all hell. During this time Saya goes berserk and seems to awaken her true potential. This is all brought about during a fight with Carl, and if you have been watching the show then you know this is something that has been built to for a while now. Following the events in Vietnam, the team returns to Okinawa to regroup and plan their next steps. During this time Saya puts some of her past behind her and comes to terms with pieces of her human life.
All in all, this is another fantastic collection of episodes from Blood+. With each installment, I'm amazed by just how much thought went into every aspect of the series. The battles are incredible, the animation is top notch, the story is complex, and the character development features many layers of depth. This is quickly becoming one of the best vampire anime programs out there and if you haven't seen it yet, make a point to. You simply can't go wrong with Blood+.
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.
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.
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.
The first two volumes of Blood+ did an amazing job setting the tone and building up the story of Saya and company. Her mysterious past played out well with a complex amount of detail being dished out in between copious amounts of action. Luckily the third volume doesn't disappoint, and it features another five episodes which push the boundaries of your expectations. This is a solid show that continues to impress, and if you're in the market for a vampire anime, look no further. Consider this series highly recommended whether you're looking for the complete set or individual volumes.