Dark Ranters Reviews Presents:
Blood Lad with GearsX
Dedicated to the memory of
Wayne Richard Wells
a.k.a. Wayne Static of Static X
November 4th, 1965-November 1st, 2014
Good day, everyone. This is GearsX. I'll be participating in the Red Ribbon Reviewers again this year to help spread awareness of HIV/AIDS and one day, a cure will be found. Last year, I reviewed A Christmas Story 2 and I still stand by what I said, the sequel was utterly pointless and it was trash. I felt scarred for life for watching that terrible movie. This year, I'm gonna review something good and better than A Christmas Story 2. I'm reviewing the vampire-themed anime, Blood Lad. I know all of you would say I should've reviewed this anime back in October for Halloween and you'd be right about it but I wasn't watching the show at the time. The last vampire-themed anime I reviewed with Spidercide was Vampire Knight and that one was just a dull, lifeless waste of ink, cell, and paper. Does Blood Lad stack up with the awesomeness that is Hellsing Ultimate? Let's get this show on the road, eh?
Blood Lad was created by Yuuki Kodama in 2009 and its anime adaptation aired in 2013. The series is set in Demon World. The dimension is separated into four territories. The main protagonist, Staz Charlie Blood, is the big boss of the east end and he is loyal to his gang. He is a vampire but no ordinary vampire and I'll discuss it when I get to characters. A human girl named Fuyumi Higani inadvertently stumbles into the demon dimension through a portal called the Black Certain. When Staz meets Fuyumi, he suddenly develops the hots for her. But during a fight against a demon who challenged Staz for his position of power, Fuyumi gets swallowed up by a man-eating plant, leaving only her remains and clothing behind. Upon seeing this, he acts like a jerk to her at first since she becomes a ghost but Staz vows to bring Fuyumi back from the dead. To keep his would-be girlfriend from fading away, he has to give her a drop of his blood. Now Staz must find a way to return Fuyumi to life with the help of his best friend/rival, Wolf, boss of the west end of Demon World and a beautiful treasure hunter named Bell Hydra. They must also contend with Braz, Liz, Wolf-Daddy, and Akim Paradon. Now on to the main and major characters.
Staz Charlie Blood is the main character of the anime. As I said before, he is a vampire but no ordinary vampire. Instead being a stereotypical and clichéd vampire like his family expects him to be, Staz is a nerd and a slacker. He is a gamer, collector of anime and manga, and has a fascination with the human realm because of his love for nerdy things. That makes him a likeable character in my eyes. It's clear Staz cares about Fuyumi and doesn't want anything bad happen to her since he wants to make her human again. Despite being a tough guy, Staz is afraid of his older brother, Braz. He practically soils himself upon hear his brother's name. When Staz was a kid, Braz did a series of experiments on him to unlock his true power and ended up sealing it with a magic bullet to the heart.
Fuyumi Higani is Staz's love interest. When she first entered the demon realm, Fuyumi had no idea where she was and what these strange creatures around her were. She was found by Staz's crew and brought to him. At first, she seemed freaked out by Staz but eventually warms up to him in later episodes. Since she was nom-nomed by a demon Venus flytrap and became a ghost, Fuyumi has to drink Staz's blood or magic formula to keep herself solid. It was said Fuyumi can become a powerful hybrid whose power would rival Staz due to absorbing magic. Fuyumi has a very sweet personality but sometimes, she gets very annoyed by Staz's outlandish behavior and lack of common sense.
Wolf is Staz's best friend and arch-rival. He is in charge of the western part of the demon realm and he's part werewolf or lycanthrope in the manga. Wolf comes from a family of noble werewolves but was abandoned due to him being part werewolf. He is constantly seeking out stronger opponents to fight. In one episode, the two rivals had a boxing match together and while Wolf went all Ivan Drago on Staz, the vampire nerd almost killed him with his ZIP attack. Wolf also has a bit of a crush on Fuyumi but he's very shy about it as Staz is very much open about his love for her.
Bell Hydra is a beautiful treasure hunter and a user of spatial and teleportation magic. She was unknowingly responsible for Fuyumi's entrance into the demon dimension and was searching for a thief who stole her Black Certain. Once she catches the thief, she'll marry him but ends up forgetting about it when Bell fell in love with Staz and he doesn't know about it. She has a habit of wearing provocative clothing from time to time. Later on, Bell found out Fuyumi is her sister since both of their mothers were doppelgangers combined into one person and would help out Staz and company to bring her back to life.
Braz B. Blood is Staz's older brother. Braz is a vampire who lives in Acropolis, home of various noble families. He put his little brother through a series of torture tests to unlock his true powers but that proved to be a disaster when his preteen body couldn't handle it. So Braz sealed up Staz's powers with a magic bullet to the heart which made Staz assumed he was trying to murder him. He cooked up a plan which made his little brother very suspicious of him. It was revealed Braz's plan was to overthrow the current demon king, Wolf-Daddy, using Staz since he killed their father years ago. He even helped out with the creation of Akim Paradon with Franken Stein to further test Staz's strength.
Liz T. Blood is Braz and Staz's little sister. In the first few episodes, she is a spoiled brat who was jealous of Staz for spending so much time with their older brother. Much like Braz, she lives in Acropolis too. She is a warden of a prison called "Liz's Toy Box" and thinks of herself as judge and jury when it comes to guilt or innocence. Anyone who wants out of her "toy box" would be forced to fight for their freedom against her two zombie servants. She's been known to wear a mask most of the time and would eat or drink with it on, which is kinda weird. Braz would leave Liz in Staz's care and she begins to see there's more to life than just punishing and locking people in her toy box and eventually adopts Fuyumi as her sister.
Franken Stein is a mad scientist residing in the west side of Demon World. He is an expert on demon biology but is very terrible at making explosives and has a bad habit of blowing up parts of his lab. Franken is responsible for creating Akim Paradon. He did help in keeping Fuyumi from disappearing but he has developed some interest in her since she became a ghost.
Akim Paradon is one of the major big bads of Blood Lad. He is a patchwork monster created by Franken Stein. Akim bolted from Franken's lab and killed numerous demons for their body parts to become more powerful. He fought against Wolf and defeated him but he ended up being defeated by Staz. Akim was actually a spy named Pantomime. He worked for Wolf-Daddy until he was killed by Braz and had his dead body shipped to Franken. Akim's creation was part of Braz's plan to overthrow Wolf-Daddy as king of Acropolis.
Wolf-Daddy is another of the big bads of Blood Lad. He is in charge of the demon realm and was responsible for killing the Blood siblings' father. Wolf-Daddy is the biological father of Wolf. He doesn't really do much in the anime since he only makes an appearance or two.
What do I gotta say about the animation? It was done by Brain's Base, the same company responsible for Durarara and Spice and Wolf. The animation looks good and the characters are well-designed. The colors are bright, vibrant, and very pleasing to the eye. I really got no gripes with the animation whatsoever.
The anime was dubbed by Viz Media and Viz did an excellent job with the English dub. You can tell the English voice actors were having fun in their roles. Bryce Papenbrook had Staz sound lazy yet enthusiastic and Johnny Yong Bosch gave Braz this sinister calm to his voice. Viz's English dub of Blood Lad is definitely on par with Funimation's English dubs of their anime.
Despite the praise I gave this anime, I have do have one gripe with the series. Blood Lad is too damn short. The show is about ten episodes (or eleven if you count the OVA episode) long and it's not enough to flesh out the story or show more character development. The anime should've had a second season or at least another fourteen episodes for more narrative build-up and more character establishment. Brain's Base, please don't pull a Gainax on me. I freaking hate it when anime studios don't give any closure to their shows. Just get the word from Blood Lad's creator and greenlight a second season already! Sorry if I went off on a rant like that but I just had to get it out of the way.
In closing, do I recommend Blood Lad? Hell to the yeah! I doubt many anime fans heard of Blood Lad since I felt the anime was kinda obscure. Viz Media released a limited edition DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack of the show with a light novel or manga included and I'm not sure if that worked. Blood Lad is an entertaining anime and is really worth your money. That's all for this review of Blood Lad. On behalf of the Red Ribbon Reviewers, this is GearsX clockin' out. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all.