- RECENT REVIEWS: SHAKUGAN NO SHANA *** FREEZING *** SHANGRI-LA *** ERGO PROXY
- STRIKE WITCHES *** KING OF THORN *** STEINS GATE *** GA-REI-ZERO *** DEADMAN WONDERLAND
- TENCHI UNIVERSE *** ONE PIECE *** WOLF CHILDREN *** RUROUNI KENSHIN *** [C]-CONTROL
- BLACK LAGOON *** SERIAL EXPERIMENT LAIN *** MASS EFFECT *** BOOGIEPOP PHANTOM
- A CERTAIN MAGICAL INDEX *** TORIKO *** RENTAL MAGICA *** BOOGIEPOP & OTHERS *** EMMA
BLOOD C stages "nature versus nurture" as a bloody showdown between an inherently good girl and the mysterious forces that surround her. With a grab bag of massive monsters, deliciously gruesome fight scenes and a plucky heroine at its center, this is a tasty, tasty treat to devour.
Saya Kisaragi is a seemingly normal girl. She lives with her stone-faced father Tadayoshi, in their town’s shrine. Each morning, she stops by Guimauve, a coffee shop near the shrine, for a breakfast chat with her neighbor and family friend, Fumito, before skipping off to school.
Saya is often lost in her own head, singing playful songs on her walk through the near-deserted town, perpetually late and eternally clumsy. At school, she is surrounded by friends and students: Yūka her tough-girl best friend, twins Nono & Nene, Itsuki the moony class President with eyes only for Saya, and Shinichirō the enigmatic bad boy. Along with her seemingly all-knowing teacher, Kanako Tsutsutori, these seem to be the only people in Saya’s town.
Though Saya is a compassionate daddy’s girl by day, she trains with her father in the art of the sword by night, stalking mysterious creatures out in the woods. These "Furukimono" take on many different shapes and sizes, and no one in the town seems to notice their presence. Saya hunts the Furukimono every night, slicing and dicing giant slugs, dodging bird-like talons, and trying desperately to keep her loved ones safe.
The mystery wrapped up in BLOOD C reveals that nothing is as it seems, of course.
At first, it seems as though Saya is leading a double life, but it rapidly becomes apparent that she has no recollection of her nocturnal battles. With each kill, the red glint in her eyes becomes stronger, darker, and the interactions between her friends and family seem to arouse only more questions. Each episode is punctuated by an eerily omniscient narrator, who questions the idea that evil can be trained (an ever-present theme that sums up the true nature of Saya’s purpose). As the show moves forward, the mystery shrouding Saya and her mission slowly unravels to expose a horrible experiment where nothing is real and everyone is suspect.
As the series’ good-natured heroine, Saya is a joy to watch. Her sweetness-and-light persona, combined with a secret kick-ass warrior nightlife, is reminiscent of a certain vampire slayer, and her struggle against the evil enveloping her makes her quite easily relatable. When loyalties shift and truths are discovered, Saya becomes so much more than your average girl-turned-fighter. Her inner strength and kind spirit aid her through the trials and tribulations of an evil experiment, even when it seems all hope is lost.
BLOOD C also features nuanced characters with secret motivations and changes of heart. Though the mystery of the show is rather simple at face value, it’s revealed piece-by-piece in a way that makes each episode swiftly paced. It’s never so complex that you can’t figure out what’s happening, but not so simple that you feel cheapened for following along.
The added bonus of BLOOD C has to be... well... the blood.
Each episode features at least one brutal battle between Saya (dressed in an enviably awesome blood red school girl outfit) and a hulking beast. The design of the Furukimono changes each time, so that each monster is unique. Random townspeople get skewered, eyeballs burst, and Saya is covered in blood nearly every single time (a detail that becomes more relevant as the story continues).
All in all, BLOOD C is a fun, easy ride with equal parts cute, gore, and mystery. As you get to know Saya and the truth of her quiet little town, you’ll find yourself wondering (along with that creepy narrator) if she can make it out of this experiment unscathed.
Rachel Heine is an anime novice, film buff and food blogger based in Los Angeles. She writes and edits for arts & culture online magazine, Buzzine, and runs her own personal blog at PopandSizzle. Follow her Twitter: @RachelHeine