Blood+ landed amidst a resurgence of the vampire genre. It came two years after the conclusion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 3 days after the release of the first book in the Twilight series. It was beautifully animated and had a decent storyline, even if the pacing crawled at times. Today, almost 5 years after the show finished, CLAMP has re-imaged the story with Blood-C. The new version has character designs and a mood that will appeal to Clamp fans, even if Blood+ loyalists won’t be able to stomach more than a few episodes.
Blood-C isn’t just a remake of Blood+, it is an entirely new story. The only holdover is Saya, the monster-slaying heroine of all the Blood shows. Here Saya is a dark haired, blue eyed high school student with a voracious appetite. She is also a shrine maiden, continuing a family tradition of monster slaying. At school she has a clique of friends, including twins that speak in unison and a straight laced class rep, typical of high school shows. The first two episodes hint at a future plot point involving a mysterious male classmate but otherwise the school scenes are extraneous. The school is just a convenient place for CLAMP to dump cute characters.
The result of CLAMP’s reimaging is a series that’s just not engaging. This is a problem I’ve had with CLAMP stories before. For example, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles featured a group going to alternate universes collecting feathers. Each new world had an interesting theme and for a while I enjoyed watching. But eventually, I gave up. The plot never moved forward, the group could have collected a million feathers without consequences. Fans of the show might respond that the mission wasn’t important, that what mattered was the characters and how they grew. CLAMP fans might say the same about Blood-C. But if that’s the case, it makes me no more willing to watch. The characters here seem like anime archtypes rather than people. Their interactions seem mindless rather than enlightening. In each of the first two episodes of Blood-C, Saya talks to a Cafe owner about her problems. The problems seem petty and make Saya look immature, even for a high school student. Without an engaging plot or engaging characters it’s hard for me to stay interested in the show.
For those that enjoyed Blood+ and are considering watching Blood-C be warned that this re-imaging is not as good as the original show. That is not to say that Blood+ was perfect. I admit that halfway through the series slowed down from the quick pace that made the beginning exciting. Still, even with its faults Blood+ was a better show than Blood-C. Compare the first two episodes of Blood+ and Blood-C. Each had the obligatory high school shots, introduced Saya’s family and friends and left time for monster battles. But Blood+ was suspenseful; it used its fights to get the audience invested in the story. Blood-C’s fights didn’t appear to matter. Much like many vampire stories released since the genre exploded, the fights and the show seem meaningless.
Blood-C is available streaming on niconico.com.
(First, second and fourth pictures are copyright Production I.G, CLAMP/Project BLOOD-C TV/MBS. Third picture is copyright Production I.G/Aniplex/MBS/HAKUHODO)