BLOOD+: PART ONE (Sony, 2005) D: Junichi Fujisaku, w/ Kari Wahlgren, Crispin Freeman. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NN
Compared to cowboy bebop or Paprika, these first 25 half-hours from the ongoing TV series are simple, quiet anime, well drawn, coloured and animated and much more concerned with story and character than with visual flash.
Teenage Saya is a reluctant demon fighter who tends to freeze in the clinch. Happily, mysterious, cello-playing Haji keeps showing up to protect her. She has no memories that go back further than a year, but her adopted father knows more than he’s telling and more about the sinister organizations of unknown purpose that keep messing with the kid.
This isn’t Buffy Lite, but there are similarities. Problems of family loyalty and the choices facing young girls drive the stories more than the demon-hunting and get more screen time than the action. One episode in particular presents a touching picture of a maimed Vietnamese girl who wants a minesweeper so she can help on her family farm.
Saya and the others are well written and well voiced in English. Sadly, they’re uncredited. Whoever plays Mr. Argiano deserves an award for the best oily villain voice since Peter Lorre.
The set comes with a T-shirt. Nice, but I’d rather have a making-of doc.
EXTRAS Full-frame. Japanese, English audio. English, French, Korean subtitles. Japanese actor interviews: Japanese audio, English translation and subtitles. T-shirt.