Blu-ray Review: Blood Lad – The Complete Series
22/01/2015 Leave a comment
We’ve taken a trip to the demon world to find out what Anime Limited’s Blu-ray release of Blood Lad has in-store; so what did we find out? Well lets take a look in our review of Blood Lad – The Complete Series.
Werewolves, zombies, and even the Abominable Snowman fight day and night for the title of Territory Boss. The vampire Staz, however, finds the whole thing to be a serious pain. He spends his time watching anime, playing video games, and daydreaming about going to the Human World. That all changes when he meets Fuyumi, a human girl who instantly win’s Staz’s heart, and who then loses her life to a man-eating plant.
Refusing to give up on the girl of his dreams, Staz travels across the Demon and Human Worlds in search of a way to bring Fuyumi back to life by any bloody means necessary.
When I first heard of Blood Lad I assumed it was the latest instalment into the Blood: The Last Vampire franchise, albeit with a twist, so upon digging into the show without any prior research I was pleasantly surprised to be proven completely wrong. Blood Lad isn’t your typical anime show, its completely insane, extremely colourful, unfinished and over-the-top; oh and let’s not forget about the numerous cameo appearences and references to manga and videogames– but is it worth your time and effort? Well yes it is, but it does come at a cost.
As the synopsis suggests Blood Lad follows the exploits of Staz Charlie Blood, usually referred to as Staz, a noble-blooded vampire who rules over east demon world as he attempts to bring the high-school girl known as Fuyumi back to life. It’s a comical filled story that sees Staz interact with an onslaught of characters, majority of which you won’t care to remember as they only appear momentarily, as he travels from demon world to human world to noble demon world (known as Acropolis) in a bid to resurrect the recently deceased girl.
There is literally no-time to take a break and decrypt whats happening on screen as the story swiftly moves from one area to the next and, at times, causes the story to become a bit of a blur. For instance the real goal of the series is for Staz to revive Fuyumi – for whatever purpose – but throughout the course of this ends up fighting his rival in a boxing match (to see whos stronger), escaping from a prison which his younger sister owns (because his sister hates him) and engaging in a demon hunt for his brother due to the demon being too strong for him. That’s not all either, both Liz, Staz’s younger sister, and Braz, staz’s older brother, have their own agendas that they want to achieve and while it’s secretly mentioned between the two characters it rarely ever comes to fruition.
This is what I found most disappointing with Blood Lad; sure it’s a laugh and throws plenty of cameo references on the screen but in terms of a progressive storyline its all over the place – it makes storylines such as From The New World seem relatively simple to follow. Sure the goal is to resurrect Fuyumi; but that never happens, nor does Braz’s “personal agenda” come to fruition either; and the less said about Bell, the woman who can create spacal gates and constantly causes mischief for Staz, and her family issues the better. Basically Blood Lad is one short burst of comical entertainment and while its fun the story gets a lot worse (and overly confusing) before it gets any better – and when it does start to get on track it adruptly ends; which is so not cool.
While the series itself left a bitter disappointment in my viewing experience the amount, and type, of bonus content that is included with this release is more than enough to make-up for the overall series; and hopefully you’ll find it in a similar manner. Unlike traditional anime releases, which only receive the bare minimum of content, here we find a variety of entertaining behind-the-scenes related content.
- Illustration Gallery
- Production Art Gallery
- English Dub Outtakes
- Clean Opening
- Clean Ending
- Promo Video
Those wishing to experience more of the series unique artwork can be viewed in the Illustration and Production Art galleries; each of which offer what they say they are going to offer. The Illustration gallery will showcase the different illustrations for characters and backgrounds used in the series while the production art gallery will showcase concept and ‘work-in-progress’ artwork of our favourite characters and locations.
Better yet both galleries are controlled with arrow buttons on your players remote, so you can ultimately take your own time viewing the images as opposed to other Blu-rays (and DVDs) which are on a timer.In retrospect the ‘visual’ content found within the galleries maybe the same that’s included in the Collectors Edition artbook; but nether-the-less it’s more bonus content to be viewed on the disc.
Moving away from Japanese related production materials you will find the English Dub Outtakes; a 10 minute segment which sees the English voice actors making errors, or adlibbing, during voice recording. Some of them are general mistakes, such as tongue-twisting or running short of breath, while others are just for laughs. It’s not often you see English Dub outtakes, which is interesting in itself as they could easily be added, but its nice that Viz Meda (along with Anime Limited) included them on the disc as some of the outtakes are just as, if not more amusing, than the jokes in the series itself.
To round-out the selection of bonus content is the traditional inclusion of Clean Opening and Closings segments as well as Japanese promotional materials. Interestingly the clean opening that is included as a bonus feature is the ‘original’ Japanese opening and not the American opening; as the American opening has the English Blood Lad logo during the opening sequence where as the Japanese opening features Japanese text. It’s not a massive difference but consideration they are different you’d expect both (English and Japanese) versions to be included as clean openings in the bonus features section.
Media: BD50 & BD25
Running Time: 3:03:26 (Disc 1), 1:15:35 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: LPCM 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
Blood Lad is an 11 episode series that follows Staz, a vampire who rules over east demon world, go above and beyond reproach to restore Fuyumi, a human who recently died within the demon world, back to a living human being. Along the way Staz must face-off against his best-friend, and arch-rival, wolf, escape from a demented prison ran by his little sister, track down a demonic demon on behalf of his older brother and then rescue Fuyumi from the clutches of an enemy once called friend. It’s a pretty fast-paced show with no room for slacking with lots of comical banter and I love it; although that’s also its downside.
The main objective of finding out how to resurrect Fuyumi moves along swiftly from one episode to the next but the additional characters it brings, and names we care less about, are quickly overlooked; not to mention main characters, such as Wolf, Bell, Braz, Liz and the Doctor all have their own agendas and goals glanced over . As a result plenty of storyline is left unfinished, and that includes the main storyline; as a result this series is actually continued within the unfinished manga. That’s right; what I’m trying to say is that although it is entitled “complete series” the actual storyline itself remains unfinished after all 11 episodes (including the OVA) have ended and unlike fullmetal alchemist, which created its own ending, the only way to find out is by, i assume, reading the manga.
While this ‘obscure’ ending may disappoint some people kudos have to be given to the visual quality of the series and its voice acting provided in the English Dub. All of the English voice actors feel like their roles were used effectively, although hearing Johnny Young Bosch play as Braz was a bit of disappointment but it did sound cool and suited him. The amount of additional bonus materials bundled in with this release is also a positive note, as you get a nice variety and mixture that you don’t usually see on other anime releases. The only real disappointment, other than the sudden ending of the series, is the fact that from episode 6 onwards on the first disc the chapter markings change from their usual (Intro, Opening, Part A, Part B, Ending) to every five minutes (similar to how MangaUK author their own Blu-rays). It’s completely random; and worse still the final episode of the disc only has two chapter markers – thus missing over half of the episode if you plan to skip the opening song. I can only assume it’s a production error that will be fixed in re-prints of the series; but none the less Anime Limited have been notified about this fault so it will be interesting to see what happens.
Overall, and with a few exceptions, Blood Lad is a pretty solid release – it provides plenty of laughs, a few fan-service moments and an ideal sit back and relax approach to enjoying a series rather than concentrating on what happens. Of course the biggest disappointment for me, excluding the obsecure chapter markings at the end of the first disc, was how abruptly the series ended – a fact which is sure to put people off. In short; it’s a fun a series that’s completely over-the-top and unexpected; but it only has half of a story to tell with the remainder being finished off elsewhere.
Blood Lad – The Complete Series will be available as a Collectors Edition Blu-ray (as well as a Standard Edition DVD) on the 2nd February 2015.