Blood-C – 08 Review
Now that‘s just exaggeration at this point, you know…
Reviews by M0rg0th and Saranaufogus
M0rg0th: You know what, great surprise this week! Nobody gets killed! And Saya goes back to school wasting time with her typical diddley-plot-progress. Yeah, really, like the good ol’ times, just Saya, her dumbness and the rest of the universe not caring about her at all… Haha, this would be just great for Saya if that’d happen but sadly no surprises this week and the series keeps its usual rhythm of killing people cruelly and Saya not getting anything of what’s going on (she has a dog to do that for her, it seems).
It starts where the previous episode ended with Tokizane finding Saya kneeling in a puddle of blood. They start to talk and Tokizane reveals his deep feelings for Saya in a bluntly manner but while Saya doesn’t quite get how much Tokizane feels for her she accepts his trust and repays it with beginning to tell him about what she was doing back at the street while trying to clean herself from the blood as best as she can. The scene switches to Fumito in his café who streaks gently a golden birdcage as Tadayoshi comes in barely saying anything while Fumito tells him about Saya’s bad mood. Back at the little river where Tokizane and Saya are talking, they now arrived at the part where Saya explains what the Elder Bairns are. Tokizane calls them monsters but Saya disagrees vehemently with calling them that although she can’t give a special reason for that. She then gets another headache as she nearly remembers something again. Tokizane and Saya part ways as they decide that Saya should rest and he makes her promise to tell him if something happens to her.
Arriving at the shrine she finds Tadayoshi lying on the ground in front of the shrine. Waking him up and asking with concerned urgency whether he’s alright, all the answer Saya gets is Tadayoshi assuring her that he’s alright that he was just sleepy. Saya then takes a bath and starts to sing as Watanu… I mean, the dog appears who still behaves like the Spanish inquisition and gets on her nerves with seemingly useless questions but one of them actually triggers a flashback that describes how the contest was about Saya getting something nice if she wins and getting punished if she loses. Saya nearly collapses from remembering but she keeps herself from drowning in bathtube luckily and Tadayoshi appears. Wata… *sigh* The dog uses that moment to flee and a sequence of some nice images begin to appear telling us that three days without anything happening have passed (so it’s basically like the first three episodes of this series, haha…). Saya has a serious talk with her father and he tells her that the school is reopening. She wishes to go to school again and wants to keep protecting everyone but Tadayoshi is still concerned about her. Having a bad timing Saya mentions her mother and Tadayoshi only narrowly escapes a heart attack hearing that. Saya then goes off to school through a town which is empty as always and arrives at school with Yuka telling her that the general public still doesn’t know what happened to Nono and Nene. In the classroom someone at the windows discovers an Elder Bairn outside the school. This Elder Bairn quickly discovers Saya at the windows and attacks the class killing some nobodies in the usual gruesome (censored) fashion. As the Elder Bairn is about to attack the rest of the class Saya reveals herself to be an Elder-Bairn-Slayer.
Haha, as if the direct approach would work better with a dimwit like Saya…!
After that rant about Clamp being just Clamp again, this week I want to start with a more serious look at the series (before ranting again of course). After eight episodes it’s finally clear how the plot is structured and it isn’t that kind of a mess that would warrant calling Blood-C a complete mess.
Blood-C’s plot-structure relies on a multitude of set-pieces as I’ll call them for this purpose and how they relate to each other:
Set-Piece 01 – Happy Town: That’s Saya’s school and her classmates (without Tokizane) spending their time doing this fluffy slice-of-life-thing from the beginning of this series.
Set-Piece 02 – The Conspiracy: That’s Saya’s teacher, Todayashi and Fumito and describes their enigmatic comments and hints that they might know what is going on and seem to be a part of a greater plan at work behind the scenes that Saya doesn’t know of.
Set-Piece 03 – Love: Well, that’s obviously Tokizane with his obvious love for Saya and the pseudo-philosophical ramblings that accompany tackling the theme of love with Saya.
Set-Piece 04 – The Wish: As the dog began to talk it became clear that he was the plot-pusher with his ambition to make Saya remember the wish she made at his shop.
Set-Piece 05 – Saya: And Saya is of course the centre of it all with that contest she began and how that connects everything and basically is the story behind everything. But it’s also the centre for the plot we see in the series as Saya tries to find out about herself and what she exactly did in the past.
If you would now put all those set-pieces on sheet of paper or something you could connect them all and show the relations between them. It’s a fairly basic structure if you think about it. It’s one of these kind of stories where you write the complete story first and then narrate it in a different order or from a different point of view to make it more interesting as a story. So the basics are there and I don’t think that Blood-C as a series will get a worse rating than a 5/10 from me for that (it could only get worse if they really botch the finale of this series). But the execution is rather bad, I think. It just has to be because the actual story isn’t complex enough to fill 12 episodes by just being told out of order and that’s why there are these Elder Bairn fights and these “Saya is silly”-scenes. If you think about it, this series had with the dog already a fairly obvious plot-pusher right from the beginning. He only needed to start talking and Saya already got a bag full of hints and actual information that could help her remembering. The hints and suspicions from the Elder Bairn were just a waste of time compared to that. Not only that but in comparison to the listed Set-Pieces you have to ask yourself what do these Elder-Bairn-Attacks contribute to that? Do they really give this story the desired sense of danger and urgency? Well, they try to but is this actually a kind of story that needs danger and urgency? It’s basically a kind of mystery-story with Saya unveiling a secret, in theory at least. But these Elder Bairn in conjunction with Saya’s actions don’t really give a real sense of a countdown to a big explosion. This plot has such a simple story that revealing already a tidbit of it would ruin the whole surprise of finding out about the actual mystery of the story. Therefore the Elder Bairn can’t give a sense of danger or urgency because we can’t know what is at stake here. There’s only enough story to be told here to serve as a plot-twist at the end but seemingly this story wasn’t planned smart enough to give parts of the story away in small doses but keeping the viewer still guessing what the real story behind everything is. Blood-C seemingly would’ve been better off just a mini-OVA-series.
You know, if you see someone who’s drenched in blood kneeling in a puddle of blood beside a corpse of a mutated monster you generally don’t start the dialogue by asking which blood is whose…
But back to ranting about this episode…
So this episode began with another hilarious scene of the romantic Tokizane and Saya the vacuum-brain. It’s just bad how the humour of this series is basically people expecting Saya to act normal and finding out that she’s dumb. Tokizane as the glasses guy already found out realized in this episode that neither the subtle approach nor the direct approach help getting his feelings across to Saya. She simply doesn’t get it. So what’s the appeal Tokizane saw in her that made him fall in love with her? Who know, at this point it really doesn’t make much sense.
Next scene Fumito streaking an empty golden birdcage, well, I get it, metaphor and all, yeah, very subtle but you know what? It’s also creepy as hell! And this atrocious dialogue with Tadayoshi that follows also doesn’t help. I really pity that voice actor of Tadayoshi (I know, he’s famous and all but I generally don’t try to remember voice actors names) with this Conan-like dialogue he has to suffer through and he doesn’t have a bad accent as an excuse for him not saying much.
And then Saya appears at the shrine and finds Tadayoshi – murdered! Oh no, wait, he was just dizzy but suspicious, I have to admit. In a mystery-series everyone would accuse Fumito of being the murderer at this point – if it’d have happened naturally. Then follows basically a fanservice scene, I actually looked on the clock checking how much time this episode wasted showing Saya taking a bath. Okay, I get it, she takes a bath, I don’t care, the story doesn’t unfold by itself, you know? Luckily the dog appears and first thing he does: making fun of Saya for being dumb as usual. Well, I sort of understand where he’s coming from with this kind of greeting. Anyway, like I said the dog is a very obvious plot-pusher with his obnoxious way of questioning Saya although she’s obviously dumb but she does get her weekly dosis of flashbacks telling her that when you enter a contest you get something nice when you win and you receive a punishment when you lose. Deep wisdom as usual from this series, what comes next? Explaining that surprisingly more than one person is usually part of a contest? I get it, okay? Why can’t they just move on… I know that Saya doesn’t get it but I’m not Saya, am I? The average viewer of this series actually does have a decent working brain in order to know what a contest is. And what the hell kind of dialogue was this anyway? All this pseudo-philosophical rambling about what one needs in order to call something a contest, how could anyone stomach listening to this? No wonder Saya gets headaches from this kind of flashbacks…
And then days pass with nothing happening because nothing happens, seemingly this series actually doesn’t have the time to interject a stereotypical beach-episode but I guess killing more people in a gruesome way is way more entertaining than a fanservie-filler-episode because the episode moves on to Saya’s school being reopened and being attacked on the same day. Talk about bad luck. So some nobodies die cruelly (like always) and Saya has to step forward and reveals herself to be a sword-maniac who likes to cut Elder Bairns. Let’s see how her classmates take the whole message of the Elder Bairn being out there waiting to eat them one by one and Saya being the only one to stop them from doing just that. Well, I don’t see them feeling relieved knowing that but life is hard and they’re part of a contest. They really should get into the spirit for competition, so basically it’s kill or be killed like in a generic horror-movie only that they have a dumb girl with a sword protecting them which isn’t much of a protection but at least it won’t be over after five minutes so there’s that little glimpse of hope.
Much sentimental stuff this week and Saya still doesn’t get it (if you ask what let’s put it mildly and say everything actually)! She’s still naïve, ignorant and all that but the dog begins to press forward by forcing her to remember so small baby steps for the plot towards the ‘light’. But all in all, pretty much the usual: flashbacks, people dying cruelly, Elder Bairn appearing, father-daughter intimacy, suspicious dialogues and so on. Nothing new, I would say but Blood-C has done worse… They really should botch the finale, just to make sure that the movie has the right campy-vibe going.
(To help make my review easier to read, I have highlighted my main topics of discussion in green)
Whilst M0rg0th has decided to start off his review with a more serious look on the whole show, I have decided to jump straight into the rant. I promise that will *try* to give you both a personal rant review and a more calmed down look of the show as a whole.
Saya, it does not mean much to say that you want to protect everyone when you just stand around and let people get killed, even if you were not close to them.
So lets start off with this… WHAT THE HELL SAYA?!?! Sigh.. more of Saya standing around whilst everyone gets slashed left right and center. Why oh why is this protagonist so frustrating? This actually brings me to the animation in this episode…
It felt lazy. Lets ignore the fact that the animation was never that fantastic to begin with despite the fact that some people do think that the action scenes are good. This episode was just sluggish in the way it was animated. The characters felt stiff like they had arthritis and were sluggish in their actions. There were too many still frame shots and scenes where the character’s actions are slower than the words. It just did not gel well with me.
Then we have the white censored flashes of death. Perhaps it would be better for the animators to change their tactics so that we actually get to see something more than a white screen during those fight scenes? Like perhaps they could making the deaths less gruesome? I mean, what is the point in having to wait for an uncensored version to come out just to be able to enjoy the show. Oh wait, I know… they want people to buy their DVDs. Damn it. Sneaky b*stards. =P
I decided to do a screen capture of the pointless toilet location chosen for this scene.
It was quite obvious that there was only one reason behind why the toilet was used.
Now since we are on the topic of animation, I might as well continue on this track for now. The scenes in this episode were really border lining on Hentai with Saya’s boobs bouncing around and zoomed out shots of her figure (refer to above) whilst she was showering really made it annoying to watch. The scene could have very well taken place on the steps of the temple like it did last episode (we all know that this episode has no trouble repeating scenes, just look at the first 3 episodes of nothingness) the only reason why they would have it in the toilet is so we can have some nice fan-service. I just have to ask the male population, did that scene do anything for you at all?
Do *you* remember where you left your mind my dear dog?
Him being interested by that contraption reminds me of a cat. So is he a dog or cat and if not, then what animal is he?
Okay, so onto the dog. He is retarded. I have come to that conclusion when he was shocked that soap came out of the bottle when he pressed it. He is human right? The fact that he kept mentioning “this form” implies that he has another form. I would assume that his other form would be acquainted with the ways of humans. Once again, this dog was simply used as a trigger to Saya’s memory. The good thing about his presence? The plot is finally progressing somewhere, if not for that scene, this episode would have had no progress apart from Tokizane’s feelings being made known to the whole world minus Saya.
So now onto our dearest Tokizane. I am thankful that he is not some recently-trendy weak character and seems to be a typical “masculine” CLAMP-style character, my issue with him is that he is also missing a few screws. Lets see why shall we?
- “What is going on here?”
“Is that blood yours?”
Really? You ask the first question and don’t pause to wait for an answer before asking the second one? (Which, by the way, is related to blood)
Is blood really all this show is going to amount to? That might be taking the title a tad bit too literally. I half expect the letter C to be flying around the screen soon. How about have a big letter C to censor the blood/gruesome scenes? (I assume it is gruesome, but it is hard to tell when one cant see anything at all.) Speaking of which, what is the C in Blood-C anyway?
Besides, if that was Saya’s blood, she would be dead with the amount of blood around her. Even if it was just a slight amount of her blood, you would think she would be showing some amount of pain on her face instead of looking all stoic and confused.
- When Saya washes the blood off, she does not even bother to finish cleaning up the blood on her before telling her story. Sigh, couldn’t Tokizane wait until she was done cleaning before interrupting her? Saya finally bothers to clean off the blood and he has to interrupt. Usually she is just too happy to keep the blood on her.
I know we have to hit the “blood-quota” for this ep but at least let the blood come from murdering some Elder Bairns in an illogical manner instead of left over residue from last week’s episode.
- Tokizane’s actions are so weird. He acts all cold in the first few eps and seem to have a dislike towards her yet he warms up to her so quickly without much reason. Finally he expresses the fact that he likes her and is concern about her safety yet does not care for the fact that the whole back part of her shirt is ripped off and is filled with cuts. Not to mention all he said to her was…
“You are hurt right?”
Yes Tokizane, she is hurt and it does not look like it is a small cut either. Perhaps showing some worry through actions instead of words might be better?
- When Saya decides to spill the beans and trust Tokizane with all the information that she knows:
Apparently in Saya’s world, trust does not need to be earned but is given the same way as she does everything – do first, think later.
What is with the lack of any sense of normality when it comes to the characters in this show?
How can he remain so calm when surrounded by a sea of blood?
Once again we are back into the whole Saya singing for no reason. I think I am over that fact and have accepted it to be one of the many many flawed quirks of this show.
I want to talk about the atmosphere of this episode. I actually liked it. =p I know I have complained about so many things but it does not change the fact that this episode’s mood was rather relaxing in a sentimental slice-of-life way. Too bad they had to destroy it at the end of the episode with the whole action scene. I have always liked CLAMP’s slice-of-life style and this episode did remind me of their past series. The music was nice and relaxing and the this episode really focuses on the bond between characters as oppose to the illogical thoughts of Saya.
Overall, it was an episode that just once again hints at what is to come without revealing anything. It is like a promise that tomorrow will always be better but tomorrow never comes. I just hope that the tomorrow for this series will be the movie with a high censorship rating so that we won’t be left with half a movie of white censored scenes. At this point, I honestly feel that CLAMP should really cut back on the action element and focus on the slice-of-life/mystery element of the show. I am personally not a fan of the odd fight scenes that always end with a simple slash/thrust with activated eyes.
Episode Rating: 5.5/10
The slice-of -life mood plus partial hope for a decent revelation (for her classmates) towards the end of the show made it more interesting for me. Honestly though, the fact that I am still watching this show means that I should accept this show’s flaws because miracles don’t happen that often.
My theory regarding the blood around Saya’s dad’s mouth?
It is not due to Saya and he is a Elder Bairns and drinks human blood like a vampire. After all, there was that hint of something odd going on when he was at Guimauve and did not want to drink coffee but have something else instead.
Don’t forget to tell us what your thoughts are about this episode and if you agree or disagree with what we have said. =)