Blood Lad is one of those anime, where the premise sounds way too boring to describe the actual experience.
Staz is a vampire and hold on before you turn away, it’s the good kind of vampire, you know, the actually extremely deadly kind. The plot takes place in a demon world where the world is divided in territories and each of them has a leader. Once someone conquers all territories he can enter the Acropolis, a realm where the noble and strongest demons reside and make out the rules for the ones beneath them, however each of these demons are also under the rule of one big king.
Anyway, one day a human girl named Fuyumi accidentally steps into the demon world and the demons of Staz’ territory have literally no idea how to handle the situation. Staz, being the wanna-be otaku that he is, expects her to know everything there is to know about manga, anime and games and invites her to his room. After a short conversation, his territory is attacked by a rival demon who is quickly dealt with but thanks to someone’s missing sense of caring for others, Fuyumi dies. She turns into a ghost as she died as a human in the demon world, all because Staz screwed up. Feeling guilty, he promises her to find a way to resurrect her due to reasons he himself doesn’t really get yet.
Does this sound familiar? Yes, but just having Staz as a protagonist spins things around. Speaking of whom, Staz is a likeable dick and a clear anti-hero who thinks that he is, in fact, a hero. This also goes hand in hand with the plot, which has a very quick pace and it’s very refreshing in general. Staz and the other characters go through actual character development and even the plot twists, that you’ve seen a hundred times by now, are turned into something entertaining thanks to him as a protagonist. In short: Everything about the story with its mix of comedy, brutal action and progression just fits.
There are four major things I have to criticize here: Fuyumi is probably one of the least interesting and engaging female protagonists I’ve ever seen, whose purpose is only to exist for Staz to actually do something.
Then there is a weird pace breaker right in the middle of the series, the one moment where the series allows the characters to reflect on past actions only to pick up with ludicrous speed again.
The ending is a HUGE cliffhanger and sometimes the pacing is just too fast to feel comfortable.
However, unlike other anime, I am not as mad about it here as I would usually be because I still really hope for a second season at some point. After all, the manga ended in 2016. Does the ending still suck as a wrap-up? Yes, of course, but from beginning to end I had fun during the entire ride. Which leads me to an important question:
Why did the anime never receive a lot of attention?
The answer is quite clear to me: The promotional text for the anime is nothing but absolutely horrible and it doesn’t do the nature of this anime justice, the promotional art gives off an unpleasant vibe, it came at a time when people were REALLY tired of vampires and the ending is still that: A cliffhanger. Just like everyone else, I skipped this series for a very long time but I honestly regret that, despite the flaws of the series.
Which leads me to the music: It has a very catchy opening and some really nice songs though even here, there is nothing in particular that I remember until I had the urge to look it up again and oh boy, this soundtrack is good. It has driven me to look it up even after watching the series and it was worth it, if you need prove then just look it up online for yourself. It’s not an outstandingly good soundtrack but it has quite a few memorable pieces. However I must also mention the voice acting. I didn’t listen to the English voices but the Japanese voices, while usually good (with the exception of princess Valium aka Fuyumi who is, frankly speaking, pretty bad at times), sometimes they don’t match the facial expressions of the characters.
The art design of this anime is also very appealing to me. It looks good when it matters and while the general drawing is simple, it allows for fluent action scenes that don’t have a lot of hiccups. There is a bit too much fan service for my taste but thank the creator of the manga for Staz because he isn’t your typical protagonist who would react to a naked girl in the typical way, essentially giving this anime a vibe of being a parody. That being said, there are scenes that look a bit off, like when there are big CGI objects in the background or when the simple animation collides with ambitious animations but overall, it looks fine.
So, should you give Blood Lad a try? You should definitely take a look at it despite the ending of the anime. If you are tired of standard cut-out heroes or if you just need a breath of fresh air in general, then this is worth a shot. Do not be discouraged by the promotional material, it deceived me into believing that this was something mediocre at best but I was wrong. And hey, I’m telling you to give this a shot as someone who hates cliffhangers!
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