Jiro (a vampire) is travelling with his younger brother, Kotaro) to the Special Zone which is a place where vampires are apparently able to live at peace. However, the brothers find all sorts of trouble on their way to the special zone and once they arrive it isn’t exactly what they expected.
I could keep this really short. Black Blood Brothers is a great action/adventure that doesn’t actually end. So, enjoy, get hooked and then be left with a million and one questions.
Then again, I should probably review it properly given I bothered to write about it. And bought the DVD even though it doesn’t end.
This is an incredible story built in an interesting alternate version of our world where there was a massive war between humans and vampires. The story takes place ten years after the war but a lot of the events in the story are triggered by the events of the war. This probably contributes to the reason why the story couldn’t wrap itself up in the 12 episode run time. There’s just too much going on in this world. There are competing vampire clans, there are individuals with history and rich and complex relationships, there are the human military groups and the political and social groups that are involved and then there are new meetings between characters and we need to learn more about those relationships as well.
Despite all of this, the story never feels messy. Information is revealed as needed and there are only a few info-dump moments where characters sit down and explain things. Most of the information is revealed reasonably organically.
The characters are amazing. We’ve got some very cool old-school vampires as well as some fantastic magical feats, some slightly more modern takes on vampires, and humans acting as villains, heroes and cannon fodder.
Jiro is a great fighter and his usual dead-pan personality doesn’t become boring. It’s actually quite refreshing when played against Mimiko (the human negotiater) and Kotaro (his brother). Also, when it comes to his brother, his cool is regularly broken which helps us to see him as a multi-dimensional character rather than just the stiff warrior he’d like to portray himself as. We learn a lot about Jiro but it still feels like it is just the tip of the iceberg when the series ends.
Kotaro is a little too cutesy as the little brother. It’s kind of needed for the contrast, but given he’s been travelling with Jiro and he knows the danger they are in, his happy-go-lucky attitude is at times irritating.
Mimiko is just a little bit naive but is actually quite interesting and a fairly essential character because without her some things would just never be explained.
That said, my favourite character is probably Cassa. She’s got history with Jiro and to be honest she’s not really particularly rational but she certainly injects some energy into the series and steals the scene when she’s around.
I do question the whole Special Zone thing. At best it is a way of isolating vampires in a known location (a quarantine of sorts). At worst, it doesn’t even live up to the description of a safe haven given the vast majority of dangers faced by the characters occur in the Special Zone. When the series first started I kind of thought that maybe the zone didn’t even exist and it was just some rumoured haven that vampires were being lured in with, though at least there is a Special Zone. Still, without further episodes, the true nature of the Special Zone will never really be clear.
If you want an action story with supernatural powers and you don’t really mind if the overall narrative doesn’t end, Black Blood Brothers is a great show to just turn on an enjoy. If a lack of ending is a deal breaker (and usually it is for me) then you should probably let this one go.