Anime: Blood Blockade Battlefront (Limited Edition)
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Retail Price: $84.98
The anime series Blood Blockade Battlefront may have been one of the most peculiar and captivating animes recently, in a bizarre production that was somewhat confusing yet consistently providing heart. The series is produced by Studio Bones, the creative minds behind Space Dandy, Fullmetal Alchemist, Darker than Black and the phenomenal Cowboy Bebop film Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, solidifying the series was in good hands from the beginning. The concept is (kind of) explained in a timely fashion over the first episode -- noting that there was a massive opening between Earth and the netherworld hovering right above New York City, forever changing the once bustling city to a new (even crazier) identity known as Salem’s Lot.
In this altered city lies humans and otherworldly creatures that have now found home in Salem’s Lot, forced to attempt coexisting together under the indestructible bubble that covers the city entirely. Enter Libra, a group of superhumans who take it upon themselves to protect/supervise the necessary peace between humans and creatures from different dimensions. A young photographer named Leonardo Watch comes to Salem’s Lot and is mistaken as someone Libra was looking for, an act of fate that alters the course of his life. Leo becomes a vital part of the Libra organization, hoping to give his best efforts at preventing the downfall of the world, starting with Salem’s Lot. Of course, nothing can be so easy -- and the group of those who want to wreak havoc and destroy are willing to dedicate their existence to a being labeled the King of Despair.
The plot of Blood Blockade Battlefront varies from fairly comprehensible to downright perplexing, which can be extreme enough to experience both in a single episode. The over the top aspects of the series are (I assume) intended, which enlivens the anime with a outrageous energy and make the more serious dramatic moments pack even more of a punch. It’s rare when a series can go from carefree and happy to gut-wrenching in any medium, but Blood Blockade Battlefront succeeds, which is essential to make the series as well-rounded as it is. For example, one episode starts out with Leo befriending a young alien/mushroom hybrid creature with a humorous dynamic, but, by the episode’s conclusion, it hits a grueling emotional high note that will be sure to pull at a majority of viewers’ heartstrings naturally as if it was effortless.
Character development is something enjoyable in Blood Blockade Battlefront, just not exactly for every character we discover in the short-lived anime. Of all of the central figures, Leo and White are certainly the series' biggest hidden weapons to achieve the solid quality of the series. While we know a good amount about Leo (following from his point of view), White is an ambiguous character for a lot of her role, popping in and out of the central plot in between the random installments of episodes to establish the strange world. Introducing herself as a ghost, you can’t help but become curious by the unusual girl who takes an interest in the series' protagonist. As you learn more about White, her role in the series becomes a big piece of the plot but also manages to develop her role and make her arguably the best factor to Blood Blockade Battlefront. White is someone who I began to care for with every bit of light shed on her identity and ensured that she was a brilliant addition to the series, despite having not been a character present in the manga. It was a bold move to create such an original idea to add to a story that has material to pull from, but, by the end, I would certainly say White proved that an anime series can make their own path without completely depending on a previous ending (similarly to Black Butler’s second season with Alois.) Characters may have come in large number in Blood Blockade, but it’s those like Leo and White that deserve a majority of credit in the anime.
Blood Blockade Battlefront uses unique anime art stylings, creating outlandish creatures to counter the humans of the series (whilst providing exceptional designs as well). Every character’s mood or personality can be determined by the series' visuals, often reminding me of a cinematic experience. Black and White were both interestingly created to show similarities yet differentiates enough to be viewed as separate entities (especially Black...). The English voice cast all felt like a perfect piece to the puzzle of Blood Blockade Battlefront -- and the best fit for character was certainly Aaron Dismuke, who grasped on to everything needed to make Leo a lively character. The anime deserves your attention and is one that will leave an impact for the quirky attributes that can somehow find a goofy atmosphere with intensely dramatic bouts of seriousness. Make sure to pick up Blood Blockade Battlefront on DVD and Blu-ray now so you can find out why the series is a must-watch!
Overall Grade: 8.5/10
- Being thrown into the world of Blood Blockade Battlefront was confusing at many moments, but the constant randomness becomes easier to embrace as how the series is intended to be received.
- White absolutely was a vital factor in making Blood Blockade Battlefront a triumphant anime.
-Leo was probably the other strongest component to the series, which made his and White’s dynamic a stronger plot line.