Blood Blockade Battlefront

anime kekkai sensenEnglish:  Blood Blockade Battlefront
Japanese: 
 Kekkai Sensen
Genres:
  Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Super Power
Episodes:  12
Aired:  April, 2015 to October, 2015
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“A breach between Earth and the netherworlds has opened up over the city of New York, trapping New Yorkers and creatures from other dimensions in an impenetrable bubble. They’ve lived together for years, in a world of crazy crime sci-fi sensibilities. Now someone is threatening to sever the bubble, and a group of stylish superhumans is working to keep it from happening.”


KATELYNN’S REVIEW

Rating:  3.5 / 5
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Started:  March 13th, 2016
Finished:  March 13th, 2016
Wine Pairing:  Kokanee Beer and Ginerale – aka. Shanty (aah, so yummy)

Blood Blockade Battlefront is set in the fog enshrouded modern-day city of New York, where both humans and creatures of the Netherworld live in mostly peaceful coexistence.

At least, that’s what the posters tell you.

In all actuality, since the arrival of a portal between New York and the Netherworld three years prior, the city has been a war-zone for politics, economics, gangs, and cultures.  The portal opened a rift in the middle of the city, where it descends down like a whirlpool into the Netherworld.  Special humans in the world capable of using psi, called Castors, created a border to contain the rift from getting larger that left most of New York unblemished by anything more than the fog.  The two worlds merged, and New York becomes the hot-spot for interesting combinations of human-creature inventions of food, fashion, and technology.

Leonardo Watch, aka. Leo, introduces us to this strange city, how he came there with his sister, and has yet to leave.  After a chance encounter with a demon (?) and his sister, Leo is left with the guilt as his sister is blinded and he is gifted with the “All-Seeing Eyes of the Gods”.  With more questions than he knows, he searches for Libra – an underground vigilante organization that helps keep the balance between humas (aka. humans) and creatures – whom he believes has the answers.  Despite only having his “normality” working in his favour, he chances across Libra and joins them in their daily routine of saving New York City – just in time to stop the Kings of the Netherworld as they plot to ruin New York City yet again.

“Dammit! He’s normal!”
– Femt the King of Depravity

The Story

If you couldn’t tell by that description, I am exceptionally confused.  There was too many open questions, things left un-explained, and an overwhelming disappointment at the sudden wrench in the plot’s direction.  Where we are introduced to Leo and Michella in the beginning, we don’t learn much more about them after that.  Half way through we meet White, a secondary character, and then Black who, while a main antagonist, becomes the main protagonist in the last few episodes.  We switch character focus and were given a history lesson on different characters instead of details into the story that could have brought it into another Season.  But throughout watching Blood Blockade Battlefront, I felt like a spectator behind a wall of glass – only perceiving half of the information and missing the preceding necessary information.

What is the purpose to the “All-Seeing Eyes of the Gods” other than to see through other creature’s bullshit and illusions?  Does there always need to be one set of eyes in action?  If Leo dies, does someone else earn them?  And the demon/creature who gave Leo the eyes – what was that about?  It approached Leo and Michella as though this “Taking” is a common occurrence, but none of this is explained to the viewers.   The only other time we see something even close to that is with Black and White when the portal opened at the beginning, but Black didn’t have to give anything but his time and body usage temporarily – he got it all back (after a discussion or two, I’ve been told this may have been a translation error…  Which would make a lot more sense, but it was still irritating).

I really did love the idea of this anime.  I loved the characters, the world – I even love the notion of the story despite it’s many flaws.  I’m holding on to the hope that the anime was a let down and hope to try my luck better with the manga because I’m not satisfied with how the anime ended.  The first eight episodes were perfect even though there wasn’t much of a plot, and they could stand alone as a great anime with episode-to-episode stories.  After that, it falls apart  So watch 1-8 and you won’t regret it.

The Characters & Animation

The intro and outro for Blood Blockade Battlefront were sublime.  Seriously, I could watch these on repeat all day.  See for yourselves:

The animation style suited the characters beautifully.  Their personalities were able to shine through with how they moved, how they appeared in the anime, and their own powers.  I’m a sucker for a good fight scene and watching Klaus fight was obviously the best part of a given episode.

… Along with the outro:

Overall / TL;DR

In the end, I feel like Blood Blockade Battlefront is an anime adaptation that tried to fit too much in too little.  The animation style was on point, and the story is interesting and could be the base for many more awesome episodes and developments.  However with the ending as convoluted and unprecedented as it was, I’m just exceptionally confused about.. everything.  Watch episodes 1-8 for a great anime, and ignore the ending to avoid unnecessary confusion and pain.

Huh? Oh, well, you know… I got tortured.
 – Leonardo Watch

One Punch Man

one punch manEnglish:  One Punch Man
Japanese: 
 One Punch Man
Genres:
  Action, Comedy, Parody, Sci-Fi, Super Power, Supernatural
Episodes:  12
Aired:  October, 2015 to December, 2015
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“In this new action-comedy, everything about a young man named Saitama screams “AVERAGE,” from his lifeless expression, to his bald head, to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking fellow doesn’t have your average problem… He’s actually a superhero that’s looking for tough opponents! The problem is, every time he finds a promising candidate he beats the snot out of them in one punch. Can Saitama finally find an evil villain strong enough to challenge him? Follow Saitama through his hilarious romps as he searches for new bad guys to challenge!”


JONATHAN’S REVIEW

Rating:  5+ / 5
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Started:  October 4th, 2015
Finished:  December 20th, 2015
Booze Pairing: Miller Genuine Draft

Have you ever wanted to watch a show about insanely-overpowered, hyper-generic, anime Superman that destroys everything in his path with a single punch? If the thought never crossed your mind you probably never would have wanted it. Personally I didn’t know I wanted One Punch Man until I started it, then I couldn’t get enough; to me it was the anime equivalent of heroine.

This show is a HUGE parody on shounen battle anime in general, from the cities, to the Main Character’s name, and even the Antagonist’s designs, the aura of satirical creativity is endless in this anime. The entire gag of the show is that Saitama doesn’t operate within set ‘power levels’ that many anime establish, and he can apparently warp and bend the laws of physics and logic around him at will because regardless of how strong his opponent is he will always win; as far as the show itself is concerned he’s unbeatable for the sake of comedy, which I have no personal complaints against. Getting back to the show itself, One Punch Man is just so much fucking fun to watch, both sober and at all levels of inebriation; the animation style is gorgeous (MADHOUSE has put out some seriously beautiful anime these last few years), the jokes are perfectly timed and don’t seem forced, and the show constantly pokes fun of many shounen troupes while still maintaining a semi-serious, badass undertone that just made the anime for me. The ‘overarching’ plot doesn’t develop until a several episodes in, but it’s there nonetheless and the show isn’t purely episodic as it might first appear to be.

You’ll know whether or not this anime is for you from the first few episodes, but I will say this: Two of my roommates back at my university residence more or less despised anime in general, and yet they both fell in love with One Punch Man. If that doesn’t speak volumes as to the audience One Punch Man can reach then I don’t know what will. I just hope you enjoy it half as much as I did.