Blood+, on Animax
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DVD: volume 1; volume 2; volume 3; volume 4
This series is set in modern times, about 30 years after the events of the movie Blood: The Last Vampire, I guess. For the past year, Saya Otonashi has been living in Okinawa with an adoptive family: George Miyagusuku, and his two adopted sons, Kai and Riku. (George had a wife and biological children who died some years ago.) Saya appears to be a fairly normal high school girl. However, she has no memories of her life prior to one year ago. But of course, her past will catch up with her, as she is the only person who can fight the vampiric creatures called Chiropterans. Before long, she meets a mysterious man called Haji, who seems to know her, and who will both protect her and follow her orders. But he won't tell her anything about her past, just that she has to fight the chiropterans.
It will also soon turn out that George knows about Saya's past, and has been keeping it from her. He seems to be part of, or at least has ties to, a group called Red Shield, which exists to fight Chiropterans. They have been waiting for Saya to "wake up," which I guess means to fully recover her memories, but they also refuse to tell her anything, saying she has to remember things on her own. Others in Red Shield include a man called David, a doctor named Julia Silverstein, and a man named Lewis, who appears to supply various support services like tech, transport, intel, and cooking (he also used to work for the CIA). Anyway, there are frequent references to something that happened with Saya in Vietnam, during the war. Saya has occasional flashbacks, but still doesn't understand what it's all about.
Well, it was some time before I began to understand what all was going on, myself. So I can't very well explain what was going on in the earliest episodes, I'm afraid. Nevertheless, this is the bit of the review where major spoilers begin. George is at some point attacked by a chiropteran, and later ends up dying. But it was more complicated than that, and rather tragic on a personal level for Saya, but I'd rather not explain how. Anyway, after George dies, Red Shield sends Saya off to a boarding school in Vietnam, to look for chiropterans and kill them. She'll get some backup from Haji, David, Julia, and Lewis. While at the school, she becomes friends with her roommate, Min. Kai and Riku, meanwhile, try to find out where she's gone. There's also a newspaper reporter named Akihiro Okamura, whose father had taken pictures of Saya apparently during the Vietnam War, and in trying to learn the truth behind them, Okamura travels to Vietnam, himself.
But the members of Red Shield are not the only ones waiting for Saya to wake up. There's also the Cinq Flèches Group, which is a major conglomerate. It's run by Solomon Goldsmith, who turns out to be a Chevalier. I think it was some time before we learn chevaliers are people who have drunk the blood of either Saya or Diva, thus gaining long life and various superhuman abilities, and who protect the one who "created" them. Haji turns out to be Saya's chevalier, but the others, including Solomon, his older brother Amshel, Carl Fei-Ong (the chairman of the boarding school in Vietnam), James Ironside, and Nathan Mahler, are all Diva's chevaliers. But it's some time before we meet all of them. There's a guy named Vin Argiano, who was working with the U.S. military for awhile, apparently. He's human, but the head scientist at Cinq Flèches, in charge of developing something called Delta 67.
Anyway, Saya and Red Shield, while looking for chiropterans, were also investigating the Delta 67, as well as trying to find Diva, who was asleep. It's some time before we learn exactly who Diva is, but she's very important, and Red Shield wants Saya to kill her. They nearly caught up to her in Vietnam, but her protectors managed to get her away. After a brief return to Okinawa, where Saya, Kai, and Riku spend some time with old friends (including Saya's best friend Kaori), Saya will journey through Russia in search of Diva, along with David, Julia, and Lewis. This time, Kai and Riku are allowed to come along with them. They're seen as a stabilizing influence on Saya, who in the past, like in Vietnam 30 years ago, sometimes lost control.
I should also mention that Okamura returned to Okinawa after not turning up much of anything in Vietnam, except for one lead involving a French wine from 1967. But his newspaper doesn't want to fund his personal investigation, so he figures he'll have to give up on the story. That is, until Mao Jahana gets involved. She's Kai's ex-girlfriend, and wants to find him. She figures if she tags along with Okamura on his quest to find Saya, she'll find Kai in the process. So, she steals a ton of money from her father, who is in the Japanese mafia, to fund Okamura's search.
Well, lots of things happen over the course of the series. Eventually Okamura and Mao catch up with Saya and her companions, and be of some help. The hunt for Diva takes the group to England for a time, where they stay with a man called Gray, and a girl named Monique, and two little kids named Javier and Nahabi. Later they find that Diva has gone to New York, where she's going to give an opera performance. Which is actually tied to a larger plot involving Cinq Flèches and the U.S. government and... um, I've been saying things out of order, I think, and I've forgotten to mention some things. There was a group of warriors created by Cinq Flèches called the Schiff, who were now at odds with their creators, and who also suffered a fatal disease called the Thorn. Despite their common enemy, at first they were also enemies of Saya and her friends. But Kai befriended a Schiff named Irene, and hoped they could all get along. Though, other than Irene, the only one who ever became truly close to the group was Lulu... and to an extent, Moses. Anyway, Red Shield hoped to find a cure for the Thorn, but by the end, only Lulu was left.
In any event, the Schiff were considered a failure by their creators, I guess, and ultimately they created another group called the Corpse Corps, who were fairly mindless. And this, along with Delta 67 and Diva's singing, all tied in to Vin's secret plan with the U.S. Which I'm not going to reveal. But anyway, Saya and her allies went to New York to stop those plans, and continue trying to kill Diva. And, well, there are other complications, ethical dilemmas, and whatnot. I mean, lots of potential spoilers that I'm just not going to talk about. So I can't tell you how it ends, or even some of the things that happened throughout the series....
But anyway, I will say that I liked the series better than I did the movie. Certainly I think Saya is more attractive in the series, but that's a trivial matter. The main thing is that I never had much idea of what was going on in the movie. There's just a lot of backstory, obviously, that is never explained. It's like we're plunked down in the middle of Saya's story and expected to react as if it all makes sense. What I like about the show is that the same thing basically has happened to Saya: she doesn't know her own backstory, and since she's going to have to learn what's going on, we the viewers get the same chance, vicariously. I also quite like all the flashbacks, and I love the visual style of the series, and the relationship between Saya and Haji can also be quite beautiful as well as tragic, at times. Saya's relationships with family and friends are also quite important... and I guess that's all I can think to say.