Blood+ landed amidst a resurgence of the vampire genre. It came two years after the conclusion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 3 days after the release of the first book in the Twilight series. It was beautifully animated and had a decent storyline, even if the pacing crawled at times. Today, almost 5 years after the show finished, CLAMP has re-imaged the story with Blood-C. The new version has character designs and a mood that will appeal to Clamp fans, even if Blood+ loyalists won’t be able to stomach more than a few episodes.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve started subscribing to some French anime blogs. I can’t speak a word of the language, but I know good taste, and more to the point, just how priceless it is. On the front page of Manganimation.net, there are burgeoning articles on ‘The Sky Crawlers‘, ‘Kaiba’ and Kazuto Nakazawa. Basically, the French anime fans are awesome, and just because he’s such a wonderful artist, I want to post up some clips showcasing Nakazawa‘s beautiful animation.
The 10 minute short story ‘Comedy’ was the first time I noticed Nakazawa and it remains his best work to date. Ostensibly about a young girl desperate to repel English invaders from Ireland, it’s a Tim Burton-esque gothic fairy-tale; dark, atmospheric and elegant. The brooding bishonen vampire at the centre of this plot, known only as the black swordsman, rarely cracks a smile; despite his fearsome reputation, he will only help the girl if she can find him a comedy book to laugh at. Make sure you stream this on YouTube, download it with as high a quality as possible and store it forever.
Although I don’t have much of an opinion on the show itself (having only seen the first few episodes), ‘Blood+’ offers two excellent opening sequences, the second of which was directed by our man Nakazawa. The song immediately recalls Monorol‘s swooning rock opening for Ergo Proxy, while the animation slips between sequences of ‘Comedy’-style gothic posturing and a wistful nostalgia for bright, easy going suburban life. Repeating this video a few times over, I’m reminded how just how much I loved that same feeling of ‘romance with nostalgia’ in ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time‘.
I’m assured “hair is the heart of a woman”, and after seeing Nakazawa‘s ‘Hairy Tale’, I’m inclined to believe it. This was actually a Japanese TV ad. for ‘Asinence’ shampoo, but regardless of its commercial intent, it’s an undeniably stunning work of art. I suppose there’s only so many adjectives I can throw at one minute’s worth of animation without coming off as horribly pretentious (as if I haven’t already), so just watch it, please.
Nakazawa‘s latest effort is a music video for the song ‘Atarashii Sekai’ by Asian Kung-Fu Generation, and I’ve somehow got through this post without even mentioning his most famous contributions to the mainstream consciousness, namely the ‘fun‘ (warning: heavy violence) animation sequence in ‘Kill Bill’ and his scratchy, dystopian music video for Linkin Park‘s ‘Breaking The Habbit’.
Is an opening theme enough to reignite interest in a series? I guess it is for me because I’ve just seen the third opening sequence for mediocre vampire slasher Blood+ and suddenly I’ve been persuaded to give this show another chance.
First time around I discovered Blood+ was terribly predictable, but if Production I.G devote as much passion to the story telling as they have this vivid opening animation, I’ll happily return.
The OP in question is a wonderful mixture of experimental, gritty gothic visuals with enough cool looking poses and sword slashing, blood dripping action scenes to convince even the most skeptical of fans this so isn’t the watered-down mainstream series it started out as; but you don’t have to take just my word for it- stream it over at YouTube now.