The animation studio behind the production, Production I.G., really pushed the limits of anime with “Blood+”. The story involves a high-school girl, Saya, an anemic who has no memory of her own past. She lives with her father and her two adopted siblings. However, things turn for the worse on a night when Saya runs back to the school at night to get her athletics uniform. A humongous monster grabs his teacher and kills him. Trapped in a science laboratory, Saya is saved by Hagi, who feeds her some of his blood through a kiss. When Saya’s brother goes out to tell her that her uniform is still a home, the beast attacks Riku and is about to kill him when Saya goes berzerk. Cutting her finger to release her blood on her sword, she chops the monster in half.
To make matters worse, the U.S. army and organization known as Cinq de Fleches sends an army regiment to their position. Haji manages to carry them to safety to the top of another building. Soon enough, Saya’s foster father explains that she is actually a warrior who was laid to rest in a cave after the Vietnam War, when she fell into a hibernation cycle. George was ordered after the war to guard Saya and kill her if she went into a killing rage as she did in the war. After she awoke, George adopted her, seeing that she was no longer a threat. She also adopted two other boys, Kai and Riku.
After another battle with a chiropteran, where Hagi saves her again, George is wounded and is taken to an army hospital. Meanwhile, George’s friend in the army, David, also reveals that she is the only one capable of killing the monsters with her blood. Whenever a monster is hurt with blood from Saya sword, it becomes paralyzed. As a member of the Red Shield, David asks her to join their fight to save the world against the monsters. Things turn bad after George is kidnapped by Cinq de Fleches, and Saya has no choice but to join her guardian, Kai, and David to find George in a secret U.S. army base.
And when you think things can’t get any worse, Cinq de Fleches injects George with Delta 67, the drug that turns people into chiropterans. In a brutal scene, George, wounded and kneeling in a pool of his own blood, begins to transform into a chiropteran. Saya cannot bear to kill him with her sword, but George told her that there was no other way. In a heartbreaking scene, Saya cuts herself and lets her blood flow down into George’s wounds to paralyze him for good. Although her father died, Saya decides to join the Red Shield in their epic battle against Cinq de Felches.
Even though I’ve only seen about two volumes of this box set, it is clear that “Blood+” is one of the best anime I have ever seen this year. Technically, the series is a sequel to the 30-minute film “Blood: The Last Vampire”, but this series certainly stands alone as an incredible piece of work. The music is also composed by Hans Zimmer, best known for his music in the epic film “Gladiator.” Despite the bloody violence in this series, there are tender moments as well, as Saya and her brothers struggle to spend time together as a family.
The box set of the first 25 episodes of this series is not cheap–it costs more than $100. However, the story, action and drama conveyed in this series is worth every penny. On an unfortunate note, from what I’ve seen on the first two discs, there are no extras, and I really didn’t like the English dub. Still, based on the subtitled version, this is one of the best series of 2008, and I cannot wait until the part two box set is released.