Black Blood Brothers: The Complete Series is a short 12 episode thrill ride. Basically the plot goes a little something like this; Two vampires, Jiro and his little brother Kotaro, are stowing away on a Chinese ship on their way to Japan. Their destination is the Safe Zone, where vampires and humans are allowed to coexist. But then a firefight breaks out on board between some immigrant vampires and an anti-vampire military squad, and Jiro has no choice but to get involved. The first few episodes may turn off all but the most hardcore fans of the genre with its bland characters. For some odd reason while watching, I had to push myself through each episode not really experiencing any emotion for the characters involved. Kotaro isn’t quite as endearing, primarily because he’s a spunky little kid.
It mostly holds interest through gradually revealed details of Jiro’s past and how it relates to his present. It didn’t take me long to figure out who was who and where everything was in the Black Blood Brothers’ universe which is generally a good sign. Later on, they are assisted by Mimiko, a negotiator between their species. Jiro will try to make sense of the chaos which surrounds them before they are caught up in it and destroyed. Jiro is a likable vampire protagonist, despite being deadly and rather tragic at times. Toshiyuki Sugano did a good job with the overall character designs, as there is a bit of softness to the overall look and feel to the series. Perhaps this could also be why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I originally went in thinking, Black Blood Brothers was a bloodfest, dark, violent anime series,but instead it came out to be an fun series for the most part.
The pacing of the series feels pretty good, until you reach the end. I was not a fan of the ending that left me unfulfilled. It’s a delicate balance to successfully leave just enough room for a whole new set of episodes which we all know will probably never happen. Instead of taking that gamble I would have liked an ending that wasn’t so open ended that I felt cheated. In the second half of the series, the action and horror start amping up in a slow build to the climax. Vampire themed shows and movies seem to be all the rage right now, but the good thing about this series is it doesn’t follow the stereotype. Jirou displays powers such as force field energy, telekinesis, superhuman strength, superhuman speed, superhuman agility, and superhuman reflexes. He clearly isn’t a normal vampire.
When the two brothers have recovered enough to continue on their way to The Special Zone, Jiro informs Mimiko that he is an Old Blood which means he is over 100 years old. Black Blood is another term which is used to differentiate younger vampires from humans. Perhaps that is why this does not feel much like a true vampire series. If anything, the more mature themes, comes from the English dub dialogue but other than that, the series is not scary at all.
In conclusion, I am generally not a fan of vampire stories, but this one never crosses the line of becoming too sparkly. I had high hopes and was eventually let down but there were enough redeeming qualities to recommend. This series lacks the production quality of many other modern series, but watching it on blu-ray disc made several colorful scenes jump out at me. The ending leaves room for a follow-up series, which I hate, but would like to see happen sometime down the road. If you are a fan of vampires or horror anime, then Black Blood Brothers is certainly worth a look and perhaps even add to your anime blu-ray collection which catalogue seems to be growing by the week.