Blade was one of four Marvel Anime series produced for the Japanese market in 2011. The one that peaked my interest was the franchise that Wesley Snipes original got me into. So, you know the gist if you’ve seen the movies; Blade, half-human/half-vampire, all the strengths, none of the weaknesses! Blade’s quest for vengeance leads him throughout Southeast Asia in search of Frost, where, in Vietnam, he discovers a vampire plot that threatens to take down the whole world. His first run in with vampires in Japan is moody as he deals with a group that’s toying with some random person and it lets us understand that most of what you hear about how to kill vampires are just myths.
The other bad guy in the story is Lucius, who was his usual deliciously evil self. Making the same mistake Blade: Trinity made by having Blade be secondary in his own movie, Blade Anime introduces a father and daughter team that fight both vampires and werewolves. The series bobbed along but never really carried me with it. Instead I forced myself to follow it downstream. I know there’s only so much you can do with the character without taking away from the mystery of him, but it’s not that difficult. The mythology of the character is also played around with a bit too much, so comic fans may have a problem with that, but this is still the best version of the character on screen yet.
What I have failed to mention thus far is the romantic aspect of the series. Blade’s trip to the past does help Makoto some as she’s dealing with her own issues after the lsos of her father, and getting a better look at his pain when he discovered someone claiming to be his mother is certainly instructive. Makoto’s dealing with a lot of fresh pain and plenty of blame towards him, but she’s also realizing that it’s not the right path. While his early childhood is difficult and he suffered a lot and lost a lot, seeing the way it pushed him even further as time went on just reinforces why he’s so hard. Combining this with what we learned in the previous episode with the training he got from Van Helsing gives us a fairly rounded and mostly complete origin story, though there’s plenty more to tell as well since it’s just scratching the surface.
Another strong point I would love to mention is the character of Frost. Deacon Frost was always Blade’s arch nemesis in the comics, and the first movie utilized him well despite his banal looks, but this show has the true Deacon Frost; a huge, massive, overpowering giant with all the best abilities of vampires and beasts. It’s a great creation and the Deacon Frost that we should have seen in the theatrical films. Every showdown between him and Blade is a real treat, and the final showdown in particular between the two is dazzling. The animation of the show as a whole is top notch, balancing the dark and gritty with the lush and transparent.
So, in conclusion there is a lot of bad and good with this series. Luckily, it was broadcasted on free cable and it was relatively short. The setup for Blade is simple in that he’s still hunting down the vampire that got his mother and in the end turned him into what he is now, a daywalker. The inclusion of Wolverine, and Asian territories is only a bonus and has gotten me even more hyped for the upcoming Wolverine film. For the most part, Blade is easy to follow anime series while still being a quality step up from average PG super-hero material in both tone and weight. A masterpiece, although, this is not. Thumbs in the middle.