“The geek shall inherit the Earth.” – Alexander Robbins
Blood Lad is an anime which stirs up strange thoughts. Thoughts such as: “Is Blood Lad the most northern-sounding title an anime has ever been given?” When I first came across this series the use of the word “lad” was what first grabbed my attention, immediately sparking all sorts of weird ideas, like a vampire claiming that rather than sucking up blood, he downs bitter, or crossing vampires with Last of the Summer Wine so you end up with a coffin on wheels going down a hill. Mind you Dracula is partly set in Whitby, so there is a Yorkshire connection.
But I digress. Getting to more important matters, Blood Lad is a series which mixes bright visual art with supernatural themes, battles and comedy to create an intriguing viewing experience.
The series is set in the “Demon World”, where the eastern part is controlled by the vampire Staz Charlie Blood. However, he does not spend his time going out and stalking humans for their blood. Instead he reads manga, watches anime and plays video games. Staz is total otaku. There are times when other residents challenge Staz for his* rule of his* territory, but he can easily defeat such people.
Then Staz is informed that a human girl has somehow managed to enter the Demon World. Staz encounters the girl, Fuyumi Yangai, and takes her back to her apartment. But when Staz leaves her to defeat some territorial invaders, Fuyumi is eaten by a man-eating plant and is killed, but because this is the Demon World, she is not killed outright, but is turned into a ghost. Following this accident Staz promises Fuyumi to bring her back from the dead and return her to the Human World.
This is a tricky job as they have to deal with many other weird residents of the Demon World. The duo meet Hydra Bell, a treasure hunter who controls spatial and teleportation magic, who informs them that she sold a book about human resurrection in the western Demon World which is controlled by Staz’s old rival Wolf (who, in case the name doesn’t make it clear, is a werewolf). Worst of all, however, is that the book is in code and, in order to translate it, Staz needs to meet the author: his hated older brother Braz, which also leads to an unwelcome meeting with their younger and violent sister Liz.
The art is perhaps the biggest draw to the series. The use of bright colours may be a bit garish for some viewers, but personally I found it to be rather distinctive. The characters themselves are also entertaining, especially Staz himself who provides plenty of comedy whether it be through cultural references to anime or just his own strange behaviour.
On the downside, however, there are some issues with the production of this collection. Episodes 6-8 have some problems with scene selection where the chapter points appear mid-chapter or in the middle of the opening credits for example. Also, as the manga is ongoing, the series ends mid-point, so there is still quite a lot of the story that has not yet been adapted. Hopefully there will be a second series at some point.
Regarding extras, there is the OVA episode; two art galleries (one with images from the anime, another with illustrations by the creator of the original manga Yuuki Kodama); outtakes from the English dub, textless opening and closing, and a Japanese promo video. The Blu-ray also comes with a booklet and special packaging.
Blood Lad is entertaining, but there is more to be told, and the production issues are an annoyance.