In a small town with a sinister secret, mysterious monsters feed on the humans, and a schoolgirl with a sword may be their only hope of survival.
What did you watch and why? This was the second series from my A to Z Anime Challenge. I remember watching a short movie back in the days of VHS called Blood: The Last Vampire, which was very cool. So, when I saw the cover art for this series, I assumed it must be connected and decided to watch it. It was connected.
What’s it about? Saya is your average schoolgirl. Well, not quite. She lives at a shrine with her father, a stoic and serious man. When she’s not doing her chores around the shrine or going to school, she fights demonic creatures called Elder Bairns who feast on human flesh.
As more and more people go missing, Saya’s fights intensify, but then several of the Elder Bairns accuse her of violating a covenant. She has no idea what they are talking about and her father can offer nothing more on the topic.
Saya suffers from memory lose and gets debilitating headaches whenever she tries to remember certain things. Despite all this she is a cheerful and hopeful girl who sings on her way to school and is always pleasant.
What hooked you? I was drawn in by my experience with Blood: The Last Vampire and was instantly rewarded with a beautifully choreographed fight scene in the first episode. I’ll get to it later, but the fights truly are spectacular.
What was your favourite scene? I loved all of the fights, but it was the first one that really stood out to me. Saya wanders through the forest with her katana in hand, before emerging to a large calm lake. Something seems to be standing on the water. Saya unsheathes her sword and races towards it. This entire scene was stunning. The atmosphere was tense and the camera angles masterfully chosen. Just watch the first episode and get ready for the final scene.
What was your least favourite scene? All right, so this is where it kind of all fell to pieces for me. I still loved it, but this is what stops me from screaming from the rooftops. There are several mysterious cut scenes with blood in glass vials floating in water and hanging from the ceiling. A softly spoken voice contemplates some philosophical question.
Now, these scenes themselves were nicely done, but my problem is with the voice. I regularly recognize voices between anime, so how hard will it be for me to spot the same voice in the same anime. They obviously wanted to keep it a secret which makes it all the more annoying. It definitely shattered the illusion and had me guessing a lot of the twists long before they happened.
Who was your favourite character? That’s easy. It’s Saya. She is incredible. I loved the way it played with the two sides of her, from the enthusiastic schoolgirl to the vicious killer. She was obviously in all the fights too, so that helped a lot, especially considering how amazing they were.
Who was your least favourite character? Fumito, the owner of the cafe across from the shrine who cooked for Saya and his father. The reasoning stems from my earlier gripe about voices. I’ll say no more.
Which character needs more screen time? I actually don’t think anyone needs any more time. All of the school friends were given plenty of time. Maybe the teacher, Kanako could have got some more time to explain her involvement in everything, but it wouldn’t have been necessary. Just give us more of Saya fighting Elder Bairns.
Is it similar to any other anime you’ve seen? It had a style and fluidity unlike anything else I’ve seen. The characters were all drawn tall and lean, almost too tall from time to time, but I still enjoyed it. It’s related to Blood: The Last Vampire from 2000 and there was another series Blood+ which I haven’t seen. There is a movie Blood-C: The Last Dark which I am just about to watch, so look out for that review shortly/
Would you like another season? I really enjoyed this series until the end. The whole twist and reveal felt a little stupid and a bit obvious if you’d been paying attention to the smaller details. Not to mention the twisted artificial Elder Bairns that removed all trace of the town. That was a bit messed up. I probably would enjoy another series, however the movie follows on directly from this and there was a bit of an open ending so I’ll have to see where that takes us.
What elements of the story inspire you? I like to play with the tempo in fight scenes, using sounds and short sentences to quicken the pace. The fights in this were beautiful and I’d love to spend a little more time really analyzing them. It’s obviously hard to translate something as visually stunning into a written passage without the benefit of music, but I’m going to try.
Other reviews in the series
Animercise: Another full series completed in 2019. This will help boost my numbers up. I am definitely finding it easier and will look at increasing the repetitions as of February.
Episode Count: 12 (53)
Push-ups – 40 (170)
Sit-ups – 40 (180)
Squats – 40 (180)