Blood Blockade Battlefront ( a study of self-esteem): a Review

You know for how little the series seems to want to give you any sort of impression of the vibe it would go for, Blood Blockade Battlefront (or just BBB because it’s not a chore) somehow saved it because of a fucking monkey (it’s a cool monkey)

Spoilers for season 1 and 2 of Blood Blockade Battlefront

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Seeing as it’s Trigun author Nightow’s second work, it was no wonder that this would be a pretty wild character-centered story, and I haven’t seen any of Trigun so I have the authority to say this. With a focus on its setting, one I really respect, the premise of the show is that New York has yet again been visited by aliens, but this time they stayed. So to filter out the ‘bad-ies’ and to keep the city under (minimal) control through all of the fuckery that goes on, secret organization Libra mostly fucks around and sometimes uses magic blood powers to defeat funny ghosts. 

And from the direction of Rie Matsumoto, who worked on magical girl shows before which is always a good sign, the main cast, and the city is really able to come alive which surprised me with how insanely boring the protagonist came off. With the dystopian yet almost futurama-like energy to the setting, there’s an immediate hook that works with the fast-paced character writing and chemistry, which is in large part the thing holding the series together. We see the epitome of this in the character Femt, whose eccentricity was just too good to be true.

This is incredibly well paired with the stylized animation that gives the characters a striking note, and this is ignoring the incredible set pieces where the animation really gets to shine. The focus on layers really adds to the feeling that the characters are kicking through the screen, literally making me dodge at points. This along with the interesting decision to accentuate the distance between the characters, through the negative space used in the cinematography, stands to make the relationship between the characters an even bigger point of note

This is sadly the case for the contrary, where the character’s reliance on the fast pacing is really shown when the series slows down, especially so in the second season, where there’s no underlying plot between White and Black, like the former, which although was unintelligible at points, gave the series a tie that is sorely missed later on, where the cast spends their time dealing with elements of the universe that don’t add much to the big picture, an even bigger sin considering how they could’ve spent this time to prioritize Femt, whose gang was a highlight of the show and the series’ opening, and an incredible disappointment to only really shine in the background

This is really heightened by the end of the season, which chooses to focus on the main characters’ sister. Already being a bland character on their own, their sister was nothing more than an introductory tool, and although they pretend they act as a motivation for Leo, as far as the screenplay is concerned they barely have a role, which is confusing when the finale and its culminated tension stands on her. It gives a very well-presented and structured series that last bit of disjointedness that really fuels the fire in all of its other connected flaws.

Although there is a clear lack of self-esteem in the series to go all out for the entire runtime, one I feel they really could do, The incredible setting of Blood Blockade Battlefront and how they are able to build upon this with the characters makes the series worthwhile and memorable

Mid 7/10

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