Directed by Shigeyuki Miya
Animated by Brain’s Base
Suitable for 13+
In a world saturated with vampire stories, it can be difficult to find a new take that no one has used to death already (no pun intended). We’ve seen the brooding, angsty, hopelessly romantic vampire. There’s been the frightening and monstrous vampires constantly seeking fresh blood. Yes, even sparkly vampires. Despite all the odds, Blood Lad manages to bring us a new kind of vampire. And thankfully no, they don’t sparkle.
Blood Lad takes place in a supernatural world where creatures like vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and shapeshifters exist. Main character Staz is a vampire boss in charge of a section of the demon world. His surly personality and intimidating looks hide a hilarious secret. Staz could care less about drinking human blood, since he is too busy being obsessed with Japanese culture. Yup, vampire boss Staz is an otaku.
Enter second main character Yanagi Fuyumi, a Japanese teenage girl who accidentally wanders into the demon world. At the mention of a human girl in his territory, Staz sends his goons off to collect her. He has but a moment with Fuyumi before he has to leave her to fight off an intruder. After, Staz finds out that during his fight Fuyumi was left to her own devices, and subsequently eaten by one of the intruding monsters… Oops. But hey, not all hope is lost! Fuyumi is actually now a ghost! Staz stashes the skeletal remains of Fuyumi’s human body and vows to find a way to resurrect her. Thus begins the rest of Blood Lad.
Blood Lad’s ten episodes manage to squash in a bunch of differing subplots, as well as a wide gamut of characters. In some anime this can feel crowded, leaving us feeling like we didn’t get to know certain characters well enough. This is not the case with Blood Lad however. This illustrates the miracles of setting a quirky tone from the beginning of a series. We know that this is a show about devilish creatures, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, oh my! But we also know from the very start that none of this will be treated very seriously. Need I remind you that Staz is an otaku vampire that likes Fuyumi only because she is Japanese. All of the subplots and characters might not make sense together normally, but in a silly series like Blood Lad, they somehow work.
Take for example the story arc where Staz finds himself in a prison run by his younger sister. You certainly read that right, his younger sister, and that’s not even the strange part! In said prison, Staz pushes a button on the wall which allows him into an area with a pleasant looking field of green grass. It doesn’t look pleasant for long though, because a set of blonde-haired mask-wearing twin brothers accost Staz and beat him half to death. At one point the brothers get split in half by Staz, but they keep fighting! Turns out the brothers are zombies. Of course they are. This is par for the course with Blood Lad. Just like the fact that his younger sister is strong enough to single-handedly control her own prison.
Blood Lad is animated by Brain’s Base, the same studio that brought us greats like Durarara!!, Baccano!, and Natsume Yuujinchou. It’s clear to see that this is a studio that knows what it’s doing, and does it very well. Blood Lad’s animations are crisp, brightly colored, and full of character variety. Just like in Natsume Yuujinchou, Brain’s Base manages to illustrate even crowd scenes without stooping to copy/paste style crowd animations. Each character has their own personality quirks, and it’s great to see. On the subject of personalities, the voices for the characters in Blood Lad match them perfectly. It’s incredibly fun to hear Staz’s semi-monotone, refuses-to-be-excited voice next to Fuyumi’s stereotypical bubbly teenage girl tone.
The most stand-out detriment to the series is the ending, and even that could hardly be considered a negative. Blood Lad has a sort of non-ending, with Fuyumi still stuck as a ghost, and Staz still vowing to revive her. It’s very possible that there will be a second season of Blood Lad since the original manga is still being published.
While Blood Lad is an entertaining series with a charming cast, it’s not exactly the most memorable anime you’ll ever watch. A second season could definitely change this fact. But for now, if you’re looking for a quick, quirky little series to watch for fun, this has totally got your name written all over it.