My love for Blood Blockade Battlefront (or Kekkai Sensen) was unexpected. I generally don’t start an anime until it’s survived the anime wolves and trolls, so I was a bit hesitant to deviate from this practice for Blood Blockade Battlefront. Frankly, it had all the markings of a “good but not great” anime. The manga is still in its infancy and the story has barely developed. The main character is everyday Joe who spews kindness, depends heavily on his peers, and has one single distinguishing power. My first impulse was to avoiding watching another Naruto, Gurren Lagann, or Bleach shonen formulate anime, but I am glad I ignored that feeling.
Watching Blood Blockade Battlefront will give you a sense of familiarity. The city, the fantastic creatures, and 30 second comedy bits being carried through entire episodes like Zapp’s overeating will remind you of other beloved anime. That is because Bones is responsible for beloved series such as Eureka Seven, Full Metal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club, and Soul Eater. My favorite part about a Bones production is the beauty and detail of each scene, as well as the energetic battle choreography. Even when the anime is thin story-wise, as is the case with Blood Blockade Battlefront, the animation is gorgeous.
Blood Blockade Battlefront is definitely light when it comes to story. I initially thought it was about returning Leo’s sister’s sight and about Libra’s quest for justice, which then changes in episode 11. There are too many characters being introduced without significant contribution to an overall story arc. This would be fine if it were more episodic like Mushishi, but these characters are retained for the rest of the episodes. I believe this prevents us from getting to know the main characters and stifles character development.
I have formed attachments to two characters, Klaus and Zapp, because they are the only ones to have any significant development.The main protagonist, Leo, is still as two dimensional as he is in the first episode with no signs of growth. Hopefully, this improves as the Blood Blockade Battlefront manga and anime matures. Please, let there be a season 2!
I am also very confused about who is the main villain. Libra is obviously fighting some Big Bad, but so many Big Bads are introduced. Perhaps, when I read the manga …
Blood Blockade Battlefront is the first anime that I have looked forward to the opening AND credits music. While I’m a bigger fan of K-pop than J-pop/rock, I was jamming along for the whole season. Bump of Chicken and Unison Square Garden knocked it out of the park with more momentum than expected from an anime OST. It also helps that it is the most energizing thing I’ve heard in while. I forget that Hell-Salem is actually a scary place and I want to meet it head on after listening. Also, look at how much fun Libra is having while dancing along! You know you want to dance and move to the city with a mortality rates unheard of since the Dark Ages.
While Blood Blockade Battlefront could use more plot development, its beautiful animation, star studded voice cast, and mind blowing ambience has won me over. I am still waiting for the finale but I am certain I will be forcing all my friends to watch this new anime. It’s the little things that make this the anime of this season. For instance, I heard someone say, “Love AND Peace.”My first thought was that is a nice tribute to Trigun and Vash the Stampede. I later discovered, to my amazement and delight, this little faux-Easter egg was from Yasuhiro Nightow, who is responsible for Trigun as well as Blood Blockade Battlefront’s manga and anime. This quells my fears for the future of Blood Blockade Battlefront, as I know the story will get better with time and it will live up to the hype.