Non-stop vampire action!Produced by Group TAC (Saiyuki, Vampire Princess Miyu) and Studio Live (Rahxephone The Motion Picture.) Not all vampires are evil? 10 years ago man and vampire teamed up to defeat the "Kowloon Child... more »ren" a virulent breed of vampires seeking to infect all humanity. Now one of the heroes from the Great War, Silver Blade, is traveling to the "Special Zone" to retire with his younger brother in tow. Unbeknownst to them, the remnants from the Great War are plotting their revenge.« less
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 02/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A decade ago, humans and vampires fought side-by-side to exterminate the Kowloon Bloodline, a strain of vampires that converted other vampires to their bloodline with a bite, and killed the humans they bit. The only way humans could be converted to any other vampire bloodline is by drinking the blood of a vampire. One of the most famous vampire warriors from this conflict was Jiro Mochizuki, also known as the Silver Blade.
Warning: Some minor plot spoilers ahead.
Jiro and his brother Kotaro are on a ship heading to Japan and the Special Zone, where vampires live in peace alongside humans, when a Suppression Team from OCC, the Order Coffin Company, boards the ship. The intent of the Suppression Team is to eliminate a group of vampire stowaways because they believe one of the deadly Kowloon Children is among them. Kotaro stumbles into the fight and appears to be in danger when brother Jiro, who is grumpy when he wakes up, appears to save the day. Unfortunately, Kotaro ends up in the water and Jiro, for whom water is dangerous, must dive in to save him.
In the second episode, we learn that Jiro and Kotaro, who looked doomed in the previous episode, have survived. However, they survived only to end up in the midst of yet another battle with the Suppression Team from the OCC. This time Jiro fares worse, but distracts the Suppression Team long enough for Kotaro to get away.
After more excitement and adventures, Jiro and Kotaro come together once again, but this time we learn that indeed one of the Kowloon Children was in the group of stowaways. Unfortunately, the Kowloon Child has power comparable to Jiro's own and the Kowloon Child kidnaps Kotaro, intent on entering the Special Zone where vampires are available for conversion into the forbidden and deadly bloodline. Can Jiro, Compromiser Mimiko Katsuragi, vampire Kelly Wong and Kotaro stop the Kowloon Child? You will have to watch and see!
If you take away the subplots, this movie treads little in the way of new ground. However, each episode contains additional elements that are intriguing and interesting. For example, each episode contains a flashback at the beginning that will take another eight episodes to understand in this twelve episode series. Each episode also feeds us yet more detail about Jiro and Kotaro, who has another name, which I leave for you to discover. We also see pieces of other characters who will undoubtedly become more important as the story progresses. The spice added to this story leaves me wanting more. I was somewhat confused until somewhere in the second episode, but by episode three I was hooked and I wish I had the other eight episodes now.
An aside: I was taken aback when Jiro smashed Kotaro's face into a deck plate, but that was before I realized that Kotaro was a vampire and having his face smashed into a steel deck was hardly more than the equivalent of a slug in the shoulder for a human.
A wish: I want a hat like Jiro's. I have no idea how that hat remained upright, but his hat was cool.
Extras on the DVD include audio commentaries in Japanese with English subtitles, TV spots, trailers and the opening and closing songs without the text.
I am far from being an expert on anime, but I enjoyed these four episodes. The action was fast and the story, while initially confusing, unfolded fast enough that I picked up on it quickly. What might have been a run-of-the-mill vampire story ended up keeping me glued to the television and wanting to pop the next, soon to be available, DVD into the DVD player. The graphics were excellent and the colors were typically brilliant. Incidentally, these episodes are in wide screen format (1.78:1), which is great for those with big screen televisions. I think fans of anime and fans of vampire movies will find these episodes sufficiently interesting to want them for their collection. I know I will acquire the rest when they are available.
Brooding vampires with a sly sense of humor
Nathan Andersen | Florida | 03/07/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This volume begins an intriguing series about a world in which vampires and men have an uneasy truce, that is broken by the presence of a hybrid race of vampires whose victims become their slaves. The intended audience for the series is hard to pinpoint -- there is pretty extreme violence and some talk of sexuality, but the dialogue is pretty simplistic and seems pitched at the same level as the Pokemon series. The animation is pretty standard -- not bad but nothing fantastic. The characters, though, are interesting and the seemingly accidental incident the sets the action in motion gradually reveals a pretty elaborate set of rival concerns, promising lots of future developments in the series. The inclusion of both adult and children characters adds depth -- it is intriguing to see young vampires, and their affection for the younger vampires takes away the one-dimensional serious edge of the older characters. Apart from the strangeness of sexual tension in a film that seems pitched to 13 year olds (come to think of it, that is not so strange and what is strange is that in American animation hints of sexuality almost never appear), the main vampire Jiro and his new friend Mimiko have a real chemistry that builds gradually in the series. Overall, this is a fairly amusing and intriguing series -- and while I am not really the target audience I had fun watching it."
Solid Vampire Anime
Mel Odom | Moore, OK USA | 03/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is episode 1 of a series, so if you get hooked, following the adventures of the BLACK BLOOD BROTHERS could get expensive. However, if you're into anime and manga -- and vampires -- you'll probably enjoy this one a lot. It has a lot of mood, comedy, and violence.
Jiro and Kotaro are brothers, and the story that's presently being unveiled goes back ten years. The series makes the most of time-hopping through the different phases of the story, a particular artform the Japanese storytellers do well most of the time, but the cuts back and forth in these episodes can lose an unwary watcher along the way every so often. I sometimes had to roll the DVD back a ways and watch again to figure out WHEN I was. But the adventure is fun and the usual props -- confusing female character and brotherly rivalry -- are in place.
I liked the concept of the vampires and humans having to join together against even more dangerous vampires. I hadn't seen that one done before, although there have been some interesting blends of vampires and werewolves lately. And the action will keep most viewers glued to the seat till the final moments of the film spin through.
Parents need to be aware that this isn't a program for kids. BLACK BLOOD BROTHERS gets very graphic when it comes to the violence, and some of the dialogue can be rough and a little racy.
Overall, the art in the movie is pretty good. There's a sense of another world, and the mood is definitely affected by what is shown on the program. I'm going to pick up the rest of the series to see how everything turns out because the storyline has my attention."
A good beginning...
Jem | MD, USA | 03/15/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When I first saw this anime, I thought it was going to be a Hellsing rip-off. And to a degree, it was. The lead vampire is eccentric and dresses in a red flowy coat and hat just like Alucard. In fact the cover art looked like a young boy version of Alucard. He's uber-powerful too, only this ones prefers a silver sword to a Casul. However, I love vampire stories, especially Anime ones, so I tried to remain open minded. The art is very well done, though not near the calibur of Trinity Blood or Hellsing. And the story is not as intricate as those two stellar series either. But, it does have a certain charm.
The first two episodes were fairly simple without much intrigue. Jiro is powerful. No - really powerful! Ooh. However, by episode three I was actually drawn in. Vampires and humans joined forces 10 years ago against a new breed of vampires that are highly contagious. Instead of humans having to drink a vampire's blood in order to be changed, they just have to be bitten. This breed can even convert other vampires to their "bloodline." An interesting and fairly original concept that I found appealing. Now, some refugee vampires are heading to the "Special Zone" (read vampire ghetto) to start a new life. But that dangerous breed may not have been exterminated.
One issue I had with this DVD was one I have encountered in Anime before. It can get a bit confusing when they jump around in the timeline without being clear to viewers that we have. A viewer needs to listen carefully at the start of each episode because they say a few sentences that usually clarify something in the timeline. There is a lot of action and the characters are engaging. However, it is less bloody than those series (at least in this volume) which is good for a younger fan set.
Overall, this just isn't up to the standard of Hellsing or Trinity Blood, in either art or story. And, given the retail price, I just can't recommend it to the casual viewer. If you really enjoy vampire anime, Black Blood Brothers is worth getting. I was hooked enough that I'll pick up volume 2, if it drops below $20."
I Could Do Without The Stupid Hat, But...
fredtownward | Palatine, Illinois United States | 03/30/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"this turned out to be an interesting take on vampire legends. From the beginning vampires had lived among humans, for the most part secretly and peacefully because being bitten by a vampire neither turned a human into one nor automatically resulted in death, though it had other side effects. To become a vampire a human had to drink a vampire's blood. (It is unclear whether vampires can reproduce in any other way though there are suggestions that they can.)
As sentient beings seemingly must, vampires divide themselves by "bloodlines", essentially their vampiric line of descent. Since differing bloodlines convey different powers and weaknesses, this makes a certain amount of sense; however, it appears that some level of aristocratic idiocy has crept in as well. Thus one of the worst fates for a vampire is to be descended from a "broken" or unknown bloodline; it is a virtual guarantee of suspicion and ostracism.
One of the sounder reasons for this and the catalyst for the Hong Kong Crusade ten years ago, which made the existence of vampires known to humans, was the emergence of a new bloodline, the Kowloon, which is HIGHLY contagious. Bitten humans turn into vampires, and even bitten vampires have their bloodlines "turned", resulting in an ever increasing tide of Kowloon vampires. In the crisis humans and "normal" vampires fought side by side to exterminate the Kowloon bloodline, and at the end the story was put out that ALL vampires had been destroyed, when in fact the "normal" vampire survivors had merely gone back into hiding in one or more "special zones" with the help of a small group of humans "in the know".
So as our story opens one of the heroes of that war along with his younger brother have stowed away on a ship bound for Japan and the Yokohama "special zone". Unfortunately, another group of vampire refugees has chosen the same ship and is being desperately pursued by a human "vampire suppression" team because of intelligence that a surviving Kowloon vampire is among them. The four episodes on this DVD cover the story of what results up to the point where the survivors enter the "special zone".
Though it is clearly of TV rather than movie or even OAV quality, I liked the animation. It is somewhat limited, but not noticeably cheap to my eyes. I do wish Jiro would lose the stupid hat, though! One thing worth noting in order to reduce confusion: every episode opens with a flashback to some past event before continuing the present story. There is also a nice mix of tragedy and comedy, especially between the two leads, Jiro and Mimiko, the Compromiser.
The commentary tracks are DEFINITELY worth listening to, despite being in Japanese with subtitles, for two reasons. First, one of the commentators is the original creator who while careful not to reveal what is coming manages to clear up several small questions viewers might have missed. Second, you couldn't ask for a better illustration of the axiom, "Don't drink and commentate!" The author shows up with a full bottle of wine (red of course) and the two voice actresses proceed to get plastered in the course of recording the four episodes of commentary. One hopes that the commentary tracks on future DVD's were recorded separately as the girls who were calling for another bottle of wine by the fourth episode would clearly be passed out drunk at this rate.
A "special edition" of this first DVD in a "collectible art box" for holding ALL of the DVD's is available: Black Blood Brothers: Starter Set, and the next two DVD's are Black Blood Brothers, Chapter 2 - Emergence and Black Blood Brothers, Chapter 3 - Resurrection."