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First Impressions: Strike the Blood - JAPANATOR






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First Impressions: Strike the Blood photo
First Impressions: Strike the Blood

5:00 PM on 10.07.2013

Less about vampires than you might think


Strike the Blood doesn't feel much like a vampire show-- at least, not yet. Right now it feels more like a general-purpose supernatural romp that happens to include vampires, which is probably for the best. With Diabolik Lovers already in progress, we already have one traditionally gothic vamp show this season; two would be overkill.

That said, without the trappings of the vampire subgenre, the show doesn't really have a distinct identity right now. If anything, it kind of feels like a poor man's Fate/Stay Night, with epic battles between humanoid characters and arcane monstrosities breaking out on city streets. That's not to say it's bad; the action in this episode was fun, and the mysterious story of main guy and super-vamp Akatsuki Kojo is mildly intriguing, but so far, it's less than compelling.

Kojo

Kojo has a reflection, because apparently he's one of those vampires who can do whatever the hell he wants.

The setting of the show is potentially interesting, but I wonder if it's going to work for the kind of story Strike the Blood is trying to tell. Our man Kojo lives on Itogami Island, a designated area for demons, vampires and other scary things. For some reason, humans seem to live there too, although lord knows why they'd want to-- maybe it's a tax haven. Anyway, the fact that all the supernatural stuff is completely out in the open in this setting means we're not going to see any of the double-life hijinks that these types of shows usually have- although Kojo seems to be hiding his vampiric status from his friends for no immediately apparent reason, so we'll see.

Making the supernatural into the mundane can work if there's a good reason for doing it, but the danger of doing that is that it becomes...well, mundane. It's hard to get that excited about a world filled with demons and vampires when the characters themselves are totally over it- especially because it's not like Beyond The Boundary, where the characters' blasé attitudes toward the supernatural is played for humor. Everything is played pretty straight, and attempts at humor are tepid at best. 

The main action comes courtesy of Yukina, a "sword shaman" from a group called (get this) the Lion King Organization. Apparently, Simba and friends are interested in Kojo's comings and goings, so they sent Yukina to keep an eye on him. Yukina has a pretty cool glaive-like weapon that reminds me of Sailor Saturn, so I'm liking her in general. The problem is, she can't stop with the panty shots-- and much worse, she freaks the hell out and gets livid every single time, even when it's an accident.

horsies

A demon-horse familiar summoned in the middle of the street? Whatever, what I'm really worried about is whether or not a guy got a glimpse of my panties for half a second. 

Actually, I find stuff like this more insidiously sexist than something like Diabolik Lovers, which at least wears its old-school, bodice-ripper fantasy status proudly on its sleeve. Here, Yukina is supposed to be a strong, powerful character, only she is more upset about someone getting a glimpse of her panties than life-or-death-danger because OMG IT'S A GURL! Yukina's panty obsession brings the show down several notches, because whether or not you care that its sexist, it's boring as all get out.

Still, I plan on checking out the next few episodes in the hopes that Yukina shows off more cool glaive-wielding and less infuriating stupidity, and to find out how Kojo became his super-vampy self. I'm telling you right now though, if they pull that "Did you see my panties? How DARE you see my panties!" bullshit one more time, I'm dropping this like a rock.

Strike the Blood is available streaming on Crunchyroll.

Sidenote: Since I covered Beyond the Boundary, this is now the second show this season where the hero and the heroine are about to throw down, then her stomach growls and he takes her out for a meal instead; I'm just putting that out there.






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