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First Thoughts: “Blood Blockade Battlefront” – Get That Monkey!

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Where the hell do I start with this Anime? You know, reader, I’ve been thinking about this article for a while now but I can’t seem to figure out just what it is that I should write about when it comes to the new Anime adaptation of Yasuhiro Nightow’s Blood Blockade Battlefront which, incase you have no information on this series at all, is also known as B3.

Now as soon as you read Yasuhiro Nightow you probably think Trigun. For you to do so wouldn’t be unjustified but for your own sake and for the sake of this new series…I’d toss that thought out the bloody window. This is not Trigun. This is…look, I don’t even know what this is. It’s just…it’s just…it’s…just…magnificent…Blood Blockade Battlefront is, without a doubt in my mind, simply magnificent.

Let’s talk about the story for just a little bit: Johnny Landis…I mean, Leonardo Watch is a young man who’s just moved to the city formerly known as New York. A few years back, this huge portal to another world opened up and what came out of it was nothing less than absolute chaos and destruction.

Eventually this cross-dimensional war ended and those who remained alive swore off of violence and decided to live in harmony for, well, the indefinite future. Now referred to as Hellsalem, this city plays host to a smorgasbord of odd-looking creatures and some odd-looking humans who’re now leaving as peacefully as possible…too bad there’s no such thing as complete and utter peace.

Still very much like the real New York City, Hellsalem is a place that never rests, and that goes for its seedy underbelly too which has evolved from being populated by simple crime families and petty thugs. Now your average crime is smuggling humans across the interdimensional line to feed on. It’s a whole new world and, thanks too a cheeky little monkey with a penchant for theft, Leonardo Watch is smack bang in the middle of it all.

This young, seemingly normal, man and the Sonic Monkey who’s stolen his precious camera eventually come into contact with a group who call themselves Libra. Now Libra is, at its essence, the Anime equivalent of The League Of Extroadinary Gentlemen or Hellboy’s B.P.R.D: They’re a bunch of supernatural entities who work together to take down other, more hostile, supernatural entities.

You’ve got Zap Renfro; the Nicholas D. Wolfwood colour swap, Chain Sumeragi; the werewolf that’s not quite a werewolf, Klaus Von Reinhertz; who looks to be an actual werewolf but is not, as well as so many others who have yet to even be introduced.

Our hero, Leonard Watch, isn’t a slouch though. He’s got himself one hell of an eyesight that can see most of the things even these other monsters can’t. To most other people, this guy is a huge asset. Did I mention he and the monkey become friends? I probably should have mentioned that…they become friends…it’s cute…and great…and the monkey’s name is Sonic…like the hedgehog.

After a bit of a delay, the first two episodes of this new series were finally released by FUNimation and then by Australia’s own AnimeLab which, you should know by now, is Madman Entertainment’s official streaming service. Within two standard length episodes, Blood Blockade Battlefront had me very much hooked.

No, not just that. Blood Blockade Battlefront had me roaring in joy thanks to just how genuinely funny it was, Blood Blockade Battlefront had me imaginatively inspired by delivering some incredibly well-animated action sequences, Blood Blockade Battlefront had my mind in knots trying to decide which character out of the few introduced is my favorite. Within two episodes, Blood Blockade Battlefront blew away the competition.

In my mind, this series has already become my favorite not only of the season but of the entire year. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that it’s high quality forced me into forgetting series’ from last year that I enjoyed just to make room for it in my mind.

Backing up what are some of the very best visuals I’ve seen in quite some time is a soundtrack that is what I believe to be very much reminiscent of Cowboy Bebop but with an intensity that the space western just didn’t have. Not to it’s disadvantage, it’s just that B3 was far too erratic for a simple jazz track to accompany. I’d never sully the good name of Shinichiro Watanabe’s Cowboy Bebop.

B3 captured the auditory image of what wells up in my mind when I hear people speaking of New York City or even Manhattan in general. The soft pop that plays in the background of a coffee house quickly unfolds into a fast-paced big band track that somehow captures the incredibly unrealistic image of a man being chased by half of a demon and brings it down to a place of authenticity. It’s utter auditory brilliance and you’ll only really know how it feels when you actually watch the series.

 

Blood Blockade Battlefront is like the demon child of Ugly Americans, Baccano! and Cowboy Bebop. It grabs you with two solid hands and shakes you around the room but for some reason you don’t actually mind. I punches you repeatedly in the face but after the second punch you begin to start liking the feeling. It’s odd, it’s unruly, it’s basically something that shouldn’t exist but it is something that lives somewhere high above us all, on a cloud of perfection that rains down gifts disguised as insanity. The first two episodes will rock you off your feet.

By the end of the pair of episodes you wont really understand what it is that you’ve just watched but you’ll love it so much more than anything else you’ve seen in recent times. If you don’t find yourself liking what you’re seeing, I urge you to still watch both episodes to completion. If the funny stalking montage, the incredibly high-octane action scenes, and Leonard’s monkey friend don’t make you want to see this series out, than the amazingly tragic dance number at the very end will. What can I say? Blood Blockade Battlefront may be one of the greatest Animes of all time. Simple.

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