Blood-C Episode 9

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Battles Without Decisiveness Or Humanity
Like a number of other series this season, Blood-C in particular has gotten off to a slow start and has lumbered along at an unusually slow pace (and by slow I mean glacial). This from a series that sports a katana-wielding joushikousei no less, even if it does happen to come from CLAMP. Up until now, Saya has been doing pretty much what she has been doing from the start. We already knew she wasn’t your typical teenage girl from the first episode, but precious little has developed past that. In a series only slated for twelve episodes that is rather disappointing to say the least.

Lookin' at you lookin' at me...

Perhaps Blood-C is just a twelve episode long set-up for a more explicit continuation or something later down the line (if, from the look of popular sentiment, anyone is still interested in one by that time should that be the case). That might explain why Production I.G. hasn’t given us anything beyond a basic premise: that one Kisaragi Saya, outwardly appearing of high-school age, has taken up the mantle of her late mother and crusades against the furukimono, monsters pursuing retribution for desecration of what is cryptically referred to as some “covenant” between humans and monsters. Saya also suffers occasional blackouts/fainting spells which correspond to blind spots in her memory she can’t access whether by her own effort or prompting by a third-party. Oh yeah: people are killed in the ensuing battles. By the truckload.

This episode was painful to watch, in more ways than one. Although somewhat long-winded, I enjoyed Blood+ so Blood-C was one of the top two titles I was really looking forward to when the series started airing back in July but it’s just been frustrating waiting for any substantial plot advancement. Saya’s major flaw lies with her crippling indecisiveness; as such, she takes after this guy and, actually, a good number of protagonists from the Gundam franchise, except Saya doesn’t have twenty plus episodes to burn wallowing in existential introspection before the grand epiphany. Though Saya may not know or remember what the “covenant” is, she must have a glimmer of curiosity if not a burning desire to find the truth, starting with her father and her murky past. Still, even without taking the initiative to bring the fight to the monsters’ home turf, why has she been so slow to go red when the enemy shows? I’ve been asking the same question over and over and with this latest installment it was almost like some macabre refrain in my head:

Saya, how many of your friends and loved ones have to die before you get serious with that damn thing…?

It goes without saying that hesitation in a life or death situation can be fatal but Saya seems to forget the fundamental axiom that people die when they are killed. Really, it seems Saya’s awakened state, “True Saya/Bloodlust Saya” for sake of argument, requires a certain bodycount before Saya pulls out all the stops and fights with her true strength. It was strange when Saya seemingly stood by and allowed the baker to be killed before her eyes in Episode 3, but that pales in comparison to what happened in this episode when a furukimono ambushes Saya at school and massacres her entire class, including Yuka, before Saya “awakens” and rips it to frog cutlets. Only the class rep survives the carnage.

...until I turn you into sashimi.

And then we have the unusual case of Tsutsutori Kanako-sensei. There have been several instances in episodes prior that are  indicative of the high possibility that the beloved Kanako-sensei’s ever-sunny demeanor is merely a facade and that she may not even be human herself. In the aftermath of the schoolside bloodbath, she’s unnaturally cold, displaying not the slightest trace of horror, shock, sorrow or even sympathy at the unspeakably horrific manner at which her students met their untimely ends. What is her connection to these events and what does she know? Perhaps she knew Saya’s mother, perhaps she knows something about the covenant. Perhaps she knows who Saya really is and has been observing her for some time now. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine Tsutsutori Kanako as having been part of a research team for some government-funded clandestine experimental project designed to produce biological weapons that, surprisingly, went horribly wrong. However the monsters Saya has been fighting seem to be more supernatural in origin as opposed to lab-grown, man-made abberrations, especially taking the covenant into consideration. Regardless, it’s obvious she’s hiding something and is sure to play a pivotal role when things (eventually) start to unravel as we head to the climax.

And then there’s the aloof Tokizane Shinichirou. Very much a loner and outsider of the day-to-day classroom activities, he usually arrives late and after perfunctory apologies, remains silent for the remainder of his allotted screentime. He at least makes the minimum effort to drag himself onto the premises but on this day was strangely absent. Later, Saya questions him about why he didn’t show up to school that day but the question is brushed aside as Tokizane suddenly reveals his interest in Saya is romantic. Heretofore blissfully unaware, this catches her off guard and effectively ends her line of questioning, leaving both of them frustrated in their aims. Confessions are lovely, but a gentleman has to consider whether doing so in a given situation would be appropriate and act accordingly, Tokizane-kun.
The episode ends as Saya, shaken and confused, questions her identity and confides in her father that she has no recollection of her mother, mentioned a few times only in passing and left unexplored… until now.

There are only a few episodes left and I want to be optimistic that they’ve been saving something epic for just the right time. I’m glad to see that Saya is finally starting to ask questions. I don’t know if a mere three episodes can redeem a less-than-stellar beginning but I’ll be waiting to see how everything plays out. I for one wouldn’t mind a sequel iteration, whether via another series or in OVA form. Mizuki Nana is usually enough to keep anyone coming back for more.

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