Blood-C Episode 12 (End)

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Bloody Tears
And so the final layers of deception are stripped away and Saya’s true nature is revealed. Her “friends” and “teacher” shrug off their false identities and expose themselves for what they really are: petty criminals, money-grubbing opportunists, and hack scientists starving for the prospects of legitimacy and recognition. Each faction brings to bear their own motivations for taking part in such an elaborate charade but they all share in common the fact that they are all mere pawns for the sake of furthering some grander scheme yet unknown. Suddenly, Fumito emerges from the shadows with Yuka and Itsuki, revealing himself to Saya as the architect who orchestrated the entire series of events leading up to the shocking revelations of Episode 10 and 11.

Fumito

A new furukimono, in this manifestation a chimerical creature with anthropomorphic forelimb-like protrusions jutting from the top of its skull, stands by as Fumito’s surprise appearance puts the rabble to silence. Cowed by the mere presence of the mysterious man who seems to radiate incalculable menace from behind his placid, serpentine smile of unnerving calm, each conspirator knows better than to dare defy him in person. The flustered twins plead off their actions in an all-too-obvious bid to put themselves in the best light possible while the mercenary Tokizane wants nothing more than to leave with his due so he can wash his hands of the whole affair. Fumito’s attention, however, is steadfastly fixed on Kanako-sensei, who grasps Saya like a rare, captured specimen and whose poorly-masked anxiousness seems more and more to be getting the better of her by the minute. A single command is more than enough to make her let go of Saya though, who by now has pretty much regained her memory and reverted to her true personality.

In flashback, Fumito elaborates on the nature of the furukimono and his immediate plans to the captured Saya, revealing the existence of a secret pact made between humans and the furukimono called the Shrovetide, which he seeks to manipulate for his own ends. Thus the “covenant” obscurely referenced in times past finally comes to light. Consequently, Fumito requires Saya’s blood, which he seems to have been extracting in great supply for some time. Why? Beyond his obsession with and attraction to Saya, there is a more indefinite goal: “There is something I wish to create […] something which I wish to discover.”

It would surely make the blood run cold to consider the potential ramifications of these words but any such speculation is immediately brushed aside as, tellingly, Fumito furthermore muses whether it is possible to change the fundamental essence of a thing, in this instance Saya herself. Saya swears she will not change, spurring Fumito to prepare a test so elaborate and on such an immense scale the entire town and its residents are mere components of a fabricated reality within an artificial environment, all created solely for the purpose of testing Fumito’s hypothesis.

Back to the present, Nono and Nene announce their intent to leave to Fumito who permits their departure. To the afterlife. Every mastermind knows having minions to carry out gruntwork and various menial tasks is essential, but the true puppeteer, a real chessmaster, will prefer tools as useful as they are expendable when the situation arises. Although the principal “main cast” members consider themselves safe from the furukimono via talismans, Fumito reveals he had anticipated their betrayal and switched the genuine article with fakes. As his ill-fated accomplices have now outlived their usefulness, he proceeds to dispense with his “actors” in true Machiavellian fashion, prompting the furukimono to begin the slaughter: Tokizane is dispatched first, followed quickly by the twins. Saya successfully rescues Kanako from the beast, slaying the creature but in the end she is killed by Saya’s missing father Tadayoshi. Under the influence of Saya’s blood Tadayoshi has, according to Fumito, reverted back to his true self: a being neither fully human nor fully furukimono. A being Fumito claims is the closest thing to Saya herself.

Taking up the very blade Saya had used, Tadayoshi attacks but is soon defeated only to revert to his furukimono form. Although at first clearly outclassed, she eventually prevails. Having failed to dispose of Saya and with nothing more to accomplish, Fumito departs, leaving her to a brief reunion with Tadayoshi in his final moments: lucid and though filled with regret, grateful to have met someone like her with whom he felt a genuine kinship. With Tadayoshi’s death, she loses a false father but perhaps the closest thing she knows to any real human, familial bond.

Burning with indignation, Saya rushes the departing Fumito to avenge Tadayoshi but he shatters the final(?) talisman holding the furukimono in check, unleashing a single, hulking bunny-like monstrosity. She cuts it down to find Fumito at the bottom of the shrine steps; and just as he boards his escape vehicle, the faltering Itsuki is gunned down as he makes a suicidal, last-ditch effort to help her. With his final breath, he confides to Saya that though the girl he knew wasn’t real he is certain it is really a part of her.

Bloody Tears in C

Meanwhile, the bunny-like furukimono reanimates. Unlike the monsters preceding it, the creature possesses the ability to regenerate when defeated and replicates at will, which it in fact does as it descends on the town below. What ensues is nothing short of unholy pandemonium as Fumito decimates the entire populace, effectively wiping the entire area clean of any evidence of his activities.  The resulting Tim Burton-esque nightmarescape is pure hell-on-earth with legions of cotton-candy rabbit-eared abominations tearing people to shreds; devouring them like corn cobs; and otherwise engaging in gratuitous acts of horrific mutilation/dismemberment so graphic we can only imagine the extent of the carnage beneath the whiteout blurs. Within the secure confines of the bulldozer ATV, Fumito muses that Yuka is now the sole surviving “main cast” member and Yuka, much older than she seems, reveals her motivations of acquiring political power in exchange for her service. They soon transfer to a waiting helicopter that will transport them back to civilization.

Below, Saya will not allow her vengeance to go unsatisfied. With superhuman agility, she vaults from the rooftops, propelling herself towards Fumito’s fleeing helicopter, bringing her into perfect range… for Fumito to shoot her in the face point blank. As she plummets into the waters below, Fumito reveals that Saya’s precious guimauve was made with the very blood of the monsters she kills. As the copter fades into the distance Saya washes up onshore and after an uncertain span of time, tearfully recalls that all the memories she has are from a life that wasn’t real. After convalescing on the beach shallows, she slowly recovers from her more grievous wounds. Picking herself up off the ground, she rekindles her resolve and runs off into the night to settle the score.

Beginning, the Path that I Must Tread and the Blade I Must Become

It was announced earlier this year through various anime media outlets that Blood-C will also receive a movie adaptation, recently confirmed to premiere in Japan June 2, 2012. How the film will relate to its anime counterpart is yet unknown, but considering all the unresolved plot elements it seems reasonable to guess the movie will continue where the series left off.

It’s apparent that Fumito is very much interested in Saya’s fundamental nature with regards to her hunting and predatory supremacy. Also apparent is that Fumito has stockpiled what amounts to very generous reserves of Saya’s blood samples with which to experiment and study for what may very well be biological weapons applications. It will be most interesting to see how Fumito puts her blood to use and what his ultimate goal really is.

Dramatis Personae

Blood-C on the whole is a fairly solid series despite criticism to the contrary. The series is a dramatic departure from its predecessor Blood+ from which it differs in virtually every aspect, from its characteristic tone and visual style to its plot pacing and thematic direction in general. While the cast-rich 50-episode Blood+ demands patience from its audience on basis of sheer length, Blood-C relies heavily on an ambiguous sense of foreboding and suspenseful anticipation of some unknown, hidden menace beyond the monster attacks lurking somewhere beneath the deceptive serenity of Kisaragi Saya’s sleepy town. It is something the series takes quite seriously in that this setup takes the entire first half of its 12-episode run.

You also could say that Blood+ follows a more linear path overall, taking Otonashi Saya on a more conventional “quest” type crusade with a clearer history, purpose and objective as she hacks and slashes her way to Diva, while Blood-C’s Kisaragi Saya must tentatively navigate a maze of smoke, mirrors, illusion and shadow blindfolded, where true allies cannot be found and where she may not be able to trust even her own instincts -instincts dulled and manipulated by the arbitrary whims of her captor. Fumito is still a riddle (indeed his true identity remains a mystery), and his near-apotheosis of Saya is based almost completely on his morbid fascination to scientifically deconstruct her down to her most fundamental components. A man of diabolical intelligence, vast resources and deadly obsession, one cannot underestimate such a formidable enemy. After all, he was able to somehow capture Saya to implement his “experiment” in the first place.

Overall, Blood-C provides an entertaining premise which it executes quite well. Viewers expecting a more fast-paced, action-oriented title or a kill crazy gore-fest may not appreciate its more subdued approach but for those wanting a great production that takes time to build up to a climax, it’s a good watch. The movie too, I’m sure, will deliver.

RATINGS
Cast: 8  – Mizuki Nana in the lead, supported by the likes of Fujiwara Keiji, Fukuen Misato with Fukuyama Jun
Animation/Style: 8  – Indicative of CLAMP style, classic bishoujo/bishounen-accented designs; Production I.G.
Story/Direction: 7  – CLAMP director Mizushima Tsutomu (xxxHolic)
Music: 8  – The score properly underscores the drama but nothing really memorable apart from OP/ED.
Mizuki Nana’s ED Performance (ref. mutsulini’s Seiyuu Spotlight on Nana below) is the highlight.
Overall: 8

BLOOD-C • FINAL GRADE (REMIX): 86点 B

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