And Vatler sets the stage for the latest arc with a simple kiss.
What They Say:
The fourth progenitor is the most powerful vampire once thought to exist only in the world of legends. Yet when it appears in Japan, the government for some reason chooses an apprentice “sword shaman”, Yukina Himeragi, to observe and obliterate it. Bewildered by the disproportionate task and its specific details, Yukina arrives at the Demon District of Itogami-jima to watch Akatsuki Kojo, and a student at a private high school on Itogami-jima.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The introduction of Vatler at the end of the previous episode was fairly expected in that we’d get the bad guy introduced early on in the arc, but it wouldn’t be right away. Which I was actually quite pleased with because we needed some down time and adjustment with the core cast of characters that we got. Putting them in school definitely helped and just letting them exist with other people and going about their lives helped to allow us to connect to them in an accessible fashion. It was mostly stage setting, but it made for the good if expected end moment on board the ship with Yukina and Akatsuki all dressed to the nines and ready for action when Vatler arrives and Sayaka makes her appearance in this episode in the prologue.
Interestingly, Vatler doesn’t go right for a full on attack or anything after being a bit melodromatic, but rather to form a bond with him in order to achieve another goal. That involves a little wining and dinig that goes on, which is quite off-putting as he talks about the real problem out there with a man named Gardos who has some connections to some really bad parts of the world in recent years. He’s essentially a terrorist and has managed to infiltrate the island here along with a number of others from the Black Death Emperor Faction that once existed. Their goal is pretty simple and understandable as they’re intent on causing trouble on the island so they can take it over and command it outright. With what’s there on the island with all the different types of people, he’d be able to bring a good number to his side and just have others there as protection by their sheer existence.
There’s a lot of small foundational material set up for what’s going on and who all is involved, but it throws so much from the background side at the viewer that it really starts to feel like too much as the expansion of what we know is significant enough and done in a very casual manner when it comes to elder vampires and more. What does work is that we get the kids working together to figure out what the terrorists are looking for and how they can deal with it before they find it. It’s a simple biological weapon artifact from some time ago but the revelation about it is done with some fun towards the high school comedy side with inappropriate moments and bloody noses. The show is still trying to find its balance in what kind of series it wants to be and moments like this, while fun, definitely make it difficult to really connect with it since it’s hard to tell how it wants to be. It just shifts in tone so quick sometimes – three or four different styles in the space of two minutes – that you’re left rolling with it as best as you can.
While I am enjoying Strike the Blood for the most part, I’m also finding it to be a show that is having a hard time adapting from its light novel form into animation storytelling form. A lot of what’s covered here is material that would flow well in a book with how its revealed and able to be savored, but with how it’s presented here in order to give us the background we need, it’s in small spurts and feels like it’s not given enough due or importance. It’s almost just too casual and that causes you to miss some of its real meaning since it’s also blended with a bit of silliness along the way. There are good moments here, especially with the action, but it seems like it’s having a hard time really finding its right and consistent tone.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Apple TV via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.