Otaku USA Magazine
Black Blood Brothers Chapter II: Emergence

Ideally, Black Blood Brothers would be evaluated as a whole, rather than on an individual volume basis. However, time’s a-tickin’, and I was in the mood to check out the second volume of this 12-episode series before the first became too stale, lying dormant in the back of my cartoon-addled mind. For a more cohesive, feature overview of the series, however, you can always check out Erin Finnegan’s article in the 5th issue of Otaku USA (the one with the snazzy Bleach cover).

Those of you still with us were probably also party to my journey through the first volume, which established the world of Jiro and his younger brother Kotaro, siblings bonded by their unique black-blooded nature as vampires. Volume two kicks off with the boys establishing a new life inside the Special Zone, hoping to get a bit of a free ride off of The Company’s Compromiser, Mimiko. After all, she let them into this supposedly peaceful city, so why shouldn’t she let them crash at her pad?

Things aren’t that simple, though, so Jiro and Kotaro are mostly left to their own devices, which of course leads them conveniently into trouble’s path. The new setting in the Special Zone allows for more factions to crop up, the most prevalent of which is The Coven—a group that defies the conventions of The Company and the Special Zone—lead by the snappy-dressing “Crimson-Eyed•bCrLf Zelman. If this guy had maybe a dozen more zippers on his outfit, he’d be a dead ringer for a design right out of the flamboyant mind of Kingdom Hearts‘ Tetsuya Nomura. The precocious younger black-blood bro puts it best, perhaps, when he enthusiastically yelps, “You’re pretty, mister!•bCrLf

He sure is, but the one thing he desires more than hot fashion tips is some kind of partnership with the brothers; some way to absorb them into The Coven and have their power on his side. Barring that, unfortunately, he’d rather see them dead. Jiro obviously poses the most significant threat, and though Zelman is content to sit around and wait things out, it’s the mighty Auguste Wyker that won’t just stand by and watch Jiro insult the entire group.

Wyker poses the main action threat in this volume, with some more familiar cats coming into play near the end of it all (sorry, no spoilers). Other than these occasional bursts of violence, though, volume two is a rather subdued midway point in the series. A lot of the running time is spent in round table deliberations, and it’s almost eerie how many different groups are getting along swimmingly with one another within the walls of the Special Zone. Only the arrival of Jiro, followed later by the unsightly emergence of the Kowloon Children, begins to really shake the foundation of the place.

Despite the pace being cranked down a couple of notches, most of the goings on here feel just about right for the length of the series. The build-up of episodes 7 and 8, combined with the cliffhanger at the end of the volume, are indicative of The End drawing near. Hopefully the climax of the series will serve as an exciting cap to everything that’s been bubbling so far. I’d like to see more shows put a lid on their stories after a dozen or so episodes, because this has been yet another easily digestible outing, and the promise of a conclusion right around the corner makes it all the more enticing.

Studio/Company: FUNimation
Available: Now
Rating: TVMA