I haven’t actually seen much of Clamp’s dark works, so I’m not sure how to gauge the extent of their influence here. Certainly the characters are lanky and stretched, with elaborate clothing and glasses; however despite the writing credits the content is miles away from Cardcaptor Sakura, Angelic Layer, Chobits and what I’ve seen of Tsubasa Chronicles – perhaps the most macabre parts of xxxHolic come close. The story concerns Saya, but not exactly the Saya of Blood, and certainly not the Saya of Blood+: in this series she’s a spacey schoolgirl who’s close to her family and friends, dwelling in a sleepy country town. However she lives a disconnected double life, bloodily slaying bizarre monsters by night with a sacred sword.
As the series progresses, the extracurricular slaughter spills over, and no one is safe from gory death and graphic dismemberment. The battle scenes are excellent (if you have the stomach for them) – characters are flung around, bleed a lot, and smash into the scenery with a convincing heft; the animation is clean the choreography is clearly presented – and it’s never a walkover for Saya. The monsters are strongly influenced by traditional Japanese horror: creepy, ravenous, and based on animals and humans, with some ghastly twist.
The weakness of the series is how the two halves don’t quite tie together – there are some “forgotten memories” (of the Summer) recovered later, but the themes explored don’t come out well. In that sense, Blood-C is a series of events – well paced (a battle in each episode, and some addictive cliffhanging) and well presented, but their meaning doesn’t hang together. Legitimately or not, Saya is too much of an airhead to have these create a strong emotional arc (indeed this is called out by some of the characters).
Just watching the opening sequence gave me the chills, with the floating drops of blood/water and the giant moon. The music is great – mostly orchestrals, and the main musical theme is suitably grand and spooky. I’m looking forward to the movie, which ties up the story.