Home > Blood-C, Episode Reviews > Blood-C Episode 7 – Indulging Pet Causes

Blood-C Episode 7 – Indulging Pet Causes

When viewing American TV shows, one becomes used to the idea that some episodes will be radically better or worse than others. After all, each individual episode of American TV usually has its own writer (or team of writers) and director, so the quality of the production obviously various based on the talents of each pairing.

Anime doesn’t have that: Episode directors come and go, but there’s always a main director behind the show, and a series composer to provide much of the writing. Theoretically, this means that the overall quality of a show should stay consistent—and when it doesn’t, there’s some other factor at work. Here, I can point to one possible factor immediately: This is a CLAMP show.

Speaking of inconsistent: I'm still not certain if Kanako really cares about Saya but just occasionally shows it in odd ways, or if the writers just haven't figured out if she's going to be a hero or a villain yet. I really hope it's the former

CLAMP has been a very successful studio for a reason, but in the past half-decade they’ve been increasingly … self-indulgent with their legacy. For some time they’ve been operating under the conceit that all their various stories (no matter how different in plot, setting, or tone) are connected together and occasionally interact. This comes out most clearly in Tsubasa Chronicle, which has alternate versions of many other CLAMP characters in its dimension-hopping adventures.

The first dimension Tsubasa Chronicle jumped into, however, was that of xxxHolic, where a witch named Yuuko Ichihara runs a shop that can grant any wish, for a price. What this episode of Blood-C reveals is that this version of the Blood franchise isn’t just being told through the vision of a particular manga studio. It’s that this version takes place in the same world as xxxHolic.

Saya is remarkably nonplussed by the fact a dog is talking to her, but given that she slays monsters for a living, I suppose she's used to weird stuff by now

The dog we’ve seen throughout the show, in finally explaining himself to Saya, gives strong hints that he is actually Kimihiro Watanuki, a servant of Yuuko who, in the manga, eventually takes over the shop. (The dog even shares Watanuki’s voice actor.) He explains that he is hanging around in his current form all to fulfill someone’s wish, but is remarkably cryptic as to whose wish or what it might be. He also gives up a much more sinister vibe than I remember from the xxxHolic series, and I’m not certain what his ultimate angle is.

Although the connection, by itself, doesn’t look to pull down the quality of the show, it still really irks me. Say what you will about the original Blood movie, but it has no connection whatsoever to the CLAMPverse, and forcing one in just feels wrong. The show will have to work its butt off to connect itself with both the old film and the xxxHolic franchise, and it only has to do this because the writers at CLAMP just had to check off one of their production boxes.

Watanuki seems a bit gleeful at his role in shepherding Saya to a painful truth. I haven't read the later parts of the manga, so maybe he just becomes cynical in his old age

It probably doesn’t help my impressions that this episode, on its own merits, is the weakest we’ve seen yet, particularly on the action front. After dialing up the creativity of each monster’s design and the brutal desperation of each fight, this week’s conflict feels dialed in. Saya’s sparring partner this time has a remarkably uninspired design, and the fight itself goes back to the “Saya gets kicked around, sustains enough damage that she probably should drop but doesn’t, turns on the red eyes, and then instakills her opponent” template.

Likewise, the monster’s revelations (that Tadayoshi is not her real father, and that the past she remembers is a lie) aren’t really capable of having an impact on the audience, who could have figured that out two or three episodes prior. Overall, this episode spends far too much time on exposition already, so trying to bring in more of it when there should be killing instead shows a lack of thought as to the pacing, and failing to do anything meaningful with it shows a lack of thought as to dramatic tension.

Compared to a woman with an eye for a head, a shadow creature, a giant centipede, and so on, the combatant this time doesn't even look that scary, and the fight is plodding and dull

The most interesting piece of exposition comes at the very start of the episode, when Fumito reveals to the audience that all the events of the show stem from a bet he made with Tadayoshi, probably regarding Saya’s nature and her ability to change. What would be really interesting is if Tadayoshi was the one who bet against Saya at first, but came to love her as a result of the project. The irony of that would be one way to get me back on board with the project.

Complaints aside, the episode ends with Saya’s romantic interest Shin’ichirou stumbling upon her blood-stained in a field of carnage, leaving a relational cliffhanger rather than a physical one for this episode. Given one thing CLAMP excels at is doomed loves across cultural barriers and taboos, I’m hopeful that here, whatever they have planned will complement rather than disrupt the show’s narrative.

There's also a hint that Saya catches sight of her red eyes in her bloody reflection, and panics over it. After all, that might be the first time she's noticed her eyes change color

Maybe I’ll look back on this episode more favorably after I know how everything ties together, and the initial shock of the character crossover wears off. I suppose that will depend on whether the quality of the other aspects of the production return to what I’ve come to expect from them, or use the mediocre standard that’s been set here as a new default. In other words, I don’t think CLAMP’s act of personal self-indulgence here will doom the show. But it does mean Blood-C has a lot more to prove now than it did a couple episodes back.

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