Home > Blood-C, Episode Reviews > Blood-C Episode 8 – Unthinking Loyalty

Blood-C Episode 8 – Unthinking Loyalty

There’s this great line in Moulin Rouge: “Without trust, there can be no love.” The reverse is also true: When there is love, trust often follows—even when it is not deserved.

Saya has that work both for her and against her this episode, and I think I prefer the latter incidences far more than the former. Saya, after all, has a variety of reasons to trust people who have lied to her repeatedly. But her classmates, however fond they are of her, have their own reasons to recoil at her actions. We don’t see that here.

The best revelation in this episode isn't about Saya and Shin'ichirou, but about Fumito and Tadayoshi, whose relationship comes off as increasingly sinister, and symbiotic, every time it gets screen time

Specifically, we don’t see that with Shin’ichirou, who stumbled upon Saya last episode as she was finishing off her latest opponent. His first response to seeing Saya, covered in wounds, fell a multi-limbed giant is not one of panic or revulsion. Rather, he tries to comfort her as if they were already dating, even though she doesn’t even seem to need comfort.

When Saya reluctantly explains her situation to him, Shin’ichirou seems remarkably nonplussed by it all. I mean, I can understand why he believes it, as he saw the bisected monster corpse with his own eyes. But the specifics—where the monsters are coming from, why Saya in particular has to fight them, why no one else has been told—don’t seem to interest him at all. He accepts Saya’s story at face value, and only asks how he can help to support her.

Shin'ichirou says that at first he was worried that Saya might be seriously hurt, yet even there he lacks the usual indicators that would follow from that, like panicking, running over, or examining her wounds. He's far too cool throughout the conversation

There’s a similar lack of curiosity with Saya, of course. She never questions when her father says she’s the only person who can fight, nor does she listen when monster after monster imply or even outright state she’s being lied to. But Saya, we now realize, has been implanted with a very carefully crafted set of memories, which naturally lead her not to question what her “father” has told her, even as she’s continually given reasons to do so.

Likewise, we’ve little to no indication that she’s come to distrust Fumito, despite hazy memories indicating that he drugged her on multiple occasions and even more distant memories about being his prisoner. For Saya, it makes sense that she would be unquestioning, although the fact she fails to question even now makes me wonder what level of shock is needed to break the spell. Shin’ichirou, as far as I can tell, is a normal guy. What’s his excuse? Is CLAMP just forcing him into the mysterious bishounen role, regardless of how little it fits within the established narrative?

Saya assumes that the blood by her father's mouth must have come off her clothes. There couldn't be a more sinister reason, obviously

The relationship between Saya and Shin’ichirou follows the same pattern as their tendency to trust: realistic on her side and not on his. For Saya, her breathtaking cluelessness as to Shin’ichirou’s romantic intentions are on the one hand part and parcel of standard anime cliche. But on the other hand, it makes perfect sense for someone as isolated as Saya, who has never even watched TV, and whose understanding of her own humanity has been programed in, to be missing the romantic parts. Maybe Tadayoshi and Fumito didn’t think it would be important.

Shin’ichirou’s blind love, by contrast, seems to stem from nothing. He clearly loves her deeply, or at least has a mega-sized crush, but there’s no reason as to why. I don’t know why he fell for her in the first place, why he can stay so calm in the face of horrific violence, and why, if he loves her enough to stay by her side even in the face of mortal peril, that he doesn’t try to get across to her exactly what his love for her is.

Saya is also completely unconcerned with Watanuki visiting her in the bath, despite the fact that she knows he's male and not really a dog. Things like that make me wonder if she even knows to be embarrassed

Shin’ichirou, in other words, is a cypher. His actions and persona don’t fit with anything it is realistic to expect from him, so unless he is like Fumito in having a secret underlying agenda, he just doesn’t fit. Given how I was hoping that the romantic elements of the story would make up for the hash of last week’s episode, this is a particular disappointment.

I am happy to say that the monster-related mayhem is back to its usual levels of terror, although that means the aggressive censoring is back too. This time, a suitably nasty looking horror attacks the school the first day classes are back in session, skewering several of Saya’s classmates before her very eyes. While I won’t find out until next episode if the fight is back up to the level I have come to expect from the show, at least it gets off on the right foot.

Ur, feet—although I doubt the students who are impaled, crushed, or eaten would agree. I am curious why it takes so long for Saya to respond when the monster attacks

Depending on how many people survive the attack, we’ll also discover if everyone else in the town will act like normal human beings, too. The proper response when you realize that monsters have invaded your town slaughtering everyone in sight? Run. And Saya’s classmates, unlike seemingly everyone else in the show, seem quite capable of acting like normal people would.

Running is something Saya never does, so we’ll see what her bravery gets her next episode. If the preview is any indication, she won’t be showered with praise from her remaining classmates. I wrote above that I didn’t know what event could take place at this point that could shake apart Saya’s world view. Maybe being treated like a monster by those closest to her, by those whom she thought loved and trusted her, will bring back memories of when she actually was one.

The one intriguing bit of Saya's conversation with Shin'ichirou is that she reflexively denies that the "old ones" she is fighting are monsters, even she seems a bit confused as to why. Perhaps some latent memory is coming to the surface?

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  1. FFWF
    September 6, 2011 at 3:38 am

    I suspected this episode wouldn’t impress you, although for me the problem was mainly the unconvincing censorship of one kind or another. I don’t have any problem with censorship per se, but I feel that there are better ways to do it here than “fwoosh magical foggy line which is also an advert for the DVD.” Couldn’t they just cycle a few frames of the class screaming while keeping the violent sound effects?

    As for Shin’ichirou, the impression I get from previous episodes is that there is more to him than meets the eye. If it turns out that his odd behaviour was always just a poorly-written crush and there’s nothing more to him, you would definitely be correct that he’s just being shoehorned into a role that isn’t right for him. Actually, I feel that most of the townsfolk and classmates feel artificial – as if they’re just actors in some melodrama, playing a role for an unknown purpose. Is that the correct response, or is it merely poor writing? So that’s one aspect of the series which I’ll only be able to properly critique on reflection, once the series is over. I hope it will prove to have been worth watching, but so far I’m wobbling on the fence.

    Oh well, at least it has a continuing plot, unlike Dantalian no Shoka. I don’t know if you’re still watching it, but Episode 6 was great and had new ideas and looked like it was going somewhere… and since then, it’s just been buns buns buns.

    • threeheadedmonkeys
      September 6, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      I’m still watching Dantalian, although I’m not certain why. Episodes three and four changed from the “summon a book and solve everything” plot resolution to the “let the protagonists do nothing while the rogue book users doom themselves” method, which was interesting the first time but ran its welcome quickly. Five felt like an entirely different show and was far too zany to match with the previously established tone. I didn’t think seven was bad (watching on crunchyroll so haven’t seen eight yet) … but I agree that six is the one episode we’ve had in a while that felt engaging.

      I also agree that censorship is best done with careful discretion shots, and not fogging things out (the bath scene, ironically, showed how to do this well). That said, I felt the battle scenes in six didn’t lack for intensity in spite of the censorship, so I’m hoping for the same here. If it keeps giving us brutal, harrowing fight sequences, Blood-C will have been worth my time. If only just.

      As for Shin’ichirou … I hope you’re right. Certainly, the show has been good at hiding the motivations of people closest to Saya. One more wouldn’t be a stretch.

  1. September 10, 2011 at 9:44 pm

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