A terrible war has ravaged the land, and now, fueled by the blood of numerous fallen warriors the Yoma, demons from hell, emerge once more. A skilled ninja seeks to end the bloodshed these demons inflict upon humanity, but to do this he must fight against his undead former best friend and fellow ninja who was killed in battle and has been resurrected to serve the Yoma.
The relationship between the main character and villain is what makes this anime good. Surprisingly, only one point of view is given, and the two main characters hardly ever interact. The protagonist displays emotion rarely, leaving the viewer free to imagine what he may be thinking. However, some subtle clues are given, and it seems as if he is asking the same questions as the audience. What makes a man evil? Is there still good left inside of him? Is there any hope for redemption?
Genre:Light horror, action, light romance
Average plot. Plot does go into some depth but has no thrill. Ending could have been better.
Matches the story. Art is not realistic especially the blood. There were some drawing mistakes. For example when a spider victim had died their body laid still but before it could be eradicated it ceases to exist.
Some of the word choices are not great. For example "it is an illusion. Generally that means it is not real and therefore can't have an effect but that is not what happened.
a starter action film for those who are gradually becoming used to anime.
It is surely fun to watch something that is under the category of historical and horror and with a small fraction of thriller from time to time but this show kinda show the opposite on what I mention.
The historical theme is nothing more than a setting itself. Nothing very informative in the era. Any war events that took place will obviously result to casualties by default. What's made it intriguing is the first intro where we are presented with demonic and griming scenario of gruesome scenes and emergence of abominable entity that blend perfectly well in the situation but sadly
it just few second saving grace and we will be lead to small conflict in a small town and sometimes places devoid of people kicking of the war conflict which is shown in previous scenes which toned down to a simple isolated horror movie where the huge majority of the public doesn't matter. Personally there is even some bias in the conflict where almost every people is completely useless against this monster and the protagonist miraculously slay them even though he have no experience fighting monster and in the first place while he's subordinates are also the same as him a"ninja" wielding the same weapon and skill get easily killed by this monster. It is like the monster are begging to be killed by our shallow minded protagonist.
Moving to the characters and skipping the potential the plot could offer, for example the horror of human fighting diabolic beings beyond comprehension which work really nicely as a horror and thriller mix but no we only get 1 protagonist tracking down his old chum that suddenly betray their clan because of "birth origin or being the son of the devil" that got triggered because the blood of people that die in the war serve as nightmare fuel to unleash the monsters from within him and the other side of the world. The motivation start out as a political interest where a ninja killed their lord and then successfully escaped and now been chase down by "elite assassins" because that the possibility of a rumor that their lord has been assassinated will affect the foot soldier fighting moral against the opposing faction. I see this as good starting point for the story. But seeing the protagonist the only one that can defend himself against this monster while the other elite ninja get easily "dismembered" without giving any reasonable resistance. Kinda blow's off of a reasonable risk that anybody could die and kill this monster. I see the protagonist plot armored for he can beat almost every monster he encountered at "full health" it will be more reasonable that other ninja is already wounded it but no this is just pure plot armor at best. Their is nothing even scary or intimidatig in the main or even the side cast.
Also mention that the personal motivation of the protagonist toward his old friend that betray their clan is vaguely presented and overly abuse. The only personal flashback the show can even present is him and his old friend running and "chasing something in the meadow". In a written narrative this something of depth but repeating this scene like over and over again is just seems lazy and it doesn't justify enough how desperate the protagonist to go out of his way regardless that a "order" is executed to stop chasing him.
There is also some love interest that doesn't add up in the story that they just add. They shove in a mysterious women just so the protagonist will have a mouth speak. Overall all the characters are forgettable and no interesting or unique rate even visible in the entire show. Even the main antagonist motivation is too vague as motivation. The motivation of human being because people kill each other and the time for a new race to emerge to reach world peace and prosperity is a very cheesy get go. Heck even reasoning that the monster exist because of the "evil intention of human heart" is the reason why they even exist. The idea is interesting but really just too vague and not really focused. The conflict is more personal rather than everybody is affected. Overall the presentation is weak.
(Sound 3/10 and Animation 5/10)
The only saving grace about the show is that it is well animated at it's time. Some really good gore scene, blood and designed monster and some good action but that's all about it. Sound in the other hand isn't anything write home for. Voice acting is simple enough and the only interesting dialogue I ever get is in a spidermonster with good line but we didn't get any good speeches afterwards and everything is dull and boring.
I only enjoy the action and blood spill and the interesting intro but after than that full disappointment. The show really lack a strong cast and even a immersive setting. The monster are just their to be killed nothing interesting about them and the ending is just meh where the protagonist lives and got the girl which function as a trophy than something to actual support our main character or further extend the story.
I thought the show could potential be a shorter version of berserk, devilman or Ninja Scroll but I am vaguely wrong. It certainly lack the elements what I love about the mention titles. It didn't give me any scary ideas or even a fruitful characterization which make it a fail as an historical, horror or an action thriller. What I get is a time waster OVA of the 80's and not even an fun one as a guilty pleasure.
Its almost inevitable that any piece that falls into the historical ninja action realm is going to be compared to that watermark film, Ninja Scroll. While the two do seem to have a lot in common at first, the pacing, mood, and delivery are quite different. Blood Reign happens to be four years older (1989) and lacks a lot of the flash and slick animation that its more famous peer has. Yet it maintains a healthy of dose of a ninja hero slicing and dicing minions of the dark, which is probably what you're looking for if you're looking at this.
Putting aside the opulence of
hack 'n slash action, there is more to Blood Reign than just being Ninja Scroll's dress rehearsal. Its noticeably darker and moodier, as for the entire time the show is going its surrounded, almost smothered, by a sense of impending dread. The story being told isn't a particularly happy one, and those who end up befriending the main hero often meet with most unfortunate ends (particularly the end of the first episode, which is actually pretty clever on the show's part). The characterization (or lack thereof) does hold back some of the impact that this could have had, but you can only do so much with two forty-five minute episodes.
While visually not as impressive as Ninja Scroll (to keep harping on an obvious comparison), there is something about it that grabs the eye. While the character designs, animation, and production style are all notably dated, that might not be such a bad thing. The use of heavy shadows, dark hues (reds, blues, purples), and the simple yet effective backgrounds only help convey that eerie feeling that the show has in spades. The characters themselves aren't that memorable in terms of looks, but I will say the monsters are freaky even now. Especially those spiders. Yikes.
Finding an audience for Blood Reign might be a little difficult considering both its content and age, with one or the other likely to turn most away. Yet those who can admire the works of old will find a good deal to like here, as this is definitely not the second-rate Ninja Scroll rip-off its sometimes touted to be. In most respects its a different creature entirely, with enough crazy ninja action to sate those who seek it, but with a little something extra for those who can appreciate it. For those unaware, this OVA was also based on a short, mid-80s manga Kusunoki Kei, but as of this writing I have been unable to locate it.