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?
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.
This is one anime that SHOCKED me to death, made me feel like an scaredy cat and freaked me out back in 1999, 1:45 at night, but besides that it really shows the art of drawing and scaryness compared to todays anime in the same genre, THIS had an potential in further serie's /ova's i can only dream about!!!!@! The storyline really nicely mix in with the chara and at some parts when a bit bit of history( don't count the demons with it) have those untouched in-scene sketches,HANDDRAWN! can be grainy and mufly at time's but plz DON'T RE-MASTER, HD OR BLUERAY THIS
STUFF!. the music is ofc welldone, that nostalgic '89 animemusic , wich i look to the older audience, main chara are no pussylike boys like much of today's anime to be clear, one with a very vigorous and demonic background. and i'm not even start about the women here. DON'T watch it at night, or with teenagers! unless u survived harsher anime
The war torn land is mottled with strange occurrences attributed to the rise of yoma or demons, feeding off blood and misery. A skilled ninja, Hikage, is ordered to silence his best friend and finds his friend holds a dark secret.
I have tried on 3 separate occasions to watch Blood Reign. The animation looks similar to Ninja Scroll and I really enjoy Japanese folklore, but I can’t get through the piece. The main character has no personality beyond persistence. The soundtracks has some really cheesy 80′s keyboard music but also some beautiful period sounding pieces. The story is hard to follow and the character design
makes it hard to tell individuals apart.
Give this one a try and form your own opinion because this viewer is truly undecided.
This OVA features demons and 80′s melting body-type gore. It is meant for mature audiences.