Supersonic monkeys, vampires, talking fishmen, and all sorts of different supernatural monsters living alongside humans—this has been part of daily life in Hellsalem's Lot, formerly known as New York City, for some time now. When a gateway between Earth and the Beyond opened three years ago, New Yorkers and creatures from the other dimension alike were trapped in an impenetrable bubble and were forced to live together. Libra is a secret organization composed of eccentrics and superhumans, tasked with keeping order in the city and making sure that chaos doesn't spread to the rest of the world.
Pursuing photography as a hobby, Leonardo Watch is living a normal life with his parents and sister. But when he obtains the "All-seeing Eyes of the Gods" at the expense of his sister's eyesight, he goes to Hellsalem's Lot in order to help her by finding answers about the mysterious powers he received. He soon runs into Libra, and when Leo unexpectedly joins their ranks, he gets more than what he bargained for. Kekkai Sensen follows Leo's misadventures in the strangest place on Earth with his equally strange comrades—as the ordinary boy unwittingly sees his life take a turn for the extraordinary.
Kekkai Sensen adapts a select 12 chapters from the first 6 volumes of the manga it is based on while adding a new plotline and characters, culminating in an anime-exclusive ending. Aside from the first episode which adapts the three-chapter pilot, each episode adapts one chapter.
Episodes 1 and 2 were previewed at a screening at Odaiba Cinema Mediage in Tokyo on March 21, 2015. Regular broadcasting began on April 5, 2015. The final episode was originally scheduled to broadcast on July 4, 2015, but was delayed to October 4, 2015.
For those who have long awaited for a reboot for Trigun... you are going to have to wait a little longer. Until then you can watch Yasuhiro Nightow's other manga get adapted in what I am sure is going to be the best anime of the season that feels like the spiritual successor of Trigun. Kekkai sensen aka Blood Blockade Battlefront.
story and character 8/10: the story itself is not very complex. it can be simply put as an organization of super-powered people fighting against disorder in New York which has now turned into supernatural zone between the underworld and the real world that has been
renamed Jerusalums Lot. What makes the story so good however is the execution. the way it goes about episode by episode is definitely not textbook "Monster of the week" type predictable battles where they have to simply find some weakness that was only apparent to the main character. There really is a lot of variety to this show as there are many important antagonists that shaped the way that Jeruselums lot functions. Its story telling style is a lot like Baccano or Durarara where there isn't really a main character and more of a main cast of characters to tell the story it presents. The characters in the story at the moment have not fully developed at the moment of writing so ill hold off on that till the end of the show. the character designs are unique and well done as are the plethora of background "beyondians". The show uses naming conventions that are similar to Trigun that seem so stupid for characters that they somehow end up being cool and memorable like Zap Renfro or steven starphase. Overall the entire cast is solid.
Art and sound : 10/10: The artwork and animation in this show is too impressive to put to words. studio Bones went all out to really capture the setting of new york overrun by supernatural beings with such great detail while also giving all of their effort the extremely well animated and over the top action scenes. this is partly due to the director of Kyousou Giga, Rie Matsumoto using extremely interesting and stylistic camera angle choices and overlays to better convey a scene or simply keeping things interesting even when its simply characters doing some exposition. On the topic of sound I am currently waiting for the whole soundtrack to be released as I haven't heard a ost this good that incorporates jazz music since Kids on the slope. The musical composer Taisei Iwasaki is just starting out with making music for kekkai sensen so he is one to keep an eye out for in the future, the Implementation of the music in the anime is also well done as there are never times when the music feels out of place. there are no complaints on the voice acting however there is a small issue at hand with this series when it comes to audio. This show almost demands an english dub simply because of the setting they are in and that during certain moments of exposition it is almost impossible to keep track of everything all at once in an episode in one go requiring multiple re-watches to get all of it and naturally hearing it in a dubbed version would alleviate this problem.
Overall: 9/10: This show has the artistic flair and character writing to shine and each element of the show embodies the theme of what made New York City an ideal melting pot of cultures and ideas from a diverse cast of characters to many different genres of music (with jazz being the most used) to the diverse population of monsters and super-humans and diverse stories they tell. this show is a definite must-watch this season
Sometimes, I don't get anime fans. If you've paid attention to the sales charts, you'll see that Blood Blockade Battlefront's current sales numbers are going toe-to-toe with Shirobako aka the most acclaimed and important anime series in recent times, and that just baffles me. I mean Kyoani’s own beautiful anime with believable character motivations, depth to its story, and (most importantly of all) actual challenges the characters have to overcome came out in the same season around the same time, and yet it just sold decently - which is below the studio’s usual standards. Okay fine, maybe this anime has a swanky soundtrack. Maybe it's
being directed by one of the most dynamic TV directors in the current market. Maybe it has a character named Zapp Renfro. Maybe it had one of the most unique and eye-catching premises to come from the market in years. But BBB on the whole is just not the least bit good, and I don't understand why anyone is trying to convince me otherwise.
The series is based on a manga written by Yasuhiro Nightow, who you may know as the writer of Trigun - a series that's kinda sexist when you think about it. Okay, it’s not on the level of Bakuman or even Rurouni Kenshin, but Vash is still a really f*cking stupid main character. But you know, as much as he grinds my gears whilst shouting his “Love & Peace” bullshit, at least Vash had a personal story and some important flaws, mishandled as they were, in regards to some interesting discussions about how to deal with criminals. So I was kinda expecting some similar moral quandaries in this new thing under the guise of a stylish futuristic noir setting.
Unfortunately, Nightow decided for his new work that BBB would be a generic slice-of-life story combined with Baccano’s tone, and you know what that means? Let’s do absolutely fuck all whilst trying to cover up that fact with lots of energy! Honestly, I’m still racking my brains regarding who contributed more to BBB’s problems. But make no mistake: neither the production team nor the original writer helped in making this show good. The phrase “nothing interesting happens” is overused in general, let alone by me, but I can’t think of a better summary of the show’s problems aside from it being the equivalent of eating nothing but a giant bag of M&Ms for lunch. Sounds appealing at first until you become sick not even ten minutes, and you’ve still got five-sixths of the bag to go through.
The main character is pretty bland as well. Leonardo Watch - and you can tell that someone involved with Gungrave worked on these names because they’re just as silly here as they were there - is a young boy with magical eye powers who comes to the Star Wars version of Chicago and ends up getting involved in a series of ka-razy events that leads to him getting recruited into an organization called Libra, a group of individuals much older than him that keep peace in the city through poorly stylized fight scenes against villains that are never developed beyond the concept and we’ll never see again afterwards. Whilst dealing with these episodic events involving their exploits, Leo routinely converses with an anime-original girl and boy at the beginning and end of each episode, cock-teasing a larger story involving them with his connection being incredibly arbitrary.
In fact, Leonardo’s entire existence is arbitrary. Most of his screentime is just him being strung along by other people and most of the time, he doesn’t take a proactive role or solve anything on his own other than spotting the occasional enemy weakness - which makes him about as useful as Slippy Toad, so I have to wonder why he’s even the main character. Which come to think of it, didn’t he come to Hellsalem in order to help his sister? Actually, even I don’t even remember what was up with that mcguffin anymore. Something about her being sick because of some magic bullshit? Maybe if more than five minutes (in the first episode no less) were dedicated to that plot point, I’d care enough to look it up.
BBB Writer #1: Hey, wasn’t there some plot thread regarding Leo’s personal life that we should at least address, BBB Writer #2?
BBB Writer #2: Can’t seem to recall that, BBB Writer #1. Now let’s have the characters fight a Ninja Samurai Vampire, because that’s cool right?
Every single scenario is ridiculously unimaginative and plays like some Hideo Kojima wannabe’s fanfiction come to life rather than pieces of a larger whole. And with each episode I watched, I just kept asking myself what the point of all this nonsense was. There’s one episode where Leo befriends a friendly mushroom-like fellow that’s experiencing racism because that’s just how it works in the city. And when Leo tries to help him, he ends up getting kidnapped (again) and forgetting said friend once the mushroom defends himself with some sort of pollen after getting beaten severely with a baseball bat on-screen. As much as I understand that racism is a subject that’s still relevant after all this time, this incident is never brought up again and doesn’t add to Leo’s character so I’m not really sure why you made me sit through that.
And really, that’s one of the more focused episodes of the series. A large percentage of them are incredibly gimmicky fluff that accomplishes nothing more than saying something exists before pretending it doesn’t the very next week. Where are the episodic stories where the characters’ way of life is questioned or where some cliche yet relevant personal philosophy is imparted upon us or where something game-changing happens in the future besides introducing another throwaway character? Now I know the anime makes it clear at the start that Hellsalem is a place where anything can happen and that you could argue that’s the message of the anime, but I respond to that answer with “no fucking duh”. That sort of philosophy is functional as setup, but for the basis of an entire series, it’s simplistically dull because anything can happen in real life too (as Donald Trump’s campaign should show you, let alone the real New York). What exactly is this “anything can happen in Crazy Town” philosophy in aid of, Blood Blockade Battlefront?
Because it sure isn’t about anything resembling a coherent whole, I’ll tell you that. Literally the only connecting thread are these twins that only meet with Leo at the beginning and end of each episode and pretty much disappear altogether until their story appears in that long-delayed finale where said delay either killed your interest or made you want to rewatch the show prior to its arrival because it’s been a season since you last watched the anime and your memory is that atrocious. But why you’d need to do that is a question that you’re going to have to answer to me in a really understandable way, because the hints to this finale were both barely there and don’t even involve Leo or the rest of the cast all that much, if at all. And the same is true for the finale itself, which without spoiling anything, is so anticlimactic and non-consequential to anything in the show, let alone the characters, that it makes you question the entire arc's importance for all the good it did.
Speaking of the characters, I might have tolerated the lackluster story and Leo's non-existent importance if they had been the least bit interesting. But if you’re one of those people who think it’s not utterly dumb for every character to be a badass, then you can just disregard this review right now, because I honestly don’t see the appeal in a cast that doesn’t have any sort of pathos whatsoever. I don’t have a problem starting your story with fully developed characters since origin stories are overrated anyways, but there’s a difference between someone who got the way they are through hard struggles in their life and someone who’s the product of Mary Sue fanfiction. Especially when their attempts to be funny consist of jokes that have as much punch as a one-year old who hasn’t eaten in days and is chained to the ground.
And worst of all, they don’t do anymore than Leo. There’s this woman in a suit named Chain Sumeragi who is supposed to be a werewolf, but she never transforms or even fights or does really much of anything aside from jumping around and making snide remarks to Zapp - who I only remember for his name and little else. Which is something I guess, since I didn’t bother to retain anyone else’s names in this series apart from Klaus. Maybe if you actually made them do anything important or memorable or anything not boring, I’d have a reason to do so.
But no, they do jack throughout the entire show. Even in the finale, they do jack, mostly existing to serve as Leo's cheerleaders and little else. And just like most fictional cheerleaders, it's incredibly hard to distinguish between them if you ignore the obvious fact that they have different designs, sexes, and voices. Literally anything said by one character could easily be said by another character without coming across as unnatural, and that's not a good thing in my book unless you just don't care about character variety. And if you don't, sorry to say this, but you have real low standards man.
Blood Blockade Battlefront does not live up to any of the hype surrounding its pre or post-release, but I’ll be fair and admit that not even Cowboy Bebop would have been able to live up to the amount of jizz that covered it before its airing alone. All of the show’s good traits from Matsumoto’s dynamic direction to the ending credits are outnumbered by shit ones, namely the fact that there’s so much about these characters and this setting that’s ripe for good storytelling, and yet it’s wasted on predictable humor, shallow characterization, and pointless world-building that will become as relevant as school shootings in a decade (seriously, how the fuck can there be so many in this year alone?). Also, dear god does the action suck a big fat one. It's completely one-sided and keeps favoring stylization over interesting choreography, the finale in particular avoiding to scratch that "action-loving" itch of mine when it had the team take down a bunch of faceless mooks that stood perfectly still and took it from the top in-between all the horrendously boring and overly long philosophical dialogue.
And it didn't even last half a minute. That's like dating a cute girl for five years without having sex and when you finally decide to do it on your honeymoon night...well let's just say that unlike this show, you have more to look forward to in the future, including getting better. But it's best not to tell your kids about the time you cried during what you claim to be the greatest period of your life.
Death threats inc. Hold your horses boys and girls! Someone on the internet is going to have a different perspective on your favourite show! And you're going to get you more triggered than a feminist listening to Meghan Trainor.
Nonlinear narrative, disjointed narrative or disrupted narrative is a narrative technique used in literature and film which is a unique way of telling a story and for the most part is enjoyable style to be seen played out. Kekkai is one of those shows that uses a disjointed narrative, but does it succeed as a good show? In my opinion..
No, not really. But hey if you agree with me maybe i'm not alone and we can cuddle later.
Note: Bad jokes, coarse language will be in this review and this will be hard to write without spoilers but i'll try my best.
The atmosphere and setting of Kekkai Sensen has a jazzy feel to it being similar to Baccano in that regard and that aspect of the show was what really drew me in at first. And the premise wasn't too shabby either, and had me asking a lot of questions that I desperately wanted answered, but sadly none of them were answered.
When it comes to the plot, Kekkai was handled horribly. I hated how the story was dealt with. The series felt all over the place because it just didn't know what to do, what it wanted to accomplish. It seemed like every episode had 5 to 7 volumes of manga crammed into it. And when clues to the story were added they WHERE NEVER EXPLAINED AND ANSWERED LIKE ... How do these two characters know each other? How did Leonardo get to this city if it was sealed off from the world? How does the society of monsters and humans work? What are the 13 kings? How do the extras not notice Leonardo's big blue glowing eyes when hes squinting... It makes little to no sense logically, and let alone how can he see his surroundings if he's squinting all the time to the point that people can't see his eyes? This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to questions I had to keep asking myself that never got answered in this show. And questions like these that just go unaddressed makes the cast really hard to enjoy along with the plot.
Now some will argue and say the story line is all over the place because of the directing style and that may be true but sometimes there is a place when a director isn't doing a good job. It does after all depend on taste and how you view things. Personally with the unique setting and concept that Kekkai Sensen has, and so many unique things in its universe that you want to know more about but that is where the main problem lies. There is soo much information, soo much going on, soo many different creatures, monsters, abilities, different relationships and characters that have been introduced in this series that the majority of people including myself are just not going to keep up with. If I honestly have to watch something twice to understand it's story line then its not a good series.
The characters are another huge fault in the series. How I felt when watching important scenes of this show was that I was suppose to connect with these characters but I can't really enjoy a character if his or her motives and backstory aren't explained. Hell they didn't need to go all in depth with the characters but some flashbacks would be nice for the side characters besides Leonardo & Mary Macbeth. I wanted to connect with these characters badly but I WAS SIMPLY NOT ABLE TO. WHEN YOU START PLACING CHARACTERS LIKE ZAP'S MASTER IN AN EPISODE AND JUST SAY HE WAS TRAINING HARD WITH HIM FOR MOST OF HIS LIFE THEN I'M OBVIOUSLY NOT GOING HAVE A GRASP ON THE CHARACTER. None of the characters felt important to the story at all and most of the time Leonardo got out of the worst of situations just because he was the main character.
In conclusion I didn't like the show. If I had to say something good about the series it will definitely be its premise, art style and wacky OST (Including the op & ed which are fucking awesome and have an amazing feel to them) Because unlike most anime nowadays, the story wasn't centered around a high-school. But the main issue that people don't understand why others may not like the show is, just because the plot is given to us, does not mean it's presented in the correct fashion. Idiots like to praise these show for being unique and using an uncovential structure, but they're just overthinking it. Nothing was explained and It made me care less about the series. I rate Kekkai Sensen a... I'd rather end up like Leonardo's sister then watch this anime again out of 10.
Kekkai Sensen is an ongoing manga from Nightow Yasuhiro, you may know him as the creator of Trigun. The manga started in 2009, but it didn't receive an anime adaptation until this year. The anime was handled by Bones, a Studio that has a pretty strong track record as far as their works I've reviewed go. Will this be up to their usual standards? Let's delve into it.
Our story opens in Hellsalem's Lot, formerly New York formerly New Amsterdam. The old New York city was destroyed by a portal opening to another world and this one didn't even have the good grace to
have a giant squid monster. In this city, humans co-exist with all manner of strange otherworldly beings. In this city, there's a shadowy organisation called Libra dedicated to keeping the piece. Our protagonist, Leonardo Watch, encounters Libra through an odd coincidence and is given a position due to his mysterious “All-seeing eyes”Which are so strong that he doesn't even have to open his eyelids to see, apparently. The series follows several of Libra's escapades as they encounter various threats.
The biggest flaw of the series is the end. It's a disjointed mess with inadequate build up behind it, poorly attempting to tie up all of the ongoing plot points. The series also suffers a bit from tone problems. Most of the time it goes for a more over the top and fun type of aesthetic, but it also tries to have some real emotional moments. The emotional moments don't work well and come across as out of place because they're so heavily divorced from the tone of most of the series. They're simply too few in number with too vast of stretches betwixt them. There's also the narrative device of Leo writing a letter to his sister. Ultimately, it contributes nothing and exactly what parts of the series are included is unclear. It can't be the whole thing since there are a lot of scenes that he isn't in and where he just has no way of knowing what happened. The episodes also vary pretty widely. Some of them are fairly entertaining while others are just kind of dumb.
On the positive side, there are some intriguing ideas behind the series. If they had been better fleshed out, this could have been really good. The world building is pretty decent and I do like that the series tries to show some of the alien perspectives at times. Also, let me reiterate, there are some pretty good episodes thrown in.
The characters really vary. There are some that are kind of interesting and have some depth to them, Klaus, Black, and White being the most obvious. However, most of the characters are pretty trite. Chain, Gilbert, K.K, Steven, Zed, Deldro, Dog, and a variety of other characters are just kind of there and only have a couple of very basic traits. Leo himself is kind of a boring generically nice but out of his league type of character.
The art is pretty good. The character designs are nicely varied and distinctive. The action sequences are pretty strong, although they suffer a bit from overblown attacks that have to be awkwardly labelled on-screen, and there are some really nice details both in terms of the various creatures and in terms of the backgrounds.
The acting is all right. It can be really over the top but, for the most part, it's perfectly serviceable. The best performance definitely comes from Koyama Rikiya. Probably because his character is more subdued and doesn't really go into the exaggerated craziness mode that, say, Nakai Kazuya's character exhibits so frequently. The music is fine.
There's really not any in this series.
There was some real potential for this series. It has some good ideas and a world with a lot of potential, unfortunately, it falls pretty short with writing and characters that are quite mediocre. My final rating is going to be a 5/10. If you're looking for an exaggerated action-oriented series, Kekkai Sensen will likely be satisfactory. But if you're looking for something with more depth to it, it's probably not going to do much for you. Next week I'll take a look at Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha Vivid.
Nothing makes an anime scarier (or more thrilling) than those that feature grotesque beings terrorizing everything -- including us viewers. This in-depth look at these utter monstrosities will reveal why these horrific beasts are, in fact, so frightening.