Note: If you found this review helpful (or not), leave me a PM or comment, and give me some constructive criticism!
Post-note: All scores are compared to titles I have watched personally and represent the verbal "score" of that number, with a 7 meaning " Good". It is unrelated to the 1-10 grading that a lot of people seem to solely apply, without thinking of what it means.
Originally an offshoot of an earlier movie, Blood+ combines both existing elements present in anime and new ones, to create a somewhat unique shonen (yes, shonen, because that's what this is, don't be fooled by the R+ rating) title. The original premise, that of cute girl with big sword fighting large monsters has been done many times before, but it is the encompassing plot and character designs that make this title stand out.
The fact that that the writers obviously wanted this series to stand out compared to a lot of other drab that comes out nowadays is evident. Sharp character designs (lack of moe characters) are the norm, and the plot line aims to be as realistic as possible, including many existing locations throughout the modern world. from Japan to Russia to France, it becomes evident that the animators have at least glanced at existing sceneries before sketching the locations where the story takes place.
We can understand the actions of certain characters (if the motifs have been revealed), and often the distinction between good and evil becomes blurred, something which lacks in a lot of series nowadays, where differences are usually black and white, with not much repose in between.
Then, you may ask " Why give it a 7?".
First note that a 7 to me means " Good", it holds no numerical value. Blood+ is a good show, but it doesn't have any factors that make it stand out to the point where, maybe a year later, you think "wow, that was quite a memorable show".
It is the same factor that makes it unique, that drags it down. The score is pulled down because of the lack of realism in a show that aims to include many elements pulled straight out of the 21st century world for the sake of appearing realistic and well thought through.
There is a scene where a protagonist is being pursued. He flees into a park, filled with happy picnickers. He rests momentarily on a bench, when suddenly his pursuer appears again. He runs through the park, but to our surprise, all those picnickers have disappeared. Is the director implying that in the few seconds that the camera pans away, all those men and women decided to pack up and leave? This incident is not standalone, and quite often outsiders (to the plot) seem to act illogically, or simply disappear solely for the sake of furthering a plot line and making the actions of characters seem logical.
Another small, annoying factor is that all characters seem to be able to speak to anyone on the globe. Now honestly, I don't believe that the entire world has started speaking Japanese overnight. This can be overlooked to a certain extent however, since such reasoning seems to be prevalent in many shonen titles.
Another factor pulling down an otherwise very good show, is the seemingly low budget of Blood+. It affects many of the most dominant factors determining the success of a show, plot, animation and sound. Firstly, the plot seems to suffer because directors and producers felt it necessary to include a lot of tangents, which lead nowhere. The entire series could have been done in 3/4ths of the 50 episodes that it runs for or less. Secondly, the lack of CG animation and lanky movements at times takes away from a series that includes a lot of fight scenes. Although it does give it some sort of visual appeal, it would have been much better executed with a larger animation budget.
Sound is another factor pulling it down. Although there are some good tracks in the OST, which are nice to the ear, the repetition and overuse of them is simply irritating, especially for a longer anime like Blood+. The OP and ED are of the common staple, including well known (at least, for us anime fans) J-Rock bands such as UVERworld and Hyde. Certainly not bad, but not very original either. Voice acting isn't terribly great either, although the actors can convey different emotions, it is not entirely convincing either.
Lastly, personally I found the lack of a deeper " meaningful" plot line distasteful. Although certainly not needed, it would have brought the enjoyment factor up quite a bit. Simply following the story of the main protagonist, Saya, can be a bore at times, especially when it becomes overly melodramatic.
Pushing my criticism aside, Blood+ certainly isn't a bad series. Even with these somewhat irritating flaws, it is still much better than a lot of Shonen titles nowadays, and for anyone simply wanting some enjoyment without a too much engrossing plot, i'd certainly recommend this. However, for anyone looking for something deeper, something with, say, moralistic or idealistic principles, i'd tell you to look further, because this wouldn't be for you.
Recommended for: (more serious) Shonen fans, those looking for something different than average.
Not recommended for: Fans of moe character designs, serious Seinen fans.