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Anime Review

Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond Episode 1 Review: Lights, Camera, Action!

All of the otherworldly chaos and shenanigans are back in Season 2 of the Kekkai Sensen series, Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond (血界戦線 & BEYOND lit. Kekkai Sensen & Beyond). It’s been two years since Season 1 concluded and they didn’t hold anything back with this season opener! If you are a fan of over-the-top action and mayhem, this is the show for you!

Japanese Original Episode Title: ライツ、カメラ、アクション!

Plot

Since this is Season 2, I should probably give a basic recap of the series…

Three years ago, a mysterious portal opened up in what used to be New York, connecting the Earth with an alternate universe, let’s call it the Beyond, after which a whole host of otherworldly creatures decided to cross the divide and make New York, now Hellsalem’s Lot, their new home. Of course, some of the supernatural creatures weren’t too keen on peacefully coexisting with humans, so it’s up to the members of the super-secret organization Libra to keep the peace in the strangest city in the world; that’s pretty much all you need to know! So, now that the recap is out of the way, let’s delve into what actual happened in the first episode, shall we?

Femt (one of the big bads from Season 1) decided that it’d be a good idea to release mutant people-eating demon beasts on the unsuspecting residents of the city: shenanigans ensue. Meanwhile, the US presidential envoy to Hellsalem’s Lot (I’m going shorten the city’s name to HL, because Hellsalem’s Lot is super long) has gone missing and it’s up to the members of Libra to locate him and deliver him safely to Federal Hall in time for a big speech. Oh, and did I forget to mention Leo bought a brand new game system? Yeah, it’s just another day in Hellsalem’s Lot; abductions, explosions, all-out mayhem, normal stuff.

Episode Highlights

This kinda shit happens every day: I established in my review of Season 1 that strange shit happens in HL just about every day, from the epic anime battles to the all-out blood wars, and the residents of the city are pretty meh about all of it. Case in point, Leo’s apartment gets blown up early on in the episode. Leo is of course horrified to see his home destroyed, openly weeping in the street below. But, when the camera pans to the commuters on the street they have a very different reaction; they look up, acknowledge that the explosion happened just a few feet above their head, collectively shrug, and continue on with their business like nothing happened.

Let me introduce you to the team: It seems like Season 2 is making an effort to give some more screen time to the members of Libra, including some folks that were relegated to mere cameos in Season 1. Hopefully, this is a sign that we’ll be seeing some action from characters other than Leo, Klaus, and Zapp… fingers crossed! Also, I really like that they brought back the character bio title cards in season 2, since I kind of needed to be reminded who everyone was, especially the folks that wound up on the cutting room floor during Season 1.

Can’t you see I’m on the phone?! Zapp has an entire conversation with Klaus all while effortlessly defending himself against a group of hostile enemies. In fact, the way he carries on the conversation without so much as skipping a beat would suggest that he was sitting in a cafe sipping a cup of coffee, not fighting for his life!

Why are you guys just standing there? Klaus and Steven allow themselves to be captured by enemies, and when Leo questions them about it, they remark that they don’t want to cause any unnecessary chaos. Mind you, this is after an entire episode of everyone else turning the streets of Hellsalem’s Lot into a fucking war zone, with big ass machine guns, explosions, and an unimaginable amount of property damage. But, no, Klaus and Steven refuse to fight off their captors because they don’t want to cause any ‘unnecessary chaos’… They wind up doing it anyway, but the fact that they waited because they were being mindful of the situation is laughable.

Remember all the stuff that happened the other day? I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t a huge fan of the first season’s anime-only climax. In fact, I could probably write at length about everything I hated about it (don’t worry, I won’t), but, I did appreciate the subtle throwback to the events that occurred at the end of the previous season. It was only a small blink and you’d miss it scene at the end of the episode, but it was still nice.

Themes & Trivia

Now with more explosions! If you thought the mayhem from Season 1 was over the top, the Season 2 opener takes everything and turns it up to eleven! They literally bring out the big guns (no seriously, there were giant guns strapped to cars, motorcycles, hell, K.K. whips out a big ass handgun at one point). It’s like they had a meeting about making Season 2 better and someone said, ‘add more explosions!!’

Hi, I’m the Protagonist, your weapons are useless: Leo survives all manner of attacks and danger as he attempts to deliver the presidential envoy safely to Federal Hall for his speech. He dodges the entirety of the HL underworld, trucks armed with machine guns, snipers, thugs with baseball bats, and tanks; the kind of stuff that would kill lesser mortals. But, Leonardo Watch isn’t your run of the mill human; he’s the protagonist and that renders him virtually indestructible… can’t say the same for his apartment though.

What is it boy? *Bark* Johnny fell down a well? There was a bit of a Lassie moment in this episode, when Sonic, the cute sonic monkey mascot/companion of Libra, comes to Leo’s aid warning him that his intended escape route is not exactly the safest… Of course, seeing as he does this solely with squeaks and arm gestures, it’s a wonder Leo even knows what he’s saying.

Back to square one: After making it past numerous explosions, assassination attempts, and all out mayhem, Leo finally makes it to the drop-off location, Federal Hall, only to be blasted right back to where he started, in an alleyway across from his now ruined apartment. Tough break kid.

‘Oh, shit’ moment: There are a lot of these in this episode, but my favorite comes from Mr. Lucky himself, Brigade. After rescuing Leo, Brigade informs the rest of the team that he has Leo safe and sound… however, when he hangs up, he is immediately shot by a sniper. For a second, both Leo and the audience fear that he is dead, but turns out he’s wearing a new state of the art bulletproof trench-coat… go figure.

Comments

I literally laughed my ass off the entire episode. Everything I loved about the first season was back and in full form. There was never a dull moment in this episode. Every scene, no, every frame, was crammed full of high octane action! The monsters were bigger, the explosions louder, and the visuals… those scenery shots were beautiful.

I will admit that this type of show isn’t usually my kind of thing, but everything in this episode was a riot. I went into this episode expecting a lot of noise and flashy action sequences and it more than delivered, but there were a few hints at some deeper story elements. Apparently, this season is going to feature Leo’s sister, Michella, a bit more prominently, and I’m curious to see how she factors in with the goings on in HL.

A City With Limitless Possibilities

Where do I begin? There was a lot going on in this episode and if you aren’t familiar with the ‘controlled chaos’ of the Kekkai Sensen series, this first episode can be a bit overwhelming. First, let me explain that at least 75% of the episode consists of all out destruction and chaos with the other 25% consisting of what some might consider ‘plot’, a term that I use loosely, because this episode goes from zero to one hundred in the first five minutes… plot be damned. But, that’s what makes the Kekkai Sensen series so much fun to watch. It doesn’t take itself seriously and I for one can’t wait to see what other insanity the rest of the season has in store for us!

But, let’s hear from you guys! What are you most looking forward to in Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond? Is it more mindless mayhem? Or are you hoping for something more in line with the plot of the manga?

NEXT TIME: A Phantom Hospital Ward Rises (幻界病棟ライゼズ)

Blood Blockade Battlefront and Beyond

Fall 2017 | Anime Info Page

Official Site: http://kekkaisensen.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kekkaisensen

All reviews for Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond

(c)2015 内藤泰弘/集英社・血界戦線製作委員会 (c)2017 内藤泰弘/集英社・血界戦線 & BEYOND製作委員会

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