The secret of Saya is finally revealed in the fourth volume of the dark, vampirish anime known as "BLOOD+".
The popular 50-episode anime series that was shown in Japan back in 2005-2006 and also in the US via "Adult Swim" on the Cartoon Network finally starts to catch some steam with more developments on the past of Saya. What we have learned in the previous three volumes is that Saya is a person that has a special power and with the Red Shield, they set out to the road in an effort to destroy vampires aka Chiropterans and Diva, their queen. Representing Red Shield is David who watches over Saya and her two adoptive brothers Kai and Riku. Saya is aided by Hagi, who happens to have a special ability in order to protect Saya and joining the team is their bodyguard Lewis and Red Shield doctor Julia Silverstein. You suspect something about Saya because she always receives these blood transfusions and her blood somehow powers up her sword and her eyes turn glowing red before she decimates her opponent.
In volume 4, the group now ends up in Russia to look for some leads on Diva and the Chiropterans and a doctor who may have created them or clones of them.
The following episodes included in this volume are:
1. Episode 16 - Siberian Express - While on the train ride through Russia, the group is attacked by two Chiropterans and Saya and Hagi go to battle. But for David, he questions how two of the Chiropterans can get into the train?
2. Episode 17 - Do you Remember the Promise? - With Saya and Hagi thrown off the train in the last episode, both walk for shelter and start to begin their search for a doctor who was experimenting on cloning. They end up meeting his daughter who wants to help them but is she really the daughter?
3. Episode 18 - Moon Over Ekaterinburg - This episode focuses on Kai. As Kai continues to feel that he is worthless in the battle against the Chiropterans, he is given back his father's pistol and while David and Lewis are investigating a building, they are attacked by a Chiropteran.
4. Episode 19 - Broken Heart - The secret of Saya and Haji is revealed! Eliza is revealed to be a Chiropteran who had been disguised as her (the original Eliza was killed in episode 16) and tells Saya everything about her and why she has been experiencing unusual dreams.
5. Episode 20 - Chevalier - The secret of Saya becomes a shocker, especially when Kai finds out the truth about Saya. Meanwhile, Diva's Chevalier's get together and try to figure out a plan on how to get Saya and Haji knowing that Saya's blood can kill them.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"BLOOD+" was created for television and the video is presented in 1:33:1 full screen. The animation is quite nice with character designs by Chizu Hashii, which this series is his first as a character designer. The backgrounds are quite nice as the series tends features outdoor and indoor scenes but because this is more or less a vampiric anime that is quite dark and violent, the anime has it's dark feel to it. But otherwise, I felt the anime was pretty cool and stylish.
As for audio, audio is presented only in stereo. So, there are not much effects being used on all speakers but if your concern is voice acting, the English dub work is well done as the voice of Saya is done by popular video game and anime voice actress Kari Wahldren and popular anime voice actor Crispin Freeman does a great job as Hagi. And the Japanese voice work is awesome! Both Eri Kitarmura and Katsuyuki Konish also do a great job and the same goes to the others for their voice work.
Unfortunately, there are no special features included.
The fourth volume of "BLOOD+" is quite significant because it finally reveals what Saya and Haji truly are. Why she has these special abilities and how her blood causes fear amongst the Chiropterans!
The animation and artistic backgrounds are done quite well in this series and for those who are looking for an anime that is dark, violent and bloody and action-packed, definitely can find that with this anime series. But if there is one thing to remember is that "BLOOD+" is a 50-episode anime series, so you can expect around 12-volumes total. It's a kind of series that you want to stay in for the long run.
As for the DVD, I do wish there were some kind of special features included. Commentary or production stills, or textless opening or ending. Something at least. Well, there is one thing that you will see in "BLOOD+" and that is the inclusion of the sponsor stills that typically follow the intro theme in Japan.
For those who have been curious about this anime series, the first thing I must say is that if you are wondering if "BLOOD+" is a continuation of the "BLOOD: The Last Vampire" series, the answer is "no". This is an original story and it has spawned not only anime series but manga and video games as well in Japan. Second, because this anime series is unrated, this anime although shown on Japanese television, is definitely not appropriate for young children. There is plenty of violence and blood in this series. So, that is another important tidbit to know about this series.
Overall, the series is well done and I enjoyed it. It helps to have that awesome theme song by HYDE singing "Season's Call" kicking off the intro of the series and cool characters and dark villains. So, you get a fair amount of action with each episode.
Volume 4 is pivotal and important in the series, so if you have the first three volumes of "BLOOD+", you definitely want to check this one out!