Strike the Blood – 07

stb7

Yukina breaks up Kojou and Sayaka’s fight and takes Asagi to the nurse’s office. Christoph Gardos infiltrates the school and kidnaps Asagi, Yukina, and Nagisa. He wants Asagi to analyze the control commands for Nalakuvera which has already been activated. Yaze tracks them, but is taken out by Vatler, who is involved to stave off boredom. Kojou waves off Vatler, vowing to take on Nalakuvera himself.

In yet another watchable but ultimately uninspiring episode, everything is set up for the climactic battle between Kojou and the ancient war machine Nalakuvera. But this show’s problem right now is needless complication: there are too many hastily introduced parties with too many different motivations. We can understand Lion King bringing in extra help to stop demonic terrorists from ruining Itogami Island, but it’s unwise to squeeze in the conflict between Gardos and Vatler at the same time, along with whatever Natsuki and Yaze are up to.

Without any time to develop any of these various factions individually, it’s hard to care about any of them, beyond the fact that they all oppose Kojou in some way and should be defeated. We’d also mention how pathetically easily Yukina lets herself, Asagi, and Nagisa get captured. We didn’t see much point in Nagisa being present in the episode at all, much less bring up her fear of demons, which was kind of a non sequitur. Sayaka is kind of a train wreck of a character, which might be okay if she was good at her job. Honestly, we’re still not able to articulate why we’re still watching this or why we don’t just stop. It’s very strange.


Rating: 5 (Average)

Advertisements

Strike the Blood – 06

stb6

Kojou and Yukina meet Vatler, who is accompanied by the Lion King assassin Kirasaka Sayaka, who doesn’t like Kojou hanging around her friend Yukina. Vatler wanted to meet the man who essentially consumed his lover, but also notifies them about the presence of Christoph Gardos, whom Yukina vows to deal with herself. When she and Kojou meet with Natsuki for intel, she tells them she’s on the case, and to focus on not letting Vatler devour Kojou. Asagi decodes information on Nalakuvera, an ancient weapon Gardos may be after, while also setting to work attempting to “seduce” Kojou. Sayaka notices Kojou’s “infidelity” and ambushes him on the school roof. When she cuts him, his vampire powers release, in plain view of Asagi.

This show is a bit too qualifier-happy. Lord Blah Blah of the Blah Blah informs Kojou of that Blah Blah Gardos of the Blah Blah Faction is after the Blah Blah Weapon. Piling titles upon titles and organizations upon factions just makes for a whole lot of proper nouns we’d rather not have to memorize. Still, while there’s plenty of supernatural political intrigue, with Kojou in the middle and the target of many interested parties, the show doesn’t forget that not long ago he was just a regular high schooler, who is still hanging on to a decent chunk of his normal high school life. As many problems he has on the supernatural side of things,almost equal importance is given to the love triangle the show is committed to sticking him in.

What really makes it clear is just how angry and jealous she gets when her rival Asagi starts resorting to extreme seduction measures. Asagi likes Kojou and relieved to hear he’s not dating Yukina, so makes her interest in Kojou abundantly clear to him whenever possible. Still, Kojou doesn’t seem interested in really dating anyone at this point. Part of this is practical—he can’t control his vampire side if he gets too…excited—but it’s also because his normal side is being disappointingly dense and indecisive. DURRR U MAD YUKINA… DURRR WHY ARE U LYING ON TOP OF ME AND BLUSHING ASAGI DURRR…really? Sort it out, dude. We’ll also see how Asagi deals with Kojou’s dark side.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Strike the Blood – 05

stb5

Minamiya captures a henchman of Christoph Gardos and later arrests him with help from Astarte, confirming he’s an unregistered demon and believing him to be a sympathizer of the Black Death Star Faction. Meanwhile, Kojou’s class teams him up with Asagi in badminton doubles, but before practice he’s attacked by two shikigami messengers, who give Kojou an invitation to a yacht party hosted by Lord Dimitrie Vatler of Ardeal, a servant of the First primogenitor. When Kojou attends with Yukina as his date, Vatler tests his strength with a familiar before introducing himself.

If you like cliches being employed unironically and in quick succession, then you liked this first episode of the “Warlord’s Empire” arc. A cold open in which a seemingly ferocious panther-man is swiftly dealt with by the delicate yet powerful Minamiya, the “Witch of the Void”. Kojou barging in on Yukina changing and lingering far too long. Being teamed up with Aiba, who is jelaous of Kojou’s recent closeness with Yukina, and like Yukina, actually likes Kojou but pretends to loathe him. She changes into a comely badminton outfit, while Yukina sports a cheerleading outfit and later party dress; in both instances warning Kojou not to look at her.

Unfortunately, Kojou is a bit of a dense fellow, not realizing the love triangle he’s in, and all he does is further enable Yukina and Aiba’s persistent tsundere behavior. It’s always annoying when the end of one arc establishes that some degree of progress has been made in the relationship of two characters, only to see them regressing at the start of the next one. Apparently Yukina needs to constantly tell herself Kojou is a pervert who deserves ridicule every time he shows the slightest hint of acknowledging she’s a female. One of the few exceptions this week was at the grocery store, where enjoyed their casual bonhomie, discussing demon lords and onions in the same breath. But yeah, this was a rather thin and uninspiring outing.


Rating: 5 (Average)

Strike the Blood – 04

stb4

Kojou comes back to life, and learns that Asagi is trapped in the Keystone Gate, which is being attacked by Eustach. Yukina allows Kojou to drink her blood so he can control his familiars. They confront Eustach and Astarte at the gate’s lowest level, where a stolen relic belonging to the deacon’s church is being used as Itogami City’s cornerstone. Kojou unleashes his “Arm of Regulus”, weakening Astarte’s shield, which Yukina shatters with her spear, and Eustach is defeated shortly thereafter. Yukina prepares to return to her organization for further orders, but when her spear is sent back repaired, Kojou takes it as a sign her mission as his observer is not over.

The “Right Arm of the Saint” that gave this opening arc its name rightfully belongs to Eustach’s church, and it was an injustice for that holy artifact to be used in the construction of Itogami City. Kojou can’t argue with that. But it’s also clear Eustach went about trying to retrieve the arm in completely the wrong way. Not only did he essentially enslave a young girl to be his shield, he is also perfectly okay with killing a large number of the city’s 560,000 denizens. He also cut Kojou in half. And as we said last week, not finishing off Yukina led to his undoing this week, as Yukina’s blood ensures Kojou can control his powers enough to defeat him.

This episode also shows that Kojou has no qualms about getting up close and personal with Yukina, and how much of this behavior is due to his status as the primogenitor and how much is just him being a guy is a matter still up for debate. Some of his scenes looming on top of an unwilling Yukina (and using her as a “fluffer”) are a tad icky, making him deserving (for once) of the derision all the girls dish out at him later. Of course, Yukina needed his power in check to have any chance against Eustach, and so willingly offers her blood, tying the two even closer together. This was the intent of her superiors all along, as we’d suspected: she was sent not just to be his observer, but his lover.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Strike the Blood – 03

stb3

Eustach and Astarte retreat and Kojou recovers, but the lightning explosion he created costs billions of yen in damage to the city. Yukina helps him build a case for self-defense, which means finding Eustach, a powerful international criminal. With help from Kojou’s classmate Aiba Asagi, they locate Eustach in an abandoned laboratory. He once again sics Astarte – a homonculus containing an unhatched familiar – on them. She easily tosses Kojou and Yukina aside. Just when Eustach is delivering a killing stroke to Yukina, Kojou steps in front of the axe, which takes his head off.

If the Lion King Organization intended for the fourth primogenitor to be dealt with quickly and decisively, then they may have made a blunder when they chose a teenage girl to observe him. Then again, it’s made clear that, like Eustach with his homonculus girl, Yukina and other girls like her are naught but tools of the organization they serve, and expected to act accordingly. But Yukina isn’t dispassionate. She’s not just her target’s observer and potential executioner anymore. He’s become her savior, her friend…and her crush. Even when Kojou tells her how unstable he is and that he’d totally understand if she decided to eliminate him, she can’t to it.

And it’s not just about thinking he’s dreamy or being grateful for him saving her life. Getting to know him has shown her that he is a good person, worthy of mercy. Kojou causes quite a bit of damage in his self-defense, but it’s a human – Eustach – who is the greater threat, planning to destroy the entire island to get at the gooey “treasure” within. That threat is driven home when Kojou and Yukina barely last ten seconds against Astarte, ending with Kojou’s severed head in the arms of a blood-drenched, stunned Yukina. In classic arrogant villain form, Eustach doesn’t use this opportunity to kill Yukina too, ending any possibility of them coming after him again, but peaces out, sparing her life. You know he’ll regret that later.


Rating: 6 (Good)