Strike the Blood – 05

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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)

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Strike the Blood – 04

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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

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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)

Strike the Blood – 02

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Yukina moves next door to Kojou and transfers to his sister Nagisa‘s middle school. Kojou’s teacher Minamiya Natsuki warns him to stay well clear of Lion King Org. members. Kojou accompanies Yukina while she shops for her empty flat. While on their way to a convenience store after dinner, Yukina and Kojou witness a huge fight between two familiars. Yukina runs off to investigate and is attacked by Combat Deacon Rudolf Eustach and his colleague Astarte. Kojou shows up and saves Yukina, but his powers go haywire.

It’s well-worn, but we still like the idea of the usually ordinary guy possessing awesome powers that he almost never uses, but are always there. Kamijou Touma is another example. Both he and Kojou don’t think they can change the world but always seem to end up doing so anyway. But while Touma simply seems to have abnormally bad fortune, Kojou’s issue with his powers is that he’s not particularly confident he’d be able to control them were they to fully surface. By the end of the episode, it would seem that his fears were correct. But before all that, the episode shows that it can do slice-of-life competently, and the rapport growing between Kojou and Yukina is also progressing nicely.

Yukina’s ignorance of golf clubs notwithstanding, there’s just something amusing about the world’s most powerful vampire and his sword shaman minder going to Home Depot. But while he seems to be the model Primogenitor with his hot-pot invitation and crane game prowess, when he inserts himself in that battle he shows he can be a “dangerous being”, and Yukina’s explicit orders were to eliminate him in that instance. We know she won’t do that – it’s only the second episode and she doesn’t seem powerful enough at this point – it could complicate their relationship. Or maybe he’ll snap out of it, she’ll thank him for saving her, and he’ll begin the long process of mastering his powers in hopes of using them for good.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Strike the Blood – 01

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Akatsuki Kojou was once an ordinary high schooler in the Demon District of Itogami City, but somehow became the Fourth Primogenitor – the world’s strongest vampire. The Lion King Organization, an agency tasked with preventing supernatural calamities, dispatched the apprentice Sword Shaman Himegari Yukina to observe Kojou – and eliminate him if necessary.

Like Staz last season, Maou the season before, and Mirai this season, Akatsuki Kojou is a reluctant host to a potentially world-threatening power, but still in a low-power state, who would rather just live a normal life, but the story will probably make sure that doesn’t happen. In the beginning he’s presented as just your run-of-the-mill slacking high-schooler whose nose bleeds when he’s turned on. And that he’d like nothing else but to keep that nose down and stay out of trouble. Trouble will of course eventually find him, however, so continuing to pretend he’s not the Fourth Primogenitor is futile.

Enter the heroine, Himeragi Yukina, who doesn’t seem to be there only to keep an eye on him and destroy him if he tries anything. It’s possible the powers that be paired her with Kojou because they’re both still figuring out who and what they are. Perhaps they’re not even certain anyone can defeat him, so they’re going with a softer approach to appeal to the humanity still within him, in an effort to manage the threat. Or maybe they have so much faith in Yukina, despite her youth and inexperience, to be a Sword Shaman who can handle the Fourth.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Stray Observations:

  • There’s not a lot we haven’t seen before in this series, and the expansion of the cast the OP foretells could be troublesome, but we know for sure that we like the two leads, and after an unfortunate upskirt incident, they eventually settle down and interact cordially. Considering they’re stuck together, making peace was the logical course.
  • Yukina is a lot less stealthy than she thinks.
  • Animation quality is a step down from the other Fall series so far, but it doesn’t embarrass itself. Where the series is truly let down is in its uninspired soundtrack.
  • We appreciated the restraint with which the episode handled ecchi elements, but Kojou’s bloody nose will probably continue to get him into trouble, which is kinda lame.