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AKA: ブラッディヴォーレス
Genre: Vampire survival action.
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently available streaming on Crunchyroll.
Content Rating: R-17 (Violence, deaths, mild fanservice, profanity.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Deadman Wonderland, Seraph of the End, Tokyo Ghoul, Strike the Blood.
Notes: Based on a webcomic by Bai Xiao called "Time Prisoners".
Rating:

Bloodivores

Synopsis

After a failed bank robbery that leaves a whole lot of people dead, Mi Liu along with three of his bloodivore friends -- Anji, Win Chao and Chen Fong -- are sentenced to death. However, en route to jail, the car gets perforated with bullets and the four of them wake up in a container in a warehouse at some unknown location, where they are told by a robot copy of Anji that they are there to survive. Then, the monsters attack.


Review

In my time as a review writer for THEM, I've had the chance to watch a lot of truly terrible shows. You have godawful and surreal violence fest Violence Jack, which spent most of its time portraying men as rapists and murderers to the point where cannibal punks turned out to be the more sympathetic of the males in the cast. After making the review for it, I later had the chance to read some of the manga, which turned out to be completely different -- and I want to stress the "completely" part; it was actually pretty good. There's ICE, which... sort of does the same, but also adds a layer of meaningless surrealism to the equation. There's a long string of terrible harem action shows, like Bladedancer of Elementalers and Hundred, shows that follow their blueprint so slavishly, with the same tiresome characters performing the same tiresome jokes and it matters little whether the male lead is a wishy-washy dolt or a sarcastic hardass.

But Bloodivores? Oh, that's a special league of terrible all on its own, whose name is only scratching the surface of what kind of idiocy you can expect. Bloodivores wants to challenge the 80's shounen action plot, maybe with a supernatural element. As noted in the "genre" field, Bloodivores is a vampire survival drama. You might ask how that differs from regular survival drama, and the answer to that is; it doesn't really differ at all. You might also ask why they call the vampires "bloodivores" in this show, and if that's the case... join the club. In fact, if you DO know, please tell us. Share it with the world. The closest logical explanation I can think of is that Bloodivores wants to stand out in what is becoming a rather crowded vampire market, and I guess it found a way to do that, much in the way that Odin: Starlight Mutiny found a way to stand out in the sci-fi market; by taking tropes from their respective genres and trying to make an action-packed adventure while (unintentionally) ignoring that a story is required to make sense.

I said that the main group of Bloodivores were a quartet, but Mi Liu and Anji are the only two who are of particular importance in this show; Mi Liu because he's the designated main character -- the "child of hope", or so the series say -- and Anji because she's the token female of the group. But don't worry; to replace the two irrelevant friends, there's Lee Shin, a mysterious man who works as an assassin, at least according to himself. He fights with blades, katanas in particular, but won't be above using whatever knives he comes across either. There's also Lou Yao, a bloodivore of exceptional physical strength whom the show may or may not want to play up as an antagonist, I'm not sure. Oh, and remember that car getting shot up while transporting the prisoners to... their place of execution, I think? Bloodivores is also featuring the old, grizzled police detective stereotype, Lai, who totally isn't buying any of this and wants to investigate what is clearly some kind of conspiracy. The show doesn't state if he's one week from retirement, but near the end of this show, he hasn't spent much time investigating this before he gets targeted by mysterious assassins that clearly isn't working for the BST, an organisation that controls much of the law enforcement that deals with the bloodivores.

There was also originally supposed to be some kind of subplot about a sleeping drug that created the bloodivores in the first place, but aside from a short mention in the first episode that may or may not have happened, the show doesn't really go into it once it gets started on what could only charitably be called "a plot". Granted, the survivalist angle should serve as a good start, but what Bloodivores fails to understand is that you have to provide your audience with some answers, not just introduce new mysteries along the way and not answer any of those either. A good action series need to start with a nice hook, then bring some answers to the initial mystery alongside putting out more hooks as it goes along, before finally rounding off on a satisfying note. Bloodivores is more like fifty people fishing at the same spot and wondering why they aren't getting any fish.

One thing I know for sure is that Mi Liu is known as "the child of hope" because he has one human and one bloodivore parent, which, given that the whole bloodivore menace was caused by some kind of sleeping drug, doesn't really sound that farfetched since bloodivores are basically humans on weird drugs. There is also a segment where Mi Liu's father... sort of burns a crystal into his wrist -- just roll with it -- that makes some ambiguous reveleations later on that, much like how this show rolls, brings more questions to the forefront than it answers any you already have. And you will have questions, because that's the only gift Bloodivores knows how to keep giving.

Anji aside, the show also place some importance on Lee Shin and Lou Yao, because the two clearly has some past together, given how much Lee Shin wants to kill Lou Yao, but he's clearly not strong enough to do it. Which is actually kind of impressive, given how easily he dispatches the monsters whom all the captured bloodivores are sent in to "survive" against. The bloodivores themselves doesn't have extraordinary physical powers, like in some vampire movies and shows, but some of them might develop powers all on their own, referred to as, not making this up; "hemomancy". For being labelled as magic that has to do with blood, said hemomancy abilities are absurdly random, and to this point, having absolutely nothing to do with blood itself. I get the idea was probably to refer to "hemomancy" as such because it's being performed by vampires, which only makes sense if you think any type of magic can only be performed by a single race, but it still sounds stupid and makes no sense.

The powers themselves are no better. Mi Liu tries to explain his as some kind of portal-dimension hopping, but what it basically amounts to is him being able to turn gravity for himself and whoever he touches in any direction of his choosing, meaning he can run on walls or roofs, or fall in any direction. I don't know for certain if Lou Yao's super strength is his hemomancy powers, but given the fact that nobody shares it, it's always possible. As for Lee Shin's powers, they just have to be seen to be believed. The guy sprouts katana blades from anywhere on his body, and I mean anywhere. Any chance of me taking this show seriously got a swift kick to the nether region when he started sprouting blades all around his body like some kind of hilarious Samurai Sonic The Hedgehog and started spin-dashing up walls, making me thank my blessed stars that, if nothing else, Bloodivores has the ability to make me laugh like a goddamned lunatic. Oh, and one of the bloodivores is also a gigantic werewolf, because why not throw werewolves into the equation too?

Which is good, because this show stands as one of the most frustrating shows I've ever had to unravel. It's impossible! Bloodivores brings up so many questions, some of which it actually has one of its character ask another from time to time. Hell, even a conversation between Mi Liu and Lou Yao late in the show consists of almost nothing but questions, which is the only time it makes sense because both of them are trying to prod each other for information without giving away anything themselves. But of course there's no time for answers when time has to be spent on presenting more stuff you can ask questions about, so the answer is usually in the form of another question. And when the show can't wring out any more questions from one of its many plot elements, it moves on to something else. Like Yaya, the young, blonde girl who shows up in the intro from the start, but doesn't arrive until near the end of the show. She's just a little girl, yet she's found in this weird survival arena with one of those bomb collars on her, and this is where the show gets weird and actually answers one of its many questions. The collar was primarily meant as a function to prevent the bloodivores from attacking and killing each other, because if they do that, the collar will blow up. (Think "Running Man".) But the collar also apparently have a secondary function: it counts down daily if any bloodivore doesn't kill at least one of the monsters who appear in said alternate dimension, meaning Yaya's head was four days away from being blown up. (If you were wondering, one monster kill means fifty more days added.) She's a child! Why would anyone put a bomb collar on her and send her to that hellhole when she can't even speak?! I know that's just another question to be placed on the top of the increasingly large pile, but for Christ's sake!

Please no. No more questions! I beg of you.

Oh yeah, and that place they're taken to is also in an alternate dimension that has these weird portal-barriers shutting them inside said dimension. That might count as an answer too, but it only brings more questions to the table: why does said dimension have buildings that are perfect copies of the orphanage where Mi Liu and his friends grew up, or the elementary school he attended? Said portal also throws in the monsters the bloodivores fight, but from where... well, the show doesn't tell. (Much to your surprise, I'm sure.) I was kind of hoping someone would stick their upper body in there, and when pulling back out, the head would be missing. But I digress.

Some reviews are hard to write because I don't want to spoil too much of the plot or the surprising twists, or just give too much of the show away in general. With Bloodivores, that isn't a problem because there's nothing really much for me to give away, and none of it is really relevant. For all the hook-baiting it does -- and with empty hooks at that -- it honestly wants us to stick around for future seasons. Yes, the show ends with sequel bait, as if it thinks we want to hang around for more of it bringing up more questions and dodging answering any of them. And how does the show end? Well, sit tight, ladies and gentlemen, because I'm about to lay that on the table right away:

A huge boss monster appears -- a huge, draconic-like thing that I think is the same that shows up in the first scenes from the warehouse they're all taken to -- but it only gets about a couple of seconds' worth of screentime, only for Lou Yao to punch it so hard in the forehead it turns into some kind of weird melted ice crystal stone stairway path leading up to a weird hexagonal-patterned shadow that turns into a woman who looked for all the world like Mi Liu's mother.

And then the end credits play, completely without a sequel-hook after it. It just stops like it gave up.

The closest I can give for a compliment in Bloodivores direction is that the voice acting is fairly decent, even if the dialogue is complete tripe. You could possibly argue that said voice actors should at least have been given the chance to cheese up this nonsense, but I guess I can appreciate the professionalism too. And the background work in the show is fairly decent too. But that's all the candy I have for you, because there's nothing else good to be said about it. Bloodivores is like a montage of cliches, like the grizzled cop who wants to search for the truth, or the badass who only likes interesting things. Or the mysterious girl with strange powers... except quite a few of the characters in this show sport a large variety of powers, some weirder than the others. The animation is terrible too. It's the kind of halfassed mockery that speaks of limitations. The action you DO get to see looks cheap, and most of the deaths in the show, if not all of them, happen off-screen. Bloodivores spends so much effort trying to look cool instead of making any kind of sense, and it fails at both. It's a bad show in all the worst ways.

Strap yourselves in, ladies and gentlemen, because I think we just hit a new benchmark in terrible anime.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: Most of the violence happens offscreen, and what little there is ONscreen isn't that severe. The show makes it quite clear that several characters are being torn apart by ravenous (and most likely mindless) monsters, so this is not a show for the squeamish. Then again, with the kind of "quality" we get in this show, it sort of ruins its own effect, so... maybe it's no big deal anyway?

There is also some mild fanservice, mostly in the way that the only two adult women to get a lot of screentime are absurdly busty women, and their clothes do little to hide that fact. But it's not really a fanservice-y show by itself, so this shouldn't matter too much.



Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Bloodivores © 2016 Emon
 
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