Blood+, pronounced as "Blood Plus", is an anime series produced by Production I.G and Aniplex and directed by Junichi Fujisaku. The series premiered in Japan on Sony's anime satellite channel, Animax, as well as on terrestrial networks such as MBS, TBS, and RKB on October 8, 2005. The final episode aired on September 23, 2006. Blood+ is licensed for international distribution in several regions through Sony Pictures' international arm, Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI).
Blood+ was inspired by the 2000 anime film Blood: The Last Vampire; however, there are only a few allusions and basic elements from the film. Fujisaku has been involved with both works, including acting as the director for Blood+ and writing the novelization of Blood: The Last Vampire.
Under the care of her adoptive family, Saya Otonashi has been living the life of an anemic, amnesiac, but otherwise ordinary schoolgirl. Saya’s happy life is shattered when she is attacked by a chiropteran, learning that she is the only one who can defeat them.
Armed with her katana, Saya embarks on a journey with her family, allies, and her chevalier, Hagi, to rid the world of chiropteran and rediscover her identity. The course of the journey reveals the background history of the chiropterans and Saya's very deep past, which extends into the mid-19th century.
The series is initially set in present day (September 2005) Okinawa City (Koza), on Okinawa Island, near the US Kadena Air Base. In the course of the series, Saya visits locations across the world, fighting enemy chiropteran and searching for her origins.
Saya Otonashi, the central character, is a seemingly ordinary teenage girl adopted and living with amnesia. As her memories return, her life is turned upside down. She was born in 1833, survives on the blood of others, and is destined to destroy chiropterans and her twin sister Diva. Aiding her in her quest are her adopted brothers Kai and Riku and her ever-faithful chevalier Hagi. She also is aided by David, her protector from the powerful organization Red Shield.
Diva also has her own helpers, starting with her five powerful chevaliers: Amshel, Solomon, Karl, James and Nathan. They also have their own human allies as part of the Cinq Flèches Group that they operate, including Van Argiano who helps them develop the Delta 67 substance that Cinq Flèches uses to create chiropteran.
Working against both sides are the Schiff, a group of escaped artificial chiropteran created by Diva's group. The Schiff attack both groups, believing that the blood of Saya, Diva, or one of their chevaliers will save them from a fatal and painful disease they call the Thorn.
Produced by Production I.G and Aniplex and directed by Junichi Fujisaku, Blood+ was inspired by the 2000 anime film Blood: The Last Vampire; however, there are only a few allusions and basic elements from the film. Fujisaku has been involved with both works, including acting as the director for Blood+ and writing the novelization of Blood: The Last Vampire.
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The Blood+ anime series premiered in Japan on October 8, 2005, on MBS/TBS with a new episode airing weekly until the final episode aired September 23, 2006, totaling 50 episodes. The series is directed by Junichi Fujisaku and features original character designs by Chizu Hashii. Each season has separate opening and ending themes from a variety of artists, with the final episode using the season one ending theme. The series simultaneously aired on Animax, Sony's Japanese anime satellite channel, with its networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia also later airing the series.
Through Sony's international division, Blood+ was licensed for distribution in multiple regions. The English dub of the series, aired in the United States on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block, premiering March 11, 2007 and running till March 23, 2008. The English dub also aired in Australia on the Sci Fi Channel and in the Philippines on Studio 23.
The first Region 1 DVDs were released in North America on March 4, 2008, with a simultaneous release of a single five-episode volume and a twenty-five episode box set, Blood+ Part One. Sony continued released individual volumes on a regular basis until the first half of the series was released. The second half was released in a second box set, Blood+ Part Two, on October 20, 2009. As of March 2010, the first thirteen episodes are available for free streaming in the US on Crackle. As of April 2011, the entire series is available on Hulu and Netflix.
Except for the opening and ending themes, the entire musical score for Blood+ was the work of noted film score producer Hans Zimmer and noted composer Mark Mancina. Blood+ was the first anime project Mancina worked on, and afterwards he stated that working on the project turned him into an anime fan. All of the opening and ending themes were created at Sony Music for the project, after the production team, headed by Yutaka Omatsu, presenting the project concept and Blood+ worldview. The opening and ending themes are performed by a variety of artists, including Hitomi Takahashi, Chitose Hajime, Hyde, Mika Nakashima, Angela Aki, Uverworld, Jinn, and K. In an interview with Production I.G staff, Omatsu noted that he felt Sony did an excellent job of providing music fitting for each season, as did the team of Zimmer and Mancina.
Four CD soundtracks, all produced by Hans Zimmer, have been released in Japan by Sony Music Japan through their Aniplex label. Hagi Plays J.S. Bach (ハジ プレイズ J.S BACH?) was released on February 2, 2006. It contains six tracks: selections from Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suite No. 5 in C minor (BWV 1011) performed by Nobuo Furukawa (古川展生 Furukawa Nobuo?), who is the cellist behind Hagi's playing in the series. The seventh, and final track, is a bonus remix of the music performed by Yoshihiro Hanno (半野喜弘 Hanno Yoshihiro?). The soundtrack included a DVD with a special episode telling some of Hagi's backstory and a music video with Furukawa playing the first track, "Prelude" (プレリュード?).
The first full soundtrack, Blood+ Original Soundtrack 1, was released on April 26, 2006. It contains fourteen instrumental tracks of background music used during the series and one vocal song "Diva", sung by Elin Carlson, which is the song the character Diva sang in several episodes of the series. On September 27, 2006, Blood+ Original Soundtrack 2 was released with an additional eighteen tracks of instrumental themes from the series. Blood+ Complete Best, released October 25, 2006, is a limited edition compilation set containing a CD, a DVD, and an eighty-page booklet that includes a full episode guide and some final notes from the series production staff. The CD include the full versions of all eight series' opening and ending theme songs, as well as last two instrumental tracks from the first soundtrack. The DVD contains music videos for each of the theme songs from the CD.
There are two Japanese light novel adaptations of the Blood+ series. Blood+, written by Ryō Ikehata with illustrations by Chizu Hashii, is the four volume official novel adaptation of the anime series, expanding upon the events of the fifty-episode anime series and giving greater background on the battle against chiropterans. The first volume was released in Japan on May 1, 2006 by Kadokawa Shoten under their male oriented Sneaker Bunko label. The remaining volumes released every four months until the final volume was released on May 1, 2007.
The second adaptation, Blood+ Russian Rose, is a two-volume series written by Karino Minazuki and illustrated by Ryō Takagi. It was released at the same time as Blood+, with the first volume was released on May 1, 2006 and the second on September 1, 2006. The series, published under Kadokawa's female oriented label Beans Bunko, details Saya and Hagi's lives at the start of the 20th century and the Russian Revolution.
To lead up to the Blood+ anime series, three Blood+ manga series were released and published in three different manga magazines. The tankōbon volumes of all three series were published by Kadokawa Shoten. Blood+, by Asuka Katsura, is a five-volume series that first premiered in Monthly Shōnen Ace in July 2005. It covers the same story events as the anime series. Blood+: Adagio was written by Kumiko Suekane. It is a two-volume series that premiered in the September 2005 issue of Beans Ace Magazine and follows Saya and Hagi's experiences during the Russian Revolution. The third series, Blood+: Kowloon Nights, released in Japan as Blood+ Yakōjōshi, is a single tankōbon series by Hirotaka Kisaragi. It premiered in the September issue of Asuka Ciel. Set in Shanghai, it follows Hagi as he searches for Saya and the complications he must deal with. Unlike the other Blood+ manga adaptations, which are both shōnen works, Blood+ Yakō Jōshi is a shōjo manga, particularly of the shōnen-ai (or Boy's Love) genre. All three manga adaptations have been licensed for release in English in North America by Dark Horse Comics.
Two Sony PlayStation 2 video games have been created that are based on the Blood+ series. Both games are currently only available in Japan and have not been licensed for release in any other countries.
Blood+: One Night Kiss, from Namco Bandai Games and Grasshopper Manufacture, is an Action-adventure game that was originally released on August 30, 2006. Featuring cel-shaded graphics in the same style as Killer7, the game is directed by the CEO of Grasshopper, Goichi Suda. Set in the fictional town of Shikishi, players spend most of the game playing as Saya, occasionally switching to Aoyama, an original character created for the game.
Blood+: Sōyoku no Battle Rondo (BLOOD+ 〜双翼のバトル輪舞曲(ロンド)〜?), from Sony Entertainment, is an adventure game released July 27, 2006. Set during the year between episodes 32 and 33, after Riku's death, the game alternates between an "Active Demo" section where the player can make decisions that change the story line, and full action sequences where the player, as Saya, fights with her sword to collect chiropteran crystals.
In addition to the two PS2 games, Sony Entertainment released the PSP game Blood+: Final Piece (BLOOD+ 〜ファイナルピース〜?) on September 7, 2006. It is an adventure role-playing video game that utilizes animated sequences from the series as well as new footage created specifically for the game. The game is set during the first season of the series, and features an original story in which Saya, joined by three friends from school, investigates the mystery of her father's disappearance.
In September 2006, Newtype Magazine released BLOOD + Encyclopedia, a special issue fan book that includes interviews with the staff and cast, an episode guide, and information on the related media — the manga, novels, video games.
When Blood+ first aired in Japan, it was shown in TBS/MBS's 6 p.m. Sunday timeslot, which has mostly been used to air anime since 1993. After Blood+ began airing, the ratings for that time slot began dropping. The drop in viewership became more pronounced after NHK's baseball anime Major premiered on a competing channel in the time slot.
Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network gave the series an overall score of B stating The plot is propulsive, never lingering for long in one place, yet never rushing to leave. In December 2005, Blood+ was one of several anime series selected as being a "recommended as an excellent work" at the 9th annual Japanese Media Arts Festival. The series was ranked number 41 on TV Asahi's list of top 100 favorite anime series for 2006.
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- "Blood+ CD&DVD Information" (in Japanese). Production I.G and Aniplex. Retrieved February 7, 2008.
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- Official Blood+ website (Japanese)
- Official MBS Blood+ website (Japanese)
- Official Production I.G Blood+ website
- Official Sony web site
- Blood+ (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Blood+ (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Blood+ Adagio (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Blood+ Yakō Jōshi (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia