Blood Blockade Battlefront Episode #09 Anime Review

Blood Blockade Battlefront Episode #09 Anime Review Warning: Things in this episode may not be as they appear

What They Say:
While a crowd looks on, an airplane attempting to fly into Hellsalem’s Lot carries Jugei’s junior pupil–and the top half of the Blood Breed Libra was fighting! The King of Despair continues setting his plan in motion. The Libra team gains a new member.

The Review:
Content (warning as this review may contain spoilers): *Whoo boy*. If you thought last week’s episode of Blood Blockade Battlefront was a dense little package, rest assured: this one is even denser.  So much so I had to watch the first half of the episode twice just to make sure I’d gotten everything down right (this is one of those instances where watching the show in English would make things a whole lot easier). Of course also like last week’s episode it’s dense with good material so it works out more or less.

So kicking off from where we were last week with Zapp’s suffering, the show jump’s right into the “introduction” of the other apprentice Raju mentioned. I say “introduction” because it involves him trying to stop a plane controlled by a Blood Breed from crashing into the city and blowing everything to smithereens. Blank tells Aligura and Femt that he’s planning to cause a second Great Disaster and presumably the plane crash is part of it which sounds boring to them, but as with several elements to this episode, things are not quite as they appear.

Zapp comes face to face with the other apprentice who’s a fishman of sorts and unlike Zapp who just pokes fun at his appearance, seems a lot more disciplined. Together with Klaus, the three of them manage to seal away the Blood Breed, though it seems Raju decided to use the potential disaster as a way of testing his two students. Both passed with flying colors and so his reward to the other apprentice after fighting with the Blood Breed for several hours straight is for Raju to promptly ditch him and leave for parts unknown(he sure is Zapp’s master alright). Turns out the title for this two parter was a bit of a misdirection as the “Z” in “Z’s Longest Day” actually refers not to Zapp, but to the other apprentice who’s actual name is Zed O’ Brien, and that he was the one ultimately getting screwed over. Poor guy, though it looks like we’ll be learning a bit more about him next time.

Instead, the rest of the episode is dedicated to more Black and White material, which is really starting to ramp up. The plane crash in Blank’s plan was only meant to serve as a distraction and the real goal was for him to obtain some unknown light from beneath the city that causes White to pass out. With it he’s able to have Aligura fashion up some weird gadget for him and he’s now ready to inact the rest of his plan. A lot of this material isn’t made very clear thanks to the combination of the first half of the episode trying to juggle both it and the Blood Breed situation at once, which is something I’m hoping will work a lot better in the dub since trying to comprehend it all through reading subtitles is almost a nightmare.

What is made explicitly clear though, is White’s role in this whole affair and it makes for another crazy misdirection. First off the episode confirms what last week implied, which is that Black made the choice to have Blank possess him in order to spare his sister: the exact opposite choice Leo made concerning his back in episode 1. Blank chose to not quite honor that agreement and instead has been using White as a tool to get close to Leo and obtain his eyes, which he’s now ready to do, courtesy of Aligura’s gadget. However White’s gotten attached to Leo and doesn’t want to go through with it since she wants to be his friend, but Blank tells her tells her it’s impossible and that if she wants to have her brother released she has to follow his orders.

Rather than Leo and Black’s respective decisions being the opposite, it would seem that the actual parallel here is between Leo and White, who now both have to struggle with the fact that their younger siblings are suffering because of a choice neither had the will to make. That parallel is further emphasized by a flashback to White’s childhood where she made a promise to always look after Black and now has to struggle with the full weight of that decision in comparison to Leo in the present trying to write a letter to his sister and being unsure of where to begin since he still feels guilt over what happened. Familial guilt as a theme certainly isn’t anything new for Rie Matsumoto (it was pretty much the entire premise of Kyusogiga) and I’m really liking how this is all starting to ultimately play out. I imagine it’s only matter of time before their respective guilt comes to a crossroad and things should get pretty crazy when it does.

In Summary: Blood Blockade Battlefront is super dense once again this week and almost to a fault as the first half of the episode attempts to cram in too many threads at once, even if they are all fun. Thankfully the fact that is all fun manages to mostly spare it, and the much stronger second half offers some interesting new revelations as well as a better idea of where the show is headed thematically. We’re getting closer and closer to the end and I’m eager to see what the show chooses as it’s final card.

Grade: B+

Streamed By: Funimation, Hulu