Blood Blockade Battlefront Episode #03 Anime Review

Blood Blockade Battlefront Episode #03 Anime Review The most epic game of chess ever played

What They Say:
In a fictional version of New York City, called Hellsalem’s Lot, a young man named Leonardo Walch suddenly finds himself mixed in with an organization called Libra that fights super criminals. Blessed with super vision himself, he now battles to help save the world from a criminal called Femt, the King of Depravity.

The Review:
Content (warning as this review may contain spoilers):
As evidenced by the first couple of episodes, if there’s one thing Blood Blockade Battlefront really excels at, it’s style. It’s also pretty good at proving style, when used effectively can easily enhance substance instead of just covering for a lack of it. In this instance it’s character insight, and like with Kyusogiga before it, Rie Matsumoto has shown she’s an old pro at pulling it off just right.

So aside from a couple of minor points about Leo getting kicked out of his apartment and continuing to hang out with the ghost girl named White he met last week, this is pretty much a Klaus centric episode. A drug called Angel’s Scale is flooding the streets and the gang at Libra has to try and track down the source. It’s a task much easier said than done as cracking some skulls doesn’t seem to be them much of anywhere, and Klaus is apparently too busy playing online games to be helpful. However it turns out he’s not being quite as lazy as it appears when he decides to hit up one of his contacts in the Alterworld for information. The alien mob boss there enjoys playing a high-stakes game of space chess called Prosfair, but before Klaus can challenge him a politician also looking to get something from the boss goes up first. Klaus tries to advise him to avoid looking for a win given how good the boss is at the game but the politician ignores his warning and ends up putting up his life as forfeit.

Klaus decides to challenge the boss next for higher stakes in order to save the politician and has to last 99 hours at the game against the alien. As you might expect, having to focus that long can do a number on you, and even more so when the game gets increasingly more complicated the more competitive it gets (just like with real chess!). The alien boss asks Klaus why he’s bothering to go out of the way to save this guy, and especially when the politician tried to sell him out earlier in order to cover up his misdeeds. Klaus doesn’t deny that the guy is scum but he’s largely undettered despite that, and it gives some pretty big perspective into his character.

He’s a silent crusader type, choosing to go the route of quietly bearing other people’s burdens without hesitation and with little regard to himself (which also makes his career choice as being part of a superhero mafia extremely fitting). It’s further reinforced when after the game ends and Klaus barely survives, the information gets allows the others to take care of the drug problem, but with no clue as to how he managed to solve it.  That kind of gentlemanly machismo seen a lot in western action stuff, as it’s pretty typical of Nightow’s style, given his other works have had similar characters. However also like those characters, he’s not afraid to show that the mentality behind that kind of machismo can lead to self-destruction given how much that constantly puts at stake and Klaus already cuts it pretty close in this episode. It’s hard to say if Klaus will end up meeting a similar fate as those other Nightow characters for right now it makes for cool episode for something about the most long winded board game ever conceived.

In Summary:
The show pulls off a pretty good character episode this week, and one way more interesting than it’s premise would suggest. Klaus’s character type treads some familiar territory for one from a Nightow series, but said character type is pretty much always interesting in his stuff so it works out. So far the show’s done good balancing style with substance and even if it leans a bit more towards the former, if it’s as much as this series has, it’s certainly nothing to complain about.

Grade: A

Streamed By: Funimation, Hulu