Those who know me know how much I love the number 14 for no adequately explored reason; almost to a point where I lose all my logic and reasoning when I come across it. And it just so happens that the anime I’m reviewing today has the number 14 literally in its lexicon!
All numerology aside, Strike the Blood is an anime inspired by the light novel of the same title which features Kojou Akatsuki, the most naive of vampires who lives on a man-made island off the southern coast of Japan that hosts all kinds of demons and magical activities. I could probably just leave it at that, except that he is also the fourth progenitor of vampires, and is therefore marked as a target for everything from magic science agencies to other more powerful demons. As such, Kojou is given a bodyguard and protector Yukina Himeragi, a young agent of the magical order called the Lion King Organization, who doubles as a student at Kojou’s middle school campus. I’m sure you can already imagine just how many times the word “senpai” is used.
I would normally put this kind of stuff in the romance genre, but because it’s also a harem series (genre featuring a main character with various romantic encounters with multiple members of the opposite sex), the sub genre speaks for itself. I mean, come on, Kojou’s a vampire. Being a quasi-seductive character practically comes with the archetype!
The two-season anime is told in seven arcs, each featuring some conflict where Kojou comes across another evil organization, demonic or human, that wants to foil his power or mess with his girl friends. And because he’s a vampire, Kojou finds a way to bite these girls in order to give him control of the various familiars bounded to him by the different sets of blood. Yeah, I’m not sure where the series was headed, since people who watched this series were watching it for a different kind of “plot” (if you know what I mean), but whatever.
I should mention that there is one scene that even Japanese television forgot to censor, and that is when a character’s head is severed early on in the series. While this might not surprise some people, such acts are usually censored or done off-screen in Japan, not necessarily because it’s disturbing, but because it’s an indirect reminder of an outdated tradition in Japanese culture that lingers in very haunting ways for some. Yes, I know that’s a spoiler, but you have been warned. And thankfully, it only happens once.
Finally, there is one thing in this series that can get somewhat annoying to some people, while for others has become a running catchphrase in the series, where you know something awesome is going to happen. Every time Kojou is ready to face the final boss in each arc, he gets pumped up in anger saying “this is my fight!” To which Yukina steps in in front of him replying “no senpai. This is our fight!”
If you haven’t seen this series already, you’ll be hearing this phrase a lot!
Predictable story lines (or lack thereof) aside, Strike the Blood is fun to watch if you like harem series, fantasy worlds, and action sequences. It doesn’t rank very high on my personal recommendation list, but some folks like this kind of stuff. Give it a shot if you’d like.