A haunting, beautifully animated anime series, "Blood+ One" is a spin-off of sorts from the movie, "Blood: The Last Vampire". The series focuses on a young Japanese schoolgirl named Saya Otonashi, who is both anemic and suffers from amnesia - she can remember nothing beyond the past year. Despite her problems, she is cared for by her adopted family and seems to live a normal life, going to school and other activities.
However, the life that she has grown accustomed to is shattered when she's attacked by a vampire-like creature called a chiroptera, and is saved by a mysterious stranger carrying a violin case. At first, she is understandably confused about the situation she's been thrown into, but with a blade in her hand in order to defend herself against the creatures, she begins to find out that she is the only one who can stop them.
The series follows Saya as she explores her personalities and tries to come to terms with her past as the world around her grows increasingly darker. "Blood+ One" is a fascinating anime series, as it offers a rich, deep mystery, as well as strong action and supernatural elements. The strong voice work and writing combine for a compelling series, with well-developed characters and engaging stories.
Usually, a studio offers up a series either in volumes (unfortunately, this seems to be a more frequent option these days) or, better yet, in full season sets. Thankfully, in this case, Sony has decided to offer fans of the series the option of either. There is a Volume 1 option, which offers 5 episodes or a full season box set, which offers 25 episodes, plus the bonus of a T-Shirt.
These first 5 episodes are in the Vol. 1 edition, as well as the full box set.
1 First Kiss 3/11/2007 101
- Unable to remember anything beyond the last year, high school student Saya is attacked by a Chiropteran and only Hagi, a mysterious cellist, can help her.
2 Magic Words 3/18/2007 102
- When Kai arrives to pick up Saya from school, he discovers her spattered in blood, battling a Chiropteran with a sword.
3 The Place Where It All Began 3/25/2007
- David, a Red Shield operative who watches over Saya, reveals that she is the only one who can defeat the Chiropterans, monsterous creatures that have plagued Japan for centuries.
4 Dangerous Boy 4/8/2007 104
- Saya attempts to find Kai, who's gone after the Chiropteran that attacker and injured their adoptive father.
5 Beyond the Dark Forest 4/15/2007 105
- When George is secretly taken to a hidden US military base in Yanbaru, David goes after him.
6 My Father's Hands 4/22/2007 106
- David, Saya and Hagi are attacked by a Chiropteran when they try to rescue George.
7 I Must Do It 4/29/2007 107
- Hagi hands Saya a dagger and encourages her to rediscover her past.
8 Phantom of the School 5/6/2007 108
- Assigned to infilrate the Vietnamese boarding school, Saya learns of a mysterious phantom who bestows blue roses to girls before kidnapping them.
9 Rainbow for Each 5/13/2007 109
- As Riku and Kai continue their search for their sister, the Red Shield learns that Saya bears a striking resemblance to the phantom's prior victims.
10 I Want to See You 5/20/2007 110
- When Saya is left a blue rose, she and Hagi find a shack that leads underground.
11 After the Dance 5/27/2007 111
- David searches for a mysterious container while Saya dances with Cinq Fleches Group CEO Solomon Goldsmith at the school's annual ball.
12 Lured by the White Mist 6/10/2007 112
- Saya and Red Shield track Diva's contained to Cinq Fleche, a secret research farm in Vietnam.
13 Jungle Paradise 6/17/2007 113
- Surrounded by Chiropteran children, Saya loses control and attacks everyone in sight.
14 The Last Sunday 6/24/2007 114
- The Miyagusuku family returns to Okinawa to bury a memento in George's family grave.
15 I Want to Pursue! 7/1/2007 115
- Returning from Vietnam, Ryuku Daily reporter Akihiro attemps to track down Saya so he can learn about what she saw in Vietnam.
16 Siberian Express 7/8/2007 116
- Seeking a key research scientist last seen in Ekaterinburg, Saya and the others board the Trans-Siberia Express, where they're attacked by Chiropterans.
17 Do you Remember the Promise? 7/15/2007 117
- Passing out in a blizzard, Saya dreams who she and Hagi hunted down Chiropterans in '20's Russia.
18 Moon Over Ekaterinburg 7/22/2007 118
- Their search for a defective scientist leads David and the others to an abandoned nuclear facility.
19 Broken Heart 7/29/2007 119
- While taking care of a feverish Riku in Ekaterinburg, Liza questions Saya about her true reasons for fighting the Chiropterans.
20 Chevalier 8/5/2007 120
- While Kai learns some shocking truths about Joel Goldschmidt's diary, the Goldsmith brothers meet to decide Saya's fate.
21 Sour Grapes 8/12/2007 121
- As Okamura and Mao look for clues regarding the wine bottle taken from Lycee du Cinq Fleche, the Schiff hunt for Saya and Hagi.
22 The Zoo 8/19/2007 122
- Saya recalls her first meeting with Hagi while visiting "the Zoo", the ruins of Joel Goldschmidt's mansion.
23 Two Chevaliers 9/2/2007 123
- Confronting Saya at "The Zoo", Solomon reveals he's a chevalier but, unlike his brothers, he doesn't wish to destroy her.
24 Airy Singing Voice 9/9/2007 124
- Lured to the bell tower by Diva's singing, Riku is followed by Saya, who becomes overwhelmed by memories of Joel Goldschmidt's birthday party.
25 The Red Shield 9/16/2007 125
- Saving Riku's life with a blood transfusion, Saya wonders if it was the right thing to do.
VIDEO: The series is presented by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 1.33:1 full-frame, which appears to be the show's original aspect ratio (although I tend to wonder if the series wouldn't have benefitted from being produced in widescreen.) Sharpness and detail are quite nice, as the picture appeared finely detailed at almost all times. A touch of shimmer and a hint of artifacting was spotted on some rare occasions, but the majority of the episodes looked clean and clear. Colors had a nice pop, with pleasing saturation and no smearing, fading or other faults.
SOUND: The show is presented with its original Japanese stereo soundtrack, which is just fine. Audio quality is crisp and clean, with music that sounded moderately full and dialogue that seemed (at least as much as I can tell) recorded well.
EXTRAS: The full box set offers a t-shirt, as well as interviews with cast and crew (Eri Kitamura, Katsuyuki Konishi, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Hochu Otsuka, Jurota Kosugi, Takashi Nagasako, Yuko Kaida, Junichi Suwabe, Kentaro Ito, Ami Koshimizu) and a Manga preview booklet. The volume one disc does not offer any extras.
Final Thoughts: "Blood+ One" is an intense, beautifully animated and mysterious series that offers terrific action, compelling characters and an engaging style. For those curious about the series, the first volume offers an introduction. However, fans of the show can pick up the full box set, which offers not only 25 episodes, but a few extras and a decent price tag if one can find it on a very good sale.