“After the Phantom Ghost Wagon” & “A Game Between Two Worlds”
Saturdays 2:28 pm EST on Funimation
Leonardo is kidnapped by alien cannibals with illusory powers, leading to a sick chase sequence. Klaus prevents the end of humanity by betting his life on a game of Prosfair, an insane, mentally taxing version of Alternate World Super Chess.
Episodes 2 and 3 of Blood Blockade Battlefront have easily cemented it as the best show of the season. If the first episode was an introduction to the setting and premise, episode 2 aquaints us with the main players. The splashy on screen intro descriptions were perfect for the shows stylish presentation, but more importantly we learn a great deal about them from their actions in Leo’s first big incident as a Libra member. Basically, they’re all psycho killers with hearts of gold and I am totally OK with this. Leo himself also shows a lot of guts even though he can’t fight like the rest of the crew. He wants to pull his own weight but he does so intelligently, not in an obnoxiously naive sort of way. It makes it much easier to cheer for him than the average lame anime protagonist he might have appeared to be in episode 1.
Episode 3 narrows the focus even further as we learn more about the man (is he just a man???) in charge. Klaus is just as intelligent, brave, and compassionate as he is physically imposing. Putting him in an impossible situation that he just can’t punch his way through was a great way of showing us with very few words. Through some great directing (more on that next), the episode manages to be intense and interesting even though it’s essentially a days long game of chess. I suspect we’ll see similar episodes with Zapp and Chain, although hopefully we’ll get a mix of character focused episodes with bigger picture plot lines.
I have to mention in all 3 episodes so far, BBB has looked fantastic. The animation is clean and smooth but the background… oh those backgrounds… so full of color and detail, right down to having the accurate New York State car license plates from 2009, the year the manga started. Aqua raved about director Rie Matsumoto’s work in our First Look post and I have to say I’m even more motivated to check out her work now, especially after some of the crazy, imaginative cuts in episode 3. My head is still spinning from one amazing shot that is basically rotated 90 degrees and pans into a regular one. Throw in a killer soundtrack that finds subtle ways to speak to the New Yorker in me and BBB is one of the best overall presentations we’ve seen in a good long while.
So where do we go from here? At this point I don’t even care, I’m sold. There’s a few overarching plot lines like Leo’s sister or the mysterious girl he encouters in episode 3, I suspect we’ll also see Femto “The King of Depravity” return as well. But even if we do just get one-off Caper of the Week stories, BBB has built up a solid enough base of cool characters and fascinating setting that only a huge drop in technical quality could bring it down from here.