5 Point Discussions – Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond Episode 1: “Lights! Camera! Action!”

by Sage Ashford

Trigun creator Yasuhiro Nightow decided one anime classic wasn’t enough, so he’s been working on a new manga series since about 2009 known as Kekkai Sensen, or Blood Blockade Battlefront. The series received a great anime adaptation in 2015, but it only ran a single season before going on hold. Still, it was one of the best series that Spring, and from the looks of things is shaping up to be one of the best series this Fall as well.   So I’ll be covering it for 5 Point Discussions–I hope you enjoy.  Remember, please share this on Facebook and Twitter.  And if you have any questions or comments please be sure to hit me up @SageShinigami. 

1. After a year away, Kekkai Sensen’s new season starts with main character Leonardo Watch writing his little sister, a photographer came to Hellsalem’s Lot to help her by making a career in the big city. Hellsalem’s Lot is something of an All Myths Are True city where literally anything can happen. This is highlighted when the episode begins by tossing Leo out of a flying ship with a cute baby monster attached to his head. It’s an experiment begun by the series’ villain, The King of Depravity, Femt.

Once the monster’s incubated and hatches, it immediately starts to eat any living thing in sight, which becomes a problem for Leo’s friends, a group of people gifted with superpowers who try to keep the peace inside the city of Hellsalem’s Lot. The main cast all show up to wipe out these terrifying monsters, but it happens in such hilariously quick succession their special techniques start to overlay atop one another. It comes off confusing if you’re not used to the series, but more than anything feels like a parody of anime season that try to do too much in their first episode. The only difference is, this is technically episode thirteen of the series–if you’ve seen the first season, this is just a reminder of how absurd this world is.

2. There’s an explanation given after the episode opening that explains how the world got this way. Someone managed to open a portal to the supernatural world in the middle of New York City, forcibly tying it to a world where all manner of creatures from demons to talking fishmen could pop up at any time. They eventually built a wall around the city (not that this stops monsters and the like from escaping) and renamed it Hellsalem’s Lot. The entire explanation is done in a hip-hop song that somehow manages to be informative and funny but never quite being corny, instead reminding me why this show is so appealing in the first place. It just oozes a unique style and leans into its own insanity as much as possible, letting its colorful cast of characters and ridiculous world speak for itself.

3. Poor Leonardo. After spending so much time in Hellsalem’s Lot, all the guy wants is a day off with his “X-Station” and his favorite game series, “Hard Dive 4: War of Fury”.    Of course, no one would ever be interested in a universe where all its main character did was play video games, so that gets ruined pretty much immediately.   But I do appreciate the shot at the difficulty involved in using every console’s voice recognition system.   Several points in the episode involve Leo jumping in the air, crossing his arms in an “X” symbol screaming out “X!  X-Station! Double-X”, a frustrating ritual oddly reminiscent of how awkward those systems are in real life.

4. The main plot of the episode comes when Leo’s partner and fellow Libra member Zapp kicks an item of importance into his window and tells him to take it to a certain location. He asks him not to open it, but that’s a lost cause because if someone kicks an item into your window from several floors down, the first thing you’re going to do is see what it is. It turns out to be the living, talking head of the President of the United States, Franz Ackerman.  (Because what else would it be?)

The rest of the episode is one massive chase sequence that gradually re-introduces the cast of Libra in a way that lets the viewer take them in one at a time, but is still no less hectic–it’s all explosions and destruction while they try to protect Leo during his delivery from all the people who’d rather have the President dead.  It also leads you to believe that poor Leo is in way over his head in this organization, as he nearly dies a half-dozen times just trying to get halfway to Libra to drop off the President in time for negotiations with the rest of the world over Hellsalem’s Lot. It’s true, Leo isn’t exactly as obvious a fit into the group as the rest, but he’s got the courage and ability to adapt to impossible situations like no one else–even being blown back to his start point due to one particular explosion only makes him more determined! …After a brief and completely understandable breakdown, of course.

5. Next Episode: The team explores a hospital ward that appears out of nowhere in a new adventure that’s both absurd and yet completely normal in a life where everything’s become insane.

Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.