5 Point Discussions – Blood Blockade Battlefront Episode 2: “A Phantom Hospital Ward Rises”

by Sage Ashford

Libra team member Zapp is in critical condition after a horrible accident, and all the hospitals are filled to capacity! But as all hope seems lost, a hospital appears out of nowhere?! What’s the secret behind it all? Remember, if you liked this 5 Point Discussion please be sure to share this on Facebook and Twitter! And if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please hit me up @SageShinigami!

1. This episode is the first time we’ve spent an extended time looking at what things looked like in that chaotic period as New York City gradually transformed into Hellsalem’s Lot. The city is drenched in this dark, all-encompassing fog that the characters can barely drive through, and there’s a creepy, unsettling tone to the majority of the episode. Klaus and Steven try making their way through the city as it continues to fall apart, buildings floating through the aether when they run across a a bunch of corpses and a single young child, and drive to a hospital in an attempt to get the child to a safe place. At the hospital, there’s a pair of men waiting outside guarding the place with a pair of shotguns, you get the sense that this is a society in absolute disarray, with people terrified because they’re unable to make sense out of the senseless.

That could have easily been a series, if Yasuhiro Nightow wanted to take the easy way out. People love the hopeless, people love watching ruined, post-apocalyptic societies as they try to pick up the pieces after a world-shaking tragedy…but anime has more than enough grimdark series along those same lines, and not nearly enough series that can embrace the madcap insanity in a way that can match the humor with the poignant moments and evoke the vast set of emotions that come with real life.

2. Only two weeks in and I had to go back and rewatch the first episode of Kekkai Sensen, because this episode went in a completely different direction than I expected it to. I was under the impression that our heroes didn’t gain any powers until after the incident that created Hellsalem’s Lot–that society was relatively normal with only minor exceptions, and then one day the barrier between our world and the Spirit Realm broke down and suddenly, BOOM, physics are suddenly a lot more malleable and gaining superpowers works.

But after Klaus and Steven deliver the child, a high-level vampire arrives with a creepy looking pet with the plan to chow down on some of the people in the hospital, I just figured the story would be that the pair weren’t strong enough to fight off a monster like that with no powers and they just barely escaped with their lives. But then the story took a left as it turned out both of them had their abilities, but couldn’t dream of matching up with a vampire with seemingly endless regeneration abilities. Which reminds me…

3. Blood Blockade Battlefront might be one of the few series to find a proper balance between making their heroes overpowered and having them seem like pushovers. In a lot of shonen anime series, the creators will often show the heroes struggling against nearly every threat–even after training scene after training scene. They never get strong enough to simply blow their opponents away outside of the random comedy case. Other anime (usually non-shonen action series) will often overcompensate–their main character will be literally unstoppable. The result is that either all the drama is taken out of the series or we’re left constantly wondering how the villains always arrive just a hair too late to be strong enough to mop the floor with the heroes due to the Sorting Algorithm of Evil trope.

But BBB handles things a bit different way. More often than not, the men and women of Libra are more than strong enough to deal with threats to Hellsalem’s Lot–at best the issue comes from how to solve things without massive property damage or needless loss of human lives, and which is important because it gives the sense that these aren’t just random goobers that are getting by on luck alone. Still, there’s one kind of threat in the series that’s still largely untouchable, and that lends the series most of its drama: the vampires. High level creatures that can’t be killed, and can only be stopped with certain spells…and only IF you know their true name, which makes BBB the first piece of fiction that’s ever made “names have power” into an important driver to the plot.

4. The fate of this phantom hospital was hard to watch at first–our heroes tried to save the inhabitants from being consumed by the vampire’s pet (which I really *want* to call a “bloodhound” but I don’t wanna ruin that for dog lovers), but just as Steven tries to rush in the city starts to settle, and suddenly the hospital gets whisked away to the aether, leaving all those innocents to suffer an imaginably dark fate…

…But y’know, this series isn’t really built for the REALLY sad moments, so in the three year interim before the hospital returns to the human world, a strange magical being manages to heal the people there…and give one of the doctors there the power to help as many people as she can at the cost of her humanity. She can heal people from near-death to a point where their bodies can actually recover, and she can split herself into several clones-they just look like smaller, younger versions of herself. This was an adorable moment, and I’m actually kind of bummed that Dr. Estevez likely won’t be making any further appearances. But then, that largely feels like part of the point of the series–showing all these fascinating characters that adapt to the weirdness of life, even when that weirdness is…living in a phantom hospital for three years and treating monsters. So maybe it’s for the best.

5. Next Episode: “No expectations. No going overboard. No getting involved in other people’s affairs. Sticking to these three rules, one can largely get by peacefully. But even with that mindset, things don’t always work out that way, you know?”

The next episode seems centered around Chain Sumeragi, the “practical” member of team Libra. But judging from the preview, Leo will also play a major part in things again after they’ve pushed him way down for this episode, and will seemingly be putting his life on the line while breaking literally ALL of the rules that Chain laid out, presumably in order to save someone. Also, I caught sight of one of the mushroom people so I’m pretty sure I’m going to need a box of kleenex–last time they popped up it was a real tearjerker.

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