5 Point Discussions – Blood Blockade Battlefront And Beyond Episode 7: “Branchial Blues”

by Sage Ashford

The members of Libra are throwing a New Year’s party as an introduction for Zed to the rest of the group!  Remember, if you like this article, please share it everywhere you can. And also, if you’ve got any questions or comments on 5 Point Discussions be sure to hit me up on Twitter @SageShinigami!
1. “Branchial Blues” left me asking a question that I’d never really thought of until this episode: who pays Libra? After the cold open of this episode (more on that later), there’s a conversation between Leo, Steven, and Zapp about how much it costs to employ Zed, the other member of the group using the Big Dipper fighting style. Zapp points out that it’s not fair that Zed gets paid so much more (even though the costs go strictly to Zed’s breathing apparatus) when he gets paid so little, and as they’re going into detail about Libra salaries, I’m left wondering how they even have money to get paid in the first place?
Klaus is a rich kid from a family so important they have their own retinue of maids and butlers, while Steven is seemingly far more connected to the underworld than the show normally gives him credit for. The rest of them, however? They all seem to have second jobs–Leo’s a delivery boy, Chain does espionage stuff with her fellow ghostwolves, and apparently Zapp cons women out of their money. It’s implied they DO get paid, but clearly it’s so little that they have to take on side work. Now that’s weird since their job is basically saving the city from pretty consistent destruction, but at the same time…again. Who’s paying them to begin with? They’re too wild to be publicly funded–things blow up on a daily basis with them. Maybe they’re funded by Klaus and Steven? That wouldn’t be nearly enough money to keep them afloat AND well-paid.
2. We delve a little into Zed’s backstory this week, learning that mermen actually AREN’T another natural creature that exists in this strange world where unnatural magic has merged with the natural. Instead, he was artificially created either by science or by magic, and was nearly killed when his creator got found out by Raju Jugei Shizuyoshi, the master of the Big Dipper blood fighting style that makes both Zapp and Zed such effective combatants. He spent the majority of his life inside a gigantic fishbowl discussing the arts with his creator.
Presumably his maker was just a jerk outside of his time with Zed and that’s why Raju killed him, but it sounds like he only created Zed to fend off his loneliness, something that the resident merman of Libra would have to learn to deal with on his own once he exited the world inside that fishbowl and explored what lay beyond. Eventually Libra becomes something for him to do, but even in this episode you can see his loneliness–everyone else has a life outside of Libra, but he spends most of his time floating around in his life-sustaining water tank. Which brings us to…
3. Without realizing it, Leo has become the heart of Libra. It’s a little corny to have the powerless dude be the guy that transforms this organization from a part time job into a group of proper friends, but it still works, dammit. This week’s episode sees the breathing apparatus Zed uses to walk around the rest of the world without suffocating stolen by a person with too much money and power for their own good. Trapped back in his fish tank, Leo points out that this was going to be Zed’s first chance to meet the whole of Libra due to a party they were going to throw for New Year’s, and he personally tries to hunt down the thieves on his own, only for Chain and Zapp to tag along.
At the start of season one, I couldn’t have imagined any of them going this far for one another–they were all so professional that it wouldn’t have occurred to them. Even in this episode, it’s their attempts to look after Leo that lead them into doing the right thing.  It’s hard to pinpoint the complete transformation because the anime’s out of order with the manga, but you can still see them learning to get along and care for one another more than they did before Leo appeared.
4. Every week that we don’t see any vampires feels like a week where they remind you not to screw with Libra. Depressed at the fact that he’s costing Libra so much money, Zed tries to get a job. When that fails, he turns to drinking and gets plastered before trying to go home. On his way back, he finds himself robbed because of the orders of a music-obsessed businesswoman with control over the combat cyborg industry who mistakes his breathing apparatus for a pair of extremely rare headphones.
They spend every minute she’s featured in this episode building her up as this terrifying threat that can literally destroy and shape global governments to her own desire, but Zapp tears through the miniature army of cyborgs protecting her building in a matter of minutes, while Chain ghostwolfs her way into the woman’s center office to take back Zed’s breathing device. It’s a cathartic experience, watching people refuse to be bullied by someone just because they possess money and power, and society normally dictates that’s the way of things. She’s uniquely designed enough, though, that I’d be willing to bet in a third season we’d see her again.
5. Next Episode: A two parter featuring one of the weirdest members of the team, Dog Hummer and Deldro Brody, a pretty boy who had his blood replaced with the liquefied body of a serial killer. Capable of using his blood to create weapons or even cover his body in an armored shell, he’s basically anime Carnage if he were a good guy. One of the weirdest creations in Libra besides Ghostwolf Chain, he’s been begging for more development since they introduced him.
Blood Blockade Battlefront and Beyond is available for streaming on Hulu and Crunchyroll.

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