[My thoughts on the rather old anime, Blood+. There are spoilers here but this show is quite old, so I doubt it matters…]
Have you ever read a story or watched a show where you ended up hating the protagonist to the extent that you resorted to rooting for the entirely evil antagonist, regardless of the apocalypse and general bloodbath that would result if the story took that turn? Long story short, Blood+ made me feel that way.
I usually root for the protagonist by default (even when he/ she is an utter asswipe like Yagami Light). So disliking Otonashi Saya, the unfortunate protagonist in this story, came as a shock to me. Before I venture into why I disliked her as much as I did, let’s take a look at the impending apocalypse in this story, which she is basically supposed to save humanity from: an evil scientist working for an evil organisation has created some evil virus that will change people into zombies. Sorry, vampires. No wait, they have a special name – Chiropterans. This distinctive branch of the undead that feed on human blood cannot be killed by religious tools. They can only be killed by Saya’s blood.
There. There’s her function, and pretty much the gist of the story. Altogether, it’s not a bad story. Rather predictable for the most part, yes, but not horrible. I can’t say the same about Saya, however.
To be fair, there’s a lot that I wouldn’t blame her for. She is, for the most part, a victim. Amnesic and fairly clueless about her own origins, there is no conceivable way for her to get herself out of the mess she is entangled in. The poor girl is probably suffering from PTSD as well, given that she’s dedicated most of her life to killing. But all these do not make up for her general stupidity and selfishness.
Saya is a selfish person, and that is why I dislike her as much as I do. She’s supposed to be the hero in the story but it’s amazing how often she fails to consider the feelings of others or think things through. Her treatment of Hagi, her most faithful servant/ companion/ dog sums this up nicely. She is entirely responsible for Hagi’s condition, having (stupidly) put him in a situation where he could die, and turning him into a bloodsucking version of Frankenstein’s monster after that. Then she drags the love-struck fool around the world as part of her crusade to hunt down the consequences of her other stupid actions, never once considering his feelings. As the icing on the cake, she commands him to do the one thing that he is most loathe to do – to kill her.
Then there’s her whole history with Diva, the better twin. I think what really frustrates me about Saya is that she never tried to help or even understand Diva. She doesn’t acknowledge the human capacity for evil, blaming the disasters that ensue entirely on her sister who was raised locked in a tower as part of a social experiment. She never considers Diva’s perspective in the many decades that she spent hunting her, never tries to save her from the forces that are using her, and never offers her anything more than the prospect of a painful death. So much for blood being thicker than water.
Yes, one could argue that what Saya offers is nothing more than what Diva deserves. Diva is a super-powered sadist who doesn’t think twice about killing humans. Who can blame her, though? Humanity sort of had it coming when they abused her. As she says so herself, she doesn’t understand humans; Saya was the one that was lovingly raised by a human being, not her. And logically, she doesn’t care for what she doesn’t understand.
I also find Diva a more entertaining character to watch as compared to Saya. True to her name, Diva leads a celebrity life with faithful followers. She does what she wants, when she wants to, damn the consequences. It’s more interesting as compared to Saya’s incessant moping. While Saya doesn’t give herself the chance to live, Diva lives in every moment.
So ultimately, I find it very challenging to sympathise with Saya, and it’s difficult to love a story when you hate the protagonist. To me, the other elements of the story were not strong enough to make up for the protagonist. There’s also the gaping plothole in the climax that frustrated me into never wanting to watch Blood+ again.
Here’s how it goes: It’s established early in the story that Saya’s blood and Diva’s blood don’t mix well. If Diva were to be pierced with Saya’s blood (or vice-versa), she would turn to stone and die. Eventually, that’s how Saya kills her. But what doesn’t add up here, is that Saya was also poked by a sword coated with Diva’s blood and she didn’t die. Apparently, Diva’s blood lost the ability to react with Saya’s, after she became pregnant. In that case, neither of them should have had any reaction at all right? Isn’t this common sense?
The lousy ending, and my severe dislike for Saya made Blood+ a rather sour experience for me altogether. It was a thin, weak story that lasted too long. My experience, of course, is my own and it’s entirely possible that others who watched Blood+ could have found it far more enjoyable than I did. If you did watch Blood+ at some point in your life, and have any thoughts on it, feel free to share.