Why do I mention Part-Timer here? Because comparisons keep being drawn between it and Blood Lad due to similar plot elements. The thing is, Blood Lad isn’t funny and isn’t even entertaining, and when the series is billed as a comedy, you know this means failure.
Okay, yeah, I’ve said anime humour isn’t generally funny. The thing is, I did honestly laugh at a few things in the first couple of episodes of Part-Timer. The delivery when Maou refused the katsudon and found Ashiya eating it in the police station? Fucking hilarious. Emi starting to cry from frustration when Maou won’t let her in? Really funny. But even when I didn’t find Part-Timer funny, I just enjoyed watching these characters interact with one another and I can honestly say they’re all very likeable.
I don’t care about a single person in Blood Lad. What makes a good comedy to me? Likeable characters in over-the-top situations; Flawfinder makes a good case for this in this post. I’m not usually a fan of live-action sitcoms because they don’t go for this style of humour. However, I think the first four to five seasons of The Simpsons are some of the best television writing in history. Futurama is arguably my favourite non-anime show of all time. Both of these shows craft unique characters and put them in crazy situations. Bart turns Kamp Krusty into a summer camp version of Lord of the Flies? Hilarious. A race of sentient brains plans an attack on Earth and Fry has to save the day by riding a children’s hover-bike? I love it! While I don’t necessarily agree with the idea that a precedence of drama over comedy necessarily makes a show fail, I think Flawfinder was right. Keep in mind I haven’t reached any dramatic point in Part-Timer yet, so my opinions on it may change on it, but Blood Lad’s attempting to inject drama results in the show falling even flatter on its face.
With Episode 3, there’s an attempt to make some sort of action-packed drama situation between Staz and Wolf. Why? They tried to play up jokes just before the whole fight scene, and then they abruptly switch to “oh my god, Staz could kill Wolf! Isn’t this a predicament?” And again, even if this was pulled off with some sort of emotional buildup, why the fuck should I care? This show has done nothing to make me care about anyone. Staz is an asshole to everyone, Fuyumi isn’t even a character, Hydra-Bell is the poor man’s Haruko from FLCL, and they just introduced Wolf this episode.
I don’t give two shits about Staz because the show is making him as unlikeable as possible. Nothing is honourable about his plight — reviving Fuyumi — because he treats her like shit. He’s not attracted to her as a ghost, so he just calls her stupid and ignores her. Then he acts badass for a little, then they make him stupid. He’s a fucking asshole and nothing about him makes me even chuckle.
Fuyumi doesn’t have any personality. Her whole role now is to give the audience some fan service while saying as little as possible. Every time she’s shown, the introductory shot is basically voyeuristic. For example, in Episode 3, when she falls, the staff thought it prudent to show us a close-up of her thighs as an effect to the cause. When she does speak, she’s crying or whining or being shy. She’s basically a moe MacGuffin with tits, with Wolf now telling her that he wants to protect her, too. I don’t understand this fascination with “protecting” women. In the end, no one respects her, and consequently, neither do I.
I can’t talk much about Hydra-Bell; she’s just one of those scheming and manipulative, but fun types in anime, similar to Nami from One Piece and Haruko in FLCL, except with no real personality and whose entire role seems to be to get our hero into more wacky situations. She’s annoying, in short. I love Nami because she has character development and has shown that she’s not all money and sex appeal. I love Haruko because she was hilarious, was the catalyst Naota’s entire character arc, and managed to end up being badass in the end. Hydra-Bell just serves to fuck over Staz and be called an idiot by him. No comments on Wolf since we just met the guy, but he seems to be more tropes than anything else.
I can’t fucking see how anyone laughs at this show. With shows I just didn’t personally find funny, like Toradora, I can at least see how it just wasn’t representative of my taste in humour. Blood Lad is just generally not funny. I don’t get why I’m supposed to laugh at Hydra-Bell reciting a recipe really quickly because she can’t read the hieroglyphs in the Book of Human Revival in an attempt to make it seem like she can read it. Why am I supposed to laugh at Wolf being calm and collected while simultaneously having a nose bleed because of Fuyumi’s skimpy outfit? Nothing being presented in this series is funny. I don’t care how asshole-ish it seems; it’s not a matter of differing tastes, it’s just not funny.
I gave Blood Lad the three episode rule and it failed to impress or even entertain. It’s only slated for ten episodes, so I’ll probably end up giving the whole thing a go, but I already see fans of the manga talking about how “the show’s gonna end before the story even picks up,” so I know I’ll hate it all… including a potential second season because I can tell this won’t derive any real humour from its plot. I was apprehensive about even writing this because I didn’t want Blood Lad to take up any more space on this blog, but my annoyance overtook my willpower. Fuck you, Blood Lad, and fuck your idea of comedy.
Blood Lad is licensed by Viz Media and available for streaming on VizAnime.com.