New York Times Manga Best Seller List: February 23-March 1, 2014

Here are the top ten selling manga in the United States for the week of February 23-March 1, 2014, according to the New York Times.

1. Attack on Titan Volume 1 by Hajime Isayama
2. Attack on Titan Volume 11 by Hajime Isayama
3. Deadman Wonderland Volume 1 by Jinsei Katoka and Kazuma Kondou
4. Naruto Volume 64 by Masashi Kishimoto
5. Attack on Titan Volume 2 by Hajime Isayama
6. Nisekoi: False Love Volume 1 by Naoshi Komi
7. Kamisama Kiss Volume 14 by Julietta Suzuki
8. Attack on Titan Volume 3 by Hajime Isayama
9. Blood Lad Volume 4 by Yuuki Kodama
10. Black Butler Volume 16 by Yana Toboso

New York Times Manga Best Seller List: February 16-22, 2014

Here are the top ten selling manga in the United States for the week of February 16-22, 2014, according to the New York Times.

1. Blood Lad Volume 4 by Yuuki Kodama
2. Bleach Volume 59 by Tite Kubo
3. Attack on Titan Volume 1 by Hajime Isayama
4. Attack on Titan Volume 11 by Hajime Isayama
5. Judge Volume 3 by Yoshiki Tonogai
6. Naruto Volume 64 by Masashi Kishimoto
7. No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular! Volume 2 by Nico Tanigawa
8. Kamisama Kiss Volume 14 by Julietta Suzuki
9. Toradora! Volume 6 by Yuyuko Takemiya
10. Monster Musume Volume 1 by Okayado

Yen Press Licenses Blood Lad Spin-Off Manga BuraBuratto Buradora

Anime News Network is reporting that Yen Press will be releasing the four-panel Blood Lad spinoff manga BuraBuratto Buradora by Yuki Kodama and Kanata Yoshino.

According to the report, Yen Press will be releasing the manga as the second volume of the Bloody Brat spinoff in September 2014.

New Manga Releases: February 18, 2014

Here are the new manga releases for February 18, 2014. if you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Blood Lad GN 4
Bokurano: Ours GN 10
BTOOOM! GN 5
Cage of Eden GN 13
The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan GN 5
GANGSTA. GN 1
Is This a Zombie? GN 7
Judge GN 3
No. 6 GN 5
Pandora Hearts GN 20
Puella Magi Kazumi Magica GN 4
Strike Witches: Maidens in the Sky GN 1
World War Blue GN 4

Anime Spotlight: Blood Lad

Introduction

Blood Lad is an anime based on a manga series by Yuuki Kodama. The anime began airing in Japan on July 7, 2013.

As of this writing, Viz Media holds the North American streaming, home video, and download-to-own rights for Blood Lad.

About Blood Lad

The main character of Blood Lad is a powerful vampire named Staz Charlie Blood who is the boss of his territory and doesn’t really like being a vampire. Staz is also big into Japanese anime and manga, as well as video games. When a human girl named Fuyumi Yanagi manages to wander into his territory, he is overjoyed to meet someone from Japan. Unfortunately, Fuyumi dies in the Demon World, with her bare soul being left behind. Staz promises Fuyumi that he will find a way to bring her back to life; in the meantime, he helps to sustain her by allowing her to suck his blood. As the series progresses, it’s obvious to the audience that Staz has feelings for Fuyumi, although he doesn’t seem to realize that he does.

The two are joined by a young woman named Hydra-Bella, a top-level spatial magic user who is looking for the person who stole her black curtain and cast it; it was this curtain that allowed Fuyumi to wander into the Demon World. As the series progresses, Hydra-Bella develops feelings for Staz; as you can expect, Staz is just as clueless about Hydra-Bella’s feelings as he is to his own feelings toward Fuyumi.

Staz reunites with his old friend, Wolf. Another layer is added to the love triangle when Wolf realizes that he has developed feelings for Fuyumi.

Later in the series, as Staz is trying to get clues on how to resurrect Fuyumi, he is forced to see his estranged siblings, Braz D. Blood and Liz T. Blood. Through the introduction of Braz, the audience, along with Staz, learn a secret about Staz.

Near the end of the 10 episodes of the series, important revelations are also made in regards to Fuyumi and Hydra-Bella.

My Impressions of Blood Lad

When I watched the first episode of Blood Lad, I thought it was rather humorous, especially since the humor in that episode focused on Staz’s otaku interests. However, even though the series remained comedic through the 10 episodes, Staz’s otaku interests ended up being downplayed dramatically after the first episode. I can only think of three or four references to Staz’s otaku interests in the remaining nine episodes of the series. With how much emphasis this received in the first episode, I had assumed that this would be a running gag throughout the series. It turned out I was wrong. But when the otaku references do make an appearance, I found them to be rather funny; this could be due in large part to the fact that several of the references are made in regards to the Dragon Ball franchise, which is an anime and manga franchise that I enjoy.

Fuyumi is a very sweet character, but isn’t exactly the brightest person in the cast. It’s not to say that she’s stupid, but she did come across as a bit naïve at times. Hydra-Bella was a character that was hard to figure out for most of the series, so it was hard to know at times if she was a protagonist or an antagonist. Near the end of the 10 episodes, her motivations seemed to become a bit clearer.

Right now, I’m not entirely sure what Wolf’s purpose in the series was, because after his introduction, he was only around regularly for a couple of episodes. After that, he only popped up in brief scenes every now and then.

Braz was a complicated character. On the one hand, he comes across as really caring about his younger brother, Staz; but on the other hand, he was definitely a scheming and conniving character. His feelings toward his little sister, Liz, however, seemed to be a bit clearer. When Liz was first introduced, she loved Braz greatly and disdained Staz. However, as she spends time around Staz and Fuyumi, her attitude seems to change. There were some other characters introduced, but if I talk about them, I’d be providing “spoilers.”

Overall, I found Blood Lad to be an enjoyable series, with the right mix of humor and plot to keep me coming back week to week. However, episode 10 seems to end just as a new plot element is introduced. According to Wikipedia, there are nine volumes of the Blood Lad manga released in Japan at the time I’m writing this piece. So I’m wondering if, within these 10 episodes, the animation studio either caught up or were just about to catch up to the manga. If so, that could explain why the series ended the way it did. To me, it also feels like there’s a setup for a second season in place; hopefully, Blood Lad did well enough in the ratings in Japan that it will receive a second season.

Conclusion

I would be willing to say that Blood Lad will probably appeal to anime fans who enjoy Soul Eater. This series may also appeal to viewers who enjoy humorous series that feature supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves, etc. However, if you decide to watch Blood Lad at this point, just be aware that the story does not conclude at the end of episode 10.

As of this writing, Blood Lad is available for viewing at Viz Media’s Vizanime.com website.

Blood Lad: Episode 10 – “The Dark Hero Rises”

Blood Lad is an anime that features a powerful vampire named Staz who is the boss of his territory and doesn’t really like being a vampire. When a human girl named Fuyumi manages to wander into his territory and dies in the Demon World, her bare soul was left behind. Staz promises Fuyumi that he will find a way to bring her back to life. They are joined by Hydra-Bella, a girl who is a top-level spatial magic user who is looking for the person who stole her black curtain and cast it; it was this curtain that allowed Fuyumi to wander into the Demon World. In the third episode, an old friend of Staz’s named Wolf joins the cast, and he develops an interest in Fuyumi. Staz’s siblings, Braz and Liz, are now also part of the cast.

This episode begins with Staz in the area that Hydra-Bella had sent him to in episode nine. Staz encounters a three-headed creature named Hydra-Heads. It uses spatial magic to move elsewhere and transform into a man. Staz and the audience learn that Hydra-Heads is the father of Hydra-Bella and Hydra-Knell.

Staz, as well as the audience, learns about what happened when Hydra-Bella and Fuyumi’s mothers merged 14 years earlier. Hydra-Heads also insists on knowing what Staz’s feelings and true intentions are toward Fuyumi. Once Hydra-Heads is satisfied, he destroys a recording device that allowed Neyn to overhear the conversation. Hydra-Heads takes Staz to his room, and says he will allow Staz and Fuyumi to be together on a couple of conditions. After some hesitation, Staz agrees to the conditions; the audience learns that Hydra-Heads was being a bit deceptive.

Meanwhile, Braz and Goyle have a confrontation. Just as all seems lost, Liz arrives on the scene and the siblings escape from the situation.

Staz and Fuyumi are reunited and have a very important discussion that determines how the two of them will progress going forward into the future.

While this is the last episode of Blood Lad for the Summer 2013 simulcast season, this is definitely not the last episode of the series. There are now three plots that have loose ends: Staz trying to help Fuyumi return to life, Braz trying to overthrow Wolf-Daddy in order to get his revenge, and what will happen to Staz’s territory. I expect that at some point in the future, another season of Blood Lad will be produced and aired. I’m looking forward to such a time that this happens, because I’m definitely very interested to see how the story of Blood Lad will continue from here.

Overall, I thought that this episode works very well as a season ender. While some questions have been answered, there are also enough loose ends and unanswered questions to help propel a second season of the series. Another notable thing about this episode is the fact that Staz’s otaku tendencies were references a bit more than it had for most of the episodes in the series. Outside of the first episode and the episode where Staz thinks he can battle someone with a Kamehameha, his otaku tendencies didn’t really appear that much. So as a viewer, it was kind of nice to see Staz’s otaku mindset appear again.

All 10 episodes I saw of Blood Lad were very enjoyable, and this is definitely a series I will want to add to my anime collection at such a point that the series is available as a home video release.

Blood Lad: Episode 9 – “Sins of the Eyeglasses”

Blood Lad is an anime that features a powerful vampire named Staz who is the boss of his territory and doesn’t really like being a vampire. When a human girl named Fuyumi manages to wander into his territory and dies in the Demon World, her bare soul was left behind. Staz promises Fuyumi that he will find a way to bring her back to life. They are joined by Hydra-Bella, a girl who is a top-level spatial magic user who is looking for the person who stole her black curtain and cast it; it was this curtain that allowed Fuyumi to wander into the Demon World. In the third episode, an old friend of Staz’s named Wolf joins the cast, and he develops an interest in Fuyumi. Staz’s siblings, Braz and Liz, are now also part of the cast.

This episode sees Braz being taken by Beros to see Wolf-Daddy, the present king of Demon World Acropolis. As he’s brought there, the audience is introduced to a character named Goyle, the chief of police for Demon World Acropolis. When Braz meets with Wolf-Daddy, we learn that it was Wolf-Daddy who killed the previous king (who was Braz, Staz, and Liz’s father). This conversation also reveals something in regards to Akim Palpadon. Braz declares war against Wolf-Daddy. Instead of punishing him right away, Wolf-Daddy says that Braz three days to present the person who Braz believes should have the throne instead of Wolf-Daddy, since it appears Braz doesn’t want the throne for himself.

After Braz tricks Beros and puts her to sleep, he gets out of the choker curse and flees. Goyle discovers that Braz has escaped and is in hot pursuit.

Meanwhile, Hydra-Bella brings Staz to her mother’s home, where they find Fuyumi and Hydra-Knell. Hydra-Bella says they’re pretending to be a couple so her parents don’t suspect anything. Fuyumi is then summoned by Neyn, the mother of Hydra-Bella and Hydra-Knell. When they meet, Neyn acts like she recognizes Fuyumi and even gives her a hug. After Hydra-Bella and the others join them, a very important fact is revealed, which adds a whole new dimension to the characters of Fuyumi and Hydra-Bella. I’m not going to say what it is, though, in order to avoid providing a “spoiler.”

The Fuyumi storyline definitely became a lot more interesting by the revelation that is made during this episode. As this revelation sinks in for me, it makes me think I may have figured out some things that happened earlier in the series. This revelation is a major game changer, and it will be interesting to see how it affects Fuyumi and the decisions she makes.

Braz’s privileged magic is also revealed in this episode, and it’s just enough of a threat to get Goyle to back down and talk to Braz more calmly. From what Braz says, it looks like this has the potential to be able to do some serious damage, even if he’s nowhere near the target.

According to the preview, the next episode is the last one; however, I don’t see how everything could be wrapped up in one more episode. If it turns out the story isn’t resolved in episode 10, then I hope another season of Blood Lad will be produced. I’m not going to go into too much depth on this yet, since there’s still one more episode to go before I know how this end.

Knowing that the next episode is the last for Blood Lad, I’m very curious to see how this will play out.

Blood Lad: Episode 8 – “Two Is a Treasure”

Blood Lad is an anime that features a powerful vampire named Staz who is the boss of his territory and doesn’t really like being a vampire. When a human girl named Fuyumi manages to wander into his territory and dies in the Demon World, her bare soul was left behind. Staz promises Fuyumi that he will find a way to bring her back to life. They are joined by Hydra-Bella, a girl who is a top-level spatial magic user who is looking for the person who stole her black curtain and cast it; it was this curtain that allowed Fuyumi to wander into the Demon World. In the third episode, an old friend of Staz’s named Wolf joins the cast, and he develops an interest in Fuyumi. Staz’s siblings, Braz and Liz, are now also part of the cast.

Episode eight sees Liz trying to return to Demon World Acropolis after Fuyumi’s disappearance. At first, the guards won’t let her return; however, a new character named Beros intervenes and says she will escort Liz back to her castle. It’s revealed that Beros is with the Acropolis Police, and she needs to go to the castle in order to arrest Braz for coming and going from Demon World Acropolis as he pleases. At the castle, Beros places a curse that manifests itself in the form of a choker, which follows him wherever he goes and it forbids him from using magic. Braz leaves with Beros, and this is the last we see of Braz in this episode.

Meanwhile, Staz encounters someone in the area where he has gone to locate Fuyumi. Staz shows the guy a picture of the kidnapper on his cell phone; the guy doesn’t recognize the picture, but takes Staz to see his boss, because his boss might know. It turns out the boss does recognize the suspect, but doesn’t know where he is currently. However, he has a business card for the suspect, and it reveals an interesting piece of information.

Meanwhile, the kidnapper is eating ramen at a shop, and we learn that Fuyumi is being kept in a Grid Room. When the kidnapper tries to give Fuyumi some ramen through his spatial magic, the owner of the shop complains that he wants his bowl back. The kidnapper tries to get the bowl back, but Fuyumi grabs for it. After some tug of war, the kidnapper produces both the bowl and Fuyumi. Fuyumi rings a bell that Hydra-Bella gave her before the kidnapper can return her to the Grid Room; this action allows both Hydra-Bella and Liz to sense where Fuyumi is.

Hydra-Bella reaches them first, and the audience discovers the kidnapper is Hydra-Knell; he is Hydra-Bella’s brother. It turns out their mother has been trying to contact Hydra-Bella and hasn’t been able to reach her, so Hydra-Knell was sent to kidnap Fuyumi in order to get her attention. Staz arrives and sees the two of them together. Hydra-Bella sends her brother away with Fuyumi and traps Staz into her Grid Room. The rest of the episode focuses on the fight that Staz and Hydra-Bella have in the Grid Room.

It was interesting to learn that Fuyumi’s kidnapper was Hydra-Bella’s brother. It wasn’t until Hydra-Bella used her spatial magic after hearing the bell that I had any inkling that there was any connection between Hydra-Bella and the kidnapper.

The portion of the story that takes place in Hydra-Bella’s Grid Room was a pivotal point in the series. While the audience has suspected that Hydra-Bella had feelings for Staz, I hadn’t quite realized just how jealous Hydra-Bella was of Staz’s feelings for Fuyumi until reaching this point in the episode. Unfortunately, Staz is rather clueless about Hydra-Bella’s feelings and doesn’t pick up on what’s going on. This section really helps to propel this element of the series more to the forefront, and I’m interested to see how Hydra-Bella acts in the series going forward.

From the preview for episode nine, it appears we’ll be seeing more of Braz and finding out what’s happening to him, as well as what will be going on with Fuyumi.

Blood Lad continues to be a series I look forward to watching every week. It really helps that the end of each episode makes the viewer anticipate the next episode to find out how the plot will progress.

Blood Lad: Episode 7 – “Liz, for the First Time”

Blood Lad is an anime that features a powerful vampire named Staz who is the boss of his territory and doesn’t really like being a vampire. When a human girl named Fuyumi manages to wander into his territory and dies in the Demon World, her bare soul was left behind. Staz promises Fuyumi that he will find a way to bring her back to life. They are joined by Hydra-Bella, a girl who is a top-level spatial magic user who is looking for the person who stole her black curtain and cast it; it was this curtain that allowed Fuyumi to wander into the Demon World. In the third episode, an old friend of Staz’s named Wolf joins the cast, and he develops an interest in Fuyumi. Staz’s siblings, Braz and Liz, are now also part of the cast.

Episode seven begins with Staz, Braz, and Liz arriving at Frankenstein’s place, so Braz can meet Fuyumi. After Braz takes a sample of Fuyumi’s magic, he says that he needs to head home to work on the resurrection; however, he also says that Liz wants to stay and asks Staz to show her around. Later in the episode, it’s revealed in a flashback that Braz ordered Liz to stay in order to keep an eye on Staz in order to make sure that he doesn’t interfere.

During the episode, we get to see Liz interacting with Staz and Fuyumi. Liz ends up having fun, and she develops a bond with Fuyumi. The next morning, Fuyumi is missing and a note that’s supposedly from Fuyumi is found on her pillow. Of course, Staz doesn’t believe that Fuyumi left of her own volition, and that she was abducted. Staz sends his cronies out to investigate; after one of his cronies receives a tip, the episode ends with Staz heading in the direction that they think the abductor is heading in.

To me, the best thing about this episode is how much it focuses on the character of Liz. The episode allows the viewer to learn that there’s more to Liz than the one-dimensional character that she appeared to be when she was first introduced in the series. It was also nice to see a bond form between Liz and Fuyumi, and I think the bond between these two characters could end up being important later in the series. It’ll be interesting to see if I’m right about this or not.

At this point, Blood Lad is still an enjoyable series, and it’s one I look forward to watching each week. I can’t wait to see episode eight and I’m hoping to learn what has happened to Fuyumi.

Blood Lad: Episode 6 – “That’s Friendship”

Blood Lad is an anime that features a powerful vampire named Staz who is the boss of his territory and doesn’t really like being a vampire. When a human girl named Fuyumi manages to wander into his territory and dies in the Demon World, her bare soul was left behind. Staz promises Fuyumi that he will find a way to bring her back to life. They are joined by Hydra-Bella, a girl who is a top-level spatial magic user who is looking for the person who stole her black curtain and cast it; it was this curtain that allowed Fuyumi to wander into the Demon World. In the third episode, an old friend of Staz’s named Wolf joins the cast, and he develops an interest in Fuyumi. Staz’s siblings, Braz and Liz, are now also part of the cast.

Episode six focuses on Akim Papradon, the Artificial Demon that was first introduced in episode five. Wolf begins the fight with the Artificial Demon, even going so far as to do his werewolf transformation; unfortunately, the transformation doesn’t last as long as it should have. After Braz tells Staz he’s free to go to fight the demon in order to fulfill their bargain, Staz literally falls into the middle of the battle and takes over.

Meanwhile, Hydra-Bella talks with Frankenstein alone and gets him to admit that he knew that the Artificial Demon could use spatial magic. It also turns out that Hydra-Bella plays an important role in the conclusion of the Staz’s battle; however, Staz doesn’t know that she had a hand in things. At the end of the battle, Wolf appears and says he wants to fight Staz again for Fuyumi.

Near the end of the episode, Hydra-Bella has managed to acquire all of the Artificial Demon’s parts, which she shows to Frankenstein. Just then, Braz and Liz arrive on the scene, and Liz declares that Frankenstein and Akim will face judgment for all the crimes committed in disturbing the peace of the demon world.

I had a couple of favorite parts in this particular episode. The first happens during Staz’s fight with the Akim, when Staz attempts to use a Kamehameha attack. Akim stops him before Staz can do anything, and derisively calls it a move of a third-rate fighter. Staz becomes very angry and lectures him how it’s the move of a fighter he idolizes, and how that fighter could have turned Akim into dust with it. This was a case where the Dragon Ball reference was actually humorous and worked with the story.

My other favorite part was getting to see a flashback sequence of when Wolf first met Staz. It may have been a short flashback, but it was a nice character development moment.

I’m happy to say that I’m at the halfway point of Blood Lad and that I’m still as interested in this series as I was after watching the first episode. The story of Blood Lad keeps the viewer interested and wanting to see more, and the characters in this series are rather endearing. I’m looking forward to watching episode seven in order to see what will happen next.