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Marvel Anime: Blade: The Complete Series

Score: 80%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Sony Pictures Home
                  Entertainment

Region: 1
Media: DVD/2
Running Time: 282 Mins.
Genre: Anime/Action/TV Series
Audio: English, Japanese 5.1 Dolby
           Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH

Features:

  • The Marvel Anime Universe: Blade Re-Awakened
  • Blade: The Vampire-Slayer
  • Special Talk Session: Marvel Animeís Blade and Wolverine

There have been four Marvel series now made by Madhouse, first known for films like Demon City Shinjuku, Wicked City and Ninja Scroll, and while Iron Man, X-Men and Wolverine all seem like obvious choices given those charactersí general popularity, Blade seems to be an unusual choice since most people will only know the character from the Wesley Snipes films.

That being said, Madhouse has taken an interesting approach with the daywalker and, as a result, Marvel Anime: Blade: The Complete Series feels like a natural extension of the Blade mythos.

For those that arenít up on the half-vampireís story, Blade is the result of his mother being turned into a vampire while she was pregnant with him. As a result, he has their strength and powers, but he can walk in the sunlight.

This seriesí 13 episodes covers Bladeís hunt for the vampire that bit his mother, Deacon Frost. It seems Frost isnít all that hard to trace since he has an unusual characteristic, he has four fangs. Helping him in his hunt is the vampire slayer who trained him, Whistler, and a young woman whose father was turned into one of the beasts.

So how exactly does the Anime version of Blade fit itself into the Eastern world so well? Basically, by delving into the vast variety of mythical creatures in those cultures that are vampiric. Unlike the Western vampire, a mostly-human figure, vampires of the East come in many shapes and sizes, and they are all monstrous.

As Blade follows Frost, we not only learn of the older vampireís history, but what his goals are as well, and it seems he has a grudge against what are called the "pure-blood" vampires. He seems to be not only recruiting the different races of Asian vampires, but he appears to like experimenting as well.

Along the way, we will also see Bladeís early years and eventually his training under a Japanese sword master. Here we learn that Blade was taught alongside a mutant with a healing factor and swords in his arms. For those that have been following the other Marvel Anime shows, you will remember Kikyo from the Wolverine series. Kikyo isnít the only detail to help the Blade series fit in with the other shows. Our anti-hero will have to travel to Madripoor at one point and share some screen time with Wolverine, so again, those that have watched the other series in this line will get some added backstory, especially when Blade mentions Wolverine to Kikyo.

Like the other releases of this series, Marvel Anime: Blade: The Complete Series features both Japanese and English audio tracks as well as English subtitles, so there should be a setting in here for pretty much any type of anime fanís viewing pleasure.

One of the DVDís special features talks about how the character was redesigned and adapted to fit the Japanese audiences, while another gives a general overview of Blade. The third special feature is a round-table discussion between some of the creators of the Blade and Wolverine anime series. This last one is in Japanese only with English subtitles.

There is definitely a specific audience that is being targeted by these Marvel Anime shows, and if the combination of classic Marvel characters mixed with anime art style and storytelling appeals to you, then you are that target audience. You wonít be disappointed.



-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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