Blue Seed

It's hard to peg Blue Seed into a convenient first, it looks like it might just be the first tentacle horror anime to be given its own TV slot. But then, things change and get surprisingly lighter, even humorous...and this is just in the first four episodes! Although some have criticized the opening of Blue Seed as being formulaic, which I understand, I was incredibly intrigued by the possibilities. Though I haven't had the chance to see the whole thing yet--a caveat that needs to be made, considering that the show may go somewhere I don't expect--the opening is surprisingly strong and looks to set up a truly enjoyable series.

Back centuries ago, the Aragami were born, an evil race of formless creatures that lives vicariously through the stolen bodies of animals and creatures that they mutate into hideous form. There is a family born to stop their terror, however, and they are the Kushinada. As the story begins, our young heroine Momiji thinks that she is just an ordinary student. However, as her school is enveloped by a gigantic dragon-like monstrosity, she finds herself the target of the Aragami's rage. If that weren't bad enough, there's a second creature Mamoru with strange blue seeds attached to his body that plans to kill her. As the story twists and turns, Mamoru turns against his Aragami brethren and works to save Momiji instead. Momiji is confronted with the horror of her destiny--one way or the other, her life is a sacrifice that will either cripple the Aragami forever or lead them to reign in terror over the earth. Whatever the legends say, however, Momiji is not going to take her fate lying down.

The animation is functional, slightly dated by today's standards but certainly crisp and enjoyable to me. The music didn't really move me at all, but otherwise the production values are fine. What struck me about the opening of Blue Seed was that it takes the tentacle genre of horror shows, makes it a bit more action-oriented, and softens it for mass consumption. The story has echoes of similar anime, such as the all-too-well-known apocalyptic porn Legend of the Overfiend series, but it has a nice presentation that makes you want to stick with it. If there is a problem, it's that this show sets up its villains as formless entities, so it could sink into a "new monster of the week" syndrome. It also could have tone problems if it doesn't decide quickly if it wants to be an action show, a horror show, or a comedy with horror elements. If it can avoid these pitfalls, though, it might work--at this point, I just haven't seen enough of it to know. I will also mention that, despite some shoujo trappings, it has an unexpected amount of fan service. This will bring some viewers in and turn some off. Also realize that this is an ADV Films release, which means that there is some strong profanity not present in the original. (Let's be honest--how many non-cable television shows do you know of that would air the "F" word?)

That's a good point to bring up, too...for a long while, the show was only available on VHS, with only two episodes a tape stretching for 26 episodes. This made the series far too expensive for your average anime patron. However, the series has been placed on 4 DVDs at a much better price, which should take the sting out of it. I plan to return to this show soon because of it.

So where will the average fan come out? At this point, all I can say is that it's a good show to start watching; the intro is surprisingly exciting. My rating is tentative and may change as I see more, but it's recommended that you at least give Blue Seed a chance.

Blue Seed -- violence, fan service, strong profanity -- B+