The main male protagonist.
This blog ‘Anime of the year 2013’ audition ends today with this entry, and there is no need to wait for 5 months unlike the last one. Here in advance, I want to congratulate Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru for winning the audition even with a non-perfect score of 9 out of 10. This is because Strike The Blood, the final entry of the audition, is nowhere near the modest hype it has on the Internet. This is easily the worst entry in the audition, and you will know why below.
Continuing from a story arc that probably will be made into a money-spinning OVA or movie, the main male protagonist started his first year in high school. As he returned from extra studying sessions, he was followed by a strange girl who doesn’t know that her cover has been blown. After confronting her and makes her go away, he witnessed her assaulting two random civilians. He then decided to ensure the rule of law is being upheld and then delivered the appropriate justice to the stalker girl.
For the synopsis above, I adapted the one from what I have used for my Bakemonogatari review more than 3 years ago. Comparisons between the two will be inevitable, after all these two has many similarities; from the nature of the vampiristic main male protagonists, the futuristic settings, their harem aspects and many more.
Just like Bakemonogatari, this anime has a storyline that spanned multiple arcs. I think there are 6 of them. All of them are decent enough in quality, especially the first two arcs and also the final one. When the final episode finished playing, there are so many loose ends left, and the final arc itself is written to accommodate a second season that I have not heard about yet. If you only strictly consider the qualities of the plotline alone, this anime will not lose at all to Bakemonogatari.
The single biggest reason why this anime is the worst entry in the audition is definitely the main male protagonist. In hindsight, I should have seen this coming much earlier. Actually, within the first five minutes of watching this series, the very first complaint I have is how incompatible the the main male protagonist’s voice acting gig is compared to his supposed age. This should be put on the voice acting section below, but the main male protagonist has a voice of a person at least 10 years older than his age.
The main male protagonist is basically a cross of his counterparts from Infinite Stratos and B gata H kei, with those two anime’s main male protagonists’ weaknesses amplified to the max inside the vampire of this series. His negative beta mannerisms, combined with the nagging voice acting qualities of his, gets to me quite a few times, especially with his dealings with the main female protagonist. Here I wish the vampire of Bakemonogatari replaced the one in this anime, because that would have made this anime much better.
The main female protagonist of this anime is actually a very good character, far outshining her opposite number. I dare say she is better than her counterpart in Bakemonogatari too, although not as good as her peer in B gata H kei. She only has the misfortune of being paired with a weak nearly-impotent main male protagonist, and this caused her character to go out of control a few times in the course of the anime. A true immortal vampire like the one from Bakemonogatari would have cut her down a few sizes and put her in her place.
The presentation aspects of this anime is quite problematic too. Sometimes the flow of the storyline is jerky, like in the third arc in the transition between the event where the white-haired girl giving cats away to other people and the event where the main male protagonist finds out that the white-haired girl is an angel-killing machine. Plus in the same arc, the writer failed to connect cleanly the pre-event at the start of the arc and the night-time event at the deserted island where main male protagonist finally meets the other white-haired girl. This problem doesn't happen at all times though, because this doesn’t exist in the first and last arcs for example.
The pacing of the storyline is OK though, it is even better than what is seen in Kakumeiki Valvrave, mainly due to its more consistent pacing. Character developments in this anime are done well too, even for the main male protagonist with its typical action hero development strategy. Of course, the best character in this anime is still the main female protagonist, who herself has her own flawless character development strategy. For many of the characters, especially the main male protagonist, there are plenty of room left for future character developments. Now all we need to wait for is a second season, of which there are no news about it at the time of writing.
Character designs in this anime is good, at least better than what is seen in Kakumeiki Valvrave. But a certain issue that I will mention further below ruined this anime somewhat in this regard. Black hair is quite common here in the future version of Earth, balancing out the non-insignificant number of characters with white/silver hairs.
As I mentioned above, the voice acting gig for the main male protagonist does not really match the character being portrayed. If this anime get a second season, the director must fire the current voice actor for the main male protagonist and replace him with any of the voice actors that played the main male protagonists in Bakemonogatari, Hataraku Maou-sama, Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou amongst others. If the current voice actor is retained, the director has to tell him that he is voicing a teenage high school boy, not an adult.
As for the rest of the characters, voice acting gigs for them are mainly good and flawless, and that’s it. There are no outstanding gigs here at all, to counteract the effects of the poor voice acting gig of the main male protagonist. At least no one of them should be replaced though if a second season comes out.
The OST of this anime is good, but only the 2nd OP theme is something I will put on my portable media player. Quite the same as Kakumeiki Kalvrave too.
This anime has excellent production values.
This animation used the blurry animation technique in many of its actions scenes, therefore a point will be docked from its final evaluation. While the animation quality is decent, character composition can be awful quite a lot of times as shown in the picture above. Integration of 2D animation and CGI are not seamless, causing some scenes to look very plasticky.
Choreography of action scenes is decent, probably held back by incompetence of the main male protagonist when it comes to fighting and overdependence on his familiars. The director has done a decent job here, almost flawless except for the weak presentation aspect mentioned above (and also the main male protagonist voice actor).
5 out of 10. The blurry animation technique really doesn’t help this anime’s case here. Therefore Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru is now this blog’s ‘Anime of the Year 2013’ title holder, and will be listed at the sidebar of this blog. Plus, I have heard that it will have a second season too, of which I will definitely watch for its main male protagonist alone.