Blue Seed

April 27, 2008 on 7:14 pm | In Blue Seed | 1 Comment

Blue Seed took me entirely too long to watch, but that reflects more poorly on me than it does on it. It’s a pre-Evangelion Evangelion. It’s a monster of the week show with national intrigue. It’s a show that starts gruesomely, then settles for some cheap panty jokes, before throwing the fate of Japan into crisis. All things told, it’s pretty good and it’s definitely got that “feel” that I can never qualify but that I always complain about no longer existing.

After the apparent death of her unknown twin sister, Fujimiya Momiji is charged with becoming the Kushinada and protecting Japan from the plant monsters known as the Aragami. Being just an ordinary girl, albeit one who has had an Aragami detecting mitama forcibly implanted into her chest, Momiji receives assistance from one Kusanagi Mamoru – who technically is an Aragami himself – and the Terrestrial Administration Center.

Blue Seed gets off to a start that is, simply, amazing. It looks and feels like an old OVA, and draws you right in with its surprisingly large amount of violence, darkness and drama. Even in today’s world, a lot of the ultra violence is balanced by pink hair, but you don’t get any of that here. The supe the week affair, with many episodes in the first ten being devoted to the characters that make up the TAC. I’ve no problem with monsters of the week, and fortunately Blue Seed has an overarcing story hiding behind them. Only one of the characters seems almost completely shoehorned in, the Japanese/American hybrid miko warrior character. She gets a couple of episodes but she largely serves as a Deus ex America who splits her loyalties based on how the writers feel on any given day of the week. She doesn’t gel with the rest of the cast, which is a pity considering how well conceived the majority of them are.

The series, when it gets to its main point, boils down to conflicting views of nationalism and humanity. Is a country not made by its people? Who can say who is right and who is wrong? The rites must be performed, and those that are successful will determine the winners. The tone is never quite established, with panty print jokes occasionally recurring amidst episodes about solving the crimes of the dead, and general ditziness sometimes coexisting with bloody murder. The violence is significantly toned down after the first few episodes, and becomes more fantastic than visceral, but it is still there.

All of this is largely insignificant when the monster of the week conceit is completely done away with and the story stops wavering. The home stretch of Blue Seed is very satisfying, and it has one of those great epilogue endings that I can’t help but smile at.

Beyond the excellent cast, led by Hayashibara Megumi and Mitsuishi Kotono (Ohtsuka Akio! Sakakibara Yoshiko!), there’s also an absolutely hilarious series of omake. With only one dud episode out of the lot of them (it’s the “artsy” one), the omake alone are almost worth the price of admission into Blue Seed. You can actually see them all on Youtube, but you shouldn’t, because, you know. This one certainly can’t hurt, though:

Blue Seed is self contained, and a strong offering from Takada Yuzo. There’s an OVA, that came in the same set, but I haven’t watched it yet because I don’t see how it could possibly be necessary. I’ll come down to it some day, but until then I can keep the happy memories of one of the better efforts that have been made towards the saving of Japan.

1 Comment

  1. Blue Seed is a show that’s more than the sum of its parts. It has shoddy animation more often than not, Momiji can be very annoying from time to time, it has several ‘Aragami of the Week’ episodes, it has some silly stereotypes in the TAC team, and yet, I still love it to pieces. Every now and then I get an urge to see some parts of it and often end up marathoning the entire series.

    I’m still surprised that such an entertaining series came from such a run-of-the-mill manga though. No offense to Yuzo Takada, (I love 3X3 Eyes), but the 2-volume Blue Seed manga was as pedestrian as it gets.

    Comment by Teru — April 30, 2008 #

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