Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond – Episode 9 Review (Flash Anime-tion)
Oh. Well, I was dead wrong.
Of course, the episode wasn’t going to actually do anything to develop main characters further. Despite it being a two-parter, it’s just going to spend all its time on a side character we probably won’t be seeing again in any major capacity. You know how the previous season had the episode with the mushroom guy who erased people’s memories? Imagine an entire two-parter dedicated to that. When you still have several other characters to set up and nary a throughline in sight for the season overall.
At this point, I also have to wonder if this show is even supposed to have a plot. I wouldn’t mind the obvious lack of one, except for one little detail – the entire first season. Even if it isn’t meant to have a plot, it runs into a different problem as a result of its setup. Simply put, Leo does have a goal. The show isn’t set up to just be about his daily life. He’s in this accursed city for a reason. And his overwhelming passiveness doesn’t just make him horribly uninteresting at best and irritating at worst. It also hurts the series by simply promising things that, as the show progresses towards absolutely nothing, is set up to be unsatisfying at best. Because if they do decide, by the end, to finally start doing things, they won’t have dedicated enough time to it for anything to really feel fulfilling.
As to the episode itself, I was wrong. Brody and Hummer weren’t the focus of this two-parter at all, as you can tell. Which is a shame because they’re easily one of the more interesting ideas in the show. Helped by the fact that they remind me very much of my favorite Lethal Protector and Spider-Man antagonist. As disappointing as that is, the episode does finally set up for a feature on K.K. Being a sniper, she was always one I was notably pretty interested in. And she’s a mother. That’s a dynamic I was actually interested in learning more about. If she’d gotten a two-parter, I’d have been content.
This episode was fine. It was a fairly standard analysis of what it means to be strong and be at the top. It broke into the idea of loneliness in weakness, but strength not necessarily being a great solution. The action was vastly improved in that we could see it all (they finally upgraded to a desk lamp!), though there wasn’t a lot of back-and-forth. It was mostly just characters attacking the monster to the best of their ability. There was a lot going on visually and this anime has no problems in that department. It’s beautiful when it feels like it.
The episode was also fairly funny in places. For starters, the issue could very easily have been resolved, had Chain been there. But they actually found a pretty amusing way to write her out of it. Zapp wasn’t in it much either. And when he is there, he’s back to being his usual loud, annoying self. But he gets what’s coming to him, so it’s all good. And critical though I am of the episode, it does have a sweet moment or two as it is another one highlighting Leo’s friendship with someone in this hellscape of a city.
Overall, the episode was perfectly serviceable on its own, and certainly worthy of being called Junk Food. But in the context of the full series, it just highlights many of the season’s shortcomings. The show’s overall lack of progression when it very clearly has an aim in mind is the main thing. And it doesn’t look like the next episode is going to deliver much on that front, either.
I’m not asking that every single episode be a plot-laden deep dive into moving forward. But surely some of these episodes can find a way to relate the main characters to some sort of central throughline for the show? That way we can get both some solid character development, and feel like the show’s going somewhere? I dunno. Maybe my expectations are in the wrong place. As I said, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the episode, on its own. So feel free to give it a watch. Meanwhile, we’re also covering quite a few other rather aimless shows, at the moment. Why not check out our thoughts on those?
Or, if this show’s pace is something you find yourself enjoying, Blood Blockade Battle Front & Beyond is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Saturdays at 2:10pm EST.