Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond – Finale Review (Flash Anime-tion)

Well, look who finally grew a pair. And hey! All it took was the most important person in your world being in mortal danger!

Blood Blockade Battlefront
Studio: BONES
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction, Supernatural

The two-episode finale to Kekkai Sensen’s second season was pretty much as I expected. A pair of episodes fully invested in Leo trying to save his paralyzed, (supposedly) blind sister. We’ll come back to her, though. The episodes finally let Leo grow a pair, so there’s that. But there’s a surprisingly low amount of material here to actually criticize. With the exception of a few small but particularly irksome gripes, it’s very straightforward episode that does pretty much what all the other episodes have done – created a scenario that allows the central character to get some shine. In this case, it just happened to be the main character. Go figure.

Kekkai Sensen 2 Leo Grows A Pair

Once again, someone wants Leo’s eyes. And this time they go through his sister to do it. How’d they get to her in the first place? How’d they even know about him? Not a single solitary clue. But here we are in this predicament. Leo can’t tell anyone what’s going on, lest he put her (and her fiance. Surprise) in danger. I appreciate Leo actually taking a little initiative, this go around. This is a proper case of how you turn a passive protagonist into an active one. My problem is just that the journey between the two points was a bit rocky, making this finale seem slightly less impactful. Not that I don’t think he could do what he did in this episode, but I’m not especially certain he would do so in the way he did. And that whole defeatism angle of his did show up briefly. It felt less like growth and more like a sudden character shift, is all.

I do have a few major misgivings in terms of the episode’s plot. Put plainly, there’s the matter of plot convenience. There are two specific things that happen in the second half of this finale that I have problems with. One involves a text that Leo sent to Klaus. To put it plainly, Klaus should’ve noticed it long before he actually did. Second is something that Sonic does. It basically has no purpose other than to give Leo an idea. But Sonic didn’t intend to do that. So it was just a convenient way to push things along. And speaking of “pushing” things, I can think of absolutely nothing more convenient than Leo’s sister.

Kekkai Sensen 2 Young Michella
“Huh? You can’t be mad at me. I’m too cute!” Oh, but I can be.

Look, Michella, as a character, just rubs me the wrong way. She’s a living plot convenience. Thankfully she actually has a personality that I like. She’s plucky and happy and all that. But the thing is… they sort of derail a lot of the point in the character. Bad enough she’s in a wheelchair so Leo already felt protective of her. Then she wound up giving up her eyesight to protect him, right? Well apparently friggin’ not. Unless she’s able to see Leo and literally nothing else, she doesn’t seem to have any problems at all seeing anything. Now one could attribute this to her just having not always been blind. So, of course, her body language and behaviors would reflect someone who could see at one point. But she does a handful of things that she legitimately couldn’t do without eyesight.

And there’s this one moment where the direction does this thing where it’s like it’s showing us the world from her PoV when she’s sitting across from Leo. But if we were really seeing her PoV, then wouldn’t it just be a black screen? My point is that the anime isn’t entirely clear on all of this. And, frankly, I see no reason she even has to be blind, to begin with, from a storytelling perspective. It doesn’t really add anything. Leo feels equally as guilty over getting her involved in things in the first place. Taking away her ability to see just feels like an extra thing to make him angsty over. So if she’s just going to behave like someone with full use of her eyes, why not just let her have ’em and say that Leo’s real problem is just that he got her involved with this messed up world at all? That or let her walk. What I’m saying is that both is just overkill. Was the goal to just make her as helpless as humanly possible, just to give Leo someone he could realistically protect? Because that’d be annoyingly lazy.

Kekkai Sensen 2 Michella Phone Call
“Wait. My character’s supposed to be blind? When was someone gonna tell ME this?!”

The action is absolutely amazing (usually). It’s the same stylistic eye-gasm that the series has made itself known for, rivaling the likes of some of Gainax/Studio Trigger’s best. It just winds up marred by a particularly dogged issue of abysmal lighting. When the scenes are fully lit, they’re among the best you’ll get. Minimalistic where they should be, and elaborate where they want to be. Everything from the color palette to the dynamic flow of motion is amazing… but the series has the tendency to not want to actually show it to you. And sometimes it does run into the issue of there just being too much on the screen at once. This isn’t always about the art being too big, however. At times it’s a case of the action just never slowing down. Everything about it is fast-paced. So where there’s so much on the screen, there will be occasions where your brain isn’t afforded the time to process all of it.

Also, the final scene is a bit on the disappointing side. Now don’t get me wrong. I actually really enjoyed Leo’s… “fight” scene. And it’s amusing how Leo is essentially the “Krillin” of this group, always waiting for “Goku” to show up, in the form of the entire rest of the team. But in this case, when they finally do show up, the show just straight up says “nope” and we don’t get to properly see the beatdown that occurs. They basically win that fight off-screen. Come on, man. Also, it’s incredibly convenient for Leo that this enemy just happened to be “light.” Otherwise, he’d have been dead (or worse), long before they showed up. Michella’s little gambit likely wouldn’t have worked and his admittedly pretty clever plan wouldn’t have done a thing.

Kekkai Sensen 2 Michella's Gambit
“W-what do you mean ‘my brother’s dead?’ That’s not funny at all!”

Also, the callbacks to season one just annoyed me. Not that they were bad (though there wasn’t any real reason for them, that I could see). I just prefer to not be reminded of Black and White. Still not happy about how that whole thing ended.

All in all, the finale we fine. Leo got to finally graduate to being a more active protagonist. Though I’m 90% certain that if this gets a third season, that’ll go away. This did, after all, specifically involve his sister. So it’s possible he’s only all that active because it was her. The action (when we could see it) was awesome. The humor lands, as always. K.K. has long since passed Chain as my favorite. Speaking of which, Chain does… absolutely… nothing. In the whole finale. She does squat. Seriously. Why was she even there? Whatever. The episode has its problems, but the majority of them are decidedly small, despite my talking about them at length, the way I did. They’re mostly matters up to my personal taste. I’m sure most people wouldn’t mind those issues. And I’d certainly not mind watching this finale again (unlike season 1’s), albeit with the headcanon established that Michella’s just able to see. Because at this point, what’s even the difference? It’s not like anything’s ever done with her being blind, in the first place. My point is that the episode is perfectly fun and serviceable Junk Food. But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. Or if you’d prefer anime that just make you go “Awww,” then why not check out EvilBob’s final recap of Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~.

Kekkai Sensen 2 Leo Michella Spot
“Wait, so… we passed? After THAT lashing… we actually passed?”

If you think Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade) might be the exact kind of bombastic, stylistic, joy ride you’ve been looking for, then both seasons are available on Crunchyroll.

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