I’m going to have to get the appreciation for the ending theme out of the way right at the beginning, I guess. I watched two seasons of Kekkai Sensen, and whilst I loved a lot of things about both of them, after writing this title….guys, that first ending. That is how you bow out an awesome show, as well as give some (more) personality to your huge cast. Take a listen whilst you’re reading this article:
KEKKAI SENSEN (BLOOD BLOCKADE BATTLEFRONT)
“Supersonic monkeys, vampires, talking fishmen, and all sorts of different supernatural monsters living alongside humans—this has been part of daily life in Hellsalem’s Lot, formerly known as New York City, for some time now. When a gateway between Earth and the Beyond opened three years ago, New Yorkers and creatures from the other dimension alike were trapped in an impenetrable bubble and were forced to live together. Libra is a secret organization composed of eccentrics and superhumans, tasked with keeping order in the city and making sure that chaos doesn’t spread to the rest of the world.
Pursuing photography as a hobby, Leonardo Watch is living a normal life with his parents and sister. But when he obtains the “All-seeing Eyes of the Gods” at the expense of his sister’s eyesight, he goes to Hellsalem’s Lot in order to help her by finding answers about the mysterious powers he received. He soon runs into Libra, and when Leo unexpectedly joins their ranks, he gets more than what he bargained for. Kekkai Sensen follows Leo’s misadventures in the strangest place on Earth with his equally strange comrades—as the ordinary boy unwittingly sees his life take a turn for the extraordinary.” (From MyAnimeList)
If you’re hearing about Kekkai Sensen for the first time after that synopsis, you’re probably thinking ‘Wait, what?!’ And, yeah, that’s a pretty fair reaction. Kekkai Sensen definitely favours style and action over anything else, particularly in the second season. When you’re dealing with a clash between the underworld and our normal mundane lives, what can you expect?
With Studio Bones in toll, can you really blame Kekkai Sensen for being flashy? Special notice should go to, in my opinion, the detail put into the settings. The visuals perfectly captured the busy New York that we know and love, but of course, this isn’t New York. We’re dealing with Hell Salem’s Lot, where chaos is lurking just under the cracks, which again, is displayed perfectly in glorious multicolours. It can at times, almost be overwhelming, but never to the extent of ruining enjoyment, and instead adds to the atmosphere of having demons lurking beneath your feet.
But if we’re talking style, then nothing is more stylish and over-the-top in Kekkai Sensen than the fights themselves. Translated in English to ‘Blood Blockade Battlefront’, it does exactly what it does on the tin, and every member of ‘Libra’ – the group entrusted with the protection of Hell Salem’s Lot fight by using their blood. It’s a unique concept – whilst it had been done in Deadman Wonderland prior to Kekkai Sensen, this time it was done the way it should be. Rather than the blood battles being done ‘just because’ they’re stylish, they acted as an extension of the characters own personalities.
Whilst the second season took on much more of a ‘monster of the week’ route, the first season has an awesome supernatural story line to boot. Similar to shows such as Bungou Stray Dogs and Durarara!!!, Kekkai Sensen excelled in introducing a huge cast in a short period of time, and making all of their stories entwine seamlessly. Even if the show had ended after the first season, unlike many shows with a big cast, it left no strings left untied, and made sure not to substitute the story for mindless action or visuals, keeping it all in equal (and great) measure.
However, whilst the story is definitely the focus in the first season, in order to get the most out of Kekkai Sensen’s vibrant and fun cast, the second season is a must. Whilst we get a taste of all of them in season one, and what they’re capable of, the main focus is on our protagonist, Leonardo Watch. However, in Season 2, we’re exposed to Libra in all their glory. Leonardo and his All-Seeing Eyes of the God are great, all of Libra shine in their own right, and Season 2 is the perfect place to experience that. So if you thought your favourite didn’t get the screentime they deserved in Season 1 – don’t panic! Keep watching.
Whilst I had an inkling that I would enjoy Kekkai Sensen, I didn’t expect for it to be as fun as it was. With a great soundtrack, likeable characters, and over-the-top action, there’s something for everyone in Hell Salem’s Lot!
Season 1 – 9/10
Season 2 – 8/10
What do you guys recommend for ‘stylish’ anime? How do you think your blood would form if you were gonna fight with it? Let me know!
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Until next time!