Blood Blockade Battlefront and Beyond (BBB&B) was the show that I asked almost all of my friends if they were watching. I really enjoyed it, and gosh darn it, they were going to enjoy it too, whether they wanted to or not. The first answer to the question, “Have you watched BBB&B?” was usually, “I plan to. Is it good?” That question. “Is it good?” Well, heck, how should I know. Just give me a minute here to crawl into your brain so I can figure out what your taste is.
BBB&B is, in my humble opinion, one of the best shows of 2017. Studio Bones did an excellent job bringing the world of Hellsalem’s Lot to life. The show keeps a consistently inconsistent tone. I mean that in a good way. A show that takes place in such a zany world should have a zany manner to match. The mood of each episode can vary greatly, but while the action can get pretty heavy and helps give the show its R-17 rating, it almost always manages to turn it around into something else, be it a comedic moment or a bit of a happy ending.
Having said those things, BBB&B is definitely the kind of show that should be watched after watching the first season. I enjoyed season one so much that it was my favorite show of the Spring 2015 season. My one gripe with it was that the members of Libra, aside from Leonardo, Zapp, and Klaus, got very little screen time. They were very important members of the group that served to progress the story, but I knew almost nothing about them. The second season solves this issue. It has none of the overarching plot of season one, and instead is much more episodic in its presentation. This can be a turn-off for some people, but not me. I enjoyed the way the episodes were presented. After the big conflict was resolved at the end of season one, everyone goes back to their “normal” lives, something we haven’t seen before. Each episode focuses on one or two members of Libra and we get the chance to learn about them and their relationships. We get to see K.K.’s relationship with her family, Chain’s main job, and Steven’s lonely living situation. Seeing this means a lot to me and helps me care about them. I have watched too many shows where not enough time is spent with a character, and then something tragic happens to them and we are supposed to care, but oftentimes the emotional attachment needed for the episode isn’t there. That is not the case in BBB&B. By the time I finished the last episode, I held these characters dear to my heart.
I should probably stop gushing about how much I enjoy the secondary characters’ development, and get down to the other good things. This show isn’t a one trick pony.
I was so very excited to see Unison Square Garden back on the project, doing the opening instead of the ending theme. They killed it in season one with “Sugar Song and Bitter Step”, and I was excited to see what they would do. While, “Fake Town Baby” is no Sugar Song, it is still a fun, high energy song that gets you excited for what you are about to watch. Seeing a sort of continuity in the artists hired to do the theme helps solidify this show as a second season.
The ending theme “Step Up Love” is one of my favorite ending themes this year. Nay, I would say that it is my favorite ending theme of 2017. It will be one of those songs that I will remember a long time from now. Daoko and Yasuyuki Okamura are both fantastic artists that have shown what they can do with their work on Me!Me!Me! and Space Dandy, respectively. Their collaboration feels greater than the sum of its parts.
As a soundtrack fan, I also am a fan of BBB&B’s soundtrack. There is a great variety of songs to match the great variety of moods that the show has, ranging from funky hip hop beats in tracks like Slice and Dice, to relaxing, slow jazz club music like White Beyond, and to ominous orchestral pieces like Overwhelming. There is even a reimagined hip-hop version of George Gershwin’s jazz classic, Rhapsody in Blue, which is a great way to musically show the combination of the two different worlds that form Hellsalem’s Lot. I particularly enjoyed the scenes where there isn’t any dialogue because it allows the vocal tracks to shine. Even if you don’t watch the show, I still recommend you listen to the soundtrack.
Finally, I really like the animation. The fight scenes are dynamic and well put together. I especially like the background animations in BBB&B. You can have people normally walking in the background in one scene and in another scene, there’s some poor alien getting wrecked by a larger, more oblivious alien. This helps immerse the viewer into the zany world of BBB&B and is so much better than just having empty streets or still images as a background.
And so, having said all that, if I can give one sentence to tell you what I think, I will say this: Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond is one of the best second seasons I have ever seen, and I want all of you to watch it.
I don’t like numbers, but some folks do, So here is the rating system I’ll be using. I’ve heard that it’s what Japanese anime reviewers use. Each category gets a max value of ten (hint, I never give tens), and then the total is put through a multiplier.
Plot: 7 (Good writing for each episode, but no overarching, connecting plot)
Voice Acting: 8
Final Score: 82