Our second foray into the world of the Kekkai Sensen series trades in the nonstop hijinks we have come to know and love for a rather tame offering that delves more into the events turned the city of New York on its head three years ago. So, let’s hop into our DeLoreans and take a trip down memory lane with this week’s episode of Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond!
Japanese Original Episode Title: 幻界病棟ライゼズ
When Libra’s resident hothead, Zapp, is critically injured after a head-on collision with a tank (yes, you read that right, a mother effing tank), he is rushed to a hospital for treatment. The hospital in question is a place of deep significance to Steven and Klaus who reminisce about their previous visit during the Great Collapse three years prior.
In case you missed it: The exposition opener is back! It’s a five-second voice over intro from Klaus accompanied by several news clips depicting the events preceding, during, and after the Great Collapse. So, if you forgot what the series was about or you just need a refresher, B³&B has you covered.
The Great Collapse: This is such an important event in the Kekkai Sensen series, but up until this point, it has only been mentioned in passing or in tiny ‘blink and you’d miss them’ flashback scenes. This episode marks the first time that the series gives us an extensive (read: uninterrupted) look at the events of that tumultuous time period.
Phantom Hospital: Bradbury General Hospital becomes a Flying Dutchman of sorts after the events of three years ago. Once a refuge for victims of the Great Collapse, the hospital and its patients have since fallen out of time, appearing suddenly from the mist, with the staff and patients more or less unchanged. Though, like most things in Hellsalem’s Lot, the hospital and everyone within it have had some supernatural upgrades over the past three years.
… Has Joined Your Party! Luciana, the raven-haired young woman in the opening, finally makes an appearance in the series! She’s an old acquaintance of Klaus and Steven and one of the doctors at Bradbury General. She teams up with the pair to take down an old enemy and it is hinted at the end of the episode that she will probably become a series regular!
Themes & Trivia
Don’t die on me: Okay, so this one is played for laughs early on in the episode. Zapp has been critically injured and his life is quite literally on the line. He spends the majority of the episode clinging to life, but there are a few times when he more or less dies, his soul physically floating away from his body and presumably towards the afterlife. Of course, Leo ain’t having none of that, forcibly restraining Zapp’s soul and shoving the thing back into Zapp’s body.
It’s the end of the world: The extended flashback to the Great Collapse looks just like every other post apocalyptic scenario: ruined landscapes, civilians with guns, the dead lying in the street. New York had become a relative wasteland and no one knew who was to blame for all the destruction and chaos. Does that stop Klaus and Steven from carrying on as usual? Nope, this is just another mission for our crime fighting duo.
Slipping through the veil: The Great Collapse wasn’t the first time creatures from the Beyond made their way to Earth. It’s hinted that the mysterious mist that enveloped New York City three years ago has caused problems before but on a much smaller scale; strange monster sightings, missing planes, and unexplained treasures can all be attributed to the primordial mist opening up pockets into the Beyond.
Nightmare Fuel: Where to begin… Just about everything in Kekkai Sensen is one tentacle away from being the stuff of nightmares, but with Episode 2, they turned things up a notch. The big bad of the episode has a mutant dog that seems harmless enough at first, that is until it goes on a murderous rampage on the unsuspecting inhabitants of Bradbury General. It’s a cross between the alien from Independence Day and the Dilophosaurus from Jurassic Park, the epitome of nightmare fuel.
This episode was kind of a dud for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid episode and I quite like getting to see what life was like for Klaus and Steven during the events of the Great Collapse. Klaus and Steven aren’t as hot-headed or excitable as some of the other members of Libra, so this episode was bound to have a much more relaxed tone. The comedy and mayhem were played down considerably in favor of a much more story heavy narrative, which some folks will find refreshing.
Also, I totally ship Luciana and Klaus… I saw the way they looked at one another and I think Libra’s leader deserves to get himself a lady friend, and who better than a cute badass demon doctor?!
You’re the real MVP
Every now and again it’s nice to slow down from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. Okay, who am I kidding? Even though this episode was a bit of a shift from the usual mindless mayhem, there was still plenty of over-the-top action and destruction, just on a much smaller scale. Klaus and Steven get their time to shine and honestly, despite my gripes, it was still a pretty enjoyable experience!
What did you guys think of the episode? Did you think it was lacking in the hijinks department or are you a fan of these slower episodes? Drop a line in the comments section! I’ll see you guys next week with Episode 3 of Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond, but if you can’t wait, check out our other Fall 2017 anime reviews and offerings!!