Marvel Anime: Blade is the last of the first wave of Marvel DVD releases of anime versions of their characters produced by Japanese animation company Madhouse. These anime series aired in Japan originally, were dubbed in English, aired on G4, and were then collected on DVD and Blu-ray.
Blade is Eric Brooks, a half-human, half-vampire hybrid known as “The Daywalker” because sunlight does not affect him. While Blade’s mom was pregnant with him, she was attacked by the vampire Deacon Frost, resulting in Blade’s unique nature. Blade struggled to control his bloodlust until he met Noah Van Helsing, an old vampire slayer. He taught Blade to control his urges and Blade began training and traveling the world, vowing revenge on Deacon Frost and seeking the destruction of the vampire race.
Harold Perrineau is excellent as Blade. Perrineau is not known for playing a lot of tough guys, but his portrayal of Blade is very believable, capturing the anguish, rage, and the nobility of the character. I consider this role and his recent turn on Sons of Anarchy as Perrineau’s “badass phase.” Blade is also joined by a Japanese vampire hunter named Kyoto, portrayed by Kim Mai Guest. Warren Ellis‘ brilliant writing prevented their partnership from being cliched or forced. Kyoto was an interesting, fully realized character with her own baggage and issues. JB Blanc‘s portrayal of Deacon Frost is cunning, vile, and villainous.
Another interesting element of Blade is the types of vampires he encounters. Japan has its own mystical vampiric creatures that are unique to their country. It was interesting to see their variations on the vampire legends. There is also a guest appearance by a character from another Marvel anime series. Also, there is a subtitled version of the series as it originally aired in Japan with the Japanese voice actors on the DVD. Plus, the DVD has featurettes containing interviews with the Madhouse creators, Warren Ellis, and the artists about their views on the original characterization of Blade in the Marvel comics and the movies and their hopes for this interpretation of Blade.
Marvel Anime: Blade is a fresh adaptation of a classic Marvel character with a manga influence. This series can be enjoyed by manga fans, Marvel fans, Blade fans, horror fans, or anyone who wants to see a good, animated monster-hunting tale. Hopefully, a second season of Blade will be included in the next wave of Marvel anime projects.