Be still my beating heart…Kekkai Sensen has returned! Also known as Blood Blockade Battlefront, it certainly captured my attention when the first season aired during the Spring lineup of 2015. The finale was postponed until October, forcing fans to wait a full season to see the climactic end. It remains one of my favorites in recent memory, and was 2nd only to One Punch Man when we rounded out the best anime of 2015.
Therefore, you can imagine my excitement when I caught the next installment, Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond, on the lineup for this season. The first episode landed on Crunchyroll, and I’ve got to say that it continues the tradition of the series in the best ways possible.
The series begins with average kid Leonardo Watch casually describing his life in the city of Hellsalem’s Lot. A vibrant and dynamic world filled with all manners of exotic creatures, aliens, monsters, and more…it remains one of my favorite fictional universes to date. Leo’s casual description of the city is juxtaposed with the insane circumstances he finds himself in on a daily basis, starting out with innocent looking larvae that rapidly transform into huge, ravenous beasts.
After launching a battalion of these things into the city, the eccentric and extremely powerful members of Libra that we’ve come to know and love from last season all rush to the rescue, as Klaus and the others make quick work of the latest threat.
Following an exhausting day, Leo is glad to finally get a full day off and splurges on a new video game console: The X-Station!
After surveying his preparations (“Food, check! Drinks, check! Never-made bed, check!”) Leo seems to be preparing for an all-day gaming fest – a perfectly good use of a day off.
Unfortunately, Zapp has other plans as he chucks a metal case with the disembodied head of the American Envoy/President Franz Ackerman inside.
Back at the Federal Hall, Klaus and Steven recognize the act and identify the culprit: a man named Duke Durer. He’s known to collect heads and puts them on a macabre display, and the Envoy just happened to be his latest victim.
Leo and his head-in-a-case companion realize that the traitor is someone close to the envoy after Leo’s apartment is blown up shortly after confiding their location. Leo is devastated, not by the loss of his home necessarily, but the destruction of his brand new and beloved X-station. Leo then begins a perilous journey across the city towards the Federal Hall as the criminal responsible puts out a bounty on his head that draws the attention of the local gangs.
After some twists and turns, including a couple scenes where the phrase “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!” comes to mind, Klaus and the other members of Libra make quick work of the threat, and everything is back to normal. Well, as normal as one can expect in Hellsalem’s Lot.
The debut episode of Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond delivers everything that I loved about the first season, and then some. From the start, the series delivers high energy action sequences, well-seasoned with comedy and absurdity. Zapp and Leo’s relationship continues to be one of the most dysfunctional and hilarious buddy-cop pairings I’ve seen, while we’re briefly re-introduced to Klaus, Steven, and the rest of the Libra gang.
Of course, there’s no shortage of proper fighting this season, and the opening action sequence features a climax animated by none other than Yutaka Nakamura: an amazing animator behind some of the most iconic anime series & scenes of the last 20+ years. He did key animation work in the first season as well, and I will definitely be looking forward to whatever surprises he has in store for us this season.
Where Blood Blockade Battlefront really stood out previously was in its ability to balance its absurd comedy with occasional bouts of hard-hitting drama. Obviously the show is just getting started, but I hope to see more of that expert blend in the episodes to come.
Now that the series is on Crunchyroll, you have no excuse to miss it! Make sure to tune in every Saturday for the latest episode!