To try to explain Kekkai Sensen… is difficult. The problem is that not all has been explained thoroughly enough that I can put all the pieces together and haven’t watched all the episodes out yet. I actually have had a little trouble following all of the details because so many things have been introduced.
Let’s break it down into parts:
“Formerly New York City. Three years ago, in the unprecedented disaster known as the ‘New York Apocalypse,’ a large gate opened up in the city’s center that connected to another realm known as the ‘Otherworld.’ Ever since, the world’s attention has been focused on Hellsalem’s Lot as a hyper-abnormal city, mixing this world with the Otherworld. It is said that whoever controls Hellsalem’s Lot will be poised to rule the world for the next thousand years. The fog that is emitted from the gate envelops the entire city, making entry from the outside world difficult. Transit in and out of the city is conducted via the one remaining bridge.”
A place filled with criminals, terrorists, conglomerates, religious groups, mafia organizations, refugees, spies from every nation… in other words a melting pot and a powder keg ready to explode. Three years ago this city was New York City, but after a gate to the Otherworld opened in the city it has become known as Hellsalem’s Lot. A conflagration of monstrous humanoids and creatures now live within the boundaries of Hellsalem’s Lot which is cut off in from the rest of the world by a strange mists. Within the waters there are gigantic creatures that attack anything that comes close the city.
Libra – The Secret Society of Sealed City of Magic
“A secret society of super humans that claim to strive for the balance of worlds in Hellsalem’s Lot. There is no precise information regarding its exact organization. It is said that the Otherworld is willing to pay billions for such intel.” The organization whose responsibilities lie in battling against the more deviant aberrations from Otherworld. Most members use their own blood as part of their special abilities and most members are also capable fighters.
Leonardo Watch is the newest member of Libra who has been accepted because of his coveted ocular powers, the Eyes of God. It is not entirely clear as to what these eyes are capable of, but some of its uses have been shown. One obvious use is to see what normally would not be able to be seen, such as objects or beings that are not normally observed. This includes creatures that move unbelievably fast–so fast that the eye cannot perceive. This also includes objects or beings that are under some kind of illusion or spell that either changes their appearance or makes them invisible altogether. Another use of the Eyes of God has something to do with changing the vision of others. This power was more confusing to understand than the first and I haven’t quite grasped how it functions or the entirety of its uses. The Eyes of God are a very rare artifact granted by a powerful entity from the Otherworld.
Fortunately, I recently had the honor of meeting Daisuke Sakaguchi, the voice actor of Leonardo Watch, and even was able to ask him a few questions. Since he had gotten into voice acting with goal of working on a Gundam series character, it should be no surprise that his favorite line comes from his character Uso Ewin from Mobile Suit Victory Gundam. He has also previously followed the Trigun manga.
Klaus V. Reinherz
The leader of Libra is Klaus V. Reinherz, a large gentlemanly man with fierce strength and powers. He has a very honest, compassionate, and genuine air to his character and not only is he an incredibly skilled fighter, he is also calculatingly intelligent. He is often seen playing chess on his computer or on a game board, usually against the second-in-command Stephen A. Starphase. He also plays a complex and mind numbing game called Prosfair.
“A chess-based board game originating from the Otherworld. Enjoys avid players in both the Otherworld and the human world. Marked by its highly versatile rules, which change to match the skill levels of the competitors. Has also attracted a large number of collectors, due to the artistic value of the pieces themselves.”
Although the game is similar to chess, as the game continues and the competition intensifies the complexity of the game increases. As time continues to pass the difficulty rises exponentially as new game pieces and game boards are added to the game.
As for his fighting style, Klaus uses the Brain Grid blood style which creates cross shaped weaponry and is known for its sealing techniques. One of the weapons Klaus seems to favor most is similar to a brass knuckle, except it is shaped into the form of a cross which he wears \on his left hand. Klaus is able to perform various techniques, one in which he strikes the ground and raises deadly crosses from beneath his enemies.
Oh, and anyone this beastly with Takamura’s voice from Hajime No Ippo is just bound to be epic.
Stephen A. Starphase
Stephen A. Starphase, as said previously, is the second-in-command of Libra who seems to be involved in gathering intelligence for the group. Stephen uses the Esmerelda Blood Freeze style, which emphasizes the use of kicks for its techniques which create ice or freeze the opponent when a kick makes contact.
Zapp Renfro uses the Big Dipper blood fighting style which uses blades and explosions. Zapp can manipulate his blood into a wire that he lights with a metal lighter he carries. Despite being shown to be quite a capable fighter, Zapp is no match against Klaus, whom he constantly challenges, but always fails against. A typical day for Zapp: wake up with a hang over, goes to eat fast food, makes some money (probably by beating up some unfortunate thugs who try to prey on him unknowlingly), loses said money gambling, drinks and womanizes, repeat. Zapp spends the most time with Leonardo out of the group and despite being a heavy nuisance, actually seems to care about Leonardo.
Chain works as part of the Lycanthrope Intelligence Agency with speed in unquestionable as the fastest character met in the series thus far. Chain is a werewolf, or as Zapp calls her, “Inu Onna (Dog Woman),” who does reconnaissance work for Libra.
The fighting techniques and skills used by sine Libra members involve the use of their own blood to create weapons or devastating attacks. The styles used seem to be passed down through a master and student relationship as we have met one such master in the series who has taught two of Libra’s members. Blood style martial arts also vary over a wide category. Kekkai Sensen has introduced perhaps only a small number of these styles: sealing spells, explosions, manifesting weapons, blood bullets, and freezing. As Zapp’s master has shown, it is possible two master more than one style, but obviously is much more difficult to obtain.
So far I have been impressed by the fight sequences and the flexible nature of how the story has progressed. There isn’t much in the way of limitation as to what kind of situations the characters may find themselves in. You’re kind of tagging along with the antics sometimes, but I don’t dislike it. The style of the character’s expressions and their design is very nostalgic for me since Kekkai Sensen is a work by Yasuhiro Nightow, who previously created Trigun. There have even been times where I definitely see some homage to his previous work in the new series. There were three things have particularly stood out to me as relating to Trigun. Let me know what you think these are in the comments.
Hopefully this will be long series, but thinking back on Nightow’s previous work Trigun I get the feeling that it will be cut short somehow. Disappointingly, I have yet to finish the Trigun manga despite being a big fan of the work. I don’t read much manga to begin with which is probably why I haven’t gotten around to it. The character Vash from Trigun is still one of my all time favorite characters of any fiction.