Strike the Blood is continuing on in its formulaic way and not quite annoying me enough to drop it [1]. I’m mostly enjoying it as a mindless post workout anime.

What hasn’t changed

The setup and the serial structure are pretty much unchanged. As of episode 15 two more chapters have been completed: The Amphisbaena (4 episodes) and Labyrinth of the Blue Witch (3 episodes).

Most of the harem and fanservice elements have continued, with a new girl being introduced in each chapter. Similarly this continues to be a superhero show, and this does limit the dramatic tension.

The Bad

I thought the previous opening was dubious. However the new opening may be worse.

The animation for the new opening has far too much Damsel in Distress for my taste, albeit that the final scenes imply that Yukina at least is overcoming it on her own.

Labyrinth of the Blue Witch introduced a new problem, particularly in its third episode, of too much talking and not enough fighting. This was clearly contrived to ensure that the final fight would happen in the worst possible location, and set up a twist ending [2].

The irony is that despite being the shortest chapter so far Labyrinth of the Blue Witch felt like the longest chapter to date. The story editing for episode 15 is truly abysmal, and I can’t see a way for it to be fixed given the two previous episodes.

The Good

Despite the new opening, Yukina-chan remains a Badass Adorable and her relationship with Kojou remains awkwardly charming to watch.

The new characters introduced in the recent chapters have fitted into the story reasonably well, and are also quite capable. Labyrinth of the Blue Witch also managed to handle a gender swapping Grand Theft Me surprisingly well, and rather less exploitative [3] than I would have expected given the previous chapters.

Another bonus has been the omission of a recap episode. Given the two or three week break between the From the Warlord’s Empire and The Amphisbaena, I was definitely expecting to see one and quite pleased when it didn’t happen.

Before Labyrinth of the Blue Witch I was predicting that each chapter would end with Kojou biting whichever new girl was introduced in that chapter (and possibly Yukina as well) and then using the power to control a new familiar. This pattern was also broken in Labyrinth of the Blue Witch, and it is good to see some originality in the scripting.

The Interim Verdict

Strike the Blood remains watchable but not much more than that. In some respects the best thing about Strike the Blood is the timing of the episodes in Canberra: Saturday morning. Strike the Blood is ideal, mindless, viewing after a workout at the gym whilst a load of washing is running.

I’ll keep going for the next chapter, but I’m really not expecting much more than that out of Strike the Blood.

[1] One of the new Winter 2014 shows Magical Warfare was also borderline until the episode 3 tag & first scene overloaded my fanservice tolerance.

[2] It is, admittedly, an interesting twist ending.

[3] It was still exploitative to an extent, just not as much as I thought it would be.