Blood Blockade Battlefront
by Jacob Chapman,
They say that love is blind, and in this week's episode of Blood Blockade Battlefront, we learned that this also makes love incapable of being responsible behind the wheel. Makes sense, I guess. (For this show, at least!) Anyway, love is blind, and her name is Aligura, the Queen of Monomania.
This was not only the easiest episode of the show to follow so far, it was also the most thematically cohesive. That said, I'm not sure what its clearly elaborated ideas have to do with the larger ongoing story yet. We begin with trouble in paradise. White seems to be angry with Leonardo about something during their morning visit, so he slinks away from the hospital with a heavy heart. Nothing he can do about it, right? Then again, maybe he's just looking at it the wrong way. As Leo himself puts it later, when taking control of Zapp's eyesight (in his defense, Zapp was being a dick-suck again), "People tend to steer in the direction they're already looking." Unfortunately, Leonardo's accidental philosophy moment seems to have summoned Aligura and her unstoppable monster truck to literally tear up the streets of Manhattan (and the cars and everything else in the way!)
I mentioned that our new villainess' title was the Queen of Monomania, and as her name might imply, she's a close friend (perhaps sibling?) of Femt, the Lord of All Depravity. Like him, she wears a blind metal mask over her eyes, but her mask occasionally sprouts a single sideways eye when she gets really excited. Unlike him, her title is not instantly recognizable, even if it is equally important to understanding her character. We all know what Depravity means, but what is Monomania? Well, monomania just means "singlemindedness" or "obsession," and Aligura is singularly obsessed with a very solo sort of love. Her boyfriend was captured by Libra some time ago, and now she wants him back. "Both" of him. She kidnaps Leonardo and explains their Meet Cute in horrifying detail.
Aligura was in love with the baddest bad boy to ever grace the Beyond: Deldro Brody. His evilness knew no bounds, and he only got nastier with age, just the way she liked her men, but there was only one problem. Beyondians are not known for their looks, and Deldro had hit a few too many branches on his way down the ugly tree to be the monomaniacal queen's perfect man. So she traveled to Hellsalem's Lot in search of a pretty human, and found the prettiest human of all in Dog Hummer. (One look at his face should tell you that Aligura was barking up the wrong tree trying to make this man hers.) "Then I chopped up Brody, pulverized him, liquefied him, drained Hummer's blood out, and infused Hummer's body with Brody's blood!" she explains. It's the perfect solution, right? (Leonardo does his best to keep from collapsing in a puddle of blubbering screams as Aligura illustrates this process through a convenient Heinz ketchup commercial.) Her Brody-Hummer creation is trapped in a high-security prison now, so that's where her chomping, stomping, grinding truck-monster is headed today! When Leonardo asks if she kidnapped him to lure out Libra for revenge or use his eyes in some way, she laughs at him. "Who do you take me for? I will take back my things, under my own power, for my own sake. If I accepted help from others, there would be no point."
No, as it turns out, Aligura just wants to ask how the All Seeing Eyes of the Gods view "love." So how does Leonardo see love? After his tiff with White this morning, Leo doesn't really know, and Aligura is not happy with that answer. "Here's the thing about love," she says as her giant vehicle mows down cops and pedestrians, "You push and you push and you push and whoever pushes hardest wins!"
The episode itself would seem to disagree with her, and that's when we meet Blood Hammer. You see, the queen's mad experiment to create the perfect boyfriend was successful, just not in the way she had planned. Deldro Brody and Dog Hummer are now in love with each other: the hot blood of a supercriminal contained in the body of the sweetest and chillest dude in NYC. When Brody starts boiling, he bursts out of Hummer and wraps around his body to create their combined form Blood Hammer: a comical homage to Nightow's favorite comic book villain, Venom. They fight Aligura and her machine together not out of a desire for revenge (Hummer can't even remember who she is at first), but out of joy at their release from prison to work as a team again. Apparently, Libra "borrows" Blood Hammer on a regular basis, and is just required by law to put them back in the slammer when they're done. At least they have each other.
Anyway, Aligura's monomania isn't just blinding her to the true nature of the love she's created, it blinds her to the true nature of love itself. After Blood Hammer's first punch bounces harmlessly off the monster truck thanks to Newton's Third Law of Motion (times a billion), Hummer realizes that he and Brody will have to partially separate to succeed in redirecting the metal beast, distorting Blood Hammer's body to cover a greater surface area. Brody doesn't like this idea, but he trusts his partner, so they pull away from each other, and this turns out to be just the trick to push Aligura's murder-machine into the stratosphere. True love isn't about achieving your perfect vision, and it isn't about pushing until you have what you want. Love is about compromise. You have to try and see things through another person's eyes to keep a healthy relationship burning, and learn to trust their decisions in times when that vision is beyond you. Maybe Aligura will be able to learn that lesson next time, after her friend (sibling? lover?) Femt delivers that mysterious message from White's sinister brother.
This brings us back to White and Leo's love troubles. After getting more stitches from his harrowing day with Aligura, Leo decides to try looking backward instead of forward in the waiting room for once. That's when he sees White talking with a doctor in the ward, confirming what he and the audience have suspected for a while: she's no ghost. He decides to sneak her out of the hospital for the evening to see a movie together and make amends. In keeping with the theme of the episode, they end up at an outdoor screening of "Twins," and White becomes perhaps the first person ever to cry at the movie Twins. What in the world does White see about her own life in the woes of Danny de Vito? Guess we'll find out later, but for now, White and Leo have become closer than ever.
This episode was just as fantastic as the four that preceded it, and I'm really beginning to wonder when if ever this crazy train will slow down. The contiguous threads laced through these episodic adventures are beginning to converge fast, and while I can't see the full picture yet, I know Rie Matsumoto is building the anime-original material of Leo's romance into something special. The animation continues to be jaw-dropping. The music continues to be soul-warming. There's never enough time in one writeup to talk about everything that makes the episode so damn good. Blood Blockade Battlefront continues to be The Very Best.
Blood Blockade Battlefront is currently streaming on Funimation.
Hope has been an anime fan since childhood, and likes to chat about cartoons, pop culture, and visual novel dev on Twitter.
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