05: Savage Blood
Written by Moriyama Akemi
Violence and revenge embroil a Colorado town. Sam and Dean become involved with a family of vampires who have forsaken their bloodsucking ways and turned to cattle to keep themselves alive.
Today’s introduction was Jensen Ackles. He said konnichiwa again and I think he started explaining what the episode was about, but I was too busy fangirling over his Japanese to pay much attention to the rest. Jensen, let me teach you more Japanese words!!!
This episode is about vampires! Even though this is an anime only episode, I’m pretty sure a similar story has been done on the Supernatural TV series, with some vampires who don’t kill humans so they’re technically not evil, but then there’s a hunter who doesn’t care about that and just wants to kill all the monsters, non-evil vampires included. I think? It seems familiar.
Well, that’s what this anime episode is about.
It starts with a woman getting killed. Because this is Supernatural, so of course it starts with a woman getting killed.
The scene changes to Sam monologuing about a bunch of murders, similar to the woman, and cattle mutilation. John’s journal says it’s a possible demon. Whatever magazine or tabloid that Sam is reading from says possible aliens. Sam laments the amount of researching they’ll have to do. And then some asshole in a Hummer pulls up to the light in front of Sam and Sam seems to recognize him.
Cut to Dean who is bored and drinking coffee. He notices some kids on the roof of a nearby building, maybe two or three storeys up. Four kids are standing on the safe side of the railing, with one smaller kid standing on the outside of it. Apparently, the big kids have a bet going that Ryan, the smaller kid, can’t let go of the railing for more than three seconds. He does. The bigger jerks taunt him a bit and then he tips backward and falls!
Right into Dean’s awaiting arms below.
What? Okay. My first issue, and it’s a relatively minor one, is that kids having easy roof access to a public building and that building having a railing around the edge of the roof like that? Not really a common thing in the States. I see it all the time on other anime and Japanese dramas, but I’ve never actually seen a building like that in real life. I’m not suggesting it’s not a thing in the US, just not as common as maybe the Japanese writers/animators/producers were thinking.
And then Dean catches the kid, who’s maybe a hundred pounds, from probably a three storey fall? I get that Dean is strong and has been training and stuff all his life, but… is this even physically possible? I mean, Dean didn’t lose his balance or anything. It’s not that he broke the kid’s fall. He caught him.
And! And! Dean managed to see the kid start to fall, sprint across the road, and managed to get below the kid in time. I’m sorry, but even young, spry, twenty-six year old Dean wouldn’t have been able to pull that off. Physics doesn’t work that way.
Anyway, as Dean is turning to leave, Ryan collapses, gripping his head and moaning in pain. Concerned, Dean rushes back to him and ends up giving him a ride home. On the way, Ryan suggests that Dean isn’t a normal person since he was able to catch him and after Dean explains that his Dad had been training him all his life, Ryan asks if Dean would be willing to teach him some moves because Ryan doesn’t want to end up as such a weak pacifist as his father.
Dean reluctantly agrees to meet the kid the next day. And like… I get it. But… how old is this kid? Twelve? Obviously Dean isn’t a threat to the kid, but… an adult making these sorts of plans behind the parent’s back just seems a little sketchy to me. I could probably blame this on the differences between Japanese and American culture and the Japanese writers/animators/producers not knowing that this sort of interaction between Dean and Ryan could be viewed as a tad inappropriate.
Or maybe it’s just because I recently had to go through the hassle of gathering all my police and FBI clearances and fingerprinting so I have official, written proof that I don’t have a history of, like, beating children or something. So, I see Dean here and I can’t help but think… Dean, make sure you have all your clearances in before you start coaching this child!
Wow, tangent! So, Dean and Ryan meet in a barn(? a warehouse? what?), both wearing judogi (柔道着 – the karate-ish uniform), which Dean just happened to have(?), and they’re sparring. All seems relatively normal until Ryan starts kicking Dean’s ass, like he’s out to kill. Dean finally pins him and gets him to calm down.
There’s a flashback to John pinning a young Dean in a similar fashion, telling him to calm down after Dean has just completely overdone it with the monster killing. Apparently, Dean shot the monster, but then just kept wailing on it. Impulse control, young Dean!
(Season 10 foreshadowing?)
Both Dean and Ryan learn it’s important to use your strength to protect, not to attack.
Ryan collapses again and Dean takes him home. There, Dean finds a used silver bullet on a decorative plate in front of a picture of baby Ryan, and his parents. Dean goes out to the Impala to call Sam and tell him about the bullet.
Meanwhile, Sam has been stalking the Hummer guy, who is apparently Jason, another hunter.
Back to Dean. In the distance, Dean sees a man killing a cow with his bare hands and, yeah, that’s a little suspicious. Getting a closer look, as the guy starts sucking blood from the open wound on the cow, Dean recognizes him as the same guy in the picture in Ryan’s house. It’s Ryan’s father!
Dean calls Sam back right away, telling him to make sure Jason is still there. He’s not, of course. Dean is about to tell Sam and us what Jason’s plan must be, but someone sneaks up behind him and punches him, knocking him out.
He wakes up tied to a chair with Ryan’s father towering threateningly over him. The father accuses Dean of approaching Ryan just to get to him as a hunter. See, Dean, this is why you need to have all your clearances in!
We learn that Ryan’s father is a vampire, but, like, a good vampire. He doesn’t kill humans unless they’re hunters. As it turns out, Ryan’s mother was also a vampire, until she was killed when Ryan was a baby. Oh! That woman we saw get shot and beheaded at the start of the episode? That’s Ryan’s mother. The silver bullet that Dean found in the house? That’s the one she was shot with. Dad had no other mementos with which to remember her by.
That must’ve been confusing for Ryan. He’s told all his life that his mother died in an accident and yet his father keeps this used silver bullet next to her picture all the time like a shrine. Weird.
I guess this is their hunter killing barn?
Apparently, Ryan doesn’t know that he’s a vampire. And here’s where all of my questions come out. How does vampire lore work in Supernatural again? All I can think of is Buffyverse lore right now. So… is vampirism a genetic trait? Is it latent until, what, puberty? Gayle says that if Ryan gets too angry or aggressive, his vampire side will awaken. Is that really how this works? Did Ryan not have to drink blood throughout his childhood?
Back at the house, Ryan is suffering through a headache, which is a symptom of his imminent awakening, and one of his teeth pops out as a new vampire fang grows in it’s place. That’s how this works? He gets a new set of teeth? How did he not notice that his father was a vampire, then? Does Gayle not have a mouth full of sharpy, pointy fangs?
Dean is trying to negotiate for his freedom when Gayle is shot several times. The shooter turns out to be Jason. Jason speaks with an Australian (? maybe?) accent. That’s how we know he’s a bad guy. The bad guys always have accents.
Jason tells Dean he’s weak for getting caught and for not just killing the vampire right away.
Gayle is still alive. Apparently, Jason wanted the opportunity to torture the vampire, not just kill him, so he has a shiny homemade knife, soaked in the blood of the dead just for the occasion. How thorough of him!
In the reflection of that knife, Gayle sees Jason wearing the necklace that Miranda was wearing the night she was killed. He puts two and two together and figures out that Jason is the hunter who killed his wife! With a sudden burst of adrenaline, Gayle grabs the knife and declares Jason is the enemy.
Ryan is, of course, off in the shadows hearing all of this and his transformation into a vampire seems to be complete.
Dean grabs a nearby pitchfork and holds it threateningly up to Jason’s face, but Jason, being the agile hunter that he is, manages to pull Dean to the ground and Dean ends up with a gun pointed at his head. Gayle tries to intervene, but Jason has two guns and Gayle soon ends in the same predicament as Dean.
Sam arrives in the nick of time, shooting Jason in the shoulder and in the leg. And then Ryan shows himself and stops Gayle from actually killing Jason, saying that Mom wouldn’t want Dad to be a murderer. They all learn that true strength is used to protect, not attack, and… that’s really it.
After the credits, there’s a brief scene of the Impala with Sam and Dean voice-overing that Gayle and Ryan will probably move to a different town and start over. (And also that Dean forgot to get his judogi back.)
And they all lived happily ever after? I guess?
This wasn’t a bad episode. The pacing was pretty good. I only had a few minor issues with it, but nothing that was enough to make me rage-y like the previous episode. It was just kinda mediocre.
As far as differences between the English and Japanese version, I actually liked the Japanese episode better. There was so little Sam in this episode that the presence of Jared Padalecki didn’t make much of a difference.
Also, the DAILY NICE building is a thing. Random Acts headquarters?
The Impala remains the best, most beautifully animated part of this series. (With Sam at a close second place.)
I will never not be amused by Dean’s quilted coat.