Strike the Blood is a supernatural, action, harem series based on a light novel series of the same name. The series was first released in 2011 by Dengeki Bunko, an imprint known for producing other popular light novel series such as A Certain Magical Index, Sword Art Online, Toradora, and Oreimo. The popularity of the light novels has spun off a multi-media franchise consisting of a manga series, a 24 episode anime season, a two-part OVA arc, and an 8 episode second "season" of OVA's called Strike the Blood II. We're only going to look at the first anime series, as that's the only one that I have any experience with.
Our protagonist Kojo Akatsuki, a simple high-schooler, meets a vampire who, in her dying wish, transfers her powers to him (where have I heard this before?). Kojo didn't meet just any old vampire; she was the Fourth Progenitor. After inserting her spirit into him, he thus becomes one of the strongest vampires in the world. Fearing that a new progenitor will cause a power imbalance with the other three progenitors, an organization sends the spear wielding "sword" shaman Yukina Himeragi to observe him and kill him if he causes trouble. In typical anime fashion of a male and female protagonist duo, they end up having feelings for each other.
A Certain Magical Bakemonogatari
The series takes place on Itogami Island, a secluded place off the coast of Tokyo. It's a technologically advanced city where people with superhuman abilities live, and there's a mashup between science and magic (I swear I've heard this before, but I can't place my finger on it...). Demons also live on this island to learn how to cohabitate with humans. In the same vein as the Dragonball series, or A Certain Magical Index series that it's really trying to rip off, the series has a "bad guy of the arc" deal. This is where you have a story arc where an evil person/organization is trying to take over the world, and there isn't really any rhyme or reason to it, besides that they're bad. Unlike Dragonball or Index, the overall story arcs themselves aren't interesting in any fashion. It's entirely possible that there's a lore surrounding the island and whatnot, just like Index, but in the first 24 episodes, none of this comes to fruition.
Kojo's Love TroublesWhile much of the series focuses on the dynamic between Kojo and Yukina, due to Strike the Blood being an action series by Dengeki Bunko, they turned it into a harem after the first arc. The first additional girl you meet is Asagi Aiba. She's a fairly well-endowed blonde who falls into the trope of being Kojo's childhood friend and is a fellow classmate. While Asagi herself doesn't possess any supernatural abilities, she is a highly skilled hacker. Her hacking abilities do shine in an arc, or two, but most of the time, she just gets jealous over Yukina being overtly friendly towards Kojo and is curious if they're more than partners. Asagi is also incredibly forceful in trying to get Kojo to fall in love with her and does this by removing her clothes to get his attention.
Next on the list is the also well-endowed Sayaka Kirasaka. While most of the girls have tsundere tendencies, she's the most blatant of them all. Similar to Yukina, Sayaka is also a fellow "sword" shaman but instead wields a bow. Instead of being Kojo's childhood friend, she reveals herself to be Yukina's friend. She is initially androphobic towards Kojo, and is incredibly defensive against his relationship towards Yukina, as she is afraid he is going to steal her. But soon enough, she too falls for Kojo, because harem. Similar to Asagi, she is also incredibly forceful in trying to get Kojo to fall in love with her, and also resorts to disrobing occasionally. Though unlike Asagi, these scenes at least somewhat fit into the plot when it comes to Kojo's vampire abilities (more on this later).
There are a few other girls in the harem, but in the context of season 1, their affection is up for debate. Similar in harem fashion, Kojo ends up in situations that cause him to get in trouble with the other girls. Some of these are fairly funny and add spice to some of the more slice of life scenes in the series, but there are times where an action scene comes to a screeching halt just to throw in a harem gag. Expect to hear his catchphrase "give me a break!" every time. Out of all the girls, Kojo and Yukina seem to have the most natural chemistry, and the first arc, which solely focuses on them, and none of the harem nonsense.
No Senpai, This is Our Fight!Since this is an action series, let's talk about the fight scenes. One thing to note is that there is a ton of talking during the battles. It's entirely possible that this is because the source material is a light novel series, similar to how A Certain Magical Index has a bunch of talking, whereas the spinoff, A Certain Scientific Railgun, is based on a manga, and jumps straight into the action. There are even a few scenes that end up being resolved just by talking. One thing to note is that in every single battle, expect to hear Yukina's infamous catchphrase "no senpai, this is our fight!". This gets incredibly tiresome after the first three encounters, and it's no joke that it's in every single battle the duo is involved in.
Out of the fighters, Yukina is probably the most badass, as her spear wielding skills and magic add some flair to the battles. Kojo on the other hand... is kind of a wimp. This is because Kojo was just an average person, so his fighting abilities against superpowered enemies are lacking.
Expect Kojo to get his ass kicked to near death in pretty much every fight. This leads us into a reoccurring sequence (no not their catchphrase, that's later). Since Kojo is a vampire, he is required to suck the blood of a girl. When he drinks blood, he is able to heal himself and is also able to gain familiars from specific girls. After drinking blood, Kojo essentially goes into Super Saiyan and is able to defeat an enemy, either with his own power or by summoning a familiar to do his dirty work. Kojo has to be excited by the scent of blood, so Yukina will just slice her neck. Sayaka, on the other hand, is either afraid to do this or is completely uninformed, and thus gets him sexually excited to get him to bite her. This is sort of a reoccurring gag, as she'll disrobe or flash her panties for him to attack her.
Should You Watch This?Strike the Blood is a fairly generic series and doesn't really bring anything new to the table. While this isn't inherently a bad thing and makes the series bad on its own, the fact that it doesn't really excel in anything, or makes anything interesting is what makes it "bad". A Certain Magical Index being mentioned several times leads to one of the major downfalls of the series, it tries too hard to rip it off. If you haven't seen Index, you may enjoy the series, but if you have, prepare to see almost a carbon copy of it. It's copied a lot of its style from Index, from the style of the fight scenes, Kojo not being good at fighting, and down to even having a loli teacher that is a lot older than she appears. It becomes fairly obvious that it's trying to fill the gap that Index left, as the first volume of Strike the Blood came out mere months before the final volume of Index did. It doesn't really have its own identity as a series, and only seems to be filling a void, not carving out its own niche.
If you want to watch an action series that's essentially comfort food, go check it out, but don't expect a lot out of it.