Odd to say in the least, this show feels awfully broken.
I’ll be upfront with the reason why I’m going to write reviews for this show (beyond the obvious that I chose to write about it): this show interests me for many reasons, most of them because I find it strange or hilarious. Throughout the first episode I found myself saying, “are you serious” more often than I thought I would, but more on that later.
Basically, Break Blade is a mecha anime. I’d like to think of myself as someone who enjoys mecha shows, seeing as how I liked Gundam Wing, NGE and Tengen Toppa. I liked Code Geass too, though I’m not too sure if it was because of the mechas or for some other story/plot-related reasons. When I was an elementary student, I would buy tons of those plastic Gundam models and build them in my spare time. Funny thing is though, that I don’t remember what happened to them. Perhaps I matured away from large machines fighting each other to more character driven stories. Or maybe I’m just forgetful (a completely valid argument). Either way, this show doesn’t do much to prove that mecha shows are worth going back to.
First issue, the name of the show: Break Blade. The opening has the title ブレークブレイド, which translates nicely to “Break Blade,” but then the subtitle is Broken Blade. o.O I don’t understand that at all. Even gg (who’s subs I grabbed for the show) had something to say about it. But, Japanese people being weird as they are, I figured I could let it slide. And so the first scene of the movie/episode!
Big mechas fighting. Woo! First up, big Yellow versus big Grey. Grey pulls up a gun looking object to blow Yellow’s face away and…a pellet shoots out. I’m not sure I can explain how un-cool that is, but DAMN, SRSLY? I guess I would have been okay with it if that pellet did SOMETHING, but it just left a few scratch marks on Yellow. Not only that, but it sounded exactly like a pellet gun (like those little plastic ones you played with as a kid). Something about large robots with equally large guns shooting (square) pellets lets me down, in a very large way. A few seconds later another Grey mecha busts out his lance and tries to impale Yellow. Normally I’d make a “don’t bring a (random melee weapon) to a gun fight” joke here, but somehow I don’t think it applies. It doesn’t help that ten seconds later we find that riflemen (as in regular human beings outside of mechas) are also out on the battle field shooting their own pellet guns at the mechas. I’m serious.
The show then goes on to tell us a little background on whatever universe we’ve unwittingly stumbled upon. Here the main “technology” of the era is manipulating flexible quartz to do “cool” things like move a “motorcycle.” Since the continent that the story takes place on has no natural oil, all mechanical and technical breakthroughs rely on this strange and highly underwhelming power. The act of manipulating quartz is called magic (o.O?) and everyone can do it from the age of two. Except, of course, our main character: Rygart Arrow. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me, but supposedly “un-sorcerers” only show up once every million years. While that makes it seem like our hero is quite worthless, he has friends in some mighty high places.
…flows through nerve fibers.
Enter King Krisna IX, or Hodr, one of the only four dark skinned people that live in the country of Krisna. Now don’t get fussy that I point out his skin color, I too am brown, but I find that it’s weird that the ruler of the country, who is crowned due to his bloodline, is of a different skin color than most of its inhabitants. Turns out that Hodr and Rygart, along with the Queen Sigyn and some dude named Zess, made up the Assam Military School’s “Troublemaker Quartet.” Oh, and clichéd anime plot twist: Zess is leading the attack on the country of Krisna (where Hodr, Rygart and Sigyn are from) as the head of the Athen’s military (where Zess is from). Rygart, after living in imo land since leaving the school, has been called to the capital by Hodr to help stop the war between Athens and Krisna. The key? Some old ass roboto some dudes dug up on a mining expedition.
Hodz and Zess.
And as the clichés keep coming, we find that the ancient mecha won’t work under normal magic users’ control. By this time Hodr and Rygart are staring at the ancient robot (which is covered in some kind of blue crystal, btw), and surprise, Zess and his shock team strike again! (Just for clarification, Athen mechas are yellow and Krisna ones are grey, and supposedly Athen machines are only about 9000 times better than Krisnan ones). So as trouble breaks out, Rygart is stuck in the mine while Hodr is escorted out of the mine by four bodyguards. But of course, when they reach the entrance, an Athens mecha is waiting for them. The pilot of the Athens mecha recognizes Hodr and decides to kill the King. In what I think is the strangest part of the show, the pilot then changes her “golem bullets” to “anti-human” ones so that she can kill Hodr and his bodyguards, because we all know that large mecha destroying pellets aren’t strong enough to kill humans. Anyway, just as things get scary Rygart somehow get’s the old robo to work (big surprise here) and saves the day.
Hacks, I swear.
After that things cool down and Rygart gets to write a cool report on how he got the damned mecha to work when even the top golem (read mecha) pilots couldn’t. Lots of other characters are introduced and we catch a glimpse of what seems to be a (secret secret) romance plot between Sigyn and Rygart. Some screen time is given to Zess and his crew, who oddly enough sounds a lot like ARARARARARARARAGI-kun and his girl minions, before Zess decides to attack the capital again at the end of the movie. Here, to everyone’s surprise, Rygart gets the mecha moving again and heads out to battle as Sigyn whispers theories as to why only Rygart, an un-sorcerer, is able to pilot the old school robot.
Araragi-ku-I mean Zess and the girls.
BOW CHIKA WOWN WOW~~~
Awkward out of context shots!
End Thoughts: Okay, maybe I’m being a bit hard on the show, I don’t know. I like to be critical when I watch things. Seeing as how I read a lot of books, I’m a bit biased towards fleshed out ideas and concepts. But come on, pellet guns? r.r Okay, I tend to sound a lot more negative than I should, but I’m the kind of person that likes to tell someone the bad news first, and in defense, there isn’t much to be praised. This show is shaping up to be a cliché fest, fit with all the characters right where everyone expects them to be: a hero with an un-awakened power, a friend who is now an enemy, an ancient weapon and BLAH BLAH BLAH.
One thing I don’t think I mentioned above though is sound. I’m big on sound. Music, sound effects, whatever. I think they are extremely important, I mean, try to imagine StarWars with a disco soundtrack or laser guns that sounded like regular rifles. I’m the kind of person who would, if I had to choose, give up my vision rather than my hearing. Throughout most of the show I felt underwhelmed from a sound perspective. Big guns made noises like plastic toys. Motorcycles sounded more like vacuums. And the score for the show had me feeling like I’ve already listened to it before: recycled musical motifs from other mecha shows (Code Geass I’m looking at you) and uninspired mood themes. Perhaps the only thing they did do right was the opening song. :3
Granted, for all that I have said, I’m still going to complete the series; I haven’t watched a mecha anime in a while and I think the plot has some interesting hooks. I mean, Sigyn IS married to Hodr, but it seems Rygart and her have a little sometin’ sometin’ going on. Nawimeen? And I think Araragi-kun is a cool guy, he seems to attack his friend’s country and doesn’t afraid of anything. Plus, I’d like to learn more about this weird magic stuff. Being able to control quartz sounds a bit lame though, like Seikon no Qwaser, but less nakey and more lamey.
Unless the action picks up, I think the political struggle is the only redeeming quality to this show. And though I know that normally reviews are supposed to make people want to watch a show, I think I’d be doing y’all a favor by being honest. Sorry? :3
Second movie looks goooood.
Preview: After a hard rock song that didn’t have the bass drum EQ’d to my liking, I got to see a somewhat inspiring look into the next episode. Seems like Zess and Rygart will duke it out, and maybe we’ll learn more about the origin of “old ass mecha.” Some shots showed some strange face angles (Naruto anyone?) before it ended with an awkward man-grunt sound. Strange.
Anyway, first post done. HUH! As you can see, I’m a bit of a smart ass (as well as a procrastinator). I like to keep it fresh, but do tell if you can’t keep up with my light-speed sarcasm. :3 I’ll be covering Break Blade (as well as movies/OVAs in general) as it comes out each month as well as a few random posts here and there. I’ll also be retro-blogging (as in reviewing a show long past done) a show or two, so keep an eye out for that. Till then, PZ!