It may seem like a Yu-Gi-Oh! ripoff but there’s some differences
So I found some free time and thought that I’d randomly check out the first episode of Battle Spirits: Brave. However, checking out the first episode has lead me here. After some research, I have discovered that this anime is actually a sequel. The original adaption of the anime was called Battle Spirits: Shonan Toppa (2008) which is about a first year middle school student named Bashin who through the meeting of the National Battle Spirits champion; ended up being transported to another world where the cards summoned actually materialize. The next adaption to the anime is called Battle Spirits: Shonen Gekiha Dan (2009) and it follows Bashin Dan who dreams of being the Battle Spirits TCG champion. One day he meets a strange girl and is transported to another world where Battle Spirit cards materialize. The sequel to that anime is Battle Spirits: Brave and Banshin Dan has already won the championship title. Now Dan desires a whole new level of battling and is offered the chance that we will learn more about as follows.
After watching the opening theme I decided to throw away any thoughts to compare Battle Spirits to the well known Yu-Gi-Oh! Why you might ask? Well, simply because even though this is a card battle based anime, it has different concepts and thus I am going to view this with an open mind.
The beginning of the anime starts off with a brief history of the state that the world is in. The earth was fused with a world called Gran Rolo but then defused and some outsiders secretly remained on earth that eventually took to invading earth becoming known as Demon Invaders. After long, the Demon Invaders became the dominant force on earth and even created an eighth continent in the Pacific for their own civilization. Earth is now a battlefield for humans and demons. The one way of proving strength is through Battle Spirits. In Asia, Tyrant Duke (a demon) is being challenged by humans to Battle Spirit. Obviously they lost the battle and the reports was received by the earth’s formed resistance army. Upon hearing of the lost, the Commander is recommended by an unrevealed person to summon someone…
Alien Demon Invaders choose card battles to settle things?!
In present day, it has been two years since the defeat of Gran Rolo’s King by Banshin Dan who has become bored of normal tournaments. Dan is summoned by a Shinomiya Mai (who is from the previous season) and Mai gives Dan an opportunity to go to a place where people long for him to battle again (with his life on the line). With no resistance as you might expect, Dan goes with Mai.. to the fuuutuurrreee. Once through the time travel portal, Dan is greeted by Clackey and Kazan (both from previous season) who is humanity’s supreme commander. Kazan explains to Dan the situation that earth is in and Clackey explains how he and Mai were also summoned to the future to help.
An alarm goes off and a report comes in that Demon Invaders are approaching the city of Tokyo. Clackey volunteers to take Dan to the scene so he can see for himself what’s going on. The scene is the battle and humanity’s resistance wants Dan to become their “messiah to lead humanity through this darkened age”. But before that, Dan has to ready his deck. From what I see, cards have six element types and Dan’s speciality is red which is probably fire. However when building his deck, Dan chooses to mix things up which surprises the others. So the cards are chosen digitally and then produced into actual cards.
Clackey is the Captain of their transport (battle?) ship called Beautiful Sophia. A unsurprising name coming from such a Captain’s persona. The pilot is named Youth, the mechanic is named Prim and Mai joins the crew as well. The ship launches toward the Demon Invaders.
Meanwhile, we are introduced again to Tyrant Duke with his fleet announcing his reign over Asia. In the ship with Duke is an unnamed character stroking his feminine hair with a card. He is pointed out to be Lord Barone who was invited along by Tyrant Duke. Meanwhile, Dan gets ready to be launched to the battle and the battlefield is built. Tyrant Duke and Dan meets on the battlefield. After Dan introduces himself, Lord Barone makes a remark of hearing Dan’s name before but considering this is the future, we don’t know what’s future Dan’s status. The terms of the battle is that if Dan wins, the Duke is to leave Tokyo alone.
Hmmm I smell a rivalry to come
To explain how the card battle actually functions would require for me to watch a few more episodes. So I will just reiterate the basic things that I learned from watching. The armor that the battlers are wearing has a certain number of glowing dots that is counted as your life points and when those are gone, you lose. Each player takes turns to summon their cards chosen faced down from their deck. The game progresses in turns and commands are called as Steps. Cards start at level 1, there are different types, as well there are different modes that you put your cards in (defense or attack) and before each round you refresh your monsters on the field.
Dan expresses his building excitement when beginning the battle and his opponent goes on with his ‘full of himself’ attitude of going against a weak opponent. The battle goes on until Dan is left with three life points and his opponent is left with two life points. Both players turn their current monsters to level 2 and when Duke sets to attack, Dan surprisingly sacrifices a monster to the attack. This throws off Duke who thought Dan’s strategy was sacrificing his life points.
Dan eventually draws a Brave card which can be fused with a card and thus becoming a Brave Spirit. Using his Brave Spirit, Dan wins the battle and we see Lord Barone’s grown interest in Dan.
Muwahaha… My boredom is cured
End Thoughts: Well well, where to begin. The story itself when comparing to this anime’s predecessors is not as much of a new theme. The main theme of the main character traveling to another world is turned this time into the future and that Earth is in need of a hero to save them from Demon Invaders. But to be honest, I find that the choice of card battles over battleship fights to choose who is the strongest.. is silly yet amusing. On a side note, I noticed that the Battle Spirit animes are actually a side product to Battle Spirits Trading Card Game which is slightly similar to Wizards of the Coast card game Duel Masters (which I know nothing about).
I have a feeling that the story will progress with more card battles, Dan (Oura Furuka – Princess Ressurection: Hiyorimi Hiro, Gakuen Alice: Tobita Yuu and Shikabane Hime: Inuhiko Mizuki) will grow more mentally and competitively as a hero in Battle Spirit. He will get to the top with the help of Mai (Kawasumi Ayako – Fate/Stay Night: Saber, Nodame Cantabile: Noda ‘Nodame’ Megumi, and Niea_7: Chigasaki Mayuko) and Clackey (Ono Daisuke – Kuroshitsuji: Sebastian, Durarara!!: Heiwajima Shizuo and Osychic Detective Yakumo: Saitou Yakumo). As well, I think that Dan will go against the various other Demon Invaders who rule their own regions of earth and eventually this will lead Dan to the main ruler. A side thing if I’m right is that Dan will have some sort of special relationship with Mai.
The animation in this is well expected for a card battle type anime. Clean lines, glare shades and the cards design is well detailed. The addition of CGI on the card monsters and battle isn’t as odd as I thought it would be. The actual designs of the monsters remind me a little (but not significantly) of Zoids because of the CGI and when a monster with actual gun-type weapons is summoned. The addition of the player appearing in a comic style over the battle scene is pretty cool. If you’re a fan of TCG and you like this pacifist way of settling battles, I recommend this anime to you if you can watch it with an open mind away from the influence of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Seto Kaiba’s awesomeness. While I don’t mind to watch such an anime, it is not on my priority list and considering that winter animes are coming very soon, this won’t be a regular episodic for me.
Preview: Lord Barone makes his appearance to Banshi Dan and the rivalry begins.