Thursday, July 11, 2013

Counterfett Does Anime - Broken Blade

Doing this one out of order from Tomsche's Big List Of Recommendations because I felt like it. Also, sorry for no post yesterday. I ended up going home from work early with exhaustion. I drove home then slept for like 4 hours. Pretty weird.

The Artemis is one of the high points of Mecha design, in my opinion.
In any event, Broken Blade takes place in a world where humans have the innate ability to use magic to manipulate quartz crystals. In turn, this allows them to power all sorts of 'technology' such as cars, coffee makers, and of course, giant robots. A six part movie miniseries adapted from an ongoing twelve volume manga, the tale follows Rygart Arrow, an 'un-sorceror' who has a rare affliction which prevents him from controlling magic like everyone else. As such, he is not the mover and shaker that all of his school friends have become. But, he is sucked into a war between his country and that of his best friend Zess, and co-opted by smoking hot blond Queen Sigyn to pilot an 'ancient golem' that only he can control.

Oh, Jirghe, we barely knew ye.
The Delphine
  1.  Accessibility. You don't have to know a lot about Manga or Anime. You don't have to have a vast knowledge of the back-story. What you need to know is outlined succinctly in a brief intro, and then it's off to the races.
  2. Stunning. The anime, and the Manga it is from, have a very stylish visual aspect. The characters and golems are very clean, and the setting is very rich and involving. The cities have stark lines and look interesting, while being visually distinct from each other.
  3. Characters. From the sympathetic King Hodr to Rygart, the reluctant hero, from the cool and taciturn General Baldr to the smoking hot blond Queen Sigyn, the cast is varied, fun and interesting. Motivations are coherent and well thought out...with a few exceptions. More on this below.
  4. General Borcuse. For the love of all that is good and holy, it's nice to see a straight up, honest to goodness villain. He's a bad guy. Everyone knows he's a bad guy. His subordinates respect and fear him. His enemies hate and fear him. He pilots a mech that wears a cape and has twin scorpion tails. He's a bad guy! This dude should have been in Code Geass. Hell, he should have been in Evangelion!
  5. Grown Ups! Rygart, Zess, Hodr, and smoking hot blond Queen Sigyn are 25! 25! They can drink legally and be married. They can own land and vote! This is new anime terrain folks. I can say that smoking hot blond Queen Sigyn is a smoking hot blond without feeling, you know, creepy about it. I think I might just say it more!
Captain Sakura, see, she's not so bad.
  1. Plot Threads...Awaaaay! I mentioned that the Manga this was based on was ongoing? Well, see, that's a problem for a miniseries that ends. This means some plot threads which carried over from the Manga are not really addressed as (I expect) they will be in the full story. Why is Athens using hyper-developed 12 year old supermodels to pilot mecha? Who really is to blame for the Assam civil war? Will Orlando aid Krisna in it's war against Athens? I know the answers to some of these, but it's only because I read the Manga after I finished the movies.
  2. Zess. Zess reminds me of Suzaku Kururugi from Code Geass. Which, if you remember my review of that from last week, means that I don't like him much at all. You can tell the writers are trying to set him up as the same sort of sympathetic Anti-villain, but, perhaps because of Code Geass, he just seems like another fake principled traitor. At one point, he fires on Rygart under a flag of truce, using the justification that if he just kills his best friend quickly, he can put a quick end to the war. Then, when Rygart fights back and turns the tables, Zess feels betrayed and asks "What happened to him [Rygart]? Why can't he see they need to surrender?" Umm, maybe because you just tried to kill him, jerk.
  3. The (Love) Triangle is (Not) Nature's Strongest Shape. The love interest between smoking hot blond Queen Sigyn and Rygart is a central plot point of the series, and much angst is shared over it. The thing that makes it not work as well as some other triangles in anime, for me, at least, is that the third point (King Hodr) really doesn't seem to care much. Smoking hot blond Queen Sigyn has her own room and throws herself at Rygart in public, to the point where other people talk about it as a matter of course, and Hodr doesn't really seem bothered by it at all. Tacit approval is...tacit. By halfway through the movies, I was seriously hoping Hodr would just get a divorce and marry the painfully loyal Captain Sakura, who seemed to obviously dig him. Sure, she's not smoking hot blond Queen Sigyn, but at least she might, you know, share a bedroom with him. Just saying. Also, she's not ridiculously shorter than King Hodr, as many of the other characters are. A king needs to consider these things...
Don't worry, Rygart, she just wants to talk about your 'Golem.'
All in all, it's a fun miniseries. I really like the Fafnir and Artemis golems, the Delphine is a cool, if fairly generic Gundam-esque mecha, and it has a strong story. The characters are more likeable in general that the run of the mill anime. I especially dug some of the background characters, like Captain Sakura, who while minor in the first half, becomes super prominent in the ending battle, and is memorable for her steadfast loyalty and dogged defense of Hodr. As Tomsche mentioned in his recommendation, it might be the best recent mecha series. As a bit of an afficionado of the genre, I feel like this is the best thing I can say about it is that I agree.


Tomsche said...

I should have send in the recommendations earlier it seems, might have caused a bit of ruckus in the mecha countdown ;-)

In all seriousness though, as one mechahead to another, I`m glad you`re having nice series to watch hours... I`ll point you to some others if you want if you`ve ran out of series to watch.

CounterFett said...

Yeah, I think I'll do a revised mini-countdown in a month or so, like a 3-part, to show what's changed.

Definitely, if you got more recommendations, I'm about at the end of your list. Skipped reviewing Gurren Lagann and Code Geass R2 just because I wanted to post Broken Blade for some reason.

Tomsche said...

Well, the current `hot thing` in Mecha land is Valvrave the Liberator, though personally I`m not that fond of it. It`s okay for my part, but I`m not becomming to wild about it.

Eureka Seven and it`s sequel prequel (it`s complicated to explain) Eureka AO was nice, and while not per se mecha, X`amd is worth a look in as well for anime.

If you ever venture into Gundam country, in my opinion Unicorn and Zeta Gundam are the best out there, though Mobile G Fighter (or however it is translated, just google on Domon + Gundam) is by far the most light hearted and enjoyable of the franchise.

Tomsche said...

And I forgot Aquarion Evol, your gonna love that one, or the Starship Troopers like, and very strong though bumped ending Muv-Luv Alternative

CounterFett said...

I'll probably end up watching all of these in the coming weeks. I'm staying away from Gundam, for no real reason other than I am overwhelmed by how much there is out there, and not knowing where to start. I might get into it eventually, but I'm working my way through other stuff first.

Tomsche said...

The issue with Gundam is mainly that you have different `timelines`, not related with each other.

The `basic` storyline is the 1978 Gundam -> Zeta Gundam -> ZZ Gundam -> Unicorn

All the others are `stand alone` series, with only SEED into SEED Destiny (which I personally adore, though it is perhaps the most black / white series in the fanbase, bar the excellent Freedom Gundam design whom almost all agree is the most beautiful ever)being two series following each other.

Helps them saving on continuity experts I guess ;-)