26 CommentsBreak Blade / By Scamp /

Break Blade episode 5

AT Field!

Has this really been the only mecha anime from 2011? There was one or two episodes of Gundam Unicorn, but was there not a single TV anime featuring giant robots this year? Is the appeal wearing off in Japan? It’s a sad era we live in indeed, and I’m not even the worlds biggest mecha fan. Although if there’s one series that turns me into a loony mecha fanboy, it’s Break Blade.

After episode 4, I had a bit of a bitch at…well, everything, because the episode was really bad. One of those things I bitched about was the change in focus for the mecha duels. Gone were the beautifully choreography one-on-one battles where every move is detailed, to be replaced by pitched battles with lots of yelling combined with over-powered mechs destroying everything that stands in their path. Episode 5 realised what a dumb move that was and returns to the one-on-one battles that made Break Blade so great. Rygart’s duel with Borcuse was such a brilliantly animated piece. Every move was shown. Every swing of a sword took chunks out of the opponents armour. I liked how the standard practice is Break Blade mecha warfare is to abandon your weapons as soon as they take damage, because from then on they’re a liability. It would probably help if they didn’t build mecha armour out of what appears to be crystal that shatters if you so much as cough on it, but it does cause the battles to be that much prettier and visceral with sparkly debris flying everywhere.

I’ve said this 50 bazillion times before, but I love how ugly and clunky the mecha in Break Blade are. More than that, I love how visibly battered they get. While the mecha in many other anime might have nothing more than a few black lines to indicate where a bomb went off nearby, Break Blade mecha get very visibly clattered and battered and degraded in battle. I mean, just look a Rygarts mech there. The cockpit is dented and scratched. The sword has been shattered to reveal the sparkly innards. The armour on the arm has been reduced to nothing more than a bit of scaffolding and a tattered piece of cloth. I’m not quite sure what that is he’s holding in his other arm to the right of the picture, but that’s sure as hell not what it originally looked like. That is what a war torn machine should look like. One that has had to fight in a pitched battled, been defeated in a duel by a scorpion bot and now had to face off against a rebellious comrade. Ah Break Blade mecha~! You turn me into a babbling fanboy.

Which is probably just as well, because the plot of Break Blade isn’t that strong. One thing I liked from the earlier episodes was the equal treatment given to both sides in the war. One side had Zess and the other had Rygart. It was an even portrayal of both sides. Now? We have our good guys Rygart and co, fighting against people who brutally wipe out unarmed villagers. Wait, what? What happened to the even treatment of both sides? Instead of Zess, we now get psychotic little girls and brutal warmongering generals who never open their eyes. Even the supposed bad person on Rygarts side, Girge, was actually a Nice Guy After All. Well, no, he wasn’t. He was a murdering prick. But that final scene was him sacrificing himself to save Rygart suggested that he really was a Nice Guy After All. Occasional side characters keep dying but I struggle to remember who they are half the time, let alone care about them dying. Who was the general that was meant to be like a father to the black girl general, Narvi, anyway? Maybe we’re supposed to care about how it would effect Narvi, but I’m having trouble swallowing that too. She’s a haughty army general with something of a crush on Rygart ever since he invited her to suck on his balls (no really, that’s what Rygart asked her to do last episode), but that is the extent of her characterisation. There was also the troupe of people following General Baldr to whatever fate he had in mind, which again we’re apparently supposed to care about. Sorry Break Blade, but the only characters I really care about are Rygart, Zess, Hodr and Sigyn.

Although, do I really care about Hodr? They’ve just sort of abandoned his character after episode 1, to the point that I’ve forgotten why he was relevant in the first place. Wasn’t the war over the fact he wouldn’t give himself up for execution or something? I can hardly even remember. In fact, I’m not even sure if I care about Sigyn that much either. Sure, we got our complementary shot of her radiant ass, and I am very grateful for that, but segments with her now feel rather forced in. Her purpose in the episode was to tell a little story from their childhood, in what felt very much like one of those Break Blade Picture Dramas. But hey, at least that part of the plot had something to do with the characters I cared about. When you’ve got this short an air time, it’s hard to make me care about characters beyond the core group. Taking into account that Break Blade is roughly the same length as a 12/13 episode TV series, none of those I’ve seen have ever been able to get me to care about characters beyond the core group (Baccano being the possible exception, and that’s a rather unique case due to its rather lack of a core group of characters).

This all gets back to the problem of Break Blade not wanting to tell the full story. It only wants to be an advertisement for the manga. Which is as frustrating as hell, but I suppose the beautifully choreographed mecha duels make up for that somewhat.

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25 Comments

  1. Mr. Anon
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    > But that final scene was him sac­ri­fi­cing him­self to save Rygart sug­ges­ted that he really was a Nice Guy After All.
    The manga lets him more explictly be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Speaking of the manga, the anime has distilled it severely. Originally there was an entire scene (with Rygart’s brother!) before the one where he was ambushed by Borcuse, the combat around the end of this episode was a lot more elaborate (and ended completely different), and there were several scenes afterward in which Girghe was still alive before his final sacrifice.

    The end result is all the same though, and I prefer the current pacing. The story has more focus this way, too. Girghe was a bit more awesome in the manga, but I think this was a worthwhile tradeoff.

    Since they are obviously willing to cut out manga parts of significant length, I don’t feel it’s completely justified to qualify the anime as an advertisement. Maybe 50-50.

    • mcm38
      Posted June 6, 2011 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      No, I think Girghe’s part shouldn’t have been cut off. I only read chapter 51 of the manga, but even that part was enough to get me interested in what kind of things happened around Girghe to become such a great influence on Rygarts mind during his last battle. He even wants to wear the worn out uniform of Girghe when he’s going out to battle. That’s gotta tell something about Girghe, am I wrong?

      • Mr. Anon
        Posted June 6, 2011 at 3:48 am | Permalink

        You’re not wrong, but since there’s not enough time for that in the anime, they had to cut something. Better to cut to the essence of the plot than to keep half the scenes and hope the audience guesses the rest. That would really have been a half-assed manga advertisement. I think they handled it with with style; it’s now a decent story of its own right.

      • Dom
        Posted June 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        It wasn’t deliberately cut off. The anime was completed before the chapters with some of Girghe’s good scenes were released. They had to make up their own story line and ending because they had caught up to the manga at the point where girghe and the general fought. and because the manga came out once a month they couldn’t wait on it. If you watch the last movie book 6 you’ll notice the whole story line deviates from the manga because they had to invent everything afterwards. I’m pretty sure they consulted the author and asked for some insight on how the story would end but its noticeably different. the chapter where girge is execute with a gunshot wasn’t even out yet when they finished the last movie.

      • Scamp
        Posted June 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        So I guess that means they’ll be making an anime original ending? Oh goody! I had no interest in the manga anyway. The story is kinda dumb. It’s the fight scenes that I love

    • Scamp
      Posted June 6, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Justifying how they’ve paced the anime is difficult without knowing what they do in the last episode. An scene with Rygarts brother thrown in randomly before suddenly killing him off would have been jarring and possibly unintentionally funny, ruining the following scene where Rygart discovers the destruction

      • Mr. Anon
        Posted June 7, 2011 at 3:08 am | Permalink

        I’m glad they left it out, it had little relevance to the plot anyway.

  2. Aldonaris
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    “Has this really been the only mecha anime from 2011?”

    Well, Super robot wars OG The Inspectors was largely dependant in knowing the game to fully understand what´s going on, but you can count it as a legitimate mecha show.

    • seansky
      Posted June 6, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      theres also star driver…… and i hear rumors of new gundam series? :X

      infinite stratos have small mechas, but imo it dont qualify as one……

  3. Rintaro
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    “Has this really been the only mecha anime from 2011?”

    Duh, Star Driver. We also have Sacred Seven coming up in Summer.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      dur, Star Driver. I knew I must have been missing something incredibly obvious

      • luffyluffy
        Posted June 5, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        More like SHIT Driver amirite?

  4. Raspy
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Scamp but this episode was pure unconstrained fail. Yes it had “nice battles” but that was it. The plot has turned nonsensical and stupid.

    And it looked so promising to begin with…ah…

    • Posted June 5, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      “Turned”? The plot was always silly and generic. The battles and Sigyn’s ass have been the only reasons to watch Break Blade from the beginning (mind you, those are great reasons).

      Anyway, the battles here were kickass, so I enjoyed the episode.

      • mcm38
        Posted June 5, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

        I’m 100% with ya on this.

        Spoiler don’t read it!!!!!

        The ending sucks. Nothing significant happens after the last battle. Well not that it matters that much.

  5. Posted June 5, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    I have to watch these…ARGGG time to spam watch <3

  6. Nebulous
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Girghe’s death and the aftermath of it was much better in the manga, and his change of heart was much better explained. Still the animation on the fights are absolutely beautiful.

  7. mcm38
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Hodr is willing to give up on his life, imo. But since the whole royal family has to be executed in the condition, which means also the innocent Sigyn who wasn’t royalty originaly to begin with, he isn’t willing to sacrifice his beloved one. And I think this is a pretty realistic reason, seeing how many wars in history were caused by men chasing after or protecting their women.
    Other than that, Hodr has been realy absent in the episodes. Well, it’s not like he’s the main lead here. He’s only a main character created for the purpose of adding drama to the anime, with Sigyn-Rygart relationship being sealed. (So copypaste it should get boring eventually. But since it’s presented in a rather original and rational way, it stays alive.)

    Other than that, the reason you’re probably not remembering the side characters or scenes (which don’t include the amazing mecha fights and Sigyns yuri play with that ‘overgrown 12 year old captive enemy girl’), is probably because the anime is parted in bigger chunks unlike the tv series. You are being introduced to larger amounts of (slightly) important information and significant, yet short plottwists, that you won’t get to comprehend and remember all of them that easily.

    The generals name was general True. Pretty easy to remember if you ask me. He did something I was envious of in the series (play with lots of children he’s been taking care of, oh love their innocent and small postures).
    And I think you’re misunderstanding Narvis behaviour around Rygart. Still the childishly young and inexperienced captain/general she is, is actually feeling uncomfortable around Rygart because of his perverted and harrasing impression he made on her. (Yet I’m not realy sure on this one. She roughed up Rygart thoroughly when he came back after his defying act.)
    She is also not that haughty. Like I said she is inexperienced, so it’s only natural for her to feel a sense of insecurity by the tought of a dangerous subordinate like Gill ignoring her authority. She’s also being pressured by her responsiblities, and is trying to pull out a determined and strong leading front against others, but fails and comes over as haughty. (Not that I’m such a psychology expert.)

    Meh screw this to long to read post. Read only if you’re a geek interested in reading or got enough interest and time.

    • mcm38
      Posted June 5, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      @the nolifers who read trough my whole post: Somewhere in there I messed up and wrote Gill instead of Girghe.
      (@the clueless ppl, I wrote ‘nolifers’ not to be offending, but to be sarcastic)

      • Mr. Anon
        Posted June 6, 2011 at 3:51 am | Permalink

        Did you also call us clueless to be sarcastic? Because I can’t tell.

      • mcm38
        Posted June 6, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        Offcourse. I never mean to be offending to anyone.

  8. testa
    Posted June 5, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    mecha airing on 2011?
    Infinite Stratos
    Star Driver
    Super Robot Taisen OG: The Inspector
    Mazinkaizer SKL
    Gekijouban Macross F: Sayonara no Tsubasa
    Tiger & Bunny
    Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon
    Fireball Charming

    • mcm38
      Posted June 6, 2011 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      Sharp!

    • Mr. Anon
      Posted June 6, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      There are no mecha in Fireball Charming actually

  9. Anonymous
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Has this really been the only mecha anime from 2011?

    Calm down there cowboy, it’s not yet 2012, no need to speak in past tense. We’re only just nearing the end of the first anime season of 2011.

One Trackback

  • […] “This all gets back to the prob­lem of Break Blade not want­ing to tell the full story. It only wants to be an advert­ise­ment for the manga. Which is as frus­trat­ing as hell, but I sup­pose the beau­ti­fully cho­reo­graphed mecha duels make up for that somewhat.” – The Cart Driver […]

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