Kara no Kyokai had an unusual release format. Each ‘episode’ was up to and over an hour long, released in cinemas first and later on dvd and blu-ray. The series was a huge success and I’m guessing took anime producers a bit by surprise. The actual importance of having anime on TV is declining, especially when you factor in the success of the web-airing of Hetalia, seeing how it was banned from airing on TV. If anything, it’s like the return of the OVA days of the 80’s. Broken Blade is being released in the same format as the Kara no Kyokai movies. 6 ‘episodes’, each 50 minutes long, shown theatrically first and then being released on dvd and blu-ray. And this is what I’m going to be attempting to blog. Considering how much I yatter on with just 24 minutes of content (and even just 5 minutes), 50 minutes will be…exhausting? Exhilarating? We’ll see.
Every alternate world needs its own magical power that makes it different. Here, in magical land I subconsciously call Amestrias II, is the ability to control quartz. What I found myself wondering is whether every machine is really made using quartz. One logical conclusion you could draw is that, with the power to control quartz, science hasn’t evolved for the need for anything else. However if they’ve been able to create mechas then surely someone must have come up with steam power somewhere along the line. I’d say they have been invented but nobody needed them so obviously none would be in production. Which is all fine and dandy until the quartz supply on the planet runs out. They should really learn to recycle quartz as efficiently as possible.
(One thing that did bug me was the name they gave to quartz manipulation: Magic. Really? Nothing more imaginative than that? I was really disappointed that they didn’t come up with some new fancy name for them. Magic suggests a variety of spells and incantations and wands and lightning shaped scars. All this lot are doing is moving some rock around. I suppose Quartz Manipulation is a bit of a mouthful though.)
Then we have our handicapped hero, Rygart. That’s the best way to describe him and his affliction. He should really get disability benefit instead of being stuck out on a farm in the middle of nowhere with his disabled brother. Imagine the uproar if the government sent all the deaf people out into the desert to work of farms. Not that the deaf people would be able to hear the uproar though *rimshot*.
(What is this ‘political correctness’ you speak of? Come to think of it, I wonder if I have any deaf readers. The fact anime is all subtitled means they’d be able to watch it. Hi deaf people! Don’t worry; I don’t care about seiyuu either.)
Then we meet King Hodr the Beautifully Tanned And Surprisingly Muscular, who is married to Queen Sigyn of the Lovely Shiny Bottom. You would think it’s a match made in heaven but nope, their marriage is in tatters. The King sleeps in a rocking chair while the Queen sleeps in the bed with her lovely underwear-clad bottom sticking up in the air. You have to wonder why they got married in the first place. When the main characters were having flashbacks, she was always hanging back from the rest of the group. We haven’t been given much information as to what she was like back then, only the guys. I have a vague theory as to what happened. When Rygart left to go work on a farm and Zess left to be a mecha pilot prodigy in a different country, all that was left was the future king and queen. Hodr probably needed to marry in order to become king and she was the girl he knew best. Sigyn, after watching her crush, Rygart, leave to go work on a farm, probably latched onto the closest thing that gave her some love. Now this is all speculation but it all fits into what we know so far. Hodr certainly didn’t seem too enamoured with his position as King.
One thing King Hodr is, though, is genre savvy. Hey look, we have a mecha that nobody can pilot using magical quartz manipulation power. How about I get the one guy I know who can’t use quartz. Maybe he’ll fall into the mecha and suddenly know how to pilot it. That whole sequence was pretty cool, in a typical anime way. Oh whoops, I’ve accidentally fallen into this giant robot. Now how do I get out oh dear, I’ve turned it on! Now how do I get out oh damnit, I’ve hit the pedal and leaped out of the hole. While it’s preferable to him suddenly knowing how to pilot a mecha when he’s never been able to pilot them before, can you imagine if you suddenly fell into a car and were able to drive around a racing track? Oh whoops, I’ve accidentally put the car into gear. I bet he was piloting that mecha entirely in first gear.
The mecha battles are fantastic for several reasons, but the main reason is how clumsy and grungy these mecha look. I should probably call them by their proper names; Golems (which at least is more imaginative than bloody ‘magic’). When a bullet is shot, it takes a chunk of metal off. When the arm swings it does so in a lazy, mechanical fashion that yet feels so unstoppable. Mecha fights seem to run in slow motion and very few moves, which is far more realistic than the two coloured balls bouncing off each other. No speed lines instead of actual movement either. For a fantastical world, they sure put a lot of effort into making these fights as realistic as possible.
(Little bit of a lol for the super obvious metaphor of the robot having a broken blade on his head. Maybe it’s the remains of the Gundam Unicorn transported to another dimension and Rygart is Newtype? Oh look at me, pretending like I know the UC timeline~)
12 years old. Only in Japan I suppose. When it comes to characters like that you just sorta ignore what canon says. Like Yoko from Gurren Lagann. She’s meant to be 14 years old. However I think this 12 year old takes it to a whole new level. It’s like the total opposite to the legal lolis that look 10 but are actually 19. Whatever, she’s still hot. Like all the characters in this show, girls and guys. Mecha are grungy, characters are beautiful, the world is imaginative, the costumes are ridiculous, the plot twists are that right mix of bizarre and yet strangely predictable. In short, this is exactly what I watch anime for. I get the complaints that people have about it not treading any new ground, but what it does it does so with confidence and assurance. It may not win over any new fans to the genre but I love it.