24 CommentsBreak Blade / By Scamp /

Broken Blade (Break Blade) episode 2

I’m quite disappointed and a little bit baffled by how little love Broken Blade is getting. It doesn’t do anything particularly new, I’ll give it that. But it achieves what it sets out to do with an extra shine that other shows of similar ilk fail to achieve. The detail gone into the world construction is clearly well thought out and the intricacy and sheen to the mecha battles far outdoes any other mecha series I’ve seen, even Evangelion. We have characters that aren’t stereotypes and have realistic character development that don’t annoy the audience but also aren’t rushed for the sake of appealing to the audience. Most of all, it’s ambitious. It’s set its stall out to become an epic and hasn’t yet tripped over itself in any way yet.

So yeah, you guys suck. Broken Blade is awesome.

“Hey captain, that sword is too big for your robot to handle”

“No way, I can handle it. And don’t you dare say the word ‘conpensating’, got it?”

Interesting looking back at the episode was how most of it occurred in a very short space of time. Think about the time difference between when Zess and his crew were spying on the town through their teeny weeny telescope while hiding in the mountains and the end of Rygart’s fight against the suicidal mecha pilot Lee. It was sunset when that fight ended so when Rygart delivered his message to Zess, it must have been only a  few hours before. It was all one continuous battle of mechas, or golems as we should be calling them. I always like it when an episode is as self-contained as that. It makes the escalation of events feel more real when you’ve gone through all the same details at the same rate the characters themselves has gone through.

Zess was the standout character this time around. Queen Shiny Bum didn’t get much in the way of eye-catching  fanservice this time around, of even any screentime in which she did anything particularly useful, so instead I had to awaken my inner fujioshi side that grew inside me after watching 70-odd episodes of Hetalia. While Rygart, Hodr and Queen Shiny Bum got their introductions in the last episode, Zess was still a bit of a mystery figure in the friendship so it was nice to get his character fleshed out a bit. There’s a great dynamic to the three men, and you can feel the presence of the third person when only two of them are actually in picture. They fill up each other’s thoughts in that same way most fujioshi pairings seem to occur from. To use our favourite sushi chef’s iconic, squee inducing phrase, they have a complex about each other. Well, not quite, but I’m sure it doesn’t stop fujioshi from shipping them in threesomes.

Queen Sigyn really didn’t do a whole lot in this episode, which is a shame because she’s fucking hot err, an interesting character. She was reduced to panicked observer in classic anime female role style. But that’s not really a problem when the battlefield is littered with more than enough other female warriors. It’s a rather nice change to see as many female pilots in this series, often just as odd-bit characters who spout a few lines and are only seen every now and then going ‘oh no, look what’s happening’ etc. Normally there’s one female pilot who’s given a lot of attention because she’s the female. Admittedly they all fit into typical soldier female archetypes so far. There’s the busty loli, the crazed, battle hungry scary bitch, the stern older women with a sallow face and the black girl who I can’t fit into an archetype, although that’s simply because we haven’t seen her do anything as of yet.

This is my mecha, this is my gun. This is fighting, this is for fun.

I could spaz out and write all day about the mecha battles in Broken Blade, although most of my thought would look something like gjoldfskb ovk onsakn sbibv iwa;orghb winjgin and so on and so forth. But they really are the best done mecha battles I’ve ever seen. I do hold a little grudge against perfect flying of overpowered mecha as they dodge in and out of lasers that they couldn’t possibly dodge because nothing can dodge bloody laser beams. None of that rubbish in Broken Blade. These mecha are clunky. They’re ungainly. Each move take effort and willpower to shove it through the motions, getting thrown off balance when a hit is blocked. The  instead of lasers that seem to do any sort of damage the writers feel like sticking in, these bullets do noticeable damage with every hit. If your massive Claymore sword gets hit by a bullet, there’s a noticeable mark left. The only other anime I can remember that has such clunky, uncertain movements in Evangelion, and even that doesn’t come close to Broken Blade’s level of intricacy which each movement. It might seem like an odd thing to spaz out over but it’s what gets my blood pumping.

Rygart’s pacifism being shoved back in his face was probably my highlight of the episode though. He didn’t do any sort of big speach to convince the guy not to shoot. He just tried to get him to stop, but as soon as he tried to search for a reason he was being so pacifistic, it was instantly shoved in his face when the guy got shot. In turn, the following scene, in which he tried to convince himself that was a once off, his pacifism is shoved in his face once again with the girl shooting herself. Never once was all of this said out loud. Never once did Rygart say he blamed himself. It was all implied and all left up to us to work out for ourselves. Thank you Broken Blade for having faith in our intelligence as an audience.

And so Rygart returns, gets an overpowered, over armoured mecha and the war begins for real. I can’t follow the politics of the anime at all. It really doesn’t help that I don’t know which country is what on that map they keep showing. Thankfully the character dynamics between the 3 blokes and Queen Luminous Bottom is more than enough to keep my interest. 4 movies left but I am starting to wonder what on earth do they plan to do with this. The manga is still ongoing so I guess it will be an anime original ending. They clearly haven’t shoved this much budget into 6 theatre releases just to be an advertisement for a manga. We’ll see I suppose. The next episode I think is out sometime in November. ’til then~

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23 Comments

  1. luffyluffy
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    HNNG, THIS. NEED TO WATCH LATER.

    • luffyluffy
      Posted September 10, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      So I watched it. I’m so happy I got invested in the series~

    • Scamp
      Posted September 10, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      As well you should be~

  2. Taka
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    As much as you talk about Queen Shiny-ass you have yet to put up a single picture of her.

    Also Rygart’s mecha is kind of far from clunky. The thing can leap hundreds of feat into the air. Granted it gave us a shot of the fancy servos that prevented the things legs from snapping like twigs when he landed but that doesn’t explain why there was no huge freaking crater when he landed. The thrown lance was one of the coolest sequences I’ve seen in awhile though.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 10, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      I did put a picture up! 4th one down. She didn’t get much screentime so that’s the only picture I put up of her.

      There was a small crater when he landed. Also his mecha isn’t as heavy as the others. Remember the thing has next to no armour and runs on a different system to the others, probably lighter as well, which explains it’s speed and mobility. While it’s obviously heavy, I doubt it’s much heavier than a large jeep

  3. Posted September 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    This one is a lot better than the first because it’s more concerned with actual conflict than tedious world and scenario building, and what bits of that this movie does are integrated into the flow of the plot a bit better.

    I liked the fleshing out of Zess, too. He actually seems fairly reasonable this time around — from what we know of the conflict, anyway; that can obviously change as more information is revealed — and, unlike Rygart, he doesn’t hesitate at all.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      I actually preffered the first episode myself. That had the joy of disovery while this was just getting down to the bones of the plot.

      Not sure why others don’t like the world building. I thought it was rather simple and well done =(

      • Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t like it mostly because it wasn’t really anything I haven’t seen before.

  4. Posted September 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Color me unimpressed with Break Blade. It just washes over me. Yeah it’s not terrible and kind of pretty looking, but it doesn’t shine in any way. Characters are predictably generic blah, the action isn’t awe inspiring or tactically exciting, and Zess and Rygart teen-angsting mid-battlefield just didn’t inspire confidence in me about the direction of the story. It’s like I’m watching a low tech Gundam SEED set in a barren desert.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 10, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      On the basis of this comment I decided to check the ratings all my friends on MAL gave to each Gundam series. Almost without fail, under a bunch of 8’s and 7’s, would be this solitary sulky 5 from someone who sat grudgingly through yet another Gundam, inspite on previence viewings of the franchise failing to impress him.

      I know this sounds worryingly close to the ‘if you don’t like it, why do you watch it’ argument, but…you really watched all those Gundam series despite feeling so apathetic towards almost every single one? After finishing a few shojo series, I grew to learn to bail as soon as I recognised the same feelings.

      And don’t worry. If you’ve missed anything, I can tell you from numurous personal experiences that there will be plenty of people coming along to inform you that IT GETS BETTER RAWR RAWR RAWR!!!

      • Posted September 11, 2010 at 4:04 am | Permalink

        I almost always watch an anime with the hopes I’ll like it. Even when my cosmic-psychic powers fail and it doesn’t end up being very favorable, I can still find something valuable in it. For example, I love Gundam SEED’s soundtrack; the rendition by the London Symphony is incredible. Even an anime I expect to be vile, like School Days, is valuable to watch just so I can participate in the considerable community conversation. And Break Blade too, though there’s always the chance it’ll actually turn for the better, just sharing intelligent discussion and debate about the work’s merits as art/entertainment is worth enough.

        Or I could just say “HUR HUR I like dem animus. Shiny butts n stuff”.

      • Scamp
        Posted September 11, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        [shrug] each to his own. As is probably all too clear by now, I can’t bring myself to sit through even the slightly above average anime, even when everyone else is talking about it. I get frustrated too easily and live in eternal fear of the burnout

  5. Posted September 10, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m enjoying Break Blade thus far. Its not bringing anything new to the table or setting the world alight with originality, but it is ticking all the right boxes in regards to entertainment value and excellent production. Quite looking forward to seeing how this series pans out.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 11, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Awesome new avatar! Damnit, I want a cooler avatar now =(

      • Posted September 11, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Thanks, I’m quite partial to these Yoko pics :D

        Epic ahoge Nino is awesome though!

  6. Gutts
    Posted September 11, 2010 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    Thanks for reminding me that I have episode 1 of break blade but I put off watching it before and completely forgot about it. I’ll give this a try tonight or tomorrow night.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 11, 2010 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Damn straight you should

  7. FlameStrike
    Posted September 11, 2010 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    Break Blade’s been great for me so far. As a fan of the manga the movie doesn’t disappoint in the least. It doesn’t do anything particularly “new” but what it brings to the table really shines.

    The mecha in Break Blade are really refreshing to me. For once in a mecha series I feel like the mecha are actually bound by rules instead of just doing whatever the heck the writers feel like doing. Each mech is limited by what it can ACTUALLY do. Anti personal armor won’t damage a mecha, certain guns have limited range, etc etc. There’s even AMMO! I can’t even remember the last mecha series I saw when the mechs couldn’t randomly pull stuff out of their ass. XD hurray for physics.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 11, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      I know! They have to reload and try to at least give reasons why the mecha isn’t collapsing in on itself. I’m not particularly worried whether it makes sense because chances are I’m never going to think that far. But so long as it makes sense on a basic level then I like all those touches

  8. Samshel
    Posted September 11, 2010 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    I hated so much Rygart for half the episode, I was like damn fight already! But at least now they are going down to business.

    I have to agree with you about the fights, they feel like there really is gravity, they even go to show how the mechanism of Rygart’s mech works to prevent it from falling apart when he lands from such distance.

    Looking forward to the next episode/movie.

    • Scamp
      Posted September 11, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      I don’t think they could have rushed Rygart’s character any quicker than they did. They needed something to shock him, which this episode actually did. We’ll see how much it actually effects what he does in the next episode

  9. smallish
    Posted September 12, 2010 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    I didn’t read the entire post so I could avoid spoilers, but I think I’ll give this a try. I’ve always been a little skeptical of mecha anime because it seems like it would be far too easy for it to be annoyingly shonen and shallow, but I’ve always been fond of Evangelion (even if I’ve never finished it–I’ve heard horror stories about the last few episodes) and I recently discovered Gundam 00 because let it be known that if an anime has a character with multiple personalities, I’m willing to watch it.

    I certainly wouldn’t mind watching an anime with interesting characters (which are definitely what I look for the most in anime and such) and mecha would be a bonus. :) Maybe I’ll get to it in a few days.

    • smallish
      Posted September 13, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Okay, got caught up. The first episode was a little bland and if it wasn’t for your raving about the second episode, I’d have dropped it for the over-the-top and annoying fan service (because, hey, I love fanservice as long as it’s not trashy and so far, Queen Shiny Butt is pretty trashy). I’m glad I stuck with it, though. This second episode was gorgeous and and my heart completely broke for Lee when she started screaming about barbarians and preferring to die as a warrior than be humiliated. It makes we wonder if it’s really Athens that has the biased education, or if it’s Krisna.

      Looking forward to the next episode (or movie or whatever). Here’s hoping that they keep this level of quality. :)

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  • By Anime Status: JUL-AUG « METANORN on September 11, 2010 at 8:58 am

    […] Birthday to a fellow-virgo, Scamp from the Cart Driver; I swear I’ll get to love Break Blade. […]

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