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Sexy character design, fluid animation, great voice actors, action in high definition! 24 exciting episodes of Blassreiter, Saturdays at 26:00 JST on TVK. What more could you ask for?

Less dorky computer-generated monsters straddling motorbikes, perhaps. As we all know, Gonzo can do no wrong, and now they’re teaming up with porn game producing Nitro+ to create a brand new media franchise. I write “porn game”, but it’s not like I really know, because mum won’t let me play them. Moving on, the director attached to the anime project is Itano Ichirou, known for Gantz and various involvement in Macross and Megazone 23. The concept was thought up by Urobuchi Gen, who’s been writing the Fate/Zero novelizations and some of the naughty games just mentioned. Head writer will be Kobayashi Yasuko, who has a long list of successful shows, including Shakugan no Shana and Claymore.

Germany needs more Japanese tourists, so this anime is set there in a not so distant future. Super genius bike racer Gerd loses function of his legs in a strange attack by a naked woman who turns into a monstrous creature that fuses with random weapons and goes on a killing spree during one of his races, culminating in a bike chase as the monster fuses with one of the bikes. Special Monster Suppression Unit XAT is called in to take care of the aggressor, but it’s too late, and the injuries Gerd suffers leave him unable to walk, much less ride a bike again. Sad cripples make for fairly poor action adventures, however, so a mysterious lady (referred to as Beatrice in the credits) appears with a magic pill (the red one) and offers it to Gerd. She informs him it can have some terrible side-effects, but that it theoretically should restore his body to its former splendour, nay, mayhap something better even. He takes it, obviously, because his girlfriend has left him (can’t love sick people), and he’s been fired (can’t hire wheelchair racers). Meanwhile, his buddy Helmer at XAT is having some trouble with another fusing abomination holding his partner Amanda hostage, but in the nick of time, a friendly fusing abomination pops up to make short work of the hideous enemy. Then it morphs into Gerd, and everyone looks really surprised. There’s also a very short glimpse of a scarred man the website names Joseph, but we’re probably not supposed to know that he’s the real hero of the show yet (sorry).

Say what you will about the plot, but Gonzo knows how to animate stuff, with scenes looking clean and detailed in what is noticeably HD. The character design is also quite delectable, with hot chicks and handsome men that might turn me on if I was just gay enough. The design is fairly GITSy, if you will. There’s only one tiny problem. A small one many will overlook. Half the episode is modeled in a computer, in particular monsters and vehicles, but also random shots of humans in protective suits. The effect is a bit like watching cut scenes in Halo, and I can’t take it seriously. Musically it’s decent enough, with a fairly understated soundtrack by Hibino Norihiko, with previous involvement in the Metal Gear Solid series. The cast is enough to make any seiyuu otaku produce sticky underwear, with the strong voice of Shizuka Itou (Lenalee Lee in D.Gray-Man) as Amanda, Ishizuka Unshou (Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop) as Gerd, Miyake Kenta (Tsume in Wolf’s Rain) as Helmer, and, if he ever opens his mouth, Matsukaze Masaya (Kyouya in Ouran) as Joseph. The supporting characters are also quite amazing, with Oohara Sayaka, Endou Aya, Hiyama Nobuyuki, Nakamura Yuuichi, etc, etc, and the list goes on.

They’re trying, and they’re trying really, really hard. Lots of money must have gone into this, because it does look sort of fancy. Yet it doesn’t help. The world isn’t ready for this much CG in anime, not until they can make it look like a human actually held a pen in order to draw it. When it’s this out of place, the only result is a smirk on my face, because it looks so silly. It’s farther ruined because anyone who watched Dragonaut will instantly be reminded of Gonzo’s massive failure. I watched and loved Kaleido Star more than anything, and they helped make that, so I’ll always have a soft spot for Gonzo, and Gankutsuou was great; even Last Exile was worth watching. But this time? I think I’ll pass.

Like Druaga, you can watch this anime subtitled for free on Youtube, thanks to the admirable effort to beat out fansubbing activities.

April 5, 2008 at 9:35 pm
37 comments »
  • April 5, 2008 at 9:40 pmPYROtechnic

    Hmmm…..I did watch Dragonaut, and it was horrid, but this time at least the plot seems somewhat interesting, and at least their sending it out fully subbed on Youtube. I might just give it a try xD!

  • April 5, 2008 at 9:50 pmLotsy

    “…with scenes looking clean and detailed in what is noticeably HD”

    It may have been authored in HD but your screencaps are upscales.

  • April 5, 2008 at 9:59 pmFat Cat Lim

    Quick question: is there an alternate version for Japanese audiences? Like Druaga?

  • April 5, 2008 at 10:00 pmKyo

    Kaleido star trinity blood, Gankutsuou, they were good maybe a little even romeo x julliet ..maybe…. but this…begh…

  • April 5, 2008 at 10:06 pmfrubam

    Hmmm, wonder will this be similar to Demonbane, minus the fanservice, which means it’d probably suck. Perhaps its serious and dark tone will be interesting to follow(hopefully >.>).

  • April 5, 2008 at 11:04 pmllxwarbirdxll

    Didn’t GONZO promise to have a download available somewhere?

  • April 5, 2008 at 11:13 pmKGFJ

    Yeah, in Crunchy Roll. Along with Towerof Druaga.

  • April 5, 2008 at 11:48 pmaz0k

    Another Dragonaut from Gonzo…even the CG looks similar…

  • April 6, 2008 at 12:01 amxOnic

    I Approve!

  • April 6, 2008 at 12:33 ammysterious

    It looks promising enough to watch a couple episodes. Btw, how come i can only watch the first half of the ep in you tube. It stop at the middle while there still more.

  • April 6, 2008 at 12:39 amUnknown Voice

    It was quite good.

    - CG were WAY better than boobnauts. Although not as good as other series.
    - fresh concept
    - HD
    - Amanda is hot :P

  • April 6, 2008 at 1:30 amCael

    ‘admirable effort to beat out fansubbing activities’

    What do you have against fansubbing?

  • April 6, 2008 at 1:39 amAnonymotonymoton

    @Cael
    Like watching a samurai go up against a dude with a gun. You know the samurai’s gonna lose but you gotta respect him for trying.

    Samurai = Gonzo
    Guy with gun = Fansubbers

  • April 6, 2008 at 1:47 amGod~knows

    Besides all the randomly inserted value judgements again by patrik, I would say this post wasn’t very informative aside from the trivia facts of which I don’t really care.I would rate the first episode as if-fy.Its very Gonzo-ish with all the sci-fi stuff going on but I won’t be rushing to watch episode 2 anytime soon unless they can amaze me into submission.

  • April 6, 2008 at 2:01 amSammy

    @Anonymotonymoton
    No, I’d just think the samurai’s an idiot.

    Yes,Amanda’s hot.

  • April 6, 2008 at 3:08 amfinalnight

    this series got absolutely destoryed by the other blogs.

  • April 6, 2008 at 3:31 amrwaggie

    http://www.crunchyroll.com/media-318035/BLASSREITER-Prelude-to-Despair.html?hires=1

    Videolink for the lazy. Or those who can’t see the huge pic on the frontpage of Crunchyroll.

  • April 6, 2008 at 4:13 amBlissmo

    I actually only managed to get through 5minutes. After that, I just couldn’t stand it any more, but the killing at the start was very interesting.

  • April 6, 2008 at 5:07 amLithium17

    I’m a biker and combining my hobby with cheap looking cg and mecha is tantamount to bastardization.

    I’ll still probably watch the first ep today, though.

    Gonzo seem to be struggling to level they once were at during Last Exile, Gankatsu Ou, Saikano.

  • April 6, 2008 at 5:56 amOldern

    No matter how bad those cg animations were, the story made me watch this :)
    It is a strong 7/10, nice for a first episode.

  • April 6, 2008 at 6:03 amJayars

    The art style is not my cuppa tea. Just couldn’t get myself to identify and empathise with the characters. A prejudical guess would be that in this series, ALL XY organisms will look like (middle to large) muscle builders, and the XX organisms will be split into 2 groups: The voluptous seductress and the kawaii-faced, not-so-voluptous-but-still-hot, chick.

    Art was great, animation was amazing, but I just didn’t like its style, unfortunately. Hand-drawn frames are where the color palette is dull, and character animation is limited to almost nill; while cg scenes contains lots of gradient, and all cg models will try to move as much as they can, even when it’s not needed. Even with tears running down characters’ faces, I still feel that they’re paper cutouts with water hoses attached behind.

    As for the story, I thought it was kinda interesting. But then again, the whole execution of it put me off. The story wasn’t flowing as smoothly as it should, and it felt really awkward.

    Will probably watch a couple more episodes, and if I can get over my distaste for the characters, I may well let it join my 3 fanservice series in my hall of favourites.

  • April 6, 2008 at 8:51 amWindspirit

    Poorly drawn tits are poorly drawn.

  • April 6, 2008 at 8:55 amInepted

    @Cael

    Anything that is anti-fansubbing is admirable. I’m sorry to break it to you, but its wrong. If you have any arguments to the contrary, you might need to consider an ethics course.

    For those who think Gonzo’s effort is useless and misguided, you may be confused about their intentions. Its obvious that they are not trying to eliminate fansubbing, if that were true they would have sent out legal attacks along with these public releases. They are most likely aware that certain fansubbers and people who administer direct download sites are making money from the hard work of others, and are trying a new and pioneering method to try and connect more with their customer base. If I were them I would have made an exclusive deal with youtube, and hopefully get a cut of the advertising revenue. Its the least they deserve.

    @God~knows

    I’m extremely curious to what exactly you were looking for in this post. Are you the type of person who, in seeing something against their own opinion, considers it somehow lacking?

  • April 6, 2008 at 11:42 amabao

    hard for me to trust Gonzo’s sincerity at all since it was one of the parties actually willing to send representatives to join a shady company in trying to obtain IPs to sue the average joe…

  • April 6, 2008 at 11:45 amInuhanyou

    The CG was pretty bad i suppose. but good that gonzo is trying, just for that, im going to watch the rest of the series, could be good.

    Btw, many anime’s have had ginormous amounts of CG in them and they’ve been awesome, such as karas..

  • April 6, 2008 at 12:59 pmTokko

    Nice series, I cant wait for Blassreiter

  • April 6, 2008 at 9:10 pmBAKABAKASHI

    ahh i missed gonzo’s ‘blue submerine no 6′ and ‘black cat’ quality … i hope this series can satisfied my thirst…. (cross my finger)

  • April 7, 2008 at 5:21 amsaris

    I think it’s nice though. The concept is pretty interesting.

  • April 7, 2008 at 2:39 pmMike

    OK I’m still somewhat behind Gonzo’s efforts to legitimately bring current anime to the world, but this looks plain awful. I couldn’t make it all the way through. I suppose I’ll try again. The Tower of Druaga seems a little silly but at least it doesn’t look (to quote your pretty accurate observation) a Halo cut scene.

  • April 8, 2008 at 11:32 amMentar

    Strangely oblivious conclusion, Patrik. You don’t like the looks of the CG, fine. Personally I disagree, it blended in fairly well. And that’s all for you do diss a show after one episode? Pff.

    I’d say it was a pretty good one. I was worried about this becoming a purely action-driven show, but they’ve been laying a decent foundation for a complex storyline. Definitely worth checking out a bit longer.

  • April 8, 2008 at 5:37 pmdx

    From what I saw…

    The chase scene with the bikes and the “Demoniac” CG was AWFUL! Just like Dragonaut and the CG for the Dragons, the 2d CG’s were average, a 15 year old kid with Flash would do better Cg than that.

    BUT the rest of the CG was actually exceptional! It doesn’t exactly entice me to watch more but Ill give it ONE last ep, before I decide.

    Looks like Macross F, Kurenai, Druaga and Vampire Knight are my only choices for now. Sorry, no gay series like Monochrome factor or Nobaru No Ou.

  • April 9, 2008 at 4:21 pmHardDisk

    26:00 DOES NOT EXIST.

  • April 9, 2008 at 5:30 pmdivine|s

    For those that watched the online stream version of this, you really need to check out the HD raw. It actually looks a lot better, especially the CG. In comparison to GONZO’s crappy CG used in Dragonaut, BLASSREITER’s is a lot better.

  • April 9, 2008 at 5:32 pmdivine|s

    Note: when I watched BLASSREITER online first, I found the CG quite bad, but it turns out this was due to the heavy loss in detail from the low bitrate.

  • April 9, 2008 at 6:27 pmdx

    I saw BOTH the raw and the CR subbed version, and the both have the same glossy look. Regardless, IF the bike scene amateur/crap CG is what I’m going to start noticing on EVERY episode like Dragonaut’s Dragons, forget it. Gonzo hasn’t changed and wont change.

    Those Gonzo bums should start looking at Macross Frontier and how they were able to pull off the CG in an exceptional manner.

  • October 16, 2009 at 8:36 pmIchigo Kurosaki’s Girl

    Haha that’s all for Mrs.Kurosaki today. . . ~_~ ™

  • October 16, 2009 at 8:38 pmIchigo Kurosaki’s Girl

    ~~~~~…Haha that’s all for Mrs.Kurosaki today…~~~~~