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Break Blade – 02

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「訣別ノ路」 (Ketsubetsu no Michi)
“Split Path”

Intro
As the last movie ended with a cliffhanger, I was hoping this time would be different (because waiting for the 3rd movie would be agonizing), and it was! Anyway, Rygart proceeds with his plan to talk to Zess, and it succeeds with a little inside “joke” of theirs. Right when that guy said he’s never seen Zess so flustered before, I just couldn’t help but think Zess was totally lusting for Rygart. That certainly made their entire conversation more interesting than it originally was, but Zess reveals he has a daughter later on, which destroyed that possible character dynamic. Then again, he never mentioned a wife, so you never know. Clearly, I have not been exposed to any other sources other than the anime, so it’s quite refreshing to actually guess what could possibly happen in the series for once.

Lee
Of course, I could still predict a couple of moves the characters make just by following the cliches, but the story unfolds so easily and nicely that I didn’t really care about the cliches, kinda like Avatar (yes, the one with the blue people). I enjoyed this series so far mostly because of those reasons. That and the fights are incredibly engaging for me. I found myself easily drawn into the fights, and became increasingly frustrated when Rygart kept fumbling around in such a high potential machine. At first I was like, “come on, slice that bot in half with your claymore already!” Then I realized I didn’t really want Lee to die, because I’m sympathetic like that. Her character didn’t really help with the sympathy though, as she’s only been shown to be pretty much a bitch. One, she was pretty psychotic in battle, with that intense hatred that still goes unexplained so far, but probably had to do with her past experience that we might never see. Two, she completely ruined Cleo’s advances on Zess (apparently Lee secretly wants him as well), and makes fun of her battle ability constantly. So when it was revealed they were actually friends, I thought, “who would’ve guessed?” It’s also hard to believe that she’s only fifteen (and Cleo is like the pedovision of a twelve year old. Would it have been that difficult to just say they were 21 and 18?). That said, I didn’t necessarily hate her character, so I was pretty surprised when she did actually die. Most stories never kill off any character worth a damn, and even though Lee was underdeveloped, at least she was a major asset to Zess’ team. A dying character so early on is a rare thing to see, and it immediately gave the show a more gritty dimension. By killing off actual characters, like in Code Geass, the audience starts to feel much more attached to them. Thus, they’re more likely to become engaged in any future conflicts for fear of other characters. Death is easy to do in a storyline and is something we all are at least a little afraid of, which makes it a pretty good plot device. Not to forget, Break Blade actually pulled out two death cards, as Dan also died. I was actually more conflicted with his death than Lee’s. This is mostly because Dan pretty much died for nothing, and had me wondering along with Rygart whether or not it was his fault. Having his wife show up later was even more painful to see, and I felt Rygart should have embraced her for a little sympathy. It felt like she was holding up a front, and that a hug would get her to let out the needed tears. His comment about Dan at least having a baby was a bit insensitive, seeing as how that baby is now going to grow up without a father. I mean, where would you be without your father, Rygart?

The Battle & Mechas
So, getting back on track, the movie patterns so far have made the show engaging since they sandwich in a long mecha fight in between the development (although that wasn’t boring either). While my inexperienced mecha viewing eyes enjoyed the battle, I’ve read complaints that it was a bit dragged out and had many typical cliches that occur in such battles. These would be the conveniently placed weapon nearby, dropping said weapon at a crucial point, and generally just wailing around with both sides making stupid moves. While I agree to a point, the problems just didn’t seem to be that glaring to me, as each cliche had their reasons. What’s more annoying is the fact that Hodr’s golems just plain suck compared to Zess’. Hodr’s golems are like putty, constantly being shot and destroyed by Zess’ forces. Of course, now they have “The Black Golem”, which dances circles around all of them, if only the one guy that could control it had a bit more skill.

Characters & Story
While it seems there’s many problems with the characters, I’m assuming most of it will be cleared up when the inevitable history of the four childhood friends comes around. From what’s been shown so far, the main driving force of the story will be their friendship and dealing with that conflicting with the directions their adulthood has taken them. This type of story is always enjoyable, and if dealt with right, can always be original in their own ways. Most of the characters are very likable (except the pathetic General True), and it seems from the preview that more may be added. I’m not so sure they can all get the necessary development, but extending the movies to longer than an hour is always an option. The Kara no Kyoukai movies certainly followed this pattern. Rygart so far is an extremely likable character and as such, it’s enjoyable watching him struggle around a world he regards as unnecessary complexities. His father has also been made out to be quite the extraordinary parent, and I found myself wishing he were still alive to see his son finally do something he spent all his money to get him to do. The misunderstandings between Zess and Rygart was like that of a stereotypical shoujo, and when they showed implications of Zess believing Rygart killed Lee, the plot started showing signs of a Shakespearean tragedy. I hope the climax and finale won’t be so similar, with one of the main characters dying because of inevitable consequences, but tragedies do make for epic tales. Sigyn, Hodr, and Rygart seem to make up some flawed love triangle, as Hodr and Sigyn don’t even act like a married couple. They’ve barely been shown together, and Hodr hasn’t shown any signs of caring. They didn’t even sleep in the same room! Looks like the road to Sigyn is just being paved for you Rygart, if only you weren’t also typically dense. However, Sigyn did seem to let him go with ease, but it seemed like this has happened once before in the past, implying she’s probably already over being depressed with an unrequited love. But since Rygart decided to stay to fight for his friends, he may trigger the Sigyn flag once more.

Overall
Besides the “controlling quartz” sounding kind of dumb in the beginning (because lol, why quartz and the idea of being born to control it when they look just like humans is just ..eh), and the whole “main character is a failure but apparently can do one thing that noone else in that world can so he is now special and awesome because of it and the entire storyline is way too normal to be of interest without him” kind of thing, Break Blade does a lot of things right. The animation is breathtaking at times, and the background art is gorgeous, but I feel the character/mecha animation pales to even TV series such as TTGL for it’s just missing that smoothness and snappy feeling. Break Blade is a lot like a B-movie. It never reaches that point where it can shine on it’s own high pedestal above the sea of mediocre anime (even though it gets pretty damn close), but it tells the story well, has some great scenes here and there, and generally entertains without feeling like a waste of time. However, the remaining 4 movies can easily push it over to a triple A title, so I’m excited to see where the story heads. If you’ve got two hours to kill, go see these two movies. The bad thing is waiting for the upcoming movies, as it’ll be quite the wait for the next one. Even though it comes out near the end of this month, that’s only in theaters. Apparently the DVD/BD will be out sometime in November.

If you haven’t noticed by now, this is Kiiragi filling in for Divine. He was rather busy with the Fall preview, and I just happened to watch the two movies. So for movie 3, he may return, but if he’s busy, I suppose I can continue. Hope you enjoyed my two cents instead. Also, since it’s a long post, I made it tl;dr friendly, so just read what interests you.

 

Preview

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September 24, 2010 at 5:11 pm
28 comments »
  • September 24, 2010 at 5:35 pmSora no Kaze

    Lol, nice to see this up. I was actually tempted to put that I wouldn’t mind a dual Break Blade 2-3 post if needed. You pulled through.

    One thing I would note would be as insensitive of the sentence it was, he really didn’t know what to say. Especially when his actions caused Dan’s death.

    The other thing is his if I remember correctly, (been a while since I saw the movie and read the chapter) is the fact that his method of winning was to keep going until the enemy gives up. Something if I remember, was what his dad taught him. The fact that despite Dan’s death, his objective of making Lee give up was pointless. Lee committing suicide showed Rygart the grave reality.

    Hodr’s Golems are pretty bad, unless given to a skilled warrior and even then, there so much you could do with it. On the other hand, Zess’s squad’s Golem are state of the art. Given that, you’re not going to see Hodr’s fodder unit kick much ass unlike in Gundam Unicorn. Let alone, Zess hardly has to do much. Personally, it makes it much more interesting seeing old clunky mechs clashing with everything they got, but I see what you mean by it missing that snappy smooth feeling. Hopefully, the next one will give that feel as the more experience soldiers come out.

    Now… I’m going to see so many damn Seed Reference, or someone going to point out how Rygart failed to accomplish Kira plot powers by getting two people killed.

  • September 24, 2010 at 5:45 pminfo600

    nicely written, Kiiragi. Although the misunderstanding seems to be coming from one of the nations…actually one guy’s greedy vision(knowing that it’s elaborated in this or the 3rd movie)

  • September 24, 2010 at 6:06 pmTakaii

    I can’t believe that it’s not gonna be until next year that we see another Break Blade.
    I still am disappointed in Rygart. I wish he would go more manly :(

  • September 24, 2010 at 6:27 pmSuzuku

    Congratz on getting the post up, it’s damn long too. In general I thought the pacing was a bit suspect, just like in the first movie, but overall it was enjoyable. Getting more background on the characters was also nice.

  • September 24, 2010 at 7:03 pmRockmanshii

    Thanks for the post, Divine have a bit less work lol.
    I’m really waiting for thoses movies to go at the bests parts, the meat of the meal, it’s still only the cliche beginning for now.That’s what I loved when I read the manga, they started with the guy falling in cockpit like always then it became something really different.

  • September 24, 2010 at 8:20 pmShirt

    As soon as I started reading, I could tell it wasn’t Divine and had to check. Hehe.. The format was new to me.

    Thank you for your hard work. What a thorough post. I thought the same thing about the animation. The backgrounds were SO gorgeous it began to work against it. It made others things look notably bland or less tended to. The show is still frosty and all, it just looks a little off sometimes.

    I know nothing of the Kara no Kyoukai series. But swing that you mentioned it here must mean something. I must see it now.

  • September 24, 2010 at 9:27 pmFuse01

    Good review

    You probably noticed that every time Rygart goes out to fight Sigyn watches
    This screen shot
    http://randomc.net/image/Break%20Blade/Break%20Blade%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2030.jpg
    says it all when she thought he had been killed. I think there is still some interest in
    Rygart on her part.

    I am looking forward to see how Cleo reacts to Lee’s death.

  • September 24, 2010 at 9:32 pmWill

    What I like about Break Blade is it dosent require me to suspend reality much over. I mean ya they have the ability to transfer power through quartz but other than that it is by far the most believable mech storyline I have ever seen. That and the fact that they killed off characters so fast made it seem all the more realistic. weight limits, skills based on actual natural characteristics, gritty storyline, and death in war (go figure) kinda mix together to make this a refreshing take on Mech stories.

  • September 24, 2010 at 9:37 pmRyouichi

    Imo, the mecha battles look clunky because they ARE supposed to be clunky. Big, slow, heavy mechas, unlike in say TTGL or Gundam or Macross, etc.. etc… They’re supposed to be relatively unwieldy compared to those kinds of impossible or highly-unlikely antics (Except perhaps Macross).

    As such, the defining point in victory in Break Blade is superior tactics. Even these big, unwieldy golems are dangerous if you walk into a line of them already presighting you as an ambush.

    And like the first commenter said, the really experienced pilots are showing up now, and Rygart will eventually get his shit together and kick some ass. Some cool characters will die, and some unknown ones =/. One thing I hope is that they show the souped up elite, 5-golem squadron like in the manga.

  • September 24, 2010 at 10:00 pmOni

    imo Rygart was at fault for Dan’s death no matter how much you try to rearrange it if Rygart did not stop Dan he would still be alive

    my only advice to anyone who has not read the manga is let the eps/movies stock up before watching it in a bunch

  • September 24, 2010 at 10:17 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    BEST CORONATION DIALOG EVER!

  • September 24, 2010 at 10:35 pmCK

    “The animation is breathtaking at times, and the background art is gorgeous, but I feel the character/mecha animation pales to even TV series such as TTGL for it’s just missing that smoothness and snappy feeling. Break Blade is a lot like a B-movie.”

    This compersation… Just fails on so many levels (for me)…

    • September 26, 2010 at 5:20 amYue

      Agreed with CK. While most of the recent ‘futuristic’ mecha series (code geass, macrossF, gundams in 00, etc) have fast and maneuverable mechs ‘traditional’ mechs series (gundam0083, patlabour, gasaraki, non-hax mechs in gundam00) are meant to be slow and clumsy. Should probably think of them as mobile tanks instead of Cloud with his buster sword. And Rygart’s sake it was still his second day. The max amount of time he would have been in that cockpit would have probably have been an hour.

    • September 26, 2010 at 5:56 pmKiiragi

      Eh, when I was writing, I tacked on the /mecha part, because I thought they still could use some work, despite knowing they’re supposed to be clumsy. Realism, right? Yeah, I know about it. Whatever the case, I’m still mostly talking about the character animation/details. It’s usually more the art itself than the movement as well.

  • September 24, 2010 at 11:25 pmJaden

    How could Cleo be twelve? I know we have giant chunks of metal fighting powered my magic but I just don’t see it. Puberty does not work that way cause if it did I don’t think we can blame pedophiles.

    Okay now about Break Blade, no matter how you look at it Rygart was definitely the one to blame regarding Dan’s death. I know this is the part where Rygart carries the blame to devolop his resolve but the soldier died for nothing (leaving a family in the process) and the conversation with Dan’s pregnant wife just made me want to slap some sense into the blonde douche.

    The battle was still top notch though and yes I have to agree Zess’ golems made Hodr’s look pathetic. It’s like Airsoft against laser tag, (though laser tag wins by coolness but airsoft pawns them hard) and it looks like Hodr’s Ace will still need a lot more time to became the hax it’s destined to be.

    Waiting for the third one will suck but luckily Unicorn 2 will satisfy my mecha needs. Nice touch with the division of review though, I only read the Overall first but ended up reading your thoughts about the rest eventually. Nice work.

    • September 25, 2010 at 12:51 amReddyRedWolf

      Real life is stranger than fiction. Saaya Irie was 10 or 11 and she has size D knockers. Indeed scientists are seeing a trend in female puberty being earlier.

      As for Lee she was brainwashed by propaganda. Krishna fought for its independence and Athens wrote them in their history books to be monsters. Forging some stories. In fact we see it in the military conference. Military was covering their asses that their invasion force was getting their tails whipped ,with massive casualties, by bunch of guys holed up in a fortress. Like their guys were attacked while retreating.

      Speaker, “Krishna did a dishonorable attack! They attacked while our troops were retreating.”

      Citizen, “Aren’t they holed up in that fortress?”

      Speaker, “Yes.”

      Citizen, “sooo how can they attack?”

      Speaker, “Arrest that Man! He’s a spy”

      • September 25, 2010 at 10:40 amJaden

        Good call bringing Saaya Irie up, though I had to Google her first. Precocious puberty at it’s finest ^^ but still, looking at her pictures and knowing her real age kinda messes with my head, same issue I have with Cleo.

        Well I guess that’s what I get for mixing fiction with reality, it all ends with a facepalm.

      • September 25, 2010 at 2:27 pmRockmanshii

        Thanks, didn’t know about this Saaya Irie girl either.

  • September 25, 2010 at 2:24 amU Doh

    Character-wise disappointment everywhere.

  • September 25, 2010 at 5:01 amCroosboy

    this was better than i expected. I read the manga but watching mecha move really hips me. I want to see more action of delfinger(correct me if wrong)

  • September 25, 2010 at 6:48 amunknown2

    Its coz of this lovely anime the manga suddenly increased its price 2ndhand @ Book Off lol

    Athrun and Kira scenairo, I first thought…lol We’ll see the difference.

  • September 25, 2010 at 10:35 amblitz

    was kinda disappointed how they fitted it to be some uber-tank. I thought with all that high speed agility and mega jumps it’d be some kind of ninja golem.

    Then again i may be wrong and they’ll go with a ninja-tank of some sorts

  • September 25, 2010 at 5:22 pmSOSAnimeBoy

    Is the animation really as good as it looks in the screens above? Some anime look great in screen shots and really awful in motion.

    • September 25, 2010 at 6:51 pmFreya

      It indeed is that good. If you watch from GG, they use the Blu-Ray so it’s top notch stuff. This is by far one of my favorite “shows” so far.

  • September 25, 2010 at 9:18 pmYukiruchan

    LOL^_^ A relationship between Zess and Lygart would be really nice! But Zess is really married, he has a normal looking wife and a daughter. Too bad.

    I like your review.

  • September 26, 2010 at 2:09 amRyanime

    This mini-series is great. The animation quality is great (compared to other mini-series movies e.g. Eden of the East). The characters seem real enough to me (remember an old joke from back when they were in school).

    I definitely wonder about Sigyn. She’s wearing those red riding hood cloths. She’s also obviously (to us) attracted more to Rygart than to Hodr, but it’s subtle to everyone else. Surely she doesn’t even know.

  • September 26, 2010 at 10:44 amviolinkit

    Anyone notice the “RYYYYGAAAARTOOOO” “ZESSSSSSSSSSSSSSU” in the preview? That totally made me grin xD

  • September 26, 2010 at 10:46 amviolinkit

    OH and Sorry for the double post but it seems to me that Sigyn’s marriage to Hodr is probably just a front. I doubt they’re really together – she’s obviously got eyes only for Rygart. I don’t think Rygart’s that dense either – he’s obviously attracted to her too, but has got a good head above his shoulders and realize that regardless of whether or not she’s into him, she’s a married girl, queen to a kingdom, and wife of one of his best friend. I doubt he’d be the first to make a move.