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Break Blade – 06 (END)

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「慟哭ノ砦」 (Doukoku no Toride)
“Fortress of Lament”

After rewatching the final movie of the Break Blade series almost two months later, I still can’t shake the feeling that it lacks a sense of closure. It wasn’t all that unexpected given that the manga doesn’t conclude where the movies did, but it does leave something to be desired when Rygart, Zess, Hodr, and Sigyn’s backstory is left completely open-ended. To me, their friendship is the core of the story and the war between Athens and Krisna is merely a setting for it, so things should ultimately come down to an ending that resolves things between them. Not exactly the easiest thing to do when Zess isn’t even around for the last three movies, except for the very end when it revealed he has a wife and a daughter.

That isn’t a knock on the movie series though, since it was fairly faithful to the original source material (as far as I’m aware) and did wrap up the first major arc. Borcuse served as the ultimate antagonist and Rygart faced him head-on in a climactic battle to defend Krisna. Emotions were high-strung after Girge was killed last time and the stage was set for Zess’ return after Sigyn let Cleo escape. They also introduced a bit of a rivalry between Nile and Io, after it was revealed that the former was spared, so there was hardly anything to be disappointed about. The only thing Break Blade can be faulted for is the way it left me wanting to see more with no promise of a sequel being produced, which is hardly a bad thing from a production standpoint. There’s clearly a lot more story to tell, going back to the unresolved situation between our main characters, even in light of how the Empire of Orlando’s involvement was taken out to narrow the focus in this adaptation.

Looking solely at this last movie, it was pretty close to a full hour of nonstop fighting. There was some initial preamble to tie in the events of the fifth movie and provide a small setup to this one, but after that it played out like the final hour of a six-hour-long movie. All the main players were front and center squaring off with one another, and the balance of power shifted to a more neutral position with the timely arrival of Baldr and his select knights, turning it into a back and forth struggle that didn’t disappoint the least bit. Surprisingly, Krisna’s captains and commanders could fight on even footing against Athens’ overwhelming numbers. They were losing ground, but it was still nothing like the one-sided slaughter that it looked like it would be. I was pretty convinced that Sakura (Katsuragi Nanaho) was going to be killed by Borcuse, but she managed to hold her own pretty well — long enough for Rygart to step in anyway. In hindsight, the only thing that I would’ve liked to see is a showdown between Narvi and Leto, which I figured would’ve been a pretty good rivalry alongside Nile and Io.

As for Rygart and Borcuse, an unsuspecting viewer probably would’ve dubbed Rygart the antagonist in the final showdown. Rygart was consumed by the flames of war after his village was massacred and looked like he was struggling to keep it bottled up. Borcuse on the other hand looked like he was just spending another day on the battlefield, unfazed by Rygart’s reckless attacks and disinterested in fighting an unarmed Golem. There was a powerful contrast between the two of them, given how Borcuse had embraced war and reveled in it whereas Rygart almost lost himself after getting caught up in it. If I hadn’t known about the heinous war crimes Borcuse committed, I probably would’ve felt remorseful over his death — especially with the way he resigned to being killed and thought about his daughter Leda in his final moments. It was a very solemn and twisted conclusion to the invasion, which Rygart’s hysterical sense of relief and uncontrollable tears echoed just before the credits scroll. The ending was abrupt but very powerful for that reason, and gave me goosebumps with KOKIA’s “Sound of Sorrow” playing in the background. I watched the video below a few times while writing this post and heck, it gives me chills even now.

 

ED2 Sequence

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ED2: 「嘆きの音」 (Nageki no Oto) by KOKIA
Watch the 2nd ED!: Streaming ▼

Final Impressions:

Despite the lack of any resolution between Rygart/Zess, Rygart/Sigyn, or Hodr/Zess — or the inclusion of an epilogue for that matter — I still enjoyed this movie series a lot more than I’m probably letting on. I mentioned back in the first movie (around this time last year) that the clunky Golems and lack of overly advanced technology in light of the existence of “magic” piqued my interest a lot. That remains true even now, especially after learning that Delphine was supposedly created for some greater purpose — to fight against fate. Together, they provided a unique mix of realism and fantasy, which always left me as curious about Delphine’s origins as it did the outcome of the war.

At the center of it all was a complex cast of characters, who made it hard to choose a side even when Rygart was clearly on one of them. The seemingly straightforward plot was centered around deeply rooted pasts and was supported by a plethora of characters who all made their mark on the story. Girge is an excellent example, being one of the most intriguing antiheroes I’ve seen in a while, as is Borcuse for being a complex and rational super villain. If there’s one aspect of Break Blade that stood out as much as Production I.G and XEBEC’s impressive visuals, it was definitely the characters. They’re believable and most of all relatable, making it really easy to get absorbed in what’s going on. It’s easy to recommend this movie series based on production values alone, but it’s an absolute shoo-in knowing there’s so much more to it than that. Six movies later, I feel there’s still so much story to be told and so much untapped potential leaving off where they did.

At this point, I’m just hoping that we’ll see a continuation one day. I’m tempted to pick up on the manga, but I absolutely love the immersive surreal-like feel that the movies deliver and can’t see it being as awesome of an experience. For the being, I’m actually leaning towards rewatching all the movies simply because it’s been a full year since the first one was released on Blu-ray and DVD. I figure that if it’s as memorable as it is over a one-year span, it must be even better in a single sitting. As per the above, I definitely recommend this movie series to anyone looking for an anime that sets itself apart from the norm. I wouldn’t quite label it as a masterpiece, but I can’t imagine anyone who’s seen Break Blade feel that it isn’t worth watching. Just remember: it’s not just about robots, so don’t let that hold you back.

August 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm
30 comments »
  • August 29, 2011 at 11:07 pmalabaster

    I agree. The ending wasn’t as satisfactory as expected, even though it deviated quite a bit from the manga. But that can’t be helped as the manga just finished the first arc.

  • August 29, 2011 at 11:24 pmfragb85

    Zess did mention he had a daughter way back in the 2nd movie.

  • August 30, 2011 at 12:23 amArcad

    As much as I would love to say read the manga, I feel it ruined this series ( at least for in the 6th episode) Cause key scenes (IMO) from the manga didn’t get animated. Which kinda ticked me off.

  • August 30, 2011 at 12:25 amBobby

    honestly, i don’t satisfy that this is the end of break blade ova, I hope they create this into anime series,,

  • August 30, 2011 at 12:34 amAlec

    I think it was also mentioned he had a wife — Idk, I’m probably just mixing up the manga and anime xD

    One thing about the manga : It’s really hard to differentiate which mecha is from Athens and which mecha is from Krisna. Lol, it gets really annoying when a battle is happening xD

  • August 30, 2011 at 12:50 ammajin

    Girge’s final stand as well as the battle between Borcuse and Rygart were done much much better in the manga. You should check it out sometime.

  • August 30, 2011 at 1:03 amRickyMack

    definitely, waiting on the manga to close up.

  • August 30, 2011 at 4:25 amoutcast

    Typical animation starting before the manga ends.
    I loved the first movies. But the last ones were a bit lackluster in the story department even though they had some nice fights.

  • August 30, 2011 at 4:26 amMolo

    somehow i felt that kokia’s song, the flower that she sings of was somewhat analogous to Rygart’s brother. Also the way he scolded rygart, what had u been doing all these while, was a sad reflection for rygart on the consequences of war.

  • August 30, 2011 at 5:47 ampaulrenzo

    The way Krisna won the war was way, WAY more awesome in the manga. However, this gripe was almost cancelled out by the fact that Baldr was more awesome in this series.

    Still, this series did not disappoint. It would have ended better during the celebrations in the manga.

  • August 30, 2011 at 8:34 amMrRei

    This is why I hate it when the anime ends on an ongoing manga.. The ending doesn’t add up much to satisfy people.

  • August 30, 2011 at 8:47 amZreon

    Personally, I think this ending was better than I expected it to be.
    After the strange behaviour in episode 5 really turned me off so much, my expectations were quite low though.
    They finished the invasion arc well enough, but indeed left the overall war and most of the character driven plotlines dangling. Guess it’s a big advert for the manga then.
    Still, the animation and such was nice enough and I had fun because of the visuals alone.
    Quite enjoyable, I’d say.

  • August 30, 2011 at 8:51 amSeedStriker

    From the movie’s POV, this finale had a little bit of everything the franchise had to offer… except the much needed situation of “Rygart loves Sigyn but need to speak with Hodr to clarify things” and the “Zess, WTF are you doing right now?!” Don’t misunderstand me, I loved the mecha action and the way General “Raynor” Baldr showed why he’s the man in Krisna, but the issue is about Rygart’s real reason to risk his life, something that the manga has clarify up to now.

    For the people that had already seen the animation, READ THE MANGA! Binonten’s siege is way too superior in paper, as some of the details that the almost 1-hour animation couldn’t put.

  • August 30, 2011 at 11:54 amSIlivious

    From a movie POV, like Seed said, it fits. If you follow the manga though, it still leaves so much yet to be done, lol. But, in the end, it’s a great end to the series.
    To think, a manga that has only just passed this point in the movies, got this far is just awesome. :)

  • August 30, 2011 at 1:02 pmlaaa

    avarage ending but not that bad too
    shame 1 more great mecha anime is over(well it was like 2 months ago:( )

  • August 30, 2011 at 2:18 pmchaos

    With the manga still running, the anime made it own ending of the aftermath. It wasn’t bad, but it does need more closure, especially between Rygart and Sigyn.

    I don’t know if this was true or not, but…

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • August 30, 2011 at 8:12 pmalabaster

      Here’s some clarification if you’re willing to get spoiled
      Show Spoiler ▼

  • August 30, 2011 at 3:01 pmShadowbane

    Personally, I was a little disappointed by the ending. Once they started deviating from the manga everything started to feel like it was going down hill. It would have been one thing if they had attempted to wrap things up in an alternate version with the movies, but the movies left things open ended like the manga, though the manga is just going through an arc. As for the battle between Borcuse and Rygart, it was a lot more badass in the manga. The movie fight felt like it was dragging on too much.

  • August 30, 2011 at 4:24 pmSIlivious

    Chaos, as of yet in the manga, that’s not happened. The war is only now just “over” and I say it with quotes because you don’t know what Assam’s message says.

  • August 30, 2011 at 4:36 pmRockmanshii

    I liked the siege better in the manga, but it was still very awesome here too, I believe each version got it’s pro & cons.
    It always amaze me when I think about these movies, about how they changed many things from the manga yet each of the final outcomes remained the same. Isn’t that the very definition of the word adaptation? I wonder if that’s the right way to adapt stuff. Sorry if I sound weird. I know what I mean but I don’t think I managed to say it clearly.

    Also like Alec said in the manga the fights were very confusing but now, in the recent chapters there’s always a little window coming out from the Golem with the portrait of the pilot.

  • August 30, 2011 at 7:13 pmCode Fanboy

    TOOOOOOOO SHORT. I can’t believe that was the end. Is there a manga? that really wasn’t much. There better be a sequal.

  • August 30, 2011 at 7:53 pmxcswmboy

    The entire battle was quite chaotic and I had a horrid time figuring out who was on what side shooting what. The entire setting of this movie was very rushed. Baldr’s forces were forced to fight from the enemy flank. Delphine was operating on a dearth of weapons. Krishna was completely under-prepared for the attack. I think that is the main difference between the manga siege.

    I think most people would agree that the duel with Borcuse was much better in the manga. Even the movie-original weapon of the rubber band giant shuriken was used more like a mace than its potential as a boomerang attack which would made a much less desperate fight. Yes, there was a giant shuriken in the manga too, but the katana was more of the focus there.

    Overall, I say I liked the movies but it could have been better.

    • August 31, 2011 at 6:21 amkanon78

      If they weren’t going to tie things up between the main characters why this deviation from ova5 and 6 into a somewhat (lame) anime original ending that feels really rushed/is quite subpar compared to the awesome manga.
      Instead of shuffling and bending events into this meager AOE, they should have just continued the faithful adaptation up to ch50/51 and stop there.
      Key scenes from the manga like Girge kicking some more ass, the way Girge died, the final battle between Borcuse and Rygart and RygartxSigyn in the aftermath of Girge’s death deserved to be animated instead of this half-baked deviation we got from 0VA5 and 6.
      I really don’t get these studio’s that manage to f*** up an awesome orginal source/manga in favor of their worthless and subpar (adaptation) ideas.
      This ain’t the first and (unfortunately) won’t be the last time a (great) manga suffers this injustice when being adapted into anime..

  • August 30, 2011 at 10:36 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    BIG ASS shuriken on a bungee makes daft plinker go SPLAT!!!!! while TIG’OL BITTY BLOND swoons over starting a CUCKOLD SCENARIO!!!! ………….hmmmmm, yeah that’s plenty enough closure for me, NEEEEXT!!!!!!

    • August 30, 2011 at 10:38 pmBROOKLYN otaku

      OHH, BTW D! what are your feelings on that MARDOCK SCRAMBLE release??????????????

    • September 1, 2011 at 7:15 amTrifinite

      ….next. Maybe you should stick to stuff like ro kyu bu

  • September 1, 2011 at 10:13 amshinkirou

    hoe they really continue the series, they never show the whole invasionis zess ‘s brother plots

  • September 1, 2011 at 9:24 pmJeffryZin2011

    The war is just the beginning. and that’s it. THE END. Just like that.

  • September 2, 2011 at 11:13 amshinkirou

    i demand it to serialize or at least finish or resolve the war with each own ending. so frustrated till have to read manga to catch up. have to admit it is good piece of story line that get me hook up like code geass, although i not much a fan of mecha

  • September 7, 2011 at 6:43 amconyo985

    LOL! I was totally clueless until I read this post. I was so sure there was going to be another but this is the end? They didn’t even try to tie the loose ends! This makes this whole OVA pointless as far as I’m concerned.