Wednesday 9 October 2013

First Impressions: Blazblue Alter Memory

Blazblue Alter Memory

Blazblue and I have a bit of an odd relationship. I don't want to consider myself a fan of the franchise as I have never actually played any of the games, but the character designs have always interested me and its definitely something I've always wanted to give a go. But when news of an anime adaptation hit the internet I thought "why bother"? After all since the series would be covering the games' plot I could get all of the story out of it without any effort of playing the games. But video game adaptations are something that usually go very wrong, especially in the fighting game department - will Blazblue Alter Memory be any different?

Before even barely beginning the first episode it's clear that this isn't a show that's going to be kind to newcomers. Despite (from what I can gather) being a retelling of the first game, this episode speeds through plot points, settings and terminology as if it were the norm and everyone's heard it a hundred times before. From what I've been able to piece together from the episode, Blazblue wikis and general descriptions of this show it revolves around "grim reaper" Ragna the Bloodedge, a man who brings destruction wherever he goes and apparently plans to take down those controlling the world. Due to the bounty placed on his head (the largest ever), he attracts the attention of bounty hunters from across the world who  plan to take him down and collect the reward. At least that's what I think was going on, there was also a cyborg chick, a vampire and a smelting pot at the beginning.

Animation-wise there isn't a whole lot to complain about, but it does all feel rather underwhelming. Animation teams teamKG and Hoods Entertainment (yeah, I've never heard of them either) do a good job of bringing Arc System Works' characters to life in a full blown anime series, but most of the credit for how good they look still lies with the original designers. And considering this is a show based on a FIGHTING game, the minimal amount of fighting included in this episode was pretty unimpressive. More generic than outright bad, which is all the more disappointing for something that should be focusing on fight sequences as a centrepiece of sorts. I guess it's pretty cool they got the whole game cast to come back and reprise their roles though.

Really I should have known what I was getting in for when the opening credits turned out to be a montage of bits of the episode instead of something wholly unique to draw viewers in. During the next episode preview, Ragna wonders aloud to the audience whether Blazblue Alter Memory will be able to break the jinx placed on fighting game anime adaptations. Well, if this first episode is anything to go by then I believe the answer is quite obviously "no".

Looks like the games might be the best route to go after all.

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