Anime Club: Blame!

BLAME!

DIRECTED BY: Hiroyuki Seshita

GENRE: Action, Science Fiction

YEAR: 2017

STUDIO: Polygon Pictures

COUNTRY: Japan

Killy, a silent loner possessing an incredibly powerful weapon known as a Gravitational Beam Emitter, wanders a vast technological world known as “The City”. He is searching for Net Terminal Genes, a (possibly) extinct genetic marker that allows humans to access the “Netsphere”, a sort of computerized control network for The City. The City is an immense volume of artificial structure, separated into massive “floors” by nearly impenetrable barriers known as “Megastructure”. The City is inhabited by scattered human and transhuman tribes as well as hostile cyborgs known as Silicon Creatures. The Net Terminal Genes appear to be the key to halting the unhindered, chaotic expansion of the Megastructure, as well as a way of stopping the murderous horde known as the Safeguard from destroying all humanity.

Is everyone ready to play the Blame game? I know this is getting worse and worse as time moves on. Anyway, let’s get on with the show! Blame is the most recent Netflix original anime, an adaptation of the original 10 volume manga. While the premise is incredibly familiar, almost pass the point of no return, Blame takes viewers in an interesting direction of cyberpunk violence. While Blame‘s novelty suffers from a pre-Matrix world, the world-building is much more entertaining than the plotting itself.

All you need is Killy.

So this is going to be where the real blaming starts. As I mentioned above, Blame suffers extremely due to other successful science fiction franchises supporting an almost identical premise. We have seen this story done over and over and even better than what Blame has to offer. While the CGI animation style is thematically appropriate and adds to the overall science fiction world that has been created, it also isn’t enough to save the film. I haven’t been so bored watching an anime film in my life, especially where I couldn’t find a single character to care about.

PROS:

  • CGI animation style.
  • World building +++.

CONS:

  • Boring premise.
  • Unlikeable characters.
  • Slow pacing.

SCORE: 5.5 / 10

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Anime Club: Gantz:0

GANTZ: O

DIRECTED BY: Yasushi Kawamura

STARRING: Daisuke Ono, M·A·O, Tomohiro Kaku, Saori Hayami, Shūichi Ikeda, Masane Tsukayama, Yūki Kaji

GENRE: Science Fiction, Action

YEAR: 2016

COUNTRY: Japan

While fighting invading monsters, Kei Kurono rescues his friend, Reika. Though she protests, he faces off against the monsters’ leader, dying just after killing it. Reika and her surviving teammates are teleported back to their base. Elsewhere, Masaru Kato dies after attempting to save someone from a knife-wielding maniac in a subway (who seems to be indiscriminately killing innocent bystanders). He wakes up in a small room with Reika and her teammates: Yoshikazu Suzuki, an old man; Joichiro Nishi, a surly teenager; and an angry, unidentified man. Suzuki explains that, in the past, they have each died and woken in the room. They are subsequently forced to fight against waves of monsters. Before Suzuki can explain further, a black orb identified as “Gantz” announces that their next mission is about to begin. The angry man defiantly refuses to participate and is killed by Nishi, who reasons that the rebelling man will be nothing but a liability.

Alright Gantz:0, what do have in store for me? While I am not too familiar with the Gantz franchise, as it has been almost a decade since I have seen the original series, but I felt Gantz:0 actually found itself a place in this gory/bloody franchise. By far the best part of Gantz:0 was the design of the enemies. They were weird, surreal, and equally terrifying to the point of pure amazement. For example, when the boss arrives in his final form, he intrigues me at the same time of horrifying me beyond belief. Now that I think of it though, it seems loosely influenced by the Summoned Skull monster from the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, just 10 times more bad ass.

However, beyond the monster design, nothing really stood out to me at least in a positive light. The CGI animation, while showcasing the advances we have made in the following years, it made the human characters seem bland and unimportant. While this does provide the illusion that they are just soldiers, not unique in any way, but that also takes away what little character development there is. Continuing with character faults, the voice acting is also rather poor, this story should have just been left subtitled.

PROS:

  • Character design.
  • Score.

CONS:

  • Poor cast performance.
  • Awkward CGI animation.
  • Bland character design.
  • Pacing.

SCORE: 4.5 / 10

 

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Anime Club: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I: The Egg of the King

BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC I: THE EGG OF THE KING

DIRECTED BY: Toshiyuki Kubooka

GENRE: Action, Dark Fantasy

YEAR: 2012

COUNTRY: Japan

Guts, a mercenary, attracts the attention of the Band of the Hawk and is forced into joining the group after being defeated by its leader Griffith twice. Once the Hawks defeated the kingdom of Chuder’s Black Ram Iron Lance Calvary, they are recruited by Midland for its war against the rival kingdom. During one siege, Guts and Griffith encounter the demon Nosferatu Zodd, who notices the Behelit around Griffith’s neck and warns Guts that Griffith will be his doom.

I want to preface this that I have only seen very little of the movies and series in the Berserk franchise, so I am only a bit familiar with the background and lore of the franchise. By far one of the most popular anime franchises, The Golden Age Arc – The Egg of the King is the first film in the movie compilation that serves as a retelling of the Golden Age arc. The animation style is superb and definitely, serves as a standard for the technology at the time. Also, I would like to give a shout out to the voice cast, as their performances resonated with their characters rather well.

I have two major drawbacks and disappointments when it comes to The Egg of the King.  First off, while the art style was done really well, I didn’t feel that it resonated with the Berserk story as well as it could have. It definitely created a more stylized feel than the grittiness the Berserk is known for. Lastly, I didn’t enjoy the film as much as I could have because there is honestly very little action or anything going on. The Egg of the King is definitely no more than setting up for the rest of the Golden Age arc story.

PROS:

  • Appealing animation.
  • Main cast performance.

CONS:

  • The majority of the story is just setup.
  • Animation is too stylized.
  • Quite uninteresting if you know nothing about the Berserk franchise.

SCORE: 5.5 / 10

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