I understand why people would give this a low score due to its complete incomprehensibiliy if you're not reading the manga alongside it - and as we already have a review stating this, I'm going to be taking the opposite viewpoint.
This collage of scenes from from the manga should be taken as just that, a mix of different points in the overarching story that, in this context, make no real sense. But when the manga is being read alongside them they become something different.
Like cutscenes in a videogame, they succeed in complementing the manga by adding action and colour to previously inert images - and in doing so also succeed in clarifying what a few of the unclear panels in the manga were trying to say. These "Logs" have another purpose too, in emphasising the tone of the story: dark, grim, dystopian, and all-together terrifying in its own right; through the use of suitable music and disconcerting, but varied and interesting, colour schemes.
So my final recommendation is this; if you're reading the manga, watch this after getting to around volume four or so - otherwise, skip it. You won't be able to get anything out of this unless you've had prior experience with the material.
I never rated anything a one out of ten… until I encountered Blame.
Perhaps it was because I am a man of the pencil and paper, and I tend to become extremely irritated when others criticize my work. As a result, I don’t particularly enjoy ripping someone else’s culmination of effort to shreds. Instead, I always appreciate the thing or things a crappy series pulls off successfully, even if they are ultimately insignificant, and I make sure to feature them in my review. Perhaps I chose not to hand out ones because of my opinion that anyone who habitually gives low scores to the things they watch must not enjoy what anime has to offer. Perhaps I chose not to rate anything a one out of ten because I set an impossible standard for what I considered to be the worst of the worst. The standard? An anime has to be just as unbearable or shoddier that Adam Sandler’s infamously crappy Jack and Jill, which is difficult to do even if you’re trying. I never thought I would live to see the day when my expectation for the most despicable of trash would not only be met but far, far exceeded. Unfortunately, I encountered Blame.
Blame began as an obscure success, what many consider to be Tsutomu Nihei’s finest work. It explored a unique perspective on the post-apocalyptic dystopia out Earth had become, or so I’ve heard (Thanks to the anime, I will never read the Blame manga). Group TAC, known for spearheading outrageously low-budget products like Baki the Grappler, is the company that agreed to producing Blame, which had become a 6-episode ONA (An ONA is basically an OVA abut much, much shorter). Utterly unaware of the consequences of my sin, I bought the Blame ONA on Amazon because it was cheap, about a dollar plus shipping fees, but the low price slapped onto this title should’ve been a massive red flag that Blame wasn’t going to be worth my time. What finally enlightened me on Blame’s true colors was its DVD menu; it’s an exercise in frustration as the menu options are in an inhuman, indecipherable language. With all of this at the top of your mind, do you really think the anime itself would actually be good?
Each of Blame’s six episodes conclude after a measly five minutes of airtime yet that doesn’t dissuade the fact of this anime overall feeling as if it slogs snail-like to the end of time. Much of this is due to a lack of experience and passion for the art of cinematography; Blame is riddled with lengthy, purposeless, yawn-inducing still shots and in one sequence, the camera pulls off a pointless 360-degree rotation. On top of that, there’s occasionally a blue silhouette of a shark randomly floating across the screen (Don’t expect there to be a reason for this). What really causes this ONA’s cinematography to be absolutely unendurable is when Blame attempts to add some flair to the animation. In one scene, a barrage of epileptic fit-inducing multicolored flashing lights invade the screen (An episode of the iconic Pokémon was banned in Japan for this very thing but Blame is able to get away with it because nobody cares about Blame), The ONA occasionally employs moments of TV static, complete with sound effects, but why I do not know. The fourth episode attempts adopting a trippy feel to Blame with its hazy, dreamy style but everything just looks blurry. At this point, you’re most likely thinking, “Okay, well the animation sucks. Does this thing even have a good storyline?” If you were thinking that, the answer is a definitive and resounding no.
To claim Blame doesn’t have a storyline would be a phenomenal understatement; Blame has no storyline whatsoever. For starters, the title’s driving purpose is established and explained in a fashion that barely comes across as vague (the closest I could formulate to a plot point was something about “network genes”). There’s a fight scene midway through the ONA and, were this any other anime series, it could’ve been worthwhile. However, the fight has no solid precedence behind it, it’s flat-out uninteresting, and it has no real conclusion (Blame chose to transition to another episode AS IF NOTHING HAPPENED). Because there is a profound depravity of structure and cohesion in the ONA’s plot foundation, Blame’s story simply sucker-punches you without warning with random events, quotes, statistics, and characters, and expects you to care about all of them. Speaking of characters, the ones in Blame are but inanimate representations of what a character should be. The protagonists, more precisely the only human-esque drawings that receive the most screen time, are a black-haired guy (Killy) and a white-haired chick (Cibo); both of them have no depth, dimensions, likability, purpose, or chemistry between them (They’re not even good enough to come across as stereotypical). The character designs in Blame are invariably hideous and all of them basically look the same (Why? Because again nobody cares about Blame, not even the animators). There are only two voice actors in Blame (one for Killy and one for Cibo), another enormous red flag for potential viewers, and when they have to portray other “characters”, their lifeless voices are manipulated through an audio processor in order to sound different. The actors’ utter lack of what the world of classical theater call “stage presence” is more glaringly apparent thanks to the supremely bland dialogue in Blame. Even the infamous MD Geist had a titular character whose actor voiced his role with as much faux-masculinity as he could muster. However, effort is a stranger to Blame.
“You should remember me,” – Cibo (Episode 3)
2003 was an absolute Hall-of-Fame year for anime titles (genre-defining classics like Planetes, Last Exile, Gungrave, Texhnolyze, and Fullmetal Alchemist were released) but Blame was fortunately ushered into the public through the backdoor, little known back then and virtually forgotten now. Sadly, I will never be able to forget or forgive Blame, especially for the so-called “ending”. To summarize Blame’s finale, Killy and Cibo didn’t complete their mission (of which I’m not totally sure I understand) but were apparently about to, practically nothing is explained, and I finished this abomination more perplexed than when I started. Most likely knowing that they would be ruthlessly criticized for Blame’s existence, Group TAC decided to label this title “an experimental animation” but that shouldn’t have allowed them to lazily smash crap together and christian it an anime. Why Group TAC, or any other production company, would decide to animate Blame is beyond me; the manga wasn’t a guaranteed money maker. A mainstream hit of ridiculous proportions. The Blame manga was more akin to a hidden gem, a cult classic, with a miniscule yet insanely devoted fanbase so naturally only the most avid devotee of the manga bothered watching Blame at the time (There’s a reason why it was so cheap on Amazon). Overall, I have to say Blame is by far the worst anime I’ll ever witness in literally every way, shape, or form. There is nothing it did right, no valid reason to rate Blame above a 2 out of 10, and this is coming from a man who was once exposed to what I regard as “the Unholy Trinity of Anime”: Mars of Destruction, Pupa, and Boku no Pico.
At least Mars of Destruction had a decent soundtrack.
At least Pupa had bothered to attempt adding depth to its story.
At least Boku no Pico had one quality scene.
I would rant for a few more paragraphs about how disgusting Blame is but I think you get the point by now and I won’t say anything else because I highly doubt a lot of people are even reading this.
Why? Because once again nobody cares about Blame.
omz a GIANT FISH... and an EYE ! I'm sure they are oozing deep symbolism, reasonably sure at any rate. It starts off, just pulling you allong for the ride. As I staed for the review in the prologue, I will say again here, this was made for fans of the Manga. If you don't know anything about the manga, you should probably look it up. I started reading the manga a long time ago and never finished - I dont remember why. I was probably just really confused.
In ep 4, you get a short explination as to what is going on. For the most part these 'files' are like little windows to the manga. I remember reading it and thinking it was really interesting and I was very excited when I started watching this, but I already knew the 'story' and was familiar with the 'world' so to speak. Even though I dont think I read past vol 1 I raelly enjoyed watching this bring it to life.
The story is actually ... creepy.... off putting, and here is a snippet of infor, this 'city' aka the structure that thay are in, is so vast that there is a room the size of jupiter hanging out in it. Among other places. The moon is also an 'integral' part of the 'city' so there is your general idea as to the vastness of this place.
it fits perfectly for what is going on, even if the high pitched buzzing was less than a pleasant experiance for me
synthetics, clones and that guy Killi - the human
the synthetics are mostly out to destroy killi, so to me they seem hostile and angry. you do learn why they are doing this, so that is a bit of a releafe. These machine things dont really seem to have much more emotion than intense anger/violence.
there are a couple of synthetics here and there who do seem relitively benevolant and even try to help.
Cibo - a clone. soft spoken and she knows when to take action. she doesnt seem to have much of an emotional range past "I am serious."
Killi - a human, with an amazing gun/gravity thing that blows stuff up. he also seems to react very calmly about all these things trying so hard to kill him. I kind of like that. I suppose if 'people/things' are trying to kill you often enough you just get used to it.
I gave the characters such a low rating because... we dont really get to see much of them... we watch this and still have not much of an idea in regards to them.
I enjoyed the experiance, but I still would suggest you read the manga or look it up before watching.
It's not often one comes across an anime with a total run time of half an hour. "BLAME!" fits this description quite nicely. At six episodes, each running for five minutes, it should be interesting and pretty weird, right?
Well, that was right on the money.
Story: Can I explain the story of "BLAME!"? Not really; there is no story. According to Anime-Planet's plot summary, Kirii (you spell that however you want) is a human who is surrounded by androids and clones. He is supposed to collect "net-genes" and try to find remaining humans. Whoever wrote this summary must be A.) the director of the anime, B.) the mangaka of the original manga, C.) Kirii himself, or D.) L Lawliet. Seriously. I have no clue what the plot of this thing is; one tag is "Abstract," but I think "Mindf*ck" might be more appropriate. So I can't really rate the story very high... but since it sounds interesting enough from the summary, I'll give it an average score (yes, three is low, but what did you expect me to give it?!).
Animation: Very monochrome color palate, but the artwork is fitting and, honestly? practically gorgeous. It looks like sci-fi artwork at it's finest, and the animation is fluid, if it's there at all (it often isn't). Character designs are fine for both characters. Not much else to say, though.
Sound: The characters' voice actors do fitting work, but neither character talks much. No English voice acting. (I want to say, "DUH!," but that might be rude.) The ending song... or opening song... or song which is played in most of the episodes... sounds effing awesome, so props to the series for that! Insert music fits.
Characters: Oh dear... this isn't going to go very well...
Characters: Boy in top picture: Kirii; girl in bottom picture: Shibo.
It was difficult to find a picture (I ended up just using two different pictures T.T)--most of them were motivational posters, stupid cartoony things, or Jamie Foxx.
Kirii: I can't really explain him as a character because he's, for the most part, silent and emotionless. He's not unlikable or anything, just... well, maybe if the series was longer he would develop/or get a backstory.
Shibo: She shows up later in the series, which is saying a lot, and she is emotionless, too. Read Kirii's overview to understand my views on her.
Overall: It is a difficult story to rate. The manga runs for ten volumes, apparently, so maybe that is more extensive than the anime. (Edit: I have now read the manga, and I can safely say that while it did have more characters, better art and a more developed plot... it was still quite confusing, and that plot wasn't much.) Did I enjoy "BLAME!?" I think so. Even if it is ridiculously underdeveloped, it has great art and music, so sure. Would I recommend it? If you want weird sci-fi, by all means, watch this show. If you really just want a short anime, I'd direct you to the ten minute "Comedy," instead.
Honestly, I felt a bit like Towelie as I watched Blame! (man I have no idea what’s goin’ on.) Seriously though, at first I got worried that the lack of story had something to do with me – maybe I just missed something; I mean, it was kind of late when I watched this series. The truth is, Blame! seems to choose some buzzwords (e.g. megastructure,) and string them together, so that we can all pretend that a plot exists. Unlike other cyberpunk anime which sometimes leave gaps early on and fill them in periodically throughout the series, Blame! leaves its gaps wide open even in the end. Blame! takes place in space, or that’s what it seems to me, and follows Cibo and Killy on their mission to save the Netspere (see, I wasn’t lying about these buzzwords.)
Despite the lack of story, which is generally the most important aspect for me, I obviously stuck this one out, and for two main reasons. First, Blame! is a whopping 37 minutes long, so once I started it, I figured it wouldn’t kill me to finish it. Second and more importantly, Blame! struck me as (for lack of a better term) avant-garde, and the music and animation alone made the series bearable.
Why the possibly generous 1.5? Blame! is based on its manga, and my guess is that anyone who reads the corresponding manga will have a much better perception of the plot, and they may actually have a better chance at piecing things together than those of us who do not read manga. Also, if explosions count as plot, I guess you could up the rating to a 2.
While the animation itself is not overly sophisticated, it (along with the sound) prevents Blame! from being a complete disaster. If a crazy kid splattering paint could make an anime, I’m pretty sure this is how it would turn out, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. Blame! is an explosion of color, vibrant and varying hues, and each episode tends to have one or two main colors throughout. The colors seem to assist in making up for lack of plot – I don’t really know what’s going on, but I seem to understand what purple feels like, and red for that matter. Mix in some grayscale scenes, and Blame! somehow draws on all sorts of moods, despite not being able to say it in words. There is nothing like a bright green explosion suddenly emerging from the contrasting purple walls, and Blame! exploits the concept of contrasting color over and over, and it never gets old.
Despite missing the mark with the plot, the background music in Blame! provides as much contrast and beauty as its animation. Rather than sticking with a single instrumentation or musical style, Blame! wanders all over the place, using different instruments and styles in each episode. Whoever thought to use a trumpet played in a struggling manner is nothing short of a genius; don’t worry, though, not all the music is as painful as that heard in the first episode. The soundtrack of Blame! is as important for setting the mood as the varying color schemes, and the two together basically encompass every meaningful aspect of the series.
Non-existent plot does not necessarily imply non-existent character development, but Blame! gives the gift of both (thank you for your generosity.) Cibo is, uh, this girl, and Killy is, um, this guy; they roam around and then a creepy-looking white guy known as a (buzzword alert) Silicon Creature attacks them. The dialogue is scarce; it does not really add or detract from the series, but as with the plot, do not expect much from characters in Blame!.
If you are looking for plot, don’t bother with Blame!, but if you want to experience something different, something that evokes emotion and confusion rather than understanding, look no further. Music fans (and I don’t mean the kind of music you hear on mainstream radio) should definitely check this series out, if for nothing more than its soundtrack. Given its short duration, perhaps the lack of plot and the choice to focus on visuals and sound work well for this series. As I mentioned earlier, Blame! is best characterized as avant-garde, and viewed as such, it should be easier to appreciate.