If you've been watching anime regularly then maybe you've come across the great curse that befalls anime adaptations of popular video games. Most anime that have been based off of video games tend to be quite horrible but BlazBlue: Alter Memory really takes the cake.
Seriously what the fuck? I guess BlazBlue's story line can only be followed by those who've played the video games but from what I see, those who have played the video game have abandoned ship a long time ago. In terms of story I guess it goes something like this: The main character Ragna is a wanted criminal and is seeking revenge against a man by the name of Yuki Terumi. Teumi also goes by the alias Hazama who is in control of the military like group called the NOL who are also looking for Ragna among many other criminals. Along the way we're introduced to a barrage of other characters whose stories intersect with one another but in the end, we're not entirely sure of where this story is going. I guess attempting to shove an entire video game franchise into 12 episodes was a really bad idea huh? Anyway, most of the anime is filled with talk and you would think since this series is based off of an action video game there would be lot of awesome fight scenes right? Wrong! The action is mediocre, short and quite boring which is being generous. The plot is like a desperate attempt at getting all of the side stories to converge in a manner similar to the video games but even attempting to do so was a horrible idea.
The animation is decent or maybe average for a 2013 anime but it certainly isn't anything exceptional. Nothing really to point out except that it's pretty bland. I guess the animation studio (Hoods Entertainment) decided to not give any real effort to the production. The few fight scenes that exist are better animated than the rest of the show but they're still nothing to be amazed by.
Music & Sound: (4/10)
The opening and ending songs are both great but the OST can be easily ignored. You'll easily forget that this series even has an actual soundtrack. The voice acting is actually decent in my opinion but then again almost all original voice acting in anime sounds good to me.
The characters are definitely BlazBlue's strong point as there is always someone to love here. It's always a fun time when Toa Kaka shows up, Racheal has an ojou sama like presence, Ragna is your typical hot headed protagonist and a slew of other characters that are each entertaining when they show up. A big problem though is the number of characters that show up for about five to ten minutes out of an episode and you wonder why were they even added into the series. Well those characters are more thought out in the video game series. Despite the number of characters that really had no place in this anime, Terumi is actually a pretty good villain. A cunning and sadistic individual who takes pleasure in destruction. I guess one could say seeing him cause pure mayhem and despair keeps me coming back to this train wreck.
Overall + Entertainment (37/90) + 3
This series will have a few decent moments here and there but that typically last for about 1/10 of each episode. Overall it pretty much sucks and like the majority of video games turned anime before it, BlazBlue: Alter Memory makes a mockery of the video game it was based off of.
The basic instruction that I can give anyone who watched this anime is, "Play the games. This is an anime for the games. If you watch this anime without playing the games and liking the story, you're screwed."
BlazBlue: Alter Memory is as compressed as can be expected for a series spanning 2 3/4 worth of games' stories (Looking at you, Capcom style additions like "Extend" and "II"). It cut the entire first game of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger down to about 2 1/2 episodes, which neatly summarized Ragna's "True Ending" in that game. The last 9-10 episodes retells Continuum Shift largely from the perspective of Ragna the Bloodedge, Noel Vermillion, and Jin Kisaragi, making a couple stops now and then to show you:
-What government rebels Kokonoe, Makoto, and Tager have to say about what the main characters are up to,
-What Rachel Alucard thinks of the bullshit caused by Hazama and the government, and
-Big Bad Hazama appearing to demonstrate that he is the worst person ever, and nailing it into your head that he will corrupt Noel's friend Tsubaki Yayoi just for fun.
Now, you may be thinking, "Why didn't they expand upon a lot of the characters? Why wasn't there more screen time for [Character X]? Why didn't they explain more of what was going on with the world? WHAT THE HELL IS A BLAZBLUE AND A MURAKUMO UNIT?!"
I can give you the answer to that: play the games. This story is COMPLETELY INACCESSIBLE WITHOUT PLAYING THE GAMES. Say what you will of adaptations of videogames, but arguably, this story isn't so much an advertising ploy to get people to play the games, NOR is it, in my opinion, a good way to introduce someone to the games. The whole plot essentially exists to be:
1. A FANSERVICE, SOMETHING TO APPEASE PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY FANS OF THE GAMES, OF WHICH I AM ASSUREDLY A PART OF.
The scenes showing Ragna's relationship with Noel, Rachel, Taokaka, and Lambda are largely for this purpose: further, the curtness of the fight scenes is arguably there because THEY HAVE 12 EPISODES TO GET THROUGH THE PLOT AND IF THE PLAYERS OF THE GAMES WANTED TO SEE FIGHTS, THEY WOULD PLAY THE GAME. The money of the show is the fun dialogue between the characters whom the player is already familiar with.
(The pinnacle of the above point is the fight between Ragna the Bloodedge and Carl Clover, infamous for being the worst character in the game: the fight lasts for under two minutes and Carl is knocked unconscious by a piece of metal falling on his head, never appearing again in the show).
The only other conclusion that the plot seems to imply is that:
2. THEY REALLY WANT YOU TO PLAY THE UPCOMING GAME CHRONO PHANTASMA TO SEE WHERE THE STORY IS GOING AND GET AN EXPLANATION OF WHAT THE HELL YOU JUST WATCHED.
If that is the case, then BlazBlue: Alter Memory is a cashcow, nothing more, nothing less.
However, the director of the games has stated before that he had always intended to make BlazBlue an anime-- quite frankly, for fans of the games, this anime was the realization of that want, that dream. BlazBlue: Alter Memory is what a BlazBlue fan invested in the main few characters (at least, speaking from my own perspective) could want from an anime. All of the music from the games is re-composed, the scenes in the game are nicely reconstructed, nods are made to certain story paths, and overall, it is a loveletter to those who sat through every route of the game to get the True Ending, in both games.
OVERALL: IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED THE GAMES AND YOU'VE WATCHED THIS ANIME, I AM SO SORRY. YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T UNDERSTAND A SINGLE THING THAT WAS GOING ON. BLAZBLUE HAS ADDITIONAL PARTS OF THE GAMES LITERALLY DEDICATED TO EXPLAINING THE LORE OF THE WORLD, AND WITHOUT THOSE BITS, THE WHOLE SHOW WAS LIKELY NONSENSICAL AND RANDOM.
To watch BlazBlue without playing the games is to watch one of the Harry Potter movies towards the end of their run: you have no context, and thus you'll likely have no fun. However, IF YOU LIKE BLAZBLUE'S STORY AND CHARACTERS, THIS ANIME IS BEAUTIFUL AND IT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY.
To those who criticize the story for being random and incomprehensible, YOU NEED A LOT OF CONTEXT FOR THIS STORY. To help amend this, THERE WAS A WEBSITE THAT LISTED ALL THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE LORE TO ASSIST YOU. However, it was in Japanese and likely didn't explain enough. Furthermore, COMPRESSING SUCH A COMPLICATED PLOT INTO SUCH A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME LEFT NO TIME TO EXPLAIN TO THOSE WHO DIDN'T ALREADY UNDERSTAND.
IF WE WERE GIVEN A LONGER ADAPTATION, WE COULD'VE HAD FLASHBACK EPISODES TO EXPLAIN WHY EVERYONE WAS SO ANGRY ALL THE TIME, BUT UNFORTUNATELY, THAT WAS NOT THE CASE, AND THUS, THIS ANIME IS REALLY JUST FOR PEOPLE WHO ALREADY LIKE AND UNDERSTAND THE GAMES.
Final Score for Non-fans: 6.5/10, You'll be confused.
Final Score for Fans: 9/10, It's a dream come true.
This anime had a some what good story line to it but in some parts it was really hard to follow. I like that there was a main goal for the main characters to follow. I also like that this anime did not have very main filler episodes. The animation of this anime was fairly good. Some of the characters had really great detail to them along with the scenary. Some of the songs in this anime were really good. I mostly liked the opening song nut the ending song was good too. As for the characters I liked most of them but there were some characters that I wished would go crawl up in a hole and die so I mever have to see them again. Overall this was a some what good anime but I just fell like with this anime that they started it in the misddle of the maon characters story.