BLAME! is a very dark and abstract set of 6 shorts which are based on the manga by Tsutomu Nihei. The "story" (if it can be called that) revolves around a man named Killy: a human living amongst clones and androids. His task, it seems, is to collect things known as "net-genes", and to help find the remaining humans that may or may not exist.
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.
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.
Story: 6/10 BLAME! presents a fascinating and dystopian science fiction world that is both intriguing and mysterious. The story follows Killy, a silent and stoic protagonist, as he navigates a sprawling, ever-expanding city filled with hostile machines and enigmatic beings. While the concept is intriguing, the anime adaptation struggles to provide a coherent narrative. The lack of exposition and character development can leave viewers feeling lost and disconnected from the plot. Fans of the original manga may appreciate the adaptation's attempt to capture the source material's atmosphere, but newcomers might find it difficult to fully engage with the story. Animation: 6/10 The animation in BLAME! is a mixed bag. On one hand, it successfully captures the dark and foreboding aesthetic of the source material. The massive, labyrinthine city and its intricate architecture are visually stunning and convey a sense of scale and isolation. However, the animation quality varies throughout the series, with some scenes featuring detailed and fluid action sequences, while others appear stiff and lacking in movement. Overall, it effectively establishes the oppressive atmosphere of the world but falls short in terms of consistency. Sound: 7/10 BLAME! benefits from a haunting and atmospheric soundtrack that complements the eerie and desolate setting of the series. The use of ambient sounds and electronic music enhances the overall sense of isolation and tension. Sound effects, particularly during action scenes, contribute to the intensity of Killy's battles against the city's hostile inhabitants. Voice acting, though limited due to the protagonist's silence, effectively conveys emotions and adds depth to the few speaking characters. Characters: 4/10 Characterization in BLAME! is notably sparse. Killy, the main character, is a silent and enigmatic figure with little backstory or development. Other characters who briefly appear serve specific roles within the narrative but lack depth or compelling personalities. The anime prioritizes world-building and atmosphere over character-driven storytelling, which may leave viewers craving more substantial interactions and motivations from the cast. Overall: 5/10 BLAME! is an anime adaptation that struggles to fully capture the depth and complexity of its source material. While it excels in creating a visually striking and atmospheric world, it falls short in terms of storytelling and character development. Fans of the original manga may find value in seeing the world of BLAME! brought to life, but newcomers might be left wanting more from the narrative and characters. With an overall score of 5/10, it's a series that appeals more to those intrigued by its unique setting than to those seeking a tightly woven plot or well-defined characters.
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