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.
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.
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 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.
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