BlazBlue: Alter Memory

TV (12 eps)
Fall 2013
3.03 out of 5 from 2,806 votes
Rank #15,014
BlazBlue: Alter Memory

Long ago, the world was saved from a monstrous creature known as the Black Beast by a group of heroes wielding a powerful combination of magic and science. Now, a rebel named Ragna the Bloodedge—who happens to be the most wanted man on the planet—finds himself in the middle of a mysterious plot that’s somehow connected to the Black Beast’s resurrection and the possible end of the world.

Source: Funimation

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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.


As a fan of the games, this kind of half-hearted cynical half-baked crap that Hoods presented, appalls me. Game Anime Adaptations! If you`ve been hanging around the community for long enough, you may notice a trend. Anime adaptations of video games don`t exactly have a good rep (not as bad as movie adaptations to be honest). Sure, some like say, Persona 4 The Animation, do a good job adapting the story and characters, while putting decent production values into the music, acting, and animation, but then we get shows like Blazblue Alter Memory. Shows that botch the story, wreck the characters, and overall, not give enough of a damn to satisfy the fans who clamored for its existence. What do I mean by that? Well, Let's find out, shall we? STORY: 2/10 If you know about the games this anime was based on (Blazblue Calamity Trigger, and Blazblue Continuum Shift), then you'd know about the many different paths and endings they have, and with exception to the Calamity Trigger Reconstruction found in an updated version of Continuum Shift known as Continuum Shift Extend, the games challenge you to determine what goes where in order to piece together the true chronology of the games (and feel like a genius in the process). The anime decided to make a lot of changes; none of which are acceptable (with one exception that goes under episode 11 spoilers). The first episode condensed so much, in such choppy and cumbersome fashion, that it almost guarantees fans to be pissed. Both games have enough material to cover about 8-9 anime episodes, so there`s about 17 episodes worth of content to adapt. The first game`s storyline is cleared in the first 2 episodes. This meant, rushing a lot of the early parts of that story, along with cutting things out entirely. Then, certain subplots of BOTH GAMES were removed entirely, seeing as they take up to past the third game to resolve. This means, we only have 10 and 1/2 episodes worth of canon material left. So, we got 2 pseudo-filler episodes to permeate what's left of the 12 episode run-time, which automatically damned the story, given how much there was to adapt. Hell, the two pseudo-filler episodes could've spent some time world building like in the games, but I bet Production I.G. was too busy counting all that Psycho Pass money to bother. Then again, they gave this to Hoods, so, whatever. It's also a terrible place for newcomers since the anime offers too many changes, and if also marred by awful pacing. Episodes 1 and 2 are especially guilty of this, with episode 1 speeding through about 5 episodes worth of content, and episode 2 slowing down dramatically compared to the pacing of episode 1, making it feel like the show hit the brakes after realizing how fast it was going. Certain motivations and story elements don't add up, and the changes, most of them range from unnecessary to downright damaging, only compound this issue, along with the issues of the next category. But before we head there, I must also mention that with the amount of stuff they cut out (more than 1/2 of the important subplots) it would be impossible to adapt the third game and make it fit with this anime. They'd have to go the Tokyo Ghoul Root A route of making up new things due to how far gone it was, and given the actual quality of the series, adaptation quality aside, I don't think they could pull that off, in the off chance that they get that sequel after all. CHARACTERS: 3/10 Let`s start with the main protagonist, Ragna, as he gets the worst treatment here. In the games, he was a badass/jerkass who always knew what witty insults and rebuttals to come up with. He often was subjected to ridicule among a majority among the other characters, and coupled with his harsh backstory, you couldn't help but feel sorry for the guy, especially since he's actually a pretty great guy if you're not an asshole to him (for most part), well, gruesome 1-man rebellion aside. Here, if you know the personality of New Dante/Donte (BrainScrachComms reference)/Dante from DMC Devil May Cry, you can see where the anime screwed Ragna up. His development is confusing and nonsensical, he is somewhat less sharp with the tongue, yet much more of a prick, and not likable here at all, even with the backstory, well except for episode 8. Most of the others have major flaws I won't even begin to point out, lest this review become insanely tedious to make.. A lot of them are also either watered down, missing distinct personality traits from the games, or given new traits that either clash with the characters, or just come off as jarring like most characters, Makoto Nanaya, and Imperator Librarius respectively.. Only a few characters suffered little damage, and the only improved character from the source material is Lambda-11, given how little screen time she had. ART: 3/10 The object models (most of them anyway) look on par with some anime around 2013, but that's the only praise this'll get. The character models look more generic and odd, almost annoying, especially since they are rife with animation mistakes, and you will most certainly notice them and how awful hey are. Unfortunately, there are a wild amount of lip-synching problems (in the SUB no less in 2013 where studios have normally fixed that issue to a decent extent) which bog down the animation front, and given a 12 episode series done in 2013, this is inexcusable. The fights are horrendous as well. Sure some of the later ones are borderline passable albeit still very generic, but the first and last 2 battles are all dreadful, suffering from terrible choreography, random ass mini explosions due to regular poles and swords tapping the ground (no extra supernatural or sci-fi stuff to them, just plain ol` swords and poles being swung), attacks that don't behave like in the game, and random likes drawn whenever characters battle in a top down perspective, despite the fact that NOTHING IS FLASHING!!!!! Just... DBZ spam (minus flashy attacks and blasts) that way they don't have to animate good fight scenes. This proves that this doesn't just fail as an adaptation, it fails as an action show in general. How sad that the animated cutscenes for the third game Blazblue Chronophantasma (which came out mere months before this garbage did). I get that Hoods was the one responsible for this show, but goddamn, at least TRY to make your characters look good! SOUND: 7/10 For all my bitching about this series, at least the music staff realized how important this project was. Not only did we get great remixes of the original tracks, but they even cover different music genres! Hell, since certain characters and confrontations only got their own theme in the third game (which came out only a few months before the anime did), those themes were incorporated to the great library of music in this anime. Plus, the OP and ED were both great. Just what we`d expect from this franchise. The dub, while not AS good as ANY of the games, it's still pretty decent. Sure some characters like Nu-13 and Taokaka went in less than stellar directions, but the ADR Director, Patrick Seitz, who voices Ragna no less, managed to at least salvage some of the dialogue. Some of the other performances were also pretty good as well, even if not all characters were given the same good direction as in the games, despite having the same voice actors as the third game, which also got DUBBED before this. Plus, this anime's awful adaptation of the character designs doesn't really let them lend well towards English voices. Well, the sound`s good, and that’s something I suppose. ENJOYMENT: 2/10 Despite the great music, and decent dub, I still heavily disliked this anime, to put it lightly. The 1st and 11th episodes pissed me off to Haruhi Season 2 levels, and most of the episodes, barring episode 8, weren`t very entertaining either. The horrid fights don't help much either. It was a borderline depressing experience of pain and fury, and barring one episode, each episode made me feel that way, and boy do I never wanna come back. OVERALL: 3/10 RAW SCORE 3.33/10 This was a horrendous series that exemplified most of what a bad video game adaptation is. The fights sucked, the characters sucked, the story sucked, and overall, was a very weak experience. In fact, it feels like Hoods only made this to shut us Blazblue fans up, which only did the opposite given how badly Hoods fucked it up. It feels heartless and soulless. Newcomers should stay away, at least until playing the games, since this did NOT show off how an anime version of Blazblue would truly be like. Well, hopefully, whenever the final game comes out, someone can adapt this series properly. Until then, we have some games to play. With that, I bid you adieu.


Allright. It's been a while since I've done something like this so bear with me as I try to find my way again.I did quite a lot of them in the past on a different website which you can find here: ....They probably aren't very good though but please do stop by if you have the time and inclination. Originally the site was for writers, mostly original but also fanfiction. Also I'm Dutch so there will be spelling errors. If you find them annoying give me a shout and I'll try to fix them. Oh, I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum but there will be some. Usually the worse I rate an anime the more spoilers this will contain. You have been warned So, you have probably already read what the animation is about in the discription given by Anime-Planet, which is the same as on the box. I will therefore try not go into the story that much unless I'm ranting about something (spoilers). ART: One of the few good things that I can say is that the art is great. Characters are easily identifiable and the action is easy to follow. If any CGI was used, and it probably was, then I didn't notice it. SOUND: Like the art it is pretty darn good. You never got lost in what was happening in screen and the sound effects only added to the fun. CHARACTERS: Main character is Ragna the Bloodmage who is wanted for trying to destroy the Novus Orbis Librarium. Little is known about why he does this as the NOL is instrument to guarding the world peace. One thing is clear is that he will stop at nothing to complete his personal mission. Jin is a high ranking member of NOL who goes apeshit after hearing about Ragna. Goes AWOL in an effort to kill Ragna. Noel is an officer of NOL and is tasked with bringing Jin back to NOL. She ends up traveling with Ragna instead. Rachel is mysterious young girl who wields incredible power and, for reasons unknown, helps Ragna from time to time. Yuki Terumi is a mysterious character who seems to have deeply infiltrated into NOL. Although known there as 'Hazema', Ragna, knows him as Teruki and he is very high on his kill list. STORY: Uh oh. An anime adaptation of a popular game....This can't end well and it doesn't. The main problem with these sort of anime is that it is essentially for the fans of the game only and let me explain why: I HAVE NO CLUE WHO ANY OF THE CHARACTERS ARE! Seriously. Characters just appear out of thin air, do something and then fuck off into oblivion. It is clear that they paid a role in the games where you got to know them and and stories, here they just appear and you have to figure out where they stand. Kokonoe is a prime example of this problem. She plays a prominent role in the anime and is featured, briefly, in many of the episodes. There is no backstory given about her and her partners and every time she appears you are left to wonder who and what she is in the series. And dispite her short appearences she has some major influence on the story arc. The character problem is something that plagues pretty much all game adaptations. It is not that the story it itself is bad but the studio tries to cram as many characters from the game into the anime. Street Fighter did a similar thing and it resulted in totally pointless scenes that were only created to show a character that played no role what so ever in the overall plot. In fact these scenes often completely took the pace out of the anime and slowed everything down to a crawl. I would have much more preferred it if the scene was used to actually explain some background on either the world or a main character. One such useless scene is when Jin is walking around a town and is suddenly attacked by some guy you've never seen before for something that Jin did while he was a NOL officer. There was no reason for that scene to be there other than give strange new guy some air time simply because he was in the game and therefore had to be in the anime too. Funny thing was that Jin was hurt at the time so dude calls out to him and gives his reason for wanting him dead before attacking. Guy notices that Jin is already badly hurt and in no condition to fight so breaks off his attack and takes him back to his place to nurse him back to health so that he can fight and kill Jin when he's healed. Wha...? You are trying to kill this dude right? Why the fuck would you care if he was hurt or not? Healed up he would probably kick your butt into next week. Yes it is stupid and yes they part as more or less friends. If you are a fan of the Blazblue series and have played its games than by all means enjoy this lovely looking anime. For me I wished they picked just one character and fleshed that one out in a full length anime series. Whatever my misgivings about anime like these I often find that the side characters are more than worthy of their own stories and I would like to someone create it one day.

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