Tekkaman Blade

Alt title: Uchuu no Kishi Tekkaman Blade

TV (49 eps)
1992 - 1993
3.637 out of 5 from 1,156 votes
Rank #3,801

Earth is under attack from the alien invaders known as the Radam and is quickly losing the battle. With the planet’s finest defense, the space ring, being overrun without much opposition, mankind’s fate seems bleak. One of the few forces left to oppose the Radam are the Space Knights; but they are anything but successful. That is, until a mysterious man named Blade falls from the sky. Blade has the power to transform into a Tekkaman, one of the deadliest fighting forces in the universe – the very force that is leading the Radam onward! But unlike the other Tekkamen, Blade is obsessed with just one goal: defeating the Radam. Having lost his memory, he doesn't know why, but he knows he must stop them. With the help of the Space Knights he can begin uncovering his past, discovering who the Radam and the Tekkamen are, and of course, save Earth in the process!

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It is with great pleasure for me to tell you why I liked this anime. First off, it does have some flaws that do stand out such as a few too many recap episodes, which you can skip at your leisure, but other than that, it’s virtually near perfection. The first half of the story will be at a very fast pace and depending on how much time you have, you can probably watch a significant portion of this 49 episode series in one setting. But with the second half, it does get a little slow progressively until near the end, but it’s because of certain circumstantial reasons within the story of why it slows down, but when you get to the ending, it picks up again. But the best quality of this anime is definitely its character development. Initially, there will be characters you will not be able to stand and you wish for them to get what’s coming to them for how they act and treat D-Boy. But as time goes on, the characters do grow on you and show significant maturity where your feelings of them drastically change. Another great point in which contributes to the development is of course the relationships between the characters. It’s about family, friendship and love. Initially the characters egos will be a driving force of internal conflicts, but as time goes on, they will unite and come to accept each other as family and support. But despite these find qualities, the story overall is still dark and gritty and I felt it was a good foundation to build and develop the characters on. Certain parts of the story will really make you feel sad for D-Boy for what he has to go through throughout the series. Initially he’s this self-centered guy, but comes to learn that nobody can live alone. I feel a lot of the development of the characters and their relationships is a high point because I think everybody can relate to it.I have to say that the art and animation for an early 90s anime is top notch. I originally thought this anime shared the same character designer of Gundam 0083 because the style of those characters, looked like the characters of this anime, but despite my false assumption, the character designs are done by Kogawa Tomonori, the designer of another personal favorite of mine, Tomino Yoshiyuki’s Aura Battler Dunbine. When I compared the heavy clothing of lets say Aki and D-Boy to Sho’s, I could see the resemblance of how he approaches such things and I have to say the 10 year gap between both series shows a significant bounds of evolution with his art style. I’ll admit the character designs aren’t exactly state of the art with wicked hairstyles, but the art is still complex by exhibiting a lot of the emotion this anime caries with the postures, ways of walking, and facial expressions. The designs and transformations of the Tekkaman in this installment are of course more sophisticated and very uniquely organic which helps makes this anime stand out in comparison to your typical mech anime nowadays. In comparison to the original Tekkaman, which looked more like a European Knight hence the title Space Knight, Tekkaman Blade’s edginess and angles give a more distinctive samurai look to it and really compliments the style of the action where it’s fast paced, explosive, and agile. Unfortunately, there are moments in the 2nd half of the series, specifically between Blade and Evil where the action gets DBZ-ish, but then again, it was 1992 when DBZ was all the rage so they were trying to capitalize on it, but I guess it does capture the more organic nature of this anime in relation to being a Tekkaman in this installment. But the most bad ass of the fights is of course the use of the Voltekka, Tekkaman’s ultimate attack which was in the original series as well but drastically changed in this version. The special effects will kind of look like a kamehameha but when you see it in action, it’s still really bad ass and appropriate in this anime in context to everything related in it. So it’s a nice touch. But if there was one thing I didn’t like about the designs, it was the one-dimensional approach to the villains. In the original Tekkaman, you got all kinds of aliens with different gimmicks, while in this one, it’s mostly just the giant alien spiders and the evil Tekkaman for Tekkaman to fight. But other than that, everything else is cool.The seiyuu cast of this respective series is certainly top notch and has a handful of my personal favorites. D-Boy is played by Morikawa Toshiyuki, the voice of Griffith from Berserk, and Vorg from Hajime no Ippo. In those roles, he was more quiet and calm, while in this role, he was shockingly hot headed and hostile and I wasn’t even able to recognize that it was the same actor after I looked it up. After all the anime I watched in Japanese, I’m pretty good at recognizing seiyuus, but Morikawa really took me by surprise in this one and just saying this should give you an idea of how excellent his voice acting will be as D-Boy when you get to watch this anime. And my favorite female seiyuu, Hayashibara Megumi, the voice of female Ranma, Rei from Evangelion, and Faye from Cowboy Bebop plays Aki. Aki’s design may not really compare to other babes of anime, but I felt Hayashibara’s talented voice acting really brought out her inner beauty and makes you drawn to just her character, and this will really be emphasized in the second half. And I can’t deny the presence of the late great Suzuoki Hirotaka, the voice of Bright from Gundam, Kuno from Ranma, and Seiryuu from Saint Seiya and many, many, many other roles as the voice of Chief Freeman. He really brings out the well intended scheming personality of the character to life and just the way he sounds really makes you think what kind of a character Freeman really is just like how Noal kind of always has his suspicious about him. And one last seiyuu I want to mention is Koyasu Takehito, the voice of Tekkaman Evil. Due to time constraints I won’t elaborate too much on this, but if you’ve seen my review of Initial D 4th Stage, I really praised him for his performance in that anime, but his talent in making his character stand out is present here as well. I really like how he makes Tekkaman Evil provoking and provocative, but still has this mystique surrounding him. There are a lot more names I want to get into, but I have to end it there, so time to move onto the music. The opening and ending themes are explosive and energetic that really reflect the action intense and relationship based tones of this anime overall and are addictive. The background tracks are all selectively and conducingly appropriate to the mood of the moment whether happy or sad. And the transformation music of Tekkaman itself feels like it was composed by the great John Williams himself.Even though I have to admit some of the concepts don’t seem to be that new or innovating in relation to the story, I think it’s presentation still gives it a unique flavor of freshness where it does come across as original. To say it in a nutshell, I felt a lot of the features of Zeta Gundam, Gundam Wing, Macross, and the original respective novels of Starship Troopers and War of the Worlds along with some of the new features of the Tekkaman armor were put together to create this masterpiece. Very little can critics and audiences say remakes will surpass the original, and I’ll admit I prefer this series overall the original. But I personally find it impossible to really compare the two series, especially when mech and sci-fi anime overall drastically changed since the broadcasting of these two respective series. Even though they share the same name of Tekkaman, but I feel to compare Blade to the original Tekkaman is like comparing Gundam Wing to Tetsujin 28 or Gigantor. But I’ll get into some of those qualities in my review of the original Tekkaman which you have to stay tuned for.

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