The story takes place in a city where it's said that has thousands of levels.
In a shutdown area, thousands of levels overlap each other, you couldn't tell the sky from the ground and you couldn't tell which way is up or which way is down. Maybe the original purpose of this story is to unravel the mysteries bound in this time and world. For the humans who found this vast rare multi-level city, the mysterious main character "Kirii" wanders to search for the "Net Terminal Genes" that were not infected. Kirii's burden and his search for the "Net Terminal Genes" is a goal like no other and is very much the mystery of this story. Log1~Log6 contains the story of Cibo that wasn't done in the original works. The Cibo who strayed away with Kirii and wanders about. A disc thrown away in the rubble. Cibo starts downloading. Just who's "Memory" will he end up with?
Note: These clips are meant as a bonus to the manga, and should only be taken as such. Do not expect any plot in these. They are merely animated (short) scenes from the manga.
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 solid 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”). 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).
This anime is just a small collections of moving images from the manga really. Thus it is only any fun at all if you\'ve read the manga and loved it.
There is no story to it, though there does seem to be a point to it (it certainly brought something to my attention).
The animation looks good, I liked it.
Since it doesn\'t show any more then just a few scenes, there\'s no story of itself whatsoever, character development is non existent and none of it will make any sense to you at all if you haven\'t thoroughly read the manga and remember every single detail. The manga
is my absolute favorite ever and even I had trouble following what was going on at first.
So, watch it if you liked the manga, but leave it if you don\'t know it or didn\'t like the manga...
Blame is an interesting case in the anime world. While the original source – the manga is both known and respected as a cult classic by many, it has been seemingly plagued with a handful of weird anime adaptations that don’t even try to be faithful to the manga, including the recent ‘Netflix original’ film of the same name. Because of this, the entire franchise is basically a fucking mess, and has been a complete disaster when attempted to be adapted to anime so far, with not one single adaptation being able to replicate the visual spectacle and atmosphere that made the manga so famous.
But this ONA version stands out from the rest, because when it comes to Blame’s anime adaptations, this one has to be the worst one by far, and quite possibly the worst anime adaptation of a manga I have ever witnessed. You don’t believe me? Read on and find out just what kind of horseshit you’re in for.
Blame, the ONA version was made in 2003 by Group TAC, a studio known for their consistent low-budget animation style. While they have made some quality shows like Touch and Texhnolyze, they are also responsible for horrendous shows with the likes of Baki the Grappler and Gilgamesh, and this ONA fits right along with the latter. When you hear that a show is comprised of only 6 episodes, each running for approximately 6 minutes, red flags probably go off in your head. With only 36 minutes to work with overall, you can only do so much. But in the case of Blame, it’s as if they did not even try to put anything of substance into this ONA. For a franchise that prides itself off on being so “atmospheric” with its setting, it falls into the worst case possible for an “atmospheric” show: awful pacing, muddled tension and coming off as unintelligible and dull.
The story of Blame is set far into this dense dystopian future, where humanity has created machines to take over maintenance of overall cities, only for these machines to defy humanity’s desire and take over these cities whilst also exterminating any human they come by. The result is a seemingly never-ending cyberpunk wasteland where humans have resorted back to living tribal lives, searching for any remaining resources in order to survive. The reason why I am telling you this here is because when watching the actual show, it is impossible to come away with any understanding of the plot, and that is because in this show, there is no plot. Any sense of a storyline here is non-existent and trying to find one is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The first episode has no dialogue whatsoever and only shows still shots and error screens for the entire runtime. The only thing that means anything in the entire episode are the error screens – completely unintended – because they indicate just how fundamentally broken this show is! I don’t even know if those error screens were meant to come up or if there was a legitimate problem on the production side. Regardless, the first episode does nothing to engage viewers into what exactly this show is about, and neither does the rest of the episode. Anyone who thinks that this show is all about symbolism with its unique choice of shots, I dare you to try and explain it, as I could only imagine that explaining it would be just as hard as explaining why this show even exists. If you are looking for anything “deep” in this show, the most you will find is a metaphorical middle finger aimed right at you, and I don’t think that needs any explanation to understand. The show is shit right from the start and moves on at a snail’s pace, whilst throwing all sorts of random events at the viewer like it’s fucking Oprah Winfrey giving out free stuff on her show. Except in this case, all you get is shit!
A non-existent plot does not always imply non-existent character development, but Blame is the kind of terrible treat that gives us both these empty qualities. In the lifeless world and show that is the Blame ONA, there are… protagonists. I refrain from using the word ‘characters’ as these protagonists are about as artificial and empty as the overall show is. Hell, even calling them caricatures is too much praise. The show follows two protagonists, Killy and Cibo, and the most distinct feature about each of them is their hair colour. As for who they are, their backgrounds, their lifestyle, their goals, why they are here and why they fight, all of this is unanswered throughout the show. So while the show technically has characters, there is nothing to really say about them as they have no depth to them at all. Also, their chemistry in this version is absent, it’s as if either one of them could die and the other protagonist wouldn’t bat an eye to it. They care about each other about as much as the staff cared about quality in this entire show.
Without a proper sense of a story or characters, this show ends up looking more like an animated artbook than anything with an actual plot, and it even fails when it comes to this. Blame is almost completely devoid of animation; most shots being still pictures arranged in a poor attempt to simulate movement that only further hinders any enjoyment one could get from watching this. The landscapes, while interesting at first glance, ultimately serve no purpose and adds to the bleakness viewers have when watching the show. The cinematography here is also laughable, with the oddest use of panoramic shots, motion blur and camera angles I have ever seen in an anime. The show goes so far as to put a 360-camera rotation for no reason whatsoever, causing me to believe that the staff do not know what they are even doing nor why. The staff also seem to be unable to used colour correctly. Numerous times in fight scenes, the backgrounds change colour in what I assume is an attempt at censorship, but it looks so god-awful that it takes away from any action or excitement these scenes had in the first place. The show will also go so far as to hit viewers with a barrage of bright lights flashing on the screen to the point where I wouldn’t be surprised if they caused epileptic fits to viewers. If a toddler was splattering paint all over the screen, it would probably be more visually appealing than what we got from Blame.
Regarding sound, this show should have had no sound at all. If it would have been just silent, then maybe it could have been appreciated better as a purely visual piece of storytelling. But alas, that is not the case, as most of the sound that you’re going to get from this are muffles that are hard to interpret and music that, while somewhat futuristic and fitting the setting of Blame, is just downright terrible. The voice acting is just ridiculous, having the voices manipulated to sound different, with the result being voices that don’t fit the protagonists at all or the world in general. The high-pitched buzzing was enough for me to believe that this was an assault to my eardrums, and it sums up my thoughts on the overall show: it seems to do more to harm the viewer than to entertain.
And that is Blame, the ONA version. If you wanted to know more about the show, good luck because as I said before, this show makes no sense. There is nothing here worth salvaging as the staff tried to just pass off random clips and pictures from a manga as an actual story. The staff that worked on it even said that it is meant to be a bonus to the manga and should only be taken as such. But that raises the question: Why even bother making this? The answer, unfortunately, is because they wanted money. Money off of a lousy piece of trash that is supposed to be impervious against flaws as it’s only an addition to the original source. Well I say no. This should never be considered acceptable for a staff to put next to no effort into making anything of substance and then put it off as an extension to the original. The anime and the manga are two separate entities and should be treated as such. Making a show where you have to go to the original source to find out what happens is just lazy and greedy, and it should be called out. And the fact that this crap came out in 2003, the same year as Texhnolyze, is even more depressing. While Texhnolyze is considered by many as the pinnacle of atmospheric anime, Blame is more like the equivalent of rock-bottom.
This “experimental work” turned out to be an epic failure that rides on the coat-tails of the successful manga it claims to have adapted from, but rather than get more people interested in the franchise, it drives them away. An incredibly bad piece of experimental cinema and one of the worst anime adaptations I have ever witnessed. It does everything an adaptation could do wrong, all while coming off as incoherent, pretentious and practically unwatchable.
This title makes better sense if you have previously read the manga. The OVA jumps back and forth along the manga plot illustrating the key moments of Nihei's (Author of manga) scenic perspective of a chaotic world, so it is very hard for a newcomer to even try to decypher the storyline.
- ANIMATION -
The animation itself is clean and fluid, however many scenes are mere transitional still background frames showing in colour the world of BLAME! but those with movement truely show Nihei's disturbing imagination.
Yet the series' production team was not entirely faithful to his drawing style so the characters are not identical to their
- SOUND -
The music was an important asset to the OVA, it was the mixture of mechanical/industrial and eerie tunes that really gave the impression of 'desertedness' and the immensity that is the Megastructure cyborg world. It is almost as if you were cast into the darkness of that place and left to wonder what things are lurking in there. The ending themes are varied and on one particular occassion reminded of extracts from Marilyn Manson.
- STORY & CHARACTER -
In terms of the storyline and character development; the fact that the viewer needs prior knowledge of the series limits the score for these categories. It is very hard to see anything coherently with the storyline at first and even the manga needs you to concentrate and re-read certain plots. Yet despite this, its really a bizarre original series.
- VALUE & ENJOYMENT -
I have mixed feelings towards this series, I have read the manga and I believe this really should have been a larger production (full on series). If they followed the manga plot entirely in a more 'user-friendly' manner then it would have really been above the likes of movies such as Matrix or other highly regarded sci-fi/horror/action titles.
Nihei is an awesome author with a vivid sick mind but unfortunately the production team have not done justice to BLAME! OVA as it falls short of really inticing the viewer. It is a shame, since it degrades it into some form of fanservice/promo for the manga instead.
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