The story is set in December of 2199, when the streets are full of anticipation for the end of the year and the start of the new one. Amid the celebrations, word spreads that Ragna the Bloodedge, an SS-class rebel with the highest ever bounty on his head, has appeared in the 13th Hierarchical City of Kagutsuchi. The apparent aim of Ragna or the "Grim Reaper" is the destruction of the system controlling the world. To collect the bounty, a motley array of unrivaled fighters converge on Kagutsuchi.
Adaptation of video games has always been a recurring trend in today’s anime industry. Each year, new anime series makes it to the market based on previous successes of its original material. There have been some successes but also failures in terms of achieving satisfactory results of adaptations. Where does BlazBlue: Alter Memory stand at on the satisfaction scale? If I had to judge this show on an overall scale of 100, it would be at 40. This is an anime series that shows exactly how not to adapt an anime series. It’s an example that made itself look like a joke that’s not even
BlazBlue: Alter Memory is an anime series based off of the games, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. As an adaptation expansion, one would expect deep character development and an intriguing plot right? Wrong. This show has none of that so don’t expect any well development of its story. What it does have though is a trail of poor writing made of its weakly developed characters, mediocre action, and overall an execution gone wrong.
The series is pretty straight forward at first with a main character named Ragna the Bloodedge. We literally know almost nothing about him besides the fact that he looks like some cool character based off a video game complete with the generic scarlet coat, white hair, and expressions of an indifferent man. We later find out that he is a wanted criminal with a large bounty placed on him. He is the prey and other characters in the series seeks his head to claim glory and prize. We also know for a fact that he is armed with a weapon known as the Azure Grimoirethe. As oddly as the name sounds, it does provide the guy what he needs to get by especially when he faces characters such as Jin Kisaragi.
For an opening episode, the show doesn’t make strong impression with its presentation. The way it sets the series up spells out many confusion especially for anime-only viewers. This includes the relations Ragna has with Noel Vermillion, a young girl and former lieutenant of the Novus Orbis Librarium. For whatever reason, Noel becomes his companion as a sorts although the latter mostly ignores her. There’s a complete lack of compatibility between them in terms of characteristics, relationship, and personality. To make matters worse, we also find out that Ragna’s reason for being hunted down relates to an organization that we barely have any keen knowledge of: NOL.
However, that’s not the end of the trail of disgrace this series continues to run on. Apparently, Ragna the Bloodedge also has a dark past for which he was involved with a young boy, girl, along with a fire. A lot of events later come together like a puzzle but none of the pieces fit. It’s a mess that is hardly fluid because it introduces too many events with characters in a story that just doesn’t make much sense. Speaking of characters, the series does have a wide diversity of them that comes in all shapes and sizes such as a squirrel girl, transmogrifying cat, bat familiars, and cyborgs. Although they fit well with a fantasy theme such as Blaz Blue, most of them hardly develops the story. From what I understand, there are various routes in the original games. However, this how only seems to focus on our main characters Ragna, Jin, and Noel. It destroys any meaning of development for our supporting characters as they seemingly gets pushed aside. The reason I can think of for this type of presentation might be because the show is only one cour with 12 episodes. Still, this is just a weak execution to construct the concept of this show.
The only hope I had for this show is perhaps some sort of world building considering the setting this show takes place in. The setting of BlazBlue is interesting with artistic visuals and a direction that might point to its development. In fact, sudden places in this world reflects its fantasy setting perfectly and something out of a video game, which exactly it is based off of. More so, most of the characters are designed to look like something crafted out of a game.
Unfortunately, that hope is dashed by stereotypical themes of this series’ style. Ever heard of the concept involving destroying a system to end the world? If so, then this show will definitely not leave you any decent memories for what’s to come. The characters that comes after Ragna for his head is about as cliched as you’ll see. Antagonists such as Hazama is decorated with stereotypical style such as his green hair (because it looks cool in for artistic purposes), his poker face smile, and sarcastic tone of voice. Stereotype might be a word that people dislike to hear but this show doesn’t avoid going down that road at all.
The series also attempts to add in episodes to calm down the mood and diverge even from its main story. Although it isn’t colored as an ecchi series because of minimal fan service, BlazBlue: Alter Memory still incorporates the usage of a typical onsen episode; and for a ludicrous reason too! The character relationships in this series is also unrealistic and hard to get attached to. Noel has some sort of odd attachment to Ragna that is never fully understood. Otherwise, there is one other character in the series that makes a short debut that shares some intimate moments with Ragna. Unfortunately, the way the series writes that off tries to present tragedy but ends up feeling liked a rushed sequence with almost no purpose. At some instances, the series also tries to bring out emotional values with these ‘tragedy’ scenes to the series but this is vaguely explored between our supporting characters. You won’t need tissues because tears will not be shed. Instead, you’ll likely be asking yourself questions with answers given that are completely rushed with mass info dumps. It is coordinated in the wrong way with its set up and in general lacks a structural set up.
Action wise, the series is decent at best. The fast movements accompanied by its OST is tolerable in some sense. It portrays its game aesthetics in a way that gives off some purpose. Ragna is the type of guy that rushes into battle without thinking with his hotheaded attitude while wielding his ridiculous giant sword. As generic as this sounds, Ragna also holds some form of honor with his opponents as he doesn’t fight to kill or try to make a name for himself; if he hasn’t yet already anyways.
The artwork of BlazBlue seems fitting, at least for its world setting anyways. However, the characters looks generic. Ragna the Bloodedge looks exactly as he is with little development. Noel Vermillion has that appearance of a young girl dressed in a way like she is from school with her blue uniform complete with a beret. Other characters has some artistic values of diversity such as Rachel Alucard, the head of the vampire clan. Unfortunately, they stand out nothing more than blend designs. They are like cardboard box characters made from recycled material. Now only if the characters themselves can be more useful together the story together and hold things together like a box. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
There’s nothing noteworthy about the soundtrack besides the OST during the fight scenes. Both the OP and ED songs have some tendency to keep itself together but nothing remarkable. While the voices of a few characters fits their roles well, all of them stands out as in odd mannerisms. Ragna’s deep voice also occasionally sounds arrogant while Noel’s tone can be annoying to listen to with her femininity. The main problem with most of the characters’ voices is the fact that most of them don’t have personalities. The dialogues spoken throughout the series also holds hardly any value and most of them come out as cheesy and inconsistent.
BlazBlue: Alter Memory is an adaptation that didn't just go wrong but self-destructed itself from the very beginning. It’s rushed, lacks characterization thanks to its cliched characters, has a damaged story that is beyond repair, and confusing execution. Some technical aspects of the series does save it from complete annihilation but this show is ultimately a case where you’ll need a lot of patience to get through. If somehow you make it through, there’s a likely case of disappointment. Thankfully, the series is only 12 episodes so it won’t take too long to get through. I just hope it won’t leave a painful memory that you’ll remember by.
This anime is based on the video games BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. Although I haven't played any of this games I'll still write this review about the anime. So if you have played the games you may have a different perspective about it.
Well to begin with the review i should tell you about the story. The first episode started with a fight. In this episode i couldn't found an explanation about whats was going on or why. And even after the first episode the only information i could found was about the main character and it was very short. Only
after 6 or 7 episodes there was an explanation about the world in which the story was taking place. But even after the last episode the story leaved many plot holes. I don't know if playing the game could have give you some context about the characters or the world, but if you haven't play them you will end up with a lot of questions after the anime ends.
I didn't like the art so much. The character's designs where very plain. They didn't leave any kinda of impression in me. Not even the main character. Also the backgrounds looked really dull. Even the fights were not as intense as they could be.
Sound 6/10: (btw i watched it in JP wiht EN subs)
Well the sound wasn't bad but wasn't good either. I liked the opening, it was very cool. But the ending was very dull, and the art didn't help at all.
About the characters voices, they were good enough, although i found some of them annoying, like Hazama's voice. And the background music didn't match the environment. Not even the fights sound were loud or intense enough so it make them kinda dull.
The main problem i could find in every character is the lack of context and background information. From the main characters to the last of the supporting characters, they just keep appearing with out any kind of explanation about their role in the story. Also i couldn't see any grow in any of the character, nor in their personalities or in their powers. Only in the last 2 episodes you can see some changes. And i found one of the character very annoying, although i guess it was intended to be like that since he is the bad guy.
I didn't enjoy watching this anime. I got pissed with every episode because i couldn't understand what was going on in the story. Not even the fights were good enough to watch a full episode. But since i wanted an explanation about the full story i kept watching it.
The overall score for the anime should be a 4/10. I wouldn't stop you from watching it if you have played any of the games, because you may have a different experience with the anime, but I would't recommend it to anyone.
First off BB: Alter Memory is based off the popular fighting game series BlazBlue. The series adapts the first two games in the series Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift and crams it in a 12 episode anime! The story starts off with our main hero Ragna the Bloodegde fighting some creepy robot girl named Nu. Ragna gets stabbed by Nu and we're introduced to a gothic princess girl and her butler taking about the event that just took place and the outcome of the situtation. We then see more character that are introduced and we don't know anything about them only we can infer
who they are. And those are the assumptions people can piece together. But long story short the story is a convoluted mess that newbies who never played the games would be confused as hell and the fans will be very disappointed.
The characters retain their personalities from the original source but their are convoluted in the relationship area and are just thrown out there just to make an appearance but disappears for the rest of the series. You will be asking questions like why are Noel and Ragna comrades?, how are Rachel and Ragna connected to each other? How Jin knows Tsubaki? Why is Litchi worried about Arakune? and many more. The characters in the series are unique and very interesting but the show throws away the opportunity to develop them and make the audience relate more to them.
Art & Animation
Before I get to the art I have to get the animation out of the way. Like Fairy Tail the series has some cheap animation but unlike FT it drag the series down some more. Every time there's a sword fight there's a lightning like light too cover up the lacking animation. Also who can forget the infamous ice brick Jin shot out in episode 1. But the only piece of high quality of animation is in episode 2 when Noel summons Bolverk. The art on the other hand isn't special but comes off as generic. There's nothing really distinctiful about the character designs.
The background music is mediocre and forgettable. Some of the tracks are reused from the games. Except when there fight scenes the music is fairly good but still forgettable. The opening shows more of how the series is on a cheap budget since it's all rehashed scenes from the episodes and the song is okay but not a remarkable one. Same goes for the ending. The voice acting is average but I'm not those people who treats the Japanese language like its a Holy language. Kanako Kando sounds a bit annoying as Noel and it did bother me at times in the series and I felt Kana Ueda didn't sound aristocratic and condescending as Rachel and sounded a bit bland. But the only stand out is Tetsuya Kakihara as Jin who retains his ability to voice the sociopathic Jin.
The series can be enjoyable if you turned your brain off and watch only for the action which is decent. But from a critical point of view you would be irritated.
In the end Blazblue Alter Memory is just a huge disappointment and and confusing mess to fans and newcomers. Advice to newcomers just go buy the games and enjoy a more coherent and understandable story. The show is just mediocre at best. I only time I'll be rewatching this is if the original English voice cast comes back to voice the characters. If you want a better anime adaptation of a video game watch Persona 4 The Animation. It has better character development, animation, and story that even newcomers can understand.
I would like to provide some of my insights on this show, as a viewer who had not played any of the BlazBlue games. At the very least, I had watched a few gameplay videos of them on YouTube.
STORY: 3/10 Poor
In my opinion, this series is created with the sole assumption of: the viewers had already played the games before, and are very knowledgable about the plot. And if you happen to be like me who did not meet this requirement, then there’s a very high chance that even after finishing this series, you don’t even know what BlazBlue is.
That is how bad the
story is. Tons of terminology were thrown around, yet there is hardly any explanations to them, not until the very end. But what’s the point of dumping info so late, when the viewer had already been so confused all along?
Perhaps some sort of narration would solve this issue, but there’s no such thing here.
If you haven’t played BlazBlue before, and for some reason have a sudden urge to confuse yourself, watch Alter Memory.
ART: 5/10 Mediocre
For an adaptation of an action-heavy fighting game, this series really undermined all the badassery of the original games. This could be due to the lack of budget from the animation studio, which is painfully obvious as you watch this series.
How so? Well… for starters, the OP of the show did not even have its own animation in the first 3 episodes, instead taking a few scenes from the first episode and putting them together. The ED is just a rotating wheel of static characters.
Fighting scenes are watered down that action fans will find them really unsatisfying. Early on, these scenes were so short that there were like, less than 3 clashes between both sides before the battle had ended. Battles lasted a bit longer in the end, but still pretty dull-looking when what supposed to be a super-awesome mega showdown between the world’s strongest had become some half-assed brawl at your local tavern.
You are better off playing the games or watching some gameplay videos of YouTube if you want a more entertaining battle.
Characters wise, they look okay (without comparing them to their game counterparts), as their designs are indeed rather unique, only that I often feel that Ragna is too thin. Sceneries are nothing spectacular, but fits the setting well. The entire show at least looks balanced with no awkward or out-of-place objects.
Okay characters, okay sceneries and very bad action scenes sum up the art section.
SOUND: 7/10 Good
This could well be Alter Memory’s best section. We have an all-star cast of seiyuus, in which I believe did their job well enough to keep me going. Yuuichi Nakamura’s my personal favorite here as he made Hazama the most vibrant character in the series.
The background music is pretty good, especially the ones used during the fight scenes, which are composed of blood-pumping rock music.
The same cannot be said to the sound effects, which often times, doesn’t sound right, most notably explosions, which doesn’t really sound like explosions.
CHARACTERS: 4/10 Bad
We have a bunch of potentially likable characters in Alter Memory, but the story did not do them justice, leaving them as empty husks until the very end, where we hardly get to know any of their personalities. It’s hard to get attached to these characters solely by watching this show. The only character that left me some impression is Hazama, as annoying as his laugh is, at least he’s distinctive.
ENJOYMENT: 4/10 Bad
Funny as it seems, I always find myself returning to every Wednesday to watch this show. I can’t really say it’s enjoyable with all the confusion going along, but at the same time, perhaps curiosity had gotten the best of me back then. But then, was I satisfied? Hell no.
OVERALL: 4/10 Bad
The only reason I chose to watch this is because I at least knew what BlazBlue is, and is curious on how an anime adaptation will turn out. Unfortunately the low quality adaptation really undermined this popular fighting series, that perhaps it would be wise to skip past this one, and watch something else.