Break Blade 6: Doukoku no Toride
Released Year : March 26, 2011 to ????
No of Episodes : 1
Genre : Action,Mecha,Military,Shounen
Plot : Sixth and final Break Blade movie.
Our Review : As of late, there seems to be a severe drought of mecha anime. Luckily, mecha fans have been able to enjoy several high budgeted shows in the past year. One of them is Break Blade or also known as Broken Blade. This 6 part movie series is an adaptation of a manga of the same name and animated by Production IG and Xebec which aired between 2010 and 2011. This review will encompass all 6 of the movies and the overall score of it along with my opinions on the series.
First off, the story to Break Blade isn’t too foreign to any other mecha anime. Our champion falls into a mobile suit; he does some heroics with it, and then gets caught up in some sort of war. This setting has been redone countless times and while not being highly original it fits the overall plot very well. The background of the story is a simple case of other countries invading each other for resources. The resource in question is quartz which runs everything in this particular world and is magically moved by “sorcerers”. We have two nations, Krisna and Athens which are heading to war. If this was completely cookie cutter, the champion selected to save the nation would be an angsty teen who is handed the latest and greatest mobile suit. However, in the case of Break Blade our champion is 25 year old Rygart Arrow who happens to be some sort defective person who cannot use magic called an “un-sorcerer” which makes him nearly completely useless in this particular world. He is asked by the king of Krisna who he happened to go to college with and the queen who had some romantic tension with Rygart in the past. He fights another classmate who’s on the Athens side and the story revolves around the struggles of Krisna fighting off the advancing Athenian armies with mobile suits (golems as they’re called in this series). In particular, Rygart’s mobile suit is an ancient relic which only he can pilot due to his lack of magic power and of course it happens to be stronger than any of the modern day ones. Like I said before, the story itself is not particularly outstanding or different but it does feature adult characters and a very interesting world that runs on quartz. I would have to say, the most lacking part of this particular series is the story. It features a somewhat realistic approach to fighting in mobile suits due to the vulnerability of them and their labored movements, but on the other hand it is definitely cliché and rehashed from nearly every other mecha series out there. It’s certainly not groundbreaking by any means but it was pretty entertaining, I say the story part of this series a 7/10 due to the clichés and lack of plot depth that is presented.
As for the art, it is absolutely stunning. Production IG and Xebec did a fantastic job on animating this series. There is a great amount of detail that is put into everything from the mobile suits to the backgrounds. What adds the icing to the cake is the minimal use of CGI in this series. The animation is fluid and there is a wide array of scenic background scenes which also look excellent. I would have to say, the art is definitely one of the strong parts of this series. It looks great by today’s standards and is definitely not cheaply done. I say that the art of this particular series is a 10/10 just because of the amount of detail that was put into it. It truly does look stunning, especially when watched in 1080p.
Another strong point of this series is the sound. We have a stunning opening done by KOKIA and the music is composed by Hirano Yoshihisa who also worked on Death Note and Ouran is well done and fits the overall mood of the series. As for voice acting, we have an all star cast. It features Hoshi Souichirou (Kira Yamato and Sanada Yukimura) as Rygart, Saito Chiwa (Senjougahara Hitagi and Akemi Homura) as Queen Sigyn, Nakamura Yuuichi (Okazaki Tomoya and Graham Aker) as King Hodr, Kamya Hiroshi (Araragi Koyomi and Matou Shinji) as Zess voicing the main cast of the series. The wide array of other characters are filled out with “the voice of 2011” Hanazawa Kana, Inoue Marina, Shiraishi Minoru, and many more. The veteran cast of voice actors only adds to the appeal and makes the overall setting much better. The sound of this series is definitely another one of its strong points. I say that the sound gets a 10/10 as well just because of the stunning voice acting cast that this series features. The great music added on top of it is just a very welcome bonus.
The characters for this are pretty decent albeit somewhat cliché. There are many different characters of this series and they seem to fall into an expected manner. We have Rygart, who despite his more mature age is a stereotypical mecha anime protagonist. He is angsty, he loves to go off on his own, and of course pilots an overpowered mobile suit. He fits right into the groove of most other mecha protagonists and while this isn’t particularly a bad thing, his actions can be easily read by an experienced viewer. There is also King Hodr who is a king who doesn’t really enjoy his job and asks his old college buddy Rygart to come fight for his kingdom in his time of need. Hodr isn’t the most inept of kings, but he’s not very good and his wife isn’t much better. Queen Sigyn is a strange woman who wanted to be with Rygart back in the day and got herself locked into a political marriage with Hodr. They sleep in separate rooms and she doesn’t even wear her wedding ring which just shows the sham of this particular marriage. She’s too obsessed with science and books to care particularly about Hodr and is shown to still have obvious feelings for Rygart despite being married off. She’s not a particularly bad character and I can’t blame her since she’s in a lousy situation like Hodr is but she isn’t very good either. Zess is another friend of Rygart and the royal couple. They were also college friends but Zess went back to Athens and now is a soldier for the other side. He fits the rival role pretty well and his actions show that war is a terrible thing that can tear apart friendships. He has to fight against his old friends and lead armies against his friend’s kingdom. There are also more minor characters like Girge who fits the crazy but good pilot role, Narvi who fits the tough girl role, Cleo who fits the “moeblob” role and so on. The characters aren’t particularly outstanding or different but it is enjoyable to watch them interact. The character portion of this show gets a 7/10.
As for enjoyment, I’d have to say I enjoyed this series very much. It may have had been filled with clichés and the story might be generic but I really looked forward to each movie. The mobile suit fights were very entertaining and the character interactions were good as well. There was a fair amount of angst and pointless yelling but that’s just another thing that comes with a typical mecha show so it doesn’t really detract from the overall enjoyment of the show. On the other hand, some of the plot devices that built Rygart’s character were somewhat forced. The particular scene with the widow was reused heavily and I got the idea that it was depressing and one of the tragedies of war but it was definitely overdone. Despite that bit of nagging angst and reused plot devices I still say that it was an incredibly enjoyable series. It had many moments that had me on the edge of my seat and some pretty well done drama. For a rating, I say that the enjoyment section of this gets a 9/10. It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty damn good.
Overall it is somewhat hard to rate this show. It has many rehashed ideas and clichés but on the other hand it has a great setting with a likeable cast and great music. I would say that overall Break Blade gets an 8.5 but since MAL doesn’t offer half points in their rating system I’ll just bump it up to a 9 due to the fact that it was very entertaining and it was coupled with great visuals and sound. It’s not the most original mecha show out there, but it certainly does a good job at portraying a less flashy and gritty war which is something that is missing from many mecha shows. Break Blade was a treat to watch and I’d suggest anyone who enjoys the mecha genre or anyone who just enjoys watching an interesting story to give it a try for themselves.