**This is a reupload of an old post that was written back in 2015. The first section of the post is the first impression I did, which largely remains unchanged with maybe some new additions and editing, whilst the second section covers my final impression**
What do you get if you had a mature, older pilot(s) in a mecha, fantasy setting?. Something that is NOT gundam, that is for sure.
Broken blade or break blade as it is known in Japan, is exactly that. A mecha series that aimed at an older, mature audience. Since the main characters are all in their mid 20’s. And not in their teens. For the record, I’ll be calling it broken blade.
Broken blade follows the story of Rygart Arrow, a laid back, care-free guy, who just happen to be an un-sorcerer who is able to pilot a golem. In the broken blade world, magic is used to operate just about everything. Even mechas called golems. Anyone who isn’t able to use magic, are called un-sorcerer. They basically do things manually. Society generally look down upon these people. I don’t know if there is any discrimination. As the anime never explicitly says. Just that most have never met an un-sorcerer.
The country of Krisna is under attack from Athens (yes you read that correct). An imperialistic country, whose wealth far out weigh what Krisna has (x5 times as stated by a character).
This invasion has brought together 4 old friends. Whose loyalties and friendships are tested. Will their friendship last?.
Now before I continue on with the impression. Broken blade is a movie containing 6 parts. There is a TV series (12 episodes) that aired last year. I’m watching the movie. Now with that out of the way.
Broken blade certainly is different – this mainly due to the characters & the world. The war story with it’s political intrigue is interesting enough. As it isn’t over done – nor does it do much either. The explanation for the invasion of Krisna is pretty flimsy and petty. The world, for all it’s tech – still use candles as lights, which is just baffling. No further expo dump is given on the world. Which is funny seeing it caught my attention.
The characters are interesting. I like Rygart, as he is refreshing and isn’t this; angst, broody male lead. But rather one, who would rather avoid conflict and put little effort in to anything. But has to fight in the end. The nicknames that the 4 obtained during their time in military school is amusing. Rygart; the king of make-up tests. Hodr; the one who would rather not be king, and stares up at the sky, Sigyn; the mad scientist and Zess; straight-laced Zess.
Where the story begins, Hodr and Sigyn are technically married – Sigyn has signed the divorce papers and is waiting on Hodr on signing. Rygart has returned home to be a farmer and Zess is leading the invasion of Krisna, in hopes of persuading his friends to surrender peacefully, so they avoid the might of the entire Athens forces.
The animation is pretty good. The fight choreography is okay, but can drag out and it kind of lacks any sense of having your adrenalin pumping up. The attacks just lack any meaningful impact.
Can Xebec, dethrone the king of mecha series Sunrise?. Well as an alternative, they do okay. Their story telling can drag.
After watching all 6 OVA’s – several times I might add. Broken blade has a lot of potential. I did a little looking up on the source material, to see if it is on going. Now I can’t say for certain, it seems to have ended as I can’t find any updated info on the series. From what I did find out, the OVA’s don’t capture the mental trauma (PTSD) that Rygart suffers from the war. For instances, Baldr’s son Girge’s death. Played a more significant role in Rygart’s mental anguish. Whilst in the anime, it didn’t play as much. Also Girge isn’t given much time to develop, it’s never revealed as to why Girge went “rogue”. It’s subtly implied indirectly that Girge was also suffering from PTSD – I can’t confirm that though.
In fact quite a few of the characters death, didn’t hold as strongly in the anime than it did in the manga, esp to Rygart and how it effected him. Now to the point of Rygart’s character. The biggest complaint a lot of people have on him is that; he’s too indecisive. He complains a lot etc.
There’s a simple answer to that. He has an inferiority complex. He knows what he is capable of. Being an unsorcerer is a lot harder, since it requires manual labour. And in the world he’s in – manual labour isn’t required as such. Not only that, in society he’s seen as bottom of the barrel. Despite his short comings, he is very sharp and very aware. For instance; he knew that Sigyn has fallen in love with him. Yet deliberately “didn’t hear” her confession to him. He knew she is better off to a person that can fund her habits and not be made out as an outsider, due to she being married to him. She did marry someone else though.
I’d wish they gave Hodr more screen time, he and Rygart are fairly alike. Laid back and just generally don’t give a hoot. There is a love triangle emerging from these three characters. Sadly the anime doesn’t really show this. Especially from Hodr’s perspective. We get one from Sigyn briefly. Sadly, that’s all it is, a brief touch on her feelings towards Rygart.
Overall: I did enjoy broken blade as an OVA. At times broken blade missed or didn’t really develop things. It would have helped world building, as I found it quite interesting. Who were the ancients, what was the Delphine exact purpose. Was it to protect or attack. Things that won’t go answered.