Anime Spotlight: BlazBlue: Alter Memory

BlazBlue: Alter Memory is an anime based on the BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift video games. The anime aired in Japan on October 8-December 24, 2013.

As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American streaming rights for the series.

Ragna the Bloodedge is the main character of the series, and he’s also known as The Grim Reaper. He has a reputation for destroying NOL branch offices; because of this, he has a high bounty on his head. His right arm is a prosthetic that contains the powerful Azure Grimoire. At the beginning of the series, Ragna is stuck in a time loop.

Major Jin Kisaragi receives word that Ragna is in Kagutsuchi, and he suddenly leaves his office in order to track down Ragna. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Noel Vermillion is sent with Captain Hazama from the Intelligence Department to track down the AWOL Major Kisaragi. Noel meets Ragna, and she is the one who manages to get Ragna out of the time loop.

Over the course of the series, several other characters are introduced. Rachel Alucard is the head of the Alucard vampire clan and is the current owner of the “Tsukuyomi Unit.” She is also an observer to the events that are taking place in the series, but there are times when she tries to interfere in order to change how events will unfold.

Kokonoe is a scientist at Sector Seven, and Iron Tager is a Sector Seven professor who has been mechanically enhanced in order to perform field work.

Taokaka is a warrior of the Kaka clan and is trying to apprehend Ragna for the bounty. Litchi Faye-Ling is a doctor who has taken care of the Kaka clan.

Makoto Nanaya is a squirrel beastkin who is a former classmate of Jin and Noel. Tsubaki Yayoi is Jin’s childhood friend and Noel’s former classmate, and she’s been sent to Kagutsuchi on a special mission.

When I watched the first episode of BlazBlue: Alter Memory, I was extremely lost and confused, because nothing was being explained and things just happened. Around episode four, I thought I was starting to gain a small bit of understanding of what was going on. However, it wasn’t until episode seven where I finally felt like I was truly beginning to understand anything taking place.

Episode 12, the final episode, just felt so rushed in comparison to the pacing of the rest of the series. By the end of that episode, I was basically thinking, “WTF did I just watch?” The ending almost felt like it may have been trying to set the stage for another BlazBlue anime series.

My overall impression of this series was that the writing wasn’t as strong as it could have been, because the writers and director seemed to believe that the audience watching the show would already be familiar with the game franchise. With that mindset, very little that appears in the series is truly explained. Also, I thought the animation for this series wasn’t anything impressive.

After watching the series, I decided that viewers who already have knowledge of the BlazBlue game franchise will probably find some enjoyment in this series. However, if you’re like me and don’t know anything about the games, then I would highly recommend avoiding this anime so you don’t become confused, frustrated and annoyed like I did.

It’s a series that I have no interest in viewing again. And if a subsequent series were to be produced, I would have no interest in watching it.

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