Anime Spotlight: World War Blue

World War Blue (known as Aoi Sekai no Chushin de in Japan) is a short anime series based on a manga written by Anastasia Shestakoya and illustrated by Crimson. The anime was directed by Tetsuya Yanagisawa and was produced by 5th Avenue. The episodes aired on Japanese television between October 20, 2012 and April 4, 2013. As of this writing, Media Blasters holds the North American rights for World War Blue.

The series is set in a world where there are two forces fighting against each other for control of the land of Consume: the Ninteldo Empire and the Segua Kingdom. If you can’t tell by the names, this series is a re-imagining of the gaming console wars. The Ninteldo Empire has had the upper hand in the battle, and at the start of the series, they control 90% of Consume.

In the first episode, a young man named Gear comes down from the mountains and insists on joining the Segua Kingdom’s army. He is accompanied by a young girl with pointy ears named Nel. Gear has spent time in the mountains training and ends up coming to the kingdom after his best friend, Til, is killed. Gear defeats some of the best men in the main army through his speed, and he is put in charge of the Special Forces. Fighting alongside him are Opal (an archer who is also the second strongest in the Segua Special Forces) and a mercenary named Tejirof who was once the upperclassman of Ramses (the vice-general of the Segua Army). Tejirof is a pervert and tends to make dirty jokes and a lot of references to sexual intercourse. Tejirof’s goal is to improve Gear, Pal, and Nel’s abilities before being sent out on their mission to rescue General Alex, the strongest warrior in the Segua Kingdom.

The main premise of the series is laid out pretty well in the first episode, and the three episodes focus on Gear’s development into one of the strongest warriors that the Segua Kingdom has ever seen. These three episodes develop Gear as a character, and it’s the strongest thing these episodes have going for them. The way the final episode ends, it feels like it’s setting up for the story to continue. However, no further episodes for this series have ever come out in the seven years since the third episode aired. As a viewer, it was frustrating, because the end of the final episode shows the viewers a whole bunch of characters who appear ready and willing to face off against Gear… and that’s how it ends. I know that the manga has a lot more story in it, so I wonder why there have never been more than these three episodes for the anime. Apparently, it was announced in 2017 that there would be more anime produced, but as of this writing, these episodes still haven’t seen the light of day.

When it comes to the content in World War Blue, there’s definitely fanservice included in regards to the female characters. I also found some of the dialogue, especially Tejirof’s lines, could be construed as having double entendre that have a sexual subtext to them.

Earlier, I mentioned that this series is a re-imagining of the gaming console wars. As such, this means that there are going to be video game references sprinkled throughout it. The character of Gear has spiky blue hair and is known for his speed; he’s definitely supposed to be a reference to Sonic the Hedgehog. Tejirof wears an earring that strongly resembles one of the blocks from Tetris. The character of Zelig is based off of Link from The Legend of Zelda. I’m sure there are other video game references in the series that I may have missed.

The idea of reimagining the videogame console wars is an interesting one, but I’m not sure how well it’s truly pulled off here. For me, at least, I think the emphasis on the fanservice didn’t help my opinion of this anime. I just felt it was a distraction from the story that was being told.

I ended up watching the English dub of this series, and I think that seeing it with the dub may not have helped with my impression of the series. My apologies to the English voice actors, but I just wasn’t terribly impressed by this dub. I think my issue had to do with the writing, because I suspect that some of the lines of dialogue that reference old videogame promotions may have been put in by the English writers and may not have originated in the original Japanese version. But who knows? Maybe seeing it in the original Japanese wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

I’m glad I can say that I’ve seen World War Blue, but I’m no rush to ever watch this anime again.

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