Broken Blade Episode 5
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here.
Series Premise: Broken Blade, or Break Blade, is a six-part Original Video Animation, with the first episode premiering in May 2010, second episode in June 2010, third episode in September 2010, fourth episode in October 2010, fifth episode in June 2011. Set in a fantasy world where everyone has the power to manipulate quartz as their only source of energy. Rygart Arrow is unique as an “Un-Sorcerer”, unable to use quartz — but this lack of ability also makes him uniquely qualified to pilot a special, ancient “golem” mecha-robot. Called to duty by his old friends Hodr and Sigyn, now king and queen of Krisna, he must help defend his land against a superior invading army, which includes his old friend Zess.
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ep. tl;dr review: More mecha battles as Girghe and Rygart face off; Too much story, too little time.
Episode Summary: Girghe is essentially put under guard for attacking Borcuse’s squadron without approval. Meanwhile, Nike is smarting from her losses to Girghe, and vows revenge. Rygart learns his hometown is in Borcuse’s path, and takes leave without permission to save his brother; when he arrives Rygart discovers only ruins, and is confronted by Borcuse himself. In a long-drawn-out battle, Rygart is knocked unconscious; Borcuse takes his leave as his troops salvage Rygart’s golem. Rygart awakens and manages to escape, regroups with Narvi but the immediately come under attack by Io and Nike. Girghe flees and Rygart chases after him, the two of them exchange blows and insults before Rygart’s Delphine runs out of power as the enemy forces arrive. Girghe them deftly destroys Nike before sacrificing himself to save Rygart.
My Impressions: Honestly, I have become less impressed with Broken Blade as the story has progressed. Unlike many people who are watching this show, I am unfamiliar with the source material (as in the still-ongoing manga series), which I have read online is superior to the anime series itself. One of the problems seems that there is far too much plot and story to stuff into six hour-long episodes. Characters have been introduced but not fully developed and in some cases dropped entirely (where has Zess been these past two episodes, for example?) Some plot points that I assumed may become major story elements later are forgotten or glossed over, lots of the background politics and machinations not fully explained. Sometimes I think I’m only getting half the real story.
But that’s not my main gripe with this episode. It feels as if Broken Blade has been hijacked by characters that are so much larger-than-life that they are eclipsing the story. Psychopath Girghe pops immediately to mind, of course, but I could also point to General Baldr as well, the bratty Nike, the overconfident Borcuse, and Rygart himself. I really cannot relate to any of these characters as their actions at all, in some cases acting completely against conventional logic and in other cases so full of themselves it’s painful to watch.
Meanwhile, other characters are ignored or missing entirely, as the aforementioned Zess who played such a major role in the first two episodes. King Hodr as been little more than window dressing this entire series. As with the fourth episode, the only time we see Queen Sigyn and underage Cleo are lounging in bed in skimpy pajamas, an oddly out-of-place moment of fan service for the viewer and a reminder that they still exist.
When I started watching Broken Blade, I was under the impression that a large part of the story would revolve about the anti-hero of Rygart as he becomes the reluctant savior to a nation. As the “un-sorcerer” and sole person able to pilot an ancient relic from times past, it seems that whole story bit has been tossed out the window and Rygart is just another better-than-average fighter in a better-than-average golem battling against other better-than-average fighters in better-than-average golems, his uniqueness diminished. Furthermore, the friendship/love quadrangle originally set up between Hodr, Rygart, Zess and Sigyn was broken fairly quickly, as Hodr mopes in his castle, Sigyn mostly hides away in her bedroom with her “pet”, and Zess returns back home never to be seen again. Hmph.
The battle scenes remain top-notch, the artwork is occasionally breath-taking, and the animation and music are as good as ever. With one more episode to go, there are so many cans of worms opened up that I wonder if there’s time to wrap it up to a satisfactory conclusion.
The verdict: – Despite my bitching, still worthwhile.
For more information:
- My review of the first episode from August 2010
- My review of the second episode from September 2010
- My review of the third episode from July 2011
- My review of the fourth episode from August 13th
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, and AniDB
- Episode 5 Video Preview: on Youtube
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “As a penultimate episode, “Break Blade 5: Shisen no Hate” has done a fairly good job on maintaining the bar I’ve set for the series. This movie reminded me why I original started watching the series, for the adrenaline-pumping action scenes, which any good mecha show should have. Grade: 9/10.” – My Anime List Reviews
- “Break Blade has always been very good at showing gritty, well-played out action sequences, but the lack of balance between the battles and the actual plot progression was strikingly noticeable. We did get a bit of character development with the drama between Girghe and Lygart, but even their interactions were more like “extras” to all the action sequences in this episode. Grade: 7.6/10.” – Emory Anime Club
- “Unfortunately, overshadowed in this movie and the one before it was the situation between our four main characters, of whom only Hodr really showed any emotion after learning that Rygart charged into enemy lines to look for his brother and got captured in the process…I definitely would’ve liked to see more of the Rygart/Zess and Rygart/Sigyn subplots this time around, since the finale does very little to address either of them.” – Random Curiosity
- “This all gets back to the problem of Break Blade not wanting to tell the full story. It only wants to be an advertisement for the manga. Which is as frustrating as hell, but I suppose the beautifully choreographed mecha duels make up for that somewhat.” – The Cart Driver
Coming up next (not necessarily in this order): My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute Episode 14, Appleseed XIII Episode 1, Asobi ni Iku yo OVA, Pokemon Ranger Power of Light Episode 1, Hetalia Paint It White Movie, Karigurashi no Arrietty Movie, Out of Sight, Naruto: Shippuuden Movie: The Lost Tower, Kaichou was Maid-sama Episode 27, Senkou no Night Raid Special, Shiki Episode 21.5, Pokemon Best Wishes Episode 1, You Are Umasou Movie, Heartcatch Precure Movie, Armored Trooper Votoms: Case;Irvine, Fractale Episode 6, Hourou Musuko Episode 6, Yumekui Merry Episode 6, Gosick Episode 6, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Episode 6, Level E Episode 6, Dragonball Super Saiya-jin Zetsumetsu Kaikaku, Armored Trooper Votoms: Finder, Major: Message