I always have a concern when anything for the movies or TV is adapted from a video game, where “Blade & Soul” first came from. Can you name all the good movies or shows that came from video games? I’ll wait………but not that long. I have a review to offer. It’s a pretty pathetic list. Now, I have never played the game, so I cannot reference if the story works for the anime, but since we did at least string it out for a full season and not try to cram it into two noisy hours, it might work better.
The story revolves around Alka, Madam Front and Center, with those two really big…..swords. She has been trained as an assassin, the last member of the Clan of the Sword, as she employs a double-sword technique to dispatch her enemies, usually going for a throat slitting. Effective, but messy. She has a tattoo on her arm which makes her a target, as she is deemed an enemy of the state. She is seeking revenge as her master, Dougan Han (who looks like a floppy-eared dog) was slain by Jin Varel (the one with her back to us in the extreme upper left), and who uses dark magic to do her dirty deeds. The show is not only about Alka’s peregrinations to seek and find revenge, but to understand the real person she is inside.
Well, remember, she has a bounty on her, so that bounty hunter in the lower left, Hazuki Jin, wants to get her for the rewards, as she drinks too much and has run up a huge tab at the pleasure dome that Karen El operates (that’s her lurking behind the fan). Lastly, there is Roana Dan, (the one with the mark on her face), who is the chief of a band of brigands called the “Pleasure Gang”, who terrorizes the countryside. All in one way or another want to employ Alka and her amazing talents, but Alka starts to have doubts about what it all means and where she is really going to.
Although I did like the idea of learning how to change yourself, it did get undermined by the constant battles and bloodletting that permeates this series. Also, it seems that the only way you can be in this show is to have a nice bust line that you are not afraid to reveal in either skimpy or tight-fitting outfits. Do you have a permit to carry those around? Need some help to carry those around? There is one episode that is total fan service. It follows the “Darker than Black” syndrome, in that if we put it in the middle of the show, it would ruin the dramatic tension that has been built and not really recover, but this is a true filler, throw-away show, there merely for laughs and boobs.
I fail to understand why the ladies have to have such acreage. I have seen shows with a more modest-sized maiden doing her job, but I guess we need something more. Dynamic tension should not have to come by seeing how hard the fabric can stretch before it gives way. It’s rather unnecessary and, as I have said before, tends to detract from the real show
Still, if you want something more from an action show than mindless action and killing, this could be what you seek. There is some good character development, as they grow along with the story. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but it doesn’t make it any more palatable and you must move on with your life. Yeah, pretty heady stuff for an anime. Oh, there is a cute chibi-style follow-up at the very end of the credits that actually do more harm to the show, but it can be overlooked, if you bypass the credits (like I do about 75% of the time).
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 9 (A good investment into design)
Plot 8 (Rather refreshing, despite clichés)
Pacing 7 (Can get a tad sluggish)
Effectiveness 6 (As everything is long-term results)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but it could end where it stands)
Fan Service 5 (A similar show would be “Maburaho”)
Overall 7 (Something different)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Another round, please.