It’s an anime movie. I am at least finding them a bit more often than in the past, but they still come out in a dribble, compared to other offerings. This is an odd one, more so for the apparent CG than the plot, which smells rather “Matrix”-y. This is “Blame!” (“Buramu!”).
It is the distant future. Somewhere in the long-forgotten past, the Builders, really robots constructors, created this world, but they refused to take orders from their human makers anymore and decided that all humans were unnecessary. They embarked on a mission to eliminate them all, while continuing to build, build, build. Massive floor after massive floor was constructed. To help in their fight against people, sentinels, known as Safeguards, keep an active patrol up. Humans, however, being plucky and resourceful, manage to eke out an existence, except now, they are known as Electro-Fishers.
They wear a body suit that helps prevent detection (although not always) and their main location is protected by a barrier. One day, while hunting for food (as it is near impossible to grow anything in these shuttered confines), they run afoul of hunter killers, but are saved when Killy (that guy in the center) shows up and stops all of those machines. He is on a quest for the Net Terminal Gene, something that will allow him to speak with the machines again and, potentially, wrest control back to humans. This film shows his attempts to reach his goals, while trying to help this band of survivors.
There are two problems with the film and the first is the CG. I mean, it’s really “Knights of Sedonia”. I often wonder if they use this approach to show that people have evolved into something not much better than robots, as we have lost our humanity, and that it is hard to determine where the human ends and the robot begins. The second is that if feels very episodic, as though this is one stop for Killy on his endless journey (which makes him a caliber of soul brother to ‘Samurai Jack’). Killy has such limited dialogue, you reach a point where you feel it isn’t really necessary for him to speak at all.
Despite the CG, the City looks marvelous, all grimy and dour and depressing. There are some creative aspects to both character design and the robots themselves. Some parts of the story-telling were guessed by me, so when the climactic battle occurs, I was not all that surprised how it happened to come about. Well, it might be different for you.
The fight sequences are choreographed well and even the encounter with a female AI offers the few moments of real give-and-take in this movie. The ending feels a bit paste-on, as though there should be some caliber of happiness in this hopeless world. It doesn’t really end, as Killy is still on his quest. Now, if this was going to be a series of movies, that is a harder path to take, as you don’t want it to be how Killy saves another band of intrepid survivors. Let’s just see how it plays out or what comes next.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 5 (Flat, even by CG standards)
Plot 7 (Works, but thin)
Pacing 7 (Almost too frantic)
Effectiveness 7 (Just one chapter in an overall sequence)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (It’s missing something that would make it more)
2 ½ stars