BlazBlue: Alter Memory | Review: Ep. 1

The Wheel of Fate is Yawning

I really liked the first game in the BlazBlue series, which to this date is the only game in that series that I’ve played more than ten minutes of, so I went into BlazBlue: Alter Memory expecting a pretty cool action show based on the story I had vague memories of from that first game. Well, the first episode is out and I’ve seen it and I hate to say it, but I’m not sure what the hell happened here.

vlc 2013-10-09 16-15-31-75Now, let me just start this by saying that this episode was not bad, quite the contrary, I liked it. But the quality was all over the place in terms of pacing and writing.

I’m not even going to try and summarize the plot due to risk of spoiling events from the episode or the game as it’s told in a non-linear fashion with flashbacks and we mostly follow Ragna the Bloodedge, a SS Rebel who has the highest bounty of any criminal ever. That’s the basic set-up, and that’s where I’ll leave it.

While the story is fine, albeit a bit hard to grasp and follow from the get-go, the pacing suffers greatly from the non-linear design. Every flashback feels awkwardly spliced in, and despite there being multiple fights happening in this episode of a anime based on a fighting game, only one of them are properly fleshed out. You don’t want magical glowing lines flying towards each other in the distance in a show like this, it feels lazy and pointless.

vlc 2013-10-09 16-15-49-78With that said, the fight that is properly done in detail is everything it should be. It’s fun, exciting and shows off the two characters’ fighting styles in a great way. If BlazBlue can keep that up for future episodes, we’re going to have a great show when it comes to action. As for the writing of the first episode, most of the good bits were lifted straight from the game, which is fine, but it does make me worry how well it’ll stand on its own in the long-run.

vlc 2013-10-09 16-20-13-81Visually, the show is pretty. The art-style is given plenty of room to shine and the vibrant use of colors and different unique character designs was something great about the original game and it’s done justice in the anime as well.

I’m looking forward to seeing more characters introduced and see how their fighting is presented in the show, because there’s some impressive talent put into animation here. Let’s just hope it won’t go to waste.

The first episode was a little bit of a disappointment, it didn’t feel like the show came into its own until just around the last third of the running time and the rest of it felt like a bit of a waste. The show will have to work on character development in future episodes if it wants to save the fighting for one big thing per episode like this, but it’s not bad. It’s just a little boring even if it’s enjoyable overall.

Episode Rating: 3/5 – Let’s Have a Rematch.

Series Available on Funimation
Funimation has Licensed the series for US Distribution
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