BlazBlue: Alter Memory: A Quick Take

bbam01aRagna is a man on the run from his bounty hunters and his own nightmares in this first episode. After being killed by ν for the umpteenth time, he is directed by Rachel to go to Kagutsuchi. Once there, he runs into the catgirl Tao then Noel Vermillion later on. After remembering how he lost his arm, he fights the man responsible for that, his younger brother Jin Kisaragi. Finally he runs into someone into a situation he has never escaped from before with his life on the line.

Welcome to the incredible world of time loops I guess. I’m aware that this fighting game series has a plot that runs much deeper than most games from the genre. Being able to do something beyond having some rich guy put together a tournament is actually a plus. However, the way this first episode goes about telling the story is one that almost certainly needs some background. I admittedly found it hard to understand what was happening most of the time outside of the scenes with Tao.

For instance, there’s Jin Kisaragi. We get a brief introduction to him as the cool, collected commander early in the episode. Then he disappears at some point and by the end he’s an absolute lunatic fighting Ragna. How am I supposed to know without any back story. At least with some of the scenes where Ragna is put in peril I can understand that this has happened many times before with predictable results. There’s just no insight into what the hell the characters are doing.

From a stylistic standpoint, this is about what I would expect from a fighting game adaptation. Lots of silly costumes and character designs to go around for everyone. I was also surprised by the amount of shots in the fight scenes that made it look like it was from a 2D fighting game. I would have thought that staying away from that was one of the things they would do in an adaptation.

Reasons to Continue Watching

  • It looks well made for a fighting game adaptation
  • The story is probably good after all of the time loop stuff is revealed
  • Tao is surprisingly likable for a character whose only facial features are eyes and a mouth.

Reasons to Drop

  • Almost completely inaccessible to non-fans of the series
  • The characters other than Ragna seem to alternate between calm and completely insane
  • The opening animation is clips from the episode. Never a good sign for the future.

My Verdict: I was actually hoping this would be terribad enough to continue watching it ironically. Unfortunately, it was competently made and has a story that seems willing to try to do interesting things. That story is inaccessible to me unless I want to play some of the Blazblue games. I have better things to do though. Fans of the games should find solace in that this isn’t as badly botched as other fighting game adaptations though.

One thought on “BlazBlue: Alter Memory: A Quick Take”

  1. I actually gave up early on on thinking this show cared whether the ignorant understood it. It seems to take the fighting game mentality of keep or get left behind. Though while it may seem cool for the fans, I think this choice may be a mistake for getting outsiders to enjoy this.

    Tao was incredibly annoying to me. Not annoying enough to make me stop watching, but I certainly understood why Ragna kept yelling at her.

    And I’m right there with you when it comes to trying to watch this show ironically. It’s a little too competent and entertaining for its own sake to be watched that way, even if it doesn’t excuse the show’s choice to make the everyone dive into the story with as little understanding as possible.

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