Post Reply Blade and Soul
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Posted 6/13/14
by Koda89



Revenge is a dish best served cold. And as far as Alka, the protagonist of Blade and Soul, is concerned it is the only item on the menu. Alka is wandering the planet in search of Jin Varrel, a magical swordwoman who can use a corrupting magic called Impurity and the murderer of Hong, Alka's master. To this end Alka utilizes the skills she learned as a member of the Clan of the Sword, a group of emotionless assassins, to cut a bloody path in her quest for revenge.



Unfortunately for Alka, Jin Varrel is the leader of a group of dark magic wielders called the Flower Monks who work for Palam, the ruthless empire that controls much of the land and brings misery to many. This makes it rather difficult for Alka to get close to Jin. To make things worse, Alka is a wanted person, with the only thing appearing on her wanted posters being the butterfly symbol that is on her left arm. This makes Alka an instantly identifiable person and constantly attracts people who want to collect the bounty on her head.



One such person is Hazuki, a gun wielding bounty hunter who is often drunk. Though Hazuki constantly fails at beating Alka, she keeps trying repeatedly. After every failed attempt, Hazuki can be found drowning her sorrows in alcohol at the restaurant/inn owned by Karen, a beautiful fan dancer whose influence and power runs deeper than most suspect. The last major player in Blade and Soul is Roana, the leader of the Pleasure Gang which is an anti-Palam group.

In addition to interacting with these three women, Alka also crosses paths with several side characters along her journey. Sadly everywhere Alka goes, death follows her and misfortune befalls anyone who tries to help her. During Alka's trek she reflects on Hong's teachings, and slowly learns the true meaning behind them. This results in Alka slowly starting to feel emotions and makes her come face to face with the consequences of her actions as an assassin.



Personally speaking I have some rather mixed feelings about Blade and Soul. The show launches out of the gate with a violent and action filled first episode that made me think the show would be a fun, albeit shallow, romp. However, the show quickly falls into a rather predictable pattern that it holds steadfast to from that point onwards. Part of that pattern is that almost no side characters survive the episode they are featured in. It becomes so predictable later on that as soon as a character that isn't part of the main cast says their name, it is almost a sure bet they'll be in a pool of their own blood by the end of the episode.

Another part of that pattern is that Alka almost takes being a silent protagonist too seriously. In most episodes she hardly says anything for the first half, only really talking in the second half and even it isn't much. As such it falls to the rest of the cast to do most of the talking.

The show counters this problem by having some rather entertaining action scenes early on. Unfortunately these scenes become less entertaining in the later episodes, because the quality of the animation steadily decreases as the series goes on. This comes to a head in the eighth episode, which is possibly one of the weakest animated episodes of anime I have ever seen. The poor quality animation makes one of the most important fight scenes to happen in the show look like an utter joke.

All is not lost, however. I love the evolution Alka goes through once she starts feeling emotions. Seeing an assassin character have to face the realities of what they have done their whole life is rather refreshing, and something you don't see often. I also find the character designs to be rather unique and memorable, though I do question the actual functionality of their outfits. Lastly, my favorite thing about Blade and Soul is the ending credits, which features Karen doing a fan dance. The ending is absolutely beautiful and features bar none some of the best CGI animation I have ever seen in anime.



In the end, I think the main issue I have with Blade and Soul is that very few things have the right amount of time dedicated to them. For example, it takes eight episodes for Alka to begin her evolution as a character. I would have liked to seen it happen at least two episodes before. I feel absolutely nothing in regards to the deaths of the side characters, because almost none of them are given enough time to grow on me as characters, and thanks to the pattern the show follows for nearly its entire run, I eventually can't become invested in the side characters, as I know they'll be dead. Ultimately, Blade and Soul isn't a series for everyone, but it does just enough things right to make it worthwhile for anyone who has the patience to wait for the show to really hit its stride. If you'd like to see if Blade and Soul is your kind of show, please check it out on Crunchyroll.
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Posted 7/22/14
Absolutely agree. It started great, then got FUGLY and weak. I put it aside for a bit, then decided I wanted to try to finish it. Once they got to those last few episodes, it got good, if a little disjointed. I ADORE the ending song, Rainbow, it's one of the best ones I've heard in a long time. I just wish they had been more consistent with the story.
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Posted 7/24/14
possibly the worst anime in history
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Posted 7/24/14
Iskatu haven't seen Boku no Pico apparently.
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Posted 7/25/14
Boku No Picu is an anime that should never have existed, I mean... I couldn't even watch the first 5 minutes
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Posted 7/25/14
I agree with a lot of this, but not everything you've said in regards to the deaths of characters and the predictability... there was a very important point being made about the cycle of violence that vows to revenge (and following the path of an assassin) will bring, but said enough already in the other forum. The fall in quality was a huge disappointment, I can forgive viewer preferences based on the appeal of the story but it's hard to commit to a show that lets you down so late in the game. It looked like the 8th, and 11th episodes were just rushed to production without final animation checks. Or any animation checks. The ending was a really nice touch- and the music in the last episode wasn't bad either.
I question the function of the outfits too, because, if you're going to be a skin-bearing fanservice show that works fine with action and comedy- but the hefty emotional material and bouncing boobs don't mix well.
Posted 7/27/14
Thank for the review, will check it out with caution.
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