Super Armor Heroes Time~

November 24, 2012

“As long as someone survives, we win…”

Hermann Saltza, Blassreiter

Aye, Blassreiter.

The previous Nitro+-related anime I could relate to was Demonbane; general consensus back then from me, and general consensus from me now, was that it was a watered-down version which somehow managed to retain a bit of the atmosphere from the original, thereby preventing it from becoming a totally unrelated anime related to the game of the same name only by title and franchise. For Blassreiter, it starts as an original story concept by Nitro+, so if you’re wondering if you should dabble in Nitro+ anime again after getting put off by Demonbane, then I think you can rest your mind easy.

Blassreiter’s backstory is slightly off the side of the road. In this world, there exist a kind of humanoid monster known as Demoniacs. These monsters possess superhuman capabilities, are resistant to small-arms fire and can assimilate and operate machinery. Combating these monsters are the Xenogenesis Assault Team, or XAT for short, who routinely run operations to hunt the Demoniacs whenever they are found. Amanda Werner and Hermann Saltza, two of the characters in XAT, are the main characters in this story.

The story initially focuses on Hermann’s friend, a racing biker champion by the name of Gerd Frentzen, who loses the use of his legs when a Demoniac attack during a race causes him to suffer an accident. Having lost his career, his girlfriend and his pride, he is given a pill by a mysterious female doctor who promises him his glory days back, Gerd becomes something much more; he becomes an Amalgam, a variant of Demoniacs who retain their humanity during their transformation and can keep their killing instinct under control. Using this newfound power, he tries to right the wrongs that he sees, but apart from having to come to terms with the false smiles of the people around him that he used to trust, he also has to deal with the fact that his powers not only bring unwanted attention to himself, but that they might be more than he can handle.

Throughout the story, various perspectives on the people whose lives have been affected by the Demoniacs are presented; first Gerd’s view from a person who has lost the trust in the people around him and Hermann’s anguish at being unable to do what is right set against what is needed to be done, then to Malek Yildrim Werner, Amanda’s adopted brother who is unable to fight back against the oppression in his life, and finally to Hermann and Amanda as the Demoniac conflict reaches its final point.

Also within the story is an underlying theme of distrust; for Malek’s arc, racism (and very blatant racism at that) is present, as well as the hidden gulf between Malek and Amanda. XAT has their own plans, and even more revelations come to pass as forces greater than XAT and the Demoniacs reveal themselves to bring their own plans to bear. Situated within this is Joseph Jobson, an Amalgam, a man burdened with a past that will determine his entire life.

Perhaps a good thing from Demonbane is the usage of an original storyline in this anime; the show is relatively straightforward in execution (if you don’t find the racism a bit forced) and apart from the world’s settings which are left relatively unexplained, the other aspects of the show are understandable if purposely left hazy. XAT commander Wolf Göring, for instance, turns out to be a rather interesting character, as does the other members Bradley, Alvin and Mei-Fong, and the true meaning of a Demoniac’s power isn’t all as mystical as the show would have you believe.  The only thing the show suffers from is that some of the character’s moments may come as sudden, as the show has a tendency to given little attention to a character beyond superficial introductions until it’s their time to shine in the story.

Animation is relatively consistent, and with character designer Niθ on the team as chief character designer you can expect good-looking women and chiseled men. Fight scenes are done with 3DCG, and while you can complain that the choreography may get worse than Michael Bay Style at times (sadly is does, especially when it comes to fights between Amalgams), the show makes up for this in the design aspect. Joseph’s human and Amalgam forms are easily identifiable as a “main character” design, while the other Amalgams have body shapes resembling their fighting style, temperament, looks and so on. For those of you who prefer more grounded shows, the mechanical designs of XAT’s forces may be a bit off-putting and even bordering on cheesy, but they at least move as they should.

Overall, Blassreiter is a rather interesting premise. One can call it an anti-hero kind of show, with heroes haunted by dark pasts and general dastardly acts from the humans, but it’s not so much as saving the humans than it is the heroes settling the demons within. It’s not a 2deep4u kind of mindfuck show, and while it may get lackluster at times, Blassreiter, judged by the terms of being a Nitro+work, is overall a solid watch and a decent example of what the studio responsible for Demonbane can do in the anime industry.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: