Review: BlazBlue Alter Memory Episode 1: The Red Rebel
One of the things I first thought when playing BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger was how well it would work as an anime. I was intrigued by the game’s characters, but felt that the story wasn’t being told in the right medium. It’s taken four years, but this anime is now a reality, and as I suspected it goes a long way towards resolving the problems that I felt didn’t allow the game’s story to reach it’s full potential.
***Note: BlazBlue Alter Memory has now finished airing, and I’ve written a review of the entire series that can be found here.***
Alter Memory is a faithful retelling of of both BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger and Continuum Extend, although this first episode only covers content from the first game. The story of Calamity Trigger can be difficult to follow in the game, and at times borders on being completely incomprehensible; there’s a lot of text and things aren’t explained clearly. Thankfully the anime has been streamlined, although there’s still some confusing elements in this first episode. Ragna’s motivations aren’t clear, and for the most part The Red Rebel is 20 minutes of chance encounters between mysterious characters with unknown agendas. A bit of previous knowledge of the series may therefore be useful, although hopefully things will be cleared up in the next couple of episodes.
And I’m still very excited to see what this show presents us with next. The anime gets right to the important stuff, rather than wasting time with tedious and confusing dialogue. As a fighting game it didn’t really work, and a lot of the time felt incredibly forced. Characters would talk for a bit and then fight for literally no reason.
This pointless fighting is thankfully gone, although there are now some new structural issues I noticed. To work as a fighting game, a lot of the scenes only feature two characters. As an anime, this creates a feeling of disconnect, and this episode in particular was simply a series of one on one encounters.
By the end of Calamity Trigger I was pretty confused, although I am confident that Alter Memory will do a better job of retaining my attention. It’s easier to follow, and tells the story in a more dynamic and attractive way. This is great news, especially considering that things get more complicated by the second game. There were a few flaws, but this was still a great first episode. I’ll review the series as a whole once it’s over, but until then I reckon this one is worth watching.
Also play: BlazBlue: Chronophantasma