BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger first released in 2008 and featured a massive, sprawling story which happens to be one of the largest and most complex in both fighting games and video games. When BlazBlue: Alter Memory aired in 2013, I wondered how it would begin to tackle such a huge narrative.
It’s almost the year 2200 and a new century is about to begin. There have been a multitude of magical wars which have left many lives in ruin, and so a new century hopes to bring in a new peace. When SS-class rebel Ragna the Bloodedge is spotted in the 13th Hierarchical City of Kagutsuchi, members of the Novus Orbis Librarium and other fierce fighters all converge to collect his bounty, which is the highest on record, and to claim his all-powerful Ars Magus the “Azure Grimoire”. Other fighters have their own, personal reasons for appearing here, but all of their stories are about to intertwine.
A good place to jump in if you’re new to the series.
Alter Memory touches on both Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift, so obviously only so much is covered over its twelve episodes. It’s easy to follow and features a simplified story from the games, making it a good place to jump in if you’re new to the series. There’s a lot of games to play through now, or maybe you don’t particularly enjoy fighting games, making the anime much easier to approach than the games. I think it does a pretty good job of adapting the story, all things considered, and I’d have liked another sequel or a longer season to continue the story. It ends on a pretty good note though, but there’s still so much more to explore.
Fast-paced battles don’t disappoint.
Hoods Entertainment and teamKG haven’t worked on a whole lot which I’m a fan of, but Alter Memory looks great. One thing I liked in particular was how the eyes are animated with their thick eyelashes — you can look at them and know who a character is with ease, and they’re very individual. There are plenty of bombastic action scenes where we get to see an array of character’s unique skills, and the fast-paced battles don’t disappoint. There’s a fan-service beach scene which takes up most of an episode and I found it fun, if not a little unnecessary.
Unlike Central Fiction, Alter Memory includes an English dub. Much of the game’s incredible cast return with Patrick Seitz’s Ragna, Cristina Vee’s Noel and Mela Lee’s Rachel, and it’s pleasant to hear from them again — it has been a while, hasn’t it? You’ll recognise some of the music from the games too, but it has entirely new opening and ending themes. I don’t think they match up to the game’s so much, but the opening at least it’s very BlazBlue.
BlazBlue: Alter Memory packs in a lot of action and plot and, for the most part, it does a decent job with it. Being only twelve episodes long, you can’t use the anime to fully understand much of BlazBlue’s lore but it makes for a nice addition for fans to watch alongside playing the games. As a fan of the games myself, I had a blast watching the series fully animated and would love for a second season to be released, although it’s highly unlikely at this point. If you’re a BlazBlue fan then you’ll likely want to pick this up, but this also works as a great starting point if you’re looking into playing the games.
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