Monday, October 12, 2015

BlazBlue Alter Memory Review

BlazBlue Alter Memory Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the show BlazBlue Alter Memory. If you wish not to know some plot details, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please exit the tab, and join me once you've watched the show. Or you know, you can continue to read, since you don't care about spoilers.

Anyways, with that said, thank you, and onto the review:

Though I'm not obsessed with video games, I do really like playing them. Even with school work, reading, and computer stuff to do, I try to find time and get a racing game out from time to time to play. It doesn't matter when I play, just as long as it doesn't contradict with my school work. So it's mainly during breaks, the summer, or a random day with no school.

A couple years ago, a friend of mine got me into exploring fighting games, much thanks to Morrigan Aensland. Though I didn't play a lot of them, I had fun just simply watching, and occasionally jumping in. The first game in this franchise was one of them, and it interested me so much that I played it a few times. Though I didn't know a lot about it, I still remembered it when I stumbled into it on Behind The Voice Actors, and when the anime first premiered.

I first heard about this anime adaption in the fall of 2013 (when it aired), though I'm not exactly sure when. Down the line, I thought this would be a good anime to watch, as it had some interesting characters and just looked pretty badass. 

Looking at the reviews, some people were pretty disappointed with how this turned out, but what did I think? Did I get something that I don't regret investing my time in?

As a whole, this show is pretty much one of those that would, in any other case, turn out to be pretty bad. There's a crap ton of events going on, a lot of characters are focused on in each episode, events are happening left and right, and there seems to be stuff upon stuff to remember. However, despite this, the show still manages to be highly entertaining at most times, and often very satisfying. Even if the anime may be cluttered, you have to admit some parts were quite:

So overall, this series was well liked by me. Plus, I have some new motivation to look at the video game. So bonus for that!

It's time to try to do my best to deconstruct the story, okay guys? Let's begin:


In the year of 2199, we're at the dawn of the next century. Things are pretty peaceful in Kagutsuchi with nothing out of the ordinary happening. But oh wait! Things don't stay like that for long. When Ragna the Bloodedge, also known as the Grim Reaper, suddenly appears in the city, things get quite complicated. You see, Ragna has a big bounty on his head (not really explained why in the anime, though the organization NOL fears him), and apparently the person who turns him in gets a lot of money. so for that, a ton of fighters gather in the city in order to catch him.

But this isn't about trying to catch someone who's bad. Eventually, Ragna does get a few acquaintances, and that subplot is dropped. Now, onto explaining what the main story is about.

So in the first 2 episodes, there was this cycle of time that kept on repeating. The ending of said cycle ends up with Ragna, and a robot known as Nu-13, both dying after they fall into a cauldron. The cycle breaks in Episode 2 when Noel comes in, and things start to head in a new direction.

But wait, let's not forget about other character's goals! Jin still has a bone to pick with Ragna (his biological brother), and the NOL want him back after he abandons his post. Noel is also quite the interesting girl, as she has some interesting depth underneath, and Hazama, a mysterious close-eyed guy (Luke was happy about this) needs her to unleash despair onto the whole world. Also.....

Dang it, where was I again?

*gets up* Okay, that didn't need that hard of a kick Rarity. *rubs head*

When watching this show, I wouldn't say the story is necessarily horrible. But towards the end and when I reflected on it, I do find it to be very messy. I think the problem is in the fact that there's just so many characters in this show, and they each have their own motivations, so it's hard to try and keep track of them and what they do. Also, some of the characters who look like they could have more of an impact are often left at the alter, and a couple don't really reappear until late in the series, or not at all. This is one of several reviewers' main problems with the show, and I do kind of have to agree with it.

I don't think it's that shameful though. If it wasn't BlazBlue, which had entertaining moments pretty much in every episode and got my blood pumping, this series could have easily been dropped about halfway. But what kept me coming back was because of those moments. I was kept on the edge of my seat most of the time, as this anime can get pretty intense quite quickly, and once it starts, it doesn't stop until it ends.

We also have an open ending with this series. *sighs* Add this to the stress of another season probably not possible, since I'm not so sure this did that well. Like Karneval, and The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, it leaves me with several questions that I'm not sure are going to be answered. Good news is that the game is out in the US, so maybe reading Wikipedia is what's in store. XD There's some interesting background there that I don't think got explained in the show.

So all in all, the story is pretty cluttered. But the events that take place help elevate it so it doesn't leave you with your head spinning, compared to Sengoku Musou. Though be aware this can depend on the person.

Character time now!


For a cast this big, I can't help but like pretty much all of the characters. Of course, there has to be some that don't appear as much (I'm probably one of the only few people who actually likes Taokaka) and one that I found to be annoying (Tsubaki, for being a doormat). But besides that, there's at least some parts to a character here that will make them stick in your mind, even if there's a ton to remember.

Let's start off with our lead, Ragna:

Also known as the Grim Reaper, Ragan is feared by the NOL as he has been the most powerful person to rebel against them after a magic war. Because of this, he has been labeled as a criminal with a extremely high bounty. One reason due to this is the fact that he is the carrier of the Azure Grimore, a powerful form of the magic ars magus.

He is the biological older brother to Jin, with their rivalry dating back to an incident where their younger sister Saya was presumably taken and killed. The arm possessing the Azure Grimore is actually mechanical, as his real right arm was hacked off by Jin during said incident above. He was resurrected back to life by Rachel, who gave him the Azure Grimore in the first place. It also explains why one of his eyes is red. His main goal is to take the NOL down due to the fact that it destroyed his family.

If you look at Ragna, you're probably going to think he's just another stereotypical shonen protagonist. You know, the ones who are ridiculously strong and can do things no one expects. While he does kind of fit in that category, I think what makes me like Ragna more than some of those characters is that at he least he has depth. Sure, he may look rough and tough, but he does have softness inside of that exterior. Oh, and just to throw it out there, I do think he's attractive, like many other anime characters. But besides looks, he has a better personality than what's normally expected. I think he changed as the series went on, and I do kind of get why he wanted to save Noel from her doom at the end of the day.

Jin's turn:

Jin is a former member of the NOL, being one of its high commanding officers, until he abandoned his post in his quest for his older brother for another fight. He is most often calm and collective, but does show a more psychotic side whenever something having to do with Ragna (when someone says nee-san (brother in Japanese) like he did, you know it's bad). He wields the ice sword Yukianesa, which also doesn't help his psychotic side in the slightest.

As for Jin, I still liked him for the most part. It was nice seeing him going on his own little journey to kill his brother (which he doesn't accomplish of course) and seeing how he might have trusted Ragna a little more. I also really liked the subplot of one of the NOL's top officers Tsubaki coming after him, and Takamagahara rewinding time after he is unintentionally killed after she's brainwashed by Hazama. That was pretty funny.

Noel's next for me to cover:

Noel is the main heroine of the series, who works for the NOL as a high-ranking member. The reason for this is due to her outstanding combat ability with her 2 guns known as Bolverk (or their full title Arcus Diabolus: Bolverk). She served under Jin before he deserted his post, who didn't treat her well due to her appearance resembling of Saya. She is also the one assigned to bring Jin back into the NOL after he runs off.

Later down the road, it is revealed that her guns may actually be the true successor to the Azure Grimore. After she stalls in her mission to get Jin back (I guess she forgot since Tsubaki's more important) Hazama gets to her instead, and I'll just stop there. That'd be too much for you to find out in this review.

Overall, I was kind of mixed on Noel. While she was pretty cool during fights (the parts where she went robot mode were nice foreshadowing), I don't really think she developed and changed as the series went along, unlike other characters. Her personality didn't get a boost like I expected, and I was disappointed in that.

Time to discuss my favorite character out of the franchise, Rachel:

Rachel is like the C.C. of the Blazblue world. She helps the protagonist gets his special power, and often comments on events with as much interest as staring at a blank wall. She also has some pretty epic moments as well, such as getting someone out of a barrier with almost no struggle whatsoever.

Her background isn't discussed, but she is a vampire and the current head of the Alucard family, though would rather be elsewhere since she gets bored easily. Ragna constantly calls her Rabbit due to her hairstyle, much to her annoyance. Most often during the series, you will find her in a haunted garden, drinking tea and talking about what's going on with her butler Valkenhayn, along with popping up in various places with her 2 familiars Nago and Gil.

Even though we don't get to see Rachel fight, I still enjoyed her pretty much all across the board. She showed a little emotion in the final episode, but most often, she's at her funniest when she's bored. Like I mentioned earlier, she reminds me a lot of C.C. as both are eerily similar. More to remind me to rewatch Code Geass and see C.C. kick ass. ;)

Hazama's up last:

Also known as Trollzama by the fanbase, Hazama (or known by his actual name Yuuki Terumi) is one of the major antagonists of the franchise. He is a captain of the NOL's Intelligence Division, and is the reason why all of the events later come into place. Besides being the official creator of the BlazBlue (I didn't expect that), he is also the one Ragna wishes to defeat since he took Saya away, and her fate is unknown.

Most often, his real personality comes into effect when his hat is taken off, or during moments that quite please him. Then, we have crazy hair and just down right insanity. Basically, run far far away kiddos!

Though Hazama doesn't really change besides bits of his facade chipping away, he still is interesting to see on screen. Whether it'd be eating hard boiled eggs whole or just laughing his butt off, Hazama has a lot of charisma and is one of the most interesting villains I've seen in a while. I'm excited to see where this goes if another season pops up.

Other characters include Taokaka, a catgirl from the Kaka tribe, Litchi, Orient Town's well-known nurse who is somehow on the dark side by the end of this show (have no idea why, but it probably has something to do with her former lover), Carl, who only appears once in the anime adaption. Arakune, a black blob creature, Tager, who works for Kokonoe, a top scientist and my favorite side character of the show. Bang, a ninja from a village who takes Jin in for an episode, Nu-13, a robot who has 2 distinct personalities, Hakumen, a famous hero from way back when, Lambda-11, a robot created by Kokone to stop Terumi, Tsubaki, one of Noel's old friends who works for the NOL, Makoto, another one of Noel's comrades, Valkenhayn, Rachel's butler, Platinum the Trinity, a girl with 3 different personalities. Mu-12, Noel's true form. Takamagahara, a judge like stystem that doesn't really get explained. And finally, we have Relius Clover, Carl's father, a famous alchemist, and the Imperator.

Whew, talk about a mouthful.


The animation for this series was done by Hoods Entertainment, and teamKG. The former studio is most known for Mysterious Girlfriend X and The Qwaser of Stigmata. The latter studio hasn't worked on as many project besides OVA's.

Overall, I thought the animation for this series was pretty well done. Sure, there were a couple of times it did drop (and when it did, it produced some ghastly results. I don't think I've ever seen late mouth flap movements), but it still had some amazing factors to it, such as with colors, and overall design. Heck, even some of the scenery looked gorgeous. 

As with the bad parts, I do hope they get fixed on the DVD version. I've seen a couple of English episodes, and some bits here and there were better. But you never know until you look.


The score for this series was produced by Arte Refact, who also might have composed some music in the games, but then again, it's been a while. Like teamKG, they aren't known for much, but are doing the score for Komori-san Can't Decline as well.

Score wise, I think this series has some very good pieces. It wasn't nearly as memorable as I would have liked, as the dramatic tracks tend to blend together, but other than that, I found myself either bobbing my head to the more electronic based songs, or finding myself cackling eternally with glee at Queen of Rose (which reminds me of a particular Code Grass track).

Now onto the topic of Japanese or English audio. Before watching this anime, I mainly heard the English version in the first game, which I really liked. That didn't stop me from accidentally memorizing some of the seiyuus who were in the games. Whoops. Though I have seen all of the show in Japanese, what I've seen of the English dub has actually been really good. Besides voicing the lead in the show, Patrick Seitz also was the ADR director of the dub and head script writer, which probably hints to his enthusiasm for the franchise itself. Both versionsas of right now are equal for me, though we do have some preferred voices for characters in English than in Japanese.

Should I also point out that the 2 male leads in Fairy Tail in Japanese voice psychopaths here? Oh wait, I just did. It's fairly interesting, with Yuichi Nakamura easily pulling off the best performance of the entire show as Hazama.

Highlights in the original Japanese are Rina Sato, Tetsuya Kakihara (both of his characters), Kana Ueda, Chiwa Saito, Kenji Nomura, Miyuki Sawashiro, Yuichi Nakamura, Motomu Kiyokawa, Aoi Yuki, Junichi Suwabe, Chie Matsura, Masaki Terasoma, and Yukana.

Highlights so far in the English dub are Patrick Seitz, David Vincent (as Hakuman only), Cristina Vee, Mela Lee, Ethan Murray (Ezra Weisz), Cindy Robinson (both of her characters), Philece Sampler (uncredited), Lauren Landa, Julie Ann Taylor (as Kokonoe only), Doug Erholtz, and Alexis Tipton. Kate Davis (Kate Higgins) will probably be added to the final list once I finish the dub.


I'm surprised that I liked this show as much as I did, though there's not as much as say about it, much like The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. If only the story wasn't as cluttered, I would probably throw my heart and soul towards it and never look back. But other than that, this is a pretty solid anime to game adaption, and I would recommend to fans of the game, or people who are curious in an anime that was based off of a game, specifically a fighting one.

Score: 8.5/10


Engaging story.

Fun main characters.

Very good animation.

Nice score.

Good vocal performances in Japanese and English.

Highly satisfying at parts.


Story can get messy at points.

Some of the more interesting characters not developed as much.

Minor animation errors.

Open ending.

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