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Anime: Blazblue: Alter Memory Complete Series (DVD & Bluray)

Released By: FUNimation

Release Date: July 21st, 2015

Retail Price: $64.98

Blazblue: Alter Memory is a 12 episode anime series that stems from the video games of the same title, but separates itself by finding its own footing and direction. The story of Blazblue: Alter Memory is set in December of 2199, when the streets are full of people eagerly awaiting the end of the year celebration as well as the start of the New Year. Throughout the joyous celebrations, word begins to spread that Ragna the Bloodedge, an SS-class rebel with the largest bounty ever on his head, has appeared in the 13th Hierarchical City of Kagutsuchi. The evident aim of Ragna or the “Grim Reaper” is the destruction of the system controlling the world. To collect the bounty, a miscellaneous array of unparalleled fighters approach Kagutsuchi.

In the series first moments, a flash-forward vision of our protagonist Ragna depicts a full scale battle with another that indicates the series action is like a cross between the high paced firework fights from Dragon Ball Z (but lighter) and weaponry that is a shout-out to final fantasy. Though the premise sounds especially serious, Ragna is a more careless character who is completely capable of handling himself (like Vash from Trigun) with a more frustrated demeanor. The additional characters introduced to the series, like Tao of the Kaka clan, are introduced through battle and pursue his bounty but a moment later has warmed up to Ragna and sits down to dine with the wanted man. Ragna is a fun character to center on, as a tough guy/loner, but he also seemingly can enjoy the companionship of others even if he remains adamant that he doesn’t. We also discover his siblings with intense personalities as well, like Jin who rivals his brother a majority of the time. The youngest sister Saya is the innocent fragile member of the family and series, and having experienced the harsh sides the world has to offer. Each character you’ll meet in the series has varied traits and moments on interest, and despite the fact that it strays from the story, each one is eye-catching at one point or another.

The character designs are loud and vibrant, which could either entice viewers or feel off-putting, though I felt that each character’s design was enjoyable and diverse. With large oversized clothing, large weapons, and elaborate hairdos, there isn’t one character that feels too plain for the rest of the series. One of my favorite animated characters (and a favorite in general) is the green haired Hazama, with a black bowler hat and a troubled smile. Hazama is the captain of Novus Orbis Librarium’s Intelligence Department, and a protagonist of the series who as it turns out, as actually betrayed the six heroes – a group of warriors who united with mankind to fight against the Black Beast during the battle known as the Dark War when mankind was on the cusp of destruction. Another character besides Ragna that I found myself attached to was Noel Vermillion, lieutenant of the Novus Orbis Librarium, whose main goal is to return the missing Jin to his position on the force. She not only is a resident badass, but her wholesome good-hearted personality makes her one of the most necessary figures. For example, during a scene where Ragna comes close to meeting his demise, a flashback of the two sets in, leading her to save his life in the brink of death.

When you look at Blazblue: Alter Memory by its components, the dub was handled especially well, with voice actors who can feel authentic to the roles they portray. The score of the animation is on par with the other positive aspects, hitting intense action sequences and matching them with emotional moments and a softer soundtrack to mesh with the ups-and-downs of the series. Blazblue: Alter Memory is generally an anime series that most likely will be enjoyed by gamers, fans of the original Blazblue series, or anime fans who can simply enjoy a far-out action series that contains more than what’s on the surface.

Aedan’s Final Thoughts
-After getting used to the appearance of each character, their designs really stuck with me creatively.

-Of all the video-game based anime series I’ve viewed so far, this series seems to be the best at attempting to break boundaries of the game-to-anime genre

-I appreciate the nod to other characters, making the supporting roles feel more important to the story than being a background character.

-The action scenes are highly entertaining, and the elaborate weapons make them more unpredictable.

-I SERIOUSLY enjoyed the villains of this series for their appearance and completely wacko traits. Yes, villains can be enjoyable people…

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