Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
MSRP: $69.98 US
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
Sometimes a broken blade can cut even deeper.
Anyone who has ever pick up the FlexComix manga series knows that there’s more to Broken Blade than just cool mechs but a deep and involving tale of a young man who proves he has something special to offer and a story of a war from both sides of the conflict. That’s why I was excited when Sentai Filmworks announced The Complete Film Series of Broken Blade (and on Blu-ray, no less) as the six-part animated film series takes us to the frontlines in this riveting series that’s just too good to pass up.
Told in six somewhat lengthy episodic parts, Broken Blade tells the tale of the continent of Cruzon where the soil doesn’t produce any oil but men and women of all ages are born with the special power to manipulate quartz and make up for the lack of this natural resource. With this ability, people are able to create fully functional machines and operate mechs this world calls Golems. Of course, there are a select few that don’t have any powers at all, and it so happens that our hero – a farm boy named Rygart Arrow – is one of these so-called Un-sorcerers.
Oh, but fate has a funny way of showing us that everyone has their own unique potential and for Rygart it comes in the form of a war. It seems that the continent finds itself in turmoil as the kingdom of Krisna; Athens and Orlando are headed for a bloody conflict. It is Athens that has set its sights on Krisna and its ally, Orlando, and it is willing to go to great extremes to see Krisna’s King and Queen dead. How does Rygart fit in all of this, you might ask? Well, he was a classmate and good friend to Hodr who is now King of Krisna and a friend to the beautiful Sigyn who is now Queen of the land.
Both friends have summoned Rygart to the capital to pilot an old Under-Golem that cannot be piloted by anyone else except for an Un-sorcerer. The fact that the mech starts coming to life with him in the cockpit says that Queen Sigyn was right about Rygart. Now Rygart has the means to fight but what does he know about war or killing, for that matter? It isn’t until King Hodr explains that peace is possible but at a terrible price that would cost Hodr and Sigyn their lives that Rygart decides to fight to keep his friends alive. Here’s another shocker, though. It seems the man leading a small band of Golems in attacking Krisna is an old friend to all three of them.
His name is Zess and he fights for his homeland of Athens who sees the peaceful kingdom of Krisna in a different light. Despite his close relationship to Hodr and Sigyn, he is willing to kill them for the sake of Athens. When he and his small squad confront a number of Golems from Krisna, he is surprised to find that his once friend is operating a different kind of Golem that is faster, able to jump high and is more powerful than it looks. Zess escapes Rygart’s attack but returns for another round only this time Zess loses his comrade named Lee in battle. The enemy also loses the big-breasted 12-year old officer named Cleo who is taken captive by Krisna forces and becomes Queen Sigyn’s invited guest.
Meanwhile, Rygart comes to accept that he is now a part of this war and the only one capable of operating the Under-Golem that is given the codename the “Delphine.” While others want to scrap the Under-Golem, Queen Sigyn can clearly see that their ancestors have made a special machine fit for an Un-sorcerer like Rygart who – it is very clear – she has strong feelings for and does not want to see come under any harm. We witness what Rygart, Hodr, Sigyn and Zess were like as friends in their academy days and the type of people they were and still are as they find themselves in a difficult situation.
It is clear that Athens is determined to take the capital as the Secretary of War of the kingdom of Athens sends out the formidable and battle-hardened General Borcuse and his loyal Colonel. Armed with a special kind of Golem, the General’s men prepare to slaughter their way to the Krisna’s capital of Binonten. Meanwhile, back in Krisna, Rygart is put under the command of the sexy Captain Narvi who also takes in a dangerous comrade named Girge who was imprisoned for killing his own companion during a training exercise.
As General Gorcuse gets closer to the capital and blood is shed on both sides, Rygart finds himself learning to become a part of a team as well as deal with Girge who is clearly so out of control that he could very well end up getting everyone killed. Also, word that the farming village where his brother is living is under attack by the enemy, he sets out on his own to save them as he confronts General Borcuse.
There are a number of fantastic and riveting battles in this series but there’s also another side to the war as Cleo – who was taught that people from Krisna were bloodthirsty monsters – comes to not only respect Queen Sigyn but also come to like her even though she is expected to hate her enemy. Sigyn’s relationship with Rygart is also interesting and how it develops throughout the series makes for some touching scenes that tell us everything about their true feelings.
I wish there was more on Zess who is even more interesting a character but he takes a backseat to the other squad led by General Borcuse who turns out to be quite a piece of work. On top of that, the series is actually quite visually stunning and even more so on Blu-ray. The Golem battles are amazing and even the character models look good … although the fan service is a tad overkill when it comes to Queen Sigyn who is seen in her panties more than once.
The series also includes an English dub voice cast with Greg Ayres who is awesome as Rygart and Emily Neves as Sigyn sounds regal. Who actually steals the show, in my eyes, is Shelley Calene-Black as Captain Narvi. She brings a more emotional performance than the original Japanese Seiyuu.
The Complete Film Series of Broken Blade thrusts us into a wonderfully told story that goes beyond fighting mechs and bloody battles. It weaves an intricate tale of friendship, sacrifice and two sides to a massive war between two kingdoms. It’s also an exciting series that packs in a lot in its six-episodes to the point that it will definitely not disappoint anyone looking for a great series with fighting mechs.
BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN
In the midst of a war against a neighboring land, the kingdom of Krisna finds itself in danger of being invaded. Joining the fight is Rygart Arrow who is friend to the King and Queen of Krisna and the only un-sorcerer who is capable of piloting an older but powerful mech. Meanwhile, the man helping the enemy is an old friend to Rygart and the royal couple of Krisna as both kingdoms push towards an unavoidable bloody confrontation.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
Broken Blade is one of those visually stunning anime films that really should be seen on Blu-ray and Sentai Filmworks definitely does not disappoint in the very least in bringing us a flawless high-def format. You’ll certainly see the difference since this is a colorful series with gorgeous backdrops and truly eye-popping visceral fighting scenes.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The original Japanese language track brings us a great voice-acting cast but you just have to love the English dub performances that include the talents of Greg Ayres, Emily Neves, Brittney Karbowski and Shelley Calene-Black among others. The score by Yoshihisa Hirano is absolutely stunning and the opening theme song by KOKIA is fantastic. However, we have fallen in love with the closing theme song, “Serious-Age” by Faylan.
You’ll only find the clean version of the opening and closing animation so don’t expect much in terms of extras. Just about the best feature, of course, is the fact that the film series is available on Blu-ray and includes an English dub track.
Broken Blade is certainly one of those compelling, edge-of-your-seat riveting animated film series that – at first glance- seems like familiar fare but it manages to march to its own beat in a way that you can’t help but get caught up in its story. This six-part collection is a definite Must Have for anyone who likes an intelligent, absorbing and enjoyable series with plenty of mech action.
Review copy provided by Sentai Filmworks