Monday, 31 January 2011

Break Blade 3: Kyoujin no Ato

Despite a mediocre start in its first instalment, Break Blade started to show a bit of promise with its second outing, bringing with it some slicker action and pretty compelling drama to make for a far more enjoyable viewing experience.

After starting with a brief flashback to happier days for Ryugart, Hodr and Zess (to remind us who these three major players are I suspect; I'd certainly forgotten their names), we soon return to the present day, where Athens soldier Cleo is still trying to recover from the death of her friend Lee - something which she looks to do by throwing herself into the thick of the action to come.

A good job that is too, as the first half of Kyoujin no Ato is largely a riot of action, with another attacking raid by Zess and company thwarted by an ambush centred around Rygart and his Delphine Golem - a state of affairs which eventually sees Rygart and Zess face-off in battle for the first time as the former catches up to the his retreating former friend and his minions.  With Rygart still unsure of his determination to kill anyone this is put to the test soon enough, with the Delphine pilot stopping just short of putting an end to Zess' life; a decision which gives Cleo an opportunity to save her commander and run rampage amidst the Krisna reinforcements who appear on the scene.  Impress though this is, the sheer weight of numbers eventually sees Cleo captured as an injured Zess is rescued by the unfortunately named Erekt.

After all of that high-octane action, things take a turn for the quieter for the movie's second half, bringing in some foreshadowing of future events as other individuals and forces prepare to enter the escalating situation between countries, while even Krisna looks set to add at least one rather dubious individual to their arsenal.  Meanwhile, Cleo finds herself interrogated in a rather unexpected fashion by Sigyn, giving the opportunity to forge an escape plan (and treat us to some fan service) which doesn't exactly go to plan.

Come the end of it all, this really was a movie of two halves.  The first half of Kyoujin no Ato flew by in a blitz of fantastic action that really made the most of the weighty and realistic feeling mecha that the franchise has to offer, with a slightly clunky and cumbersome feel that somehow makes the action and the moments of acrobatic piloting seem all the more impressive.  This was also coupled with some great drama as these events played out; drama which was carried largely by Cleo which seeped into much of the second half, before being ruined a bit by bouncing needlessly into fan service for a moment and dulled a little by the political and military machinations that I can't be too harsh on because they're clearly utterly necessary for the next instalment... an instalment which I'm now very much looking forward to incidentally.  After showing its potential in part two, this outing of Break Blade delivered in spades - sure, it wasn't perfect, but if nothing else the first half of this movie proved that these guys know what to do in terms of action when it comes to the crunch if nothing else.. and let's be honest, that's pretty much the main reason we're watching this mecha series anyway.  Well, maybe that and trying to figure out how the hell Cleo is supposed to be twelve years old.

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