Friday, 3 June 2011

Break Blade 5: Shisen no Hate

For all of the advantages of Break Blade's theatrical release format, I do find it rather hard to keep track of exactly what happened in the previous instalment of the series by the time the next one comes along.  Still, thanks to the decidedly "chunky" recap episode to this fifth movie I now remember perhaps the only truly important thing that I need to know - that Girghe is bat shit crazy.

For all his insanity however, it's Girghe's unnerving proficiency with a Golem that allows him to at least even up the odds at the climax to the battle which closed out the previous movie, doing some serious damage to the opposition who previous had grabbed more than a little initiative by killing General True.  The main question which arises from his death is just who, if anyone, is going to tell Narvi about the demise of her beloved general?

The answer to this question is left unanswered on this occasion, largely on account of Rygart - upon hearing that enemy troops are nearing the village where he used to live and his brother still resides, he takes off alone in the hope of ensuring the villagers safety... only to find that not only is he too late, but also that he has the small matter of Borcuse to deal with.  Cue the first in a series of intense mecha action sequences that underpins the entire movie, even if it occasionally takes too many cues from the Transformers live-action film (i.e. getting too close to the action to the point where it gets tricky to make out what's going on).  For all of the technology and talent available to him, expecting to defeat Borcuse is a bit of a stretch even for Rygart, and eventually he succumbs to his opponents abilities; a defeat which seems as though it could be the end for both himself and the Delphine.

Luckily for him, Rygart's squad-mates are hot on his tail - not enough so to save him from defeat but they're sufficiently close at hand to aid his eventual escape from his captors clutches before they can seize him and his Golem.  This is, however, a brief reprieve as their squad soon finds itself ambushed by another group of enemy troops (featuring Nike et al) - a tough enough battle as it is before Rygart and Girghe find themselves fighting one another rather than their collective enemy...

While previous instalment of Break Blade have spent a fair amount of time delving into the political machinations and back stories of various characters, all of that seemed to have been put to one side for Shisen no Hate in favour of forty-five minutes of balls of more or less balls to the wall action with only brief periods of respite in between.  Truth be told, that focus worked pretty well - it did threaten to become soulless sessions of machines bashing panels on occasion, but overall it carried off its constant action-centric fare pretty solidly (although maybe that's just because I love the weighty feel of the machines in this series bouncing off one another).  My one real concern here is that the final and sixth movie seems to have an impossible amount of things to wrap up - there's the small matter of a war to resolve satisfactorily, a love triangle that really needs to be handled, Zess' own festering emotions (which were ignored this time around entirely) and the prisoner of war who is having more fun than pretty much anyone in this series Cleo.  Can it do all of this in under an hour?  I doubt it, but let's hope it manages to tie up at least some of those loose ends.

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