Friday, 29 July 2011

Break Blade 6: Doukoku no Toride

Despite his foolish solo "mission" to his home village almost ending in disaster, somehow Rygart is still alive and his Delphine more or less intact (albeit out of juice) - then again, his rescue did come at a hefty personal cost on both sides of the on-going conflict which has underpinned the series.

As this final Break Blade movie begins, Binonten has been changed from a thriving city to a ghost town as its residents evacuate, and with good reason given that Borcuse and his battalion of troops are marching on the capital apace.  On the other side of this conflict, we have General Baldr and his remaining troops, who are hoping to do their part to stop the invasion while also carrying a sullen-shell-shocked Rygart and his powerless Delphine with them.

As Borcuse's troops arrive at Binonten's front door and begin their assault, it seems as though nothing will stop them - not that this is going to stop Sigyn in particular from trying, as she continues to develop and craft a weapon for Rygart to use under the assumption that he'll return.  It's probably not really a spoiler to confirm that yes, Rygart does make it back to the capital, and not a moment too soon as he finds himself facing off against Borcuse directly in what proves to be the series final, all-important showdown in the midst of numerous other minor skirmishes and the escape of Cleo from her decidedly comfortable spell in captivity.

As endings to a series goes, Break Blade did a pretty solid job while (of course) still allowing for the fact that it's based upon an on-going manga, leaving it with a necessity to leave certain things up in the air.  As the main attraction of the entire franchise to me was its clunky, weighty, "realistic" mecha, the final assault on Binonten which occupied most of Doukoku no Toride's running time was exactly what I was hoping for - a little confusing or hard to follow in places admittedly, but generally speaking a fitting finale underpinned by the almighty scrap between Borcuse and Ryugart which felt pretty satisfying without ever pushing over into the outright spectacular.

In fact, "satisfying without ever pushing over into the outright spectacular" pretty much sums up the entirety of Break Blade - it has plenty of decent, fleshed out characters who you can either get behind or at least by fascinated by, with plenty of rivalries and the like to go with it, but once again it's the mecha that make this series.  I'm not a huge fan of giant robot anime exactly because too much of it involves super-charged mecha with ridiculously super-powered weapons and abilities, and in comparison to that Break Blade's fighting machines feel grounded, hefty and very much subservient to the laws of physics, with even Rygart's Delphine (the closest the series comes to an outlandish machine) feeling both fallable and eminently destructible.  If there were more mecha anime along these lines (and I include the possibility of more Break Blade itself within this wish), then I'd certainly be more than happy to watch it.  I shall now sit back and wait for the slew of "haven't you ever watched series X?" questions and recommendations which ensue.

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