This article was originally published on Anime 3000 on June 23, 2010.
Blassreiter is a 24 episode co-production between animation studio, Gonzo and visual novel company, Nitro+. It’s directed by Ichiro Itano, a man well known for his wicked action choreography (CIRCUS!) and wickedly terrible directorial abilities. Anime directed by Ichiro Itano tend to rely much more on violence (such as his work on Gantz) and absurd situations (Battle Royal High School) as opposed to coherent storytelling and logic. Blassreiter is no exception.
It’s hard to say what Blassreiter is really about. The title means “pale rider,” but a more accurate translation would be “stupid asinine anime.” Theoretically, it’s about people fighting “mechanized monsters that are hell-bent on leaving a bloody trail of victims in their wake,” which is mostly true, but it’s up for debate whether the employee in charge of the ad-copy actually watched the show. The Blassreiter I watched was more focused on how God hates poor people so much that he sent the Berries and Cream guy to kick their asses (no joke):
One issue that I have with the story, if it can be called that, is that most of the early conflicts could have easily been resolved had the characters asked even a single follow-up question. When posed with a complicated set of problems, characters jump to absurd conclusions and react on instinct instead of thinking things through. If the characters started asking “Why?” this show would be half as long.
Another problem is the lack of realism. I understand, sure, this is a show about evil robots that can materialize weapons from the nothingness, but some of the situations they presented are just plain outlandish. In the first episode, a famous motorcycle racer is seriously injured. And when I say famous, I mean that he is the reason people pay attention to motorcycle racing. Instead of supporting him through his recovery, the company he works for fires him the next day. Seriously, Blassreiter?
The animation is also terrible. Usually I don’t care about that type of thing, but the artwork on the boxes had me really excited. When you compare the in-show animation to the box art, Blassreiter looks like a cheap bootleg of itself.
And that’s saying nothing of the poorly rendered CGI models, which there is are no shortage of in this series. All of the “mechanized monsters” are CGI, and aside from being ugly, they’re very poorly animated. At times they’re moving so unnaturally that it looks like frames are missing from the sequence.
In Funimation’s defense, their release is damn near flawless. Blassreiter is sold in two shelf-friendly thin-packs with two discs each. As previously mentioned, the box art is totally sweet. The artwork does contain some minor plot spoilers, but I doubt anyone is watching Blassreiter for the story. The dub is of a quality that you would expect from Funimation. It’s not Cowboy Bebop good, but it’s better than the what the other companies have been putting out lately. The extras for the first box are pretty sparse, consisting of some promo videos and a dub actor commentary, but the second box has a 15-minute interview with the infamous Ichiro Itano, where even he says that you have to watch a handful of episodes before the show gets any good.
To some extent, Blassreiter has that so-stupid-its-awesome appeal that I love so much, but that novelty wears off by the end. Three quarters of the way through, I found myself watching just for the sake of completion. Those last episodes are devoted to a drawn-out battle with a cliche “my-friends-believe-in-me-which-in-turn-makes-me-powerful” finale. Who was fighting, and for what? By that point, I had forgotten, and I couldn’t be bothered to care. If you like getting drunk and watching laughably bad anime like I do, throw the first three discs of Blassreiter in your Netflix queue. But don’t bother with that last one. I assure you, it’s not worth it.