This is a smallish review of the anime movie series, Broken Blade. I find it kinda funny though, because the katakana used in each episode reads as BREAK BLADE, with Broken Blade in English right below it. That's just my little Japanese nerdery poking out there.
If you want the tl;dr, watch this series in 1080 if you can. If you want more than that, keep reading.
The universe this series takes place in is the kind that I can really get behind. I absolutely adore mixed levels of technology. There is a kingdom with a palace, kings, queens (okay yeah one of each but you get the idea), no electricity to be found, and giant mecha for fighting. Rather than electricity, they have what they refer to as magic. It's not the traditional sense of magic that we're all used to; their magic refers to the ability to manipulate and control quartz. This can be as simple as making a small quartz gem float in the palm of your hand, all the way to complex machinery. It's more of a willpower thing than moving your hands around and stuff. For example, personal vehicles that look like floating motorcycles are controlled by putting your hands on two handles, and by holding on to just that, you can make the thing move. Likewise the same handles for controlling an entire mecha. Note the glowy bit down below.
Let's talk a little bit more about the mecha, because let's be honest, it's the biggest draw to the show, and it's fanfuckingtasticly beautiful to watch in action. I feel as though I'm doing the series a bit of shame to only take screencaps. Quartz is the lifeblood of how these people live, work, and fight. They control giant mecha made out of quartz. While incredibly abundant on Earth, (and this universe), it's not a very hard rock. On the mineral hardness scale, it's about a 7 where diamond is 10. Smash two rocks together really hard and what happens? Yeah. These mechs get the shit kicked out of them. Pieces shatter, limbs get snapped off, more stuff shatters - it's glorious. This isn't the bang bang explosion kind of mecha combat either. Here, they stop fighting when they can't move anymore, lose too many limbs, or just break into many many tiny pieces. Don't get me wrong, I love me some clean and streamline gundams, but these things are just so much fun to watch crack...
Which brings me to the titular mech, or golem as they prefer to call them. This sucker breaks all the rules. Everyone else has a golem controlled and made of quartz. This sucker's probably something harder because it's got a really tough inner frame, and because it's not made of quartz, no one can use it. Except, of course, for the main hero, *trumpets* but I'll get to him in a sec. It's more commonly referred to as the black golem in the series, but it's got that horn on it's head that looks like a broken blade. It's faster and stronger than any other golem currently in existence. So, in a way, it's like the White Devil of the Federation. As a counterbalance to keep it from ruining the entire show, the pilot is nothing more than a farm boy. Sound familiar yet? Yeah I thought so too. I can forgive the clueless ace pilot thing, as it serves to the story as well as looking pretty badass if I say so myself.
Ah yes the story. This is where I start to bitch and whine a little bit. The story starts off just fine, but it kinda gives up a little over half-way through and leaves itself hanging near the end. The first three episodes are fantastic as far as eye candy goes, and the story doesn't screw itself up which is an accomplishment in itself for a mecha anime. When the fourth episode rolls around, this is where they kinda drop the ball. They introduce a few more bullshit mechs piloted by boss characters from the "enemy" nation, and rather than the intense small scale skirmishes we've seen, we get a sloppy attempt at a large-scale battle. The final two episodes almost redeem the series but even then, some of the subplots that they were building on are just left hanging. While disappointing, this is actually a very normal occurrence for an anime based upon a manga. The easy answer is that the anime outgrew the manga. Disclaimer: I haven't touched the Broken Blade manga. This picture sums up my feelings for the story. Okay, not really... but I wanted an excuse to post this anyway. I wish I could post a sound bite because she makes the funniest noise during this scene.
To sum things up, I give episodes 1-3 a solid 8/10, ep 4 gets a sad little 6/10, ep 5 blew me away with a 9/10 and the whole thing wrapped up with ep 6 at an 8/10. I'd score it all together, but on MAL each episode is counted as a separate movie rather than a whole series kinda like how Kara no Kyoukai is.
Story quibs aside, I would strongly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good mecha battle with superb animation and a story with great potential. I say potential, because last I checked the manga was still ongoing which may or may not lead to further episodes. If you actually read all this, thanks! I appreciate it, and I apologize for any and all derp which you may have encountered.