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REVIEW: Blade & Soul


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Angel'sArcanum



Joined: 02 Sep 2010
Posts: 86
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:26 pm Reply with quote
Surprisingly enough I too would give Blade and Soul a B-. While it doesn't totally escape its innate evils as an MMO adaptation, it plays with some surprisingly deep concepts given its nature, and while there may be a few nitpicks in its execution (I'd say mostly in its direction and production values which slightly diminish the emotional gravitas of some of the events, but can still be a bit affecting) it is able to break out of a lot of them and deliver some genuinely good story moments. There are a few evils in the narrative, and the ending is a tad muddy and rushed (they shouldn't have used that last episode on some crappy fanservice stuff) but there's still a decent little product in there. Very much a diamond in the rough, but still a surprise for the season, and at least it was ultimately more entertaining than The World is Still Beautiful *yawn*.
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DangerMouse



Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 1625

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:52 pm Reply with quote
Cool, I should get around to watching the rest of this then.
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Melanchthon



Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 545
Location: Northwest from Here

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:15 pm Reply with quote
Review nailed it, you could take the last half and have a solid fantasy/adventure story, but the problem is getting past the first half, which is a dreary drudge. But once it finds its niche and starts to develop Alka, the story turns out pretty good. Not as good as Claymore, as the review metions, or Avenger, an early aughts anime also featuring a monosyllabic heroine out for revenge, but still okay. I'd recommend those two over it, though.
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Barbobot



Joined: 06 Feb 2007
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:22 pm Reply with quote
Melanchthon wrote:
Review nailed it, you could take the last half and have a solid fantasy/adventure story, but the problem is getting past the first half, which is a dreary drudge.


This was my problem with the show. I made it to episode 5 or 6 before deciding to spend my time better doing something else. I couldn't find myself caring about any of the characters or conflicts. It's good to hear it gets much better in the second half so maybe I'll give it a shot someday on CR and finish it.
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DRosencraft



Joined: 27 Apr 2010
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:25 pm Reply with quote
I don't know that I've seen such an on-the-mark, intelligent, review of this show. It feels like most people tend to fear being adulatory towards what initially appears to be a pure fan-service anime.

I don't know much about the game. I've heard it's been a chore to get the localization done, leaving it being mostly Koreans who can play it, so it's to this show's benefit in terms of reaching an international audience that it kept from tracking too heavily towards the game. That being said, I know there are some people who have played the game who weren't too happy the story wasn't closer to the game.

I'm a little surprised it wasn't noted in the review, but the mortality rate among non-main characters is high. I mean, really high. spoiler[For a good part of the series - all but maybe two episodes - most if not all of newly introduced side characters get killed off by the end of that episode.]

B- is a fair score for this series. Would be amazing if they could have had a better budget to really polish it up like they could, as the visual design of the characters is one of the selling points of the game. I didn't mind the slower pacing of the first half, because you're basically only talking a few episodes if you allow for the introduction of the mains and setting up the story. With episode 13 basically being an OVA they dropped into the regular release, the series really is only 12 episodes. It takes more thought than it immediately suggests, but isn't particularly a ton. There are some head-scratching stupid/weird moments that they seemed to have skipped an explanation or didn't really tie in very well. And the overall message is one that hardly gets as much detailed attention in anime nowadays. Solid show in a pretty package.
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pachy_boy



Joined: 09 Mar 2006
Posts: 743

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:35 pm Reply with quote
The first episode seemed promising enough in terms of entertainment value, but I confess what hooked me in sticking with it was the ED theme song, which was such a beautifully catchy tune I actually bought the single for it. And frankly, I think the image of the butterfly flying along a ribbon path into the distance reflected the series's story better than the dancing Karen (in which the bouncing boobs were distracting and took away from it, in my opinion).

Theron is right about the final episode. The story had an appropriate conclusion with the second final episode, which made the "official" last episode so out of place, leaving me thinking, "This is how they end the story, on a goofy note where everyone's spoiler[stranded on the island]?" How was it not saved as an OVA?

Regardless, I also agree Blade and Soul is a much more solid series than anyone would've expected, certainly than I would've, and I would go so far as say it's still vastly superior to the tasteless-by-comparison Queen's Blade.
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 12665
Location: NZL

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:49 pm Reply with quote
It wasn't just that the MC was emotionless, but that she was practically braindead and had no agency. It was really skeevy.
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casualfan



Joined: 24 Jul 2012
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:31 pm Reply with quote
Definitely my favourite show of the season. I love all the characters in the show, especially how they all spoiler[stood and support each other ] in the end. I don't mind her cold-blooded self in the first half since it fits her background well and it makes the ending more effective where she becomes spoiler[ more humane and cheerful ].
The first season pretty much revolves around Alka's journey as a character. At the end there is no closure to spoiler[ the whole Param Empire and Heaven flower debacle.] If they make another season I hope they keep the same characters and focus on resolving the rest of the story.
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DuskyPredator
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 10 Mar 2009
Posts: 7646
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:24 am Reply with quote
A really good review, it pretty much says everything. In my opinion the change in Alka's character was far too slow or subtle, because she rarely spoke we did not know what her opinion on someone was. Why did she let them live or die? Why did she follow them? Why did she attack the way she did? Why did she suddenly decide to go to the ocean after a failed attempt? Why did she decide to do something else? The thing is that all sorts of actions could actually say something about her character, but because she is so stoic it is hard to understand her beyond being bland, only having a change when she becomes more expressive.

Regardless I found at least one episode to be amazing, that is when Alka was spoiler[pretty much reduced to a child in terms of her emotional state and stayed with that couple]. Some may say heavy handed, but I really liked it.

Also it has to be clear that despite how it looks, fanservice is barely a part of the show.
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Este



Joined: 31 Mar 2013
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:57 am Reply with quote
When I saw the title, I thought "what? Blade and Soul released in the West? I'm waiting for that game, did I miss...?" *click*
Then it was only an animated TV series. Kinda disappointed now.
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wonderwomanhero



Joined: 10 Aug 2012
Posts: 153

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:35 pm Reply with quote
From what I am picking up here, the show isn't just another braindead mindless fanservice anime. It actually has fleshed out characters and plots.

My question is how extreme is the fanservice? Is it degrading in any way?
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DuskyPredator
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Joined: 10 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:13 pm Reply with quote
wonderwomanhero wrote:
My question is how extreme is the fanservice? Is it degrading in any way?

You know those anime where women will take damage to clothes and look sexy? This does not happen at all in the show, for the majority I can't even remember many characters having fanservice, bar one character who apparently likes to where a bikini and thus we see some boob jiggles from her, and she is mostly alone in that. I don't think the main character has anything, and next to the one character I might think maybe the villain who dresses rather skimpy, but again I don't recall it ever being a focus.

Also with the exception of the last episode which is just a standard fanservice OVA like episode that you would get, you could just avoid that episode, but it is tamer than what you might see in those type of episodes.
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Key
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Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 11735
Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:50 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, the bounty hunter who wears the halter top is about the most objectionable thing in the series. Other than that and episode 13 it's far less exploitative than most.
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wonderwomanhero



Joined: 10 Aug 2012
Posts: 153

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:57 pm Reply with quote
DuskyPredator wrote:
wonderwomanhero wrote:
My question is how extreme is the fanservice? Is it degrading in any way?

You know those anime where women will take damage to clothes and look sexy? This does not happen at all in the show, for the majority I can't even remember many characters having fanservice, bar one character who apparently likes to where a bikini and thus we see some boob jiggles from her, and she is mostly alone in that. I don't think the main character has anything, and next to the one character I might think maybe the villain who dresses rather skimpy, but again I don't recall it ever being a focus.

Also with the exception of the last episode which is just a standard fanservice OVA like episode that you would get, you could just avoid that episode, but it is tamer than what you might see in those type of episodes.


omg so its not another Freezing situation. thats a relief. I'll have to watch this show and I look forward to the home dvd/bluray release.
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Shippoyasha



Joined: 28 Aug 2007
Posts: 266

PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:40 pm Reply with quote
I loved the fanservice in both Freezing and this show. They are still pretty serious stories even while having sexual elements. Though the thing is that this show has a more solid story while Freezing anime kind of jumbled the manga plot.
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