Anime Vice News

BLADE & SOUL #1 -- Shockingly, the Best Pilot of Anime Spring 2014?

Special Review. I can't believe it's not fan service!

Join us as we view new pilots this season. See where they fit on the highly-scientific Rock-or-Suck Scale…

I avoided watching this for pretty much the entire time I was sampling Spring’s new offerings… so, of course, BLADE & SOUL ends up having the best pilot of the bunch.

Once again, it goes to show that any genre or trope can be good with the right execution. By all appearances, this looked like it was going to be another pseudo-fantasy crowbarring 'fan service' into a semi-historical setting that the creators haven’t bothered to research. Hell, the main character is even a borderline Amnesiac Child Assassin - - and that’s the character archetype I detest the most.

However, despite myself, I was rather thoroughly engaged. Compelled, even.

As was the case with GARGANTIA and CLAYMORE (at the beginning, at least), what this really comes down to is the creators knowing the precise effects of the exploitative ingredients they’re playing with; and skillfully working around them. Does it seem ridiculous for this killer model to be running about this fantasy kingdom? Well, the other characters actually comment on that before you can point it out. The crew is fully aware that this stuff is ‘bad for you,’ and that its patent ridiculousness is what makes it interesting. By addressing that, the show can get away with it.

Likewise, the Amnesiac Child Assassin works here because she isn’t actually the main character. The main character is actually the less-heroic village girl (her sidekick), who is a full-developed character with flaws and weaknesses. She’s marveling at this force of nature tearing things up in the same way we, the viewers, are. The A.C.A. works because she’s a foil to get reactions out of another character - - and is thus a plot device with a far more substantial purpose than executing supermoves.

I was just really impressed. The show was able to get away with all the cool shit because it populated the supporting cast with human personalities with human relationships. It got away with all the ultra-violence, because it had those characters dealing with the effects of the ultra-violence. That’s the key.

And I think I found the new show I’m going to catch up with and follow this season. Real Hail Mary pass, Anime Spring Season?

Watch this first episode and decide for yourself.

About the Author

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk
Destinyheroknighton May 12, 2014 at 6:59 p.m.

Hmm, hey Tom did you know this is base off a MMO :)

Kino88on May 12, 2014 at 7:53 p.m.
What??, say it isn't so Tom, you found a good one?!, Well hell yes!, it dose look pretty cool, I hope it stays that way....,
AgentFakkuon May 12, 2014 at 7:57 p.m.

Alka and Jin Varrel are the main chicks. You ain't going to see that village chick no more. She gone, man.

YotaruVegetaon May 13, 2014 at 9:32 a.m.

Best of the season? It's just the "Garfield without Garfield" of titty shows, or "Queens Blade without Oppai"

I've seen better this season, and I'm not even a big fan of this season.

Marshal Victoryon May 13, 2014 at 9:51 a.m.

While the pilot was pretty good it by no means was the best of the season for me. An um fan service comes along episode 2 on. Here is just the ending to give ya a idea..

Show ends up with more jiggle than a Hooters at happy hour! It earns its nick name "Boob & Soul" as the series progresses.But I digress as that does not bother me.

Now GONZO does good work but this is loosely based on a MMORPG. From a company NcSoft which I hate. Despite that or rather in support of GONZO I have watched this series. But as time goes on the plot seemed familiar. Like very very familiar.

Ever hear of the Dollars trilogy? The Man with No Name? If not do your self a favor an get http://www.amazon.com/Name-Trilogy-Fistful-Dollars-More/dp/0792842502 . But um this could be a ahem adaption in some ways. Or very heavy influenced by the westerns of Movies an TV from days gone by. Which is fine just notable.

Is the show worth watching ? Ya but for me the animation and action makes up for alot. Tho I would point out there is no Amnesiac Child Assassin trope in the series. The assassin with no name so to speak does remember her past. She just lacks emotion an thats explained later on.

sickVisionz moderator on May 13, 2014 at 11 a.m.

I've got this in my queue. I wasn't super excited to add it but I thought it could be one of those shows that seems a little meh on paper but could very well end up being really good. Looks like it might like it once I get around to watching it.

Once again, it goes to show that any genre or trope can be good with the right execution.

I'm always baffled that you regularly bring up the fact that execution matters. Is this really something people don't get?

takashichea moderator on May 13, 2014 at 11:17 a.m.

I thought Tom hates shows based on video games. I guess this show did a good job of hiding it because it never mentions the game mechanics from the MMORPG. Some folks love it while some folks don't. I still enjoy the show. It's better than Dai Shogun, Daimidaler, and other fan service full blown show. Sure, there's T & A, but it doesn't emphasize it. It balances out it with some action and a interesting mix of characters. I love the fights in the show. Gonzo's animation is pretty impressive. I haven't seen good animation like that since Production IG's shows.

The main story does and does not revolve around Alka. Some episodes revolve around the ordinary citizens like that village chief's daughter. However, they don't make much spotlight after the episode they debut in.

Blade and Soul, Black Bullet, and Chaika are my top action shows for this season.

@YotaruVegeta said:

I've seen better this season, and I'm not even a big fan of this season.

Really? I always get that impression from folks when my teammates and I post the final version of the seasonal guides with trailers. I know Lurkero does that often. There is always at least one show that you kept watching this season.

@sickVisionz:

It's true. You run into folks who have a narrow view especially those who love to bash a certain genre calling a plague on the anime industry.

hitsusatsu11on May 13, 2014 at 2:21 p.m.

I like the show, but its near the bottom of tier list for me this season.

But I find this season particularly strong.

YotaruVegetaon May 13, 2014 at 2:41 p.m.

@hitsusatsu11: What makes it strong?

YotaruVegetaon May 13, 2014 at 2:44 p.m.

@takashichea: It's so weak. Think of all the anticipation there was for some shows in previous seasons. Nothing moves my meter into the red this season. It's a ton of mediocre shows, and it's very light on bad. At least that's what you can say in favor of the Spring.

takashichea moderator on May 13, 2014 at 2:50 p.m.

I know a lot of BlazBlue fans hate the anime because how it was rushed or how certain characters were portrayed. It's pretty comment for video game based anime adaptations. I wasn't happy with Valkyria Chronicles anime adaptation. Loved the video game.

@Marshal Victory:

I know you lurk in other anime forums. Have you seen responses from fans who played the game?

Found this weird vid:

That counters your Gainax ED song

takashichea moderator on May 13, 2014 at 2:53 p.m.

@YotaruVegeta:

True, the Fall Season of 2013 and Spring Season of 2013 had a lot of hype due to strong titles: Gargantia, Attack on Titan, Flowers of Evil (Spring 2013) and then Kill la Kill and Space Dandy (Fall 2013). This season had no notable hyped up series. If you have time, sample a few pilot episodes. For me, I work on the seasonal guide each season with my teammates. I see a lot of recycled tropes. Based on trailers and synopsis, checking a pilot episode of a few shows might surprise you. There is at least one show you're watching this season. That's what I seen from most folks.

hitsusatsu11on May 13, 2014 at 3:44 p.m.

@takashichea: I like this season better than last for sure.

@YotaruVegeta: Not that they were bad, but I really dont care about massive anticipation for shows like KLK , snk or jojo. And in some cases hugely hyped shows end up terrible-like sao. I like shows that I can personally get into. Last season was ok, I like Zvezda and Mikakunin the best. This season there are just more titles that I like. I really like Black Bullet, Irregular (at least before ep 5), brynhilder, chaika, akuma no riddle, DaL 2, and jojo as well as blade and soul are decent to. Theres also a new gatari airing at the end of the month.

takashichea moderator on May 13, 2014 at 4:07 p.m.

@hitsusatsu11:

For me, it's roughly the same except this season had more action than last season.

Marshal Victoryon May 13, 2014 at 4:55 p.m.

@sickVisionz said:

I've got this in my queue. I wasn't super excited to add it but I thought it could be one of those shows that seems a little meh on paper but could very well end up being really good. Looks like it might like it once I get around to watching it.

Once again, it goes to show that any genre or trope can be good with the right execution.

I'm always baffled that you regularly bring up the fact that execution matters. Is this really something people don't get?

That last part I can not answer for Tom. But I can answer from friends who live in the entertainment industry. An for them yes people do not understand " how to sale it" How execution matters an not just doing this as fast as one can. One of the reasons as a friend of mine would gripe about how camera work is jobber work an rarely used well in TV.

Good example would be Alphas the pilot episode the camera work was great. Then as the series went on.. shaky cam cheep shots became the norm.

@takashichea: Um from the cough sites I go to the comments from those who play the game seem supportive. Assuming they actually do play the game that is. An no the Gainax bounce err jiggle hmm bounce works better, gets baked into the cake later on. The girl with the pistols who has a bikini top an under boob thats in danger of poping out any minute...

Thus Boob & Soul earns it's nick name.

YotaruVegetaon May 13, 2014 at 8:13 p.m.

@takashichea: I now watch the first episode of every anime I can legally put eyes on. This is not an impressive season for me, because with the anime I do like, I struggle to get back to them.

@hitsusatsu11: Anticipation alone is not all I need to satisfy me. I need pay off, and there's not a lot of pay off this season. It feels like we went down the roller coaster. I don't know what's coming in summer, so I don't know when we're riding back up.

My shows also include Black Bullet, Brynhildr, Akuma no Riddle, and a few others.

hitsusatsu11on May 14, 2014 at 5:08 a.m.

@YotaruVegeta: Its all a matter of taste. The three you listed are probably my favorite of the season, and probably better than anything that aired last 2nd seasons imo.

takashichea moderator on May 14, 2014 at 9:08 a.m.

@YotaruVegeta:

You should join us at the discussion threads:

I watched all three of those shows you listed.

JiCion May 16, 2014 at 5:19 a.m.

Oh boy... if you think the series is gonna be awesome because of the first episode... then you're in for quite the disappointment.

Alka is a blank slate with no emotion whatsoever. You could argue that many assassin-like character don't have emotions anyway, but this girl just comes out as bland. The secondary characters are more fleshed-out than her... and SHE's supposed to be the main character. Perhaps if she had a minimum of a personality, it would have been better.

Killyon May 17, 2014 at 4:40 p.m.

I've got to be honest, I'm really surprised by your verdict on this show. Personally, I found it to be extremely uninteresting and bland. That there's only one male character, who looks like a gorilla, is rather telling of what kind of show this is going to be...

My favourite new show this season is Sidonia No Kishi, with second place going to Coffin Princess Chaika. Everything else is kinda "meh".

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Blade & Soul is a franchise that was based on MMORPG game which spawned an anime adaptation that aired in Spring 2014.

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