Anime Vice News

BLADE & SOUL #4 -- Watch & Learn

So is this actually... a Western?

I was going to talk about how this episode made me think of A Man with No Name flick, or any number of Westerns, but I think that’d be redundant. It’s been… what? 60 years, at least, since THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and YOJIMBO respectively remade SEVEN SAMURAI and YOJIMBO? As recently as last year, we saw six shooters get swapped rather easily with katanas in that Ken Watanabe remake of UNFORGIVEN. To observe that Westerns share a lot of similarities with jidaigeki/chambara films is to re-state what’s been obvious for decades.

Hell, the exchange has happened enough that it might as well be unremarkable, by now. Audiences all over the world respond quite well to the basic set-up of a stoic and mysterious warrior wandering into some town and solving the highly personal disputes there (even though he or she has no personal connection the conflict). That’s the basis of most super-hero fiction, isn’t it? There’s just something about impersonal vigilantism that’s fundamentally more interesting than, say, a local sheriff taking care of problems that’ve been in front of him for years.

Once again, BLADE & SOUL handles a familiar set-up rather adroitly. To re-state my point, the show gets away with Alka being a borderline Amnesiac Child Assassin because it makes sure that the supporting characters - - whose affairs she intervenes in, each week - - have deeply realized personalities. It really was heartbreaking to see desperation drive this young brother and sister to ruin.

The show also riffs on another reliable theme of Westerns and chambara fiction... warriors’ lifestyles are fundamentally dangerous to normal people. Alka may be felled by this awful spell, but she still deals with dangerous things every day, and doom awaits any norms who get too close to her when she’s doing that. This episode even makes that conflict literal by having the brother start courting his own death - - more or less - - as soon as he starts playing with Alka’s sword.

I think the show succeeds, in spite of being a MMO adaptation, because the crew’s probably had all these same considerations about genre.

Watch “Sword” and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode.

takashichea moderator on May 29, 2014 at 5:17 p.m.

I felt disconnected with this episode. It was great to see some of Alka's mysterious past and what her master was like. I didn't feel any sympathy for Seto, brother of Pia, who sacrifice himself. The show's expendable male trope ends soon as you get into episode 5, Flower.

Kino88on May 29, 2014 at 7:27 p.m.
Im in love with this show, whatever the reason I'm hooked, maybe it's just because it plays itself so straight with out resorting To any cheap tricks, Alka's mission for revenge only brings pain And loss to those she encounters along the way, that kind of nilhistic Attitude is sorta rare when it comes to how action anime portray there protagonist, Any other show would have had a moment of relief with the young boy being saved By Alka, then she would probably give him a pat on the head and say train hard and One day you too can be a badass,Lol wait till you see episode 7, some major Karma from the first episode's bloodbath comes back to haunt Alka, let's just say what gose around comes around.
Marshal Victoryon May 30, 2014 at 10:02 p.m.

Give GONZO the credit on this show it deserves an some of its problems as well.The western comparison runs solid for a few more episodes. But from a barely fleshed out world mmo they have made a decent to good show. Its not perfect, It has problems but they have me watching a show based on a mmorpg from a company I dislike, well loath really.

The worst episode to come veer from the western formula. An they feel disconnected to the over arching story. Normal would be in a series people will say ya but it gets good later on. Eh the reverse is true here. It gets average. An then it gets back to being good tho predictable.

Again GONZO deserves praise for what they made with what little they had to work with.

Dig Deeper into Blade & Soul

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

Edit/View the Wiki
Hit the Forums (11 Posts)
Add/View Images (17 Images)
Watch Some Videos
Popular News
Pokemon Black and White Looks Delicious in Motion

First video of a Pokemon battle in Black and White.

Comment & Win: One Piece Vol. 52, 53

Time for a giveaway folks! Now, act civil, we don't want anyone to get hurt in the mad rush to win.

Beginner's Guide to FLCL

Gainax's madcap, surrealist anime, broken down for new viewers.

Ballz Deep

Steve gets intimately close to Dragon Ball Z, for science!

Top 3 Awful Anime Dubs

Grit your teeth and get your ear plugs ready cause this week we're taking on the three most amazingly bad dubs of all time!

Mandatory Network

Submissions can take several hours to be approved.

Save ChangesCancel