What They Say Meet Gerd, the invincible motorcycle-racing champ...whose career is cut short when a rage-filled Demoniac interrupts a race, causing utter destruction. Gerd ends up in a wheelchair never to ride again. Amidst his despair, he is approached by a mysterious woman who claims that she has the means to restore his physical abilities...
The Review! When his career is over in a flash before his eyes, Gerd finds a new path thanks to a drug that makes him superhuman.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) One of two new shows launched by Gonzo for the Spring 2008 season and part of their online digital distribution experiment with varying versions of the show available with subtitles day and date with the Japanese broadcast, Blassreiter is likely to be seen as a sign that it's business as usual when it comes to what Gonzo is choosing for projects. Directed by Ichiro Itano, who has been around an age, it's set to run for twenty-four episodes.
Blassreiter takes place in the real world but with one slight difference. Something called Demoniacs are appearing in it, creatures which are able to combine and absorb the abilities and functions of various things. Named Amalgams when they're in this mode, they initially start off by taking advantage of dead bodies and then incorporating what's near them. Case of them fusing with motorcycles and cars are becoming more common but there are some unique ones as well as this episode showcases a case where one has absorbed the function of plastic explosives.
The series opens with a Demoniac appearance at a motorcycle race course that turns deadly as it takes control of a vehicle off course and then drives it into the midst of the race. The damage is done but the worst comes in that the best racer in the world, a legendary invincible racer named Gerd Frentzen, is injured and loses the use of his legs. Though he hopes to be able to be involved with the race team in some way after he gets out of the hospital, it's quickly apparent that he's being shown the door. Distraught and feeling like he has no friends, it's the arrival of a mysterious woman in a lab coat that changes everything. She gives him a pill that could kill him but it could also make him stronger than ever. Guess which one it is?
Gerd finds himself now with the ability to transform into something strong and deadly in order to take on the Demoniacs. Gerd isn't the only one out there trying to do something about the Demoniacs though as we also see an organization that uses weapons against them, though they aren't quite as efficient as they need to be as we see during this episode. What's amusing about them is that their designs seem to mirror the motorcycle riding gear that has filled Gerd's life, which will likely give him an easy connection to them once things start to get explained. This is one of those areas that's just really weak since their helmeted designs and the skintight bodysuits with just a few adornments on them to fit with their job they really do look like professional riders.
Visually, Blassreiter really does fit into the standard Gonzo model while showing their continuing love affair with awkward CG animation. The character designs in general are familiar and decent with nothing that really stands out. Gerd is actually an interesting lead character - something that Gonzo does manage to do well - in that he's not a standard looking design. He's a bit older, a bit frumpy in some ways and his hair isn't the usual short cut that a lot of characters have, so it'll be interesting to see how he develops and what kind of connection he can create. Beyond the otherwise standard designs, the CG that Gonzo uses is interesting at times. The opening scenes with the race has some good looking moments that don't blend well with the traditional animation and that carries through to some of the Demoniac scenes. But the races in general look really good through the streaming window I watched this with. Gonzo has a certain style, which they do change up to work within each shows needs, but there is a certain kind of consistency to it. Some of this reminded me a bit of Satelight's work as well.
In Summary: The first episode of Blassreiter is pretty much a by the numbers piece that introduces us to the real world with a slight "quirk" to it. What's appealing to me is that once again Gonzo has gone with somewhat older characters as the leads. But beyond that the show really doesn't have anything that stands out as unique with a strong hook to make you come back for more. A secret-ish organization that's fighting some kind of creature that's causing trouble for no apparent reason yet is something that you can find pretty much every season that new shows come out, often across multiple shows. Whether Gonzo has something up their sleeves or not remains to be seen but for a first episode this is rather mediocre.
Features Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Review Equipment Dell Inspiron 1720 Laptop running Windows Vista
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