Episode 1 Impressions: Blade and Soul

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Blade and Soul is an anime based off of the Korean martial arts based MMO that was released in 2012 in eastern countries.  With that, the expectations for this series starts incredible low.  However it’s after watching the first of its releases that we start to see a possible confirmation of this preconceived notion.

Synopsis
e1bladeandsoul1During a dark and stormy night a band of soldiers give chase to a quick footed woman named Alka.  Upon raising their weapons, she quickly dispatches them with fatal slashes to their necks with dual daggers and a bladed chain.  After the dust settles and she flees the scene, a group from the kingdom of Palam show up to access the fallen comrades.  Giving note to the killing style from the Clan of the Sword and receiving an omen of the butterfly.

The following day a traveling villager named Koga stumbles upon Alka as she’s cleaning the blood from her body.  While she’s defensive at first, he offers to hire her to deal with his issues with the Palam kingdom.  Though it’s not known yet, her desire to get revenge upon the Palam causes her to take him up on his offer.

When they arrive at the village of Moshiri, that Alka is hired to protect, she’s greeted by some confused villagers.  Mainly at her wears being only a cloak.  Though after explaining the situation of her hire, they leave to see the village chief’s daughter Morii who is head of the lands due to her father falling to illness.  There Morii tests Alka by drawing a blade, but Alka’s amazing skill is quickly noted by her blade meeting her neck.

Morii gladly accepts Alka’s skill and offers her a change of cloths and shows her around the village.  It’s noted the bonds of the village and the respect people have for Morii.  Morii also explains to Alka the situation that they are facing with the Palam.  According to rumors, the Palam use a flower called Heaven’s Spirit to gain an increase in magical powers by burning them as incense.  Due to Moshiri’s fertile lands, it’s a prime spot for the Palam to exploit for growth of these flowers.

e1bladeandsoul7Later when the Palam officials show up to the village, they offer to Morii a large sum of money to buy the land.  Morii shows her distaste for the officials and loudly denies their offer, claiming that her ancestors have protected the land for centuries.  With this offer declined, the officials draw their guns and claim to take the land by force.  Upon fire their weapons, Alka deflects the bullets with her blades, kills two me, and heads after the last standing man.  Though Morii stops her before she can sever his neck.

The surviving official notes the butterfly on her arm and flees the scene.  Koga makes note of this reaction and later expresses his desire for Morii to send Alka out of the village in fear of retaliation.  Though Morii is adamant about them defending their village as their ancestors did before them.  She fears she cannot let them down.

Shortly after this meeting, the village is attacked by a barrage of flaming arrows and catapults.  As soldiers gun down villagers, Alka springs into action and beings downing soldiers left and right.  Morii is asked to flee the village but she knows Alka continues to fight for them and instead charges in to find her along with Koga and the others.

Alka comes face to face with a man who absorbs the essence of the Heaven’s Spirit flower to make himself even stronger.  While Alka struggles for a while against this brute, Morii and the others show up to give their support.  However they prove to be no match for him as he kills Koga and the others with a single punch.  As he sets his aims at Morii, Alka slashes his eyes and stabs him through the neck with her blade.

e1bladeandsoul6As the village burns to the ground, Alka and Morii view it from a nearby cliff.  While Morii mourns the loss of her village, Alka claims that she can do only one thing.  Get revenge.  Morii doesn’t understand how she can do such a thing, but it’s obvious the Alka will only continue her plans to do the same.

Thoughts
Unfortunately this show, while flashy and full of action, offers very little of anything else.  In this first episode I found the characters to be unlikable, the plot showed little of interesting value, and the art style is just not something I found appealing.  A lot of the characters looked straight out of a Bratz toy box.  It also seemed like fan service and violence was at the forefront and not much of anything else.  Just a standard “boss per episode” formula.

I found it funny that they chose to put Alka in as many situations as possible to show just how amazingly fast and skilled she was, however when it came to the minor characters being pummeled left and right by the final enemy, she stood by and watch them get killed.  Surprising as she managed to deflect bullets in a lightning fast manner.  Of course, most everything in this episode seemed forced and predictable.  Just exactly what was Morii expecting to happen when they went against the Palam?

If you’re looking for an action and fan service centric show, this may be something you’ll want to check out.  However with a story based off an MMO, don’t be expecting much here.

thumbsdown

THUMBS DOWN!

FIRST IMPRESSION VERDICT:

THUMBS DOWN! DROPPED!

Bads:

  • Fanservice filled
  • Unlikable characters
  • Shallow plot
  • Predictable

Anything promising?

  • Lots of action
  • Decent animation (for now)

First Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.