Saturday, 20 May 2017

Film Review: "Blame!" ("ブラム!") (2017).


An original anime from Netflix, This is Blame! (ブラム!) This Japanese CGI anime science fiction action film directed by Hiroyuki Seshita, written by Tsutomu Nihei, based on the manga series of the same name written and illustrated by Tsutomu Nihei, and produced by Polygon Pictures. In the distant technological future, civilization has reached its ultimate Net-based form. An "infection" in the past caused the automated systems to spiral out of order, resulting in a multi-leveled city structure that replicates itself infinitely in all directions. Now humanity has lost access to the city's controls, and is hunted down and purged by the defense system known as the Safeguard. In a tiny corner of the city, a little enclave known as the Electro-Fishers is facing eventual extinction, trapped between the threat of the Safeguard and dwindling food supplies. A girl named Zuru goes on a journey to find food for her village, only to inadvertently cause doom when an observation tower senses her and summons a Safeguard pack to eliminate the threat. With her companions dead and all escape routes blocked, the only thing that can save her now is the sudden arrival of Kiri the Wanderer, on his quest for the Net Terminal Genes, the key to restoring order to the world.

The original Japanese manga, written and illustrated by Tsutomu Nihei, was collected into 10 volumes (tankōbon) by Kodansha's Afternoon KC division. In February 2005, Tokyopop announced that it has licensed Blame! for U.S. distribution, with publication beginning in August 2005. After releasing the final volume in 2007, the series has gone out of print with several volumes becoming increasingly hard to find. In 2006 the Tokyopop distribution was nominated for a Harvey Award in the category 'Best American Edition of Foreign Material'. In February 2016, Vertical announced that it had licensed the series. Plans for a full-length CG animated movie were announced in 2007. However, this proposed CG film project was only given the green light after Micott and Basara (the studio hired) filed for bankruptcy in 2011. In November 2015, it was announced that the anime series would get an anime theatrical film adaptation, with Hiroyuki Seshita as director, Tsutomu Nihei and Sadayuki Murai as the writers, Polygon Pictures providing the animation, and Yuki Moriyama as character designer. It was released globally as a Netflix original on the 20th of May 2017.

Adapting from a bestselling Japanese manga, Blame! could have easily scraped by as a supplement to the canon, and left quite a gamut of questions unanswered for audiences, as well as nothing on the surface to give audiences a sense of direction or purpose like the anime series. There could have been quite a strong line dividing those who love and hate Nihei's unique and convoluted cyberpunk journey. However, thanks to its aggressively unique 2D/3D animation style, thanks to Polygon Pictures, rendering of its source material and its effectively minimalist storytelling approach, it works on almost every level as a standalone film. Which was no easy task.

Simon says Blame! (ブラム!) receives:


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