Howdy folks! I’ve been watching and completing a bunch of anime thanks to the new watch system I implemented in my life last year, so I’ve decided to start reviewing stuff I’m watching. I’m doing it by cour. What’s a cour, you might ask? A cour is an anime industry term to mean a season cycle. So a 12-13 episode anime is one cour, 24-26 is 2 cours, etc. I wanted to do a review of the first half of Blassreiter, a show I’ve been watching recently. Stay tuned for more reviews in the future.


Blassreiter (which is pseudo-German for “Pale Rider”) takes place in a futuristic Germany. In this future, there are beings known as Amalgams. Amalgams are biomechanical beings (kind of like Terminators) that rise from corpses and attack people. No one is sure where these things came from, but they are dangerous and nearly unstoppable. 


Combatting amalgams is the XAT: Xenogenesis Assault Team. They’re a police force that fights and studies Amalgams. The XAT can’t do a whole lot against the amalgams, and a lot of people suspected to turn into one are placed in solitary confinement for a couple days. The XAT are also clueless as to how these things are created, with no progress on the research front.


The first arc concerns a motorcycle racer named Gerd. Gerd is severely injured in an Amalgam attack. He loses the use of his legs. Gerd meets a mysterious woman who gives him a special drug. This drug is supposed to give him feeling in his legs again. What it actually does is turn him into an Amalgam. We’ll be seeing more of this woman as time goes on.


Gerd uses his abilities to fight Amalgams, making him a hero of sorts. This lasts maybe two episodes as his manager from when he was a racer is canoodling with his girlfriend. They claim it’s business talk, but come on you can see Jill’s underpants through that nightgown. Gerd chokes Jill half to death and is stopped by Hermann, Gerd’s friend and a member of the XAT. Matthew (the manager) and Jill are put in confinement as Gerd slowly loses control.


Meanwhile, a teenager named Malek is getting bullied at school and seeks comfort in Gerd. Malek believes that Gerd will use his powers to exact justice. Malek is the adopted brother of Amanda Werner, another member of the XAT. We’ll come back to Malek later as he’s important.


A common thread of the attacks is a blue amalgam who fights the other amalgams, conamed “Blue”. Blue can control his amalgam state at will. He also has a talking motorcycle for some reason. I should mention, this show is crazy about motorcycles. Amalgams can even meld to them and use them as their legs. Same with cars and trucks. Anyway, Blue was the catalyst for Gerd’s accident and he starts going after him because of that.


Gerd is losing his humanity and Hermann is very concerned. Malek gives Hermann a letter to give to Gerd. After some talking, Gerd reads it and starts to get some humanity back. Hermann takes Malek to see Gerd, and Blue shows up during the visit. Blue winds up killing Gerd, and Malek decides that he was wrong about Gerd. It seemed like Gerd was the main character and then in episode 6 he dies. As we’ll see more and more, Blassreiter kind of forgoes typical story structure in order to be an anthology of sorts.


The next bit centers around Malek and his problems. During the incidents with Gerd, Malek’s friend Johan tries to get in good with the bullies for his own safety. He feels guilty and hangs himself. Malek and Amanda realize too late. Apparently, Malek was a target for bullies because he’s an immigrant. The bullies see Malek’s people as the cause of the amalgams. Malek takes Johan’s death pretty hard. He then makes contact with Beatrice, the same doctor who gave Gerd the drug. Malek then gets the same drug.


Malek takes his frustration out on the bullies and kills them. This all happens while the XAT is pursuing Blue. Amanda sort defends Malek while he’s an amalgam much to the frustration of Brad and Al, fellow XAT operatives. Blue takes a shot for Malek and is critically injured. Malek takes Blue’s body and flees. I should note that while all this is happening, the XAT’s boss, Wolf, is getting busy with Beatrice. Beatrice reveals Blue’s identity as Joseph Jobson. She also reveals that the purpose of the amalgams is to further evolve the human species. The top amalgam is known as the Blassreiter and Wolf is a candidate. Wolf’s involvement becomes important a little later.


Eventually, Malek is found and gets critically wounded himself. Malek winds up falling into a coma after being attacked by a man named Xargan who seems to have some relationship with the Amalgams. Anyway, Wolf has been infecting much of the XAT except for Hermann and Amanda. Wolf plans to take over the city with his army of amalgams. The city is in ruins after a while and much of the XAT is dead. Episode 12 ends with Hermann crashing a helicopter and Amanda getting away.


So far, Blassreiter seems like the anime equivalent of those Hollywood blockbusters that get pumped out in the summer. It’s best not to think about them too much and just enjoy them with some good old popcorn. None of the characters are super likable. Even the heroes audiences will feel ambivalent towards. The idea of technology leading to human evolution is also explored in Texhnolyze. While that show had the benefit of great (if a little grim) storytelling, Blassreiter seems to lack any sense and is just a big mess.


I give Blassreiter cour 1 a 1 out of 3. 


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