Wow, is it the second anime season of 2014 already? Let’s get on with it then.

Nice reaction to a peeping tom.

Our hero is the strong and silent Alka, a fearsome assassin with a bounty on her heard by order of the Pallam empire. Some unsuspecting villagers encounter her when she is bathing and, impressed with the skills she exhibits to defend herself, decide to employ her as a bodyguard for their village chief’s daughter. The village needs protecting as it occupies some prime land that Pallam wish to use to cultivate some kind of magical flowers, however they don’t want to to give it up without a fight if at all. However, it turns out that Alka has a conncection to Pallam – she actually used to work for them until she allegedly killed her master, thus the reason for her bounty.

You can certainly tell this is based on a game from the outfits.

Blade and Soul is apparently based on a Korean MMORPG of the same name, although I know nothing about it and thus can’t really say how much it actually has in common with the game itself. ‘Based on an MMO’ is probably second only to ‘based on a light novel with a name a paragraph long’ and ’24 minute commercial for a childrens card game’ on the scale of ‘anime I don’t particularly want to watch’, and the fanservicey nature of the female character’s outfits made me especially wary going into this. However, Blade and Soul really isn’t bad….although the thing is, it really isn’t anything special either. It just kind of is, although of course it’s still a little early to really decide that.
Alka is clearly the most interesting part of this and I like her character type of strong, take-no-shit ladies, even if she does cut her hair into a rather dumb-looking quasi-mullet at the end of the episode. (To her credit, though, while I like the way she looks for most of the episode is does kind of look like the default MMORPG female avatar.) I also like that, even though the strongest characters in this show seem to all be women in hilariously impractical battle armour, the fighting is relatively low-key in regards to fanservice. (As of now, at any rate. I could be proven entirely wrong on this in future episodes.) These fights themselves are probably going to be a big selling point of the series, and in this episode they didn’t look too bad – however the character animation is a little on the low side all around and I feel like the fights are really going to suffer for it in later episodes if the budget starts to drag it down. However, what interested me is that the towns and villagers we see are actually more interesting than the character animations – I really liked all that attention to detail with all the little everyday things going on like in the inn scene and the various chores around theĀ  village.
The appeal of the first episode of Blade and Soul is going to hinge on whether you feel like Alka is worth paying attention to, and as for me, I’m on the fence. It’s something I could potentially give at least one more episode, but nothing I’d put a high priority on.

smell ya later alligator

Out of 5,