Slick Visuals & Lots of Bloody Action
ONENEO | Buffalo, NY | 10/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's not everyday you encounter a horror/ science fiction anime property set in Germany with blood laden cover art and a German title that translates to "Pale Rider" in English. I just finished FUNimation's forthcoming release of Blassreiter The Complete Series Part 1 and came away quite surprised with the sheer "coolness" of the show's concepts and melding of several well-established genres.
Released across two discs, Blassreiter The Complete Series Part 1 comes packaged in a pair of thin packs within an outer cardboard slipcase and consists of episodes 1-12. The show comes in at a total runtime of 288 minutes and wears an appropriate TV MA (mature, 17+) rating due to violence and gore.
Language options are standard sub & dub with both an English dub and original Japanese soundtrack (either in Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround) & the choice of English subtitled if so inclined to turn them on.
Extras include a commentary by the English cast over Episode 12, Japanese promotional videos (with English subtitles), textless opening and closing songs, and a host of fresh Funimation trailers on the second disc.
The story goes something like this: In a fictional German city, an apparent outbreak of biomechanical creatures named "Demoniacs" rises from human corpses with an appetite for violence and destruction. Unlike your typical zombies however, the Demoniacs display the ability to merge with nearly any technology (which often includes cars, busses, bikes and so on), which not only gives them control of said machine but also enhances their own abilities. In a very real sense it's zombies meets Transformers with a bit of Mad Max thrown in for good measure.
Don't worry though, humanity isn't about to let the world fall to the grips of the biomechanical monsters and the viewer is carried along with the exploits of the opposition: XAT, Xenogenesis Assault Team, who polices the Demoniacs in effort to keep the peace as well as investigate the potential causes for the blood-borne phenomenon.
Now don't go and get too attached to the XAT though as this is really a tale of a lone rider charged with the daunting task of saving civilization. This rider, a fellow by the name of Joseph Jobson, rides into town a blend of flesh and motorcycle like some outlaw straight out of a spaghetti western with plans to hack, slash, and slaughter the Demoniacs running amok.
The catch is that Jobson's own blood is tainted with the very same plague he's out to put in check which means that it is a constant struggle to subdue the very thing he means to conquer.
The show is an interesting blend of ideas and plays out perhaps closest to the hopelessness of Blue Gender coupled to the element of self-control made famous in Claymore. There is a constant threat of the lead character's lapse in perseverance resulting in his irreversible tumble into madness- in this case a fate worse than death.
The pacing is fairly brisk with a bit of "extreme" sports participation (in the form of cycle racing) and religious undertones on a grand scale. The line between good and evil is a fairly clearly established save for the "Pale Rider" himself, who, like many great comic mythos, borders on being an anti-hero.
The visuals are tight (as almost always is the case with Gonzo's pieces) with a bit of a heavy leaning upon CGI animated sequences over the slightly less flashy cell segments. Many of the backgrounds are downright spectacular with emphasis on mood and lighting effects. Character animation is fluid and consistent as well. The overload of 3-D effect segments aside, there is much to get excited about in terms of the show's look and style are concerned.
Consisting of a total of 24 episodes, this collection represents the first half of the tale and has got this reviewer anticipating the release of the second (and final) half of the collection."