Blame!, otherwise referred to as Blame!: The Ancient Terminal City is a film that aired on the month of May in 2017. Blame! is produced by Polygon Pictures, the same studio behind the anime Sidonia no Kishi, also known as Knights of Sidonia. The film falls under the genre of sci-fi, mecha, and action with a standard runtime of an hour and 45 minutes. The source material of the film is a manga of the same title, Blame!, written by Tsutomu Nihei and published by KODANSHA.
Blame! is set in a dystopian, technologically advanced future where the human race is in a state of hiding. Prior to the film’s beginning, human civilization lived in an advanced society that was highly automated with high levels of technology. An issue with the system caused an uncontrollable growth and unceasing security designed to eliminate the human race. Due to these past events, the small group of humans called Electro-Fishers are forced to live within the confines of a secluded and protected area, away from the eyes of the ever-watchful security towers. Faced with the possibility of death and extinction due to a diminished supply, a group of young Electro-Fishers set out to find more food in levels of the city that are deeper and more dangerous than usual. During this search led by a young girl, Zuru, majority of the group of Electro-Fishers are cut down by the city defenses. With the appearance of Killy the Wanderer, the remaining members are saved from annihilation, making it back to the rest of the Electro-Fishers.
The immediately noticeable aspect of the film is the CGI animation. The thing about using CGI in anime is that for audiences at this point in time, it’s really a love or hate situation with not spectrum between the two. Personally, I have never been a fan of CGI which always threw me off and made things less bearable. The CGI of Blame! is no different making it feel detracted from anime in general. Having exposure to anime from childhood and seeing its transition from being completely drawn by hand to being digitally rendered, the use of CGI gives it the impression of being too far off from the anime that I’ve come to know and love. Because of this, the film immediately failed to catch my attention. While I do acknowledge that this negative aspect of the film is purely subjective, I do have to say that it took a lot of points away at least for me.
In terms of plot, the film was subpar with a predictable storyline that offered nothing new to the sci-fi genre. Early on in the film, we see Zuru and her team of young, renegade explorers getting slaughtered by the security system of the city. During the chaos of their escape, we see a member of their team who was deemed dead having been crushed by the security bots, actually turn out to be alive. We then see the survivors and the new tag-along, Killy, returning to the group that lives within a space that is blocked off from sight due to a special system that creates a border around their area. Given these occurrences in the first fifteen minutes of the film, it was easy to figure out what the climax of the film would be. Because of the easy to spot plot line, the story wasn’t as engaging as it should have been which made the film seem entirely unimpressive.
With all of this, I wish I could say that the characters of the film made a difference but they didn’t really add much depth or quality to the film either. There was no character that really stood out for some reason. For instance, the main hero Killy the Wanderer was a mysterious person in search of the Net Terminal Gene. At the end of the film, he was still the same person with nothing new having been added to his character. Despite his character being the easiest to build on due to his being an outsider of the group, he remained the same throughout the entire film.
Overall, Blame! felt like a mediocre movie that failed to leave a lasting impression. With its subpar plot and character development coupled by the use of CGI, a relatively controversial medium in the anime industry, the film was lacking in all departments making it thoroughly unimpressive.