Blame! is a 2017 Netflix original adaptation of the popular manga by the same name. In full disclosure, I did not read the Blame manga nor did I read any manga reviews before watching this adaptation. Based on what I heard from my peers, its a good thing that I went into this freshly unspoiled.
Let’s get the worst thing about this movie out of the way. It is clear from the first few minutes of this movie that the world it creates is way to big to be explained in the 1 hr. 46 min. run time. The gift and the curse is that it makes you want more!
Now, let’s dive into this anime review of Blame!. Don’t worry, other than layering the foundation for this story there are NO SPOILERS.
In the distant future, humans are declared “illegal residents” and hunted to near extinction by murderous robots. One day, a group of human scavengers come across a strange man named Killy, who may be the key to humanity’s survival.
This synopsis does not pay justice to the dire situation of civilization. Mankind has been reduced to several bands of humans living in hiding within a mega-structure known as The City. The City is comprised of multiple levels constructed by an A.I. which is hunting humans. It is unclear how many people actually live in The City, but the people we encounter in Blame! are pretty certain that they are probably the last of humanity. All resources for survival are scarce and this leads to this last known tribe becoming scavengers for resources within The City. They are known as Electro-Fishers.
The movie opens with Electro-Fishers, lead by a young woman named Kuru, searching for food and water to sustain their people. In their pursuit they must be on the lookout for Safeguards, ferocious androids created as a defense to protect The City and eliminate humans. Kuru’s team is attacked and nearly eliminated when they are saved by a wanderer named Killy.
If you read the manga I’m sure who know what Killy is all about and his significance to humanity. For those of you who haven’t read the manga or watched adaptation of Blame! I won’t reveal his motives.
Visually, this movie is stunning! The dark setting adequately conveys the massiveness of the ever expanding city and its multiple levels. It’s
not hard to imagine how cramped the living quarters are within this massive structure and how desperate people are to survive. Whether you look up, down or left and right you are surrounded by the mega-structure. I’m sure if a live-action adaptation of this movie was made it would have to be heavily laced in CGI.
The action is intense and shot (or drawn) well enough for a major motion picture. When the Safeguards are on the hunt you can feel the desperation of the Electro-Fishers. The animation is top notch. At no time is it compromised by childish expressions typical in anime. This is clearly created for fans of dystopian sci-fi fantasy action dramas.
This adaptation does an excellent job of portraying desperation and you can feel how hopeful this last band of humans becomes when they meet Killy. It falls short in explaining what exactly happened to bring mankind to the brink of extinction and the rise of The City. I’m not suggesting this is not addressed. In fact, an explanation is offered, but so much more could have been explained. This movie is just a glimpse into the world created by Tsutomu Nihei. There is so much more story to tell and I hope Netflix gives us more.