The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Baldr Force EXE: Resolution

Title: Baldr Force EXE: Resolution aka Baldr Force EXE
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Satelight/GIGA/Trinet Entertainment
Format: 4 OVA
Dates: 11 Oct 2006 – 4 Apr 2007

Synopsis: It was just supposed to be one final raid for a group of hackers known as “Steppen Wolf”.  It was just supposed to be one quick hack that would not harm anyone and only be done for the laughs.  Unfortunately, FLAK does not take attacks to its database lightly, blowing off one of the hacker’s heads and arresting the rest in a full on military assault of their hideout.  One of the hackers, Tohru Soma, is given the choice between a long prison sentence and an invitation to work for FLAK.  Soma chooses the latter so he has the opportunity to find whoever killed his friend.

The Highlights
Story: Interesting material, but falls abysmally short of its potential.
Presentation: Generic to a fault; the director had no clue what he was doing.
Music: The only thing I have positive words for in the entire anime.

Fellow colleague Akira would probably take me on in a knife fight if he saw me ripping on a game from the Baldr franchise, so I hope he doesn’t care too much about the anime adaptation of EXE because it’s all kinds of horrible.  Baldr Force EXE: Resolution is four episodes of wasted time in a (thankfully) small package.  Looking at the story, I can understand how the original visual novel managed to become something, but this OVA has so many primary assets — like pacing and atmosphere — gouged out that it’s on life support by the end of the first episode. And it becomes maggot food by the time the evil loli final boss rolls around.

Yes, this show has a loli as a final boss; the novelty factor is part of why I said the story had potential.  The tale also taps the mecha genre and the virtual reality world complete with The Matrix-esque 1’s and 0’s falling across the screen.  In many ways, the hard sci-fi ideas are really cool and work well together to create a world that could make a meaningful drama as well as social commentary, but the directing in the anime is done so poorly that it feels as if the script of Blade Runner were handed to an infant Michael Bay.

Very little of the show actually feels important or remotely compelling.  Part of the problem is that the characters aren’t particularly interesting since they are all drawn from the same pool of stock personalities. However, the larger problem is that events happen without proper build up, so the important dramatic moments of the show fall flat.  This is partially a result of the OVA’s short run time, but the creators could have easily cut out many of the superfluous details to actually develop the anime’s core narratives instead of cramming in every single aspect of the original game they can and losing sight of what the story of the game really is about.

Visually, the show is boring to look at… aside from the hilariously over-the-top scenes in which heads explode, leaving a bit of the spine poking out from decapitated bodies. Though the show has decent animation compared to television standards, it’s unacceptably poor for an OVA. The mecha fight scenes end up being the biggest victims since they usually showcase one robot blasting away like Rambo while everything else on the screen stands absolutely still. It’s like watching a boxer hitting a punching bag.

Although the music is quite good with KOTOKO providing the OP, Baldr Force EXE: Resolution is simply not a worthwhile experience.  It fails at presenting its narrative, and it isn’t even an interesting spectacle to watch.  You’re better off rewatching the Matrix Reloaded while pretending Trinity, Morpheous and the rest of the human resistance are anime versions of themselves.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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