This week I have another anime review for you, from a short little 4 episode OVA based on a shooter for PCs and the Sega Saturn, that was released by Funimation – Baldr Force EXE.

Note: I watched this show dubbed, on Neflix Instant, so I have listed the English cast for the series.

Cast

Carrie Savage as Ren Mizusaka
Jason Liebrecht as Toru Souma
Brina Palencia as Ayane Shido
Chris Cason as Genha
Christopher Bevins as Yousuke Kashiuagi
Christopher R. Sabat as Yuuya
Colleen Clinkenbeard as Lian
Gwendolyn Lau as Minori Segawa
J. Michael Tatum as Quon
Leah Clarke as Kirsten Kaira
Luci Christian as Bachelor
Trina Nichimura as Tsukina Sasajiri

Directed by Takashi Yamazaki
Written by Hiroshi Ohnogi
Animated by Satelight

Available from Amazon.com & RightStuf.com

The Premise

In a cyberpunk future, Toru Souma is a member of the hacker group Steppen Wolf. When the group’s leader is killed, and the rest of the groups is arrested after attacking the servers of FLAK, the government agency in charge of law enforcement on the internet, Toru is offered a job with the agency, in place of jail time.

Toru accepts, in the hopes of finding who murdered his friend, so he can get revenge. However, he will soon find himself dragged into a conspiracy that will put of all of humanity at risk.

High Points

Toru’s revealed back story by the end of the series, and the Conspiracy’s goals are really interesting, particularly how they relate to transhumanism (or the creator’s interpretation of it). [Spoiler]The experiment that Toru and his sister were part of as children was an attempt to learn how to digitize people, while the Conspiracy is attempting to preserve Leviathan so they can use it as a medium for what is, in essence, the transhumanist version of the Human Instrumentality Project from Neon Genesis Evangelion.[/spoiler]

Low Points

With only 4 episodes, the narrative is very compressed. This hinders the characterization of the leads as well. Really, this show should have gotten a good 12 episodes. Also, the script mis-uses “parsec” worse than Star Wars did.

Scores

Originality: This show is based on a shooter with some visual novel and eroge elements, and one which takes cues from other anime & manga like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Akira. 4/6.

Animation: The animation is generally good. The CG segments are a little low-rez, but as they’re all set in a computer, I can forgive them. 4/6.

Story: See the low point & high point. 4/6

Emotional Response: See the low point. 3/6

Production: Music & sound design are very good. 4/6

Acting: The English dub cast is quite good. I wouldn’t say it’s as stand-out as the performances from Baccano & Cowboy Bebop, but it’s still good. 5/6

Overall: This was a fun film. Not great, but it had it’s moments. I’d have preferred if it were longer. 4/6

In total, Baldr Force EXE gets 28/42.