Tentacle-Free Anime: "Mirage of Blaze" (2001-2004) Review
- by Kazekun, 11 November 2013
Sometimes when it comes to entertainment, you have to step out of your comfort zone a bit, in order to enjoy what could be a good story. All it takes is a little bit of courage and some baby steps and then voila, you’re watching something that doesn’t actually make you feel uncomfortable, because you’re drawn into the wonderful characters and rich setting presented to you.
Let’s just get this out of the way: Yes, Mirage of Blaze is a yaoi series. That means the lead characters are homosexual men, but there really isn’t anything wrong with that. I personally have never been a fan of yaoi, nothing against couples of same orientation. I know a few wonderful people, who like the same sex. But I will admit the genre has always made me feel uncomfortable, probably because I’m used to seeing fan art of heterosexual characters I like, and not sure how to respond to that. Haha. But I should also point out that Mirage of Blaze is definitely yoai lite. There really is nothing here to that could make one feel uncomfortable, the love is unrequited as only one of the main leads is actually homosexual, and there is way too much other stuff in this anime to keep tabs on rather than that.
Okay, so here we go.
But because this anime tries to cram in several characters from novels it is based on in 13 episodes, the later episodes become way too crowded and fall really flat. But the first half I feel is superb. While, to an extent, you can more or less keep up with what is going on, there is a bit of homework involved in understanding this series to its fullest.
Each of these characters is drenched in actual history, such as Lord Uesugi Kagetora. His tale really did happen in 16th Century Japan, and so his feud with other characters may not be quite as apparent unless you’re familiar with his real life history. And that, I will say is a downside as I don’t believe they do a fantastic job of explaining everyone’s motives.
The art is gorgeous, as always for Madhouse and I really like the soundtrack. The voice acting is very well done and all the characters do sound very believable even when they take a turn for the worst in their character journeys down the road.
Rebels of the River Edge is a short sequel to the original series, with even animation that is an incredible step up from the original series. Though the voice acting sadly starts lacking here; although one must ponder why this sequel was even made, as ultimately it doesn’t offer much to the grandiose story. It furthers Naoe’s character study a bit more and brings all his emotions to a literal head in what I will admit is an uncomfortable scene to watch. But it just serves to sever character bonds even further than they had been at the end of the main Mirage of Blaze series. Like there should be more that we will never get to see (unless you can read the original novels).
In the end it is just a much better animated, but sadly poorer voice acting experience and an interesting anecdote on the radar of anime and the series of Mirage of Blaze.
Final Score: 2 Vengeful Spirits out of 5
Have you seen "Mirage of Blaze"? Enjoyed the review? Let us know in the comments!
Tagged: Tentacle-Free Anime.