"You should just crush them in your other form."
Look Twenty Minutes into the Future
. When a violent, monstrous cyborg runs loose on a motorcycle racing track, hero champion Gerd Frentzen is crippled, seemingly for life. But he gets better with the help of a mysterious woman, reviving as a super-powered cyborg himself. After the paparazzi catch him turning Demoniacs (the afore-mentioned monstrous cyborgs) into properly pwned ashes, the media hails him as the Messiah.
However, there is more to his miraculous comeback than meets the eye, and he's not the only super-cyborg on the block...hell, he's not even one of the strongest, because this show is not about him...
Feels like a Kamen Rider
series animated by the same guys as Vandread
or Soukou No STRAIN
, with an intriguing and heartrending story spiced with eye-catching battle scenes. There is a powerful social message folded into this vividly animated seinen action series, made even more shocking by its reality. There's the main conflict of humanity trying to earn its right to survive against the rise of its "evolution," the profanely powerful Amalgams, which is impressive enough in its execution to stand alone. Then, entwined within the personal stories of the characters is a dramatic exploration of the kind of elitist, anti-immigrant, xenophobic oppression you KNOW happens in real life,
which adds an entirely new depth and impact to the work.
Produced by GONZO
, and like most of their other works, highly underrated.
- Absolute Cleavage: Amanda and Beatrice
- Action Girl: Amanda and Beatrice
- Affably Evil: Xargin
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Big Bad completely overruns the XAT base.
- All Your Powers Combined: Deceased Gerd and Hermann take over Joseph's body in the Final Battle while he hovers between life and death.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Not too ancient, but still counts.
- Anyone Can Die: This is a work written by "Gen (The Butcher) Urobuchi". Of course there is a high body count.
- Apocalypse Wow:
- It's even called so. What with Pale Rider and all.
- Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Sword Rider (War), Scale Rider (Famine), Bow Rider (Conquest) and Pale Rider (Death) (in the meaning "Pale Rider nanobots" it would be Pestilence, but then there's The Pale Rider, or "Blassreiter").
- Interestingly, this trope could thematically apply to 4 central characters: Gerd (White-Conquest), Joseph (Blue/Black-Famine), Hermann (Red-War), and Xargin (Pale-Death). The first 3 even have Cool Bikes as their mounts, while Xargin rides an actual horse.
- Ascended Fanboy: Malek
- As the Good Book Says: Xargin has a habit of spontaneously quoting scripture. Joseph does some quoting himself in the last episode.
- Ate His Gun: Al, post-resurrection, as well as one of the XAT Red Shirts when he starts to transform.
- Author Appeal: Someone clearly likes motorcycles. And big breasts, but that's a GONZO thing.
- Back from the Dead:
- Hermann, Al, Sasha; though they eventually end up being Killed Off for Real.
- Also absolutely everyone in the last scene, but that one is justified since they're clearly holograms, and there's no reason to assume it was anything other than a way to make Amanda feel better.
- Bad Ass: Joseph, Gerd
- Badass Biker: Joseph, Gerd, Hermann.
- Badass Longcoat: Hermann, Xargin.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Those bullies really should have just left Malek and Johann alone.
- Blessed with Suck: Becoming an Amalgam will make you unbelievably strong, but will also very likely make you a genocidal psychopath.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: You know that disturbing aura around Xargin? It's not making you fear for you life, it's making you question your sexuality...
- Big Bad: Xargin, and he's pretty!
- Break the Cutie: Poor, poor Malek.
- Character Development: Malek is the only character that changes much over the series, with everyone else more getting character reveals through flashbacks. Still, he goes from an angsty wimp agonizing over why God won't solve his problems for him to a decidedly heroic Ascended Fanboy who succeeds Joseph
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The bullet that Brad carries around his neck is later used to Mercy Kill his old partner, Lena.
- After the fall of the XAT, Amanda paints Al, Brad and Lena's names onto the top of her Transforming Mecha, and soon after the kanji for the word 'Bond' gets added. This later serves to snap Al out of his amalgam-induced Face-Heel Turn.
- Cloning Blues: It's revealed in the last episode that Mai Fong is a clone, and would have died relatively soon anyway. It's not clear who she's a clone of, but considering one of the Minister's comments, its likely his daughter.
- Conspicuous CGI: Perfectly okay, because it's fucking awesome.
- Cool Bike: Shapeshifting jet bike with smart and talkative and cute... err... "auto-pilot".
- Dark Action Girl: Beatrice
- Dark Is Not Evil: Joseph looks pretty shady for a hero, and the way his partner keeps talking... And even Snow looks quite demonic when transformed.
- Dark Messiah: Xargin. For crying out loud, his Leitmotif sounds like goddamned angels singing.
- Deadly Upgrade: Joseph has two, one where they inject something into him to drive his rage and power Up to Eleven, and another one in the final battle, where he takes a pill said to kill any amalgam where it goes Up to Eleven a second time.
- Death by Origin Story: Sasha. She gets better.
- Driven to Suicide: Johann, Malek's only friend, which finally manages to Break the Cutie.
- Dying as Yourself: All the Amalgamized XAT members; one Red Shirt even kills himself after he starts Amalgamizing in a combination of this trope and Heroic Sacrifice.
- Emergency Transformation: Done to Joseph, by the very guy who made it necessary, Xargin.
- Extra Ore Dinary: One of main advantages the Pale Rider series of low-level body augmentation gives its users is ability to harmoniously meld with equipment such as vehicles and weapons, automatically building intuitively learnable interface that feels natural, instead of all those unwieldy mechanical controls.
- Fairy Sexy: Elea has a rather interesting looking avatar.
- Final Battle: An appropriately epic one, at that.
- Final Girl: Practically invoked with Amanda.
- Friend or Foe:
- XAT doggedly diverts their resources to the big hunt for Joseph. Even when he prefers to be fired at than to hurl a XAT operative or two over yonder house or something. They don't think it's a good idea to stop after he took a bullet protecting an Innocent Bystander when XAT's own sniper failed to check what's around his target.
- In XAT's defense, Amanda was the only one to come to this revelation, and seeing as they'd just seen Joseph surrounded by sliced and diced cops, she was the only one who was still ready to accept the possibility he might be different from ALL the other Amalgams so far encountered.
- Gratuitous English: the opening, "amalgam" is an old English word
- Gratuitous German: "Amalgam" is a modern (if technical) German word, too. "Blassreiter" does translate to "Pale Rider", more or less, but completely lacks the badass connotations of the latter.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Al, Brad, Lena, the Apocalypse Knights in grand fashion.
- Hero Killer: Xargin, most evident when he marches on Zwolf Castle with an army of 30,000 demoniacs, only to walk into the castle himself and effortlessly crush everything in his way, including a recently powered-up Joseph that said army paralyzed with fear.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Joseph
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Al and Brad
- Hot-Blooded: Hermann...just...Hermann
- Killed Off for Real: Pretty much the entire cast outside of Amanda and Malek.
- Meaningful Name: Joseph Jobson - two men in the Old Testament best known for the suffering they endured. Joseph is also the name of Jesus' adoptive father, fitting as he acts as a sort of father figure to Malek, who helps usher in an age of peace between humans and Amalgams by the show's end.
- Messianic Archetype: Gerd, according to the general populace; Joseph, according to the ones that know what the hell is going on.
- The Men in Black: XAT
- Mid-Season Upgrade: Joseph gets one shortly before the Final Battle.
- Monster of the Week: the Demoniacs, kind of...
- More Than Mind Control: Wolf's Start of Darkness involved Beatrice seducing him, taking advantage of the confusion and paranoia resulting from the changes going on in his body and mind, and stroking his... ego.
- Morality Pet: Malek
- Mugging the Monster: Bullies getting their comeuppance is always nice, but damn!
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot:
- A living human who catches The Virus becomes a Ninja Robot, and when the dead are reanimated with that same virus they become everything except the pirate part.
- The Only One: As one of the strongest living Amalgams, Joseph seems to be the only one capable of maintaining his sanity and compassion to defend humanity, since the only other Amalgams on his side eventually either have to be put down or don't survive The Dragon.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket
- Our Monsters Are Different: The Demoniac Mooks are basically nanotech Zombies.
- Pet the Dog: Xargin spares Shido because he knows that Shido gave up his own body to save his children's lives.
- The Quiet One: Joseph doesn't talk much, but when he gets going he's sure to either teach you something or break your friggin' heart.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hermann's red to Amanda's blue.
- Hermann and Joseph also fit this description, particularly after the former gets Amalgamized.
- Spoiler Opening: Oh, were you wondering if that guy with the strange blue scar and the heroic blue Amalgam were somehow connected? Guess what? They're the same! Though, seriously, you should have picked up on that pretty quickly...
- Start of Darkness: Xargin seemed to be such a nice, selflessly benevolent guy... oh, wait, he was. Gerd tried to remain a good guy too, and maybe could make it, if some of his good friends had not helped him to fall.
- Stripperiffic: Beatrice loves to play up Evil Is Sexy for all its worth, and Amanda takes every opportunity she can to unzip her XAT jumpsuit enough to let her assets breathe. And that's not even counting what Amanda wears when she's OFF duty.
- This Was His True Form: Snow, for extra Kick the Morality Pet - Tear Jerker - My God, What Have I Done? value.
- Took a Level in Badass: Malek is implied to have taken a few to replace Joseph in the epilogue.
- Transhuman Treachery: Anyone who becomes an amalgam eventually either goes insane, turns on his friends, or is an All-Loving Hero.
- The Unchosen One: There's going to be an Apocalypse. Only, you see, it's not quite behind the next corner and we're a bit impatient. So, let's make it up right now if we can, eh? Because we're sure it's our sacred duty to be The Hand Of Destiny and all that. Who if not our righteous selves?
- Up to Eleven: The Blassreiter.
- The Virus: Brainwashed and Crazy: Pale Rider will cause nasty hallucinations, as well as bouts of Unstoppable Rage, paranoia, power-drunkinnes and whatever, given half a chance.
- Warrior Poet: Joseph and Xargin, on both sides of the issue
- What Measure Is A Nonhuman: one of the main issues of the series
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
- Amanda's hair is pink. Beatrice has green hair with yellow highlights.
- Beatrice's hair, like her breasts, is justified by the nanomachines. It was a normal color before she got them.