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Anime / Blassreiter

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"You should just crush them in your other form."

Look 20 Minutes into the Future. When a violent, monstrous cyborg runs loose on a German 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 Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry, 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 in 2008, and like most of their other works, highly underrated.

Blassreiter contains examples of:

  • 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
  • Asshole Victim: Malek and Johann's upperclassmen become this when they get subjected to Malek's Amalgam powers.
  • 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.
  • Badass Biker: Joseph, Gerd, and Hermann.
  • Badass Longcoat: Hermann and Xargin.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Amalgams or at least Beatrice can survive in space unassisted by anything other than their powers.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Malek is a genuinely nice guy, but you seriously do not want him after you, as his upperclassmen found that out the hard way.
  • Big Bad: Magwald Xargin, most powerful of all the Amalgams, aims to Kill All Humans and replace them with Amalgams as revenge for the discrimination he and the immigrant population suffered.
  • Blessed with Suck: Becoming an Amalgam will make you unbelievably strong, but will also very likely make you a genocidal psychopath.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor, poor Malek.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: When Malek unleashes his new powers to the three upperclassmen who drove Johann to commit suicide, one of them understandably wets himself in terror.
  • 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 Faceā€“Heel Turn.
  • 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 increase his rage and power , and another one in the final battle, where he takes a pill said to kill any amalgam.
  • Death by Origin Story: Sasha. She gets better.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After attaining his Amalgam powers, Malek ends up killing the upperclassmen who insulted him and Johann for being immigrants to the point of driving the latter to commit suicide.
  • 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" ("Blasser Reiter" would've been actually correct, but still stilted German), more or less, but completely lacks the badass connotations of the latter. Justified, as the setting is actually Germany.
  • Harmful Healing: Gerd accepts a "secret experimental wonder pill" from a stranger, reasonably guessing that whatever it is, things aren't going to be any worse for a half-paralyzed racing champion ditched by his girlfriend. Turns out that it was not quite a correct assumption, even though he got to ride a bike again.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Al, Brad, Lena, the Apocalypse Knights in grand fashion.
    "That's the way it is. Some people live, and some people get eternal bragging rights for escorting them to safety."
  • 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
  • Japanese Delinquents: The series features a group of delinquents who antagonize everyone in their path from fellow schoolmates to Useless Adults with no fear of reprisal (their ability to manipulate characters and to escape karmic retribution is rage-inducing, but largely for how obvious a rage plant they are). Physical and verbal dog-kicking abound, in addition to forcing Malek's friend Johann to commit suicide. These three school seniors seem to run their neighborhood, and for all we know Japan, with an iron fist until their reign eventually comes to an end as Malek fittingly murders them during the second arc of the series, but the sour taste of their deeds doesn't wash out right away, as much a result of the implausibility of their overblown dog-kicking as the heinousness of it.
  • Karmic Death: The upperclassmen are killed by Malek, the very same person they ridiculed for being an immigrant.
  • Kick the Dog: The upperclassmen often insult Malek and Johann for being immigrants which drove Johann to commit suicide. This one turns out to be a bad idea.
  • 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: The upperclassmen really shouldn't have insulted Malek and Johann for being immigrants.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: Malek's upperclassmen are utterly shocked when Malek demonstrates his Amalgam powers and is about to kill them.
  • 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.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: After Malek gains his powers, he kills off the upperclassmen to exact revenge on what they did to him and Johann.
  • 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.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: One of the upperclassmen who ridiculed Malek screams just before the latter kills them.
  • 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 at first. 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 her sex appeal 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.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The upperclassmen get killed by Malek's newly awakened powers after mocking him and Johann for being immigrants. Seriously, what were they thinking?
  • 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?
  • 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.