Killy holding the Gravitational Beam Emitter
|Genre||Cyberpunk, Technological singularity|
|Written by||Tsutomu Nihei|
|Original run||1998 – 2003|
|Original net animation|
|Directed by||Shintaro Inokawa|
|Released||May 10, 2005|
Blame! (ブラム! Buramu! ), pronounced "blam", is a ten-volume 1998 cyberpunk manga by Tsutomu Nihei published by Kodansha. A six part original net animation was produced in 2003, with a seventh episode included on the DVD release.
Killy, a silent loner possessing an incredibly powerful weapon known as a Gravitational Beam Emitter, wanders a vast technological world known as "The City". He is searching for Net Terminal Genes, a (possibly) extinct genetic marker that allows humans to access the "Netsphere", a sort of computerized control network for The City. The City is an endless vertical space of artificially-constructed walls, stairways and caverns, separated into massive "floors" by nearly-impenetrable barriers known as "Megastructure". The City is inhabited by scattered human and transhuman tribes as well as hostile cyborgs known as Silicon Creatures. The Net Terminal Genes appear to be the key to halting the unhindered, chaotic expansion of the Megastructure, as well as a way of stopping the murderous horde known as the Safeguard from destroying all humanity.
Along the way, Killy meets and joins forces with a resourceful engineer named Cibo and several groups such as a tribe of human warriors called the Electro-Fishers. Cibo and Killy are often pursued by the Safeguard, who view any human without Net Terminal Genes as a threat to be extinguished on sight. Because of the size and nature of The City and the violent lives led by its inhabitants, there are virtually no recurring characters and any alliances made are short-lived.
The City is actually a structure that began on Earth. The mechanical beings known as Builders, which move around reforming and creating new landscapes, appear to have begun building without end, creating an enormous structure with little internal logic or coherence. There exists some kind of major isolation system between the gargantuan floors of The City. Between them, there are entire layers of an unknown, nearly-indestructible material called "the megastructure". Attempts to approach the megastructure result in a massive safeguard response so as to prevent trespassing. Bypassing the safeguard is pointless, as it is nearly impossible to even scratch the megastructure. Only a direct Gravitational Beam Emitter blast is known to have been capable of digging a hole into a megastructure.
The City, and the Builders, were controlled by the Netsphere and the Authority but they have since lost the power to control the expansion of The City due to the chaotic and insecure manner of its growth. Without intervention by a user with Net Terminal Genes they cannot reestablish control over The City nor the Safeguards, whose original job was to eliminate any humans who try to access the Netsphere without Net Terminal Genes. The Safeguard now attempts to destroy all humans without the Net Terminal Gene as the degradation of The City has corrupted their true goals.
In regards to the scale of the structure, NOiSE, the prequel to Blame!, states in its final chapter that "At one point even the Moon, which used to be up in the sky above, was integrated into The City's structure". It has been suggested by Tsutomu Nihei himself in his artbook Blame! and So On that the scale of The City is beyond that of a Dyson sphere, reaching Jupiter's planetary orbit (32.675 AU, or roughly 4,901,250,000 km); this is also suggested in scenarios such as Blame! vol. 9, where Killy finds himself having to travel through a room roughly the size of Jupiter (roughly 143,000 km.).
The original Japanese manga was collected into 10 volumes (tankōbon) by Kodansha's Afternoon KC division. In February 2005, Tokyopop announced that it has licensed Blame! for U.S. distribution, with publication beginning in August 2005. After releasing the final volume in 2007, the series has gone out of print with several volumes becoming increasingly hard to find. In 2006 the Tokyopop distribution was nominated for a Harvey Award in the category 'Best American Edition of Foreign Material'.
|No.||Japanese release date||Japanese ISBN||English release date||English ISBN|
|1||June 1998||ISBN 4-06-314182-9||August 2005||ISBN 1-59532-834-3|
|2||August 1999||ISBN 4-06-314194-2||November 2005||ISBN 1-59532-835-1|
|3||December 1999||ISBN 4-06-314218-3||February 2006||ISBN 1-59532-836-X|
|4||March 2000||ISBN 4-06-314235-3||May 2006||ISBN 1-59532-837-8|
|5||September 2000||ISBN 4-06-314251-5||July 2006||ISBN 1-59532-838-6|
|6||March 2001||ISBN 4-06-314263-9||November 2006||ISBN 1-59532-839-4|
|7||October 2001||ISBN 4-06-314277-9||February 2007||ISBN 1-59532-840-8|
|8||April 2002||ISBN 4-06-314289-2||May 2007||ISBN 1-59532-841-6|
|9||December 2002||ISBN 4-06-314310-4||August 2007||ISBN 1-59532-842-4|
|10||September 2003||ISBN 4-06-314328-7||November 2007||ISBN 1-59532-843-2|
Plans for a full-length CGI render movie were announced in 2007.
Chris Beveridge from Mania.com can't stated if it is a "some sort of experimental thing" since "here wasn't much really experimental about the animation and the show could have been done much better as a true stand alone OVA" but praised the "visually interesting piece". Anime News Network's Carlo Santos also noted the "nonlinear patchwork of scenes and images" but he said "like so many things in anime, it's pretty, but it makes little sense." He felt the animation is "sacrificed".
While Beveridge said the "plot is pretty simple", Jarred Pine also from Mania commented "is not an easy task" to talk about the story in the first volume as "it leaves quite a gamut of questions open for the reader, nothing on the surface to give the reader a sense of direction or purpose." Santos felt Blame! lacks story and coherence saying suggest "Blame! [anime] has a storyline is like suggesting that Pokémon has deep philosophical implications", and Beveridge said "it didn't tell its story well within the show".
Beveridge commented the "concepts and designs here are certainly intriguing but I think they failed badly at execution." Santos critcized some aspects but praised the art. He also stated the character designs "aren't as varied as they could be, but they have a stylized gracefulness that sets them apart from citizens of the future in other series." For Santos the setting "isn't so hard to understand" describing it as "the usual post-apocalyptic science fiction fare." Pine refers it as a "dystopian world".
Santos qualified Blame! as an unusual work saying "Blame! is one of those strange cases where you're not sure whether to rate it highly for terrific art or knock it down because of its opaque story." Pine said Blame! doesn't have a mass appeal and "there will be quite a strong line dividing those who love and hate Nihei’s unique and convoluted cyberpunk journey."
- "Translation from the Blame! artbook". Archived from the original on 2008-03-09. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- Blame!, Chapter 58
- "The Harvey Awards 2006 nominees and winners". harveyawards.org. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- "BLAME!, Cyberpunk CG Animated film Announced". twitchfilm.net. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
- Beveridge, Chris (May 3, 2005). "Blame! (also w/T-shirt)". Mania. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Santos, Carlo (July 29, 2005). "Blame! DVD - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Pine, Jarred (September 1, 2005). "Blame! Vol. #01". Mania. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Blame! (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Pine, Jarred (November 14, 2005). "Blame! Vol. #02". Mania. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Pine, Jarred (March 13, 2006). "Blame! Vol. #03". Mania. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Pine, Jarred (May 17, 2006). "Blame! Vol. #04". Mania. Retrieved February 17, 2013.