Air Dates: October 11, 2006 – April 4, 2007
Genre: Action, Mech, Science Fiction
My Rating: **** (4:5 stars)
Baldr Force EXE was another great find on Netlix that I just watched. It’s a VERY short OVA with only 4 episodes. Even though there was a lot cram packed into the 4 it was actually really good! There were a few things that irked me a bit though like the fact that while watching it I kept feeling like I was watching the love child of Hackers the movie and Ghost in the shell with a mix of The Matrix. Also on a side note this anime was actually created based off the video game Baldr Force.
The main arc of the story revolves around Tōru Sōma who is a member of one of the best hacker groups called Steppenwolf. The group consisted of 5 characters Tsukina Sasagiri, Yūya Nonomura, Akira Nikaidō, Tōru Sōma and a member that you don’t see until the end, Bachera. The reason that I say this seemed like the love child of Ghost in the Shell was because not only is the story set in a future time were computer are more integrated into everyday life but, people have chips/hookups in their brain to literally hook up to the net. Just like Ghost in the Shell . They sit in a computer system chair and have a cord that goes into the base of their skull and they are ‘wired’ into the net. The net is actually called ‘the wire’ and is separate world where everyone can live and interact together. Just like The Matrix. Also Just like the matrix you have to log out to leave and if you are killed in the wire you are killed in real life.
The story starts with Steppenwolf deciding that they had a good ride but it was time to disband since things were getting too hot and their last couple of jobs got them almost caught if not killed. Tōru belives this is because of Bachera who only recently joined their group and has been getting them into tougher and more dangerous jobs. The thing about Bachera though is that no one has seen him. Tsukina, Yūya, Akira and Tōru decide to do one last job before they close the doors on Steppenwolf. You know the whole one last score thing that you always see in movies or you hear about criminals doing. You know how those always work out… Steppenwolf decided that they were going to go big or go home on their last hack and try to hack into FLAK. FLAK is the military police of the internet and out to catch hackers and terrorist. Just as the group breaks through their firewalls they realize they fell into a trap set by FLAK to capture terrorist. Just as Akira was able to get out but just as Tōru and Yūya go to logoff they are ambushed and Yūya ends up dying. Tōru was unable to help him since he was in the middle of logging off. When he woke up back in the real world their hideout was under siege by the local police, the rest of the team was being arrested along with him and Yūya was dead.
While all of this is going on there is a threat in the wire that can be summed up as a virus that was devouring all of the wire. FLAK was sending in their best assault teams and they were getting wiped out left and right as they were trying to locate and kill/capture the virus. The leaders of FLAK are at a loss on how to control this new virus that they had never seen before. With that there is a separate group that is also interested in the virus called VSS who are the main creators of chips/hardware/programs for getting onto the wire.
While Tōru was being questions by the local police one of the officers from FLAK comes in and makes him an offer. Help us at FLAK and avoid going to jail. Tōru agrees with this grudgingly with the intent that if he works for FLAK he can seek out whoever killed Yūya and make them pay. He also make a deal that he will work for FLAK if the rest of his team can be set free which they agree to. He starts working for FLAK right away and is sent into the wire to stop hackers from getting into a system. There is where he meets the last main group in the anime the Fei Dao. They are a group of rebel hackers that are out to cause trouble and bring truth to what is really going on in the wire.
As the story progresses he discovers who Yūya’s killer is and it is a surprise that they were right under his nose the whole time he was at FLAK. But he also finds out more about his past then he wants to that ends up dealing with the virus itself while fighting with the virus and Fei Dao. The last 2 episodes have twist and turns left and right and leaves you with this huge revel of his past that is kinda like wtf where did all this come from. Again this is a really short anime that they crammed a lot of stuff into less than 2 hrs of run time. Overall it is really good and I wish that they had expanded more on Tōru’s past and what happens past the end.
Sorry trying not to make this too much of a spoiler and with only 4 episodes its kinda hard not to on some parts!