First Look: Schwarzes Marken

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Alternative titles: Muv Luv Alternative Schwazes Marken
Light Novel Adaptation by Liden Films
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Set in the Muv Luv Alternative universe in which aliens called BETA invaded Earth during the height of the Cold War, our story picks up in Germany, 1983. Not only is the nation divided by East and West, East Germany is dealing with in-fighting of its own as it tries to unite against the BETA. At the center of the turmoil is East Germany’s ace 666th Squadron (yes, 666, it’s OK to laugh), who pick up a mysterious girl while fighting on the front lines.

Jel’s verdict: Hello Darkness My Old Friend

Watching this episode immediately transported me back to my time watching Total Eclipse, of which this show is something of a prequel. What does that mean? Well for those of you who were not around to experience my suffering, it means a cool, alternate history setting ruined by ham fisted, melodramatic story telling and utterly unlikable characters. It’s a series that tries so desperately to act “mature” but has no idea how, so they just dump in a whole lot of blood, boobs, and tragic backstories that hit you with all the subtlety of a brick flying through a window. I mean come on, they named it the “666th” squadron, how hilariously juvenile is that? They even copied the “kill your dying comrade to put them out of their misery” scene almost frame for frame from Total Eclipse’s first battle. I know I should try and judge Schwarzes Marken on its own merit, but there are too many similarities to avoid the comparison.

I guess if I had to reach for positives I’d say the show is in better hands from a technical point of view. I have faith in Liden Films to keep the show looking decent and avoiding the massive drop in QUALITY that it’s predecessor suffered. I also love the setting of 1980’s East Germany, although this being an alternate history and a terribly told story I did not see any indication that the time or place will play much of a factor. So I will not be fooled again. Schwarzes Marken did not do enough to prove to me that this won’t be going down the same path of squandered potential we saw before.

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Marlin’s verdict: Still Ridiculous, Still Muv Luv

Hearing Jel’s harrowing tales over the years about his experience with Total Eclipse, I knew exactly what I was getting into. I’m in that part of the beginning of the anime season where sometimes I just don’t care and will watch trash so that at least someone can codify that it is terrible. Schwarze Marken is certainly a heaping dumpster of trash, but I have to admit it was morbidly entertaining to watch, like a dumpster fire or something. The fact that everything about this East German setting is so overwrought was hilarious, especially when I’ve already watched a good anime about the nature of man and East German atrocity. At least this show had the decency to open with a good fight scene, even if it was marred by the stereotypical “I HAVE PTSD AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH” thing all gritty war anime have to have. If you want something dumb to watch you could do worse than this first episode, but do yourself a favor and leave it at that.

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