Tekkaman Blade II from 1994 is a 6 episode OAV. Set 10 years after the events of Tekkaman Blade, it follows the exploits of a new group of tekkamen serving the Space Knights. Although the mecha designs are nice and it was good to see an attempt at continuing the Tekkaman Blade story, Blade II just didn’t measure up. Poor plot, poor treatment of the setting and lack of the elements that defined Tekkaman Blade made this OAV something I can’t recommend.
The story seems to focus on a new corps of tekkamen being trained hastily to repulse a new Radam invasion. However, halfway through the show the storyline changes gears and we’re seeing the Space Knights working hard to put down a rogue tekkaman that has nothing at all to do with the Radam. Then, at the end of the last episode we’re back to invading Radam. Did the writers have no ability to focus or were they making a poor attempt to cram too many ideas into a short OAV?
The romantic subplots devised for the show were too contrived and simplistic. David has the hots for Chief Aki – a woman a lot older than him. Yumi is smitten with Takaya (Tekkaman Blade himself). If that wasn’t bad enough, Yumi’s fighter carrier pilot, a formulaic wimpy guy sidekick, pines for Yumi. Not one of the romantic subplots is resolved or even moved forward in any way. This fact only underscores how unimportant the romantic subplots are. Nothing more than window-dressing.
Another issue poorly handled was the mix of old and new characters. Wanting to be associated strongly with the first story, Tekkaman Blade, Blade II retains Takaya and Aki. However, new characters are introduced and one of them, Yumi, is made the main character. Aki and Takaya are such strong and interesting characters that they steal the limelight in every scene they appear. The audience is left wondering if the show is about the old generation of heroes or the new.
What bothered me the most was Blade II’s poor handling of a rich and fascinating setting. The world of Tekkaman Blade has many elements that make for great science-fiction and many ideas left over from the first show that beg for more attention. Numerous unanswered questions make me believe the writers of Blade II just didn’t know what they were doing. How did Takaya recover so completely from having his brain turned into tapioca pudding at the end of the first show? Why is Takaya skulking around the basement secretly while Aki and Honda are active members of Space Knight’s command? If the Space Knights need to get into space so much, why aren’t they stationed on the orbital ring? Why, after 10 years and high fears of another Radam invasion, are there only 4 tekkamen in the whole world? Why isn’t Aki a frontline soldier instead of an officer that sits behind a desk?
There’s no shortage of unanswered questions. After it’s explained that Dead End was made into a full tekkaman in a Radam machine, just like Takaya, how can a new and unexperienced tekkaman defeat Takaya, a seasoned warrior with several hard-core upgrades, so easily? It just doesn’t make sense. Why doesn’t Takaya reach Blaster Mode and mop up on the brat? Why is Blaster Mode never seen in Blade II?
Characters casually disobey military orders far too much. In a world still rebuilding from the total disaster of the first Radam invasion, slack discipline in the armed forces is too ridiculous to believe. In Blade II we see several tekkamen with hair coming out of their helmets and clothing over their armored shells. It looks flimsy and cheesy at the same time. When you consider the fact that the same two people were doing mecha designs you have to wonder if they were passing out pot to smoke during the OAV’s production.
What is probably the greatest failing of Blade II was the lack of strong themes established in the first show. Blade II was light-hearted and that really didn’t fit with the first show. Tekkaman Blade was about sacrifice, heroism and teamwork. None of those themes were in much supply in Blade II.
Tekkaman II was an excellent opportunity to take a step back and show us more of the fearsome Radam. That opportunity was lost. Even in the format of 6 OAV episodes Tekkaman Blade II failed to live up to its potential.