Break Blade: Delphine’s Awesome HUD

In Break Blade, the mechs (known as Golems) have a certain feeling of awkwardness in them. Their movements feel mechanical, even clunky–it’s as if they’re not balanced well.

And it’s fantastic. Mecha combat is mechanical combat, not giant-samurai-with-beam-swords combat. Watch the highlight battle in Movie 2 to see what I mean–it’s hard to explain with just words, but the fight demands extensive zoning. Lee does her darndest to keep Rygart away with her gun, and Rygart wants to close in to be able to use his melee weapons. It’s not easy for both of them.

But I’m not here to babble about that. Just watch the show. It’s very good. What I want to point out is:

(Click to images to enlarge)

What’s this, an advanced HUD in an ostensibly fantasy setting? Rygart doesn’t have a clue of what this gibberish is supposed to mean. It’s all from an ancient time where their barbaric ancestors lived without magic. But which civilization is truly the magical one–or the sufficiently-advanced technology?

Solely by accident, Rygart activates the ancient Golem, Delphine. This scene is very suspenseful, given our knowledge of modern computer interfaces. But Rygart doesn’t understand any of this. He’s just extremely lucky.

But that’s not all of it for our beloved HUD. It is a very effective directorial trick. During action scenes, quick shots of the HUD flash by to show how Delphine is faring internally.

It’s by no means a novelty to mecha anime, but therein lies the extra drama of Rygart not knowing any better, with us viewers being the only ones privy to Delphine’s condition. While the actual business of moving levers and pedals is abstracted to us, we still can know what Delphine is doing, thanks to these helpful shots.

I’m expecting more from you, Delphine’s HUD.

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19 Responses to Break Blade: Delphine’s Awesome HUD

  1. H says:

    Wouldn’t all of this be more of a GUI of an OS than a HUD? Since it all takes place on a small monitor rather than the main view screen. I guess HUD just sounded better…

  2. schneider says:

    Both works, though yours is technically more correct (Rygart interacted with it by touching the screen).

    GUI does sound off, too. But thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Panther says:

    Nice, expanding my way of looking at it. It does help a lot when we are shown what Rygart does inside that mech.

    Also the golems are all shown as worndown parts, as expected of an age where the golems are perpetually in combat, as opposed to shiny armor after every battle and repolish etc.

  4. You know this turns out to be a very loving show on robots. I did not expect this level of detail. It’s quite a treat.

    Yeah, someone DID seize the reins of history.

  5. Wasn’t it implied that they’re in a far far somewhat post post apoc version of Japan?

  6. Mikee says:

    Hud system is not only awesome, but it has a touch screen too, Ha beat that Gundam who’s advanced now, I er, Back to medieval settings.

    Dirfinge loses one finger late on, ONE FINGER!!!

  7. Ookami no Ou says:

    I especially love how the animator show Rygart controlled Dirfinge..It’s feels very real..

  8. ToastCrust says:

    As a note on the whole thing with where this is, I will mention all that talk about things being “built to thrive in heat and oil” and how the opening scenes specify that they live in a land that is essentially “drained of oil”. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that what we’re seeing is something following the collapse of civilization after energy resources disappeared, and the refined, flexible quartz is apparently the way humanity eventually coped. I really like it.

    The Under-Golem’s probably one of the first projects in using this tech (before people somehow evolved or were engineered into being able to manipulate it magically) to create a machine that can run without needing oil, etc.?

    I am definitely loving this show. I can’t believe I put it off for so long (though perhaps that is all well, since the like 2 hours I spent between the first movie and the second movie were agonizing).

    • schneider says:

      I don’t know if quartz can actually be used as a power source, but it’s a nice element of the world-building.

      The release date of the DVD/BDs is much quicker compared to, say, Kara no Kyoukai. Let’s see where this series takes us!

      • ToastCrust says:

        Oh, quartz isn’t a power source at all. They refine them to become flexible ligaments to use for a variety of mechanical movements (they probably can only cause them to do simple things like contract-expand, or spin some sort of gear to drive wheels).

        The “powering” of the quartz to make it move and stuff seems to be done completely from “magic”, which is why the ability and endurance of the pilot actually figures into how long they can hold up the big claymore, etc. And why Cleo being able to operate almost indefinitely is actually a huge thing.

        That’s only for the normal Golems however, as far as I can tell. Obviously Dirfinge doesn’t suffer those restrictions, but god knows what it’s powered by (though it’s obviously something that is either recyclable or rechargable using something from the atmosphere/sunlight/whatever).

        • schneider says:

          Okay, so basically it’s like the muscle system from Gasaraki, powered by magic! Thanks. I wish they’d explained the magic part more, though.

          One thing I’m sure about is that while Dirfinge has a power unrivaled by any Golem, its operational time is limited. That’s one thing I like, giving the strong mecha some potentially fatal weaknesses.

        • ToastCrust says:

          Yeah, they don’t address things very directly. You really have to piece it together if you care.

          The main clues are the scenes with people making quartz float freely (General Ture doing it as if it were a status symbol!), the very brief scene showing the tubular ligament get manipulated and moved by some faceless mage/researcher, and the bit about Cleo being able to 1) sortie in a Golem for the long term without fatigue being her specialty and 2) her getting used to the increased strain of that Athens model in only 1 day versus a week to 2 months for the others .

          The only conclusion I could get was the pilot literally powers the entire machine through willpower/his own energy. I started reading some scanlations of the manga this morning, and it seems overall to stay consistent with my idea.

      • There were speculations about Delphine’s power source, some said it is powered by nuclear power, but has a faulty cooling system hence the limited operational time.

        I remember someone noting that the map of the world in Break Blade vaguely resembles the real world.

  9. robenszelte says:

    What a frankly fun post

  10. Vernie Dou says:

    Nice post. One thing, i’m running Win 7 with the Firefox 4 Beta browser and your columns are overlapping a little. Though you may want to fix it 🙂

  11. kail says:

    ^ its a beta version, problem may be on your end, not theirs. final release might not have the same issue.

  12. Machete says:

    I wanna know more about its radiation blade system (the broken blade) The HUD or GUI (whatever) quickly shows on its first start up in the mine of there being a heat blade radiation system, but it failing to start with a error message. Delphine could be powered by something akin to nuclear power, considering its never actually ran outta power, simply only letting its re-circulatory cooling reactor cool off. could be something akin to nuclear energy even. There is even a part where it seemed to be looking to ‘connect’ to a control tower, probably for comms from old bases from the ancients maybe. its something i couldn’t find much info on unfortunately but it really makes the design so much more intriguing.

  13. Kevin says:

    Uhhh, they move using ligaments made of quartz which people can control, considered a form of magic. What do you mean when you say mechanical?

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