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:
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.