In a world where everyone has magical powers, the man who does not is considered special; but not in a good way.
Rygart is one such man, an ‘unsorcerer,’ who lacks the ability to telekinetically control quartz. Luckily, the kingdom of Krisna has just dug up an ancient robot that is powered by something else.
The basic set-up of Broken Blade has been compared to Escaflowne. A fantasy-world setting in which an ancient giant robot is discovered that has capabilities far-exceeding those of ‘modern’ robots and which its young pilot uses in his attempt to stop a war. Mixed in with that is the standard Gundam/Evangelion conceit wherein the young pilot is neither a soldier, nor particularly willing to become one; but is forced to fight by virtue of being the only person capable of controlling the super robot in question.
In contrast to Gundam and Evangelion; Rygart lacks the angst and moral turmoil that plagued the protagonists of those series. To be sure, he would prefer to find a peaceful end to the war; but he’s a realist, and if an enemy is barring down on him, he’ll kill them without hesitation. Despite being close personal friends of the king and queen of Krisna, Rygart has been living on a farm at the far edge of civilization (unable to integrate in a magic-based society). This affords him a certain lack of attachment, so he can look at the war in a more practical way; it’s not something that threatens his existence, it’s just a problem his friends are having.
His other friend from school, Zess, is leading the task force from Athens in its invasion of Krisna. Rygart, being of humble character, does not understand the larger forces that drive nations to war; but sees only a conflict between two friends. But Zess is not in conflict with the king, he is simply carrying out his duty to his country, just as the king and queen are doing themselves. Rygart, who has never felt obligated to the nation that shunned him (due to his lack of magic), can not see the world as they do; much to his, and their, benefit.
The six films that comprise Broken Blade do not tell the complete story of the war. I’m not sure if this is by design, if the writers were making a statement about never-ending nature of war; or if the movies had simply caught up with the story in the manga and had to stop. Either way, the ending is left wide open, and many plot threads are left hanging. Most notably, Zess and the king never have their confrontation; which is especially sad for Zess, as his character is left mysteriously undeveloped.
The section of the story we do have is highly entertaining, though. There’s a huge cast and a surprising amount of plot and character development packed into six, one-hour movies. The animation is beautiful and the soundtrack has a nice, old-fashion fantasy feel to it. You might be unsatisfied with the ending, but the trip there is compelling enough to justify watching anyway.