Japanese animated tv series (2016; vt BBK/BRNK). Sanzigen. Directed by Daizen Komatsuda. Written by Jirō Ishii and Yukinori Kitajima. Voice cast includes Megumi Han, Shizuka Ishigami, Hisako Kanemoto, Yūsuke Kobayashi, Mikako Komatsu, Ari Ozawa, Sōma Saitō, Kazuhiro Yamaji and Ryoka Yuzuki. 24 24-minute episodes. Colour.
Long ago, Alien Mecha called Buranki fell to Earth. Some broke up and dissolved, entering the food chain and accumulating in the bodies of humans; this gave some the power to bond with sentient AI Weapons called Bubuki. Five humans and their Bubuki may control a Buranki, becoming its limbs and "heart" (more accurately, its brain).
Many dormant Buranki are to be found on a flying island; without Bubuki to direct them, some occasionally "sleepwalk". Alarmed by an increase in this behaviour, Migiwa Kazuki (Yuzuki), the powerful Bubuki wielder who oversees them, sends her two children down to Tokyo. The son, Azuma (Kobayashi), travels, returning to the city ten years later to find Bubuki are being hunted. Tokyo is ruled by sickly Reoko Banryuu (Han), the Heart-holder of a team controlling the Entai Buranki: her intention is to prevent Bubuki being used to terrorize the Earth (nevertheless, the populace hate the Entai team, who behave like villains). Azuma teams up with four other Bubuki-holding youngsters: Kogane Asabuki (Ozawa), Hiiragi Nono (Saitō), Kinoa Ougi (Ishigami) and Shizuru Taneomi (Komatsu); together they discover and control the Buranki Oubu. The first season concerns the conflict between these two groups, with Azuma and friends eventually defeating Reoko's team.
Season two reveals the show's true Villain: Guy Barville Abielle (Yamaji), who believes the Buranki have tainted humanity, so all Bubuki holders must be killed. He plans to use the Buranki progenitor, Deus Magna, to achieve this; as a helpful by-product, he will then have the power to shape humanity's noble future. We meet other Buranki and their Bubuki users, including Azuma's sister Karoruko (Kanemoto), and discover that Reoko's team was not so much evil as arrogant. Guy is killed by Azuma and Reoko combining Entai and Oubu into one Buranki. The victory is won in the penultimate episode: the finale concerns Azuma and friends coming to terms with a now mundane existence.
A recurring theme is Religion: Guy believes that God gave humans dominion over the Earth, whilst Migiwa is told the Buranki are the "servants of the great one of the beginning". Migiwa herself becomes a human Buranki (see Uplift) and is told she has a galaxy-wide destiny. The plot is perhaps overstretched at times, particularly in the first half of season two (where the intrusion of Fan Service serves as padding), while Guy ends up a Clichéd megalomaniac villain and Shizuru seems set up to play a larger role than she actually does. Nonetheless, Bubuki Buranki is an entertaining Anime, with charming heroes and often impressive animation: though most of the Buranki suffer the common fate of mecha, looking like giant toys, the enormous Deus Magna is genuinely imposing. [SP]
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