Alternative Titles: BBK/BRNK
Anime Original by Sanzigen
Streaming on Crunchyroll
When he was a child, Azuma Ikki lived on a mysterious floating island, until a catastrophe forced him to flee to earth. Now after ten years away from Japan he returns to team up with a gang of kids who use Bubukis – weapons with their own minds. Together they aim to reactivate a mysterious mecha from Azumi’s past.
Zigg’s verdict: Everything’s Better With Hoverswords.
CG anime are an almost immediate turn off for me – they have a tendency to look cheap, unnatural and generally slapdash. Bubuki avoids that fate for a couple of reasons – firstly because the CG is actually pretty alright (though definitely not perfect) and secondly because they’re doing so many interesting things that it’s pretty easy to forgive the minor visual slip ups. Of all the urban fantasy themed shonen shows this season (and there have been a lot) BBK seems to have the most interesting construction and premise. I love the character designs and the general World Ends With You aesthetic, and the three way culture clash between future shinjuku cyberpunk, traditional modern and bizarre floating island medieval is intriguing to say the least. This first episode is nicely paced and uses the premise and the powers in an interesting way, so if they can keep the mystery unraveling I’m very much up for more.
Marlin’s verdict: Buranki Slate
It’s always tricky watching a CG anime. It may not even be that it looks bad, it just never seems to look “right”. We have certain expectations from anime, and seeing them betrayed in this way is. It feels kinda cheap that we go from Azuma being this scaredy-cat child to cool parkouring teen. It’s also a bit jarring to have his sister completely fall off the map, but surely that has to be resolved eventually. I do like the super powers. The fact that they use such alien robots to do their fighting means they can get away with anything and seem totally plausible, whether it’s create shields, shoot lasers, or be ridden like this is Eureka 7. I feel the more we see robots fighting the better this series will be. Having the first villain just have a bazooka luger seemed a little weak compared to the wildly imaginative designs of the heroes’ Bubuki. Hopefully you would see a bit more variety in time, but I just don’t think the show grabbed me enough to do so.
Iro’s verdict: I Want to Play This JRPG
I actually enjoyed this quite a bit. Buranki moves surprisingly fast, even with a long prologue setting up the parents to die miserably. Something like nine or ten characters get introduced in the back half alone (more if you count each Bubuki separately), and I had at least a basic understanding of their roles. I suppose it helps that the Good Guys and the Quirky Villain Squad are pretty clearly defined, complete with “you killed my father” to immediately put the audience on one side. I’m also glad that it isn’t directly a kid-with-remote-control story, since the idea of various characters each having a different harvested chunk of the robot is a pretty cool one. I wish I didn’t have to work through the fact that it’s animated in CG, but so far I’m willing to put up with that to watch more of this.