Bubuki/Buranki – Season 1

Bubuki/Buranki – Season 1

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When Azuma Kazuki returns to Japan after 10 years, he gets assaulted by a group of armed men and becomes their prisoner. Kogane Asabuki, a childhood friend, saves him with a weapon on her right hand known as Bubuki; a weapon with its own mind. Azuma Kazuki, who is a Bubuki user himself, learns about the existence of Bubuki and goes on a journey alongside the companions he has found, in an attempt to find and revive Oubu, a Buranki who sleeps underground.

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Bubuki/Buranki begins with a flashback which is needed to explain some of the confusion that will be following shortly. There is always something happening, a story being told and the pace hurtles along, which doesn’t leave you much time to breathe – which is a welcome thing in anime as the action springs to the forefront and grips you, dragging you into the story whether or not you want to go. The story begins with twin siblings Azuma and Kaoruko who live peacefully in the countryside with their parents. Or it would be if it wasn’t for the existence of the enormous and dangerous Buranki. Their mother Migiwa is blessed with the power to protect her family from these monsters. Though one day Kaoruko manages to activate Oubu with the regrettable side effect she also awakens all the Buranki and Migiwa must use all her power to keep her children alive. I was certainly not expecting to see such an emotional scene so early, and it’s not easy for a series to make you care about the possible death of a character they’ve known for only 10 minutes.

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Then we cut to ten years later and Azuma is alone, being hunted for something which he has only heard being referred to as “the heart”. After being rescued from threat by Kogane, who has a Bubuki of her own in the shape of a right hand (which I love), and taken to her other Bubuki-using friends, we see that their weapons vaguely resemble pieces of arms and legs.

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But this initial threat is the least of Azuma’s worries. A strange young woman named Reoko is after him and his friends, accompanied by her own group of four others. They each have similar weapons that make up two arms and legs between them. It is soon revealed that Azuma has a ‘heart’ weapon which protects him and his new Bubuki-weilding friends. And together the five pieces are able to awaken the massive Buranki, Oubu. But they aren’t the only ones able to summon this kind of power…

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Bubuki/Buranki is an anime made from CG animation, which often brings varying results. We have seem some real successes, such as Karen Senki and we have had some spectacular failures – Million Doll spring to mind, as an example. I had a few reservations about this at first, but thankfully this anime is more of the former rather than the latter. There is sometimes a little awkwardness in the movements of the characters during some of the more dynamic scenes, but it’s not too noticeable and certainly doesn’t distract you from the narrative and plot.

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I really like the character designs because they are so individual and have a large amount of detail in their clothes and hair. My particular favourite is Reoko – I love how crazy she looks sometimes and I enjoy seeing her squaring up for a fight or just staring into the distance with an insane little smile. There is also a diverse range of personalities to get to know here, which makes for a well-balanced character dynamic very early on and is set to get even better as the story goes on. This one also has some great opening and closing sequences with some catchy music that has some English lyrics thrown in with the added bonus of having them sung pronounced perfectly.

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It is a little information-heavy in places, but it’s also rather action-heavy which balances things out well. It also occasionally veers into tropes and clichés from time to time and sometimes relies on stereotypes to explain away some of the supporting characters, but this doesn’t really impact on its overall charm. For all these things, it avoids falling into the obvious pitfalls and makes sure that things don’t come across as black and white and we’re still discovering bits and pieces of the world their in. It’s also nice that the characters still admit to not really knowing too much about the Buranki, which eliminates the nagging feeling that they haven’t explained what they are properly. It’s not careless writing, it’s part of the story.

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Bubuki/Buranki has a really great momentum to it with plenty of action and one-on-one fights to keep anyone interested. The Bubuki are fascinating, curious and colourful and are varied and different according to their users and we’re slowly uncovering all the mysteries set out for us at the very beginning. It’s held my attention from the very beginning and I look forward to new episodes each week.