Teppei is going to visit his older brother Kotaro Takamiya during a scientific conference after training with a mysterious woman named Karen for the past 11 years. However his plans for a family reunion become stalled when a woman named Aramis kills everyone in the conference to kidnap Kotaro. Teppei on the way to save his brother encounters a broken mechanical horse called B't X who revives thanks to Teppei's blood and is now his aide to save his brother from the mysterious Machine Empire.
If you are very familiar with Kurumada Masami, many of the plot and character elements share a lot in common with some of his earlier works, specifically Saint Seiya and Ringu ni Kakero. For example, family bond and longing to reunite with a lost sibling is once again an emphasized theme in this series. It gives Teppei a strong motivation to go on an initial one man mission to fight an empire to save his brother. Though in Saint Seiya, Seiya wanting to find his sister gets sidetracked until nearly the end, this element is consistent throughout the series.
Another Kurumada-sensei characteristic is a female
mentor to the main character who is serves as a sister figure. In Saint Seiya, Seiya is taught my Marin who he assumes to be his sister. In Ringu ni Kakero, Ryuji is trained by his sister Kiku. While in B’t X, Teppei is trained by Karen who you can say is like a big sister figure to Teppei though they don’t out right say it and its interesting to note that their relationship isn’t really that 100% explored in this series but the series shows the full picture with very little.
However, this story does feel darker compared to those other works and has little to no comedic elements. Teppei very rarely smiles in comparison to Seiya who share a 100% similar design and is always dead serious and has more of a I wanna kick some ass kind of look. So it works in consistent with the atmosphere.
Another element is mythological influences. While Saint Seiya has uses Greek, B’t X uses Asian mythologies though some elements of Greek and other European sources will be present later on.
But really drives this series is the relationship between Teppei and X and the theme of unlocking your own potential. Like how Saint Seiya had this theme of “making miracles happen,” this anime also brings those qualities in this series and works in its own way with Teppei and X. At first, X wants nothing to do with Teppei but when Teppei proves his determination to X, X becomes loyal to Teppei and you do see this relationship develop to the point where all things are possible.
The remaining cast such as Hokuto, Fou, and Ron do bring a shade of gray. Despite being warriors of the machine empire, they understand what needs to be done and its not because of lack of loyalty, but a matter of personal principle and understanding they don’t want an everybody loses situation. Even though they don’t acknowledge themselves as Teppei’s friends throughout the series, they encourage him to reach his fullest potential which makes you question why they want that. Do they want to fight him at his best? Or do they want him to defeat the machine empire?
Unfortunately, this series ends where things are about to really get started but thankfully there is an ova series to continue which I will review at a later date.
Naturally, Teppei looks 100% like Seiya and Ryuji. Kurumada-sensei had admitted he “recycles” his character designs because he thinks of them as his own actors and giving them different roles. Not only Teppei, but other characters such as Fou, Ron, and Kotaro will also feel familiar to those that are fans of Kurumada-sensei’s works so expect that. But not only does it feel like Kurumada-sensei, a lot of the designs also feel like Obari Masami. The sharpness and the details to the eyes remind me of how he did the designs of the Fatal Fury anime but I don’t see him in the credits, but I guess it does give an appropriate 90s feel to it when that sharpness and the over detailed eyes were a common quality in other popular series of that time such as Saber Marionette J, El Hazard, and Magic Knight Rayearth.
The design of the mechs are pretty cool. As previously stated, there is more influence on Asian mythology so the B’ts are more influenced by Chinese animals seen as divine. For example, X is based on the Kirin, Fuo’s mecha based on the Phoenix, Ron is based on the dragon and Hokuto’s mech is based on the turtle. And other’s each offer their own gimmick and given an appropriate colour scheme. So they all work out and have functions that work in conjunction to their size and designs. However, I really don’t get why Teppei gets battle armour as some sort of power up while the other characters don’t. The series does explain why he has it, but I don’t understand why he is the only one that gets it while Fou and Ron don’t.
The action isn’t as explosive as Ringu ni Kakero and Saint Seiya but works in its own ways. The action is not too gimmicky but still distinctive. For example, some characters will have techniques that will hurt the ear drums and some have moves that will make the opponents hallucinate. This time, the anime revolves around wit and sheer will but in a new context and team work is used in a unique way. The moves are more science oriented such as Teppei’s messiah fist and Fou’s violin bow which resonates sound waves.
A lot of people like to categorize this as a mech anime but I feel that I don’t. Considering that the mech isn’t exactly controlled and feels more like a partner, so I see this more as a sci-fi action anime as opposed to flat out mech though mech is a sub-genre of sci-fi. The action relies on trusting each other. Though it feels like one on one, it is two on two instead with Teppei and X against their opponent and their B’t. The action isn’t as reliant on using special moves so typical hand to hand combat will be more frequently used. It is more speed and agility oriented as opposed to power oriented so it is still pretty distinct in comparison to Saint Seiya and Ringu ni Kakero.
Though Kurumada-sensei likes to “recast” his actors in his manga, unfortunately, Furuya Tooru does not resume his role as that design. Playing the voice of Teppei is Hiyama Nobuyuki, most famous for the roles of Hiei from Yuu Yuu Hakusho and Shiro from Gundam 08th MS team. His pitch is more in tune with the upbeat feel of Shiro as opposed to the lower voice he uses as Hiei. He is very aggressive but soft. He does come across as a teenager, but yet mature and world weary but does have this feel of optimism. Sasaki Nozomu, the voice of Yusuke from Yuu Yuu Hakusho and Tetsuo from Akira is the voice of Teppei’s brother Kotaro. His voice feels a lot like Horikawa Ryo’s performance as Shun who is more compassionate, soft, and low and feels a bit feminine. And compared to those performances, it feels distinct and fresh and gives you a new exposure to his acting talents.
Another great talent I enjoyed was that of Fujiwara Keiji as Ron. Fujiwara tends to play characters who are more of a smart ass like Kimura from Hajime no Ippo, Reno in Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, and Shingo from Initial D. But in this series he is very serious, and mode cold and calculating. His voice is recognizable, but he does sound appropriately intimidating and not as comedic as he is in more notable roles. My only issue with the voice acting is that they don’t modulate X’s voice. The series modulates the other b’ts appropriately sounding more mechanic but X sounds like a regular guy. I don’t know if its done purposely to give him a more human quality but I prefer if he had a more mechanical voice. It could flow like a regular person but I think it should modulated like the voices in Transformers.
The music is just awesome. The background music works very well. Like whenever Teppei battle gears on, the soundtrack really gives the “shine” that Teppei shows. It gives an uplifting feel in this dark world. The other music just simply works in conjunction with the atmosphere of the series. The opening theme also has this intense feel but also shares the themes of breaking the limits and about hope. So really nothing to add but say the music speaks for itself when you watch it.
Of course after you finish this series, you will be required to watch the following ova to get any continuation and direction. However, throughout watching this you also get the impression that you also need to read the manga to put more things into context. Unfortunately, I have not read the manga so I will read it when I get the chance. But consistently, you have heard me compare this to Kurumada-sensei’s previous works and do I say this is a gateway to how he does things. I personally don’t recommend this anime for people new to Kurumada Masami even though some things are different. I say having some familiarity with his style and work will help you understand this anime more, specifically the two titles I repeatedly mentioned.
I'm a bit of a sucker for mecha-with-a-plot, so this one was a favourite of mine while growing up. It was like my shounen balance to my love of Sailor Moon at the time. --Which pretty much means it ...was almost the opposite of Sailor Moon (which is a good thing for shounen).
Big baddy versus talented youth SOUNDS cliche, but what really sets this story apart is the world and how dark it eventually gets. The world-building is done wonderfully here. It's a wonderful mesh between what we consider the 'real world' and a dark, dystopian world of mecha.
The real joy in this story
is the eventual unfolding of the plot. The writers took a cliche story and gave it a pretty dark backstory. There are some points where you sort of have to stop and take in how absolutely terrible the scenario is for some of these people. You have wars, friends and families who die right in front of them, an overtone of supernatural evil etc etc.
In a way, I found it really depressing. I actually couldn't see how on Earth the heroes were going to win. In the end, that's the genius of this anime. Usually when a semi-powerful Hero goes up against an all-powerful Villain, it's pretty obvious the hero's going to win.
--Not in this case. This Villain is one mysterious bad-ass with an army of crazy (and crazily strong) minions whose numbers feel like they could swallow our heroes whole.
Not bad, typical 90s shounen style. I had a crush on Teppei as a kid so I'm a little biased. ...And I also wanted a B'T because they're just so awesome. If you look at them, their actually very intracately designed!
I loved the OST. I absolutely loved it. It was exciting, moving, and completely fitting to the anime.
They're a little cliche, but somehow still loveable. There's always an extra something in their personalities that sets them apart from other characters of the same cliche. It's one of those things you can't really put your finger on.
...I really...REALLY liked this lol.
(Not as much as the OVA though.)
Recommended --highly even. It's a good story, and I might even call it 'classic' more than cliche because it really has depth to it. It's not as well known as other animes of the same type and genre, but I still think it's better than most of them by FAR. Like I said, the good ones always have you wondering how it'll end. It's no fun when the Hero's already won the battle...before he's even gone into the battle.
And i never thought that another 90´s anime serie would catch my eye like this one, the goddamn happiness will never end :). This was an famous anime serie in italy in the 90's asnd spain, what i heard from friends so i checked it out and was hooked from the start! its starts strong and it ends simple AND STRONG!For me the best overall was the socalled reincarnation- of -magical creatures- into -mechaform or sort of, well done for handdrawing. Ok its one of those serie's that start with an flashy superhero intro and stuff, but its getting there
with a good and potent buildup throug the serie's, unlike most but not all, most newskool anime does'nt have or rush it.Chara wise it has some interesting villians and heroe's , each with an backstory of its own were NO PUSSIES have been bred in! MANLY!!! the main chara is maybe like a pissing in the pants brat in the beginning, but get more mature later on. Good random music action scenes but not too special although it soo damn flashy, but believe me it enjoyed it like in a way i missed this sort of anime hanging on a life and death threat..... yep i enjoyed this , onto the OVA i guess :)
Although at first glance, B'tX appears to be 'just another mecha story', it's a little bit more than that. The story is excellent, but it is executed poorly - it has potential that is just never truly used. It's similar in concept to 'Zoids'. The idea that bio-mechanical, intelligent mecha creatures mingle with humans is interestingly placed into the story, but there are many cliche's and it's easy to predict what will happen next. It's a sad case of works-in-theory but not in execution. Overall, I gave it a six because coming from the studio that produced Akira I expected a little bit more.
art can be obnoxious at times, but it's generally acceptable, with stunning amounts of detail on the b'ts and intriguing character designs.
The animation itself can be irritating, mainly because they recycle animation frequently. The first five minutes of every episode is a recap, and they insist upon using the two-minute 'transformation' sequence whenever Teppei and X go into battle - at least twice an episode. It gets old quickly but, then again, that's why fast-foward was created. Ignoring the fact that many sequences are recycled over and over, the actual effects have a very 80's-anime appearance, somewhat reminiscent of Dragon Ball.
The character development is limited and restrained, characteristic of this studio's other productions. What surprised me was, despite the fact that the characters are highly stereotypical (The 80's-hair Bible-thumping bishie, evil scientists, the over-muscled baddies) you get drawn into them in a odd way that, even if you can tell what they will do next, you need to see the next episode. I gave the characters a five because, looking at the studio's portfolio it's fairly middle-of-the-road compared to shows like Doraemon and Panda Go Panda.
The sound, especially in the dub, are enough to drive a person insane. Instead of having voice actors actually whisper or yell, they simply have them speak normally and then adjust the background music to give the impression of whispering or shouting. This results in hard-to-hear voices, as well as generally bad voice acting. So much of the audio in this makes a person want to cry, and not in a good way, either.
Overall / Enjoyment
I scored this a nine and eight in the end solely because of the concept of the story. The actual idea of the story is very interesting, but it is so terribly executed that it ruins it. I can see people starting roleplays or writing fanfiction based on the ideas of b'tx, if not the actual anime itself.