Bubuki Buranki: Hoshi no Kyojin, the show nobody really asked for, but we got it anyway.
Before I being I’d like to thank Richard Eisenbeis from Anime-Now for his wonderful interview (What BBK/BRNK is Really About) with the director, Komatsuda. I believe that reading his interview will also help those who plan to watch season two grasp a deeper and better understanding of Bubuki Buranki's narrative.
Perhaps the most noticeable change is that production value seemed to have increased.
While not particularity special, considering most studios try to improve quality of their work, this was actually a nice change of pace. With season one
the characters walking animations, body reaction and facial reactions appeared very robotic. This time I noticed that they improved it to the point where there are more “human-like” characteristics. There were times where I could see “robotic” like movements because CGI and all, but so far it seems that the animators have a better understanding of how to give their characters realistic movements.
A majority of the cities and other populated areas felt complete, despite lacking life and background activities. At most you'd see a handful of people that aren't main and supporting characters walking around however, they have a limited amount of interaction. Once you see it, it's actually kind of funny. This lack of activity coupled with not so interesting dialogue from the characters ruin a majority of the beautiful scenes that the show has to offers. Honestly, it comes off as a waste of money.
Finally, as far as the art and animation goes, CGI is still a work in progress. There are too many scenes that look sloppy and incomplete. Of course these minor problems can be fix via Blu-Ray however, a first impression is always important... not to mention that the sales for CGI based anime aren't that great.
Moving on to the story, in season two character developments & growth appeared to be the main focus. Backstories and new developments in the plot were gradually revealed however, they didn’t seem prominent enough or featured as much throughout the story. One of the things I had been looking forward to in season 2 was an in-depth look and better explanation about who these characters are via backstories. I was just a little disappointed with the information given. (I’m trying to keep information minimal because spoilers.)
The story tends to lack engagement, action, and intensity. Not to mention that the dialogue between characters feels dull. No matter what's happening in the story, the action doesn't seem to capture my attention. A huge battle could occur, and the lack of intensity or poor choice in adding comedic moments ruin particular scenes. Comic relief wasn't even a strong-point for the title. Overall the story is painfully weak and unimpressive.
The Sound department wasn’t impressive either. The music composed for the series didn't leave much of an impact during the duration of the show. No particular songs stand out during battles or scenes of emotions. The sound effects for settings are lackluster. Often times it appeared as if the staff didn't even put sound effects or background noise in certain scenes. This poor choice in direction makes scenes feel bland and boring. The voice actors were pretty good. Never really had any complaints.
Characters feel the same as last season; albeit with minor changes to personality due to development. Of course these aren't permanent changes that effect a characters behavior & action because they go right back to acting the same way they used to.
My enjoyment for this season.. I was highly disappointed. I want to say that this series felt rushed. In fact, I'm going to assume that! With the lack of interactive environments, interesting narrative, and personality in the characters. This season just seemed to be a waste of time.
Overall you can skip Bubuki Buranki: Hoshi no Kyojin. The only major difference in the series is quality, everything else just falls flat. I gave this show a rating of 5 because it could've been much better in the story department. The characters could've been less one dimensional, and finally there is just too much wasted potential of the series. It was an interesting concept but a failure overall.
Bubuki Buranki is an anime that's great to watch, but can be just short of great in its entirety.
If you watched the first season then you're likely going to watch the second. If you're a newcomer whose checking the series out, then here are some basics.
Plot(7)- The plot starts off a bit slow, the first 6 episodes of season 1 were OK(same with the first episode of season 2). Once you get past that is when it gets really good. The plot revolves around a group of people, four of them have special weapons called Bubuki and the fifth person has a bubuki that fuses
them all together into a giant robot(the weapons, not the people). The plot and writing need a bit of work, but we have is fine.
Art(10)-The animation was my initial draw to the series, as its some of the BEST CG animation I've ever seen(when it wants to be). There are times where the animation isn't as expressive or colorful, but we still have the character designs, which are also amazing. Each design feels very unique, even if in an ordinary anime some characters(Azuma) would look like characters you've seen before. The designs and animation are part of the reason I kept watching through those first 6 episodes.
Sound(10)-Another reason is the soundtrack, its amazing. The openings ad endings are really top notch. I also wouldn't have started the series if the first ED wasn't by Myth&Roid(Re:zero and Overlord). The sound design is also really cool during action scenes, which are also pretty cool.
Character(6)- The characters seem to initially focus on being quirky rather than introducing us to the characters, but even the most annoying characters(kaoruko) will grow on you, most likely. At the end of it all, I'm glad I got to spend 24 episodes with these characters. The series also has pretty good antagonists as well. Some of them aren't as interesting in the second season, but the main antagonist was good, even if his motivations kind of went up and down. He had a clear reason, but he lost me at a few points.
Enjoyment(7)- I enjoyed this series very much and would recommend it to anyone getting into anime, it's a shame that it hasn't been licensed yet.
After watching the first season and writing its review, which was my first MyAnimeList review, I wanted to watch the second season because I thought the first season was mediocre and maybe this one will fix its problems. Did the series end on a satisfying note? Well, we're about to find out. Spoiler alert!
Story: The story picks up half a month after the end of season 1, with our heroes travelling across the world and meeting new Buranki teams. Unfortunately, the mysterious Demokratia organization impedes their efforts by capturing Reoko and using her to awaken a mysterious weapon that could potentially destroy the world. Hoshi
no Kyojin has the daunting task of smoothing over its predecessor's narrative flaws, and it does a fairly good job at it. The new villain is much smarter and has more resources than Reoko, offering new challenges to our heroes. At the same time, the origins and history of the Buranki are introduced, with Migiwa playing a role in it. Even if it has to shed the more negative aspects of the first season's story, this season does a better job in establishing its narrative structure. (7/10)
Characters: A major complaint I had against season 1 is that it dedicated too much development to the supporting characters and villains, leaving the heroes as little more than cardboard cut outs. This season fixes it by keeping the focus on the heroes and their evolution, and the supporting characters had development that didn't conflict with the heroes' own. The main beneficiaries of this improved character writing are Azuma, who goes from generic goody two-shoes to a confident hero with strong ideals and convictions, and Kogane, who truly demonstrates bravery and determination behind her cuteness. I'm not afraid to say those two are my favorite characters in the series. The character writing is not perfect, that's for sure, especially in regards to Reoko, her cohorts and the international Buranki teams, but at least it does a better job than season 1 by default. (7/10).
Art: The animation and visuals are just as good as they were in season 1, so there is not much improvement I can notice there. The characters and backgrounds are amazing but obviously the most detailed CGI models are the robots, which ultimately benefits the action setpieces. Good visual effects are supposed to enhance the anime experience, not make it, so it's a good thing the story and character aspects were impoved, otherwise I would have remembered the series as just pretty to look at. (10/10).
Sound: One of the strongest feelings I have in listening to intro and ending songs is that I think the very first ones featured in a TV shows are the best because they offer listeners a good way to introduce the series they are watching. The second intro and ending songs are good, it's just that they not as good as the first, and that feeling is echoed here. That doesn't mean the songs are bad, they are still good and enjoyable. The voice performances are just as good as ever, and special mention goes to Ari Ozawa, who delivers an emotional and heartfelt performance in episode 3 (or 15) that perfectly combines anger and sadness. That moment single-handedly redeemed the series for me and made me realize this season would be much better than season 1. (10/10).
Overall: Hoshi no Kyojin has the difficult task of fixing season 1's flaws and does it not in a perfectly, but definitely in a satisfactory way. If you want my advice, you should watch both seasons consecutively as to properly understand what happens. I moderately enjoyed season 1 on a theoretical perspective, despite the problems it had; but season 2 was really the moment the series took off. While this season and the first one do not reinvent the wheel in regards to the mecha genre, it doesn't have to in order to be enjoyable. If season 1 left you craving for more, then this season is what you're looking for.