New anime Bubuki Buranki is a bit odd. The first episode of the anime is dramatic and heartfelt. It brings the viewer into the story behind the giant mechanical monsters known as the Buranki, and the living weapons known as Bubuki. You can feel the fear that the characters feel when faced with these terribly powerful, seemingly mindless creatures. But still, something about the anime feels...off. Not quite right. Several episodes in, it finally hits you as to why: you still have very little idea on what’s going truly on. Strangely enough, this is not a bad thing.
So that may be just a bit of a stretch. BBK/BRNK does reveal some of its intriguing secrets, fairly early on as well. But these secrets are just minor tidbits that instill a strong desire to want to know more. The anime begins with the main character Azuma and his twin sister Kaoruko living peacefully with their family in what appears to be the wilderness. Yet hidden away in the forest is a giant mechanical monster, silent and seemingly dead, that both children have been warned to stay away from.
Breaking Down the Story
We all know what happens next. The children wake the sleeping giant, and along with it, a whole army of other fearsome robotic monsters. Their mother sends them down to earth in an effort to save their lives. 10 years later, Azuma is a street urchin, and his sister is...gone. This begins some of the biggest mysteries in the anime, and raises many intriguing questions. What happened to Kazuki? What are the Buranki? Who is Azuma’s mother? Why is she so important?
That BBK/BRNK seems so unwilling to answer the many questions that it also so quickly raises is a good thing. It’s strange, but good. Most anime deliver the backstory to their primary conflict early on. We then see that conflict unravel before our eyes, and watch as the tension increases. BBK/BRNK has a central conflict driving the story, but it’s overwhelmingly apprehensive in telling us why that central conflict is there. Each episode gives a new morsel of clarity, but not enough to answer the bigger questions surrounding the plot.
Other Strange Things
There are other aspects to BBK/BRNK that are a bit strange as well. The animation style is CG, and clearly so at times. At others times, however, the CG seems less obvious. CG-styled anime have typically never been well received, so the use of CG for BBK/BRNK seems to be a bit of a gamble. The anime itself also has a strong Hyakujuu-Ou GoLion feel to it once the main characters begin joining their Bubanki together into the giant mech known as Oubu.
Good For Some, But Not For All
Nevertheless, BBK/BRNK has a certain appeal to it that is a direct result of it having an odd feel to it. It’s mysterious enough without being too confusing, and familiar enough in the themes that it creates a bit of intrigue. Bubuki Buranki nestles in nicely alongside other anime that are a bit strange to begin with, but that move at a pace that adds some interest to the overall plot. Nobunagun, for example, was similar in that it felt like a odd version of a different anime. In the case of Nobunagun, that anime was Fate/stay night. For BBk/BRNK, it's Voltron. Still, the overall peculiarity of the story and its design may not be a good fit for every anime lover. For others, that strangeness hits just the right spot.