This review counts Busou Shinki as 13 episodes, with the OVA included as the final.
Busou Shinki is an anime about cute girls doing things in every day life. Shinki are little automatons modeled after girls, built to serve their masters. Originally designed for combat, they are now seen in various lines of work along side their masters.
If you are looking for an anime filled with battle harems and shounen shenanigans, then this is not for you. Busou Shinki is exactly what the description says. Futuristic slice of life with tiny robots.
In terms of having a story, the anime has one, but it's very loosely connected, and it seems to be done that way on purpose. It's somewhat episodic with the only common elements being that the Master of the automaton cast is a high school student freshly transferred in and the episodes being in chronological order.
Keep in mind, at least 80% of the story's events happen behind the main guy's back. This is just a story about cute little robots doing helpful things.
The later half of the story definitely fares better in the story category, with more interesting events happening. I feel like Busou Shinki sells itself short by saying that it is just a futuristic slice of life. In the later half we deal with themes like forgiveness, abandonment, grief, and death. Through out the whole story we begin to see that another important theme is the Shinkis' loyalty to their masters. To wrap up the whole story, our final episode dabbles in some fate and destiny to end on a high note.
I would have scored the anime higher in this category if it had more of a concrete story in the beginning. Once you get into it, the concepts and ideas in this anime leave you wanting more and more, and the well done second half doesn't quite fill the gap.
For Art and Sound, I'm no expert in these two categories, but I enjoyed them, and I felt the quality was fine.
I feel like the battle scenes look like a better Infinite Stratos. In fact that's exactly what the Shinki are. Thumbelina with an IS.
As for the sound, I can only think of two instances where it really stood out to me; but in these two instances I feel like they really manage to tug at my heart. Possibly because I'm somewhat sensitive. Then again, your mileage may vary when it comes to how much music affects you.
Characters. Busou Shinki is largely centered around the automatons and their life as partners to humans. It is understandable that few human characters are ever seen.
I love how even though Shinkis have a limited variation of models, I can tell them apart by their personalities and their paint jobs.
One issue I have with the show is how they overplay the "loyalty to Master" theme. The automatons under the ownership of the main guy seem to have a one-sided crush on him. I feel like this could have been avoided by writing the characters differently, or lampshaded by making the main guy a "friend to all things" type (which he falls just short of being).
Another issue I have is that the characters of Ines and Hina. Both seem to have very tsundere qualities, although Hina seems to be intended to be more of the kuudere type. I feel like more work should have been put in to separate their personalities, which is what happens late in the anime. If these problems were hammered out earlier, I would have no issue.
In Busou Shinki, we see little to no character development in the sense that they change (aside from Hina, in my opinion). A large portion of this development is crammed into a two-episode arc and a flashback episode. I don't dislike this, even though I think it could have been done better by letting characters develop over the course of the 13 episodes.
In terms of enjoyment, I really liked this series. I came in after seeing the average score of 6.xx, and I figured it was going to be another battle harem anime.
I was pleasantly surprised. This anime could have easily taken a haremesque turn at many points, but they chose not to. They continued on making it just a cute anime about Thumbelina Infinite Stratos (with a better story and barely any ecchi at all).
On top of this, they also hit me with the feel bat. In most episodes, it's just a slice of life/comedy anime. Like I mentioned earlier, in select episodes, we deal with deeper themes. The first 6 episodes are mostly some cuteness and moe with asskicking on the side, while the last 7 are more somber and feature a lot of fighting for a slice of life.
Busou Shinki's creativity also deserves credit. They take small conflicts and make them bigger, including turning a lunch box delivery into a coup d'etat. There's also one part that deals with a "Hey, it's me your _____" scam gone dark.
Although some may be turned off by how over-the-top this anime can get, I loved it because these shenanigans lead to us seeing some minor characters given a call back to. Like a certain pair of Shinkis who are always up to Tom and Jerry-esque antics.
Overall, I gave a fairly high score, mainly because this is where I can add my personal feelings to the review. I feel like this anime really hit the spot for me. Especially the final, which really warmed me on the inside. It gave me sort of a warm "its a small world" vibe. If I were to take out the personal feelings part of the score, then I'd say at least 8/10.
OVERALL SCORE: 10/10