(12ish episodes ?)
What’s it about ?
Hmm… An youth adventure series featuring some mecha action. Also, a rare show not adapting anything.
As a kid, Azuma used to live with his parents and twin sister in a small house in the countryside… with tons of mechas (the “Buranki”) lying around, sleeping ominously. Sometimes one of them wakes up ; it’s quickly made clear that Mom is some sort of semi-retired superheroine who subdues them and keeps them under control.
While Azuma was a rather quiet and fearful kid, his sister Kaoruko was a bonehead tomboy who kept endangering the both of them. She got it into her head that the Buranki needed to be dealt with definitely, and that by aggressively kickstarting her own powers she could kill them all. This was of course a massively stupid idea, as she wakes them all up at once. The best Mom can do at damage control is to stay behind while she sends off Hubbie and the kids while she stays behind to try and contain the Buranki. And by “off”, I mean off the huge space rock the whole sequence has been taking place in, and down to Earth. The impact may have cause some collateral damage.
Cue to 10 years later. Dad and Kaoruko are nowhere to be seen. Mom is the official scapegoat for everything wrong ever, to the point that it’s obvious that there’s a lot of cover-up going on. Azuma had been roaming the world looking for something, and gets arrested nearly as soon as he puts a foot back in Japan.
Fortunately, he has a bunch of friends (he has not seen in a while) who come to his rescue from the fascist cops. They all have Bubiki, aka “hands of Buranki”, aka weird super-weapons with eyes. The issue being that the most elite of their pursuers have better ones.
Bless studio Sanzigen (Black Rock Shooter, Arpeggio of Blue Steel…) for keeping trying to make cel-shaded CG animation work on a TV budget. 1/4th of the time here, it doesn’t quite work : the body language and the facial animation are a bit awkward. But the rest of the time, it really shines : the action sequences are marvelously kinetic, the scenery has an impressive sense of scale, and the nice colourful designs for characters and weapons really pop. The epic score helps quite a bit, too.
Wow. This is almost very good, but just shy of it. Not because of the actual plot, which isn’t particularly distinctive ; it’s all in the energy of the storytelling, and the quality of execution. Which makes it all the worse when there are blips into the uncanny valley. And that’s a shame, as it’s otherwise quite enthralling (and enough to make be ignore my qualms about the minor plot holes).
I’ll be watching a few more episodes, hoping it can keep up its frantic pace for the long run. We’ll see.