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Bubuki Buranki: Hoshi no Kyojin – Off to Another Adventure


Just wouldn’t be complete without some romantic overtones would it?

Bubuki/Buranki (BBK/BRNK) is certainly an interesting series. The first season combined a high flying, action-intensive story with CGI animation, hitting all the right notes for entertainment, but never fully breaking through the glass ceiling separating “good” from “great”. Chaotic character development gave way to a troublesome plot with some amazing reach, but often at the expense of lesser—but no less important—details. While the lack of completeness was explained following the second season’s announcement, the taste of a show which could have been more nevertheless remained.

So does BBK/BRNK’s sequel improve upon its forbearer’s foundation? Overall I say it does, mostly. The first easily noticeable change of course is in animation. The first season already possessed a flowing animation style improving upon Sidonia no Kishi’s and Ajin’s stiff, robotic grace, but this season definitely pushed the bar ever higher still. Character movements (often the bane of CGI) saw the largest improvement, with noticeable “stutter” or jarring, rigid movements wholly minimized, with some serious attention required to even notice them at times. Although debatable whether this animation medium could ever be better than conventional 2D, there’s no question BBK/BRNK (along with Ajin’s latest season) has shown properly utilized CGI can create some visually appealing, aesthetic shows.

Particularly good too was the change in presentation, particularly BBK/BRNK’s comedic relief. Humour is often subjective, but in this instance a lot of it worked, helped especially by Kaoruko. It’s no lie to say Kaoruko was probably the most fun character this season, propelled by a hyperactive, thrill seeking personality and an aggressive, no holds barred attitude (a good in-season comparison IMO is to Girlish Number’s Chitose). A lot of the comedy helped patch over otherwise bare moments and gave BBK/BRNK a more natural feel, particularly for secondary cast. Case in point were Azuma’s friends, who thanks to some choice moments (i.e. Taiwan) weren’t completely forgotten amidst all the new revelations and different character focuses. Pretty sure I would have overlooked about Shizuru and Kinoa for example without some of their personality-specific gags.

Unfortunately, however, improvements to animation and humour did not subsequently translate into developmental changes. Character development for the most part stuck with the first season’s hopscotch approach, where everyone jumped from event to event and appropriately changed along the way, but often without any of the details required to ameliorate such harsh shifts in desire. Epizo was probably the most affected by this. He’s Azuma’s friend one moment before siding with Guy, waffling, then finding love in Laetitia and fighting for her against Azuma, before she dies and he finally becomes a committed part of the good guys. Don’t get me wrong, Epizo’s development makes contextual sense, but it felt inorganic, not so much a smooth progression as a jarring shift in focus dictated by the story. Kaoruko too had similar issues, particularly concerning her jealous hatred of Azuma, but in her case the resolution of this conflict felt more natural because it took longer and fleshed out the reasons behind it. This is coincidentally why I’d argue Kogane saw the best development of the season, given she did not suddenly forgive Shuusaku for killing her father, but gradually warmed towards him once his revelations came out.

What character development lacked though was more than made up in by plot. Here was where BBK/BRNK arguably made the largest improvements over its first season, answering what Bubuki are, how they actually relate to Buranki, and where both of them came from. Although I cannot help thinking BBK/BRNK’s story fell a little too close to Transformers with the whole sapient robot aliens thing, I do like how everything (including the Bubuki users’ rinzu) had a simple explanation and was nicely tied up by season’s end. Particularly fascinating was the role Migiwa and Reoko played this time around, with Reoko’s past being succinctly answered and Migiwa turning into the misunderstood hero. I am disappointed Reoko suddenly turned (reverted?) into an annoying teenage girl away from her solemn badass personality at the end, but that’s a minor complaint all things considered. Short and sweet development were the hallmarks this time around, with many of the questions remaining after the first season being properly answered. BBK/BRNK’s story may have been simple, but it fleshed the story out with few (if any) loose ends left over.

While BBK/BRNK was nowhere near perfect, for me it was a satisfying watch which never failed to entertain. We received a simple story with many fun characters, and backed it all up with a lot of hot sweaty over the top mecha fights and some ridiculous outfits. Yeah things could have been better in places, and maybe certain story aspects/characters deserved more attention, but at the end of the day BBK/BRNK did what it set out to do: captivatingly (and completely) telling its story. When many other shows can struggle doing the same, it’s hard finding fault in BBK/BRNK’s accomplishment.

December 19, 2016 at 2:14 pm
11 comments »
  • December 19, 2016 at 2:28 pmpaulrenzo

    Former antagonist from season 1 = now a shotacon protagonist. I love it.

  • December 19, 2016 at 4:37 pmsealouse

    I’m assuming Kaoruko was crushed to death under all those boxes in the end. Yay?

  • December 19, 2016 at 10:58 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    It grew on me despite being a self proclaimed “CGI SNOB” i even liked the annoying sister, but for some reason i stopped giving a damn and gave up on the show around episode 15.

    got all all the eps, but the reason to watch….hmmmmm

  • December 20, 2016 at 7:18 amDr. Hochmeister

    Watched the first season as it came out and was split between liking it and being annoyed at its plethora of flaws. Been waiting for reviews on S2 before spending time on it. Good to hear that it’s better than S1, though I’m not getting the impression its a must-see. I’ll probably put it on the back burner until I’m hurting for some good mecha action.

  • December 20, 2016 at 3:47 pmIncest Emblem

    I must admit, the apparent Azuma x Reoko ship got me interested in this series again, but regarding the series:

    I dropped it because it was too loud, and it had too many “tough guy” characters, like the 2nd guy on the main team, the glasses girl, and the guy who killed Kogane’s father. The music, if I remember correctly, added to the impression of cacophony. Does S2 fix this at all, or even dial it down? I might give it another chance just for the ship.

  • December 20, 2016 at 4:28 pmCherry

    I bailed at episode 21. It was getting stupid and the plot line went to hell.

    • January 2, 2017 at 11:25 amRagefat

      It may be just me, but it doesn’t look very time efficient to drop a series with just 3 episodes to finish it, especially after watching 21 episodes already. Better to complete it and review it as one not worth it (and yes, even time “wasted” on “bad” things can have some kind of positive result).

  • December 20, 2016 at 4:39 pmMistakenMishaps

    I guess by from most comments on other sites, I’m one of the few that actually enjoy this series overall. It has a lot of stumbles but I’m glad I watched it all the way to the end.

  • December 20, 2016 at 6:14 pmStealth

    I also had to take a break from this anime. But I just spent a night and finished it. It wasn’t bad..but the story is still a mess. The characters is really what kept me interested..

  • December 24, 2016 at 4:23 amHunter-Wolf

    I have to say i enjoyed it a lot, it’s one of the few CGI series that manage to nail the style and animation needed to make CGI anime easy on the eyes, i had some minor problem with the some of the robots and outfit designs (too messy or too colorful) but it was a design problem rather than being because of the CGI.

    As for the characters, yeah .. some developments where rushed or happened only to serve a certain plot point, but overall it was ok, the plot itself thankfully made sense in the end and was well explained (with no massive plot holes or pointless mumbo jumbo philosophy), also i agree the comedy was really well done, it was hard to imagine how they would do it with the reputation CGI anime has of being stiff and lifeless, but i was floored by how well animated the characters during the comedy moments, specially Kaoruko’s antics and theatrics, they were a lot of fun to watch.

    I also have to add that the OST was truly the highlight of the series, specially during the action scenes and robot battles, the music that played during the Treasure Island battle is one of my favs, the music got me pumped every time a fight started and made it a lot more exciting, i think i’ll still be listening to this OST long from now.

    It’s no Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood but it’s a very enjoyable series nonetheless, i’d give it [7.5/10].

  • December 30, 2016 at 10:02 pminfo600

    It barely hold up at times due to the extreme personalities that while in action sequences are perfectly normal, rarely worked out in quieter settings; Also, the weirder afterthoughts with the brick drop moments. Still, it was good enough for a quiet (to me) cour.