Maybe Bubuki Buranki isn’t a “buy” yet, but it’s definitely a “hold”.
I’m certainly not going to deny that Bubuki Buranki is a mess. But it’s an interesting mess, at least for me, at least so far. Listen, the original Eureka Seven was a mess too, I don’t care what anyone says, but that didn’t stop it from carving out a special place in my heart. No, I don’t see any evidence that Bubuki Buranki has a chance to be nearly as good as E7, but I do see something of the same charm in it.
So what is that charm? It’s hard to distill it down, but somehow shows like this are just anime. They’re so unmistakably a product of the medium that they almost exemplify it. Maybe in terms of potential I’d compare Buranki more to the first season of Symphogear, which had the same feel of a fan work done by talented college students who really love anime – with the caveat that for me Buranki is a much better-produced series, CGI and all.
As for plot, that’s definitely a work in progress. Things did clarify at least a little this week with the formal entry of Banryuu Reoko (a nice change for Han Megumi) into the story. She’s the one at the heart of all the bad things happening on Earth, and the one who seems to have cemented Migiwa’s reputation as a witch. She has a Buranki of her own and it’s a killer, more than a match even for Azuma’s reanimated titan Oubu. Oubu, by the way, came to life when the plucky kids all pooled their bubuki and he used his heart. Or something.
There’s a lot of CGI here, certainly, but most of the time I find it surprisingly good (though not all of the time). I think the battle between Oubu and Reoko’s fire demon was quite excellent – a well-choreographed mix of CG and drawn animation. There aren’t many big names involved in Bubuki Buranki but there’s some real talent on display here, with a strong feel for iconic imagery. And cutting through all of it is the sense of somewhat indecipherable ebullience that characterises a lot of the great mecha anime of days gone by. I like it – though I remain unconvinced that the plot is a capable of being a load-bearing wall. We’ll see.