BBK/BRNK (Bubuki/Buranki) has an interesting concept that has so far been mishandled with rushed writing and little character interaction, but the CG anime animation itself looks stunning and there is the potential for the characters to grow.
The story is all over the place, and for this review, it’s hard to comprehend to you. From what I could understand, there are beings called Buranki that are living machines, which can devastate an area if left uncontrolled. The vast majority of them live in a floating island above Japan called Treasure Island, in which Azuma’s family looks after. In that space, they are mostly calm, but one day, everything went wrong and Azuma as a young kid had to go down to the surface for his protection with his father and sister. Cities in Japan afterwards were devastated. Fast forward 10 years, and now there is a corrupt government in Japan looking for Bubuki users (basically Power Rangers with separate zords as weapons) and killing them as they are a threat to society. Now Azuma as a teenager has to fight to survive with other Bubuki users.
The problem is that there is little explanation for what is going on. What’s this previous history with Bubukis? Where is Azuma’s father and sister? How is going back to Treasure Island going to fix anything? Why haven’t the antagonists aged in the last 10 years? There are questions hovering in my mind all the time while watching BBK/BRNK.
This is the type of anime which suffers from what I call, Dragonball Z Syndrome. Personally, I like anime to have breaks in-between fights and draw in character development and for the group to talk to each other, but the anime for the majority of the time just gets the characters straight into a battle at the end of each of 3 concurrent episodes. Also, within an episode, the main character Azuma hugs another member of the team, but that friendship hasn’t been formed at all. None of that basis is there, and I would have loved more interactions between them to buy that relationship and then when one has to battle in a duel through a Bubuki battle, the team just leaves because, hey, we can’t fight, so let’s bail. For the first battle, Azuma comes back, but in the second fight, he just hugs the person and leaves; I don’t get that at all. If you are worried about someone, wouldn’t you want to give advice or encouragement during the battle? Despite how perplexing the plot can be, it is unique and the premise is interesting to follow.
The characters, however, have a lot of potential, and Sanzigen, despite my previous comments, is beginning to place the groundwork for character interaction, such as the rivalry between Azuma and Hiiragi. The history behind Kinoa and one of the villains Arabashiri is interesting as well as it is riddled with fury from lies. Another aspect that is fascinating is that the inevitable cheery girl character actually has a deep backstory that makes her different than the majority of characters from that anime/J-RPG trope. I’m looking forward to seeing how the anime’s cast of characters expands in future episodes. The voice acting, while not amazing, is decent and supplements the characters’ personalities well too without being annoying in any way.
If you just pause one second of the anime, the show looks hand-drawn, but the cool thing is that it’s computer generated animation. This animation style adds a layer of definition that brings you closer to the world and more sense of scale for the Baranki and leaps in the air. How each character lights up during a battle is cool and the Baranki fights are packed with detail too. The effects from bullets hitting an energy shield to the clang of a sword are stunning as well and add to the animation that Sanzigen is going after.
BBK/BRNK has had a rough start with its rushed story beats and need to rush into battles so often, but the anime computer generated animation looks fantastic on screen, and the cast of characters have the potential to grow. I will keep watching this anime and let you know what I think! The show is available on Crunchyroll if you are interested.
Oh, and the opening song, Beat Your Heart, is pretty kickass!