Twins Kaoruko and Azuma live in some kind of fantasy world where giant mecha-esque behemoths known as Buranki walk around, but their mother has some kind of powerful magic that can keep them at bay. She seems to have a Buranki of her own called Oubu which is apparently in a deep slumber, awaiting…something. Kaoruko is convinced that she will be the one to command Oubu when the time comes – which makes sense, given that her own magical abilities are much more apparent than Azuma’s. The mother, Migiwa, is growing weaker all the time from her efforts and Kaoruko decides to try to activate Oubu in order to help her, which instead results in a whole load of Buranki awakening and attacking at once. To save her children (and her husband?) Migiwa sends them down to earth with Oubu- as this had been taking place on some kind of asteroid above earth this whole time – while she fends off the Buranki.
Flash forward 10 years and Azuma is apparently coming back to Japan after some absence, where he is immediately captured by some scary military folk. A lot of stuff seems to have happened in these 10 years and very little of it makes a great deal of sense. There’s a group of wackily dressed dictators (I think?) who ‘rewrote history’ to demonize Migiwa and brand her a witch, and there’s a rag-tag bunch of RPG-looking kids who fight against this group of Bads with Bubuki – transforming weapons that apparently are made from parts of Buranki. They take Azuma in and all try to go to the ‘buranki prison’ to find Oubu.
Hey Bubiki Buranki, do you wanna slow down? I can’t keep up with this. Not only is there the blatant whiplash between the beginning and rest of this episode, there are far, far too many characters here. I was only just getting the hang of where the plot was headed during that opening flashback, and suddenly I’m flung into weird-alternate future Japan with a resistance group and a bunch of kids with colourful weapons, and I’m supposed to know who everyone is?
This show simply gives you no time to breathe, barring the opening flashback which is actually quite nicely done. The atmosphere, colours and scenery on this asteroid (if that’s what it is) are all very Ghibli-esque and there’s this really nice tone in the parts where we watch the twins as kids. But as soon as we flash forward everything gets very convoluted very fast and there’s that nagging feeling a lot of anime have where it’s like I’m supposed to know who every character is despite having only just met them. At least let me get to know the main character! I have pretty much no idea who Azuma is because I was shown more of his personality as a 6-year-old than as a 16-year-old, I have no idea what he’s doing or why, and I also have no idea where Kaoruko is (which is likely intentional, mind)
It’s a shame, because I think this show does look pretty nice. It’s another of those 3D cell-shaded anime, and maybe a better example of it. The fight scenes are pretty fluid and the transforming weapons look cool. The character designs are incredibly video-gamey (that and the cell-shaded look made me keep thinking I was watching Fire Emblem cut-scenes) but they’re also pretty distinctive. I’ll have to watch another episode to see if the pacing calms the hell down and I get to actually find out who these kids even are, though.
So…Bubiki Buranki is currently just a big jumbled mess, but there might be something here if it sorts itself out. I’m not sure how interested I am in bothering to see if that happens so right now it’s just another of those shows where I wait and see if people start saying positive things about the future episodes.