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Yes, there is an anime named BullbusterThis was produced at Studio NuT. Two things that sound similar to a testicle! Dohohohoho. Now that we have gotten the chuckle out of our system, let’s get to the content of the show. Bullbuster does a lot of things that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an anime pull off—even in the hundreds of series I’ve watched over the years.
To avoid disappointment it’s best that you know what you’re getting yourself into before you start. Bullbuster. It’s part the “real robots” subgenre. MechaAnime focuses more on realistic robot design doing everyday work, than superpowered robots fighting each other. The most famous example is PatlaborEven then, BullbusterIt focuses more on workplace antics. The protagonist, Tetsuro Okino, a starry-eyed engineer-slash-super-robot-otaku, rolls up to the pest control company Namidome with the Bullbuster is a mech that he has designed himself. He’s transferring to Namidome alongside his robot—thus achieving his goal of piloting a giant robot.
But the gap between what he wants and what he gets is vast. Namidome is a former construction firm and a subsidiary to the larger Shiota Chemical corporation. It’s not a high-tech, glamorous operation. The opposite is true. It’s a tiny operation with only a half dozen employees, operating out of an abandoned warehouse. The “pest control” they perform is fighting off Giant Beasts—mutated animals that have overtaken Ryugan Island and driven the residents out after installing a desalination plant. Namidome’s intrepid crew also has to contend with budget shortages and social media snafus as well as hostile parent corporations. Their greatest enemy is not the Giant Beasts, but capitalism.
I adored BullbusterThe anime community was largely indifferent or negative, as with many other series that I find disappointing. I do kind of get why—if you’re going into it hoping to see cool robots fighting monsters, it’s a huge disappointment. The Mecha designs by Jūki IzumoThey place more emphasis on functionality than form, resulting in clunky and unattractive results. While I appreciate that (since it fits the series’ utilitarian look), it is unlikely to drive people who are seeking out MechaSeries in the wild. The Giant Beasts on the other hand look bad. The CG is on a par with PlayStation 2 graphics but never blends in with the hand-drawn parts. It looks like the characters are coming from another dimension.
The hand-drawn, however, looks fantastic. Character design work is especially impressive as it expresses each character’s personality clearly. Okino’s freckles convey youthful energy, while Tajima’s rumpled hair and unshaven face give the impression of a tired man—working so hard he has little time to care for himself. Nikaido’s tank-top and tied-up Jumpsuit expresses a very distinct personality from Shirogane’s traditional office woman vest, blouse and pencil skirt. Even Namari’s bad hairstyle tells us that he is an awkward young man, who doesn’t really care what others think.
In addition to their different looks, each character has their physicality and way of moving that comes through even in small gestures—like Okino fixing his hair before recording himself piloting. Although they are more or less archetypical—the fresh-faced newbie, the cool girl, the grizzled veteran, and so on—the little details about their lives humanize them, like Muto talking about his daughter. These details are important because the show is driven by story and idea more than characters.
The battle between Giant Beasts MechaFantasy is not real. BullbusterUse them to examine the corporate culture of today. Namidome believes that their mission is essential to bringing the people of Ryugan back home, but they don’t see it as profitable. Kataoka, their accountant, reminds them constantly that money is scarce and things like ammunition or the power to charge suits cost money. Namidome does not have the money to pay for the time of the Shiota lab manager to conduct research on the beasts. No amount of appealing to the emotions he feels about the displaced Ryugans can move him. The plot unfolds and it becomes apparent that his refusal to research the beasts may have been more sinister than first thought.
As the story grows, a small company’s limitations become increasingly clear in the face of an apathetic—even malicious—corporate culture. It’s painfully true and there is no real-world solution. Well… except maybe communism (but the good folks of Namidome aren’t equipped to overthrow the government). Instead of settling for a simple ending, BullbusterEven as characters celebrate their temporary victories, the author is not afraid to leave unresolved issues. Fiction is a powerful tool for exploring real-world issues. However, many writers are afraid or unwilling to leave loose end. Instead, they come up with something fantastical to fix the world of the story but that is not actionable by viewers. It takes courage for characters to fight back in a story while also acknowledging this may not be sufficient.
As the plot unfolds, the focus of the story shifts from Okino to other characters. This can both help and hurt the story. Okino’s new position makes him an easy entry point for the audience, but he has the least connection to Ryugan Island. His idealistic stance against pragmatism is also very grating, especially in a setting that is so grounded. After a time, other members of the ensemble become point-of-view characters in his place—especially as their investment in the conflict becomes clear—rather than tying everything to Okino’s limited perspective. This allows the story to develop more, but also makes his early development and other details about characters’ lives feel like narrative cul-de sacs. I wonder if this is a result of it being an adaptation of a series of novels—where changing perspectives between volumes feels like a more natural transition—but comes across a touch clunky in the context of anime.
The music is strong overall, but the opening theme, “Try Lai Lai”, by Tom-H@ck, deserves special mention. It’s an energetic song with matching visuals. I was always pumped up and excited for the next thing.
If you are looking for exciting activities, then this is the place to be. Mecha action, BullbusterThis book will not give what you desire. You may be looking for something that uses giant robots in a way that is different, clever, maybe even a bit atypical. The following are some examples of the use ofThis is worth your time.
Original content by www.animenewsnetwork.com – “Bullbuster Anime Series Review – Review”
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