Fall 2016 – Previews (Part 1)

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Correction: it should be PREVIEW minus the “s”. Yep, there’s only one show in this preview. So why don’t I just title it Preview of [show name]? Consistency, my friend. I’m a victim of OCD, bring me some Sertraline.

The other reason is that all the other shows I plan on watching air much later in the week. That and the fact that I’m only planning on watching five shows this season… unless someone insists that I check out so-and-so. But yeah, this post is just an extended preview for the first episode of —

BBK/BRNK : The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy

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So we have the sequel to the winter 2016 title BBK/BRNK (pronounced “Bubuki Buranki”), a 3D cell-shaded animation brought to life by Studio Sanzigen (Arpeggio of Blue Steel). The show, captioned off as “The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy”, takes off immediately after Treasure Island plunged into the sea, which apparently sent parts of Oubu flying out towards what is present-day Taiwan. Now, Azuma et al. are headed towards the said nation to retrieve Oubu, only to have our MC backed-up in immigration (which I find hilarious for all the wrong reasons) whilst absentee twin sister Kaoruko finally makes her wonderfully obnoxious appearance on-screen.

For those new to the series, think of the show as something along the lines of The Iron Giant meets Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, except that the giants aren’t as friendly, and the guy who plays Red Ranger just doesn’t really give a f**k about everyone else. This might sound like a silly summary — but hey, this IS a preview. (Just kidding – go here for my previous review on the first season c/o Crunchyroll).

But honestly, I don’t know what’s going on with that title. Heck, it reminds me too much of Gradians of the Galaxy. Plus, the first episode of the show presents itself in such an estranged fashion from the initial run, I ended up questioning whether or not I was watching the same characters on screen. For one, Kinoa and Kogane are ridiculously noisy, throwing out all sorts corny quips and nonsensical gags. Hiiragi becomes a hormone-driven, adolescent twat; even Shizuru isn’t spared from having to do a gag impersonation of Azuma. All of this loud comedic banter is accompanied by not-so-smooth transitions between “flawless”-looking CGI characters and goofy cartoon gag faces, which only serves to heighten the already artificial-looking appearances of the character models.

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In fact the characters of BBK/BRNK were ALREADY charming in their own right. There was no need to rewrite them any more than was necessary, but the show apparently decided that be the case for this premier episode. But thankfully, the (long awaited) introduction of Kaoruko pretty much made me forget about all of that with her unabashedly annoying and flamboyant appearance. As a character, she commands immediate presence, mesmerizing everyone and immediately earning herself a place in the world of BBK/BRNK. It’s almost as if she was always there to begin with. She even gets cookie points for best gag of the episode: hiding a magic marker in her staff just in case a fan needs a signature.

For this series, at least, her presence was a fresh addition to an already billowing cast of side-characters, what with the introduction of Buranki teams from all over the world. Just the sheer number of characters approaches nauseating levels, but seeing characters like Kaoruko help add a little spice and intrigue to the party, especially since her backstory remains a mystery. In essence, Kaoruko seems to play a cohesive role in bringing elements of the story together, what with her connection to Azuma as his twin-sister and their inextricable link as co-heart users. Also, her life in Taiwan and her association with Guy means she has a greater understanding of the world beyond the closed Japanese “empire” of Ryouko Banryuu. That said, this pilot episode is quick to jump to imposing (although short) action scenes of many of these “foreign” Buranki — case-in-point Kaoruko’s own black-colored version of Oubu.

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All-in-all, BBK/BRNK ~ The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy pretty much powers its way through the first episode with all the necessary elements needed to keep an engaging narrative, but goes a little over-the-top by overwriting its characters in an attempt to be funny. There really is NO need for any of that in a show like this (especially when you think about how grim the first season was), so it pains me to see the show’s characters acting like kindergarteners left at a daycare center with Uncle Jim. I’ve said before that I felt that the first season was only a prelude to the actual story – and that feels all the more true after watching this pilot episode. On that note — and with Kaoruko to lead the way — I’d say this show is off to a good start.

 

Initial Rating: 8/10

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