It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a really promising action series, and Buso Renkin is a welcome surprise to the shonen (male action) anime scene. This is an awesome sci-fi action series that features intense fighting sequences, humanoid monsters and embryonic parasites.
The series doesn’t begin very happily–a student named Kazuki Muto gets killed while trying to save a schoolgirl from being attacked by a monster. Although Kazuki gets stabbed very badly, the girl, Tomiko Tsumura, saves him by planting a hexagon-shaped chip in him to act as his heart.
The chip, known as a kakugane, is not an ordinary pacemaker though. In fact, Kazuki can use it to obtain specialized weapon, known as a buso renkin. Tomiko is no ordinary girl either–she informs Kazuki that she is using her buso renkin to hunt down monsters called homunculus. These first homunculi are monsters created from plants and animals by a high school boy known as the Creator. The homunculus turn into mindless slaves that eat humans to whet their appetite.
However, the Creator plays a dirty trick on Tomiko–one of his monsters drops an homunculus embryo from the sky onto her leg. The embryo attaches onto her and impairs her powers. Tomiko says that the embryo will attack onto her spine and turn her into a homunculus in one week, but Kazuki is willing to do anything to save the girl who saved his life. Thus, Kazuki embarks on a quest in the first eight episodes to find the Creator to obtain the homunculus antidote.
For an anime series, Buso Renkin looks amazing. The main characters have awesome weapons. Kazuki can produce a gigantic sword with his kakugane. Takiko has an especially cool weapon as well. Her buso renkin, the Valkyrie Skirt, consists of four robotic arms with scythes attaching to her legs to kill enemies with ease. Also, the homunculus designs are very creative. I would have never thought that a hawk homunculus would ever have metallic wings and razor-sharp claws.
However, the Creator, Koshaku Chono, has the most hilarious butterfly glasses. The glasses are shaped so because he is a sickly child and he wants to become a butterfly. And when he first turns into a homunculus, he looks even more ridiculous–he flexes his muscles to rip his clothes off so that he’s only wearing spandex. Then he takes his glasses out of the crotch part of his spandex. Gross.
Okay, maybe the series is a little too off-kilter with the characters. However, the weird character designs also plays in with the humorous tone of the anime series. In a hilarious meeting between heroes and villains, Chono meets with Kazuki and Tomiko at a local burger joint. Of course, Chono wears his trademark butterfly glasses and a wacky black suit showing off his chest. Then Captain Bravo makes the meeting even spookier, showing up in a silver cloak and cowboy hat. Everyone in the burger joint is pretty spooked over the costumed men.
Probably the only thing that I don’t understand his how those main characters take so many fatal blows from sharp claws and swords and still manage to remain standing. Kazuki especially gets stabbed through the stomach at least five times. I guess their kakugane must give them superhuman strength as well, because there’s no way an ordinary human could get sliced that many times.
Regardless of the abnormal amount of blood in the series, Buso Renkin is one of the most entertaining action anime series of the year. Even if I’ve heard this action story before, the character designs look so awesome that this series is too hard to pass up.
And there is even a bigger story arc involving another butterfly scientist sending his homunculi to fight against Captain Bravo and his alchemy warriors, Tomiko and Kazuki. I can’t wait to see the rest of the series.
Image courtesy of kljs.blogspot.com.