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Buso Renkin Box Set 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

December 1, 2008 by  



“’Full of action, humor and one of the most perverse villains that I have ever seen in an anime series.  Cool characters, awesome battles and ‘Buso Renkin’ is full of pure excitement!”

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© Nobuhiro Watsuki / SHUEISHA, Busorenkin Project

SHONEN JUMP™ and BUSORENKIN™ are trademarks of Shueisha, Inc. in the United States and other countries

DVD TITLE: Buso Renkin Box Set 1

DURATION: 500 minutes (13 episodes, 25 minutes each)

DVD INFORMATION: Animated, Box set, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled

COMPANY: Shonen Jump Home Video/Viz Media

Released on April 2008

Originally Created by Nobuhiro Watsuki

Directed by Takao Kato

Character Designs by Akio Takami and Hatsue Kato

Director of Photography – Katsutoshi Hirose

Music by Kouhei Tanaka

Featuring the following voice talent:

Jun Fukuyama – Kazuki Muto

Ryoka Yuzuki – Tokiko Tsumura

Aya Hirano – Mahiro Muto

Hitomi NAbatame – Ouka Hayasaka

Kisho Taniyama – Shuusui Hayasaka

Masashi Ebara – Captain Bravo

Mitsuaki Madono – Koushaku “Papillon” Chouno

High school student Kazuki Muto thinks he’s saving a girl from a monster, but it turns out that he’s the one who needs saving! Kazuki is killed while fighting a homunculus, a malevolent creature that feeds on humans. The girl, Tokiko Tsumura, revives him by replacing his heart with an alchemical device called a kakugane. With this device Kazuki can create his own Buso Renkin, an alchemical weapon in the form of a huge lance, capable of destroying homunculi. With his new weapon in hand, Kazuki decides to join forces with Tokiko to eliminate the homunculi and destroy their master, the strange and eccentric Papillon Masked Creator!

Another exciting, action-packed series from Nobuhiro Watsuki, creator of “Rurouni Kenshin” comes another action-driven series “Buso Renkin”.

“Buso Renkin” is a 26-episode anime series that aired in Japan back in 2006-2007 and is based on a hit manga series by Watsuki that was serialized in “Shonen Jump”.  The first box set features the first thirteen episodes of the series.

“Buso Renkin” focuses on a teenager named Kazuki Muto.  A good-hearted person who one day sees a girl that is in trouble and appears to be in distress.  With heart of a champion, Kazuki tries to save the girl from what appears to be a monster.  Unfortunately,  Kazuki is impaled by the monster and is literally killed.

The girl who was in distress turns out to be Tokiko, an alchemist warrior who has the job of taking down these monsters known as homunculi.  Tokiko has a special ability which is called a Buso Renkin in which she can have the power of the “Valkyrie Skirt”.  A deadly offensive and defensive ability in which braces attach to her legs and the braces have arms that carry these sharp blades.  She can summon her “Valkyrie Skirt” through the use of a kakugane.

But she has a special kakugane and uses it so save Kazuki as payback for trying to save her life.  The kakugane that she inserts into his body is a substitute as a heart and gives him a second chance at life.

Because he has the kakugane implanted into his body, he has the fighting spirit to protect his friends, family and Tokiko from these homunculus who literally feed off of humans.  He joins Tokiko and wants to fight these monsters who are apparently feeding off humans.  So, Kazuki summons his Buso Renkin and his ability is to bring out this blade which has this big red ribbon attached to it.  The ribbon is able to collect energy to make his blade attacks powerful.

And thus sets up the storyline of Tokiko and Kazuki taking on the homunculus.

The first 13 episodes of “Busou Renkin” features a three story arc.  The first arc features Tokiko, who trains Kazuki to become stronger and battle with the homunculi gets infected by a homunculi embyro.  If she and Kazuki are unable to get an antidote within a week, she will then turn to a homunculi and tells Kazuki that no matter what happens, if she turns into a monster, he must kill her.

With Kazuki so protective, he will do what it takes to find the antidote.  But the person who has the antidote, Koushaku Chouno, seems to be a bit mental and despite coming from a rich family and having great grades, he is suffering from a sickness and fears death, thus he is willing to become a homunculi in order to live forever.

The second arc focuses on Kazuki’s training as his goal is only to become a stronger person.   We are introduced to the L.X.E. (The League of Extraordinary Elects), a group of villains led by Doctor Butterfly, an ancestor and great, great grandfather of Koshaku Chono and the group responsible for unleashing these homunculus attacks.

Kazuki does what he can to become strong and with the tutelage of Captain Bravo (the leader of the Alchemist Warriors in that region of the world), Kazuki is offered the chance to become an alchemist warrior.

Meanwhile, enter the Hayasaka Twins: Ouka Hayasaka (the school president) and Shusui Hayasaka, an expert in kendo and a person who is a fantastic fighter.  It appears no one is willing to train with Shusui because he’s too good and he tends to hurt people. But with Kazuki wanting to become stronger, why not train with Shusui.  Both Kazuki and Shusui are looking for a challenge and find that they both can learn from each other and make themselves better fighters. Unbeknownst to Kazuki and Tokiko, the Hayasaka Twins work for the L.X.E. and are familiars who are humans who serve the homunculus in order to become one of them.

The final arc of the box set features Doctor Butterfly as he unleashes his monsters towards Kazuki’s high school in order to test his new monster and have it feed off of the students.  Will Tokiko and Kazuki be able to protect the students?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

For a newer anime television series that debuted back in 2006, the picture quality of the series is well done.  Because the series takes place in a variety of scenes, I don’t recall seeing any blurring or digitizing during the dark scenes.   The video transfer is featured in an aspect ration of 1.33:1.

The audio is featured in both English and Japanese 5.1.  I watched the series both in Japanese and with English dubs and the Japanese version is well done.  And the English version definitely does a great job, especially with the villains.  The English dub actor’s do a fantastic job especially with the voice of Papillon and Moon-Face.  I felt that the voice talent gave these two villains a much more creepy, perverse and humorous style that despite how off these characters are, they are quite deadly.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The box set features a few special bonus features.  You get a two commentary by the voice talent especially the voice actors who seem to love saying the word “Papillon” but nevertheless, I think the fans of the English dub actors in this series would get a kick from this feature but I’ll admit that I was hoping for Japanese commentary on the direction and the thoughts of the creation of the episode.

My favorite special feature was a nice and lengthy behind-the-scenes featurette and interview with the director and writer for of the English dub, plus interviews with the voice talent and footage from the actual recording of the series.  This was very fun to watch and to see how they came up with the voices for their characters and it’s always great to put a face to the name of voice talent who have worked on other anime series such as “Naruto”, “Bleach”, etc.

I was extremely pleased with the first 13 episodes of “Buso Renkin”.  It’s one thing to get a series that is packed with a lot of action and major battles with each episode but the characters are what makes this series truly shine.

Both Tokiko and Kazuki are truly interesting individuals.  Tokiko who is hell bent on eliminating the homonculus and anyone loyal to them, while Kazuki wants to be stronger to protect Tokiko and her friends, thus he puts himself in a position of intense training but deep inside unlike Tokiko, he has compassion and is willing to give people a second chance.

Then you have these really interesting characters such as their leader Captain Bravo, the cool and corny leader and of course the most perverse villain of them all, Koushaku Chouno aka Papillon who sports his butterfly mask and sports underwear or tights.

And then you have other characters such as Kazuki’s sister Mahiro and his buddies as his support system and a group of friends that also provide the series comedy and lighthearted moments.

And of course, the villains featured in this anime series are just really out there such as Moon Face who literally has a face of the crescent moon.  “Buso Renkin” really delivers in giving the viewer a twist on anime villains.

“Buso Renkin” is an exciting series that at first, starts off featuring a lot of action but eventually the action is necessary as part of the character development of the characters, their abilities and their weaponry.

As the series continues on, you start to get more of a storyline that gets a bit serious but at the same time, well-written especially with the many heroes and villains.

Overall, “Buso Renkin” is a solid fighting anime series!

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