Note: This post may contain spoilers, so please be cautious!
In The Right Hand’s Scar, BUBUKI/BURANKI: The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy’s fifteen episode, Kogane Asabuki has to confront Shūsaku Matobai and his confession about his role in her father’s death. Also, we see just how much more effective Bubuki wielders with free-wills can be: Azuma Kazuki‘s limbs made short work of the limbs on loan to his sister, Karoruko Kazuki; we learn the fate of Entei, Reoko Banryū’s Buranki and gain insight into the plans Guy Barville Abeille has for it; and we see once again how differently Azuma treats his limbs, like Asabuki, compared to how many of the other hearts treat their teams.
The Bubuki users following Azuma made quick work of those following his sister. The difference? Azuma’s limbs were used to fighting not only as a team, but also using their own judgement and skills. Karoruko’s team was too used to having their free will belittled and beaten out of them. The two teams quickly reconcile, but Karoruko, exhausted from her previous battles, runs off, leaving her frustrated brother behind. Asabuki urges him to follow her.
We see an expanded version of a scene from the first season: the death of Asabuki’s father. This time, we learn that Matobai wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger; one of his lackey’s panicked and fired. Then rightie-chan arrived, misinterpreted what was happening, and bonded with Asabuki to protect her. Unfortunately, to do so, it began draining her Rinzu (life-force) at a prodigious rate. That prompted Matobai to attack it. One of his rounds scared its eye. From that time, the motivation to protect Asabuki drove many of his decisions. In the “present,” when Matobai arrived to ask for their help to rescue Banryū, Asabuki’s pain and rage explodes. Only his painfully honest apology and her good nature kept him alive.
Guy’s people’s research discovered that Banryū wasn’t the only one able to be Entei’s heart. It turns out that Karoruko was compatible. She seemed overjoyed when Guy offered Entei to her. She had no idea that he had ulterior motives.
What I Liked
I like the theme this show’s developing about the qualities of leadership, like how a leader’s selected path has a powerful affect on their “followers.” Azuma’s team destroyed the Russian team last week. This week, they demolished Karoruko’s team, who had the advantage of having been trained in Guy’s prestigious school.
I also love Lakshmi told Hiiragi Nono that she, like the other limbs following Karoruko, had no intention of being so subservient forever. In other words, she’s not some damsel that needs saving; she’s trying to act on her own to better her lot. She just needs to pick the right time.
This episode was Asabuki’s chance to shine. Not only did we get to see additional backstory for her, but we got to see her work through an agonizing decision in a way that was uniquely hers. She also analyzed Azuma and his sister’s relationship and came up with a plausible explanation for why she so dislikes Azuma; yet there’s still no explanation for why his sister wants to pilot a Buranki so badly that she’s willing to put people in harm’s way to do it.
It was nice to see Epizo Evans and his team get some action this week. And some competent and decisive action at that. Sometimes, I think the show paints him too much as a buffoon, and I don’t like that. I also had to laugh when the rogue Buranki’s explosion was red, white, and blue. It was a ‘Murica moment.
When Matobai explained the whole truth to Asabuki, he didn’t try to dodge his responsibility. He accepted that her father never would have been in danger had he not confronted the man. He may have been putting on an act, but I doubt it. He and Banryū showed they could be cruel, but they weren’t evil. They just followed a leader who had issues she needed to work through.
The animation was top notch again. Its portrayal of Asabuki’s rage, then her painful breakdown, was affecting.
What I Liked Less
When Guy gives Entei to Karoruko, the first thing she says she’s going to do is destroy Azuma and his Buranki, Oubu. I still don’t have any kind of explanation for her fierce hatred, and until I do, she’s going to feel like a one-dimensional caricature. It’s too bad, because otherwise, the show’s moving forward dramatically.
In season 1, we in the audience (well, at least me), as well as Asabuki, thought that Matobai had been the one who shot her father. The opening scene shows that’s not what happened. One of the soldiers with Matobai shot her father in the back. By the time Asabuki arrived at the location, she only saw Matobai standing over her dead father, and the soldier’s pistol was still in Matobai’s hand. Rightie-chan, too, shared the same interpretation.
That misunderstanding drove a lot of the action in the first season, and now it’s driving a lot of the drama in the second. It reminds me of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in scene III. King Claudius is on his knees, seeming to pray, when he is in fact reflecting on the murderous acts that earned him fame and power. In other words, he’s gloating to himself. Hamlet sees this and elects not to kill Claudius then and there, because Hamlet didn’t want to interrupt a pious act. Yet, what Claudius was doing was anything but pious.
I bring up Shakespeare because when I first watched this episode, the cynical side of me tried to convince me that the retelling of Matobai’s scene was too convenient or contrived. After reflecting, though, I realized this is a plot device that even the greats have used. So, I bought into it. Hence, my Shakespeare reference.
I think the emotion exploding as a result of Matobai’s revelation may have been one of the most dramatic scenes BUBUKI/BURANKI has given us so far. Asabuki has always shown a wide range of emotion, as well as a propensity to fly into a rage when fighting Banryū’s team — especially Matobai. Seeing her wrestle with these emotions and ultimately bring them under control was a real treat.
What do you think? Do you like this season’s character development? Or do you have another perspective? Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
- Preview of Fall 2016, which includes BUBUKI/BURANKI
- Review of episode 13, Black Oubu, and episode 14, The False Heart
- Review of Episode 16: The Hunter’s Bullet
- Review of episode 17: The Island Fortress
- Review of episode 18: The Butterfly and the Gallows
- Review of episode 19: Older Brother and Younger Sister
- Review of episode 20: The Rebellious Limb
- Review of episode 21: Swan Song
- Review of episode 22: The Comet Opens Its Eyes
- Review of episode 23: The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy