Note: This post may contain spoilers, so please be cautious!
What’s In This Post
The seventeenth episode of BUBUKI/BURANKI: The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy, named The Island Fortress, shows that Karoruko Kazuki isn’t quite the idiot she’s led us to believe she is. Azuma Kazuki and Team Oubu launch an all-out assault on Guy Barville Abeille’s island fortress. Laetitia Nilgiri Swanson reveals the reason she fights for Guy. Epizo Evans does something astounding: he thinks, though it nearly kills him and his crew! Reoko Banryū shows her self-destructive tendencies haven’t healed.
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Karoruko learns that Maxim Arsenyevich Balakireva and his entire team are dead because they crossed Guy. Double de Vabres, Guy’s assistant, berates her for doubting their boss and tells her that if she fails with Entei, she’ll end up like the Russians. Karoruko’s clearly shaken, then angry.
Shūsaku Matobai’s contact makes his move in Guy’s island fortress, and Azuma takes his team in Oubu and begin their portion of the operation. However, Laetitia and her crew in the Buranki Epimew try to stop them. Unlike the headless Buranki that Laetitia has faced before, Oubu is an accomplished fighter with a capable crew. They push Laetitia aside only to face Epizo and his team in Mega-lala. Azuma asks both crews why they’re fighting. At first, Epizo had no response. Then he responds by saying he’s just following Guy’s orders.
Karoruko arrives in Entei and announces that Guy had the Russian team killed. Epizo and Laetitia find it hard to believe; Azuma’s and his whole team are aghast. Then Laetitia tries to resume the battle against Oubu, saying that she hoped Guy would give Entei to her, and Entei’s regenerative powers would restore the use of her legs. Epizo decides that fighting for Laetitia is a worthwhile goal, so he resumes the fight, too. No one listens to Azuma as he tries to point out Guy’s only manipulating them. The resumed battle almost goes against Oubu until Entei intervened — on Oubu’s behalf. She only asked that Azuma help her defeat Guy.
As we saw with Banryū last season, Entei is a demanding Buranki, and Karoruko began to pay the price. Entei reacted to her increasing anger and despair until it began burning her physical body. Meanwhile, Banryū’s strength begins to return as Entei drew closer to her. She escapes her prison and surveys the battle from the rooftops. As Azuma arrives and asks her to come away with him, she says that she thinks she might just be able to die if she falls from this height, and she pushes herself off the roof. Azuma manages to save her and has just enough energy to try to convince her never to do that again. Then he collapses. With the heart unconscious, Oubu un-fuses. Banryū, carrying Azuma, asks for their help. They join Matobai and Tsuwabuki on the air ship as it flies away from the island fortress.
What I Liked
Karoruko’s reaction to Double’s brow-beating marked the first time I could understand what was going through that girl’s head. I have no idea why she trusted Guy in the first place, and I still have no idea why she hates her brother so much. And she still won’t tell Azuma! But in this scene, I could finally sympathize with her.
Epizo answered Azuma’s question about why he fights by saying, in effect, that Guy told him so — why else? I loved Kogane Asabuki’s response: you fight because it’s the right thing to do, or you fight to protect something or someone. Shizuru Taneomi’s answer was even more profound: for love! It’s no wonder Oubu’s Bubuki win so many battles: they understand why they’re fighting.
Epizo’s team became alarmed when their leader tried to think. While I can’t embrace such a negative stereotype of an American, I had to laugh at Epizo’s efforts, as well as his conclusion: “The heart doesn’t think! Simple is best!”
After listening to Laetitia express her desire to regain the use of her legs, Epizo decides that even if he can’t trust Guy anymore, he can at least fight for her. Touching, sure! But I think I would have preferred some foreshadowing, even if he had just started at her a little too long in previous episodes.
Azuma’s sister finally asks herself why she ever believed Guy. I’ve wondered that all along. In fact, I think not knowing is one of the reasons I think her character so annoying. But at least she’s making progress! I think. I hope.
What I Liked Less
Just before Oubu launches from the airship, Matobai says that Tsuwabuki has made his move. The scene shows Akihito Tsuwabuki attacking bad guys using what looks like Matobai’s pistol. But according to Wikiapedia and my own memory of the previous season, Tsuwabuki used a pen that created realities. So why was he using Matobai’s pistol?
Epizo’s Buranki is named Mega-lala? Seriously? I don’t think I’ve ever heard a less imposing name in my life! I have visions of a really, really tall Lala the Dullahan from Monster Musume. Though now that I think of it, Lala would be more appropriate for one of the headless Buranki…
So Guy’s who rationale for all the death and destruction he’s wrought is because he doesn’t think “this beautiful world” needs Bubuki or Buranki? That doesn’t strike me as a suitable justification. There’s got to be more! A villain should have a more compelling reason to be a villain.
We’re coming up on the second season’s half way point, and I still have no idea what’s driving Karoruko. She’s really this season’s fulcrum. Until I know what’s driving her, I feel just as frustrated as Azuma seems to feel.
Maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe the mystery’s supposed to keep me interested? Or even worse — maybe the plot revealed her motivation, and I missed it?
That’d be a bummer.
On the topic of motivation, I am not impressed with Guy’s stated motivation. While showing him hand planting in a serene field, he tells his assistant, Double, that Bubuki users have no place in this beautiful world. So if I’m interpreting this correctly, Guy’s willing to murder people and put entires cities at risk — so he can chill in a field?
I mentioned earlier that Karoruko’s reaction to Double’s harsh talk marked the first time I understood her perspective. Such a thing actually happened twice this episode! Her reaction to Epizo declaring his affection for Laetitia was a giant “Huh?” My reaction, too! I just don’t see the two of them together. I wonder what Laetitia thinks? She seemed a bit quiet after that…
I think that Banryū’s escape was way too easy. Judging by the how the OP shows Guy controlling her as a puppet on strings, I’m guessing he let her go so she’d attack Oubu — or otherwise exercise his will.
Are you encouraged that Karoruko is finally showing some sense? Or are you already done with her character? Let me know what you think 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 15, The Right Hand’s Scar
- Review of episode 16: The Hunter’s Bullet
- 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