Note: This post may contain spoilers, so please be cautious!
What’s In This Post
In The Butterfly and the Gallows, the eighteenth episode of BUBUKI/BURANKI: The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy, Guy Barville Abeille reveals a level of casual cruelty unexpected even for him. We also — finally! — learn why Karoruko Kazuki is so motivated, and we see the revenge Guy extracts for her “disloyalty” in the previous episode. Finally, we find out that Guy’s organization had a deep mole!
In a flashback, Guy tricks Karoruko into manipulating her brother, Azuma Kazuki, into helping bring down Treasure Island. Back in the present, a scientist reports to Double de Vabres that Entei has a rudimentary brain, which gives her an idea. Also in the present, Guy has captured Karoruko, and he tells her she’s going to pilot Entei one more time to kill all of the Bubuki users in the world. Then he renders her unconscious. Double’s idea? Cut off Karoruko’s head and fuse the tissue to the rudimentary brain in Entei. Guy approves and entrusts the task to her.
In Akihito Tsuwabuki’s estate, Reoko Banryū awakens and asks to speak to Azuma. She reveals that the secret goal Guy whispered to her in episode 16 was to reawaken the Buranki god named “Deus Magna.” Her plan to thwart Guy? Find the sunken Treasure Island and destroy it so he can’t use it for his own purposes. They discuss their life philosophies, and she scoffs at his unwillingness to use power to instill fear as a means of controlling others. Instead of getting mad and arguing with her, he takes her outside into a beautiful garden. Playing on her own doubts, he lets the beauty of nature envelop her. He convinces her to widen her perspective.
After his discussions with Banryū, Azuma decides to strike off on his own to save Karoruko. Kogane Asabuki anticipated this and tries to convince him to rely on her and the others. Unwilling to expose them to more danger, he leaves alone. Lost and trying to read a map, he accepts a ride from a helpful stranger — Guy Barville Abeille.
Karoruko awakens strapped to a table with the guards saying they’re ready for the execution. Double arrives with one of the dead Russian’s Bubuki to cut off Karoruko’s head. But when Double swings the axe, she uses it to free Karoruko and reveal that she’s not really Double de Vabres. She’s actually Zetsubi Hazama, one of Banryū’s Bubuki, who had infiltrated Guy’s organization. The two fight their way out of Guy’s dungeon.
What I Liked
I’m glad we finally got to learn something about Karoruko’s motivations. I think I see what the writers were trying to do by delaying the reveal so long, but I really would have liked to have seen this scene earlier in the season. Karoruko’s seemingly inexplicable treatment of her brother really tested my patience! In the end, she just wanted to see her mom and dad.
Now I feel sorry for her! I think that was likely the point!
I had to cheer a little when Karoruko spit on Guy. Good for her! Too bad she couldn’t go Alien-acid on him. It was expensive for her, but really, how else could she has struck out?
I have to applaud Double’s fashion sense. She dresses in a sexually aggressive way — a way that helps her project her power and authority, like she did over that poor hapless scientists studying Entei. She has weaponized cleavage!
Tsuwabuki and Shūsaku Matobai were both shocked that Banryū asked for Azuma. I felt for them. They’d put all their efforts into rescuing her, and the first person she asks for is their previous collective enemy.
I continue to enjoy the animation. There was a lot of detailed movements, like when Azuma hugged his mom in his flashback. I enjoy little details like that! The expressions are varied and fluid, too.
Is Deus Magna the same as the god of Buranki that the purple Oubu named Duroc mentioned in episode 16? If so, I wonder what Guy knows about it that we don’t know?
Banryū tells Azuma that if he has power, he can protect anything. Yet, she’s sitting in bed, barely able to move, because her power wasn’t enough — and she had a lot of power. That scene between them was just dialogue, but I thought it was interesting.
The scene didn’t push the plot forward, but I thought Kinoa Ougi and Kogane Asabuki’s reaction to the cup noodles was hilarious. Tsuwabuki and Matobai thought they were making the two young women feel at home by giving them familiar food like cup noodles (and fancy wine?) as refreshments, but the two argued that they hadn’t come all the way to France for such food! Then they launched a withering tirade about how the two men would likely grow old and alone, Tsuwabuki dying alone in a trash filled room and Matobai hopelessly trying to wash his own underwear.
The punch line? Asabuki asked what French miso’s like.
Guy reading the story of the Karen who didn’t want to lose her head takes the crown for most casual cruelty that I’ve seen in awhile. Who would read something like that to kids? What the heck’s wrong with him? I know the quote’s from a Hans Christian Andersen story called The Red Shoes. Still…
Oh! I get it! Her name’s Double because she’s really Zetsubi Hazama! I guess I should have seen that coming. Still, I like the pun.
I liked seeing Karoruko getting some punches in as they escaped. She earned a little payback. See how much my attitude towards her has changed now that I understand her motivations?
What I Liked Less
Azuma gets two awards for Absolute Stupidity this episode. First, he decides to go off on his own to save Karoruko. Just what, precisely, does he think he can do alone? Against at least two Buranki he knows are waiting for him? Will he spit in their direction? Moon them? Shake his fist and give them a stern talking to?
Second, he accepts a ride from none other than Guy! How in the world does he not know what Guy looks like? Or even if that’s reasonable, why was he so obviously stumbling around along near the road? He’s on a mission, for heaven’s sake! Who embarks on a major combat offensive not even knowing the destination? Is he a complete dunce?
Jeesh. Maybe the show has a one dunce per season rule, and since Karoruko has awakened from her “dunce funk,” it’s her brother’s turn to take up the mantle?
Banryū’s plan is to destroy Treasure Island so Guy can’t use it. Guy’s ultimate goal (as far as I know) is to destroy all of the Buranki and Bubuki users in the world. I’m thinking that Guy’s manipulating Banryū to help him reach that goal. I keep thinking of the image of Guy using Banryū as a puppet in the OP.
Or is that so obvious that it goes without saying?
What’s not obvious to me is what the heck Azuma thinks he’s doing. How does he go from being subtle and wise enough to convince Banryū to consider a different view of the world, to launching an offensive with zero planning and capability?
That sums up my feelings about this season. The show has some really strong moments, like the tragedy of the Russian’s team’s deaths or the Buranki fights in several episodes or even genuinely funny moments like the cup noodles and elements of the subterranean hot-springs. But then it’ll spring nonsensical moments on us, like not revealing Karoruko’s motivations until now, Laetitia Nilgiri Swanson continuing to support Guy despite knowing he’s a murderer, or Azuma taking on Guy’s forces alone.
This is just yet another application of the I Work Alone trope. I’d hope for better!
That being said, I want to keep things in perspective. This is nowhere near as bad a Taboo Tattoo in any way, shape, or form. The What I Liked in this Episode section above is much larger than the section What I Liked Not so Much in this Episode. I’m enjoying this more than not.
But when the show’s otherwise enjoyable, bonehead character moves like this just stick out more.
What do you think? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section!
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 17: The Island Fortress
- 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