BUBUKI/BURANKI Ep 19: Karoruko Becomes a Likable Character!

Note: This post may contain spoilers, so please be cautious!

What’s In This Post

Quick Episode Summary
What Happened in this Episode
What I Liked in this Episode
What I Liked Not so Much in this Episode
Thoughts about the Episode
Related Posts

Quick Summary

In “Older Brother and Younger Sister,” the nineteenth episode of BUBUKI/BURANKI: The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy, Ryuuki and his crew of reluctant Bubuki wielders try to flush out Reoko Banryū from her hiding place in Akihito Tsuwabuki’s estate. Guy Barville Abeille drops Azuma Kazuki off at the front door to the Island Fortress. Laetitia Nilgiri Swanson and her Buranki, Epimew, try to stop Karoruko Kazuki and Zetsubi Hazama from escaping Kurorko’s beheading. Finally, Karoruko learns more about her family and actually starts making good decisions!

Astounding but true!

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What Happened?

Without Azuma as their heart, the Bubuki users are no match for Batalov. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Without Azuma as their heart, the Bubuki users are no match for Batalov. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  1. Guy drops Azuma off at the bridge leading to his Island Fortress. Azuma never learns his benefactor’s identity and Guy merely asks seemingly innocuous questions about Azuma’s family.
  2. Ryuuki and his Buranki Batalov attack Tsuwabuki’s estate in an apparent attempt to recapture Banryū. Since Azuma left with Oubo’s heart, his Bubuki-users decide to fight on their own. Despite their best efforts, their Bubuki are no match for a full Buranki, and they have to fall back. Tsuwabuki gives them a tip to convert more of their Bubuki’s energy to assault, at the expense of shields. With that knowledge, Hiiragi Nono is able to push Batalov back.
  3. Azuma’s able to easily break into the Island Fortress. He encounters Karoruko and Hazama as they’re blasting their way out. Laetitia and her crew in the Buranki Epimew try to stop them. Azuma and Kuroruko are forced to let Hazama hold off the enemy while they try to escape. They don’t get far before Karoruko’s emotions get the best of her. “Tell me why I’ve been alone all this time,” she demands. Azuma bows in apology, and she finally breaks down in tears, admitting, “I was so lonely, Onii-chan!” Epimew and Laetitia interrupt their quiet moment together.

    Karoruko finally admits to Azuma that she was lonely. And he finally apologizes. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
    Karoruko finally admits to Azuma that she was lonely. And he finally apologizes. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  4. As Epimew’s about to fire, the Buranki Zampaza arrives, piloted by Sōya Arabashiri. He’s able to knock Epimew back, but not do any serious harm, because he’s not a heart and can only exert imprecise control over the Buranki. Aware of this limitation, he’s prepared Zampaza’s heart for Karoruko’s use. Since Guy had previously adjusted Zampaza so that the heart alone could operate it, Karoruko found it easy to take control. She begins her attack on Epimew.

What I Liked

By this time in the series, I’m putting more faith in the writers. Case in point: Guy just dropping Azuma off at the front door. If this were another show (I’m looking at you, Taboo Tattoo), I would suspect the show ignored its responsibilities for the sake of expediency. In this case, I think that Guy has some plan, and he’s seeming to make Azuma’s effort easier. Just what Guy’s planning I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to learning what it is.

Taneomi experiences emotions deeply and subtly. She misses the Russian sisters, who spoke so well to their Bubuki. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Taneomi experiences emotions deeply and subtly. She misses the Russian sisters, who spoke so well to their Bubuki. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Shizuru Taneomi’s sadness, and her opening up about it to Tsuwabuki, was touching. She was despondent that Lyudmila Arsenyevna Balakireva and her sister Diana Arsenyevna Balakireva were dead, and that she’d never hear them talking to their Bubuki again. Tsuwabuki comforted her in the best way he could: by declaring that they should fight together to stop anyone else from being sacrificed. I really enjoy quiet, reflective character moments like this in an action series, especially if the foundation of the emotional scene has already been set.

The idea of the Bubuki’s eye being their individual heart or nucleus was interesting. It allows a great level of affinity between Bubuki and wielder.

Am I the only one who thought some of the shots of the French countryside looked a lot like the default Microsoft Windows XP wallpaper?

Farrah Umlauf knew the real reason for Epizo's heart-ache, but for reasons of her own, she chose to obscure it. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Farrah Umlauf knew the real reason for Epizo’s heart-ache, but for reasons of her own, she chose to obscure it. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I think my favorite quote of the episode came when Epizo Evans lamented that he didn’t feel right. Luis Garci, one of Mega-lala’s extremeties, said, “Epizo, what did you pick up off the ground and eat?” I know it’s cliche, but I had to laugh.

Azuma just waltzes into the Island Fortress and encounters his sister and Hazama. Like I said earlier, if this were a series like Taboo Tattoo (which it thankfully is not), I’d decry a serious failing of this world’s believability. As it is, I think that Azuma’s “luck” can be attributed to Guy’s larger plan — a plan I hope we come to understand in the next episode or two.

Finally, we get to see why Karoruko is how she is. She was psychologically suppressing her lonliness and overcompensating with an exaggerated stage persona. When all’s said and done, she was felt terribly lonely. She didn’t know why she’d been left alone; she didn’t know that their father was training Azuma, and that Azuma was trying to get stronger to protect her. She only knew that she’d been left alone, without explanation, seeminly to fend for herself.

Karoruko didn't know why she'd been left alone. She only knew the toll the lonliness had levied on her. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Karoruko didn’t know why she’d been left alone. She only knew the toll the lonliness had levied on her. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I love how Karoruko railed against the gender norms that guaranteed her alone-ness. That those norms had simultaneously contributed to keeping her alive is just part of the complex equation of human emotions. This was a surprisingly affecting scene!

Karoruko’s entire attitude — her word choice, even her posture — changed dramatically as soon as Arabashiri gave her Zampaza’s heart. That’s good animation, that is!

What I Liked Less

Now that Karoruko’s a sympathetic character, who am I going to rail against? Guess maybe I should get used to positivity as far as this series is concerned!

Thoughts

Since the first episode of this season, Karoruko’s annoyed me to no end. I didn’t understand why she was so fixated on hating Azuma, or why she was so desparate for power. Now, after several hints in previous episodes, we finally learned that her father was old-fashioned and thought her older brother should protect her. So, the two of them spent time training. In the meantime, she felt alone and forgotten, which caused her to retreat into an exaggerated persona. She felt like she was forgotten and discarded. Of course she’d feel bad!

In this episode, she broke down and said to Azuma, “I was so lonely, Onii-chan!”

That moment was worth the price of admission!

Just what is Guy up to? Why'd he drive Azuma to the Island Fortress' front door? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Just what is Guy up to? Why’d he drive Azuma to the Island Fortress’ front door? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Just what is Guy up to? Why did he drop Azuma off in front of the Island Fortress? Why didn’t he stop Azuma from penetrating the fortress’ defenses? How does that fit into his overall goal of destroying Treasure Island and all of the Buranki on Earth?

Do you have any ideas? Leave them in the comments!

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Post Author: tcrow