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Unbreakable Machine Doll Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

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Unbreakable Machine Doll Episode 1 Review – Quick Summary

In Unbreakable Machine Doll episode 1, “Facing Cannibal Candy I,” Raishin Akabane was a puppeteer from Japan. He traveled all the way to England with his fighting puppet, Yaya, for a very simple purpose: Revenge. He wanted to participate in the Wise Man competition so he could go up against his enemy. The trouble was, his score placed him 1,235th out of 1,236 students. Only the top 100 students got to compete in the Wise Man competition. Is it even possible to raise his score that much? Is there another way he could get into the competition? And can he find a way to keep himself safe from Yaya’s amorous attacks?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from Unbreakable Machine Doll Episode 1

Unbreakable Machine Doll Episode 1: I hope Sigmund has Charlotte's best interests at heart

I choose to believe Sigmund was trying to be helpful. Either that, or he was being a real jerk! Capture from the Funimation stream.

In about four minutes, the episode gave us everything we needed to know about Yaya and Raishin. He’s her puppeteer, she’s a high-end combat automation, and together, the two of them can stop a speeding locomotive. 

Oh, yeah, she want to get him in bed. And she’s not shy about telling everyone!

I thought the narrative showed some serious efficiency there. The other introduction that showed similar efficiency belonged to Charlotte Belew. We first met her when she demanded Yaya and Raishin get out of her way. The next day, we see other students actively scamper to clear out of her path. Her puppet, Sigmund, takes the form of a dragon, and he remonstrated for being so cold and distant with everyone. 

She didn’t like it when he listed how she had put an upperclassman who challenged her in the hospital. Or a prankster through a window. Or the entire science class through a window because she didn’t want to touch a frog. In fact, Sigmund seemed to think she’d never even get a boyfriend.

“You’ll be unwanted for life,” he said morosely (12:41). 

It’s nice to see that those two have such a mutually supportive relationship. If that’s what it is. Which I hope it is. Because otherwise, he was being a real jerk.

Best in Show Moment for Unbreakable Machine Doll Episode 1

Unbreakable Machine Doll Episode 1: Raishin gave Charlotte and Sigmund an out.

Raishin hid it under bravado, but he really didn’t want to take an unfair advantage. He didn’t do that out of kindness. He did it out of pride. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Setup: Yaya and Sigmund, Early Artificial Beings

I like seeing at least two of the puppets, Yaya and Sigmund, acting supportive of their puppeteers. There are times that I wonder if that’s why I find anime so appealing, because it so often uses anthropomorphism to explore themes. Put another way, maybe I like how anime uses cute anime girls to make difficult concepts easier to explore. 

For example, I want to believe that if we were able to create self-aware artificial beings, some of use would have mutually supportive relationships with them. I think that’s what attracted me to this show. Yaya and Sigmund support their puppeteers, and in turn, Raishin and Charlotte support them. The series uses this as a thematic tool to tell us that these four are good role models, that they are, in other words, the protagonists. 

Unbreakable Machine Doll Episode 1: Yaya and Raishin can stop a speeding locomotive

Talk about making it clear that Yaya and Raishin are good guys! Capture from the Funimation stream.

Another way to show that Raishin is a protagonist is how he reacted after other parties interrupted his duel with Charlotte. First, it was cool seeing them fight. The boundaries between hand-drawn and computer-generated content appeared to be smooth, for the most part. Either that, or it was so smooth they didn’t even use CGI. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to tell with my untrained eye. All I know is that the battle looked good, and it conveyed two important facts to us.

First, lots of puppeteers are gunning for Charlotte. So many that they were able to team up and launch a coordinated attack. Second, it showed that despite Raishin’s low score, he and Yaya are every bit as effective against combatants as they were against a steam locomotive. They not only held their own. They dominated the field.

Delivery: Raishin, More Complex Than Simple Revenge

During the fight, Raishin and Yaya even had to intervene to make sure Charlotte and Sigmund didn’t go down to defeat. Sigmund is insanely powerful, and Charlotte is a masterful puppeteer, but against an unexpected and coordinated attack, they had some trouble. Yaya easily blocked an attack against Sigmund while Raishin caught Charlotte before she could pile drive herself into the turf. 

Of course, Charlotte acted all bashful and embarrassed. But that wasn’t my favorite moment. My favorite moment was after the four of them got rid of the opposition, when Charlotte rejoined Sigmund and signaled she was ready to continue their original fight.

Unbreakable Machine Doll Episode 1: Charlotte misunderstood Raishin's intent

Charlotte couldn’t believe that Raishin seemed like he didn’t want to fight anymore. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Saying it wasn’t any fun anymore, he and Yaya left. Charlotte reacted with outage, but Sigmund, having both a cooler temper and a keener eye, said (18:39), “It would seem he noticed my injuries.” Charlotte hadn’t noticed, so she immediately cradled Sigmund.

Without a little detail like that, given that Raishin’s goal is revenge, he might have come off as a one-note, cold killer. I like this added dimension.

What did you think of Yaya’s incessant attempts to force herself on Raishin? What were your favorite moments in the episode? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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9 thoughts on “Unbreakable Machine Doll Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

  1. Like others have said, the ending song is lit. You make some good points. I agree that this episode does a great job of establishing Raishin’s character. He might not be good at tests, but he is a skilled puppeteer. It also does a decent job at introducing the world and its magic, but they wasted a lot of their world-building time on ecchi stuff. That said, I do see how important the ecchi stuff is for the narrative as we get to live with Raishin and Yaya some more. Most importantly, however, I think it brings up some very good points about the puppets and the extent in which they are people. Are puppets just tools or are they living beings? Does Yaya really love Raishin, or is just how she was built?

    1. “Does Yaya really love Raishin, or is just how she was built?”

      The kinds of questions you brought up are one of the reasons I like this series so much. It deals with free will and with sentience in a way that makes those concepts accessible. At least, from my perspective, they do!

      I like the relationship you drew between the ecchi material and those questions.

    1. I like the energy in the ED. I also liked how the animation subtly changed over the season, sometimes favoring Yaya, sometimes favoring the other young women. Kept it interesting!

  2. I liked Machine Doll back in the day, but I now barely remember what happened, so I can’t really go into details. Your post does act like a refresher, but not enough to have my own opinions on what happened. I do remember really liking the ED.

    I’m fairly certain the show has drawn over CGI a lot, but I’m certainly no expert. I like to think I notice CGI, but I could easily be wrong about something being CGI, and I have evidence that I can miss CGI (I didn’t know that the planes in Dragon Pilot were CGI until I read it somewhere). That’s the thing. I can say I notice CGI and I don’t like it for ever and ever, but how would I ever know about CGI I saw but didn’t recognise unless someone told me it was there? So all I can say is that I do think Machine Doll had tons of it. But we’d both have to ask someone who knows.

    1. The ED was great fun! I liked its energy and quick visual gags:

      https://youtu.be/RFVzZtjz3aA

      Interesting that you mentioned CGI. I don’t know, either, but it has a distinctive visual texture. Some of the movements reminded me of CGI, but I can’t tell for sure. Personally, I liked it! Most of the time.

  3. This was one of those shows that did not pass my one-episode rule. I recall it was formulaic, campy, melodramatic to the extreme, BORING, and a bit uncomfortable with Yaya trying to get her master in bed. Not to mention, I seem to recall thinking that said master was pretty useless. I absolutely recall the concluding moment, though, with the vengeful man and doll leaping out a window or some such towards the target of his fury. He’s screaming, of course, as they plunge forward… or rather, just rise up and down on the screen. That’s it. That was the moment which finished this one off for me, like, “Nope. If that’s the best they can do with what’s supposed to be an instantaneously emotionally-charged moment, then… nope. Not sticking around for this campy eyesore.”

    1. It fascinates me how two people can look at the same show and come away with such a different impression.

      I know that this series isn’t terribly popular. And that’s fine. I like what I like.

      In this case, sure it felt formulaic. But then, almost everything I see feels that way. I have not seen something truly new for decades now. That’s not a comment on the competency of artists — writers, animators, and the like. It’s a comment on how much I’ve read or watched. There are only so many ways to tell a story. There are only so many character types.

      So for me, the formula worked. Yaya’s all over Raishin. Is that creepy? Don’t know; that’s not an interesting question to me. I wonder about what it says of her character; what Raishin’s reaction says about how he views Yaya.

      His screaming plunge out the window at the end? I saw a very interesting character moment. Yep, it was stupid. Sure, it was tactically ill-advised. It was also a great indication of his character. He’s a man bent on revenge, but his personality is utterly ill-suited to that task! We see that often through the series. He’s intent on extracting violence, but he pulls back to protect Yaya, or Charlotte, or others.

      As far as camp goes, well, I was a fan of the 1960s Batman. That tells you how much I like camp!

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

Please let me know what you think!

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