Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Busou Renkin (2006 - 2007)


After sacrificing his life to save the life of Tokiko, an arms alchemy warrior battling those who would use it for evil, Kazuki Muto is offered a Kakugane, alchemy stone, as a replacement to his heart. Now with no real shot at a normal life, Kazuki teams up with Tokiko to rid the world of evil alchemy users.

Think of Full Metal Alchemist. Take all the cliches of the man grows strong to save woman genre. Through in a kick ass female lead. And you've pretty much got Watsuki's, writer of the infamous Rurouni Kenshin, latest offering. It's a battle against genre cliches, that both aid, and hurt the series throughout its 26 episodes.

Where Renkin separates itself is in its characters. A clear romantic lead subtext, strong concentration on building the characters with action secondary, and some of the most "unique" characters you'll ever find. All of these make Busou Renkin an exciting show, but also offer a divide for viewers that they may never overcome.

For, you see, these characters range from the kind hearted lead to a butterfly dressing perverted sociopath, who enjoys feeding off people, and well, let's just say is one hell of a creepy character. It works as much as it fails, ultimately leaving the dynamic relationship between the two leads as the main staying force.

This relationship is strong, and the characters are well developed, but as the episodes wear on it gets a bit repetitive. Especially as a slew of new characters are introduced in the final 10 episodes, all leading up to the big finale. Perhaps that's where my shakey feelings for the show go.

It's one of those shows that's never so bad you have to turn it off, but never so good that you feel like you absolutely have to see the next episode. It's too predictable, even in its characterizations, despite the fact that it tries to take them to deeper levels than before. It works because there's little to hate about it. But at the same time it fails to inspire because it's way too safe of a series.

Even its opening song (despite being incredibly catchy - I mean it, I had it stuck in my head for hours) is a rather safe, loud, rock ballad. It's one of those shows that bothers you for the chances it doesn't take, rather than the strength of what it really presents. That may not be fair, but when you're a legendary manga author, I'd love for just a little chance to have been taken.

Busou Renkin breaks no new ground in terms of its genre characters and story. Instead it tries to offer you a refreshing deeper look at the characters, which barely succeeds given the strength of the talent involved. Unfortunately there's just not enough there to tie it all together, and make it as epic as it possessed the strength to be.

1 better thoughts:

Japan Cinema said...

Never heard of this O_O thanks for putting me on to something new!

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