Bullbuster Ep 1 Review: It’s Bustin’ Time!

Well this Fall season is quite…uneventful. We only got 2 short ONA from Sunrise which is Kyoukai Senki and Build Metaverse – both of which are broadcasted on a fortnightly basis, which is not very good at holding audience’s attention. That is until the explosive Bullbuster busted on the scene! (pun intended). This modern Daiguard-style promises us a very emotional series with some great characters.

Bullbuster is a series about a pest-extermination company using, you guess it! Giant robots. Well, I say giant but it’s mostly about a crane-truck size. Furthermore, they are bogged down by regulations, expenses and all kinds of logistics and administrative problems – just like Dai-guard. However, this is not really an established corporationbut rather a small company. And the storyline is going in very different directions.

The main character is pretty much a mecha fan that put his engineering skill to good use. But noone has seen his value yet. He bring his mech – the Bullbuster – to his new customer to debut it. Since he is an engineer/mechanic, he didn’t really expect to go into battle on his first day on-site. Of course, that is exactly what happens and Tetsuro – our MC – has to sortie. But this isn’t a fantasy shounen action mecha series, so they are stuck with paperwork and licenses and insurance for quite a while until we see any punches being thrown. But when the mech gets to bustin’, it was pretty cool.

The first ep perfectly establishes the vibe of the series. A combat mecha treated like a normal work vehicle in a blue-collar environment. Before one can get to the bam bam, one must fill out forms, obtain licenses, insurance and sign all kinds of paperwork. It put a dampen to the “burning spirit” of a pilot, but those processes cover everything that can go wrong during the sortie, which is a necessity put in place to protect the pilot himself. While it’s true that the battle can go swimmingly well and all that complications weren’t needed, it’s also highly possible that something will go wrong (and most of the time it did). The pilot can sustain injuries, the robot can be damaged, collateral damage is also possible, etc… The procedures are put in place to deal with such scenarios, however, it cannot be denied that they are too inefficient and cumbersome.

It will be interesting to see how Tetsurou deal with the new role (since it’s obvious he will become a pilot). Different from Akagi in Daiguard, he hasn’t experienced the “office culture” just yet. But they share a love for mecha and being hot-blooded in general. The other characters are also typical blue-collar and white-collar worker, save for Arumi – a very stylistic gal/pilot. She might be the counterweight for Tetsurou in the series.

The animation is pretty normal, especially since this series focus heavily on the real-robot style, even more so then Daiguard. Daiguard – while operating in a “realistic” environment, Daiguard’s power and ability is no slouch. For Bullbuster, the mech is super grounded. However, the anime goes out of its way to make mundane thing looks “cool”. Like the punch or the charged shot of the Bullbuster – which is something this anime really needs to balance out the boring paperwork. More importantly, there’s a scene referencing Gunbuster and paying homage to Gainax’s GOAT is always welcome
Overall, episode was quite fresh and interesting. The music is quite nice and animation is decent. The premise of the show promises a lot of character development while intertwining the usual mecha “rule-of-cool” trope, but in a more realistic environment. Looking forward to more pest bustin’! And of course, tank treads are superior to bipedal!

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