First Impression: BULLBUSTER

For the past year, Ryugan Island has been overrun by large, hulking creatures known as “Giant Beasts.” To deal with the creatures and make the island inhabitable again, President Tajima’s small cadre of pilots and staff will exterminate these “pests,” but there’s a problem: their mecha are outdated and overpowered by the largest of the beasts. Enter Kanie Technologies, which is providing a new bipedal model (as opposed to the current track-based one) to give humans an edge. Designed by the young and enthusiastic developer, Tetsuro Okino, “BULLBUSTER” will be immediately thrown into action…and Okino will be piloting it! But with his lack of experience and pilots Muto and Arumi thrown into danger, will he be able to exterminate the pest and save the day? Or will BULLBUSTER prove to be all bluster and a bust?

Neon Genesis Bullbuster?

The answer, of course, is that BULLBUSTER will be just fine. It is a beast of a mecha. Looking more like a transport/cargo mecha from Gundam or Aliens, the design immediately shows what the series means to be: it’s a throwback to mecha and sci-fi series from about 20 years ago, complete with weird CGI creatures, dun dun dun dun music, and a general feel-good vibe. I think viewers today are trained to expect something bigger, smoother, and more epic than what BULLBUSTER can provide, but if you temper your expectations and are willing to enjoy a series that might fit right in with the afternoon WB block from back in the day, this anime looks like it’ll deliver. Although “temper your expectations” really is the right phrase to use. The comedy here isn’t uproarious—episode one relies on the worst combover of all time and an extended scene involving Okino signing the proper paperwork before launching (the accountant is absolutely right in forcing this, by the way!) for laughs—and the CGI looks like a slick version of what we might have seen a couple of decades ago. Think the Terror Dogs from Ghostbusters. But I’m kind of excited for the slightly amateurish vibe; it fits the show. And I’m also particularly interested in Arumi, who not only wears a cross but, for a moment before battle, meditates while holding it. I’m sure the series will explore the meaning of this action a little more deeply in later episodes. Her design and cool attitude will also make it so that she’ll be the breakout character from this series, if there is one. The ED stands out, too. It features lots of cuteness (I love the dog in the series already, and he hasn’t even properly showed up yet) and once again, that feel-good vibe, but it also mixes things up by including the episode preview mid-theme. It’s nice to see the animators try something different, which really goes for the episode as a whole. I’ll be sticking it out with this one, at least until my 2023 sensibilities completely overtake any appreciation I have for an anime stuck in 2003.

BULLBUSTER is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.


3 thoughts on “First Impression: BULLBUSTER

  1. I must say I was overly-hyped for this one when I saw the trailer because I have been missing having a mecha series to watch, but Gundam likes to get grim-dark these days and so isn’t always fun to watch. I was pleasantly surprised that this proved to be a solid mecha comedy reminiscent of Patlabor in that it’s more “real”. I look forward to more antics and more monster fights!

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