This is probably the first, if not the only, anime review I will ever make. Since it’s related to one of the figure line I’m collecting directly, I decided to make a review of it. So let’s take a look at the Busou Shinki TV Animated Series (completed) review.
First of all let’s get the facts straight, the anime itself is a lighthearted anime. Meaning that there isn’t really a deep, twisted, intricate plot that is ground breaking, death defying, tear jerking and cosmical exploding greatness. But Konami did a good thing by making it that way, instead of jumping into the abyss with a plot that might not work and fail miserably, why not just make it light enough to consume casually yet still can give that “d’awww” moments?
The story revolves around 3 main shinkis, an Arnval Mk.2 model named Ann, an Altrene model named Lene, an Altines model named Ines and a Strarf Mk.2 model named Hina. Basically the story revolves around their shenanigans and daily lives, it has little to do with their Masters, as every single one of the Shinki Masters in this anime seems non-existant or out of the screen (save for Rihito, the Shinki Master of our 4 main casts).
Each one of them are different in personality, some are taken from their behaviours in Battle Rondo, some are taken from the Battle Masters PSP game. Shinkis are naturally adaptive to their Master’s behaviour, each one of them can grow very differently from what their canon personality is, but which is the canon personality? The anime, along with the games, sort of sets it in stone now. This can be beneficial for those who wants to take shots of their shinkis.
Now the story are heavy with how the Shinkis are and their position in the global community. Some pursue to become Career shinkis (Shinkis that are specifically designed to aid human work), Battle Shinkis (Shinkis that are competing in the shinki tournament) and Domestic Shinkis (Shinkis that are either for just collecting and/or assist at home).
The problem here starts with Hina, as she is more battle driven than domestic… Although the other 4 are also definitely battle-capable but they aren’t really into battling as they prefer to be with their Master. Also along the way they will come into contact with other Shinkis starting from our resident joke-shinki Clara (or Kurara)… ok she is definitely not a joke character since she is second in the Shinki Tournament rankings but her bad luck seems to be uncanny here, only second to Tamamii and Potchii.
Now the thing here is how they’re true to the whole Shinki idea throughout the series. That means, yes, there are THOUSANDS of Arnval Mk.2 models out there and so does the other main casts. More often than not, the episodes have the same model face to face talking and hanging around, even battling. So Rihito by no mean is a god character, meaning that he doesn’t own a “special” shinki that no one has, he doesn’t have a shinki that can go super saiyajin 4 due to a secret modification etc etc etc. They’re just your regular shinkis…
What’s the point then? The point is the emotion of inanimate sentient objects… 2 different person can own the same shinki yet the shinki can be the polar opposite of the other with difference in will, compassion and skill. It’s the old “a knife can cook superb dishes in a chef’s hand but can take a life in a killer’s hand”.
The story itself is widespread, being a lighthearted anime. Ranging from the shinkis racing it out for a chance to win a trip for their Masters to dreaming of becoming a human to be with their Masters. Most of these ideas seems silly, but the anime did a good job of making it plausible and accepted.
What if your figures can talk, will they complain about you neglect cleaning them once a month? What if you forgot about them, will they be sad? What if you took care of them like kings and queens, will they be arrogant?
This anime puts those ideas nicely with Shinkis. The “safe road” Konami took is working, in my personal opinion. Making it light enough to be digested without you having to pull your hair off when something bad happens, yet enough to make you think about them, not just Shinkis, but every figure you collect. Because basically it’s the same idea.
The episodes itself are not always happy, there are times when they meet up with deserted shinkis (shinkis that are not wanted anymore by their masters but refused to be returned for reformatting and refurbishing) even shinkis that are activated accidentally (rogue shinkis that have no Master). There is even a shinki that is so loyal and loving she stayed in her house even after her Master’s death, then again she doesn’t comprehend the meaning of… oh well it’s a funny twist that is better if you see it for yourself.
These moments will definitely appeal to collectors, as one of these will probably hit a spot. Making you think about the things you have, what it means to you, and what you do with it.
Production wise, there are times when the animation seemed wonderful, then there are times when everything seemed copy pasted. But what is consistent is the cast, they are using the same CV that the original game has. So you will definitely see the likes of Emiri Kato, Marina Inoue even Yui Horie. You can just look it up to see all the names that are there, I’m too lazy to list them all.
Animate wise, their characters fits right into their canon personality, including our resident yandere cutie up there. Yep a Mary Celes model, creepy when pissed and cute on other occassions. It seems that the way they are animated took into consideration of all those Shinki pictures that has been spreading all over the internet. And i have proof to back them up…
At random episodes’ ending credits they show chosen pictures of Shinkis gathered from all sources. From twitter, facebook, boards, even blogs. Proof that Konami knows its product well and took into consideration of all the Shinki Masters out there.
So then where does Busou Shinki anime stands, i can definitely say: NOWHERE.
It DOESN’T NEED to stand anywhere among the titles released today, it is a GIFT. A gift from Konami to their Shinki Masters that has been supporting them throughout the years, it is a present that Konami give us to show their appreciation. But is that it? No.
As a matter of fact, this can also appeal to other line collectors. What if your figures are alive? What if they have emotion? What if they can feel compassion or hatred towards you? I hope, as i have watched this, those of you that also have would grow SOMETHING inside of you about your figures more than you already have. What it means to actually want, getting and having them. The responsibilities, the joy, even the sadness of parting.
“…there’s nothing wrong with loving anything so much that it feels like it could pull your heart out of your chest and toss it on the floor.”
- Todd VanDerWerff