Episodes 1-2 Recap
Following the dramatic collapse of Treasure Island at the end of Season 1, Azuma and the others head to Taiwan in an attempt to recover an Oubu that fell into the sea. However, despite being heroes, nothing can save them from the horror that is traveling through customs as Azuma is separated from his faithful limbs. Undeterred, they head into Taiwan before him to take in the sights. Shortly after arriving they meet a loud and obnoxious girl named Kaoruko – Kazuki Kaoruko.
If she looks familiar it’s because she’s none other than Azuma’s long-lost sister! Unfortunately for Azuma, she wants very little to do with him and insists that he’s stupid, smelly, useless, etc.
She is currently in possession of a mysterious black Oubu heart, as well as a team of limbs that are currently “on loan”. Hiiragi, Kogane, Shizuru and Kinoa form fast friendships with Kaoruko’s team – so much so that Kogane wonders aloud if they might be stolen away from him by another team.
Azuma finally makes it to Taiwan following a fierce Buranki battle in which Maxim (the heart user from Russia that clashed with Azuma on Treasure Island at the end of last season) demonstrates his newfound power of having mindless dolls for limbs instead of, you know, conscious individuals with the ability to make their own decisions.
Following a quick takedown of two buranki, Maxim sets his sights on Kaoruko, who sees Maxim as a rival for the attention and support of the mysterious Monsieur Guy. Unfortunately for Kaoruko, Maxim makes quick work of her and her makeshift team before setting his sights on Azuma. Still pissed off that he failed to protect his home, Azuma wastes little time in beating the ever-loving crap out of Maxim and sending him running before returning to his conversation with Kaoruko.
While episode 1 sets up Kaoruko as an annoyance, moving into episode 2 we begin to see a more troubling development in terms of her connection with the events of last season. She reveals that under the guidance of Monsieur Guy she manipulated the events that occurred just a few weeks earlier. She ends her monologue with a stunning demand: hand over Oubu’s heart. Of course, Azuma and his team aren’t about to let her break them up, and the limbs that were just recently sharing meals and bonding now find themselves squaring off as the twin heart-users prepare to battle it out.
I must say that I’m impressed with a few things about the 2nd season of BBK/BRNK so far. First, they’ve definitely cleaned up the animation quite a bit. Experimentation with animation styles is well and good, and I was captivated by the early episodes last season, but you definitely can see some progress and refinement in the current iteration of the show. Of course, the bubuki and buranki battles so far have been a thrill to watch as well: I still get hyped whenever Azuma initiates a fusion.
Now that the characters are all familiar with each other, the pacing is also vastly improved over season 1. Too often I couldn’t tell if they were trying to take their time world-building and introducing characters, or if they suddenly decided to rush through the central story. This timeI feel like they’ve gotten comfortable with the characters they have and as a result can focus more on the new antagonists and continuing to flesh out their existing relationships.
My only nag so far is that Kaoruko is a bit too much. Sure, she’s supposed to be an over-the-top sibling, but sometimes it’s laid on just a bit too thick for my tastes. Also, as others have pointed out, there seems to be a bit more fan-service going on this season. Not that it’s something I’m complaining about, but for fans of the original series you may find yourselves just a little confused with an occasional barrage of jokes surrounding the size of one’s breasts.
Still, considering my eventual disappointment with the first season, I have some (reluctant) hope for this season. It’s definitely moving quickly, with a refined animation style and fun and engaging characters. I’m excited to see where things go from here, and hope that it doesn’t let me down again!