First Look: Bang Brave Bang Bravern

First Glance: Bang Courageous Bang Bravern

Alternative title: Yuuki Bakuhatsu Bang Bravern
Anime original by CygamesPictures
Simulcast Pending on Crunchyroll

Premise

The US military and the JSDF are engaging in training exercises with their Titatonostrider (TS) mecha when the planet is attacked by a mysterious alien force. Ao Isami and Lewis Smith find themselves in the middle of a fight for the survival of the human race. Things don’t look good for them, until a mysterious new robot arrives to save the day.

Gee’s verdict: Shout it With All Your Heart

As many of us suspected, Bang Brave Bang Bravern is not all it appears to be. I still feel ambivalent about talking about it’s true form so to those of you not already in the know I would recommend not reading beyond my impressions. I will say that I think this is one to keep an eye on for all the mecha fans out there. It’s a premier with a surprising back of tricks and I’d like to believe we haven’t seen the show’s full hand quite yet. Obari isn’t exactly renowned for his complex writing but this is a show that clearly enjoys playing with its viewing audience and for that reason alone, I’d say it’s worth checking out.

Alright, if you’ve already watched the episode, you can keep reading.

This show’s decision to be a secret super robot anime is unbelievably charming in its execution. As a longtime mecha fan I’ll be the first to reiterate that real and super are merely cultural shorthands and not strict genre delineations. Nor is Bang Bravern the first or last mecha anime to play with the intersection of the two. Is Evangelion a real or super robot anime? What about Dai-Guard?Gunbuster? Similarly, Bang Bravern seems to be embracing the idea of basically what would happen if you threw a Brave (as in a robot from the Yusha series created by Sunrise) into a more grounded Gundam-inspired setting. The first episode does a surprisingly effective job of setting the table, putting you in the headspace of the type of characters who exist in a world where mecha exist, but are closer to military hardware than mechanized superhero. This enhances the impact when Isami ends up in the cockpit of Bravern and we get to experience his complete mental dissociation. Isami is the kind of guy who’d pilot a custom painted mass production mobile suit in a Gundam. The kind of dude who’d maybe score a few on-screen kills before getting murdered by the main villain to motivate the Gundam protagonist. And the poor dude is now being told to shout attack names like Ultimate Courage Sword while a super robot theme song plays dietetically in the background. It’s the kind  of thing that makes you pump your first and holler like an ape.

Does this bode well for the show in the long run? Hard to tell honestly, a lot of the goodwill right now is coming from the left field genre shift. The show itself looks fine at best, the CG mechs are passable. But damn if Bang Bravern hasn’t become my most anticipated show this season.

Iro’s verdict: A Brave Choice

An honest to goodness super robot anime in 2024! Who could have thought? Anyone following the show’s marketing and staff probably had an inkling that something was up (and social media can’t help itself from spoiling everything), but it was still great fun to watch the show reveal its hand in the first episode. There’s plenty of humor to be mined from the clashing of the Super and Real robot tropes, and thankfully Bravern‘s tone seems to be self-aware enough to celebrate both branches of the genre. Here’s hoping it can keep it up.

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