First Look: Bullbuster

First Glance: Bullbuster


Due to the advent of Kaiju-like animals, “pest control” businesses have emerged, using specialized robots to deal with the problem. But the technology is primitive, with the robots themselves only a step or two ahead of contemporary construction machinery. Can our heroes save the day on a shoestring, without the use of technology or resources?

Gee’s verdict: Solid Foundation

The thing that appeals to me the most about Bullbuster is how much the plot of the 1999 mecha anime Dai-Guard is comparable to Bullbuster. Dai-Guard was a humorous ode to mecha anime that cleverly parodied common mecha clichés. It acknowledged that, yeah, mecha anime is ridiculous when you really think about it, but that’s precisely why we find it so captivating. With a monster battling mecha anime that’s as much about the financial difficulties and bureaucratic red tape that would result from such a premise as it is about the robots themselves, Bullbuster appears to be adopting a philosophically similar tack. This sensibility is reflected in the mechs themselves, which were created by renowned mecha artist Junji Okubo and are perhaps a little more sophisticated than your typical piece of construction equipment. In this respect, the show’s title Bullbuster is astounding because it is already superior to everything else due to its capacity to walk on two legs. Bullbuster also has a little piece of Godzilla: Singular Point in There. Even though the Kaiju aren’t all that amazing, you can’t help but smile when the underdog wins since the robots the heroes are piloting are such pathetic pieces of garbage. All of this to say, Bullbuster strikes me as a playful version of mecha and a funny workplace movie. I’m sold for the time being, but it remains to be seen if it will be sufficient to support a full-length TV anime.

Iro’s verdict: Start-Up with Potential

Even if other series like Patlabor have a lot of “workplace comedy” DNA, I couldn’t help but think of Dai-Guard, the other mecha show, which was all about the mecha being an expensive business enterprise with a lot of red tape to deal with, as I was watching Bullbuster. The bright-eyed new pilot has a notebook full of new logo designs to increase engagement, the exciting launch sequence is cut short because the accountant hasn’t gotten all the forms signed, and the unique and cool feature of the Bullbuster is that it’s bipedal instead of on treads or wheels. This program has a concept that I know I’ll at least somewhat enjoy, but I’m not convinced it will innovate or even truly surprise me in a significant manner. Is that “for fans of the genre”?

Artemis’ verdict: Down-to-Earth Mecha Shenanigans

I think this is the best anime that has debuted this season so far. It’s one of those shows where you watch the credits roll and look at your watch, phone, or lower right corner of your computer screen in shock, believing that only two minutes have elapsed when, in fact, twenty or so have passed. Given that the entire cast is adult and the plot revolves around the workplace, I have a feeling that many other viewers will find it interesting as well. In particular, the tone of the show is quite grounded and realistic, with hints of other more sophisticated and realistic office anime (think Planetes or Patlabor). That’s the vibe Bullbuster is channeling, and I’m here for it. I’m not saying it’s nearly on par with those programs, especially Planetes, which is in my opinion a true piece of art. The older characters, such as resident muscle man Ginnosuke (who reminded me a lot of Sig Curtis) and HR guy Kataoka, were my favorites. They both have some really fantastic depictions that are both a lot of fun and feel very authentic. In summary, this is a really strong beginning, and I’m interested to see where the show goes from here.

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