Well, this was definitely a flashy episode. Leaving behind the slower pace of last week’s episode, this episode of BBK/BRNK decided to return fully to the balls-to-the-wall action of the first two episodes. Thankfully, due to some well-placed flashbacks in episode three, this fight scene felt a whole lot more deserved than the ones at the start of the series.
Once again pitting Kogane against Matobai, the man who murdered her father, the episode spends all of its time focused on their “climactic battle.” This is both the episode’s best point, and its worst point.
On the positive side of things, the CG animation is put to good use as the action is extremely fast paced, stylish and impressive to watch. The sound effects are also really well done, as each gunshot fired, or impact on the ground, reverberates with intensity and a feeling of heaviness.
Plus, the stakes are clearly there for the fight after the brief flashback to Kogane’s father being murdered back in episode three. It makes her desire to bring Matobai down understandable, and easy to root for her.
However, the extension of that backstory is where things start to fall apart. The show’s writing is nowhere near as strong as it had seemed in earlier episodes, and the sheer ludicrous nature of many characters’ actions throughout the episode required a huge suspension of disbelief.
Whether it was Matobai allowing Kogane to live after killing her father, even though he reveals in this episode that he needs to eliminate her to steal Oubu’s right hand, or the stupidity displayed by both of the male leads, there’s a lot that’s just not working on the storytelling front. The only real positives to come from the writing this episode were the hints towards Azuma’s mother’s behaviour while on earth.
In particular, the “Bubuki Battles” felt extremely contrived after the open conflict nature of the first two episode’s battles. Forcing two Bubuki users to face off against each other in one-on-one combat could have been interesting, but the fact that it’s determined purely by which part they represent, in this case Kogane being the right hand of Oubu and Matobai being the right hand of Entei, makes this feel like the writers don’t really have any idea what they’re doing.
After three relatively enjoyable episodes, this episode doesn’t do much to make BBK/BRNK more enjoyable. Rather, it feels like it’s working backwards instead of forwards. While the combat is flashy and fun to watch, the story really needs to pick up if this wants to be a great series.
Episode 4 Rating: 6/10
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