Can an episode of a show really be half excellent, as well as half extraordinarily bad? If so, then BBK/BRNK episode 10 is definitely one of those.
With an engaging buranki battle between Entei and Oubu taking up the first half, and a weird slice-of-life collection of events taking up the second half, this episode seemed to have no idea what it wanted to do or be.
Granted, at this point in time, that’s pretty much the series described in a nutshell. Sometimes serious, with some great action and storytelling, and other times a total mess, BBK/BRNK is really proving what exactly it is at this point; and that’s barely popcorn fluff entertainment.
So, as mentioned before, the first half of this episode was quite engaging. With Zetsubi able to operate Entei through the use of one of Souya’s rings, she provides Azuma’s team with a chance to get some comeuppance for their earlier losses.
For such an early, and one-sided, beating to take up the start of the episode, it worked surprisingly well in context. As the team has finally come to terms with each other, in the series’ own weird way, they are able to fight far more effectively than ever before.
It’s a cool fight sequence that also gives a chance for the Russian and American teams to be given some time to show off.
However, when the second half of the episode rolls around, all the goodwill that the first half developed gets tossed out in favour of a really pathetic attempt at a moment of respite for the main cast. Now on Treasure Island and having met up with Migiwa, Azuma’s mother, the episode derails and falls apart.
From awkwardly placed romantic interludes, to the sudden attack of both foreign teams and Souya on the island itself, this half of the episode felt like multiple episode’s worth of content crammed into a few short moments.
That said, there were a few interesting new things brought up in this episode. The first is the fact that when the heart of a buranki enters the brain it both powers it up, and apparently sacrifices something (as Azuma was rescued by his mother, this sacrifice has not yet been made clear).
The second, and most important, is that Souya seems to be operating independently of Reoko’s wishes. With a scene clarifying that he’s younger than all the others, by about five years, and his presence being the only one from her faction on Treasure Island makes this seem pretty apparent.
Unless the next episode reveals something completely different, he’s now become extremely suspicious and may turn out to be a bigger antagonist than even Reoko herself.
Overall, though, this episode felt like it was suffering from severe split-personality disorder. At times quite good and at others pretty bad, it was like whiplash watching it. And that wasn’t enjoyable at all.
Episode 10 Rating: 5/10
BBK/BRNK streams new episodes Saturdays exclusively on Crunchyroll.