This feature is for Buso Renkin, a what I think is complete series. I will do this for similar series, in the case that they are due no more series. Though obviously new merchandise and the like could keep cropping up or a remake or something, that happens. Anyway, Buso Renkin. Busssooooo Renkin!
Buso Renkin is a story of alchemy. Kazuki is killed by a homunculus as he tries to protect a girl named Tokiko. His heart is replaced by a piece of metal called a Kakugane. This device restores his life and is also a weapon to take down homunculus. Tokiko is an alchemic warrior and he joins to protect his friends and town. Kazuki’s main weapon is a giant lance called the sunlight heart and Tokiko uses a bunch of daggers around her skirt, called a Valkyrie Skirt. Many other characters are introduced throughout the series such as Captain Bravo and evil masked man Papillion. It plays out like an action, romance and comedy.
Manga vs. Anime
The Buso Renkin manga originally came out in 2003 and was met with… not much enthusiasm unfortunately. Despite the fun ideas the manga artist Nobuhiro Watsuki came up with the series was cut short and he had to create an extra volume to finish the story off. Thankfully he managed to finish it off well without feeling rushed at all and the series feels like a nice compact manga read, a shonen (young boy’s) series many could read to the end without having to grow old. The series ended in 2006 and since the Japanese release, the whole series can be found in most book stores. Or those strange shops, yeah the ones with all the grown up toys outside.
What I feel makes the volumes interesting are the notes situated at the end of each volume which goes through the writers thoughts and how each chapter was received, it’s dead interesting and I think any budding future manga drawers should give them a read, some of the best extras I’ve read in one of these things. It also discusses the process of how he came about with the characters and moves, he seems fairly down trod about all the ideas he had to cut but I appreciate his work and am thankful he made it to the end. Thanks to being a nice compact product full of imagination and fun, the series gained a cult following. This is how the anime came about; I mean you wouldn’t make an anime to a failed series would you?
The anime consists of 26 episodes and came after the series was complete at the end of 2006, the year it ended. Interesting to note that the anime does take liberties and changes a whole bunch of stuff, especially towards the end, slightly cosmetic changes are apparent as Victor, the series big bad guy (despite not being that all bad really) had white hair in the manga, in the anime he has neon green. Maybe they felt that was cooler?
Also the whole last half while largely being the same had a bunch of changes. When being pursued by the alchemist army as they attempt to re-kill Kazuki (during his adventure, he ends up transforming into something akin to Victor, a big evil soul sapping man) they are chased by more characters who are in the war scenario in the anime and few new fights break out. In particular Tokiko gets a fight in the manga in which she is shrunk down and loses all her clothes, I have no idea why this scene was removed it was pretty entertaining fan service if perhaps a little far-fetched even for Buso Renkin standards.
It’s hard to say which is the better of the two, the anime does an excellent adaption though the war scenario moments in which large groups of soldiers trying to take down Victor are pretty dull though the whole thing is better paced. I think if you enjoyed the manga you’d love the anime and vice versa. I saw the anime first and I felt the manga was equally gripping. There are slight changes but nothing which will make you cry out in anger (like Claymore brr).
The series didn’t spin much merchandise really. Soundtrack CDs are typical but there weren’t many figures or the like. It did get one game for the PS2 which erm… never came out over here and I have no idea if it is much cop. The main character Kazuki does make a playable appearance in Jump Superstars and its sequel for the DS though, two excellent Smash Bros alike fighting games. He is my character of choice; he’s just a fast versatile guy!
One piece of merchandise I do like the look of is the Tokiko figure though, for a change the series has an excellent and strong female character and she ranks in my top female anime characters certainly (I’m not doing a top 5 or anything unless I get desperate). Here it is below, look at that!
Buso Renkin still has people cosplaying it despite its popularity. Maybe people want to go as something slightly obscure but I think they cosplay as the likes of Captain Bravo and Papillion because they are just awesome outfits and characters. I don’t support cosplay by the way, it just felt required in an anime final look.
In the end I have to say Buso Renkin may not have been the biggest thing ever, it may not have the biggest fan base or merchandise but it does have that little cult who know what they are talking about. And those that don’t. Like me. Busooooo Renkin!