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DVD Review

DVD cover

Buso Renkin
Volume 1


Starring (voice): Jun Fukuyama, Ryoka Yuzuki, Aya Hirano and Hitomi Nabatame
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 25 August 2008

Teenager Kazuki Muto believes he has experienced his own death when he tries to protect a young girl who is being attacked by a monster. When he awakes the following morning he thinks it was all a dream. But the girl, the monster, and his death are all real. To revive Kazuki, Tokiko replaces his heart with a "kakugane," an alchemic device that allows him to summon a lance with which to fight the monsters. It turns out that Tokiko is a member of Renkin Kenshi (Alchemist Soldiers), an organisation sworn to protect the world from monsters...

Buso Renkin is based on the popular manga series written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Volume One of the anime series is released as a three-disc edition containing the first 13 episodes of this 26-episode series.

This series is an action-packed fantasy story that centres around a young high school student, Kazuki Muto, who finds himself smack bang in the middle of a war between strange creatures.

Disc one:

Episode one, A New Life, opens with Kazuki waking after having a strange dream in which he was killed while trying to save a young girl from the attacks of a huge monster. But it soon becomes apparent that this wasn't a dream at all. The girl he was trying to save, Tokiko Tsumura, was actually trying to slay the homunculus (a beast that can take the form of humans, but whose source of food is people), but Kazuki got in her way.

Tokiko saves Kazuki life by replacing his now useless heart with a kakugane, an artefact forged with alchemy. This summons a huge lance, known as Buso Renkin, which shape reflects the user's personality and allows Kazuki to fight any homunculus that attacks him, while at the same time giving him super powers.

Episode two, The True Form of Homunculus: Kazuki and Tokiko start to hunt down the homunculi in their immediate vicinity. They soon discover that their enemy is developing a new weapon, a parasite that is capable of turning ordinary people into man eating monsters. They also discover that someone at Kazuki's school is in league with the enemy.

Episode three, You've Become A Little Stronger: Looking for the homunculus leader, Kazuki and Tokiko start snooping around the school. Tokiko has been attacked by the homunculus weapon and now has a parasite growing inside her.

Episode four, Another New Life: At last Kazuki and Tokiko have finally tracked down the leader of the homunculus - Koshaku Chono. He offers to give them the antidote that will rid Tokiko of the parasite growing inside her in exchange for Tokiko's Busou Renkin. But it's all a trick and a very powerful homunculus arrives to save it's master.

Disc two:

Episode five, To Protect Someone: Kazuki and Tokiko try to come up with a plan to defeat the homunculus. Cue big fight.

Episode six, The Butterfly Of Black Death: We finally find out why Koushaku is the way he is. He was always sick and wanted to become immortal. He gets what he wished for when a homunculus turns him into a butterfly. Cue fight between Koushau and Kazuki.

Episode seven, Whether Or Not You're A Hypocrite: Captain Bravo appears on the scene and tells Kazuki that he can become a Renkin warrior like Tokiko. Captain Bravo takes a job at the school and Tokiko also joins as a student. It would also seem that Koushaku is still alive.

Episode eight, A Night In The Dorm: Captain Bravo defeats a homunculus, which is then questioned about the League of eXtraordinary Elects (L.X.E.) organization. The homunculus is killed by its comrade before it can impart any information of use. This comrade, Jinnai, and Tokiko are soon forced to fight each other thanks to a transmitter that is housed within the kakugane.

Disc three:

Episode nine, The Hayasaka Twins, We are introduced to the Hayakasa Twins (Shusui and Ouka), who seem like ordinary students, but they are hiding something deadly from the world.

Episode ten, It Seems We're Well Matched: Kazuki and Tokiko battle against the Hayasaka twins.

Episode eleven, Till Death Do Us Part, explains the back story to the Hayasaka twins.

Episode twelve, Carnival: Captain Bravo gives Kazuki and Tokiko and quick run down on the history of L.X.E. in preparation for them breaking in. While discussing the impending homunculi vs. alchemy warriors battle, Koshaku ’s great grandfather states that his great grandson won't stand a chance. Koshaku overhears and is determined to prove he is better than his great grandfather believes. Meanwhile Captain Bravo, Kazuki and Tokiko break into the L.X.E. labs, meeting no resistance. But they are too late, Doctor Butterfly has already left, with plans to attack the school.

Episode thirteen, Signs Of Death: Kazuki discovers a newfound power that will allow him to defeat the homunculi standing in his way. But Koshaku appears with a new weapon - his own kakugane.

Extras include: Behind the Scenes of Buso Renkin (24 min, 18 secs featurette that interviews cast and crew of the American dub); audio commentaries for episodes, 1, 6 and 9; and trailers for other Manga releases.

Sound is only 2.0 English/Japanese (with optional subtitles). This is a shame, as a surround sound option would have been welcomed.

This is an impressive series, and it's good to see that Manga Entertainment is releasing the entire series over two volumes for the bargain price of £25 each.


Nick Smithson

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