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Bang Brave Bang Bravern!
Bang Brave Bang Bravern!

Bang Brave Bang Bravern!

Written by Ross Locksley on 01 Apr 2024


Distributor Crunchyroll • Certificate NA • Price NA


Bravern is a series that had people talking from the first episode - a brand new mecha anime, a genre which some say is dying, instantly made a splash. I even covered the show's first episode over on Anime Independent when it landed.

With soldiers testing very grounded mecha designs in combat, two soldiers stand out - Iasami Ao and Lewis Smith. Despite their awesome display of skills, they're taken by surprise when an alien attack takes decimates the Earth and suddenly everything looks very lost, very quickly.

Master of the genre Masami Obari is at the helm, ensuring a level of experience that leads to some excellent quality. The direction is absolutely superb, the Earth mecha looking all kinds of awesome right up until the super-robots from space arrive and make them look like tractors. There's a bombast to proceedings that's all kinds of infectious - think Top Gun with robots - and things only get better when Bravern arrives, a sentient robot warrior dedicated to fighting the invading forces.

Central to all of this is the rivalry between Isami, the stoic loner tasked with piloting Bravern, and Lewis Smith, the chatty ladies man with charisma to spare. Seriously, the ending theme animation, where the two sing the most bro-mo-erotic duet I've ever laid orbs on, is something to behold on its own. It's cheesy as hell and just absolutely revels in every second of it.

Bravern, a loud, heroic and enthusiastic transforming mecha is also a lot of fun - shouting out all of his own attacks and so flashy that he actually projects his own background graphics when announcing his presence - he steals pretty much every scene he's in. It's all played straight on screen, but you can practically see Obari winking at you from the director's chair as he just runs headfirst into every cliche imaginable and embraces each and every one with gusto. Bravern even spends his spare time building hero robot kits. 

The supporting cast do a terrific job too, though they are also mostly archetypes designed to evoke memories of other shows without directly ripping them off. You have the stoic commander rallying what's left of Earth's military, the busty and detail obsessed engineer, Miyu Katō, who practically swoons at all the new alien tech, female support soldiers (who we'll shorthand call flirty, tsundere and love interest) and a noble villain. Let's throw in a "mysterious girl alien" (Lulu) and you've got all the tropes in one show.

Bang Brave Bang Bravern
Cute and mysterious alien girl? Check.

In the hands of a lesser talent, this would sound trite and unappealing, but it's really a lot of fun - and fun is very much the focus of the show.

This is all helped no-end by a decent plot. It's not particularly groundbreaking, but it does employ some fun mechanics for some genuine surprises along with some twists you might (as I did) twig to before the reveal. But that's what makes the show entertaining, you can have fun seeing what traditional aspects the show will adopt or subvert, the level of energy it puts into either tack never being less than 100% - by the end of the season I defy any mecha fan not to be sat there with a big grin.

As for problems, not so many rear their heads. When they do, it's more amusing than problematic. Having the Americans voiced in English by Japanese voice actors is unintentionally hilarious while showing how much accents can really affect the plausibility of delivery. I nearly fell off my chair laughing when Smith blurts out "Oh shit!" as it sounded so unreal in a Japanese accent. 

So should you watch Bravern? Absolutely - it's just so much fun, whether you get the in-jokes or not, it's so full of joyous energy and daft humour that it's really hard not to like it. I certainly wouldn't want all of my anime to be so loud, but as a series unto itself, I can happily say it's been a highlight of each week during its run. 

Now if only we all announced our arrival with the same gusto as Bravern, life would be far more entertaining (and also louder!)

9
Traditional super-robot fare that embraces its heritage 110% and injects fun and energy into a once tired genre. A genuine pleasure to watch.

Ross Locksley
About Ross Locksley

Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time.


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