Man, Bucchigiri?! is something else altogether. It leaves the driveway at 80 MPH and never slows down or looks back. “Unhinged” is the word that kept popping through my head watching this ep. It’s kind of a free-association sensation, as we pinball from one absurdity to the next. Everything is connected and it all sort of makes sense in a pretzel logic sort of way, but there are no filters and no brakes. If this thing is going to stop, it’s by running full speed into a brick wall.
That said, there are already incidents of key staff publicly bemoaning the state of the production schedule on social media, something all too familiar to MAPPA series. This looked great – the key fight scene in the episode was frankly pretty incredible. But we all know that MAPPA is a black company and that its people break the Japanese cardinal rule of never publicly complaining because they feel they have no hope attached to any internal remedy. And when it happens the only thing the studio seems to be concerned about with to silence the public criticism, not the criticism itself. Which is, you know, what black companies do.
The problem with all this is twofold. One feels kind of dirty liking a MAPPA series to begin with, though they have their hands in so many pots that you really have no choice. But there’s also the ever-present concern that the production could crater, as so many MAPPA productions have before. And that would be a real shame, because there’s nothing else out there doing what Buchhigiri?! is doing. It’s 90’s Gainax, it’s utterly random, it’s old-school ecchi and it sends up the likes of JoJo and Fist of the North Star with gleeful abandon (and somebody needs to). With Kishimoto Taku writing you know you’re likely getting a really good story here, and if the production could possibly maintain the level of the first two episodes this show could wind up as a real banger.
It’s not a series that lends itself to the sort of stuff I usually do here, that’s for sure – experiencing it is the thing, not reading about it. But there’s a lot there, that’s for sure. I’ve actually decided that the club the teacher is going into is literally a cat cafe (we’ll see). Mahoro is a total scumbag, a hard-core brocon who’s totally using Arajin and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about him except as a means of making her brother jealous (which is backfiring spectacularly). And Arajin’s friendship with Matakara is an interesting thread. What really happened there to make Arajin totally disown Matakara (he even gave him a love forever stone)?
What seems to be happening is that Arajin – who insists on repeating his virginity wish – is gathering a harem. And it consists of Senya, who’s obsessed with merging with him, and Marito, who fell hard for him after feeling the imprint of Arajin’s Honki knuckles in his gut. And Matakara of course, and then there’s Ken-san, the head of the Minato gang. He too falls hard for Arajin after feeling the power of his punch. As Matakara hoped Ken invites Arajin to join Minato, but it’s too late – Marito has finally corralled him, and thanks to Mahoro’s manipulation he agrees to join Siguma instead. Does this mean war between Arajin and Matakara?
As for that fight, it’s between Matakara and Siguma’s Jabashiri (who in Furukawa Makoto has about the biggest seiyuu name in the cast). I cannot stress enough how cool this was – like the best MMA round ever – and it ends with a colossal head butt that takes out both boys (but crucially, Jabashiri first). Any show that can deliver like that is worthy of respect and clearly the product of a staff that’s not just damn good, but truly loves anime as an art. And that’s a feeling that pervades Bucchigiri?! – it’s one of those anime by anime fans sort of shows, and that love is truly infectious. But that’s just going to make it hurt that much worse if the whole thing blows up in the usual MAPPA fashion.