Genre: Action
Format: 26 episodes
Allegiance: Xebec
Director: Takao Kato
Vintage: 2006 – 2007
Intelligence Agency Report by: Drake
On the way home from school one night, Kazuki Muto unwillingly walks in on a monster attacking a girl, and he is stabbed in the heart while trying to save her. Turns out the girl, Tokiko, is an Alchemic Warrior tasked with the duty of destroying monsters known as homunculi with her Buso Renkin (alchemic weapon), Valkyrie Skirt. In order to save Kazuki’s life, Tokiko inserts an alchemic device—a Kakugane—into his chest to replace his heart and breathe new life into him. After learning how he was granted new life and discovering the world he is suddenly part of, Kazuki uses his Kakugane to form his own Buso Renkin, and he joins the good fight with Tokiko and the other Alchemic Warriors to protect his friends and the world.

Field Agent Report by: Drake 
Plot
Characters
Impact
Visual
Audio
8.00
4.00
9.00
8.75
9.00
Overall 8.00
(not an average)
At first glance, Buso Renkin seems to be another run-of-the-mill shounen action anime with little to offer. However, over time, the anime began to gain a reputation equal to that of Fullmetal Alchemist in greatness. After hearing some of these reviews around the internet, I just had to see for myself. Within an episode or two, I knew I was dealing with an anime in nowhere near the same league as Fullmetal Alchemist, but not necessarily in a bad way.

First off, the cast is, for the most part, very two-dimensional and lacking in characterization. This is mostly due to the large slew of characters involved, including Kazuki’s schoolmates, the Alchemic Regiment Warriors, the villains, and a number of other secondary characters. To be quite honest, if Kazuki’s group of schoolmates were shrunk from eight people to only include Kazuki’s sister and one of the males, nothing in the anime would be lost. Their purpose—to help develop Kazuki—is never met, and Kazuki remains the same unchanged character from start to finish: full of optimism, hope, and stubbornness. While most of the cast is pretty generic, however, I have to give props to a few characters for bringing some flavor to the cast, namely the overly-flamboyant Papillon, the ever-stoic badass Tokiko, and the Hayasaka Twins, whose backstory is incredibly depressing.

Other than the lacking characters, this anime is actually rather good. The plot, surprisingly, does not stall with pointless filler, nor does it follow a monster-of-the-week formula. The story moves forward at a great pace, always developing and working toward an end goal. The fights are not drawn-out and are never boring—but then, how could they be with such creative concepts for Alchemic Warriors skills? These range from rollerblade gears to a skirt with four blades, as well as dogs, an indestructible jacket, and many others. The same can be said for the Homunculi characters, especially Moon Face, a villain I absolutely loved.

However, some of the strongest points can be found in the aesthetics of this anime. While the animation seems fairly generic for a shounen series, I am still quite pleased with the beautiful scenery, as well as with the creativity of the homunculi character designs. The music is what really gets me, though. The opening and ending themes are great, especially the second ending song, which sends chills down my spine. Furthermore, the battle music adds a great feel for the atmosphere and really keeps viewers on edge.

All in all, despite some dull and unmemorable characters, this anime is right up any shounen fan’s alley. In my opinion, it’s way better than sitting around for a couple hundred episodes of Naruto, waiting for plot progression. So definitely look into this series; I doubt you will be displeased.