Creator: Nobuhiro Watsuki
Publisher: Viz
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Action
RRP: $7.99
Buso Renkin v7
Reviewed by Michael Aronson

“Kazuki’s black kakugane, which powers his Buso Renkin weapon and keeps him alive, will soon advance to the point where it begins draining life from others around him. Teaming up with his partner Tokiko, Kazuki leaves on a mission to find out more about the black kakugane in hopes of keeping this from happening. Meanwhile they encounter an elite group of Alchemist Warriors that have been assigned to hunt them down and kill them!”

In my opinion, the difference between titles from Viz’s Shonen Jump and Shonen Jump Advanced imprints is that the latter feature more sophisticated, unique and/or alternative titles whereas the former is comprised of franchises more popular in anime form. Buso Renkin falls under SJ Advanced even though it has far more in common with brawler titles like Bleach, Naruto and Watsuki’s most popular series, Rurouni Kenshin. Why it falls under SJ Advanced is beyond me.

BR is a straight-up brawler. Kazuki, Tokiko and crew use their unique powers against similarly-powered enemies who’d prefer to see them dead. Wash, rinse and repeat. The stylistic differences, lie Gouta’s choice of spinning gears for weapons, are somewhat unique but not all that imposing. The various powers and abilities of the characters seem rather ill-defined, as certain characters can regenerate their entire bodies from nothing while others shrink their enemies or empower mystical dogs. It’s almost a grab bag of fantasy powers.

The character dialogue, while not strong enough to earn this series a recommendation, is BR’s strongest suit. Certain characters get better scenes than others, like Gouta’s indignance to Kazuki’s help and Papillon’s obliviousness to how his monstrous façade appears in public. Disappointingly, more prominent protagonists Kazuki and Kokiko only act as bland foils to other more interesting personalities.

Buso Renkin doesn’t have a whole lot to recommend. As a brawler action series, it’s par for the course, but it’s buried in a library of stronger shonen titles with more appealing premises.

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