How would you rate episode 2 of Brave Bang Bravern! ?
Community score: 4.3
I have to admit, I was thrown for a loop by Brave Bang Bravern!
I started pretty cocky too. “This is going to be a super robot show,” I told myself. “No doubt about it.” I mean wasn’t it obvious? Not only is the legendary Masami Ōbari involved, but it has the word Brave twice in the show’s title! The key image with the gritty combat robots and those opening minutes of tactical action were not going to dissuade me. Isami was chattering about wanting to be a hero and I just knew there would be a giant super robot showing up.
I was right and had pegged the show correctly – or so I thought. Because despite my correct read that the word Brave in the title was an obvious tell, I did not realize how important the word Bang was going to be.
Cause folks, this show is heavily focused on super robots and the passionate drama betwixt men.
I enjoyed myself quite a bit, though there are some caveats there. The overall vibe works for me. The characters are big and boisterous with easily identifiable archetypes, and that’s before you even factor in the giant robot with a personality. Bravern is interesting for a lot of reasons, but one of the most obvious is that he is sentient and speaks directly to everyone else. I’m not sure if it’s been written in stone anywhere but mecha shows where the machine is sentient seem to have a distinct appeal apart from mecha shows where the robot is more obviously a tool or piece of equipment. I enjoy it, but I know it might turn some people off.
Speaking of which, the tonal distinctions here are big and swingy. You’ve got the hard sci-fi real robot tropes smashing into the over-the-top super robot shenanigans, which can put some people off as well. I enjoy it and think the distinction works pretty well. A clear, obvious hero unit supported by more grounded backup mechs is a tale as old as time (landmarks series like Gundam and to some degree Macross both essentially use this formula, though couched in more in-universe justifications).
The obvious homoerotic sub-text – well, who am I kidding, it’s not sub-text it’s just text – between Isami and Bravern is also a big part of the show. This is not my area of expertise so I can’t say how tastefully this is handled, but there are some fun puns. For those wanting this element but without the comedic vibe, the bond between Isami and Lewis seems to be there as well. It’s a bit more subtle…well, wait, the ending theme has them both singing shirtless in the rain together… so it’s more subtle in the show itself.
I think some of the comedy beats were a bit mistimed though. Having Bravern shouting at the top of his lungs about needing Isami inside him and playing with his controls while juxtaposing that with shots of Isami being actively waterboarded is uh, a choice that did not work for me. Unlike the real robot/super robot juxtaposition that provided some texture, the comedy beat smashed up against torture didn’t land for me.
Overall though we’ve got a strong start with a good alien-battling premise and a boisterous dynamic between a lead robot and lead pilot. I think this will be an interesting watch this season no matter how you slice it.
Episode 1: Rating:
Episode 2: Rating:
Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.
Brave Bang Bravern! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.