Amateur Hour Review: Unbreakable Doll Machine

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Ugh.

Why do I even take recommendations anymore?

Let me get this clear: I don’t hate this anime. It’s just one of those anime that has so many fantastic aspects, but so many awful ones as well. ‘Unbreakable Machine Doll’ began as a light novel, published in November 2009 with fourteen volumes, and it currently ongoing. The manga, released in April 2010, currently has eight volumes, and is also ongoing. The anime itself ran from October 2013 to December 2013 with twelve episodes and six OVA’s, and was released by Studio Lerche.

The plot revolves around Raishin, and his ‘automaton’, Yaya, attending a prestigious academy known as Walpurgis Machinart Academy. Automatons are robot-like puppets used for battle. I half-expected some of the automatons to transform into Transformers or something around those lines. Anyways, the plot covers Raishin’s struggle to become the ‘Wiseman’, the strongest puppeteer (Otherwise known as the wielder/master of the automatons. I usually call them meisters to keep it simple), while also seeking revenge on his elder brother, another puppeteer, who killed their family. Before I continue, yes, the plot is extremely complicated and tries to force as many sub-plots into every episode as quickly as possible. It’s a lot going on, for a twelve episode show. Sometimes it does fit, depending on how short the side-plots are, but for the most part, the side-plots feel very rushed and brushed over. However, the main plot, as well as the premise of the show, is extremely creative and interesting.

Okay, let’s get down and dirty, because I am not going to enjoy this part. The characters. Raishin is out typical jaded main lead, attempting to keep up with his partner. Yaya, however, is absolutely despicable. I fucking hated Yaya. While I don’t mind overly-perverted characters, Yaya’s perverted nature just seems overdone and a bit annoying. Some of her perverted scenes get a chuckle out of me, but for the most part, I don’t even crack a grin. BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! Yaya is extremely annoying, needy, dependent, and an overall nuisance of a character. She makes Raishin look like one of the most interesting, complex characters put on the fucking screen! Thankfully, when the two are engaged in a battle, Yaya is slightly less annoying.

This anime suffers from, what I call, Angel Beats Syndrome. It’s when the viewer is more engaged in the side characters then the actual main characters. With ‘Angel Beats’, the main characters were undeniable bland, yet the side characters were extremely interesting and unique. With this anime, one main character is bland, and the other is unbearable. While this anime doesn’t have extremely interesting side characters, I enjoyed them more than I did with the main characters.

On the technical side of the anime, it looks fucking amazing. Really, every piece of animation is fluid and detailed. I’m really glad more anime are coming out with amazing animation, especially in recent times. Hell, this anime manages to pull off 3D animation without any trouble! The 3D, while not as stunning as the regular animation, looks absolutely brilliant. A bit overused, but nevertheless looks great! And don’t get me started with the battles the anime has in store! All of them look extremely stunning, and are by far the greatest part of this anime. Every move done by the characters is carefully planned, and is all part of the grand scheme.

The dubbed version of the anime also sounds pretty great. The setting of the anime is in England, so the accents that the majority of the characters have, with the exception of our mains, sound pretty accurate. However, Yaya’s English dubbed voice is awful. The stereotypical high-pitched voice that I know you all have recognized. Bryn Apprill, I know you’re still starting out as a voice actor, and from your previous works, it seems you have tons of potential, but by god WHY?. To give credit where credit is needingly due, at least the voice matches the character’s personality. Ungodly annoying.

In the end, I believe that Unbreakable Machine Doll has a creative premise, with interesting lore, remarkable battles, stellar battles and a few interesting characters. However, the main characters drag down the anime immensely, since most of the time is on them, and the plot seems to be all over the place. If you can get over those two aspects, then I think you’ll enjoy this. Trust me, I tried.

Note: I don’t hate Angel beats. Please don’t send me emails with angry emojis and bad grammar.

 

By: Shannon Kasane