BUCCHIGIRI?! Episode 2 refuses to dampen the chaos. Instead, the series from director Hiroko Utsumi (Sk8 the Infinity) and Taku Kishimoto (Blue Lock) continues to deliver bold and broad imagery that leans fully into excess. With vibrant backdrops, absurd characterization, and enthusiastic visual experimentation that pulls from anime history, the MAPPA series is delightfully odd. Bottled chaos, Episode 2 cements it’s innate watchability even when given a protagonist who needs a good shake.
That said, the fact that Arajin Tomoshibi (Genki Okawa) is something of a pathetic loser adds to the charm. He’s so in his own head, even with it being overcrowded with the genie, Senya, taking residency. So set on winning the affections of Jin Mahoro (Anna Nagase), he can’t see her lack of interest. He’s overconfident due to the help from Senya, leading him to make terrible decisions such as challenging the head of the school’s gangs. On top of that, he’s also unnecessarily cold to Matakara Asamine (Yusuke Hoshino), his childhood friend. It’s the last one that really stings as we watch Matakara continually make efforts to reconcile that friendship, with Arajin seemingly having moved on.
And despite this, despite Arajin’s definite, blatant shortcomings, he still has people fawning over him. It’s just not the people he wants. First it’s Marito, the head of the Siguma Squad. Marito is also the older brother of Mahoro and he and Arajin engaged in a stand off at the end of Episode 1. While Arajin still technically lost he landed such a blow to through Marito off course, leaving him infatuated. Marito spends the episode in a hyper-vigilant state of courtship as he tries to chase Arajin down in order to offer him a spot in the Siguma Squad. Similarly, while Arajin once again loses in his stand off with Ken, the head of Matakara’s squad Minato Kai, he wins Ken is over. He writes out “I’m in love” following the duel, the mark Arajin’s punch seared into his skin.
BUCCHIGIRI?! Episode 2 is a delirious deconstruction of toxic masculinity. Arajin continues making his wish—his battle cry a plea to lose his virginity. He pines over Mahoro and is deflated when she drops the love crystal he gave her. He loses the fights he’s in, which are his attempts to assert his stereotypical masculine credibility. And, instead of winning the favor of Mahoro, he has these muscular gang members pining over him. It’s what makes some of his most unlikable traits work because the show is actively teasing him about it.
While the gang’s attempts to recruit Arajin make up the bulk of the episode’s storyline, it’s not the highlight. The highlight is the centerpiece fight sequence midway through with Matakara against another member of Siguma Squad. The animation and fight choreography is beautifully rendered. The fluidity of the movement captures the dexterous flexibility of Matakara’s fighting style. There’s noticeable grace as he pivots and weaves to avoid punches.
It’s an intense sequence in a series already establishing its bold visual presence. Everything from the graffiti street art in the background landscapes to the over-the-top styling of characters is visually strong. So, the decision to refine the animation for Matakara’s fight scene is deliberate. More than any of the other characters so far, he is the most grounded in reality.
Matakara is so lovable that we almost wish he was the protagonist and Arajin’s exploits with the genie were background fodder. While Arajin’s weak resolve makes him a good comedic lead, Matakara, so far, is the heart. We’re still learning about what makes him tick. There’s hints of it from details of his childhood home and the fear of being seen as weak in Arajin’s eyes. But Matakara is undoubtedly the character we’re able to feel for the most.
BUCCHIGIRI?! Episode 2 is a strong follow up to a series premiere that declared it’s tone and style with immediacy. With swift pacing, distinctive visual gags, and engaging fight sequences, the series captures our attention and holds our focus. There are still elements that remain questionable, from the unlikable nature of the lead character to the unfortunate end credits that remain a choice (read: a bad choice). But there’s no denying that Utsumi’s high-octane vision possesses energetic life.
BUCCHIGIRI?! Episode 2
BUCCHIGIRI?! Episode 2 refuses to dampen the chaos. With vibrant backdrops, absurd characterization, and enthusiastic visual experimentation that pulls from anime history, the MAPPA series is delightfully odd. Bottled chaos, Episode 2 cements it’s innate watchability even when given a protagonist who needs a good shake.