Human beings are creatures of legacy. This is something that I’ve believed in ever since I could recall past thoughts. Why is it that we do the things we do as citizens of this Earth when, sooner or later, we will breath our last breath and be taken from this world? It is the idea of legacy; leaving something behind, that fuels ambition, that fuels momentum, and that fuels advancement.
We live for what came before us and we use that to push forward into the future. As a man who lost his father at a young age, this is all too real for me. I wear his necklace in remembrance and I do what I do thanks to what he left behind; a passionate and hopefully everlasting fire. A legacy can be literally anything, that’s what’s amazing! It doesn’t have to be a piece of jewellery or money or anything materialistic like that, though it can be.
A legacy is similar to a memory, the difference being that it attains a life of its own through you. The legacy of the Akabane clan is one that fuels only revenge. Being the only survivor of a mass slaughter, Raishin lives on with the inheritance of his family which comes not in monetary form but in that of a hundred hands perpetually pushing him forward. THIS legacy is one that is most pure. Good or bad, that is what was left behind for him, and without it the his quest for revenge and the story told through Unbreakable Machine Doll may have never taken place.
Raishin Akabane and his beautiful companion Yaya enroll at Walpurgis Royal Academy to study Machinart: a dangerous blend of magic and technology. Raishin is a puppeteer capable of using magic to power up Yaya, his automaton, for ruthless battles no mere human could survive.
In the wrong hands, Yaya is a deadly weapon, but the honorable Raishin, despite his mysterious quest for vengeance, takes no pleasure in killing for sport. Instead, he joins forces with a harem of gorgeous classmates to unmask those responsible for a rash of heinous human experimentation. If new enemies and terrible grades don’t spell doom for Raishin, he and Yaya might live long enough to conquer the school where magic meets machine!
– Madman Entertainment
There’s nothing more enjoyable than being able to experience a story with a comprehensible and intelligently-written world. As important as the character are to any story, it is the universe they exist in that allow them to fully flourish. Why is this? Because nothing that comes easy is worth having. If these characters could simply do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted, we wouldn’t call this Anime or Manga or Television or Film…we’d call it smut, because that is what it would be. Unbreakable Machine Doll actually does have a fairly good character cast though it is it’s world that intrigues and delights me the most. A majority of the characters are instantly likeable, one of which happens to be the main protagonist. Now in saying that, I must also inform you that there are certain characters who show absolutely no charm nor charisma, and they definitely don’t grow throughout the short twelve episodes. Thankfully they’re mostly overshadowed by the ones that do and, bringing it all back around, by the world in which they exist.
My problem with Unbreakable Machine Doll is that I could clearly see so much more beneath the surface. I was teased with it on countless occasions throughout my watching experience but, by the end of the series, I was not shown any of what I craved so dearly. I gave the series a pass though, but why? Simply because of the benefit of the doubt. What you’re delivered through Unbreakable Machine Doll is, at it’s core, very much a solid story. Had IT been given more than twelve episodes to work with, I’m certain WE would have been given what I’d consider to be something closer to the full story. It IS based off of Light Novels which ran for fourteen volumes so you can understand why it all couldn’t be covered in the short series.
It’s a series that takes it’s audience back in time, to a point in altered history wherein which magic and science have become one. That alone is enough of a sturdy premise to keep people interested…and that’s exactly what the story of Unbreakable Machine Doll does, despite certain missing elements. Leading the character cast is a fantastic protagonist that doesn’t necessarily evolve through the series but only because of how well-rounded and, in fact, well-written his character was at the beginning. It’s hard to build upon something that has already been wonderfully constructed and that’s exactly what Raishin Akabane’s character is; wonderfully constructed. It’s too bad he’s backed up by mostly two-dimensional personality types, thankfully his allure stretches across the entire cast like the cloth on a table that brings them gradually up to his level.
The voice cast of Unbreakable Machine Doll, for me, was like playing jump rope between heaven and hell. Once again taking the likeable lead is the series’ protagonist Raishin who knows how to deliver one hell of a kick-arse line. Clifford Chapin, his voice actor, knows his way around sarcasm but also understands what it takes to deliver some inspiring dialogue pieces that really set certain scenes and story developments in motion. He’s also one of the few cast members not forced to try their hand at a half-arsed English/Welsh accent.
Seeing as though the story is set in Liverpool, England, it only makes sense that most characters sound, well…English! It’s unfortunate that most sound like a bad impression of a character from the Harry Potter films or a really comedic impression of one of the four Beatles. The vocal direction of most of these characters lead them to say somewhat stereotypical English phrases and words that came across not as authentic but as incredibly silly and over the top. The only ones who pull off these accents without insulting or over-exaggerating are those who’re mostly considered the best in the business right now; namely Vic Mignogna and Ian Sinclair.
In regards to the soundtrack, Unbreakable Machine Doll features mostly orchestral compositions that tend to fuse with more modern day sounds when the time comes for it. Being set in the distant past, it’s only natural that the soundtrack would remain in somewhat of a classical state. This I had absolutely no problem with because of fantastic placement, though I’m usually not a fan of the orchestral stuff.
When asked whether or not I was enjoying the series by friend and fellow writer Kane Bugeja, I immediately replied with “Yes! It’s actually very easy to watch!“. When saying this, I wasn’t simply talking about the story but the visuals too. It was physically easy to watch! All the characters were designed in ways that made them look as though they all had quite soft features, which actually suited considering most of them were young. The traditional animation scenes were broken up by CGI fight sequences that didn’t come across as a chance to save a bit of budget money but as a chance to show how fantastic a combat scene can truly be. In short: The CGI animation was used tastefully, which is something that doesn’t come about too often.
Unbreakable Machine Doll featured more dull colours than anything else which, once again, fit the series fantastically well considering not only the era in which it is set but the story in which is being told through it. Madman Entertainment provided us a Blu-Ray copy for review and I’m so glad they did because it truly is the best way to experience Anime and it was truly the best way to experience Unbreakable Machine Doll. The designs of the dolls all varied and there wasn’t a great deal of duplicates to fill the roster. Even a group dog-type dolls had variety, with each individual being based on another breed. It’s hard not to appreciate something with that much attention to detail.
Before accepting the review for Unbreakable Machine Doll, i had absolutely no idea what it was. I’d never heard of it before, I’d never seen a trailer for it before, I’d never even seen a picture of it before, and I definitely never heard it’s name mentioned ever before…so I didn’t know what to expect. Funnily enough, when I got my copy of it I didn’t even read the synopsis on the back to see what I was getting in for…I just put it on and enjoyed what it had for me. I’d like to say it was the absence of expectation for the series that lead to my overall enjoyment but in doing so I would be discrediting just how well-written and well-executed the series was as a whole. Yes, of course, there were certain things about Unbreakable Machine Doll that I didn’t entirely like but they were minuscule enough for me to still enjoy my time watching it. I now genuinely want to go and read the Light Novels just so I can obtain the information I so long for now that I’ve watched the Anime adaptation. This genuinely is a gem of an Anime and I’d recommend it to anyone in need for something well-rounded and instantly enjoyable…It’s Unbreakable Machine Doll!
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