Saturday, February 21, 2015

Unbreakable Machine Doll Review

Unbreakable Machine Doll Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

Historical fiction anime. Anime that travels to times of the past, yet decides to add in their own spin to things to make them more interesting. Black Butler took us to late 19th century England, where demons and grim reapers exist. Spice & Wolf transported us to the past, where business is key. I still need to finish this series, along with re-watching it, but it's interesting so far.

Then there is the ancient period of Japan. Home to great warriors, and historical retellings. The Ambition of Oda Nobuna had an average high school boy finding himself in this era, luckily with a lot of knowledge about what can happen next, and to help out with hard decisions. Sengoku Basara and Sengoku Musou give different imaginings to famous warriors. While Sengoku Musou was a confusing mess that didn't specify some things, and dumped too many characters on you at once, Sengoku Basara still needs to be explored. But who knows, that just may be my excuse for more Romi Park. :3

And then we have Unbreakable Machine Doll. Another series that takes place in England, but in the 1900's. If you look up this series, you'll notice a lot of fanservice, especially in official art. You'll also notice this series seeming to be another stereotypical harem.

I wouldn't say it's stereotypical, nor would I actually define it as a harem. This show is more of a fantasy/action series than an actual harem, though it does have its funny bits.

This show happened to really impress me. Not only did it have a unique story, non-cliched characters, and some really good animation to boot, it also managed to impress in some ways that other shows fail at doing. It's an anime that will stick with me, which is pretty much the majority of the anime that I've seen.

But of course, the show is not complete without its problems. Mainly to do with the show's last story arc, some of its characters not being fleshed out enough, and some comedy that is a tad bit repetitive. This is still a great series overall though.

Let's first go over the story:


The story is based off of the series' first 3 light novels. The light novels are still being published today, and as of this review, 14 have been published in Japan. 

Our exposition of the story begins when the puppeteer Raishin Akabane arrives in Liverpool to study at the Walpurgis Royal Academy of Machinart with his automaton Yaya. In this alternate version of the early 20th century, scientists have developed a mixture of both technology and sorcery known as Machinart, which are circuits made from spells that can be put into various objects to bring them to life. They also are able to give these beings artificial intelligence, and these are known as automatons. They were developed as military weapons, and have been spread across the world, with puppeteers being the ones to control them.

From Japan, Raishin wishes to become Wiseman, which is the most powerful puppeteer at the school. However, his actual goal is to take down his older brother Tenzen Akabane, also know as Magnus, and the current Wiseman himself, for the deaths of his family.

Along the way, he encounters several mysteries he must solve, and new friends or foes. first, I'm going to give a breakdown on the show's 3 arcs.

The first arc is Facing Cannibal Candy. The arc with Raishin arriving at the Academy, and receiving the rank of Second Last. He tries to duel with Charlotte for her rank, but fails to do so because of background students.

For the explanation of ranks, the Academy hold a competition known as the Night Party. Every 4 years, the top 100 ranked puppeteers compete in hope to become the Wiseman.

A couple days later, Felix Kingsfort, the head of the Disciplinary Committee, approaches Raishin about helping him solve a case, This case revolves around the automaton known as Cannibal Candy, who has destroyed automatons by ripping their main circuits out, and for the disappearance of 26 students. Felix will allow Raishin to participate in the Night Party if he is able to solve the case, and Raishin accepts.

This arc is a great start to the show. Not only does it leave you on your heels, but the culprit comes out of left field. I don't know if a lot of people found it predictable, but I sure didn't. You are so convinced that it's someone else, and when it's revealed that it's not, you are just blown away.

The second arc is Facing Sword Angel. After Raishin meets a girl named Frey after several failed assassination attempts, he is drawn to a mystery regarding the company D-Works, where she is the daughter of the company's president. Raishin later gets into a rivalry with her brother Loki, and secrets are later revealed about D-Works, and it involves something with "Promised Children."

This arc is a fantastic follow-up to the first, and is on equal terms with it as well. Not only did these 4 episodes kept me on my seat, cliffhangers are once again used effectively, and the secrets and reveals are very interesting.

The last arc in this series is Facing Elf Speeder. And this is where the show starts to take a turn, making this the worst arc. And that's sad, considering it ends the show on a somewhat sour note.

Charlotte aligns herself with Cedric Granville to try and kill the school's headmaster. for what exactly? Ummm............ it's not really properly explained. We do have Charlotte's younger sister Henriette coming to the academy, having to hurt Charlotte. But besides trying to protect her sister, it's NEVER explained why Charlotte teams up with Cedric, as his goal is to restore a family's glory that had fallen.

There's a reveal on who Cedric actually is, but that's actually something that's also done poorly, although it is interesting. Just expect this arc to have boring one-dimensional villains, with a machine doll that is just SO over-powered for the holy terms of deus ex machina.

I must admit though, this arc has my favorite funny moment.

Now, onto the characters:


This time around, I have more characters to talk about. YAY!

Let's start off with our main protagonist, Raishin:

Based on first appearance, Raishin looks like every single main male character that you've seen in anime everywhere. However, he actually is not, as he isn't a idiot, and isn't tempted to do anything with the girls around him. He is the culprit of misunderstandings though.

Raishin comes from Japan, and was shunned by his family in his past due to not having abilities to become a puppeteer. Well, look at him now! XD Thank you Shoko!

Normally, he is outgoing, and very good-natured. But when his older brother killed his family, he went into desperation. Now, he can be a mix of both, though mainly he is good-natured.

Despite his appearance and his rank, he is actually quite smart, and doesn't come across as a complete idiot when conversing with other characters. Unlike, let's see, Date A Live, Trinity Seven, Absolute Duo, and others like it. Stupid main male character archetypes.

Sometimes, his decisions are questioned by the characters around him, such as when he goes out for a fight while badly injured. He cares for Yaya so much, he even goes around to saying that she is the best automaton in the world. Though, he gets frustrated whenever she decides to go into horny mode.

I personally really like Raishin. Not only does he break the stereotype of those annoying main male characters, he actually makes good decisions, and isn't afraid to take risks. Not only that, he realizes twists before we even though them, or other characters know them, which is pretty surprising.

Let's move on to Yaya:

Yaya is an automaton assembled from both mechanical and organic part by Shoko Karyusai, and she is also a Banned Doll. Banned Dolls are automatons made from illegal parts, and it mainly has to do with humans.

Yaya is the second oldest in the Setsugetsuka trilogy that Shoko made, which also include Irori and Komurasaki, who make some appearances throughout the series.She is very clingy to Raishin, and freaks out whenever another woman gets close to him. This becomes heavily prominent with misunderstandings.

For example:

This is a comedy that can get old depending on how many episodes you watch in a row, but it's isn't too bad. It may be a little cliched, but the anime doesn't overuse it.

That pretty much wraps up Yaya's personality. She also has abilities that Raishin can use during battles, yet she has more that haven't been discovered. Episode 12 gave us a little preview, but if this show gets another season, let's see what else she unleashes.

Charlotte's up now:

Charlotte is a second year puppeteer, and her automaton is Sigmund, a dragon. She is otherwise known as Tyrant Rex, and is one of the highest ranked puppeteers at the school, making her a Round. 

She comes from the Belew family, who were formally highly respected in England, and that the Queen bore a unicorn crest to. However, after an incident where an old automaton of hers accidentally hurt a royal boy visiting the family, this caused heavy repercussions, such as Charlotte losing track of all of her family, After she was kicked out of a boarding school in France when she ran out of money, Charlotte found herself at the Royal Academy.

Charotte is somewhat of a tsundere. It seems like she cares more for Raishin then she lets on, but she won't admit it. She doesn't become friends or allies with each other right away, but after getting saved by Raishin in the first arc, she accepts his friendship.

Overall, I found Charlotte to be a very likable character. At first, she seems like one that's too overly stereotypical, But over time, you do grow to like her. Though her reasoning in the last arc is not developed, or ever told to us, I admire that she wanted to protect her sister. At some times, I wonder if she was going too over her head, but she later decides to leave the family's alliance, and I'm like "WOOHOO! YOU GO CHARLOTTE!"

Last but not least, Frey and Loki:

Frey and Loki are both siblings that were genetically changed when a special magic circuit was placed inside them. These magic circuits have the power to draw out mana from the host, which can actually be very dangerous, as shown in Episode 7. This mana goes straight to the automatons.

Frey is a third year, while Loki is a second year. And yes, that is a little weird, considering how Loki is worried about her safety, as well as her fighting ability.

Frey first appears while trying to kill Raishin.  However, she fails at doing so. This is because she gets caught while doing so, or because she gets caught in her own traps.

Her automaton is a dog named Rabbi, however she earns more after the second arc. This is because there's also information about these automaton dogs being banned, but you'll have to watch the show for yourself to find out what this information is. She eventually earns feelings for Raishin, but they aren't displayed too much for the world to see.

Loki's automaton is Cherubim, and he has a more high placed attitude due to his ranking. which is demoted because he wishes to defeat Raishin himself. To say that he and Raishin get along is an understatement. They HATE each other, so much to the point where it becomes comical. I don't think I've seen a rivalry that's made me laugh this hard since Kamisama Kiss with Mizuki and Tomoe, which makes it ever more ironic considering the seiyuu who voices Loki is also Mizuki.

He has a very high grade average, and is one of the rounds at the school. He also has a signature catchphrase, which goes like, "I'm a humble and tolerant person. However, the are three things I can not stand. Someone who gives me orders, someone who defies me, and.." The third one is always different each time, and when it involves FUNimation's subtitles to put in a swear word, I can't help but giggle.

An example:

I really liked Loki and Frey because they were the most developed characters of the show. We got a lot of information about D-Works and Promised Children. and it wasn't senseless info dumping! YAY!

Other characters include a professor at the academy, the famous puppet maker herself, the eldest of the trio and Shoko's personal assistant, the youngest of said trio, Charlotte's younger sister, generic villains #1 and #2, the great Magnus, the doctor of the academy, one of Magus' automatons that might be made of part from Raishin's younger sister, Felix, the head of D-Works, the headmaster, and Felix's assistant at the Disciplinary Committee.


The animation for this series was done by the studio Lerche, who are also known for series such as Danganronpa: The Animation, Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls, and Assassination Classroom.

Overall, the animation is actually quite good for this series. Lerche manages to use some CGI for the series, which looks pretty smooth as well. They also have a very clever way of hiding fanservice.

Not to say that the show has a lot of fanservice, which it doesn't really. But Lerche does something clever, and when you compare the series when it aired to the DVD version, or in the English dub, you'll notice the differences. They move hand placements and add more detail in the ending, and also moves Yaya's hair so her goods are shown for those drooling males. And by goods, I mean her boobs.

So all in all, not a lot of complaints again.


The score for this series was composed by Masaru Yokoyama, who has also done scores for the Freezing and Queens Blade franchises, and Madan no Ou to Vanadis.

The OST for this anime was more memorable that Masaru's work on Madan no Ou to Vanadis, There are a couple of tracks that managed to incorporats a good sense of drama, such as Bravery Steps. This track is beautiful, and builds up with piano and violin, which makes for a track that is great music that allows you to root for our main characters during battle scenes. But there's also a certain charm to this score. A lot of piano, and orchestral instruments are used, which gives it a older feel.

Both opening and ending are amazing, and will get stuck in your head. Especially the "Maware x10" in the ending.

As of this review, the US release of Unbreakable Machine Doll is just about to come out into the big bad world. The original Japanese for this show is actually pretty good, with a mix of seiyuus you've seen a lot of, and some not so much. It's a great mix, and some of the seiyuus give their best performances in my opinion.

I've also managed to watch some of the English dub, and it's pretty good. While it is better than some shows FUNimation has recently put out (Highschool DXD New, recent episodes of Fairy Tail), it isn't toward one of their better dubs either (Jormungand, Kamisama Kiss).

The dub does sound good overall, however it is set back with some of my favorite English dub nitpicks. And by that, I mean awkward line delivery and mispronunciation of names. Like I mentioned in earlier reviews, it can be okay when this happens a bit, and not take the factor away from it overall. Unbreakable Machine Doll doesn't have as many awkward line deliveries like about every single background character in Fairy Tail does these days, but some actors don't do as good as they normally would in other shows.

The name mispronunciation problems are Raishin, Cherubim, and Nadeshiko. Raishin isn't too bad, but the other two. *shudders*

Highlights in the original Japanese include Hiro Shimono, Hitomi Harada, Megumi Takamoto, Joji Nakata, Kana Asumi, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Shizuka Ito, Yukana, Ai Kayano, Asuka Nishi, Yuki Ono, Junichi Suwabe, Kana Hanazawa, Yuki Kaji, and Mamiko Noto,

Highlights so far in the show's English dub are Bryn Apprill, Kristin Sutton (this series marks her first main role too), David Wald, Chris Burnett, Alexis Tipton, Lara Woodhull, Monica Rial, Carli Mosier, Ricco Fajardo, Christopher Bevins, Tia Ballard, Ian Sinclair, and Jad Saxton.


Despite having the majority of its problems in the last story arc, I really liked Unbreakable Machine Doll as a whole. It's a very quirky anime, and it's something different that what people should expect, since it's not fully a harem.

I recommend this series for lovers of historical fantasy, anyone interested in the show's visuals, who want something unique and satisfying, or if you just happen to find the opening or ending on the internet and love them.

Score: 8.5/10


Unique story.

Fun and interesting characters.

Great story arcs.

Good animation.

Nice score.


Last story arc is miles under first 2.

Some side characters aren't explored as much.

Yaya's misunderstandings of Raishin can be a tad tiring.

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