In an alternate 20th Century era of United Kingdom, scientists have created a mix of technology and sorcery known as ‘Machinart’ — the process of injecting life into objects and giving them artificial intelligence. These ‘Automatons’ were developed as military weapons to be used across the world, and behind these dangerous machines were humans known as ‘puppeteers’.
Cue in Raishin Akabane, a newbie puppeteer who had transferred from Japan to Liverpool to study at Walpurgis Royal Academy of Machinart. Accompanying Raishin is his cute yet deadly automaton called ‘Yaya’. Together, they fight as one, as they embark on a quest to enter the deadly ‘Night Party’ tournament in the hopes of obtaining the title of ‘Wiseman’.
For most students, entering the tournament is about power and glory. Raishin, however, has got an ominous ambition up his sleeve, and that is to get revenge on his elder brother, Tenzen Akabane, also known as the genius who slaughtered the Akabane family. Does Raishin have what it takes to defeat his brother for once and all?
Within the first few minutes, UNBREAKABLE MACHINE DOLL made its explosive debut with its Mission Impossible-inspired action sequence. Jumping from one train to another, we see Raishin and Yaya saving the city from destruction with their brilliant teamwork and use of magic puppetry. But behind this foreground action is the majestic art direction that cannot be missed. Surrounded by breath-taking backdrops and realistic architectural designs, we are automatically exposed to this grande British society that we don’t usually see in anime. Giving the audience an authentic taste of the 20th Century era, it almost feels like classic characters from Jane Austen’s novels may even appear.
But this is an era that we’re not accustomed to. Magical puppets, sorcery, dragons … this world of Unbreakable Machine Doll is a real winner for fans of action, fantasy and sci-fi. Despite showcasing the outside world at the start of the series, the story eventually shifts all attention onto Raishin (and his dwellings) within school boundaries which doesn’t really prove how dangerous Machinart can be.
As expected of an adaptation based on Reiji Kaito’s light novel, the story of Unbreakable Machine Doll travels incredibly fast. This unfortunately results in a convoluting plot and lack of character development, but that doesn’t mean Unbreakable Machine Doll falls short of engaging twists.
We all love a story about an underdog climbing to the top of the pack and getting his revenge, and Raishin’s character is the epitome of all of that. Throwing the gauntlet down in all his battles, the animation in Unbreakable Machine Doll is absolutely mesmering to watch. With a combination of camera angles and special effects that is rarely shown in anime, each action sequence seems to have derived from a high-quality video game that will definitely turn heads.
Unbreakable Machine Doll was set to be an interesting journey for Raishin and Yaya as they ventured to find the culprit behind the thrilling Cannibal Candy arc. With so much potential under the belt, it didn’t take long for Unbreakable Machine Doll to spiral downwards as it chooses to spend the latter part of the series focusing on sub-plots involving Loki and his sister, and Charlotte and her family. While these sub-plots would have been beneficial for long-term plot development, they serve no purpose for the main plot —Raishin’s goal to destroy Magnus.
But Unbreakable Machine Doll is not all drama and action. In between all the rivalry, angst and rebellion, there is also an underlying hint of romance that is utilised to ease up the tension of the plot. Accompanied by an excessive amount of fan-service moments initiated by Yaya, this element adds a bit of humour and quirkiness to the story, despite the unnecessary need of such
Overall: UNBREAKABLE MACHINE DOLL waste no time inviting fans to its highly-charged world of action, magic, and killing machine puppets. This series had the potential to be everything we wanted. Unfortunately, the anime does not have the ability to distract viewers from its convoluting story, leaving questions unanswered and the story unresolved. If possible, we would love to see a remake of this series one day just to get a full grasp of the story that it deserves to tell the world.
UNBREAKABLE MACHINE DOLL is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray. You can view more info on Madman Entertainment’s site [here]