Unbreakable Machine-Doll

Animation
Characters
Plot
Satisfying Ending
Average

Alternate Title
Kikou Shoujo wa Kizutsukanai

Genre
Action, ecchi, fantasy, harem, school, tournament

Number of Episodes
12 episodes and 6 short OVAs

Based On
A light novel series by Reiji Kaito, but there is also a manga that came later

Synopsis
Machinart: a mix of science and sorcery that imbues mechanical dolls with life and artificial intelligence.  Raishin Akabane is a puppeteer, giving his magic to an automaton called Yaya who’s going to help him get revenge.  Unfortunately, he’ll have to join an elite academy for machinart to get that revenge.  His automaton is the best in the world, but Raishin happens to be second to last in the entire school.

The Theme in One Sentence
Fight for the people you care about, even if they’re not technically human.

Plot Discussion
Unbreakable Machine-Doll has three main story arcs, each with a different villain.  I really liked that format since there was still an overarching storyline, but the individual arcs allowed viewers to really dig into some of the moral and ethical dilemmas of using automatons.

The first story arc dove right into the topic of if dolls should be considered “human” or not by instantly creating a situation where viewers would have compassion for the dolls. The main doll, Yaya, is humanoid, but not all of them are. There are some very robotic looking dolls, animal dolls, or even a snowman doll. They definitely appear to have feelings, some more than others, so it’s hard not to think of them as real creatures and feel bad when they get hurt.  The flip side of that is they could just be programmed to seem like they have feelings and they’re still fake, but that’s the question Unbreakable Machine-Doll poses.

Unbreakable Machine-Doll brings up one legitimate ethical question after another, which is impressive for an ecchi anime.  Bandolls are one of those ethical issues and added a great, but not fully explained, element to the show.  Bandolls are automatons made with human or animal parts.  Both kinds are frowned upon, but using human parts seems to be illegal.  I use the phrase “seems to be” since even though they’re “banned dolls”, a lot of characters have them at a school.  I’m not sure if they’re illegal to make (since they’re made of living or dead humans/animals), but legal to own or what.  Maybe there’s no proof that the characters’ automatons are actually bandolls.  Even after watching the whole thing I’m still not clear on that point.  I have a feeling it gets explained more in the light novels.

The bandolls bring a dark aspect to the show, especially in relation to some much hinted at backstory for one of the characters.  Bandolls are unique since they can actually use magic without their puppeteer close by, which the normal dolls can’t do.  That’s because the bandolls can store magic in their human/animal flesh.  The downsides are that they need to eat to survive and they require a puppeteer with a lot of stamina.  This caused a few great jokes from the dragon’s puppeteer about how if he didn’t behave he’d only get vegetables for supper.

The second arc dealt still dealt with characters thinking about if dolls were real creatures or not, but it focused more on animal dolls instead of human ones.  It also went much deeper into questions of morality in terms of ethically finding puppeteers with strong magical capabilities or trying to create them.

The first two story arcs had great plots, but the last arc felt a lot less focused. One of the main characters basically got replaced by her younger, and less interesting, sister and the actual plot just didn’t make a ton of sense.  It felt like Unbreakable Machine-Doll was trying to do too much at this point and didn’t have enough time to flesh anything out.

Unfortunately, the great plot was drowned in bad ecchi comedy.  Sometimes the humor honestly made me laugh, but a lot of the time it was repetitive, annoying, or verging on molestation.  For example, Yaya introduces herself as Raishin’s wife and gets incredibly jealous over other women and even gets violent with Raishin over it.  Sometimes this ends up being really funny, but then it crosses the line into over the top jealousy or her trying to force him to sleep with her.  A few times she even tried to rip his pants off so she could smell his underwear to see if he was with another woman and yes, that’s as creepy as it sounds.

Yaya is extremely forceful in her desire to sleep with Raishin sometimes and it gets uncomfortable.  She doesn’t have any boundaries and it gets even creepier since she’s technically not even a person.  The only saving grace of this style humor is that Raishin doesn’t ever seem to think lusty thoughts about any of the characters.  That still doesn’t make things ok at all, but he always puts a stop to things before anything happens and Yaya does listen to him.  Occasionally.

Sometimes the ecchi style humor is actually funny so don’t think it’s all bad.  Unbreakable Machine-Doll just crosses the line a few times, which is sad since it really brings down an otherwise good show.  One of the ecchi humor storylines I thought was funny was when one character was trying to assassinate Raishin, but she was really awful at it.  She tried to seduce him, but it was so obviously a trap that it was laughable in a good way.  Speaking of traps, she actually set up a cage and used a dirty magazine as bait to get him to walk in.  It made him feel pretty horrible that that’s what people thought of him, but it’s an example of the ridiculous style humor that Unbreakable Machine-Doll actually does well.

For an anime set in a school, the characters sure don’t seem to go to class often.  It’s hard to even call this a school anime, actually, but the school does host a night festival to determine who will be the Wiseman so it keeps focus on school activities, I guess.  Being the Wiseman basically means they’re the best puppeteer and won’t have to follow the pesky ethical rules everyone else has to.  Everyone wants to be the Wiseman, but only the top 100 puppeteers in the school can fight for the chance.

It’s actually a unique, very unfair sounding, competition since it’s held over many nights and the lowest ranked puppeteers fight first.  This means that the people who fight first will be fighting every single night until the festival is over or they’re no longer in it.  The more skilled puppeteers will only have to fight at the end of the festival, which gives them a distinct advantage.  Now this festival is talked about so often that it should be the main plot of the show, but instead it feels like an afterthought.  At the end of the show, I think only about 10 percent of the festival is actually done.  That’s a huge loose end.

Another big loose end is Raishin’s revenge, which is also talked about all the time, but nothing really every happens with that either.  I think that’s because they’re probably going to fight at the end of the festival which is a long way off and would require another couple seasons to get to.

Main Character – Raishin Akabane

Raishin isn’t the typical harem anime leading character and that’s fantastic.  He not only stops the female characters from doing indecent things, but actually has a pretty good personality and an intense backstory.  He does fall into the anime stereotype of characters who nearly die all the time, but somehow keep doing awesome things anyway.  I think half of the show he was almost dead, but still managed to fight anyway which got less believable as the anime went on.  Overall, when the show ended I still wanted to know a lot more about Raishin and see where his story went.

Favorite Secondary Character – Charlotte Belew aka Tyrant Rex

Tyrant Rex is a cool name and she’s partners with my favorite automaton: Sigmond the dragon.  They’re an incredibly strong team and the entire school knows it.  Plus, they have great banter that’s not surrounded by ecchi jokes like a lot of the other humor in the show. She also seems to be the only female who isn’t obsessed with Raishin, which is definitely a nice breather.  She’s still part of his harem, but she’s not ridiculously over the top and actually has thoughts unrelated to dating him.  A harem character who thinks about things other than guys?  Crazy, I know.

She sadly falls into the anime stereotype of a female who doesn’t have a large chest obsessing over other females who do have large breasts.  At one point one of the “larger” females actually said she was lucky since they were hard to wash….seriously?  The ecchi humor is determined to ruin a good show.

Least Favorite Character – Cedric Granville

It’s hard to say very much about this character without spoiling anything.  Basically, the character likes to blackmail people and is pretty sadistic.  Definitely not a good person.

Art Style
Glowy is the only word I can use to describe the art style of Unbreakable Machine-Doll.  It’s often very bright to the point of the characters’ skin getting a fuzziness to it like they’re glowing.  The glow isn’t constant thankfully and seems to be more prevalent in the beginning half of the show.

Other than the bright glow, the art is ok.  The characters look fairly similar to each other though, so it’s a good thing they have such varied hairstyles.

Filler Episodes
None.  Unbreakable Machine-Doll tries to fit so many different plots into 12 episodes that there’s no time for filler.

Fan Service
Well, it’s an ecchi show so there’s definitely fan service and nudity.

After the Credits
There are no scenes after the credits.

English Dub
The English dub for Unbreakable Machine-Doll is unique since most of the voice actors have accents.  I can’t remember the last anime I’ve watched that had a good Scottish accent, but this one definitely does and it comes from a dragon!  I only thought the accents sounded strange from one or two characters, but all the main ones sound really good.  Plus, they use the vocabulary that would go with their nationalities instead of just all using the same word choices.

OVAs
The OVAs are only about five minutes long each so they’re more like deleted scenes.  A few of them contain more nudity than the entire show combined, which seemed really unnecessary.  The others had nice little tidbits of story like an expanded scene from when Raishin was a child watching fireworks with his sister.  They all have a vague storyline tying them together, as well.

Ending – No Spoilers Don’t Worry
Unbreakable Machine-Doll has a lot of big loose ends, but manages to tie up most of the smaller ones.  If it had gotten another season, it could have been a great anime, but right now the ending is unsatisfying.

The Bottom Line
The world building and plot of Unbreakable Machine-Doll are so fantastic that it’s disappointing to see it marred by too much ecchi humor.  The unique voice acting for the dub is great and I really loved the concept of machinart.  It needs another season to feel complete, though.

 

Possible Reasons Not to Watch
The nudity and fan service is the most obvious reason you might not like Unbreakable Machine-Doll.  It didn’t take away from the plot though so if you’re not fully against it, consider giving it a try anyway.  Sometimes the fan service ends up being funny since the main character continuously shoots Yaya down.  He never takes advantage of the women who are being fan serviced.  Sometimes the “humor” goes over the line, though, when Yaya tries to aggressively get Raishin to sleep with her.

There is a darker side to Unbreakable Machine-Doll sometimes that might not be for everyone.  It’s hard to say what they are without spoilers though.

 

Anime Recommendations


Black Bullet has a similar feel and art style.  They both have a male/female team where the female is a really strong fighter.


Clockwork Planet doesn’t have the same feel at all, but it does have automatons.  The main characters are both human males with female automaton partners.  Clockwork Planet focuses more on the actual clockwork aspect and saving the world, as opposed to being in a fighting tournament.

 

In Reference to the Light Novel and Manga
Sadly, none of the books are translated into English so I haven’t gotten to read them.  I bet the light novels have so much more of the great plot I want to know about too!

 

 

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