This bitch be crazy. This bitch be (probably) in her 40s. Yet this bitch be sexy as fuck and a fantastic villain!
Bubuki Buranki last season (Winter 2016) was a consistent absurdity whether it was their characters, weapons, or the many over-the-top battles to be had. But the best absurdity came in the form of Reoko Banryuu, an absolutely stunning young woman (or so we thought in the beginning) and yet one of the most sadistic and downright crazy villains I’ve seen in a while (note: I don’t watch all the crazy gore-filled shows and the more cerebral stuff, so for the content I usually watch, Reoko’s pretty damn crazy!).
What separates her from a lot of other villains for me is something that the entire show has that really won me over. The overall character design on the show was just fantastic, everyone including all the villains look amazing and the facial expressions are as good as any I’ve ever seen. A lot of attention was certainly paid though specifically to Reoko, as she is the Queen when it comes to her facial expressions. For a woman who looks like a stunning 16 year-old high school girl, she at times looks downright frightening, someone you wouldn’t dare go within a mile of when she has that face. You see that sadistic smile and laugh of hers while her eyes are as wide open as they can get, you’re fucking runnin’!
And that’s what makes her automatically so memorable to me, the idea that the show takes someone like Reoko, who in any other anime would be the pretty girl second to the main love interest who’s the MC’s childhood friend. She’d get caught with her pants down (literally) a few times, maybe a bare butt shot in the shower and that’d be all for her. Instead, in Bubuki Buranki that beautiful girl is a stone cold killer who wouldn’t think twice about killing a few children to achieve her goals.
Not to say that Reoko isn’t drop dead gorgeous though. The first time I saw her on-screen, I was absolutely mesmerized by her, which only made the feeling even weirder when I realized just how bat shit crazy she was. At the time it was very strange that she would ally herself with a bunch of villains twice her age, she looked like she was 18 at best and everyone else was in their 30s and up. However towards the end of the series, we learn that because of her connection with the Buranki “Entei” (not the legendary Pokémon) she has become immortal, never aging. So she will forever look this damn beautiful…I’ve got zero problems with that!
Her story on the other hand puts her as a very sympathizable villain. She’s a girl who really had a tough going in her teenage years. Her best friend, Migiwa pretty much abandons her and locks her away “for her own safety”, slowly sending Reoko into this psychotic state that she’s in. You really do feel a sense of “Okay, I get why you’re like this.”, while simultaneously knowing that she’s still an evil woman who shows no mercy to anyone and intends to pretty much destroy the world, though she claims that by destroying every Buranki, she’s actually saving the world. By the end of the series, you’re torn between wanting her to get her comeuppance and getting destroyed herself, or being truly saved.
At the end of the day though, Reoko was certainly my favourite villain of the Winter 2016 anime season and is up there amongst my favourites in all of anime. She’s downright crazy, yet downright gorgeous, she’s evil as fuck, yet seems like a sweetheart at times. It’s hard to really tell if the Reoko we see on screen in the real Reoko or a product of an abandoned woman who slowly descended into madness. Because when we see her as a teenager, she actually seems super sweet and super cool to be around.
Not that I’d be willing to find out now, she’d probably burn me alive.