This is a rather odd show, in the fact that they go to all of this trouble, but in the end, “Unbreakable Machine Doll” is just a glorified “Pokemon”.
It is early in the 20th Century. Science and magic have been facts for many years and have created a technology that allows both to merge together in making Makinot, circuits made from spells that were put into an object to bring them to life and even gain a personality. It was developed as a military weapon and has now spread throughout the world. One of the best places in the world to learn this happens to be in Liverpool, England, the Walpurgis Royal Academy of Machinart. Uh oh, this is a bit of trouble. A quick look up of Walpurgis tells us this is a traditional meeting of witches and warlocks. It’s kind of like going to Armageddon High.
Into this mix comes Raishin Akabane (far left). He has brought with him Yaya (to his left), not only a very fine doll, but created by the famous and mysterious Karyuusai Shouko (that busty vixen in red more towards the right). Alas and alackaday, Yaya is what is known as a ‘banned’ doll, in the fact that she was made with both mechanical and organic parts (organic parts? You mean parts from people? Shhhhh!) The problem with a banned doll is that they are far stronger than a regular doll, so it is both a moral dilemma and unfair advantage in all of this. It could be seen as using steroids obtained from orphans (not like that would deter a lot of folks).
The reason you come to Walpurgis is you participate in the “Night Party” to become a “Wiseman”, a gym badge….I mean…..a title bestowed on the best puppeteer out there. Well, everyone and their grandmother’s doll come to attend this school and Raishin does a terrible job with the entrance exam. Out of 1236 ranks, he is placed at…..1235. Talk about low man on the totem pole. Oh, the test was administered by Kimberly, the one with the….double degrees up there. What is it that all the ladies here sport some major endowments? Harvard would be jealous. Oh, I guess it is time to meets the other folks who will be in the competition.
We have Charlotte Belew (sorry about the spelling; you get your splash panels as they come) and her doll of Sigmund. Sigmund is a dragon (you can just see him on Charlotte’s shoulder). Don’t let that size fool you; he can dramatically increase his presence. Charlotte did come from royalty and priviledge, but an accident sent her family into a downward spiral and they lost everything. She hopes this contest will allow her to restore the family name.
Frey is a third-year at this academy. Yup, that’s her name, like Cher. She has something special about her as well (plot device, so you will have to learn it). She has a collection of dog automatons, but her primary choice is “Rabbi”. Nope, not a misspelling of “Rabbit” (which would have been funnier; a dog named rabbit), it is “Rabbi” for some odd reason. This is another one that can change his size.
One not pictured up there is Magnus. He is some kind of demon, as he can command six at one time (all babe ‘bots). You get the feeling that he and Raishin have a history, and they do, but it is another plot point and must be hinted at for now. Let’s just say if one of them fell into a chipper shredder, the other would be non-plussed. Another is Loki, who really is prissy and Frey’s younger brother. He just does a better job of controlling his doll and can back up what he says he can do, but he is still an annoyance.
The series details their lives together, leading up to the Night Party and the big fights.
There are too many problems that get in the way of this show. Aside from the Pokemon/Digimon reference, Yaya spends an inordinate amount of time trying to get Raishin to sleep with her, and this raises the ‘pervert’ flag on him, as everyone else thinks he’s banging bolts. Both Kimberly and Shouko are rather hard-nosed ladies who would like nothing more than you crush you…..underfoot. The rest of the school girls are all snooty, upper-crust arrogance that are becoming more and more of clichés. Isn’t anyone with a bestowed title nice to others? Guess not.
The real frustration is that we spend 12 episodes getting ready for the Night Party, but never do it. There are so many other annoyances that bedevil this school that the first season feels more like an experiment of sorts than getting down to any brass tacks; more just presenting the rather capacious cast and giving a lot of back story on everyone. On the one hand, you don’t want too many fights, but on the other hand, you want to advance the story along and not merely tread water. Did we really need the “cannibal candy” arc? And who comes up with these names anyway?
It just got boring to see all the same tropes played again and again and again. And what if Raishin slept with Yaya? Just asking; perhaps she would stop nagging him so. So much potential; so much missed. Perhaps the no-way-to-avoid second season will get things in the right direction.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (The ladies sure do look nice)
Plot 6 (Just a hybrid idea)
Pacing 6 (The fights slow it all down)
Effectiveness 6 (Lost because of the lack of direction)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but doesn’t hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 5 (A similar show would be “Maburaho”)
Overall 6 (Repetative)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. There are three things I cannot forgive.