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Anime / Busou Shinki

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The Busou Shinki TV series is a 12-Episode Anime based on the toyline of the same name, which aired from October to December 2012. There was also a thirteenth episode released as an OVA that revealed some more backstory.

Ann, Ines, and Lene are Busou Shinki, a kind of small, doll-sized Robot Girl, and they live peacefully with their Master in a small apartment that they have recently returned to from overseas. This anime follows the adventures that fill their lives after the Strarf-type Hina joins them.

Compare Hand Maid May, where the title robot girl maid is decidedly a non-combat model unlike the Shinki; Ichigeki Sacchu!! Hoihoi-san, where Hoihoi-san is another 1:1 scale robot doll that battles cockroaches immune to common pesticides; Angelic Layer, where the little fighting robot girls are not the focus, but their Masters are instead; and Spiritual Successor Frame Arms Girls, which started a few years later and features a female Ordinary High-School Student as the toys' owner.

Busou Shinki provides examples of the following tropes:

  • A-Cup Angst: Ines bemoans the fact that her MMS body's breastplate is 1mm smaller than standard issue at one point. Ann uses her knowledge of this little factoid to convince her sisters that she'd been body-swapped into a Strarf's chassis in Episode 13.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Evil Queen Cloudy is enjoying a glass of wine... that is, bathing in one since she's doll sized.
  • All There in the Manual: Master's name is Rihi Rihito. It is briefly seen on a letter Hamster in chewing on in episode 11.
  • Balloon Belly: Potchi and Tamami fall to that trope after using all the jelly Can in episode 4.
  • Bathtub Scene: Briefly in episode 2, more prominent in episode 3.
  • Battle Ballgown: Both Ines and Lene's armor looks like that.
  • Beach Episode: Subverted in episode 5. It seems to shape up for such an episode, but then the girls get accidentally left behind and spend the rest of the episode trying to follow their master.
  • Berserk Button: Harming her master or even his belongings is a good way to piss Ann and Lene off.
  • Book Ends: Episode 8 starts with Ann and Hina playing a game with Lene while Ines carries a bottle of "grow me big juice". The episode ends with Ines carrying the exact same bottle which freaks Ann out.note 
  • Brainwashed: Hina has her memory reset by Shinki collector Jindou at the end of episode 11 and for most of episode 12.
  • The Cameo: Several other shinki models, by definition. Especially notable for when it's someone's favorite.
  • Christmas Episode: Episode 10.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: In episode 4's race, as the racers break the rules more and more, Ianeira finds flimsier and flimsier excuses to keep the race going, all while keeping that sweet, nonchalant tone of hers.
  • Combat Tentacles: Utilized in episode 2, when Maochao uses her "Nekomachine" drones to animate the octopus that the girls bought for Master's dinner as a prank.
  • Cute and Psycho: Maryceles, in particular the Maryceles who acts as an announcer for the race in Episode 4 and the Shinki combat tournament in 11, who flip-flops between a cutesy act and a crude, rough manner.
  • Chain of Deals: how Ann winds up with vacation tickets
  • Creepy Physical: In Episode 13, Ann undergoes a maintenance checkup at a Shinki facility, which includes electrical testing of her power systems that produces an interesting reaction from her. She also gets felt up by the Shinki nurse (a Brightfeather MMS1 Type-Nurse), who comments that her Master treats her body extremely well with a suggestive expression while running her hands all over Ann's body. The whole ordeal leaves Ann feeling exhausted.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Lene. Ines sometimes gets grumpy about their Master forgiving some of her clumsiness a little more easily than she'd like.
  • Dark Is Evil: Both a strarf model (MMS Devil) and a Valona model (MMS Succubus) are used as villains in the 11th and 12th episodes. The exact opposite remains true for Hina, of course, seeing as how she's also a Strarf model.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The neighbour's Shinki, a Maochao and a Howling, treat the fact that Ann, Lene, and Ines failed to invite them over for Housewarming Soba as a major insult, and "take revenge" by pranking them in Episode 2. They remain rather sullen and a little standoffish to the girls for the rest of the show and keep mentioning the lack of housewarming soba when confronted over their manners.
  • Dream Tropes: Just about all of Episode 8:
  • Fanservice: Both in terms of the cute little Shinki wearing fanservicey clothing, like Lene's meido costume armor and some of the Male Gaze shots, and the technical stuff, like their Master being well-entrenched into the Shinki hobby scene, creating VR simulator scenarios for shinki and receiving Review Model shinki (like Hina the Strarf MKII herself), and even treasuring one of the first VR scenarios he ever created for Anne.
  • Fantastic Racism: Kurusu treating Hina as the same shinki that defeated her in the world tournaments on their first meeting, when the one who defeated her was a Strarf MK II full arms model. Justified, as there is very little difference between a Strarf Mk I, Strarf Bis, Starf Mk II (Hina's model type), and Strarf MK II Full arms; just head piece, mechanical arm shoulders, and weapons.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Ann and her 'sister' Shinki sometimes forget that they have flight-capable armor parts and/or weapons. Justifiable, since they spend most of their days living a peaceful existence with their Master and never enroll in Shinki combat tournaments, as he keeps them with him as companions, not fighters. Hina, on the other hand, is very quick to resort to her weaponry, as being the most recent addition to the family, as well as having a more combat-oriented personality, she's far more willing to draw her sword when trouble comes up. Episode Five also provides another justification for the girls being less willing to use their flight packs and weaponry, as both combat and flight can drain their energy reserves very quickly.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Ann has her mind swapped with a Strarf model (Later revealed to be Hina) in the OVA.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Pausing at exactly 22:06 in episode 12 and reading the box in the background labeled "2" reveals an entire summery of the original ova "Busou Shinki Moon Angels". And it isn't a mythology gag - It actually comes out and explains it, and even uses one of the voice actoresses from both series' as an example.
  • Furo Scene: One of the scenarios inside the VR set the girls have at home is a bathhouse, meant for their relaxation. Viewers get to see the girls in bath towels cleaning up and relaxing.
  • Ghost Story: The first part of episode 7. The entire episode may count as one, given the twist at the end...
  • Hard-Drinking Tropes: A nice-sized chunk of episode 11 becomes this courtesy of the Hard Nitro can.
  • Hologram: The battle disc that creates Shinki battle and home environments does so via hologram. It can also cover Shinki in a Holographic Disguise or act as a Virtual Training Simulation.
  • Holographic Terminal: The computers both humans and Shinki use. Employs Hard Light.
  • Honor Before Reason: Some of the Shinki seen are willing to go to fantastic, sometimes even self-destructive, extremes for the sake of the their Masters.
  • I Got Bigger: In episode 8, Ann gets doused in a supposed growth formula and gets turned into a human.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Ann's fight with a brainwashed Hina in episode 12.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: The MMS body most of the Shinki use is exactly this.
  • Internal Deconstruction: One episode shows that the Shinki's small size and Undying Loyalty nature can have incredibly dark consequences with terrorists using them for bombings and the like. Fortunately, the ones that the heroines ran into where just part on an exercise to prepare for such things, but it still makes clear that Shinki terrorism is a real thing.
  • Insistent Terminology: Lene constantly refers to the clothing and costumes she loves to wear as "armor", even though they don't offer much protection.
  • Just Train Wrong: After slipping off the train they hitchhiked, the heroines carry on traveling by foot along the tracks ... which which are absurdly crooked, have no consistent gauge and feature ridiculously wide and low rails. At one point a switch is shown, clearly lacking gaps for the wheel flanges (or any frog to begin with) as well as guard rails, both switchblades are stuck to the rails and the lever is awully close to the track clearly obstructing the loading gauge.
  • Male Gaze: To some extent, the camera loves focusing on the shapely figures of the Shinki, since they're all 'gifted' with very well-sculpted bodies. One particular moment that stands out happens in Episode 3, when Hina has her scratched paintjob touched up by her Master and the camera zooms in on her butt, where the scratched paint is lovingly patched up.
  • Merchandise-Driven: In a surprising aversion, by the time the 2012 anime aired, the toys were no longer available at most retail outlets and the Battle Rondo MMO game had been shut down.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Shinkis themselves are this to humans, but Tamami also has a set of cat-styled tank drones that she can deploy from her shoulders.
  • Mirror Match
    • Occurs in Episode 6 between Ann and another Shinki of the same model and armor color scheme as her. Even the other Shinkis have a hard time telling which is Ann.
    • Happens again to a certain extent in episode 12 when Hina fights Shinki Champion Victoria, another Strarf model. Thankfully it gets easier to tell them apart when Hina adds Ann's armor onto hers.
  • Moe Anthropomorphism: of the Mecha Musume kind.
  • Mundane Utility: Hina's extreme skill with a blade is put to use helping to chop up the ingredients for Master's dinner.
  • Painted-On Pants: Confirmed in episode 3 when Hina requires her paint to be retouched.
  • Pet the Dog: The crooked Shinki collector, for all his villainy, genuinely cares for his Shinki. After Hina and her sisters fight their way out of his mansion, he breaks into tears when he sees that his Strarf and Valona were injured during the scuffle.
  • Powered Armor: The kind of armor the girls use in battle.
  • Precision F-Strike: The commentor drops one in episode 4 when she's had it that the rules are not being followed.
    Mary Takigawa Celes: And there you have it. So move those asses, you f***n' worms.
  • Punny Name: Maochao refers to her drones as "Nekomachines".
  • Right-Hand Cat: The evil Queen Cloudy in episode 9 has one... but since she's just a doll, the cat is absolutely massive.
  • Road Trip Plot: What episode 5 really is for the girls.
  • Robot Girl: This and Mecha Musume is what Busou Shinki is all about.
  • Robot Maid: Lene insists 'Maid Armor' is required for cleaning, 'Apron Armor' for cooking.
  • Saving Christmas (sort of): A weird combination of Santa's Sick and the Sleigh is Broke. Ann's job is helping a Santa Shinki named Tsugaru in delivering presents for a promotion. After they split up, Tsugaru is injured while playing with a dog and cannot complete her part. Ann takes over and while delivering the last present, gets caught in a snow storm sending Tsugaru's armor and sleigh crashing into a tree, which throws the present high up on a building and the sleigh running off. Ann has to get the help of Hina, Ines and Lene to get the present back.
  • Sexy Santa Dress: Ann's job uniform in episode 10.
  • Shout-Out: At the end of episode 5, a miniature replica Statue of Liberty can be seen half-buried in the sand at the beach.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: It's not pointed out, but Arnvals like Ann are called MMS Angel, while Strarf models like Hina are called MMS Devil.
    • Yin-Yang Bomb: Hina combining her armor with Ann's in the 12th episode.
  • Straight Man: Ines is very much this most of the time, upon seeing what shenanigans the other three got up to.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Hina demands the Shinkis call her by her model name, Strarf; she only allows her master to call her by the name he gave her. By the end of the series, she warms up enough to Ann that she doesn't snap at her Arnval 'sister' for addressing her as Hina.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: The Busou Shinki appear to have a Master-centric behavioural pattern as a safeguard instead of Asimovian Laws, which generally gives them Undying Loyalty to their registered or accepted Masters. This can result in Shinki willing to go to self-destructive extremes for their Master's sake.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Clara wins the race in episode 4.
  • Time Bomb: The major plot point of episode 6.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: This is the year 2036, and apart from all Shinki-related technology, it's not that different from now.
  • Underboobs: Strarf's armored form.
  • Units Not to Scale: The Micro SD cards seen in episode 6, while certainly convincingly small, appear to be out-of-scale proportionately to the Shinki portrayal in the show, as in real life, they are comparable in size to the full MMS chestplate, whereas the micro SD cards seen in episode 6 appear to be small enough to fit into an Arnval MKII's chest cavity with room to spare. It's a little jarring, since the Shinki themselves appear to be sized exactly to their real-life toy counterparts.
  • Valkyries: Both Lene's model type[Altene] and Ines'[altines] are called "MMS Valkyrie".
  • Verbal Tic Maochao and Lene. Maochao's "Nano-da" was also used in the Battle Masters videogames
  • Wacky Racing: Episode 4. It starts out normal enough with all participants using the same cars, but quickly degenerates as all the racers fall into a trap pit on the race track. After that, the rules regarding what is allowed and what is not gets slimmer and slimmer.
    Maryceles: This isn't a race anymore!
  • Wretched Hive: Episode 9. It feels like the plot is a parody of something.