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Why BL Fans Should Watch Brave Bang Bravern!

The Winter 2024 anime season is nearing its end and we are preparing ourselves for an exciting Spring 2024 lineup. While BL fans, like myself, have been enjoying the cuteness that is Cherry Magic, I argue there’s one anime that fujoshi and fudanshi need to watch: Brave Bang Bravern! And I will share why you should watch this anime.



Brave Bang Bravern! is a mecha anime created by Cygames and directed by Masami Ōbari, who also served as character and mecha designer for Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture, Super Robot Wars, and Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. The anime tells the story of a group of humans and a sentinel robot named Bravern as they defend Earth from an invasion by alien robots. With ten episodes aired so far, Brave Bang Bravern! has become a sleeper hit among during the winter season. The story is exciting, the plot twists are often unexpected, the anime is a mix of meta parody and serious science fiction, it can be funny when it wants to take a break from the war drama, and its opening and ending songs are among the best of the season (videos are posted below). But most important of all: it’s got so much gay subtext that makes you wonder why it’s not a BL.

The Protagonists:


To introduce our protagonists, might as well start off with the titular character: Bravern (voiced by Kenichi Suzumura) The mechs humanity created are not sentient and only serve as giant armor for their pilots. When the invasion begins, humanity is outgunned to the point where their mechs are unable to make any damage. As humanity nears defeat, this over-the-top, red and white robot drops in and leads humanity to its first victory against the invaders.


With Bravern’s sudden appearance, an anime that was introduced as a semi-realistic mecha story becomes a shonen, super sentai story. Bravern calls out his attacks, makes motivational speeches on coming together to fight the enemy, and he even has his own theme song that plays in his debut battle (it happens to be the anime’s opening song, as shown in the video below). This detail causes his chosen pilot to ask where the music is coming from.



Speaking of…His pilot is one of the main human protagonists: Japanese mech pilot, Ao Isami (voiced by Ryota Suzuki, who also voices our beloved Kurosawa in Cherry Magic).

Isami is serious about his role as a mech pilot, but when Bravern chooses him to be his pilot, let’s just say that it’s not a dream come true for him. Forced into being the pilot of a sentient robot and being on the frontlines has left him traumatized, almost on the same level of Shinji in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Poor Isami also had to deal with being waterboarded following Bravern’s arrival, his cockpit being flooded with liquid like that in Evangelion, and then having his clothes melted away after a battle, leaving him naked and crouching in shame. As the reluctant hero, Isami must learn how to be more open with others and find the confidence to step up as the hero. Thanks to Bravern, Isami finds the courage to be a role model for his fellow soldiers.


In addition to Bravern, our second human protagonist, Lewis Smith (voiced by Yohei Azakami), does all he can to help our duo.


An American pilot, Lewis has the strongest desire to become the hero of the story. He’s shown to be a fan of super sentai shows like Kamen Rider or Power Rangers. Off duty, he would wear a shirt that reflects his fandom. His fanboy traits led him to joining the United States Army, which then led him to meeting Isami on the training grounds in Hawaii. In the second episode, when a traumatized Isami begs to not pilot Bravern, Lewis makes a strong case to take Isami’s place. The anime even plays heroic music during this exchange. Bravern rejects his offer, which breaks Lewis’ heart (why that happens is a major spoiler, which I will not share here). Lewis even has a nightmare afterward that has him experiencing Bravern’s rejection over and over. Accepting his fate, Lewis strives to be Isami’s moral support in the war to come, even while working as a guardian to our final protagonist.


The breakout character of the series is Lulu, voiced by Saya Aizawa.


One of the most mysterious characters in the anime, Lulu was a pilot for one of the commanding mechs of the invaders. Lewis discovers her pod on the beach and keeps her hidden in episode three out of concern that the military will torture her, given her alien origins. Overtime, Lulu grows closer to Lewis, seeing him as her adoptive father. She learns Japanese, partly due to the Super Sentai shows Lewis keeps in his quarters, and becomes Lewis’ copilot, much to his frustration and concern. Lulu may have been regarded as annoying at first with her ear-piercing catchphrase “Ga-ga-pi!” but she becomes more mature and significant to the plot with each passing episode.



Why Should BL Fans Give This a Watch?

Mech anime like Mobile Suit Gundam, Evangelion, Aquarion, and Gurren Lagann often have queer undertones. Brave Bang Bravern! certainly takes the beefcake. This anime doesn’t establish its male protagonists as gay/bisexual or in a romantic relationship, but the subtext is visible to the point that it encourages viewers to interpret its characters as queer without baiting us.


In episode two, Bravern recounts the tale of how Isami became his pilot, much to the boredom and awkwardness of the generals. The way Bravern tells his story makes you think he’s telling a BL story, with many highlights including:


“He came inside me. My power source was on the verge of bursting with the intense pathos of it all!”


“For me, it was my first experience… This, I knew, was what it meant to be bound together… Accepting Isami within me meant accepting everything.”


“Each time he yanked my control stick up and down, I moved with him… The two of us were truly one!”


I’m surprised the generals didn’t stop him to say “Okay, we get it!” or yell “PHRASING!!!!”


Bonus image of Bravern’s double entendre:


PHRASING!!!!

But of course, the biggest ship in the whole anime is Ao Isami and Lewis Smith. In the first episode, following a mech training session, Lewis meets Isami in the flesh at a bar, and you can tell immediately that Lewis took a liking to him right away. With a smile on his face while wrapping his arm around Isami, how could one not see Lewis feeling this way?

For the BL fans, these men are so shippable that you can’t help but want them to head back to the barracks together and have a private training session, if you know what I mean. If you know where to look, there are Japanese fans who are already making BL art of these two. Their bodies are ripped and sexy! Lewis looks so beefy that you wonder if his shirts are going to get torn apart by his muscles. Don’t we all love men having a big muscular chest?

And they have nipples on their chests! A rare design choice, since men in anime don’t have nipples for some reason. American animation does!


The images shown when an episode goes in and out of commercial break adds more homoeroticism. It starts with a shirtless Lewis and Isami stealing glances at each other before Bravern comes in ready for battle.



Is it just me, or does anyone notice how suggestive Bravern looks while brandishing his sword?


The highlight of Lewis and Isami’s relationship is the boxing match in episode five. Wanting to help Isami be more open about his feelings, Bravern and Lewis stage a boxing match for all the crew to see. You can just smell the testosterone as the two half-naked men exchange punches. You can feel the sexual tension going on in that ring!


Why a boxing match instead of, you know, a little heart-to-heart in their quarters or the mess hall? Well, according to Lewis:


Sure, Lewis. But it seems like you want something other than your fists to help connect with Isami.


I normally don’t think of boxing to be a homoerotic contact sport (mixed martial arts gives us all that we need), but this one moment where Lewis is pinning Isami down with his body makes me think twice. Um, should we give these two a room?



DAT ASS!


Yes, it seems like it.


Miyu Kato (voiced by Ai Kakuma) is a true woman of culture. She knows what’s going on! Now, can someone get her a tissue?

Rest up, boys! Now cuddle!!!

Conclusion

And there you have it! Do you want a mech anime with exciting battles, high stakes, and yummy homoeroticism? Then Brave Bang Bravern! can provide the satisfaction you need. I’m enjoying every episode so far, and I’m excited to see how it ends. It also makes me crave for more anime that gives us so much bara and manservice, like Golden Kamuy or Free! As of now, there is no English dub, but I hope Crunchyroll can give us one later this year. As we all know, when an anime as homoerotic as this gets dubbed, the gay factor is turned up to eleven.


To finish this article here is the most homoerotic ending song in anime history. Enjoy!



















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