You know, at first I thought this was the adaptation of an action manga, so my expectations were not very low. But then I found out that the manga is just a different adaptation of the real source material that is a light novel. That was enough to lower the bar a few thousand miles.
So yeah, Black Bullet, a story based on a light novel; what could possibly be worse? Why, pre-air hype of course. There wasn’t nearly as much as there was for Mahouka, which aired along with it, but the ones who had something to say about it was this: It is basically Attack On Titan (AOT for short) in the near future. Oh such joy and wonder; we are already comparing it to the most overrated title from the year before; what could possibly be worse? Just for the record, the similarities are far more than its premise, since the show is almost deliberately paying tribute to AOT. Partially the same opening song, the same voice actor for the protagonist, the same season it came out. Let’s disregard the fact that the show is in fact much more similar to Blue Gender. But since that show is older than 2 years and thus almost nobody knows of, let’s stick to calling Black Bullet being is exactly like AOT. Only worse. Far worse than that overhyped mediocrity. Imagine that.
Let’s dig into the wonder that this show is. The introduction is basically showing us the protagonist being almost killed by invading giant bugs. Someone saves him and we get one of the most retarded one-liners ever: “If you don’t want to die, survive Rentaro.” Yeah, and if you don’t want to be hungry, eat Rentaro. Turns out it was a very bad fansub translation but whatever; it was more than enough for the cracks to start appearing. Because immediately after that we get a time skip, which automatically means shit happened out of screen and all character progression just jumped over the cliff to its doom.
To make a long and very laughable story short, the tone of this show is the definition of inconsistency. One moment it will be dark and violent, the next it will be bright and comical. I mean, really, one moment people are screaming in horror as they are butchered to pieces, and immediately afterwards you get naked lolis who want to have sex with the protagonist. And then back to dark stuff, and then back to funny stuff for a dozen times per episode. Breaking the monotony is one thing, having a propeller at full speed as a mood swing is another. There is no time invested in getting to feel for anything or anyone that is going on it in.
I have heard some people trying to excuse that as something normal. If you live in a world where giant monsters attack daily and kill people, everybody will be considering that to be normal. This way it is easier to explore the setting since the characters in it will be reacting to it in a normal way. So the constant mood swings now make sense! You witness a guy brutally killing police officers and your normal reaction to that would be buying beans at a discount. Dear retarded defenders of this logic, hear me out. IF THE CHARACTERS DON’T CARE, NEITHER DO THE VIEWERS CARE.
Ok, now for the real reasons of why this happens. The first one is because this is based on a light novel, where shit happens and everybody forgets about it after five minutes. Nothing matters in light novels; it is all one big joke. The second one is because the anime rushes to adapt multiple chapters per episode, to the point the pacing is ridiculously fast. There is no time invested in anything and all drama is magically fixed after seconds. You literally get characters introduced, and after exchanging a few lines they either get killed or learn something. The protagonist acts as if he knew them for decades or that they were talking for days when in reality it was just a few hours.
Let’s move to the next issue, which are the themes of the story. First of all you are never given the impression that humanity is on the verge of extinction by huge bugs and that there is some sort of horror/survival going on in here. Nobody cares about it. In fact, we don’t even see the population having anything to say about the bugs, since the plot centers immediately on the protagonist trying to stop some masked dude who wants to destroy the world for some contrived reason.
Second of all, you see that the way to defeat the bugs is to fight fire with fire. Some lolis are born as hybrids, and they can be used against them. They are even called humanity’s only chance for survival. Yet the bright people of this world treat their only hope as abominations, torture them and exile them. Why? Because they are stupid and want to be exterminated. So much for the theme of discrimination; it makes no sense. It would if it was about peaceful times and regarding trivial things like skin color. But mistreating the only thing that can save your life, and which can easily cut you into little pieces if you piss it off? You deserve to be used as decorations you idiots!
This brings us to the protagonist of the show, Rentaro. He is an agent who has his super loli partner and goes around killing these bugs. In between missions, he goes to school where he does and learns nothing, buys beans after witnessing his fellow men being killed, has harem comedy moments with big breasted bimbos, and goes around being a good Samaritan to super lolis who are mistreated by the retarded population. His motives make no sense, since he is never given a good reason for why he doesn’t just join the masked dude and kill all those racist idiots. This way he can create a just nation of super lolis with him as the emperor. He is strong enough to do that, he obviously fights for justice, and really likes those super lolis, SO WHY DOESN’T HE DO IT? No reason given. Thus he is effectively a boring public servant with no vision or goals in life. Why is he even the protagonist?
His super loli on the other hand is a far better character. Cute, powerful, has a tragic life, and is even willing to be naked all the time and have sex with you just to show you her affection. Who wouldn’t like that? By the way, she is ten. But love knows no boundaries, right? Anyways, whatever drama they were trying to build around her being mistreated from others for being special is magically resolved after a few minutes, so all interest you could have about her evaporates fast.
The only other character who is barely worth to mention is the masked evil dude, and only because he was OP for 3 episodes. Seriously, this guy could brush off any fighter in the show and keep going on his quest to destroy the world because… err, discrimination shit and because he was made to destroy stuff. There isn’t much to his motives; really. Yet all his awesomeness evaporates after he faces the protagonist for the fourth time. Which is also one of the biggest asspulls in the show. He could have killed him anytime he felt like it in the first three encounters, just like he did with everybody else that is not the protagonist. Yet he didn’t because he liked him for no particular reason. Of course the truth is because the protagonist is plot armored by the author but whatever. So anyways, even after the masked dude seriously tries to kill him, Rentaro pulls out of his ass this revelation that he is some sort of a super soldier with hax skills. Which, again, is obviously just the author plot armoring him. After that the roles are turned and the cool masked dude is toast in a few minutes, which is completely anti-climactic and even contradictory with whatever we were seeing so far.
And this leads us back to what I said about light novels treating everything as a joke by making events be forgotten a few minutes after they happen. If Rentaro had so much power, why didn’t he use it from the beginning and trash the mask dude since episode 1? By not doing so, dozens of people were killed and the city was almost destroyed. Also, why didn’t he or his booby supervisor tell the rest of the fighters about his power? They stayed silent and let them all attack the masked dude, leading to their undeserved deaths. So why didn’t anyone accuse the hero for being an ass about it? They technically lost half of their military defencess against the bugs for no reason. Or at least why didn’t anyone reward Rentaro for saving the city? Seriously, the next episode begins and everybody acts like there never was a masked dude or they were a step away from annihiliation. Might as well ask why is he constantly going to a normal school if he not doing anything there and he is far more vital as a protector of the city? Why is his supervisor a schoolgirl? Why is there even a school in this story? And the answer is: Because it’s a light novel; no further explaining needed. The writing is MEANT to be atrocious.
Another proof of that are the notorious double standards these types of stories have. The protagonist is not only boring and lacks vision, he is also an asshole with high doses of plot armor. Yet the author keeps trying to throw in some sort of drama around him that means nothing exactly because he is overpowered and the pacing is so fast that everything is solved in a few minutes. There is a scene for example, where Rentaro is about to shoot a huge monster that is about to destroy the city. He is a proficient gunner, he has a clear shot, nobody is trying to throw his aiming off, and yet out of nowhere he is acting scared and doubts his overpowered skills. With him having no weaknesses, and with no time invested on his fear, that scene was, aside from rushed, also completely retarded.
And if you think all that could be solved if the pacing was slower and there was more time invested on the characters and the setting, sadly it isn’t so. The worst problem this show has, that almost eclipses all the other issues, is its terrible exposition. Everything is told, nothing is shown. And by everything, I mean even the most fundamental information is thrown at our faces. Everybody talks in a forced way, telling us things that normally would never be mentioned, making the characters feel fake and us feeling like we are retards who need everything being explained. A simple scene would play out like this:
“Hello woman of the organization that gave me the bullets. What are you doing in my apartment, on the fourth floor, during the afternoon? You want me to cook you some fried fish because you are hungry? Ok, sit next to that sofa that was given to me by my uncle. In the meantime I will start cooking. Look, I am cooking. I cook the fish. See? Fish.”
I could think of more stuff to write but I think these are more than enough to realize that Black Bullet is a very good example of when everything that could go wrong, goes wrong. There is nothing to like in it, unless you are not thinking while you are watching, and all you care for is to laugh at the harem lead trying to run away from horny naked ten year olds who want to have sex with him before he pulls a magic trinket out of his ass and saves the day.