Oh such joy, a story based on a light novel; what could possibly go wrong when nobody could shut up during the pre-airing hype? Although Mahouka, which aired along with it, got most of the attension, the ones who wanted to steal a slice of the pie went as far as describing it “Attack On Titan in the near future”. Oh such joy; what could possibly go wrong when you plagiarize as much as you can get away with, by mentioning one of the most overhyped shows? Notice how it has a somewhat similar opening song, the same voice actor for the protagonist, and came out in the same season.
Let’s dig into the wonders of this anime. 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 theme going on somewhere 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. What an amazing start that is definitely not building a story on weak foundations.
Speaking of the protagonist, during his introduction, mere minutes into the first episode, 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 jumped over a cliff to its doom.
And no, they didn’t use a time skip so they can remove all the boring parts. They skipped all the superpowers the protagonist got in that time period, just so they can fool the audience to think he is a normal teenager everybody can identify with, which is a very common trick in badly written stories. They try to make you think the protagonist is an average person like yourself. He is not that strong and tries his best to climb the lower steps of the power level hierarchy. Who wouldn’t identify with such a normal person? And then they gradually keep revealing super amazing skills only he was possessing since the beginning to make the audience think he is amazing for being a Jesus figure they are already rooting for as an otherwise normal person.
As if that wasn’t enough of a problem, the story is trying its best to be as inconsistent as possible. Suffering from the same syndrome most edgy anime do, it thinks it is great to be dark and violent in one moment, followed by being light and comical in the immediate next moment. Having people screaming in horror as they are butchered to pieces, at the same time as having naked little girls who want to have sex with the protagonist, are clear signs of depth and maturity. What else could they be? Jump scares? As if investing time in making something only sad or only happy for more than five minutes will make the otakus to close the tab or something. I mean, who gives a damn about atmosphere or characterization anymore? Modern anime are all about naked little girls and senseless gore.
So you would think the anime would be mocked as soon as it began, but no, half the anime community was defending it with passion. They were saying if you live in a world where giant monsters attack daily and kill people, everybody will have normalized it and won’t react to it with fear. This is why running to buy beans with a discount right after you witness a guy killing your friends and almost yourself, is completely normal to them. It even makes it easier to explore the setting this way, since the characters will be reacting to everything in an apathetic way. It’s almost as if nobody thought IF THE CHARACTERS DON’T CARE, THE VIEWERS DON’T CARE EITHER. We don’t want them to be apathetic to their impending doom. We want them to react to it so there can be theme exploration. Not the absence of it.
The anime also rushes to adapt multiple chapters per episode, to the point the pacing becomes frenetic. Everything happens in seconds and we then move to the next thing with no downtime to soak in what just happened. As a result, nothing has an impact on you.
And don’t assume the anime would be fine if it had proper pacing, since the script is random bullshit. Especially the whole theme about the lolis being mistreated by evil adults because they have superpowers. Man, the people of this world are really asking for it; they know the only thing that can kill the monsters comes from those girls, and yet they kick away their only chance for survival, without ever explaining why. This is not a cotton plantation in southern America, ok? The girls are not after your jobs and you don’t hate them because their skin has a different color. They are the only thing that keeps you alive. Hell, they are strong enough to kill you all at the age of ten. So why are you being such assholes for no good reason? Because they are cartoony villains in a badly written story, that’s why.
As you can probably guess, the only reason this stupid thing happens, is for victimizing the girls, and making the protagonist seem like a Good Samaritan whenever he helps them out as one of the few people who is NOT a stupid adult with a death wish. He loves these lolis and does his best to make a pedophile’s paradise out of them. And the show promotes that as funny instead of cringe worthy. Because Japan is being Japan.
So, anyways, he is a teenager and he goes to a Japanese high school. Why is there a high school in a post apocalyptic setting? Because light novel writers are incapable to write a story without one. Is he at least learning martial arts or something useful for surviving in that place? Nope, the school exists for no reason at all. And the person who gives him jobs to go around killing monsters while making sure not to be late for school every morning is a school girl with huge bouncing boobs who is obviously in love with him for no reason other than light novels. So, when he is not killing monsters or going to a school where he learns and does nothing, our heroic protagonist spends his time home, where he has endless excuses for hentai doujins to be made, since he is constantly being sexually assaulted by either horny little girls, or big breasted high school girls.
By the way, do you know what his objective in the story is? He has none! He is just following orders by the very retarded adults who want to be exterminated, thus in effect he is a boring public servant with no vision or goals in life. And the story is so badly written that he never explains 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. Why is this guy 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 for being special is magically resolved after a few minutes, so all the interest you could have shown about her as a character instead of a jailbait evaporates fast.
The only other character who is barely worth a 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. But hey, he was awesome as a cartoony villain and it’s complete bullshit how he got defeated the fourth time he fought the protagonist. That’s right, the fourth. He had the chance to kill him three times in a row and didn’t because the script said so. He killed everybody else who stood in his way, but not our hero who is protected by the plot armor of bullshit.
And the way he got defeated was one of the biggest asspulls in history. The protagonist reveals out of nowhere that he was a cyborg or some shit, and kicks the crap out of him. Not only it was completely anti-climactic, it also made it seem like Rentaro was all-powerful since the very beginning and yet didn’t use his skills to trash the masked dude since episode one. By not doing so, hundreds of people were killed, and the city was almost destroyed. And of course his booby supervisor didn’t bother to tell anyone about it all this time. She just allowed hundreds of innocent people to have undeserved deaths. Nothing to see here, people, moving on.
And of course, nobody bothered to accuse the hero for doing such a horrible thing, which led to the easily avoidable loss of half their military defenses against the bugs. But it’s ok, since they also didn’t reward Rentaro for saving the city. Seriously, the next episode begins and everybody acts like there never was a masked dude or they never were a step away from annihilation. Why is everybody ignoring this walking atomic bomb? Why is he going to a school where he does nothing, instead of being the elite protector of the city? Because light novels are being light novels.
Special mention to how despite all that bullshit, the author is still constantly trying to present Rentaro as some tragic figure who is insecure and afraid he is not capable enough. There is a scene where he 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 shown no weaknesses, and with no time invested on his fears so far, that scene was trying to create drama out of nothing and came off as completely retarded.
All this time I didn’t mention the worst problem this show has that completely eclipses all the other issues, and that 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 completely fake way, telling us things that normally would never be mentioned. 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.”
Plain ridiculous. Black Bullet is a very good example of 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. Light novels in a nutshell.
Black Bullet is a bunch of things, it has action, sci-fi, spooky monsters, superpowers, and lolis. Wow, that's, uh... something for everyone? What?
Black Bullet is a show that some people will love, and others will hate. Yup, this anime's review scores are never in the 4-9 range, it's either 3/10 or 10/10. Come on guys learn a little something called BALANCE! Since this was my second anime ever, I love it, but I know it isn't that good. Like most 8-15 episode anime, Black Bullet wanted to be everything when it simply didn't have the time and courage to do so. However, this show stays very interesting. Is it good, let's find out. (Though you probably already read the review score, so...)
Basically this richly poor guy in a suit (I wonder why you have no money?) lives in a world with these parasites that turns people into monsters, insect monsters, that are yellow. (It's funny because there's no bees) And his town, obviously Tokyo, is partially destroyed and has walls around the city (This is unoriginal, but that's none of my business) of an inexistant element named Varium, which kills/harms these monsters. However, women with the parasite and give birth to children, actually give birth to "Cursed Children," which have superpowers and are always horny as fuck, but require an injection everyday because they'll turn into your least favorite household pest...
I'm not going on because it'll take forever. Anyway, this show does some crazy stuff when it comes to it's ideas. It steals plot elements from giants like Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist, and obviously Parasyte: The Maxim, but keeps a partially interesting story.
This show keeps adding on and adding on, like PLEASE! It just needs to slow down.
My most despised problem with stories are the ones with sequences of events. All stories have them, but when the only thing that the story does is be a sequence of events, there isn't any point. Black Bullet is, unfortunately, just a sequence of events. It all starts, and a bunch of stuff happens and before you know it, it's over without a resolution to end itself with. The story isn't absolute shit, but it easily makes the anime fall apart in some aspects. Another big issue is that it's rushed. More rushed than a Paranormal Activity movie, like seriously at least attempt to take your time to polish some characters, make you care for them, etc. Hell, there was a point where some guy was all like "This battle will be a very long, hard one!" (*horny snicker*) and 2 minutes later the battle ends. Oh well, at least it didn't slow down too much, like the Cleaning Levi part of Attack on Titan. (Seriously I hate like the entire middle of Attack on Titan)
Just to get this out, I know many anime do this, but I hate it when people say the names of their power before/as they're using it, it's here because Black Bullet frequently does this. Has all the dumb "Super Mega Ultra Alpha Omega Orange Black-New Home Depot Tsundere Running-and-Crying Weaboo Tairy Fail Fire Pepper Boner-Power Reviewer is a Shameful Virgin I-I-I mean Version 420!!!" Actually, whoever came up with the original idea for saying their power's name is ridiculously stupid. Would you rob a bank shouting "GUN!" and shooting people?
So, what did the story do good on? The premise was interesting, and it holds up, kind of... I believe that the second half was really intense, too. Oh, and it has probably some of the best cliffhangers I've seen in many anime. The story itself can be shocking, too. However, I can't say a word because I hate seeing little girls dying. I am not a lolicon, guys like seriously.
Black Bullet has a relatively interesting premise, but falls short of greatness when it came to flow and pacing of the anime itself.
So, I have this line of animation quality, and few anime stick on this line, usually on one side or the other. One side has ugly, ugly animation, that no one will watch for being ugly, and the other looks beautiful, wasting their budget on all that and having no story, aka Ufotable - Unlimited Budget Works. (However, Fate/whatever is pretty well acclaimed, so...) Luckily for Black Bullet, it's on this line. The animation isn't average, It's great, and it balances out the other components. (kind of) Everything just works out to the point where the animation actually assists the other components with the performance of it's visuals.
Similar to many anime, Black Bullet also shifts art styles when it isn't serious.
There isn't much to say about the animation, though... It just, does it's job...
I love the soundtrack of Black Bullet. It's a perfect mix of EDM, classical, etc. Kind of like what Parasyte tried to do, but instead did dubstep and people kind of laughed. (Parasyte's OST is still awesome, though) In fact, I listen to this anime's soundtrack while playing CSGO, it makes be do better, footsteps do nothing for me. (Still has a KD ratio of 0.86, :_:) Black Bullet's soundtrack fits like a glove, since the show is Sci-Fi, which demands electric music. It's great. Unfortunately, like many short shows, it has a habit of repeating songs, especially my CSGO songs; "Crisis Point: Ascension" or "Crisis Point: Descension." I think they're the only fight songs, they probably ran out of ideas. Black Bullet's soundtrack is very powerful, though.
The characters are a very mixed bag. The main characters are badass, the main villain(s) are more badass. The rest... who cares?
First, we have Rentaro Satomi, the poor guy in a suit with a rich-people gun. (Get your priorities straight, sell your suit?) He's a very interesting character, but he seems like a copy-paste harem character, the asexual one that always gets into uncomfortably NSFW positions. Then you have Enju, which is the first loli of the series, who also gets in to uncomfortable NSFW positions, like all the time. Many characters get introduced, such as Tina, Kisara, and Fuse, but a bit later in the series.
Villain characters are a strong point of the series.
Then we have your villains, including Kagetane, also known as the badass version of Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, which has awesome powers and stuff. However, there are only two full villains, Kagetane and his partner Kohina, pictured above. The characters develop throughout the series, albeit very subtle. Villains in Black Bullet are stronger because there are way less, and they develop way more throughout the series; you learn more about them in direct fashion.
However, comparing to Shiki, the epidemic is not shown to it's full extent; in Shiki, the world around the main characters would slowly rot and decay, less people roaming, more rumors being spread, paranoia, etc. In Black Bullet, everything stays relatively the same throughout, no changes, etc. It's a small detail, but it would've been amazing if they actually rendered the effect of the parasite, since it's given little focus in the story anyway. The characters stay static for the most part, no one totally loses there mental being, and everyone's happy.
Black Bullet has strong characters, but weak side characters and little movement between said side characters.
Black Bullet could be a hit-or-miss for many. I loved it very much, but I tried (tried being key) to keep this unbiased. If you want a fun Sci-Fi that isn't very original and an amazing soundtrack, go right ahead. What Black Bullet isn't is a seriously amazing sci-fi anime like Fullmetal Alchemist or Psycho-Pass, so don't expect anything to that extent.
Black Bullet earns a 7.7/10
A contrived world and people
On the Crunchyroll comments and elsewhere Black Bullet has been favorably compared to Attack on Titan! Other than for the basic premise of a people under siege from something malevolent there is little similarity in these two shows. Attack on Titan! is an exceptional series and Black Bullet is not.
Before criticizing Black Bullet into oblivion first lets cover its good points. It is of a reasonably good production value. Artwork, sound, voice acting and music are good but not exceptional. There is one or two memorable characters and a few plot twists, if heavily handled ones.
WARNING FEW MINOR SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!
Now the descent into oblivion. The world of Black Bullet is horribly contrived. In the opening scene of the first episode we catch a glimpse of our collapsing world. In a damaged Tokyo a mass of frightened people huddle in a stadium while battle rages in the skies. A giant monster falls from the clouds killing many of those people. Fast forward ten years on to the present and we learn that Tokyo has become a giant ghetto. Humanity has lost control of most of their planets surface and now hides behind giant monoliths surrounding various cities from monsters called Gastrea. The Gastrea sole purpose seems to be to kill humans. It would be reasonable to expect that the world would be radically changed from the one we know well. Only it isn't. Nothing about the conditions of peoples lives seem to have changed at all. Your average Japanese citizen continues to eat a rich well balanced diet, dresses stylishly, drives nice shiny contemporary looking cars on tarmac roads between lots of big nice new skyscrapers. The trains run on time, the airports continue to operate, nothing is any different after the cataclysm than before it.
Varanium is a special metal that the gastrea have an adverse reaction to. The black bullets our protagonist use are made form it. Now although the government have more than enough varanium to construct multiple mountain sized monoliths around their cities, they don't have enough of the to mass produce varanium bullets for their police officers. Furthermore the police continue to carry the same small pistols and body armor and squad cars that they did before the arrival of the gastrea. Black Bullet has very many of these kinds of inconsistencies that give the whole series an absurd contrived feel where everything exists solely as instruments for protagonist's story.
Can a contrived world have genuine characters? Maybe (I have yet to see one) but it doesn't happen in Black Bullet. The protagonist Rentarō Satomi is another pretty flat and forgettable male. He is far from the worst I have seen though. During the arrival of the gastrea he lost his folks. Later he was attacked by one of the Gastreas and torn to bits. The good doctor Sumire Muroto used advanced cybernetic technology to put him back together again with added benefit that his new varanium implants that make him abnormally strong - at least when it is convenient for the story – otherwise he is no stronger than your average human. I wonder if the gastrea that ripped his leg off also took his reproductive organs, it would explain a lot if it did.
Now even though the government or corporations having invested in a huge way in these varanium cybernetic implants, what does it do with the people bearing them? Turn them into front line shock troops in the fight against the gastrea. No, it makes them civil officers. These civil officers seem to spend most of their time upholding the rule of law in the safety of the city. Their concerns are of a legal, social and economic nature that are just ridiculous in such a setting. In such a world the collective of humanity would only have one concern and only one concern and that's the total destruction of the gastrea and reclamation of their land and control of the planet, nothing else. This series seems to advocate or ridicule – I have not decided which - the normalization of extreme passivity. The Japanese army is still called the defense forces even though the world has changed so as to render this continuing anti-militant ideal a practical impossibility.
What of the supporting characters. Well the males fall into one of two narrow categories good guys and villains. The good guys are all pretty stereotypical tall handsome young adults with friendly casual personalities. They are all bland and inoffensive. The villains can be identified the second they appear as they all tick all the boxes of the villainous caricature: wear strange out fits that cover the faces, mustaches and monocles, evil sneary smirky faces, personality traits such as: creapy, thuggish, arrogant, superior, power seeking, psychotic, violent etc. There are no surprises to be found in the characters here, they all conform to the archetype to which they belong.
Sōgen Saitake is one of these bad guys and is called a 'dictator' by Rentarō Satomi before we even see him so we know he is going to be a bad guy. He wants to place a giant rail cannon on the moon so they can destroy the gastrea around the planet. It is the only known thing that can destroy a super class five gastrea and they presently keep it in gastrea controlled territory undefended and with no ammunition. Seitenshi the idealist is suddenly worried that our evil dictator might use this cannon to unduly influence other nations, shock horror. It would seem that she is quite prepared to risk the destruction of her own people in order to prevent the possible reemergence of hostile expansionary militarism within Japan.
Then there are the females. None of them are villains, they are all on the morally correct side of things and of course they all like and often love the protagonist. Well I suppose there is one slight exception to this but I won't give it away. Doctor Sumire Muroto is by far the most memorable of all them due to her witty and cynical banter. Unfortunately Her role in the story is limited to discussion with Rentarō Satomi and she never actually proactively does anything. I was hoping that Rentarō Satomi would try hitting on her but no dice.
Seitenshi is the ruler of Tokyo. I have no idea how she got that job. Apparently she is an idealist, one who has no original ideas. Besides parroting the nondiscrimination doctrine of a bygone era that is.
Then we come to the majority of our female cast the cursed children. They are all tens years old or less. They were born after the arrival of the gastrea and somehow the gastrea's biology got mixed with theirs giving them super strength and agility and resistance to disease and red eyes. However this also considerably shortens their life spans causing them to die at an early age. For some unexplained reason many of Tokyo's citizens have developed a deep hatred of the cursed children. The cursed children are physically very strong but emotionally broken n large part due to their social segregation. No meaningful reason is put forward for why this is the case and instead it is used to depict many of Tokyo's citizens as inherently and irrationally intolerant of difference and discriminatory. This makes little sense and is a clumsy attempt to wring outrage and sympathy out of the viewer.
Enju is a curse child and Rentarō Satomi's partner. She behaves as a typical ten year old might under such circumstances. It is a little strange the Rentarō Satomi on one hand has no problem walking her into battles but on the other treats her as his younger sister and professes to care for her well being.
You have to hand it to the people of this world. They might have lost virtually all of their land to hostile monsters but they have managed to hold on to their capitalism and democracy as well.
My recommendation would be to go an watch Attack on Titan! Instead of this.
Good animation, With a dark backstory, and loveable characters.
I really enjoyed the characters in this anime, The MC is likeable and just while still firm and ruthless when needed to be, the anime heavilly features adorable lolis who make part of the main element of this animes plot, being half gastrea (mutated monster) and half human they are known as the cursed children and are hated and despised by most of humanity.
Being protected within stone pillars inside one of the last remaining cities left on earth with man-eating monsters trying to eat them gives the anime a simular setting to Attack on Titan
The anime is very enjoyable albeit very short and the ending is quite sudden leaving it wide open for another series, So i reccomend giving it a try!
Just my personal opinion on this:
The most cliche filled anime I've ever watched. Extremely predictable, generic and pretentious. The animation was occasionally superb, and the story had a great hook that they sadly left untouched in the end (The tricycle summoning the Gastrea V). Also a honorable mention for the MC being affraid of getting used to people dying. In the end, I just couldnt take it seriously. I tried, and wanted to, but the output was just too much, pacing too fast, and characters too shallow. Oh, and the music was horrible, everything was foreshadowed with it, and it pretty much made me feel like I was playing Pokemon.