The year is 2021. An unexpected and highly parasitic virus has devastated human society. The virus, known only as “Gastrea”, has driven humans into massive walled cities. The only thing that is capable of withholding the virus infected monsters is a metal called Varanium. The city walls and the weapons mankind uses to fight against these monsters are made of it. Despite efforts to keep "Gastrea" at bay, children were soon born with the virus already inside of them. Children born with the virus were called "Cursed Children", were only female and had special powers which humanity deemed as their best weapon to fight against Gastrea monsters.
Every team sent out to help fight the virus is composed of Initiators, who are Cursed Children, and a Promoter, who is there to guide and protect them. Black Bullet focuses on Rentaro Satomi, a second year high school student and Promoter along with Initiator Enju Aihara, who is like a sister to him. Together they carry out missions for Tendo Civil Security until one day they receive a secret mission to prevent the destruction of Tokyo area from Gastrea invasion.
Black Bullet is one of the many light novel adaptations that aired during Spring 2014. You might know the other ones as The Irregular at Magic High School, No Game No Life, and Chaika - The Coffin Princess. It started out okay, but got progressively weaker as it went on, before turning into an unentertaining show that turned out to be a rushed and half-baked adaptation. Shame, it had potential to be way better.
If you've read the synopsis on the show's page on this site, it'll tell you that it takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity is practically on the brink of extinction, having been driven into a corner by powerful monsters. You might think that this concept sounds familiar; kind of like 2013's popular Attack on Titan. With a premise like that, it drew in a lot of viewers who, one might say, could have been looking for a sci-fi version of Attack on Titan or something. However, the thing about this show is that it seems to have entirely forgotten that it was a post-apocalyptic show. You see plenty of tons of healthy-looking people on the rather clean streets, the towns look clean and well-tended, and the economy seems to be in such good condition that they're able to afford things like prosthetic limbs made of tissue resembling human flesh and whatnot.
The art is standard fare, all things considered. The style isn't anything special; it's generic and nothing about it really seems to stick out. Characters and objects look polished enough, and the actual animation is fairly crisp when there's good action going on, though it's not enough to make the actual fights that appealing or interesting to watch. In the end though, it gets the job done, but ultimately doesn't stick out at all. The designs were fairly neat though, I'll give it that. I liked the designs of the Gastrea, all two times they appeared or whatever.
I'm quite fond of Shiro Sagisu's work. He did an outstanding job with the music for the Evangelion franchise, along with a great job at the soundtrack for the Berserk: Golden Age Arc films. However, this must be easily his weakest work. Background music is generic and forgettable, except for probably two or so songs that play during battles, which can give a good feel of intensity. The opening, "black bullet," respectively named after the show and light novel, is fairly pleasant to listen to, but it isn't anything I'll remember in a month or so. Same goes for the main ending theme, "Tokohana," though I do really like when it starts playing near the end of an episode. The voice acting isn't anything to write home for either. You have Yuki Kaji as the main character, Rentaro Satomi, but he isn't all that interesting to listen to. He always seems depressed, angry, tired, bored, or sounds like he's crying. So in short, he practically sounds the same as when he voiced Eren Yeager in Attack on Titan. I suppose I should give an honorable mention to Yui Horie (Minori Kushieda, Toradora!) for trying her best with what she got, and to Rikiya Koyama (Kiritsugu Emiya, Fate/Zero) for still having that charming, nonchalantly badass voice, even if his role was fairly limited.
The characters are bland and unmemorable. Rentaro practically has no notable personality traits other than typical "brave" and "determined" that can be found in literally a hundred other characters who are far better written. He reminds me of Kirito from Sword Art Online in a way, in that not only does he have no notable personality, he has a harem for practically no reason, at least one girl in each harem being a little girl under 13. The main difference though is that while Kirito is overpowered, Rentaro seems underpowered in contrast. Despite being equipped with skills like knowledge of martial arts, a fairly high level of agility, exceptional marksmanship, and practically superhuman strength and speed due to his prosthetic limbs, he never seems to win, and even when he does, it's not even memorable or anything. Now, there's nothing wrong with making the main character an underdog, but a well-written underdog has to be a well-written character. The main reason why Rocky Balboa is a good underdog is because he's a genuine nice person. When he's not boxing, he's a really sweet guy, like around his lover Adrian and her brother Paulie, and he stands up for those he cares for. There's time and dedication given into giving the audience a good idea of what Rocky is like, which ultimately makes us want him to win against all odds against more experienced and stronger boxers like Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago. However, in Black Bullet, since Rentaro is a bland and forgettable character, it makes the audience not care whether he wins or loses, and thus, destroys all tension in a fight. Every time something happens to him, he begins to doubt all he knows, building the foundation of character development, but he never visibly develops, though given that the source material is still ongoing, not all is lost yet, since all these events that happen to him could potentially act as catalysts to a giant, grand development. But I suppose we'll only know if there's a second season. The other characters aren't all that special either. Enju is the token "energetic loli," similar to how Tina is the token "lethargic loli" who's only active when the situation calls for it, kind of like Shiro from No Game No Life. There's also Kisara "Big Boobs" Tendo, the president of Civil Security that Rentaro works for, who happens to be a childhood friend of our main character, but ultimately, she lacks depth like the other character and hardly develops her own identity until the last five minutes or so. There are also more generic characters like the aloof old friend, the cocky guy, the girl with cat ears (which is supposed to be explained in plot but we never actually see any more of this), the hikkomori, etc. The character who steals the show is Kagetane Hiruko, who is the main villain of it all, or is supposed to be anyway. He's smooth, charismatic, nonchalant, mysterious, and reminds me of V from V for Vendetta in some ways. It's a shame he doesn't get a lot of screen-time either.
The enjoyment levels seemed to fluctuate for me at first, before going down to consistently being a chore to watch. It has an inconsistent tone akin to that of Elfen Lied. By day, happy-go-lucky comedy featuring boob groping, other fanservice, and loli sweetness. By night, it becomes (or tries to be) macabre and dark, though it only comes off as unnecessarily edgy for the sake of being edgy. The humor might get a small chuckle or two out of you, but at the end of the day, boob groping and comical misunderstandings aren't anything to write home to in the humor department.
In the end, Black Bullet could have been a good show, but ultimately fails miserably. To say that it was rushed would be a big understatement indeed, what with not providing adequate world-building or characterization. I'm sure the light novels are way better, but since the adaptation is poor, it's not exactly doing a good job at advertising the source material to me, and thus, fails as such.read more
Although Black Bullet is tagged as being action, mystery, sci-fi, seinen, and probably post-apocalyptic, it should really be considered a loli-harem comedy first and foremost. The comedy is completely unintentional but it's what kept me watching week after week. Black Bullet is driven by manufactured drama and the characters are one dimensional cardboard cutouts with some dark backstories thrown in. Several important plot points are brought up and then never mentioned again, leaving the audience to wonder why we were even given this information in the first place.
The story follows high school student and "Promoter" Satomi Rentaro and his loli partner Enju, who uses her kept-in-check gastrea powers to kill full blown gastrea. Rentaro starts off being pretty mediocre as far as Promoters go, but he quickly rises through the ranks because of his inherent superiority and a sudden powerup.
Although the story tries to be serious and mature, it fails miserably. We start off with the usual generic villain who wants to let the gastrea kill everyone in Tokyo because apparently anyone who can't defend defend themselves from giant monsters ought to die and it doesn't really get much better. There's an evil scientist named Ayn Rand, loli assassins, bad guys who have an irrational hatred of Rentaro, and a guy who built one of the varanium monoliths on the cheap so he could pocket the extra money. Sorry if I'm making this sound good because really, it's not. Even when we get a big gastrea battle at the end the real action takes place off screen. All we get to see is the aftermath.
The biggest problem with the show is that it has absolutely no idea how to have any kind of emotional impact on the audience. Minor characters are introduced only to die an episode or two later. Rentaro cries because he cared about them, but the viewer hardly knew them at all. Little girls in particular are subjected to brutal violence because what's worse than killing off an ordinary character? Killing off a child! This happens multiple times throughout the show and it serves no purpose other than to be "shocking" and briefly make Rentaro pause and wonder why he protects Tokyo. There's a death toward the end that annoyed me because of how it happened so nonchalently. When someone dies it should feel like they made a meaningful sacrifice. This felt like the character had such little regard for their own life that it wasn't really a sacrifice at all.
Black Bullet has very little character growth. It may be that the show's rushed pacing gave Rentaro very little time for introspection, or that the story is basically one crisis after another. Either way, every character gets a dark backstory but that's pretty much it.
Rentaro starts off as a mid-tier Promoter before he suddenly unlocks his potential and becomes ridiculously overpowered - except when he gets physically restrained by two guys right after a fight where he was demolishing concrete walls. He is always morally right and he demonstrates his superiority by triumphing over characters who hate him for very flimsy reasons. When a character unfairly persecuteshim, something conveniently happens that removes the obstacle and increases Rentaro's prestige. Everyone in a position of authority acts like a retard just so he can show how clever and perceptive he is.
Kisara is Rentaro's tsundere friend. Her family is basically the Rothschilds of Japan except instead of banking, they teach their children absurdly overpowered martial arts and weapon techniques. You'll know this because the characters announce the name of the attack before they use it.
The loli harem is there for comedy relief and pandering. The kind of "humor" here entails a gastrea-spider shoots sticky white web on Enju and constant flirting with Rentaro.
If you like B-movies then boy, have I got the show for you. It tries to be deep but the pacing is so frenetic that all the characters come across as being extremely shallow. There's even a scene where a guy gets cut by a sword but doesn't realize it until his head EXPLODES a minute later. Varanium may be black, but Black Bullet is comedy gold.read more
Hey there folks! Have you ever wanted to see an anime that has a loli fanservice scene, a comedic tsundere romance scene, and a scene that features the complete and brutal genocide of children all within 2 minutes of each other? No? Good, because anyone who WOULD want to see that wouldn't know the first thing about writing a coherent TV show. Unfortunately for Black Bullet, one of this season's most unfortunately overrated series, there is plenty of incoherence to be found. This horribly confused action seinen is jam packed with arguably the worst pacing issues I've ever seen, poor character development, and lolis. Soooo many lolis. Sure, the series has its moments, but the plentiful flaws outnumber the few positives that Black Bullet has to offer.
Synopsis: In a near future, where mankind lives in fear of viral parasites called Gastrea, humans have been forced into a small territory and live in constant fear of death. Satomi Rentaro, a member of the "Civil Security" (an organization specializing in fighting against the Gastrea), is tasked with defending mankind from this monstrous threat. His partner, Enju, is a 10 year old girl with large amounts of power due to her partially Gastrea-infected DNA; she is one of the many "cursed children" who are used to fight the Gastrea as humanity struggles to survive.
Black Bullet's plot can easily be described as a mess for more then one reason. The first issue I will focus on is the MONUMENTALLY awful pacing, and trust me when I say it is monumental: Episodes 1-4 of Black Bullet are a shock to the system. I mean really, not a single person on planet Earth was prepared for the insanity that they witnessed over the course of those first 4 episodes. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the ENTIRE anime could have been just these four episodes, because that's how much content they truly "covered" in so little time. The pace of the show was faster then a coked-up cheetah with rockets strapped to its back, I mean it was truly something to behold. This all culminated in the absolute clusterfuck that was episode 4, in which 5 or 6 different climaxes all happened in the same episode. Ridiculous? Yes. But admittedly, it was so unfathomably stupid that it was actually kind of fun. However, starting at episode 5, that cheetah crashes into a brick wall and stops dead in its tracks. The pacing of the show from then on out is a snail's pace, leaving the audience to wonder what the hell happened to the absurdity that this show opened up with. With all the ridiculousness that went on in episode 4, the show had nowhere to go but down in terms of mindless entertainment; it doomed itself. Of course, I don't mean to suggest that the ludicris pacing was something that the show should have tried to keep, because it was STUPIDLY fast, but I am saying that this show threw everything it had at us in the first 1/4th and then simply had nothing left. This brings me to my underling point: How in the hell did this happen?! I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never seen a more mystifying anomaly in anime writing EVER! It is the least consistent and most mind-boggling betrayal of story-telling 101 I've ever had the displeasure of gazing upon. So congratulations Black Bullet, you win the "Worst Pacing Ever" award.
The second reason that Black Bullet's plot is a failure would be that fact there is no consistent tone what so ever. I will refer you back to my opening paragraph to give you a taste of how truly bad this problem is… This anime is trying to tell a mature and emotionally moving story, but then they decide to lace it with super-happy-fun-time with lolis, a cliché comedic tsundere romance, and then even more super-happy-fun-time with lolis. As if that wasn't bad enough, they do so without allowing ANY time at all for a gradual shift in mood; devastating shit that should have a huge effect on the characters and comedic relief happen within seconds of each other. News Flash: That doesn't work, and any writer worth the paper he prints the script on could tell you that. Did I mention that this show has a lot of lolis?
That brings us to the characters, who are a bit hard to explain. Rentaro, the protagonist, receives no real character development at any point despite the fact that the plot could not have been more perfectly set up for him to receive some. For example, there was a scene in episode 10 that should have made him completely reevaluate himself, but he simply doesn't; we just get a 30 second scene of him thinking and then it's right back to the original plotline. Black Bullet instead tries to characterize Rentaro by making him a total badass, and while he definitely has some badass moments, he also has some moments that are the complete opposite of badass, so there is no consistency to his character at all. He is not a good protagonist. His love interest is a stereotypical tsundere; there is literally not a speck of originality to her, so I'll just move on. Rentaro's partners, the "cursed children", aka the lolis, are unbelievably aggravating to me. Let it be noted that I hate lolis, but I won't let that bias get in the way of this review. Enju, one of the lolis, is in love with Rentaro and makes contrived sex joke after contrived sex joke despite the fact that she is 10 years old. Some people find this funny; I don't. The rest of the lolis all have stereotypical personalities and no depth what so ever, so there isn't much to talk about there. The lolis are aggravating because they are the main source of the tone issues that the show suffers from, which I talked about earlier. They almost single handedly kill any chance this show had of being taken seriously, which it clearly is striving to do.
In addition to the fact that the characters are remarkably unspectacular, they also have very poor chemistry with one another. One of the cornerstones of the plot is that Rentaro and Enju are very close to each other, and you want to know how we are supposed to know they are so close? Because we got a 15 second flashback scene that showed us how close they were. ...I mean… Really? They can't be serious, can they? Well, they most certainly are. Not a single relationship in Black Bullet is believable or relatable by any stretch of the imagination, and that can be attributed to the awful pacing of the show.
While the plot of Black Bullet is awful and the characters leave a lot to be desired, it should be noted that the animation is good and the music is AMAZING. The show's OP and ED are both among the best of this season and the OST is very fitting for the show. The voice acting is also above average. Unfortunately, none of this is enough save the show from the slew of other problems that Black Bullet suffers from, and I do mean SUFFERS.
In conclusion, Black Bullet is an action seinen that completely lacks direction on all fronts; both in its plot and in its characters. It has some redeeming factors and can be good for some mindless fun at times, but it comes across as an absolute disaster more often then not. Good music and animation save this anime from being unwatchable, but I certainly do not recommend it. There are many better seinen anime out there. read more
Black bullet is a anime that was adopted from a light novel. This series was being compare to attack on titan, or being called a copycat to attack on titan, but that can't be true since attack on titan isn't the first nor last to have these kind of story and settings. Coming into this series, it had a lot of hype from people who read the light novel or the manga. What most people didn't realize is that it would be adopted into 13 episodes which would mean the pacing would be rushed. So lets begin, I'll be reviewing this series in five category, story,art,sound,character and enjoyment.
Story 6/10: The story is about humans being forced to live in a small territory because of the attack of viral parasites named Gastrea. Now with this series just having 13 episodes, that means a lot of story progression would be lost and rushed. The thing that I find odd in this series is that The theme of the story is about humanity is on the verge of extinction, but I never get the impression that humanity is on the verge of extinction by huge bugs and that there is some sort of survival going on here. Nobody cares about it. In fact, we don’t even see the population having anything to say about that, since the plot centers on the protagonist. If they had shown a few bugs attacking people even that would be enough. Just to give us viewers that humanity really is under a threat. I don't know if this is the flaw of the story itself or just because the series was rushed and a lot of things were taken out from the light novel.
Art 7/10: Art is pretty good, and nice to look at.
Sound 7/10: The sound is pretty good, I downloaded a few ost to listen to, I like the ost. I also like the opening is anyone getting a attack on titan feel to that opening or is it just me?
Characters 4/10: The characters are pretty bland and two dimmensional. Each character has different personalities but what I find annoying is how easy the characters mood changes, like one moment everyone is sad then a minute later everyone is all happy, I personally think this series would've been way better if lolis were not in it. also Enju is pretty annoying, when she calls out to Rentarou it makes me *facepalm* and just sometimes put me off and give me a different mood towards this series. Each characters also have a dark/sad past which can make it a little overwhelming.
Enjoyment 7/10: I have to say with all the flaw and paced of this series, I did have a lot of fun watching it, the actions were short, but pretty good with the epic soundtrack.
overall: This series would've been so much better if it was adopted into 24 episodes instead of 13 episodes. I'm not a light novel or manga reader but even I can tell the pacing was rushed. Light novel readers has also confirmed my speculation. Well what can I say about this series, if you like lolis and want a series with good action and great soundtrack, then you should give black bullet a shot.
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