Most of my anime comes from my friend. He’s watches much more than I do and often recommends me some shows he’s enjoyed. Ookami-san, Noucome, No Game No Life, and Blade Dance are just some examples of what he’s referred me to. Of course, that means I have a very full viewing queue, but I am slowly working my way down. Today is one of his recommendations: Black Bullet.
The Story: In all of human history, there has never been a force as deadly or as persistent as disease. In 1348, the Black Death ravaged Europe, leaving one in three people dead – the only time in recorded history when the total human population decreased. In 1918, the Spanish Influenza swept the world, killing more people than World War I. Today, we face AIDS, SARS, Measles, tuberculosis, and, in the not-so-distant future, humanity will once again confront its old nemesis and the world as we know it will change forever.
A new virus, called the Gastrea Virus, has spread around the world, infecting millions, mutating them into horrifying abominations.
Faced with the possibility of extinction, humanity has no choice to but to fight one last war to save its species. By the year 2031, the war is over. Humans now live in isolated city-states, each surrounded by giant vanarium monoliths, which repel the gastrea. But the war’s legacy lives on. On the outskirts of town live the Cursed Children, children born to a Gastrea-infected mother and who carry the virus in themselves. While shunned by the rest of society, some have been put to work in Civil Security Bureaus, or CivSecs, which are primarily tasked with preventing more outbreaks.
Black Bullet follows the story of Rentaro Satomi and Enju Aihara, two Civsec employees tasked with stopping the various threats to the Tokyo city-state. The show, which is 13 episodes long, is broken up into three story arcs. The first two are less than average, but they serve to support the final arc. There, the characters receive the most development and the story becomes the most exciting. In the context of 13-episodes, the final arc was outstanding and really defines the anime.
The biggest problem with Black Bullet is that not every interesting motif and plot point was capitalized on. It ends on a unfinished note, and thus feels unfulfilling. Furthermore, while the most important and interesting motifs were expanded and developed, as was the case with the Cursed Children, Black Bullet was unable to completely immerse me in its universe. In other words, while it was complex, it was not complex enough.
The Characters: Black Bullet’s characters are quite interesting. Some are very well developed, others have semblances of development, and others have next to none. But all fit well in the context of the show, particularly the final arc.
Rentaro Satomi: As the main character, Rentaro is easily the most developed. He’s the reason I liked the dynamic between society and the Cursed Children, and that alone really develops him as a character. As the story progresses, he starts to rise in rank and prestige, and while that helped further the plot, it didn’t further his character. However, Rentaro’s development is solid. I really liked him by the end.
Enju Aihara (Left): Enju’s a Cursed Child and Rentaro’s partner in the CivSec bureau. Unfortunately, unlike her partner, Enju is not very interesting initially. By the third arc, she gets a lot of development, which is why I praised the final arc so much. Enju mostly redeemed herself by the end
Kisara Tendou (Right): While Rentaro was great development and Enju was good, Kisara is somewhere in the middle. While she was enjoyable as a character, Kisara didn’t have that depth that Rentaro has. She received some development at the end of the show, but by that point, it was too late for it to be anything meaningful. As a result, as far as the anime is concerned, she’s set up to be an interesting character, but the writers never paid off on that plot point. Kisara is a good character, but not as good as Rentaro.
Final Verdict: Black Bullet is a solid piece of work for being only 13 episodes long. It will get you attached to the world it creates, but only up to a point. As a result, I cannot say the show is meaningful enough. At the same time, it is a very good show and I would say is worth a shot
Final Grade: B+