Episode 2 Impressions: Black Bullet

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While Black Bullet did open its first episode on a rather bad note with some overly typical plot elements and overused archetypes, the second episode manages to bring a more dark and interesting take on those elements.  Breathing a much-needed breath of fresh ideas that may spell a promising series.

e2blackbullet9Synopsis
President of Tendo Civil Security Agency Tendo Kisara is summoned to a meeting with the Tokyo government. Escorted by Satomi without the aid of Enju, they find themselves in a room filled with every Civil agency along with their respective Promoters and Initiators. Shortly after arriving, Satomi has a run in with a large Promoter named Ikuma Shogen wielding a gigantic blade who acts aggressively to Satomi and his lack of his Initiator that he calls a “Tool”. However Ikuma stands down after his president questions his loyalty.

After Kisara takes her seat, an official notes the absence of one civil agency but proceeds with the meeting. On a screen the leader of the Tokyo area appears, Seitenshi, along with her advisor Tendo Kikunojo. Turns out not only is Tendo Kikunojo the grandfather of Tendo Kisara, but also the adoptive father of Satomi after his parents were killed 10 years ago.

Seitenshi offers the present civil agency a large sum reward for recovering a missing box of great importants. After refusing to state the contents of the box, the masked man who Satomi encountered before shows up in the seat of the absent agency.

e2blackbullet3The masked man introduces himself as Hiruko Kagetane as well as his Initiator named Hiruko Kohina who he calls his daughter. Kagetane challenges all of the Promoters in the room to a race in finding the box in question, waging their lives. Suddenly Ikuma decides to draw his blade upon Kagetane, but is repelled by an unseen barrier. Following this, the room opens fire upon Kagetane even though every bullet seemingly halts in the air around him.

After Satomi questions if Kagetane is even human, he reveals that he is indeed human but replaced most of his organs with Varanium instruments. He describes himself as a former Ground Self-Defense Force member of the Eastern Force, the New Humanity Creation Plan.

Satomi suddenly shields Kisara as Kagetane repels all of the bullets surrounding him, killing many in the room. Before Kagetane takes his leave, he leaves a small present on the table for Satomi. In response to the current events, Seitenshi changes her request to include finding the package before Kagetane does. emphasizing that if he finds it, it could mean the destruction of the Monolith Barrier. Just before the meeting is adjourned, a man rushes into the room claiming that the absent president was found dead and missing his head. Just then Satomi realizes the contents of the present left for him.

The following day Satomi walks with Enju through a market street. They are confronted by a fleeing Cursed Child who is captured by some nearby shop owners. Claiming that she had stolen from them. As the cops arrive, Enju realizes that she knew the girl from when she lived in the ruined town of District 39. Satomi refuses to help the girl as she’s roughly handled into a nearby police car. After they leave, Enju expresses her disappointment in Satomi. After some thought, Satomi leaves Enju to chase after the vehicle.

e2blackbullet7At an abandoned building, Satomi finds the police officers who execute the girl in a dark corner. They mumble something about the Cursed Child being a nuisance and take their leave. Satomi is crushed by the idea that the Cursed Children are so hated even though they keep the world safe. As he mourns over the body of the girl, she suddenly regains consciousness, despite her gunshot wounds. Desiring to save the child, Satomi takes her to a nearby hospital and offers to cover the medical costs.

While heading home, Satomi encounters the masked man Kagetane and his Initiator Kohina. After some exchanged blows and the arrival of Enju, Kagetane offers Satomi a partnership in finding the package. For reasons even he doesn’t know, Kagetane has taken an interest in Satomi. Of course Satomi refuses the offer and Kagetane takes his leave, noting that the end of man is coming.

The following day it comes to Satomi’s attention that Enju’s cover has been blown at school. The knowledge of her being a Cursed Child leads to her being expelled from school as they do not allow Cursed Children to attend. The school official mentions that Enju left upset and Satomi rushes to find her. While not finding her at home, he remembers mention of Enju’s past residence at district 39.

e2blackbullet1At District 39, Satomi meets a man named the Elder who takes care of the Cursed Children and helps them learn how to live in the real world undetected. When he learns of Satomi’s search, he offers him to just find a replacement from the agency. This upsets Satomi who explains his history with Enju. Meeting her at the agency, living together for many years, that she’s a companion and not a tool. As Satomi takes his leave, the Elder asks Enju who hides in a dark corner if it’s really for the best.

Thoughts
A good episode overall. I’m glad it moved away from the typical feel of the first episode. The “Unbreakable Machine Doll” vibe I had prior was slightly shattered in this episode. It took on a more dark and gritty feel. Kagetane seems like a well designed villain and I really enjoyed the unique designs they had for each of the Promoters and Initiators.

I still have some misgivings of the episode however. It did feel a bit broken in pacing. We went from a huge challenge being set and a dire situation unfolding to Satomi walking Enju down the street and Enju attending school. All this after establishing that their world is about to go downhill very fast? It felt rather broken.

The other issue I had was the Curse Child’s execution. It just felt forced and unfitting of the world. Useless shock value. Sure racism and persecution includes lynching and murder of the victims in question, but that was after hundreds upon thousands of years of build up. I’m not sure if 10 years is a proper timeframe for people to suddenly be okay with executing a child. Whether it’s seen as a “freak” or not. It takes a very morbid mind to be able to execute a child.

Episode 2: The Mask of Madness

THUMBS UP! PROMISING!

THUMBS UP! PROMISING!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Good

Goods:

  • Decent plot element created
  • Good character designs

Fears:

  • Forced shock factor
  • Pacing issues

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.

  • Neowned

    I just did not understand why Enju would select to hide herself from Satomi? Was she afraid that she held little value to him so she failed to acknowledge him when he was searching for her, but should realized that was not the case when she over heard his conversation with the elder. Or was it the fact that her friend was taken away by the police and he did not help her, even tho she did not see the events that transpired after he gave chase. Her friends turning against her when finding out what she really is, which caused her distress and she did not want to be seen in this state? Looking forward to the explanation and direction of the story.

    • I’d imagine the next episode would explain it (I hope). Probably “I didn’t want to be a burden” “You’ll be happier without me”