Black Bullet Ep. 10: Let’s jerk those heart strings!

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Take a good look at this scene. Etch it into your mind. It’ll be very important for the purposes of this post. Alright then, let’s get on with the rest of the show.

— We start things off with Rentaro teaching his class full of precious lolis. Children are our future, after all. Yes, the lolis. No shotas. Boys aren’t our futures. Boys are icky. And yes, yes, our future lies in the hands of young, precocious lolis who all worship Rentaro. Now, even though you see him teaching his classroom here, it doesn’t mean the monolith isn’t still going to come crashing down in three mere days. It also doesn’t mean Rentaro is no longer a high school student. In fact, he’s everything. He’s saving the world, doing his schoolwork, and still conducting classes for these downtrodden lolis all at the same time! Isn’t Rentaro therefore a man worthy of our utmost respect? Ah, anime’s very own Leonardo da Vinci! …w-wha? You think it’s unrealistic that a single kid can have so much on his plate? I’ll have you know Rentaro’s overclocking his brain as hard as possible!

— In fact, because the lolis are our future, Rentaro has them doing a short writing assignment. Each girl should write down what they envision for themselves in the, well, future! Enju is the first to finish, and this is what she wrote:

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How incestuous. I can already hear it now: “B-but she’s not related to him!” You’re right, let’s just ignore that Rentaro cares for Enju like a guardian. Let’s also ignore that they’re already like a family with Kisara. The literal interpretation of events is all that matters. Mm-hmm. It is thus very healthy and funny for Enju to constantly fantasize about marrying Rentaro.

— Oh look, Tina Sprout wants to marry Rentaro too! It’s almost like it is a bad idea for Rentaro to serve as a teacher for these girls because they won’t focus on their education! On the other hand, we can now indulge our student-teacher sex fantasies, and well, I guess that’s ultimately more important than these girls’ “education.” Haha, who needs an education when they’re all going to become twisted Gastreas anyway.

— The old man observes everything with a smile on his face as if what he sees is perfectly normal and innocent:

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But then again, who knows what he’s done with these girls.

— Rentaro then takes the girls on a field trip to see some crappy monument, but these girls aren’t clueless. They know something’s about to go down, and as a result, they know their lives are on the line as well. Rentaro assures his lolis that he’ll protect them, though!

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Yeah, let’s tell these girls that their teacher might possibly die and therefore abandon them! This can’t possibly go wrong.

— The animation is just getting better and better with each passing week.

— Yep:

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Yeeeeeeeeeeep:

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All season long, it’s been one huge competition between these anime to out-shit each other. Gary Stus aren’t your fancy? Here, have a bunch of girls hide behind a bland harem lead because if they don’t, they’ll melt into goo. Still not good enough? Fine, have a bunch of lolis maul the bland harem lead shortly after expressing their intent to marry him. Still not good enough? Well, just wait patiently for the biggest otaku-pandering show ever when it airs tomorrow. Oh, you know the one. Instead of the girls mauling the bland harem lead, he’ll go and force them into servitude instead! I await the day when a show features a bland harem lead forcing a bunch of lolis into servitude. So far, Rentaro’s only done that with Tina Sprout. You gotta take initiative!

— Is that the face of a man who’s concerned?

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More like he just creamed his pants.

— Later that night, Rentaro’s adjuvant is busy sleeping in the crappy tent he’s been provided, but not Rentaro though. He’s still doing it all! He’s staying up to cover his lolis with a blanket.

— Rentaro then shares a moment with Kisara. They talk about the monoliths. They gaze at the stars. Kisara confesses that… that..?! She’s happy right now. That’s it. She’s happy. Even though they’re all about to die, she’s happy. She even says, “At the agency, we have Enju-chan, Tina-chan, and you, Satomi-kun. It’s like a family.” Three of the family members want to marry and bang the remaining member. Yeah, what a family.

— But now Kisara is scared! We might all die! Happy! But scared!

— The next day, we see examples of how Tokyo has fallen into a city-wide panic. After all, only 30% of the population are allowed to take shelter. Rentaro even sees flyers all over the place protesting Seitenshi’s government:

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— For some reason, Rentaro immediately rushes to the blind girl we last met in the shopping district. Y’know, the one that had poured lead into her own eyes. Naturally, she’s being picked on by a bunch of grown men. Oh, my heart strings! Why must you play my heart like a harpsichord, Black Bullet? Why!

— What is Rentaro even doing to prepare himself for the upcoming mission? Oh well, I’m sure he always has time to protect little girls.

— In fact, Rentaro should’ve been teaching a class today, but instead… uh, he went to save some girl instead? And as you can imagine, the class full of Rentaro-lovers were not pleased. They even booed Kisara. Nice job, Black Bullet.

— Kisara receives some concerning news about Monolith 32 and immediately tries to burn the information. I guess her family is implicated. Serious portions of the plot are sadly short-lived as the episode quickly shifts its focus back to Rentaro and his classroom of precious lolis. He intends to see them one last time before the big battle.

— But when he gets there, the entire classroom has been bombed into the ground. Boom, gone. Just like that. But we’ll include this shot of a ragged teddy bear just to drive home the tragedy:

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Cry with Rentaro, viewers, cry! The lolis have died. Oh god, the poor lolis! Yeah, it’s disgustingly and emotionally manipulative, but did you actually expect anything less from Black Bullet? The show has no qualms about pandering hard to its audience even though this means sexualizing the hell out of the Cursed Children. Is it any surprise, therefore, that the story would immediately turn around in the very same episode and brutally murder each and every single one of the little girls just to make you, the audience, feel bad? These girls were never once important to Black Bullet. Don’t make the mistake of thinking otherwise. These girls were nobodies.

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Rentaro kneels in front of their bodies and names each and every single one of them as if they were all individually important to him, but let’s be real. We never knew any of them. We never learned a single thing about any of them. Black Bullet never treated these girls with any respect. They were nothing more than fodder to indulge our fantasies:

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Then when it becomes fucking convenient — once the girls have served their purposes — they are mercilessly killed off. Every single one of them. So y’know, you’ll have to excuse me when I refuse to buy the shit that the anime is peddling. The true monstrosity here isn’t even the cruel and hateful citizens of Tokyo. After all, they’re not real either. Their hate is cartoonish and one-sided. They are only tools to serve the story’s aims, which is to tearjerk the shit out of the audience. What’s truly monstrous here is the casual way in which Black Bullet has exploited the hell out of the very same girls it claims to love and want to protect so, so much. Cursed Children are cute and precious, right? Let’s fucking bomb them into the ground! Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained?!

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— Every single one of the girls have died. Somehow, the old man is still alive. Hm.

— To top it all off, Enju ignores Rentaro’s orders and bursts into the room with all the bodies. This way, we get to see her break down and cry. Cool. Well, maybe Rentaro shouldn’t have tried to fucking convene a class with an impending disaster looming over their heads. Maybe Rentaro should have known that the unrest would boil over and his precious fucking lolis would be the target of an attack! Oh, oh… are we going to round this episode off with the blind girl being ruthlessly murdered too? Please, Black Bullet, won’t you kill more of your lolis just to tug at my heart strings? Won’t you continue to under-develop every single one of these characters then murder them off just to serve your purposes?

— Haha, Rentaro now sits there and goes through the girls’ short essays. Y’know, the girls had written about their future and all that. Way to go, Rentaro. Way to protect their futures!

— Rentaro tells Kisara, “The guys who have a grudge against the Cursed Children did this.” Oh really? I thought it was just an accident!

— Oh look, there she is! There’s the blind girl!

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Quick, throw in a shot of Rentaro’s former students as well:

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Crank it up! Crank up that emotional manipulation! And that’s that. One phone call with Kisara is enough to convince Rentaro to fulfill his duties as a civil officer. But then, the monolith comes crashing down. It’s time. We’ve tugged your heart strings hard enough. We will now have an exciting, shounen-esque battle in next week’s episode! Stay tuned, Black Bullet fans!

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20 thoughts on “Black Bullet Ep. 10: Let’s jerk those heart strings!

  1. kaoknight

    yeah, I also find the unreasonable hatred for the cursed girls really silly to the point where it’s laughable, it reminded me of the whole unexplained discrimination for weeds in mahouka.

    And I seriously felt nothing for that class of dead lolis, they were just creepy fetish fuel whose only purpose was to ultimately be stuffed into the fridge for “drama”.

    I’d probably be able to take this show a little more seriously if the cursed werent limited to being little girls only. I’d be cool if they pandered less and made some of them boys and being older than the loli/shota range(some other teenagers and maybe adults) but it physically hurts me to watch this show, I lost count just how many times I cringed before I dropped it at the 3rd ep.

    Reply
    1. Silver

      Unreasonable? Yes. Not realistic? Perhaps not. That’s the definition of humans. A lot worst things happen in human history so people really should not be surprised. Hell, discrimination in history are pretty… pathetic as well. Either way, I still enjoyed this show a lot so it’s different for everyone.

      On the other hand, this post got me chuckling. Very well done!

      Reply
      1. kaoknight

        I agree, discrimination is very real, irrational and pathetic being a dark part of human history that still goes on today…

        But in the magical loli-filled world of black bullet the people are insanely one-note clowns whose only characteristics is that they really hate lolis.

        Reply
        1. Silver

          “But in the magical loli-filled world of black bullet the people are insanely one-note clowns whose only characteristics is that they really hate lolis.”

          But isn’t that similar to how cases happen in real life? One person discriminate upon a group. They find more people who feels the same way. Eventually it becomes a group of clowns how have no logical explanation on what they’re doing or why they discriminate something other than… just that they hate this other group. Mob mentality and all. It’s sad really.

        2. Naota

          That isn’t really how it works. People do actually need reasons – wrong or otherwise – to discriminate against people, and their behaviour does by and large follow certain patterns. If all it took was feeling like a group of people were tangentially related to “the enemy” to start literally setting bombs to kill them, political discourse in countries like the United States wouldn’t even exist – there’d just be a constant civil war raging. Hate does not translate into murder the same way it does in Black Bullet.

          I mean, think about this for a second: some guy was just going about his business one day when a group of cute little girls went past. Purely on the basis of their genetics he hated these girls so much that he followed them around for hours, back to their ghetto outside the city, returned home, somehow built a bomb, trekked all the way back out there, and set it in the middle of their shambles of a classroom – a classroom very much like one he must have sat in as a child. Does this sound like a human being or a one-dimensional plot device?

          Yes, people don’t always need to be logical or rational in the basis of their discrimination, but far too often I see this used to excuse the most over-the-top ridiculous caricatures of real issues and people. Believe it or not, people do have reasons for hating the things they hate, and their actions are tempered by social norms, ethics, morality, fear of reprisal, and simple evaluations of risk/reward. Discrimination doesn’t just happen out of the blue, and it does not take the forms we’re seeing in Mahouka and Black Bullet anywhere but in a state of total anarchy.

        3. kaoknight

          @Naota

          Yes, that’s what I was trying to say. There’s a right way and a wrong way to using the discrimination element in a story and this one is really wrong and over-the-top. But at the same time it’s really hard to expect anything subtle happening in this comical series.

    2. E Minor Post author

      And I seriously felt nothing for that class of dead lolis, they were just creepy fetish fuel whose only purpose was to ultimately be stuffed into the fridge for “drama”.

      Yeah, you’re right. That’s exactly what they are. And this is why they’re all girls, because while we might feel somewhat bad if boys faced the same fate, we have to be as calculated and efficient as possible in our tragedies!

      Reply
      1. kaoknight

        …so if those girls were actually anything besides creepy wish-fulfillment it might’ve been possible to feel bad about what happened to them.

        But instead we got some over-the-top scenes of the kids going “Hey, just look at how cartoonishly cute and innocent we are, it’d be a shame if we were killed off screen like the sacrificial lamb we are…”

        I laugh at this show and I take it as seriously as something like pokemon. It may as well be pokemon anyway since that’s all the lolis are, “Let’s battle! I choose my rabbit loli to fight your cat loli, rabbit loli dodge and use kick attack!”

        Reply
  2. Silver

    Hmm… I don’t really find it hard to believe for this show though and that might be the problem. We do know that Gastrea had kill many many people and that obviously include friends and families. These people will hate the Gastrea. These cursed children have the Gastrea virus within them. They are then hated merely by association. These people still live in fear of the Gastrea and having these little kids running around with the same virus is not making it any better.

    Politically wise, there are some who supports the cursed children (Seitenshi) so while the hate may have been not as severe as before, now there are supporters with who wants to give these children support and give them rights. These in turn makes the more vocal minority or in this case, the more extremists, start to act against this. Not everyone wants to attack the children but they’re not really against it either so not much opposition and therefore extremists who do not want to give these children any rights become… crazier I could say.

    So I still don’t see how this is all comical. There are hints lying all around at to why it became the way it is. It did not merely become discrimination without reasons. Sure, there’s not more hints since a lot of these hints were cut out when the anime is adapted but there are here nonetheless.

    Reply
    1. Naota

      But why don’t the Cursed Children have rights in the first place? Who took them away? What was their rationale? Cursed Children are plainly and obviously human – they’re casualties of the virus and it’s immediately obvious they have no other association with the giant monsters out there killing people. Sure, they can turn into these monsters if they strain themselves in battle, but so can anyone else who gets bitten by them.

      Unlike real extremists, this cardboard antagonist society has no case to make and no point to argue. The fact that human rationality isn’t absolute isn’t carte blanche to write a whole city of people without any whatsoever.

      Think about it: how many people lost families and loved ones in the world wars to actual humans instead of what basically amounts to a force of nature. Did this immediately turn them into radical extremists? There were some pretty awful things done to Japanese immigrants in North America during and after WWII in terms of unequal rights, but did normal citizens ever plant bombs in their schools? Was it just normal to stab some foreign children to death in Japan after Hiroshima, because discrimination?

      No, people don’t do this. They can and will do horrible things, yes, but they don’t do them in this way.

      This is an anime set in a developed nation where mall cops and crepe stalls are still a thing. For all intents and purposes it’s socially modern Japan plus giant monsters attacking. You don’t get to sanction the murder of other people and act like it’s just business as usual because that’s discrimination!

      Reply
      1. MoonlitNights0S

        Ok. So they really did not have their rights taken away. However, they were outcasts and not accepted in society. The society here does not want to help them. They’re on their own. They want to go to school but they just can’t get into it due to the children’s fear which are influenced by their parents which in turn is rightful fear from the events from 10 years ago. These children can’t really do what other people normally do or what other people would consider part of their normal every day life. People consider these children walking time bombs and don’t accept them. Laws don’t need to be in effect to take their rights away but their in a way, they do have their “rights” taken away by not by laws by by people not accepting them.

        > Unlike real extremists…
        The point is that the extremists don’t paint the entire society. However, everyone is leaving during a fearful period of the Gastrea. So even if they don’t necessary agree with what the extremists are doing, they’re not really doing anything to stop them either. The extremists are vocal minority but the majority are not clearly on the other side either.

        > Think about it: how many people lost families and loved ones in the world wars to actual humans instead of what basically amounts to a force of nature.
        My point as I said before. We don’t need EVERYONE to do it. We only need the extremists and the people on standby who does nothing about the extremists since they too are fearful although not necessary violent and unreasonable like the extremists. Once again, the radical extremists are the minority. However the damage they can do is considerable. Similar to the Baptist church bombing. What have those children done? Nothing. Any rationale to the bombing? Not really.

        What is going on is that you are still taking this as if monsters are attacking the world and every city is still being civilized humans that go on with their lives. It’s true that they go on with their lives but the fear is there and fear is not something that you can rationalize. The extremists who are not always rational can easily stir up pented up feelings of the adults who had lost family or closed ones to convincing what they doing is “right” and that the cursed children should not be allowed.

        Anyway, I might as well say it. The author is actually calling out or hinting about Japan’s own major problem with racism and sexism.

        Reply
        1. MoonlitNights0S

          Don’t feel like going to deep with this but in history, we got WWII and the Jewish people. Not every German people agree with what was going on but not everyone was completely trying to prevent it either. What was the result? The massive persecution of the Jewish people.

          Here, we have something somewhat similar except now we’re dealing with walking time bombs. There’s fear of the Gastrea which has done massive damage. Not people can’t easily travel between cities where there’s no monolith. They’re caged inside without knowing when the attack of the monsters will stop. Then there’s these little children that harbors the same virus. Sure they don’t all go around killing these children but that does not stop the extremists from doing so.

        2. Naota

          My point as I said before. We don’t need EVERYONE to do it. We only need the extremists and the people on standby who does nothing about the extremists since they too are fearful although not necessary violent and unreasonable like the extremists. .. The point is that the extremists don’t paint the entire society.

          Yet when only ever see these extremists, they very much do paint the entire society. I don’t just mean they’re highly visible – I mean literally every member of society we’ve been shown who isn’t Rentaro or one of this friends is defined solely by their irrational hatred of little girls. Little girls who are plainly, obviously, and unambiguously just little girls. There is no reasonable case to be made against them, and so the entire society comes off as a ridiculous (and very dishonest) one-note caricature that can’t be taken seriously. It’s like depicting 1920’s America – a fundamentally discriminatory culture – as endless streets of overt scowling racists who work out ways to kill German immigrants or black people in their spare time. That wasn’t, and isn’t, how this thing works.

          Again, if there’s so much fear about the end of the world that Tokyo teeters on the edge of anarchy and there’s no due process or desire to enforce the law, why does this city look and function just like modern Japan? The excuse doesn’t hold up.

          People are taking the train to work, running crepe stalls, attending business meetings, watching (and apparently still somehow creating) magical girl anime in their spare time. Resources like food and electricity come from nowhere, without scarcity, as though the Japanese national infrastructure still existed, and nobody seems at all hardened from two decades of constant attack. Mall cops lecture truants and officers stop to question young people for “being out too late”.

          What we see of everyday life in this city looks just like everyday life today in Tokyo – not a facade to hide people’s real misgivings, but the genuine article.

          I’m not seeing the fear, and I’m certainly not seeing the anarchy that enables officers of the law to summarily execute children and see no legal repercussion. All I see is the author making straw men of his antagonists – puppets to be torn down who aren’t allowed even a single logical reason for their actions. As they are the villains, they can only ever be wrong. We’re not allowed to do anything but hate them – certainly not understand them.

          We see it on the micro scale in Seitenshi’s former security chief, and on the macro scale with this society.

  3. MoonlitNights0S

    Actually thinking about it, this is a problem with adaptation of sources that tends to rely on exposition. These info tends to be cut out when adapted and you have something that just leaves you with a “wut?”. However, I still think Black Bullet did a better job at leaving hints as to the sources and reason for the discrimination compared to what Mahouka has done. Although to be fair, Mahouka relies almost solely on exposition when talking about anything slightly complicated.

    Although I’m still surprised that this show got animated. It’s not really popular in Japan compared to other novels since it does not contain much fanservice and the anime added more to it just to sell more and it’s also more left-winged. However, it was popular enough to be in top 20 light novels so I guess that’s how it was chosen. However apparently sales for 1st Bluray volume was okay only.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    sorry. i am sorry, but you can’t have grimdark child mass murdering in a show where the hero shot an arm prosthetic at a kaiju with a giant railgun and a week later evaded bullets via rocket boots. i can’t. how exactly. is there some kind of mental defect you can be born with that makes you unable to grasp the concept of tone while still being able to function in everyday life? how do they not drop dead by forgetting how to breath?

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    I don’t know that I’d call the scene unrealistic. Lynch mobs are a very real thing. Fear drives people to be quite stupid. A recent example in America, being the people following 9/11 who truthfully would have liked to see the country go after all Muslims. Is it reasonable? No. Does it solve anything? No. Are they irreparably bad people? Probably not. And that’s what the show is trying to get at. People in fear do very cruel, irrational things; and from the outside perspective it does seem unreal and ridiculous. However, it still does reflect an element of our reality. People do behave like this, and such disasters do occur. You can’t really call the hatred cartoonish, when history has born out very similar behavior many times.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      You can’t really call the hatred cartoonish, when history has born out very similar behavior many times.

      Muslims are not America’s only hope against extremists. Muslims are not all little children. 99% of American society do not despise Muslims. An American lawmaker has not conspired with a maniac to undermine the country just because Muslims have rights.

      The Cursed Children are people’s only hope against the Gastreas. The Cursed Children are not only young, they’re young, cute girls as well. 99% of the population despise the Cursed Children. Kikunojo puts Tokyo in danger by working with Kagetane just because Seitenshi wants to protect the Cursed Children.

      Yes, there’s discrimination in the real world and there’s discrimination in Black Bullet. That part is similar. Too bad that’s also where the buck stops. Everything else about the discrimination in Black Bullet, however, is exaggerated to a ridiculous and — dare I say it — cartoonish degree. It is all calculated to maximize the tragedy, and I find that manipulative and pathetic. So no, nothing here is realistic.

      Discrimination is bad enough as it is. It does not need to be exaggerated. It does not need to be made cartoonish. It does not need to seem disingenuous.

      Reply
      1. Anonymouse

        Most Germans discriminated against the Jews in WWII.
        Most White Southern Americans were pro-slavery and discriminatory against African-Americans before the Civil War. In fact, most of them continue to be even after.

        Discrimination happens. People, in fact, are not reasonable creatures once their livelihoods are ruined to the degree that Black Bullet is portraying, and you are simply seeing the outlash of what happens when a large group of people project their anguish on the closest target that is ‘different’ from them. Around here, we call it ‘mob mentality’. You don’t even need a majority of them to cause these tragedies; a small but sizable group supporting each other is more than enough to do stupid things even in our world. Who is really to say that 99% of human beings actively hate the cursed children enough to blow up a school?

        Is it calculated for maximum tragedy? Of course! Most of the best shows out there do the same thing. Breaking Bad interposes its scenes for maximum effect, as well, and was hailed as one of the best shows on US television. Heck, Grave of the Fireflies is 100% calculated for maximum tragedy! Of course Black Bullet is not as complex as Breaking Bad was, but to call its “maximize the tragedy” manipulative and pathetic while similar techniques in other shows are acceptable or even great is just spinning things to reinforce your hate of the show, rather than a legitimate flaw.

        So, I don’t find it cartoonish at all. In fact, I’ve heard enough from my parents about the Cultural Revolution and my grandparents about the Japanese Occupation of China that I find it quite chillingly realistic.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Of course Black Bullet is not as complex as Breaking Bad was, but to call its “maximize the tragedy” manipulative and pathetic while similar techniques in other shows are acceptable or even great is just spinning things to reinforce your hate of the show, rather than a legitimate flaw.

          This is hilarious. You’re literally comparing Black Bullet to Grave of the Fireflies. I’m sorry you don’t understand what ridiculously exaggerated and cartoonish mean that you would compare a WW2 tragedy to this loli shitfest. I don’t even care if I’m reinforcing my hate for this show. It deserves hate, especially because it makes people defend it to this extent. Anyway, please don’t come back.

  6. MoonlitNights0S

    Actually looking through all the episodes again. I can actually see the problem. The main problem is that I was already spoiled and read up quite a bit on the history and things that lead up to the discrimination of the children. These things were cut out during the adaptation. Since I still have these info in my mind, I felt that the it was realistic enough. For viewers, without any background information that was provided and the events that lead up to the discrimination, the discrimination presented here in the anime seems to be rather disjointed and out of nowhere. If only the studio done a better job at portraying it instead of cutting those important bits out. On the other hand, we only have several episodes left so certain things will never be resolved anyway.

    Plus personal experiences can make it all different as well. Anyway, thanks for the lengthy discussion which was actually kind of fun!

    Reply

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