Black Bullet Ep. 12: Rentaro and Kagetane sitting in a tree

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Just two BFFs running to punch Gastreas together. From wanting to destroy the Tokyo Area to teaming up with Rentaro to save it. That Kagetane is one silly fella.

— Oh good, they both scream out the names of their moves when they go to attack. Kagetane might as well reveal that he’s Kagetane’s dad.

— Apparently, two punches are all it takes to defeat Pleiades. Talk about anti-climactic. The best part, however, is that the two of them simply snuck into a base of dozing Gastreas, then punched the shit out of the big one. I find that pretty hard to believe, but maybe they’re just deep sleepers. After all, I’m no expert on giant bugs.

— The rest of the Gastreas go on a rampage afterwards. Rentaro naturally fears for his friends’ safety, so he calls up… Seitenshi. Uh, why didn’t he think of calling her before? Y’know, when the asshole commander threatened his friends with punishment unless Rentaro accepted what was basically a suicide mission? Sure, he succeeded, but only because Kagetane was there to help him. Otherwise, Rentaro would’ve gone down to the pack of wolves in last week’s episode, nevermind Pleiades.

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— At least Gado didn’t lie about the fact that Aldebaran can regenerate itself after incurring a massive injury. The special effects here are really weak, though. The airstrikes manage to blow up the Gastrea’s head, but all we get to see a plastic-looking, hollow tube. Really? You guys couldn’t do better than that?

— Speaking of which, Gado conveniently dies offscreen. Okay, okay, what is going on here? First, Pleiades dies like a chump, then Gado goes down without us even seeing it? I already think Black Bullet sucks, but this is starting to feel like a major rush job.

— Oh yeah, Midori, the cat Pokemon, suffered a mortal injury offscreen too, but who cares about her?

— Kisara thinks Rentaro should become the leader now that Gado is down for the count. I’m not exactly sure how you can go from being the black sheep to assuming complete control just like that, though. Even if Gado’s dead, aren’t there people who still agreed with him? Or will they instantly flip-flop to Rentaro’s side as well? It would be hilarious if Rentaro suddenly went all fascist on everyone and dominated them by force.

— Midori reveals, “Because of my ears, I was never needed by anyone.” Uh, really? Are we really talking about Japan here? But joking aside, this scene with the cat loli is still really dumb as hell, ’cause out of nowhere, she tells the guy that she can smell destruction in Kisara: “She is most likely very easily influenced by the darkness.” Okay, Yoda, I think someone’s a little woozy from all the medicine. It’s just laughable that in her most painful moment, she still serves as a plot device. The show just doesn’t care about these girls. Rentaro will sit there and say shit like, “I hope you get better,” but that’s just shallow lipservice. Black Bullet never really goes beyond the surface of “The Cursed Children are cute and useful!” to actually explore their characters, and this scene is just a reflection of that. Oh look, a cute girl is dying. Let’s say some random platitudes to her, then she’ll reveal something juicy about the plot! Yay! The fact that we really know nothing about her or her personality even in her very last moments is inconsequential! Death only means another cute loli will be no more, uguu.

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— Our leader then allows Midori to disappear off into the night unsupervised. He and Shoma then find her dead by a tree with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. We end up learning more about Shoma then we ever did about Midori. He was excommunicated, blah blah blah… On the other hand, all Midori got was generic bullshit: “MAH OWN MOM DIDN’T LIKE MY EARS!”

— The most bizarre part about this scene is when Shoma suddenly wishes he had been there to finish her off… uh, why? If my wife is suffering from terminal brain cancer, should I be the one to put a bullet through her head personally?

— So Rentaro’s first act as commander is to stab some guy in the shoulder just because he encouraged others to desert. I was right! This is funny! Rentaro then goes, “Anyone else have any questions?” Welp, the power has gone to his head. Yo, if you want to disagree with the guy, just fucking kick him out. Hey, Gado was at least nice enough to do that to you! But really? Spilling blood just because someone naturally feels that the situation is hopeless? What a dick. I’m sure if a loli had voiced her dissent, Rentaro wouldn’t have lifted a finger, though.

— Best part is, Rentaro would’ve taken a bullet to the brain thanks to his actions, but Kagetane saves him by putting up a shield. So great! Our leader is so deranged, he would’ve been assassinated right off the bat!

— Rentaro then swears to eliminate anyone who tries to run. Oh, so they’re forced to fight against their will. Hilarious. In one quick swoop, our hero has become the villain. When Kisara tells him that he’s gone too far, Rentaro argues that everyone’s too afraid of the Gastrea to fight, so this is how things should be. Yeah! Be afraid of me instead! That’ll help you guys fight! It’s not like people can fear two different things at once! It’s not like they won’t grow to resent and try to assassinate you later! It’s not like they won’t just desert at the first opportune chance because there’s no reason to stick around and fight for someone who will resort to spilling blood at a drop of the hat! Good thinking, commander!

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— What a badass, though: “…I don’t need anyone… At least for now.”

— Of course, Kisara’s first reaction is to cling to the guy’s back. Yo, I know you’ve become a violent psychopath, but uguu, I’ll always be by your side!

— Seriously? Gado’s initiator wants to attack Rentaro for disrespecting the former commander’s death. Shoma thus grabs her, and goes, “Yo, you’re firey! Wanna team up?” You change lolis like underwear, apparently. The more firey, the better. At least Shoma got over Midori pretty quick. No wonder he wanted to kill her himself. He knew he was in line for an upgrade with Gado getting killed and all. As for the new girl’s lack of nekomimi mode, I’m sure you can pick up all sorts of disturbing paraphernalia to fix that problem after saving Tokyo.

— Everyone smiles afterwards as though we’ve just gotten ourselves a happy ending. There’s just the small matter of Rentaro being a violent asshole, but hey, Shoma-nii has found himself a new loli!

— You know the story has no merit when Miori shows up to lend a hand, but Kisara nevertheless has to be a bitter pill about it. Oh man, the Tokyo Area is in grave danger, Aldebaran is apparently immortal, and my commander has gone full Hitler on us! But ugh, my rival is here and I fucking hate my rival! She whines, “But did it have to be Miori and Shiba Heavy Weapons?” Gee, what should I do during a crisis? Call for help from a random person I have no connections with just so that Kisara won’t be offended, or request assistance from a girl who is willing to show up with supplies in an instant? I have no clue what to do! The sad thing is, I’m sure Kisara wouldn’t even be this jealous if she had been a male character. In fact, there wouldn’t have even been a rival character like Miori to contend with if Kisara had been a male character all along! ‘Cause in these cheap stories, only girls are jealous bitches! Other women are just trying to steal her man!

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— In any case, Miori has come prepared with a superbomb that can completely annihilate Aldebaran. Our hero will just have to plant the bomb inside the damn Gastrea. Hey, just do what you did to Pleiades! Walk up to Aldebaran while it’s asleep, then punch the bomb into its gut!

— You think I’m joking, but really, that’s the plan, more or less. Rentaro will be the one to plant the bomb because only he can penetrate Aldebaran’s hard shell or something. Just think of it as one of your tsundere lolis. I’m sure you’ll have no problems penetrating that hard shell at that point. As the bomb is about to go off, Aldebaran will go, “Uguu, it’s not like I wanted to blow up for you or anything…”

— The final battle will take place at the Flames of Revolution, the same place Rentaro had taken his now-dead lolis. Cue a bunch of sad memories flooding back into the picture. Enju asks, “Rentaro, I don’t understand… Why does the Stolen Generation do such terrible things to the Cursed Children?” Nobody can give you a good answer, because we haven’t bothered to give any depth to the story! Herp derp, you guys have Gastrea blood inside you, so we hate you, but at the same time, we depend solely upon you to protect us from the enemy. So we’re going to murder you anyway, which will screw us in the end but that’s okay because that’s how discrimination works! Sure, that makes a whole lot of sense.

— What people fail to realize is that discrimination exists in the real world because it is profitable. People don’t just hate because they can. People don’t just hate because we are different. People don’t just randomly decide that one race is superior to another. Rather, they do so because it is ultimately profitable to hate. They hate because it is in their best interests to do so. Hey look, that piece of land looks mighty nice! Boy, it would be a shame if I suddenly thought it was my white man’s burden to liberate you fine folks from your land! Likewise, slavery was profitable, and racism arose as a justification for its practice. It wasn’t the other way around. People didn’t go, “Ugh, they’re black. Let’s enslave them!” ‘Cause hey, there were white slaves too!

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In fact, people had been keeping white slaves for the longest time before they finally decided black slaves were even cheaper and easier to control! Racism merely served as a convenient way to argue that, “Hey, you white slaves aren’t like them! Sure, we’ve exploited you, but we’ll exploit them harder! So join us in their exploitation, ’cause if they weren’t around, you’d be next!” In Black Bullet, the discrimination doesn’t make any sense. There’s no short- or long-term benefit to killing the Cursed Children whatsoever, especially when the Cursed Children are humanity’s only hope against the Gastreas. That’s just not how it has ever worked. This discrimination is just an oh-so-sad thing that has been put into the story in order to manipulate our emotions. They hate cute, little lolis! How can they hate cute, little lolis!

— I like how the wannabe mass murderer Kagetane is now a core part of Rentaro’s team. Even better, he’s affectionately referred to as the joker in Rentaro’s deck of cards. Yes, Kagetane had murdered scores of people in the first half of the series, but he’s now my nakama! NAKAMA!

— Remember Seitenshi’s former bodyguard, though? The guy who wanted Seitenshi all to himself? Yeah, he’s back. And yeah, he’s going to sabotage the entire plan to save Tokyo from absolute destruction just to get back at Rentaro. Yep, that’s Black Bullet for you.

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14 thoughts on “Black Bullet Ep. 12: Rentaro and Kagetane sitting in a tree”

  1. Loligeddon.

    Christ, between this, Brynhildr and Mahouka ’tis truly the season of shitty adaptations. Even if the source material wasn’t stellar to start with.

  2. I agree that the discrimination against the lolis is pretty stupid when they are their last hope, I think that if their society had become one that idolized lolis (not much different from current Japa, but I’ve never been there so what do I know) it would have been better (although it would be just as eyeroll worthy) and would have actually made sense, the way Black Bullet currently handles it pretty much tells you all you need to know, that lolis are part of the story only to be killed off so we feel bad for them (uguu the feels).

    1. There are so many ways they could have gone with this instead. Like maybe the lolis feel everything is handed to them, and they thus feel used. As soon as they can no longer fight, they are discarded and that’s pretty horrible or something. Maybe non-lolis are discriminated against instead. Maybe they could have just toned back the discrimination. For instance, people pay lipservice to the lolis to their face, but are distrustful of them behind closed doors. But noooooo, Black Bullet had to go all-in on the discrimination angle, and just come out looking stupid instead.

  3. Jesus, first Sidonia and now this. What is with anime this season and making shallow villains so utterly incompetent and petty that they’ll doom their entire society without thinking just to pull one over on the hero who stole their thunder way back when?

    Like, you could just walk up and shoot Rentaro while he’s not paying attention. You could rally together everyone who thinks he’s a raving psychopath who’d sooner kill you than let you run away from a terrifying and relentless enemy (so basically everyone there). You could use his sudden alliance with Kagetane to justify your point, maybe even to the city leadership.

    This is like being stuck on an expedition to Antarctica with a guy you really hate, and one night just before a particularly dangerous ice crossing you sneak into the storeroom and dump all of the expedition’s food into the sea. That’ll teach him! He’s gonna look real dumb when he gets up tomorrow ready to lead us through danger and we don’t have any food!

    What is this guy even doing, and why? Did the writer even think about it? I mean, what are people honestly going to think when the batteries are all gone and the Gastrea kill everybody and overrun the city? Is it going to be “I hate that Rentaro guy!” or just a unilateral “We’re all fucked!”

    Because my money’s on the latter. If there is any justice in this terribly-written world it’ll be the latter. I… I can only hope.

    1. It’s obvious. Everyone’s deranged. Only Rentaro has any sense in this crazy world. Meanwhile, he’ll stab you just for dissenting…

      1. That, sir, is an insult to Snidely Whiplash.

        At least he had the good sense to step off the train tracks after tying the damsel to them.

  4. Approaching the end of this show, I can express some informed opinions:

    1-Enju’s very explicit attitude was quite shocking in the first episode… but I later excused her, since she’s a rabbit model initiator ;)

    2-Male cursed children are the biggest omission in the story: would have added A LOT, of course too much to deal with in an anime show.

    3-Pace is sometimes irregular. The final battle is being interrupted a tad too often for my taste, and for inconsistent reasons.

    4-Some cursed little girls are intriguing, at least when we’ve been given the time to know them a bit: I’d have preferred knowing better few initiators than watching so many passer-bys.

    Anyways, I found the show interesting and entertaining: cant ask much more to an anime series.

    Lastly, can’t help myself listing my FAVOURITE INITIATORS! :-D
    Most charming: Tina
    Most scary: Kohina
    Most beautiful: defunct Goda’s initiator (so superficially introduced I can’t even remember her name! :-p )

    Catch you after episode 13…

    1. Most beautiful: defunct Goda’s initiator (so superficially introduced I can’t even remember her name! :-p )

      She doesn’t need a new name; she’s Akiha from Tsukihime. What’s the deal with that?

      Male cursed children are the biggest omission in the story: would have added A LOT, of course too much to deal with in an anime show.

      Male cursed children aren’t even the only easy way Black Bullet could be a whole lot better – they’re just the most obvious. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for them. It would make this premise feel far less like pandering and add some much-needed verisimilitude to the setting and diversity to the cast.

      While the age of the generation is a perfectly valid explanation for why you have superpowered kids fighting on the front lines, the gender bias is transparent bullcrap. It speaks to an author so squicked out by the notion of little boys in this role (or conversely, so in love with little girls) that he barred the whole gender from even existing in the world of Black Bullet.

      You could have had both genders of Cursed Children and only had to show a few little boys in bit parts, doing things in the background to justify their existence while the girls took centre stage. It’s anime – nobody would seriously question it. You could have written a world like Darker Than Black where all ages and genders have a part to play. But that was too much. This is the author’s world and it’s just for him, so damnit, only my adorable little girls get to have superpowers! This is just like BL series that take place in worlds where no women exist.

      1. I agree, one of the main reasons I didnt like this show was because of all the ped’o’taku pandering that was going on. If they made some of the initiators male and female plus being able to be older than 10 years old so they can also be anywhere from teenagers to adults as well it’d make the story way more interesting and potentially open up some good plot points/characters.

        the other thing I didnt like was all the unnecessary forced hate to the cursed, it’d be reasonable if there was only a group that hated them but all of society and the world hating them is really over-the-top.

        1. Yeah, the thing is there’s a really big difference in message between “children with special powers paired with adults” and “little girls with special powers paired with older men”. One of those makes for interesting fiction and has some commentary to make on the nature of innocence. The other is usually too creepy and exploitative to even attempt that point.

          In Darker Than Black you never got any weird vibes seeing Hei, Huang, and Yin or the MI6 guys. Because of the diversity of ages and genders, and the relatively even-handed attention and treatment they got, they just felt like partners rather than some weird pedophilic romance coupling enforced by the author. Everyone got to be a character – not just cute little girls and the older men they’re unambiguously in love with.

        2. @ naoto

          yeah, darker than black actually had some good characters and was made to be taken seriously(until that awful second season came out), even gunslinger girl(a show about little killer girls partnered with adult men) can be taken more seriously than black bullet because it doesnt pander to the otaku to such extreme levels.

          Black bullet just made the same mistake as alot of other animes, which was sacrificing story for pandering elements like lolis, highschool settings, harems etc but since BB was adapted from some typical light novel, it didnt surprise me.

          black bullet wasn’t even trying to be subtle, you can tell from all the creepy things like enju calling rentaro her fiance(along with a whole classroom of lolis who also wanted to marry him) and that new loli that keeps calling him onii-sama doesnt make it any less creepy

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