It’s June and soon the little ones will be out of school, if they’re not already. What is a Baltimore parent to do? How about the Art of Sesame Street: From Picture to Page at Port Discovery? Seriously, most of us all grew up on Sesame Street, so just as much for the kids; it’s a nice walk down memory lane for us too. And since we’re talking about entertainment for our inner child, how about we talk about this week’s anime. This week, as seen on Crunchyroll.com, we cover Black Bullet.
Black Bullet is an anime based off its manga counterpart about humanity’s battle against viral infected former humans turned absolute monster called Gastrea. Like zombies, they attack and infect other humans, and the virus is driving humanity to extinction. That was until the material Vibranium is discovered. It’s really the only thing that stops the monsters’ regeneration and can kill them. The ones that use this material in a variety of ways are called Promoters. Of course, Promoters don’t act alone; they have little girls called Initiators that fight along with them. While Promoters are (mostly) human, Initiators are ‘Cursed Children,’ little girls that have been infected with the Gastrea virus before they were born. Because they are infected with the virus already, some have the skill to take on Gastrea head on. However, in one of the last bastions of humanity, someone wishes to continue the push towards the brink. Thus enter our Promoter and Initiator pair, Rentaro and Enju.
The first few episodes of the anime are rather enjoyable. This is primarily because it takes almost verbatim from the manga and puts it to animation. Each episode covers about two or so chapters of the manga. And it’s fun to see the anime adaption so faithful to its counterpart while the pace keeps moving along quickly, while at the same time giving you a concept of what’s going on. Things escalate fast and like being on a rollercoaster, you’re on the edge of your seat wanting more. When the back story is done, the story’s not about to explain things like how you get infected or how a little girl rules an entire city, or what happens to the parents of the infected children; it’s left up to your imagination to fill in the blanks. With how swiftly the plot moves along, this is fine. You’re left with the ability to focus more on a cause and effect style plot, which has its doldrums at time, but for the most part is enjoyable. You’re not bogged down with useless speeches or pointless banter and you get right to the next point that ties in to the overall story, even if it’s not overtly obvious.
The characters in the story are even more interesting as you not only are interested in the hero but the villain as well. As the villain, Hiruko Kagetane, makes more appearances and you get to see the world around him and what his mission is. After seeing what Hiruko is talking about, the audience and even Rentaro’s conviction shakes a bit about if Hiruko might be doing what is necessary. Still, good old Enju is there to set him straight, though in her own kind of perverse way. Rentaro is shown off as this very deep, reckless but calculating, kid with this heavy weight on his shoulders. One of those weights being Enju. She knows this and tries to lighten his burden. She knows what she is and how people see her. The audience gets to see this as well and it shows how strong this little girl ‘has’ to be. Almost as deep as Rentaro, she has this constant reminder that every Gastrea she kills could one day be her.
Having watched up to episode four, the downside of the anime rears its ugly head. As much emphasis and power was put into the potential ‘main’ villain, he went down so quickly and almost too quietly. The anime’s pace seemed to work against it as if to say, “Okay, let’s get this arc over with. Not important anymore.” And into the black Hiruko sailed, to his end? Well, let’s hope not. His first appearance, he got his neck snapped completely the wrong way. If he can come back from that… On top of that, the pace seemed to slow down just enough for Rentaro to have a pity party in a giant cannon. While it is understandable that it is a lot of pressure to put on any person, Rentaro seems to become even more sappy than usual and whines about those few moments before firing the cannon. Meanwhile, in the city, a giant Gastrea that everyone was trying to prevent from being summoned is now tap dancing through the city, mostly likely killing and infecting thousands.
The first few episodes of the series delivered a compelling story that drew people in. The fast pace motif and cause and effect style kept you going. Still, there are things like that final fight that can make you question why things get so hyped then glossed over so fast. Still, the series is still in its infancy and has what is believed lots more episodes to come. Let’s hope the series can bounce back and draw its viewers back in.