Just look at Rentarou checking out that hot loli.
• We open with Miroto talking to Rentarou, the latter glum about his failed search for Enju. Miroti mentions how some consider the Gastrea to be servants of God punishing humans for messing up the planet and drying up all its resources, and that the Cursed Children are messengers to communicate between the Gastrea and humans. I guess that only makes senses that people would interpret such demon-like entities to be such, though the Cursed Children certainly aren’t giving any divine messages.
• Ha, apparently Rentarou is part of his school’s student council. What a busy schedule he has on his plate.
• Pffft, I laughed out loud watching these mean kids bully Enju. I sort of liked how the previous episode dealt the discrimination issues, but it certainly wasn’t the most compelling exploration of the issue, and it certainly isn’t here. It’s too one-sided to the point of being heavy-handed. I can understand why some kids wouldn’t want to be in the same class as someone who, according to their bigoted ideas, could turn into a Gastrea at any moment. But it’s just a little hard to take seriously when these kids are portrayed as these horrible oppressors.
Racism is awful and all, but it’s also a difficult issue to deal with, and painting the persecutors of it as heartless scum isn’t doing anyone any favors. It’s simplifying a complicated issue. Yeah, I get that racism is bad and Enju is being discriminated against, but it’s not that interesting of a narrative. To Kill A Mockingbird this is not.
What really got me though was that what seems like the entire elementary school is outside ganging up Enju. You would figure that the staff of the school would order the kids to stay in class. Maybe they’re just turning a blind eye since they don’t want a Cursed Child in their school either, but still, they could just have Enju wait in the principals office for Rentarou to pick her up or something.
• Another spider Gastrea… Gee, I kind of wish they would be more creative with these monster designs. The very beginning of the first episode featured a cool, giant bug-like dragon (or dragon-like bug?), yet after that we’ve seen nothing but generic, giant spiders. At least this flying spiders looks different from the previous one, but still, not too exciting from a design standpoint.
• Now that Enju and Rentarou are jumping out of helicopters and into a forest to fight a Gastrea—not just the city—again, I have to wonder why the military and local law enforcers aren’t handling this themselves with their own special force of civil officers. Why have the civil officers be privatized at all?
• After Enju and Rentarou slay the Gaestra and secure the suitcase, Kagetane appears out of nowhere once again. Okay, that’s starting to get a little old now.
• They proceed to fight, and now apparently Rentarou has some special fighting abilities, complete with long titles that he has to shout in order to use them: “Tendou Martial Arts: Style One, Number Eight: Blazing Fan!” Geez, just the name alone was enough to make me laugh. And apparently he can fly through the air, with blue flames coming out of his fist too! Pretty random there. Oh, and he’s somehow able to live from being crushed against a rock by Kagetane’s special powers.
• The pacing here is a bit wonky too. One minute Rentarou is comforting his precious loli and letting her know that he’ll always be there for her (yet more pedo subtext,) and then the next minute the sky turns red and they’re battling Kagetane and Kohina. Soon afterward, Enju is forced to run away, and Rentarou gets stabbed and shot, falling off a cliff and into a nearby river. Well, that sure escalated quickly.
• After commercials, we see Muroto looking over Rentarou on an operating table, asking “You’re Satomi Rentarou, correct? […] There’s a choice I’d like you to make.” letting us now that this is flashback unrelated to Rentarou’s recent injuries. Maybe this is related to why Rentarou has special shounen powers all of the sudden.
• Haha, that sure was some clunky exposition about the five different stages of Gastrea. I mean, I’m sure Rentarou was fully aware of how that works, but then Kisara conveniently explains it for us the audience. Judging by the eery photos they show us, I wonder if the cool and creative monster designs are all reserved for the Stage Five Gastrea, and the creators just copy from bug references for the rest. Kind of odd how these stage five Gastrea exist outside of the usual “evolution” of the four stages though, and need something to trigger their growth. In case it wasn’t clear before, the whole Gastrea virus doesn’t make much sense.
• Stepping back a bit, the rushed pacing of these past couple episodes intrigues me. It’s only episode 3 and Kagetane is already about to execute a diabolical plan to unleash stage five Gastrea onto Tokyo—the first step in his plan to “end the world.” Plus there’s all that drama of Enju’s social life being utterly ruined and Rentarou almost dying. Episode 1 introduces us the normal life of our protagonists, and now they’re normal lives are already crushed. There must be some other major plot twist that Black Bullet has in story if all this is happening this early in the story.
• Now that makes three times this episode has caused to burst out laughing at something, and not in a good way. Jesus, fucking Enju sleeping and clinging to Rentarou’s leg.
• For a guy who just nearly died from a sword and gun wound the day prior, Rentarou sure is healthy and energetic; much more recovered than anyone would normally be from such wounds. And what’s more is that he’s ready to rush back into battle and help retrieve the case from Kagetane. At first I was going to chalk this up as the story being ridiculous, but then I remembered the superpowers he displayed earlier, and the fact that Miroto altered him in some way.
• Some wonky scene transitions here, as there’s no indication that Kisara or Enju left his room once he received a phone call and starting changing his clothes. Yet as he steps out we see Kisara and Enju outside of his room.
• Well, looks like the military and civil officers are finally teaming up now that they have to deal with preventing a stage five Gaestra. About time.
• …But for someone all the civil officers are splitting up and searching for Kagetane on their own. And after being deployed in the forest, Enju and Rentarou quickly encounter a stage four Gaestra that’s like a hammer-head shark crossed with a giant chicken-like dragon. See, now we’re talking with the monster designs.
• I love how we then cut to Enju carrying Rentarou to safety, with Rentarou’s arm flailing wildly. Hilarious.
• After escaping the shark-dragon, Enju and Rentarou stumble upon a stone hut which houses Senjou, the Initiator for Shougen, who has been separated from her Promoter. And har har, Enju gets angry now that some “other woman” is getting close to her man. And as Senjou says, “it’s clear as day” why Enju would feel moody over Rentarou telling to keep watch out, and leaving the two of them alone. I don’t know if this show will ever cease to amuse me with all the lolicon pandering.
• So Senjou is a dolphon-type Initiator, who’s much smarter and more collected than the normal person, and all the fighting is left to Shogen. That’s uh…pretty unusual indeed. What sort of help would a genius have in directly fighting giant monsters? Sure she has her own machine gun, but wouldn’t she be more beneficial as some sort of intelligence agent or government official?
• It was already evident that Shougen’s relationship with Senju isn’t the healthiest, considering that he refereed to her as a “tool” in the previous episode, though now it’s even more evident how abusive he is. Unlike Enju who’s only ever had to slay Gaestra, Shougen has ordered Senju to kill other people. Before getting separated he even just ordered her to kill a couple civil officers so that there’d be less competition for the bounty on Kagetane’s head.
I could go on about how horrible a situation this is for Senjou, but really it brings up yet another major issue of having the civil officers privatized instead of being apart of the government. It opens the door wide open for these Cursed Children to be exploited and abused by people like Shougen. They’d still be in danger of exploitation as child soldier for the government; after all, rape is still a huge issue in the American military, but at least it’d make it easier for background checks and regulations for the Promoters. At least presumably; we’re not quite sure how regulated the civil officer business actually is.
But even if the civil officer business has adequate regulations and Shougen is just a rat who’s slipped through the cracks, there’s still the matter of how you’re having little girls live with these older men. And besides that, having a competition for Kagetane’s head would of course pressures the civil officers to try and take him down solo, instead of doing the more sensible thing of working together.
• Then upon hearing how Senjou only hopes she’ll get used to killing since she’s being forced to do it anyways, Rentarou leaps and pins her down to the floor, ranting about how “the scariest thing about killing people is getting used to it!” He obviously has some experience with this, so him lashing out at her is understandable. But pinning her down on the floor is a bit much. I mean geez, having an older man pin down your smaller, little girl body wouldn’t be the most comforting thing, not to mention awfully threatening. And remember, unlike Enju, Senjou has the strength of a normal girl.
• After that, they get word from Shougen, who along with ten other civil officers have located Kagetane. Our Promoter and his two lolis then proceed to casually walk towards the coordinates, figuring that they don’t need to hurry and they’ll only get there in time for the end of the fight—certain that the other civil officers will win. But of course, we know Kagetane isn’t going to go down so easily, especially when our protagonist isn’t there to fight him himself.
With last week’s episode I wrote that it was a surprisingly alright followup to the awful first episode (keyword being “alright,”) and that Black Bullet might actually be a decent show if it keeps up the increase in quality. Episode 3 did not live up to such expectations however, and brought itself back down to being the terribad show it was to begin with.
The setting continues to make little sense, and there’s nothing too enthralling about the action scenes, all the pandering to lolicons is as annoying, etc. etc… The writing and directing is also getting a bit wonkier too, particularly with those pacing and scene transition issues I noted above. Though again I must say I’m intrigued by the pacing of the story—rushed pacing early on like this always get me wondering what direction the story will go.