Black Bullet, Ep 4 & 5: Funnier than Shakespeare

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Exchanging phone numbers now, are we? Rentarou you sly dog.

Well, now I’m back from my school’s annual trip to Ashland, where I and other highschoolers saw some plays from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; my fourth year going on the trip, in fact. It was nice to get out of the house for four days and not be preoccupied with anime or schoolwork 24/7. Though their production of A Wrinkle In Time had this really awkward scene where Meg was in a bed surrounded by tentacles, so maybe I wasn’t completely free of anime’s grasp. Didn’t see any lolis, though that play also had an older woman playing a 5 year old boy, so that’s almost the same thing right?

But enough of that. Let’s talk about Black Bullet.

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Episode 4:

That whole plot twist of Rentarou turning out to be a cyborg, with his right arm, leg, and left eye being made out of varanium. I mean Jesus, did you see his eye transform from something normal looking to metallic? Varanium is the miracle metal I say! And almost as funny as that was how Rentarou was able to single-handedly pilot the giant “Stairway to Heaven” cannon, using his robotic arm has ammunition to take down a stage five Gaetra. For one, why isn’t this super powerful weapon guarded by the military, especially when someone can just plug their smartphone into it and operate it themselves? I guess they don’t need to worry too much when it’s not loaded, but then why wouldn’t they have it loaded and guarded if it’s like their one defense against stage five Gaestras? I’m also pretty sure calling your giant laser cannon the “Stairway to Heaven” has become an anime cliche at this point.

I don’t understand the revelation that Tendou hired Kagetane to stir up trouble and unleash a stage five Gastrea, all so public opinion of the cursed children would plummet and cause trouble for the upcoming civil rights laws to protect them. Like uh, risking the lives of everyone in the world (since apparently a stage five Gastrea is powerful enough to destroy the world,) in order to get revenge for those you lost to the Gastrea seems more than a little counter-intuitive.

Overall this was the funniest episode so far, although strictly speaking not the worst—that honor would either go to episode 1 or 3. This first story-arc was a clear example of light novel pacing too, where the plot advances super fast; I’m guessing because light novels tend to use minimalist writing and try to wrap up a story arc in one volume. I haven’t actually read any LN’s myself, though presumably this sort of pacing works fine with the source material, but it’s harder to pull off with cinema, which unlike literature has a fixed pacing. I wonder though if this show would have been a bit better if it was stretched out into a two cour series with slower pacing. I’m sure it wouldn’t be that difficult to just add onto the source material and pad things out; I kind of wonder why studios don’t do that more often with LN adaption. Maybe the creators just wanted to stay faithful to the source material, I don’t know.

Well, now let’s see what sort of hilarity this second story-arc has in store for us.

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Episode 5:

• I’ve always thought Kisara’s school uniform was pretty uncanny looking, because of how it has those weird spiky strips instead of a normal skirt. It just makes it look like it’s tattered or damaged, and it’s weird looking. It also looks like you could get a good look at her panties/crotch area even when she’s standing.

• Note that she is for some reason using an archery target to practice slicing with her sword. Seems like a perfectly good waste of an archery target.

• Lol, and for some reason Enju is practicing fighting while wearing a skirt. More lolicon pandering.

• And so Rentarou gets offered a job as a body for the Supreme Ruler of Tokyo Seitenshi-sama, and pays a visit to her royal palace office in the capital building to discuss the job with her.

Speaking of odd outfits, it’s also odd how Seitenshi wears a frilly white dress with a sunhat, instead of something more akin to what actual women politicians wear. I guess it at least drives home the point that this is a government under martial law with how princess-like it makes her look. You know, in the wonky sort of logic that Black Bullet has in its world-building. It’d also be nice if she was middle-aged or older like most politicians instead of some moe girl, but I don’t want to ask for too much here.

• Hm, and her normal bodyguards are donned in white military-like uniforms with swords on their sides. Very reminiscent of royal guards. The guy with the glasses also seems like an obvious enemy down the line; I can tell because of his triangular eyes and the lines around them. Total bad guy flag.

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• The capital building of Tokyo is super big, excessively so and much to the point where it seems awfully out of place for a post-apocalyptic setting like this. And it only looks even bigger on the inside as Rentarou walks amongst giant pillars and sprawling tile floors, with no one but himself in sight. Though to be fair, this would make sense if it was simply one of the buildings that survived the initial Gaestra attack, and it only seems so deserted because the government itself and the body of people running it have gotten smaller.

• Yup. Bad guy flag was correct. Glasses-kun (I’m not going to rewinding and looking up his name,) and a couple other bodyguards hold Rentarou up at gunpoint within a bathroom, and urge him to refuse the job. Glasses-kun explains that he doesn’t want anyone but himself beside his dear waifu Seitenshi-sama. At first it just seems like he’s being overprotective, though I’d wager that there’s more to it than that. Perhaps he’s planning to help backstab Seitenshi and doesn’t want Rentarou meddling with his plans; after all, he was hired by the same guy who engineered a conspiracy to summon a stage five Gastrea simply so a civil rights bill would get less approval.

When the two lackeys attempt to get a hold of Rentarou and break his arm and leg, he dodges them and shoots at Glasses-kun to get him to back off; scratching his cheek with the bullet. Well, that’s more than a little reckless, I’d say. What if his aiming was off by an inch and blew the guy’s brains out? That’d sure be an awkward situation to explain. “Uh, he was the one who attacked me first, I swear!”

• When outside the capital building on his way home, Rentarou runs into a group of thugs harassing a little girl. After scaring them away with his civil officer badge, the loli explains to him that she’s “nocturnal,” and relies on concentrated caffeine tablets to stay awake during the day. They don’t seem all that effective though. I hope this isn’t one of those characters who are constantly sleepy; those annoy the shit out of me. She also never explains what exactly she is doing out in the middle of the day with her pajamas on, but she obviously must be a cursed child up to no good.

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• Notice the sagging pajama top of Tina’s and how much skin is reveals. Lolicon pandering.

• Brief shower scene involving Tina, then her changing clothes. Lolicon pandering. You know, I bet this would be a fun show to make a drinking game out of.

• A woman walks into Rentarou’s apartment, who turns out to be Miori the student council president, asking him to take care of her before collapsing onto the floor due to an illness; some sort of cold apparently. Then, right after that Kisara comes in too, begging him to be fed, and collapses directly on top of Miori. Suggestive facial expressions ensue on both of them. It’s like an otaku’s wet dream! And it looks like these two hate each other so much, that “putting them together causes some horrific chemical reaction.” I don’t know what’s sillier, the possibility that they both came to Rentarou to get fed together despite hating each other, or the possibility that Kisara just so happened to go to Rentarou seconds after Miori by sheer coincidence.

• I keep forgetting that Rentarou is supposed to be a highschooler. Now with a job as a bodygaurd for the ruler of Tokyo, you have to wonder how he finds time at all to study and attend class.

• And so the four of them have dinner together. Miori takes a jab at Kisara’s large breast size, and starts to explain to Enju how she owns a leading company in weapon manufacturing. Rentarou adds that he gets a free, unlimited supply of varanium bullets because it’s free advertising for Miori’s company, though I don’t know who would exactly be paying attention to the bullets Rentarou uses while he shoots at monsters. Or who even watches Rentarou shoot these bullets at monsters in the first place? This isn’t some sort of sport, so why would the civil officers have sponsors to begin with? …actually, I almost forgot how the civil officers are ranked by how many “IP points” they earn on each killing. Okay, maybe it is a sport.

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So Miori goes on to add that she personally chose Rentarou because of how much “potential” she saw in him, and provides him the bullets on the condition that he attend the same school as her. She then clings to Rentarou and rubs her breasts against his arm, as she says that he “belongs to only me.” Well, maybe it’s less that she see’s potential in him and more that she wants to get into his pants. At this, Kisara finally snaps, and in order to defend her man from sexual predators like Miori, challenges her to a duel to decide who is the most fit mate for Rentarou. And, off-screen, they literally have a fight with real swords and guns.

At least Rentarou has a harem of girls his own age now instead of some lolis.

• I didn’t know what I was supposed to expect by a guy who Rentarou describes as a “dictator,” but I can already tell President Saitake is going to be some cartoony villain. He’s fat, has a smug grin, and a monocle. He also brushes off Rentarou as some lowly peasant, telling him to “watch your mouth. You’re only a civil officer.” Seriously, this guy is pure evil. He even smirks when Rentarou implies that he would use the Stairway to Heaven cannon to threaten other countries.

• I get that Saitake and the Japanese government would want to do what they could to ensure they establish dominance once they’ve exterminated the Gastrea threat. It’d be impossibly nearsighted and dumb to prioritize something like that over the Gastrea threat (remember Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse?) but hey, as it’s presented here it makes sense why they would have it as a priority at all. What’s weird is that they plan on establishing this dominance with violence through the Stairway to Heaven cannon, rather than economic or defensive means.

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If they were to threaten all the other countries with their fancily-named super weapon, wouldn’t that just make Japan seem like the hugest asshole of the world, and have international opinion of them plummet? And perhaps Saitake just doesn’t care what the rest of the world would think, but then threatening the other countries like that would only raise tension among everyone, which would in turn pressure the other countries to develop their own super weapons to fight back; and that’s assuming the rest of the world doesn’t already have their own Stairway to Heavens. And then we’ve got another Cold War all over again.

In fact, the other countries wouldn’t even need their own Stairways to Heaven, since other countries have little things called nuclear weapons. Sure, a Stairway to Heaven on the moon would be powerful since it could target anywhere on the earth, but it doesn’t seem to have the same devastating destructive capability of a nuclear missile—at least not with what we saw when it used Rentarou’s arm as a missile. But even if it was the same as a nuke, any of the nuclear missile-equipped countries of the world could just shoot a nuke at Japan if they were to shoot the Stairway to Heaven. So Japan would certainly have more presence, but they certainly wouldn’t be able to conquer the world without triggering a lose-lose situation.

• Hm, so Japan was split into five different areas. Saitake wants to conquer the other four areas of Japan, while Seitenshi wants to unite them through more peaceful means; “not by words, but by actions.” They essentially want to do the same thing, except Seitenshi is more well-intentioned and doesn’t want to resort to violence. Though who knows what she means by “action.” Diplomacy maybe?

Also, notice how in her meeting with Saitake, she gets much more easily distressed and off-putted by Saitake’s plan than Rentarou does. You would figure that a high-level politician like herself would have a thicker skin with these matters, but of course we need her to be more moe so she’ll be a suitable love interest for Rentarou.

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• On their way driving home, Seitenshi and the rest get ambushed by sniper fire, which is coming from Tina in the distance. Though for people caught in sniper fire they sure react slowly after getting out of their cars. They just stand around for a bit of time instead of hastily running to cover. Rentarou even just stands for a good minute, confident that the enemy is already gone for some reason (and they are, of course.) Why would Tina even back off instead of continuing to fire bullets at these slow-moving targets?

Thoughts:

This second story-arc is off to a relatively good start compared to the previous four episodes, albeit the plot is still wonky and dumb. Not much more to say here.

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2 Responses to Black Bullet, Ep 4 & 5: Funnier than Shakespeare

  1. DataportDoll says:

    I came away with the impression that Seitenshi was a brand-new monarch of sorts, her predecessor having died. Or at least, the fact she was passing the “please don’t murder children” act and the low opinion the old guard had of her (between Kagetane and Tendo) seemed to imply this was a shift in status quo. But maybe that’s my head canon making crap up again xD Though the fact that Rentaro and Snidely Whiplash just walked all over her in that conversation didn’t seem to dispute that.

    That said I do love Rentaro’s “I’m too old for this shit” face.

    • I’m honestly confused with how the government of Black Bullet works. Did the parliamentary democracy of Japan collapse completely and get replaced by a legit absolute monarchy, or is this some bizarre martial law which resembles a monarchy? If it IS an absolute monarchy that Seitenshi is a part of, than that would certainly explain why she seems inexperienced in handing people like Saitake.

      To be honest, I think I’ve seen too many male leads act like condescending tsukkomi’s to find Rentarou’s ‘too old for this shit’ face to be funny.

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