Black Bullet ep 2: Ow right in the kokoro
I should not be this in love with a show this quickly.
Fine, it may have elements of Attack on Titan. It may be cashing in. It may have some rushed elements and maybe even some lackluster tropes. But dammit Black Bullet is amazing and I really am going to recommend every one of you watch it. The one thing it definitely has over Attack on Titan is the pacing, my god the pacing in this show is great. There’s so much going on you feel like there must be nothing left in the episode and then they give you more and make you go WHAT WHY ISN’T THERE MORE WHY ISN’T IT NEXT WEEK WHAT’S GOING ON?
This episode immediately calls to attention the cliffhanger from last episode: Exactly where did the model spider who caused the last Gastrea outbreak go to? Well, Rentaro and Kisara are called to the freakin’ Ministry of Defense because apparently this is a top notch issue. To put it mildly- every civil officer in the nearby area has been called into a meeting in which the ruler of the Tokyo Area says – yeah fucking find that thing it has a case I need.
But Kisara is having none of this oblique bullshit and wants to know what’s in the case- and it looks like it’s going to be a mysterious thing until our favorite villain returns- and this time he brought….his daughter?! Who just happens to be a cursed child as well! He introduces himself as Hiruko Kagetane and I would just call him Hiruko but then he introduces his daughter as Kohina. Kagetane is such a hard name though HGNHHGHG. Anyway, Kohina’s kind of one of those batshit evil kids but she’s just dialed down enough for me to still enjoy her. You moe monster you.
Kagetane cuts to the fucking chase- he wants what’s in that box and makes it clear if he gets it the entire Tokyo civilization is fucked. The queen ruler empress chick seems POed at him ruining her attempts to be coy and there you go- we know the thing in the box is the seven…star……something…let’s just call it the sparkly apocalypse button. Yes, so he really wants this sparkly apocalypse button. He wants it bad. Everyone else shoots at him and he proceeds to say fuck you I put the magical metal in my body can’t touch this.
Oh it’s important I mention this but there’s this big buff dude who is apparently one of the top 1% initiators and blah blah I don’t care about him other than waiting to see his face pummeled in by small children but remember him kids, he does things. He’s relevant.
After this the focus of the episode heavily relies on one thing: The way Cursed Children are treated by this post-Gastrea crisis civilization. And I have to comment that I think it was a very good idea for them to use little girls. Let me put it this way- if this was a show about teenaged girls or adult women being abused by their society the entire message would be a little different. Not that it would be a bad message, it would just not be what the show is going for. How often do shows just end up sexualizing what is intended to be it’s prime messenger? Instead you have a bunch of little girls who for all intents and purposes are something we as a society see as helpless. Presenting them to us as something ‘foreign’ and ‘bad’ works for our mentality but not for the humanity at our cores. Most of us will see little girls (and even little boys) as inherently harmless and something needing to be looked out for by the seniors in our society.
So clash it with a society that now needs but rejects these girls who don’t need their strength and you receive an entirely different kind of thought process. What makes these girls human and why does this society reject them when it needs them? The level of animosity these girls incite actually makes me care. I don’t typically like the existential look at humanity but this does make me go, how can you be so cruel? How can you reject these girls? And yet we haven’t been around people who’ve been infected with a virus that literally breaks down your body and allows a parasite to take over. How can we know? All we have is the humanity inside of us and the desire to not break down to that level.
This is the reason Rentaro is already so likeable as a main character. It’s not that he and Enju always get along or that he isn’t annoyed by her constant affections, he is just happy she is able to express herself like a person at all. Maybe sometimes it gets grating to hear her say they’re engaged or that she loves him but he remembers a different girl, one who was broken and had no capacity to show that kind of feeling. Rentaro has effectively been on both ends, the horrified child face to face with a Gastrea, and the young man who has seen just how rejecting these children has shown humanity’s own weakness. When confronted with two police officers who repeatedly shoot a cursed child all he can do is wonder what the hell is wrong with the people who would kill their own saviors.
Enju really grows on you when you consider she is just a child who wants to be a child- who wants the things and the ability to do things that other kids want. She wants a childish crush, she wants school friends, she wants to watch tv and buy charms of the cartoons on tv. Yet she can’t just forget that everyone who is like her is shunned and abandoned- and she has faith and a desperate NEED to believe that Rentaro will somehow be able to save the Cursed Children and not just let them be hurt.
I have to say if this is how well they develop TWO CHARACTERS in TWO EPISODES this show deserves a watch more than anything else. I am the first one to call out overbearing or tired cliches, but this show keeps fresh a look on the human perspective that it genuinely shouldn’t. The soundtrack does an amazing job at keeping a tension that you didn’t even feel 4 seconds ago. Several times during this episode my eyes widened and I went ‘hot damn’. And this wasn’t even the whole episode! Right after Rentaro saves the cursed child who got shot down repeatedly, Kagetane approaches him to offer an alliance. Afterall, he’s noticed how effed up things are, hasn’t he? Kagetane then submits his idea that the Cursed Children are the future and to be treated the way they are makes no evolutionary sense. But Rentaro is not having that shit, fuck this. He wants the Cursed Children to be treated better, not to eliminate humanity to pave the way to some effed up society.
The episode ends with Enju’s classmates finding out she is a Cursed Child (the implication being Kagetane orchestrated that to make Rentaro think about his actions regarding Enju) and Rentaro refusing to give up searching for her, making it very clear he views Enju as a person and not a tool.
Ah fuck my life is it next week yet? I WANT MORE OF THIS STUPID FUCKING SHOW! It’s not stupid it’s great. ARRGGHGHG