Protect and serve.
Our episode opens on Rentaro being summoned to the ministry of defense. It’s a big meeting. Every civil officer in the city has been invited, only one is absent. Rentaro gets in a scuffle with a big guy whose outfit screams “I’m an asshole”. We’re shown how most Promoters don’t think of their Initiators as highly as Rentaro. Well luckily before Humans can start beating each other up, the bosses intervene. Kisara reveals that of 700,000 civil officer pairs, the asshole is ranked around 1500. She laments that Rentaro is somewhere in the 120,000s. Damn, this really is Japan. “Top 20% WELL SHIT ON YOU!” It’s not like this is pass/fail, either, it’s all jockeying for position, you can’t have everyone with the same score. Nevermind Rentaro deduces this is only the best of the best, which means his skills are good enough for THAT. Orrrrr maybe it’s the fact his adopted father is adviser to the monarch.
Oh look, that’s who’s summoned them.
She has a misson for them. A Gastrea is in possession of a case. And the reward is enormous. Kisara asks what’s in the case. Any idiot can see this is a job that even the normal police could handle. What’s so special about it? Well state secrets and all.
Too bad the laughing man isn’t going to let them leave the meeting so easily. He crashes it in dramatic fashion. And really when you’re running around in that smiling mask, you have to make the most of your entrances.
Rentaro pulls a gun on him. “How are you, Satomi-kun?” It’s a good exchange. We are then treated to the sight of…a little blue haired Initiator. Hiruko Kohina. She notes that Rentaro is pointing a gun at them and asks the laughing man if she can kill him. He keeps her leash tight, though. After all he likes Rentaro.
He announces that he and his daughter here will be entering the race. He says he will claim “the Inheritance of Seven Stars”. And he says, let’s make it a gamble. Let’s bet all of our lives on it!
Well the asshole Promoter doesn’t take kindly to this, but his massive varanium buster sword is deflected without even moving an arm. The remainder of the officers are genre-savvy enough to not let him monologue about his plans or origins, and open fire with their guns, but he’s Matrix-ing them to full stop. Rentaro asks if he’s human. Of course, he replies, just a lot of his body is made of varanium now. He introduces himself as Hiruko Kagetane, a member of the old anti-Gastrea task force, which is apparently so top secret most of the officers here consider it a myth.
At a loud humming, Rentaro tackles Kisara to the ground as all the bullets held in suspension fire back at the officers, wounding many.
Things are not looking good for the good guys.
It’s curious, if this is because his body is made of varanium, is it like magnetic to itself? Was he so confident because he knew they all fought with varanium? Would ordinary police bullets hurt him?
Before departing, he leaves his “Satomi-kun” a present on the table, and leaps out the window with his daughter. Suddenly an aide bursts in from the absent security agency. He says the director has been killed this morning, his head lobbed right off.
Yes, Rentaro looks at the package.
Our monarch lady has a new condition. Hiruko must be stopped, because the package he’s after can destabilize the varanium barrier.
Now with Enju and Rentaro in the market, we get a cute scene. Enju has given Rentaro a “Tenju Girls” bracelet, it’s apparently popular with the kids on TV these days. She says it has the power of love inside it…again, a very kid thing to do “this is the coolest present ever!” This doubles down on what I said last time about Enju being a rather believable child character. Rentaro sarcastically declares his love for Enju, observing it must be broken. Enju, ever the optimist, says clearly this means Rentaro DOES love her.
These two really are adorable when they’re allowed to play off the other without Enju needing to turn into a rapist.
But we see police chasing a girl with red eyes. Enju recognizes her from when she lived in the slums, but Rentaro stays her hand. It’s far worse for people to find out Enju is cursed. But Enju is distraught. She says that Rentaro is able to do anything, that he’s an officer of justice, and yet he just let the police drag the girl away. And they really are outwardly hostile to her.
Well from the mouths of babes, Rentaro isn’t letting them off that easy. He follows the police, but finds them going to an abandoned building. Which, is odd, you wouldn’t think that there would be a lot of abandoned buildings in the barrier. He hears gunshots from inside. Yes, the police have her held up against the wall and pour bullets into her.
All the police officers in Tokyo must be American by now.
It’s all the worse when you consider this safe haven only exists because of children like this girl.
But the girl IS still part Gastrea, so she’s alive. Rentaro has her dropped off at a hospital.
He’s confronted by Kagetane, but luckily Enju’s spider sense (hue hue) must have gone off, so she’s there to help him fend off Kohina, who is just as eager to cut off body parts as ever. He likely has been following Rentaro and knows about the girl he just dropped off, because he offers him a case of money. He wants them to join his side. He even points out “Isn’t Tokyo shit? It’s shit right? Doesn’t this feel like living in Florida?” and Rentaro flashes back to the police officers.
Still, Rentaro isn’t going to destroy the only pocket of civilization he knows.
Well Kagetane has the rumor spread that Enju is a cursed child around school, so she’s basically expelled. She even runs away from home. Rentaro searches for her in the slums, coming upon a refuge. He’s told she’s not there, but the Human tending to the orphans (presumably, mothers die in childbirth to the cursed children, I can’t imagine them ALL being available to be slaves to the civil officers, or the maternal instincts being this weak EVERY single time) suggests he find a new partner. Rentaro gets angry, just tired of everyone telling him Enju isn’t Human. He leaves, saying he’ll search the entire district if he has to. But of course, Enju was there the whole time, the old man was just covering for her by her request.
Will she go back? Eventually. Wonder how soon though.
Like I said, Black Bullet is not about the crisis, exactly, but about the people who are dealing with the bug invasion. And this episode did a great job of expanding the universe while getting us to sympathize with the plight. This isn’t exactly a dystopian world. It’s rather very much like the current one, which is surprisingly optimistic for the end of the world. It seems to me that the emphasis will not be on the Gastrea themselves, though certainly that will play a part of this, but on the political landscape more than anything. How cursed children are treated, why Tokyo has a monarch now and not an elected body, what is so rotten about this world that Kagetane feels compelled he has to exterminate Humanity so the cursed children can emerge as their own society. These are the questions that keep us hanging onto the story.