Well, it’s over. Officially over. Everything was going so well, Black Bullet. Sure, our first date kind of had problems, and we haven’t sat down for a nice slow evening yet. But it was all so exciting and your flaws still held a certain charm to them, like boyish immaturity instead of frat boy immaturity.
But now your anniversary card just scratched out your ex’s name and sloppily wrote mine. You didn’t even try that hard, it got all scrunched up towards the leaf of the card. And you missed a letter. It’s like you don’t even care anymore. So neither do I.
My acting aside, We have just about crossed the line of no return. Actually, yes. Yes we have. Only a stalwart protagonist with gutsy determination, poor grades, and excellent flying abilities could save us from Black
Hole Bullet, but we aren’t lucky enough to be on THAT ship.
We have a new OP! I don’t like it. I realize it is more “proper” than the other, but…it lacks that charm. There was a certain something about the way the old one emphasized dark tones, disturbing imagery, and pace. Now everything’s so….bright. And fast. Which I guess just means it reflects the show now! Yeah I am not nearly as excited by this one.
Last week I uttered the words “Strike the Blood” when discussing the “new” Black Bullet. And how. The atmosphere is almost identical. That is to say: Non-threatening.
And I come back to the OP. I don’t know why this bothers me so much. But, even if the old one was clearly done in an hour on Windows Movie Maker, it emphasized the dread of this world, as the last story arc did.
Now, we have managed to make the apocalypse BORING.
So, getting into Black Bullet the Abridged Series, Rentaro is hanging out with Tina. Because sure. Why not. This would make way more sense if we had confirmation that Rentaro knew Tina was Cursed. But we don’t have that yet. Like many things, I’m assuming we skipped that chapter.
And we are naturally fed a scene where Rentaro has so shove balls in Tina’s mouth while she whimpers. Yeah, I am on the record: Sexualization and lolis do not bother me. But when even I am rolling my eyes, we have gone too far.
They bond some, but since we already know Tina is the assassin, we know what’s coming. And Romeo and Juliet, you are not, Black Adder.
Following this is harem antics. Kisara has lost her mind, trying too hard to be a yandere, bringing a machine gun to a meeting with Miori and ready to attack her. I don’t mind this so much, but the fact it is KISARA doing it is what irks me. You have the shape of Isayama Yomi! Do not besmirch your stolen character design!
Miori’s job here is to CSI the bullet. She calculates the shots at Seitenshi’s car came from an improbably long way away. No one suggests Cursed Child, though maybe they haven’t been employed en masse like this before.
Thankfully, Sexy-Sensei is here to tell us that
Raishin Rentaro respects women too much. DON’T YOU SEE, GIRLS? HIS FLAW IS HE CARES TOO MUCH ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS! I’d get angry here about women having agency in romance and stuff, but as I am a misanthrope, yeah, side me with Family Guy on this one, far too many women like it when you treat them like crap.
Sexy-sensei is here to give us some exposition about the New Humanity Batallion. Mostly, following the defeat of Kagetane, Rentaro safely falls in the 1000s in terms of rank. Maybe he’s good enough for Kisara now. She then uters the strangest line, “If you pursue your origin, you’re likely to run into them, be prepared.”
Again, did we miss a chapter? When the hell did Rentaro demonstrate that he gave a flying fuck about his origins?
In this, Tina has been sent after Kisara. She attacks, and they have a…well…a strangely proportioned fight, but a decent one. Rentaro, naturally, arrives to save the day. Kisara goes to the hospital, saying that since she got injured, she swore to destroy the Tendo name!
…STOP SKIPPING SHIT, SHOW!
Oh, Enju is here to grab Kisara’s breasts. Thank god, how would we have gotten that fanservice out of the way without her?
Rentaro suspects Sogen, but without proof, Seitenshi won’t just cancel the summit. You remember, the summit about…
Ahem, a missed opportunity here was Rentaro. We Chekov’s Gunned that “you care about women too much” shit, make it matter! The show wants us to side with Rentaro because he’s just such a hero. But make that compassion blind him to the political realities of the situation, and do so in a meaningful way.
Well Rentaro taking standard security procedures draws the ire of Seitenshi’s very Japanese bodyguard, saying Rentaro shouldn’t disrespect him before making decisions. Blow it out your ass, Backstreet Boy.
Tina takes another shot at Seitenshi, and unlike last time, where she fired a couple shots and quit, this time she’s going full barrel. She sends the limo careening, and the escort jeep flees. Seitenshi overhears Rentaro use Tina’s name, however, and just as Enju leaves to try and drive Tina off, Seitenshi arrives to tell us Tina isn’t any child, but a Mechanized Initiator. She’s ranked 97.
And, cliffhanger about Enju being dead, but she won’t be really.
So, why is this so much more unbearable than it was the first four weeks, when I proclaimed this the show I wanted to see most?
Several reasons in this tonal shift. First: The show has become Rentaro-centric. No, not the show. The universe. I was okay with the harem bullshit back when Rentaro was a -character-, now he’s just more a simple cliche box. Kisara chewed his brains out for being a derp, Seitenshi basically told him at the conclusion of episode 4 “You just aren’t important”, and Muroto was open in her condescending contempt of him. Now, two of those three have entered the harem. The balance is lost. And the fact that I have accidentally typed “Raishin” several times writing this review should tell you all the GREAT stuff they’ve done with his character in this time.
Second, and really tied into the above: Enju has been shelved. She exists to play Rentaro’s muscle, but does little else anymore. Her interactions with Rentaro really elevated this series in the early goings on, like the bracelet scene. It was a different dynamic than we usually get, Rentaro REALLY felt like someone trying to learn how to be a parent. And Enju, as I’ve said many times, was an amazingly characterized child.
Third: Lack of a villain. Sure we get Tina, and her story is “tragic”, I guess. But why? Why kill Seitenshi? I have to drag up Machine Doll again, don’t I? Where villains were just bad guys who existed to get their shit pushed in. What made Kagetane awesome wasn’t just his mask or his cute banter (though those helped a lot), it was his motivations. Hell, I was on his side. He walked a morally grey area. Dark, definitely dark. And certainly needed to be stopped. But his reasoning wasn’t flawed in the least. People would gun down Cursed Children as soon as feed them, and he played the dark mirror to Rentaro’s “parent” in that we got the sense he was doing it for his daughter’s sake. Without this elevating element, the entire show suffers.
Fourth: Though a persistent flaw, pacing still sucks. It’s just all the worse when the show that currently exists is not compelling in the least. The show is vague about the political conflicts, because bad is bad and good is good.
Fifth: The atmosphere is all wrong. This might as well be a completely different show, but I’ve already explained a bit about that at the beginning. Just apply that to the entirety of the episode.
Sigh…I don’t think Black Bullet will dig itself out of this hole. I want to believe, really I do. But we know better at this point. Which is a shame, it was proving itself to be better than its genre tags, much in the same manner as Sakura Trick. But it’s just slipping into tired old memes and cliche.