Black Bullet was probably one of my most anticipated series going into the season. Unfortunately, there were a lot of things that I wish would have gone differently (but I’ll talk about that later). The last episode just aired and I have to say, it didn’t feel like a season finale to me. They left so many things open (even though the source is ongoing) and the series just abruptly ends.
Black Bullet Episode 13
The children and people of Tokyo praying for Rentarou’s success was heartwarming (even the girl Rentarou saved at the beginning of the series was doing well). They’re able to strengthen their resolve once they realize how much people are depending on them. They move on with their operations despite Takuto (the lieutenant guy) sabotaging them in the previous episode. I thought it was weird that they even bothered to mention him when they didn’t even need/use the batteries in the end. On top of that, I thought that the blind cursed child would have played a role (considering they implied she had something to do with the monolith breaking down), but she isn’t even present in the episode. Again, it makes me wonder why they brought her up if she had no impact on this part of the story.
Shouma is able to save the day when the bomb fails to detonate. He takes Rentarou’s place which is convenient since his initiator died and not much is known about his character. Shouma is willing to sacrifice himself in Rentarou’s place (because we can’t have the MC dying). He’s already abandoned the Tendou family and lost his partner who brought meaning to his life. Rentarou, on the other hand, still had Enju, Kisara, Tina, and a goal to live for. Shouma’s death didn’t really phase me since he had very few lines since his introduction. We don’t really know much about him. All we know is that he left the Tendou family and cared deeply for Midori.
We learn that Kisara’s brother was responsible for the destruction of the wall. The corruption within the Tendou family resulted in the death of Kisara’s parents and her siblings took part in it. The whole confrontation felt a bit out of place to me. We’ve never heard of anything relating to Kisara’s brother in the past, but suddenly he becomes the villain of the entire arc. Regardless, we’re slightly closer to uncovering the truth behind the world (the corruption within political figures).
Kisara also shows another side of her. She’s completely driven and obsessed with revenge. She didn’t really exhibit any signs previously (I don’t consider the silly “foreshadowing” since it seemed completely forced) but she completely lost it after learning that her brother was involved in the death of her parents. She carries no remorse for killing and did not hesitate at all. She departs from Rentarou when he disagrees with her views and claims they may be enemies in the future. This entire scene just felt out of place, once again, for me. There wasn’t really any evidence that would lead us to believe Kisara to be a cold-blooded killer. On top of that, her proclaiming to be “evil” and may be Rentarou’s enemy seems completely contradictory to her development with him in the last few episodes.
The series ends off on a bit of a lighter note. Enju’s oath was cute and helped lighten the mood after the darker tone earlier. The final scene definitely struck something within me though. Enju’s a bit depressed that another person had died and sympathizes with them. This causes Rentarou to come to the realization that he’s losing his humanity. He’s witnessed so many deaths of people he cared about (over the course of the series) and always just brushed it off. If the series was being narrated from Rentarou’s perspective, the lack of mourning for his comrades would make a lot of sense at this point.
You can watch Black Bullet episode 13 on Crunchyroll
Post Series Thoughts
Black Bullet definitely had the makings of a great series. Unfortunately, they fell short on the execution. They had an interesting concept along with some darker themes but didn’t successfully convey it all (IMO). While the series had pacing issues, I think that the source material is also partly to blame for the rushed story. Had this been a two-cour series and they took the time to properly introduce and develop characters, the series as a whole would have been more memorable for me.
Aside from Enju, Tina, and Rentarou, we really don’t know much about the other characters. They introduced quite a large cast in Black Bullet but didn’t give many details regarding their stories. We had several side characters getting killed off in the series, but I found it hard to sympathize with almost any of them since there was no attachment to the character in the first place. I wished that they could have given some more screen time to the characters since I really enjoyed Tina’s arc and character development.
We’ve never really been introduced to a formal villain as well. We know that the Gastrea are a threat to mankind and they’ve hinted towards corruption within society. While the Gastrea are pretty cool and all, they don’t seem to have any sentience which makes their fights seem like they’re missing something.
The story had potential but I found the way they advanced the plot to be really cheesy and out of place. Looking back, when Rentarou defeated Tina, the way they resolved the entire thing with Seitenshi increasing Rentarou’s rank seemed completely illogical. Apparently her saying his rank is a certain number allows him to magically access new information. They’ve also jumped around from one plot point to another with little time inbetween. In Kagetane’s arc, we have his demise, a new threat, defeating the new threat, Kayo’s death, and Tendou’s involvement in everything all condensed into 20 minutes. We weren’t given a lot of time to process what had happened and made it harder to follow along.
The soundtrack for the Black Bullet definitely stood out to me. The music used really fit the mood of the series and helped convey more emotions during specific scenes. My main issue with their use of the soundtrack is that they overused some of the songs. Their action track in particular (the one when Kagetane appears) was played in almost every action scene even if there was no real conflict at hand (Rentarou in a virtual training simulator). While I loved the music, I couldn’t help but feel that the soundtracks had lost some of their initial impact after hearing them played so often.
While many things could have been improved in Black Bullet, I still enjoyed the series. The animation, music, art, voice actors, and story managed to intrigue me before the series even aired. The way they executed the series (partly the adaptation and the source) was not the way I had hoped. However, I thought that Black Bullet did have it’s moments (Tina Sprout, Kayo, and the final scene were my favourites) and was worth the watch.
So there you have it, my thoughts on Black Bullet. I appreciate those of you who have followed along with my weekly posts/ramblings and as always, feel free to leave your thoughts/opinions on Black Bullet as well!