Review: Black Bullet – Ep. 1

Black Bullet is a series that struggles with its own identity. What begins as a realistic disaster story with a hint of near future sci-fi quickly turns into a monster of the week formula, but with the obvious twist of a “chosen one” that hates the way the world is and will be the one to stop it! If that weren’t enough though the second half of the episode is more in line with a harem comedy or even a *brocon. The premise is that an epidemic has swept Japan and once someone is infected they turn into a giant insect of some kind. There’s actually some science used to explain how the insects are able to move around in giant size, but it’s really not needed since I doubt people being hunted down or killed by them stop to think, “how is it still able to jump when the weight of its own body would surely crush it!?!” As a member of the audience I didn’t think about it either until they explained it.

Our main character is an orphaned boy by the name of Satomi Rentaro. He’s the handler/chosen one that will defeat them all and is paired with Aihara Enju who is one of the Cursed Children. The insects are known as Gastrea and apparently some pregnant women were infected via their saliva and created half-human, half-Gastrea children know as… the Cursed Children. Cursed because they’re not really human and have the crazy Gastrea strength; what’s worse is that they’re only girls, which puts in place the well-worn formula of basically any show that’s done something similar (another of which I’m reviewing as well). The kids are used to fight the Gastrea and their handlers are given special bullets… black bullets. The bullets supposedly harm the Gastrea, but as we see Rentaro unloads an entire clip in a bug’s brain and it shakes it off.

The voice acting is fine, the animation is fine, the fact that there is an adult male Cursed one running around infecting people is fine, but really that’s it. The problem with Black Bullet is that everything is so familiar that nothing other than those three elements stand out and even that last one is nothing new.

Young girl in love with older boy and overplaying their relationship: pick an anime. A small and struggling agency of some kind that can’t get paid because the main character forgets or gets too wrapped up in the major plot line? Too many stories to count. A rare item in which the series gets its name from, but has as much use to the overall world as a knife cutting water; yeah I could name a few.  The lists of comparisons go on and on and the real problem is that Black Bullet isn’t half as good as the other anime’s you’ll think of while watching it. If you’re going to be familiar then you better also be better or great in comparison.

Score: 2/5

Director: Masayuki Kojima Creator: Shiden Kanzaki Studio: Kinema Citrus/Orange Animation Studio

*Brocon = A romance in which a sister loves her brother, but the feelings are (usually) not reciprocated. It’s also used in case of a sister like character loving someone she equates as a brother.