OP Sequence

OP: 「black bullet」 by fripSide

「最後の希望」 (Saigo no Kibou)
“The Last Hope”

I don’t think I’ve ever said this, but this was probably the first time I’ve felt a little let down from an anime adaptation after having read a little of the source material. Maybe it’s just because I have good taste in shows? (I’m totally kidding). All jokes aside, my feelings about this show are actually a little mixed.

General Impressions

While I completely understand that an adaptation of anything into a different form will need to have certain things moved around and sometimes even cut, I was a little let down to see two really important scenes get cut out. Those two scenes being the back story behind the guy who turned into the jumping spider and the light-hearted exchange that Rentarou had with the detective before running off for those limited time sales. Sure, those two scenes probably won’t play a huge role in the grand scheme of things but moments like those that really flesh out the story and help you grow closer to the characters. Can you imagine how different that whole experience would have felt if you knew that the guy was actually a deadbeat father who was trying his best to turn things around in order to live with his kids again?

That said, I’m normally the person who typically avoids reading mangas online (paper just has that special feel to it) and thus ends up walking into most anime without any primer. With that in mind, I think that this first episode did a great job at building up the excitement while dangling just enough mystery to keep us coming back for more. If I were to pick something as the “crown jewels” of the episode, it would probably boil down to a tough choice between the Gastrea or Enju.

Gastrea, Initiators, and Cursed Children

Even though I have some issues with how certain things were handled, I have no qualms with anything and everything involving the Gastrea. Treated with the same importance a main character would get, I can’t wait to see where this broken and overpowered mess leads to. Because as cool as fighting off a mutant virus that mutates its host into a monster sounds, seeing children who inherited that power and are tasked with saving humanity while being discriminated against sounds a lot cooler. Luckily, if that avenue falls apart we still have Top-Hat Tuxedo Mask and his nefarious plot to destroy a world that’s already hanging by a thread.

Enju best girl Spring 2014?

Looking past the amazing fact she has superhuman powers and twin tails, Enju is probably the cutest thing I’ve seen in the longest time. While it may just be my childcare-embracing (kid-caring? I’m trying to avoid sounding like a sicko here!) side showing, you can’t deny that she’s as awesome as she is cute. I mean come on, don’t tell me you weren’t HNNNNGing when she tried to persuade Rentaro to flunk out for six years just so she could have class with him.

Looking Ahead

Seeing how I’m already roped into covering this show, I’m really hoping that it continues to get better as things proceed. I had some pretty big hopes for this one and after next week, I should have nothing in my head to bias my thoughts. Besides that, the lure of Fake Tuxedo Mask and what’ll happen to the cursed children as they grow up is more than enough to keep me coming back.

However, I were to point out something that scares me I would say that I’m scared of seeing this show get hit with the Spiderman 3 effect. For those of you who didn’t watch that movie, it’s basically the issue of trying to stuff in too many things without the time to adequately flesh it all out. The reason I say that is with our over-arching story being laid into place, there were a couple other huge things that the show hinted at. Things like Kisara’s obvious kidney issues and Rentaro’s internal struggles with anything involving his parents (biological or through adoption).

Anyways, let’s hope for the best shall we? Till next week!




  1. Yeah I know how you feel Takaii, I was wondering when they would introduce the infected victim’s backstory, but somehow he only had a brief appearance. Nonetheless, an exciting episode that just me engrossed into the characters and the story.(If only there was more time to watch anime!)

  2. That was a really underwhelming episode. The fighting scene with the gigantic spider which i’d expected to be very badass, ended up being a total bore. The premiere also pretty much failed at describing the worldbuilding aspect. I’ve no idea what’s the deal with the masked dude who barged in out of the blue and butchered two police officers. I’ve no idea what’s the deal with the infected victim that transformed into gigantic spider. I’ve no idea what’s the deal with the gastrea thing aside from the fact that it’s monster that invade human territory. Ugh. The rest of episode was just a complete bore. Filled up almost entirely by bloated, convoluted dialogues (particularly the silly, but unfunny beansprout talk) and very clunky expositions (the explanations regarding “cursed children” just didn’t sound convincing). Quite fortunately The pacing didn’t feel really off, it’s just there was no scenes in between that would interest me.

    Regarding the characters. Surprisingly enough, i actually liked the MC for simply not having annoying personality given Kaji Yuuki is voicing him. His partner on the other hand, the cheeky loli and her continuous attempts to seduce him, just grated on my nerves. The MC’s boss and the female scientist were boring, so i won’t talk about them.

    Overall a pretty disappointing premiere. I’ll probably give it 2 more episodes to explain itself better

    1. you can’t fault them for the black hat man. he was just as mysterious in the manga opening. I haven’t watched it but if Takaii is right on all counts, then this first ep has a lot of wasted potential. the manga is just awesome

    2. Agreed. Show screams “generic” furiously at every chance.
      The only novelty was Kisara’s illness. And that sucks, btw..
      You have an adorable teenage iinchou with big boobs, awesome
      body and mad kendo skillz.. sure, now give her diabetes which
      has worsened down to the point of kidney failure, because that
      makes sense and brings realism to the plot, like, how can she
      look so pink and healthy right before getting a hemodialysis.
      Her hair and skin look even fairer than the totally healthy next girl.
      There’s the character with a weird mysterious disease and there’s
      this shit, If you want to make her diabetic, go ahead, but let the
      poor girl live on.

      Helvetica Standard
    3. It just feels like this could’ve expanded into 2 episodes, doesn’t it?

      (or they need the mangaka to help split the series into a more appropriate amount of episodes)

  3. “That said, I’m normally the person who typically avoids reading mangas online”
    This show is based on Light Novel. Just saying. So don’t compare this to it’s manga adaptation.

    First episode adapted whole 1st LN chapter so I think we don’t have to worry about how well this LN will be adapted.

      1. From what I’ve read of both (not much since I did want to spoil myself too much), I’d say the manga does a pretty good job, but wasn’t completely all inclusive of the source material. LN > manga. Still, IMO you get a much better feel for the source LN from the Black Bullet manga than compared to a series like MKnR.

  4. Spoon fed exposition is never a good thing in my book.

    “Okay, let’s have a random review session of the jumping spider!”
    “Great! I’ve been on the job for almost a year but I still need help with all this information, thanks weird scientist lady!”

    Subtlety…whatever happened to that anyways? That last bit of narration was just as unnatural.

    1. Yeah, I noticed this too. There were also certain things in the episode that made me raise an eybrow, for instance Enju just waiting till the infected actually becomes dangerous and covers her with… spider web? The masked guy saying that he’ll destroy the world was so cliche that it made me cringe.

      Overall, it wasn’t a bad first episode, but I’d lie to say that I already care for any of the characters or the world. The sensei is cool, at least. I’ll let Takaii have the loli 😛

      1. it was fine when she asked him if he had any last words, but how the spider pretty much got the jump on her despite all her preparedness… i can only repeat myself so many times.

        the sensei is definitely cool though!

      2. I also felt that it was unnatural/unneeded exposition. If they explained less about the Gastrea and the Cursed Children, it would have been fine. We would have figured it out from the infected human and the injection that Enju got.

        The discrimination against the Cursed Children also didn’t need (direct) explanation, as we would have figured it out from the Enju’s conversation with Satomi, as well as the scene with all those children on the other side of the river.

        Basically, there were enough visual/dialogue cues, so they kind of went overboard explaining the obvious.

        What I would have liked them to explain is why the middle bridge the only one that’s broken? Is it discrimination? In that case why are there two other bridges that are perfectly fine!? But if it was broken in a disaster, then they should have repaired/been repairing it, right?

    2. While I agree with you, unfortunately the case is that the…simpler minded viewing public sees it differently (which actually makes up for a lot of the views). Apparently they said they would rather get spoon fed the stuff so they can get straight to the action….so then again this is coming from people who most likely hate any form of dialogue in an anime…such a fun way to live your life -_-

  5. @Takaii: Sure, those two scenes probably won’t play a huge role in the grand scheme of things but moments like those that really flesh out the story and help you grow closer to the characters.

    Sadly, that’s not something unique to this adaptation even just considering shows this season. There seems to be some incessant need for some directors (or whoever makes this decision) to cut out the “unimportant, boring stuff” in order to get to the “good stuff” (e.g action) post haste. 🙁 After watching the first episode, I had a sense that “something” was left out so I read about the first half LN volume 01. Just from what I read, I definitely got a better feeling for both the characters and the overall situation compared to watching the anime. I agree with you that including the victim’s background (and “last words”) would have made for a much more powerful scene.

    Despite some pacing issues and a little lack of focus, this was one of the better first episodes I’ve watched so far this season. I found the world setting quite intriguing and the characters pretty good as well, though I have to say that Rentarou and Enju, especially, remind me a LOT of Raishin and Yaya from Kikou Shoujo wa Kizutsukanai (aka Unbreakable Machine Doll). I liked Kikou Shoujo (LN more so), but I thought the anime adaptation suffered a bit from too fast pacing due to a one cour season. I hope Black Bullet can avoid the same issue.

    Technically still a “3 episode rule for me”, but I’d honestly be surprised if I drop this. I enjoyed watching the first episode, and in the end, that’s what matters. Looking forward to episode 2.

    1. I feel you! Like I said somewhere else in the comments, I feel a little odd bashing the show since I don’t normally do it. (Bashing might be a bit strong of a word)

      Glad to see you’re sticking around for the ride!

  6. it’s fine, but can rentarou NOT be the dumping point of information?? how the exposition was focused all onto him is just silly. enju getting slimed by the spider and asking “what is this sticky thing??” (despite the fact that the spider is common enough to be classified and labeled) is ridiculous as well, couple that with how she sexually harasses rentarou as part of her relationship with him, it seems like she’s just being whored out.

    it’s a shame, but i really think that this show was only green-lit because of shingeki. not that shingeki has a copyright on “humanity’s last stand” plots, but the fact that they skipped the important scenes you (takaii) detail, how monoliths are just ridiculously tall, and how gastrea spawn from humans (similar to SnK since a titan’s appearance is based on the human form)… it feels like what should’ve been an episodic series is instead being made simply to ride on shingeki’s coattails.

    like i said, this episode turned out decently enough, and this will probably remain true for the series since the production quality looks great and enju is cute as fuck; but black bullet has been done no favors by the staff, and could probably be a lot better.

  7. i dont quite get it, the whole flow of the story…and it took me about 10 minutes to digest the whole situation before the ED. Oh, its about a pandemic that spreads around Japan in 2031 and little girls have awesome powers. hmm…

    that aside, i was totally stunt with the drawing quality of this anime! My gosh arent they sooo neat and pretty! That got my attention to stay! looking forward for more Kisara and Rentaro’s backstory/moments XDD and Enju is sooo cute!

    onion warrior
  8. Even the manga did a better job in bringing out the flavor of the story. With the inevitable comparison, the pilot episode was bland, but did an adequate job in being an introductory episode IMO. As anime adaptations go, I still have a good amount of hope that the show will turn out pretty well. It’s kinda post apocalyptic with the whole ‘humans against inhumans’ with the against-all-odds vibes and that’s something I quite like.

    Having spoilt myself a little, I’m looking forward to the show getting us more involved in the characters. The masked man is a pretty interesting character, as are the relationship dynamics between Rentarou and Kisara.

    Despite my few complaints, I’m following this. The art looks good, and the post apocalyptic setting and the underlying issues that will surface in the future looks promising.

  9. Aside from the OBVIOUSLY otaku pandering loli I like what i’ve seen from the show so far. I don’t mind cute childlike characters but when a good chunk of the dialogue they are given is sexualized for no reason that’s where i draw the line.

    Maybe they’ll explain the whole children with super powers only being female thing and I sincerely hope it isn’t just a means to give the MC a loli filled harem (the show doesn’t seem to be leading into that direction but it’s a frightening possibility).

    1. If my memory serves me right. The show told us that gastrea only appeared 10 years ago. Hence it stands to reason that the “cursed children” i.e the children whose mother were infected by gastrea wouldn’t have aged more than 10.

    2. The Gastrea virus locks in sex early in the cell differentiation process. Show Spoiler ▼

  10. You’re not the only person who’s mentioned them leaving out the victim’s circumstances, but as an anime-only viewer I’m not sure how they could have included him suddenly just spouting off about his life situation to a random girl he meets on the street, particularly here in the first episode and him being (frankly) a nobody in terms of the overall plot, without it seeming both out of place and like a very heavy-handed attempt to maniuplate the viewer into feeling bad. One could almost hear the writer saying “Now this is the point where you will FEEL BAD for this person. FEEL BAD. Let me use this sledgehammer of BAD FEELINGS to BASH YOUR HEAD TO A PULP just to make sure I’ve gotten it across that you’re supposed to FEEL. BAD. RIGHT. NOW.”

    It’s too soon for something like that to feel natural coming out of nowhere, from a nobody. And that doesn’t even mention the time it would take up. Remember, a lot of dialogue can be represented easily in a panel or two in a manga, or a few paragraphs in a light novel, since the limiting factor there is space, but the limiting factor in an anime is time, and it takes time for dying victims to spout of backstories, and police inspectors to threaten to arrest Rentarou as a lolicon and so forth: time that is in short supply if they want to show everything they’re trying to show.

    1. I suppose so. But don’t you think that in a first episode, you’re given a little bit more freedom to do whatever you want? We’ve seen it where you get an amazing action sequence for almost no reason (I’m looking at your Captain Earth) and shoot, I was wondering how the guy already knew how to pilot the damn thing!

      Jokes aside, I thought they could have somehow integrated it into the first episode. If I remember correctly, the manga only uses like 2-3 panels for it and it hit me pretty hard :/

      OR THEY COULD HAVE FLESHED OUT THE DETECTIVE. I mean, at least he came off feeling like a good guy in the manga q.q

      police inspectors to threaten to arrest Rentarou as a lolicon

      One of the best things I’ve read. #loliconlyfe

  11. its quite disturbing if you think of the possibility that enju will become a gastrea someday via various triggers like lack of vaccine that slows down her corrosion… in short, a cute loli to monster… it would be a nightmare…

    or maybe that kisara tendo becoming a gastrea type 5… its possible in this kind of plots…

    damn… i hate my write instincts.

    The Last Idiot
  12. First impression:40k Daemonhunters meet Private Investigators- and Loli Psykers save the day when depleted phlebotinium shells fail.
    I find the comparison especially apt as the 40k psykers are both being cursed by their link with the Warp, and blessed as one of Mankind’s stongest weapons.
    On the other hand the Inititator-Promoter pair reminds me of both Gunslinger girl fratello system, and the Inspectors controlling Enforcers in the Psycho-pass. One terrible scenario imaginable is for Rentaro to have to kill out-of-control Enju!
    Enju being super-cute is fun, and her advances are being played for laughs – I guess she is relieving stress of having to kill Gastrea who not long ago were humans that way. She may be a mere 10 or so but she has probably seen more death than most adults see in our peaceful first world.
    Plus it is quite obvious our MC has eyes only for his boss girl. She seems to have some health problems of her own, though not related to Gastrea. Definitely potential for more drama here.
    The absudly powerful clown in top hat is quite annoying to me, worst point of the episode really.
    Last but not least, classical “starving bounty hunters/private investigators” gag isnever getting old!

    1. I thought I was going to as well — and you never know! Some shows have a meh first episode and get better afterwards.

      That said, it’s kind of weird being on this side of the fence since I normally see the good in an anime and it usually blocks out the bad.

  13. Also, for once the opening by Fripside only SORT of sounds like everything else by Fripside and ALTIMA. Only sort of…. SORT of…. It starts out pretty different, but then the chorus comes in and we’re immediately reminded of every opening to every Railgun season.

  14. “This is fucking awful. There is no sense of atmosphere or tone. Instead what the audience is subjected to is a series of slightly interconnected scenes that are primarily used as awkward exposition dumps. None of the characters seem well written or believable but instead are shallow caricatures of old as dirt anime tropes. We have the angtsy ‘my parents are dead. Deeeaaad’ lead, the childhood friend, and the loli. The show wants to be this lighthearted work but the darker aspects just make it seem out of place. The direction is flat as fuck, with little effective use of lighting. Why the fuck would you have so many day sequences in a show like this?

    There’s just nothing compelling here. This is like a shitty version of Shingeki.

    At least Shingeki had atmosphere and tone. Most of humanity is wiped out but it seems like business as usual in Japan.”

  15. Disclaimer: As Black Bullet’s masked antagonist’s name has not yet been revealed, he shall be spoilered for the time being. You have been warned.

    As a fan of the manga, I’ve just finished watching the first episode, I’m leaning back in my comfy leather chair and I’m honestly feeling torn about this adaptation.

    To be sure, there were plenty of things to like about it. Renatrou’s sideswiping that masked bastard across the face? Very nice. The opening? While not the best of the season, still not bad. Hidaka Rina as Enju? *squeal*

    That said though, the anime seemed to fall short of the manga in a lot of noticeable ways, the character designs being front-and-center. Not that they’re bad per say, but they just don’t seem to capture the energy that the manga has. Take Enju for example:

    Anime: http://i.imgur.com/78DBrfG.jpg

    Manga: http://i.imgur.com/uakibpA.png?1

    Obvious difference, right?

    And then there was that kiss. Full-on lip action in the manga, but the anime really watered it down; and yes, I know I sound like I’m nitpicking here (and hell, maybe I am), but it’s little unnecessary changes like that that really irk me.

    Now the only other thing that stuck out for me were the voices, particularly those of Rentarou (Kaji Yuuki) and Show Spoiler ▼

    (Koyama Rikiya).

    Kaji Yuuki, while not bad, has always seemed a bit out of his element in main roles like this. He’s always seemed to take so much better to, for lack of a better term, the sidekick role; examples being his recent roles of Shuu in Nisekoi and Hideyoshi in Nobunaga the Fool.

    And Koyama Rikiya, whose portrayal of Emiya Kiritsugu will forever remain a favorite of mine, has never struck me as having the kind of merciless brutality required for Show Spoiler ▼

    , a character who can only be described as f@$&!%g insane.

    All that said, not a great adaptation so far, but it’s not complete crap either. We can only hope it gets better from here, ’cause it sure as hell deserves it.

    Ryan Ashfyre
    1. I thought the peck was off-putting, but now that you pointed out the kiss in the manga I’m glad it was changed, lol.

      I usually avoid avoid anime with overly sexualized little girls (and adults too, to an extent)and Enju is bothering me already, but I’ll stick it out for a few more episodes because it seems like a fun show.

    1. I thought I might have been hearing things, but I busted out my Japanese dictionary and confirmed that she literally said hemodialysis.

      There’s only like one major part that can fail and would cause you to get hemodialysis, and it’s not a fun one 😐

      1. @Wanderer: It is fatal if left untreated for a period of time. So she either needs to under go routine treatment (i.e. hemodialysis), or get a kidney transplant. The latter is the way to go (though it’s not without complications), but given the world setting, probably pretty hard to find a matching donor (living or deceased).

        Anyway, shouldn’t be an issue as long as she gets proper treatment on a regular basis. That being said, it could be a potential plot line if she gets kidnapped, lost in the jungle – in some situation where she can’t get to a hospital for scheduled treatment. Totally hypothetical, BTW – NO clue if it will happen in the LN/manga/anime.

  16. damn over-sexual loli ruined it for me. loli itself is fine, but that over-sexual attitude just ruins the serious tone of the series (and not in a good way)

    personally prefer comic relief to be a bit less crude. worst thing is her ‘advances’ aren’t even funny, just abnormal and grating.

    1. Really? It didn’t bother me all that much, but mayhaps that’s cause I’ve read ahead in the manga and gotten to know her character better. When you’ve seen what she has, it’s tough not to feel for her a bit, though I’d say the anime hasn’t done a particularly good job with pointing that out yet.

      Ryan Ashfyre
  17. Enju was just HGNNNNN. The anime adaptation was overall fine, although it did feel IMO a bit broken up a bit or rather unnatural (maybe it’s because I’ve read the manga first) but I feel it’s a bit lacking. Overall, still good animation with a concrete end where they introduce the cursed children, really sets the series up which was done a bit differently than the manga. Overall still looking forward to the series :3

    1. First impressions are important, but we’ll see how it goes from here. As a fellow manga fan myself though, it is a tad unsettling seeing how they’ve started out.

      Ryan Ashfyre
  18. Excessive infodumping? They barely explained anything that makes this world memorable or why we should care about the characters – but they are indeed here, you just have to read between the lines. The relationship that Rentarou has with Enju is supposed to be a bit of a special, albeit unusual one, because society’s attitude towards the cursed children is incredibly strained, as we shall see. Enju being overly attached to Rentarou might seem like otaku pandering now, but there’s a greater and more tragic theme to it that, as far as the manga and LN go, has been quite important. This was a good pilot episode, but it seems like people are being thrown off by their own expectations and biases based on the appearance of certain characters and tropes.

    For people more familiar with the source material, I was rather bugged (heh) by how the handcuffs were omitted, and how they did not take 30 seconds to show the Gastrea victim calling his wife and looking at the picture of his family. They should have shown that these things can happen to anybody, and that the society that this story takes place in is one in which hope can be ripped away at any time.

  19. I know this is only a tad relevant to this episode, but surprisingly, I thought Kaji Yuuki did pretty well for Rentaro (a more serious tone in his voice acting) that I hope he brings to the stoic character he will play in Ao Haru Ride. I was actually thinking he would bring the typical Yukine (Noragami) or Shuu (Guilty Crown).

  20. I thought this was boring. Same old Light Novel tripe. I thought it would be a Guilty Crown that it’s so bad you have to watch but this is unbarerable to watch. Yui Horie’s character was the only entertaining thing out of this.

    Corey Lucas
  21. In my opinion, it was overall a good adaptation of the light novel, but I can’t say so for the manga. I only have read the translation of the novels for Chapter 1 in Volume 1 and (I think) they adapted 3/4 of the chapter to the first episode so the pacing might be fair to its adaptation.

    About the OP, it’s a fripSide song that doesn’t sound like fripSide, it was like a combination of fripSide and ALTIMA (Well, they have the same composer and arranger for their songs but different styles according to each band) and it also has the Shingeki feels in there.

    Well, I’m gonna continue to watch this ’till the end and see what it has in store (I hope it’s 2 cours)

    1. fripSide’s OP seems to have mixed in some Shingeki-style epic chorus singing in the beginning and end of the song, but otherwise, it’s still distinctively their style.

  22. I’ll give this one a few more episodes to see if it gets better, but right now it just didn’t leave a good taste in my mouth. This was the one I was most looking forward to even.

  23. I was a bit disappointed, the show felt really generic to me, nothing in it really stands out. It may have been partly due to the fact I was expecting a bit more out of the show coming into it when compared to other shows too.

    I wanted to like this show, but it’s not really giving me a lot of reasons to do so. I was really thrown off in the first scene where the MC comes to the crime scene without his “partner”. People’s lives are at stake, yet you somehow dropped your partner off a bike rushing to the scene? Like how does that even happen. The interactions between MC and loli girl were cute, but I felt like in the first half they were inappropriate given the situation (I mean a guy exploded and turned into a monster), people just died, yet they’re having a lovey-dovey conversation and then running away from the crime scene shortly after.

    The premise is kind of interesting, cursed children with super powers and the partners that can control and guide them. I felt it was executed rather poorly. Rushed world-building and lack of interesting characters made this episode feel a bit weak, but I’ll keep watching to see if it gets better.

  24. Oh wow, Kaji Yuuki has somehow managed to combine his performances from Shingeki (protagonist dealing with huamnity under siege) and Rou-Kyu-Bu (protagonist dealing with cute lolis), resulting in Rentarou. XD

  25. I’d be pissed about the skipped scenes if I read the manga before, but I’ve never heard of it before the anime was announced lol.

    Black Bullet is like Kurenai and Unbreakable Machine Doll. Rentarou shares a similar backstory to Shinkurou and Raishin. I say more similar to Kurenai because of Shinkurou being with the Hozuki family and their combat skills just like the Tendou family and Rentarou being with them. Enju is Yaya’s loli form XD.

    Sold, I can’t see myself dropping this anytime soon.


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