Black Bullet – Anime Review
Synopsis: It’s been 10 years since mankind was brought to the brink of extinction by the deadly parasite Gastrea. Promoter Rentaro Satomi and his Initiator Enju Aihara fight to take down this threat, one monster at a time. (Official Anime Strike Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Black Bullet advertises itself as a sci-fi epic: the ongoing conflict between man and the horrid Gastrea, a ‘race’ of giant, horrific bug-like creatures capable of infecting humans and turning them into their own kind. Little girls with super strength or abilities going toe to toe with horrific monsters. But Black Bullet doesn’t stay with that idea for long, quickly shifting focus to the internal struggles of power and deceit within the remaining cities of Japan. Despite disappointment for low gigantic bug screen time aside, Black Bullet’s narrative is fairly engaging otherwise.
Linny: To its credit, Black Bullet does compensate for the extreme lack of giant bug battles by introducing several twists and reveals that help to keep the show interesting. While it’s amusing and entertaining to watch a bunch of little girls kick giant bug ass, there’s no denying or avoiding how much the show panders to lolicons. These girls were interesting enough just being killing machines with varied supernatural powers but the show had to spoil it by going into the taboo zone. For those with a more tolerant or brave palette and who genuinely want to watch the show for non loli reasons, the good news is that the show does cut down on the more sexualized loli content once we get past the first 3 episodes, some people might even call it tame compared to others, and only one of the girls, our main girl Enju, is aggressively sexual. But if you are extremely uncomfortable with loli content, this show is going to test you.
Tom: Moving past this uncomfortable territory, the show remains uneven in other areas. Black Bullet suffers from a number of pacing issues, making major events feel rushed, or details skirted over. At times it feels like Black Bullet is trying to cram in as much of its adapted material as possible within 13 episodes, well aware it’ll never have another season and exists primarily as an advertisement for the Light Novels.
Linny: It’s definitely frustrating that the show does such a terrible job of utilizing its story elements, rushing through them and denying the time and exposition required and so greatly deserved. But if there’s one thing that has a chance of redeeming the show for its viewers, it’s the final episode which features a mind blowing moment, one that doesn’t just feel like a cheap, last minute thrill but adds plot development and gives the show so much more merit than it had up to that point. So if you find yourself engaged even to the least degree after overcoming all the loli content and watch on, you’re in for an ending that might make the entire show worth the watch. That said, the show still suffers one too many flaws (and all that loli content) making it so that unless you’re extremely interested in drama arising from weaponized little girls and power struggles, Black Bullet most likely won’t impress you.
Tom: Despite its flaws, Black Bullet offers engaging action, intrigue, and angsty dark drama alongside some man (or little girl) vs bug action once we get back to that. It’s flawed, no doubt, but manages to pull out dark and shocking twists that add new elements to the story and keep things feeling fresh. The way the show concludes itself is also another high point, and highlights how unfortunate it is that Black Bullet’s anime acts as little more than a glorified advertisement for the Light Novel. Overall I think Black Bullet is a fun and exciting watch, assuming you can get past the not insignificant loli pandering for the first couple of episodes. It’s a big hurdle though.