In Black Bullet Episode 10, "Tokyo Area Defensive Battle," Rentarou Satomi and Kisara Tendou try to squeeze in a few more classes for the Cursed Children before the battle. It helps keep all of their minds off their fears. The two even take the kids on a quick field trip to the Flames of Revival, a monument to one of humanity's previous victories over the Gastrea -- a statement of hope that's not lost on the kids. Later that night, Rentarou and Kisara investigate Monolith 32. What they discover shocks Kisara into a cold rage. Unfortunately, that's nothing compared to the shock and rage awaiting Rentarou and Enju Aihara when they try to go to class the next day.
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What's in This Post
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3 Favorite Moments
Do you know one of the things that makes a fictional world feel real? Well, you probably know a lot of them, but the one I'm thinking of now is the observations characters make in that world. Case in point: Rentarou and Kisara decide to do an in-person investigation of Monolith 32. They can see the effects of the acid Aldebaran injected. Then Rentarou starts questioning the situation (8:05). Why hasn't Aldebaran attacked others Monoliths? Why did it stop with one? Is there something unusual about Monolith 32? Kisara immediately asks her contacts to investigate. How often do plot coincidences just sail past the characters? I'm not saying Black Bullet is perfect in this regard, but I am saying I loved this moment! Oh, and the two of them clasping hands at the end of the scene (10:42) was a pleasant touch.
He wasn't there. He couldn't save his students. If he and Enju had been there, it's likely the Varanium-laced bomb would have killed them, too. Faced with the room full of small figures covered by sheets, in the presence of the girl's heart-broken guardian Matsuzaki sitting slumped in the corner, Rentarou did the only thing left to him. He gently lifted the sheet for each girl and positively identified the remains as his students (16:23). That he could do it at all was a testament to his fortitude. That he knew he should do it is probably based on his military background (even if the police had asked him to). Regardless, as devastated as he was, he did each of them that one final honor.
The sight of her dead friends had driven the spark from Enju's eyes. She sat enveloped by a black hopelessness, alone, on a bench (21:52). Earlier in the series, her old "normal" school mates had turned on her as soon as they had learned she was a Cursed Child. She had witnessed the police dragging away a Cursed Child to brutally gun her down. And now, she sat just meters away from the shrouded corpses that had been her friends and new school mates. Monolith 32 had fallen, early. Rentarou told her about the early collapse and said they had to go. He seemed hesitant and worried about how she would respond. I think that was reasonable: after all, even Enju has to have a limit to what she could take. What did Enju do? She stood up (22:11), wiped away her tears, and nodded that she was ready. In the dub, she came out and said, "Right!" Re:ZERO came out about two years after Black Bullet; I wonder if it learned how to treat its main characters from this show?
Rentarou's mind had to be in a very dark place, so I'll cut him some slack. But I thought his decision to ask the police officers to remove Enju just compounded her pain. I also know he was trying to protect her from seeing her friends' bodies. But she's an Initiator. She's tough. Even if the sight of those sheets emotionally broke her, he should have been standing beside her when she she couldn't hold back the agonized wails . Sending her away to sit alone with her own thoughts struck me as cruel.
Or maybe he was trying to save her from seeing his despair?
In this episode of Black Bullet, the fictitious Cursed Children who were students of Rentarou and Kisara gave their lives to drive home a lesson to us in real life: The first step to making it easy for one human to kill another is to dehumanize the other.
It's all about language.
We know from studying history that Nazi Germany employed this language ahead of the Holocaust. Nazi leadership needed a convenient enemy to rally the people against us. But Germans are humans like the rest of us. They would not willingly go along with murdering other humans as a matter of state policy. Ah, but what if those same Germans were convinced that the target of their murderous intent weren't even human? And what if they were not talking about murder at all, but extermination instead?
What citizen would object to simply exterminating rats?
Human language doesn't contain the words to express how horrible that is. The lessons of that period of history ought to be burned into every human's consciousness. We should all remain alert until the end of time for the first signs of those techniques reemerging so we can dispatch them instantly.
Watching this episode was hard. Seeing those littles girls in the morgue was wrenching. Hearing Enju's broken wail was tough; seeing Rentarou trying to decide to give into the temptation of despair was hard, too.
But do you know what even harder?
Seeing the techniques perfected in Nazi Germany in wide-spread use again, today, in my own government. This isn't a partisan statement. This isn't the result of ideology or right/left divisions or tribal loyalty. This is horror at seeing those same techniques dusted off and adapted for the age of social media. Once again, someone in power is dehumanizing groups of humans to stay in power. Once again, citizens (this time, US citizens, though we're hardly alone in enduring the plague) are embracing treatment of other humans that is unthinkable and cruel.
Don't believe me? This year, I've watched people I grew up with, people who were my neighbors, publicly on Facebook defending the practice of ripping asylum seeking families apart. I've seen "justifications" of lying to remove children from their parents. I'm pretty sure you've seen the same thing. And I've watched those same people trying to convince me that it's okay not to reunite those families despite a judicial order.
So much for the rule of law. Though if we're honest, it's not really about the rule of law, is it?
This episode is so hard for me not only because I felt so strongly for Rentarou and Enju. It's because I'm apprehensive for the rest of us, too. If a supposedly modern country can vilify entire swaths of people, how long will it be become we end up on one of the enemy lists? Or have to compromise who we are to stay off those lists?
What did you think of Rentarou's decision in this episode? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit Discussion of Black Bullet Episode 10
- Little Cloud Curiosity: Black Bullet Episode 10 Review
- Angry Anime Bitches: Black Bullet ep 10: The Pain of Compassion
This Site (Crow's World of Anime!)
- Black Bullet Episode 1: The Last Hope
- Black Bullet Episode 2: The Mask of Madness
- Black Bullet Episode 3: The Children of Fate
- Black Bullet Episode 4: Black Bullet
- Black Bullet Episode 5: The Crimson Black Assassin
- Black Bullet Episode 6: Tragic Irony
- Black Bullet Episode 7: In the Still of the Moonlit Night, the Dawn Sky
- Black Bullet Episode 8: The Monument on the Border
- Black Bullet Episode 9: The Protectors of the Barrier
- Black Bullet Episode 11: The Heart of Taurus, the Spear of Light
- Black Bullet Episode 12: Crisis Point