Black Bullet Episode 11 Review: A Failure of Command and a Very, Very Shaky Alliance
In Black Bullet Episode 11, "The Heart of Taurus, the Spear of Light," Rentarou Satomi, Enju Aihara, and the rest of their milia unit is on their line of defense with the other CivSec units. They watch the JSDF engage the Gastrea for all of a couple of minutes before a JSDF tank flies through the air to crash in front of them; the JDSF were utterly defeated. Shocked, Rentarou's unit is the only one that sees multiple flying Gastrea try to get behind them, which would have been disastrous for all of the CivSec teams. Without orders, they defeat the enemy but return to a battle where over half of the CivSec forces had already been destroyed -- turned into Gastrea. Then, inexplicably, the Gastrea retreat. Why did the Gastrea do that? How will command react to Rentarou's initiative? And who is just itching to see Rentarou again?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What's in This Post
Do you like the OP? You can buy it from CD Japan:
3 Favorite Moments
In retrospect, Rentarou's team was not only in the right position, but they had the right people to see the otherwise unnoticed Gastrea flying attack. Tina Sprout, an Owl type Initiator, probably has the best night vision of any Initiator the show's introduced us to, so it was natural that she would spot the enemy (2:27). Rentarou himself has the most hostile attitude we've seen towards authority (excepting the faux bluster of some of the other Promoters), so it was natural that he decided to act without orders -- his "superiors" would later say against orders -- to destroy the threat on their flank (2:58). I really liked his decisiveness! You know what else I liked? His team supported him! Even Yuzuki Katagiri, who loudly proclaims that Rentarou is a pervert and makes no secret of how disgusted she feels towards him, pointed out that the other CivSec teams had no idea what was going on -- so she'd follow Rentarou's orders!
Sometimes, you just gotta make do. Rentarou, Enju, and Kisara Tendou left the field hospital to look for their temporary lodging. It was in a run-down, "creepy" old hotel that none of them even wanted to enter (9:05). As battle-hardened as they were, they still had to psyche themselves up to go through the entrance. But what did they find inside? Cobwebs, dust, and detritus? Nope! Tina had been busily sweeping the living area, Shouma Nagisawa had built a fire, and Tamaki Katagiri had cooked a multi-course meal (9:47). With the candles and the fire, it felt less like a bivouac and more like a rustic home! Seeing them pull together to make the best of a bad situation -- and enjoying each other's company along the way -- was probably the most hopeful moment this series has shown us! It's likely setting us up for something dreadful -- that's kinda the way this show works -- but I liked the character dynamic even more after this scene.
Even the first time I watched the show, I had a strong feeling that we hadn't seen the last of Kagetane Hiruko (he supposedly "died" in episode 4). So guess who we see waltzing back into Rentarou's life (18:10)? Yep! Kagetane and his Initiator, Kohina Hiruko. Not only are they back, but they saved Rentarou from being eaten by a pack of very big, very hungry dog-like Gastrea. It was almost nostalgic to hear Kagetane's nonchalant chuckle again! Despite the fact Kagetane treated his wounds, Rentarou insisted on pointing his pistol at him -- not sure what Rentarou thought he was trying to accomplish, though. Rentarou gets points for trying to stick with his principles, but those have got to be feeling kinda thin about now. He's in danger because Nagamasa Gadou used political tomfoolery to blackmail Rentarou into going out among the Gastrea without his team. Everything that Kagetane had said about society's corruption seems all the more plausible now, and he continued to hammer that point home. Bonus points for Kohina asking if Enju was still alive. Learning the answer was yes, she got visibly happy and started swaying back and forth as she sang, "I want to see her, I want to kill her, I want to see her, I want to kill her..." Ah, the classics!
I didn't realize how much I missed Kagetane's brand of psychopathic yet accurate banter. I think he probably sees the world more clearly than just about anyone, and he has absolutely no patience for any politics or powers that would threaten him or the Cursed Children.
Speaking of which...
What the heck was Nagamasa Gadou thinking? He sentenced Rentarou to death for taking the initiative and saving the lives of his fellow CivSec militia members. Granted, that might have been a bit more clear if Pleiades hadn't shown up, but still, I think the intent's clear. Not a single one of his team, Rentarou included, showed any sign of cowardice or intent to desert. That leaves three explanations.
First: Do you know anyone in the JSDF? Is it normal to expect soldiers to follow orders even if it means the death of their fellows or -- like in this case -- the complete defeat of their forces? I'm willing to bet the answer's no (and I'm willing to bet it's probably not that simple, either!). So saying that Rentarou was in the wrong for taking the initiative doesn't seem reasonable.
Second: Gadou was trying to maneuver Rentarou into taking on Pleiades alone, without his militia to help, expressly to meet Kagetane. That seems far-fetched (and honestly, it's been too long since I rewatched this to remember what the answer is). I think it's likely that Rentarou would have volunteered without the maneuvering; so would the rest of his team. Wouldn't the whole team stand a better chance at victory?
Third: Gadou was trying to send some kind of message about discipline to those who survived. But that doesn't make any sense, either, because who wants to follow a general who makes such stupid decisions? I'm sure the surviving CivSec teams were teetering on the edge of despair, but they still all knew what was at stake. If they fall, Tokyo Area falls. There's little Gadou could do to stiffen their resolve. To the contrary, being a terrible leader and inflicting an obviously unfair sentence to senseless charges would undermine morale.
The trouble is, Gadou's earlier quotes showed that he entertains the kind of self-delusion that would make any of the three options viable. Do you remember when he said (in the dub), "That thing didn't take my leg from me. I let the bastard have it!" (11:43) In this case, I preferred the dub, because the sub was a little less clear. It said, "But this leg wasn't stolen from me. I gave it away!"
Either he's lying to himself and Aldebaran actually bit his leg off, or he's insane because he let the Gastrea have it intentionally. Either way? I think he's a failure as a leader. But this society seems to excel at producing such leaders, doesn't it?
What did you think of Gadou's tactics? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit Discussion of Black Bullet Episode 11
- Little Cloud Curiosity: Black Bullet Episode 11 Review (...oh just end it already =.=)
- Angry Anime Bitches: Black Bullet ep 11: OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD
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 10: Tokyo Area Defensive Battle
- Black Bullet Episode 12: Crisis Point
- Black Bullet Episode 13: The Ones Who Aspired to be Gods