Black Bullet Episode 13 Review: The Virtue of Teamwork and a By Any Means Necessary

September 24, 2018

Quick Summary

In Black Bullet Episode 13, "The Ones Who Aspired to be Gods,"Rentarou Satomi leads the Tokyo Area's last defense against Aldebaran and the massed Gastrea. Deprived of the batteries needed to power their lights, none of the team except for Tina Sprout can even see their targets in the gloom. Will Rentarou be forced to give the order to blindly charge the enemy -- almost certainly resulting in their own deaths? And even if they could see Aldebaran, will their plan to use an untested weapon work? Or will Murphy's Law reign supreme? 

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

Hokey? Yep! Too convenient? Yep! Still, I thought this moment was beautiful, not only to look at but in how it conveyed the hopes and dreams of uninfected and Cursed Children alike. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Moment 1

Ordinarily, I recoil from convenient plot devices or Deus Ex Machina moments (with apologies to No Game No Life Zero!). They usually destroy my suspension of disbelief. There's something about Black Bullet, though, that makes me more lenient. My first favorite moment from this episode was very early on. Rentarou realized that that batteries weren't coming (because of treachery by that idiot whose name I won't allow to sully this review). Without the batteries, they couldn't power the lights, and without the lights, none of them except Tina could see the enemy, so a charge would be suicide. Yet, Rentarou couldn't just stand there waiting for the Gastrea to slaughter them. Just as he was about to give the order to attack, dozens and then hundreds of floating lanterns filled the sky (3:08). Lady Seitenshi was presiding over the Gen'an festival that they mentioned in previous episodes, and the highlight was releasing balloons carrying lighted candles. The effect was beautiful! Beautiful enough to make me completely ignore how improbable it was that Lady Seitenshi knew they'd need lights, that the wind direction would be correct, or that instead of using batteries, they should have used generators. Yes, I thought it was that beautiful.

Rentarou's entire team helped him get to Aldebaran -- even Asaka Mibu, who pretty much hated him! Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Moment 2

Rentarou and Enju Aihara have one job: Plant the bomb in Aldebaran. They can't waste time in side battles, but Gastrea constantly try to intercept them. It takes the combined efforts of their entire team, starting with Kisara Tendou (5:25), to clear the way for them. Tamaki Katagiri and his Initiator, Yuzuki Katagiri, strike next (5:44). Shouma Nagisawa and his temporary Initiator, Asaka Mibu seemed  to be working well together (5:51). By the end of the scene, even Kagetane Hiruko and Kohina Hiruko did their part (6:02). To me, this seemed to justify Rentarou's desire to bring this team together. I enjoyed seeing them repay his confidence in this with such a great performance on the field of battle!

In a moment that captured the essence of Black Bullet, Enju tried to comfort Rentarou by saying she'd never leave him -- yet knowing that the Gastrea virus within her would not let her live much longer. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Moment 3

I'll bet you can guess what my third favorite moment was. Rentarou and Enju are taking a train to Lady Seitenshi's residence to attend an awards ceremony. Enju hands Rentarou a "present" (21:48), and it turns out to be a list of pledges she wants Rentarou to make! They include:

1. Never attack an enemy alone

2. We do everything together

3. Don't knock me out without warning

There was a number 4, but we didn't get to find out what it was because the weight of all of deaths he'd witnessed -- and worse, couldn't prevent -- came crashing down on him. Reduced to tears, he could only ask that Enju never leave him -- which is heart-breaking when you remember that she's a Cursed Child, and it's only a matter of time before the Gastrea virus overcomes her.  This moment perfectly captured the essence of Black Bullet, and I found it both comforting and tragic. 

Thoughts

Seriously, Rentarou? Leaving an unconscious Enju alone on a battlefield swarming with Gastrea? I think that's probably the dumbest thing I've seen him do! Oh, well; I guess no one's perfect.

This series played a lot with the question of what makes a good leader. We've seen Lady Seitenshi struggle against the more brutal dictators back in episode 5. Those rulers didn't respect her because they thought she showed weakness -- a kindness and a concern for others. But do you remember the effect that her "weakness" had on Rentarou? He hated politics and politicians in general. Yet, when he saw how sincere she was in her concern for her people -- in particular the Cursed Children -- what did he do? He threw his support behind her. 

That's what a good leader does: They inspire those around them. 

Good leaders bring people together -- despite fear and in spite of fear mongering. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Something else a good leader does is take advantage of a situation to move society in a better direction. Lady Seitenshi demonstrated that she could do that, too, in this episode when she took advantage of the impending Gastrea attack. Likely knowing that the people left above ground would be terrified, she went ahead with the Gen'an Festival -- but she also invited Cursed Children (3:34). The scene went out of its way to show an uninfected child smile when a Cursed Child smiled first. 

Before you say Lady Seitenshi was being opportunistic, just let me say: Yep. Of course she was. That's not a bad thing if you're working for everyone's good. Lady Seitenshi taking advantage of circumstance to bring people together so they can eventually pass the new Gastrea law (20:52)? That's a good thing! A politician taking advantage of a rare crime by an immigrant (ignoring the all too common mass shooting by quite another demographic) to incite hatred for immigration? That's a bad thing. 

It's no accident that Kisara's view of strength coincided with the tyrants that Rentarou and Lady Seitenshi opposed. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

I think the show drew a similar parallel between Rentarou and Kisara. He tried to be just and ended up being merciful; she tried to be just and ended up being brutal. Because of Rentarou's approach, Tina was still alive and fought valiantly beside them. About the same thing happened with Kagetane and Kohina. Kisara lashed out at him over his conduct in both circumstances, even to the point of saying that only evil could really defeat evil (20:05) -- the implication being that Rentarou was weak. Yet, who lead the last defense against the Gastrea? And as telling -- who ended up alone in the end? That shot of Kisara sitting alone in her dark office was melancholy (20:57). On the other hand, Rentarou was at the heart of a group of people who were positioned to continue having a positive effect on the world.

Though I can certainly understand the appeal of giving into the thirst for revenge. It's a lot easier than fighting for something bigger! Though it's not nearly as satisfying in the end...

What did you think of the series? What were your favorite moments? Please feel free to let me know in the comments!

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