Black Bullet Episode 4 Review: A Steady Hand and Lost in the Dark

Quick Summary

In Black Bullet Episode 4, "Black Bullet," Rentarou Satomi and Enju Aihara trust the Initiator Kayo Senju to hold off a wave of Gastrea as they plunge forward in pursuit of the case -- and of Kagetane Hiruko and his Initiator daughter,  Kohina Hiruko. After his disastrous showings against Kagetane in the past, does Rentarou have any hope of victory? And even if he does, what will they do about the monster of a Gastrea -- a Stage V, the most devastating of all -- that's heading straight for the Tokyo Area?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

What's in This Post

Interested in the OP? You can buy it from CD Japan!

3 Favorite Moments

You can't tell from his expression, but Kagetane experienced a moment of doubt as Rentarou began to break through Maximum Pain. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Moment 1

Black Bullet has taken great pains to  show how ridiculously powerful Kagetane is. In this episode, for example, Rentarou and Enju even have to wade through a street filled with CivSec pairs that Kagetane and Kohina had already killed. So when Kagetane tries to attack Rentarou again with his Maximum Pain move (4:43), we know what to expect, including Kagetane's ruthless chuckle. That's why his reaction to Rentarou slowly but surely punching through that attack was so great (4:47)! It was just a quiet, "Huh?" that worked equally well in the dub and sub versions. But it meant that Kagetane, who had beaten Rentarou in the past, had a moment of shock. The rest of the battle was just icing on the cake as far as I was concerned (and it was delicious icing, too!).

Enju tells Rentarou that he's the only one who can save the world. Talk about pressure! Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Moment 2

Rentarou was freaking out. He had no idea how to aim the massive railgun, and if he missed the Stage V Gastrea, it would consume the Tokyo Area. To make matters worse, the Tokyo Area was in the line of fire, and if he accidentally hit it, it would likely be devastated -- just in time for the Stage V Gastrea to feast on the survivors. Plus, he's right handed, and he just loaded his right Varanium arm in the firing chamber because the railgun was out of bullets! So, I won't blame him in the least for panicking -- even despairing. Yet even as he declared it was impossible, Enju stepped up, reminded him that she was there with him, and that he would not miss ( 15:17). I'm pretty sure that if she hadn't been there, he might not have found his confidence. They make sure a great team! The scene gets bonus points for its vibrant firing animation and the creepy, gross, and entirely realistically-animated Gastrea shrapnel (often in the form of giant eyes) that rained over the Tokyo Area.

The Cursed Children live hard and die even harder. Yet Kayo still found it in her heart to call Rentarou her friend. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Moment 3

As soon as they had felled the Stage V Gastrea, Rentarou ran off alone to find out what had happened to Kayo Senju, the Initiator whose wounds Rentarou had treated in the previous episode. She had promised that if the onslaught became overwhelming she would withdraw. He found her slumped against a boulder, her right arm missing, and a Gastrea infection growing in its place. It had to be hard for her to ask him to kill her before she turned into a Gastrea (18:27). It had to be hard for him to agree, especially after she confessed why she hadn't retreated (18:30): he had treated her kindly, and she could not bear the thought of letting the Gastrea near him. That moment was really affecting; but what hit me harder were her parting words of wisdom, which I preferred in the sub: "...If you ever find yourself lost in the dark, just follow the compass in your heart... Turn to the light... and save the world." Though I expected it, the gunshot was still very loud (19:38).

Thoughts

I'm not sure if you're watching the sub or the dub, but I noticed another interesting difference between the two. In the sub, around 5:52, Kagetane opens fire on Enju and says, "Howl, Sodomy! Sing, Gospel!" Those are the names of his guns, and what an odd pair of names it is! In the dub, he says, "Can I get an amen and an amen?" Apparently, Kagetane is even more bizarre in the sub! I have to say that I'm having a lot of fun comparing both versions for these reviews!

I mentioned in my last review how much Rentarou's dedication to the Lost Children impressed me. It has to be difficult for him to stand up against the prejudice in his society, as I'm sure many of us know if we've ever tried to advocate for an under-served or mistreated population. Until this episode, though, I hadn't realized that there was a far greater cost associated with supporting the Cursed Children.

If he'd never treated her, if he had not taken on the cause of the Cursed Children, his pain would have been less. But he would not have remained Rentarou. Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

We've come to understand that if the Gastrea infection reaches a certain percentage within an individual, that individual becomes a Gastrea (as we saw happen so graphically in episode 1). In this episode, the scene that was my third favorite (above) showed what happened when the Gastrea infection exceeded 50% in an Initiator. In place of Kayo's missing right arm, a baby Gastrea was growing, and it even had a roving eye. Both Kayo and Rentarou knew there was no hope, and that the best thing to do was to put her out of her misery before she could become a full Gastrea.

Rentarou recognizes that the Cursed Children like Kayo are fully human. I can't imagine how he had to feel when he drew his sidearm and took aim at her -- despite knowing it was the best thing he could do for her and that knowing the demands of this world made no other option viable. Knowing she was smiling through the pain because she was grateful for his friendship and kindness. Knowing he'd be the last person she saw. 

Sometimes being kind is the most painful option of all. I think this show's doing a great job of making that point!

Did Kayo's death have as big an impact on you as it did on me? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

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Post Author: tcrow