Black Bullet Episode 8 Review: The Bleached Monolith and Recruiting is Hard!
In Black Bullet Episode 8, "The Monument on the Border," Lady Seitenshi interrupts Rentarou Satomi and Kisara Tendou's first day of school for some of the Cursed Children with terrible news: the giant Stage IV Gastrea named Aldebaran has, for some unknown reason, been able to attack one of the Monoliths protecting the Tokyo Area. The Monolith will collapse within days. She asks Rentarou to lead a CivSec militia to stop the thousands of massing Gastrea. Can Rentarou and Tina Sprout convince any of the other CivSec teams to join them? And with that many Gastrea massing, will it even matter?
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
I like how Black Bullet takes its time to setup dramatic payoffs. Remember Kagetane Hiruko? We got to see how powerful he was over several episodes, so when Rentarou finally seemed to defeat him back in episode 4, it felt great! There's a "dark" side to this pattern, though, because seemingly innocent things can start to look terrifying. Take, for example, my first favorite moment. Rentarou and Kisara try to start a school for some of the Cursed Children. The kids are ecstatic and pepper both Rentarou Kisara with wildly inappropriate questions like whether Rentarou is living with Enju Aihara so they can get married later (3:15). Or if Kisara's breasts were so large that she couldn't see her feet (3:38). The best part of the scene was when Lady Seitenshi showed up. That was so momentous that it even woke Tina up (4:24)! Sounds like a lot of innocent fun, doesn't it? Honestly, it was a breath of fresh air for the Cursed Children, and they looked happy for one of the first times I've seen in this show. Then why do I have such a bad feeling? Why do I feel like this happiness is just setting up some kind of dramatic turn?
As if the show hasn't made it clear enough that society at large hates the Cursed Children, we get this scene. Rentarou and Tina have just spent some time seeing the sites. Rentarou even won a stuffed animal from an arcade machine and had given it to Tina, who, of course, adored it. Then they came across a Cursed Child who had bandages on her eyes (13:53). Rentarou's confused; she'd begging to change and is holding a sign identifying herself as a Cursed Child, but her Curse should have kept her physically healthy. She drops an emotional bomb on Rentarou and Tina: She burned her eyes out with molten lead because her mother hated her and her red eyes (14:20). At least, she did in the dub; in the sub, she said that her mom burned her eyes out. In both cases, her mom abandoned her shortly thereafter. Some young punks threw a pop can tab into her bowl to make her think they'd given her money, and her bright and happy "Thank you!" just made the sadness worse. This is all heavy stuff, and you might be wondering why it's my favorite moment. It's because of what Rentarou did even though he makes it clear he doesn't have a lot of money: he gave her several bills that seemed to be worth a lot (15:08). Rentarou is Rentarou; he continues to earn the title "good guy" in this series. As much as I like complex characters, sometimes it's a relief to have someone I can root for without reservation!
As Rentarou's trying to recruit his team, he visits Tamaki Katagiri and his Initiator, Yuzuki Katagiri, who are both wonderfully foul-mouthed -- doubly or triply so in the sub! The meeting was a welcome bit of comic relief after my second favorite moment. That's not what makes it my favorite scene, though. Neither Katagiri want to join with Rentarou, who they both keep saying is a pervert (just what did he do in his past, anyway?). He nearly convinces them with his honestly, convincing Takami to say he won't work for anyone weaker than him. That means a duel! As honor dictates, the Katagiri pair introduced themselves and stated their levels: 1850. Since they had already berated Rentarou for obtaining his rank by underhanded means, his rank 300 didn't mean anything to them. And they were both amused when Tina announced that she was "currently unranked" (19:02). They were considerably less amused when first Rentarou easily put Tamaki down, and then Tina used her far superior speed and intellect to defeat Yuzuki (20:40). It was never even close, so much so that Yuzuki's confidence seemed to vanish. It was awesome to see Tina reassure her that even forcing Tina to respond at all was an achievement -- because Tina had been ranked 98 (21:20). Yuzuki was so impressed that she asked to marry Tina! The scene would have complete with just Rentarou and Tina's victory. Tina reaching out to Yuzuki elevated it to my third favorite moment.
The audio effects team did a spectacular job again this episode. The sounds the Gastrea made in the opening scene were seriously creepy! Really drives home the idea that they're the very, very dangerous enemy.
I thought Yuzuki's English-language (sub) voice actor sounded familiar. She's Brittney Karbowski, and she was the English voice actor for Mikoto Misaki from A Certain Magica Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun -- and dozens of other shows! I can only imagine how much fun she had voicing Yuzuki's foul mouthed rants in this episode. I thought those were hilarious!
The plight of the Cursed Children was front and center again in this episode, but I think I've probably said enough about that (and more than you want to read!). What I want to talk about now is how Rentarou's character is growing. Since we met him, he's been a loaner. He fights along side Enju, certainly, but other than that, he prefers to be alone. We saw that few of the other CivSec teams wanted to join him, as we learned when Tamaki asked him about it. We also saw that both Tamaki and Yuzuki thought of him as a pervert for some reason.
He had to anticipate this reaction when he accepted a leadership role. Do you remember how he acted dismayed when Lady Seitenshi asked him to head up a team (his reaction was more pronounced in the sub)? In spite of that, though, he accepted the responsibility. It had to be really hard for him to make all of the visits that the episode implied me made; it also had to be hard confronting Tamaki and Yuzuki knowing what their reaction would be.
Rentarou has always been realistic and willing do put in the hard work to reach his goals. In this episode, he showed he was willing to go above that to take on leadership responsibilities. If you've ever made the transition from individual contributor to management, you'll know that movement isn't easy. You have to de-emphasize all of the strengths that got you that far and learn to motivate other people (which often means selecting the right people and getting the heck out of their way!). You have to learn to make bold decisions that inspire those around you. And you have to be willing to take chances that might blow up in your face, like asking Tamaki and Yuzuki to fight just because he asked them to (18:02). That choice seemed to blow up in spectacular fashion when both Promoter and Initiator burst our laughing. But that command decision turned out to be the catalyst that helped them decide to join him.
The world could use more leaders like that!
What did you think of Rentarou's growth 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 8
- Little Cloud Curiosity: Black Bullet Episode 8 Review
- Angry Anime Bitches: Black Bullet ep 8: you’re only gonna break break my heart
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 9: The Protectors of the Barrier
- Black Bullet Episode 10: Tokyo Area Defensive Battle
- Black Bullet Episode 11: The Heart of Taurus, the Spear of Light
- Black Bullet Episode 12: Crisis Point
- Black Bullet Episode 13: The Ones Who Aspired to be Gods