Black Bullet Episode 9 Review: A Surprise Reunion and a Difficult Presidential Order

August 27, 2018

Quick Summary

In Black Bullet Episode 9, "The Protectors of the Barrier,Rentarou SatomiEnju AiharaTamaki Katagiri and Tamaki's Initiator, Yuzuki Katagiri, arrive at the military camp, but their little CivSec militia unit is too small to qualify for official status. That means no official equipment like a tent! So Rentarou and Enju set out to find one more Promoter/Initiator pair. Enju learns that hard way that picking a good pair is a huge challenge, and that's not only because their search is interrupted by a murder. Who's killing CivSec pairs -- and why? And why is Rentarou so upset that a surprise Promoter showed up and ordered him to accept her into their unit?

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

Rentarou can take all the teasing that Sumire can dish out. But if she compliments him? That's a different story! Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Moment 1

I really enjoy the relationship between Rentarou and Dr. Sumire Muroto.  On one hand, she twists Rentarou's meaning when he tells Tina Sprout that she should stay with the Tendou CivSec agency by jokingly telling Tina that Rentarou wasn't being nice. Instead, she told Tina that "You are a vital part of his plan to create a harem of 10 year old girls as concubines. So don't even think of running" (4:20). And that was one of the more positive things Sumire said! But there are instants where she lets her guard down and tells him something sweet and endearing. After Rentarou says he'll destroy every last Gastrea to give the Cursed Children a better life, she tells him that the most beautiful thing in the world, according to Buddhism, is the Lotus flower (5:58). The "ren" in his name comes from the same word. She then says something so unusually kind that it embarrasses him (6:10): "You really have a beautiful soul, you know that?" She's not a cougar going after him; she's not a mother figure. She's a genius whose been fighting to keep humanity alive, and she's probably desparate and out of hope. She of all people should know how tenuous their hold on life is. Rentarou's spirit and courage are all that's keeping her going. It's a beautiful and tragic thing all at the same time!

Enju gets a lot of points for her enthusiasm! With more practice, maybe she'll be able to pick out a CivSec pair that's actually powerful! Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Moment 2

Have you ever wondered why Enju, Rentarou, and the rest fight without body armor? Can't say as I gave it much thought until this point in the episode. Enju and Rentarou needed to find at least one more Promoter/Initiator pair so they can qualify as an official CivSec militia, so they go scouting. Enju's search finds one pair that she excitedly points out to her Promoter, but Rentarou shoots down the idea (9:25). Why? The man had body armor, and while that sounds like a great idea, it would just slow him down -- meaning in a real fight, they would become casualties of the Gastrea. Rentarou explains the reasoning to Enju, but I realized he's explaining it to us in the audience, too. So, the show gives us an entertaining scene that completely disguises the exposition! 

Rentarou didn't seem to have any idea that Kisara was so worried about him. I think he got the message now, though! Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

Moment 3

Rentarou wasn't intentionally being sexist with Kisara Tendou. I really don't think that's in his character. However, he was being pretty selfish when tried to talk her out of joining his militia. In short, he tried to guilt her into quitting by saying that he couldn't live with himself if she got hurt (19:53). I loved her response in the dub! "Well, now you know. That's exactly how I feel sometimes!" I loved it even more in the sub: "Why haven't you figured out that I feel the same?" The implication was there in the dub, but I think the emotionally dense Rentarou would probably have a better chance of understanding her meaning in the sub! What followed was a touching moment, but the reason I chose this as my third favorite moment is that Kisara gently reminded him both of her strength, which qualified her to fight beside him, and her vulnerability, which was her affection for him. Seriously, this show has more than its fair share of realistic, mature relationships!

Thoughts

I probably should have expected it, but do you know what the biggest difference between reviewing a current season's anime and an older anime? Put another way, in a way that almost restates it as a leading question, do you know what the biggest difference is between reviewing a new show and a show you've seen before?

Yeah, I should have seen this problem coming.

Having seen the show before, even if it was years ago, means I know what's coming. I have forgotten some of the details. I don't know exactly when a particular event happens. But the larger events loom large in my emotional memory, and the next episode's going to be a big one.

While I'm watching the episode, I can stay in the flow and forget what's coming. When I sit down to write the review, though... Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

While I'm in the flow of watching the episode, I can easily push those memories aside. The drama, the interactions, and the fluid animation command my attention and I can enjoy the show as much as I enjoyed it the first time. But when I sit down to write this review, the memories flood back.

I am really not looking forward to episode 10...

That doesn't mean there's not an upside to having seen the series before. I can appreciate this episode's dramatic purpose in the context of the entire series. On one hand, this episode is setting up battle that will likely be the series finale. We see the CivSec militia coming together. We see the JSDF positioning their forces. And in this episode, we learned that there's possible tension between the two groups. That could make for interesting viewing!

On the other hand, we got to see more bonding between Rentarou, Enju, and the Promoter/Initiator pair we met last episode, Tamaki Katagiri and Yuzuki Katagiri. We also got to meet Rentarou and Kisara's old friend Shouma Nagisawa, who is the Promoter for a cat-type Initiator named Midori Fuse. There were a lot of scenes that let us get to know and like these characters.

We get to see a lot of bonding in this episode -- even if some of it was over an embarrassed Rentarou and Kisara! Capture from the HIDIVE stream.

You know what kind of show Black Bullet is, right? It's really good at setting things up! That's why I get suspicious when we meet new likable characters...

Overall, though, I'm enjoying writing a review of a show I know and love. Despite the hovering feeling of dread!

Are you enjoying reading about an older show? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments below!

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