Black Bullet – 09

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As knowledge of the deteriorating monolith becomes public (and the brunt of that public’s apprehension falls upon the slender shoulders of Seitenshi), Rentaro continues to build his “adjuvant.” Turns out that’s a real word, though we never came across it during SATs. It’s a medical term for a substance that enhances the body’s immune response to an antigen.

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That’s an apt term for a team of civil officers charged with preventing Tokyo from being infected by the Gastrea. But at the outset, Rentaro’s team sits at just two pairs; one shy of qualifying for their own JASDF tent. The identity of the third pair he scores is foreshadowed while he and Tina are visiting Muroto: it turns out to be Nagisawa Shouma, his estranged senior practitioner in the Tendo Style of martial arts—a connection I’m shortening to “mentor.”

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Shouma and his shy and adorable initiator Fuse Midori (a gin-u-wine nekomimi) are more than happy to join Rentaro’s merry band, having heard of and been impressed by his protege’s exploits. The fourth pair is made up of Tina, whose initiator rank had been revoked, and Kisara, who went to Seitenshi to have her reinstated. Rentaro isn’t happy about Kisara running into the jaws of danger, but she makes sure he knows she feels the same way about him.

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Rentaro even moves to confess to her after a briefing from the civil officers’ commander (who gives a nice speech that doesn’t change the fact they’re the rear guard), but he’s unfortunately interrupted by the rest of the now-whole adjuvant. After introductions, Enju leads a cheer, and the air around that campfire is suffused with hope, optimism, and love. But this could be the last time they’re all together and happy like this. The night will grow darker from this point on.

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Black Bullet – 08

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What with the intensity of last week’s battle between Rintaro and Tina, I had a pretty good feeling we were in store for a cooldown episode, and so it came to pass. But Bullet made the most of it, allowing two former enemies to do some bonding, but never letting us forget that the peace won’t last long.

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Dual threats appear this week: not only have the Gastrea returned to the picture, but they’re up to some unprecedented shit, attacking one of the monoliths that protect Tokyo. The government will have a new one built in nine days (how, I have no idea…those things are HUGE), but the old one will only last six. The three day gap is all the Gastrea need to convert or kill Tokyo’s entire population, if they aren’t opposed.

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That means it’s time for an Entmoot Adjuvant, where Civil officers join forces with the military to fight the bugs off, thereby saving the city. But the other threat appears from within, and again brings up the question of whether the city even deserves to be saved. When a leader of the movement to expel the cursed children is murdered and a cursed child named as a possible suspect, anti-cursed sentiment balloons.

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Frankly, it would make more sense to me to expel the anti-cursed mob: if they don’t want to afford gratitude, rights, or even the slightest decency to girls who save their skins day in day out, they can piss off out of Tokyo and fend for themselves. Fortunately for them, cooler heads like Rentaro seem committed to saving the city despite all the ingratitude. When some punks toss a soda tab at a blind cursed-child beggar who mistakes it as a coin, we mused about how good they’d look in the bottom of a Gastrea’s stomach.

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The girls Rentaro and Kisara teach in the beginning don’t even get a classroom with a roof. And the Katagiri siblings are proof that not all civil agencies are as prosperous as Tendo. Still, nice to see how well Tina is taking to normal life as a regular girl, even with war on the horizon that could cut it short. There’s a kind of gloom in the fact that even if she and many other girls fight and give their lives for the city in the coming days, they’d still be hated and ostracized.

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