This is another of those “Girls Who Save the World” shows, but with a bit more tragic results, potentially closer aligned to “Gunslinger Girl”. Welcome to the world of “Black Bullet”.
It is the year 2021. Mankind has been decimated by the Gastrea, a parasitic virus, and is forced to live within this ring of Monoliths, which are created from Varanium: a metal that is able to subdue Gastrea. (And where did we discover this metal?) Soon, children are born with the Gastrea virus. They have superhuman abilities as a result, but people are so terrified of them, they are dubbed “Cursed Children”. Because the Gastrea threat is still out there, the Cursed Children (who are all girls) fall under the jurisdiction of the Civil Securities. You now have a pair of fighters: the Initiator, (the child) and a Promoter, (the guy). We follow the adventures of Rentarō Satomi (the guy with the gun), a high school student who is also a Promoter in Tendō Civil Security Agency owned by his childhood friend Kisara Tendō, along with his Initiator, Enju Aihara (red head), who try to prevent the destruction of the Tokyo Area and the world.
OK, so we will take a break so you can take this all in. It’s quite a lot.
The problem is that the Gastrea are bad enough (as it takes you over and you turn into some hideous monster, which mean you have to be killed before it gets out of hand), but everyone is more scared of the Cursed Children and the power they wield. Trying to balance everything is Seitenshi, the president of the Tokyo area (she’s that stunning model type in the big hat). She is in hot water as she wants to extend the hand of hope and friendship to the Cursed Children, but that is generating dissatisfaction among those who feel they are a blight and should be ‘removed’. Now, if that wasn’t enough to take in, Kagetane Hiruko shows up (he’s that guy at the top). Yes, he wears this mask and who he is and what he wants is a mystery, save that he wants to kill those who get in his way. His own daughter is the initiator (Kohina, that blue-tressed girl) and they are a formidable team.
The name “Black Bullet” comes from the special Varanium-forged bullets Rentaro fires, as they will kill Gastrea and would-be Gastreas, and it is a very black metal. The front of the series tells the tales of what they do and their on-going battles with Hiruko and public opinion (who feel ALL Cursed Children should die). The real conflict comes when it appears there will be an invasion of Tokyo, as protection is breaking down.
Although not a hopelessly grim series, this alternate Tokyo is a terrible place to be. You can still get infected by the Gastrea and the only cure for that is death. And since there are no long-term plans to eliminate the threat, it has become a life of attrition. The Cursed Children (all girls, remember) yearn for a better life, but they know that their time here is short, as no one will come to their aid (as reflected in the show by one who is a beggar). Rentaro wants to do something for them, as they have proven their worth time and again, but he is only one man and is limited in what he can do.
If you liked “Darker than Black”, you should like this one. My concern is that during the middle arc of the show, the Gastrea problem that was so graphically introduced to us seems to have taken a back seat, and so the focus of the show was temporarily lost. Now, there has to be a second season, as a lot of the social problems that were raised did not come to fruition and those have to be addressed and cleared up. We do like things nice and neat, but the show tried to cover too much ground and spread itself too thin.
Artwork 8 (The Cursed Children are really kawai)
Plot 7 (Almost too many strings)
Pacing 7 (Gets too turgid in spots)
Effectiveness 8 (Especially the ending arc)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but doesn’t hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 7 (Tried too hard to force a second season)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. It’s the red eyes.