Black Bullet: Against A Perfect Sniper

By Shiden Kanzaki and Saki Ukai. Released in Japan by ASCII Mediaworks. Released in North America by Yen Press.

Tempting as it may be, I can’t simply point to my review of the first volume of Black Bullet and say “Exactly what I said before, only with an added loli.” And it is tempting. Black Bullet’s strengths – its action scenes and politics – are still very strong, and its weaknesses – all of its anime cliches – are still there and pandering. There were mercifully a few less pedophilia jokes this time around, but that was made up for by added harem and boob jokes. But its strengths are quite strong, and given that this is a text medium and the illustrations aren’t too bad, it’s easier for me to ignore the service and focus on the grim dystopia of this world and the shiny, shiny young woman attempting to change things despite everything.


We get far more of what makes Seitenshi tick in this volume, and like Rentaro, I can appreciate what she’s doing while worrying about her good sense. People like her tend to have low survival rates in crapsack worlds like this one, and when she’s up against a stronger politician like the leader of Osaka, she doesn’t give in but does seem to be working from a weaker position. It’s very telling that Rentaro tells her to her face that her main force of bodyguards are basically goons, and by the end of the book… they’re still her bodyguards, they just got yelled at for trying to kill a who had, admittedly, tried to kill Seitenshi numerous times.) As I did with Kisara in the first novel, I wish we could get more from Seitenshi’s POV, but I know better than to expect something like that.

The other new character is Tina Sprout, a Cursed Child whose character arc, while heartwarming, is almost entirely predictable. She befriends Rentaro without either of them knowing who the other one is, and he becomes the one person who doesn’t treat her horribly. She’s also very broken, as all the Children are, and tries to avoid killing when she doesn’t have to (though she manages to take out Enju enough that she’s absent from the 2nd half of the book – which allows her and Rentaro to have a one on one battle). And naturally, he is able to see the good inside of her and decides to save her. As I said, there’s nothing particularly bad about her story as it’s written, it’s just that if I described the character and asked a reader to tell me what happens to her, most could do so without even looking.

This is still a grim book series, and the humor that it has tends to revolve around a) people thinking Rentaro is a lolicon, or b) Kisara and her rival, the student council president girl introduced here, getting furious with each other and attempting to seduce a deliberately oblivious Rentaro. That said, I did laugh out loud at one passage, possibly my favorite in the book, where Seitenshi and Rentaro are preparing to meet with the leader of the Osaka area. Rentaro has met him before when he was a child and being trained to rule the world (or at least that’s what his training seems like from flashbacks). Seitenshi asks him nicely not to get angry or say rude things. He then walks in and is even ruder than I expected him to be, gets even angrier, and never even bothers to apologize. It’s possibly the most emotion he shows all book, and I hope we get more of this sort of thing next time around.

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