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Black Bullet Vol. #02 Manga Review

5 min read

Black Bullet Volume 2 CoverI am Hiruko. Kagetane Hiruko. To put it simply…I am your enemy.

Creative Staff:
Art: Morinohon
Original Story: Shiden Kanzaki
Character Design: Saki Ukai
Translation: Sheldon Drzka
Lettering: Abigail Blackman

What They Say:
After being invaded by viral parasites known as Gastrea, the people of Japan have had no choice but to encase themselves within colossal monoliths designed to repel the beasts. The Gastrea, however, have still managed to slowly trickle through the barrier and infect some of the population. In order to fend them off, humanity has created a “Civil Security” branch trained in the extermination of the parasites. Rentarou Satomi and Enju Aihara are just two of many Civ-Sec officers fighting to keep humanity safe and fix what has become of their world once and for all.

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
When we last left off, our protagonist was smack-dab in the middle of a Civ-Sec meeting about to go wrong. Being caught up in an argument with another, much more experienced officer (Shougen Ikuma), Rentarou is on the brink of really getting himself into trouble. That is until the ruler of the Tokyo area appears on the television with an important announcement for all Civ-Sec officers — the elimination of a spider class gastrea. Now, not only is this the same type of gastrea that escaped and caused a truck-load of problems for our protagonists in the last volume but this time around its carrying a container with some “Special classified objects” inside of it. And if that, in itself, wasn’t sketchy enough, the masked villain who mercilessly slaughtered the police back in the first chapter of the manga is also just hanging around in the room. In fact, no one even notices him until he introduces himself to everyone. Talk about poor security.

The masked man goes by the name of Kagetane Hiruko and formally announces that he will be the enemy of each and every Civ-Sec officer in the room. He then reveals that not only is he a former officer himself, but an experimental one birthed from the “New Humanity Creation Project” which built upon normal Civ-Sec officers in order to create a better, stronger unit to combat gastrea. So apparently, Hiruko has gone rogue and is now fighting against his original comrades. The interesting part about this, though, is that it makes sense. Hiruko isn’t your average, blindly-evil villain that wants to destroy the world just because it’s morally unacceptable. His theory is that Civ-Sec and humanity itself are the bad guys. And honestly, he’s kind of right. I don’t know if he’s right enough to justify killing everyone ever, but he’s still correct to some extent. Humanity, at this point, has slipped to a point where anyone that isn’t a pure-blood human is belittled and shunned from existence. The cursed children are being blamed for the slaughtering of families and friends, when in all actuality, they are the ones aiding Civ-Sec in exterminating the true cause of the colossal fatality rate — the gastrea.

Eventually, Hiruko vanishes alongside his cursed daughter, Kohina, and the hunt begins. And what would a hunt be without a little friendly competition? The fight to find the spider class gastrea involves every Civ-Sec branch in Tokyo matched up against not only each other but Hiruko as well as he attempts to claim the treasure encased inside the monster — the “Inheritance of the Seven Stars”. This treasure is said to have enough power to obliterate the obelisks protecting what’s left of humanity and ultimately cause the gastrea virus to spread to the rest of Tokyo. That’s…a little problematic to say the least.

And if that weren’t problematic enough, Hiruko somehow manages to spread the fact that Enjou is a cursed child around her school. Being the racist (If you can call it that?) jerks that human children are, Enjou is essentially bullied out of school and runs away to the outer district where the majority of cursed children seek refuge. Of course, she does this without notifying Rentarou, so now he has another problem to deal with. Before he can successfully go out and uncover the inheritance of the seven stars, he must find his initiator and persuade her into joining his side again. After pages upon pages of searching high and low, the two are emotionally reunited and, once again, set out to find the treasure monster. With some help from a helicopter purchased by Kisara, that monster is quickly discovered and Rentarou/Enjou are the first ones to physically encounter it.

The battle, fueled by Enjou’s currently-deteriorating psychological state, is a quick one. She packs basically all the strength she can muster into one extravagant blow that quickly demolishes the overly-elusive gastrea. Hooray, all is well now! What a surprisingly happy ending to this early arc! Oh, wait, never mind, here comes Hiruko. Unwilling to let Rentarou take away the treasure that could ultimately “Kill” humanity, Hiruko starts combat against the Civ-Sec duo, backed by his overpowered daughter. Now, this battle is pretty significant compared to the others so far, so I’m not going to give away how it ends. But I can tell you, it’s pretty damn awesome and a fitting end to an exciting volume.

In Summary:
Black Bullet Vol. 2 is a good follow-up to a debut volume that used a little too much time on character introduction. Exposition, for the most part, is correctly sidelined for the time being and readers get to experience some good old-fashioned action. With the plot sloping towards a significantly darker route, Black Bullet is becoming something exceedingly more interesting than it was at first glance. In fact, there was one panel in here that made me question the rating of 14+. All in all, I’m excited to say that I’m looking forward to the next volume of this series and that I’m very impressed with how much it has improved in just four chapters.

Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: 14+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 15, 2015
MSRP: $13.00