Most often than not, the anime crowd tends to look down on adaptations of light novels and on light novels themselves. A reprehensible philosophy, but when looking at the lack of originality and the constant otaku bait light novels are often plagued with, we can understand the concern.
However, Black Bullet seemed to break the mould with its premises and after a first season 6 years ago, is there a chance for a second one?
What happened so far in Black Bullet
In 2021, humanity is pushed to the brink of extinction after losing the war against Gastrea, a parasitic virus turning humans into monsters. They now live behind monolith walls made of Varanium, the only material capable of repelling the monsters. The virus also causes the apparition of a new type of human: the Cursed Children, kids who successfully overcame the virus in their body and have superhuman powers (coincidentally, they all are young girls). Several Civil Security Corporations are then created to fight the virus. Those agencies form pairs consisting of an Initiator (a Cursed Child) and a Promoter (a human being in charge of supporting their Initiator).
10 years later, we are introduced to Rentaro Satomi, a high schooler working as a Promoter for Tendou Civil Security Agency (owned by his childhood friend, Kisara Tendou) and his Initiator Enju Aihara. Rentaro’s ideology is different from his peers: whereas society rejects and antagonizes Cursed Children, he is sympathetic to their plight and treats them like human beings. He is often criticized by his boss Kisara for being a mediocre to average Promoter, wasting Enju’s potential. During an exceptional meeting at the Ministry of Defense, Enju and Rentaro are tasked with two jobs: finding the Original Gastrea that infiltrated the Tokyo Area and safely retrieving the case he swallowed without checking what is inside. The meeting is cut short by a masked individual named Kagetane Hiruko, a cold-blooded killer Rentaro fought before, who challenges the Corporations to a race as he is interested in the case and reveals its content. It contains the Legacy of the Seven Stars, a powerful item that can destroy the Tokyo Area by summoning a Stage V Gastrea. This event is only the beginning of a journey that will force Rentaro to discover humanity’s well hidden secrets.
What is going on with Kinema Citrus & Orange?
Black Bullet premiered on April 8 and ended on July 1, 2014 after 13 episodes. It is written by Tatsuhiko Urahata, directed by Masayuki Kojima, with the soundtrack composed by Shiro Sagisu.
Black Bullet introduces what could be an interesting setting. Nothing new though, and some will quickly start to think about Attack on Titan. Yet, in terms of light novels, Black Bullet does give us something fresh…on paper. Firstly, the show wants to be a lot of things at the same time: mature, gore, comedy, supernatural, harem, romance, post-apocalyptic, action. For an anime with only 13 episodes, Black Bullet is trying to eat more than its fill. There is simply not enough time to develop each facet properly. The anime covers the novel up to volume 4-5 meaning that 3 episodes represent a whole volume. The pacing suffers from the director’s gluttony and the viewer is taken through one scene after another in a disjointed way, as the atmosphere and tone can drastically change between each of them. Plot points and events are introduced to be forgotten: the bombing of the school for Cursed Children is never really explained, nor investigated. Something introduced as dramatic and unforgivable is never fully exploited. And that is a recurring occurrence throughout the anime. The change in tone is also caused by the one element completely killing Black Bullet’s attempt at seinen: lolis. Lots of them.
The characters are way too one-dimensional, lacking depth and real purpose. It is difficult to get attached to them or care about them because, even if the story really wants us to, it does not give us enough reason to feel involved. It often feels like drama is manufactured for the sake of drama and forced motivation. Rentaro only has the clichés ‘“brave” and “righteous” going for himself and does not grow as a protagonist through those 13 episodes. There is no balance establishing his strength either: he is introduced as mediocre, only to reveal later that he actually has prosthetic limbs made of Varanium granting him top speed and physical power, but is then often seen getting his ass kicked or easily restrained. Sure, he has his moments, but those do not align with what we have seen until now.
The rest of the cast came to tick boxes: the tsundere with jiggling breasts, the energetic loli, the aloof loli, the nekomimi loli, the bad guys who hate the hero for really blurry reasons, etc. Kisara does a 360 in the last episode with a change in her behaviour completely uncalled for and finding no justification in the narrative. Even Kagetane as the main antagonist disappoints. Which is a shame considering how charismatic the character is, but his motivations are shaky and as solid as wet cardboard: everyone should die because he feels like it… as they are mean to the lolis.
Are we talking about the same 10-year-old lolis who fail to display enough emotion and characterization, other than using sexual innuendos aimed at high-schooler Rentaro, but make sure to use that moe-moe vibe? Are they the ones the viewers should care about to the point it feels justified to annihilate the Tokyo Area?
The animation is pretty good and keeps a good level for the whole run. Action scenes are fluid and the studio did not try to use difficult choreographies. The monsters are nicely rendered with CGI and have an interesting design. The anime is from 2014, but Orange (Beastars) was already showing promise here.
Black Bullet is a popcorn anime whereby it can actually be enjoyable if you unplug your critical mind when watching it. At the moment, Kinema Citrus is working on Cardfight!!! Vanguard overDress and has announced the second season of The Rising of the Shield Hero for April 2022. Orange is not working on a personal project, but considering that the studio mainly deals in 3DCG, it might be that they are working with another studio.
What do we know about Black Bullet Season 2 so far?
We simply know nothing as there is nothing out there to consume for updates. The studios seem to have turned that page completely.
What are fans saying about Black Bullet Season 2?
Fans of Black Bullet can still be found active, but it looks like those are mostly newcomers. After the anime, most start to read the light novel, but considering the author decided to stop working on it, the fandom seems pretty resigned to the idea of no new season. The pinned topic on its subreddit is even a thread where fans elaborate the situation and why season 2 will never see the light of day. Otherwise, on Twitter, the hashtag does not garner much traffic and it is the usual fanarts and a lot of people discovering the series. It received a great score on MAL and Crunchyroll, dropping to average on IMDB.
Will there be Black Bullet Season 2?
The light novel was published from July 10, 2011 to April 10, 2014, running for 7 volumes and illustrated by Saki Ukai. However, the series is not actually finished. The author, Shiden Kanzaki decided to quit writing to focus on something else as the pressure he was under was too much for him. After the anime started airing, the light novel sales skyrocketed. Black Bullet was adapted into a manga from August 27, 2012 to June 27, 2014. Written by Kanzaki and illustrated by Morinohon, it has 4 volumes. Both mediums were licensed in North America by YenPress.
Volume 3 of its Blu-ray release in Japan actually did well during its first week on the market, in 2014. In 2015, Sentai Filmworks released the whole season on Blu-ray and (for reasons unknown) released another Complete Edition in 2021. Something that actually reignited hope for Season 2 for a hot minute, to no avail. Black Bullet enjoys a wide variety of goodies such as posters, figures, acrylic stands, keychains, commuter cases, etc. Most of those items are still available and Enju seems to be the favorite. The search queries graph on Google Trends is a bit hectic. A stable and active period can be noticed around January and until May: maybe a consequence of Sentai Filmworks re-releasing the series on Blu-ray, an act that might have given hope to old heads and helped others to discover the anime.
When will Black Bullet Season 2 be released?
No date is available as of yet.
What can we expect in Season 2 of Black Bullet?
There is a good chance that will never happen.
The anime does not have enough material to work with, considering that the light novel was cancelled and the show used 4 volumes out of 7 for Season 1. Including the fact that Black Bullet has never been a huge license so the project has no financial appeal for a Production Committee.