Title: Black Bullet Vol. 1
Author: Morinohon (Art), Shinden Kanzaki (Story), Saki Ukai (Character Design)
Publisher: Yen Press
Page Count: 160
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
In 2021, a virus outbreak plagues humanity and monsters known as Gastrea roam the planet. After a war with the Gastrea, in which mankind lost, monoliths made of a metal called Varanium were erected to protect the city and the Civil Security was formed to fight back against them. Rentaro Satomi is one of those Civil Security Officers. Black Bullet follows Rentaro as he and his partner Enju, a cursed child, fight back against the Gastrea in attempt to save mankind from a future war against them, but there are forces at work, including a mysterious masked man, who wish to inhibit that progress.
The first volume of Black Bullet does a great job introducing us to a handful of characters, each with different goals and aspirations as well as introduces us to the Gastrea and their history. So far, I’m being reminded of Unbreakable Machine Doll, without the annoying Yaya character although Enju does exhibit some of those overbearing qualities… such as her professed and exaggerated love for Rentaro. I’m hoping that as the series progresses, that’s not the only dimension to her character.
The first volume introduces us to both Rentaro and Enju through a case where a spider-like Gastrea attacked a man in his apartment. They track down the spider and defeated it, but in a bit of comedy, Rentaro wants to get to the store for the limited time sale on bean sprouts and forgets to collect payment from the officers on the scene. This bit of comedy was a nice segue into introducing Kisara Tendo who is not only Rentaro’s guardian, but also his boss. The only thing I don’t like about Kisara, or this series for that matter, is they planted a death flag on her in the very first volume. Kisara’s kidneys are failing her and she even states that she’s going for dialysis. This just sets up an obvious scenario down the line where she is most-likely going to die. Deaths are more dramatic when you can’t see them a mile away, but hopefully I’m wrong about this.
After the Gastrea incident, Rentaro and Kisara are summoned to the Ministry of Defense for an assignment. When they arrive, they notice a myriad of other promoters there and one of them wants to rip Rentaro’s head off! This is where the first volume ends.
It’s not much of a cliffhanger, per se, but it does give you an idea that Promoters/Initiators work alone and don’t like working with others. At least, that’s the vibe I’m getting here. It could also be that Rentaro looks young and inexperienced and pride may be taking a role here as well. I also find it interesting that the Initiators have the Gastrea virus inside of them, but are able to control it, gaining superhuman-like strength. Since it’s virus based, that just means they are ticking time bombs and, perhaps, that in and of itself is another death flag on Enju.
Either way, we have two characters in the first volume with potentially grim futures, but this one of the factors that is making Black Bullet seem special. These aren’t just cookie cutter characters… they each have unique qualities and features about them that you don’t normally see right off the bat. So far this series is a pretty good read and I recommend it to anyone who wants, what is shaping up to be, a pretty good sci-fi action series. Needless to say, this has me looking forward to volume two!
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**This item was provided for review.