After defeating the Level 5 Gastrea, Rentaro Satomi returns to his daily life of earning money to support himself and Enju. Luckily, Lady Seitenshi has a proposition for Rentaro; to become her new bodyguard. He accepts the job, knowing she is always in danger from people are conspiring against her. So he isn’t surprised that on her visit to the leader of the Osaka Area, they were attacked by a sniper. While Lady Seitenshi is safe under protection, he tries to find out who the culprit is. Rentaro and Enju will have to face an unknown enemy in order to protect the peace of the Tokyo Area. The problem however, is that the sniper was shooting from a distance of two kilometers, a shot that should be impossible for any assassin.
The world of Black Bullet is one terrible place, and the characters have been greatly affected by the rough circumstances. If the first volume told us about the world they live in, the second volume goes over its characters and how they live. Black Bullet: Against a Perfect Sniper retains the same amount of quality from the first volume but with more of a focus on its characters, both new and old.
After saving the Tokyo Area, Rentaro gets a job working as Lady Seitenshi’s bodyguard. But at the cost of protecting the woman responsible for leading the country to peace, Rentaro risks his life and his friends in the process. Add that in with his history of the Gastrea taking away his parents and even his limbs, and you have a man who has basically suffered his entire life. The previous volume went over Rentaro’s backstory and his relationship with Enju, but this new addition goes into the other characters that drives him forward in the darkness that is the Tokyo Area and the Gastrea.
There’s a moment in the story where Sumire, the woman who made him into a mechanized soldier, talks to Rentaro and she discloses her own background as a scientist. Like Rentaro, she too has been affected by the Gastrea and she went through her own moments of extreme anguish. Luckily, she was saved by Rentaro and his growth as an individual, represented as light.
“Rentaro, do you know why Varanium is black?”
“My loathing has stained it black.”
This is a fantastic line as it represents all the hatred and misery created from the hell people have gone through. Even though Rentaro has a very high possibility of being killed, he goes forth to save his own beacons of light.
Tina undergoes the similar treatment and it becomes one of the main focuses of the volume. Like the others, she isn’t a malevolent person but her circumstances doesn’t create a happy future for her. Tina and Rentaro have multiple interactions with each other and with each meeting, she opens up to Rentaro about her past. Their interactions become a lot more friendly which ultimately leads up to their confrontation, pitting values against each other.
While Black Bullet contains some dark material, the series tries to offset it with its usage of tomfoolery. The marriage relationship joke between Rentaro and Enju was amusing at first but with Kisara’s involved behavior and the addition of the character Miori, it becomes unnecessary and serves as comedic filler with the small implication of a harem.
Something noteworthy about the illustrations for this volume is the usage of visual effects. This varies from the background, the clothing, and the lighting in the pictures. In the color illustrations, there is a picture of Rentaro and Enju protecting Lady Seitenshi from a sniper bullet in the car, and the sporadic uses of white shapes and dots create the effect of glass shattering which I found was a nice touch. As for the black and white illustrations, the usage of the rough black outlining from the first volume was held back, exchanging it for blurs effects. For example, in a shot, Rentaro is concentrating and the area surrounding him is blurred except for his mechanical eye.
Black Bullet: Against a Perfect Sniper is nice continuation of the series, having similar content and quality from the first volume. It takes a more in-depth look at our characters, seeing who they hold as important to them and how they have changed him/her. If you liked what the first volume had to offer, you’ll enjoy the next addition to the series.
Pretty much that second talk with Sumire.
Author: Shiden Kanzaki
Illustrator: Saki Ukai
English Publisher: Yen Press