Picking on Black Bullet Again

Ah, these days, I have a hard time finding ideas for articles.  And so, I’ve decided to pick on Black Bullet for some things which excited my interest or peeves in the last three episodeswhich I watched on Crunchyroll.  I already wrote an article accusing Black Bullet of feeling trite or corny.  There were a few examples of that in these three episodes, but I prefer to concentrate on some other things.  Ready for a rambling rant?

Tina_calls_Rentaro

First, what is it with the Japanese obsession with numbers?  Especially as related to either chances of success or power levels?  (We all know that a plan which has a 0.0001% chance of success cannot possibly fail, right?)  In episode seven, Miori tells Rentaro that he has a power level rating of 2,200%, while Enju has one of 8,600% and Tina 12,900%.  While this is supposed to create a certain amount of suspense before the fight, one cannot get out of one’s mind that Rentaro will fight a little girl less than half his size.  It is very hard to make the audience enthusiastic about such a bout or to make the blond haired, blue eyed Tina appear that threatening.  (She’s not Balalaika, you know?)  In their defense, the fight was exciting, but I could not help feeling sorry for Tina when she got struck or thinking that Rentaro was more like a 13,000% than a 2,200% for that matter.

Tina vs Rentaro

Then, the scene immediately after the fight frustrated me on several accounts.  You had that punk attempt to execute Tina, as two persons with less strength than is in Rentaro’s index finger bring him to heel.  Rentaro just defeated terminator girl and allows himself to get manhandled by some losers?  Come on!  Before Tina is riddled with bullets, Seitenshi appears and rescues Rentaro and Tina by the might of her auctoritas, promoting Rentaro to #300.  Upon which, Rentaro shoots off the punk’s finger.  The hero just off and mutilates someone and Seitenshi, who’s all about peace and unity, just looks on.  Not saying that the punk did not deserve it, but what kind of society is she trying to build where cruel and unusual punishment is condoned?

Seitenshi

Another thing which annoyed me is well known to people that understand Japanese: the Japanese language and ordinary Japanese discourse is mostly free of curses.  If a Japanese person wants to insult someone, he mostly resorts to rude variations of the word “you” (temee, kisama, and omae) or prefixs kuso or bakato a person’s name.  And there are various forms of name calling, mostly revolving around whether someone is ugly or stupid.  But stuff that hardly counts as foul language!  And so, why does Yuyuki’s partner drop the f-bomb according to the subtitles?  He certainly doesn’t say the word, though he is speaking rudely to Rentaro.*  Surely, there was a more creative way to show his contempt for Rentaro?  The only place I recall anime characters actually using the f-word–an English loan word, by the way–is Black Lagoon.

Revy with cutlass

And there was one place, I do think the subber ought to have placed a pejorative where he did not.  As Rentaro is destroying Tina’s targeting sensors, he says, “Mittsu-me.”  This is simply translated as “three.”  But, you know, Rentaro often strikes me as a bland fellow.  Most other heroes would say “San-biki,” using the counter for a small, insignificant animal rather than the neutral counter –tsu.  It would really have added much more color and emotion to Rentaro if the subber tried to included the sense of the suffix -me by translating mittsu-me as “three of the damn things.”

bullet01a

But, Black Bullet is a great show for what me and my friends affectionately term “anime lines.”  To understand what we mean, consider the following:

“I am going to kill many people and destroy many things, then my sister will be happy, and I will be satisfied. – (Full Metal Panic)

“People that dare to disturb a duel shall be run over by a tank!”
-Ritsuko (from Those who Hunt Elves)

“Our guns are useless against moving targets”
-Captian Romius (Gundam Seed)

“The 120 students that depend on baked goods sold on site will starve. The results are all too clear. Riots and pillaging. Moral decay. Order within the school will surely plummet.” -Hayashimizu (Full Metal Panic Fumoffu)

Black Bullet Kisara

You get the idea.  An anime line is a line so bizarre or random that one would only hear it in anime.  Take this one delivered by Rentaro to Tina: “When I met Enju, her eyes were even colder and more vacant than ours.” xD  Rentaro!  Do you really have no better object of comparison than your present selves?  Does this mean you believe both Tina and you have been divested of human warmth and emotion?  Then, Sumire’s “translation” of Rentaro’s promise to help Tina secures her position as my favorite character in the anime: “You’re a vital part of my little girl harem plan, there’s no way you’re getting away.”  I think her translation is perfect.

Black Bullet Sumire

I hope that you enjoyed this little ramble!

*Edit: I must thank AngryJellyfish for pointing out that the subbers did not needlessly add the curses, but that both Katagiri siblings actually did drop the f-bomb.  So, they provided an accurate, unbowdlerized translation.  For me needing several passes before I finally heard it, I accuse the Japanese voice actors of bad pronunciation. xD

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11 comments on “Picking on Black Bullet Again

  1. I agree with you that a lot of fansub groups and official subs seem quick to use swear words, when the original Japanese words are nowhere near as strong. Although, as someone who’s up to date with Black Bullet, this post made me smile – you’ll be seeing a few genuine English-loaned f-bombs in the episodes to come, which I hope doesn’t count as a spoiler. 😛

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    • Really? Wow! That makes me want to watch those episodes again. I wonder if I somehow missed the curses, but the f-word stands out so much in Japanese that I doubt it–or at least Revy really makes them stand out.

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  2. David A says:

    I think these creative insults and anime lines are part of the charm, sometimes, bad translations enhance them too.

    Little girl from that series is still creepy?

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    • Anime would be so bland without these anime lines and bad translations. Bad fansubs are especially fun.

      I’m far too used to anime weirdness to find Enju creepy. Rentaro clearly being uninterested in her and desiring Kisara helps. I suppose it helps too that I have a much younger sister who used to say that she would marry me when she grew up. So, Enju appears almost normal–almost!

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  3. TWWK says:

    Somehow not surprised that FMP! is responsible for a couple of your “anime line” examples. 😛

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    • Definitely! FMP! is outrageous in its very concept of a high school age super mercenary, so one can expect that it’s dialogues contain some real doozies. And, it used to be one of my top five shows.

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      • TWWK says:

        It used to be among mine, too. I still appreciate it in how unique it is despite containing so many tropes – it has a tone to it that I haven’t seen replicated in any series, and I think it still remains a very captivating series.

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      • I agree. I found myself very disappointed when FMP: The Second Raid introduced so many dark psychological problems into the series. It ruined the mood of the show! Makes me wonder if the author did that deliberately to kill the show.

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  4. […] and brushes with death.  It also had many things one could make fun of: examples may be seen here and here.  The Joker-like villain was a great foe for Rentaro, though I must confess to disliking […]

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