Here’s one last article on Black Bullet and the Spring season of 2014. Like most of you, Kisara’s utter obliteration of her treacherous brother took me by surprise. I thought that she would let him off with the loss of his legs, but I suppose cutting off a limb is always the prelude to giving the killing stroke–whether one is considering Japanese or Western martial arts. Anyway, the parricidal villain got what he deserved.
Or did he? Kisara laughs maniacally after his death and claims that she is evil and that only evil can eradicate evil. These two claims strike one as shocking, especially for someone from a culture where filial piety is so esteemed. (And no, evil cannot eradicate evil. Only justice and mercy can.) When one takes that into account along with the traditional belief that the victims of murder will not rest in peace until they have been avenged, I’d say that most Japanese would think badly of her had she not killed Kazumitsu Tendo.
So, whence arises the idea that she did wrong? I am tempted to think Kisara’s words as purely rooted in the emotion of the moment. To a person of integrity, killing is always ugly and painful even if justified. Or does she feel that she ought to have left Kazumitsu’s punishment to the authorities? But, one has already seen the degree of corruption in both the police and the government, and Kisara no doubt took this into account when she undertook extralegal means to avenge her parents. Using a duel to execute a murderer is hardly ideal, but neither is Black Bullet‘s society.
I’m pretty sure this did not enter into Kisara’s mind at all, but in the spirit of this blog let’s ask this question: was it unchristian to kill her brother? The Faith does recommend mercy. Kisara could have stopped short of killing him at least, right? But, four things must be taken into account when judging this matter: 1) Kazumitsu thinks nothing of taking human life–even the lives of his parents; 2) merely maiming him does not prevent him from continuing to use his political power or influence to cause grave harm; 3) the corrupt government might acquit in a trial, thus allowing him to continue to take human lives or endanger society for his own ends; and 4) Kazumitsu would no doubt be using his power to eliminate witnesses should he be arraigned. I think that there exists a hierarchy of compassion in Christianity and prudence partially governs how mercy is given. As the Glossa Interlinearis, a 12th century Biblical gloss by Anselm of Laon, states: “Justice and mercy are so united that one ought to be mingled with the other; justice without mercy is cruelty; mercy without justice profusion…” (Gloss to Matt. 5:7). Permitting Kazumitsu to live in society places the life of a murderer above his potential victims. To have compassion on the murderer in this case is to lack compassion for the innocent. Giving the lethal blow to Kazumitsu falls more under Katsujinken (“the life giving sword”) than Satsujinken (“the murdering sword”).
If anything could have rendered Kazumitsu’s death a moral wrong, it would be if Kisara had arranged the duel in the belief that she was doing wrong. It is possible to render something objectively right evil by having the wrong intention. For example, giving money to the poor in order to be praised by others or telling truth for the purpose of delighting in another’s pain on hearing it. The ugliness of the deed certainly struck her after the fact, but she did not have any doubts about whether she should fight Kazumitsu beforehand. The preparations before the duel evince her sense of righteous indignation. But, if there be any truth to Kisara’s belief that she’s evil for avenging her parents, it could only be because she undertook the revenge believing that she was doing wrong.
But, what do my dear readers think? Was Kisara’s action laudable filial piety? The only way to stop a dangerous malefactor? Erroneous vigilantism? Or wrong because Kisara acted against her conscience from the beginning?