Black Bullet Vol. 1 TP
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Price: $13.00
Creator(s): Shiden Kanzaki (Writer), Hon Morino (Artist)
Format: 160 pgs., Black & White, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-3163-4503-3
Age Rating: 13+
ICv2 Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5

Adapting the light novel series of the same name, Black Bullet tells the story of a world which has been attacked by a virus which turns people into giant bugs known as Gastrea.  The world's inhabitants have given up on actually winning the war against the Gastrea and have enclosed themselves behind giant monoliths made of a material called varanium, which has been proven to be the only effective deterrent against the monsters.

Sometimes, though, one of these creatures makes its way past the monoliths and that's when the police have to call in special civil security agents who are partnered with young girls who have been infected by the virus while in the womb.  These "cursed children" are able to use the virus within themselves and gain superhuman powers.  In this first volume, we meet Rentaro and his partner Enju as they take on one of these creatures and try to survive their daily life.

Last year the light novel series that this manga is adapting was turned into an anime… and it was good.  So good that I called it the anime of the year for 2014 and was very excited to check out the manga adaptation.  Now I kind of wish that I could just go back and watch the anime again instead.

This is not a particularly great or gripping volume to start the series off with.  The first issue that the audience will run into is that the overall story moves at a very slow, deliberate pace which ends up not revealing nearly enough details to get the audience excited for more.  There are some plot hooks dangled in front of the audience throughout the volume but nothing is expanded upon enough to really get them emotionally invested in the characters or what is going to happen to them next.

If you're the type of person who really enjoys slow burn storytelling this could be a fun action series for you.  If you're the type of person who really wants to feel emotionally connected to the characters that you're reading about or have easy answers given to you along the way you're going to be sorely disappointed.

This is a series that will test the patience of most of the audience reading it which makes it very hard for me to recommend to anyone.  Check it out if you're curious to know more about the cursed children but know that the road you're about to embark upon will be lined with potholes and lots of slow moments.

--L.B. Bryant