Breaking B, the Beginning Down Before Home Video Busts The Demons Loose!

4 Oct

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Release Date:
Oct 6, 2020

Shout! Factory

Before Netflix acquired the license to air B the Series, the animation made on spec certainly teased at a techno supernatural crime thriller. The pilot was very short, but it was very teasing of what feels like Highlander meets The Incredible Hulk meets X-Files because of a certain berserker wandering around the kingdom of Cremona and secret conspiracies going on.

Kazuto Nakazawa created this universe, and when considering his impressive resume includes creating the animated sequence in Kill Bill Vol 1 and he’s the character designer of El Hazard, I became intrigued. There were moments where I couldn’t help but think of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Well, that’s how I read this anime so far, especially after watching the second disc of the blu-ray release, which contains episodes five to seven and includes an interview with this creator who gives us a better breakdown of what he had in mind for the series. We have an introduction of who Killer B is–an anti-hero.

Season One is on Netflix. I could have rewatched from the streaming service, but find the interface is not easy to use for scrubbing, looking for key scenes. And unlike the physical release, you don’t get a lot of bonus material to give viewers insight to the program from the producers perspective. I have a theory: B may well be Nephilim.

The leaders of the Jaula Blanca Institute want to bring back the old gods, and this season has yet to confirm which religion they hail from. This director spent a few minutes in the provided documentary talking about why the colour black is prominent as a theme. Are we talking about nothingness? It can also represent a void or even dark matter; perhaps even something laying hidden. Perhaps Koku, this series main protagonist, has a sight beyond sight in which we don’t quite know what it entails….

Nakazawa is less interested in the religious implications, and so far, the anime suggests a less supernatural interpretation of what these giants represent. He regards any winged individual as a soul who lost his way instead of a fallen angel. This creator’s idea falls in line with the Sethian view where also the “daughters of men” are regarded as the ungodly women of the bloodline of Cain, Adam’s murderous son. “With the Nephilim as mere humans, their great size is variously taken literally or metaphorically, though they were undoubtedly considered great warriors.” (1)

Koku is an enigma. He’s an alien of sorts and has lost his memory. The only thing that keeps him going is a search for his beloved, someone who knows what his mission is, and the trail of breadcrumbs he leaves behind is rather bloody. Keith is a Royal Investigation Service agent (RIS) and the two are close to butting heads more often than not. The detective believes the Koku is B the Killer.

Add on top the people at the Blanca Institute who want to see a prophecy fulfilled–to bring back the Black King–I don’t think Nakazawa had Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow or even Stranger Things in mind. They have found the remains of giants and have tried to use the DNA extracted to clone warriors. And I noticed this fact during the first watch. I’ll need a few more views on how later reveals may tie in to earlier introductions.

If this anime is truly drawing from Jewish lore, then another force Koku and Keith will emerge for them to worry about. Perhaps season two will introduce the Rephaim. These shades hail from the Shoel (a place of torment) who can, when summoned, assist the living. This concept ties perfectly into the black king and winged beings the Jaula Blanca Institute wish to bring back to the world.

What’s known so far feels like a set up to a grander battle. It’s not only between the secret organizations who rule the world and heaven, but also with eventually revealing where Koku is from. Nobody knows until the storytellers feel it’s time to reveal all. Or just maybe, the Case Files which comes with the Ultimate Box Set (along with the soundtrack and postcards) offers more details. This tome is meant to be a series bible and if this is hiding secrets to where this series will go, I feel it’s time for an upgrade!

4 Stars out of 5

Trailer: The King has Landed

 

Bonus Content for B: THE BEGINNING SEASON ONE Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD)

  • Series presentation in the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and English dub
  • Pilot film that inspired the Netflix series
  • Clean Opening – Clean Ending
  • Interview with Kazuto Nakazawa
  • A mini-poster
  • Two art cards

B: THE BEGINNING – THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION (Limited-Edition)

Bonus Features

  • Series presentation in the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and English dub
  • Pilot film that inspired the Netflix series
  • Clean Opening – Clean Ending
  • Interview with director Kazuto Nakazawa
  • 160-page hardback book
  • Original Soundtrack on CD (featuring 21 tracks, including the previously unreleased “Farewell to the Black-winged King”)
  • Three art cards

Unboxing Video:

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