Perhaps a quick warning – this review is even more rambling than usual, so if you’re looking for a plot summary maybe click here first 😀
So! There was a whole lot I liked about B: The Beginning (and it’s nice to know there is a second season in production) but one thing that bugs me is that the working title was Perfect Bones – which is far better than the generic final title, right? Is it just me? Perfect Bones* clearly links to the meat of the series in a subtler and more satisfying way and again, is far less generic than… well, anyway, I enjoyed this series!
And that’s partly because of the odd mix between aspects that are quite at home in a CSI/Criminal Minds cop team (featuring an uneasy genius and a taciturn leader) and the supernatural, the teen angst, and some horror and occasional bits of comedy too. At first I thought there were too many disparate parts, but the series mostly brought it all together, definitely enough for me to suspend disbelief and want to see how it ended.
(However, keep in mind that I do enjoy genre mash-ups a lot and so I have that bias).
The story follows twin, converging storylines which are both engaging for differing reasons and while it seems one has more action (young Koku’s search for a lost love) and one more investigating (Keith Kazama Flick’s search for a killer), the division isn’t always clean cut.
Both stories essentially offer plenty of both action and intrigue, delivered with the fairly ‘slick’ modern animation that’s always pretty impressive if not always distinctive, but then, you don’t always want distinctive. Sometimes you want reliably enjoyable, I reckon. And I don’t mean for either of those descriptions to come off as put-downs either, so hopefully they don’t do that.
Aside from those aspects it was probably the characters and the mythology that the series created and wove in and out of the story that I found most enjoyable. In terms of character, I think it was Keith and Lily’s relationship, which has an abrasive mentor/rival/student thing, that I enjoyed the most – her earnestness is endearing and his drive is too. On the note of the mythology, I’d actually have loved more of that (perhaps over the boarding school flashbacks – though they certainly served a purpose) and maybe season two will do just that?
Despite my enjoyment of Keith and his storyline, the slapstick sometimes seemed oddly out of place and to some extent, the Koku character is reasonably standard, but again, that’s not a deal-breaker for me as everything lifted up the more conventional aspects; slick, vivid animation, some great villains, a few twists and real comedic moments were joined by interesting mythology and an Italian setting, so yeah, I was a pretty happy viewer 🙂
And the ending theme is another highlight, both the credits sequence itself and the moody song – which fans of Megadeth might be interested in, as it’s performed by Man with a Mission in collaboration with Marty Friedman.
Back in 2016 when Netflix were making those early pushes into anime this show was announced as: “the first ever original anime title to debut all episodes simultaneously in 190 countries around the world” and so it was clear they wanted it to succeed, and partnering with Production I.G on this 12 episode series was a pretty great first step.
Obviously a big distribution deal, an average title and a great ending theme song aren’t enough to make a killer series; it’s everything in between that we’re interested in – but for me the separate elements added up to something memorable. Having said that, I suspect if you watch a lot of US crime shows or anime in general,
Perfect Bones B: The Beginning won’t be surprising but it hit a lot of the notes I was looking for.
*And yeah, I understand that the visual representation of the ‘B’ itself is also important to the story but still, Perfect Bones would have been better 😀