[Readers Request] B: The Beginning – Episode 12 [Final Impressions]
Ah, so we get some clarification regarding the secret project taking place at the Jaula Blanca Institute: Minatsuki (Laica) was kept alive not only to be used as “spare parts” for Koku, but his body was being used to refine a vaccine that could be used to stabilize Reggies. The money being used for this project came from the public, who were being told that the money was actually being used for “resurrecting gods”. If word got out that the military lied to the public it would be a huge scandal. Ok, now I can see why some people might’ve had a motive for wanting Minatsuki dead.
Gilbert tries once more to compare Keith to himself, but Keith’s not having any of that bullshit. Keith quickly points out that Gilbert has no regret or remorse, and is content to use those around him for his own benefit. Does Keith do the same? I’d be lying if I said no, but Keith definitely still has a conscience and gives a shit about other people. No doubt he genuinely loved his sister too. A true psychopath like Gilbert is not capable of loving others.
Keith theorizes that Gilbert creates multiple personalities for himself in order to prevent himself from having a total mental breakdown, something we know is correct because we saw Gilbert do it in the empty parking lot when he thought he saw Erika’s spirit leaving him. Any time he feels any genuine emotions like worry, regret or guilt, his twisted mind creates a new personality and erases the one showing signs of “weakness”, if you can call it that. This is how Gilbert avoids facing his reality of having to kill to survive head on.
As he continues to play reels of old film, Gilbert reveals his master plan to Keith. Said plan was to create puzzles for Keith to solve, and as Keith solved each one he would be drawn more and more into Gilbert’s world of mystery and murder. Gilbert admits that his greatest fantasy was to see Keith suffer, and I imagine that’s what Lily’s role in Gilbert’s plan. Gilbert had already killed Erika and had never been punished for it, so now several years later Gilbert wanted to take away someone else Keith was close to: Lily.
After some more blathering from Gilbert Keith finally pulls a gun on Gilbert, saying he will no longer be a part of Gilbert’s games. Gilbert ignores the gun and instead recounts a memory from their post-secondary years. Keith and Gilbert were talking and Keith said he didn’t understand murder. He hated it. Gilbert said that he felt rejected by Keith and that later in private he cried for the first time in his life. It sounds like Gilbert had already started murdering, or started planning to murder people, and that’s why he felt so rejected by Keith’s words.
The RIS finally reaches the Jaula Blanca Institute and Lily immediately runs into the building looking for Keith. Of course she doesn’t take a gun with her. *facepalm*
Gilbert admits that he killed Erika because she fell in love with a man she shouldn’t have, although this unknown man is not revealed. Keith moves a little closer to shooting Gilbert but continues to hesitate. Gilbert taunts him to pull the trigger, saying that if Keith doesn’t kill him he will just continue to kill. Keith’s continued hesitation allows Gilbert time to pull out a small gun of his own and point it at Keith’s head.
Keith lowers his own weapon saying he’ll never kill and become like Gilbert. However by now pounding footsteps can be heard and Gilbert aims his gun at the empty doorway. Both he and Keith don’t know who is running towards them, but Gilbert (figuring it’s Lily) says he will kill whoever it is.
So now Keith faces a dilemma: does he eat his own words and kill Gilbert and to Lily, or let Gilbert kill Lily?
We see that in order to save Lily’s life, Keith chooses to kill Gilbert. As Gilbert’s body falls to the floor Gilbert’s voiceover says that this showdown was designed to test Keith. You see, Gilbert wanted to see if there were circumstances under which Keith would ever kill someone, or if he was firmly glued to his “murder is bad” stance.
Meanwhile Koku has finally arrived at the Jetblack and is enraged to see Yuna so badly injured. However Laica takes care to keep Koku’s focus on him. The two face off against each other with their respective swords, and Koku (who was already injured prior to entering the Jetblack) seems to be slowly wearing down.
Laica taunts Koku about his and Yuna’s fate, and Koku thinks it’s all a bunch of crap. He won’t let anyone tell him what his or Yuna’s fate will be. Just as Koku proclaims that he will protect Yuna, Laica pulls out a gun and shoots Koku. Because this is the Jetblack Koku’s regeneration abilities are not working here, and this also means that something like a gunshot or a deep slice from Laica’s blade could easily kill him.
Laica continues to shoot into Koku’s wounded body in an attempt to taunt Koku into defying his fate. Laica believes completely that it is Koku and Yuna’s role to die in the Jetblack, but the sadist in him still wants to see Koku try to defy that fate as best he can.
Laica impales poor Koku on both of his swords onto a wall and continues to shoot him. Laica says that once he digs out his other eye from Koku’s head he’ll kill him like all the other Reggies, but Koku surprises Laica by saying that they’re not dead. Their souls, their memories all exist inside Koku’s body now; in a way they are Koku’s protectors of a sort.
Laica returns to Yuna and pulls the sword from her body, allowing her to essentially bleed to death if she were to be left long enough. Koku is so upset that he literally pulls himself off the wall he had been impaled upon and rushes at Laica with one of the latter’s swords. Laica shoots at him and Koku deflects all the bullets, but Laica still manages to cut off Koku’s sword arm. Laica then rushes at Koku to finish him off but Koku launches himself into the air, so Laica follows him. As Laica swings his blade at Koku, Koku transforms his leg into Izanami’s blade and swings it at Laica. Izanami’s blade breaks through Laica’s samurai sword and decapitates Laica.
But what now? Koku and Yuna have both lost so much blood and they can’t regenerate their wounds, so how are they going to escape the Jetblack…? As dawn bathes the Jetblack in light, we see that Koku has decided to just carry Yuna’s motionless body back to town. What a nice guy.
There’s a 3 month timeskip and things seemed to have returned to normal. Lily has driven to Keith’s apartment to give him a ride; the only problem is that she’s driving her tiny car! And Keith’s not exactly small, so he’s less than comfortable in her new ride.
As they drive, Lily tells Keith that she’s been trying to figure out the emotion behind Gilbert’s smile in the final moments of his life. Her theory is that Gilbert got himself killed deliberately in order to end his madness, since all of the personalities in his head wouldn’t let him kill himself. Provoking Keith to kill him was the only way he could think of to end his own life.
In the final moments we see (or rather, hear) that Koku and Yuna are alive after all! Koku must have gotten them far enough away from the Jetblack in time for their wounds to slowly start to heal. Lily tries to offer them a ride but Keith protests that there’s no room in Lily’s tiny car. xD
After the credits there’s a brief scene with a man named Kirisame speaking to an unknown man. Kirisame says that he will go find Koku in order to get his left arm back. Dun dun duuuuun ~
Berry’s Final Impression
First of all, I have to give a big thanks to Nikolita for taking over B: The Beginning for me. I had stopped reviewing it, and I had considered dropping it, but I was so close to the end so I ended up binging the last few episodes. Since Niko took over for me, I won’t make this impression very long. The show had interested me a lot when I had read the synopsis, even more so when this and other shows were part of the first few of Netflix’s original anime. Getting original shows on Netflix has become such a new and exciting thing now, and also there were lots of requests for this show. So I had decided that I would take it on.
It was obvious from the first episode that it caught me off guard. I was liking it until I found out Koku was some sort of creature. And that’s when the supernatural part of the show kicked in and I tried my hardest to get into it, but later it honestly drove me a little crazy. To make things clear, I ended up not liking B: The Beginning. This show had two different stories, a police mystery and a supernatural one, and somehow tried to smush them together to create this amazing thing, but it ended up just being a convoluted mess. I found the Keith and Gilbert plotline of the last quarter of the show to be so interesting, and the Koku plotline to be so boring. I didn’t give a single crap about the Gods and Reggies, and the part with Laica being the real Minatsuki came out of left field that at that point, whenever the supernatural stuff was happening I literally just tuned out, sighed, and rolled my eyes. Koku wasn’t interesting to me, and once Yuna got her memories back, she went from a strong capable girl to a damsel in distress so that was disappointing. Also, again, Laica being Minatsuki…what the hell. I didn’t even know the guy’s name before he was revealed to be the real Minatsuki so why should I care? I just didn’t.
And that’s the issue really. If the show took out the supernatural plotline, I feel like nothing would have changed (except for Keith’s involvement) because it didn’t connect. Yes, Gilbert was also involved but take out the Reggies and everything and we would have the mystery behind Erika’s murder, it could have given us the time to delve into Keith and his depression, more on the RIS characters, and more on Gilbert! I found him so fascinating but the story didn’t give us too much time with him. I was highly engaged when it was only the police drama aspect of the show, especially at the end with Keith and Gilbert’s confrontation. Unfortunately, with the mish-mash of the supernatural stuff, it really bogged down my enjoyment of the show a lot. And it looks like it won’t end with the second season with a surprise reveal of one of the boys that protected Koku at Jaula Blanca. So, count me out of the second season. This show had lots of potential but I feel like it was confused and didn’t know what it wanted to be. If it had stuck with the police drama part, I most likely would have enjoyed the show a lot more.
Nikolita’s Final Impression
When I first watched B: The Beginning earlier this year, I was so captivated that I marathoned the entire season in the span of 2-3 days. The supernatural elements of the show were interesting and I really liked the psychology behind Gilbert’s character and his drive to be a serial killer. Had I given the show a score after my first watch, I likely would’ve rated B: The Beginning a 9 or 9.5.
However, watching B: The Beginning as part of a readers request was… much less intriguing. Honestly, I really struggled with the first few episodes I was covering. Only when I hit episode 11 did my interest finally improve because I knew what was coming next (the fight between Koku and Laica, and Keith’s showdown with Gilbert).
I would go on about my lack of interest in the supernatural side of the show, but Berry literally said everything I wanted to say and said it better.
With that being said, I did find myself noticing details that I hadn’t picked up on during my marathon. Laica looked decidedly more psychotic when he was fighting Koku, for example, and I thought that was a nice touch given his prophetic attitude. I also felt that the use of light and shadows in Keith’s confrontation with Gilbert in the final two episodes was pretty clever too. Perhaps it was a quiet implication that both Keith and Gilbert had their light and dark sides? Or maybe I’m just reading too much into the scene. xD
One more thing that caught my attention for the first time during this viewing were Gilbert’s comments to Keith during their final scene together. “I put this into motion to bring it all to an end,” Gilbert told Keith. This concept isn’t revisited until Lily’s car ride with Keith when she asks him about the emotions behind Gilbert’s smile as he died. Lily’s theory is that Gilbert literally couldn’t kill himself because all of the many personalities in his head wouldn’t let him. But if he could create puzzles for his friend Keith that would bring the two of them closer together as Keith got closer to figuring out who was behind all of the recent murders… then maybe Gilbert could end his own life after all. It would just be Keith pulling the trigger not himself. A shitty thing to do to his old friend, but I get it. Anyways I thought that if there was any truth to Lily’s idea, this was a really cool idea.
Alright, review time.
Story: As Berry and I already mentioned, the supernatural elements of this show just didn’t interest us. I too wanted to know more about Keith and Gilbert’s past, Erika’s death and murder investigation, and I just couldn’t give two figs about Reggies and reincarnated gods. It kinda sucked really only being interested in half a title.
Characters: Again, I was really only interested in about half the cast. The dynamics between Keith and Eric, Keith and Lily, and Keith and Gilbert were what interested me the most about B: The Beginning. Hmmm, maybe I just wish we’d had more time to learn more about Keith and his backstory…
Music and Animation: B: The Beginning is one of only a couple of shows I can think of offhand that has an opening theme that’s less than 30 seconds long, let alone be an instrumental track. The closing theme, “The Perfect World” by Marty Friedman ft a couple members of Man With a Mission and Kouji Fujimoto, is freaking awesome.
As for the animation, I’ve been using the tag “in which Nikolita is a total animation whore” all season, so it’s pretty obvious that I’ve been coloured impressed. ;D It’s another top-notch title from Production I.G, what else can I say?
Overall Thoughts: B: The Beginning is a unique show about a murder mystery cop thriller, with some supernatural elements mixed in. I personally feel that the show would’ve been much better if the show had decided to be either a supernatural show OR a murder mystery, but maybe you’ll give it a try and think otherwise.
Final Score: 8/10