Anime Review | Netflix’s B: The Beginning

This review contains spoilers. If you haven’t finished the series yet, please do so. The full 12-episode series is currently streaming on Netflix, so please support the official release, thank you.

Another year of anime premiering on Netflix has come upon us. Aside from Crunchyroll and Amazon, Netflix is also stepping up their game with releases, and they’re pretty high quality.

I had my own hesitations before I sat down to binge through the entire series in one go. One of them was being that it had a mid-7 rating out of 10 on MyAnimeList, so there were plenty of reviews that varied within the scale. The other was the entire Netflix anime craze. I just got done with Devilman Crybaby, and boy was it good. I was of course looking around Netflix for other anime to binge, and I saw B: The Beginning. From there I had two options. Do I continue with my Netflix anime binge, or do I just not succumb and stop there? Fuck it, season 2 of Jessica Jones just came out, so do I wanna binge that too? (FYI: I never finished Jessica Jones season 1).

I ended up choosing to commit to my Netflix binge and watch B: The Beginning. The show seems to be set in a fictional American city, since everyone’s names are typical common American names, with last names derived from Japanese culture. They never explicitly state it’s in America, but it’s somewhere in the real world due to them mentioning other real-world countries and appearances of Japanese cultural items. Honestly because of this, I choose to watch the show in its English Dub instead of the Sub, due to the heavy usage of American names like Keith, Brandon, Boris, Mario, and so on. And I have to say, B: The Beginning presents one of the best English Dubs I’ve ever heard in anime. You got Ray Chase (Noctis from FFXV, Eve from Nier: Automata), Johnny Yong Bosch (Ichigo from Bleach, Adam from Power Rangers), Patrick Seitz (Dio from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures, Agil from Sword Art Online), Xander Mobus (Protagonist from Persona 5, Super Smash Bros. Announcer), Todd Haberkorn (Natsu from Fairy Tail), and a whole bunch more of awesome people gathered under one roof to record a psychological thriller that’ll keep your eyes glued to the screen.

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The show has two sides to it, both sides which eventually merge into one. One of them is the typical normal life where a group of police officers work together to solve crimes, or more importantly to stop a serial killer. The other side involves the supernatural, where certain humans have demonic abilities and are fighting each other for it. I really like that idea where we’re not constantly being feed one genre and being exposed to other genres that make the show work. This show is basically Psycho Pass meets Tokyo Ghoul, where the Ghouls eventually are revealed to be the source of the Psycho Pass’s actions. In B: The Beginning’s terms, these supernatural beings known as Reggies were synthetically created by scientists who wanted to bring back the power of the gods. Dr. Health Flick was the frontrunner for keeping these synthesized children safe from the outside world in an institution known as Jaula Blanca. Koku befriends a female classmate named Yuna and the two create a promise symbol that if one of them ever needs help, drawing the symbol would call the other to their need. The symbol itself is the forerunner for the entire series itself, being the title of the show and what creates the name “Killer B” in the first place. It’s actually a combination of their orphan numbers, Koku being 13, and Yuna being 4, a symbol originally devised by Koku after they promise to protect each other. With Koku knowing that Yuna is alive somewhere and going around town plastering a symbol that looks like “B” instead of “13”, he’s bound to get called by something that he’s not.

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While not the “main protagonist” himself, Koku most certainly portrays himself to be nearly identical to one, so much he continues to check off every single thing that makes a character a typical protagonist. Horrific past? Check? Lives only to save the girl he loves? Check? Breaks the rules to do so? Check? Young male with a voice actor who has voiced several male protagonists? Check, and this is especially true for his Japanese voice actor, Yuki Kaji (Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan, Meliodas from Nanatsu no Taizai). Has powers that eventually lead to his untimely demise against the “final” villain that he finds a way to eventually beat? Check.

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One of the things that I really love about this series is the chemistry between the characters and how their relationship developed over time, specifically between both Keith and Lily. Without their friendly relationship, this show might not have even existed and we might have never gotten to see how much of a horrifying person Gilbert Ross is. Early on during the series, we were given hints that Keith lost an important woman in his life. We heard her, Erika, say “I love you Keith.” before her untimely demise, so she most likely could have been his wife, given how much he broke down during her funeral scene. It’s later revealed that the woman Keith lost was his little sister, and Boris began to remind him about much Lily reminded him of Erika.

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It’s funny how the only connection between the supernatural part and the police thriller part is one single man, and that person is Gilbert Ross. Even in his early appearances as an apparent side character, he himself has a scary looking face, and I’m getting a Mads Mikkelsen vibe from this guy. We don’t really know much about his past except that he murdered his own father in cold-blood, orchestrated the attack on the Jaula Blanca Institute, and killed Erika. Keith became friends with this guy during college and kinda knew that his best friend killed his sister, yet shrugged it off because he had no proof. Gilbert is extremely elusive in his actions, working with the Reggies lose the R.I.S.’s tail and eventually begin cutting Lily up (which she survives, so its good). And his headquarters were literally down below the R.I.S., so he’s been killing people right under the police’s noses without ever raising their suspicions. Damn, that’s a villain right there. And one of the things that I’m really glad about is that Keith was the one to end him. Yeah shoot that bastard. He fucking deserves it.

VERDICT 9/10
The show was an extremely fun ride for 12 episodes worth of content. Psycho Pass meets Tokyo Ghoul, who in the world would have ever thought of that? One thing that irritated me is the under-usage of some of the characters in the show, but focus of the show wasn’t on them, it was on our main characters. At least, I’ll have fun telling people how cute Yuna is. (whistle)

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