Anime Review | B: The Beginning

Netflix Original Anime Series B: The Beginning tells the story of “B The Killer”, who the RIS has been relentlessly trying to capture. The anime is directed by Kazuto Nakazawa and Yoshiki Yamakawa and the 12 episode series aired in its entirety on March 2, 2018. 

Netflix is going in hard on original Anime. I mean really hard. If Anime was Netflix’s pizza, it would be a stuffed crust meat feast pizza. That’s how much they are trying to ferociously tackle such a well-loved market, but the problem is, not every outlet is good at pizza. You have to wonder, are some forms of media best left to the experts? Then again, you can’t fault Netflix for the attempt. Kazuto Nakazawa and Yoshiki Yamakawa have attempted to hit the binge-watching market with this violent piece of work. Whereas Violet Evergarden is still a weekly aired format that bored me to a frustrating death, at least this anime series did not give me the opportunity to bow out. B: The Beginning aired all at once in 12 bite-sized episodes ready to be consumed.

The starting point of the plot is originally about a serial killer called “B”, who the police department is relentlessly trying to capture. The flipside is that B is some kind of young teen vigilante killing evil criminals with some form of fantasy-based superpower. He can fly too, which is convenient. I tried to curveball this concept by imagining him being Batman who actually puts his weaponry to good use – he rids those who deserve it. My thought process was a bit of a stretch. The process-driven police department holds a happy free-living police offer called Lily Hoshina, who appears unmoved by the powers above and seeks justice. She is reluctantly partnered with a grumpy, miserable investigator named Keith Flick. They both believe that the criminals and the murders are related in some, less obvious way.

The story tries tackling many different and altering themes to build a story, which in some episodes work but in others fails drastically. B: The Beginning feels suffocated by a mountainous story squashed into a small season. Whilst you are introduced to a comical police department, aimlessly trying to solve cases, you are also drawn to a fantasy world where B originated from. This fantasy world delves into God-like beings, ravenous scientists and modified, engineered humans. There are those who have noble interests in making a better world and those who do not. Entwined in the many exciting plot points is Keith’s determination to solve his sister’s murder and B’s romantic entanglement with a childhood love.

All these stories are great, but by midway through the season you kind of wish they chose a story and stuck with it. Despite the Anime series attempt to excite, its drive to explain too much becomes boring. Similarly to the fantasy-filled Warcraft. At times, some characters, that are deemed important like Lily, disappear almost completely from episodes. Frustratingly, the last four episodes decide to devote themselves to a single matter at a time. They of course interlink, but there is a real storytelling problem with B: The Beginning which I blame partly on the writing but also with the pressure of making the episodes so short. With Violet Evergarden, the suffering came from repeating the same themes and developing the lead character in the exact same way repeatedly. B: The Beginning suffers from trying to attract the viewer with too much.

The Netflix Original Anime series does have some positives. The characters are interesting, especially Keith who clearly has a past that is worth digging up one grain at a time. Lily is the naive hero to the whole set up, slowly coming to terms with the wider picture. B, essentially the focal point of the story, leaves much to be desired as to where his destination will finally lead.

B: The Beginning will draw the viewers in with its outlandish storyline and violent ways and delightful characters, but you will at least once find yourself frustrated with boredom born from too much noise and lack of direction.

For now, Netflix is at the Margherita stage. It’s a start, isn’t it?

Daniel Hart

Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.

24 thoughts on “Anime Review | B: The Beginning

  • March 3, 2018 at 7:14 pm
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    Only three stars? You got to be kidding….Longer episodes? You got to be kidding even more…Seriously, you do not understand anime….

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    • March 3, 2018 at 10:39 pm
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      No, he just understands story and story structure. Understanding Anime has little to do with the finality of whether a piece of fiction works or does not.

      This show does not work.

      Even though the reviewer hits the nail on the head when he says there is too much going on and they couldn’t decide on a “theme”, I will suggest that he technically means genre.

      The show presents itself with far too many external genre tags. One minute it’s a police procedural, the next it’s a vigilante killer, the next science fiction nonsense, the next some conspiracy mumbo jumbo. It just can’t decide what it wants to be. Each character is seemingly detached from every other in terms of what they are physically involved in with the story, and little effort is made to make sense of why any of their actions tie together. It’s just a Mish mash of ideas with nothing for the audience to hold onto other than fights scenes and anime tropes.

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      • March 5, 2018 at 11:04 pm
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        What does it matter about “structure” if people enjoy watching it???

    • March 4, 2018 at 12:36 am
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      I bloody damn loved this show.

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  • March 4, 2018 at 1:07 am
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    I think there were alot of gaps and holes I can understand (honestly none of it bothered me, just the dialect in some of the characters and how they spoke), but in terms of concept and execution it was wonderful this was pretty unique, I understand that there even those that talk about it pretty much it being a tokyo ghoul (super weak) deathnote put together in a edgy version of Psycho Pass

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  • March 4, 2018 at 6:18 am
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    “You have to wonder, are some forms of media best left to the experts?”

    What are you talking about? These “Netflix” shows are still being produced by the same studios making anime you’d watch anywhere else. Netflix is just a different avenue to distribute said media.

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  • March 4, 2018 at 4:19 pm
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    This was one of the best animes for ages, shocked to see people being weird about it being a Netflix original. They just help fund it its not really made by them. I think it deserves more than 5 stars and I would easily watch it all again and hope for another season definitely.

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    • March 6, 2018 at 1:44 am
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      I dont know if you know but there is a dubbed version out which is amazing. I Personally enjoyed this anime very much. If the series were longer I know I’d be on par with Full Metal Alchemist or even Death Note because the content and depth of the story was rich and the characters had been developed perfectly. It definitely deserves more stars. I feel like any holes in the beginning were filled and explained as the story progressed and I understood the motive of most of the characters except Eric. All in all it’s a great anime, the art is gorgeous and its uniquely constructed so that it’s core elements like the supernatural, crime, mystery element are distinguishable from other the other anime’s.

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  • March 4, 2018 at 11:17 pm
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    You really can’t review anime like you do movies. Anime has seen jam packed plots with little explanation up till ep 7 and then the story climaxes with the downfall of villains and/or the heroes vengeance. Suggesting longer episodes or longer story to give more time to explain things really just falls upon the watcher to understand what is going on. Not deciding on a theme is just you nitpicking that you personally couldn’t follow what was being focused on at the point in the story. This anime clearly deserves a 7-7.5/10. But then again, you probably would give a 10/10 to “Your Lie in April.”

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  • March 5, 2018 at 1:44 pm
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    Violet Evergarden bored you just because it is weekly!? Have you seen the latest episodes?? HAHAHA You are a joke as a reviewer.

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    • March 5, 2018 at 2:00 pm
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      If you interpreted that I found Violet Evergarden boring because of its weekly format then I find it fascinating that you cannot read. I guess that makes you a joke of a human being.

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      • March 13, 2018 at 6:50 am
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        “Whereas Violet Evergarden is still a weekly aired format that bored me to a frustrating death”, said Daniel Hart.

        In that exact sentence, you literally implied that the weekly aired format bored you to death.

      • March 13, 2018 at 7:13 am
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        You literally missed out the second half of the sentence and the sentence beforehand where I imply that Violet Evergarden gave me the opportunity to bow because it is a weekly format whereas B: The Beginning was released all at once giving the opportunity to binge.

        I never ever said Violet Evergarden is boring because it is weekly. If I thought that I would have explicitly wrote it in that way. You are purposefully choosing one part of the sentence.

  • March 5, 2018 at 4:22 pm
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    I couldn’t disagree with this reviewer more. This was an entertaining anime, at least a 7.5. And the evolution of plot – from a police procedural to a supernatural conspiracy – is how a lot of anime works. Watch more of it before you review it.

    My only complaint is I wanted a little more from the ending. It’s satisfying on the level that the viewer doesn’t feel ripped off, but it could have been more robust. However, another season would be welcomed.

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  • March 6, 2018 at 10:26 am
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    Leave to experts?Kazuto Nakazawa is just one of the incredible animators/directors to have worked on kill bill,animatrix,Samurai Champloo,do I need to go on ? He is one of the best in the industry! The animation has such a crisp line,atmosphere,strong character design and interesting characters! Also drop dead gorgeous backgrounds! I’ve been watching anime since I was 3 (before it was called anime),and this is already going on my top watch list with samurai Champloo and psycho pass!

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    • March 6, 2018 at 10:32 am
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      I see your point, I do. My point is, Netflix have bought and signed many Anime deals for 2018 and it is a market they are unfamiliar with. Regardless of what experts they get to do it, they still have the responsibility to distribute the right content for this market so they may get it wrong at times as its a market they are new at. When they are labelling something as an Original, they are claiming responsibility for the content. Personally, I didn’t like B: The Beginning but that’s my opinion. I’ve loved others. I am glad you like it though.

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  • March 6, 2018 at 10:02 pm
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    are you high? in all honesty to me this anime simply struck me as a classic, yes it does hit lots of cliches but it takes them to a new place. i would say in the last year of new release anime theres been maybe 2 that completely captivated me, and even then this outranks the others by far. the only reason im reading this review because i wanted to see how well received this anime was and to my complete shock i see this and just cant even get close to your point of view, and im sorry but longer episodes just doesnt make even a tiny bit of sense, one of the best things about anime seriesis the cliffs that hang you by the neck, 40 minute animes tend to lack punch and dont really suit this genre. i do agree a 24 episode season would be better and it feels slightly rushed by after watching devilman crybaby it felt like walking a marathon on crutches. basically ive never quite seen an anime like this id say top 5 or top 10 of all the anime ive seen and thats wayyyy too much

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  • March 7, 2018 at 2:27 am
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    This anime was boring and forgettable.

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  • March 7, 2018 at 2:51 am
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    I watched the whole season today and im eager asf to know if there will be a season 2 soon?

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  • March 8, 2018 at 4:58 pm
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    The show was good no doubt but somehow it makes me wanna watch psycho- pass again. I mean atleast it was original.

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    • March 8, 2018 at 11:02 pm
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      It’s got a huge Psycho-Pass prequel feel.

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  • March 8, 2018 at 11:00 pm
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    As someone who just found this series today I can say it’s an interesting concept and would seriously be amazing if they didn’t cram it into 12 episodes. I’m only on episode 3 and can already tell that everything is rushed. The whole sci-fi fight scene which we got way too little back story about, the lack of back story in the crazy smart detective, the villains who we know absolutely nothing about, etc.. I could find a few more points and I’m sure everything gets explained in the next few episodes. BUT (and I mean a huge but), they seriously could have roped in more viewers and binge watchers if they had just stretched those first 3 episodes into 12 and going more into depth with the characters and such. I mean the soundtrack and scene at the end of episode 3 was something out of a season finale and my first thought was, “That would be a great season finale if they had stretched it out.”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty great so far and I love the murder mystery sci-fi anime (It’s like a prequel to Psycho-Pass but with less technology and it’s awesome) thing they’ve got going on. However, it’s not in depth enough for as far as I am, on the 3rd episode of what could have been a multi season anime, I should at least be knowing the back story to our killer or our villains or something. Just my opinion.

    Reply
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  • March 13, 2018 at 12:53 am
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    I love you, man.

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  • April 3, 2018 at 6:20 pm
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    I completely agree and I don’t understand how anyone can relate this anime to death note. The suspense, plot organization and character development/ bond isn’t there. Of course I can see how more episodes would have given them a chance to polish up the anime but it just isn’t. I started watching it because it looked amazing but I had way too many questions unanswered. I get that Keith is a genius and lily has a similar thought process, but here is almost no insight into how their thought process works. Like light Yagami’s thought process is what made me think “he’s a genius” and made me love that anime. So I don’t see the comparison to DN. Also, how does Minatsuki know that Koku took Izanami’s leg yet the real mastermind within the group, Laica,had absolutely know idea?! He didn’t do anything but watch till the last episode. How is this a deciding factor in their battle? I feel like this anime was rushed in terms of the story line animation is good but there wasn’t enough story and good dialogue to even like or empathize with the protagonist.

    Reply

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