The Newest Netflix Anime Original "B: The Beginning"


#1

While Netflix has been pretty bad for live action anime adaptations, they’ve been hitting it out of the park on Original anime. Devilman Crybaby and Violet Evergarden have been getting tons of attention due to their beginning of the season release on Netflix. But just the other day this new series came out called “B: The Beginning”… anyone watching it?

So far after watching the first 4 episodes (out of 12) it’s really doing something special. I haven’t heard of people signal boosting it, probably because it’s so late in the season. It’s a really fun but dark sci-fi crime thriller which there aren’t that much of in anime but it feels unique and really stylish with some cinematic-grade animation. It’s not told from a singular perspective but jumps between several characters all caught up in a spree of serial murders, a detective that wants revenge and a cult(?) of drugged up supervillains. It goes between starkly dramatic crime scene analysis to occasional ridiculous anime battles, AND (this might sound crazy) but it manages to strike this tonal balance pretty well so far. It’s a crazy story but is treated seriously enough without feeling pretentious. At least I hope and while I still feel like I have no idea what is happening yet it’s completely possible it will fall apart in the end. It doesn’t shy away from some fairly horrible stuff and deserves it’s 17+ rating so just a word of warning, however, it has moments of levity to make it all a bit more tolerable.

I’m curious about other’s thoughts but I’ll probably wait till I’m done binging it to come back to this topic.


#2

Good on Netflix for picking up cool series, wheather the interesting (Devilman crybaby) or just over the top (Kakegurui).


#3

I hated Devilman Crybaby with the fury of a thousand simultaneous gamma ray bursts. I somehow missed that Violet Evergarden was on Netflix, so I definitely need to check that out.

But, man. I’m only a couple eps in on B: the Beginning so far, and it has grabbed me harder than anything in awhile. (I love how they went with “What if… a Miyazaki protagonist, but she’s a CSI in a hyper-violent slasher flick”.) Trying to remember the last anime I found so compelling right from the jump. Hyouka, maybe? There’s two shows that really could not be more different.

I seriously can’t rave about it enough. It’s like Psycho-Pass meets, I don’t know… Ergo Proxy? Elfen Lied? Tokyo ESP, in an alternate universe where Tokyo ESP is also one of the greatest anime of all time? I’m probably setting myself up to be massively disappointed by the end.


#4

Just finished B: The Beginning and holy moly that show grabs you by the throat in a way that I have rarely experienced. I don’t have a ton of experience with Anime shows and any manga outside of the usual shonen stuff, so I can’t speak too much to how it bucks trends and fits within the genre but… I don’t know, the whole show just seemed so cohesive and succinct in a way that I don’t usually get from Anime. It also seemed surprisingly, like, restrained in a way? Like, it’s still anime as fuck but the characters and their emotional outbursts are for the most part pretty scaled back compared to something like, i don’t know, kakegurui.

Really really great show, looking forward to next season for sure.


#5

Ehhh…

After a few episodes I haven’t really been given anything to think about other than “Why are these people doing things?” Whilst it has toned back slightly on some of the tedious aspects of many anime (ogling young women, exposition during fight breaks, twiddly guitar solos, spiky hair, etc) they’re still a bit much and with little apparent self-awareness.

I wish anime could just be less hammy, but hey ho.


#6

Don’t you dare speak ill of my twiddly guitar solos!


#7

I wouldn’t dream of it.


#8

I’ve been thinking about “trying” anime again recently, so this seems like it could be a possibility for me.


#9

Help me out here

Please name any good live action anime adaptations


#10

The Dragon Ball movie, obviously

also, I believe there was a movie adaption of Phoenix Wright that’s over 4 hours long but I can’t speak to the quality (it’s probably awful).


#11

the exceptions test the rule, obviously!

(also for what it’s worth i thought Death Note was a ton of fun)


#12

Yeah, Death Note was pretty solid as… a 100 minute remake of a 37 episode anime. (Kinda assuming that was what it was adapted from, but it’s kinda hard to say for sure, given what all was bent/edited/cut/etc.) It was never going to make old fans happy. There would always have been massive shortcomings, failings, etc. You can complain about casting, and adaptations to bring it to more Western audiences, but, looking at how poorly even the 2006 live action movie did… I get it? Which might not excuse everything for everyone? It was… fine. But what it accomplished was, it was an alright movie for non-fans.

It might not be the best movie. It might not even be good, but it had an intended audience. People who have heard of Death Note, but can’t be bothered with anime, or invest that much time, or don’t want to read a manga, or spend money on one. Also, Dafoe is just… chef kiss casting for an English Ryuk voice.

Other movies have had more issues. Thinking most recently of the Fullmetal Alchemist movie. It wasn’t for anybody. There was no audience for which it was good? It was a best-hits track of most memorable moments, but worse versions of them in every way. Some horribly edited together, adjusted, changed for the worse. Those were then strung together in a nonsensical order, re-told to try to create a makeshift plot, all shown in worse, less interesting ways. New people just saw nonsense. Fans saw a horror show re-write.

It was… neat to see pretty good cosplay of the characters. That’s about all that it offered though.

I think the biggest mistake people make is… inexplicably coming into a live action remake of a show they loved, and expecting it to be as good, or even a fraction as good as the thing they already liked. Like - the thing you might roll your eyes at is “the book was better” but the thing that you don’t hear is “Oh, this was way better than the book.”

There’s a lot of reasons for that. If you’re a fan of a long running anime, the movie isn’t for you. At the very best it’s like reading cliff-notes and being upset character development was shallow.

But like… I’m down for seeing sweet effects, cosplay, set design, etc. from time to time.


#13

Sweet cosplay, you say?

I’m slowly starting to think that I should check out that Phoenix Wright movie


#14

Fair enough. Fair. Enough.


#15

Death Note is an inaccurate Death Note adaptation, and a dope Adam Wingard movie. Which of those things matters most depends on the viewer’s expectations when they sit down to watch it. I personally consider it successful in doing what I believe Wingard was trying to do: they took the Death Note construction set, threw away the instructions, and made a fun Wingard (The Guest, V/H/S, You’re Next) horror movie out of its pieces. That’s another thread, though.


#16

Okay so now that I’ve finished,

spoilers

the show is kind of a hot mess. An enjoyable hot mess but a lot of wasted potential. Where I stopped was kind of the peak. That hacker lady had a frickin’ foot pedal for her hacking rig! A FOOT PEDAL! Convoluted plots and storylines and rushed backstories abound. None of it came together particularly coherently or in a manner that was thematically or narratively interesting. A lot of “talking no jutsu” and trying to out-philosophy one another between the heroes and villains. This is why I normally wait until the end before I run my mouth because the amount of anime that start great and finish poorly are quite plentiful. I really like the art and visual style. Production IG is still one of the best looking produced TV (or in this case ONA) anime studios. Catchy ED too.

Don’t think the experience was that much of a waste of time but even if you’re still interested maybe watch up to episode four, stop, and come up with the rest of the story in your head. It will probably be better. Maybe hit up sakuga booru after and check out the really nice looking action scenes.


#17

Started watching this show and like damn, y’all. Like it’s got me but I’m not really enjoying it. Like I’m into the mystery aspects, but it does some pretty tasteless things that have me watching it like, “boy howdy this sure is an anime”. Do you ever wonder how many anime protagonists have s.o.'s who like… get to be alive and don’t get their faces brutally mutilated to prop up some dude’s tragic backstory? EDIT: Okay, so it’s his little sister and my point still stands.

I don’t like Genie’s deal so far that much tbh.


#18

Alright so, I finally finished this and I’ll admit that it’s at the very least a really entertaining watch. I recommended it to my husband because he likes Sad Crow Boys, but the straight fact of the matter is that I find Kuko and his entire deal with Yuna incredibly boring. I also wasn’t hooked by Keith’s tragic backstory, which I justifiably called as soon as I finished episode two.

I think everyone here is right in that the show’s strengths are definitely in its action sequences, and I do really enjoy the aesthetics of the world it’s in, at the very least. The mix of futuristic personal technology with older and more quaint cars and architecture is really good! If they’d leaned harder into Market Maker and how they influenced the world around them, then I would probably be willing to give this show a bit more credit.

It doesn’t lean into that however, and a lot of its time as a result ends up dealing with a string of murders and attacks and the mysteries behind them. The aggravating part is that, because B shows its hand fairly early on, it’s never really a mystery to the viewer what’s going on. Hell, if you’ve got a good understanding of typical anime tropes even the mystery of who killed Erika is pretty straight-forward as soon as you get enough details. It feels like what you’re really there for is to watch the characters find out all the solutions to these puzzles, and that’s an entertaining enough way of doing something that I watched all twelve episodes.

The show drops a fair amount of plot threads though, specifically establishing Kuko as a person in Lily’s life. Since he works at the violin repair shop that her family owns, one would think that a good point of tension in the series would be the fact that Lily is a fairly intuitive cop and Kuko is pretty shit at maintaining a level headed persona. There’s a pretty good scene where Kuko cuts his hand in order to have an excuse to leave the shop and go do some murder, and that’s sort of the only hint that he has to maintain a balance between being Killer B (another thing that’s quickly dropped) and maintaining his persona as Kuko. The fact that he knows Lily almost never comes up, which is a shame because it’s completely hilarious when it does! But because Lily and Yuna get shunted into the damsel in distress role at the same time, the stories diverge and sort of become unraveled from each other, and the anime is all the poorer for it.

While I enjoyed it despite it’s narrative flaws, I gotta say that the show’s treatment of women is phenomenally shitty. It opens on a girl being stripped and tied up before she’s hunted through the woods, with the later reveal coming that she was sexually assaulted the perpetrators. Erika is murdered before the show even starts to give Keith a tragedy to latch onto, and flashes of how she was killed are shown throughout the anime in bursts. The same thing almost happens to Lily, who the anime is terrible at showing to be just as intelligent as Keith Flick, even though it has several character who admit she is. Yuna gets stabbed, beaten, strangled, then stabbed again and practically gutted.

The reveal that Erika was actually in love with Keith Flick, despite being his sister, which is what leads to her murder, is also a pretty fucking shit plot twist, if you can even call it that. The anime frames her death as the death of a loved one without specifying which, and Keith never goes out of his way to say that didn’t reciprocate her feelings, which becomes incredibly creepy when the anime goes out of it’s way in the final scene to shoehorn in the fact that she and Keith are not blood related, therefore making it “okay” if he did feel the same way.

It’s not a good look.

In terms of message, I kind of liked some aspects of it? It didn’t really seem to have a coherent foot it was putting forward. Genius is a curse? Revenge is bad? Expecting your government not to absolutely take the opportunity to establish a secret organization made of people who are murder time bombs in order to artificially sow just enough chaos to keep society turning the way it always has, then rob those murder time bombs of the possibility of stabilizing in order to keep a grip of fear on the world that they might be activated at any time is asking way too much of a government?

The strongest thing it makes a case for is the concept of fighting against the pre-ordained, whether it be something that’s supposedly destiny, or something plotted by another human being. I think it manages to carry that concept pretty well, but it feels like it happens too late to make a significant impact.

Anyway, I can’t say I would recommend it to anyone right off, but it was an entertaining watch and it let me write yet another essay on these forums, so B is okay.


#19

Why did Keith Flick cut that amazing messy hair? I’m already thinking about not hanging in for the whole watch.


#20

I’d make a comment about it being a way to show how he’s coming out of his depressive episode, but he’s pretty obviously still depressed and he still doesn’t shave properly so who knows, honestly.