12th Mar2018

‘B: The Beginning’ Review (Netflix Original)

by Xenia Grounds

Written by Katsuya Ishida | Directed by Kazuto Nakazawa & Yoshiki Yamakawa


Recently, Netflix has seen a push to expand their anime collection, especially when it comes to their original content; and rumor has it that Netflix is set to add 30 new animes in 2018 alon! The latest one to hit the streaming giant is B: The Beginning

B: The Beginning takes place in the kingdom where there have been a string of murders happening in this city and it’s up to the RIS (Royal Investigation Service) to find the murderer who goes by the initial B. As always, there is more to the story and each episode that passes adds to the mystery.

The aspect that will divide audiences the most is the way that B: The Beginning tells its story. For much of its run, it feels like there are two separate plots. One being the police procedural side with characters like Keith and Lily who are investigating the murders while the other is the supernatural story which concerns Koku.

B: The Beginning suffers from similar problems as animes like Angel Beats, which is that it tries to tell so much in a very short timespace. There’s only 12 episodes in this anime and there’s a large cast which leaves many characters underdeveloped. This is seen with its antagonists mostly in B: The Beginning, as even though they have an intriguing backstory you don’t really get to know any of these villains that well, so they end up more one-dimensional than they should be.

That said, the protagonists are a different story. Many are instantly memorable from the standoffish Keith Flint who is like a combination of L from Death Note and Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII. Lily serves to be the Watson to Keith’s Sherlock. She acts as the moral compass of the show by caring about everyone she knows and keeping them safe. However, she is also the most light-hearted of the three as she has many of the comedic moments in the series but she has her moments of strength. Lastly, there’s Koku who is hard to talk about as for the most of the series, he is shrouded in mystery. On the surface, Koku is a meek-looking boy but as more of his story is revealed, this mostly fades away because even though he has good intentions, it is shown he may not be as innocent as he presents himself and he becomes increasingly interesting as the story goes on.

The general look of B: The Beginning is like a mixture of two animes: Psycho Pass and Sword Art Online. There is a combination of modern and future technology but it also takes place in a setting that looks like a JRPG. The animation quality is impressive and that’s probably because it’s made by the same company that did Psycho Pass. They made this world look appealing, it has great choreography during action scenes and has perfectly timed lighting and camera angles.

The soundtrack to B: The Beginning is serviceable but not much stands out. The opening is pretty simple, it’s just a woman vocalizing over imagery which isn’t anything special. The track for the credits, ‘The Perfect Song’, is probably the best part of the OST. It’s brooding, dark and has a neo-noir tone to it which perfectly fits the anime. The VA cast for the dub, I think, are perfectly fine. There aren’t any performances that will stand out as amazing but in the case of this anime, being good is all that is needed.

B: The Beginning is an enjoyable watch even though it has some problematic elements in regards to character development and storytelling. However, there are definitely more stories that could be told by the end of its run so a second season would be welcomed.

B: The Beginning is available on Netflix now.

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