Black Rock Shooter TV Review: Otaku Reviews
Well, well, today I will be reviewing an annime that I watched a wile ago ( a couple months prior) and I decided to try reviewing it for the sake of accuracy based on the general population's thoughts. It turns out, our opinions (me and the general population's, that is) beg to differ.
While people hated it, I loved it. And I will tell you exactly why that is.
It isn't the world you know. There wanders a girl with jet-black hair, ebony clothes, and a strikingly blue, glowing eye. Her name is Black★Rock Shooter. With a huge cannon in hand, she throws herself into a fierce battle... Meanwhile, in another world, middle-school student Mato Kuroi is drawn to Yomi Takanashi, her classmate with an unusual family name. Mato does her best to talk to Yomi, who just won't open up. Yu Koutari mocks her best friend Mato's efforts but at the same time, supports her. Mato also finds herself surrounded by other colorful characters at school, like the eccentric school counsellor, Saya Irino, and the hot-blooded captain of her club club, Arata Kohata. Then, one day, the window of opportunity opens. After Mato sees that Yomi has her favorite picture book, "Li'l Birds At Play", they strike up a conversation and Mato is invited to come over to Yomi's house. There, they gradually break the ice, until a girl in a wheelchair appears. This is Yomi's best friend, Kagari Izuriha... Two worlds. Mato and Black★Rock Shooter. This is the story of their "pain".
Otaku's Take: Let me tell you the story on how I met BRS. Pretty simple actually. I was researching "anime female armor" and than I saw this pic:
|Don't even mention that missing leg...|
I became incredibly interested and followed the link. Black Rock Shooter Wallpapers, and such. So I searched Black Rock shooter and the wallpaper... blew me away. I have never seen something so cool, and me who had just been introduced to anime, I was on a frenzy. I scaled Wikipedia with a what is black rock shooter about? search tag on Google and spent quite a bit of time online. Then, I got off the computer, went over to my smart TV, and searched it on Youtube, expecting absolutely nothing.
Lo' and behold, there it was. All eight episodes AND the OVA.
It was, at that time, 9 PM. At eleven I was on ep 3. Then my parents came home, and I couldn't sleep. I just COULDN'T. What I had just watched haunted my mind for a while before sleep overtook me. At 10 AM the very next day, I rolled off my bed... and back in front of Youtube. I finished it right then and there. I rewatched it again the next week, because ,doubtlessly, it was a confusing anime. I spent a long time pondering over it, trying to understand its themes, the effects of the characters on me, the battle scenes... This anime is not as bad as many make it out to be. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience, and this is where my love for anime (and addiction) took off.
Plot: The story line and plot (after watching this anime several more times) became a bit clearer to me: there exist two world: the world of Black Rock and her human counterpart Kuroi Mato. The characters that appear in the show all have their own counterparts in Black Rock Shooter's world, the Otherworld. Whatever the characters feel, the ones in the Otherworld resolves the conflict interestingly: by fighting each other constantly until defeat. This anime is very simple in its theme: it is about growing up and taking responsibility of one's self. The characters are so afraid of hurting, that when one Otherworld persona dies, the human counterpart completely forgets about what they were hurting about anyway. This is about the journey of these girls through hardship and finally facing the world and putting away their fear of growing up.
This should have confused you more than ever.... If you understood, great! If not, go watch the freaking anime!
Animation: The animation was great. The hand drawn segments, that is. The normal world where Mato Kuroi and the human characters reside. The lines were actually not that thick, and sometimes I felt as if I was staring at the characters from a distance. The animation was very crisp and clear and the colors were beautiful and integrated the atmosphere perfectly. Everything was so well blended and this was a full feast upon my eyes. However, my favorite has to be the Otherworld's animation. With the limited knowledge that I had on CG, I could tell that this was the closest you can come to flawless when you speak of CG. Oh man, I can't begin to tell you how gorgeous these battle scenes were! They are flawless and the lighting was my favourite. This animation was used to represent the "otherness" of that place, and christ, did it do it justice! The designs of these world using the CG created the perfect feeling when you are brought there: the creepiness of Chariot's where, the darkness of Dead Master's, the badassness of Black Rock's, and the reverence you feel towards Gold Saw's dreary world. The animation was so effective, that I say, if you don't like the anime, at least praise the animation!
One word: WHOA.
The character designs, and weapons of Black Rock Shooter are, hands down, unequalled. You have to be insane to think that these are not amazing. I dreamed about being able to dress like that while carrying the world's most amazing weapons (Gold Saw's King Saw for example). I can't even saw much. EVERYTHING about these outfits are cool. ALL OF THEM. Chariot's wheel. Dead Master's Dead Scythe. Black Rock Shooter's Rock Cannon ad Black Blade. All of THEM. Enough said.
Now, about these characters... We'll start bluntly. They are flat. Wow, whew that was really hard. I am talking about the human counterparts: Mato, Yomi, etc...After a spectacularly long time of absolute staring from Mato to Yomi and blushing all the while, I was wondering what anime am I watching and is this yuri? She reads a book with relevant symbolism to the story, she goes to see Yomi, wants to take Yomi places, but can't, as Yomi's yuri friend (who loves her though Yomi does not reciprocate) does not want to let her go, and then they get mad and then Yomi starts breaking down mentally, and then...
I can't even. The plot is actually pretty simple and there are some very interesting turns of events and twists. But these characters almost ruined the show for me. They are uninteresting! They are textbook and, quote, "flat" and I swear their Otherworld counterparts have more personality. That's saying something, as the Otherworld members have (my ass) no emotion, and do not talk,. They only ...fight Which is just fine as these scenes are the selling point of this show for me. Mato is your typical protagonist, your saviour who just WANTS to help people, the crazy bitch (Kagari) and hard-to-get friend (Yomi), the psychopath school psychologist, who is actually my favorite HUMAN character in the show. The reason for Saya's slight craziness is well justified despite being the "antagonist" of the show.
Black Rock Shooter who had stated out so well is later shown to be a merciless killer. Her violent personality stems from Mato's even more forceful desire to relieve other people's pains, driving Black Rock Shooter to brutally murder everyone. She is an anti-hero, who only care about relieve Mato's pain and hers alone. So much for having no emotion. This anime is deep and psychological . There are so many ways to interpret the story, and a whole franchise inspired by a song from Supercell (Black Rock Shooter the OP) and a drawing by Huke and quite novel. And at its core, I say that, despite being wrongly delivered, the point was gotten across. Here is a forum that actually explains this much better than I could ever. The whole point of BRS:
http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=440659 Here are the battle scenes for your convenience:
Soundtracks: Amazing. The fights scenes incorporates this story in a nutshell, and no song feels out of place. They are truly a gem and my favorite from the whole franchise is "Battle of BRS" I even have it on my phone! They really pump you up when you are watching an epic battle scene, and you get hopeful with that hopeful song, and tears spring into your eyes when the next songs states that it is time to cry. The soundtracks, the character designs are the best aspects of the whole show. It is really not disappointing. Shout out to the fans of Hatsune Miku. I don't know if I mentioned this already, but this franchise was inspired by a song "Black Rock Shooter" from Supercell...
Yea, I had mentioned it earlier. *scoff*
Overall Score: 6/10. The lack of solid plot, and well-executed delivery coupled by one-dimensional characters stole the potential candy off the enjoyment. However, there are many aspects of this show that I will never forget, and whether or not you hated this show, it is one to remember!