About This “Black Rock Shooter” Thing…

Well, the BRS OVA is out and I just watched it. I’ve been having doubts about Black Rock Shooter for quite awhile now. Sure the designs are nice, but as I said before, I cannot justify buying a figure just based on designs and I was waiting for the OVA to confirm whether or not I’ll be getting the Black Rock Shooter and Dead Master figures. So, the results are in…

It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t terrible, nor did it blow me away by any stretch of the imagination. It wasn’t bad.


So, I guess I should talk a little about this OVA.

In a nutshell:

From the get go, we are introduced to two wolds. The ‘Real’ world and the ‘BRS’ world. In the Real world, we have the story of Kagura Mato who is just beginning her first day of High School. She meets Yomi and the two become fast friends. In the second year, they get separated into different classes and Yomi gets jealous as Mato is spending more time with Yuu, Mato’s Basketball Captain instead of making sweet Yuri love spending time with her.

Yomi then disappears, leading to numerous rumors that range from kidnapping to her running away from home.

All this time, Black Rock Shooter has been battling Dead Master in an alternate universe, BRS and DM being an “alter ego” of Mato and Yomi respectively.

In the end, Mato wishes to see Yomi again with all her heart and BRS answers her call and reverts DM back into Yomi.

After the credits, we see Mato and Yomi walking home from school together as per normal, but now, Yuu seems to be jealous of the couple. Damn, Mato sure is popular.

Well, I’ll say that they did a respectable job in coming out with a somewhat feasible plot to contrast the speechless and mostly silent fighting of the Black Rock Shooter.

The relationship between Mato and Yomi was pretty well done. The way that their relationship was portrayed and their tenderness and closeness reminded me of a certain Pocky couple, albeit done a bit too hastily to really get invested into their characters. The fact that one of them shares a similar name doesn’t help that much. On that level, I really liked the simple and innocent presentation of school life and the fallout of a good relationship.

On the other hand, on the BRS side, the action scenes were brilliant, though not as exciting as I’d hope for. Maybe it’s due to their lack of dialogue or any reactions that really made the fights feel lifeless.

But seriously, the Anime was so vague that it really leaves a lot to the imagination and leaves so much room to over-analyze it to the point of making it sound like a high concept arthouse work that is very open to interpretation.

For instance, I could say that the Anime is a deep piece that delves into the inner mind/human psyche and explores how fragile human relationships are, the connection between physical and emotional closeness (ala 5 Centimeters Per Second), and how every human has a dark side and how easy it is to fall prey to your own emotions. All this from a very existential perspective.

Not to mention, on deeper analysis, some questions that I’ve been mulling over:

– What is the world of Black Rock Shooter? Is it some kind of parallel dimension? Or is it some sort of personification of the inner feelings/struggles of the characters?

– When Yomi disappears, does she get transported to the parallel world or did she actually go missing on her own accord? Was she literally ‘swallowed up by her jealousy’? If so, how? Did she turn into Dead Master? Was she Dead Master from the beginning?

– Are the characters of BRS and DM really parallel dimension representations of Mato and Yomi? They were already fighting when Mato and Yomi were still best friends… But then, BRS manages to expunge DM from Yomi at the end, meaning to say that DM as some sort of corruption/misguided emotion (jealosy,loneliness) of Yomi that had led her astray?

– Was the final scene before the credits used to blur and transcend the lines between the alternate dimension (human psyche?) and reality? How was Mato able to contact BRS?

– Not that it really matters, but who is Black Gold Saw’s alter ego and why was Mato/BRS fighting her? And why isn’t she gold?

– At the end, was there is some sort of foreshadowing or hint that Yuu will eventually falter just like Yomi did, as hinted through her hesitation/shadowed out face. Does that mean that the Anime is presenting to us the idea that ‘two’s company but three’s a crowd’ and that there cannot be a relationship between three friends without jealousy or strife? But then, you can also argue that the reverse is also true as she steps forward when called.

…or the entire production team could be screwing with our minds and it could just be lazy, bullshit storytelling. By making such a tenuous connection between the worlds, there is so much guesswork and assumption to be made. Since both worlds were practically self-contained, one could easily take the BRS Anime as two completely different shows cut up and lazily pasted together just so that they could turn what is essentially a music video into an something that resembles a barely coherent ‘Anime’.

Genius or Garbage, Brilliant or Bullshit, you be the judge. I enjoyed it for what it is, but honestly don’t think it lived up to a fraction of the hype and popularity of BRS. Personally speaking, I think it would have gone over better if they had done it as a more traditional MagicalGirl Show. Let’s see…

Mato and Yomi are best friends in real life, but unbeknown to each of them, their alter egos of Black Rock Shooter and Dead Master are mortal enemies, fated to duel till the end.

While it sounds cliche, it is very, very simple to do something with this at its base to turn the genera on its head. Easy to follow, better flow and easier and get into.

P.S. Oh yeah, I’ll be getting the Figmas alright, but I would rather want Figmas of Mato and Yomi as they got far better characterization, personality and charm.

12 Responses to About This “Black Rock Shooter” Thing…

  1. BlargBlah says:

    Personally I hated it. The fight scenes were cool, but I expected something like Yu Yu Hakusho and ended up getting K-on(not a good thing)

  2. konakonaotaku says:

    AUGH i wish i was allowd 2 watch brs (onyl 13 >…<)

  3. KaneTheMessias says:

    It was quite good. What I really liked was the design of the B★RS World. It is really unique and was something I looked forward to. The animation and battles both are well done. Especially liked ryo’s battle music^^ Story is also well done for 50 min but don’t expect too much. Bad thing is that there are many questions without an answer but it would be enough stuff for an 2nd OVA but if they make it is the other question. Just hope for an 2nd part^^ What I disliked is that the BRS song just got a little part in the OVA. Really I thought it would come in the credits but I was mistaken. The BRS part could also be a bit longer. Anyway enough of the complaints. As an VOC@LOID and Black★Rock Shooter fan I was good entertained. Those who didn’t watched it already just watch it and decide yourself. PS: I also could imagine BRS as an hack’n’Slay game like Devil May Cry^^ The B★RS World has everything I could imagine in an Hack’n’Slay^^

  4. lockus says:

    I totally agree with you, my reaction to this OVA is quite the same, but after seeing it is not enough for me guarantee purchase a Figma counterpart.

  5. Orcinus says:

    They don’t tell enough to forge a proper connection to BRS’ world.

    This is a series premiere, so doing such things is utterly inexcusable. The OVA has a bad taste in my mouth and a bad opinion of the overhyping. You can tell that so much of the budget got thrown into the hype.

  6. animepvc says:

    I think the OVA is certainly just the beginning of the BRS anime. I dont think this is the last we will see they are probably going to make a tv series witch will hopefully explain a lot of what was happening.

    I can say I was happy with the anime and yes I certainly agree with Actar in saying I really want Mato and Yomi figures. I did blog about this 2 months ago upon viewing the trailer and would love to see scale figures made up of the 2 from GSC like the Candy Boy figure’s have them linking in some way, this would be nice.

  7. phossil says:

    This show is getting a lot of new fans now that figures are available. ^^

  8. konakonaotaku says:

    *thinking* OOH I THINK YUU IS BGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. rjphillips75 says:

    liked the review – hope you dont mind, but ive put a link up to it from my own blog.
    also, would it be okey to link to your blog from my own

  10. […] August 1, 2010 at 6:17 pm (anime) (anime, black rock shooter, OVA) For those of wanting to get a good review of the new black rock shooter OVA can read anime reviewer actars comment on his own blog here; linkage […]

  11. Lord Il says:

    I saw BRS a week ago and agree with a lot you say here.

    Personally, I’m somewhat indifferent to BRS so far. But it’s feeling a lot more like hype instead of substance. This is not to say that things won’t improve because I believe it can improve vastly with time. Really hoping that a second OVA (or series?) will make the story gel together and offer more character development, particularly in the BRS world.

    As far as the character of BRS herself, I think her design look is pure badass genius. I want to like her more, but…. her personality.. Where is it?? O_o

  12. Mikoto says:

    In Huke’s early artwork of BGS, (she looks far better now) The saw had hints of a gold-ish color to it. Now, it doesn’t in the anime nor in figures, (as far as I have seen,) but I think I saw some gold in a couple pieces by HUKE. I don’t know this for sure, but while watching the OVA, a girl that looks REALLY similar to BGS is seen on the train when Mato gets on.

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