Black Rock Shooter Anime ( ブラック★ロックシューター )

March 3rd, 2012

You know what you probably shouldn’t do? Watch 3 episodes of the Black Rock Shooter ( ブラック★ロックシューター ) anime in a row. Phew, that was depressing!

The short description of the Black Rock Shooter anime is that it is an extended version of the Black Rock Shooter OVA, with extended cast, as well.

Middle schooler Mato befriends the slightly aloof and obviously alienated Yomi, only to learn that Yomi is bound by guilt and manipulation to another girl, Kagari. Mato refuses to take no for an answer, and is able to befriend Yomi, despite all attempts to keep them apart.

In the game world that reflects their inner lives, Black Rock Shooter (Mato’s avatar) is able to free Dead Master (Yomi) by defeating Chariot (Kagari.) But their happiness is short-lived. Saya, an adult who is meant to be counseling the students in their school, is not-at-all-subtly manipulating them….and causing a great deal of emotional damage as she does. We don’t yet know why, but we can see that she knows perfectly well what she is doing.

The game world reflects the real world in that Black Rock Shooter continues to attempt to free Dead Master from her chains and her misery. Now that Chariot is gone, although Kagari is not, it appears that Black Gold Saw (who is clearly going to be Kohata, Mato’s sempai on the basketball team) and Strength (Mato’s childhood friend Yu, because duh~) will continue to oppose Black Rock Shooter in the game world.

Update: March 4, after watching episode 5. Kohata was no more than a minion. So, I agree that Saya is BGS, but I’m still holding on to Yu for Strength.

If you liked Madoka‘s “real” world/alternate world concept, you’ll find Black Rock Shooter a comfortable fit. The game world is an almost Jungian shared consciousness, where the rules are known, but not inviolable. The problem here of course is Saya. She’s pulling the strings for maximum angst and, as of yet, we don’t know why.

If I were to find a single complaint, it’s that the animation of the both “real” world and game world are not as high quality as I hoped, but I’m inclined to think that that is Nico Nico Douga’s fault, not the anime and that in Blu-Ray, the game scenes would be nausea-inducingly crisp. The subtitles are fine enough that if there are issues, I can’t think of any right now, so I’m inclined to say they are fine.

In the fine tradition of Nadesico characters from Shiroi Heya no Futari‘s Simone on, Yomi/Dead Master desperately needs rescuing – from herself, mostly. I’m content to wait it out and see if Mato/Black Rock Shooter can do it…and how.

Ratings:

Art – 6, but I bet when I see it in high def, that bumps up
Story – 7 ARRRGGGGGHHHHHHH, so annoying……
Characters – 7
Yuri – 2, but all Yuri Goggles at the moment
Service – You know, it worries me that there’s someone out there who actually enjoys the idea of the emotional torture of 2-dimensional characters for itself

Overall – 7

Good, but oh god, Episode 4 was depressing…..

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9 Responses

  1. Mara says:

    The emotional damage is not the only thing played up compared to the OVA. I’m a little worried that BRS seems to keep getting hit a lot more than she did in the OVA, were she managed to doge more than she got hit.

    I don’t know if this series has crossed the line between ‘the protagonist must suffer’ side of things that keeps tension. Or is it now just exploitively heaping sadness on all the characters.

  2. Cryssoberyl says:

    Glad you’re watching this. Depressing it may be, but I find it to be brilliantly done. I think they really picked a good length at 8 episodes. It reminds me favorably of the (sadly now almost dead) six-episode OVA format. There’s no time for filler, no time for anything but a roller-coaster of action, drama and twists. I’m greatly enjoying the ride.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi,
    for rl/ow couterparts
    Saya=BGS
    Kohata=hooded loli

  4. @Anonymous – I though so too, but Kohata’s eyes turned red. I think they may be going where watchers don’t expect with this.

  5. @Mara – I was wondering the same thing.

    I was saying to my wife that in real life, one expects middle schoolers to suffer emotional hit points all the time, but there was a very fetish-y feel about this. Where the plot is you watching the kids suffer. It made me feel icky.

    @Cryssoberyl – I agree completely. 8 episodes will be more than sufficient, since their characters suffering (and their alter egos fighting) are the only plot, more would be painful.

  6. JIN H. says:

    Yes, I agree with all of you. I watched depressive episode 5 today and 3 more left, I wonder if I’ll therapy when it’s over. I own a nice used copy of the OVA but this is leaving me feeling disturbed every episode but still wanting to see what happens next. “Where the plot is you watching the kids suffer”. Yes, but the “kids” are all girls and when I think of the part of a male culture that feels that the suffering of females is aesthetically beautiful and sexually arousing, it makes my chest hurt. I hope you’re wrong about “the plot”, so no more anime tears will be shed over what BRS could have been.

  7. @JIN H. – I agree with you completely, it makes my chest hurt too, when I think about it.

  8. Rynnec says:

    @Mara: I think you’re looking a bit too much into things with BRS getting hit more often. It’s not like she frequently gets shown covered in bruises in a fetish-y manner or something.

    I certainly hope that Kohata doesn’t turn out to be BGS. That would be an annoying plot twist that would just cause needless confusion. Especially after the most recent episode.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I swear to god every week this is getting harder to watch. close to the end of the show my partner started crying which made me start crying. by the time the star in Black ★ Rock Shooters name cracked like waterford crystal I felt nauseous. I kept getting this awful feeling like all Im watching is other girls get abused here. and I know there are some young girls out there watching this show. I mean wth.

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