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.
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…..