Black ★ Rock Shooter OVA Review



BlackRock Shooter was an anime I had begun to see everywhere, but had heard very little to nothing about.  Cool statues such as this popped up all over websites, the cute heroine was shown on many wallpapers, but nothing showing off exactly what it was about.

Taking this matter into account, I soon spotted the OVA at AnimeUltima.tv and was surprised that it was nothing more than a single 50 minute episode.  But, nevertheless I did enjoy it.

I'm going to give a quick synopsis of the anime, my impressions on it, and if it really lived up to the awesome factor that made me want to see it in the first place.


-[ Origin of Black ★ Rock Shooter]-

ブラック★ロックシューター Is actually based off of an original character illustration by "Huke" who posted the work on the Japanese art community of Pixiv, which is a bit like deviantART

This character and it's name inspired Ryo of the Japanese band, "Supercell" (view their Wikipedia page Here) to make a song titled "Black Rock Shooter".  Later, Huke joined Supercell and provided the illustrations and animation for their music video.  The song features vocals by the Japanese Voice Synthesizing program Vocaloid, and it's specific bot "Hatsune Miku" which closely resembles Huke's original illustration and thought to be the inspiration behind the drawing.

Later, the OVA was announced on August 22,  2009.  The screen play written by Nagaru Tanigawa and Shinobu Yoshioka (who also directed), with production by Yutaka Yamamoto's studio ordet.


-[ Story & Plot ]-

Kuroi Mato is a girl that is about to enter her first day of Junior High School.  She wakes up earlier than usual due to the excitement and begins her day by eating, waking her little brother, and getting dressed in the school uniform.  Visiting her favorite place which shows a view of the entire town she realizes she is late and rushes to catch the train.  After doing so, she walks the rest of the way to her school where she sees Takanashi Yomi getting out of a car, whom she later on befriends.

The friendship between Mato and Yomi grows stronger.  They begin to shop together, do homework together, and even their club activities (Mato plays Basketball while Yomi plays Volleyball) are right next to each other; they even start off a new year by praying at the same shrine.  At one point Mato shows Yomi her favorite spot which is the same as the beginning of the anime, also giving her a cell-phone strap in symbolization of their friendship.

As they both become 2nd year Junior High School students, they aren't in the same class but still attempt to hang out and make it work.  However, it is very apparent that Mato is becoming good friends with Yuu, the Basketball Club's manager.  Growing jealous, Yomi disappears and is unable to be found.  After talking to the police and sending repeated text messages, she finally gets a blank one back from Yomi.  Rushing off Mato goes to their favorite place and witnesses the cell-phone strap she gave her, wondering what happened to her friend.  In the midst of holding that cell-phone strap it begins to glow and she is transported to a strange void where she faces a girl whom left-eye glows like flame, named "Black Rock Shooter" ( ブラック★ロックシューター Burakku Rokku Shūta) .

In this world, where she combines with Black Rock Shooter, she faces against foes in search of "Dead Master" (デッドマスター Deddo Masutā) who possessed Yomi in her time of jealousy.  Fighting and finally defeated her, they both make it and return to the normal world.  However, Yuu is seen acting strangely afterwards, leaving quite an open-ending for the anime.


[ Thoughts & Impressions ]


First off, when I found this on Anime Ultima I was assuming that it was a whole series and not just a OVA (Original Video Animation).  The reason being was that it said "Episode 1", but then again, it had three parts and each was about 20 minutes a piece, so I guess I should've known it was either just a movie or an OVA by that point.

Starting off, I see a lot of action with Black Rock Shooter going up against an unknown enemy.  What perplexes me, and even to this time; was the fact that our heroine has a katana instead of the giant rock cannon she carries around, and she was actually stabbed and seemed to be dead as the floor broke up beneath her and faded into Mato waking up.  What is the most confusing about this scenario is that it isn't explained later on, and the fact that Mato and Yomi return to the world after Takanshi-chan is saved only makes it even more of a puzzle; especially after seeing Yuu as troubled as she was and as possible another girl in the Black Rock Shooter World that never fought.

It's clear after you begin watching that "Dead Master" is non other than Takanshi  Yomi, and that "Black Rock Shooter" is Kuroi Mato.  But the whole transition out of anger and jealous is to me, unexplained and has much more room for a story expansion than simply ending it off where it was.  Was it the charm that caused that?  Could it be something special with the school?  Or maybe entities targeted girls at that particular school to be transported to that world and forever doomed to roam it, you never know.  What I would've liked is for them to be more specific about what exactly triggered her going into that other realm and being possessed by Dead Master.  We know that it had something to do with Yomi's jealousy, but girls get jealous all the time, surely there had to be something else contributing to that phenomena.  

As far as the art direction goes, I actually liked it.  The animation was very impressive and fluid, and I didn't so much mind the simplified style that they used sometimes.  Also, the fighting was impressive when there were scenes for that (I personally wished to see a lot more of this compared to the school lives of the girls, but it was cute and had it's own charm, so that's all right).  The scenery was beautiful and completely accurate in perspective, especially the view of the town.  Something I've known about most anime and manga artist is that no matter how simplified the character maybe, they always do amazing environmental detail, even that of cars and such.  I think this may go hand-in-hand with the saying that you need to know how to draw real things in order to successfully pull off an anime or manga, it really shows here.

Also, worth mentioning, is that the music actually does very good to set the scene for the world.  In fact, I have downloaded one of the tracks where Mato and Yomi are facing off as Dead Master and Black ★ Rock Shooter, entitled, "~Battle of BRS~", and you can listen to it Here.  It actually reminds me of something that ES Posthumous would do, probably why I enjoy it so much; creates a real "End Game Boss" type of atmosphere.


-[ The Verdict ]-

Gonna bust a cap in yo ass!

Black ★ Rock Shooter was something I originally thought was going to be some dark, twisted world full of checkered patterns, never-ending nights, grave sites and nonstop fights.   However, it turned out to be something more of a fleeting story of friendship between two girls that have formed a bond, and one fighting to make sure that bond stays intact.

Good art direction and animation make for a compelling piece, and characters animated in a way where it's easy to think of them as actual people.  Fluid and moving, especially in the battle sequences, I think it really shines through.

Some parts were very confusing and left you to put together the pieces, it finishes off open-ended and makes you wonder what else Mato will do in the role of "Black ★ Rock Shooter".  More of an expansion of this or at least an explanation as to why the girls were transported in the first place, or why the heroines and villians looked so much like their real-world counter-pars would have been preferable.  Overall, it's still very enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone who has an hour to spare and loves animation, good fights, and the friendship between two girls.

This has been my review for ブラック★ロックシューター hopefully it has been worth the read!  Leave comments and let me know what you thought about Black ★ Rock Shooter and this review.

For even more information about BRS, check out it's Wikipedia page Here. So until next time.  Take care.

And come back again!


Comments

  1. I love black rock shooter and I hope a 2nd ova comes out soon!
    Very good review, I really like it.
    And by the way, have you watched ga rei zero? It's very similar to black rock shooter

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