It's hard to write a really long and in-depth review concerning an anime OVA that is only fifty minutes long, but I will give you a short and to the point review concerning whether or not this is worth an hour of your life or not.
Black Rock Shooter is a midleading name as it doesn't have as much to do with shooting and black rocks as it does the bonds of friendship formed by two middle school girls named Mato and Yomi. From the very beginning we see a deep bond form between the two and we watch them develop rather quickly into inseperable best friends that seems to be borderline lesbian at a few points. This is all quickly taken away from Yomi by Yuu, who she seems to feel replaces her as Mato's best friend. This leads Yomi into a depressed state.
So where does the whole Black Rock Shooter thing play into what seems to be a sweet little story about friendship? It's in the emotions. Black Rock Shooter is Mato who is fighting an alternate version of Yomi in a pretty f-ed up world of checkerboard patterns and gothic cathedrals. It's a deeper display of emotions that is somewhat confusing at first, but seems to culminate in a worthwhile product toward the end.
The animation is not good, but it is stylized to a certain degree. Characters look fairly bad most of the time while background look average in the real world and awesome in the Black Rock world. The animation is especially choppy during the fights. I did find it to be a lot more stylized then just plain bad though.
The sound is good. There is a wide variety of music used. The voice actors sparsely talk, which adds another layer of depth to the anime, but when they do they fit their roles well.
The three characters of the show are all fairly basic specimens with the exception of the bonds they form. They are typical middle school girls but are also best friends who act accordingly and become much deeper, realistic, and richer because of that.
The only major qualms I have with this anime are in the somewhat strange animation department, the somewhat confusing symbolism behind Black Rock Shooter herself, and the fact that Mato sprains her leg at about the halfway point of the anime yet keeps a bandaid on her knee for about the six months afterword.
Overall, it is a pretty solid anime that I'm glad to see has a whole series being aired currently. It needed a lot more time to explain things and develop the characters, because as they sit, they seem like they could be very solid with just a bit more work.
Black Rock Shooter is an 8.5/10
On her first day of Middle School, Kuroi Mato meets Takanashi Yomi, a new student transferring from Germany. The two become acquainted after discovering they enjoy each other’s company, and over the course of the school year develop into best friends. On the side however, a battle is raging in an alternate world between several strange beings, each possessing unique qualities very similar to those of the main protagonists. And when Yomi suddenly goes missing, only her closest friend can divide the rift and attempt to save her life.
Assessing the plot of this anime is difficult because this entire OVA serves solely as an introductory sequence. There is no actual “plot” although two small stories do present themselves throughout the anime, and as was needed, the two eventually converged to become one. From what I understand, this anime is based off of a song called well... Black Rock shooter, by Supercell.
The first, and most important storyline introduces the two protagonists Mato and Yomi. Both are awkward and inept at making friends, and much of the first half of the OVA is designated to the ups and downs of their relationship. The other scene dictates the struggle between two otherworldly beings, Black Rock Shooter and her nemesis Dead Master. The two people battle continuously in a bizarre setting incorporating jagged cliffs and black on white tiles. A connection is formed between both sets of characters, due to their extreme facial similarities, though the rest remains shadowed throughout the OVA.
The animation of Black Rock Shooter is next to gorgeous, and is slightly above average for a 2010 anime. This is most likely to due to the fact that it’s an OVA, but I was very much impressed nonetheless. Movement is fluid and believable, and though the use of CGI for vehicles was a bit of a disappointment, I was easily able to look past this small flaw without much strain.
Simple and highly stylized artistic renderings are used to their best advantage in Black Rock Shooter, the most common details sacrificed being tiny facial attributes such as the visible contours of character’s ears. An elegant design makes up for the hair movement, accented by small and precise features.
Character designs are fairly average, though each important character did receive a special color donated to them alone, Mato’s and Yomi’s being blue and green respectively. This is mirrored from their personalities, and also promotes the use of shape and tint symbolism. An example of this would be the constant reappearance of five-pointed-stars, representing Black Rock Shooter.
Battle motion is done very well, even in accordance with this anime’s simple backdrops and character designs. This only means that flying debris doesn’t play a large role in Black Rock Shooter, and is instead replaced by sudden appearances of brown smoke whenever something explodes or is struck. It’s an attractive form of graphics no matter which way you examine it from, and there is nothing truly bothersome about Black Star Shooter’s animation as a whole, other than the CGI.
Black Star Shooter’s music is particularly well performed, and it definitely does what it’s supposed to do, that being heightening the viewer’s experience. Something I noticed is that the sound changes drastically at times, and can go from a calm vocal tune to a hardcore drum beat to a hip-hop rhythm in a span of under a minute. Now that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and in this case managed to hold my attention with its pulsating randomness alone. Of course, it isn’t random at all considering the fact that each track is very suited to its individual scene, from the most serene moment of friendship to an all-out battle sequence. The music changes along with the animation and emotional aspects of the series, which accompanied it just fine.
The voice acting is extremely well done, even for a 2010 OVA. Each seiyu matched her character perfectly. Note how I said her, because I don’t believe any male voices were utilized for this series, because the only male character is Mato’s younger brother. A woman of course voices him, leaving only female protagonists.
Considering how short an anime Black Rock Shooter is, the fact the characters aren’t formed particularly well doesn’t surprise me. Although both Mato and Yomi develop from the start, it does leave much to be anticipated, mostly because the ending is basically the beginning. Now, development didn’t need to play an enormous role, but I was disappointed in the formation of the characters. Each possesses a separate personality and separate characteristics, but they don’t go beyond “quirky” or “reserved.” Each is as you expect them to be, and develops how you would assume they should. There is nothing wrong with this of course, but put blandly, it could have been much better.
As I stated in the animation section, color plays a huge role in the style of Black Rock Shooter. The character represented by blue is naturally naive, while green epitomizes Yomi’s emotionally reserved tendencies. This also creates a parallel to Black Rock Shooter and Dead Master, who persist their battle continuously as the short progresses.
Despite some complications, this anime is worth watching for those who enjoy the genre. It won’t be obsessed over like others are, but should hold the viewer’s interest throughout the entirety of fifty minutes, which isn’t a great feat, but still reflects that it presented to me some enjoyment. For many, it’ll be worth watching for the animation alone, although I don’t tend to refrain or be attracted to something simply because it’s animation is good or if it’s terrible. Either way, fifty minutes is still fifty minutes, and I see no reason why this anime shouldn’t be enjoyed for what it is.
The story may confuse those who watch this OVA for the first time, but it does make more sense after watching it for a second time. Basically, it jumps between the two girls becoming friends (and later, their friendship starting to fall apart) in the real world, and the two girls fighting each other with super powers in some alternate universe. The constant jumping will probably confuse veiwers; so, I shall offer a hint: all of the alternate universe scenes take place after the main girl merges with Black Rock Shooter. In any case, the story is entertaining for what it is, but there plenty of things that aren't explained. On the positive side, veiwers may relate to the falling out between the main girl and her friend.
The animation is quite good, especially the action scenes.
The background music is well done and helps enhance the scenes.
Since this is only a 50-something minute OVA, one shouldn't expect too much in the way of character development. Still, you do see the progression and the degeneration of the girls' friendship. The characters themselves are fairly likable and relatable.
Basically, this is one of those "shut your brain off and enjoy the ride" type shows. While the story may have it's flaws, the nice action scenes and the good production values make it worth the watch. As for whether the TV series is better, I wouldn't know since (as of this review) haven't seen the TV version yet. If/when I watch the TV series, I may review it too.
The story was good, but trying to fit so much into one episode was just waaay too much. At the beginning, one second you would be watching a slice of life kinda thing, and then the next second it would just go to two girls in another world fighting each other. Extremely confusing much? At the end, you figure out how they are related, but a big question still remains: who the hell is BRS? You don't get any detail on that...zero. *spoiler* And if that isn't good enough, suddenly Yomi goes missing, and then we find out that she somehow got to the other world and was beating up BRS because of what was happening in this world and blah blah blah-WTF?
I honestly don't know what to think of the animation. At some points, I think the animation looks competely awesome, but next thing you know, it's just plain crappy. That's all I have to say on that matter.
The voice acting was good, then again, I'm not good at judging Japanese voice acting, so excuse me if it's actually terrible. xD Anyway, is it just me, or did they not use the BRS song sung by Miku, for the BRS anime? Seriously? Can't they fit two and two together, or are they really that retarded? If you're gonna make an anime about it, shouldn't they at least use the fricking song? Honestly...
Characters...for all I know, there's "School Girl 1", "School Girl 2", and "School Girl 3". I'm really bad at remembering character names, but because it was just one episode, I did not get a lot of time to remember them. I knew close to nothing about all of them, other than the fact School Girl 1 likes to go to a place overlooking her town, School Girl 2 moves with her family a lot, and School Girl 3 is an annoying little brat that School Girl 2 is jealous of. Amazing, right? They're the characters that make me want to sarcastically say, "How original".
The story originated from a song, so I can't say it's good point is being original. Confusing, unoriginal, poor animation, no character developement...do I really need to go on? Overall, it's garbage, crap, not even good enough to be flushed down a public toilet. Don't watch it. It's a waste of time. :T It you want a story watch the MV for BRS. That's way more interesting than this shit.
Ah, how many times have I watched this anime? 3 times? 4 times? Whatever the amount of times I watch this, I never get bored of this anime; every time you watch it again, you find something new that you finally noticed. I love Black Rock Shooter, however I know that others might not agree with me. I've spent such a long time choosing over what to rate each of the categories, but finally, I agreed with myself. Even though, this anime just demands to be reviewed!
The story of BRS is a very difficult one. You must actually have a quite clever brain to understand it! Basically, the very energetic girl, Kuroi Mato, meets a quite interesting girl at her school. Takanashi Yomi. A very calm yet beautiful girl at Mato's age. Her grace is a massive contrast compared to Mato, our story's heroine. However they became good friends. Simultaneously, in an alternate universe, a young girl (named Black Rock Shooter) is battling with skull-loving Dead Master. These two scenarios mix into each other, which makes the whole story a lot harder so that's why rated it 8/10.
I, myself, really like the animation of the anime, although just like the anime itself, it's a 50-50 love-hate subject. The world of Mato and Yomi is quite light and almost uses no dark colours, excepten something really dramatic happens. Which means that it is actually colorised to match the atmosphere/feeling/situation. In Black Rock Shooter's World, on the other hand, the artists used quite darker colours, I don't really remember seeing anything in that world that was bright, meaning that, unlike in Mato's world, the Black Rock Shooter world is all done under one colour theme/set. Some may dislike this art, while other may find it incredibly breathtaking.
The animation is quite good, but through most of Mato's world, it's never any more than that. However, during the fights between Black Rock Shooter and the other women of that world, the true beauty of this animation comes to life. Some of the best action of any anime is shown here, with the surreal abilities of the characters and perfect buildings making for excellent long-distance shots and close hand-to-hand combat.
I have to say that the music is good throughout the scenes, but not so memorable... The voice acting does deserve a mention, though, I must admit! Hanazawa Kana brings a chirpy, girly voice to Mato, in contrast a melancholic voice to Black Rock Shooter (who is supposed to be like Mato, if you haven't noticed). Sawashiro Miyuki portrayal of an elegant and slightly gloomy voice is given to Yomi, and brings another level of depth to the character. Dead Master (who, just like Black Rock Shooter and Mato, is supposed to potray Yomi). never speaks even once, but this does give a good effect of what the character is like.
There aren't many characters in this anime, really. Black Rock Shooter is a rather confusing during this anime, as she is found either walking or fighting, yet she's actually supposed to be the heroine/main character. It is only in her final battle with Dead Master and meeting with Mato that we find out she is so caring of others. Mato seems a bit too obsessed with Yomi, and shows how much she truly loves her near the end. Yomi, on the other hand, starts off simply viewing Mato as a kind girl to whom she is a friend. When the two are distanced, the line between her and the evil Dead Master is blurred. The only other character worth a mention is Kotari Yuu, the manager of the basketball team on which Mato plays. She is the most relatable character because she is willing to do anything to stay with her friend--even if it means destroying the budding relationship between her friend and another girl. And that is the problem with "Black Rock Shooter." There's many links between the characters from the reality world and the characters from the fantasy/battle world, and we find out more and more about each of them as the OVA goes past...
Overall, I must rate this anime 8.5/10 because I did have a couple of moans, but I must admit that this is an enjoyable anime. It actually was made on top of the Black Rock Shooter song (by Hatsune Miku) which came out before the anime! Unfortunately, it ends with a cliffhanger, which is the thing I hate the most in anime/movies and I know that many people do too.
But, oh well! Enjoy the anime!