Black Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall

Alt title: Black★★Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall

TV (12 eps)
2.946 out of 5 from 444 votes
Rank #16,099
Black Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall

The year is 2062. Earth has been left in ruin after the failure of a labor automation project when the AI called Artemis waged war against humanity. A girl, Empress, awakens in a research lab. As one of the three surviving guardians, she must destroy the Orbital Elevator before Artemis can complete its construction. Failure will result in a machine army overrunning Earth. However, Artemis' Unmanned Forces and a cult may have motives of their own.

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Warning: ... it's really hard to say something really good or bad when you're working with a glorified piece of cardboard.  Black★★Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall (BRS:Dawnfall) begins with the introduction to the titular Black Rock Shooter a.k.a. the Empress. She awakens bereft of memory when a couple of children are assaulted by a robot while scavenging in the area. Empress dispatches the rampaging machine with relative ease as if this is what she was born to do. With only one vague memory lingering in her sub consciousness, to find Lighthouse #8, she ventures forth into the war-torn and ravaged world. Along her perilous journey she will question her sexuality, drink alcohol and potentially contribute to genocide of the human race. She will be accompanied by a cussing motorcycle and she’ll meet former allies turned enemy, one bipolar scientist, a lesbian pirate leader and a gruff military man among the mentioned few. Empress will be facing menacing robot armies and rogue military factions under the leadership of Smiley, a giant baby-man with questionable sexual preferences, who’s instructed by the goddess Lunatic living on the Moon. Did I mention that Earth is connected to the Moon by a giant elevator? From what you’ve read in the previous paragraphs, the story is nothing stellar and is as generic as it can get. I will touch some rudimentary plot points that can hardly be considered as spoiler but if it feels like too much, feel free to skip this part. The journey kind of splits into several ‘arcs’ where Empress is reunited with her old out allies, confronts Smiley, regains her memories and then saves the world. It’s a bog standard post-apocalyptic plot that is coherent enough to keep the story going at a decent pace, but is equally forgettable the moment you’re finished with the series. The animation is done mostly in CG by Bibury Animation, a studio best known for their Azure Lane adaptation and The Quintessential Quintuplets 2. The animation is passable and gets the job done visually but sadly, as with most CG, looks janky overall. The female cast looks surprisingly more detailed than their male counterparts. The other side characters are mostly one-offs or are grunts for the various military factions comprised of copy pasted clones with little distinction between them. The world and its environments looks drab and boring although appropriate for portraying the post-nuclear wastelands. It is unfortunate that the poor CG adds that additional touch of bland and uninspiring on top of everything though. In the music department there’s little for me to note on the opening and ending themes. The overall sound design compliments the action scenes and the ambient music does its part where need be. VA wise the performances are solid and none are too grating on the ears. Special shout out goes to the ending song of the very last episode for that additional extra dose of cheese on top of this already lactose filled meal. Now let’s delve a bit deeper into my personal history with the franchise. You see, I really like the original BRS OVA/movie and I really dislike its 8 episode reiteration. Primary reason being that the it took the OVA’s abstract story and tried to rationalize it and failed, miserably. The other reason is that the anime took itself way too serious which made its already nonsensical plot even more boring. Consequently I am happy to report that BRS:Dawnfall suffers from neither because it fully embraces its absurdity and revels in it. I’ve found this show to be a most glorious train wreck from start to finish and thus I’m giving it the highest possible praise a mediocre show can get. If you are looking for some old-fashioned brainless fun then there are obviously better shows to watch but this is as good tertiary choice as any. It is best to be enjoyed in short bursts of two or three episodes at a time or can also be easily binged in one or two sittings, whatever your preference might be. Dawnfall is unlikely to impart you with any life’s wisdoms or leave a long lasting impact but damn if it won’t be one hell of a short-term experience during its 12 episode run.

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