In a dark and dreary dimension, the mysterious Black Rock Shooter roams the desolate landscape with her gigantic gun, pausing only to battle against other mysterious super-powered girls. Elsewhere, a teenage girl is excitedly preparing for her very first day of junior high, eager to begin her new life of attending a basketball club and befriending the elegant new girl. But what exactly is the connection between these two worlds?
Synopsis 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. Story (4/10) 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. Animation (9/10) 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. Sound (8/10) 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. Characters (5/10) 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. Overall (6.5/10) 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.
Story 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. Animation The animation is quite good, especially the action scenes. Sound The background music is well done and helps enhance the scenes. Characters 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. Overall 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.
Story and characters As the synopsis states, Black Rock Shooter is a story about two dimensions/universes/worlds. In one, dark, universe, there is the cool fighting loli called Black Rock Shooter, fighting against other people. We get to see a bit of what this world looks like, but apart from fights nothing much happens (except at the ending, but i'm not going to spoil that) You may ask why they're fighting? The thing is, I don't know. It's never made clear why they're fighting. Personal grudge? War? Hero trying to slay the demon lord lady? We don't know anything about this world, nor about the characters there: they don't ever talk. It may be better than Naruto's Talk no Jutsu, but it's hard to get to know anything about them this way... What about the other universe then? Well, in the other universe (that is more like ours), we get to see a pseudo-yuri slice of life / school life story about the friendship between two girls (Mato and Yomi), and how one girl seems to get jealous when the other gets another friend. Most of the story happens here, but luckily for me (I don't really care for that kind of stories) they glossed over the more uninteresting stuff by just showing it real quick and putting some music on it. Great move imo, since it still gives the right atmosphere without making things boring. As for the characters, they're just normal high school girls and that's about all you can say about them. It's not like one can expect too much in 50 minutes though, so I can somewhat forgive that. The combination of the two worlds may seem weird, but it actually makes it interesting because of the "mystery" of how they're related. You're constantly looking forward to the conclusion, where you'll get the answers you're so desperately waiting for! Except you don't get any answers at all... It's a real pity, the ending leaves tons of questions, and feels like bait to get you to watch the TV series. Animation The animation and artwork is very well done, both when it comes to the action scenes and when we get to see some panoramic scenes. (open pics in new tab for bigger size) The choreography for the fights was great too imo, which made at least the action scenes exciting and interesting - even if you have no idea who's fighting, if it looks good it can at least give some visual joy. Sound The music was very nice and fitting, I especally liked the music during the action scenes. Not something I'd just look up to listen to while doing something else, but it did help to create the right atmosphere in this anime. Overall Very enjoyable OVA, even though the story and characterization wasn't that good. Glowing eyes and big weapons in fights with good choreography also help in making it cool. It's not the greatest anime ever made, but it's enjoyable to say the least
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