Black Rock Shooter (BRS) is a cool concept. The sales figures for her figurines probably say more about how cool her design is than anything I could say. Narratively speaking, a badass alter-ego that not only spawns whatever artillery or sharp objects she can think of, but ignores all forms of stabbing, bludgeoning and harsh words, is also pretty self-explanatory. Heck, most people who watch this probably know about BRS in some form. The crazy part of this anime was that the “normal cast” was just as compelling as their sharp and pointy counterparts, after a point.
The plot revolves around Kuroi Mato and her crazy high school friends, albeit only the female ones, because let’s face it, the BRS franchise mainly catered to otaku who like the character design before the implied les-yay showed up during the OVA. Now all sorts of people can enjoy it! Well, except for the normal people, but no one likes them. Anyway, as it turns out, high school girls deal with a lot of shit in their day-to-day lives, and they have to blow off steam somehow, so they… create spiritual alter-egos who use those emotions to fight it out in an alternate world based on a child’s book! I mean what else can they do to relax between homework, school clubs, social lives, chores, and japanese societal expectations of women? Understandable, I think.
As the series progresses (all eight episodes of it), you learn the backstories behind all five of the main characters, essentially the people connected with the titular alter-egos important enough to get their own design. Much character development is had by all, with notable scenes of the characters freaking the hell out. This is probably why the artist for the “real” world is noteworthy. The character design doesn’t seem to stand out until you see some of the various expressions on all their faces. Of course, you also get several exciting CG fight scenes, which fulfills the action quota that many fans expected. Initially I felt like the action was just there to show off the cool CG, but by the end it grew on me, particularly the girls’ penchant for unique weaponry.
The main thing that kept me from watching the series for a while was the whole “touchy-feely girls” thing. Watching this, Rinne no Lagrange, Hanasaku Iroha, and others, I’m a bit tapped out on anime focusing on “girl-talk.” Each of these have female leads in high school, and as a result their character development is, well, girly. It’s understandable, but really, I should probably invest myself in a hardcore shonen title before going back to new anime after this run… That doesn’t mean BRS isn’t a show you shouldn’t watch however. It’s got a unique style to it, along with mindfuckery thanks to the CG world. I highly recommend it.
BRS was produced by Ordet with CG production by Sangizen.
Now if only they’d localize the PSP game so I could review that….