Black Rock Shooter – 01 Review

Oh my God, don’t make it sound so easy! That’s obviously all the story this series has to offer!

Black Rock Shooter 01 – You Can’t Choose Your Family

So, Black Rock Shooter: Scariest horror-series of the season, I would say. That sister is simply nuts, I’m not surprised if she starts speaking backwards and gets a voice like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan The Barbarian. Seriously, I can’t blame Takanashi for wanting to keep people (including her parents) away from her home with that kind of sister. And did I mention that she’s frigging nuts? This creepy sister is a control-freak as well who tries to tell Takanashi how she should live her life. But she doesn’t talk to her sister face-to-face because that’s something normal people would do, no, she uses a sort of tin-can telephone. Anything more of this weird stuff and this might turn into Twilight Zone. Well, not like the series already has its own Twilight Zone… sort-of.

Synopsis:
Kuroi meets this girl and wants to be friends with her for some mysterious reason (hint: it has perhaps something to do with fate or whatever…). Takanashi, though, can’t be friends with anyone because she has a creepy sister who’s also a real mean bastard. But secretly Takanashi wants to be friends with Kuroi, too, and she brings Kuroi home. Her sister isn’t happy, not one bit and she scares off Kuroi at first but the fishy Saya who’s the school-counselor tells her someone somewhere else gets hurt for her which is the kind of mysterious explanation that only makes sense to the audience (yeah, meta-fictional humour, very funny…). So Kuroi goes to Takanashi and insists on continuing the friendship. Takanashi starts crying since she actually had no friends up to this point which makes her kinda uncool but her sister is a good excuse for her dull character.
Meanwhile somewhere else a girl gets hurt for doing nothing against a creepy creature looking like the creepy sister.

Considering her… ‘social skills’, that’s actually rather good advice.

Review:
So, most interesting premise ever, right? Kuroi wants to be friends with the anti-social girl who despite that got the whole meganekko-package. No problems there because “ditzy girl” actually already has a friend who offers her substantial advice without ever playing any substantial role in the plot. The real trouble is Takanashi’s sister who is one hell of a mean bastard. Believe me, this series has more horror than any Another-death-scene. This creepy sister is like the epitome of evilness, actually it’s written right on her face or at least the soundtrack gets all creepy every time she’s saying something.
Okay, let’s start from the beginning: It starts with the usual visual action we all knew we would gonna get but we also get one of those pretentious introductions like the one from Ano Natsu (stupid long-winded way of saying that the main-chara likes filming) but BRS’s intro is even worse…
The tiny bird flies in the blue sky.
The sea reflects the blue of the sky.
The blue reflection is the sea of the sky.
The sea of the sky cries blue tears.
Among those blue tears, the tiny bird flies.
As we later find out, this is from a frigging children’s picture book about colours (Well, it certainly sounds like that…). And apparently it’s a big deal because it has multiple editions and people can actually talk about it without feeling stupid. So, colours are also a big deal in this episode. Kuroi can’t seem to shut up about colours and the creepy sister also has a slight problem with colours. So, yeah, this series makes a big deal out of nothing practically. The colours are either used as obvious metaphors for the weird action or to just sort-of hav it in there (like red in The Sixth Sense) to make things sound poetic and important. This series has this pretentious way of trying to sound clever and poetic when it’s not. Black Rock Shooter may want to talk about some lofty ideals and talk about the soap-opera-version of life but that doesn’t mean they can get poetic. The usual moe-tropes of letting Kuroi talk like a member of the K-ON!-cast is more than enough to deliver the message. Black Rock Shooter should try to stay on the ground, lie down and hope that this is low enough for the stuff the series actually can do instead of what it dreams of doing.

Wow, I bet those are the kind of eyes even Jesus must be jealous of. No, seriously, actually it’s just a very dramatic way of telling her that she’s the usual ditzy genki-moe-character. This series should really stop to sound so serious and dramatic all the time, it’s really not that kind of series.

Like the OVA the fights and the slice-of-life-parts are still rather unconnected even though there are some parallels for some inexplicable reason. It’s not quite clear what kind of setting we are talking about here but at least it seems like this time the series will actually try to build a connection between the two worlds – which is more than what the crappy OVA can say of itself. But visually the fights in the OVA were more impressive than in this episode which tried to do the visual allegory stuff but I guess it’s obvious that it’s no Penguindrum or Utena. There was some shock-factor of Kuroi, I mean, the heroine, whatever, being attacked and injured by this… thing. But there was no blood and she stood up after some time unhurt so no idea why anyone would include the scenes in the first place besides showing off how this character gets hurt.
Probably it tried to build a connection to the real world where the real action happens, right? But the slice-of-life is boring. I mean, as far as introducing a story goes this has to be one of the worst episodes of the season. I think it’s all about these battles in the other world in the end but while hinting at the supernatural secrets very obviously there’s no clear world-building. There’s no proper characterization either for that matter. This episode just rushes to the juicy story-moments of making it obvious where the bad guys are, the good guys and who knows more than they let on. This episode’s slice-of-life felt like showing off elements of the story instead of an introduction to it. The plot is also really quite ridiculous. Two girls want to be friends but one of them has a creepy sister – now that’s good drama, right? I believe that makes “You can’t choose your family” the only real poetic message of the episode. But the problem is that it’s obvious, far too obvious. How can this obvious straightforward premise get any interesting development? This story is just so incredibly shallow, I guess, in the end the only reason why we sit through the stupid slice-of-life is to get epic battles in that weird parallel dimension full of unused ideas for Ikea-furniture.

There’s no really interesting story to be told and the characters are generic and one-dimensional. The slice-of-life-parts are plain boring. If you want to sit through this series then it’s because of the battles happening… somewhere else. But those can’t offer much when they try to be smart with useless symbolism. So, not really sure what’s there good to say about this episode… Ah, it’s better than the OVA since this series apparently actually has a story to tell… sort-of. I’m not sure I actually want to talk about that weekly because seriously there’s not much to talk about except that it’s at its best when it aims low and stays in generic territory.

Episode-Rating: 3/10

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About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on February 3, 2012, in Anime, Black Rock Shooter, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. You know, in a behind the scenes interview the guys behind this anime said: “The problem was coming up with the storyline.”

    Well, this certainly proves it.

    The story doesn’t really feel like it can grow and develop in the span of eight episodes. I guess it’s best to consider it a long interlude before Spring starts.

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    • Well, they can expand the weird violence-scenes of Black Rock Shooter getting beaten up by, as you described it, the Toy-Story-spider for every excruciating development in the Slice-of-Life-parts. And Kuroi can’t be bothered to stop feeling happy despite that because someone else somewhere else suffers for her – and that’s apparently a story we all want to hear…

      Yeah, that remark in the interview pretty much nailed it what’s wrong with this series. It has actually no story to tell.

      Yeah, Spring will be great, Guilty Crown over, Black Rock Shooter over, Mouretsu Pirates finally manages to feature actual space piracy and Aquarion Evol will enter the phase where it’s not only stupid but epically so. Just looking at the winter-season, it just can get better in the spring-season.

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  2. I guarantee if you keep your cursor on the fastforward button, the rating will jump 200%.

    Like

  3. Where did you get that Kagari is Yomi’s sister? I think she is just a neighbor.
    Why would a member of the family ring the doorbell of her own house?

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  4. I think she just went out to see her therapist (well, if not I would recommend her to do so).
    Really it´s just for the battle and no other reason to watch this. And I must admit the Huke Gamedesign is not the worst. More or less it is like the OVA even if I´m sure we will have some plot about big sisters fault brinign little sis in the wheelchair…
    I can not tell how fevered I´m looking forward to find out about that.

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  5. Ever heard of “minimalistic storytelling”? In about less than 1 min of each character we see in BRS establishes who they are merely through their words and actions. That’s more than any character in Guilty Crown can do in 14 episodes. BRS is a brilliant example of how to establish set characters without the need of pointless exposition of speeches. And that’s where it shines.

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    • Only that a good storyteller could do the same thing in 10 seconds, I would say… And even if BRS says more in one episode than Guilty Crown can, the latter still has more to say than BRS overall. To me it seemed that there have been a lot of pointless theatrics in this episode even if it has made very clear who the cast is and what little story the series has to offer. It may be minimalistic in scope conceptually but the storytelling was rather exuberant with Kuroi crying at home because Kagira was mean to her or Takanashi crying because Kuroi wants to be her friend regardless of how Kagira behaves. That’s ridiculously exaggerated behaviour and that combined with the rather dull and obvious imagery of the episode, I don’t think this was a really good episode.

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  6. Wow, never hated and never been hated.
    True, even Jesus lost to her.
    People hated Him, so they crucified Him.
    Jesus Himself hated and kicked the butt of all the peddlers who used the temple of God as marketplace. LOL.

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  7. not as good as the ova. in terms of drawing quality.
    story, not that good either.

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    • Yeah, the style is still there but looking at the slice-of-life-scenes I had to cringe sometimes. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting of an anime that primarily was supposed to impress me visually.

      And the story is basically “OVA… and some more” and the OVA’s story wasn’t that good to begin with and it certainly didn’t get better in this episode.

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  8. Reblogged this on myotakublog4ever and commented:
    Black Rock Shooter is awesome!!!! Cant wait to buy it when its available here in the Philippines.

    Like

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