Hello, everyone! I’m sure you’re all enamored with E3 and I promise we’ll discuss it and how we’re disappointed at its lack of yuri later. For now, we bring you a review of the much-loved Black Rock Shooter anime!
So, the biggest problem we have when we talk about Black Rock Shooter is this: just what the hell are we talking about. Black Rock Shooter originated as a song by the band Supercell featuring uber-cute digital idol Hatsune Miku, who the titular character was modeled after. From this humble origins, Black Rock Shooter gained immense popularity but not immense continuity. While we’re here talking about the anime, in a few months we’ll be back to talk about the entirely separate universe that is the video game, which follows a completely different story with pretty much no overlap with this other than Black Rock Shooter looks about the same.
But here we are starting off E3 week in anime-land, with the OVA and later short series Black Rock Shooter. This series takes place in two settings, first a relatively normal school where protagonist Kuroi Mato attends. Mato is obsessed with colors, largely due to the influence of the most disturbing children’s book ever, which was influential in her early years. She meets and befriends someone based on the face that she misread the girl’s last name as “birdie play”. It turns out, the person who is not named “birdie play”, Yomi, is a fan of this horrible children’s book too.
Our other setting finds Black Rock Shooter locked in death-defying combat with other, similarly powerful and strange-appearance enemies. Like Chariot who shoots macaroons at the flame-eyed girl or Strength who has huge fists or Black Gold Saw who is kinda attractive. These fights are insane, intense and some of the best anime fights I’ve ever seen. Seriously.
Why dd these settings coincide? Because, as explained by the psychotic school counselor, whenever you’re hurting, someone takes on that pain for you. Slowly, Mato discovers what the viewer almost instantly figures out – as Mato suffers emotional turmoil, the battles Black Rock Shooter get in are harder, and as Black Rock Shooter wins these battles, Mato’s emotional state improves. Why? Because being a magical girl is suffering. Cue Kyubey. Also cue tons of emotional turmoil for Yomi, Mato and pretty much everyone else in their lives. Here’s something else to consider: what happens if the creature taking on your pain dies or gets defeated? So, cue some insanity as well.
Pointing to Mato and Yomi as evidence for yuri, or to Black Rock Shooter and Dead Master, is pretty easy. And we at Lily enjoy a challenge! So, let’s point to Kagiri, who is immensely jealous of Mato and wants Yomi to herself, and who is hugely psychologically abusive of Yomi to get her to stay as Kagiri’s alone. Or to Saya the psychotic counselor who’s just being a wack-job to try and protect the girl she’s loved since she was young. Pretty strong cases all around for girls loving girls, if I do say so myself. Even if the super-butch Arata is into guys.
Honestly, if you’ve just finished Madoka Magica and thought to yourself “Man, I could use some cheering up”, this isn’t where you wanna go. If you thought “Something about the utter despair and anguish of that show feeds my inner sadist”, then definitely watch Black Rock Shooter. Also, if you just want exposure to the cuteness of Kuroi Mato or the worst children’s book ever, watch Black Rock shooter.
Screw all that, just watch it.