Black Rock Shooter anime review

Black Rock Shooter anime review
Mato Kuroi just got into junior high school, and on the first day, someone catches her eye; her classmate Yomi Takanashi. The two meet.The innocent and naive Mato. The mature Yomi. Seemingly opposites, but the time they spend together only strengthens a growing friendship. But as they go into their second year at the school, they get placed in separate classes, and they begin to grow apart. But somewhere simultaneously... In another world, a young girl, blue fire residing in her eyes, Black Rock Shooter faces another young girl; this one holding a jet-black scythe, Dead Master, and a battle to the death begins to unfold.

I had no idea who or what Black★Rock Shooter was until my friend, a huge Vocaloid fan, gave a crash course on the character’s origins. Apparently, she is the conceptual visual creation of a fan-made song of the same name. A character derived from the digital deity Hatsune Miku, B★RS gathered so much attention from Vocaloid fans that soon enough, Ordet has made a solo production for the revered character. As someone indifferent to the popular music software and its digital representatives, I have to say that the anime adaptation of B★RS is nothing more than a spurred product instigated by fanboys and produced to simply quench their thirst at whatever the media can provide. Hardly engaging, bold or entertaining, there isn’t anything creative about the show, and even its production values seem lacking for an immensely anticipated title.

There are two stories running parallel with each other, revealed two minutes into B★RS. This form of storytelling can work and it isn’t always pedestrian, but eventually there must be at least some form of unambiguous link between the stories in order to make things coherent. There are bits and pieces of how the two stories are correlated, but even halfway into the show, there doesn’t seem to be a proper explanation for the existence of two worlds. One world witnesses the battle between our heroine and an unknown formidable enemy for an unexplained reason, and the other sees a slice-of-life experience of a junior high school freshman enduring the joy and pain of friendship. Throughout the OVA one has to wonder “Where is the connection for all this?” There is a strong indication that the main characters in both worlds are alter-egos of each other, but why make the viewers rely on hints when the story could’ve just said so? The story stirs even more curiosity when the show features two more antagonists - well, I think they are - for no reason.

The story has a number of problems but unfortunately even the visuals aren’t that special, especially for an OVA. From the opening and subsequent fights, B★RS does seem to look stylish, yet it doesn’t feel stylish. The action sequences are disappointingly underwhelming and the animation isn’t as fluid as viewers would expect. The sluggish and shabby animation gets noticeable when there are scenes featuring moving objects. Furthermore, the flat artwork results in characters looking lifeless, particularly B★RS herself. As a person who thinks B★RS had the potential to have exhilarating and awesome action scenes, I can’t help but wonder how different things could have been if Madhouse or Production IG were to produce it and not a relatively new studio such as Ordet.

For a show that barely reaches the hour mark, B★RS would have worked if it knew how to strike an impact on the viewers quickly, one way or another. I will give credit for how genuine the friendship between Mato and Yomi feels, but it isn’t enough to save the show at all. B★RS ultimately fails with its lazy writing and below-average animation, resulting in a cynical product that feels more like a mere promotional video rather than an actual OVA. It’s a boring and wasteful anime that I personally feel even Vocaloid fans wouldn’t appreciate, and would have spent time better playing with the music software instead.

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Black Rock Shooter. Watch it now:
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