(Originally published on Livejournal on 8/6/10)
Anime Review in a Minute:
Black Rock Shooter OVA
Anime Review in a Minute: What this is all about.
tl;dr review: Junior high school girl cultivates a deep best-friend relationship with new girl; Black Rock Shooter battles with Death Master.
The Skinny: On another world, in a different reality, Black Rock Shooter battles against Death Master in a wordless conflict that seems endless. Cut to modern-day Japan, where Mato begins her first day of junior high school (sixth grade). She decides to strike up a friendship with a reticent girl in her class, Yomi, who just moved in to town. Over the next year, the develop a deep bond as best friends. Meanwhile, Black Rock Shooter continues her battle against Death Master. At the start of the next year, Mato and Yomi are separated into different classes, but they try to maintain their friendship. However, it is not long before Mato begins to hang out with the captain of her basketball team, Yuu, and Yomi gets jealous. Suddenly she disappears, and Mato is disconsolate. Mato visits their favorite spot, and is transported to an alternate reality where she is Black Rock Shooter, reaching out to Death Master, or rather the woman fighting her that has been taken over by Death Master. The two embrace, Yomi is saved, and everything returns to normal…except for Yuu…now feeling left out…
My Thoughts: One of the most anticipated shows of the year, and for those insane Vocaloid fans out there, one of the biggest disappointments. Since I don’t give a flying fuck about Vocaloid-anything, I had no expectations. This is really *two* shows: About ten minutes of Aeon Flux-style battle scenes with the Black Rock Shooter and Death Master, and then about forty minutes of a touching story of friendship between two middle-school students — the two parts totally unrelated until a tenuous link at the very end.
Artistically, it’s very nice, all done up in cool blue tones and black. But when you get to the actual story…well, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, “There’s no there, there”. Okay, two young girls who end up being best of friends, that’s all quite cute. But, what’s the point? In the end, Mato saves Yomi from her destructive feelings of jealousy…the end. Well, the animation was cut from whole cloth, the only basis being a single character design. Starting from zero they had to create something, I understand that. But, couldn’t they create something that had an actual *story*, something to build upon?
As a one-shot Original Video Animation, ultimately I give this the thumbs-down because there’s no reason to watch this at all. Pretty from a visual perspective, but it’s all facade and no substance. If there was more to chew on (e.g. this was the first of several related shows), I might reconsider, but Black Rock Shooter by itself is not worth the effort.
For more info:
Random Curiosity Review: http://randomc.net/2010/07/25/black-rock-shooter-ova/
An entire wiki devoted to Black Rock Shooter. Unh? http://blackrockshooter.wikia.com/wiki/Black_Rock_Shooter_Wiki
Official video trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWSeSlH-Gdw
The tally for Summer 2010 season first episodes so far:
Passing Grade: Ookami-san, Highschool of the Dead, Mitsudomoe, The Occult Academy, Black Butler II, Kurenai OVA, Nurarihyon no Mago
Failing grade: Amagami SS, Sekirei: Pure Engagement, Seitokai Yakuindomo, Strike Witches 2, Shukufuku no Campanella, Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail, Digimon Xros Wars, Black Rock Shooter OVA
Up Next (not necessarily in this order): Legend of Legendary Heroes, Sengoku Basara II, Asobi ni Iku yo, Shiki, Cat Shit One, Kaichu, Break Blade, Bungaku Shoujo Memoire, Zettai Karen Children OVA