Title: Black Rock Shooter (OVA)
Japanese Title: Burakku Rokku Shūtā
Also Known As: BRS (OVA)
Director: Shinobu Yoshioka
Summary by Rizwan Merchant:
On Mato Kuroi’s first day in junior high school, she notices one of her classmates, Yomi Takanashi, and quickly befriends her. Over the course of their first year together, they become best friends. Unfortunately, the two begin to drift in their second year due to different classes and activities. Meanwhile, worlds away, an epic fight is underway between two young girls, one armed with a large gun and blue fire on her eye, known as Black Rock Shooter, and the other equipped with a scythe, known as Dead Master. These two seemingly separate events are more closely linked than it seems.
Review by Rizwan Merchant:
At one of my most recently attended anime convention, I noticed quite a few cosplayers armed with some of the most amazing weapon props I had seen in a while. After careful investigation, I learned these cosplayers’ characters were from an anime called Black Rock Shooter. Entirely too enthralled by the cosplays, I decided to check it out, and I jumped in headfirst. I didn’t know anything about the plot or characters; all I knew was that there was an OVA released in 2010 and an anime released in 2012, and that there are varying opinions on both.
Unfortunately for me, the OVA falls into the “meh” category. Why is that, you ask? To put it simply: this OVA is extremely confusing and disjointed. On one hand, we have a slice-of-life story between Mato and Yomi. On the other, we have two incredible badasses battling it out. The connection between the two is really unclear until about forty-five minutes into the fifty-two minute OVA, which leaves the explanation feeling rushed, and the ending entirely too unclear. On top of that, the main characters Mato and Yomi start out a bit on the bland, stereotypical side, with nothing really distinguishing them. One is more mature, while the other is a more outgoing. However, Mato does develop her personality quite a bit toward the end, which makes her much more likeable and easier to connect with. The same is not true for Black Rock Shooter and Dead Master. In fact, I know nothing about them whatsoever.
Fortunately, Black Rock Shooter (OVA) redeems itself with phenomenal art designs and beautiful characters. The battle scenes are mesmerizing, and the animation is great. I especially love the increasing intensity of the fight as the two girls in the normal world drift apart. The music is also really well done and adds a lot to the overall atmosphere. The music is calm and, for a lack of a better word, happy in the happier moments of the story, and it’s adjusted accordingly for the fight scenes and the sadder parts.
Overall, the OVA is interesting but begs many questions that are just not answered. You would think the creators could have given us a bit more detail, but we essentially ended up with nothing. The animation is pretty, and the fights are badass, but that’s about it. I’m told the anime series does a much better job of telling this story, however, so I will have to look into that version.