Black Rock Shooter OVA – Over-hyped nonsense and broken dreams

Sorry in advance.
Black Rock Shooter is a song by Ryo, also known as the leader of the band Supercell. The song is sung by Hatsune Miku, and
the song gains mass popularity to the extent that when the OVA was announced, it was said to be the 'best' OVA we would
have this year.

Over-hyped bullshit.

BRS,  or Bull-Random-Shit, is one of the greatest letdowns in Anime history this year, aside from Angel Beats!.   I was literally pumped up to watch this for the whole day. I downloaded it yesterday, and throughout school I kept telling myself to watch it the moment I got home. I was expecting an hour of mind-blowing goodness, an OVA I would never stop talking about. I was already a little fan of the song, as well as the art, but not to a great degree. Nevertheless I was excited for the OVA.

Here comes disappointment.


BRS is about the yuri-ish relationship between two friends, Mato and Yomi. I’m not kidding. The first 40 minutes are just slice-of-life, occasionally interrupted with random fighting scenes. Mato makes friends with Yuu, and spends a lot of time with her, causing Yomi to become jealous and literally disintegrate into black dust. In the end, Mato receives a SMS from her, cycling to the park in the middle of the night and finding the phone charm she and her bought.

Then, all of a sudden, HER PHONE CHARM EXPLODES!

A huge beam of light strikes her, and she is sent to the world where Black Rock Shooter resides. She breaks out from the chains, frees Yomi from Dead Master by hugging her, and saves her. The end.

What. The . Fuck.

For the first 80% of this OVA, all we got to see was typical school-life antics between two girls, a common, if not over-used trope in Anime. From the very start it would be fucking obvious who’s who, seeing as how Yomi immediately brings to mind Dead Master. Not to mention all the completely unrelated fighting scenes, which the audience are expected to watch without question. Why are they fighting anyway? Who knows, who cares, it’s Black Freaking Rock Shooter! Is that how we really think? Then immediately plenty of questions are brought to mind. There’s this loli kid who shows up in BRS world, probably Yuu’s persona. Why is she there? Why did Yomi turn evil? Better yet, where the hell are they?” Where is this place they are fighting, anyway? I would have shut up if I got some poor reason like ‘a dream world’ or something in the OVA, but nothing.  Absolutely nothing. SO many questions, but nothing resolved.

Not to mention the ending sucked. In the last 8 minutes or so, I was still confused. Thankfully, the director ‘threw in a way to link all the questions together”. All I knew was that Mato is Black Rock Shooter (if that wasn’t fucking obvious already) , Dead Master is the ‘evil’ side of Yomi, in my opinion anyway. Still doesn’t explain anything. Heck, I’d watch a 5 minute battle OVA between the two and still come out the wiser. So in the end, the story was not told in chronological order, but that solves nothing. That still solves nothing.

Who can honestly tell me that the show made sense? Logical sense, I mean?


Surprise lesbian sex.

The show is also full of lesbians. Okay, fine, full of good female friends. And by good, I mean bad. Really bad. Mato seems to be your typical innocent moe character, much like the characters from Marimite. She gets a few good friends, and then hangs out with other people, resulting in aforementioned friend becoming jealous and evil and whatnot. Yomi kinda sucks as a friend. Simply because Mato has another good friend, she gets jealous and whatnot. Not to say this isn’t normal behaviour, or that this isn’t common acceptable teenager-like behaviour, but it appears that all the girls in the show are that weak. Yomi and Mato get back together again, leaving Yuu in the lurch and probably leading to some kind of a battle between BRS and Strength, or what they tell me her persona’s name is. It makes me think that BRS is some kind of super-violent student counselor or something, who breaks into people’s subconscious to fight the demons within. Hey, that’d be a great story. I can write stuff too. Take that, Ordet.

Given the style of plot movement, character development would have been crucial, if not essential for success. That’s exactly where BRS OVA suffers. Due to its poor direction, its characters don’t get developed sufficiently. We don’t feel attached to the characters at all. You know you’ve succeeded when the audience feel some nuances of attachment to a fictional character. For instance, people liked shows like Clannad and whatnot because they could relate to them , making them feel all the sadder. BRS is as successful in this area as a chicken trying to fly after being shot off a cliff. If the characters would die, I wouldn’t feel nothing. Okay, maybe except for Mato because of Moe Power (TM) but otherwise no.


Multi-dimensional chess, anyone?

This is where BRS shines, or looks less fail than the other segments. BRS’s art is superb. They know how to work this properly. From the recurring imagery of gravestones, chains, and whatnot to the checkerboard tiles in BRS’s world, we have this feeling of desolation. Of desertion, much like what I assume, we were supposed to feel for Yomi being ‘left out’ . The real world was also much more cheery compared to this world, being made up of mostly light blue and pastel colours, much like the sky on a good day.


Where was the song? A measly BGM? You could have at least used it as the ED.

The BGM was okay, but too slow-paced for my interest.


A story about two friends, Mato and Yomi. Mato takes on the persona of Black Rock Shooter to fight Yomi’s demons. Your standard tale of school friendships and action/fantasy. Nevertheless, quite a letdown, given the great amount of hype and speculation.

There might even be a sequel D:

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21 Responses to Black Rock Shooter OVA – Over-hyped nonsense and broken dreams

  1. Alx2oy says:

    Angel Beats was okay lahhs..

    • Valence says:

      Yeah, but it was still a let-down, I expected it to be awesome D: It’s as though the last episode decided to point its proverbial genitalia provocatively at the remaining parts of the series or something. They literally fucked up all the characters in the last episode. Yuri *just* disappears despite being one of the main characters, and Kanade’s heart-beat thing was just screwed up. If not for Kanade I’d drop the entire series already.

  2. Alx2oy says:

    yeah quite true..but if it were longer i think it would have made more sense..but that’s just my assumption ><

  3. ScorchNRoses says:

    There’s probably gonna be another OVA since they still didn’t really show who BGS is in real life and the loli kid you are mentioning is STR (Strength).

    Frankly speaking, I totally love this OVA ’cause I expected something like this! 😀 No way the story would turn out good since there is no story for BRS in the first place. Nevertheless, it was great to watch the action and school life. Am so gonna buy the DVD (`・ω・´)

    • Valence says:

      I mean, they kept branding it like the must-watch OVA of the year but it’s so darn mediocre, hence my nerdrage.

      Action was kay I guess, content quite mediocre as well. I’d probably not buy the DVD, unless it’s like really, really cheap or something. I might get it for the extra with Linkin Park’s Hahn in it.

      ….I heard they’re giving the DVD for free in some country somewhere though.

  4. trewdys says:

    The combatants in the magical BRS world draw their power from human emotions and also need these humans as vessels. We can see that it’s a battle world from the prologue where Shooter and Gold Saw battle and Shooter loses and gets her scars.
    Shooter gains her power from Mato’s desire to save Yomi, while Dead Master draws on Yomi’s jealousy. Same for Strength and Yuu, presumably. Yomi didn’t “turn evil”, neither did Mato “become” Shooter. Some are nice, like Shooter, and will ask, while others like Dead Master just take the humans, which is why Yomi actually disappears. This is no dream world.

    So, yes, higher levels of inference skills, connection drawing, suspension of disbelief and plain imagination are needed than the average animu, but you have 50 whole minutes to figure this out. Yeah, sucky content, but I don’t see anything unresolved.

    >Heck, I’d watch a 5 minute battle OVA between the two and still come out the wiser.
    See: [gg]_Black_Rock_Shooter_OVA_Abridged _[8849D2A8].mkv

    • Valence says:

      I mean, I had to goddamn rewatch that to actually find out all the links and whatnot. But really – 50 minutes? If it was say, spread out or had better pacing I would have accepted it, and instead this would be one of its pros. In 50 minutes, you have to be really effective to get your point across – which in my opinion the OVA just failed to do.

      Besides, sucky content made the show hard to ingest. Even after you explained it to me, I still find the OVA unable to tie up its ends efficiently, so there.

      If I had just watched it once, I would have everything unresolved.Look – if I have to rewatch it, and even be told by other people about what was happening, wouldn’t that signify something?

  5. Ming Xuan says:

    Disappointing. Nuff said

  6. Lenneth says:

    Well…they did do a good job in making us getting overly excited from the trailer and making us wait for I don’t know, 3 MONTHS over the said date which was supposed to be in april…watching this OVA has wasted about an hour of everyone’s time…what a let down…

  7. Fabrice says:

    .wtf.. i myself enjoyed it..
    What can you expect from a OVA of 50mins?
    a masterpiece? of course not.

    I liked it, i thought for OVA is nice, hopefully that will lead to a TV anime, and thats when youll get more bg informations,

    of course you cant fit every single detail in that short amount of time.

    • Valence says:

      Sure, enjoyment is subjective but content was bad. I mean, if you promise something at least deliver a fraction of it ._.

      If there was indeed a series, I’d have second thoughts about watching it though..

  8. Nopy says:

    “The show is also full of lesbians.”
    I totally agree with you there. BRS reminded me of the yuri manga “Girlfriends” when I watched it. As for the art, I thought it was terrible (the school-life part). The characters had deformed hands and legs, lines and shading were missing, and they never bothered to animate anything outside any windows.

  9. Asterisk says:

    Well at least the OVA remained true to huke’s artworks… but STILL!

    It was really disappointing. I tried to re-watch the entire OVA, thinking that there must have been some critical information or detail that I was missing. This can’t possibly fail! But I found nothing. I understood the story, but it was really too plain. In fact, if you rearrange the order of events, you’d easily figure out the ending – which must be why they shuffled the order of events in the first place.

    And then when I checked the internet for reactions from fans and found that a lot of people were actually sharing their “interpretations” of the story… which is, I think another proof that BRS OVA failed to convey the story effectively, leaving a lot of viewers to speculate about the supposed meaning of the unclear and choppy series of events that took place.

    • Valence says:

      Sometimes shows want you to spectulate. Usually these have sequels or they are mystery /thriller shows. BRS is neither one of these. BRS might have been argued by some to be ‘great’ given its synergy between Mato and Yomi, but really, who knows what was happening for majority of the show? You’re in constant confusion since they keep switching from scene to scene. I mean, you don’t even know who is BRS until the very end , although it was obvious.

      And what about Strength? That unfortunate battle at the very start? Tossed aside, forgotten, a source of speculation.

  10. RakkaKaze says:

    Saw the most random picture I’ve seen a while and decided to drop in…
    (…Black Top… Che[t]wer?)

    I actually liked most of the story/animation since shows that have only fight scenes make you want more, then you get disappointed by delivery failure.

    The story was both chronological and not… which hopefully most got and the mid point was the end based on how it played out.

    As for emotional ties to the OVA, you have to realize the position they set characters in such as Yomi, the rich girl who doesn’t speak out much… Especially in a place like Japan, to-be-friends don’t walk up to you much (Actually most people there don’t walk up to anyone much unless there is a specific need to…)

    It’s the idea of abandonment and lonliness, she finally finds something good in life, and then it feels like she got set back down where she was, and anyone who knows what it’s like to have things taken from you (or threatened so) should be able to relate to that.

    As for the production value… in quick scenes, sure people weren’t sometimes as much shaded with more than one cell but the overall style was fairly well kept to the show depending on which world they were in.
    To be honest I noticed the light fanfare styled BRS theme near the beginning, and after that I was paying more attention to the story, especially due to the constant jump back and forth.

    As for GoldSaw/Strength, those are perfect reasons for a second/multiple OVA’s, who knows maybe the show will become the best thing since Akira, maybe it’ll flop and be forgotten. Overall though for a 50min. OVA stemming from a short Hatsune sung song stemming from some random art huke made… I think it’s pretty well done compared to shows that have BOOKS already written beforehand…

    (art -> song -> OVA ~ Meh)
    (Descriptive Books -> Full Season Animation ~ Meh)
    To me the song was meh, loved the art, OVA was decent enough to keep the DVD in my laptop most of the time. (Not saying much though since I own very little DVDs)

    • Valence says:

      Problem is, if the OVA was set up for future series, doesn’t that make it nothing more than a 50 minute ad?

      Art was great.

      • RakkaKaze says:

        Well for those that don’t like it, you get what you paid for… Free anime.

        Those that liked it, free anime that was worth keeping?

        And as for being an Ad, I think it was more they foreshadowed future events with other events that occurred near the story’s time line. Think of it like… midway cliffhangers that make you wonder before the show has even ended yet.

        • Valence says:

          Problem is, even if it was free quality is still an issue. But of course, since there’s a game and possibly a sequel coming out, I have hopes for this show.

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