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Black Rock Shooter – 05

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「ブラック★ロックシューター」 (Burakku★Rokku Shuutaa)
“Black★Rock Shooter”

Last week I described this series as “unconventional”, but this week led me to believe that “disturbing” works just as well. There’s just something really creepy about a real-world setting where someone is clearly disturbed yet pretends to be taking it well on the surface. I didn’t think it was possible, but Yomi is actually proving to be creepier than Kagari in some regards, mostly because she looks like she’s cursing people with bracelets made from her own hair and only a push away from taking those scissors to her own wrists.

It’s unsettling, but the good kind of unsettling, as Black Rock Shooter continues to deliver emotionally powerful depictions in the regular world that rival the masterfully choreographed battles in the alternate one. I thoroughly enjoyed all the psychotic vibes I got from Saya after she strangled Mato for a bit and laughed it off like it was a cute prank (messed up…), and the 3D spectacle of BRS plowing through hordes of Deadmaster’s minions both small and large, but I absolutely loved the Sixth Sense-like feeling that I got from the sudden twist where Yuu might’ve been nothing more than a figment of Mato’s imagination. I was thinking that Yuu’s house wouldn’t be where Mato thought it was and lo and behold it wasn’t. However, that suspicion didn’t take away from the build-up toward the eventual revelation. The same goes for Mato’s tears after only realizing now that her and Yomi’s favorite book has a terrible ending. (Frantic scribbling tends to make my skin crawl, because the end result borders on trypophobia — a fear of a cluster of small holes — which I seem to have an acute case of.)

Now as for what I think is going on, I get the feeling that Yuu is actually the alter ego of Strength and not the other way around, judging from how Yuu referred to Mato as “Black Rock Shooter” and said that she’s her first friend. It’s pretty evident that both Yuu and Saya are aware of their other selves, considering that Yuu confronted Saya about how she’s messing with Yomi, but their level of awareness makes it seem like they’re from the other world. If this turns out to the case, it would explain why Yuu is some sort of transient existence and why Saya is purposely throwing students into depression (i.e. to serve as emotional meat shields for Black Gold Saw). For now, it looks like Yuu’s offer to make Mato aware of the emotional burden that’s being shouldered by BRS has led to some very dire results though, as BRS has lost it in a purple blaze of fury. I’m not sure if this means BRS herself has fallen into despair like the broken star suggested, but it does look like we’ll learn more about Saya’s side of things when Black Gold Saw steps in next time.

Whatever happens, this was an awesome turn of events that was made even better by the soundtrack and Yomi/Deadmaster and Mato/BRS’ screams at the end. Powerful stuff. I can’t seem to get enough of this show.

* As noted in the updated Winter 2012 Schedule, Takaii will be picking up coverage of this series for the remaining three episodes.
* Full-length image: 10.

 

Preview

Black Rock Shooter   05   Preview 01 Black Rock Shooter   05   Preview 02 Black Rock Shooter   05   Preview 03

Watch the Preview!: Streaming ▼

March 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm
62 comments »
  • March 5, 2012 at 10:05 pminfo600

    “and the 3D spectacle of BRS -plowing through hordes of Deadmaster’s minions-…”

    wrong image

    anyway…

    that is even more disturbing…I LIKE IT…(wow, did my sadist side showed up?)

  • March 5, 2012 at 10:09 pmwhoisfriend

    Yuu being the manifestation of Strength and not the other way around is my main theory as well.

    Also, I’m glad the series finally gave us something to theorize about. It’s been fairly cryptic thus far.

  • March 5, 2012 at 10:17 pmKou

    This is one of those show where I don’t entirely understand what is going on, not entirely sure if I like it but for some inexplicable reason can’t stop watching it. The implication that Yuu may not be entirely real really threw me. Since Yomi clearly gave that bracelet to someone and if she didn’t give it to Yuu then who did she give it to? I too felt confused and cheated and wanted to strangle the writer for writing such a plot twist right when you’re getting attached to the character. The reveal at the end was a relief as I might have pulled my hair out in frustration if they left it as a cliffhanger.

    • March 5, 2012 at 10:45 pmThe Moondoggie

      Maybe only those who still have an Other!Self can see Yuu. If Kou’s theory that Yuu is STR’s manifestation in Mato’s world, as opposed to the other way around, the it fits. Saya-chan might be aware of the fact she is BGS.

      • March 6, 2012 at 1:29 amc2710

        but how do you explain the fact that she was “talking to someone” in one of the previous episodes?

      • March 6, 2012 at 8:17 amAex

        She might’ve made herself disappear from their memories, maybe because she only wanted to talk to Mato/BRS and didn’t see the point of hanging around the school anymore.

  • March 5, 2012 at 10:22 pmClick

    That was actually a pretty good episode. Even though Yomi’s still pretty goddamn annoying and Saya’s character has a really awkward background (a counselor with psychotic tendencies?!? How did she get that job in the first place?), overall the episode had great flow and a really, really creepy atmosphere. Plus, the connection to the Other World was finally revealed, which was something I was really waiting for. While I wouldn’t say it was emotionally powerful or profound, this was by far my favorite episode so far.

    Yomi is actually proving to be creepier than Kagari in some regards

    Oh yeah. Big time.

  • March 5, 2012 at 10:26 pmThe Moondoggie

    IBRS appears after BRS manages to kill DeadMaster/Yomi! Now I don’t know which is the Real World, and which is the alternate. Yuu doesn’t exist, or does no longer exits, in the Real World and knows that Mato is BRS. Is Yuu really STR, traversing dimensions to help her friend?

  • March 5, 2012 at 10:35 pmJustinnnnnn

    You can picture my jaw consistently dropping more and more during the last 10 minutes of this episode. Things just got more and more twisted.

    “So now Yuu was part of Mato’s imagination? And in reality she’s as messed up as everyone, a-la-Shutter Island? mmm wtf…”
    “Yuu is alive, ok? Wait….She knows from this other world? mmm WTF…”
    “Mato is in a coma now?! MMM WTF Yuu how is this helping?!”
    “Mato kills Yomi and BRS goes berserk and AHHHHHHHHHHHHH WHAT THE FFFFF—-

    Yeah, pretty much my reactions. This show is awesome.

    I don’t know if I’m happy that they decided to connect both worlds this way. I knew they’d have to link everything together by the end of the show, but I never expected it’d be having characters like Yuu, and possibly Saya too, literally knowing of its existance, like if it was some Narnia-parallel world. BRS has been an awesome ride till now though; they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt from me, I’ll eagerly await the ending.

    I also enjoy a lot more the 2D, in-real-life story of the middle schoolers than the battles, mainly because it’s the central plot and a very interesting drama too…But that’s just me; I’m sure there is a large audience of BRS that is exclusively interested in the fights.

    Still…This week’s fight was pretty sick; it’s almost as if they wanted to make up for last week’s lack of action…No complaints here!

    Whoa, and I didn’t realize there are only three episodes left…That’s a shame, but I guess that explains the super quality this show has had since episode 1.

  • March 5, 2012 at 10:39 pmpwnzarsaurus

    hands down, best CGI i’ve ever seen in an anime.

    • March 5, 2012 at 10:45 pmClick

      Until you see Macross Frontier’s. Your mind will be blown.

    • March 6, 2012 at 12:40 amYumei

      I certainly was surprised to learn that everything in the other world was done with CG. I thought for sure that it was a mix of CG and hand drawn images.

  • March 5, 2012 at 10:40 pmXin

    Trypophobia is my knowledge level-up for the day, and before I even clicked the link my first thought was that it would be a Botanist’s demise lol. I have my degree in Botany and disregarding even the semi-occasional macro structures like the one you linked, when you get down to the microscopic level you’re pretty much swimming in formations like that.

    Anyway, I liked the direction this ep. is starting to push the series in. I’m in agreement with all the good points you make about the show, and while all the angsty drama is serving its purpose of character development and is linking the two worlds together it was starting to border on too much for me. Its like the show read my feelings though and picked the perfect time to tone down on it and start to go into more exposition.

    That said, I’m looking forward to the next ep. and getting some background on Saya. Her character is just so so wrong, I want to leap into the screen and punch her face in.

  • March 5, 2012 at 10:44 pmGhostalker

    Just about when I’m almost ready to say “Divine thank you for not dropping this….” then I read the last part of his post. Anyways I’m still very thankfully somebody will cover this show. It’s quite sad in my part that this series which is my favorite this season doesn’t seem to receive the kind of attention I am hoping let alone coverage which only a few of the blog site I frequent offer the same level Divine writes on his post.

    Black Rock Shooter TV is quickly becoming one of my favorite series of all time, it’s like reminiscing how I used to like watching Telenovelas (or soap operas) back in the late 1990s (and early 2000s) until it become so diluted of the same formula and I stop watching eventually all together. In BRS, the drama is there, yes it’s a bit melodramatic but it’s fine, its not irritating in fact I like it all, then there is the creepy and eerie feel on it which further increase my attraction and fascination on how moving and powerful every scene it has shown to me, the music in the background elevates that feeling, and then again there is the other world that really is a visual spectacle of what our heroines in the real world are feeling and expresses it in a totally unconventional way, actions speak louder than words after all.

    So far everything is great, I only lament on how this is only an 8 episode series, it could have been 12, but oh well ~

  • March 5, 2012 at 11:00 pmKumakaori

    random/relevant note: Looks like cracked designs show proof of possession, or crazed, or insane, or “evil mode” or whatever you want to call it. … Looks like it might be up to Yu to knock the sense back into Mato :o?

  • March 5, 2012 at 11:16 pmcyp

    Great episode! I find it MUCH more entertaining than the OVA. Well the OVA kind of seems like a beta now. Although, I would argue that the (now) old school dead master is hotter. But the old school one seemed more adult in appearance so it wouldn’t work in this world… or would it? :D

    And DIVINE… thanks for making me realize just how susceptible I am to the power of suggestion! When you described trypophobia, and I gave myself a mental visual, then I clicked on the link of the plant, my freaking hair stood on end and skin crawled … NO JOKE! hahaha I best not visit any hypnotists anytime soon. That just rocked my world! EEK!

  • March 5, 2012 at 11:28 pmctorkildson

    Did anyone notice how Yuu had no shadow? Look at the next to the last picture.

    • March 6, 2012 at 10:59 pmCakec

      Yeah, I noticed on some scenes before that too… Anyone checked if she had one in earlier episodes? :|

    • March 7, 2012 at 8:53 amJimhawk

      I checked all four previous episodes and no, Yuu does not ever cast a shadow, and the animators hid this very well. She’s usually found in the shade or looked at with an upward angle to hide this fact. Very, very interesting. What I’m interested in is how she was able to send Yomi a text message if she doesn’t exactly “exist” in the real world.

      • March 7, 2012 at 10:10 amGhostalker

        For this I want to use Divine’s post on this, that the producers of this series clearly has a “vision” and not just ripping off existing BRS fans. In my opinion, this series deserves more praise and attention than what it is getting now.

  • March 5, 2012 at 11:28 pmfragb85

    HAHAHAHAHA! This show is amazing. Yomi has gone through the deep end and her mom doesn’t even have her checked to an asylum (WORST MOM EVER). Then Saya just CHOKES Mato, and somehow Mato doesn’t just call the cops and have her arrested for assault. Oh, and then Yuu doesn’t exist….maybe. That certainly surprised me, I didn’t expect her of all people to be the one who knows everything.

    And finally the awesome action scenes of the Other World are back. But dam nit I was kidding when I said Dead Master was going Necron, but I half expected the undead mooks to start firing Gauss rifles.

    • March 5, 2012 at 11:36 pmThe Moondoggie

      She didn’t call the cops because she’s confused: Saya was supposed to be one of the good guys(for her). Much like how rape victims keep their cases secret out of fear.

      • March 6, 2012 at 5:49 amGhostalker

        I agree to you Moondoggie.

  • March 5, 2012 at 11:40 pmThousand Mistress

    So this concludes the truth about Yuu. I’ve noticed in the previous episodes that it’s only Yomi and Mato who seem to notice that Yuu is around them…and to think that Yuu had no shadow at all. For me, the theory here is that Yuu is Strength’s human form and she travelled to the real world to help/support Mato.

    Yomi on the other hand, I still like her anyway despite her mental change. Because she’s Dead Master. XD

    As for…well, next episode we can see insane!BRS. Yeah, finally. Putting up a real and decent fight..I guess she’ll be sparring with Black Gold Saw.

  • March 5, 2012 at 11:40 pmMrMartini

    I love it when people’s sense of reality becomes distorted. This episode reminded me of the works of Satoshi Kon (may he rest in peace). The last scene in particular, where Yuu is talking to Mato, reminds me of a certain episode of Paranoia Agent. Just look at the shadows.

  • March 6, 2012 at 12:20 amRoguespirit

    This episode was so awesome. The best fight so far as expected from these two. We know what happened when Lewis Carol took drugs: this is what happens when some Japanese writers do it. lol, I’m kiding(kinda) there’s no doubt though that this story is quite inspired. I don’t regret picking it up.

    Last time when I saw Strength dump chariot’s body into the gorge I figured she might be working with BGS and I knew Yuu was close to Saya to some extent. Interesting theory that Yuu is Strength’s alter ego, that makes it more interesting.
    Strenght near as I can tell is sitting on the fence in terms of what side she’s on only taking action this time for Mato’s sake, it was a side of Yuu that we hand’t seen before.

    I’m glad you mentioned the music just before the end credits, it was epic I love those deep orchestral riffs. It tells you that something awesome has just appeared or is going to happen. Like the beginning of Neodammerung just before Neo and Smith faught in the matrix, or duel of fates in the phantom menace, or like the Karas soundtrack. BRS eye flame burning like a blowtorch just added to the awesomeness.

  • March 6, 2012 at 12:49 amronri

    Oh wow, you can really see that the creators of this series are putting some real thought into this and how things are playing (they even brought in IBRS which is a nice touch). It’s amazing how they’re keeping everything suspenseful, yet the need for answers is not exactly something that’s important just yet (heck it gives the series of events a more ethereal atmosphere if you ask me). Also the idea in which Yuu is the alter ego of Strength presents some really interesting possibilities about the characters. Definitely one of the best shows this season, so far it’s provided some of the most unsettling moments.

    Oh and let’s not forget Saya who continues to hold that air of creepiness…..
    Saya: “Ahahaha, it’s okay I’m just strangling you as a joke.” <— TOTALLY NOTHING WRONG GOING ON HERE

    • March 6, 2012 at 3:29 amCybersteel

      There was a fad in the late 80′s amongst teens. It was about a choking game where people would choke one another for the “fun” of it and peer pressure. Of course some people died… It was popular back then but nowadays that kind of fad is hardly seen these days.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fainting_game

      • March 6, 2012 at 4:38 amronri

        Yeah I’ve read about that fad before and it still continues to puzzle me. >_>

      • March 6, 2012 at 12:26 pmDa5id

        The planking of the 80′s…

  • March 6, 2012 at 1:33 amc2710

    the entire episode had me loosing my breath…

    its plain disturbing, particularly when Saya tried to strangle mato, mato’s scribbles and the paint.

    i’m not sure which is more disturbing… madoka or BRS

  • March 6, 2012 at 2:13 amsuff

    It actually looks to me that Yuu and Saya knew each other from way back.

  • March 6, 2012 at 3:13 amDCLXVI

    MATO BROKE o.O

    The purple flame is a mix of red and blue, so it suggests that Saya’s influence is getting to her (it’s the coffee, I tell ya!)

    All this disturbance is making me think of Deadman Wonderland all over again.

    • March 6, 2012 at 3:31 amCybersteel

      Deadman Wonderland was actually kinda fun. This is kinda more creepy.

      • March 7, 2012 at 1:04 amThe Moondoggie

        If you read the manga too, yeah. DMW is fun.

        BRS isn’t creepy though. But I guess, that’s just my yuri googles set on auto.

  • March 6, 2012 at 3:39 amsaka

    and thus Insane BRS was born

  • March 6, 2012 at 3:55 amnyaa

    YEAH!! insane brs!

  • March 6, 2012 at 4:51 amSingerOfW

    Why does the book end while there are still lots of pages on the both sides of it? Was Mato too scared to ever read past that page or something?

  • March 6, 2012 at 5:33 amricz

    IBRS appeared + 10 for BRS the animation

  • March 6, 2012 at 5:33 amLostLife

    IBRS on action ! and is that girl in preview more looks like Black Gold Saw taht Saya?

    • March 7, 2012 at 10:29 pmPlatinum

      The girl in the preview is probably Saya. Not only has Saya been “hinted” to be Black Gold Saw in the most unsubtle way possible for the past four episodes, but both Saya and the preview girl have the exact same mole in the exact same place (under her lip). What I find interesting is that it seems Yuu may not be from Mato’s time, since Yuu’s shown sitting with past-Saya and looks to be the same age as ever.

      I only hope that Saya’s backstory doesn’t negate that sadistic edge to her character and turn her to the side of good, or whatever. It’s rather fun to see Saya mess with the oh-so-fragile minds of middle school girls with all the enthusiasm of a kid burning ants.

      • March 8, 2012 at 10:00 pmc2710

        Yuu thats not from the same timeline…. That that makes her similar to homura?

  • March 6, 2012 at 5:42 amnasa

    So i don’t get it, will takanashi forget mato now?

  • March 6, 2012 at 6:51 amKitsu

    Mato gotta save her girlfriends! I hope!

  • March 6, 2012 at 7:39 amMoeronic

    Whoever wrote that children’s book is a sociopath and whoever published it is an idiot.

    On another note,
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • March 6, 2012 at 8:14 amAex

    That was a seriously dark ending to a picture book… “Oh and the cute bird dies”… what?! Looks like Saya’s done playing nice too, not that it matters now that Yomi’s done :(

    I think our chances of a totally happy ending just jumped out the window, but I still have hope. At this point though, “happy ending” may consist of Mato, Yuu, and Saya disappearing from the “real” world and being forgotten while everyone else goes on with their happier lives. Bleh.

    Very interested to see what becomes of BRS next time…

  • March 6, 2012 at 12:25 pmDa5id

    CHRIST! Who thought middle school girl drama was so serious?!

    • March 6, 2012 at 11:10 pmThe Moondoggie

      Or deadly… Seems like children mature more earlier as each generation pass.

      Signs of the times I guess…

      • March 8, 2012 at 3:57 amDa5id

        I don’t know what middle school you went to, but at mine “mature” did not equal “become incredibly defensive about my friend hanging out with people she already knew before meeting me”.

        This show really pushes the boundaries of a realistic relationship…but as long as there’s BRS moments, I can ignore it.

      • March 8, 2012 at 6:42 pmThe Moondoggie

        We don’t have mid school here in the Philippines. After six years elementary, we go straight for 4 years high school. Then college can go for 3(vocational courses) to 10(?)(doctors, lawyers) years.

        And anyway….

        THIS WEEK! ON BRS:SNEAK PEEK!

        Yuu is in the Other World and the one in the RL is STR?!? WTF is this sorcery?!?

  • March 7, 2012 at 12:04 amToki

    It’s weird, but I’m really not looking forward to next episode, and seeing Yomi get “cured”. I can relate to her so much – the pain of always being people’s second choice, the one they only acknowledge if there’s nobody they like better around, the one nobody would miss if she wasn’t there. If people magically start caring about her, I’m going to go back to feeling like I’m all alone in this.

  • March 7, 2012 at 5:00 amAvalanche

    Yuu only exists when she is interacting with anyone with the main four with strong persona’s. She was only visible to the basketball senior when the senior had a persona. (I’m using persona for lack of a better word). The draw between the five of them in the opening finally makes sense. BRS (Mato) is trying to free Yomi from Kagari’s clutches. Chariot (Kagari) doesn’t want Yomi to leave her. DM is envious of Yuu’s relationship. Strength is trying to stop Saya from torturing he girls in the other world. BGS is trying to stop Mato from fixing all the bad feelings.

  • March 7, 2012 at 1:30 pmFreddeh

    I have to admit, I was feeling pretty down and iffy on this show after the 4th episode, mainly because the alternate world was just feeling like a showboating of what was going on of the real world, instead of actually existing in the story. Boy am I glad I watched this episode, because now that that theory is shot down (and this episdoe happened) my intrigue level is ramped back up to 11 (out of 10)!

  • March 7, 2012 at 3:27 pmDrCNCh

    Just watched the episode, and I have to agree with that Sixth Sense vibe from Yuu. Up until she showed up again, I thought that Mato was just a complete nut, but I’m glad to see that the Other World is something much more real than was previously hinted at (and by that I mean that it might be working both ways).
    As to the book, I can also only assume that it is some kind of moralistic fable (a la the Grimm’s Faerie Tales) about coveting that which you don’t have, otherwise the author was just messed up in the head.

  • March 8, 2012 at 3:20 amKamiyaCheap

    Insane BRS Coming next! Who gonna stop her?

  • March 8, 2012 at 4:12 amBiribiriGakusei

    Nice review ^_^ can you add the new pictures from the ending? :)

  • March 9, 2012 at 1:28 amD-LaN

    This show is now on par with Another in term of creepiness.

  • March 9, 2012 at 7:02 amAsh

    whoa! i cant get the image off my head! (referring to the trypophobia- plant thing) i got goosebumps and got itchy all over… oh, man. anyway, great episode! great blog post as well! =)

  • March 9, 2012 at 11:49 amZero

    … Blood-C ruined this show for me. I can’t stop laughing. I don’t know why. Is it because they expected me to develop a emotional reaction to all…. this? I mean, we had an emotional breakdown in episode 2 itself. Along with free resolution.

    Some time soon, I swear, there’ll be another analogy to the rainbow bird… and this time it’ll burning and writhing beneath the weight of all the feelings and emotions it had accumulated through its short bitter flight.

    Also, that coffee’s SO drugged.

  • March 9, 2012 at 11:55 amZero

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • March 9, 2012 at 12:55 pmGhostalker

    I can’t wait for the episode 6 post, this episode made me realize that Insane BRS is not just here to show off how she is super awesome that makes you want to pay that insane price tag just to get her.

    I’m talking to myself — Figma Insane BRS bundled with Blu-Ray box set ~ PRE-ORDERED!

  • March 19, 2012 at 5:20 pmwhiteviolet

    Thanks Divine for that Typophobic picture – my skin is still crawling, that’s a phobia I didn’t know I had.
    Great if not confusing and creepy episode. Although what kind of children’s book ends with the bird dying??