OP Sequence

OP: 「ブラック★ロックシューダー」 (Black★Rock Shooter) by supercell feat. 初音ミク (Hatsune Miku)
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「あとどれだけ叫べばいいのだろう」 (Ato Doredake Sakebeba Ii no Darou)
“I Wonder How Much Longer I Have To Scream For”

The Black Rock Shooter anime is finally here and the most notable difference from its 2010 OVA counterpart is that our heroine “BRS” — alter ego of Kuroi Mato (Hanazawa Kana) — gets subjected to a lot of gruesome beatings and takes them all without so much as a whimper. It’s almost as if the producers are trying to appeal to sadists who’ve fantasized about roughing up BRS and breaking down her stoic and resilient image. As such, the anime they’ve produced can range anywhere from sadistically alluring or downright unpleasant to watch depending on who you ask.

At the moment, I fall somewhere closer to the “sadistically alluring” end of the spectrum, as the screenplay and choreography of the action sequences are a pure treat — one of the main reasons I was looking forward to this anime — and the punishment that BRS endures helps accentuate the intensity of the battles. What’s more, it packs a lot of punch to see BRS chained down by Deadmaster — alter ego of Takanashi Yomi (Sawashiro Miyuki) — and then get absolutely impaled by newcomer Chariot — alter ego of the extremely creepy Izuriha Kagari (Kitamura Eri). We then see BRS scream out in anguish but not make a single sound, adding to the overall effect. The flip side of course is that it’s excessively violent to young girls, which if Higurashi no Naku Koro ni has taught us anything, can actually make things more difficult to watch. (Unless of course, you’re a sadist.)

Story-wise, it turns out the TV series is a retelling of the OVA rather than a sequel. This time around, BRS and Deadmaster’s fight in the other world is not because Yomi is jealous of Koutari Yuu (Asumi Kana), but because of the aforementioned creepy newcomer Kagari, who’s very controlling of Yomi and won’t allow her to have any other friends. Much like the gory fight sequences, the change-up is much more disturbing — so much so that I found Kagari’s polite yet clearly disdainful attitude toward Mato scarier than anything I’ve seen in Another so far. Kagari giving Mato all the “dirty-colored” macarons was more than enough to sense the hostility in the air, but giving her a relatively ugly-looking doll to play house with and repeatedly telling her to “get lost” took it to a whole other level. The sight of Mato trembling and the sound of the soft yet deafening music sent chills down my spine, and at the same time, impressed me with how dark and twisted of a series we have here. The “Kotori Tori Iroiro no Iro” book that both Mato and Yomi like augments the creepiness to a certain degree too, because we hear Mato reading some lines from it when BRS is getting brutally mutilated.

To offset all that, we only have school counselor Irino Saya’s (Noto Mamiko) words of encouragement, which seem to suggest that BRS’ battles in the other world are a representation of the pain that Mato feels in her heart. From the sound of things, if BRS doesn’t give up, then Mato won’t fall into depression. Where things go from here should be interesting, since Yuu’s alter ego Strength and Kohata Arata’s (Numakura Manami) — edit: or Saya’s — alter ego Black Gold Saw are slated to join the fray. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like either of them will be siding with BRS — not if the opening sequence is any indication. In any case, this was a great start to the series, which befitting has the supercell song that started it all as its opening theme (used as an ending here).

* Full-length images: 03, 16.

 

Preview

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131 Comments

  1. sure was not expecting black to get so beated up…and kagari…kitamura eri with sadist voice creps the hell out of me to think she is also doing my favorite nise character, karen and miu in papakiki ughh still a good start althou i was expecting more action…i could forget that with the OP thou

    leo
    1. Yeah, we do tend to forget how much range Kitamura has. Especially since Hanakawa become such a sensation the past (and this year). Eri is giving this a delicious creep factor.

      skylion
  2. I am seriously glad that they decided not to show blood and gore
    in this series. Some of the scenes were gut wrenching to watch though…

    That Izuriha girl is seriously creeping me out….. I really
    hope that good smile wont make a chariot figure so I won’t need to buy
    it to complete the set…..

    oliviaven
  3. Wow. Just wow. While the OVA is a heartwarming action, I can equate BRS 2012 to something like a moefied version of any gory shounen action anime.

    And they beat up BRS just because the other girls want her for themselves? Yandere/Yuri much?

    The Moondoggie
  4. Still not feeling the new designs or the CG battles, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

    I didn’t find Rock’s thrashing to be particularly “disturbing” because it never really seemed to injure her much, even when Wheels was grinding her wheel-feet right into Rock’s torso.

    1. Very interesting series…

      Total agree with Fencedude there on the CG stuff–I’ll have to see more of it to be convinced. Call me old-fashioned, but I still see 2D frame-by-frame battles a lot more fun to watch, partly because of all the hard work you see the studio put into those sequences. It’s not like CG is easy stuff, but it usually looks a bit clumsy.

      Will definetly keep an eye out for these series. Loves the episode’s pace and violence, it almost felt like a short movie. Hate it when they delay stuff: they could have perfectly ended the episode with Mato’s shocked state, but they decided to keep things moving and have her ‘man up’ and move the relationship forward.

      +10 Points for this show!

  5. I cant help it but to take an instant dislike to kagari after seeing her for few seconds but at the same time, there’s this inexplicable pity for her.

    Adding to that, i thought this series was independent of the ova. Didnt know it was a retelling plus i didnt spot black gold saw’s reality ego. Thx for picking it out

    c2710
      1. You could try watching the show and finding out.

        Also, Black Gold Saw is one of the earliest characters huke made for the universe, in fact I believe she was the third, after Black Rock Shooter and Dead Master. She also appeared at the beginning of the OVA, fighting Rock, and is the one who (in that at least) gave Rock her scars.

      1. Seldom known? I thought they were pretty well known even before. Aren’t they one of the main reasons that GC was hyped up so much?

        But yeah glad that they’re making even more appearances in anime now. And yeah as Fencedude said, out of any show BRS having them makes the most sense.

        ritsuka
      2. Were they? I don’t remember hearing much about them before the Cencoroll OVA came out. Speaking of which, did you hear they’re making a movie for that? HELL YES.

        Also I think this is the first time a Vocaloid has done an anime op! Or did this happen before?

        And yeah, half of GC’s initial appeal is Supercell, the other half being redjuice’s character designs.

        Da5id
      3. Bunch of shows? Their songs are only in Guilty Crown and this. Hardly what I would call a bunch. (I’m not counting the songs that ryo wrote for other animes as they were performed by other people)

        Spinarakk
      4. well redjuice is part of supercell so I count him in the package.

        I guess it spends on if your referring to only ryo as supercell or the whole lot. Edit to my previous comment just in some though I had it mistaken: I’m glad -ryo- is getting more work in anime these days, but then I’m also glad for redjuice(GC) and huke(BRS). Oh and nagi (Ano Natsu)

        ritsuka
      1. Ah. Personally I’m pulling for it being Saya, since Saw has “Final Boss” written all over her, and I don’t see how in the world Arata could get involved. Unless of course that “Him” she was discussing isn’t a “he” after all.

        Neither of them really look like Saw though, and so far all the alter-egos have at least passing resemblances.

      2. Yeah, Arata’s thick eyebrows don’t really match Black Gold Saw’s, but it’s worth noting that Saya’s still not listed as a character on the official site (while Arata and BGS are). I was kind of surprised to see her in this first episode, being voiced by Noto Mamiko and all.

      3. Perhaps Saw doesn’t even have an Alter Ego? She seems from her “appearance” this episode to be some sort of…controlling force, perhaps, of that world.

        I would not be surprised if by the end, Rock, Dead, Wheels and Strength have to team up to defeat her.

      4. She is the forth character on the character list now, maybe they have just updated after airing the show?

        Anyways, my bet is on Saya being BGS too. Those red eyes watching over at BRS being tortured by all her lovely friends is nicely fitted with how she is the counselor who has her standpoint above other characters in the show
        …and she knows Mato’s problem.

        I can feel that last boss wipe from her too, while Kagari looks like just a middle boss.

        and it might be weird but the fact that she has a mole makes me think she must be an important character. (*laugh*)

      5. Hmm, I’m fairly sure she wasn’t there yesterday (and definitely not when I wrote the season preview or else I would’ve mentioned her), but given the current ordering, I’d say it’s possible that Saya’s BGS. Post has been edited to take into consideration the possibility.

    1. I’m fine with the glasses, but what really sticks out is the veil.

      Dead Master wears all black and has black hair, but she is wearing a white veil. That just does not match.

      MasterDragonKnight
    1. Even if she isn’t, was anyone else kinda creeped out by the “encouragement” she gave Mato?

      “People will definitely betray you in life and make it feel like your heart is bleeding, but don’t worry because it isn’t really YOUR heart that’s bleeding!” That’s either some crazy foreshadowing or I just missed how it was supposed to be helpful >.<

      Aex
      1. You probably haven’t heard enough Miku then. It may just be my opinion but I think the vocaloid fandom is simply so expansive that while theres heaps of bad songs there plenty of good ones as well. That’s part of the fun. And with music, everything varies depending on how the composer uses it Miku. She never sounds completely the same even more so when you count in her append versions. Some she could be a squeaky jarring artificial mess and in others she just simply isn’t. Of course all will end up sounding a bit artificial in some way but artificial doesn’t necessarily mean bad. (:

        ritsuka
  6. So I watched the OVA for this a couple weeks ago to get prepared, and I feel like something’s missing. I don’t recall them explaining or providing any bridge between the school friendship and the badass reality marble action parts. I got that she was fighting with her friend because her friend felt let down and sad that they weren’t hanging out more, but why were they fighting as superheroes? Is there any explanation why these girls have these super powers/ability to go into reality marbles or whatever?

    baltar
    1. No, the OVA did not explain it at all. In the OVA all the action scenes scattered through the runtime are “flashes forward” to after the point where Mato meets Rock and…uhh…Makes a contract, I guess.

      The Other World is at least partially metaphorical, but Yomi DID vanish off the face of the planet, and Mato DID journey through a mysterious world to bring her back. How and why is left unanswered.

      Hopefully the TV series will be a bit clearer on this point.

      1. Good. When I had finished the OVA, I felt like they had taken the first third and the final third of a story and shuffled it all together, and left out the middle third that explains why/how the established characters are doing what they are doing. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who was confused. Hopefully the TV show helps out with that. Since the premise could certainly be cool.

        baltar
  7. The pacing for this first episode was the exact opposite of the pacing for the OVA, it’s as though they’re assuming we already all seen the OVA (which most of us indeed have) and decided to skip all that introductions and straight into this “reboot” story. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a bit disoriented.

    For me, the jury’s still out, I’ll still be applying the 2-3 episode rule before I decide how Okada Mari is going to weave the story between Mato and her BRS alter-ego worlds. But supercell’s Miku song that started it all being featured means this could yet improve.

    BTW, is BRS made of tougher materials than Skynet’s Terminators or what? After getting rolled over by giant wheels and impaled endlessly by massive spikes, she hardly even bears a scratch.

    Kinny Riddle
  8. Just watched it. It does seem to be a retelling of the OVA, interesting addition of Kagari.

    With the OVA, Mato did meet BRS near the end which makes me wonder, will the worlds intertwine at any point or will it always be the juxtaposition between slice of life kind of drama and the fighting scenes.

    I don’t mind them using BRS, Dead Master etc as symbolism for now but I kind of wish the worlds actually have some sort of interaction at some point.

    ritsuka
    1. If they make BRS’s world pure symbolism instead of a connected world, I’ll be pissed. I’ve wanted to know forever how Dead Master kidnapped Yomi in the OVA or wtf actually happened there that made Yomi physically disappear. Really hope they don’t just axe the connection and make it two never-meeting worlds that run parallel for an unexplained reason.

      Aex
  9. Chariot is already becoming a favorite of mine (even from the early designs).
    Gotta say I love Kagari, she adds an extra WTF-creepy-factor that seems rather appropriate for this kinda series.

    ronri
      1. I… don’t think that’s right.

        The only incarnations of BRS I know about are the drawing, Vocaloid music video, the ova, and the game. I don’t remember any kind of yuri undertones from these (haven’t played the game, but that was about some kind of alien invasion so I doubt there was yuri in that.)

        I guess you could argue for yuri in the ova, but I saw it more as friendship. In this anime, it’s pretty obvious that the two are in to each other.

        Moeronic
      1. I love BRS that’s why I’m watching this. And the only part with yuri is the human world, The BRS world part is full of awesomeness and action. And as the tittle suggest I’m wathing this because of BRS, I could care less about their “human counterpart”.

        kurochan
    1. Actually from this episode it seems they enhanced it. In the OVA it was possible to just think them as friends. But with Mato’s blush and Yomi staring at Mato and whispering “beautiful” it seems they want to leave the subtext and turn them to overtones instead.

      xephx
  10. Hm… So the BRS world is nothing more than a visualization/personification of the emotions and relationships of the characters? While an interesting concept, it seems to be kind of, er, how do I put this… a let down? Is there nothing more to this other world than to give the audience a exaggerated explanation of the happenings in the real one? Great visuals is not all there is to a good fight scene and the lack of investment that I had with the BRS world’s characters just didn’t make the fight as thrilling for me as I would have liked.

    Also, kind of sucky that they didn’t continue the OVA and opted to re-do everything. Though this kind of makes me less sad about not getting the previous school uniformed BRS figmas.

  11. It seems this show has taken the OVA’s queue of weird fight scenes and yuri high school. With more episodes on its belt they will probably make all this clearer. The OVA aleays had my head scratching.

    The loli violence made me cringe though. Its a good thing it all happens in stylish, trippy backgrounds so it makes it bearable to watch. Its good that they aren’t wasting the budget on the fights

    fragb85
  12. Do you think that the poem recited by Mato at the beginning of the episode represents the characters of BRS? The number of poem’s lines matches the number of characters with alter-ego. It also mentioned “tiny bird/kotori”, which is the alternative spelling of Yomi’s family name (Takanashi).

    Anon
    1. We really don’t know that for sure yet… It seemed a lot more than that in the OVA, more like a connected world where “beings” that fed off human emotions lived and kidnapped people, and I get the same vibe here. Just have to wait for BRS and Mato to meet and see what’s what.

      Aex
  13. I was stunned by the quality of animation in this episode and I hope they will keep the bar high for the remaining episodes. But why does Yomi have glasses now? Watching this series people would never guess the origin of BRS. This is a show you don’t watch on drugs cause you’ll go over the edge.

    Roguespirit
  14. Hmm… I dunno… Hope this is just how it starts off, because BRS seems way too weak right now. Maybe just because she’s fighting two on one, but even before the chains started coming, Chariot was sorta kicking her ass. Feels wrong to weaken BRS for the sake of gore, so I hope there’s more to it.

    Otherwise I like where this is going! Be interesting to see what the connection between the two worlds is. Need more!

    Aex
      1. I just re-watched the OVA, that’s why I felt like BRS seemed too weak. She and Dead Master were pretty much an even fight till the end, so Chariot mauling BRS like nothing just seems overpowered to me. Sorry if I missed something.

        Plus the Black Gold Saw fight didn’t really give a sense of how strong BRS is, just that BGS is probably stronger.

        Aex
  15. i thought the BRS characters are something like their ‘personas’
    go matoi, make some social links & get the ultimate cannon!
    the fight scenes were pretty awesome.

    speaking of which, it’s more of a kana hanazawa season.

    saka
  16. The episode was meh to me.
    But oh god Sawashiro Miyuki <3!!! + Hanazawa + Kitamura Eri + Noto Mamiko, i can even watch it with my eyes closed and it'd be good, such an amazing cast.

    Trombe
  17. There’s something about tormenting a loli that’s just soooo… Gosh, BRS is trying to turn me into a sadist :/
    I wonder what’s Yomi’s and Kagari’s relationship? They’re probably not your usual housemates. Also, I’ll be more than happy to eat to those “dirty-colored” macarons. They look positively yummy to me…

    Seishun Otoko
  18. After Nisemonogatari, Black★Rock Shooter is my second most anticipated show for Winter 2012 and seeing how I’m extra satisfied with this first episode I guess I can say that all the months that I’ve waited and the anticipation that comes with it are all taken care off.

    Also I’m happy that they decide to use the original Black★Rock Shooter theme sung by Hatsune Miku (of VOCALOID) as one of the ED/OP theme of the show, it may have almost 4 years since it was release (2008), but the theme just never goes old in my hearing, it is still very pleasant to listen to.

  19. Ok. Time to eat my words. This is pretty good. Really good.

    Sure, I loved the OVA designs, but the new ones aren’t bad. (I still would have prefered a non-glasses Yomi).

    And Kagari… unsettling and creepy as hell. Poor Mato, she seriously needs an hug after being bullied like that.
    I liked the fight scenes. When Black goes serious against Chariot is awesome. Sadly she get chained… again.

    Yeay for Miku in the OP. And double yeay for high doses of yuri!! Screw subtext, yeay for text!! 😛

    I cant wait for the next episode.

    Rincewind
  20. Sigh…
    In the short 22 minutes of air time, my impression of BRS-TV goes from “Interested” to “Slight disappointment”.

    This episode would turn out better IMO if not for the unnecessary, excessive violent to the bishoujo. What on earth the producer was thinking!? Seriously, I felt slight discomfort during those moments.

    I wouldn’t mind if it was a necessarily for the plot, something which i don’t see a slight hint anywhere.

    Hope next episode turn out better. =/

    Watever
  21. So its basically a school-life/growing-up anime?
    But with relationships personified to BRS and the other avatars?
    Will that innerworld overflow to reality?
    Is there a one bad guy?

    Kind of reminds me of American McGee’s Alice.

    iron2000
    1. Wild thoughts:
      Chariot defeated = Kagari understands and let go?
      Deadmaster released -> Mato and Yomi become good friends
      Then Yu gets jealous -> leads to BRS vs Strength
      Somehow good friends Mato and Yomi quarrel -> leads to BRS vs DM
      Not sure how the overseer Black Gold Saw comes in yet.

      Anyway when Kagari entered did she suggest that Yomi caused her to be wheelchair-ridden?

      iron2000
      1. Yeah, it seemed like the wheelchair was what was more-or-less enslaving Yomi to Kagari.

        As for the order(all speculation based on OVA and interaction of two worlds), beating Chariot will probably get Kagari and Yomi to a better place somehow, but then Yomi will get jealous of how close Yuu is to Mato and BRS will need to fight Dead Master to save Yomi, then Mato will probably pay too much attention to Yomi instead of Yuu so Strength will need a sound beating to save Yuu. Black Gold Saw really is anyone’s guess right now though.

        Aex
      1. That’s what I was thinking. It seems like they’re pointing their weapons at the object of their alter-ego’s strong emotions, whether hatred or obsession or something else powerful.

        Aex
  22. This will be a good series to watch – shocking in places too. Brutal and dark is good but this was almost Higurashi level brutal at times (although i will admit that Higurashi is in my top 3 favourite animes ever). Quality was very good too.

    Also loved the OP / ED in this – massive Hatsune Miku and vocaloid fan in general. I was hoping they were going to use the BRS song instead of something whipped up and im very glad they did, its one of the better Miku songs.

    Thundershock81
  23. I don’t know. I agree with the general things that have been talked about. The general atmosphere created, the characters,
    but how about the utterly horrendous animation that comes in when they aren’t using CGI?
    I don’t know much about animating, but when Mato’s eyes are kind of floating all over the place, it does seem like they could’ve done a better job.
    Her brother, some of her classmates and the people in the background don’t just look ‘plain’ and unimportant like they should. They look like blobs on top of that.
    I don’t know, but I feel that the OVA had a more shallow plot (from what we can see now anyway) but the artwork, animation was tons better.

    Sylvia
  24. Some may say otherwise, but I really enjoyed this.
    I’ve been a follower of BRS since the PV for the OAV came out, and I’ve loved every second of it. Some thought the OAV was kind of…childish and bad, but I honestly loved it. The TV series made me realize that more. It’s such a cool concept of someone or something taking the pain from your heart, so you can live on. I’m very excited of where this anime will go. All I know is, it’s only up from here!
    (the only problem I had was the animation differences along with Yomi and DM’s character designs. The first was to be expected but the latter…hmmm…)

    Nikku
    1. The point of BRS isn’t really clear yet. I’d suggest watching the OVA personally, it’s really good if you like action. Basically two girls(Yomi and Mato) became friends, but then Yomi got really jealous of another friend Mato had and got really moody/depressed. The one day she went up in a shimmer of black and seemingly disappears from the face of the earth. Mato gets really upset and looks for her everywhere, and near the end meets Black Rock Shooter.

      While all this is happening, there’s scenes of another world where BRS and Dead Master(a “demon” that looks like Yomi) are fighting, and when BRS finally wins you find out she’s been fighting to save Yomi, who Dead Master somehow kidnapped. It’s presumed that the kidnapping was tied into Yomi’s emotions.

      So yeah, it’s far from a complete story in the OVA, but very intriguing. The series looks like the same basic concept with more added to it. Very much an action show, but with school life, comedy, and drama thrown in when BRS isn’t in action.

      Aex
  25. The battles are awsome, the animation is amazing and the story is very interesting, all the premiere catched my attention. Chariot is brutal and truly sadistic and her aler ego Kagari is equally disturbed, I wonder who the hell that crazy girl is. I can´t wait to see where the story is headed but I´m sure it´s going to be dark.

    haseo0408

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