「闇を駆ける星に願いを」 (Yami wo Kakeruhoshini Negai wo)
“Wish Upon A Star Soaring Through Darkness”

In an alternate world where girls are fighting just for the sake of fighting, a new challenger arrives who changes everything. But this alternate world happens to be linked to the real world where each girl fighting is actually a manifestation of a real person’s stress and pain. Except for one fighter named STRength who was Koutari Yuu’s alternate persona until Yuu switched places with her. Meaning that the Yuu we’ve known since episode one is actually STRength!

After taking a second to think about how far left field that idea is, I was surprised with how much I enjoyed the contrast between STRength and the real Yuu. Seeing how Saya was written off as a good guy and that I don’t consider Insane Black Rock Shooter a antagonist since she’s hopefully only lost her mind temporarily, Yuu have been filling that void quite nicely. Starting with that awkward break in the music signaling her entrance, there’s just something about her creepy demenaor and love for violence that make her so appealing!

Besides the amazing story which continues to spiral deeper and deeper, I really enjoyed how the story continues to reference the picture book that Mato cherishes. At first glance it sounds like a simple story of a colorful bird that collected colors from various lands until it lost its original color and died. But take a step back, and doesn’t that same story reflect the persona that Black Rock Shooter has? Taking on the burden of killing others like herself in order to save them from their suffering — to the point where she literally becomes insane.

So it looks like my prediction for the future isn’t completely broken! While it still blew me away when Black Rock Shooter shot her own legs to try to prevent Mato from getting control of her body, I don’t think everything is lost yet. With STRength already able to bring Mato out of her daze, I’m hoping that Dead Master’s revival will be the final push that will give Mato control over Black Rock Shooter. At the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if Yuu and Dead Master actually started beating her up tag-team style. But judging from the preview, it looks like I may be on to something.

P.S. Since this didn’t fit anywhere I thought i’d just toss it in at the bottom. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well crafted this anime has been since the first episode. With a story that’s deep enough to garner questions without being too abstract that it loses the main stream audience, BRS quickly went from being one of my low priorities to something I had to watch the moment it came out.

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      1. I was thinking of how to make an epic fight epic… Not the story as a whole….

        So far Japan still isn’t allowed to use Real Life girls in deadly fight scenes, so that’s out. Professionally choreographed fight scenes? Definitely would need more budget.

        The Moondoggie
  1. I liked the episode – and interested in the fact that a death in the alternate world isn’t permanent.

    I also appreciated the role STRength plays in Yuu’s sanity and why she is so important. The back story filled in even more.

    It is interesting that IBRS shot herself. Whether that was to protect Mato or to retain control- That’s the question I have.

  2. “Pleasantly surprised” is exactly how I’ve felt about B★RS since the first episode. My expectations weren’t that high because the OVA was just average for me, but the TV series has really established itself as a unique and compelling production thanks to the roller coaster ride that is its plot and characters.

    And as for Yuu being the new “antagonist”… Does there really need to be an antagonist for this show? I find it more interesting to look at each character through a lens of neutrality. Abandoning the notions of “good” and “evil” has helped me see every character as justifiably flawed, all of whom are lost and confused as to how to sort out their own emotions. If there’s any antagonist at all, it’s anguish itself, which would put all our girls on the good side since they’re just trying to overcome their pain in their own ways.

    Although I still can’t really forgive Saya for trying to choke Mato. Even if it was “just a joke.” That is still pretty despicable, no matter what her good intentions are.

    1. Agreed, it’s not so much there’s an antagonist or not, I see it more as everyone being different shades of neutral. Just that in Yuu’s case she’s kinda leaning on the far side of the insanity spectrum. >_>

  3. Makes sense that BRS is really powerful if Mato bottles up all her depression and doesn’t show it. I quite rather liked the twist that STR was always Yuu, it certainly adds up with the fact that present Yuu is doesn’t “exist”. And wow is the real Yuu broken having an abusive childhood and spending years just fighting will do that to anyone.

    Also if Dead Master is a Necron does that make STR(Yuu) an agent of Chaos? I just thought that was funny.

  4. And so the revelation continues. Explains why “Yuu” in the real world doesn’t seem to age, as well as managing to conveniently fade away from people’s memories when needed to, leaving only Mato and Saya to remember who she is.

    Speaking of Terminator, these alternate personae are all made of tougher materials than the average Terminator, to be able to withstand getting smacked to and fro and pound on the head by a crusher.

    Plus someone should really make an animated gif of “Yuu” grabbing Berserk BRS by her ankles and smacking her against the column. Coz it’s just too hilarious.

    Kinny Riddle
    1. About Yuu, I always thought that the only people who can actually see/communicate with her are the people who have connection in the other world. I maybe wrong but still for example, the time Arata is injured in episode 4, Yuu is trying to talk to Arata but Arata doesn’t seem to notice her.

      1. The “Other World” you’re talking about, we already have it. It’s called the Internet. =)

        We interact (battle, kill, or troll) with each other in forums, anime blogs, online games, fan-fiction sites, etc., with our online “other selves” that we created to shoulder the pain and all the crap we all have to face in the real grim-dark world of our everyday existence.

        For example, after reading a post on RandomC, or leveling up in an online game, or getting good reviews on one’s story on fanfiction.net, one feels slightly better, right? XD Black★Rock Shooter just shows it from the perspective of an all-female cast. Hehe.

        I called it right when I speculated that STRength is the Yuu we’ve been seeing all this time. I’m hoping for that Mexican standoff scene (with the characters’ weapons on the necks of the one standing next to them) the other selves have in the OP for the last episode. =)

      2. @TMK, Woah its not the 1st time but u r quite a thinker…..

        @GS basically the idea of otherworld is similar to the shadows/persona, so it depend on your mental stage. (tht is, if guys DO hv their otherworld..) So u either get something lk Orpheus to Disco Ninja Frog(wht-its-name again) or a creepy fetus.

  5. I never expected anything, it just delivered everything…

    So finally an explanation was given, I don’t even know where to start, but the thing is it is amazing how everything develop in just merely 7 episodes, I can’t wait for episode 8, I’m just very excited but at the same time sad that that is the finale also.

    I guess all-in-all, the fact that the original BRS OVA isn’t really that good (heck I didn’t even see the point of BRS fighting DM that time, or how the two worlds are connected, no that’s not the problem to it, it’s the timing when Yomi and Mato get to know each other and the timing of BRS meeting DM, I understand that they have to fight inevitable, but the sequence of events just didn’t match at all) in my opinion that made the TV series a real surprise. Using the basic premise from the OVA, innovate, added in new ideas, added in new characters, added in more drama, twist, add even more awesomely choreograph fight scenes and stunningly otherworldly creatures and setting, and a couple of other things…BRS TV is a complete package I may say.

  6. It shown that when Yuu connect with Strength for the first time, Strength start to have emotion. For example, Strength started to show “fear” and “I do not want to die”, after “connect” with Yuu and saw Black Rock Shooter again, who is continue killing other “emotions”. I know she did not say that in the anime but her (Strength) face shown it.

    Also, at the same time, I think Strength become confused on “what should I do with these emotions”. I known she did it for Yuu but I also think Strength did it for herself as well, because due to the fear of “fear of death” and she switch with Yuu with out any struggle. Yuu, at the same time, start to break down, emotionally. Yuu probably think “any place is better at where I am right now (reality)” so to escape her rotten life she switch with Strength.
    I am still confuse on how did they switch w/each other…….

  7. I bet no one saw tht IBRS will become the final boss, right? Or tht real Yuu is the bad guy?

    On the same note, how FakeYuu got into school and pay for stuff? Brainwashing?

    I am still curious of one thing though. How will they wrap up the story? We hv a lot more qtn here…. Like how BRS pop up when Mato still a kid(probably).

  8. I have to say that I’ve loved this series! Loved the OVA, couldn’t wait for the series and now I don’t want it to end T-T
    Though, like others have mentioned before, I’m wondering if we will see that scene from the opening of them all with the weapons to each others throats. I can’t see how Chariot can come back though… I mean, she got decapitated xD I can’t work out why Kagari is hurting like Yomi if her other self can really still be alive. Unless someone’s repaired her?
    My brother made a pretty cool assumption. Since Dead Master controls the dead, what if she made an epic collaboration of all the bodies sitting around her?! :3 Now, I’d LOVE to see that! Because, Dead Master has to be my favourite out of them all ^_^
    Also, have we seen that part from the opening of Black Rock Shooter chained above that rising blast? I can’t seem to remember it… Maybe I missed it in one of the earlier episodes. If not, then maybe when Dead Master does come back she helps stop insane Yuu and Insane BRS. Then, what’s left of them decide to release Mato from her despair? Maybe we’re going to have a sad ending in which BRS is finally stopped in her journey to free others from sadness and is thus freed from her own?

    On a sidenote, when Mato’s mum’s eyes where shown up close I thought she had an other self xD I thought if their eyes looked like gears it mean’t they had one. Probably just because no-one-without-an-other-self’s eyes were shown, maybe its just the drawing style. It would make one hell of a twist though!! xP

    Zero Godspell
  9. they’re all insane D:

    cant believe next ep is the last ep already, i have no idea how this is going to finish, mato and yomi are probably going to become best friends…but thats as far as im predicting xD

    1. I feel the same way. I wanted to watch this series as I’m not a fan of the whole vocaloids phenomena with fake idols and fake voices. Their basically dolls that do others bidding and as much as I appreciate the creativity that go into them their are still very lifeless/souless to me. I just don’t feel any emotion from the tracks composed with them.

      This anime address that fact beautifully by revealing what it takes to create a consistence life in Strength and possibly Dead Master and BRS in the finally. I’m a real fan of this Anime for it the violent mindless drones attack one another, Strength knows fear of destruct and chooses her battles wisely to protect what she felt was important Yuu.

      Also loved that we saw Chariot just before it was panned to DM.

      1. Every time I read about people saying that VOCALOIDS are fake idols and fake voices made me really want to question what they think of animation also…because as far as I am concern, their is absolutely no difference between a VOCALOID character singing and an anime character acting.

  10. It’s a pity the switch didn’t come as a shock to me since /a/ already figured it out. Note how Strength doesn’t have a shadow in any of the previous episodes, particularly obvious in sunset scenes. I thought that was pretty clever.

  11. Totally agree with your afterword there. This went from something that was mainly just a visual treat that I would get around to watching whenever it happened to quite the engaging story that I’ve been eager to get to right away the past few eps. I still think that the angst was piled on too strong and overdramatized/extended through too many episodes in the middle, but props to the conclusion for making all that buildup worth it.

  12. I had goosebumps when Yomi finally come to her senses and remembered Mato. “Bokuro no Ashiato” which was playing in the background brought out the strong emotions extremely well.
    Can’t wait for next week and what a great season winter has been!

    Seishun Otoko
  13. Definitely looking forward to the preview for next week. I have to admit, I got goosebumps when Yomi remembered Mato.

    All these images from the OVA to Episode 7 are great to look at. Any possible way of putting them together as a download link?

  14. “With a story that’s deep enough to garner questions without being too abstract that it loses the main stream audience, BRS quickly went from being one of my low priorities to something I had to watch the moment it came out.”

    +1 Takaii!

  15. I don’t know. I just wasn’t feeling it this episode. I thought it was cool that Dead Master would come back and the build up, but that was about it. I mean seriously. What’s it gonna take to kill iBRS?

  16. Okay, so I’m kind of got myself thinking on a small theory… It probably has no close relevance, but I’ll suggest it.

    The ‘gear’ eyes seem to have only appeared on those with other selfs. Although, no one without an other self has had their eyes shown up close. My theory now is that Mato’s mum might have an other self. We saw her eyes up close, and they showed the same gear pattern.
    Now, from what I understand, Black Rock Shooter appeared YEARS ago; before Yuu and STRength even swapped. What if the original BRS was Mato’s mother?

    Maybe I’m wrong but don’t the other selfs only appear when the real world versions experience despair? (if they’re there from birth, I apologise because this theory makes no sense then)But surely Mato wouldn’t have experienced such despair so great to create an other self at a young age. It might also explain why Show Spoiler ▼

    Perhaps iBRS WENT insane because Mato wasn’t supposed to be inside her. Her ‘awakening’ seemed more like a body rejection than an almighty powerup like Yomi’s Dead Master.

    I’m probably wrong, but thought I’d voice the theory anyway xD

    Zero Godspell
  17. I guess no one really is bad.
    In the end they are all acting on their beliefs.

    So Strength got a good ‘natural’ awakening?
    And Chariot and Deadmaster (and BRS?) got some bad forced awakening?

    Why did BRS appear with blue flames in the other B/W environment?
    Strength got the orange only when awakened, I suppose?
    Is it some style device to emphasize on BRS (in that sequence) and not really much plot-wise?
    Is BRS some natural occurance in the system, to be the hunter?

    So girls created the ‘Emotional Dream Network’, wonder what guys do?
    (Ok, rather simple origin but I’m satisfied :P)

    So having your avatar dead is escaping as well?
    (The pain Yomi and Kagari feel when their avatar revive?)
    Having your avatar bear the pain is escaping as well?

    What if all avatars achieve the ‘good awakening’?
    The dream world will be more civilized?

    Now to go watch the last ep 😛


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