Who’s crying? I’m not crying! Totally…not…crying…
|As I said from my 50 questions post, I had been completely swamped with assignments, but guess what? It’s Spring Break! What a better to chill by finally finishing Black Rock Shooter, right? Well, this definitely didn’t turn out to be a series I could chill with…|
So what’s gone down after Black Rock Shooter killed Dead Master? Well, after being struck by spikes of purple crystal, Black Rock Shooter upgrades to a purple flame and better, longer, more powerful weapons. Meanwhile, Mato is trapped inside Black Rock Shooter, feeling the pain that comes from ever single injury she receives from her current battle with Black Gold Saw. In the real world, once Yuu notices that Mato doesn’t awaken, she takes her to Saya, who reveals that the awakened Black Rock Shooter will destroy their world. She decides to try and save Mato, and another girl, by calling out to her in the Other world.
In that moment, there suddenly begins a flashback to Saya’s days in middle school where she meets Yuu, a stoic girl having to endure pain from hardships both at home and at school. Saya attempts to become her friend, but one night, Yuu’s house is set on fire and Saya mistakenly thinks it was Yuu who did it. Just after she finishes the thought, Yuu comes out with a fireman, calling out exactly what she thought. Desperate to still remain a friend, she finds Yuu at the riverbank and apologizes, even saying she’ll do anything for her. After talking about another girl who saves her from pain, Yuu takes up on the offer by asking Saya to protect her. She puts their foreheads together and makes her recite her ‘other’ name, Black Gold Saw.
Forward to the Other world, Black Rock Shooter is about to kill Black Gold Saw, but is stopped by Strength. She then cracks the ground and the three fall to the core of the Other World: a large, misshapen cube glowing orange. Hiding Black Gold Saw, Strength faces Black Rock Shooter, initiating a brutal battle. Meanwhile in the real world, Yuu tells that the reason Black Rock Shooter fights is to save others from their grief, but it’s wrong.
Episode 7 has Saya revealing that she can’t reach the Other world, leaving Yuu to try and call out to Mato despite Saya’s protests. She calmly talks of Mato hating anguish and saving people who are overwhelmed by it, which gave birth to Black Rock Shooter, who saves them by severing their emotions. They need to stop her now before she kills their counterparts and Mato will be lost forever. Yuu’s voices manages to reach Mato, but her words have Mato questioning who she is. Mato admits that she didn’t want to be hurt or hated, and feels that she was running away. Yuu tries to bring her back by saying it’s normal to avoid pain, that she wasn’t the one running away. Suddenly, in the midst of defending an attack from Black Rock Shooter, Strength starts talking. She goes on about Mato’s ‘excruciating’ whining and telling Yu, or the real Strength, to protect her. It’s then revealed that the real Yuu has actually been Strength in the real world, while the real Strength has been Mato’s Yuu.
The real Strength starts her story of the Other world, which had been created from the pain and anguish of girls living in reality. Counterparts had no feelings and battled constantly. Before dying by Black Rock Shooter’s hands, the real Yuu called out to Strength and awakened her own feelings. She learned of Yuu’s extreme pain and evaded Black Rock Shooter so she wouldn’t be killed and leave Yuu alone to handle her pain all by herself. One day, Yuu asks to trade places as she wants to escape the real world and live in the more ‘simple’ Other world, where they are now at presently.
Episode 8 continues to show the brutal battle between the real Yuu and Black Rock Shooter. To prevent her from killing her, the real Strength drops herself down a black hole to hopefully rid of the pain that clouds the real Yuu’s sense. However, Mato so strongly wishes to stop them from both vanishing that a sudden bright light emits and she finds herself as Black Rock Shooter in her own world, looking up at Insane Black Rock Shooter (right name correct?). Mato says she doesn’t want anyone to bear her pain and wants to experience it all herself, just as the tiny bird experienced all the colors. It’s then Insane Black Rock Shooter brings on a brutal beating to Mato, saying you can’t get hurt without hurting others. However, after coming to a conclusion within herself, Mato brings out the big guns and the two go all out on a machine gun battle until five bright lights appear from the cracking dark sky.
All the while this crazy fiasco has been going on, Yomi has forgotten Mato and occasionally feels that someone is in great pain. During a study break in class, the teacher announces that Mato has been missing for the night, causing Yomi to run out of the classroom and start regaining her memories. Koha, Kagari, and other girls suddenly start remembering as well, just as their counterparts appear before the two Black Rock Shooters, declaring their love for the girls they protect from pain. Their combined colors create an incredible weapon for Mato that blasts away Insane Black Rock Shooter and causes the core of the Other world to finally form a perfect cube.
shit is going down once you bring out the rainbow canon.
Mato awakens in her own body and finds the real Strength on the verge of death with the real Yuu crying out that she can’t live back in reality. The real Strength tells her that she won’t be alone, that the real world can be wonderful, and that she, and the other counterparts, have been fighting all along for them because they love them, before shortly crumbling into dust…
The two girls awaken in the real world, with Mato wondering aimlessly through the streets until Yomi finally finds her. Before she can tell her much, Mato hugs her, crying, apologizing for hurting her and wanting to be in pain together with her. The next morning starts off with noticeable, happy changes in Mato, Yomi, and Kagari; even Koha arrives to school with the boy she confessed to. Yuu makes her appearance at school and the girls welcome her warmly. As Mato narrates about the (many colors of the world), each of them don a knit bracelet with their appropriate colors, smiling happily.~
I can only imagine the painful impatience waiting for these last three episodes; I would’ve strangled someone had I watched them when they first come out. Anyway, WOW. I didn’t think this show could’ve gotten more twisted while at the same time more fluffy. This series veered off into a direction I would have NEVER been able to predict, and in fact, most of my speculations turned out to be wrong: Black Rock Shooter ended up fighting her last battle with herself (technically), Saya wasn’t really the villain, and the whole thing with Yuu and Strength just popped out of nowhere. I have to say though, I did like the Yuu/Strength twist; I haven’t gasped that loudly in a long time. Anyway, it was interesting to hear the story behind the Other world, and how Black Rock Shooter came to be created as the exact opposite of the other counterparts. Seems even trying to save people can become too much, as Mato trying to be always good became too much for her. Everyone has their breaking points, and for Mato’s, it resulted in Insane Black Rock Shooter.
Insane Black Rock Shooter was pretty…insane. I was strangely giddy at all the battles scenes she was in. They were incredibly intense, excruciating, and brutal! Every other action scene seems PG compared to those that took place in these last three episodes! You can tell they spent all of their budget on those last battle scenes as the real world animation just grew more sloppy. At one point it seemed like their voices weren’t even matching with their mouths anymore. My favorite animation though came from those scenes where Strength was telling her story about the Other world. I loved the old school comic-y, black and white feel that came from that.
As for negatives, the transitions from real world, to the other world, to flashbacks didn’t seem as smooth to me because of the overall fast-paced vibe. What was really off putting about this though was that they were throwing out so many messages at you, as well as events to sort of back them up. It was ‘Being too good is bad!’, ‘Too much pain is bad!’, ‘Running away from reality and pain is bad!’, ‘Share pain!’, ‘You need to experience all the colors of the (wind) world!’, and other messages that were so packed into certain scenes, making each episode feel cluttered, overstuffed, and uneven. Then, of course, they had to pan out the main message over three episodes while leaving only some messages in one episode, which got me incredibly confused when it came to summarizing. I wasn’t sure if they were still on the issue of one thing, or had finished with it, or were continuing on the main message. That being said, at least they managed to get out the main message through the analogy of the tiny bird story. I loved that they incorporated that into the series. While a little cheesy for my taste, I found it to be a beautiful analogy, especially at the end when the tiny bird rises from the darkness of death, ready to start anew just as the girls, who have risen from their own darkness, will. Mato’s final message however is my absolute favorite as she has shown how wonderful the world can be amidst all the pain. You have to accept all the colors, all the trials, all the dark unpleasant things in the world; you can’t escape it, but you can get by and grow. The world is truly wonderful even with all that.
For a series as a whole, it did have its problems, but turned out to be pretty enjoyable. The beginning yuri novella story lines were cringe-worthy, but successfully spanned out to become quite interesting with some dark twists and a sweet closure. Where the real world animation failed, we got some awesome CG Other world animation that captured the intensity and brutality that were the kick-ass battles between the counterparts. Is it better than the OVA? Well, in terms of a less boring storyline, I think the anime version takes the gold, no matter how deranged and fluffy its story got.
For some reason, I had wanted to hate Black★Rock Shooter (as a series), but I just couldn’t. I mean, its OVA was my first post here on Metanorn! I think it’s because Black Rock Shooter became a
pain in the ass challenging show to blog . The challenge was good for me in the end though. Anyway, while I won’t be putting this series on my all-time favorites list, I’ll definitely remember all the insanely kick-ass battle scenes, sweet yuri-vibes-galore scenes, and beautiful tiny bird analogy that came to pass on Black★Rock Shooter. Hope you all got some enjoyment from this series, and thank you for reading! Until next time then~!!
The All★Girls Power Ranger league thanks you for your time~