Anime: Black★Rock Shooter
The little birds fly in the blue sky.
The ocean mirrors the blue of the sky.
The deep azure is heaven's ocean.
In the blue of the sky, heaven's tears lie.
In the tears of heaven, the little bird flies.
— Mato Kuroi's narration from the anime
In 2009, it was announced that an OVA of Black★Rock Shooter
would be made based on an original story created by huke.
The OVA had a simple plot: Mato Kuroi (voiced by Kana Hanazawa
) becomes friends with Yomi Takanashi (voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro
) in their first year of junior high school. However, in their second year, they find themselves in different classes and start drifting apart, especially when Mato befriends another girl, Yuu (voiced by Kana Asumi
). Meanwhile, in another world, Black★Rock Shooter is seeking out and confronting the mysterious, evil Dead Master. What is B★RS's reason for wanting to fight this Dead Master, and what relation does this have to Mato and her friends?
The OVA generated enough interest to make a new anime series
, running on noitaminA
's timeslot during the Winter 2012 Anime
season with a different director. The anime began airing on February 3, 2012, and had a slightly retooled
plot: Mato Kuroi enters junior high school and meets a girl, Yomi Takanashi, who seems to be completely distant and aloof. An attempt to become friends with her ends up into a nasty run-in with Creepy Child
Kagari Izuriha, who seems to be obsessed with Yomi to Yandere
levels. Mato ends up wanting to be friends with Yomi anyway, and meanwhile, Black★Rock Shooter seems to be in another world, still fighting...
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- Action Girl:
- All There in the Manual: For all that the OVA diverges from huke's original story in places, you're going to be confused without having looked into it. Black★Rock Shooter is the only character from her world whose name gets revealed!
- That said, the OVA's story is written to stand on its own for viewers going in blind.
- Alternate Character Reading: Yomi's surname, Takanashi, is written with the kanji "kotori asobi" ("little birds playing") and read "no hawks" as a play on words (see Punny Name below). Discussed by Mato, who thinks it's cool.
- Anachronic Order: All of the scenes that happen in the Otherworld, or at least the part with the chain-breaking and the Cool Down Hug, happen after Mato fuses with Black★Rock Shooter at the end.
- Mood Whiplash: The various scenes and transition can lead you to that, as well.
- Art Shift: Whenever it changes world.
- Autobots, Rock Out!: Battles between B★RS and Dead Master are usually accompanied by killer guitar riffs.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: One interpretation of what's going on.
- BFS: The more blade-like form of ★rock Cannon (not to be confused with the katana shown at first).
- Call to Adventure: "Do you want to save her? She's an important person for you. You are an important person for her."
- Chekhov's Gun: The area above the hill and the cell phone charm.
- Chess with Death: In order to save Yomi without killing her, Mato/BRS had to take a gambit in which she was taken to Dead Master's castle after the latter feels that she has already won.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: little Hiro Kuroi. You see him a total of three times: waking up in his bed, telling Mato dinner is ready, and eating dinner with his family. These scenes are very brief and don't effect the plot, so it shouldn't be a surprise if you mention Hiro and no one knows who you are referring to.
- Conspicuous CG
- Cool Down Hug: How Mato/B★RS saves Yomi from Dead Master.
- Creepy Cool Crosses: One of the landscapes that B★RS walks through is dotted with crosses.
- Damsel in Distress: Yomi - in a rare case where the Damsel in Distress is also (partially, maybe) the kidnapper.
- Demonic Possession: Maybe.
- DVD Bonus Content: The DVD has an additional Stop Motion video set to a remix of supercell's "Black Rock Shooter" song by Joe Hahn. (He's worked with anime before, like Samurai Champloo.)
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good / What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Dead Master cannot handle any form of love or affection and promptly dissolves. She also misinterprets B★RS's outstretched hand as an invitation to fight and doesn't understand when she does it a second time.
- Finger-Lickin' Evil: Dead Master.
- Foe Yay: Sort of, with small implications. If you consider Mato and Yomi "enemies", then yes. Possible (maybe) with that embrace of Dead Master from B★RS.
- Definitely Dead Master at being absolutely tickled at having B★RS in chains. Well, maybe it's Yomi, not Dead Master.
- Free-Fall Fight
- Friendless Background: Yomi.
- Genki Girl: Yuu, arguably Mato.
- Girlish Pigtails: Mato. Black★Rock Shooter has longer ones. Fitting, as they seem to be the same person.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Probably shows the moment B★RS got them, as in the intro scene where she fights Black★Gold Saw she does not have them, and it looks like Black★Gold Saw's final strike hits her in the right hip...
- Good Times Montage: Around halfway through.
- Green Eyes: Yomi has the only green eyes in their school, coupling with Green-Eyed Monster when Yomi grows jealous of Mato and Yuu's friendship strengthening Dead Master's grip on her.
- Grey and Grey Morality: People tend to forget that while most would think of Black★Rock Shooter as "good" and Dead Master as "evil", all of the "other selves" are in fact morally ambiguous since we don't know what their motives are.
- Shooter is the "hero" by virtue of being attuned to Mato, who just wants to save her friend. But that's about it as far as justifications go.
- Here We Go Again: So Yomi is safe and Dead Master is put to rest. Now Yuu is upset about being abandoned...
- Huge Schoolgirl: Yomi isn't that tall, but she admits to being self-conscious about her height.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Dead Master chaining Black★Rock Shooter in her throne room.
- Kana Hanazawa Is About To Shoot You: One of the posters depicts B★RS pointing her cannon at the viewer.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Averted, as Black★Rock Shooter's katana doesn't seem to help her much. Its only appearance is during her duel with Black★Gold Saw, and it then fails to reappear for the rest of the OVA. The ★rock Cannon fills the void by pulling double duty as both a ranged and melee weapon by turning into a sword-like object.
- Might even be a subversion since she loses with the black blade to a BFS-wielding opponent, and the ★rock Cannon is treated as an upgrade after she merges with Mato.
- Late for School: Averted, Mato even gets to enjoy her toast at the table without hurrying and Mato's mother putting a lampshade on it. She does almost miss the train because she's visiting her special place, but the train is on time and it's at school on time she meets Yomi.
- Layered World
- Leitmotif: The original B★RS song.
- Living with the Villain: B★RS and Dead Master are alternate selves of Mato and Yomi, who are schoolmates.
- Load-Bearing Boss: Dead Master's death (which leaves Yomi behind) causes her castle to crumble, which forces B★RS to carry Yomi out.
- Love at First Sight: Well, something happens to Mato when she first sees Yomi.
- Love Triangle: Hinted at between Yomi, Mato and Yuu.
- Luminescent Blush: Happens a lot to Mato when interacting with Yomi.
- Magical Girl: Even with the rock music, guns, the black clothes, and the desolate landscape; it's a pretty standard Magic Warrior story.
- Meaningful Name: The kanji used for "Kuroi" means "black clothes", very fitting for Mato. Yomi's name can be alternatively written with a particular kanji that means "underworld".
- Missing Trailer Scene
- Mix and Match: Dark Seed meets Twin Peaks
- More Dakka: The ★rock Cannon.
- Mythology Gag: Before the PV was released and the character rose to fame, Black Rock Shooter had much shorter twin tails. Three guesses as to who uses this design now (first two donít count).
- Never Trust a Trailer: Look at this comparison between the pilot and the actual anime. Potentially actual plot points were changed.
- No Name Given: Okaasan Kuroi, whom is Mato and Hiro's mother. You only hear Mato refer to her as... well... mother. When she called Mato's cell phone the ID read お母さん.
- Even with the release of the artbook B★RS Phenomenon she is given no name, merely the title Mato no Haha (マトの母 Mato's Mother).
- Ojou: Yomi, who goes to school on her first day by car (most people walk or take the train) and lived for a while in Germany. Her parents even hire detectives after she vanishes. She has the first kind of Ojou personality, kind and gentle.
- Ojou Ringlets: Yomi and Dead Master. Guess what.
- One-Gender School: The all-girl school Yomi and Mato attend.
- Ordinary Junior High School Student: Mato and Yomi. They're still ordinary. B★RS and Dead Master are the odd ones.
- Orphean Rescue: Hero(ine) descends into the Otherworld to get loved one/friend back.
- Psychotic Smirk: Dead Master, all the time.
- Punny Name: Yomi's surname is written as "Kotori-Asobi" ("little birds playing") but is pronouced "Takanashi" ("no hawks"). 'Cause there aren't any hawks where little birds play, get it?
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Yomi and Mato, natch. Yomi even acts like a jealous lover when Mato starts paying more attention to Yuu.
- Rule of Symbolism: Stars and chains.
- Sailor Fuku: The main cast all wear the traditional sailor-collar variety.
- Scenery Porn: With a dab of Scenery Gorn in the Other World.
- Sequel Hook / The Unreveal: For the OVA. Is Yuu Strength? If she is, how did she end up in the Otherworld? If not, who is she? And who was Black★Gold Saw, the girl B★RS was fighting at the very beginning? Black★Matagi and Black★Devil Girl don't show up, nor does Insane Black★Rock Shooter; STR and Black★Gold Saw's appearances are very short. The OVA doesn't really explain who Black★Rock Shooter and Dead Master themselves are, let alone what the Otherworld actually is.
- Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Inverted; other than her jacket, B★RS is wearing nothing but a bikini. Dead Master's dress, however, covers a lot of skin.
- Shout-Out: If you're familiar with both series, you might find a few odd similarities with Ga-Rei -Zero- than as can be explained as pure coincidence...
- The two schoolgirls Kagura befriends in Ga-Rei -Zero- are practically proto- Mato and Yomi. You have the dark-haired, quiet, kindly Oujo and the shorter, more hot-headed one who speaks before they think and has no concept of solving problems subtly.
- Thirdly, Yuu. In both series, the character Yuu serves a wedge between the two main characters, be it unintentionally (BR:S Yuu) or unknowingly (GR:Z Yuu). They also have the same name and hair colour, even though one's an old man and the other's a midget Genki Girl.
- In the same vein, this could make Yomi, Mato, and Yuu Expies.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Yuu.
- Super-Powered Evil Side: A possible explanation for Yomi's connection to Dead Master.
- Swiss Army Weapon: We can see the ★rock cannon morphing into a large blade when BRS fought Dead Master the second time.
- Technicolor Eyes: Seem to factor very big: Mato has blue eyes, Yomi has green eyes, and Yuu has hazel eyes. These serve as visual cues for their "other selves". Everyone else seems to have brownish/blackish eyes.
- Title Drop: B★RS is not even named until the end, when she and Mato merge.
- The Power of Friendship.
- The Stinger: After Yomi is saved...we see Yuu walking towards the two with darkness on her face, Hidden Eyes and and a Dark Reprise...
- Trailers Always Spoil: As if the appearances didn't already give it away, The trailer makes it explicitly clear that Mato is B★RS and Yomi is Dead Master, even intercutting a shot of B★RS with Mato.
- Along with most of the media (even see that picture above).
- Variable-Length Chain
- Wrecked Weapon: Intentionally done so.
- Yandere: Dead Master-Yomi.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Largely averted. Even Yuu's light brown hair, while uncommon for an Asian, is not impossible.
2012 TV Series