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Anime / Black Fox

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From top to bottom: Rikka Isurugi, Mia, Melissa, and the Black Fox
I'm going to find them. I'll find them... hunt them down... and avenge my family like an Isurugi should! I'm throwing away my past, my family, and my name. I'll sacrifice my future, and go wherever I can dig up any info about them. Starting now, my name is...

Black Fox is an animated film produced by studio 3HZ. It was simulcasted through Crunchyroll on October 4th, 2019, and given a theatrical release in Japan on October 5th.

Rikka Isurugi is a descendant of a Ninja clan who dreams of following in her father's footsteps and pursuing science to improve the world. But on the day of her 16th birthday, armed men storm into her house. With the help of a Mad Scientist and an Esper, the soldiers kill Rikka's family in order to obtain her father's robotics research. Escaping with three Robot Buddies, Rikka vows to use her ninja training to track down the ones responsible and make them pay.

Not to be confused with the My Hero Academia fanfiction series, or the anime studio White Fox.

Black Fox contains examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: In contrast to the 2D animation, generic crowds are obviously computer generated, complete with the awkward CGI waddle. Gradsheim's military-grade drones are also made with computer graphics.
  • Attack Drone: A field of technology that Gradsheim is branching into, courtesy of Allen's research, one of which serves as the film's secondary antagonist.
  • Abusive Parents: Lauren is a complete scumbag who cajoles his daughter into painful experiments by claiming he loves her, when in reality the only thing that registers in his mind is his research and how it can supplant Allen Isurugi's legacy.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Lauren is killed, but Brad Ingram still remains at large, meaning Rikka, Mia, and Melissa will soon be going to war with Gradsheim itself.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The movie opens with a girl being stalked through a darkened house by a masked figure. The moment she gets cornered, however, she suddenly starts sword fighting with him like an expert, before finally revealing Rikka is playing with her grandfather in that way ninjas do.
  • Beta Outfit: Rikka begins her quest for revenge with fairly slapdash equipment, while using her grandfather Hyoe's fox mask to conceal her face. By the final battle, Rikka uncovers a highly advanced outfit created by her family, which she uses to defeat Lauren.
  • Big Bad: Lauren, a Mad Scientist and former rival of Rikka's father, who decides to finish the job of killing the rest of the family.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: both Rikka and her grandfather are over the top Cinematic Ninjas, but still relatively normal compared to Mia's Telekinesis and large giant robots.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The emergency bunker Rikka escapes to contains another pod similar to the ones used to hold her other robot companions, emblazoned with "00". At the end of the movie, Melissa is revealed to be the one who was inside, being a gynoid in actuality.
  • City of Adventure: Brad City, a sprawling metropolis that the scope of the movie stays entirely within.
  • City Noir: Brad City is divided into the parts gentrified and given the Gradsheim stamp of approval, and what's being left to crumble. Rikka and Melissa live in a battered apartment, and in one scene, Rikka walks past the rubble of a few collapsed buildings that everyone apparently forgot to deal with.
  • The Cowl: What Rikka becomes at the end of the movie, as she becomes a vigilante out to fight Gradsheim's corruption. She's also accompanied by Mia and Melissa.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: The day of Rikka's birthday is the day her family is killed, forcing her to go on the run.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Rikka and Mia's masks come off the second time they confront each other, revealing to one another that the person they're trying to kill is actually the friend they made only earlier that day.
  • Foreshadowing: Melissa overreacts to cutting her finger with a kitchen knife, because she's a robot and doesn't want Mia to find this out by noticing she isn't bleeding.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Lauren is the name of Mia's father.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Brad Ingram, mayor of Brad City and president of Gradsheim, is the other man responsible for killing Rikka's family, and further up the corporate totem pole than Lauren.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Lauren's jealousy of Allen Isurugi's accomplishments literally drove him to insanity, and the Isurugi family in general is his Berserk Button.
  • He's Back!: After struggling with how to honour both her grandfather and father, Rikka finds out how to Take a Third Option. Subsequently, she publicly discards her "Lily" pseudonym and reclaims her family name.
    Rikka: The 27th head of the Isurugi clan, Rikka Isurugi! Have at you!
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: In perfect Batman fashion, Rikka decides to make an informant more pliant by kicking him off a rooftop before pinning the back of his jacket to the building with kunai, which she starts removing one by one until she gets her answers. She drops him into a dumpster when she's done with him.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Despite Lauren repeatedly proving to be a scheming, lying lunatic, Mia still tries to reason with him. The bigger problem, however, is that Rikka had defeated Lauren by that point, and then doesn't bother to even restrain him in any fashion afterwards. Surprise, surprise, Lauren pulls one last I Surrender, Suckers to mind control Mia in a last ditch attempt to kill Rikka.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Twice, Rikka seriously contemplates killing Mia - once after her identity is revealed in their fight, and again after Rikka rescues her in the wake of her powers going out of control. Both times, Oboro has to talk her down, telling her that killing is not a factor of their mission and reminding her of her father's forgiving outlook, implicitly informing her that taking lives will make her no better than those she hunts.
  • Mega-Corp: You can't take five steps without running into something Gradsheim controls. It runs food distribution, credit cards, air travel, and naturally is branching out into weaponised drones.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The movie begins with Rikka at 10 years old or thereabouts, and hints at her future struggle with her family's tradition as ninjas, and her desire to follow her father's footsteps as a scientist.
  • Motive Decay: A flashback shows that once upon a time, Lauren actually cared about his daughter and wanted to create empirical proof of Mia's Psychic Powers so it wouldn't look like she was lying about having them. By the time of the movie, however, he's entirely obsessed with researching psychic powers, period, and merely sees Mia as a compliant guinea pig.
  • Ninja: The past occupation of the Isurugi family, making Rikka a modern example as well.
  • Ninja Log: Rikka uses one to distract Lauren in the final battle. A realistic example, since Rikka had already disappeared from sight, and Lauren reflexively attacked the first moving thing he saw behind him, which turned out to be a log from the wreckage of the Isurugi home.
  • Private Detective: Rikka makes a living as a "detective-in-training" at Harold Berkley's detective agency, though it's Rikka who winds up solving the cases they get. At the end of the movie, Berkley acknowledges this.
  • Privately Owned Society: Gradsheim controls Brad City de facto. There's honestly a good chance that the company's president, Brad Ingram, literally renamed the city after himself.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Lauren devises a method of turning people into espers, and promptly uses it on himself to get the power to kill Rikka.
  • Psychic Powers: Espers are a thing in this setting, though apparently rare enough that people don't believe they exist. Mia has clairvoyance and incredibly powerful telekinesis, and can use it to hurl objects and balls of pure force, fly, and even generate and direct electricity. Lauren perfects a method of inducing psychic powers artificially, and promptly uses it on himself to become an terrifyingly powerful esper as well.
  • Red Right Hand: The right side of Brad Ingram's face is warped to constantly be in a vicious Slasher Smile. While he can disguise it while making public appearances, any smile from him shows what sort of man he really is.
  • The Reveal: Melissa is not Rikka's blissfully unaware roommate. She's in fact the last of Allen Isurugi's creations.
  • Robot Buddy: Rikka's three drone companions—Kasumi (AMD01) the eagle, Oboro (AMD02) the dog, and Madara (AMD03) the flying squirrel. They're capable of sharing data, hacking, creating holograms, and putting on convincing facsimiles of living animals. Rikka's roommate, Melissa, is AMD00.
  • Shout-Out: The robots' number labels appear to be a reference to Neon Genesis Evangelion—AMD01 instead of EVA01, and so on. This is also a clue that there's an elusive AMD00.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Allen and Mia establish their science background with their skill in Chess. Rikka bonds with Mia over the game, though she always loses, to her annoyance.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Rikka tries to believe in this, as she tries to become cold, professional ninja to avenge her family. A message from Hyoe inverts this, as he instead says choosing to kill reveals personal weakness, and encourages Rikka to be strong enough to choose mercy instead where other ninjas don't.
  • Super Hero Origin: What the film essentially is for Rikka, chronicling her journey to assume the titular mantle of 'Blackfox', complete with leaving an open cliffhanger for a sequel.
  • Time Skip: The movie skips twice, with one passing from Rikka's Minor Kidtroduction to her Dangerous 16th Birthday, and then one more that moves to six months after, where the meat of the story takes place.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: This trope is what trips up Rikka. She feels like being a ninja in the same vein as her grandfather is the only way she can have her revenge, and her hesitation to kill makes her "weak". A belated message from her family encourages her to believe in her kindness, and Rikka realises she can be a Technical Pacifist.
  • Translation Convention: Rikka and her dad text each other in English, so that must be their "real" language, translated to Japanese for the dialogue.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: At a press conference, Brad Ingram gets the crowd eating out of his hand by getting them to laugh at a joke, before announcing his company will totally and unconditionally pay for any damage and injuries incurred by the rampaging drone.
  • Walking Spoiler: Melissa is much more than just Rikka's roommate.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Brad City's location isn't given, though it evokes American architecture.