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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...


How much more tropes will I have to write?

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     2009 OVA 
  • 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.
    • All of the Otherselves' weapons are also given names. But these are not explicitly stated in the anime, and are only mentioned in the concept artworks.
  • 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.
  • Art Shift: Whenever it changes between worlds.
  • Astral Checkerboard Decor: The areas where Black★Rock Shooter fights Black★Gold Saw and Dead Master have black-white and black-green checkerboard patterns respectively on almost everything.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Battles between B★RS and Dead Master are usually accompanied by killer guitar riffs.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: A possible interpretation of what's going on in the Otherworld.
  • 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/B★RS had to take a gambit in which she is 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 affect the plot, so it shouldn't be a surprise if you mention him and no one knows who you are referring to.
  • 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.
  • 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: 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.
  • Foe Yay: invoked Sort of, with small implications. If you consider Mato and Yomi "enemies", then yes. Possiblly with that embrace of Dead Master from B★RS. Dead Master is also absolutely tickled at having B★RS in chains. Well, maybe it's Yomi, not Dead Master.
  • Free-Fall Fight: Black★Rock Shooter and Dead Master (with her two Skulls) engage in an aerial clash after Dead Master shatters the ground they were standing on.
  • Genki Girl: Yuu is equal parts cheerful, energetic and oblivious. Mato counts as well, but to a lesser extent.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Mato wears her hair in short pigtails. Black★Rock Shooter has longer ones. Fitting, as they seem to be the same person.
  • Good-Times Montage: Around halfway through.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality:
    • 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.
    • B★RS 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...
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Dead Master chains Black★Rock Shooter in her throne room.
  • 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. Later on, this might even be a subversion since she loses with the black blade against 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 when she meets Yomi.
  • 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.
  • 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 she interacts 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".
  • Mood Whiplash: The various scenes and transition can lead to this, as well. In one scene, you are watching Slice of Life drama from the characters of the human world, and a few seconds later, you'll be treated with fighting scenes between Black★Rock Shooter and her enemies.
  • More Dakka: The ★rock Cannon has a faster firing rate than its 2012 counterpart, and B★RS fires a barrage against Dead Master and her two floating skulls, even at close range.
  • 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 (the first two don’t 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 caller's ID reads 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 Ringlets: Yomi and Dead Master. Guess what, they are two sides of the same coin.
  • One-Gender School: The all-girl school Yomi and Mato attend.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Mato and Yomi. They're still ordinary junior high school students. B★RS and Dead Master are the odd ones.
  • Orphean Rescue: Hero(ine) descends into the Otherworld to get loved one/friend back.
  • 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. These represent Yomi being trapped or bound inside Dead Master, hoping for some light to break her free.
  • Sailor Fuku: The main cast all wear the traditional sailor-collar variety.
  • Scenery Porn: With a dab of Scenery Gorn in the Other World.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: One of the posters depicts B★RS pointing her cannon at the viewer.
  • Sequel Hook: As mentioned in Here We Go Again!, there are scenes near the finale that try to set this up. Yuu appears to be receiving the same experience that haunts Yomi throughout the movie. And Strength is still very much alive in the Otherworld, which means that there is still a possible threat for Black★Rock Shooter to fight.
  • 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.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: A possible explanation for Yomi's connection to Dead Master. Though with a Cool Down Hug from Mato/B★RS, Yomi's Dead Master persona disintegrates.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: We can see the ★rock cannon morphing into a large blade when B★RS 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.
    B★RS/Mato: I am...Black★Rock Shooter.
  • 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.
    • Done along with most of the media (see that picture above).
  • 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.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Intentionally done so. B★RS shoots down the blade of Dead Master's scythe, making it less effective, and forces the latter to fight using her claws and chains.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Largely averted for a series featuring girls with color-coded hairs. Their hair colors can be realistically acceptable, since most of which are darker shades of blue, green and red. Even Yuu's light brown hair, while uncommon for an Asian, is not impossible.

     2012 TV Series 
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: 3D-rendered objects stand out easily from the hand-drawn cases:
    • The other selves such as B★RS, B★GS, Chariot, Dead Master and Strength are sometimes depicted as 3D models. Even some parts of the background and the weapons used by the girls are CG instead of being hand-drawn.
    • Appears mostly in the Otherworld. According to the official website, part of this was intentional to add to its strange, dreamlike quality.
    • Vehicles and background characters are also CG in the real world.
  • Actor Allusion: Miyuki Sawashiro voices the characters whom the incarnations of B★RS wanted to protect but failed in the end. These are Dead Master from the animated series, and Nana Gray from the game.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Compared to the OVA, the anime has a more complicated plot. It even adds new characters (Sayaka, Chariot, Kagari, Arata and Taku) and expands the background of Yuu and Strength.
  • Adults Are Useless:
    • Mrs. Takanashi seems to have an inkling of what's going on between Kagari and Yomi, including the fact that Kagari's paralysis is actually a psychological problem, but lets it continue because she feels sorry for Kagari, apparently more so than she does for her own daughter.
    • And don't even get started on what's wrong with Saya-"chan"-sensei.
  • Aerith and Bob: The otherselves don't count compared to their counterparts, due to being in a completely different world with completely different rules. That being said, the otherselves have some variety in their names; contrast the elaborate "Black★Rock Shooter" and "Black★Gold Saw" with the straightforward "Dead Master" with the abstract "Chariot" and "Strength".
  • All Your Colors Combined: Mato's final attack against B★RS is a color-spectrum of a laser beam, blending the color themes of the other selves as they empower her.
  • Alternate Continuity: Relative to the OVA. While B★RS saves Dead Master in the OVA, she kills her in here.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Insane Black★Rock Shooter tears her own arm off when Black★Gold Saw injures it. She takes revenge by shooting Black★Gold Saw's arm off.
  • And I Must Scream: By Episode 6, Mato is trapped inside Insane Black★Rock Shooter, and can barely influence IB★RS, who goes on a rampage.
  • And the Adventure Continues: To an extent. Mato narrates she will grow up with her friends. In The Stinger Black★Rock Shooter says she will continue fighting - though it's implied this will have better results than last time.
  • Animation Bump:
    • One noticeable change compared to the OVA is the 2012 anime's usage of CG and 3D models in the fight scenes between the other selves. This provided faster, yet smoother animations, as well as several camera motion effects panning the background.
    • Even the visual artifacts get this treatment as well, smoke and dust are much more realistic, compared to the "puffy smoke clouds" of the OVA. The firing animation of the ★rock Cannon has been changed as well - from shooting slow-moving flaming rocks as projectiles in the OVA to a firing mechanism that resembles a high-caliber sniper rifle with blue muzzle flash and a trail of light in this anime.
  • Antagonist Title: The Black★Rock Shooter who we see in the first seven episodes is actually a Villain Protagonist. And from the eyes of the Otherselves and Saya, she is the antagonist of the story.
  • Arc Words: "The tiny bird" and "world of many colors", which are phrases coming from Mato's favorite storybook, Li'l Bird Li'L Bird Colorful Colors.
  • Art Evolution: A lot of the pre-existing characters from the OVA went into some redesigns or re-adjustments, from both the human counterparts and the otherselves. But most of the changes are evident on the latter group, who are mostly rendered in 3D, have more detailed eyes, facial features, clothing, and more vibrant colors and shading.
  • Astral Checkerboard Decor: Mato/Black★Rock Shooter fights her insane counterpart in a dark room filled with blue-black checkerboard patterns all over the place.
  • Back for the Finale: Pretty much everyone.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Strength/Yuu does this to Insane Black★Rock Shooter's arm-blade in Episode 7. Considering her hands are giant and made of metal/stone, it's not really all that hard for her to do that.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Each of the mini conflicts between Black★Rock Shooter and the other selves represents an emotional triumph/downfall.
  • Black Blood: In the Otherworld. There are also flecks of the character's personal color mixed in. Note that when Mato fights Insane Black★Rock Shooter, she actually bleeds red.
  • Blade Lock: B★RS does this with each other-world character excluding herself in the opening credits.
  • Blessed with Suck: If your "other self" dies, all your problems will go away... but you'll get Laser-Guided Amnesia to forget what plagued you.
  • Blown Across the Room: Dead Master's first attack against B★RS is to send a large skull towards her. The impact causes the latter to get blown to the wall.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: As the Other selves don't have emotions; they almost can't even be said to have Blue And Orange Morality per se, because they act under pure instinct. The exception (and therefore, the one who plays this trope straight) is Strength, and that's entirely due to the trauma of her real self.
    • However, it's stated in the last episode that they protect their real selves because they love them.
  • Book-Ends: The first episode starts with a zoom out from B★RS's left eye. The last episode ends with a zoom into her right eye.
  • Boom, Headshot!: One of the two gigantic skull minions of Dead Master gets blown by a laser beam from B★RS's cannon.
  • Cartridges in Flight:
    • Black★Rock Shooter's gatling gun mode shows ejected shell casings properly.
    • However later in the series, Strength/Yuu appears to both fire and eject entire unspent bullets when using her Finger Firearms.
  • Color-Coded Secret Identity: As usual, Black★Rock Shooter/Mato is blue, Dead Master/Yomi is green, and Black★Gold Saw is Red. Meanwhile, Strength is grey/orange, and Chariot/Kagari is yellow. Insane Black★Rock Shooter is purple
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: After Dead Master breaks her chains and scatters the spiders carrying her, Chariot is distracted when a spider falls on her shield, giving an opening for B★RS to destroy her leg equipment.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than the OVA. Rather than dealing with the subtle hues of The Power of Friendship, characters often and regularly go psycho. In addition, unlike in the OVA, merging with B★RS is an extremely traumatizing experience for Mato.
  • A Darker Me:
    • A particularly interesting take on this trope. The otherselves are explicitly said to shoulder all the suffering that their human selves are experiencing. They are still the same person, just much darker and violent.
    • This is interestingly inverted in the case of Strength and Yuu. Once Yuu accidentally teaches Strength to feel emotions, Strength manifests in the real world as friendly, caring, and sociable, completely unlike the rather psycho and unhinged original Yuu.
  • Delayed Causality: How B★RS responds to Chariot's attempted sneak attack. The screen cuts to black, we get to see a blue glowing eye and Chariot's head falls off.
  • Determinator:
    • It doesn't matter how much punishment B★RS takes, she keeps pressing on. She might even reach into Implacable Man territory since she doesn't show much of the damage she takes.
    • More straight to the trope is Mato Kuroi in Episode 8. Insane B★RS breaks both of her legs over the course of a savage beating, but once Mato puts her mind to fighting back, she still manages to stand up and wield the ★rock Cannon.
  • Domestic Abuse:
    • The relationship between Kagari and Yomi is basically this. Kagari gets better. Yomi....really doesn't...
    • The real Yuu was a victim too. She finds the mindless fights to death of the Otherworld better than her real life.
  • Dysfunction Junction:
    • We could just say everyone, but if you want specifics, then Yomi and Kagari's vicious bond is bad enough as is, and even Mato has her own unhinged moments.
    • Even the counselor isn't a mentally balanced person.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: So, so much. Especially in the case of Yuu, now that she has reconciled with her friends and Strength. Every dead otherself returns and their real counterparts are now back to mental stability.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Kagari doesn't really face any punishment for years of Domestic Abuse, which resulted in a deeply troubled Yomi.
    • Saya may have been a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but she still sent several high school girls into depression. Even though she's the high school counselor.
  • Everyone Lives: Even the other selves get revived in the last episode, despite being fatally killed or wounded in the previous battles.
  • Evolving Credits: B★RS is shown in pain, with metal bursting out of the star on her jacket near the end of the opening. After merging with Mato and going crazy in Episode 5, those scenes turn out to be part of the transformation process into Insane B★RS. Her completed form replaces them for Episode 6 onward.
  • Fictional Document: Li'l Bird Li'L Bird Colorful Colors, which is a picture book about a colorful bird flying through colorful environments then turning black and dying. This may be connected to other selves' use of Color-Coded for Your Convenience.
  • First-Name Basis: Mato using Yomi's first name with Kagari in earshot causes some problems. Yomi also uses Mato's first name shortly afterward.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Pay very close attention to Yuu for the first four episodes. Notice how she never interacts with anyone besides Mato, Yomi, Saya, or Arata? Or the fact that if you look closely she Casts No Shadow? There's also a moment where she says something to Arata, only to have Arata walk right by without acknowledging her.
    • It's likely that the following line isn't just filler. Ultimately this would be fulfilled by Strength.
      "So for our protagonist to accept death..."
    • Strength's color theme is gray yet she has orange eyes. This is a major hint that's something about her is different.
    • When Yomi suffers from a breakdown, her painting of Mato changes into a creepier, purple-themed figure with red pupils. This hints the oncoming appearance of Insane Black★Rock Shooter later on, who shares these characteristics.
  • Funny Background Event: When B★GS spawns several hooded Arata-lookalike fledglings in the otherworld, one of them is seen kissing another in the background.
  • Home Field Advantage: In general, any other self that battles in their own world will have a huge advantage over an invader as they both understands all of it's ins and outs as well as being able to directly manipulate it to suit their needs.
  • Hope Spot: In Episode 5, Mato finally merges with Black★Rock Shooter. All indications are she is about to save Yomi from herself... and after she merges, we find that B★RS has already killed Dead Master. Mato snaps
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episodes are named after parts of the original Vocaloid song. Some themes and spoken lines come from it, as well.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: In Episode 6, Saya projects herself into Black★Gold Saw in the hopes that Mato will hear her voice from Insane Black★Rock Shooter and stop her deranged rampage. In doing so, she tells her story. Yuu/Strength continues this in Episode 7. She's interrupted, however, when her own identity issue speaks up.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Mato lampshades it at one point, noting that her strange dreams of the Otherworld seem to always be about a lot of girls.
    • It's explicitly stated later on that the Otherworld is created from the hardships of young girls.
    • In the OVA, Mato and Yomi attend an all-girls school, so it's natural there are no male characters there. In the anime, male characters/students exist, but just aren't the focus since the story revolves around the relationships and issues young girls have with each other.
  • Info Dump: Episode 5 has a massive one from Yuu as she finally breaks out the true nature of the Otherworld.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Saya's description of Mato's blue eyes.
    Saya: "I realized when I first saw you. Your eyes are really beautiful. They're the eyes of a girl who's never been hated or hated anyone else."
  • Layered World: Much more apparent than the OVA. The other-selves move from one world to another by sinking through the ground.
  • Leave the Camera Running: After Yomi abuses her cell phone and buries her head in her pillow in Episode 4, the shot is held for 30 full seconds with no changes except the cell phone's backlight shutting off.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Every time B★RS kills one of the other selves, the surrounding collapses into nothingness.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing Strength repeatedly pummels Insane B★RS on the sides of the cube while grabbing her foot with one hand.
  • Mexican Standoff: The other-world characters (B★RS>Chariot>DM>STR>B★GS>B★RS) are in a circle during the opening credits.
  • Mind Screwdriver: Yuu —Strength, really— explains what is the otherworld and what are the otherselves. May or may not also apply to the OVA.
  • Mirror Match: The final battle of the series is Mato as Black★Rock Shooter vs. Insane Black★Rock Shooter. They are the same, one is an incarnation of the other. But this may get subverted if you consider the difference between their armaments.
  • Mood Whiplash: The second trailer. Watch as they intercut cheerful music with an emotional scene between Mato and Yomi, and Kagari slowly going psycho!
  • Mooks: The army of reanimated skeletons in Dead Master's realm.
    • Giant Mook: They form into a gigantic version with the two huge skulls serving as its heads.
    • Black★Gold Saw also has Mooks. They are likely pre-Otherselves of girls that Saya is psychologically conditioning for this purpose.
  • More Dakka:
    • When using a cannon against large macaroons is not even cutting it close, what would Black★Rock Shooter do against a barrage of macaroons from the Giant Spider? Transform her weapon into a Gatling Gun and responding with a barrage of bullets, of course! At least it momentarily protected her from being hit by them for a limited time.
    • She later uses two Gatling Guns against an army of skeletons in Dead Master's area.
    • Yuu (as Strength) upgrades her Finger Firearms into Gatling Fingers when she goes berserk against Insane Black★Rock Shooter.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Are you suffering? No problem, just have your otherself killed by B★RS! You'll forget the pain immediately! Mato's reaction to the revelation lampshades that there so much horribly wrong about that.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Spider Tank-type enemy from the PSP game also appears here.
    • The final enemy that B★RS has to defeat is a different incarnation of her, just like in the game.
    • Mato Kuroi's school uniform has been redesigned to a white shirt and a yellow alma mater. She also wears a pair of white socks and brown shoes. Overall, her appearance resembles the "Schoolgirl" costume of B★RS from the game.
    • Episode 5 has a variation of a line that was mentioned in the OVA: "Do you want to save Yomi?"
    • Dead Master is a Damsel in Distress again, and B★RS has to save her... again.
    • In the OVA, Mato (in B★RS's body) is holding back against Dead Master because the latter is physically fused with Yomi. In this series, Saya (in B★GS's body) is holding back against IB★RS because the latter is mentally fused with Mato.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Invoked in the Li'l Bird Li'L Bird Colorful Colors storybook. It ends with the little bird turning black and dying. Who on earth would write a tragic book like that for kids?! Mato's reaction is to write a Fix Fic on the last page of it.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Everyone. Some episodes focus on the backstories of the characters while explaining the reasons why they take rejection on a negative light.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Only the beginning and end of the fight between Black★Gold Saw and Insane Black★Rock Shooter are actually shown. A great deal of it is implied to be taking place while the audience is watching Saya and Yuu talk.
  • Oh, Crap!: Insane Black★Rock Shooter shows no emotion until Mato summons a gigantic version of the ★rock Cannon with a barrel bigger than she is tall.
  • One-Woman Wail: Black★Gold Saw's Leitmotif, Heaven.
  • Opening Dissonance: In the opening, Black★Rock Shooter is shown to have large observing eyes in the background, similar to Black★Gold Saw's power. Yet, this ability is never demonstrated in the anime.
  • Out-of-Clothes Experience: Mato and Strength are given this treatment when they're connected to their other selves.
  • Rainbow Motif: Li'l Bird Li'L Bird Colorful Colors.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Aside from the other selves, almost anything that happens in the Otherworld represent something from the real world and its current events.
    • If a girl's other self dies, so does their emotion in the real world, as well as having amnesia towards the person who gives them grief.
    • Chariot rides a Giant Spider that shoots large macaroons. Kagari is wheelchair-bound and always carries a box of macaroons. She also demands Yomi to stay by her side, much like Chariot chains Dead Master. The macaroons Chariot throws at Black★Rock Shooter's face also represent the "dirty-colored" macaroons Kagari gives to Mato. When Dead Master is revealed to have a heart-shape scar on her chest, so does Yomi. And if one notices the TV show Kagari is watching, it depicts a dog eaten by ants, and then it is at that time spiders start appearing in Chariot's mental world.
    • The hooded fledglings that Black★Gold Saw raised in the Otherworld resemble Arata, like how Saya gives counseling to the former in the office. When Black★Rock Shooter kills one of the fledglings, Arata loses the feeling of affection towards Taku.
    • Saya Irino is noted to like coffee, and she even offers them to her students, mirroring Black★Gold Saw's constant use of some sort of liquid to raise her fledglings.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: As seen in the poster above, Black★Rock Shooter is about to shoot you with her cannon.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The only thing missing from the scene where the original Yuu's house is burning is Sephiroth's theme.
    • In Episode 7 when Hiroyuki Imaishi is in full swing, he also sneaks in Studio Gainax homages. Strength strikes a comically exaggerated Gainaxstance and B★RS sword surfs like it's Daicon VI. Or 5.5 until another Gainax alumni makes Casette Girl.
  • Spent Shells Shower: The ★rock Cannon has a gatling mode, and whenever it fires, shells cascade around B★RS. Strength has her own version where she unloads her giant Finger Firearms, then closes them into fists and tosses the shells to the ground in front of her.
  • Sigil Spam: The opening gives each of the otherselves, including Insane Black★Rock Shooter, their own logos. They never show up in-story, however.
  • Split Personality: Although the Other Selves seem to be "real", the original Yuu's description of her other self sounds exactly like the common belief about the cause of Dissociative Identity Disorder: creating someone else to take the pain.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Black★Rock Shooter's ★rock Cannon and Strength's Ogre Arms both transform multiple times, usually in mid-combat. It's not always effective but it's constantly impressive.
  • Tarot Motifs: "Strength" and "Chariot", so far. (One could stretch and have Dead Master be Death and Black★Rock Shooter the Star. This would possibly make Black★Gold Saw the Devil, based on appearence)
  • There Are No Therapists: There is one, but she's a Psycho Psychologist. Later revealed to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist since her goal is keeping the Otherworld alive for a Childhood Friend of hers.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Kagari calls Mato this in the first episode. Like she can talk.
  • The Stinger: In the last episode after the credits. Strength is revealed to be alive.
  • Tin-Can Telephone: Kagari speaks to Yomi via one of these, possibly since they seem to live next door to each other.
  • Toast of Tardiness: Invoked by Mato and is immediately deconstructed when the bread rips and falls out of her mouth once she starts running.
  • Trailers Always Lie: Judging by the number of the characters' appearances in media, the posters and trailers make it look like Chariot is an important character, and Strength isn't. It's actually the opposite.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Even more obvious than in the OVA. The website makes a token attempt to avert this by not revealing the voice actors for the "other selves".
    • On the website, Kagari's pictures on her character page kept switching between her Ill Girl look and Kagari in her schoolgirl uniform - in fact the latter was shown first. The website also showed a figure for Insane Black★Rock Shooter well before she appeared.
  • Trippy Finale Syndrome: It doesn't quite extend to Gainax Ending because it's actually pretty darn comprehensible, Unexplained Recoveries aside.
  • "Uh-Oh" Eyes:
    • When someone is affected by their Otherself, their iris becomes gear shaped.
    • Interestingly, this is the same design that Kagari's Creepy Doll has.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Black★Gold Saw's right arm was shown to have regenerated in Episode 8, similar to how Insane Black★Rock Shooter did on the 7th episode. Chariot gets her head back as well. These may indicate that even disembodied limbs of "other selves" can regenerate, although to a slower extent than regular injuries.
  • We Help the Helpless: Black★Rock Shooter is introduced in a heroic light, reflecting Mato's own caring nature and going to great lengths to fight suffering. Several What the Hell, Hero? moments later, we learn her world's population is made of suffering. At best a Destructive Saviour, her lack of emotion or comprehension make B★RS's actions more sociopath than hero.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 5. Yuu might not actually exist. Mato merges with B★RS and finds that she already killed Dead Master. B★RS becomes Insane Black★Rock Shooter.
    • Episode 7. Yuu and Strength switched places before the story began. Also, Yomi regains her memories of Mato and Dead Master is hinted to be reviving; the same is implied for Kagari/Chariot.
  • Wham Line:
    • Episode 3: "I don't understand what you're talking about."
    • Episode 5: "I don't have to kill you yet."
    • Also in Episode 5: "The manager? I'm the only one for the team"
    • This line in Episode 7 takes the cake: "Your greeting is rather late, Mato Kuroi. I see my Strength has been relying on you... My name is Yuu Koutari. Strength is down here right now, just as you are."
  • Wipe the Floor with You: Chariot's Giant Spider rams Black★Rock Shooter into a wall with its spiked wheels.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: huke has long had an illustration and power-up concept based on the trope. Now it's not just Insane Black★Rock Shooter, but all Otherworld girls who run on it.
  • World of Symbolism: And this time they aren't even subtle about it.
    • Black★Rock Shooter starts in a tear-blue, checkerboard world littered with jagged blades and other weapons. Her actual world is a giant, nearly-empty hall that you can't see out of.
    • Chariot's is made of broken dolls and toys, some more familiar than others.
    • Black★Gold Saw's is an underground ruined temple littered with chains.
    • Dead Master's is a misty graveyard. When Yomi's pushed over the edge, the undead overflow in a Zombie Apocalypse.
    • Strength's battlefield has the most symbolism - it's a constantly shifting puzzle block surrounded by barbed wire, implying Strength/Yuu being trapped and unable to escape. When Yuu goes emotionally insane, it turns into a Lethal Lava Land, going back to Yuu's burning house. Finally, when Strength dies, the puzzle block solves itself and explodes.
    • There is a white, colorless desert the Otherworld girls spawn from or are discarded into.
    • One can even find examples of a World of Symbolism outside of the Other World. For example: When Kagari forces Mato to take her to school without Yomi, there's a brief shot of 2 birds flying away from an overhead cable, leaving a single Tiny Bird behind, all alone.
  • Wrecked Weapon:
    • Strength breaks Insane Black★Rock Shooter's Blade Claw sword, forcing the latter to rely on her Cannon Lance.
    • Insane Black★Rock Shooter shatters the ★rock Cannon with her knee after seeing Mato's hesitant reaction even when she finally lands a hit.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: According to Yuu, all of the other selves will eventually and inevitably die. Subverted in the ending.


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