Well Hello Anime Vice It’s me again, M, here to bring you another review this time of something fairly out of style for me. In this review I turn my eyes to the Anime version of Black Rock Shooter, straight from the arms of Ordet and was their first full (A Black Rock Shooter OVA movie having been released first) solo anime as a relatively new studio. Black Rock Shooter looked to be fun, but kind of stupid and that’s what I expected when I went in, but what did I actually find?
Black Rock shooter follows loosely the story of an entity known as black rock shooter in a dream world and the high school drama of young middle school girl named Mato. Because of these two or maybe in spite of these two…well things happen…I think. Realistically it deals with these separate elements and how they are strangely related. The story isn’t really cohesive, relevant or possible to summarize beyond this point without going into an absurd place. This however is to be expected when the entire anime comes out of an AMV.
I don’t think anyone will argue that Black Rock Shooter is not poorly structured if structured at all. To put it simply; I don’t even know who the villain was and much less what their assumed goals were. It wasn’t until the very end that I had any idea as to what the hell was actually happening, and once I got the explanation it was filled with more logic holes then black rock shooters body at the end of the final fight. It’s a series that is flat out and unapologetically bankrupt in terms of story. It sets up nothing coherent and when something can be sussed out and established it only remains true until the series deems whatever it established inconvenient.
However a bad story doesn’t necessarily devalue it as entertainment. Sometimes the right amount of silly action, comedy and likeable characters can make something that while nonsense and shit for a story be worth someone’s time. This kind of charm very much sums up why I like SAO even though its plot and execution are nonsense if scrutinized even a little. This sort of charm can get a lot of things a long way, hell a lot of series run entirely on this concept that just being fun and likeable can smooth out inconsistency by virtue the audience willing to suspend their disbelief in exchange for the entertainment. So to understand whether Black Rock is worth our time it’s important to see what entertainment black rock has.
About 50% of Black rock has nothing to do with Black Rock Shooter and more to do with high school drama. This is where we are suppose to be given context and meaning to the action. It’s the real world that the dream world is suppose to effect, and where we are given the time with the more human cast to try to sympathize and emotionally connect with. This emotional connection is suppose to make the audience invest in what happens in the crazy action bits instead of just enjoying it like a fireworks display before quickly growing uninterested. To put it straight this part of the show is ineffective at best and unwatchable at worst. Characters are inconsistent, unrelatable, unrealistic, and distinctly unlikeable. Humorless and aggravating, their individual struggles seem so stupid and easily solved that it just seems so insane that a life and death struggle is waged in the background. Worst of all, most of the inconstancy in the story comes from here. This is where, even as it flops around trying to give context to why or how all the events are happening, nothing is explained well enough or established without quickly being unestablished in interest of the plot working out the way the writer wants.
The other 50% is the black rock shooters high action arty lights show of violence and awesome. The dream world is the equivalent of a fireworks show. It’s meaningless, but it’s fun to watch and at the end of the day that’s just fine. It’s not an enlightened action just bloody and fun. It’s the best part of the series and it really is top notch for what it is. Bloody and impactful without being horrendous and unpleasant. The problem however with this, is that while the action is cool, it’s so meaningless when you neither care nor understand why it’s happens or the results that would come if either party won. It’s like watching a sports game where you don’t care about either team nor understand the game. No matter how well it’s played it’s not going to matter when you have zero emotion investment, added with a complete and utter lack in understanding of what’s actually going on.
This series of mistakes all pull together to form black rock shooter. Even gifted with really cool action bits Black Rock is just actively stupid. I don’t think a senseless action piece of entertainment is bad, but when that’s only half coupled with an agonizing high school drama and pieced forcefully together by a shit story, it’s no surprise that Black Rock Shooter gets 2 chain gun sword saws out of 5. Later Vice hopefully the next things better.