Good Action Made Irrelevant (Black Rock Shooter Review)

Topic started by Elfenlied1012 on Oct. 23, 2012. Last post by katmic 9 months, 2 weeks ago.
Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

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?

All you need to know is they all want to kill each other
All you need to know is they all want to kill each other

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.

In Example what was Saya&squot;s whole reason for doing what she does and how was anything "good" suppose to come of ti
In Example what was Saya's whole reason for doing what she does and how was anything "good" suppose to come of ti

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.

Like good and in black rocks dream world, creepy art.
Like good and in black rocks dream world, creepy art.

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.

The only thing sympathetic or relatable about the cast is that they are technically humans
The only thing sympathetic or relatable about the cast is that they are technically humans

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 good over the top character design and action are completely wasted on this series
The good over the top character design and action are completely wasted on this series

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.

This has been M reminding you the tragic irony that is, though Black Rock Shooter came from an AMV, all the series music is shit. Pic unrelated, I just find it absolutely funny.
This has been M reminding you the tragic irony that is, though Black Rock Shooter came from an AMV, all the series music is shit. Pic unrelated, I just find it absolutely funny.
Post by sickVisionz (4,234 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator

While I didn't find it to be as confusing as you did, I'd agree that this show isn't very good. Even for dumb fun great looking action, it's a bit too pure violence for me to really get into.

The main thing for me is that there's just too much drama. I don't mean that in the sense of the ratio of drama to action was out of skew, but rather the level of drama is always cranked to 11. A character is a crazy controlling vindictive psycho and then turns into a loving, caring kid in the span of an episode. Teachers turn from caring to murder murder I want to ruin your life in the span of an episode. People go from ok to complete and total mental breakdown in the span of an episode. Every episode is packed with these wild drama climaxes that would take 6-10 episodes to build up to in any other series. In here they hit back to back and it feels like these kids are living in some wild bizarro psycho melodrama world that all the crazies got put in to separate them from the general populace.

The BRS scenes are really cool action, but they're so crazy and random and have no real story within them that it starts getting boring somehow. I'd recommend someone watch an AMV, MAD, or Sakuga video of the fights before I'd have them waste time on the series, which is saying a lot considering that it only last like 6 or 8 episodes.

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@sickVisionz: I suppose I should say its not confusing in a "I don't understand what their telling me" so much is what they are telling me is nonsense, the explanation are there but they are the equvielent of saying, "electricity powers lamps so I knifed you to produce potatoes to feed a dragon that makes electricity which I used to power candles... TA-DA!". Sure I understand what their saying, but its insane and doesn't seem to follow any actual human logical process, it's more like the story is only vaguely aware of its own established premisses.

Post by Homer_Slobotnick (11 posts) See mini bio Level 8

The only parts of the show I saw were five minute segments from over your shoulder as i was walking by, but what I did see fell in to two categories;

1) Nonsensical teenage bullshit accompanied by dialogue so horrible and confounded, Stephenie Meyer's wet dreams don't even consist of such tripe

2) Fantastic action sequences with beautifully choreographed fight scenes using gun/blade combinations the likes of which would make Cliff Bleszinski hard as diamonds.

So all-in-all I think I might skim through this.

Post by takashichea (10,890 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator

testing

Post by sickVisionz (4,234 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator

Well, since this got bumped I'll point out that everything but the special effects (like dirt flying up, gun muzzle fire, sword sparks, etc) in the action scenes is completely computer generated. I didn't know this the first time watching it. I knew there was a good deal of CGI but I didn't know that even the character models were CGI. They did a really good job of making it look like traditional anime animation. Also, the action sequences are by Trigger

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@takashichea: out of curiosity what was the test about?

@sickVisionz: Oh yes the art was fantastic and clearly very expensive. Too bad it just comes off as senseless.

In other words I plan to have a review out again this weekend. Been way too long. University work man....sucks the life out of me > .>

Post by katmic (306 posts) See mini bio Level 10

After the first four episodes even the stellar action scenes grew tiresome, having literally no visible connection with the excessive drama of the school side of things, so i gave up.

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@katmic: I perfectly sympathize with your decision. XD

Post by sickVisionz (4,234 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator

Just noticed it, but this blog has a crazy amount of views compared to replies. It's like a few hundred to 1, and is actually one of the more viewed posts, including stickied stuff and posts with exponentially more replies.

@katmic said:

After the first four episodes even the stellar action scenes grew tiresome, having literally no visible connection with the excessive drama of the school side of things, so i gave up.

There's a connection. It's like a crazy fantastical battle version of the drama that happens in the real world. Not saying that makes it worthwhile, but there is a visible connection between the two that becomes apparent pretty early on.

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@sickVisionz: No idea sick vision, I dont even think its one of my better reviews XD

Post by katmic (306 posts) See mini bio Level 10

@sickVisionz: SO basically sucker punch

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