O-New: Now Extinct Website

Black★Rock Shooter (TV) 8 [Completed]

Mad props to the team over at WhyNot? for subbing this shit all the way until the end. Hmmm, they sub Mouretsu Pirates too, this can’t be a coincidence… ;)

Observe this post, it’s a Black★Rock Shooter (TV) 7 post. I just wrote it today because I forgot to watch this show until today, and was rather rushed because I had to watch two episodes and write these two posts in the span of a mere three hours (it usually takes me three hours just to write ONE post!)

Anyways, this episode JUST came out, like literally (check that link) so don’t mind me if this post feels rushed. Here, have a picture of noitaminA while you wait. Here, more noitaminA comparison – doesn’t Black★Rock Shooter (TV)’s ED sound a lot like Guilty Crown’s first ED? Why yes it does – this can’t be a coincidence either… ;(

Anyways, moving on…

Don’t forget.
Always, somewhere,
someone is fighting for you.
As long as you remember her,
you are not alone.

That’s the moral of Black★Rock Shooter (TV) all along.

So, what does it mean?

It means that the producers of Black★Rock Shooter (TV) are trying to copy Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica like mucho mad crazy.

And they’ve failed.

Horribly.

Much as I want to spew another three thousand words of mindless bullshit, I’ll restrain myself today. Instead of reading this post, why don’t you read my other posts?

The first four posts I wrote had nothing to do with Black Rock Shooter. This was probably a mistake, as I had to condense my massive collection of opinions into merely four more posts. Episode 4′s post talked about the drama in Black Rock Shooter and how it (doesn’t?) work; Episode 6′s post talked about the planning in Black Rock Shooter and how it (doesn’t?) work; Episode 7′s post talked about the symbolism in Black Rock Shooter and how it (doesn’t?) work.

But my Episode 5 post is the real meat. This is what it’s all about. Ultimately, Black★Rock Shooter (TV) is nothing more than…

…Madoka.

Notice how none of my shots have the main characters in them. This is for the sake of being an artistic, characterless post. If I were more artistic, I would blend many colourful shots into one, and infuse them into the background of this post to bring out various colours and moods during the various sections of this post – the orange of happiness, the blue of sadness, the pink of sneezes, the blue of sadness, the black of coughs, the blue of sadness, the pink of Madoka’s skirt, the blue of sadness, the stercobilin-coloured pigment of noitaminA…

Anyways, just read that episode 5 post first. It has all of my arguments about why Black Rock Shooter was ultimately just a failed copy of Madoka, complete with magical girl transformations in this final episode and Black Rock Shooter’s continuing quest to kill all grief, with her own hands. There’s Black Rock Shooter, trying to protect Tomato by, uh, ripping her arm off and breaking her legs, I guess. There was symbolism and grief and sadness and such a great opportunity for there to be a satisfying, heartwarming, Madoka-worthy ending. But they didn’t make it that.

No, instead, Black★Rock Shooter (TV)’s ending was about dumping your grief on other people (Tomato relying on Black Rock Shooter to stop her from being sad), it was about rejecting sadness altogether, and forcing yourself to be happy even if you don’t want to. It was about how attacking people is good, and about how violence saves society. It’s about not doing anything yourself, and forcing other people to do things for you, because that’s what love is.

And that’s just fucking wrong.

What could the ending have been?


For the record, this is the most moe girl in the entire show, look at that hella pixellated cuteness

It could’ve been like Madoka. Madoka was not about relying on other people. It was not about eliminating all grief. No, Madoka was about relying on friends and being relied on, Madoka was about self-sacrifice, not the sacrifice of others, Madoka was about love and peace and not exploiting others’ goodwill for personal benefit. It was about embracing sadness, accepting it, and treating it for what it is – sadness. Madoka was about the full range of human emotions, from the orange of happiness to the pink of sneezes to the stercobilin-coloured pigment of noitaminA.

And that’s why it was successful.

Sure, perhaps BRS has a better point – sadness really is sad, and in life, the most successful exploit and destroy everyone else around them. However, even if this is the truth, even if BRS’s future is more realistic, or even more beneficial – we humans want to see more Madoka. We want to see hope, and love, and peace. We still have our deeply-ingrained Buddhist/Taoist/Christian/Muslim/Shinto beliefs embedded in our very humanity. We want to see the good in humans, and know that we still have the capability to love, to be loved, to sacrifice oneself for the greater good, and to treat all others fairly, equally, and not adversely.

And what do people buy?

Things they want to see.


For the record, this is the most cool guy in the entire show, look at that hella pixellated coolness

So here’s what the ending could’ve been – a heartwarming ending that doesn’t end with some lame giant magical rainbow deus ex machina that isn’t even symbolic of anything. Here’s how it should’ve ended.

STRength accepts that You is her alter ego, à la Persona. STRength doesn’t kill herself, because in killing herself, You will forget all her grief – all the pain, all the sadness of her past. These are things nobody should ever forget. We shouldn’t forget these things simply because they’re traumatic – no, we should remember them as being traumatic, we should confront them as they are, and accept that these things happened, but now, there’s a new future in front of us. (Even if this isn’t the most healthy way to deal with post-traumatic stress syndrome, it’s certainly a way that we, the audience, thinks is brave, and strong, and right. And by catering to our wants, the producers of BRS could’ve created a much better show. If you have suffered from PTS syndrome and realize that this is utter bullshit, remember that this is all an anime.)

Meanwhile, Mato realizes that her friend all along hasn’t been You – it was STRength. Yet, because STRength and You will reconcile, Mato will accept both of them as one person. Honestly, there’s no reason Mato’s becomes You’s friend in the ending when Mato’s never actually met You until this episode…

The woefully neglected Shark and Bamboo will also realize that destroying grief isn’t the way to go. They’ll accept the grief that they have, and continue on with their lives being happy, being sad, being worried, being mad – all of those things. Emotions are what make us human. Meanwhile, Kohata will regain her memories of the grief of that incident, and also realize the necessity of it.

This all happened in the ending, but the final conclusion was still, to continue shoving their grief into Black Rock Shooter’s world for them to deal with it. No, the final conclusion should’ve been for each girl to deal with it herself, for the residents of Black Rock Shooter’s world to merge with their real-life counterparts, and for that world to be destroyed altogether. Our grief is what makes us human. By casting grief away, how will we ever experience true happiness?

This was also the conclusion of Madoka – even if humans are stupid, even if humans are irrational, even if humans realize the efficiency of harvesting emotions to prevent the entire DESTRUCTION OF THE UNIVERSE – humans are human, and we have emotions, and even when those emotions are contradictory to our own survival, they’re what makes us human.

This should be the point of Black Rock Shooter.

Don’t ever lose your emotions.

They make you you.

tl;dr: this is why you don’t make an anime based on ONE SONG

Overall Rating: 3/10 (Neutral)

4 responses

  1. Rachel Lillibridge

    If a person feels strongly about something, such as I do about this anime/song, a tremendous blemish on the record of their up-holdings could be very harmful and, excuse the language of the internet, cause extreme butt-hurt. As I realize this is a review and a criticism, I must say that your findings are overall inaccurate, and even, the plot has a great meaning which seems to have been missed.
    The meaning of the anime is certainly not to push your thoughts on others. I believe it is to struggle through whatever life throws at you. You will make it out alive and well in the end. If your friends are upset, try to make them feel better, don’t let them chisel away at their happiness until they are nothing but sorrowful loneliness, help them out. It is very hard to get through issues with your friends without confronting them, so you must address the problem.
    From what I have read, you compared the anime to another all throughout, leaving the plot empty and stolen. There’s millions of ideas in the world, some are bound to be similar, but they are not the same and should be addressed with the same respect.

    2012/05/15 at 23:02

  2. Firstly, I’d like to apologize for offending you. I hope you’ll understand that my passion and ardour against this anime is something of a personal matter, and that I did not mean to actively cause harm to anybody while writing this series of posts. Obviously, this comment seems uncharacteristic of me, but when someone offended takes their time to offer a serious comment, I try my best to respect them and offer a serious one in response.

    I agree that the message may have been about being optimistic in life; yet, many have uttered similar thoughts throughout the aniblogosphere. Here at O-New, we find that repeating what other people say is quite boring (even though we still repeat what others say half of the time), and struggle to find variety. Although the message may have more probably been along those lines, I find it plausible that my comparisons of Black Rock Shooter to Madoka may also ring true in the ears of certain others.

    Everybody’s been through different experiences in life, and their interpretation of matters will always be different. The presumed assertiveness in this post that implies a declaration of ‘I am right and everybody else is wrong,’ comes from an old habit of discarding of useless words such as ‘I think’ from persuasive writings. Although I constantly declare many things, a mental affixation of ‘I believe’ to all of my sentences will illuminate my thoughts in these posts.

    In conclusion: although all ideas ought to be treated with respect, there’s no variety in the world without caustic criticisms and contemptuous comparisons. I’ve taken it upon myself to imbue as much hate in everything that I hate and as much love in everything that I love as I possibly can, in the vain hope that somewhere, someone, will leave from this post with a different understanding of the world.

    2012/05/15 at 23:42

  3. JAO93

    Cripes, I’d forgotten about this series until just now. I like the BRS artwork myself. The OVA was fair for what it was,. And those figmas are nice but… the TV Series was not very good.

    It was a real letdown in my view, the plot was so convoluted and the ending was too rushed. The OVA was hardly perfect but the OVA really appears to be an incomplete work rushed out before it could actually be finished. There was plenty of time to improve upon the OVA, or at the very least making an interesting plot.

    Instead, we were treated to a shoddy Madoka hack that can be best described as ‘mediocre’. The real world designs are very poor and as you noted bear (intentional?) resemblance to Madoka’s designs. What good there is in BRS TV (some of the battles, BRS and BGS’s designs) is sadly outweighed by what’s bad – poor character designs (real world mainly), convoluted plot, asinine characterizations, and overall a lack of enjoyment. If (and I’m pretty sure it was) BRS TV was supposed to be influenced from Madoka, the real lesson is excess influence from a popular work won’t make your own work just as good. And this is coming from someone who quite liked Madoka.

    Huke’s BRS Universe has many more characters than what’s been shown in the OVA and TV series. It’s sad since I feel Huke’s characters have so much potential, yet they never really live up to anything groundbreaking. Perhaps one day this will change (probably not, though).

    2012/10/12 at 06:09

  4. Thanks for the comment.

    Apart from the character designs (appearance, mostly) and battles, I’m wondering what you mean by Huke’s characters’ potential. I understand that appearance is half the appeal of a character, but do his characters actually have personalities? This TV series botched that up completely, so I’m wondering whether the personalities were added in by the studio, or if they actually have canon personalities. I also hope the blonde girl’s psychoticness wasn’t canon/rooted in her entire being…

    2012/10/15 at 00:55