Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

Tag Archives: BRS

Black★Rock Shooter (review)

Final impression – not a second wasted (10/10)

Winter 2012 (8 episodes) (TV series)

It’s the first day of junior high school and Mato Kuroi decides she’s going to be friends with the gloomy girl who has a funny name, Yomi Takanashi.  The two soon discover they have a shared love of a children’s storybook and it looks like they’re going to get along great.  But when Yomi’s spoiled, childhood friend Kagari butts in to push them apart, Mato isn’t going to just give up accept this bleak turn of events.  She makes it her mission to liberate Yomi from Kagari’s possessive personality.  But doing so will have greater consequences than she knows.  In another world, the girls’ voiceless souls are fighting their own, very real battle with life and death on the line.  And when the results of their battles become reflected in the real world, it’s going to change the course of their lives in ways they cannot possibly anticipate.

Quality in writing is often not about a story’s content, but about how well that story is told.  Sometimes the best plot is the simplest and Black Rock Shooter tells a fabulously creative adventure about the subtleties of relationships and how the most well-meaning intentions can have unexpected, unintended consequences.  It’s a wonderful metaphor about allowing ourselves to be close enough to our friends that we can fight with them honestly and without inhibitions.  We must accept that we occasionally hurt people and that we are hurt by others; how we deal with that pain shapes our character and the ultimate fate of our relationships.  Balancing this emotional drama between real people and their actions mirrored by their duplicate selves locked in gallant combat is a poetic dichotomy flooded deeply with incredible metaphors.  Kana Hanazawa is perfect in her role as Mato Kuroi, depicting her exceptional personality and growth from naivety to strong, determined young woman.  But what’s most amazing about Black Rock Shooter is that it probably would never have existed if it wasn’t for the Vocaloid song by the same name, popularized by casual anime fans who wanted to know the story behind the music.  For something so spectacular to come out of simple fandom and not from a novel, manga or video game is truly remarkable.

Anime of the Week (3/18 – 3/24)

Anime of the Week – Black★Rock Shooter
Ever since it debuted halfway through the winter 2012 season, this series has been far and beyond the best in so many ways.
March 18 Nisemonogatari Ep. 11 This series always performs well when it focuses on its strong point. Its intellectual dialogue is always awesome.
Zero F Ep. 11 If your loved one sent you away to protect you, would you honor their protective wishes or do everything you could to return?
March 19 Mirai Nikki Ep. 22 This was a brutal episode. But all these cliffhangers and mysteries are starting to annoy me. Are they really necessary?
Rinne Ep. 11 Sure enough, Madoka went berserk in Vox Aura. But I’m confused. When a pilot loses control don’t bad things usually happen?
March 20 Another Ep. 11 It seems we’ve reached the breaking point of sanity. How will this curse be brought to an end and what will be the cost?
Shana III Ep. 23 In some ways the battle is over and in other ways this is just a minor change in the status quo, but it was most elegant.
Ano Natsu Ep. 11 Seriously!! Just who is Remon? Things are getting a little ridiculous, but it’s still a lot of fun so I’m not too annoyed.
March 23 Guilty Crown Ep. 22 Talk about crunch time. A pretty series with an interesting concept falls flat with a rushed and empty ending. =(
March 24 BRS Ep. 8 The winding path this series takes belies its actual simplicity. Telling such a straightforward story so beautifully is amazing.
Persona 4 Ep. 24 Ah… all the secrets are getting revealed. I really love this part since all the subtle clues were there all along.
Amagami+ Ep. 12 It seems the Morishima family is full of bad girls. After jumping through all those hoops I’m glad he got the good ending.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week (3/11 – 3/17)

Anime of the Week – Black★Rock Shooter
This series has been fantastic; touching on intellectual insights and covering the difficult intricacies of relationships, all while creatively slipping in some epic fight scenes. But now that Mato has to face herself, what will the ending yield?
March 11 Persona 4 Ep. 22 How will the anime address the video game’s bad ending? Will there be a new spin or will it just cut right to the good end?
Nisemonogatari Ep. 10 As this series winds down, it’s turning away from the intellectual tone that made Bakemonogatari so philosophical.
Zero F Ep. 10 The current plot point serves no other purpose than to put Louise and Saito’s love in jeopardy, which makes it feel hollow.
March 12 Rinne Ep. 10 More team building followed by a threat of war and losing something precious as well. But what’s at stake is still unknown.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 21 This was such a satisfying episode that was well worth the wait. But, why do new mysteries suddenly keep appearing?
March 13 Another Ep. 10 When desperate people get cornered, there’s no telling what they’ll do. What will be the result of their hasty conclusions?
March 14 Ano Natsu Ep. 10 Things feel like they’re wrapping up nicely. A little love and a little heartbreak leads into this anime’s last segment.
Shana III Ep. 22 What tricks does Yuji have to pull this turn of events back in his favor? Will his last resort be venting his frustration?
March 16 Guilty Crown Ep. 21 As the story winds down, everyone puts their faith in Shu while he honors their trust by praising their humanity.
BRS Ep. 7 Things are really starting to move. How will Mato resolve her fight with Yuu? And how will Yomi play a role in wrapping things up?
March 17 Amagami+ Ep. 11 Haruka is such a bad girl. The way that Junichi plays along with her silly, often frightening antics is hilarious to watch.
Persona 4 Ep. 23 Now that the mysteries are getting solved, I’m suddenly getting a desire to replay the last few battles of the video game.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week 3/4 – 3/10

Anime of the Week – Black★Rock Shooter
I’ve always liked the engaging qualities of a bad guy with respectable motives. At this point, I think it’s pretty clear that BRS is this season’s best anime.
March 4 Nisemonogatari Ep. 9 We’re supposed to be on Tsukihi’s story arc right now, but she’s had almost no presence in the last two episodes.
Zero F Ep. 9 This series is a bunch of average stories, broken by punctuated climaxes. After the trouble last time, this was pretty low-key.
March 5 Rinne Ep. 9 I always like stories where the bad guys have principles. There’s nothing more disappointing than a one-dimensional antagonist.
Persona 4 Ep. 21 This series has never handled its action very well and with only a few episodes left, I fear things will be rushed.
March 6 Another Ep. 9 There’s a difference between atmospheric pacing and contrived delays for the purpose of artificially lengthening a story.
Ano Natsu Ep. 9 I can’t tell if we’ve reached the climax of this series’ romance or if there’s still more surprises yet to come.
March 9 BRS Ep. 6 Now that Mato understands, how will she reshape the purpose of her other self and what will her new goals be if she’s successful?
Guilty Crown Ep. 20 Has Gai learned nothing? He just can’t keep his arrogance in check. It’s like he’s beckoning Shu to come challenge him.
March 10 Amagami+ Ep. 10 I don’t know how to react to such an ordinary, low-impact episode. Even Junichi was a little blander than usual.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week 2/26 – 3/3

Anime of the Week – Black★Rock Shooter
How does the link between the real world characters and the other selves work? The connection is taking shape and the consequences of actions in the other world reveal something far bigger than initially expected.
February 26 Zero F Ep. 8 This was a rather ordinary episode to lead into the next segment of the series. How will these loose ends get sewn up?
February 27 Shana III Ep. 20 The series just seems to be driving along at a steady pace without any bumps in the road to make things more exciting.
Nisemonogatari Ep. 8 It’s all part of the fun of watching this anime, but sometimes I don’t understand how what’s going on is relevant.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 20 The survival game is almost over. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the for-TV censoring that appears a lot in this anime.
Rinne Ep. 8 I’m glad to see this series has addressed the issue of where the humans who are living on other planets originally came from.
Feburary 28 Another Ep. 8 It’s starting to strike me that the writing is getting more and more contrived in its ways to get Misaki into the story. Hmmm
February 29 Ano Natsu Ep. 8 This episode was a lot of fun. Some big secrets got revealed, but there’s still more—Lemon’s identity being one of them.
Persona 4 Ep. 19 Why are the side stories more interesting than the main plot? It must be how well the bonus material adds to video game.
Persona 4 Ep. 20 The past few episodes were a nice diversion with good timing since there’s nobody to rescue. But it’s time for some action.
March 2 Amagami+ Ep. 9 I think I’d like Sae’s story much better if it wasn’t for that annoying narrator. He’s funny at times, but too obvious.
Guilty Crown Ep. 19 The climax of this episode was way too predictable. This was merely a pathway to the trials that are coming next.
BRS Ep. 5 Why is this show so good? The formula is simple, but there’s majesty in watching this visual metaphor reveal its deeper meaning.
March 3 Shana III Ep. 21 I’m glad to see more subtly in this battle than I’d originally assumed. Conflict other than physical violence adds depth.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week 2/19 – 2/25

Anime of the Week – Black★Rock Shooter
Somtimes the most innocent, unassuming comments can be the most painful. But when someone sinister is manipulating everyone’s feelings from behind the scenes, just how low will everyone’s hearts drop?
February 19 Persona 4 Ep. 18 I’m liking the additional side stories that the anime is adding to the video game’s plot. I guess it’s only natural.
February 20 Shana III Ep. 19 What a confusing episode. This series has always been clumsy with its dialogue. If you need to say something, just say it.
Rinne Ep. 7 This was a nice team building episode and a good lesson to everyone out there who thinks good deeds will always be praised.
Nisemonogatari Ep. 7 Kaiki’s send off was rather anticlimactic, but when I think about it I’m not sure why I expected more from him.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 19 I like the attitude of the new Yukiteru. He’s finally getting down to business. But this episode’s cliffhanger is weird.
Feburary 21 Another Ep. 7 I hope next week’s swimsuit episode will be handled with appropriate grace. This could be make or break for this series.
Zero F Ep. 7 Sometimes this series really gets its act together. Beset by troubles on every side, Saito manages to set a new plan in motion.
February 22 Ano Natsu Ep. 7 Secrets are starting to be revealed as outside forces coax the true feelings from the hearts of this group of adolescents.
February 24 Guilty Crown Ep. 18 It’s like this series has reverted back to its beginnings. Shu is a wimp, Gai is an ass and Inori is a mystery.
Amagami+ Ep. 8 Junichi and Kaoru may get along really well, but that doesn’t make for a good story. They’re more like siblings than lovers.
February 25 BRS Ep. 4 Humans are amazing creatures. The ways we adapt to the changes and challenges in our lives are fascinating and insightful.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week 2/12 – 2/18

Anime of the Week – Another
The writers gets big points this week for being able to read my mind. If your classmates are going to ignore you, call their bluff.
February 12 Guilty Crown Ep. 16 With the level of deceit surrounding Shu, it’s no wonder the world is beginning to fall apart—but can it still be saved?
BRS Ep. 2 What happened? All through the episode was a story of being bound, unable to escape. But now…everyone is suddenly freed? Huh?
Inu x Boku SS Ep. 5 This anime had some real potential to be sophisticated, but it’s since devolved into a menagerie of hyper sex jokes.
Nisemonogatari Ep. 6 The intricacies of “no doesn’t always mean no,” is too terrible a weapon for women to use indiscriminately.
Amagami+ Ep. 5 So far the Ai Nanasaki arc has been the most lovey-dovey story. Along with the quirkier girls, it’s set to a good pace.
Amagami+ Ep. 6 I thought the original series’ story of Nanasaki was too simple, but I’ve taken a liking to this style and her character.
Symphogear Ep. 3 Tsubasa and Hibiki are not getting along and some of Hibiki’s careless words are not helping their relationship.
Kill Me Baby Ep. 2 This series is cute and funny most of the time, but it just doesn’t have the permeating appeal of other moe anime.
February 13 Zero F Ep. 3 Although somewhat ineloquent in its writing, this anime does a decent job establishing some rather complicated politics.
Zero F Ep. 4 Saito has come a long ways from being a lowly familiar in season one, but he’s still unable to escape his troubles with women.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 18 In some ways I’m glad to find out there’s difficult circumstances behind Yuno’s craziness, but really it’s just so sad.
Rinne Ep. 6 Has this mecha anime finally started to reveal its true colors? Is it going to follow a more supernatural path like Evangelion?
Zero F Ep. 5 As much as Saito eyes other girls, he’s quite faithful to Louise. Sometimes he just gets stuck in a bad or worse scenario.
Zero F Ep. 6 Despite this being the obligatory fanservice onsen episode, there was actually a decent amount of genuine romance.
Feburary 14 Another Ep. 6 Sakakibara’s fantasy with Misaki was absolutely priceless. But the madness is just setting in as people become more desperate.
Shana III Ep. 18 The final battle is going to be long, with ideals being the combatant’s main motivation for victory. This will be good.
February 15 Persona 4 Ep. 15 I really liked the crossover music from Persona 3 in this episode. The real turning point of this series starts now.
Persona 4 Ep. 16 I wonder how many first-time viewers were able to guess Naoto’s secret before this episode. I think it should’ve been easy.
February 16 Ano Natsu Ep. 6 Thankfully this anime’s swimsuit episode has a good ratio of plot to fanservice as the unrequited love circles are revealed.
Persona 4 Ep. 17 I’ve said there’s not enough extra flavor in the anime to set it apart from the video game, but this episode delivered.
February 18 Guilty Crown Ep. 17 Ok…now what? I’m eager to see what happens next, but it feels like we’ve reached a bad end with no other options left.
BRS Ep. 3 Mamiko Noto is an awesome voice actress. There’s been a change in pace that makes the first two episodes seem like a mini-arc.
Amagami+ Ep. 7 I’m not sure Kaoru is a good match for Junichi. The two of them are so similar there’s no complement in their relationship.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week 2/5 – 2/11

Anime of the Week – Another
As more of the history behind the strangeness of class 3-3 gets revealed, the mystery evolves just enough to hold your interest but still keep you filled with anticipation.
February 5 Amagami+ Ep. 3 There’s something refreshing about the personalities of the girls in this anime. They’re all so unique and likeable.
Inu x Boku SS Ep. 4 Natsume is really creepy. If the purpose of this episode was to introduce some new characters it wasn’t done well.
February 6 Rinne Ep. 5 I like these moments in stories when people’s true nature gets revealed. This was a cool twist setting up what will come next.
Nisemonogatari Ep. 5 I think we’re starting to get into the meat of the plot. Sadly, there was a serious lack of cleverness this episode.
Feburary 7 Mirai Nikki Ep. 15 I totally knew that was going to happen based on the large amount of foreshadowing. That was dissatisfyingly predictable.
Black★Rock Shooter Ep. 1 Initial impression – a rough diamond http://wp.me/p1Gaby-hz
Another Ep. 5 It’s finally making sense, but it’s still far from finished. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next.
February 8 Mirai Nikki Ep. 16 Yukiteru’s dad is too desperate and selfish. But I’d really like to understand why Minene is acting so altruistic.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 17 The line between action and inaction and the associated guilt or innocence of being a bystander is not clearly defined.
Zero F Ep. 2 What this series lacks in complexity, it makes up for with a compelling pace that makes you want to keep watching.
February 9 Shana III Ep. 16 I want to know what role Pheres will play in the upcoming battle. She’s a random element that will make things interesting.
Shana III Ep. 17 I love these kinds of meaningful conflicts in which each side is principled and neither has clearly good or evil motives.
Ano Natsu Ep. 5 How fast will the story proceed now that the secrets are getting revealed? Next is the obligatory swimsuit episode. -_-
February 11 Amagami+ Ep. 4 Ordinary girl Rihoko gets a fairly simple ending to her love story. It’s happy and elegant without being sappy.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Black★Rock Shooter Ep. 1

Initial impression – a rough diamond

Winter 2012 (8 episodes) (title synonym – BRS) (more info)

And so begins the anime that was inspired by a Vocaloid song.  The first episode is showing excellence, but comes with quite an emotional roller coaster; leaving me only slightly optimistic about the tone of this series.  It would seem that with only eight episodes they’re rushing content and a slower revelation of this anime’s darker elements would have been better—allowing more time to set the mood.  That being said, there’s still an air of novelty around the concept of our inner psyches engaging in epic battles as we experience the tumultuous drama of our daily relationships.  The art style is also trying something unique with reality looking plain and somewhat unrefined; switching to a sharper and edgy theme when the action starts.  The talent of Kana Hanazawa greatly adds to the depth of the composition, which is going to be a necessity to pull off the range of feelings Mato is inevitably going to experience.  At its core, Black Rock Shooter is an experimental anime that’s breaking new ground and it’s off to a promising start.

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