One feature of animes is that they sometimes drop you right into a show, so you may spend the first episode or two playing catch-up to figure out what is REALLY going on here. “Black Rock Shooter” is that kind of show, as it takes you a bit of time to realize that we are dealing with the reality of two alternate, but connected, lands, but it focuses around Black Rock Shooter, a mysterious black haired girl who possesses a burning blue eye and a powerful cannon that can shoot rocks at high speed.
Mato Kuroi is starting school and tries to befriend Yomi Takanashi, who is also new to the school. However, there is a problem and that is Kagari Izuriha, a friend of Yomi who is using an accident to make Yomi her emotional slave, preventing her from having friends and being cruel to anyone Yomi brings into the house.
They are connected by this very strange and depressing book “The Little Bird of Many Colors”, which acts as a metaphor for things that happen and occur, but it’s very obvious. What you learn is that the land of Black Rock Shooter is where the black persona and dark emotions of the people in the normal world go to fight it out. The people in this other world represent the sorrow upon their real world counterparts, so they accept the pain, so that the real world person does not and these shooters fight eternally, despite taking horrific damage and seemingly fatal wounds.
Although a visually compelling show, with the shifting landscapes in the Dark Realm, I found it a real workout. This is not a show to watch casually. You have got to pay attention as there WILL be a pop quiz to see if you were really awake and not staring out the window, looking for the Little Bird of Many Colors. I have not seen so much crying in a show, and there was a ton of it in “Rainbow”.
I do twine this, emotionally, to “FLCL”, as a lot is not said and you have to fill in the gaps yourself and you are always playing catch-up, even at the end. I partially suggest it, as it is just eight episodes and a longish OVA (and the OVA has nothing to really do with the series, only with BRS), but you really have got to be in the right frame of mind to take it all down.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 9 (Marvelous backgrounds and good character design)
Plot 6 (Hard to keep a grasp on it)
Pacing 7 (the real world gets a bit turgid)
Effectiveness 7 (Not really certain of that)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘save point’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (They could have taken up a couple more episodes)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I will continue fighting.