What’s it about ?
Melodrama about growing friendship between junior high school girls… interspersed with symbolically-linked action sequences starring their mute alternate personae in a psychedelic fantasy world.
The concept started from a supercell music video, then got a pilot OVA in 2010 ; this is another version that’s supposed to be telling the story properly.
Mato Kuroi, our exuberant protagonist. Her “introspective” narration (“The sky is blue !”) suggests she might not be the brightest bulb in the bunch. She’s quick to make friends… whether they actually want to or not. (And she’s aware she might be a bit too pushy on that front.)
Yomi Takanashi, an asocial classmate whom Mato takes a shine to. They do bond quickly (over a children’s illustrated book, of all things), but the problem is that Yomi is lorded over by…
Kagari, a tyrannical disabled girl who comes over regularly to her house. Let’s not mince words : she’s the villain of the piece, with overblown musical cues driving the point home.
The supporting cast include Mato’s generic best friend, and a school counsellor (wait, those actually exist in anime ?).
Mato’s alter ego in the fantasy world is the title Black★Rock Shooter, a scantily-clad action chick who can transform her hand into a giant cannon-gun. Besides everything in the scenery trying to kill her, she turns out to be fighting what are obviously the alter egos of Kagari and Yomi. It’s not very clear yet, but the little I remember from the OVA heavily hinted that the “real” scenes were flashbacks set before Mato got access to the fantasy world.
Obviously, most of the animation budget went to the fantasy action sequences, which are very impressive indeed, and always clear to follow despite their insanity. The “normal world” sequences are obviously more pedestrian, although the body language remains good throughout.
And obviously, most of the soundtrack comes courtesy of supercell. It works out quite well, I think.
Well, that was quite better than I expected. I wasn’t a fan of the original OVA (the “normal” sequences were just trite and boring there), but this is an improvement on nearly all fronts. While not outstanding on its own right, the “normal” thread is just entertaining enough not to detract too much from the “fantasy” action, and much better at providing context for it than the first time around. (Although Kagari might be a bit too much on the nose to entirely work as an antagonist.)
I’m definitely going to follow this one.