Hachiko's Black Rock Shooter Ova Review

Black Rock Shooter

Black Rock Shooter ova Review

Living in converging worlds, both Mato Kuroi and Black Rock Shooter cope with their own situations in a deep duality: Kuroi's loss of Yomi Takanashi's friendship and Black Rock Shooter's empty battle with Dead Master.
Will Kuroi win back Yomi's friendship, and will Black Rock Shooter defeat Dead Master?

Story & Playability

The storyline for Black Rock Shooter seems to be condensed. After all, the OVA is only 50 minutes long and centers on two parallel universes. The first is that surrounding the main character and namesake, Black Rock Shooter, while the second is that surrounding a young girl entering junior high by the name of Mato Kuroi. It isn't anything complicated, just a slice-of-life friendship story mixed in with the main character's soul searching journey, which leads to a showdown with the main antagonist, Dead Master.

I really felt that this should have been a 13-episode TV series. There was so much room and potential for character development and plot development, but since this an OVA, we were disservice of not seeing this come to fruition. That said, I liked the character Mato Kuroi more than her Otherworld counterpart, the namesake character of the OVA. Here is someone that, in spite of her height, wants to be friends with the first person she meets at school and hold on to that friendship, no matter how hard it hurts. You have to applaud her courage and confidence for someone her age. It's uncanny. Mato probably was the only character that stood out, aside from the namesake.

Rating: 7


An OVA means high, quality production in the art department, and I was quite pleased with the art and animation direction made by Yuusuke Matsuo, Atsushi Morikawa and Emi Kesamaru. It's as if they looked at huke's original design of Black Rock Shooter and built off of it. The details of the Otherworld have a gothic touch to it, while that of reality is bedecked in sheer medium and pastel hues. It's a visual example of both worlds meeting each other. Even the scenes with Strength matched the mood, with the afternoon setting in.

What intrigued me was the design of Mato's school uniform. The midriff was emphasized a lot when she moved. Perhaps this represents her innocent, free-spirited mentality that defined her for so long. Or maybe it's going straight for the moeblob, who knows. I just wanted to point it out for the sake of doing so.

Also, the outfits for Black Rock Shooter, Dead Master, Strength and even Black Gold Saw looked marvelous, even when in motion. I'm a bit partial to Black Rock Shooter's outfit, though, because the design for this is fitting of a franchise character, especially when you have an eye that burns blazing blue. Anyway, high marks for the art.

Rating: 9


The ending theme was the reason why this score is a "9" and not a "10". Now I don't have anything against The Gomband or their song "Braveheart," but one would think that Miku Hatsune's rendition of "Black Rock Shooter" would have been a more fitting ED. After all, that's the song that really put Black Rock Shooter on the map, aside from huke's contributions.

Otherwise, I give high remarks for the Sound. The effects of the fight scenes are superb and well-drawn out. From Black Rock Shooter walking to the battleground, to Mato running down the street, to the sound of the action in the gymnasium, the effects are what you would expect in terms of quality.

The background music was also remarkable, especially that of the fight scenes, which meshed the classical with metal to mark the battle between Black Rock Shooter and Dead Master. It utilizes a good amount of piano, too, giving it a feminine touch to it, which was nice.

But this score is dedicated to the acting, specifically of Kana Hanazawa, the voice of both Mato and Black Rock Shooter. She has made a reputation for herself as the voice of Nadeko Sengoku, Kanade Tachibana and Charlotte Dunois, among others, and the way she expresses a range of emotions has all the makings of a star. She can proudly add the voice of this franchise to her resume.

Rating: 9


Overall, I don't think Black Rock Shooter was fit to be an OVA. It's just too compact. It would have been more refreshing to see this drawn out as a TV series, with an emphasis on the aftermath what fans will see in this OVA, as well as the development of Mato, Yomi Takanashi, and Yuu. So much more could have been done to make this a 13 or 26 episode classic. It just wasn't meant to be.

That being said, for an OVA, this is enjoyable for the art, the sound effects, and the voice acting of Kana Hanazawa. And to think that this all started with a song by Miku Hatsune, of all Vocaloids...


Rating: 8

Final Verdict

8.00 (good)

Reviewed by Hachiko, Apr 06, 2011


  1. Senseless101 Apr 06, 2011

    I agree with you that it is much better if it was at least 13- episode series

  2. CyanideBlizzard Retired Moderator Apr 06, 2011

    Thanks so much for sharing your review with us! I have yet to see BRS, mainly because from what I heard it was pretty poor in both quality and storyline. However, with this review I'll have to go check it out.

    Might I also add for future note that while I can tell you really liked the sound and the art, perhaps go into a bit more detail as to why. A 9 is a pretty high score, so I'd imagine the art must be close to some of the best ever made and very few series can compare with it, same with sound. Otherwise, great job!

  3. fallenkaze Apr 06, 2011

    I've been trying to find time to watch Black Rock Shooter, but I hope I can watch it sometime. I agree with Cy, although I give things high scores without going into detail too, I should probably fix that, but overall a good review and thanks for submitting this review.

  4. z827 Apr 07, 2011

    Well , personally , it SHOULD be an OVA.
    The original storyline structure as imaged by fans and the original creator wasn't vast enough to stretch itself into episodes.
    Also , Black Rock Shooter didn't start out from the song but the song started out from Black Rock Shooter.
    The group have only decided to compose the song "Black Rock Shooter" YEARS after one of the members have made the drafts and idea for the thing , her resemblance to Miku is solely a coincidence and they are after all , a composer of Vocaloid songs.

    As the other fellow reviewers had stated , you should go into details , it's always helpful to give an impression of what an Anime is like.
    However , what I really like in your review is the details your able to bring out in the Sound and Graphics review , something that I am incapable of in many ways.

    Other than the slightly faulty information at the end and the lack of details here and there , this is a pretty good review =w=

  5. aozoraskies Apr 20, 2011

    I'm amused at how you focused on the uniform/outfit designs in the art section. Hehe, I never noticed the midriff bit.
    I watched BRS too, and I have to agree about the animation and sound - it was all quite smooth, and the voice-acting while not extraordinary, was pleasant and emotional enough. I did find some of the battle scenes unnervingly silent, since the 'doubles' are all so silent and their surroundings even more so. :S I guess that was intentional?

    I personally thought that the contrast between the two..dimensions was vaguely interesting, with reality being shown in light, clean, cheery colours, and the alternative textured, dark and Gothic. But the interception of the two worlds; I found it a little too convenient and cliche. ^_^; Yes, perhaps it might have done better as a short series, rather than an OVA. The finale was a little too easy and plot-bunny-ish to me, and the 'mysterious foreshadowing' made me feel like rolling my eyes. ^^; Sorry bout that. It was a show with loadfuls of potential, definitely. :)

    As CyanideBlizzard and z827 has said, it would be great if you could put in more detail, pour in more of why you find this OVA so worthy of the high marks you gave it. :3 Just what made it so strikingly better and distinctive? and so forth. Still, good work! Can feel the enthusiasm, and it reads well. :)

  6. kuryuki Apr 23, 2011

    hm I agree with this should've been an series, it does seem a little compacted. though the art is definitely quite amazing. I wasn't all that pleased with the story line, but the art was what kept me going

  7. rosu Jul 03, 2011

    ah i keep seeing BRS all around but never watched it.. hmm prob wont now..

  8. runezero Mar 11, 2012

    good news, right now they are streaming a brs tv show, sadly enough it will be less than 10 eps

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