Black Rock Shooter and A Tale of Two Friends

So, I recently revisited The OVA for Black Rock Shooter and I realized that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I did. The art had always captivated me, but during my second play through, the relationship between Yomi and Mato stood out in the forefront like never before. I’m not sure what it was, but there was something about it this time round that just clicked.

“Get this stupid Slice of Life drama out of my Black Rock Shooter” is the complaint I hear most often about this OVA. In my personal opinion, I found those moments to be just as gripping, if not more, than the actual battle between Dead Master and Black Rock Shooter. I’ll chalk that up to being completely oblivious to anything Black Rock Shooter prior to watching the OVA, but I guess I can just say that I enjoy slice of life drama – as long as it’s done well, mind you (and with a few mystical and/or romance elements thrown in for good measure). While Black Rock Shooter does have that mystical element, there’s no romance to speak of – unless you’re specifically looking at it that way, if you know what I mean – so, as a result, the concept of friendship takes center stage.

I’ll try not to get completely personal here in fear of boring you with my personal life, but the thing about Black Rock Shooter and the relationship between Yomi and Mato that captivates me is the fact that I can relate in some way to their circumstances. No, a friend of mine has never disappeared nor have I ever disappeared on a friend. It’s that idea of being ‘the third wheel’ that I understand completely.

The character of Yomi exaggerates this idea to a certain extent, though I wouldn’t put it past someone whose facing serious problems along with the prospect of losing their only friend to run away. Yomi is the kind of person who attaches to one person and only that person. Think of it kind of like she feels there’s no need for extra friends when all she needs to be happy is that one special person, in this case Mato.  In a way you could relate it to Moeka in Stein’s Gate just on a much (much) smaller scale. She’s not crazy, she’s just a little unwell.

Truthfully, I can say that I’ve never really had a best friend, just a bunch of good friends that already had their own best friend. That, coincidentally, always made me the third wheel.  I’m not saying, however, that there’s no way a person can have two (or more, just look a K-On) best friends, it just didn’t feel right for me to butt in where I felt like I didn’t belong, you know? That’s what I’m thinking Yomi is faced with. You could say she’s suffering from third degree (or first? I’m not sure which one’s considered the least severe) shyness. She’s comfortable around certain people but unwilling to take that extra step to make more friends, especially when she already has someone like Mato.  As a result, when she’s faced with the idea that she’s losing Mato it hits her harder because she feels like there’s no one else to turn to.

When you think of it, the concept of the ‘Third Wheel’ is a term used when a close friend is in a romantic relationship with another person, but if you think of a friendship as a close relationship than its easy to see how Yomi feels in this particular circumstance. In fact because of her constant relocating, her relationship with Mato may be the one of the few true connections she’s had with someone her age. If that were indeed true, how do you think it would make her feel when she was suddenly ‘forgotten’ about by the one person she’s connected with? It’s more than just petty jealousy despite what the screenshots and color schemes tell us.

I see what you did there...

Friends are, at times, just as important as family. They can cheer you up like any sibling or parent can and yet at the same time be there for you like no other. Not only does friendship play a major role in Black Rock Shooter, just take a look at the 2010 animated film Colorful and Nichijou for that matter and you’ll see quite a resemblance to this particular niche of the concept of Friendship. There a things that family cannot help one through and it’s at that moment where friends are irreplaceable. Just like Mato came through for Yomi, proving that in spite of the many other friends she has there’s no one who can replace Yomi,  Saotome came through for Makoto in the film Colorful.

Nichijou may not pack quite the same emotional punch as either Colorful or Black Rock Shooter, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as heartfelt. In fact, I’d say that episode twenty five’s skit on friendship is just about as heartwarming as something can possibly get. Sure, friends can get on your last nerves, but in the long run they’re there for you and, well, that’s all one can really ask for.

"Voucher for a life long Friendship"

Yeah, they may be pains in the ass, but they're keepers.

About Nishimura

An anime enthusiast who finds time to blog when she has no time to spare.
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2 Responses to Black Rock Shooter and A Tale of Two Friends

  1. Ultima says:

    Overall, I didn’t really like BRS for several reasons. It was hard to follow exactly what is Black Rock Shooter. Is it an alternate dimension? How does Yomi and Mato get involved in that dimension? What the point of showing Black Gold Saw at the beginning? All these questions are left unanswered. I’m like you in that I don’t know anything about BRS prior to this OVA, except that originally the BRS was a character created for a music video/song sung by Hatsune Miku. From there, it just exploded into a popular Japanese anime asset.

    Another reason why I didn’t like it was because it had very little music in it. While this isn’t necessarily a requirement for a good anime/ova, it just seemed like BRS could have been better if they added more dramatic or meaningful music at certain parts.

    Strictly speaking of the friendship, I would have to agree. It’s a very likeable relationship between the two, and at the end (even though it has a very weak ending, and actually the plot doesn’t even go anywhere >.>) I enjoyed how they were able to show that strong connection they have to one another.

    Anyway, more on topic: I don’t mind slice-of-life anime/ovas either. I often get lost in the exact definition of Slice-of-life, because to me, BRS wasn’t a slice-of-life OVA. The friendship-building aspect and the third-wheel circumstances I would actually consider to be plot-development. Often you hear that slice-of-life = non-existent plot, so I’m going off that belief. Personally for me, I liked seeing that jealousy between characters because it made them more real, and it explains why Deadmaster and BRS fought. I would like to think that the alternate dimension is the manifestation of their thoughts and ideals, and takes place simultaneously and parallel to the real world, but that again is not explained.

    • Nishimura says:

      With something like this, (i.e. I have no expectations for) if there’s something I can latch on to then it’s usually easy for me to forgive the shows other shortcomings. The plot was mish-mashed, but I was still able to enjoy it, and I guess that’s all that matters in the end.

      I’m guess they left so much open because they already had plans for a television series, but from the looks of it, I’m not too excited with the changes they made.

      That’s interesting, I didn’t look at it that way, but now that you brought it up, BRS really doesn’t seem as a slice of life show, it merely has elements of it. The ending is probably more of what the television series will be but only time will tell if that is really the case.

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