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.
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.