Black Rock Shooter. Three words that will either make you groan or cheer if you follow anime fandom. Black Rock Shooter is the name of a property that spawned from a Hatsune Miku song written by Supercell.
The genesis of the property started with a stylized music video that inspired Yutaka Yamamoto, of Haruhi and Lucky Star fame, to create an OVA based on said music video.
From there it turned into a world wide phenomenon... before anyone saw any footage from the OVA! Figures, posters, art books, more figures were released all before anything had been seen of the show. In this way the show could never even hope to live up to the hype machine that had been constructed around it.
And after watching the OVA last week, I can say with certain the OVA does not live up to the hype, even a little. What it proved is Yamamoto can't do a creative work that doesn't involve school girls in modern day. That's fine. Haruhi and Lucky Star are both great as they are, but he was clearly the wrong choice for this franchise. A good 90% of the OVA is dedicated not to the Black Rock Shooter characters, but to their real world alternate personalities, or whatever. The other problem is that nothing is ever explained. Remove all the BRS scenes and you get a decent , depressing slice-of-life story about a jealous girl.
Does this mean I'm going to cancel all my preorders of BRS figures and never listen to the song again? Hardly. In fact the franchise has quickly grown above and beyond the OVA that somewhat started the craze.
Which brings me to the crux of why I decided to write this article. It is no secret I am slightly obsessed with Hatsune Miku. She created an amazing opportunity for anyone with any musical talent to create works of art, even if they can't sing, and without the need to hire someone to sing for you. The creative works that spawned from the Vocaloid2 software was nothing short of a revolution.
Black Rock Shooter is one of those creative products. So, in tandem, what I would like to see from Black Rock Shooter is a similar sort of idea, except in a visual way. Hatsune Miku represents music and Black Rock Shooter represents Visual.
Basically this has happened already. The creators of the Coraline movie are making a stop-motion animation of the Black Rock Shooter music video with the Linkin Park guy doing a remix of the song. This is to say nothing of the hundreds, or even thousands of fan drawings that litter the net based on BRS.
And the latest news that got me excited was the announcement of a Black Rock Shooter RPG, that has nothing to do with the OVA, featuring only BRS characters, made by Ordet Studios, who are responsible for some of my favorite JRPGs (Valkyria Chronicles II, Persona 3 and 4). If this gets a stateside release, and is good, it will completely disembowel all knowledge of the OVA for me.
In the end, what I am saying I want is for multiple people to be able to use these compellingly designed characters for a multitude of different media and creative products. I don't know the legality surrounding the characters, but so far their creators seem to be fine with a wide range of interpretations and I hope it continues that way for the entire lifespan of the franchise.
Also as a side note Happy 3rd Birthday to Hatsune Miku!
Original Music Video: