Friday, 24 February 2012

Black★Rock Shooter - Episode 4

Whatever happened to her last episode, basketball club captain Kohata doesn't seem to have been too badly affected by her collapse, as we see her alive, well (sprained ankle aside) and as bright and breezy as ever as this fourth instalment of Black Rock Shooter kicks off.

Indeed, Kohata doesn't seem to be the only one who things are looking up for, as Kagari also puts in an appearance as she starts life at school, in Yomi and Mato's class no less.  Although the horrors of her old attitude have been put to bed, her sheltered life still leaves her appearing both shy and abrasive - not that this seems to bother her class mates, who take to her immediately.  Before we know it, Kagari has a number of close friends and is even co-opted into the school's cooking club.

While this may seem like good news, it's anything but for Yomi - already feeling like a third wheel in Mato and Yuu's friendship, Kagari no longer needing to rely on her for anything leaves her hugely upset; emotions which she then has no hesitation in taking out on those around her at every opportunity.  As things worsen, Yomi stops coming to school altogether much to the concern of Mato, Kagari and even Yuu - when Kagari spends an entire evening outside in the rain trying to persuade Yomi to see her, the latter believes that perhaps Kagari's former reliance upon her as return, only to find that what Kagari has been waiting for say is about to break her completely.

If previous instalments of this series have seemed a little heavy on the melodrama, this week's episode of Black Rock Shooter lays it on so thick that I can only assume they had to haul an industrial strength mixer into the production studio to do so.  If Kagari's madness early in the series seemed at least somewhat plausible, Yomi's is anything but, with a paranoia that almost literally borders on the insane.  The trouble is, with so much bitchiness and the like floating around the show, it's come to the point where I don't like anybody within it - Mato and Yuu are rather wooly friends to Yomi, and every other major character is a different shade of bonkers.  Alongside that, the show's alternate world continues to be arbitrary and there simply to use the Black Rock Shooter name rather than anything more revelatory, and it's only the mystery of the world's worst student counsellor and her "powers" that really hold any kind of intrigue at this point.  It seems that my worst fears about Black Rock Shooter are coming to pass, as it increasingly shows us its true colours as a clumsy tie-in to the franchise and concept that gives it its name - stripped of its title, there's nothing but overblown drama and mediocre animation to this show.

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