Quick, what are three characteristics shared by shows occupying the noitaminA timeslot, a few very noticeable exceptions aside? Name any three at all. There are no wrong answers, though I can guarantee that none of them could be used to describe Black Rock Shooter, save maybe pretentious. This was the year that confirmed the fact that noitaminA has had no idea what the hell it’s doing for awhile now, something that I attribute to anime that it’s picked up having increasingly more accessible openings since its humble days of freeform jazz and rapping about horror.
Now, depending on which camp of detractors you ask, noitaminA has either been tumbling in flames down a shitty hill of shit for only a few years, or did so long ago before people even knew about it, most only catching glimpses of its noodly form on its way down. I think no matter where folks sit on the issue though, or even if they think that it hasn’t been buried under a veritable mountain of shit so tall you can see it from the stratosphere, I won’t hear too many dissenting voices when I say that Black Rock Shooter is the farthest that noitaminA has dropped the ball.
Most series that’ve aired have maintained some level of overlap with the mission statement; hell, even Guilty Crown was an original (loosely defined) series. But I didn’t know a single person who immediately leapt to their feet upon hearing the news, shrieking with jubilation that the OVA and paradoxically popular franchise that they loved was finally getting a true adaptation. Nearly everyone in the ‘sphere was set on either dropping or ignoring BRS before it even aired, something that hasn’t been seen to the same degree since, even with somehow worse series taking up the mantle of awfulness.
Of course the show was horrid even without comparison to certain successors of suckage, running for less than a full cour and still somehow dragging for far too long with nary a macaroon in sight. I wish I could recall any specific details beyond the appropriately terrible opening that’s notably the opposite freeform jazz or horror rap, but there’s absolutely nothing that stands out. Everything’s executed with an approach that’s not so much directing or writing as it is desperately scratching at a blank storyboard to make something happen, no particular feature coming out less malformed than the rest. In short, there’s absolutely no reason why this had to be made.
As a series, Black Rock Shooter is terrible. As a noitaminA series, it stands as a brief moment where everybody stood back and said “What the fuck, guys?” in harmonious unison. Dislike it or loathe it, I think we can all agree the airing of Black Rock Shooter as a single inglorious whole by noitaminA was pretty fucking weird.