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January 28, 2012 / Bradley

Bright Note: Black Rock Shooter is an Event

GRIMDARK MOE

GRIMDARK MOE

Via Japanator:

Nico Nico Douga has announced that they will be streaming the new Black Rock Shooter 8-episode animated series worldwide with subtitles in eight different languages. Directed by Shinobu Yoshioka (Black Rock Shooter OVA) with the collaboration of Hiroyuki Imaishi (Gurren Lagann, Panty & Stocking), the series will be available to the public beginning this upcoming February 3rd.

The Black Rock Shooter series will be streamed every Friday at 11:00 PM. According to sources, the Nico Nico stream will be available in the United States, Canada, France, Belgium, Monaco, Switzerland, Andorra, Italy, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, South Korea, Taiwan, Mainland China, and Singapore. Subtitles will not be accessible from within Japan.

I don’t have strong feelings about Black Rock Shooter, be it the fandom, song or the tepid OVA that came out a year ago, but I really like how its TV release is being handled. That sounds like the lead-in to a wanky industry post, but worry not- I’m just another consumer of cartoons who is also greedy for information, and from my point of view, it has always been hard to find more information on anime. Despite being aware that anime has a massive international following, the industry usually doesn’t do much to market to them. This is probably as much out of frugality as it is neglect, but it seems like an opportunity that the industry has usually passed on. So it’s great to see that the producers of Black Rock Shooter have put up a nice website and are trying to make their cartoon as widely available, legally, as possible.

This leads me to a more abstract thought: that Black Rock Shooter is an Event, and anime doesn’t get enough of those. An Event, proper noun, is a highly anticipated anime based on something established: famous directors, beloved properties, hot fandom items. Being an Event isn’t an indication of quality, but it is something to be excited about. These are anime’s small-time equivalent of blockbusters, where the good investment and the excitement are. The Idolm@ster, Arrietty the Borrower, K-On: The Movie … all of these are recent Events.

But just like how fans will fill in the void of legal subs with fansubs, fans will fill in the void of information for new anime with fan-gathered sources, maybe by using Google translate, or fan translations posted on Internet forums. The new season charts are a good example of this. But these are all inconvenient for various reasons: they can be difficult to read, and hard to find for casual viewers. This makes Events nothing to get excited about outside of Japan, and that’s a problem. I suspect the lack of consideration for foreign fans in even simple marketing creates a feeling of being disconnected and undervalued, and contributes to this malaise a lot of fans seem to feel right now.

So I’m looking forward to Black Rock Shooter. I remember the date and time it airs, and where I can go to watch it. This should happen every time an anime I would be slightly interested in airs, but no one seems interested in telling me. So despite my tepid interest in Black Rock Shooter the property, I’m interested in it, because clearly, its creators are interested in me.

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