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The Many Faces of Black Rock Shooter

Black Rock Shooter returns — who is she this time?

Black Rock Shooter, the heroine of her own Hatsune Miku-voiced song, is returning for a new anime series! Dawn Fall will tell a brand new story, leading us to ask yet again… who the heck is she?

Because almost every time we meet huke’s sharpshooting character, she’s someone new. She’s got a particular aesthetic, a big gun, and a flaming eye. And a great deal of everything else is up for grabs. So as we wait for her next story to unfold, let’s take a look back at who BRS has been in the past:


A Living Weapon

Black Rock Shooter — the game

In 2011, Black Rock Shooter: THE GAME put you in control of the blue-eyed gunner. BRS was her code name — we also know her as Stella. She exists to fight off an alien threat and protect what remains of humanity. And what she really is… well, that’s the key to the whole game.

As you walk Stella through the story, she opens up more to her friends and associates. She may be designed for combat, but she does begin to care about people. Fight hard and become the best you can be, because the final battle is a doozy. You’ll be facing off against White Rock Shooter, voiced by Maaya Sakamoto. And there’s more to her, and Stella, than meets the eye.


A Helpful Soul in Purgatory

Innocent Soul

In the same year, Black Rock Shooter: Innocent Soul showed us yet another version of the heroine. Here known simply as Rock, she is what’s known as a “Black Star”: a soul sent to save other souls from an in-between, purgatorial world. She travels this Threshold with Ron, her friend and weapon. But, as ever, Rock is more than what she initially appears.

Rock uses her weapon to purify stagnant souls. These people are so weighed down with their previous lives that they can’t ascend to Heaven. Some become corrupted souls, wielding weapons of their own and making this in-between world dangerous for the souls in waiting. You’ll encounter other familiar faces in the Threshold, too; some of whom carry over to our final entry.


An Alternate Self

The other selves

For a lot of people, their first experience with Black Rock Shooter was via the original OVA and subsequent TV series. This story takes place across two worlds: a fairly normal one, and a parallel world where alternate versions of our heroines fight monsters and each other. In this iteration, BRS is the other self of Mato Kuroi: a high school girl who wants to make friends and doesn’t want other people to suffer.

But high school is full of difficult friendships and psychological manipulation. We see these play out in the real world, and in battle as these other selves put feelings and motivations into action. What exactly these “other selves” are is another matter. But it’s one that will be explored… because someone in the world of the show also has an interest in them.

We’ll find out more about Empress, our latest BRS, when Black Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall premieres on Disney+.

You know who Black Rock Shooter isn’t? An alternate Hatsune Miku. But here are some freaky characters who are.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.