An "other self" is an alternate counterpart to a human character that resides in the Otherworld. In the various media associated with Black★Rock Shooter, they are described as solitary beings who have the ability to defend themselves using their own weapons, seemingly reflecting the portrayal of the Otherworld as a place filled with dangers.
Most of huke's characters are portrayed as these "other selves", possessing an invisible connection with someone from the human world.
Black★Rock Shooter (OVA)Edit
The Black★Rock Shooter OVA defines an "other self" as a being that has some sort of connection or personality similar to that of their human counterpart. When they reach a common goal, presumably the "other selves" can create a connection to their counterpart and make a deal with him/her to "merge" or "fuse". The only people who have been seen to do this are Kuroi Mato and her "other self" Black★Rock Shooter, but it can be assumed Takanashi Yomi and the Dead Master did the same as well.
It is possible that an "other self" cannot even materialize without merging or taking a body, as Black★Rock Shooter's lips do not move when she talks before she merges, and the Dead Master dissolves immediately upon leaving Yomi's body. However, this may be because Black★Rock Shooter could be dead (it is possible Black★Gold Saw killed her instead of just giving her scars).
How much control each party has when merged is also unknown. When merged/possessing Yomi, Dead Master was behaving in a violent, cruel manner, much unlike Yomi; however, it is possible Yomi had lost control or was sharing the Dead Master's angry instincts. However, Black★Rock Shooter seemed to be empathetically reacting to the Dead Master/Yomi in a way Mato would be likely to.
Visual cues that an "other self" is one to a human counterpart is similar eye color (Mato and Black★Rock Shooter both have blue eyes, and Yomi and Dead Master green) and similar hairstyle (Mato and Black★Rock Shooter's pigtails and bangs, Yomi and Dead Master's halfcut). These cues imply Strength to be an "other self" to Yuu, as both have the same choppy hairstyle and hazel eyes. In addition, there is a girl on the train (unrelated to Mato in any way) in the beginning of the OVA with a similar hairstyle (although the eye color is unclear) to Black★Gold Saw's, making her Black★Gold Saw's possible human counterpart.
Black★Rock Shooter (Anime)Edit
The Black★Rock Shooter anime series follows the similar concept that the OVA, carrying over the design of other selves as "otherworldly beings that possess a connection with a human being". However, the anime series portrays the connection between human and other self in a more evident way.
The battles between other selves often reflect the experiences of their human counterparts in real time, as shown when Black★Rock Shooter fights Chariot at the same time when Mato and Kagari "fight" for Yomi's affection. The outcome of these battles, as with the strength of the other selves involved, would also reflect the resolution of that conflict in the real world.
At times, the human world would sometimes "bleed through" the Otherworld; human voices can be heard from the Otherworld, while a human's physical status may reflect in the Otherworld as well (for example, Chariot's wheeled legs reflecting her use of the wheelchair and the scar in Yomi's and Dead Master's chest). Likewise, events in the Otherworld may also manifest in the human world as dreams.
Saya Irino explains that there is someone out there who takes a person's pain from their hearts so that they will never feel physical pain when they are hurt. The "other selves" are implied to be this, as Black★Rock Shooter is seen screaming in pain as Mato goes through emotional turmoil.
Eventually, Yuu Koutari reveals to Mato that these beings have essentially taken on the grief of each counterpart in the real world, but killing an "other self" causes the real counterpart to lose his/her attachments when becoming free of grief, including love. This occurs with the death of Chariot and Arata's potential "other self"; Kagari lost her love for Yomi, and Arata for Takuu. Mato disapproves of this way of dealing with grief, saying that differences should be resolved directly by talking. One particular "other self" of interest is Black★Gold Saw, who appears to have control over reality in the Otherworld itself. She seemed to be able to stop the flow of the destruction in Chariot's world, to the point where it was like stopping time, and the blades that cut the fissure that carries Dead Master away seem to cut into reality itself. She also has the ability to create strange hooded figures from a watering can, which are implied to be incomplete "other selves" that are weaker and have less autonomy; this could potentially mean she has the ability to make "other selves". It is later revealed that her duty, given by Yuu, was to protect the Otherworld.
It is later shown that people from the real world can enter the Otherworld in the body of their "other self", in a process which is similar to merging (see OVA section above) but gives the person full access to the other self's body and weapons. Normally it seems this results in the "other self" getting transferred into their counterpart's body in the real world (as in the case of Yuu and Strength); however, in Episode 8 Mato was able to use Black★Rock Shooter's form and ★rock Cannon while the real Black★Rock Shooter had been transformed into Insane Black★Rock Shooter. After Black★Rock Shooter returned to her normal form, Mato appeared as her human form, dressed in Black★Rock Shooter's clothing. While Mato was using Black★Rock Shooter's body, her wounds did not heal as quickly as they would for "other selves" (although later in the battle she was able to withstand more damage, suggesting some healing ability) and her blood was red. This was not the case for Yuu, who could withstand massive damage and had Strength's black blood. Her enhanced durability may however be attributed to her masochistic personality.
Noted Other SelvesEdit
- Black★Rock Shooter (of Mato Kuroi)
- Dead Master (of Yomi Takanashi)
- Strength (of Yuu Koutari)
- Chariot (of Kagari Izuriha)
- Black★Gold Saw (of Saya Irino)
- Arata's "Other Self" (of Arata Kohata)
- Episode 5 of the 2012 anime may have somewhat solidified the term of an "other self", as before she refers to Black★Rock Shooter by name, Yuu refers to all of these beings as "the other [name]".
- In the 2012 anime, not all other selves have the same eye colour as their human counterparts. Strength's eye colour is orange instead of brown like Yuu's eyes and Saya Irino has brown eyes while Black★Gold Saw has red eyes. The rest of the other selves, however, have the same eye colour as their counterparts.
- In the cases of Strength and Black★Gold Saw, however, the eyes are within the same chromatic scale (hazel is a darker and slightly less bright orange, and Saya's eyes are a muted brown, which could be a darker version of Black★Gold Saw's red).
- As the term itself is called "Other Self", all human beings have counterparts in the Otherworld. Although Huke already drawn a male variant BRS type character, there are no other selves that are male shown in the series at all.
- The anime reveals that most "other selves" are female. It may be possible for them to be male but this has not been shown yet.
- It is also revealed in the anime that killed "other selves" can be revived, as shown in Episode 8 where Chariot comes back to help Mato along with the main "other selves" cast, and Strength being alive and well in the final scene of the episode despite dying earlier. How this happens remains ambiguous, but it appears that the act of their respective human counterparts remembering and coming to terms with their forgotten feelings and emotions plays a significant role.
- In the same vein, a revived 'other self' seemingly retains some memory of their previous life; upon encountering Black★Rock Shooter in the post-credits scene of Episode 8, the reformed Strength lowers her Ogre Arms and even bears the slightest hint of a small smile, as though implying that she no longer regards Black★Rock Shooter as an enemy.
- Some "other selves" possess demonic characteristics, possesing horns, tail, claws, fangs etc. Black★Rock Shooter and the hooded figures are the only "other selves" not to possess any of these characteristics.
- In the Anime, all "other selves" have black-colored blood, with a shade of the color of their eyes.
- Regardless of their personalities, all "other selves" share one common characteristic - a deep and unconditional love for their human counterpart who they regard as the most precious person to them.