The latest anime version of the Black Rock Shooter media series was released on October 19 on Hulu's American server, but it was also released on Disney+ in other regions — including other English-speaking nations like the United Kingdom and Canada.
So why didn't Disney+ in America make Black Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall an exclusive? What does this signify for any future Disney+ acquisitions of other anime produced by other parties?
What's the Story Behind Black Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall?
Based on a popular Vocaloid song produced by supercell, Black Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall is the latest installment in a franchise that has existed since the late 2000s. While each iteration features an entirely new plot, it always follows a group of super-powered teenage girls that either battle each other, a greater evil, or both. The Black Rock Shooter franchise has already spawned an OVA, an eight-episode anime series, video games and many, many figurines.
This latest entry takes place in a post-apocalyptic future in the year 2062. An automated workforce AI has rebelled against humanity and plans to take over the entire Earth with its army of machines. Black Rock Shooter, also known as Empress, wakes up with no memories and is told she must fight against this great evil for the sake of humanity's future. Franchise mainstays Dead Master and Strength also make appearances as antagonistic forces that frequently get in the way of Empress and her allies.
Why Isn't Disney+'s American Server Offering Black Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall?
There are a number of reasons why Black Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall may not be considered a good fit for the American branch of Disney+'s image. The young title character's design alone would likely draw suspicious looks from parents looking for a good show for their kids to watch. The show also includes incredibly sensitive topics, such as rape and the sexualization of young girls.
The American branch of Disney+ also appears to be pickier over its offerings compared to its Canadian and British counterparts, especially when it comes to sensitive content. Dawn Fall is also more likely to stand out on the Disney+ app as it currently has a small handful of anime titles, all of which have been quite family-friendly for the most part. As Hulu has a wider demographic appeal and a larger existing anime library, the show is less likely to stand out and draw negative criticism from concerned parents.
About Summertime Rendering and Tatami Time Machine Blues?
As of this writing, two other third-party anime have been picked up by Disney+. Tatami Time Machine Blues will eventually become available on the app's American branch, but there remains no word on which American streaming service will carry Summertime Rendering. Given the amount of graphic violence and fanservice featured on the show, it's very likely to end up on Hulu like Black Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall.
However, this begs the question as to why Tatami Time Machine Blues was deemed acceptable for Disney+'s American branch. While the show does tackle adult topics, it isn't overtly violent and, above all, doesn't feature the sexualization of minors. The show will also likely receive a TV-MA rating like its predecessor, Tatami Galaxy, which should deter any parent from mistaking it for a children's show. Black Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall, on the other hand, had received a TV-14 rating on Hulu -- which could still be deemed acceptable for some families to watch with younger viewers.
At the end of the day, regardless of where it's streaming, Black Rock Shooter: Dawn Fall has now been made available for English-speaking audiences to watch. Now it's up to anime lovers to decide whether or not the new series is worth their time.