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Yuu Koutari (神足ユウ, Koutari Yuu) is a supporting character in Black★Rock Shooter 2012 anime. Her other self is Strength.

Appearance[]

Yuu has hazel eyes and short tawny hair above the shoulders. She is very short in stature. She wears an orange hairclip on the left side of her bangs in the present day, whereas in the past, she wore a gray hairclip instead.

Personality[]

Throughout most of the anime, Yuu is shown to be a cheerful and supportive friend, especially to Mato Kuroi, whom she has been close friends with ever since kindergarten. She teases her from time to time, especially poking fun about her friendship with "her tiny bird" at the beginning of the anime. Yuu is fond of skipping classes in favor of drinking coffee at Saya Irino's consultation room. She secretly also knows of the Hollow World and its inhabitants very well, and sympathized with how much the other selves suffered on behalf of their human counterparts, though also understanding how necessary it was all the same. However, this personality was actually that of Strength's, who had switched places with Yuu prior to the events of the anime.

The real Yuu Koutari was a stoic and silent person who was constantly hurt by bullying at school and a neglectful family at home, though she never let on how much pain she was really in, not even to her only friend, Saya. The real Yuu had also known of the Hollow World, its inhabitants, and her own other self, Strength. Though her silent endurance made her seem strong, Yuu admitted she herself was not strong, but she believed she could bear the pain she went through in her life at school and at home knowing that her other self was fighting and taking that pain for her.

In the Hollow World, once it was revealed the real Yuu took the place of Strength and vice-versa, Yuu unleashed how truly angry and upset she was at everything she had suffered through in the real world, retorting at Strength trying to reach out to Mato within Black★Rock Shooter for words she viewed as hypocritical. However, Yuu also deeply feared going back to the real world and not having Strength to take the pain on her behalf because she didn't believe that she would find support in anyone else.

History[]

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Yuu's life was one marked by suffering through constant bullying at school and neglect from her family at home. The Koutari family was even disreputable enough to have had gossip about them spread. But no matter what she went through every day, Yuu quietly endured it all and never outwardly expressed how much pain she was truly in. At some point, Yuu came to learn of the existence of the Hollow World and its inhabitants who fought on behalf of their human counterparts, including her own other self, Strength. It is unknown how she learned of them, but knowing that someone else was fighting for her and taking the pain for her was how Yuu could endure living every day in the real world.

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There are two significant events that are central to Yuu's past prior to the beginning of the series. The first of these events is that one day, Yuu left school while soaking wet in her swimsuit (likely due to the actions of a group of girls who were snickering as she left). This caught a young Saya's attention, who was passing by at the time and decided to take Yuu back to her house. There, she gave her a change of clothes and served her soba noodles. When Saya went to get ice cream, her mother recognized Yuu as the "Koutari girl", and Saya learned from her about Yuu's family and what she went through both at school and at home. This made Saya determined to help Yuu and befriend her.

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At the neighborhood waterside, Saya says that Yuu is strong for never letting anything bother her, whereas Saya claims to always be disturbed by even small problems. Yuu disagrees with her and tells her that someone else is strong for her; another girl who fights for her and takes some of Yuu's pain away, even if she cannot take it all for Yuu. She admits how much it hurts, but she believes that she can manage to get by with her, and smiles sadly at Saya. Although Saya didn't understand what Yuu meant at the time, she still wanted to be there for Yuu and try to understand her pain. Saya continued to meet up with Yuu after school and invite her over to her house.

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Then, one night, a fire broke out at the Koutari residence. The fire was started by a lit cigarette that Yuu's stepfather had while sleeping, but Saya, after arriving at the scene, came to the conclusion that Yuu was the one who started the fire, out of revenge for what her family had put her through. Yuu asks Saya if she thinks she did it, and smiles sadly at her once more. She is then taken away in an ambulance while Saya realizes her mistake and tearfully attempts to chase after her to no avail.

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The next day, Saya does not see Yuu after school. She returns to the burnt remains of the Koutari residence in the evening, wondering how she could make things up to Yuu. As she turns to leave, she finds Yuu sitting at the waterside to her surprise, and runs to catch up to her before she leaves. Saya apologizes profusely, saying she couldn't bear it if she lost Yuu, and pleads that she would do anything for her if she forgave her. Yuu replies that there's nothing more painful than being alive in their world. She assures Saya that she wouldn't think of doing anything bad, but goes on to tell her that her pain has become too much and has decided to let "that other girl" take it for her. Yuu decides to take Saya up on her offer and says she needs Saya to protect her. Yuu presses her forehead against hers and asks for her "other name". Saya doesn't know what she means, but Yuu learns by looking into her (with eyes identical to her other self's), and declares that name as Black Gold Saw.

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The sensation of Yuu's suffering forces Strength to feel, changing the color of her eyes as a result.

The second of the events central to Yuu's past is when she contacted Strength for the first time, saving her other self from death. Hearing Yuu's voice allowed Strength to feel emotions for the first time and sense how much Yuu was truly suffering. The sensation overwhelmed her with such sadness to the point that Strength planned to let herself be killed by Black★Rock Shooter, whom she found mercilessly slaughtering other selves in an area of the Hollow World. Knowing that she could take Yuu's pain with her if she were to die, Strength hoped that Yuu would forget all that pained her that way, but Strength ended up not going through with her plan and left without being noticed.

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Strength sat alone in a cathedral-like area, letting her wounds to heal almost instantly. Then, she heard Yuu's voice again, who was relieved that Strength did not die. Strength asks why she shouldn't die for Yuu's sake if it would allow her to forget her pain, but Yuu says that she'll never stop feeling pain for as long as she lives in the real world, which she called cold and vicious, and more trauma would only replace what Strength would be able to take away. Yuu believed that she couldn't survive without Strength, and goes on to express how simple and pure Strength's world is for being a place that does nothing more than battle. Yuu then decides to switch places with Strength, with Strength taking on Yuu's body in the real world and Yuu taking on Strength's body in the Hollow World. Between then and the beginning of the series, the real Yuu Koutari resides in the Hollow World under the guise of Strength.

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Yuu's first appearance as Strength is during the beginning of The World I Once Dreamt Of Closes, where she is seen dragging Chariot's head and body with her to a colorless abyss. Black Gold Saw's eye appears in the sky and watches her toss Chariot into the abyss, disappearing afterwards as Yuu (who noticed Black Gold Saw observing her) turns back to leave. In the following episode, Yuu briefly appears in Mato's dream of the Hollow World before the scene changes to Black★Rock Shooter's fight with Dead Master. After Black★Rock Shooter goes insane and fights Black Gold Saw, Yuu passes by Dead Master's body and drags her away to the same abyss that she previously brought Chariot to.

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In an attempt to reach out to Mato within Insane Black★Rock Shooter, Saya connects with Black Gold Saw and relays the memories of Saya's past with Yuu to Mato. After Saya's memories conclude with Black Gold Saw's name being declared, Insane Black★Rock Shooter shouts and breaks free from her restraints, rushing to attack Black Gold Saw with her King Saw. Saya makes one last plea to Mato as Black Gold Saw closes her eyes, seemingly accepting her fate, but the King Saw misses its mark as Yuu suddenly appears to save her. She catches her off-guard and sends her flying into a pillar. Insane Black★Rock Shooter wastes no time recovering and attempts to retaliate, but Yuu breaks the ground beneath them and takes Black Gold Saw to escape to her own area of the Hollow World. Insane Black★Rock Shooter gives chase until they all appear in Yuu's realm, a Rubik's Cube-style world with the cube structure floating in mid-air. Yuu sets the unconscious Black Gold Saw down, moving her elsewhere to keep her out of Insane Black★Rock Shooter's reach. Yuu and Insane Black★Rock Shooter then face off with each other.

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In the real world, Saya wakes up and realizes that Yuu protected her despite having hurt her before; Strength tells Saya that she forgave her, but Saya believes she failed her duty to protect the Hollow World for Yuu's sake, and cries as Strength holds her close. Meanwhile, the fight between Yuu and Insane Black★Rock Shooter is underway as Insane Black★Rock Shooter fires her Insane Cannon Lance at Yuu, who avoids the attack and tries to punch Insane Black★Rock Shooter with her Ogre Arms, but despite her missing, a block part of the cube structure knocks her away into the wall of another block. Insane Black★Rock Shooter retaliates with her Insane Blade Claw, but Yuu simply grabs the sword and breaks it in half with her sharp tail. Now armed only with her Insane Cannon Lance, Insane Black★Rock Shooter tries to resume her assault, but Yuu switches places with a block and attacks Insane Black★Rock Shooter from behind, crushing her against the block. Yuu then brings both of her fists down on a heavily injured Insane Black★Rock Shooter.

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As Strength discusses with Saya about how Mato's personality influences Black★Rock Shooter's behavior, Insane Black★Rock Shooter gains the upper hand on Yuu, having recovered from her injuries. Yuu takes cover from the Insane Cannon Lance's firepower when Strength suddenly connects with her and calls out to Mato, surprising Yuu. Insane Black★Rock Shooter attempts to attack Yuu while she is distracted, but narrowly misses as Yuu alters the cube structure to gain distance from Insane Black★Rock Shooter. She transforms her Ogre Arms into machine guns and gatling guns to rapidly fire at Insane Black★Rock Shooter, but this does nothing to stop the latter from advancing on her again. However, Mato regains consciousness after hearing Strength's voice, and pleads to Insane Black★Rock Shooter not to hurt "Yuu", unwittingly preventing her body from moving freely. Yuu takes the opportunity to knock Insane Black★Rock Shooter back. The latter fights back against Mato's control by firing at her own legs and attempts to attack Yuu again, but Mato keeps her from doing so until she starts to lose sense of who she is, giving Insane Black★Rock Shooter complete control of her body again.

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"Do you get it now?! YOU are Strength!"

The fight resumes as Yuu escapes Insane Black★Rock Shooter's attacks across the battlefield. Mato comes to a revelation about herself as Strength pleas to reassure her that it's fine to not want to be hurt because she's not the one running away. Yuu catches the Insane Cannon Lance lunged at her in her Ogre Arms, and speaks up to question who the one running away is, surprising both Mato and Insane Black★Rock Shooter. With the Insane Cannon Lance in her grasp, Yuu slams Insane Black★Rock Shooter on the other end into the ground, and angrily retorts at Strength over what she had been saying, believing it to be directed at her. Yuu violently gains the advantage over Insane Black★Rock Shooter as she talks back at Strength, reminding her that she is Strength. The battlefield explodes into flames as Yuu screams and gives rise to two additional Ogre Arms. Insane Black★Rock Shooter attempts to lunge her Insane Cannon Lance at Yuu once more, but Yuu catches it again and tosses it away while Insane Black★Rock Shooter is beaten around and tossed aside as well. The four Ogre Arms wrap around Yuu as she smirks underneath them.

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Mato calls out to "Yuu" again, but the real Yuu responds instead of Strength. She reveals herself to be the real Yuu Koutari, and tells Mato that the "Yuu" whom she knew was Strength, her other self. Yuu continues beating up Insane Black★Rock Shooter while Strength tells Mato the truth about who and what she really is, and about the depths of Yuu's suffering to the point that she was eventually made to switch places with her.

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The battlefield is ablaze as Yuu unleashes her rage toward all that she had suffered through in the real world on Insane Black★Rock Shooter, violently beating her to no end and hurting Mato more and more within the latter. Without any other way to free Mato, Strength makes the decision to sacrifice herself to save Mato and Yuu, and jumps into an abyss in the Hollow World. Her body begins to break apart, disrupting Yuu as Strength's sacrifice prevents her from moving. Realizing what she's doing, Yuu desperately pleads to Strength not to send her back to the real world, while Insane Black★Rock Shooter quickly recovers and attempts to behead Yuu while she cannot move, but Mato screams out and refuses to let Insane Black★Rock Shooter hurt her friend. Light erupts from the collision made between the Insane Cannon Lance and Yuu, transporting Yuu and Strength to another gray realm in the Hollow World, while Mato and Insane Black★Rock Shooter are separated and transported to Black★Rock Shooter's own realm.

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Yuu awakens in the gray realm, still in Strength's body but without her hood or Ogre Arms. Strength, still in Yuu's body and breaking apart, appears before her. Yuu cries to Strength about going back to the real world, saying that she would have nothing and be completely alone without her. Strength believes otherwise after seeing what Mato had done for the both of them. Tremors begin to occur in the area as the Rubik's cube structure starts moving its faces. Strength takes Yuu with her, and they are later briefly seen on the Rubik's cube structure before jumping into an opening that leads to Black★Rock Shooter's realm. They can both be seen on the gray ray of light shining upon and penetrating into Black★Rock Shooter's realm. The colored rays of light are used by Mato to summon a gigantic ★Rock Cannon that fires a rainbow-colored blast at Insane Black★Rock Shooter, annihilating her and shattering the walls of her realm. The Rubik's cube structure solves itself and explodes in a rainbow-colored light.

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Mato and Yuu awaken in what is now the unified worlds of each respective other self merged into one, and find Strength in a weakened state on the ground, continuing to break apart. Yuu begs Strength to get up, revealing how afraid she is of being alone and living in the real world, and that she couldn't be loved by anyone. Strength reassures Yuu that she already has friends in Saya and Mato, and comforts her by telling her that the other selves choose to fight for their human counterparts because they love them, including Strength herself for Yuu. Strength tells her that the real world is a beautiful place, and that she wouldn't lie to someone she loves. After Strength thanks Mato for having shown her how beautiful the real world can be, she dissolves in Yuu's hands. The particles of light that arose from her body dye the sky of the Hollow World in a million colors.

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The real Yuu wakes up back at Saya's house, now in her proper body once more. Saya hugs her and happily cries over the fact that she's okay. Yuu looks over and sees that Mato had already left. Afterwards, Yuu returns to school, being introduced as a new student by the teacher. She seems to instantly assume the worst, but she notices Mato smiling at her, and smiles back. Yuu is then seen joining Mato, Yomi Takanashi, and Kagari Izuriha for coffee with Saya. On the roof of the school, she watches Yomi give Kagari a chain bracelet. Yuu then receives a matching chain bracelet for herself, overjoyed by the sentiment. She is last seen walking home with her friends in the light of the sunset.

Trivia[]

  • Yuu's hairclip in the past was gray, whereas it is orange in the present time, just as Strength's eye color was formerly gray before turning orange.

Gallery[]

Full article: Yuu Koutari/Gallery
Black★Rock Shooter TV Anime
Characters Real World Arata KohataHiro KuroiKagari IzurihaMato KuroiMato's MotherSaya IrinoTaku KatsuchiYomi's MotherYomi TakanashiYuu Koutari
Hollow World Arata's "Other Self"Black Gold SawBlack★Rock ShooterChariotDead MasterIncomplete GirlsInsane Black★Rock ShooterStrength
Locations Hollow WorldSchool
Terminology The Tiny Bird & The ColorsOther self
Music Black★Rock Shooter (song)Bokura no Ashiato
La Storia Black★Rock Shooter Original Soundtrack
Related Media Black★Rock Shooter Storyboard Collection
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