Senki Zesshou Symphogear – 02

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I don’t deny that Senshogear is a bit of a mess, but despite that and the fact that I’m not crazy about the genre, there’s something about it I find slightly irresistible.

OP: “Synchrogazer” by Nana Mizuki

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I’ll be the first to admit that Aoi Yuuki’s performance as Hibiki is a big part of the reason I’m enjoying this show.  She’s terrific, as she so often is, combining genki and cluelessness in an immensely funny and lovable package.  But there’s more to it than that.  There are some smart little touches that make it just a little better than it needs to be.  “PM: I swear she said she was 18” coming off the TV screen.  Kazanari’s (Ishikawa Hideo) tie being stuffed into his shirt pocket.  The material is an intriguing combination of light and dark that totally works, at least for me.  At least so far.

In terms of exposition, we got an awful lot this week.  Senshogear is really a series on speed – everything happens at a frenetic pace, as if they’re trying to cram as much content into an episode as they can.  For starters, the source of the power Tsubasa and Kanada – and now Hibiki – possess is something called a relic, a talisman whose great power that mad scientist Sakurai Ryoko (Sawashiro Miyuki) has invented a device to extract.  The songs are the method of controlling the power, and as many suspected, Hibiki has inherited Kanade’s “Gungnir” power – but the method the writers have chosen is an interesting one.  When Kanade was killed during the concert two years in the “past”, shrapnel from her talisman was lodged in Hibiki’s chest – too close to the heart to be removed.

That’s a rather poetic imagery, I think.  Of course it’s easily predictable that Tsubasa would struggle with the notion of her friend (or more?  The yuri vibes are strong here, and with Hibiki and Miku) living on in Hibiki.  Hibiki seems to know only one-speed, full power straight ahead, and she’s quickly ready to accept her new powers and become Tsubasa’s partner.  It’s not that simple for Tsubasa, though, and she seemingly challenges Hibiki to a fight as the episode ends.  Hibiki represents the perfect sort of heroine for this show, forming a kind of sympathetic vibration as both she and the plot race ahead at bewildering speed.

Yes, it’s a mess – too much happening too quickly, much in need of some varied pacing to heighten the impact.  But this show really has style, even with it’s medium-rent animation, and there’s an openness to the emotional tone that I find appealing.  I still feel some Madoka vibes here, and this week I’m thinking this might be this season’s Kamisama Dolls – a straight-ahead action anime that feels like a throwback and manages to juggle multiple styles and modes effectively.  It’s not as good as that show yet and may never be, and so far it isn’t winning any awards for subtlety, but on the whole I think Senshogear presents a very appealing viewing experience.

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ED: “Meteor Light” by Ayahi Takagaki

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6 comments

  1. b

    Hibiki is a bit too carefree and Tsubasa is a bit too emo. And the enemies are still weird.
    Other than that, I'm enjoying the music very much.
    And I can never get tired of Sawashiro Miyuki's voice even if it's recognizable a mile away.
    Hope we see the others in the OP soon.

  2. S

    Haha… Senshogear definitely works better than SenZeSym 😉
    Like Tsubasa, I'm struggling with the notion of my Mizuki Nana x TWO-MIX dream team being hijacked by Yuuki Aoi. Hibiki's not a bad lead but can't say this is what I signed up for. The early departure of Kanade has definitely taken a lot of oomph from the show but I’ll definitely tune in to see what Senshogear has in store for us.

  3. For me, Hibiki is the best part of the show so far, character-wise – though I confess I'm a nascent Aoi Yuuki fanboy (she's the Hochan of her generation). Besides, Kanade lives on in her, right?

  4. t

    Well I enjoyed that a lot more than the premiere,notably the humour (lol @ handcuffs + elevator scene) and while animation wise there was a drop off this show is still a visual treat so I'll stick with it just for that.

    However I still can't get into the music and despite the Yuki Aoi factor I like Hibiki a lot less than other "female sci fi protagonist" Marika from Bodacious space pirates and Madoka (oh the irony!) from Rinne no Lagrange.
    Though it'll be interesting to compare how the 3 different protagonists deal with the situation they're in and how they evolve.

  5. A

    Fair enough – being drawn to the show b/c of a particular seiyu's performance is something I can completely understand.

    A recent example of this for me was Dog Days … for me the series was all about Hocchan, and I mainly watched it for listening to her. 😀

    – Flower

  6. d

    Did anyone else notice Gungirl 03. Meaning… who is 01?

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