Seriously – was that even Engrish? I thought maybe Ryoko was speaking Pig-Latin, or maybe Esperanto. Well, you know I like the get the bad stuff out of the way first, and there was plenty to like this week in an immensely entertaining episode. I get the feeling that not too many people are watching this series – or planning to buy the DVDs, based on the stalker numbers – and that’s too bad, because I still find Symphogear by far the most interesting of all the shows in it’s weight class this season.
We had a little of everything and a lot of most everything this week, not least exposition. I guess there can’t be any doubt now that Fine’ and Ryoko are in fact the same person and not clones or twins, as some of Uncle Sam’s goons paid her a visit before she had a chance to put on her wig and take off her clothes. We now know she has an incredible healing ability, somehow tied into the “dark arts”, though taking the avalanche of lead she did seems to have slowed her down quite a bit. What I’m not sure of is whether or not Genjurou in fact knew of her duplicity – there are hints he did. “It was done by someone with you – and with us – from the beginning” certainly implies that he knew, as does his behavior during Ryoko’s audio-only call later. Genjurou almost certainly knows at least some of her secrets, and it’s interesting to speculate for just how long he’s known.
I’m going to be very sad to see Genjurou die (if he does, as I expect) because he’s evolved into one of my favorite characters on the show. He’s certainly GAR, as witness his stopping Fine’s booby-trap (aptly named) explosion with “a martial arts technique” and saving Kurisu by casually holding a two-ton block of concrete over his head before tossing it away disdainfully. But it’s his heart that’s most powerful, as Genjurou finally manages to melt Kurisu’s resistance with the power of his compassion. I don’t think Genjurou is meant ironically in any way – he seems to be totally genuine, as does Hibiki, which bodes ill for both of them.
It was always obvious that Kurisu would come over to the good girls eventually, and I’m glad it’s in the rear-view now. And I have to say, I love to watch (and listen to) her fight – there’s nothing like a hot girl with a really good set of guns, and any girl with an attack named “Megadeath Quartet” is OK in my book. Her song is great and her heavy-artillery Ichi-bal attacks are eye-candy, and they prove most effective when the Noise launch a big-time attack using what appear to be Noise aircraft carriers, launching countless smaller noise which turn themselves into missiles pointed at ‘Bikkie and Tsubasa. Kurisu takes care of the ones in the air and the Tsubasa and Hibiki the ones on the ground, but it’s ‘Bikkie who unleashes the power of love to officially join the three of them into a new pretty girl squad. Hands-free is powerful, indeed.
As always with this show, though, darkness and heartbreak seem to be lurking around the corner. Armed with the knowledge Kurisu gave him, Genjurou has deduced that Fine’/Ryoko is building Kadingir, a tower to the sky (from ancient Sumerian). Miku may only be able to find game walk-throughs when she Googles it, but Genjurou soon enough figures out it’s actually the Tokyo Sky Tower (which looks eerily like the brand-new Tokyo Sky Tree). I’m guessing at this point that the whole “tower to heaven” clue that Ryoko dropped, followed by the Noise carriers conveniently appearing just above the Sky Tree, was a trap by Ryoko to lure Genjuro and the girls away from HQ and the school – because the school comes under attack just as they’re finishing off the Noise fodder at the tower, and Miku is apparently kidnapped or injured – her call is dropped, anyway (perhaps just another Verizon 4G outage?). Whether Miku was the object of Ryoko’s ruse or not I’m not sure, but the specter of that episode one foreword hangs over the series like the shadow of doom itself, and the closer we get to the end the harder it is to ignore it. I still lean towards it being a fake-out of one kind or another, but I’m going to be nervous as hell waiting to find out.