Senki Zesshou Symphogear is another of those series that was pretty close to my cutoff point for blogging more than once, which makes the decision on the sequel a little iffy. I liked it a fair amount, but never really loved it – it was more a kind of affection for it in spite of rather than because of itself a little too often. It was sloppy, inconsistent, ludicrous, full of unexplained pot holes and contained perhaps the single most egregious case of horrifically bad animation I’ve ever seen in a mainstream TV anime. But it was relentlessly honest and good-hearted, and full to bursting with creator Kaneko Akifumi’s unabashed love for science-fiction anime.
We have a new director this time around, modestly experienced Ono Katsumi. Perhaps more importantly Satelight has taken over officially after having acted as cooperating producer with tiny Encourage Films last time, and despite the evidence of Arata Kangatari this means we’re likely to see more consistently budgeted episodes this season. The first episode looks fine, but then the premiere looked fine last year too. We still have ample butt shots, lots of singing, and people getting atomized by Noise. In short, so far it looks like more of the same, for better or worse.
New to the party though is Maria Cadenzavna Eve (Hikasa Youko). We meet her as she’s preparing for a shared concert with Tsubasa, but it’s already a given that she’s going to be an agent of the enemy. Given Senshogear’s predictable nature that also means she’s likely to follow the Kurisu route and join the good girls by the end of the series, but for now her story is linked to Fine’, quite obviously. It’s probably not a good idea to get too caught up in trying to figure out the plot in Symphogear as I don’t really think Kaneko-san has either, but you’re welcome to give it a shot if you’re more dedicated than me. I just know the Noise are still killing people, scientist Dr. Ver (Tomokazu Sugita) has just disappeared along with another relic, Maria has revealed herself as the dark Gungnir, and Bikkie and Chris are still cute (and is it me, or does Bikkie have bigger endowments this season?).
I don’t expect the appeal of Senshogear is really going to change much, so I think the bigger question for me is how that will work for me now as compared to a year ago. It’ll probably take a couple of episodes to decide if the appeal holds, but if nothing else it was awfully nice to hear Yuuki Aoi in a lead role again. I even like her singing, while most viewers seem to loathe it – the fact that she has a rather humble voice in a cast full of professional singers is even more appealing, and I rather think exactly the point. She and Kurisu are above-average leads to build this sort of show around, and that gets it off to a good start. We’ll see how well it holds up over the next few weeks.