As always, Gokukoku no Brynhildr delivers on the meme material. This time around: “Her hands and feet are still attached, so she she should be fine.” Maybe the best part about that, though, was that Ryouta reacted exactly like a normal person would for a change – “Damn, she must have seen some seriously gruesome shit.” spoken with an aghast look on his face. I suspect that’s the look that would be on my face watching this series if I tried to take it seriously.
There is a danger of repetition in blogging this show, I admit, because my reaction to every episode has been more or less the same. But that is what it is – I just find it to be a complete blast. It embraces absurdity with an aplomb that few series can match, and manages to make the characters likeable enough that I have a certain buy-in about what happens to them (which is rarely good things). That certainly applies to last week’s sacrificial lamb, Shino, whose death our heroes are too late to prevent – but that doesn’t stop Kuroha from wanting to leap in and avenge her by taking on the seemingly far stronger Kikakko (ku?) even after Ryouta has hung her up to try and dampen her ire.
One thing I do like about Gokukoku is that despite all the bakayarocity, the main character doesn’t act like he was hit with a stupid stick (most of the time). Case in point is that he picks out the weakness in Kikako’s mouth-cannon (lag time) and what should in hindsight have been the very obvious attack potential in Kotori’s talent. Kotori is hell-bent for leather to sacrifice herself rather than keep taking pills that could keep someone else alive (after her friend Chie has sacrificed herself for her, so Kotori could reach her 16th birthday) but Ryouta thinks of a better way – while Kuroha is dodging Kikako’s beams, he’s tying Kotori to a lamppost – for obvious reasons. This serves the purpose, and they leave Kikako (ke?) behind to deal with what seems as if it’s going to be a rather cruel reunion with her masters.
Meanwhile Kotori has gone off to expire alone, and the reason Ryouta and Kuroneko are able to find her is classic Gokukoku – she’s written her real address on her club form (“There are limits to how careless you can be”, but that don’t seem to apply to Kotori). Once she’s been persuaded to join Ryouta’s coven, she’s free to take part in a random water fight outside the observatory without a bra, just because. Once again we’re teased with the prospect of Ryouta seeing the moles, and once again, denied – but I do like the way he dispenses with the usual stammering MC nonsense where ecchi is concerned.
The biggest sign that Ryouta isn’s an idiot, though, is that he gets around to the idea that’s been hanging out there since the beginning – once the death suppressants are in-hand, there should be a way to figure out what they are and mass-produce them. That of course implies that you know someone in a position to do so, but you knew he would. It’s Kogorou (Itou Kentarou), whose relationship with Ryouta isn’t explained but whose behavior explains why Ryouta hasn’t been anxious to make contact. He’s some sort of scientist at a “no-name” college – which doesn’t concern him, as wherever he is, he’s the name – and Ryouta decides to bring him in on the secret in hopes he can reverse-engineer the pills and make more. The incentive? The rationalist will have a magic demonstration performed for him – one which Kuroha provides by blowing up a variety of objects in his office. Curiosity piqued, Kogorou is on-board.
There’s something that’s very effective comedically in seeing cliche school comedy tropes and characters behaving so matter-of-factly while immersed in this absurd premise. And I’m starting to wonder if Okamoto Lynn might just be intentionally spoofing the cult of teen girl suffering genre that Madoka Magica raised to great heights of popularity (the timing of the manga does make sense). I’m not going to argue that Gokukoku no Brynhildr is some kind of brilliant satire, but it’s smarter than you’d think if you weren’t paying attention. It’s not enough simply to be dumb – anime is overloaded with dumb shows that aren’t remotely entertaining. You need to be smart in the way you go about it and fully commit yourself to the cause – and so far, Gokukoku no Brynhildr is nailing that part.