Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 07

Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -8 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -17 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -25

I think Gokukoku no Brynhildr may just be creating a new genre.

Some people have tried to slap the “so bad it’s good” tag on Gokukoku no Brynhildr, but I don’t buy it (even if it is a compliment of sorts).  In my book a SBiG show is one whose entertaining qualities come about by accident, while in this case I think the show knows exactly what it’s doing.  I’m not saying everyone is going to like it, but if you do (as I do) it’s probably because you’re getting exactly what Okamoto Lynn and Imaizumi Kenichi want you to get out of it.

Take, as an example, the business with the death suppressants.  I don’t know enough about the science to say whether Kogorou’s explanation – that it’s only possible to synthesize them within a month if the active compounds are crystalline in nature – is realistic or not.  But the best part of this scenario is the way the teeny witches handle it.  “Oh by the way, Murakami, whatever happened with the pills?”  If my survival depended on how that plan worked out I’d sure as hell be on pins and needles to find out what happened, but the absurdity of this response is calculated, I’m 99.9% sure of it.  Just like all the absurdity in Brynhildr is calculated.

I’ve come to view this as a “slice-of-death” series.  The reason it works is because it embraces both the gory horror side and the comedic slice-of-life side of itself with complete sincerity, and in the face of all that’s holy sees no contradiction between the two.  And somehow there is no contradiction – the looming tragedy and the periodic grisly violence serve the make the comedy that much more effective, and the contrast between the two sides of the series gives the entire thing that ironic sense of absurdity that keeps the darkness from becoming oppressive.  It’s actually a pretty gutsy thing to pull off, but it’s more or less right up Okamoto’s alley.

Mostly, what we got this week was a series of classic school comedy situations – the karaoke scene, the swimsuit scene, the shopping trip to Akiba, the three-way (possibly even four or five) brewing competition for Ryouta.  And Gokukoku no Byrnhikdr has a great ear for these things – they’re very funny when they’re supposed to be.  The business with the microphone (“Why doesn’t my heart speed up when our hands touch?”), the jibes between Ryouta and Kazumi, and certainly the trip to Akihabara are all highly entertaining.  Certainly the reaction of the guys in question when Kazumi loudly asks “Do you think they’re all virgins?” was the comedic highlight of the week.

Generally speaking, in fact, this is one of the least absurd of all the eps so far, most of the comedy being character-driven and interspersed with pretty straight material.  There’s an interesting peek at Ryouta’s life when he’s not hip-deep in witches and aliens – he tutors privately, and the student we see very much gives off an imouto vibe (literal or symbolic?).  The romance angle is played fairly straight too, with the fact that Ryouta and Kuroha are mutually attracted being obvious, but no less the fact that Kotori and especially Kazumi are falling hard for him too.  I haven’t ruled out said little sister or Kana as falling for Ryouta either, but it seems pretty clear to whom his heart belongs.

We also get a longer look-in on the Committee of 300 or whatever they’re called here.  They’re very concerned with retrieving something called “The Grane” and in completing a plan started a hundred years earlier – which coincides with the rumor (that whole speech was suspicious) Kotori supposedly heard that alien ruins were discovered on the site where the witch base was built a hundred years ago.  In order to expedite things it appears the fearsome “S” class witch Ichijuki refers to as Nanami but Kazumi seems to know (via rumor) as Valkyria (it’s worth noting that Brynhildr was a Valkyrie in Norse mythology) is going go be unleashed, and Kazumi flags that she’s going to be coming after our foursome soon enough.  Kotori also talks of an alien that’s a “big ball of meat and muscle”, and while in Akiba Ryouta finally turns on the tablet Kuroha got from the woman at the lab – and it’s welcome screen says “Kill the witches” in German.  Yes, we’ve certainly got a full plate on our hands for the next six weeks…

Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -7 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -9 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -10
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -11 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -12 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -13
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -14 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -15 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -16
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -18 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -19 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -20
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -21 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -22 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -23
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -24 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -26 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -27
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -28 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -29 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 07 -30


  1. A

    I respectfully disagree.

    The comedic highlight of the week was "…is she stressed about something?"

  2. P

    >>I don't know enough about the science to say whether Kogorou's explanation – that it's only possible to synthesize them within a month if the active compounds are crystalline in nature – is realistic or not.

    This is all about X-Ray crystallography. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-ray_crystallography) If you can make a crystal out of a compund, you can use the aforementioned technique to try to make out its chemical structure. (the problem of how to synthesize such structure is still a separate one, but at least its a big step towards it). The technique is usually found in the drug industry for trying to make head or tails of different agents/receptors/whatever is associated with a given disease or condition and the search for trying to find a drug/pharmacophore that deals/binds/does something useful with this structure.

  3. P

    So yes, they did their homework.

  4. S

    Yes, amorphous solids which lack a long-range repeating primary cell aren’t suitable for structural determination via X-ray crystallography.
    Drugs/medicines usually consist of large organic molecules, so I think H-NMR, C-NMR and perhaps IR or Raman spectra would also be useful (not sure necessary) to identify the molecular structure.

  5. t

    For all the absurdity in the story, Okamoto is a bit of a geek and he tends to get his facts straight, although the adaptation doesn't go into as much detail as the manga. This is one example of that (the process Proto explained is mentioned too).

    Another example is Kazumi's power which wasn't explained in the anime: it's not just "hacking", what she's capable of doing is prime factor decomposition much quicker than any computer, rendering security useless.

  6. S

    Yup Proto is exactly correct. The lab I work in does x-ray crystallography of small molecules and proteins and 99% of the effort is making the darn crystals. Small molecules are a bit easier than proteins but for proteins you actually need to have a clone and work from there, so you need to know what the primary sequence is before you even start.

    I'd say that even 6 months is fair enough, or perhaps even pushing it depending on how complex the systhesis is.

    HOWEVER, what is probably likely is the compound is something relatively common. It's much easier to use an existing compound

  7. n

    >it embraces both the gory horror side and the comedic slice-of-life side of itself with complete sincerity, and in the face of all that's holy sees no contradiction between the two.

    Well put. I got the same impression when I was watching Elfen Lied. I think there're also the same vibes in Saikano, the manga version, and Cross Channel, the visual novel.

  8. s

    Oh enzo, I believe Nanami is actually the Double A+ witch they are about to sick on the crew, not valkyria who would be the S class the rumors have been floating around about.

  9. How would one know that without having read the manga? Is there any hint in the anime itself?

  10. s

    Yes; around the 14 min mark of the ep, our main evil scientist asks one of his henchman to go and prep up Nanami to retrieve "the grane". I just figured that Nanami and Valkyria are different, otherwise the girls would have referred to her as Nanami as well; for the most part the girls seem to know the name of a lot of the witches whether they are acquainted with them, or have heard about them through rumors. As for the rank, I just assumed since Kikako was a double A (or +; i forget) so would Nanami although i could be wrong.

  11. s

    Oh, not to mention that in ichijuki's little meeting, it's mentioned that after interrogating Kikako, they learned where this "grane" is; I just deduced that since the last witches Kikako saw where the girls, maybe Kikako noticed something from them, perhaps that capsule thing that Kuroneko gave to ryota could be the grane ichijuki speaks of (although that may not make too much sense considering Kikako never really saw ryota or what he was carrying but perhaps she could sense something); either way that's how i came to my conclusion. I know it's a stretch but ive made pretty long stretch guesses in original series' which turned out either right or wrong so only future eps will tell.

  12. S

    Just wanted to mention after watching the episode, they say that Valkyria is another name for witches that are S rank and they didn't say anything about what rank Nanami was, therefore we have no idea what rank she is (whether she is one of the Valkyria or just another A+) or if the main girls know of her or not.
    I'm also really curious about what it was hinting at when the camera focused in on Kana's reaction (if you can call it that) at the mention of Valkyria.

    Also, all they say they learned from the interrogation was that number 1107 was still alive, then they moved onto the topic of the grane. If the topics are related and the grane is the thing that Neko had, then I would assume they know she has it because there was footage of the scientist giving it to her or something of that sort.

  13. m

    Haha want to comment on that so bad, but I read the manga so I'll keep my mouth shut regarding any storylines. I think you said it perfectly by calling it "slice-of-death". The show works bc it does both of it's genres well. Not so much as stand alone parts, but in how the crossover creates the ridiculousness that is so entertaining. And somehow in making something so funny, you actually start to care about these characters even though the plot is so absurd. I don't think there's another way to mix the 2 genres without it being dumb. You usually would get a horror show that's comical bc it's so stupid, or a comedy that doesn't work bc there's too much sadness. But GnB somehow merges the two and gets you to care about the story in spite of its absurdity (maybe even bc of it?).

    That being said I could watch a full 2-cour 26 ep series of just Kazumi and Ryouta interacting. I can't remember seeing two of those types of characters behave the way that these two do with each other. There's been aggressive girls with passive oblivious guys, shy guys, and many other combos that have just been executed in such an obnoxiously unrealistic way. But these two really feel like legitimate people (absurd situation aside). I've known girls like Kazumi and I've also known guys who shot those girls down like Ryouta. Not bc of some inability to understand when you're being hit on, but just bc they weren't into her or were too shy. And it's funny to boot. Plus that violent girl hitting a guy shit usually gets on my nerves, but it works here. To the point of he really does have it coming. Haha it probably doesn't make too much sense, but the slice-of-life part is just hilarious to me. Like Ryouta making fun of Neko singing. That just feels like something everyone has seen in their own group of friends. And that stuff being offset by the threat of death and torture makes it even funnier.

  14. m

    Though I think, Enzo, that the reason they are acting so "normal" in life and death situations is explained (at least reasonably well) by the fact that they've accepted their fate and just want to experience normal stuff before they go. Like Neko trying to last for the trip, or even go to class at all. Even though that's unrealistic, it's still reasonable enough for me to accept it as being on purpose. Not just "so bad it's good" on accident as you said. It's def been thought and planned out. To some extent at least.

  15. K

    I think you may be on to something Enzo. Slice of death… seems like a good genre to me!

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