Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 08

Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -12 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -19 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -33

The strange magic of Gokukoku no Brynhildr is still working for me.

You can add “sad” to the unlikely list of qualities that this series manages to project in its own inimitable style.  There’s now zero doubt in my mind that it knows exactly what it’s doing in every aspect of tone and style, and the whole “so bad it’s good” thing was left by the roadside weeks ago.  It takes balls of steel to combine the elements Brynhildr combines in the way it combines them, because you could easily end up with a disaster.  But not only is this show anything but a disaster, it’s actually quite excellent at its best.

I confess Kazumi has emerged as my favorite among the teeny witches in this cast, although she’s nominally of a trope that usually grates on me pretty hard.  Not only does she consistently deliver the best comedic dialogue (this week it’s definitely “Go on – take some responsibility and massage ’em so they get bigger!”) but her interplay with Ryouta (who’s one of the best male MCs of the year, BTW) is leagues above the inane standard for this sort of ecchi girl.  He gives as good as he gets, and that makes it work both comedically and in other ways, too.

The whole scene where Kazumi sleeps over at Ryouta’s house shows off another aspect of why she – and Brynhildr – work so well.  There are some funny moments here, like the above, and when she freaks out when her special place makes a noise when Ryouta “accidentally” knees it.  But it’s heartbreaking more than anything, because basically she’s a teenage girl who fully expects to die (and I fully expect her to, as well) and doesn’t want to do so a virgin.  She knows Ryouta likes Kuroneko and it doesn’t matter – he’s there, he’s cute enough and a nice guy, and she has a little crush on him.  But mostly she just wants to experience as much as she can before she dies, and preferably not to die alone.

There’s the irony here: we have a whole new sub-gene that’s sprung up around the cult of making young girls into messianic figures and watching them be made to suffer, but the show that superficially (and not only superficially) exists as a parody of that ends up being more affecting than any of the “serious” shows.  Uproariously funny, emotionally engaging and graphically violent – where exactly is Gokukoku no Brynhildr “bad”, again?  Seems like it pretty much just does the “good” part to me.

The plot, as silly as it is, has gotten pretty interesting as well.  Desperate for any lead that will help him find a source of death suppressants, Ryouta ends up following the map on Kuroha’s tablet to Karuizawa (that’s what Kazumi was helping him research at his house).  A couple of dudes show up in Akihabara where Ryouta had turned the device on (their tracking is so specific it leads them right to the UDX Building), one of them speaking German.  And when Ryouta (who insists on going alone) shows up at the spot on the map, he finds a ruined church with a bunch of German writing on the remains of one of the walls, a few words underlined in blood.  The cops show up, apparently summoned by the tea shop lady Ryouta asked about the church, and while it later becomes clear they don’t know the truth about the witches, they’re way more uptight about some kid snooping around some old church than they should be.  If Neko and Kotori (was there a reason the camera kept hovering in close-up on her hand?  Hmmm…) hadn’t shown up Ryouta was headed to jail (or worse, according to Kana’s forecast – another reason to be suspicious of those cops).

News of this of course finds its way back to Ichijiku, who sends his flunky Kurofuku (Suzuki Tatsuhisa) to clean up in the company of Nanami (Numakura Manami).  I was pretty sure that meant the end of the cops, but it turns out one of Nanami’s abilities is some sort of memory wipe/pilfering.  As for Kurofuku, a guy who wears a priest’s collar and whose name means “black clothes” is certainly suspicious in this context.  Meanwhile we get the first official admission from Kogorou that he’a a “relative” of Ryouta, but not which kind (I’m guessing uncle or older brother) and a hint that his research is leading him to believe that the item Ryouta left with him is exactly what the boy told him it was.  There’s a lot of pots simmering on the stove and only five episodes remaining, so I suppose it’s time to start wondering whether we’re going to get an anime-original ending or just a stopping point – but for now, I’m content just to enjoy the ride.

Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -7 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -8 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -9
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -10 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -11 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -13
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -14 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -15 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -16
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -17 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -18 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -20
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -21 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -22 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -23
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -24 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -25 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -26
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -27 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -28 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -29
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -30 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -31 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -32
Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -34 shot0062 Gokukoku no Brynhildr - 08 -35
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14 comments

  1. D

    Good call on "sadness" for this episode. I felt the same way with Kazumi. But it was also very entertaining.

    I enjoy your analysis of the series, and I am also pleased that you recognize its virtues.

    It was interesting that all the girls broke out their tactical masks for this action. I don't think we'd seen them before.

  2. Is that what those were?

  3. w

    You've pretty much hit the nail on the head about Kazumi. She's a teenage girl who feels she has no time, and just wants to experience love before dying. Strange thing to say, but I really hope she doesn't die a virgin.

    Brynhildr has risen in my esteem week after week, it's overtaken quite a few series to become one of my favourites of the season. I take it you like this one better than Elfen Lied?

  4. Yeah, I do. I find the tonal balance of this series more engaging.

  5. K

    I can understand Kazumi's pervertness. Who wants to die without getting laid?

  6. In a nutshell (no pun intended) pretty much.

  7. s

    I thought what was sweet (yes sweet) about the whole Kazumi trying to have sex with Ryota scene was the fact that there was more going on than just her trying to have sex because she doesnt have much time left. She probably felt that there was a strong possibility that Ryota might die on his trip, and so she was driven by earnest emotion and worry that she may never see him again, to have sex with him as a way to share what might have been their last intimitae moment. I find the chemistry between Kazumi and Ryota much more intriguing than what he shares with Neko; That relationship is mostly based on his lingering feelings from childhood and Neko seems to be more of the stoic-oblivious type of character and i just dont think they vibe together but hey what do i know. It's pretty obvious Neko is the only one that matters in his heart. Sigh, why must the secondary girl or guy in anime be the much interesting and better option. One anime that instantly comes to mind in this aspect is Robotics;Notes.

  8. m

    I always wonder that myself, why the secondary girl tends to be much more interesting on a regular basis. I think part of it is showing a character deal with being rejected helps to flesh out their character and add depth that the main girl doesn't have. Plus since the main girl is usually obviously going to be picked, they don't bother writing in a connecting with the MC. It usually the past that connects them, or the fact that they met first. Weak writing basically.

    It's a shame here bc Kazumi really is by far the most interesting of the witches, and arguably the most interesting non MC girl in a really long time. That she comes from an absurd show like this makes it all the more impressive. Her relationship with Ryouta really makes the show, at least IMHO.

    You liked Junna from R;N better? I thought she hardly qualified as a secondary character bc of lack of speaking. Steins;Gate actually got it right at least. Well depending on your idea of who the main girl was. But I was just glad Mayuri wasn't the one chosen, I found her to be obnoxious for most of the show.

    I'd like to see a list of shows/manga that actually "got it right" in the sense that the girl/guy chosen was the more interesting one, or at least not the first one introduced. Kimi no Iru Machi I would say is the best example of getting it "wrong". What an awful awful main girl. To the extent that it made the MC unlikable.

  9. I would bet Sonic was talking about Frau Kojiro there, though I won't assume. In my case she was definitely the R;N "best girl", though I liked Aki as well.

  10. s

    Haha i was referring to Frau Kojiro; good catch. I liked Aki as well but Kona always had the edge when it came to the award for "best girl"

    @maverick Yes, I felt that Steins;gate handled the relationship between Okabe, Mayuri, and Kurisu very well. At times you werent sure who his heart truly belonged to romantically; although you could argue that it was obvious from the start.

  11. A

    I'm curious as to which series you were referring to with the bit about the sub-genre of messianic girls being made to suffer. Stuff like madoka magica and coppelion perhaps?

  12. Among others. There are a couple on the schedule at the moment, plus the likes of BRS, etc.

  13. N

    Wixoss is the big suffering show at the moment. And what a magnificent ride it is.

  14. D

    I agree with you on the show as well. This show is a strange mixture of a lot of different elements that shouldn't work if you'd be looking at it on paper. Every single one of its different parts has the potential to cause the show to self-destruct – yet it hasn't so far. Because of good execution, it somehow ends up as being more than the sum of its parts. So yes, I don't think this is a bad show at all.

    Kazumi this episode was a good example of that. Her character type is one I've seen plenty of times before and one that is usually played for fanservice. Because of the context in which she exists here, however, her actions don't just feel more natural but rather tragic as well. After all, if you had to live with a giant ticking clock above your head at all times, who knows how you'd react to it and/or deal with stress?

    And I like Ryouta quite a lot as well. He's smart and he's got the rational mind the others need without boasting about it, he plays off of the other characters pretty well and he's convincing as a guy who's not some kind of asskicking superhero but a simple resourceful young man desperately trying to help a group of refugees. It does a great deal for being able to identify with him.

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