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.