The sheer depth of wrongness you get from any one episode of Gokukoku no Brynhildr is truly impressive.
There was a chain of events late in this episode that really sums up for me why this series is so delightfully unhinged. In uninterrupted sequence:
- Ryouta returns from his meeting with Kogorou and tells the teeny witches that there will be no more pills for a month, and they’re all going to die unless they choose one of them to live and the others stop taking pills immediately.
- After they selflessly decide that none of them should live at the others’ expense, Kotori spills a tray of juice glasses on Kuroneko, then promptly rips off her top to reveal no bra beneath.
- Ryouta sees the moles on Neko’s sidebook, and breaks into great, sobbing tears.
It’s the fact that there’s no transition, no buffer zone between these whiplash mood swings that makes Gokukoku no Brynhildr work. Fanservice, ridiculous plot twists, hilarious comedy, grisly deaths and despair – all are bosom companions with this show. It’s not so much a matter of contrasting tones as tone-deafness, and intentional at that – it’s as if Okamoto Lynn was never told that these things simply don’t belong together and thus, his writing believably acts as if they do.
The only bad thing about this series, really, is that it’s only 13 episodes – though happily there was an OVA announced today, to be bundled with the second Blu-ray box. There’s a lot of complaints from the manga readers about how fast things are moving but honestly, for me that’s partly why the show is working so well – there’s no letup in the insanity. We start out with Valkyria popping out anti-matter and causing an entire mountain to explode in order to kill some annoying cops, and segue right into the teeny witches and Ryouta pretending to be dead by pouring red paint on themselves (leaving the bucket of paint out, naturally) and lying on the floor.
The witch who walks in on this little scene isn’t Valkyria but Wakabayashi Hatsuna (the reliably hilarious Uchiyama Yumi) who adds yet another dose of craziness to the observatory gang. Her magic is regeneration – she doesn’t die “even if her head is crushed” – which is why she survived Valkyria’s killing spree. She also heard Valkyria (finding witches is one of her eight – eight! – types of magic) say “Huh – four witches are hiding out at the observatory”, and followed that lead (whatever town this is has eight – eight! – observatories) to our friends. She’s suspicious that her friends from the lab (and I’m suspicious that she doesn’t know who Kotori is) trust this human boy so much and immediately decides to test him by luring him to the top of an antenna tower and falling off. Anyone would do the same, it’s only logical, logical… And he would have died if Kotori hadn’t used her switcheroo magic (without knowing if it actually dispelled kinetic energy) to save him. Based on this heroism Hatsuna decides she’s going to “date” Ryouta, which leads to the usual display of “It wasn’t me!” from Neko and sad-face from Kazumi.
The twin headlines of the episode – aside from Ryouta finally seeing Neko’s moles – start with Kogorou’s revelation that the death-suppressants may be a type of protease-inhibitor (there are actually several of those already on the market), which he knows in part because of a brilliant thesis by a guy he went to college with. That guy is naturally Ichijiku, and Ichijiku is on the hunt for Valkyria (real name: Fujisaki Mako). He seems strangely unafraid of her – he scolds her for “using anti-matter without permission” and slaps her a good one for it. At this point Valkyria breaks down in tears, tells Ichijiku that she loves him and that she knows where #1107 is. I wouldn’t blame anyone who found this scene a bit misogynistic to be honest, though everything in this series is so over the top that I suspect there’s more than a hint of parody to it.
Finally the other big reveal – Kuroneko is #1107 (which I doubt will surprise anyone too much) and seems to be some sort of twin to Valkyria (which I admit I didn’t notice until Valkyria popped into the observatory for a chat). These are some interesting corners the anime and Lynn-sensei seem to have written for themselves – who can possibly stand up to Valkyria if she wants to kill them, and how can this many loose ends be resolved in 2 episodes? Then again, if one slap from Ichijiku can stop Valkyria in her tracks I suppose anything is possible. Then there’s the other matter, the pills – Hatsuna is hiding 24 she got from Valkyria’s other victims but even if she decided to be noble and share them, that’s nowhere near enough for everyone to last a month…