Because I cannot contain all this hype, I shall now inflict it on you all.
Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX
Genres: Action, Music, Sci-Fi
Aired: Summer 2015
Synopsis: Third season of Senki Zesshou Symphogear. After the frontier incident, everyone who knew the circumstances believed the Noise were gone and the pain they caused was at an end. But a new conflict approached unseen. In the Yokohama Harbor Oosan-bashi Pier, a new pattern is detected that is similar to the Noise. A combat group wielding mysterious technology stands in the way of Hibiki and the others. When she hears of this enemy of unprecedented strength, Tsubasa hurries back home from England. But the Symphogear users see no opening to counterattack and are forced into a difficult fight. In this situation of extreme disparity, the battle for the song that will end the world begins.
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS
So the finale of Symphogear GX was released earlier today! Well… technically it was a few days ago, but for me it was today. I couldn’t bear the thought of watching all the song lyrics being defiled by Crunchyroll, so I waited for Commie. There, I said it.
I never saw myself as much of a Symphogear fan going into GX – my thought process was that, since I’d made it all the way here, I might as well stay for the third season. I don’t know why, but my memory of the first two seasons is just as good as Christmas Carol’s – it was practically non-existent by the time I started the first episode. All I remembered was something involving the moon, Maria wielding a second Gungnir, Miku wielding Shenshou Jing and of course, Last Action Hero. I thought the songs were pretty cool, too. But the point is that I stayed, and I chose to suspend my disbelief – and what I quickly realized was that this was basically hype. It was pure hype, liquefied and reshaped into something vaguely resembling a sci-fi idol anime with lots of yuri and action. And because I cannot contain all this hype, I shall now inflict it on you all.
Plot – A Christmas Carol
I still find it odd that I enjoyed GX so much more than the previous two seasons – because they were perfectly fine, from what I remember. Just… not very memorable. After some thought, I think one of the reasons is because it switched up its plot a bit. GX had nothing to do with Fine, and nothing to do with Solomon’s Cane – instead, it focused on a completely new enemy with new goals and posing a new type of threat. Alca-Noise was admittedly a rather bland replacement for the Noise, but alchemy was something new completely – for the first time, the enemy wasn’t also fighting using phonic gain. And the motive changed, too – Chris thought her actions were just, and Maria and DMJii also thought what they were doing was for the greater good. As villains, the fact that they genuinely believed in their justice made them conflicted. But Christmas Carol and the Autoscorers weren’t like that. Kyaroru was full of hate. Kyaroru wanted revenge. Kyaroru wanted to, quite literally, dissect the world.
And she was irredeemable until the very end – or at least, until she lost all her memories and forgot who she even was. I think traits like that made her a better villain, and I was genuinely hoping they wouldn’t save her and convert her by the end of the show, because she was so intent on crushing their miracles and basking in the genocide that it would be a pity if she didn’t achieve at least that. Maria and DMJii are better as protagonists than as villains, but I can’t say the same for Kyaroru. I guess they tried to get around it by having her merge with Elfnein, but hey, that girl is just Elfnein to me.
Not everything about the villains was positive – like last season, there was a tendency to ‘pair up’ various Gear users with their respective enemies, and they would spend the entire season facing off solely against each other. Phara got Tsubasa, Leiur fought Chris, DMJii had Micha and Maria fought Garie. Christmas Carol was left for Bikki. I found the battles entertaining, though – they were good villains. And they were strong, too. In the end, the only reason the Autoscorers lost was because they allowed themselves to get killed in order to harvest the Ignite Module songs – in fact, the way they toyed with everyone for so long makes me think that they could easily have prematurely ended the story. And I found myself actually missing Micha and Garie when they died. I was hoping they’d return for the finale – the Autoscorers would have definitely been better than a giant metal dragon.
As for the other reasons – it felt like there was some proper closure from the plot of the previous seasons. Maria and DMJii had a lot of leftover angst from all the sins they committed, and they should – they’re former antagonists, after all. In the same vein, there were unfinished threads of plot with Tsubasa and her father (which was pretty messed up) as well as Bikki and World’s Best Dad. All of that was cleaned up, albeit with a little too much forced help from Dainsleif and a lot of rushing – but it’s good that they made an attempt. I didn’t really get Maria’s one, and Tsubasa’s was way too unstable, but oh my god the DMJii in-fighting was adorable. Bikki and Topdad got a slightly better resolution than the others, as it was tied into the plot, but the rest would have benefited from GX being two-cours in length. I still think Topdad should die in a fire, though. I was secretly hoping for him to be the first victim of Christmas Carol’s genocide.
I had lots of favourite scenes, which is a really good sign in retrospect – there were lots of memorable ones! I think the best just has to be the fight against Christmas Carol in Episode 6, with Radiant Force IGNITE Ver. playing. I was living and breathing hype during those few minutes. The scene in Episode 11 where Kyaroru sings for the first time is another favourite. Last Action Hero busting the wall down was a great cliffhanger, and so was the fight against Garie and Micha in an early episode, where Bikki gets promptly destroyed despite just having gotten Gungnir back. Also, any scene where Chris uses ‘Mega Deth Party’ is automatically great. And who can forget the obligatory beef stroganoff?
You knew this was coming. For me, best girl is… I don’t know, does DMJii count as one? I want to adopt them. If not, I think I’d go for Kirika. I know she didn’t do much this season, but I’m satisfied as long as she keeps cutely saying ‘dess~!’ and showing me adorable scenes of her married life with Shirabe. I love how all the pairings in this show are basically set in stone – I dare you to find anyone who goes against DMJii, Hibiki x Miku and Tsubasa x Maria. Even Carol x Elfnein pulled through in the end!
I grew to like Christmas Carol a bit more after her song, although it was a pity she never sung it in loli form. Mostly, I just felt like I wanted to give her a big hug. Also, best Autoscorer has to be Garie. I really missed watching her twirl around in the last few episodes.
I think it goes without saying that Radiant Force is one of my favourites. I heard that apparently, in the first season the seiyuu all had to record the lines they sung separately, but by this season they were so in tune that they could do it all in one go! And it was brought out at a really great time, too – after a triple Ignite Module and against the last boss, hearing ~HAJIMARU UTA, HAJIMARU KODOU WO~ in dubstep was amazing.
I also liked G-Beat and Maria’s Airgetlam song better than their counterparts from the previous season. It invited audience participation – you could ~G-BEAT!~ along with Yuuki Aoi, whilst watching Bikki punch all the Alca-Noise into oblivion. Trust Heart by Chris grew on me, but in the end it can’t top ~ZENBU ZENBU ZENBU ZENBU ZE-N-BU!~ from the first season.
As for DMJii, I think Just Loving X-Edge tops out over last season’s Edge Works by just a bit. I was really looking forward to the DMJii duet, they’re always really great. In fact, I was just about ready to name it my favourite track of GX, until Christmas Carol arrived in Episode 11 with her ~GEEENOCIDE, AND GEEENOCIDE~ courtesy of Minase Inori. I seriously didn’t believe it was her until I looked up Carol – I didn’t recognize her at all! I mean, she did Hestia! And Takeya Yuki from Gakkou Gurashi! And freaking Chino-chan from Gochiusa! I can’t believe she went from Yuki to Kyaroru in the same season, that’s incredible. It was a really powerful song, completely worthy of being a last boss track.
You need to suspend your disbelief with Symphogear. It’s like an idol anime, a magical girl anime and a battle shounen all rolled into one, and the result is a convoluted mess of awesome fuelled solely by hype with some great soundtracks thrown in. It’s the kind of thing that gets better and better the more seasons there are, and the more you leave your brain behind. And given how well it’s been selling in Japan, I don’t think it’ll be stopping any time soon.
So. Who’s excited for Symphogear StrikerS, Symphogear ViVid and Symphogear Force?
This Post Has 2 Comments
Sure these season was exciting, but I cannot approve of it the way I approved of the previous two. Since you apparently don’t remember the previous two that explains why this season didn’t bother you, but I DO, and this season took the character development from our girls in the previous seasons (especially Hibiki’s) and stomped all over it before jamming it into a shredder. Hibiki’s behavior in the first four episodes (“Symphogera are never meant to be used for fighting ever!”) runs blatantly counter to her character development in the first two seasons, brought in only for the sake of causing cheap drama, and was resolved by a similarly cheap dramatic tactic of throwing Miku into danger and having her cause Hibiki to have an epiphany… that she’d ALREADY HAD TWO SEASONS AGO, and had been basing her life around ever since!
Nor was I fond of the “psychological problem of the week” approach they took with each of the characters, displaying issues that they’d either never shown signs of before, or which they’d ALREADY OVERCOME in the past.
I’ve said this on a forum elsewhere, but to me it seems like the previous two seasons of Symphogear took the characters and then wrote the story around them to fit who they were. GX, instead, seems to have come up with the story first, and then has tried to warp and bend and mash the characters roughly into it, without regard to who they actually are. And that upsets me, because I LIKED the girls that I knew from the previous two seasons, but I’m not sure I know the people that are being portrayed in this one.
I get you, that’s a fair bit of criticism towards Bikki. I did think that what Kyaroru said to her the first time the Autoscorers attacked was similar to what Shirabe said when they first fought in the second season. And the whole ‘Gungnir is mine!’ scene with Maria when they nearly died to Garie was a bit odd. As for the rest of the Gears – I think Maria’s worries were justified, I don’t think she ever got over being useless. But the way she resolved it in a single episode after talking to Elfnein was, as I said, very rushed and I didn’t really understand it. It was more of the same with the whole ‘beyond the blade’ development for Tsubasa – my memory really is very fuzzy, but I do remember her having a long-standing issue with her father that went ignored for some time (much like Nana herself, the entirety of Tsubasa is basically a Nana self-insert). Maria acting like an angry girlfriend the entire episode was fun, though. And I liked the DMJii lovers quarrel, I had no problems with that one! Just Loving X-Edge was all about them kissing and making up!
It seems like Symphogear is destined to always have a single cour, and with an ever-expanding cast that makes it harder and harder to achieve some proper character development. I mean, there’s no way they’re going to get through six different people without something that forcibly brings out inner angst like the Ignite Module – so they get points for trying at least, right? Might have been nice if more of them entered the Chateau though, and met whatever was plaguing them at the time – Bikki could have fought the ghost of Topdad and punched the crap out of him.
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