Senki Zesshou Symphogear 01 – So Desperate It Hurts

Symphogear’s premise is so outlandish, it’s just fascinating! Listen to this: J-pop idols transforming into armor clad beauties and fighting aliens. Crazy, right? As crazy as it sounds, that’s not the reason why I find Symphogear painful to watch though.

The problem with Symphogear is it reeks of desperation. It’s so eager to prove itself as a series worthy of being taken seriously. It’s like watching a five year old putting on a business suit. This series has tons of potential, but it’s not there yet. The premiere lacks refined execution. It starts with an angst ridden school girl crying at someone’s grave and flashbacks two years ago, then it skips a few months ago to arrive at where most of the plot is supposed to take place. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the grave scene was placed in the very beginning, it was supposed to set the mood and remind the viewers that ‘OH MY GOD BAD THINGS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN AND IT’S SO SAD’, complete with a girl crying her eyes out in front of her bestfriend’s grave. The amount of angst here is just annoying, put that together with the blatant symbolism (Oh, and the redundant use of German) and you’ve got a mess so pretentious it’s (As Inushinde puts it) almost endearing.

Goddamn it’s Aufwajkhsda;sdkepjupewpi;! This show is too DEEP for me!

Like Rinne no Lagrange, Symphogear takes plenty of inspiration from several other series I won’t even mention. But if you’ve been watching anime since the 90’s then there’s nothing more similar (minus the singing) to Symphogear like Cyberteam in Akihabara. And much like Cyberteam, it almost feels like Symphogear is being too obvious with the themes it borrows from older series. If you’re curious, Cyberteam in Akiharaba borrows the ‘prince’ theme from Revolutionary Girl Utena.

I think you guys know what Symphogear is going for, I don’t need to tell you.

If there’s one thing I can praise it for though, it’s that the animation is decent. There’s movement and variation. Something series like Kill Me Baby, The New Prince of Tennis and Area no Kishi sorely lack. That isn’t a huge compliment given the series I’m comparing it to but beggars can’t be choosers. The variation is hampered down by the poor character designs and bad palette choices. The colors are almost too ‘cartoony’ choosing bright blues and rusty orange on Noise (Noise is that derpy alien race that prefer killing bystanders. They also lose basic brain functions when they’re up against the main characters.) doesn’t make them menacing, it makes them look stupid– which I guess is the point.

 Nope. Not running away. Nope.

I’m not kidding, these aliens suck. It’s not even funny.

Not that the humans are any better, they’re a bunch of dumbasses too.

I’m going to give this series a few episodes to explain itself, but I have incredibly low expectations. The writing and pacing is so sloppy, with Noise practically waiting for the main character to do something before they can finally attack.

The first episode of Symphogear did make me want to write about it though, which isn’t the case for almost everything else I’ve seen this weekend. But like I said, this series’ premiere just wasn’t that good. I’m not even sure you can watch it for sweet irony the way most people watch The New Prince of Tennis.

No related content found.

9 Comments

  1. Aw, I liked it.

    Not necessarily because it was good, mind. Mainly because despite the ridiculous mash-up of elements (Macross+Precure+…) and the bizarre pacing (cutting from alien invasions to happy-go-lucky school lie to city-wide massacre, wheeee!) and the occasional failure of directing (where the hell did that little girl come from near the end of the episode?) it felt like the people who made the show were genuinely trying to hit it out of the ballpark. Considering the concept, it could have been pandering and lazy and generally boring, but while I’d certainly say that it’s pandering I wouldn’t say that it’s lazy. It’s executed with too much verve for that, even when it falls on its face.

    But yeah, the writing could be pretty bad at times. I laughed out loud when the friend of the protagonist in the beginning went “Nooooo! Hibikiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!” but the part with the soldier that you screencapped just clinched it. Anyway Symphogear probably isn’t very good by any standard, and the whole idea of idol girls singing while they butcher aliens is pretty dumb, but I thought it was fun.

    Bodacious Space Pirates probably has the title of Unlikely Sleeper Hit of the Season all sewn up, though. So we’ll see what happens.

    • “It’s executed with too much verve for that, even when it falls on its face.”
      Verve? You mean like mediocre J-pop-singers not only being mahou-shoujo-characters in Robocop-uniforms but having to sing during the whole battle, too? I would rather say that seems like desperation as Mira pointed out. It’s like being forced to come up with a idea how to make the singing super-important but having only five seconds for the answer. There’s not much enthusiasm to be found in these ‘first thing that comes to mind’-ideas that were used during the episode.

      “but the part with the soldier that you screencapped just clinched it.”
      My favourite line of the episode, I have to say, is Hibiki saying after her first day in school: “The first day in school felt like a hundred climaxes in a row!” That must be one of the most baffling lines I’ve ever heard in an anime ^^ . But the soldier-part was really bad as well, not only showing that they were useless but letting a soldier notice that as well and still let them continuing fighting… Now that was pretty stupid.

      • “The first day in school felt like a hundred climaxes in a row!”

        WHAT? I MUST HAVE MISSED THIS.

        • Right at the start of my review there’s proof ;) . Scamp also commented on that quote in his review. It’s just frigging hilarious ^^ . And it’s not even the subbers’ fault, she actually uses the English word ‘climax’, so yeah, it’s really funny.

          • And it’s not even the subbers’ fault,

            I desperately wanted to believe that the subbers were trolling. How inappropriate and scandalous!

    • I see the potential in Symphogear, and I have a thing for flawed little shows. The question here is why is it flawed and do the strong points outweigh the flaws? I get the impression that Symphogear is flawed because of how stilted the storytelling feels, from the sloppy story flow to the stoic monsters and the message isn’t quite there yet. I agree that it’s definitely not lazy, but like I said– it lacks strong direction and solid storytelling to get where it wants to be. You can feel that the guys behind this really believe in Symphogear but that enthusiasm has crossed over to desperation. It’s like they have no idea what makes it so bad.

      but I thought it was fun.
      I can’t disagree with you on this. At least something was happening in Symphogear, and I find this to be slightly better than Rinne no Lagrange because at least Symphogear doesn’t need to strip girls every five minutes to keep your attention.

      Bodacious Space Pirates probably has the title of Unlikely Sleeper Hit of the Season all sewn up, though. So we’ll see what happens.
      Man, I hope so. I’ve been sitting through winter shows that are either so boring they’re depressing (Kill Me Baby) or just ironically funny (Prince of Tennis), then there’s everything else in the Mehdiocre pile. I need something!

      • There’s always Nisemonogatari! But yeah, if that’s not your thing than this winter is pretty sparse.

        In terms of verve I was thinking less “NOOO HIBIKIIIIII” and school-life hijinks, and more ridiculous alien carnage with like thousands of spinning blades and lances and GIANT CALLING YOUR ATTACK LABELS. Also the scene at the very end where Hibiki freaked out and turned into a crazy metal-beast-idol thing was kind of silly (why did she just start singing there? what?????) but was also surprisingly creepy. Vaguely Eva-esque, which again doesn’t say much for this show’s originality, but whatever.

        Then again I have no idea if this show will be able to keep up the pyrotechnics and subversions (hey let’s go back in time! now let’s kill a whole lot of people! also one of the protagonists! cut to school life, wooo!) and will just fall completely to pieces next episode instead. Note that I was the person who saw the first episode of C and went “hey this is by the Mononoke guy! This will be great!” and also the one who saw the first episode of Guilty Crown and went “this could be fun at least” So as of now, my track record is terrible.

        Yeah the climax line was hilarious. I have no idea whether that was actually part of the dialogue or a subber joke but it’s ridiculous either way.

  2. I could’ve lived with the Ger-panese, and the random singing, and maybe even the vibrantly colored enemies.

    There’s just something about it that makes me want to just pause for a while. I’d like to think its the dialogue that makes it all so not-right. What really got to me was that army division at your screen cap. I mean, I know its a way of saying that the Symphogear(?) is the only thing that can stop them but man, way to test the waters.

    Still gonna watch it to see where they’re going with all this, but I dunno. Then again there’s Nana Mizuki, so…>.<

    • What really got to me was that army division at your screen cap. I mean, I know its a way of saying that the Symphogear(?) is the only thing that can stop them but man, way to test the waters.

      Symphogear could easily turn terribad, that screencap was proof!

      Oh? Nana Mizuki? She’s a great singer and in all honesty I knew that before I found out she was also a voice actress. The J-pop songs in this show are generic but tolerable, too bad they have to sing every time they’re in a battle. It’s just ridiculous!

Leave a Reply

© 2017 Hachimitsu

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: