Hey doods and peeps. Welcome to another episode of The G-Views. There have been 5 anime catering to both sci-fi and yuri fans. I already mentioned on in BRS TV and if you’ve been following my episodic analyses at the castle, you know 3 more. The 5th one will be a surprise but for now let’s dive right in with my review Senki Zesshou Symphogear, or “Strawberry Zesshou Symphogear Panic” as I like to call it.
Senhime Zesshō Symphogear
Swan Song of the Valkyries
Genres: action, magic
Themes: fighting, music, yuri
Objectionable content: Intense
Number of episodes: 13
G-Rating: 9/10 for the nation. N/A for everyone else. (I’ll do what I can to convince non-yuri fans to give this a go.)
Plot summary: Two years ago, a pair of idols, Tsubasa Kazanari and Kanade Amō, collectively known as ZweiWing, fought against an alien race known as Noise using armor known as Symphogear. To protect a girl named Hibiki Tachibana, who got severely wounded by the Noise, Kanade sacrificed herself. Two years later, as Tsubasa has fought the Noise alone, Hibiki ends up gaining the same power as Kanade.
That’s pretty much all the spoilers I’ll provide as there’s more to the 1st episode than what’s written up there but I’ll leave that for you to find out. How does the show work as an action/yuri drama/semi-musical? Pretty damn good as far as I’m concerned. Some will obviously not like this show for understandable reasons such as its blatant fanservice (Meaning its many close up shots of the women’s sexual assets and sometimes 90% nudity) but I honestly think it does its job well and doesn’t particularly detract from the show’s appeal. I mean look at the Symphogear armor for Pete’s sake.
Skin tight power suits and bodacious babes (Not an intentional Bodacious Space Pirates reference) are practically drawn to show off their “gifts”. So there you go. Also I have to mention that not since Saki have I seen melons being put to good use. Believe me when I say I’d like to meet the plastic surgeon for some of these women. I’d sure like to give my future girlfriend implants as powerful as the ones some of these ladies have. It’s there, it’s glorious like it or not. I’ll admit that they can get in the way during dramatic moments where the serious mood is semi-ruined by the sight of mouthwatering cleavage. For me it isn’t a problem but I can understand it being a turn off for some. Trust me, it’s not as bad as Ikkitousen’s and Queen’s Blade. A respected colleague of mine cannot stomach to watch even 2 episodes of Queen’s Blade due to its excessive titillation, but easily wanted and enjoyed Symphogear in its entirety. Take it for what it’s worth.
Let’s move on from the fanservice to the drama. I initially labeled this show as a “me 2” cashing in on Madoka Magica’s success and trying to rip off its dark mahou shoujo concept but it turns out not to be that at all. The drama here is less insane than BRS TV’s but not as epic as Madoka’s. Are the romantic portions heartwarming? Heck yes. They aren’t over the top (Most of the time). I already mentioned the serious moments somewhat hampered by lovely boobies but I know some of you who couldn’t get enough of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai’s Sena and still took her seriously despite her mega kazangas. Moving on…
Action scenes. Oh yeah, there are plenty of those and they all ROCK! It isn’t as violent and gritty as BRS TV’s but the fights can get pretty intense and bloody. Thankfully bloodshed isn’t as excessively used as in Another. I’ll sum up the action scenes like this: Attractive women transforming into badass armored warriors with super cool special attacks that fight Gnosis inspired monsters called “Noise” or other attractive armor wearing women…all while singing. In short, defeating evil through the power of SONG! The power of song compels you! Yes I’ve heard it has a similar premise to Macross Frontier or something, I dunno. I haven’t MF yet. Point is, it’s pretty badass. For Pete’s sake, one of the ladies’ special attacks is called Mega Deth Party! It actually makes me want to listen to some Megadeth.
Before I continue with the usual review formula of mine, a minor rant. Why the heck did the writers decide to add politics to the mix? What was the point of both American and Japanese politicians being a part of the story? Thankfully they play an extremely minor role (so minor they’re pointless) but it still ticks me off a bit they had to add a well known global fact of American politicians being evil. Newsflash, all politicians are bad guys. I don’t need preachy self-fulfilling propaganda in my yurirific action show.
On the plus side, this show’s Engrish is…TERRIBLE! It’s so hilariously awful. It is by far the WORST Engrish I have ever heard in an anime and it is MAGNIFICENT! Oh my word, I cannot count the times I nearly bust my gut laughing hearing this person botch the English language so badly. Trust me, you’ll be in for a treat.
The animation. Before I go there, one of my classic lines,”Well the girls are hot.” Other than that I admit this isn’t exactly a masterpiece in motion drawings but I’m okay with it as usual. I suppose hardcore critics will easily notice some flaws here and there but I’m too lazy to notice or care because I was having too much watching the show and that’s what’s most important to me.
The music: short review, I WANT THE SOUNDTRACK, CHARACTER SONGS, THE WORKS! I highly doubt it’ll be as praiseworthy as Guilty Crown’s music but whatever.
I’m not going to go over the characters this time because it’ll spoil a lot. Instead I’ll only say one minor tidbit about the main antagonist. This person’s…something else. Big Bad’s master plan, objective and motivations will have you scratching your head asking…”what?” I don’t mean it in the sense of confusion but “what?” as in, “What the hell!? Are you serious!?” End of spoilers. As for the rest of the cast, I’m pretty sure you’ll like almost everyone by the end of the show. WAIT! Honorable mentions must be made:
This guy right here (Commander Genjuro), much respect. He is a real man’s man. “I eat, watch movies and sleep. A True Man knows nothing else!” Those words made me proud to be a man. It also helps he greatly reminds me of Street Fighter’s Akuma. 10 points in the badassitude meter.
Of course I can’t conclude this review without the usual climactic yuri paragraph. I could go on and on about “The Legend of Lesbian Jesus” but as I mentioned above, this show is so obviously a yuri romance story disguised as one of pretentious Best Friends with benefits farce. It’s clear as day many of these women are lesbians and wearing yuri goggles would be ill advised because you’d die of nosebleeds. The love the women on this show have, especially Miku and Hibiki seen above here in a wonderful fan art is truly touching and will warm the hearts of Nation members everywhere. You’d have to be an anime smark or homophobe to not notice the romantic bonds these women share for one another. Heck I haven’t even talked Tsubasa and Kanade yet.
I don’t know what others think but Kanade is EASILY one of the most badass killed off early characters in anime history I’ve ever seen. Every time we see Tsubasa reminisce about her relationship with Kanade after the events we saw in episode 1, the writers continuously shove it in our face that Kanade is (or was) da bomb! It’s no wonder why it’s so difficult for Tsubasa to get over her, especially since she was her first love.
Point is, no matter how you feel about the rest of the show, this is a must watch for yuri fans.
In conclusion: I already made it clear what target audience this show will easily appeal to but as for non-yuri fans…unless you dislike musicals, women donning armor and fighting evil with badass weapons, are allergic to oh so fine 2D breasts, dislike drama altogether, or are an anime smark, I see no reason not to give this one a go.
P.S.: Berserk Mode Hibiki.