Usually when it comes to a series of any kind, when the second entry is a surprising success that means the third entry could either disappoint or miraculously keep the goodness going strong. Was that the case for the third entry in the Symphogear series? Let’s find out as we take a look at Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX.
New to the series? Check out my reviews of the previous two seasons:
Genres: Action, Magic, Science-Fiction
Themes: Ecchi, Fighting, Music
Number of episodes: 13
Plot Summary: 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 are forced into a difficult fight. In this situation of extreme disparity, the battle for the song that will end the world begins.
Once again we have a story about cute and sexy girls wearing badass armor, beating up jelly monsters and the antagonists who control them all while singing awesome songs and occasionally snuggling with each other. In short, exactly what Symphogear fans look for in the series and to that point GX does not disappoint. In fact, I personally think that season 3 is tied with the first one as being the best in the series. I cannot decide which of the two is better though.
The fights are still some of the show’s highlights as they are still over the top and kick serious tooshie. It is debatable whether having more fights than usual is a good or bad thing. It depends on the viewer. Nevertheless they are all as good as one would expect from this series by now.
The fanservice is still as glorious as ever though it somehow felt less forced this time. I could be wrong but aside from henshin sequences it did not feel as in your face this time around…but it is still delicious.
The animation is still as good as it has always been. Maybe a hiccup here and there but nothing that cannot be fixed on the Blu-Ray release. Same goes for the soundtrack in all its glory. How good the GX songs are compared to past seasons is debatable. I liked them myself.
Now for the villains. Personally I think Carol and the Autoscorers are the best antagonists the series has had. Not in regards to depth of character because the Autoscorers are all one-dimensional and Carol herself is quite simple. Come to think of it, fine has always been the most complex villain…for Symphogear baddies that is not saying much. However, what the villains of the series lack in depth and complexity they make up for in their presence actions: How they execute their plans, how they perform in combat, their mannerisms, character traits, attire, etc. Carol and her lackeys I feel excel at all of these. Again debatable but that is how I see it.
Having said all this, when we remove the layers of coolness GX throws to the table the overall product is more of the same. One who has seen a season of what the Symphogear has to offer one has seen it all. Other than what is expected of new seasons of action shows like this one, little is done to differentiate GX from its predecessors. The thing is, Symphogear does not need to do much different to be a good series. As they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Just add enough flavor to keep the dish as tasty as it already is. Hey, at least GX went a step beyond and pulled a surprise or two. This is of course for non-fans who are looking for a cool magical armored girl show. Fans of the series knew what to expect and rolled with it.
As far as Team Symphogear go as characters everyone is the same as always and that is a good thing. The girls do go through their personal development arcs which feel like filling holes left in past seasons. The former New Emo Order trio, Maria, Kirika and Shirabe, had a “redemption” type route while Hibiki, Tsubasa and Chris once again tackled past demons, which were thankfully a bit more fleshed out this time, especially Hibiki’s. This gave an acceptable reason for the initial recycled subplot feel GX initially had. Good stuff.
As for the yuri, ShiraKiri got major screen time, there is a friendly love triangle between Maria and Chris for Tsubasa’s love (with a possible winner) and HibiMiku is still as glorious as ever. Sadly, even though Miku shone brightly in past seasons she was relegated to the sidelines this season. On the bright side when she was on screen her presence was as strong as it has always been. She still holds the title of “ultimate yuri waifu” is what I am saying.
Overall Symphogear GX is more of the same in context but still manages to be as entertaining, and to some extent, more than its predecessors. Basically it is better than Symphogear G, not to say G (far from it) but GX is more enjoyable. The action is ramped up to 9000, the soundtrack is still awesome, the heroines are still lovable, the villains brought a lot more to the table than past baddies and the yuri goodness is noticeable even to those without sight. A must watch for Symphogear fans who like the series for what it is and fans of armored magical heroine series like Nanoha, Yuki Yuna and Vividred Operation to name a few.