Senki Zesshou Symphogear Review

Hello there. This is review number twenty six. This is another anime from the Winter 2012 line up. It’s Senki Zesshou Symphogear. It’s a thirteen episode anime about singing girls fighting evil creatures. I enjoyed this anime and I’ll tell you why in my review. So enough rambling. Let’s read on.

Story

Two years ago, a pair of idols, Tsubasa Kazanari and Kanade Amou, 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.

Taking the Pants Off

I was really wary of watching this anime. A lot of reviews are negative citing that the entire set up of the anime was weak. I think they watched the trailer then got hyped then got disappointed the hype wasn’t fulfilled. Actually, this anime is really good. It’s one of the best anime in the Winter 2012 line up plot wise. This is one of the best plot-driven stories I have watched in a long while. The anime isn’t perfect but a lot of its elements wonderfully worked together thus making the anime super incredible.

The anime set in Japan where beings known as Noise cause havoc to the land. These creatures instinctively hunt humans and turn them to dust. No military weapon can hurt the Noises and people are just evacuated every time these creatures attack. The only way to defeat them is using a relic from ancient times. The relic is only activated by a chosen one with her singing. The singing activates the relic and grants the wearer super powers. Such a deadly weapon is only utilized by Japan so other countries are trying to obtain it. The girls who bear these weapons aren’t completely safe though. The weapons affects the girls and a certain song, the swan song, puts too much stress on the body that the wearer dies and turns into dust.

The premise was superb. In episode one, there was a lot that happened. A bunch of Noises attacked a concert by an idol pair who is secretly super powered girls. The conclusion of the fight had one of the girls die trying to save a girl who is almost killed by the Noises. Two years later, this girl named Hibiki Tachibana, wants to save people as she was given a chance to live too. It all leads to her bearing a relic and joining the fight to defeat the noises.

The story of the anime is interesting and the characters are so very well done. Each of the girls in focus have their own problem to deal with and the audience is given a chance to see how these problems haunts the girls but also how they overcome from it. Hibiki is your standard hero. She wants to protect people and it’s the sole reason she took up arms to fight the Noise. She starts out weak but her determination made her strong. She’s your generic underdog hero and it’s a personal favorite of mine. Hibiki would train and do her best to fight and protect people. This commitment to fighting Noises does cause a tear in her relationship with her best friend. Everything Hibiki does is classified so she had to lie to the only person who believes in her. It all comes down to how much Hibiki will sacrifice to protect those she cares about.

The other girl is Tsubasa Kazanari who is haunted by her guilt over the death of her partner. She now lives for nothing. She now believes that she is nothing more than a weapon used until she dulls out. Her guilt and regret manifests some more when the powers of her dead partner and friend are obtained by Hibiki. Hibiki wants to be her comrade but Tsubasa’s guilt keeps getting in the way.

The characters are very well rounded and the serve so much importance to the story. The girls and their individual problems serve as the bread and butter of the anime. The minor characters are nicely done as well. They are one dimensional but they do serve purpose in the anime. It was fine because the main characters offer enough to keep the anime interesting.

The action sequences are alright but not really amazing. The fights aren’t that great. The enemies are nothing more than pests. There are some big Noises that look like a boss from an RPG but there are no enemies that offer something to the story. Noises are just pests. Watching the fight scenes is just the same as watching your friend squish a cockroach. It’s all just punching and kicking with no real story telling in it. The fights between the Noises are just a way to show the girl’s awesome fighting abilities. It doesn’t really advance the story at all. The main problem is that the Noises look all the same and it takes a punch or a kick or a swing of the blade to kill them. I must admit though that the Noises creeps me out. The humans they touch turns to dust. I would’ve preferred a gory ending because I love seeing bystander die pointlessly. It disturbs me that you die by turning into dust. I don’t want that. I want my head cut off or my insides turn into mush that to be one with the wind.

The anime had a villain though. It’s a very evil and arrogant villain that I rarely see in twelve episode anime nowadays. The story was to set up a shocking twist revealing the villain but it was all very obvious. The twist was predictable so I didn’t enjoy much of it when the villains revealed herself. She is still a very effective villain though as the later parts of the anime had a big fight involving this villain. She is cold, cunning and merciless. She is very generic though as she wants to rule the world. I didn’t see that coming. Haha.

The anime starts out with individual conflicts then a resolution at the middle and ends with a wonderful final fight that had me at the end of my seat. By the time the final episodes roll in, you are already emotionally invested in the girls so the fight and the sacrifices they make really makes this anime incredible.

This is an amazing anime that possesses a strong plot and a strong cast of characters. I am kicking myself for not picking up the anime as soon as possible. The only gripe I had with the anime is the way the girls fight. They sing while blasting away enemies. I guess it’s something that makes them unique but something I am not used to watch. It makes the fight almost look like mere child play. It must be because the girls never bleed. They get hurt occasionally but no real danger. Well, except for the ending.

The anime wraps up pretty nicely and I’m not sure if you noticed it but the anime opened with a classic Greek tragedy. Hibiki’s friend visits her grave at the start of the anime so I was really curious how Hibiki dies. I bet it was grand and super epic. It was.

Sight and Sound

The anime is presented pretty plainly. When the characters are far way, the almost look like a bunch of shapes. The mouth is the only thing that moves in some scenes and the character design is pretty normal. It’s very archetypical. The story elevates the story so you can easily forgive the plain and boring animation.

The fights are nicely animated though. They were fast but it was easily to follow. The camera angle is also very free flowing as the anime would utilize a lot of camera angles. I especially like the animation done when the characters unleash a special move. The action is very fast paced and nicely animated.

The anime also have some CG in it. I love the concert scene in episode one. The stage was beautiful and the crowd was lively. They were robotic but lively, nonetheless. There are also some CG in the cars and the elevators in the anime. Some of the weapons are done in CG and a lot of the scenes in the final episodes are CG. I’m not a fan of this but it works perfectly well on the anime.

There are a lot of songs here in the anime. All of them work perfectly in the anime. The opening and ending songs is high octane that perfectly suits the anime. The songs the girls sing during the battle is also nicely done. The seiyuus themselves sing the songs in the anime. It is really nicely done and makes the anime more unique.

I have a bit of complain during the English conversations in the anime though. The English conversations sounds gibberish and I am really bothered by it. I have seen perfectly nice English dialogues in anime before so the English in this anime feels like an insult. Not to mention that America is one of the countries that wants to obtain the relics. White washing? Truly despicable.

Overall Score

5/10 “ A really wonderful story about heroism, friendship and camaraderie. “

I’ll say it again. I love this anime. It’s one of the best anime in the Winter 2012 line up because of its near perfect story. I prefer plot over anything else in anime so I really love this anime. I recommend it.

Thoughts~

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