Miracle on Ice
I don’t even know how to start writing this. Symphogear is a show that sucked me in with the same grace and charm that Nanoha did, girls fighting in mecha-like suits against baddies and otherworld forces. It had characters that hit all the mecha-style buttons and paid homage to a number of popular mecha tropes. The songs were obviously inserted to sell albums, but I did not care, they were high-powered and crazy as shit. Hibiki is the fucking girl, punching everything with the force of a thousand suns.
But GX? Man alive, GX ran so well and then hit the final episodes, and just gave up. Maybe this is the consequence of having to maintain high-action throughout the season. Maybe it needed a slower-paced slice-of-life episode in the middle. I guess we’ll never know.
Here is what confuses me the most about this season. So you have an alchemist who has powers that predate the gears but come from the same harmonic background. She watches her father burn at the stake during the witch trials and vows to destroy the world. She puts her plan in motion after the first two events fail to destroy the world. Hibiki and Co. play into her plans at every turn, but in the end, they prevail and stop her plan, defeating her. Simple, right? Now throw in some emotional layers, Hibiki’s father, Carol’s struggle to come to terms with her father’s legacy, and some other minor plot points, and you have more than just a simple Good Vs. Evil show. Even better. How can this go wrong?
Up until the end of episode 11, everything was going pretty well to build up to a final confrontation between Carol and her master plan and the gear users. The twists of how Carol manipulated them all into her plan were revealed, but Hibiki is known for taking the twist and still punching the shit out of everything, like she did last season with getting Gungnir back from Maria. Instead, TOP DAD steps into the picture again trying to be the hero. What should have happened instead of him just fumbling about before getting Hibiki her relic, was that he should have either been killed, or gravely wounded. Hibiki needed a genuine berserk moment and a complete loss of control to really properly strike a blow to Carol’s psyche. Because still to this point, Carol doesn’t understand Hibiki or the others’ drive to stop her plan or why they refuse to let her dissect the world. Plus, for her dad to really redeem himself, he either needs to sacrifice his life, or tell her while wounded how much she means to him and how he really wanted to change. The end result should be Hibiki punching the shit out of Carol until Carol pushes back and initiates the plan, moving into episode 12. There, the others gather and begin their counter-offensive, with Ver’s help from the inside as the twist. After the plan is defeated, then the final battle ensues between Carol and the gear users in episode 13 and concludes with Hibiki landing the final blow and saving her from the explosion. Carol’s emotional realization and turnabout comes from questioning why Hibiki would still save her after she has killed/wounded her father. Then you can end the episode however you like.
Overall, GX was still a great season, because at least until the start of 12, we got some incredible fights, action, DOLL JOINTS, and Chris. We always demand that our anime try to step outside the box and do different things, and I think Symphogear tried to do that this season, but often you need that extra cour to properly flesh out various plot lines and character details. It seems like the writing staff gave up at the end, and I am not sure if it is because they had some kind of studio issue, or they just didn’t know how to end it, but it definitely pales in comparison to the ending of even the first season, let alone the superior second season. It’s a one-cour-season show, so I don’t expect long plot lines, keep it short, simple, full of fights, couple of down-time episodes, and bang out an ending where all the users form Voltron and kick ass. This season spent too much time trying to build these relationships between characters that ended up feeling shoehorned and unnatural. Chris’ KOUHAI obsession got annoying in some episodes, as was Tsubasa and Maria’s weird relationship. DMjii was the only one that made sense because it persisted from the second season. They also completely ignored Miku and Genjuro, both whom played roles in previous seasons.
They dropped a few hints that may lead in to a fourth season, specifically Europe. I don’t know what they’ll do exactly. I presume with Carol/Elfnein sticking around, the Ignite modules are here to stay, and possibly some other alchemy-based weaponry. I imagine we’ll probably encounter another terrorist cell or other relic organization trying to take over the world, and maybe encounter more gear users. At this point, I’d settle for an entire season of just slice-of-life Symphogear, really. But I enjoy Hibiki punching things, and hopefully they do not completely nullify her with this TOP DAD ending.
Title: Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX
Sub Group I Watched: Horrible
Rating (1-10): 9