With the second OVA bonus out and strong sales on the BDs and OSTs, the talk of a third season of Symphogear is pretty high, enough for a /m/ thread no less. Certainly, the show was left with plenty of open space for more (mis)adventures of Hibiki and Co. But as welcome as Nanoha StrikerS was for Nanoha fans many years ago, it did not capture the magic the first two seasons provided, despite having an excellent cast and portraying adult Nanoha and Fate well.
So if Symphogear were to timeskip forward for a third season and feature a more mature Hibiki, Tsubasa, and Chris, would it be watchable?
So why is Symphogear such a big fucking deal? I’m still not sure, but it represents the most fun I’ve had with a show since Nanoha, and I think the reason for that is really down to the quasi-mecha elements within. Take Mai HiME or Mai OtoME for example, two shows that have less in common with mecha than Power Rangers, but still are on the top lists of most /m/en like myself because of the pseudo-magical girl bullshit that comes with it. It’s like the difference between real robots and super robots, one is based on actual real-life mechanics, and the other is based on Jesus Yamato-powered bullshit. Madoka is a magical girl. Hibiki is a scientifically-imbued magical girl. As the saying goes, anything sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.
I know plebs on /a/ will say NANA IS THE REASON SYMPHOGEAR EXISTS but come on guys, Tsubasa has been the shittiest character ever in both seasons, being completely outclassed both by Hibiki and by Chris, Chris being in TWO DIFFERENT GEARS and still outclassing her. Sure, she has some flashy attacks, but that is all you get from her, flash and no substance. Hibiki may not have a weapon, but those are fucking fists of justice, worthy of being Subaru 2.0 a la Nanoha with the berserker rage to match. If you didn’t see her going batshit insane from having her arm bit off and fucking Nephlim’s day up, and getting a free arm back, you’re watching the wrong show.
I know, Mizuki Nana drives this boat, and pretending this franchise isn’t anything more than an expensive (or cheap?) vehicle for driving the musical careers of a half-dozen VAs makes you more of an ignorant fuck than the average con-goer. But it’s stupid-sexy fun, it really is. It’s buying a Porsche knowing it might burst into flames and driving it recklessly anyway. Especially if your last name is Walker. Symphogear is really the cheesy sort of half-slapstick, half-seriousbusiness sort of show where everyone sort of prods at each other before getting serious and fucking someone’s day up. But in the second season, especially, is the wonderful world of Doctor Ver reaction faces.
Ver is the single-greatest villain in the history of cartoon villains, and it is simply because he has the intelligence of a Bond villain, but lacks the common sense to realize that all of his plans are stupid and broken easily, making him end up more like Syndrome in The Incredibles by the end, monologuing just to hear himself talk. The looks on his face as BERSERK-MODE Hibiki grew an arm and tore the shit out of his monster were really priceless, and the frosting on the cake was his moe-face at the end of the show after being captured, plans foiled.
Sadly, GUNGIR CANCER was the focus of the season, and rightfully so as it ties up that plot point from the first, but the way they dealt with it was not really on my hotlist of better ideas. Certainly, having Miku LESBIAN BEAM it all away was the easiest plot move, it would have been far more interesting I think to see her morph into something different, a fusing of girl to machine, possibly even come out stronger and better than before. It seems like there were more chances to write the story in a more grittier, more satisfying conclusion than to essentially DAYMAN– FIGHTER OF THE NIGHTMAN, because after being free of the cancer, she pretty much was the master of karate, and friendship, with everyone. I also didn’t really get the need to make a couple references to Chris’ introversion and unwillingness to integrate with others at the school, when they didn’t bother to really go into it, or even backtrace it to the events of the first season. A third season would do well to go back and really find out who her parents were, how she became connected to Genjiro, and how she has overcome most of this to be in a position where she can respect Tsubasa and get along with the others. Tsubasa.. well, she is Tsubasa. I’m not really fond of her, mainly because she is a stick-in-the-mud in both seasons, lightening up a little by the end of the second season, but still having stuck-on-Kaede issues from the first season that drove her to fight Hibiki early on. The thing is, that actually gave her character, because you could see the strife. It was what made Adult Nanoha shine in StrikerS when Subaru and Tia tried to wipe her out in that mock fight. She cleaned their clock, they cried, and everyone told them why. That is still an arc of Nanoha I would like to see animated, because when that franchise delved into serious business, it did it well, and had they spent more time in StrikerS actually going through some of the time past between A’s and StrikerS instead of LOL TRAINING, it would have been the greatest season ever. One can hope FORCE steps up to the plate soon and delivers.
Then there are the newcomers, Maria, Shirabe, and Kirika. A third season will no doubt revolve around them in some fashion, with them integrating into the team likely much the same as Chris did for the second season. I’m not sure if Maria’s relic works anymore, or if it burned out on her final form in the end of G, but if she is unable to gear up, she’ll probably end up being some kind of battle coordinator or musical front for the group, while the other two will likely be part of the regular forces. All three got some decent character backgrounds in G, but with the whole Fine specter around, it was difficult to tell if they got anything interesting out of it, with Maria’s sister being the only real look into her past. That isn’t a bad thing, that just means they have something to play with, good or bad, in the upcoming season.
Case in point, Symphogear S3 can go one of two ways, it can either timeskip and be the StrikerS we all hoped it could be, or it can employ WIBBLY-WOBBLY-TIMEY-WIMEY and invent another season roughly like the first two. Both have their pros and cons, but for my money, a timeskip season with older, cuter, more badass Hibiki, might be a season too early, and this might be what killed Nanoha and made them reach back to the first two seasons for the movie. They needed a third season to establish Hayate and Co. before skipping ahead to the future. Symphogear needs another season to sink the new girls in and maybe tie up some loose ends with Hibiki and Co. before going into a fourth season where Genjiro forms SECTION SIX and Ver comes back to delight us with more of the LAST ACTION HERO shtick.
But for now, have some more Stupid Sexy Chris.