With the review of the first season in the books, it’s time to continue playing catch up in preparation for the upcoming fourth season. Is the sequel really never better than the original? Let’s put this series to the test and see~
Peace had seemed to return to the world when Hibiki, Tsubasa, and Chris had saved the planet from the Luna Attack with their song. However, 3 months later at a joint concert between Tsubasa Kazanari and foreign superstar Maria Cadenzavna Eve, the Symphogear team is faced with her dangerous declaration of war against the world. Maria and her allies Kirika and Shirabe have a fearful power backing them: The power of a dark Symphogear.
That synopsis pretty much sums up the situation that Hibiki, Tsubasa, and Chris are facing now. Overall, this season seemed darker than its predecessor, with a lot of the light and fluffy moments from season one not present. I enjoyed said fluffy moments, but at the same time, I certainly don’t mind a story with a darker, more serious tone. I say “serious”, but I’m not sure that that’s the right word, since there are some crazy plot points, like blowing up the Moon, Austin Powers-style. In the second half of the season, all sorts of twists and turns abound, and as crazy as some of them may be, I can’t lie and say that I wasn’t entertained.
There were moments that seemed like a bit of an asspull, like when Hibiki’s arm regenerates after Nephilim tears it off, or when Hibiki gets “cured” of the spreading relic that’s fusing within her body, or when Shirabe ultimately ends up unharmed after being stabbed in the spine by Kiri’s’ giant scythe. I guess asspull isn’t the best way of phrasing those situations, since you could argue that there were legit reasons why things played out that way, but nevertheless, it’s awfully convenient.
The story remains simple, but all the drama makes for a cheesy action anime that’s still pretty entertaining. Like myself, it’s not going to win any awards for its writing, but Symphogear G is still a silly fun and action-packed anime, so I can’t be too harsh on it.
Due to the slight shift in tone—not to mention the constant flak she takes from everyone, friends and enemies alike—Hibiki isn’t quite the same naive girl that she was in season one. On one hand, I like it, since her unrealistic way of thinking was borderline annoying, but on the other hand, some of her cuteness is neutered, and for me at least, that added to her likability. Still, I like how strong she’s become, as both a person and a fighter~
You can’t talk about Hibiki without talking about Miku… and the yuri. In season one, these two seemed like a full-fledged couple at times, and while that’s still the case, they don’t have as much screen time as they did before. Most of the time, Hibiki is off putting her life on the line, while Miku is forced to stay behind and watch from the sidelines. However, all is not lost, as the quantity of scenes involving those two has diminished, the quality has stayed consistent.
Tsubasa may not have Kanade around, but some of her interactions with Chris are cute, and they usually involve Chris being a classic tsundere. It’s not much at all, yet it’s better than nothing. But there is a pairing that even outdoes Hibiki x Miku in terms of yuri, and that’s Kiri and Shirabe. They’re the youngest of the Symphogear users, and they’re practically inseparable. Imagine Hibiki x Miku in season one, but with them outright saying that they love each other. No special phrasing, just stating it, plain and simple. Most of their time together isn’t as sweet as that one moment, but there isn’t any doubt that, for all intents and purposes, they’re pretty much an official couple.
Getting to the final Symphogear user, Maria, she’s someone that I wanted to like a lot, yet I found it hard to do so. For a majority of the season, she’s positioned as a villain, even though it’s clear as day that that’s not who she really is. With the way things ended, going forward, I think she’ll be someone that I really like, but for all her beauty, fighting ability, and charisma, I’m surprised that I didn’t like her more.
There’s also the aforementioned Dr. Ver, who’s basically your typical mad scientist hell-bent on taking over the world. It’s very easy to dislike him, but at times, I found him inadvertently hilarious, no doubt a product of some of Sugita-san’s prior work, not to mention his exagerrated expressions. All in all, the new characters were nice additions that helped make an already good cast, a little better.
With a new season comes new character songs, and my clear-cut favorite was Chris’ song, Bye-Bye Lullaby. I preferred Hibiki’s character song from season one, and as good a singer as Nana Mizuki is, Tsubasa’s song didn’t quite resonate with me like Chris’ song did. Kiri and Shirabe both had some good songs as well, yet there’s something oddly compelling about Chris telling you to go to Hell. Another instance in which I give season one the edge is when it comes to the themes, as this season’s OP and ED weren’t bad or anything, but to me, they lacked the same epicness of the first season. Moving on, the first season already boasted an impressive cast of voice actors, and Symphogear G ups the ante even more, thanks to the additions of Yoko Hikasa as Maria, Ai Kayano as Shirabe, and Tomokazu Sugita as Dr. Ver. It’s true that Miyuki Sawashiro is essentially gone, but the new additions do an excellent job of breathing some life into these new characters, so the cast is arguably even better than before. Music plays just as big a part in this season as it did in the first, and just like the first, it continues to be one of the highlights of the series.
Senki Zesshou Symphogear G is an even more over-the-top take on the magical girl genre than its predecessor, and overall, I think it’s a more entertaining affair, with better action, a larger dose of yuri, and more drama than you can shake a stick at~