Listen To My Song~: Senki Zesshou Symphogear

Hi hi, after so many people been using intensive propaganda against me on Twitter, I decided to marathon this series.

So far (at the point of this writing), I am grinding into AXZ (S4) and I will hold off my thirst for XV (S5) till the blurays come out.

This anime has aged well. 8 years old at this point and 13 constantly action packed episodes. This show has also changed my impression of Satelight as a whole.

So without further ado, let’s get this review on the road.

Story

The first few minutes of the show has totally reeled me in. The amount of darkness, brutality and hopelessness is seriously amazing. I was expecting some chill slice-of-life intro, but this is something else.

I’m getting a lot of vibes from Nanoha (which led me to my thirst of dark mahou shoujo shows, I marathoned Nanoha while I was on the cruise).

The darkness in the intro was a good bait, as the rest of episode 1 is pretty much toned down a whole lot. Especially after the OP, the drastic change of tone really did throw me off a little. Where did all the brutality and reality checks go?

But whatever, I’m already into the show so I carried on. The story tried to maintain to level of darkness it has introduced, but I felt that they have failed pretty badly. They simply set the bar way too high and the rest of the season felt very tamed.

The struggles felt real, the helplessness felt genuinely moving. The show was a perfect show starter for me. Character developments on Tsubasa were pretty deep, despite that I feel like Hibiki’s focus is a little too much sometimes.

Juggling 3 character developments in 13 episodes is a challenge I guess. Story pacing was decent, not too fast, not too slow.

The climax was pretty well done with the buildup they did throughout the season. I also appreciate the combat theme of them constantly singing character songs during battles. More on that later.

Overall, it could have been a perfect roundup, but the high bar they set in the beginning 5 mins was too much for them to achieve. I wish they could have maintained that bar or just lower it from the get-go.

You may think 13 episodes isn’t much, but they packed a whole lot more content and action than a 2 cour and that’s good. They making full use of their 13ep time and money budget.

Animations

Satelight has always gave me an impression of subpar levels of quality and more shoujo-oriented content. But after White Album 2, my impression did change a little. But this show has concreted my impression change.

They can do dark shows like Shaft and Seven Arcs, they can actually provide above average levels of quality. For 2012, the show looks pretty great, and it holds up well into 2020.

Character design will be only gripe. I feel like their eyes, especially their pupils, is a little too narrow for my taste. They did fix that slowly throughout the season, but I wish they could have used the revised design from the beginning.

How’s the combat? Incredibly consistent, but don’t expect any Shaft-level of goodness. The combat does have pretty fast scenes and seeing them holding up that level of consistency is amicable. Colors were pretty bland though, but if it was 2012, it does look pretty nice. The animations does look soft as well, it feels like there is a constant filter of bloom. But 2012 shows tend to look rather soft so I think I will just give the benefit of the doubt there.

Otherwise, consistency is probably their biggest weapon here and they did it.

Music

This is probably the biggest drive for the show, the soundtrack. So how was it?

Simply put, amazing.

The harmony from the characters are so on-point. I don’t think I have ever heard duets or trios sing like this. Chemistry is pretty darn fantastic.

Even after so many seasons of OST, Tsubasa’s character song is just the best. Picking Mizuki Nana for such a theme is just heavenly.

I don’t really have much to say besides the fact that this might be my most favourite anime OST I have ever heard.

Synchrogazer (OP) is probably the best OP out of the series by far.

Voice Cast

The cast list is STACKED.

Yuki Aoi, Mizuki Nana, Takagaki Ayahi, Takayama Minami, Komatsu Mikako, Akabane Kenji, Okubo Rumi, Nakamura Hidetoshi, Masutani Yasunori, Nakane Kumiko, Akasaki Chinatsu, Ishikawa Hideo, Iguchi Yuka, Hoshi Soichiro, Orikasa Ai, Sawashiro Miyuki, Toyama Nao, Seto Asami.

A few things I noticed, Iguchi Yuka voicing a pivotal character for Hibiki (Yuki Aoi) feels rather refreshing after her massive portfolio of lolis and high-pitched characters.

Mizuki Nana is a key cast that really pulled me in full time, her character voice is her forte. After watching Nanoha and Dog Days, I feel like this show really made full use of her ability that many CVs are lacking, enka singing.

Her enka background really made her resonate to her character songs well.

With that said, the rest of the cast were pretty much doing their jobs. Sawashiro Miyuki as an antagonist is definitely something you don’t see everyday.

Scores:
Story: 8.5/10
Art: 8/10
Music: 9/10
VAs: 9/10

If you enjoy Madoka, Nanoha-typed of Mahou Shoujo shows, definitely give this show a try. But if you want to try to venture into such a territory, I think this show is a good start.

That’s it for this one. So Symphogear G review when? No idea, I am going to slowly type these reviews as I genuinely enjoyed the shows. And besides, I have plenty of time till XV comes out.

I will be writing my mid-season impressions soon and expect a slightly longer post on that one since I have picked a couple more shows again.

With that said, I will see you guys later!

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