Symphogear – The Swan Songs of the Valkyries (Senhime Zesshou Symphogear)

(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

In the future, Earth is randomly assaulted by swarms of “Noises”, (basically : eldritch abominations). Our only effective means of defense are the Twei Wings, a pair of song-powered superheroines (supported by a whole secret agency) who have secret identities as idol singers.

Characters

Kanade, the red Twei Wing, who jumps into action without waiting for support when a swarm of Noise attacks one of their concerts. The big twist is that she sacrifices herself halfway through the episode to save some innocent bystanders by singing an actual swan song (i.e., the cost of its power is her own life).

Tsubasa, the blue Twei Wing, has obviously turned somewhat bitter as a way of coping with her partner’s death. She’s thrown herself into the job even more, in an emotionally detached way.

Out actual protagonist, at least for this episode, is Hibiki, a girl who was attending the concert and got caught into the attack ; Kanade was trying to save her, and she gets such an injury that it’s a wonder she survived (the scar does look quite suspect). Kanade’s sacrifice has obviously left a big impression on Hibiki, and when she later stumbles onto yet more Noises, she gathers all her strength and will to try and save a kid who happened to be there. When eventually surrounded by Noises, she even tries to sing her own swan song… except what it transforms her into looks rather more like a monster than a superheroine. Oops.

And just to make this more hopeless, the episode opens with a flashforward of Hibiki’s best friend visiting her grave. Oh, dear.

Production Values

This looks quite impressive indeed : the future looks wonderful, the Noises are creepy as heck (they don’t look too frightening until they actually attack, and urgh), the animation for the fights is crisp, and if you’re going to feature battle songs prominently, you can’t go wrong with Nana Mizuki (who’s on top form here).

Overall Impression

Wow, this took me completely by surprise. This is a show that lulls you into a false sense of security with its bright colours and cheerful atmosphere… until the Noises attack and innocent bystanders go down like flies. I’m glad they didn’t go for a darker palette, because the show is already brutal as it is.

It also helps that I have absolutely no clue where this is going, what with killing off one of the four main characters and promising to do the same to another one (and there’s no OP or ED yet to give any hints). This could turn into Tsubasa begrudgingly mentoring Hibiki as a replacement for Kanade… but if there’s something this first episode has proven, it’s that anything can happen.

Me likey.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2012 – Page 3.

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Jhiday

I've been kinda blogging about anime for years... but mostly on forums (such as RPG.net's Tangency) and other sites. This site is an archive for all that stuff, just in case.

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