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Posts Tagged ‘Symphogear’

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Did you have a good year? I hope so. My 2015 was alright. Pretty unremarkable, a couple of new experiences, but mostly just been working. But for anime though, it’s been interesting I guess. I wouldn’t call 2015 a bad year for anime by any stretch, but thinking back on what I watched while writing this top 10 I was struck by how few series really left a major impact in the fandom, and more importantly how few left much of an impression on me. I think I’d overall characterise it as a solid, if unassuming, year for anime. Still, there’ve been at least a few that I’ll be remembering for a while, and enough that I wasn’t struggling for things to include!

Now, the definition I’m working with for ‘2015 anime’ is pretty broad, but a lot of other people are using it too so it’s nothing too radical or unexpected. It’s what I’ve been using for previous years: a series counts if it finished in 2015, and a film counts if it was first available for me to watch this year. I feel this is pretty sensible – you can’t exactly consider a show “best of the year” if it hasn’t even finished yet, shows that started last year wouldn’t get a chance otherwise, and expecting me to consider a film that I could’ve only watched in a cinema in Japan is just silly.

Before we get to the top 10, I want to talk about some anime that didn’t quite make the cut, but definitely deserve a shoutout.

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The third season of Symphogear aired this year, strikingly titled “Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX: Believe in Justice and Hold a Determination to Fist.”. I didn’t review it in the end, but it was pretty great. Whereas the original Symphogear took itself a bit too seriously to rise above so-bad-it’s-good (at least, not until the final episode), Symphogear G managed to be amazing by virtue of self-awareness and a commitment to glorious, moronic extremes. Symphogear GX continues in this vein but managed to somehow also become sincerely engaging. I’m not sure if I’ve just grown familiar with all the characters, but I actually cared about them and what was happening to them as if Symphogear GX was a serious show. Not that it didn’t revel in over-the-top insanity any less, and nor did I not eagerly eat that up mind you.

And boy does Symphogear GX know how to make it clear from the outset that it’s not any less Symphogear. The opening scenes might well be the best way to introduce any series.

symphogear dot jpeg

symphogear dot jpeg

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Now THIS was a surprise. I discussed it a fair bit in my review, but the short story is that while Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then… was kinda rubbish, its sequel, Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music…, was actually good.

Not to say that Symphogear was unentertaining, but it was largely in the ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ sense. That is, when it wasn’t merely wallowing in mediocrity. It had a strong first episode, and the last episode was great fun in how much it embraced the goofiness, but for the most part it took itself way too seriously despite how goddamn dumb everything that was going on was. Symphogear G, by contrast, was fun as hell from start to finish, for all the right reasons. Exciting, fast-paced, well-choreographed and super-stylish fights basically every episode married with some endearing, cheesy characterisation, a plot that was more of an excuse for bigger and more insane fights, and some pretty bangin’ music – you could tell everyone working on this was enjoying themselves far too much.

Spoilers ahead! Consider yourself warned!

Spoilers ahead! Consider yourself warned!

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Senki Zesshou Symphogear G

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Remember how the first season of Symphogear sucked? Like, a lot? But it was saved from complete awfulness by small moments so ridiculous that they were amazing fun? Like the entire last episode?

Because Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music… (I’m not going to keep referring to it as that) is that. Only that. Except distilled. Purified. Refined. 13 episodes of non-stop, balls-to-the-walls, over-the-top ridiculousness and self-awareness and fun.

It starts with A TERRORIST POP IDOL threatening to crash the moon to the earth if her groups vague demands are not met and just keeps going from there. You will laugh, you will cry (laughing), and a bunch of school-girls in trashy outfits singing songs will fill you with such manly passion and fire that you won’t know what to do with it.

Basically, it’s fucking awesome.

Time to kick some ass

Time to kick some ass

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I did not enjoy Macross Frontier. I fucking loathed it. The characters were bland and generic, the plot was insipid and contrived, and it was all just an otaku pandering piece of shit. One major aspect of that was the fact it basically functioned as an extended advert for a bunch of crappy idol J-Pop singles, all of which were sung over dramatic moments or combat or anywhere else where they did not fit in at all and one particularly terrible pretentious ballad was also a magical alien love song or something that was sung at least once every episode and was fucking awful. So when Symphogear entered the preview charts, promising a show about a load of teenage girls singing magical songs and fighting things to save the world, I can’t say I was particularly thrilled. I skipped right over it because I hadn’t actually finished Macross Frontier all that long ago and the mere memories of it made me feel bad.

Of course this didn’t last if I’m actually writing about it now. What happened was that when the fansubbers started releasing it they were all saying just how good it was. A similar reaction occurred in various anime communities, and so curiosity got the better of me and so I picked it. And you know what? The first episode was actually pretty good!

I’d like to point out now that that last sentence is more accurate than you might initially imagine.

She's shocked because of all the spoilers

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