The one thing that always makes me giggle in Symphogear, without fail, is the way the characters sing along to their own background music. The music itself is usually forgettable and fraught with bagpipes, with little connectivity to the named attacks happening right in front of us, but every once in awhile one of the characters sings something so memorable that it makes up for the fact that every scientist in Symphogear seems hardwired to turn evil only two episodes after their introduction. In this case, it’s Chris singing “GO TO HELL” in an otherwise completely Japanese song that distracts from the inherent evil of the universe’s sciencegears.
Dr. Ver follows is the latest in Symphogear’s baffling string of evil scientists with a greater than average understanding of Babylonian artifacts, greeting the nymphogears in Episode 1 before popping up again here as a villain in league with the chief from Psycho-Pass. Whether it’s because of less lofty ambitions or because Symphogear actually knows what it’s capable of this time around, Dr. Ver is a much more identifiable evil scientist than last season’s ever was, albeit less memorable—though in this case that’s hardly a bad thing. After all, when the series tries to have its cake and eat it too when it comes to ambiguous hinting at science’s evil, this is the result. As amusing as that is, it definitely isn’t good, and anything that steps away from it is a move in the right direction toward a more satisfying experiencegear.
Unfortunately, aside from Ver’s betrayal and the fantastically dumb revelation that the sapphogears just have to SWAN SONG HARD WITH A VENGEANCE to avoid its fatal effects, there isn’t much in the way of over the top, goofy action or plot in this episode. Most of the runtime is taken up with expounding on the different characters, all of whom end up just as underdeveloped as they were going in. With Tsubasa’s character arc mostly done, there are only Chris, Hibiki, and the novicegears left to develop. And with the show hinting at Hibiki having a bog-standard traumatic past, there’s not much to look forward to on this front, unless it turns out that Dr. Ver is her long lost father, having conceived her with an exceptionally attractive Noise.
There’s still the uneasy feeling that Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music… doesn’t know what the hell it wants to do, but that same feeling gave birth to last season’s never-ending barrage of Sappho-synergy. And with the new SWAN SONG HARDER direction, the possibilities are endless.