I think that’s supposed to be a heart, anyway.
The stakes in Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music… are getting progressively more ridiculous as they stack on each other. First there’s the moon threatening to collide with the earth any day, ala Gurren Lagann, then there’s Dr. Ver killing innocent children because why not, and now Hibiki entering berserk mode again because she loses an arm, but then growing it back immediately after. This part of the story is everything dumb that I could have wanted out of this season, and more.
I was gearing up for Hibiki’s blatantly hinted-at traumatic past to be something appropriately over the top. Maybe she indirectly led to an unnamed younger brother getting eaten by a group of Noise, or left a group of friends to die at the hands of one of Symphogear’s many mad scientists interested in ancient Babylonian artifacts. I definitely got what I expected, the development involving the death of several classmates and her alienation at the hands of the survivors because their parents’ hard-earned taxes went toward her recovery. I mean it’s fine if she wants to kill some people, but fuck her if she takes your parents’ tax dollars, right?
It’s actually not a terrible flashback by any means, even if the callousness of her classmates is goofy as all hell, but it’s jarringly out of place when taken with the overall plot. Not only that, but it’s over in an instant, with Hibiki’s character gaining nothing from her temporary lapse into self-loathing. No greater sense of understanding, no true doubts to chew on, just a stiff vocalization of vague doubt that’s assuaged by the end of the episode. It’s angst for the sake of angst, adding nothing but extra material for angst fetishists.
The full list of problems that afflicted (blessed?) the first Symphogear have finally made the full transition here. The disconnect between Hibiki’s development and the actual plot of the show, her relic form popping up only when convenient, Tsubasa firing Hibiki from the Symphogears because the shard of Gungnir embedded in her chest is threatening to kill her, and This Isn’t an Anime Girl having her sole line of the episode be about harem leads all compound the laughable interest into something that the show couldn’t dream of paying off.
If it sounds like I’m down on this week’s episode, trust when I say that I’m really not. Nothing about it really gels together, but it’s consistently entertaining for that fact. Everything that I’ve mentioned here hearkens back to what ensconced the first series in my Top 30 list, warts and all. It may be riddled with issues, but they bring me joy time and time again. I watched this whole episode with a big, Dr. Ver-esque smile on my face. It’s like Christmas, except with shitty J-Pop.