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Senki Zesshou Symphogear

  • AKA: Swan Song of the Valkyries: Symphogear
  • Aired: 01/06/2012
  • Episodes: 13

(No trailer available, have an OP)


Tsubasa Kazanari and Kanade Amou—the idol duo known as Zwei Wing—use their songs to power ancient weapons known as "symphogears" to combat a deadly alien race called the "Noise." While the general public is aware of the Noise's existence, knowledge of the symphogears are kept a secret. When the Noise attack one of Zwei Wing's concerts, Kanade sacrifices herself to protect a young girl named Hibiki Tachibana, leaving Tsubasa devastated and a fragment of her symphogear embedded within Hibiki.

Two years pass and Hibiki is once again dragged into a Noise attack. While rescuing a young girl who has been left behind during the evacuation, she awakens the power of Kanade's symphogear lying within her. Although Tsubasa still grieves over the loss of Kanade, both girls must now learn to work together using their powers to defend humanity against the Noise.

[Written by MAL Rewrite]

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Soundtrack

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Watch Order:

Symphogear

Symphogear G

Symphogear GX

Symphogear AXZ

Symphogear XV




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awesomedude20

   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

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Senki Zesshou Symphogear.

My favourite series of all time. Out of all 330+ anime I've seen, this one comes out on top. Why oh why, does this weird little musical sent down from the heavens by Micheal Bay himself, sit at the top as my favourite anime? Well, read the thing and see why.

Spoilers ahead, not that it matters though. Not exactly a plot-heavy show, you can still enjoy it even if you know everything that happens.

Story: 6/10

I'll be 100% blunt here, Symphogear's story is pretty crap. It has been done to death time and time again, the MC gets powers that they don't know how to use, then they get better at it, then a big villain appears that threatens the world, and in the end, the good guys win. But the thing is... this anime isn't about the story. It's about how damn cool it can get. So don't even consider this iffy story score, because in every other regard, Symphogear is quite good. The 6/10 is because on top of it's miraculously generic story, it does do a lot of cool things with its own lore, and relates a lot of stuff to mythology quite well.

Characters: 9/10

This is where the show begins to shine through. You have a main cast consisting of a variety of tropes that, aside from the main character, don't get used a whole ton. The MC is the usual genki "gotta save people, never do harm" types, but a la Symphogear, it goes nuts and has her one-punch the friendship into things. Coupled with the sheer determination she puts out when the time requires it, despite being the most generic character, she's an easy one to love. The rest of the main cast consists of the cool, silent swordswoman type, who due to her upbringing and the tragic loss of her only friend, literally defines herself as nothing more than a sword, and is just as merciless and deadly. Her progression throughout the show as she gets to know Hibiki is a heartwarming one, and the way she acts is entirely believable. It was an easy trope to force, but they didn't and it wound up working wonders in creating just the right amount of drama for the show. The final character worth mentioning is the angry tsundere, but for once in the existence of all anime, it's a tsundere that has a VERY good reason to act that way. Her parents were killed and she was sold into child sex trafficking when she was young, for 6 whole years, before being rescued by the government. She later ran from them as well. Why? She doesn't trust adults anymore. Her horrific childhood entirely contributes to her lack of manners and quick temper, and overall was an excellent, though very dark, reason for her to act the way she does. Much like the sword, she too undergoes positive change after meeting the main character. Don't think the MC is some godsend though, a lot of the things she does, she doesn't do by herself, extremely suddenly. Most of the characters come to realizations by themselves, perhaps with some assistance from side characters here and there. The MC is more of the driving catalyst for the change. Overall, a 9/10 because despite being a pile of cliches, they work perfectly, and all have very specific roles to perform within the show, all of which are done very well. Always remember: Cliches are not bad, poorly used cliches are bad.

Art & Animation: 7.5/10

This one is hard to accurately display with one number due to how I format these things. The art itself? It's pretty meh The animation itself? Well the action scenes are all fantastically well done, better than a lot of shows, however the non-action scenes are comically bad at times. I can honestly say that while the worst examples are REALLY bad, you can't help but just kinda laugh at them. So bad they're good, so to speak. And with the quality of the action scenes, it's rather hard to complain overall, especially considering that this is an action show. Making their action scenes look great while sacrificing random walking animation was a great move on their part, because they made the most important point of the show a serious positive. As for the art itself again though, a lot of backgrounds are actually really well done, with the exception of this one, which has shamelessly copy/pasted trees.

Music & Sound: 8.5/10

As per being a music anime, it has good music. Really rather good music. In fact, they have Nana Mizuki as a leading voice actress. As well as Yuuki Aoi. And Ayahi Takagaki. (she has a degree in opera). My point is, this is a music anime filled with all-star voice actresses, two of which sing as a profession and are damn good at it, with the third being a ridiculously popular voice actress that commonly wins awards. Good music. Less rambling though, the musical aspect of Symphogear is not one that a lot of people expect off the bat of hearing that the characters sing as they fight. Many people imagine cutesy j-pop awkwardly overlaid on top of the action and they hiss and skitter away, then I have to drag them back again. BUT in reality, the music is far better than that. Not only is every song rather far from typical "pop" music, wherever you may source pop music from in the world, every single song is made specifically for the anime, with lyrics that tie into both the characters, their motivations, and events currently happening in the plot. Here's an example of a rock track, as well as it's accompanying lyrics. And that's just ONE example. Every character in the series has 2, maybe even 3 songs per season. And also just mentioning it, because people love that stuff, this is ENTIRELY the type of show to play its OP during the finale and it's the most hype thing. Really the only flaw with the music is that season 1 wasn't the greatest at putting the music into the fights. It more than did it's job, but there are examples where a character totally shouldn't be singing as well as they are. Yes, they do indeed stop characters from singing as the music continues if they get hit hard enough to knock the wind out of them for example, or if a character throws a hard punch, they'll scream the lyrics into the punch, and so on. They following seasons are much better at doing this, and it entirely becomes a non-issue. As for general sound effects, there's nothing overly fantastic, but they get the job done as well. Everything sounds as it should, all is well timed, no complaints there.

Effectiveness: 9/10

Now THIS is why you watch Symphogear. No amount of simple explanations can quite get across just how great this show is at performing what it does. It's extremely aware that it's a dumb fun anime, and it's sticking with that till the bitter end. Simple story? Doesn't matter. Great characters? Only makes the hype flow better. Wonderful music and voice actors? Keep pilin' on the hype. Because Symphogear is an action show. And oh man, does it ever deliver effectively on that front. Even with a terrible budget, they realized their priorities and made the action scenes look amazing, and the amazing cast of voice actors put the passion necessary into the characters to really hit the epic moments home. Symphogear is a show, where you know EXACTLY how it's going to end, and what's going to happen throughout the plot. They are 100% going to beat up the villain and save the day. Would this normally be a problem? Yes. But not here. You won't be saying to yourself "ah man, I know they're gonna win already, what's the point?" because you'll be asking yourself "oh man, how hard are they gonna win next time?" and it's that question that will keep you glued because it does indeed deliver appropriately, consistently. Never watch Symphogear for its story. That's a dumb idea. You wouldn't watch Nichijou for it's plot, and you wouldn't say Death Note is terrible because of it's lack of comedy. You watch Nichijou to roll around laughing because that's what it was meant to do, and you watch Death Note for a serious supernatural mystery. Much like them, you watch Symphogear to watch a peppy teenager punch things so hard they burst into flames, when they entirely have no reason to burst into flames, they only burst into flames because it looks cool.

Overall: 8/10

Honestly, I covered the biggest reason in Effectiveness, but I'll recap once more. Symphogear is a fun show. Nothing more, nothing less. If you expect anything that isn't a fun, over-the-top action show, then you're watching the wrong anime. It will deliver greatness to your eyeballs in the form of giant piles of hype, so long as you're in the mindset to accept that that's what the show is like.

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Optic

  

Ludicrous, but good music!

Symphogear is a mecha musume style title in the form of magical girl transformations. Here's the bizarre twist - our warriors get their strength from the power of singing!

Combine that with a supernatural threat and you can see where this is going. Whilst the characters are a little bland and not overly memorable - the music is just full of energy. Lots of beats, and never a dull electronic music moment. Combat scenes are quite well done and the Symphogear outfits look great.

Despite the campy, laid-back feel and ludicrous pacing of the plot due to its overly simplistic villains and biazrre twists... I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed Symphogear not only because of the soundtrack but also because of Hibiki. I've always had a strong liking for the ""genki"" girl that aspires to help others despite all odds (even if they're a little naive) and Hibiki does that role nicely.

This does set the stage for Symphogear G (second series) and Symphogear GX (third series) which are even better as they further develop Hibiki..

The Good 
- Awesome electronic soundtrack that's just full of energy!
- Great theme songs for each ""Symphogear""
- Genki Hibiki!

The Bad 
- Lame, unmemorable villains

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