Symphogear G ep9: the royal rumble of magical girl shows
I don’t think this show knows how to take it down a notch! Even though it has a small cast and draws from only a few resources, it keeps mixing the pot so that each show refuses to be formulaic. Though I will say the constant seems to be that show desperately wants to keep you excited and wanting its next installment.
We’re lead to be believe that Miku was blown to moe chunks at the end of the previous episode. But that’s garbage. While Hibiki mourns, Miku is “safely” inside a laser cage on the Fine/FIS’s stealth chopper. And on that very same chopper, the members of FIS have to hash out what just happened. The old hag has just failed to sell them out to the Americans for extra resources, and Dr. Ver is wasting precious little time asserting his control, the real shocker is that Maria Cadenzavuna Eve is on his side. The last battle has forced her to take human blood. She’s desperate to see these efforts not go to waste, so she’s taken to seeing things Dr. Ver’s way. This is also in the face of the knowledge that the old hag and her have been lying to everyone about her possible possession by the eternal witch, Fine. A new, harder line is needed in her eyes.
Kirika and Shirabe (I’m finally remembering their names) are going have to decide on a course of action as well. Kirika is starting to panic with the clear knowledge that she’s to soon be the vessel for Fine, and she’s not dealing with the knowledge of the eventual disappearance of her soul very well. As for Shirabe, she’s just the same bland, emotionless carbon copy character that I’ve so ignored up until this point. It seems she only wants to protect Maria Cadenzavuna Eve, but I doubt she serves much of a purpose now.
The girls meanwhile are being intensely re-trained by Genjuuro in the wake of discovering that Miku is likely alive. I’m confused at this part, because I was for sure that everyone wanted Hibiki to stop fighting in order to save her life. So what is the training for? Just to build morale? I mean, I love the scene. Symphogear’s original training montage is almost legendary to me in its ridiculousness. I’m just confused at the tone here.
We soon begin to see FIS’s new direction as they come across an American aircraft carrier. Ver wants to see the carrier attacked as a display and reminder of their power. Shirabe and Kirika are against it of course, it isn’t how they like to do things. And they see this action as just the pointless victimization of the weak. But Maria Cadenzavuna Eve agrees to it and the carrier is attacked by scores of Noise. Shirabe, attempting to show some backbone (and possibly matter for the first time this series) leaves the chopper to get rid of the Noise. Kirika doesn’t want her to go, and Dr. Ver steps in giving her some Anti-LiNKER to bring her friend back to the ship. The substance works, but before Shirabe can be retrieved from the carrier, Chris and Tsubasa show up. It was only a matter of time before they noticed such a blatant attack, and so many Noise. Though I question the convenience of their submarine being so close.
With both girls checkmated, Dr. Ver takes the opportunity to turn the table on his opponents by releasing a new Gear user onto the scene.
3! 2! 1! NOW ENTERING THE RING – !
Of course it’s Miku!
Not a bad episode. As I said in the beginning of this post, the show really knows how to consistently shake things up without taking away or adding too many elements. Though Hibiki has been indefinitely sidelined, the only real loss here was the Nephilim, and even a small element of that super dangerous creature still exists, sure to terrorized the plot again before the end.
I’ve grown increasingly tired of Shirabe up to this point, and if the show was gonna lose an element here, it should be her. She’s not exactly Yuki Nagato of Haruhi fame, or Rei Ayanami of Evangelion fame, two characters often mistaken for emotionless ones. Though it’s clear she’s built somewhat in their image. That said, personality tends to come through with those characters, usually bitterness and desperation. Shirabe just seems strangely incompatible with Hibiki, as if she’s allergic. Other than that, she’s damn near a shadow, easily ignored or forgotten. At least Kirika had a pleasant and surprisingly not annoying personality. She also has the new problem of being the real vessel for Fine to add to her character development and depth. Maria Cadenzavuna Eve is an entertaining, and engagingly over the top character who has some real issues to hash out. And Dr. Ver is so insane that even if he’s a terrible person and character, he’s still interesting to watch. This leaves Shirabe pretty close to the bottom in terms of engaging characters in this series that get a good amount of screen time. She’s second to last, next to the old hag.
My b*tching over a bland magical girl aside, the episode satisfied my weekly need for new Symphogear action without giving me any “monster-of-the-week” set ups. The show seems to want to address some character interactions that have been left behind in all this, too. Chris is feeling guilt about her involvement in activating Solomon’s Cane in season 1, and also trying to bond at least a little bit with Tsubasa. It may seem a little late in the game, but there’s not much time to move things around. The season is nearing an end. Interesting questions still abound when it comes to what Miku’s role in all of this will be, now that she’s not just a love interest (I’m probably kidding), but a combatant. It looks like Miku, Kirika and Hibiki will all play integral parts up to the end. It’s interesting and dynamic, and I love how things are playing out so far.