Fri. Dec 3rd, 2021

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today I am eager to return to Symphogear, where we last left our team in what experts refer to as “some deep shit.” Still bearing the guilt of her recent concert-massacre, Tsubasa lost control during her last battle, and ended up scorching the city while imagining Milaarc around every corner. Meanwhile, the real Milaarc was off terrorizing the group’s most helpless members, as she hunted down Miku and Elfnein. All told, this has not been a proud day for the wielders, and it seems like things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

That’s all to be expected, though; we’ve hit the halfway point of Symphogear’s final season, so it’s clearly time to put our team through the ringer. With only half a season of Symphogear to go, I’m guessing these episodes will be diving into the show’s most fundamental character conflicts, as we reaffirm the bonds between Hibiki and Miku, Tsubasa and Maria, and Chris plus the babies. At the same time, we also need to square off with the architects of the divine relics, and might even find time for one last high-five with Fine. Our schedule of narratives to resolve is stuffed to the brim, so let’s not waste any more time, as we return to the explosive drama of SYMPHOGEAR!!!

Episode 6

This episode’s title is “Xenoglossia,” the term for inexplicably learning a language you haven’t acquired by natural means. It lacks the lyrical inanity of Symphogear’s best episode titles, but evokes the correct degree of fantastical self-importance, and only through a single word at that. Four Bikis out of five!

Ooh, love this dramatic low-angle shot we enter on, a shot fit for a disaster or kaiju film. XV has been generally above the Symphogear curve in terms of its cinematography; we’re getting a lot more thoughtfully angled shots like this, as well as more effective, carefully shaded closeups

The flashback to Hibiki’s “we’ll talk later” hits harder now. Presumably Miku will be abducted here, leading to one more confrontation between the two of them where they sort out their feelings with fists

Just a big blood splotch where Miku and Elfnein were standing. Look Hibiki, I know this looks bad, but I’m positive that Milaark just asploded the other guy

Symphogear certainly respects the power of a good OP. I suppose it makes sense for a show about battling via music to take special care in using appropriately metal opening songs

More unusually pronounced filter effects as Ogawa inspects the crime scene. Symphogear has embraced more dramatic post-processing effects as the series has continued, a choice that also just reflects shifts in the medium more broadly. In the ‘00s, post-processing filters were more unusual, as animators still largely stuck to the general aesthetic of cell animation. These days, evoking the glare on the “camera” of internal light sources like this cop car is a pretty standard choice. Following in KyoAni’s wake, more and more studios are working to mimic the unique effects of traditional film photography through post-processing work

Genjiro states that Miku “could possibly serve as a vessel for a god.” Was that season two lore? I totally forgot why Miku went evil in the first place, but I’m assuming it’s this god-vessel business

One side effect of my general approach to media is that most lore justifications for dramatic choices are generally going to brush right by me. It doesn’t matter one jot to me why Miku turned evil in an in-universe sense; that’s just arbitrary window dressing you use to justify the actual dramatic purpose of such a choice, which is to pit Miku and Hibiki against each other in a physical arena to better illustrate and dramatize their emotional conflict. Then, later on, someone will mention something like “Miku possesses the capacity of a god-vessel,” and I’ll have totally forgotten that’s the excuse the writers used to achieve the effect they needed. Lore is, was, and will forever be set dressing, not substance

With Tsubasa stuck in her own head, it falls to Chris to comfort Hibiki. The show has done solid work in building new dynamics between all the wielders, but the initial trios still possess the closest bonds

Tsubasa snaps at the babies, then her girlfriend, then storms off in a huff

Ahahaha, what a perfect detail. When Tsubasa gets mad, she goes and works on her motorcycle to calm down

Her grandfather calls to try and tempt her to his side. It seems like Millaarc may actually have infected her with some mind control power, as Tsubasa’s eyes shift to the stained glass colors of her ability when her grandfather states “Seal Control”

“Forensics confirmed that the blood at the scene did not belong to Miku or Elfnein.” Poor Bloodbag-kun

Shirabe wonders why the enemy wanted Miku as well as Elfnein, serving as the audience’s proxy

Even the villains can’t help but squeeze Elfnein’s cheeks

And at last we get our flashback to the death of Bloodbag-kun the traitor. Some real intense expression work here; Symphogear rarely returns to the over-the-top gore of the first season, but for this blood shower, both Miku and Elfnein feature tortured expressions that bring us right back to the show’s roots

Elsa is clearly the nice one, even showing Elfnein that Miku is fine

“You’re going to use her because she’s been released from the Curse of Balaal?” Thank you for that, Elfnein

“The Chateau de Tiffauges? Impossible! Even if you activate it, the Yantra Sarvaswa and the left arm of the Nephilim are gone.” While most shows don’t really reward you for learning all their lore details, Symphogear feels like one of the few designed to actively mock and torment people who care about fantasy logic

“How far am I going to fall?” Welp, I guess it’s time for Miku to experience her Eva Moment

“Who could have known that the two who were struck by the light of Shenshoujin were freed from original sin?” Yeah, who’d have guessed? I suppose I appreciate this show introducing broader fantasy audiences to my experience of hearing fantasy lore, since there is basically no way to interpret this as anything but make-conflict gobbledygook

“Tsubasa’s frustrated, but I can’t even reach out a hand to help her.” C’mon, Maria, go kiss your girlfriend! We’ve only got half a season left, you’re running out of good chances here

I love how Maria’s childhood hairdo is just a less ornate version of her current frills and cat ears, as if she were just a lower evolution of the same pokemon back then

Meanwhile, Ogawa’s transporting proof of the Kazanari conspiracy, pursued by Vanessa

“Our lab’s analysis reveals that the item we recovered from the waste dump has a 119.6% chance of being the Antikythera Gear.” WHAT COULD THAT POSSIBLY MEAN

And of course, Vanessa has chest missiles. How would she not have chest missiles

“Ninja Technique: Car Clone.” WHAT IS THIS BATTLE

At last, Chris and Maria arrive at the scene. Some sweet new attacks introduced for Chris, with lots of beautiful impact frames accompanying the debut of “Hornet Pistols”

Chris keeps the song going while Maria is bombarded with more lore nonsense

Chris saying “put your hands up” in English is beautiful

Suddenly, a bright light and alien noise resound throughout the city!

And Done

Oh my god, WHAT AN EPISODE. It’s been too long since Symphogear stunned me like this, completely surpassing my expectations for gleeful ridiculousness. The Vanessa-Ogawa confrontation was one of the most ludicrous sequences I’ve seen in any show, with Vanessa’s already-absurd chest missiles immediately being eclipsed by Ogawa’s CAR CLONE JUTSU. Only JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure can really match that degree of base conceptual absurdity and dramatic self-seriousness, and even Araki would be proud to come up with a series of attacks and countermeasures so completely bananas. And apparently Vanessa is also basically Nano from Nichijou, with her every appendage doubling as a hollow tube storing infinite missiles. What utter madness, and what a great show Symphogear is!

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By admin