….*sigh*…I kinda don’t wanna do this *just do it* but *do it*….okay, here we go. Back with the 4th final of the Winter 2012 season, Senki Zesshou Symphogear. If I don’t sound very enthused with this one, it has almost everything to do with the ending, I rather enjoyed this series, until around episode 11 or 12. But…that ending…all the laws of physics and time continuation…broken…and the power ranger outfits…and the cut back to episode 1.
Senki Zesshou Symphogear follows the story of Hibiki, an average over-enthusiastic girl with a yuri-esque best friend, Miku. One day, at a Zwei Wing concert, the “ageless threat” to humanity, the Noise, attacked. Sacrificing her life, Kanade, one of the two singers of Zwei Wing, saves Hibiki, and scatters fragments of her Symphogear relic in Hibiki’s chest. Cut to a few years later, Hibiki and MIku are enrolled in a musical academy, as is Tsubasa, Kanade’s duet partner from Zwei Wing. Originally upset to see HIbiki using Kanade’s relic to activate the secret power of the Symphogear armor, eventually they become close and even form a bond with full time tsundere, Chris, also a wielder of Symphogear armor. As Noise attacks become more frequent, and harder to fight off, an age-old conspiracy comes to light, as the trio use the power of song to save the world from a Babylonian priestess who locked her spirit within her descendants and has re-awoken to try and unite the world (or destroy it, or destroy the moon, I’m not sure, it was kinda confusing).
If you enjoy mahou shoujo, then you’ll like Symphogear, but, at the same time, being a musically based series, the soundtrack isn’t half bad (don’t take my opinion when it comes to music, audio is subjective, head over to youtube and listen for yourself). The overall theme of the series is that the power of song can unite us all, and words aren’t the only way to bring us together and communicate (a throw back to the Tower of Babel, and how the people of the Earth, attempting to reach God, were scattered across the Earth, their languages differentiated so they couldn’t come together again to reach God).
The Tower of Babel is (what I gathered) where the priestess came in, taking over Ryouko’s body, Fine first attempts to destroy the moon (because that solves so many problems, am I right?) because it embodies the god she tried to reach out to back then, but was rejected. Using the power of completed relics, Fine puts up an impossibly hard fight for the Symphogear trio. But, with song (or rather, boosted phonetic resonance) of their friends from the school, the trio dons newly unlimited armors, but Fine sees their new power, and raises them a city full of Noise legions. *Cut to about 90 seconds and half a dozen atomic sized explosions later* They’re all defeated, now all that’s left if Fine and her devil/red snake/ancient evil weapon powered by the two complete relics. With teamwork, Chris and Tsubasa move the Durandal relic into Hibiki’s hands. With her friends cheering her on, she fights back the “darkness” and cuts Fine down to size.
“Good guy Hibiki”, humble in victory, carries Ryouko off the battlefield for an inspiring end-of-the-series speech on we can all be friends. Big surprise, Fine makes one last move to win, using up her remaining strength to extend Nehushtan’s chain out to the moon-shard and pull on a trajectory with the Earth (I’ll address the physics issues in a minute). Crumbling to ash, she leaves the scene with Hibiki promising to protect the Earth for the future where people can come together. The three girls make a fantastic last shot to eliminate the approaching threat, and really show off the power of their unrestricted armors…ending with a meteor shower that Hibiki leaves for Miku…
Miku and the rest of the world continue life in light of the battle and near extermination of the Earth, without the three girls, announced dead. But wait, they just had to keep their survival a secret for secret reasons that are a secret. *sigh* So, on top of not actually dying, they didn’t actually defeat the Noise, they still attack, they’re still a big threat (but wait, I though Fine was the one summoning them? *shut up* but, then, where are they coming from? *don’t ask questions* whatever). Speaking of undefeated Noise, remember all those Noise Fine summoned and the girls defeated? *Yeah* Remember all those explosions as they destroyed the Noise? *Of course, they’re hard to miss* WHY IS THERE STILL A CITY STANDING? *whatever, anime logic*
Now onto physics-related contradictions and other continuity problems with the final two episodes. First, anyone notice how, in the span of maybe 7 minutes, the setting went from early morning, to sunrise, to mid-day. *What happened? Were they taking breaks for meals? Large amounts of daylight time are missing!* Now let’s hit the big problem, Fine pulling the moon onto a collision course with Earth. Let’s address distance, Fine used her chain to grab the moon, in approximately 15 seconds to 1 minute (I’ll allow for the time lapsing and such). In the real world, it took astronauts (in 1969) nearly 3 days to reach the moon (that’s one way). That’s nearly 250 000 miles/minute (more than 20 000x the speed of sound) for Fine to be sending her chain to the moon shard. Now, Fine pulling the moon shard in Earth’s general direction. Let’s break out the Newtonian laws and remember Force (F) equals mass (m) multiplied by acceleration (a) (F=ma). If the shard is approximately one-eighth (being generous) of the moon’s mass, and it was moving at a speed fast enough to reach the upper atmosphere of the Earth (it started heating and glowing, denoting entry) within a matter of minutes, she generated more than enough force to merely crack the rocky ground she stood on. (Unless the dying Nehushtan armor has some magical properties that render Newtonian physics moot, then if that’s the case, forget everything I’ve said). Not that a little bending of real world mechanics bothers me (Hollywood does it all the time, just watch some Mythbusters, they’ll show you), but this sort of blatant misunderstanding of the basic principles around us bugs a former engineering student, like myself.
Not really sure how to wrap this up, on the one hand, I really enjoyed the series until it got ridiculously convoluted and hard to understand, then there’s the convoluting and hard to understand ending. On top of the fact that they really haven’t solved the Noise problem or even answered really any questions regarding the Noise. A good soundtrack, B-grade animation, and interesting premise can’t save Symphogear from the jarring conclusion. Final rating:….6.8 It has some good points going for it, and if you like mahou shoujo or musical series, go ahead and try Symphogear, but if you’re looking for a plot with a solid ending (and a better grasp of mechanical physics), I don’t recommend Symphogear.
Until next time,