Saturday 6 July 2013

First Impressions: Senki Zesshō Symphogear G

Senki Zesshō Symphogear G

While I enjoyed the first season of Senki Zesshō Symphogear, I was quite surprised to hear it was getting a second season. While I thought the production values were great and the music above average, the story was often quite lacking. However it was obviously popular enough to return for an encore, and in my previous review I said I had hopes for the show should it ever come back. Has the first episode impressed me?

Set three months after Hibiki, Tsubasa and Chris' final battle with Fine, Symphogear G picks up with the girls continuing to fight the Noise as Japan's main line of defence. This first episode sees Hibiki and Chris aid in the transportation of a relic known as "Solomon's Cane", while Tsubasa prepares for an upcoming concert with the latest pop sensation Maria Candenzavna Eve. However Hibiki and Chris' mission turns to failure when the base they were transporting the cane to is attacked, with the Noise taking both the cane and the Doctor working on it. 

Tsubasa on the other hand faces her own problems when Maria reveals control over the Noise at the concert, holding the audience hostage to prevent Tsubasa from transforming. Announcing her takeover of the world, Maria transforms herself using a black version of Gungnir, much to the three girls' horror.

So yeah, this was a pretty hefty episode in terms of setting up the plot threads for the season. As well as Maria we are introduced to a few other new characters, although their identities are kept as a mystery and their appearances in the shadows. However apart from these moments the plot was pretty standard fare, with a bulk of it being taken up by the Hibiki/Chris fight sequence and the Tsubasa/Maria concert. Thankfully, these are the areas that Symphogear has always shined in.

As a character, Hibiki has come a long way from the girl she was in season one. This Hibiki is a lot more confident in her powers, and straight away shows herself as a force to be reckoned with. Chris isn't all that different in terms of fighting prowess (although her boobs seem to have got even bigger), still churning out the over the top firearm attacks with hilarious names. However the transformation sequences suggest that this season has taken things up a notch in terms of fanservice. The transformations are a lot more standard magical girl fare - flashy, but with even more panning butt and chest shots than the show already had.

Meanwhile the concert was equally as impressive on the visuals. While the songs in the first season didn't really leave a lasting impression during my watching of the show, I have come to appreciate them more since. The songs that made their debut in this episode are similar in that respect, they felt a lot more subdued than the thumping bass lines of season one.

So plenty of mystery has been set up, some interesting new characters, good new songs and even flashier fight sequences. Symphogear G is off to a very promising start, and this could very well be the season that boosts the franchise's value in my eyes.

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