First Impressions – Senki Zessho Symphogear: Your voice is your weapon.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m late out of the starting gate this season for anime. My options on new shows to follow this season slowly deteriorated as the weeks went on with disinterest, especially since I’m still trying to speed through Bakemonogatari in order to see Nisemonogatari, Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki is not being deep enough to blog about, and Black★Rock Shooter is not coming out until next month.

Therefore, I opted for something that I didn’t have high expectations for, Senki Zessho Symphogear, and took a chance watching it.

This Suite Precure/Vocaloid/Strike Witches type anime created by Satelight (Shugo Chara, Fairy Tail, Moretsu Pirates) seemed like it would only be an advertisement for music singles. While it is that definitely (the music in this series is fantastic), the story is actually good. So far, at least. And the fanservice, while obviously there, is not as overwhelming as I expected it would be.

The first episode was rather impressive, and the two that have followed maintained the pace. What Symphogear lacks in super spiffy animation (it’s art is no Guilty Crown, for example), it makes up in creativity. It takes advantage, almost to a fault, with different art styles; mainly those for the transformation and attacks as well as the Noise having a different “noisy” look to them, stand out the most.

Part of Kanade's transformation into the symphogear.
These creatures are the antagonists of the series thus far. Considered a “natural disaster” since they randomly appear and turn everything they touch to ash.

One of the best things about the series is something I thought I would hate. In order to transform, the symphogear needs to hear sound waves, mainly, a song from its user in order to equip. Thus, you have the girls singing as they’re attacking. It was a bit odd at first, but they mix it up, so it works enough to not be annoying.

The story starts with the end. A common trope to use, to start with the knowledge of the death of the main character, but this has an interesting twist. Miku’s best friend died because she wouldn’t stop singing.

Then before you have time to even ask “Wait, what?” the story shifts back in time to two idols/symphogear fighters, Tsubasa and Kanade, and a concert gone wrong.

Through Hibiki's eyes, Tsubasa holding onto the fading Kanade who just sang her "last song".

In the midst of this is Hibiki, Miku’s best friend (see above), becomes a symphogear wielder via shards of a relic that was shot in her chest during the concert attack. Now, by the power of a song that wells up from deep in her heart, she has to fight the Noise and keep those she cares about safe.

This is Hibiki.
Hibiki ready to fight/sing in her symphogear!

Pretty straightforward concept, overall, but throwing the grieving Tsubasa, who cannot accept anyone to fight alongside besides her late partner Kanade, adds an interesting dynamic. Before Kanade’s death, Tsubasa was much like Hibiki; shy and unsure of herself.

Then there’s Hibiki, who’s just a normal high school girl, dreaming of a fantastic life and ended up with more than she bargained for. She has to keep her symphogear a secret from everyone, even her best friend Miku. And we all know this will only work for so long. Hibiki has already had to skip seeing a meteor shower with Miku because she had to fight the Noise.

It will be interesting to see how well this series holds up and if Hibiki ever discovers and honesty may be the best policy, or whether she will die alone (because we know she will die judging from the first episode).

Despite the OP being wonderful, which is one of the few things that helps hook me to this series, the characters are tolerable and dare I say it, pretty interesting, especially with some recent developments.

What's going on here?
This is also important. Called "Mephisto", it responds to sound waves in songs as well.

I am developing higher hopes for this series. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

8 thoughts on “First Impressions – Senki Zessho Symphogear: Your voice is your weapon.

  1. Looks interesting. The Last series I watched about singing with fighting was Mermaid Melody Pitchi Pitchi Pitch, and it was very Mediocre. I’ll be interested to see how it goes

    1. The only other series I can think of is “RahXephon,” though I’m thinking that show was of a very different tone than this one…

    2. I still have my doubts about how singing will aid Symphogear, but it’s shaping up nicely so far. I haven’t seen Mermaid Melody or RahXephon, so singing as a main driving element of the plot is new for me.
      I did see some of Suite Precure, but music, rather than singing, was the main focus.

  2. Macross Frontier. Singing and fighting. Sometimes at once. GO DECULTURE! No, really, Macross Frontier is flipping awesome, and so are the movies. I’d definitely recommend it if you can handle a little fanservice here and there.

    1. Ah! Feel silly- meant to reply to Lynna with that previous comment.

      Anyway, I’ve heard mixed responses to the second episode, so this might be a show I check out on my own.

      1. Interesting. Satelight also worked on the two Macross Frontier movies. Recently, after mentioning I was watching Symphogear, several people have directed me to Macross Frontier, actually. I’ll have to look into it, thanks! 🙂

  3. I wasn’t expecting to like this series either, but have been pleasantly surprised so far. It isn’t perfect, but it certainly grabbed my attention with its stylish animation (in places), interesting battles and music that is varied and actually sounds good!

    1. I agree, it still remains a bit rough around the edges, especially with some of the more recent developments. I’m worried they’re trying to throw in random things without a reason.
      Or, they could actually be more clever than I think they are. >_>

      But you’re right, its strongest point is pure style.

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