Senki Zesshou Symphogear – 01
「覚醒の鼓動」 (Kakusei no Kodou)
It’s too early to call Elements Garden’s original “music” anime a surprise hit, but this impressive first showing already has me thinking it will be. With highly successful pop star Mizuki Nana pairing up with former TWO-MIX vocalist Takayama Minami as the “Zwei Wing” vocal unit, this premiere delivered both a high-tension live performance and fast-paced action. Not only that, it started with a cold open of Kohinata Miku (Iguchi Yuka) crying over Tachibana Hibiki’s (Yuuki Aoi) grave and then flashed back to two years earlier when the members of Zwei Wing, Kazanari Tsubasa (Mizuki Nana) and Amou Kanade (Takayama Minami), battled against the “Noise” — an alien-like threat that dissolve humans into carbon upon contact — and Kanade sacrificed herself to save Hibiki by singing a song that uses her life force. The story then shifts back to the present, where Hibiki is attending Lydian Music Academy with Miku and runs into Tsubasa again. She’s once again attacked by the Noise, sings the same song that Kanade saved her with, and awakens an out-of-control Symphogear of her own. So um yeah, all of that in the very first episode.
The premise seemed straightforward enough after the promo video revealed exactly what the Noise is, but the direction in this first episode goes far beyond anything I was expecting. The cold open where Hibiki is presumably dead made me start wondering if this entire series would take place in the past, but then Kanade dies in what was only a flashback to two years ago. After that, things transitions back to the present where Hibiki is alive, suggesting that the story will continue on from here where Kanade is dead but Hibiki is not. So from what I gather, we have a cold open foreshadowing Hibiki’s death in the future, followed by a flashback showing Kanade’s death in the past, and then the actual story starting in the present. Assuming that’s the case, my only disappointment is that Kanade’s role in the story seems to be over already, and with it, any future performances by Zwei Wing. That would be a real shame since I loved how Nana and Minami sounded together, and the relatively new studio Encourage Films really impressed me with their animation of Zwei Wing’s live performance and subsequent action sequences — complete with comic book-like onomatopoeia still frames.
Visually and aurally, Symphogear did not disappoint in its premiere, playing out like a magical girl action series at times with Macross-like music. What has me sold the most at the moment is the story itself though, as I’m really curious as to how things will proceed from here. The cliffhanger is part of it, but more so was how quickly Kanade was written off. There hasn’t been much in the way explaining exactly what the Noise are or how the Symphogear System works either (???), other than suggesting the latter stems from a genetic level and harnesses the power of music, so that’s yet another reason to keep watching.
* It seems like there’s a lot of German in this series. e.g. “Zwei”, “Flugel”, and… “Aufwachenschlagen”. The last one translates to the episode title, “Awakening Beat”.
* Mizuki Nana’s “Synchrogazer” is actually the opening theme, but was used as the ending theme for this first episode. The actual ending theme is “Meteor Light” by Takagaki Ayahi. See the CMs for each single below.
Watch the OP/ED Single CMs!: Streaming ▼
INS: 「逆光のフリューゲル」 (Gyakkou no Flugel)
by ツヴァイウィング (水樹奈々, 高山みなみ) (Zwei Wing (Mizuki Nana, Takayama Minami))
Watch the INS!: Streaming ▼
ED: 「Synchrogazer」 by 水樹奈々 (Mizuki Nana)
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼