「夜にすれ違う」 (Yoru ni Surechigau)
“Passing in the Night”
It’s one thing to take away my Mizuki Nana/TWO-MIX anime after the premiere, but it’s another thing altogether to replace it with a crossover of Madoka Magica and BLOOD-C. Thanks to the seiyuu, I’m finding it hard to “unsee” the obvious similarities between Madoka in Hibiki and Saya in Tsubasa. The former is the unexpected heroine who’s at a loss over what she’s gotten herself into but still wants to help out however she can, whereas the latter is previously emotional heroine who’s resigned to being the “sword” that cuts down evil without question. The end result is interesting to say the least, and I don’t mean that in a negative sense. What I was most worried about last episode was Hibiki taking over the show as Kanade’s replacement and Tsubasa taking a backseat as her mentor, so I was quite pleased to learn here that Tsubasa’s misdirected anger toward Hibiki hasn’t shown any signs of letting up just yet. If anything, the situation has worsened, which as sadistic as it may sound, actually bodes well for me as the viewer.
I’ll be quick to admit that I much preferred the Symphogear that we got in the premiere over the show we’re getting now, as I like the idea of Tsubasa as the main heroine over Hibiki. There’s just something much more appealing about seeing her as a dependent person rather than the stoic person she is now, even though the changeover is what’s driving the story at the moment. What’s more, Hibiki feels like a pretty poor replacement for Kanade, which befittingly enough, makes it easier to understand where Tsubasa’s coming from. As such, any initial failure for them to get along is welcome in my books, as it provides a much more balanced depiction of both their characters. It also provides a lot more character development, beyond Hibiki’s lapses of insanity where she seems to lose control to the Gungnir relic. There’s little doubt in my mind that they’ll eventually get along, especially with a surprisingly powerful Genjuurou seeing that it happens, so it’s good to see the writers take a slightly less conventional route to get there.
To that end, I can appreciate what the series is going for by starting off with the tragic loss of Kanade and bringing in Hibiki to try and fill in some irreplaceable shoes. The only thing that has me going back to the original Zwei Wing duo and considering what the show could’ve been like with just the two of them is how awesome Kanade was made out to be in only a single episode. How things have progressed since then is hardly disappointing, since Kanade’s effect on the story is felt throughout. In addition, the actual plot surrounding Symphogears has made more headway with mention of the Sacrist D, a.k.a. Durandal, relic that the Mobile Disaster Prevention Unit is banking its hopes on by having Tsubasa use one day against the Noise. We also have the United States involved in some way, trying to get their hands on Durandal themselves as per the Japan-US Security Treaty that I mentioned in the Winter 2012 Preview.
So amidst the common threat to mankind, there appears to be a conspiracy of sorts concerning who wants to possess the ultimate countermeasure against the Noise. I gather that’s where the lavender-haired girl we see in the opening and ending sequences comes in. She wields the Nehushtan relic that was (presumably) energized via “Sonophonic Gain” two years ago during Zwei Wing’s final concert, so the obvious implication is that the United States may have used that Noise attack to obtain a Symphogear for themselves. In any case, our new mysterious character is only credited as the “Armor Girl” (Takagaki Ayahi) but listed third only behind Hibiki and Tsubasa, so it’s probably safe to assume that we’ll be seeing a lot of her in this series.