First Kanade and now Tsubasa? While it does look like Tsubasa will pull through, this episode had me going for a bit that she might join Kanade as a “spiritual character” for the rest of the series. That would’ve been somewhat disappointing — even if someone like Miku were to succeed Tsubasa’s Ame no Habakiri 「天羽々斬」 — since Kanade’s backstory as the sole survivor of a Noise attack five years ago had just shed some more light on Tsubasa’s conviction now. The last thing I would’ve wanted to see is her getting written off so soon after, regardless of the immediate impact her death would have from singing her “zesshou” (i.e. final song). With her survival, we’ll likely see Hibiki slowly earning Tsubasa’s trust and eventually fighting alongside her, now that the former’s fully aware of what happened two years ago. It may be an all-too predictable scenario, but given the alternative of having Symphogear turn into the “Tachibana Hibiki Show”, I’m quite content with the direction things are headed. As I mentioned last time, I enjoy watching their precarious relationship as it’s the driving factor behind most of the character development, so I definitely want to see more of it.
Where things got really interesting was on the Symphogear side of the equation, after the Nehushtan Armor Girl (Takagaki Ayahi) burst onto the scene and started summoning Noise at will (and providing some gratuitous fan-service in the process). We already have a bunch of unanswered questions regarding exactly what happened two years ago at Zwei Wing’s final concert and whom this girl works for and leaked information to, but now we’re thrown a real curve ball that suggests the Noise are a man-made/controlled threat. I’m quite surprised more attention wasn’t drawn to that revelation by Genjuurou, as he was more concerned about how Hibiki’s being targeted. Without any further discussion on it, there isn’t too much else to go on, other than the lingering suspicion of a conspiracy involving the United States and its security treaty with Japan (which I can’t imagine going over well with U.S. viewers). Compared to that, not so surprising was the fact that the Armor Girl survived Tsubasa’s song, as she’ll likely be the main antagonist of the series — at least until we find out who she works for.
Overall, there were a lot of positives to take away from this episode. Most notably was how it provided a good sense of the multifaceted story that we have here, from Tsubasa’s past with Kanade and her present relationship with Hibiki, to the conspiracy surrounding the Noise/Nehushtan and Hibiki’s newfound resolve to become a dependable partner. However, the question remains on whether the series will make good on it, as I feel that Symphogear is at a junction point where its success rests on how Hibiki grows into her role as the main heroine. Right now, she still comes off as rather goofy and acting on emotions alone, so I’m kind of wary that there will be a lot of wasted potential until she shatters that image.
* I’m starting to think that the questionable walking animation is a curse that follows Shinji around.
* You can never go wrong with Bruce Lee tributes, but I love how they had Genjuurou and Hibiki cosplaying as Street Fighter’s Gouki/Akuma and Makoto too.
* Tsubasa’s pulling out the Shadow Weaving techniques a la the Nara clan.
* Full-length images: 02, 03, 04, 06, 07, 11, 20, 26, 31, 32, 37, 42, ED3 03.
ED3: 「撃槍・ガングニール」 (Gekisou Gungnir) by 悠木碧 (Yuuki Aoi)
Watch the 3rd ED!: Streaming ▼