「運命の選択」 (Unmei no Sentaku)
“Choosing Your Destiny”

I feel like I’m watching a master’s class in how not to do it.

Give In To Despair

So Cerebrum wants to mate with Akari. My initial reaction: ew. My reaction after thinking about it for a while: still ew. In all seriousness, I don’t know what to say about this – up until this point Cerebrum was the only character acting somewhat intelligently, but now he’s pulled from macguffin (trope!) out of nowhere and wants something that was, at best, only foreshadowed last episode. So that’s just badly done.

More than that, this episode showed how bad of a protagonist Akari is. Not only because either Seira or Luna would have been much better ones – they both got some character development, and Luna in particular would have made for a more interesting (if slightly Shinji-ish) story – but also because Akari is so passive. The first time around the dream thing she didn’t even try to save Fuyuna! She just hid under the covers until Fuyuna came a-knocking to get torched. And then there’s her fatal flaw, which boils down to “she cares too much”. That sounds like a clichéd joke interview question. “I care too much, I try too hard, and I’m too dependable.” Get out of here, no one can relate to that.

And seriously, will someone tell me why everybody instantly believes whatever Cerebrum says? He’s the evil murderous antagonist fer crissakes! With brains like these, they all deserve to die.

Why Is Any Of This Happening?

The Luna vs Seira fight came to nothing. They fought for a little bit, it looked like it would be important, and then they just stopped and were all okay. What was the point in them having fought? The story would have been precisely the same if Seira never went to see wolf-Luna, and we would have been spared the extra angst. Their little face-off was clearly thrown in to amp up the tension at the end of last episode, but it ended up being drama without point, purpose, or payoff. It was a waste of time.

For that matter, Ginka’s death was apparently the same. She comes roaring back just in time to save the day without a reason given. How would the story have appreciably changed if Ginka hadn’t gotten “killed”? She could have just been really banged up for a few episodes like the other two and it would have been all the same, except without all the extra (and ultimately pointless) drama. This too, was a waste of time.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, what’s the point of all of this? So many things happen that could have been easily cut, without even the argument of their being funny/touching/exciting/sexy to justify they’re existence. Scenes and plotpoints like these are just wastes of our time.

I Feel Nothing

I have come to like Luna as one of the few genuinely flawed and relatable characters in this series. What she was saved from a stabby death at Seira’s hands, I should have been happy. I was not. I felt like a huge opportunity had been missed, and not even Luna’s character development could make up for it.

Ginka was always my favorite of the main four because she was the one who acted the most like I felt I would in their situation, but when she reappeared I felt nothing. They made death in this world cheap without so much as an explanation, and they didn’t even have the decency to back it up with a dramatic sudden reversal or a great soundtrack.

I think many people want to get invested in a good story, to let themselves be pulled in and really experience the tale like they’re a part of it. I know I wanted to with Gen’ei. Unfortunately they screwed up so many times that I feel nothing when great reveals or tumultuous scenes happen, save for cold, dispassionate analysis so I have something to write to all of you. Probably a bad sign, that.

Looking Ahead – Let’s Get This Over With

For those of you still enjoying this series, I apologize if my rants diminish your enjoyment. For a storyteller like me, shows like this are an opportunity to learn what not to do, of which AIC is giving me a wealth of lessons. I’ll be back to my normal, non-ranty ways after one more episode.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Luna & Seira’s fight was pointless, Akari is a bad protag, & Ginka is okay b/c reasons. Someone’s gunna get fired for this show #geneitaiyou

Random thoughts:

  • Why was Etia answering the phone like she owns the place when it’s someone else’s house?
  • So Cerebrum’s plan is that she’s going to give up because it’s too emotionally painful? What is this, Star Wars Ep3? GAH!
  • Did you catch how Seira said “the four of us” when they were flying? Even she didn’t think Ginka was going to stay dead.
  • Sorry, this isn’t Star Wars, it’s Lord of the Rings. The Ents are marching!

For more from yours truly, check out my blog on writing, art, and the book I’m working on at stiltsoutloud.com.




  1. Wow… I must admit that I didn’t expect that to be the “secret” goal behind all of Cerebrum’s schemes. Agree w/ Stilts 100%, especially on the “ew” part. Should I take it that this means Cerebrum is NOT Akari’s father? Hard to tell with this show. I seriously wonder how much drinking/drug use goes on during weekly script writing.

    On the plus side, I must admit the show is entertaining in the “WTF will they throw out next?” sort of way. Personally, I’m waiting for Time-Travel Akari to be sent “back to the present” by Future Luna (who is/then now living with Seira) to save present Akari from Cerebrum’s plans. Might as well at this point. Oh, and make Time-Travel Akari a cyborg. Haven’t had one of those yet.

    “Looking Ahead – Let’s Get This Over With” Yeah, that pretty much sums up this series IMO as well.

      1. @ Stilts, thanks… I think. 😀

        I’m honestly curious as to how all this transpired since I haven’t seen a show implode this much in a long time. Many possible reasons, but one I think might be likely is that they had a concept and, well about 1/2 of the season planned out in advance and figured the rest would take care of itself. Either that or one group of writer scripted the first few episodes and the interns are handling the rest. I really don’t understand what happened here.

        Oh, one last note I didn’t mention. I also liked Ginka a lot and actually felt bad for her dad since they had that father-daughter moment right before she, err, vanished. Now when she returned, I thought “Oh, Ginka’s back” in the same manner one might think, “Oh, it’s raining” on a cloudy day. Very much matter of fact.

    1. Maybe the head of the Leguzario is actually Akari’s father? Oh, we can make Cerebrum his son and Akari’s half brother. Or maybe it’s the suit guy Cerebrum was talking to is Akari’s father. Maybe Etia is Akari’s mother who’s been transformed by the Leguario and they can’t tell her till their “unlocked”. Put the throttle to the wall and tie it down! Let’s wreck this train!

    1. Pretty much, and yet so many storytellers lean on dues ex machinas anyway. Probably because they can sneak up on you, but mainly because some storytellers are too lazy and/or lack the self-awareness to avoid them.

  2. a few more annoyances this week.
    they still haven’t really explained how Akari came to be a mix (was Akari’s mother placed in the same place Akari is now? they’re making it seem like this isn’t even important)
    when Luna and Seira were fighting… have they been fighting at all? why so surprised when their attacks initially did nothing? the weakness was obviously the eye, especially when it comes to Daemonia and with these Daemonia lacking any other distinctive features to target
    when Luna and Seira were in a pinch…knew Ginka had to be back. from that random flashback a while ago and just because there’s nothing else that could’ve happened and just knowing this show… *sigh*


    1. I forgot to mention that, but yes, the Ent’s weaknesses were so obvious. Do these girls not watch Sentai shows? I learned on the first episode of Power Rangers that you target the mooks in the funny shape in the center of their chests. I believe it’s the first chapter in Mooks 101.

  3. The story just took a nosedive after episode 6-7-ish, huh? I felt like I was watching a show from the mid-2000’s. Y’know, the ones you can play “Name That Trope” with. I agree with you. Let’s just get this over with.

    1. Gah. I still have more to say. I take notes while I’m writing. For my own thing I’m doing. I have 2 paragraphs of just rant from the last 5 episodes. If I wasn’t watching on an expensive device I would have headdesked everything in site. Why was I excited for this anime?

      At least the character designs are still kind of cool.

  4. I am getting fucked up its all messed up and EEWWWWW
    never thought of that one, I like puella magi madoka magika much morew than genei wo kakeru no taiyou
    I also got excited for nothing

  5. Seira and Luna had more development this ep than Akari whole series long. That Seira came a bit more tolerant and Luna stronger was probably only good point of the episode, though.
    Akari going along with Cerebrum was bad enough – though amazingly, he made good on his promise. Still I dont think i feel any sympathy towards him.
    But the worst moment came when they used resurrected? ascended? WTF? Ginka – ex machina to help out Seira and Luna.
    What a magnificent trainwreck…

  6. AFA Ginka’s “death” goes, we never saw her dead body nor did we see her disintegrate (or any other death trope). She and the anti-Ginka just disappear in a vortex. The anti-Ginka says she just want’s to combine with her which was a big flag that this was going to happen, though I didn’t expect the “cavalry arrives to save the day” return.

    I think the whole point of the fight was to show Seira’s growth by refraining from killing Luna though she had multiple chances. She no longer saw compassion and friendship as pure weakness.

  7. Yeah like i figured Ginka was going to come back and help save the day. Honestly it just made her death ultimately pointless imo. Speaking of that where are all the alternate versions of the tarot card users? Wouldn’t make sense to have them fight against enemies who they couldn’t hurt unless they were willing to hurt themselves instead of a bunch of trees? Why did they completely drop the concept of having to fight yourself once Ginka died? This show tries to throw curve balls but it’s lack of consistency and proper build leave almost all the situations they want us to FEEL something come out flat.

    Oh and was i the only one who laughed when Cerebrum said he wanted to mate with Akari? I mean at this point why the hell not? Sheez glad this train-wreck is almost over. If i didn’t hate dropping stuff i would have stopped some time ago.

  8. Whazzat? I CALLED Ginka’s death being completely pointless?! AND they did an asspull of a revival for her character? HOW FUCKING SHOCKING!

    I’m with you at this point stilts. Things were looking all ‘Worst Bad End’ from the last episode and then Cerebrum actually came through on his promise of releasing Luna from the Daemonia control and Ginka being brought back and…

    I just don’t care anymore. I’m gonna finish this series no doubt, but… I’ve lost any other reason for finishing it other than ‘I’ve only got one episode left’. This isn’t even close to the ‘failed potential’ I had been hoping it would be akin to Guilty Crown, it’s as you said, Daybreak Illusion: How to Completely Do EVERYTHING Wrong in your POTENTIALLY interesting but ultimately generic Grimdark Magical Girls Anime.

    I’m quite disappointed that this show lived up to expectations of mediocrity, it really could have been more. But unlike the aforementioned ‘failed potential’ show actually DELIVERING on a lot of points, this didn’t. The fights were never flashy enough or actually interesting, characters were one note to some degree, character actions were EXTREMELY predictable and just…

    Nothing impressed me with this show outside of EXTREMELY brief moments here and there, from the vague events of the first episode, Cerebrum’s infecting of Luna with a Daemonia and other random things here and there I don’t feel like wasting my time mentioning when the show can’t be bothered to put some effort into making me interested in the show. We had a show that COULD have been interesting. Not necessarily groundbreaking but it could have delivered a good dark story.

    I think I’ll save a ‘What I Would Have Done’ post for the final episode, because I do want to see what people’s thoughts would be. Until then, I will be looking forward to the final episode with the same excitement I have about going to work.

      1. I don’t want to make it seem though like I would do the show better, so much as what I had hoped for and wanted.

        Just so people don’t misunderstand that last comment for arrogance or a bloated ego. But looking forward to your final commentary on the show.

      2. Oh, thinking you can do better in retrospect is always a bit of a cheat. It’s easy to see the problems after the fact, but super hard to do so beforehand (usually). Trust me, my book is in editing at the moment, and my editors keep pointing out stuff I didn’t see at all.

        Still, it’s good that you know that in their place, it’s a bit of a toss up as to whether you’d do any better. A little humility is always good.

      3. It’s mostly going to be a list of ‘here’s what I was expecting/predicting’ based on what I had seen throughout the show. Definitely not a ‘Now that I’ve seen everything, HERE’S HOW TO DO IT BETTER’ cause that’s really on the dick-ish side.

        And I may not post anything other than brief sentences describing what I had hoped would happened. But yes, I don’t think I could ever understand what it’s like being on one of these committees, I imagine it’s stressful and manages to make for quite a chaotic or boring environment.

        For those who worked on the first half of the show and tried to keep the show shrouded with mystery and vague details, kudos to those people, it at least looks like you guys were trying, ESPECIALLY with that first few episodes. But the last couple (outside of that twist involving Luna, THAT WAS AWESOME) of episodes, good job to those people, you went the manatee tank route with ideas. And when it comes to a story/character growth driven show, that almost ‘never’ works and almost ALWAYS falls short of ‘perfection’. This is just more of a downward spiral now…

      1. On one level, I want to call it genius for completely pulling off the unexpected but…

        A ‘real’ villain wouldn’t have done that. A REAL villain would not have released people who would potentially end up becoming a PROBLEM for him in the end.

        And were it not for the fact that Akari has control over both the Elemental and Diabolos Sun Tarot, there could have been some GRAND twist that by the two merging together, they would enforce some concept of balance upon the world, wherein all Tarot existences are merged together. Daemonia cease to exist as a polar opposite to elementals, negative emotions are properly balanced in the world again and Akari ends up being a martyr for everyone.

        It would have been on the same level of fantastic sacrifice Madoka makes at the end of her respective series. But knowing this show, if they tried that, it would be through ANOTHER deus ex machina much like what the Leguzario did in episode 12.

      2. Villains are all made different. Some love to lure in people with promises and cruelly disappoint them.

        Others have always keep their word, because it is a bargaining chip if its well known. Also … it’s fun to have an evil character who has some inexplicably redeeming qualities or just quirks like honor.

        If you want to look at history, there are tons of barbarian princes, etc that kept their word and were definitely villainous. Not that they all kept their word .. or all of the time, but it definitely has its place.

      3. Bear in mind that in the truth, there are very few “good guys” and “bad guys”. It could be that Cerebrum’s cause is righteous, or at least merely selfish, and not as evil as we like to think. (That’s somewhat unlikely given that he goes around murdering sentient creatures, but then again quite a few of us eat meat. How much of a difference is there? Food for thought.)

        One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. I know of “good guys” who would have murdered Luna and Seira mercilessly, and “bad guys” that would have let them go. You want to know why?

        Everyone thinks they’re the good guys. Nearly everyone; it’s only the truly deranged (and a lot of oddly non-deranged people in fiction) that actually think of themselves as villains.

        Cerebrum is likely working by his own personal morality, one which apparently holds promises in far higher regard than human life. Or perhaps he just wants Akari to taste true despair when she falls and cannot reach out to her friends which, still alive, are so tantalizingly near.

        To be honest, I doubt the creators thought any of this through.

      4. It might be a case of “even evil has its standards” trope – or a case of a “noble demon” trope when villain has a sense of honor – or maybe purposeful keeping her friends alive so she can depair when she loses the ability to be with them forever. Cerebrum looks to me like he is believing he only allows humans to realise their potential for evil by giving them access to the demonic tarot cards. Again the series failed to produce a more detailed exposition of his world view, which makes him difficult to either sympathize with or totally condemn.

      5. Throwing my 2 cents into the discussion. I don’t think it’s automatic that Cerebrum goes back on his word if he’s a “true villain”. In fact, IMO it makes more sense that he does keep it.

        Clearly there’s something about Akari which prevents him using her as he wants at will. Unlike Luna, evidently she’s not someone he can easily handle. Given how easily he toyed with Luna, why would he consider her a threat? It’s strictly cost/benefit analysis – he gives up a “spare” (in his viewpoint) for the big prize. If he goes back on his word, then Akari has no reason to cooperate. Maybe she won’t know he didn’t keep his end of the bargain, but then again maybe she would. Why take an unnecessary risk? Luna & the others won’t be a problem if he succeeds.

        I’m sure Cerebrum will come to regret his decision (hindsight is 20/20). I can’t imagine he succeeds (though that WOULD make for a surprising ending LOL). Point is that a “true villain” does what they think is best to maximize his/her evil plans in the long run. At least the smart ones do.

  9. I’m very surprised the show has never answered as to what exactly the Leguizario’s ultimate goal is, by pitting the Sephiro Fiore girls against the monsters, what they were getting out of Cerebrum, and how exactly that politician and Cerebrum are connected together.

    If only 1 season was planned, it seems very surprising the show never gave us an insight into the villian’s plans, so that it would give meaning to the girls’ battles.

    1. This show reeks of a corporate, written-by-committee nightmare. Probably either the editors tried and failed, they were toothless, or it was the editors themselves that introduced some of these flaws. There’s no way too know, because there’s likely way too many fingers in this particular pie.

  10. Really Stilts, I think its a missed opportunity for you, the resident yuri fan, to not blog Symphogear. That show had the perfect combination of magical girls, yuri and awesome action. Plus, it has the excuse of being intentionally over-the-top.

    This show on the other hand is playing its stupid very seriously. Might as well have the director waving his hands in front of the audience shouting “WOOOOHOO THIS IS A GRIMDARK SHOW! FEEL SORRY FOR THE GIRLS! THIS IS DRAMATIC! PLEASE TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY!!!!!”.

    I’m pretty much echoing your statements. I haven’t screamed “This is bulls***!” on the screen in a while. Unfortunately for me, its my curse that I’m compelled to always finish a show that I started no matter how bad it gets. At least it will be over soon.

    1. Symphogear’s okay, I guess. Story-wise it’s nothing amazing, pretty run of the mill actually. And some of the fight scenes are animated pretty badly. I watch it mainly for the electronica-inspired soundtrack- which I imagine is where most of their budget and attention went (Being a show with a premise that’s centered around singing)- sound design’s the one place where this show is actually a cut above the rest…

  11. I tend to believe Ginka never died at all, just disappeared into another dimension when she stabbed her mirror-self, namely the one Akari, Seira and Luna are now. She seems to have gotten quite a power boost by it, too.

    I think they had the right idea with the concept of using tarot cards for a Magical Girl show, but it looks like they didn’t plan the story in advance, and wrote it as they went along. That, or they didn’t have one guy who oversees the scripts and corrects the inconsistencies and plot holes.

    Lord of Fire
      1. I disagree. Some of the best anime ever have been originals. Aside from rare cases (like a Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood), originals have the advantage of being created solely for the medium they’re in, so there’s no adaptation awkwardness. They also provide us a rare opportunity to experience something all together as anime fans rather than dodging spoilers from people who have read the source material. I think the potential of original series is larger than that of nearly all adaptations.

        That said, the risks are also larger. Creating a story is still hard, and it’s undeniably easier to take one that’s already proven itself and make it move.

        Adaptations might more frequently be good, even great, but it’s hard for them to transcend that. Don’t count originals out. Just don’t take this as the best they can be, ’cause seriously, ugh.

      2. Have to agree with Stilts in most respects. I don’t really have any bias in terms of adaptation or original. There are potential issues with both. Assuming the source material is good, adaptation faces execution issues and possibly unwarranted director “improvements” (i.e. changing the source material, adding new stuff, etc.). Unfortunately for me, there has been a number of adaptations in which said “improvements” or simply poor execution (e.g. cutting too much material/bad pacing, etc.) resulted IMO a sub-par adaptation and lessened my enjoyment of the shows. It can be very frustrating as a fan of the series.

        On the plus side, adaptation from a good source eliminates (or should at least) the potential issue with original series – bad story writing. It’s one more hurdle that (theoretically) an original series has to face. “Adaptation awkwardness”, as Stilt’s puts it, can be challenging, and by definition one issue an original series does not face. However, IMO it can be mostly, if not entirely, overcome by good, faithful to the source direction. Certainly there have been more adaptions beyond FMA Brotherhood which resulted in excellent anime. Fate Zero (RC reader and staff Anime of the Year) is just one example.

        How much value there is in “something new” is where Stilts and I diverge a bit. Some of my favorite anime shows are adaptations, yet one of my very favorite shows is an original. JMO, but I think the “something new” aspect can be overstated. Depending upon how much LN/manga reading one does, an adaptations can be “original” on a personal level since you haven’t read the source material. That was the case (initially XD) for me with Shingeki. Furthermore, just because one is familiar with a story does not necessarily mean less enjoyment. It might or might not.

        TL:DR = It’s not an issue of original vs. adaptation, but simply poor story writing and story telling.

      3. @ daikama

        I do think there’s value in everyone being on the same page in regards to the story/spoilers. Yes an adaptation can be new to an individual, but we so seldom as a culture/fan base get to enjoy something all at once that there’s an undeniable joy in it. And sure, there are different levels of enjoyment, but it’s nice for everyone to be able to enjoy it all on every level all at once.

        I do probably overstate it a bit though. Mostly what I like about adaptations is the opportunity to tell a story specifically fit for the medium. That’s worth a lot.

  12. I’m pretty disappointed about the second half of the series.
    I mean..it’s started as a bit dark but fun mahou shoujo (NOT MADOKA!)..but actually they abandoned the good conflicts of the beginning. they keep the secret of Legzario with less and less interest.
    I don’t know if they plan cliffhanger for season’s finale or not, but probably they’ll make build-up for a second season..which I’m not sure if this worth it.

  13. This show is the first train wreck I’ve seen that slams into a wall, backs up and does it again but much harder for good measure. However, I had no delusions about this show. I fully expected another train wreck. Just about anything that tries to be “grimdark” and doesn’t take itself seriously as a member of the horror genre is just a train wreck waiting to happen. You’re either horror or your not horror. A show pretending to be a magical girl show pretending to be horror is going to end up failing to be either.

    The only “grimdark” magical girl anime I could tolerate was Nanoha. They didn’t go over-the-top with the grimdark aspect and they actually stuck to the magical girl formula, for better or worse. I’m not a fan of the genre so I’m not going to try to say it was a great magical girl show. It just wasn’t awful like all of the copy-cats we’ve had since.

    I couldn’t even finish Madoka. They went so off the rails with the grimdark non-sense that I dropped it twice. I shouldn’t have tried it the second time but all the raving fanbois couldn’t be wrong could they? They were.

  14. Down rate me or whatever but I still have a small feeling that Cereberum is Akari’s Dad, like he possessed the Akari’s Father so he can make his way to Hinata and wants to do it again with Akari…I know it’s sick because it’s incest but he’s evil! So it is still possible. Because I might be thinking that Her mother didn’t want her to fight because she doesn’t want her to be in that kind of situation, so I’m thinking that Akari’s mother experienced that stuff so she did it with a Daemonia thus, conceiving her. I don’t know. But I still doubt it because I’m still thinking what would really be his benefit for making out with an Elemental Tarot User. It can’t be just because he has hots for her there should be something else like making an evolutionary spawn, Lol.

    1. Honestly? Japanese otaku buy the lion’s share of the BDs / DVDs that keep anime studios afloat. They don’t get to keep doing what they do if they don’t bring in the money, and unfortunately, those of us watching on Crunchyroll and the other streaming sites aren’t paying their bills.

      Welcome to capitalism 101, where you vote with your money, and those who don’t pay up don’t matter at all. I hope you enjoy your stay.

  15. Come on, this episode wasn’t that bad…at least until Ginka reappeared. But even then, once you’ve gotten over initial WTF and subsequently turned off of your brain, it’s not so bad.

    I actually quite like what they’ve done with Cerebrum in this episode. There’s a respect you have to give to villains who keep their word, don’t you think? Plus, the fact that he wants to get at Akari to mate with her – that was much more interesting than a stereotypical “I want to rule to word by extracting your latent powers!” motive. Creepy, yeah; but wasn’t that the whole point as well?

    I was expecting an Eva self-examination moment with the Clessidra, lol. Still, this works.

  16. “Sonn you’ll be a mother Akari…” WTF. Gross. EWWW. I was yelling “ew” out loud every time Cerebrum talked this episode.

    This show sure took a nosedive halfway through. Now I watch it for the sole reason I finished Guilty Crown. Because it’s entertainingly bad storytelling.

    Honestly, Seira should’ve just been the main character. And this show should just end with Akari not being saved for the lols.


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