「バルベルデ地獄変」 (Baruberude Jigokuhen/i>)
“Val Verde Hell Screen”
Just like that, Symphogear returns for its fourth go around in AXZ (read as “Axis”), and they don’t ever waste any time getting into the action with this show do they? This season’s first episode doesn’t quite match up to the last per se—there ain’t no mountains being chopped up this this time—but the scope and size of the chaos remains the same, and we got Ogawa in the house doing his ninja thing too. Long story short, it’s the same series we’ve gotten to love over the past few seasons, with even more over the top action and a new focus on a shady group called the Pavarian Illuminati.
As it turns out, there’s an Illuminati in this world too, and they’ve been bankrolling everything from behind the scenes the entire time. From the Frontier Incident to the Alchemists, they’ve apparently been sneaking around the backdrop throughout the past few years, and now they’re parading around as new age arms dealers by proliferating alchemic shards capable of summoning Alca Noise to various regimes. Thankfully we got our international intervention squad to take care of things, and the gang gets together pretty quickly to take out everything from tanks to chemical weapons facilities. Along the way we get a brand new selection of special moves and abilities we haven’t seen yet, and it’s only fitting that a huge flying battleship comes down just in time to serve as
cannon fodder a convenient target to show them off with.
We all know this show’s all about putting music together with the action though, so we get a few new themes to start things off as well, and gosh darn—it is always amazing hearing Mizuki Nana just going through things with her trademark vocals. Interestingly enough, none of the themes this time around are singular in the sense that everyone’s doing their own thing, and it was certainly nice change of pace having all three of our original cast members singing the same song as a trio rather than coming in with three separate songs going on at the same time. I suspect it’ll change to the latter at some point—where are the character CD sales supposed to come from!?—but if anything, it’s a good reflection of the comradery they’ve built up over the past few seasons, and they work so flawlessly together it’s as if we never really had a break between seasons at all. Though, I guess if you consider it’s “only” been two years and there’s a fifth season already in the works, it really hasn’t been that long compared to other shows has it?
Ultimately, there’s really not much else to say here. Symphogear’s hasn’t exactly been a series shy about going all guns blazing in regards to what kind of show it is, and it’s only gotten better since Ono Katsumi took over directorial duties starting with the franchise’s second season. The action’s risen to another level since, they’ve added even more themes to match the ever expanding cast, they’re unapologetically over the top in everything they do now, and in many ways the story line’s even improved to make at least some sort of coherent sense. Needless to say, this’ll be a great watch for fans that’ve been watching for a while, and as for the rest—well, it certainly isn’t too late to get started (with the first season of course). This is one of those shows made purely for entertainment purposes (and possibly to appease Mizuki Nana, who’s stated her desire to continue the series) and it ain’t everyday that we get a series that just goes about its own thing in such an unabashed fashion.
Here’s to a good season of Elements Garden backed, musical ass-kicking.
Author’s Note: As of this moment, Symphogear AXZ is not planned for weekly coverage. I’d take it myself, but I’m trying to balance real life work and watching enough shows to do the end of the year post, so unfortunately I won’t have the time to do so at this
ED: 「旋律ソロリティ」 (Senritsu Sororiti) by 日笠陽子×南條愛乃×茅野愛衣 (Higaski Yoko x Yoshino Nanjou x Kayano Ai)