「館山基地へようこそ！！」 (Tateyama Kichi e Youkoso!!)
“Welcome to Tateyama Base!!”
And so ends the latest anime saunter through the realm of emo gods. Yes, I firmly stand by that statement. Tongue removed from cheek, however, Sigururi more or less did the expected in its grand finale: A very sad Odin was vanquished (with just enough left ambiguous to revive him should a sequel prove profitable); every girl had their time to shine; and the action never let up throughout. It was a proper conclusion for a show which certainly had visions exceeding its execution—but at least it was a conclusion and not some cliffhanger. Thank god (heh) for small miracles.
When I look back on Sigururi this was a show I really wanted to love, yet couldn’t quite manage to. It had the material to stand out, the creators and writers needed to make it work, and the production values necessary to tie everything together. Yet as time went by it became hard to find the positives as detail was passed over, character development was minimized, and a reason for everything failed to emerge. This was a show whose dreams truly did not translate into reality.
The main issue I have with Sigururi is that we had no explanation or elaboration on just what was being fought over. Sure, the basic foundation of Odin creating Valkyries (or rather endowing them with Valkyrie powers) and having them do battle against Pillars was put in place at the beginning, but we had precious little beyond that aspect. Why did Odin select these girls and why is Claudia his number one? Why are they piloting mid-Twentieth Century aircraft? Just what are the Pillars exactly and what is the reason for their specific geographical positioning? Sigururi never once elaborated on any of these points. These are the sort of details which, while unnecessary from a strictly story point, are critical for helping to build some measure of logic and consistency; you want this information to ground you in this particular universe and give a reason to be interested. The specific aircraft models in Kotobuki for example aren’t particularly important to its overall story, yet it still found the time to give a reason for their existence in its universe. If Sigururi had found the time over its run to fill in these blanks with some info snippets here or there, it would’ve easily improved and enhanced the story it was trying to tell.
Further compounding matters as well was Sigururi’s character development – or rather the impact upon it. Much like Strike Witches, Sigururi had a great main cast comprised of unique and personable girls who were just unfortunately unable to make up for the narrative defects. I’m on record for loving Azu and her tsundere personality after all, but even that execution and writing is hard-pressed to overcome a story which sort of leaves her and her compatriots treading water. Couple this with several girls barely having an introduction – and in the case of Yayoi, a lack of good cathartic sendoff and resultant Sonoka development – and it’s no wonder many started giving Sigururi up as it reached its midpoint. Without the foundation or foundational expansion needed to give reason for many of Sigururi’s character quirks or provide depth to specific character developments, much of what propels a series from good to great became little more than flashes in the pan unable to overcome the inertia of key structural choices.
Overall while I don’t hate Sigururi and don’t regret giving it coverage – if anything the battle sequences were nice! – it is a show I really feel is half baked. Whether down to it simply needing an extra season to help flesh out its premise (oh god would that have been useful), better and tighter writing, or the producers simply expecting people to fill in the blanks via other material (wouldn’t be the first series guilty of it), this show sacrificed a good deal of the basics which make these types of stories work, and did not come out for the better because of it. Sigururi is certainly not the absolute worst anime original to grace our screens of late, but it will remain an excellent example of just what must be touched on and included to transform otherwise interesting premises into good and entertaining productions.