Senki Zesshou Symphogear is losing my interest by overdoing some things and underexplaining others. Who the hell was that girl who attacked Tsubasa? Up to now we’ve been seing the noise only as brightly colored, often cute destroyers of human life. Now there’s a girl in full armor trash-talking Tsubasa and claiming she’s really after Hibiki, so get out of the way. So, apparently, four episodes in, the enemy actually (and there’s more than just her) has a human face, and it’s not a surprise to any one; they just didn’t bother to tell us. And does the situation really justify Tsubasa singing her swan song? It seems a bit extreme. That she lives through it is another bit of weak writing, but since she’s a main character I wasn’t surprised. I suppose the explanation about her unhappy life (though, apparently not nearly as unhappy as Kanade’s was, with all those treatments, in a flashback to begin the episode that was ill-placed and confusing) help explain her bizarre behavior–a little. This all sends Hibiki into more self-doubt and guilt until Miku cheers her up and we get a Rocky-style training sequence, which I suppose is a logical choice to make, though why they weren’t training her from the start is beyond me. Look at what they did to/for Kanade. Oh, and there’s a mole in the organization. Do you bet on Ogawa? Frankly, I’m suspicious of Miku. She’s TOO nice.
Rinne no Lagrange 4 has some unexplained bad guy stuff too, but here much of it is on the level of “These guys represent a superior, conquest-driven alien race?” At the episode start, two of them are poking about the remains of their ship and realize they’re stranded. The third guy is in the good guy’s prison. Since they’re obviously stuck there awhile we look at the good guys, who aren’t much more on the ball than the bad guys. This ditzy Muginami character has been waltzing around their station all this time and has transferred into Madoka’s school, which is about the first time they take notice of her. Tadokoro, the boss, is roughed by by a female teacher for letting Madoka fly a robot (It’s not in the school regulations–the best line of the week). And then there’s Lan, who needed support to fly her craft last episode, this week tries to keep her charge under a protective eye and nearly drowns, thanks to Muginami. Muginami outdoes her in everything and becomes Madoka’s new friend, inciting futile jealousy and lots of spilled drinks. To top off this incompetence competition, the bad guy in prison simply escapes–with one of the Vox, like he could have done it at any time. So which side is more incompetent? Madoka and her pals ought to get away and start their own force.
Moretsu Pirates is the least silly of the shows here. They’re making an effort to explain the details of an upcoming space battle between the Odette II and whatever that blip out there is. In one way, I’m gratified that they’re making the effort to make this as realistic as they can for a show such as this. Marika and Chiaki have an early scene where they not only use the yacht’s rather powerful capabilities to scan the space around them but try and deduce what’s going on and what to do next. There’s almost nothing to the scene at all except for Marika’s excited talk and Chiaki’s almost grudging responses, but I’ve learned if you’re expecting someone to push a button and fire ray guns you’re looking at the wrong show. All the button does here is fire an intense close-range radar scan and give the girls more to talk about. I haven’t seen too many anime shows that actually cares about these little things, and it can be just as interesting and fun as blowing things up. One draw back to the serious and detailed approach in this series, apart from the fact that it’s not bodacious or blowing things up, is when the show makes a mistake or gets lazy on the details it will detract from the show. You don’t expect accuracy from a show where things blow up. The average viewer like me might not know if the girls’ efforts at analyzing futuristic dangers or planning space battle strategy will work or not, but I do know that use of weightlessness on that ship is pretty iffy. I mean, the opening voice-over goes on about how there’s not up or down in space while we watch characters STAND on the hull of their ship. And don’t get me started on the hair. Well, the show is keen on doing things slowly and deliberately, which is more than I can say for the other SF shows this season or most others, so I’ll cut it some slack. Besides, I’m genuinely interested in how the battle will turn out. They spend so much time strategizing that they don’t even get to it.