When I first started writing this post, I was gonna talk about how Senki Zesshou Symphogear and Bodacious Space Pirates were, like, super similar and shit. I was gonna talk about how both series had main characters who have Giant Robots/Ships thrust upon them because of some nagging detail from the past (making a pact/dad being a space pirate).
Then I realized I superimposed Rinne no Lagrange’s set-up on top of Symphogear’s crazy fluorescent alien shit. Like, I seriously thought the main chick suplexed a DayGlo slime before making with that creepy shadowed smile.
I think my brain is trying to amass a good anime out of the pieces of all of these half-good first episodes I’ve been watching.
Everything that’s good about Symphogear comes from the action scenes. These aliens are pretty damn cool. You have your slime-spouting giant ones, that are like ooze artillery or something. Then you have the slimes those things spit out, which dart about and devour people. Or make them disintegrate. Or something. The way people die when those things get a hold of them is pretty gruesome, since it doesn’t really seem to hurt them so much as it makes them cease to exist piece by piece while they’re fully aware of their impending demise. And people are well aware of this fact, so they see it coming. It’s pretty scary shit. And then you have those bird-like ones that spiral down like those bat things from Metroid. If I had to die at the hands of these aliens, I’d rather have one of these things kill me. They just splatter you all over the place all quick-like when they impale you. Quick and easy. That’s my kind of monster-induced death. And then you have those foot-soldier dudes that hold their hands up in an awkward pose like some sort of Ultraman monster-of-the-week. I’d totally buy a vinyl toy of them.
And I’m really digging how the names of the characters’ special attacks get flashed across the screen, with each character seeming to get their own personalized font and whatnot. I hope they stick with that, regardless of how much some people might find it repetitive after awhile. Just so long as they bust out new moves every episode or so. We don’t want it to be the same attack every episode.
And really, that’s about it. It’s a lot of flash and style, but it was enough to keep my attention once things got rolling. The school scenes were as lame as you’d expect, but they were thankfully brief in this episode. I’m sure that’ll change as things go along, but who knows. I wasn’t expecting this to be a kinda gory monster invasion thing. Maybe they’ll spare us from the banality of school life.
On the other hand, Bodacious Space Pirates was neither Bodacious nor Piraty. Sure, the main character has been told that she’s the daughter of a former space pirate and a dead space pirate, and now some peeps want her to take over her dad’s space pirate ship, but that’s about it. Other than a couple of lines of exposition and a really crappy “action” scene that consisted of two pictures of guns and lots of flashing lights, the first episode was the same as every single other “peeps at a high school doing high school shit” anime ever made. New teacher arrives. New student arrives. New student is haughty or arrogant or knows something or whatever background detail is needed to explain why she isn’t instant friends with the main character. There’s maid cafes and drinking tea and… that’s about it.
That’s where I was going with my initial comparison that fell flat. While Rinne no Lagrage’s first episode wasn’t particularly great, at least it got to the point and gave us some action. Space Pirates (mini)skirted around the whole space pirate issue and gave the larger audience what they really want: high school girls being high school girls. Never mind that some of us are actually interested in space pirates and shit like that.
I’m sure Space Pirates will get around to all that later on, but I gotta make the usual “does every anime have to take place in a high school” complaint. Do fans really need that kind of safe, comfortable “grounding” to buy into any sort of story? Can’t we, y’know, just have an anime about space pirates doing space pirate stuff? I wanna see pillaging and looting and boarding and boozing and space keelhauling. I don’t need all of that tempered with plaid skirts, tea cups, and school desks.
Really, I could have forgiven all of that if the last scene with all of those mobster dudes and the fake security guy trying to kidnap the main chick actually panned out. Instead, we got mysterious transfer girl partaking in a scene of parfait porn while the actual conflict was reduced to the aforementioned screen caps of guns and flashing lights. Couldn’t we have gotten some swashbuckling shit going here? Pirates are way better at swashbuckling than they are at being maids.