I haven’t talked about Symphogear much lately. I’m still digging it for the most part, but the past two episodes have irritated me. It comes down to that dreaded “friendship” nonsense.
Some cool shit has gone down lately. They finally admit the obvious: the glasses chick and the naked chick that sounds like The Baroness are the same character. We saw it coming, but I still dig the idea behind it. That glasses chick has been grandstanding and doing the monologue thing too much to be a good guy. That spiel she gave a few episodes ago that went into detail about the nature of the artifact things was exactly the sort of reveal that villains give when they tell the hero their master plan. We just happened to get it in the form of an inner dialogue.
And that scene in episode 10 where she’s revealed to have been playing both sides (the Japanese and the Americans) and then takes down the US hit squad looked to be pretty awesome at first. But it cut away right when things were getting good. She starts to heal herself with her superduper magical powers and BAM, scene ends and we move on to the aftermath.
What do we get in exchange? A scene where the chick who uses guns breaks down and cries because someone talks to her about dreams and beliefs and shit.
But that isn’t the only “moving” bit in this episode. We get a seemingly cool set piece where four bomber plane shaped Noise stop airdropping monsters all over the place while converging on what looks like Tokyo Tower after it’s gone through two Pokemon evolutions. With all the talk about one of the weapons being a tower, it seemed like this could be some pivotal moment in the shit that’s going down. Instead, we spend more time watching the gun girl and the other two main chicks bonding. We get one of those speeches writers write where they think they’re making some grandiose philosophical statement about the nature of friendship, but all they’re really doing is revealing that they know jack shit about how friendship works. Like, these writers might actually have friends, but despite that they don’t really get it. They’re like Rain Man or some shit, knowing how to pull off some awesome numerical knowledge without really grasping the basic concepts of why. But they really want to sound like they get it, so they stop everything and ramble on about blahblahblah love blahblahblah togetherness blahblahblah OH WAIT THE MONSTERS ARE ATTACKING THE SCHOOL!
Yeah. The girls spent so much time standing around talking about their feelings that they basically gave the Noise enough time to launch a separate attack on what’s probably their original target. The glasses chick knew this was just a distraction, but I bet she didn’t factor into her plan the fact that these girls would spend more time arguing about whether they’re friends or not than they would actually killing monsters.
Or maybe she did… nah. I don’t think Symphogear’s as self-aware as Milky Holmes. It ain’t as awesome either.
But this triggered some asinine brainstorm: The plot for the best anime ever (not really).
Like, I would love to make an anime where the first 11 episodes are pure slice of life. Play it completely straight– the very stuff people eat up. Throw in some humor or whatever so that it isn’t a complete banality-fest.
But the final episode? The moon hurdles into the Earth, killing everyone. Then we flash to a secret Martian base. A villainous dude is sitting at his control panel commanding his minions as they watch Earth blow up. He then looks right at the audience and says “Maybe you should have been paying attention to the real plot instead of focusing on the cute girls?”
The villain then goes through each episode and shows us his plan playing out in the background. The backgrounds seem innocent enough, but then he explains how each scene is really a nefarious scheme going down. Two businessmen carrying briefcases? They just stole some radioactive isotope to fuel the villain’s doomsday machine. A couple sitting at a cafe drinking lattes? They’re actually negotiating a deal for an experimental plastic polymer to be used to construct the villain’s base. That episode where the girls go to watch a rocket launch? The villain and his henchmen murdered the crew and took over the rocket so they could divert it to the Moon and set up their stuff. And so on.
The episode’d end with the villain condemning the audience for allowing Earth to be destroyed. “YOU let me win. YOU chose to ignore reality. YOU damned yourselves by watching cute girls.” Or whatever.
Yeah, that’s why they don’t let me make anime. That ending’d make too many otaku cry. Not because the Earth got blown up. Nope. They’d just be sad that their character-of-choice was sad during her last moments of life.