Senhime Zesshou Symphogear - 1
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Possibly the most frustrating first episode of an original animation, well at least for me. Why : I came in with relatively low expectations only to reconsider quickly, then I was disappointed again and in the end I don't know what to feel about the episode.
Annoying right Well I still severely underestimated this series.
Just for this series, I'm going to split the episode review into annoying and awesome, because the anime did exceed my expectations but is still lacking in some areas which affect the likelihood of me watching it, so let's begin.
I was immediately thrown off by just the beginning of the episode. It was much darker and emotional than I ever imagined this series could be and by showing the death of someone at the start of the animation then explaining the story leading up to it is actually an underrated storyline method; sure it does take away the mystery and adds predictability but it doesn't take away the emotions you will feel (plus since I'm guessing the predictability in these types of anime is very generic, those who watch a lot of anime would have been able to guess them even without the opening).
Then we got to experience the awesome graphics, which happened to be shown through the concert, which in turn turned into the battlefield. Here the girls changed into their battle outfits - reminiscent of Erza from Fairy Tail - displaying their battle powers. The battle scenes are nothing short of amazing, in particular for a first episode where another bold move is killing off a potential protagonist off (Kanade's self-sacrifice scene did add a lot of flavour to the episode!) The ending of the episode, though generic, is good enough to get me to watch the next one.
Battle music.... Enough said. The idea of using such upbeat girlish music just pissed me off when watching the battle scenes themselves. Had they used something more appropriate for futuristic battles, I would be putting this anime at the top of my watch list. It was also unfortunate that the battles were spaced out one after the other because I was reminded of how much I was pissed off during the second battle right after I was drawn back into the story again.
Also during the battles when they used comic-style labelling for the fighters special moves, it did take away the intensity of the action scenes (but then again it did add comedic value, so I guess it really is up to the individual).
My only other complaint: the voice actress is the same voice actress who voiced Hana Oshiroi in Ben-To, Aoi Yuuki. I recognised straight away because of the slightly annoying tones in Hibiki Tachibana voice that happened to be present in Hana Oshiroi.