Hello everybody and welcome to our next exciting episode of Symphogear AXZ, where our heroines are used as an UN Peacekeeping Force, liberating a South American country from the clutches of El Presidente and his forces of evil. Or it would be if the Illuminati didn't show up and usurp the position from them.
In our last episode, S.O.N.G., with the blessing of the UN, goes into Val Verde to stop them from using the Alca-Noise and generally causing major problems for everybody, because this is what those types of countries do. We learn that their backers, as well as the ones responsible for helping out Carol last season and those that assisted FIS back in season two were the Pavarian Illuminati, a secret organization who's goals are not yet known to us. Though we did meet three of their members, Saint-Germain, Prelati, and Cagliostro. The names are a clue for the theme they're going with this season.
Chris, however, still has some painful memories related to Val Verde, as this is where her parents died, where she was held captive, and later, when returning home, kidnapped by Finé to become an antagonist for Hibiki and Tsubasa back in season one. She's still fuming about this and was probably the first person to volunteer when the mission for Val Verde came up.
Anyway, Aoi and Sakuya, leading a ground team, find the Illuminati in the basement of an Opera House, but thanks to somebody not turning their computer to vibrate, they are exposed, with our support staff being the last two survivors. When all seems lost, however, is when the FIS girls arrive to help protect them. Which is a problem for the three of them (maybe), as Kiri and Shirabe both only have one shot of LiNKER left. Will it be enough to stop this new foe? Let's tune in and find out.
-Our episode begins with a boat. Okay. The boat appears to be letting passengers off while they're escorted by a military force. The grainy effect seems to suggest an old film reel, suggesting this is based on an old conflict. We then get a shot of crates filled with art, as well as with gold. This seems to suggest post-World War II, so perhaps shortly afterwards. On the dock, a man in a suit flanked by two guards comes up to an officer and salutes, welcoming him to Val Verde. The wounded officer returns the salute and thanks him for offering refuge in spite of their defeat. A quick cut to an opening crate reveals the girl trapped in a crystal. The suit asks of this is a relic, with the second officer saying that it has enough power to shape history and realize the dream of Welthauptstadt Germania. This is your first major confirmation that, yes, these are the remnants of Nazi Germany escaping from Europe after their defeat. Anyway, the officer says that the power of relics could be considered the fourth energy, that which will open the future to them, leading to a long shot of the girl inside of the crystal, staring at her lone eye. Yeah, totally not creepy at all.
-And we go straight into our opening sequence. We start off with Hibiki, having evolved into her energy form, flying around in space near the moon before doing a pose as the song counts down, showing flashes of the other girls, then revealing our logo for AXZ. Like before, it's Hibiki in the title, but unlike GX, she doesn't look all evil and stuff. Energy Hibiki then flies off to the moon, passing by what appears to be the lone relic of Frontier still off in space. After that, we cut to Hibiki practicing her moves in a dojo as Genjuro watches the movie she's getting her moves from. We then cut to Tsubasa practicing with her sword, which includes cutting off a candle before moving to Chris with her Archery. This is why she will make the best Archer.
-After that, we cut to Kiri and Shirabe running. Well, I say running, but in reality, it's only Kiri who's running. Shirabe is on roller blades, the cheater, but she looks just as exhausted. We then cut to Maria who is sparring with Ogawa, though interestingly enough, it appears that she's sticking with boxing as her main form of fighting. How interesting. After that, we cut to a heart gem, which is joined by several others, all looking rather corrupted in some fashion. Then we get a panning shot of our secondary characters, including, in order, Aoi with her gun and Sakuya with his laptop, Miku gasping, Elfnein running somewhere, Genjuro looking like a Commander, Yatsuhiro all in a business suit, a mysterious individual in the background, and then Ogawa... wait, is that Ogawa? He looks a little older to be him.
-Our next shot is that of our three antagonist for this season, all posing together, with the eye of the mysterious girl behind them. Though interestingly enough, the corrupted looking heart gems are all items these girls have. For Prelati, it appears to be a wand, for Saint-Germain, a gun, and for Cagliostro, a ring. Which then transitions to their Gear forms and what in the flying hell is Prelati dressed as? It appears her wand has changed to a giant hammer, while her outfit just seems to be a Super Sentai reject. As for the others, Saint-Germain has an outfit that could come across as looking a bit knightly, while Cagliostro wouldn't look out of place as part of a Cirque du Soleil act.
-We then get to our action sequence, with Saint-Germain firing an energy dragon at Hibiki, who stops it with a kick, because it's Hibiki, but she follows up with several more bullets. However, Kiri shows up to block the attack, assisting Hibiki by turning into a spinning top. We then go to Cagliostro, who blows a kiss before attacking with hearts, but they're countered by Chris, who is joined by Maria, who attacks Caglostro with a freaking Angel Wing! Finally, we cut to Prelati, with her opponents being Tsubasa, who counters her one attack, allowing Shirabe to ride along the energy line to go after her. So I guess we know who's hooking up with who for this season.
-After, we get a camera turning pose of Hibiki, before revealing hte rest of the group, then we go right into our group shot, with the S.O.N.G. girls on one side and the Illuminati girls on the other. In the background we have the remains of the Tokyo Government building, as well as a shot of the mysterious relic girl and another individual, who is likely related to the Illuminati in some fashion. So, let's place our bets on who may be doing a face turn this season.
-Tonight's episode is titled Last Resort. When the episode begins, it's when Aoi and company are watching the Illuminati girls uncover the mysterious relic. And then Sakuya blows their stealth. Fun times. The retreat is called and the demon dragon appears, killing all by Aoi and Sakuya, leaving them out in the middle of nowhere to be killed, only to be saved by Kiri, Maria, and Shirabe. Well, if they ever wanted to slay a dragon, now is there chance.
-Meanwhile, the SDRTST girls are currently being taken to the nearby village, being driven in a truck by Stefan. Tsubasa reports that they left the chemical plant to Ogawa while they continue to pursuit the director. That's when she's told that the FIS girls engaged the alchemists to recuse Aoi and Sakuya. Given the situation, he authorized hte use of their remaining stock of model K. Of course, this is a problem as this brand of LiNKER isn't tuned to them, so it won't last very long. Hibiki wants to go and help them, but Chris reminds her that they're on mission and cannot deviate from it. They'll just have to hope for the best for Maria's team. Though while I believe Chris is right, at the same time I suspect there's a more personal reason involved here.
-Sadly, Elfnein blames herself, because she says that analyzing the LiNKER recipes on Dr. Ver's chip was her job. She never got around to it because she was busy with her new job. Also, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the bastard encrypted the files and added riddles to it, just as one more take at the FIS girls. Just because he could. In any case, Genjuro does not allow any angst on his bridge, so he pats Elfnein on the head, shocking her. He tells the young girl that they just have to believe in the FIS girls, too. Elfnein is a bit conflicted in that regards and will likely make decoding the recipe her top priority when the mission is done. She'll crack that riddle yet!
-Back at Val Verde, after checking on Aoi and Sakuya, the FIS girls stand against the Illuminati and the demon dragon. Maria demands to know what they're plotting this time, with Saint-Germain replying that it's to regain control of history, as it has always been their goal. And battle is joined. Maria takes over singing duties and attacks the dragon, but it appears to do no damage to it. Kiri and Shirabe note this before grabbing Aoi and Sakuya and evading the dragon's attack. Well, Prelati isn't going to let this slide as she summons Alca-Noise to slow them down. So the FIS girls get to work on clearing the road as Elfnein watches on, but she's angsting again, saying that this body was given to her by Carol, but even show, she feels powerless. She asks if she will always be a burden. I think she needs another pat on the head, Genjuro.
-The dragon, not to be ignored, attacks the FIS girls from the ground, taking out a few of the Alca-Noise with it. Maria is left vulnerable during the attack and just barely dodges the attack, but Kiri and Shirabe provide more support by attacking the creature, giving her more breathing space. Despite the combined attack, the dragon appears unscathed. Kiri wonders if it has the same kind of phase abilities that the Noise have, but Shirabe says that, if that's the case, then their Gears should be able to attune to it. Well, Maria is going to just let this one go. If it's dampening hte damage, then they just need to take it out in one hit! She then takes out a bunch of daggers and have them spin around her, creating a tornado with teeth. Well, that's a scary thought. This skill is called Tornado Impact. She hits the dragon square in it's mouth, and for a moment, it appears to have done the trick. Even Saint-Germain looks worried, but then there are portal versions of the dragon created, which then merge together, and the dragon is as good as new. What kind of DM cheating nonsense is that?
- Prelati and Cagliostro comment on this. Cagilostro says the dragon made it so that the attack never happened, with Prelati calling the experiment a success. Saint-Germain, however, doesn't look too pleased, saying that this violates laws of the universe once though to be absolute. But then she smiles, saying that, finally, alchemy has reached the goal of all human science: the attainment of divine power. Maria, however, knows better than to fight an enemy that can't be beaten so easily, and with the clock ticking, she orders a retreat, but not before providing a rear guard action, attacking the alchemist. Cagliostro blocks the attacks, but one gets through, cutting her face. She's upset by this, though given her tone, I can't tell if she's actually being serious or not.
-Meanwhile, Stefan has taking the SDRTST girls to his village, and it doesn't take long to find the direct, who is holding a girl hostage. Oh, and the entire village, too, using Alca-Noise. The director makes his threat quite clear, but Chris is clearly debating on how quickly she can kill the Alca-Noise before dealing with this scumbag. Though Stefan may have a different plan as he performs a very successful stealth roll and is able to sneak away without being spotted, despite being out in the open with the other girls.
-Back in the valley, Genjuro gave Aoi instructions on an escape route. Which is to jump into a river from a very high cliff. Sakuya has issues with this as the FIS girls join with them. Kiri comments how they can't snake off this serpent, because now is an appropriate time for puns. That's when Elfnein says it's time, so Kiri and Shirabe grab Aoi and Sakuya and hop off the cliff, right onto a passing train. Maria, who keeps with the rear guard, gets hit by the dragon, but joins in with the escape. The dragon continues to pursuit, but then disintegrates before reaching them. Turns out, Saint-Germain called it back, which Cagliostro is disappointed about. Oh, and it was called a Yohualtepoztil. Saint-Germain says that there's no need to pursue as they confirmed the attainment of divine power. For now, that's enough, but though they to prioritize retrieving Tiki above all else. I suspect that's the girl in the crystal shard, because when she says that line, the camera returns to her in the opera house basement. Is she also a dragon? She looks small enough to be one.
-Back at the village, the director's demands are simple. Let him off the hook. As long as nobody does anything stupid, he won't have to kill anyone. He then turns to his other hostages to say the same thing, but he gets a soccer ball to the head before he can finished. Stefan decided to do something stupid and attack the director holding his village hostage with a soccer ball hit to the head. Though the hit worked as the director is on the ground, clutching his head in pain. Yeah, those things hurt, so you get what you deserve. Stefan then grabs the girl and drags her out of harms way, allowing the SDRTST girls to get involved. Hibiki sings her activation key, but we don't get a transformation sequence this time as we cut right to Tsubasa cutting her way through some Alca-Noise, with Hibiki doing the same. Only with less cutting and more punching.
-The director isn't pleased with what's going on here, but he tracks his attention to Stefan and the girl running away. He's prepared to unleash more Alca-Noise as we see Chris freeing up the other hostages. A scream catches her attention as more Alca-Noise surround Stefan and the girl. He tells the girl to escape, but this leaves him open to be grabbed by one of the Alca-Noise's dissecting organs, grabbing him by the leg. Chris loses her shit over this, screaming in rage as the camera pans up to the moon, still in shambles from the battle so long ago.
-When we come back, it's after the battle. The director is tied up by the villagers as Tsubasa reports the situation. Unfortunately, it wasn't a clean victory as they had a casualty among the civilians. As you probably suspected, Stefan lost his leg in his heroic act. Though not in the way that you think. The girl screaming for Stefan is actually Sonya, who immediately blames Chris for the loss of Stefan's leg. She fully admits to it, saying that she was the one who shot it off. Uh... okay, that was a bit shocking. Though Chris keeps her stone face, though you can see a hint of emotion behind it, as she fully admits to doing that. That debriefing is going to be so awkward.
-At HQ, Maria's team has arrived, with Aoi reporting their return to Genjuro. He praises them on their return, with Sakuya breathing a sigh of relief. He's happy to be back at his desk now, since he can look over the data they almost died for. Genjuro is concerned about an invincible monster. Though they did draw the Pavarian Illuminati out into the light, it looks like they're going to give them a run for their money. Kiri and Shirabe start to say that they're confident they'll get it next time, but fall short, remembering that they're all out of LiNKER. Elfnein apologizes, which causes Kiri and Shirabe to start backpedaling, but it's too late, for Elfnein is back in angst mode. She says that she isn't good enough to analyze those recipes and is all depressed. Instead of a pat on the head, big sister Maria pinches Elfnein's cheeks, prompting her to ask what she's doing? The diva tells her that, while they barely made tout alive, they haven't lost yet. She adds that it's no one's fault, so she doesn't have to apologize for anything. It's all Dr. Ver's fault, anyway, so we'll just keep blaming him.
-...Is it weird that I already miss Dr. Ver? Granted, he was an evil, vindictive ass, but he was a fun evil, vindictive ass. Anyway, Shirabe tells Elfnein not to give up, because they haven't, with Kiri telling the young girl to save her breath and use it to cheer them on instead. Elfnein repeats the statement as a question, but Maria replies that she should and gives her a pat on the head. She has a very pat-able head, doesn't she?
-Back in the Opera House, the Illuminati girls look on at Tiki, but Saint-Germain has a serious expression on her face. We then flashback to four hundred years ago when she is on a boat that is on fire. She says that they, who founded the practice of alchemy, by gathering and utilizing pieces of heretical technology left behind by Finé. We see on this burning boat another person who happens to have Tiki with them, and she isn't locked away in a crystal shell. Saint-Germain states that, because of this, it led them into a clash with Finé herself, who sought to monopolize all such technology. We see Finé on the ship, all dressed up like a pirate. Is it bad that my first thought was "Oh, she's actually Francis Drake?" I blame the Fate series for that. Though it is possible she could be Anne Bonnie, but that might depend on when Symphogear takes place.
-Though this also means that Finé was not a founder, so the Illuminati were the background villains from G onward. Anyway, the fight takes place, with tiki blocking a blast meant for the cloaked person next to her, as Saint-Germain says that it was the goal of Adam, their founder, to attain divine power and give it form. Ten bucks says that this Adam is actually going to be the Adam from Genesis. Anyway, Tiki gets blasted and is sent overboard. With her lost, a key element of Adam's plans was also lost, and the Illuminati were banished from the backstage of history. This is shown when a lightning bolt hits the ship and presumably destroys it. Finé has no issues going out with style.
-Back in the present, Saint-Germain tells the others that four hundred years have passed and Finé is no more. How would you know that, anyway? The only two people who could possible know that for certain are Kiri and Shirabe. And then we're assuming they didn't tell anybody else. OH, and they successfully triggered the fall of America, and with the recovery of Tiki, this is their chance ohm are their return. So it wasn't the Russians who interfered in the elections!
-Prelati states that all they need to do is bring the doll back with them, but Cagliostro, rubbing her cheek, calls that boring. Saint-Germain tells them that receiving Tiki, who is called an astronomical observation tool, is essential to the success of their plan. Prelati continues, saying that it's necessary to weave human history into the correct form. When asking Saint-Germain for confirmation, she adds that no one in this world should be oppressed. So the villain organization thinks they're doing the world a favor by taking it over? Where have I heard that one before? Well, Cagliostro doesn't like to do any heavy lifting, so she'll leave that to them. Besides, she needs to give a certain person a little payback for her new scar. Saint-Germain doesn't like wanting to deal with Symphogear users before they complete the Lapis, with Prelati calling her selfish. Cagliostro thinks it'll be a cakewalk if she has Yohualtepoztli with her. As she walks away, she adds that she's spent enough of her life telling lies. From here on, she wants to at least be honest with herself. I guess she's regretting her dealings with Gilles, then? Wow, a set of complicated villains? Already things are looking up.
-On the road back to HQ, we see Tsubasa is driving the truck while Chris and Hibiki stay in the truck bed with Sonya and the injured Stefan. Chris seems reluctant to say anything, given that she shot off the kid's leg, then looks over to Sonya. Her full name is Sonya Vilena, who worked with her parents to bring peace to the world through music. She says that the older girl was very kind to her, and that she loved her like her very own sister. But Chris is still upset at her, because apparently it was Sonya's neglect that let "them" sneak in the bomb that killed her parents. Though it seems like Chris is very conflicted with her own feelings towards Sonya. There is still some hate, but clearly, she wants to forgive, as well.
-In a flashback, Sonya tells Chris that she knows she will never forgive her, but she says that she can never forgive Chris, either. A little while ago, just after the battle in the village, Chris tells Sonya she had no choice. It was either Stefan's leg or his life, and she made the choice to save Stefan's life. Though it does make me wonder if shooting the Alca-Noise would have been enough, or is it one of those cases where, as soon as Stefan was touched, it was already too late? Sonya does agree it was the right decision, but just because it was right doesn't mean it makes her feel better. But this does effect Chris, wondering why her choices only lead to suffering? It's that E-Rank stat you Archers typically get that is a problem.
-Hibiki knows full well that Chris is very conflicted, but before she could say anything, Sonya speaks up. She says that she was separated from Chris in the chaos without so much as a goodbye, and that this wasn't the reunion she spent all those years hoping for. She was probably hoping for a tearful hug, not her shooting off the leg of her brother. I'm assuming brother here. Speaking of, Stefan, possibly sensing the discourse, places his hand on Chris' foot. This calms things down a it as Chris reaches out and grabs her hand, providing some sort of comfort for the injured boy. For now, this is all she can do.
-But it's going to be a long night for them. Tsubasa gets a call from Genjuro, reporting a number of Alca-Noise at Escalon Airport. Maria's team was sent in to secure the area while they're still under the effect of the last LiNKER shots. Tsubasa receives and says they'll join as soon as they drop off the injured villain in a location where he can be treated. Hopefully that'll be soon, because when we cut to the airport, it's turning quite bad. The soldiers are quickly losing ground, with one asking why they're being attacked when they're suppose to be on their side? But that doesn't last long as the two of them are quickly killed. It has not been a good day to be a Val Verde soldier.
-Nearby, Cagliostro watches on as she's joined by Prelati, who realizes the disturbance is just to draw out the Symphogear users. Cagliostro asks if the younger girl is here to help out, but she replies that she prioritizes whatever is most fun. She adds that Saint-Germain can handle Tiki's transport on her own. That's when a helicopter arrives, containing the FIS girls, just as Cagliostro hoped for. As the girls jump out, Maria sings her activation key and we get her transformation sequence. And with that, battle is joined as all three girls sing together, with Shirabe attacking with her Alpha Style 100 Rebirths. I think that was named something different in the Crunchyroll subs. She begins clearing area while Maria goes straight for Cagliostro and Prelati. Prelati is all excited about this and plans to go all out, but Kiri quickly gets the drop on her, tying her up with her steel ropes. Damn, these girls are on point today!
-Cagliostro is disappointed by Prelati's capture as Maria attacks her. She's able to dodge the attacks and counters with her own strikes, but Maria easily dodges them. Sakuya reports the engagement at HQ, with Aoi noting that the sync rates are stable. Elfnein is still concern, though, because they won't know when the clock will run out for them. Back at the airport, Maria starts signing as Cagliostro continues to dodge. She's about to unleash Yohualtepoztli, but before she can, Maria lays in a nasty looking left hook, nailing Cagliostro on the same side as her previous injury. Maria comments that while the dragon is thick-skinned and impervious to attack, the same can't be said for her, who is blasted into the ground by Maria's punch. Looks like the diva is not screwing around here.
Meanwhile, Prelati escapes from her bindings and engages with both Kiri and Shirabe, who have taken over singing duties here, though Prelati seems to be able to hold her own here. As for Maria, she keeps the pressure on Cagliostro, knowing that she just needs to keep her from summoning that invincible monster. She's able to break trough Cagliostro's barrier, but at that point, she, Kiri and Shirabe start to desync. The clock is about to run out on them. And to make it work, Kiri and Shirabe are fighting in front of an airplane that's trying to escape. One of the pilots notes that there are cute girls on the runway, but the captain says that it doesn't matter, because they're being chased by a lot of Alca-Noise. Because we just can't leave the stakes alone, because they need to be raised every single time.
-With this, Maria tells Kiri and Shirabe to leave the rest to her. The two girls disengage with their fight to help out with the airplane, leaving Prelati to wonder if they can handle it on their own? Cagliostro joins up with her as they face off against Maria, who is confident that they can handle her on their own. Maria engages in battle with the alchemist while Kiri and Shirabe deal with the mass of Alca-Noise chasing the plane. A couple are able to make it past them and hit the landing gear, so the girls are forced to help the plane by keeping it up long enough for it to escape. HQ is in silence, waiting to see what happens next, but even as the sync rates drop like crazy, Elfnein notes that they aren't giving up. While watching Maria's fight, she notices a glow surrounding her briefly before a rejection spark occurs. That's when Elfnein tells them to hold on just a moment longer and she'll extend that moment to an eternity. She didn't give up on analyzing the LiNKER recipes, so they can't give up either! They aren't allowed to!
-With this extra bit of motivation, Kiri and Shirabe are able to push their gears to the next level, giving them the boost and power needed to help the plane up in the air and avoid the building that it was about to collide with. As for Maria, she is able to push her Gear further, combining the silver sword with her gauntlet to use as the Angel Wing from the opening, though in this case, the skill is called Horizon Cannon, blasting the two Illuminati girls. They look on in shock as the blast hits, seemingly killing them and giving the FIS girls a win.
-Though it's short lived, as when the smoke clears, the two girls are still fine. Cagliostro tisks at them as the FIS girls are depowered, their time having run out. With this, Cagliostro calls upon Yohualtepoztil, which appears to be nearly summoned and ready to eat some cute girls up. All appears to be lost, but suddenly, Hibiki arrives in time to punch the dragon in the face. Prelati smiles, saying that such a punch isn't going to work, but apparently she doesn't understand that Hibiki has this little ability to rewrite the universe as she sees fit. With Yohualtepoztil destroyed, Cagliostro demands to know what happened with that whole invincibility thing. Hibiki responds by saying that "You're looking at her." Yup, that's our Hibiki. Tell her something is impossible and she'll punch it to prove that it isn't impossible. Cue credits!
-Our end credits starts with a fire that grows larger... or we're zooming in on it. But then it breaks apart into rose petals that shower the screen as we get a reddish silhouette of Chris walking, before being replace with what I assume to be her younger self, more pinkish, running. We then cut to an abandoned warehouse as Silhouette Chris sits on some rubble, clutching herself in fear. As we get closer to her, we see the slab that she's on has plenty of bullet holes in it. We then cut to some sort of laster beam being fired by some sort of portal as we see young Chris in between two blue silhouettes, likely her parents, either arriving or leaving on their trip to Val Verde. It then cuts to the young Chris singing with her mother, followed by the cracked glass having handprints on it. The shape of the shatter is an indication of a bullet being shot through it.
-When we zoom in, we see young Chris playing a game with her mother, possibly while singing, before that too is shattered by a bullet hole. We then cut to that same warehouse, but instead, it's an older Chris walking in. When she takes a step, plants being to grow underneath her as the sky brightens up, letting in more light. A single rose petal falls in her hands before reforming into a rose that blooms, indicating that she may be moving past the dark times in her life. End credits.
So, we know a little more about the Pavarian Illuminati. They were created using the heretical technology that Finé left behind, but they were on opposite sides of that conflict, which lead to them being taken out of their positions of power. It wasn't until just recently that they decided to take a more active role, citing that they started the downfall of America (I'm assuming the US), and that this Saint-Germain is actually that long lived. We know of the founder, Adam, but only that, and that the girl in the crystal shell is named Tiki, and she is a relic. Though I didn't mention this before, she does kind of look like Elfnein. I wonder if that's just reusing designs or if that will become a plot point later.
We get to meet Sonya, which was bound to happen after her introduction, but the reunion isn't a tearful one since Chris shot off the leg of Stefan. I don't think that was the hero's reward he was looking for. I'm sure S.O.N.G. will whip up some sort of robotic leg for him.
As for the invincible dragon, I am left with one question. Mainly, it's about Hibiki. We know that she was treated as special in the first two seasons because of her unusual situation, where Gungnir was actually a part of her, which changed at the end of G. Since she was able to supposedly punch out a creature that cannot be killed, are we going back to her being special, or is this another special trait of Gungnir? In mythology Gungnir is Odin's spear and is said to never miss it's target, so would that mean that Hibiki's target will always be destroyed, even if they can regenerate? I'm assuming we'll get an answer about this later on but it's something to keep in mind later.
As for the FIS girls, they aren't quite done in this season, and as soon as Elfnein solves that riddle, she'll have them back in fighting form. With with a clear enemy who appears to have a clear goal, what will happen next? Will this be a clash of ideologies? And will Hibiki continue to be Hibiki and find a way to convert her enemies into friends once more? Tune in on Friday to find out.
Until next time, remember, when stuck in a hostage situation, always look for a soccer ball. They will always be a key part in ending that situation quickly.
5 hours agoCaButler
Hello everybody and welcome to our next exciting episode of Symphogear AXZ, where our heroines are used as an UN Peacekeeping Force, liberating a South American country from the clutches of El Presidente and his forces of evil. Or it would be if the Illuminati didn't show up and usurp the position from them.
2 days agoCaButler
Hello everybody and welcome to our first episode of Symphogear AXZ. The show that features a bunch of powered armored magical girls fighting against abominations from beyond the veil, immortal alchemist and resurrecting Sumerian Priestess who want to destroy the Moon to show how much they love God. Makes you wonder what kind of villain we'll be getting for the fourth season?
At the time of this posting Symphogear AXZ is currently not available for legal streaming. This may end up affecting my typical schedule, though that may have a change coming for it anyway. We'll have to see as the season progresses what happens. For now, let's go ahead and see what insanity we have in stored for us this time.
-Our episode begins with a message written on the blackboard reminding the students that summer homework is due at the start of the term, September 1st. Hibiki, who is stuck at Summer School, thought it was supposed to be way more relaxed than this. We see her laying on the desk, looking at to the setting sun, feeling totally drained. So much so that she can't even remember how many times she's been yelled at. Miku arrives, placing a cold can on her friends forehead, who appreciates it, but also says that this is her own fault since she didn't do her homework on time. Hibiki is grateful that they gave her an extension until the start of the term, but then she immediately turns to Miku and pleads for her help, because if not, she'll never finish in time! Miku seems to think that's the case, noting that she'll have a hard time finishing it by her birthday, let alone the start of the term. And she just can't say no to that pleading face of Hibiki's. I guess we know who wears the pants in this relationship.
-Hibiki is proud of Miku, giving her a hug and calling her an angel. But the cute moment is short lived as a helicopter suddenly appears. Kiri, Chris and Shirabe are there, with the Death Metal Goth Magical Girl telling the two to get a room. Well, they do have a room, so I imagine they'll do that later. Shirabe, however, says that they received an emergency summons from HQ. However, because of the loud chopper blades, Hibiki isn't able to hear them, which is why we have subtitles of what they're saying. Though they forgot to sub Kiri's, though that may have been intentional. Hibiki still can't hear them, so she ends up getting a shoe to the face for her trouble. Either Chris has a hell of a throwing arm or she keeps lead in her shoes, because Hibiki is out like a light from that hit.
-After Hibiki regains consciousness, the helicopter lands and the Gear wielder is off to battle, though she tells Miku that she'll be back soon and not to worry. She'll show both this mission and the assignment who's the boss! Though I imagine that death flag you just raised will show you who's the boss. But Miku is confident that her friend will beat that death flag with no problem. I mean, three villains tried to kill her before, and the only one that was close enough was able to get an arm before she went all Berserker on them and regrew it.
-We then cut to what appears to be a rainforest as we see an alligator... or is that a crocodile? In either case, this guy is just hanging about as the camera pans up to the rest of the forest, when, suddenly, explosions. That didn't take long, did it? Inside of a tent, a radar operator is telling his commanding office that they have one vehicle rapidly approaching. The Officer is somewhat impressed that the enemy would take the land route to avoid the anti-air artillery, but he believes that they could never beat them with conventional weaponry. We then see what appears to be mines, but in reality, it's dispensers for unleashing Alca-Noise. Well, the would be a problem, wouldn't it? That is, for normal folks. But not when the motorcycling attacker just so happens to be a famous pop idol.
-Yup, it's Tsubasa, and she quickly cuts through the Alca-Noise with ease. Though I do have to wonder how these people even got their hands on those things? When did Noise become mass produced? And no, you don't have to point out what happened in GX, but still, I wonder if we'll get an answer to that. So, yeah, Tsubasa is plowing through the Alca-Noise, though we do so other soldiers there, as well, as she goes through and takes out the anti-air guns with a skill called "Sweep of the Rider's Blade." Yeah, cause I'm not using official subs the skill names might end up being different, though it's likely to be the case for Tsubasa.
-With the skies clear, Tsubasa calls out to Ogawa, who's coming in on a flying kite, flanked by fellow Gear wielders Chris and Hibiki who begin their song. Apparently we also have the word for "Ninja" on the back of the kite, showing just how visible a ninja Ogawa is. The soldiers attack the girls, so they escape the kite and begin dealing with the Alca-Noise while Ogawa deals with the soldiers. We get a split screen shot of the girls in unison as they clear through the last of the Alca-Noise and make their way towards the soldiers. They fire all the bullets at Tsubasa, but she's able to deflect or cut them all up, including a tank shell aimed right for her. This is when they realized how screwed they are and begin to retreat. The tank, however, takes one more shot but loses it's turret as a result. It was probably overcompensating for something anyway.
-Hibiki takes on solo duties as a second tank takes a shot at Hibiki, who defects the shell with such ease that you could tell Genjuro is nodding in approval. Tsubasa then starts spinning up for her skill "Fearless Triple Slash" as she and Hibiki deal with the tank. Chris, however, is apparently dealing with more Alca-Noise. So much for there only being a few. The soldiers attempt to shoot at Chris with all the bullets, as well as a few rockets, and this is when we see why conventional weapons have no effect on Gear wielders as Chris survives everything thrown at her. She even spits out a bullet just to show that she could. Either that or her boobs are made of steel.
-Chris returns fire against the soldiers, but she only disarms them, forcing them to retreat. Meanwhile, the tanks attempt to attack Hibiki, but she's out tanking them, approaching as if she's an unstoppable monster. And she shows herself to be an unstoppable monster as she tears the treads off of one tank, then rips off the turret of another tank and uses that as a bat against a third tank. And this is why you always fear Berserker Hibiki.
-Back in HQ, Sakuya reports that thirty-four percent of the enemy forces have been disabled. Aoi adds that the anti-tank film they screened last night seems to be effective. We also see Elfnein there, and she appears to be in a proper lab outfit, watching the battle. Genjuro tells the group that UN forces will be landing in fifteen minutes, so the girls need to disable their defenses before then. Clocks ticking, girls. Well, the enemy forces aren't just going to stand around and use stuff that hasn't worked, so while Chris is busy with the Alca-Noise, one tank is going to use an especially powerful shell against her. Unfortunate for them, Hibiki catches the shell, then flings it up into the air for Chris to destroy, knocking over the tank and disabling it. Yay teamwork!
-Over at the enemy HQ, the Captain decides to book it as he sees their forces are falling apart. Outside, the girls have just finished mopping up the enemy forces when, suddenly, a beam of energy appears from the enemy camp. Above them, a huge airship appears, catching the girls by surprise. How could such a huge thing be hidden above them? Who knew they had such impressive cloaking technology. Anyway, three more helicopters appear, with Maria, being in one, telling the three on the ground to stop gawking and get back to work! The enemy captain, inside of the airship, laughs at this and attempts to drop bombs on them. The explosions appear to be right on the money, but his radar shows that the helicopters are still in the air. Why? Because of the SDRTST girls, that's why.
-In response, the Captain fires all the missiles from the airship, but Chris is their point-to-point defense and begins clearing the skies. Tsubasa tells Hibiki to let Chris deal with the missiles, but they'll use them as stepping stones to the airship. Oh, and it looks like Maria is piloting one of the helicopters. I wonder when she got her license? In any case, one helicopter is unable to outrun the missile, but this one carries Kiri and Shirabe, who... open the doors to let the missile through without causing any damage to the helicopter. You know, show, just when I thought you couldn't get more over the top, you somehow find a way to prove me wrong.
-Hibiki and Tsubasa continue to make their way towards the airship, with Tsubasa deciding now is as good as any to go all out, forcing a giant sword that looks to be about half the length of the airship. She then slices through the airship, slicing off the captain's sunglasses, and creating a hole allowing Hibiki to hop right in. The Captain begins to run, but Hibiki charges up a drill fist attack, but is using that to grab the captain and punch her way through the airship. It starts exploding, because of course it does, but Chris doesn't want to feel left out, so she unleashes her skill Megadeath Infinity, finishing off the airship. Well, when you need to start your show with a bang, there isn't anything bigger than having the girls fight against a giant airship.
-We cut to a nearby river where Hibiki surfaces with the enemy captain in two. Tsubasa flies past them, apparently the girls now have thrusters permanently, and informs her that their job is done. The rest is up to the UN, who begin arriving in doves. After what was clearly a commercial break, we cut to UN Humanitarian Efforts in progress as the UN soldiers are passing rations out to the civilians in the area. They also have a makeshift hospital set up to treat the injured and sick. Outside of the fence we see the SDRTST girls watching, with Hibiki happy that the UN acted fast. Tsubasa is in agreement, but Chris, who appears to be trying to crush the fence, has a different reaction. When Hibiki asks what's wrong, she brushes it off. It's not like she didn't have to deal with something similar to these kids a long time ago, right?
-That's when Maria pulls up in a truck, with Kiri reporting that the patrol has been finished. They're heading back to HQ with a job well done. During the ride back, Shirabe notes how much trouble the Alca-Noise gave them in the past, and now, eve these soldiers are being provided alchemical shards to summon them as weapons. I would like to know why that's happening, but Hibiki provides us with an answer. The Pavarian Illuminati. I'm guessing that is our new villains of the season, because we need to get the Illuminati in there somehow.
-We get a flashback to the girls reporting for duty. Genjuro gets started on the briefing, but we also need our pop idol divas here. On the screen we have Maria and Tsubasa, who are also joined by Ogawa. Kiri and Shirabe wonder about Maria, but she tells them that, per a special assignment she received from Tsubasa's dad, on behalf of S.O.N.G., she went investigating the story behind the Magical Girl Incident. Tsubasa tells them that, because she knew nothing of this, she assumed that Maria missed her so much that she came all the way to England and Maria stops her from saying anymore.
-Ogawa decides to continue the briefing. He says that, during Maria's investigation, one particular organization kept cropping up called the Pavarian Illuminati. According to Elfnein, they were the ones wh helped Carol build the Château de Tiffauges. She calls them a shadowy organization pulling strings throughout history, considered by many to have led to Europe's labeling as the new "Dark Continent." Wait, when did Europe become the new "Dark Continent"? She shows off incidents of terrorist activities, including a plane crash, a train derailment, and a bus on fire. The FIS girls also recognize the symbol, as they were the organization that also funded the former organizations armed uprising. Turns out, they've been responsible for each of their conflicts. Well, except for Finé, but I wouldn't be surprised if she was the founder of said organization.
-Elfnein says that the information Maria got may make it possible for them to track the movements of the Illuminati, though Ogawa admits that there were hints of their existence but they never found anything concrete before. But thanks to Maria, they were able to uncover a new lead. Ogawa presents them a picture of Alca-Noise, located in an unstable Latin American country under military rule. And that country? The next image tells us the location. It's Val Verde, a place Chris knows all too well. Genjuro tells the girls that they will head to that location and commence operations as soon as they arrive, for they're going to have a busy schedule once there. There will be no time for sightseeing, but Genjuro wouldn't mind if you take a couple of pictures.
-As we transition to the present, Hibiki looks over at Chris, still concerned for her co-worker, since Val Verde has a lot of bad memories for her. It's probably taking a lot of effort on Chris' part that she doesn't begin carpet bombing the country to the ground. As the girls return to HQ, they start cooling things off by taking a shower. Because all important conversations happen in there.
-Maria says that, though S.O.N.G. is a unite directly under UN control, officially, they're not allowed to engage in military intervention. Tsubasa adds that, then heretical technology is involved, they have no choice but to enter the fray. Chris, however, is fuming at the thought of the military using Alca-Noise. I suspect the steam isn't coming from the shower but from her. Kiri and Shirabe wished they were of more use, but apparently a lack if LiNKER is still an issue with them. Turns out, they only got one shot left, so they need to save it for when the time is right. I thought Dr. Ver gave you guys the formula to make more?
-But Hibiki isn't going to let this go without comment. As Kiri leaves her shower stall, Hibiki goes up to her, grabs her by the hand and tells heriot to worry, for she doesn't need LiNKER or a Gear to be useful. After all, they saved hte helicopter all by themselves and she thanks them. Kiri, however, is blushing, saying that this is kind of embarrassing. Shirabe appears to be getting a little jealous as she stares right through Kiri. Apparently Kiri is trying to avoid looking at Hibiki's mostly naked body. I can't imagine why.
-Chris, however, is still fuming, thinking back to the last time she was here, cursing her own memories. Damn them! Who said they could invade her mind! You need to pay the appropriate taxes and fill out the required paperwork for that. This is also our hallway mark as we see the new logo for this season.
-When we come back, we're back on the command deck as Genjuro tells the SDRTST girls that they located another military installation and provides details for their mission. ON the big screen, we see a couple of buildings, a map to the destination, and a guy pushing a barrel that has the radioactive symbol on it. It's a chemical weapons plant, so it needs to be dealt with post haste. He tells the girls the they'll be following the river to the facility upstream. Once there, they will suppress all combatant while minimizing collateral damage. This is probably why Chris will be staying as far away from the camp site as possible, because she tends to have this issue with collateral damage.
-As we cut to the girls being taking to the mission site by Ogawa, Chris recalls her memories of Val Verde. She sees her parents buried under some rubble as she tries to get to them, but another girl named Sonya stops her. Perhaps a family friend or something? Unless she dies in a flashback we'll probably see her soon. Anyway, Young Chris still wants to get to her parents but Sonya won't let her, so the young Chris turns to the older girl and says that this is all her fault. This causes Sonya to tear up as present Chris appears to regret those words. In the present, Tsubasa asks her junior if she's remembering the past, but Chris plays it off coolly, saying that, yes, she is thinking about the past, but it's all behind her now. She was able to repeal the invasion thanks to pointing out the lack of proper paperwork to those memories.
-Tsubasa doesn't appear to be convinced, but she decides to let it go. However, she does remind Chris that she doesn't have to talk about it, just to focus on what's in front of her. But before she can say more, a light flashes their way as we see a vehicle ghosting the boat, attacking them. Looks like the operation is beginning now. With that, Hibiki leaps off the boat and sings her activation key, leading to a new transformation sequence for the Gungnir user. It appears to be faster than usual, too.
-After transforming, Hibiki punches the car, sending it flying a few yard, and after a moment, nothing happens. I honestly expected it to explode. But it lands in front of the camp, which turns on the spotlights in response. More Alca-Noise are summoned as Chris and Tsubasa join in the battle. As the camp reacts to the battle, we see the girls blasting their way through the Alca-Noise. Tsubasa takes some time out of her busy Alca-Noise killing schedule to disarm a few soldiers before getting back to work. Then we see Chris summon a large bow and fire a large arrow at some Banana looking Alca-Noise. No, seriously, these things look like walking Bananas. Truly, the end of the world is upon us.
-Good thing we have Chris here to stop the Banana Apocalypse as her arrow cuts right through them. Of course, this causes collateral damage as a stone pillar begins to fall and is about to crush a young boy until Hibiki gets in and rescues the kid. I think you won a new admirer, Hibiki. Inside the camp, the officer in charge plans to blow it up by summoning a large Alca-Noise that can summon it's own Alca-Noise. Even the soldiers are like "screw this! I want to live!" and flee. And this is why you don't use abominations from beyond the veil to be used with your own mooks. They just kill the people who they're suppose to work with.
-So a few of the enemy soldiers are killed as a result, but Tsubasa intervenes to save a couple, commenting on the Alca-Noise being unable to tell friend from foe. Yeah, Chris isn't going to let that slide at all as she uses her giant bow and arrow to take out the big guy with a skill called Arthemis Capture. I honestly thought they mean to use Artemis, since it would be fitting, but no, it really is Arthemis. It's the name of a power metal/heavy metal band from Italy. So, of course, the Death Metal Got Magical Girl would have an attack named after a heavy metal band. What universe does she think she's in, the Guilty Gear universe? Huh. Actually, that would make a whole lot of sense if that was true.
-Though the attack by itself isn't enough, so Tsubasa compliments the attack with her own skill, Soaring Phoenix Blade. But with one threat dealt with, another appears in the form of a buzzsaw UFO looking Alca-Noise. Even the soldiers are like "that is a bad thing". Hibiki realizes there's little time to waste as she begins to power up, though apparently she can use her scarf as a weapon now and uses it to cut through some more Alca-Noise. That I have no issues with since we saw a previous Gungnir user, Maria, doing the same thing with her cape when she used it. Or at least, it looks like that's what was happening.
-After clearing the road, Hibiki lines up her punch and starts charging up. Realizing what is happening, the UFO Alca-Noise goes into overdrive to try and reach the target faster. But it isn't fast enough as Hibiki intercepts it, destroying the Alca-Noise before it could connect. And this is why you should immediately surrender when you see a small group of power armored Magical Girls coming your way.
-But it appears the leader of Val Verde isn't doing that. In an abandoned theater, the leader's bodyguards tell him that they have a decoy plane at Escalon Airport, so that he has a means of escape. But the leader tells them it isn't necessary, for as long as the ousted regime's Dyciphine Barrier stands, then this is the safest place in the country. That's when a voice calls out, asking if what they were trying to hide was here all along. The men look up to see three ladies standing at the windows, looking down on them.
-One girl, who actually looks a bit like Relena from Gundam Wing, tells them that they tried looking through their military facilities first. The second girl, who looks like a younger Yomiko from Read or Die, adds that their plan to use S.O.N.G. to wreck their secret gardens worked out nicely. She also appears to have a toad with a head ornament because... I'm sure we'll find out soon enough. The third girl, who is rocking the blue hair, does a little dance and thanks El Presidente to guiding them here. El Presidente stands up and appears to call them by name. And if we go by the order, Relena is named Saint-Germain, Yomiko is named Prelati, and blue-haired girl is named Cagliostro. Two of the three are based off of Italian people, one an associate of Gilles de Rais who assisted him with his murders, while Saint-Germain and Cagliostro were figures to have been known or were involved in magic in some fashion. All three were real people. If these are code names, somebody better have talked to Prelati about hers.
-But yeah, our new rivals everybody1 Prelati brings up her frog and tells El Presidente that, while he's here, they'll make him useful one more time. So the girls being to sing, which can never be a good sign, as one of the officers asks El Presidente who they are. Apparently, they're Alchemist from the Pavarian Illuminati. They were also the ones who provided them with the heretical technology. Yeah, that's great, but why are you all just standing around when you know bad things about about to happen? Though the reason they haven't started running is that El Presidente has a mark of the Pavarian Illuminati and says that they would lead those that bear the mark alone. He pleads with the girls to fend off the UN, but they continue to sing. They have to finish up their song first before they do anything else.
-Though the reason for that is simple. Once the song ends, the mark begins to glow, and soon enough, the soldiers begin to disintegrate and fade into specks of light, all forming together to form something. Even El Presidente suffers this fate, though he admits that it feels good. That was something I didn't need to know. Anyway, the lights gather into a gem in Saint-Germain's hands. She then gives the number 73,788. The number of particles? Souls? What could that mean?
-Inside of the opera house we see that Aoi, Sakuya and some other Men in Black are there. Aoi is taking point as Sakuya is checking out hte barrier surrounding the opera house. He wonders if this barrier is blocking the signals. He comments that it's quite the base of operations, and would probably explain why El Presidente felt confident that they were protected there. Too bad it didn't work against whatever magic these new girls had. Speaking of, we see them opening up a secret door leading deeper into the opera house. When out of view, Aoi orders them to move forward, though Sakuya thinks they should wait. You think Aoi is going to waste any time while she's on the field? You are wrong, sir!
-Back at the chemical weapons camp, Tsubasa notes that the commanders got away, but Hibiki apparently has somebody who saw them. It's the kid who Hibiki rescued earlier. He tells the girls that the director left in a car and might be hiding in the village close by. She asks who the kid is, so he introduces himself as Stefan, then adds that hey were dragged here from the village to work. Chris is ready to go now, because she isn't in the mood to allow for anything that happened to her happen again.
-Back at the opera house, we see the Illuminati girls revealing a crystal shell that appears to be containing another girl in it. Aoi and the MIB are watching from afar and just gathering data, but unfortunately, Sakuya's laptop says that the scanning has bene completed and beeps very loudly to signal that. Why didn't you put that thing on vibrate, Sakuya? With their position compromised, Aoi orders a retreat. Cagliostro is about to attack with her own magic, but Saint-Germain stops her. She looks over to an object and says that this will make the perfect experiment. And why don't they grant El Presidente's last wish while they're at it. She reveals the gem of their life energy, saying they'll use it and instill it into this spirit of wrath, which looks like a demonic statute. Which then rises out of the opera house like a dragon, because it looks like one, and chases after the support team, eating up one car of MIB soldiers. And to think, one of them was looking for a promotion to get themselves out of the field.
-Genjuro tells them that the Gear wielders are busy and can't provide support, so they need to lose this thing, even if it kills them. Uh, I don't think that's the kind of prep talk you want to give to your staff, Commander. The second car is then eaten up, leaving only Aoi and Sakuya let. Aoi makes an impressive dodge maneuver to avoid the initial attack, but the dragon creature comes out from the ground, knocking the car over, leaving them at the mercy of the Illuminati. Saint-Germain says that this makes 73,794, then adds that their lives will yah the foundation for a new world order. I will be very disappointed if Aoi and Sakuya do not make it out of this alive.
-We see them exit out of the car, but it's not looking good for them. As they face what appears to be their final moments, an activation key is song nearby. This catches the Illuminati off guard as they try to find the source, but sudden, a truck rams into the dragon creature, exploding, but from it comes three other S.O.N.G. magical girls. Yup, Kiri, Maria, and Shirabe are here to save the day! And that is where we end our episode, as well as getting the episode title.
-Tonight's episode was titled Val Verde Hell Screen. That sounds like a terrible episode name, and one the doesn't make sense, either. We also get our title of the series, Symphogear AXZ, and a new sub-title, "By shedding many tears, the reality you face is...", so it looks like we have a new sentence starting here.
So we have a new set of villains who are members of a secret society that were apparently involved in the events in G and GX. They may have been involved in the first season, as well, though it depends on how closely related they are to Finé. This also explains why the Alca-Noise are still a thing. Apparently they assisted Carol with her plans, though now the question is, who made the Alca-Noise first?
The names for the Illuminati girls are also an interesting fit. Each named after somebody who claims to have been involved or was involved with somebody involved with magic. Though Saint Germain always claimed to be centuries old, I would not be surprise to see this one claim that she was the original, because why not?
I suspect Chris will be taking a more center stage to the story this season, since we're back in Val Verde and that this place has some rather tough memories for her. We also get one in the form of Kiri and shire only having one shot of LiNKER left, though how much that applies to Maria is kind of up in the air, but unless told otherwise I'll assume it's the same for her. I didn't expect them to fire off that gun so fast, but given how things don't stay permanent in this series it's unlikely that they will stay on the sidelines or very long.
And it looks like S.O.N.G. is being used an active peacekeeping force, but only when Alca-Noise are involved, since they can easily dispatch them with ease. And it's also shown that conventional weapons don't appear to have any effects on the girls in their Gear forms, either. But since they want to keep a good image and keep their hands clean, they're only allowed to engage with Alca-Noise and not regular soldiers. Good call there.
So far the first episode is looking good. Hopefully we won't have any of the issues from GX popping up here. But apparently AXZ has been better received, so that makes me hopeful for me. And hopefully things will keep up as we come back on Sunday for another episode.
Until next time, remember, when making an aerial assault on a military installation, always use your ninja comrade to fly you in on a kite. Their radar will never see you coming.
4 days agoCaButler
So Player Unknown Battleground game out on the Xbox One today. I know it's been on the PC for a while but I don't think my system can handle it.
Anyway, played one match so far, and while I ranked 63 out of 99, I did get a kill in. Granted, I did so all sneaky like by shooting them in the back, but isn't that what PUBG is all about?
Also, in case you care, I posted up some new images of Cute Mash being cute.
6 days agoCaButler
The Christmas journey has come to an end, so now all that's left is to wait for London, which is next week. So if you haven't completed the story quests, better get on it as they're all half AP. Also, there's rate up summon banners for the previously released servants if you want to go for them. I'm planning to save my Quartz for Saberwars, which is expected sometime in January, if things go as is.
Of course, that means some screen shots to finish up the Christmas fun.
I think Alter was expecting somebody else.
MC doing what they do best. Calling out the insanity.
Granted, he must have a good credit rating to be a buyer.
That's Caesar for you.
Can't imagine why.
Santa Alter has had enough of Fake Santa's crap.
Santa Alter's throne is made of the blood of Pine Trees. So, basically, sap.
He'll forever be Mr. Igloo to me now.
Well, technically, it wasn't really his fault to begin with. He just sucked at the job.
Santa Alter is such a Tsundere.
But with Fake Santa dealt with, it's time to finish off this night in the most proper way possible...
Seriously, can we have an Odin Expy next time? That would be awesome.
Not the worst thing I've heard during this event.
I was kind of taken here against my will. I wonder why Mash hasn't tried to find me yet?
Santa Alter is very protective of her reindeer, who she kidnapped and forced them to work against their will.
Santa is in rare form for this final night.
I don't think that qualifies you as a real Santa.
Did I mention the kidnapping?
Oh, right, if you haven't played Saber Alter's interlude, you wouldn't find out that she has a bit of a rivalry going with Jeanne Alter.
Can you not drag me into your bloody rivalries?
Why would I not be surprised if that was the case?
Another thing I wouldn't be surprised about.
What's with all the kidnapping? When did Christmas become all about kidnapping people?
One turn later...
And people wonder why it isn't fun to play Monopoly?
At least, not as a Ruler.
We have free cake.
These Alter's sure are emotional.
D'aww, Santa Alter is having a moment with...
...Right, spoke too soon there. So the MC only has two responses to this:
They're proving my point.
That sounds like a worst time than playing Monopoly with several versions of the priest that burned you alive.
Only if I get to be the top hat.
But she's clearly insane if she thinks that playing Monopoly on Christmas is fun.
Will she be forced to be a reindeer for a tyrant on Christmas?
It's fire, isn't it?
...There has to be a trick here.
Maybe next year, Jeanne Alter.
...Yes, I did not notice those things at all.
It isn't unoccupied if Senpai was in it.
I think my kidnapping broke Mash. But I'm sure she'll get over it just in time for London.
And now, as your reward, you get your very own Santa Alter!
She is quite pretty. But is she Mash in a leather miniskirt pretty?
You be the judge.
1 week agoCaButler
Hello everybody and welcome to our seasonal wrap up of Symphogear GX. Well, I call it a seasonal wrap up, but that's not really what I'll be doing here in this posting.
Now, if you've been to my other WIW threads, you typically know how it goes. When a season ends I basically wrap things up with the good, the bad, the ugly, and generally make a review about it. And if you've been with me that long, then let me apologize in advance for how terrible I've been at this. I'm getting better... maybe... hopefully.
Anyway, I'm not doing a seasonal wrap up in the traditional sense here for GX, because I've made it pretty well known during the posts that I'm not a big fan of GX. There were, to me, a lot of questionable decisions that were made, with a lot of stuff being mentioned almost in passing, only to have a payoff later with virtually no lead in. And really, nobody wants to read all about that again, so I won't. Instead, having been recently inspired to do this, I thought I'd try my hand at something else.
Basically, how would I fix the season that is Symphogear GX. Insert your own theme here. But essentially, if, by some weird stroke of luck or insanity, if I was put in charge of GX, what would I do or change instead of what actually happened here. You're free to play along, if you want, but this is my thoughts on it as a whole. So, there's no sense in dragging this out any longer, let's discuss what I would change to make GX better.
I should add that there is one ground rule I'm keeping here. Everything that happened in the first and second seasons remains. I am not changing anything there to fit the needs for what I'm doing in GX. Yes, it would be interesting to see how Hibiki would react to only having one arm, but that can be for another time. We're only discussing GX here.
First things first, I can understand wanting to make your season villain look powerful compared to your previous season villains, in order to give the heroes something to fight and overcome, as well as an excuse to upgrade their powers to combat said villain. I am fine with that and wouldn't mind keeping it. What I do mind is the fact that they made this a big deal and really didn't do much from it aside from giving the girls a black version of their own Gears, which gave them some immunity against the new threat, but the way they did it just seem mean or unnecessary. Though a lot of the problem is that the show gave us scenes of the relics being destroyed, but the show saying "It's okay, they only destroyed something else and not the whole thing." Yeah, no, we're going to do something more with that.
In this case, I would not have all of the girl's enter a battle where they lose their relics, or are informed that they are destroyed. It becomes a moot point later on, but I feel that it loses the impact of such a major transition. So, except for one character, the relics are not destroyed. Of course, we still need a sacrificial lamb to show how dangerous the new villains are, but doing this means that it would need to have a major impact on the character, making them question their own identity and purpose in life. The person I would select for this is... Hibiki.
And if you think about it, this would make the most sense. Hibiki tends to be the go-to person as she's considered special, being able to channel the power of the other girls into herself, as well as being the one who initiates the X-Drive modes for the other girls. Taking her out of the picture early on will have a major impact on this, and perhaps, a major impact on the dynamic of the core group. Now, most of the plot with needing to upgrade the relics remain the same, only without the need to do this with everybody else, so while they get beaten early on, nobody has to lose their relics.
For Hibiki, it would need to be rather devastating. She'll hide it, of course, with her smiles like she always does, but this should start to eat at her slowly when she sees her friends go off to risk their lives while she's forced to stay behind and watch. She would start to feel alone again, like she did during the time between the Zwei Wing incident and the start of the series. She'll put on the brave face, but she'll be hurting rather badly, because her own heroic persona pushes her to want to help, but given how long she's had her powers, she starts to feel rather useless. Which can lead back with her own personal arc that she had this season.
And yes, I want to change that, as well. First, we're dropping the father entirely. We don't need to kill him off or say he died or anything like that, but he's essentially a non-factor here, since he wasn't much of one in GX. It was just so random, really. Instead, the personal arc will remain with the family, but would be related to Hibiki's mother instead. Based on her flashback scene, we'll have her come off as being overprotective of Hibiki, since she nearly lost her once and would rather not risk losing her again. So her finding out that she is a Gear Wielder will make her freak out, since she would have recognized her from the broadcast back in G.
This way, we get Hibiki's mother involved while keeping the connection personal for our lead heroine. To start, after losing her Gear at the second or third episode, either Hibiki or her mother will reach out to the other and have a talk about it. We'll keep it brief though, but we'll make their stances clear. Hibiki wants to stay, even if she can't do much of anything, while her mother will want her to come back home, away from all the danger she surrounds herself with. It'll be back and forward like this for a while, but we'll make it clear that Hibiki's mother is scared of losing her child, as she almost did once before, and doesn't want to go through that again. She'll recall all the threats and notes, but for her, nothing is worse than losing a child. We can even throw in a scene where somebody gives her an angry comment and she just blasts back at said person, to show that she isn't intimated by these threats.
However, even she will have a breaking point, and in one case, Hibiki will allow herself to get involved in a fight, if only to help with the evacuation, and will find herself severely injured. At this point, Mom will have enough and force a confrontation with Genjuro, about her concerns for Hibiki, how he seems to be letting her do what she wants without any real supervision, or the fact that he allowed this young girl to fight abomination from beyond the veil because of some vague requirement. This way, we give Genjuro something to do, because it seemed like all he did for this season is just sit around and not much else. In the previous seasons, he was active, so I would like to see him get more to do, even if it's outside his role with S.O.N.G.
This will, of course, all come to a head late in the season. With Genjuro's urging, Hibiki and her Mother will have a long talk about their own feelings on the matter, coming to understand the other's viewpoint. For Hibiki, she understands that her Mother was also putting on a brave face, but was worried about losing her only child, while Mom will understand that Hibiki will always have that need to save other people, because it's in her nature, something that she did well before the Zwei Wing incident. They will reconcile, and with her blessing, Hibiki will be allowed to fight once more.
And that's because we're going to give her a new relic. Yes, we're not giving her back Gungnir. That relic will be completely destroyed with no chance of recovery. Instead, she'll get a relic that Genjuro picked personally, because he thought it would best fit Hibiki's heroic and noble spirit. Now, we can think of any number of different relics to give her, but for me, I think the relic we would give her should be Rhongomyniad, King Arthur's spear. This way, you could keep Hibiki's fighting style, and perhaps her outfit, but change out the powerset, giving her access to new powers and abilities. Now, as for why she would be just as compatible with this relic like with Gungnir, we can handwave it as due to her connection with Gungnir and how, as a final act, helped Hibiki with her new relic. This allows her to rejoin the fight, and having a new power to draw on, gives her a distinct advantage against the villain of GX. We'll still need to do the X-Drive, though, but it'll be hard to do since Gungnir could channel that power, but Rhongomyniad wouldn't have that same capability, so Maria would have to help provide the link, but Hibiki can still be central in making that happen.
I've spent a bit longer on Hibiki than I would have liked, so let's talk about the other girls. First, we'll talk about Tsubasa. We had something interesting about her own backstory show up here that was only briefly talked about in the one episode it came up in. I would expand that into an arc of it's own while keeping the central theme regarding familial bonds. Would it matter that Tsubasa's father isn't really her father? In the end, it should be no, but we should stretch that out to a few episodes. While this could focus more on Yatsuhiro and his lingering rage, we can give him flashbacks on where he directs that rage against, since it's clear in the present that he doesn't direct it against Tsubasa anymore. We can keep the same resolution, as it gives Tsubasa the extra moral boost needed for her increased power, but this type of thing shouldn't be a one and done episode.
As for the actual arc itself, I wouldn't change how it came about. Yes, I know, one might argue that making Tsubasa adopted would be less terrible, but to be completely honest, I feel like that would lessen the impact of the story arc itself. As much as we would like to change it, I say we keep it as is, that Tsubasa's grandfather, in the need to keep the family bloodline pure, impregnates her mother, who was Yatsuhiro's wife at the time, and making that whole mess happen. The reason for that is so that, in flashbacks, we can see Yatsuhiro's rage over this "betrayal", but that overtime, he's decide to look passed all of that, to see Tsubasa as his daughter, even if he isn't her father. For Tsubasa, while she claims to have accepted the whole situation, it should become apparent that it has warped her personality. However, after learning of Yatsuhiro's true reason for his cold exterior to her, as well as the honest, fatherly love he feels, this makes her think about those happier times with a warmer feeling, allowing for her to take her steps towards a better life with her father. While she will never forget or forgive her Grandfather, she can instead begin to reconcile with Yatsuhiro, who she sees as her real father, and resume that relationship once more.
I don't want to keep this going for much longer, so aside from Carol's arc, which is going to be important for her, so that has to remain, there's only one more arc I would include here. And the person who gets that arc is going to be Maria. For me, at least, her arc in GX had something that lead up to her pay off, where she was able to use her upgraded Gear, as well as being able to use a Gear that wasn't suited for her. That said, I feel like we need to include Kiri and Shirabe with her own arc. Mainly, despite wanting to change, Maria feels immensely guilty over dragging those two into her mess and how she feels like she's a failure of a surrogate older sister to the two girls. The payoff is at the beach, where Maria is helping Elfnein with her serves, feeling more like the surrogate older sister she wants to be. This will help her more with Kiri and Shirabe, and help them out with their problems.
And as much as I would like to look more at that relationship, as we already had a friendship straining moment back in season one, I'm fine with keeping Kiri and Shirabe's situation to one episode. Maybe two, if we feel like stretching things out, but I'm assuming I have a thirteen episode season to work with and I just don't have the time for that, unfortunately. The same with Chris, but I feel like her "Oh, I have to look good as the senior to these girls" just doesn't work as well for me as well as it could be for Maria. For Chris, I would say her insecurities of being a former enemy pop up again when Elfnein appears, and you could have her be initially distrustful of the girl at first until some incident or event proves to her that Elfnein is on the level with them.
Now let's talk about the villains. They were rather disappointing here, with the four Autoscorers not really getting much of time or personality. All we really gathered was that Micha was the child-like one, Garie was the Gothic Lolita, Leiur was the flashy one, and Phara was... uh, what was her deal again? I mean, she had wind powers but that's really all I could recall about her. She only appeared in the first couple of episodes and disappeared for a while.
You see what I mean about the villains. They were unremarkable and, honestly, underutilized. To correct this, we would need to do one of two things. First, we scrap the Autoscorers all together. This way, we keep the focus on Carol. Granted, part of her plan requires her to sacrifice her Autoscorers to die, but we can replace that with homunculus versions of herself. You keep the one character, but have them disposable as necessary. This can work out with Elfnein in being one that grew more of a conscious and defected, though it was technically part of the plan. This can also make Carol more evil as a villain, or require more pity, when she sees herself as disposable to the grand scheme of things.
The second thing we can do with the Autoscorers is keep them as is, but make them representations of Carol's personalty, or one aspect of her personality that speaks more of her. Just as an example, you could say that Garie is her cunning, Leiur is her ego, Micha is her child self, and Phara could be her mischievous personalities. Each one, aside from Micha, generally considered a negative trait. And as they are extensions of Carol's own personality, it would give us a better look at her overall. Granted, her whole plot is all about revenge, which is fine as far as motives go, but the fact that she has to delude herself to proceed with the plan, even though other parts of her, like Elfnein, are trying to tell her that this is the wrong path.
I don't think there's much else I would change aside from this. The Autoscorers still get killed as that's part of the plan, the big fight happens as is, with the newly powered Hibiki leading the charge, showing off her brand new power set to the team. Elfnein remains fatally injured, but Carol, in her last act of compassion, the last bit of her that remains, gives her life to save the one she looked down upon and used as a tool. Which leads us to AXZ and whatever happened there.
And that's about all I have on what I would do if I was in charge of GX, which just goes to show you why I should never be put in charge of anything as I'll just make it worse somehow. Thank you for letting me indulge myself a bit here, because honestly, what hurts the most is that GX had a lot of potential that ended up being squandered away because either the show runners thought they had more time or they didn't want to drop anything, resulting in things getting compressed and coming with something that feels rather rushed. It tells the story fine enough, but unlike the other seasons where everybody had natural feeling growth, GX just felt too rushed, wanting to get to the payoff for things that never really occurred. Hopefully things get better with AXZ.
At the time of this posting, AXZ has not let been licensed by Crunchyroll or anybody else, so there's no official streaming service offering the series here in the States. Which means, if I were to continue with AXZ, I'll be taking to the high seas to take care of that. Though that may lead to a schedule change, depending on my source.
But no matter what, tune in on Friday as we take a look at the first episode of Symphogear AXZ. Until next time.
1 week agoCaButler
Hello everybody and welcome to our season finale of Symphogear GX. Let's not waste any more time and get right into it.
-Our episode begins where we left off, with Hibiki taking on Carol's attack, creating the Rainbow Tornado that clears part of the sky, allowing the sun to break through, if only for a moment. And from there, like angels descending from heaven, are the S.O.N.G. girls, transformed into their X-Drive modes. And you think I might think I'm a little heavy handed with the comparison, but the panning shot of the group shows that they all have angel wings. Though you could make an argument for Kiri, but her's are on her head, so she still counts.
-HQ is shocked to see this, because it's never a thing that gets old, as Elfnein calls it the shape of a miracle before passing out and totally not dying on us. Because that would be a cruel fate to bestow on this girl, and we're well passed the dark half of season one, so no unnecessary deaths!
-Tonight's episode is titled Believe in Justice, and Hold It Close. Of course, while we're skilling the opening intro, we still need to have the banner for our sponsors, though the song they play here is something out of a western. I would have said Wild ARMS, but as those are essentially westerns, it still applies. Anyway, back in HQ Elfnein is having trouble breathing as Papa Tachibana continues to cradle the young girl in his arms. He sees her tearing up, which apparently confuses him. A young girl crying? What sorcery is this?
-At the battle, Maria notes that they have Carol outnumbered, but Tsubasa reminds her that she's the final boss, so numbers won't matter much here. Chris, however, believes they have the advantage since they're in the X-Drive modes, which gives them a huge boost in power. Carol, however, is unimpressed. She doesn't think that them wielding a miracle would be enough to defeat her, but Shirabe argues otherwise. They created this power together, with Kiri saying that "miracle" fails to describe what they've done. Yup, that's exactly what Carol is going to call it, just to make sure it's degraded a bit.
-Carol goes on to explain that, for her, when her father saved the village from a plague, the "foolish" villagers called his work a miracle. And his reward for creating a miracle was to be burned at the stake for heresy. You do one nice thing for somebody and they just throw it back in your face. Some people, man. Carol then goes on to explain that she used the Château de Tiffauges to lift the veil over reality's fundamental principles and record them as part of her task to complete the Apocalypse of All things. You know, she keeps saying that, but wouldn't saying that mean that you're planning to destroy the universe and not just a planet?
-However, thanks to a bunch of meddling kids, Carol can't perform her self-appointed task anymore. Hibiki notes that Carol is crying, and we do see tears welling up in her eyes, but Carol says that miracles are the true plague, like the one that struck her village. And that's why she said that she would destroy them, like she said in episode one. And that's why she refuses to lose to someone wielding a miracle! She summons a lot more Alca-Noise, including some Metroid looking ones, and floods the streets of Tokyo with them. Even without the Château, HQ notes that she's planning to use all the Alca-Noise she has to destroy the world. Ogawa, however, is upset because it means they're in the final battle stage so there's nothing they can really do at this point. Like that stopped you last season, or the season before that!
-That's when Papa Tachibana calls out to Hibiki, telling her that Elfnein is crying. That's when she looks at Carol and comes to a realization about the two. She relaxes her guard a bit, saying that if a child is crying, you have to reach out your hand to them. Though Carol is having a bit of a temper tantrum, she has her Alca-Noise attack and destroy everything around her. You know, if they were still being secretive, they could have claimed this was part of a film shoot for the new Super Sentai series.
-But this destruction Hibiki can't let go, so she gets the other girls to deal with the Alca-Noise. Chris is excited, because she is the blood knight of the group, but in case you don't get it, Maria explains while drawing a sword out from her chest. Seems like somebody really wants to do a remake of Revolutionary Girl Utena.Though I could never see Maria being the Rose Bride. Anyway, they're going to take out the Alca-Noise individually before dealing with the final boss proper. There is an order to these things, after all.
-Hibiki takes over singing duties, summoning her Armed Gear, Gungnir proper, on her arm as she rockets her way through the Alca-Noise. then we have Kiri and Shirabe commenting on Carol, how she kept struggling to change things, but I'm actually a bit distracted by that because it looks like the girls are operating some sort of control scheme, which I found rather odd, until I see why. And I understand that this show tends to do a lot of oddball things, but usually, while some things are over the top, they're at least limiting themselves from being too out there. Shirabe's mecha expansion of her Gear is probably the most unusual, but as that's just an extension of her own Gear, so I can justify that. But this? This!?
-What in the actual fuck is going on here? How is it that Kiri and Shirabe were able to form their Gears into this UFO Shear Cutting Machine of Death? How is that a thing? Why is this a thing I'm asking in a show that features power armored magical girls that are able to travel into the upper levels of the Atmosphere to do battle with an abomination and trap said abomination in another dimension filled with other abominations? How!? How!? And I get the idea that this is suppose to be cool or something, but honestly, I think it looks terrible, to be honest. It basically comes out of nowhere and with no possible hints that Gears can be used in this way. I just... I just... my brain is hurting.
-Anyway, what's going on? Right, the battle for the planet. Before being distracted by the KiriShirabe Flying UFO Death Machine, the FIS girls mention that Carol is just like them. She was oppressed, downtrodden, but she kept struggling, trying to change things. The only difference between them and her is that she was alone. Chris feels the same way, being a former villain herself, and remarks that she has to save her, since she was saved, too. And yes, Chris basically acting like a mobile battle station isn't as off-putting, because we've seen her do that before in her normal form, so it only makes sense that she can do that here. I'm more forgiving about something things if they're just an upgrade of previously existing things that we've seen before.
-Tsubasa gets in, as well, saying that she'll wield her miracle and keep rising, no matter what. Hibiki finishes it off by saying the they'll sing a song in this warring sky. As the girls clear the sky of Alca-Noise, Maria takes over the next verse. Oh, and the song is being translated, so you don't take a drink here. We then see Kiri and Shirabe flying they're combined Gear UFO of Death before splitting off, but we're finishing this off with a huge bang. Quite literally, as this part of Tokyo lights up. Those Construction firms are going to be very busy in the next couple of months with all the repairs that need to be done.
-At HQ, Ogawa believes that they can win thanks to the X-Drive, but Genjuro, who keeps his head in the game at all times, notes that Carol's phonic gain is just as strong. And we see that Carol hasn't just been spending her time just idling about. She was charging up her alchemy for a massive spell. Hibiki notes that the Alca-Noise were just a distraction to build up this magic. Chris wonders if Carol plans to burn every last memory she has for this one spell? And this is taking a toll on the alchemist, as we see her tears have been replaced by blood. She plans to destroy everything, the world, the miracles, even her memories. She unleashes a burst of energy, signaling that she's about to unleash her spell. Maria swore to save Carol, so with Tsubasa's help, they're going to try to clear a path. They link up together to form a corkscrew attack, but I just need to say this, really. What in the hell is going on with this episode?
-Look, I can understand that Symphogear can be a fan service heavy show at times, and I have come to accept that (not that I complain about fan service, mind you), but even then, I have to wonder what goes through the minds of these writers and animators about where they placed their fan service shots. And this is the example I'm using. As Maria and Tsubasa are combining their attack, they have to get very close to one another, body to body. The show apparently decided that now is as good as time as any for a fan service shot by getting a close up of the two girl's chests bouncing against each other for this attack. Which makes me ask, yet again, is now the time for such a thing? I almost call it worse than the KiriShirabe UFO Death Machine, but then I remember that one thing makes more sense than the other so I'm slightly more forgiving of this. Slightly.
-Anway, Maria and Tsubasa do their dual attack, but Carol blocks and repels the attack. So much for that combination. But Carol doesn't waste any additional time. Instead, she uses her harp strings to create... a giant lion mech. Show, you know I was joking earlier about the Super Sentai thing, right? Though I could argue that Carol just happened to make this more as a means to protect herself than anything else. Carol plans to return everything to the void, but seems like she doesn't care about anything else anymore. She feels that if she doesn't try to destroy everything, then the ache beneath her belly won't stop. Yeah, I don't think I like the implication she's making there.
-Mecha Lion attacks, causing the girls to scatter and avoid the attack, which does some good damage on it's own. Chris is rather overwhelmed by the display of power, but Kiri and Shirabe are going to let a little thing like that stop them. They go for a direct attack, but the damage they do is negligible at most. Maria notes that they need to focus their fire if they want to break through. Tsubasa suggests gathering their X-Drive energy into their Armed Gears and push through. Shirabe admits it's a risk, but it is their most powerful attack, and one they can do. Chris tells the younger girls to make their banter later as another attack is in bound. Looks like Carol decided for a Macross Missile attack instead of a fire attack, but she didn't count on Hibiki to come in and tank the attack to allow the others to combine their strength. Geez, I wonder what they're setting up here?
-We see the other five girls shed their armor and combine their Gears for one massive attack on the Lion Mecha, hitting it directly and breaking through the defenses, revealing Carol, who smugly says that they were one Armed Gear short. But thats when she sees that the attack isn't done yet. The girls are combining more of their energy into one Armed Gear, and that is Gungnir. And suddenly, Hibiki has claws. Yeah, Carol won't let this stand, so she directly attacks Hibiki. However, as shown before, Hibiki is the tank of this group, but in this case, the combined power changed her Gear into something that looks like a giant mecha arm, which is able to block and possibly absorb Carol's attack. Yeah, Carol is looking worried now, but she keeps up her bravado and threatens to flatten Hibiki like a pillow. A bit weird since pillows aren't exactly flat. They're more fluffy than anything else.
-Unfortunate for Carol, she gets hit with a rejection pain at just that moment. She gets flashbacks of her happier times with her father, making her think that those memories are trying to stop her. But she pushes past that, saying that she doesn't need memories that will defy her. She'll burn them all and turn it into power, which is symbolized by the image of the smiling father being burned away. This girl needs so many therapy sessions. So she uses Lion Mecha to prepare to attack, so Hibiki responds by changing up her giant mecha rocket arm into a giant energy mecha rocket arm. Why is it easier for me to accept this than the KiriShiriabe UFO Death Machine?
-Carol's Lion Mecah fires as Hibiki charges at it, attacking the attack head on. Not out of character for our head strong tank. But Tsubasa thinks she needs a boost, so she and the other girls start giving her more power. Of course, they say the name of their Gears, because you might need to be reminded of it, but the extra burst is enough to give her the power she needs to break through, using a skill called... I honestly have no idea. The front being used, along with the angle and the background color, make the first word very difficult to read. I can make out the second word, Break, easily enough, but not the first. So I'm just going to call it the Combined Energy Rocket Punch of Friendship.
-The attack nails Lion Mecha, causing Carol to smile. How odd. As the Lion Mecha starts to float up in the sky, it begins to produce energy from it's body. HQ, watching the fight take place, note that the energy's lost its outlet and is going out of control. They attempt to estimate the damage to the city, but Aoi points out that they have sexy seconds until the energy reaches criticality. And apparently my spell check didn't correct that. I didn't think you could use that kind of word. As for the damage, the surrounding twelve kilometers will be caught in the explosion, and any buildings within three kilometers will be badly damaged. For us that still use the Imperial System, that's approximately 7.5 and 1.8 miles, respectively. Not a small scale by any stretch. As if Tokyo needs these kinds of things to happen.
-Carol, however, is happy. She's going to show them a truth they will never forget. That, in this world, songs can't save anything. But she forget that she's deal with Hibiki, who tends to have an antagonistic relationship with "impossible" and "giving up." If she has to, she'll draw on another miracle, but Carol calls miracles "curses". All they do is kill those who cling to them. And the Lion Mecha starts exploding as Aoi tells us that there are twenty seconds left. Suddenly, Carol, back in her younger form, is blowing out of the Lion Mecha, losing her long hair in the process. Hibiki prioritizes her and makes a grab for her. She calls for the alchemist to grab her hand, but Carol isn't interested in helping her. She tells the Gungnir wielder that her songs can't save her or anybody else! Again, Hibiki is the type to tell the impossible to shove it, as she draws upon the Ignite Module to give her an extra boost of power. Huh, I thought X-Drive was the max level, but apparently not.
-As Hibiki makes the boost, a ghostly image of Elfnein reaches for Carol, followed by a ghostly image of her father, telling her to know more of the world. This gets her attention as Ghost Dad says that hte task they've been given is to ensure that, someday, people can understand one another. She knows her daughter is smart, so she should know this. Thanks to this, Carol reaches out for her father, but it's Hibiki that gras her, using the extra power to wrap the two up in a cloak of shadow to protect them from the exploding Lion Mecha. As we enter the halfway mark of the show, we are left with an image of a mushroom cloud hanging over the center of Tokyo. Well, that's not a scary or ghastly image at all, is it?
-When we come back, we see the devastation brought forth by the exploding Lion Mecha. It isn't pretty, as there's no a rather large crater in the center of Tokyo. Over the radio, we hear Genjuro being told that nobody knows where Carol is as Ogawa explains that it's been seventy-two hours since the battle ended. We do see the Metropolitan Government Building is still standing, somewhat, with the Château de Tiffauges still there. I'm actually a bit surprised that the building survived being at ground zero of the explosion, but clearly, it means the building was made of some pretty good steel.
-In any case, Ogawa suggests to stop looking for Carol or her remains, given how long it's been. Genjuro agrees and calls him back. Aoi does point out that, since Hibiki survived, it's reasonable to assume Carol did, as well. Granted, Hibiki could probably tank a blast from the sun, but she was also protecting the alchemist, so it's reasonable to assume she did survive. We get a shot of the S.O.N.G. girls standing outside of sickbay, likely waiting to hear on Eflnein's condition. On the Command Deck, Sakuya expresses concern not just about the missing Carol, but something else. Apparently he's looking at somebody's X-Ray and he doesn't like what he sees.
-This leads us to the bed ridden Elfnein, greeting the S.O.N.G. girls. She's happy to see them everyday but feels she's putting a burden on them. Miku is with them and says it's Summer Vacation, so it's fine. Elfnein is confused by this so Hibiki gets to mention how great it is, like being able to sleep in and stay up as late as you want. Miku, however, says that this is just her typical lifestyle. Chris also tells her not to give the young, impressionable girl any weird ideas. Hibiki, however,r ignores them and mentions that he shopping street holds a festival, where they can eat yakisoba, cotton candy, takoyaki, and grilled squid. She then says, between her and Elfnein, when she gets excited, Maria's Gear plays a Bon Odori song. The young girl turns to Maria, who fiercely denies it. Besides, she says that it would sound better coming from Tsubasa's Gear than her own. This gets an image of Tsubasa, transformed, doing exactly that, getting a laugh from Maria, Hibiki and Elfnein. Tsubasa, however, is not amused that they would all think so lowly of Ame no Habakiri. Besides, I think Maria's gear would probably do an Irish song, as appropriate of her relics origin.
-Elfnein appreciates the laugh, adding that there's so much she doesn't know yet. She asks that if she can learn more about the world, about all of them, then she could be closer to them than she is now? Hibiki grabs the young girl by the hand and tells her that yes, she can, so she has to get better soon, okay? We get a shot of the other girls, smiling in agreement, which gets Elfnein to smile. They leave, but promise to return tomorrow. After the door closes, Hibiki tells the others she's going to the bathroom, getting permission to do so, and then runs off. Though as she runs, she doesn't appear to be smiling. However, the other girls leave, knowing full well what Hibiki is doing. Well, all but Miku, actually.
-In the next shot, we see the sink nearly overflowing with water as Hibiki cries. Apparently, whatever is happening to Elfnein is not a good thing, and the rest of the girls seem to know this. Miku walks in to check on her friend. Hibiki apologizes, saying that if she cries, then Elfnein won't get better when she's suppose to. She turns off the water, but the sink is still filled with water, allowing her tears to drop in it. She adds that the only problems she can solve with her fists are the easy ones, and the only things she can do are so small. She calls it frustrating. All this power and she still can't find a way to rewrite the universe.
-Miku understands, but she grabs Hibiki's hand and tells her that when she's doing what she thinks is right,, her clenched fist is special. To her, it's the gentlest fist in the world, and someday, she's sure it will fix all of the bad things. Apparently Miku is confident that Hibiki will one day gain the power to rewrite the universe as she sees fit. Hibiki can only respond by hugging her friend, thanking her for being her sunflower. Yes, totally an innocent nickname to give your best friend. Though I wonder what kind of nickname Miku has for Hibiki?
-We fade out, but return to see night has fallen. Elfnein is sleeping peacefully in her hospital bed as she gets a visitor. It's Carol, but apparently she's still rocking from the last battle, because when Elfnein calls Carol by name, she repeats that, yes, that is her name. Elfnein immediately knows what has happened to her. Carol had burned most of her memories in the recent battle. Carol admits that they are in pieces, and are hazy, like a fog is covering them. And while she knows her name, she doesn't know who she is, so she asks Eflnein to answer that. She came to her because, when Carol closes her eyes, she sees her. Elfnein tells Carol that she is the other me. Yeah, that didn't clear anything up. Can you be more specific?
-So Elfnein explains that she and Carol followed the words that Papa left them. Carol feels like she should know something there, something important, but she forgot it. She asks Elfnein to tell her, begging her to do so. The young girl stares at her former enemy, but coughs, revealing blood, signaling that she is running out of time. Well, no time like the present, so Elfnein will start from the beginning, though she can't share it in a few words because her body is like this. Carol asks if she's almost gone, like she is? Well, kind of, but not really in the same way.
-Elfnein admits that, at first, she was fine with that, as long as she could save the world. However, she doesn't want to disappear. Yeah, Hibiki has that way of giving people a purpose in life. Or at the very least, want to live life again. Though I wonder if that would be Maria in this case? But still, her pleas reaches Carol, saying that the two of them can do it again. And then she kisses Elfnein. I'm not entirely certain how to feel about this. Cause, you know, Carol is redeeming herself this way, but at the same time, they do look alike. In any case, as Carol gives a kiss of life to Elfnein, we see green flames appear from their hands, and the machines begin to flatline. Well, that isn't good at all.
-We suddenly cut to a spinning camera as the S.O.N.G. girls start running for the hospital room, but as soon as they enter, all they find is an empty bed and an all too familiar figure standing above it. When Hibiki calls her Carol, she shakes her head, then turns to face them. Instead of the stern, hard look of Carol, you get the innocent look of Elfnein. The girls immediately recognize this and smile. Carol gave her life and body so that her other self could live, to fulfill the words that their father left them long ago.
-We then cut to a shot of Hibiki running before stopping to take a break. She looks over to a nearby river filled with green, saying that she shouldn't have any good memories of this place, but right now, she feels like she does. She's taking a walk with her father, who tells her that she's gotten stronger than she once was. He appears to be clean shaven as he stretches, saying that he has to do his best, too. Hibiki agrees, and they tell each other the tit's all right! Everything's just fine!
-But not everybody is having a good time. We cut to Kir and Shirabe doing homework, with Shirabe wondering what happened to their fun summer vacation? They turn to Chris, who's lounging on the couch, wondering why she doesn't seem worried? She's sucking on an ice pop, but then tells the girls that, while she seems like a lazy hot head, she's actually got pretty good grades. The girls are shocked by this, with Shirabe saying no way. Chris gets irritated, so Kiri immediately throws her friend under the bus. Shirabe then asks what happened to the Kiri that was supposed to protect her? Well, there are limits to that protection, and she probably doesn't want to get in front of the rampaging bull that is Chris, who proceeds to yell at the girls to finish their damn homework! Why must you be so mean?
-We then cut to Tusbasa walking in a long hallway with Ogawa, who appears to be carrying suitcases. Looks like she's returning to the world of music, but along the way, they run into Maria. She turns to face her friend/rival, telling her that she also goes to England once in a while. Tsubasa smiles at that, causing Maria to blush and to call her unfeminine after all. Outside of the airport, Genjuro is in front of a car, telling the person in it if he thinks of himself as a failure of a father for not being able to see her off? It's Yatsuhiro, of course, but he says that this is enough for them. Still, he has a business question for his bother. What's his take on this Magical Girl Incident? Well, apparently, in this world, the US fell from power, there has been trouble brewing in Europe, but Yatsuhiro seems to think that something else is up. A hint for what may happen in the next season, perhaps?
-At HQ, Elfnein runs in, apologizing for being late, and she, along with the rest of the support staff, get right to work at analyzing what appears to be a Micro SD card. As if we don't have another reason for a next season cliffhanger. Cue credits!
-But we're not finished yet! We have an after credit scene, and it's at Hibiki's old house. Papa Tachibana stands in front, reaching out his hand and hoping to start over. Mama Tachibana looks over to Grandma, starts to reach for the hand, but is reluctant to do so. And yes, we all know where Hibiki gets her looks from. Papa understands that she would be reluctant to take his hand, but Hibiki isn't going to let this go without a fight. She reaches over and grabs both of their hands, who tells her parents that she's holding their hands because she believes it's the right thing to do. And she won't let go of them easily. And our final scene of the season is of Hibiki, holding onto her parent's hands, looking to rebuild her family once more. End episode.
And there we go, the scene of Symphogear GX. And... yeah, I have so many problems with this particular season. I plan to discuss this more in my season wrap up, but honestly, what hurts the most is that there was a lot of potential arcs they could have done in this season that either felt too rush or just went nowhere. I feel like I've been particularly hard on the show this season, but I did have some rather high expectations that I feel like the season failed to achieve.
I think this is why my season wrap-up is going to be very different than what it has been before. What will it be? You'll have to come back on Sunday to find out. Though don't expect me to come out and be harsh with the season. I don't come into these shows looking for a reason to be harsh or snarky, but sometimes, the shows just do things that make me question some of these things. And honestly, I do like Symphogear, but GX feels like a massive misstep.
So until next time, remember, when your clone is dying, and you happen to know alchemy, you should sacrifice yourself by giving up your personalty to allow that better half of you to survive, because in all likelihood, it is your better half.
1 week agoCaButler
Hello everybody and welcome to our next Transformers review. Last time we look at look at a third party Masterpiece figure, but this time, we're going with the CHUG route. And for this one, it's a bit unusual as the figure I got is a Convention Exclusive figure from a popular third party line. I don't normally go for these things but I was interested in getting this figure and thought the Convention Exclusive looked better.
What could it be? Well, without further ado, may I present to you the MMC Reformatted Convection Limited Figure, Kultur Asterisk!
Well, that's a rather plain box, isn't it? Why don't we correct that.
There we go. Here is an artistic representation of Kultur, the MMC version of the DJD member Tarn. Though in this case, it's more in an orange color rather than his purple color. We'll get to that in a minute. But this is a slip for the actual box. And when we remove it...
It turns out to be a slightly beat up green box and a dark colored version of Kultur. You see, most MMC Convention Specials are usually a dark or black color to the figure, but Kultur is one of the rare exceptions.
On the back of the box we have a whole lot of nothing. Just lots of green.
But this Reformatted box actually has a lid to open up.
Which reveals Kultur's primary colors, as well as the figure itself. And that's about it for the box, which isn't all that special, so let's get the figure out and see how he really is.
So here we have Kultur out of his package and in his tank/APC alt-mode. And it is quite orange.
And a lot of paint is on this guy, too, but it's mostly where the treads are, as well as another area we'll focus later. It's got a metallic color to it that does make it stand out a bit.
Despite the look, there are no wheels on this guy, so he will not roll around. That could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you display him. Anyway, let's talk about some features of the figure.
Up front you have these laser antenna things that move side to side on a hinge. There is no up or down movement here, so don't force it.
Further back, hidden behind what will be the robot feet, are a bunch of missiles that are meant to be fired out at his enemies.
And in the cockpit area, which has that metallic paint, is more missiles. Yay for missiles!
Now, Kultur comes with one accessory, which is a requirement for any Tarn looking figure.
And that is, of course, these two blasters that connect to a connection that goes on top of the alt-mode. They're very nicely detailed, and while they are the same cast, they also have different details going for them. Basically, these two laser cannons are not the same ones.
Now for some comparisons.
Here we have Kultur with MMC's Caldius, their version of IDW Hot Rod.
Here's another from the Reformatted line, the MMC version of Sixshot in his APC mode.
And for an official comparison, here is Kultur with Titan's Return Alpha Trion.
And with that out of the way, let's get to transformation. And while the instructions go from robot mode to alt-mode, the transformation itself is very simple and the instructions are very good about it, which is surprising since MMC tends to cut a lot of corners there. And soon enough, you'll go from Kultur in alt-mode...
To Kultur in robot mode. And you can see a lot more red and yellow here in robot mode. Now, I don't have the original Kultur, so I won't be doing any comparisons in that regards, but all in all, I do like this color scheme.
Getting up close to the head sculpt you can see the Decepticon looking mask done up in orange. Yes, I said mask, because there is indeed a head there.
With this cyclops looking head sculpt. Now, I know in the IDW comics that Tarn was originally a character named Damus, but I don't recall if this was his head. I don't read many of the IDW comics so somebody will have to correct me there.
Anyway, yeah, nice looking head. But we aren't done yet, because there's one more mask for this character.
To an Autobot looking mask. See, the thing is, while the MMC comics do show that Kultur can change colors, the Asterisks are typically the Shattered Glass versions of the characters. That's why, for Caldius, there's a purple version of him, which is his Shattered Glass version.
If there was a Shattered Glass version of Tarn, he'd probably have this kind of mask instead. And I do like that MMC gave us different mask options.
And yes, with a mask on you can still tuck the head away, so you don't have to worry about that.
With regards to articulation, he's a bulky bot but he has some rather interesting posing options. Mostly, in the shoulders, instead of some sort of ratcheted universal, they gave him a ball peg shoulder. This allows for a lot of shoulder articulation, as well as a limited options to reach across the chest, giving him a bit of a butterfly joint.
As for his main accessory, it's plugged in on the forearm, but it doesn't change his center of gravity much so Kultur can stand with his arm extended like this.
Now for some comparisons.
Here is Kultur with MMC's Caldius. And fun fact, Kultur was originally going to be a remold of Caldius. Funny how things work.
Next, here is Kultur with MMC's Azeal, showing off another size scale. If she is meant to be deluxe and Caldius is Voyager, than Kultur is pretty close to a Leader class figure.
Here is Kultur with MMC's Commotus, aka, Turmoil.
And lastly, here is Kultur with MMC's Tyrantron, their IDW take on Megatron. And while we have the guy here...
When I looked at this guy, I mentioned that his chest allows him to have Kultur's mask there, as it uses a magnet system. It did come with it's own mask, but I wanted to show off the ones that came with this version.
Here's the Decepticon looking version, but as it's orange instead of purple, it doesn't fit too well here.
But here he is with the Autobot looking one, and if you've read the IDW comics, you know that Megatron changed sides and is now and Autobot. Crazy, I know, but it works here as a result.
Now, as I mentioned before, I didn't own the original Kultur, but I did enjoy the one I got here, so if you get an option for the figure, go for it. It's up to you which color scheme you want to go for, if you have access to them.
I have nothing in stored for the next couple of weeks, so hopefully you'll come back tomorrow for the season finale of Symphogear GX. Until then.
1 week agoCaButler
Hello everybody and welcome to our next Transformers review! We'll be coming back to the wonderful world of Third Party transformers, and this time, we're taking a look into one of many Third party figures involved in what is now known as the Springer Wars.
Creative, I know. Anyway, I've chosen my side for this Springer War, but was it the correct one? Why don't we find out.
So, without further ado, may I present to you the Fanstoys FT-19 third party version of Springer, Apache!
As you can see, Apache is a third party Masterpiece version of the Third Season character Springer, and he comes in the typical "Not Masterpiece" style box, showing off an artistic look at the robot and his two alt-modes.
And on the back of the box you have your obligatory product shots, including the alt-modes and the accessories he comes with. But who cares about a stupid box, right? Let's get him out and see how he really is.
So here we have Apache out of his package and man, man! You can see that he carries the silhouette of Springer, but I do have an issue with the figure. Mainly, the shoulder pieces on his arms. I don't like how they look here. I wish there was a way to angle them up more, but due to transformation, they're stuck this way.
Oh, and Apache is strictly a G1 Springer. You cannot go with the Studio Ox design if you wanted to. My understanding is that only one figure allows you to switch between the two, but I made my choice here.
Otherwise, I think the look of the figure is spot on. You can definitely look at this figure and go "Yup, he certainly has better things to do tonight than to die." And that's the only time I'll ever reference that line here.
Getting up close to the head sculpt you can see that it's a really nice head sculpt with nice, metalic blue eyes. Interestingly enough, you do not have alternative faces for Apache, unlike some other Fanstoys releases. Really, the accessory count is actually rather low, but we'll get to that later.
With regards to posing, Apace is a big, bulky figure, so you may find yourself limited in some capacity. Fanstoys, and other similar companies, typically make figures that you put in one way and keep it that way. You don't come to these figures or any sort of action toy element, which can be a downer for some people. Apache is certainly the case here. Lots of stiff movements are shown to be more for display than playing.
Now to the accessories proper. First we have this nicely painted silver rifle, which Apache holds usually an unusual tabbing system. Due to a screw being done in the middle of the palm, the tab has a curve to it. Instead of doing for the rail system, they just opted for the curve instead.
Here's a closer look at hte gun, showing off some of the detail and that delicious paint.
Next we have a sword for Apache, because every Springer figure has to have a sword. It's basically a requirement. This one is done in green plastic with appears to have some sort of finish on it. It uses the same connection ports as the gun, but can hold the sword pretty well.
Of course, if you don't want to go with a green sword...
You can go for a silver one instead.
Unlike the green sword, this one is most certainly painted, clearly meant for display purposes. It's still nicely painted, though. The silver isn't used much, but man, does Fanstoys know silver.
Now, the swords can be stored in robot mode. On the hip skirts there's a little peg hole that hte swords can be plugged into, giving a look like so.
Unfortunately, due to the location of the peg on the sword, you can only really do this for one of them, though there are holes on both sides for them. So you can't go with that dual sword stance, but can get a nice one like him reaching for his sword.
Just keep in mind not to scratch the paint.
Now for comparisons.
Here we have Apache with MP Hot Hod, showing how they scale with one another. Obviously Apace has to be big due to his transformation, but I think, compared with Hot Rod, they should be close to equal in height, give or take.
For another comparison, here is Apache with MP Ultra Magnus. Again, I think the scale is off here. I think Apace should be shorter.
For a line comparison, here is Apace with Fanstoys Tesla, their version of Perceptor.
And just for fun, here is Apace with Generations Springer, who has more of an IDW look.
Now, with regards to transformation. Fortuantely, the engineering is nowhere near as bad as Koot. You don't have to bend plastic in any way to move pieces around. That being said, there are some issues with the transformation. The chest piece works on a slider system, but the slider system is very, very tight, so you'll need a good grip on there.
The shoulder and arm movement is very tight, as well, and given how close it is to the body, some movement is going to require you to move them around to get it going. This won't be too bad, though.
And the legs. Hoo boy, the legs. Even with the transformation instructions some of it just doesn't make sense. Especially with the feet.
Now, I can understand that Triple Changers are going to have complicated Transformations, but I would like it if the instructions were a little more clear on some things. Still, with a little patience, you can go from Apace in robot mode...
To Apace in his car mode. And it looks the part, to be honest.
Size wise, I think everybody is there, though obviously some bits of the other modes can't be hidden, as shown in the rear with the leg sections.
And... yeah, the feet just kind of hang out back there. They don't really get to hide all that well, so hopefully you won't have him displayed this way.
Now, here's something I didn't know until I saw videos about it, but the G1 animated cockpit section actually changes sizes depending on which mode it is. One company came up with a solution for that, but most tend to keep it the same size. Fanstoys decided one size fit all. If you care about that thing, just be advised, but it's not a deal breaker. If it is, then you have some serious priority issues.
Now, the gun can be stored on the alt-mode here, but it clips in to the rear, so if you want the weapon there, you need to do it during transformation.
Now, as for the swords, they can be stored in this mode, too. Though one at a time.
Here's the green sword.
Here's the silver sword. And now you know why you have two swords. The clearance is there, though ,but you want to be careful of your things, right?
Now for more comparisons!
Here is Apace with Fantstoys Koot, their version of Kup. I'm undecided on the scale factor here.
For an official release, here is Apace with MP Hot Rod.
And just for fun, here is Apace with Generations Springer.
Now, you can go straight from vehicle mode to helicopter mode from here. Most of the work is going to be with the legs, though some parts of the front half will change, like the arm placement. The legs, though, continue to remain a problem through, but it's a bit easier to get into helicopter mode.
Otherwise, not much else changes. Oh, wait, I seem to be forgetting something.
There we have the green sword for the helicopter blades, but if you don't want that...
You can go with the silver one instead.
From the side, you can see that a lot of the robot's mass is in the front of the helicopter mode. There's not much in the rear.
Still, unlike the vehicle mode, the helicopter mode cleans up a lot better.
The gun can store in this mode, in the front, but without a proper flight stand it's going to look awkward. And really, this guy needs a flight stand for this mode. But from what I can tell, there isn't even a peg for a standard one, so you'll need to get creative.
And here's a close look at the cockpit, which is the proper size for this mode.
Anyway, time for some more comparisons.
Here is Koot.
MP Hot Rod.
And lastly, Generations Springer.
One thing I can say is that you aren't lacking for choice. You have multiple companies with their own version of an MP Springer, so you don't have to go with Fanstoys if you don't want to. I went with them because I thought the engineering would work best and the figure would look the best. And while hte look is there, the engineering, while better than Koot's, can be still a problem.
Would I recommend this? Honestly, I can't say for certain. I like it well enough, but there are other Springers out there with their own way of doing things, so you'll just need to do your research and see which one you want.
As for me, the show goes on. Tomorrow, I'll be looking at a special Convention release version of a third party figure. What will it be? You'll have to come back tomorrow to find out. Until then.
1 week agoCaButler
I know I kind of promised a Transformers review, but I needed to do this entry. This is for those that question why Santa Alter is Lawful Good.
Apparently Gilgamesh isn't a good boy to receive a visit from Santa Alter
Can I use that excuse to get every night off?
Maybe an actual coat as you appear to be wearing practically nothing at all.
If you select the first choice...
It's against the Santa Union to give out presents to those that don't write letters.
Though there is a clause to the Santa Union. Just beat up Santa and get all the presents you want!
Bloodshed makes everything merry.
Overacting a bit much, Santa?
If you call her Alter-chan...
Didn't you kidnap me for this job?
I wonder if any of these gifts were meant for Gilgamesh. But screw that guy, right?
Even though the kids ended up kidnapping us. So what does that make me? A double kidnapped victim?
If you suggest inviting over Euryale. Bear in mind that one of said girls is named after the most infamous serial killer to ever exist.
And to think, you called yourself an Evil Santa. You're really just a big softy, aren't you?
...Please put the sword away.
Random friend requests are not acceptable. Seriously. If you want to add me, you better damn well do something important.
Follow me with Twitter at www.twitter.com/cabutler
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I'm really Carlone Butler, the NBA player.