Is Symphogear G an Upgrade?

March of the Magical Girls concludes with the girls’ final thoughts on the second season of Senki Zesshou Symphogear! Stay Toon’d!

This is it, dudes. The last installment in this year’s March of the Magical Girls.

And after doing a bunch of character spotlights-

And one character hit piece…

Riley, we agreed not to talk about that again.

Anyway! We figured we’d wrap up the month with our closing thoughts on the second season of Symphogear – Symphogear G.

Hope you guys are ready to Toon In.

I’m Rila!

I’m Riley.

And you’re watching Bulletoon!

One year ago, we decided to take the plunge into Symphogear with our first March of the Magical Girls!

That episode focused pretty much entirely on Miku, so we didn’t really talk about our thoughts on the series as a whole, all that much. But what we found in that first season was a show that was… honestly pretty enjoyable.

It was a lot of fun! And the stylistic elements really gave it a ton of character to set it apart from other “Action Magical Girl” shows like Nanoha.

Buuut it was also pretty heavily flawed. To be blunt, it was kind of an unfocused mess at times, pulling itself in too many directions. I also personally think that the emotional hook for Tsubasa’s character arc in the season was… honestly pretty weak. Which is nooot a good thing since it’s one of the most important parts of the show and its setup. It brings a lot of the show’s early impact down.

Still, the villain was pretty decent, the lore was pretty cool, and Miku was the MVP that tied all the show’s themes together pretty much perfectly. So that leaves us with a question. Did Symphogear G improve on the issues while keeping what worked?

Overall? Yeah, actually. I’d say it’s a marked improvement… for the most part. The series is a lot more focused. You can tell they had a really clear idea of what they wanted to do, and they executed on it. Not flawlessly, but effectively, nonetheless.

The series kept a lot of that silly fun that the first season had, added some really cool characters, and brought some more awesome music to the table!

A lot of the character writing had a waaay sharper edge than in the previous season. At the same time, though, that edge got dulled in a few specific places for what seemed like pretty arbitrary reasons, just pushing the plot along without much consideration beyond that.

At the same time, the more focused writing meant that a lot of the character arcs were given the time they needed to breathe. I really liked Yukine’s, in particular. And her song, early on, was fantastic.

Ultimately, though, there are two big problems with the season. One of which is that Dr. Ver bozo.

Ugh. Did we have to bring him up again?

Unfortunately… yes. But not more than is necessary to make our point. Look, we dedicated the entire last episode to this… issue. And for good reason. He just tanks the whole show.

Yeah. Pretty much every time he was on screen, it just pulled me out of the whole show and I found myself counting the seconds until he was gone. I hated him. And not in the fun way. I didn’t love to hate him. I just hated him. And wanted him gone. I didn’t care what happened to him, as long as I didn’t have to keep torturing myself to put up with him. That’s never a place you wanna be with a villain. Or any character, for that matter.

Yeah. He wasn’t just a bastard, he was annoying. And, unfortunately, because he was written to be such a bastard, it dragged down the entire rest of the show by undermining the whole conflict, making half the cast seem like complete idiots and the other half just incompetent. It was nooot a good look. Aspiring writers out there. I implore you. Don’t Do This.

It feels weird to say this, but thankfully he wasn’t the only problem. And his presence probably makes the other problem more tolerable, just by comparison. Still, it’s a bit weird how little Hibiki actually interacts with the character who’s built up, from the first episode of the season, to be her sort of dark counterpart.

Yeah… for as big a deal as they make out of Maria having a Black Gungnir, the two of them barely even speak until the last couple episodes. Hell, Maria doesn’t even know Hibiki’s name until Episode 12. And that’s really weird since Hibiki – a Flat Arc Character – literally exists to influence the other characters around her.

It’s true. However much Hibiki grows, she actually doesn’t change a whole lot. At least not in the first two seasons. Her strength in her beliefs is tested constantly, but she pretty much always comes out of things with an even stronger form of the resolve she already had. And her resolve is what changes all the others.

Flat Arc Characters are tested in pretty much the same way Change Arc Characters are. The events of the story force them to reevaluate their beliefs. The difference is that a Change Arc Character believes a “lie” at first, and comes out on the other end, believing the story’s “truth.”

Flat Arc Characters come out believing more firmly in the “truth” they subscribed to, from the very beginning. Hibiki isn’t even a Hybrid Arc Character like Natsume, in Deca-Dence. In both of the first Seasons, she’s just a straight up Flat Arc. And despite that, she doesn’t actually serve her function to the primary change arc character of the entire season? C’mon, man.

Anyone remember the first X-Men movie? Remember all those scenes Magneto had with Cyclops? Weeell, if you said yes, then you’re lying. Because they didn’t share a single scene. Not. One. This isn’t quite that bad, but it’s still preeetty noticeable.

Still, it’s hard to call Symphogear G “Bad” at all. Maria, in particular, represents a massive upgrade in the writing department for the series over the first season. Sort of a Tsubasa 2.0. Kirka and Shirabe are also fantastic additions to the cast for their interplay and the great payoff their arc has.

And Symphogear always remembers its themes. It’s a story about communication. How people can overcome their differences by just opening up and reaching out to one another. And even in this season, it does a great job with that theme.

And, bein’ a music-head, I can’t help but love how it holds up music as a universal language that can bring people all around the world together. Across language barriers, culture divides, you name it. It’s just a great thing to see.

So, there you have it. Our thoughts on Symphogear G!

And so concludes March of the Magical Girls for this year. But we’re not quite done with you guys, just yet.

Nope! Coming soon to a computer screen near you, Season 6!

A full six episodes, comin’ at’cha. And just what will those episodes? Entail? Weeell…

I’m Rila!

I’m Riley!

We’ll see you next time!

‘Til then, though, Keep up the Awesome! And-

Stay Toon’d!

Rila – Mocha Vampire

Riley – AxusX
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