Score: A+

Well this episode just set up a lot of things that should make Season 5 extremely exciting. Not that this episode didn’t have a lot of awesome moments for itself. But it did a lot of work for setting what is coming next. I know that the idea of a series or story setting up the sequel can rub people the wrong way. Some would prefer the story to remain entirely self-contained and just carry on to things that unexpected in nature. But honestly I am ok with this kind of thing. This season was still about the Illuminati, Saint Germain, and the alchemists as a whole.

Though I think the biggest think this season did was look back at the past more. It is fine to simply keep adding to a franchise. But I think it is a nice touch when a show can look back at what it has done and use it. Not simply on the level of characters maintaining character development, but taking previous events and adding more meaning to them. The idea that Hibiki and Miku have been purified adds a lot to the future. It creates the option for Miku to actually use a symphogear and it makes them a target as well. If crazy Kazanari wants someone to use as a vessel for god power….well now he’s got a couple available options.

Someone throw this old man off a cliff

I guess the question is whether the main threat for Season 5 will be from outside (the Custodians) or within (the Kazanari clan) or both. I kind of expect to see both honestly since the Custodians returning and making a move against the Earth would trigger an extreme response from those loyal to that crazy old man. Now some might not want a possible return to the same kind of issue we had in S2. Miku being kidnapped and becoming someone that Hibiki needs to rescue would be kind of repetitive. Now they might just flip it entirely. Hibiki could be lost and this time Miku would have to take on power to help her and not just call out to her.

At least Adam’s decision to stand and fight now has some validity to it though. Rationally there shouldn’t be any rush to make his move to gain divine power. He could wait out the lifespans of the main cast and take action later. But if the Custodians are going to show up sooner than later…well then there is a ticking clock. That might explain them acting so openly to find Tiki in the first place. If the people that created something like Adam are out there…well then there is pressure to do something before they arrive. Although maybe his initial reasons for starting all this was simply to prove his superiority. But once he made his move, that alerted the Custodians and there was no turning back.

She’s got the power

Regardless I did like how this fight didn’t just turn to an X-Drive extravaganza. It wouldn’t have made sense. Adam wasn’t using phonic gain for his abilities. Now I’m fine with people arguing it was crazy that they could adjust the gears to use that energy to power up while falling short of using X-Drives. But, it isn’t like the show hasn’t pulled some ridiculous stuff in the past either. That they can monitor the gears from a distance does imply they have a connection even over this kind of distance. Considering Elfnein has done so many modifications I could believe her doing something to the gears to allow her to adjust them in that kind of way. Dainsleif was her addition to them after all. So being able to mess with that specific aspect of it, is something I can at least grudgingly accept.

And honestly it was kind of worth it! In some ways the last battle did feel kind of hectic and hurried. But it worked within the story because the main cast was hurried. They had to do everything possible before their gears couldn’t handle the strain. And I liked that they remembered smaller details like Hibiki’s gear not being fixed up like the others so it couldn’t keep going in the same way.

This was just fun

And that also allowed for some pretty awesome combo abilities. We’ve seen the cast lend out their gears like this, but this was so much more fun. Rather than just making a giant fist, Hibiki basically went all supergear on Adam. Complete with a kind of super saiyan mode! Now again I could agree that they were doing a lot of different things, but I thought it was a lot of fun! I mean we had Hibiki using all these various skills which was kind of amazing to see. And that they explained it with her ‘holding hands’ ability and maybe as well hinting at her purified powers…worked for me. They even allowed for the alchemists to leave their mark with a Golden Gungnir! Hibiki went all JoJo on Adam and that was awesome as well.

You did good work Shirabe

And I’m glad they managed to end it with a nice birthday party scene. That actually did have some nice points to it. I liked how they gave the various characters little moments in there. It was fun to see Shirabe a bit embarrassed about the attention drawn to her cooking. And that again pulls from the past since Shirabe was the one who did a lot of cooking back when the FIS trio was still an enemy faction. And of course Kirika was hyped about celebrating the birthday for the reasons already stated in previous episodes. We had little moments like Chris pointing out Tsubasa’s inability to clean up. Or we had a cute scene like Maria feeding Tsubasa to avoid any bickering from breaking out. I’m sure the shippers loved that XD.

Of course the scene with Hibiki and Miku had a lot of layers to it. Looking back it’s a pretty heavy scene that could be waving some flags. Is Hibiki going to be pulled away from her justice? Is Miku going to be able to continue holding her hand as promised? I don’t know, but things could get intense. If nothing else though it was a nice scene between two characters that are as confirmed a couple as you are going to get in Symphogear. I think this was a much better kind of ending than we got in Season 3. The major tie into next season is a kind of after-credit’s scene anyways that leads to what may come. But this season ends on something we can all feel good about; Miku and Hibiki getting along as always. Not something uncomfortable like Hibiki trying to force her parents together.

May the smiles continue

Final Thoughts
Honestly I think this season is a strong return to form for Symphogear. Now I may be having fanboy goggles on, but I don’t feel like it. Last season had a lot of uncomfortable elements to it. Hibiki was acting entirely out of character early on, her father wasn’t that enjoyable to deal with, and while Ignite was cool…the Ignite character arcs were repetitive. This season gets things much more on track with the characters being themselves. While that should be a prerequisite for any sequel, sometimes shows can fall off the bus. This season had a lot of fun action from start to finish. And I felt rewarded for having rewatched the show recently and being able to easily pick up things they were referencing this season.

Hibiki’s final form trumps Adam

Now I don’t think this season was perfect or anything. There are divisive elements to it. Plenty of people were up in arms about how they looked back at Professor Nastassja’s actions with FIS. Personally I get what the show was going for. This season is all about characters having to choose what they perceived to be the lesser evil. Saint Germain thought she was doing the lesser evil by helping to free the world from the curse on humanity. The lives she sacrificed for that goal were necessary. Chris shot off Stefan’s leg to save his life. It was a painful act (for both of them), but in her mind it was the better option.

Nastassja was in a situation where she could either hurt/traumatize these kids in order to save them or be kinder and leave them unable to handle what was happening. This was a secret government project. These kids weren’t walking out of there alive and there are hints that they had their families killed or at least kidnapped them for these experiments. We’re talking international human trafficking here. It was either help these kids survive it…and clearly it worked from Maria’s comments that no one dropped out. Now I don’t think the show or anyone else should say that she was always right. Once FIS collapsed she could have stopped herself. Saving the world from the falling moon was important, but she needed to find another way. Her in ability to stop blew up in her face in S2. She could see what she was driving those girls to.

Cute moments are appreciated

It’s just reality that views are going to differ. I think the season did a lot right. There are things I might have liked to go differently though. But as a whole I really enjoyed the season from start to finish. This was a much more level season for the show. The quality held up this season as far as I’m concerned. Now I mean that in terms of enjoyment. There were some episodes that definitely rode the line of visual weakness. But when you try to have an action scene every single week…there are going to be times when they just can’t keep up with it. But, I do think that the constant stream of action and songs had value in itself.

I’m really excited for what is coming next. They’ve set us up for some pretty major threats around the horizon. Tsubasa’s (sort of) grandfather has been a menace in general for a while now. But he’s clearly going to cross the line into straight up villain. I can easily see Tsubasa’s arc for next season involving taking him down. While on the other hand we’ve got some alien threats that could definitely show up. How will the main cast deal with someone/something that could create the moon? No idea, but I’d love to find out.

See you in Season 5

This season was a lot of fun and I’m excited to see just where things will go next. The wait is bound to be tough though. This kind of show does need quite a bit of time between seasons. I doubt we’ll see this show back until at the earliest Summer 2018 and that might be optimistic. What I will say for sure is that AXZ was a nice bounce back for Symphogear. I don’t know how many more seasons we’ll get outside of the next one, but I’m always going to be glad we got this many to enjoy.

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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