Note: Sorry the notes are a bit late this week, and they’re going to be late next week too. We can’t always have reliable internet access. Hopefully this episode will pick Brynhildr up again, and make it worth watching. If not, there may not be anymore notes next week at all. The show’s really been disappointing me since episode 3, and if it continues with this lack of substance or even intriguing style, then there’s not any point in me making these. Anyway, on to the episode, The Reason for Her Smile.
1) Where are we going:
1.1) “How many of these do they have back at the lab?” Is that really the present concern here? From the character’s standpoint, they should be more focused on doing something other than waiting to be spotted. And from a story telling stand point, they should be garnering interest in the present situation before trying to get me to think about just how many Robot Masters are coming up. Hell, they’ve already given this witch a AA+ rating, so isn’t she enough of a threat without bringing up the others? A better time to reflect on how many more dangers there are to come would be after we’ve fully explored and settled the current one.
1.2) Ryouta makes a good point while convincing Neko not to fight. She’d be throwing away her life, and the chance to save others. It’s clearly affective, and succeeded in convincing her. So why’d he hang her up? It’s a pretty stupid move for a supposedly intelligent character.
1.3) As for the last scene, all I can say is it makes me optimistic. It seems like act one is finally over, and we’re gonna start getting to the meat of this story.
2) Sadistic amusement:
2.1) I don’t count on Arms for much, but the one thing I have trust in them about is delivering the kind of messed up sadistic violence and torture to satisfy that part of me not suitable for fancy dinners. And for the most part, Brynhildr has done a decent job of that. But why cut away from the gore? It’s what I was looking forward to; come on, we know you Arms, and you don’t do this.
2.2) The nudity too. Dammit, Arms, don’t you understand why I watch these things?!
3.1) I think it’s time to look at this opening, specifically two parts. First is when it showcases the harnests. On the right side there are representations of 3 witches, each showing off their powers. The first two are Kikaro and Saori, the two witches from the lab so far, so presumably the third is another witch from the lab, but is that it? I guess to answer Ryouta’s question, they’ve just got 1 more.
3.2) In the last shot, when Ryouta reaches out to grab Neko’s hand, he’s not saving her. They’re both falling, so the point of grabbing her isn’t to save her life, but presumably to die together, or at least fall to their doom together. This actually fits well with the show, With both characters starting out on a fairly doomed path (Neko for obvious reasons and Ryouta because it was prophesied he’d be killed), and by getting close to one another they’ve simply tied their fates together, not significantly changed them. That final hand holding shot is as overused as it gets, but if it was able to actually make a point, I don’t mind it.
4.1) So we finally get a decent display of Kazumi’s powers, and… wow. Sure messing with a couple doesn’t seem that impressive, but it’s all in the application, and she didn’t appear to be pushing herself at all. I don’t know much about hacking, but I do know that if you’re good at it, like magic good, you can cause some serious damage.
4.2) So Kotori finally gets a little characterization, and she’s basically a less heroic Neko. She’ll give her own life to save others, and she’s not willing to take death suppressants if it means others won’t get them. Also, her plans are even stupider than Neko’s. Leaving her tied to a pole isn’t exactly saving her. There’s a fortune teller who can attest to that.
4.3) Alright, so Kotori gets a little more. Fighting with her friend over who had to live with the guilt of the other’s death. It’s an interesting character point, but having birthdays suddenly thrown in makes it silly. It’s an interesting and emotionally engaging idea on it’s own. You don’t need to add, “Oh and it’s my birthday, so that makes it even sadder!” No, that just makes your characters sound childish and petty. Anyway, the obvious happens…
4.4) … but it’s executed well. Together Ryouta and Neko convince Kotori to live with the help of cliches, but they each have a different approach to it. Ryouta plays the tough friend, saying that he can’t let her die because then the astronomy club wouldn’t have enough members to keep running. What he means is that he and the rest of the club can’t afford to lose a friend; she should live for the sake of those friendships, looking towards the future. Neko on the other hand argues that she should live for the sake of the past (though she does appeal to the future). She says Kotori should live to celebrate her late friend’s upcoming birthday, essentially living to honor her memory and sacrifice. These are interesting side to take, because generally Ryouta has been the one focused on the pasted and Kuroneko, while Neko has been trying to ignore the past and focus on what she can do in the present and near future.
So this week’s episode was much better than the last two. My interest has been renewed, but not completely restored, partly because a lot of the better parts of this episode work mostly as a standalone, and don’t do much for the larger story. Still, I wasn’t bored, and that last scene was as intriguing to me as it was to Kogorou so I’ll be back again next week. Until then
Don’t Lose Your Way