Double Feature: Gokukoku no Brynhildr 7+8

…No, just insert your own joke. They’re all good.

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Yeah, more double features for this show. Can you blame me? It’s so boring.

One of the elements that made Elfen Lied work for me (and the twisted people like me) was Lucy’s nature as an antihero.   Not even antihero, she was an outright villain protagonist.  This helped drag the plot along because, while the situations themselves were quite average, it was basically a sequence of new opponents trying to kill her/capture her, the fact was that Lucy was a loose cannon and her reactions to these intruders was never what you’d expect.  Add in the Nyuu personality to the mix, and her behavior was downright unpredictable through the course of a fight or even a normal day in the life.

Lucy wasn’t the only one like this (though certainly the best example), many of the other characters had dimensions to them that spoke against the archetypes they filled.  They were still recognizable (Kouta as the kind-hearted harem lead, for instance) but there were always details threw wrenches into the tired storyline (Kouta, not one of the love interests, being the traumatized damsel in distress).

Kuroha, as Lucy’s counterpart in this series, does not have those shades to her.  She is quite average as the superpowered teenage girl, and quite average as the kind hearted protagonist.  There is no dynamic element to her character that could elevate the cliche plot beyond what it is. Because the story is not wowing us.  We desperately need an angle, any angle! to save it from the dustbin and it just is not happening.

So Ryota…you know I had to look up his name? That’s how average he is. Anyway, Keanu is talking to his gay his scientist friend. He needs to manufacture pills.  Sadly the process of doing so will take about six months.  The girls only have enough for one.  So he makes his top priority to check if the pill is a crystalline compound, in which case it will be much simpler to determine its components, maybe even in time for the girls.

So about seven minutes he later he calls Ryota to say that it is NOT crystalline, we just waved that in front of you so it would seem natural for Kuroha to hang out with students for no reason.  Don’t look so glum, though, Ryota, now Lore can’t use the pills to destroy the Earth, so that’s good news!

We learn the name of our big bad, Valkyria.  Apparently she’s a witch powerful enough to destroy the earth.  Well Kuroha comes out and says she thinks it’s her destiny to defeat her.  Wow, just…not even going to hide the cliche anymore.  Oh, I see what happened, some asshole left “the outline of cliche adventure plots” out and labeled it “script”.  Where’s the real one….

The only thing I notice is that when they mention Valyria, the camera zooms in on Kana, even though she says nothing, with the watery “shock!” eyes.  I don’t know why I notice, I know it’s not going to be an interesting reveal.  Actually, I will be surprised if they follow up on this at all.

Kazumi lures Ryota into a date, because of course she has a crush on him, but we saw that coming, didn’t we?

And they activate a device from the lab…!  Which turns out to be a map.  Fuck. It’s like the anti-climax.

Well Ryota goes to scout the location alone, surmising the Lab doesn’t know about him, so he will draw the least attention.  Not before Kazumi strips naked and throws herself at him, beating him with her fists.

At this point, I only care enough to comment those are some messed up mixed messages, lady.

So Ryota finds a busted church at the X on the map, with German scribbled on its walls.  Buuuuut it seems the police are watching the area carefully, and he’s arrested.  Oh, but Kuroha’s here to save him.  Yeah that won’t come to bite us in the ass.  We learn a lesson about trusting his friends and crap.

And that’s where the big difference is here.  Elfen Lied’s morality was…mixed, at best.  This? This is like a Dear Princess Celestia letter thrown into a harem show with naked teenagers, their trusting but immobile lolita fetish doll, and a creepy incestuous scientist cousin (or something).  And that sounds WAY cooler when I type it out like that, but believe me, it is not cool at all.

If you’re wondering why I keep drawing the parallels, well, one, it’s like the Gurren Lagan thing with KILL la KILL.  This work shares a lot with that previous work, and there’s nothing wrong is acknowledging that.  And it is not because I feel “it is trying to be Elfen Lied”, no.  There are many instances of writers trying to hammer out “that story”, playing with its forms in ways they can’t just quite get out. Seth MacFarlane being the comedy example, but also look at the career of Orson Welles, and there are noticeable parallels in his works (springing to mind, Citzen Kane and Mr. Arkadin, both telling similar stories about rich jackasses in their later years). Or see how Robert Hewitt Wolfe and his comments about how his series “Andromeda” was “too ambitious”, and then his newest project, Starship Defender, is basically the transhumanist elements of that former show, just without the aliens and Foundation-style empire.

So where Brynhildr draws MY ire is not that it is similar, but that it is SO BAD at it.  Frankly, a shameless copy paste of Elfen Lied would be preferable at this point.  I’m not sure where the fault lies, either in the manga or the translation to small-screen, but it’s just. So. Boring.

Well luckily the Lab sends an amnesia witch to erase all the officers memories.  And then they let her loose. Oh! Developments!  At least we might get a damn fight sequence.

But Brynhildr handling mind powers? Oh this is going to be so bad it’s good.

…Or at least I’m hoping. Praying.

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