Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 13 (Fin)

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“Sometimes we fail to operate logically, and act on emotions. That’s why I despise humans.” – Ichijiku Chisato, Human

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Chisato tried oh so very hard to operate logically his entire life, and if Mako could kill Ryouta and Neko all he had to do was recreate a Kotori-like vessel to restore his sister’s soul. But who is he kidding? Saving Rena was always an emotional crusade. I did not expect him to be a human shield for Mako when Hexenjagd made their appearence, but then again, neither did he. Ultimately, he was the very model of human he most despised: the kind who sacrificed his life for another; who couldn’t stand by and watch a defenseless Mako get gunned down.

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His was one of many sacrifices made in the final episode of Bryhildr, in which bodies go down left and right in melty or bloody messes. First Neko and Kazumi knock Ryouta out and proceed to Chisato’s lair on their own. Then Kotori ends the extra terrestrial phenomenon taking place on her back by ejecting herself, quite possibly saving the world from resetting (while that might have been an interesting possibility, there was no time to explore it). In the process, Chisato’s sister Rena actually awakens, only to die again when Kotori melts.

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For a finale where serious shit needs to get down, the show didn’t forget its characters and why they do what they do. Realizing that in her present state of being cleaved in two by Mako, Kazumi can’t do anything other than tell Ryouta to press on in saving Neko. While the shot of Hatsuna healing up last week precluded any possibility of Kazumi dying, I was still moved by her “last moments”, in which she laments not having Ryouta’s babies and not losing her virginity before dying, but takes solace in the fact she at least fell in love.

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Did Mako’s death rays take way too long to kill Ryouta and a surprisingly ambulatory Kana? Sure! But pacing aside, but I did like the fact Kana showed up, having given up the forcast ability she used to protect Neko when it came time to protect her with her physical body. Ultimately, none of this moved Mako into surrendering, and she just goes into a self-destructive fit of rage, summoning antimatter that Neko has to neutralize using her hidden powers. For one glorious minute Kuroneko was back, but after kissing Ryouta and telling him he’ll always love her, it’s back to business. She takes out Mako, but there’s a cost: her memories are reset once more.

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But hey, she’s alive, as is Kana and Kazumi and Hatsuna, and Kogoro managed to make a breakthrough with the pills, so all’s pretty well that ends pretty well. With Kuroneko’s memory and Kotori being the only sacrifices that stick, I’d say Ryouta & Co. came out on top in the end. Kogoro’s interest in the drasils gave us pause, but that wasn’t a sure sign he’d pick up where Chisato left off, throwing the world into chaos again. Maybe he’ll operate logically and leave well enough alone, letting his nephew and his harem/family live in peace.

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Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 12

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This episode essentially started at “checkmate” with Mako and Chisato cornering Ryouta and his harem, but thanks to a lot of quick thinking, stalling, a trump card or two, a sacrifice, and a ghost it turns out to just be “check”; the game isn’t over. The episode relishes this standoff and explores the possibilities accordingly, keeping the specter of everyone dying just close enough to be taken seriously.

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The first thing Ryouta does is activate the mysterious GPS, because why not? Worst-case, more bad guys come, but there’s a possibility someone else could come too, which is what ultmately happens. Even so, he can’t stay Mako’s hand indefinitely (and calling her Valkyrie, a nickname she detests, doesn’t help matters). He gets in the way of her blast to save Neko, tearing out the side of his torso in the process.

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At death’s door, Nanami appears in his head and tells him Neko is more powerful even than Mako if she’s unlocked using the top button on her harnest. But with a 99.9% chance she’ll go out of control and die, he can’t do it. He’s ready for the end, but then Hatsuna, who was cut in half by Mako but healed, repays her debt, giving her life to heal him (he still needs mouth-to-mouth and CPR from Neko and Kazumi to be revived). Haruna hangs up and melts, but not completely, and a hint of life in the last shot of her suggests we haven’t seen the last of her.

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Why does Chisato allow all this to happen? Well, he peaced out with Mako and Kotori after the timely arrival of Hexenjagd (Witchhunt), a shadowy organization fighting Chisato’s lab. You’d think they’d be natural allies of Ryouta & Co., but their first duty is to exterminate all the lab’s witches, and not for the reason we thought (so the lab wouldn’t have weapons). The real reason is far more chilling: the Drasil, aliens inside them are growing. If they hatch, they’ll devour the witches who bore them and then hunt mankind.

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Chisato manages to make off with Kotori—turns out she and not Neko was 1107. Kotori has the brain of Chisato’s dead daughter Rena, and that brain, and the prospect of bringing her consciousness back, is more important than any other life to him; the one exception to his credo that all lives besides your own are worthless. He even trashes Mako behind her back, which could come back to bite him later, even if she still says she loves him.

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That “later” will have to come quick, since there’s only one more episode left, and the show has decided to make the drama and peril a global affair, as the Drasil within Kotori will melt all of humanity if it hatches. To go from Ryouta and his humble harem to all of humanity in one episode is a big leap in scale, but the way the witches have been treated thus far has been hinting at the possibility of such a leap. Can they clean up this mess in a satisfying fashion?

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Stray Observations:

  • Hexenjagd make a bad-ass entrance, but their quasi-Christian getup is kinda lame. For a show so devoted to including fanservice wherever it can, this was a wasted opportunity for Miki to show some skin.
  • Chisato’s Taxi Driver-style spring-arm holster was a nice touch, surprising his surprisers.
  • Kazumi’s brief moment of jealousy watching Neko give Ryouta the kiss of life was one of the only moments of levity in the episode.
  • Our memory’s not as strong as Ryouta’s, but it occurs to us the clues of Kotori being the real 1107—a target Chisato wanted intact—may have existed in prior episodes.
  • The blue light painting the sky from Kotori’s alien hatching looks a bit like a cocktail umbrella from space.

Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 11

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Valkyria is all fired up after killing the witches, but one of them, Hatsuna, turns out to have regenerative powers, and survives the attack, gaining her freedom. Hatsuna happens upon the observatory where Neko and the others are hiding out, unaware that her target, 1107, is Neko.

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When she first goes in she’s shocked to find them all dead and covered in blood, but they’re only playing possum, in case she was Valkyria, not an unwise gambit to employ considering how powerful she is. When a phalanx of riot police try to arrest her, she blows up a mountain with antimatter. Yeah, you really don’t want her thinking you’re alive when you meet her!

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We don’t learn a whole lot about what makes Hatsuna tick, but she’s a virtually invincible A-rank witch with no beacon, so she could be a powerful ally. She’s dubious of Ryouta’s commitment and utility as an ally to the girls, but when she tests him, and he risks his life to save hers when the test goes awry, he not only makes her feel silly for doubting her, she also falls for him on the spot.

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Kazumi had previously been the most romantically aggressive with Ryouta, but most of her behavior has been teasing, covering up her own nervousness and inexperience. Not so with Hatsuna, who plainly, clearly confesses to him, asks to be his girlfriend, and kisses him. It’s a quick, but he did save her life, and like the others, she’s never known a human as kind as him.

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The witches’ creator, master, and tormenter, Ichijiku Chisato, isn’t interested in kindness, but in unravelling the mysteries of life. He doesn’t care how many people suffer die if it nets him answers. He doesn’t hesitate when he sends Valkyria, whom he calls Fujisaki Mako, nor does he hesitate to speak his mind to her. Such is her psychological conditioning, one slap to her face causes her to fall into his arms, sobbing and submissive.

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Of his “toys”, Mako certainly seems to be his masterpiece, a witch who can use eight different kinds of magic, some of which we haven’t seen yet…yet she’s just another piece of meat to him, the weapon that will help him inch closer to those truths hes so interested in. Still, Ryouta has amassed a pretty impressive coven, and its not unreasonable to believe all of them working together could give Mako a run for her money.

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The only problem? Pills. There’s only a week left of summer vacation, and only a week left of pills for the girls. If only one girl takes all the remaining pills, she can survive long enough for Ryouta’s uncle to make more. In love with Ryouta or not, Hatsuna is hiding her personal pill supply from the others. Kazumi suggests they draw lots, but one by one, the others bow out, all giving their reasons.

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The old, selfish Kazumi would have said “Fine, thank you very much!” and taken all the pills. But As Ryouta noticed earlier when Kazumi included Hatsuna with the pill distribution: Kazumi has changed. She’s come to see the group as her family; they’re going to live togeher or die together. And what is her reward for this newfound selflessness? Ryouta discovers that Neko is definitely his childhood friend, drawing the two closer together than ever before. Poor Kazumi.

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And oh yeah…Valkyria has found them. Poor everyone.

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Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 08

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After returning from Akiba, Ryouta drops Kazumi off and tells the other girls he’ll take care of the rest on his own. But in the wake of their “first date”, Kazumi isn’t satisfied. Under the pretense of helping him pinpoint the location on the device, she ends up at his house, ready to take the next step with him.

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While she rightfully tells him she doesn’t need a logical reason to want to sleep with him, the truth is she has one, and it’s the same reason she enjoyed their Akiba date so much: Her time on this world is cruelly short, and his could be too when he goes on the next wild goose chase. Going forward, her first time for many things could well also be her last, so she’s in a hurry to have them.

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Kazumi continues to cement her role as the most compelling and endearing of the girls, the one who embraces her mixed-up adolescent tendencies and raw humanity with abandon. She knows she may never reach later stages of life, and she’s clearly terrified. But she’s also scared of actually doing it, so when Ryouta accidentally causes her to make a strange, “freaky” sound, she halts the proceedings, admitting it’s all probably too much for him (and her too, if she’s honest).

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After a night of innocent spooning, Ryouta heads off on his own, and quickly finds he’s in over his head. Fortunately for him, the girls didn’t heed his call to hang back. For all his good intentions (and photographic memory) he’s still too weak to protect them on his own. So Kana gets a death vision, Neko storms in with her destructo-powers, Kazumi jams the radio, and when the chief has Ryouta pinned, Kotori teleports him away.

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It’s a good full team effort, but they were never going to struggle that mightily against normal humans. Nanami, the next girl sent after them (Neko, specifically), will be far tougher. Kazumi revels in her humanity and femininity by shedding clothes all the time, but Nanami’s status as a captive tool is accentuated by the belts and a hood she’s wrapped up in when not in use. Still, like the others, she wants to live, so she’ll obey her bosses. And because we know full well her bosses won’t let her live, you can’t help but empathize with her too.

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Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 07

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Murakami Ryouta didn’t ask for a harem of escaped super-human hotties. He got saved by one of them in a mudslide, felt compelled to help her, and one girl led to another until his Observatory of Love grew to four. Their salvation is his crusade, and worrying over them is a full-time job…though he has a part-time job tutoring nosy pipsqueaks.

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At his present level of involvement in their…situation, there’s no way someone like him wouldn’t blame himself if some or all of them were to meet their doom, which could come slow when they run out of pills his uncle can’t copy in time, or fast when the next lab-assassin, Nanami, rears her twin-tailed head.

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His options are all but limited to storming the lab where they escaped from and stealing more pills, and the timing is limited to a month. This is not an ideal situation, and the chances of success with any plan are slimmer than Kazumi’s figure, but in the meantime, the girls still have their lives. If he can’t save them, he’s not going to stop them from living them.

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To that end, Neko goes to Karaoke and gets hit on, and Ryouta takes Kazumi to what turns out to be a date to Akiba. Here, Kazumi’s gentler, sweeter side really shines through; it’s the kind of perfect day you expect a show to give someone before killing them. I hope I’m wrong, because Kazumi’s kind of the life of the party.

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Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 06

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Lucky for Ryouta, Neko, and Kotori, the “state power” perusing them sent one of the less effective AA+ witches after them. Kikako moves and acts almost comically slow, giving them any number of opportunities to get the upper hand. And I’ll admit I’d forgotten about Kotori’s teleportation ability, and the fact enough time had passed that she’d no longer be hung up.

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Ryouta has a plan, but it depended entirely on two factors he couldn’t control: that Kikako would take her sweet old time firing her mouth cannon at Neko once she had her pinned to the ground (seriously, that was way too long!), and he just happened to flag down Kotori. I did like how Kotori’s determination to smile rather than cry gave the impression she was Neko’s killer in Kana’s vision.

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I initially thought the whole episode would be dealing with Mikako, but like I said, once Ryouta realized he could use Kotori’s power, things were pretty well in hand. And oh, hey, it wouldn’t be an episode of Brynhildr if scenes of girls bleeding from their eyes and having their hands and feet sloughed off weren’t followed by a random scenes of goofy fanservice! Because as we all know, when it gets hot, girls take their tops off. There’s a wealth of rap music confirming this very phenomenon.

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Having survived Mikako (who’ll be “severely punished” for failing), Ryouta all of a sudden remembers a relative of his is an accomplished scientist at a po-dunk university (probably so he can get away with more shit). I initially thought he was that evil scientist dude we already know in disguise, and the close-up of his rather crazed eye at the end suggests he isn’t anyone to be trusted, regardless. But with the pill supply running out, Ryouta and the girls’ options are few.

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Stray Observations:

  • Mikako is far more dangerous from long range, as evidenced from Shino’s demise.
  • Shouldn’t Ryouta have brought up his scientist uncle way back when the pill thing became an issue?
  • I can’t help but be constantly distracted by the over-convenient fact that Ryouta has an entire observatory at his disposal, no questions asked, where not another soul ever comes by, with access to a barbecue and hot spring. From those perks alone, there should be a lot more astronomy club members.
  • Where the heck did Neko get that blender? Where’d she plug it in? How is she dealing with Kana’s bed sores? The show doesn’t care about these details, so I guess I shouldn’t, either…