KanColle, on steroids:
Robots, aliens, warships, and magical girls all meet in Arpeggio of Blue Steel! Basically, if KanColle and Strike Witches had a baby Arpeggio would be the result. The best aspects of robotic warcraft and magical girls from those two Anime are on display in Arpeggio; gynoids (“Mental Models”) control powerful alien vessels, known as the “Fleet of Fog,” that take the form of various 20th Century warships (mainly Japanese).
The main character here is a starfish-loving loli gynoid named Iona, who controls the overridden Fog submarine taking the form of the Japanese I-401. Her “heel turn” isn’t revealed until the movie Cadenza, but upon making contact with Chihaya Gunzou — her only directive upon being slate-cleaned is to find and then unquestioningly obey this man — virtually every single Mental Model-driven Fog vessel who fights her either dies or does a heel turn themselves.
I’m glad to see that Iona and Gunzou both remind me a lot of similar protagonists from prior Spotlights: Hibiki and Genjuuro from Symphogear, Akane from Vividred, and Miyafuji from Strike Witches. They’d rather try to reach a mutual understanding with their foes, but will still take up arms and fight if they must. It’s no wonder so many Fog turned Good after facing the “Blue Steel” team! Also: Happy endings! Yay!
One can only hope a second season is in the works here….
Tachibana Hibiki: Fisting the Cabal and their plans one Noise at a time!
That’s basically Senki Zesshou Symphogear (or, “Swan Songs of the Valkyries”) in a nutshell….
However, this Anime is actually a lot more than that — once you start to really watch it (even for a Magical Girl-type Anime). First off, it’s an Anime version of a Musical; the protagonists must sing in order to make use of their empowered “outfits,” and at least one of them must continue singing in order to keep these outfits at full power.
But wait, there’s more!
“Symphogear” is one of the most pro-humanity kind of Anime I’ve seen yet, but even more interesting is that this show goes almost David Icke-levels of depth into the Occult. You pretty-well gotta watch one of Icke’s 4-6 hr-long talks on YouTube to be able to fully appreciate all the Occult references made in the show’s three-going-on-four seasons so far.
Back to Hibiki: This isn’t the first Anime I’ve seen where one main protagonist and their actions basically make the entire show. Prior examples include Amane from “Ange Vierge” and Akane from “Vividred,” but Hibiki puts them both to shame! She alone is responsible for all the foes that become friends over the course of the three-to-four seasons, and so far most of them have turned, and that is primarily because she refuses to fight other humans especially when humans can be reasoned with and thus understood. When she does fight, it’s to protect friends and civilians alike by disabling human enemies — not by killing them! In fact, not a single human death in all of “Symphogear” has ever occurred at the hands of a protagonist; not a single one (yet — suicides don’t count). Hibiki and Genjuuro are mainly to thank for that; that said, there is now one instance of a protagonist willfully causing major bodily harm in the form of Yukine blowing off Sonia’s brother’s leg in Season 4 in order to prevent him from succumbing to an Alca-noise.
I’m a big fan of Happy Endings, and as such “Symphogear” is big on such Happy Endings. I always enjoy shows where most, if not all, of the protagonists vanquish Evil and survive to live another day; even better are the shows where the protagonists don’t kill off the “bad guys,” because — like it or not — even bad people are still people.
It’s flip-flap time!
I’ve no idea why the two main girls have to say “Flip-flapping” whenever they want to become “magical girls,” besides the obvious point that it justifies using “Flip Flappers” as the show’s title. I’m sure there’s a meaningful reason for it….
In short, the show’s plot is a kind of mish-mash of a number of different shows that “Flip Flappers” manages to improve upon overall. The notable ones I can recall off the bat are Mad Max (the desert episode), Sailor Moon (the magical girl aspect), Gurren Lagann (the mecha/city episode), and Kill la Kill (the mother-daughter/climactic aspect). “Flip Flappers” shares the same positive message as “Gurren Lagann”, while improving upon the other three by resolving similar issues present in both shows using kindness and teamwork instead of conflict and opposition.
I’m a fan of happy endings, what can I say….