What makes me willing to spend time on Gokukoku no Brynhildr when I don’t care about Mahouka?

I didn’t think I would like Gokukoku no Brynhildr much. The main character is a little too underpowered. The girls are not that great. The premise is kind of squicky – I don’t like melting bodies. I’m not even crazy about Happy Tree Friends-style gore.

The villain is a convincingly classic villain, and the semi-evil uncle character is a decent foil to him.

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I’m a little surprised that I don’t like Mahouka more. It has fantasy technology, it has psychic powers, it has better-than-real-life high school girls, it has great graphics. Why don’t I care about Mahouka?

Maybe part of the problem is that the ensemble cast distracts me from the main characters. Maybe the main character doesn’t seem to be challenged enough. He will probably encounter serious threats when the main bad guy finally shows up for a battle, but I won’t stick around to watch, because the plot didn’t grab me.

By contrast, I didn’t think I would like Gokukoku no Brynhildr much. But even though the last few episodes are terribly rushed, the plot is amazing. As a special bonus, the villain has a good reason to be a villain. And the girls in the opening credits all have good reasons to be remembered after they die.

I won’t delve into the details – if you care, you can watch the whole thing. Suffice to say that some of the girls you see in the opening credits will die shortly after they are introduced, but they are vital to the plot and they are worth remembering. The writer crafted them very skillfully. On close analysis, they are contrived, but this is television.

The villain is a classic twist on a shopworn trope, and the underlying background story is also a rather shopworn stereotype, but I think the writer is going to be able to make them convincing. And I suspect that the good guys are going to win with a realistically narrow margin of victory.

I’m not going to put in a screenshot of a key foreshadowed plot device from episode 12, but if you care about plot, you’ll appreciate how much effort went into making that plot device plausible.

A lot of people who read the manga are complaining online that the last two episodes are horribly rushed and the manga was better. Okay, fine, the manga didn’t have to fit into the Procrustean constraints of a 13-episode TV series, wherein each episode has to have an “A” part and a “B” part separated by commercial breaks. The pacing of the last few episodes obviously suffered in order to keep the cliff-hangers going as long as possible. However, Brynhildr compressed a worthwhile story into 13 episodes, so every episode felt like it was worth watching. By contrast, Mahouka doesn’t seem to have much of a story, and it’s stretching out over at least 26 episodes, so each episode seems like an exercise in filler.

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One thought on “What makes me willing to spend time on Gokukoku no Brynhildr when I don’t care about Mahouka?”

  1. The ending of this show was very rushed in comparison to the manga. A fellow blogger, AngryJellyfish, gave me the theory that the studio originally thought that it would get two seasons before being told that they would have to wrap everything up in thirteen episodes. Despite that, it was worthwhile to see the characters animated, and some of the episodes were well done.

    Chisato, despite being downright evil, had many interesting motivations for his deeds. He has to be up there among the worst villains in anime. However, I found myself more interested in Valkyria, particularly in how she compares to Lucy of Elfen Lied. Both were remorseless killers, yet Lucy was able to overcome her darkness, while Valkyria let it devour her.

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