Gokukoku no Brynhildr has been out for a couple days now and I’ve just had the chance to watch it. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect going in, but I’m pretty pleased so far. Gokukoku no Brynhildr is the latest from Studio Arms (Elfen Lied, Mezzo Forte, Queen’s Blade, Maoyuu Maou Yuusha) and Lynn Okamoto. It’s Okamoto’s second manga, after Elfen Lied, to be adapted into an anime.
Here’s the premise:
When he was a child, Murakami was infatuated with a girl he called Kuroneko. She insisted on knowing about aliens and having met them, but no one believed her, even young Murakami was skeptical. One day, she decides to show him the aliens, but an accident occurs and Kuroneko dies while Murakami is left seriously wounded in the hospital.
Years go by and Murakami obsesses on finding proof of the existence of aliens because of a promise he had made with Kuroneko. Then, one day, a new transfer student comes to his class, who not only looks a lot like Kuroneko, but is named Kurohaneko!
And even though she insists on never having met Murakami before, the girl has superhuman strength and seems to even be able to predict the future!
How will Murakami’s life change now that he has been saved by this mysterious girl that claims to be a magician?
Since the anime adaptation was announced, there was already opinions flying out about the manga and how the anime was expected to turn out. Elfen Lied was usually referenced as an anime to base things on.
Now if you didn’t know, Elfen Lied is one of the most severely overrated anime of all time. It currently holds the #6 spot for “popularity” (a ranking of the most watched anime among users), with 307,403 members, on MyAnimeList.net. It’s also the #405 highest rated anime on the same website. It aired in 2004 and since then has been a sort of holy grail for lovers of gore and tits, which are plentiful in the show. Many people say that it’s “OMG so sad I cry every time :'(” or “LOLOLOLO TITS AND GORE LOLOLO”. While it is an enjoyable show and I will admit that I enjoyed it, it’s just not that good. It relies on gore, death, and tits to cover up its weakly executed plot (which, by the way, had tons of potential). Elfen Lied also had a lame cousin-incest sideplot that gets featured in one episode but gets tossed to the side for no reason, leaving me wondering why it was even there in the first place. I’d say most of its praise comes from that it’s THE anime that thirteen year old boys discover and watch when their parents are asleep. It then gets praised by those same thirteen year old boys for being “mature” or “deep”.
Anyway, this kind of thing is why people were cautious about Brynhildr before it aired. It literally has the same premise (replace “Diclonius” with “Magician”). Readers of the manga also warned those of us who haven’t read it that it’s pretty similar. They did say, however, that it isn’t as bad.
That was uplifting enough, and watching the first episode I was pleasantly surprised.
The first thing I noticed were the visuals. ARMS seems to be going all out for this project, because the art and animation look pretty damn good. The next thing was the opening song and animation:
Now with all the blood and such, the opening animation fits in with what anyone could imagine from the creator of Elfen Lied. There is some fantastic animation though. I also like the song itself; I think it’s good that they decided not to go with your standard J-pop opening song that the majority of anime has nowadays. It sets an excellent mood (again, fitting in with what anyone could imagine from the creator of Elfen Lied). Now all the show needs to do is keep that mood. And it does, at least for most of it.
The first half introduces the main character. 10 years ago he looked up at the stars with his childhood friend “Kuroneko” (“Black Cat”). One day, she dies, and since then the main character’s been looking up to the stars searching for the aliens that his friend so adamantly proclaimed were real. Well one day, what do you know, a girl that looks exactly like her shows up at his school. I’m not going to bother spoiling the rest for you, but the first half introduces the setting pretty well.
In the second half, suddenly that girl shows up at the main character’s club room (it’s the astronomy club, so it’s an observatory) and gives him a warning. And then suddenly, for three minutes or so, it becomes lighthearted. I couldn’t tell you why after 15 minutes of seriousness that the author suddenly decides to throw in a playful scene. Normally I would complain more, but it was well-done in itself at least. I’m hoping that the playfulness doesn’t get too in the way of the story (one of Elfen Lied’s flaws), because this shows a lot of promise (some playful banter between characters really can’t hurt too much though).
It ends with the girl saving the main character’s life. Not a spoiler because there wouldn’t be a show if the main character died.
Overall, aside from the three minutes of silliness, it was a very solid first episode. I really like it so far, especially since it’s decided NOT to rely on gore and tits. I can say for sure that I’ll be sticking with this one until the end. Here’s to hoping it won’t turn to crap.
Here are some screenshots: