In the absence of a properly Classy show this season we have sought some of the Classiest anime of the recent past. Today authors draggle, redball, kevo, and pictographer Foshizzel will bring you the Winter 2012 show, Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then…
redball: Music has the power to to bring us together, or drive us apart. It can evoke powerful emotions. It can even be used as a weapon. Such it is in Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then…, where music itself is humanity’s greatest weapon. And teenage girls are the warriors deemed most fit to protect the species.
The world depicted in Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then… is somewhat bleak. In a future where technology has simultaneously progressed and regressed, humanity is under attack from a randomly appearing alien entity: the Noise. Society is legitimately futuristic in this world, its architecture and transit seem to be very cutting edge. Yet, the military has not advanced, and much of the technology shown in the show seems to lag behind even today’s standards.
The Noise seem to be hellbent against not just humans, but their powerful music. It’s as though a retirement community in Southwest Florida hooked up with al-Qaeda to enforce both noise ordinances and sharia law. The military is somewhat helpless against these monsters, a fact that is only exacerbated by the Noise’s ability to mobilize large forces instantly and without warning. The only way to fight them is with J-Pop and the power of youth. This is actually such a key element to the strategy against the noise that the young warriors must continue to sing throughout their battles.
draggle: The nefarious purpose of humanity’s greatest enemy is revealed by its name: Noise. I’ll be perfectly honest here: I can’t tell much difference between J-Pop and noise. So who is really the enemy here? Perhaps it is our heroines who created these monsters in the first place. As usual, humanity’s greatest enemy is itself.
Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then… explores a morally ambiguous world, where the line between friend and foe is blurred. Humanity’s only hope is that the White Noise will join forces with good music to save the world from the combined forces of darkness and J-Pop.
kevo: Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then… is allegorical to the evolution of music. Our divas Tsubasa and Kanade are beautiful maidens that sing arias honoring the classy and august institution of J-Pop. The songs featured in Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then… pay homage to all the great things we love about anime songs, including voice actors singing, insightful lyrics, and bagpipes. It is this beautiful and powerful sound that gives them power to fight against mankind’s greatest enemy: Noise. I bet that’s dubstep or whatever these whipper-snappers these days listen to. Kids today don’t know about the smooth sounds of classic anime J-Pop. Thank goodness they casted Mizuki Nana for this.
redball: These are truly excellent insights by my compatriots. Indeed, the difference between noise and music is subjective. Music is both cultural and generational, and what is considered music to one person may seem like complete noise to another. Your perception of the world and the sounds that it contains will shape your concept of what is music and what is merely noise.
I can think of no better example of this than the use of music as a weapon, perhaps most famously done in the Guantanamo Bay prison and the siege of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. In both of these instances popular music that is enjoyed by millions was played in such a way that it was unpleasant, disorienting, and even painful. This tactic was thought by many to be a form of torture when used in Guantanamo Bay, even though many of the songs playing would be heard on popular radio stations in the US any given day.
Coming back to Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Meteoroid-Falling, Burning, and Disappear, Then… we find a similar ambiguity in our heroines and the Noise. I was struck by the callousness shown in the opening episode where a large concert was held with the obvious expectation that Noise might appear. They even opened the stadium roof. As further fighting occurs there is a continuous lack of planning or attempt to draw the fights away from populous areas. It’s clear that neither the Noise nor the Special Disaster Task Force 2nd Division care as much about the human lives involved as they do with fighting their war.
The ambiguity and similarities continue in the third and fourth episodes when it is revealed that there are humans on the side of the Noise. It seems that the powers Hibiki and Tsubasa wield are related to those used by Chris and potentially those of the Noise. It will be interesting to see how this pans out and what the exact relationship is. Perhaps the Noise are merely misunderstood. Well aside from all of that turning people into piles of ash stuff. We will have to press on with the series to find out.