Brynhildr in the Darkness Review

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Getting a quick taste of the dark tone of Bryhildr in the Darkness, one would suspect a rather decent show at first glance. Especially coming from the mind of Lynn Okamoto who brought us Elfin Lied. Except, over time certain key plot elements seem to run parallel with his previous work, rather than expand or build upon it.

brynhildr4Story
In his childhood, Ryota Murakami was friends with a girl he nicknamed Kuroneko. Unfortunately at some point during their quest to find aliens, Kuroneko attempts to lead Murakami to an alien she met, but the two of them fall off a cliff. Years later, we find Murakami had survived, but sadly Kuroneko had passed away. Even still he spends every day searching the stars for aliens in the place of his childhood friend.

One day a transfer student appears at Murakami’s school. Even though the girl has an amazing resemblance to Kuroneko, after attempting to confront her, she quickly denies ever knowing him. Later that night this transfer student Kuroha Neko, tells Murakami that he’s going to die. Disregarding this claim, he heads home and is nearly killed. Luckily Kuroha appears and cuts a falling bolder in half. Claiming she’s a witch, Murakami life is now shattered from its norm.

brynhildr5While I felt the show did decent in the beginning at creating some likable characters it’s quickly brushed to the side for more of a fanservice approach at connecting. This deteriorates any desire to care for the character’s well-being. Often to the point that they feel like throw aways from a cheesy slasher film.

Sadly this is an all too familiar feeling from Lynn Okamoto’s previous work in Elfin Lied. Quickly the similarities of storytelling and overall plot design become all too present and the world itself falls apart. A strong sense of deja vu takes over and everything just feels repackaged. A girl from the boys past returning, a tragic childhood, memories lost, lab experiments on females, gore, violence, sexualizing of female characters; it’s the same thing all over again.

brynhildr1The downhill trend doesn’t stop there as the entire middle third of the series turns into a frustrating game of mixing a dire situation with useless fanservice. Make no mistake, the show managed to create a central driving force that the characters can not ignore, but yet they do. They address the fact that they will die soon, then have another bath scene. A dangerous person appears, they have a bath scene. You’re forced to never take it seriously.

The only character I think they ever explored to a decent extent was Kazumi Schlierenzauer who I ended up enjoying quite a bit. Despite my dislike of her constant promiscuous attitude, she had a cute side to her and was actually humanized during the show. She was relatable, had real desires, was humanly selfish, and in contrast to the other characters she actually had a personality.

e1brynhildr2Animation
When it comes to the visual elements of this series, it really is a mixed bag. At many points of the show I actually favored the art style. Characters are often colorful and animated and the eyes were uniquely captivating. Unfortunately at other points the characters seemed lose their quality and become sloppy in design. Even still Studio Arm manages to hold a decent standard in quality that entertains.

Sound
You can’t reference the sound without first pointing out the incredible OP done by Nao Tokisawa. It’s a beautifully orchestrated combination of classical instruments and techno beat that I enjoyed listening to every episode.

Outside of the opening, I found the music to be rather off queue on several occasions. This is even more evident than ever in the final moments of the show where the music seems to run off the rails completely.

brynhildr3I think the only real shining point I really enjoyed about the audio (Tokisawa aside) is the voice acting done by Mao Ichimichi. Not because I enjoyed Kazumi per-say, but because she had a very interesting and distinct voice portraying a half-German with a Kansai dialect.

Conclusion
In the end Brynhildr in the Darkness is a failed attempt and re-imagining an idea that no longer serves a purpose. Okamoto’s work with Elfin Lied served only to bring a different face to the anime genre but in the end wasn’t much for content. Rebirthing such an idea is inherently flawed and brings absolutely nothing new to the table.

With a huge emphasis on fanservice and pacing that jumps back and forth from serious to silly, there’s just nothing to care about and no character development to make me care for the dire situation they are placed in.

THUMBS DOWN!

THUMBS DOWN!

REVIEW VERDICT:
Can’t Recommend

Pros:

  • Good animation
  • Decent concept

Cons:

  • Failed to deliver
  • Poor character development
  • Too many bath scenes
  • Killed by fanservice
  • Rushed ending
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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.