Series Recommendation: Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ

By shedding many tears, the reality you face is…

By this point, you should be familiar with the Symphogear franchise. if you haven’t read our previous 3 recommendations for the prequels of this series, you can do it here:
– For the 1st season: Symphogear
– For the 2nd season: Symphogear G
– For the 3rd season: Symphogear GX

Now that we’ve progressed to the 4th seasons, the formula of Symphogear has been refined to its finest point. Our Gear Users have been through many trials, finding themselves in their songs and have overcome adversaries beyond their wildest thoughts. But the limit is nowhere in sight yet, as there are still more threats out there seeking to fulfill their nefarious objectives. And each challenge is more daunting than the previous. This time, the girls have to push their spirit to the limit, but not without help from their comrades and friends.

+ Plot: After the “Magical Girl Incident”, Elfnein joined S.O.N.G as a researcher and Hibiki was able to go back to school and enjoy life with her friends, especially Miku. After the events of the last seasons, Hibiki has faced many traumatic experience including one with her father, as well as Miku herself, she has learned to cherish her “normal life”. But she still has her duty as a Gear Users, and during a mission, a new threat rears its head. And an apocalyptic battle was heading for them.

AXZ this time brought us a half-familiar half-unique enemies, but the overall threat can be said to be the same scale. The flow of the story went as you expected after 3 seasons, which is quite formulaic. But still, the formula works so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, just need to fine tune it. AXZ had a few twist a long the way to spice up the plot, and there’s quite a fair bit of heart-pounding moment. Even so, you can sorta guess how things will ultimately turn out since this is not the girls’ first time on the rodeo.

+ Animation: With better gear came better animation. In short, it means new attacks. The new skills of the Gear Users as well as the enemies’ abilities are very well done and emphasizes on the rule-of-cool. There are some insane combo attacks in the anime which is pretty badass. The combined effort is more than the sum of its parts, and Satelight is more than experienced to bring us some badass Tokusatsu-style beatdown. There are even some mecha references in AXZ (to be honest, what doesn’t?). Overall, AXZ animation is still beautiful.

+ Mechanical Design: Just like the previous sequels, after each season, the Gears are upgraded with a new look, and the Dainsleif form is still very cool. More sophisticated armor for the girls is always a good thing. Compared to the first Symphogear season, Hibiki’s Gear look more pronounced and mechanical, kinda like going from Kamen Rider Ichigo to Kamen Rider The Next. Tsubasa’s new swords are getting more and more ridiculous, but that’s nothing compared to the new artillery spam of Chris. The Maria team also get some spotlight, but of course less so than the main trio.

+ Music: After four seasons, the music in Symphogear just keeps getting better and better. And the seiyuus are used to singing while “battling” now, so you can hear less “short of breath” songs, but a more powerful voice during the combat scenes. To be fair, Nana Mizuki as Tsubasa has always been “powerful”. But Hibiki was struggling a bit in the early season, but now she has grown – with experience and conviction, her voice is much more powerful than before. As usual, Nana Mizuki/Tsubasa performed the opening song for the series and Ayahi Takagaki/Chris performed the ending song. The Ignited songs are beautiful and AXIA no Kaze was one of the most epic and phenomenal of the series.

+ Conclusion: Symphogear AXZ is the result of 3 season’s worth of refinement. And the series has reached a point where the formula just works. But it doesn’t mean the series is repetitive and boring. The creative team have put in enough new concepts and twists to spice up the experience. And the animation and music is still on point. If you’ve watched the previous seasons and wanted more, this AXZ is obviously the next step in the Symphogear saga!

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