Brynhildr in the Darkness Ep. 2: The anime gods hate me

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At the moment, I’m about a little over halfway through the episode. I decided to take a short break because I really couldn’t believe what was happening before my very eyes. Alright, I will admit that the first half of the episode actually does a pretty decent job of setting the mood and establishing an intriguing atmosphere. On Ryota’s way to see Neko, he spots a bunch of Self-Defense Force vehicles driving by. Unbeknownst to our hero, two girls are naked and bound in one of those vehicles. It’s a little exploitative (is it really necessary for them to be naked?), but it also tells you that this top secret lab that these girls had once escaped from are not messing around.

When Ryota finally locates Neko, he finds her hidden away in some abandoned village. Sure, she’s doing some cheesy song and dance as she hangs up some laundry to dry, but it’s no big deal. Our heroine warns Ryota to stay away from her lest he wants to die ’cause those big, bad military people will kill him if they find out he’s been associating with her. In the distance, a strange cry suddenly rings out from one of the nearby buildings. Not only that, the cry sounds rather inhuman. Still, Neko remains secretive. She even blows up a chunk of the ground near Ryota’s feet to scare the dork away. Our protagonist initially aims to leave the village, but he eventually thinks better of it. He then sneaks into the building to investigate the source of the inhuman-sounding cry. From his perspective, it looks as though Neko is having a one-sided conversation with no one in particular. Oooh, how spooky.

So okay, let’s take stock. We just saw some military people drive off with two girls bound and gagged in one of their vehicles. That’s pretty messed up. That thing that cried out for help also sounded pretty messed up. Neko is clearly hiding something that she doesn’t want the world to know. To top it all off, she’s hiding her secret away in a dark, rundown building. Everything is right there! All the horror elements are right fucking there! Is this the most original set-up? No. Am I even scared at the moment? No. But you know what? The show had my attention. Had. When Neko leaves the room to go get a glass of water, Ryota slips by to find out whom Neko had been talking to. The guy even stares into the camera and gasps. Can you guess? Can you guess whom Neko’s been talking to?

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A fucking girl in a gothic lolita outfit. Okay, okay. It’s not the end of the world. This could be one of those creepy-ass dolls or something. You never know! Maybe it’ll be an homage to Le Portrait de Petit Cossette! It’s improbable, but not impossible! But no, as soon as the gothic lolita girl is allowed to speak through a electronic device, everything goes downhill from here:

Kano: “What were you doing sneaking into my room? I thought I was gonna get raped! You hypocrite! How the hell does a peeping tom become a hypocrite, anyway? … Why’d we save such a perv?”

Great. That’s just great. There’s nothing potentially creepy or disturbing here. What you see is exactly what you get. It’s just a fucking tsuntsun girl in a fucking gothic lolita outfit.

Still, I press on; I keep watching. The next day at school, the teacher calls on Neko to read out a passage from a book to the whole class. Welp, it turns out our heroine can read about as well as she can do her multiplication, so Ryota concocts an excuse to save Neko from the oh-so-embarrassing situation. Don’t forget the suitably wacky music in the background as well! This is where I decided to take a break and write all the words that you see above. I can’t, man. I just can’t. It’s like reading a real page-turning thriller, then when you get to the next chapter, the book suddenly turns into 50 Fucking Shades of Grey. Why, cruel anime gods, why? Why must you hurt people like this?

Sigh.

I may as well finish the episode. So gothic lolita girl gives Neko a ring and lets our heroine know that some lady will die in fifteen minutes unless something’s done about it. We then get treated to cheesy running montage as Neko and Ryota hurry to save this lady. Don’t worry, the lady doesn’t die. The resolution to this particular excursion is also cheesy as hell. Yawn.

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We suddenly cut to Kanade, one of the bound and gagged girls from earlier in the episode. She’s now strapped to some operating table as a creepy guy interrogates her. He demands to know the location of the rest of the witches, but Kanade feigns ignorance (or maybe she doesn’t really know but I doubt it). So the guy removes from her neck that thing on the back of all the witches’ necks. You can see what I’m talking in the screenshot directly above. Apparently, removing this metal screw thing causes a witch to liquify into a white, gloopy soup. I’d be suitably disturbed if the anime hadn’t already ruined the atmosphere of the episode, but it did so here we are. I’m just staring at liquified shoujo. Plus, the OP already told us this would happen, so the scene doesn’t even have the surprise factor going for it.

Still, you’d think the episode would cut its losses and end on a high note. Honestly, how can you top liquified shoujo, y’know? But oh no, we’re not done with the silly stuff yet. Y’see, gothic lolita girl is hungry and she’s tired of eating wild mountain herbs. Well, guess who shows up to save the day! Good ol’ Ryota! He’s even bought the girls caeki! Motherfuckin’ caeki! And y’know, to mirror the liquified shoujo, Neko proceeds to liquify all the caeki in a blender in order to feed it to gothic lolita girl. There’s one caeki left for our hero, but then the girls pout at him. Uguu, Ryota-kun, you won’t let this tsuntsun girl liquify all of the delicious caeki? So he relents, because gosh, for some reason, he totally wishes he could stay with these two forever in this dark, dank building!

Afterwards, Neko tells our hero that she would love to go on the school field trip to the beach. Not for him or anything like that–… UGUU, DON’T GET THE WRONG IDEA, BAKA! But then our heroine gets a nosebleed so she doesn’t show up to class the next day again. Ho hum.

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11 thoughts on “Brynhildr in the Darkness Ep. 2: The anime gods hate me”

  1. Seriously, what the fuck did I just watch? It’s so ridiculous on so many levels that it isn’t even funny. Let’s see, we have a witch who has escaped a maximum security facility whose in-charge cruelly and without concern liquefies any witch that won’t cooperate with him. Instead of evading their watchful eye, Neko decides to join as a transfer student just to save the MC. So I can’t read or do basic math, I’ve saved the MC and theoretically I should haul tail, but NO– I’ll continue to be a sitting duck and enroll onto a grade that is higher than the one that I can cope with.

    The MC leaps over a fence when he can just walk around it. Yeah… And then when Neko blows up a piece of earth right in front of his feet, the correct response would have been “Oh fuck, I gotta get outta here!” Instead, MC seems to forget aforementioned events and comes back just because he’s forgotten to tell Neko, who he keeps thinking is Kuroneko despite repeated denials from Neko, that next week is Beach episode. Oh yes, how can we give up a chance to feature bootylicious Kuroneko oppai in a beach episode replete with slow motion swinsuit shots and hazugashi I-can’t-swim-uguu~~ scenes?

    My god, E-Minor…it’s like they want to bust out all the tropes. Gothic lolita Mahou tsuntsun with blonde drills that goes kawaai over caeki? How do they get electricity? Where did she get money to buy a blender or did she conveniently find one in an abandoned house? She also leaves Lolita Witch behind to go to school and possibly ocean trips when she could be a sitting duck for the bad guys to come and find her; perhaps even torture her and extract info about Neko and the MC. And you know they will kill MC if they find out he knows anything about the witches.

    This show is a Darker than Black wannabe done horribly, horribly wrong. Dropped.

    1. Instead of evading their watchful eye, Neko decides to join as a transfer student just to save the MC.

      Naw, high school is too special to pass up, man. I totally gotta know what it feels like even though interested parties are sure to run a fine-toothed comb over everything in order to find me. I gotta visit the beach too… for the sake of the loli’s memories! Won’t anyone think of the loli’s memories?!

  2. Wait, your last line implies that [SURPRISE!] there is going to a forced “BAKA IMMA TSUNDERE FUCK YOU BUT I LOVE YOU” romance that’s completely out of place.

    …This industry really needs to evolve again.

    1. If you must reason with that at all, I think this is the angle they are going for: MC has found a babe that looks like the high school version of a childhood friend who died and Neko has found an opportunity to do normal high school student stuff before she dies or is captured. Both of them are living vicariously through the other (I think), so a romance would only be logical.

      I still don’t like this premise.

  3. To think I didn’t clue in on how stupid this show was going to be even after its PVs kept highlighting its female characters and their breasts…

  4. I’m honestly not sure what it was about this show that compelled me to check out its manga (hooray for online scans!), but Brynhildr really struggles with its tone; it WANTS to be this intruiging sci-fi thriller, so there’s a healthy dose of covert government operations and immoral agents hell-bent on tracking down our male protagonist (and terminating him with extreme prejudice). But the story–which I think would otherwise be pretty competent–is hampered by its need to pander to otaku at every given moment. So you’ve got your typical harem staples here: the childhood friend (OR IS SHE?), the tsundere goth, the “comically” abusive, sexually-forward-but-still-a-virgin-uguu chick, the ditzy busty one, a flat-chested loli (not part of the main cast, but still shoehorned in to squeak “Oniiiichan” at our protag).

    And it upsets me because–aside from the fact that the ‘witches’ are all cute high school girls for some peculiar reason–this honestly could have been much better than what it is.

    I really like your recaps, by the way. I’m usually a lurker, but you deserve to know that the quality of your writing, and your dry observations, have had me hooked from day one. Keep it up! :)

  5. yeah, I gotta agree with you. I wanted to take this anime seriously at first but the otaku pandering just ruined it.

    After watching animes for a while I have a pretty high suspension of disbelief so I was willing to take the stupid forced highschool setting but after I saw that damn tsundere goth loli I lost it so something that supposed to be sad/emotional just turns into a joke, I mean they press a button and suddenly turn into toothpaste.

    Spoiler alert(no one should really care..):
    I heard it just gets worst too since a childhood friend with amnesia and tsundere goth loli wasn’t bad enough they latter add the “easy girl thats always trying to get laid” and the gag boob ditzy girl.

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