In Review: Brynhildr In The Darkness

Manga fanboy incoming, Gokukoku no Brynhildr, is one of my favourite reads of all time. As a manga that isn’t afraid to kill off a main character in a fight involving a superpowered harem, it never fails to keep things interesting. Even if the plot is up in the air on where it goes next. So let’s review the anime.

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Brynhildr is a spiritual successor of Elfen Lied, a mysterious research organisation is surgically enhancing young girls with various unique magical abilities. These abilities are then ranked based on their users, those B or lower are then disposed of. During transit for disposal one day however the convoy is attacked and several of them escape and go on the run from the lab. Meanwhile a young boy is tormented by the memory of his childhood friend dying while they were crossing a dam, and his life is changed when a girl looking like an older version of her transfers to his class. Due to his persistent efforts to work out if its really her he ends up getting involved in the efforts of the escapee witches.

The story itself is rather straight forward, boy with unique memory capabilities and childhood trauma ends up investigating and saving girls while using his highschool club as cover. The girls all have various traumatic backgrounds and coping mechanisms, and pretty much without fail all fall in love with our hero, in exchange for his protection they lend their powers to him in the hopes that he can save them. Unfortunately, the anime tries to fit 100 chapters of events into a single 12 episode season. This leads it to skip an arc, downplay the role of several key characters and change the ending. It also fails to give a complete explanation on all of the key background points and doesn’t even touch on others. You very much have to accept it as is, or do some reading. I didn’t mind this, and found the story good enough to keep my interested. I can understand why others would not like this though.

Aside from the rushed story, the characters are also compressed. One of the groups from the manga is present only in a few scenes and almost acts completely differently from the manga. One characters role is almost entirely changed, with her intro different from the manga.
Ryouta Murakami-The main hero and leader of the harem. He’s top of his class, has an excellent memory, childhood trauma and a high capacity for solving problems. He hopes to grant the magic users a normal life.
Neko-Neko is almost a splitting image of Ryouta’s dead childhood friend, she has the ability to destroy inorganic matter by thought and organic matter by touch. She transfers to Ryouta’s class in order to prevent his death later that day, and after a while finds herself interested in him.
Kana-Kana spends her time under Neko’s care due to her paralysis, in exchange she uses her ability to protect Neko and help her fulfill her goal of saving people. She talks through a synthesiser and spends most her time berating Murakami, but she still respects and cares about him.
Kazumi-Kazumi is a technomancer with the ability to connect herself directly into computer systems. She starts off using her abilities in exchange for payments from other magic users, however ends up trying to seduce Murakami as a coping mechanism for her past, leading her to use her powers for him often as favours.
Kotori-Kotori is a ditzy young girl and magic user. Initially believed to be sent by the lab to kill the others, it’s later established her general cluelessness about the situation is genuine.
Hatsuna-In deviation from the manga Hatsuna is of a higher rank than the other main magic users and escapes the lab much later on. She is initially distrustful of non-magic users, a trait from her past with a human friend in the manga, but after seeing the honesty behind Murakami’s actions falls in love with him.

The rushed and incomplete explanations and plot make this a tentative recommendation. The darker tones of the anime remind me of Blood-C, and the harem side reminds me of Date A Live an Infinite Stratos. If you enjoy those three then you will like this, and if you like this then Elfen Lied is from the same creator so it may be worth giving that a shot.

I can’t push you to read the manga enough if you enjoy this anime even a little bit, it is multitudes better. Especially for the supporting characters.
“People don’t vanish from this world the moment they die. Their true death is when they are forgotten by the living.”

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