This can be properly categorized as a ‘witch show’, but this is no ‘magical girl’ show. It might be closer aligned with “Black Rock Shooter” in the caliber of despair that it generates, but I get ahead of myself. This is an unhappy show. Not a sad show. A sad show is like “Air the Series” or “5 Centimeters per Second”. This one is unhappy is that everyone…it looks like I’m taking the chute back to Square One, as I’m getting ahead of myself.
“Brynhildr in the Darkness” (“Gokukoku no Buryunhirude” “Extreme-Black Brynhildr”) is an odd cat of a story, mainly because it doesn’t know what it wants to be.
Ryouta Murakami is head of the astronomy club. They even have this far out observatory to use. (No, I mean far out; he has to take a couple of bus lines to get to the thing) Too bad there isn’t a single other person in the club. I mean, what gives? I know if there was an astronomy club at my high school, I’d be there (we had a chess club. If I had joined, I’d be called ‘Carpet’, as I’d have been laid out the entire time.)
He comes across this girl, who tells him not to go to the observatory or, if he does, miss the last bus down from it. He does neither (he’s a guy; like he’s going to listen to some odd girl he just met?) As it happens, a sudden rain storm causes a massive rock slide and he is killed…or would have been if Neko hadn’t shown up to use these bizarre powers to hold the rock back. Neko Kuroha is that black-tressed number at the far right. She looks similar to a friend that Ryouta had many years ago, but died in a tragic fall. Still, there is something about her that piques his interest.
She does go to his school, but her attendance is spotty. He manages to find her, hiding in a derelict cabin with some kind of loli type who is paralyzed (Her name is Kana Tachibana and she can see the future; she’s the one on the sofa). It is then he learns the terrible story of theirs: they are artificially-created witches who have a specific power, but can only use it a few times before they ‘hang up’ (kind of over heat and they have to wait for it to restore).
Rather than living in this crappy cabin (where two others of their kind have died), he ensconces them in the observatory. No one comes by, anyway. Or so he thinks, as two more witches show up, as it is a kind of safe haven. Lounging with her socks off is Kazumi Schlierenzauer. She is a hacker of the first order but is also the brunt of all the tiny bust line jokes. The person Ryouta is speaking to is Kotori Takatori, who has an ability of teleportation. There are two more not here; one is Hatsuna Wakabayashi, who can regenerate from almost any wound inflicted on her and Nanami Tokou, who can modify memories.
The story, which can also been seen as a caliber of harem show, details the struggles of our hero to try and protect these runaway witches from either dying on their own (they have to take these special pills every day or they die horribly) or being melted by the organization that created them. (Seriously. They dissolve into this steaming pile of goo. I assume it’s steaming; it might be Censor Fog, so we cannot see their dying throes).
It was about two-thirds of an interesting show, as we see the escapees outwit Assassin Witches, send by the organization to destroy them, and frustrate the organization Vingulf (and Chisato Ichijiku in particular), as these are some sub-par witches they are hunting down.
Two problems. Always two problems. The first is how they die. Characters die off in practically every episode and if we include near-death experiences, it is EVERY episode. It’s not pleasant, as they bleed from everywhere, leaving ponds of blood about and then they dissolve into this gelatinous sludge. They are so noble as they die, but they still die.
The other problem was 11th Hour revelations that completely skewed the show, making you wish that perhaps you shouldn’t have watched the show. The last episode was especially confusing, as during the end credits, they give a caliber of epilog, which implies that everyone did not die.
Wait a horse-whipping minute! That one was cut in half like a pineapple, that one melted away, that other one exploded, but it implies that everything is hunky dory and we’ll all have a fine time at the beach.
I can’t give this high marks, as we spend a lot of time trying to puzzle out all the problems that have been set up without really resolving a lot of them. Do we feel sorry for these ladies? Of course we do. Do we want them to live on? Potentially. Do we want fewer anime tropes employed? You betcha. Maybe you like your shows depressing and hopeless, in which case, this is just what you seek; otherwise, pass on this and join the anime club instead.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Functional)
Plot 7 (Could have been worked better)
Pacing 7 (Moves along consistently)
Effectiveness 7 (Everyone comes off a bit jerky)
Conclusion 2 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but are they dead or not?)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (Got too hopeless for me)