While I Wait For You （君を待ちながら）
Another season, another anime! This has been a weekend of first episodes and full of excitement and, in some cases, disappointments. Still, let’s get cracking onto this new show, Gokukoku no Brynhildr (Brynhildr in the Darkness), the manga of which I’d never even heard of. However, the pretty promotional picture kind of sold me and so I had to give this a whirl. It’s thirteen episodes long (from what all my sources have told me) so I suppose I’m expecting it to be as fast-paced, if not even faster than Noragami and other twelve to thirteen-episode shows. It most certainly dove straight into the plot within twenty minutes and there are a whole load of questions already!
The story kicks off with a flashback of Murakami Ryouta’s (Osaka Ryouta) childhood with his best friend who went by the name Kuroneko, who had been obsessed with the existence of aliens and supposedly knew and had met one. In order to prove to Ryouta that aliens existed, the young pair decided that it was totally clever to go walking across the walls of a dam, where they both proceed to trip – predictably – and fall into the water. We learn that Kuroneko supposedly didn’t survive the fall and Ryouta, wracked with guilt for the death of his friend, dedicates his life to searching for aliens and proving their existence all in the name of his friend. Fast-forward into highschool and we discover a now grown Ryouta, who’s top of his class and pushing to be the top student in the country all in the hopes of getting into NASA. His life is thrown for a loop, however, when a transfer student who looks spectacularly like his best friend, waltzes in and goes by the name of Kuroha Neko (Taneda Risa). From then on there’s a whole load of drama and “are you my best friend or not?”, “this is the first time we’ve met!” when I think we all have a sneaking suspicion that either Kuroha is lying or has somehow lost her memories. Ryouta, the naive little boy, bless him, believes her when she says she’s not his best friend. Um, sure, girlie.
Long story short, she appears to be part of some sort of agency entrusted with the task of saving people who have been premonition-ed to die and ends up with magical powers and what looks to be some sort of computer device attached to the back of her neck. Amazingly enough, though, Ryouta seems to take all this in stride and has a very cavalier attitude about the whole thing, which is both amusing and just a tad bit forced, in my opinion.
By this point I suppose you might think that I wasn’t entirely convinced by the start of this series and you’d be correct. It was, for lack of a better word, boring and kind of cheesy – and not the best kind of cheesy either. Still, I reckon this deserves the three-episode test before I finally decide whether or not I’ll invest my interest in this show or not. On the other hand, the opening song, which is entirely instrumental, is really quite lovely and sets quite an eerie, muffled feeling that is the PG version of Elfen Leid, which shares the same writer as this show does – Okamoto Lynn. Gokukoku seems a far cry from the disturbing show that Elfen Leid was, back in the day, but there are certain elements and themes that are still present in Okamoto’s writing. The explicit voyeurism and sexuality of female characters is quite clear already, though it does seem a little more toned down compared to Elfen Leid. Whether that’s going to change in future episodes remains to be seen. The art itself is similar to Elfen Leid and quite old-school – nothing too fancy and sometimes quite flat, but these are all things I can appreciate in light of a good plot, so let’s hope that things actually get interesting from here on out!
Overall, I’ll this start a 6/10 as far as first impressions ago. I’m interested in seeing what exactly happened to Kuroneko and how and why she’s forgotten her childhood with Ryouta, and I’m also quite intrigued by the rest of the characters to come – all of which are female, which I guess is typical of Okamoto’s work – because some of them do look pretty cool. It’ll also be interesting to see whether Ryouta has any sort of ability himself and who the Big Bad is in this series. On the whole, I suppose I’ll give this series a chance and I’m crossing my fingers that it does get better!