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Anime: Senki Zesshou Symphogear
aka: Symphogear

"In the distance that day, when the star became music....."

Senki Zesshou Symphogear (widely translated as Swansong of the Valkyries: Symphogear) is a sci-fi series about Magical Girl Warriors who use Power Armor fueled by The Power of Rock to battle Eldritch Abominations.

Yes, seriously.

Hibiki Tachibana is an ordinary schoolgirl who attends a concert by the Idol Singer duo "Zwei Wing". Unfortunately, the concert is attacked by a group of mysterious Eldritch Abominations called "Noise", and Zwei Wing transform using magical Power Armor- the Symphogear- to battle against them. During the battle, Hibiki is impaled by a fragment of Symphogear armour, which gives her the power to use the armour as well. Recruited by the secret government organization behind the Symphogear, Hibiki must learn how to use her new powers to fight against the Noise on behalf of humanity, alongside veteran fighter and Broken Bird Tsubasa Kazanari.

Originally airing in January 2012, Symphogear was developed by Noriyasu Agematsu (composer of music for games and anime including Wild ARMs and Girls Bravo), published by Kadokawa Shoten, and animated by Studio Satelight. It features an All-Star Cast, including Nana Mizuki, Aoi Yuuki, Hideo Ishikawa and Miyuki Sawashiro.

Compare and contrast Ar tonelico, Macross 7, Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Lyrical Nanoha and Suite Pretty Cure ♪.

A second season was announced for July 2013 with the title Senki Zesshou Symphogear G, adding Tomokazu Sugita, Ai Kayano, Yoko Hikasa, Yui Horie and Yoshino Nanjo to the cast. Taking place three months after the events of the original series, the heroines of the 2nd Division face a new threat when a terrorist group known as "Finé" emerges from the shadows with an army of Noise and their own band of rival Symphogear users.

And in December 2013, a third season has been announced.

Hibiki, Tsubasa, and Chris also appear in Super Heroine Chronicle, though Chris starts out first as a villain.

This series contains examples of:

  • The Ace: Kanade. She's not always better than Tsubasa, mind you; but she's upbeat, popular with everyone, cheerful and fun-loving. Parallels to Zack Fair are noted.
  • Action Dress Rip: Gungnir's Combat Stilettos are in the way of Hibiki's new kung-fu moves, so she gets rid of the heels.
  • Action Girl: All the Symphogear users.
  • All Myths Are True: Norse myths (Kanade's relic, Gungnir), Japanese myths (Tsubasa's relic, Ama-no-Habakiri) Hebrew/Sumerian tales (Kadingir, the gateway of the gods, looks like the Tower of Babel, the healing artifact Nehushtan and the demon-binding Staff of Solomon), Roland's sword Durandal, all together.
    • All mythological creatures and monsters are thought to have existed too, though the majority are theorized to have been Noise.
  • All There in the Manual: Lots of information regarding Symphogears, relics, and other material can be found in the form of translated key words. They give insight to things that weren't or couldn't be explained by watching the anime alone.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: After revealing that saving "Mankind" was just saving himself Ver tells Maria they should talk later about repopulating the human race.
  • And the Adventure Continues: At the end of the series there's still Noise in the world to be fought and heroines willing to do it. Indeed, the adventure continues in Symphogear G.
  • Animation Bump: Season 2 has only just started, but the animation is much more fluid and better-looking than the first season.
  • Anyone Can Die
    • Kanade and the main heroine, Hibiki in the very first episode. That said, it turns out Hibiki wasn't actually dead.
    • Of diplomatic importance, Japanese Defense Minister Hiroki is assassinated in episode 5.
  • Armed Legs: Tsubasa's Symphogear comes with large blades attached to her boots. She has several spinning moves that use them.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Besides the ... American, the beginning phrase of each girl's activation songs is gibberish. Or Norse. Or Ar tonelico's Conlang
  • Badass Boast: One from Hibiki in G episode 6 at the end. Very well done as the boast is preceded by actual FACT, Hibiki punching a Noise and not disintegrating on the spot, further gives weight and reality to her words.
    Ver: As a mere human, touching a Noise?!
    Hibiki (initiating the sequence BEFORE, but actually transforming AFTER punching the Noise!): My fist, my life! Both of them are my Symphogear!
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: Subverted. The last thing you will see in the OP is the holding hands of two girls and a starry sky. This is elaborated further in the finale, and it is also the last thing you will in that episode. After Hibiki's return to Earth, she and Miku get to see the meteor shower, holding hands.
  • Bastard Girlfriend: Fine punishes subordinates' mistakes stark naked save for black stockings.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Symphogears, without any visible means of life support, are space-worthy. The part about talking in the vacuum is explained by being telepathy, at least. And it took them quite a while to return to Earth.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Fine claims that she through several reincarnations has been responsible for most of the world's global paradigm shifts.
  • The Berserker: Hibiki becomes visibly bestial (her fangs grow slightly and her figure darkens) when angry caused by being fused to Gungnir's fragments rather than just wielding a relic the usual way. When fully enraged she can't tell friend from foe.
  • BFS
    • Tsubasa. Her Armed Gear is a no-dachi which can transform that into a giant claymore. Her "Heaven's Wrath" Finishing Move causes it to grow many times her size and combine with a flying kick from her Symphogear For Massive Damage.
    • Durandal. Hibiki activates it in episode 5, which she promptly uses to demolish an entire chemical plant in a single attack.
  • Big Eater: Japan's Secretary of Defense sure is eating quite a bit...
  • Bland-Name Product: They weren't even trying to hide it. For instance, Ryoko's car's logo is the same as the Toyota logo, upside down.
  • Blade on a Stick: Kanade uses the mythical spear of Odin, Gungnir.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Kanade, in a flashback during episode four, lets fly a massive geyser of this, when she injects herself so Gungir will sync with her. This is a set standard when invoking the "Ultimate Song", too.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: While there's plenty of High-Pressure Blood instances, Tsubasa is even shedding Tears of Blood at the end of Episode 4.
  • Boobs of Steel: The bustiest girl is the Big Bad Fine, who can easily take on several other Symphogears at once.
    • Fine plays this trope literally when her boobs deflect bullets at point blank range.
    • Before the Big Bad made a stand on the battlefield, Chris made a very effective Knight of Cerebus and she possesses a pretty big rack.
    • Season 2 introduces us to Maria who goes toe-to-toe with Tsubasa, without summoning her Armed Gear might I add.
  • Book Ends:
    • Just as Hibiki did in the first episode, in the last episode Miku rescues a girl under Noise attack, they run, she falls, a heartbeat is heard...
    • The whole graveyard scene serves as book ends.
    • The final episodes (of the first season) bring back the following songs: Synchrogazer (as an ending theme specifically) and Gyakkou no Flügel (the insert song from the first ep, now the series ending theme).
    • Done again in the final episode of the second season with: Vitalization (as an ending theme for 12) and again a full chorus Gyakkou no Flügel.
  • Body Horror: Noises' mere touch turns people into ashes quickly, but not quick enough for the victims not to feel it.
    • Hibiki's first Symphogear transformation is less than pleasant, with giant bio-mechanical growths shooting in and out of her back.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Despite her strength, Hibiki's lack of experience and training makes her ineffective in combat until she learns martial arts from her Badass Normal commander. "Eat lightning and crap thunder!"
  • Break the Cutie
  • Breather Episode: A well-deserved one, at that. Episode 9 is a "girl's day out", and Nana Mizuki performs karaoke on an Enka song.
  • Broken Bird: Tsubasa and Chris. Tsubasa by experiencing the death of a partner and Chris after undergoing child slavery in a warring country(not rape) made one to become a cold and obsessive death-seeker and the other a violent, mistrusting destroyer.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: A musical variant; each girl sings a brief verse to activate her gear. Careful listeners might catch the names of their relics in the lyrics.
  • Calling Your Attacks: All Symphogear users showcase their special attacks and defenses with cuts to a Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame with a title card. Literally speaking, none of them declare these attacks, except for the initial invocation of the Symphogear and one exception.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Chris comes around in episode eight with the typical "bolt upright" move.
  • Catch a Falling Star: In episode 8, Hibiki dives to save Miki after the latter fell off a roadside that was destroyed by the Noise.
  • Catch Phrase: Hibiki's "I think I'm cursed..."
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The first episode is very dark. The second episode is far brighter, focusing on Hibiki's induction as a Symphogear candidate; then episodes three and four go back to being serious... until the very last minutes of episode four suddenly turn into a goofy shonen Training Montage. Overall the tone of the series gets Lighter and Softer as the series progresses (Episode 8 even relies on The Power of Love and The Power of Friendship as a plot point) with the international conspiracy subplot and Chris' Dark and Troubled Past being the only "edgy" elements left by the finale.
    • The 2nd season, on the other hand, goes back to the dark tone of the first 4 episodes, and even more.
  • Chainmail Bikini: The Nehushtan armour when worn by Fine doesn't do much to cover her user below the shoulders. But it makes the exposed skin as bullet-proof as the rest of the armour, as seen in episode 11.
  • Character Focus: After Chris' introduction, the show takes some time off from its heroines and devotes it to her. Half of Episode 7 was dedicated to her Character Development, alongside Episode 5. Being one of the antagonists, this foreshadows her Heel-Face Turn.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The little girl Hibiki saved during episode 1 plays a role in the finale.
  • Chilly Reception: Averted when Hibiki gets a welcome party that a new employee/recruit/etc in Japan can expect from the old-timers... but played straight by Tsubasa, who gives her the cold shoulder.
  • Clark Kenting: When Kirika and Shirabe infiltrate the school festival to take the protagonists' Symphogears, their only cover is a pair of glasses.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Tsubasa and Hibiki's fight never happens: old man Genjuro comes out of nowhere and stops Tsubasa with his BURNING FIST.
  • Colony Drop: This was Fine last ditch effort as she grabbed a piece of the moon and pulled it towards the Earth. The second season reavealed that the moon itself is heading towards the Earth.
  • Cooldown Hug: Tsubasa gives one to an out-of-control Hibiki in episode 12.
  • The Corruption: Gungnir fragments inside Hibiki. It's responsible for Hibiki turning into a black berserker, and is slowly spreading throughout her body. If nothing is done, eventually she'll become the bone of her relic. The upside is that Hibiki can regenerate lost limbs and that as a living relic, she can touch (punch, kick) Noise without being carbonized. Hinted since season 1, but the fecal matters really hit the proverbial blower in season 2.We see the full effects of it in episode 10 of Symphogear G.
  • Combined Energy Attack: In S2, this is how Nephilim's Final Form is defeated, via combined Phonic Gain from the entire world. VITALIZATION!
  • Continuity Nod: In season one, Hibiki breaks off the heels of her Symphogear outfit because they're in the way. Season two has Tsubasa accidentally break a heel of her idol outfit when fighting Maria.
  • Counterpoint Duet: "Edge Works of Goddess ZABABA," a remixed combination of Shirabe and Kirika's battle songs. Appears in episodes 11 and 12 of G during their duel.
  • Crash into Hello: Happened twice so far with Tsubasa and Chris; the latter running to escape being dragged into events by her new classmates.
  • Creature Hunter Organization: The Mobile Disaster Response Corps. being the ones with The Valkyries who are the only ones with a fighting chance against the Noise.
  • Creepy Doll: The ending features a lot of "gutted" mannequins, for no discernible reason. It somehow got past the radar with it's explicit pictures.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The fate of those attacked by Noise: they get reduced to Carbon compounds over the span of a few seconds.
  • Cute Bruiser: Hibiki's inability to summon Gungnir's armed gear forces her to fight empty-handed, clumsily brutal at first and later with flashy kung-fu moves..
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Ultimate Song/Swan Song releases energy beyond what the Symphogear can safely handle.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Chris wasn't even on-screen for five minutes before talking about Hibiki being the "lead protagonist."
  • The Dark Arts: That's exactly what the Big Bad calls her forbidden powers.
  • Dead Partner: Kanade, to Tsubasa.
  • Dead Star Walking: Kanade and Serena.
  • Death by Origin Story: Tsubasa wasn't always the hostile cold fish; Kanade's death turned her so.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: At first it seems the series is going to play the Magical Girl Warrior as strategical weapons, villains being honestly deadly, heroines never getting a break and lacking Plot Immunity. By the final three episodes, the Power of Friendship and the Power of Rock trumps all. It's quite epic.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The promotional videos show the four girls have a prominent role in the series. At the end of the first episode however, it shows that Kanade died halfway through the episode.
  • Description Cut
    Tsubasa: Smiles have no meaning where we're going.
    Cue the next scene having the bureau celebrating Hibiki getting there.
  • Disco Tech: Symphogears and relics are activated and run on "phonic energy", that comes from singing.
  • Doomed Protagonist/Foregone Conclusion: Hibiki is shown to have expired some time before the end of the story and what we're seeing are the events leading to her death. Ultimately subverted in the end.
  • Downer Beginning: It was rather shocking to watch Episode 1 where a main character dies and another is seemingly handed a death sentence (not to mention the villains slaughtering a whole concert hall).
  • Eagle Land: Extremely obvious by the phone call and the assassination of Hiroki by an Ahnuld look-alike. — In-universe, Japan and America relations are tense due to sheer competition and its authority present around the world. At least until it is revealed that America and Japan were working together to get information about Ryoko.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Forget about the Downer Beginning. Hibiki is alive. She and Miku eventually get to see the shooting stars together.
    • Bittersweet Ending: Although she came to terms with the loss of Kanade, her singing career and eventually is still alive, Tsubasa will have to give up her overseas singing career and dedicate her life to fighting Noises 'from the shadows', since she, Hibiki and Chris were officially listed as KIA. Thankfully, by the second season, the government took care of that (by making everything Symphogear-related to be top secret files), allowing Tsubasa to continue her idol-singing.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Kadingir was designed for blowing up the Moon. And it has some success at that.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Genjurou teaches Hibiki his unnamed, super-powered Secret Art after she proves unable to bring out her Armed Gear in episode four. Part of the training involves watching action movies and doing forms in cosplay.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Noise.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: In S2, everyone gets one, due to maximum Phonic Gain from the entire world. Even Maria.
  • Empathic Music: Since singing songs is a key idea in the anime, the background music changes depending on who is currently singing and/or in their Symphogear. It is rare for songs to be pure orchestra.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Symphogears are powered armors that run on their users' singing skill and emotional state. They also take more or less stripperiffic forms on specific users (compare Chris in her Nehushtan Armour to Fine's).
  • Everything Is Better With Spinning: This series loves spinning.
  • Evil Gloating: The Big Bad keeps on harping about how she's going to rule the Earth while beating a downed Hibiki.
  • Evolving Credits: Chris is added to the final group shot in the OP in episode 11.
    • In Symphogear G, Episode 5 adds portraits of the legends the gears are based on and episode 10 adds Miku in her Symphogear form.
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: In s2e3, Ogawa decides to report back to headquarters while surrounded by a gang of armed thugs. His tone never changes despite the battle heard in the background, and by the time the scene cuts back to him the thugs are collapsing one by one.
  • Expy
    • The Noise; they're the Gnosis in all but name. Namely, they resemble featureless humanoid or animal-like abominations, shapeshift, can go right through walls and conventional projectiles, turn humans into swiftly crumbling statues on touch, and may only be harmed in the split second while they attack - unless specialized weaponry based on ancient artifacts is used.
    • Tsubasa looks like KOS-MOS. Doubly so while in her fighting gear. She also has the attitude to match.
    • Fine is pretty much Miang
    • Gungir's armed gear resembles and makes the same sound effects as Erio's.
    • Genjuro is, appearance wise, a dead ringer for Ali-Al Saachez.
    • The fact that Tsubasa is a highly-skilled, blue-haired stoic cool songstress may remind fans of The Idolmaster of Chihaya Kisaragi. Not to mention, she's also the least busty amongst the girls of the show (though not exactly flat)
    • ZweiWing? Well, if you put the wings on their backs, then they look like another duet during transformation.
    • Dr. Ver is basically a stand-in for Hazama/Terumi Yuuki, who ironically got Ragna's voice.
  • Faux Fluency: The beginning of episode 5 has a conversation over the phone done in full English. And it's very obvious the voice actors aren't very fluent in the language. Watch it here. Invoked on the Japanese side of the conversation: she was performing that gratuitousness as an insult to her American interlocutors.
  • Fiery Redhead: Kanade.
  • Fighting Your Friend: For one reason or another, Tsubasa won't accept that Hibiki has some fragments of Kanade's power. This caused her to throw the gauntlet at poor Hibiki.
    • In G, Tsubasa faces Chris. While Shirabe faces Kirika.
  • Final Speech: Kanade's last words are revealed in episode three. She opens with a variation on "Everything's going dark".
  • First Episode Spoiler: We see the tombstone of a main character a minute into the first episode. Midways through that episode another main character is dead, becoming a Posthumous Character.
    • Similarly, we see the moon cracked open and the competing Idol against Tsubasa having a fragment of Gungnir and being The Dragon.
  • Flashback : The first episode has an extended flashback to Kanade's death.
  • Flash Step: When the Nehushtan Armor tries to slow a Ultimate Song singing Tsubasa down with some Mooks, Tsubasa instantly appears in front of her.
  • Flechette Storm: In S2, Chris' GIGA ZEPPELIN.
  • Fun with Subtitles + "Blind Idiot" Translation = Zero Wingrish: Invoked. During the English portion of Episode 5. When the Eagle Land person is speaking, it is actually in Surprisingly Good English. When the woman is speaking, she is talking in Blind Idiot. This demonstrates the way she thinks of America: a bigoted country who needs to know their place.
  • The Future: Not terribly far into the future, but more than Twenty Minutes.
  • Genetic Memory: The Big Bad is a scientifically reincarnated Sumerian priestess who stored her personality and memories in her descendants' DNA.
  • Genre-Busting: The above description is correct: a music-themed Science Fantasy Magical Girl series.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Hibiki, when she gets massively P.O.ed at the Noise in episode 3 and activates Durandal in Episode 5.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Some users get most of the Nehushtan armour healing ability than others.
  • Gratuitous Cantonese: Episode 9 of Season 2 has Genjuro and Hibiki performing a cover of the opening theme to Jackie Chan's Police Story, in its original language.
  • Gratuitous English: The subtitle for the logo is "Meteroid-falling, burning, and disappear, then..." This is supposed to reference shooting stars, which show up in Episode 3 as a Youtube video.
    • In S2, the subtitle is "In the distance, that day, when the star became music..."
  • Hair Contrast Duo: Kanade (orange), Hibiki (creme) and Kirika (blond) are cheerful, Tsubasa (dark blue), Miku and Shirabe (black) are calm.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Though Hibiki lacks an Armed Gear, it's been theorized by the team that her Armed Gear is really her hands. Not in the sense that she literally punches the Noise, but that she can hold hands of other Gear users to absorb and amplify their power into one massive attack.
  • Heartwarming Music: Not that it is even seen in Symphogear G but the single for the G ED Next Destination has Takagaki Ayahi, Chris' Seiyu singing "Memory" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. When you listen to it, imaging Chris is the person singing this song will be the way to see this as a Justified Trope.
  • Heroic BSOD: Episode 7 is a good contender for the most BSODs in one episode.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: How Kanade saving Hibiki from the Noise and potentially anyone who uses the Ultimate Song.
    • Re-iterated in S2 Fine saving Shirabe from a mortal strike by Kirika, that tears souls
  • High-Pressure Blood: Any meaningful impact will release a humongous burst of blood, as seen for example when Hibiki gets hit in the first episode.
  • Hourof Power:In Symphogear G Hibiki gets one of these in episode 10, two minutes and forty seconds to be precise before the growth of the Gungnir shard in her chest starts to spread uncontrollably like some crystalline cancer. Which she proceeds to go over anyway.
  • Hot-Blooded: Kanade, Genjurou and his alumn Hibiki. Watch a man teach martial arts to a girl with lines like "Your fists ought to fly like hammers that hit the thunder of the bolt that strucks you!" and the girl respond "I didn't understand a word of that, but I'll try!". Same gal who yells battlecries while playing an arcade crane game.
    The Big Bad in episode 12: What are you using? What?
    Re-iterated in G episode 12 from Maria: What is that song? WHAT IS IT?
  • Hot Scientist: Ryoko Sakurai. Later as Fine, Hot Witch.
  • Hypocrite: After Hibiki tells The Dragon and her lackeys to Shut Up, Hannibal!.
    You hypocrite! There are so many hypocrites like you in this world!
    (song resumes) That's why I will cut the world to pieces as I please...
  • Ice Queen: Tsubasa. Defrosting Ice Queen after she wakes up from her coma.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Genjuro's idea of training includes watching action movies and playing fighting games, and trying to copy main characters' moves...while being dressed like them. It includes trying to teach Hibiki Hadouken, by having them both dressed as Makoto and Gouki/Akuma. All of this set to a Badass Rocky-like theme.
  • Image Song: By the boatload. There is a justification though: the Relic users sing the songs to maintain their transformed state.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: In G episode 12, no less than three characters suddenly find themselves naked due to their circumstance. Two of them are even displayed in their glorious nudity to the whole world!
  • In-Series Nickname: Friends call Hibiki "Bikki" and Miku "Hina".
  • Invisible Backup Band: Justified in the OAV. Turns out the Symphogears act like karaoke machines, providing music and backup vocals for the wearer.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Being outmatched, Fine switches for a moment to her Ryoko persona to recover the momentum.
    • Fine pulls off another fake-out later when she causes a Colony Drop right after it seems she has given up.
  • I Thought It Was Forbidden: By the end of the series the Ultimate Song, or sometimes translated, "swan song" has been used so often that it doesn't look that dangerous.
    • And it is actually dangerous only if the user is not perfectly tuned to the relic. Which... is only kind of explained in the anime, making it a case of All There in the Manual.
    • The very first scene of the second season is the death-by-swan-song of another Relic user, Maria's little sister, Serena. She is both very young and un-tuned, which means it is a certain death for her.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The Noise are truly dangerous Mooks. They can actively adapt, morph, mutate, and combine to form some of the strangest kinds of Eldritch Abominations. The concert scene destruction in the first episode, for example, was comprised fully of Mooks and several Boss in Mook Clothings. Episode 4 is the first episode to actually show a Mook Maker and a Boss, if you would call it that.
    • Noise are nigh-unbeatable for anyone who doesn't have a Symphogear. They can kill in a single touch, and are only vulnerable to conventional weaponry within the split second in which they need to physically interact with their target.
  • It's All My Fault: In episode four Hibiki blames her lack of skills for forcing Tsubasa and Kanade to use their Ultimate Songs.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Hibiki's relationship with Miku become strained after Hibiki become a superheroine. However, Miku will always support Hibiki. Aww... until The Reveal kicks in, and Miku stops supporting Hibiki for a while for constantly lying about her secret identity.
  • Jumped at the Call: Hibiki takes to her new powers and working with her heroine earnestly.
  • Leitmotif and Mood Motif: All of the Valkyries sing their song as a way to debilitate the Noise. The songs also actively change throughout the series as a way to show their current personality/Character Development. For example, Hibiki's songs earlier in the series are Lighter and Softer, but gets progressively more Hot-Blooded as the show goes on.
  • Let's Duet: Shirabe's and Kirika's character songs actually sync up with one another and feels like an actual duet at the chorus.
    • And there's the epic one in the first episode of both seasons with Tsubasa with Kanade, then another with Maria.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: The guy with the Anime Hair and pink necktie in charge of Mission Control? He can beat a Symphogear barehanded, as seen in episode 3.
  • Living with the Villain: In S2, turns out that Tsubasa's new singing partner, Maria, is one of the bad guys. Also, she has the black version of Gungnir, complete with Badass Cape.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: In S2, Hibiki and Chris' battle to secure the by-train delivery service of a relic is rendered moot when the Noise attack the party who receives it just as those two leave. Both the relic and the scientist who handles it (Dr. Ver) are missing. Episode 3 says that this was intentional, and that Dr. Ver is actually in league with the Big Bad.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: In S2, Chris' MEGA DETH PARTY specifically refers to this attack.
  • Magic from Technology: The relics are explained as ancient supertechnology by Ryoko. Then again, she's a reincarnated Sumerian priestess who wants to break the Curse of Babel.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: Sure their power depends on their singing activating mysterious relics, but it manifests as humongous swords, gatling guns and piston punches.
  • Magic Idol Singer: Kanade and Tsubasa, aka Zweiwing.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Hibiki starts missing appointments with Miku after she joins The Organization. Keeping Secrets Sucks.
  • Meaningful Echo: Hibiki sings Gungnir's Ultimate Song in the finale to stop the Moon fragment hurling towards Earth, creating a meteor shower for Miku to watch.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Hibiki" means "to resound/echo"
    • "Kanade" means "to play (an instrument)"
    • ZweiWing's Tsubasa ("wing") and Amou ("heaven wing"). Also fits the valkyrie theme, and Tsubasa's Broken Bird status.
    • "Kazanari", Tsubasa's last name, means "calling wind".
    • "Yukine" is written "snow-sound".
    • "Miku" means "future", though it could also be after the pronunciation of "mic" as in "microphone"
    • "Finé", of course, signals the end of a piece of music.
    • Further emphasis on this in Kanade/Hibiki's theme songs, which use the same instrumental but have lyrics echo-ing to each other. Kanade's song is called "Until I die, I will play this sound called 'you'", Hibiki's is "Beyond the resonance of this sound called 'me'", which embodies nicely the baton pass between them (a played sound will resound).
    • In G, there's Maria Cadenzavna Eve. "Cadenza" is a musical term that is generally described as "an elaborate, often improvised solo inserted within an existing piece, typically near the end".
    • There's also a common theme of time. In the second season, Kirika's last name "Akatsuki" means "daybreak", whereas Shirabe's last name "Tsukuyomi" is another term for the goddess of the Moon. Makes perfect sense given their personalities, but then there's Miku's last name "Kohinata", which means "a little sunshine" for Tachibana the "standing flower".
    • In the climax of the first season, Hibiki's declaration of the unified Swan Song brings together the sound kanji from Yukine, Kanade, Kazanari, and Hibiki: "Yoake wo tsugeru kane no ne kanade, nari hibiki watare!" "Ring the bells of the coming dawn! Let their call resound across the world!"
  • Megaton Punch: Hibiki decides to go this route, since she can't properly manifest her Armed Gear, and simply funnels all the power into ass-whooping punches from episode 5 and onwards.
  • The Men in Black: The government agency handling the Symphogears actively keep their existance from the public eye, as they are considered a strategic resource. But their tactics are pretty nice and polite, like making witnesses sign Nondisclosure agreements.
  • Meta Girl: Yumi, one of Those Two Guys, keeps pointing out how things play out like in an Anime, beginning by calling Hibiki out for behaving like a cartoon character in the second episode.
    Yumi (in episode 11): How could the school be under attack? It's not like this is an anime or anything!
    Yumi (in episode 5 of season 2): You're as dense as a main character of a Harem Anime.
  • Missile Lock On: In S2, Chris' RED HOT BLAZE. True to this trope, the target then goes full stealth and Chris can't launch her missiles.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: In what might be considered a Contrived Coincidence, Miku caught Hibiki visiting the just-recently-waking-up-from-comatose Tsubasa, when Hibiki said that she needs to go somewhere else and can't go shopping with Miku. Then things go From Bad to Worse...
  • Monumental Battle: The fight in episode 10 takes place around the Tokyo Tower.
  • Mood Whiplash: It's extremely hard to keep a straight face when transitioning from an Idol concert to a Bloodier and Gorier battle in under 12 minutes and then to high school Slice of Life.
  • More Dakka: MEGA DETH PARTY! Chris in her Symphogear, Ichii-Bal dual-wields Gatling guns, a multi-rocket launcher, and a crossbow that can shoot multitudes of exploding light arrows. Did we mention the crossbow is a Bifurcated Weapon? And it upgrades it later, even, to MEGADETH QUARTET. And then comes the last episode. This girl is Dakka personified.
  • Music for Courage: In the Darkest Hour, the school's anthem rallies the forces of good.
  • Naďve Newcomer: Hibiki — we see through her eyes what is like the situation from the point of a civilian and then from the organization that fights the bad guys.
  • Never Found the Body: Space is vast. Or maybe they burned in the atmospheric reentry.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: While protecting Hibiki from the Noise, some fragments from Kanade's Gungnir breaks off and accidentally sends a sharp chunk straight at her, spearing her through the chest, nearly killing her.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Tsubasa and Chris somehow survive episode eleven after singing their Ultimate Songs and being caught in a Wave Motion Gun blast and a humongous explosion respectively.
  • No Sense Of Energy: Dr. Ver exclaims that the energy released by Nephilim's heart that will vaporize the earth exceeds 1 trillion joules. This is roughly equivalent of 1 kiloton of TNT, or a third of the energy released in the Halifax Explosion of 1917. Of course, he does have a few screws loose so his thinking could be off...
  • Not Quite Dead: The girls do survive the destruction of the Moon fragment and return without a scratch. They are declared officially dead in a cover-up for political reasons.
  • Not So Stoic: Tsubasa isn't terribly consistent with the whole "A sword should have no emotions" thing.
  • Off Model: Episode 3 has a walk scene that looks animated in Adobe Flash. The animation studio working on Bodacious Space Pirates in the same season (especially when Mouretsu Pirates has so much CG scenes in them), plus having the OP single delivered post-haste and a budget slash might explain these animation issues.
  • Oh Crap: Everyone's reaction when they see that Maria has the black Gungnir.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Reportedly, it's actually (supposed to be?) Old Norse, which fits with the Symphogears' naming theme.
  • One-Winged Angel: Fine's Apocalypse Dragon form is her last trump against the Symphogears.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Kanade/Hibiki's uniform next to Tsubasa's.
  • Painful Transformation: Hibiki at the end of the first episode.
  • Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame
    • Kanade has a hardened American style, complete with Gratuitous English and very strong strokes similar to The Eighties Comics.
    • Tsubasa has an Oriental style like those from the Feudal Japan era. The kanji are showcased in very deep and complex strokes, and makes Shout Outs to famous paintings.
    • In S1, Chris has a Wild West-esque theme, complete with a brown overlay you often see in said genre. In S2, hers is now metal plate with the title of the attack engraved.
    • Kirika's looks like something that is meant to transcribe Black Speech, the name of the attack is barely readable.
    • Shirabe's is simple vertical and horizontal writing in a standard font, but their introductions criss-cross each other before stopping a brief moment.
    • Miku's is simple Chinese calligraphy, written in blinding gold and white.
  • Perspective Flip: Episode 5 focuses on Chris. She's a normal Valkyrie who has to endure sadistic torture by her boss. Failing the last mission resulted in her being electrified for a very long time. The subsequent episode reveals she has a Dark and Troubled Past and is a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Power Gives You Wings:
    • In S1 the Lydian students singing their anthem revitalize Hibiki and resurrect Tsubasa and Chris, giving all three of them new Gear forms in the process. All of the forms are winged (and far more potent than anything they had access to before).
    • In S2 the combined Phonic Gain from Maria singing to the entire world unlocks the final form of each Armed Gear. Each of them has wings.
  • Power Limiter: There are several factors that limit a Symphogear's power. Like the Big Bad being in charge of their tuning for a long time. Nothing that the right song can't release.
  • The Power of Friendship: It can release the ultimate power of Symphogears and fuels the Heroic Willpower to overcome a Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Posthumous Character: Kanade keeps appearing all through the series in flashbacks and Talking in Your Dreams.
  • The Power of Love: The single most powerful thing in the series. Miku proves this as the most powerful Symphogear user simply because she wanted to be with Hibiki, not because she was drugged to fight.
  • The Power of Rock: This is a series about fighting evil Noise with power armours running on singing.
  • Psycho Serum: How they develop Gungnir inside Kanade. It didn't work on the first attempt, so Kanade forced the transformation by injecting herself with the rest of it.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Subverted. Initially, it seems like Fine tries to destroy the moon using the Kadingir because God destroyed the tower she built to reach Him. It turns out she's trying to destroy the moon because it will make everyone speak the same language as God again, allowing her to confess her love for Him.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Genjuro wears a pink tie.
  • Red Herring: The introduction with Hibiki dead was actually a cover-up by Genjurou. The animators left out the few minutes after, showcasing Hibiki, Kanade, and Chris well alive and ready to fight.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kanade holds enthusiastic view toward battle, while Tsubasa is more reserved (and in the Flash Back, was actually quivering in fear). Hibiki, while not quite enthusiastic, is always in high spirits.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: Episode 11, complete with a Weird Moon.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Hibiki for Kanade after.
  • Replacement Scrappy: An In-Universe example. Tsubasa thinks that Hibiki is one for her dead friend Kanade. Ultimately, she learns to respect her, thus Rescuing her from the Scrappy Heap.
  • The Reveal: An In-Universe example: Miku sees Hibiki in Symphogear form fighting off against Chris in Episode 6. This easily changes her perspective on how Hibiki has been acting.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Why Kanade took up the Gungnir Symphogear; her family was carbonized by the Noise. As a result, she initially would go utterly crazy while fighting them. She started to tone it down, however, after people began thanking her for saving their lives.
    • Tsubasa does the same thing when fighting against Chris as a way to make up for the loss of Kanade.
  • Rocket Punch: The Final Attack of the second season, Vitalization, is a Gigantic Dual SPINNING Rocket Punch. It's so awesome it would make Kouji Kabuto proud.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Hibiki and Miku behave more like a couple than as friends. For starters, they sleep together.
    Miku in the first episode: I miss you! I cannot bear not being able to see you anymore, Hibiki!
  • Rule of Cool: Singing while fighting energy creatures in your mystical power armour.
  • Running Gag: Genjuro's reaction to a relic being activated, usually the Gungnir, is usually done the exact same way. The name of the relic pops up on their central monitor, then cut to Genjuro yelling the name of the relic in surprise.
    • This was actually played with a few times. They used it to announce a special event after the credits of the final episode of season 1, and Genjuro's reaction changes from a yell of surprise to quietly repeating the name of the relic with a worried look at one point in season 2, when Hibiki's uses her Gungnir when it could kill her.
  • Save the Villain: Hibiki's Combination Attack in season 2 drains and discharges other Armed Gears' Swan Song, allowing its participants to use its devastating power with significantly less risk. This is used to save Kirika and Shirabe from certain death when they are forced to use it in episode 7— the combo doesn't discriminate between allied and hostile Armed Gears.
  • Scenery Porn and Scenery Gorn: On both sides of the spectrum, and can change at any moment. Transitioning from a vibrant laser-show concert that ended with a sunset to a battle-stricken concert under that same sun is animated very beautifully.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In Episode 6 of G, when Hibiki is enraged, the Nephilim attempts to do this. Remember that this is the same one that killed a Symphogear user and made a Curb-Stomp Battle in the previous episode.
  • Secret Identity: The Symphogear are kept out of the public eye, and thus Kanade, Tsubasa and Hibiki have to keep their side job secret, even from best friends. Anyone who witnesses a Symphogear in battle either has to sign an agreement that they will never tell anyone about what they saw, or is dragged into the organization themselves.
  • Sensual Spandex: the Symphogear.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Tsubasa and Chris' Symphogear armor has this.
  • She-Fu: Tsubasa is keen on flying kicks and cartwheels.
  • Ship Tease: Miku and Hibiki are roommates and classmates, but they are also close friends, often share the same bed, have at least one moment together, and they comfort each other. Not only that, but they also want to go out and see shooting stars. Everyone can see it, until Miku decides to break ties after Hibiki hides her new heroic job. It's okay, they get better.
  • Shout-Out
    • Hibiki? Kanade? Noise? Why does it sounds so familiar?
      • Second season adds up 'Maria' and 'Shirabe' in the shout-out to said familiar series.
    • When Tsubasa bleeds from eyes and mouth when she executes her Ultimate Song against Nehushtan Armor, she looks almost like Miki Sayaka during her "I'm such a fool" moment. Jarring, because Tsubasa normally doesn't make that kind of face, her emotional spectrum considered.
    • At one point during the episode 4 Training Montage, Genjuro is dressed exactly like Akuma/Gouki. Considering his Badassery, it's not exactly inappropriate. Hibiki is also wearing Makoto's clothes.
      • The Training Montage of the second season, on the other hand, is a full-blown Shout-Out to Rocky, complete with punching frozen carcasses and the library staircase.
    • Chris's armor the Ichii-Bal is a nice one to Wild ARMs.
      • Let's not forget "pagan technology", the "Ruins of Memory" and Kadingir, a tower to reach the heavens.
    • MEGADETH PARTY. In episode 10, she transforms into the Dendrobium Orchis.
    • Maybe it's just coincidence, but if you take Toyosatomimi no Miko from Touhou and wear those hair ears down, she looks a lot like Hibiki.
    • Berserk Hibiki has some interesting similarities to Asura, completely with being shrouded in darkness with ominous glowing eyes.
    • It seems that Noise have started manifesting outside of Shibuya.
    • Miku's Sympohogear form is a pretty much a Murokumo unit, mixing elemnts of Nu-13 and Lambda 11 (the Anubis-like head gear and visor) with elements of Mu-12 (having special devices that allow beam spam).
    • The Frontier resembles Castle in the Sky, especially the generator room.
    • The final episode of G. Vitalization? They might as well have called it Hell and Heaven!
  • Shower of Angst: In the second episode, Tsubasa has one to show how distressed she is by Gungnir's reappearance.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Chris cuts off Hibiki when the latter is trying to talk her around during the battle.
  • Shy Blue-Haired Girl: Little Tsubasa was initially this.
  • Skyward Scream: In episode 4, the camera cuts off to the sky after Hibiki screams Tsubasa's name when the latter collapses due to performing her Ultimate Song. Presented rather similarly to a certain moment in Neon Genesis Evangelion, incidentally.
  • Slasher Smile: Fine is prone to this humourless grin.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Chris' Iron Maiden attack summons a pair of Guns Akimbo twin-linked Gatling guns.
  • Starts with Their Funeral: The first few minutes of the first episode reveals under Grave Clouds that Hibiki is already dead and buried. The series then flashbacks to two years ago and then forward two years again (though some time before the initial scene, since Hibiki's still alive) to show it got to that point. Also doubles as a Foregone Conclusion.
  • Start X to Stop X: Chris wants to stop all wars and fighting... by viciously beating anyone with a weapon using her Symphogear.
  • Stripperiffic: The Nehushtan armour when worn by Fine makes its user sport Underboobs, Bare Your Midriff and comes with absurdly tall platform boots.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Hibiki shows one first in episode 3. She really wanted to go see the stars with Miku. Later revealed to be a side effect of an experiment by Fine to fuse relics with humans.
  • Take That: In season 1, Genjiro states that Japan has the upper hand over the crisis-ridden Europe (i.e. the 2008 financial crisis), and thus the Durandal will be kept by the Japanese.
    • In season 2, Genjiro states that the USA can't be trusted. One wonders whether it's because the mess was kickstarted by the American relic lab, or due to the sheer extent of the US' surveillance state in Real Life.
  • Taking You with Me
    • How Kanade died.
    • Subverted with Tsubasa taking down Chris — they both survive
    • Fine tries to do this to the majority of the world by crashing a piece of the moon into the Earth. Her intention was to revive via a new host and continue from where she left off.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: Tsubasa has a Dead Person Conversation with Kanade when she is in a coma.
  • Tears of Blood: Tsubasa after her Ultimate Song.
  • Tempting Fate: Pretty much all of the first half of episode 10. "Boy do I like my school! I sure hope nothing happens to it!" Well guess what?
  • Theme Music Power-Up: How the titular "Symphogear" activates. Having Orchestral Bombing and dramatic music in the background is entirely optional, but it makes fights that much more awesome.
  • There Are No Therapists: Especially for poor Tsubasa.
  • Those Three Girls: Besides Miku, Hibiki has another three friends, one of which oddly enough plays the role of a Meta Guy.
    • There are also three girls in Chris' class that want to be her friends and help her break out of her shell.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Genjurou doesn't usually fight women, but he'll do an exception if said woman wants to hurt someone under his protection.
  • Title Drop: The collective name of the anti-Noise armor is the name of the show. Also, each season title-drops its opening theme as the final, ultimate attack for that season.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Japan as a whole consists of the Research Facility underneath the school, at least three Valkyries in two locations, and (potentially) two weapons, one of them being BFS Durandal. Doesn't look like Japan will hand over Durandal to the EU, what with Episode 5's revelation that Hibiki can use it as part of her song.
  • Took a Level in Badass: She may activate her Symphogear fine, but Hibiki has the fighting skills of the average middle schooler until she gets training from Genjurou.
    Chris in episode five: She learned how to fight?
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Tsubasa after Kanade's death.
  • Tower of Babel: The tower Fine built to reach God is obviously supposed to be it, despite being unnamed within the show. But since she mentions the Curse of Babel too, it's obvious.
    • Fine even transforms into the semblance of the Whore of Babylon when she goes One-Winged Angel, with apocalypse dragon included.
  • Training Montage: Hibiki trains with old man Genjuro during the credits of episode 4. Bruce Lee and Street Fighter make appearances.
    • Also in season 2 episode 9. This time, all three Armed Gear users are training under Genjuro. And Genjuro also sings!
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Shown in episode 12, when Hibiki starting her transformation into her new Symphogear creates a shockwave that pushes Fine away.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Sometimes the school uniform skirts move but the fabric pattern doesn't.
  • Unusual User Interface: The consoles in the control room include features such as virtual faders/drawbars and turntables.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Frontier has all the trappings of one. It's a mini-Floating Continent, the main characters are Storming the Castle into it and Fighting Your Friend, the Final Boss has taken One-Winged Angel form and is waiting inside, and so on. Glorious!
  • Waif-Fu: Hibiki can send a punching bag 20 feet away with one hit after getting a few weeks of training from Genjurou.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Hibiki tries to juggle her Symphogear heroics, training with Genjurou, keeping up with her homework and not forgetting about her girl friend. Her sleep time suffers.
  • War Is Hell/Humans Are Bastards: The Noise was created by humans in order to fight against rival humans during the early ages.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Kadingir is not a tower - Fine even references the biblical Shinar - even though it is referenced as such, but an humongous energy cannon with the intention of shooting the moon. It works, but not as expected.
  • Weird Moon: It...has a massive dent and a ring surrounding it as shown early on in the second season.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Chris — She fights Tsubasa and isn't afraid of summoning Noise to overwhelm her, all for her laudable objective of ending wars with lethal force.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 11; the Big Bad and her plan is revealed, bad guys change sides or turn to have been The Mole for the good guys all along.
    • Symphogear G, episode 5: The moon is on a collision course with earth, and Hibiki loses an arm to the Nephilim.
    • Symphogear G, episode 7: Maria didn't inherit Fine...but Kirika does.
    • Symphogear G, episode 9: Miku was brainwashed by Doctor Ver and armed with her own Symphogear.
    • Symphogear G, episode 10: Hibiki and Miku are apparently killed, The Frontier is risen by their fight, and as a last shot Chris shoots Tsubasa in the back while saying "Goodbye"
  • Whip It Good: The Nehushtan Armor has a couple of Variable Length Chains as main weapons. And as seen in the last episode, it has a really long, long reach.
  • Whole Costume Reference: During Hibiki's aforementioned training montage with Genjuro, there's a brief still where Hibiki dressed like Makoto (the red cloth strip is on her neck and her gi isn't sleeveless) and Genjuro dressed exactly like Akuma, both characters of Street Fighter fame.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Ryoko delivers this word for word to Hibiki, about keeping her new powers a secret.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Genjurou is a gentleman, but he makes an exception for villains.
  • You Are Not Alone: In an attempt to comfort Tsubasa, Kanade tells her that she will always be supportive, even in death.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Tsubasa.
  • You Remind Me of My Partner Who Is Dead: How Tsubasa views Hibiki. And she doesn't like her, at all, because to Tsubasa, Kanade is irreplacable. The second season brings this back in a twist: After Tsubasa finally befriended Hibiki, she was extremely crushed that Hibiki is going down the path that would lead to her death, reminding her on how she lost Kanade.
  • X Meets Y: Suite Pretty Cure ♪ meets Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Symphogear outfits.

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alternative title(s): Senki Zesshou Symphogear; Symphogear; Symphogear
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