Second chances are not to be wasted, and this is no exception to the anime industry. VAP, Inc. and Arms Corporation took another shot at bringing one of Lynn Okamoto’s works to the big screen and blew its potential once again. Gokukoku no Brynhildr introduces an intriguing mystery and new concept of witches that have a promising start but resulted in something unforgivable with ridiculous plot devices. Because of the eerie OP and attractive plot, it is easy to expect a well-done mystery with proper supernatural aspects. Instead, there are incompetent characters, sorry excuses for villains, and poor pacing that leads to plotholes and a lack of character development.
Gokukoku’s initial mystery escalates into the supernatural, appearing as something to look forward to. The plot seems suspenseful with a unique concept for witches, who have different powers and live in fear of melting. Unforeseen circumstances brought interest. The characters had their own distinct personalities and unfortunate histories to give high hopes for the story. It was those elements that made me fall for Gokukoku in the beginning, but the show took a turn for the worst. The story became heavily predictable with the same pattern as expected from a harem that consists of a gullible and overly caring male protagonist (Murakami). A so-called powerful witch appears, and Murakami feels the need to persuade her to join the group 90% of the time. This eliminates the potential for suspense and becomes disinteresting.
The ending is so rushed and vague that it ruins the outcome of the mysteries. New info about the MCs is revealed near the end, leaving little time for the viewer to take it all in. A character is supposed to have indestructible powers, but the power is either never shown or is unimpressive with no terrifying element. New characters appear out of nowhere before the current characters have any time to develop. Despite the sudden and distressful situations, there’s no chance to feel sympathy for characters. The finale is extremely disappointing, especially for someone looking forward to a solved mystery. There are several questions left unanswered.
The pacing distracts itself with fanservice, resulting in making Murakami a typical love interest. A love triangle develops and creates a silly jealousy game. Virgin talk and awkward erotic moments make the show irresistibly a sight for sore eyes. This withdraws any hope for possible romance within the mystery between Murakami and Neko. The harem aspect is understandable considering the witches' sob stories and dreams of living life as normal human beings instead of experiments. Their interactions with each other and teamwork were enjoyable, especially during drastic moments. However, this progresses into awful characterization.
The cast made this sci-fi production a complete failure. Villains do not fit the description of someone evil. When they can easily defeat the MCs, they make illogical choices as an excuse to work out in the favor of the protagonist. The majority of the witches introduced as formidable turns out to be harmless. The other characters’ emotions are ridiculous for a serious plot. Either they’re trying too hard to react to a situation or they just don’t care. They sometimes act so calm, cool, and collected that the story doesn’t make sense anymore. They go as far as faking a death with the evidence right beside them. Also, Murakami apparently has such solid gold talents and abilities that he’s invincible to various attacks. One witch became nothing but a dues ex machina character, giving Murakami outside info to further the objective. At that point, the show appears silly and tiring to watch.
The art is decent but doesn't help in terms of the story. Character design is fine, and it's good for distinguishing the witches' special features. Some things don’t follow up in the artwork, including the witches standing out as the only students without uniforms. Thanks to a scene with characters using red paint as fake blood, there’s no differentiation between the color of blood and red paint. What’s worse for a series that tries to be all bloody and mysterious? Censorship. So if you want to see a witch melt to the fullest degree, just watch the Wizard of Oz. The animation and action scenes are good, but it becomes pointless to enjoy with the rushed pacing.
The OST and sound effects are good, but the poor story and characters cause it be plain. Apart from being misleading with the bloody scenes and action, the first OP song is good and a personal favorite. The background music occurred during fighting scenes that ended with characters making stupid moves, so it’s not so memorable. They changed the OP song into a rock song by the 10th episode with the same suspense and action as the first one. By that time, the show is predictable enough to lose any hope of improvement. Characters’ phony reactions disappoint long-awaited moments for mysteries. This is noticeable for scenes that should be highly emotional. Technically, there’s nothing else to say about the seiyuu. Since it becomes normal for wicked witches to develop into sensitive little girls, the changes in their tones fit the script.
Gokukoku no Brynhildr has countless problems that makes it forgettable. The characters don’t act realistically to situations. The villains make irresponsible decisions that lessens the suspense within the show. More time spent on fanservice than the mysteries results in quick pacing, lack of character development, and a horrible ending. It is a huge disappointment for an interesting mystery. Despite how much VAP and Arms ruined Gokukoku's potential, Lynn Okamoto created an excellent story. Therefore, I recommend reading the manga for better characterization and outcomes.