First Impressions – Gokukoku no Brynhildr

Let’s hope no one melts this time.

As mentioned in our Spring Anime Catalog, Gokukoku no Brynhildr is brought to you by the author who wrote Elfen Lied. And oh boy does the opening here tease us with his tendency for blood and death in general.


Another first impression, this time of Gokukoku no Brynhildr, or ‘Brunhilda’ as I mistakenly keep calling it. Thanks to Sumairii for letting me join in.


I’m always looking for anime that tread on the darker side of the road. It’s just so rare to find a good anime that handles horror elements efficiently without being just a slideshow of graphic images and gratuitous gore without rhyme or reason. With that in mind, Brynhildr was a must-try for this season.


Quiet Beginning

The start of an unhealthy obsession.

Sumairii // I think the perfect word to describe this episode is subdued. I know, you’re probably thinking right now that this can’t be right since we already had two instances of Final Destination-esque near misses in the premiere. But hear me out for a moment. The first thing I noticed while watching was how eerily quiet the episode was except for a few tense moments. Most of it was spent on either Ryouta’s monologue while reminiscing about the past or his conversing with Neko. And while Neko did get flustered here and there at our hero getting a bit too touchy-feely, most of these moments saw the two using their indoor voices to minimal, if not absent, BGM. Understandably, a premiere can be spent on exposition to get the viewer up to speed on the premise of the story, but Gokukoku really went about it in a especially monotonous manner.

Kuroneko’s “triad.”

But having said this, this execution might just have been for the best. As I understand it, Gokukoku is supposed to center around the mystery of Kuroneko’s death and Neko’s appearance, along with whatever sinister extraterrestrial or magical forces are at work out of our sight. So having an eerily quiet introduction can help set the uneasy mood that I assume the show is going after. Of course, that’s not saying this kind of reasoning can excuse a borderline boring premiere. But at least it didn’t put me to sleep, which isn’t a terribly difficult feat to accomplish since I’ve been working on an average of 3 hours of sleep a day for the past few weeks.

Just a Pair

Should have gone for the underside of the arm instead.

Highway // I was kind of surprised at how limited this first episode was, especially cast-wise. Even though it was set in a high school, there were pretty much only 2 people talking the whole time, Ryouta and Neko. I didn’t realize how quiet and limited like that it was until I really started to write this post, but the first episode was mostly monologue, which had the effect of kind of keeping the whole effort low key. Ryouta certainly seems like the kind of guy with no friends, not even any acquaintances. He says he’s in the astronomy club, but there’s no one else there. And of course he’s a study bug, so that doesn’t exactly endear him to anyone else. There are also some other weird things in the show, like the observatory that has a couch and a big poster of the ancient constellations on the wall… but you have to sit on a folding ladder to use the telescope? Overall, I think this was kind of a poor effort, and while I was somewhat drawn in by the story, it really doesn’t hold up to either a re-watch or thinking about it after the fact.

Dwelling on the Past

And this is how magic works.

Overcooled // Although this episode largely takes place in the present, Ryouta constantly reminisces about his past. He’s wracked with guilt about his childhood friend’s death, although it was never really his fault. Still, he’s so wrapped up in it that he’s dedicating his whole future career on what some little girl told him when he hadn’t even hit puberty yet. That’s some real dedication. It’s borderline obsessive the way he still isn’t over her death. Those kinds of scars usually heal over time and the issue becomes less touchy. But Ryouta sees an exchange student that resembles his dead friend and he leaps from his seat and starts to scream at her. He’s clearly riled up (to say the least) and doesn’t even bother to wait for her to introduce herself before questioning her. Furthermore, just about every thought in his head revolves around Kuroneko and how the conveniently named Kuroha Neko looks like her.

Obviously removing moles is impossible for aliens, magic, and surgery.

We’re only on the first episode and the main character already has some issues. However, I won’t deny that this search for Kuroneko isn’t amusing. Kuroha is too much of a dead ringer for Kuroneko for something not to be up. I mean, maybe with all that magic surgery she decided to get rid of that triad of moles for cosmetic reasons? If they can give her the ability to crack a bolder in two like it’s an egg, they can remove a few moles. And erase her memory, to boot. If she doesn’t remember her multiplication tables, perhaps all of her memories before the fall were erased. It’s an interesting mystery, but I doubt there will be an easy solution. I’m expecting quite a few red herrings and twists to keep things interesting, if Elfen Lied is anything to go on.

Despite the lackluster start, Gokukoku has much potential for recovery if it can properly leverage (and execute) its fairly interesting premise. I for one have been drawn into the intrigue of Neko’s circumstances (like why she lacks some very simple skills) and identity. The strange girl calls herself a magician, but we are soon after lead to believe that what she refers to as “magic” might be more “scientific” in nature, what with that plug on the back of her neck (which we see from the opening interacts with her spine) and her mention of drugs. Of course, this isn’t real science per se. But it’s “scientific enough” in the same way that the science side of the Raildex franchise possesses a variety of technically supernatural abilities. But I digress.

I liked the show a lot more after I watched it than I did after I wrote this post. On a second watch, it feels a lot cheaper, the flaws of the characters really come out more, and the things that seemed quirky or interesting just seem kinda boring. That makes me kind of glad that I’m not supposed to be blogging this show, just doing this FI. Of course, it’s possible that the show could get better, and I hope it does, because I like the Alien / Magicky kind of feel to Neko, even if she is kind of a dope.

The first episode was alright, but I have started to lower my standards a little in terms of what to expect. I’m sure the dark elements and the mystery behind Kuroneko will be quite the wild ride. Magic powers and death predictions? Also pretty sweet. You’ve got everything you need for some drama and blood. However, I have to ding it for bad writing and rather unlikable characters. Cliches are fine, but it feels like it’s just going through the motions. The mysterious exchange student, boys hollering at girls during pool, and constant monologues about how rad Kuroneko was. There’s no real substance to hold you in what’s said. It’s only in what is unsaid that the real interest lies. Also lol a girl gets her knee stuck in a vent and the main character almost gets crushed by a rock. Let’s hope the other ways characters die are less like rejected ideas from Final Destination and more believable. I don’t want another “umbrella” scene like Another. I’ll stick around for the story, but I hope Kuroha isn’t as plain dumb as she originally appears and that Ryouta gains a real personality soon.

From the armpits to the nape, this show has a fetish for everyone.


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19 Responses to “First Impressions – Gokukoku no Brynhildr”

  1. skylion says:

    Yeah, it all felt just a tad to flat for me. I am as intrigued by Neko’s presence as much as anyone, but for a first episode, it lacked the punch it needed.

  2. Di Gi Kazune says:

    From the armpits to the nape, this show has a fetish for everyone.

    Including Pettanko? and Shota?

    • akagami says:

      I’m thinking it probably means body parts. Though I didn’t see any earlobes.

  3. zztop says:

    That’s some real dedication. It’s borderline obsessive the way he still isn’t over her death.

    I hear these characteristics are common in Okamoto Lynn’s characters. Slightly(or very)psychologically disturbed characters, with a high chance of mental breakdown halfway through.

    Which I find odd, since it contrasts with his very cutesy designs for girl characters.
    In fact he looks so unassuming in real life:

    With the stuff he writes, I expected him to look a bit flashier(like Mashima Hiro or Tite Kubo) or more otakuish, like Isayama Hajime.

    I wonder how they intend to address the fact that the manga is still ongoing at 6 volumes.

  4. Namika says:

    Hmmmm. I don’t feel as eager to watch this now. Though It may be too early to judge. I feel like most of the stuff I’m picking up this season is shoujo

    • akagami says:

      Are you following Kamigami no Asobi? Though all the flowery introductions had me going (; ̄д ̄) after I passed the third.

      • Namika says:

        Yup, I am. The introductions aside, it was fairly decent. At least the MC seems to have a personality.
        But this also makes me remember another certain anime, which also had a MC named Yui and that seemed to have personality too -_-

  5. MgMaster says:

    I rather liked the quietness of this premiere and how it was spent only on Ryouta and Neko though. At least,I find it better than rushing to introduce a bunch of characters in the 1st episode. Also,if we’re to go by this episode,I’d say the way everything was so subdued contributes to the atmosphere of this show.

    At any rate,I know I’ll be watching this until the end,no matter how it turns out,as it’s that kind of show where I want answers no matter what.

  6. akagami says:

    I don’t know, if you’re lacking in brain power to realize that crossing a dam on a thin rod suspended high above the ground with nothing to hold on isn’t a good idea, you probably deserve whatever happens next.

    I did read a couple of chapters to get a feel for the show as I usually don’t like mystery shows and wasn’t sure if I wanted to follow it… I think the pool scene after they meet (rather than before) in the observatory made more sense.

    • BlackBriar says:

      I don’t know, if you’re lacking in brain power to realize that crossing a dam on a thin rod suspended high above the ground with nothing to hold on isn’t a good idea, you probably deserve whatever happens next.

      Let’s just call it the naïveté or stupidity of youth. One would normally move on by learning from their mistakes. Except some will cost the person’s life.

      • akagami says:

        Hmmm, those are some weak spidy-senses.

        That’d be like putting your head in a lion’s mouth… oh wait…

        • akagami says:

          Mm, that was a poor example, I take that back.

          But I don’t know, I think the average person’s survival sense would have kicked in long before making it 1/3 across the dam…

          • MgMaster says:

            Remember that he did mention that he wanted to verify if what she said was true,even if it meant risking his live.

            • akagami says:

              Hmm, that’s right, I had forgotten about that.

            • BlackBriar says:

              Curiosity killed the cat. In this case, it killed the Kuroneko.

  7. BlackBriar says:

    So this is where Xenovia and Vali/Yukina Himeragi and Motoki Yaze Risa Taneda and Ryota Ohsaka have gone to after they were finished with High School DxD and Strike the Blood. This time they’re going for a dark story approach which is totally one of my interests.

    It’s not every day you get an opening that’s nothing but instrumentals. A bold move that gets a passing grade for its ominous feel. Despite an average start, I’m still hoping to see some promise from this series since it’s from the same author of the gory Elfen Lied.

    Ryota is the kind of individual I think should be subject to a psychological evaluation. Letting a ten year old accident become an obsession that ultimately defined his entire personality. It’s safe to say he considered the possibility of how he’d turn out if matters went another way. I will give him credit for making a considerate analysis and outcome from Neko’s warnings, making it so no one else would get hurt even if it sounds ridiculous from a scientific point of view.

    • Highway says:

      Personally it could skip anything that could be remotely described as ‘gory’. 🙂

      Ryota seems like he’s going to be one of those guys who causes a lot of trouble for other people because he doesn’t take a minute to think about how his actions affect others.

  8. Mexu2d says:


  9. […] after her, like so many tyke-bomb experiments gone wrong ushering bad guys – Elfen Lied and Brynhildr, to name just two by the same author, Flip Flappers and Izetta to name a few more recent shows, […]

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