August Anime Challenge: Brynhildr in the Darkness
This month’s anime challenge is Brynhildr in the Darkness. The plot starts ten years ago, when childhood friends Ryouta Murakami and Kuroneko set out to proof the existence of alien life. But a tragedy strikes; there is an accident which gravely injured Ryouta and kills Kuroneko. In memory of his dear friend, Ryouta now searches the night sky every night in the hope that his friend was right about the existence of aliens.
Back to the present we find that Ryouta is a top student at his school and currently the only member of the schools Astronomy Club. Everything he believes in gets challenged one day when a new transfer student joins his class, a girl named Neko Kuroha. She is a dead ringer for his old friend Kuroneko, and even her name sounds similar and there is something strange about her… She has superhuman strength and predicts death. He becomes entwined in a world of magic and witchery; his life will change in a new direction for ever.
This challenge sounds intriguing doesn’t it? We hope you all will join us this August as we explore Brynhildr in the Darkness!
Disclaimer: Please note that this anime contains scenes of Blood, gore and violence as well as some nudity. It was rated R+ in some countries. Viewer discretion is advised.
Week 1 - 06 - 12 July
Episodes to Watch: 1 to 3
When you hear harem anime, the first thing in your mind is the image of a semi-awkward and half-useless (but likable) clumsy or clueless male character surrounded by competent but sometimes over-eccentric female characters. The male is usually prone to nosebleeds, is easily dominated by a third of the ladies in the group and at the end of the anime you still do not have a clue if he will end up with any of them. Such is not the case with Brynhildr in the Darkness!
In this anime we have Ryouta Murakami, and he is refreshingly competent, which gives a change of pace from the generic harem anime we are all used to. He has a high intellect and a photographic memory, with a dream of becoming a NASA researcher due to a promise he made to his dear childhood friend, Kuroneko. Proof of him working toward that goal is the fact that he ran the Astronomy Club in school, and for a long while was the only member. He is also a very protective person, when he is faced with protecting a group of women from an evil organization; he goes all out in keeping them safe.
Why this harem anime is different is maybe because it is based on a manga written by the same person that wrote Elfen Lied: Okamoto Rin, an out-of-the-box artist who creates characters that are not generic and stories that you cannot put down. In fact, he is so amazing they even named an asteroid, 49382 Lynnokamoto (1998 XG5), after him! How many Mangaka can boast about that?!
Week 2 - 13 - 19 July
Episodes to Watch: 4 to 6
Last week we watched episode 1 to 3 and it is time to dissect a part of it. The first episode already dealt with interesting themes through the eyes and experiences of the character Ryouta Murakami. His character deals with themes of survival guilt, regret as well as personal honor (or obligations born from a sense of honour).
Right in the start of the episode we are shown what the accident was in the past that shaped to be the person in the present. We see him and Kuroneko trying to cross the dam wall using pipes as a path. Ryouta slips and as survival instinct goes, reaches out a hand and grabs Kuroneko. She can’t save him and they both fall to the bottom below. We see in the story that he wakes up in hospital and that on that when he is released he finds out that Kuroneko did not make it.
Ryouta says in the beginning of the anime “Kuroneko, why did I grab your hand”, the thought that she dies because he slipped, he reached for her, but she died because of his accident lays heavy on him. He is filled with survival guilt and regret, a heavy burden for a small child to bear. It leads him to his sense of honour and obligation; you see she was into aliens and the existence of alien life. That young child decides to fulfill his dead friends search for alien life. As he grows up, he joins the school’s Astronomy Club, searching the skies at the local observatory every night for signs of alien activity. In fact his sense of obligation is so deeply ingrained that he plans to become a researcher at NASA when he finishes school.
That is just a little background of what we learned about him in episode 1. There are more, like when a girl that is a dead ringer for Kuroneko arrives at school, her appearance and name very similar to his childhood friend, hope sparks in him. It cause for a very interesting scene in school. There are strange things happening that fringes on the supernatural, but you know what, we just can’t spoil it for those of you who have not year watch episode 1. In fact, go, watch episode 1 to 3 and also watch this week’s challenge episode 4 -6. You will not be disappointed. This anime is great. Just be warned that depending on which version of the anime you have, there may be nudity in it, and blood and gore.