Brynhildr in the Darkness: Episode 13 – “Things to Protect”

Brynhildr in the Darkness focuses on a high school boy named Murakami. 10 years prior to the start of the series, he knew a girl he called Kuroneko who insisted she knew about aliens and had met one. When she takes Murakami to see the alien, an accident happens that injures Murakami and kills Kuroneko. Now in high school, a new transfer student named Kuroha Neko joins his class, and she looks suspiciously like Kuroneko. However, Kuroha insists that she’s not Kuroneko. At the end of Episode One, Murakami learned that Kuroha is a witch who gained her abilities through surgery and drugs. Murakami has since met three other witches: Kana, Kazumi and Takatori.

Murakami, Kuroha, Kazumi, and the members of Hexenjagd arrive where Takatori is being held by Ichijiku, and Hexenhagd refuse to do anything since they believe it’s too late. Murakami, Kuroha, and Kazumi disagree, and they decide to take things into their own hands. However, both Kuroha and Kazumi knock Murakami out. The witches believe they are the only ones who should be risking their lives in this situation.

Unfortunately, before she can be rescued, Takatori decides to eject herself, since she believes that this will put a stop to Ichijiku’s plan and save the world. Later, Murakami regains consciousness. With help from the memories of Nanami, he finds Takatori as she’s melting. He discovers that Takatori has realized that she is the reincarnation of Ichijiku’s little sister, and she asks Murakami to tell her older brother to stop hurting people.

Meanwhile, Kuroha and Kazumi encounter Ichijiku and Valkyria, and it’s revealed that Valkyria is Kuroha’s older sister. Valkyria uses her magic to knock out Kuroha and to take down Kazumi. Valkyria carries Kuroha off and is gone when Murakami finds Kazumi. She’s still alive, but she feels that she’s dying. Kazumi convinces Murakami to go after Kuroha.

Murakami is able to find Kuroha just as it appears that Ichijiku is going to eject her. This leads to a major confrontation with Murakami and Kuroha against Ichijiku and Valkyria. There’s some surprises that happen during this confrontation; and while the “good guys” win, the ending is rather bittersweet.

Once again, the ghostly apparition of Nanami that represents her memories that are etched into Murakami’s mind showed up not just once, but twice in this episode. I still feel that Nanami became a “deus ex machina” so Murakami wouldn’t have to work so much in this episode to find Ichijiku and save Kuroha.

Now that I’ve finished the series, I have to say that I was a little disappointed in the ending. Unfortunately, this is a case where the anime was produced before the manga concluded, so there was no definitive ending. From what I’ve read on comments at Crunchyroll, it appears that viewers who have read the manga were able to understand the pieces of footage that showed up in the ending credits. Unfortunately, for people like myself who haven’t read the manga, we were left having to guess about some of the things that we were seeing.

Brynhildr in the Darkness had a promising start, but for me, the series started falling apart the closer it got to the end. When I reached the end of Episode 13, I found myself thinking, “I devoted 13 weeks of my life to this show, and this is how it ends?” This is a series that I’m ultimately glad that I was able to watch as a free stream. While it wasn’t necessarily a bad series, the potential I saw for it never truly manifested itself during its run. While it wasn’t one the worst series I watched during the Spring 2014 season, it wasn’t exactly one of the best, either. Personally, I found it to be a bit of a letdown.

At this point, I really have no desire to watch Brynhildr in the Darkness again, and I’m definitely not going to be in any hurry to add it to my anime collection if it’s ever released on home video in North America.

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