Image Source: 戦姫絶唱シンフォギア YouTube Official Channel on YouTube

The fourth season of animation studio Satelite’s magical girl/mecha sci-fi hybrid show about girls using the power of ancient artifacts and songs to fight alien invaders is currently in full-swing, and if you’re just getting started—or just getting back in—it might be good to have a look at a guide to keep things straight.

Season 1 – Symphogear

Image Source: 戦姫絶唱シンフォギア YouTube Official Channel on YouTube

The first season of Symphogear, known in Japan as Senki Zesshō Symphogear (lit. Superb Valkyrie Song Symphogear) sets up the story for the entire franchise. School girl Hibiki (seen center) was attending the concert of a famous idol duo made up of Tsubasa (seen left) and Kanade when strange alien creatures called the Noise—that evaporate all humans they touch—begin attacking the crowd. With the power of ancient relics shaped like crystals called “Symphogear,” Tsubasa and Kanade combine with the relics to transform into human/mecha hybrids that gain the power to fight with weapons by singing. In order to save Hibiki and another child, Kanade uses the “Swan Song,” a powerful song that has a high chance of killing the user. Kanade dies, and Hibiki is implanted with a shard of Kanade’s Symphogear—the Gungnir—in her chest.

Some time passes, and Hibiki finds out that the shard in her chest allows her to transform into a Symphogear warrior just like Kanade before her (and even inherits her songs). Hibiki is then scouted by a government agency that fights back against the Noise, lead by Tsubasa’s uncle, Genjuro. While initially hesitant, Tsubasa ends up working with Hibiki to fight against an evil force that can control the Noise, including a mysterious girl who uses a powerful armor to fight against them. Hibiki and Tsubasa find out that the girl—named Chris Yukine (seen right)—actually can use a Symphogear, but refuses to because of her hatred of singing. Her goal is to kill all beings with a will to fight in order to stop conflict.

After being abandoned by her master Finé, an eternal being that wishes to create chaos on Earth by destroying the moon, Chris faces her painful past of losing her parents to a terrorist attack and being sold into slavery and joins the other two Symphogear warriors to fight back against Finé, since her goal is the opposite of Chris’. The three warriors perform a Swan Song together, saving the world from destruction.

Season 2 – Symphogear G

Image Source: 戦姫絶唱シンフォギア YouTube Official Channel on YouTube

Having lost her singing partner, Tsubasa temporarily teams up with international singing superstar Maria (seen above) for a concert three months after the end of season one, which Hibiki and her friends attend. However, it’s there that Maria suddenly summons a group of Noise to hold the audience hostage, and reveals that she has the ability to transform with the power of a black Symphogear. She demands that the world’s leaders relinquish their territories, with her two friends and fellow Symphogear warriors Kirika and Shirabe at her side.

One of the researchers that was supposedly on Hibiki’s side, Doctor Ver, steals the Solomon’s Cane—an item believed to be the key to defeating the Noise for good—and joins Maria and her master, Professor Nastassja. Professor Nastassja was a researcher at the facility where orphans Maria and her elder sister Serena were taken into. The two, along with Kirika and Shirabe, were experimented on in order to turn them into possible vessels for Finé, who transfers her soul down to one of her descendants once her current body is unusable. Things went awry when a powerful, artificial beast called the Nephilim went berserk in the lab and Serena passed away protecting everyone with her Swan Song.

Doctor Ver does a number of horrible things—like kidnapping Hibiki’s childhood friend Miku and turning her into a Symphogear warrior brainwashed under his control—before finally revealing his ultimate goal: to eliminate humanity and repopulate the world himself. This is opposed to Maria’s goal of making the moon fall on the Earth and then saving as many good people as possible in the Frontier, an ancient flying arc. He sends a giant Nephilim to defeat them, but in the end, the Nephilim is defeated, and the arc explodes in the dimension where the Noise roam, wiping them out for good. And so, the world is saved with the help of Maria, Kirika, and Shirabe, who decide to change to Hibiki’s side. Ver, Maria, and her friends are arrested, but Maria and her group realize what they’ve done wrong, and feel gratitude to Hibiki.

Season 3 – Symphogear GX

Image Source: 戦姫絶唱シンフォギア YouTube Official Channel on YouTube

In the third season, Hibiki and the other members of the government bureau have been moved into a new organization called S.O.N.G. Since the Noise are no longer around, the group use their powers to provide disaster relief and rescue those in need. Maria, Shirabe, and Kirika have been released from prison, with Maria performing with Tsubasa and the other two joining Hibiki at their school.

A new enemy, a witch named Carol, has the goal of destroying the world. She is able to summon the Alca-Noise, a new kind of Noise that is invulnerable to the Symphogear, and actually breaks Tsubasa’s and Chris’s on their first encounter. A mysterious child named Elfnein gives them the technology they need to fight back against Carol and her Alca-Noise.

It turns out, however, that Carol is a homunculus who has lived for hundreds of years, but she does not remember the reason she is trying to destroy the world in the first place. This is because she must erase her memories in order to gain the power to fight. Because she and Elfnein are both homuncli, Carol is able to take over the senses of Elfnein without her knowing, and she uses her as a spy.

While she wanted to get revenge for her alchemist father who was burned at the stake as a heretic, she regains her memories of her father wishing for Carol to learn about the world and bring peace to it. Carol loses to Hibiki and her friends in the end, finds peace, and combines with a hospitalized Elfnein in order to save her life.

The first three seasons of Symphogear are currently streaming on Crunchyroll with subtitles. The newest season–Symphogear AXZ–is not currently streaming in North America.

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