United We Stand in Ghost S.A.C. 2nd GIG| Review

A brief spoiler-free review of the 26-episode winter 2004 anime “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG” and its recap 2006 film “Individual Eleven,” produced by Production I.G, directed by Kenji Kamiyama, based on the original manga by Masamune Shirow.

Cafe note: I reviewed the first season right here, so check that out prior to reading this. Many thanks, happy reading~!


Back to the Cybernetic City

With the Laughing Man’s agenda terminated by Motoko Kusanagi and the gang, Section 9 is no longer forced to operate in the shadows. Taking an interest in the way the brutal hunting force operates, Japan’s newly elected Prime Minister Kayabuki re-establishes Section 9 as her final attempt to fend off the latest rounds of cyber-terrorism, and find a party whom she could trust her life with. This new deadly collective, “The Individual Eleven,” has led a string of seemingly unrelated terrorist plots and assassinations across the nation.

Just as the Major and Chief Aramaki begin investigating into these gruesome cases, however, the Japanese government faces a forced confrontation by the alarming build-up of foreign refugees who were ousted from their homes during the Third World War, and are now seeking asylum in Japan. Section 9 attempts to juggle both crises, but their constant bumping heads with Kazundo Gouda of Cabinet Intelligence Service leads the Major to suspect he may be even more tangled up in the mess than the “enemy” is, and that perhaps both The Individual Eleven and the refugee crisis are just two parts of one titanic movement.

Image result

The Stand Alone Complex branch of the hit Ghost in the Shell franchise returns to the scene to reaffirm that everything, be it physically or digitally, is interconnected by the pushes and pulls of a techno-dystopian society.

Picking Up Where We Left Off

S.A.C. 2nd GIG wastes no time in welcoming us back to its inner universe. Unlike its predecessor, 2nd GIG features a clearer, more concisely written story. It achieves this by appropriately placing its “stand-alone” episodes within the timeline in less-congested areas of heavy plot action. Sticking to a story written in sequential order, 2nd GIG feels a lot easier to grasp, even if the characters themselves are more “complex” this second time around. I can see why fans acknowledge this series as the superior one not simply because the visuals are upgraded, but the linear way in which the story is told—even if the concept may not rival that of a wizard-class super hacker—seems more straightforward. Either that, or it just took me 26 episodes prior to get used to Kamiyama’s directing.

Image result for prime minister kayabuki

Critical characters to not only the series but the franchise as a whole are introduced quickly and efficiently, these namely being Kayabuki, Gouda, and Kuze, the eventual leader of the refugee camp and a mastermind in guerrilla warfare, both on the battlefield and in the net. Watching Kayabuki crumble before but endure the weight of those dirty politicians and back-alley deals emphasizes one trait that defined the Major as such a relatable character for so many: the strength of women, and the power, beauty, and grace that comes with enduring unfavorable outcomes and situations. Ghost in the Shell, like much of entertainment, explores the notion that life is one big power struggle; it’s as unavoidable as the rising moon or the flowing tides.

New, Twisted Faces

Speaking of power, Gouda is clearly not meant to be a likable dude. His *literally* twisted face should be an indicator of his reliability. He’s a competent and sophisticated man, using people and manipulating scenarios like he does with data. Though he’s got several tricks up his sleeves to be used against all of the pawns in the game, including the Major, his sheer level of skill and sneering wit make me MELT with a swelling love for his character. And John Snyder, his English VA absolutely knocked the role outta the park! We honestly need more intelligent rivals like him in anime; he’s a dick, but that’s what makes him so fascinating. Gouda is always one step ahead of the game, and stacking the deck is the only way to secure a trump card in this dirty world.

Image result

The Major’s foil finally manifests in the form of Hideo Kuze, an calm yet equally interesting antihero who holds a similar background. While I cannot mention too much without spoiling, I will say that he’s just as calculating as Motoko and Gouda, and perhaps more skillful and inspirational than both of them on a personal level. He’s quite interesting, so let his words sink in . . . everything he does is for the people . . .

Image result

Aside from the Major’s few moments, those members of Section 9 that did not previously have an episode for their own backstory (Pazu, Saito) receive one now EXCEPT for poor, poor Borma, the fat guy. While the Tachikoma’s return with more amusing exclamations and ideas, Togusa takes takes the back seat for this ride. One of these days we’ll get the backstory details and spotlight that they ALL deserve, but that time is sadly not now.

Improved Presentation Transcend S.A.C.

The two-ish year gap between each series really does reiterate the fact that Production I.G is the king of science fiction anime. Most of the characters receive new outfits and gear, all of which show off their differing personalities. The Major’s transformation from light gray and white to a dark gray and black skintight suit add contrast to the series’ new tone, a perfect match for some of the unsettling truths regarding the Major’s past. Her leather trench coat and obsidian visors complete the look. Besides the returning overly impressive architecture, it’s all the tiny details in character design that make 2nd GIG a fashion show for our models, both the sleek and the grungy alike.

Kanno returns to add that techno-blues/cop show soundtrack from the first season. Many of the tracks were even reused, so it’s not an entirely “new” OST. The epic action music in particular was done better this time. Where she doesn’t stand out in background music Kanno definitely makes up for with the new opening “Rise,” once again sung by the lovely Origa. “Rise” is the epitome of cyber punk trance dubstep, a song that hypes itself up with its intense beat, ascending chord progressions, and deep lyrics. Exhilarating stuff!

Since the characters remain largely underdeveloped in terms of background info, many just watch the show for its intriguing story, to which I point you toward the 3-hour (eek) recap film titled Individual Eleven that hones its focus solely on the core case from beginning to end. It is a recap, however, so all of your favorite one-off episodes are not present, and a lot of cool detours were cut, such as a fatal mission flaw by the Major that made my heart skip a beat. I give the same caution that I dished out last time, though—Individual Eleven features an entirely different English voice cast. While the wonderful Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Crispin Freeman, and now John Snyder should never have been replaced as Motoko, Togusa, and Gouda, respectively, the new cast largely remains serviceable.

United We Stand – The Individual VS Society

Ghost in the Shell S.A.C. 2nd GIG continues as a more light-hearted cop-chase approach to the original 1995 film, and by this I mean that it is less about self-reflection and more geared towards the interactions people share with others. It’s also no laughing matter, either, presenting the sadness of war, and that in the near future warfare is still terrifying and tragic. 2nd GIG resumes its heavy, confusing political drama, but its new emphasis on securing a cyber body through the black market is neatly explored with greater depth, ironically “fleshing” out the world.

Image result

The sequel to the beloved Stand Alone Complex is a successful piece of science fiction and sociological analysis. It’s a series rooted in the effects of technology on people, be it the goods, bads, or really bads. Sharpening its linear storytelling and enhancing its setting and character designs, one really shouldn’t stop at the first season—continue to uncover the fate of Section 9 as the original story intended!

“The refugees have given me countless names. I joined forces with them with the intent to save them. But maybe the real reason I united with them was to keep the loneliness at bay.” – Kuze

Final Assessment:

+ Story told sequentially with with focused, linear direction

+ New character designs are more appealing; Major’s new look

+ Production I.G upped their game again!

+ Both Gouda and Kuze are excellent characters

+ Explores the pillars of social order through a cool story; the war on terror continues

– Section 9 members STILL don’t get the backstory treatment they deserve

– Recap film English dub remains pestering

Image result


GitS S.A.C. 2nd GIG also deserves its “Cake” title (4/5), a must-watch if you’ve already started the first! It does require a great amount of focus and minor understanding of corporate politics, though. Thankfully the action weighs well against the political banter. What did you think of the Individual Eleven story, and did the recap film aid in your understanding as it did mine? Let me know, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Image result

Still lookin’ fresh, Batou and Major

Advertisements

The Root of All Disappointment: Tokyo Ghoul √A

A review of the 2015 winter anime “Tokyo Ghoul √A”

Remember that fireworks analogy I made in my Tokyo Ghoul review: suspenseful start, awkward wait, explosive finish? Well, I will now describe √A using a continuation of that comparison, let’s say, what the actual firework looked like. If the first season was the bang, then this sequel is the tiny bursts of light that follow. Bursts so minor, dull and utterly disappointing that by the end of the display, you’ve realized that you purchased a cheap firework, and the only way to get your money back is by reading the manga.

***Spoilers for Tokyo Ghoul ahead

√A picks up right where we last left it. Kaneki gives into his inner ghoul and, battle after battle alongside “Aogiri Tree” unleashes more of the deadly, uncontrollable powers that Jason infected him with. Over at CCG, superior officers and Amon handle new recruits, one being Mado’s daughter, Akira. The finale takes us back to every ghoul’s favorite coffee shop, “Anteiku,” where the monstrous “Owl” reveals his identity. Carnage ensues.

And that’s about all I got. Whisked from one large-scale bloodbath to the next, there’s never a moment to just stop and think about the what’s going on. As such, there’s not really time to cram in motives for most of the major ghouls introduced in this season either. You desperately try to grasp onto any connections within the show, but nothing pieces together correctly; the plot is far too choppy.

Also, I could give one finger less about the CCG dudes and their struggle against the ghouls – Why can’t we uncover the secrets surrounding the ghouls already: Where did Ghouls come from? What determines their powers? Do the Kagunes have special properties, and how can normal people wield them? What can a half-breed do better than anyone else? How did Rize actually die?? My previous questions still go unanswered 😦

Other than Akira Mado, whose incredible intel and willingness to seek out the truth seems fresh since NOBODY ELSE KNOWS WHAT’S GOING ON, the characters in this sequel also stand as unremarkable. Even Kaneki, my previous fave attends the sidelines right up until the end, where the “plot” makes the decisions for him. I couldn’t even call his big revelation character development; it was ridiculously unreal, forced maturation. The new detectives and ghouls that come out to play also only get a ten-second flashback to fill you in, then the fight continues. What the actual f*ck? Literally, I don’t know any other characters besides the Anteiku gang. They were pretty chill ~

Animation was just as enjoyable as before, but there were several more obvious derps. For instance, during on one of the fights, they panned out to a downwards view of a ghoul in the air and some CCG dude on the ground was sliding parallel with the ghoul. So either that guy can glide over concrete or the ground was shifting below him :’D A coincidental fog also happens to blur out most of the background during the prison fight and the final confrontation. Studio Pierrot, that’s plain lazy!

Sound quality remained one of the best aspects, with phenomenal voice acting for Tsukiyami, Juuzou, and Kaneki (whenever he actually spoke) and an epic orchestral OST to back up all of that combat! There was one particular grand, foot-tapping string instrumental that caught my ear each time it played, but I can’t seem to find the name. While the opening was sadly annoying as all hell, the ending “Kisetsu wa Tsugitsugi Shindeiku” by Amazarashi had vibrant still visuals depicting the cast, which was pretty neat.

You’re probably wondering, “Takuto, if the plot was a disaster, the characters were rushed and bland, and animation is kinda sloppy, then what is there commendable, if anything, about this show?” I have to give the sole reason I liked this series to the final episode. By the end, nothing really gets accomplished, nothing is answered, and we still don’t know whom we are cheering for, but the reuniting of two charactersKaneki and his old best friend Hidebrings EVERYTHING to a halt, where something very special happens.

In the midst of the bloody chaos on the ruined streets: wounded and dead, male and female, adult and child – all lying on the ground, Kaneki finally embraces his harsh reality in a very cold yet artistic and heartbreaking scene that chilled me to the bone. I was reminded of ALDNOAH.ZERO‘s first cour ending.

Tokyo Ghoul as a whole is extremely flawed. A leaves off hinting a third season, but honestly, it’s not worth watching. In my defense, I have never read the manga, which I know has several significant variations, explanations, and development in it. Thus, I rate Tokyo ghoul A a “Bread” here at the cafe, and a recommendation to ONLY watch it if you are a desperate fan of the manga. It had a beautifully choreographed ending, I’ll admit, but everything else is a complete wreck.

“I was wrong. I wasn’t eating ghouls. I’m the one . . . who was being eaten.” – Kaneki Ken

“Whether we die or not isn’t really that big of a deal.” – Insane boy Juuzou

+ Epic orchestral OST and voice acting make overall sound a near-perfect

+ Artistic and heartbreaking ending

– A mountain of unexplained plot holes, and there’s still more to the story

– Too many characters to balance, especially when all we get is combat and no pensive conversations

– Who are we rooting for again?

What did you guys think of A? It wasn’t so bad compared to what I thought it’d be, but it was still incredibly disappointing. *sighs* If the prison scene was the climax of this season, which was built up by explanations and proper introductions of the characters, some drama here and there, then this would have been a great season. This way, the Anteiku clash could have been  the third season’s climax, with even more character development and secrets of the ghouls revealed. Gosh, maybe I should have directed this series, haha, maybe . . . Comment below with your thoughts and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Log Horizon 2nd Season Review

I’ll be doing a review of the first season sometime this summer, but until then, here are my thoughts on the fall simulcast season’s Log Horizon 2, the sequel to the realistic adventure/ trapped in a game anime that is NOT Sword Art Online. :3 Enjoy~

We return to Elder Tale through the eyes of veteran gamer Shiroe who, along with all of the other players, has been trapped in the game for six months now. The Round Table Alliance continues to bring order to Akiba, and the People of the Land have begun to trust Shiroe by teaming up for war against the Goblins. As a result, Princess Lenessia has moved to Akiba to protect the Cowen family wealth and name.

Presently, winter is approaching quickly, and the Adventurers start to ponder their goals in this world: Are we going to keep living in Elder Tale? Can we get back home, and if so, how will we get there? Should we travel to the West or remain here in Akiba? What about the North or even further? These rival opinions cause mayhem and disorder to spread. Shiroe and his team, of course, do the best they can to maintain public order and expand their knowledge of the mysterious world, stumbling into new foes that might know a way out . . .

Log Horizon is known for its slow pacing – despite the great story, it does drag often. This sequel is no exception, and in fact, it drags even more than the first season. The plot starts strong with Shiroe leading the largest raid to the Abyssal Shaft, the supposed source of the world’s gold flow. Meanwhile, Akatsuki the cute ninja and the women of Akiba fight off a player-killer who stole transporting armor from the Royal Guard. Both of these stories flesh out characters, and allow us to get to know them better all while watching action-packed fights . . .

And then there are a few filler episodes that lead up to the children’s arc, which like the first season, focuses on the kids of Akiba and their own adventures. IT WAS PAINFULLY SLOW TO WATCH. Not only was it boring, but besides Rudy’s depressing truths, there wasn’t much development for them. The only things good that came from this dull period was a new mysterious character Roe2 and a personality reveal of Nureha and other Plant Hwyaden members, both of which raised more questions than answered. None the less, the new additions are still awesome!

Best for last, the series ends with a couple of thriller episodes pertaining to a way of going home, and as such leads off with a direction already pointed towards a third season. I suppose I don’t mind a third, but I was really hoping the series would end considering the drastically slow pacing at times.

As I mentioned, Roe2 is a new character among a few others. The “villains” of Elder Tale have also been splattered in here and there, but they sadly weren’t very interesting or the main focus. Akatsuki gets sidelined for quite a few episodes, so if you liked her like I do, you’ll be disappointed. The best thing that came from the characters in this sequel were the epic encouragement speeches made by guild leaders like William, who in particular brought tears to my eyes 😥 So freakin’ relatable! Such powerful dialogue!

Now the animation, yikes. A switch in animators to the infamous Studio Deen – most likely caused by budget issues – causes a lot of changes in art style compared to the old studio – specifically, the eyes are drawn differently and characters are bland as hell. It takes a while to get used, but it’s not necessarily “bad” by any means. The finale was superbly animated, however, which ended this category with an overall positive review.

The electric/orchestral music has always been one of this series’ best features, and this second season only continues to impress. While most of the adventuring and Renaissance-esque pieces return from the first season, there are many new tracks like “This World and its Music” by Yasuharu Takanashi that are absolutely bliss. There are tracks like “A Hopeful Journey” and “The Uncertain Path Ahead” that ring with the Log Horizon SPIRIT in just the perfect moments! Seriously, one of my favorite OSTs.

“database feat. TAKUMA (10 Feet)” by MAN WITH A MISSON returns as well as the show’s annoying rap opening. In addition, the ending “Wonderful Wonder World” by Yun*chi represents Akatsuki’s sweet, shy attitude perfectly! Love that song 😀

So, does the practical “stuck in a video game” adventure anime live up to its first season’s standards? No, but then again, that bar was already pretty high. Filler episodes about Valentine’s Day, slow anticlimactic Children’s arc, and overall poor pacing ONLY to be led to a third freakin’ season has me awarding Log Horizon 2 4/5 stars. While that’s still pretty darn good, this slightly disappointing sequel could have been better – in all categories. Fans of the first season should like it, so long as they manage to stay awake for the whole thing!

“There are things you can only learn by accepting your weakness.” – Akatsuki

You can watch all of Log Horizon 2 and the first season on Crunchyroll for free! I was rather impressed by Sentai Filmwork’s English dub of the first season, so I hope to see a release of this soon. I’d like to extend my thanks to all of my newest customers and my frequent café-goers – you’re all awesome! Thank you for reading and as always, this has been

Takuto, your host

ALDNOAH.ZERO 2nd Season

One of the most controversial anime to come out these past couple of seasons finally comes to a close. But who comes out on top? Slaine fans get “Slained” and you Inaho dogs, just sit there and don’t smile. Nah, I’m just kidding! Caution: Spoilers for both seasons are present!

Picking up from the first half’s suspenseful ending, silent protagonist Inaho undergoes a surgery that connects some sort of calculating machine into his shot eye. No. He’s not dead, but the thing’s pretty cool. The Deucalion suits up for battle, and while the Terrans celebrate their temporary “victory” / prepare for any Martian activity, the Martians step up their game.

As Slaine, the Terran-born Vers soldier accompanies Count Saazbaum, who seeks revenge on Earth, an “accident” occurs and Saazbaum is killed. In an attempt to restore the Vers Empire and reclaim the blue planet, Slaine ascends to Count status and primitively the throne with a new gal who literally came out of NOWHERE, wheel-chair-bound, lavender-haired Princess Lemrina.

Rather than stand by twiddling their thumbs, the Terrans take the fight to the Martians, and an all-out space war rages! But the fate of the two races ultimately resides in Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia, whose preserved body in Martian Custody slowly reawakens . . . a bullet to the brain and she didn’t die either. Damn.

I’ll admit – I really enjoyed the first season, especially the end. Sure the plot and characters went downhill after the first 6 or so episodes, but it kept me thrilled to see what would happen next.

Season two is a bit different, however. First the pros. The show starts stronger than ever before with the inclusion of Asseylum’s sister Lemrina was probably one of the series’ best moves. While my favorite moments in the first season were obviously the glamorous, high-energy robot battles, season two’s were the drama talks among the Martian hierarchy. The manipulative Lemrina is an essential part of Slaine’s motive for justice, for she can change her appearance to mirror Seylum’s, masking any idea that Seylum had died. In turn, she is a thorn in his side, desiring his affection and secretly wishing that she could replace her comatose sister for good. Though these additions couldn’t save the series in the end, the spicy and dramatic relationships really turned up the emotional dial for this sequel – I only wish I could’ve see more of Lemrina.

Now the cons. The plot is an obvious wreck. Poor pacing, bad balance of characters, and a much different (lesser) tone than the first half resulted in a LACKLUSTER ENDING. Seriously, after two seasons of killer alien robots and explosive combat and emotions – no one died. Not even any of Inaho’s friends took the fall. I’m not saying that death is a good thing in anime; it’s simply that ALDNOAH.ZERO went through a lot of trouble and no one bit the bullet.

Overall, season two values a softer and more emotional approach to a very different story. While the franchise still retains its innumerable plot holes, lacks proper character attention, and frankly sh*ts on its own design, A.Z is still passes as a decent tragedy.

Characters, what’s to say? The sequel drops any supporting Terrans, so you can all forget about Inaho’s friends. Well, maybe besides Inko and his sis. That Marito guy doesn’t even get any follow up to his problems, whatever they were. Just poor balance of characters.

More of the Martian counts are introduced as distinct personalities, which ties back to one of the greater things this sinking ship of a show offered. Their intense qualms regarding loyalty to the almighty dick Slaine made for more interesting views.

Inaho is still pretty meh. He still swoops in to take out the Counts, calibrating all of their weaknesses and eliminating them in the last second. His eye causes him suffering, but he endures the pain for the computer’s benefits. One part of the show really startled me, and that was the smooth transition from Inaho to the eye “talking” to Seylum. Supposedly, the eye grew a consciousness of its own or something cause it carried out Inaho’s last words to the Princess. Just goes to confirm Inaho is nearly no different than a robot, cause I hardly noticed the shift in dialogue – and they even stated it.

It felt really weird when Asseylum woke up from her coma, as if Lemrina’s whole world came crashing down on her – and it kinda did. Too bad Asseylum wasn’t as near as complex as Lemrina, for she remained the same old boring, dutiful Princess. However, she grew some balls in the end and surprised everyone. When that happened, A.Z woke up from its nightmare and ended things right then and there.

Slaine was by far the most developed, but that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. He went from being an obedient servant of the Vers monarchy to a stubborn, stuck up b*tch. I guess it proves once again the power is greed trope. I can distinctly recall him saying that he had pretty much started down the road to hell, and that there was no turning back. His decisions make absolutely no sense; he does retarded stuff, and in the end gets blamed for everything that happened. Humanity will remember that the whole war was because of him. Like . . . wut?

A-1 Pictures’ animation didn’t drop in quality whatsoever. It’s still pretty solid, so if you’re one for the Kataphrakt CGI fights, then you’ll be satisfied. Characters are colored in lighter tints to contrast the black nothingness of space. I love the characters and their expressions! Also, the Martian Kataphrakts are freakin’ cool, even if their design makes little to no sense.

The OP “&Z” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:mizuki mirrors the softer appeal the anime presents while the ED “GENESIS” by Eir Aoi, to me, captures the downfall of Slaine and the ultimate tragedy of the show. Beautiful.

Hiroyuki Sawano continues to impress with touching, somber piano solos and full orchestra tracks. Though the small OST is repeated over and over again to where you can predict what song will play next, the tracks are still great, supporting the mood admirably. His attempt to milk what he could out of A.Z wasn’t in vain; there are several touching moments centered around Slaine, Asseylum, Inaho and Lemrina that were particularly beautiful despite their relevance to the plot.

If you watched ALDNOAH.ZERO’s first season, then go ahead if you haven’t already and finish this thing off. To others, I would avoid this franchise in general for its inconsistent plot, poor distribution of character development, and at times nonsensical scheming. The show is not bad, it’s just messy, and I would only watch it if you are searching for high-energy, well-animated, robot space combat or political drama, though do realize that that part eventually goes down the drain. I’m glad ALDNOAH.ZERO is over. It’s just a shame that the writers couldn’t learn from their mistakes – the show had A LOT of potential.

I guess that’s it. THE ANIME DOESN’T END HORRIBLY WHATSOEVER. If you watched A.Z, please leave a comment below with any of your thoughts. I’m a bit lost when it comes to this show. If you had similar musings, hit the like button for more anime reviews. Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Oreimo 2 (season two) Review

Of course I had to continue with Oreimo 2 because the first season was so eccentric! If you haven’t already, check out my anime review of Oreimo (season one) for a better reinstating of the plot. Also, watch the first season before you read this, as a spoiler or two might be present in this review.

Following Kirino’s departure to America in season one (OVAs), the sequel picks back up on the average life of Kyousuke Kousaka. When the older brother demands his sister’s return, even traveling all the way to America himself to do so, things between the two begin to break apart again. After all of the work in season one Kirino still seems just as tsundere as ever. Drama rears its ugly head, however, when Kuroneko, Ayase, Kirino and the rest reveal their mixed feelings for our bumbling brother. The story goes from otaku culture in society to relationships with siblings and others.

This second season crushes the majority of the characters by turning them on their own heads. Specifically speaking, the hot-headed and sophisticated Ayase is no longer that. Do you recall the moments when she detested Kyousuke, eroge, and everything else that he was involved in? How about the episodes of time where she would yell at Kyousuke and even Kirino just to try to cleanse Kirino of her hobbies? That signature kick that she would deal upon him when he was against Ayase – well, that’s still here, but anyway, the series suddenly turns her into an active yandere without even a second thought. She was one of the few serious characters, now diminished to a lover and a dreamer. A shame.

Kirino remains true to her tsundere influenced setup. In fact, she still gets mad at Kyousuke, yells at him, and then kicks his door. I love Kirino as a character; even in this second season, she realizes the bad things she does and tries to take care of it, though this usually fails and then gets cleared up by Kyousuke. She’s just a teenage girl – she makes mistakes but grows through them. The only difference in her mood is that towards the end, she somewhat realizes her love and dependence on Kyousuke. It’s weird and strays away from the original plot, but touching nonetheless. After watching the strange ending, I now understand Kirino and Kyousuke as characters much more than before.

If you liked Kuroneko, Saori, and Manami, you’ll be pleased to know that they have improved. Kuroneko gets her own little arc with Kyousuke, but I found it less right than him and Kirino. Kuroneko and Kyousuke didn’t go well together; I couldn’t feel the connection between them like I did with his sister, and I know it’s “wrong” to say that. Saori receives a nice embellishment with her sister and her past, which many people skip by, but I found those episodes to be more enjoyable than the entire Kuroneko arc – and that’s saying something!

Enough about characters. The soundtrack is pretty much the same quirky OSTs as last season. Some new tracks are added to the romantic moments, though. The opening, which I can’t even remember, is just another J-pop song. Yeah it’s fine, but nothing I can recall.

Animation has improved. And saying that the quality before was fine, this was even more enjoyable. I like the concept art of Kirino and the other girls’ characters. They are soft, yet gorgeous and just overall well presented.

Oreimo 2 is a very good anime; it just fails to deliver as a sequel to an amazing first season. This season drops most of the otaku acts and focuses on forced cliché relationships. I guess if you love drama, then here you go, but I watch this particular anime for the struggles of otaku life and comedy – Oreimo is not a serious show, so why should it start being so now? For people who followed the first season, feel free to watch the sequel, just know that it’ll break your views of the interesting characters we encouraged for the previous twelve lovely episodes.

And with that, I conclude my overall thoughts Oreimo – My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute! Currently, though I do not own a copy of the series, you can watch it for free over at Crunchyroll, but you can also slide on over to my place because “The only one I sexually harass is you!” – Kyousuke

Hehe, if you found this review at all helpful or interesting, go ahead and slap dat like button. You know you want to. 😉

– Takuto, your host