I could be watching Netflix create JoJo’s Bizarre Release Schedule instead of this. I could be watching Arcane again. I could be starting The Sandman. Instead, I’m watching the second season of a show I was convinced had been canceled despite this “second season” clearly being the second half of season 1 and not even being announced as existing at the beginning.
Hey Netflix. Get your act together and stop being coy about the most ridiculous things. At least now I know why the first season ended on the cliffhanger it did.
Also, 0/10. No Bargain Bunji.
As always, spoilers ahead. But do you really care? Ikuzo!
1. Cut My Crystal Into Pieces
I have to start by retracting a bit of my snark from my season one finale review. They had to have planned the ending knowing this season was coming, which changes the pacing expectations. As things weren’t meant to act as a potential finale but instead purely as set-up and a projection of what’s to come, it’s more understandable why we got what we got. Does that make it good? No. Not at all. But it’s less egregious.
When we last left our…protagonists, they had just saved the city of Neo Edo from a robot army from another dimension. Were it not for everyone worshiping at the feet of Yuichi, the huge butterfly portal in the sky and The ClavisTM messing with the Ki-Stone, it’d be pretty hard to tell anything had really happened at the end of the last season. In fact, it took nearly half the episode for them to think that maybe, just maybe The ClavisTM is causing the Ki-Stone’s problems? How oblivious can they be?!
Apparently very. So much so that we get little meaningful follow up on anything and, you know what? That’s fine with me. I like the little mysteries. I’m especially curious to see what they decide to do about the Ki-Stone’s sudden lack of conversationality with Tetsujin. And the egg! What’s in the egg!?
2. This is My Last Retort
Now that we’ve spent a season setting up a dynamic between our leads, we can just sit back and watch those big personalities clash in new and different ways. Are those personalities still very one dimensional? Yes. Is it still great fun to see Chizu, Gen, and Kitsune dunk on Yuichi at every opportunity in their own ways? Also yes.
Now that Yuichi is the big man on campus, he’s getting to bask in the glory of saving the city and because he’s written to have zero self-awareness, he lets it all go to his head and thinks he can be a master teacher. This isn’t a bad development but it is excruciating to watch.
For context, the reason Yuichi thinks he’s a teacher is because everyone else got Kaikishi weapons that fit their personalities, and what they use in the comics more often. Except Chizu who gets a bow and arrow instead of throwing stars because…
Anyway, Yuichi no longer feels special so he takes their weapons as they humor him and proceed to use brooms for everything in the meantime. Truly, I hated every minute of his actual training. It’s so rote, so dull, and Yuichi has little in the way of an endearing quality. I couldn’t wait for him to reach his inevitable turn around moment and apologize.
Thankfully, it’s limited to only a few scenes and the rest are dunkfests on Yuichi. Chizu gets all the best lines and I wish they let her be a little meaner than she’s been allowed to be. Her snark gave me life and we could’ve used a little more of it, though we get plenty when he tries to sneak up on everyone while they sleep. Good stuff right there.
I’m not sure if this is down to the extra time, the existence of the rigs already, or what but the animation is markedly better this season. It’s still not great seeing as how fast action is floaty, it feels like everything is on a track rather than natural being natural movement, and character’s faces are still limited in their expression. Gone, however, are the thousand-yard stares, the two to three emotions per character, and the horse lips & teeth that came from stretching the mouths too far when animating them talking. The fights are also more weighty and less stiff, which is essentially for an action show like this.Continued below
Seriously, thank goodness the facial expressions are better. It made the whole episode much more enjoyable than it otherwise would have been and let me appreciate my boy Lord Kogane even more! Even Yuichi’s nonsense was enhanced by having subtle(ish) shifts in facial muscles while he talked about dispensing “wisdom nuggets.”
Also, credit where it’s due. Barnet does a fantastic job as Yuichi, even if I dislike the character immensely. His delivery on “wisdom nuggets” got me even when I didn’t want to be gotten. Maybe I did like this episode more than I thought?
4. No Flying
The B-plot of the episode, unless you count the training stuff the B-plot, features Lord Kogane as he’s hunted down by the Bat Clan in a roundabout plan to get darkness to fall once again on Neo Edo by shutting down the Ki-Stone. How that would stop, you know, the sun, is beyond me but none of the villains in this show are particularly smart or thoughtful so we’ll leave it at that.
I say it’s a plot but really it’s an incident. The Bat Clan talk about kidnapping him, we have a bunch of A-plot training, and then Kogane comes running for help and a fight ensues, allowing for resolution of said A-plot and the defeat of the Bat Clan who run away in shame. That’s really it. The stand out moments are anytime Lord Kogane gets to speak, Yuichi questioning why the head bat is an Admiral since he’s got nothing to do with water, and my favorite moment of the whole episode: their entrance.
So, to buy themselves some time, the crew locks and shuts the door behind Kogane as they figure out what to do. They’re in the courtyard. Which has no roof. And there’s been no mention of a magical or non-magical shield above the, charitably, 10 foot high wall the door sits in. Meaning anyone could go over it without having to enter via the door. You see where I’m going with this?
No you don’t because the Bat Clan BUSTS THROUGH THE DOOR instead of flying over it and then LEAVES THROUGH IT TOO.
These bats are committed to the drama and I will bring them the appreciation they deserve. Well done Bat Clan. Well done.
5. Don’t Give a Gen if I Cut the Air Cleaning
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the hilarious broom dance training sequence. I was cackling throughout that. It’s small, it’s short, but it was one of the few moments that felt like the intentional humor actually worked how it was supposed to. It was also another bright spot in the training sections. That’s all.
What? Not every thought has to be long.
That about does it for now! Maybe it’s the Stockholm Syndrome. Maybe it’s a generally improved quality all around but I’m far warmer on this show than I was just a couple months ago. Let’s see if they can keep it up. I’ll see you over on Boomb Tube for the rest. Until then, Ikuzo!
Best Line of the Night:
Gen: “He kinda saved the world. It’s the least we could do.”
Chizu: “I believe we could do less.”