Ah shit, here we go again….. and I say that in the most positive way about this show. If you don’t know much about me the past 3 years, you’ll know that I am very in love with this show since the first season debuted in the fall of 2016.
When this got announced for a season 2, I was really excited to see where the season could take us with these characters and even to know new ground about them and the situations they’re engrossed in.
Oh and in case forgot about the original synopsis:
The protagonist Rei is a 17-year old professional shōgi player, who lives by himself, not having a real family, and has scarcely any friends. Among his acquaintances is a family, which consists of a young woman, Akari, and two young girls, Hinata and Momo, and who also keep a numerous number of cats.
But in this season, things really escalated higher in terms of plot.
For instance, Rei is starting to get more social around his shogi peers but that doesn’t effectively means that the depression is instantly gone and there is some weird comedy in between the shogi tournaments going on with them but there is one member that gets some spotlight in an episode, mainly Nikaido and remember, at first glance when watching this for the first time, I thought I would hate him but I ended up liking him and in this season, I felt for the guy. Yes, there is some material going on with these shogi tournaments and while those have some of the comedic elements down, those weren’t my big highlight of the season.
Now, if you saw the previews of this season before it aired, you know what plot that got everyone interested……the bullying plot with Hina. Everything about that story is very heart-wrenching with her friend Chiho getting bullied by these girls and it becomes so rampant that Chiho moved away and when Hina had enough, they went for her and every emotion from distress, anger, sadness goes through my mind watching it. Hell, I felt like I wanted to do something to help her. Then again, so does Akari. Her being big sister/mother to her time of need adds on the stress when they got to deal with the bully’s mother although Hina ended up being the savior to Akari during that rather than vice-versa.
Oh, and victim-blaming does play a part here and of course, the squashing of that bullshit done beautifully by a new homeroom teacher Mr. Kobuku. Plus, as for the regular teacher before him, I would’ve felt sorry for her but the way she handled it by throwing Hina under the bus or ignoring her like it was her fault made me felt less sorry for that particular teacher. The resolution of that may not be as clean-cut as some shows sometimes do but it is satisfying with the final outcome.
Animation is pretty much the same as I said before on the first season and it’s still as solid as it was. The music is still good with the score fitting the tones of what scenario its in from the light-hearted comedic elements to the more serious moments…. well, actually, sometimes the music doesn’t even contribute to that as the silence of that and the dialogue carries that more within the drama. For the opening themes, “Flag wo Tateru” (“Raise the Flag”) by YUKI & “Haru ga Kite Bokura” (“We of the Coming Spring”) by Unison Square Garden are compelling themes with their lightly dramatic touches and the ending themes, “Kafune” by Brian the Sun and “I Am Standing” by Ruann….. yeah, they’re quite good songs as well.
Oh and as for the dub, it’s pretty much what I said in the first season. It’s a damn good solid dub directed wonderfully by Wendee Lee but this time, I will give a special highlight to Kayli Mills as Hinata and her performance throughout that arc was fantastic and you really felt her putting it all in that character. Of course, I still love the performances of Khoi Dao (Rei), Xanthe Hyunh (Momo) and Laura Post (Akari aka the World’s Best Mom….like-figure).
FINAL VERDICT: This season has up the ante on the series as a whole. I’m just repeating myself from the last season as once again the show has me hooked on what these characters are going through, especially this SEASON and the comedy/drama elements are still fantastic. This season still cements me saying that this is one of my favorite anime in recent years. I’d admit that it is one of those anime that a person will watch once because of how heart wrenching it can get to most folks in some parts but still it retains a sense of hope.
Once again, it’s a….
Now time has past for both seasons, they are on Blu-ray and streaming on Crunchyroll & Netflix (although the S2 dub is on Netflix only). And no, I don’t know any word of a 3rd season but I hope more of this is coming.
I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid and for real, I really hope there are at least plans of another season. I mean, come on, Shaft! Don’t those Monogatari series make easy cash in Japan?
MARCH COMES IN LIKE A LION – animated by SHAFT/licensed by ANIPLEX OF AMERICA