Monday, January 23, 2012

Anime Review: Sekaiichi Hatsukoi 2

While I had some issues with the original Sekaiichi Hatsukoi I did like many of the characters enough to check out the second series (which aired in fall 2011, bit behind here) streaming on I suppose that theoretically this second series could be watched without having seen the first series but in a series that rests entirely on it's characters and their developing relationships I can't see why you would skip the first series. I will note however that I did skip the episode that focused on characters from the original manga-ka's other work, Junjou Romantica, since I have not seen that show and don't plan on it so it just didn't hold any entertainment value for me.

Sekaiichi Hatsukoi 2

Summary: Ritsu Onodera is still the rookie manga editor for the shojo magazine Emerald but he's starting to get a grasp on all the stuff that gets thrown his way. He's also starting to get a grip on his growing love life with his boss, Masume Takano, although progress on that front is moving even more slowly. And the second and third set of couples also reappear as they navigate the ins-and-outs of being men in love.

The Good: Ritsu actually admitted to himself in the first episode that yes, he does love Takano so all kissy/sexytimes between the two of them seem to be consensual now which clears up my big problem with the series, even if Ritsu won't formally tell Takano that yes he loves him. This made their relationship much more interesting, and less icky, in my opinion and the story covered the rest of their past which was also a nice touch.

The Bad: As mentioned earlier, there is an episode in this series that is devoted entirely to characters who aren't even in this series (although yes they do have a tenuous connection) which I frankly don't see the point of and wish had been an unconnected OVA instead. Also got bored very quickly of the tension surrounding the second couple, Chiaki and Hatori, which has devolved into a silly love triangle involving a mutual acquaintance of theirs and just didn't find it interesting at all. Likewise, I was sad that the third couple, Kisa and Yukina whom I prefer, didn't have that much screen time and their story this time was a bit stupid as well, I actually felt a bit cheated by that. 

The Audio: The voice acting was the same as the first series and still worked here, although I did have a few moments wondering how embarrassing/how many times the voice actors must have just broken down and started laughing while recording some of the lines, and it works well enough. The OP and ED were okay and I was happy that the previews were done the same way they had been in the first season, with Ritsu reading off a bunch of explanations for what goes on in the manga publishing industry super fast yet never quite managing to finish in time.

The Visuals: Same as before, this series is being produced by Studio Deen who frankly does not do very great work. A lot of stuff looks awkward, there are plenty of scenes that are just shots of talking heads (and the original manga-ka isn't very good at creating distinct looking characters which adds to the mess)  and it's just not the most visually interesting series. This time however there was actual animation in the ED which is a step-up from the first series.

This season I think was stronger for the main couple and weaker for the two other couples oddly enough but it worked. Not sure if I would see a third season of this show unless it was meant to the last, there's just a limit to how much will-they-or-won't-they I can take, but as before I would seriously consider buying this is Nozomi was to license it.  

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