Tag: 2013

Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion

Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion

Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion anime cover art
Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion

Overview

Right from the start I want to mention that this review of Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion is going to be full of spoilers.

So with that PSA out of the way, I’m reviewing this movie today because @maisoonsart mentioned to me that I never actually did a review of this movie despite Madoka Magica being one of my favorite anime. And, considering it’s been almost two years since my original Madoka Magica review, I think this movie finally deserves some attention.

However, it’s not as if I haven’t written about Madoka Magica over these two years. For example, I wrote a five-part series on the main characters of Madoka Magica starting with Madoka Kaname.

But, finally getting to the movie at hand, this is the sequel to the series as well as the third movie. The first two movies are just recap of the series with slightly better visuals and a bit of information cut out. I recommend watching the series over those movies if it’s your first time. You can also skip those two movies if you’ve seen the series.

So, what’s interesting about Rebellion being the sequel to the series is that it gives the series a chance to start over. At the end of the series Madoka resets the world, but without herself or the witches magical girls fight against. This in turn leads to the rise of the wraiths, which are briefly mentioned in this movie.

However, the movie begins in a world with both Madoka and witches, but without the negative aspects associated with them.

The Cake Song

The start of the movie is weird and doesn’t make sense until later on. Per the end of the series Madoka and the witches should have been erased from existence and Sayaka should be dead (she died again after Madoka revived her). But the reason everything is “back to normal” is because this is a fake world.

This is a world created by Homura for reasons I’ll get to later on. The real world is in fact as I mentioned above.

But this fake world Homura created gives us a picture of the “ideal” world for magical girls, which is something we never really got to see at any point in the series. In this world, magical girls work together instead of against each other, and they have no fear of becoming witches themselves.

This concept is exemplified by the cake song scene. Here we see the five main magical girls singing and having fun in order to take down the witch Charlotte (Bebe). This is a drastic break from what we saw in the series, and it’s the first real sign that something isn’t quite right.

There’s also a great part of that scene when Kyouko passes Charlotte off to Mami. Charlotte is the witch form of the magical girl Bebe, whose favorite food is cheese. Mami represents cheese in the cake song. Charlotte was the witch who ate Mami in the series. And to tie this reference all together, Charlotte opens her mouth towards Mami as if she’s going to eat her again.

But this is a happy world in which Mami isn’t decapitated by Charlotte. So instead, Charlotte is saved and reverted back into her true form, Bebe. Other than the reference I just mentioned, I have no idea why Bebe is included in this movie.

Mami vs. Homura

The next scene of the movie I want to discuss is the fight between Mami and Homura. The inclusion of scenes like this is actually one of the things I like the most about this movie. It gives us a chance to see more of our main characters interacting with each other.

Think about it, Mami died in the series before Kyouko or even Homura joined the group. This fight between her and Homura gives us a chance to see characters interacting who we previously saw very little of. And it’s during this fight that we see how powerful Mami truly is.

Mami Tomoe vs. Homura Akemi from the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion
Mami Tomoe vs. Homura Akemi

Homura has thousands of days worth of experience using her time magic and guns, and yet Mami is still skilled enough to hold her own in a one-on-one battle. She’s even smart enough to understand how Homura’s time ability works and how she can use her own ribbon ability to nullify it.

The one reason Mami eventually loses the fight is because she’s too caring. When Homura acts as if she’s going to end her own life, Mami lets her guard down just long enough for Homura to activate her ability.

And remember, just because we didn’t see Mami and Homura interacting as friends all that much in the series doesn’t mean they aren’t friends. In the current timeline they are friends, which is why Mami reacted the way she did. But, Homura knows Mami even better and is able to manipulate her feelings.

Kyouko and Sayaka

However, if there’s one thing more important than the extra characterization we get for Mami in this movie, it’s the extra characterization we get for Kyouko and Sayaka. That’s right, the ship has officially sailed and this yuri is not bait.

Back in the series we got a little teaser of the fact that Kyouko and Sayaka had a relationship that went beyond just being friends. This is why Kyouko sacrifices her own life to take down Oktavia von Seckendorff (the witch version of Sayaka).

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this in a number of other posts, but the scene of Kyouko and Sayaka finally being reunited is probably my favorite of the entire movie. After all, they had a pretty tragic story up to this point.

Kyouko Sakura and Sayaka Miki holding hands from the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion
Kyouko Sakura and Sayaka Miki holding hands

In their first lives Sayaka turned into a witch due to her despair and Kyouko committed murder-suicide. Then in their second lives Sayaka died once again, leaving Kyouko behind alone. But now that they’re back together for the third time Kyouko can finally express her feelings to Sayaka.

Seriously, whether you’ve seen the Madoka Magica series or are planning to watch it, don’t skip the Rebellion movie. It adds so much more to the characters.

Rebellion

The final thing I need to go over about this movie is the ending and how exactly it ties into the series which preceded it. As I mentioned, this “ideal” world for magical girls was created by Homura. And interestingly, that makes Homura the villain of the movie — sort of(?)

Really, for both the series and the movie I could argue that Homura or Madoka is the villain. They’re actually constantly working against each other, so if Madoka is the protagonist, Homura is the antagonist — and she takes this role seriously this time around.

At the end of the series Madoka made it so that witches could no longer exist in the world. However, Homura used her own magic to make a bubble world in which witches could exist. She then became a pseudo-witch within this world and created a labyrinth of her own — the “ideal” world in which the movie takes place.

The Homura of this world is really just a shadow of the real Homura. Mami and Kyouko are very much real, though. As for Sayaka and Madoka, things get a bit more complicated. Sayaka was sent to this world by Madoka in order to stop Homura. And the Madoka of this world is just a single piece of the omnipotent Madoka.

If that makes no sense, go rewatch the movie.

So, Homura’s plan was to take a piece of the omnipotent Madoka and return her to the school life she always wanted. And at the end of the movie that’s exactly what she does. Homura is able to take the power of omnipotent Madoka and reshape the world (temporarily) to be the world free of magic which Madoka should have created from the start.

And that’s where the movie ends.

Conclusion

I know this review was a bit rambling, especially towards the end, but I was trying to fit a lot of ideas in a review that isn’t too long. Basically, it’s a very good movie and you should watch it. After all, the animation is by Shaft and the OST is by Yuki Kajuira, so it must be good.

But, despite that, I actually liked the series more than the movie. To me, Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion is a 9/10.

Yes, it gave us a lot more information about the various characters, but overall I didn’t think the story being told was quite as good. I think I would have rather the movie been about the Wraith Arc which we don’t actually ever get to see animated other than briefly in the epilogue of the series.

If you enjoyed this review or found it helpful in any way, remember to click the like button ❤ down below. Also follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on on any future content such as my eventual review of Madoka Magica Gaiden: Magia Record.

And come join my Discord server so you can appreciate the Madoka gifs I send.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Sasami-san@Unmotivated

Sasami-san@Unmotivated

Sasami-san@Unmotivated anime series cover art
Sasami-san@Unmotivated

Overview

Sasami-san@Unmotivated (Sasami-san@Ganbaranai / ささみさん@がんばらない) is a light novel adaptation by the animation studio Shaft. It aired between Nekomonogatari Black and White. And, if you aren’t already aware, Shaft is my favorite studio.

However, I wasn’t aware this series even existed until one of my patrons, HeavyROMAN, told me to watch it. At first glance, this series doesn’t seem to be anything special. It looks like a wacky, slice of life series and its average rating on MAL is a measly 6.70.

But as you may have guessed, I don’t believe this series is as bad as everyone would apparently have you believe. In fact, I thought it was great.

There are really two sides to this series: there’s the comedic side and there’s the serious side. Some other series will try to blend the two together within the same episode to little success, but Sasami doesn’t really do that. Instead, each episode will either be funny or serious, rarely a mixture of the two.

As for the plot, at first it’s all over the place. The series focuses on a high school aged girl named Sasami Tsukuyomi who refuses to (can’t) leave the comfort of her own home. She’s a shut-in, and that alone probably makes her relatable to half of you reading this.

But the series isn’t just about a shut-in. It’s about a shut-in who happens to have the power of a god inside her. She’s Haruhi Suzumiya, except she knows it (I definitely used a similar line in another recent post). This series has a lot of references to Japanese mythology, and Sasami’s character is no exception.

Bonus points to whoever can guess what god resides inside Sasami before I spoil it. We’ll be using the honor system so leave your guess in the comments.

Characters

Sasami Tsukuyomi is the protagonist of the series. She’s a former shrine maiden in training who ran away because she wanted to live life with the comforts modern society provides. Except she doesn’t like the society part of modern society so she stays indoors.

Sasami Tsukuyomi from the anime series Sasami-san@Unmotivated
Sasami Tsukuyomi

Kamiomi Tsukuyomi is Sasami’s older brother who ran away from the shrine along with her. He works as a teacher at the local high school. Due to some strange traditions instilled in him at the shrine, we never see his face and he has developed a little sister complex for Sasami.

Tsurugi Yagami is the oldest of three goddess sisters. She works at the local high school along with Kamiomi. Her notable trait is that she’s a pervert who plays hentai games while at school. As a bonus fact, Tsurugi is voiced by Chiwa Saito, the VA of Hitagi Senjougahara.

Kagami Yagami is the middle of the three goddess sisters. She often appears bored and emotionless on the outside despite how she feels on the inside. Kagami is notable for being a cyborg with a lot of built in weapons. She is voiced by Kana Hanazawa, the VA of Nadeko Sengoku.

Tama Yagami is the youngest of the three goddess sisters despite physically appearing to be the oldest. Tama isn’t very smart, but she has a big heart (and a big stomach). Her special ability is that she can “eat” anything she touches. Her VA is Ai Nonaka, the same as Kyouko Sakura.

The final character I’ll mention is Jou Edogawa. Jou is an antagonist who appears towards the end of the series alongside Tamamo-no-Mae. Like Sasami, she too has the power of a god sealed inside her. However, unlike Sasami, she displays some adverse side effects because of this.

Discussion

If you enjoy the Monogatari series like I do, then chances are you’ll enjoy Sasami-san@Unmotivated. Like I mentioned, the beginning of the series is really strange and all over the place. It also seems like most people don’t get past the first three episodes which may explain why its average score is so low.

Once you do get past those episodes the series will start to make a lot more sense. And I don’t just mean that it will make sense from there on out —  even the episodes you’ve already watched will then make sense.

Aside from the beginning being pretty out there, the middle is the serious part of the series. This arc introduces Sasami’s mother and from here on out the series kind of focuses on their relationship. The end of the series then goes back to being comedic like the beginning was, but also makes a lot more sense.

Jou Edogawa referencing Sailor Moon from the anime series Sasami-san@Unmotivated
Jou Edogawa referencing Sailor Moon

I also want to take a moment to talk about the Sailor Moon reference by Jou (pictured above). A lot of anime reference Sailor Moon. In fact, the Monogatari series has done it multiple times. But many times it’s just a random reference that isn’t really contextualized.

That’s not the case this time around.

Sasami’s last name, Tsukuyomi, is a reference to the moon god by the same name in Japanese mythology. This is why Jou does the Sailor Moon pose when she’s telling Sasami that she’s a worthy adversary. I’m always a fan of Sailor Moon references — especially when they make sense in context.

Conclusion

Sasami-san@Unmotivated is, for me, a 9/10. I considered giving it an 8, but I really do think that it does so much so well that it deserves the 9. I just wish there was a second season to this series. The first volume of the light novel was published back in 2009 and it’s still going to this day, so there’s plenty of content to adapt.

The OP of the series is also pretty good, but the ED is what really shines. For the first half of the ED you get various characters from the series talking to each other — often about the ED. Then the better part happens, where the characters (different ones for different episodes) sing the ED song as if it were bad karaoke.

If you enjoyed this review, let me know by clicking the like button ❤ down below and following me over on Twitter @DoubleSama. I tweet out every time a new post goes live, so it’s the best way to stay up to date. There’s also a Discord server for anyone who wants to discuss anime with members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month and for recommending this series to me. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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One Piece (Punk Hazard)

One Piece (Punk Hazard)

One Piece anime series logo
One Piece

Overview

I don’t think many people would fault me for saying that Punk Hazard wasn’t exactly the best saga of One Piece. After the East Blue saga, this one is probably my least favorite so far. And, there are two main reasons for this.

First, Punk Hazard’s main plot is removed from everything else that has happened in the series so far. Second, Punk Hazard is really just a setup saga for the sagas which are to come later on. This means that we’re not invested in the arc from the start, and we’re not invested in the arc at the end.

But, while I don’t think Punk Hazard is all that engaging to watch, it’s a pretty important arc. This isn’t a filler arc which can be skipped like the Davy Back Fight against the Foxy Pirates — though I think that was actually more entertaining.

Luckily, the new information we get about the world of One Piece in this arc counteracts how boring it otherwise was. We learned more about one of the Warlords, we learned more about the country of Wano, and we learned more about the mystery of devil fruits.

New Characters

There are four new characters from Punk Hazard who I want to discuss. Two of them are new friends, and two of them are foes of the Straw Hats. But, what I think really makes these characters interesting are their devil fruit abilities.

Potentially for the first time, we’ve seen what are basically duplicate devil fruits. I guess you could make the argument that Marco’s Phoenix Zoan is very similar to Ace’s Flame-Flame fruit. However, the reason I won’t count those is because one is a Zoan and one is a Logia.

And, this arc also introduces us to the very first — that we know of — man-made devil fruit user. It’s possible that someone we’ve come across in the past used a man-made devil fruit, but if they did we don’t know at this point in time.

New Allies

Both of the new friends of the Straw hats are from the Wano kingdom, which is the same place Brook is originally from. This is a kingdom of Samurai — despite how Brook dresses — and at this point in the anime that’s all we really know about it.

The first of these characters is Kin’emon, a warrior of Wano. Just like how Brook is able to use ice-type attacks with his sword for some unknown reason, Kin’emon is able to use pseudo-fire-type attacks with his. His sword doesn’t actually create fire, but he can negate and slice through it.

Kin’emon is also a devil fruit user, though his devil fruit is oddly specific. If he places a stone on top of someone’s head, he can turn that stone into a winter coat. Sure, this was a helpful ability to have on the frozen half of Punk Hazard, but unless Wano is a Winter island, it seems pretty useless.

Momonosuke in his dragon form from the anime series One Piece (Punk Hazard)
Momonosuke in his dragon form

Momonosuke is the son of Kin’emon and was held captive on Punk Hazard with a bunch of other children. These children were being experimented on, and Momonosuke managed to escape — sort of. He actually went out in search of food and ended up eating a devil fruit.

However, this was no ordinary devil fruit, it was a man-made, Mythical Zoan type fruit which turned him into a (Chinese) dragon. Apparently, the island of punk hazard has been creating man-made Zoan type devil fruits and selling them on the black market. It also seems that a man-made Zoan can have the same “ability” as a real Zoan.

For example, as far as we know someone could have a man-made Human-Human fruit while Chopper has the real one.

New Enemies

But man-made devil fruit aren’t the only duplicates in this saga. Two of the antagonists have devil fruit abilities very similar to those we’ve seen before. So let’s start with the main antagonist of the arc, Caesar Clown.

Caesar is the former assistant of Dr. Vegapunk and has been secretly creating weapons of mass destruction on Punk Hazard for the past few years. But, what’s really important to know about him is that he has the Gas-Gas fruit.

This fruit is basically a combination of Smoker’s fruit and Magellan’s fruit, and is stronger than both of them individually because of it. In fact, he might even be strong enough to take them both on at once. However, his major downfall is that he can’t use haki of any sort.

Caesar Clown from the anime series One Piece (Punk Hazard)
Caesar Clown

Caesar’s assistant, Monet, has the Snow-Snow fruit, which is oddly similar to the fruit used by Aokiji. Obviously though, she’s nowhere near as powerful as Aokiji is. While Monet’s devil fruit isn’t man-made, she is a man-made harpy. It’s not exactly clear why she underwent this surgery though from what I remember.

I really want to discuss Monet at the end of the Punk Hazard saga, but at the same time I don’t want to spoil anything about it. So just know that her part at the end of the saga was probably my favorite thing in One Piece so far.

Dressrossa Setup

Alright, so I mentioned that Punk Hazard’s main purpose was to set up future portions of the main story. The introduction of Kin’emon and Momonosuke seems to be more setup for when we eventually get to Wano. I’m sure they play a major role there.

However, the more immediate setup is for the very next saga, Dressrossa. First of all, we get our real introduction to Doflamingo, the antagonist of Dressrossa. We’ve seen him before, most notably at Marineford, but we didn’t really know much about him then.

We’re also introduced to Doflamingo’s business, which is the underground network he’s set up for selling weapons. This black market is where you can purchase man-made Zoan devil fruits. So based on that I assume we’ll be seeing a lot more Zoan types in the future.

And, let’s not forget that on Punk Hazard the Straw Hats teamed up with Trafalgar Law to form an alliance going forward.

Conclusion

Overall I have to say the Punk Hazard saga of One Piece is a 6/10. It was certainly informative and, at least towards the end, fun to watch, but it was still one of the worst sagas so far. At least because of everything it set up Dressrossa should be a good one.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤ down below and follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. There’s also a Discord server for those who are interested in discussing anime with members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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A Certain Scientific Railgun S

A Certain Scientific Railgun S

A Certain Scientific Railgun S anime series cover art
A Certain Scientific Railgun S Cover Art

Introduction

A Certain Scientific Railgun S is the sequel series to A Certain Scientific Railgun, which is a side story of a Certain Magical Index. I also watched A Certain Magical Index II before this series, which is something I’ll get to in just a bit.

For reference, the proper viewing order apparently goes like this:

  • Index
  • Railgun
  • Railgun S
  • Index II

But, the order I viewed this series in is:

  • Railgun
  • Index
  • Index II
  • Railgun S

So, you see, I kind of swapped things around from start to finish. The reason I swapped around Railgun and Index was because I was more interested in Railgun, so I simply wanted to watch that first. However, the real issue comes with my swapping of Index II and Railgun S.

You see, Index II came out three years before Railgun S, but apparently you’re supposed to watch Railgun S first. How does that make any sense? Needless to say I watched these two parts in release order, not the order you’re “supposed” to watch them.

Sisters Arc Overview

The fact that I swapped around Index II and Railgun S had the most impact on the first arc of this series since it was actually covered in both parts. I think watching Index II first kind of spoiled the fun of this arc in Railgun S, but at the same time I think the same would be true in the other direction as well.

It’s almost like how Fate/stay night: UBW and Fate/Zero both spoil the endings of each other, so no matter which order you watch them in you’re ruining something for yourself. And, that’s not the only similarity there is between the RailDex and Fate series.

So, just what is this arc that also appears in Index II? It’s the Sisters Arc in which we learn that Mikoto Misaka has 20,000 clones of herself running around Academy City getting killed by Accelerator. This is by far the best arc to date in the RailDex series, so it was a bit disappointing for it to be redone in this fashion.

Accelerator vs. Touma Kamijou from the anime series A Certain Scientific Railgun S
Accelerator vs. Touma Kamijou

For the most part, Railgun S focuses on how this arc begins and then through the middle, whereas Index II picks it up from the middle and concludes it. Seems fairly straightforward then, right? Just watch Railgun S first and you’ll be good to go.

Well, yes, that does appear to be the easy way to solve the problem except for the fact that, as I mentioned, Railgun S came out three years after Index II, so there’s no logical reason to watch Railgun S first unless you have this information before even starting the series.

The other issue, however, is the middle portion of the arc where the two parts overlap. There are actually entire episodes that are just reused in Railgun S from Index II.

The idea of these two parts is that you can see the same events from both the perspectives of Kamijou and Misaka, but it doesn’t actually work out all that great. You see, there are episodes in which they’re both main characters, and so these episodes have essentially no differences between Index II and Railgun S.

At times like this it really feels like the RailDex series was originally meant to be a visual novel with a bunch of interconnected routes to take.

Febrie Arc Overview

The second and final arc of Railgun S is the Febrie arc, in which Misaka & friends find a mysterious little girl named Febrie. While the previous arc is tied into the events of Index II, this arc is more of a sequel to the events of the first season of Railgun.

In the first season of Railgun Misaka learns that there’s a dark underside to Academy City, and through the Sisters Arc she finds that she was unknowingly connected to it. In the Febrie arc, Misaka begins to directly challenge this dark part of the city.

She learns that Febrie is a fabricated human, or homunculi, who was created to be used to gather information on the various Level 5 espers. And, not only is Febrie seen as just a tool by her creators, but she’s seen as disposable as well once they get what they want.

Mikoto Misaka from the anime series A Certain Scientific Railgun S
Mikoto Misaka

You see, Febrie needs to take a special medicine in the form of lollipops every couple of hours or her body will break down. But, she only has a certain number of these lollipops left. So, Misaka & friends must bring down the Academy City underworld and learn how to produce Febrie’s medicine before time runs out.

Really, while this arc had some good fights, I wasn’t all that interested in it. Maybe it was because it didn’t have best boy Accelerator, but maybe it was also because some of the events just made very little sense.

For example, Misaka learns that the Tree Diagram, the super computer in space that Academy City uses to function, doesn’t actually exist. But, wasn’t she the one who shot it down in the first season of Railgun or something? I seem to remember that being something that happened.

Also, one of the OPs showed us some pretty cool tag-team fight scenes involving Misaka and Kuroko, but we never actually got any of this in the series. The fights against the other Level 5 espers would have been so much more entertaining if we got to see Kuroko fight alongside Misaka.

New Characters

There are a decent amount of new characters introduced in Railgun S, but the ones I’ll be focusing on are essentially an esper hitman squad known as ITEM. This team is made up of Mugino, Frenda, Saiai, and Rikou.

Shizuri Mugino is the leader of ITEM and one of the few Level 5 espers in Academy City. Her ability is known as Meltdowner and is essentially a laser that can burn/melt through anything. However, since her lasers are made of electrons, Misaka is able to deflect them with her own Electromaster ability.

Frenda is the only member of ITEM who doesn’t seem to be an esper. Instead, she specializes in explosives of all kinds, which doesn’t always make sense. To truly be effective, she needs time to set traps all over a potential battlefield, which is fine, but we also see her pull heat-seeking rockets out of her skirt.

Saiai is a Level 4 esper whose ability I don’t quite understand, or at least don’t remember the explanation of it. She’s able to either harden her body or create some sort of hardened force-field around herself. This can then be used either offensively or defensively, but since it has no range, it’s not the best ability around.

The final member, Rikou, is another Level 4 esper, but one without an offensive or defensive ability. Instead, Rikou’s ability is better labeled as a support ability. She’s able to pinpoint the direction and possibly distance of any esper she’s ever encountered by recognizing their AIM fields.

Conclusion

Overall I’d say A Certain Scientific Railgun S was a 6/10, just like the first season. I just don’t really feel like the RailDex series can be rated any higher than that, but maybe the upcoming Accelerator season will be able to change that.

If you enjoyed this review or found it helpful in any way, remember to click the like button ❤ down below. Also, give me a follow over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any upcoming content.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you can support this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Haganai NEXT

Haganai NEXT

Haganai: I don't have many friends NEXT anime cover art
Haganai NEXT Cover Art

Overview

Haganai: I don’t have many friends NEXT is the second season of Haganai and picks up from exactly where the first season left off. Yozora and Kodaka have just recently realized they were friends as kids, and have decided to keep it a secret from the rest of the club members.

As far as the general plot of this season goes compared to the first, not much has really changed. The Neighbors Club is still composed of the same seven members, and their relationships with each other haven’t progressed any since the first season.

The biggest change this season was the lack of nudity which was present in the first season. I can only remember one time in the second season where anything 18+ was shown, and it came in the beginning. This could simply mean that I saw a censored version of the second season, but that’s unlikely considering both seasons were on the same website, Crunchyroll.

This season was also slightly more plot focused, but not much. Instead of practicing things in order to be prepared for when they have friends, the various girls are all trying to get Kodaka to see them as romantic partners, although they still say it’s for the sake of practicing for when they have friends.

In the latter half of the season the club decided to make a movie for their school festival, and I couldn’t help feeling as though I’d seen this exact plot somewhere else. That’s right, this is the plot of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, as well as various other high school slice of life anime.

It would have been nice if Haganai did something different, but I guess old tropes die hard. That said, by following this same trope the season lost my interest in the second half. I didn’t care for this plot in Haruhi or any of the other anime I’ve seen it in, so why would I care this time?

Character Updates

There are a couple of new characters introduced in this season, but unfortunately two of the three are introduced at the end of the season, and none of them are main characters. These are Kate, Aoi, and Hinata.

Kate is Maria’s older sister, who’s also a Sister at the school/church, but who’s still only 15 and so refers to Kodaka as her older brother just like Maria does. Despite hiding it from Maria, Kate is constantly worried about her younger sister and needs to continuously check up on her.

Aoi and Hinata are introduced towards the end of the season and are members of the student council. Aoi is Sena’s self-proclaimed rival, and Hinata is the Student Council President for the second year in a row. Unlike most people in the school, these two aren’t put off by Kodaka and want him to join the Student Council.

If there was ever to be a third season, I think these characters would be brought in to be more recurring, but since the second season of Haganai came out back in 2013 I doubt a third season will ever happen. I also don’t think it needs a third season; it’s a pretty standard high school, harem, comedy.

Besides those three new supporting characters, three of the new characters also got upgrades this season, and by upgrades I mean we learned some new, game-changing information about them. I’ll start with Rika because she’s my favorite of the girls in this series.

Rika Shiguma depressed and in a maid outfit from the anime Haganai NEXT
Rika Shiguma depressed and in a maid outfit

The big reveal about Rika this season is that she actually doesn’t need glasses despite wearing them throughout the entire first season. That’s right, Rika’s glasses are just for show, and so she opts to go without them for much of this season.

We also learn that despite her personality, Rika is actually the only normal girl in the group. Unlike the rest of the Neighbors Club, Rika’s the only one who recognizes that the club no longer needs to practice for when they have friends because they’re all already friends.

Next up is second best girl, Sena. It’s revealed that Sena is actually Kodaka’s childhood friend from back when they were toddlers. Worst-girl Yozora’s character had become defined by the fact that she was Kodaka’s childhood friend, so it was nice to see her get beaten by Sena.

Additionally, Kodaka and Sena are technically engaged due to an arranged marriage between their fathers. This next part is more of a spoiler than anything else I’ve written so far, but Sena is also the only girl throughout the series who actually professes her love to Kodaka.

The final and best new character development comes from Yukimura, Kodaka’s sworn brother. It had generally been accepted throughout the first season that Yukimura was an extremely feminine male, however, it’s revealed that Yukimura was actually a female the whole time, but just didn’t know.

This revelation was probably the funniest part of the season, if not the entire series. The fact that the series had committed to Yukimura being male for so long before it was revealed that she was, in fact, female, made it so much better. Needless to say, Yukimura is still Kodaka’s sworn brother nonetheless.

Conclusion

In the end, Haganai NEXT gets the same rating as Haganai6/10. It was a good watch, but it wasn’t anything special. It had its funny moments, but there are other comedies that are funnier. But, most of all, I don’t like Kodaka nor Yozora’s characters, and if two of the main characters aren’t good, the series probably won’t be any higher than a 6.

I’d also like to mention that the OP for Haganai NEXT isn’t all that good. However, if you’d still like to check it out, it’s available here.

So what are your thoughts on Haganai NEXT? Let me know in the comments, and while your down there click the like button if you enjoyed this post. You can also follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, or subscribe to my blog via email, if you’d like to be notified every time a new post goes live.

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