As I will be heading to Anime Expo this weekend, I thought I would share my thoughts on the first two series that have ended this season: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai and Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai II. There’s spoilers for each show in this post, so feel free to skip until you’ve seen the final episodes (if you plan on watching them).
Obviously the show that was most popular this past season was Ano Hana. It proves again that it doesn’t matter how simplistic characters and plot can be as long as they are well-written. The cast never really changed (except for Anaru) throughout the season until the final episode and yet it worked tremendously well for doing so. There were so many plots that needed to be finished going into the final episode that I mentioned “I’m not sure that they could end this well” and somehow it finished very strong.
Ano Hana never got into how Memma came to be a ghost nor did it need to. The point is that we believe she was there because we can see her, even when no other person was able to see her as well. It’s somewhat sad and yet realistic that everyone glosses over what Memma really wants until that final episode. They believe she’s there, but because they don’t see her they subconsciously push her out of their desires.
The weakest point in the show is definitely the relationship between the Super Peace Busters. A-1 succeeds in showing us how disconnected they are in the present, but lack their development in the past to show why they were friends. Even if it’s a dumb reason, that’s a piece of character development that was poorly missed. I think there was more images of when they were of children in the final episode than of the five preceding it! I couldn’t tell why these five people would want to become friends again given what happened when they were children.
Overall I thought the show was decently constructed. They never wanted to venture somewhere new, but they were able to produce something well defined. I think most of the problems of the show would have been solved if it had one-two more episodes to give us some backstory on the characters beyond “They’re not really friends anymore after Memma died.” Visuals and audios for the show were very good. A-1’s style isn’t always to my liking, but the characters were well designed and the backgrounds well crafted. The OST never took over a scene but never added much to it either. The OP was nice, but the ED was a masterful decision and always made the highlight of the episode.
Final Score: 76 pts – Well story, but needed more details that were likely cut due to time. Didn’t really connect with me.
The second show that ended for me was Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai II. I went in with somewhat low expectations after seeing the four heroines and the lackluster performance of the first season, but II blew me away. I’m not much of a fan of Chihiro (can’t say why really) but the other three main arcs combined with the side stories were absolutely fantastic. Each of the girls and Elsie were given time to shine and were well plotted out.
Contrasting to the first season, Kami Nomi II was much better planned out. Having two episodes for a conquest seems to be the right amount as the third episodes for Chihiro and Jun drug at times, but they match what happened in the first season to much better success. Having much better heroines than sports girl/tsundere/idol/bookworm helped a bit. It’s not that those characters aren’t interesting; it’s that those four arcs are a bit subpar compared to these and later conquests.
Kami Nomi has a big shift in art styles between realistic and deformed for jokes that is carried out well. Manglobe did what good animation studios do for adaptations: highlight the best parts of the manga and add to them. There’s not really a bad character design for any character shown as well. The anime version of Elsie is also superior to the manga version in my opinion.
What really shines in Kami Nomi is the soundtrack. It varies from comedic when Keima is in his instructor-mode for gal-games to cinematic when capturing a girl but never feels out of place. The piece that plays when the heroine is finally captured is one of my favorite pieces in an anime OST and adds immensely to the emotional value in those scenes. I’m highly considering to import the OST to both seasons.
Overall I was highly entertained by Kami Nomi II and felt it was a rare sequel that surpassed the original. Everything was better executed and I hope beyond hope that a new season is made.
Final Score: 83 pts – One of the best shows this season and something that appeals to everyone. One of my Highly Recommended shows (after watching the first season).
Yes I’m lazy and all images come from the final episode of both. They happen to fit best!