It is always harder to give sequels a full recommendation, especially if the first season was nothing to write home about. I don’t believe any sequel except for a few would ever get a full on pass from me, or a full on fail. Sequels will always be the harder ones and I may just fit them into short snippets in the future instead of brief critiques.
Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou
Intriguing premise and beautiful design work is usually standard fare for a Bones anime. The problem easily comes with what follows at times. Much like Kekkai Sensen in Spring, Concrete follows an episodic format. Almost all style no substance, Concrete manages to keep you entertained for being enticing fluff. The pacing is awkward due to its need to jump from past to present in order to flesh out an entire story in one episode. Where I think it does better than Kekkai in this instance is that it is trying to give more depth to its themes and characters in the later episodes. It still suffers from a lack of characterization of a large cast, which is only growing constantly. The only way to truly tell if this is worth watching is when there is only one timeline focused on, and I am still waiting for that time to come. Though as of now I can’t tell someone to watch this in the hopes of it potentially getting better, not enough substance for that.
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru
There seem to be a fair amount of episodic anime this year. Sakurako-san is an episodic mystery, and I know what that usually entails. Lack of depth to its characters since every episode is focused on a one-off mystery or two episode mysteries. Thing about Sakurako-san, is it managed to continue to be soothing in the beginning. The mystery feels like it is in the background of each episode. The mysteries, more often than not, showcase a bit about our cast. This is especially so when the mystery is focused around certain characters. That being said, lately the show has decided to fall into the bland episodic mystery category the more it continues onward. Despite this though, the characters are intriguing enough to continue onward with the hopes that it can regain its footing.
Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider
While Sakurako-san is an episodic mystery, Subete plans on taking its entire runtime on a single one. Focusing on a single mystery allows Subete to be able to give a lot of subtle depth to its characters through its long dialogue sequences. The interesting aspects often revolve around our main duo, Moe and Souhei, as we learn more about them as they try to uncover the mystery. The story reveals slowly and its pace at moments is methodically slow. They want you to focus in on the dialogue, and it is terrific to see some of the discussions take place as they often are philosophical or interesting to see various different mindsets on conflicting matters. The big problem is, this type of style is most certainly not for everyone. The animation more often than not is bland for the most part, but is really well detailed. The colours are extremely lacking, but that is very purposeful especially when the colour does show up packing more of a punch to the eyes much like the colour red. Subete is the mystery to follow this season and arguably could be one of the better series of the year if it manages to tie up its loose ends very well. Plus it is fun to theorize about the mystery unfolding in front of you.
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen
I have not entirely finished the first season, but as of now, Itsuwari no Kamen manages to keep my interest. The characters are far more interesting in characterization than the first season which makes the build-up to the eventual war fun and relaxing to watch. What we will get to see is a lot of references to the past season, much like in episode 6, so it is essential you watch the first one before this one. The aspect that makes Itsuwari no Kamen a harder watch so far, is the lack of a story as of now. I’m certain now that the building blocks are in place, we will be receiving one any episode. There does need to be some more progression, but Itsuwari no Kamen’s ability to detail its world through subtle actions and its animation is sublime. There is a lot of interesting elements and mysteries still to be told, unfortunately you will need to wait to see how it is handled. Though there is an abundance of bath scenes…which become almost a staple for this season. Not a staple I’m fond of. There is also a distinct amount of sexual jokes, which dominate most of the comedy in the series. It is kind of a mixed bag when it comes to that, but that is not enough to stop me from referring this to others.
Decision: Conditional Pass (Watch the first season, or have a basis of the first season, then see if this is to your liking with the first three episodes as the humour and content is drastically different. More slice of life in the beginning than a war story)
Owari no Seraph: Battle in Nagoya
I was not a fan of the first season. I found the first season more of a black comedy than a serious action series. I laughed too much at all pacing issues, over the top content or characterization, and action scenes which at times feel like I’m watching an over the top 80s action film. Then comes the second season, which takes the mess of the first season and makes it somewhat compelling. It delves more into the background conflicts surrounding our main cast, and actually builds on the politics of this post-apocalyptic world from both the human and vampire sides. The action is tenser and more exciting as we get some actually good moments when facing off against a noble. I love how it is straying farther away from an Attack on Titan comparison and coming into its own. The antagonists are getting more of a personality, and there are far better character moments that shine in this season especially in the dialogue. That being said, the first season kind of ruins this season as an recommendation since I can’t tell anyone to sit through 12 episodes to get to the semi-good stuff. That is half of the series I just can’t support in order to see something decent.
Decision: Conditional Fail (Unless you can sit through the first, then I would recommend you at least give this season a three episode watch)