I’m really slow this week with updating for new shows, so it might spread into early next week (when I have almost nothing to watch). I’m trying to keep pace with shows as they air, and I’ll have to fit in something for Macross Frontier’s 2nd soundtrack in the middle of all this. It really impresses me that the people at Random Curiosity, etc. can do 20+ shows in a season, and blog about almost EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. Bloody amazing.
Speaking of ‘blood’, this week’s Rosario + Vampire has made me think about a few things. Imagine that, thinking from R+V? Better believe it, though, this series has made some changes from the otherwise forgettable first season. With a badly maligned series like this, any improvement is welcome indeed.
(FYI: I want to change themes soon. I’ll draft something in CSS myself, though, so it’ll be a work-in-progress. Bear with me while I work, thanks 🙂 )
Kokoa is Moka’s little sister, and is back to get revenge on Moka. Tsukune, being the nice guy he is, gets in the middle of their fight and gets whacked hard with a table. Normal humans would die when they are killed, but apparently Tsukune didn’t listen to Shirou. Both Kokoa and Moka fawn over Tsukune’s blood, and Kurumu launching both of them into space brings an abrupt end to things.
In the clubroom, Moka explains how she and Koka always fought when they were younger. However, Kokoa never had a chance in beating Moka in any of their matches. Moka eventually leaves to “integrate herself” into the human world, but Kokoa swears to defeat her at least once. So begins one of the greatest stalkings of all time, with Kokoa chasing the now pink-haired Moka throughout the human world. Her chase has led her to Youkai Academy, where all the teachers have charged Nekomimi-sensei with taking care of their insanely violent freshman.
While the group speaks, the narrator-turned-character bat locates Moka for his master (Kokoa), leading to a huge chase through the school with Kokoa swinging a huge hammer around (actually, the bat turned into a hammer). Moka tries to turn and fight but fails miserably with her rosario still intact. Outside, Tsukune and Moka are found once again, but are “saved” by a series of failures, including Gin and Ruby who are outside for a model shoot…
However, Gin and Ruby give the group (now including the other newspaper club members) a chance to slip into the gym and hide in an equipment box. Moka doesn’t like hiding and getting everybody involved, so she goes to fight Kokoa alone. Naturally, she loses to Kokoa in full vampire form, but Kokoa is heartbroken instead of elated. She thinks Moka is making fun of her by not fighting at full strength like she used to. Tsukune, being a complete dolt, misunderstands this for sisterly love, and suggests everybody can get along. Kokoa responds by yelling her hatred for the new Moka and slamming a hammer down on the two.
When they get up, however, Tsukune is found to have removed the rosario in record setting time, and the full vampire Moka proceeds to kick her little sister’s butt. It looks like Kokoa prepares for a final attack. HOWEVER, it degenerates into Kokoa leaping into Moka’s arms, having found her long lost elder sister, and her idol. The rest of the group, and eventually Moka herself, tries to get Kokoa that the new Moka is prevalent, though, and she better get used to it.
This is an interesting series to write about because I can juxtapose this season with the pretty badly-regarded first season. Clearly there were a lot of points to improve on, as complaints kept coming in by the truckload. What is really interesting to see is how much of that criticism the producers have taken to heart; the second season of the much maligned R+V series has shown improvement. What does it have going for it this time?
- Shortened “change sequence”: The first episode had a new change sequence for Moka that was just as long as the first season’s. HOWEVER, this time around it took about 5 seconds, and used a series of screenshots. Nobody liked watching the same thing over and over again, and shortening the lamest part of the show (seriously, bats = breast augmentation?) does help quite a bit.
- Not just a one trick pony: Of course a show will revolve around its main characters; in this case, it’s Moka and Tsukune. However, it’s interesting to see how much the other characters are talking and interacting now. They’re not just the “supporting cast”, they’re playing active roles! Imagine that! Most striking difference: Mizore is talking a LOT. There’s also a marked cut in “Moka-san…Tsukune…Moka-san…Tsukune…” scenes, which would make any sane person want to kill themselves.
- Fanservice + Comedy is a good thing (usually): I think that the first season has such a bad rap because the show focused on pants, pants, and more pants. Sure there are comedic elements with the love…what, pentagon now? However, a lot of those moments seemed very forced. This time, with stronger characters all around, there are more humorous moments. The introduction of Kokoa also helps quite a bit with this.
The artwork is still kept at a very high production level (makes me take a lot of screenshots sometimes), which is always a plus. With all this, it’s pretty evident that season 2 is much better than season 1. What would make it REALLY interesting is if it starts following the manga arcs more closely, and give Tsukune a more defining role than his current “male protagonist blob” status. If you’ve kept up with the manga, you’d know what I mean.
HOWEVER (I’m writing this a lot today), it’s still pretty bad considering what else is available this season. But in the end, no amount of improvement can take away the cornerstone of this series: pants and ecchi-ness. What Strike Witches did so unusually successfully, Rosario+Vampire fails miserably at. The only reason I can think of is because Strike Witches actually HAD a plot. Rosario+Vampire, for all of its amusing characters, etc., relies primarily on its overachieving amounts of ecchiness to get a point through. Not really the best way of doing things, in my opinion.
This series apparently doesn’t believe in previews, and inserts a ton of butt shaking instead. Go figure -_-;;