Rosario + Vampire capu2
It's another semester at Youkai high, and Aono Tsukune is excited to reunite with his friends, and even more so his current love interest, Ayashiya Moka.
However, the semester doesn't start well, as Moka starts getting death threats from a mysterious person.
When I rounded off the first season of this show, I did promise to give the second season a go, hoping that it would settle a few questions I had. Truthfully, I didn't hold out much of a hope that this would actually happen, but I did at least believe that the creators of the anime wouldn't be able to screw it up any more.
Well, they DID! Rosario + Vampire capu2 adds absolutely nothing of value to the whole show. In fact, it kind of detracts from the few good points it had, except for one thing; the fanservice, which quite clearly surpasses the first season, at least if the bizarre method of censoring the show is any indication.
To make matters worse, last year I decided to give the manga a go. (Which was easy, since it has an official US release courtesy of Viz.) And while I wouldn't count the manga as any work of genius anytime soon, not only did it give me the answers I searched for, but it generally improved just about anything the anime ever did, EXCEPT the fanservice. (Which, while not absent, is still lessened quite a bit compared to the anime.)
But before I go into the show proper, let me give a nod of approval to the animation of the opening theme, because it's actually quite good. Aside from the fact that said animation basically is a huge J-pop concert of sorts, starring the girls that make up the main cast; namely Moka, Kurumu, Yukari, Mizore and Kokoa. If I didn't find the opening song to be so lame, maybe I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
I could have tolerated all that if they had just stuck with what worked instead of taking it all away. The things that made the first season tolerable -- maybe even fun at times -- was the whole setup with the school and the monsters who attended class there. There was also the underlying danger of Tsukune having his human side discovered, which would be disastrous, to say the least. But when we start this show off, he seems to have grown so comfortable with the school that it simply never becomes an issue. I guess my biggest pet peeve about the show is simply that it has turned into a Moka and Tsukune love fest, with the other girls trying to break it up for their own benefit. Sure, it's fine once in a while, but to have the entire season centered around this -- to the degree that Kurumu and Mizore's PARENTS get involved in the situation -- well, I'm sorry, but enough is enough. We get it, so please stop already.
And if you think the new character, Kokoa, will add anything, then prepare yourself for disappointment. The show spends the two first episodes of the season setting up her role as Moka's sister, only to reduce her to obnoxious comedy acts for the remainder of the show, if she's even there at all. And speaking of obnoxious characters, that bat is back as well, only now he's stuck as Kokoa's familiar or something. He even gets an episode to himself, sort of, which will most likely make you want to bludgeon your brain out of your cranium with something made of metal.
If I might say one positive thing about this season, then that would be that the art is still kind of neat. I've mostly enjoyed the character designs, short skirts notwithstanding, and their juxtapositions towards their monster forms. Granted, you don't really get to see many monsters in this season, but at least my complaints don't really encompass the visual aspect of the show. Animation's a little worse for wear, though, but not a whole lot. (Mostly in action scenes, which there are less of anyway, so it doesn't really matter a whole lot.)
Unlike the first season, however, Rosario + Vampire capu2 eventually adapted the annoying habit of just cueing in J-pop songs whenever something happens. While this is no bad thing in theory, the songs chosen are generally all bad, and in most cases, tends to completely destroy the mood of the scene in question. I'm not saying I am against insert songs, but whoever chose the songs in Capu2 need to go watch some Aria to see how to choose a good insert song that fits the mood they're trying to create.
As the final nail in the coffin (pun... well, sort of intended), the ending episodes simply failed to bring in any tension that might have salvaged this season. Part of this can probably be attributed to the flip-flopping attitude the show has towards the main pair, and especially Tsukune. The two episodes actually had the potential to bring in some well-needed crisis elements, and the dramatics leading up to the resolution of the show is downright laughable. Or it would have been if it wasn't cut so painfully short, leaving the rest of the episode purely to tell us that.... yep, Tsukune and Moka is where it's at.
My guesstimate is that the sole reason anyone can and will like this season is the cheesecake. There is, simply speaking, a RIDICULOUS amount of pantyshots in Rosario + Vampire capu2. So if that's what you came for, you're in for quite a treat. Anyone else should probably make do with the first season, or even better, try the manga. While the manga -- like I mentioned -- isn't exactly a masterpiece, it's clearly the better alternative between the anime and the manga.
I was sorely tempted to give this one a single star, but... well, let's just say I got another show lined up for a review in the future that makes even capu2 look like the work of a genius by comparison. So, in the interest of goodwill, I'm going to give this one a tentative two star, with the caveat that if you generally just enjoyed the first season for the action and the comedy, you will probably not find this one worth your time unless you like having comedy skits repeated ad nauseaum.
Oh, and one last thing before I end this review; Rosario + Vampire capu2 did introduce Moka's younger sister Kokoa, but we also learn that there are also two older sisters in the family. At the time of writing, there hasn't been any news of a third season, but I guess it doesn't matter. I'll be sticking to the manga from this point, so I guess I'll be introduced to Lahte and Capuchino there. (And I totally made up those names, so don't quote me anywhere, ok?)
I'd say this is a barely two star. If you didn't much care for the first season, then you are free to drop that second star. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: On the violent side of things, it's mostly Moka's alternate form kicking people -- as in "people who are really monsters". It's your typical shounen fare and nothing to get too worked up about. The first season was... well, I wouldn't say far more, but definitely more violent than this.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub.
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Rosario + Vampire capu2 © 2008 Gonzo.
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