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[Is the Order a Rabbit? BLOOM]
AKA: ご注文はうさぎですか?BLOOM (Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka? BLOOM)
Genre: MOE slice-of-life.
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by Sentai Filmworks, also available streaming on Crunchyroll.
Content Rating: PG (Nothing particularly objectable.)
Related Series: Season 1 and 2, Sing for You (OAV)
Also Recommended: Aria, Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth, Encouragement of Climb, Hidamari Sketch.
Notes: Based on the manga by Koi, serialized in Houbunsha's seinen manga magazine Manga Time Kirara Max.
Rating:

Is the Order a Rabbit? BLOOM

Synopsis

Life continues as it always has, both in Rabbit House and in the general neighborhood. Cocoa still wants to become the perfect big sister for Chino, while the other girls are also getting involved left and right. That said, Chino and her friends are soon graduating middle school, and so it is time to choose which high school to apply for.


Review

Is the Order a Rabbit? is a show that took me and Tim by surprise when the second episode actually managed to improve a lot on what was going on in the first season, which was an alright show to begin with. The comedy was snappier and the general characterisation worked out a lot better when, even in a show turbo charged with MOE, they were allowed to bounce off each other in various ways that was either endearing, funny or both. Of course, I would be surprised and impressed if BLOOM had showed the same rate of improvement between seasons as the first two did, but... well, it doesn't. Having seen all of it, I can't help but feel a little bit disappointed by BLOOM.

The main reason for that is that the comedy in BLOOM seems to take a step back compared to the often funny second season. Not that I mentioned it in the review for the first season, but Is the Order a Rabbit?'s comedy chops did lean a little too hard towards Kin'iro Mosaic with Cocoa and her bouts of (mild) selfishness and insecurities, and that makes a return here. And if not that, BLOOM seems to be strangely back to reaction shots, usually at Sharo's expense. It's not all bad, though. Chiyo is still being her adorably eccentric self in everything she does, and as much as the show dunks on Sharo and her living arrangement and bunny phobias, the two has a rather endearing relationship.

Dramatically, Is the Order a Rabbit? BLOOM does fare a good deal better, though. Not that Is the Order a Rabbit? ever had any heavy story beats, but much of the focus this season is because Chino is approaching the end of her middle school years, and she and her friends, Maya and Megumi, have to decide which high school they want to apply for. Cocoa does, of course, want Chino to attend the one she's currently at, but she does at least begrudgingly understand that Chino has to choose which one she wants to attend herself. The Chimame trio does go for a kind of undercover scouting trip to the school Rize attends, which is a vastly more formal and high-class establishment, at least by their impression, and it's a nice touch that the show allows the three to-be highschoolers adjust their understanding of the gokigenyo-infested school to the point where at least one of them are seriously considering choosing it. It's a lovely little homage to their friendship, following on their interactions from earlier seasons and an acknowledgement that the best friendship circles are the ones that mesh well. Chino has both Mata and Megumi, but also Chino, Rize, Chiyo and Sharo, and any of the members of either group also go well with each other, even without Chino nearby. But even Chino herself seems more at home with everyone on an individual level, even compared to her season 2 self. I'm also happy to see that they give Midori "Blue Mountain" Aoyama a bit of a change of pace. Rather than being a nuisance to her beleaguered editor -- shades of Fruits Basket there? -- the two instead have the chance to enjoy some leisure time since Midori managed to turn in her work in time for a change.

In addition to the whole proceedings, we also finally get to see Chino's mother and learning what kind of person she was. Given that she's been dead since quite some time before the first season, it goes to say that there are some supernatural elements in this otherwise very down-to-earth kind of a show. Not that this is anything new, seeing as Chino's pet Tippy is really her old grandfather somehow reborn into a female bunny's body, and Chino knows this.

And thankfully, despite being foisted off to another new animation studio, Is the Order a Rabbit? still looks as lovely as ever. Character designs haven't really changed much, and the show still engages in their pratfalls with gusto, but more importantly, the background work look as nice as ever. I'm probably never going to be a huge fan of either of the show's themes, though, where the ending theme's whole "Alice in Wonderland" montage isn't quite as endearing as the second season's. They're not bad songs per se. They just aren't something I'd ever buy on CD myself.

The downside, again, is that as great as the show looks, it doesn't really go beyond its city limits this time around. One of the nice things about season 2 is that the girls' camping trip made for a comedic switch that kept the show a bit more refreshing that it might otherwise have been. The variety of festivals and events does help to alleviate that some, so it's not all to the detriment of the show itself, but I would still have appreciated what would've been an equally lush countryside or... well, any non-city scenery, really.

Is the Order a Rabbit? BLOOM kinda feel like it got stuck inbetween season 1 and 2, in the sense that while I enjoyed the first season, I felt the show improved by moving past the more asinine parts of the franchise, half-jokingly commenting that someone must have gotten feedback on it. Well, after having watched BLOOM, I can't really shake the thought that the show creators then got some counter-feedback with complaints about the show moving away from season 1. And so, here we find ourselves at season 3, which is somewhat of a middle ground as the bunny hops.

Weak four or a strong three. Whatever you think is best, at least Is the Order a Rabbit remains pleasantly cute.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: The first two seasons did sexualize some of the older girls -- Rize and Chiya in particular -- so color me a bit surprised when BLOOM didn't do this at all. Well, not that earlier seasons did this a lot, but the complete absence was still noticeable here. Well... almost; the hunt for screencaps reintroduced me to a scene of three of the girls in the bath, which I had completely forgotten about. And, of course, any violence herein is merely the very mild slapsticky variety.



Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream courtesy of Crunchyroll.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Is the Order a Rabbit? BLOOM © 2020 Encourage Films
 
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