Let's Make a Mug Too - season 2
Getting into the groove of cheramic arts, Himeno remembers the space in the store shelf set aside for "Himeno's future masterpiece", which puts some pressure on the task at hand. And she's not the only one. Touko is chafing under the weight of when her grandfather went from being doting and encouraging to suddenly being cold and distant, and how that influenced her own works.
There is a certain comfort in returning to a pleasant show, and the continuity from the first season of Let's Make a Mug Too is so direct that you could easily mash the two seasons together and call it one. The difference now is that, while I didn't exactly notice the curiously short episode runtime -- I honestly thought the first season was 24 minute animation and 9 minute live action -- I'm much more aware of this now.
Not that Let's Make a Mug Too would be the first half-length show I have ever watched, but none of my earlier shows of this kind has had each of its episodes curtailed by its live action segments. Not that this is a loss for the show overall; the second season still mainly focuses on Mino Ware as it is produced in Tajimi, and as such, our four main voice actors and their escapades serves as a nice addition to the animation. You get some real-life representations of what Tajimi is known for, and you also get to see that the visuals of Let's Make a Mug Too are pretty spot on about its subject matter, including the downright stereotypical shot of an outside faucet that every show about high school feels obligated to include for some reason.
In fact, if there are ANY shows about highschoolers out there that don't include a shot of at least one water faucet, then please let me know. We need to catalogue these mythical sightings -- or maybe we should say non-sightings -- for the good of mankind.
The second season, much like the first, doesn't really cover much time from a storytelling perspective. Furthermore, while the girls are attending school, this is also still not the main focus of the show at all. If the girls aren't at the cheramic club building, they're usually somewhere outside or in the cafe run by Himeno's father and grandmother. Which is not a bad thing, given that we're in clay central of Japan. Let's Make a Mug Too is very, very colorful; so much so that Himeno's (mildly) technicolor hair doesn't stand out like it normally would. In fairness, Himeno is the only one of the girls who carries a hair color not found by natural means. The rest of the girls have blonde, brown or black hair. This includes our new arrival, a girl from Mexico who came to check out the works of Himeno's mother.... or, more speficially, the big artsy statue we were introduced to in the first season.
And I'm glad Ximeno didn't turn out to be a huge stereotype. She's very lively in that typical foreign style, but Let's Make a Mug Too never really goes overboard with her. Like the others, she came to Tajimi to study and create works of cheramic, and I love how the show basically lent her own works a very distinct flavor that stands out compared to the others. Whether intentional or not, she's also very freespirited, and as far as I can recall, she doesn't have the baggage that Himeno and Touko struggle with. This ends up being the main point the second season wants to make by the time the final episode wraps up the latest challenge of Himeno and Friends, and it's good to see that the show still has it in itself to surprise.
But by and large, the show is very relaxed and gentle, even during its more moody moments. In the first season, Himeno entered a competition and ended up with a "nice try" award (kinda), and that sort of thing just feels a lot less condescending than if it had been another show in the long lineup of wanting to be the best. Particularly when it comes to characters who put themselves in a position where they compare themselves to their far more famous older family members. In Touko's case, her grandfather is there, so it's just a matter of having the two characters have their moment. But for Himeno, she is constantly comparing herself to her deceased mother, which means Himeno don't have her around to tell her not to worry about it and just do it for the love of it. Even Himeno's father seems to think his idea of setting aside shelf area ready for his daughter's future work turned out to be needless pressure.
The second season also doesn't quite have the clear story arcs as in the first, but that's honestly not a problem. Having gotten more into the habit of crafting, Himeno sets out to experiment some more, and this blends in a bit more with the character stories I mentioned just above here. Both Touko and Himeno inherited their interest in cheramics from their own families, and it was probably a good thing we didn't get into the story about Touko and her grandfather until now. We met the serious, but professional elderly man at the end of the first season, so when the second then introduces her to the very same man as a very doting grandfather who honestly loves his granddaughter and encourges her whenever she makes something, you are of course going to wonder. Of course, we've known Touko from the beginning as the cheramics club president, where she's more or less as serious as her grandfather, but her story arc in this season is the one where the main lesson seems to be that a genuine love and interest in what you're doing is all that really matters. Talent in it will follow, as long as you have the mindset that there's always more to learn, and that is a good thing.
The reason why I enjoy Let's Make a Mug Too as much as I do is that, while the characters in it dwell and mildly "despair" whenever they meet Mr. Mental Block, they don't angst about it for hours/episodes on end. Furthermore, the show also has a pretty nice reversal on the whole "yelling at people" thing; in the first season, Touko yelled at Mika for messing around when she should be working, and then it turned out she was partially wrong because Mika was basically doing both. When Touko realized she was in the wrong, not only did Mika not yell back, Touko had the grace to apologize and, more importantly, learn from that deliciously not overplayed mistake when a somewhat similar situation happened in season 2. Speaking of Maki, her own little story arc even brings the weird little penguin cheramic figure with flowers growing out of its head into the picture, and it turns out that was her very creation. All of that is told through an episode about a talking piece of clay being shaped into the character it became today, and it's a pretty good example of why this show is so endearing.
And much like the first season, the live action segments makes for a nice additional contribution to the animation. The four leads' voice actors once again go to Tajimi and sample the local specialities inbetween taking classes in the other local specialities, and it's encouraging that the residents of Tajimi take the time to teach them the craft, up to all the adorable and well-made results. It's a bit odd to give the thumbs-up to live action segments for an animated show, at least when they so directly connect to the show itself -- unlike, say... the "I'm Sorry, Venice" segments you get with Aria -- but they are playing between each animated episode, and while they don't necessarily thematically link to what's happening in said episodes, they are still a nice real-life look at the things the girls make. At least the more typical stuff.
So yes, Let's Make a Mug Too is still going strong. Have fun. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: There's absolutely nothing objectionable in this show. It's not a children's show specifically, but it isn't going to harm them anyway, even if they were to watch it.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Let's Make a Mug Too - season 2 © 2021 Nippon Animation/
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