Among a series of failed romances, the decimation of one's motivation, academic hardship and the ultimate struggle to find one's calling in life, Ken Sugisaki has it tough. His family circumstances are weird. He applied to a school away from home to restart things, to begin anew. This is the hidden truth to Seitokai no Ichizon.
In season two, we are reunited with the four girls of the Hekiyou Academy studenti council. We also bump into the three other girls that, despite their short on-screen time, had a deep impact in Ken, and subsequently, Ken's everyday talks with Kurimu, Chizuru, Minatsu and Mafuyu. How does season 2, Seitokai no Ichizon Lv.2, conclude, for now? Will we finally get that harem fit for a harem king?
Well, if you are reading past the bump you might know that Ken has always had his harem, even if nobody acknowledge it. The real question is if it is now numbered six or seven? In my opinion, the series peaked and did its best job to combine both what we love as otaku and what we love as Seitokai no Ichizon with its prequel episode--episode zero. Runa Minase does return briefly in the last episode, perhaps to acknowledge where the future holds. But all the bittersweetness, all that smart and snark was best demonstrated in week 1.
Ringo and Asuka, too, return in the final episode to bid farewell to the graduating class, and the Shiina sisters who are moving away. The mood swings pretty wildly from a forlorn farewell to a tense-harem-showdown kind of feel. I never got a good grip on what I was suppose to feel--Seitokai no Ichizon is known for having a strong push for both.
Unfortunately, and this is perhaps the biggest problem with season two, Seitokai no Ichizon just doesn't quite balance how it can draw out that strong sentimental feeling without simply showing us the cards. Minatsu, Kurimu, and Chizuru all had their moments during this season, bursting forward with their feelings. Even Mafuyu got a nod (despite getting most of hers in last season). At no moment are we really in disbelief about Ringo's feeling about Ken, and Asuka starts off being aggressive and open about it, after Ken explained his side of the story. (Which, by the way, had the potential to be something special.) There's no more tricks left, at least in this configuration.
The production value and the pacing of the story also leave much more to be desired. It isn't to say season one was well-animated; for a show that has the main cast sitting around a table all season long, the level of expectation is quite low to begin with. I would be hard pressed to say that season two is an improvement on any one area, however. It's definitely more of the same, to be fair, but nothing really improved.
Part of the problem, I suspect, has also to do with the drastic increase in numbers of characters in Seitokai no Ichizon Lv.2. Sure, we have three more girls for Ken to pick on, but most of the side characters from last season stayed on with their old tricks, making the whole thing a little less focused and more rushed. It is also one episode shorter, which probably didn't help.
To stop beating around the bush, Seitokai no Ichizon Lv.2 is definitely a step back from season one. However it still has the key things fans loved from season one, as it continues the story methodologically, including all of its 4th-wall demolishing tricks. It's just that it won't make any new fans this way.
Lastly, one good news: With season 2 now available on high definition from Crunchyroll, if enough people want to watch it, we might get season 3 in the future. The story will continue with Ken being the senior in the Student Council, rounded out by new members. The tearful harem king will have his challenge in the next Seitokai no Ichizon, if it ever exists. Cross your fingers.
[Follow Seitokai no Ichizon anew from Crunchyroll!]
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