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First Impressions: Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi 2

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Welcome back to my happy rantings on Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi! Last season left me with mixed feelings due to the pacing with the ending there, and the fact that all of the sexy stuff was pretty much edited out, but over time I've more or less forgiven them due to the anticipation for season two.

I'm looking forward to Sekai Ichi 2, especially since things got quite good in the manga from that point on. Rather, they got good for some people, and intensely dramatic for others. The first episode here picked up right where the last one left off, which makes me feel like it's more of an intermission we suffered since the first season rather than a real decisive break in the story.

Hit past the jump to see where things stand between Takano and Ritsu, and where things seem to be going!

starting

The quick cliff notes in case you hadn't followed the show since before: Ritsu and Takano dated back in high school, and due to a mis-communication separated abruptly, and went their separate ways with their hearts broken. They meet again years later in a professional setting, and Takano has decided he wants to win Ritsu back. The two other couples involved in the overall story are half staff at the publishing company with Ritsu and Takano, other halves (the "uke" characters) outside (one's an author and the other is a kid in art school). Ritsu and Takano have had a few would-be, almost and pretty much sexual encounters up until this point (though the animated series won't show it), but their relationship is moving forward at a slower pace than the others (par for the course).

Onwards!

As I said in the introduction, this picked up right where the story left off the last time, so there was no montage or drawn-out opening into the start of the series. It jumps right into the office, where the only passage of time we can feel is the knowledge that Ritsu has been promoted to production manager and is trying to get everyone to turn in their authors' manuscripts for printing. It's your typical manga corporation daily woes a-la Ritsu Onodera. 

The drama also picks right up with Yokozawa when Ritsu decides to hit up Marimo Books to check out how the first book he edited is doing, sale-wise, and walked right into an unhappy confrontation. Now, Yokozawa wants Ritsu to move out of his apartment and out of Takano's life as much as possible. The conflict here is Ritsu is in the stage where he is in complete denial about his feelings for Takano.

drunk kiss

What's the best way to suffer denial than to get drunk with the man you love, right? This was a very cute section of the episode that came out very well in the animated version. The voice actors really work great together and this episode felt less awkward than some of the other stuff in the first season of Sekai Ichi. Ritsu sounds less whiny, and Takano sounds less short even though this scene entailed Ritsu getting drunk and crying at Takano before drunkenly getting smooched by him. They still edited out any and all sexy happenings though, which is disappointing, but the "morning after" was still as hilarious as ever.

So what changed between season one and two? Not too much in terms of the animation and movement, but like I mentioned before I enjoyed the voice acting here better than my memories of the former. We've got a new OP and ED, which are both great. The new OP is just as cute and upbeat as the first, and it's well constructed to basically narrate where the characters are in their respective time lines right now. The best part is at the end, where Ritsu reluctantly holds Takano's hand, and it's hopefully going to be a big theme towards the end of the series, here.

whaaat

I did mention there'd be some drama involved, and going by memory of the manga, Kisa and Yuu are the ones who suffer the least out of the three couples (I think it's cause their relationship is more mature, kind of like Nowaki and Hiroki.). To what degree is all pretty relative, but I definitely feel that they got the easy route compared with what woes await the others. I just hope that the comedy relief stays as strong as it was before throughout the season, despite the drama. 

Then again, it's been following the manga pretty closely, so I am not overly concerned that drama is going to be a problem.

drinkin

I have to point out one thing that made me get the eye-tinkle-of-glee, though: when Ritsu and Takano were drinking beer together in Takano's apartment, you may or may not have noticed that the beer cans say "Usagi Beer!" I wasn't particularly looking for any references to Junjou Romantica, but this one was really in my face. If they're going to sneak things in like that in the animation, I'll have to keep a look out and see what else makes it in besides the usual references like Marimo books or the publishing companies.

The other thing that got me thinking was the bunny mascot has a bigger role in the opening. I haven't truly warmed up to it yet, mostly cause my favorite has always been the mustached panda, even though the bunny is certainly cute. What other mascots does Sekai Ichi have, though? I mean, Junjou had duckies and bears, too. Not that it matters, but it's something I was wondering about. I don't read into things all that much when I just want to enjoy a story, so maybe I just haven't noticed it?

surprise

Now that we've talked about the opening act to Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi 2, I think my enthusiasm for the show is back. I had mentioned earlier that I had mixed feelings about the first season, but ended up being really anticipatory of this second season; and I am. I'm really excited for it again, and I hope that now that my expectations have gone down a bit I'll be able to enjoy it the entire way through. My biggest hope is that there's a proper ending this time around, more than anything.

Is anyone else going to follow along with me in our Annotated Anime column? You can catch me there with recaps of Sekai Ichi 2 along with other shows I'm going to try and keep track of for the coming weeks, so be sure to tune in on Wednesdays! Also, don't forget that the show is streaming on Crunchyroll and you could catch it there on Fridays!

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Kristina Pino
Kristina PinoContributor   gamer profile

Kristina is a freelance photographer and writer from Miami now moved to Japan. She's a hardcore nerd culture enthusiast, Disney fan, sunflower admirer, and book slinger. Tweet her @geekerydo. F... more + disclosures


 


 



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