The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Da Capo II Second Season

Title: Da Capo II Second Season aka D.C.II S.S. ~Da Capo II Second Season~
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: Feel/Startchild Records
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 6 Apr 2008 – 29 Jun 2008

Synopsis: Life continues as normal for Sakurai Yoshiyuki, continuing to live with Yoshino Sakura and next door to the Asakura sisters, Otome and Yume, with whom he shares an almost “sibling” relationship. The air between him and his ex-girlfriend, Koko, has been cleared for now, and the two of them, along with the rest of their classmates, are preparing for a school Christmas party, where they’re to perform a puppet show. However, as they live their lives, numerous unexplained calamities have been taking place on the island of Hatsunejima.

The Highlights
Male lead character: Unbelievably impassive.
Characterization: Lacking; negatively effects the impact of the drama.
Plot: Vague and mostly driven by plot devices.
Drama: Generally heavy-handed.
Ending: Fanciful; makes little attempt to emphasize any growth the characters have undergone from their experiences.

It could almost go without saying that I’m anything but a fan of the Da Capo franchise. I was somewhat heartened when I saw that the first season of Da Capo II had seemingly distanced itself from its predecessor, but this season firmly entrenches itself within the Da Capo continuum, defining itself with the same brand of melodrama and vague, unconvincing storytelling. I can admit there are a few things this particular outing did well, but I have too many objections to it to consider it a good anime, let alone a memorable one. Certainly, my objections aren’t anywhere near as superficial as not seeing my favourite character “win”, simply because I didn’t have a favourite character (and, even if I did, why would I want to see them end up with one of the genre’s most banal leads). My objections are mostly to do with storytelling, starting from the show’s lacking capacity to construct sympathetic characters (especially the male lead).

The fact that I’ve already twice complained about Yoshiyuki is deliberate: he is the single biggest debilitating factor in this show. What little personality he had in the first season has completely evaporated, and he goes from tolerably mild to frustratingly impassive. He drifts from one emotional outpouring to the next (which seem to drive the plot in the second half) exhibiting the same unresponsive indifference and vacant facial expression each time. A lack of decent characterization compounds his absent personality, making him difficult to like and almost impossible to believe. Also challenging believability is that he is the object of affection of not less than four of the female characters, and while this shounen romance trope always irritates me, at least it’s a little more underplayed than others in this genre.

The characterization and storytelling is continually unconvincing, although this stems largely from the fact that we’re supposed to believe that the female characters given the focus in this series can be so heavily emotionally attached to such a vacuous male lead. The relationship bonds are tenuous at best, but they drive the plot nonetheless, and what little romance there is feels arbitrary. As mentioned earlier, much of the drama culminates in emotional outpourings, usually directed towards Yoshiyuki, but the show’s inability to construct sympathetic and believable characters renders them to be of little impact, but highly melodramatic. What’s worse is that these outpourings take the focus away from the much needed explanations for events; these tend to be passed by with almost no emphasis, which makes the plot, already largely driven by plot devices, the worst offender being the ignominious magical sakura tree, vague.

I see a lot of comparisons between this and Gift. Both series had some interesting dramatic set ups, but both series decided that they’d rather pander to the limitless bounds of their fanciful universes, than properly deal with the dramatic situations at hand. The difference between this and Gift is the latter actually had a few sympathetic characters. The ending is the icing on the cake for Da Capo II Second Season, indulging in the Tinkerbell mantra that if you clap your hands and wish hard enough, you’ll get exactly what you want. Ultimately, Da Capo II Second Season is a fairytale, much like the original two Da Capo seasons. What little evidence there is that the characters have learnt anything from their experiences has to be carefully dissected from the remains of this mediocrity, like an autopsy. What disappoints me is that this came off the back of a series that was decidedly not a fairytale (arguably an after school special, but I don’t object to that quite as much).

The Rating: 4
4/10

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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