Da Capo II

Title: Da Capo II aka D.C. II: Da Capo II
Genre: Romance/Drama
Company: Feel/Startchild Records
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 2 Oct 2007 – 25 Dec 2007

Synopsis: Two generations have passed since the wedding of the Asakura couple, and now their grandchildren occupy the humble house on Hatsunejima. The ageless Yoshino Sakura still lives next door, and is now the principal of the local high school. The middle child, Sakurai Yoshiyuki, has limited magical capabilities and is well liked at school, in particular by his childhood friend, Tsukishima Koko, who harbours a secret crush for him. Koko decides that the time to confess is at the end of the Kazumi festival.

The Highlights
Lead characters: First time I’ve seen a Da Capo outing with likable leads.
Side characters: A real mixed bag.
Romance: Surprisingly tense and interesting.
Robots subplot: Ignoring Animatrix, I still can’t find an anime that doesn’t trivialize this.

I watched the first two series of Da Capo a long time ago with the intention of reviewing both seasons, but that didn’t happen. Every time I tried to sit myself down to write about them, my blood began to boil. I decided it was best for my own health to put the two series, both of which in my eyes embodied everything wrong with visual novel conversions at the time, to the back of my mind. I came into this series with minimal expectations (hell, there were times where I thought the very act of watching it was a momentarily lapse in sanity), but I’ve walked away from it now with reasonably positive impressions. Da Capo II may be superficially similar to its predecessors, but where it matters: story, plot-structure, pacing and characters, it couldn’t be more different.

Da Capo II has what no Da Capo incarnation had before it: likable leads. The relationship between the two leads, one that differs significantly from the standard anime romance due to the fact that they start going out right from the first episode, is both interesting and gets rather tense at stages. Both leads were sympathetic, but a certain amount of friction always exists between them and becomes more and more amplified towards the end of the series. This adds a dramatic complexity to their relationship not common in anime romances, particularly ones of this nature. The characters, while likable, unfortunately lack a bit of depth, but in an anime like this, I’m not going to be too picky.

The side characters are a real mixed bag, on the other hand. Koko’s friends’ constant intervention into her and Yoshiyuki’s relationship quickly becomes really annoying. Characters like Suginami and Otome are pointless, while characters like Nanaka take a filler episode’s worth of focus only to leave the stage with their particular subplot totally unresolved. Minatsu is one of the more interesting characters, and her particular subplot gets a significant amount of worthy attention. Her’s is the standard story of a man-made machine finding it difficult to reconcile the fact that she has an artificial humanity with society’s expectations of machines. I’ve never been totally satisfied with how such stories are dealt with in anime, but this attempt gives the issue a lot more respect than Chobits does, for example. A disclaimer on this, though: expect your suspension of disbelief to be challenged by certain plot points in this subplot.

I’m not going to claim that Da Capo II avoids all the mind-numbing staples of the ren’ai genre because it doesn’t. It’s a fairly generic anime, but at the same time it’s one that doesn’t offer any prominent reasons to passionately dislike it, which makes for a stark contrast to its predecessors. I’m willing to say that this will quickly make its way to the back of my mind, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy watching it.

The Rating: 6
6/10

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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