Yuru Yuri 2: Back and slightly improved

It’s been quite a while since I reviewed the first series of Yuru Yuri, the anime from Doga Kobo inc, based on the manga by Naromi. Overall, I liked the first series and thought the humour did mostly work pretty well. So, does the second series improve, is it a step down or is it roughly the same as the first?

Story:

The setup remains the same as the first series, a group of zany lesbian schoolgirls go through their everyday lives while being generally quirky and humour happens as a consequence. The humour is much the same as it was in the first series, the comedy is derived largely from the characters, their strangeness and their interaction. The old running gags are still present, albeit downplayed a bit when compared to the first series. Namori seems to be trying to focus more on other jokes under the assumption that most people have probably seen these jokes enough that they won’t be that amused by them anymore. I will give this series credit for having some class when it comes to the fantasising scenes, just like the first it refrains from showing anything sexualised during them, preferring a more cutesy tone. There are also some gags based around really strange occurrences as opposed to the more everyday scenarios and they do work fairly well and the justifications for them are effective parts of the jokes.

Honestly, almost every joke that really doesn’t work in this one are those based on one particular character. Akari’s sister, Akane. In the first series she was mentioned, but never seen and that was probably for the best. Every time she appears it’s for the same joke, she has a sister complex and is insanely creepy about it. That is the entire joke for her. Yeah, the joke about Kyouko going into her room and seeing all of her creepy paraphernalia kind of worked in the first series as a miniature horror parody, but this series doesn’t get clever with any of these scenes and they’re just bad most of the time. Fortunately, most of them are also very brief. You’ll get thirty seconds of Akane before it switches to a different scene or at least takes the focus off of her.

On a more positive note, the humour, aside from the Akane scenes, is a lot more solid than the first series. There are also some really good cute scenes, particularly between Sakurako and Himawari. Those two might very well have the best scenes in the series, actually.

Characters:

This is a series that largely works, because of the characters. They have quirks that lead to a lot of comedic possibilities and there are some really strong interactions. Again, the weakness is Akane since her whole schtick is crushing on her little sister. She doesn’t even really get good interactions with the other characters since the only two she really interacts with are Akari and Tomoko, Chinatsu’s older sister.

Art:

The art style is the same as the first series. As I said when I talked about the first series, it’s not a style I particularly care for. It looks fine for what it is, the bright and vibrant style does, arguably, suit a series like this, but the character designs feel kind of plain and the general lack of detailing can make things look kind of lackluster at times. It doesn’t look bad but it’s also not artwork that I find particularly engrossing or interesting.

Sound:

The cast remains a strong aspect of the series. The entire main cast, Mikami Shiori, Tsuda Minami, Ootsubo Yuka & Ookubo Rumi all do well in their roles. Oddly enough, even Akane’s actress, Horie Yui, does well given that her character has only a sliver of personality and a rather unpleasant one. Of course, Horie Yui is also a really good actress in general so it may be odd but isn’t that surprising. The strongest performances probably come from Mimori Suzuko and Katou Emiri since their characters get so many really strong scenes together. The music is improved over the first series. It remains fun and catchy but the singing itself is more capably done this time around.

Ho-yay:

There’s quite a bit. Our cast has maintained their various crushes and even added some new ones. It’s strongly implied that Sakurako’s older sister has a girlfriend and Chinatsu’s sister very obviously has a thing for Akane. There’s a lot of romantic tension between certain girls as well. We also find out that Akari is fantasising about every girl in the amusement club, the student council and Nishigaki sensei. Well, she is at that age so it’s not that unusual but it’s gotta make things a bit awkward for her.

Final Thoughts:

The second series of Yuru Yuri is an improvement over the first in practically every aspect. The jokes, as a whole, are stronger. The characters mesh a bit better, mostly and the music is better. That being said, it also has a huge issue that the first series didn’t, Akane as a reoccurring character. In all fairness, her presence doesn’t hurt the series that much since she isn’t around that often, but it still holds it back enough that it ends up being barely better. As such, my final rating is an 8/10. Next week I’ll look at Choujuu Densetsu Gestalt.

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