I reviewed the first series of Ajin two years ago. It was okay but suffered from being under-developed in general and from having artwork that was bad enough to be detrimental. So, when we left off our antagonist, Satou, had gathered a group of Ajin in order to perform acts of terrorism under the guise of trying to win rights for their people. And our protagonist, Kei, had narrowly escaped capture along with another Ajin.
We open with a brief recap of what happened in the last series. You know, in case someone decides to watch the second series without having seen the first. Satou unveils his intention to assassinate a list of people who he accuses of being involved with experiments performed on Ajin. Meanwhile, Kei comes to the conclusion that he can’t beat Satou on his own and decides to join up with Tosaki and the group who spent the last series hunting him.
The biggest flaw with this one isn’t that they rush from big plot point to big plot point without regard for things like pacing or developing their scenario. The biggest issue with this one is that, in the first half, very little happens. Kei and his companion join with the group trying to hunt Satou and then they spend a lot of time talking about how they should catch him while we cut to him either murdering one of his targets, bragging about murdering one of his targets or making plans to murder one of his targets. While I appreciate them trying to develop their situation a bit better, the execution is more than a little tedious.
And then when they finally get moving halfway into the series, it goes right back to rushing through plot developments. It’s like they can’t find a happy medium and the result is going from one extreme to another.
Once again, the series has some good ideas buried beneath the flaws in the execution. The bits where Kei tries to connect with his sister and his old friend, Kaito, are pretty good. Although they still haven’t given any compelling reason for Kei’s friendship to mean so much to Kaito. The parts where they explore Shimomura’s back story and why she has such a strong sense of loyalty towards Tosaki are pretty strong. The element of giving both sides of the conflict legitimate reasons for fighting breaks down a bit which actually results in questions over whether or not the conflict is worth it and multiple characters deciding it isn’t. Which I can appreciate. At least the series doesn’t fully Flanderize one side and just decide they’re all evil now.
I’ll continue to give the series credit for mostly having characters with realistic motivations and personalities that have enough to them to ring true. This series does run into a bit of a problem, however. In order to continue Kei’s ongoing conflict against Satou, they start showing a selfless side to Kei’s character. Which really doesn’t mesh with anything we’ve seen from him before and there’s not really a compelling reason for the change. It’s like they needed him to be less self-centred and more moral in order for the plot to work and, instead of developing his character in that direction naturally they just changed it.
The artwork continues to be pretty bad. This is a case where you might be able to make the art style work for a comedy. Gdgd Faeries has worse artwork than this, for example. But, when you’re trying to have a more serious dramatic work, art like this really detracts from it. Having characters move in stilted, awkward ways, including one unintentionally hilarious moment where people are supposed to be fleeing in terror but look like they’re trying to have a dance flash mob, really lessens the impact and makes it difficult to have a real sense of gravity in the situation.
The acting continues to be a strong point. Miyano Mamoru, Ootsuka Houchuu, Komatsu Mikako and Sakurai Takahiro are all solid actors. We’re talking solid enough to manage to convey things in spite of having no help from the artwork in quite a few cases. Kanno Yugo’s music is pretty strong as well.
All we have in terms of romantic content is hetero normative. None of the same sex dynamics come across as romantic.
Like the first series, this one is okay. If the artwork wasn’t distractingly bad, I might go so far as to call it good. But as is, I’ll give it a 6/10. If you can tolerate the art, and the pacing issues aren’t going to bother you too much you might enjoy it.