First Impressions – Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season

Well, we haven’t even started the second season yet and we already have a recap episode. What, nine months is long enough to carry a baby but not to draft an original episode?

I won’t pretend I was a huge fan of the first season of KnT, but I did like bits of it and managed to get through the full season. This recap is a sort of reflection on those events told through the eyes of Kurumi, the resident stalker psycho-terrorist who obsessed over Kazahaya since middle school and, in trying to break up the two main characters before they were officially a couple, provided some much needed angst in an extraordinarily fluffy first season.

KnT is one of those series where the supporting cast is way more more interesting than the leads – Sawako and Kazehay – who are, I regret, phenomenally boring to me. Problem is, Kurumi may not be boring but she’s not very likable either. I preferred the antics of Ryu and Yoshida, close friends of the main couple. This ep was pretty much all Kurumi though, so if you liked her you’ll enjoy this intro to the second season. For me, the first season was sometimes a hard slog to sit through, especially at the beginning. It’s just way too nice, pleasant and cozy – trying way too heard never to remotely unsettle the viewer with any actual conflict – as it surrounds the leads, especially. Kazehaya is way, way too perfect and as for Sawako and her constant cutesy-pie thought bubbles – ugh…

That said, this is Production I.G. and it looks great. The side characters are interesting and the show overall does have a sort of hypnotic effect, like a powerful tranquilizer that doesn’t put you to sleep, just mellows you out till you’re flatlining. I sincerely hope the second season adds some vinegar and chili oil to all this sweetness, because I’m 26 episodes invested and I’ll probably end up watching it.

It does occur to me that Production I.G. isn’t trying as hard as they used to. From the days of Seirei no Moribito and Ghost Hound, we’re now getting the likes of KnT and Sengoku Basara. Safe, easy mass-market choices that the mega-talented staff could churn out in their sleep. If I.G. isn’t going to push the envelope a little, I don’t know who will – these guys have consistently been involved in some of the best avant-garde anime out there. There’s nothing wrong with mainstream – though I’ve certainly seen it done much better than KnT or Sengoku Basara – but it’s sad to see this studio lowering it’s creative sights as much as they have. It’s a concession to economic times and the changes in the industry no doubt, but still a shame.

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