Well, what can I say? I liked it a lot. I liked it so much, in fact, that I can’t quite remember why, 6 months ago, I promised myself I wouldn’t watch the second season of Iron-Blooded Orphans. I think it had something to do with the story, but then again the story in the first episode of S2 was not a huge change from S1 and it still instantly grabbed me. Or maybe it was the action, which at the end of S1 was not that fantastically drawn or animated (the downside of committing to 2D robots is that when they’re badly drawn everything just looks awful), because the action in this first episode did look pretty good.
Perhaps the reason I liked it so much was due mostly to the familiarity. I was happy to see Cookie and Cracker again, and I was happy to see Orga and distant, low-fidelity Atra. Maybe the fact that I feel like I can just focus on the world and the story instead of having to get to know the characters from the beginning is a big enough game-changer. Maybe that is the secret weapon of sequels. It sure as can be is the case with this show, at the very least.
Verdict: Expected not to like it, liked it a huge amount. I’m slightly confused, but happily continuing.
I will start off by admitting that when it comes to this series, I’m as shallow as shallow can be. I was introduced to it through fan art of cute sword boys, and that is now the only thing I expect from the series, and it’s the only thing I really want out of it. So, when the first episode of this particular anime adaptation, Hanamaru, started explaining a bunch of plot and conflict and character names, I got bored immediately, and I lost focus. I didn’t care about any of that, nor did I care about the action (though I will admit that Dogakobo did a good job with the swordfighting animation). After the fact, I actually feel a bit of regret about that, because I want to try to go into shows (especially new ones) with an open mind, and that’s not what I did here.
No, I just wanted the cute boys, and the cute outfits and hairstyles, and the slice of life stuff. And I got that, because Dogakobo delivered on the cuteness and fun once again. Unfortunately, though, I’m not sure it’s enough. Both Sansha Sanyou and New Game took a while to really grip me, and in both cases I seriously considered dropping the show after two or three episodes. And the risk for that is very real with Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru as well. I really hope I can enjoy it, though.
Verdict: Kind of on the fence on this one. Not dropping it yet, but it hasn’t grabbed me.