With a new year comes new adventures, especially at the Rabbit House! Since her arrival at the café, Kokoa Hoto has become accustomed to her new life as a waitress even though the Rabbit House isn’t the rabbit paradise she initially envisioned it to be. Life is pleasant, and she enjoys spending time both working and playing with her friends and fellow waitresses Chino Kafuu, a cute middle school student with a fuzzy bunny companion named Tippy, and Rize Tedeza, the pig-tailed daughter of a soldier who is readily armed for any scenario.
Together with Chiya Ujimatsu and Sharo Kirima, who also work at neighboring cafés in town, the Rabbit House crew gets involved in all sorts of crazy adventures. Throughout these adventures, the girls encounter troubled novelists, rival cafes, secret treasure, and... alcoholic chocolates?
The most sugary sweet, diabetes-inducing moe show there ever was finally makes its encore in the second season of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka. You better prepare some tissues (no not *that* kind you perv) before you kick things off or you may suffer the risk of dying from excessive nosebleeds. Studio White Fox will not be held legally accountable for any such incidents.
Anyway I'll try to keep this short because you should already know exactly what to expect from this if you've seen the first season (which you should have if you're reading this). Although it's naturally very similar, I personally think this season
is slightly better than the first one, because it has a bit more focus on the show's main strength, in other words moe. I don't think there's ever been an anime which makes me rape the screenshot button as often as this one does, and there's a good reason for that. Especially Chino has an abundance of unbelievably cute scenes this season, which is surely intentional given that she's the series' main poster girl as far as pure moe goes.
The character cast is overall the same as always, with the one exception of Kokoa's older sister Moka who is introduced for the first time this season. In a nutshell, everything that Kokoa wants to be good at but isn't, Moka is. In other words, she's basically a "better" version of Kokoa, much to the dismay and jealousy of her younger sister.
The art style is about as cutesy as it can possibly get, even more so than I recall it being in the first season, which in this case can only be considered a good thing. The more the merrier, right? As far as the new theme songs go... okay I'll just say this: the OP is similar to the one of the first season and certainly isn't bad, but nothing special. The ED however... oh my god. I'm sincerely at a loss for words. It is my personal pick for best ED of 2015, and the reason is simply that it contains the most outstanding 90 seconds in the history of moe. It is seriously the most nosebleed-inducing thing I've ever seen. Similarly it's also the first time I've ever seen an anime's first episode discussion thread being filled with more comments about the godlike ED than the episode itself, just to put it in perspective. I seriously can't praise it enough.
In any case, if you watched and enjoyed the first season of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka, then there's no reason you shouldn't watch the second one as well. It does everything the first one did, except it does it better. If there's any anime which can truly showcase what the very epitome of moe looks like, it's probably this one.
Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?? can be described as an anime that builds upon the foundation which has brought it success in its prior season. It gives the fans more of what they desire without making substantial changes to most if not all elements.
As in the previous season, the story of GochiUsa is simplistic in featuring cute, barista girls do cute things. The episodes for the most part are standalone, meaning they are not directly tied to the events of those before them. Still, there is a finale, and a satisfying one which is handled well at that. The story is not all that unique,
even with the cafe motif and the Mediterranean town-like setting, but I definitely do not have a problem with this.
I think the pacing is fine for an anime of this genre, as well. It gives the characters time to interact with others one-on-one, in small groups, and all together. I believe these dynamics make the story more engrossing, especially when there are duos or trios between characters I would not expect.
Additionally, the comedy is done well. It’s not ill-fittingly over-the-top. There’s just the right amount to where it adds to the moe.
Next is the art. Just like the story, the art is quite moe.
White Fox, the studio behind such series as Steins;Gate, Hataraku Maou-sama, and SoniAni: Super Sonico the Animation, has experience producing in cuter designs and more serious designs. This time, it is joined by another capable, versatile studio in Kinema Citrus. You may have heard of its works, the likes of Black Bullet, Barakamon, and Yuyushiki.
Even with a second studio helping, I have not been able to notice with casual eyes any differences in the art style between both seasons. This certainly is not to the detriment of GochiUsa because the art is as wonderful here and remains consistent throughout.
The female characters’ designs are not all that realistic with their large, colorful eyes and colorful hair, and that is the point. These designs make them all the more cute. For the occasional, (older) male character, these and other physical features are portrayed more realistically. Still, I believe this dichotomic style conveys the characters’ personalities well enough.
The backgrounds, on the other hand, are beautifully photorealistic, as well as unique. Roads, buildings, sceneries, and landscapes remind me of those I’ve seen in photographs of Mediterranean cities, like Venice, Italy. Overall, the backgrounds definitely are breathtaking and memorable.
Let’s move on to the sound.
The seiyuus know what they are doing and are as fitting as ever. Between this and the first season, their voice acting skills don’t improve here. But they don’t need to at all. In fact, I am not sure how they can do any better.
GochiUsa’s orchestral, classical-style music is fantastic. Just one statement before I begin: I want to buy this soundtrack.
The background music is fitting for the story and the Romantic atmosphere. Perhaps it is because many soundtracks sound similar that the background music does not stand out to me always. If this is the case, then the OST receives my attention because of how original and consistent it is. There are no pop or EDM arrangements here. I respect both of these genres within anime soundtracks, but I just believe adding them would have interrupted the excellent flow here.
And it gets even more phenomenal with the OP, the ED, and the insert song. These have the same orchestral, classical styles going for them and add vocals and buildup to the mix. This second season of GochiUsa may have the best combination of an OP and ED I have ever heard. It certainly is for the anime I’ve seen this year. When I first heard the OP, I did not think the ED could be even cuter. ...I was wrong. Although, I admit I could be biased because I love moe. This is moe overload.
Now, we move on to characters.
The characters as a whole are well-rounded enough. With a relatively large cast such as this, it can prove to be difficult to give characters meaningful personalities and development, and I think GochiUsa accomplished this. The characters may rely on the deredere archetype for the most part, although the their personalities branch out from this archetype in order to create different perspectives of it.
In addition, they react and interact with each other and the situations around them in plausible ways.
I personally do not relate to the characters’ personalities all that much. However, I do empathize with their reactions, interactions, and developments. These characters are enjoyable to watch, either way.
There also is character growth throughout the series for them. This growth occurs most often in intimate, one-on-one situations or in small groups. As I stated before, this also happens for character pairings and groupings I do not expect.
All of the characters, with just one or two exceptions in the supporting cast, are portrayed and developed nicely. Speaking of the supporting cast, it is very good, considering how many characters there are.
If you enjoy a simple yet effective story of cute girls doing cute stuff, you probably will like Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?? Although, I highly recommend watching the first season beforehand if you have not done so yet. Relax, and enjoy 24 episodes of moe in that case. For those of you who have seen the first season and are curious to know if this is worth watching, I can say this definitely is. The story, art, sound, and characters are as wonderful as ever. Indeed, it’s as satisfying if not a little more so than its predecessor since there is continued development of the characters and their relationships. I’m definitely content with it ending here if it must, and yet, I admit I would be overjoyed to have a third season of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?
With the end of the year fast approaching, it is time for all of us to reflect on what the anime industry offered us this year. And after seeing a wide variety of shows, I believe 2015 should just be called the Year of the Moe. This year, not only did we get shows like Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic and Wakaba*Girl, but now this one too: Gochiusa...2!
Gochiusa 2 may not appear to be as appealing as other Fall 2015 shows such as One Punch Man and there may be a good reason for that. To some people, a slice-of-life approach may be too slow-paced for them.
For others, just looking at the artwork within the poster for Gochiusa 2 may be a turn-off for them. And there's always that group that says "Why would I ever watch a show of cute girls doing cute things (CGDCT)?"
And you know, they are all technically correct. They're right - it is slow-paced, it uses a heavy "moe" appeal, it is very CGDCT, and, at the end of the day, nothing happens. But even with that aside, Gochiusa 2 is very charming in its own way and it does not fail to impress even within its own very tiny little slice-of-life niche.
Let's start off with the story and characters. Obviously, as with every other slice-of-life out there, there is no story and no character development. Without these important elements, I have no choice but to nitpick at the "small" things - it is, after all, these small things that set slice-of-life anime shows apart from each other.
The premise for this show has got to be one of the most absolutely unique settings that I have ever seen in anime. To summarize, you basically have five girls living in a quaint, cozy Italian-style town full of wide streets and alleyways that are lined with restaurants, supermarkets, and brick-and-mortar shops. And for me, I appreciate this change in scenery. Too many times have I seen in anime the overused and clichéd "group of friends in the same high school or same class or same club" setup. Gochiusa 2 breaks away from all of that. In fact, the story doesn't even focus that much on their time at school, but if you want to be technical about it, the five main characters attend three different schools (one middle school & two different high schools).
Additionally, Gochiusa 2 utilizes its unique premise to its fullest extent. It does not pigeonhole characters into one particular setting (can you imagine if Gochiusa 2 only showed the girls working in their respective cafes 24/7?). In every single episode, the girls are constantly on the move throughout the city. They might end up at a park, a supermarket, their workplaces, their homes, their schools - which all the more proves that the entire premise is used.
Alright, now onto the characters. The main characters are all very colorful in their own way. Each of them are quick to quip up a funny response to whatever another character has to say. Of all of the main characters, I would say Rize is probably the most interesting. Her military-like mindset and personality shows up throughout her conversations with other people. She is charming in her own way way and her presence injects a new level of humor into the series as a whole.
However, given this, I wouldn't say that the characters are completely perfect. Aoyama, for one, was (in my opinion) a weak supporting character. Too many times she just "happened" to be where the girls are (even if they weren't working at their cafes, she would just randomly show up into the scene). She would then say a few lines before falling out of the scene and showing up in a later scene (or in the next episode). She really didn't serve any purpose, and her presence was really treated more as an avenue for a couple more quick jokes. Basically, she was a gimmick; I would argue that nothing would have significantly changed even if she was left out of Gochiusa 2.
Secondly, the characters were a little predictable due to the nature of their relationships with each other. I know this might seem weird at first, so let me use two of these relationships as examples: Rize-Sharo and Kokoa-Chino-Megu-Maya. Rize and Sharo share your typical kouhai-senpai relationship. And like many kouhai-senpai relationships out there, Sharo plays the "what if Senpai notices me" card way too many times throughout the entire show. As for Kokoa, Chino, Mega, and Maya, they share more of a big sister-little sister relationship (at least from Kokoa's point of view, lol). But again, similarly with Sharo, Kokoa plays the "why don't you love your big sister" card too many times and hence there is a little bit of predictability on that front. Given this, I believe that this predictability issue is relatively minor - remember, slice-of-life anime is very limited in what they can do since they don't really have a plot or character development. And plus, their actions (at least within the context of those relationships) are just slightly different in execution every time that they are used, but despite that, their jokes/reactions/dialogues do share a similar basis.
As for the art, I mean, you can kind of tell from the poster and literally the first thirty key frames. It is certainly different but also certainly not worse from the first season - the artwork is much more illuminated, colorful, and, well, "fluffier." It certainly adds to the moe factor that I kept mentioning earlier and it does so very effectively. The producers also heavily integrate cutscenes throughout the show as a way to integrate somewhat exaggerated yet hilarious reactions from the main characters.
The sound is pretty awesome too. The OP and ED - like the artwork - have a very distinct moe factor to it. It is literally cuteness layered on top of cuteness and has the power to crush even the most cold-hearted man out there. One cool thing I really liked about the sound too was that the in-show sound was well cued with the characters' reactions. At one moment, the music would be very light, and then it would change to a grinding halt when the characters tell some really lame (but charming!) joke. This was done extremely well, so props!
(Also, the seiyuu for Tippy is on point. So on point.)
Overall, if you're looking for a slower change of pace to things with well-integrated humor and art and a extra dash of charm, I recommend this show. Now that you're done reading this super long review, let's go shop for a Tippy plushie together. Awh yes.
+ Good art, music, and sound cues
+ Colorful characters
+ Very, very unique premise
+ Episodes flowed well despite no obvious plot present
+ There is SOME thematic content (specifically that relating to friendship), but I wouldn't say this is the main focus of this show.
+ Props/items used in the first season do carry over into the second season. Yay for consistency!
- Slightly predictable reactions or dialogues
- Weak supporting characters (just a few of them!)
~ Moe appeal
***If you're not really into the neutral factors that I indicated above, I strongly recommend you to set aside your predispositions and give this show a shot. I'm pretty sure there are some shows out there where you are like "Yeah well that's a dumb premise" or "that character sounds lame" but after you start the show you're into it. Try it before you buy it!***
Story: 6 (including the premise + flow but excluding the plot itself since there isn't one)
Art: 8 (bring on the moe!)
Final judgment: In a larger context, this is definitely one of the better slice-of-lifes I've seen out there. Without the weak points I indicated at first, this would have easily gotten a 7.
With the advent of constant bashing of many anime fans being distraught by the amount of moe-blob anime taking over the majority of the seasons since 2009, its telling that the genre has long overstayed its welcome. I'm one of those people that simply does not pay attention to the trends going on and simply goes to something with an open mind no matter what tag the anime just so happens fall under. There is always this sense of surprise always lurking in every genre I come across. Of the moe-blob anime that has been on my radar for a while was Gochuumon wa Usagi
On its debut in 2014, Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka, I thought, was a good first season to start introducing the cast of girls that we would follow into their ordinary and cute daily lives. What kept me from loving it was that it seemed like a very "safe" moe-blob anime. The antics and situations from half of the episodes did not really grab me as much as how I would hold my moe-blob anime to a higher standard than most people do. Going into season 2, I was hoping that the studio developing Gochuumon, White Fox, would try to add more depth into the cuteness and maybe some subtle character depth. Now it seems my wish was definitely granted after I was finished with it.
Gochuumon is, by and large, the most sugar coated anime you could ever feast your eyes upon. The girls are about as kawaii and cuddle worthy that you might literally get asphyxiated by the amount of kawaii essence that pervades the atmosphere. This does not just include how adorable the character designs are. Right down to the voice acting talent that is on here: Ayane Sakura, Inori Minase, Maaya Uchida, Risa Taneda, Satami Sato, Kayano Ai, Sora Tokui, Rie Murakawa, and even Saori Hayami making a supporting appearance. All of them perform their roles extremely well and at their most heart inducing cutest. The cute catchphrases all the girls repeat and their unique quirks offer a wide variety of charm that captivates you to watch more of these girls say funny and cute dialogue.
As slice of life anime go, there is no plot to critique on. All you would have to go on is to analyze how the characters grow on you on an emotional level. Some of them do try to add development over the course of the show, but sometimes they keep them static, which can succeed on either side. Gochuumon fits more on the latter side, however there is some level of development. Not exactly from the individual characters, but from their relationships to each other that starts to expand on their cute and hilarious situations. The 2nd season provides more to make the relationships feel genuine from how these girls treasure each other as friends. I even felt like I was close with them as I watched their progression from all these episodes from season 1 to season 2. That kind of closeness you feel when you watch anime that center around a group of friends and you can feel attached towards, whether it be comedic or dramatic in tone, is always a great sign that you did a good job writing-wise.
For the individual characters themselves, they are just about as charming and adorable as before in season 1. There are some new things in season 2 that give our previous characters more material to increase their likability. This includes how their personalities have different edges to them that we never thought before, like Rize-chan having an adorable shyness to her when she is attempted to get cuddled by someone and Chino-chan getting more mature from the point of view of Cocoa and the others. There is a bigger emphasis on Chino-chan and her friends Megumi and Maya than in season 1 which I was appreciated to see the writers not ignoring some of the supporting cast. I would also love to mention a the newest character that really won my heart this year and that is Cocoa's big sister, Moka-chan. Seeing her wanting to cuddle with all of the girls and visit them often was an absolute riot and adorable to see. My only wish is, if there will be a season 3 as I'm writing this, that they give her even more screen-time than before.
Moe-blob anime art is prototypical, with girls big eyes as big as their hands, colorful and shiny hair, and small figures despite their age. Sometimes I feel as though I can get high off of the cuteness of Gochuumon, that is how strong the moe can get from this show. Now, how does can this be distinctive from all other anime like it? To me, it all comes down to how well the animators can make a scene that involve a quick chibi quip with the right timing or using hilarious facial expression to make a cute moe anime charming. Gochuumon does this well from how expressive the characters emotions are that feel charming to see from most of the scenes in the show. Although I wouldn't say the art hasn't changed a whole lot, there certainly feels like it has more pizzazz to it, but this could just be from how long I've seen season 1. Nevertheless, because I've warmed up to these characters going into season 2, the humor and expressive art started to grow on me better.
I just wanted to mention one more thing that I think is a sentiment of what makes Gochuumon the ultimate "watch to make yourself happy" anime. While the music in the show is not super special to even remember, the OP and especially the ED are remarkable to say the least. The OP and ED both have a sugar coated J-Pop vibe to the singing and vocals that fit well with the atmosphere of the show being an adorable slice of life moe anime. The ED is probably one of my top five favorite EDs of any anime ever. With its infectious vocals, rhythm, lyrics, and absolutely adorable dancing by our three little elementary girls Chino, Megumi, and Maya, there is no song on earth that could suppress your depression for the entire day.
Though not all jokes guarantee a laugh, Gochuumon season 2 is good enough, along with season 1, to warrant the distinction of being one of those great anime that is best to watch when feeling down or to put on during bed. Most slice of life are for that purpose, but Gochuumon is one that proves to be one that can be like that but also be enjoyable at the same time. There is no way this review can sway any of the anti-moe brigade into being interested in going anywhere near Gochuumon with a ten-foot pole. Then again, nothing will.