I even reserved a ticket to see this movie in a theater, because I'm a such a big fan of the franchise. I expected it to be similar to the series'. And it was. But it was too similar.
It felt like the main objective was to remind the viewer of as many scenes from the past episodes as possible. And while it achieved that, it almost entirely lacked the things that I liked most about the anime: Every episode felt fresh, there were minor arguments, some character development, sometimes even a plot that made me want to know what happens next. But the movie felt
like nothing more but a bunch of only semi-related scenes that felt like one déjà vu after another. And the ending was easily predictable after the first interaction between Kokoa and Chino.
Still, the characters were as cute as ever and the humor was the same, too. For these reasons alone I was able to enjoy the movie.
It has been about 2.5 years since Season 2 aired and it's clear to me that I really missed these characters after finishing this movie. For context, I really enjoyed Season 1 and Season 2 hit it out of the park majorly. So, more GochiUsa was welcome.
While some people can say there wasn't much special in regards to this movie. I would disagree myself as we're seeing characters paired up in different situations. Anyways, what's special for one person may differ for you. For me, as long as the comedy is done well and it retains the CGDCT tone like
before then I'm satisfied.
I won't say this movie did better than Season 2 because damn I was getting diabetes from that. But, this movie was still pretty damn good. The visuals are beautiful, the VA and sound was top-notch. And the story was engaging (even if it tried to consistently sprinkle in nostalgic nuggets). Plus the pacing was, in my opinion, perfect for one hour. I thought one hour would be short but that length was perfect.
Overall, if you enjoyed previous GochiUsa seasons, I'm sure you'll like this movie.
Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka??: Dear My Sister plot is fairly simple, in which Cocoa goes back home to help her sister, Mocha who has been introduced in the anime series and mother with their new bakery. With this however, the main cast especially Chino feels a bit cocoa sick in the process and within this Chino reminiscence times before Cocoa mainly delving into Rize before the anime series. On Cocoa's side of things well we get to know more about Cocoa's life before the anime series but with the added bakery element into it but mainly Cocoa's screentime is to do with her family,
mainly her sister Mocha, her mother does get some screentime but not as much as Mocha does (let alone the interactions between Mocha and Cocoa are much more prevalent than Mocha and her mother).
Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka??: Dear My Sister like many of Manga Time Kirara adaptations has the slice of life element and moe elements down and this movie is no different. Better yet, Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka??: Dear My Sister is like it still kept the essences of the anime series intact even when the movie was going off in something entirely new, in a ways it feels like one entire arc of the anime series taken into one piecemeal hour.
LA really liked the interactions with many of the cast members, from Chino talking about her first interactions with Rize to Rize now being the "older sister" to Chino, Maya and Megumi when Cocoa has gone home to Cocoa's interactions with Mocha. The "Dear My Sister" of the title is apt to say the least what with Cocoa wanting to be the older sister to Chino but Mocha is also the older sister to Cocoa when she came home and LA's aforementioning of Rize taking up the "older sister" in the cafe. The anime series touched on this but Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka??: Dear My Sister is all the more prevalent with this as the theme of the movie.
The animation done now by doA Animation (previously done by White Fox and Kinema Citrus for both anime series'), well doA for the most part kept to the aesthetic of the Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka? with it's European scenery and buildings. The movie's character designs were the same as the anime series but with some level of flair considering what some of the characters go to (as in a festival so some Japanese aesthetic and costumes comes into play). The animation overall was LA expected and returning to Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka? even with a change in studio.
The voice work, well LA really doesn't need to say much considering ALL the voice actors returned for the movie. The only thing would be Mocha voiced by Ai Kayano gotten a bit more screentime in the movie compared to the anime series but that was a given and Ai Kayano is as eccentric as Mocha as ever. LA's favourite character in Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka? and voice actor?, well it's always been Rize and Risa Taneda so yes LA is quite happy that Rize gotten screentime in this movie almost equally as Mocha in this sense.
Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka??: Dear My Sister was what LA expected from a Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka? movie, but with some backstory between certain characters here with ALOT of interactions and hijinks between it's cast and that only sweeten the deal. Yes LA was satisfied with the movie all things considered, from it's character interactions, slice of life plot and the entire "older sister" theming the movie had going, it was a pleasantly cute experience much like the anime series.
GochiUsa was and always has been one series that I've grown particularly fond of since I'd first watched it long ago. It's a sweet moe series that'll probably give you diabetes and heal your soul at the same time, and this movie is essentially not that different from the main series itself.
The plot of the movie is pretty simple and straightforward: Cocoa goes back home for a week to help her mother and sister at their bakery, and of course as a result she and her friends have to have a brief departure from each other. With Kokoa's absence from Rabbit House, we got bits
and pieces of character development and backstory glimpses both with Kokoa & her family and Chino & Rize prior to before Cocoa first appears in season one. This movie prioritizes the situation present by having Chino get a chance to properly reflect a bit on her relationships with both Kokoa & Rise separately; with Kokoa's absence, it becomes more apparent that she'd finally had more of an affect than Chino thought, however now that there is a break from Kokoa, this time is used to reflect on how close she'd been with Rize as well, from the moment they first meet to the present moment of this movie.
The characters are the same as their usual selves from the main series for the most part with the exceptional additions of Kokoa's sister Moka & their mother. While Moka made an appearance in the anime for a while, here we not only get a chance to see her more, but all three of the Hoto girls as one and get more of a feel for how connected Kokoa and her family are with each other.
Along with the main roles besides Chino comes Rize.
Now, I always felt that Rize might've secretly had the most interesting character of everyone on the main series from what we learn about her prior to this, and here this movie took a good chance to poke a little more into her combat soldier personality and shows more of her true colors outside of her rough love. And her moments were probably the most notable thing in the movie for me because she gets a chance to stand out more than ever.
The animation and sound are on par with that from the main series, even with a new studio behind the series for it's future adaptations, the aesthetic pleasure of the main series' environment are back in play with the scenery of France looking as beautiful and clean as ever along with the simple skippy and cheery background music accompanying it. The song played the first 10 minutes into it and the ending song give the same feeling as the OPs & EDs from before.
Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka??: Dear My Sister does a good job keeping itself consistent by giving off nearly the same vibe as through the first two season, for the most part this movie felt like I was watching an 3 part OVA of the series more than anything because despite this being a movie I never felt like this was one since the main plot of it is something that felt commonplace with the series instead of being much of a standalone work.
With this movie's completion, I can say that I'm confident with the studio switch and look forward to seeing how production doA do with GochiUsa later on through the OVA & 3rd season in the future.