I'll try and explain why this isn't a good sequel, at all. [Spoiler Free]
I'd just like to get it out of the way that I'm watching this hot off the heels of the first season, as I binged the first season and what has been released of the second season so far in about a day. The details of which are still very fresh in my mind.
This is also the second season of Kekkai Sensen, so I'm assuming you're familiar with the story.
Why does Kekkai Sensen 2 fail as a sequel? To put it bluntly, it's because this season is much more episodic in nature.
In the first season, almost every episode leading up to the finale had something to do with or laid down the subtext for the overarching plot of the story, which culminated in a satisfying, if a bit hollow ending. It was still episodic, but was also eluding to the bigger picture.
The second season has failed to do this mostly and has felt flatter and less engaging because of it.
This is a spoiler free review, but I can only see one possible plot point that could be what leads to the finale, but it's more than halfway into the series and this plot point has only been mentioned for a grand total of about 2 minutes throughout the entire series.
That's why I feel like this fails as a sequel, it feels like a bunch of OVA episodes mashed together.
I was honestly, truly looking forward to the new kekkai sensen season. My friend and I absolutely adored the first season. It had the right amount of craziness and enough plot to keep us going. Because of how great the first season was, we both went into this with high expectations. But this season... has been a train wreck.
With only 3 episodes left, I have very little hope that there's going to be a truly satisfying ending. Seeing the preview for the next episode even further solidifies my feeling.
The format has been that of an episodic anime, where something that happens in one episode doesn't
really correlate with another. Nothing connects. There's very little actual story going on. We're getting GREAT episodes that focus on one character at a time where we learn about a specific character, but that's all Beyond has going for it.
There's nothing building up. No story other than "yeah crazy shit is happening again". We're being introduced to new characters that I can't feel anything for because, again, we only focus on them for like one episode and that's it.
For the most part, Kekkai Sensen and Beyond is nice if you're wanting a snapshot of one of the main cast's day in everyday life. But you're also missing very little if you choose to skip around.
The first season of this show is one of my favorites of all time. The wild and crazy antics that Leo goes through on top of a deeply connected story was amazing so I had high hopes coming into this. The story is basically about the aftermath of a fallout which connected new york to another world to state it quickly. This season lacks the continuity that the first season had. It is more like a series of OVAs so far. The show also feels toned down compared to the first season the antics aren't as frequent or heavy but they are still there and
just as enjoyable.
The art is also really good. It is one of the staples of this show for me since anything can happen at any time. The show doesn't limit itself so, the art supports it very well because it has to. The characters designs and when people use their powers are enough to get you to watch the show on their own if you didn't much for anything else.
The first season's music was amazing all the way through. I spam the soundtrack in the car all the time and this season doesn't fall far behind in quality but it isn't as good and that's not saying a lot. Every song you hear makes you happy and fits the scenes well.
This season focuses less on Leo and more on the side characters so far giving everyone their own episodes and I love it. Chain is laid back and good for parties despite are ultimate badassness, Zapp is as stupid as always and etc. you can't help but love everyone and it's nice getting to know them more as the main plot of this story ended last season and this whole show could have stopped there and left you satisfied. It makes you wonder if we do get to an actual story or stick to this OVA like format.
I enjoy the crap out of this show and am never disappointed as we move on. Overall I give it a 8 because as much as love this I admit it's not perfect. It might make bring more score up if we get that serious side back but for now... You should watch this if you loved the first season you will enjoy this too but don't start here you won't get into it.
Kekkai Sensen is... a fairly unique show by today's standards. It fills a niche category that doesn't pop up every season, and is even more rarely well done: that of the episodic action series. Instead of a linear plotline, Kekkai Sensen instead focuses on worldbuilding through mostly one-off episodes, shifting its focal point to different characters around the protagonist in order to further pull you, the viewer, into their world. While this style alienates some viewers of the show, for me it reminds me of the first season of Darker than Black, a series I greatly enjoyed (we don't talk about the second season). While
these shows both had overarching plot points, the majority of both shows are spent covering fun, self contained stories that pop up each episode. Both of these shows greatest strengths were their world concepts, and this episodic structure is part of what invests the viewer into these inventive settings.
And what a world Kekkai Sensen gives us - Hellsalem's Lot; a crossdimensional apocalyptic version of New York City. This strange dystopia, along with the eccentric but lively main cast, provide an exceptional vehicle for a show of this kind. The city is painstakingly animated, with bustling streets providing a true of sense of reality to a show drunk on fantasy. The main cast, while relatively shallow so far save for the main character, are nonetheless enjoyable, quirky, and distinctive, further flavoring an unconventional setting with suitably strange individuals.
This show is a joyride. It rolls out a wacky combination of action, political intrigue, and humor. The rule of cool is constantly in effect, and with BONES animating it, you can bet your bottom dollar that it looks fantastic. While this show is far from perfect, its flaws are more than overshadowed by its strengths. This show's top priority is fun, and for me it has captured that in every episode so far. My favorite episode so far was about a mushroom person with a burger addiction, and if that's not fun and wacky, I don't know what is.
This show is well done, but based on its unique formatting is certainly not everyone's cup of tea. If your favorite episode of Cowboy Bebop was Toys in the Attic, you'll most likely enjoy this show. If you're looking for something more plot driven rather than character/world driven, you'll most likely find this show frustrating. Personally? I'm having a blast.