TL;DR – An unexpected &, unfortunately, unnecessary sequel to the 2014 series, World Fool News Part 2 (WFNII) will scratch an itch if you've been waiting for more; but no more so than if you just watched the first season again.
In the season of sequels that was Spring 2017, I was pleasantly surprised to see WFNII, an unexpected continuation of the newsroom sitcom from 2014. Now that it's finished, one has to wonder why they bothered.
Starting pretty much as it left off, WFNII continues to follow the weird workdays of Takahashi, Shimohira & the rest of the news crew. Consisting of the same mix of
spoof local news stories & office hijinks, the only thing that looks set to upset this happy status quo is a Japanese Cowboy talent scout, looking to head hunt Shimohira.
That status quo is the disappointing thing about WFNII. Because it stars the same characters from the first season & the talent scout only becomes important in the final episodes, this season feels much more episodic. Whereas the first season told its story from Takahashi's point of view, like us he being new to this newsroom & its strange characters, this time it is much more reliant on the hit or miss spoof stories & returning side characters like the boss baby. Honjou, Maruyama & Usui each get an episode to themselves, which are perhaps the best of the season. But they're self contained & just add to the feeling that the season isn't adding anything new.
Which might have been fine if there had been some development with the main cast. Unfortunately, they remain much the same as they started. Takehashi continues to not do anything about his feelings for Shimohira, agonising like a school boy despite allegedly being an adult, while she herself continues to be the same upbeat, absent minded person she always is. I appreciate that there is some unwritten law in anime that two characters can't just go for a drink & see if it leads somewhere, but we're not in high school any more.
Being head hunted could have been a good way to shift the shows perspective onto Shimohira, giving us some insight into what makes her tick & why she would want to remain despite getting better offers. To be sure, there are plenty of hints that she's happy there, including another unnecessary recap episode. But there was never any real doubt about that to begin with & I was hoping for its final resolution to be something a little more substantial than just her co-workers misunderstanding her very obvious intentions to stay.
It all leaves WFNII feeling a little pointless. Yes, getting to watch characters they haven't seen in three years return for some new escapades may be all some want & this season provides that. But it's disappointing to watch it & come away feeling that the series returned to TV with no greater ambition than to remind us that it exists. I could just re-watch the first season to do that.