Taking place 75 years after the first series, Steel Angel Kurumi 2 brings the Steel Angels in a new mis-adventure. High school student and aspiring cellist Nako Kagura accidentally discovers and kisses Kurumi Mk. II at her home, thus making her Kurumi's master. But things go awry as Nako's best friend Uruka gets jealous and tries anything - including her father's army of top-secret mecha - to destroy Kurumi and win back Nako. Things get more out of control when Saki Mk. II is awakened by Uruka, and Karinka Mk. II joins in to steal Nako away from Kurumi.
Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is exactly what I thought Steel Angel Kurumi 1 was going to be--total comedic nonsense. When I say nonsense, it's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not a flat out compliment either. This anime is a romantic comedy with exclusively female characters as leads, so you know what that means. Steel Angel Kurumi 2 takes everything we're left with after Steel Angel Kurumi 1 ends, and then proceeds to turn it into a lesbian comedy. Don't get me wrong, I like lesbians as much as the next guy, but when it involves girls who are barely high school age it
makes me slightly scared to express my enjoyment for it. I won't lie, Steel Angel Kurumi 2 manages to be pretty damn funny at times, but am I one of the only people that gets a tad bit freaked out when young teenage girls are swooning for each other? Animated or not, that's not my cup of tea. Thankfully Steel Angel Kurumi 2 doesn't cross any boundaries, but at times you can nearly see the hentai within trying to claw its way out.
All of your favorite Steel Angels return in Steel Angel Kurumi 2 and retain their trademark personalities. Kurumi is still the clingy love struck servant of her master, Saki adores her sister Kurumi just like the good old days, and Karinka is a, well'a bitch. Even though the Steel Angels have the exact same personalities as before, there does seem to be something off about them. Mostly I have to ask whether or not Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is canonical with Steel Angel Kurumi 1. The Steel Angels seem to have all but forgotten one another, and what they have gone through together in the course of the first series. I know a lot of years have gone by, but enough for Karinka to revert back to being a power hungry animal, and for all of the Angels to forget about Nakahito? There isn't even so much as a mention of Nakahito or the family connection that Nako Kagura shares with him. I was hoping that--alternatively--Kurumi would have become Nako's servant because of Nako's heritage, and would say something about how ever since Nakahito she has served the Kagura family. But, I won't be too picky. Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is what it is, and you can't really fault it for doing its thing. However, before you start asking where the exit is, let me assure you that Steel Angel Kurumi 2 isn't a complete waste of time.
Steel Angel Kurumi 2 can get away with just about anything and still be enjoyable simply because it doesn't take itself too seriously. For example, how many cute rich girls do you know that fantasize about coupling with their younger female neighbor? It's this kind of logic that Steel Angel Kurumi 2 throws at you constantly that forces you to forget about everything that's so clearly wrong with this anime. Once characters start being put in wacky situations and giant mechs begin to land at Nako's school, you'll forget that you're watching an anime about same sex coupling, but not for long since Steel Angel Kurumi 2 shoves it in your face every chance it gets. Steel Angel Kurumi 2 manages to be extremely funny at times, but once in a while it goes overboard with the mushy stuff and blows things so out of proportion that you'll be rolling your eyes at a record pace. The anticlimactic series finale, for example, had me wishing for an extra set of eyes because one set of rolling eyes just wasn't enough. This is typical in just about any romantic comedy though, so I'm sure fans of the first series are used to it.
As I'm sure you've already guessed, Steel Angel Kurumi 2 doesn't have much of a story. For the entire series it's all about Uruka trying to get Nako all to herself, no matter what the cost--which includes killing Nako, of course. Uruka calls daddy to lend military support to get rid of Kurumi so she can have Nako all to herself, and like the old Loony Tunes cartoons Uruka is defeated over and over again, easily. Not only am I amazed that Uruka never gives up, but I'm amazed that Nako stayed friends with such a crazy bitch for most of her life. I don't know, but if my best friend ever sent a giant robot to my school targeting my girlfriend I'd probably be rethinking where our friendship stands. Steel Angel Kurumi 2 does the best it can do with the little bit of storyline it does have, but that's not always enough to keep things going. When an animes biggest plot arc involves a bunch of obsessive lesbians crashing a cello playing contest it pretty much speaks for itself.
So, if you're not planning on watching Steel Angel Kurumi 2 for the storyline, why would you watch it? You're either a Steel Angel Kurumi fan, or you love romantic comedies--possibly both. The problem with being a Kurumi fan though is that Steel Angel Kurumi 2 doesn't really do the franchise justice, and depending on what it was you liked about the first series there is a chance that you'll absolutely hate the second one. The one thing that irks me the most about Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is how little it feels like a sequel to Steel Angel Kurumi 1, even though that's exactly what it's meant to be. Yes, all of the Steel Angels return, but it's as though they've forgotten everything from the first series, or at least never bother talking about it.
I guess that makes sense in a way, since Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is more comedy focused than it's predecessor, but it's hard for me to believe that Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is the direct sequel that it claims to be. This isn't entirely a bad thing, though. Steel Angel Kurumi 2 can be enjoyed even if you've never seen the first series, and to be completely honest with you I would actually suggest you watch the sequel first if you can. I say this for several reasons, but mainly because the sequel should work as a nice way to ease you into the more polished original. Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is also a pretty short anime, so it's not terribly difficult to complete it in a single sitting. Once again, Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is all about those fifteen minute episodes. This time around, however, there are only twelve episodes, which is equal to about six standard anime episodes in length. With the anime being that short you can't really complain too much about its subject matter. It does help to have a tolerance for mushy lesbian romance, though.
The audio and animation of Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is of similar quality as the first series. The opening song is a remix of the opening song from the first series, and I absolutely love it. The ending song Beyond the Clear Blue Sky, however, I'm not too fond of. I guess it fits the series good enough, but I've never been a fan of that form of J-Pop. The voiceovers in Steel Angel Kurumi 2 are great, especially the English ones. What I will say though, is that I was surprised when I found out that all of the cast from the first series returned for Steel Angel Kurumi 2. I had to look it up because I wasn't entirely sure if it was the same voice actors as before, or if ADV just got some people that sounded similar. I say this because for some odd reason it seemed like the voice actors had a lot more fun working on the first Steel Angel Kurumi--especially Kelli Cousins (Kurumi)--and sounded slightly different. With that said, English audio is still the way to go. I found myself switching between English and Japanese audio just to see what changes were made in the English translation, and believe me when I say that the changes alone are well worth it. References to Star Wars, Colin Powell, and lots of hilariously placed swear words make the English Steel Angel Kurumi 2 much funnier than its Japanese counterpart.
The animation is also great yet again. Back are all the bright colors, smooth animation, and superb character designs. I'm actually going to go so far as to say Steel Angel Kurumi 2 has better animation than Steel Angel Kurumi 1, but I'll need to watch them side by side before I can make such a bold statement. One thing is for sure, though, and that's that the scenery in Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is a lot better. This is mostly due to the fact that Steel Angel Kurumi 2 takes place 75 years in the future in modern Japan, and cities and buildings are all well drawn. You really can't ask for too much more when it comes to animation.
Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is an interesting piece of work. On one side, it's actually quite funny and enjoyable, even to people who've never watched an episode of Steel Angel Kurumi in their life. On the other side, it takes everything left over from the end of the first series and turns it into a complete joke, which could be bad or good depending on how you feel about the series. It's hard to suggest Steel Angel Kurumi 2 to anyone but fans of Steel Angel Kurumi, but since it doesn't even bother to tie itself in with the first series it's just as easy to suggest this anime to people who simply like romantic comedies revolving around young gay/bi females. The bottom line is that Steel Angel Kurumi 2 isn't as enjoyable as Steel Angel Kurumi 1, and for obvious reasons. It never builds itself up as anything more than what it begins as, and thus it's not an anime I can see myself sitting down and watching ever again. The lack of story/character development in Steel Angel Kurumi 2 can easily wear on your patience, and that's saying something when you consider how short it is. When you cease to take this anime seriously and simply accept if for what it is, you may find yourself having a good time watching it. On the downside though, after you're done watching it you may find yourself asking 'what the hell did I just watch?' I'm still trying to figure out the answer to that question myself.
Kaishaku is an interesting duet. Not just because their work tends to have a lot of yuri elements, although that certainly helps, but because they tend to repeat characters throughout their work. For obvious reasons, they're worth bringing up in yuri anime month, but I'm not going to look at one of the several anime featuring Chikane and Himeko in some form. Instead I'm going to look at Steel Angel Kurumi 2, aka the good one. Now, I'm not going to talk about the first one, aside from the obvious inference you can make from the previous sentence, because the two have roughly as much
to do with each other as DBZ has to do with DBGT. Since the stories, and characters to a major degree, are separate there's really no need to talk about both.
There's not much in terms of story here. A young girl named Nako finds a statue in her shrine's storage area (why are shrine maidens homo-erotic in every anime I've seen them in?) anyway the statue chases her and her friend Uruka. Then it breaks open to reveal a pink-haired girl in a maid's outfit who wakes up after being kissed by Nako and introduces herself as steel angel Kurumi. Fortunately, Nako's mother has an old manual about the steel angels that she's been using as a coaster. Yeah, this anime is really silly. That being said, it's silly in a fun way. Rather like the All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku OVA I reviewed last year. The situation is strange and most of the characters are interesting and quirky leading to a show that could be accurately described as absolutely insane, but in a good way. What can I say, I find it hard to not have fun with a show that has something as epically ridiculous as a robot Corgi jet-pack. One thing that I do adore about this series is that it's not just about quirky craziness. It largely is, but it also has quite a bit of heart. The last few episodes actually do have a serious conflict in which it's revealed that the first prize of the cello contest that Nako entered is entrance into a music school in Vienna. I don't want to spoil anything, but this leads to a crisis for Kurumi in particular as she struggles between the repercussions of losing the girl she loves versus supporting Nako's dream. This whole conflict leads to a very heartwarming moment and the reason Kurumi and Nako are on of my favourite anime couples. All while maintaining a largely light-hearted and goofy dynamic and that, my friends, takes skill.
Initially, it looks like the characters are going to be pretty one-dimensional. Which honestly works fine for the sake of comedy. The characters in Galaxy Angel are pretty one dimensional and they're hilarious. But they do actually develop to a respectable degree. Kurumi and Nako especially which eventually leads them to the crowning moment of heartwarming that I mentioned earlier. The major characters all have facets to their personalities that make them interesting and there are some really strong interactions and I'm trying not to mention the heartwarming scene again, but I'm kind of fixated on it. There are some really funny scenes that are derived just from a group of characters talking to each other. In fact, a lot of the humour works because of the characters quirks. There are also some touching scenes between Kurumi and Nako, and not just the major one. There are some good smaller moments that lead up to it.
The art is pretty well done. There are some good details, the character designs are unique and they use stylistic changes strategically for comedic effect. That being said, I do have one complaint about it, and yes it's the one you're all thinking of. There's too much fan-service in this. This is an anime that likes scenes with their characters half or entirely nude. They're occasionally lamp-shaded for the sake of humour, but they ultimately add very little if anything. They're just there for T&A, or to remind the audience what breasts look like. You know, in case you forgot.
The vocal cast is mostly good. Kurata Masayo, Kuwashima Houko, Tanaka Rie and Enomoto Atsuko all do well. I really only have one issue and that's that there's quite a bit of exaggeration. To be fair, it does kind of work in context, but it can be kind of grating. The music is incredibly catchy, even more-so then Yuru Yuri's. I think part of it is that the music in this isn't excessively auto-tuned, it's actually really well sung while maintaining an extraordinarily catchy tune that will never leave your head. This is the type of song that you can go years without hearing and then find yourself singing it at random. Trust me, I've done it a few times between the last time I saw it and this one. The cello music is beautifully played, maybe not as well as the orchestral music in Nodame Cantabile, but it is really well done.
And now we look at the yuri factor... in a yuri anime. Unsurprisingly, it's really high. I suspect that that might be a common motif this month. The relationship between Nako and Kurumi is beautifully handled. Of course, that isn't the only source of les-yay. There's also Saki, just Saki in general. You also have Uruka and Karinka who both have a thing for Nako. The yuri factor is a 10/10.
So, how does Steel Angel Kurumi 2 rate? Well, the humour is by and large funny. In fact, I can't think of a single joke that doesn't work. It also blends in some really well written tender moments that really add to the series. The relationship between Kurumi and Nako is splendid. My biggest issue is with the excessive fan-service, but honestly, I can mostly forgive that given how much the series does well. So my final rating is going to be... a 9/10. Check it out if the phrase "robot Corgi jet-pack" brings a smile to your face or if the romance sounds interesting or if you're a fan of the type of goofy humour employed in Nuku Nuku. Next week I'm going to move a bit away from these comedic anime and take a look at something a bit more serious. Prepare your handkerchiefs, next week we're looking at Blue Drop.
the comedy in this anime is and was to be as expected. However, I forced my self to watch this season after I watched the first. I was agitated with the way they wrote this season. I would have liked to see a continuation of the story from the first. Maybe a new threat or something along those lines. To me it just seems like they wiped the board on what happened last season and started a new. If you didn't care for the story line in the first season and you were only watching it for the comedy then i would recommend watching this.
However, i do not recommend watching this season or any other if you were caught up in the story line of the season before.