Shinjuku, 1983. A member of the Kaeda Yakuza gang, Akutsu Jouji, has lost in a brawl with a university cheering squad, and begs for forgiveness through bitter tears. Since then, nothing has gone well in Jouji's life, until 10 years later in 1993, his friend was ordered to kill him, and as he ran away he killed himself, ending his miserable life.
But when Jouji opened his eyes, he was in Shinjuku in 1983, at the fight with the university students that caused things to go wrong. Now with ten more years of memories and experience, Jouji repels the university students with spirit and wisdom. Now he swears to wear a gold emblem around town, and begins his life anew.
This is only anime I can find that actually tackle the Yakuza seriously (That has been translated), and boy is this a good one for that. It's unfortunate that this never really gets off its feet before it ends, but i'm grateful for what I got regardless.
Emblem Take 2 really doesn't aim to show the Yakuza in a positive light which is a good thing as far as i'm concerned, they're the Mafia, they shouldn't be glorified. It shows them as cheap, petty, conniving bastards. It shows some of the awful ways Yakuza go about their business, such as when our main character Jouji terrorizes a dirt poor family for their money. But it also shows how a lot of them are only in it because they need the money and have no other option because they fucked up, such as our main character or those university boys who were kicked out after getting drunk. And how they're constantly fighting in a business where only the fittest survive. The one downside to Emblem Take 2's story though is that it doesn't really end conclusively since it's only two OVAs which probably didn't do too well.
Visually Emblem Take 2 impresses me since it looks kind of good considering it's a 90's OVA that was bound to fail due to its target audience not existing or being very small in the anime world. It's nothing too spectacular mind you, it's no Cowboy Bebop or Macross that's for sure, but it looks good enough that I thought it might be worth a mention. The animation certainly can be a lot worse than it is. In terms of sound i'm not sure I can say much since i'm not Japanese nor do I know much Japanese, so I don't feel like I can judge Japanese voice actors. But even so, I feel like I can say that the voice actors did in noticeable well in certain scenes such as the opening one with Jouji's getting beat up. The music itself is actually better than I would have expected. Some of the tracks that come on sound very generic 90's, but overall the background music felt very "mafia" if that's a word and as a result fit the show.
I feel like there's not much to say about the characters other than the fact that they felt very believable, and very natural and the one that mattered most was well written and interesting (Jouji of course, and his lady friend). Most of the characters might not show a lot of depth (Maybe they do in the manga, but I don't think that's translated into English) but I feel like expecting that out of two 40 minute OVAs would be a little too much.
Ultimately, Emblem Take 2 is a nice anime and certainly the one i'd pick for most underwatched and underrated out of the anime i've watched. If you are reading this and haven't watched it already, I would 100% recommend it if you want to see an anime about Yakuza or even crime drama about organized crime in general.