With the end of the year fast approaching, it is time for all of us to reflect on what the anime industry offered us this year. And after seeing a wide variety of shows, I believe 2015 should just be called the Year of the Moe. This year, not only did we get shows like Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic and Wakaba*Girl, but now this one too: Gochiusa...2!
Gochiusa 2 may not appear to be as appealing as other Fall 2015 shows such as One Punch Man and there may be a good reason for that. To some people, a slice-of-life approach may be too slow-paced for them. For others, just looking at the artwork within the poster for Gochiusa 2 may be a turn-off for them. And there's always that group that says "Why would I ever watch a show of cute girls doing cute things (CGDCT)?"
And you know, they are all technically correct. They're right - it is slow-paced, it uses a heavy "moe" appeal, it is very CGDCT, and, at the end of the day, nothing happens. But even with that aside, Gochiusa 2 is very charming in its own way and it does not fail to impress even within its own very tiny little slice-of-life niche.
Let's start off with the story and characters. Obviously, as with every other slice-of-life out there, there is no story and no character development. Without these important elements, I have no choice but to nitpick at the "small" things - it is, after all, these small things that set slice-of-life anime shows apart from each other.
The premise for this show has got to be one of the most absolutely unique settings that I have ever seen in anime. To summarize, you basically have five girls living in a quaint, cozy Italian-style town full of wide streets and alleyways that are lined with restaurants, supermarkets, and brick-and-mortar shops. And for me, I appreciate this change in scenery. Too many times have I seen in anime the overused and clichéd "group of friends in the same high school or same class or same club" setup. Gochiusa 2 breaks away from all of that. In fact, the story doesn't even focus that much on their time at school, but if you want to be technical about it, the five main characters attend three different schools (one middle school & two different high schools).
Additionally, Gochiusa 2 utilizes its unique premise to its fullest extent. It does not pigeonhole characters into one particular setting (can you imagine if Gochiusa 2 only showed the girls working in their respective cafes 24/7?). In every single episode, the girls are constantly on the move throughout the city. They might end up at a park, a supermarket, their workplaces, their homes, their schools - which all the more proves that the entire premise is used.
Alright, now onto the characters. The main characters are all very colorful in their own way. Each of them are quick to quip up a funny response to whatever another character has to say. Of all of the main characters, I would say Rize is probably the most interesting. Her military-like mindset and personality shows up throughout her conversations with other people. She is charming in her own way way and her presence injects a new level of humor into the series as a whole.
However, given this, I wouldn't say that the characters are completely perfect. Aoyama, for one, was (in my opinion) a weak supporting character. Too many times she just "happened" to be where the girls are (even if they weren't working at their cafes, she would just randomly show up into the scene). She would then say a few lines before falling out of the scene and showing up in a later scene (or in the next episode). She really didn't serve any purpose, and her presence was really treated more as an avenue for a couple more quick jokes. Basically, she was a gimmick; I would argue that nothing would have significantly changed even if she was left out of Gochiusa 2.
Secondly, the characters were a little predictable due to the nature of their relationships with each other. I know this might seem weird at first, so let me use two of these relationships as examples: Rize-Sharo and Kokoa-Chino-Megu-Maya. Rize and Sharo share your typical kouhai-senpai relationship. And like many kouhai-senpai relationships out there, Sharo plays the "what if Senpai notices me" card way too many times throughout the entire show. As for Kokoa, Chino, Mega, and Maya, they share more of a big sister-little sister relationship (at least from Kokoa's point of view, lol). But again, similarly with Sharo, Kokoa plays the "why don't you love your big sister" card too many times and hence there is a little bit of predictability on that front. Given this, I believe that this predictability issue is relatively minor - remember, slice-of-life anime is very limited in what they can do since they don't really have a plot or character development. And plus, their actions (at least within the context of those relationships) are just slightly different in execution every time that they are used, but despite that, their jokes/reactions/dialogues do share a similar basis.
As for the art, I mean, you can kind of tell from the poster and literally the first thirty key frames. It is certainly different but also certainly not worse from the first season - the artwork is much more illuminated, colorful, and, well, "fluffier." It certainly adds to the moe factor that I kept mentioning earlier and it does so very effectively. The producers also heavily integrate cutscenes throughout the show as a way to integrate somewhat exaggerated yet hilarious reactions from the main characters.
The sound is pretty awesome too. The OP and ED - like the artwork - have a very distinct moe factor to it. It is literally cuteness layered on top of cuteness and has the power to crush even the most cold-hearted man out there. One cool thing I really liked about the sound too was that the in-show sound was well cued with the characters' reactions. At one moment, the music would be very light, and then it would change to a grinding halt when the characters tell some really lame (but charming!) joke. This was done extremely well, so props!
(Also, the seiyuu for Tippy is on point. So on point.)
Overall, if you're looking for a slower change of pace to things with well-integrated humor and art and a extra dash of charm, I recommend this show. Now that you're done reading this super long review, let's go shop for a Tippy plushie together. Awh yes.
+ Good art, music, and sound cues
+ Colorful characters
+ Very, very unique premise
+ Episodes flowed well despite no obvious plot present
+ There is SOME thematic content (specifically that relating to friendship), but I wouldn't say this is the main focus of this show.
+ Props/items used in the first season do carry over into the second season. Yay for consistency!
- Slightly predictable reactions or dialogues
- Weak supporting characters (just a few of them!)
~ Moe appeal
***If you're not really into the neutral factors that I indicated above, I strongly recommend you to set aside your predispositions and give this show a shot. I'm pretty sure there are some shows out there where you are like "Yeah well that's a dumb premise" or "that character sounds lame" but after you start the show you're into it. Try it before you buy it!***
Story: 6 (including the premise + flow but excluding the plot itself since there isn't one)
Art: 8 (bring on the moe!)
Final judgment: In a larger context, this is definitely one of the better slice-of-lifes I've seen out there. Without the weak points I indicated at first, this would have easily gotten a 7.