July 9th, 2014.
This Calm and Silly Life Of Ours
This had been announced in the final episode of the first season, 9 months ago. So they certainly had time to work on it, and the show had always been pretty.
ED – Pretty shots, fan-servicey shots, but next to no action, so uninspiring, the vocals and music never reach any heights either. Also, Miyu should be good at sports, so she should know better than to “run” like that, with her elbows wasting precious energy.
The show is still very pretty. The voice acting is as it was before – not 100% my cup of tea with all the “small and meek” voices, but it’s perfectly capable and does what it’s aiming for. Character designs are still lovely, animation and backdrops are sharp and crispy, and sometimes lush.
Voices seem a bit muted compared to the soundtrack, but it might be the general issue plaguing Crunchyroll these days.
The silly faces are still good. It’s like the show never left.
Themes / Plot / Etc.:
It’s like the show never left. We open with the exact same situation we ended the previous season with, with Illya over-sleeping, Miyu waking her up and an almost-kiss as Illya thinks of her “onii-chan” (anime pls). And then we go to school, only to have the safe and comforting slice of life “Cute girls doing cute things, Miyu being cold and doesn’t get stuff, and looooves Illya” with all the assorted gags.
We’ve also managed to throw in some fan-service here and there, not to mention how we’re using “sticks” to “inject life-giving mana” into a “cold cave”. Which is again, business as usual.
The music when they were filling the ley line node with energy was upbeat, and made it feel like something would happen, which felt out of place considering there wasn’t actually any opposition. In the end we got us a brown Archer-Illya. It’s interesting, Illya mentioned how she always felt as if a “switch” had been flipped inside her, and her first two transformations had been in situations of great stress, meaning Illya is essentially a berserker, which makes sense for people familiar with other Fate/X material.
So, a “Switch”, another persona, and then there she is! But my real question, the real issue, is the one that existed throughout the whole episode – where will the tension come from? We don’t have any immediate opponents, no direct conflict. Archer-Illya thus far seems like something more out of Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha which will be added to the slice of life.
Yes, it’s a first episode of a 2nd season, so it assumes we’re already invested, but had this been the first episode of a new series, I’d have been quite unimpressed, unless I was coming for a true “moe slice of life” show. I do wish they’d make it clear where the narrative tension is supposed to come from, cause it’s sort of promised. I am sort of fine with the comedy-slice of life show as well, though I often am not the biggest of fans.