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Sasami: Mahou Shoujo Club 2
This season of Sasami: Mahou Shoujo Club brings forth serious plot developments and a greater focus on the characters of Misao and Sasami. My perceptions of this season are a bit mixed compared to the first one. This season puts an increased focus on Sasami and Misao's characters where their friendship becomes tested when the two and their friends are caught up in a plot conjured up by leader of the magical world, the Chief Sorceress, who has sinister plans of her own for the human world. In the case of Sasami, she becomes caught up in trying to trying to understand Misao's problems and dealing with Amitav whom she later learns is connected in a sinister way with the plans of the Chief Sorceress. Misao finds herself becoming conflicted choosing between her friends and the magical world as she comes to think of it as a place that can accept her for who she is, unaware that her conflicted feelings are being exploited for the personal gain of the Chief Sorceress. The developments were decently explored and made sense considering the issues both characters experience. The increased focus does come at the cost of the other three members of the magical girls club reduced to supporting character status, but the first season did enough to focus on those three as Sasami and Misao's characters had more complicated developments. This also allows more light to be shed on elements from the first season that were left unexplored such as Amitav's origins and the purpose of Sasami's father being in the magical world for the final episodes of the season.|
On the other hand, the older Shining Star magical girl team and the Chief Sorceress are underdeveloped with their characters as the former only serve the role of being hindrances to Sasami's group and the latter being instigator/ manipulator of the events for this season of the show. The conventional elements of mahou shoujo titles also tended to rear their heads at points within the season. While the developments of Misao with the mess can be overlooked since there is enough fleshing out of her character for it to make sense, the same can't be said for sudden demonstrations of power from the girls that they previously weren't capable of and how the ending to the series pans out.
The second season of Sasami's Mahou Shoujo Club is decent with its exploration on the conflicts faced by Sasami and Misao, as well as its more serious plot developments. However, the typical elements of mahou shoujo and the lack of depth on its antagonists does hurt it quite a bit for me, making it weaker in quality compared to the first season.
Last updated Friday, April 29 2011. Created Friday, April 29 2011.
Sasami: Mahou Shoujo Club 2
Note: This is a republication from my blog posting on this title with minor tweaks.
In Sasami: Mahou Shoujo Club, the goal was clearly to firmly establish the characters of the magic girl club (Sasami, Makoto, An-An, Misao, and Tsukasa) as well as set down a bit of the groundwork for a plot. In Sasami 2, plot takes over with most of the character stuff dedicated to Misao. How does it work? Pretty well.
Things pick up with the girls still training to be magic girls, even working on the poses seen in mahou shoujo anime titles or in sentai titles like Power Rangers. The story then follows the Chief Sorceress plan to bring over Sasami's group to the Magic World, Washu and Daimon's rescue of the girls, Itoki's attempt to take them back from Earth, the older magic girl group's (Shining Star) getting Misao to return with them, Sasami and the others coming to rescue Misao, the truth of the Witch Executives revealed, and then the Chief Sorceress's decision to fix earth and place it under witch control no matter what the cost.
Certain elements of the story were pretty predictable. Considering Misao's personality (introvert, not confident), it was pretty expected that the Chief Sorceress would use Misao's desire to be someone in her plans and that eventually, Misao would have to be rehabilitated. However, the surprise for me came in some of the execution in making this come to pass. The writers know that this is an old, predictable story so they worked on making the when and where elements the mystery. As a viewer, I appreciated that because then I never knew exactly when Misao would go to the dark side, nor did I know how she would return to the light. Good stuff.
I think another thing that surprised me is how much of a focus Misao is for Sasami 2. An-an, Makoto, and Tsukasa are relegated to supporting character status for the most part as the writers follow Misao's struggles and then Sasami's own struggles with her feelings regarding what is happening to her friend as well as her romantic feelings for Ami-chan (Amitav). As such (and combined with the plot elements), Sasami 2 is a darker, angst-filled title with not too many laughs.
Still, I found Misao's struggle for acceptance and to be something more of an element that the audience can easily relate to. I could understand why she didn't want to leave the Magic World the first time. She had found an older-sister type mentor in Ayane (leader of the Shining Star group), she was having fun, and she felt special. I also understood how the darkness she felt at learning the truth of being used made her so powerful, but I also understood how she came around too. So while not a new story theme, I found it interesting nevertheless.
In one of the rare humor moments, I laughed out loud when Misao had reconciled with the group and insisted that they not be too friendly with Monta-kun, the boy she likes in school.
While there are no standout episodes, I do think that the general darker tone of this series makes it stand out a lot. The truth behind Ami-chan is pretty horrific when one thinks about what the witches did to him. Also, the truth of the Executives is something I can see being horrific to younger viewers, though as someone older, it is something I've seen before, specifically in an old episode of Doctor Who ("The Five Doctors").
The child seiyuu perform quite well again. Sasami's seiyuu even has to sing and does a good job of things. The animation of her and Ami-chan singing in one episode is bad because their mouth-movements don't match the music at all (both in the Japanese and English versions). I think that was the only awkward, bad moment of the anime.Bottom line: Sasami 2 sacrifices the joy and wonder of the first series in favor of a darker tone with a plot tied in with character explorations of Misao and Sasami as they struggle with their feelings. So while I do like Sasami 2, I don't like it for the same reasons I liked Sasami (if that makes sense). Should there be another series (and I think there could be if the production team wanted), I'd watch it for sure. Either way, I mark this a Buy.
Last updated Friday, December 05 2008. Created Friday, November 28 2008.