|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Junjou Romantica 2
(Rent- or Watch+)|
(All episodes watched):
In the US either you're gay or you're not, but in Japan there seems to be countless shades of gray. Season two of Junjou Romantica gets off to a good start as we meet a new character, Akihiko's estranged brother Haruhiko. Though I enjoyed it, this first episode seemed slightly less lively and fun than the episodes of the first season. The timing and punchlines of jokes seemed slightly overdone--unless I'm imagining things. This is only one episode, after all, and the first one often varies considerably from the rest as the crew gets into it's stride. As before, the realistic hair coloring and similar character designs make it tricky to tell who's who. The same three couples from season one continue their stories here. My favorites were the man who's not gay and his nephew (I think) who is, but they got only two episodes (if I remember correctly). I concluded that if season two was anywhere near as good as season one, this would be a fun show well worth watching.
The overall quality seems pretty much the same. However, I'm having a hard time taking Haruhiko's motivations seriously. It was never completely clear why Akihiko had taken a liking to Misaki, and Haruhiko's reasons make even less sense. I kind of wish the series would move on to one of the other subplots. Still, the jokes are fun and I enjoy the show. Nowaki and Hiro seem more fun to me, perhaps because their storyline moves along at a faster clip (since Akihiko and Misaki take up the bulk of the available time). It's seldom certain which of the three couples will get the next episode; as of episode six I think Nowaki and Hiro have gotten either one-and-a-half or two episodes, Akihiko and Misaki have gotten the rest, and as yet there is still no word from the third couple (I forget their names). The six characters seem to have at least heard of each other, whether they're romantically involved or not, and occasionally mention one another or play small parts in another couple's episode.
Episode ten was fun, in part because a woman enters the story (at least for one episode). It's always fun to see how gay men get along with women, especially when she's begging Akihiko to marry her! This episode also fleshed out Akihiko's big brother Haruhiko a good deal. Previously he had just seemed like a jerk who was harrasing Misaki, but now you can understand why he feels the way he does.
The series gets an OK but not awesome resolution. Surprisingly, Misaki was still uncomfortable with getting intimate with "guys" right up to the final episode--you'd think he would have made up his mind on that subject long ago. Perhaps that's one reason why I got a feeling that the characters didn't develop dramatically; this was more a matter of joking around, and occasionally trying to rev up the naughty excitement, but without much satisfying change on the character's parts. There was some--more or less a happy ending for everyone involved--which made the series fun and enjoyable. Things don't fall into place so cleanly that the series is clearly complete and nothing more could be added on (maybe the manga was unfinished). A third season could be attached, but I doubt if it will be since few anime go beyond two seasons. I was a little uncomfortable about watching man-on-man action when I began Junjou Romantica, but fortunately there turned out to be relatively little of that and a good deal of humor instead. I guess in a way the slow character development worked out to my advantage.
My favorite line: "He may be dull, but in his own dull way he has many things about him which aren't quite so dull" --Usagi
Last updated Wednesday, February 18 2009. Created Saturday, October 25 2008.