My view: Eccentric Family's second season is about growing up
A lot of things happened in the first season of Eccentric Family, but to the extent that it had an overarching theme and development, I remember it as being about family and the Shimogamos coming to (somewhat) deal with their father's death as they learned about what happened in that crucial time. The result was often spectacular. However, this left plenty of room for exploring both the characters and the setting, and simply having some really beautiful and affecting adventures.
Eccentric Family's second season is different. In particular, I have come around to the idea that it is strongly focused on forcing all of the Shimogamo brothers to grow up and to move beyond the comfortable stasis that they had been in after their father's death (and for Yasaburo, probably even before then). The first season did cause some character development, but looking back I think that it mostly affirmed and revealed character, not changed it (Yajiro being the exception). You can't say the same of the second season; by the time it ends, Yajiro, Yaichiro, and especially Yasaburo have made major changes to the paths of their lives.
The Shimogamo brothers are not the only people to grow up and change, either. Almost the entirety of Benten's arc is about cracking her shell of omniscient invulnerability, and the last episode reveals that the Nidaime is also stuck on the past, unable to move on. All of the major characters in the second season need to grow, and all of them get hard shoves about it. No one gets out unchanged and unaffected.
(The one prominent character who refuses to grow and change pays a heavy price for their inability to let go. Twice.)
Things with Yasaburo and Benten especially stand out to me. In a way it would have been easy for the show to let Yasaburo continue through his life with the crowd-pleasing ambiguity and indecision that he showed in the first season and much of the second. The interplay between Benten and Yasaburo is always enjoyable and great, and they have such a complicated and deep relationship that things could have continued for a long time. But the second season does not let the situation stand and in the end Yasaburo is forced to get off the fence; it's clear that his relationship with Benten will be quite different from now on.
(I mentioned this on Twitter and I feel like saying a bit more about it, even if this is not as coherent as I had in mind when I started writing.)
Checking in on the Spring 2017 anime season 'midway' through
It's time once again for a 'midway' update on my earlier impressions of this season. This update has been delayed partly because I've gotten lazy and partly because I've been a little bit reluctant to actually admit something about what I'm watching (this happened last season too).
- Eccentric Family second season: This is perhaps not quite as
exciting as the first season was, but that's because we've seen
the first season so there are fewer surprises and revelations.
What we've gotten is still really great, with character developments
substituted for revelations.
(I have some views about this. The short form version is that in the first season, characters did not grow too much; instead they just got revealed. In the second season, several characters are being forced to move out of their stasis and actually change.)
- WorldEnd: This has continued to be as solidly good as it started
out as. The characters are appealing, the twists are interesting and
surprising, and it's become one of the rare shows that manage to sell
me on the romance involved (and even the process of it happening).
- Alice & Zoroku: After its initial burst of action in the first arc, the show has focused its energy on the characters and the result has been great. It's warm and charming and very effective at developing Sana as a real, understandable person who comes across as being her (young and confused) age.
- My Hero Academia: There are inherent limits to what a shonen show can and will do in a 'sports tournament' setting, and the whole thing can get a bit repetitive with match after match. However, on the good side, MHA has finally mastered the art of not making things feel slow. I have no idea if it actually is slow compared to the manga, but the important thing is that MHA is not dragging in the way it was in the first season, where the padding was blatantly obvious. The result is generally a pleasure to watch.
Okay and sort of on the edge:
- Re:Creators: The show was doing pretty well until it gave a lot
of focus to Magane (and <spoiler> happened). Magane stinks up the
joint when she's on screen, partly because she's not actually a real
she's a cackling plot convenience. I said some things on this on
but the bit I didn't mention there is that all of the good fiction
characters in Re:Creators have clearly grown and changed due to
their time in the real world. Magane has not been affected at all.
Despite my disgruntlement over Magane and some of the general direction of the show, it has been just good enough overall lately to keep me watching for the moment. However, it is at least close to the edge and I won't be terribly surprised if it manages to push me away before it finishes.
Stalled and basically dropped:
- Rage of Bahamut - Virgin Soul (as of episode 6): I feel sad about
more or less completely losing my enthusiasm for this (the original was
a pretty good show, after all), and haven't really wanted to officially
admit it. Nina is a pretty great character and Rita is always fun, but
the show completely failed to interest me in all of the other characters
and it insisted on spending plenty of screen time on them and on all
of their plot twists. I'm especially uninterested in Kaisar and his
angst (Rita had the right idea when she threw him into the canal);
he was a pretty much always a wet blanket whenever he appeared.
(In the original, Kaisar was mostly the straight man to Favaro's comedian, and in Virgin Soul Kaisar alone has worked about as well as you'd expect a straight man all on his own to work.)
As with last season (cf), I feel perfectly happy with how few shows I'm watching. Four shows that I'm solidly enjoying is fine, and I have no particular urge to watch more.
(Anyways, it's biking season so I have other things going on.)