|Good emphasis on character and world building. Also, More Cyan. 'Nuff said!||The overall bent of the the story of s2 may have been a little too different from s1.|
When season one of the Show by Rock series aired last year it was one of my biggest surprises of that season, and of the year in general. So it was with no little excitement that I anticipated season two! After teasing viewers with a series of short anime a season before season two came out (which was effective in increasing my “hunger” for the incoming season two admittedly) when season two finally arrived I was positively delighted and had already committed to following and blogging series on a weekly basis. Now that the season is over I have found myself in an unexpected place with regards to the series as a whole, and am beginning to think of it from a perspective I had not considered originally. After assessing season two and comparing it with season one I was surprised to see it reminding me of another franchise – that of Dog Days. This may be surprising to some readers but bear with me a bit here.
In season one of both Show by Rock and Dog Days we had the main character drawn into an alternate world against their will and unexpectedly involved in entering into a “savior” like role. Likewise, in season two of Dog Days the switch in terms of emphasis of the story went away from Cinque and more towards the many characters in the alternate world Cinque found himself amongst and was welcomed by – and in season two of Show by Rock the narrative actually moves away from Cyan % wise, focusing more on enlarging the cast of the characters, touching especially on both a larger number of bands and on bits and pieces of expanding the setting of “Sound Universe” as a whole. And finally, that switch in the main focus took some of the viewers aback with regards to Dog Days, and the switch in focus has confused some of the viewers with regards to Show by Rock. In both cases, the strong first season set the tone for viewers, who have gotten used to second seasons “doing a very similar thing again”, which does happen from time to time with a decent number of anime franchises per se.
So with that perspective in mind if one looks at season two of Show by Rock and does not look at it as a variation on a theme but rather on a sort of different primary angle on the world and its inhabitants in general. When taken in that light many things become clearer (at least they did to me). The point of this season was for all the inhabitants of Sound World to defend the planet together against a common foe from outside the planet, and in so doing to enrich the character cast itself, whereas the point of the first season was more of a one-on-one match between Cyan and Dagger. Whereas one would expect Cyan to stand out and shine brilliantly in season one, in season two her main importance moves away from “individually standing out” to being able to unify a large number of people around a single cause – a serving as a catalyst, as it were. And in that light she wonderfully fulfilled her role when she and the other members of Plasmagica defeated BudVirginLogic. If they had not defeated the immediate threat of Dagger and BudVirginLogic all of the bands as a whole would not have been able to stand together against the Queen of Darkness. Yet because Cyan’s presence was so strong in season one it almost made it harder to see and evaluate why she was so important in season two as well as evaluate season two as a whole, I feel.
As to the season itself I feel not much need be said – in terms of production values objectively in very many ways it measured up to the standards of season one (though I felt there was a brief hiccup in some of the animation styles of the second half of the final episode which should be able to be easily corrected in the blu-ray releases, I would surmise). The odd visuals have always been a strong selling point for the series for me, including the ability to switch between three differing settings: that of the real world which Cyan inhabits, that of Sound World and the Sound Universe, and that of the “dark monster dimension”. Yet the area that really shines and stands out for the series as a whole is, of course, the music. In that regard, though, I felt that overall, despite having a stronger OP the music of season two was not quite as appealing for me. The voice acting continues to be plenty fine, of course, and it was nice to see more characters dwelt on and enriched, as if we had the chance to get to know them because we spent more time with them. ^^
Overall I would give the series a B+ rating, I think. It was not quite as strong a season as the first for me, but there were still many, many things it did well and it did right, and it still held my attention throughout the entire time it was airing. If it does go the route that Dog Days did future seasons may continue enriching the Sound Universe setting as a whole, and now that I am kinda “used” to the fact that events may not follow previous seasons in a heavily discernible pattern it actually opens the possibilities for the franchise’s anime adaptations as a whole, I believe! However, I wonder if season two will be even half as successful as season one, which was a surprisingly strong disc seller. Only time will tell, of course, but should future adaptations ever come down the pike you can be certain that I will happily re-visit the Sound Universe with the lead character and her companions! ^^
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