Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls 2

I definitely like the idea of a ‘what if the Tokugawa shogunate survived to the 21st century’ setting; this isn’t steampunk, but it is an odd and interesting melange of the modern and the historic. All the social structures are still in place. It’s also good to be a childhood friend of a princess from the Tokugawa clan.

The combat scenes between Yagyu and Hanzo were nicely done, and the quality and style of the animation has held up well in this second episode. I continue to enjoy the nice colors and textures of this series, but so far the story is neither exceptional or thrilling. The comedy too, mostly falls flat. So far, this series’ only strength is that it looks really good, and takes place in an interesting alternate universe, which is enough…for now. I guess. Rating: 2.5

Yosuga no Sora 2

Haru has the correct reaction ready for when his twin sister walks into his bedroom in the middle of the night and strips down to her undies: W.T.F. The tense situation is defused, however, when she says she needs to be measured for a school uniform. Riiight. Sora’s got problems.

She’s not alone, though. Haru is faced with too many different girls, one of which – a girl who’s always chauffeured around in a pimpin’ long-wheelbase Lincoln Town Car, of all things – seems to also be in a very ‘complicated’ relationship with an upbeat, bob-haired redhead who lives alone at a friggin’ enormous mountain shrine.

This series also features a Loud Obnoxious Male Chum(TM) whose introduction naturally makes Sora retreat behind her brother in fear. Dude, she’s a shut-in who rarely makes contact with other human beings…a little sensitivity, please? Oh yeah, I really don’t like the opening, (it sounds out of tune) or the ending (too sappy) or the post-credits fanservice (I’d rather have 2-3 more minutes of the real episode) Rating: 2.5

Star Driver 2

Two episodes through, and I still struggle to find the right words to describe why I’m thoroughly enjoying Star Driver. It has lots of style and immediacy, but it doesn’t come off shallow or pointless. It doesn’t hesitate to toss its audience right into the midst of things, but the resulting confusion is a boon rather than a frustration. Takuto is new to the island, but he’s obviously been trained in piloting a cybody, because twice now he’s been able to dispatch an enemy with ease. Both times, to protect Wako. So he’s hardly a blank slate; everyone has had a past before this, and their roles and allegiances are clear.

He’s also invited to a meeting of the “drama club” where open discussion of the cybodies and the struggle occuring on the island takes place. I like how just about everyone lives dual lives here: their normal workaday high school lives, and then their alter egos in flamboyant costumes who are either good guys or bad guys, as well as ‘maidens’ like Wako who apparently make cybody activation possible. It’s also interesting how the real world simply stops when a cybody comes to life and engages in battle; just one of dozens of neat little ideas Star Driver possesses. Rating: 3.5