Grisaia no Rakuen | A must watch in my books!
Yay! On this lovely Wednesday day, I get to talk about one of my favourite Anime, Grisaia no Rakuen. This particular Anime is the second season, and I can tell you right now, the second season is SO MUCH better than the first. I loved the second season so much.
Anywho, enough of the fanboying, today let us get on with the review!
The animation in The Eden of Grisaia maintains all the unique characteristics of the first season, an extremely widescreen format with a rich and diverse color palette and nice shading. Given the nature of the plot, the scenery is a bit different from the previous season with a lot more shifting scenery. Given that most of the girls’ character development occurred in the previous season, don’t expect as much emotion in general as Yuuji doesn’t have much to offer there. There is a bunch of new characters in this season, most of which play minor roles but nonetheless, all play a part in the plot. The neko maid was a particularly fun addition (you’ll see why).
What is lost in emotion is made up and then some in many energetic action scenes and (occasionally) fights. Remember how Yuuji half-heartedly trained Makina with sniping and how Sachi is secretly an explosives expert? Expect the series to fully utilize those skills in this season. There are some gore and blood as with the last season; if you made it mostly unscathed through Amane’s arc in the last season you should be good here. I won’t say that the action (or physics) is completely realistic, but at least there isn’t any reliance on mechs or magic. Given the focus on Yuuji there won’t be as much fan service in this season, though you will still find some mature ecchi scenes, similar to what was in the first season.
The show starts with a rather fast-paced, pop-based OP that feels rather fitting given how fast the plot moves, though I don’t particularly care for the melody. There are two main EDs that go with each arc. The first main ED is a nice, electronic-infused work with a rather good melody, which reminds me of FripSide’s work with Railgun. The second main ED is a slightly slower piece that isn’t as memorable. Some of the BGM (especially the playful songs) is fairly familiar by now; though nothing was particularly worth collecting, it successfully gives the show a unique feel.
The original cast returns to give a strong performance in this sequel. The cast grows significantly with a lot of new supporting cast, some of which play pretty significant roles. As with the plot in general, expect the conversation to be a bit on the mature side relative to your standard harem.
The story takes a deviation from the character-based arcs in the prequel; it’s much more linear here. We last left off with Yuuji, for some reason, explaining his life story to Yuria. The first arc of this season continues where the OVA left off, explaining how Yuuji was re-socialized by his master Asako and how he learned to be useful to society through the armed services. It explains a lot about Yuuji’s motivations and how he became such an efficient and cunning killing machine. The second arc sees the return of Heath Oslo, the pedophile and prolific terrorist who wants to reclaim Yuuji. How will the girls return Yuuji’s favors in the past season?
Expect quite a few plot twists and cliffhangers in this winding adventure that grows to a literally atomic climax. This is followed by a nice, long conclusive ending.
I found this adaption truly amazing in its ability to connect events and characters. Point to virtually any scene in the prequel, and you’ll be able to see the repercussions in the sequel. Almost all of the open questions of the first season were completely dealt with in this season, barring the aforementioned unrealistic physics and what not. It truly is well beyond what I would have expected from an erotic hentai adaption.
Normally I’d condemn the mass-expansion of character but in this case, all the additional characters are prudently added and meticulously used. If you see a new character in the first arc, don’t be surprised to see them return later on.
The focus is squarely on Yuuji this season, and you’ll get to see him develop from an emo pile of suicidal massacre to a purpose-driven machine (yes… still rather emotionless) willing to sacrifice everything for the ones he cares about. There is a lot of this in the show whether it is Asako’s off remarks or Kazuki’s sly jokes- definitely, don’t skip the final part of the conclusion. In the latter half, you’ll also enjoy more of the original school girls- they’re mostly static characters by this point but still quite entertaining. The characters and how they were used in the second season, was by far, my favourite part of the whole Anime.
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