AKB0048 S2 ends

The foundation of the second half of AKB0048 is basically a valiant attempt to chew what the first half bit off. And it was a big labour, with ups and downs.

First, the bad news: I hated the mushroom pokemons. Totally. The. Worst.

But aside from that, it wasn't bad. Although the ultimate showdown between Nagisa and Chieri was kicked down the road, it was better handled than e.g. Ranka versus Sheryl. Consider that it does not even need to be resolved, if one of them choses to graduate before that. The trick way the main prize was split appeals to my desire of Solomon solution, too.

The "everyone is a star" aspect, I think, did not come out as good, but merely good enough. If you watch a true masterpiece, such as Shingu, you get the sense that there's a much wider world outside of the immediate sphere where the main characters struggle. Here, the screen time of other characters was used less productively. I can see they managed to cram everyone in, even Megumi. But on the other hand, look at Mimori (pictured). We are very happy for her success, but what was the point of all that? In this sense even the whole episode devoted to my favourite, Makoto, was a bitter prize.

The shout-out to fans with the "NO NAME" thing felt like a noble idea. Again, execution was somewhat underwhelming, but props for trying. {Update: I went to rewatch S2 03-04 and it was really apparent in retrospect how much they worked to make fans feel acknowledged and essential.}

BTW, Nagisa's voice is just as weird as always. Karen Iwata spent 2013 largely out of mainstream spotlight, with no new records or ranks since August 2012, when she made Team A. Being the only AKB48 member who's a victim of the great earthquake, she was busy with charity work, and also hobbed by ailing health (she underwhent a fix-up surgery for headaches resulting from poor recovery of broken nose, and seemed to camp out in hospitals since). It may be that her star anime role was not the harbinger of a bright career, but merely its apex.

Liked: First half was stronger, but yes
Rewatch: Doubtful