It’s always hard to have a sophomore outing. It always gets compared to the first. The entire Da Capo game franchise seemed to escape itself away from this dilemma, by bombarding the audience with all things Da Capo. With the possibly annoying array of versions, revisions, sidestories, and fandisks of the Da Capo games alone, coupled with multiple manga and anime serializations, comparing each is no use. Just enjoy the Da Capo mythos. But in case of the anime versions, we need to look at the first season as reference to Da Capo Second Season, because it is not a version or revision of the original, it is a sequel.
With DCPS ending, the Da Capo anime has now become the longest running anime franchise of the bishoujo game genre. 52 episodes of fun with rainbow-colored hair and cute girls. Each season had its own unique share of positive and negative traits, but overall a worthy watch, especially if you had been looking through your mountain pile of Da Capo games. And the heat rises further, as Da Capo Second Season adds more girls into the already crowded fray of multiple hair colors and different personalities. You’re really bound to like at least one of them. The main guy actually has a literal change of character art in the new season, but who cares about the guy anyway?
Ironically, one new main character didn’t actually come from the games. Aisia, a new girl with mysterious powers, was derived from a manga serialization called Da Capo Second Graduation. The other new characters came from the Da Capo Plus Situation game. Some DCPS characters actually didn’t make the cut, one is really missing, one remains a cameo, and another one… hmm… let’s just say that
she is there but not really.
The story carries over from the first season, two years later. The mysterious power within the cherry blossoms are gone, main girls Nemu and Sakura are abroad, and all seems certain that Kotori (arguably one of the most favorable Da Capo girls) will take the limelight and shine. One problem though, Aisia steals the limelight more often than not, plus with (ooh spoiler) Nemu and Sakura returning once again, it is now a whole new battle for the love of this one boring male lead.
I hope to fully put the entire season in perspective, but really, everything that happens in Da Capo Second Season involves Aisia. I hope I was correct in saying that. Even when there were episodes that feature the other new characters, Aisia plays a vital part in each of their stories. This I think is where the second season is weak as compared to the first. There is little room for character development or focus for all the other girls. While you may argue that some have already developed (because of the first season), for an anime of the bishoujo genre, characters are more important than plot. I would have preferred more Mako episodes myself. Along with character development, Aisia was granted the key to open the door of the main plot of the second season. What convenience, Aisia gets all the attention. As I said, viewers may think that this season is all about Aisia AND Kotori (as implied in the OP sequence), but it turns out that Kotori stays to be coincidential rather than central to the plot.
In any case, Da Capo Second Season as a story is an excellent follow-up to the first Da Capo. It raises a lot of questions to the conclusion of the first season, and answers them one-by-one. The first season’s ending did have some logical and moral faults, and I was glad that DCSS transcended beyond the original content toward a more “true” conclusion this time around. But with Aisia getting more screentime, I figured that they never needed a entire length of 26 episodes in order to explain the point. If anything, I really hoped that more focus should have been dealt on the new DCPS girls and Kotori herself. It doesn’t need to be this focused on Aisia alone. I admit, Aisia rocks, but alienating fans of all the other Da Capo girls… a no-no.
Despite this, I really enjoyed the run. Character animation looks more consistent, the background music again memorable, and excellent songs again coming from no other than Yui Horie (Kotori) and yozuca* and rino/CooRie.
If anything, this may be the real time to close the huge Da Capo franchise. Onwards to DC II perhaps? I think it has already proven its point, each character strong enough to remain a bishoujo anime icon. If you can stomach the barrage of Aisia-only goodness, Da Capo Second Season is a worthy watch.