To say that this show would be the guiltiest of guilty pleasures would be an understatement, at least from my experience. Obviously this stems from the fact that the show’s primary appeal is something that is looked down upon by almost everyone who cannot stand the way anime has pandered to the moe and loli fanbase. Unfortunately, these people have obviously didn’t bother to go through the entire show than just the first episode; which is just a tiny fraction of what the entire show is actually built on.
Ro-Kyu-Bu SS, the sequel to the infamous Ro-Kyu-Bu anime, is a by-the-book moe show that shows cute girls in rather suggestive positions and scenes related to sexual situations. Now with this in mind you’d think it’d be more focused on that aspect than the basketball which it is clearly also focusing on; to my surprise, the show does a great job of balancing out the fan-service and the basketball development so they don’t feel out-of-place. That isn’t to say all of the ecchi jokes or situations all hit the mark just right, as some of them felt overly long and drawn out at times, but for what it’s worth the ones that work are charming enough to overlook the bad ones. Again, it’s one of those things that you’re either going to love or hate and from my perspective, as someone who doesn’t like or dislike lolis, it isn’t anything too demeaning or offensive since the tone is very lighthearted. You can tell the writers are just having fun with the concept and putting it on-screen for us to see.
With the sequel in question, one thing that might disappoint some fans of the prequel who enjoyed the fan-service more is that SS doesn’t feature as much ecchi comedy and mostly centers on the basketball aspect more. One thing that Ro-Kyu-Bu actually does really well is how they handle the actual basketball strategy when a game has commenced. Any fan of basketball will feel at home with how the girls strategize their movements and giving out orders to their teammates just like an actual team would do. It is played straight without any needless fanservice in the game sequences which is nice to see that the writers aren’t trying to be forceful in trying to hard to entertain us. Now we come across new characters that are supposed to be the opposing team players for our main leads. The development they do in how these girls have grown to love the sport isn’t done with as much forced melodrama as the first season did, so I applaud the writers for at least showing some restraint. We also finally get to meet most of the girls’ family members so that we can actually get some nice background information in their family life so that we don’t see the lives of the girls as so one-sided.
The characters themselves are as about as cliched as you’d expect from a show like Ro-Kyu-Bu, but that doesn’t necessarily break the show entirely from this angle. Certain cliches have been done in many cases and you can make cliches in anime still work if you have competent writing and voice acting to go with it. Fortunately the voice acting is very good and fun due to a very stellar ensemble cast and the writing is competent enough to go through with less eye-rolling drama. To mention the cast, the casting here is fantastic from the very lovable Kana Hanazawa as Tomoka, Yui Ogura as the moe-tastic Hinata, and Kanae Itou as Aoi Ogiyama (the fact that she’s in here more works in benefit to the show.). With this casting, the chemistry with their voices and to the characters is quite strong and lovable at the same time. Making you laugh and go crazy with joy as they go through so much hilarity along the way.
The music in Ro-Kyu-Bu is mostly your standard J-Pop fare with pretty decent singing. With the sequel, I found that the opening was really nice and energetic just like the first season’s opening but the ending was rather weak and shallow in how it was written. The first season’s ending song was just like the opening and left the show with a nice, joyful atmosphere but singing in SS’s ending just felt too simple and forgettable, even after repeatedly listening on multiple occasions.
With a genre that has a lot to do with Moe girls, your art has to convey some sort of emotion that tries to capture our attention, otherwise the we won’t get anything out of it. To Ro-Kyu-Bu SS’s credit, its art design is really nice and sharp to look at with the girls looking even cuter than before with their big giant basketball shaped heads and their hypnotic eyes that stare at your soul. The same cannot really be said for the animation as it is your standard animation that doesn’t achieve any new visual flair that we’ve never seen before. As I said before, not even the basketball scenes garner any lasting impact to this department, which is unfortunate.
Basketball and Lolis combined might not make for a grand experience for a lot of people, but for the roughly 2-3% of the people in the anime community who do this would be their holy grail. As for me, the feeling is mutual for both sides of this debate. I can understand why people will have a hard time trying to get through something that they can’t fathom should’ve been put into a budget but at the same time I can’t help but like it for what it is. It doesn’t try to be more than what it already is and it does succeed in becoming an entertaining comedy in this case. If there actually will be a sequel to come out in the near future, we most definitely need to have more of drunk Tomoka. ‘Nuff said.