Sometimes a change in tone from the previous season to the next one can be a good thing to a series. This depends on the show in question, whether the writers want to take on a different direction on where the plot is going that changes the atmosphere. As long as they keep adding new elements to the story that doesn’t detract on what makes it good, that can be a welcoming change. Just don’t assume everyone is going to be 100% on board with it. The 2nd season of Sidonia no Kishi can be classified under this predicament.
Many anime fans were hooked by Sidonia no Kishi’s dark and oppressive story that they felt as though they were watching an anime that had a mature tone unlike many anime that came out during its seasonal run. It certainly felt that way with the apocalyptic setting in space that you normally don’t see very often. Unfortunately not many people will see this sudden change with baited breath halfway through this particular season. For Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki, there is a Slice of Life/RomCom section to this season that takes up about eight episodes of the season. Not to say that the first half is predominately occupied by these genres, but it crops up more often than people would be used to in an anime like this.
The side that I have placed myself on whether I approve or disapprove of this tonal shift is on the positive side. I say this because we are now at a point into the story where we have grown to like and sympathize with the characters previously in an entire season that it doesn’t feel out of place. There is a good sense of genuine camaraderie between the character interactions that shows how close the character are to each other that drives them to survive in the hostile universe they inhabit in. These can include romantic developments that end up in humorous outcomes but nevertheless still feel on-point to make us like the characters more. It is important to create these scenarios at some point, that way the characters aren’t just archetypes to move the plot along; you gotta learn to appreciate the amusement generated by characters to feel any empathy towards them.
The addition of the new character, named Tsumugi, is one element to the comedic aspect to the 2nd season. She could be considered the comic relief to the series, however she isn’t a stick in the mud in the way she is treated in the story. Tsumugi wants to be liked by everyone in the human world and her development with our main and side characters is done with good care from how she interacts so innocently than what many guana’s do that the humans are used to. Season 2 takes its time to create her presence in the story for us to accept her part of the role in it. It’s also remarkable that, despite how she doesn’t have much in terms of facial expressions to show off emotion, she still has about as much expressions as any other character in Sidonia no Kishi.
As previously mentioned, even though the first half is mainly comedy, there are still some serious plot devices thrown out in-between. They service the plot decently enough to continue it along. The last four episodes is where the plot really kicks into gear with a nail-biting climax that quickly gets you back into the epic journey that made me be engaged by the 1st season. There are a few moments in these last episodes that are just as, if not more intense than the last season. Thankfully it ends off on a better note than the 1st season, which I felt was a little rushed in many areas. Instead of a half-baked attempt at closing up character plot devices, the show takes it time to give the characters some conclusion to their roles and what is to come of next in the next season.
The one big improvement to season 2 from season 1 is the animation, especially with the CGI. The 1st season, while certainly impressive in the action sequences and space backgrounds, felt lacking in the character animation movements and facial expressions. This has been a problem for many CGI anime shows that have recently been starting out to diversify styles of animation in anime. The 2nd season’s animation still has the same CGI animation techniques but they improve a lot from the aforementioned problems by giving the characters more lively and less robotic.
With a healthy does of humorous and dramatic scenarios mixed in, I would say this season is a great sequel that does not trump the 1st season, nor is it a lesser season because of it. There are different facets to it that make Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki unique in the series that makes it more than just a typical continuation. That is definitely something to admire it for. We don’t know where this series will head, but with one good sequel on the belt, the chances of it continuing this good trend are of a higher margin.