Welcome back to Anime Pocket Reviews!
After an action-packed blog last time out, this time we have one full of laughs. Later on, we review the second season of a hugely popular high-school comedy, but first, one of the unlikely heroes of the Spring ’19 Cycle.
(2019, S1, 12x12mins) Comedy
A spin-off of four fantasy series aired over the last few years, Isekai Quartet sees a big red button randomly appear in the worlds of Konosuba, Overlord, Re:Zero and Tanya the Evil. A mixture of curiosity and lack of willpower sees everyone press it and be transported into a traditional Japanese high school, where they are forced by other characters to live out a traditional teenage life!
Basically Plot: A comedy spin-off sees the stars of four fantasy anime forced to play out a traditional Japanese school life!
What looks like an easy, light-hearted series on the outside was actually one of the most hyped and anticipated shows of the year! We featured it in our 2018 Anime Review, while it quickly became one of the most popular series of the Spring 2019 cycle. Therefore, anticipations and expectations were high for this title. Thankfully, it’s delivered!
A mash-up of four notably successful fantasy series from the last few years, all with similar backstories and based on novels published under the same house – sounds like a dream, right? It’s worth noting here that we were fairly caught up on all the series involved before seeing this series; we’ve regularly cited Konosuba as one of anime’s great comedy series, while Re:Zero is one of the great series full stop. It’s hard to tell, but we imagine you will have to have some basic knowledge of the characters involved to enjoy this series as it is every bit of fan service we could have asked for! Watching the different show’s groups clash personalities is something that we could have never got tired of seeing and forms the backbone of this series.
However, past the play-ups and easy wins, Isekai Quartet also delivers a solid high school comedy that plays to the tropes of this much-loved genre. Class reps, field trips and sports days all feature in this quickfire series that doesn’t try anything spectacular but does complete justice to not just the four series but also for itself as a comedy. Granted, without the backing of some of the biggest fantasy series in recent years this show would likely fall flat on its face. However, this blessed title has made full use of its assets to deliver a hugely entertaining mini series that we can’t wait to see more of in the future!
ANIME RANKING: #69 – A decent ranking for a mini-series, placing alongside other comedies such as Love is War and just behind Konosuba!
If you liked this you’ll love: Assassination Classroom (#53) – Assuming you’ve seen the shows featured in this spin-off, for those looking for another high-school comedy, AC is a good bet! A classic high-school action-comedy, this story about a small class tasked by their teacher to kill him/it before he destroys the world, this oddball story shares a lot of similarities to Isekai but also delivers a full, well-rounded story.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. 2
(2018, S2, 24x24mins) Comedy
Continuing on from season one, the story follows Kusuo Saiki (left), high-school student and natural-born psychic as he tries to live an ordinary life. However hard he tries, though, he cannot shake off the cast of oddballs that seek to seemingly make his life as hard as possible. What’s worse, there are yet more weird students to come!
Basically Plot: Saiki continues to try and live a normal high school life while hiding his psychic abilities, but more odd students continue to disrupt him!
As you would quickly guess after reading our review of Saiki K. Season One, this is a hugely enjoyable comedy series! Fast-paced, smart and full of colour, it is simply a must-watch for fans of classically-slapstick Japanese comedies. However, an issue faced by many of these shows is the second season, when the same jokes have been heard and one-dimensional characters have been exhausted. Saiki K gave a good attempt at overcoming this fate, but at the same time fell into many of the predictable pitfalls.
As eluded to above, for the most part the second season of Saiki K is just as good as the first. Not diverging from the original themes, season two is full of small, enjoyable stories and its almost sketch-show style is refreshing, making the show really easy to watch. However, there is a feeling, especially later in the season, that the show is just going through the motions.
Many of the problems faced by Saiki K (both in in the story and in the sense of reviewing the second season!) come as a result of the side characters. Originally engaging and exciting, stalwarts such as Nendo, Kaido and Teruhashi begin to feel very repetitive as the show goes on. Probably understanding that, the show introduces a slew of new characters throughout the second season, with largely mixed success. Mikoto is a fantastic addition, adding something new and even bringing out new sides to the existing cast. On the other hand, many of the other new characters land with something of a whimper, providing a burst of entertainment but lacking comedy value.
Generally speaking, the new characters are the only noticeable change in a series that largely follows on from the success of the first season. The series continues to delivery laughs from beginning to end and while many of the characters end a little stale, there’s still plenty to enjoy here for fans of the first season.
ANIME RANKING: #48 – A slight drop in ranking for Saiki K but he remains in good company, alongside shows such as Wagnaria and Assassination Classroom.
If you liked this you’ll love: Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun (#66) – A high-school series full of oddballs and odd relationships, Nozaki-kun is a highly-underrated high-school comedy. Bright and fast-paced, this show is a bit more on the rom-com side than Saiki K, but fans of outlandish characters will find a lot of enjoyable personalities in this series!
Subscribe to The Culture Cove for regular anime reviews and recommendations! Keep an eye out for episode 64 featuring the second season of Terra Formars, Revenge!