You can just call 2015 “The Year of Moe”. Along with the second seasons of Kiniro Mosaic and Non Non Biyori—and the third season of Yuru Yuri—we’ve been gifted one more precious present in the form of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka??. Can it finish what Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic started and make The Year of Moe something we’ll fondly look back on years from now? If you’re familiar with the series, you can probably guess the answer.
The story continues where the first season left off, and now more than ever, Cocoa is determined to be a big sister to Chino-chan. Other than that, there still wasn’t much of an overarching narrative going on, however, the episodic nature continued to be executed well, and there were more memorable moments than in the first season, in my opinion. The ones that really stood out the most for me were Chino and Cocoa getting drunk on chocolates (how did Chino manage to get even cuter???), the chain of stalking, and the trip to the mountain cottage. That was something that was long overdue, getting to spend some time away from the confines of the cafes and exploring the outside world a little bit more. Moreso than the first season, I felt that the experiences were a little more interesting and memorable, although that may just be due to my memory. Either way, the girls’ adventures remained as fun as ever, and for this genre, that’s really all you can hope for, storywise~
One thing I really love about Gochuumon is that there seems to be more depth to the characters than in your typical slice of life. Yes, all the girls are adorable and charismatic, yet through some introspection and self-reflection, the attempt to humanize the characters a little more works wonders. More than anyone, I felt Chino was the biggest beneficiary, and seeing her open up more was definitely a highlight for me. All of the other returning characters were every bit as great as before, but season two saw fresh faces join the fray as well.
The one new addition to the cast (Mocha) and the two with expanded roles (Maya and Megu) were not only welcome additions, but they also didn’t mess up the near-perfect chemistry that’s already been established between the girls. Okay, so Mocha was only there for a couple of episodes and wasn’t a permanent fixture, yet she managed to assimilate seamlessly into the group, and she made for some great moments with Cocoa.
On the other end of the spectrum, I have to admit that I wasn’t really a fan of Maya and Megu’s increased presence at first, but by the end of the season, I came to realize the error of my ways and very much enjoyed having them around. Even though this series does an awful lot of things right, the quality characters are something that sits there at the very top of the list, in my opinion.
As is the case with this genre, there really isn’t too much visual change from the first season to the second. That being said, the first season was already fine as it is, so it’s not a problem whatsoever. The setting and atmosphere are extremely warm and cozy, which further compliments the cuteness of the girls and makes this very easy on the eyes. Anime studios constantly try to one-up each other with increasingly adorable characters and situations, but for me, Gochuumon is the undisputed champion in this regard.
Like a soothing cup of tea served to you at Ama Usa, the audio continues to match the relaxing tone set by the rest of the show. It’s nothing spectacular, although it is surprising how this series manages an easygoing yet adventurous theme that stands out so much. Speaking of themes, the OP and EDs are right in line what you’d expect, cute and catchy. More of the same may not be the most flattering praise you can level at something, but when the first season sounded so pleasant, that’s a fairly nice compliment to have heaped on you.
Season two of Gochuumon may not be on the level of Yuru Yuri or Kiniro Mosaic in terms of yuri content, but once again, Sharo is doing her part to contribute to the yuri cause. Everyone’s favorite cash-strapped waitress is still infatuated with Rize, yet there still wasn’t all that much happening between them. For a minute there, I was anticipating that Sharo x Chiya might become more of an actual thing, but nothing really became of that either. Poor Sharo, literally and figuratively. While Sharo x Rize may have been somewhat neglected by the creators, those who ship Cocoa x Chino must have loved all the attention paid to onee-chan and her imouto. Although I’m not one of those people and only see them strictly as best friends, enough material was produced that will inevitably lead to some (likely NSFW) doujins being made. Poor Chino. She’s 14, people! Anyway, the constant that is Sharo x Rize combined with the increase in Chino x Cocoa leads to a slightly higher yuri rating than the first season.
It’s easy to lump all slice of life anime together and call them the same, but I think there are many reasons why Gochuumon has seen more success than most of its moe brethren. Be it the perfect blend of characters, the consistently funny skits, or any number of other reasons, it’s practically impossible for a slice of life fan to not love what this series offers. Those that do probably just hate fun. That’s really the only logical explanation.