The extra exclamation point in Keion!! is warranted

I wouldn’t exactly label myself as a Keion! fan, but I do enjoy the series and find it to be very well executed and produced. With that said, its sequel, Keion!!, has managed to take things to a new level.

It’s a subtle change–one that has brought about both positive and negative reactions–but I think it’s a step in the right direction. Also, I can’t be sure if it’s an actual change in the show, or if my heart has simply softened over the past year. I’m going to assume it’s a change in the show, since other people have noted a marked change in direction as well.

But what is this change I’m talking about? Well, I think there’s certainly more thought and care being put into the production. Not like there wasn’t any of that put into the first series, but I feel that Keion!! is underscored by a strong sense of artistic proficiency in both the quality of the animation and the dynamism in its framing. They certainly have more money being thrown their way, and it shows. Also, 16:9 really helps. I only really saw the first series in fullscreen, and I should probably rectify that.

Beyond that, the whole affair seems more deliberate. While episodes still very much revolve around cute girls doing nothing, it seems that more often than not episodes are guided by underlying themes unique to them. There is notably an extra edge to the direction that feels a bit more thoughtful and professional. It plays by the rules, but works within those rules extremely well. One noted bit of directorial fun was how the school trip to Kyoto episode interacted with the following one, which covered what was going on with the younger side of the cast while the older girls were in Kyoto. It’s stuff that like that gives this season a bit more solidarity than the first one, I think. It seems they’re also throwing in a bit more music fanservice for the people who really wished for that kind of stuff, too.

Of course, the show stays pretty true to its roots as well. One thing the first series did well, and this series continues to do well, is capture the unpredictable nature of interactions between friends, but not have it feel in anyway contrived. Though, this may be due in part to CoalGuys’ excellent translation, even if they make the characters swear a bit too much.

In short, the new Keion!! is great, and I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. It’s kind of sad that’s it beating out SHAFT’s offering this season, but it seems they’re the ones operating on half a tank this time around.

And by the way, I really like GO!GO!MANIAC. Because I’m a Go Go Maniac.