A few weeks ago I was scrolling through my Facebook to stumble across the announcement of a Kekkai Sensen season 2. It threw me off guard for a moment. I mean, most shows don’t get new seasons these days, right? If the next season isn’t announced almost immediately, or if the show hasn’t reached the insane popularity level of something like One Punch Man or Yuri!!! on Ice, it’s best to put down your hopes. And even if they do somehow get that second season greenlit, it’s still a struggle to get the proper amount of episodes (I’m looking at you, Arslan Senki). So, what’s with this sudden influx of new seasons? And what are the pros and cons of this influx?
No, really. I’ve put the initial pin on Kekkai Sensen, but a quick list of shows that I expected to be one-time shots that have either announced or already aired new seasons include One Punch Man, Yuri!!! on Ice, Danganronpa, Blue Exorcist, FLCL, Boku no Hero Academia and Inferno Cop. Even shows which, while a season 2 would be expected by fans, would have gotten the shaft a few years ago include Bungou Stray Dogs and Ajin. These days it seems that if a show is even remotely popular, and if the story hasn’t concluded, you can bet on a second season.
So Why is it a Big Deal?
Let me tell you a story: years ago, I picked up an anime called Deadman Wonderland. To me, it was great – interesting, dark plot, strong characters, and strong animation. The biggest problem? It ended inconclusively. So I went on a hunt, bought and read all the manga, and now… it’s my favorite manga. It frustrates me to no end that the anime never got the second season that the story deserved. And it’s not just Deadman Wonderland — Umineko no Naku Koro ni never got the second season that would have given it the same acclaim as its cousin, Higurashi.
So, when these anime are getting new seasons announced, it means they get the exposure and adaptations that they deserve. It’s as if the creators have taken the criticism-turned-joke “Anime is just a glorified ad for the manga,” to heart and decided to change it for the better.
Why Does it Then Become a Problem?
As exciting as the prospect of a Kekkai Sensen season 2 is, it has big shoes to fill. Though, admittedly, the first season could have tightened up on the story, it produced not only incredible animation and one of the greatest soundtracks in recent memory, but both an OP and ED that have transcended into legend. How does a new season not only meet, but beat those expectations? It’s a tough challenge to overtake.
It’s a problem I’ve already begun seeing. Ajin’s ED has been my favorite for a while, so I was excited to see what they would do for its second seasond’s ED, only to be disappointed. They took the same formula that made the first ED great, which, by itself, might have been fine, but they added a singer whose country, off-tune-sounding style was way too harsh compared to Mamoru Miyano’s mellow, beautiful voice that made the initial ED so impactful. Though, in this instance, I should be grateful it’s only the ED I have problems with. It could be worse…
New Seasons We Never Wanted
It’s time address the elephant in the room. In the past, when describing a perfect ending, anime fans might have pointed to the end of Code Geass R2. Anyone who’s seen it would agree that it’s a brilliant way to wrap up a show with a conclusive ending that reinforces the show’s themes and ideals. And then, with one fell swoop of announcing a season 3, that ending was destroyed.
This also goes for the announcements of new Clannad and FLCL shows. What are we to expect? When these shows ended so long ago on a satisfying note, why are they being revived? The quick and obvious answer would be so that studios can make a quick buck, but we can at least hope they have something good in mind. And if not… well, we can pin our hopes that the money that they make will go towards new seasons we really want.
The Future of Anime and Season 2’s
I’ve heard complains about Hollywood going towards the point where every new blockbuster is either an unnecessary, terrible sequel or reboot of an old, beloved franchise. While I might agree that a lot of these sequels might be unnecessary, no one can argue that all are terrible. As much fun as it might be to crap on the MCU, this newfound popularity has given deserved popularity to comic book characters that otherwise would have been left in obscurity (I’m looking at you, Guardians of the Galaxy). At the same time, this surge of sequels helps revitalize the entire film industry, which will eventually help in giving us the occasional true, beautiful, original gem. So, while we may be getting less-than-stellar reboots of Ghostbusters and the like, there is still good that comes out of it.
Which may be true with anime. While people may eventually start to complain about the excessive season 2’s that we don’t want, it’s because of this newfound love of new seasons that lead us into getting well-deserved sequels such as Diamond is Unbreakable and the future JoJo parts.
Yes, there is a fair chance that these second seasons may not live up to their initial installments. Still, I’d much rather be hopeful than skeptical. Who knows, they just might surprise us.