Isekai Quartet 2
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 1 of
Isekai Quartet 2 ?
Ah, Isekai Quartet! How much I've missed you. Oh, and I see that you're a quintet now? Even better!
The first season of Isekai Quartet was easily one of the funniest anime of 2019 and my #3 overall pick for the year, so its follow-up was my most anticipated title of the Winter 2020 season. While the first episode of the new season may not be one of the series' out-and-out funniest episodes, neither is it a disappointment in any way. It shows that the wit and cleverness used in mixing the casts of assorted popular isekai series together was no fluke, as the amazing balance that the writing achieved in keeping the four original component series roughly equally-involved handles its new additions just fine, too.
Before we get to the big addition, let's look at the ones from the existing series. Chomusuke, the cat with the cross on its forehead, is Megumin's familiar from KONOSUBA, who first appeared in episode 2 of the franchise's second season. Not sure how much this character adds, since it's technically more in the pet category, but as Tanya points out, a demon cat would hardly be the strangest individual in the class and it gives an excuse for Emilia's Puck to also officially be counted as a student. The other new appearances from the established series are the two distinguished-looking elderly butlers from among the four titles. Sebas Tian, the one who looks like he's missing his left eye, is the leader of Nazarick's maid corps in Overlord, while Wilhelm is the butler to Crusch Karsten, one of the ruler candidates in Re:Zero and an instrumental figure in combating the major villains who appear late in the series. They make a more compatible pairing than I realized until I saw them together, as both act very dignified, are very loyal to their lords, and are major-league bad-asses in melee. Both would also know a thing or two about love (Sebas Tian from a current relationship, Wilhelm from a past one), so I'm sure that discussion would be fascinating. Somehow the fact that they are apparently the school's janitorial crew also fits perfectly.
The big and much-anticipated addition, of course, is the debut of Naofumi (the Shield Hero), Raphtalia (the raccoon girl), and Filo (the giant bird who transforms into a little blond girl) from The Rising of the Shield Hero(1). Naofumi, at least, will be joining Class 1, and presumably Raphtalia will as well, while Filo is being treated as one of the pets; her and Hamsuke should make for amusing pen mates. Kazuma's observations about Naofumi playing on hard mode do seem fitting for a number of reasons, and it looks like Filo is going to get along fine with Subaru and Aura, at the very least. Probably the best joke concerning the newcomers is how Naofumi ended up here: his shield turned into the button. Naturally he also gets to show off using his shield's powers. I look forward to seeing how they will interact with others; Raphtalia should find spiritual sisters in Rem and Albedo, for instance.
There were plenty of other neat little bits packed in as well. The whole discussion among Ains's subordinates about who has the best viewing angle of their lord in class (Demiurge wins because he can see both Ains and the board at the same time) is pretty typical, as is no one accepting that Aqua is a goddess except for (privately) Ains. Should also be interesting to see what consequences there are for the new, very mixed seating chart. The baseball games also has its moments, especially Darkness deliberately trying to get hit when she realizes that her inability to attack effectively translates to batting as well (a clever connection there!), while Mare bats with his staff; not sure that's legal. Also can't forget the way Aqua destroys the Death Knight and then brings him back after being chastised for it.
The technical front remains the same, with Raphtalia being a major winner on the character design front; her chibi form is absolutely adorable. Not getting a proper opener or closer for the episode was slightly disappointing, especially given how great the ones for the first season were, but this episode offers so much else in their place that it's not a true detriment. We're only getting 10 episodes for this season, but it looks like every bit as much of a fun ride as before.
(1) – For those not familiar with this series, Naofumi's reference at one point to their being “no other heroes in this world” is probably specifically meant to refer to the other Cardinal Heroes from his setting and possibly the otherworldly group they encounter
Isekai Quartet 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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