The girls are back for more amusement in the clubhouse and we’re the lucky ones.
What They Say:
With the Amusement Club no longer in danger of being broken up by the student council, its members, Akari Akaza, Kyoko Toshino, Yui Funami, and Chinatsu Yoshikawa, can finally focus on amusing themselves. More or less allied with the student council, the members of both organizations embark on wacky antics together! Plus, we finally meet the siblings of all these girls as they make the most of their days in middle school!
Contains episodes 1-12 of season two plus a hardcover, full-color, 36-page art book complete with episode guide, character art, sketches, and promotional art.
The audio presentation for this release is standard for NIS America in that we get the original Japanese language only in stereo using the uncompressed PCM format for it at 1.5mbps. The series is one that is largely dialogue driven but it has some good incidental music throughout and plenty of expressive moments from the cast and their actions that helps it go beyond just the dialogue and all. The structure of the series makes for a few fun flights of fancy that come up and with a whirlwind of camera angles at times, dialogue gets moved around well with some decent placement and directionality. While it doesn’t play in the same realm as an action series, it does stand above a lot of other standard school based shows and is a lot of fun with its mix. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during playback.
Originally airing in the summer of 2012, the transfer for this twelve episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show is spread across two discs with ten on the first and two on the second, which also has a lot of extras. Animated by Dogakobo, the series has a lot of good colors to it and plenty of motion throughout in many scenes, especially the flights of fancy, so it’s not just stuck to the real and familiar. The colors come across as very solid here and while the main aspect of the show has a sort of standard and not altogether vibrant look to it, that makes the vibrant bits stand out. There’s a good bit of detail to the show overall and the transfer captures it very well with a clean, solid look to it that’s free of faults such as line noise or cross coloration. Colors generally remain very solid with little in the way of noise there, though some does creep in from time to time.
Similar to the first season of the series, NIS America has put together another excellent premium edition release here that makes it so worthwhile to be a fan of this show. The heavy chipboard box is really nice with its glossy feel that fits the show as we get the front cover with the core four girls of the series, in all sorts of different outfits from their stage play episode that’s going comically awry. The back cover works just as well as we see the core group together against a blue sky with a few cute clouds as they dance about. It’s light, airy and very appealing even as it gives us the standard cute girls in their simple school uniforms. Inside the box we get the two clear thin cases where the front covers provide some shots of the crew both at school and at home doing their thing together. The back covers bring out a number of shots from the show itself that are different on each disc which highlights the cast and the designs quite well. Silly cast shots dominate each back cover in general and we get a good rundown of the episodes by number and title along with the respective technical information for that volume. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The best piece though, once again, is the excellent hardcover book that’s included. Similar to the one from the first season, this one just feels thicker and better overall and it’s done up in some great colors that totally fits the age of the cast here. The book is filled with all kinds of great material, from the episode summaries done up in a cute and engaging way to a series of character sketches and rough pencil design work for them. We also get a lot of pages with the full color promotional artwork and original cover releases that’s just beautiful and really well done, making for a book you want to leaf through more often than not to take in and enjoy. The promotional images and other pieces from it definitely showcase the mood of a number of scenes and the lives of the girls while also having a number of them that play up the yuri aspect as well.
The menu design for this release is fairly straightforward and appealing as we get a mostly pink background with character stills floating through it along to some bouncy and fun music. The color scheme works nicely in making it all bright and colorful that fits the show completely. With it avoiding the whole static aspect that many menus do, it comes across well here with a fun attitude about it. The navigation is kept simple to a small strip along the bottom that’s quick and easy to navigate. With the show having only the Japanese language track and locked subtitles, there’s no language submenu to work through.
The extras for this release mirror the first one nicely with some additional pieces. The familiar clean opening and closing as well as the B-side previews for the episodes are always welcome inclusions. What we get that’s new for this release is a series of video art book featurettes, which essentially gives us the kinds of things you’d see done in Japanese magazines and booklets that are done in video form while being focused on particular characters. There’s about six of these total that run an average of twelve minutes each which gives you a good look at the individual characters and a few pairings.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the success of YuruYuri in its first season back in 2011, it did well enough to warrant a second season which hit in the summer of 2012. School girl comedies are fairly regular in anime every season and it’s surprising when one warrants a second go at it, especially when it comes out a year a later. I had liked YuyuYuri in its first season for its silly nature and the playing up of the yuri aspect itself, which always comes out every now and then in a show like this. But this one played to the comedy and the quirky otaku aspects nicely and was a bit more forward in some comical ways that left me grinning a lot more than I usually do. But it wasn’t flawless as it kept introducing more characters and that took away from the core four that I wanted to spend my time with. The second season tries to balance this better, but it still simply feels like too many characters.
Sometimes Yuru Yuri will take a chance and do something really out of place that can be a heck of a lot of fun. Even when doing something that seems to be normal, it can swerve outside of its normal boundaries of reality a bit such as one episode where we see the group going through a cleaning process in the clubroom. It’s that time of the year when new students will be coming in and clubs can hope and pray for new members. The cleaning process alone can be a lot of fun as we’ve seen in other series since it can harken back to good memories of times past and the meaning of various objects and pictures. For Yuru Yuri, things play to that angle a bit, but it goes a whole step further when they discover a time machine in a hidden closet space and Akari accidentally goes back in time.
The episode gives us a lot of time with the girls just hanging out in the clubroom, which is admittedly a big part of the draw for the series since watching them just act natural and engage in silly discussion is what drew people originally. With the core group of four here, they talk about all sorts of things, including a lengthy dialogue about nicknames which has Kyoko and Yui putting on a little show, not that Yui is all that interested in it. Kyoko of course takes it further than is warranted, which is comical, as she uses some oranges to make a parody of Akari where they’re used for her hair style at first and then boob missiles. Poor Chinatsu takes an even harsher hit with just the orange peels being used which has her giving Kyoko a less than flattering look.
One of the segments this season that’s definitely fun and reminds me of school days myself, albeit with different results, is when the girls are stymied trying to figure out what to do when there’s nothing but rain going on. Kyoko has some cute gags to throw at Akari about her hair and relation to the rain that makes me grin, but for the most part the foursome have to figure out what to do since they can’t get to the club room or go home with the downpour. So it’s back to the classroom where they play games, chat and just have a good time against that backdrop. The situation doesn’t have a lot of meaty material but it’s the kind of cuteness that I expect from them as they talk and I really like the whole feeling of the atmosphere around it because of the rain.
Sometimes a show can do a parody well and when something like this series does it, having gotten us used to the simple nature of the characters, it feels like it can go the distance. So having something fun like the full opening sequence here works well and makes for some good laughs as they do the whole magica girl routine. And that carries into the main show itself as we also get a Cardcaptor Sakura bit that’s just priceless, right down to the wand itself as it gets into things. With an episode title about selling out, it’s little surprise that they went for some of the more well known properties to have fun with all of this.
Having all of that part of the comic circle that Kyoko runs is rather amusing and it all segues into the selling side of it with a few of the girls having come along with her. It makes for a good mini group outing as they go through the routine, but a lot of it is related to Kyoko herself as we see her skills really shine here with all that she’s done to produce the book and how far she can go overall. The other girls are pretty impressed by it and give her a lot of praise, something that they don’t usually do. This is especially true when the mini animation that she created is shown to them and is quite popular at their table. But thankfully, the group doesn’t stand out hugely and dominates, keeping it a bit more realistic which is a welcome approach.
This episode also does a rather fun little montage at Comuket that provides some good laughs as we see various cosplayers, items and other mech to make fans drool as the girls walk through it. But the Comuket also signals that summer is coming to a close and it dominates but doesn’t take up the entire episode. The focus on the girls in the waning days of summer vacation is fun as well as they talk about homework and other things related to getting back into school. While they don’t have their usual club room in the summer, they do largely act the same when they get together and it’s definitely cute since it shifts them into summer clothes and more expressive moments.
As the show gets closer to the end of the season, after it spends some time with the older and younger sisters of some of the characters, we get a lot of different things as it moves about to all sorts of stories. There’s cuteness with Chinatsu getting all restless at first with the manga project and she really acts out in a somewhat surprising way. This episode also treats us to something special a bit further on as the girls and a few friends get together for some karaoke. That in itself could be dangerous enough but getting to see Akari do a bit of singing is priceless since she’s so awful. Chinatsu also hopes to get some singing time with Yui, but as her luck would have it, she ends up with Kyoko and does it in such a sad and depressed way that you have to laugh.
The karaoke session dominates an episode overall and it offers up a lot of varied character fun in general since the personalities are so strong. They have a lot of fun with things as it goes along as they shift up for duets, pick awkward songs and so forth. For Chinatsu, she does her best to keep trying for the pairing that she wants but is continually thwarted. Kyoko is just a pleasure to watch here in general though since she’s all over the map as is the norm with her personality. Luckily, there’s a semi-date of sorts as the two of them go out to a movie and hang out a bit and it includes a movie, which has some cute referential moments. It’s not that Yui sees this as a date, but seeing it all from Chinatsu’s point of view is fun as they hang out together.
While everyone else watches on in disbelief as she ends up shooting out of the room, Akari herself is flummoxed by the whole thing as she ends up in the relatively recent past in the clubroom. Luckily, she doesn’t go through a series of issues, not believing that she time traveled, before it all comes to reality for her. She gets it quickly and is appreciative of the tricks that some of them do, such as Kyoko and her hiding of food, which makes her stay in the clubroom of the past tolerable. With it being a year in the past, that means we get to see a few clips – in black and white! – of what happened then. Which can be kind of embarrassing at times for Akari. Thankfully, it doesn’t all work in this direction as Akari gets caught up in things along the way, so the vast majority of what we get here is new animation playing with her knowing the past.
Now, considering that the girls in this series don’t do anything of real note in their lives other than going through the motions, it’s not exactly a situation where Akari has a lot of big things that she could possibly change. There are some small things along the way here, but a lot of what we get is that the superficial changes are ones that are important to her, such as how she poorly presented herself at times and so forth. There is something to that, awkward as it may seem, as a teenagers view of self is vastly different from how an adult will handle it. And as Akari’s sister goes over with her in the right way, those experiences have made her who she is and she really does like who she is since becoming a part of the club.
YuruYuri is a series that definitely has a lot of fun with its characters, but is partially trapped by having too many characters to deal with. This allows for a lot of different situations to happen, but it also dilutes some of the characters for me, especially since I wanted more time with the core group and Kyoko in particular. This season does a lot right though and just has a lot of fun with the cast, the situations and some of the wacky stuff. Akari has some great material, from her dream episode at the start where she gets the high school life she wanted to the time travel episode where she tries to fix her first days at school so that she can avoid all the problems that came from how she acted. NIS America has once again put together a fantastic set that really makes this premium edition just that, a set that fans will love that goes beyond just the show itself. Definitely a great package that’s worth it for fans and those that enjoy this genre in general.
Japanese 2.0 PCM Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening and Ending, B-side Episode Previews, Video Art Book Featurettes
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: NIS America
Release Date: January 7th, 2014
Running Time: 286 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.