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Nisekoi Season 2 Collection 1 Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read

Nisekoi 2 Volume 1 CoverThe dynamics take more shape as life goes on in its chaotic fashion.

What They Say:
10 years ago, Raku made a secret promise with a girl he met that they would “get married when they reunite.” Since then, he never let go of the pendant she gave him…

In order to put an end to the war between the yakuza clan Shuei-gumi and the Beehive Gang, Raku Ichijo and Chitoge Kirisaki must fake being boyfriend and girlfriend. At first, they clashed frequently, but little by little, they came to understand each other.

One day, Chitoge finally realizes that what she’s feeling towards Raku is, in fact, love. What will become of their “Fake Love” relationship now? Find out in Nisekoi 2 Volume 1!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release gives us a pretty pure version of the show as we get only the Japanese language track in the uncompressed PCM format. The series is one that is largely dialogue based with what it does with a few wacky comedy-action moments along the way to spice things up a bit. There’s a decent bit of placement and directionality for the show in how it moves around and some of the designs to it with the way some of the comedy plays out, but it’s not a huge factor to it. The opening and closing sequences definitely help to bump up the overall presentation well as there’s a good warmth to it with a full sound that works the forward soundstage well. Dialogue is strong throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. With six episodes to this release, it’s spread across two discs with three episodes per disc and definitely looks just as great as the first season did. Animated by Shaft, there’s a lot of really great character design detail and sets/backgrounds that definitely have great color design to it. With a high bit rate throughout it, both in the quiet scenes and the really busy ones, there’s a slick and appealing look here that definitely takes advantage of being in high definition. The colors are vibrant and have some great pop in a lot of scenes and the way you can get into checking out the detail of the backgrounds can be pretty engaging. Visually, it’s a very appealing series and the transfer captures it perfectly.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that has a slipcover that uses different artwork than the case itself The front cover is a great piece that has Chitoge and Tsugumi together with some good costuming while the back cover goes a touch darker in tone with Marika and Chitoge doing up Valentine’s chocolates all while wearing maid outfits – difficult with Chitoge’s ribbon! I do like the logo as it uses pieces from the theme of the show within it with the key and locket in a good way as it’s along the lower left. Inside the slipcase we get a clear Blu-ray case that brings together Kirisaki and Ruri for a little Christmas closeness that’s cute with the snowflake widgets in the background. With the back cover, we get a decent look at the premise and a few decent shots from the show that plays up the blushes a bit. The episode count is clearly listed as are the standard features and the extras both on disc and in the box. The technical grid covers the basics in a good way along the bottom as well so you know exactly what’s included. The pack-in for this release is once again top-notch as we get eight illustration cards that are just beautiful in their design and quality.

Menu:
The menu design for this release uses the colors from the packaging in a very good and engaging way as it’s a soft background with a few colored widgets strewn across it to bring in some blues, pink and white. The right half is made up of a good full faced character headshot that’s very pretty and colorful while below her we get the series logo and volume listing. The left side breaks down the navigation strip with the episode by number and title and submenu selections as needed. It’s a simple menu that pretty much just gets you right to the show and that’s what you really want. With it being a monolingual release, you can turn the subtitles off, but it does default to them being on as it goes right into playback when you first load the disc rather than going to the menu.

Extras:
The only extras we get here are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a successful first season for Nisekoi that helped raise the visibility of the already growing popularity of the manga itself, the series came back for a second but shorter season with just twelve episodes plus an OVA. Going into Nisekoi has been an interesting experience for me as I only saw the first series when the Blu-ray’s came out and then a few months ago I began reading the simulpub manga chapters as it moves toward what feels like the ending. So going into the second season of the series with the knowledge of how some of this shakes out is definitely interesting to do, though I won’t color the thoughts much with what comes later in the manga. The anime itself has to stand on its own, after all.

While we get some side focuses in this batch of six episodes, Nisekoi focuses mostly on Chitoge and Raku with their relationship after the way things shifted slightly before. Admittedly, Raku hasn’t really registered it so he’s still going on about things as normal, but it’s fun to see how Chitoge is now “trying” to do things to catch his attention more. That comes in the form of changing her makeup, appearance, and even the highly precious ribbon. But for Raku, these are all things that he doesn’t really register. He sees them and understands them, as she later finds out, but it’s not something that comes across as a real change. And that certainly feels like some teenage male thinking when you get down to it. You can feel Chitoge’s frustration easily since she’s getting all worked up about this yet he doesn’t even seem to recognize that she’s doing all of this, and for him.

The dynamic between the two is definitely something that’s fun to watch because of this as there’s an unbalanced feeling between them. Considering how their relationship started, this is no surprise. He’s still thinking mostly about Kirisaki, since he’s spent years with her, while Chitoge is now recognizing that she’s growing feelings for Raku and it kind of horrifies her on some level but also proves to be really exciting as well. The way the two deal with each other is just plain fun, as is how they’re keeping the fake relationship going while trying to be friends elsewhere. This hits in the Valentine’s episode where we get Chitoge trying to do the chocolates things, though calling them obligatory, while Kirisaki is doing the same. Raku’s oblivious to Chitoge’s attempts but is head over heels with Kirisaki, even as she tries to play it casual when she attempts it. It’s familiar material but I really liked seeing how the two young women spent time together dancing around the subject of Raku and their feelings for him so as to not hurt the other, or themselves in regards to how things might change.

We do get side story stuff that’s fun here, but it’s also some of the things that frustrates me as well – particularly with future knowledge. Marika in particular is problematic here as she continue to do her best to win over Raku and she tries a really long con here by having him take care of her parrot. A parrot she’s spent quite some time training with key phrases in order to push him in certain directions when the two are together. It’s cute and silly to be sure, since it has Raku doing and saying things he normally wouldn’t all while trying to keep a low profile, but it’s the old adage – don’t work with kids or animals. That holds true in anime as well. This episode along with the far too familiar aspects of the Valentine’s Day episode are frustrating subplots amid the more interesting things. The Valentine’s Day episode actually worked in some cute areas for me such as with Shu and Ruri as we see how that particular non-relationship relationship is working out. The whole making of the chocolates thing is very familiar at this point to be sure and while we do get something that’s really well animated and detailed here as well as fun, it’s also by the numbers for the most part.

Strangely, what works best in this set is the arrival of Chitoge’s mother, Hana. With her being critically important to the point of ridiculousness with her companies, she’s arrived to spend a few hours over a few days just before Christmas Eve. I love the mix of love and fear that her husband and daughter have toward her and seeing how she interacts with each of them. There are obvious story points being hit here with Chitoge really wanting to be understand by her mother, to be told she’s of value and importance to her, and it plays through with Raku being the one trying to get Hana to see it. It’s standard in concept but the execution just works so well as Hana is a lot of fun to watch and as her reasoning is explored. It’s also fun to watch simply because Raku being forced into service as a secretary for her for a few days is great as it reinforces that he can seemingly do anything.. You do wish he was more forceful in trying to get through to Hana, but it’s also easy to just acknowledge it as a social/cultural difference in why he doesn’t.

In Summary:
I liked the first season of Nisekoi with what it presented and its visual style and just the execution of a familiar concept. The setup of it was cute but I liked that as time went on, and in this set in particular, the dynamics of the couple relationship aren’t really bothered with much. It focuses on the individual situations and what’s going on there as opposed to the whole cover story or time dealing with problematic fathers. This half of the season focuses largely on Chitoge and Raku to good effect and leaves me hopeful that Kirisaki will get more time in the back half of it. There’s plenty to like here for fans of the show as it largely does carry on from before with some minor advances and a few teases of the past that impacts the present situations.

Features:
Japanese PCM 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Textless Opening “Rally Go Round”, Textless Ending “Aimai Hertz”, Textless Ending “TrIGgER”, Textless Ending “Sleep zzz…”, Textless Ending “Matador Love”

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Aniplex USA
Release Date: June 21st, 2016
MSRP: $74.98
Running Time: 144 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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