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… It is spring. Kosaki’s little sister, Haru, is now a first-year at Bonyari High School, and she’s bursting with anticipation over her new life. But on her very first day, she finds herself in a huge predicament – surrounded by delinquents!
The last thing Haru sees just before she passes out from terror, is a boy wearing the uniform of her own school, coming to her defense. She believes that this was a fateful encounter with a “prince” whose face she never saw, and whose name she doesn’t know. Will she meet him once again…? Find out in Nisekoi 2 Volume 2!
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.
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.
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 is a bright and outgoing piece that’s appealing with the girls all together on one side against the light blue background that when combined with the color design of the characters gives it all a lot of pop. The other side is appealing for a different reason as we get a lot of color here with Kosaki and her sister Haru together in yukata’s. With great smiles and a lot of great design elements it all stands out really well. 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 right. Inside the slipcase we get a clear Blu-ray case that brings together Mariko and tsugumi for a little poolside time with them in their swimsuits and rafts, making for a lot of really nice colors and fanservice. 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.
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, reds and pink. The right half is made up of a nice piece of animation with Kosaki in the distance 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.
The only extras we get here are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
As I mentioned with the look at the first half of this season previously, I’m coming into this season of anime from a weird place. With the manga having now ended and this being animated further back from when they happened, it’s definitely interesting to see these characters at the earlier stages of their relationships and dynamics while knowing where it all goes. The simplicity of the situations is still largely here, though more people have come on board to complicate things a bit, but you can mostly just enjoy the usual kinds of back and forth and the uncertainties of young love and what it all means. A lot of the appeal is still very much in Shaft’s animation style as they elevate the work even more, but the manga itself was one of those books that was just near-perfect in execution, even if it went on just a touch too long.
With there obviously being no big ending or anything associated with this set, and realistically not even any big arcs when you get down to it, Nisekoi mostly works through a lot of simpler material with one-off stories and some minor subplot pieces. The main subplot that runs through most of this half is the arrival in the school of Kosaki’s younger sister Haru. Haru has little love for Raku as she just imagines him as this big threat based on what she’s heard and combined with the other rumors about his supposed girlfriend and her looks, well, let’s just say the first meeting is a couple of instances of things going badly. When Haru, who has a bit of spunk to be sure, sees Chitoge coming up behind Raku she ends up being overwhelmed by it all. It’s an amusing and on-point moment in seeing it play out because for me it reinforces how good these two look together. For Haru, it’s a moment where something so out of the ordinary, especially in a school setting, just overwhelms her.
Haru’s time varies across the stories since we do get smaller stories within other episodes but there are some good return visits to her and the way she views Raku. Largely, she’s just protective of her sister since she doesn’t know the history that the two have together – a history that even Raku is pretty oblivious to at the moment – and she does what she can to keep them apart. The problem is that Kosaki really likes him and wants to be close, but is shy about it as we see from the flashback sequence that we get between the two, and even the girls’ mother likes Raku a lot. When Raku’s invited to help out at the shop it ends up being too much for Haru and we get the usual complications there, but I really just like how the girls’ mother is so positive toward Raku that it completely throws off Haru. Raku is your traditional good guy to be sure but a decent part of it is earned through his actions that are mostly honest or layered in genuine interest in someone.
The show does have a little fun with fantasy along the way as we get a silly half episode that focuses on Kosaki, Chitoge and Marika all being done up in a Madoka Magica kind of way. This is pretty empty but it’s at least pretty and it has fun with the whole idea of how the girls get frustrated and annoyed at being naked in public for a brief time during the transformation. There’s not a lot to this story as it plays out but it skewers the genre in a loving way, as you’d expect, and provides a chance for the Shaft team to animate and design something very different from the norm for a bit. It’s very appealing with its visual quality as there’s a lot of detail and great color to it but it also just has some fun in a way that it normally doesn’t because it’s not operating under the usual story constraints. With it just being about the girls, plus the little critter, it’s able to avoid any relationship drama.
This set of episodes has its basic fun elsewhere as well with a pool cleaning episode that works to get Raku to help Paula loosen up a bit and experience life at this age a bit. It’s not as fanservice heavy as one might think at first but it does enough of it to delight fans while also expanding Paula’s character a bit and letting Raku step up and show how observant he is. Another episode that I really liked is the finale as it dealt with Chitoge losing her all-important ribbon when she was late to school and being in a serious funk about it, to say the least. I liked how we get more of its importance to her, as that factors into later in the property, as well as how she has several people to rally to her aid. Chitoge has the weakest of the roles in this season I think and giving her some time at the end here worked quite well for me. Though I know Kosaki is a favorite for many, I’ve always liked Chitoge a whole lot more so this all works for me.
I knew going into this season that we weren’t going to have any big stories or game changing moments and I was fine with that. What I find appealing about the series at this stage is a mix of the simple humor and interactions of the cast combined with Shaft’s style of animation. The two things work well as we get something that has a good sense of what it wants to be and executes it near flawlessly. I love the designs, the tone, and the overall flow of the show even as it works familiar stories like cleaning the pool or a lost ribbon and even the whole one of the main girls is feeling a little sick thing. Aniplex delivers all of this in a great looking package with a beautifully clean transfer that’s very appealing. I still wish the show had been dubbed as I think a lot of actors would have had a blast in working on this, but in the end, I’m glad to have it produced at all as it’s a show i can easily revisit for some fun and silliness with a touch of heart.
Japanese PCM 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Textless Opening “Magical☆Styling”, Textless Ending “marchen ticktack”, Textless Ending “Toriame drop”,Textless Ending “Crayon Cover”
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Aniplex USA
Release Date: August 23rd, 2016
Running Time: 144 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
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.