What They Say:
It’s time to re-open the doors to Rabbit House, where good friends are ready to take on the next exciting adventure, and there’s always something unusual going on.
After all, how many cafés have waitresses who collect firearms and a rabbit that actually talks? However, trouble may be burrowing into the Kafu residence when a magazine runs an article on places to eat and neglects to mention Rabbit House! Will an investigation into what’s been “haunting” Syaro’s house be a wild goose chase, or will someone get a lot of grey hare as a result? Is the sudden appearance of Cocoa’s big sister a blessing or a disaster waiting happen? Still, nothing is as scary as the prospect of graduating school!
Will everyone make the grade, or will some friends be left behind? The tail will be told as Chino, Cocoa, Rize, and the gang all return in this second season!
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track only which is done in stereo using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is one that doesn’t have to stretch in the slightest with what it wants to do and you can imagine the mixing engineer dozing off while working on it because it’s so straightforward and simple. Like most slice of life shows like this, it’s all about the dialogue and some flashes of incidental music along the way that gives it a bit of life, but for the most part it’s a center channel based mix that doesn’t have a lot in the way of placement or directionality. Simply because it’s not needed with the way the cast stands around talking and mostly focuses on one person at a time. The mix is basic but it serves the show well and accomplishes its main goals of coming across in a clean and clear fashion with no problems 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. The twelve episode series are spread across two discs with nine episodes on the first and three on the second. Animated by White Fox, the series is one that has a very good look about it with some very detailed and beautiful backgrounds that provides a look at the city in a great way but also the interiors where it comes across as very lived in and authentic rather than just simple blank walls or some such. The result is that even though there’s not a lot of big animation to it in a way, it has a warmth and appeal about it. The character designs are nicely detailed without going too big as we get plenty of costume changes along the way and some good colors that lets it be the stand out material. Overall it’s a pretty good looking transfer that captures the material well and presents it in a good way.
The packaging for this release is presented in a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs inside against the interior walls. The front cover uses one Japanese covers that has two of the girls together looking all cute and adorable with some nice subtle pieces in the background with the city itself. With the flow of it, the detail to the designs and the overall color of it all, it really comes together in a great way here that lets it stand out with a very appealing look. The different but similar uniforms, the edge framing and even the detail of the cup and saucer is great. The back cover uses a sky blue for a lot of the background and keeps it solid but it breaks it up a bit with some of the light gold framing similar to the front cover pieces. Within that we get a few shots from the show spread out as photographs and some nice if small character artwork for Cocoa and Rize holding up menu pieces that breaks down the extras and episode count. The premise is kept to the middle in a clean and easy to read form that covers the concept pretty well without delving too deep. The remainder is the usual as we get the production credits and technical grid, both of which are against white backgrounds that makes it even easier to read.
The menu design for this release works nicely in general but also suffers a bit from the content of the show itself. The bulk of it is given over to a great image of the main cast of girls together with light and breezy summer dresses that’s set against a white background with some nice blues and greens brought into it as well. The problem is more with the navigation strip along the left that also doubles as the pop-up menu. Even on a large screen this just feels tiny and hard to read a lot of the time with the in-show style menu done with pinks, blues and black text to bring it all together. It’s not bad, but it just feels like a lot – especially with the elegant border – that when combined with the small text and some lengthy episode titles makes it rather unwieldy. Navigation itself is a breeze since there’s nothing here but the show and the special features menu which houses just there separate things in quick to load and access form.
The only extras included in this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the success of the first season that adapted the manga that it came from, the second season debuted just over a year later in the fall of 2015. The show is one that I do think works better as a summer show in its original viewing as you can cozy up to it in the late night and enjoy it with the heat and feel of the season. With it in the fall, it just feels a bit different in how the soothing tones come across. Of course, here I am watching it in the winter, amid a blizzard no less, so it feels even more disconnected in a way. This season essentially brings everyone back for one more round of time with the girls that we got to know before through Rabbit House and that’s really the crux of what works and what doesn’t.
It’s simply more of the same. Which I enjoyed well enough in getting to know the characters and the setting the first time around, watching as new people came in and new friendships were borne for the viewer to connect with. But here in its second season, we don’t get much of that and it forces the show to have to deal with the basic nothingness that comes with a lot of slice of life shows. I enjoy quite a few of these over the years and the appeal of this one is very much in its soothing style and atmosphere combined with some beautiful design work and some great animation at times that lets it really stand out. Particularly that opening sequence. But the heart of a show isn’t its animation but rather its characters and how well the viewer connects with them. Depending on what you look for in a series this is either ideal or a bit frustrating as you want something with a little more meat to it. You won’t get that here as it’s all about being a soothing and stress-free project where there are no real challenges or threats to the girls to be had here.
With this round of episodes, it’s essentially life carrying on for the girls as they face the small challenges that exist throughout their days. We get an instance early on where several of the girls and shops are featured in a local magazine but not Rabbit House, which is no surprise since there’s rarely anyone there and you wonder how the place stays in business. Granted, a nice write-up of the quality of the place could go a long way toward fixing that but it’s hard to imagine that these girls would be able to handle a busy and bustling shop. There’s an obvious bit that goes on with this that helps to smooth it all out in the end but the minor stress and uncertainty of it is fun even if it does really make you wonder how this place pays its bills. The dynamic between the girls and seeing the writeups and photo shoots of the other places and their staff definitely has a fun and old school charm to it.
The school side didn’t factor too much into the show last season, at least I don’t remember it being this much, as we get some fun bits this time around. The girls dealing with the school arts festival has them working through different things depending on their tastes and that trends more towards some artwork and some dancing. Chino doing ballet is certainly adorable and the way everyone deals with each other and supports each other is nice. Similarly, we get a later episode that deals with Rize and her athletic prowess and she’s drawn into a lot of different sports and we see just how good she is. There’s a lot to like in this in just seeing the girls dealing with things that show their abilities and potential passions in some very fun ways since so much of what we get is fairly standard and without any real depth of personality. Rize may not be drawn to a particular sport but just seeing that she has talent and ability across several of them is definitely fun.
While there’s a lot of little and simple standalone material throughout the season, which I’ll admit is pretty forgettable once you get past it, there’s a two-part story toward the end that has the girls going on a trip. The first part is about everyone getting the invites for it to go to the mountains for some fun and there’s a misunderstanding along the way with the invitations that makes for some mild drama. The dynamic between the girls is what sells it and makes it easy to believe they’d all makeup pretty quickly, especially with a promise of cuddle time. The mountain trip itself has its moments as well, from spending time in the lodge for a bit before getting out into the wilds and doing the full on camping thing. The best is the play-zombie aspect of it and teasing some of the younger girls when they wake up as it’s just so out and out silly and fun that it made me grin more than anything else in the set.
Fans of the first season of the series will certainly enjoy this one as it’s more of the same for the most part. That’s what works both for and against it depending on what you’re hoping for. I’m hard-pressed to say there’s actual character growth here but we do get some fun things in learning a bit more about the girls and what they’re into, though it’s not as strong as it could or should be to really flesh them out. The show is far more about the overall atmosphere of the place and the people that live there with its small and charming nature that invites you into it. It’s a great looking show that Sentai’s release brings out fully, making it an enjoyable experience from start to finish when watching.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 11th, 2017
Running Time: 300 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.