Final Review: Moyashimon Returns

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless other noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Moyashimon Returns is the sequel to the underrated 2007 Moyashimon series. The series continues immediately where the first season leaves off with no prior warning. In addition, the series retained its original staff from the previous series. Moyashimon Returns aired during the Summer 2012 anime season and was simulcasted by CrunchyRoll.

I’ll get right to the point. Moyashimon Returns is nowhere near as good as its prequel in almost every department. The story is a flop. It is uninteresting as it doesn’t focus as much on the microbes as it did in the first season and focused more on whether or not Haruka would get married or not. That’s really the bulk of the story. There was a portion where it focused on preparing alcohol for an agriculture festival but even that couldn’t save the show. There was a lack of strong character interaction or action in general to drive the show and with dialogue also not propelling this show anywhere, it ends up being a complete standstill. Furthermore, and as said before, the show does not give any sort of recap. This is good and bad depending on how much of Moyashimon you recall. Those of us that watched it back in 2007 probably forgot a fair chunk of it. It’s been 5 years for those of us who follow a lot of anime regularly so at least some hints of recap would have been nice. In terms of conclusion, it seems like the show went back to its original roots a bit, and no it’s not because they finally left France.

Art has seemingly deteriorated in this show. The microbes are sharper and the CGI in the OP/ED video are nice but that’s really about it. Character designs are clearly rough and have not been improved since the original 2007 series. At best it’s marginal improvement. Animation is also in the same boat. A lot of still shots and lacking in complex motion. Visuals are still nice for this show overall but again the show is stuck in 2007 quality. Granted that this is one of the first shows to air in 720 back in the day, it has fallen behind the time in 2012

OP is strong by ClariS, though I personally don’t enjoy it as much as their other songs like “irony” or “Connect.” The ED theme by Hiiragi is okay. I like the catchy tune along with the microbe dances but that’s about it. Background music is average. Sound effects are above average. Seiyuus remained the same as the first season and generally fitting with the show.

Enjoyment? Amusement by the microbes continue this season. Though, I must say, the show definitely did not live up to its original hype. I’m quite disappointed with series overall. The second series did not have the same feel as the first season and I would definitely not rewatch it unless the “potential” third season really goes back to its roots.

Overall, Moyashimon Returns is still a unique show. However, the show didn’t fully capitalize on its unique aspects, e.g. the protagonist’s ability to see microbes, a college school life setting, things that make biological “sense”, etc… These are all things that the original Moyashimon created to set itself apart from much of the industry and Moyashimon Returns failed to return this to the audience in the sequel.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0/1): Initial episode was not as interesting. Leaves no room for recap of any sort.
  • Character Personalities (0.5/1): Microbes are great, rest of cast were dull.
  • Character Development (1/2): A lot about Haruka and that’s it.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (0.5/2): We literally lost about half of the cast mid-way through the series.
  • Pacing: (1/1): Fine overall.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (1.5/2): With some exceptions of the events in France, the events of the show are completely believable given its context.
  • Conclusion (1/1): Solid ending. Really wished the series had more of this type of content.
  • Total: 5.5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1/2): In this day and age, basic and average.
  • Character Designs (1/2): Rough
  • Fluidity (1/2): Too many still shots and not enough complex movements.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (2/2): One of Moyashimon’s  strong points that continued in this season. While not visually stunning, it is visually appealing
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1/2): After 5 years, I had expected some improvement in animation quality. It’s pretty much stayed stagnant.
  • Total: 6/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2/3): Solid OP, catchy ED.
  • Background Music (1/2): Average
  • Sound Effects (1.5/2): Above Average
  • Seiyuu (2/3): Same cast from 5 years ago still going strong.
  • Total: 6.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (1/2): Microbe amusement still there
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (0/2): Fell apart immediately and never got back on its feet until the finale.
  • Presentation (1.5/2): Could use a brief recap at the beginning. Otherwise the overall presentation is fine.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): Little to none
  • Recommendation (1.5/2): Show remains unique but it’s not a show I can entirely recommend even for those who liked the first season.
  • Value (0/1): Just because it’s unique doesn’t mean it has value.
  • Total: 4/10

Preliminary Score: 6/10

Final Score: 5/10

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