Sequel to Yuki Yuna is a Hero
Genre(s): Magical Girl, School, Drama, Magic, Fantasy
Age-Appropriateness: 13+ (Violence, dramatic themes, brief partial nudity)
Platforms: Formerly Amazon
TheAwersome Rating: 7.4 / 10 (Even more of about the same)
Premise: Having fulfilled their destiny during the events of the main series, Sanshu Middle School’s Hero Club—consisting of Yuki Yuna, Karin Miyoshi, and siblings Fuu and Itsuki Inubouzaki—is back in full swing, helping out those in need wherever they can. They have also gained a new member, a hero from the past named Sonoko Nogi. But eventually they notice that someone who should be among them, Mimori Togo, is missing; any trace of her existence is completely gone, save for the girls’ memories. With no leads on Togo’s whereabouts, the girls regain the ability to transform and begin the desperate search for their lost friend. But what they find is more shocking than any of them could ever have imagined, and the consequences of their actions begin to change life as they know it.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: There’s a trick with “big reveal” shows like this, and how well any sequel goes depends on the answer the following question: How much of what makes the show interesting is the characters, and how much is it the idea/concept? Once the façade crumbles and we see “oh my gosh, this is actually sad crying times” then you really can’t ride that wave anymore. It’s a one-time thing, at least for that show. So, the good way to continue in said universe after the big drop has happened, is to either have really good characters, or take the whole thing in a different direction. Yuki Yuna has some good characters, but unfortunately kept trying to drop another big “Oh no they di’in’t” which doesn’t work if you’re expecting it. I’d rather they capitalize more on character interaction because I got numb to the emotional side pretty quick.
TLDR: Feels like the mediocre mostly-the-same follow-up to a one-hit-wonder.
A sequel season, the “Mankai Chapter,” is currently airing.
I touched on this a bit before, but this installment leans a bit more into the somewhat creepy religious side of the story. What makes it interesting though isn’t that it’s “Oh hey creepy cult-like stuff with members that are indifferent to suffering and actively doing evil to fulfill their deranged beliefs.” No, that’d be standard fare. The religious side here is undeniably true, Shinju-sama is definitely the protecting force, and the Taisha are its chosen servants and mediators. Where it gets interesting is the lack of infallibility. The Taisha and Shinju-sama are still learning, still trying new things, and as they say “honestly trying their best” to protect humanity and defeat the vertex invaders.
So how then, are you supposed to react when you and your friends/loved ones suffer tremendously because you were “given the highest honor of serving,” by being chosen to fight? At what point does something stop being a privilege and an honor to do? What if you’re the only one who can perform an absolutely necessary task that requires tremendous sacrifice on your part? How much of the veneration and glorifying of your forced sacrifice should you accept? How much of that glorifying of sacrificed soldiers is good and honest respect, and how much of it is a cheap cop-out to run away from your own guilt? What reactions should you be “allowed” to have?
That’s a way to make good use of religion in storytelling, not just “Is it true?” or “Is it a good thing?” Because these struggles and questions, while religiously focused here, apply beyond just a religious scope, and can apply to anyone’s relationship with authority, but then with that added spice.
You’ll likely enjoy this if you enjoyed: