Aoi & Mutsuki: A Pair of Queens
Also known as:
Mito no Daibouken: Futari no Joou-sama
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1999
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Season 2 of Space Pirate Mito: 13 episodes
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Review date:
25 May 2017
uchuu kaizoku mito
It's disappointing. I wouldn't bother. I loved Space Pirate Mito (season 1), but this second season is boring.
SEASON 1 - is great because it's about a mother who's being rejected by her child. That's a strong emotional core. It's a bonus that we also have cartoonish space pirates, gender-bending and millennia-old midget protagonists in human-looking robot bodies. Admittedly there's also a villain and a plot, which get a bit messy in the second half, but at root these are complementing what the story's really about.
SEASON 2 - is about two teenagers (Aoi and Mutsuki) who probably sort of love each other, underneath. However Mutsuki's being all formal and standoffish because of her perception of her duty. This gives rise to attacks of conscience, because she decides she's an inadequate bodyguard because she can't defeat all imaginable baddies by herself. Good grief. This isn't nearly as compelling as Mito-Aoi in Season 1, but then even this fairly weak emotional storyline gets guillotined halfway through by a Really Stupid Villain. This villain is unstoppably powerful, but also self-obsessed and annoying.
On the upside, her issues sort of mirror the Aoi-Mutsuki relationship. She's still killing the real story, but the scriptwriters were at least trying for something. I can recognise the effort. However this is still someone who's basically God, spending umpteen episodes going "boo hoo" because she misses the love of her life and wondering why she's hated when she's happy to destroy the universe on a whim, including all life in it.
What about Mito, though? What's her involvement? Um... not a lot. She's sort of pottering about on the sidelines. She gets a few fight scenes, but she has to take a plot holiday to do so.
There are sincere, meaningful episodes. I don't think Aoi-Mutsuki are on the level of Aoi-Mito, but I don't hate them. I like them both and I want them to get over their problems. There's some meat to ep.4, for instance. The show's first half is merely not as good as Season 1, whereas the second half is actively bad. I'd wake up for scenes like the ep.11 one where Mutsuki briefly returns and we're in the first-half story again.
There are still incidental things I like about the show, though. Firstly, I like its background. Season 1 ended with a small-town Japanese schoolboy becoming Queen of the Galaxy, so now you've got all kinds of aliens showing up in the town, hanging out at the food stalls and pottering along the beach. This is lovely. Look at the end title sequence, for instance. It's especially enjoyable since these are surprisingly alien aliens, since this show looks as if it was animated by the Kiddie Cartoon Network. (Tomoko finds its style nostalgic and particularly appreciates the fact that it's from before the anime moe boom. They're not trying to make everyone look sexy. Limbs look as if they've been squeezed from toothpaste tubes.)
Anyway, I was talking about the alien aliens. Masatsuki will get drunk on nitric acid, but you can threaten his sister's life with raindrops. (Maybe they have a really low pH, making water the equivalent of an alkali?)
I also quite enjoyed ep.13. The plot resolution is horse manure, but what's after that is sweet and contains a lot of little moments to like. I approve of the tone.
The show's still bad, though. It descends from "inferior to Season 1" to "a bit dull" to "boring". I love the characters and their world, but it has an enthusiasm-killing storyline in which everyone who matters is either being stupid, stupid or a milquetoast. (Mito is none of those things, but she doesn't matter.) There was a five-year gap between the English-language DVD releases of Season 1 and Season 2, which now makes sense to me. However the trailers on the DVD extras reminded me that I've been wanting for years to watch Seven of Seven. The DVDs probably cost silly money by now, but maybe there are some episodes on YouTube that aren't English-dubbed...
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