Is it better than Season 1? I suppose it must be, since I usually managed to believe that the cast were human beings. In Season 1, they're stupidity generators. I still wouldn't go recommending it or anything, but it has a better range of characters and I even managed to like a couple of episodes.
The premise of the show is "iyashikei", i.e. healing, relaxing, soothing. In other words, nothing happens. Schoolgirls do nothing for twelve episodes. This is supposed to be cute and lovable. Obviously everything depends on the cast, who have in fairness improved. They're no longer a five-headed gestalt of implausible stupidity and random lesbianism. I actually managed to regard them as individuals, each with her own quirks and viewpoints. Any discussion of these characters needs a separate section for Why This Person Is Retarded, but at least this year it's not bad enough to break the show.
The show has no male characters. Our returning heroines (upgraded to version 2) are:
1. SHINOBU - has a blonde fetish that might probably get her arrested if she were older and male. Apart from that and her lack of academic ability, though, she's fairly normal. (She wants to be an interpreter, but she scores five per cent in English tests and has been known to score zero in maths.)
2. ALICE - blonde English girl living in Japan. (I'll discuss her accent later.) Has a crush on Shinobu that's of similar strength to Shinobu's fetish for Alice's hair, so they get on famously. She's small enough to look like a young child (and she behaves a bit like that too) and can be naive and gullible when it comes to Japanese culture, but otherwise again she's not too spacey. Any weird behaviour is generally just due to her obsession with Shinobu.
3. AYA - serious, modest girl with a huge crush on Yoko. What's more, of all our teenage heroines in Implausibly All-Lesbian Land, she might be the only one with enough self-awareness to identify as homosexual. I'm still not sure about Honoka. It's all a bit ambiguous. Anyway, Aya goes through a phase of trying to confess to Yoko. It doesn't work. She's too shy and defensive to ever manage to say anything. Eventually she inverts her attempted honesty and becomes mildly tsundere, prone to suspiciously specific denials that Yoko always takes at face value.
4. YOKO - cheerfully insensitive tomboy and the most straightforward and sane of our heroines. I liked her. She's at the intellectual level of a lettuce leaf and she's allergic to schoolwork, but she's a nice girl and mostly immune to forehead-slapping idiocy. (Being superhumanly dense about Aya doesn't count.)
5. KAREN - the other English blonde schoolgirl (complete with a Union Jack jacket and even a Union Jack car), but completely unlike Alice. She'll violate all common sense, but not through stupidity. It's because she's a lunatic. Manic, unstoppable, liable to do anything at any time because she thinks it's funny.
6. KARASUMA-SENSEI - the girls' teacher and the only character this year who genuinely is sanity-crushingly stupid. Since there's only one of her and she's both lovable and not particularly prominent, the show gets away with it.
This year though we also have new characters. What's more, none of them are defined by stupidity!
7. KUZEHASHI-SENSEI - a sensible teacher who does her job and scolds the girls when they're being silly! A character in this show with a brain! I liked her immediately. She has comedic quirks, of course, so she tends to come across as intimidatingly stern, despite in fact just wanting to be popular and beloved. She'll do things like practicing her smile. In other words, she's a character with motivation and goals, instead of just being the comedic equivalent of Brownian motion. (A little less so in the later episodes, mind you.)
8. HONOKA - another schoolgirl with a blonde fetish. (That makes two with Shinobu, not counting a possible third in Shinobu's mum in ep.7.) Furthermore I think she manages not to be stupid at all. She's just fixated.
9. KOUTA AND MITSUKI - Yoko's younger siblings, who are also male-and-female twins. They got an annoying cameo in Season 1 and they're even worse this year, because we've got them for an entire episode instead of just one appallingly stupid but short scene. The offending episode is ep.3 and it made me want them dead. I don't see why you'd ever speak to them again in real life, instead of, say, punching them hard in the face, repeatedly, every time they came near you. They tell lies. That's their schtick. Everyone knows about it. They lie, lie and lie again. Other people even believe them, despite their reputation, even if the lies are absurd. "Is it true that when you woke up, you could speak twelve languages?" Well, d'oh. There's been a general improvement when it comes to show-breaking stupidity, but that's a Season 2 example. What's more, on admitting that they're liars at the end of the episode, they do "tee-hee" poses in a manner that's supposed to be cute.
I hated the twins and wanted them killed, but fortunately: (a) they vanish almost immediately, and (b) on returning near the end of the season, they've stopped lying and are mostly just generic deadpan children. (Maybe the show's producers saw the finished ep.3 and took on board some feedback?) They even made me laugh in ep.9.
The characters work, more or less. You'll still have the odd scene like Aya protesting "I'm not Aya, I'm a mannequin" after Alice just called her Aya. Similarly, in ep.5, Shino's older sister tries to go down the 'up' escalator and puts salt in everyone's tea instead of sugar. (No, they're not pranks. They're meant to show that she's distracted, not that she's feeble-minded... but she's meant to be one of the show's most intelligent, responsible characters!)
There's also the anti-matter Englishness. Alice and Karen are English, to the point of wearing a Union Jack. Their voice actors are Japanese and speak English quite well, but with a strong American accent. They'd sound more plausible as Martian than as British. This drove me bonkers in Season 1, but by now I've mellowed. I no longer felt the urge to kill. I'd still recommend skipping ep.7 and its flashback set in England, though.
It's mildly amusing. It's better than Season 1, above all for not being fundamentally broken in how it uses its characters. I watched it all, only suffered occasional twinges of pain and even thought some episodes were good. For goodness' sake, though, don't marathon it. Empty calories deaden the brain. Just watching two episodes back-to-back tended to make me drowsy. Nonetheless it's not without good bits, so for instance ep.6 made me laugh, with Yoko's eating contest, the introduction of Honoka, Aya's deadpan reaction to the Blonde Alliance and Karasuma-sensei's acting. I also quite liked ep.9, with Karen being even more of a lunatic than usual and the cast bouncing off each other plausibly and amusingly.
There's still no real point in watching it, but it's warm and nice.