Da Capo II

TV (13 eps)
Fall 2007
3.453 out of 5 from 2,940 votes
Rank #7,045

Fifty-three years have passed, and once again, the sakura trees have begun to bloom on the island of Hatsunejima. Sakura Yoshino continues to live on the island as a principal of the school that her relative, Yoshiyuki Sakurai, attends. Together with his carefree friends, Yoshiyuki’s day is never dull; from discovering an ancient robot that requires "bananamine" to operate, to joining a rock band with the pop idol at school, he lives amidst all of the drama. However, not everything is as it seems, as different mysteries are popping up around him in spades...

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Da Capo II is a 13 episode harem romance anime. Except it isn’t a harem at all. It’s set many decades after the original Da Capo, which it tries to succeed. I’ll disclose my dislike of genres like harem and ecchi, but the original Da Capo was actually a sensible one that stood out and I actually enjoyed it. High expectations of the sequel then, not in the least expecting references to the original. Initial impressions were disappointing, I almost thought I was watching the first Da Capo. Some of the characters are too similar and there’s a little bit of disappointment with the continuity. But as you remember the events of the original and watch more of this, one finds it actually has a proper plot. I liked the actual conclusion the first Da Capo had and I even loved the surprising lack of harem in the second season, thus this anime has a big plate to fill in a genre where it’s difficult to be decent like the original. But it manages to at least leave out the harem, so a good start. Animation The quality was actually rather disappointing for a 2007 anime. While I did watch it in 1080p, it felt like upscaled 480p to me.* I looked around online and it seemed the quality wasn’t great anywhere. The images didn’t have clarity and the lines seemed blurry, even when compared to older anime. I also noticed at one point, when a guitar was being played that the left hand didn’t move at all on the strings. Though later on, during a close up shot, the hands are moving as they should. *-Edit (26/08/15): Turns out it was 480p afterall The style fared slightly better, while mostly looking quite standard, the female characters look especially reminiscent of the original Da Capo and thus the animation style is maintained. But major disappointment in the designs of the actual characters as they look too similar to the original, to the point where, in combination with the lacklustre quality, I thought I was accidentally watching the original Da Capo. I guess in some ways the similarities are justified as some characters are descendants of characters in the original and even then the characters in this anime don’t look exactly like the characters in the original. Except Sakura of course, which annoyed me to no end before I remembered what happened in the plot of the original. It still felt a little lazy to me, I wish they’d just dump that aspect of the plot and age her properly. It’s just a tad off-putting. Like the original, there is no ecchi and very little fan-service, even less so since there’s no trope ‘big-boobs’ characters. A good thing I say, that way they can focus more on the characters and plot, the things that actually matter. There are a few cringey cliché moments like a guy falling on a girl and someone opening the door, to find them both sitting normally with flushed cheeks. Or suggestive consumption of bananas. Sound The intro and outro music were rather pleasant. Quite appropriate, but not so astonishing that I’d want more. However, there’s something even better. Within the anime itself, there’s a band (form of a few of the main characters) which plays sometimes. That music is amazing and by extension, so is the final outro. The background soundtrack is decent too, good use of strings to give the appropriate light-hearted mood this anime depicts. The sound design is great as a result. Just like the original, this anime is available in only Japanese. Unless I’m somehow mistaken. Also just like the original, the Japanese voices do just fine. Nothing to annoying or cringey, which I’m grateful for, so one can enjoy this anime without being put off by the sound. Koko is voiced by Yoshino Nanjou, who has voiced such roles as Aiko Kudo in Baka to Test and minor roles in other anime like Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari. Yoshiyuki Sakurai is voiced by Shintarou Asanuma, who voiced Taku in Accel World, Michio Hoshino in Ghost Hound (and we follow the tradition of finding voices from the last anime I watched), Kazuki Fujisawa from Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo and Chris Evergreen from Yumekui (Dream Eater) Merry. Minatsu is voiced by Sayaka Aoki, voice of Miria in Baccano and Kyon’s sister in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Nanaka is voiced by Minori Chihara, who has voiced Minami in Lucky Star and Yuki Nagato in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Sakura Hoshino is voiced by Yukari Tamura, also voices Mei Sunohara in Clannad, Rika Furude in Higurashi, Mai Kawasumi in Kanon, Midori Sugiura in Mai Hime and Ichigo Morino in Please Teacher. Other Vas include Natusme Yanase as Akane Hanasaki, Tae Okajima as Anzu Yukimura, Ayahi Takagaki as Otome Asakura, Daisuke Kishio as Suginami, Kappei Yamaguchi as Wataru Itabashi and Yui Horie as Yume Asakura. I don’t get too much of a chance to refer to Japanese voice actors, but this makes it seem as if there are many more folks in voice acting over there. Unlike America, there’s a wider variety of folks involved in voice acting in these anime. Or maybe this anime just happens to use VAs who aren’t known as well. Characters The male lead of this harem is Yoshiyuki Sakurai and I was surprised to find that these characters are in their last year of middle school. Thus, not your average high-school harem protagonist, but only in middle school. Yet another surprise was he was less of the typical harem protagonist in some respects. While he is oblivious to other characters feelings, he isn’t afraid to commit and actually move things forward. As mentioned by another character, he’s popular because he’s a nice guy and to the point where it can give folks the wrong impression. He lives with his two sisters Otome and Yume and apparently also with his relative Sakura Yoshino*, who’s rarely in the house. I’d complain about the lack of parents, but that fact is actually relevant to the plot, which I won’t spoil. Yoshiyuki can play the guitar and reminded me of Junichi from the original Da Capo, but it turns out that the two are kinda different. He’s useless when it comes to romance, he recoils even at the prospect of merely holding hands. And he’s clueless about it, he doesn’t even bother with dates and stuff. Initially he seemed like a progressive character, but at the heart of it all, he’s a heartless harem protagonist who doesn’t really think about girls. The most prominent of the large female cast is Koko Tsukishima, not related to any other characters from season one. In the same class as Yoshiyuki, she is his childhood friend and has always had a crush on him. She loves him so much that she trusts him, even with the iffy stuff. She’s embarrassed and slow-going when it comes to the romantic stuff, but she’s happy even with simple things like holding hands. Despite often being seen with her friends Anzu and Akane in the same class, her best friend is actually Nanaka Shirakawa. Even Wataru who often jokes around at how lucky Yoshiyuki is to have her is a good friend. Because of her shyness, her friends often help her love life along. She also plays the bass guitar. Minatsu Amakase is a robot powered by a substance in bananas called banana-mine and enrols in the school as Yoshiyuki’s junior, in Yume’s class. Unique among robots, she has the ability to feel emotions and have free-will, things that folks generally don’t seem to appreciate in robots. She seems to be related to Miharu Amakase, but being a robot, she can’t really be a descendent. Perhaps it’s more appropriate to say she’s related to the Miharu robot in the first season of Da Capo. Minatsu is quarrelsome and seems to me to behave like a tsundere character. She claims to hate humans and bananas, even though she gets along well with some folks and happy exclaims banana-containing foods taste great. Yoshiyuki is the one to wake her, thus the scientist responsible for her, Maika Mizukoshi, asks him to take care of Miharu. Maika is a descendent of the Mizukoshi twins from the original Da Capo. Miharu must ingest bananas every so often, or risk overheating. Nanaka Shirakawa is the same school idol, singer character that Kotori was in the original Da Capo. Being Kotori’s descendent* is one thing, but being almost exactly the same character is another. Popular with the boys, who often ask her out only for Nanaka to reject them all, she is also disliked by some of the girls for her popularity with the other gender. To the point where they even bully her about it, with Yoshiyuki often coming to her rescue. Koko is her best friend and also a member of her band, along with Wataru. Nanaka also seems to have feelings for Yoshiyuki, though as one will see, she’s in a tough spot there because Koko is her best friend. Next up, the Asakura sisters: Otome Asakura and Yume Asakura. They both live with their brother Yoshiyuki and relative Sakura Yoshino and are obvious descendants of Junichi and Nemu (they ended up getting wed remember) from the first Da Capo, most likely grandchildren. The older sister Otome is the student council president and has a brother complex for Yoshiyuki, affectionately calling him Otouto. She does the cooking at home since she is the older sister and Yume being unable to cook. Her character reminds me of Moe Mizukoshi from the original, though not as much of an airhead. Yume, the younger sister is in the year below Yoshiyuki. She’s a bit tsundere and likes to berate him, her cooking is also terrible. She reminds me of Mako Mizukoshi from the original, who was also a tad hot-headed. Koko’s good friends Akane Hanasaki and Anzu Yukimura are a pair. I.e. they are best friends with each other. The both of them seem jestingly sinister, often plotting and scheming to help out their friend Koko. Akane is tall and apparently big-breasted, though this is not noticed much. She is also a bit flirtatious in a scary way. On the other hand, Anzu is the short, relatively flat-chested one and reminds me of Aisia and Alice from the original. She’s a bit shameless into provoking Koko, she even embraces Yoshiyuki at one point to get a reaction. Suginami and Wataru Itabashi are the obligatory couple of male friends in this anime. HOLD IT! Suginami is exactly the same as Suginami from the original Da Capo! It is likely he is a descendent, since I don’t think time-travel is a part of this universe. Suginami remains mischevious and likes to assist the lovebirds by suggesting terrible romantic ideas to them (e.g. places to be alone he suggests are scary places with ghost sightings). Wataru plays the drums in Nanaka’s band and is more of a normal teenage boy, being perverted and obvious in his attraction towards the girls and jealousy towards Yoshiyuki. Though more of a friendly sort since he is a friend and is willing help him out in his love life. This guy is a saving grace, making up for Yoshiyuki’s lack of balls. Heck, such anime would be much more interesting with this guy as the main character and I’m surprised he doesn’t get a girlfriend here. Finally, the one character that makes a shocking return, Sakura Yoshino. Shocking, because she looks exactly like she did back in the original Da Capo, despite being 60+ years of age. But if one remembers correctly, she stopped aging due to the powers of the undying Sakura tree. It’s creepy and also disappointing that she never aged. She also seems to behave the same and is the principal at Yoshiyuki’s school, while living with her descendents. Though to me it seems like her office at the school seems to be well lived in, Yoshiyuki mentions she is rarely home. She even has a dog, Harimao, instead of Utamaru who is long dead since cats don’t live that long. She takes a minor role in this sequel. Story First off, the original anime was set in a modern-ish day Japanese Island. You’d think after 53 years, the world would have changed a bit, not too much but even a little to be realistic. That was the initial disappointment. But then it turns out that robots are a thing, so I guess there’s that to solve that issue. There’s even a whole thing about some people not accepting robots, riots by folks who worry about getting replaced by them and such. Due to the outcry, robots are uncommon and standardised into one model with limited functionality, no free will, thoughts or feelings. But other things like phones remain like phones of the early noughties. The 53 years makes things a bit awkward, especially as characters are descendants of the cast in the original Da Capo. Such a time period would mean these are the grandchildren of those folks. But I must give the proper analysis of the story here, so I’ll pop back in a paragraph or two. The plot of this anime doesn’t feel like a harem at all, in fact I’d go so far as to say it isn’t a harem, a love triangle at most. The only exception is the complete lack of adults, the only adult here is Sakura. It’s a lot like Da Capo second season, where the main focus of the story is elsewhere and the romance is just assumed. But unlike DCSS, the romance isn’t initially left out and eventually returned to, but rather the other way around. There are 2 elements to the plot of DC2: the first is Yoshiyuki’s relationship with one girl in particular, with a tangent suggesting a possible love triangle. And the second is Minatsu’s awakening and existence as a student in this world where robots aren’t accepted by all. Guess which becomes the more prominent aspect? The plot is often predictable and sometimes didn’t make sense, but I’m grateful for the long departure from typical harem lack-of-plot BS. The conclusion is satisfactory and unlike the rest of the anime, wasn’t so easy to see coming. Who would have thought it would end like that? Best of all, there are no cliff-hangers or sequel-baiting, despite the existence of a second season. Back to the time passed, this is the point of debate between most folks and something they are disappointed at. Despite being set in the same world, it rarely refers to the original cast and the continuity is questionable, with potential plotholes. Starting off with the obvious one, Sakura hasn’t aged a bit. While this is explainable due to the events in DCSS, I find it a bit disappointing and off-putting. At least have her hair go grey or something. The voice doesn’t even change. The next thing is the lack of explanation for Suginami, who is exactly the same as Suginami from DCSS. He could be a descendent, but it’s like they just copy and pasted the character in. Next up is Yoshiyuki himself, at one point someone asks why he has a different surname to his sisters, which they completely gloss over. As well as that unanswered question there’s also a question of how is he related to characters like Sakura and the Asakura sisters at all? Who are his parents? He doesn’t even refer to Sakura as oba-chan (grandmother), plus it seems Sakura never had kids since her man left her for someone else (see original Da Capo). Next is Nanaka Shirakawa, this would suggest that Kotori had kids and moved on after she couldn’t have Junichi. Who is Nanaka’s grandfather (Kotori’s husband)? Similarly Maika Mizukoshi is a descendent (likely a daughter due to her age) of the Mizukoshi sisters. Again, Mako had a crush on Junichi and there was nothing to suggest that either she or her sister would ship elsewhere. But with these last couple of characters there’s another issue, the surname. In Japan (and in the rest of the world) it is a tradition to keep the man’s surname as the family surname. Thus, their descendants would inherit the guy’s family name. Unless Kotori and the Mizukoshi twins had brothers to pass down the family name, the only other explanation for the name discrepancy is up to two generations of failed marriages/single mothers. Considering how much the original characters loved Junichi, I would be surprised if they were the type to get a divorce and raise kids by themselves. But this does also add the possibility of other characters being descendants of the original cast, since the surnames are different. I’m thinking Koko is a descendent of Miharu, inheriting either her grandfather’s or father’s family name. I could be wrong, but it’s nice to dream. Conclusion This is not a harem anime, the harem doesn’t seem to exist and it seems a choice is made early on. It has actual plot, though the romantic aspect feels much like a harem in that it feels slice-of-life like and the romantic aspect is watered down. There are some issues with the connection to the original Da Capo and a good few things are unexplained. This could annoy fans of the original Da Capo, but there is hope in that a second season exists. I’d recommend giving this a chance if you like romance and want a slight taste of how terrible harem is (which it would be if a girl wasn’t chosen early). You could hope season two puts things right, but I know better than to expect such things. Family-friendliness Rating: 3/5 Suggestive themes (lower is better) Overall Rating: 6/10 (higher is better)

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