I usually avoid writing different reviews about different seasons of the same series but in this case it was necessary since the second season had some big differences in storytelling that brought out a lot of negative aspects of the first series. In any case, it would be better to be aware of the first season or even have read my review about it in order to fill in any blanks.
Let’s start by saying that sequels are most of the time worse than their first seasons. Either they reuse the same formula and become tiresome for being “one of the same” or make drastic changes that alienate the fans of the original and making them consider it worse. In this case Gemini of the Meteor (GOTM) went for the later and to no surprise was received quite harshly by most. From my POV, I will say that I welcome experimentation in each addition to a franchise and I will judge it for what it is and not for what it should be in my imagination.
Art and Sound are of the same quality as before, only in this season there is less darkness going on (thus it is less Darker Than Black) and the characters seem more humane because they express more emotions than before. The main lead is now a drunkard, so he is more expressive by being more wasted; and the main girl is NOT a full Contractor, so she expresses a lot more feelings. The dialogues feel livelier as well for the same reason while the soundtrack is again nothing memorable on the longrun. I have no reason to give better or worse ratings here as the difference in details is not affecting the overall quality.
The Story is one step better and two steps worse than before but it’s not like you could except something better from a SEQUEL made by we-have-no-storyboards Studio BONES. On the bright side, it now has more concrete plot and less stand alone episodes. On the less-dark-than-before side, this brings out the problem of the first season. THERE ISN’T MUCH GOING ON. While DTB was resetting the mission objective every two episodes, GOTM retains the same mission all the way, thus it is easier to get fed up with it. Because the very storytelling of the series does not allow multi-layered elements inter-webbing into a complicating and thought-provoking setting, where it is required to offer gargantuan amounts of brain activity to comprehend what is going on, thus in need of spending many episodes in exposition. It’s quite simple actually; a rather linear adventure of a girl looking for another girl. So you can imagine how more boring it would be to stretch something that lasted two episodes before to be 5 times longer without necessarily being more complicating or worthy of such a thing. I am in favor of an on-going plot but not when it is not worthy of it.
Furthermore, it’s also the ending of GOTM which hasn’t satisfied anyone I know of. You see, DTB also had a setting where nothing was explained and the ending felt poor and rushed. Yet GOTH, instead of delving deeper into what was left unlooked before, instead initiates yet another mystery on top of the existing one and ends equally weird and without answering anything major once again. Not only that, but the hints of what happens feel out-of-place, making you think it has nothing to do with the rest of the setting. Some compared it with what in going on in the finales of Neon Genesis or Clannad AS. Well sorry to say that having a mindfuck for an ending does not work if it’s not foreshadowed properly. Since this anime never explains anything, you just can’t accept all that, even when you can think of them as Contractor abilities. So no, unlike the above two anime, GOTH has a terrible conclusion.
In other words, where DTB had little plot which does not allow you to be bored by resetting and ending anti-climactically, GOTM has more plot which is easier to be bored; for it lasts longer without being worthy of it and ends badly. One plus and two minus, just as I said. There is a set of OVAs which explain the backdrop story better but since they are extras that for all we see are just ass-pulled in the storyline AFTER it is all over, they don’t help out the overall feeling much. If they were part of the core story, it would be much better for its own well-being.
The Characters improved a bit in emotions but gotten far worse in feeling. First of all, a single yet longer mission instead of short numerous ones means more screen-time for the characters and thus more time invested in immersion. And at first glance you would think they need it as Suou and Hei are showing a lot more emotions and angst than before, while each one of them has something going on in their lives that needs more exposition. At the same time, nothing much is there to invest about them and all exposition is kept for the finale, which as I said it is bad on its own. So what is the point of giving more screen-time for characters who have nothing much to show in the first place? Didn’t DTB do that too in a slower pace because the individual secondary characters of each arc goggled up most of the time? It felt so much better there; they lost their charm here.
As if that wasn’t enough bad already, the storywriters made it even worse by taking out Yin from the story for most of the series. I mean, she was an established character with its own fanbase of sorts and for no reason they decide to keep her out of the way and even to NOT EXPLAIN WHY IS SHE NOW A RIVAL. The OVAs are again supposed to explain that but who cares if it’s shown after the party is over?
I will add something that may not be of interest to most but it sure annoyed me. This season focused a lot more on moe lolis and less on macho killers. I mean DTB was about these cynical assassins who were ruthlessly killing people all the time without showing any care about it. On GOTH we have a coming-of-age of sorts regarding loli Suou and everyone was going rabid about the absence of loli Yin. Poor Hei was left in the background and his drunkard issue went almost unnoticed because of the loli foreground. Well as much as distant the cynical bastards of DTB were, they were still more uncommon than the over-abundant loli archetype that Suou is part of. What a bad turnaround for most to have this ecchi/moe element in a show that they liked for NOT being like most others. Some consider it a show about how an innocent girl is forced to slowly turn into a ruthless assassin in order to survive and go ahead in life; but come on, the bait of DTB were cynical bastards from the get-go and not the gradual becoming of one. And as far as sniper killer lolis goes, I found Gunslinger Girl far more interesting, for being a lot closer to the formula of DTB and not of GOTH.
Value and Enjoyment are lower for the reasons stated above. And it’s not as if it’s the change in the formula that is at fault here. It’s more about the refusal to change ALL the elements in the formula. Instead of offering story exposition that was so overlooked in DTB, they threw in more unanswered mysteries while giving the lead to less uncommon characters, in a story that lasts longer without necessarily showing more to back it up, ending it in a WTF way that feels out-of-place, and then attempting to explain it outside of the story with OVAs. And the action scenes are again short and lacking realism, making them equally forgettable as before.
How hard was all that to figure out when planning for a sequel? Screw this, I’m going back to my lovely X-Men.