Although continuing to learn about different cultures continues to be an interest for Shinobu Omiya and her friends, the new school year brings with it unexpected difficulties. Not only is there always something to distract them from their studies, Alice and Yoko are having trouble adjusting to life in a different class than Shinobu, Aya and Karen. Meanwhile, Karen is having a hard time getting along with her new homeroom teacher, the stern Miss Kuzehashi. Craziness may ensue, but their experiences only serve to bring them closer together, as the friendship between the five girls continues to grow throughout their second year in High School.
Following on from the delightful first season of Kinmoza!, Hello!! Kinmoza! continues to adapt Yui Hara’s 4-koma manga, matching and at times surpassing the prior series at being a comfy slice of life anime, not to mention a brilliantly funny comedy.
Unless your anime is called K-On!, a common occurence of slice of life comedy shows when they get a follow up is to ride the status quo. There’s no real story to tell, no conflicts to resolve or any real depth to be had in general, and so tend to deliver more of the same. Although not quite as egregious as some others, I’d still say this is a category Hello!! Kinmoza! falls into comfortably, and as such, if you weren’t huge on the original, there’ll be absolutely nothing to change your mind here. That being said if, like me, you absolutely fell head-over-heels for Kinmoza!, then Season Two will have everything you could want and more, squeezing as much as it possibly can out of the simple premise. The writers still manage to get a lot of mileage from the charming cast and their various character dynamics, from Aya’s tsundere relationship with Yoko to Alice and Shinobu’s mutual obsession with each other, the jokes continue to run on from the initial series but without feeling stale or repetitive, which I find to be a minor miracle. It’s not always laugh out loud funny, but it is enough to have me sitting there with a big grin on my face for the entire run time, either from the gags, or the general sense of warmth and friendship that continues to radiate from the franchise. The on-screen friendships we see here are definitely very saccharine, which may put a few people off, but they’re so cute that I can’t help but just feel happy seeing them on screen together, which I honestly think is something of great achievement.
Despite the majority of elements staying the same, Hello!! Kinmoza! is not entirely devoid of originality, introducing an additional character to the mix in Miss Kuzehashi, the girls’ homeroom teacher. Acting as a direct opposite to the free spirited Miss Karasuma, Kuzehashi is a strict and stern teacher that, despite her cold demeanor, wishes to be well liked and popular with her class. This new teacher does a great deal to keep the show feeling fresh, with her and Karen forming an unlikely friendship over the course of the series, as well as her relationship to Karasuma, who she looks up to and respects due to her relative popularity amongst the students, making for a strange yet fun teacher/student dynamic between the pair. Over the course of the series, the students do slowly warm up to Kuzehashi as she slowly improves her relations with them, which is honestly refreshing to see, as actual growth in anime like this is somewhat of a rarity. Honoka, who was largely a background character before, has been given a fair bit more screen time this time around, as Shinobu gets a friend who is just as obsessed with blonde hair as she is, with her idolising Karen. This leads to many a funny gag but also a handful of genuine moments too, as we see Honoka try and get closer to Karen.
Something I did notice a fair bit whilst watching Hello!! Kinmoza! was the frequency of which flashback sequences occur this time around. I found these to be an effective storytelling device, as seeing these characters’ sharing nigh identical bonds from the years past serves to reinforce the strength of friendships seen in the anime, which is especially highlighted in one of my favourite episodes, which shows Alice and Karen in England. This interest in the past potentially foreshadows the follow-up hour-long OVA, Kinmoza Pretty Days, which almost entirely devotes itself to an extended flashback sequence of how Yoko, Aya and Shinobu met. Although there is no sign of a release of this OVA yet, it is something that I hope that we get in the future!
Returning once more from the first series, Studio Gokumi continues to deliver a perfectly serviceable level of quality for the second season of Kinmoza!, looking about as good as a show of this genre needs to. The scenes in England still steal the show due to their picturesque nature, but they’re few and far between.
The entire vocal cast from the original show also return for the follow up too, adorably broken English and all, with the only addition to the cast being Saori Oonishi as Kuzehashi, who you may recognize from DanMachi, SaeKano and Food Wars. The wonderfully talented Ruka Kawada once again provides the score for the show, which is as charming and fun as ever, and the five main seiyuu also once again contribute both a catchy OP and ED, ‘Yume-iro Parade!’ and ‘Kirameki-iro Summer Rainbow’ respectively.
Not a whole lot has changed in Hello!! Kinmoza!, but then again, not a lot had to, remaining as hilarious, fun and wholesome as the initial series was, introducing a new character to keep things fresh whilst maintaining everything that made the original so endearing to begin with.