As a fan of the Arifureta light novels (or at least I enjoyed them enough) I dove into season one with high expectations and found that most of my hopes were dashed. Not because of changes from the source but just because season one of Arifureta was pretty terrible visually and in terms of pacing and characterisation but I’m not going to rehash my review here.
With that said, I wasn’t going to give season two a look but having read that there’s a new director at the helm (Akira Iwanaga) and he worked on a number of anime I really liked (such as the criminally underrated Tegamibachi) I decided I should at last try episode one of the new season to see if they could turn this anime adaptation around. The source material was pretty entertaining so there’s a chance they could make season 2 of this anime better.
So how does this first episode of the new season of Arifureta play out?
Did Arifureta Season 2’s first episode repeat the mistakes of season 1?
It is a tricky thing continuing a story given you do need to align it with what has come before. Probably the worst thing about D Gray Man Hallow when it came out was the characters all looked so vastly different from the episodes that came before it that even though it was pretty decent in its own right if you are watching D Gray Man through the transition is jarring. Arifureta doesn’t have that issue here as the character designs are as they always were as are the voices.
I might suggest there’s an improvement in the CGI monsters that attack during the episode but perhaps that’s just my lowered expectations going into the episode rather than a genuine improvement. Regardless, it is still hardly a visual masterpiece hiding the majority of its action behind a sandstorm in this episode and the harsh terrain being quite at odds with the super cute designs for the members of Hajime’s harem.
And his harem are in full voice in this first episode of season 2 of Arifureta. Prior to the battle the audience is privy to a cat fight between Yue and Kaori over who knows Hajime best that gets to the point where Yue declares she knows more about what Hajime likes in bed at which point the conversation is mercifully cut short. But even once the battle begins and we’re no longer viewing the interior of the vehicle all of the girls continue to banter as we watch sand worms pursuing the car across the desert until finally Hajime, as an audience proxy, pretty much asks them to all shut up.
But complaints aside, in a fair assessment I’d have to say this first episode was largely watchable. The opening sequence is clearly a flash-forward to some fight Hajime will encounter in the future where he’ll be pushed hard. It couldn’t even begin to rival the desperation of his situation after falling in the dungeon so there’s little reason to get invested but at least it gives some direction to the current journey.
Arifureta also brings the hero’s party back to the kingdom and we get a bit of time with Hajime’s former classmates. If they get a bit more screen time they may even start to feel like actual characters in this story.
However, outside of random sandworm encounter, what episode one of Arifureta does is establishes a clear new mission for Hajime and his harem and then cuts over to the demons and establishes a new face for the antagonists and sends both parties on a path to meet at the same location in the near future. It’s enough of a hook and a progression to make it hard to stop there and as much as I still have misgivings about Arifureta the anime this first episode is pretty decent and doesn’t make too many missteps, though mileage may vary on how endearing you find the nattering of the harem.
Images from: Arifureta 2nd Season. Dir. A Iwanaga. asread & studio MOTHER. 2022.
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
5 thoughts on “Arifureta Season 2 Episode 1 – Did Arifureta Learn Anything From Its First Season?”
“cat fight between Yue and Kaori over who knows Hajime best that gets to the point where Yue declares she knows more about what Hajime likes in bed…”
Yeah that doesn’t sound too good haha. The whole goofy harem element of season one was a real turn off for me. I wasn’t planning on watching this sequel, and now for certain I’ll wait for more feedback as to how the entire season ended up before potentially going in.
The goofy harem element really doesn’t work. Even when reading this story I wasn’t a fan of that element but at least when reading you can get through those sequences quickly and you don’t have to hear the character voices.
One of the things that really annoyed me at the end of last season was Yue and Kaori fighting over who liked Hajime the most… glad that continued. At least, Hajime told them to shut up. I also feel like Myu is going to be the voice of reason for the director. She also said she didn’t like when they argued and also made Hajime accept the mission without refusing it several times before doing it anyway.
I didn’t feel like anything really grabbed me and makes me want to keep watching beyond seeing if it ends up better than season one.
Hopefully, we will see more of the heroes party to give us a better overall view of things.
That wanting to know if it improves on season one is probably the biggest reason I even touched this and honestly I’ll probably watch the season just to see if it does manage it. Still, the first episode wasn’t terrible and there’s definitely some potential in the direction they seemed to have set the story in so I guess I’ll see how it goes.
It was an improvement although the bar was set pretty low to begin with.