I’m at a loss as to what to say about Moyashimon Returns, because it is such a direct sequel of the first season. Honestly, this is the type of show that had Moyashimon aired now, this would’ve followed a couple seasons after. There is literally no passage of time between the end of that season, and the start of Returns.
Despite that, Moyashimon Returns is at least somewhat accessible for the new viewer, although I think one would be much better served by watching the first season prior to starting this one. All the characters are introduced, and we’re sort of slowly acclimated to the show again – y’know, kind of like how you can slowly acclimate a frog to a pot of water as you amp up the temperature to boiling point and kill it. The only aspect I can see completely throwing newcomers off is Kei, as while there are references to his trans identity, none of it is explained quite enough for someone to come in blind and get what is going on completely.
Compared to the first season, Returns isn’t quite as funny yet, although it certainly is enjoyable. I also was not a terribly big fan of the changes to character designs; I don’t know if this’ll make sense, but everything just looks rounder. The cast looks younger than they did, too, particularly noticeable with Oikawa and Kei. Kei also looks a lot more feminine. Overall, I’m not hyper bothered by the changes (though, nor am I thrilled)… except for with Mutou. She’s too polished-looking now, I liked how her hair always looked slightly mussed in the first series, it seemed to communicate her character better than her new, shiny looks.
I feel like there’s this elephant in the room, and it is Kei. Watching this episode, Kei is the reason why I felt I need to go back to re-watch the first season, as I recall very little of the detail on the Kei reveal. I will say that I am not thrilled about the goth loli get-up for the trans character, but I also won’t dismiss out of hand the notion that Kei may actually be something more than just a trap*. It just doesn’t feel like the best of choices if Kei isn’t just a gimmick. And it doesn’t feel like Kei is meant to be a gimmick, although this sort of makes the whole goth loli shtick even more disappointing.
I did feel like I got hit with a bit more of the educational aspect of Moyashimon than I was expecting, or that I recalled as being present in the first season. To be quite frank, it got a little bit dull at points, although I did enjoy learning about booze (of course).
So, Moyashimon Returns: if you haven’t seen the first season yet, sit down and watch it, then move onto this. I do hope it gets funnier in coming episodes, and if they have romance betwixt Tadayasu and Oikawa, I will punch someone in the face.
*I’ve touched briefly previously on why ‘trap’ is a problematic term, so I want to explain why I use it here: I’m distinguishing between characters who have gender identities different from their biological sex and are actual, fully-formed characters, and those who have differing gender and sex but who are simply meant as fanservice, and for the purposes of humor. A trans character would be someone such as the folks in Wandering Son; a trap character is a character such as Nomura Yuuki in No Bra.
Of course, I’m ignoring a third category here, wherein characters “crossdress” due to circumstances, and it is neither intended for titillation, nor are they at odds with their biological sex. But we don’t see too many of these, so I don’t feel terribly guilty for not trying to pull a name for them out of my ass.