Review/discussion about: Is the Order a Rabbit??
In the final episode of the second season here of Is the Order a Rabbit?? (two question marks to signify the sequel), the girls go on what’s called a “Ciste.” Basically a treasure hunt. They use a map that contains clues that lead them through town until they discover a chest where goodies are had and traded.
When I was kid, one of my best friends had a birthday party where his mother set up a treasure hunt. I remember all of us peering over the map, running around the house looking for clue after clue. It was simple but fun, and, best of all, we found the chest tucked away in the closet by the entrance. Inside was enough candy to last a week, but, being boys, we finished it all before the night was up.
Rabbit?? may not be gold or jewels or even candy. But it’s still a tiny treasure worth seeking out.
Rabbit?? (have to keep those question marks) returns, and with it comes Cocoa, Chino, and the rest of the gang once more.
To put it bluntly, this anime is more or less the first season all over again. The moe-filled, slice-of-life structured show does not extend beyond cute moments, high comedy, and feel-good outcomes. The most tension seen is Chino wading through a shin-deep river, and even that ends up creating some jokes and cuteness. In short, its content that feels the same as what happened before.
That’s not necessarily a negative because it’s all done well. The execution exists in each aspect. Those cute moments? Chiya’s mega-pout and Syaro getting cuddled are way too adorable. That high comedy? Lots of overreactions and puns and misplaced expectations. Those feel-good outcomes? Chino finally smiling and Cocoa being a big sister form some heartwarming scenes.
Despite being an almost-replica of the first season, Rabbit?? does take a couple of steps to make this new season feel just like that: new. Mocha, Cocoa’s older sister, gets introduced as a new character. Focus gets placed on more than just the main girls, extending to the fathers of Chino and Rize as well as Chino’s closest friends Maya and Megumi. None of these steps are major – indeed, they could arguably be expected – but they at least demonstrate the anime’s intent to separate itself, however slightly, from its first season.
The narrative does have a couple of snags, though. Tippy’s origins (which is the only fantastical part of the show) still go unexplained. Not showing the older girls going on their own treasure hunt seems like a mistake. And refusing to give more of Chino’s mother’s background represents a lost opportunity for the anime’s big-sister theme. Not to mention the anime succumbs to repetition on occasion.
These issues are minor, however. Especially when clever scenes like the stalker circle or Mocha’s whipping-out-her-rolling-pin running gag ensue. Or when the anime ends the season how it began – with many a picture.
All in all, Rabbit??’s narrative does not do much, but it at least accomplished what it set out to do: make its audience smile.
Rabbit?? continues to serve up sweetness with its art and animation.
The cast find themselves in the same Italian-esque city: the cobblestone streets, the crowded buildings, and the convenient bridges. The setting occasionally switches to other locales, like a mountainous region or the inside of one of the numerous cafes, but, for the most part, the anime produces shot after shot of the quiet, quaint town.
Besides these detailed shots, Rabbit?? plays with its art to aid its comedy. Colored backgrounds help to indicate emotion. Dazzling lights accompany specific actions taken by the characters. And imaginative scenes follow right along with the exaggerated nature of the show. Combined with the various reaction faces, the art adds purpose to its prettiness.
Despite focusing so much on the artistic side, the anime also manages to keep its animation at appropriate levels. Most scenes feature mouth movements as well as character actions that befit the situation, like Cocoa doing the moonwalk or Rize trying to balance Tippy on her head. But since the anime mostly relies on snappy, static shots of the characters for comedic effect, animation does not go anywhere impressive.
Being a second season, their designs remain mostly the same. Each girl champions a color: Rize is purple, Chiya is green, and so on. This gives them a lot of color symbolism (purple for wealth, green for generosity, etc.) that agrees with their respective character traits. Their colorfulness, alongside their frilly outfits and shorter statures, turn them all into the cute-looking characters they are meant to be.
The ending track, besides being fantastic in sound (more on this later), also deserves a shout-out. Chino, Maya, and Megumi dancing along to the song in different ways is way too adorable, but the ED also includes an awesome idea. At the end of the song, a small scene of (one of) Chino, Maya, or Megumi plays of them playing rock-paper-scissors with the audience. It’s quick, it’s cute, and it’s fun – just like the anime itself.
Similar to the story, the characters of Rabbit?? are more or less themselves all over again.
Going through a quick list makes this apparent. Cocoa overprotects Chino. Syaro crushes on Rize, deals with her poor living situation, and hypes herself on caffeine. Chiya creates crazy treats and goes with the flow. Rize’s tomboy obsession with the military has never been stronger. And Chino behaves beyond shy.
To be fair, Cocoa and Chino have more to their characters than the other main three. Cocoa vies to be a better bigger sister to Chino because she feels that she has just not been doing all that swell of a job thus far. Her older sister Mocha spurns her on even further when the young woman demonstrates, through her relationship to Cocoa (and the other girls), who Cocoa can be.
As for Chino, she learns to appreciate Cocoa and others more. Not just for their kindness but also for their sincerity. She slowly realizes that they do a lot for her, and they do their best to make her happy. To them, she’s more than just a veteran barista – she’s a close friend and family member. And Chino discovers this, too.
While the anime does not focus all that much on Syaro, Chiya, and Rize, Rabbit?? makes up for this lack of attention here by placing it elsewhere. Namely, it’s given to Maya, Megumi, and Mocha.
Maya was introduced in the first season, but in this season, she’s around more. With her increased presence comes more to her character. She is normally carefree and energetic, but what the audience gets to see is a young girl worried about her future life with her friends. Rather mature for the child.
Megumi gets a lot more focus, too. The most accurate way to describe Megumi is ditzy. She remains blissfully unaware of troubles, keeping herself happy at all times. But this trait hides itself when her ballerina background surfaces. She’s no longer defined by her naïveté. Instead, she proves her dedication, gracefulness, and strength.
Admittedly, these are small (very small) character developments. But, considering that Maya and Megumi are small side characters already, it’s nice to see them change no matter how slight it may be.
Mocha, unlike the other two, makes her debut this season. Her loud personality replicates Cocoa’s, proving that the young woman is, in fact, Cocoa’s older sister. That’s her defining trait: being a big sister. She plays that role incredibly well. Not just for Cocoa but for Chino, Rize, and all of the other girls. Mocha stays around for only a short amount of time, but she leaves a lasting impression on everyone through her mixed combo of mature advice and immature cuddling.
This mature motif, albeit a simplistic one, can actually be seen within the whole cast.
Cocoa, Megumi, and the others are steeped in maturity. For example, composure, seriousness, and elegance follow Rize, Syaro, and Chiya respectively. Aoyama, the wandering author, has trouble following through on her responsibilities (immaturity), so Rin, a new character and Aoyama’s editor, arrives to keep the irresponsible woman on track (maturity). And the two groups of girls – the older and the younger – get (rarely) compared with one another.
Again, the motif is not grand, meaning it’s not explored all that much. But it’s consistent, turning the cast into (slightly) more than just a bunch of cute and comedic characters.
Easily (perhaps unanimously), the single strongest part of Rabbit?? is its ending track.
In one word, the ED is fantastic. Chino, Maya, and Megumi both take turns and work together singing. The beat is extremely catchy. The pacing ranges from slow to fast. The silly lyrics make the song fun. And the instruments, like the xylophone and the accordion, create a feel-good tone that persists all the way through the piece. The ED is fitting, fun, and, well, fantastic.
It’s so amazing that the rest of the music pales in comparison. Not that the other tracks are horrendous to listen to, but nothing else within the anime comes close. For instance, the OP, while similar in its multitude of singers and happiness, does not have that same charm and catchiness to it. The OST feels even weaker, consisting of everyday, slice-of-life tracks that are there mostly to follow the appropriate mood.
Again, neither the OP nor the OST are awful. In fact, the OP is pretty cute and well sung, and the OST has some nice tracks such as its main cultural-and-trumpet tune and the bittersweet music-box piece. But they just do not have anything on their ED counterpart.
The voice acting performances bring back that strength (but obviously not to the same level as the ED). Maaya Uchida as Syaro stutters and frets her way to victory. Inori Minase a Chino whispers cuteness. And Ai Kayano as Mocha cuddles and calms the crew with her big-sister voice.
I absolutely adored this one. Every single episode had me clapping, smiling, or otherwise laughing at the shenanigans.
A huge amount of credit goes to the various characters; I liked all of them. Rize’s composed attitude contrasted with her occasional spats of cuteness. Chiya’s carefree nature. Syaro’s constant worrying about the situation and fretting over Rize. Cocoa trying her hardest to impress Chino. And Chino slowly but surely learning to lighten up. The main girls were a big bundle of fun that never stopped rolling from the moment this season began, and I couldn’t have asked them to do much more.
The rest of the cast brought their best, too. Mocha was a wonderful addition. Not only did she act as an awesome older sister to Cocoa and the other girls, but also she brought with her hilarity and poses that rivaled everyone. In fact, she instantly became one of my favorite characters from the entire series. Maya with her energy and Megumi with her ditzy behavior also made the season that much more entertaining. As did Aoyama, Tippy, and the other minor characters.
And as a huge moe fan, the incredible amount of adorableness made me more than giddy to witness. All of their smiles, all of their blushing, and all of their actions were pure, unfiltered cuteness that made the entire season that much more amazing.
In short, I loved it.
Is the Order a Rabbit?? (Don’t forget that second question mark.) is technically more of the same, but that’s not saying a whole lot. The execution is all there: heartfelt slice-of-life scenes, nice art, fun characters, fitting music, and loads of entertainment. Yes, a tiny treasure, but a treasure all the same.
Story: Good, more of the same but with execution in droves
Animation: Good, detailed and comedic art, okay animation, and cute character designs
Characters: Fine, while Cocoa, Chino, and the rest are simple characters, their maturity motif this time around does not go unnoticed
Sound: Good, okay OP, fantastic ED, okay OST, nice VA performances
Enjoyment: Great, smiled, laughed, and cheered constantly
Final Score: 7/10
Thanks for taking the time to read my review. If you want, take part in the discussion below! :3