I see a lot of fear surrounding sequels, both in the anime fandom and among viewers as a whole. They’re frequently derided as cash grabs, unnecessary works thought up in the depths of corporate boardrooms. I don’t see this as much for ‘second seasons’ or continued adaptations, but wholly new works that come after a concluded story usually get this attitude thrown their way. This is only amplified when new staff members are working on the sequel, as it leads to the idea that the new project is being made with no concern for the quality of the original work.
I don’t think it’s all that controversial to state that New Game!!, the second season of the 2016 Kirara adaptation, is a significant improvement over the first season. That’s not a jab at the first season; I had a great time with it, and it made it on to my 2016 top 10 list. But the second season goes beyond the first in many places. It doesn’t simply settle for being more of the same; it takes everything a step further, in the process becoming a significantly better show, not merely a slight improvement. It’s hard to cover every way in which it’s improved, but I’ll try.
I just watched Diebuster, and I was incredibly pleased with it in every way. It was just a fantastic Super Robot show, one that blended truly amazing visuals with fun characters, hype moments, and a simple plot. It reaffirmed how good Gainax once was, and it really made me happy that I’ve started to go back and look at a bunch of classic anime. But what stands out the most is how it’s a sequel to Gunbuster, a show I had watched just one day before, and the ways in which it managed to be a satisfying sequel to a show widely regarded as one of anime’s great classics.