Sunday, August 16, 2015

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere Season 2 Review

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere Season 2 Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the second season of Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere. If you wish not to know some plot details, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please exit the tab, and join me once you've watched the show. Or you know, you can continue to read, since you don't care about spoilers.

Anyways, with that said, thank you, and onto the review:

Like I said earlier, more follow up season reviews are coming this year, and here's another one. After I finished Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere's first season back in May, I was looking forward to what Season 2 had to offer. Would it offer the same enjoyments as Season 1 did? Would the problems I had with last season be resolved? I didn't really know what would happen before watching, nor did I know what was going to go down. 

Luke, a good friend of mine who has now opened up his own blog (we will collaborate on a review in the future, but I won't tell you which one), got this season as an interlibrary loan, much like last time. So, after watching it, and upon further discussion, what did I find?

If I could sum this season up in one GIF, it would be:

But to put it in words, let's just say this season was WAY more cluttered than its predecessor. It didn't necessarily have second season syndrome, but it was still not as enjoyable. The problems with the cluttered story managed to increase, along with some of the more interesting characters of the show getting shoved to the background. 

Thankfully, this season wasn't all bad. I still found myself cracking a smile or laughing at things going on (though some moments of "hilarity" did get annoying), and the animation was still quite enjoyable to look at. But mix in the weaker elements, and I'm just not as satisfied with this season. It could have been better than what it turned out to be.

Let's start off with perhaps my least favorite part about this overall:


Okay, I still have no clue what the hell exactly went down in this season, so I'm going to do the best that I can to explain it to you.

We left off with Tres Espana attacking Musashi. After fighting them a bit, the gang decides to steer off towards England to escape the attacks by Tres Espana. While trying to reach port, England decides to send out some people to fight from Oxford Academy due to their neutral standing on the conflict between Musashi and the Testament Union. For a while, a portion of Musashi's ship lands as is positioned upright for undisclosed reasons. After a bit of a wait, negotiations with England start in order for Musashi and England to hold a school festival (meat trading was involved). It starts off pretty well, but it gives way to new conflict with Oxford Academy again thanks to the Fairy Queen.

Meanwhile, Tenzo finds a strange cloaked figure trying to save some children from Musashi's positioning on the coat of England, which he does himself. After encountering him again, the strange man is revealed to be a woman while he cleans up the cemetery, after a portion of her cloak is caught on one of the wood piles. There's some more talk about the Marys, which will come later, but it gets pummeled into the battles that could hinder Horizon and Tori's date, and Tenzo falling in love with Mary and....

Okay, f**k it. HOW MUCH HAPPENS IN SEASON 2?! I would say a buttload, because this season feels packed to the brim with so much stuff going on, and as a result, it tries to cram in as many characters and events as possible for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I would say the most interesting part about this season would be the material regarding Scarred Mary and what not, but some of that did end up boring me.

Once again, the final episodes are clearly the best, considering that there's not a lot going on, and there's a clearer motive for getting stuff done. Beside rescuing Scarred Mary from her execution, Musashi also has to reenact the Spanish Armanda battl...wait, battles against Tres Espana. This doesn't feel as packed to the brim like many others episodes before it, nor does it become too boring.

And that leads to the 2 main problems of this season's story in general. The first being that some episodes try to shove as much information, events, and nearly everything down our throats as possible, while the second problem is that the show tries to cram in even more background information via speeches that you could care mostly less about, especially if they come from an opposing side.

But the ending is much more satisfying as a whole, since it doesn't end up being open. We do have a preview of some new characters that could pop up later, but as of now, another season hasn't been confirmed. But that's fine; the ending was good enough.

But what about the story itself? Well, I would say it's definitely weaker than Season 1, even though that had its problems. The episodes feel a lot more cluttered, and I wasn't as entertained. Rather, my head was spinning a lot more than it should have, considering how much gets packed into this show. 

I think I need to move on, considering that the majority of you are probably as confused as I am. So, I should fix that:


The large character cast does again work against this show. Though some characters featured in Season 1 get a little development, such as Tenzo and Toussaint, I still feel some of the characters that are more engaging are still not shown as much. Tenzo's development made me happy though, as it was highly enjoyable.

Also, Tori's naked for the majority of this season. I have one question: WHY? There's never really a reason behind it, and it just gets annoying the more times it happens, especially in battles taking themselves very seriously.

I'm going to talk about 2 new characters today who make a big lead on the show's story. First up, Mary:

Mary is first introduced as Scarred, first believed to be a boy since she hides herself in a cloak and has a deep pitched voice. But after her actual gender is revealed to Tenzo, she feels the need to ditch the cloak for the majority of her appearances after Episode 4. 

Her fate is to be executed, as she is Mary Stuart, the twin of Fairy Queen Elizabeth, in order to repeat history. When she is sealed away in the London Tower after a date with Tenzo where she reveals her identity, Tenzo decides to rescue her, and convinces her to join the ship of Musashi.

I think the romance between Mary and Tenzo is REALLY adorable and cute. It made me happier when I saw them, especially if a particular episode wasn't as good. It developed naturally over time, but I think it may have potential to go somewhere. And for Mary as a character, she's pretty good too. She has a nice complexity about her that was a little obvious, yeah, but it still made her a little better than some of the other new characters who didn't do a lot. She also has a unique look that I don't see often.

Now it's time to talk about her twin:

Based on several conversations and things shown in the anime, I am pretty sure that she is the younger sister, which is kind of surprising. Not as shocking as Luis in Freezing, but still pretty interestingconsidering how authoritative she is.

Her actual name is Elizabeth (like Queen Elizabeth), and she's also ironically the current queen of England. She is also the president of the organization TRUMPS, which also involves some of the students of Oxford Academy. At first, she seems to be an antagonist who may be important on our side, due to the upcoming Spanish Armada battles, and Musashi wants to use their ship to fight. However, it takes a while to convince her on terms due to another unnecessary character inferring with the conference (Yay! Conflict that doesn't get resolved!). After this, she also orders some of the members of TRUMPS to stop some of the students from rescuing Mary, but does give in later. She also seems a little depressed that her sister is leaving her.

Overall, I think that Elizabeth was one of the more interesting characters out of the new ones we met. And considering how huge this cast is (and how they work against the show), it's actually a good thing. There were some intriguing happenings in her backstory, and her connection with Mary does seem to be good, though not quite, as she still wants to repeat history with the execution thing.

And that's all of the new characters that I fully care about, which is kind of sad, since we have a ton of them. There's also some more recurring appearances of some of the characters from Tres Esapana that appeared briefly at the end of Season 1, which would be nice if I cared.

New characters include the Chancellor of Tres Espana, various members of TRUMPS, including one who looks like a very deranged and fat baby. Thomas Shakespeare, the version of William Shakespeare in this series, who plays a role in Toussaint's backstory, an automaton from England who speaks Engrish, a sea pirate who's friend with the Fairy Queen, a skeleton priest (who was my favorite out of the new side characters), a 3 legged crow, and the treasurer of P.A.M, who's very forgettable and only shows up once.


The animation for this series was once again produced by Sunrise, who are also known for their work on series such as Accel World, InuYasha, and Love Live.

As a whole, the animation is pretty consistent with the animation from Season 1. It's nice, but it doesn't have a lot of great moments that I've seen with other shows. Once again, when it's time to bring the ships and our players out into battle, the animation shines there, as it looks well-done and engaging.

On another note, there's a couple scenes in Episode 4 where nipples are shown on Mary and Tomo respectively. This is kind of odd, considering the fact that the show hasn't done anything remotely this flashy during its run (excluding a small scene with Asama in the bath that showed no nudity in Episode 3 of Season 1). However, some of the outfits the girls wear show off their assets anyway.

So again, it's good, but nothing special.


The score for this series was once again composed by Tatsuya Kato, who has also worked on the scores for Samurai Girls, Food Wars, and Day Break Illusion.

This score isn't as scatterbrained this time, which was nice. I also got to hear some of my favorite tracks from Season 1. But as a whole, I can't say if I remember or recall any new pieces that come to my mind. This time, the score didn't really make an impact on this show for me. There are some good pieces, but none of them really stand out. The only one that I can really remember is the one used in the epic bitch slap scene.
Audio wise, pretty much the exact same thing. Watch this in Japanese, not English. This season, besides having the exact same problems with the script and it not fitting flaps and most of the lines being the exact same as the subtitles, Sentai makes some casting changes that are very weird. For example, Shelley Calene-Black was replaced as Naomasa by Maggie Flecknoe. However, if you look at who's also in the dub cast, she is Mary and Queen Elizabeth in this series. Same goes with John Gremillion, Andrew Love, David Wald, and Kendal McClellan (who, according to many people, was uncredited in Season 1). These are the major cases, with some of their characters being replaced yet the voice actors still showing up as multiple characters except the ones they previously voiced. It's odd, considering there's some voice actors who were probably unable to come back, but some of the voice actors who were replaced in Season 2 as certain characters ARE IN SEASON 2!

New highlights to add to the list include Yui Horie, Megumi Toyoguchi, Tetsu Shiratori, Hiroki Yasumoto, Masumi Asano, Yukari Tamura, Miho Yamada, Momoko Saito, Ryota Takeuchi, Toru Okawa, and Yoshihisa Kawahara.


As you can tell, I'm a bit upset that this season was weaker. I feel like some of the problems from the first season were made even worse this season, which isn't a good thing. Good news is that the pacing of the anime isn't that bad, until the end of course, since we need to wrap this battle up in a night. But the best part about this season in that it doesn't leave off on a cliffhanger. It has a proper ending, with some questions looming in the distance.

As of right now, a Season 3 hasn't been officially confirmed, but I'm not sure if I'm going to watch it if it does come out. Overall, this show is good, but I honestly wish Season 2 could have been a bit better. That way, I didn't have to feel half confused and half somewhat excited for what's to come.

If you're a fan of Season 2 but haven't watched this yet, I would say give it a go. You may be missing a bit if you skip this arc, but I still hope to have a little more clarity than I did by the end of it.

Score: 6.5/10


Parts of story are still interesting.

Main characters still have presence.

Some characters given more development.

Decent animation.

No open ending.


Story is jumbled and messier than the 1st season's.

Confusing as hell sometimes.

More characters not as looked upon.

Score isn't as good this time around.

Most often, show is either WTF or ZZZ.

Some unfunny gags.

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