Of all this year’s letdowns, none have stung so much as Moyashimon Returns, the sequel to the pretty good, but not quite great Moyashimon that aired five years prior. The anticipation was such that damn near everyone who was asked about what they anticipated from the summer season said Moyashimon Returns without missing a beat, though given the lack of quality across the board for that particular season, I can’t say I blame them for jettisoning their hopes into the thermosphere. And of course, like all objects not lighter than air or aerodynamically designed, everyone’s expectations of the show came crashing back to Earth’s surface, scalding hot with disappointment.
Quite a few of the complaints about the sequel make sense; the charming, quirky aesthetic that made the first series so endearing was hidden under the sheen of generic character designs and a somehow more generic opening that failed to match the first season’s. Coupled with horrid pacing and character development being substituted for microbes lecturing about booze, it’s nowhere near as distinctive or dramatically coherent as its predecessor. Hell, after five years, expecting more than what actually came was perfectly reasonable. I’m coming across as harsher than I intend to be on what the show offered. I don’t think it did a particularly lackluster job, the first three episodes aside, keeping itself from becoming as regrettable a hype machine as Guilty Crown. Of course, “not as bad as Guilty Crown” is a pretty low bar, but it wasn’t an irredeemable disaster by itself, retaining its place as one of my most anticipated series week to week.
Of all the anime that’s graced our torrents this year, Moyashimon Returns is hardly the most noteworthy. At best, it recaptures the frenzy of the first series’ laudable school festival arc for all of a single episode, at worst languishing in a brewery for a span of several episodes accomplishing fuck all. In the end, it falls somewhere in the middle of this year’s moderate string of watchable series. However, it’s representative of how deceptive the hype train can be, something that we’d all do well to remember in order to avoid accidentally stringing up our expectations until they hang lifeless from disappointment’s shoddily-made gallows.
In retrospect the massive expectation deflation was kind of hilarious, and only one of three things worth discussing about the summer season. Coming up next will be another of those three shows that kept the summer as a whole from being kind of forgettable shit.