Is The Order A Rabbit? Season 2 Collection (Cert 12)
2 Discs Blu-ray (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 294 minutes approx.
Release Date: October 11th
When I reviewed the first season of Is The Order A Rabbit? I wasn’t overly impressed with it yet felt a little guilty for scoring what is such an inoffensive show as low as I did. That might have been part of the problem – it coasts along on its moe charm and doesn’t really do anything major to stand out from other slice-of-life shows. Can this second season change my mind?
I know it’s not good to open a review with an opinion but I am being honest in saying, not really. On the one hand, it feels like a comfortable pair of slippers in rejoining the cast, welcoming us back as if we’d never been away; on the other hand, this is part of the problem – it is more of the same, so if it didn’t work first time, chances are it won’t work a second time around.
Maybe that isn’t strictly true, as one new character is introduced whilst supporting cast members from season one get larger roles this time round. And there is a new rabbit too, a wild grey lepus which weapon obsessed Rize names Wild Geese to match its feral demeanour. To underscore this, whenever Wild Geese meets somebody new or another rabbit – like furball Tippy – he leaps in for the attack.
You may recall that Tippy sits on Chino’s head, but as we learned in season one, he is in fact possessed by the spirit of Chino’s grandfather, unbeknownst to Chino of course. But he does have an ally in Chino’s father Takahiro, a former army veteran who runs the Rabbit House coffee shop during the day. He is a friend of Chize’s father, also an army veteran and when they get together, it is testosterone city – all comical, naturally.
Back to the main antics, and things kick off with Cocoa wanting to take some photos to send back home but Chino is camera shy, unlike the others who are quick to preen and pose for Cocoa. Despite the absence of an overarching storyline, photography remains a prevalent factor across many episodes of this outing. This allows Cocoa to communicate with her family (she has a mobile phone why not just text or call them?) and cherish the memories of the times the friends have together.
Rize is injured in one episode, so the others dress as maids to tend to her which would be fetishistic under any other circumstances but just comes across as mindless frippery in this context. Really, it is silly girls throwing themselves into something symbolically daft and does indeed work as kawaii without any lechery involved, simply showing how much this group cares about each other.
This camaraderie is another recurring theme of this season, prompted by silly falling outs and strengthening of bonds during getaway trips to the country, or more mundane activities like shopping for the new school term. This is crystallised in an episode where Cocoa lends Chino a hat to substitute for Tippy whilst in the country, and it blows away, falling into a river. Despite not being able to swim, Chino retrieves the hat so Cocoa wouldn’t be upset, but Cocoa was more worried about Chino. Awww.
Earlier, a mentioned a new character alongside Wild Geese to add a new dynamic to the group – I refer to Cocoa’s sister Mocha (as you can see, naming the cast after drinks has yet to reach peak blatancy). Mocha sends a letter in advance of a visit to see her little sister (again, mobile phones people), but wears a disguise when descending upon Rabbit House, stirring up suspicion.
Once Mocha’s identity is revealed, she becomes something of an idol in the eyes of the group, forcing Cocoa to up her game to be a better big sister to Chino, although since Cocoa and Mocha are alike maybe Chino would be better off with someone else as her big sister. The big take away from this visit is the exposing of Cocoa’s vulnerability in the shadow of Mocha’s instant popularity, temporarily humanising this usually confident ball of energy.
Cocoa is not the only person who needs to grow up – novelist Aoyama Blue Mountain who should know better, continues to ingratiate herself with this cute collective instead of working on her latest book. A little background info on Aoyama is shared this season, and we get to meet her editor Rin, from whom Aoyama is running for not keeping to her deadlines. There is an amusing scene where Aoyama pretends she and Cocoa have body swapped to avoid Rin, which of course, fails to work.
Further history is unearthed when it is revealed Rabbit House and the Ama Usa An coffee shop once upon worked together on a special dish, despite the genuine rivalry between Chino’s grandfather and Chiya’s grandmother. This leads to Chino swapping shops for a school project, taking in amusing exchanges as Chiya’s grandmother is nice to Chino but her every words are an insult to her late rival.
As broad as this kind of humour is, the downside to the bulk of the jokes and the hijinks undertaken by the group are quite heavily localised. I doubt series creator Koi had any thoughts of this being an internationally distributed work, which means viewers with an in depth knowledge of Japanese culture will get much more from this than the casually acquainted or blissfully ignorant.
Saying that, it is not a deal breaker for enjoying the show, since cultural parochialism is inherent in anime, but it does lean into it a little more than others do, which is as much a part of its appeal as its amiable tone and cutesy presentation. Is The Order A Rabbit? does have a fanbase who will lap up this second helping and I can see why, even if it is too sugary for my palette.
And yes, I feel bad again so here’s a more generous score.
Japanese Language 2.0
Disc 2 Only:
Clean Opening Animation
Clean Closing Animation
Rating – ***
Man In Black