Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere II anime review

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere II anime review
After claiming sovereignty over the Japanese prefecture Mikawa, the flying city-ship Musashi seeks refuge by retreating to England. While initial talks with the reluctant ruler of England seem promising, sudden chaos ensues as the Musashi finds itself in the middle of a reenactment of the 1588 A.D. invasion of England by the Spanish Armada. Now the students of the Ariadust Academy must use their unique abilities to gain allies while simultaneously defending the resurrected heir to the Mikawa throne, Horizon, against the various world superpowers which are now their enemies.

Quick! Before you go any further, make sure that, if you haven't already seen the first season, you've at least read our review for it Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere.

Now that you know roughly what to expect, here's the good news: Toori Aoi spends far less time on screen as the focus character for this show, which is good because he's easily the most annoying member of the cast to a wide range of audiences. The bad news: he spends 90% of this season naked, for absolutely no good reason that I can fathom, though thankfully his naughty bits are censored, even in-universe for the other characters. They all have good reasons for putting up with his silliness, but he's certainly one of the stranger "crusaders for love and peace" anyone could imagine.

Thankfully, this series focuses primarily on the side characters, who are, by and large, more interesting and entertaining, even if they often seem to be little more than excuses for fan service (ie. the entire female cast) or entertaining magical combat gimmicks (Shirojiro Bertoni and his "mercantile power"). A fair amount of the second season is in fact something of a love story between one of Toori's subordinates and a "mysterious character" in England whose true identity should be readily apparent within about seventeen seconds. Horizon may come at the viewer like a fastball spat out of a pitching machine at max setting, but this is certainly a franchise that capitalizes on Sunrise's decades worth of bringing out the noisiest, liveliest shonen anime possible, and if that's your style, then you will enjoy this. It's telling that the few times that this show reverts to drama, it's about halfway likely to get seriously sidetracked into ecchi territory, but knowing what to expect from the first season makes it easier to swallow this time around.

There are still loads and loads of often extraneous characters, though - no, lolicon guy and curry guy still don't make any sense - and the introduction of new factions brings new pitfalls, like the undead skeletal priest Christopher Hatton who feels the need to end every single one of his lines with "DEATH!" (a pun that is particularly cringeworthy in Japanese, or any other language known to man), and possibly the least appealing gender-swapped characters I've ever seen: levitating, egg-shaped William Cecil and bizarrely frail and seemingly middle-aged Robert Dudley. (I am, however, quite amused by the "athlete-poet" Ben Johnson - an obviously purposeful conflation of poet Ben Jonson with disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson.)

While I respect and enjoy the cleverness and dumb fun of Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, I also recognize that this is definitely a polarizing series of the greatest sort. There's no doubt that this series is chock-full of high-octane action sequences, but there are occasional directorial mistakes (the weirdest one being an obvious "power-up" scene near the end of the series without any followup whatsoever to showcase what's transpired). There are a fair number of annoying and outright frustrating characters, one of which is the male lead. Where often we would get too much exposition in the first season, we often seem to get too little in the second, or it's presented in such a way to incite facepalms. And yet I still enjoyed this for its energy, its liveliness, and its willingness to be just plain silly and stack Crowning Moments of Awesome end-over-end for no good reason.

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere proves that quality and entertainment do not necessarily go hand in hand - it's never smart enough to ever be a great show, but I can't deny it's a lot of fun.

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere II. Watch it now:
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