Posted by: Leek | September 11, 2016

Little Girl Anime Power Rankings – Season 2 Roundup

The thing about this post is that doing the overall review of shows is honestly pretty fun. But doing all the minor math that’s required to show off the individual point values is not. I could probably record it somewhere so it’d be easy, but I do enough of that already to add on more things.

The last time you’ll be seeing most of these faces.

Let’s just add another reason to retire Lala to that old list, shall we?

Compared to the first season, there were some pretty big swings in the second season of LGAPR. Not only did we have the usual Precure rotation, but both Aikatsu and Jewelpet were replaced entirely with spiritual successors. Unfortunately, we didn’t have ample time to see it affect the rankings too terribly, and most of their standing was influenced by their predecessors. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what things look like a year from now, and who knows what rotations will happen over the next season.

Just remember that the points in regards to the overall rankings will be reset to zero at the start of the third season. So every show will have an ample chance again to claim a top spot.

Final Standings

1) Aikatsu Stars! – 377 Points
2) Mahou Tsukai Precure! – 362 Points
3) Rilu Rilu Fairilu – 283 Points
4) PriPara – 258 Points

So before we get into anything else, I suck at math. Hard. There are probably a lot of mistakes I don’t notice, but when looking at the 2015 Awards I realized I forgot to award Jewelpet an extra +10 points. So I rightfully added it here as well as all the other totals throughout this post. So my apologies for overlooking something that was honestly pretty damn easy to spot.

The start of this season made me think that we might see a little bit of shake up in the ranks. That shake up didn’t really happen, but it’s important to note how crazy it is that Precure crept up to Aikatsu as close as it did. At the start of 2016, Princess Precure completely tanked the series, and it looked like even PriPara would have no trouble staying ahead of it. However, Mahou Tsukai honestly made the miracle happen that I could only joke about at the time. Aikatsu’s incredibly strong 4th season managed to keep the series afloat despite how weak the third season had made the series look. But Stars has had trouble staying afloat, and it’s inability to consistently grab high spots doesn’t bode too well for it next season. Fairilu is a late comer, and, despite being a slow starter, it’s really managed to pick up some speed. It’s probably the only show on the rankings that is really standing up to Precure as of recently. PriPara started off the second season of LGAPR a little slow but moved into what looked like a great arc. But the second season fell flat on it’s face around it’s finale and has yet to pick itself back up in it’s third season. I’m pulling for it to get on it’s feet again, but I’m not too confident in it given what I’m seeing right now.

PriPara decided to make it a three-peat and gets awarded another +10 point bonus to start off the third season. On account it’s become the last place award and PriPara has rightfully won it twice in a row, it’s going to go down in LGAPR history as the “PriPara Award” from this day forth.

A (Final) Word From the Big Man

In this next section I’m essentially going to talk a bit about each show and look at how many points each one raked in over the season. It won’t be super long, but it’ll give some more detailed thoughts in case you wanted them. Just think of it as really hearing about what strengths and weaknesses each show really had. The first number is the total amount of points each show ranked in while the number in parenthesis represents what was earned without counting any form of awards.

PriPara S2
Total Points Raked In: 219 (119)

Hibiki and the latter half of her arc might have been one of the greatest things to happen to PriPara. Hibiki assembling her team of perfect idols was some of the best writing and character development PriPara saw…ever. It was actually the first time in the series that I even began to see eye to eye with half the cast, and I’m thankful for at least that much. On the contrary, the addition of Ajimi might have been one of the worse things to happen to PriPara. I feel like I really wanted to enjoy PriPara during most of second season, but for every one thing they did right, they did two things wrong.

So PriPara will forever be PriPara, and they managed to crash another finale straight into the ground. They honestly built up Hibiki as such a great rival, and they instantly tore that down and created some unrelated nonsense to end the series with. I really just wanted to see Mirei get the better of Hibiki and prove that hard work can beat out natural talent. Instead, the series essentially fell back on Lala again and proved that she’s a really shitty main character. But taking into account how terrible the Falulu arc was in season one, the second season of PriPara is overall leaps and bounds better.

PriPara S3
Total Points Raked In: 39 (39)

If you can say, “unbelievably high amounts of recycled content,” then you’ve basically summed up the third season of PriPara. Sure, the third season of PriPara started fairly late into the season, but it also started at the exact same time as Stars. And that point total says everything about it. Stars has been pretty mediocre so far, so what exactly does that say about the third season of PriPara? Not only has it spent countless episodes to rehash the exact same situation with different characters (who see no development from it), but they’ve really started to abuse multiple performances in the same episode. I realize that Precure can sometimes buy a lot of time with transformations, but three performances all around two minutes each is a pretty disgusting and cheap way to fill time. There is just nothing praiseworthy about the third season of PriPara outside of a few episodes.

PriPara really needs to do something to turn this season around, but I don’t even know if it’s possible at this point. I feel like the staff really just has to take a few deep breaths and get those gears turning again. They obviously have had some trouble getting them going again after the botched finale of second season. Or maybe doing that movie was just a bad idea. Nothing even remotely good has happened after it’s release.

Jewelpet Magical Change
Total Points Raked In: 117 (62)

Magical Change was really one of those series that was putting a nail in PriPara’s coffin while it ran. One of PriPara’s few real claims to fame is that it builds a lot around it’s gags. The problem is, Magical Change was almost always winning the gag war. I think Magical Change just represents that Sanrio anime standard that a lot of people have learned to love. Sure, it had some really hit and miss episodes, but it also could really hit things out of the park when it went crazy.

Magical Change probably doesn’t completely top it’s predecessors in terms of humor, but it’s still a great series to watch if you just want to get some yuks. It also put a pretty nice cap on the Jewelpet series. Even if it was funny, it was still able to slow it down enough to pull some other emotions out of you from time to time. It may have not pulled those other emotions as well as laughter out of you, but it wasn’t a completely one dimensional series.

Rilu Rilu Fairilu
Total Points Raked In: 166 (136)

Rilu Rilu Fairilu is another case of a dark horse series from the maniacs at Sanrio. Thinking back to the previous dark horse series, Lady Jewelpet was a little more interesting out of the start gate, but Rilu Rilu Fairilu manages to stay a little friendlier to a family audience (whereas Lady Jewelpet’s target audience was kind of fuzzy). For a long while it was hard to get a proper read on Fairilu until it eventually came out with the actual intention to center around a plot. I’m still not quite sure how far Fairilu plans to go, and if it’s even going to live to see an immediate second season. But I do have high hopes for it, and I really think it deserves more respect than it’s probably getting right now.

I wouldn’t say that every episode of Fairilu is gold, but it’s still a fairly consistent series. And the staff has proven they’re still willing to retain the same kind of good humor that people had come to expect from the Jewelpet franchise. In comparison to the other series running against it, Fairilu does the best job of being a jack of all trades, and that’s really what moved it upwards in the rankings. And of all the shows that will run through most of our third season, Fairilu is probably the one that I want to keep my eye on to see how it really fares.

Go! Princess Precure
Total Points Raked In: 111 (91)

So over the past couple years, I’ve had trouble picking out what I considered the worst Precure series. Princess Precure might be the new show to fill in that slot since I can’t think of any series that turned me off as much as it did. I believe at the end of our first season I mentioned that Princess Precure probably wasn’t worth watching outside of a few action scenes, and I stand by that statement to this day.

The real problem is, Princess Precure had absolutely no defining trait. The characters were boring, the only halfway decent villain spent half of the series dead, any signs of plot were almost nonexistent, and then you got kind of excited for those few times they animated a fight scene only to get turned off by the horrible CG later on. I think you could probably pick any other Precure series and find numerous things it did better than Princess Precure.

Heck, even the lessons the show tried to teach you were flat out questionable. How many times did it try to convince you that Haruka overworking herself to the point of collapsing was a good thing? It’s a great thing to chase after your dreams, but it’s probably a bad idea to sacrifice your physical health to do so. I feel like the general formula and kinds of episodes that Princess Precure constantly did represents all the worst aspects of Precure. It kind of fulfilled all the stereotypes you’re used to while doing absolutely nothing new, different, or even better. If you were really going to think about watching Princess Precure, you should probably just go back and watch/rewatch Smile. It’s the exact same series except better in about every aspect.

Mahou Tsukai Precure!
Total Points Raked In: 251 (241)

Mahou Tsukai Precure is an installment that shows what breaking the mold just a tiny bit can do for a series. Sure, it doesn’t stray monumentally far from it’s predecessors, but it does enough different that it really feels like a fresh series by simply breaking up a formula that’s been in place for years now. Kind of funny how cutting down on characters in the main cast can do so much for your writing space. Yes, it’s a commitment. You have to actually generate more plot points and developments instead of just structuring the show around minor plot developments and character development episodes in groups of five. And who would have guessed that makes the overall show more enjoyable to watch?

Jokes aside, Mahou Tsukai is just a really cleanly done series built around the relationship and developments between the main two, and more recently three, main characters. It tries to keep a constant chain of big events to propel the main story along, and, as a result, the show has very few episodes that feel like complete downtime. And even episodes that feel like they might turn out as fluff manage to turn into rather big events to help propel character development. In fact, it’s a rare case where I felt like a main character was actually seeing too many developments over such an extended period of time.

It’s not like Mahou Tsukai is a flawless series though. It lacks the one thing I always love and that’s a really great villain. Granted, they still have a bit of time to build up the final boss before the end rolls about. I don’t see it happening given the overall pace and tone of the series, but it’s not impossible. Sure, Mahou Tsukai has been up against some pretty lightweight competition over it’s run, but I still believe it earns the place it gets every week.

Aikatsu! S3
Total Points Raked In: 15 (15)

I believe I’ve discussed the third season of Aikatsu more than enough on this blog that I don’t need to go into it any further. I really just put this here because if I didn’t people would wonder where the extra 15 points towards Aikatsu came from. You can also take this and estimate how much the third season of Aikatsu as a whole managed to rake in (and even compare it to other shows).

Aikatsu! S4
Total Points Raked In: 260 (190)

It wouldn’t be wrong to say the fourth season of Aikatsu fixed about everything that the third had screwed up. It unfortunately didn’t run for the full year that we’re used to, but I’d be lying if I said that almost every moment of it wasn’t enjoyable. Every great part of the writing that we had seen in the first and second returned, and it really built up to a finale that was worth every second of your time. And not only was it a finale that rounded out the Akari generation, but it also put a cap on the series that no fan should complain about.

The really funny thing about fourth season was that it’s biggest crime wasn’t going the distance. If it proved anything, it was that the writing team for Aikatsu still had plenty of fuel left in the tank. Not only did they reinforce several existing rivalries, but they did a pretty darn good job of introducing a new generation of characters. Had Aikatsu decided to continue past Akari becoming Starlight Queen, there were plenty of plot lines that the staff could have continued along even if they didn’t want to shift the focus to Nono and Risa.

Aikatsu Stars!
Total Points Raked In: 102 (102)

If you happen to watch PriPara as well as Stars, it’s pretty easy to describe Stars as a serious, far less shitty PriPara. But Stars is constantly making the exact same mistake that PriPara did and ruining their own cast of characters because of it. The problem is Stars introduced every character it could at the start of it’s life (we’re getting a new one in a week by the way). And what happens when you have a really large cast and don’t know how to properly focus the core members? You get a really thin plot with really thin character development.

Way back when, the second season of Aikatsu kind of hung itself by introducing a rather full out cast to work alongside with the original. The thing was that even if they had intended Seira to be a secondary main character, she didn’t necessarily have to be one because they had established Ichigo so firmly in the first season. However, Stars is a fresh series with nothing established and, as a result, it just makes the main cast feel really weak. They do a good job of developing when they do, but I kind of wish they spent as much time on the main cast as they did on all the S4 episodes.

I’m willing to forgive the fantasy element and more serious environment, but at least make your main cast, especially your main character, more likable. Yume and Rola have a really great, dynamic relationship, and I’d really hate to see them not explore it more because they want to give a side character an episode. The best thing that both original generations of Aikatsu did is making sure that you fell in love with Ichigo and Akari. I don’t feel like Stars has done anything to make me love Yume yet.

Wrap Up
In the end, the second season ended up as a mess due to all the show rotations that happened midway but, regardless, not much changed. It would be a lie to say I didn’t enjoy a lot of it though. The fourth season of Aikatsu isn’t something I’m going to ever forget, and Mahou Tsukai is on it’s way to becoming my favorite Precure series of all time. And, even if it did a lot of wrong, the second season of PriPara was one of the first times in the show’s career that it could get me excited for the following week’s episode. And it goes without saying that our third season will be yet another new experience. It’s time for all the new blood to truly shine on it’s own and show who really deserves to be the new ruler at the top.

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