「卒業式がやって来てしまった…」 (Sotsugyoushiki ga Yatte Kite Shimatta…)
“My Graduation Ceremony Happened…”
And so it ends. Not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with filled stomachs and romance fantasies. Or, you know, the usual Hamefura. As entirely expected we got the runaround for this finale, with Katarina confirming her presence as Ministry of Magic recruit courtesy of Spot, every harem member (including the new ones) getting some time to revel in the attention, and the usual Bakarina shenanigans to help round out proceedings. Although Mamarina gets the most kudos for seeing a legitimate success story, heh. In the end it’s Hamefura doing what it does best, and while the teasing is plentiful for the next big arc, we’ll just have to see whether it finds time to grace the TV screen once again. Anyways, onto those impressions!
When Hamefura’s sequel was announced previously I was uncertain whether it was even required. For a harem series (otome styled mind you) the first season was remarkably contained, featuring all the details one expects while ending the story on a completed note that left little to be desired. It wasn’t a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it was fun, and thus the main fear was Hamefura X ruining that impression through unnecessary addition. Thankfully such a thing did not transpire, even if questions of need still remain.
Much as in the first season, Hamefura X’s claim to fame are the characters and their interactions/chemistry. Every major (male) harem member had time to build on the basics of before, whether that be Geordo taking the initiative, Nicol accepting his inner feelings, or Keith admitting he wants more than a sibling relationship. They were things which never went anywhere of course – per harem tradition – but they helped to flesh out personalities and, later on especially, backstories which until this point were largely superficial. Although somewhat disappointing the girls were largely sidelined (particularly Mary, to my eternal chagrin), they still at least featured, ensuring that Hamefura never lacked for cute and funny when the moment demanded it.
For all the fun of harem shenanigans, however, that gets to where the season tripped at times: story. While Hamefura originally did leave options for continuing after its first 12 episodes, they were minor and not particularly suited for long-term development. We saw it multiple times here for example, as dark magic effectively became the antagonistic answer for any question of tension and suspense, while specific character motivations had to be dragged out or twisted into pretzles for the sake of avoiding the harem landing on one destined pair. Such things thankfully did stand out much in part from the varying arcs and imaginative situations (distraction and diversity are the ultimate story helpers), but it’s a narrative strategy on a timer. Eventually the material will grow stale, at some point the teasing and lack of conclusion will grow annoying. It’s anyone guess when that will happen in the future, but Hamefura isn’t immune to it, the symptoms are present, and any future season(s) will have to contend with the issue. After all, every romance eventually needs a happy ever after!
In short though, Hamefura X was simply more Hamefura and gave everything you could’ve wanted from a continuation of the Bakarina chronicles. It’s a sequel that may not be perfect, it may bear some warning signs over what’s to come, but it certainly continues to be some of the best entertainment whenever you’re in need of some lighthearted reverse-harem shenanigans.