OP: 「いちごいちえ Celebration」 (Ichigo Ichie Celebration) by Kano and Oozora Naomi
「宇崎ちゃんはやっぱり遊びたい！」 (Uzaki-chan wa Yappari Asobitai!)
“Uzaki-chan Still Wants to Play!”
It’s a huge day for grifters as Uzaki-chan’s return has more than enough content for a six-hour video essay on an online debate that lasted three tweets. But while Uzaki-chan’s air-headed charm and good-natured fun were derailed by the discourse surrounding Uzaki’s looks and her creator’s views, it doesn’t diminish from the warm feeling Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! Double has as a reintroduction to Sakurai and his ordeals with Uzaki.
BACK AT IT AGAIN
This season lingers on some of the dramatic notes from the last one with Uzaki and Sakurai’s relationship potentially blossoming, yet also wants to make sure it retains its same brand of comedy. We’re given a pretty amusing bowling match where Sakurai manages to perform well enough to dunk right back on Uzaki, causing her to up her competitive edge and let her rage do the thinking for her.
One of the most valuable assets of the “outgoing girl antagonizes quiet boy” genre that’s emerged in anime are the moments where the boy gets to have his time in the sun. Nagatoro and Takagi-san having their trickery backfire on them are always hilarious, as are the moments where Sakurai manages to annoy Uzaki. The last season was very charitable to Sakurai, so hopefully, we’ll get more moments in this season where he makes Uzaki want to blow a gasket.
It also helps to spice up the actual chemistry going on in their relationship. Yes, they can be adversarial at times, but they also have enough of a connection that there is an inherent fondness in their interactions with one another. This is especially true by the end of the episode where they wind up cuddling on a couch when Uzaki takes it upon herself to pass out next to him. It feels like a relationship that’s progressing naturally beyond mere friendship.
The same praise cannot be given to the side characters, who continue to bog down the narrative. Sakaki is alright enough considering his role in getting the two to go out bowling. But Ami was pretty rough in this episode since her only purpose was to lust over Uzaki and her mom so that the viewers can see them dressed up in fetishy cosplay. Compared to how Sono Bisuku Doll wa Koi o Suru segues into its fetishy cosplay segments, this just felt like envy on Uzaki-chan’s behalf.
UZAKI-CHAN WANTS TO ω
There might not be much in the way of innovating the wheel with Uzaki’s dynamic with Sakurai. The show’s comedy is still reliant on Uzaki’s ability to drive Sakurai up the wall with her antics. The side characters still prove to be the story’s weakest link as they’re all carbon copies of one another and act as wingmen for Uzaki and Sakurai. But while a lot of the humor thrives off of Uzaki getting underneath Sakurai’s skin, it also enjoys dabbling into the will-they, won’t-they relationship the two share.
The first season’s brightest moments were the few where it was clear that Uzaki and Sakurai are really two high school friends reconnecting in college and bonding over the new experiences they’re able to share together in the adult world. School is still an issue, but with dating, drinking, and gaming as foundational moments in their lives, it does feel like each measure Uzaki takes to annoy Sakurai could potentially be the one that makes them fall in love with each other. And with the last scene of the episode, I have high hopes that Season 02 will help them come closer and closer together.
ED: 「はっぴーらいふ」 (Happy Life) by MKLNtic