Making Udon After We Hang Out!
Relationships grow as time goes by and a person must grow with it before they lose it all. That seems to be the theme of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! Season 2. The series started as a slice of life comedy with a dash of the “will they or won’t they?” trope. Season 2 sets the foundation for something greater to come.
As a series, Season 2 of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! knows nothing lasts forever. It also makes it clear that it doesn’t want to milk this forever. Thus the plot needs to move on while new characters are introduced. Not to worry if you’re in it for the hijinks and awkward moments. It still has plenty of those moments.
It should be noted that I’m anime only regarding the series. Hence this review will not be comparing Season 2 of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! with the manga. Instead, my critique will be based on the anime adaptations’ own merit.
Wanting to Celebrate
Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! follows the hijinks of college students Hana Uzaki with Shinichi Sakurai. It started as an attempt to pull an upperclassman out of a social slump and has grown to become a strong friendship. However, others in their social circle see something more and are working to take their relationship to the next level.
Season 2 begins with the two on Christmas before one thing leads to another. It then flashes forwards to how the foundation was set for everything to come into play. It begins with more of the same hijinks we have come to love. Halfway it becomes one where they begin to reexamine how they feel about each other. However, neither Uzaki nor Sakurai could step up or be honest about this. For Uzaki; time is also not on her side as it’s revealed that Sakurai plans to graduate in a year.
The hindrance is that neither one of them knows how to properly express how they feel. For Uzaki; she doesn’t know how to express her feelings (outside of mocking him for being a loner). Sakurai, on the other hand, has a lot of issues with romance due to his upbringing and relationship with his family. Complicating matters is everyone butting in; be it Itsuhito Sakaki (Sakurai’s friend) or Yanagi Uzaki (Hana’s little sister).
Wanting to be Number One!
When it came to the concept of “will they or won’t they?”, Season 1 was just beating around the bush while leaving some breadcrumbs. Season 2 accepts that there is something more between the two and sets the groundwork for it. This is not to say it unnecessarily delayed everything, it actually was well done. It didn’t rush it and clues were dropped in this season along with the last. Thus we get the ideal final moments that perfectly conclude Season 2.
Hana’s feelings about Sakurai may have taken center stage, but Season 2 of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! still had plenty of its hallmark traits. It still had plenty of moments with our favorite characters hanging out, going to school, and working. Of course, comedy gold and hilarious hijinks are ensured. Adding to the mix are some new characters, mostly the rest of the Uzaki family and introducing us to the Sakurai family.
I also got to give kudos to the season being ideally paced. At 13 episodes, it really uses the limited time it has to the best it. In the end, this works to the writer’s advantage as every moment needs to matter. That means there are no unnecessary fillers that drag the season on.
Finally, you gotta love that nod to Initial D in Episode 9 – “Fujio Uzaki Wants Family Time!”.
Thoughts on the Recast
If you watch the dubbed version, then you would have noticed that David Matranga temporarily stepped in for Ricco Fajardo in the first episode. The first time it was a huge surprise as you felt something was a little off. I did grow to appreciate his take on Shinichi Sakurai during a second watch through. Since Fajardo has been playing the character from the start, his performance has a sense of familiarity to it. On the other hand, I felt Matranga’s take was also on par with what we would expect.
I do enjoy Fajardo’s performance overall. However, should he need to step away again, at least we know that Matranga could bring Sakurai to life.
If you are not caught up then stop reading because major spoilers ahead.
Season 2 of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! biggest issue is the lackluster ending. For most of the second half of the season, it felt like one of them was going to confess. Instead; we get one of those (cowardice) “I like you to best friend” remarks and that is supposed to be a conclusion. Instead, it’s more of a lackluster cliffhanger that is supposed to be a setup for Season 3. Hopefully, they don’t try to milk this gimmick for another season.
Hang Out, All Right!
If you were expecting more of the same hijinks then Season 2 of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! won’t disappoint. It’s more of the same shenanigans at first but halfway through it realizes nothing lasts forever. However, it decides to wait until Season 3 to come clean with a lackluster finale moment.
Season 2 of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! gives fans more of what they enjoy about the series while also getting ready for Hana and Shinichi’s relationship to grow. From its sense of humor, story development and new characters have resulted in a solid season. At the same time, it avoids all the pitfalls that could bring down the overall story.
Disclaimer: I watched the entire season on Crunchyroll, which I pay for myself.
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