One of the dubious perks of building an anime database is that I got to read synopsis of series I’d never ever heard about. And that sometimes meant that a sequel’s description would spoil me on its predecessor’s big plot twist.
Case in point : Stellar Buster Mito 2 : A Pair of Queens.
(Spoilers for both seasons after the break, obviously.)
The basic premise of the second season is this : “Space pirate Mito used to hide her occupation from her son Aoi, until it all came crashing in a big conflict with the Space army.” (Sounds like entertaining enough a first season.) “Then, because of a genetic quirk of Mito’s species, Aoi turned into a girl. And is now the new Queen of the Universe after Mito conquered it. But ruling it won’t be easy…” Okay, sold. I have a thing for stories with queer protagonists, as well as the practical politics such a story would involve.
I expected the first season to be a fun adventure romp, and the second one to be the real meat of the story I would enjoy more. As it turns out, it’s exactly the opposite. For one thing, the first season has a lot more going on that the initial description : the incremental reveal of Mito’s backstory, her amazingly cool crew, the struggle with her political rival, Aoi’s schoolmates being drawn into the melee and kinda awesome at it… And first and foremost, the struggle of the Nengas, a pair of brother-sister ineffectual villains, with the older Mutsumi quickly falling in love with Aoi during her infiltration of the school. Their star-crossed love story, spiked by Aoi’s gender troubles, is one of the high points of the first season. That, and the world-building being relentlessly insane.
In contrast, the second season spends one episode building on the new premise (with stuff like the Capital of the Universe being relocated to Aoi’s hometown so that she could still go to school)… and then throws it all away. As it turns out, the “Two Queens” of the title doesn’t involve Mutsumi as a consort at all, but the First Queen of the Universe (from whom Mito eventually descends) waking back after millennia of slumber and being a complete arsehole about not being in charge anymore. The problem being that she’s not a very compelling villain (she’s selfish, and that’s basically it), her underlings are wholly cultists and brainwashed side characters, and besides the main struggle the heroes don’t have much going on (Mito doesn’t really have a subplot beyond exposition, and Mutsumi is taken off the board early enough not to really matter). It you had a bit too many cycles of capture/escape to fill episodes up, and you get a way less compelling show than it used to be. It’s not bad, just a bit of a shame.