Okay, so I just finished watching the second season of FLAG (thanks to w for pointing out that it already was released). I have to say that it looked much more like an anime, with multiple climaxes, a small break, and a bit more focus at the different characters, but still retaining its original style and narrative. Even though I missed a few points here and there, I have to say that the second season was even better than the first. Mostly due to a few very strong episodes, a great climax and a charming aftermath.
For those who haven’t seen its first season, not only is FLAG a unique anime who knows no equal, it also is probably one of the most realistic mecha and war-based anime out there. It’s a war-based documentary-anime, featuring a civil war in a fictional country, somewhere in Asia. Its main character, Shirasu is a photographer, who managed to take a picture of a flag, which became the symbol of peace for the country. Peace is finally about to be formed when this flag gets stolen by rebels. Shirasu has now been asked to report and record the mission of a military team, which has been assigned to retrieve the flag.
Among others, this anime sets itself apart from all other anime through its narrative style. The entire anime is seen through camera lenses. It’s basically one huge collection of movies and pictures. Heck, we hardly ever see Shirasu, because she’s behind the camera. The camera-movements are extremely realistic. You can really see that the Shirasu’s camera is controlled by a human, instead of a machine.
But that’s not the only thing that’s realistic in this anime. We get treated to a nice dose of politics and we get to see a number of investigational reporters doing their job. Also, the military has possession of a few mechas, which finally make an attempt to deviate from the stereotype that each mecha can just be piloted by a bunch of kids. Especially the first season of Flag shows that you need an entire team behind these mechas to make them do their job properly.
The animation also is gorgeous, like mentioned before. The only small remark I have is that the creators didn’t synchronize mouth-movement with the voice-acting, but this is a minor detail. The character design also has been done in a style which bothers to differentiate from the usual, giving some very interesting effects, and the background art is just absolutely beautiful. It’s needless to say that the pictures we see flashing on the screen were very interesting to see. In terms of the musical department, this anime also delivers. Most of the anime doesn’t have a background sound, but when it does (mostly during the climax), it comes with a near-perfect soundtrack for an anime like this.
If you managed to sit through the first season, then I definitely recommend you to check out the second season once it gets subbed. I’m hoping for this to happen soon, as this anime definitely deserves some attentions because of all the new things it tried out. Still, one of the few downfalls in this anime is that at times, it spends a bit too much time preparing and building up. Especially the first three episode are just one big introduction.