Posted by SuperMario on 31 December 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Thunderbolt Fantasy

If anyone has been familiar with the first season of Thunderbolt Fantasy, you’d find yourself a lot to enjoy in this second installment. Served as a sequel, but not a direct continuation to the first, viewers don’t need the knowledge of the original in order to enjoy this ride. Thunderbolt 2 carries many trademarks that make this show such an install success since it came out: the puppetry technique makes it an unique viewing experience amongst anime fandom; the larger the life characters whose characters are the central protagonist in their own stories; the camp value of cheesy lines and back-and-forth conversations; and the somewhat unpredictableness of the plot. It serves as an entertaining and engaging ride on its own right, but to be fair, it’s pale compare to the freshness of the first season.

In this second season, we have a whole new supporting cast aside from our hero Shang Bu Huan and Gui Niao the Enigmatic Gale. The cast includes Lang Wu Yao – the ginger singer with his talking pipa, the Princess of Cruelty Xie Yinglou, the Dirty Cop Xiao Kuang Juan and the amoral monk Di Kong. While Thunderbolt proves once again it more than has its chops when it comes to make these characters as stand out as possible, for this season it falls more into straightforward side.There’s a clear line between the good guys and the bad guys, which makes a lesser impact compare to the ambiguity of good/evil in the original series. Princess Cruelty, for example, has haer redemption arc that, while still good, is the most conventional arc Thunderbolt has done so far.

The main storyline is another straightforward aspect of this season. It has a clear set of goals and well planned-out (too well indeed) goals: Shang Bu Huan wanted to get rid of his Index of Swords, unfortunately the plan fails and the enemy gets a hold of two evil swords. One thing that this season does improve is that we get a chance to see more legendary swords and their dangerous powers. These two new swords, Seven Blashphemous Deaths and the Night of Mourning, have a distinct designs and formidable powers. The former especially has quite a character for her deadly charming voice and her femme fatale personality. My favorite addition, however, is the one-wing Dragon who spits fire and talks human language.  

Speaking of characters, I’m glad to say that all the main players this season fit into this universe like a T. They’re over the top, but not simple. They’re all too proud of themselves and they bounce off with each other extremely well. Normally it’s an one-on-one conversations where these different personas clash, and most of the time it’s a treat to watch. Di Kong and Lang Wu Xao serve to be an excellent cast on its own, the former on how he’s dangerous purely because he has no evil temptation, and the latter because of his strict sense of justice. The Dirty Cop’s character is your love-to-hate type and his corruption is a bit to extreme to leave any ambiguity, and it’s a shame his character is the least relevant to the main plotline.

The visual has gotten much more flashy too. Characters doing their own “remarks” while speaking, the special effect, namely the spitfire and the blood-gushing are still something to behold. Even the way these characters run have a quirk of its own, making Thunderbolt a product that never fail to be anything less than spectacular. I think we’re in good chance for the final season that closes everything here. Witty, refreshing, never take itself seriously and always have the right amount of campiness and flashiness, puppets are here to stay.

3 Responses

  1. Avatar Animosh says:

    Why do you think next season will be the final one? Is it just something you suspect, or do you know something I don’t? :) With a combined demon and bug invasion teased I suppose it would make sense to end things there (how are you going to top something like that?). And although I like the series a lot, I’d prefer some proper closure over dragging things out endlessly (which isn’t Urobuchi’s style anyway). But on the other hand, there’s obviously plenty of potential for many more seasons (apparently the main Pili series is in its 34th season!), so I also wouldn’t be too surprised if new villains will be dragged into the story, the combined invasion won’t quite succeed due to infighting, or whatever.

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      It’s admittedly my own speculation. It does have potential to have many more seasons (and Gen Urobuchi sure loves to write those over-the-top characters), but I feel it’s best to conclude everything before it drags out for too long. I wouldn’t mind if this one becomes a franchise, however. Taiwanese puppetry needs more exposure and I’m glad if people become invested to the medium because of Thunderbolt. Story-wise, I’d love to see more conflicts between the two nations. Wouldn’t it be cool if we have some tensions between these nations like South-North Korea?

      …Or more dragons. Whatever floats the boat

  2. Avatar BlackSperm says:

    Best show of the season. Point.

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