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[Is the Order a Rabbit? BLOOM]
AKA: ご注文はうさぎですか?BLOOM (Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka? BLOOM)
Genre: MOE slice-of-life.
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by Sentai Filmworks, also available streaming on Crunchyroll.
Content Rating: PG (Nothing particularly objectable.)
Related Series: Season 1 and 2, Sing for You (OAV)
Also Recommended: Aria, Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth, Encouragement of Climb, Hidamari Sketch.
Notes: Based on the manga by Koi, serialized in Houbunsha's seinen manga magazine Manga Time Kirara Max.
Rating:

Is the Order a Rabbit? BLOOM

Synopsis

See original review.


Review

Usually when Stig and I watch a show together, we're typically on the same wavelength when it comes to our enjoyment of it. Rarely do we argue over the final score we give for a show, as we weigh what we liked and didn't about the show as we send each other drafts back and forth (sometimes as many as five or six). Sadly, this is not the case for my feelings on Is the Order a Rabbit? BLOOM, which is a massive downgrade from season two's Is the Order a Rabbit??.

One big disappointment right off the bat is that, unlike in season two, there's no big out of town journey this around like the fun camping trip of last season. With the exception of a small cutaway to Cocoa's home with her sister Mocha and their mother, Is the Order a Rabbit? BLOOM takes place otherwise entirely within Cocoa's town. And while the series tries to dress it up with holidays and festivals, it doesn't change this fact.

It's also missing something season two did well in spades; advancing the characters. One thing that I really liked about Is the Order a Rabbit?'s second season was that it focused more on the characters as, well, characters. Megu's skills at ballerina, Rize's knowledge of weapons (almost entirely dropping her habit of pointing guns at people in the process), Syaro slowly overcoming her fear of rabbits by adopting one, and Chino's bond with Megu and Maya opening the once introverted blue-haired girl up to two friends who truly love her. It also finally got around to explaining why Cocoa wanted Chino to see her as a big sister, when Mocha comes over in a two-episode arc and wins basically the entire cast over with her charm. Season two had a surprising among of character development for what started off as a cute but not particularly great series in season one.

There's nothing like that in Is the Order a Rabbit? BLOOM. We instead get plots and ideas any series could do interchangeably with its cast, like an exam crush, or an episode about a character needing to learn to do better in for an upcoming event. The only major development for any of the characters revolves around Chino and her friends. One episode has her, Megu, and Maya checking out Cocoa and Rize's high schools, since the three girls are nearing the end of middle school and need to decide where to go next year. Maya even gets her own little arc of sorts of what to do with her future, as the worried 14 year-old doesn't know where to go. It's a very relatable sub-plot of trying to find your way in life, and it's one of the season's highlights.

The other big event doesn't involve Chino herself, but rather her mother, who we finally get to see...kinda... as a ghost (maybe) in the Halloween episode. But even then only Cocoa sees her; Chino never does at all. (Three seasons in, by the way, and we still don't know how Chino's grandfather became a fluffy female rabbit named Tippy. That would have been FAR more interesting of a story than Chiya learning to run faster or the girls cramming for exams.)

That's not to say all the stories are forgettable, though. I liked the ongoing season plotline of Chino, Maya, and Megu having to decide what high school to attend to, since they're very close to the end of their junior high school lives. (Getting into a good high school is an incredibly big deal in Japanese society.) A new thief-like character in a TV series the girls watch, who looks almost exactly like Syaro, leads to a fun sub-plot in one episode as well when they reenact scenes from the show.

Another highlight involves Aoyama - the slack-a-holic writer with a perverted streak - and her editor Rin, the latter finally getting her own episode of sorts when she chases down Aoyama, which involves, as per tradition in this series, several of the other girls as well, ending at a merry-go-round of all places. And...this is actually my favorite episode of the seasons. No joke. A game of hide-and-seek is by far my favorite episode of Is the Order a Rabbit?? BLOOM.

But Is the Order a Rabbit?? BLOOM, for the most part, just runs on the power of cute, much like it did in its first season. And I find that to be quite a shame after season two expanded on its humble beginnings to something far greater.

Maybe I'm just burnt out over three seasons? Maybe, but it's kinda season two's fault for setting my expectations as high as they did. I cannot stress enough how big a jump in quality Is the Order a Rabbit?? was over its predecessor. While the first season was cute but mostly meh series, the sequel ranks as one of my favorite slice-of-life anime ever. Is the Order a Rabbit?? BLOOM falls somewhere in the middle in terms of ranking; better than season one, but a far cry from season two. Guess I'll find out if history repeats itself when season four gets made in like five years.

At least the show looks as nice as ever, especially when we get to the last few episodes of the season with all the winter decorations and snow. I'm a sucker for winter scenery in anime.

A big step down from season two, but still a fun show. The characters are just too loveable to stay mad at, heh.Tim Jones

Recommended Audience: The first two seasons did sexualize some of the older girls -- Rize and Chiya in particular -- so color me a bit surprised when BLOOM didn't do this at all. Well, not that earlier seasons did this a lot, but the complete absence was still noticeable here. Well... almost; the hunt for screencaps reintroduced me to a scene of three of the girls in the bath, which I had completely forgotten about. And, of course, any violence herein is merely the very mild slapsticky variety.



Version(s) Viewed: crunchyroll.com stream, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Is the Order a Rabbit? BLOOM © 2020 Encourage Films
 
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