La Luna Misteriosa: Polyphonica Crimson S

Students and spirits combine

to create music and save the known world.

To begin with, dear reader, let me just assure you that the cover of this DVD has nothing to do with today’s actual series. It is not loli porn or regular hentai in any way, shape, or form. It’s not even very ecchi. I have no idea why they went with a mostly naked Corti for the cover of the second season. Personally, I would be embarrassed to have this sitting on my anime shelf. And that’s a real shame, because Polyphonica Crimson S is actually quite an excellent anime (as I hoped it would be in my First Impressions post).

Hey kid, I know I’m glowing and stuff, but just don’t freak out, alright? All will be explained in this season, so hang tight…

This is the second season to the original Polyphonica, but it’s actually a prequel. Now we get to see the lives of the Dantists of the Tsuge Divine Music Player Office while they’re still in school and learning to master their One-Man Orchestras in order to play powerful Commandia. (If all of this sounds like gibberish to you, please see my review of the first season in order to get a grasp on the setting and characters involved in season two.) The plot is revealed little by little, and I obviously don’t want to give away any big surprises. What I will say is that you get an in-depth look at Corticarte and Phoron’s growing spirit/Dantist relationship, as well as the struggles that Phoron goes through in order to become a master Dantist. Also, we finally discover the full details of what spirits are, how they function, and exactly how spirits, humans, and indeed this entire world was created. It’s not all sunshine and roses, though, as the antagonists this time around are a group of highly skilled Dantists who are very unhappy with the current state of affairs. Secrets hiding at the Dantist Academy are revealed, and the students have to band together in order to combat the rebels and try to save everything they know and love.

Phoron does his best Phantom of the Opera impression. Gets the ladies every time.

What’s really great about this prequel is the fact that all of my questions and concerns about season one were answered in this season. Seriously, every single problem I had with the first season was addressed here. What the heck are “spirits” and where did they come from? Answered. What’s the full story of Phoron and Corticarte’s relationship? Addressed. The subtitles were normal-sized in this season instead of tiny as they were in the last. The artwork was similar to before but slightly more crisp and detailed this time around. And my biggest concern from last season, the one-off episodes that never developed a sustainable plot, was completely laid to rest in season two. Crimson S was much more successful in producing unique episodes but still feeding details about the big picture each time, so when the final few episodes appeared we, the viewers, were better prepared and much more invested in the outcome.

See what I mean? Ladies love Phantom. All except for Prinesca, who prefers Cats.

On top of fixing the problems from before, the creators of this series kept everything that was great about the first season. Once again the music was lovely, and while not new, it still resonated with beauty, especially in the finale. Corti was as cross and brash as ever, Phoron was still sweet and unassuming, and good ol’ Rembart remained the coolest kid in school. Once again there was an episode devoted to the twin sisters Prinesca and Perserte, and this time I even got a little choked up watching it. There were a few new characters introduced in this season, but not nearly as many as in the first, which made them much easier to keep track of than the folks in season one. While I don’t think that the main cast of Dantists and spirits were necessarily more emotionally developed in this season, because they are the ones that we’ve been following since the beginning it’s easy to feel a kinship with them, fleeting as it may be.

Corti gets a buzz from Phoron’s mighty fine playin’.

Overall, season two of Polyphonica is vastly superior to the first. Every problem I had with season one was answered in spades, and all the good stuff remained. As is par for the course with most anime there was slightly more fan service in this season, but nothing much more than a couple of blurry ecchi shots of Corti. At one point we even see Phoron naked, which was really weird! I mean, I’m all for equal nudity, but he’s such a pure and innocent character that it felt dirty to see his naked lil’ bottom. Even so, it’s nowhere near as ecchi as the cover might lead one to believe. In fact, absolutely everything was better in season two. However, you still need season one in order to appreciate it. I’m so glad that I watched Polyphonica Crimson S because it gave me everything that I was missing the first time. I love backstories and prequels, and this one lived up to all of the promise that was only hinted at in season one.

Rating: ★★★★ Sure, you have to get through season one in order to get to the good stuff here. However, this season alone elevates the entire series.

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First Impressions: Polyphonica Crimson S

Familiar faces retell their tales

only with more detail this time.

Even though you might think that I wouldn’t be interested in a second season of Polyphonica based on my review of season one, I’m actually pretty stoked to get the chance to watch it. Besides the various good points from the first season that would reel me in again (namely the music, the main character Corti, and the hope of another moving final episode) it turns out that season two, Polyphonica Crimson S, is actually a prequel. And I love a good prequel.

Corticarte, before the evil magic forced her to wear a full shirt.

Episode one opens much like the first episode of season one, showing the spirit Corticarte meeting a young Phoron for the first time, only now we get a bit more detail. Corti is drawn to Phoron’s singing and appears before him, saying that she wants him and his song to be entirely hers. However, she soon disappears. (By the by, if you’re unfamiliar with this series, you should definitely take a gander at my review of Polyphonica before going further, otherwise it might get confusing.) From there we skip ahead to Phoron attending Dantist Academy, where students go to learn how to hone their musical abilities in order to utilize the help of spirits. Poor Phoron is having difficulty and is in danger of not advancing due to the fact that he can’t summon a single spirit. Renbart is attending school with Phoron (as are younger versions of all of the Dantists of the Tsuge Divine Music Player Office) and encourages him to keep trying, but even though Phoron has seemingly mastered his one-man orchestra, the spirits refuse to show.

Naked girl grabs Phoron: cue sexual innuendo.

One day Phoron is practicing alone in the auditorium when he recalls meeting Corticarte as a child. Instead of playing his musical instrument, he begins singing the same song that he sang on that night many years ago. The other Dantists are secretly listening to him sing, as is a shadowy figure who seems to be trapped in a dungeon. As Phoron finishes, Renbart, Prinesca, and Perserte all descend on him to praise his singing. However, they’ve just begun to give their glowing reviews when the shadowy figure, who has escaped during the song, appears in the Academy and begins trashing the place. The young Dantists follow the shadow outside, where Eufinley (the future boss of the Tsuge Divine Music Player Office) begins playing her violin in order to get her spirit to attack the shadow. Eufinley’s spirit is no match, however, and the shadowy figure advances on Phoron. Suddenly the shadows fade and we see that it’s Corticarte. She tells Phoron that she was captured that night may years ago before she could complete the spirit bond with him, but hearing his song again freed her (though she’s now in a slightly diminutive form). Now she can be Phoron’s spirit, and he, her Dantist. Plus, Phoron gets to advance in school, hurray! The episode ends some time later on with Corti and Perserte bickering jealously over Phoron (and Prinesca standing awkwardly nearby) as they all make their way to class.

Shenanigans! Hijinks! Hilarity ensues!

This episode was basically an expanded version of a flashback episode from season one. What I like about it is that we finally seem to be getting some juicy background details on these characters, which as I noted in my review, was sorely lacking from the first season. Everything thus far is exactly like season one art-wise, music-wise, and setting-wise. The big difference is that now we have more character-driven plot to sink our teeth into. I hope that the second season continues in this vein of expanding backstories instead of creating wacky Scooby Doo-esque capers for the teenage Dantists to engage in. I’m still expecting one-off storylines like we had in season one, but as long as the characters remain at the forefront of this series, I don’t see how it can go wrong. This episode set my expectations fairly high for Polyphonica Crimson S. I hope that it lives up to its initial promise.

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