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"Kenichi, The Mightiest Disciple" Needs to Learn New Moves

The mightiest disciple around is back for a second season of episodes, and continues to train under the world’s greatest while taking on all comers. Across these two discs, Kenichi joins with the Shinpaku Alliance in a few battles against Ragnarok, the villainous group that has no clear motive. Only twice are real stakes raised for him. The first is when his little sister gets adopted; the second is when the loss of a battle will mean he’ll have to quit his training. Outside of this, there is the introduction of one recurring character, the daughter of one of the masters, which is pretty much the only time that both the forgotten plot of Kenichi and Miu getting together is brought up. It even returns to the “get people in swimsuits” plot well for a second time.

Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is a competent series, but that’s not the argument. Characters are likable, the plot has a clear direction, the animation and style aren’t offensively bad, the voice actors work at their roles, and so forth. In the end, though, the series just doesn’t break out in any way. Most of the characters fill out one or two tropes (busty ditz, rough street fighter, overprotective little sister, etc.). The plot doesn’t take any really unexpected detours. The animation is, honestly, a little stagnant and plastic at times; to be blunt, characters such as the aforementioned busty ditz don’t move like they should have. There are rare moments of actual movement and fluidity, but they just don’t come often enough.

If you’re looking for extras, you’re looking at the wrong set: no commentaries, and the second disc is padded with only trailers and creditless intro and endings. While twelve episodes in a set is a nice number, it’s disappointing when there are no extras whatsoever. (And if the release is like previous Kenichi sets, you’re not getting anything in the box outside of the discs). This is the biggest shame of both this set and many of the others in this release style by FUNimation and other companies.

If you’ve liked the previous volumes of Kenichi, you’ll continue to like this series. But most likely will feel it wanting. Outside of the decent number of episodes, there’s not much in the way of content, and outside of the rare plot point, the story stagnates. Here’s to hoping for some better to come.

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