Three episodes in, Gravion Zwei is a huge improvement over the original Gravion. The question I’m left asking is why, and can it keep it up.
Just as Gravion was either a parody so badly-executed it wasn’t obvious it was a parody, or an action-comedy so over-the-top-awful it was entertaining, Zwei has me choosing between two similar options: Either they hugely upped their game in the parody area, making Zwei actually amusing, or somebody decided that the original was so irredeemably awful they could salvage it by converting it to an over-the-top parody of itself in the sequel.
Either way, it’s a heck of a lot funnier so far, and is no longer pretending to be even remotely serious—the humor went from merely silly to so over-the-top that it’s barely coherent. The fairly mean-spirited sense of humor is working much better for me, and some of the goofy things they’re doing with the main characters are far enough overboard to make some tired mecha-parody gags funny. The best is a throwaway joke with the all-business prettyboy pilot doing a completely pointless mecha transformation scene in picnic dress with the mascot ferret on his head—the ferret is doing the dramatic pose along with him. The upskirt shot on a maid at the start that turns out to be the main character in drag was appealingly backhanded, and even the hotsprings episode focused more on ridiculous slapstick than fanservice. Oh, and it also features the supporting cast ordered to sing the mecha’s theme song as karaoke to back up the battle—I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the in-character-singing thing played quite like that before, and it had me laughing pretty hard.
Speaking of fanservice, that’s also been ratcheted up about three notches. Before there was lots of maid-service, and a modest amount of panty shots, but it was actually unexpectedly clean given the costume pandering that the entire hero organization is based on—if nothing else, no “naughty bits” made it to the screen. The sequel does not seem to have any of that restraint—not voluminous, but there are nipples to be found, and the already ridiculously-busty pilot has had her bra size increased to “oh, that’s just silly” and some kind of spring mechanism installed that causes her chest to oscillate violently (sometimes with sound effects) every time she changes position. The hardbodied male leads also ended up even nakeder than the women, and there were some exposed backsides there as well, so it’s even spreading the skin between genders. Some of it is so overkill that it’s actually funny, to its credit, and in my opinion if you’re going to do shameless fanservice you might as well not hold anything back, so even if I was taking it “seriously” I’d call it an upgrade. It’s still got nothing on Godannar, though—yikes that show had the bounce factor.
Sadly, the pedo-maid trio have been explicitly labeled as kids, so the possibility of them being just uncomfortably young-looking rather than wildly inappropriate went out the window. Anime, would you please stop doing things that should be horrifying to any sane adult? I promise I won’t make fun of natto, and I’ll even let tentacle porn slide if you’ll just draw a line somewhere on the right side of puberty.
Final thought: The one regular military pilot that didn’t die after two seconds onscreen in Gravion actually survives (despite indications to the contrary in the final episode) as part of their own new not-entirely-incompetent mecha team, which I was happy to see. The female member of said team in the hotsprings episode has one of the most over-the-top-detailed costumes I can think of outside Oh My Goddess, and her work uniform is only slightly less detailed (and even skimpier). I go for that kind of design, even if it makes no functional sense most of the time. The regular army still has no maids, though—no wonder they keep getting blown up ignominiously.