Insomniacs After School Episode 2 doubles down on the meditative atmosphere cast in the premiere episode. The series eschews easy drama for deliberate, patient pacing that elevates the sleepy drudgery of the two protagonists’ lives. Their insomnia is an omnipresent constant in their routine, even if there’s no adapting to its disruption. Instead, Ganta (Gen Satō) and Isaki ((Konomi Tamura) adapt in other ways, first seen at the end of episode one and now, in the follow-up, demonstrated in small touches, easy comforts, and concessions in order to continue to use the observatory.
If viewers hadn’t already decided, Insomniacs After School Episode 2 makes clear that this sweet slice-of-life drama won’t be for everyone. The patient pace veers close to dull, and for those who need a bit of electricity in their shows, not counting the chemistry between characters, then it’s a quick write-off. That said, if sincere character studies and the minutia of day-to-day life are what a viewer finds compelling, it’s worth checking out.
The level of detail that plays across each frame is beautiful and rendered with care and attentiveness. The character animation skews softer, with rounded faces and eyes, hazy magic hours, and luminescent nighttime scenery where the stars play spotlight to Ganta and Isaki’s sleepless adventures.
The series shows greater signs of life once the story pivots to the two reestablishing the defunct Astronomy Club in order to retain the use of the observatory. While there’s plenty to glean from the two’s interactions alone, this reframing opens up more possibilities of stories and additional characters, allowing the series to keep pace with others of its like. “Mu Scorpii -The Cat’s Eyes,” directed by Taisuke Mamori and written by Rintarō Ikeda closes the door on the series setup. There’s plenty still to learn about Ganta and Isaki, with the first two episodes refusing to give too much away too soon. That said, there’s a clear direction forward, as the characters don’t confront their problems but band-aid them for the time being, giving the narrative the dramatic stakes it needs.
Even a small beat such as Ganta’s falling asleep during class and banging his forehead on the desk as Isaki sympathetically looks on lands with surprising emotional heft. Insomnia, as depicted in the show and reflected in life, is often about the small grievances and moments which push one over the edge, even if in the grand scope of things it’s a relatively small nuisance. Falling asleep in class can be humiliating, more so when it makes people notice.
These elements, along with Isaki’s characterization, the charming dynamic between the two, and the evocative animation, remain the greatest intrigue. Insomniacs After School is the type of series that will make plenty of us non-manga readers barter with ourselves on why we shouldn’t read ahead in order to enjoy the most out of the anime adaptation. Despite the pace that lulls those watching, it’s difficult to not want to speed ahead and see where the storyline goes and why and how. Ganta and Isaki’s relatability is inherent, and while they’re not off saving the world, facing demons, or even trying to represent their small town to make it something greater, their struggles are rooted in authenticity.
Insomniacs After School Episode 2 is a solid follow-up to last week’s series premiere, highlighting the artistic talent at its disposal. The characters are charismatic, with enough mystery remaining to keep viewers engaged, and the world hazy and steeped in whimsy to further entangle those watching into their world. The greatest triumph of the episode comes in the form of moving a couch, naming a cat, and starting a club, and those accomplishments are just as earned as any universe-saving stunt in an action series.
Insomniacs After School Episode 2 is available now to stream on HIDIVE.
Insomniacs After School Episode 2 — "Mu Scorpii -The Cat's Eyes"
The characters are charismatic, with enough mystery remaining to keep viewers engaged, and the world hazy and steeped in whimsy to further entangle those watching into their world. The greatest triumph of the episode comes in the form of moving a couch, naming a cat, and starting a club, and those accomplishments are just as earned as any universe-saving stunt in an action series.