Silent Mobius: The Motion Picture 2

Nobody loves a sequel. With a few minor exceptions, such as The Godfather Part 2 and The Empire Strikes Back, most sequels are pale successors. They usually mean easy payola for their makers, but they rarely satisfy the audiences' expectations. Silent Mobius: The Motion Picture 2 does a few things to attempt to break the retread mold, and as such, it's not a loss as a film. Some curious choices make this less than a perfect follow-up to the first picture that introduced us to the magical Liqueur family, though it could have been a lot worse. However, those who haven't had the chance to catch the first movie should skip this one until they've gotten caught up.

The first film split into two time frames. The first showed us Katsumi Liqueur as a full-fledged demon-slayer fighting off the evil Lucifer Folk in 2028; the second introduced us to Katsumi in 2024 when she first realized that her destiny would forever entwine her with these evil creatures from a parallel universe. The second film starts in 2024, not days after the events of the first film. Katsumi is heartbroken, and she desperately wants to leave Tokyo. However, her exit papers have been invalidated by the AMP, the police branch that needs Katsumi's help to defeat the Lucifer Folk that are terrorizing the city. Katsumi refuses to help, disgusted by the AMP's dirty tactics forcing her to stay. In a moment of melancholy, she gets caught out in the acid rain, hoping that it might end her sufferings. She wakes up in a warm room, saved by a sweet teenager named Yuki. Yuki has some mysterious psionic powers that give her precognition, and she realizes just how important Katsumi is. She attempts to befriend Katsumi, and it is that bond that may save both of them when the Lucifer Folk return to take their vengeance on the Liqueur clan.

All told, SM2 is a decent film, nothing more and nothing less. It's a step down from the first film in several ways. The animation is similar, but not quite as polished. The story almost requires having seen the original film to make heads or tails out of what's going on. Without any narration or introduction, I imagine some people would become frustrated trying to hop in at this point. The film also ignores the primary questions of the original: where are the Lucifer Folk from? How did Katsumi's father and mother steal their magical secrets? Are the Lucifer Folk really wanting to destroy the world, or are they just trying to reclaim their lost secrets? Nothing of this sort gets answered, which is thoroughly disappointing. The film also slows to a crawl at times. The first film was exciting and occasionally scary; the second is occasionally exciting but has patches of null space.

I still like SM2, despite its faults. The animation still looks great, and the soundtrack problems are gone for this installment. (The ending song is still a personal favorite.) The story of Yuki and Katsumi's growing friendship is worthwhile on its own, and shouldn't be discounted just because it doesn't answer our issues from SM1. For those who enjoyed the first title, SM2 will be quite enjoyable if hopes aren't set too high.

I've enjoyed these films for a while, and I'm glad to see the TV series finally being released in the US. There's plenty of room for growth from the films, and I'm hoping that this new series fills in the missing pieces. Although I don't consider Silent Mobius: The Motion Picture 2 even close to the original in terms of content, it's a part of the puzzle a fan won't want to miss.

Silent Mobius: The Motion Picture 2 -- violence -- B