'The Natural' picks up where 'The Animation' (read my review of that here) leaves off, detailing the span of a single year on Aqua. Akari continues to be an apprentice, she continues to 'practice' with Aika and Alice. There are lots of small stories about enjoying life, dealing with the emotions of others, etcetera.
In the first series, there was a mysterious undertone, as Akari travelled back in time and met the mysterious cats. That theme is further developed in this second series. There are a few episodes where it seems that it is actually the cats who run Neo-Venezia: they seem to be capable to turn away unwanted visitors to their meetings, and can wisk people away to some hidden places if they want to.
Basically, it is more of the same, but with the cat-related plots pushed a bit more to the foreground. Also, there is more character development: the girls are starting to grow up. (And they need to -- I mean, sheesh! How much time can a company afford to allow their trainees to dally along the waterways of Neo Venezia? Alicia must command a high fee indeed if it pays for both her and Akari for multiple years!)
If you liked The Animation, you will enjoy The Natural. And if you disliked The Animation, there is nothing here that will convince you.
Visually, the series has slightly updated character designs. It took me some time to get used to them, but it results in a slightly crisper picture. The voice actors haven't changed, so that is still of the same quality. A lot of music is recycled from The Animation, but Choro Club did record a few new tracks that are mixed in with the rest of the soundtrack. Opening and ending songs are new, of course, but of equal quality of The Animation.
- A great sequel;
- More plot and more character development.
- Nothing to make new fans.
All in all, a 7.5: enjoyable, but without universal appeal.