The better part of a century after the events ofSteel Angel Kurumi, a new generation of Steel Angels (and their masters) come into play. Nako Kagura, 14 years old and in the last year of middle school, is both a shrine maiden at the temple where she lives with her mother Misaki, and an aspiring cellist. Her best friend is Uruka Sumeragi, the rich girl who lives in the Big Fancy House next door, 15 years old and a high school student. Their relationship is complicated: although they have been friends since they were toddlers, Uruka has recently taken to inflicting casual minor cruelties on Nako. But this is a smokescreen of sorts, because Uruka is actually in love with the younger girl.Before Uruka can even figure out how to express her feelings, though, Nako discovers and accidentally activates Kurumi Mark II, a new Steel Angel modeled after the original Kurumi. Kurumi II, like her predecessor, is uninhibitedly affectionate with her new master. This upsets Uruka, who sees Kurumi as usurping her rightful place at Nako's side. Uruka's billionaire father, who dotes on his daughter to a degree that would disgust Veruca Salt, offers his help — first with giant robots airdropped on Kurumi, and later with Steel Angel Saki Mark II, whom Uruka activates with a kiss she imagines sharing with Nako. Although Saki II automatically falls for Uruka as part of her activation, it seems some of the Mark I version carried over to the new model — the original Saki's devotion to Kurumi remains, and leaves Saki II hopelessly longing for two loves who pay no attention to her.Things get even more complicated when the spiritual successors to Nakahito activate Karinka Mark II in an attempt to retrieve and "fix" the wayward Kurumi and Saki. But it backfires on them when Karinka discovers the extraordinary strength Kurumi derives from her relationship with Nako. Wanting the same power-up, Karinka abandons her mission and moves in with Nako, Misaki and Kurumi, and contests with the latter for Nako's attention.Meanwhile, with Kurumi's encouragement, Nako has entered a cello competition. But when the others learn that the prize is a chance to study in Europe, will the enemies and rivals unite to destroy the dream of the one they all claim to love?Made by the same creative team that produced the original Steel Angel Kurumi, and for the same anthology series, Steel Angel Kurumi 2 is shorter (only 12 fifteen-minute episodes) and has a much narrower focus. Although the great, far-future conflict that drives much of the first series is mentioned several times, the real core of the action here is the web of relationships formed between Nako, Uruka and the Steel Angels, and the comedy and drama that are born from it. As such, it might seem something of a letdown after the near-apocalyptic crisis and climax of the original series, but that's not a true failure — just the result of an unwarranted comparison. Instead, consider it as something of a cross between a harem comedy and Project A-Ko (to which it bears more than a passing semblance at times) and consider it on its own merits. If you do, you won't be disappointed.Available in the United States via ADV Films and streamed online by Crunchyroll on their site.
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