There’s Not a Better Way to Put it
If you recall my review from last year for the first half of 7 Seeds, then you’d know that I thought it was an utter train wreck that wasn’t worth your time. In spite of that, I did say I was still curious about the second half, so here we are with “season two” almost a full year later. You may not believe me, but it’s almost like two different teams of people worked on the show. It’s not actually the case, but that’s just how much better this second half was. 7 Seeds managed to take almost all of my criticism and improve on it.
As a refresher for folks, here were the biggest issues the first part of the series had:
- Horrible pacing, it was often too fast
- Too many characters, only made worse by all the jumping around
- Not enough down time for characters, often the show was just a series of tragedies
- Finally, character development & likability, it just didn’t have much (if any if I’m being totally honest)
It’s not hard to tell that this is a whole heap of issues, so let me address each issue and how it was improved upon in this review. Seriously, I was about as surprised as you probably are because it really didn’t seem salvageable in the slightest.
Pacing & Characters
Outside of a few things, the pacing is one of the first things you are going to see notable improvements in. While the show does pick up where it left off, which isn’t a big deal for binge watchers who waited out but was slightly obnoxious as somebody who waited about a year, it moves on pretty fast. This is actually a good thing because of where it moves to.
Instead of bouncing around like a pinball on drugs, the story instead chooses to focus primarily on one group of characters. Namely Summer B and two members of Summer A who join them for reasons that should be pretty obvious after the events of the first half, it’s not like they could stay where they were.
This also has the pleasant side effect of focusing the stories scope by restricting the characters we are following. Meaning, there’s not a lot of jumping to other groups. The few times it does do this are actually where 7 Seeds is at its weakest sans the times where the cut is to an isolated member of the Summer A/B group.
Remember Hana? Well I suppose “spoilers” but she didn’t die. Shocking, I know. When we do cut away from the amalgamated Summer group, it’s almost always to follow Hana around. This very much feels like the Hana variety hour where she does great things to progress the plot like… hanging out with some wild boars and following some horses around.
It’s not as if this doesn’t service the bigger picture but these cuts to Hana happen at the worst possible moments and simply contribute NOTHING to the plot in isolation. If this series were to see a continuation, this would be somewhat forgivable but seeing as Netflix are the folks behind this title, you can bet it’ll never be touched again like so many of their other properties.
Sorry, this is meant to be largely a positive review but this is a flaw that really needs to be acknowledged because it was one of the few things that I actually didn’t like in this second half. Seriously, when we are doing anything else, the show feels pretty great! If you cut the Hana sections out, the show would be near perfect in terms of pacing.
You might be asking, “Did they slow down the rate of adaptation then?” which would be a fair question. If you recall in my earlier review, some episodes were doing crazy amounts, like 10 chapters PER EPISODE. I’ll be honest with you, I really don’t know if that rate persisted in the second half, but if it did, I didn’t feel it. While a fair bit still happens in each episode, it never had too much. This was appreciated as there were lots of moments where most shows might have done a dumb cliffhanger where the outcome is known, just to pad some runtime or mild drama.
Downtime & Development
Feeding into the pacing, one big improvement was letting the characters actually have time to just goof off. This made a WORLD of difference. Not only did this allow for some actual development within the cast, but it allowed the story to breathe. Before it was just disaster after disaster, but here when something bad happened, it was either mixed in with a more relaxed event or given plenty of space.
Summer A caused most of the problems in this second half, actually. Ango and Ryou are the villains for most of this second half, creating potentially fatal crisis for Summer B to deal with. They do this partially to test the group, but also to “level them up” so-to-speak. The world, as we’ve seen, is harsh and you need to have some awareness.
At first, this may seem like it risks making Ango and Ryou even more unlikable, but as the second half progresses they truly develop into worthwhile characters alongside the rest of Summer B. Where most of the cast was flat and unlikable now stands decent characters who have actually experienced some growth.
My biggest point of praise is actually how Ango and Ryou’s relationship is managed. The restraint the series showed with Ango’s trauma, while not perfect, played a key role in making this second half as successful as it was. Ango’s trauma over the test is built up in the first half of the series and not resolved until the very end of this second half. It felt organic and took place over a long enough time to be believable. Not only that, but the consequences of these unresolved issues were a constant factor.
Even when the pair go from the villains to one of the group, which is entirely predictable, it doesn’t feel cheap. The show earns it honestly and fairly by taking its time and following through on what it set out to do.
As for everything else, you still have decent world building going on and some of the usual silliness. It’s not like the second half magically fixed everything about the show, but it certainly helped to improve its standings. Taken together, I still can’t recommend the show. To get to anything good you have to sit through a lot of garbage, but if you were going to watch this anyway, I can at least say that it finally felt like 7 Seeds hit its stride here.
In some ways this scratches an itch left behind by Dr. Stone. It’s like the weird edgy cousin, even though the source for this is actually older. Obviously this isn’t nearly as good, but if you wanted something that focused more on survival than science, this may just satisfy you. I didn’t really know where else to fit this comment, but I felt weird not including it so it just ended up in this section.
If this were to see another season, I would happily watch it. The manga is very well-respected and there is plenty to adapt still. The strong premise, length, and depth of the narrative is a strong appeal that is being done justice to now. Part of the reason for this may just be that the character introductions got out of the way by time this second half got around. However, as I mentioned, I’m not holding my breath to see this continue here.
What started out as a pretty bad journey for this Netflix stop as I review the originals, turned into something decent but not amazing. Gotta say, I am impressed by that fact. 7 Seeds gets an overall poor mark but I no longer regret my time with it.
Thanks for joining me on the latest Netflix “original” review. I’d love to hear your thoughts on 7 Seeds as well as the manga if you have any experience with it. If you liked the article and want to support the work I do, please consider becoming a Patron or making a one-time donation by hitting either of the buttons below. Thanks again for reading and I hope to see you again soon!