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“Centaurworld” Season 2 brings back characters for a brilliant and emotional finale.

I’ve noticed that a lot of animated shows designed for streaming platforms don’t exactly last very long. Unless it’s an adult comedy – a show is lucky if it gets 3 seasons, which these days only adds up to about 30 episodes.

Centaurworld didn’t even break 20 episodes. 

Yeah, the second and newest season was the final one. The show was given 20 episodes in its contract but with the series ending with the 73-minute long episode “The Last Lullaby,” I doubt we’re going to get more.

The hardest part of a show getting cut short is figuring out the ending – do you leave it on a cliff-hanger hoping one day the show will get revived? Do you just end it without any payoff? Or do you do the ending as you intended – leaving out certain elements – but ensuring that all the important questions are answered and doing your damndest to make the ending feel earned?

Centaurworld did the latter – I don’t know if the crew decided not to take the risk of asking for more seasons or if the plan was always to tell the story in 20-ish episodes but it feels as though there’s at least one more season in this insane gem of a narrative.

PLOT

With the Nowhere King released – and still, in Centaurworld, Horse and the herd must gather all the different races of centaurs and get them to join in the fight. But that’s not as easy as it looks. 

Meanwhile, Rider has a new horse and is working on a plan to ally the humans with the centaurs.

If you thought last season was full of twists, turns, and general chaos – you can expect things to get even crazier…Never in my life have I found myself more baffled by a show in my life. The show is truly weird, but it’s genuine in its insanity and nonsense – be it half-formed birdtaur hatchlings as the personification of “tweets” or joke-cracking sentient tails or a fixation on the word “holes” in a way that’s oddly suggestive for a show that’s rated Y-7.

There’s a lot of passion put into Centaurworld; from the characters to the setting to the music that I’m truly disappointed we aren’t getting more. 

The Good

Of course, the music for this season was great, again there was a nice variety of musical genres expressed and some very sweet reprises of songs from the previous season. They were well integrated into the story – though admittedly, I didn’t find them as memorable as season one’s soundtrack.

The animation was great – and I loved seeing more of Rider’s world and the characters interacting and fitting in with the different settings. It was really enjoyable to see how Centaurworld’s magic affects different beings, like Stabby receiving a toddler’s body. The magic with transformation seems to solely operate on the Rule of Funny – hence horse becoming cartoony with a sentient tail, and Stabby becoming a baby after being treated like one for so long.

I loved learning the different characters’ backstories, though I wish there had been a bit more of it and that we were able to see Horse’s past as well. I would have loved a scene that shows her and Rider meeting for the first time – and learning how they grew such a close bond. That isn’t to say Horse’s and Rider’s bond isn’t explored this season, it is and it’s done wonderfully – but I just wish there was more.

The thing about Centaurworld is that it’s has shown that its crew has a deep and intimate of fandom culture in its first season, but it’s here in Season 2 that they decide to get really meta with it – by introducing a group of birdtaurs who have been watching the whole adventure and have formed a fandom.

Depending on how the scheduling worked, it’s possible that the crew predicted ahead of time which characters would be popular and how people would react to certain plot points.

While I do think the plot took up a lot of time that could have been focused elsewhere, due to the shortened season – the birdtaurs did provide a lot of the season’s humor, meta-jokes as well as an important role in the final battle.

The moletaurs, particularly Comfortable Doug, played a similar role. The character still makes me uncomfortable but I’m happy that he was just more than that. I thought for sure they were going to place a lot of unnecessary focus on him and try to make him a sort-of meme character.

And while he’s certainly memeable — I think the King of Memes is still Zulius.

In a good way.

Of course, the series is also very emotional. I actually cried during the finale – and there were parts that just left me baffled or confused. I wasn’t always sure what was going to happen but I knew it would be an adventure.

The Bad

Because this is the final season, and there are only eight episodes; there isn’t a lot of time to build up the tension; especially since part of the first episode is spent on a recap song, and the herd is forced to re-enact The Rift: Part II in another episode.

We don’t get a lot of hints or build-up towards the origins of the Nowhere King. That doesn’t mean the ending doesn’t feel deserved or that it came out of nowhere – but certainly some more foreshadowing and more suspense would have been really awesome.

The plot really drags in the first couple of episodes and then it just barrels full-steam ahead. The finale, which is nearly 73-minutes long has a lot of plot, a lot of reveals, a lot of everything.

It’s just one plot twist after another. It was kind of exhausting. Plus – it left little room to learn more about some of the more major players like Wammawink and Rider. We don’t even get to see Zulius’ backstory.

He does, however, get back together with Splendib and has his sexuality confirmed. So that’s nice. But because they needed to finish the narrative, the crew had to go through all the necessary plot points at the expense of further worldbuilding and lore.

I mean, we get to see Rider run into some other humans during an episode – humans who aren’t part of the army and they just don’t play any further role. They just felt kind of shoved in there as though they were supposed to do something more, but there just wasn’t the time to do so.

I guess the crew had a hard time deciding what to cut – and I can’t blame them. I would have wanted to show more of the human world too. 

I just wish we got to see more of it.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to call Centaurworld formulaic, though it follows a lot of the same tropes as many animated fantasy isekai-adjacent adventure genre conventions as shows like Amphibia, Kipo, and The Owl House do – it has a lot of fun bending rules, pushing boundaries, and experimenting with ideas along the way.

No idea is too out there for this show. It’s the 9-year-old girl version of Rick and Morty, but with characters who are actually likable. This show was designed for the weird girls – and they deserve more than 18-episodes.

Hopefully, creator Megan Nicole Dong and the crew will go on to create more shows like this. And maybe streaming services will recognize that animated projects are worth putting more time, effort, and money into.

Despite its flaw, the show still does the best with what it has and the ending still feels as though it is earned. It’s still emotional, impactful and most importantly it feels exactly what the series has been leading up to in terms of themes.

I really recommend checking it out.

And that’s the scoop!

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Grade: B+

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Year of release: 2021

Length: 8 episodes; 27- 74 minutes

Creator/Director: Megan Nicole Dong

Writers: Megan Nicole Dong, Jen Bardekoff, Jessie Wong, Minty Lewis, Todd Casey, Ryan Harer, Amalia Levari, Aminder Dhaliwal

Voices: Kimiko Glenn, Megan Hilty, Parvesh Cheena, Chris Diamantopoulos, Megan Nicole Dong, Jessie Mueller Josh Radnor

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