Yu-Gi-Oh GX Season 2 has 52 episodes and that is far more than it actually needed. Because of this there are a noticeable number of episodes which are essentially interchangeable. Jaiden comes up against a duelist with a gimmick, Jaden duels them while telling them how it is important to duel for fun, and the other duelist resists but always comes round to Jaiden's way of thinking at the end. There are far too many of these episodes and they never feel like they've added anything to the show. If you have ever wondered if anime that wasn't based on manga could have filler, apparently it can, and this is what it looks like.
Such episodes almost drown out the ones in which something does actually happen, and to its credit, Yu-GI-Oh GX is capable of delivering strong character moments. Whether it is Jaiden helping Chazz to break free from brainwashing, or Alexis showing concern for the Obelisk blue dorm despite now being a member of Obelisk white.
The other main issue with Yu-Gi-Oh GX Season 2 is that it puts way too much focus on Jaiden. Yu-Gi-Oh GX had the potential to be a real ensemble piece but Season 2 never quite manages to do that. Other characters do get moments to shine (such as a brief segment of episodes early on, in which Jaiden is all but written out) but these feel like exceptions to the usual flow of the series rather than part of how it operates.
There isn't that much to the villain (Sartorius) either, and at this point in the Yu-Gi-Oh he is pretty standard fare for the series. He is possessed by an evil power, he has a good side which is trapped but wants to help the good guys win, and he plans to take over the world. If there’s anything unique about the character it's that he spends most of his screen time being cordial, and manipulative rather than openly hostile.
Yu-Gi-Oh GX Season 2 is an upbeat series in which everyone plays the comic relief at some point. It can be fun to watch, but only occasionally does it feel like there is really anything going on under the surface. For every episode that serves to flesh out a member of the cast there are two that only function as pudding. Just as it often fails to make use of its characters beside Jaiden (so much so that it had to get rid of him to give them some), this season ultimately fails to go as far as it could with its premise or its plot points.
YU-GI-OH GX SEASON 2 / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: HATSUKI TSUJI / WRITERS: VARIOUS / STARRING: MATT CHARLES, PRISCILLA EVERETT, WAYNE GRAYSON, MARC THOMPSON, DAVID WILLS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW