This anime series too in a way reminds me of Gakuen Alice’s case. No, not of the series’ storyline, but rather the subbing and its release. You see, Mamoru-kun Ni Megami No Shukufuku Wo (phew! Now that’s a mouthful. Initially had some problems trying to remember and saying it) had its subbed episodes released on a ‘slow’ basis. Firstly, I want to say that it’s not the subbers fault as it’s mine in the first place for not being fluent enough in Japanese. Anyway, they stopped after 2/3 of the series. Thank goodness, after some time (probably after some fans got really pissed off), another fansub group took over and finished it. Much appreciated thanks to both fansub groups anyway. Since it’s been a long time, I think I’ve almost forgotten about the earlier parts.
 
This series is based on a light novel of the same name and I guess it’s a trend these days that in order for one’s works to be popular or to go greater lengths, it must be given the anime treatment. There are 24 episodes in total and it’s one of those love-comedy genres with some magic. The setting of this anime is somewhat I would call, a ‘futuristic present’. I mean, there’s some high-end out-of-this-world technology blend with some present day conveniences.
 
Also, magic here is called Beatrice. There’s some explanations on what Beatrice is but to cut out all that words which don’t seem to stick in my head, it’s just magic. But only some people who can use this special ability. So in order to hone such skills, there is a school established for this. It seems really grand and the school is like sitting on an island of its own with a really long bridge as its connection to the mainland.
 
So we’re introduced to this shorty intellect boy, Mamoru Yoshimura, a Beatrice rookie and enthusiast who gets admitted into that prestigious Beatrice school. What I didn’t expect in the 1st episode that a girl, Ayako Takasu, instantly falls in love with him, blushingly confess her feelings and even asks him out for a date! Now that’s really fast. It goes to show that love knows no bounds and is free from those typical stereotypes like a taller older boy must date a shorter younger girl. It’s the opposite here. This Ayako girl is actually 1 of the 3 world’s most powerful Beatrice users so much so many fear her and even dubs her Beatrich (I guess it’s short for Beatrice Witch). Don’t mess with her, she really does live up to her nickname and when she’s pissed off, you’ll get a taste of what real pain is. Ah but even so, I guess Ayako’s still a girl deep down in her heart and still falls in love.
 
What makes this series amusing is the student council of the school. Because everybody knows Mamoru and Ayako are an item, throughout the series, you’ll find the members of the student council (which Ayako is also part of) being busybodies as they try to spy, snoop and eavesdrop in whatever those lovebirds are doing and would even go to great lengths to make elaborated plans and schemes to do so. They must really get a kick out of it. Yeah, they’ll get a kick (and other abusive and offensive forms of attack) from a mad Ayako when she finds out later.
 
So let me introduce the members of the student council first. The president, Maya Sudou, though a strong character, he is also behind many of the schemes that irritates Ayako. Yup, he gets the receiving end quite frequent too. Then the vice president, Shione Sudou (woah! It’s Mamiko Noto’s voice!), is Maya’s younger sister. First thing you notice about her is her wild hairstyles. Fashion? Though some episodes she changes to a different variety of wild styles, I notice the most frequent ones she dons are the sharp-looking drillers-like (or is it croissant or a worm’s cocoon?) style. I think it looks like that. Yeah, those things could really kill, at first glance, that is. Only second to Maya in the sense of getting her deserved receiving end from Ayako.
 
Then there is the brunette secretary, Anna Hase, who is the most ‘normal’ one among the bunch of weirdos. Also, the tall level-headed bespectacled treasurer, Youko Kirishima, the shutterbug and photo maniac PR officer, Mitsuki Fujita (no prizes for guessing who she likes to snap her pictures of most), and the very shy and soft-spoken science officer Yuuka Maruyama. But my most favourite student council member is Kousuke Yagi. This muscular guy has a major quirk in using English words in his sentences. I love the way he says it passionately with ‘full of air’. Hahaha.
 
So I suppose life has really gotten more ‘interesting’ for Ayako now that the student council has so much ‘free time’ to spy on her personal love life. As for Mamoru, well he doesn’t really use violence and probably just live with all those ruckus. Oh yes, I need to mention another character. He is Tsuneo Abiko and is an avid, obsessed admirer of Ayako (can he be considered as a stalker?). Ever since Mamoru came into the picture, he has become jealous and schemes to break them apart so that Ayako could be all his. Don’t worry. Abiko’s role is more comical rather than threatening. Yeah, he’s a loser and whatever plot he comes up fails eventually. Loser.
 
There is a little fanservice in this series so those who can’t stand 2-D girls in their lingerie or showing a little of their slip should stay clear of this anime. Uh huh. Episode 1 has some of them already. So mainly this episode introduces the characters, a little show of Beatrice and some Mamoru-Ayako moments. Mamoru too joins the student council. In the end, Mamoru’s slumber is interrupted when Maya calls him at his home due to an emergency. If I remember well, that emergency is supposed to be some Astral Fire weapon stolen as explained in episode 2. How is that a world trouble? I’m sure Ayako could’ve done it herself to retrieve the stolen weapon but I think the gang are thinking to spice things up if they team her up with Mamoru. Uh huh. You know why lah. It’s later revealed that Yuuka was the one who stole it. She did this because her precious dog, Arun, was kidnapped by some enemy. I see. Later as Mamoru and Ayako were walking together on a date, they saw an explosion coming from a building. Thus the duo come face to face with their nemesis (looks like an ordinary typical chap). During the fight, Ayako took some bullets when Arun appeared. This caused Mamoru to be upset as he unleashes some latent Beatrice power, literally putting that man on fire. Mamoru soon faints. Once everything is back to normal, they find out that the Astral Fire the enemy had stolen was a fake one and Maya had initially switched it previously when he knew Yuuka was gonna steal it. You know what’s waiting for Maya, right? That’s for all the trouble and ruining her date with Mamoru. So more of those Mamoru-Ayako moments but Mamoru surprises her this time by asking her out on a date. Would she miss this chance of a lifetime. Think not.
 
So in episode 3, word reaches the entire school that Mamoru and Ayako are dating. They don’t really need such attention. Yeah, a recording of their confessing is playing live! We’re also introduced to Mamoru’s family, his mom Shizue, and his little sister Itsumi. But in this episode, Mamoru visits Ayako at her huge mansion. Wow. It’s really big. This girl is rich. Leave it up to the student council to come up with their sick schemes. This time they decide to throw a welcome party for Mamoru at Ayako’s house too. Maya suggests that the student council members have 1 hour to catch the pair and having do so, the lovebirds will have to kiss each other in front of everyone at school! Sick people. Though Ayako doesn’t want part of this, I think she has no choice as they evade and escape wave after wave of hilarious traps. While hiding in a closet, Mamoru spots a photo album with her parents face crossed out. Ayako reveals her tragic past in which her parents hated her Beatrice powers and she was ostracized and such. Since she couldn’t control her powers when she was young, she caused lots of trouble. But Mamoru told her how everyone in the student council didn’t hate her but loved her. So some touching moments between them before the student council members spoil it. Yeah, it seems they were hiding in the surroundings. Another special moment ruined. Super blast from Ayako! They deserve it.
 
It’s the school cultural festival in episode 4 and Ayako is to play the princess role in the play Sleeping Beauty, since the lead actress has fallen ill. Guess who’ll be playing the prince. Your guess is as good as mine. It’s Mamoru. Everybody’s shock to find that the Beatrich is taking part in the cultural festival. Is this the end of the world? Aha. There’s a kissing scene, right? Something for those weirdos to look forward to. No wonder they ‘persuaded’ the duo to do the play. It was bloody hilarious to see Yagi in a female costume. Then there was a rehearsal of the kissing scene. Since Mamoru and Ayako are blushing, they suggest for Mamoru to practice kissing Shione. Ayako went crazy and said that she didn’t do it with Mamoru. She then rushed out embarrassed with Mamoru chasing behind. Since she rushed out hastily in the rain, Ayako got a cold. So much so Ayako collapses just before the day of the play, sending shockwaves to everyone.
 
Actually Ayako isn’t really having a cold. We find out in episode 5 that it’s some immense amount of Beatrice in her body which causes her to be sick. To cut things short, Mamoru is the only one who can save her. Dunno the reason (forgot rather) but I guess this is the way things are if you’re the main lead ;P.  Maya tells Mamoru that there is a way to control her Beatrice but the method is risky. Of course Mamoru would go to great lengths to save his loved one. I didn’t really get this part because Mamoru and Ayako stripped naked and in a weird dream-like state/trance, the duo did some intense Beatrice concentration power and before you know it, Ayako is well again. Don’t worry, nothing steamy happened. I don’t know how Ayako’s Beatrice is under control but I’m thinking this must be the mysterious workings of love. So the play goes on well the next day and due to the angle of the stage, Mamoru make it seem like he kissed Ayako but their lips never met actually. After the play, Ayako pecks Mamoru on his cheek as her gratitude. But the end scenes show a grey haired girl, Emelenzia Beatrix Rudiger (looks like Meimei of Kamisama Kazoku or Primula of Shuffle), saying how Ayako is going down.
 
The student council is planning for some skiing trip in episode 6. Because of that, Mamoru and Ayako are spending less time together and the former thinks if he had done something wrong and if Ayako is hiding something from him. So while taking a bus there (Itsumi also tagging along), Emelenzia and her 2 cronies, Saburo and Jiro are following closely behind. Looks like Emelenzia doesn’t know what love is and has her subordinates explain it to her. She finds it hard to believe that Beatrich’s heart is ‘captured’ by some shorty. Later Ayako and Mamoru went to have a chat. Mamoru heads back to his room to get a present he bought for her. Because Itsumi heard Mamoru coming, in her haste, she accidentally broke Mamoru’s little present. Mamoru is devastated to find the present in that state and Itsumi couldn’t bring it to herself to say that she was the one who broke it. So Mamoru went out to meet Ayako with a depressed and gloomy look and feeling.
 
In episode 7, we find out that Ayako was making a sweater for Mamoru, the reason why she was avoiding him lately. Though Mamoru is touched, their intimate moment is yet again ruined. However, this time it isn’t from the student council. Emelenzia causes a snow avalanche which also in a way traps the student council in their inn. Emelenzia challenges Ayako to a duel and mentions that she is being sent here by her brother, Johan (the other 3 most powerful Beatrice in the world and he has also fought with Ayako before), to see how weak she has become. Jiro and Saburo caught Mamoru as the girls duke it out. Ayako tries to save Mamoru but was knocked out by Emelenzia. Emelenzia notes how weak Ayako has become and thinks it’s not worth to kill her. But Ayako finds her inner strength to stand up and beats the crap out of Emelenzia. The duel became some crazy snow fight and the whole are was blasted away by Ayako’s fury. I don’t think that afro hairstyle suites Emelenzia. After the student council cleared the snowy path from their inn, Mamoru takes a hot bath only to his surprise to find Emelenzia there. A little chat before Emelenzia uses her Beatrice to fix Mamoru’s present back to normal. In Mamoru’s joy, he then later gives it to Ayako. In the end scene, we see Johan saying how he’s waiting for Ayako to be mature so that she can be his bride.
 
The skiing trip ends but Maya decides to make a stop over at a hotspring in episode 8. Uh huh. Another reason for fanservice, huh? Maya suggests to the guys a challenge to deliver a shampoo to Shione. Yeah, it’s a plan to peek at the girls. I think Mamoru doesn’t want part of it but Maya coaxed him into it. Even Ayako’s driver, Kikugawa, is part of it. Since Shione knows her brother’s tricks, she and the other girls set up some traps to prevent them from advancing. Ayako on the other hand believes that Mamoru isn’t like those jerks and probably isn’t part of it all. It’s really a battle out there as the guys try desparately to break through the girl’s defence. One by one, each of them is taken out and ‘died’ so much so Mamoru is the last one left and has no choice but to carry on. That kid is obviously brainwashed. Emelenzia had a little hand in destroying the central command whereby the girls are controlling the traps and defences. This made it easier for Mamoru to enter. Too bad that Abiko loser went ahead first but got blown up with some last trap. Ayako sensed somebody is here and opens the door only to her disappointment to find Mamoru. Oh the horror. That kid is still brainwashed (what pride of a man?). Ayako later finds out that this whole set up is just a bet by Maya and Shione to see if Ayako could forgive Mamoru for what he has done. I’m not sure how the bet went but the siblings ended up as big time losers as Ayako blasts them away in her rage. Mamoru, you can snap out of it. It’s all over, kid.
 
It’s Ayako’s turn to visit Mamoru’s home in episode 9. Before that, more of that usual teasing from the student council which resulted in Ayako getting flustered before giving them their usual punishment. Also, Abiko’s still around to stalk Ayako but because of his dumbness, he brought it upon himself. Anyway, Ayako does some cooking with Itsumi while Shizue and Mamoru goes out to do some shopping. Ayako finds out how close Itsumi’s relationship with Mamoru. I don’t remember, but it’s quite close. Even sleeping in the same bed and comforting her with some special towel (reminds me of Linus from Peanuts). And there’s no incest, mind you. During the cooking, the curry they’re cooking accidentally spilled on to that special towel and scalded Itsumi a little. Ayako uses her Beatrice to heal her little wound. Ayako wanted to restore the towel’s colour but Itsumi suggested that they die it in the curry’s yellow colour instead. When Mamoru comes home, Itsumi apologizes. Since Mamoru isn’t the kind to harbour ill feelings, they all had a lovely meal. All’s well ends well. Itsumi wishes how Ayako would come here more often.
 
Fanservice heaven in episode 10! Wohoo. Do I sound like a pervert? Anyway it looks like Emelenzia wants to know more about Japanese culture and has Ayako teach her some. Since Ayako herself doesn’t know what to teach, the other girls of the student council help her out. From putting on weird and ‘unfitting’ clothes to a total beauty face makeover. Looks hideous. Yeah, they even went karaokeing. Hey, Ayako’s not bad as singer. Meanwhile the guys and Mamoru go around the city to show Mamoru what girls like to do. So when the guys enter a room supposedly where the girls are changing into certain costumes for a fashion show. Ayako gets embarrassed to have Mamoru see her in such a weird dress and look and blows up the building. Later, it seems Emelenzia has transferred to their school as a transfer student and even joins the student council body. Oh great. That’s just what Ayako really needs. However I’m starting to feel that Emelenzia is gradually falling for Mamoru. I smell a cat fight coming up. Meow! Just kidding.
 
With Emelenzia’s transfer, she too has gained a legion of admirers and fans (read: loser boys). But looks like the battle for Mamoru heats up in episode 11. Mamoru requests Emelenzia’s help to train his Beatrice power but this is just a ploy by Emelenzia to break up Mamoru and Ayako. This way, Johan could have Ayako and Mamoru would be Emelenzia’s. It’s a win-win situation, right? Well, it’s harder than it looks. Firstly, Mamoru isn’t a pervert and would go flirting with any loli girls he’s with. Secondly, probably since Mamoru’s a kid, he’s a little dense over Emelenzia’s advances and flirtatious seducing attempts. I mean, Emelenzia literally took that advice about making her hair smell good to win Mamoru’s heart and puts her head in his face for him to smell. Yeah, any guy would wonder what’s that all about at first. There’s a funny part whereby Yagi was picking up a coin on the ground when Abiko tripped and bumped his face into Yagi’s butt! And Yagi said "Oh… Molest…". So funny. Then finally, Emelenzia got into a nightie dress which surprises Mamoru, but she told him that this was part of his Beatrice control training and asked him to close his eyes while she seductively rubs her little boobs around his arms. Ayako is searching for Mamoru and so happen she saw what was happening. Gasp! She must be thinking that shorty is two-timing her.
 
I guess Ayako loves Mamoru too much and didn’t blast him nor Emelenzia away in episode 12. Ayako just ran away upon seeing them. Mamoru is of course blur on what has happened. Because of that, Ayako is feeling depressed and avoids facing Mamoru. Better not piss her off. She’ll kill anybody who gets in her way. It’s like making a death wish. Yeah, Shione has some Ayako mood meter detector on her hair. Scary. Emelenzia sees this opportunity to snatch Mamoru away and tries to seduce him further but to no avail. Abiko too tries to take advantage of the situation by pushing his wheelbarrow full of Christmas presents to cheer Ayako up. But it went downhill (literally). Maya then goes to talk with Ayako at the library but that girl isn’t in talking mode. Killing mode rather. Wah! She just lifted up that table ready to pound at Maya! I’m not sure what Maya said, but it was enough to comfort her and make him leave in 1 piece. I guess that’s good enough. Later Ayako spots Mamoru and Emelenzia doing some cooking together at the home economics classroom (with the other student council spying of course) and Ayako’s first reaction is to run away. Mamoru goes after her and tries to explain but Ayako refuses to listen. Not until he hugs her and tells the truth how he was letting Emelenzia help him to improve his Beatrice so that he could protect her. I suppose those words are enough for Ayako to realize things. Before you know it, they both kissed. Sealed with a kiss. But the end scene shows Johan in a plane arriving at Japan.
 
Johan’s arrival in Japan at the Beatrice school in episode 13 seems to be to give the students some Beatrice lessons for 3 days. But it’s just part of his ploy to break up Mamoru and Ayako and claim Ayako as his bride. Johan even makes a ‘grand entrance’ by kneeling down in front of Ayako, kiss her hand and proclaims his eternal love for her. Since Ayako isn’t a cheap girl, she replies with a slap across his face, shocking everyone, before she walks away. Since Johan is a stubborn guy, that face slapping won’t deter him either. I don’t know why the other girls thinks he’s so hot. Doesn’t he look a little evil? But Mamoru assures that he’ll protect Ayako no matter what. During 1 of Johan class, he makes it in a way Mamoru collapses from pushing too hard when in actual fact Johan entered and messed with his mind. Don’t worry, it isn’t life threatening. The next day, there seems to be a duel of Beatrice between Ayako and Johan. I dunno. It looks just like a magnificent display of fireworks or lighting in the sky. That classical background music, Waltz Of The Flowers from the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky seems fitting. When it’s over, Johan gives Ayako that sweet talk again but I’m sure she isn’t easily buying it. Mamoru then goes up to Ayako saying how he would like to be her partner next time but Johan isn’t impressed and gives that I’m-better-than-you crap and Ayako-is-all-mine talk. He messes with Mamoru’s mind again and causes him to faint once more, shocking everyone.
 
Mamoru wakes up with Emelenzia next to him and glad that he’s fine in episode 14. Johan is still pestering (rather blackmailing) Ayako to be his bride so Ayako has no choice but to say she’ll think about it. I think everyone in the student council (and viewers including yours truly) would like to see Ayako end up with Mamoru rather than some obnoxious German guy. Lots of drama and spacing out as Mamoru gets a visit from Maya and Shione who help talk to him. Meanwhile, Johan is researching and experimenting some Beatrice power called Return To The Origin and requests for Ayako’s help. I’m not sure but when Ayako’s hand touched some sphere, it blows up, releasing some Beatrice in a form of a phoenix. In short, the experiment is a failure and it’s going out of control. Maya activates a shield to prevent it from escaping but their since it’s firing destructive beams, the school is taking its toll. While Johan and Emelenzia try to contain the threat but to no avail, Ayako is confused an in a state of shock, unable to do anything. That is, until Mamoru arrives. Some words of comfort and encouragement bla bla bla and soon the duo get their confidence, combine their powers and zap that wild beast in smithereens. The next day Johan leaves for Germany and Mamoru sees him off. Mamoru tells him that he is gonna be with Ayako no matter what since he is Ayako’s lover. Though Johan is gracious in defeat, that doesn’t mean he has given up.
 
Episode 15 is more of a filler. A funny one. There’s a new girl in town. No actually. It’s Shione with her hair down (after listening to a tv programme advice)! Woah! She’s nearly unrecognizable! Because of her normal straight down hairstyle, this causes everyone to panic or fear her and come up with some weird theory like the world is coming to an end or some conspiracy theory. Yeah right. It’s only hair. Even Maya and Ayako are suspicious if Shione’s the same person. Whatever it is, Shione still looks kawaii and cute. Shione decides to head home and not listen to all those weird theories. I’ve never seen Maya and Ayako teaming up this good before, tying up Shione back at the sibling’s home and trying top interrogate her. After all that hilariousness, Mamoru realizes after looking at their photo album how Maya’s ex-girlfriends have long straight hair and that Maya may have harboured some feelings for Ayako in the past. So in a way you could say that Shione has that onii-chan (brother) complex and did her hairstyle this way to gain his attention. I know this isn’t mentioned but the way things are, it points in that direction. Something about that pun ‘buranko’ which can both mean the playground swing or big brother complex when Mamoru had a chat with Shione at the playground. The next day, Shione has her usual wild hairstyle back. It’s revealed that the other reason why she straightened her hair was due to the tv programme’s horoscope love advice: "Be straight in everything you do". I guess Shione took that too literally. The end scene shows Ayako’s grandpa, Naoyuki returning to Japan.
 
Another hilarious episode is episode 16. With Naoyuki’s return to visit his granddaughter, Ayako and Mamoru went to great lengths to hide their relationship in fear that Naoyuki won’t accept it. Ayako even denies it when grandpa asked but he did mention how Johan told him back then Ayako had one. Suspicious. Then a funny part when the powerful and influential Naoyuki assembles the entire school at the assembly hall and his first speech is to ask the entire school if there is anyone here who is Ayako’s boyfriend. I’m sure nobody wants to speak up for fear of backlash from the Beatrich. But Abiko is a sly person and uses this golden opportunity to announce that he is Ayako’s boyfriend. Though Abiko makes a fool out of himself, Naoyuki gives his thumbs up and quickly says how he likes this guy, dumbfounding everyone. Haha. Later, Mamoru tries to tell Naoyuki that he is Ayako’s true boyfriend but before he can finish, Naoyuki gives some rousing speech and tells him that he had lost his opportunity, depressing Mamoru. Ayako and the other student council members try to persuade Naoyuki that Abiko isn’t the right men but their efforts were futile. That guy is as stubborn as an old goat. To make things worse, he announces a wedding ceremony between Abiko and Ayako. Oh no! I guess Abiko is really looking forward to this day. Emelenzia is at Mamoru’s house and is slapping some sense into him. Thanks to her, Mamoru realizes what he has to do and rushes back to school. Inside the hall, the wedding procession is taking place but since there is a commotion (Mamoru barging in with the help of the student council members), they finally let him through and Mamoru gives his love assuring talk to Ayako and tells Naoyuki the truth. Oh yeah, Abiko’s spotlight ends here as he’s been knocked away. It seems Naoyuki gave out a heartily laughter and knows it all along and is happy it turned out this way. He did heard from Johan all about Mamoru. This guy isn’t so bad or blur at all. Probably he did this in a different way to open their eyes and hearts. The wedding party (just the party) goes on and everyone is happy in the end. Well, maybe except for Abiko and Emelenzia wonders why she did something to help Mamoru and Ayako when she herself likes Mamoru.
 
Episode 17 is the start of the turning point. Because of the ruckus caused in the previous episode, Naoyuki decides to compensate the student council members by giving them a free vacation trip to some tropical island. I wonder why Abiko is on the trip too. Is it because to make up for his initial embarrassment and disappointment that Ayako will never be his? Perhaps. So while the gang have their fun (and more fanservice in the form of swimsuits), Mamoru and Ayako plans to go to a cliff whereby a rumour says that if a couple kisses there, they’ll forever be together. We’ve heard this sort of thing many times before, right? Besides, they have to do it in a way it won’t arouse the student council suspicions but I guess it’ll be harder since Abiko is obviously stalking the pair. Ayako can’t kill him because there are too many people around. Darn. Besides Emelenzia spacing out and confused about her feelings of Mamoru, Ayako and Mamoru also meet a little girl named Maria and from the way she speaks, she isn’t Japanese, but for convenience, I could say she speaks fluently like one. At this rate, Mamoru and Ayako can’t break away from the gang and do their kissing thing. But luckily Maria is nearby and smoothly guides them to the place. After trekking through the forest, Maria tells the duo to go along first. Once they’re gone, Maria tells Abiko to come out. Looks like Maria is a Beatrice user and Abiko doesn’t like the way she’s helping Mamoru and Ayako and proceeds to attack her with his whatever lame move. In short, Abiko lost. As expected. It’s gonna rain soon and Mamoru tells Ayako that they need to hurry. Maria then catches up on them and gives them some necklace which will supposedly help them be together and leads them to a cave, with several glowing orbs in it. Once inside, the cave starts crumbling, blocking the entrance. Ayako tries to use her Beatrice but it seems that something is nulling the use of her powers. My guess is the orbs. What else.
 
Episode 18 starts with a flashback when a young Mamoru and Ayako (so they’ve met before but how come they didn’t realize it up till now? Blur) were stuck in a cave and a man saved the day by using his Beatrice to get them all out. So this was why Mamoru partly became interested in Beatrice as well. So back in present time as the duo are sitting in the cave with Ayako slightly injured, they remembered something similar which happened to them when they were young. Yeah, took you long enough, you two. In the previous episode, there’s a guy named Masaki who’s seen hanging around with Maria and tells her not to do anything naughty. After Masaki realized that Maria has started her plans, he searches for Maya and co and tells them that Ayako and Mamoru may be in danger. That little girl Maria isn’t actually what she seems. According to Masaki, she’s an old witch (I find out later that her true form is just like a pretty young adult, unless…) and she is actually Silver Maria, the other 3 most powerful Beatrice in the world. So the gang manages to find the cave and Masaki tells them that the orb is what is making all their Beatrice weak. So they have to find each and every one of them and squish it. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack but in order not to have a tragic ending, the gang are lucky to find all of them and Ayako and Mamoru uses their combined Beatrice powers to blast the rocks away. Also this Masaki guy was the person who saved a young Mamoru and Ayako back then. It’s a small world after all. Maria herself is happy with the results and it seems she was sort of testing Ayako’s Beatrice. As for Abiko, I think he volunteered to be Maria’s lackey to get Ayako. I guess in a way he likes Maria but still can’t betray Ayako. Real loser. In the end, Mamoru and Ayako manage to get to that cliff and share a kiss. As the gang prepares to head home, we see Masaki talking to Johan over his handphone.
 
With the gang back at school in episode 19, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Leave it to Maya to suggest a challenge which of the girls could steal Mamoru’s heart with their chocolates. Ayako herself of course is making some chocolates and because of that is acting a little weird whenever Mamoru’s around. I’m not sure what Yagi is thinking because that guy covered himself with chocolate and presented himself to Mamoru. Like a tanned Mr Universe? But the most elaborated one has got to be Shione’s. She staged an over-dramatic act like how she has not much time left to live and wants Mamoru to accept her chocolate as she gives it over her deathbed. Real convincing. While Abiko receives a mail from Maria saying how that loser can win Ayako’s heart. I’m sure he’s all excited to hear about it. Meanwhile Emelenzia too is acting strange due to the effects of her love of Mamoru and it’s been a long time since Jiro and Saburo are with her. While the trio are out shopping, they spot Ayako. I don’t know what Emelenzia said to upset Ayako because Ayako did an impersonation of Enma Ai from Jigoku Shoujo’s "Would you like to see what death is like". I think later Emelenzia tries to make some chocolates herself. Long way to go. But the climax and surprise of this episode is at the end whereby Emelenzia confronts Mamoru, seen chatting with Ayako. Emelenzia then confesses her true feelings in front of the duo and says that she’s serious this time. Looks like now she’s gonna take action rather than sitting back and watching all this while.
 
Because of that, in episode 20, Mamoru wonders and is doing some deep thinking if he’s hurting Emelenzia’s feelings. Even though he has his heart set on Ayako, but he still can’t help worry about Emelenzia. And even if it’s just 2 girls (not counting the student council girls), I wouldn’t really classify this as a harem anime. Emelenzia too is doing some thinking and spacing out. Abiko on the other hand receives some package from Maria, supposedly will help this loser get rid of Mamoru and make Ayako his. In short, Emelenzia challenges Ayako to a duel of Beatrice over Mamoru. Except for Maya, the other student council members are really looking forward to this duel and even set up cameras like as though it’s a live show. During the battle, Ayako is obviously more powerful and has the upper hand. Maya did something good by unplugging some cable (a tree had a socket oulet?) when the battle reach its climax. I think they’ve seen enough for the day. Ayako manages to calm Emelenzia with her words bla bla bla. Just then, Abiko arrives and it’s pretty funny to see some super side effect when his glass came off. Unknowingly when that happens, all the other student council girls ‘fell’ victim to it! They all fell in love with Abiko by having an ideal vision of their ideal man! I think Youko’s one was some U.S. president. With the girls paralyzed in love, Abiko then throws the package at Mamoru but Ayako gets in front of Mamoru. The package then suddenly absorbed all of Ayako’s Beatrice as she collapses. Abiko is still blur of what he has done (see, it’s partly his fault!) but Mamoru and Maya are shocked by what they have witnessed.
 
Ayako indeed lost her Beatrice powers in episode 21 because it has become fused with her body. She has only 1 week left to cure it or else she will die. And the only way to cure it is to go to Germany and let Masaki and Johan help her. Of course Ayako thinks it’s just a ploy by them to get her involve in their research. At first Ayako decides to stay and Mamoru respected her decision. But as time passed, Ayako began to grow weak and thus Ayako and Mamoru decides to finally go. The duo told Shizue, who’s supporting them, but Itsumi doesn’t agree with it. I think she blames Ayako in a way. Just like Abiko, even though he has a hand in what happened, he still blames Mamoru and goes to stalk outside Ayako’s house on Maria’s advice on how to seduce Ayako. Erm… Why is that a secret base of Abiko’s under the road just outside Ayako’s house. It’s like he’s living in the sewers. I guess that’s what obsessed stalkers do. Itsumi happened to bump into Abiko trying to sneak into Ayako’s house and inadvertently gets dragged into Abiko’s plan. Yeah, he told Itsumi to strip… So that he could put on some magical girl cosplay outfit on her. Real sicko. What an unlikely pair. Also, Ayako’s weakened state has been known and her enemies are trying to take this chance to assassinate her. Some already have broken into her mansion. Lucky Kikugawa is on vigil and manages to intercept the attack. Does he have ninja training? Ah well, being Ayako’s driver doesn’t mean he has to chauffer her only. Abiko drops his specs but good thing only a female plant fell for the effects and grasps Abiko in its hold. Good riddens. After witnessing Ayako’s determination and will, Itsumi changes her mind and supports Ayako and Mamoru to go to Germany for her treatment.
 
The duo head off to Germany in episode 22 but it isn’t just the 2 of them. Why, Maya and Emelenzia too tags along. Why is Emelenzia like an air-stewardess? Meanwhile, Abiko is being tied up on the school’s bell as punishment. Haha. Once there, the quartet are taking a boat to Johan and Masaki’s castle lab, which is situated on a cliff-like island in the middle of a lake. But on the boat, the gang are ambushed by Maria and her henchwomen. Mamoru is then kidnapped. Though Johan appeared but even he can’t do anything. Probably he’s thinking that this is the best way to get rid of Mamoru and make Ayako his. Back at Maria’s place, Mamoru and Maria had a little chat. All this while, the way things are portrayed it seemed Maria is like the antagonist. So I don’t know what her previous schemes on Ayako were actually really for now. Maria is a good person and on Mamoru’s side. She tells him about Masaki and Johan’s dangerous research on Return To The Origin, like how they want to give Beatrice a conscious. Something like that. It’s also hinted that Maria and Masaki were once a couple. Probably the differences in their views have caused them to break apart. Meanwhile, Ayako and Johan are at the lab and in some tube, ready for her cure-cum-experiment. Something about needing a powerful Beatrice (Johan’s, that is) to awaken to ‘sleeping’ Beatrice in Ayako. Didn’t get all that technical crap. But during the experiment something went horribly wrong. Suddenly an alien-like creature is seen emerging from the tube. OMG! It’s the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen! Johan is too weak, Masaki is watching in horror and Ayako is unconscious. The monster then goes over to Ayako’s tube and swallows her! Oh no.
 
After the monster absorbs Ayako, it’s going berserk in episode 23. It must be deja vu because that monster turned into a phoenix, only more vicious looking this time. Masaki manages to enable a force field to prevent it from getting away but it won’t hold for long. Maria and Mamoru has sensed that the inevitable has happened and goes to the lab in their flying car (reminds me of Back To The Future movie). Upon arrival, Maria gives Mamoru some pendant. I don’t know if Mamoru has a driving licence. That’s because while Maria is in the air doing something to stall the monster or what, Mamoru single handedly pilots the flying car, crashes through the force field and gets absorbed into the monster. So now everybody else has to pray that things will end on a good note. Inside the monster, Mamoru faces a young Ayako who has her trust and self-confidence shattered. She was lonely because of the way her parents treated her. Mamoru tries to battle the inner beast within. Another deja vu… Why are they naked? Is it a must whenever they go into this state? Fanservice? Leave it to Mamoru to comfort her with words of hope bla bla bla and with their love assured, the monster stops its attack even though it has broken out of the force field. Ayako did mention something about she understood what the Beatrice is trying to do is destroying itself. Huh? Also during that havoc, because the other countries have detected some heavy levels of uncontrollable Beatrice, automatically they’ve launched several missiles to destroy it. So dangerous. I can’t understand such reasoning after all. It’ll soon arrive and destroy the whole place. See, so illogical. So if there’s any massive power or energy that can’t be contained within a certain time frame, it must be destroyed at any cost. Is that what they’re trying to imply?
 
With the monster destroyed in episode 24, the duo must now face a barrage of oncoming missiles. With their assured love, they combined their Beatrice and take out all the missiles as the others watched from below. Even back at the student council, they were very surprised to see Mamoru and Ayako on the news. A nuclear explosion occurs when they took out the final missile. Then this part really shocked me. Back at school, Maya gives an emotional farewell funeral for Ayako and Mamoru. I can’t believe that they died! It’s too tragic! Not. We see Ayako busting through telling Maya to stop his sick elaborated joke since the duo are away for 2 weeks to undergo some tests. Phew. They really had me there. So everything ends well. After the graduation, we see Maya depressed because he doesn’t want to graduate. Yeah, he must be having so much fun as president of the student council. Though Emelenzia initially said that she has given up on Mamoru, but I think she slyly decides not to (seen clinging on to Mamoru’s arm? Ayako must be pissed). Uh huh. Something about friendship is a slippery word like love and that she’s a girl from the dark side. Masaki is currently forced to work under Maria and that guy is dreading it. Johan is still there, still the same ol’ obnoxious, still the same ol’ can’t-give-up-on-Ayako-yet attitude. Haih… And Abiko is still tied to that bell. Why, he even quips how next week will be the start of a new series called Tsuneo-sama Ni Maria No Sukufuku Wo! That’s obviously not gonna happen. In the end, the entire student council heads out of school and the scene is somewhat similar to the one in episode 1, whereby Ayako met Mamoru amidst the floating sakura petals. One of the student council member said even how the famous Beatrich came to the graduation ceremony, Mamoru mentions that Ayako isn’t a majou (witch), but a megami (goddess). Now that’s how we should all look at her. While Mamoru and Ayako have their moment together, Ayako thinks Mamoru is gonna give her a kiss but he’s just actually taking away a sakura petal on her. Disappointed? And those student council members still never got bored of spying on them. But I guess, they’ll live with it as they all rush out heading towards the beach.
 
Overall, the whole anime just feels kinda okay. Though it did end in a good way, but I was hoping it could be a little better. No doubt in the end it’s still Mamoru and Ayako, like viewers wished for. Probably the time taken for me to watch this anime has been dragged on at times I kinda feel that some of the episodes were a little draggy. But I still find those hilarious moments real funny, especially some of the filler episodes like Shione’s hair-raising (more like straight down) episode or Naoyuki’s acceptance of Abiko as Ayako’s boyfriend at first. Hmm… I can’t help wonder why the boy’s school uniform’s button is such a big yellow round thing.
 
One thing unique about this anime is that for the next episode preview, you’ll see lines of kanji writings appearing or scrolling across the screen. The narrating character is actually reading those kanji writings. If you notice that some of the words are coloured differently and at the end of it all, these coloured wordings will form to be the next title of the next episode. Nice. Also the background music playing is the kind of fast and cute piano playing you tend to here in those old western saloons. The opening theme, MA-MO-RU!, by Maho Tomita is quite upbeat and has a little rock n roll feel. The ending theme, Venus Dream, by Hiromi Satou also has a similar rock beat. Unfortunately both songs don’t seem quite appealing to me.
 
Even with the existence of Beatrice, I’m sure love itself is a different form of magic. Yeah, it can do wonders and miracles. Speaking of Beatrice, I’m still wondering what is it actually. As I’ve said, to put things short, it’s just some kind of magic. Just like how characters in Gakuen Alice call their special powers Alice. Perhaps it’s just a lingo. If you don’t mind the fanservice (I kinda notice that there are quite a number fan arts and original drawings of the ladies in sexy and ecchi pose), I’m sure you’ll find this little magical series worth a little watch.
 
Mamoru-kun Ni Megami No Shukufuku Wo

Unlimited

April 25, 2008

  Wakariaeru koto mo wkachiau koto mo,
  Utakata no you ni,
  Toki no suna ni magire tsukami kirenai to,
  Akirameteta anata ni au made wa
 
What partly makes a good series is also a good opening theme. It gets viewers into the mood or gives them a feel of what the series is gonna be like. At least that was what I felt. This pop rock song, Unlimited, is no exception and is the opening theme for the anime series Samurai 7. There is a good mix of strings in addition to the usual electric guitar and other musical instruments you’d expect to hear in a rock song. How I wish many other animes were like this too. Good music good show. It compels viewers to stay and watch. Well of course unless the series doesn’t suit you.
 
  Dore kurai itami wo hitori de kakaete kite ta no,
  Dore kurai sabishi sa hitomi ni kakushite hohoenda no
 
Very unfortunate for me, this song has no karaoke or even an instrumental version. So I have to do a duet with the singer, Nanase Aikawa, each time I want to sing this song. Why oh why don’t they have it. After searching high and low (probably in a state of denial too), I was hoping to find a karaoke version but my efforts were futile. Even the soundtrack of the series seems easier to find. That’s because there’s no karaoke version lah! Of course cannot find lah.
 
  Deai wa mahou no you ni isshun de,
  Mune no itami wo kiete shimau,
  Kore wo unmei to yobanai to sureba,
  Ima dore wo unmei to yobu no
 
If I ever had a karaoke version (for the umpteenth time, there isn’t one), this song would be a breeze for me. I mean, I could say that the song is easy on my vocal chords as there are no high pitch or long sustaining notes. Besides, at times I felt like I sound like the singer herself especially the verses (yeah right). I mean, the singer sounds a little monotonous (sorry if I offended her) and she sings the song in a ‘dragging’ way. Erm… I don’t really know how to describe this part, so it’s best to listen to the song if you want to know what I mean.
 
  Deai no kiseki wo dakishimete,
  Mitsumeattara tsuyoku nareru,
  Kore wo ai to yobanai tosuru nara,
  Ima dore wo ai to yobu no
 
As for the tv series opening theme animation, I kinda notice that there are 2 versions. One is the original Japanese release and the other is a Hong Kong release version. The song is still the same though, but somehow I still prefer the Japanese one. Maybe it’s because I’m more used to it as I watched the series with that opening version. I’m still wondering why the song is entitled so. Is it because of the lyrics which seemingly indicates of the singer’s endless pain and lonliness and eternal wait for some love? Maybe. And somebody or anybody, please I need a karaoke version of this song!!! Yeah, the wait seems like forever.
 
Samurai 7

The title may sound like a historical tribute to something that has happened in the past. But I assure you it’s nothing of that sort. Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~ is another one of those pc dating simulation games which has been adapted into a tv series. Having said that, typically this has to be another one of those school life harem animes (which I dig so much).
 
Since I haven’t played the game before (or any other simulations alike), I’m not really sure how closely the tv series follows the game. Probably there has been some changes here and there to suit it all or maybe it’s 1 of the possible different scenarios and outcomes from the game. But after having watched the series, it’s not like I developed the urge to play the game. Not to say that the series is bad, but I kinda feel that it was made to appeal fans of the game. Or maybe harem anime lovers.
 
So will you see lots of catty catfights or scathing b*tchy disparaging comments? Erm… Well, not really. Sorry for those people who really wish to see some of those ‘action’. And I’m not one of those people, mind you. With 25 episodes, I could say that this romance-comedy-drama genre could also be well-fitted to those who like the said genres, and not just for the sake of the harem.
 
Enough of that harem word already. You won’t find that harem really obvious here. Watch the show and you’ll see what I mean. As usual, we have our male protagonist guy, Riku Aoba, a newly transferred student to Tsumugino Private High School. He’s transfer must be a ‘hot’ thing and is already causing some waves at the start of episode 1. Why, he’s seen running away from a bunch of crazy rampaging students. And if you think everybody here as some weird animal part sticking out from their heads, remember that this isn’t a fantasy genre. I know, viewers will be curious to know why Aoba has a pair of pink cat ears on his head. To cut things short, the president of the student council, Haru Sakurai, tells him to put on those pair of ears when they first met. Sakurai then emails to everybody’s handphone saying that whoever gets hold of Aoba’s cat ears, will be given the email address of the school’s most popular girl, Sayuri Amamiya (sounds like mama mia!). Yeah, she’s like the ‘untouchable’ not because she’s obnoxious or what, it’s because she’s graceful and you’ll feel an air of respect for her. I’m sure every guy in school wouldn’t let this opportunity slip by. However, over the series, I sometimes find Sayuri’s character to be a little odd and ‘cold’. But I shouldn’t jump to conclusions yet. Aoba must be really lucky having dodging, barely escaping from the wrath of those sick crazy losers. So Aoba finally rests under a large tree and guess who got his cat ears? Why, it’s Sayuri herself. She seems to be a gentle, understanding and nice girl as she tells him how he’s got it tough. So you may guess that Aoba is no different than the other guys because he too starts to have feelings for her. Love at first sight? Who wouldn’t after looking at such a pretty girl. Sakurai comes by and announces since that Sayuri is the winner, he wants her to let Aoba know her email address. But Sayuri coolly refuses saying that she didn’t agree with him on anything and leaves. So what was that chase all about? Uh huh. Sakurai says it’s part of their ‘tradition’ way of welcoming Aoba to their school. But Sakurai’s trouble is just starting. That’s because or the disgruntled loser boys thinks he has deceived them and proceeds to teach him a lesson. Ah well, it’s Aoba’s first day and it has turned out to be quite a day, isn’t it?
 
Before I’d go on, I just want to introduce a few characters first. In Aoba’s class, he quickly made friends (actually it’s the other way round) with the bespectacled Yuusuke Kayama and Itta Suzuki AKA Icchi. You’ll find that these 2 are another one of those loser boys. You know, want to be around girls but can’t. But at times (okay maybe not so often), they’ll be there for Aoba when he needs help. Oh wait. I think they usually drag him into whatever weird plans they have, which usually backfires. Plus, Yuusuke is an expert on data collection and has every bit of information on every girl in school. He also has made several slide presentations on Sayuri and dubs it The Legend Of Amamiya. Yeah, it’s just some true but exaggerated story which tells the good side of Sayuri. I thought I was gonna see this slideshow once in each episode but after the first few episodes, it fizzles out and then just a handful more near the series’ end. I don’t think it even reached 10.
 
Then there’s this large muscular delinquent, Kyouhei Doujima who also has a crush on Sayuri. But in the 1st episode, he was gonna bash Aoba to take his cat ears only to be beaten by a little yellow chick called Hiyoko. Ever since then, Doujima admits his defeat and recognizes Aoba as Sayuri’s true protector. Huh? Anyway, Doujima along with Yuusuke and Icchi soon formed somewhat a weird friendship and the trio goes about in their whatever weird plans. Speaking of Hiyoko, this is the most amusing character of all. It’s a little chick who lives in a chicken shed at school (since it’s so small, it can go in and out of the caged shed it likes!) and can only say the lines "Piyo piyo piyo…". Weird part is, everybody understands what it says! No matter how long or short the piyo line is! Woah! It’s so darn hilarious to see Hiyoko going piyo piyo piyo so fast when chowing down the food Aoba gives it. Yeah, you could say Hiyoko likes Aoba because he shares his food and in times of trouble, this little chick really does come to his aid. Aoba sometimes even talk to it and share his problems! This chick must be real good. A good laughter for me, though. But be careful of its super kick. I guess that’s why Doujima fears it so much. I also wonder why Hiyoko has that angry mark on his head.
 
There’s also a guy called Kouya Inukai, who seems to be a loner. He doesn’t care about everything else and thinks all that huff about getting Sayuri’s email in the 1st episode is just plain stupid. I notice he enjoys sleeping and is a good painter. However, don’t be fooled by his cold exterior, that ‘s because he has a kind and warm side. Erm… Maybe he just shows them in a different way. Sayuri’s best friend, Ayame Shiina is part of the volleyball team and is always concern and on the look out for her friend.
 
While Haruka Wakatake is Aoba’s homeroom teacher, there is a busty secretary director lady of the school who always seem to interrupt the old red-nosed headmaster whenever he speaks, especially when he introduces himself. I don’t remember if he ever manages to do so. Other teachers of the school include Yagen (an eccentric science teacher who always wear some surgical mask and is always trying to do some weird inventions or experiments. It’ll be more interesting if it involves Aoba), the sick and always coughing-like-want-to-die literature teacher Kinosaki, home economics teacher Harinui, school’s physician and nurse Hoshino, drama and music teacher Kurotokage (I thought it was a guy dressing like a drag queen., but I later realized, she just looks and sound like that), and gym teacher Akaboshi (who’s been nicknamed by many students as Aka-oni, literally meaning red devil because of his temper, not because he’s a Manchester United football supporter).
 
In most episodes, you’ll see a certain trend in the sense that Sakurai will come up with some crazy scheme to catch Aoba in exchange for something from the student council. Then all those loser boys will get all hyped-up and starts chasing poor Aoba throughout school. Don’t they ever get tired? Do they have any other better things to do? Losers. That word says it all. Probably they get their kicks from out of somebody else’s misery. Yeah, I find a majority of those insignificant normal boys to be losers. The only ‘prominent’ thing I’ve ever notice them do is to go gaga over the girl they admire.
 
Then there’s the Big Four Sportsmen of Tsumugino. I guess big means popular as they have legion of fans. So in episode 2, 3 of them decides to get this ‘famous’ Aoba to join their club. First up is the track and field Ryouichi Kamino. Because this guy is so vain, he ends up losing to Aoba in a race because he got distracted by the ‘correct way to run beautifully’. Then it’s the swimming club’s Kaoyu Utsumi. But before anything could start, Utsumi has been ‘paralyzed’ and goes into some trauma mode. Yeah, Utsumi has this fear when guys keep staring at her large breasts. Kyaa!!! Please don’t stare at me! Okay, nothing to see, move along. Then it’s the passionate, very determined and hyped-up baseball captain Ichirou Ishiuchi. After that short training stint by Hiyoko in the mountains (haha), Aoba ‘wins’ because he threw the ball and it hit Ishiuchi’s face! Since Ishiuchi can’t return the hit, he admits defeat. I see. But by the end of this episode, a girl named Tsukasa Kasuga, bumps into Aoba while rushing to school. Tsukasa apologizes at first but soon falls in love with Aoba. Why, she loudly declares that Aoba’s her destined lover! All those jealous Tsukasa fans must be burning with jealousy. This dreamy sounding girl even asks Aoba for a date! So fast! She’s really bold and has no qualms to hug him and such. I think Aoba decides to be a nice guy and oblige. So is it a start of a harem or love triangle?
 
Really. That date thing starts between Aoba and Tsukasa in episode 3. Though Tsukasa is a good volleyball player, she’s horrible in her cooking! Aoba again doesn’t want to hurt Tsukasa’s hard effort and eats that poison. Remember people, even if somebody’s cooking stinks, give an honest feedback. Soon Tsukasa finds out about it and gets some cooking skills from Harinui. With that, her cooking improves and thank goodness Aoba can have a decent meal. It’s too young for him to die from food poisoning. Another important event here is that Aoba meets another would-be admirer/girlfriend Mina Yayoi while waiting at the bike shed on a rainy day. Well, actually they’ve met in the 1st episode at the library when Aoba’s running and hiding. Since he was so into it, he didn’t noticed he bumped into her. Unlike Tsukasa, swimming club member Mina is totally shy and soft-spoken. Yeah, another girl with a crush on Aoba but can’t get enough courage to confess. Mina gives Aoba her handkerchief when he sneezes but in her nervous haste, she leaves quickly. Aoba is surprised because he doesn’t remember telling his name but yet Mina knows. It’s from that handphone message to catch Aoba back in the 1st episode, remember?
 
So in episode 4, Aoba tries to return the handkerchief to Mina. But of course, more of those bizarre chasing events again. This has somewhat become a daily ritual, doesn’t it? Soon Yuusuke and Icchi thinks Aoba has a crush on a certain someone on the swimming team and interrogates him, in which Aoba denies and says he just want to return Mina’s handkerchief. Then Doujima confronts Aoba and thinks the latter has betrayed Sayuri and is gonna teach him a lesson but Doujima gets 1 himself from Hiyoko. Yup, he lost again. I’m not sure what’s that weird love-thingy between Kamino and Kurotokage. It’s like they’re putting up a play to ‘do it’ openly. Also, there’s a girl (whom we I shall refer to Onee-san) who seems to sell weird items to earn some cash. Always putting up a smile, this is 1 sly scheming sister. She sold to Yuusuke and Icchi some invisible suit so that they could go peak at girls swimming (yeah right. They’ve been conned), but she’s a bloody good convincing saleswoman. Of course it didn’t work and the duo got what they deserved, especially Akaboshi’s wrath. Once the commotion is settled, Aoba finally manages to meet Mina and returns her handkerchief. Mina plucks up her courage and manages to request Aoba to mentally coach her for her upcoming swimming tournament.
 
It’s the school sports festival in episode 5. Because Sayuri is usually busy on some organizing committee, the guys think she won’t be participating, but to their surprise and shock, she does. Aoba’s class is doing horrible in every weird sports you see at such festivals(except for Inukai, who’s somewhere dozing off), and there’s an event whereby Aoba is being paired with Sayuri to find a certain item stated in a piece of paper, which is some silver pendant. Aoba notices Inukai has them and requests for it but he refuses to give it and walks away. During the festival, Sayuri injures her ankle and a series of events led to the duo being trapped and locked all alone in the sports storeroom. If you’re thinking anything steamy is gonna happen, dream on. They just had some chat and got to know each other better. Aoba better not let the other guys know, or else his head is gonna roll from all that jealousy. Plus, Sayuri did mention that this little rendezvous should be their little secret. While everybody is wondering where Aoba and Sayuri are, I don’t know how or why, but in the end Inukai manages to unlock the storeroom door and free them. How does he know where they are? Anyway, Aoba’s class did badly too. Those guys are hopeless.
 
Episode 6 is Inukai’s most prominent episode. There has been rumours about Inukai getting into fights since he was missing from class 1 day. Even when the teachers had a talk with him, he doesn’t speak much. Of course Aoba notices this and wonders why. He also finds out that Inukai seems to like animals besides his drawing hobby. We also see a 1st year student, Momo Aikawa, who’s Mina’s classmate and best pal, having a crush on Inukai. Well, love does work in mysterious ways. I’m not sure how, it seems Momo has bumped into a group of delinquents who wants to get revenge on him. I don’t really remember if Inukai did something bad or not. Together with Aoba, Inukai manages to beat up those thugs (so okay, maybe Aoba was just in the way). Then something about there’s a stray cat living there and Inukai comes to tend it from time to time. Anyway Inukai decides to take it in and you’ll see it with him most of the time soon after. Though everything goes back to normal in the end and Inukai is still the same cold person, at least Aoba understands him a little better. As for Momo, I guess she’ll have to keep trying harder. Uh huh. Inukai doesn’t really bother with her attempts, breaking that poor girl’s heart. But that doesn’t stop her from trying.
 
Aoba is looking forward to his summer vacation in episode 7 but he was somehow coerced into joining the organizing committee for the upcoming cultural festival. Yeah, he finds out that Sayuri is on the committee as well and I think this guy would like to take the chance to get close to her. At the same time, Kurotokage sees some acting potential in Aoba and proceeds to tie up and kidnap him! Poor guy. He’s been through a lot. Kurotokage wants Aoba to act in her drama play for the festival but since Aoba refuses, Kurotokage has no choice but to force him by… tickling him! I think Aoba eventually gives in. Similarly, Tsukasa is really looking forward to her date with Aoba on Sunday. However, it’s the same day as his drama audition! I guess Aoba’s more afraid of the consequences from Kurotokage and decides to postpone the date, which upsets Tsukasa very much. On the day of the audition, it seems Kurotokage has harsh criticisms about the other’s performance. Soon it’s Aoba’s turn and Kurotokage mentions something about trying to visualize by saying "I love you" to a girl he likes. Hesitant at first, Aoba finally manages to do so. Unfortunately, Sayuri was just passing by and decides to take a peek on how Aoba’s doing. In such great timing, it seems Aoba was confessing to Sayuri. And it’s darn convincing. Of course Sayuri is confused and embarrassed and rushes off before Aoba could explain himself. Oh oh. Start of trouble.
 
Because of that, in episode 8, Sayuri seems to be avoiding Aoba, even though that guy tries to reconcile. Don’t hate Sayuri just yet. She’s just probably all confused and in shock. Plus, all those Sayuri admirers are jealous by the fact that Aoba did something that they’ve been dreaming to do even if it’s just an act. Also, Tsukasa’s spacing out and feelings for Aoba is taking a toll on her volleyball skills. I guess it’s natural for her when she sees Aoba with Sayuri and Mina too. Even her captain, Hiroma Otama (1 of the Big Four Sportsmen) notices her drop in performance. Mainly this episode sees how Aoba tries to reconcile with the 3 ladies (namely Sayuri, Tsukasa and Mina) like how he goes to a shrine prayer with Mina and prays for her success in the upcoming swimming tournament, doing some painting job with Sayuri to break the ice, and lastly does a little volleyball practice with Tsukasa which lifts her spirits. I’m thinking is this guy trying real hard to be Mr Nice Guy? Many viewers may think he’s like a pimp. But you know, a girl’s heart is delicate and I guess Aoba’s just trying to be careful.
 
Beach episode in episode 9. I knew this would come sooner or later. To make up for the earlier postponed date, Aoba this time takes Tsukasa to the beach. Do you find Tsukasa moe in her swimsuit? Unfortunately Aoba and Tsukasa are finding it hard to be alone because the whole damn beach is filled with teachers and students of Tsumugino! From Yagen’s passionate experiments of the sea to Ishiuchi’s baseball training (how many thousand laps has he covered?) to Haruka having a drink with her drinking pals Hoshino and Harinui, to Inukai… who’s just sleeping on the rocks. No privacy. This is a funny part. Yuusuke, Icchi and Doujima ‘kidnapped’ Aoba because they’re jealous he’s dating with Tsukasa or ‘betrayed’ Sayuri, so much so they buried him in the sand and build a sand Eiffel Tower as his crotch and some volcanic mountains as his boobs as ‘revenge’! But the trio got what they deserved when Doujima gets another super kick from Hiyoko, sending him flying out into the ocean while Yuusuke and Icchi has been caught and dragged into Ishiuchi’s training when they’re passing by. Just when Aoba and Tsukasa manages to find a secluded spot, Aoba notices that this area is some private area of Sayuri’s family and the building is undergoing some renovation. So while Aoba and Tsukasa played in the ocean, Yuusuke and Icchi appears once again to give the Aoba the shock of his life, which causes him to nearly drown. Though he’s been brought ashore, he’s unconscious and Utsumi (who’s working as a lifeguard along with Mina) has to give him CPR! Gasp! Unfortunately, those guys are staring at her butt, which causes her to go into trauma mode again. Mina has no choice but to continue. She can hear her heart beating so fast. Tsukasa’s worried too. Better hurry. Too late. A stray volleyball suddenly hits Aoba’s stomach, reviving the chap. In the end, Aoba walks back home with Tsukasa and the latter once again feels assured that Aoba’s her destined lover. Hey, Ishiuchi’s team are still doing his laps! How many more thousand laps to go? Dunno. But Aoba got dragged into it.
 
Aoba once again gets dragged into his buddies schemes in episode 10. Yeah, the trio called Aoba to a family restaurant because they’re in trouble… They have no money to pay. Damn bloody guys. This prompts them to get a part time summer job. And guess who introduces them? Why, it’s Onee-san. Yeah, she’s doing it because she gets some commission out from it. But the quartet soon find that even the easiest looking job seems hard. Like being a bouncer at an anime convention. This scene is my favourite one. With Yuusuke and Icchi out of commission, Aoba and Doujima are the only ones left and this part time job has them to separate chicks in a mill by gender. Doujima is having fear of yellow chicks and you know what? As Doujima is slightly trembling in fear, the first chick he picked is… Hiyoko! How in the world does it end up here? Fearful memories come rushing back to Doujima as Hiyoko gives him another whack. Poor guy. Of course that job ended in failure too. Finally Onee-san gives Aoba a job at a local pet shop. Aoba’s having a tough time tending to all the animals. Then Aoba takes a big hairy dog who has trouble socializing with others than its master, for a walk. On his way, he spots Sayuri and soon finds out that this dog belongs to her. As the duo chat, Aoba manages to break the ice as the dog gets friendly with him. Time flies when you’re having fun. By that time it’s nightfall and the duo are to head back. However, Onee-san isn’t too happy because while Aoba’s gone, she has to take the other dogs for a walk, which is supposed to be Aoba’s job. Onee-san decides to get her revenge by unleashing the pack of dogs, chasing Aoba as Sayuri looks on and smiles. I suppose Aoba will still end up getting chased whether or not it’s some ploy of the student council.
 
Because Mina did well in the swimming tournament in episode 11, her popularity has sky-rocketed. Now she has more fans (read: loser guys) than ever. Mina wants to find Aoba to thank him but has trouble doing so since she doesn’t have his handphone number too. Likewise, Aoba is having a tough time getting to Mina to congratulate her. Firstly those rowdy Mina fans stopped him from entering so casually (that’s what they think) into the swimming pool area. Secondly, Aoba has been kidnapped, tied up by Yagen who seems to be on a verge of achieving something grand accomplishment in the history of science. And he wants to do it with Aoba. I don’t know what it was but I think Aoba wants to decline it. As Aoba desparately tries to escape while being tied to a seat, he crashes out through the door and it seems his buddies and Sayuri were looking all over for him. This part I don’t like. They’re upset that Aoba has wondered off without telling them. Even Sayuri, who tells him off that everyone was worried about him bla bla bla. I mean, can’t they see that he’s being bound to a chair? Are they blind? I’m still trying not to hate Sayuri. After they leave, Yagen even quips since it’s like that, he’ll go at it alone. What the? Is this teacher too thinking about himself and not the predicament Aoba’s in? It seems many people just wants to use poor Aoba for their whatever purpose. If not, just wants to get him real good. But things will get a little better for Aoba because that night, he and Mina finally meet at the temple shrine. After a short chat, they finally exchange their numbers, making Mina a little happy.
 
A rumour about a ghost wandering around at Tsumugino’s church in episode 12 makes the students nervous and thus having a hard time to prepare for the cultural festival. So Aoba along with his 3 buddies, Tsukasa and Mina went to check things out. Also, there’s a lady who lives in the school’s incinerator dump, known as Megami (goddess). It seems she has lost her memory and Hoshino took the liberty of taking care of her. Though a klutz, she claims she can cleanse evil spirits and help those in need. It’s revealed that the ghost is actually some black giant sphere with red eyes and those who have been attacked by it are given an afro. Yeah, those 3 guys are fully suit up in some devil body suit and ready for some action but they got defeated, complete with afro. Even that whatever lame Doujima’s special attack move didn’t work. It was just his imagination that he beat the crap out of that sphere. Then Yagen reveals that this sphere is supposed to be 1 of his cleaning inventions, but has gone berserk. Too bad, he too gets an afro. Just when the sphere has got Aoba, Mina and Tsukasa cornered, Megami then kicks into full gear, using her magic to ‘cleanse’ the sphere. It may seem a little far-fetched here but I guess we all won’t get to see how the girls will really look like in an afro. But you get to see Megami in one because during that ‘shocking’ moment with the sphere, Megami also regains her memory but decides to continue living at the garbage grounds.
 
The cultural festival is drawing closer in episode 13 but Aoba’s class still haven’t decide on what to do. Actually the boys and girls are at loggerheads over what to do. You see, Yuusuke, Icchi and Doujima wants to do a maid cafe (which guy wouldn’t want to see Sayuri in a maid outfit), which the girls protests. At the same time, Aoba notices Sayuri is being piled up with lots of work. To make things worse, Aoba is kidnapped again by Kurotokage’s drama class. But this time, they are telling Aoba that they want Sayuri for their play and wants him to go ask her. I’m thinking, why don’t they go ask Sayuri herself. Aoba has to. Or else that tickling punishment… Looks like Aoba’s got his hands full as Tsukasa as usual randomly hugs him in her happiness. Sayuri meanwhile is like a ticking time bomb. We see several of the committee members conveying their problems to her. Similarly, Aoba is there and Kurotokage and her underlings are watching. So he has no choice but to butt in and ask her. Before Aoba could complete his sentence, Sayuri snaps and tells them all to shut up! Wah. Can’t blame her. Sayuri realizes what she has done and runs away. Everyone is in shocked that a seemingly perfect girl has shown her ugly side. Well, that’s what you get for pushing her, right? Aoba tries to find Sayuri but she’s just sitting and spacing out in an empty classroom. It’s evening and Aoba is at the tree where he 1st met Sayuri. Upon seeing some paper plane passing by (thrown by Sayuri out of the window), he knows where she is and rushes there. A little chat as Sayuri apologizes about what happened. Soon, Sayuri tells him that this classroom is her secret hideaway from the hustle and bustle of her daily school work. Nice view. Aoba then tells her about Kurotokage’s play and surprisingly Sayuri says she might try it out in exchange that this place will yet again be another secret between the 2. Well, I guess Sayuri does like to keep herself busy (better than being a busybody like some other people) and thinks it’s a good change in pace for her. I’m not sure, but I think I’m starting to sense that Sayuri will be gradually falling for Aoba.
 
In episode 14, Aoba’s class gets a new transfer student. She is Yukari Higashino, some teen idol. As usual, all the guys are drooling over her. However, Yukari is Aoba’s childhood friend, and he fears the worst! Imagine this guy has got 3 potential girlfriends, and a 4th one shows up. Yeah, she’s just like Tsukasa and probably bolder in the sense she dares hug him in front of everybody. Jealousy meter going up. But Aoba isn’t amused about Yukari. That’s because even though she told those loser guys about her childhood times with Aoba, like how he was a gentleman and due to that she fell for him, Aoba says that it was Yukari who’s twisting the story because in actual fact, she bullied him! I don’t think everyone is gonna believe him that such a sweet girl could do those. Another funny part is that, Doujima is helping Aoba to escape from Yukari and unleashes his imaginary special attack when Yukari spots him. I don’t know how but Doujima didn’t even get to touch her or return the attack and exaggeratedly lost. As for Tsukasa, not wanting to lose, she proposes a challenge and in a way teams up with Mina over Aoba. Ah well, I guess it’s another opportunity for Sakurai to hold another of his weird events. To be fair, Yukari has to pick a partner herself, and she chooses Sayuri. This is gonna be an epic battle. Yeah, the school’s most popular girls are gonna duke it out. After some swimming event (I don’t know why the drama club members use some large mirror to reflect the blinding lights to let Yukari-Sayuri team win. Is that fair?) and volleyball match, Yukari tells Sayuri that she is fighting for Aoba to be Yukari’s girlfriend, which shocks Sayuri. I think that reaction indicates she does have some feelings for Aoba. Soon Kurotokage appears and it’s revealed that all this was just a set up by her. Kurotokage’s plan was to access Sayuri’s acting abilities and for her to see some real acting. Yeah, Yukari was acting all the time. In the end, Yukari leaves and wishes all the best to Sayuri. But she does hint that she’ll make Aoba her boyfriend if she stops modelling. Shucks. And I thought things will get interesting with a foursome. Oh well, looks like it’s back to the usual 3. Also, Sayuri agrees to do the play for the festival.
 
Aoba’s class is still fighting over what to do for the cultural festival in episode 15. But this episode is more on Haruka. You know that question which pops up for a single woman her age, marriage. Yeah, Haruka’s feeling a little down and her mom’s pestering her if she’s found the right guy. Other than that, Haruka notices how perfect Sayuri is. So to lift her gloomy spirits, she decides to play an online game called Tokimeki Memorial Online. I later found out that this is how the actual simulation game looks like. There, she meets an online character named Sumio, tells of her ‘imperfectness’ and other problems. Soon Haruka thinks this Sumio character is Sayuri herself. I mean, Haruka did spot her going online and the initials A.S. seems to indicate so. When she asked if Sumio is Sayuri, Sumio didn’t reply and went offline straight away. Haruka thinks she may have said something wrong and once again feels depressed. But the next day, she’s back to her cheerful self when her class throws her a surprise birthday party. In the end, it is revealed that the Sumio character is actually another teaching staff of Tsumugino, Matsuoka, a computer science teacher. The initials A.S. stands for Adam Smith, a famous economist and philosopher, in which Matsuoka uses as his inspiration.
 
Finally Aoba’s class comes to a compromise to do a haunted house and a maid cafe in episode 16. Aoba has been put in charge of his class’s haunted house project. Though every one in class is busy preparing (even a reluctant Inukai has to chip in) but it’s not enough as Aoba seeks the help of Yagen. Before they know it, the next day, their haunted house is 1 big bloody huge tent. I think this fluke nearly covered the whole school. Because of that some of the other students aren’t happy, especially Ishiuchi, since his baseball event has no space left. If the haunted house is so big, where in the world would they find enough people to play the ghost? Ah well, Megami took care of that part when Aoba asked her help. Yeah, she unleashes several mischievous but otherwise good natured ghosts. Is that okay? Yeah, he got more than he bargained for. Besides that, Sayuri is practising her lines for the play (and in a lovely dress too) and decides to play and decides to see Aoba. This is another minus point for Sayuri. Upon reaching the haunted house, Sayuri is in a state of shock to see Aoba being flanked by her classmate girls, thanking him for his effort. I think Sayuri got a little jealous and starts storming off into the haunted house. What’s this girl’s problem? But they heard a scream for her and soon the other guys kick into action a rescue plan to save Sayuri. Yeah, it’s those devil body suits again. The ghosts must be having a swell time scaring the daylights out of those poor souls. Yeah, a complete wipeout. Soon Aoba heads in. But Sayuri later comes out by herself. It seems the reason why she screamed was because her dress got stuck and was torn. The girls are relieved that nothing has happened to her. Other than that, Sayuri even compliments how realistic the ghosts are. Oh you don’t know… With that Sayuri rushes off happily (is she in 1 of her mood swings?) and poor Aoba is lost inside that dark huge maze.
 
The day of the cultural festival arrives in episode 17 and their haunted house is a real hit. Onee-san is happily making her usual money and Yagen’s doing some Science Club Meido Cafe (looks like a dark vampire lair). I don’t think the patrons would really want to become guinea pigs and drink that awful looking potion (supposedly turn them into their true forms and meet the spirits of the dead. No thanks). By the way, be on the lookout for Death Note anime cameo appearance. Aoba really wants to watch Sayuri’s play even though he’s a little busy with other committee stuffs. However, his hopes are dent when Tsukasa and Mina wants to spend some time with him at the festival. I don’t know why he wants to oblige them and even ‘makes’ time for them. Yeah, this time it’s Tsukasa vs Mina as they 2 duke it out with each other in various events like goldfish catching. In the end, he miss the entire play. But his 3 buddies got to watch it from start till finish so much so the other girls in their class are pissed off that they ditched their work to go see Sayuri’s beautiful play. Yeah, don’t think the play lasts till evening. Plus, it’s such a waste to see all those woodwork and materials go to waste as they just burned the whole props. Finally Aoba meets Sayuri at the tree where they 1st met. He apologizes but says he was busy (yeah, busy babysitting some other girls). Sayuri understands and no hard feelings. I suppose Aoba gets to see a little of Sayuri’s acting when she does it a little just for him.
 
Aoba’s grade heads for a school field trip to Hokkaido in episode 18. And when there’s a trip, there has got to be that mandatory hotspring, right? As expected the other loser guys wanted to take a peek at the girl’s area but unfortunately, all they saw was just Hiyoko floating. What is that chick doing there? Other than the gang having their fill of fun, Aoba notices how Sakurai and Sayuri as so ‘friendly’ with each other and thinks that they must be a couple. At the same time, Tsukasa decides to use this chance to spend some quality time with Aoba and it’s like another date. Yeah, she ditched her own class just to follow Aoba’s. So Aoba’s worried that the girl he likes may like another guy but he himself doesn’t think about his own predicament. Haih… However, during Aoba and Tsukasa’s outing, Tsukasa reveals that she is having fever for 3 days when she suddenly collapsed. Why didn’t she tell anybody or Aoba? Well, she really does want to be with him and doesn’t want this minor problem to get in the way. But the minor problem is no longer minor. In Aoba’s panic, he rushes Tsukasa to the hospital. Since Mina isn’t on this field trip, she tries to get in touch with Aoba through SMS but Aoba is too busy attending to Tsukasa to even on his handphone (or was it out of battery?). Looks like another problem looming with Mina on the verge of breaking down.
 
The field strip continues in episode 19 but this episode focuses more on the drama of Mina. Uh huh. She’s really sad, depressed and breaking down. I guess it’s natural for a girl to do so if she doesn’t get any reply from the guy she loves. She really needs him badly. I’m sure Momo and Utsumi tried their best to cheer up Mina, but ultimately, it’s only Mina herself that can only pull herself out from this depression. I finds it a little awkward when Momo asked Mina why is her eye red, because of her crying. Erm… Isn’t Mina’s eye colour red? Aoba as mentioned is busy by Tsukasa’s side and luckily that girl soon recovers. Since Aoba’s got his worries of Tsukasa allayed, I’m sure he now thinks a little about Mina and thinks of buying a dolphin keychain souvenir for her. I’m not sure why Mina later decides to take a train trip to an aquarium to see some dolphins. But it was really heart wrenching to see her breaking down and shedding emotional tears. Finally Mina picks up her handphone and decides to leave a voice message for Aoba. Meanwhile Aoba’s handphone is finally charged and thinks he has missed a call. To his surprise, he finds 250 SMS messages from Mina! Woah! Extreme! And that Aoba has only been gone for 3 days. Would you want a stalker girlfriend like that? Aoba also receives a voice message from message saying how she wants to see him.
 
The gang are back at Tsugimino in episode 20 but it looks like it’s Aoba’s turn to feel depressed. Yeah, he know realizes Tsukasa and Mina’s feelings for him. Took you long enough pal. Besides, didn’t all those times spent with them indicate so? Unless he’s treating them as friends and nothing more. Bummer. I don’t know why he decides to go to Inukai to seek some advice. Not that he gives him a straight answer but it was enough to cheer him up and made him realize what he should do next. I guess it’s better than going to Yuusuke, Icchi or even Doujima. Hiyoko? Nah. Even if Aoba understands what it says, I’m still at a lost with its "Piyo piyo piyo…" lines. Though Mina finally gets to meet Aoba and the latter gives her the dolphin keychain souvenir he bought, I kinda find his answer for Tsukasa and Mina in the end a little weird. He sends them a message which goes something like this. That he can’t say it right now but 1 day, he will tell them his true feelings for them. That’s it? Great. What a nice compromising reply that was. But that ambiguous typical non-decisive answer was enough to make both girls happy because I think they’ll think Aoba will confess to them in the future. Unless he’s planning on a harem, I don’t think it’s possible or wise. What about Sayuri? He didn’t send the message to her. With that, Aoba is back to his cheerful self again. Something is wrong here…
 
Christmas is just around the corner in episode 21 and Sakurai plans an event to choose the best cosplay couple as well as having to pick random Christmas presents. Ayame knows that Sayuri does have feelings for Aoba but the latter denies it. Probably Ayame decides to make things interesting and ‘open’ Sayuri’s eyes when she surprisingly picks Aoba as her partner for the event. Shocking not only Sayuri but Tsukasa and Mina as well. Too late. Should’ve asked faster. Like I’ve always said, I don’t know why this Aoba guy is always trying to oblige a girl’s request. If you think it’s gonna be another girl adding to the equation, then you’re wrong because this is just a one-off thing. Due of that, Sayuri feels more indecisive and spacing out. Since they need to get presents our 3 Aoba’s potential lovers shop around for it. Oh yeah. Meanwhile Momo tries her best again to capture Inukai’s heart. Prepare for another heartbreaking moment girl. On the night of the event, everybody is in some weird cosplay outfit (Tsukasa a snowman?). Since Sayuri is on the student council, she’s on the organizing team along with Sakurai and is dressed as a Santarina. Thing is, nobody seems to recognize her. Not even Aoba! So it’s Aoba and Ayame’s turn (what the? Reindeer outfit?). At the changing room, it seems Ayame is sending some mixed signals to Aoba but I assure you her intentions are good. In the end, Aoba and Ayame won and Aoba has the honours to pick 1 of the many random presents. Sayuri, Tsukasa and Mina pray and hope that Aoba will pick hers. At the same time, Onee-san is preparing a surprise for everyone noting to herself that 1 of the gift is a detonator for a grand fireworks show but can’t seem to find it. She then realized it’s in that pile of random presents and relay this to Sakurai and Sayuri. What are the chances Aoba will pick that 1? 100%. Too late guys, Aoba already picked it. Sayuri dashes and pushes Aoba away but she fell on top of him. Soon a grand display of beautiful fireworks lit up the night sky. Later as Aoba and Sayuri walks home together, Sayuri clears the air about Aoba seeing her with Sakurai earlier on, in which Sakurai requests her help to be his partner in seeing the event out. Of course, Aoba is still in the dark about who that Santarina was and I think Sayuri feels it’s best to keep that a secret for now. And I’m sure Ayame is glad how things turn out between the duo in the end.
 
New Year’s Day in episode 22 and the girls find out Aoba will be spending it home alone. You know what they’re thinking? Yeah, it’s a great opportunity to spend some time and keep Aoba company at his place. Erm… Thing is, all 3 have the same idea too. So it’s pretty darn funny and odd to see the 3 of them sitting uneasily together in the living room. Such deafening silence. Hehe. Even Aoba’s worried something worse than a world war will erupt. Can you just feel the tension. But after all this while, I’m sure such awkward situation is nothing to him. Meanwhile Yuusuke, Icchi and Doujima are spending the day together. Sad that they’ve got no company but themselves. Anyway the girls manage to ease the tension and break the ice by doing some cooking and cleaning together. You’re a lucky son of a gun, Aoba. Soon they head to the temple shrine for their usual New Year’s Day prayers. We see Haruka, Hoshino and Harinui there too and having their fortunes being read. Looks like they’ll be having a good year ahead. But as for that busty school secretary director, she’s horrified after seeing her fortune. Then the rest of Aoba’s classmates turn up and Doujima gives him that neck suffocating submission move with his arm because he’s wondering where Aoba’s been to the whole day as they’re looking forward to hanging out with him. I think even if Aoba doesn’t admit it, it’s a better choice to hang out with 3 gorgeous ladies than 3 loser pals. Ah well, everybody is happy in the end.
 
Valentine’s Day in episode 23 and many of the boys are expecting chocolates from the girls. Sayuri has never given any chocolates to any guys before so what difference will it make this year different? Aoba of course. So the popular ‘untouchable’ girl has finally decide to make some chocolates for Aoba. Remember, there’s still Tsukasa and Mina. Tsukasa took some extra lessons from Harinui to make chocolates. Don’t want her love to dies from love-filled poison, doesn’t she? But this episode is the start of the turning point. We see Aoba’s parents discussing about telling their son something. Other than that, the Big Four Sportsmen got lots of chocolate from their fans, Momo tries to give some to Inukai (another heartbreak because he ignored her and walked away. Poor girl), and what’s this? Hiyoko gives a tiny egg chocolate to Aoba?! Even those 3 loser guys got chocolates and are so happy, even if it was just obligation chocolates. Well, Aoba was hoping to get some chocolates from Sayuri but he jumped to conclusions when he spot Sayuri giving her chocolates to Sakurai. While Aoba thinks Sayuri has feelings for Sakurai, in actual fact, Sakurai was just being a tester for Sayuri’s chocolates. Once Sayuri has completed her perfect chocolate (can’t say the same about her character now), she tries to find Aoba but even so, her mind is confused and her heart beating fast. Can she do it? Finally she finds Aoba standing at the tree where they first met. Before Sayuri could say anything, Aoba drops a bombshell. He tells her that he is going to be transferred to another school soon and wishes her and Sakurai all the best before rushing off. Oh no! Could it be true? Tell me it’s just an early April Fool’s joke. Sayuri is just as surprised as I am and stood there in shock.
 
It’s confirmed in episode 24 that Aoba will indeed transfer to another school due to his parent’s work. It’s been like that since he was young. Everybody is obviously affected and shocked (so am I). I thought that such guys in a harem anime would at least stay even if he doesn’t choose which girl he wants to end up with. Aoba’s pals are definitely sad. Though I’m thinking it’s more like, who will they share (or rather implicate) their pranks and schemes with. Even Inukai is upset but he doesn’t show it upfront. Who’s gonna feed Hiyoko? Definitely it has got a reason to shed a tear. This episode has lots of drama and spacing out as Sakurai approaches Aoba to clear the air between him and Sayuri. A deeply affected Tsukasa and Mina too approaches Aoba to confess their true feelings for him (after they get some advice from their respective club captains). As for Sayuri, she’s still holding on to that chocolate box and sinks into further depression. She can’t bring it to herself to confess her feelings for Aoba. But she has to pluck up her courage and do so before Aoba leaves. Or else she may not get to see him again. Ever.
 
The final episode 25 starts off with the graduation ceremony for the seniors and the director of Tsumugino, Bakurestudan (literally means bomb. Say, doesn’t he look so much like Doujima?) gives a rousing speech. This is also Aoba’s last day at school. Sakurai and Aoba’s other classmates decides to go ahead with some plan but Aoba is no where to be found. Has he gone already? Well, Tsukasa is delighted when she spots him at the school’s fountain. But I don’t know what happen after that because the scene changes to Mina praying at the temple. I kinda notice that this episode Mina doesn’t meet face to face with Aoba. Sakurai then launches another student council event by sending an SMS to everyone whereby whoever catches Aoba will get Sayuri’s handmade chocolates. Yeah, all those Sayuri loser fans turned into rampaging zombies out to get Aoba’s head. Plus, Sayuri emotionally announces through the P.A. system to tell Aoba not to leave yet. The secretary director wants Sakurai and Sayuri to stop because she had earlier told them no other events should be held today. But Bakuretsudan steps in and allows it. Meanwhile Aoba is being chased once more and even Ishiuchi and Kamino joins in as their final battle. However Aoba isn’t alone. For the 1st time, we see Yuusuke, Icchi and Doujima being useful as they try to fend off those zombies to create a path for Aoba. Where did they get all those military weapons? Yeah, Onee-san happily sold them to it since she was paid in advance. I wonder how they got the money too. Then Hiyoko comes by and gives them a taste of its ultimate super kick and sends them flying! The odds are a million to one. Friendship will overcome it all!
 
Meanwhile Tsukasa is sitting alone and crying. She’s sad that she’s gonna be separated from Aoba and doesn’t want it. Otama comes by to give her a shoulder to cry on. At the same time, Mina prays for Aoba’s happiness. Finally Aoba reaches to that tree and Sayuri is seen waiting there. Sayuri blurts out her weaknesses like how she’s short-fused and a coward. But she notice how Aoba always smiled at her and that whenever she’s around him, she doesn’t need to pretend to be someone else. So with all her shortcomings, she asks is it right for her to love him. I think Aoba was gonna give another ambiguous answer when Inukai interrupts and say "Don’t run away from yourself". The duo sees everybody has gathered watching them. But I think it’s an indirect confession because Aoba just asks for her email address and Sayuri gladly agrees. With that, everybody cheered on for them. While the guys are saying "Congratulations, you lucky bastard" :), the girls are happy that Aoba was the guy who got Sayuri’s heart. Sayuri finally gives her chocolates to Aoba. Because Onee-san is happy that Yuusuke, Icchi and Doujima bought so much weapons from her, she decides to give them some free of charge complimentary fireworks. Another round of beautiful fireworks. It seems Sakurai will get away with it since Bakuretsudan acknowledges how everyone was enjoying it. The end scene shows Aoba attending his new school and Sayuri narrates something on some parting lines and a legendary tree at Tsumugino called The Tree Of Our Wish, which will connect feelings of those even if they’re separated. As we see everyone else doing well and going about in their usual lives, Sayuri picks up her handphone and calls Aoba. She finally says "I love you".
 
Overall, though I feel that there isn’t anything extraordinary in this typical love-romance series, but I at least enjoyed the fun of it. Though in the end, I felt that it was a Aoba-Sayuri pair even though they didn’t say it, like many viewers hope it should be. I don’t know whether he ditched Tsukasa and Mina or not, but from their body language, it may indicate so. So will Aoba and Sayuri be doing a long distance relationship. Well, maybe if they make a sequel out of it.
 
The drawing, art and animation seems pretty standard and would surely appeal to bishie fans alike. What makes this series interesting is the wacky and crazy characters. My favourite one is still Hiyoko. That chick can really kick ass. I wish there should be more screen time for Hiyoko to strut his stuff rather than randomly seen bumming around here and there. Of course there’s that sly money-minded Onee-san. Though Inukai doesn’t do much, but his cool presence was enough to have an impact. If I had to choose which of the teaching staff I like best, then it would be Yagen. That guy is experiment crazy!
 
But the most prominent character development is Sayuri’s. At the start of the show, we see her as a perfect girl. Of course nobody is that perfect and as the series progresses, she eventually reveals her weaknesses and just like any other normal girls her age, faces tough decisions in the form of love. It was a good thing she finally finds the courage to pull through. Even though Tsukasa and Mina’s role may seem a little ‘stagnant’ but their love for Aoba eventually grows. Though Aoba is a normal guy whom everybody expects to see in a harem anime, it’s amazing he survives all those weird student council chases. He can be a good escape artist. His good nature is so good that it makes me wonder why he doesn’t hate nor have ill-feelings towards those guys. We should all learn from his patience. And I don’t think such unwanted attention is a way to gain popularity.
 
I kinda feel that the earlier parts of the series were more comical and fun as the series turned more serious with lots of drama when the girls are realizing their love for Aoba towards the end. There are a bunch of star-studded seiyuus (voice actors and actresses) like Kikuko Inoue as Megami (Belldandy of Aa! Megami-sama), Rie Kugimiya as Momo (Shana of Shakugan No Shana), Yukari Tamura as Yukari (Nanoha of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha), and Mamoru Miyano as Aoba (Tamaki of Ouran High School Host Club, Light of Death Note – I guess that’s what that parody in episode 17 is for). There are also new talents and not so prominent (yet) seiyuus like Yuki Makishima as Sayuri, Yukako Yoshikawa as Tsukasa and Saki Fujita as Mina.
 
I like the opening theme, Yokan, sung by Yuki Makishima as it’s quite lively and catchy. However I couldn’t say the same for the 2 slower sounding ending themes, Kiseki No Kakera (1st ending theme) and Himitsu (2nd ending theme), in which they’re both sung by Yuki Makishima, Yukako Yoshikawa and Saki Fujita. Yes, those 3 girls who have a crush on Aoba. Most of the mid-intermission shows a still pose of a group girls as they take turns introducing themselves in each episode. Because so, I still can’t figure out which girl is which when they say their name and grade after saying "Tokimeki Memorial, Only Love". Sometimes, the guys will have their turn and do the same, but we won’t get to see still picture pose of them. It’s that same group of girls. There are exceptions like the time Yukari made her appearance and the mid-intermission for that episode changed to Mina and Tsukasa with their fists in the air.
 
Each episode title has the word ‘Tokimeki No ~" which literally means "An exciting ~". Erm… How is it that some of the more drama-like episodes are exciting? Probably if you look forward to things, maybe it does sound exciting. Prior to the release of this tv series, there was a 2 episode OVA also based on the pc simulation game of the same name, released back in 1999. I’m not sure of the storyline, but I’m guessing it’s kinda more or less of the same thing.
 
I’m sure what happens in this anime does in a way happen and reflect in real life itself. Things don’t normally go the way we want to and definitely in most cases, it isn’t a bed of roses. Confessing one’s feeling may seem like an easy task but in reality it’s still scary and daunting to some. Probably I would face the same thing too. I’m just wondering if I could get a harem of my own. Yeah right. Nobody loves an anime otaku that much.
 
Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~

Yay! Another versus between 2 famous and popular sports anime. This time it is between Prince Of Tennis and Slam Dunk. I’m not sure how popular these sports are in Japan seeing that the traditional sumo wrestling is still a popular sport among many Japanese and baseball for the more modern ones. But I guess it was enough for the producers to spur them into a classic manga and even a tv series. Since I don’t really read manga, the versus is just the similarities and differences of the tv series.
 
Sports genre
Prince Of Tennis: Tennis
Slam Dunk: Basketball
 
The school team
The series focuses on the rise of a particular school tennis/basketball club.
Prince Of Tennis: Seishun Gakuen or Seigaku in short
Slam Dunk: Shohoku High School
 
The team members
The players that make up the team of that particular school sports club.
Prince Of Tennis: Kunimitsu Tezuka, Shuichiro Oishi, Shusuke Fuji, Eiji Kikumaru, Takashi Kawamura, Kaoru Kaidoh, Takeshi Momoshiro, Sadaharu Inui, Ryoma Echizen
Slam Dunk: Takenori Akagi, Kaede Rukawa, Ryota Miyagi, Hisashi Mitsui, Hanamichi Sakuragi, Kiminobu Kogure, Tetsushi Shiozaki, Yasuharu Yasuda
 
Reserve players
Well, not every player on the team gets to make regular appearances.
Prince Of Tennis: First it was Inui when his regular spot is taken away by newcomer Ryoma. Though later in the series Inui gets his place back at the expense of Momoshiro, but I felt that Kawamura stayed on the sidelines more.
Slam Dunk: Though Kogure doesn’t have much play time (especially when Hanamichi joins the club), but it’s better then other members Shiozaki or Yasuda who have even less playing time and are only in as substitutes to rest key players or when they’re injured. I also kinda noticed that there are other players in the team who never get to play at all! Not that I remember their names. Yeah, they’re really just warming up the bench.
 
The coach
There has to be somebody to oversee and guide the team to greater heights.
Prince Of Tennis: The elderly Sumire Ryuuzaki. Also, while Inui wasn’t in the regulars, he helped cooked up several weird traning menus.
Slam Dunk: The chubby Mitsuyoshi Anzai. Also, Ayako is also the team’s manager and helps around. When Hanamichi joins the team, Ayako’s responsibility is to train and sharpen his skills.
 
Team captain
Prince Of Tennis: Tezuka
Slam Dunk: Akagi
 
Vice captain
Prince Of Tennis: Oishi
Slam Dunk: Kogure
 
The new rising star
It’s like the advent of this particular newbie seems to have an effect of making the school club from a no-hoper to a formidable opponent and rise to the occassion.
Prince Of Tennis: Ryoma. Even though this left hander seems to be quiet and untalkative at times, he can be cocky and arrogant but has his own sense of justice by standing up and championing the weak and those being bullied. His skills are extraordinary for a person his age.
Slam Dunk: Hanamichi. This hot-headed red head is a loudmouth at times and because of his attitude, he may be deemed arrogant. Though he has the height and built, his skills are akeen to a beginner’s (and not even knowing the rules of the game!) but he learns and adapts well fast.
 
Why join the club
Refers to the new rising star, the reason why he’d join the club.
Prince Of Tennis: Since Ryoma has moved back from USA to Japan, I guess his home is closer to Seigaku. Plus, he has been playing tennis since young so by right he should join a tennis club, right?
Slam Dunk: The girl that he fell in love at first sight, Haruko, did mention how cool it was for a person with such height to play basketball. So Hanamichi joins the basketball club in hopes of winning her heart. Yeah, try real hard pal.
 
Supporters
I’m sure the club has a few fans of their own to cheer them on.
Prince Of Tennis: First year students Sakuno Ryuuzaki (who’s the granddaughter of coach Ryuuzaki) and Tomoka Osakada. There are also 3 first year rookie tennis club students, Satoshi Horio, Kachiro Kato and Katsuo Mizuno, who watch from the sidelines and give their ‘criticisms, opinions and suggestions’. More like stand-up comedians.
Slam Dunk: Besides Haruko who is also Akagi’s little sister, Hanamichi has 4 other pals to support (sometimes make fun) him while he’s playing. They are Yohei Mito, Chuichiro Noma, Yuji Oukusu, Nozomi Takamiya. Yeah, another bunch of jokers.
 
Opponents
Along the way, the club will definitely meet and play formidable rival school opponents, some of them favourites to advance and past year champions. Below are just the selected ones.
Prince Of Tennis: Fudoumine, St Rudolph, Yamabuki, Hyotei, Josei Shonan, Rokkaku, Rikkaidai
Slam Dunk: Miuradai, Tsukubu, Shoyo, Kainan, Takezato, Ryonan
 
Super powerhouse opponents
Well, the all high and mighty favourites who have dominated to scene for a long time. It’s gonna be a tough and torrid time for our Seigaku/Shohoku team.
Prince Of Tennis: Rikkaidai who has been champions of the Nationals for the last 2 consecutive years.
Slam Dunk: Kainan who has won the Interhigh tournament for the last straight 17 years. Wow!
 
The tournament
Every year, all the high schools of a particular in Japan will meet and play matches which literally takes up the whole year.
Prince Of Tennis: It starts of with the Prefectorials first, then followed by the Kantou tournament, before the Nationals. The format for all the tournament is direct elimination, meaning if you lose, you’re out. Seigaku has never lost a match and advances to the Nationals.
Slam Dunk: It starts of with the Interhigh tournament. The format will be direct elimination untill there are 4 teams left, in which they will play each other once and the top 2 will advance to the Nationals. Shohoku has lost 1 match when they’re in the final 4 but managed to advance to the Nationals.
 
The game format
How the particular tennis/basketball match works
Prince Of Tennis: Rather than an individual game, the tournament is team based with 2 doubles and 3 singles, whereby it’s a best out of 5 and each team only plays 1 set match.
Slam Dunk: Normal basketball rules. Normal 5-on-5 team game.
 
Special skills
In order to make the series more interesting, I’m sure the players have their own specialty abilities and moves which would awe the spectators and their opponents. Exaggerated or purely superb?
Prince Of Tennis: Due to the nature of the sport, there are more special skills portrayed here and each character (Seigaku or their opponents) each at least have a special move like Ryoma’s Twist Serve, Kawamura’s Hadokyuu, Fuji’s Tsubame Gaeshi and Tezuka’s Zero Shiki Drop Shot.
Slam Dunk: Due to the nature of the sport, there isn’t much special skills portrayed. Some of the characters are good and skilfull in their areas like Mitsui’s 3-pointer specialty, Ryota and his little tricks, and Akagi’s built allows him to stand as a good defence.
 
Incorporating other sports into the game
Some players were previous members of other sports club. So it may seem a little weird if they incorporate and fuse it with their current sports club.
Prince Of Tennis: Hiroshi Yagyuu of Rikkaidai was an ex golf player and has adapted his golf swings into his tennis play. Later, Kiyosumi Sengoku of Yamabuki incorporates boxing into his tennis playing style.
Slam Dunk: Tetsuya Naito of Miuradai was an ex rugby player and uses his brute physical force as a source of forward power.
 
"Animal" nickname
Some characters are given an animal nickname because…
Prince Of Tennis: Kaidoh has been nicknamed Viper by everyone who knows him (especially his teammates) because he makes that "Fushuu…" huff and his special skills like Snake and Boomerang Snake add to it.
Slam Dunk: Akagi has been nicknamed Gorilla by Hanamichi because of his huge physical appearance and his face which in a way somewhat looking similar to a primitive ape.
 
Loggerheads
Even though they’re on the same team, they’re always arguing, bickering and don’t see eye to eye. It’s like a love-hate relationship. But more on the hate side.
Prince Of Tennis: Momoshiro and Kaidoh.
Slam Dunk: Hanamichi and Rukawa.
 
Sleepers
Looks like their favourite hobby is taking a nap when not doing anything else. But don’t be fooled by it because they’re still bloody good in the game they play.
Prince Of Tennis: Jirou of Hyotei.
Slam Dunk: Rukawa of Shohoku.
 
Love chemistry
Ah, romance is in the air… Not. Besides, it’s just not for the love of the game itself.
Prince Of Tennis: Sakuno has a crush on Ryoma. Because she’s too shy and softspoken to confess her feelings and Ryoma’s pretty oblivious and densed too, I guess at this rate, sad to say, nothing much will happen. It’s like that till the end. Perhaps Sakuno prefers the way things are now.
Slam Dunk: Though Hanamichi has been rejected by 50 girls in the past, he now has a crush on Haruko, the reason why he joined the basketball club. However, Haruko has eyes only for Rukawa, who in return doesn’t return her love. Same thing for Hanamichi. Haruko tries to forget and let go of this crush of hers but is unsuccessful. As for Hanamichi, I guess he’ll keep trying but we all know how it’ll go, right?
 
Fanclub
Self-established and self-proclaimed fanclubs of a particular team member.
Prince Of Tennis: Tomoka creates a Ryoma Fanclub and is the president of it. As far as I’m concerned, she’s the only member. I don’t think Ryoma is bothered with it.
Slam Dunk: 3 school girls of Shohoku has created a Rukawa Fanclub (dressed in some cheerleading outfit) and cheers for him whether he’s practising or playing a real match. I don’t think Rukawa is bothered with it either.
 
Practice match
A ‘friendly’ match with an opponent they have defeated or gonna meet before an important match.
Prince Of Tennis: Before the final match with Rikkaidai which was postponed a week, Seigaku went on a special training camp in the mountains and also played matches against Hyotei, whom they’ve beaten in the preliminaries of the Kantou tournament. Seigaku again beats them.
Slam Dunk: Before the start of the Interhigh tournament, Shohoku visited and played Ryonan as a warm up match. Ultimately Shohoku lost this closely fought match by just a point.
 
The game before the Nationals
When the clubs surprisingly advances to the Nationals, I’m sure that there are other matches to warm them up before the big one.
Prince Of Tennis: A special training camp is held to select the Japanese representatives to play against the West Coast team from America.
Slam Dunk: Shohoku plays an exhibition match against a combined team from Ryonan and Shoyo.
 
Number of episodes
Prince Of Tennis: The year 2001 tv series spans 178 episodes. The OVA series is currently running as it features Seigaku in the Nationals and they’re making steady advances. There are also 2 movies made of the series (less than an hour’s running time) and a live adaption.
Slam Dunk: The year 1993 tv series spans 101 episodes There is a 4 episode OVA which features Shohoku in the Nationals but the team ultimately lost. There are also 4 movies made but each are about an hour’s length.
 
Conclusion
Well, since I’m not an avid fan of the sport, so definitely I didn’t really become obsessed with the anime. If I had to pick which one, then I would choose Prince Of Tennis. That’s because Slam Dunk has in a way ‘scarred’ me with it’s seemingly long matches in which an episode is actually a few seconds of the match. Oh, they can really drag the series. I mean, it’s the same too with Prince Of Tennis and with all those flashback and filler episodes, but not as long as Slam Dunk. Perhaps Prince Of Tennis may seem better in terms of drawing, animation and colouring. Also, the last time I watched Slam Dunk was ages ago. So I probably don’t remember much. But this 2 are both classic sports genre series and anime lovers who haven’t watched then yet should have a look.
 
Prince Of Tennis Slam Dunk

Doujin Work

April 12, 2008

Anime and manga has got to be the most successful exports from Japan to the world. So much so that even till today there are many fans who are still drawing their own works called doujinshi. Probably its a growing trend too. Thus, I was interested to find out how and what a doujin fan goes through in life, the obstacles they faced, when I heard about the anime Doujin Work. Okay, maybe after watching it, at least this is just a tiny part and doesn’t amount to any generalization.
 
As the works of doujins are a continuous and seemingly endless process, this anime series is just a short one lasting only 12 episodes. Furthermore, each episode is approximately 12 minutes long. That doesn’t mean this series has nothing much to offer but I can assure you since it’s basically a comedy genre, you’ll see doujinshis in a comical lime of light. Oh yes, though I wouldn’t consider this series to be a total ecchi, but there’ll be suggestive talking and sexual subtexts to indicate so. I guess you have to have that if you’re doujin is on yaoi or yuri. Okay, so it is a little ecchi.
 
As introduced in episode 1, Najimi Osana is accompanying her pal Tsuyuri in a train and the former is telling the latter how she had just lost her job. Something about her tickling hair nose which resulted in her hair sensitive boss to think she’s referring to his wig. The next few lines of conversation may seem perverted because Tsuyuri’s saying how she’s staying up late at night doing something ‘perverted’. When Najimi asks if she had ‘found someone’, Tsuyuri replied that ‘she did it by herself’ and asked if Najimi would like to ‘help her’ too. Of course Najimi gets embarrassed and says that they’re just friends. And all those perverted passengers are eavesdropping and fantasizing whatever perverted thoughts they can imagine. Yeah, note the jumbo-like ears and perverted grin on their loser faces.
 
Soon we find out that Tsuyuri isn’t doing perverted stuff on herself because the next day, Najimi gets to know that Tsuyuri does doujinshi art and her theme is rape. Ah well, makes no difference either. Najimi follows Tsuyuri to a doujin expo whereby Tsuyuri herself has a booth there. Not really a booth. Just a table to put one’s work for sale and display. I’m sure Najimi is still shocked and embarrassed about Tsuyuri’s work but she can’t believe her ears when Tsuyuri calls her booth Panty Revolution. What’s that? Panty Revolution. Erm… Panty Revolution. Okay Tsuyuri, you can stop repeating it now, Najimi gets the point (blushing). Najimi asks if it’s profitable doing such stuff and Tsuyuri mentions that a successful doujinshi could make 10 million Yen! Who says you need to be a successful businessman to earn that much.
 
Their conversation has been interrupted when a man in a suit comes by their booth. Najimi recognizes him as her childhood friend (ironically, Najimi’s entire name means childhood friend too!). He is Justice. Yes, that’s his name. Though I’m not sure if it’s his pen name or what but I kinda notice that he always wear a suit no matter what the conditions. It seems Justice is a famous doujinshi himself and there’s a little girl Sora who’s always clinging around him. I’m not sure what is their exact relationship but they’re quite close. Najimi took the liberty how much Justice makes from selling doujinshis and he replied 3 million Yen (30,000 books worth 100 Yen each). Wow! That’s a lot! But Justice says that with the high printing costs, he’s left with nearly nothing. So what drives him to continue? Just like other doujinshis, it’s their passion! Plus, it makes them happy knowing that other people enjoy their work. But I guess this statement isn’t getting through Najimi’s head as she’s thinking more about the money she could make, and thus loudly declares that she’ll create her own doujinshi and make her 10 million Yen out of it. Feels like she’s taking the easy way to get filthy rich. Ah well, dreams are made of this. And please Najimi, don’t stand on the table while proclaiming your future calling.
 
Since Najimi is new in this area, she has to do some research first. In episode 2, Najimi finds out that the current most popular doujinshi theme is hentai (porn, perverted). It’s tough for Najimi trying to hide that she’s not a pervert. Well, she dropped her ‘research materials’ and Tsuyuri picks it up and says how she dropped her porn stuffs, prompting all those eavesdropping perverted losers to have their own wild fantasies. Later the duo arrives at a store selling eroge (erotic adult games) so that Najimi could pick out 1 for her research. Najimi must’ve never felt so embarrassed in her life. Furthermore, a guy named Hoshi seems to be staring at her. He must be thinking Najimi’s a pervy. Anyway they picked some maid game. Once they leave the store, Najimi thinks she has to hurry home before anyone can see her and misinterpret the situation. Too late, her friend Tomoko spots her and asks her out for a drink. No choice, Najimi has to oblige. At a cafe, Najimi’s trying her best making up weird excuses not to reveal the stuff she bought. Too nervous. Najimi even accidentally spit the whole juice at Tomoko’s face, drenching the girl.
 
Najimi soon leaves and starts testing the game back home. Najimi’s so innocent for a first timer. Blushing too much after watching those erm… you get the point. She quickly slam shut her laptop when her parents call her. Phew! Close shave. Since she has no peace of doing her research, she calls Tsuyuri and decides to go to her place to watch it. Better than getting caught red-handed by her parents. It’s late at night and Najimi tries to go there in a hurry but is stopped by a policeman who wonders what a girl like her is doing at such an hour. Najimi is cool with everything so long as the cop doesn’t ask what the package is. Oh well, Najimi may think God is playing a cruel joke on her because the policeman eventually asks what’s in it. She panics and decides to make a run for it. Soon 3 policemen are hot on her trail. Najimi then crashes into a pile of garbage. The policemen then examined the package and Najimi thinks it’s over. Since they didn’t see anything in it, they didn’t suspect anything wrong. Tomoko then shows up and the cops soon leave. Though Najimi’s secret is safe, she’s surprised that she has lost her eroge. So Najimi and Tomoko had a little chat and Najimi is trying not to reveal too much. I mean, she’s saying that her stuff is there and that only special people can see it. Just then, Hoshi comes up to Najimi and says he has found her. Why, he handed Najimi the eroge that she dropped while she was being chased by the policemen. Yeah, so happen she zoom passed by Hoshi when that happened. Oh oh. Secret’s out. I take back what I said earlier on about Najimi’s most embarrassing moment. This has to be the number 1 all time embarrassing moment. Oh how she’d wish somebody would just kill her. Tomoko tries to sooth things by saying how that she’s probably a special person, perhaps why she can see it. I don’t think it’ll work. So has her perception on Najimi changed? Dunno. This will be the last we’ll see of Tomoko.
 
Najimi gets some advice on an important ingredient for a successful doujinshi from Justice in episode 3. And that is… love. Najimi is confident and thinks she can write one now. Several days later, we see Tsuyuri and Justice are in the same college as well. More sexual subtext conversation between Tsuyuri and Justice. Tsuyuri’s saying how Najimi has ‘given birth to something’ and has ‘suffered more than enough pain’ while doing so. Justice misinterprets and thinks Najimi is pregnant with a child but of course Tsuyuri is referring to her doujinshi. It gets worse when Najimi comes in and unknowingly plays along and agrees with Tsuyuri. Woah. Justice must’ve unleash some super frustration punch on the wall. Justice then misinterprets and goes into shock mode further when he asks Najimi about her ‘partner’ and that girl thinks he’s asking about her customer. Back at Najimi’s place, she shows Tsuyuri her completed doujinshi entitled Love Typhoon. Hmm… There’s lots of improvement to be done and I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I think at 1st glance you can really tell the quality (the paper quality is a separate issue). Oh well, since it’s Najimi’s 1st time, forgive her.
 
On the day whereby doujinshis gather at a convention called Comiket, Najimi is all excited to earn her 10 million Yen. But with only 30 copies? Oh well, it’s a start. A journey always begins with the 1st step. Okay, nobody’s buying her work. Don’t just panic yet. Justice then comes by and sees Najimi’s Love Typhoon. He gets even more shock and thinks Love Typhoon is the name of her child! Besides that, I think Justice too thinks Najimi’s doujinshi is of ‘questionable’ quality (besides the paper). When the whole day seems entirely hopeless, Hoshi then comes by and starts reading Najimi’s book. Looks like he’s taken quite a liking. Yeah, he’s mentioning how he like girls drawing ero-manga. In Najimi’s embarrassment, she screams if he is sexually harassing her, which attracted the attention of other visitors. They too start browsing Najimi’s work. Hoshi then decides to buy a book, which delighted Najimi as she hugs him. The other patrons too got excited and wants to buy one but Tsuyuri says how they’re not guaranteed a hug if they buy one. This prompted the losers to lose interest quickly as they dump back the book and leave. Justice thinks Hoshi is the one responsible for Najimi’s child and confronts him to force him to acknowledge it. Of course Hoshi doesn’t know what’s really going on but I guess Najimi couldn’t be bothered with all the commotion because she’s so happy she’s got her 1st 100 Yen and swooning over it.
 
Najimi does a part time job in episode 4 but didn’t tell Tsuyuri what is was. So Tsuyuri along with Justice and Sora decides to follow Najimi. Even though Justice’s confusion that Najimi is pregnant is cleared, he still has his suspicions over Hoshi. They arrive at a building which Najimi 1st bought her 1st eroge. To their surprise, they find Najimi in a cat waitress outfit serving people. I’m sure Najimi’s as surprise as them upon seeing the trio. Why, Najimi even goes by the name Luna-chan while working here. Still, Najimi has no choice but to serve her ‘guests’. It’s quite funny to see Tsuyuri spitting out water on Justice’s entire face. Just then, Hoshi appears and Justice gets into confrontation mode again. He demands to know how often Hoshi comes here. Najimi says every day since he’s working a floor above her. Najimi soon comes out with their order and asks what words would they want to write on their order as this is part of their service. Tsuyuri gets cheeky and says "Najimi is a dirty girl". Haha. Najimi just squirted the whole ketchup on it. Meanwhile Hoshi wants to know Najimi’s real name but Justice won’t allow it. Yeah, another confrontation mode from the overprotective towering childhood friend. But Hoshi says he can do some magic on Najimi. I’m not sure about this part because Hoshi shows Najimi some card filled with the cafe’s stamps which proceeds to make Najimi do some cute cat-like promotional stint. Even after that, Justice still won’t allow Hoshi to date or marry Najimi. Justice realized too late that his slip of the tongue causes him to blurt out Najimi’s name and now Hoshi knows it. Najimi then reveals that the main reason that she’s working here is so that she could have easier access materials for her doujinshi. But I don’t think Justice is gonna give up. That’s because he decides to apply working at this cafe too to safeguard Najimi. I don’t think Najimi is gonna like it. Offer rejected! Ah well Tsuyuri, get away from this madness while you still can.
 
Najimi has completed her 2nd doujinshi in episode 5 but feels somewhat unsatisfied. Tsuyuri suggests she should have a rival. Meanwhile Tsuyuri spots a depressed Justice and wonders what’s wrong. Justice told her that he saw Najimi and Hoshi going into a love hotel together. Of course it was for Najimi to do further research. Tsuyuri decides to be the scheming little devil and plays with Justice’s confused mind. So Tsuyuri, Justice and Sora are at Najimi’s apartment to help her out on her project. Tsuyuri quips "Doing it with 2 people is more fun than doing it alone", which shocks Justice even further. Justice has had enough when Najimi says her next scene is a love hotel and that he is gonna administer his own justice on Hoshi. Justice burns the midnight oil over his new doujinshi so much so he hasn’t eat, sleep nor bath. Not to mention any change of clothes. Yeah, I wonder if that suit stinks. And when Najimi and Tsuyuri came over to help, he’s like a zombie! Even Sora is afraid of him! The girls are helping Justice finishing his 500 page manga (woah! Extreme!) but since Najimi is screwing things up, Justice kicks them out. Even poor Sora. On the day of the Comiket, Najimi finds that a girl, Kaneru Nidou, sitting next to her and is also selling her own doujinshi. If you noticed, this girl is the 1 whom Najimi made fun of in the 1st episode for a brief period when she decides to go into the world of doujinshi. The 2 had a look at each other’s work and are trying to be polite and nice to each other. What synchronized thinking and reaction they have. They’re thinking and analyzing the same thing. So, birds with the same feather flock together. Their criticisms are even bloody similar. Talk about they deserve each other. But I suppose the grass is greener on the other side because they ultimately think that the other’s work is better. Hoshi soon arrives but freaks out to see Justice standing there. Meanwhile Sora is with Tsuyuri at a booth and Sora decides to quell the confusion by calling Justice that Najimi and Hoshi were taking photos together at the hotel. Erm… She should’ve elaborated more. Justice understood and crushes his handphone! Scary. Justice hunts down Hoshi who’s trying to run away from him and is finally cornered at Sora and Tsuyuri’s booth. Hoshi freaks out even further when Justice hands him his 500 page rehabilitation manga… There’s no escape…
 
The rivalry between Najimi and Nidou continues in episode 6 but it seems Najimi has won the ‘competition’ when Najimi’s ever loyal fan Hoshi bought a copy. Though Najimi sold only 1 copy, but it’s better as compared to Nidou’s nil. We also find out that Nidou is a 24 year old businesswoman whose secret hobby is doujinshi. Meanwhile Justice is back to normal and it seems all that confusion has been cleared up (meaning that manga was useless in the first place) but he’ll still keep vigil over Hoshi. At the same time, Najimi bumps into Nidou at a bookstore and it seems the duo are having the same idea about buying a book on how to improve one’s doujin skill. Problem is, there’s only 1 copy left. While the duo are arguing about it, Justice and Sora comes by. Nidou is amazed to see Justice because she looks up to him as a popular doujinshi artist. Plus, she’s a big fan of his. Justice then decides to help Nidou seeing that he thinks its best for both ladies to be rival on equal terms (Sora a little jealous here). Nidou doesn’t need that book anymore. The gang arrives at Nidou’s apartment and it seems she’s sleeptalking! Something about her stuffed toy bear. How embarrassing. She apologizes to them once she’s awake later inside. It seems Tsuyuri decides to make things more interesting by siding with Nidou, pissing Najimi off. Friend or foe? So Justice and Tsuyuri, being the doujinshi pro they are, make a quick assess on Nidou’s work. Another 1 of Tsuyuri’s classic line, "If you stare at this any longer, you’re lifespan will be shortened". Must be that bad, is it? Justice then awes the duo by drawing them an example. That’s how it should be done girls. As Najimi and Nidou practice drawing, Tsuyuri notices Nidou’s bra and panties with bear patterns. An embarrassed Nidou tries to hide them but becomes klutzy and trips, messing up the whole place. And I’m wondering, Justice’s pet python is called Guilty? How contrasting.
 
Hmm… Seems like a little deja vu in episode 7 because Tsuyuri bumps into Nidou in full-face disguise trying to buy an eroge for her research. In Nidou’s panic, she shouts out loud how that she’s doing this because she doesn’t have any ‘experience’. Ah, those loser eavesdroppers again… They think it must be heaven. Tsuyuri decides to poke fire by calling Najimi that she’s gonna hang out with Nidou. At a restaurant, Tsuyuri tells Nidou that she’ll have a better chance in drawing H-manga and would possibly beat Najimi in terms of manga sales. Of course, Nidou is all flustered up with that idea. Why, Tsuyuri even calls Hoshi to buy some yuri manga. Well, since Hoshi thinks that with a rival around, Najimi’s works will improve. That’s why he’s helping Tsuyuri and Nidou out. At Nidou’s place, she gets all flustered up once again when she browses the naughty manga. Hoshi then decides to make some tea which prompts Nidou to think that Hoshi’s a nice ‘feminine’ guy. Uh huh. Tsuyuri again tries to make up some confusion by telling Nidou that Justice can’t leave him alone. So much so, Nidou misinterprets and thinks Justice and Hoshi are in love with each other! Nidou decides to confirm this herself and asks Hoshi if there’s someone he likes. Hoshi answered yes (with Najimi in mind) and of course Nidou thinks it’s Justice. Nidou then asks if Sora knows about this and a confused Hoshi says probably not. So Nidou gets all hyped-up telling Hoshi that he has to confess or else ‘he will hurt the girl’. Oh the misunderstandings. Hoshi thinks it’s Najimi while Nidou thinks it’s Sora. Tsuyuri then tells them that Sora is at the park and to go there to confess it all.
 
At the park, Nidou is spying from behind the bushes as Justice arrives and confronts Hoshi. In Nidou’s eyes, they may seem yaoi. But I assure you, the ‘mutual feelings’ are still there. Hoshi is asking permission from Justice to date Najimi which of course Justice immediately disapproves. Hoshi then went on to blab how he had taken Najimi to that love hotel to do research and he might’ve did it to her if the atmosphere was right. Oops. Justice then demands to know the details and gets up close to Hoshi. Evil aura of hatred emitting. But Nidou thinks Justice is gonna kiss him! Hoshi tries to run away as Justice tries to catch him but only managing to rip his shirt. Yeah, it all looked so yaoi to Nidou. I think she’s really into such stuff from now on as she mentions how she’ll use this as her next work. By the way, Najimi didn’t make much of an appearance in this episode.
 
Another Comiket and the 2 doujinshi rookies renew their rivalry in episode 8. Is it fate that they have to be seated next to each other? Similarly, Justice and Sora’s doujinshi is selling like hot cakes but Justice is worried about Najimi. Yeah, this is the funny part. Najimi’s new ecchi doujinshi is really weird. Why, it only consists of a 1-angle face and features no body at all! Haha! How can one call that ecchi? It’s like self-censored sex! Oops, forgive me. Meanwhile Tsuyuri has finished selling hers and went to check on Najimi and Nidou, whom both haven’t sold a copy yet. Nidou has a peek at Najimi’s work and is amazed. Tsuyuri is trying to make things worse by supporting Nidou and giving her encouragement. Najimi then has a look at Nidou’s work. Woah! It’s more perverted! Though we won’t get to see how perverted it is. Uh huh, Nidou forgot to put those blur mosaics on ‘necessary parts’. Too ero! Tsuyuri than takes her black marker to censor those parts so that Nidou’s manga will have a chance. Hoshi comes by and takes a look at Nidou’s work. Though he isn’t satisfied, he still buys a copy, making Nidou darn happy. Hoshi then turns to Najimi’s. What a total disappointment. After lecturing Najimi on her fear of failure and such, Hoshi runs away without buying a copy. Nidou thinks she has the last laugh but a group of buyers surround Najimi’s booth and is interested. Justice soon comes by to check on them. It seems Najimi has sold 5 copies. Wow. I don’t know there are fans of 1-angle face works. Technically, Najimi may have won because she sold more but Nidou says her loyal patron Hoshi has bought hers and it’s worth more than 5 copies. Sore loser. Later, Tsuyuri gets a little yuri-like with Najimi when the former asks how she’s feeling with her victory. Najimi isn’t satisfied because her loyal fan didn’t buy her work as she strives to do better next time.
 
Episode 9 begins with Najimi, Sora and Nidou dreaming about all the fun stuffs during summer. But Tsuyuri is being like a wet blanket as she responds each of it with a negative outcome. Like all those sweet summer treats will result in food poisoning and stomach discomfort or wearing their yukatas will help donate blood to mosquito. The girls are pissed off and wonders if she hates summer or them or both. Tsuyuri does an evil scheming grin and says she likes them both. Back to the storyline, it seems the girls are at the beach for their summer vacation. But to Najimi and Nidou’s horror, Tsuyuri tells them that this is a drawing training camp. Though Najimi is mad, Tsuyuri says to convey her complaints to the mastermind, Justice. So he’s the 1 behind this. Justice has already advertised some original limited doujinshi sale in the next 2 days. Furthermore, Hoshi has already distributed the 5000 posters and in no time will be expecting flocks of doujinshi enthusiasts here. Looks like Hoshi’s become Justice’s underling ever since that ‘confession’ at the park. How can a rookie doujinshi draw that many in such a short time? Well, better start working. Najimi still can’t believe it and runs away with Justice chasing her.
 
Najimi (reluctantly) and Nidou are hard at work while Tsuyuri is lazing around. Sora wants to play with Najimi but the latter is too busy. Not wanting for Hoshi to end up with Sora, Nidou decides to go with Sora to ‘examine male bodies’. Hoshi has an idea for Najimi to go sketch on the beach and he’ll volunteer as a model. Not if Justice’s around. I guess seeing Najimi in her cute swimsuit is enough for Hoshi to have nosebleeds. That night, as the girls take a hotspring bath, we see Justice and Hoshi sleeping together in Hoshi’s car. I’m feeling some love-hate relationship between these 2. Hoshi is still asking permission to date Najimi and the latter shoots it down quickly. In Hoshi’s rage, he rushes towards the ocean and swims like mad, saying something like he’s gonna keep trying (I think). Back at the girls, Tsuyuri is thinking of driving to the convenience store to get some food since Justice didn’t prepare any food. As they head out, they spot Justice carrying Hoshi from the sea onto the beach. It seems Hoshi has been stung by a jellyfish and partly drowned. So Justice is gonna give him CPR. Gosh! Nidou thinks it’s another yaoi scene! Let your fantasies go wild, girl! Tsuyuri then borrowed Hoshi’s car keys and is gonna get on when a man shows up asking if they know Hoshi.
 
That guy is Ryuuichirou and is Hoshi’s elder brother. In episode 10, we see him as someone working for a popular manga publisher when he realized he has misplaced his manuscript for next month’s manga release. After thinking back, he realizes he has left it on the back seat of the car, the one which Hoshi has borrowed. So I suppose he’s here to retrieve that manuscript. Meanwhile, Najimi and Osana are doing their shopping and they’re being picked up by 2 guys. Partly because it’s a way to get a ride back home. We see the guys trying to hit on them and that Nidou is 1 naive girl, blurting out everything they ask her. Since they find out that she does drawing, they volunteered to be her models. I guess this isn’t what they had in mind because at a beach, Nidou is trying to draw them in a yaoi pose! Closer, closer! Holy cow. I think Nidou has become the queen of yaoi! Nidou even mentions that this is an expression of a ‘beautiful form of love’. Haha. Those guys probably had enough and decides to give their own normal form of love when suddenly something scary comes from across the ocean. Why, it’s Justice! And he’s still in that suit (he did mention it was waterproof). Now that gives a new meaning to running across the ocean just to be with/protect you. The next scene is the 1st time I see Justice without his suit. Because when he gets to know the guys are ‘playing’ with the girls, he decides to join in by undressing himself down to his Speedo trunks. The guys are horrified and makes a run for it.
 
Back at the inn, Hoshi shows Ryuuichirou Najimi’s works, in which the latter says how horrible it is. I think anybody would’ve come to the same conclusion just after a glance. But Hoshi says that Najimi has put her emotion, heart and soul bla bla bla into it. Ryuuichirou notes that he’s just letting his feelings for Najimi in the way and ‘blinding’ him. Hoshi is upset and tells him to get out of the room but Tsuyuri says since it’s her room and Sora’s, they should both get out. Hoshi then quickly does so, but he opened the wrong door and bumps into the closet. The next day, Najimi and Nidou continue with their work and manages to complete it before the big day. Now it’s all set. Just kick back and relax and see the fruits of their labour (money, that is) come in. Unfortunately, the sky darkens and it starts to rain. No choice, they have to move their booth inside. But it seems that those people taking shelter there are interested and bought several copies. See, it’s not that bad. Only thing is, those people must’ve bought the books to kill time because they’re mocking how ridiculous and funny their work is. Ah well, there’s still a long way to go and much for them to improve. Once the rain has subside, Ryuuichirou realizes that he has forgotten all about his manuscript. But to his horror, he finds it drenched and all wet at the backseat of the car. I see they left the rooftop of the car opened. And you know what Nidou’s thinking/seeing when she sees Ryuuichirou and Hoshi together, right?
 
Ryuuichirou is depressed about it in episode 11 since he has to find a replacement for it. Yeah, Ryuuichirou wants to die and is gonna open the train door only to be restrained by Hoshi. Hoshi then suggests that he has 1. If you think doujinshis have nothing better to do in their lives but to attend Comikets and sell their doujinshis, you might be forgiven. Yeah, another round of doujinshi sale as the gang are back from the beach. At Comiket, Hoshi hands Najimi a business card of some company’s sales department. We find out that Hoshi was once a college student. But ever since he found out about Najimi’s work, he has quit college and dedicates his entire life to spread Najimi’s work around the globe. Crazy fella. Ryuuichirou realizes that the replacement Hoshi meant could be Najimi and protests. Hoshi also tells them that he’s been hired by the company and that they have to achieve sales of 30 copies of Najimi’s new manga or else he’ll be fired. Nidou tries to tempt Hoshi to buy hers but he doesn’t have any eye for it and leaves with a copy of Najimi’s manga. Ryuuichirou has a glimpse of Nidou’s work and from the expression that he pulls, I don’t think it’s a pleasant one. We see Nidou’s childish side once more, sulking and acting like a spoilt brat. She’s jealous of Najimi and saying that Najimi’s going so far away and even hugs her. Well, actually Najimi’s still here and hasn’t gone anywhere yet. Also, 1st time seeing Tsuyuri getting hit on the head several times by a pissed off Najimi for saying unnecessary things. Hmm… I’ve never seen that shocking-been-hit expression on Tsuyuri’s face before. Otherwise, she has that stoic expression. At the same time, it seems there are several patrons at Najimi’s booth. I really can’t believe that there are fans of the 1-angle face drawing. And it’s growing, thanks to the internet. In no time, Najimi’s 30 copies is a sell out. However, Ryuuichirou is still having reservations for Najimi as a replacement artist. Hoshi then has no choice but to show him Najimi’s worth by heading back to Najimi’s booth and tells her that she has to try and sell 100 copies. If it is done so in 3 days, then Ryuuichirou will accept Najimi’s work and publish it till the end. Woah. Najimi’s finally gonna have her big break.
 
Najimi is already in dreamland and wonders what she’ll do when she’s a highly super rich successful doujinshi in episode 12. Well, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Najimi wonders why Tsuyuri and Justice have turned down offers to become a pro. They say that they’d like to do it at their own pace. Then at a store where Najimi’s work is on sale, nobody seems to be buying it. Najimi thinks it’ll be cheating to buy her own work, as suggested by Tsuyuri. But she does so anyway. I don’t think that face mask will work anyway since the cashier recognizes her. Later Najimi receives a call from Hoshi saying that so far only 2 copies have been sold. Besides Najimi, make a good guess who’s the other one? Haha, it’s Hoshi of course. So why didn’t Najimi’s pals buy one? Sora says she’s under-aged, Justice received a free sample from Najimi, Nidou is her rival so she thinks otherwise, and Tsuyuri, well, she doesn’t want to. On the final day, Hoshi tries to desperately sell Najimi’s works but is futile. Just then, Justice, Tsuyuri and Nidou show up and everyone thinks that the famous doujinshi Justice is buying Najimi’s work because it’s good and they all have that herd mentality and starts buying 1 too. In the end, Najimi reached her target of selling out 100 copies.
 
Later at the restaurant, Ryuuichirou gives a happy Najimi a contract to stamp but with 1 condition. Upon stamping this contract, Najimi will have to turn pro and give up her doujinshi. This made Najimi hesitate a little as she think back all those ‘good times’ she had with her friends and foes. But I guess Najimi is taking to long as Ryuuichirou pushes her hand down, making her stamp the contract, and then rushes off. Najimi realizes it and goes after him. Looks like Najimi still wants to be a doujinshi. Because she’s saying how she still wants to shamefully buy eroge, draw her crappy drawings and hand her book to every customer. Najimi’s other pals also joined in the chase. Justice is in front of Ryuuichirou when he tells his little bro to restrain him. Hoshi agrees and restrains Ryuuichirou, shocking him. Looks like this guy still wants to see Najimi’s crappy drawings. But Ryuuichirou manages to overpower him and makes a run for it. I’m not sure what Nidou’s doing with her stuffed toy bear. If she plans to stop Ryuuichirou with that, it failed. Soon Ryuuichirou comes to a construction detour and a diversion causes him to jump over the bushes and into… the river. Ah well, the contract’s ruined. But it seems Ryuuichirou isn’t sad or what. Just smiling. Tsuyuri then hands Najimi a form to participate in the next Comkiet, in which Najimi happily accepts. At least, Najimi’s set and determined on what she’s gonna do. Doesn’t that 10 million Yen seem important anymore? Not if she’s happy and passionate about it. That’s where her real happiness is. And I think the rest too feels the same way.
 
Overall, I kinda enjoyed each and every moment of this short hilarious series. Well, it doesn’t generalize as a whole how doujinshis face but it gives me an idea. I kinda notice that each episode starts on a train. I mean, we see the gang having some conversation on it. I also notice that in each episode there’s a grey little underwear randomly hanging around… dancing… What the? It even has a simple face and limbs. I wonder what it’s all about. Ecchi? Even the opening and ending themes has it. Yeah, sometimes I find it a little irritating to see that smiley face underwear swaying and doing a little jiggle.
 
There are more things which I happen to notice. Whenever the characters turn around, they’ll become like 2D and it’s as though they’re being flip around like paper. Are they paying homage to manga and doujinshis in a way? Ah well, the drawing, animation Also in each episode, Sora gets to dress in different and various cosplay outfits from a maid to a mermaid. I later found out that these outfits are made by Justice for Sora to wear. Earlier on, I did mention that I wouldn’t classify this series as ecchi. Now I change my mind. I find it a little ecchi. That’s because the title screen and the next preview has sketches of the characters in ecchi or suggestive poses. Some are really weird (Justice in a female swimsuit?). Even the title seems to have sexual subtext like "Her First XXX", "Let’s Do It Together" or "The Naked Young Lady". Might as well since Najimi herself is into this theme. Hehehe, not herself but her doujinshi lah. What about that hilarious water-spitting-in-the-other’s-face? Though it doesn’t occur in every episode. But it’s still funny nevertheless.
 
For a short series, I must say the characters are quite wacky and likeable. It’s hard for me to say which character I like most. Nidou is adorable because of her childish and naive character while Tsuyuri because of her ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ and scheming ways. Those who have lolita fetish may find Sora cute and moe and Justice… Ah, I guess it’s his name and suit. No, not that I’m going yaoi over him or what. Though it didn’t end with Najimi-Hoshi as most viewers hope it would be, but I guess Najimi is happy that she’s got her friends around.
 
Masumi Asano is the voice behind Najimi and you may recognize her in other anime roles like Izumi of He Is My Master, Mizuki of Yumeria, Mariya of Otome Wa Boku Ni Koishiteru and Nanako of Da Capo Second Season. Momoko Saito did Tsuyuri who did Uma in Magipoka and Choco in Chokotto Sister. Justice is voiced by Hiroki Yasumoto and he is best known for his role as Sado in Bleach and Tougou in School Rumble. Sora is voiced by Kimiko Koyama who also voiced Uzuki of Happy Lesson. Ito Sakata does Nidou but it seems I can’t find any other anime roles she voiced, so she must be a newbie. She did quite a good job in making Nidou sound shaky, unconfident and amateurish.
 
The opening theme song I~jan! Yuujou by Maki sounds like a hyped-up go superhero song at first. Probably the opening tune made me think so. Then it felt like it’s some cheering do-your-best song. At least that’s what I felt. Plus, the animation here is a little crazy. Is this the world of doujinshi all about? But I prefer the ending theme more, Yumemiru Otome by Mai Mizuhashi. It’s quite an upbeat and lively rock n roll pop song. Hmm… In a way, I kinda feel it reminds me of that ‘neh neh neh neh neh neh can’t catch me’ song. And what in the world is that grey underwear doing there?! Anyway, the animation here is just the girls in their P.E. clothes with their backs facing the viewers doing some funny dance (or is it exercise?). There’s a background music which sounds ‘lively and cute’. I don’t remember which cowboy film it was from but it reminded and sounded like a parody of it.
 
So definitely doujinshis and moreover animes and mangas are here to stay for a long time to come. Those not in this line may think that such hobbies are a waste of time but it’s their love and passion for it that counts. As for me, I’m not really sure if I would venture into the world of doujinshi. That’s because, first and foremost, my drawing still sucks. Big time! Oh Justice, I need your guidance!
 
Doujin Work

13 Gatsu No Shukumei

April 11, 2008

  Tetsu no kabe ni mieru no wa,
  Tobira wo kakusu KAATEN kamo shirenai,
  Koko wa mayakashi no machi,
  Taisetsu no wa osorenai koto
 
Ever since I’ve got my hands on the karaoke version of 13 Gatsu No Suhukumei, due to the nature of the name of this rock song, this piece will always be the first song to sing in my list when I’m doing my usual karaoke session. Besides, this is the only karaoke version anime song which I have that starts with a number. How’s that for a little trivia
 
  Koi suru RIARU,
  Juusan gatsu ni wa kitto,
  Itodzuku SHUURU,
  Namida no sekai ga umareru
 
This is the opening theme song from the anime El Hazard: The Alternate World and is sung by Fence Of Defense. I could very well say that this song also serves as a warm-up to my several hours long karaoke session. Well, I can’t be singing tough songs right away, especially those with high pitches and long sustaining vocal chords, so I suppose songs that are relatively easy on my voice should are like ‘appetizers’ before the ‘main course’.
 
  Uso ni yuganda jidai no kaze wo saite,
  Kimi no kagayaki to kienu itami
  Dakishimete habataku
 
Yup, since the voice of the singer is a male and in my opinion is a little crude (not meant to insult), it’s easier for me to just jump in and not strain my voice at first go. In the sense that, this song has no serious high pitched tunes nor long sustaining out-of-breath lines which will make me sound horrible 100 times. Not to say I really sound good, but at least it doesn’t magnify the cacophony or speed up the tolerance level for any glass to shatter.
 
  Yume wa dare mo ga motteru mienai tsubasa,
  Kokoro hirogetara jigen no hate PARERU na mirai e,
  Tobikomu no sa, I’m flying to your love
 
Even having said so, there’s something which I can’t seem to put my finger on each time I sing the chorus. I mean, the verses are pretty fine and I can sing them with ease (heck, maybe I even sound close like the singer. Just kidding). Probably it’s the way I sing it which makes me feel that I didn’t do it right. Not that it’s obvious, but could it be that I’m trying real hard to sound like how the singer does it when he sings the chorus? Dunno. At first the chorus lyrics may seem a little longer but they’re not, as it repeat itself towards the end.
 
  Haruka senoku kouya no yoru wo koete,
  Kimi no hitomi no kanata ni aru,
  Rakuen wo sagasou
 
Other than that, I guess this is a mighty fine karaoke song complete with background vocals and all. Yeah, at least it won’t actually make me feel that I’m singing his song all alone or that I’m really performing with a real band. Oh wait, it’s just my imagination. Who am I kidding. But it’s good to know what I’d be doing if I’m a successful singer, right? Yeah, I’ll keep dreaming.
 
  Ai wa dare mo ga tsukaeru saigo no mahou,
  Mune wo korasu kanashimi sae binetsu ni tokeru ima,
  Tobidatsu no sa, I’m flying to your love
 
Besides, I find myself inconsistent at times especially the part after the solo. I’m just a little too fast to start singing the end chorus. Probably I should do and keep a little counting rather than go with my gut feeling "Okay, I should start singing just right about… right about… now! Dang! A beat too fast". Ah well, there’s always next time since I don’t really have time to go over this ‘easy’ song each karaoke session and have other ‘challenging’ ones to try out.
 
  I’m flying to your love…
 

El Hazard

Kaibutsu Oujo

April 5, 2008

This is a perfect show for the halloween season. Well, if halloween does last that long. I’m talking about Kaibutsu Oujo or also known as Monster Princess. Those who have read the manga should know its other name, Princess Resurrection. Wow, that’s a lot of names (not really). Perhaps it goes to show that it’s hard to give a suitable name for this series.
 
The main reason why I said that this series is suitable for the halloween season is because every darn monster or ghouls from the American horror movies or tv has appeared here. From the traditional vampires to werewolves and to the not so popular fish people and even the unheard of wereshark. So you could say that this series has some supernatural elements in it.
 
However, having said that, the supernatural elements aren’t really that scary nor would they scare the living daylights out of you. Unless you’re a 1st timer, that is. I wouldn’t say that this series is overwhelmed by comedy but there are enough to make you laugh quite a little than making you hide your head under the blanket covers. Furthermore, there’s some drama, action and adventure in it, so I guess the series is made to appeal to young teenagers as well.
 
Though the manga is still ongoing, the series has ended already with a total of 25 episodes. So in the 1st episode, we’re introduced to a boy named Hiro Hiyorimi, who is a new transfer student in a new town. The reason he’s here is because his elder sister, Sawawa (funny name), has got herself a job as a maid of some mansion. Hiro is having a hard time finding the place. Now initially I was reluctant to watch this show because of the supernatural theme even though there was some comedy element. What made me decide to watch this is because of the character Hime. Yeah, I know I’m a real sucker for a pretty face. Hime is seen riding on top of piles and piles of luggage, which is being trudged by her little servant called Flandre, to their new abode. I need to mention that this Flandre girl is an amusing character in the sense that this little robot has her mouth agaped at all times and has no other lines except "Fuga~". Uh huh. The whole damn series, she only can say those words. The voice actress must’ve got an easy job, huh? Not only that, everyone in the series seems to understand what she says and a short "Fuga~" could really mean 1 long sentence in human’s tongue or vice versa. Fuga fuga… Since Flandre is a robot, she’s rather heavy but I somehow don’t see the effects of her weight (like stomp marks on the ground) unless the producers decide to make it obvious like being dragged or whatsoever.
 
Anyway back to Hime. I find her to be like a rose with a million thorns. Yeah no doubt she looks beautiful, but this princess of the royalty may look and sound cold from the exterior. She’s quite stoic, tactful, doesn’t portray much emotions and has her own mysterious way of thinking and doing things. She doesn’t really tell you straight in the face what she intends to do and such and you’ll have to probably guess what she means or wait till the end of an episode to find out her explanations. She did mention that she is a compassionate person, but I guess her way of showing it is much different from the usual lovey-dovey kind. In a way, you could say that one could not help feel a certain respect for her and fear at the same time. Some may call her arrogant and obnoxious, but I think not and such character really does suit her.
 
Of course the little girl pulling a large transport feat seems to draw the crowd’s attention, including Hiro’s. Unknown to everyone, Hiro notices a steel beam is going to fall on Hime. In his instinct, he pushes her out of the way and takes death in her place. Well, the main protagonist died so soon in the 1st episode. How often does this happen in other animes? Instead of feeling shocked or surprised, Hime scoffs it off as a foolish thing but she did mention that the corpse is indeed good looking. At the hospital, the doctor and nurse puts Hiro’s corpse into the freezer. That night, Hime comes in and is going to show her gratitude by resurrecting him with her half immortality flame. Hiro is awakened the next day and is still confused over what has happened. I suppose the doctor and nurse got the shock of their lives to see a dead corpse walking around.
 
We see Hime and Flandre in their new mansion (though Hime quips how this place is much smaller than her previous one. Also, I kinda notice that there’re mini grey clouds circling their hilltop mansion) and looks like Sawawa is their maid. First thing you’ll notice about Sawawa is her large bouncy boobs. You’d wish how she has brains of this size. Not that she’s stupid, but rather blur case and an airhead. She’s very oblivious about the things going on around her especially if it involves supernatural stuffs. She also likes to hang out at a desert cafe and eat her usual favourite parfait desert whenever she goes out to do some shopping. Her deserts are always on the house because the bar master seems to like her for her huge pair of mountains (not to mention the other patrons too). Maybe it’s because of her carefree and dreamy voice. Sometimes you want to slap her head but at the same time it’s hard to hate this girl. She’s so loveable when she’s blur. Like how Hime tells Sawawa to stop calling her oujo-sama (milady) and Sawawa replied "Hai… Oujo-sama". While Sawawa still addresses her that, I think Hime couldn’t be bothered telling her again and just let her be. I wonder how she got the job in the 1st place.
 
Hime sense that she’ll be attacked tonight. Probably a welcoming committee. True enough, a pack of werewolves led by Lobo Wildman launches an attack surrounding the mansion. We find out Lobo was once Hime’s servant and the reason he’s doing this betrayal to kill Hime is that is beloved little sister is been held hostage. While Flandre takes out the other dogs with a huge tree log (odd to see a little girl swinging something that big), Hime takes on a fair face-to-face fight with Lobo. Hiro, who’s been wandering around, arrives at the mansion to see Hime being attacked. Guided by his instincts again, he dives forward and uses his own body to protect Hime from Lobo’s attack. It seems Hime has also expected Hiro to show up soon. As Lobo shakes Hiro off, Hime strikes him with her sword, killing him. But before Lobo breaths his last breath, he apologizes to Hime for betraying and that he tried to do whatever he could. Hime understood. Now it won’t be right for killing off a main character in the 1st episode, right? Or else he/she won’t be called the main character. Dying twice so early is such an ‘accomplishment’ but Hiro says it’s okay since Hime is alright. So Hime decides to give her half immortality flame to resurrect Hiro again but in exchange he has to be her servant… for life. Woah.
 
Throughout the series, I find that this half immortality thing to be a little contradictory. I mean, it’s not like when Hime put her flames into Hiro and he’s back from the dead forever. That flame will soon extinguish and Hiro will become a corpse again. So it’s like Hime has to replenish it over and over again. So how does that live up to the name immortality, or even half of it? Maybe if Hime continues the process, it’ll seem like Hiro will live forever. Furthermore, if Hiro turns into a corpse and Hime can’t resurrect him in a given time period, her half immortality flames will never work again (good for only 1 use, huh?) and Hiro will stay dead forever. So again, it doesn’t really suit the name immortality, right? Also, whenever Hiro is injured, he will heal immediately like as though nothing happened. Another thing is, in each episode, whenever Hime does her battles with other dark creatures, she’ll use an assortment of weapons. Quite nice to see how she gets creative sometimes. But of all the weapons she uses, the ones I like best is when she’s using the chainsaw. Yeah, I love it when she slice an dice with it. So cool. How I wish she would use it more often.
 
Like in episode 2 how Hime uses the chainsaw. But before that, Hiro needs to adjust to his new (undead) life in his new school (everybody seems to make fun out of this poor kid) and he learns the hard way about dying over and over again. Like how he decided to climb a tree to retrieve a little girl’s lost balloon, only to fall dead halfway. Of course everyone around is shocked to see a corpse. But Hime arrives in time to resurrect Hiro and by the time that girl’s mom came back with a police officer, Hiro is back on his feet. Hiro comes home to find Hime going berserk with her chainsaw. Yeah, she’s cutting the whole mansion up. To cut things short, there’s an invisible man here to assassinate her. So it looks like Hime’s just randomly trying to cut everything in hopes of hitting the assassin. But actually the invisible man has laced invisible sharp wires around the mansion and Hime’s just cutting them down. It’s nightfall and soon Hime cuts off all the power supply. Now both sides can’t see each other and the field is level. In the dark, Hiro learns a little more about Hime and spots in time just before the invisible man could strangle Hime with his wire. Hiro grabs the wire and struggles. His life is fading and the chainsaw isn’t starting. So typical horror movie suspense. But Hime manages to start it up and injures the invisible man, making him run away. Then they pour some gasoline all over the house and set it on fire. Now the invisible man is visible because he’s on fire (no, not that he’s hyped up or all excited) as Hime cuts him down. Yeah! Cut him real good. Hime notes that this assassin is sent by 1 of her many siblings. The next day, while Hime sips her tea, everyone else fixes back the mansion. It’s going to take some time. But luckily there’s Flandre. As for Hiro, he’ll learn about Hime’s past and situation and will in a way get involve because he has no choice. He’s after all, her servant.
 
To cut things short, Hime is involved in some sibling rivalry war to ascend the throne of the royalty in their Kingdom. But Hime is not interested in the throne and would rather enjoy her tea. But would her other siblings allow it? There’s this rule that only 1 of the siblings can only ascend the throne, which means they have to kill each other until there’s only 1 remaining. What sick idea is that. I mean, didn’t the ruler ever thought about how his/her children will be fighting each other and thus not to bear so many offspring in the first place? Ah well, I guess it’s like that over there. So perhaps to be safe, her other siblings will send assassins from time to time to eliminate Hime. Of course we know she’ll always triumph in the end.
 
In episode 3, Hiro meets a red-haired lady, Riza, on a motocross bike while he’s on his way to school. Initially Riza doesn’t care about Hiro, but when she saw him trying to protect a puppy from a truck and gets pinned down in the process, Riza decides to help him. You’ll know that she isn’t an ordinary human because her hands suddenly transformed into giant white paws to lift the truck. So she’s a half-breed, half man half werewolf. Actually Riza’s here to see Hime. Not a friendly visit but for revenge. The late Lobo is her brother and she isn’t too happy when Hime tells her that she killed him in an honourable and fair face-to-face way. So the 2 duke it out. Hiro rushes back and tries to stop Riza but she wouldn’t listen. Then this is the weird part, Flandre is driving a truck and crashes in. How can a short girl like her reach the peddles? Riza flees on her bike with Flandre and Hime hot on her tail. They cornered Riza in the woods and after another short bout Hime explains again that her brother did all he could to save her in the 1st place bla bla bla. Riza still doesn’t believe it all. Eventually Riza lost her will to kill Hime after some defiling honour talk thingy. As Hime and Flandre walks away, Riza spots Lobo’s grave nearby and finally understood. The next day, Hime is lamenting the fact that she doesn’t have enough servants, prompting Flandre to give her a dead mice (earlier on Flandre gave her a dead cat to resurrect but Hime told her off to just bury it). Of course Hime isn’t amused and is going to teach Flandre a lesson. Something which we’ll never see what is was.
 
Fans of Riza would sure love episode 4 because we get to see her in her swimsuit. Riza arrives at Hime’s mansion wanting to talk to her (though she doesn’t admit it) but before anything happens, she’s being whisked away by Hime and Flandre to their summer cabin near a lake along with Hiro. Upon arrival, I think the producers decide to ‘leave’ Flandre alone for a while as an accident causes her to sink deep in to lake. But Hime’s arrival isn’t a pleasant one. Several fish people seems to have a grudge against the royalty soon takes them as hostage. They want something from her, eternal life that is. To their surprise, Hime agrees to grant them but asks who wishes to die first. You see, she can grant immortal life but only if that person or creature is dead. The fish people are hesitating. Then a bloody huge fish people, Poseidon, tells everyone not to be fooled by her words. With that, Hime says they should settle it with a duel. It’s like David and Goliath. But Riza decides to fight in Hime’s place. At first, Riza may seem at the losing end but when the moon is full, she begins to power up (she’s a half werewolf remember?) and easily beats the crap out of Poseidon. Some fanservice here. In the end, Hime makes peace with the fish people and they are grateful to Hime. If there’s anything that Hime wishes for, all she has to do is call them and they’ll come to her aid. After a tough time pulling out Flandre from the lake, Hime and co said their goodbyes. It seems Poseidon is in love with Riza but that girl don’t give a damn, breaking his heart. So you could say Riza’s staying at Hime’s place so she could take her revenge, though she doesn’t admit that she’s part of their group. Oh yeah, she has a huge appetite too.
 
In episode 5, there’s a popular and pretty girl named Reiri Kamura. Everybody loves her. So when Reiri comes up to a nobody like Hiro, gets down on her knees, and zips up his pants (OMG!!!), it’s no doubt that all the guys are really jealous of him. While Hiro runs away in embarrassment, Reiri seems to take an interest in him. In short, Reiri is a vampire! Holy crap! A popular school girl is a vampire. And how does she stand the sunlight? Sun tan? And how come nobody knows she lives in an abandoned church and sleeps in a coffin. Anyway as a vampire, she harbours a desire to drink the blood of a royalty and does so by biting Hiro’s neck, turning him into her underling to gain access to Hime’s mansion. Since vampires and werewolves are natural enemies, it’s not surprising Reiri and Riza never gets along with the former taunting dog jokes to piss off the latter. Riza lost mainly because the night isn’t a full moon. Of course Hime already suspects a vampire will soon attack her and is already waiting for Reiri’s arrival. I guess a low level just-turned-into-a-vampire Hiro would succumb to garlic and cross. As Reiri takes on Hime, Reiri suddenly finds Flandre clinging to her feet. I don’t know the logic of this, but by holding on to a vampire makes her unable to turn in bats and escape. Hime is ready to stab her with a stake and Reiri resigned to fate but Hime decides not to kill her as she is still of use. I suppose Reiri has to be a lady and leave as gratitude but notes that she’ll still come after Hime’s blood when the time comes. Hime heals Hiro back to normal with her flame. A funny thing happened at school the next day. Reiri is walking with her other girl classmates when a group of guys suddenly stood in front of her and the other girls gasping. I was wondering what’s going on and I thought they want to confront Reiri or what. Then Reiri spots Hiro and whispers in his ear to play with her again tonight, making him all embarrassed before fleeing. With that, Reiri too walks away and ignores the boys. It’s revealed then those guys had their zippers down! Hahaha! They’re really hoping Reiri’ll do the same thing. Not. As Riza quips "Losers!". Damn right they are. Over the series, I find Reiri an odd alliance to Hime because she can be seen swooping down into Hime’s mansion from the window and informing her about some upcoming danger. Why is she doing this? Because she thinks it’s interesting.
 
Episode 6 sees Hime’s younger sister, Sherwood with her android Francesca (OMG! Another "Fuga~" character! But looks more serious and is bespectacled). Sherwood is proposing an alliance against her other siblings but Hime refuses, pissing Sherwood off. Because of that, she tells Francesca to plant some carnivorous plant in Hime’s mansion. The next day, the entire mansion is overrun by the vicious plants as Hime and Riza tries to fend them off. Hime knows that the plants can’t survive when night falls and tells Flandre to burn the mansion down. Hey, didn’t they just repair it? Ah well, I guess fixing it back later won’t be a problem. After eradicating the threat, Reiri comes to tell Sherwood’s whereabouts. She’s residing in some tent in the woods with Francesca when that vicious plant suddenly attacks her from no where. Looks like it’s part of Hime’s plan to get back at her. Hiro feels sorry and decides to go help her but gets eaten instead when he pushes Sherwood out of harm’s way. Nightfalls and the plants die out. Don’t worry, Hiro still’s alive in 1 piece. Hime is ‘amazed’ by Sherwood’s ability to survive through the night after all that and decides to form an alliance with her. But I guess that little brat has her own ego as she shrugs of Hime’s offer and instead says that it is her who shall offer the alliance to Hime. Really egoistic. Hime doesn’t care much about it and the duo shake hands. As the gang rebuilds Hime’s mansion, we see Sherwood clinging on to Hiro. Uh huh. She seems to take a liking for him after saving him. Even though Hiro’s Hime’s servant, Sherwood always tries to persuade Hiro to leave her sister and have the privilege be her servant. Like Hiro needs to be another one.
 
In episode 7, Sawawa is surprised that their electricity bill is sky high. Well, Flandre does use up a lot of power to recharge. Her room is like a Frankenstein’s lab. Anyway in this episode, Hiro losses consciousness while shopping so he’s been sent to that hospital again. Yeah, the doctor and nurse are thrilled once again to see that living corpse back in their hands, especially the head of the hospital, Sanagida. Yeah, he’s nicknaming Hiro ‘Dead Man Walking’. He wants to know whatever magic is being used on him for resurrection and wants to conduct intensive research. Hiro wakes up only to find those mad doctor, surgeons and nurses wanting to do some experiments on him. Of course Hiro doesn’t want his privacy violated so he has to run for his life (ironic?). I wonder why are there so many hospital staffs dead into the night and no other patients. Since the flame is wearing off, Sanagida and co manages to catch Hiro and brings him into the operating room. You know, I kinda find it irritating that this guy’s laughing and blabbing for so long that he could’ve got it done in a snap if he didn’t dilly-dally. Because so, Hime and Flandre bursts in to the room to save Hiro and kick some medical staff’s ass by using a defibrillator that’s being charged using Flandre. That must be the most shocking moment for Sanagida. Haha. Later we see why does zombie doctors are so zombie-like. Sanagida is working under a vampire called Zeppeli. Reiri drops by for a chat. Zeppeli too is after Hime’s blood and even though he and Reiri doesn’t form any alliance, they decide to work together. I find that it’s like a love-hate relationship between the duo and the way they talk has a sense of sarcasm in it. Meanwhile, Hime orders Riza and Hiro to drag Flandre back since she’s used up all her power. It’s a long way home.
 
Because of a storm, the gang has to seek refuge at an inn in episode 8. There are other guests too but Hiro suspects something when 1 of them falls dead. As for Hime, she’s not particularly interested as she plays chess with Reiri. I guess this is part of Reiri’s plan to get close to Hime and drink her blood. But Hime isn’t alarmed at all. Just playing cool. Okay, there is some monster called the ‘Thing’ which looks like a weird spider or potato with tentacles, draining the life force of those its host. The horror part is the way it enters and leaves through a person’s mouth! Eww! So scary and disgusting! Hiro and Riza goes off to investigate. After trying to chase it here and there, Hime finally shows up and tells them that the only way is to squish it. After luring it out from 1 of the host’s mouth, Hime uses a jack hammer to pound it and Flandre does the honours by using her weight to finish it off. Now girls, don’t get sensitive about your weight. It can be useful too sometimes. It’s clear and sunny the next day as Hime and co leaves. It’s revealed that the inn manager is Zeppeli in disguise and Reiri notes how much fun he had last night. At the same time, Hiro thanks Hime for helping out.
 
Sherwood is moving into the vicinity due to her alliance thingy in episode 9. But I’m not sure Francesca’s rational of kidnapping a panda named Ryu Ryu from the zoo. Hime tells Hiro to go welcome her as part of her housewarming. Upon arrival, Hiro spots Ryu Ryu and it seems that panda instantly falls in love with Sherwood. Another weird thing is that, everyone can understand what this panda says! Since Sherwood is all over Hiro and even thinks he’s here because he ditched Hime to become her servant, Ryu Ryu gets jealous and tries to outdo Hiro. Sherwood also notices this and decides to give Ryu Ryu a chance to prove his worth, delighting it. However, Ryu Ryu is causing more trouble and nuisance than anything. Hey, pandas aren’t meant to do housework, okay. Meanwhile Riza is trying to train an army of… young puppies?! Is she serious? Anyway Reiri comes to tell Sherwood that they’ll be attacked soon. It looks like Zeppeli has unleashed giant mutant spider bats. Sherwood wants to fight but Francesca holds her back and gives her some brush. It seems that the only thing Sherwood can do best is to order around. But the numbers are too much for them to handle. Ryu Ryu did a life sacrificing act when 1 of the monsters is going to a pound Sherwood. Hime, Flandre and Riza arrives to help out since they’ve formed an alliance (partly because Reiri also told them) and manages to defeat the hordes of beasts. Sherwood thinks Ryu Ryu is worthy of being her servant and is going to give her flame but soon discovers it was just sleeping unconscious and a mad Sherwood kicks its face to wake it up. Looks like Ryu Ryu’s here to stay. Later Hiro finds out that there are 2 more pandas. They are Ryu Ryu’s siblings as Sherwood orders them to play with a reluctant Hiro.
 
Episode 10 is focused more on Flandre. Flandre bumps into an android named Ciel. At least this guy can speak decent lines rather than "Fuga~" only. She notices that he’s damaged and proceeds to bring him back to the mansion for repairs. Though Hime approves, Riza is suspicious. After Ciel is fixed, he tells his story whereby he was working at the Kingdom for 20 over years but decides to escape it all so that he could live freely. Then he says that because of some system in him damaged, he only has 1 year to live and the only way is to get it fixed back at the Kingdom. He’s not going back there and is happy to live the remaining years of his life freely. However that night, it seems Ciel has come to assassinate Hime and as expected, Hime already knows of it and is prepared. Flandre attacks but Ciel nails her. Then when it’s Francesca’s turn, she successfully defeats him. After being repaired, Hime tells Ciel that his memory is implanted and that he only existed for only several hours. Meaning, he’s being used. We find out Ciel is being manipulated by Zeppeli as he heads over there to settle things. Ciel is upset that he toyed with his memories and emotions (are robots capable of that?) and reveals sets of dynamites wrapped under his shirt. But Zeppeli isn’t afraid whatsoever. Ciel blows himself up and the entire floor. That’s the last you’ll see of Ciel but not Zeppeli. I wonder how he made his escape. In the end, though it’s never mentioned, but I kinda feel that Flandre has some feelings for Ciel as she hears a seashell that Ciel gave to her earlier on.
 
Hiro finds a stray cat in episode 11 and decides to bring it home without telling Hime as he’s afraid she’ll not allow it. Riza of course doesn’t like it and wants Hiro to get rid of it. Sawawa on the other hand likes it and even names it after Hiro, Hiroko. The next morning, Hiro is surprised to find a cute cat girl sleeping on his lap. Surprised at first, he realized it’s that stray cat because of her collar. He can’t hide it forever so he decides to get Hime’s permission. This is the funny part. When Hime says okay, Hiro heaves a sigh of relief and blurts out how he was afraid that Hime wouldn’t allow so in the 1st place. This causes Hime to be mad (though her expression is the same) and says what kind of perception Hiro has of her before saying dramatically that she’s compassionate. I kinda notice the curtains flutter and that lightning in the background. But the way Hime says it without emotion seems so odd and funny. I think Hiro takes a little liking for Hiroko because this cute cat girl keeps calling her onii-chan (brother). Yeah, nobody has ever treated him that good in a long time. Later Hiro does some shopping only to bump into Sherwood who drags him to her house to play. But Francesca senses an assassin and goes into battle mode. What the? A frog ninja now? Anyway, it’s defeated easily. Too easy. Hiro notices the same collar as Hiroko and rushes back. Meanwhile Hime notices the traps being set by the assassin are too obvious and silly. As usual, blur case Sawawa thinks the armour statue and chandelier are getting rusty when it falls on Flandre (Hime using her as a bait for the traps). That night, the gang finds out that the trap setting assassin is Hiroko. So cat girl vs Hime. Hiro once again gets in between to stop them and as a result gets whacked by both sides. Probably he still thinks good of Hiroko and pleads for Hime to give her a 2nd chance. Just then, Reiri comes in and takes of Hiroko’s collar, turning her back to normal. Hiroko realizes she that she’s an assassin and runs away in tears and embarrassment. That’s the last you’ll see of her. The next day Hiro hopes for her to find a good master as Sawawa is pretty sad that she had bought lots of clothes for Hiroko to try on.
 
In episode 12, Sherwood’s inconsideration to drag Hiro to play with her has caused Hime to fall sick. Well, Hiro’s supposed to go fetch Hime and Flandre at a station because it’s raining. Tired of waiting, Hime decides to walk home in the rain. Not only that, a mummy in trenchcoat is looking for Hime’s mansion. Reiri notices this and informs Hime. Soon a horde of mummies has gathered outside the mansion. Hime knows that The Pharaoh has been offered some deal of immortality by 1 of siblings in exchange to get rid of her. However, Hime is unable to fight this time because she drank Sherwood’s strong medicine, which’ll make her sleep for some time. Till then, Hiro is the only line of defence she has. Can he do it? It’s a huge task. Well with Riza by his side, I’m sure it’s possible. Since there are too many of them, Sherwood and Francesca arrives to give a helping hand. By that time, Flandre and Francesca are out of power and The Pharaoh is going to settle it himself. Luckily Hime has awakened and faces off with The Pharaoh. Yay! She’s using double chainsaws this time. Wohoo! You can’t beat her with those. Die Pharaoh! Later Hime gives Hiro a medal for successfully defending her while in slumber. I guess Hiro has seen to many mummies and freaks out when he sees Sawawa with bandages over her face the next morning. But Hiro is happy and says to himself that he was of use to Hime this time.
 
Episode 13 is the most scariest episode of them all. It really feels like one of those stalking psychopath killer movies. Here, because Hiro and Hime are at the wrong place and at a wrong time, they’ve been pulled into a mysterious deserted town. It’s really kinda creepy. Well I guess it’s bad luck to have your car broken down in the middle of the night. To cut things short, they are actually reliving the memories of this town in which something horrible happened many many years ago. Attempts by the duo to escape the town seems futile as they’re always return to the same place where there’s a billboard and each time there’ll be new pics of supposedly murdered victims. Hime notes that at such time, Hiro is the only protection she got. So the duo finds out that this town was supposed to be given way for a dam project and there the killer is supposed to be the leader of the party opposing the project. Soon he goes on a rampage killing all those who supports the project. I’m not sure what Hime or Hiro has got to do with it all but it seems the killer appears (really huge and wearing a paperbag on his head, wielding a large pitchfork) and is going to kill them both. In the end after some struggle, Hiro and Hime manages to defeat him when Hime stabs the pitchfork in his back when he was going for Hiro. Soon the duo manages to get back to reality and the non-existent town is now a flooded dam.
 
The headless knight horseman makes his appearance in episode 14. Riza is upset because she lost to that ghostly figure in a race round the bend. Of course which ghost wouldn’t rest in peace if his head is missing so Riza drags Hiro along to find his lost head. I mean, is she serious? It’s like finding a needle in the haystack and the stretch is pretty long and dark. What are the chances. But it seems during the search the headless horseman kidnaps Hiro and brings him to Zeppeli. So Hiro and Zeppeli had a chat and Hiro notices a knight’s armour helmet on his desk. But Zeppeli has other plans as he turned Hiro into his knight by putting that helmet on him. Now Hiro’s under Zeppeli’s control and is ordered to go after Hime. Yeah, Sanagida and his mad zombie doctors are still around. Reiri doesn’t like it all and informs Hime and the rest. Riza soon finds Hiro and has a hard time taking the helmet off. But that headless horseman appears and manages gets his head back in place. Riza realizes that he wants another duel with her so off they go again. In the end, Riza wins and the knight is defeated and can finally rest in peace. However, Riza isn’t too pleased when she finds out that nobody saw her stunning victory.
 
Episode 15 is my favourite episode because it’s the funniest. Hiro’s 3 classmates notice how he’s living with several pretty girls and confronts him and asks if they could become servants too. Each of them are real sicko losers. The bespectacled photo maniac Buchi has his eyes on Sawawa because of her humongous boobs, freckle-faced Murayama is interested in Riza because he likes strong women, and Yoshida is a masochist himself and wants to be tortured by Hime. Sick losers. Especially Yoshida’s. He’s fantasizing of being stepped on by his master Hime and enjoyed being called a dog. Hime says "You’re lower than a dog, you’re a pig!". Damn right. Hime agrees to let them be her servants on 1 condition, that they go through the mansion filled with obstacles and traps. The 1st one to reach Hime at the balcony wins. Of course the guys dragged Hiro into it but before Hiro could join in, he’s knocked unconscious by a shape shifter assassin, which took his place. It’s a race filled with hilarious traps. Even Sherwood has come to watch her beloved Hiro but is torn because if he wins he’ll be Hime’s servant and if he loses, there’s a chance she can take him in. Why, Reiri too comes to watch this. She’s obviously a little ‘upset’ that she wasn’t considered to be part of the beautiful ladies and wants to see how those losers fail. Buchi flopped first because his pals ‘sacrificed’ him to Reiri’s bats. But he’s enjoying it once he come to because Sawawa’s nursing him. Next is Murayama as he takes on Riza. But when Riza pinned him, she got disgusted because he really loves how soft her paws are. Finally Hiro reaches Hime but Hime notices that it’s not Hiro because his wounds didn’t heal. Uh huh, Hiro got injured by the traps. So she orders Flandre to freeze that shape shifter with some extinguisher before breaking it apart. Hime then feels somebody tugging at her feet. Why, it’s Yoshida. He’s saying please step on me and Hime gladly obliged before walking away. Let’s just leave him in his happy fantasy. Those 3 losers are then being wrapped into a ball and tossed away by Ryu Ryu. Hiro comes to when it’s all over and Hime has 1 advice for him. "Choose your friends wisely". Hehehe. Good riddens.
 
It’s back to that fish people and summer cabin in episode 16. Riza decides to take some time out after a frustrated training. The fish people welcomes them and it seems Poseidon is still in love with Riza. As usual, she shrugs it off, breaking his heart again. Here, Riza meets a wereshark named Aron, who is a good friend with Lobo and once served alongside him. Some chatting here and there which brings back some fond memories. Riza still denies that she’s serving as a royal guard under Hime. I didn’t expect to see Aron pecking Risa on her cheek as some form of greeting. Soon Riza leaves for home. The usual spat with Reiri as always. Since I’ve been watching this series for quite some time, it’s really predictable that Aron is another assassin sent by 1 of Hime’s siblings to assassinate her. True enough, Aron sneaks in to do her job only to find Hime waiting for her. Riza finds out about it and is shocked. So the werewolf and wereshark duke it out and in the end Riza defeats Aron. Some flashbacks here and there. Before Aron dies, she gives her Lobo’s military tag and tells Riza to avenge her death and Lobo’s. Riza is devastated as she cries what is all this meaningless fights and deaths are for.
 
A magical witch who lives in the Black Forest wants the spirit of the royalty so as to keep her eternal youth and beauty after spotting a wrinkle in episode 17. At first she may look threatening but she’s actually a bungling nitwit and probably childish too. Also, Sherwood tries some human beauty products in hopes that Hiro would notice her. Hiro is buying some dumplings but some dark glutton goblin gobbled it all away. When he comes home, the rest thinks he ate it all himself. The goblin is under the witch’s control and soon they manage to find out Hime’s mansion and it’s pretty lame to see her trying to suck Hime into her mirror. But since Sawawa made some dumplings, the witch can’t stand the stench and goes away. Even Reiri can’t stand it and I think it’s the 1st time I’ve seen a funny expression on her face. Yeah, Reiri comes back wearing a gas mask. So the witch decides to target Sherwood now. Since Sherwood’s a little weak, she’s going to get absorbed into the witch’s mirror. Luckily the rest arrives and Hiro grabs Sherwood’s feet (she’s partially sucked in). While trying to pull her out, the force is too great that the mirror absorbs Hiro, Riza, Francesca and Ryu Ryu. But this causes the mirror to overload and explodes, sending those sucked in back out. The witch is in despair that her mirror is destroyed and that she can say bye bye to her eternal beauty. But Hime being the compassionate princess she is, gives her a few words of advice to lift her self-esteem and a beauty product which Sawawa won from the lottery to her, saying that she herself uses this product to look good. Of course that was just a bluff as Hime doesn’t really use it. Why did she tell a lie? Because she’s compassionate. Simple. She’s a woman herself and knows how it feels.
 
Here’s another bungling character. A raccoon named Shigara from the Kingdom in episode 18 does part time vampire hunting in order to support his family back home. Shigara is a helpful raccoon and doesn’t hesitate to help anyone in need. But his vampire hunting skills are zero. Plus, he’s clumsy and such. He makes a mistake that Hime is a vampire and unsuccessfully attempts to stake her. Of course Hime allows that coward to go free before she changes her mind. Shigara is then brought to Zeppeli but it seems all those garlic and vampire repelling stuffs don’t work on him. Zeppeli tells him that there’s another easier vampire target, Reiri. Of course that raccoon decides to do it and collect his bounty. He arrives at Reiri’s church and as expected, he flops. Reiri is pissed that Zeppeli is trying to dispose off her and decides to team up with Shigara to take care of Zeppeli. Tit for tat. That night Zeppeli is going to make his move on Hime but is interrupted by Reiri and Shigara. So a short battle ensued before Shigara stabs Zeppeli in the back with a stake. Shigara is happy as he’s able to collect the bounty and goes back to the Kingdom. I’m wondering why he didn’t take Zeppeli’s body back as proof. Dunno. He is clumsy after all. Later it is revealed that Zeppeli and Reiri actually staged an act as Zeppeli is recuperating in hospital with Reiri by his side as the duo laugh it off like as though they’re best friends. Really a love-hate relationship. And if you notice, this episode has a little fanservice.
 
It’s a beach episode in episode 19. Not. Besides seeing Sawawa in her swimsuit and those loser perverts staring at her bouncy boobs and Flandre too heavy to be on the sand, Hiro, Hime and Riza took a boat ride off coast and find themselves stranded on a ghost ship. Sounds like the Bermuda Triangle. They realize that they have to find and rescue a mermaid trapped within the ship if they want to get out alive by following her flute melody. The trio also meet a werewolf named Keziah, who was once a comrade of Riza’s dad. Thus the gang has to battle their way through hordes of zombies (probably restless dead passengers) before finally finding the mermaid. But the ghost of the ship (some monstrous shark?) wouldn’t allow them to escape. With the combined effort of the gang, they manage to subdue the threat. Then I’m not sure what Hime said about if a mermaid speaks she’ll lose her life because she has exchanged her voice for a human body. Also the flute was to lure other ships to come rescue her but so far they’ve failed. But in order to save the rest from the ghost, she had to use her voice which causes her to die. As the gang gets ready to leave the ship, we see Hime’s other sibling, Emile appearing with his huge aquatic robot, Flanders (yeah, another "Fuga~" only character. And no. No relation to that Simpsons’ neighbours). It seems Keziah is his servant and it’s his mission to retrieve the mermaid. Emile soon revives the mermaid with his flames and makes her his servant. Emile and his gang soon leaves after telling Hime the next time they’ll meet is during the battlefield.
 
Hiro has been kidnapped by a vampire named Dracul in episode 20 as a bait to lure Hime to come rescue him so that he could drink the royalty’s blood. Dracul is a real sadist as he tortures Hiro because he wants him to feel eternal pain since Hiro can heal himself but the pain is real. While Hime and Flandre went off somewhere, Riza and Reiri form an uneasy alliance to go save Hiro at the vampire’s kingdom. Some weird contraption has got them handcuffed together and won’t come off so easily. Weird part is, Reiri needs to bite Riza’s neck and turn her into a vampire so that low-level vampires can’t detect a werewolf. After doing so, I’m wondering if Riza is now a 1/3 breed. Yeah, she’s got vampire blood now but when this episode ends, she doesn’t indicate any vampire traits like the need to suck blood. So is it temporary? Dunno. Anyway, Dracul’s real disappointed not only that Hime has abandoned Hiro but he needs to face-off with a werewolf and a traitor and unleashes a giant cyclops to stop them. See, if the duo had been more cooperative, they could’ve defeated it like a piece of cake. Hime appears with her fish people army. Dracul notes that it’s against the rule for a royalty to raise an army to fight for their throne. But Hime says she’s merely doing so to retrieve her warrior servant and isn’t breaking any rules. Dracul decides to back down and escape for now, but tells Reiri that she has been banished for her treachery. So we won’t see a gigantic epic battle between the fish people and low-level vampires. Of course the gang heads home and the usual bickering between Riza and Reiri. But Hiro feels thankful that Hime came to save her.
 
In episode 21, Buchi seems to have picture proof that Reiri is a vampire and tells Hiro about it. Yeah, he drags Hiro to Reiri’s church to find out more. I want to mention a funny scene whereby Sawawa is at her usual parfait cafe when master decides to confess his love. Master tells her that he’s going to change his shop name to Sawawa and that girl got excited because it’s the same name as hers. Master decides to go direct as he tells how the sight of her burn his eyes. Sawawa then apologizes for hurting him. Sad case. Your advances are being unnoticed. Don’t you just feel like giving up, Master? Yeah, don’t we feel like slapping her but at the same time love her for her naiveness? But mainly this episode sees Dracul sending his low-level vampires to finish off Reiri. There goes her beauty sleep. Though they’re easy to handle but the overwhelming numbers are tiring out Reiri and Hiro. Dracul also makes his appearance to see to it that Reiri is finished once and for all. Reiri got a little injured during the fight. As expected, reinforcements arrived in the form of Hime (I think Hiro tells Buchi to head to Hime’s mansion to seek help). With their combined effort, Reiri sticks a stake in his heart while Hime thrusts her sword right through his back. The next day, everything goes back to normal. Not really. Buchi has any of his vampire memories erased by Reiri but to Reiri’s surprise, she finds some ‘ecchi’ pics of her and throws away Buchi’s book. The other guys are still jealous that Hiro is still close to miss popular idol. Another development is that since Reiri’s church has been burnt down during Dracul’s attack, Reiri’s moving into Hime’s mansion, dragging along her coffin as her only luggage. I’m sure Riza is pissed at the idea but she can’t say that because she herself is a freeloader :). In the end scenes, we see Dracul still alive but real injured. He’s back at his castle and pleading to 1 of the royalty siblings to help him but that mysterious shadowy figure just used his feet to drive the stake further into Dracul’s heart, thus killing him. At first I thought it was Emile, but later I found out it wasn’t him.
 
Another assassination attempt on Hime’s life in episode 22. This time 3 werewolves enter the mansion under their master’s order and Riza’s fighting for her pride because they’re mocking her half-breed and such. Hiro tries to protect and do his duty as Hime’s warrior and though he’s been beaten up, his will and determination makes him go on. In the end, the 3 werewolves are defeated and thrown into a chamber while Riza is badly bruised and is recuperating. Hime decides to punish them by shooting silver bullets everytime they resurrect. Meaning, she’s going to make them die over and over again. Don’t mess with this lady. The shooting lasts so long that Hiro himself can’t take it and pleads to Hime to stop. Once it’s over (I suppose the 3 werewolves have died without their master replenishing the flame), Hime comes out and tells Hiro who’s been waiting outside the chamber, something about how the inevitable is going to happen and that she’ll not allow Hiro to leave her side.
 
Hime and co sets out to find the sibling responsible for sending those 3 werewolves in episode 23. This episode feels like Resident Evil because the gang are being trapped in a town filled with mindless zombies and without electricity. Furthermore, Riza and Reiri comes face to face with a blood warrior, Micasa, who has some cool claw weapon. Of course this was just a distraction. Hime then concludes that the sibling responsible for all this is Severin. I’m not sure about that rule which prohibits a royalty from using zombies but Severin was bold to do so. Plus, we see him and another "Fuga~" butler, Franz, when Micasa regroups with them. It seems there’s a complex relationship between Severin and Micasa. Something like he killed her so that he could revive her to be his warrior. Anyway, Hime, Hiro and Riza are being surrounded by zombies (Reiri fled as she doesn’t want to get involved. Hey, vampires can fly right?) and it’s definitely a wrong time for Flandre to run out of power. I find it ironic because they decide to recharge Flandre by using a simple cable plugged to a convenience store. Is that enough? Furthermore, there’s no electricity! Don’t think so much. It may seem Hime’s just sitting around and letting Hiro and Riza do the work, but I assure you that she’ll kick ass when she has to. Soon Sherwood arrives with Francesca and Ryu Ryu to help out. Once Flandre is fully recharged, Hime orders Hiro to start up Flandre, and the switch is at her butt! When Sherwood saw this, she gets embarrassingly upset and thinks Hiro would do such a perverted thing and orders Francesca to shoot him. Poor guy. In the end, a large fire phoenix appears in the sky and Hime notes that the current ruler of the Kingdom has come to intervene. Reiri and Zeppeli are seen watching from a distance.
 
Hime is accused of using zombies in episode 24 and has to stand trial in the Kingdom. I’m wondering how did Severin put the blame on her. We see several different weird looking monsters there. Meanwhile Sawawa is depressed because she feels she’s being ‘left out’ by the others even though she’s not sure what’s going on. I think it’s better for her to stay blur. Anyway, it seems all this is a set up by Severin, as Hime’s lawyer seems bungling and the judge (what big green hat he’s wearing) seems unenthusiastic. To settle this, Hime suggests a duel to the death. Then there’s another point which I find conflicting. Hime mentions that the reason why the siblings are fighting and killing each other is because if they become an adult, they’ll be immortal. Huh? So the previous rulers and predecessors of the royalty must’ve killed each siblings, right? If so, then the Kingdom should’ve been ruled by the 1st royalty since he/she is an immortal. So why the need for descendants to fight? Do they have a limited term to be ruler?
 
At the battlefield, even Sherwood and Emile are there to witness it. The sword bout starts and it seems Severin has the upperhand, mocking Hime. We find out Hime’s real name is Lilian but despises being called that anymore. Sherwood notes that the reason why Hime isn’t doing well is because all this time, Hime’s strength is her cool and calm composure. That explains her stoic expression. Hime is losing it here and Severin knows it and using her anger as an advantage. But when she hears the voice of Hiro cheering for her, she snaps out of it and is back to her usual self. The tables are turned and Severin is really afraid especially the way she stares at him. Severin decides to play cheat by using a gun but it backfired. Hime then ends it all by stabbing him. Severin can’t believe that he’s going to die and soon Franz self-destructs to follow its master’s fate. The same will happen to Flandre too if Hime loses. We see that judge is actually the fire phoenix as he transforms into 1 and accepts the outcome of the duel before flying away. Another ‘meet you in the battlefield next time’ line by Emile before they go. Hime and co are back on Earth and are patronning Sawawa’s favourite parfait cafe. Sawawa is glad that everybody’s back and fine. Hiro meanwhile finds Hime standing on the stairs thinking and knows that she’s the one. Uh huh, some flashbacks here and there of Hiro’s misadventures since the day he met Hime. Then woah! Hiro’s trying to kiss Hime! How daring! Hime spots this and slaps him as Hiro tumbles down the stairs. Haha. He thinks he can steal the lips of a princess. And I thought there’d be some romance in the end but nope. Ah, the little suspense. Hime’s better off the way she is now. And I think Hiro’s pretty fine with the way things as they are too.
 
Episode 25 feels like a filler episode because this episode sees how Flandre has gone bad. A delinquent. Holy cow! She’s not listening to anyone, injures anyone who gets in her way (even Hime!), wears a dark sunglasses and her "Fuga~" sounds so bad ass! Fugaaaahh… The rest tries to catch her but she escapes in her mini car and causes rampage throughout the town. Kids, don’t drive like her. But it seems Flandre’s escape in a way does a little good for the unsuspecting townspeople like saving a cat stuck in a tree and foiling a robbery attempt at a bank. While Hiro and Riza chase after Flandre, Hime and Sherwood are trying to figure out what’s wrong with Flandre. There’s a manual on how it operates but neither sisters have really read through the thick manual. Plus, they’ve left it back at the Kingdom. Remember to always read your operating manual for all goods purchased if they come with 1. Eventually they think Flandre is going to self-destruct as she heads to some power plant. Hime tells the rest to leave while she watches her servant the last time. Because of some words Hime said, Flandre began to have flashbacks of memories of the times spent with Hime. In a way, you could say Flandre tries to go somewhere to self-destruct in order to lessen the damage, and that is underneath the ocean. Everyone watches helplessly as Flandre sinks into the ocean and an explosion occurs. However, Flanders soon appear with Flandre in its hand and Emile tells his siblings that whenever the screw on the robot’s head is loose, it’ll cause it to go haywire and thus Flanders just slightly turn the knob on Flandre’s head and she’s back to normal. Before he leaves, he advices her sisters to read the manual, tosses the heavy book to them and that ‘meet you in the battlefield next time’ line. So I see it’s just that simple.
 
Overall, I’m glad that I’ve watched this series as I find it quite enjoyable. Though there may be some issues with the storyline and its development, I find that most of the episodes can stand alone as itself. So probably the real storyline would just take up 2 to 3 episodes. Plus, each episode feels kinda predictable as there’d be some assassin to assassinate Hime. I still wonder which sibling sent them. And I did earlier mention that every darn monster has appeared except for Frankenstein. Well, if you look at it in a way, Flandre is a little and maid version of Frankenstein, right? I can accept that. By the way, did you notice all the "Fuga~" only characters have their names start with ‘F’?
 
The drawing, art and animation looks pretty standard (except for Hime who still looks stunning nevertheless ;P) but I can’t help but notice that there’s a drop in quality in certain episodes. Other than that, it looks okay. At certain points, it gets too dark to see anything. But I guess it’s suitable since we’re dealing with dark creatures of the night.
 
Ayako Kawasumi who voices Hime did a splendid job making her role sound fit for a aristocratic princess. She also did roles like Nodame in Nodame Cantabile, Aoi in Ai Yori Aoshi and Elie in Rave. Hiro is voiced by Fuyuka Oura (Yuu Tobita of Gakuen Alice), Riza by Yuko Kaida (Ryomou of Ikkitousen), Reiri by Mamiko Noto (Enma Ai of Jigoku Shoujo), Sherwood by Ai Shizumu (Mikoto of Mai-HiME, Senna of W~Wish), Sawawa by Yuko Minaguchi (Yurika of Final Approach, Akiko of Kanon), Flandre by Shiho Kawaragi (Megu of Rozen Maiden Traumend) and Francesca by Rika Morinaga (Mawari of Seto No Hanayome, Sousei Seki of Rozen Maiden).
 
I like the opening theme Blood Queen by Aki Misato as it’s quite an upbeat and lively tune. It fits the series quite nicely. But the most eyebrow raising one is the ending theme song Hizamazuita Ashi Wo Onamae by Ali Project. Literally it means ‘Get Down on Your Knees And Lick My Feet". Woah. I guess it’s Ali Project’s style. All their songs sound naughty and playful and this one is no exception. The lyrics has got that sadistic feel of pain and suffering in which the victim yearns more of it as the singer enjoys it! Even the animation is wild! Besides Riza doing that little jiggy of hers, we get to see a little mischievous stuffs from the rest. As for the background music, I kinda notice that most of them have that Halloween feel with all the violin, strings and such. Though not creepy, but it’s quite fitting. Of course there’s 1 whereby it sounds comical the way they play the xylophones, and is played when Sawawa’s at her usual cafe. Speaking of the original soundtrack album, I have heard all the tracks on it and noticed that some of the background music for the series are missing. Furthermore, almost the entire album is composed by Ali Project so you can expect to hear their kind of music.
 
Each of the episode titles are named in references to the situation in which Hime faces or actions taken by her in that particular episode. I kinda feel sorry for Hiro sometimes as he always bear the expense and brunt of unfortunate circumstances. But since that kid’s partly an immortal, I suppose it’s his ‘fate’ to serve as a comical factor. I’m sure Sawawa herself is still unaware of what’s going on in the supernatural world. She’s the best person to keep secrets, if you know what I mean.
 
If there’s a 2nd season, I’ll definitely watch it without a doubt because I really want to know more in detail about the throne fighting thing and how Hime goes about avoiding assassination attempts. Well, there’s always the manga… I guess this anime is suitable for many since it’s not too scary nor it’s not too flashy (those fanservice parts are nothing) as I feel it would be fun. So do I believe in creatures of the underworld now? Not really. Humans are a more scarier race. Though I really admire Hime, I wouldn’t really want someone like her to be my master, stepping on my head and such. It’s better for me to just admire from a distance. See but no touch. And I definitely don’t want to be resurrected if I ever kick the bucket. Hey, who wants to live forever? Plus, I don’t want to a servant who only goes "Fuga~".
 
Kaibutsu Oujo

Hand Maid May

April 4, 2008

I’m sure all of us desire to have a maid help out with our daily chores since our lives are filled with lots and lots of other ‘important’ busy stuffs. Sure, I guess the most ideal maids are from France but more closer to home (of course cost is a factor) we have mostly from Indonesia and the Philippines to handle the cooking, cleaning, babysitting, etc.
 
But enough of reality already. I’m sure that anime geeks who have maid fetish would find anime maids to be moe. Yeah well, if you really do have maid fetish, then you should try checking out Hand Maid May as well. Me, I don’t have maid fetish at all. It’s just that I read that this series has some comedy element and as usual I’ve always been a sucker for such genres. After giving much thought I decided to give it a go. Though there are some ecchi elements as well but I suppose if you’re watching a maid genre series, this is to be expected. I think. Which guy wouldn’t find a sexy maid outfit a turn-on thing? Hey, why are you staring at me with those eyes…
 
All in all, there are only 11 episodes in total. Such an odd number. Why not the usual 12 or 13 episodes. Is it because there isn’t much to tell? If so, then it should’ve been 1 episode. Hehehe. Well actually, the actual series has only 10 episodes while the 11th episode is actually an extra bonus episode on the DVD. To me, that last episode sounds like a filler episode. In a way, it is one.
 
Anyway let’s meet the lucky guy Kazuya Saotome, who’s some sort of a computer geek as seen in episode 1. He’s currently doing some A.I. programming project for his college and has somewhat created an interacting squid-like doll called Ikaria. Well, I guess there’s still room for improvement. He lives in an apartment and oddly there’s a ladder connecting from his window to the landlady’s daughter’s room, Kasumi Tani. It’s like a sore thumb sticking out. But this ladder is useful as Kasumi always uses it as a shortcut to drop by and visit Kazuya (usually to remind him for his late rental payment or late for his college). Obviously, you’ll guess that this girl has a crush on Kazuya but that nerd is too busy in his project to notice anything. Luckily, he’s not a total geek. Kazuya is ‘normal’ in a way in the sense that he’s slightly perverted. Whenever ladies get into certain exposing situations or gets too close, this guy will not hesitate to take a peek! But of course his pervertness is the passive kind and it’s not like he’ll lose control of himself and start pouncing. Ah, men will be men. Kazuya will of course snap himself out of it soon after and act like it’s all nothing while blushing. Naughty naughty. Seriously even so, Kazuya isn’t a bad kid. It’s pretty normal for guys at that age.
 
I would also like to mention Kazuya’s self-proclaimed ‘greatest enemy and best friend’ Kotaro Nanbara. Now that’s 2 in 1. This obnoxious filthy rich kid has always been jealous of Kazuya’s ‘popularity’ and is always trying to outdo him behind his back. Not only that, Nanbara loves to see Kazuya suffer but his plans always backfire. But Kazuya doesn’t think ill of him and it makes me wonder if Kazuya really does know what this loudmouth hyped-up scheming devil-in-disguise’s real intention is. So in college as part of Nanbara’s plan to wreck Kazuya’s hopes and dreams, he gives him some CD which supposedly contains some super virus that’ll destroy his computer. Of course Kazuya accepts it since he doesn’t suspect anything.
 
So back home, Kazuya loads the CD and soon his pc starts to go haywire. I’m not sure if a virus attack is that elaborate. But being a pro he is, Kazuya manages to counter that attack but accidentally access some website called Cyberdyne Co. Before he knows it, he accidentally orders a CBD (Cyberdoll) maid. I suppose every company should practice such super fast delivery time. That’s because within a minute, Kazuya receives a package at his doorstep. Is this service or what (not to mention more fanservice coming. Haha). Kazuya takes the box in and soon hears a voice asking someone to let her out since it’s too dark. When Kazuya does so, he is surprised to find a miniature maid (1/6 the size of a normal human) the size of his palm, named May. Thus the name of the title, Hand Maid May. I guess anybody would be shocked to see a life-like robot doll as Kazuya accidentally drops May out from his window. Though he manages to catch May, the box wasn’t so lucky as it crashes down and breaks.
 
Anyway the duo gets acquainted and May starts showing off what she can do, like the ability to change tv channels with her own power. I guess whether it’s useful or not, it’s still amazing. But this took up too much power and May needs to be recharged. However May’s recharger was in that box which had been broken. Necessity is the mother of all invention as Kazuya improvises a new charger for May. Erm… How come May’s charging point is at her butt?! Holy cow! It’s quite funny to see May walking around with a cable sticking out from her butt. As May gets ready to resume her job, Kasumi suddenly comes in and spots May. Kazuya tries to explain things but eventually Kasumi allows Kazuya to let May stay and charges a child’s rate for the extra occupant.
 
So I kinda notice it’s like this in most episodes. May and Kazuya does some things or go about in whatever adventure as they bond further and closer. You’ll also notice May will gradually start to have feelings for Kazuya and you’ll wonder if it’s possible for robots to have emotions. Why not. Since CBDs have the ultimate technology in making life-like maids who walk, talk and act just like a real human-being, I suppose it won’t be surprising if the CBDs have emotions as well. Of course May won’t know that she’s really falling in love with Kazuya and at the same time Kasumi too will be in a dilemma, spacing out whenever she sees Kazuya and May get too close. Throughout the series, Kasumi will never confess her true feelings to Kazuya. Probably it’s better for them to stay as it is now. Oh, did I mention that this is also a harem anime as well? Yeah, more and more girls will flock around Kazuya. The more the merrier, they say.
 
I also want to mention that there is an occupant named Shikishima, who’s Kazuya’s neighbour. You’ll never see or hear this guy because he’s as slippery as an eel. Kasumi has a tough time catching him because he’s back 1 minute and gone the next. That’s super fast. You’ll notice Shikishima is back when something noisy occurs next door like the slamming of his door or the rev of his car. Well Kasumi, keep trying, since his rent payments have been late for who knows how long. I wonder why Kasumi just won’t kick him out. Ah, can’t catch him in the first place, right?
 
Thus episode 2 sees May trying to do household chores but it must be tough since she’s a small fry. With May’s determination, she does get by. We’re also introduced to a new character, Sara, another CBD who’s supposed to collect payment from Kazuya after the latter got his delivery but this lady is so obsessed into eating her ramen noodles (yeah, bowl after bowl. She’s got a huge stomach for them!) and when she realizes that she’s forgetting her job, she rushes down to Kazuya’s place. Meanwhile, Nanbara decides to call Kazuya to hear the bad news but is surprised to hear May’s voice. Thinking Kazuya may have succeeded in some programming behind his back, Nanbara too rushes down there. Sara and Nanbara accidentally meet and the former thinks the latter is Kazuya and asks for payment. Hmm… I guess buying a CBD is expensive because it’s worth a few million Yen! As the duo quarrel, Kasumi spots them and threatens to call the police for trespassing and soon the duo leaves in a jiffy. The duo then formed a somewhat odd alliance to recover May. Well since it’s Sara’s job to repossess the CBD if Kazuya defaults on payment, it’s okay. But that Nanbara guy’s reasons are to see Kazuya reel from disappointment and also he wants to see how May works by stealing her. At the same time, May decides to deliver a package by herself to Kazuya from Kasumi. Unfortunately, she got lost.
 
When Kazuya returns home, he’s too distressed to find May missing rather than listen to the blabbings of Sara if he doesn’t pay or even her existence. As Kazuya rushes out to find May, Sara uses her own tracking device and manages to spot May. Nanbara tries to follow but a bicycle hit him. Kazuya to is having a hard time finding May but some mysterious cyborg guy is leaving clues to where May is. May is recharging at a convenience store when Sara has found. A hilarious chase ensue and when Sara is going to grab her, Kazuya appears and May comes flying into his arms. Furthermore, Nanbara comes by crazily in his bicycle chasing Sara in his fury. Yeah, something about leaving him behind and that he’s going to have his revenge. Sicko. Back home, Kazuya tells May not to leave home by herself next time as it could be very dangerous. Finally it’s revealed that inside the package are little clothes for May to try on. May is happy and promises not to cause anymore trouble for Kazuya.
 
Episode 3 sees Kazuya daydreaming about undressing May so that he could ‘check’ her thoroughly but is snapped back to reality when he finds that it’s inhumane to do so. Meanwhile, the uneasy alliance of Nanbara and Sara is still on and back at Nanbara’s mansion, Sara has a disk which contains plans on how to recover May but accidentally drops it into her ramen bowl. Nanbara freaks out about the disk while Sara her ramen. That girl has nothing but ramen on her mind. So much for that secret info. As Kazuya and May go about in their shopping (May has to act like a doll to prevent her identity being found out), Sara and Nanbara are spying on the duo because they got word that the Cyberdyne has send some collector to retrieve May but are unsure of who the collector is. So every girl that Kazuya meets, the spying duo thinks it’s her because Kazuya hints his slightly perverted side or the girl flaunts her sexy side or smile. However it’s nothing but disappointment as the girl soon goes away and not the collector that they expected to be.
 
This episode also introduces another character, a young girl named Rena who seems to know Kazuya. Yeah, she spots him in the middle of town and even asks him out. Rena even spots May talking and knows she’s no ordinary doll. Rena lets out a building-shaking scream when Kazuya doesn’t agree to her ‘demands’ but luckily Ikaria fell out of Kazuya’s backpack and this soothed Rena. You could say Rena really takes a liking for Ikaria and a beautiful friendship between them begins. No choice, Kazuya has to let Rena tag along with them. You’ll notice that Rena isn’t an ordinary girl when she could change the traffic lights with just a snap of her finger to let an old lady cross the road. Soon Kazuya brings Rena to the police station to report a lost child but Rena is pretty sneaky herself as she tells her address is Kazuya’s apartment. Yeah, the policewoman send her back there. Uh huh. That ‘lovey-dovey’ policewoman drags Kazuya back to the police station so that she could ‘lecture’ him about the responsibilities of leaving a lost child behind. Kasumi has no choice but to go there and bring Kazuya back.
 
Soon Rena decides to have her own walk with Ikaria as Nanbara and Sara spies on her. They’re pretty amazed how that little kid has tripped and fell several times. Rena spots the duo and decides to play a trick on them. The furious duo can’t lose to a kid as they chased her but Rena does her traffic light changing trick to make them do some dangerous acrobatic ‘dance’ in the middle of the street. Don’t the drivers slow down to see pedestrian crossing? They just obey the lights blindly, huh. Rena’s really having fun but to her surprise, Kazuya arrives to stop her. It seems Kazuya knows that Rena is a CBD too and tells her not to do it again because it’ll cause a massive traffic jam. I think these drivers are really following the lights blindly. How do they get their licence? Back home, Rena is sulking because she doesn’t understand what Kazuya meant and all that. So after some words from Ikaria (that squid has its A.I. upgraded and has a little intelligence of its own), Rena realizes and they’re back on good terms. Of course Kasumi won’t allow Kazuya to have another girl living with him so Rena has to live with Kasumi instead. Probably he can’t afford to pay extra or doesn’t want him to unleash his inner pervertness. Later Rena tells Nanbara and Sara that she’s the Cyberdyne collector but since she has become friends with Ikaria, she’s not going to continue her job and continue living at Kasumi’s place, shocking the duo.
 
Sara and Nanbara gets word of another collector sent by Cyberdyne in episode 4. This time a super intelligent CBD named Kei. Her data is quite accurate as she can think of 500,000 steps in advance. Is that equivalent to being a psychic? So Kazuya is informed by Kei that she’s quite interested in his project and would gladly sponsor him. Would a guy like him pass an offer from a lovely lady? Before I go on, I’d like to mention that the CBDs enjoy watching a tv series called Whirlwind Of Love, which’s some tearjerker romance series. I don’t really see what’s so good about it. After that Rena causing some little ruckus, May gets a little depressed when she hears from Kazuya about a new girl working with him at college. Obviously she’s having some jealous feelings. The next day, Kazuya brings along Ikaria and May to meet with Kei at a restaurant. After some compliments from Kei, they decide to got to college with Nanbara and Sara spying on them. Kei wants to conduct some experiments on May but Kazuya won’t allow it. Kei then asks Kazuya to get some juice. We see Sara and Nanbara spying from a storeroom and Sara asks why Kei didn’t retrieve May. Kei says that May isn’t an ordinary doll and wants to analyze her first before completing her job.
 
Of course Kei gets too close to Kazuya to make May feel a little jealous. Kei even came back to Kazuya’s place to see him work in person. May sinks into further depression and Kasumi spots this and went to chat with her. Upon learning it, she yelled back at Kazuya before slamming the window. The next day at the college, Kei tells Nanbara and Sara to step into the storeroom. They did so only to find out Kei had locked them in. Sara tries to super punch her way out but Kei told her the steel door is 31mm thick. Since Sara could only bust through the door that’s 30mm thick, she just lost by a mere 1mm. Now that’s really accurate data. Back at home, Kazuya finds out from Rena that Kei had left with May. This causes Kazuya to leave in a hurry. So it seems Kei wants to further analyze May. Looks like she’s outraging May’s modesty. A short flashback a day before how Kazuya turned down Kei’s offer to examine May. May must’ve misinterpreted the situation then when she saw the duo talking from afar. Kazuya soon arrives but is mad about what Kei has done. Some talk here and there and Kei realize that May’s programming isn’t an ordinary one. Soon the system starts to overload and Kei screams in pain as she can’t disconnect. Kazuya gets Kei away from the machine before anything damaging happens. Once it’s over, Nanbara and Sara gets a video message from Kei saying that she’s not going to finish her job and is going to leave forever on journey. But that didn’t happen because the next day, Kei is back at Kazuya’s place and it seems she’s planning to stay here to do more research, pissing off May and Kasumi. But it gets a little serious because Sara comes in and tells Kazuya that if he doesn’t come up with the payment, she’ll have May confiscated next afternoon. Oh oh. Sara should’ve done this right from the start.
 
While Rena has become Kasumi’s assistant in collecting rent (some otaku geek really wants to have her) and Kei built some hi-tech room (some secret elevator, that is) in Kazuya’s closet, in episode 5, Kazuya is depressed because he can’t come up with any money to pay for May. He’s on a tight budget. I mean, he has his rent to think off and other bills too. How about a loan? Maybe the bank will reject it. I wonder why Kasumi won’t allow a waiver on his rent. Probably since May costs millions, it’ll be like letting him stay for free. Plus I don’t think Kasumi’s mom will allow it. Kasumi notices this and decides to give Kazuya a pair of tickets to an amusement park so that he could spend his last day with May. Is she implying that there’s no way to save or keep May? So the duo had their fun there but it seems that cyborg guy is watching them. It’s already evening and if Sara isn’t obsessed chowing down bowls of ramen, she could have got the job done. Plus, there’s a traffic jam so Nanbara is bloody mad that he’s going to miss seeing the disappointed face of Kazuya. Of course Sara manages to arrive and asks Kazuya to hand over May. A few emotional goodbyes and I’ll-never-forget-you talk as Sara takes May.
 
More spacing out and depression from Kazuya the next day since May isn’t around anymore. Everything seems so sombre. Kazuya comes back from college that evening to find that cyborg guy waiting for him. It seems this cyborg likes milk and enjoys it very much when Kazuya gives him 1. He introduces himself as Cyber X and tells Kazuya that Cyberdyne is interested in his work as they’re always looking for talented programmers. Cyber X asks him if he wants a CBD to help with his work in which Kazuya immediately say yes. Soon Cyber X plug cables from himself to Kazuya’s pc and starts programming away. Something like ordering another CBD. Kazuya also finds out that when a CBD is returned to the factory, their memories will be erased and everything resetted. Though Kazuya is furious he still wants the CBD May even if there’re other advanced models. The order is done but how about the payment? Cyber X says he’ll take that refreshing milk as it before leaving. So Kazuya is debt free. That evening, Kazuya excitedly rushes to the door when he heard the doorbell. He quickly unwraps the package only to his horror, finds nothing but cables. Where is May? Kazuya dropped to his knees. But soon a familiar voice greets him. To Kazuya’s surprise, he find that the delivery woman is May herself! Wah! She’s life-size now! Plus she still has her old memories. Kazuya is one happy fella.
 
Obviously with May in a normal human size, it makes chores a little easier in episode 6. Though May’s still a little clumsy and there’s room for improvement. At least everybody’s 1 big happy family. If you think you’ve seen the last of Sara, you’re wrong. That’s because she’s been given new orders by Cyberdyne to observe them. I think Nanbara has the same idea to… To see Kazuya’s downfall. I really find it weird that Sara could make calls with her hand like a telephone. But this episode is mainly about the gang heading for the night festivals and we get to see the CBDs in their yukatas. Everybody is enjoying themselves at the festival and it was pretty hilarious to see Ikaria freaking out when there’s a stall selling fried squid. Kei seems to be pretty obsessed with that goldfish catching game and she’s quite good in it. What do you expect? She’s a robot. Because it got really crowded, the gang got separated. So Kazuya had a hard time trying to locate the rest and regrouping them at a spot. Kasumi seems to space out whenever she sees May and Kazuya together. If you don’t get it off your chest girl, it’s going to explode 1 day. Nanbara and Sara arrives but it seems a couple of Kasumi’s little baseball players accidentally played a trick on Nanbara and that guy is pissed off so much so he chases them while Sara decides to try out the stall’s ramen. What else? Sara remembers her mission to find Kazuya but Kazuya passed by her, saving the trouble for Sara to look for him. Though Kazuya was a little injured during all that pushing, Sara too has injuries but was quickly healed. The duo then had some chat and it looks like Sara has fallen in love with Kazuya with the way things look because Kazuya did mention how he treats both CBDs and humans alike.
 
Nanbara is still chasing those kids but a realized a lost girl tugging his shirt. So Nanbara had no choice but to babysit her for awhile when May comes by. It seems this girl is came along with Kazuya and the gang to the festival. This is the first time Nanbara sees May in human size and is overwhelmed by her beauty. Yeah, he’s fallen head over heels for her but can’t remember if he’s seen her before or not. Then it hit him that this May was that little palm size robot but he didn’t care about how she’d grown so big because all he wants is to date her. The gang soon regroups and it’s time for the fireworks but it started drizzling. I don’t know if a little hopeful talking could make the rain stop. Soon the fireworks resume as everyone watches in awe.
 
In episode 7, Kazuya’s 2 college buddies are practising some greeting to ask the ‘beautiful lady who always appear at 11.10am’ out to tea. It seems that lady is Kei and to their surprise, they find out Kazuya knows her. Not only that, when May comes by, they’re taken in by her beauty as well. This Kazuya guy is sure lucky. This episode introduces the last of the CBD ladies to Kazuya’s harem. See, isn’t this guy a babe magnet? Hahaha. That CBD is Mami. Her favourite quote is "Ara ara" (my my) and prepare to hear that in every sentence. She’s quite positive though she may sound dreamy. Even so, she’s quite knowledgeable and knows how to do lots of things. A perfect maid? Anyway she’s been sent by Kazuya’s dad in USA (I believe) to assist Kazuya in his household chores. If only they knew he had other CBDs staying with him. I wonder if Mami’s roller skates are faster than the cars on the highway because she’s travelling at the same speed and even asks a passing Nanbara the way to Kazuya’s place. Mami soon arrives at the place and Kasumi brings her in thinking that Kazuya has a guest. Before he knows it, Mami hugs Kazuya, pressing him hard on her chest. Now that’s a real shocker. I guess it’s soft rather than metal hard. Haha. Kazuya decides to give his mom a call to confirm but she didn’t know anything and says it could be possible that his Canadian uncle may have sent Mami. Meanwhile Mami is efficiently doing all the cleaning up while Kazuya’s on the phone. This is how a maid should be. Then Kazuya’s sisters overheard their conversation and interrupts by saying if he has ‘done it’ after hearing several female voices in the background. Kazuya gets embarrassed and hangs up. So May took some maid lessons from Mami because May wanted to impress Kazuya too. Nanbara arrives and presents a surprised May with his bouquet of purple roses only for Sara to interrupt as they start bickering. But when Kazuya comes out, Sara is soon swooning over him.
 
Mami spots them and decides to play an omiai (wedding meeting) game. It’s like a Q&A session. It’s pretty obvious that all the ladies are asking Kazuya questions and that loser Nanbara has nothing better to do than giving his own unwelcome answers. Mami then tells everyone to close their eyes and asks those who likes Kazuya to raise their hands. Well well, all the girls did. Didn’t I tell you this guy’s a babe magnet. After that, they did some tea leaves fortune telling and then the ‘Love Machine’ (Kazuya’s bed covered with petals of roses). You’ve guessed it that Nanbara strips himself and quickly dives onto the bed, waiting to do it with May. That guy is so full of himself. While Sara seems to be in a sexy pose, ready to do hers with Kazuya on the floor. Mami realizes it’s evening and needs to prepare dinner thus abandoning that Love Machine game, upsetting Nanbara and Sara. Mami asks May to do some shopping as everyone else cleans up but since Mami realized May forgot to bring along some money, she tells Kazuya to bring it to her. Looks like part of Mami’s plan to get the duo closer together. Kazuya catches up and after doing some shopping together, they got a little carried away with themselves by riding down a grassy hill slope on a cardboard. Of course when they come back, everyone suspects that something might be going on since their clothes are a little dirty. Well, they brush it off though they’re blushing. While the gang had a splendid dinner, Kasumi is soaking in her bathtub and spacing out again… Tsk tsk tsk. Mami tells May that she’d do the dishes so that May could spend more time with Kazuya, which made her happy. You’ll notice that Mami does try to make May and Kazuya together with her schemes even if they seem outrageous.
 
A typhoon is coming in episode 8 and everyone is making preparations for the storm. While nailing some boards, May accidentally falls as Kazuya tries to grab her. Funny part was that Nanbara and Sara frantically rushes to catch their respective love ones but Sara saved Kazuya by stepping on Nanbara’s head. May is safe as she’s been caught by Kasumi and Mami. But mainly this episode is about that ladder when May asked about it. Some interesting (okay maybe rather abnormal things) happened on that ladder. No, no ecchi things happened okay. But I guess it’s a useful mat dryer too. Anyway Kazuya realizes Kasumi isn’t around and decides to go look for her. Nanbara thinks he can fool around with May but May decides to follow Sara who is going after Kazuya. Too bad loser. Nanbara tries to follow but it’s just not his day. Yeah, things keep smashing into him. Kazuya spots Kasumi sitting on a swing reminiscing the old days when Kazuya’s place was empty and she accidentally dropped her envelope of rental collections. Kazuya had just moved in then and greets her, in which she blushed embarrassingly. Then Kazuya returns her dropped envelope but she thinks he’d stole it. She realizes that it’s her fault and feels guilty. Is she falling for him? Then 1 day Kasumi returns from school to see Kazuya removing the ladder. He did that because there was a bird’s nest near the roof. When the birds grew up, they could place some food for it to eat on the ladder. See, the ladder’s pretty useful. Not only that, it was an easy way for Kazuya to get to Kasumi’s place whenever she had trouble with her pc. They also did most of their talkings on it. This ladder is special.
 
Back in reality, Kasumi apologizes for causing trouble as they head home. But the storm grows fiercer and May upon seeing how that precious ladder is going to be torn apart, tries her best to hold it down. Umm… Is standing on it, putting some weight really work? Anyway the rest soon follow except for Kei who’s obsessed in conducting some research of her own with the weather. Funny part is, another statue hits Nanbara in the face while Mami is gone with the wind. As for Kazuya and Kasumi, I can’t believe they took refuge behind a pole as Kazuya shields Kasumi with his body. Can he last like that? For a brief moment, the storm stopped. So the duo took the chance to head home. That was just the eye of the storm. Round 2 coming. With lots of determination, the gang manages to hold the ladder till the storm subsides. Later Kasumi and May had a little chat as May says how she wants to make precious memories with Kazuya and that she’ll always try her best. Back at Nanbara’s mansion, for once, Sara has no appetite for ramen. Is it the storm? I’m not sure what syndrome she’s referring to. However, a guy in a superhero-like armour outfit comes busting in and grabs Nanbara. He also wears a mask and has a ‘Z’ logo on it. At first looks he looks like the Zorro of the future. This must be the most surprising moment in Nanbara’s life as he’s freaking out.
 
That guy calls himself Commander Z in episode 9 and it seems Sara knows him. He is the president of Cyberdyne and is Nanbara’s descendant! His real name is Dotaro. Holy schmoly! He’s from the future. Which means Sara must be from there too. When he takes off his mask, he looks just like Nanbara except he has red hair and moustache. Okay, so the 2 are alike, because they started bickering with their whatever male egos. While the 2 are at it, Sara decides to go spy on Kazuya. Meanwhile Mami has won a pair of tickets to the amusement park and gives 1 to Kazuya. As for the other, she decides a competition to see who’ll get to go with that lucky guy. Of course everyone is game. First is some weird game show and since Mami felt the questions were to tough, she decides to change the challenge. Mami hides the ticket somewhere and whoever finds it first, will get to date Kazuya. Off everyone goes in search of that sole ticket. Funny part is that while they’re searching the place, they spot several porn DVDs in Kazuya’s collection. Haha. Busted. Kazuya gives excuses that he’s just holding for a friend or that some pal of his forgot to take it home. Yeah yeah. At least this guy isn’t a total nerd. Anyway they threw it all away and even poured boiling hot water to cleanse it. Extreme. But the winner is Sara because when she arrived, she spot some weird thing sticking on to Kazuya’s back. So that’s where the ticket was. But the other girls weren’t happy because they think Sara wasn’t part of the game from start. So Mami decides another challenge. Whoever catches her first will get the ticket. A hilarious chase of trying to outdo each other ensues. Rena tried to cheat but her tracking device ended up on Kei and they caught each other. So it’s Kasumi and May. I’m not sure how it went because May won. As for Sara, eating ramen is her priority so she’s definitely behind. However, Sara has isn’t feeling too good, didn’t eat her usual portion and coughed violently.
 
The next day, May and Kazuya prepare themselves to go to the amusement park and had another round of fun. We see Sara still in her gloomy mood but this time she collapses, prompting the shop lady to panic. Sara is brought back to Nanbara’s mansion and Nanbara is worried because without her, who’d do all the chores. Hey, doesn’t this guy have other maids? Anyway Dotaro tells him that ‘it’ has started. Then the scene changes to a field with lots of CBDs lying in pain and Cyber X is tending to them. Where in the world is that? While Kazuya and May are having a swell time, back home, the other CBDs are starting to fall sick. Their fever is burning up. Kasumi is in a panic as she and Ikaria do all they can to cool them down. Those ice in the fridge isn’t enough. Nanbara comes barging in and pleads to Kasumi to take care of Sara while he go looks for Kazuya. Remember kids, no matter how serious or urgent, don’t drive recklessly like Nanbara. Yeah, he crashes the car at the park. He tells Kazuya and May of their current situation as they rush home. They come back to find that some sort of virus is spreading throughout the CBDs. To cut things short, this virus is rampant in the future and every darn programmer can’t solve it. So Dotaro had to go back to the past in order to nip the problem in the bud. If nothing is done, all memories of the CBDs will be erased. However, only May isn’t affected. I’m not sure about the explanations, but I sounded like May’s system had evolved immune to it. Uh huh. Something like how every CBD’s programme contains that virus when their programming is installed. Dotaro says that Kazuya is the original programmer for CBDs and that only he can save them. Must be the shockest news Kazuya has ever heard.
 
Kazuya is trying his best to do some programming in episode 10 but the situation is worsening. Even in that field of CBDs isn’t improving. They’re connected to some angel-like girl. I don’t know who or what’s that all about. Time is running out. May then offers herself to save them since she’s immune to it. Because 1 pc isn’t enough, Nanbara drives to college and brings back dozens of pcs! I wonder if the pcs will break, since the way he drives is so reckless. Back home, the cable connections are bloody messy. May is connected with the other CBDs and she seems to be in some pain but decides to continue. Kasumi is still chipping some ice but at this rate, it’s not going to be enough. Remember that Shikishima guy? For once he did something good by leaving a huge stack of ice at their doorstep (trails of ice coming from his room). Kasumi thanks him and says probably it’s payment for dunno how many months worth of rent. After lots of typing, we see that virus is that Nanbara’s virus back in the 1st episode. What the? That virus is taunting Kazuya and praising Nanbara. Kazuya types even faster to the extend that his fingers are bleeding! Wow. Before Kazuya faints, Cyber X arrives in time to catch him and continues his typing. Hey, how did he arrive so fast? With that, the virus is destroyed and all the CBDs regain consciousness again. Yay! So the one who saved the day is Cyber X, not Kazuya as said by Dotaro. Uh huh, Dotaro quipped he appeared at a bloody good time and make it as though he’s the hero.
 
But it’s not over yet. Though May regains consciousness, Cyber X is alarmed when Dotaro mentions something about May’s secret memory area. In short, May sacrificed her memories to save everyone else. Oh oh. And the May know is a resetted one. Everyone is in horror. Kazuya tries his best to recover May’s memories but it seems futile while everyone waits with a gloomy atmosphere outside. It’s like the 1st time May has met Kazuya. No memories, no nothing. Finally everybody comes into the room and said some positive things like how they’re going to make precious memories with everybody bla bla bla. I’m not sure because of that, May starts to remember, the way she say things and May did have several flashbacks of the time spent with Kazuya. Must be lah. Don’t want this to end in a sad way, wouldn’t we? In the end, we see the entire gang having a picnic sponsored by the production of Whirlwind Of Love. It’s revealed that Cyber X is Takuya, a descendent of Kazuya. Looks like another one from the future. At least not a robot. Just donning a suit of one. It ends with a mysterious cliffhanger. While the gang are having fun, the ground suddenly shook like as though a monster had stomped nearby. Then May looked up and says "Shikishima?". Well, we won’t get to really see what is it actually.
 
You won’t find any answer to that in episode 11. This episode feels like a filler episode. Mami is back somewhere doing her chores and because of that she decides to send some delivery package to May. Deja vu? "Somebody let me out, it’s so dark in here". May opens the package to find 5 palm size versions of herself! In assortment of colours too. May decides to recharge them but an accident causes May to faint and her personalities split into the other 5 little Mays. Besides the normal one, we have the flirty and always want to look pretty, the slightly rude and crude girl, the very very shy one, and a glutton. Yes, a glutton who just wants to eat. Anyway Rena doesn’t realize that there are 5 little Mays watching Whirlwind Of Love with her until it’s too late. So she decides to go out do some shopping with them. Meanwhile Nanbara and Dotaro are irritatingly trying to outdo each other with some embarrassing hip shaking groove move in front of several children at the playground. One of the mothers at the park was so engrossed in talking that she accidentally unknowingly pushed her baby carriage downhill. Luckily, Rena and the 5 Mays are there when the carriage bump into them. Rena decides to take the baby home. Meanwhile, Kasumi has her friend, Hikari drive her home. I know everybody should be a safe driver like her, but Hikari’s really adhering to the rules and playing it safe that the bicycles seem to zoom pass her! Yeah, even Kasumi hopes that she’ll reach home before nightfall.
 
It’s pretty funny to see that as the other characters come home and finds that Rena has a baby, they want to hold the little kid but Rena says that holding the baby is her privilege and it’s good enough that they can hold Ikaria, sending that squid into depression. Haha. Of course the baby did made a little ruckus and Rena thinks she’s hungry and decides to breast feed it and strips! Just kidding. She didn’t manage to. Nanbara comes home to find his beloved May unconscious and decides to wake her up with his kiss. Fortunately, crude ol’ May is there to protect her lips. Even if he’s being tied up, Nanbara is still going to die trying. So did he get his 1st kiss? Well, partly yes. Thing is, crude ol’ May uses Ikaria and thus Nanbara’s kiss is with a squid. Hahaha. Ikaria’s pretty depressed about it. Soon that lady who lost her baby relates her trauma to the police. Hikari was passing by and previously noticed a baby carriage at Kasumi’s place. Hikari leads the police to Kasumi’s place but because she’s as slow as a snail… you know lah. In times of emergency, it’s best to be calm, not slow. So the gang finally get some tips on what to do with a baby from Mami and they manage to do well. Oh my! They showed the baby’s crotch! Maybe in a way, it’s nothing much. Soon they have to part because that baby’s mom arrive and apologizes for all the trouble. Kasumi wonders if it’s possible that the CBDs can bear children and Mami tells them that Kazuya’s dream run deep. Meaning, it may be possible lah. It ends just like the beginning of this episode. The usual ruckus and all from the gang. Life goes on.
 
Overall, I guess this whole series is rather okay to me. I just love those funny moments when it involves Nanbara. He’s still the most amusing character in the series and without him, life would’ve been bliss. Okay, maybe what I meant to say was it won’t be that funny. But I suppose we could use less of such guys in this world, right? With the drawing and art made to appeal to bishie and maid lovers, I guess that even if you’re not going for the storyline, the CBD maids themselves provide a little eye candy. If you don’t mind the little ecchiness and fanservice, that is. Speaking of the storyline, I still find it hard to swallow that back from the future thing. If the virus had destroyed them in the present, wouldn’t there be none of them in the future? I mean, the descendents came back just to correct this seems a little far-fetched.
 
Maria Yamamoto did quite a good job making May sound quite positive and blur at times. She’s also the voice for Yucie in Petite Princess Yucie and Kano Miyazawa in Kare Kano. Mikako Takahashi voices Kasumi who also did roles like Rushuna in Grenadier and Montmorency in Zero No Tsukaima. Other casts include Kikuko Inoue as Mami (Belldandy in Aa! Megami-sama, Kasumi in Ranma 1/2, Mizuho in Onegai Teacher), Rie Kugimiya as Rena (Shana in Shakugan No Shana and Rizel in Rizelmine), Omi Minami as Kei (Hyatt in Excel Saga), Kyoko Hikami as Sara (Rabi en Rose of Di Gi Charat, Kyoko of Girl’s High) and Yuji Ueda as Nanbara (Morita in Honey And Clover).
 
The opening theme song Jump – Meippai Dakishimete by P-Chicks sounds like a lively all-girl group band dance song. Well, it did make me get up and jump. Quite fitting really. At first I was surprised as I thought the opening lines of this song was "Shaking my ass…". Then I found out they’re actually saying "Shaking my hands…". Shame on me. The ending theme Hontou No Kimochi by Mikako Takahashi is a more slower tune but I didn’t like it very much. I just want to mention that there’s a background music whenever Nanbara’s around or scheming, which sounds quite steamy with the way the trumpet style is being played. That tune really suits him.
 
There’s 1 question which still bugs me. If the CBDs need electricity power just to recharge themselves, then why do they really need to eat meals too? Is it so that they simulate like a real maid person? Or is it since they need to cook for their masters, they need to taste what they’re cooking? Furthermore, just thinking about that angelic CBD just brings me more headache than anything. As for Kazuya, I think not only he wants to spend time and be with May, but with the other CBDs as well, don’t you think? Yeah, it’s like a harem for a geek. Robo style.
 
I’m sure in real life we really do wish we have such pretty and helpful maids around. I’m thinking if there are mail order brides, could there be mail order maids too? Well, it did happen here. Possibly in the near future as technology advances, we might really have life-like robots complete with feelings and emotions. Sounds like human cloning? What if the robots get too intelligent and decides to wipe us all out? Inventions made for our convenience has turned inconvenient. But that’s another story. Right now, let’s just keep dreaming of those pretty anime maids… Oh great. It sounded like I have developed maid fetish.
 
Hand Maid May

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