Warning. This anime contains lewdness and dirty jokes bad enough to make you horny. If you can’t stomach all that or fear you will fall into a life of depravity, walk away now while you still can. Otherwise if you are a pervert just like everyone else, stay tuned and be charmed of all the fun and exciting obscenity we will get from Shimoneta To Iu Gainen Ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu Na Sekai! What? That name too long for you to pronounce like as though it is a dirty word? Yeah… Ah yes. How can you make a dirty anime without resorting to over the top cliché fanservice and bordering hentai? This series is your answer. Imagine a nation so clean and pure that no obscene things or acts are allowed. I know. Horror! It is like a horror version to a pervy. Where would all the fun and excitement be when we have society that doesn’t or rather in this case not allowed to spew dirty words, see a bit of Playboy or read your BL manga, what more play an eroge. Freaking boring world, right? Can you imagine the internet free of porn?! What?! No porn on the internet ever?! IT IS INSANE! UNTHINKABLE!!! That is why we have naughty terrorists to break this strict uptight mindset from seemingly pure and upright authorities to open the people’s eyes to the exhilaration of sex and dirty jokes! Oh, come free our restricted minds… And libido!

Episode 1
A group of guys are illegal looking at smut. They are careless to say the forbidden words as the alarm goes off and a group of SWAT people as well as the PMC squad quickly barge in to apprehend them and burn all the porn! As narrated, it has been 10 years since Japan eradicated porn and has become the most pristine public morals in the world. Under the Public Morals and Education Act, people are made to lead wholesome lives as people are made to wear the Peace Maker (PM) terminals around their neck that prevents them from saying indecent words. Tanukichi Okuma is on his way to school when he catches a glimpse of a woman accusing this gorilla guy of molesting her. Tanukichi takes the lady off the train and he finds out she was trying to make a fast buck with the accusation. Not pleased, she then reports Tanukichi of trying to harass her. He is surrounded by the PMC squad when this ‘terrorist’, Blue Tundra starts spouting indecent words and scatters sexy female pictures. Either they run from hearing the indecency or they pick up and admire the picture. She gives the PMC squad the runabout to let Tanukichi escape. He is able to make it to Tokioka Academy, supposedly the most virtuous school in Japan because of his admiration for Anna Nishikinomiya who is the school’s student council president. While admiring a video of her speech, Hyouka Fuwa pops up to ask him about how babies are made! She thinks he knows the answer because he came from a school with the most awful moral ranking. I’m sure he could give her a textbook answer but she believes the truth is something deeper. No pun intended.

He is taken away by Ayame Kajou, the student council vice president to see Anna (that gorilla guy turns out to be the secretary-treasurer, Raiki Gouriki). She offers him to join the student council body to protect the school’s morality. Of course he jumps in but why him? As he is not so morally uptight, it makes him the perfect candidate. As we all know, Blue Tundra is currently running amok with her perverted terrorism. Thing is, they believe she is a student in their academy! The reason they are slow in responding is because they lack any knowledge about perversion. After Tanukichi pledges his loyalty to follow her path, Ayame takes him away to her cafe. She lets loose her hair and glasses and reveals a very much different character. Tanukichi instantly recognizes her when she puts panties on her face. She is Blue Tundra! He wants to report her but she won’t let him. She knows he is the son of that naughty terrorist, Zenjuurou but Tanukichi decides to leave that dirty life after he met Anna. Ayame kidnaps him and wants him to join her organization, SOX. She is able to say indecent words without raising any alarm because of this handphone device that allows her to do so for 3 minutes daily. It was created by her father, Masashi Endou, a politician who was framed for sexually harassing a high school girl. But she knows it was all a lie to frame him as he was one of those who opposed the act. Why? Because daddy is into MILFs!!! If Tanukichi won’t join her, she can make a report that will arrest him for indecency. He can’t take her down with him because she is best friends with Anna and you know what will happen to her reputation if her cover is blown, right?

Next day, Tanukichi gets kidnapped by Fuwa in her lab. She shows him her specimen of flies making out and asking him questions about it. He manages to escape. Though, he hears how misinformed the school is when it comes to the reproduction system. Yeah, it is so silly that it makes you wonder if Japan is that dumb. Ayame tells him this is the morality the school is proud of. She laments no matter the indecent pictures she circulates, they continue to stay misinformed. Tanukichi asks about seeking Fuwa’s help but refuses to seek cooperation from that crazy woman. When Tanukichi mentions about that fly sex, she gets an idea. During the general assembly, Blue Tundra strikes. Students pick up sex female pictures. They are confused. Tanukichi acts as Blue Tundra as diversion to draw the student council out. That is when Ayame shows footage of flies having sex while making erotic sex sounds over the microphone! The students give in to their natural instinct and feel the hot sensation burning inside. Did they all faint from the passion? Tanukichi can’t believe he is doing something to deceive the girl he admires but can’t help it feels good too.

Episode 2
Ayame is happy with the results of the flies ‘combining’ movie although Tanukichi is not too pleased especially Ayame is spewing lots of indecent words. It is a different for Anna and Gouriki. They lament their failure and all Tanukichi can do is keep quiet and feel guilty about it. Gouriki is not pleased with Tanukichi as the son of that terrorist. Anna reveals Gouriki wanted to gather more info on him and reveal his true colours but instead get caught up in that train situation. Tanukichi admits he is Zenjuurou’s son and naturally that guy being a guy is dirty minded. He is one of those against the act. After he was arrested, Tanukichi garnered an infamous reputation as his son and was ostracized. He began to hate everything and his father. But it was at a day-care where he met Anna. Only she accepted him for who he was and that is why he vowed to become a person with a heart as pure as hers. Despite the touching story, SOX operations will still continue. Ayame has Tanukichi head to a secret location in the mountains to collect hidden porn magazines. A narration tells us how Japan burnt all print media on porn as well as the government took successful measure to even block porn on all digital media. Wow. This is much worse than the Great Firewall of China. Ayame’s plan is to place such raunchy pictures from the magazines at strategic places but it made no impact. Further explanation reveals that the PM can track your hand motions. So it means if you are drawing porn and even fapping, the alert will sound! OMG! So freaking hi-tech?! Indeed obscenity is worse than murder. To Tanukichi’s dismay, he spots a raunchy picture in Anna’s office! She thought it was just a harmless picture of a girl licking a mushroom between her boobs! This is how misguided the school is. Once Tanukichi tells what it really is, the picture is immediately burnt. Anna notices Ayame and Tanukichi quite close and teases Ayame. Ayame didn’t like it and wants to tie her up but Gouriki restrains her. Anna thanks Tanukichi that ever since he joined the body, the student council has become a lot cheerful.

Anna’s words give Tanukichi great motivation to stop his foolishness. But Ayame warns him about the passing of another law called H Prohibition Act by Anna’s mom, Sophia. This law mandates that every PM wearer is under full surveillance and recorded. As this will also stop the spread of information on how reproduction works, Ayame fears the next generation will be full of airheads not knowing what real reproduction is about. Well, I think it’s already here. So Ayame plans her next SOX operation of disseminating sex education via health examination. First, Ayame writes a fake note from Blue Tundra to Anna and Gouriki that she will be striking and stealing urine samples. After taking the bait, Tanukichi disguised as Blue Tundra and in that fake falsetto is tasked in teaching a group of students about sexual reproduction via putting up a fake eye examination. He has boys and girls take turns to spell out the answers to the sexual reproductive organs by reading the words he points out on a board. A clever move seeing in this way the PM cannot pick up indecent words of the individual. But that is short-lived since Anna and Gouriki found out about this diversion and returned. Tanukichi makes a run and now knows what Ayame meant when Anna won’t give up when she is serious. She is right hot on his heels. Trapped and hiding at the rooftop, Ayame saves Tanukichi as she turns up as the real Blue Tundra on the opposite building and has seemingly stolen the loot. After they go off to chase her, Tanukichi heaves a sigh of relief and takes off his disguise. Unknowingly somebody saw this…

Episode 3
Anna discuses about the fake urine samples and Blue Tundra’s motive has got something to do with the eye examination chart. Even more baffling when the students were questioned, they said this word “Vagin” (Tanukichi couldn’t finish his lesson when he was forced to flee). During the assembly to award Otome Saotome for a winning entry painting, she tears up the certificate in front of everyone! As Fuwa bugs Tanukichi about those urine samples as reproduction potentials, he is put on a leash and taken away by Saotome. She is going to make him her pet and he will do everything she says or she will blow his cover as Blue Tundra. She saw it… Ayame accidentally enters the room and sees this dominatrix play and runs away screaming. Saotome claims Ayame is her rival in love and needs his help to woo the affections of her beloved. Before she could finish, she is taken away by Gouriki. Later Ayame talks to Tanukichi that she has her eye on Saotome for a while. Her great artistic skills means she is a good porn illustrator and wants Tanukichi to teach her about smut and then get her join SOX. In exchange, Ayame promises to work some magic for him and Anna. He assures his intentions with Anna are pure but Ayame just keep inserting dirty jokes. Ayame then reveals something has been bugging Anna lately. She is being stalked. Her locker is full of creepy letters and pictures. But Ayame wants him to concentrate of Saotome while she handles Anna’s case. Tanukichi thought Ayame was just pretending to be Anna’s best friend and now believes so. Ayame recounts how Anna was there when Ayame was seething she couldn’t talk dirty anymore. It is thanks to Anna that Ayame is able to barely fit into society today. Unfortunately she didn’t learn a thing good from her since her mind is still in the perverted gutter.

Tanukichi talks to Saotome about trying to help her get closer to her love. Saotome suggests saying their love interests at the same time. Tanukichi is distracted by a message so Saotome thought she cheated on him because she said aloud Anna is her love! So she is the stalker?! She threatens to report him so Tanukichi has to reply fast. He can’t say Anna’s name or it will make things more complicated. Instead, he says Ayame’s name. Saotome is happy and will also help him in his love. Everyone will be happy in the end. Considering she knows his identity, why is she helping an enemy of Anna? She notices each time Anna is chasing down Blue Tundra, her face looks happy. It is like they’re playing a game. Anna is jumpy and Gouriki wants to blame Tanukichi as the culprit although Anna believes he would not do such a thing. Later Ayame tells Tanukichi that Gouriki likes Anna, the reason he is protective of her. Ayame tells her plan to catch the stalker. She will cross-dressed as a boy and pretend to date Anna to lure the stalker out. Gouriki would like to volunteer but his size would only scare away the stalker. Tanukichi tells Saotome about this and she too has a plan. Because she will make him dress up as a girl and be the stalker! Sh*t just hit the fan, right? At the park as the duo hide behind the bushes to spy on Anna and Ayame, suddenly Saotome becomes hot in passion. She cannot stop drawing Anna. Looks good. Nothing wrong with it. But why is she not happy? She reveals she has never used anybody as her art model. Everything comes from her imagination. When she first saw Anna, she wanted to capture her on her canvas but always felt something was missing. She thought if she became romantically involved, she would find the answer. She knows her pathetic attempt is a nuisance but she is nothing without her art. Gouriki spots them and can’t believe Tanukichi as a girl. Then the real stalker pops up to attack Ayame. Easily taken care of. But there are more jealous chubby stalkers waiting to unleash their fury! Tanukichi goes into action and in all that helter-skelter, he takes a blow to the head. He falls on top of Anna and their lips met. Tanukichi is embarrassed but collapses from the head wound. Meanwhile Anna is in a daze. This feeling burning inside her… She likes it!

Episode 4
Tanukichi recuperates in hospital as Fuwa sneaks in to bug him from what I understand is about gay sex! Because Gouriki is now closer to Tanukichi to show his appreciation for that stalker incident. Tanukichi laments that Anna has not visited him and believes she is mad over that accidental kiss. Fuwa then explains how Anna has increased her operations in eradicating obscenities at Tokioka like sudden spot checks without warning. Maybe she is mad. Ayame updates Tanukichi that she is teaching Saotome porn and is proceeding well. Although she is hooked, it is not enough for her and she wants someone to act it out for her! When Tanukichi talks to Saotome, she is partly responsible for keeping Anna away because she became her model. However she noticed that Anna had this never-seen-before expression. Yup, she’s definitely mad. Even when Tanukichi returns, Anna avoids him and ironically it is Gouriki who pays attention. Later Tanukichi meets up with Ayame and Saotome for another erotic operation. She believes there is a very huge hidden stash of hardcore porn not found by the PMC squad. Yatsugamori Forest is a private property owned by the late erotica author, Danroku Onigashira. His grandson, Keisuke is now following his footsteps since it is lately discovered grandpa left a will containing this porn stash to him. However info was leaked and the PMC squad wanted to raid his place. He managed to give an excuse to buy time but in 3 weeks, the raid will begin. Until then, surveillance around Yatsugamori is tight. Because SOX lacks the manpower and definitely will be caught if tried to sneak in, what if a group of virgins unknowingly wander into the place and found the porn stash? That’s right. Ayame plans to let the innocent students of Tokioka find the stash for them.

Tanukichi is supposed to hide information about Yatsugamori all over Tokioka but he couldn’t. Apparently he has his own stalker leaving stash of letters and get this, drool! Yikes! Sophia is at Tokioka to advocate the H Prohibition Act. Its highlight includes a new PM device which is definitely a chastity belt. To hasten the passing of the bill, she wants all students to sign and support it this Sunday at 10am. This is bad news to Ayame since that time is when the grace period for Yatsugamori expires. Ayame needs to quickly increase the students’ curiosity towards porn or else this mission would fail so she has Saotome live in Tanukichi’s closet to observe his dirty habits and awaken her inner porn illustrator. Will he? Deep in the night, Tanukichi hears someone coming in. Suddenly he is tied up! That voice… ANNA?! So she is the stalker? Using her panties as his blindfold, she proceeds to strip naked as she plays out her kinky sex fetish over his body! YEOW!!! She gets even more passionate upon knowing about his manhood. Ayame walks in to see this shocking development. Anna didn’t freak out. She is feeling both blissful and shameful as she makes her cool exit. Saotome saw it all and is inspired to draw porn. If she can’t use her hands, she’ll use her mouth! Ironically, Ayame who always make dirty jokes is shocked at the sight of Tanukichi’s manhood. First time seeing the real deal? Anna walks home blissfully, leaving behind a trail of drool… Scary… When she reaches home, she is confronted by Fuwa who wants answers about her extreme cleansing because it seems her lab is cleansed out too. Anna believes strengthening her enforcement will make her love grow stronger. The idea of being the best in everything will have someone notice her and thus somebody will love her. So Fuwa’s flies were sacrificed for her selfish desires? How is that appropriate conduct as she mentioned? Repressing obscenities is appropriate by default. And as they say true love prevails, all actions born from love are fair and just. Therefore the more she preaches this, the more he will love her. I thought she was just an awakened pervert but she’s really crazy…

Episode 5
Tanukichi is in denial and refuses to acknowledge about Anna last night. But Saotome has proof. Here’s her panties she left behind! Living nightmare! He thinks Anna acting normal towards him means she too thinks it is a dream. But when he realizes the cookies she made for him include her nectar of love (the ‘drool’ that comes out from her vagina!!!!!!!!!), that is where it goes downhill. Anna even becomes a yandere, holding a pair of scissors to Ayame’s neck, thinking she is quite close to Tanukichi and why was she there at his place last night? Asking for her advice? Yeah, we’ll go with that. Wow. This girl is scary! For the next few days, Anna becomes Tanukichi’s stalker. She chases him everywhere just to let him taste her love nectar! And when he gives her the slip by going through her legs, another strange sensation as she wants to taste his nectar of love!!! The ‘love’ chase continues… At this rate, the Yatsugamori plan is doomed to fail. Even more so when Sophia and the PMC squad have discovered all the hidden maps and erotic pictures in school. Ayame won’t lose so she and Tanukichi head there themselves. She is going to fight alone but then to their surprise, the entire Tokioka students are here. How? They are being led by Fuwa who has distributed those pictures to them. This means there is nobody at school to sign the petition. When being stopped by the PMC squad at Yatsugamori, Fuwa signals the girls for their next plan. They pleas to the PMC squad that they are on their side to capture the pervy boys. The boys feel betrayed as the PMC squad try to chase and arrest them. But their sacrifice won’t be in vain because it is just a distraction so the girls could go look for the hidden stash. This motivates Ayame to do her part as she dresses up as Blue Tundra. However Anna is here and she is hell bent in capturing Blue Tundra so that Tanukichi will love her more. Ayame suggests the split up since Anna is after her. Also, she feels bad that she forced him into SOX.

Tanukichi is pushed off a cliff as he rolls into a cave. This is where all the hidden hardcore porn is stashed. Hearing Blue Tundra’s scream, Tanukichi is in a dilemma to save her because he can be free from all this if he lets her be. Then he spots a briefcase containing something risqué. Before Anna can unmask Blue Tundra here comes Tanukichi dressed in a weird dominatrix outfit. He claims to be Blue Tundra’s accomplice named, uhm, TBA? Anna will capture both of them but when she gets close to TBA, she becomes confused. Her heart beats faster and could feel the hot passion within burning inside. She thought such feelings are reserved only for Tanukichi. She weakens as she cannot believe that everything about TBA is exactly like Tanukichi (right down to his bulge!). She can’t believe her body reacts to make her spill her love nectar. She escapes by jumping off a cliff! Don’t worry. She’ll survive. With the porn stash found and Fuwa getting lots of ‘combining’ flies, they leave before the PMC squad returns. Tanukichi gets the unlikeliest praise he never want to hear from a person like Ayame: He is the craziest person she has ever met! Despite the operation success, this didn’t dampen Sophia’s plan as Tokioka is one of the many places to sign the petition. She holds a conference to show boxes of signatures from petitions from all over the nation. However everyone is shocked when all the papers turn out to be obscene illustrations! It’s broadcasting live over TV!!! As narrated, SOX switched some of the petition boxes with the drawings and burned the former. Because Sophia showed obscene illustrations on air, she got into trouble and was forced to shelve the H Prohibition Act for now.

Episode 6
Although the guys are turned on by erotic pictures, they still don’t know what to do. That is why Ayame’s next plan is to make sex toys! Well, there aren’t any sex toy stores around, right? Ayame and Saotome will make the toys and yes, Tanukichi will test them! I find it ironic that Ayame mainly wants to make sex toys that will pleasure boys but for girls she is satisfied for them to look at Saotome’s drawings. What about boys and girls doing it for real? She calls it sexual harassment?! With lots of censored dirty words, lots of rebuking from Tanukichi (because the dangerous sex toys might just ruin his ‘little brother’), they finished creating a vibrator. Leaving it as a free ‘health and beauty’ product for others to take, Tanukichi is tasked to seek Fuwa’s help to make a controller for it. She is interested in how the device works but as payment in accepting his job, she wants him to show his ‘hose’ in ‘battle pose’! That is when Anna comes in and sees them together. Her yandere feature kicks in thinking he is cheating on her. He lies his way that he was seeking Fuwa’s advice on a good gift for her. She takes the pill-shaped vibrator and believes this is his present. Thinking it is some kind of charm stone, she’ll treasure it and make it into a pendant. Meanwhile the other vibrator they created broke because of Ayame’s incessant testing. Using it on a radish?

When Anna calls Tanukichi and Ayame for some student council work, Tanukichi accidentally switches on the remote. Anna goes into ecstasy. Oh, the remote is spoiled and can’t be turned off. Ayame gets the wrong idea this is all part of his perverted plan and runs away. With Anna burning with passion, Tanukichi quickly runs away. He hopes Fuwa could help fix it. She can’t do anything as the vibrator is not with her. Oh, the strength dial is functioning properly. Anna is getting more intense… He runs away and bumps into Saotome. He seeks her help but she clearly is giving away his position. Why? Because she wants to see Tanukichi and Anna ‘combine’ for real! With Anna hunting him down furiously, Tanukichi tries to leave school but is caught by Gouriki. He was ordered to bring him back to the office. Darn. Didn’t Gouriki notice something strange about Anna? Like her boobs vibrating like mad?! Nope. Nothing wrong. Sex amateur! Not that Anna is alone with him, she is going to get all steamy and horny. His predicament gets worse as she touches his crotch and her vibrating boobs are now on them too! Any second now… So intense the vibrating that it rips her shirt and bra! Then the vibrator overheats and malfunctions. Safe… Anna feels bad for not taking care of it. The next day she pleads for him to give another one and promises to take care of it. Tanukichi seeks Ayame’s help but she clearly ignores him. He can’t ask for Fuwa’s help since he is already in her debt. Anna gets jealous Tanukichi is paying more attention to Ayame. And when Saotome pops up to just tell them off to ‘combine’, Anna blows her top thinking he has more girls and strangles him! Somebody just kill him…

Episode 7
A SOX copycat strikes, leaving a large montage made out of panties. Kosuri is causing her mischief to the PMC squad by throwing yogurt filled balloons. She even has a group of cross-dressing middle aged men to help with her mischief! This part of Kosuri’s plan in hopes she will meet SOX. Ayame has met with the big 4 naughty terrorism organizations: A Snack On Buttocks, Absolute Territory, Mammalians and Bacon Lettuce Mothers’ Society to share and exchange porn stash. Hey, you should expect weird names from naughty terrorists, right? Thanks to the wide spread of their efforts of porn and Saotome’s increased quality, the understanding of sex has deepened. Ayame gets the wrong idea that Gouriki and Tanukichi are gay because they spend more time together! It doesn’t help when Gouriki is being unknowingly ambiguous with his words. But Tanukichi prefers to spend more time with him because it keeps Anna away. Then there are underwear stealing incidents all over the city. Not only females but males’ underwear too. Also, the messages left at the scene state they were inspired by SOX. So Anna orders higher surveillance around the changing rooms. While Tanukichi watches outside one, here comes Anna to sexually harass him! Pinning him down and biting off his zipper, she wants to feel his manhood! She even spills her love nectar all over his face! Thankfully Tanukichi didn’t get raped as Gouriki returns to report. And Saotome saw all that and made a perfect erotic sketch. Tanukichi goes to see Ayame cornering Fuwa. She believes she is the panty thief but Tanukichi uncovers the thing she is hiding: A BL magazine! Furthermore, it is Tanukichi x Gouriki!!! WTF?! Definitely Ayame and Saotome had a hand in this. They noticed how more girls noted their hearts went tight seeing Tanukichi and Gouriki together and tried their hands at this new fantasy. It was a hit that there are already 10 volumes!!! When a group of panty thieves consisting of boys and girls are caught, a large broadcast is made by this creepy guy. A high level pervert, if you ask me. He is White Climax and leader of the SOX inspired, Moist Throng. Their goal is to oppose the government’s actions by liberating underwear.

Apparently Ayame is not too please having Moist Throng considering themselves as SOX’s allies. Although it makes them bad guys, this doesn’t bother her except for the fact that Moist Throng resorts to petty crimes like stealing underwear whereas SOX just wants to educate the people on sex and talk dirty. Not to say that is noble either. Tanukichi didn’t think deep enough since they are terrorists and it is right they are labelled as bad. But what he fails to understand if that if the people lose their trust in SOX, it will hinder their efforts to spread sex education. Later that night, Tanukichi saves Kosuri who is being chased by the PMC squad. Hiding in an alley, Fuwa happened to be here and thinks he is a lolicon. She is here as she heard this is where she could get that secret BL copy he confiscated! He is forced to let the BL issue slide if she helps them escape. Safely away, when Kosuri knocks out an ally looking for her (and disappointed to find out her true goal), she is going to do the same to Tanukichi. She reveals her purpose of coming here is to join SOX. At first she doesn’t believe him but after showing the erotic drawings in his hand, she does. He brings her to Ayame who is not too impressed for a suspicious girl like her to join. They find out Kosuri is Keisuke’s only daughter. Although he sides with the terrorists, she claims her dad is a wuss as all he does is sucks up to the PMC squad. Ayame is still not convinced so she takes out lots of weapons that she thinks will come in handy to drive away PMC squads. This makes Ayame believe why their ideals are different. Kosuri will do anything but that is what makes her even less trustworthy. Because Ayame seems to hint she has been faking everything since the start. Kosuri explains the weapons are from her dad for self protection as she has a habit of barking up the wrong tree and getting into trouble. Thus she hoped to come here to find SOX and a place to belong. Ayame reluctantly accepts her since Kosuri’s arrest would hamper Keisuke’s support of all naughty terrorists and their existence. All Tanukichi knows is that he has another sick weirdo to deal with.

Episode 8
Tanukichi wakes up to find Kosuri sleeping next to him. That is the least of his problems because Anna has been standing there all night watching them! OH SH*T! YANDERE MODE! He is forced to lie Kosuri is his hidden sister, an illegitimate child of his father. He manages to get Kosuri to act the part. Anna backs down when Kosuri mentions Anna as the girl who is close to onii-chan. Yeah, no need to vanish from Anna’s life… But if Kosuri thinks she can continue hugging onii-chan, Anna’s body moves by herself as you see her carve out the floor around Kosuri’s body and let her fall under! Scary! Then there is this worry that Gouriki might have turned gay since he is here to personally pick up Tanukichi for a student council job. Because they haven’t been spending lots of time together… It only further fuels Saotome’s creativity… Anna introduces her student council members to Oboro Tsukimigusa. She will be here as the disciplinary officer. She is an expert on obscene subjects, the rest observe her in confiscating ordinary objects because they have the potential to become obscene. From tug of war ropes to netball net to even ping pong balls! OMG! Isn’t everything lewd then? When Fuwa bugs Tsukimigusa about the gay manga, she confiscates it. But she returns it when Fuwa describes it is not by changing her words. When Tanukichi confirms it is indeed obscenity, she confiscates it. Fuwa then disagrees and describes how it is not. Again she declassifies it as porn. Man, she is like a robot! No wonder Tanukichi didn’t see her as a threat. Ayame discusses with Tanukichi and Kosuri about their next plan to infiltrate another high moral school, Zoushigaoka Academy to spread their knowledge. But Kosuri goes in alone herself to recon the school so that they will have a better idea of the place.

Fidgety Anna has Tsukimigusa bring boxes of things the latter considered as obscene. She is seeking Tanukichi’s second opinion. Toilet roles? WTF. Not obscene. Anna is relieved because now she can go to toilet in peace and has been holding it ever since. A group of disciplinary members is chasing down a Moist Throng guy. Anna successfully gives him a roundhouse kick and only furthers to increase her discomfort. She quickly introduces the disciplinary squad committee (clones?) she has assembled before running off to answer the call of the nature. Kosuri returns after 3 days and managed to get a detailed blueprint of Zoushigaoka. She has also hid the footage of the flies ‘combining’ in the broadcast system that can be played anytime. Later Tanukichi is shocked that Kosuri starts treating him like a slave. She claims her blueprint has made her useful in SOX and reveals the tactic she used. Zoushigaoka’s student council consists of 3 males and 2 females. She used her little sister charm to seduce the 2 males who are in love with their respective female counterparts. Then she got close to those girls and became best friends and made them realize they are in love with those guys. When they confessed, they never stood a chance because the guys were deeply in love with Kosuri. This made them feel guilty for rejecting their original love. With the awkwardness between them, Kosuri homed in on the 3rd guy and got what she wanted as he is now her puppet. Tanukichi believes she has crossed the line. Ayame will never stoop to cruel methods to hurt others. But Kosuri knows Tanukichi can’t report this to Ayame because he is a wuss. She also thinks he loves Ayame, which makes it hard for him to talk. As added penalty, Kosuri wants him to lick her foot. Ayame is worried with the increased patrol of the disciplinary committee. They are aggressively taking away all materials that are obscene and if this method proves to be effective, other school might adopt it. This is dangerous because if you teach them to identify what is obscene, they will turn into enforcers (currently only PMC squad and teachers do the surveillance). Ayame declares war on the disciplinary committee and also has to deal with Moist Throng before they do something dangerous. She has a plan but it is risky.

Episode 9
Part of SOX’s sex crusade is to use Tanukichi’s underwear as bait?! Apparently something about the musty smell that would attract Moist Throng members. The team is split into 2 with Kosuri and Saotome hiding dirty pictures over the school grounds, Blue Tundra scattering porn magazines throughout school as distraction for the disciplinary committee so that Tanukichi could wait and catch Moist Throng members. Kosuri doesn’t like this plan well as she is not paired with Ayame as she hoped for. The plan goes well and Tanukichi thought he caught a Moist Throng member. But it turns out to be Anna! She got attracted by his underwear’s smell and believes he put it up as her reward for all her hard work. Before Anna could release her love nectar all over his face, he tells her the true goal of displaying his underwear. Disappointed? She refuses to give it back and continues smelling them! Tsukimigusa has only been standing there watching because she was given orders by Anna’s father, Matsukage to prioritize Anna’s orders. Even with all provision explanation, in short, as long Anna does obscenities, her actions will be overlooked but if Tanukichi does any obscenity on her, he will be apprehended. A couple of Moist Thong members steal Tanukichi’s underwear. Anna becomes mad and makes it top priority to chase them down to the end of the Earth! Kosuri is not pleased that Tanukichi has his underwear stolen but Ayame approves of it because it is part of the plan. Because now they can use this to keep Anna preoccupied. Saotome gets an unexpected tickling punishment because she was drawing her lewd pictures during the operation instead of helping Kosuri. How does Ayame know? Kosuri ratted her out. Ayame discusses the next plan to capture Moist Throng members by hiding Saotome’s panties while Blue Tundra causes her usual distraction.

While TBA catches many Moist Throng members in the act, Kosuri approaches Fuwa for help. The latter can tell from her actions that she is trying to use her charm her target. When the lights go out because of the fire alarm, TBA catches another Moist Throng member and proceeds to do his dick stepping move. When the lights come back on, he is shocked to see it is Tsukimigusa and he is a boy!!!!!!!! Apparently Matsukage ordered him to cross-dress as a girl because it makes it easier to investigate male and female areas. Also, if he was a boy and by Anna’s side, he might develop indecent feelings for her. Tanukichi believes he is stripped of his identity and although Tsukimigusa dismisses that he has one, it sounds like a sad take that makes him sound like a robot, accepting whatever role that he will gladly be when asked to. Anna comes in to check and sees the ‘fake Tanukichi’. A showdown is on the cards but TBA throws his underwear for his escape. As good as the original, right? Kosuri brags she was useful to SOX and sought Fuwa’s help to send Moist Throng members. Though, she had intended to have her obstruct the disciplinary committee but since she wouldn’t, Kosuri personally released the sprinklers. So all that was her doing? Kosuri is shocked that Ayame disapproves of her methods. She thought she had worked hard to get her approval. Ayame explains that by contacting Fuwa, she has established a link between SOX and regular students. Whatever actions they do will work against them. She reminds about SOX’s mission is not to destroy the PMC squad, hurt he disciplinary committee nor stop Anna from becoming a mess. Kosuri feels disappointed. Because it looks like SOX is just like her wuss father sucking up to the enemy. But SOX gets an underwear message to meet at the park. They can’t believe they are seeing White Climax in the flesh.

Episode 10
White Climax wants to negotiate but since they have differing views on panty smells and Blue Tundra is not impressed with him using Moist Throng as a front to steal panties for his fetish, the negotiation is off. White Climax vows to destroy this world and drown it in a sea of panties and will endanger himself to punish society. Tanukichi takes a bus to school and meets Gouriki too. It seems the train system is taken out and it is believed to be the work of Moist Throng. Looks like they have become serious. Tanukichi gets a warning call too late from Ayame not to take the bus because Moist Throng members have hijacked 42 of them and he is on one of them. Their goal is to collect all the passengers’ lingerie. White Climax makes his broadcast that they support SOX’s perversion and seek a world where unique panties can be acquired by everyone. Thus bus Fuwa is on, she is not afraid of the hijacker since she can tell the gun is fake from her movements. She is bombarding the hijacker with questions regarding links with panties and pregnancies but the crowd tackles the hijacker. Unwillingly Fuwa becomes a hero although all she wanted was just to ask questions. On the bus Anna is on, she is fidgety because she has been smelling Tanukichi’s underwear for some time. She starts thinking if Tanukichi is avoiding her because she still lacks righteousness. When the hijacker approaches her, she mercilessly beats him up and believes this is what she must do to win his heart just like before. On Tanukichi’s bus, the hijacker collects a bag of Tanukichi’s underwear! He bundled them together like this to stop Anna from stealing and lies about his fetish of smelling them. The last thing he needs to hear is how the hijacker comments him as crazy. But Gouriki accepts Tanukichi’s for who he is. Why? Because he himself is wearing female’s lingerie! OMG! So hideous (and funny) that the hijacker and passengers vomit!!!! OMFG!!! Well, that saved the day.

As Tanukichi and Ayame meet up, they discuss the information that they have on White Climax and they know his identity is Takuma Ichinose. Their plan is to capture him themselves and can’t rely on the PMC to do it because they won’t recklessly risk the lives of the passengers as it is rumoured one of the guns is real. Since 39 buses are still being hijacked, Fuwa is being taken around to identify if the hijacker’s gun is real. So once the real gun is found, the PMC squad will act and that is why SOX must get to White Climax first. How do they find the bus White Climax is on? With Kosuri’s help of finding unique smelling panties, White Climax’s bus follows the bait. When he alights, TBA enters and tries to quickly close the door but White Climax has finished his business and came back on. He knows this was a trap but still had to go for it since they gathered so many panties for him. TBA is not cowed if his gun is real as he knows he can’t shoot because the panties on his head are covered with the smell of another girl. But he can still beat him up. TBA is not amused when White Climax badmouths Blue Tundra. Cue for her to bust in. He claims the panties on her head are clean till she reveals she soaked them in her own smell from last night. She just took them off and wore them. Caught off guard, this allows TBA to pin him down and reveal his gun to be fake. Blue Tundra then discloses the flaw of his delusion that he considers panties worthy if they smell of someone else’s. That is his downfall. Blue Tundra then makes an announcement they have captured White Climax and wants to go somewhere to negotiate with the authorities. Suddenly somebody pushes her out of the bus and she is forced to run. TBA is shocked that Kosuri did this. Looks like she has betrayed SOX and wants to join Moist Throng. She views their organization goal to wage war on this stupid world suits her better.

Episode 11
Kosuri forces TBA off the bus too. With White Climax, their next destination is Zoushigaoka. Tanukichi is hiding from authorities when he bumps into Fuwa who shows him the news. Moist Throng has taken Zoushigaoka hostage and are demanding new clean panties to be delivered to them or they will post pictures of the hostages wearing underwear on their heads. It seems their plan is to have them wear the underwear to imbue their scent and then take them off and farm new ones. Tanukichi contacts Ayame about the developments. But she paints a bleak picture they can’t do anything since Moist Throng has weapons. Furthermore, the lack manpower. This has Tanukichi ponder the truth about his dad’s words that they are powerless especially smart fools who proudly proclaims their righteousness. But Fuwa dismisses it because they get drunk on their own righteousness and will fall into insanity. She gives Anna as an example. She will do anything that is deemed righteous and even kill for justice. Sooner or later she is doomed to fail. This gives Tanukichi an idea for a plan although it is cowardly and risky. Kosuri tells White Climax her plan about escaping Japan and bring back foreigners to help with their cause but he seems to be more interested in frolicking in the used panties. He scoffs off her revolution as wasted labours as nothing would change. Kosuri feels she has been tricked and tries to taser him but gets shocked herself because he is covered with the sweat of the panties and is absorbent. Too wet to be hurt? Huh? I thought water and electricity don’t mix? The authorities want to move in since they have confirmed all guns are fake. But Matsukage wants to wait a little longer and let those terrorists play the devil a little longer. The more they use perversion as a weapon, the more evil they look and this will make their push for H Prohibition Act easier. Saotome contacts Tanukichi and Ayame. Thanks to her surreal drawing, the guards are fooled by the optical illusion of the hostages when they are safely away on another floor. She too has another plan.

While tied up Kosuri regrets her actions, Blue Tundra and TBA crash into Zoushigaoka. White Climax is confident their numbers can defeat them. But here comes Anna with her kung fu fighting. She has brought along her disciplinary committee to fight too. Apparently TBA went to seek Anna’s help to cooperate with SOX with the pretence of getting back Tanukichi’s stolen underwear. So is this why TBA is seen scrubbing his crotch and armpits to hide his smell? You better scrub it clean! As the hostages escape, some Moist Throng members stop them but Saotome throws panties at them. They are just drawings but they can’t help love it since it has got the unique smell. Proof that 2D trumps 3D? White Climax is left and he unleashes his taser dick as his ultimate weapon?! Tsukimigusa and Kosuri (fresh from freeing herself) bump into his dick and make it swollen! TBA hints to hit his other weakness: Nipples! With that, Blue Tundra and Anna flying kick him out the window and into the authorities’ arrest. Anna then goes off to find Tanukichi’s underwear… Blue Tundra then makes her announcement of defeating Moist Throng. She continues by saying she wants to become a dirty joke and explains the concept of considering it as evil is just wrong as well as the excitement and thrill of lewd stuffs. Authorities cannot cut this broadcast since it is being transmitted via Keisuke’s station. Blue Tundra and TBA fly away in their hot air balloon. She thanks him for being the way he is and confesses she likes him. As much as a dirty joke. Is that sarcasm? Tanukichi gets serious in asking who his real self is but she tells him he shouldn’t get the answer for others and find it himself. Now Ayame has a pesky bug on her side. Repented Kosuri has devoted herself to be her slave forever and is sucking up hard to her.

Episode 12
SOX is shocked to receive an invitation from Sophia to Nukumi which was previously a hotspring district. They are not sure if she has discovered their identity. Tanukichi remembers his dad telling him that if he were to go there one day, take this steering wheel. And the girls are hoping it would have something very lewd to do with it. There, SOX is shock to see Gouriki who couldn’t be happier to see Tanukichi. Tanukichi shouldn’t be too happy because Anna is here too! Between the devil and the deep blue sea…Apparently they have got an invitation from Sophia too. They wait for her but she didn’t show up so they decided to take a bath. You know Tanukichi’s chastity is in danger when Anna sends Gouriki on another wild goose chase so she can sneak into the men’s section to exchange love nectar! 69 position?! Thankfully before that could happen, they hear Sophia’s scream and find her body passed out nearby. They find out she has an invitation from Anna but she clearly did not send this. A trap? The perpetrator shows himself. A black version of White Climax? He is Black Base and has a fetish for black lingerie. He is glad all the players have gathered and escapes. Worse, they realize their clothes have been stolen and replaced by only black lingerie. When they finally confront him, he is in possession of the wheel. He claims this is the key to open a treasure trove. Treasure of lewd stuffs? He suggests a duel in the form of strip rock-scissors-paper. The loser will strip a piece until there is no more. Hardly fair since this guy is wearing many pieces of black lingerie. The first to face him is the shy and newly recruit of the disciplinary committee, Binkan. She wins and when he takes off a slab from his chest, she couldn’t take it anymore and runs away. Oh, she quits the committee too. Next is Gouriki. Tanukichi has an idea when he loses and wants Ayame to close her eyes. When he loses and strips, Black Base sees his lingerie beneath and vomits!!! Tanukichi takes this chance to steal back the wheel. Tanukichi and Ayame make a run for it while everyone else hold back Black Base.

As they look around, they stumble upon Fuwa looking for unique insects. She thinks they are looking for a cable car because there is one dilapidated right over there. She helps switch on the power to let the duo ride up the hill. Inside the ruins, they realize the destruction was left behind by the PMC squad. Then they notice a very clean mannequin like as though somebody maintained it ever since. Noticing a screw, it fits the wheel. They turn but have no strength. Saotome and Kosuri arrive in time to help turn it. No, it is not the wind blowing up the Marilyn Monroe look-a-like mannequin’s skirt but a secret chamber that contains lots of other well maintained erotic mannequins. They realize Black Base was behind all this and wanted to show them. He was Zenjuurou’s comrade during the early days and when he saw SOX’s heroism on the news, he remembered his glory days. For now, Ayame suggests they do not do anything to the mannequins since the world isn’t ready for it yet. They will preserve it for future generations. Saotome draws a mural to indicate SOX has left their mark. They report back to Anna that there is nothing lewd and since Tsukimigusa destroyed a decoy believed to be lewd, the treasure’s existence is safe. Tanukichi wonders how long they have to hide it. Ayame believes a world without dirty jokes will not last forever. It will end someday but for now, they must keep fighting.

Viva Dirty Jokes! Viva Sex! Viva Porn!
Good news. I didn’t turn into a pervert when I was watching thing. Because I was already one! HAHAHA!!! Oops. Anyway, I was wondering why the ending was a little weak since the penultimate episode was quite climatic in its own right (no sexual puns intended). But I suppose it is only right because if you end it on a very high climax (again, no sexual puns intended), there might be lots of angry people who are going to wish that that wasn’t the last episode and will be horny hungry for more. So let’s just be grateful that the lukewarm final episode is just to cool things down and to wind things up for this season. Though, I am not sure why Black Base invited other people than SOX in the first place. Why even bother calling Sophia as she was passed out for the entire episode and did nothing and saw nothing.

If you enjoyed this anime, you’ll be laughing so hard that the pervy jokes are secondary by nature. If you dislike it, you’ll be cringing so hard that it would be a miracle if you even finish sitting through the first episode. So Remember meme rule #34. If it exists, there is definitely porn of it. No exceptions. I am not too sure if after watching this anime should make you horny because of the lack of stimulating visuals that you would normally find in an ecchi anime. But if it does make you horny, then I could say that SOX and this anime in particular have done a great job. Heh, in that case they should make a hentai version of this series as a parody. Oh wait. Is there already one?

There are a few concepts which have raised a few boggling questions. Considering the success of the acts that prevent people from doing indecent stuffs, this raises the question of how children especially those from Tokioka will be able to procreate children. We have seen how misguided and misinformed they are regarding breeding. They have become retards in that sense. And if they know nothing about ‘combining’, how will they be able to f*ck and make children seeing that they don’t even know what or how the reproduction system works. Wouldn’t this lead to a very steep decline and if not the extinction of the Japanese population in the next generation? All because Japanese people don’t know how to f*ck!!! Haven’t the authorities thought about this? Besides, have there been any new babies born in the last few years seeing that the law has been enacted for a decade. Because I am assuming the laws are so strict that the PM will just go off even if the couple were to have sex. Unless you tell me you need some sort of consent from the government to f*ck. Besides, isn’t that how that word came about? From medieval times, Fornification Under Consent of the King! If not, should the government be worried about the declining population instead of becoming a moral police?

Then there is the question about the PM devices. No doubt it is still imperfect and has its flaws but just come to think about it for example you can’t even draw a dick without alerting the authorities, what happens if someone were to draw objects in phallic shapes? I am a mushroom seller and I need to draw pictures of mushrooms to sell my products. So can or not? And do you know how many objects in our daily lives resemble closely to the shape of a vagina? Of course you can circumvent this as seen by Saotome using her mouth. I have an easier suggestion to go around this rule: You draw half of the penis first (an incomplete picture), then you doodle something else on another piece of paper before returning and finishing the remaining sketches of the dick. Simple, right? That way, the PM device cannot trace a full penis shape. And as for the new chastity belts, have the government ever thought how everybody is going to answer the call of nature? Don’t tell me that they have to listen to ever request for everyone who wants to take a bathroom break. Imagine the kind of surveillance needed for each and every one! It is insane?! What next? Bathroom squads?

And the biggest mind boggling flaw in the series despite we know it is just a setting for the story? YOU CANNOT EVER CENSOR PORN FROM THE INTERNET!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVER!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, I would love to see which government of any country playing moral police try to block out porn from the internet like 100%. So I don’t know how amazing Japan did it in this series but they did it. Because they are Japan. So it was a big joke that I laughed so hard and also an insult that this series has its setting that Japan, one of the biggest and most creative producers in the global porn industry to have all its indecent artistic materials banned in any and every way. So I don’t understand why the government really wants to ban indecency so badly and although I believe it is for a good cause, you can see for yourself here how far it has deviated to the point they have become authoritarian dictators.

Despite SOX being labelled and outlawed as a naughty terrorist, the one thing that makes them stand apart from a normal terrorist is the use of violence. Of course this is greatly misused as seen in Moist Throng’s case. But as far as Ayame is concerned, she has her principles to stick to and that is just to educate people about the pleasures of indecent materials. Nothing wrong of using such stuffs for your own pleasure, right? Of course nothing to be said and definitely wrong if it is raping and sexually assaulting others to cause grievance. Everyone including myself has their own personal fetish. But when you start imposing your ideals on others, you are no better than the authorities that are clamping down on these immoral activities. Hence SOX is just being a big mischievous organization who wants to educate people on their basic rights of sex. Sex is a basic right, right? Many of their operations only include hiding and scattering porn works for others to discover and let their inner fetish awake. All they need to do is guide. The rest is up to you.

Depending on your stance and tolerance for dirty jokes and even ecchi themes, the so called dirty talk may sound too much if you are the kind who isn’t fond of such indecent jokes and for those who do, they just sound mild. I am not sure about the BDs, but I can assure you the TV version that I watched, all those words are purposely censored out. But you can guess them from the first or last syllable that they left uncensored. With dirty talk being one of the central themes of the series, this brings about another topic to discuss: Are girls as perverted as boys? Normally as humans, we are all perverted by nature and it doesn’t matter if you are male or female. Because of Ayame’s penchant to talk dirty and almost every damn sentence of hers contains a dirty word, Saotome being a super lewd artist and Anna being a kinky sex crazed lover, it may prompt many how this series is one of those created to target fan boys because you know, horny girls. You don’t really see many of those in real life, right? Is it because these characters are girls that the show seems funny? Now, imagine if all of them are changed into boys. What would be the effect? Not so funny anymore, right? It would be downright creepy and everyone would view them even more so as perverts.

When you talk about the characters, it is hard to say they are likeable or not due to the nature and genre of this series. If I had to describe them, each character is just crazy in their own ways. Because like Ayame, is she the protagonist and hero of the series just because the government are seemingly the antagonist? What about her love to say dirty stuffs which probably is half the comedy for the entire series? But there is one thing that I find odd about her at first. Despite her love to insert dirty words and concepts in her sentences, I somewhat noticed that she isn’t that thrilled when suggested to do the real thing. She is like the epitome of a woman’s logic. You know, they’ll gladly show you their body when wearing a swimsuit but cower in embarrassment and calling you a pervert if you see them in their undies. But think about this. If Ayame is actually sex crazy, she wouldn’t be running around distributing indecent materials and the likes. Wouldn’t she have used all those free time of hers to pleasure herself and at extreme cases, try to flirt or have sex with Tanukichi? Seeing that she doesn’t and there were a few hints that suggested she isn’t too fond of engaging physically, could it be just the case of her love in enjoying talking dirty? It is her version of chilling as are to those puffing cigarettes.

Then there is Tanukichi, your seemingly normal and average main character being dragged into this entire vulgar mess? He finds it reluctant to engage in dirty acts of terrorism but deep down inside he enjoys it. So is Ayame and SOX slowly bringing out the pervert in him? Well, for most of the time that I observed, he is to play the rebuking role to Ayame’s dirty talk. He is the other half of the manzai comedy to censure Ayame’s crazy-screw-loose-in-the-head thoughts. It would really be screwed up if he really ends up being gay with Gouriki! Holy sh*t! Then I think every girl would see this as a happy ending because this gay pairing is so trending right now. Perhaps in an extreme case Tanukichi would be better off so because the girl he once admires now turns out to be a totally different monster.

Speaking of Anna, she is a classic example of still waters run deep and what authoritarian dictators are about. Giving her the benefit of the doubt like the other honour students that she does not know what is lewd and what isn’t, this is what happens when you don’t know what lust is at all. But the ironic thing about her is that as the student council president who has been on Blue Tundra’s tail for a long time, you’d think that she would at least know a thing or two about what is indecent. So when she goes into that kinky addiction to take out her extreme passion on Tanukichi, doesn’t it make her a hypocrite? Like I said, she is blind and oblivious when it comes to love since she has her own version of justice when it comes to love. This is an indication and very similar to what wrong people in higher authorities are like. Everything they do is in their own interest and they justify that as right. Thus when misguided people like Anna is in power, she is no different than the crooked petty thief on the street in this context. And to think that she wants to give him her love nectar is a mild case of omorashi, right?

I expected Anna to have some sort of a different personality and predicted that she would turn out to be a strange pervert in her own ways. At first I thought how lucky if I (and others alike) would have such a kinky real life girlfriend that would love to take out all her indecent fantasies on you. But the more we see Anna getting crazier and dangerous to the point of being yandere, the more I start to rethink that maybe I don’t really want her as my girlfriend or waifu after all. I can only think because Anna is crazily strong and this is what makes her dominantly dangerous unlike us otaku wuss who think we are dominating our submissive 2D girlfriend(s) and getting our way we want with them. Thus seeing the hazardous and threatening side of Anna made us reflect hard if this is what we want. Definitely nope. You don’t own Anna. Anna owns you!

Other characters are as crazy too and in that aspect is what makes them funny and likeable. Like Saotome who can’t stop drawing due to her never ending flow of indecent inspiration. She has levelled up so much that she could draw life-like stuffs that I think the next step for her to master is to start using her feet to draw too! And maybe master the art of shoving up a pencil in a certain hole too!!! Haha! That way, she can draw more illicit stuffs! Then there is Fuwa who seems to be more interested in how breeding works rather than what stimulates others although her ambiguous talk might indicate so. Making it even vaguer is that she has bags under her eyes like as though she stayed up all night pleasuring herself and she always sound tired. No, I don’t think it is her eye shadow makeup. Is it me or do her fly specimens seem to always make out all the time. What kind of flies mate 24/7? I don’t know. Every time we see her cage, the censor is always there. So this must mean that they’re f*cking, right?

Kosuri is perhaps the only female in the series not to have a certain liking for Tanukichi. Well, at least all the main characters ‘like’ Tanukichi in their own ways because he is a nice guy to be ‘used’. Whether it is Ayame as her accomplice, Saotome as her model for gay porn and real life ‘combining’ purposes, Fuwa bugging him for sex related questions (why does she loves popping up from under your legs?), Anna and her misguided deviant love and even Gouriki indicating his gay intentions, Kosuri could have been the little sister trope if not for admiration swinging towards Ayame. Not forgetting Tsukimigusa, perhaps the most boring character ever thanks to his robotic nature. If he is told to like Tanukichi to be part of his ‘harem’, I think he would. But his character is a big indication of what society will be if the authorities brainwash people into mindless droids and unable to think for themselves. A life made much worse without porn. No life at all. Scary.

Art and drawing are pretty much standard. But if you are expecting a lot of fanservice, I think you’d be disappointed. Many of the lewdness are in the form of Ayame’s dirty talk so if you want visual candy, there isn’t many except maybe during White Climax’s panty raiding arc. And the most panty shots you’ll ever see are the panties used covering over SOX’s face. Thus the fanservice in this sense is considered very mild and pales in comparison to what a real ecchi themed anime is like. This means no bare naked tits. Sorry. Of course there are also some censors like White Climax who has his big dick dangling out as his indecent fashion so it is only right for his ‘big bro’ to have a censor covering it. Nobody wants to see it, right? Other censors include the indecent hand gestures Ayame makes and some of the manga illustrations from Saotome that are too risqué to be shown on air. I wonder if they would take this away in the BDs. For extra fanservice, the end card shows very ‘delicious’ and ‘tempting’ illustrations…

I also want to mention that some characters look like other anime characters especially Anna looking a whole lot similar to Dagashi Kashi’s Hotaru. Even their bizarre personality is spookily alike. One is a love crazy deviant and the other is for her sweets. More strange coincidence as Fuwa and To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Kiyama both have bags under their eyes and researchers employed by the school. Aren’t Ayame and Seitokai Yakuindomo’s Shino not only strikingly look similar but they are both dirty minded student council presidents too? Too much coincidence! That’s not the end yet because when I first saw Tsukimigusa, I thought Nobume from Gintama got a new casting here. Perhaps the white uniform increases the similarity. And so does their robotic personality. Doesn’t Sophia look like a white haired version of Umineko No Naku Koro Ni’s Beatrice? Even same seiyuu… Doesn’t Saotome look like Matsuri from Mahou Shoujo Taisen and Himi from Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku? Lastly, I thought White Climax took after Rurouni Kenshin’s Shishio because of how the bandages wrapped around their entire body make them look like an evil mummy. Only, White Climax is wrapped with his favourite white panties… Needless to say, Tanukichi looks so generic like your typical main character guy from harem animes that I can’t even think of one right now whom he resembles.

When I first heard the late Miyu Matsuki as Anna, my first thoughts are how unsuitable her voice fits her character Anna. With all due respect, she did not do a bad job voicing her character. Because I am accustomed in hearing her oddball characters like Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu’s Yukari, Kuuko of the Nyaruko series and more famously the lovable Yoshinoya-sensei from Hidamari Sketch series, I find it hard to ‘accept’ that a ‘proper’ character like Anna had her voice. I was expecting someone with more refined voice. But when Anna started to show her crazy and dangerous side, it becomes more evident why Miyu Matsuki was the right person to voice her. Thus in this sense, she is virtually perfect for the role. So kudos and RIP Miyu Matsuki for making Anna such a convincing and dangerously, uhm, dangerous character. This voice acting issue I feel is also the same for Satomi Arai as Saotome. Knowing her repertoire of voicing cranky characters like To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Shirai and Naoko from Yuri Seijin Naoko-san, at first I was acting somebody with a loli voice to handle petit Saotome. Thus hearing her voice for this small girl doesn’t feel like it fits the character. Only when Saotome starts going into her erotic craze, it is when I started feeling that perhaps she is the right voice for this erotic illustrator after all.

The only other seiyuus I recognized are Yui Horie as Kosuri, Yui Ogura as Binkan, Sho Hayami as Black Base and yes, Sayaka Ohara in yet another villainess role, Sophia. Well, technically from this series’ point of view, Sophia is an antagonist, right? The rest of the other casts include Shizuka Ishigami as Ayame (Mito in Shokugeki No Souma), Yuusuke Kobayashi as Tanukichi (Sougo in Comet Lucifer), Saori Goto as Fuwa (Bara Suishou in Rozen Maiden Traumend), Kenta Miyake as Gouriki (Klaus in Hayate No Gotoku), Sumire Uesaka as Tsukimigusa (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Ken Narita as White Climax (Sesshoumaru in Inu Yasha) and Hajime Iijima as Matsukage (Gakushuu in Ikkitousen series).

To get into the grove of what this series is entirely about, the opening theme, B Chiku Sentai SOX by the members of SOX themselves. If you can’t stand the song with lyrics containing libido and climaxing, I don’t know how much you will squirm when you watch the episode proper. Because their Sexcalibur will definitely slay you down! Other than that, this hero-like theme definitely befits the struggles and crusades of SOX. More lewdness in the ending theme as well. Don’t let the disco theme of Inner Urge by Sumire Uesaka fool you. Besides the naughty lyrics, the colourfully indecent animation and images (including Anna’s sexual harassment over Tanukichi) and the characters doing some sort of weird dance like as though they are praying their tribute to some sex god, if you think you have stomached the entire episode, the ending will make your stomach inside out again. And make you horny?

Overall, this series is actually fun to watch if you can put aside all that lewdness. After all, you know the risks of what you are getting yourself into when you read the synopsis, right? Until then, let us be thankful that porn still exists in many forms and we are free to pleasure ourselves in ways we want. Until we get caught, that is. We’ll still continue to get our sex education from porn all over the internet. I believe that it is our human nature to know about sex and procreating. Therefore you cannot stem it out entirely or else doom will be the human race. There is nothing shameful about talking dirty since it is natural. Of course in today’s world, we have to be extra careful since everything can be offended and in this case sexist. And some go too far like sex shaming, cyber stalking and harassment, sexual assault/abuse, paedophile and rape cases. A faint reminder that the world might just come to this? Nah! Just remember that indecency is not evil. It is art! Long live dirty jokes, sex and porn! Now excuse me while I go relief myself :-). My own battle just begun… :-).

Koukaku No Pandora

September 24, 2016

Initially I was sceptical of whether I should watch Koukaku No Pandora. First of all, it is sci-fi genre and to me that isn’t my cup of tea and one of the early signs to indicate that I should stay away. Of course not all sci-fi series I have seen throughout the years are bad so that’s why I thought of giving it a chance. Then it had me wondering if there is a bit of horror too because I saw the manga illustration cover of a girl breaking out from its rusted mechanical shell. Yikes. It might seem normal to others but I thought it was a little creepy. Even the name of the title sounds ominous. You know, Pandora Box? Then I also read that it had a little ecchi theme in it and suddenly my doubts were blown away and put it on my list to watch. Yeah, I’m the worst… If only world peace can be achieved that easily…

Episode 1
On a cruise ship to Cenancle Island, Uzal Delilah spots an android and since she didn’t respond to her call, she thinks she is from the black market. But Nene Nanakorobi quickly dismisses she is one and is human. Though, she is more of a full body cyborg. What? I’m confused… Nene is ecstatic and loves Uzal’s maid pet, Clarion. To Clarion’s dismay, Uzal gives permission to Nene to mess with her. They introduce themselves and it seems Nene is here to live with her aunt, Takumi Korobase. Uzal changes the question if she had all the money in the world, what would she buy? World peace. You can buy that? Uzal is fascinated with her answer. Once they reach land, they part ways. Halfway through the city, a big explosion occurs. Nene fears for Uzal and Clarion and goes to find them. She sees them fine but is puzzled that they are running towards the source of the explosions. From what I understand, there are disgruntled cosplay subordinates of Uzal doing some sort of rebellion but Uzal laughs it off and accuses them of betraying her in the first place. They want her to hand over the real activation key but Uzal gives Clarion permission to unleash her Pandora Device to smash up some of the attacking robots. Nene is in danger’s way so Uzal orders Clarion to prioritize her safety. She loses an arm but they manage to get away. Hiding in an underground lab, Uzal hopes Nene could help her. She is going to give her temporary authority to use Pandora Device. So stick your hand inside Clarion’s vagina!!! WTF?! Well, at least it seems like it. And you bet Nene is going to feel some sort of fuzzy sensation during this transformation. She is given a gun in which she is surprised she can use it effectively and efficiently after a short installation of the application. After accurately dispatching all the bots, Uzal can tell she is an Adepter.

Uzal narrates the full body cyborg technology still in development in which cyborgs undergo rigorous rehabilitation but since people have trouble adapting to the prosthetics, it will take some time before this technology becomes commonplace. However there are cases where some use or learn their prosthetics better than a real body. These Adepters compensate for the limits of prosthetic technology. Nene is worried she forgot to call her aunt but Uzal assures her not to worry because they are close friends. Nene is then knocked out and when she wakes up, they have finished doing some programming on her. Now the rebels are trying to cut open the thick steel door so Uzal has Nene use Pandora Device again. This time we get to see a magical girl transformation. I don’t know about this outfit but it feels like she is an idol. And what was again about it being a camouflage? When the steel door is completely cut open, the shocking scene of those subordinates crying and begging to Sahar (Uzal) to help them contain rampaging BUER because at this rate it is going to drill straight through the base of the island. Uzal then asks Nene’s wish to buy world peace again. Would she like to buy this island’s peace as a start?

Episode 2
Uzal explains BUER is a drilling machine from her company that is going on a rampage thanks to these incompetent morons. That’s why the city is on the verge of collapse. She is going to send Clarion and Nene to help fix this mess. The way Clarion is sexily fixed back (her arm, that is), Nene is more than enthusiastic to help her out. There is a cooling period after BUER fires each time. That is when they will take advantage of it to shut it down by putting the key on a statue on top of it. The real key is Uzal’s glasses. It is Clarion’s job to get onto BUER but because its defence mechanism is activated, this is where Nene plays her part in using this special weapon that normal humans cannot handle and fire back to protect Clarion. She reaches the top and finds the statue to be some sort of Venus bust of Uzal. I guess it isn’t surprising that while she is hesitating at this atrocious statue, a slab falls on Clarion. Nene is disheartened as she rushes to the scene to pick up those dropped glasses. Before she is zapped, she is taken away in the nick of time by, uhm, egg robots? Gertsecomma (Gert for short) are Clarion’s robot pets. As proof she is alive, she is controlling them. Though, Clarion is being sandwiched and almost crushed inside BUER. When Nene goes back to try and rescue Clarion, she dodges all the defence mechanism attacks. Uzal is stunned she has a capability that could anticipate BUER’s shots and could be more than just an Adepter.

Nene gets her motivation when Clarion personally tells her she is resting all her hopes in Nene for world peace. At the top, the statue is damaged but don’t fear. Because there are more atrocious statues like these! Just pick one and put the glasses on. BUER shuts down but they can’t be celebrating yet since Uzal detects the authorities are coming in fast. She tells Nene to detach BUER’s Central Nervous Unit and retrieve Clarion. So this central unit of BUER is a 5 legged lion?! And pervy?! Did they take inspiration of his design from Bleach’s Kon? Nene now becomes overprotective of Clarion. More accurately like a leech because she just won’t let her go even though she is fine. With water seeping into the lab, the useless subordinates can only whine. Have no fear as Uzal is the only competent one. She made an emergency lift in times like these. As Uzal is last to board, the sound goes off for overweight. WTF?! Even more WTF is how her subordinates laugh at her for being heavy. Then they realize it isn’t funny anymore when Uzal stays behind to sacrifice herself. Uzal then ‘sells’ Clarion to Nene since she can’t offer any world peace to her. Nene is more than happy to take ownership of her. As they ride up the lift, a gloomy mood descends them. Even if they make ironic statements that she cannot die even if you kill her. Worrying about her is the least of their concerns because upon reaching the surface, they are surrounded by SWAT teams.

Episode 3
Nene and Clarion are called out by the officer. Then the rest are arrested! Nene and Clarion head to Takumi’s house and her aunty is a loli???!!! And she is the kind who hates being called an aunt too. Takumi receives a cheeky message left behind by Uzal about how she treats her ‘toys’, the reason she sent Clarion to be her ‘babysitter’. Takumi goes into rage talking about how she had it hard sneaking out Nene from the facility and thus she belongs to her and only her. Although this is also now Nene’s home, Takumi is not happy she has another thing to take care and thinks Uzal just pushed this responsibility to her. As Nene lost her luggage during the terrorist attack, Takumi takes her out shopping. Clarion senses somebody targeting Nene and attacks the perpetrator… A dog? Takumi becomes obsessed in trying to touch Clarion’s ears and even more so when she doesn’t let her. Her ‘bullying’ over Clarion crosses the line so Nene activates her Pandora Device and starts deleting all the hard work data Nene has done. Seems the entire space is just an illusion. Nene then goes down to the central room where Takumi is and slap her for being a bully. Seems Nene knew the entire thing was a simulation from the start. Although this makes Nene more interesting to her, Takumi can’t help cower in fear at how ‘awesome’ she is.

It is reported that the internationally wanted terrorist, Sahar Schehera is confirmed dead during the attacks. His accomplices have been arrested and Uzal is believed to be dead and a state wide funeral is held in her remembrance. As the criminals are being transported to a correctional facility, a bomb explodes at its entrance. Nene and Clarion head out to town for real. Takumi spies on them via her surveillance. She notices a shady character tailing them and corners her with Gerts. At the same time, Takumi detects somebody hacking into her system. Nene?! Another warning that spying on others is wrong. So this shady character turns out to be one of Uzal’s useless subordinates, Bunny. She desperately wants the glasses that activated BUER. Clarion had them all along. There is a cheeky message left by Uzal that she knew this was coming and made Bunny do all the useless stuffs before just handing it over. She then returns to her big boss, Colonel Ian Kurtz who is not pleased with her and the group’s performance. He saved them from the police to keep information from leaking out but their failures have caused him to waste precious time. But since she completed this within the stipulated time, he will not execute her comrades as promised. But it seems the real key could be that lion guy. He claims his giant body is currently resting and will be starting up in normal fashion soon. Takumi believes Uzal actually did complete something and that the terrorist attack and her puppet showing up are all connected.

Episode 4
Takumi wants to dissect BUER but luckily Nene and Clarion put a stop to it. Takumi starts thinking the need to distract Nene because her hacking skills can be quite a pain in the ass. So she creates her favourite RPG game to play but Takumi was soon busted. So Takumi is now under constant surveillance and this gives her the creeps. Actually Nene just enrolled in a school and her homework is to research about the feelings while getting a job being done. Takumi then introduces a few of her businesses in which she can observe. Of course now that the cat is away, the mouse comes out to play. Yup, nobody can stop Takumi from experimenting on BUER now. The duo head to one of Takumi’s industrial companies and once the receptionist realizes she is a VVVIP, all the staffs come to greet her and show her all their technological advances in each of their department. Perhaps everything is too overwhelming for Nene to handle… She thinks this is not perhaps what she wanted. She then notices a nearby charity event and becomes interested in helping out. She observes everyone having a good time when suddenly punks come by to wreck the place. The crowd becomes terrified and Clarion steps in. Of course they try to beat her up but she is stronger than your metal bat. That is when the crowd starts to turn on the punks and beings throwing stuffs at them. These punks are the underlings of Bunny. She wonders why they are taking so long to clear the crowd out and when she sees Nene and Clarion, she makes the wise choice of retreating. So as not to ruin the rest of the day, Nene uses Pandora Device and with Clarion’s help, they cook for the crowd. Meanwhile Kurtz is not fazed with the failure since the inevitable fate of this island will still happen when the time comes. Lastly, Takumi has cornered BUER and will dissect him to her heart’s content. Luckily the duo return in time to give her another good reminder. Despite shaking in fear, Takumi still threatens them. Till Nene hacks and destroys her Gert. Now you be a good girl and keep your hands off BUER and Clarion, okay? Okay.

Episode 5
Takumi shows her Gert production facility although Clarion points out the fundamental layout and design were done by Uzal. Learning their lesson from last time, the duo take BUER with them when they go out. Each time he tries to make a stupid joke, expect a chop from Clarion. They practice juggling at the park and the crowd is enthralled. However Nene doesn’t feel satisfied or doing it right because it is like using Clarion’s power. It feels like cheating. Because everything from Nene was given by someone else. An old lady, Anna was watching their performance and praises how they could do it so well with prosthetics. She has a prosthetic hand but can hardly control it. She gives them a sweet as reward. The city suddenly experiences network outage. This means all services stop running and everything electrical too because Anna’s pacemaker just stopped. The duo then are met with Robert Altman who thinks they are androids but swiftly stands corrected. As he agrees to escort them home, they get to know each other and take a detour helping others in need because it is Robert’s nature to help others. This includes disabling and apprehending a pair of kidnappers. We see Robert having some sort of super speed to take them down. After they part, Nene and Clarion see Anna squirming on the ground. Nene uses Pandora Device to become a paramedic and then chauffeur her to the hospital whereby the power conveniently resumes. Anna learns Nene is a full body cyborg but still thanks her nevertheless. It leaves Nene a little fuzzy since this is the first time somebody praised her. Meanwhile Robert reports to Kurtz who is not impressed he is 42 seconds late! Well, you can’t argue how time is essence in life. He wants to requisite 4 more underwater robots although he already got 6 last week but were lost. Robert agrees to comply without question. Kurtz then reminds him to carry out the order regarding Vulcan Harbour Park. This is all for the sake for world peace.

Episode 6
Nene sees Dr Toto for her check-up. He is impressed with Takumi’s great maintenance, she is in good shape. Despite the city is experiencing another network outage, the hospital has many backups thanks to Takumi. A little girl, Amy Gilliam is also here for her check-up but her stray kitten, Lean followed and wandered into the hospital. As she goes around looking for it, she stumbles upon BUER being locked inside a cabinet (it’s the only way for Clarion to make sure he stays put). He agrees to help Amy find Lean but this little dude can only talk big fancy words. Talk about being useless, right? I might be just coincidence that Lean appears before them before running away again. The duo are reunited with Nene and Clarion. BUER thought he could get Nene’s hug but she is infatuated in hugging cute little Amy. Instead, BUER got his ‘hug’ from Clarion. Thankfully Lean is safe in Anna’s hands. They agree to help look after Lean as Amy goes to her check-up. Unfortunately she trips and rips her dress. She starts crying that she wanted to show Dr Toto the dress and any other dress won’t do. Nene has an idea as she uses Pandora Device (away from Amy’s eyes of course because lesbianism is NSFW) and becomes a tailor to turn the rip in the dress into a frilly fashion statement. Amy the world’s happiest girl. After her check-up, she receives a new and improved right prosthetic leg. Nene and Clarion accompany Amy back to her camp. She lives with her grandma at the park where that charity event was held. To her dismay, everyone is gone. Crying again? But after contacting grandma, it seems the CDF (police) ushered everyone away to another spot. As Nene takes Amy there, she crosses path with Kurtz from the opposite direction. When they pass each other, Kurtz’s invisible bodyguard is about to punch Nene from the back but Clarion blocks it. The bodyguard ignores and resumes following Kurtz while Clarion continues to stare with suspicion.

Episode 7
Takumi is not thrilled that Nene gets light injuries each time she helps out. Thanks to Uzal’s safety design, she hasn’t been seriously injured yet. A mysterious unknown module inside Nene only ticks Takumi off as she is going to solve this mystery once and for all. But she hears Nene and Clarion talking about the former’s transformation scene which is actually just an optical camouflage for her clothes. Say what again? Nene and Clarion go to visit Amy and her grandma’s new settlement home. They also meet Robert there helping out. A group of robbers, Chicken Bros (seriously?) led by Mr Chicken (seriously?) target to kidnap the duo. They believe they must fetch a high price in the black market seeing Clarion’s high efficiency in defending all their attacks. But Nene gets kidnapped and Clarion netted by Mr Chicken’s brother, Fried (wait a minute. Chicken and Fried? As in Fried Chicken?). They have to leave now since the temporary network outage will be gone. This leaves Clarion mad as she chases them down. Takumi is even madder and uses her hacking skills to track their hideout. The gang is already waiting for Clarion and ready to take her down. They fight but she is pinned down by Fried’s cybernetic arms. Because he touched her ‘forbidden zone’ (ears), she goes berserk and cuts his arm off. They start to think she is an illegal AI since it attacked a human without being ordered. Meanwhile Nene wakes up in a storeroom and sees all the inactivated robots. She goes to call Clarion who then abandons the fight just to be by her side. She shows her the robots and wants to help them. Using Pandora Device and her puppeteer ability allows Nene to control all of them to overwhelm the thieves. This has got to be the weirdest orgy party ever, eh? The robbers are left confused and perhaps realized they have messed with something more than they can handle after Nene warns them not to pick on Clarion. CDF later arrests them and thanks to Takumi cleaning up the mess, the news reports the group being busted due to in-fighting.

Episode 8
Janus North, the governor of Cenancle makes his speech for Herme’s department store by offering free goods as apology for the frequent power outages. A reporter tries to usurp the event and interview him about his luxury limo controversy but gets taser by his assistant. Nene and Clarion are also here to shop for equipment and they end up in the same elevator as North and his assistant. North thinks they are high quality androids and perhaps the reason the media always writes on them for the economy’s recession (something about robots stealing your jobs) but corrects himself after Nene introduces themselves as humans. Then another outage occurs. The lift stops working. Worst of all, North needs to go to the toilet! Time to panic? Nene uses Pandora Device to help relief his anxiety by showing him heaven? Is this what you see when you’re high on drugs? Why didn’t Clarion just force open the door in the first place? But that is just the beginning of another problem: The entire building is on fire! Luckily everyone else has evacuated. I don’t know what this Pandora Device they use to escape the flames. How should I put it? Riding inside a big sack on a cart and using ultrasound to guide their way around. Looks funny… All the while, North can only think how amazing technology has become for androids to function as closely as humans. And cute too! As they descend the emergency stairs, Nene sees a lost kid. She wants to save him but Clarion says he is not their responsibility. You know she won’t abandon him, right? And of course Clarion can’t abandon Nene since protecting her life is her top priority. North and his assistant get out safely and they lament Nene and Clarion aren’t with them. While Nene gives her oxygen mask to the boy, Clarion uses her giant sack as parachute as she jumps off the collapsing structure. Don’t worry, a ‘soft landing’ on somebody’s luxury limo… Quickly they hand over the boy to that reporter and she unwittingly becomes a hero. Didn’t even know what happened… Clarion and Nene run away. Robert spots them but Clarion puts her finger on her lips and Robert instantly knows what she meant. He assures North that those girls are safe. When Clarion cannot move on, Takumi’s Gerts come pick them up.

Episode 9
Many hours ago, Kurtz and his team have successfully infiltrated the first defence barrier of BUER’s spherical body. But he senses something amiss so he orders the classified storage units moved out immediately even if it means losing some hard earned data. They managed to do that in time before BUER releases a high energy beam, the one that resulted in that network outage and caused the building to be on fire. Nene and Clarion see Dr Toto to get some patch-up but nothing serious. Clarion has been thinking and she would like to help Nene achieve her world peace. What seems like a normal day with Nene being her happy self. That night, Clarion is seen riding a giant badass mecha infiltrating into a facility. You think the human guards can take on this? Not a chance. Flashback reveals that Clarion went to seek Takumi’s cooperation. Insistent at first, a video of Uzal then pops up to explain the dire situation that is about to happen. This video is playing itself because BUER’s systems has been detected to go on a rampage and will continue to do so until it self-destructs. She hopes Takumi can help contribute to world peace. Takumi knew the American Imperial Army (AIA) has been swarming Uzal’s lab but never paid attention since she didn’t think they could succeed in interfering. With evidence from the building’s destruction that some particle cannon was fired, Takumi agrees to help Clarion. But Clarion’s intention is not to fight the army but to stabilize BUER and in turn protect Nene. However Takumi has one condition and that she cannot kill or deeply injure anybody. Just one is enough for her to lose her right to be with Nene. So we see Clarion carefully ‘dismantling’ the guards. In the next room, guess who is waiting for her? Bunny! Forgotten and ignored… I believe Bunny is still an idiot because she thought her threats were enough to make Clarion back down. Even more so, her robots don’t listen to her and fire all they’ve got. You know how tough Clarion’s mecha is, right? And to end this farce, a rain of missiles at Bunny shuts this b*tch up for good. Suddenly the Gerts are sliced in half. Courtesy from the invisible bodyguard. Kurtz is impressed with Clarion’s abilities and will spare 5 minutes for amusement. Time is precious, you know. Nene wakes up and only finds a note from Clarion telling her not to get involved.

Episode 10
Nene looks for Takumi and is explained Clarion left for an errand that involves company secrets. So don’t worry. However Nene thinks Clarion is mad because of that note. Just when she thought she gets a call from Clarion, it is from Amy inviting her to her newly completed temporary shelter to play. Too bad Nene is spacing out and unable to concentrate, even mistaking Amy for Clarion. She couldn’t even concentrate while saving Lean stuck up a tree. Thankfully she is caught by Robert. It feels like Robert has become her psychologist to analyze what is bugging her and those feelings she has for Clarion. Ultimately it is natural for Nene to worry about her and go help her even if told not to. This gives Robert some sort of personal motivation too. After discussing with North, he returns to address his CDF team about raiding AIA’s base. However this is not an order and just voluntary. I guess everybody vouches for the peace of this island so they all agree to go with him. Meanwhile Clarion still manages to hold her ground over the relentless attacks. She even manages to dismantle his cloaking armour and it turns out he is an android that can even transform. Clarion can still fight on par and could have continued had not for stupid Bunny who thinks she can waltz in and help out during the fast paced action. So fast that you can’t even see what the f*ck is happening. Because Clarion remembers her promise not to have anyone killed, she saves her from being chopped up by android dude but in the process ends up on the receiving end. Nene cleans her room while fantasizing the princely return of Clarion. Then remembers she has forgotten all about BUER and after lets him out. From the way he talks, Nene knew Clarion is out for more than just an errand. She is going to find Clarion and leaves a decoy hologram to fool Takumi (since she is busy trying to monitor Clarion) and heads out.

Episode 11
Nene sneaks into AIA’s base and where did she end up? In a room where macho naked men are changing!!! Screaming like little girls???!!! I hope no one will complain about not being able to get married anymore. She hides in a room filled with inactivated robots. Kurtz is also there too and to think Nene could fool him with her, uhm, robotic act? Well, he orders her to be disposed off. Unknown to him, BUER tags on his back. Now Nene finds herself in the incinerator dump and with her is Bunny. I guess it is time they figure out how useless this trash is, huh? As the floor is opening to burn all unwanted trash, Bunny has Nene dive into the system to stop this process. So this data world is a bit like Pac-man? Just when Bunny resigns to her fate that she is going to die first before her comrades, Nene successfully stops the system. Phew. Just another foot and they’ll be goners. Then Bunny realizes the cables connecting to Nene weren’t connected at all… Oh sh*t… You mean she did that all by herself?! Bunny gives Nene a weapon left behind by Clarion. Before she could say she died, Nene had already wandered off. I’m not sure about this next scene because it involves a battle between Kurtz’s scientists as well as Takumi trying to hack into BUER but the lion guy is fighting back (hijacking one of the scientists) by strengthening all the barriers with Trojans and everything else. Before BUER can fire another particle, they manage to stop it and it is believed BUER is now under their control.

Kurtz then spots Nene wandering around looking for Clarion. He communicates with her and calls her as Sahar’s successor. He explains about BUER’s worth in its charged particle cannon. Whoever controls it, controls the world. Yeah, we all know how rotten and corrupted this world is, right? So what gives Kurtz’s the right to control it via BUER? It doesn’t make sense they can fire a cannon without risking any treaty violation compared to nukes. He wants Nene to join him and using her technology they will create their ideal world. But Nene dismisses all that and says world peace can be achieved with money! Yeah, you can buy world peace! This only pisses off Kurtz. Viewing her as the same as the rest and a waste of time, he is going to let her meet the same fate as he friend. Here is a piece of her arm, the only part left after being disintegrated. Before Nene can be destroyed by the bodyguard, Clarion saves her. Wait. What? I thought she is dead? Apparently not. You trying to troll us? Guess what? The girls ignore Kurtz’s ranting of his ideologies and don’t give a f*ck about what he is saying since they go into their yuri reconciliation mode. You know, how Nene came to love everyone she meets on Cenancle and how much she loves Clarion. As well as she understands why Clarion did all this for her sake and not to get involved. As somebody special to her, she too wants to help her out in anyway. So you done with your touchy reunion? Time to stop talking and get into your Pandora Device gear. Because Kurtz is going to introduce his bodyguard. Behold and fear… Fear! How apt his name. And he is going to show them what it means…

Episode 12
Don’t be fooled yet if Fear is defeated so fast because Kurtz gives Fear the order to go all out and kill them. Meanwhile Kurtz himself goes to The BUER sphere to activate and take control of it. So by the time Nene and Clarion defeat Fear for good, Kurtz against BUER’s advice not to do this goes unheeded, suddenly images of girls’ thighs are broadcasted throughout the world?! WTF???!!! What the f*ck did we just see?! BUER’s little porn collection?! WTF?! BUER becomes saddened that people tried to gang up on him, hack into his system to expose his little happiness. But you don’t know how mad Kurtz is. The effort he put in, the time he has spent. All wasted over this silly porn?! What’s more, BUER said they just scratched the surface and nowhere near his core!!! In BUER’s despair, he is going to decimate the island with his beam. Now pops up Uzal of all times. At least in holographic form to tell them the key to stop BUER. Clarion is the other real key to stop BUER from inside but the catch is that she has to sacrifice herself. Nene instantly puts her foot down this will not do despite Clarion has accepted her fate that this is what she must do. Oh, guess what? Apparently there is another way too but risky. Nene immediately agrees to it but when Clarion objects to it and even disobeys Uzal, Nene says it is okay. WTF. So Clarion can’t do anything dangerous but Nene can? What kind of double standard is this?! So while they race to the centre of the BUER sphere, Kurtz tries to stop them in his mecha but got stuck somewhere. Nene reaches BUER’s core to calm the little lion down. Yeah, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Ironically everyone should! Then a big hug before BUER realizes a big but minimal beam of discharge into the sky.

Robert and his team arrive to arrest Kurtz. Seems he has formed a new organization which is not military and has enough evidence to convict Kurtz behind the terrorist acts. He is also stripped of his military position and is now just a criminal. Clarion is worried Nene didn’t answer her but BUER can grant her final wish and all Clarion want is Nene. Really? I thought she was alive all along. Now everyone has to get out before the place crumbles as the BUER sphere is sinking itself deep into the ocean. Uzal notes all part of the first phase of her secret experiment. Don’t ask… But Uzal thanks Takumi for taking care of Nene and Clarion who are both the true keys to BUER. Kurtz escapes during the collapse. He thinks he sees the real Uzal and I am not sure if the collapsing debris got him. Clarion has somewhat retrieved BUER the lion as they safely reach outside along with Bunny and her comrades. One second late and they would actually have been goners. In the aftermath, peace seemingly returns to Cenancle. Bunny and her comrades are taken in by Takumi but are made to wok their ass off. Robert still helps others in need. Nene and Clarion go out together and Nene hopes Clarion would find what she is looking for. However Clarion says she has already found it and will only tell her if Nene achieves world peace. I think I know what it is…

(Cyborg) Girl Meets (Android) Girl
Okay… I laughed, I cringed and I had my confused moments. But ultimately in the end, this series isn’t one that you should take seriously and one that wouldn’t be in the mainstream or the radars of many anime enthusiasts especially those who are really into the sci-fi genre. You could have spotted the signs like BUER’s design, Takumi’s childish nature despite being an aunty and even how Nene activates Pandora Device via Clarion should give you a clue that you can’t expect this series to be up there with the same level as To Aru Majutsu No Index or even To Aru Kagaku No Railgun.

Although there are a few sci-fi terms throughout the series, the spontaneous (and random) funny moments made this series bearable to watch. At least for yours truly. You know how much I detest in having to learn a lot of sci-fi terms, trying to figure them out and piecing them together and only to find in the end that I have not understood a single thing thus inhibiting my experience to enjoy the most out of a series. So thankfully with the minimal ‘serious’ sci-fi elements, the series is mostly just about the daily friendship and bonding between Nene and Clarion. Sometimes the episodes feel like standalones like the building on fire or visit to the doctor although in actual fact they are not. Because the only threat and antagonist throughout the series seems to be taking his time for his world domination goal. It is like they are teasing us on and off in the initial episodes, showing short clips of his team in trying to unlock and control the giant solid eyeball.

Thus no matter how silly the comical moments may look, at least it softens the impact of not letting my brains go into meltdown by thinking all the confusing terms and plots that could be far worse than seeing Takumi doing all her superb hacking and programming skills in which she makes it look like child’s play. You’ll tend to notice how many of the funny moments feel like the series’ running joke. The most obvious one being everyone in this series tends to call Clarion as Clarin thanks to Nene ‘corrupting’ them by introducing her as so. Each time Clarion clarifies her name herself, nobody listens and continues to call her by her shortened name. I suppose Clarion has had enough in rebuking Nene about her real name and just let her be. So much so right in the end when things seem bleak, Clarion even wants her to call her by that name. Yeah, just for dramatic effect I suppose.

Another obvious one is that unlucky reporter who has become a staple of each episode. She always gets into some sort of dangerous predicament that could kill her (for the first few episodes, I thought it was a joke that she ‘died’ and miraculously came back to life from all those ‘deaths’). She gets passionate about being the best journalist ever and the ultimatum signalling an end to her screen time is that before she could finish saying her name (was it Vlind or something?), she is disrupted by some sort of accident. Well, what doesn’t kill her makes her stronger. I think. Don’t worry. You can count on her to always come back in the next episode even funnier.

I think I also noticed this somewhat reduces the seriousness effect of this series. Clarion for half the time if she is not drawn or animated as her cat-eared maid outfit character, she is mostly seen animated simply as just her outline figure. You know that cat character known as Chiyo’s dad in Azumanga Daioh? Yup. Looks something like that except you don’t even colour it and leave it all white instead. Sometimes it feels the producers are lazy in just drawing her full detailed body and dress but then again, she kinda looks funny in this shape. Oh yeah, I thought she sometimes looked like a ghost.

Last but not least, there is BUER to add and complete to the list of running jokes of the series. This little lion dude as I can see doesn’t really contribute much for a big portion of the series and his only role is to be an idiotic character since he spouts grandeur ‘philosophical’ lines. And when he steps out of line trying to become a pervert, you bet Clarion will be there to crush him to put him in his place. So if you want to shut this dude up, just throw him in a dark box on enclosure and you can bet he will quickly fall into his trauma complaining about the darkness and cramped spaces. Making him even odder is his fifth leg which makes it look ambiguously like a certain erected male anatomy and the one he moves it around is like trying to confirm you have a dirty mind.

Speaking of fanservice, I don’t think I could get used to it. Aside from BUER swinging his fifth leg and making ambiguous poses with it, seeing the only obvious one is the use of Pandora Device in which is a cue for not only a transformation scene but for Clarion to lift up her skirt and allow Nene to have her hand-in-vagina moment. Knowing that Clarion is an android and you can see limb joint lines all over her body, it feels that even if you get to see Clarion fully in the flesh, it is more like looking at a naked mannequin. Also, red pantsu that Clarion always wears is not my thing and doesn’t turn me on… There might be some yuri moments but I can consider them as mild and even less. Heh. Not that I am a yuri expert or lover but I have seen ‘enough’ to believe there are mildly bolder ones.

The action parts are fairly entertaining but if you expected something that is over the top and even flashier in an exaggerated way, you would be better off looking elsewhere. Because Clarion remains the best kickass character of the series considering she is an android programmed with some fighting and offensive skills. Even if Nene transforms via Pandora Device, she doesn’t do much fighting with it later on in the series as she uses it more for cooking, paramedic and even tailoring.

Talking about the character development, unfortunately all the characters do not feel as much even with the big flashing sign that this show is about the yuri relationship between Nene and Clarion. Because mainly I feel that all the characters (and this includes the baddie himself) are either jokers or have child-like personalities. You can already tell from Nene’s airhead character that she is nonchalant and the happy-go-lucky kind. Because for her to even think about using money to buy world peace, you can call her naïve but hey, money solves everything, right? RIGHT?! Despite not being a rich girl herself and for her to come up with this kind of conclusion, it shows the power of money, doesn’t it? Cyborgs too value money! Even Clarion who doesn’t show much emotions, as I said her animated form for half the series makes her feel a lot more comical in those situations and even more so when she plays the rebuking role to BUER who himself is a big little joker.

But if you want a dumb joker, that role goes to Bunny whose every darn appearance will only have you think something funnily bad is going to happen to her. It is amazing this useless subordinate is still alive after so long and her comrades too but in prison. They are like unlucky luckies. Get what I mean? Don’t get me started on Vlind too because you know who she is and what she is for. Then you have Takumi who acts like a child throwing tantrum if she thinks she is superior than you but when she realizes Nene is far more superior, she cowers behind her Gert like a child afraid of her parent. Amy might be one of the few least joker characters but I feel she is there because for the moe loli factor. Why else would she be in this series for? Even minor characters like North and even Mr Chicken feel more comical than anything serious, don’t you agree?

And as I have said that even with Kurtz being the villain looking all that serious and a typical baddie look, he also feels like a joke, spouting his time-is-precious crap and world dominating goal. Yeah, it took him almost an entire season trying to get control of BUER, right? You can’t blame him for being mad that after all this time of wanting to shape the world to his ideals, all he got was somebody’s porn! Truly disappointing! Truly hilarious! Well, at least we know he isn’t into girls’ thighs ;p… I thought he might even go as far as killing himself for all those wasted time. And Robert’s role seems so minimal, that you wonder that everything from his cameo is just to lead up to the final scene of him arresting Kurtz in which he somewhat fails. So how is Robert a joker? His penchant to help everybody in need with a smile. That itself is a joke in a real world because you can’t find such a Good Samaritan anymore. Yeah, blame the world for making me cynical.

I am not sure if Uzal is dead since after stabilizing BUER for the first time, she only appears in videos that are timed to appear when certain circumstances and conditions are met. Even in the final episode it is hinted she is very much alive, it made me wonder if that was all just part of her advanced programming. Yeah, I know she is a super genius but it feels like she is like God in this sense of knowing what will happen. Uh huh. It is like she made provision and predicted almost everything that would likely happen. Perhaps she has more cheeky experiments to carry out and thus the reason she is moving about in the shadows. I am a little confused of her background. Not too sure if she has a double identity because the world projected her as a terrorist that looks like a Che Guevara revolutionist under her Sahar moniker. As there was a movie adapted from the series before the TV series and as usual I have not watched it, I am not sure if this movie is a condensed summary of the entire TV series or a prequel to the story. So I won’t be finding out more about Uzal any time soon or ever since this genius scientist is an ever greater mystery than BUER.

Art and drawing for a sci-fi genre feels acceptable. But somehow I find that some of the young looking female characters to resemble a lot from the mahjong series Saki. As I found out, both series are animated by Studio Gokumi (although they only animate the Achiga-hen and Zenkoku-hen of the Saki series) who also did animate anime with lots of moe like A Channel Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru, Kiniro Mosaic and Yuuki Yuuna Wa Yuusha De Aru. Therefore it is without any doubt that I see strange similarities in some of the characters like Clarion whom I thought is a flat chest version of Nodoka! Nene looks like a cross between Saki and Shizuno while Takumi feels more like a livelier version than Arata. And that Vlind girl? A bit like Yuuki, doesn’t she? The only young female character that doesn’t look like a Saki character is Amy. Because when I first looked at her, I thought she was a younger version of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica’s Mami!

The only seiyuu I recognized is Junichi Suwabe as Kurtz. The rest are Sanae Fuku as Nene (Risa Shirakaba in Aikatsu series), Manami Numakura as Clarion (Paula in Nisekoi), Marie Miyake as Takumi (Ringo in Mawaru Penguindrum), Atsuko Tanaka as Uzal (Caster in Fate/Stay Night series), Junpei Morita as BUER (Jason Li in Classroom Crisis), Tetsu Inada as Robert (Gamagoori in Kill La Kill), Maria Nakagawa as Amy (Theia in Rokujouma No Shinryakusha) and Rie Murakawa as Bunny (Hotaru in Non Non Biyori). The thing that attracted my attention and perhaps the only thing that makes the opening theme, Hopeness by ZAQ stand out is the fast and creative finger drilling piano play. Otherwise it would have just been another generic sci-fi song to me so thanks to this seemingly hectic and crazy pace of the piano, it really got my attention there.

As for the ending theme, Lose Control by the duet of Sanae Fuku and Manami Numakura, uhm, how should I put it? The song feels robotic… Uhm, robotic-like sound effects? Sure, it also feels like a theme for the yuri pair but the way it is played out makes it feel quite android-like and weird. It’s like trying to be Miss Monochrome but couldn’t. Also during the ending credits sequence, there will be a short radio show hosted by the duo called Pandoradio in which of course Nene is being the idiot and Clarion the rebuking role. While I don’t particularly note the background music, there was one that stood out like a sore thumb. During the final episode’s climatic sequence, there is this opera lady singing in the background. It just felt so weird…

Overall, a fairly entertaining series but don’t count on it being mainstream. Because the prospect of seeing mild yuri with robot girls might be too much to handle for some even though these girls look and act so human-like. Not the best in story, character development, action and fanservice or even in the sci-fi genre if you have certain hopes and expectations for it. But if you can open your mind just a little and accept the random hilarious (and robot yuri), there is some worth in watching this little entertainment and make you ponder about the possibility of the future of high technology. Yeah, it has got me worrying about the frequent network outages… I’m so scared… Not even all the money in the world could solve this. So buying world peace with money may seem like mission impossible and a pipe dream but at least it is more probable to buy all the ecchi anime, manga and eroge. Oh yeah. Those are world peace material! Or Pandora’s Box to world destruction? I know. That feeling of how much you want the world to just explode when the world sees your porn collection. That is why always remember to hide it well. Deep and dark corners of your folders…

P/S: You know it is world destruction when there are only yuri robots left to make out ;p.

Ooyasan Wa Shishunki

September 23, 2016

All that hassle in owning and renting a house. I’m sure for those who rent, many are faced with the unwanted problematic landlords that come in all forms of quirky personalities. From mean ones to those who just create weird rules, but you know, that is just half of the stories. Yeah, tenants from hell. So imagine having a landlord who is just a little girl! Wait. What? You read that right. At least for Ooyasan Wa Shishunki. A girl who is young enough to be your daughter is actually your landlord. The one who rules over whether you have a place to stay tonight. Don’t worry. This isn’t some sort of dark series but rather a light hearted comedy that lasts only 2 minutes about the daily lives of this landlady and her occupants.

Episode 1
Maeda just moved into his new apartment but who is this cute little girl, Chie Satonaka? Could she be his long lost sister that dad has secretly kept from him? A fiancée from his past life? Dream on! She is the landlord of this building. Dang. But I guess it isn’t all that bad. I mean, how lucky can a tenant get to have a cute middle school girl as their landlord? Or maybe Maeda is just being a typical male pervert. Making Maeda’s life ‘better’ is that his neighbour, Reiko Shirai is a hot woman. Reiko hands Chie a welcoming gift. Chie thinks it is some premium cooking oil she always wanted but never had because it was too expensive. To her dismay, they turn out to be bottles of bath liquids. What’s so bad about that? This apartment doesn’t have any baths. Oh…

Episode 2
If you’re wondering why Chie is always wearing her school uniform all the time, it is because it gives her a peace of mind. Heck, her wardrobe only has these clothes. So basically those are the only clothes that she can wear! Reiko has brought a cute apron for her but she prefers the traditional type that covers her entire body since in that way her uniform won’t get dirty. The girls help Maeda to cook because you know, guys like him are a noob in the kitchen. He must be enjoying his life with 2 girls flanking him as he cook. As he tastes the broth, he starts thinking about the indirect kiss with Chie. Reiko won’t allow that and quickly washes the little plate! Thankfully the food turns out to be good and Maeda is glad he is at the pinnacle of his life.

Episode 3
It seems Chie is being stalked by somebody! Reiko can’t stay with her since she has to work. However she doesn’t want Maeda to stay with Chie. Guess what? Chie interprets that this means she will stay in Maeda’s room! A win-win situation for Maeda?! So how does it feel to sleep next to a middle school girl? A sound startles Chie as she hugs Maeda in her reflex. Can you consider this out of his control? Time to turn in to bed although it is still early. Chie wants to hold his hand while sleeping. But after a minute, she falls deep into sleep and slaps his hand off. Next morning, Chie feels safe and assured so she thanks him. Then they discover the stalker outside the door poorly pretending to be a cat, Kengo Sasaki. This guy from her class has a crush on Chie. He questions Maeda’s relationship to her. Chie’s answer? He is like a father figure. Oh, the heartbreak. This has Kengo ask her to be his girlfriend. She declines because she doesn’t want to go out with a guy who follows her all the way home! Rejected! Oh, the heartbreak. Chie then leaves for school as she leaves behind 2 shocked men with broken hearts in her wake… Oh, oh…

Episode 4
Maeda returns home to find Chie cooking for him. In fact, she is acting like his wife. Serving him and even cleaning up. Now he has some explaining to do to Reiko. Chie ambiguously put it that Maeda told her she could drop by anytime to eat with him. I mean, food tastes great with company, right? As for how she got in, she has a spare key. Also, she thought it would be quicker to cook in Maeda’s place instead of carrying the ingredients back to her room. Reiko is devastated the duo are like close roommates. I’m sure she is against this relationship but when they invite her to join them, she quickly reschedules her plans.

Episode 5
When Maeda and Reiko learn Chie doesn’t join any clubs and heads straight home after school, they try to appeal to her about sports and music clubs but are ignored. When the teacher notices Chie is always alone, she gets the wrong idea alone means being bullied. She tries to have lunch with her classmates. They let her join but Chie finds their radiance is so shiny and sparkly. Unlike their decent bento, Chie’s bento is just poor. It makes her depressed. So Chie seeks Reiko’s help to make cute bento although all she knows how to make is onigiri.

Episode 6
Reiko makes character bento for Chie but it looks like a horror character! She shows it to her friends and they are scared at first but come to terms at how amusing it looks. Chie becomes the centre of attention when more friends come to join her for lunch. Chie thanks Reiko for making such a great bento that everyone snacked only on the dried squid. Is that a compliment? With everyone having fun talking about making character bento, Maeda suggests to form a club with her friends. After getting all the necessary approvals, the cooking club is ready to go. But did she have to use that horror character as the advertising poster?

Episode 7
Chie and her cooking club begin cooking their pork soup to commemorate their first day of the club. The friends are impressed seeing how Chie is so adept in using the peeler to cut and the knife to quickly shave or cut. While they may be feeling tired or their hands numb, Chie is still like a work horse! She is not stopping! In the end, the pork soup was worth all the preparations. But since they left the window open, the great aroma attracted other people as they have a great taste of their pork soup. So they’re like a cafeteria now? Chie returns home to tell Maeda and Reiko how they made 220 servings! Yup, definitely not going to make food for the entire school again.

Episode 8
Maeda and co head to the public bath. He wonders why there are suddenly so many old men. Is it because they are here for Reiko and Chie?! As Maeda soaks with those old farts, he wonders why everyone is so silent. Is it because so they can hear the girls eavesdrop?! They blush whenever the girls mention their name. But the old guys soon become jealous when the girls seem to mention and talk about Maeda’s name a lot. At the end of the bath, Chie gives Reiko a good massage. Her sexy moaning gives Maeda a wrong idea. As they leave, while the girls enjoyed theirs, Maeda feels he doesn’t want to go to such baths again.

Episode 9
Chie’s friends see her reading a grocery flyer. But they are wondering if they should tell her she is reading yesterday’s edition. When they do so, it seems Chie knows and the reason being if she looks at today’s flyer, she can’t concentrate in class. They heard rumours of her shopping with a grown man. They paint a handsome picture of him As they ask her, Chie thinks they are talking about Maeda and mentions he is just a tenant (Tanako) but the girls misinterpret that as his name. Because of that, they get the wrong idea of her relationship when Chie explains they live in the same block and eat dinner together sometimes. As they squeal in delight, it makes Chie wonder if having such good rapport between landlord and tenant is unheard of.

Episode 10
Chie’s friends, Mayu Ueno and Yuki Miyamura are at her place to study. Instantly Reiko and Yuki click. Why? Because they have big boobs and they understand how hard it is to have them! Even more shocking, Yuki for her age, her busts are already big and she mentions they are still growing?! So they head to the lingerie store to buy bras. When Yuki tries hers, she realizes she has grown 2 sizes! Luckily Chie and Mayu are glad they are flat chests since they won’t have such problems. At home, Chie tries to put on a hook bra for the first time. Need more practice…

Episode 11
Chie realizes her entire wardrobe is filled with the same school uniform (refer to episode 2 to refresh your memories). Now you know why she wears the same outfit everywhere she goes, right? Feeling out of place, Reiko and Maeda take her shopping for clothes. Well, if the zeroes on the price tag don’t kill her… Since casual clothes aren’t her thing, they look for some kimonos. Yeah, more zeroes… Maeda and Reiko manage to buy her an affordable one. Chie declines to accept at first but seeing how bad they felt, she accepts. She is quite happy with the gift and ends up staring at it all night. Didn’t get to sleep a wink…

Episode 12
Maeda doesn’t think Chie needs a chaperon for the fireworks festival as Reiko wanted. She insists he be her bodyguard. When Chie is seen clumsily running in her yukata, all that cuteness is enough to make him take the job. Chie meets her friends to head there and Maeda is definitely in heaven seeing all the girls in their cute yukata. Because it is crowded, Chie gets bumped into and Maeda saves her. She finds him cool. But I’m not sure if this makes him cooler because he starts directing the crowd traffic while the girls have fun! Talk about overdoing his job and even more. When it is time for the fireworks, Chie meets up with him to thank him for what he has done. He really looked cool. Ever since he moved in, she has nothing but fun. She hopes to come here with him again next year. The best ending a guy could ever have. But not so good ending for Reiko because she is desperately trying to find Chie and take a cute picture of her while her colleague restrains her since they’re supposed to be on duty. All dressed up and no Chie in sight.

Tenancy Due For Review
Well… Even though it wasn’t anything special, at least it wasn’t that disappointing. The very short duration of the series may have influenced my overall sentiments because despite being short in length, series like this are supposed to be fun and in bite-size. But recently there were a handful of short length anime series that were even able to disappoint me (looking at you Pan De Peace and Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara). Therefore this series wasn’t as bad as those aforementioned ones and still had the decency of keeping me entertained.

The plot isn’t anything special and it feels as generic as a simple series can be. Like as mentioned in my opening paragraph, it just deals with the daily antics of the occupants of a certain apartment. With many of the funny moments come bursting in as spontaneous, maybe that is why the entirety of everything this series had wasn’t so bad. The pacing felt a little fast (think Teekyuu but on a slightly slower note) but that is what you get when you have to cram everything in 2 minutes. And that isn’t counting the opening theme which already takes up half a minute there. So yeah, the story isn’t much but at least it was a little funny in an entertaining way.

As for the characters, nothing really too deep. From the synopsis, it gave me the impression that Maeda would be the main character. Because it explains ‘a lot’ about him. Typical adolescent male. Constantly fantasizing about attractive girls. I know it isn’t much but that tells you a lot that he is a pretty normal and ordinary dude. But as far as I see him in this series, he felt just like a secondary character. Despite he is just normal, he is funny, he is nice and mainly friend zone with the only 2 girls around him. Hey, at least he gets to live with 2 attractive ladies. That is not bad, right?

Thus Chie is the main character since well, it is very much hinted in the anime title itself. Duh. Chie’s character could have been anything. It felt like they needed a reason why a loli would be living with a grown man (and a grown woman). I don’t remember if there was any reason why Chie inherited the apartment but isn’t it just odd to let a girl who hasn’t even finished her middle school education? I am not sure if she is the youngest landlady I have ever seen in anime but I have seen a handful of young high school girls having such position (think Mahoraba, Rokujouma No Shinryakusha and Chokotto Sister). I mean, Chie should be living her life as a normal middle school girl (in which she seems to be doing just fine in this anime) instead of having to shoulder such responsibilities regarding property. What the heck is Japan’s welfare system doing?! Thankfully Chie is a cheerful as well as honest-to-goodness girl although at times she can be naïve but that is okay, right? Although she is only a young girl, she already has exceptional skills in cooking and cleaning. It’s her passion, I guess. Sometimes it makes her look like a middle aged woman when she’s applying her skills…

Completing the trio is Reiko and being the prettier face (at least for this apartment) I believe her character doesn’t do much accept to prevent in making Maeda and Chie’s relationship look like some unholy union of an adult and a child. I am unsure if Reiko has a crush on Maeda because despite me trying to pick hints it is very vague and it could be me just thinking too much. Not sure if her jealousy of him being close to Chie is because she has a crush on him or if he doesn’t like Maeda looking like a pedo. Because I believe Reiko has some sort of obsession with Chie. In the sense that if you see a cute kitten and you can’t resist squeezing it to death. Yeah. That. Speaking of romance, what happened to Kengo anyway? Bitten once, twice shy? At least we know with that heart breaking revelation, he stopped stalking outside Chie’s apartment for the rest of the episodes. The other minor characters like Chie’s classmates feel even more like extras. It feels like they are there just to show us that Chie isn’t just a lonely soul back home but she too has friends too in school. At least we get to see her make some.

Making this whole landlord-tenant thingy seem weird is that the trio are the only ones occupying this small apartment. Are there any other occupants around? I don’t know. Personally it makes these people feel, uhm, so lonely? Isn’t it the reason why they prefer each other’s company during meal times and eat with each other? Yeah, they look more like a family unit than anything else. But too bad for Maeda. You can’t consider Chie to be anything more than your landlord or you’ll be treated as a lolicon-cum-pedo and arrested. Oh well, if the trio are so happy together, I suppose they don’t need to add more tenants to ruin it. You know, maybe it isn’t the case of more the merrier but too many cooks spoil the broth. So the trio might be just right for the time being.

Drawing and art feel pretty normal and simple. It is nothing to shout about. Really. Chie is cute and Reiko is a bijin. Can’t complain, can I? At first I thought with the cameo appearances of the characters from Komori-san Wa Kotowarenai in a certain episode, both series were made from the same studio. Nope. This series was done by Seven Arcs (Dog Days, Sekirei, Trinity Seven, Asura Cryin’ and Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha series) while the latter was by Artland (Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn, Senran Kagura, Mushishi and Kenkou Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho). I tried finding out if they were written by the same author. Nope. The only similarity I found was that they were published in the same manga magazine. I’m not too sure if the authors are best friends since this series’ characters also made a cameo in that said series. Exchange programme?

The opening theme is a generic and typical anime pop song, Shining Sky by Every♥ing. The small cast members are Yurika Kubo as Chie (Hanayo in Love Live), Takashi Kondo as Maeda (Hayato in Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru), Hitomi Nabatame as Reiko (Yukiji in Hayate No Gotoku), Erii Yamazaki as Yuki (Yuu in Pan De Peace) and Ibuki Ueno as Mayu (Hibiki in Re-Kan!).

Overall, this anime is easy to watch and enjoyable. No need for confusing plots to follow, that’s for sure. The characters are amusing in their own right as well as, uhm, heart warming? Well, at least I could agree with that heart warming word (and comedic plot) in the sentence they said about the characters in the synopsis. Even if it isn’t much. Heh. It is like the synopsis itself is already a review for the series. How we’d wish to have a landlady as cute and nice as Chie because we wouldn’t be renting if we had our own places to live in the first place. If property prices didn’t skyrocketed in the first place. But screw life’s logic. Chie is so cute that we’d rather sell our homes and move in and rent a place just to be with her. But then reality also screwed with us because we’d ended up having Yurumates instead…

The Melody Of Oblivion

September 18, 2016

Despite reading a bunch of reviews before trying my hands at The Melody Of Oblivion, despite knowing how all of them painted this series as something less than stellar, disappointing and bad, I was still insistent in watching this. Even my guts told me that the reviewers were right and I shouldn’t disappoint myself to watching this. But I still wanted to watch it. Why? It is one of those moments whereby I crave to hear Mamiko Noto’s voice! And from a retro show. OMFG. What kind of f*cking reason is that?! I don’t know, coming across this series at first and learning that she is the voice of the titular character, wouldn’t that be just awesome? I mean back in those days when she had roles that were main characters compared to these days as she often plays supporting or cameo roles. So without even knowing what the heck is going on (I don’t think the synopsis was even that clear. At least I didn’t really understand it), I jumped into this series with my delusions of hearing the most beautiful voice in the anime world… And then… I realized all that was just an illusion and my enthusiasm came crashing down like a rock… It was too late…

Episode 1
It is narrated there was a huge war between humans and monsters. The monsters won. Time has passed and humans seemed to have forgotten about that melody. Bocca Serenade isn’t exactly a smart kid with high grades. He is going to school to retake an exam as he meets fellow classmate, Eru Sonoda. Along the way, they see old guy Tsunagi fixing his bike. Bocca works part time for him but Eru warns about the school’s notice about working at his dangerous shop. Doing so might turn him into a vagabond. Bocca is doing some archery practice. He strikes the bull’s eye. Not sure why the teacher is not happy so he tells him to shoot through the wall. The arrow broke. The teacher then rants about being one with the bow and don’t be too over-ambitious and all that crap. I think it is just to scorn him and make others laugh at him. I’m not sure what is going on later because Bocca and Eru had a tryst later. They kissed and she’ll give him more after he retakes the exam. Not too sure if he is showing his displeasure by sitting dangerously on the edge as he mentions about his dream to be a warrior and the bow is to destroy monsters. He wonders if he remembers that incident about Kei that nobody talks about now. It was 5 years ago when they were supposed to go for a field trip but he alighted the bus because he forgot something. He never came back. It was reported he had a sudden fever but he was never seen again. Tsunagi said he was sacrificed to monsters. They spot Bocca’s parents coming to school and go spy on them. They are bribing the teacher so he could pass his retake and be promoted. Of course this has to be a secret…

This cool guy, Hol sees the mayor and wants to inspect the ‘package’. There is this young boy in some barrier and Hol wants to spend a little more time with him. Then he strips him. I hope I didn’t sign up for little boys hentai. Bocca is met with this slut annoying girl, Sayoko Tsukinomori who can tell his future. Then she makes him treat him. He shows a picture of that vagabond who is actually a warrior. She wants to know his whereabouts. But she has to run when the police have located her. Bocca realizes his wallet is gone. When Bocca goes to see Tsunagi in his workshop, he is introduced to that vagabond, Kurofune Ballard, a true Melos Warrior who has fought the monsters. He is in his workshop because all warriors need to ride bikes to fight monsters. WTF? Bocca asks why he became a warrior. Kurofune is sad that the people continue to live in oblivion because they have forgotten about the melody. There is this girl whom nobody knows her real name but they call her The Melody Of Oblivion (TMOO). Only warriors can see the vision of the goddess. He could still remember her face clearly. When the sky is suddenly pitch dark, Kurofune senses Hol coming to attack. On his bull bus? Kurofune thought he was lost in some labyrinth and isn’t too happy when he realizes he has devoured another kid. So we see them in some weird bus-bike battle while Bocca felt something resonating within him. This girl appears before him and he could tell she is TMOO.

Episode 2
Bocca and his parents are at the police station. They are paying the officer to let him off the hook. Bocca asks about his Aiba Machine (a futuristic bike) but is told the police have confiscated it. Flashback tells us that Bocca returned to Tsunagi’s workshop and asked about the mark on his arm which is the same as Kurofune. That is when he shows him an Aiba Machine he made for him. He lets Bocca ride and even name it (Elan Vital). Just then, the police surrounded the workshop. Tsunagi needs to escape and leaves Bocca to his own devices. WTF? Before he busts this joint, he tells Bocca to look for TMOO since he could see her (isn’t she behind there now?!). Doing so means humanity still hasn’t lost yet. Bocca will soon go on a very long and faraway journey. Bocca wonders what happened to Kurofune. Yeah, the battle is still raging on! Hol escapes and is now back in the mayor’s office and is requesting for something to eat. The mayor panics since he thought that should be once in 4 years. However Hol points out this kid will do. The mayor is distraught because Eru is his only daughter. Eru is called by the teacher for ‘extra curriculum’ activities. He is going to sacrifice her to Hol. He seems to be bugging Hol for his reward as he explains himself the mayor tasked him to let Eru get away. Instead he did not because he sides with the monsters and wants to join Monster Union. Hol finds him annoying and knocks him out so he could start his party with naked Eru. But before he could do that, he is attacked by Kurofune. I guess the mayor sought his help in time.

Bocca is irked about bumping into Sayoko again. She still has his wallet. But she returns it so that he could treat her again. He knows she is a thief instead of a fortune teller because he saw a wanted poster of her at the police station. Besides, if she can tell the future, why not track this Kurofune guy herself? Well, she says her chains do not always work. Whatever. However they start acting up and guess where it leads them? Yeah, right in the middle of Kurofune and Hol’s battle. Seeing how Eru is in pain, Bocca summons Elan Vital the same way Kurofune does with his. What do you know? It really responded to him. Outnumbered, Hol escapes. Kurofune chides Sayoko for not listening to him and stay put. For he is going to fight monsters. As for Bocca, he must choose what to do now. And when the time to choose comes, he must be resolute. They’ll meet again if he survives. Then he blasts off into the sky. The teacher is still trying to rape Eru? He even admits humans must obey monsters. Bocca is mad at his actions that he powers up his arrow with his mark and demonstrates by destroying the wall! Enough to scare the sh*t out of that coward! That’s it?! Bocca then invites Sayoko to hop on his bike and go after Kurofune because there are lots of questions he wants to ask him. What about Eru? Goodbye cow tits. You have been dumped.

Episode 3
Bocca camps by the roadside. Sayoko doesn’t like this idea and goes off to find herself work so she could stay in a hotel. Bocca asks around for a woman oracle he is looking for. Even if he has found out where she lives, he can’t just get an audience with her without any appointment and turned away. Who the heck he thinks he is? Meanwhile Sayoko is trying to do what she does best: Pickpocket. She targets this rich girl, Kew wandering around and when she is about to go in for the steal, a huge robot chicken wing monster drops down to kill them. Run! But cornered, who is going to save them? Ah yes. Bocca. Just in time. After the monster gets hit by his Melos charged arrow, it quickly escapes, blasting off into the sky like a space rocket. Kew takes them back to the hotel her sister, Keiko runs. She prepares a room for them as gratitude. Kew is also happily reunited with Wakadan, the heir of this hotel and supposedly Kew’s lover? Keiko shows Bocca a place where he could park his bike and tells him that these machines will not defeat the monsters. With the strange events happening, Bocca decides to go visit the oracle again. Meanwhile a group of villagers confront this Medusa girl but they got all turned into stone. Don’t they know better? Strangely, Bocca is now let in to see the oracle. He asks about TMOO and where to find her. It is believed during the war, there was a place all monsters feared: The Melody Theatre. It is said TMOO is confined there. However she doesn’t know where that place is. The oracle warns him to quit being a Melos Warrior because in this town nobody will appreciate him being one. Bocca leaves and thinks about this. He asks other people about children being sacrificed here. They don’t answer and turn him away. And there is this weird cult group of clones chanting viva Monster Union! WTF.

Episode 4
Keiko shows Bocca around town since the monsters don’t target tourists and only children. WTF? So what if I am a tourist kid? He notices a few quirks around town and when he sees stoned people, he really feels something dark is going on behind the background. Sayoko doesn’t want to get involve with this town anymore but Bocca still wants to help since Kew is obviously being target by the monsters. Sayoko corrects him that the robot that attacked Kew isn’t a monster but a machine controlled by Monster Union. Speaking of them, their local agent is no other than Keiko who has received orders from the big boss, Monster-sama to eliminate the Melos Warrior. She gets a courtesy call from fellow comrade, Uribou about her failure to finish the Melos Warrior off and if she needs any help, she’ll be glad to assist. Keiko then remembers her past whereby her father lamented she wasn’t a boy. She was outstanding in every field but because she wasn’t a boy, he could only b*tch about it. She thought she found someone similar in Wakadan but he had his eyes on Kew. When her father’s business was exposed as a fraud, he believes his family is done for and told her ‘useless daughter’ to marry off someone. Bocca meets that Medusa girl. He thinks she might be a monster after realizing a guy down the road turned into stone. There is some talk between Sayoko and Keiko about the latter should live the way she wants but she can’t because she doesn’t know how.

Then there is more flashback on Keiko whereby she can’t take it anymore and at the edge of the cape she wished for the sun never to shine here again. Because of that, the tourists will visit this place and everyone will work under her. Oh, she sacrificed all the children for this wish. Then there is this seemingly rape scene whereby she gets synchronized with the chicken wing monster. Sayoko talks to Bocca that she is worried about Kurofune. Her chains will sometimes react and point in his direction but lately it hasn’t and she fears he is dead. Bocca assures he is still alive and wants to see him. This flimsy excuse is the assurance that made Sayoko stay with him a little longer. Suddenly we see Bocca engage in a fight with the chicken monster. He damages the hull enough to expose Keiko and is shocked to see her. She tells him to go away and not meddle in their affairs because he is an outsider. Don’t use your shallow sense of justice to judge others. Ironically, it is Keiko who flies away? This has Bocca thinking if he is going to cause trouble for the things he is going to do that no one cares. You worried about that now? He sees Kew putting flowers at a torn doll near the beach. It is a grave for all the children who were sacrificed. She has resigned she is next.

Episode 5
Bocca sees the oracle again to ask about Medusa girl’s whereabouts. It’s that ship at the port, right? On his way, he sees Wakadan tied up. He claims the monster is targeting him next and pleads to be saved. As Bocca goes into action, the other people pin him down. It is just a ploy to trap him and throw him in prison. Meanwhile Sayoko bumps into Kew who doesn’t seem all that innocent anymore. She knows her sister is the monster and is no longer targeted. She explains her jealousy on Keiko as the eldest daughter, all the attention was on her and thus as the younger daughter she was treated like a stranger. If Keiko wants to kill her out of jealousy, go ahead. Kill her and she will suffer forever. She knew Keiko loved Wakadan and Kew purposely stole her love away from her. Keiko sees Medusa girl that they have captured Bocca and will personally administer his death. With that, Medusa girl leaves the place. Sayoko uses her lock picking skills to get Bocca out. Because she is bragging and talking so loud, Wakadan locks them back in. When Sayoko mentions Kew knows everything, Wakadan goes crazy. So this guy doesn’t know she knows? Bocca should have thought about this because he summons Elan Vital to bust him out so he could go fight the monster. Keiko is about to kill Kew but here comes Bocca to intervene. As they fight, Bocca finds it hard to ride and shoot at the same time. To show their strong man-machine bond, with Bocca putting all his trust in his bike and Elan Vital giving him a second chance. Bocca nails a direct head shot. Weird things happen. The lighthouse collapses. The sun now rises. The townspeople are doomed as their lifestyle is destroyed. They show their displeasure by throwing stones at Bocca. Keiko begs for forgiveness from Kew but she rips apart the doll. Huh? HUH?! HUUUHH???!!! WTF, I don’t understand it all! Bocca reflects how the oracle was right. He wonders if this is going to be the same in every town. Despite it is hard and unrewarding being a Melos Warrior, he does not regret the path he has taken. He and Sayoko ride to the next town.

Episode 6
The duo are lost at a dam thanks to Sayoko’s chains. As they climb the dam, they see a cute boy but his hand is stuck in the dam to prevent it from leaking. Forever. Then they meet Eichi Hikoyama who is painting a huge mural over the dam. They ask about this Dutch boy so he says everyone in the village knows about this problem and if he lets go of his hand, the dam will flood and destroy the town. However nobody will come to help him because he is most hated. A mechanical mouse startles them so Eichi destroys it with his arrow. Realizing he is a Melos Warrior, Eichi offers to let them stay at his place. But first he will let them meet his employer, Miri Kanaya. They pass through a room filled with people doing calculations of those mechanical mice. They are calculating the sorrow it brings from all over the world as they collect tears from the children of the world and transport them to this dam. Eichi notes these people are more like robots and it makes the Dutch boy more like a human when compared. Eichi sees Miri and she showers him with kisses for his outstanding work on the mural. She is interested in Bocca and values him at a million dollars. He asks about Dutch boy but she says he is a demon as he was born with a horn on his head. After they leave, her butler notes about Eichi being the ‘tax’ but Miri won’t have him sacrificed but make him stay here forever. The butler thinks she decided to dump Eichi for a new lover. A mark of Monster Union is seen on Miri’s body. Eichi loves how close Bocca and Sayoko are despite arguing. He was hoping he and his lover would be the same. He shows them an abandoned house across his place. His fiancée used to live here. Although he loved her, she loved another man and moved out of this valley. As Eichi has employed them to be his assistant, Bocca goes to help him paint but such menial labour isn’t for Sayoko so she tries to leave. As she is about to board a bus, another chick alights. She sees her beautiful sapphire gem and plans on stealing it. Bocca is still bothered about Dutch boy. Despite being told he was a demon, he couldn’t sense he is a monster. A giant mechanical mouse attacks. Bocca fights back. He destroys an arm which scatters into thousands of little mice. He tries to go after it but is surrounded by those mice. Of course he is no match for them but suddenly they retreat. It is that chick as she claims the sound of her bow, Meigen drives the smaller monsters away. Sayoko is busted when Bocca discovers her robbing intention. They wonder if this chick is a Melos Warrior and from around here. But when she sees Bocca’s Melos mark, she draws her bow at him.

Episode 7
Bocca will destroy this valley’s Monster Union agent and knows this is Eichi’s goal too. That chick spared him because she doesn’t see any worth in doing so. Eichi says that chick is Toune. His ex-fiancée. He didn’t expect her to come back and maybe she could be the one to finish this mural. Miri goes to see Bocca and tries to flirt with him. She also tries to buy him for $5 million and wants him to stay here as he can get his desires fulfilled. However the flirting is cut short when she hears a familiar song being played next door. She rushes over and curses the return of that girl. If you thought she dumped Eichi and shouldn’t be bothered about Toune, well, she won’t let Eichi have her. Then there is some talk about her being jealous about them (something about a garden she didn’t have). Back then, the villagers were hunting down that demon kid too. Miri and Toune worked together to try and capture it for a reward before the rest. But in the forest, a red mist shrouded them. Appearing before them is that Medusa girl who wants them to join her. Despite Toune’s advice not to go to her, Miri panicked and went over. That Medusa girl is actually Monster-sama and it is said you either turn into a stone in her gaze or go over to her side. Miri has become her agent and thus this valley is now under her control.

Miri talks with the parrot messenger about getting rid of the Melos Warrior with her charms. But when the parrot mentions about her previous house which is now under the dam, Miri goes crazy screaming like a b*tch. Then she goes to put on her lame dominatrix battle outfit as she reminisces the painful process of becoming a Monster Union agent (especially burning that mark on her). She summons all the mechanical mice to cover her as she becomes the giant robot mouse. Eichi has finished his job and says his goodbye to Dutch boy. However he is unaware that Toune is back. Bocca goes to talk to Toune to find out why she hates Melos Warriors. She says he doesn’t know the art of Meigen. She wants to duel with him. They are to take turns shooting the mechanical mice and the first one to miss loses. At the same time, she explains about Monster Union’s pyramid scheme (same case for Sayoko from Eichi). As many adults want to become an agent for Monster Union, they work hard to bring sorrow to children, thus the mice. The amount of tears collected from hurt children will help decide if you become an agent or not. So when these children of tragedy grow up, they create even greater tragedies. The cruel cycle repeats itself for eternity. Sayoko asks further about Dutch boy. He is Eichi’s rival and stole Toune’s heart from him with his clear blue eyes. When the duel is a draw, Toune suggests facing each other. But that won’t happen since the giant mouse monster is here. Eichi knows he is being targeted. Bocca goes into action and looks like he is the only one surprised to learn Miri is behind this monster and an agent. Miri tries to make Bocca one last offer to become hers: $5.2 million! You really think so?

Episode 8
After Bocca attacks her, she screams and runs away! That was fast. Eichi soon leaves the valley. He wonders if Toune wants to come along. Of course not. She wonders if people who love his painting exist. Of course. Because she came back here. What? I don’t understand. Toune then talks about Meigen by giving a form of your heart. Despite having that technique, she hates Melos Warriors. What? I don’t understand. Then there is this flashback of her after being ditched by Miri in the forest. Wandering around brought her to that demon kid. She continued stalking for days and worried the villagers will find him, hid him in her dad’s wine cellar. Eichi also found out about this. Ever since, Monster Union gain control of this valley and the dam was completed. Toune wanted to destroy it but Dutch boy stopped her as he doesn’t want the people living down the valley to perish. He stuck his hand in the hole. Toune can’t understand why he would protect the people who persecute him. In fact, her mom is dead so she couldn’t care less about them. But when he wonders if he can order him to do so, she couldn’t and ran away. Shortly she left the valley. The parrot is mocking Miri’s failure but gives her direct orders from Monster-sama to kill Bocca. And so we have another rematch. But no matter how much Bocca deals damage to her giant mouse, the little mice will be there to repair. More flashback from Toune as Dutch boy realizes it is harder for him to be kept hidden, he gave Toune his horn. I’m not sure what the f*ck just happened because despite she said she won’t, she ripped it out and ran away!!! WTF?! Now she is back with him at the dam. She sounds like a lover wanting to get back. She gives him back the horn (which is the gem) and after he attests her, she names him Sky Blue and orders him to take out his hand. The dam will be damned soon. Bocca wonders if he needs Meigen to defeat Miri. That is when TMOO whispers into his ear (cheating!) so he calls out to his Meigen, Serenade’s Heart that immobilizes and rusts the robot mouse. A shot is enough to defeat Miri subsequently. Toune then arrives in her Aiba Machine and fires into the mural to destroy the dam. Her Melos mark is on her thigh. That orgasmic face when she powers up her arrow… The water washes away the mural to reveal a hidden painting of Eichi wishing the Melos Warriors good luck. The town is submerged by the dam water and it opens a new path for our heroes to travel. Toune leaves with Bocca and Sayoko. They wonder where she got her Aiba Machine. You got have guessed from that horn. Yup. It’s Sky Blue.

Episode 9
Bocca must be annoyed with Toune’s words about his weak arrow skills so he starts practising. He is about to leave the house of his caretaker but the old dude warns him he still has a chance to turn away from his Melos Warrior life. You think he do that? Bocca heads over to the industrial plant to meet up with Sayoko who just met a girl, Coco reading some poem about death and loneliness. They are then picked up to see the factory manager, Masaru Hashimoto as he explains his factory is the largest and provides all the power in this bay. Recently there are thieves attacking and sabotaging his delivery. So why not call the police? The attacks are done with bare hands. Could it be monsters? Masaru wants to hire Bocca for life to be his security force. But Bocca tells him he has the wrong idea of a Melos Warrior. They don’t care what others think and only fight the good fight in the battles. Masaru tries to convince him about the pay and such. Bocca agrees to guard the next delivery only because he wants to know the thieves’ identity. Word of Bocca becoming the factory’s guard soon spreads to the thieving group that Coco is a part of, Centauro. Hey, isn’t that Tsunagi with them? Masaru takes a liking for Sayoko and treats her well. But he gets scared when her chains start moving. He thought it was a ghost? Bocca faces off with Centauro. He is convinced they are monsters after seeing Kron rip apart the truck with his bare hands. They claim they want to destroy what is inside. Bocca fights the boomerang wielding Hikari but his bow is broken. Don’t worry. Elan Vital’s handle can be used as one! But Nick stops the fight and brings Bocca back to their hideout. Bocca wonders how he knows their name. It is because Saburo Musashino told them all about him. Bocca is surprised that guy is Tsunagi. Centauro wonders why Bocca is working for Monster Union. If you haven’t guessed it now, Masaru is an agent and those trucks are delivering mechanical monster parts. With that, Bocca is worried for Sayoko. Masaru is seen entering some chamber to fix his machine as he tells his locked up first and second wife he has found a third one. Sayoko taking a bath finds the door locked…

Episode 10
Tsunagi explains how he was travelling around and when he came here, he decided to team up with Centauro to take down this factory. The engine of that plant is actually a spaceship, Mithranome. It was supposed to be the ultimate weapon to wipe out monsters but it failed. 31 of the 33 engines have already merged in the satellite orbit in space. Masaru is operating one of them and the other has fallen into the sea in which he intends to salvage. After all the engines merge, they will be able to access the space fortress from Earth. That is why they must stop this from happening as Tsunagi also had a hand in creating an engine. The plan is to sneak in tonight and sink the entire factory. However Bocca is against it because Sayoko is still there (speaking of which, she is chained up and being told the same thing by Masaru who is trying to kiss her only to be interrupted by the parrot. To his shock, he is told Monster-sama is here). But if Bocca goes on a rescue mission, this will jeopardize their surprise attack. Bocca refuses to become a demon this way so they warn him to do as he wish but not stand in their way. Coco suggests splitting up the team and she will go with Bocca. She seems to take a liking for him and teases him by calling him cute. Masaru dreads seeing Monster-sama. Not sure if bowling is giving him a certain trauma… Coco mentions her intention to travel with Bocca to find Melody Theatre after this. She hopes Hikari can come along with her. They face off with Masaru in his ape mecha. Bocca is hesitant to attack because Sayoko is his hostage. Coco then borrows an arrow and powers up with her Melos mark on her cheek (again that orgasmic face when she kisses the arrow…) to fire and free Sayoko. As she falls, Bocca realizes he cannot reach her in time. Hikari transforms into an Aiba Machine to save her. Bocca sees a horn over Hikari’s forehead. Nick and Kron arrive in their Aiba Machine form with Tsunagi. The Aiba Machines go after Masaru and leave the engine destruction to Tsunagi and the rest. Bocca asks about those guys as Aiba Machines so he explains they are from the Unicorn series. Inside the engines contained prohibited development of Aiba Machines with a soul. It was supposed to be suspended as their presence is more dangerous than monsters. However somebody completed the prototypes and Coco found and awakened them inside the sealed engine. As Tsunagi is keying in the self destruct code, Sayoko mentions there are still people in this plant. Those ape men people wearing masks…

Episode 11
Masaru escapes and he fears asking Monster-sama for help. However she has already left but a fellow agent, Global Yamaneko reminds him he is behind schedule and must test the space fortress tonight. Tsunagi remembers the war during the monsters was just a step short of completion. The engine Tsunagi’s team created never activated because Chief V suspended it and this became mankind’s ultimate fall. The person whom Tsunagi revered and respected the most has been labelled as mankind’s traitor and vanished shortly after. They enter a room and see ape men doing harsh labour powering the engine. Masaru explains they are not humans as they cannot possibly survive such working conditions. Therefore they are ape men. Bocca fires a shot at Masaru while Tsunagi hacks the system to free the ape men. After the Aiba Machines destroy the outside plant, they head inside to join Coco. Masaru sets his comical monkey robots to fight them as he escapes. Tsunagi now needs to key in the self destruct code in the control room so Bocca takes him there. The engine must take off and be in the air at a certain altitude for this self destruction to take effect. But setting it at 247 seconds? Gee, why the odd number? Tsunagi thought he is done but he sees a communications log and plays a video of Chief V’s last moments in the lab. Brings back nostalgic memories? I am not too sure in this video about her incomplete explanation why she cannot activate the engine because she knew something about the ape men. Not too sure if Tsunagi is crying because he believed in her or couldn’t believe she is really a traitor. Bocca had to bring him out to escape but Tsunagi can’t stand to lose his love and runs back into the flames. Bocca is forced to escape with the rest and after a safe distance, the engine explodes (Masaru probably fell to his death but it is the sea below, right?). Bocca is sad that he couldn’t save Tsunagi. Coco’s only words of consolation were perhaps it is Tsunagi’s way of living. Sayoko perhaps provided the best consolation to cheer up gloomy Bocca. A peck on his cheek as thanks for saving her. Time to get over it and move on.

Episode 12
Bocca and Sayoko are brought by a boatman, Animoto to a volcanic island where it is believed Kurofune is. After looking around, they find his wrecked Aiba Machine. Asking it about Kurofune, its headlights points towards a spot. It is a hidden tunnel hidden by the tides. There are creepy Egyptian paintings on the cave walls. Then they see Animoto being heckled by Yamaneko about the sacrifices for Monster-sama. It is then Bocca realizes the transport Animoto was bringing is a coffin for sacrifice. He gets out of his hiding and Yamaneko isn’t too pleased that Animoto broke the law by bringing other people here. He gets into his tiger mecha to fight Bocca. He thought his sound wave could paralyze his Aiba Machine. Too bad he was wrong. After Bocca defeats him, he turns his arrow on Animoto about the child sacrifice in the coffin. Animoto claims he had no choice but to do it to survive. Besides, he has resigned to his fate that mankind has lost. When he mentions the labyrinth behind this door and a previous Melos Warrior walked through it and never came out, I guess we can say that guy is Kurofune. I’m not sure what Sayoko’s problem is because now she points her arrow at Bocca. Something about leaving her behind and going into the labyrinth by himself. Yes, Bocca is not Kurofune and is different. So what the f*ck is your problem?! Bocca leaves Elan Vital to protect Sayoko while he enters the labyrinth alone. She gives him her chains as guide. She has even the cheek to ask about his feelings when he is parting with her. Like the dense guy he is, he thinks she is most relieved because spending cramp nights in his tent is like hell. Huh? Bocca no baka! See her sad face? Bocca hears somebody humming and since there is reply, it is confirmed this kid, Solo is that child sacrifice. Bocca slides down the gap to go save him. But when he lands, he finds himself on a bus during a field trip from his school days.

Episode 13
Knowing something is amiss, Bocca breaks out and finds himself back inside the labyrinth. He frees Solo from his coffin and tries to get out of this place. Then they see Kurofune. Bocca is happy to see him but not Kurofune. He is suspicious of Solo because if he is a human offered as sacrifice, why is he spared from the monster effects of this labyrinth? As explained, people will turn to stone or puppets when they see a monster’s true form. But even with this foolproof method, why did they stop it and tried to blend in with humans? Because for every thousands of humans turned to stone, a Melos Warrior is born and that single warrior is enough to wipe out all monsters. Bocca thinks Solo is a Melos Warrior. He finds a mark on his arm but Solo denies it as he has not seen TMOO and cannot use a Melos arrow. Bocca figures his power is not awakened yet. They then see a past of Kurofune being a matador in a fight against Hol. Kurofune defeated him but he escaped into the labyrinth. Because of its space-time distortion, Hol escaped death but he cannot leave this place. But somehow he managed to. That is why Kurofune is here to seal him in. One way is to engage in an eternal fight. A Melos Warrior can live forever here thanks to the distortion. Apparently they see more of Kurofune’s past. He notes all of them are his real selves. Time-space distortion crap again? Then there is a past he saved Sayoko from being a monster’s sacrifice. What made it sadder was the fact her parents chose her as the sacrifice. Because her brother is a Monster Union agent. Kurofune tells Bocca to find a way out with Solo while he finds and fight his mortal enemy Hol. However Bocca wants to switch places because Sayoko is outside waiting for him. Apparently he doesn’t care about her. He only saved her. That’s about it. Goodbye. Solo thinks Bocca has been used by him to fight the monster. Shortly, Hol’s voice is heard, mocking Bocca for being tricked by Kurofune. I don’t know why Bocca is so focused on finding Hol that he didn’t realize Solo has been kidnapped by him! Bocca tries to find a way out but you know why they don’t call this the labyrinth. He enters a room and sees Eru. Or at least something that looks like her. She starts undressing herself and invites him to have sex. However Bocca is gay and turns her down. Really! Eru asks why he would return to danger. His excuse: If he wanted to choose her, he would have stayed back and not go on this adventure. Damn right. Goodbye again, cow tits. Bocca returns to the labyrinth and fumbles his way in the darkness.

Episode 14
Bocca is talking to Kei in a bus before something painful happens to the latter. It is believed this labyrinth is Hol’s stomach and Kei is reliving this nightmare over and over again. Bocca returns to reality and sees only bones on the ground. Hol appears before him. Bocca is not amused that the children have to relive death over and over again. Hol says this is the price to pay for immortality. Bocca is determined to fight him if it means getting trapped here forever. Bocca finds himself in a matador arena against Hol. He finds it strange that Hol is using the same move on Kurofune. Because of that, Bocca defeats him. Hol summons dolls as distraction to escape as Bocca easily dismantles them with his Meigen. It could have been a mine cart chase but Bocca stumbles into Kurofune. They’re still arguing for the other to leave this place and it is their fight to battle Hol. Is this a time to fight each other? Oddly, they shoot arrows at each other and catch it with their bare hand. When they start using their Melos power, Kurofune wins. So he gets to use the cart? Kurofune finds Hol and another fight starts. Again. He wonders how Hol can get out since he shot him with his arrow. Simple. If inside here is a labyrinth, then outside is the true labyrinth! WTF?! Bocca continues to get lost. He then finds himself at the entrance but this might be a mirage since he is seeing events when he left Sayoko to venture in the labyrinth. Then the place gets flooded. He floats up and sees Kurofune’s Aiba Machine sinking down. When he surfaces, Sayoko pulls him up onto Animoto’s boat. He apologizes he failed to get Kurofune out as he is still fighting Hol. But Sayoko cries in his arms that she was worried she was going to lose him too. The island is now missing and it is rumoured to have sunk a long time ago. It is also rumoured that such island could pop up anywhere ever since the monsters came into rule. As Bocca wonders who is Monster King, we shift to a Greek-like island where every darn Greek monster exists like the Minotaur, Talos and Medusa (Monster-sama’s actual name). Monster King turns out to be Solo! He has TMOO in his captive.

Episode 15
Bocca and Sayoko are at a canal investigating a series of children vanished on a ship. When they spot a kid washed up by the side, they realize he is Sky Blue. I know he is a machine but using a tuning fork to test his pulse? But don’t laugh when Bocca uses cables to jump start him back to life! Sky Blue reveals Toune is captured inside the floodgate tower. There is a Monster Union agent, Lucky Thoroughbred who gathers children in his artificial lake behind the tower and makes them race. The losers will be sacrificed to the monster. Toune and Sky Blue cornered him but he had bombs everywhere and not afraid to detonate and kill everybody. Also, he had a machine that incapacitated Aiba Machines and Sky Blue took a direct hit. Sky Blue needs to go rescue Toune but he is still weak. Suddenly they are attacked by… Uhm, Silver Surfer? Female bunny version! She is dropping lots of bombs. In the end she escapes and Bocca gets a little injured. Sayoko questions why Elan Vital couldn’t fly. Bocca has never flown with it and feels it is too dangerous to try during battles. How about now? It won’t work when they’re not fighting. Useless piece of contraption, right? Flying Bunny goes to see Thoroughbred. She believes she knows about his defiance of Monster Union and the scapegoats he used. He isn’t cowed and thinks she is here to report him to get promoted. He demonstrates the ability to blow up anything anywhere anytime because he has placed bombs around the canal and considers this place under his control. So if she is not careful, she’ll get more than just her injured butt. WTF?! He goes to see Toune in his possession and there is no way he will hand him to anybody. He believes if he defeats a Melos Warrior, Child Dragon will recognize his strength and it would be his dreams to place bombs all over the world to control it. Man, that’s scary. Meanwhile, Sayoko is hinting some romance to Bocca. She even wants a kiss! WTF?! Thanks to his density and uninterested looks (I hope he isn’t gay), she gets mad thinking it is because TMOO is watching. Oh you don’t know. She’s just right behind them… Sayoko runs away. I don’t get her. She is the reason why men can never understand women! Sky Blue starts his journey but Hikari stands in his way. I don’t know why they hate each other so much and proceed fighting. Poor Sayoko wanders around and here comes Thoroughbred before her. Guess what? He is her brother.

Episode 16
While looking for Sayoko, Bocca bumps into Coco. Then they bump into the fighting Aiba Machines and stop them. They discuss how many children were kidnapped here perhaps to attract Melos Warriors. Coco wants Sky Blue to stay here with Hikari since there is a machine to incapacitate Aiba Machines. She will signal for help when the time calls for it. Sayoko returns with her brother. He blames her for not playing her part of being sacrificed and put a damper on his promotion. Now that things are proceeding smoothly, he will let all those who belittle him know that he is the luckiest person in the world. Is that a pun? Bocca and Cocoa sneak into a ship. Being the cheeky girl she is, Coco flirts with him inside the crate. Being the shy guy he is, Coco kisses him. She actually did! Oh, TMOO is watching… They bring up the topic of family. Coco doesn’t remember hers since she was kidnapped at a toy store while she was young. Bocca can’t say much about his own since his is pretty normal. But he is sad about Sayoko’s family who tried to sacrifice her. Flashback reveals Shuuma (Thoroughbred) has always been favoured by his parents as he is the chosen one while Sayoko is mistreated and blamed. Even worse, Shuuma asserted his dominance over her. One day Kurofune came to their house since Shuuma made contact with Monster Union but the parents shoo him away. Shortly, the parents treat Sayoko well but her happiness was short-lived as it was a rouse to sacrifice her so that Shuuma can become a Monster Union agent and rule the world. That is when Kurofune rescued her and had Sayoko live with some old female acquaintance. Bunny is looking for something to eat and stumbles upon Bocca and Coco inside the crate. Shhh… She is about to leave them alone but they barge out and attack. Bocca faces Thoroughbred to free his comrades but the latter threatens about the bombs. It is decided they will race. Aiba Machine versus… Trojan horse? Bocca wins at the end. But Thoroughbred holds Sayoko hostage. Coco has also found Toune but Bunny is holding her hostage too. Erm… A carrot to her throat?

Episode 17
Before Coco could attack, Bunny flees. Bocca fires his arrow to free Sayoko. But she is looking at him with those loving eyes like as though her boyfriend saved her. Of course she gets kidnapped again! Thoroughbred receives a personal call from Dragon about his progress. He mentions about his successful plan to ring in the Melos Warriors. If he is successful, he wants to join Operation Silent. Dragon will think about it but asks him about the cannon that incapacitate Aiba Machines. He wants it back but Thoroughbred lies he has not seen it. But if he finds it, he will deliver it back. Dragon of course knows he is lying since he got a report from Bunny. Bocca bumps into Toune and Coco but the Melos Warriors have to give up since Thoroughbred threatens to kill Sayoko. Suddenly that girl sucks up to her brother that she now realizes how wrong she was and believes he is the one. She hopes he would let the Melos Warriors go in that case. But he doesn’t believe a single and proceeds to beat Bocca up and has Sayoko imprisoned. That’s the thing when you let one stupid guard accompany her to her prison. Thoroughbred thought he is that lucky, huh? She easily gets away and when he corners her, Bunny’s carrot takes him out. Truly WTF. Thoroughbred is bragging about his luckiness and the bombs all over the place. Then it hit the Melos Warriors about Sayoko’s hint. They break free from those weak stupid guards and run away. It seems Sayoko stole the remote and will be blowing the place up. Oh heck, just press any button will do. The Melos Warriors summon their Aiba Machines and ride out. The tower explodes but Thoroughbred and his Trojan horse army are on the chase. He goes crazy trying to seek revenge, unleashing waves after waves of missiles. Bocca realizes he is at a disadvantage on the ground. I don’t know how or why and for some reason, Elan Vital then flies for the first time. With this, Bocca is able to destroy that unlucky guy for good. While Toune and Coco are destroying the rest of the Trojan horses, we have Bocca and Sayoko romantically staring into each other before kissing. WTF?!

Episode 18
As Bocca waits at the Tokyo train station, when a captured smuggler passes by him, he whispers to go find Mahoroba. Bocca returns to his tent and it seems Sayoko is in one of her moods. Let me guess. Bocca isn’t romantic enough to her? This woman is so crazy that she even kept count of how many times they kissed! 73 times! 73 TIMES?! Did she blow up that number? When Bocca is going to make 74, she gets mad because she is conscious of the place they are doing. WTF?! That is why men can never understand women! Luckily they didn’t because a private investigator comes looking for Sayoko. She shows him paintings from Eichi. I’m not sure what the talk is about. She is glad to have found Sayoko and gives her cash because she is going to retire from her job soon as she has a family. She wants Sayoko to go home. Bocca continues to wait at the station. A creepy kid pops up telling him about electric sheep. He himself isn’t a Melos Warrior although he wanted to be one but chose to remain a student. He adds he is dead in reality and this station is just some imagination. Recently there have been many Melos Warriors coming by here and all of them got lost on some train that loops around the same place forever. He hopes Bocca won’t share that same fate. Too bad Toune is on it… Sayoko bugs Bocca to stay in a hotel for once. Don’t expect anything hot. Just watching the news… Then as Bocca takes a hot shower pondering if his Melos quest is fruitful, Sayoko barges in full of rage. She is pissed that Bocca might not feel anything if she leaves. She questions what were those 74 times for. Erm, you mean 73 times? If he loves her, he should allow her to travel with him and continue their adventure like normal. Wow. Everybody is talking and nobody listening. We interrupt your argument because Kron comes in to tell them about Mahoroba. Adding to Sayoko’s woes, since their room is a convenient hideout, they’ll stay here. There goes tonight’s special… Kron explains that the second engine was stolen by Monster Union. The first engine wasn’t completely destroyed either. It was secretly transported away underwater. Monster Union plans to destroy Mithranome because it controls all Aiba Machines. Mahoroba is part of Mithranome. It was separated from it and landed somewhere in Tokyo station. It is probably recovered and the odds of it being hidden are high. This is Operation Silent. As they plan to ride up to space, they need to control Mahoroba and they have taken into custody of someone who knows its secret: The Prime Minister?!

Episode 19
They try to interrogate the PM for details of Operation Silent but he calls them fools for being young and not knowing how to keep the peace in this country now. Despite knowing children are still being sacrificed, the PM and his government sided with the monsters as their only way to pave negotiations to maintain society’s existence. Centauro goes to find Mahoroba and leaves Bocca and Sayoko to look after the PM. To the PM, the world is dead ever since his daughter died. It may seem silly to let the world fall into this state for personal reasons but for those who lived through the war, it became the reason of living to them. He recalls his youth when his entire town and family were turned into stones. It was the day he saw terror with his own eyes and noted humans can never win against the monsters. We also see Solo being a Melos Warrior and managed the hunt down Monster King the Second. When he confronted her about people being turned into stones, she says they were originally stone. Plus, the monsters were here originally. So when humans created their own society, they were just separated from the monsters. After he kills her off, TMOO blames him for starting it all. Because without a leader, the monsters will go on a rampage. The previous world will end and a war will start. Casualties will only rise. All because he killed the Monster King. So what will he do to fix this situation? I guess that is how he became Monster King III. But even with the war ended, Solo notes TMOO is still gone. While Coco is trying to flirt with Sky Blue, that creepy kid pops up to try and flirt with her. He got slapped. He returns to his base and it is no surprise he is a Monster Union agent, Electric Sheep. Dragon calls him about Operation Silent. Mahoroba is in their hands but Dragon notices that the PM hasn’t arrived at the scheduled place yet. Coco meets up with the Aiba Machines. When they think they have found Mahoroba, it is actually a trap filled with electric shooting balls. Although the Aiba Machines are okay, Coco gets zapped. The PM tells how her daughter died. More accurately, she was kidnapped at a toy store. Doesn’t this sound familiar? By the time they located the kidnapper’s hideout, it was burnt down but his daughter’s remains were never found. Bocca goes to help when he sees the Aiba Machines in trouble. That is when the PM’s agents come to rescue him. The PM lets Sayoko go and warns her if they continue to fight like Bocca, it is no guarantee a missile wouldn’t be fired from the next country. It is that kind of era now. As the PM makes his escape, Solo hypnotizes one of his agents. He shoots the PM.

Episode 20
The PM is dying and Bocca wants Coco to say where she was first abducted? Well, no big shock from the PM. He reveals Mahoroba is underground but some sheep is sealing it by feeding on its energy. Then there is this problem when Mahoroba starts launching into space. Because it has no capacity to return to Earth again. I guess Coco is volunteering to go so she has Hikari stock up all the junk food for the trip. Eichi talks to Toune on the train. I don’t know how or why but Toune was able to get off and reunites with Sky Blue. The biggest problem is of course Sayoko because she is still moping ever since. Because Bocca seems to have decided into going to space to stop Operation Silent. Because he is a Melos Warrior. But he promises if he ever comes back, he will marry her! Yeah, big words for a guy when the probability of coming back is close to zero! I suppose I understand why Sayoko is still mad and tells him off to just blast off right now and don’t come back. Is she in her period? Dragon is not pleased the PM has died. Since Mahoroba’s system might have been hacked, he wants Sheep to kill all Melos Warriors here. While the Melos Warriors fight a giant sheep monster (they need to defeat it to activate Mahoroba), Sayoko left a letter for Bocca. I’m sure it is about her feelings for him. Yeah, she loves him. Her regrets. She also talks about Tokiko, the woman who looked after her when she ran away from home. She was treated kindly like her own daughter. Later Sayoko found out she is Kurofune’s wife. Somehow Kurofune doesn’t age and thus their vast difference in looks. That’s why she thought she had a chance with Kurofune and left Tokiko. Then she met Bocca and the rest is history. She was happy when he said he will marry her. She hopes they can hold a mock wedding ceremony before he leaves. Well, I wouldn’t wait if I were you because Bocca had time to even reply back! In his letter as expected, he wants to be with her but has to leave this place. Poor Sayoko heartbroken. The Melos Warriors defeat the monster and before they leave the station, Bocca is surprised Sayoko had run all the way just the catch a glimpse of him for one last time. Why the heck do the Melos Warriors salute her when they depart? Then they blast off into space on Mahoroba. Oh Sayoko, you’re the one who is left all alone.

Episode 21
WTF is this Star Wars BGM parody?! Anyway, Dragon along with Uribou and Bunny make plans to infiltrate and destroy Mithranome. It is the same for the Melos Warriors and their Aiba Machines as they plan to protect it. It sounds confusing how they are going to do it so I’m just going to skip it. With Sayoko not around, Coco gets cheeky flirting with Bocca and even gives a cheeky kiss. When Mahoroba is in range, Dragon unleashes wave after wave of missiles to bring it down. Although Mahoroba has no weapons to defend itself, its shield is tough. Though, the constant pounding is draining the barrier fast. While Kron tries to recover the shield rate, Coco suggests the Melos Warriors head out to fight in their Aiba Machines. In space? How? She has this gel, Bio-Concerto that would allow them to fight in space for a limited time when they apply it on their skin. You know what? F*ck logic! I’m just going to accept all this crap. At such a crucial time, Bocca and Toune are conscious about their nakedness? Coco goes out to fight first. Apparently you get a free sexy spacesuit once you reach space. Bocca comes out next after he is doing being embarrassed with his nakedness. Since Uribou is restless about her debut, Dragon sends her out to fight. Coco leaves Bocca to deal with the incoming missiles as she heads back to take a dump?! Since Toune is still scared, Coco goes to convince her but ultimately it is Sky Blue who gave her the motivation to overcome her fear and set out. I don’t know. The way Toune is supposed to whip Sky Blue so that they synchronise feels like some ambiguous sex scene. Once Toune is out in space, it seems Uribou has a score to settle with her. Of course Toune is superior. Dragon then orders Uribou to come back since they will be docking at Mithranome soon. Uribou is not happy since she really wanted to finish off Toune first. The Melos Warriors also return to Mahoroba as they too will be docking soon.

Episode 22
More Star Wars BGM parody… Our heroes must also dock and enter Mithranome because if they attack it from outside, some auto defence system, Vinterlize will treat them as intruders. They’ll be dead meat. Inside as they make their way to the centre, they see a damaged chamber. Damage indicates that the fighting is recent. Sky Blue is attacked by another fellow Unicorn series Aiba Machine before disappearing shortly. Analysis shows he is Monokeros #4 and has been sleeping inside the core until today. He is the one fighting the internal security robots for space since he is unaware of the developments on Earth. Uribou is happily destroying the security robots. When the Melos Warriors finally catch up, both sides begin their clash. Toune fights Uribou, Coco takes on Monokeros and Bocca faces off with Dragon. After Dragon flexes his might, I can’t believe Bocca easily defeats him. But don’t count him out yet. Bocca then joins Nick in the central command room to hack something although it might take some time to activate. There seems to be some bad blood that happened in the past between Toune and Uribou. Uribou is shocked to see Sky Blue here. So she is one of his ex-lovers? Sky Blue, you playboy! She is disgusted to see him as an Aiba Machine and goes crazy. Dragon is ecstatic when he manages to get his hands on this treasure, Pulsator Module, the real goal he is here. With this in hand, he believes he has won. Coco loses sight of Monokeros as he hijacks Vinterlize and detaches it from Mithranome. Now Mithranome can be destroyed from the outside.

Episode 23
The Star Wars BGM parody continues… There is this strange repetition like a broken tape recorder from the characters talking about Vinterlize being hijacked and is going to destroy Mithranome. Monster Union wants that to happen to disable all Aiba Machines but the Melos Warriors won’t let it happen. Time for another space battle. It seems Vinterlize isn’t just aiming to destroy Mithranome but to gun down Mahoroba too. Although the Melos Warriors manage to take out Vinterlize, it won’t be long before it repairs itself. Dragon is adjusting his robot and using the Pulsator Module as his ultimate weapon against the Melos Warriors. It is time for Bunny to make her debut as she sets out in her giant bunny mecha. You thought our heroes had an easy victory over her. But could they have missed and part of their attacks destroyed a cow farm down on Earth?! In between real scenes and karaoke room scenes, our Melos Warriors are in shock as Dragon gloats about his victory and tells them the true goal of Operation Silent: To eliminate the trio. To celebrate Monster Union’s victory, Dragon sings a horrible rendition of the ending theme! So horrible that it is funny! The Monster Union agents continue to attack the Melos Warriors and with Dragon firing his Global Noise Cannon, it renders all the Aiba Machines useless. Dragon even continues with his next song. But this moo ballad has cow girls singing moo? Bocca is screaming and slamming his Elan Vital to move as the attacks get more ferocious. Then with some inner reconciliation with Sayoko or whatsoever, Bocca manages to get things going and fires his arrow. Nick and Kron seem to have managed to restore Mithranome’s system and guarantee it will now run forever. Because everyone except Bocca is on Mahoroba, they tell him he is the only one who can get back to Earth on Elan Vital. Goodbye? Bocca wants to save them but Elan Vital takes him back down as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

Episode 24
Bocca crashes into the desert. He is picked up by Solo who tells him to quit being a Melos Warrior and TMOO is just an illusion created by Monster King. He brings Bocca to the cow farm whereby they see this beautiful lady, Pee gladly becoming the sacrifice (they termed it as ‘graduate’). Of course Bocca won’t allow that and goes to help her. But inside the barn which contains a bowling alley, all fun and games suddenly become horror when the Monster Union agent throws her into the gutter’s end. Bocca arrives too late but finds himself dodging her bowling balls. Suddenly a weird kid in a horse suit throws Bocca his bow to finish off the agent. From their talk, this pipsqueak is Elan Vital?! No way! Together they descend down the hole. In a place filled with clocks, Bocca finds a coffin in the centre and in it is the real body of TMOO. Solo says she has been dead for a long time. Bocca now understands why Solo didn’t turn into stone in that maze because he is the maze! Solo admits himself as Monster King Solomon III and he sings his songs solo, hence the name. From what I understand, Solo believes Bocca has become stronger than a Melos Warrior and since the other Melos Warriors have been destroyed, Bocca will soon turn into another Monster King and Sayoko his own Melody of Oblivion. A hologram of Sayoko pops up although the real body is nearby laying unconscious. Bocca frees her but Solo warns the real body will not last long. Solo wants Bocca to join and become another Monster King as being one is lonely. They’ll split their rule over the planet. Bocca doesn’t give a damn and takes Sayoko and leave. Solo tries to stop him but is surprisingly stopped by TMOO. As Bocca rides out, Solo then chases him in his own Aiba Machine. When the break through, they both fire at each other but their women take the shot. Sayoko is glad to see Bocca. But because TMOO is just an illusion, the arrow hits Solo. Life seemingly returns to normal for the people like it has always been. Another cycle seems to be repeating itself. A young boy named Kao is berated by the teacher for being a lousy arrow shooter. In place of Hol, a new monster in the form of a flutist kid tries to devour a girl. She runs to Kao for help. His arrow didn’t do much damage but Bocca is here to show him how it is done. Sayoko somehow still lives and travels with Bocca to chase down monsters.

Into Oblivion…
Oh, wait. What? It ended? Phew. I couldn’t be happier. Because it was just getting downright confusing at the closing stages. And even that seemingly rushed last episode revelations and ending feels like it made it all amount to ‘what the heck was it all about’? I don’t get it. Yeah, so the war with monsters go on and Bocca pretty much remains being a Melos Warrior, travelling with his b*tch around so that there won’t be any more lonely nights. Yup, you need a woman around to soften a man after every hard fought battle with monsters. So Solo is just lonely and wants a companion? Is he gay? Yeah, Bocca is left so what choice does he have? Can he just be friends with normal humans? I don’t know if he is really dead or not because otherwise somebody would need to become Monster King IV and the whole damn process of this cruel fate of Melos Warriors versus monsters will repeat itself again. Thank goodness the series ended and I’m out of here. Whatever potential it had or supposed to have, I’m not really that interested anymore.

I have already been warned from the reviews I have read at how just freaking confusing the story is even from the first episode. True. I thought it was just because it is the first or second episode and that more will be revealed to connect the dots once the series goes by. Too bad it didn’t. The more it goes on, the more confused I become. Generally, this entire series is about Melos Warriors trying to fight against the ruling Monster Union and its agents. That is the best I can summarise about this series. Because to see how some of the arcs end, it just confuses the hell out of me. I don’t even want to think about it. Most of them are interconnected and not 100% independent of each other. Even so, with the confusing plot and storyline, it doesn’t really help.

Making it even more confusing are some of the visuals. I believe that even back in 2004 when this series was aired, the producers were perhaps trying to be bold and make something different. Unfortunately instead of scenes in the episodes to be intriguing, it just makes them more confusing than ever. For example that tourist bath house arc. I don’t know the implications about oversized baby clones wearing metal basins alighting a bus and into a bath house. I know they are supposed to imply the infinite tourists to bring in business but I just find it creepy and make no sense. Then there is that Tokyo train arc and I don’t even understand its implication of ever showing the train since Bocca never stepped on it. How the hell Toune got on and off felt just like a waste of time because I don’t understand how it really has to do with that arc itself. And lastly that space and Mithranome arc has got to be the weirdest because of that karaoke scene in one of the episodes and female cow girls out in the field pasteurizing… Huh? I just don’t know what it is supposed to mean. So while such scenes are amusing in their own way but it hardly did any justice to make viewers understand or connect what is supposed to mean.

That is the least of why this series is such a disappointment. Because the characters themselves are as confusing and not as deep as the plot. Because Bocca is just some shallow one dimensional hero. He doesn’t even fully understand about his Melos fate and duty and just feels he needs to go around the world ridding of Monster Union agents just because of what he sees in them destroying the world. That is all you ever need to know about him. Because so, he is the only main Melos Warrior whose Aiba Machine didn’t transform into some handsome hunk. Until the final episode for some reason his Elan Vital decided to just show up in his human form. Even so, he looks so gay. WTF?! He is supposed to find the Melody Theatre but I believe you’ll forget about it seeing we are trying to understand what is happening and that nothing he does makes him closer to TMOO. So was that space deep underground of the Earth’s core the Melody Theatre? Clock dumpsite maybe. Speaking of TMOO, I can’t help feel the irony that when I remember he is supposed to find her, I want to shout out to him that she is just right behind him in ghost form. There she is! There she is! Just turn around, damn it! Even TMOO is feeling so sad about this mediocre series as she can only watch helplessly and make that sad face. Yeah… And then it turns out all to be an illusion! WTF?! Biggest troll ever!!! No wonder nobody has said they have seen or heard her.

Then there is this annoying case of Sayoko. Obviously starting out as an annoying b*tch because you can see through her fake accusations, trying to accuse Bocca of being a pervert while she herself is creating and inviting situations that would lead so. Thank goodness Bocca is dense. And you could also see through her lies that she is in love with Kurofune. All of a sudden, this status quo suddenly disappears and we don’t know when it hit us when Sayoko starts showing interest in Bocca. It is like as though they forgot all that has happened and decide to throw in this cheesy romance to distract us. And before you could take another breath, they become a couple, they kiss. And then he leaves her. Choosing fate over a girl? No wonder Bocca sucks. And just to show that Bocca isn’t the only ‘survivor’ of this wretched fate, Sayoko somehow comes back into this life. I don’t even know how she got captured unless during the space odyssey, Solo was busy capturing her.

I thought Kurofune and Tsunagi like Toune and Coco would become part of Bocca’s group later on but this is me assuming that since they met in the first episode and introduced him to this Melos world, heck, they’ve got to be part of his party, right? After all, they’re all together in a group pic in the opening credits, right? Wrong! They killed of the old geezer in some complicated old flame thingy that I don’t even know what the heck is going on. And just when I thought Kurofune was getting more screen time earlier than expected, he decided to stay back and get lost forever in that labyrinth to chase Hol. It’s like he is in love with that bull monster than his aging wife, right? Yeah, it gave us a reason for Sayoko to stop chasing after this ageless bastard and go after Bocca instead. So he is still forever chasing that bull in the maze, right? Don’t know. Don’t care.

Toune and Coco are hardly any different. To show that Bocca sometimes need help from other Melos Warriors, thus the reason why we have them and their Aiba Machines joining the fight. Their history and past are shallow in addition to being complicated. I’m not sure if complicated is the right word since I really didn’t understand what was going on when explained either. So what Coco was the daughter of Japan’s Prime Minister and kidnapped at a toy store. So what about Toune being somebody’s ex-fiancée and what the heck was her deal in hating Melos Warriors? She seems to be playing one well. She could have been a much better looking person if she smiled more instead of putting on that despair looks. Even their Aiba Machines are as shallow. Sky Blue looks more like a playboy because girls seem to can’t get enough of him and has many girlfriends and Coco has so many Aiba Machines but she just chose to use Hikari and relegate Kron and Nick to whatever brain/analysis/hacking work. Whatever. Because of Coco’s playful nature, she has to be the one who boldly flirts with Bocca but you won’t feel any sort of cat fight tension rising.

Then they decided to ‘kill off’ these Melos Warrior babes and their Aiba Machines by having them stuck on Mithranome. So what will happen to them? Don’t know. Don’t care. I believe they’re stuck with Dragon, Uribou and Bunny too. Bye-bye. They can play catch and tag forever on that space engine. Hey, wait. If Elan Vital got the capacity to go deep down to the Earth’s core, why the f*ck couldn’t he go back up to space to rescue them? They have that Bio-Concerto, right?! Oh, not enough space to fit them all on his sidecar? Then go back down one by one! Oh, there is not enough gel? Where the f*ck did Coco get them and can we just buy more of it? Oh heck, they should just kill off everybody in this series or just let the monsters live.

You think the Melos Warriors are pathetic? Well, equally pathetic are the Monster Union agents. They feel like monsters-for-the-arc and seeing that they are given some sort of animal theme, it is hard not to laugh at them because many of them feel like clowns. After all, many of these agents are just humans siding the monsters so I can see why they fail. Like Uribou who seems to have this penchant of spamming about her debut as well as spamming “Viva!”, Thoroughbred keep claiming how is the luckiest man in the world (till he runs out of it, that is) and Bunny herself is already funnily funny (carrot as weapon?) that you wonder if she is really threatening at all. Eventually all of them will be defeat but some were defeated so fast like Yamaneko, it just felt disappointing. Really. I wonder what happened to Medusa. She felt like she had potential but eventually was she forgotten? And that monster island too. What was that all about? Ah damn it. This series has trolled me for too long.

Another funny thing about these agents is that when they combine with their monster mecha, they yell out, “Just fit ribs!”. At first I thought I misheard Justin Bieber!!! OMG! Even funnier how claws grab the agents by the ribs (thus fitting the ribs nicely) as it makes them look like a human sausage of a hotdog. Really. Even funnier if the agent is female because you’ll see her boobs sticking out. Fanservice? Food for thought: If children are constantly used as sacrifices for monsters, then wouldn’t there be no more children left in the world? Even when adults join the dark side but if humans don’t reproduce themselves, won’t they die out? And this in turn would mean monsters will also go extinct because you know, no children to feed on?

Action wise isn’t really anything to shout about because they recycled the same animation and scenes whenever the Melos Warriors fire their arrow. And they use the same freaking move every time. Like Bocca with his Flash, Toune and her Flush and Coco using her Four Card. I actually don’t see the difference. The Monster Union agents too have their own bizarre attacks but that is also their one and only and the most just another one. That’s it. So expect the same kind of fight each time and its finishing. Melos Warrior powers up his/her arrow on their mark and fires to destroy the menace. I wonder how many arrows they bring and where do they get them? Because it looks like they have infinite supply of them. Can they use anything else other than arrows? Because I thought powering up via their Melos mark is what makes it powerful and effective so it doesn’t necessary have to be an arrow. Unless the rules say so that a powered arrow can only defeat the monster.

I know I have said the Mamiko Noto is the titular character and thus my main reason to watch this mediocre series. But you know what makes it even more disappointing than that? SHE HARDLY HAS ANY VOICE ROLES THROUGHOUT THE SERIES!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS UNBELIEVALBE!!! THIS IS UNFORGIVABLE!!! How the f*ck when you have an important character that is even the name of this series title to not even have a decent voice acting role?! I just don’t understand?! Yeah, I know it is just me but all I ever hear from her throughout the series is the same damn opening narration at the beginning of every arc about humans losing to monsters, blah, blah, blah, and then the melody has been forgotten. Not that I am complaining about hearing her voice but really, this is all that I can expect to hear from her? It seems her ghost stalker appearance makes even more cameo than this voice acting role. It is only somewhere towards one of the later arcs that she actually has different and more lines (that part with Solo becoming Monster King). But that is all about it. So how can I not be so upset?! Oh well, time to get over it and move on. And you’re telling me TMOO is just an illusion that is why she cannot speak? Stop giving BS and trolling me!!!

The only other seiyuu that I recognize is Yukari Tamura as Coco. That cute trademark voice of hers is still there but I’m pretty sure that isn’t the reason why I wanted to watch this series. Oh yeah. I already said that. Sure, there are other veteran seiyuus too but I didn’t really recognize them but just let me list them out here out of protocol. They are Houko Kuwashima as Bocca, Masumi Asano as Sayoko, Sanae Kobayashi as Toune, Souichiro Hoshi as Sky Blue, Issei Miyazaki as Hikari Daisuke Namikawa as Kron, Mitsuru Miyamoto as Kurofune, Showtaro Morikubo as Hol, Ken Yamaguchi as Dragon and Tomo Saeki as Solo. The list of seiyuus is also a long one considering the few arcs and each with different characters. Thus there are a handful of famous seiyuus then lending their voice like Mai Nakahara as Eru, Kana Ueda as Kew and Aya Hisakawa as Miri.

If there is anything redeeming about this series, it would be the opening and ending themes. At least they are pleasant to listen to. Will by Lisa as the opening theme does fit the pace and direction of this series but I believe it is most likely the oldies nostalgia of the series that had me liking it. You know, it seems that I am more inclined to like a song that comes from animes from the 90’s or early 2000’s. But the ending theme is better. Tenohira No Hikari by Minawo is a lovely ballad and has that calming feature to calm my heart and soul down after the atrocities of this series. Okay, so not really but like I said, it is a redeeming and the more likeable aspect for the series. I also tried singing along with it but after Dragon had his horrible stint, I stopped because I can’t help think each time when I try to even hum along, that hilarious scene keeps popping up in my head. The BGM music are also nice to hear. I have sampled a handful of them and the ones with violin pieces aren’t that all bad although the other variations like organ and flute aren’t too shabby either.

Overall, truly disappointing but I don’t regret it since I can check off my list that I have watched another older anime voiced by my favourite seiyuu. Yeah, that makes it even more disappointing, she having not enough lines. Could have been better but it did not and that is why this series has been lost in the labyrinth and oblivion ever since. Is it no wonder why the humans lost over to the humans and never recovered? Not only have they have forgotten and lost the melody, but they forgot the essence and lost it all. The plot, the story, the characters and everything that was. It is a melody that I too don’t want to remember then. Yes and sadly, I’m siding with the monsters. Viva Monster Union!

Have I seen this somewhere before? A group of high school students trying to make a Japanese simulation game together. Not too long ago, we had an otaku wanting to make his dreams of creating the world’s best dating simulation game and recruited the best group of people in their respective field to achieve their dreams. However, Shoujo-tachi Wa Kouya Wo Mezasu isn’t exactly Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata in many ways. Despite sharing the uncanny premise of a group of high school students trying to make a game together, that is where the similarity ends. Obviously the big difference is that this isn’t going to be a harem romance. Yeah. No pervy jokes, no b*tch cat fights. Since when making a bishoujo game is like survival in the wastelands?

Episode 1
Buntarou “Bunta” Hojou looks like the kind of guy who helps out in anything. From his school clubs to a ramen store, he must be leading one busy life. His friends, Yuuka Kobayakawa and Atomu Kai hang out at his place, talk about things. Not that I’m interested anyway. Next day in class, there seems to be an argument between the class president and Teruha Andou AKA Akkina. Something about documents not being properly sorted. Bunta ever the helpful guy goes to diffuse the tension and even volunteers to help out the sorting. Heck, he even invites other volunteers to make the work lighter. After it is done, Bunta is confronted by fellow classmate, Sayuki Kuroda in the toilet. The male’s toilet! She is asking if he is free this weekend. A date? She needs to talk to him. But why not in school. What the f*ck is this proper route she is talking about?! He agrees to meet her at Hyakkejima Sea Paradise. Bunta confides in his friends about this ‘date’ and of course they have their opinions where this may lead to. Bunta and Kuroda meet up with Yuuka and Atomu spying from afar. But nothing eventful happens and it just seems like a pretty normal outing so they leave. At the end of the day, Kuroda has observed his communications skills and passes him that she is good for the job. What job? A job to help Kuroda achieve her lifelong dream? That dream is to create the best bishoujo game. She brings him to a store in Akihabara to show him different priced games determine its quality. That cheap bargain bin contains failed bishoujo games whereas the expensive ones are the more popular games. Kuroda wants Bunta to work with her to create a bishoujo game because she heard he helped wrote a script for a drama club. Although the script was based off another original work, it was only interesting because of his talents as a writer. Kuroda continues to explain the many different paths opening up for a successful bishoujo game. Bunta asks why she wants to make a bishoujo game so badly. Because the world is a wasteland where the innocent will be devoured. Where one cannot survive if they only do it for enjoyment. Only those with burning ambition will be able to contend for their dreams in the harsh wasteland. Erm, so how does that got to do with making a bishoujo game? How is that even a setting for any bishoujo game?

Episode 2
A love letter in Bunta’s locker and a package containing many bishoujo games? They’re from Kuroda alright. It is her intention to let him learn what a bishoujo game is. Since Kuroda is using lots of gaming terms, she reveals it is only natural for her as her brother was a game creator. Her first task for him is to help find other staffs for her project. He brings back typical nerds… And they don’t even do what they claim they can do. When Bunta friends come to visit the clubroom, Yuuka mentions her aspiration to become a seiyuu so Kuroda accepts her for the role. Atomu doesn’t want to be left out so he wants to join to although he doesn’t have any special skills in particular. As Kuroda warns about the length it takes to make a bishoujo game, this makes Atomu go into a rage of fury just thinking about his past failed relationships! Love can go die! Kuroda is most impressed and welcomes him aboard as the assistant director. The coming weekend, Kuroda has them accompany to a doujin game shop to have a feel of what it is like. At the end of the day, Bunta is interested to patron a maid café and to his surprise finds Akkina working there. She hopes he can keep this a secret since the school disallows students to work part time. Bunta pulls an all-nighter in playing some of the recommended games and found some to be quite interesting. His next task is to find a graphic designer for their team because art is very essential in a bishoujo game. Browsing through a bookstore, he notices an artist’s striking drawing. He spent all night looking up the identity of this artist and he found out she is a student in their school! Uguisu Yuuki is ecstatic when she finds a seemingly love letter in her locker. But when she goes to meet the potential admirer, it is actually Kuroda and co. They surround her and look so intimidating asking her questions that Yuuki is reduced to a cowering self! Naturally she becomes scared of them and avoids all sorts of contacts. When Akkina learns about this especially that Yuuki is that famous artist, she goes talk to her and she agrees to check out the club. Akkina has some programming knowledge and offers her part too. But be warned, she is a BL maniac! With the team completed, Kuroda shows them her game proposal.

Episode 3
To further discuss the game in-depth, the gang (minus Akkina) will be having a training camp at some shrine. But they seem to be doing more cleaning than discussing the game. Then there is this boring lecture from Kuroda that has everybody dozing off. They take a break for curry and that is when tardy Akkina arrives. She acts like normal (unrepentant of her lateness) and earns Kuroda’s wrath. This causes a huge tension between them. Fireworks can erupt anytime. That is not all, Bunta notices Yuuka and Atomu depressed since. Bunta then asks about their opinions to get inspiration for his scenario writing. More Kuroda and Akkina arguments because the latter believes it is impossible to have all this workload to be rushed out by November by a bunch of amateurs. Kuroda explains the misconception that they are not doing a full priced game but a low priced one. They are going to base 60% of their success on the art and the remainder by teaming up with a popular game production company to fund and release their game. Sharing the profits will be part of the condition and she has calculated that after deducting all the costs, their net income will be 10 million yen if the sell 8000 copies. They can use this profit to work on their next full priced game. Akkina is still not impressed because from the meeting notes yesterday, they didn’t talk on anything about the project. Kuroda has everyone bring up their opinions. Done? All rejected! Kuroda explains they are not doing this for fun because by doing so, it only means more risks. Akkina disagrees because people should have fun in making games. As they cannot see eye to eye, Akkina leaves. Bunta goes out his way to plead for her to come back and give this project a second chance. So she goes over the script of the bishoujo game about 2 heroines hating each other and trying to kill each other. And then it hit her. It sounds very much like a BL scenario! Although the protagonists are all girls, she can pretend they are all men in her head. She’s in. Later, Kuroda talks to Bunta that she already had Yuuki in mind as their artist. She let Bunta find his own path and is glad he had the ability to find her on his own. She adds she is doing this for her brother. It was a difficult job and he didn’t want the joy of making games to be taken away. That is why she thought fun should always come in second. Yuuka spots them talking and feels even depressed. On the way home, they decide to come up with a name of their team: Rokuhara.

Episode 4
Bunta is having a writer’s block. When Kuroda realizes she forgot to other materials for the backgrounds and music, she needs to base it on Bunta’s scenarios. Guess what? He only wrote 5 lines… She advises him instead of writing a grand story, write a short and contained one. Thanks to that, Bunta is letting his creativity flow! He can’t stop writing! When everyone reads his proud work, they find it normally good. Bunta seems disappointed. Yeah, he expected a lot more. So Kuroda takes him to see another fellow plot writer, Blooter to get some tips. Besides his super lively character, I don’t think you can call any of those as tips. But only one seems to hold true: Even if you are stuck, keep writing. So Bunta puts his head into it and rewrites the plot. This time his team finds it to be really good. That’s more like it. But right after that, another problem crops up. After Yuuki sketches several great arts, it is her turn to be in a slump. She is stubborn and determined to draw more until she collapses. She has been drawing nonstop and forsaking her health. Thus it is decided that the amount of graphics will be reduced and Bunta too will reduce his script to make it simpler and more interesting. Although Yuuki was against it at first, realizing how everyone appreciates her art makes her happy. She recovers and returns to the clubroom. A headshot of a character sketch she drew on the whiteboard now becomes Rokuhara’s symbol. When everyone goes out to get stuffs to celebrate Yuuki’s recovery, they return only to find Kuroda humming a nice tune. Yuuka recorded it and they want to know that cool melody and should use it as their game’s theme song.

Episode 5
Kuroda shows her team the theme song and some beautifully illustrated backgrounds. As the works is progressing, Akkina has completed the first batch and has everyone test play. But Bunta finds something odd. Somebody changed his script. It is no surprise that Akkina did that so Kuroda warns her to stick to her own work because some grammar mistakes or whatever might have been left there intentionally by the scriptwriter. But that is not all Akkina did. If Yuuki had not voiced out to Bunta, nobody would have known that Akkina too had tampered with her artwork. Again Kuroda chides her for this and reminds her if her own work is on schedule. What about their webpage she is supposed to do? Didn’t even start. 0% completed! This sets the duo on a warpath again and before it could blow up, Akkina leaves the club. Again. Of course Bunta can’t let this slide as he still wants Akkina on the team to finish the game. Akkina gets a call from her mom to help out her fisherman family. Initially she refuses but after hearing how her friends are coming to her house, she accepts the job. The friends did come but Akkina is already out to sea. They have to talk to her fast instead of leaving her alone or they will be behind schedule. Bunta looks through Akkina’s family’s webpage and finds a job opening. Yup, he takes up the job to go fishing with them. He has a scary firsthand experience seeing how fishing in the rough sea is done. That stormy weather, the darkness and that wall of waves! FREAKING SCARY! Eventually they get their haul. At the end of it, Bunta talks to Akkina about how everybody wants her back and to finish the game with her. She doesn’t think she can get along with Kuroda but Bunta mentions this is a wasteland so some fighting is alright. Bunta is so tired he falls asleep on her shoulders. She takes a selfie. Next day, Akkina is back and her first task is to fix up the really hideous webpage that Yuuka tried to do. Yeah, she better stick to voice acting.

Episode 6
Beach episode! Fanservice episode! Even the title says it. So we have Bunta making perhaps a wise decision of not saying whose the sexiest swimsuit is. A volleyball game that Kuroda got owned in the face. Kuroda chases Yuuki in hopes of emulating a scene you see in such bishoujo games but nothing comes out of it. She even has the girls splash water but after that violent splashing she is covered with seaweed. Kuroda panics for really when she thinks Yuuka swallowed a watermelon seed because doing so will grow one in your stomach! Yeah, she really believes it. Back in the room as Bunta begins his work, Kuroda comes in to thank him for bringing Akkina back. Also a chance for her to ask his opinion which swimsuit was the best. Is she for real wanting him to put all his lewd fantasy ideas into the game? More fanservice because it is the obligated bath scene. Kuroda’s question asking about big or small boobs backfire since Akkina and Yuuka team up to violate her. While playing fireworks, Akkina apologizes to Kuroda for all the trouble she has caused. But as long as the game gets results, all sins can be forgiven. The guys find themselves sleeping among the girls! How did this happen? Yuuka’s powerful pillow fight did pack a punch. Luckily they slip out without waking up anybody. Next morning, Yuuka and Bunta talk about stuff. But when Kuroda comes over to talk about his script progress, Yuuka becomes jealous. She hits him and runs away. Wait. What? You know it is all back to normal and reality when Kuroda and Akkina start their intense bickering on just about anything. There goes all the fun. Are they going to do this for the entire train trip home?

Episode 7
Just great. Bunta having another writer’s block? And at the crucial scene where the confession takes place? Kuroda is not amused because this would delay the pacing again. I’m sure everybody would be glad to pitch in some ideas but too bad they have got no dating experience before. And no, he is not going to ask Atomu because that guy will only be in rage. So Bunta starts asking others, his old friends and even his teacher (who is actually gay!) and even Blooter himself. Nothing amazing. So if he has no experience, will acting out help? You don’t know if you don’t try. So we see the club members doing outrageous scenes like water gun fights just to end up having a confession scene. Bunta notices Yuuka has been mad recently so as change of pace he suggests to go out on a date. To help with the game, that is. Well, at least it makes her happy. Inside her heart, that is. So we see them on an outing. Nothing too special. Yuuka is having a blast. At the end of the day, she confesses she likes him. As a human. But of course. She adds that he is a boring guy but… Oh, don’t leave us hanging, tell us more. But she promises to tell more once he finishes writing. Bummer… Bunta may be feeling good and motivated but it will be all for nought if there are no results to show for. And I guess he is already too late because Kuroda has already had it. She calls him and is going to initiate a lockdown for him. She’s serious. You’re screwed.

Episode 8
Bunta tries to escape but Kuroda is already at his door! It’s the beginning of the end! Don’t worry. She has also brought the other club members to come stay with him. They’ll be keeping a close supervision on him. Bunta’s mind is of course not on his work. He tries to escape via window but his pals quickly bolt it shut. He tries to call Blooter for help but it seems his friends already anticipated the people he will be calling and make up fake scenarios so they can’t help him. Bunta’s mind is still stuck. Perhaps a little nap will help. A short nap turns into a long nap! OMG! Wasted time! Guess what? All his supervisors fell asleep too! Even Yuuka had fallen asleep under his desk waiting to jump scare them. Yeah, wasted escape chance. They thought they could help revive him by dressing up as maids. Even Atomu! Oh, I’m definitely invigorated! But Kuroda’s ‘words of love’ are only to remind him about the deadline… The more time passes, the more desperate Bunta becomes. No toilet break escape. Because the window is also bolted down. Bunta’s suffering is more apparent. This is when Yuuka stands up to chide everyone about their ‘bullying’. Kuroda dismisses it although she points out that there is no point in doing all this if they don’t produce results. Battling deadlines is what pros do. Bunta revels when he gets his much needed bath break. A few words with Yuuka get him motivated although the bath knocked him out. They fear they may need to change their tactic but Bunta assures he will get it done this time. He works hard on his script till he finishes it. Kuroda takes a peek when he falls asleep on his laptop. Satisfied with his work, she gives him a kiss. Next day as everyone celebrates his completion, Kuroda then drops another bomb. She needs him to write scripts for drama and short novels. And 5 different kinds. To pay for the maid outfits? Oh sh*t… The beginning of the end is far from over… You’re screwed. Again.

Episode 9
With steady progress made, it is time for Yuuka to debut in voice acting. They are at the recording studio and meet all the professionals, including a pro seiyuu, Sayaka Tabe. Everyone is nervous, everyone is impressed, especially Tabe making good her lines. When it is Yuuka’s turn, it is understandable this is her first time and it takes a little longer. However there are many lines she read which are passable but she wants to redo them from the top. Many times. Thus Kuroda has to talk to her to remind that the studio has other appointments and if they overstay, extra sessions will cost more money. Despite Yuuka’s work is good, she thinks it is not good enough and wonders if Kuroda doesn’t care about quality. Kuroda just tells her to finish it in the allotted time. Thankfully she finishes in time. But a few days later, Yuuka has been absent and Kuroda receives a call from the studio that some of the lines are bad. In worst case scenario, they might have to replace Yuuka. Obviously she is undergoing depression. She runs away when Bunta tries to talk to her. So when he finally catches up with that sad girl (almost killed herself trying to cross the tracks when the train is coming!), Yuuka explains why she wanted to do her very best as good enough won’t cut it. Because Bunta and Atomu only believed in her when she wanted to become an actress when her parents didn’t. Yuuka sound even more depress thinking other seiyuus can do a better job to replace her but Bunta asserts he can only see her in that role. They head back to the clubroom and hear Kuroda negotiating with the producers to delay their launch a little. Yuuka feels bad as the cause of the delay. Since Kuroda accepts Yuuka as the only one who can do that character, Yuuka gets motivated to redo her part again. Her recording goes well and before you know it, they will be releasing their demo next week. Bunta is thanking Kai for managing the schedule of the team well. They spot the other girls hiding and spying on them. Yeah, they were hoping for the boys to kiss!!! So sorry to disappoint!

Episode 10
Our Rokuhara members are smiling from ear to ear since they receive positive comments over the internet from their demo release. They notice another game released at the same time from the company, Typhoon. They download and play it only to be blown away at how awesome everything is. But Kuroda believes Rokuhara has done a good job in their own right because Typhoon creates games for fussy and hardcore fans so their target audience is different. Bunta gets a surprised message from the script writer of Typhoon to meet. Mitsuteru Ougi seems like a nice guy. They talk about things and even invite Blooter to come. That guy doesn’t stop talking! Thank God we fast forward till he leaves. At the end of the day, both guys agree to setup and let members from both sides meet. Rokuhara meets Mitsuteru as well as the CEO of typhoon, Taiko Ooiso. Seems like a nice lady but they notice she is trying to recruit some of them into her team. Scouting is uncommon in this ‘wasteland’ but Taiko seems pushy about it. Although Rokuhara don’t really want to join her, she tries to persuade them that she will pay them or even have them join as a sub-brand. She goes too far and annoying that Kuroda is about to splash water onto her. But Bunta beat her to it. This is where she bares her fangs. After all those threats, Taiko suggests a competition between both sides. Kuroda doesn’t want to participate in both sides but Taiko threatens to spread lies and crush them for good. So the winner will be decided on the number of units sold on the first day. If Typhoon wins, Taiko will take Bunta and make him work to the bone as her slave. Later, though Bunta apologizes for getting everyone involved, this only bonds them closer and motivates them to work harder and beat that b*tch. One day, Kuroda is away and surprisingly calls Bunta to ask what kind of souvenirs he wants. The club members get a surprise visit by Iwao, Kuroda’s brother. They chat and he is a pretty nice guy. Everything seems to be looking fine till at the end he bows his head and thanks them all for taking care of his sister. And also he thanks them for going out their way to make a game to clear his debt. Oh dear. The shock of silence is so deafening…

Episode 11
Iwao further explains his company is not producing anything right now because of lack of funds. Distributors and banks refused to lend money. That is why when Kuroda told him they agreed to help out, he was very happy. When Kuroda returns, sh*t just hit the fan. The first to fire the salvo is Akkina. What are they? Slaves to clear her brother’s debt? She is leaving for real this time and not coming back. She can keep all her programming work and not pay her if she doesn’t want to. Slowly the rest too leave because they aren’t very happy with Kuroda keeping this a secret. Even Bunta. Money is not the problem here. If this guy even leaves her, you know Kuroda is really in big sh*t. So we have all our shocked Rokuhara members feeling depressed and deceived. It couldn’t be worse timing when Mitsuteru calls Bunta to tell him Typhoon has completed their game and he is excited to see what they’ve come up in 2 weeks. Bunta, Atomu and Yuuka talk and discuss about things. Then Bunta goes to see Kuroda in the clubroom and she is trying to complete everything herself. In short, Bunta is coming back to help her not because he wants to beat Typhoon or it is fun making a game. He wants to see how far their games can go. And shortly all the other members come back to help and give her a second chance. So you mean Akkina once again lied to us because she came back too? So how does she even things out? She slaps Kuroda! Now they’re even. Everybody gets motivated and work their ass off to meet the deadline. Everything is so tense that the slightest blooper can cause them to have a little heart attack. When they finally finish in time and burn the disc, Yuuki realizes only low resolution quality is included. So they have to fix it and burn it all over again. But not enough time! Kuroda will personally head to the factory. They suggest Kuroda head and wait at the train station first since she has been up all night and won’t have enough energy to make a sprint. So once the discs are burnt, Bunta rushes all the way and makes it right in the nick of time before the train door closes!!! What a close call. They hand over the finished product to the factory. What a hectic day. The tired duo return home and see their friends waiting outside the train station. Everything is going to be alright.

Episode 12
Everyone is nervous as they head into the clubroom. Then they hear Kuroda just off the phone. Their game instantly sold out at 3000 copies and there is repeat order to reprint double that amount! That’s good, right? Wait till you learn that Typhoon sold 4000 copies out too and had repeat orders as well. However their repeat order is only 2000! Do your maths and declare Rokuhara the winner! It is natural that they celebrate at a yakiniku restaurant and to their surprise, Iwao is working there part time as he is their waiter. He apologizes and thanks them that the sales proceeds are enough not only for Rokuhara to start their next game but give Iwao a chance to start moving again. As thanks, he gives them vegetables. Hey, can’t expect much from a part timer’s salary, right? We want meat! Poor Bunta has to eat it all. Later Kuroda discusses about their win and had the period being dragged out longer, they would have lost. Their game was easier to understand unlike Typhoon’s which needed time to digest but it will surely leave a long lasting impression. She drops the bombshell that she wants to dissolve Rokuhara. Her reason is that she wants to put this ‘tragic’ episode behind her and start anew again with them by making a game purely for themselves and not worry about how many units to sell. Bunta and the rest disagree and prefer to do it the current way. Bunta gets a call from Mitsuteru because Taiko is throwing a tantrum and complaining about bowing down to kids as part of the bet. Sore loser. He hopes it could be just him to bow down or another representative so Kuroda negotiates that they owe them a favour instead. Next day, they search on the internet there is a new game, weirdly named and equally with a weird plot taking the top spot. It is done by Blooter and soon that guy becomes a worldwide hit. From anime adaptations to idol groups based on him! Wow! Blooter Fever?! One night, lots of editors keep calling Bunta in search of Blooter. Seems that guy took on too many projects and couldn’t keep up. And thus as fast as it came, the fever quickly dissipated. But for Rokuhara, they continue to do what they do at their own pace.

OVA
Consisting of a few skits, we start off with the much needed fanservice! The girls are in their undies taking measurements for their cosplay costumes for an upcoming promotion event. Eventually they force Kuroda to get one too. Then the guys who have done separating spoiled samples accidentally walk in to see this rare moment. Lucky pervert. We see Yuuki being recorded and interviewed as part of the promotion. She talks about her specialty in drawing cute girls over the years. When she returns to the store where she works, the owner finds unknown drawings and wants to post them on the internet. Yuuki freaks out and snatches them to burn them. Those pictures of boys and men are her drawings from her earlier years. We see the girls molesting each other’s skin, posing in sexy sitting positions and then posing clad in only an oversized shirt as Akkina narrates her delusional fantasies. When the gay teacher walks in and sees this atrocity, he blames Bunta and Atomu for this perversion and will have them see him at the counselling room. They were just minding their own business analyzing some music and they get blamed? Worse, the girls now blame them for turning around and looking at them. Time to focus a little more on Yuuka. 2 years ago, she leads a very active and eventful life. From quitting her sports club to running around town and doing her solo acting at the playground, life is never dull for her and she wished she had 200 years to go with. She returns to Bunta’s place to hang out with him. Time to end with more fanservice as the girls take a well deserved reward as they relax in the public bath. No bare tits here. They discuss the success of their event like Kuroda’s negotiations in having free cosplay outfits in exchange for giving their selling rights to the store and minimizing their royalties. But she attributes everyone’s hard work for this success. Kuroda has got her hands on some doujin of Akkina’s taste and the latter is now ‘in love’ with her. They meet up with the guys waiting outside. Kuroda’s stomach growls but she won’t admit it. But nevertheless she has booked a spot at the grill house. The celebration continues. Lesson for the day? Nutrition is important for those who go through the wasteland. WTF?!

Wasted In The Wastelands…
Uh… Well… Okay… I guess… I thought I could sample and see a bit of their game at least in its final form but apparently I forgot this isn’t what this anime is about. The wastelands aren’t so kind just to show off their finished product as free samples unless you pay a premium for it or buy the entire game. Hey, that is like DLC and gaming these days, right? I’m so glad at least I’m not seeing this kind of sh*t in this anime that is happening and becoming a trend all over the world. But let’s not get too far off tracked from this anime. So how should I put this anime? Not impressed. Basically a group of high school students getting it together to make a game and then as underdogs beating a bigger and more famous company at it (because the CEO is a b*tch and she deserved to lose). In short, hardly anything memorable for me to remember by the time the next season comes around.

It is hard for me not to draw comparisons of this series with Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata. Even so, I cannot determine if either series is better than the other. Because this series lacks any romance and the fanservice, therefore there are no such cheesy romance-harem elements that would distract you from what the entire plot is. However even so, this is where this show also fails to live up to expectations. The story is nothing unique and if you look at it in its entirety, it could be one big bore fest as it is just about the little obstacles the little game programming club of a high school face. A big majority of the series (or you could say almost the entire series) is about each of the characters having their own problems pertaining to making the game and how the club members help to deal and overcome it while completing their game. Whether it is Yuuki working nonstop and affecting her health, Bunta having writer’s block and Yuuka having the jitters as her first time in a real voice acting job, each of these issues aren’t really that serious enough that would make you want to care or vouch for the characters because you will know at the end, things will always work out. Like how Akkina always comes back despite leaving, right?

Personally, the only thing that came to a surprise to me wasn’t the showdown with Typhoon but rather the dark secret revelation of why Kuroda roped in members to create a game instead. I knew there was a catch as to why Kuroda engaged her fellow high school students that have no real experience in the game industry to create something so good. With all the issues that were happening, it slowly made me forget this little conspiracy of mine. Or maybe I was bored that I didn’t even care at that point. I mean, if you think about it, why would Kuroda hire a bunch of students in her school for a game? I don’t remember what kind of excuse she gave but certainly the members never questioned it because they had always been thinking it might just be a club activity and the benefits of what if their games were to sell successfully.

Bunta was just being a guy who loves to help so he doesn’t ask deeper since Kuroda just told him it was her dream. And when recruited others too, they in turn never ask further and I suppose they too had too many free time on their hands to help her out. So when the truth came out of the bag, I know they have the right to feel angry for being deceived. But wasn’t it their fault in the first place to not find out more instead of jumping into something because it looks good on the outside? Welcome to real life and society. Yup. This is how I think we can connect this wasteland thingy here.

The characters too feel generic and don’t amount to anything memorable. If they had something that is quality to be remembered, it was perhaps the dynamism of how they interacted and worked together as a group. Because as individuals I don’t think they really make an impact. So is this what synergy means? Cooperation of the combined efforts of individuals to produce and end product that is much greater compared to when produced individually? We don’t know how many times Kuroda and Akkina bicker, quarrel, disagree, dispute, argue, squabble and have fall outs so often that it has become the staple of the group. But they still manage to put all that aside and work for the greater good and complete the game.

As said, individually the characters do not make much impact and sometimes I feel they are stereotypes but that can’t be helped because every game has some sort of stereotype character, right? So you have Bunta as your hardworking and friendly guy. One of the few typical main character traits. Kuroda oddly as the other main character is the least favourite in Rokuhara because of her monotonous poker face looks. She feels like a robot lacking any emotions. Because if you compare the rest of Rokuhara members, they have a ‘livelier’ personality like Akkina being the liveliest thanks to her BL fetish, Yuuka being the tomboyish retard and Yuuki the shy girl trope who will make your heart go ~kyun even if you aren’t into this type of girls. And yes, even Atomu in a way is more interesting than Kuroda because of his tendencies to fly into his passionate rage thinking about his failed relationships, even if this happens infrequently. Because he is the secondary guy of the show, it could have been more interesting if we see him express his love for 2D girls after jumping ship from 3D. Kuroda would have been a bit better had she smiled a little more often instead of waiting till the final episode where it feels like the entire pressure is off her shoulders and thus putting aside that gloomy face. Oh well. Who am I to say since I am not in her shoes especially when you’re trying desperately to pull a loved one out from his debts while not telling your friends. Yeah, a poker face needed indeed.

While this series did try at first to give some little insights on the bishoujo game industry, that was just in the initial episodes. Subsequently the rest of the episodes don’t really tell us what it is like to make a game or the process of making it although we can see how hellish it is in keeping up with the deadline but we don’t really feel the tension and adrenaline rush. It felt like it was just luring us in to stay and watch. At first it seemed like Kuroda is like a pro when she explains this wasteland thingy, everything she could possibly know about the dog-eat-dog world in this industry. I felt like she would be interesting in this sense to occasionally give us insights and knowledge about this industry but sadly with the other members having issues cropping up, Kuroda just felt like the ‘autocratic boss of a mini company’ except she doesn’t yell at the top of her voice and fire you.

If you are expecting any sort of romance, please don’t. It just feels like a minor distraction and it fails. Many like myself would love to guess that Bunta as the main character would be the centre of attention but you can hardly call this club a harem either. Because Kuroda is so like a robot and doesn’t show any signs of falling in love with him (that first episode fake date was just so fake it didn’t feel like one), I guess we can strike her name off the list of Bunta’s potential love interest. A kiss for him while he is asleep doesn’t count! Besides, that feels like a gratitude kiss rather than a romantic kiss. Yuuki is so shy that you’d feel bad for approaching her because I’m afraid it might scare her. Like how her first love letter experience traumatized her… Poor girl… Akkina is more interested in BL and with her crude personality, I don’t think this kind of girls would have a high chance. The closest would be Yuuka because of the cliché childhood friend trope too but eventually that fizzles out and you wonder if everything would be better if she just kept it one-sided. Yeah, maybe it was for the better. And what about Atomu? He exists so that he could the possibility of a real BL! Although, Atomu is no gay but you can feel the tendency this series gives off when the guys are together. Yeah, everything is so crazy that it might just happen.

If the show has anything redeeming, well, I would say it would be the artwork. Although it looks like your conventional standard Japanese anime, at least it still looks good enough to put this as a visual novel game. Oh wait. Isn’t the anime series developed from the visual novel game of the same name? Oh well, at least they have nice looking bishoujo girls and guys so it is not all that in the visuals department even if the story stinks. Right? Produced by the studio Project No. 9, a relatively new animation production company who also produced Ro-Kyu-Bu, Momo Kyun Sword, Gunslinger Stratos and Netoge No Yome Wa Onnanoko Ja Nai To Omotta.

Hearing Kana Hanazawa as Yuuka reminded me that I once used to pigeonhole her as a retard character. Yup, that sums up the initial episodes of Yuuka’s character. Yeah, she still has that knack… The other voice I instantly recognized is Satomi Satou as Yuuki. This time her dreamy voice is quite suitable for her character because there is this fragility and feebleness that gave her Yuuki character that persona. For the rest of those that I recognized, they are Akira Ishida as Iwao, Rina Satou as Taiko (b*tch mode?) and Takehito Koyasu as Blooter. The rest of the casts are Haruka Chisuga as Kuroda (Tsugumi in Soul Eater Not!), Seiichirou Yamashita as Bunta (Takahiro in Walkure Romanze), Satomi Akesaka as Akkina (Esdeath in Akame Ga Kill), Toshiyuki Toyonaga as Atomu (Shun in Kimi To Boku) and Souma Saitou as Mitsuteru (Tatsumi in Akame Ga Kill). The opening theme is Wastelanders by Sayaka Sasaki. Perhaps of the genre of this series, it makes me feel that this dramatic and synthesizer effects heavy opener feels like a song for a simulation video game. The ending theme, Sekai Wa Kyou Mo Atarashii by the female quartet of Rokuhara sounds like a generic anime song but nothing really that spectacular.

Overall, this series isn’t exactly a masterpiece although it doesn’t suck that bad. I can consider myself more forgiving because I read a few comments over the internet how this show was a big waste of time. A waste of time in the wasteland? There were missed opportunities that made the series boring. Therefore sometimes I feel the irony that when a game has a bad aspect, be it the story, the controls, the game play, the graphics, the characters or any other department, it affects everything else and when bad reviews go around, it is the end of it. Hence I have this feeling that this series will not likely see the day of another sequel. I know we should all give others a second chance but in this wasteland (which reminds me, Fallout game, anybody?) where only the strong survives and continues to make sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots, the chances of this one are pretty slim. Because this series is already buried under tons of garbage known as animes and devoured by the hideous creatures that roam the wastelands known as hate inciting trolls and narrow minded fan boys as well as the unforgiving environmental hazards in the form of overwhelming moe, fanservice, shonen, shoujo, seinen, slapstick comedy and other types of exposure. Yeah, a pure drama show can’t survive the wasteland by itself throwing away all those tropes.

Do you know what is more absurd than sending hardcore drillers up into space to destroy an asteroid before it hits Earth? Why, send a group of girls to play a crane game and have their beam from every successful game to push away the asteroid! No joke! Serious! I mean, this is actually the premise for Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Game Girls! I’m not kidding! For some obscure reasons, a group of idols wannabe have been scouted to drive away impending asteroids on collision course with Earth just by playing crane games!!! Absurd, am I right? Hell, at least it is a hundred times better than training drillers to go into space and detonate the asteroid. You know how much money that will cost? Thank goodness the producers didn’t see that Hollywood disaster movie… I think.

Episode 1
Agent Fox is called by her superior that an asteroid will crash into Earth and destroy life. Their only hope lies with these 3 high school girls. Sure they can save the world? F*ck logic! Just get them! And so, Asuka, Kyouko and Mirai thought they are being scouted by an idol agency. But something sounds fishy when their recruiter has a gorilla avatar. They are then made to wear a funny outfit and their next location is the video arcade. Is this a joke? Keeping their hopes high that they will become top idol, they start practising their (weird) dance. Fox isn’t amused and takes them into a secret room. This crane game is a training simulation that will turn them into top idols.

Episode 2
Fox disguises herself under the name as Saya. She is as sceptical for the girls to save the world as the girls are if she is really a talent agency president. Saya lies that all top idols have one thing in common: They were good in crane games! Enough motivation for the girls to get a move on. Their first training is to grab a gorilla plushie. Failed. Saya shows it how it’s done. They thought she too failed but she manages to get it by slowly sliding it out of the hole. After the girls reflect and ponder her technique, they realize what needs to be done. Trying again, they now know they must not grab the centre but its side so as to move it slightly until it drops. With this task done, some power beam beams away a couple of asteroids! WTF???!!! You mean this is how they’ll save the world???!!!

Episode 3
Now the girls will have to pick up a gorilla plushie in a box. But they are suspicious what the crane game has got to do with being a top idol. Well, if they can’t even handle this well, do you think they will have what it takes to be top idol? That doesn’t make sense but that will do as motivation. Saya guides them to place the hook precisely over the box holes to get a better grip. When they’re done, there is no effect. It seems Mirai ditched her game to call her dad just to buy her a gorilla figure! You can’t be a top idol if you don’t put in the effort! So after the girls successfully clear the game, a couple more asteroids are deflected.

Episode 4
The girls get their pay. Mirai being the rich girl finds it not enough to feed her (ugly) cat. But for Kyouko who is so poor, she finds the amount huge! Kyouko explains her mom died and now she plays that role to take care of her many siblings. Such a touching moment for the girls to rally and become top idols. And also a touching moment as they molest Kyouko?! Saya then shows them how to knock off many prizes in one go. The girls brainstorm and then apply what they have discovered. They shove the hook into the middle of the pile near the hole and knock them off. Saya is impressed and will send those prizes to Kyouko’s family since she can’t get a pay rise. And the day is saved with a couple more asteroids are repelled.

Episode 5
Asuka brings a fish that her fisherman dad brought to her as present to be a top idol. Today’s crane game is to pick up prizes with tags on them. Sounds easy? Nope. During the break. Asuka tells how her dad has always been supportive of her on just about anything. It might sound embarrassing but it proves he is a great dad. He was even happy when she was scouted but Asuka felt otherwise as she didn’t believe she could live up to expectations. After all, when she was young, her dream was to become a fisherman and her dad taught her various fishing techniques. Then it hit her. Different fish use different tactics. So when they apply this in the crane game, they win it using a bit of physics and common sense to fish this one out. Just before they can celebrate, the news flash that there is a huge group of asteroids heading towards Earth.

Episode 6
The girls learn when Mirai was playing a crane game, she was being hit by a guy. However she brushed him off because she won’t date cheap looking guys! Saya heard this and lays down the rules of no dating and love for idols (since it’s their job to save the world). Did something inside her triggered? Because she is taking out her frustrations on the machine when she can’t get a prize with a string. By this time the girls are tired of playing crane games. They want to do real idol stuffs like singing and dancing. Well, they’ll do it one day. Suspicious… When is that? She promises to tell the truth if they win this one. So they manage to do so and as promised, Saya reveals the asteroid danger and how the trio are the only ones who can save the world. Surprise!

Episode 7
The girls can’t believe what they’re hearing. It’s time for Saya to explain a load of BS (which is supposedly the truth in this anime). She is an agent from WSA (World Space Agency) tasked to find people with the ability to save the world. Due to the girl’s wavelength, their desire to become idols, their heart’s purity, each time the girls successfully learn a new skill, WSA confirms several asteroids changing direction. Only they can do this. Thus this training is the thing that brings out their power the most. Mirai is sad she can’t be an idol but if there is no Earth, you can’t be anything! Naturally the girls are dejected and losing motivation. Mirai then walks out on everything. She isn’t doing this sh*t. All she wanted was to become an idol. Kyouko also follows suit. If the world is getting destroyed, she’d rather spend her last moments with her family. What about Asuka? Thinking how they’ve been put into such awkward position by the agency, she’ll try to talk to the girls to come back.

Episode 8
Asuka finds Kyouko playing a crane game. Prizes for her siblings? They realize they love the game. Now the hard part is Mirai. She is going to fly away in her gold helicopter! She calls Saya a liar and her friends traitors for siding with her now. She doesn’t care about Earth. She just wants to be an idol. Well, Mirai isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Her friends first blame Saya for not thinking about their feelings. Then they make her promise she will get trainers for acting, dancing and singing to become top idols. So stop thinking too hard on this and let’s just aim to become idols. And so the trio are a whole again. Now they put their skills to the test of needing to get a prize that is hanging on the ledge without knocking it over. Not sure about this tactic but they knock off the part hanging on the ledge and push it down. Isn’t that the same as knocking it? Anyway their success means more asteroids change its course. Saya apologizes for being insensitive and will arrange to keep her part of the bargain.

Episode 9
Beach episode! After all their hard work I guess the girls deserve some rest and relaxation. Just to make sure the girls know… Saya is funding this trip with her own money! So please Mirai, shut up about your experience of hotspring in Dubai. Also here is Tokiko (the newscaster) who is Saya’s junior in college. She admires her a lot and can’t believe Saya is now working behind the scenes in a talent agency. This gives Saya motivation to make sure the girls become top idols. Then she ushers the girl for their next training at the beach. So are they going to watch the fireworks? Nope. She even brought the crane machines here! You were expecting something else? With the sexy gorilla figure as its prize, they get it out using some gap technique. I’m not interested since sexy gorilla isn’t my thing. With more asteroids averted, Tokiko sees this familiar beam. Saya has an idea to use her.

Episode 10
Tokiko reports this scoop to the world. With the buzz it is creating, the girls are now world famous! How does it feel to bask in the limelight? Saya shows them a crane puzzle but does not show them how it is done. She believes they have enough experience to think on their own. Asuka and Mirai fool around as being famous now is getting into their heads. When Kyouko chides them to take it more serious, they tease her for being serious like a school teacher and even mock her accent. This makes her mad enough to flip the table! But this gave them an idea for their problem. A large crowd and news reporters await the girls outside the video arcade. Hey, why don’t they have their own escort and security into the building?! What if there are crazy stalkers trying to kidnap them?! I don’t know how but they managed to get into the building after the press pester them for comments. Although Saya isn’t around, the girls use their flipping method to show the world that they are the real deal in saving Earth from asteroids. Take that! Everyone, start believing!

Episode 11
The world is cheering for the crane game girls’ success. Meanwhile Saya visits Dark Gorilla, the perpetrator who has been hurling asteroids on Earth. It seems Dark Gorilla’s mission is to protect his species that has been under constant abused on our planet. Despite the crane game girls’ success, he still will not back off. He won’t even grant Saya’s wish to make those girls’ dream of becoming idols come true. He uses his ultimate trump card. The biggest mother asteroid ever! Meanwhile the girls are celebrating a victory when they get a call whom they think is from Saya. However it is Saya’s boss, Earth Gorilla. He tells them Saya has been missing and she probably went to see Dark Gorilla. He shows them the biggest asteroid coming their way. No problem, right? However Earth Gorilla thinks it is impossible as a massive amount of energy is needed. It may cost them their life. This doesn’t dampen the girls since they will continue to do what they have always been doing. They’ll save Earth and bring Saya back. So after using some tactic to pick up heavy prizes, it seems the asteroid’s course isn’t changing…

Episode 12
Finally the crane game girls get their singing stint. Dark Gorilla hijacks the broadcast to announce his intention to take over Earth. Earth Gorilla had to interrupt our girls’ celebration to tell them their power had no effect on the asteroid. Of course there is another way. To push away such huge asteroid, they have to accumulate their powers. This can be done so by applying all the crane game techniques they have learnt together. However it is risky and puts player’s life in danger. The survival rate is only 20%. Hey, at least it’s not 0%. Thankfully the girls are looking forward to the future. They’ll save the Earth and become idols. The more techniques they apply, the more they could feel the strain over their body. Can’t give up now. They muster up all their strength for the final technique and put in all their emotions. Tokiko barges into the building to find Saya but sees the crane girls in action.

Episode 13
Their beam is so powerful that it rips their clothes!!! Don’t worry, we won’t see anything thanks to the beam’s blinding light. Dang. So powerful enough that it breaks up and scatters the asteroid. Earth is saved! But Earth Gorilla sheds a tear over their ‘sacrifice’. Dark Gorilla is still unsatisfied with his loss. He will come up with a new plan and find the secret behind the crane game girls’ power. Saya pleads to send her back but he will not comply. Once he learns the idol thingy that the crane girls are, he becomes more interested and wants idols for his planet. He wants Saya’s help and if she agrees, he will agree to leave Earth alone for now. No choice, she agrees. Apparently our crane game girls are still alive. Yeah, you can’t kill off Earth’s saviour and top idols, right? Tokiko visits them in hospital and she is worried they are being discharged quickly. No rest for an idol? Tokiko says they shouldn’t be in any hurry to become idols since they have already become one from saving the world. The girls are sad that Saya is still missing. But they believe that she will come back. For now they have to go out there and show her they have become top idols.

And I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing
Hey. WTF is this ending. It doesn’t feel like an end at all. Like as though there is going to be another season… It is kinda odd that Saya and the girls do not reunite at the end and thus end the mother of all separations but instead we have her whisked away to an alien planet to train gorilla idols. Serious. I mean, can you imagine seeing gorillas singing? F*ck, it would be Planet of the Apes parody by then. But as far as this season is concerned, we can all breathe easily and sleep comfortably at night knowing that the hard work of our crane game girls-cum-idols have saved the day once more. Good job girls. Really.

Now, I can’t help poke at how silly everything just is. Yes, it is just freaking silly. Just trying to think about how the mechanics work (just for the fun and sake of it) can only result in my laughing and going WTF. You see, firstly I don’t even fathom how by playing a crane game can shoot out beams. I mean, is the crane game connected to some laser beam? In that case, why not just rigged the damn machine? Just think about it. If the beam only appears once they drop the prize into the hole, what kind of mechanism and trigger does it take to fire the beam? And who sets up the prizes in such a way that allows the girls to practice and hone their skills? If you say those crane machines come from outer space, man they must have dropped thousands to let our girls practice and give Earth a chance to survive. How kind of them. It’s just so freaking illogical.

And why does it have to be a crane game?! I suppose it has got to be the hardest ‘family fun’ games at the carnival. Much harder than the pinball or the traditional shooting or goldfish scooping event. Because we all know how sneaky crane game machines are especially how they could be tampered to ‘cheat’. Extra hard and near to impossible rigid controls plus the short time limit makes the player have to constantly feed their quarters to continue trying or else risk being labelled as uncool and pathetic by their watching girlfriends who need this plushie oh so badly because why the f*ck didn’t they just go buy it at a store. Cheaper? The smell of victory? Well, if you’re good in crane games.

Therefore I have a feeling that this series also tries to teach us the several techniques in playing crane games. Well, it looks simple as shown but you know how tough it is in real life. This should only appeal to hardcore crane game enthusiasts and especially those who are just at beginner level trying to master and perfect their game. Otherwise such techniques aren’t really applicable in anywhere else. No, please don’t say it is the same as handling a construction crane.

So while we ponder at the absurdity of crane games being the sole tool to save the Earth, it is never in question about the crane game girls anyway. Sure, we have a little bit info of their family life like Mirai the rich girl, Kyouko the poor girl and Asuka from the middle income group if you consider her fisherman life isn’t a tough one. Anything deeper than that, feel free to cook up your own fan fiction theory. Good times, bad times but more importantly they stick together with their passion to become top idols. Ah, the power of friendship.

So what is the next step for these girls? They have already achieved their dream as top idols and at the same time become experts in crane games. In no time they might be scouted by other arcade game modes just to save the world. Don’t laugh. It happened before. Remember that arcade obsessed girl, Yamamoto Yoko? Yeah… So good she was in her arcade shooters that she was drafted into the future to fight space terrorists! And don’t forget that Fubuki girl from Arcade Gamer Fubuki. Remember how she used her arcade gamer skills to save the world from an evil organization? And all she got was her Passion Panty! No kidding! So don’t laugh the next time you see different alien invaders invading our planet and our crane girls are called in to stop their advancement by playing arcade games. Oh wait. They did something like that in Pixels, didn’t they?

I don’t know why they pick a gorilla as the antagonist or even the head of WSA but to have some sort of monkey related creature heading the world’s top space agency which is supposed to be under the domain of humans to be completely ridiculous. Yeah, everything doesn’t make sense but you’ll laugh and cringe at how silly everything is. So what is Saya’s connection with the gorillas? Did she sleep with them or something? And Tokiko, she came in late into the series but I figure she is Saya’s substitute now that she is temporarily not around to look after the girls and teach them more crane game techniques. Maybe Saya have taught them all she knows. There is no more she could further teach… Say, how the hell did Saya got kidnapped by Dark Gorilla anyway? Assuming she was taken away in the first place. But if she went to see him on her own will, don’t you think it is kinda dumb that she managed to go there but cannot get back down? It’s like a cat stuck on a tree, know what I’m saying?

The art and drawing is definitely Flash based. Produced by Kyotama, their other work was JK Meshi as you can see characters from the latter series making their cameos albeit just confined to the opening credits animation (though I believe there is one episode whereby there was a very short homage to JK Meshi). So it is a blink or you’ll miss type. One thing I want to point out is that their quality for this series seems to be a lot better and improved compared to JK Meshi which was just horrendous. At least the girls here look decently kawaii and the animation smoother.

One thing nice is the opening theme, Dream Climber by Rico Sasaki. This is quite a catchy rock piece if I must say. The relatively small casts are Sora Tokui Asuka (Niko in Love Live), Rico Sasaki as Kyouko (Michiru Kimura in Omoi No Kakera), Natsuko Hara as Mirai (Reina in JK Meshi), Sarara Yashima as Saya (Kurami in Hacka Doll) and Aina Suzuki as Tokiko (Shiori in Joukamachi No Dandelion).

In conclusion, you are not supposed to be stressed up watching and thinking at all the silly and illogical things that happened throughout the series. You’re supposed to laugh at them. Thank goodness each episode only lasts 4 minutes otherwise any longer and we might go crazy by all the ludicrous cringe worthy elements. Because idols, crane games, asteroids and gorillas, weird combination indeed. Despite all that, it still beats the logic of sending miners up into space anyway. Our girls stay safe and feet grounded on Earth. Literally. Okay, sing along with me now. Take it from the top. I could stay awake just to hear you breathing…

Want to experience a real RPG gaming experience? I mean a real one where you are really inside that world. Your surroundings, the people you interact with are all real. And no, I am not talking about putting on some head gear and diving into a fantasy game. This means this isn’t your Sword Art Online, Log Horizon or Overlord world game style. Not even Hai To Gensou No Grimgar level. Yes people. You come to this world as an adventurer, live as an adventurer for real. Folks, welcome to Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo. Wow. If it sounds so great, how do you sign up for it? Well, there is just one catch: You have to die first to get to this world. Well, at least you can say that there is life after death. But be warned. Despite saying about the adventure and RPG life you get to live in this world, please do not expect it to be like what you expect in those games you play once you start living your new life. Another catch? Well, let’s just say the people around you could be a big factor in determining the direction and quality of your life and destiny…

Episode 1
Kazuma Satou is an otaku on his way home after buying a game. However he sees a girl in danger of being run over by a truck and naturally his instincts have him dive to push her out of harm’s way. Unfortunately he died and is in the afterlife. How does he know? Because this cute goddess chick, Aqua tells him so. Kazuma wants to know if the girl is alright. She is. Relieved that his death was not in vain, wait till he hears how the girl was injured because of his pushing. You see, it wasn’t a truck but a tractor and it was already stopping. So how did Kazuma died? Of shock! OMG! Aqua couldn’t contain her laughter and starts laughing mad at all the absurdity, revealing how everyone from his family and nurses laughed at his embarrassing way of death! OMFG! She gives him a choice to either reincarnate as a baby or go to heaven, which isn’t a good place like he thinks. Because no porn! No sex! I can see why it’s so boring. Rather, she gives him another option to become an adventurer in a world that is being threatened by the Devil King’s army. Not only he’ll get to retain his memories of his world, he gets to bring any one thing of his choice to the new world. Anything. He is concerned about the language and despite there is a guidebook on it, he notices a very big disclaimer… So as he starts thinking what kind of skill he wants to bring over, Aqua pressures him into deciding this quick in addition to mocking his being. So what does he want to bring over? You, Aqua! Then this hot chick angel approves of this and sends them away to the new world. Now the joke is on Aqua. She is panicking so hard that Kazuma is having the last laugh. Not so funny now, huh? Suck it up, b*tch. You’re in for the ride. So in this peaceful town of Axel, Kazuma might regret bringing her because she is so whiny that she just doesn’t shut up! Useless. But as a pro gamer, the first thing to do is to join a guild. Everything seems fine and smooth till they realize there is a registration fee to pay. Broke.

Instead of blaming each other for being useless, Aqua decides to use her goddess status to get funds by… Begging! Unfortunately this old guy doesn’t worship her but a lower ranked goddess named Eris. He gives donates some money anyway but what insults Aqua is that a devotee of an inferior goddess showed pity on her. Yup, he doesn’t believe she is a goddess. As they register, their stats will determine what occupation to be. Kazuma is low on everything except luck. His only choice is a merchant but he is hell bent on being an adventurer. Aqua on the other hand scores high in everything except intelligence and luck. She could be anything except a wizard. She decides to be an arch priest healer. Everyone cheers for her incredible stats and job choice like as though she is a mega star. And I thought she hated coming to this world. So what is their first adventure? Doing hard construction labour?! Oh well. Work hard. Sleep hard. Bathe hard. Eat hard. Drink hard. Rinse and repeat. It sure took a while for Kazuma to realize this isn’t what adventuring is all about. Aqua needs to defeat the Devil King or else she can’t go back. Even more depressing is how this town lacks monsters as they have been exterminated a long time ago, thus no fetch quests. Aqua suggests getting away from here and do a kill quest despite their level is only at one and no proper equipment. Don’t worry. She’s a goddess, remember? This is precisely why Kazuma is worried.

Episode 2
Kazuma must have realized the different working standards and conditions of this world and Japan. Even more annoying is Aqua being lazy. What happened to her kill quest suggestion? Weren’t they supposed to go kill the Devil King? Logically this town is the furthest so the big bad guy isn’t just going to come all the way to slay 2 beginners, right? Their first kill quest is to kill giant frogs. Kazuma is left running for his life while Aqua is just laughing her ass off. She brags about saving him with conditions attached but gets eaten. Kazuma to the rescue. See how she turns into a cry-baby after that. Then she turns into an angry goddess as she is going to take out her frustration by destroying a frog with her God Blow. Here it comes! Nothing happens. Eaten again. Kazuma to the rescue again. To avoid such embarrassing moments, it is suggested they hire more people to their party. So why isn’t anybody joining after the recruitment notice is up? Other than Aqua false advertising herself, who else would be able to join if they only request for advanced adventurers? But there is an arch wizard girl approaching them. From her long grand speech of just about everything, you can tell that Megumin has chuunibyou. Yup, definitely is. You know she is as kooky as Aqua and even gets floored by her empty stomach. Haven’t eaten in 3 days, huh? But they see her high stats and decide to take her on a trial quest.

With Aqua getting eaten by a frog again, it is up to Megumin to strut her stuff. Awesome chant lines. Awesome magic effects. Awesome firepower! Awesome explosion! Then she collapses. Because she exceeded her magic limit and can only use 1 spell per day. Got eaten. This sucks. Now Kazuma has to save both of them. In return they finish their kill quest of defeating 5 giant frogs. On the way back, we discover that despite Megumin’s high stats, she can only use explosion magic because she loves the spell so much and will not learn others! WTF?! While Aqua is taken in by her ‘romantic’ passion, Kazuma is starting to see her as a liability. Even more useless than useless. Better offload her before she gives more trouble. However Megumin won’t let go and pleads to keep her around but he is not going to fall for that. He deduces she must have been kicked out of another party and thus the desperation. Bystanders misinterpret the commotion that Kazuma has done something perverted to the girls (all covered with frog slime…) and is going to abandon them. Megumin uses this to her advantage that she will do any erotic play so as not to be tossed away. To shut her up, he accepts her. Yahoo! Kazuma cashes in on the kill quest and notices he has levelled up. Despite getting 110,000 Eris (the currency), it indicates it was not worth risking their lives for such lowly pay. Taking a look at other job requests are just freaking impossible. Then, a beautiful knight babe approaches him wondering if the recruitment is open. Naturally Kazuma is stunned with her beauty and could she be what the party needs all along? But when Darkness starts to open her mouth and stammer her lines like some desperate nervous chick… Oh… My… God…

Episode 3
Hard breathing… Crazy eyes… This woman is dangerous. He tries to discourage her from joining by listing how useless his party members are but she gets even more encouraged to join. She even goes on to say she is clumsy and her strikes never hit! Kazuma tries to learn a skill. Megumin seems eager to help until she loses interest when he calls her a little girl. Then here comes Darkness. You thought he rejected her, right? He rejects her again. See that orgasmic face? Yup. Masochist. Explains everything. However her friend, Chris who is a thief could be the first decent person Kazuma has met since coming to this world. She agrees to teach him her skill, Steal in which he can, well, steal his enemy’s inventory. After learning the tricks of the skill, time to put it into use. Guess what he stole? Her panties!!! While this sends Chris into crying frenzy, Kazuma is laughing like a maniac like as though he had won. And Darkness hoped it was her… Back at the guild, imagine to Kazuma’s horror when Darkness and Chris worded that panty stealing act so ambiguously and smoothly that it sounded like Kazuma raped her! Then Kazuma shows off what he has learnt. Whose panties he stole this time? Megumin… Since when did he upgrade from an adventurer to a pervert? With Darkness at her limit and insisting she joins his team, the rest take a look at her card and find her high level crusader to be quite useful. Kazuma tries to discourage the newbies to leave by explaining how dangerous the mission is but Darkness being the masochist and Megumin being proud of her whatever magic that could obliterate anything, well, looks like they are here to stay.

Suddenly an emergency quest is broadcasted. All adventures must gather at the gate as something ominous is approaching. The town is going to be attacked by… Flying cabbages?! WTF???!!! It’s harvest time, yeehaw!!! And guess what? 10,000 Erins per cabbage!!! Darkness tries to appeal to Kazuma by fighting them. True to her uselessness, she misses all of them! However she acts as a shield best as she protects the other adventurers while withstanding the cabbages’ barrage. Of course Kazuma knows she is enjoying all this. Even more so when she thinks the men are looking at her with their lustful eyes, the pounding of the cabbages on her erotic body. Well, hard to believe that they are actually admiring her determination to protect them. Make sure you don’t learn the wrong example (that is, don’t be a masochist!). It all ends when Megumin unleashes her diabolical explosion. Boom! In the aftermath, we have a cabbage feast. Who knew such vegetables could be tasty, right? The girls praise each other but Kazuma isn’t impressed. But they also praise his lurking skill by stealing the cabbages’ wings. Darkness gladly introduces herself again and hopes to be more useful in the party as a shield. Being a sacrificial pawn isn’t so bad either. You know why lah. The girls might think highly of their little group with such few high job classes but Kazuma could only see hardships awaiting them in the future… What’s with the pessimism?

Episode 4
While Kazuma learns a water creation skill, Aqua is in one of her foul moods. Remember the reward on those cabbages? Turns out she caught lettuces instead! There is a big difference! Oh dear, look she is coming to Kazuma now. What is she whining now? When she learns Kazuma earned a million Erins, look at how she tries to become good in his books. When all else fails, become a desperate spoilt brat! She wants to borrow some money to repay her tabs. He wouldn’t have given in had she not spewed out something about his erotic habits in the stable… Thinking of going for another kill quest, anything but killing giant frogs! Poor Darkness. You missed all that action… They check out the job requests but there are hardly any. It is said that one of the Devil King’s top leaders has moved in nearby thus all the weaker monsters have gone into hiding. In this period of peace, Kazuma accompanies Megumin to the outskirts of town to practice her explosion magic on an abandoned castle. Somebody needs to carry her after she collapses, right? And she got scolded by the townspeople to practise her explosion somewhere else. Kazuma does this daily routine that he knows her explosions inside out. Kazuma then tells Aqua that they have no chance of defeating the Devil King. I mean, he has low skills and there are no high level adventurers in sight. They’re doomed. And no, he is not falling for her crocodile tears and wants her to teach him her healing technique. She won’t because it is her only reason for existence!

Suddenly another emergency quest for all the adventurers to gather at the gate. Before them is a headless horseman knight! He is one of the top leaders of the Devil King! You’re screwed. He is mad and blowing his top (despite not having a head) over an idiot who keeps blowing up the abandoned castle he is living in every day after moving in! HOLY SH*T!!! He can’t take anymore of this harassment! So who the f*ck keeps blowing his castle up?! Before the crowd suspects the wrong innocent lady, Megumin at least have the conscience to go up front to confront Verdia the Dullahan. Despite sounding grand, unfortunately she makes it worse that she needs to unleash an explosion a day or else she will die! Lies! And Verdia was going to let her off with just a warning. Making matters worse is how she ropes in Aqua and she is more than happy to play along. Verdia then throws a curse at Megumin but Darkness blocks and absorbs it. In a week, she will suffer and die. This is part of Verdia’s plan to play on Megumin’s conscious that it is her fault her friend will die and if she wants the curse lifted, come to his castle. If she can make it that far. But we all know how masochistic Darkness is, right? She thinks this is Verdia’s cruel intention to turn her into some sex slave and do perverted acts on her in his castle. Yeah, she is more than willing to follow him back! Even Verdia is looking scared! Of course Kazuma restrains her. Verdia leaves after giving Megumin the ultimatum. So while Kazuma and Megumin motivate each other they can get through this, suddenly Aqua uses her healing power to remove the curse. Easy as pie. Then everybody else cheers on Aqua like a true hero. So disappointing…

Episode 5
It is already bad enough this fantasy world isn’t to what Kazuma has in mind. That’s the least of his problems because Aqua is once again whiny about being in debt and sick of her shopping district part time job. So why don’t you go get a decent quest that pays? Hmm… There seems to be an easy one, purify a lake with monsters that earns 300,000 Eris. But why does she want Kazuma to come along? Because it takes her half a day to purify and she needs protection during that period of vulnerability. Kazuma has an idea and puts her in an iron cage. Nothing much happening as she sits in the lake… But when monster crocodiles start attacking her cage, she her go into maximum panic mode. Kazuma and co not helping… She looks fine, right? Yeah, now she works twice as hard to purify the lake faster. 7 hours later, the lake is crystal clear and Aqua is saddled in trauma. Uh huh. She doesn’t want to come out of the cage. It is much safer here. Well, at least she gets to keep all the reward to herself. Before you people forget what an ideal fantasy RPG is like, herald Kyouya Mitsurugi who was once a normal high school kid, brought into this world and bestowed upon a cursed sword, Gram by a goddess. He coolly slays a dragon and hopes to defeat the Devil King with it and save the world. Heck, he even has his girls fighting over him! In town, he hears a morbid humming and to his shock sees Aqua being towed back inside a cage. He breaks open the cage and calls for her but apparently her trauma is greater. But when Kazuma reminds her that somebody else recognizes her as a goddess, she reverts back to normal. That was easy. Kyouya remembers she is the goddess who reincarnated him in this world and gave him Gram. But does Aqua remember him? Yeah, she sent so many people back that she might have forgotten some.

When Kyouya learns how Aqua got into this world and even her living conditions, he is being mad and Kazuma. But Kazuma knows better than to be lectured by a guy who is blessed with a better sword. He knows his girls are just sh*tty characters. Kyouya suggests they join his party but Aqua thinks he is a creep, Darkness as a masochist feels like punching him and Megumin wants to explode him. Rejected, right? Not satisfied, Kyouya challenges Kazuma to a duel over Aqua. Instantly Kazuma starts attacking and uses Steal to take his Gram and knock him out. Hey, it’s all fair, right? Not to Kyouya’s harem girls as they call Kazuma a coward. Kazuma then threatens to use his Steal on them and with those erotic finger movements, they are sent running away in tears. It should be a happy ending back at the guild but why is Aqua so mad about? Apparently her reward has been deducted for the cage’s damage. And she didn’t even damage it. Yeah, she is going to give one to Kyouya when she sees him. Speaking of which, here he is looking to challenge Kazuma again because he heard rumours from Chris about his panty stealing skills and covering girls with slime! However he is punched in the face by mad Aqua! Give her money! Did she up the price for the damage compensation? Then she goes on a spending spree… Unbelievable… Kyouya is here to request Gram to be given back to him. Unfortunately Kazuma sold it. This guy’s luck just keeps getting worse, eh? Then an emergency quest to gather especially Kazuma’s party. What is with Verdia now? He is mad that nobody came to his castle! Oh… That.

Episode 6
Apparently someone is still bombing his castle every day! Damn you Megumin! But if every blast leaves her vulnerable, then who is the culprit who helped bring her back? Damn you Aqua!!! Verdia blows his top thinking these people didn’t care about their dead friend. What dead comrade? Oh look. Darkness is alive and well. Aqua zaps him a few times. Although she thinks it is a weak spell but you can definitely tell from Verdia’s screams. Verdia has had it and summons his undead knights to kill everybody. Unfortunately they chase after Aqua. Seeking salvation from a goddess? Aqua runs after Kazuma… He has an idea as he runs near Verdia. He then gives the signal to Megumin to initiate her blast. Boom! Verdia is still standing as he initiates a comeback. Some of the other guys think he is weakened and charge in to slay him. But it would be their undoing because Verdia unleashes a powerful spell like as though he entered bullet time to slaughter them all! Verdia goes after Kazuma but Darkness becomes his shield. As expected, she starts saying ambiguous perverted stuffs, thinking Verdia is chipping her armour away slowly for the ultimate embarrassment. Even worse when she misses a clear strike when he is stationary. How could she miss?! Kazuma tries to buy Darkness some time by splashing water but it just made her all wet and thinking the wrong thing. Kazuma then freezes him and tries to steal his sword but to no avail.

When Verdia goes in for the kill on Darkness, Kazuma starts thinking hard about a Dullahan’s weakness. Then it hit him. His weakness is water. He has all the mages conjure and splash water spells at him as Verdia tries to avoid them all. Instead of bragging, can Aqua at least summon some water to close this case? Sure. She is going to summon some flood class magic. Verdia knows he is in trouble and tries to run but Darkness is holding onto his feet. Then here comes the flood to wipe out everyone, everything… Don’t worry, everybody is still alive. Kazuma then steals his head and has everyone play football with it. In the mean time, Aqua seals Verdia for good. Case closed. Darkness prays to those fallen men but find that they are still alive. Aqua resurrected them. She feels so embarrassed that she wants to die. So this is a different kind of abuse and not to her liking? As expected, everyone parties with the defeat of Verdia. Kazuma is chanted a hero and even better, he gets 300 million Eris as reward! See how money changes people… And all those leeches… Especially Aqua… But then here is the bad news. There is always a catch. Because Aqua’s flood magic destroyed a great portion of the town’s walls, the reparation costs is 340 million Eris! I guess they have to take up more quests to cover the costs. And it is then Kazuma vows he will slay the Devil King in order to escape this good for nothing world. The faster you kill, the faster you get out, right?

Episode 7
Kazuma has every right to complain he needs money. But does Aqua? Because he puts her right in her place after mentioning he needs money to cover the debts she racked up. Or else she can just repay them herself. Now the apologetic goddess she is now, eh? Looking at the board to take on a quest, I guess Kazuma has a say whether to accept it or not because he is definitely rejecting dangerous ones and not willing to get killed. Then he notices this one. Killing snow sprites will net 100,000 Eris each. Of course Kazuma’s guts are telling him something is wrong especially if that masochist eagerly wants to fight such weak and easy creatures. Here they are at the snowy mountains killing cute harmless little balls. They’re snow sprites by the way. Ironically Aqua is doing much better in catching them. After giving Megumin permission to bomb the entire place, now Kazuma will find out the answer as to why adventurers do not take up such easy quest. Because here comes the winter shogun!!! The monster that Darkness has been waiting for! You’re screwed. To appease him, Aqua releases some of the snow sprites and prostrate perfectly. She’s good at this. Kazuma tries to do the same for Darkness but I figure she just loves how she is being held against her will on the ground. Since Kazuma forgot he is still holding his dagger, the winter shogun decapitates him! OMG! Did he really die?!

Apparently yes. Now he is in the afterlife and before him is the goddess Eris. Kazuma is very impressed with her since he is polite unlike certain weirdoes. She is giving him a chance to be reincarnated in Japan and he is happier to get that as he complains about all the misadventures with his party fools. But what’s this? Why is Kazuma crying? Those aren’t tears that he is going back to his home. So he is telling us he missed those idiots and wants to go adventuring with them a little longer?! What’s wrong with you Kazuma?! That is when Aqua’s voice is heard. She has casted a resurrection spell on him and wants him to get his ass back. However Eris mentions about the law that he cannot be revived again since he has reborn once. Aqua then badmouths Eris and you can see the latter close to tears with all those insults. Aqua even gives Kazuma permission to sexually harass her if she persists so Eris is forced to make this an exception and send him back to Aqua’s side. Kazuma is definitely not pleased with the high and might attitude of Aqua. If he could only change goddesses… It is a good thing he feels okay now. Because he wouldn’t want to see how he was decapitated by the winter shogun… Back at the guild, Aqua managed to capture a snow sprite. Kazuma wants to kill it for the reward but Aqua becomes protective of it, laying out her plans and life with this little cute thing. She’s even got a name for it? Kazuma then thinks about Eris. Her kind smile when he was revived and the way she mourned his death. Ah, she could be the heroine he has long waited for to appear. But it is back to reality when his girls order lots of food. The debt just keeps piling up… So why are you regretting not choosing to reincarnate in Japan now? You should have known better…

Episode 8
Winter is very cold. Aqua almost burnt Kazuma’s jersey to the fire. And while they are arguing, the fire goes out. The duo go over to see Wiz who may look human but is actually a lich (ruler of the undead who sends wandering spirits at the graveyard to heaven). Despite her status, she is a kind girl and I don’t know why Aqua has a bone to pick with her. Kazuma narrates how they first met and due to some circumstances (Aqua’s fault I suppose), they took up her job in her stead and ended up letting her go. Maybe that is why Aqua doesn’t like her. When they hear she was one of the leaders of Devil King, Aqua doesn’t hesitate to take the slightest chance to eliminate her. Of course Kazuma hears her out and it seems the Devil King made a deal with her that she would maintain the barrier that protects his castle in exchange for living a quiet life among human territory. But that is all she did and she did not harm others. So as long as her barrier is up, humans can’t invade Devil King’s castle? See how eager Aqua wants to get rid of her? Kazuma doesn’t want to rush in considering their level is not enough to face the big boss. Don’t want to get beheaded again, right? With Kazuma wanting to learn a skill from her, she teaches Drain Touch, a skill that absorbs an opponent’s health and magic and can also be distributed to others. After obtaining that skill, Aqua still wants to slowly kill her… Stop it already… Kazuma and his girls get to live in a mansion that Wiz is a landlord of. But it’s haunted! Of course, ignore Aqua trying to use her magic and see the past haunting (is she really going to mention every one?) and her usual tantrum when her sake bottle is suddenly empty. Because of the latter, she goes on an exorcising spree.

Deep in the middle of the night as Kazuma wants to go to toilet, he spots a creepy doll across his room! OMFG! SCARY!!! He tries to pretend to sleep but feels something creeping up his body. MORE DOLLS!!! RUN!!! He hides in Aqua’s room but is surprised to see Megumin there. I guess she is also scared of the dolls. And she wanted a partner to go to toilet? Yeah, Aqua must be away exorcising them. Kazuma wants to take a leak at the balcony but Megumin won’t let him. And thus a crazy argument being toilet comrades begins. Then they have to start running when the dolls are seen all over outside the window. Megumin is now in the toilet and bugs Kazuma to sing to assure her he is there. That would be the least of their problems because the dolls are coming! Kazuma breaks open the door to take her and hide in another room. It is amazing Kazuma can hold it in after so long. When things get desperate, Kazuma thinks of using Drain Touch but when he bumps open the door, it knocks out Aqua. They get a special reward after the dolls are exorcised. Kazuma learns why the mansion is haunted with so many ghosts. As there is a graveyard nearby (where they first met Wiz), apparently someone erected a massive barrier as a prank so the spirits had nowhere to go and took refuge in the mansion. Kazuma senses something amiss. You bet it is somewhat Aqua’s fault. Explain! After taking Wiz’s exorcising job, Aqua felt it was a pain to travel to the graveyard all the time so she thought if she took their home away, they would eventually leave. What is Kazuma going to do? They can’t accept the special reward then. Kazuma pays his respects to the nearby grave and his glad to have his own mansion to live in. No more the stable life. Till he hears the girls trying to burn his jersey as firewood…

Episode 9
Aqua thinks she can boss around thinking she has the highest level stats among them. When Kazuma realizes her stats never moved because they are already at their max, he starts having that regret and pitiful look. I suppose he now understands why her intelligence never increased. Kazuma later meets up with a couple of adventurers he got to know, Keith and Dust. They take him to an inn where it is run by succubi. Oh yeah… Kazuma is served by a sexy busty succubus that is so much like hentai material. She guides him in writing down his desires. Oh yeah… After double confirming that there are no laws, regulations, rules whatsoever because it is just a dream, Kazuma is motivated to pen down all his desires for a great dream! The only caution the succubus throws at him is not to drink too much because if he sleeps soundly, they can’t show him any dreams. When he returns home, his girls are throwing a crab and sake feast. Oh dear. It is tempting but Kazuma tries to restrain himself from the revelry. To avoid falling into the trap, he decides to turn in early. But since he can’t sleep, he goes to take a bath. That is when naked Darkness enters. So the dream has started? Bring it on! Of course we know something is wrong when Darkness starts acting very embarrassed and against whatever he is asking her. But he thinks this is part of the request he wrote in for albeit not exactly what he wanted, she’ll just do. With Kazuma acting as the cool boss ordering Darkness to wash his back, the more Darkness flusters. I guess this humiliation doesn’t fall under the masochism category. But if it wasn’t, why didn’t she just walk out? Ah, in some deep recess of her heart, she must be enjoying it, right?

Just when she is going to scrub his back using her boobs, Aqua’s loud voice that she caught an intruder spoils everything. Kazuma just rushes out in a towel to confront the ruckus. It seems Aqua and Megumin have a caught a succubus trying to enter their barrier. That is when Kazuma realizes and connects the dots. Kazuma goes over to protect the succubus. He tells her to run while he fends off the crazy women who each have their own reason to beat up Kazuma at this point. Kazuma acts like a true man, protecting what a man has to protect sometimes. So if it is a fight the girls want, then bring it on! Unfortunately he got beaten up but the succubus escapes. Next morning, Darkness feels awkward with Kazuma though she believes he was being controlled by the succubus and has no memories of what happened. Kazuma has been in this world long enough to know how to play the rules. So he agrees to go with that easy explanation. Darkness mentions about how scary he was last night but it wasn’t a bad experience overall. That is when Kazuma tells her to brush up her common sense because he already placed a sign outside the bath that it was occupied and she still came in. And since she went along, everything that happened subsequently wasn’t his fault in any way. Darkness realizes he clearly remembered everything. Suddenly an emergency broadcast that a mobile fortress, Destroyer is approaching the town.

Episode 10
Like its name implies, anywhere it goes or touches, destruction follows. Kazuma is not so ready to abandon the town yet because he just got his mansion and hell no he is going to look for another one or sleep out in the cold. He can’t anyway. Nobody can. Because all adventurers are tasked to take it down. As they discuss, everybody seems to get this idea Kazuma can take it down. He is the hero, right? And then they can finish it off with a hard hitting magic. You know, like an explosion? Looking at you, Megumin. Everybody’s motivation sky rockets when Wiz arrives to help because they believe she is the most powerful wizard in town. As everyone takes their positions, Kazuma talks to Darkness to not be a hero and stand directly in its path. That is when she reveals her real name: Dustiness Ford Lalatina. The daughter of a rich family. As she considers herself a knight, it is her duty to protect her countrymen. How noble. But we still think she’s a masochistic pervert… Destroyer is in sight and everybody starts getting scared. See how huge that thing is. Aqua makes her first move by unleashing her powerful magic enough to disable its barrier. Now it is Megumin’s turn to hit all she’s got but she is paralyzed with fear. Kazuma insults her love for explosions so this is where she got real and does some real blowing up. Works like a charm. Destroyer collapses right before Darkness’ feet. Don’t need to do anything, right? True to Kazuma’s fear, everyone shouldn’t start celebrating yet because it is sure to trigger some flag. Yup, Destroyer is going to self destruct! Its destructive range is able to obliterate a city. With their new mission to stop its self destruct, Darkness charges straight into it. We all know it is because of her masochistic tendencies in wanting to get caught up in the explosion. But every other guy sees this as encouragement to defend their town. If it’s gone, where would they go? And also something to do with sexy succubus services…

As they search inside Destroyer, they come across a main chamber where a corpse sits. They read his diary that details how he was forced to create this against his will. Then when he was brought the legendary coronatite, Destroyer started moving and destroyed everything in its path. Not that this dude was unhappy about. So he decided to live the rest of his life on it seeing there is no way he could stop it or get off. End of pathetic story. It is believed if they teleport this coronatite away, the self destruction will stop. Wiz is able to do this after sucking some of Kazuma’s power. What? He was thinking she was going to suck something else? However she is unconfident because despite she can teleport it away, it will only be a random place and might destroy a densely populated place. Kazuma assures her he is lucky. After doing so, it is still too early to celebrate. Because the internally stored heat is escaping and is going to explode! So coronatite didn’t have anything to do with it? While Aqua is thinking how obliterating the city would mean being free of her debts, Kazuma suggests Wiz absorbs her power so she can use her explosion magic. Unfortunately if she absorbs from Aqua, she will be purified. Don’t discount Megumin yet. So via Kazuma as the medium, Aqua transfers some of her essence into Megumin, enough for her to use her explosion again. And my, what a big explosion this is! Bigger than the atomic bomb?! An explosive finale? Kazuma narrates his seemingly ordinary daily life after that. Believing his true adventure will finally begin when the knights of the imperial capital summoned him, unfortunately it is not to deliver his compensation. They claim the coronatite that was teleported under his instructed exploded over Overlord Aldarp’s mansion. So he is now a criminal and under arrest? Oh Kazuma, you’re so screwed. I’m sure praying to God now for a world that treats him better isn’t going to help. Maybe next time when he dies?

OVA
The gang visits Wiz’s shop. They see Yunyun hiding at a corner and Megumin is not too fond of her. The self-proclaimed rival gets panicky when Megumin ignores her. Yunyun wants to settle their rivalry right now. But what follows next is Megumin abusing her (slapping her boobs?) as she is fed up of her nonsense. They’re not the only ones throwing a ruckus. Darkness as usual wants something to torture as pleasure, Aqua being a whinny customer forcing Wiz to put up good service. What can a guy do to get some peace and quiet around here? Kazuma picks up a choker which is labelled as a popular item but seldom sold. Look at the price tag. Maybe that is why. Reading further that this is wish granting choker, he puts it on. You know it won’t come off now, right? To Wiz’s horror as she explains, it only comes off when the wish is granted. Otherwise the choker gets tighter and he will die in 4 days! It was a popular item with woman as it served as some sort of weight loss device. Feels more like a cursed item, no? Everyone gets worried and blames themselves for getting Kazuma in this situation. Except for Aqua. This makes Kazuma really want to die and not resurrect back to life. How is this bad for Aqua? Remember all the debts she has? Better be nice and do all she can to help him out! And when the girls say they’ll do anything to grant his wish, time to take advantage of the fanservice. That sneaky look… So on the first day, Kazuma uses Wiz as a lap pillow. He has Darkness strip her armour and do exercises so he could watch her boobs bounce. He has the wizards do strip rock-scissors-paper in which Yunyun is always at the losing end. Aqua fears she will also be sexually exploited but was made to do errands like buying bread and alcohol. When Megumin and Yunyun collude to draw their games, Kazuma threatens the next few draws both will strip, Megumin betrays Yunyun and sends the latter into panic mode as she tries to strip the explosion nerd. Day two is more or less the same thing but the girls are in sexy cosplay now.

The fanservice ramps up in the third day as the girls are now washing his body as he watches Darkness wash herself. More errands for Aqua to find a hotspring. Megumin curses his dick to fall off so Kazuma gets cheeky forcing her to scratch the itch there! Aqua finally finds the hotspring source but the water shoots right up into Kazuma’s ass! HOT!!!! By night fall, everyone is worried the choker isn’t coming off. Even more so, Kazuma has no more desires. He did everything he wanted with them! Megumin is most worried as she mentions his death will be problematic to her. She considers him as a special friend since nobody wanted her in their team. The next day, Kazuma is prepared to die! He has lost his will! Serious! He entertained himself in lust and in the end it was all meaningless. The girls are distraught as they hug him! Wow. He must be feeling like a saint now. He apologizes by revealing the truth of all the things he did with them are for boobs. Like how he carried Megumin back from her explosion training just to feel her boobs. Whenever he talked to Wiz or Yunyun, his eyes are always on their boobs. Darkness = boobs. Aqua… Could she be the worst? He can’t see her as a heroine. Oh, he smelled her hair too. Is this an insult? She strangles him to try harder and that is when the choker comes off. Kazuma realizes his real wish was to ask for peace. And now all the girls are going to get their payback. Could you kindly please put the choker back on? All the fanservice better be worth this. Kazuma did die because now he is face to face with Eris. To remind about his shameful act, she advises him not to die in such a ridiculous manner. Remorseful Kazuma even agrees. You can’t argue with that, can you?

God Bless This Cursed Silly World!
OMG! It’s so funny how this anime series has the same number of episodes as my fingers! Why make something so good and end it there! But aha! Don’t fret yet. Because Kazuma and his girls will be given another chance. That’s right. ANOTHER SEASON HAS BEEN GIVEN THE GREENLIGHT!!! I’m so happy! I can’t really wait when the next adventure time comes around. Because you know of the so many developments that bring forth interesting potentials. Like, uhm… Erm… Well, we don’t know who the Devil King is yet and have not seen him. And surely his leaders that adventurers must face first before fighting the final boss, right? So yeah, such interesting potentials make me look forward to the next season. Well, if Kazuma can change his criminal status first. So yes, this series is surprisingly wonderful. It is the funniest RPG themed anime I have seen in recent years. The last was Ixion Saga DT but that was a few years ago. And it felt a long time ago. Many of the jokes are in the form of comebacks and although they are spontaneous, it doesn’t feel boring or get old because of how wacky the situation is.

Making this comedy series even greater are the colourful characters themselves. Everybody is an oddball. Yes, even Kazuma himself. Because he is a diehard otaku gamer. The only reason why he looks normal is because everybody else is an even more lunatic and crazier character than he is. And because Kazuma is more reliable than the rest, thus making his otaku-ness feeling a whole lot less in contributing to how maniacal his character is. And most important of all, with the idiots in his party, Kazuma’s main role seems to be playing the tsukkomi or rebuking role especially to a certain goddess. Ironically otaku guys are deemed useless in society. But because his part has a useless leeching goddess, an explosion maniac and a masochist maniac, Kazuma has to be steadfast in his actions. Otherwise a million 1up lives won’t save him from dying a million times. Yeah. Dying until the resurrection spells don’t work anymore. There is a saying that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. But as in for Kazuma’s case, he can’t even choose his own party members… Sad… Making matters worse, things hardly go his way.

As said, the girls in Kazuma’s reluctant party are the ones that make this entire (mis)adventure a big comical journey. They are the driving force that makes Kazuma both on his feet and close to insanity. They are both the reason why he moves forward and is breaking apart. Like a double edged sword. I was hoping for a few other characters to join his harem but seeing how 3 idiots are already more than he can handle, maybe this isn’t the kind of harem he (and us) would be wishing for. Is it too late to switch party members? But then again, his second death experience tells us he would like to be with them a little longer. So this tells us that he himself is an oddball. You know what they say about birds with the same feathers. It won’t be so bad to see past characters joining Kazuma’s party. After all, everybody here is just unofficial, right? It would be great to have Chris the thief (the one who could boldly flirt with Kazuma), Kyouya the fallen adventurer (the other guy who is supposed to take the fall), Eris (the other goddess and voice of reasoning for the team), Wiz (bully victim), Yunyun (the more wizards the merrier) and even Verdia (so awesome that even dead baddies come back to life to join Kazuma’s group – although he is pretty much dead in the first place) to join Kazuma’s party and it would be one great group going on a great adventure to defeat the Devil King. But then again, with this bunch of characters, we can only see chaos and anarchy wherever they go, whatever they do. Then hilarity ensues… Oh yeah. You got to love this bunch if they ever get together.

Sometimes I feel the incompetent girls in Kazuma’s party are a subtle reflection in multiplayer games. You know, you are a very good player yourself but your teammates just suck! You know what I mean if you play online multiplayer games, right? Not that I have played them myself but I can see that one of the biggest complains and downsides that players hate are incompetent teammates who would only bring you down and do useless things that piss you off. Of course there is the case of you yourself being a dick but that is another story. So in Kazuma’s case, it is clearly a mirror of why missions and quests do not go as well planned because of inept and bungling teammates. And the worst kind are like Aqua, not only a troublemaker but selfish and thinks every move she makes she thinks are the best. The kind whom you will love to hate. With her quick shifting allegiance like shifting sand, it only serves to remind us of such players that are only on your side when the times are good. Then there are those types like Megumin who can only do one set of skill and the rest of the journey is pretty much useless. You know, those kind of players who can only spam one kind of move… And there are those like Darkness, not to say they are masochists, but in the sense would rush into battle head on without thinking whether it is for personal glory or to prove something. Not forgetting too, that player who always misses the crucial or basic shot. Yeah… And yes, there is always one like the Kazuma guy, the only useful and reliable guy who has to do everything himself. See the freaking similarities in real life? Scary, huh?

Just like the characters, everything else also compliments, complements and supplements the comedy. So we have got your magical fights albeit not much but more importantly at least we have explosions! Oh yeah, who doesn’t love explosions in their shows. Thanks Megumin, for all the explosive booms to satisfy our Baysplotions. And not forgetting very few fanservice scenes too. Panty stealing moves, busty succubus for a horny dream and surprisingly a sexy bath scene with Darkness of all people. However Aqua is the only female whom Kazuma won’t do fanservice with. I guess this shows the level of annoyance of this goddess that our pervy Kazuma won’t even resort to. It’s better to get back at her at some other way ;p. But the one thing that I couldn’t bring myself to laugh or find funny is the creepy doll scenes. Yikes! Even if it was supposed to be funny (Kazuma running like mad like as though he has seen a ghost – but of course!), the eerie feel of those dolls was just enough to send shiver down my scaredy cat spines. Those dolls look like a spooky version of the Rozen Maiden dolls. Only I won’t be dreaming about those but having nightmares! Thank goodness it was only for less than half an episode. It makes Verdia’s case looking like a baby. Because Verdia too is an idiot himself or at least got caught up in the idiocy of our main idiots.

Art and drawing are pretty decent. It is nothing to shout about but since you’ll be paying to the nonsensical antics and comical parts, you’ll let the artwork slip by. Despite taking place in a fantasy realm, there aren’t many exaggerated fantasy scenes since the town that our characters are stuck in feels like a backwater medieval town. At least the characters are also colourful in the visual sense and it doesn’t give a gloomy atmosphere (despite the fact that this is supposed to be a comedy series) like say, Hai To Gensou No Grimgar. The magic effects are nicely created for this grandeur and ultimately comical consequences. This series is animated by long time anime veteran, Studio Deen who are famous for the Fate series, Hetalia series, the Higurashi series and a whole load of other animes that could be listed way even before you were born. Well, if you aren’t that old, that is.

Making this series one of the most funniest and pleasant to watch is the voice acting. The best one goes to Sora Amamiya as Aqua (Elizabeth in Nanatsu No Taizai). I just love the way this depraved goddess sounds when she is panicking, desperate, begging, apologetic and acting arrogant. Despite her high octane panicking, it really makes her character funny to watch. There aren’t any dull moments with her whenever you hear her speak in such ways. Okay, not all of the time. But each time she does that, it will always be memorable. A very good job and hats off to Sora Amamiya for making Aqua one of the most beloved and yet ‘despised’ (in a good way) character of the series. It’s like she is having fun and running loose with her character. Coming close to her achievement is Ai Kayano as Darkness (Inori in Guilty Crown). With her character as a masochistic crusader, it is all the more convincing when she goes into such delusions and heavy breathing. Another person who sounds like she is having fun with her character. Kudos to a job well done.

I was first surprised when I at first discovered and find it strange that Jun Fukuyama was voicing Kazuma. It felt strange because no matter how much I think about it, he doesn’t sound like his ‘great’ trademark voice like Lelouch from Code Geass or Koro from Ansatsu Kyoushitsu. Was he trying to voice act with some sort of accent? Even so, I kept thinking that was impossible and that Kazuma was voiced by Hiro Himono, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka or even Daisuke Sakaguchi voice type. I thought they listed the cast wrongly and that is when I decided to take a look again to see if I made any mistakes. And sure enough, I did. It was Jun Fukushima who played Kazuma. FUKUSHIMA. Look properly next time. So who is this guy? An unknown for me. His most prolific role was as Soukichi Naruko in Yowamushi Pedal series. It was almost the same for Yui Horie as Wiz. I think something might be wrong with my ears while watching the series. Maybe with all the amusing conversations I hear from Aqua and Darkness, it somehow ‘blunts’ my hearing and voice recognition ability. Yeah… Anyway it wasn’t as bad as Jun Fukushima’s case. Although I didn’t recognize her at first, but slowly and subsequently I started to do so. After all, it might be just me that Yui Horie sounded a little different at first… Too much Miss Monochrome recently has got me off balance. Aki Toyosaki is recognizable as Yunyun since she sounds very close like Yui from K-ON!

For the rest of the amazing casts, they are Rie Takahashi as Megumin (Futaba in Sore Ga Seiyuu), Hiroki Yasumoto as Verdia (Sado in Bleach), Takuya Eguchi as Kyouya (Kon in Ixion Saga DT) and Ayaka Suwa doubling as Chris and Eris (Tokaku in Akuma No Riddle). While the opening theme, Fantastic Dreamer by Machico isn’t that bad, the one that steals the limelight is the ending theme. Chiisana Boukensha by the trio of Sora Amamiya, Rie Takahashi and Ai Kayano is a calming but yet catchy homecoming country-like song. Hearing this piece makes you want to close your eyes and dream of the simple farm life in the countryside. No wars, no monsters to fight, no spirits to seal or purify, no evil bosses to defeat, no taxes to fill (yeah…). Just sit back and relax as the pleasant day goes by… Ah yes, the very simple life indeed.

On a trivial note, the next episode preview at the end feels unique but a bit odd as well. It is because it is in the form of a narrated letter by the characters. Though, I can hardly see how this has anything to do with the next episode but rather their experiences in this world so far. For instance, some previews has Kazuma narrating a written letter back to his family that he is doing fine although life is tough but still bearable, Aqua writing a report with lies because as we know she blames a certain someone while crediting herself as the awesome reason this certain someone has improved, Megumin writing in a poetic way that glorifies her magic and Darkness ironically describing all the noble qualities a knight should have (albeit another irony is that she seems to be emphasizing on staying away from sexual satisfaction…). The other odd part is how this segment is suddenly cut off while the characters are reading those lines halfway. I am not sure if the video is intended to be this way or did I not download them complete for that last bit. For all of the episodes? Hmm…

Overall, this series is a very fun and enjoyable watch. If you like your RPG adventures with lots of comical moments, this one is definitely for you. Certainly this is on the total opposite end of the pole for those who love serious drama and development in their RPG themed series. Say, Hai To Gensou No Grimgar. I’ve been referring this anime quite a few times here now, have I? Not to say that this anime is bad. That series is good as well but it is so different yet under the same genre that it makes both series look like they are totally different altogether. Like 2 sides of the same coin. A gold coin, that is :-). It is a good thing that this series didn’t bomb and even if it did, it is from a whole different context, am I right? :-). I’m glad that the producers have decided to extend this series’ life bar and giving it another life for a second season. A chance for all of us to level up while laughing. More wacky kill quests. More high level fanservice. And yes, more explosions too!

Oshiete! Galko-chan

September 10, 2016

I am sure that each one of us when hit with puberty and going through that ‘awful’ phase, our curiosities about our own bodies and especially of the opposite gender would make us ponder over such issues. Many of us would be too shy and embarrassed to ask such questions. Who do we look for to get our answers? Don’t worry, people. Look no further for Oshiete! Galko-chan is here to answer your curious needs about the female body. Ah yes, which guy wouldn’t be interested to know more about the female body and anatomy. Unless you’re gay… But that is besides the point. This series addresses some (but not all) of those pressing and embarrassing issues that you were too afraid to ask before in fear of being ridiculed, shamed and labelled as a pervert. Myth or fact, this show covers it (but don’t expect it to be comprehensive) in an entertaining way that doesn’t make it look like you are watching some sort of serious documentary. Edutainment? Despite the series mainly discusses about the female body, it isn’t only intended for guys as girls can safely watch this too. If only there were such series back in those days to find out more about the birds and bees…

Episode 1
Galko doesn’t think the size of the boobs can affect one’s areolas. So Otako has her draw 2 circles on the tip of the balloon. When she blows it up, see how the circles enlarge? Galko often comes in late for class. Everyone thinks she is out with a date last night but actually she spent watching the entire 26 episodes of an anime all in one night. Galko thinks boys are dumb when they ask her about her big boobs are so because a guy kept massaging them. But when Otako questions how she even knows that is true, she cannot answer back. Galko reads passionately a paragraph from the literature text. While everyone impressed with her voice acting and the way she reads it makes it very interesting, Otako can only note that the topic has students only memorizing kanji and infer answers from a set of questions so reading passionately doesn’t help at all. Galko suddenly stops reading halfway through. It seems she knows there is a kissing scene coming up. After class she reads the entire story and can’t help feel emotional about it. Does the thickness of eyebrows have an association with pubic hair? With Otako discussing the possible link, Galko excuses herself to the toilet to cut her eyebrows. Since she accidentally cut them all, she decides never to come out till they grow back! Noticing the boys doing kanchou, it reminds Galko she was also a victim of one but rather the bully’s fingers broke and was hospitalized! Isn’t that not the way how kanchou supposed to work? Despite knowing how much her butt will hurt, Galko continues to enjoy her spicy food. It’s because she thinks she is having constipation now and will be fine. True enough next morning, her ass hurts like hell. Otako offers her a cushion and then explains how the membranes in your ass and tongue are the same. Only difference, butts don’t have tasting sensory so it can’t taste sweetness even if you put sugar. And Galko actually tried it out? For the question if girls have hair on their butts, we see them talking about multiple ply toilet paper as well as cheap places having cheap quality products. That is why you can’t recycle using a single ply toilet paper because it gets tangled in your butt hair! Galko is late again as usual for morning class. As the day goes by, Otako notices Galko gets more active. Could it be that she is just not a morning person?

Episode 2
Do virgins only use pads while non-virgins use tampons? The question is whether you want to insert it ‘there’. As Galko is still sleepy in class, Otako suggests doing a headstand after she gets up. Of course that is supposed to be a joke but Galko really did it and she started experiencing nose bleeds. After giving her an energy drink, Galko finds it tasty and drinks more. However this means she has to go to the toilet since the stimulant stimulates her bladder. Otako then explains why women have weaker bladders than men because of their different body structure. Most essentially women have smaller bladders because of the uterus. The next time Galko goes to the toilet, Otako and Ojou time how long she takes to return and then bet whether it was a big or small issue. Now it is the guys’ turn to discuss about girls. What about them? Their coloured panties! Because pure girls like Ojou, they can only imagine she always wears white. Girls like Otako would wear some animal prints and naughtier girls like Galko would wear coloured or flashy panties. They believe why girls wear coloured ones is so that it wouldn’t look easily stained when they show it to guys. Then each of them imagine their interaction with Galko and definitely think she likes them. Galko makes some curry bread. The reason is that if she bought them, she would have to use her own allowance but if she makes them, her father would give her money. Because she used the term ‘papa’, everyone had the wrong idea the kind of father she was having. Otako wonders the need to cook these days as food is so easily available everywhere. Ojou claims she loves cooking but her overprotective parents disallow her to hold a ‘blade’. You mean a chopping knife? As Galko talks how tough it is to make bread, Otako asks about the softness of its dough. She compares them to her boobs and the boys get the wrong idea so embarrassed Galko dismissed it that she was just talking about it in general. Otao sees how Galko’s boobs are pressed against the table. Later he goes to the supermarket to buy dough and knead them so that he could have a feel how boobs are.

Episode 3
Galko just had her tan. Wondering if her nipples are tanned too, Otaku yells out that they are tanned so Galko dismisses them and explains about the pasties she got so they are still pink. Anyhow the guys overheard it… When Ojou walks past the guys, they smell this sweet scent and wonder if she used an expensive soap. Otako might smell like a new textbook but the guys don’t find it too bad. As for Galko, they smell something attractive from her. Could it be the scent of love? When Otao talks about this mecha anime he just watched, the other guys think he is lame. But Galko heard about it and suddenly becomes interested. She also likes that anime and spends time talking to Otao about it. The other guys note how they must watch this anime… Otako decides to play a trick on Galko. She talks about girls with big boobs have inverted nipples. Galko didn’t make that surprised reaction as Otako expects. Was the topic too complicated for her to understand? Then Otako continues to exaggerate about the bad points of having inverted nipples since a mother can’t feed her newborn. Suddenly this makes Galko cry as she gets up and runs away. She is upset that Otako is implying she can’t be a mother. For the next few days, Galko is absent from class. Otako feels bad but maintains her pride. Till Ojou talks to her about hiding her feelings. Just go and apologize to her. Otako is outside Galko’s house and she has armed herself with knowledge about inverted nipples. Yeah, she read the entire encyclopaedia about it so she is an expert on the topic! When Galko doesn’t answer the doorbell or her call, Otako fears the worse. She panics and states the truth about mothers with inverted nipples can still be moms. More importantly she discloses how happy she is to be friends with a pretty and popular girl. She is very sorry for that prank. Turns out Galko was just sick and recuperating. Otako wonders if she can still be her friend. Does she have to ask a question when the answer is so obvious? Galko invites her in for tea then.

Episode 4
Otako praises Ojou’s slim hands. This has Ojou unintentionally praise Galko’s big hands. Galko flusters and proves she does not by putting it against the palm of a guy, Supoo. I wonder if he is going to ever wash that hand of his. When Otako spots a pubic hair on Galko’s shirt, this time she is more careful and thinks if she should tell her as she does not want to make her cry like last time. Unfortunately Galko dug her own grave when she herself says aloud she spotted a pubic hair on her shirt. Of course this catches the class’ attention so she corrects herself that it is armpit hair. Ojou gives Galko a shoulder massage. She is told to mind her loud moaning but when she tries to muffle her moaning, it sounded quite erotic. Ojou also gives Otako a shoulder massage and it makes her make a weird sound. She hits the spot? Then they talk about having bigger boobs means more prone to having shoulder problems. Otao then tests it out by dangling a couple of bottles over his shoulders just for feels. Galko gives sweets as cough drops to her classmates. Otako wonders why she has so many of them. Apparently she got them in exchange for helping her friends with minor stuffs. Galko tells Otako if she ever needs anything, she can ask her. So does she have a pad? Or even a condom?! Yeah, she’s just messing with Galko as usual. Ojou overheard them but got the wrong idea of the ‘rubber’ they are talking about. This means Ojou nonchalantly explains the ‘rubber’ (hair bands) she always carries around just in case as she uses them often. They come in different colours too! Imagine her embarrassment when Otako tells her what they were actually talking about. Otako and Ojou later tease Galko about girls with big boobs have big areolas. Because Ojou has a cousin whose boobs are as big as Galko’s and so are her areolas. Otako exaggerates it to be as big as a tyre making Galko to fluster like mad.

Episode 5
The eternal question if boob size is inversely proportionate to intelligence. Iinchou (class rep) seems to think so and believes Galko must never have thought about it or give any thoughts to anything else. She is surprised when she sees her entering an essay competition on how to eliminate war on Earth! When Galko praises Iinchou’s essay to be something deep and thoughtful, Iinchou thinks Galko have written something even deeper. Charao gives Otao and Supoo a shopping mall quiz that turns out to be a psychological test. They are surprised since it evaluates accurately their personality. Charao then decides to use this test on Galko. But he finds it hard to concentrate when he can’t help look at her delicious parts while she gives her answer. Galko then tells this to her test but eventually she doesn’t have an answer because Charao never told her. When Otako is amazed Galko can pack lunch since she is not a morning person, Galko reveals it is her sister who does it. Flashback reveals Galko promised she would wake up in the morning so that she can watch a late night show. Too bad she is a sleepyhead in the morning and her sister as expected takes care of everything. Otako then asks if sisters borrow stuffs from each other. Galko confirms it since they are similar in size and even borrow her school uniform. Otako flusters and wonders if her sister really borrows her school uniform for that. It took a while for Galko to realize what she is implying. Back home, Galko confronts her sister about this so big sis explains how she uses it in foreplay and takes it off before sex! Well, her boyfriend takes it off. Galko regrets hearing all that.

Episode 6
Otako spots Galko with a new lipstick. Time to mess with her head. Do you know the colour and shape of one’s lips represents a person’s genitals? Galko took the bait and is now more conscious than ever. For the rest of the day she tries to hide her lips while she analyzes the lips of others. So conscious that she is making funny faces now and then. When Otako tells this to Ojou, she commends them for being brave to know what they look like because she herself is too scared to check it out. This only makes Otako fluster. Galko wears a vest despite being hot so that her bra won’t show through her shirt. She gets tricked to inform that she is wearing a bright red bra today since Otako tells it to Ojou. Galko was at the lingerie store but couldn’t find lingerie the store sells now that is her size. It has to be custom made. She bought 3 period panties for a special price. Despite not cute, might as well get something cheap since they might get stained anyway. Ojou then talks how she gets her lingerie measurements via personal designer. Galko wants her to come along the next time she shops for lingerie. The trio meet up. Otako dresses casual, Galko like a slut (at least that is the first thing that comes to our dirty minds) and Ojou in her formal kimono. After shopping for clothes, they go watch a foreign movie. The scene turns into an intimate love making scene. Otako is very conscious about this and wonders how her pals are holding up. Surprisingly they have a serious expression. Could it be that Otako is the only perverted thoughts? Later when they talk about that scene, Galko nonchalantly mentions she too would like to one day passionately make love with someone like that. Otako’s face now turns red like a traffic light.

Episode 7
If you wonder if big boobs float on water, you can thank Galko for confirming that. The friends are at the pool in which Ojou won as a prize from a raffle. Galko wonders if tampons will absorb water and expand inside. Otako assures they are waterproof. Galko tries to tease her as the tampon master but it has no effect. Galko shows her off her shaved armpit. Silky smooth. She realizes she forgot to shave down there since her pants are hard to come off. Ojou notices Galko’s bikini is showing too much skin so Otako reminds her that because of her big boobs, she can only adjust the size with the straps. A young boy named Kuseta gets lost and bumps into Galko. Since he misplaced his wallet, she treats him. Kuseta was actually here with his mom. Because his fellow female classmates tease him as mama’s boy, he got embarrassed and ran off. Speaking of them, here they are to tease him again. Galko wraps herself around Kuseta, making him like a million dollar winner. The bullies got ‘scared’ and back off. Galko hopes Kuseta will reconcile with his mom. He still thinks she is an embarrassment so Galko scolds him he should never feel so about his own mother. In class, Otako is baffled that Ojou is as tanned as Galko since the latter did apply sunscreen. Galko realized too late she took the wrong spray and it was some kind of pheromone spray. This somewhat explains why younger boys tried to hit on Otaku at the pool. I mean, a kid young enough to be her brother is asking her to be his wife?! The tan is also a pain for Galko because now she has sun burn and getting into the bath is a painful affair. Kuseta is dreamy and thinking only about Galko. His bullies feel jealous and order extra milk to make their boobs bigger.

Episode 8
You’re not a guy if you don’t rank the girls in your class who has the biggest boobs. Doesn’t Galko win hands down? Not quite. Because there is Nikuko who is a very fat girl and has monstrous boobs too. Thus the cup size is determined by the difference between over-bust and under-bust instead of overall size. Surprisingly Galko suggests Okako to them too. She is a tall girl and because she is always slouching, the boobs of this occult fanatic don’t really show. With the guys staring at her, she feels she is being watched… By a ghost?! Ojou and Otako notice Galko looking at her nails. She does keep them well maintained but it seems she has also written her shopping list on her wrist?! Galko can cook thanks to some transparent glove. However her sister ‘ruined’ it by telling her something extra about it. You know, some girls prefer to masturbate this way instead of using devices… When Iinchou notices she has a cracked fingernail, Galko will not let this slip by and quickly gives her a manicure treatment. With the guys playing a dumb game of pinpointing the nipple, Otako teases Galko one can find her exact nipple spot if you just hold your earlobes and go straight down… You tried that, didn’t you?! Galko makes a fuss when she realizes her bangs are messy. Bomuo doesn’t understand why she would be so concern with something petty, criticizing if the economy would plunge just because of her hair. But he still notes her big boobs. Next day, he comes to school with his hair quite messy. His mom didn’t say a thing and just smiled. Bomuo feels so embarrassed but that is when Galko comes to the rescue. She fixes up his hair nicely with her accessories and even makes Charao lend his expensive hair gel (or else she’ll reveal an embarrassing secret!). Despite Bomuo noting he doesn’t care about the hairstyle, after school he goes to the shop to buy that hair gel. It’s really expensive. When he comes home expecting his mom to say something, all she ever does is just smile and stare the entire way…

Episode 9
Because Galko is communicating via sign language and this annoys Otako, she purposely misinterprets and says aloud how she dislocated her jaw by training to put a man’s thing in her mouth! There, she finally spoke. Turns out she watched an American show last night and a character had crooked teeth. She was horrified when she see her fixed it via braces. Now Galko is quite concerned and tries to hide them. But next day, she can’t help show them off as she has seen a vampire show last night. When Galko talks to Otako about African Americans in movies, Ojou wants to join in and make some sort of joke. Uh huh. She started talking about colours of tits and vagina. Huh?! Then when they talk about hymen breaking due to horse riding, Ojou flusters and couldn’t come up with anything. I’m not sure about Galko scaring and then apologizing to people. Why is she mad? She found out she gained 200g! Otako is in disbelief because that is considered nothing. In fact you lose that much by peeing. And if she wants to lose weight, start off with those boobs first. But Nikuko interjects that it doesn’t work. She lost weight before but nothing changed and her boobs remained the same ever since. The guys start wondering if her boobs were that big before. Skinny girl with big boobs? There is a manga with a character having a pierced tongue. Galko wants to read it but is scared each time she has to see this character. This has Otako asking if she was scared when she decided to pierce her ears. Galko remembers her sister freaking her out with lies about drills when she first said she wanted to pierce them. When Otako tries to tease Galko of another old wives’ tale about earlobes, it seems Galko already knows it and turns the tables on Otako that she believes in such rumours. Otako then proceeds to tell a horror story how a woman wearing big earring hoops had it caught by a passing van and tore off her… You get the idea… Because of that, Galko becomes scared and tries to protect her ears. Her friends revise their plan and show a picture of Buddha who once pierced them as a prince. Those holes bring wisdom and happiness. The simple minded girl is back to her happy self again.

Episode 10
The boys are complaining when the teacher makes them do laps. But when they see the girls running and how much Galko’s boobs bounce, they start praising running is the best. Is that so? The teacher tells them to run another 10 laps! They continue to observe Galko’s violent jiggling boobs but they are surprised to see Nikuko. In fact, she is faster and because of her good running posture, they stay stable and don’t bounce about. Galko sees Otako and Charao talking and wants in but is shooed away. They discuss about this habit of Galko always wanting to butt into something but can’t handle it subsequently. Otako and Charao continue their talk on hair loss for men that are mostly genetics. Otako mentions about girls liking guys with close cropped hair. Something like Supoo’s. Charao thinks it is grade 3 hairstyle but Supoo dismisses it to be grade 4. Supoo remembers a baseball game he was in. The opposing team’s school was cheering very loudly. But he remembers Galko cheering his name at the top of the voice. It made him happy. Charao notices Galko staring at him. When she takes him away, it is actually to clean his curry stains on his jersey. So that was bugging her so much? Oh, also his zipper is open! Charao notices Galko is wearing a men’s shirt. He starts fantasizing that she must have woken up after having a steamy affair with a man last night. Say, her shirt was spilled with wine? Thus she borrowed his shirt. Thus he keeps wondering who her boyfriend is. Despite going out with his junior girlfriend, his entire thoughts throughout the karaoke session are filled with the mysterious guy Galko was with. At the end of the day, Charao wonders if she still has time because he got some rubber. She flusters and slaps him. When Ojou notices the men’s shirt Galko is wearing, Otako explains about her broader shoulders and big boobs which make them fit better. Charao’s girlfriend couldn’t believe he is such a pervert but Charao sends an apology text and mentions how important she is to him and so she is back to loving him once more.

Episode 11
Otao leaves the infirmary once he feels well. On his way back to class, because the hallway looks so deserted, he finds it unusual. The he spots the girls coming back from swimming class and goes into hiding. Maybe he needs to go back to the infirmary as his anaemia is coming back… A girl watches Galko order her coffee like a pro unlike herself who is flustering. Then she watches her burn her tongue. She continues to observe Galko reading a manga that is written by her favourite author. She watches Galko flusters because it becomes hardcore BL in the middle! Otako didn’t understand when Galko texted her something about the fancy toilet paper in some cafe. Next day, the teacher is talking about different types of toilet papers used by different civilizations throughout the ages so Otako teases Galko how cultured her text was yesterday. The class votes on which movie to watch. Galko suggests a lesser known direct-to-video movie. But because she cannot explain it well (thinking it would be spoilers), her movie garnered the least votes. Ojou cheers her up that they can watch it at her place. Galko is grateful and also suggests having a slumber party. Otako packs her stuffs and some animes to bring over. There is one that is ecchi as she keeps thinking if only she herself would fluster. She brought it anyway. Another dilemma is if she should bring pads. She has this weird thought that Ojou might have a chamber full of different pad collections. She’ll bring hers just in case. The girls had a very fun slumber party. Only shocking part is that while watching the ecchi anime, only Galko started flustering. During the screening of the movie in class, the trio fall asleep. Too much slumber partying?

Episode 12
We go back in time a little when our new students are just a week into their first year. Otako observes how students quickly form into their respective groups. She considers herself an outsider and doesn’t belong into any one of those cliché groups. She prefers being alone. Till Galko tries to talk to her because she is always reading alone. Galko sounded a little bit rude pointing out she is like an otaku. Otako just got up and leave and left a stinging rebuke for her. When the class is at the library, Otako observes Galko mixing in with the rest and believes this is supposed to be the way. Suddenly she feels her biggest period ever is coming. So big that she can’t move as she sits on the floor. Galko happen to walk by and she immediately understood what is going on and takes her to the toilet. She even gives her medicine for her cramps. Otako is grateful but wonders why she didn’t call for the teacher’s help. The teacher is a guy. He is the kind to panic when confronted with such womanly things. They started talking about things and surprisingly enjoy each other’s company. Most important of all, they realize that they shouldn’t behave or live in a way based on how they look or do. So can a gyaru be friends with an otaku? Why not? Otako then teases her as a virgin and this makes Galko fluster. Ojou overheard their conversation and finds it interesting. She wants to join in. Sure. Why not? And that is how the trio become friends. Throughout the term, Galko continues to barely arrive in class before it starts. Otako notes this habit of hers and her reply is that if she comes to class early, it means she can talk more often to her friends, right? A touching moment, something that would fluster Otako but it is ruined because Galko falls back to sleep on her desk. Well, I guess it is the thought that counts.

Tell Me More About Sex, Please?
So now can we move on to proper sex education? I am sure most of us would be very much to learn more on this topic. Hehehe… But this series isn’t exactly porn or close to it but it still makes you wonder if this and other early sex education and awareness would be effective in countering porn is yet to be seen. Anyhow, this is actually a smart and intelligent series in its own right. You’d be surprised to learn a thing a thing or two.

It is tempting trying to label the topics in this series as some sort of cheap fanservice. After all, in today’s world where everyone can be offended by everything, talking about tit colours and pubic hairs sound like another one of those subjects that would raise the ire of politically incorrect people. It is as though such aural fanservice (in place of visual fanservice) is to attract viewers to watch the series. In many ways, this series has tried its best in providing something educational but yet in an entertaining way. Instead of getting really technical and spouting terms that young teens would not understand, the depiction of the normal lives of high school students in their daily affairs seem to be much more realistic and something that all of us can relate to. After all, we adults have gone through that phase before. Unless of course you have been brought up strictly, cut off from the outside world and society, but that is a different story altogether.

Therefore seeing Galko’s busty chest might automatically have many saying that her huge racks are only for fanservice purpose. This is partly true since what other better way to talk about the myths and facts of boobs if they do not stand out in particular (no pun intended). Not to say that flat chests are excluded but there is a higher chance that something visually more obvious and appealing would be ‘easier’ to talk about. At least for guys. Unless you are a petanko fanatic, you don’t often hear guys talk, discuss and compare girls with smaller boobs, right? It is the same argument for the few panty shot and lingerie scenes scattered throughout the series. Because again, what kind of guys aren’t interested in what colour of a girl’s panties, am I right? Unless you’re gay…

I feel tempted to make a handful tit and nipple jokes but I don’t see the POINT of it! Haha! I thought of RACKING up a few boob jokes but I guess such jokes wouldn’t get any SUPPORT! Haha! How do you guys keep ABREAST of things if you don’t talk about these things? Haha! Okay, okay. Enough of it already. Sorry, I just wanted to get it OFF MY CHEST. Hahaha! Alright, better stop. Don’t want you people to make dick jokes in retaliation, TIT for tat. Hahaha! Okay, seriously. No more boob jokes. I promise.

Even if there are many other issues that aren’t addressed (I suppose teen pregnancy falls in a totally different category) or the ones that do so aren’t exactly comprehensive or accurate, at least it creates some sort of awareness that one might have or not knew in the first place. And whether or not you will apply such knowledge somewhere in your life is again another different story. At least you know, right? So mainly it is either people might fluster or feel awkward when they hear such topics (either because they are too pure/innocent or they didn’t see it coming) or you can be like me, no reaction and putting on such a serious monotonous face throughout the series. Yeah, this means I am mature, right? :-).

Besides some of those embarrassing body questions posed here, another great lesson that we can learn is that despite many of the characters here look like some sort of stereotype, they are still human beings. Despite everyone has a different body size and build, some basic bodily functions still work the same. And of course, to never judge a book by its cover. Considering the characters here to look and act like your stereotypes, it is for illustration purpose and supposedly the setting of this series. It is true that we tend to immediately pigeonhole at first sight but once you get to know each other, race, skin colour, religion and even your political beliefs take a back seat. Strength in diversity, no? But I still can never get close into the circle of those hot beautiful chicks in my class… :’(.

Although the characters themselves aren’t much, they are likeable even though all of them can be considered as stereotypes because typically at least you have known one of them to be so in your life, right? It makes them relatable. Despite the fact the characters are also aptly named after their stereotype traits or personalities, it gives you a rough idea and you can pretty much tell what kind of character that individual is. I mean, which high school doesn’t have the character who is the jock? What about the most popular guy in school? There is always that very fat person too, right? And yes, the nerd. Every class has to have one. The only stereotype missing here is the gangster-cum-delinquent type. Hmm… I don’t this was necessary in this kind of anime in the first place. Despite each character having their apt names, it is hinted that they do actually have a real one (as seen in the final episode). But I guess when you’re friends, you tend to call each other by your nicknames.

As for our main trio, ironically you get to more about them during the opening animation credits because in each episode there will be a different narration of what their likes, ambition and their characteristics in addition to the generic narration of their main personality. It will be grinded into your head that Galko is a sharp tongued but good natured popular girl, Otako who often sits at the corner of the class but is ironically somehow friends with Galko and likes to tease her a lot, and finally Ojou an airhead who somehow hangs out with the duo and tries to get closer to them. So don’t miss out on the opening or you will miss such ‘great details’. Come to think of it, it does seem odd that very different people are good friends. Not that there is anything bad about it but how often do you have a trendy popular girl, a frumpy nerd and a rich, strict noble upbringing girl together as best friends?

The art and drawing of the series feel okay. The character designs look generic but this is mainly to cater to their character stereotype. But I somehow feel that the colours are quite vivid and rich. Hmm… How should I explain it? Somehow I feel that they put lots of quality into the colouring and hues of the animation that is why the characters mainly look bright (visually) and lush. Perhaps this is the most richly coloured series I have watched in recent years and the most under the Feel studio’s portfolio of other animes like Locodol, the Da Capo series, Jinsei, Fortune Arterial, Outbreak Company, KissxSis and Dagashi Kashi.

It is one of those times when I squealed in delight because the first voice that opened the series in the first episode (and also for many other episodes) is no other than Mamiko Noto!!! She might not play a physical character in this series but rather the narrator. I guess it would be a waste if she were to just be the voice of the narrator and thus any onomatopoeia sound effects are also made by her. For a long time I almost forgot that she can still sound this cute and lovely rather than being casted as the older and motherly female characters or characters that need that kind of husky voice these days. Worst of all, characters that could be killed off! Oh yeah. How do you kill off a narrator anyway? All hail Mamiko Noto forever!!!! <3.

Surprisingly for a short anime, there is quite a reasonably long cast list considering the many characters there are in the series despite many of them just making a handful of cameos. While there are identifiable ones like Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Otao, Takahiro Sakurai as Charao , Daisuke Ono as Supoo and Youko Hikasa as Galko’s older sister, some that aren’t so recognizable (at least in my books) are Azumi Waki as Galko (Sanae in The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls), Miyu Tomita as Otako (Yume in Aikatsu Stars), Miyu Takahashi as Ojou (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma), Ayaka Suwa as Iinchou (Tokaku in Akuma No Riddle), Juri Kimura as Nikuko (Aoi in Shirobako), Yuko Iida as Okako (Mei in Witch Craft Works) and Makoto Furukawa as Bomuo (Saitama in One Punch Man). The opening theme is YPMA Girls by the voices behind Galko, Otako and Ojou. It is one of those generic lively girl group anime pop but it isn’t entirely that bad. At least for this genre.

Overall, this is quite a reasonably good anime and addresses some of those bugging questions that have been burning for your entirely teen life that were never answered. Were you red faced and feeling some sort of inner discomfort after watching the series or did it activated your horny drive instead? This is one of those few animes that take the ecchi and fanservice genre to a different level and don’t make the entire series looking like a generic sleazy, cheap, cheesy fanservice title. It goes to show that you can still make a proper anime under such category and still be as entertaining and perhaps even more so than sitting through an entire boring lecture about the human reproduction system. No, it isn’t dirty. Only your shallow mind is. Knowing such things doesn’t make you a pervert in general.

Otherwise would there be any other way we can get proper education about the birds and the bees? Oh yeah. We can always get our sex education from porn all over the internet, right? Let’s face it. Porn is everywhere! If there is one thing lacking realistically in this series, it is about Galko and her friends finding out about porn on the internet. It would be amusing to see their reactions when they are exposed to free internet porn. Oh yes, porn. The biggest misguided sex education in the world. Then we need more of Galko-chan to tell us and debunk our flawed insights on sex. I hope I didn’t rub this the wrong way :-). Whoops, sorry. Hey, at least it isn’t a boob joke. Almost fell into a booby trap there. Oh, damn it!

Aria The Avvenire

September 9, 2016

Wait a minute. I thought it was over? Too good to let it go? Well, I suppose it was good enough that Aria The Avvenire was produced to celebrate the 10th anniversary since Aria The Animation first broadcasted over the airwaves. Wow. Come to think about it, it has been a long time. Feel so old… Feeling so nostalgic. Ah, I guess that is why this is another reason to bring back up this series for one last time (assuming this would be the last one). Those who have watched the series and loved it would have fond memories of all the miracles, meetings and character bonding the series had to offer. Now we get to relieve it again with its 3 episode specials.

Episode 1
I’m not sure of President Aria’s plan in making friends with seagulls with an equally ugly seagull doll. No wonder he gets pecked! As Ai has been promoted to a Single, she sets out for another practice with Akari. So this sets another flashback as Akari tells to Ai. When Alicia was still active as an Undine, Akari noticed her busy schedule. At this rate she won’t get a moment’s rest. Then she spots Akira outside spying. Seems she is here to give Alicia a present for her faux birthday. Unlike on Man Home (Earth), Aqua (Mars) operates on a year with 24 months. This means everyone has a second ‘fake’ birthday. She doesn’t mind waiting but it seems there is change in the schedule that increases Alicia’s workload. Thus Akari hopes Akira can help her practice during this time. At the end of the day, Akira mentions how pathetic and nostalgic she feels about this. The trio used to be together all the time when they were Singles. When they became Prima, they hardly had time for each other. Times they spent together were precious. She doesn’t want to go back to those days, it is just that she really wants them to get together for today. Then a miracle happens. Alicia is seen rowing in front of them. Making it better is Athena is also in the picture singing. Akira then tosses her present like throwing a baseball. Nice catch. The best present would be their radiant smiles. Ai is encouraged by Akari’s story. She wonders if she could find her own friends like she did and those before her. Of course she can. Because Aqua is the planet of miracles. Even their meeting is a miracle itself.

Episode 2
Ai wants to show Akari a miracle. Flashback to what happened. While Ai and President Aria were rowing their gondola, they spot a mysterious cat shadow in the alley. They think it is Cait Sith and went to go after it. As hard as they follow, it led them to some unknown part of town where they stumble into Azusa B. McLaren of Himeya and Anya Dostoyevskaya of Orange Planet who are looking for the same thing too. They know all about Ai since they researched her since they are curious about the new girl at Aria Company. The trio agree to look for Cait Sith together but to no avail. So as they take a break at plaza, Ai notices the duo are training together so she requests if she could join them. But of course. And that is the miracle that Ai is telling Akari. The miracle of Cait Sith granted her this miraculous meeting. Akari still believes Cait Sith is watching over them. Time for her to tell her experience in meeting Cait Sith for the last time.

When Akari told Aika she couldn’t see Cait Sith anymore, she thinks it is because they are becoming adults so the first step is to stop seeing things they see as children. Then Alice brings them to one of the 7 mysterious of the town. There is an unfortunate stone where everyone avoids stepping. It is believed to bring bad luck. Alice immediately jumps on it and nothing happens. She explains she has been doing this since young. Perhaps it doesn’t work on her. Perhaps this is an experiment to see if it anything would happen to her friends? After Aika and Alice leave for their work, Akari gets curious and steps on it. You know what they say about curiosity and the cat. At first nothing happened but suddenly she drops down into the stone! Then she finds herself free falling from the sky above the town! Also falling with her is Cait Sith. She is happy to see him again and wants to do so in the future. However Cait Sith hints this is the last time they’ll ever see each other. Akari is sad but he points out he will always be in her heart. As long as you remember, right? Akari hopes she will always stay with her in her heart. Cait Sith hugs her as they plunge into the river! I think smashing into the river at this speed is like hitting a brick wall… But when Akari opens her eyes, she is on a gondola with President Aria. In her hand is a pendant from Cait Sith proving she did meet him for one last time. Now Akari shows the pendant to Ai and they believe the lights inside it must be miracles. Akari feels that despite saying goodbye to Cait Sith on that day, she was able to see him again thanks to Ai. Could it be the feelings of love awakened this miracle?

Episode 3
We go back in time to see Alicia putting up a recruitment poster outside. Shortly after, she receives her first applicant. We all know who that is, right? On the phone, Akari was a bundle of nerves. The first time Alicia laid eyes on Akari, she was attracted to her and knew she would be the one. In the present, Ai continues to hang out with Azusa and Anya. They vow to work hard to become a Prima. With the rainy season, they realize the Aqua Alta phenomenon is around the corner. Next morning, Ai is ecstatic to experience her first Aqua Alta as the ankle deep waters flood the area. Akari would love to spend the day with her but it seems Ai has her own plans. Looks like lunch and dinner will be on her own… Ai then meets up with her friends. By noon, Akari receives mail from Ai to meet. It seems the young ones have planned a celebration feast for their seniors. Not only them but the Water Fairies as well. Except Athena couldn’t come. As the celebration goes along, they notice Alicia has fallen asleep. She has been tired from working with the Gondola Association and trying to change things for the better. We see her dream how the association guys visit her numerous times to convince her to join them. At first she declines but their persistence has her curious and interested. Though, she vowed to train someone enough to take over her company. And she wanted to take her time to slowly nurture her. So we have more flashbacks of their time together, the happiness and the sadness of their meeting. When Akari was ready and promoted to a Prima, it was time for Alicia to move on as she can’t stay in the same place forever. Her time that had stopped had begun to move again. Alicia wakes up and tells the rest of her wonderful nostalgic dream. Their discussion turn to Athena whom they lament would have loved to attend this party. Then a miracle happened. They hear her trademark singing. There she is. I guess she could make it after all. What a happy end to the day. Now everyone can look forward to more miracles in the future.

Embarrassing Nostalgia Is Not Allowed!
Sniff, sniff. Yup. It wasn’t anything much except that it played very well on my nostalgia. So well that at times I could feel tears welling up and that squeeze in my heart thinking back about the old scenes (although I have mostly forgotten many of them). This special stays true to its Aria-style of storytelling and doesn’t break the mould. Like I said, it is mostly to play on old fans and viewers’ nostalgia. For newer audiences, they might be bored to death and not understand a thing or what the heck this is all about. But then again, this special was intentionally made with such old audiences in mind.

And yes, it goes without saying that they played again all those cool and easy going BGM soundtracks. From Aqua to Tenki Ame, they are very familiar tracks that would instantly evoke nostalgia for those who heard and love their brand of music (like yours truly). It is nice to hear them once more. Even the opening themes are the familiar Undine, Euphoria and Spirale. Ah yes. More nostalgia at your service. So if you think that the music for all the specials are just rehash of old music, there is a new music for it and that is the ending theme, Piacere by Shiena Nishizawa. Another calm and soothing (read: Beautiful) slow piece that is in line with the Aria songs that you have heard so far. And do I need to mention the awesome backgrounds and scenery? Still breathtaking after all these years.

As for the characters, everyone is the same and kind soul like they are on this planet. Nobody are vicious criminals because if there were, they’d be in the wrong anime! So anyway, this special now gives Ai the focus and introduces a couple of new characters who would no doubt as expected become her friends. I guess there is this trend that Undines have to follow throughout the generations. Uh huh. One budding Undine from each company becomes close friends with each other. We can’t have more than that since Aria Company always and will only have a single apprentice at any given time. For the rest of the Undine veterans, some may feel they lack much screen time but with only 3 episodes to spare and they want to bring the focus to a new generation, I guess I can pretty much forgive that.

Despite the nostalgia hype in this special, there is also a small amount of sadness it brought out. For fans, you would know it is very subtle in Athena’s case. Her seiyuu has passed away many years ago and thus you would notice that her character doesn’t have much appearance and if she does, she does not have lines. Besides, her singing voice (even in the TV series) was done by another singer and the lines you hear in this special are actually taken from the TV series. No new recordings for her. RIP Tomoko Kawakami.

Overall, this series only holds a special place in the hearts of fans who have watched the entire series in the mid-2000’s. Newer generations might not hear of this gem and would just go, “WTF is this piece of boring sh*t” but that is understandable seeing there are too many animes these days and so many just fail to live up to decent expectations. Although there is not much of a story in this special, that is where the miracle of nostalgia starts to weave its magic and work on our senses. That is why even though if the plot offers nothing new and no new direction (despite the constant ‘reminders’ and ‘spamming’ about the wonderful future the characters will have and miracles to meet), the wonderfulness of the TV series of the bygone era was there, still in its effect. It may be so too if they ever make more of such specials in the future. Yes, this is one truly miraculous series that has stand tested throughout time.

Saijaku Muhai No Bahamut

September 4, 2016

Hmm… Too many generic harem animes these days, huh? Okay, why not let us add something to it and make it less generic. How about we add dragons in it? What? What do you mean they already did it in Seikoku No Dragonar?! Okay then. How about we have the characters use exo-skeleton machines as their mechas. Wait. They already did that in Infinite Stratos? Well then. How about the only boy in an academy filled with girls then? Infinite Stratos also covered that? This is going to be tough… In that case, let’s have the protagonist bearing an inferior label or tag that is known to the public. They did this already in Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry? And Kuusen Madoushi Kohousei No Kyoukan? Alright… How about the main character has a different kind of past life? They did something similar in Seiken Tsukai No World Break?! Man, I’m running out of ideas. How about something more general like an academy that teaches its students to fight monsters then? Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei No Kyoukan already included this, you say?

Ah, I know. A setting whereby the characters are sword users and there are elite knights and noble rulers too. What did you say? Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance already got this sh*t?! And Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry too? Alright then, what about the main character stumbling into one of his future harem girls while changing and seeing her in her undies or naked right in the first episode? THEY ALREADY DONE THIS IN GAKUSEN TOSHI ASTERISK TOO???!!! And in Juuou Mujin No Fafnir?! Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance too?! And Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry as well???!!! Oh well. What the f*ck! Uh huh. F*ck all that! Why not we just take all of that and mash it up into Saijaku Muhai No Bahamut. I’m sure nobody can tell the difference, right? And while we’re at it, might as well steal borrow the school uniform design from Absolute Duo too. And now for the plot, you’re asking? Hahaha! After going through listing all that harem animes, you tell me you want to know the plot?! Hahaha! HAHAHAHAAHAHA!!!! Oh man, that was sure a good laugh.

Episode 1
5 years ago, a lone Drag Knight overthrow the kingdom of Arcadia after hundreds of years of tyrannical rule. His identity is not known and the people only knew him as Black Hero. Lux Arcadia had the unfortunate fate of dropping down a ceiling while chasing a cat stealing a purse into a woman’s bath. Even more unfortunate that he is over Lisesharte Atismata AKA Lisha and thinking he could calm the situation down by complimenting her, I think he sent the wrong idea about how great her boobs are. Wrong choice of words. That seals it. He is a pervert. He is imprisoned and Krulcifer Einfolk is interested in his Sword Device but Shalice Baltshift and Tillfur Lilmit take him to see the academy’s headmaster, Relie Aingram. She seems to brush off this perverted thingy since she called him here for a job. As explained, Lux is the former prince of the former Arcadia kingdom. Now this academy of the new current empire of Atismata is a school meant to train girls with potentials as Drag Knights. The reason Lux is called here because of the lack of boys since only a few males were left after the coup d’etat. Lisha will not accept him not after what he has done. Relie reminds her he is known as the weakest undefeated. Is that an oxymoron? But Lisha challenges him to a Drag Ride duel and if he loses, he will be sent back to prison. Oh, did she mention that she is the princess of the first queen of Atismasta? Former prince versus current princess. Interesting… Lux gets a reminder by his sister, Airi that they have to be careful in what they do since as former members of the Arcadia kingdom, they are treated as criminals. If he gets into such trouble again, her entire life will not be enough to work and clear his debt. His perverted notoriety even spread to her roommate, Noct Leaflet. Or is she just being sarcastic? Better safe than sorry.

The Drag Ride duel is here. Lisha looks down on his generic Wyvern because her super divine Tiamat is just well, divine. Easy win? Since Lux won’t use his Sword Device, Lisha begins his beat down and unleashes her Tiamat’s special Raiment, gravity. While her Drag Ride temporarily loses control from the power, the arena is suddenly attacked by an Abyss. Cue for mass evacuation and Lux to play the hero to fight it. Or is he just fooling about being the bait so that he could signal Lisha to take it down after creating an opening. Yup, that is it. In the aftermath, Lisha ponders about Lux’s actions. It is the first time a guy tried to protect her. That look on her face… Starting to have feelings? She goes to see how he is doing (just fine) and suddenly before you know it, they have a light chatter and laughing. She now believes in him. Like best friends now? She reveals the duel was because she didn’t want to let him get after not after what he had seen. I suppose it is a sign that he shouldn’t say more but he did. Because he apologizes that he saw everything and it was charming! WTF?! Actually Lisha is not worried about that. She shows the crest of the former empire near her pubic area and thought he had seen this. He is surprised and since she can’t tell him the reason yet (like how Lux can’t tell why he won’t use his Sword Device), he agrees to help keep it a secret. Even more surprise for Lux when she tells him tomorrow he is officially a student of this academy as requested by Relie. Oh yeah, they’re going to be classmates too.

Episode 2
Also in his class is his childhood friend, Philuffy. Ah, I see Lisha is starting to get awfully jealous… The only reason the girls are swarming around Lux is because he is tasked as a handyman who will handle their requests. But Lisha usurps them all because she requests him to be her exclusive caretaker and assistant! Before we get any showdown between Lisha and Philuffy, Krulcifer brings him away on pretence Relie wants to see him. Of course she has a request for him and that is to find the Black Hero whom she has business with. Lux dreams about his brother, Fugil telling him the empire’s cruel experiments will soon reach his childhood friend and the only way left is to kill them all. Lux was reluctant as he wanted to minimize casualties. More hijinks for Lux because he wakes up sleeping with Philuffy! This is her room? Get out before somebody sees you. Too late… And so another earful from Airi about racking up such reputation. But it turns out Philuffy is his roommate as approved by Relie. How? They’re sisters and she wants him to take care of her. Lux sees Lisha fixing his Wyvern. On pretence to get to know each other better, they head out to town. Like a date? When Lux praises Lisha to be a worthy queen, this is when things get melodrama. The mark on her belly was a result of her dad who participated in the coup d’etat. It failed and she was taken hostage. The mark is evidence that she was Arcadia’s prisoner. She wanted so much for him to come save her but he never did. She couldn’t commit suicide and decided to become part of Atismata’s royal family. As the only heir after his father’s death, she became the new kingdom’s princess while hiding this mark. More dreams from Lux when he was saddened that everybody was massacred and Fugil was delighted because had they not die, he would have. Fugil called him naive and thus the weakest and not fit to be king.

The Knight Squadron that Lisha is part of sorties because an Abyss is detected by the ruins. Unfortunately the Abyss hatches more hatchlings and the perpetrator behind it is no other Ragreed Forus, the Knight Squadron chief of Arcadia and his men. His flute enables him to control the Abyss. When Noct returns with her report, Lux feels the need to go help Lisha. Airi is worried he cannot win in his current state. Of course he can. He is the main character! Haha! Ragreed relentlessly attacks Lisha and downs her. Then he rips her lower garb to reveal the mark and humiliate her. He knows because he was the one who stamped it. Before he could finish her off, Lux arrives in time to save her. Just like all heroes do, huh? His words of motivation of wanting to see her as a worthy queen give her hope. He unleashes his Sword Device to summon Bahamut. One look and you can tell this is a super divine Drag Ride. He kicks all the traitors’ ass with super speed and power. So is it safe to say that Lux is the Black Hero? Hardly surprising. Ragreed gets mad over him for being a traitor instead of a hero. Who cares what he thinks because Lux finishes him off. As narrated by Airi, Lux isn’t a hero because he destroyed the kingdom.

Episode 3
A welcome party for Lux? I didn’t know he is that famous and beloved. This is what to expect in a harem genre, right? To make things more interesting, Relie suggests a game. She gives Lux a special form and whoever steals it from him within an hour will have Lux for herself for an entire week! I didn’t know there are so many girls trying to get him to be their slave. I know it is a dream for guys to have girls chase after him but in Lux’s case, he better start hiding. He got tricked by Lisha to hand over it but he tricks her back thanks to her naivety. Lux sure has a penchant to run into such places because he is hiding in the changing room for the Knight Squadron! Not a sound… Krulcifer spots him but doesn’t blow the whistle. Only after her teammates left, she signals him out. Since time is already over, she has him hand over the form. To his dismay, she tricked him because the clock was just slow so Krulcifer wins the game and gets him all for herself. So what will it be? Be her boyfriend! They go to see Relie who shows them the flute she retrieved from Ragreed. She wants them to confirm if it is a key to something before he Knight Squadron starts their investigation. Airi cautions Lux about Krulcifer not because she is a buracon, she feels she is hiding something. Krulcifer explains why she wants him to be her boyfriend. As she is the daughter of the Count of Ymir country, it is only logical that nobles engage and marry each other. A butler from her family will come to check over her status and she would like him to act as her boyfriend till then. Everyone is shock when Krulcifer puts her face close to his and it looks like they are kissing. Actually she is just warning him not to back out of this or she will expose his peeping incident. Got him there by the balls…

I believe Lisha is jealous so she confronts Krulcifer just to brag how close she is to Lux as they have hold hands. Big deal? Wait till she hears about Lux and Philuffy kissed a long time ago… Speaking on the topic of kissing, there Lisha goes flustering… Lux and Krulcifer are out to town on their date with Lisha and Philuffy secretly spying on them. Krulcifer dresses up to purposely stand out from the crowd so as to make everyone believe they are a real item. At the end of the day, they are surrounded by several bandits. You know they are just low level grunts when Lux is able to fend them off and give Krulcifer enough time to summon her Drag Ride, Fafnir whose Raiment is predicting the future so you can bet she owns all of them in no time. When one tries to escape, he is taken down by Altelise Mayclaire. She is Krulcifer’s family butler. At a restaurant (somehow Lisha and Philuffy coming out of their hiding to join them too), Krulcifer tries to introduce Lux as her boyfriend when this arrogant dude, Lord Barzeride Kreutzer interrupts. He claims he is here to see his future wife and guy cannot wait until tomorrow to be introduced. Barzeride tries to play down Lux and that they are both of different class but as far as Krulcifer is concerned, he is still a total stranger to her. So please stop calling her your future wife. Not pleased, Barzeride decides to challenge Lux to a Drag Ride duel. A team battle. Of course if he wins, Krulcifer cannot refuse him even if she is forced into engagement.

Episode 4
Barzeride seems to be making a deal with a shady person who suspiciously looks like Fugil. Can you see Lisha’s relief that Lux isn’t Krulcifer’s real boyfriend and totally understands she is using him just to escape an arranged marriage? Since Lux doesn’t have to go on a fake date with Krulcifer today, instead of having a good rest, that guy is being served by Tillfur, Lisha and Philuffy dressed up as maids. Wow! I don’t mind such service! Switch places with me now! Meanwhile in the royal council of Atismata, they are discussing about a powerful Abyss concealed in the ruins. They want to awaken its powers but isn’t sure if the new empire is strong enough for that. That is when Barzeride’s father suggests tasking his son to investigate the ruins. Relie and her Knight Squadron are in a meeting. She officially hands over the flute to Lux in his care. Lux is baffled Krulcifer is at the meeting as she is a transfer student and doesn’t need to attend. That’s because she will also be joining the squad to investigate the ruins. A little fanservice time when Lux soaks in the bath and to his surprise finds Philuffy there. He notices the absence of a deep scar on her back but of course that dreamy girl is not sure. On the day the Knight Squadron is supposed to go investigate the ruins, they are surprised when Barzeride volunteers to help investigate it. Although none of the ladies are impressed, he assures he will pull no punches and will do his best to defend them. Of course he also makes known that one of them here is his future wife so if she is in danger, naturally he will be there to protect her.

Everyone approaches the ruins. Krulcifer seems to be in a hurry and rushes in. With the Abyss attacking, Barzeride shows off the power of his divine Drag Ride and challenges Lux to see who can take down as many Abyss. Don’t be tempted into this silly challenge, Lux. The Abyss goes berserk and it emits some kind of wave that paralyzes the Drag Rides. Then they see the ruins shining. Lux has a dream whereby Fugil reprimanded him for doing something reckless. Its effect was devastating and that is only Lux using it at normal power. Lux wakes up inside the abyss and only Krulcifer is with him. They head to the altar in the centre as Lux asks why finding the Black Hero is important to her. There is a limit to what Drag Rides can do no matter how reckless the operators can be. However this doesn’t apply to the Black Hero and searching for him she hopes that would be true. At the altar as Lux wonders if he should use the key, it suddenly activates. He hasn’t even done anything yet. That is when Krulcifer reveals she is not a human of this world and a survivor of the ruins.

Episode 5
Inside a chamber, there are lots of capsules. Krulcifer reveals she was born in one of these a long time ago. Yes, she is adopted into the Einfolk family. Her ‘father’ was examining the ruins and found her. He kept her in hopes they would discover a clue to the lost past. Other family members ostracized her. She studied etiquette and Drag Knight in hopes of being accepted but the hate grew when she was given Fafnir. She always hoped whatever she heard was a lie but was convinced she is a survivor of the ruins when it reacted to her. She still has no clue about her past or if she has any allies. Leave it to Lux to calm her down and say soothing words. Then she says it was all just a lie because she wanted to test his reaction since he is so soft hearted. Really? All a lie? Now it is Lux’s turn to tell about his grim past. Don’t worry, they’re not lies. How he was thrown out by his own grandfather. At first he hated everyone who never helped him but soon realized he didn’t want to hate anybody. Those who are important to him and those who would become important, he wants to create a kingdom where his loved ones could live without hate. He has Philuffy to thank for saving him. Their conversation is cut short when Lisha drills them out. Airi reprimands Lux not for failing to find if the flute is the key but he messed up Wyvern again. She gives him drink herbal tea that Krulcifer made. Of course it is to make him sleep so he will not participate in tonight’s duel.

Krulcifer meets Barzeride for the duel. Altelise is sincere in helping Barzeride as per agreed but he puts her to sleep too. The fight begins with Barzeride dominating over Krulcifer. She knows everything from those attackers was set up by him. Even if she knows, Barzeride is confident she can’t change a thing because she is just a tool, a key whom he shall obtain. And yes, he will become her master. Before Krulcifer can fall into despair, here comes Lux to the rescue. I guess he didn’t drink it, huh? After a short bout, Lux can tell Barzeride’s Drag Ride’s Raiment is stealing the power of other Drag Rides that it touches. Barzeride attacks Krulcifer. This is just a decoy so when Lux protects her, he touches him to absorb his power. Needless to say he is faster and more powerful. And because Barzeride is getting cockier and Krulcifer sinking into hopeless regretting mode, this gives Lux the power of the main power to confirm that he is her lover and powers up intensely with his main character determination to defeat Barzeride once and for all. You should see the flabbergasted face on Barzeride moments before his defeat. It was like so unbelievable. Next day, Lux is left to rue what comes next. Because he has saved Krulcifer, he has already proven himself to be her fiancé and thus Altelise and the family head have approved him of so. Lux must have a short memory because he doesn’t remember about saying being her lover last night. Even if he did, it was just at the spur of the moment. Oh, how are you going to take responsibility now? Krulcifer makes a surprise move by kissing him! Thank goodness only Tillfur and Lisha are there to witness this shocking development. Maybe not. Here is another shock: Krulcifer gives Lux another kiss! They can continue with more if he marries her… Time for Lisha to bust in and play moral police.

Episode 6
Lux is cross-dressed as a girl and walking around the academy as Luno! So cute that nobody can guess he is a guy in drag? It all began when Shalice talked to him about Barzeride’s defeat. Because other than him, there is another person who can fare against the greatest Abyss, Ragnarok. That person is Celestia “Celis” Ralgris, one of the 4 great nobles and returning to the capital soon. Oh, did we mention she hates men? You’ve been warned. As there is also a pervert recently spotted on the academy grounds, thus Lux is made to dress up as bait. During his patrol, Luno spots Celis talking to a cat in the bushes! But Luno is attacked by a perpetrator and Celis comes to the rescue. Although the perpetrator gets away, Luno get injured when the culprit throws a knife meant for Celis while escaping. Celis treats Luno and thankfully ‘she’ didn’t have to strip to have her arm bandaged. Meanwhile Barzeride is in prison and thinks this hooded guy has come to rescue him. However he is killed off as he blows his flute to summon Abyss. Next day, there is a big ruckus and Lux is called to Relie’s office. It seems Celis has learnt of the only guy in the academy and for the sake of the academy’s existence, she wants him thrown out. She does not acknowledge him. So what do you do when you can’t settle the argument? You have a duel, right? So if Celis loses to him, Relie hopes she will then see his true strength and acknowledges him.

The Squadron Knights head to an island for training camp. For some reason, Lux also brought his cross-dressing clothes with him. He thinks of giving them back to Shalice but she lets him keep it. Good thing because Celis’ underling, Saniya Lemiste calls Lux as Celis wants to see him. When he enters her chambers, he is shocked to see her naked although Celis is facing away and thought this person is the massager. Good thing he has the clothes. So he slips into it and gives Celis a good massage. To show her gratefulness, Celis wants to take ‘her’ out to town tomorrow. Before Luno could leave, Celis sees the Sword Device and examines it a little although nothing much of it. As Luno exits, Saniya is suspicious of this ‘girl’ and is going to attack her. Thankfully Krulcifer is here to prevent any bloodshed. That ‘girl’ is with her. Krulcifer knows Luno is Lux as she cautions about Saniya as she is trying to create scandals in which Lux will be thrown out of the academy. So before Luno’s big day with Celis tomorrow, we have a little Lux-Philuffy time. If he loses, she will fight Celis for him. Celis and Luno head out to town. I wonder how Luno will deal with the swimsuit shop… Anyway Celis is very happy although she still has her worries about being the leader of the knights. Making Celis happier is Luno’s kind comforting words. As they picnic, Celis reveals something and hopes Luno can keep a secret. Actually… She’s not a man hater!

Episode 7
It seems Ragnarok has hatched from its egg and making its way to a certain island. Celis tells Saniya what she said to Luno about not hating men. She had great teachers who were men but her problem is dealing with younger men and considering her position, she cannot solely rely on them. We take a little detour for a beach fanservice episode. Lux gets branded a perverted for just about anything. When Celis wonders where Luno is, Shalice has already prepared a swimsuit for Lux to wear. Obviously that guy won’t take the bait so while he runs away, accidentally bumps into Celis. Instead of making a fuss, she walks away although you can see her displeasure. Lux remembers additional things Celis told Luno. She needs to apologize to Lux as she learnt her skills from Wade Roadbelt who is no other than Lux’s grandfather, she feels responsible for Wade’s death and wants to make sure his grandson is not exposed to any danger. That is why she can’t afford to lose the duel to him. As Celis and Lux’s battle begin, Shalice and Tillfur confront the perpetrator who is a spy of Heiburg Republic. It is no surprise the person behind that mask is no other than Saniya. And since they’ve exposed her, she is ‘obliged’ to expose more about her goals. It is to destroy the new empire and kill everyone here. She summons her Drag Ride and with the hooded character playing the flute, tentacles start emerging from the ground. So this is Ragnarok? I can see why it is fearsome.

Celis is shocked that Saniya is a traitor. To her dismay, Saniya reveals to Lux that Celis killed Wade. Time to come clean, I guess. Celis explains why she couldn’t tell him about Wade. When she heard about the former empire’s corruption and spoke to Wade, he advised the former empire but they threw him in prison where he died. It resulted in his family being thrown out. Wade’s last words to her were if she was right, that is why she must correct everything in his place. Celis regrets for not telling him. But they are even when Lux takes out his Sword Device and reveals he is Luno. He tells Celis he doesn’t hate her and will respect her in his grandpa’s place. With Bahamut, Lux cuts through Ragnarok till some pearl comes lose. That is when the hooded character grabs it, waiting for this moment. Even revealing herself, she is not Fugil although she looks closely like him, but Hayes. She escapes while hinting about reviving a nightmare that happened here 5 years ago. Lux and Celis reconcile. She accepts him but he makes it more awkward for her telling her to just talk normally to others like how she does to him. Because he is sure other men will find her cute. What are the chances this is the first guy who said this to her? Lux tries to remember hard the evens 5 years ago. He can’t but those unclear snippets looked like something hideous. A giant fish monster pops out from the sea. Relie gathers everyone and will tell them the real purpose of this training camp.

Episode 8
9 years ago when Lux was young, he and other young lads did something wrong. One of them decided to pin the blame on Philuffy. Lux couldn’t let that innocent retard bear their sin so he admitted the guilt instead. In present time, Lux sees Philuffy who is recovering because during Ragnarok’s attack, she collapsed. This giant fish is supposedly a ruin and emerged after they defeated Ragnarok as its gatekeeper. Their job is to investigate it. They split up into teams to investigate different floors. Only Celis is alone because well, she’s the strongest, right? But why doesn’t she look happy? See how she brightens up when Lux offers to team up when they meet halfway. Airi must be a sharp girl to notice all the girls flocking to her brother and even warns him not to do anything funny to her roommate. But Noct is even more sarcastic. She believes Lux won’t because he doesn’t even look at her as a woman! Why doesn’t Lux try to keep his mouth shut because as he tries to dismiss that, he describes some of her body parts that make her beautiful. That line from her collarbone to her chest? WTF?! A more reason for Airi to look at him suspiciously. They find an unconscious body within the ruins. When Krulcifer touches it, it starts up like a computer. Then she goes back to sleep! WTF?! I thought Philuffy was worst. However she doesn’t want to be abandoned and needs her programming fixed. She introduces herself as La Kurushe, the supervisor of these ruins. She is an automaton. She is supposed to have records of the old era. But guess what? Because she slept too much, she forgot about them! Do robots make jokes?! But seriously, due to some accident, her data is temporarily out of service. She will follow their orders in exchange to not be abandoned. She tells them to check to main body and if it is safe, when it connects to the central system, her memories might come back.

Meanwhile the royal council is discussing about the possibility of the escaped prisoner who will bring his own rebels to attack the kingdom. Because their Drag Rides won’t be enough, it is suggested to use the academy students but of course some like Celis’ dad isn’t fond of the idea seeing her daughter getting injured before his eyes. As the investigation continues, they enter a chamber filled with capsules believe to be breeding Abyss. Philuffy starts acting strange. It is a cue something bad will happen. Hayes plays the flute and all hell breaks loose. An Abyss attacks Lux’s group. According to Kurushe, the ruins release 3 Abyss when it is in state of alert. Lux wants Relie to suspend the investigation but she will not seeing that they have already gone in this deep. Philuffy then runs off herself. Lux gives chase. When they enter the central chamber, they are teleported outside. The Abyss continues to attack Lux and when he slams back on land, his memories of the place becomes clearer. Even more so when a hidden room underneath a structure is revealed. It is a place where the former empire did lots of human experiments. Mmm… Bloody… Lux remembers he was here 5 years ago but Philuffy shouldn’t be. He finds Philuffy cowering in a corner but as he goes get her, she starts strangling him. My, what evil eyes you have…

Episode 9
Time for another flashback. When Lux promised to create a country where Philuffy and her family can live freely, she kissed him as a charm. Had not Philuffy collapsed, Lux would have died. But before him now is Hayes and Lux cannot kill her or else Philuffy will also die. Hayes has planted his seed of Ragnarok inside her and her commands are to kill Lux. Because she has been fighting it, the reason why she is suffering and experiencing pains from time to time. Hayes proposes a deal. Philuffy will be spared as long as Lux can open the gate inside the ruins. And if he doesn’t do anything, Philuffy will die in a few days. In a dilemma on what to do, he sees Relie about the memories of this place. She confirms she was experimented here 5 years ago. However Philuffy died! She is alive because she became an Abyss from the experiment. The reason she wanted to enter the ruins is so that she could find its power and save Philuffy. But they’re running out of time. For the first time in years, Fugil contacts Lux. He hints a way to save Philuffy is to break the flute. Philuffy is acting up again. Lux tries to calm her down. She knows about her own status as an Abyss. Lux gets emotional blaming himself as weak and if not for her help that day, he wouldn’t be here to fight. He is sure to save her this time. Everyone gathers before the central system. Thanks to Krulcifer as the key, the gate easily opens. That is when Kurushe recovers most of her memory. And she remembers her mission is to kill them! Hayes is delighted that the fools especially Lux did what was told. With Philuffy by Hayes’ side, she orders monster girl to kill them all. There are even unmanned Drag Rides to take care of them.

Hayes senses something wrong so he tries to blow his flute again but gets destroyed when he takes it out. Seems Airi used her flute to cancel out and overwrite the commands. No matter. Because Hayes brought a spare! This one summons Ragnarok. Version 2.0. Because branches now replace tentacles. Though, still as deadly as tentacles. Plus, it gets stronger the more it gets injured. Everybody gets owned and with Lux not wanting to lose here, he gets Lisha’s ‘permission’ to use Over Limit. Let’s say it is a taxing move that drains his energy. He still gets owned and with Fugil’s words that he is useless ringing in his head, here comes Philuffy to save the day again. With words. She knows better than anyone that Lux is trying to change things even though he is in pain. Therefore she wants Lux to do it for his own sake and wishes and not others. Bahamut transforms into its ultimate version and kicks Ragnarok’s ass. Hayes is left in shock of this impossibility but Fugil tells her it is time for a tactical retreat. Because of this contradicting statement that despite Lux being the weakest, they cannot beat him with all the power ups. Huh? Basically, Bahamut on Over Limit mode = undefeatable. With the ruins crashing back into the sea, can you believe Kurushe is still being a joker because she notes of going back to sleep. Hopefully forever. Philuffy nurses Lux. She has developed some resistance to the flute. So no more falling into that trick anymore. Some nice touching moment together. Let’s not ruin it for them.

Episode 10
Everyone celebrates Lux’s recovery back at the academy. Although Relie was scolded for that incident, they let it slide after she paid a hefty fine. But now the most important event is the Founders Festival. You know what this means, right? Ah, which of the girls will be bold enough to ask Lux out for a date? Don’t take too long, Lisha… Relie ups the ante to have Lux name 3 girls to date to reward them for their efforts. Tough decision… At first it seemed like he picked the safest choice: Airi. Actually she along with Noct, Shalice and Tillfur are just his date guides. Huh? And here I was waiting to call him a siscon… Airi warns him about Assassin’s Blade, the strongest Drag Knight serving the former empire has escaped her prison and is likely targeting him. So please be careful. Lux’s first date is with Celis. The only memorable thing is how he accidentally ended up having his hands on her boobs. The date guides are watching… Next is Krulcifer. Lux gets duped in pretending to kiss her because she kisses him for real. Third kiss? Last is Philuffy. He gets a lap pillow. This time Relie joins the date guides and supporting in the shadows in hopes they’ll get a kiss. Maybe next time, huh? At the end of the day, you think it is over but I wanted to say save the last for best but it isn’t actually. Because Lux meets up with Lisha and she is bitter that she wasn’t named. But to show her maturity, she doesn’t get mad and blames herself for being egoistical. What? She did that? She has a personal request: Be her knight. After she graduates, she’ll be quite busy and needs an attendant. Besides, he is the only one who knows her secret. Don’t worry. He doesn’t need to give an answer now. But she hopes to get an answer by then.

As Lux and Airi discuss about the All Dragon Battle in which she advises Lux to limit his time on the battlefield, Yoruka Kirihime pops up before them. She is Assassin’s Blade. Don’t worry. She is not here to kill him but to serve under him. She will do anything he says. And I mean anything. All he needs to do is just give the command. Airi must have started to notice her brother is being seduced by this woman so he gives his first order to talk about this later and wait till he has time for this. Unsurprisingly she listens. He let his guard down in the bath because here is Yoruka washing his back. His scream alerted the other girls and this only compounds his misery. Guess who gets blamed? Later Lux talks to Yoruka why she is so willing to serve him. He did his research and found she signed a contract with his father and enrolled in the Imperial army. But his father is dead so the contract should be annulled. She explains the body that gave everything to the empire intends to fight until the very last of the empire is destroyed. She asks back how long he intends to deceive those girls because with his power he can easily re-establish his kingdom. She wants him to promise he will destroy this country and take back Arcadia. Of course he won’t. Lux’s harem arrives to fight Yoruka, deeming her dangerous. But of course. Any additional girl into the harem would be dangerous and tip the balance! Despite outnumbering her, Yoruka’s Drag Ride, God’s Night Sword can manipulate theirs. Yoruka doesn’t see the point in continuing this so she tells Lux if he comes along, she will tell him a secret concerning this country’s fate. Yoruka’s escape is thanks to Hayes as part of his plan to destroy this kingdom. Also with Hayes are Ragreed and Saniya.

Episode 11
Lisha reminding Lux about the knight thingy but at the same time she also doesn’t want his answer yet. WTF?! Meanwhile Hayes has successfully activated a ruin and will set her plan in motion. Lux and Airi are called before the royal council. They know a secret group of people containing survivors of the former empire are trying to overthrow their country led by Ragreed will be attacking the capital with 100 Abyss. Therefore they want Lux to be a decoy by destroying the flute that conceals the Abyss’ power before the rebel army comes to attack. Oh, he must also win the All Dragon Battle. Succeed and they will overlook the charges on that island. Much to Airi’s dismay, he accepts it. She is upset not just because he is too considerate but he didn’t tell them about the time limit he can use Bahamut. Well, somebody has got to do the job, right? When Lux sees Yoruka again and asks about her upholding a contract even though the former empire is gone, she tells him it is to keep her promise to her little brother. They are like day and night. While she could kill without hesitation, her brother was kind. He protected his country and even her. Lux resembles a lot like her brother, though he died a very long time ago. It is her loyalty to her brother to carry out the contract. A contract she made with his father that she needs to fulfil by overthrowing the new empire. Since Lux cannot agree to her, she warns him about tomorrow’s tournament. Don’t die before she kills him. So much about loyalty.

The All Dragon Battle begins. I guess it is nothing special that the matches are even summarized. And I’m just going to skip it. Although still in contention, Lux leaves for his decoy mission after his matches. But during that time something terrible happened to Lisha. Her Drag Ride went berserk and almost killed the spectators. We all know it wasn’t her fault but it is her word against the committee. She is thrown in prison until their investigations are concluded. Lux fights off hordes of Abyss as well as Saniya. His success means the Imperial army gets to take down the rebels as expected. Airi tells the other girls what happened to Lux and because of the conditions imposed on him, it makes them harder to aid Lux. They suspect Yoruka having a hand in messing with Lisha’s Drag Ride. Their plan for now is to find Yoruka first and then rescue Lisha. As Lux is resting, he thinks something is amiss from the mission. Before he knows it, the rebel army has demolished the outpost in a surprise ambush. They’re heading for the capital next. No prizes to guess that the All Dragon Battle is suspended. Lux faces off with Ragreed and he knows his rebel army does not consist of former empire survivors but enemy countries targeting Atismata. He is just being used. Ragreed doesn’t believe all that but instead brags about the tyrannical king he will become once he becomes the new emperor. Not on Lux’s watch. Compounding the problem even further is the appearance of a giant ruin called, uhm, Giant. This is the ruin that Hayes is piloting.

Episode 12
Ragreed fights Lux and thought he dismantled his Bahamut. But he senses something is wrong. That isn’t Bahamut. What is it? It is Wyvern dressed up as Bahamut. Gotcha! And with that, the tables are turned on this loser. Lux contacts Airi and finds out what happened to Lisha. Speaking of which, Saniya is going to humiliate her by having he guards strip her to expose that belly mark. Before the pervy guards can do so, Lux crashes in to the rescue. At least the baddies are wise enough to run away instead of fighting him. Lux gives Lisha a great push to help fight alongside him. Philuffy and Krulcifer are holding down Giant while Celis has her fight with Saniya (no prizes to guess who wins here). After bringing down Giant, Hayes is still not out for the count because she has her own divine Drag Ride to deal with them. As she fights, she notices she has only been taking on Lisha. Where the heck is Lux? He is trying to find an entrance into Giant but standing in his way is Yoruka. This time he has a reason to fight her: He wants to save her. I suppose she doesn’t believe it as she still believes in the contract in place of her dead brother. When he asks how her brother died, she reveals it wasn’t at the hands of the empire. When Yoruka was taken away as a subordinate of the empire on condition that his life would be spared, senior officials who abandoned the war due to difference in military power blamed her brother for their own good and decapitated him. It was a humiliating but alas it was their fate. So if he ended his fate as a monarch, then by holding on to the contract with the empire, she will sacrifice herself to this fate. Of course Lux tells her she is totally wrong. He gives an example in Lisha as she continues to fight and resist. In her case, without the conceit of the position of someone being called a princess.

After a few more clashes and Yoruka thinks she has got victory in the bag, Lux makes a comeback with… Words! Uh huh. He is saying something about her ideal which is the same as her brother. That moment of hesitation allows Lux to cut her down. Lux explains his failed attempts to change the country. He wanted to do it himself but for that to happen he had to destroy the Arcadia kingdom. Wait. What? Huh? Anyhow Yoruka realizes she has misunderstood all the while and that Lux has been fighting for Arcadia by himself all along. No kidding, right? Hayes believes she still has the final trump card because she has ordered Giant to fire a devastating blast to destroy the capital when everything has failed. But you know why it won’t happen? At least for once they didn’t let Lux do the honours and save the day as the main character (albeit he is still the main reason why the day is saved). That is because Yoruka betrays Hayes and disables Giant from within. Now it is all down to Lux to finish this b*tch once and for all. Good riddance. On the final night of the festival, Lisha address the crowd as the kingdom’s future queen. She also announces appointing Lux as her personal knight. And a few more words about moving forward for a bright future that don’t matter. During the party, Lux spots Fugil across the hall. Luckily, they just stare at each other. Some kind of psychic warning from both sides? Fugil makes his exit. Time for the series to end in a typical fashion. Because Lisha is once again too slow to ask Lux about deepening their relationship, the other harem girls usurp her. Non-harem girls either tease her or chastise him as the words (Airi, who else?). With Yoruka now joining in too, Lisha gets mad and desperate because he wants Lux to answer right now whom he loves the most. Be careful with your answer. Try not to collapse your harem kingdom, okay?

Saiyaku Mottanai No Harem
Phew. Thank goodness is over. Yup. From the way I sarcastically said that means I am downright casting this series as mediocre. I wasn’t putting up very high or even moderate expectations for it but seeing this doesn’t even get pass the hurdle, I guess it is that bad. I think there are many moments that made me want to raise a question but seeing where everything was going, I have forgotten most of them. Which is pretty a good thing because I don’t want to confuse myself with questions that will not be answered and even if they were, it is because of my own silly theories.

Plot wise, it wasn’t interesting to say the least. I am not sure if they have some sort of pacing problem but let’s start off with that Black Hero thingy which is fast forgotten once you get to know it is Lux behind that armour. And I actually guessed it was him! I wonder if because it was so predictable, they got it out of the way in the early episodes. Then you won’t really hear about it ever again. Over the next few episodes, we are introduced to Lux’s harem and their seemingly problems like Lisha an ex-POW, Krulcifer with her engagement problems (why do they always prefer the main character than some snobbish arrogant rich dude? Oh, right…), Celis with her pride as a noble especially her false reputation as a man hater (which was clearly set straight soon after because it would be awkward for a harem to have a man hater, wouldn’t it?), Philuffy being dead (so she is technically a zombie, right?) and of course with the final arc fighting off against villains who want to overthrow the new kingdom.

If it wasn’t cheesy enough, the lack of romance and harem cat fight made it worse. I know it would be cheesy to put in those but seeing how mediocre everything is, I have to admit I did enjoy no matter how cheesy the tussle over Lux was. It made me wish the series had more scenes like this even if it doesn’t make sense and even if it doesn’t contribute to the overall plot whatsoever. I know, you’re going to say that I would accuse this show of being cheesy had they spam more of this. True. But might as well be something of this sort that I like if this genre is going to be mediocre. Yeah, blame me for being the worst… So having a few seconds of Lux alone with Philuffy’s boobs proximity, Krulcifer stealing quick kisses and even that ‘speed dating’ affair didn’t quite cut it.

As generic the characters of this generic harem anime might be, it is sad to say that the characters are pretty forgettable. Nothing about them really stands out. I expected all the cliché stuffs that are expected with this series but this one just didn’t even live up to that threshold. Lux is so typical like a hero kid from a fairytale that toddlers can write better stories for him. Really. I mean, take a look at this guy. Son of a former disposed kingdom. Good kid. Will go as far as to protect the ones he loves. Has latent power. Defeats main antagonist to save the day. And most important of all, he must have beautiful and popular girls flocking to his side. Because he is the main character. Even though he is pretty dense when it comes to flirting and romance. And the only reason why he became Lisha’s personal knight at the end is to compensate for the lack of screen time with her throughout the series. Everyone else did. So why the f*ck was she left out the most? Despite being a knight, that doesn’t mean he is dating her so every other girl still has a darn chance to steal his heart. And I believe Lux has got a few flashbacks pertaining to his life during the former empire which isn’t really pieced together all that well. So I guess we’ll never know about the human experiments and Lux’s overkill/over-9000 power.

Now let us look at his harem. Typical. We’ve got the tsundere, the dreamy and ditzy childhood friend, the socially awkward and proud elite and finally the other elite who is elegant and mature and the boldest of the lot when it comes to flirting with Lux. And now that Yoruka under the guise of being loyal to her new master is part of Lux’s harem, she will be the yandere type. Haha! How do I know if Yoruka is going to be part of Lux’s harem even before the final scene? Just look at the ending credits animation. You would notice his harem girls will be added to that final montage. And if Yoruka is in it, it just proves that she is a possible candidate. Yeah, just like how Date A Live’s Kurumi is, no? And everybody is so nicely dressed up like as though they’re preparing to marry Lux who is also equally well dressed like a gentleman. At least it is safe to say Airi and Noct will not be part of his harem trope as little sister and sister’s best friend. Haha!

What about the rest of the other girls in the academy then? It feels like they are there just to make up for the numbers. Some sort of proof that Lux isn’t a perfect lady killer. Imagine the screen time that needs to be divided if everyone from supporting characters to extra background characters start hounding this guy. Therefore characters like Shalice and Tillfur are there just because they are there and sometimes play cupid and revel in watching the love hopefuls in their pathetic and funny shenanigans. Yeah, I think it is more fun that way. It is the same for Relie except that because this is a school setting, you need to have an adult as the headmaster. Airi isn’t your typical buracon little sister since there is this weariness you can hear in her voice each time she has to gently chastise or remind her brother over the ‘trouble’ he has caused. I know she cares for him but sometimes it just sounds like nagging… And Noct is her sarcastic best friend whenever the time calls for it.

The antagonists are as uninspiring and one dimensional as they are. Nothing much about their background revealed although I think it is to give some sort of mysterious feel. But seeing we know nothing about Hayes on why she decided to destroy the current kingdom and establish a new one for whatever reasons, coupled with the fact that Fugil could be the mastermind and puppet master behind everything and yet we don’t know a f*cking reason why, we just wish they are rid of as fast as possible. From the looks at the end, Fugil still roams free but I am assuming Hayes, Saniya and Ragreed have been captured. Or even better, assume they just died in the onslaught. That’ll be easier. Some like Barzeride feels like he is a much needed low level pawn so that he could be disposed of. I am wondering for certain characters like Kurushe. She often feels like a joke character especially an automaton who has a penchant for going back to sleep. Her appearance sure makes you think why she is around in the first place. Seriously, that double episodes in which she only appeared can actually be done without her. It is like they need to stretch it out a little by putting in an unimportant character.

Because of how mediocre the series already is, not even the fights could sustain my interest. Because we have evil dragon creatures and the heroes have mecha suits, it feels like a waste not to put any sort of action into it. After all, everybody seems to have only a single if not two special attacks from their Drag Ride. Hardly any variety because why spam different moves when you know you’re just going to defeat the enemy shortly. I guess it is better than lasting the entire episode. That is why I suppose they sometimes let us know there is a time limit for Bahamut so Lux won’t spend the entire episode striking down his enemy. If that ever happens, it just makes him feel like an amateur Drag Knight, right? So don’t be surprised if you see fights finishing quickly or not shown at all (All Dragon Battle, anybody interested in seeing that? No? Same here). Besides, do you see any difference between a generic and divine Drag Ride? Looks all the same to me even in performance.

Making it even worse is the paltry fanservice. Sometimes it feels they aren’t interested in putting it up but had to because the genre calls for it. For example, Philuffy’s monster tits make her feel like she just came out from some sort of hentai flick. Sometimes it makes you think if her character is being a retard and lacking the intelligence the other girls have is because if her brains went into her boobs from the human experiment. Really. Another fanservice borderline with hentai is the fact that Lisha’s mark dangerously near her crotch so that we can have some sort of pubic fanservice. You’ll be asking of all places, right? A beach episode, a girls’ changing scene, main character’s hand on boobs scene, a few bath scenes and voila! Your series’ fanservice. But no tentacle rape scenes?

Art and drawing also feel generic. That means to say it is passable as in today’s standards. But nothing that really stands out. Not even the Drag Rides. CGI are used to animate them. No problems with it because in this era of technology, such smoothness in animation is a given and anything lesser than that would earn the ire of anybody who is watching it. As for character designs, it is that time again when I have watched so many animes and the characters start to look pretty similar. I’m too lazy to list them down here because of my fading sentiments of the series but just to let you know what I mean, don’t you think Philuffy looks very much like Karuta from Inu x Boku SS? Only with monster boobs. And Celis like Infinite Stratos’ Cecilia? Did Hayate No Gotoku’s Nagi make a cameo here? As Lisha? Oh, since when did To Aru Majutsu No Index’s Accelerator become less insane and looking tamer as Lux? Wait a minute. I think Lux is Hunter x Hunter’s Killua in disguise!

Surprisingly, the only seiyuu that I recognized was Risa Taneda as Celis. The moment her character opened her mouth, I instantly knew it was her. Because she sounded so familiar like Yukina from Strike The Blood and recently Tamaki from Luck & Logic. The other seiyuu I know but didn’t recognize is Youko Hikasa as Relie. Perhaps one of the few trivial things that set this harem anime apart from its other counterparts is the use of a female seiyuu to voice the main male character. I have noticed that harem genres will usually employ male seiyuus for the role and while it might not be the first, it certainly is rare to cast a female in such a leading role. Therefore hearing Mutsumi Tamura as Lux (Sonya in Kill Me Baby) felt a little different at first in this aspect.

The rest of the casts comprise of Lynn as Lisha (Maya Sabagebu), Yukiyo Fujii as Krulcifer (Latifa in Amagi Brilliant Park), Yurika Kubo as Philuffy (Hanayo in Love Live), Ari Ozawa as Airi (titular character in Wakaba Girl), Rie Takahashi as Noct (Futaba in Sore Ga Seiyuu), Yumi Uchiyama as Shalice (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Shiori Izawa as Tillfur (Tanpopo in Witch Craft Works), Shizuka Ishigami as Yoruka (Syr in DanMachi), Saori Oonishi as Altelise (Eriri in Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata), Hisako Kanemoto as Hayes (Ika in Shinryaku! Ika Musume – believe me, she sounds nowhere near as cute but different and menacing to the point of unrecognizable), Ryota Ohsaka as Fugil (Haruto in Valvrave The Liberator) and Mao as Saniya (Madoka in Denpa Kyoushi).

The opening is Hiryou No Kishi by True. Sounds like a typical generic rock music. Nothing that attracts my attention anyway. Every time Nano.Ripe sings an anime theme, you bet that I am going to say something about it. It is with mixed feelings when I listened to Lime Tree as the ending theme. Although her unique voice is not as bad when I first heard her many years before (at least her voice still stands out and is immediately identifiable compared to many other artists that ‘sound the same’), I am not sure whether it is that voice of hers that ruined the catchy rock beat of this song or actually enhanced it. If I hear its instrumental version or imagine the song without her voice, it is good (and perhaps better?) but it feels something lacking. That’s why I’m not sure and in a dilemma if her singing adds to the appeal of the tune.

Well, what more can I say. After watching this harem series and with the only fact that I can add it to the expanding list of harem shows I have watched. From Infinite Stratos , Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry, Kuusen Madoushi Kohousei No Kyoukan, Seiken Tsukai No World Break, Seikoku No Dragonar, Juuou Mujin No Fafnir, Absolute Duo, Date A Live and Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (which I have not watched at this point yet), oh yeah, let me name them all again. Everything feels too familiar. More or less the same thing but with a different packaging. It is hard to make something that is of exceptional standards like High School DxD (the first 2 seasons, that is). And yet idiots like me continue to watch such shows seasons in, seasons out. That is why I think there is no need for producers to improve seeing we would fall for it every season. Just like how Apple comes out with a new but generally the same product every year and everybody would still go make a beeline and buy it, no? We harem lovers attracted to harem series are like what the girls in a harem are mysteriously attracted to for that main douchebag. Strangely ironic, isn’t it?

You mean there is more?! I wouldn’t have guessed that there would be a third season but it wouldn’t be called Maji Love 3000% this time. Yeah, that would be over doing it. Instead, we have Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love Revolutions. Yes. The revolution. I guess things will go stale, get stagnant and be the same if you rely on the same ol’ formula. That is why you need revolution to spice things up and bring you to new heights. But for an anime series like this, I am already expecting more or less the same thing even though there were only 2 seasons before this.

Episode 1
Haruka is walking back to Saotome Academy in the middle of the night. A cue for each of the Starish members to get a little romantic with her and refresh our memories of how hot these guys are. Really. Like Otoya’s hug, Natsuki’s princess carry, Cecil kissing her hand, Ren closing up on her face, a waist hug from Sho (part of his acting stint), accidentally touching hands with Masato (to pick up his dropped piano scores) and a shoulder hug from Tokiya. Oh, how romantic… If that wasn’t enough, Haruka too has some sort of encounter with Quartet Night. From Camus riding his white steed into the forest (no sunset, though), some chat with Ai, Ranmaru’s patting of her head (just to pick up a sakura petal) and encouraging words from Reiji. Not forgetting the only other female in this series, Tomo gives Haruka a big girly hug as well as a souvenir as she has returned from Hokkaido after a shoot. If you can get through 2/3 of this episode which is just that, now here comes the supposedly plot of the series. Oh, not forgetting to introduce the teachers as well. The eccentric principal Saotome with his fancy exaggerated grand entrance, the transvestite Ringo and the macho Ryuuya. Saotome announces the international sports festival called Super Star Sports AKA SSS. This year’s host is Japan and they will grace it with an opening ceremony of performance. Quartet Night has been chosen to do that and Saotome wants Haruka to write a song for them. Everybody is darn excited about this, including our Starish guys. Till Cecil brings up this idea: He would like to sing at the next SSS. It makes the rest think. When will it be their turn since SSS is hosted by different nations? It could be an awful long time before it returns to Japan… So everybody runs down to Saotome’s office to bug him about wanting to sing at SSS. Sorry boys. If that is their wish, no can do. Do they understand what it means to enter SSS? REVOLUTION!!! What? I don’t understand!

Episode 2
Well, it seems Saotome has come up with a plan for Starish to revolutionise. He calls it cross-unit groups. So who will be their cross-unit groups? Oops, he hasn’t worked out the details yet. Check back later. Starish and Quartet Night fly off to some beach town for some promotional shoot. Of course our Starish will be paired with a Quartet Night member. Like Otoya and Tokiya with Reiji entertaining kindergarten kids. Reiji is so hot and cool that even young girls start falling for him! Then we have Ren and Masato walking around town with Ranmaru. That’s it?! What the heck is this for? When a street band is playing, Ranmaru joins in and attracts the crowd (and ladies!). If you think that is WTF, wait till you see Camus and Cecil booking an entire restaurant for themselves just to eat cakes for the filming. Of course some customers aren’t pleased with that but thankfully those ladies got charmed by Camus’ apology. So everything is okay? And I really lost it when Sho and Natsuki with Ai trying to find some haunted spot. WTF… Sho is a big scaredy cat… Despite these events give Starish a huge morale boost to impress Saotome, Quartet Night had to play their arrogant villain role to quit dreaming. They are not on par at their level. You want to bet they’ll not give up? Finally Saotome has got their cross-unit groups figured out. He pairs Otoya with Natsuki, Ren and Sho with Cecil, last but not least Tokiya and Masato.

Episode 3
First up on the focus is Otoya and Natsuki. They have received a direct offer from a legendary Broadway director, Gen Isurugi to play in his upcoming rock musical. Of course, Haruka will have to compose the main song. So the plot of the play has 2 princes of opposing personalities have to stop an impending war with their power of music and love. But after the first rehearsal, they got a ‘warning’ from Isurugi to do better next time. Depressed mode… Talking out with the rest to find out their problems, it is mainly because Natsuki and Otoya had to play characters that are opposites of their own natural character. I suppose the best way to learn one is to imitate another? That is what Otoya tries to do while he copies every of Tokiya’s moves. Every. Move. Like the Tokiya we know, he tells him copying won’t do and whatever that solution is, it is Otoya’s job to find it out himself! We’re not going to have the same for Natsuki because Sho is showing macho films of Ryuuya. But he acted out as the wrong prince. At the end of the next rehearsal, another personal note from Isurugi: Don’t overact. Just act naturally like yourself. Eh? What? Another downer… The duo work hard and their confidence boosted by who else but no other than Haruka who has written a song for them based on their ‘colour’ that will draw out their strengths. Therefore, the play is perfect that the duo have become such fabulous princes. Thanks to Haruka’s music too.

Episode 4
Because Haruka writes the song for the film, she gets to watch Ai, Sho and Natsuki act in it. Despite Ai being flawless, he doesn’t understand about emotions at all. Baffling isn’t it? Haruka sees Ai practising in the rain. And then he collapses! He is burning up. After putting him to bed, they see lights flickering in his eyes. That is when Ai reveals he is a robot! OMG! WTF?! We had some magic touch with Cecil and now they’re adding sci-fi?! He is made by Saotome who paid a lot to get his ideal idol created. But there is a bigger problem whether you want to believe Ai is really a robot. And that is the rain is draining his power and at this rate he will not make it. He can switch to low power mode but that would make him start overheating. Oh, the irony. Such sophisticated AI (I have a feeling why he is named so…) with lots of RAM to memorize and learn emotions in which he can’t understand but yet gets power down when exposed to rain. What kind of freaking logic is this?! Anyway, Ai manages to continue putting his best performance but once the director yells cut, he shows signs of wavering. I’m not sure how effective is when Haruka and the duo want to fan him dry. It will take ages! Then there is a talk between Ai and Haruka about emotions in which he thinks he must have made the right decisions since those ‘emotions’ resulted in the right reactions. But he did say the more he learns about it, the more accustomed he becomes to them. Isn’t that like a human being? There is a scene in which Ai dramatically collapses. The director thinks this improvised scene was damn good! But his friends no better. Ai promises this will not happen again but they are really, really, really worried it might be a lot worse next time. And the magical part of their concern somehow has Ai understand what it means. It makes him want to act some more. So here is Ai doing his solo singing for us as he wraps up the last scene of the movie. He finally collapses on Haruka’s lap but there is a big smile on his sleeping face.

Episode 5
Ren, Sho and Cecil will have to do a TV commercial for a Smartphone company. Of course with Haruka writing its theme song, the guys must also help choose its concept. Heck, I thought the phone company was being lazy and just throw all the work to them. So it starts out high with enthusiasm all of them discussing what the phone is supposed to be. Ren vouches for passion (Latin style?), Sho for strength (superhero style?) and Cecil for elegance (Arabian prince style?). But cracks begin to surface when they think their concept is better than the other and cannot compromise. Oh dear. The biggest bust up ever in the series? You can’t blame them for feeling the pressure for doing better after the smashing success of Otoya and Natsuki’s musical. They get a little advice from their friends and they start again their talks. Unfortunately it ended the same way. They’re not giving in. Dead end. When Saotome learns Haruka hasn’t composed a song yet because the trio are still in disagreement, he wonders if they should cancel the project. It wouldn’t be nice to the client if they cancel it last minute, right? And so Haruka is given until tomorrow to come up with a song or else he is calling the project off. So she gets to be put on the heaviest pressure? She goes to talk to the guys individually. They feel bad for worrying her. She doesn’t mind. They vow to work together. Yeah, basically the same thing 3 times over but in a different way. Haruka thinks deep about their connection now and then a spark of inspiration. She texts the guys the song she wrote. They love it. Now we get to see the final product of the Smartphone commercial that has them singing and incorporating all their ideas. Somehow I feel for a Smartphone commercial, the song is just too flashy like it was tailor made for a boy band. And besides, is this song supposed to promote the Smartphone but why do I see prominence given to our hot studs? Now you know why pretty models are always there in promoting gadgets, eh?

Episode 6
The world’s tallest tower is opening soon and you bet it is going to be Shining Tower! Since Camus is to perform on its opening, Haruka as usual must write a song. But that guy as usual is being the cold jerk and tells her only to come to him once she has written one. Cecil can even vouch how cold this bastard is as he lives with him. Despite all the odd requests, he does everything perfectly but yet never does anything earnest. After watching Camus in a programme that has all the fan girls screaming, Haruka requests to watch him work so she can write a song. His first order? Become his ‘slave’! And so Haruka is subject to odd labour especially making his perfect tea. Cecil is not amused and is going to give his piece of mind but when Haruka says it is okay, then everything is okay. Besides, if she accepts it, there is nothing everyone else can do. Haruka continues to be his assistant till she manages to write a song that will bring out the sincerity in him. But he shoots her down just after looking at her score! WTF?! Shell shocked! He also ends her assistance. This is the last straw for Cecil because it is as though he is making fun of Haruka’s music. But Haruka the good girl as always, blames herself instead. While everything seems to go smoothly, suddenly Camus ushers her to Shining Tower! Everything happens so fast that Haruka is probably in shock over the developments. And this guy starts singing Haruka’s song in such a sincere way that he brings everybody to their knees! OMG! I’m not kidding!!! Food for thought: I wonder how Camus knows how to do everything perfectly because if he has rehearsed a single time, I’m sure Haruka would have known since she was always with him. I know he is a genius and can understand things with just a look but you should look at all the choreography, stunts, special effects and exaggeration! Can a mere rehearsal make it so freaking perfect?! Like as though he did everything. So what gives for this? Answering Haruka’s questioning about how he sings in a sincere way, he is always perfect in every way without the need of going that far. But being sincere sometimes isn’t so bad.

Episode 7
Everyone is shocked when they hear Haruka explaining Ranmaru telling her to write an idol song for him instead of rock. He was a bassist in his rock band before they disbanded and he joined this agency. Then Haruka overheard Ranmaru turning down his ex-bandmate for a reunion. The story goes that the outdoor stage is going to be torn down in favour of the SSS stadium so the band wanted to reunite for one last time to play there. He turned him down because he is busy with another job. Haruka asks if he really had to give up his love to be an idol. Well, he can’t handle 2 jobs at a time. Ranmaru is seen training hard. Though it is commendable and professional, the rest feel like he is trying to forget his rock roots. I suppose he trained too hard that he got some ‘trauma’ thinking about his band. Haruka tries to wake him up but he got startled and accidentally grabs her hand. As she keeps bugging if he is fine not turning up for that concert just as a spectator, he tells her he can’t forgive himself. His friend wanted him to play together one last time so bad but he turned him down. He really wanted to go. But with all the work in Quartet Night, he can’t. He never understood things when his band broke up. After joining this agency and meeting everyone, now he understands what is important. He now has a place and won’t make that mistake. He will be an idol and forget his rock and past. Before Quartet Night’s photo shoot, Haruka has written a song for him that is both idol and rock. It is what makes him today. As the photo shoot consists of the members holding their instruments, the moment Ranmaru picks up the bass, he could feel the excitement. After it ends, he grabs Haruka’s hand as they rush to the final concert. Changed his mind, eh? And did he smile? Too bad everybody is already packing up. No matter. Ranmaru gets on stage and starts singing. So awesome that it draws everybody back! OMFG! It’s like they reversed time and the full crowd goes wild over his singing! At least he looks happier.

Episode 8
Otoya and Natsuki won an award for their musical. Ren, Sho and Cecil also won an award for the best advertisement. Now it is down to Masato and Tokiya. They will be performing at Neo Dream Music Festival. In short, the biggest and most famous shows around. The freedom to come up with what they want makes it harder for them so the guys decide to write the lyrics first. They are so perfect in sync that nothing could go wrong, right? Right?! Then this deadlock happened… Reading each other’s lyrics, hmm… Sounds cheesy… Back to the drawing board. Trying to change their thinking styles and even meditating under the waterfall didn’t do much. This deadlock has everyone soon worrying about them and it puts more pressure because as long as they haven’t got the lyrics out, Haruka can’t compose her music. Of course all they can do is to believe in them. Like always. Haruka then motivates them by telling how everyone has been supporting them in the background like cooking for them, etc. A song pops up in Haruka’s head when she looks at them. Then the words just came out naturally from their mouth. Soon they get it going with their lyrics. So during the start of the festival, needless to say that they blew everybody away with their talent. A fist bump for such awesome display from the duo. And Saotome is screaming “Revolution!” with delight.

Episode 9
Otoya and Tokiya help Reiji in a magic show variety. Otoya fails but because it was funny, the audience still had a good time. Haruka is tasked to write a solo song for Reiji but she would like to know him better first before she starts penning. So he takes her on a detour and summarizes his life as a performer during various stints since a young age before becoming part of Quartet Night. Of course they also talk about Starish who is growing and singing song that makes everyone smile. Reiji would also like to sing a song that puts a smile on everyone. Meanwhile Otoya practises his magic before the Starish guys. Still fail… Reiji leaves for a job overseas. He expected his fellow Quartet Night would be sad but you know those stuck up guys, right? No feelings at all… And when he is gone, they realize how quiet everything is. But I don’t think they will go as far as missing him. As Otoya and Tokiya helm the magic show, Reiji ‘usurps’ the show with his live broadcast. He could have stolen the show had he not stopped. At the end of the day, Otoya, Tokiya and Haruka are surprised to see Reiji back. His job went well and that live broadcast was just a pre-recording. So to say he predicted their moves?! Is he a psychic?! He steals the show from the guys again by ‘stealing’ Haruka so that he could let her hear the lyrics of the song. At the end of it, he says he didn’t expect her to find the real him. What does he mean? He confesses he loves her! OMG! After 3 seasons, this is the first guy who has the balls to confess to Haruka! But then he brushes it off as a joke and all is well again. Bummer. I guess that is why Quartet Night doesn’t take him seriously.

Episode 10
With Haruka needing to compose a song for SSS, she is whisked away for a special camp with Quartet Night. You should have seen this coming… As the opening concert will be a big thing, Quartet Night for the first time tries to work together with Haruka with suggestions. Normally they do not interfere with the songwriter and just sing the submitted songs. It goes without saying that with their varied personalities, they have different ideas. It is a surprise that they have worked with each other for so long. With no headway, they take a break with lunch. Can’t think without an empty stomach? That night as Haruka starts composing, she is met and chats personally with all the members of Quartet Night. As expected. Then when she plays her song on the piano, you can bet Quartet Night is going to say how awesome it is and how it fits who they are. Then we hear a demo of them singing to Haruka’s song. It is done. As SSS draws near, the people are being interviewed about it and many feel it is a shame that both Quartet Night and Starish cannot perform there as only a group per agency rule.

Episode 11
With Starish gaining more popularity, the baffling question still remains why won’t Saotome let them perform at SSS. You can tell some serious sh*t is going on when even Reiji himself is not being jovial. Why so serious, Quartet Night? They have returned from the trip but Haruka chose to stay back. They give Starish the CD of their SSS song they co-wrote with Haruka and warn if they don’t buck, they’ll take Haruka away from them. As expected, you can see Starish being blown away after hearing the song. They’re starting to worry now. But they put that behind first and attend an interview which covers their experience during their cross-unit stint. In the end, they always had Haruka to thank for (cue for flashback of personal moments with her in previous seasons). It makes them want to see her. They thought of going to where she is but look, she is just on her way back. Why so surprised to see them, Haruka? Why the heck do you need to say “Welcome back” 7 times? So happy that she is back that they start singing for her. They want to write a song for SSS with her. You don’t say because she already did! Isn’t that why she stayed back? Oh, you don’t have to say her name 7 times either. And you don’t have to praise her 7 times too! Amazed by her work as always, Starish gets straight to work. It is a sign that they work so hard that they just sleep where they stood or sat. So when Ringo comes to wake them up the next morning, everyone agrees to just let Haruka sleep. She’s the one who worked the hardest, right? When Haruka and Starish present their song to Saotome, he looks like he is so undecided that he is shooting beams out from his eyes!!! OMFG!!! Then he kills the mood by saying their revolution isn’t complete yet. That’s like saying no, right?

Episode 12
As expected, Starish explains how hard they have tried so they need to know why. Even Haruka pleads to Saotome but despite all that, he feels something is missing. Quartet Night enters. They have considered Starish good enough to enter and that it would be meaningless to perform without them. So they are giving the green light? Suddenly Saotome becomes ecstatic. Is this the true revolution he is waiting for? There is his passionate explanation about new replacing the old and not only changing themselves but others but I wasn’t listening. Because I was more amused seeing all those explosions, burning flames and light beams from all that!!!!!!! Saotome adds that Starish had already garnered fan mails (the number is still rising as they speak), petition from the web and social media. The only thing left was Quartet Night to stand up to complete the revolution. And with that, Starish is in. Later as Starish tries to thank Quartet Night, the latter of course want them not to get the wrong idea. They’re doing this for themselves. Despite saying there is no point performing without them, it is only so that they can prove why they are much better. It looks like they might be putting up a tough act because at the backstage, they realize how awesome the song Haruka wrote for them. They continue to practice hard. Apparently that wasn’t enough so they call Haruka to rearrange the score again. Not to say that the original one was bad, after hearing Starish’s song, their feelings have changed. They have tried changing the lyrics and dance but nothing that really stands out so they thought they would start with rearranging the song. So as Haruka works with Quartet Night, Starish also work hard in their practice till the day of the opening act of SSS is here. Is it me or do I notice the queue and the crowd consist of mainly women? Quartet Night is chosen to perform first. I can only hear the screaming of the girls’ voice as it drowns out the announcer’s voice when he is introducing them. I know, passionate crowd, right? I wouldn’t even be able to hear their song if they didn’t cut out all that screaming shortly after their performance begins.

Episode 13
Girls screaming. Girls swooning. Girls fainting. So awesome that everybody is blown away! OMG! Cool special effects?! Needless to say, they’re awesome. So this is not revolution but evolution?! Now it is Starish’s turn. Of course the inevitable backstage face off with Quartet Night. We’ve done our best. We’ve levelled up. We’ll go higher. Starish pays a little respect to Haruka about her words that their music will change the world, before they go on stage. And yeah, double high 5 with her. Each. Same thing. Girls screaming so noisy I can’t hear their introductions and initial parts of the song. But if you’re wondering why you aren’t surprised with their hit it is because we have glimpsed it as the ending song of the series. As expected, Starish blows away everybody. Even Quartet Night is surprised at their level and acknowledges them as equals. Before things could end, suddenly somebody returns to steal the limelight! OMG! Look who is back?! It’s Heavens!!! And they’ve brought back more members! 7 of them?! They sing their way into everybody’s hearts! Everything is so exaggerative! How the f*ck did they manage to get that heavenly arc prop on stage?! So awesome that they’re shooting beams at everybody! Shooting blue flames at everybody! Some even blown away by the ‘bomb’!!! OMFG!!! When they end, everybody is so stunned that the silence is deafening! Yeah, I think some judges ‘died’!!! OMFG! Then it is time to introduce themselves. Besides Eiichi, Kira and Nagi from the original line-up, we have newbies Eiji Otori (Light/Kira from Death Note?), Van Kiryuin (Aizen from Bleach?), Yamato Hyuga (Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club?) and Shion Amakusa (Maximilian from Senjou No Valkyria?). They claim the world will be ruled by them. But of course. The crowd is split. Some are chanting Heavens. Some are chanting Quartet Night. Some are chanting Starish. Oh God. Hell on Earth will soon begin. Could this be part of a bigger conspiracy plan by Saotome and Raging?

Same Ol’ Revolution?
Guess what? With that kind of cliff-hanger ending and those 3 inevitable words… Apparently there is going to be a fourth season!!! Obviously. OMG! Does this mean I am obliged to watch it?! Well, if not for nostalgia… And if not because it isn’t complete yet and so I must finish it! Also because now that I know that reverse harem anime especially of the music trope isn’t my cup of tea (that is, this genre is not trending now for me), I am staying away from such genres. Because I haven’t watched animes that are suspiciously similar to this. Say, High School Star Musical AKA Starmyu. Yes, another group of hot guys singing. Or even Shonen Hollywood -Holly Stage For 49-. Or even Bakumatsu Rock. I wanted to say that these animes are not as popular as Uta No Prince-sama series and most probably they are but since Shonen Hollywood already had a sequel and Starmyu is going to get one, the force of singing handsome guys is still going strong.

But as far as this season is concerned, the entire third season seems to be close to a bore. Not that I am saying it is bad but there was nothing much to call it any different. That is why the only most exciting part where I sit up and actually take notice is Heavens’ surprising entry at the end. And here I thought even if they did pop up, perhaps it was to congratulate our eventual winners but who am I kidding, right? If you know these guys from last season, they are as arrogant as f*ck. And nothing has changed since except their arrogance level just gone up. For a group that has been missing for the entire season, only to pop up at the end and throw the spanner into the works is just amazing and yet shocking. Out of nowhere to come steal the limelight. Great job guys? Almost pull the rug from under everyone’s feet. So just when I thought the third season will come to a boring predictable end, here they shock us with this cliff-hanger. It is indeed a twist and perhaps the only revolution-cum-evolution that I can attribute to this season.

They call the change in Starish a revolution but personally I don’t see any difference. Maybe because I have always had this in the back of my head that since they are the main characters and that everything no matter how dire the straits (really?) will turn out alright for them. They will always be tops. Fans will always love them. Girls will always scream out their names. They can never get enough of them. Always. That is why when Saotome was screaming revolution and all that crap, I didn’t notice anything so different seeing they won the Utapuri Award last season and that already made them the most awesome of all awesomeness, right? Of course when you take into account their rising popularity on the internet, the people down in the streets and even their closest rivals, maybe this was the revolution that Saotome had intended all along. It is only the final episode that was the most amusing and had me laughing because of the exaggerated effects! Yeah, that one was a real killer. Yeah, those beams can kill! Just like cooking shows have their exaggerated reaction effects, I think this one takes the cake for this genre. Truly epic revolution-cum-evolution then.

The flow of the story remains the same as in previous seasons. Haruka as the only main recurring character in the series because all of the guys need her to conduct their business. And I don’t mean it in an ambiguous way. Please, this is a very pure romance show aimed for pure girls. And because whatever personal issues Starish had in the previous 2 seasons, Quartet Night takes up the other half of the focus. It isn’t all that bad but it does mean the roster is getting bigger and we can’t afford to spend a single episode for a single character. At least for Starish. So while each Quartet Night member will get their own personal time with Haruka, they ‘speed up’ the Starish members by putting 2 or 3 of them in focus for a single episode. Because like I have said, there is nothing more to tell about them so they put random filler-like events, a reason why they need to be with Haruka for that particular episode.

So with Quartet Night having more focus this season, we get to know more about them but nothing that really is revolutionary because from last season despite their cameos, we already know what kind of characters they would be. They hardly change albeit a bit because of, wait for it, Haruka. Yes, this girl is an angel. A miracle. A goddess. Not only is she the academy’s slave to write songs, but she manages to churn out hit after hit! I thought songwriters have their up and down days but this girl somehow can write good hits after another. And you know why I said that she is a slave is because Saotome is like a slave driver, entrusting her to write songs for very important and crucial events. Sure, there are problems but it is so minor that you don’t really see the big pressure on her. Do you not believe me when I say that I have not seen Haruka actually go under pressure? This girl is good. And where the heck are the other songwriters in the academy? Is Haruka so good that she can only be relied on to write good songs? Apparently. Saotome is one lucky bastard to have a girl like her. A golden goose. Speaking of Saotome himself, he is still quirky and all those flashy moves define his eccentricity. Still amusing to watch but it gets tiresome and it makes you wonder if he does all that just to get your attention. After all, nobody pays close attention to a boring strict old guy giving lectures, right? Other recurring characters like Tomo, Ringo and Ryuuya are around just because of the need to. Otherwise they don’t even contribute anything much to this season. I guess this means Natsuki’s dark alter ego, Satsuki didn’t make a single cameo. Yeah, was there a need?

On to Quartet Night themselves, I believe I have also said that nothing much is expected to change of them because they continue to remain the same obnoxious, stuck up, arrogant hotties that we would ever know in this idol world. It is like they’re putting up fake smiles before the camera and fans but behind the backstage, they are like conceited idols who think everyone else should bow at their perfect feet. At least for Camus, Ranmaru and to a certain extent Ai. Reiji could have been one too but I figure somebody needs to be the joker and clown of the group or else it would make the entire group look more spiteful. The only ‘shocking’ thing that I never expected was Ai to be a robot. This explains a lot but I guess when a series is based on a game of the same name, something like this should be expected for an element of surprise. Thus I was hoping to learn that perhaps Reiji was an alien who crashed on Earth, Camus the prince of an alternate world fleeing a war and Ranmaru a fallen angel!!!! OMFG!!! Thank goodness that never happened, right? I thought they forgot all about Heavens. Although I did have a hunch that they will make a cameo return somewhere in the middle (though I didn’t expect it to be at the final scene of the final episode).

The one thing that I had predicted but never came true is the fact that Starish and Quartet Night combine into one big group to perform at SSS. I mean, that is how you are going to satisfy all the fan girls and comply with the rules, right? Then we can name their newly combined group as… Starry Night!!! Oh yes! Think 11 hot men in a group is not big enough? Yeah, think South Korea’s Super Junior… I even had another idea that this group will ultimately combine with Heavens to make it even bigger!!!!! I had a hunch Heavens will make a comeback somehow but what caught me off guard is that I didn’t realize they will come back with more members! If they do combine, what better way to make your group even better by absorbing former rivals. But looks like nobody is combining to make into one super group like AKB48 and instead it has become a 3 corner fight to determine who will become the ultimate idol. And this time I can see how bloody it is going to be considering that the fans themselves have quickly divided into supporting their respective camps. Why can’t they just love them all?

To show important Quartet Night is this season, they sang the first opening theme for the first episode, The Dice Are Cast. You can also sample the awesomeness of their magic in the ending theme for episode 12 during the SSS opening act, Evolution Eve. Of course seeing this is Starish’s series, they cannot be left out entirely as the group sings the main ending theme, Maji Love Revolutions. And in all previous seasons, the main opening theme is also sung by Mamoru Miyano entitled Shine. There are also a bunch of insert songs from the cross-unit groups and solos but none of them and not even this season’s opening and ending themes could match the catchiness and greatness of the trademark song of this series that started it all, Maji Love 1000%. Yes, this is still by far the best song ever from all that I have heard. That is why whenever Haruka is said to have written better and much superior songs than before, I could only note the irony that is so because these latest songs don’t move me as much as Maji Love 1000% did.

Overall, unless you are a hardcore fan of the series and love the reverse harem trope, this season is yet another one of those fixes for you to swoon over your handsome guy. Otherwise, seeing handsome hunks battling out via singing feels a bit odd because you know, where is the machoism? You’re in the wrong anime then. Since the ending caught me off guard, I must mentally prepare myself not to fall into the same trap when the next season comes. This means I am making wild predictions as far as now to where our idols will go so as not to go into that ‘shock’. Therefore I am predicting there isn’t going to be just 3 idol groups but there will be a fourth one entering the fray too! Then a fifth! A sixth! A seventh! An eight! Oh yeah, the boy idol industry is going to be crowded with so many handsome boys jostling for screen time and fans’ attention. Then more rivals in the form of… Girl groups! Battle of the sexes! And at the end, they’ll all just join up into one big group, bigger than your choir and orchestra band combined and sing a song that unites the world. Sniff, sniff. Oh, I love the drama of it all. Hey, something feels wrong. Why do every guy here looks f*cking hot and handsome?! I guess there are some things that don’t need to undergo revolution and evolution anymore.

Wagamama High Spec

September 2, 2016

The story might sound cliché an unoriginal. But I thought a guy who likes this sort of genre should check it out for the umpteenth time. Wagamama High Spec has its main protagonist who draws a risqué manga for a weekly magazine. This secret is only known to his sister and her best friend. But when the student council president discovers this, he is forced to join the body to keep his secret intact although a member opposes his joining. And so he becomes their lap dog to do their whims and wishes just to hide this dark little secret. That’s where all the troubles pile up. Don’t laugh. You don’t know how some guys go the great lengths to hide their porn.

Episode 1
The air-cond is broken. The student council girls are not motivated to finish their work although they have a pile of them. Till Ashe R. Sakuragi suggests they strip since they are all girls. Kaoruko Rokuonji and Mihiro Miyase agree and straightaway give us the much needed fanservice. Toa Narumi tries to sneak away but the rest won’t allow her and start stripping her clothes. Rape scene? As she starts throwing stuffs at them, it hits the air-cond and is now working away. However it starts blowing hot air. They are in a dilemma to run out in their undies and be labelled a pervert for the rest of their lives. How do you unplug an air-cond anyway?

Episode 2
Mihiro wants her friends to come up with ideas for her family restaurant’s menu and the winner gets a platinum ticket for all you can eat for 1 year! That sure motivated them. However Toa comes up with snacks (the restaurant serves western food) and Ashe creates a very large donburi serving that will be hard to finish. Kaoruko creates bitter melon curry but it is too spicy even for Mihiro’s standards to handle. Ironically it became the restaurant’s most popular menu with a long queue waiting outside. Business is indeed booming.

Episode 3
Kaoruko needs inspiration for her manga so she sets up Toa and Mihiro to become her models as she sketches. To motivate them, she’ll give them some legendary potatoes. The duo pose in a kissing position. While Mihiro is very embarrassed, Toa is as cool as a cat. All for the potatoes! Kaoruko needs it to be more realistic as she tells them to kiss! Mihiro flusters but Toa is going ahead with it. All for the potatoes! It is when Ashe walks in on them and misinterprets their unusual love. You’re free to love whoever you want!

Episode 4
Kaoruko has finished her script but the place is now filled with her crumpled papers. It’s a mess! As they slowly clean up, they spot a cockroach! The girls are scared except for Mihiro. She’s cool. But she is also not pleased. Because roaches are the enemies of restaurants! One hit kill! But she warns for every single one of them, there could be 10 more hiding. She becomes a demon instructor to force them to clean up properly. Sir, yes sir! The room is now sparkly clean but little do they know those little ones are hiding in some dark corner…

Episode 5
Ashe reads a scary story. By the time she finishes, it is already evening and everything she sees spooks her. Whether it is the crows outside (Mihiro just feeding them) or a shadowy figure from downstairs (Kaoruko somehow all wet). She runs back to the student council room and thinks she is safe. She thought Toa is doing her programming but after calling her several times and she did not respond, she freaks out upon seeing Toa has no face! After she faints, it is revealed that Toa was blowing a bubble gum and it exploded covering over her entire face.

Episode 6
When Ashe and Mihiro find a scribbled letter, Kaoruko thinks it is a hidden message left behind by Toa’s brother, Kouki. Excited Kaoruko goes to great lengths to play detective and decipher the code via various unorthodox methods. So her deductions of the riddle that is based on Sumerian texts, the orbit of Jupiter and some ancient Japanese text leads her to believe the human race will die in July 2016?! And Kouki was eliminated because he learnt this secret? Sounds like BS, right? When Toa comes in, she could immediately read the scribbles as her brother failed a test and has to take a supplementary test. His writing becomes bad when he is in a hurry. There, your riddle solved. You should go back to detective school, Kaoruko.

Episode 7
Kaoruko is definitely overworking herself by pulling all-nighters to finish her manuscript. She agrees to lie down but can’t seem to fall asleep. Toa recently bought some music that would do the trick. Soon Kaoruko is sleeping like a baby and the others follow suit too. Refreshed Kaoruko completes her work while the rest sleeps like a baby.

Episode 8
A new cleaning robot arrives in the room. Ashe messes with it and it accidentally broke. Feeling the need to fix it up before the rest come back, she disguises herself as the robot made out of cardboards. Yeah, this should fool them… Ashe becomes the best robot ever as she perfectly carries out Kaoruko’s whims and fancies. Then Toa reveals a note that this robot was broken in the first place and was to be recalled. Busted…

Episode 9
Mihiro picked up a stray cat outside school. She knows regulations won’t allow it but she doesn’t know how to use a computer to look for its owners. Thus she leaves the cat in Toa’s care. As the cat stays at her place, it makes a mess out of things, eat her food, do whatever it wants. You know, what a cat ALWAYS do to piss you off. Thank goodness at the end of the day, there is a reply. The cat is handed back to the little girl and she couldn’t be more grateful. I think Toa couldn’t be more relieved.

Episode 10
Kaoruko is fired up to do a movie and upload it on the school website. A week later, this is the result. This movie is a mish-mash of everything. It has supernatural. It has food eating competition. It has espers and ninjas. Action, drama and yuri romance! All you ask for is right here! Kaoruko loves it so much and approves it but the rest definitely aren’t going to release this risqué movie.

Episode 11
After a long absence, it is time for the fanservice to make its return. Ah, the girls in their swimsuits at a spa resort. Ashe shows off from a high diving platform. Unfortunately she loses her bikini top. Not wanting to lose her modesty, they go after it. Why is it always it must float away to hard to reach places? The other girls are washed away by the various waves. When Ashe finally retrieves it, she slides down the giant slide. Good news is that she has her top. Bad news: Now she lost her bottom…

Episode 12
Just when Kouki is about to enter, Mihiro manages to stop him and send him to do more errands. This is part of their plan to throw him a surprise birthday party as they are in the midst of preparations. When he returns, they throw him a surprise as planned.

Mama Mia Low Specs & Expectations
After the first few episodes, I knew it was going to be bad. But I never thought it would even go lower than my lowered expectations. First of all, the main character never appears! That’s right. The most you see is his shadow and even that is in the final episode. Heck, he doesn’t even have a voice! The damning foreshadowing that Kouki will never appear is at the start of each episode. A board that indicates the presence of the student council members in the room. Always you see Kouki’s name being listed as absent for a variety of reasons ranging from reasonable to absurd. Whether he is away for a meeting or an errand to being away on a journey of self discovery or even overslept! Heck, the final episode even had the cheek to list it as being banned from entering! When a main character like that gets shut out in its own series he is supposed to star in, you know it is going to go downhill from then. So did they lie to us in the synopsis? Unless they used the same synopsis for the anime that was supposed to be for the game.

Therefore this short anime series feels like another generic cute girls doing cute things as well as some sort of promotion for its adult visual novel game of the same name which was released around the time this series started airing. Unfortunately the anime itself doesn’t do much to try and appeal if this is what its purpose. If this is the way they are going to make you curious and play the game, wrong way. It turned me off even further. Sure, they threw in a few lingerie and swimsuit fanservice (and a yuri scene to set our pure hearts aflutter…) just to remind us that this is an ecchi anime but those few scenes are as much as we can get out of it. It is just so freaking standard that any anime can simply come up with shameless underwear and swimsuit scenes with a snap of a finger anytime.

Making it even worse is supposedly the next episode preview. The girls in cut-out illustrations are supposed to let us know more about the world of their game in this segment like introducing the characters and stuffs. Sadly, they end up ranting away that I don’t seem to understand a thing about the game. I don’t even know what it is supposed to be about. Sure, the synopsis of the series. It feels that this section is just a waste of time. To make things even worse, halfway through the series it is like as though they have ran out of topics to talk about this series, so they try to talk about another game I believe is under the same developer, KakoTama. Again, adding a couple of new characters to this segment didn’t do any good. They didn’t really explain well about things so I still have no idea what this game is all about and supposed to be. You can bet that I won’t be checking out this game as well.

The characters are as minimal as they can get, focusing on the main quartet females of the series. It is sad that they do so much random stuffs that their characters suffer a lot. If you want to know more about them, their habits, their traits and their personality from watching this series, you’d be disappointed. Yeah, play the game to know more about them… That’s not what I’m asking for. So what can I tell about them just by watching the anime? Uhm… Toa the expressionless girl good at computer programming, Mihiro’s family runs a restaurant, Kaoruko seems to be another secret mangaka and Ashe… Uhm, Ashe… Blonde twintail. Argh! I’m going with the stereotype. Tsundere character?! And an unusual non-Japanese name means she must be a half foreigner too, right?!

Sometimes I want to draw comparisons of this anime with Seitokai No Ichizon simply because both series focuses on a group of student council members, 4 girls and a boy doing nothing and random things. And the guy always gets owned. Unfortunately as we have seen here that Kouki has been taken out of the picture throughout the series so imagine the fun and havoc this guy would have to go through by dealing with these girls. Ah, such a shame. It could end up pretty similar and close to a rip-off to Seitokai No Ichizon but if they did it in the right and funny way, we won’t mind at all. It is just sad that potential is already taken off from the beginning.

The art and drawing are pretty standard. Since it mixes the anime standard as well as the typical visual novel game style, you can very much see the difference. Of course personally I would prefer the anime style since they look much cuter compared to their original counterparts. So forgive them if you find some scenes to be of low quality and plain because this anime is developed by the relatively new AXsiZ whose only other work was a collaboration with Studio Gokumi to produce Koukaku No Pandora.

Voice acting is decent too and nothing to shout about. Must be one of the easiest voice casting ever having only 4 seiyuus for a series that lasts 3.5 minutes. So we have Mariko Honda as Kaoruko (Kurimu in Seitokai No Ichizon), Megu Sakuragawa as Ashe (Tsubasa in Love Live! S2), Chiyo Ousaki as Mihiro (Sara in Da Capo III) and Mai Goto as Toa (Mizuki in ef series). The ending theme is High Spec Days by Haruna Ooshima. It is a shame that this upbeat anime rock shows great potential if it was adapted to a full length anime series. In such a short series with already disappointments in other departments, it just feels like a waste.

Overall, a disappointing short series and the only good thing was it was short enough so that your suffering of “What did I just watch?” wouldn’t prolong any further. Maybe the game would turn out good or not but that itself is another story to tell. So it goes to show that just by putting in cute girls doing cute things and throwing in a few yummy fanservice don’t quite cut it these days. Fans are demanding more and more so this appalling cock teaser isn’t going to do to bring up its reputation. It is as good as never should be made in the first place. Just like your hidden stash of bad porn that will never ever be found. That makes it both a victory and a loss in this case.

One Punch Man

August 28, 2016

How many episodes does it take for Super Saiyan Goku to finish his fight with his arch nemesis, Frieza? Well, don’t be surprise it will take at least a minimum of 10 episodes! Oh no! Why so freaking long?! Well… One episode to arrive on scene, one episode to scream and shout at each other, one episode to power up, one episode to show off all that warm up, two episodes for flashback, one episode for warming up fight, one episode to shout out for another power up to the next level, one episode for another flashback and then ten episodes for the actual fight and another five episodes to end it. Yikes! That went over 10 episodes!!!

What am I saying? You know why superheroes take some time to defeat their enemies, right? That is because there has got to be a lot of fighting and punching in between to weaken the enemy before defeating him. Am I right? But let’s say that what happens if all that could end in just a single punch. Say what?! How can you defeat an enemy in just a single punch?! Where is the fun in all that? It will be all over too soon before we even get to sit down and warm up our seat to watch the awesome fight! Yes people. It is true that there is a superhero that could end it all in just one freaking punch. One Punch Man. The titular hero is so freaking strong and could end any fights with just a single punch that he himself has become bored and mundane. Where’s the challenge? Yeah, even he is struggling to cope with his seemingly boring ordinary daily life. There are other challenges to overcome, you know. Ah yes, whoever said being a hero is easy?

Episode 1
The city is under attack by… Purple Piccolo???!!! Oh my. Who is going to save the day? Who is going to save this poor kid about to be squished by this DBZ knockoff? Don’t worry. Here comes Saitama. This bald dude is going to save everything? Laughable! And then… One punch! Piccolo clone explodes into smithereens! OMG!!! Flashback reveals Saitama was an ordinary salaryman. Actually he is still trying to find a job and unsuccessful for the umpteenth time. He still had hair then, though. He bumps into this Crablante monster who is killing everybody in his path while finding a kid who drew nipples on his body. Because Saitama had suicidal tendencies, Crablante lets him live. Saitama then sees that kid. He thought of minding his own business but when he sees him going to be killed by Crablante for real, he instinctively saves him. Despite getting beaten up several times, Saitama then finds his ultimate strength to counter it all and pull out all his innards!!! Ever since then, he began training strictly for 3 years until he is so freaking strong enough to destroy anything with 1 punch. Along the way, he became bald. Sighs… Now he is living his mundane ordinary life. Buying his usual groceries at the store when suddenly a giant monster begins stepping all over the city. It is another case of a mad scientist who did several tests on his brother who wanted to become the strongest man in the world. Mad scientist dude revels in squishing people like ants with his giant brother. Saitama flies up on his shoulder and when mad scientist brother tells him to get rid of this bald dude, giant brother smacks the wrong shoulder! OMG! He just killed his own brother! Well, he might be strong be he isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Giant brother feels empty after his brother’s death and before he could go on a rampage, Saitama defeats him with a single punch.

But Saitama has been plagued with personal issues lately. He doesn’t feel the same before when he started becoming a hero. He doesn’t feel the thrill in fighting anymore. It is like he has become an emotional robot. Because all he needs is one punch to end everything. Where is the fun in that? So he thought at least living his mundane life and doing the little things he enjoy would be okay. Then suddenly the underground people destroy his home. These Subterraneans are going to make the surface their home since the underground has been overpopulated. They are going to do this by wiping out the surface dwellers. As Saitama fights the ugly hordes, he could feel his adrenaline rushing. They put up a decent fight and this has been the thrill he had been seeking for so long. He takes on all of them and even kills off the big king. Yes! This is it! This is the exhilaration that he wants! Then suddenly… He wakes up! Damn dream sequence! But that dream may be a foreboding omen because those Subterraneans are here. Unfortunately they look pathetic. And when Saitama finishes off one of them and dares for them to come at him, the rest decide to cowardly go back and live underground forever. Yeah, they even said sorry for invading. What a letdown. Yeah, he became too strong alright.

Episode 2
Saitama might be the strongest dude but he still has a hard time trying to swat a mosquito! OMG! Is this a joke? Meanwhile the city is under curfew because of a swarm of mosquitoes sucking the blood of anything in its path. They are actually under the control of Mosquito Girl who is using them to collect blood as her food. Genos the cyborg has been tracking her down and fights her. Knowing she cannot best him, she flees to buy some time. That is when Genos stumbles onto Saitama. Still trying to kill the bug? Mosquito Girl returns with a bigger swarm to kill Genos but he burns a big radius of the city after confirming no other life forms are around. But Saitama is still alive. Only naked. Mosquito Girl has enough blood to transform into a super fast and powerful monster to rip Genos apart. Genos’ only hope is to self destruct and take her along with him. But Saitama punches her and she splatters into a big paint of blood! Seeing how strong he is, Genos wants to become his disciple and starts bugging him at his apartment. Saitama isn’t interested in taking him in but I don’t think cyborg guy is listening. He even went about telling his past of his poor but happy life till a crazy robot destroyed his town and family. He was the only survivor. Dr Kuseno performed body modifications on him and it has become his mission to find this robot but so far has found no clues. Feeling indebted to Saitama, he vows not to die before getting his revenge. Therefore he wants to study under him to obtain the greatest power to achieve his goal. His long ass story is put to a halt when Saitama screams his head off for being too long and just to summarize it in 20 words!

Meanwhile, a mad scientist, Dr Genus learns that Mosquito Girl has been defeated. But with one punch? He wants Saitama and to study him as a specimen. Before Genos can ask to start his training under Saitama, he detects presence of enemies surrounding the area. Too bad this praying mantis dude got owned by Saitama before he could finish his introduction. Then there are these weird weakling beasts outside, frog man and slug man outside the apartment, having second thoughts if this was such a good idea after all. Saitama easily knocks them underground and even lectures them about crashing through people’s ceiling. But he is also pulled under by this mole dude and confronted by cocky lion king while Genos takes on this gorilla dude. The beasts get cocky but Saitama is as his nonchalant self. He gives them a chance to apologize and go away but since that didn’t work, a single punch to kill off lion guy! Mole guy starts panicking and digs underground to hide but Saitama is waiting… How the?! Hello. Welcome to hell! Genos has defeated gorilla guy and the latter acts tough that his mouth is shut. But when Saitama brings the lion king’s eyeball, his balls shrink and will tell everything! Genus learns his beast army he sent has been eliminated. He and his clones are surprised at the turn of events.

Episode 3
Long ago, Genus was a brilliant scientist and got lots of awards. However there was a problem. None of his colleagues supported his idea of artificial evolution of humans. He became disillusioned and went on to do research on it by himself. It was till he is 70 years old that his efforts yielded results. He regained his youth, made clones and named his lab House of Evolution. Since gorilla’s summary is too long, he is told to summarize it in 20 words! In short, Genus is interested in his body. No, that is not a gay statement! Saitama wants to finish this today since tomorrow there is a sale at the supermarket. Genus and his clones detect Saitama and Genos coming towards their base. The clones become restless when Genus suggests unleashing their last trump card. They have set traps and this will only be their last resort. When the heroes arrive, Genos blasts the entire tower away! Bummer. And Saitama wanted to at least see what the enemy looked like. They find a trapdoor and an underground passage. Genus sees Carnage Kabuto. This giant beetle has been locked up underground and killing his clones. He deems himself as the strongest and most intelligent being ever although Genus sees him as a failure because he lacks humanity and is very mentally unstable. Kabuto charges through the passage and wipes out Genos. He tells Saitama to face him in a big empty underground room where it is used to test fights and such. Genos is not done yet and tries to burn Kabuto but he could easily deflect his flames. Flashback shows Genus considers everyone himself as inferior. This realization made him agonize. That is why he wants to see how this new human breed will transcend humanity.

Kabuto is cocky as usual. He is going to finish off with his super speed and strength. But when he gets behind Saitama, suddenly he starts feeling scared and backs off! Everyone is shocked with this reaction. Kabuto notes that despite his pathetic appearance, his guts is tingling that he is a freaking dangerous man. Kabuto can’t stop sweating. With everyone wanting to know how he became this strong, Saitama is going to reveal it. Listen carefully to his secret. The most important of all is to stick to your training strictly. It took him 3 years to get this strong. 100 push-ups , 100 sit-ups, 100 squads and running 10km. Every day. This is the only way to become strong instead of tinkering with genetics. But it is Genos that gets mad at his crap. He doesn’t believe in all that. This joke isn’t the reason he became his student. He wants to know his true secret. But that is all he did. Kabuto is also mad that he becomes so pissed, he transforms into his ultimate carnage form. He will not stop rampaging for a week in this mode and will kill everybody in town after he kills him. While Saitama gets pounded mercilessly, he starts thinking that if Kabuto goes berserk for a week, that means what about the damn supermarket sale???!!! This won’t do so Saitama punches and destroys him!!! Don’t f*ck with this guy! Genos says that they can make it for the sale if they run back now. So as the duo hurry out, Genus still in shock decides to give up on evolution. Screw science. He is the one who must change. Yeah. Good point. A couple of agents are investigated the burnt site where the tower once stood and they believe Genos could only do this.

Episode 4
Hammerhead (did I see this guy from Dragonball somewhere?) and his men are decrying about the injustice for the need to work like dogs and thus creating a society of imbalance wealth where the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. Nobody is listening… So their first job is to destroy the luxury apartment of the richest guy in town, Zeniru with the power suits they stole. Oops. Wrong apartment. Their terrorism is all over the news and Saitama isn’t really interested till he realized the single trait they all share: They are all bald! He fears this trend will make him be seen as a villain. So he goes out to stop them but good luck in trying to dismiss the public pointing him out as a terrorist! Zeniru sends his henchman, Sonic to take care of the terrorists. No, he is not a blue hedgehog but a crazy bloodthirsty ninja. He easily decapitates the goons like hot butter. Hammerhead is formidable but eventually gets a kunai in his head. Thanks to his thick skull, he manages to fake death and slip away. That is when he bumps into Saitama. Since he is not going to join his gang, he is going to kill him. A single punch is enough to shatter his power suit and send Hammerhead running away with his life intact but butt naked. Saitama is attacked by Sonic who mistakes him as Hammerhead’s henchman. However Saitama is fast enough to dodge all his attacks. His pride as a ninja is hurt so Sonic shows off his supersonic speed but Saitama thinks he just wants to boast about it. He knows. Look at his innocent smile. Yeah. ‘Innocent’…

Sonic is shocked he can see through his attacks even at this speed. Saitama could have punched his balls and would have been a painful death had not Sonic pulled back. There was contact but it was enough for Sonic to feel the pain. I’m sure it hurts as hell but hey, at least it is intact. He vows to go for training and return stronger to defeat him. When Genos visits after being repaired Kuseno, he sees Saitama depressed. What is bugging him? Actually he is thinking of the big problem that nobody knows him as a hero! So all those monster and bug destroying feats, nobody cared? Realizing that Saitama’s name didn’t pop up on the news and only some minor hero who took the credit for disarming Hammerhead’s gang, he wonders if Saitama is registered with the Hero Association. Oh look. There is a website you can look up. One can register at the nearest branch, take a test and once confirmed, will become a professional member to do lots of hero work and even get paid from donations. Anybody else self proclaiming as one are just weirdoes. Well I’ll be damned. Saitama never knew about this? Genos is not a member because he didn’t think it was necessary. Saitama suggests they go join and then he will take him as his disciple. Agreed. Meanwhile Hammerhead is killed off by some weird guys who purposely let his gang steal the power suits to collect data. Thanks to Hammerhead’s thick skull, he still lives. Yeah, now he has regretted his way of life and will get an honest job. So glad to be alive, eh?

Episode 5
The committee is discussing the increase in heroes entering the certification exam. However it is noted that the quality of heroes has reduced throughout the years and this year’s evaluation must be more critical. Saitama as at the exam. He is so fast and powerful that he is already done with the task when others are about to begin! Holy crap! Why is there a whack-a-mole game at the test too?! Saitama is so great that it discouraged some heroes. Yeah, going home, aren’t they? Despite Saitama’s awesomeness, he only got C-rank as opposed to Genos getting the highest S-rank. There was an interview Genos underwent. The agents asked him about the burnt down side of House of Evolution they have been tracking down. Genos didn’t hesitate he was the one behind it and immediately they pass him. Seems the duo are the only successful candidates and they have to attend a special seminar helmed by this cocky A-rank hero, Snek. He warns them about embarrassing themselves but didn’t he just put up an embarrassing pose? Even more insulting is how they’re not listening to his crap. The duo also learn a little history of Hero Association. Formed only 3 years ago, it was by Agoni, the grandchild of a millionaire who was saved from a monster by a passerby. He then used his fortune to establish this system. While Snek is complaining about those amateurs, he is being told that Genos scored perfect in written and physical tests. As for Saitama, he did poorly on the written tests. Despite his perfect score in the physical, he is only admitted based on the fact that he broke all Hero Association’s test records by inconceivable margins. It is like as though there is a god residing in his body. Snek fears he would soon be surpassed by them and out of jealousy goes to attack Saitama. He got owned in a single punch. I believe Saitama didn’t even go all out or break a sweat, that’s why he is still breathing.

Genos trains with Saitama and wants him to go all out so he too can be serious. This fight might also give him insight on Saitama’s powers since he believes his master cannot explain his secret well. Despite Genos pulling off every firepower in his arsenal that leaves burn marks on the terrains, Saitama could easily dodge them all. Genos thought he isn’t being serious so when he does, he is even faster than before! Genos thought he is done for when he sees Saitama’s punch coming into his face. But he stops inches before hitting his face. However the aftershock was huge that it turned the cliff into a huge valley! OMG! I am sure Genos is ready to call it a day since he realizes he can’t see himself coming close to this power. During lunch at the udon house, we see Saitama isn’t the strongest after all because Genos beats him in the udon eating competition. Do cyborgs need to eat? Genos is approached by a handsome A-rank hero, Sweet Mask who wants to talk outside. Genos returns shortly and there was no fight as Saitama expected. He was here to give his welcome to the association. Because Sweet Mask is quite a popular hero, several pretty girls (and ugly ones too) want to shake hands with Genos for being friends with Sweet Mask. I guess Saitama could see the different treatment between their ranks, eh? Better move up fast. Genos remembers Sweet Mask’s advice not to be too quick to be hot headed or he will get burnt. Saitama thinks he got deeper into trouble now that Genos is officially his disciple. I’m sure he didn’t count on him moving into his place as he brings all his stuffs. But after seeing Genos’ stack of notes as rental, it is a big welcome! Oh yeah. Nothing changes your stance better than money.

Episode 6
If having to think up of an acceptable training regiment is stressing out Saitama, wait till here hears how C-rank heroes must be involved in some hero activity at least once a week or they will be deregistered! Because A-rank gets to fight terrorists and monsters, C-ranks are usually reduced to catch petty thieves. Time to make up time for idling around the house. Saitama manages to convince Genos with this crap he just made up about not training his body but his mind. Then off he runs around town to find any crime. Too peaceful! Oh well, there is always tomorrow. That’s the thing with procrastination. Yet another peaceful day. Time to panic? He stumbles upon Sonic who wants to kick his ass. Saitama ignores him since he is busy. Sonic swiftly cuts him but Saitama is swifter as he breaks his sword with his teeth! Sonic couldn’t even see it coming! More trouble for Saitama when a civilian calls this hero, Tank Top Tiger to apprehend Saitama! Because he was running around with a scary face yesterday! Disturbing the peace? Sonic easily puts him to sleep with his explosive shurikens and then continue his big fight with Saitama. Yeah well, the entire town is going to be destroyed at this rate. Hope this counts as work. A committee is keeping track of reports of the various top heroes and their activities on various alphabet cities. This committee was formed because of the substantial damage to the cities and thus the need to prevent it by detecting any potential threat via investigation. City Z has the highest number of monster attacks and has been increasing over the years.

Top A-class heroes, Golden Ball and Spring Mustachio are sent to investigate this ghost town. It is natural that people fled the city after experiencing too many monster attacks. During their investigation, they stumble upon a seaweed tentacle monster. Golden Ball intercepts it but he didn’t count his bullet to be broken. Then he got owned. Mustachio takes him on but realizes the monstrosity he is. Before he is defeated, he requested backup from Hero Association. The monster is disappointed about everything. He thought he could take it all out on Saitama passing by. Bad choice. And so Saitama is going to have a nice dinner of kelp and seaweed. Yum. The report on City Z is handed in as nothing extraordinary. But it is noted despite the A-class heroes failed to defeat the monster, they fear it might be still roaming around. Even more baffling how the reinforcement heroes came and saw a freaking big devastation at the battle site. It made them feel scared about what had happened. The investigation continues and rumours start spreading to humans and monsters alike that there is a much more dangerous monster lurking there. Saitama is glad his rank went up a bit thanks to quelling that Sonic incident. But he is disheartened that despite Genos being ranked last in S-class, he is voted the 6th most popular based on appearance. I guess Saitama had to stop him from reading aloud and further all those comments.

Episode 7
Genos receives an emergency call to gather at Hero Association. But when he arrives, it is empty. Only he and another S-class hero, Bang are there. It seems a meteor has deviated from its trajectory and is about to hit City Z and affect its adjacent cities. All S-class heroes have been called to handle to problem but looks like nobody is interested. Besides, the evacuation announcement just made panicking worse. Genos goes to stop the meteor and he has no choice but to test out his prototype arms. Before he could make a move, fellow S-rank hero, Metal Knight is here to destroy the meteor. However his intention is not to help but to test his new weapons. He isn’t afraid of losing and dying since he is controlling this robot body via remote. When his fiery missiles fail to even scratch the meteor, Genos starts panicking that it is all up to him. Will his firepower be enough to stop it since Metal Knight failed? Bang is here to tell him off about worrying too much so Genos screws his thoughts and fires away. Nothing happens. Doomed. But don’t worry. It is Saitama’s turn. He jumps up to destroy the meteor in a single punch! OMG! Missiles can’t do the job but his fist can?! However… The meteor breaks up into pieces and rains down on the city. Damn… In the aftermath, it is reported that although City Z is visibly in ruins, it is not completely destroyed. Because usually the shockwaves from the meteor would have destroyed everything even if it was in pieces but Saitama was able to stop that with his punch and minimizing damage. I guess it isn’t that all bad. Plus, nobody died. However Genos is concerned that despite his heroic efforts, he knows that the ordinary people view him as a villain who destroyed their city. It is all over the forums.

Thanks to their heroics, Genos and Metal Knight move up a rank while Saitama moves up over 300 places to fifth in C-class! OMG! Unbelievable! Perhaps the only thing preventing him from being promoted to S-class is because the association thinks he got help from Genos and Metal Knight. Saitama goes to patrol the city alone. That is when Tank Top Tiger calls out to him. Yeah, he brought his brother, Tank Top Black Hole to get his revenge. But honestly, Saitama doesn’t even remember this dude. So instead of beating him up, big brother has a better idea to break his spirit. At the top of his voice, he blames Saitama as the one who destroyed the city and causing unnecessary troubles to others. With the crowd gathering and the typical ungrateful herd mentality, they all chant for him to resign as a hero. The brothers get greedy to make this as their publicity stunt as they claim Saitama wants to take out his frustrations on the people and they are here to stop him in a fair fight. But you know… Tank Top Tiger gets punched away and Tank Top Black Hole starts squirming in pain, pleading for his life and admitting all his lies! Saitama is just holding his palm. Yeah… In a surprise move, Saitama then admits he did destroy the comet. Also, he tells everyone to shut up b*tching about their inconvenience. Tell that to the meteor and see if it listens to you. So just shut the f*ck up! Genos is here to bring Saitama home before he starts blowing his top and making him even balder. Hah… Genos assures him even if the public turns against him or doesn’t appreciate him, he will always follow him for he is the most incredible person he has ever met.

Episode 8
A sea monster terrorizes another city. It could have been vicious tentacle rape had not he been taking out by a single punch. Guess who? Despite the public forums view him as strong, many believe he steals credits of others. Soon, more sea monsters (and more vicious sea tentacles) attack the city. The alert is sounded so S-class heroes stream in to fight them and the people evacuate. This Stinger dude (Lancer?) manages to defeat all the monsters till he loses to the super strong Deep Sea King. Not even Lightning Max had a fighting chance. Then here comes this macho gay hero convict, Puri-Puri Prisoner. This S-class hero is a convict? Yeah, assaulting too many handsome guys and beautiful boys. He escaped with Sonic. Prisoner and Deep Sea King are evenly matched in terms of strength. However after Prisoner pulls off all his combo punches, Deep Sea King is still standing and blows him away with a few punches. Sonic thinks his speed allows him to take him on. At first he is fast but slowly he realizes Deep Sea King is getting faster and stronger. It must be the rain enhancing his true powers. He makes a wise decision to escape for now. At the expense of his clothes. So when Genos just came running into the city, he thought he saw a pervert. Deep Sea King turns his attention to slaughter all the civilians taking shelter. He is not taking any prisoners. Some of the heroes at the shelter thought they could buy time but they got owned in no time. So much about that. Saitama runs into fellow hero, Licenseless Rider while on his way into the city. He thought he saw a naked pervert zoomed by. He goes to check it out but lost him. At that time, Licenseless Rider got word that Deep Sea King is attacking the shelter and pedals there. He dropped his handphone just when he gets a call from Hero Association. Saitama picks it up instead and hears how S-class heroes have been defeated and they stand no chance. Saitama’s serious face says otherwise…

Episode 9
Genos arrives to fight the monster. He throws every arsenal in his book but Deep Sea King regenerates and fight back. When he spits acid at a girl, Genos uses his body to protect her. Gosh, he looks worst than Terminator. All bare, uhm, bones and metal? Before he could be finished off, Licenseless Rider comes to attack. Unfortunately he too takes a beating. Another hero to bite the dust? Licenseless Rider knows very well himself that despite being a C-class hero, he cannot win this. But yet he must try. It isn’t about losing or winning. It’s about him taking him on right here, right now. The crowd is touched and cheers for him but a single monster punch is enough to knock him out. There goes the hope. Oh wait. Here is Saitama. It’s his turn now. A big punch from Deep Sea King doesn’t even move him! And he calls that punch weak? Saitama throws his usual punch enough to blow the monster away and even clears up the sky! WOW!!! Unbelievable! Sonic returns with his gear… It’s over dude. In the aftermath, Genos receives lots of fan mail. There is one for Saitama but it is a threatening letter calling him a cheat. Flashback after Deep Sea King’s defeat, the crowd is ever so grateful but a stupid jerk said the monster boss wasn’t that tough after all. Even though many heroes were defeated, their titles meant nothing and imagine if a C-class hero could beat it, they are all just talk. Since the heroes are paid with their donated money, they had better protect them and it is a good thing this one turned out well. The crowd wants to punch that jerk but that is when Saitama declares it was a good thing he was late. Because the other heroes weakened the monster for him and thus it was easy for him. Now he will claim all the credit. He wants everyone to spread the word and look after the fallen heroes otherwise his credit will be tainted. This made the crowd rethink that the other heroes were more heroic. Genos felt bad but if this is the path he wants to walk, so be it. But if the next time it happens, he will have his say. All is not lost since there is a letter thanking Saitama. Then another letter that promotes him to the top of C-class. Soon he is called by Hero Association for a promotion test to B-class. He accepts the test since it will get him out of the bothersome weekly quota. Deep Sea King’s defeat is on the front page of the newspaper. The fallen heroes must be feeling sour. But Prisoner wants their ass but they have energy to run. Prisoner sees an article calling him a failure. After a lengthy test, Saitama is now a B-class hero. Licenseless Rider treats him to oden to celebrate his promotion. He is the one who sent that thank you letter.

Episode 10
With all the king monsters gone, this dinosaur lizard king is going to claim his right to take over Earth. He is confronted with S-class hero, Tatsumaki who ignores him because she just got some call over some problem. They both ignore each other until they’re ready to fight. But dinosaur dude dies after a meteor crashes into him. Saitama and Genos are in Bang’s dojo when they receive an emergency call for all S-class heroes to assemble at the HQ. Saitama meets a few of them like Atomic Samurai. Because Saitama is not even S-class, those heroes act arrogant. But since Tatsumaki is a little brat, I guess Saitama can ignore her ranting. So we are briefly introduced to all the 17 S-class heroes. Yeah, they look more like weirdoes. Only Metal Knight and the top S-class hero, Blast are missing from this meeting. First, the heroes are to decide whether or not they want to accept this mission. If they do, they will be confined here until the disaster to avoid public panic. The great seer, Madame Shibabawa has died. Many of her predictions that befall Earth are accurate. She died choking when she saw the greatest disaster ever to befall Earth. She managed to leave a note but that is all it states. Nobody knows what it is actually. The building is under attack by tengu monsters but they are swiftly cut down by a hideous alien. A big mothership hovers over the city. And in a single powerful blast, 99.8% of the city is destroyed! OMG! Only the HQ is left standing since it was built by Metal Knight. Some of the S-class heroes engage with this multi-headed alien blob, Melzagard but it will be hard to cut him down since he can regenerate fast. When S-class hero, King who is also the strongest man on Earth says it is impossible to reach the mothership from here and should concentrate on finding Metal Knight, Tatsumaki blows her top for him being pathetic and doing nothing. She will take care of this herself. Genos wants to help but she plans on going solo. After all, Genos notes that there is no need for the heroes to work together because he knows Saitama is already inside the mothership. He is leaving a trail of dead aliens in his wake as he searches for the big boss.

Episode 11
Geryuganshoop is shocked that a lone intruder has destroyed 23% of the ship and killed half the crew! But the big Cyclops boss, Lord Boros says the ship will be fine as long as the sphere is not damage. Atomic Samurai, Bang, Prisoner and Metal Bat continue to engage in futile a fight against Melzargard. All they can do is just keep hitting till something happens. When they notice a tiny marble inside a head and smashing it means instantly melting that head, they get motivated to find it and slowly they take out the heads one by one. Geryuganshoop seeks help from Melzargard to kill the intruder but he too seeks his help to come down and fight. But they decide they will just use the artillery to bombard the entire city. Saitama is running rampage that he is lost. Geryuganshoop is desperate to get him off the ship that he will guide him to the exit. But sneaky Saitama did the opposite and ends up in the control room. Geryuganshoop uses his super telekinesis power to control gravity. Not affecting Saitama one bit. He then uses pebbles as deadly projection but Saitama views it as child’s play. Boring. A flick back at him splits the octopus’ head in half! Game over. The bombardment is set to fire now. Before the heavy missiles could rain on the city, bratty Tatsumaki uses her telekinesis to return them to where they come from. Guess who got a taste of their own medicine? Licenseless Rider and a few other A-class heroes help out with the evacuation of the city and those who are injured. Melzargard is down to his last head but Bang takes a direct hit. Saitama has found Boros’ chamber. Cyclops boss is happy he has reached here. He introduces himself as the captain of his alien pirates, Dark Matter. He is the strongest being in the universe. So strong that nobody could best him and he ravaged everything in sight that he became bored. Till a seer told him of a great warrior could match his potential. His crew think it was just a ploy to get rid of him to the far edges of the galaxy but the trip of 20 years is worth the wait. Show me your true strength! Saitama isn’t amused about his boredom crap and his single punch sends him flying. For the first time, an opponent he punches didn’t die! It only shackles his armour which seals his strength. Oh sh*t… Time to return the favour. He transforms into his true form. Since when is electrifying disco punk the trend?

Episode 12
The super epic fight begins that puts Goku’s Super Saiyan fight look like a baby! Meanwhile with Tatsumaki using her telekinesis to wrap up things on the mothership and send other aliens crying about their mama and homeland, some of the S-class heroes just went home. Drive Knight leaves Genos with an advice that Metal Knight is his enemy and should stay away from him. Melzargard is on the offensive but is surprised Bang is still alive. After seeing him regenerate so many times, Bang even knows where to get and crush his marble. We return to our epic fight between Saitama and Boros. The latter thought the fight is his and starts bragging about being the strongest and his regenerative abilities. But Saitama looks bored and just asks him if this fight is still on. Oh, it is just getting started. Saitama is punched away as far as the moon! OMG! How can he breathe? Don’t care. But he jumps back down to Earth! Hope he didn’t change the moon’s trajectory. You bet Boros is shocked that he is back and survives. He is going to be a worthy opponent to defeat. Now they are going all out that makes Super Saiyan fights look like babies. Saitama unleashes a series of consecutive punches. It blows Boros to bits but he regenerates. He then gets serious with his, uhm, serious punch (aren’t all his punches serious?) and defeats Boros for good. Saitama praises him for being a strong dude. Boros In his last breath calls him a liar because he knows he still has strength left and this wasn’t a battle for him in the first place. The mothership is going to crash so all the heroes better get running if they don’t want to become S-class pancakes.

Sweet Mask arrives in the aftermath and wants to know what happened. The heroes explain but he is not amused and calls them pathetic. Is he the one to say for arriving late and not helping? Despite so, he claims the heroes couldn’t save a brick of the city. Sweet Mask argues he never get promoted to S-class despite having the chance because he wants to prevent useless heroes from moving up. Probably a big fight is going to start between Sweet Mask and Metal Bat but Metal Knight drops into the scene. Genos realizes he has come to salvage parts of the mothership and he doesn’t deny it. He will use the parts to create better weapons. Because better weapons = better peace. Some of the captured aliens thought they could talk their way out. They are all instantly killed by Sweet Mask. He calls them evil and there is nothing else to be said. Sweet Mask views Genos as a disappointment. This act reminds Genos he was once like that, rushing to mete out justice. Saitama finally breaks out from the mothership. I guess he even got lost after that. Since master and disciple are ignoring Tatsumaki, she starts insulting them. Saitama tells Genos to shut her up but he gets owned! Bang puts a stop to their in-quarrel. Looks like Saitama has to pick up Genos’ pieces. Oops, he ripped his arm? In the aftermath, news of the alien invasion and the city destruction hog the headlines for days before it died down and forgotten. Hero Association reconstructed their base to be stronger and give those who are ranked A-class and above to live there. They have also built roads and infrastructure that would give faster access to heroes to other cities. In another city, this pig king of the underworld unleashes his terror. And you know who destroys him with a single punch, right? But Saitama doesn’t look too happy… After that awesome fight with Boros, he is not pleased of returning to one punch again! All over too fast!

OVA
An origin story because you know, Saitama still had hair. After defeating another monster, he notices his jersey is ripped again and sends it to his usual tailor to fix it. Little did he know, tailor uncle just got a last warning from a loan shark punk to come up with the cash by tomorrow or else. Uncle has taken the liberty to design a tougher costume for him. Looks hideous… Because he is so kind to do so, Saitama feels bad to turn him down. After all, he isn’t sure about this hero thing and is only doing it as hobby. Meanwhile the punk reports to his boss about the tailor. He will finally get his shop deed. It seems some inner voice tells him to destroy. Saitama walks around the abandoned neighbourhood and notices what uncle said was true that with the high crime rate, many shops have closed. But he too has his own problems because the landlady comes knocking on his door at an ungodly hour looking for his 3 months in rent! Next day when Saitama goes to collect his jersey, he sees uncle handing the punk his shop’s deed. Of course you know how extortion works and since he can’t keep up with the interest, it’s time to handover. He hasn’t called the police because the loan shark group lives in an apartment where the police cannot touch them. So with direction advice, Saitama promises to head there and negotiate to get his deed back.

He didn’t expect his landlady to be living there! Also, he encounters weirdoes from counterfeiters and underwear thieves. The only reason he got motivated to beat them up is the reward those dumb criminals mention they have. Finally he enters the room of the loan shark boss. He shows a card and explains about the law how uncle has cleared his debts and now that he is just overpaying and thus has no right to seize his deed. This causes the boss to go mad as he transforms into… A BDSM goldfish monster? Yeah, no wonder Saitama calls him a pervert. Boss shows off his power and once again his jersey gets ripped. But when Saitama hears there is a high reward on him… Landlady wonders why Saitama is at her doorstep. He doesn’t have the rent money to pay her but he has rounded up these criminals with a bounty. He has already called the police and if she turns them in, consider it as his rent payments settled. However she gets upset instead because now her main income source is gone! Oh sh*t! She is the ringleader? As a result, he gets kicked out. Uncle picks him up on the streets and to show his gratefulness for returning his deed, he has created a costume for him (his trademark costume of the series). Of course uncle says he is already getting old and was probably looking for a reason to retire and close the shop anyway. Saitama puts on the costume and feels weird about it at first but eventually gets used to it. It seems Saitama is telling this story to Genos of how important this suit is to him. But he thinks Genos hasn’t been listening because Genos thinking the essence to become a true hero is to have something important, he wants Saitama to throw away the costume so he could personally give him a new one. I don’t think that was even the point…

Specials

12 minutes special when you buy the DVDs and cannot get enough of our super strong bald hero.

Special 1
After watching a stalker movie, Saitama has a feeling that somebody is stalking him. It is actually Genos trying to know more about him as he camps across his place. Of course Genos also has to be careful because he thinks Saitama is being cautious and on his guard. At a family restaurant, he observes Saitama ordering only a kid’s meal of fries. No money… It’s a sin to be poor. Yeah, small portion too… Remember, a kid’s meal… After he returns from toilet, he notices a fry missing! He calls the waitress but do you think she can possibly explain? Yeah, she looks scared… Genos is the culprit stealing the fry and will analyze it thinking it would be the diet that made Saitama strong. Saitama believes the stalker is the one who stole his fry and will wait for him to show up. No show… To compound his bad day, there is this handsome guy monster turning people into dry skin. He reminds Saitama that they fought 6 months before and was defeated. The shock of the defeat left his skin dry and so he underwent some strict moisturizing regiment and did random stuffs to attract his attention. Saitama misinterprets all that as him being the stalker AKA French fry thief. Poor pretty guy gets owned big time for a misunderstanding. But hell yeah, Saitama still saved the day, right? He narrates about his fate of being a hero that will have others seeking grudge on him. It is not that he doesn’t want fans but at least it would be nice for someone to notice his efforts. He then remembers a disciple wannabe. Meanwhile Genos analyzes the fry and finds out to be a regular fry. Disappointed? So the next day, he takes his first bold step to ask Saitama to become his disciple.

Special 2
Genos is confronted by Don Pacino and his men. The latter have Genos’ precious key. Don wants to know his connection with this man who is from a rival gang and once he tells him, he can have the key back. It all began when Genos and Saitama at a public bath. There’s some mindless chatter on what expression to say when it feels good. Why can’t a normal “Ahhh~” do? Yeah, even Don is arguing a better way to say it. Anyway, after they are done, Saitama hand the key to his place and cautions him not to lose them since it is dangerous around these days. That is when Saitama remembers some time limited cheap sale. I wonder how he could stick so many brochures in his pocket. Because he worries he cannot cover all of them in time, Genos suggested they split up to cover more ground. Unfortunately Genos had his hands full in defeating some toilet bowl villain and because he was 2 seconds late, the store clerk turned him down. No offer. He rushed to the next store but it was closed with a notice. That is when the rival gang guy passed by as Genos sought an answer. He was told about Don as the new boss around and the shop might have closed down because they can’t afford to pay protection money. That is when Don and his men picked up Genos’ dropped key and want to talk. Don is shocked that Genos and this guy had no relation and they wasted their time hearing his useless story. Well, he asked, right? They are so mad that they pull out their guns. Genos realizes they are wanted men and have no intention to return his keys. I don’t think their bullets can match his firepower. Genos gets the keys and returns home. Saitama is already back as he has an extra set. Genos has stopped by another store on his way home and got some premium meat in which they make and enjoy a delicious sukiyaki.

Special 3
Sonic is still reeling from his trauma of his fight with Saitama. It always ends with Saitama punching his balls! Yeah, that has got to hurt. No matter how he envisions it, he cannot see himself beating Saitama. Sonic is currently living in the woods with an old hunter, Matagi. He tells of his experience of fighting a bear that give him a hideous scar on his arm. Although he survived, he feels afraid each time he thinks of that. The only way he can overcome his fear is to defeat it. The same applies to Sonic. He goes to train himself and one day saves a little boar from a giant snake. At first he sees Saitama in it but overcomes it to cut it apart. The boar sticks around him and Sonic names it Ino. Sonic continues his training until he finds his confidence. He then returns to the city while leaving Ino in Matagi’s care. Sonic’s parting advice is that if he gets confident of his skills and yet lose, the result will always be the same. That night the bear comes by and Matagi despite still shaking knows he must fight after remembering Sonic’s words. The bear tears the place apart and flings Matagi about. He is out of bullets too. Before the bear could kill him, here comes Saitama. Ino upon seeing his face flees! You know Saitama is such badass when even the bear starts feeling afraid. Dead meat. Saitama and Genos enjoy a good sukiyaki with bear meat although he would have preferred boar meat.

Special 4
Bang needs to know why Saitama’s punch is more powerful than his after that meteor incident. He goes to spy on them and couldn’t comprehend their master-disciple relationship. Sizing him up, he finds Saitama to be quite ordinary. He invites them to do some muscle training in his dojo tomorrow. Surprisingly Saitama accepts. But next day, Bang waits and they never show up. He goes to spy on them again and learns Saitama accepted only because the old fart won’t get off their back if they refused. Bang then witnesses Saitama swiftly trying to save something from an incoming truck. Luckily Genos lifted the truck but Saitama is left to rue that the cat was actually a plastic bag. And there goes his meat he bought. Bang then invites them to his dojo because he has meat for them. Yeah, that is how you ring Saitama in. Before he gives his meat, Bang wants to challenge him in a few things. Whether it is tile breaking or karuta, Saitama does it better. So it is decided to play penalty rock-scissors-paper. Saitama always loses and he always slips in reaching for the helmet. By that time Bang already knocked the toy hammer on his head. Finally after the umpteenth time Saitama wins but his hand once again slips in reaching the hammer. Bang feels nostalgic how his dojo was filled with youth. Bang realizes Saitama is going to whack him and he is wise to get out because the helmet is destroyed by his strength! Bang is shocked and left wondering what would be of him had this been a real fight. He admits his loss and gives them the meat. Then he passionately waxes lyrical about the essence of martial art, which is basically his way of trying to coax them to join his dojo. Sorry dude. Not interested.

Special 5
Fubuki and her group successfully defeat another monster. But she becomes disheartened that their efforts are nowhere mentioned in the papers. Even more depressing is how her older sister, Tatsumaki makes the headlines even without doing anything. She takes a train ride for a change in pace. Genos is also there, coming back from an errand of buying crabs for Saitama. He recognizes her as the top rank B-class hero. He receives a call that a serial bomber has put bombs on the train and will explode when it reaches the next station. Genos goes into action. Knowing her psychic powers, he has her levitate the passengers out to safety while he tries to stop the train. There is also a girl onboard who is a C-class hero. She volunteers to go find the bomb. Genos is not making any headway in slowing the train down. All the passengers have been safely evacuated and the bomb is found in the toilet. Fubuki levitates the girl out and she thinks her only way to minimise damage is to isolate the bomb. Before the train reaches the station, Fubuki and Genos are levitated away. Tatsumaki easily levitates the train high into the sky and even compresses the explosion. When the sisters come face to face, the feeling is not mutual. Fubuki walks home and the girl thanks her for saving her. She explains about being the last ranked hero in C-class and felt she was making any progress. But after today, she wants to continue becoming a hero. She hopes to rise up to B-rank and join her group. But Fubuki hints that she has already accepted her. Genos sees Kuseno and wants him to add psychic powers. Of course it is out of his field as he wonders if he needs it to fight a great enemy. Actually it is so that he would have brought crabs that won’t explode. There are crabs that won’t? Meanwhile Saitama continues to wait for his crab meat…

Special 6
A murder mystery at the hotspring inn?! One of the heroes, Zombieman is dead. Previously, Hero Association decided to treat all the heroes as reward for saving Earth from aliens with this wonderful hotspring inn relaxation. Some aren’t too happy that the reward is given to all of them despite some were blatantly missing in action during the invasion. So the usual drinking and celebrating. Before they know it, everyone gathers around Zombieman’s body at the hallway with a sword stabbed from the back. Child Emperor plays detective as he tries to deduce and narrow down the suspects. As the sword belongs to Atomic Samurai, however he does have an alibi so he wasn’t the one who went and stab Zombieman. Prisoner is also suspected as he is the only convict and thus the least trustworthy. Even more so Zombieman did have thoughts on targeting Zombieman as his sexual target! Saitama is another suspect since nothing much is known on him. Genos defends Saitama that he is so strong that he doesn’t need weapons to kill. But then Genos starts thinking maybe he could. Child Emperor asks King next since he was the first one who spotted the body. He recounts when he first saw the body, he reported it to the front desk and returned to his room. That’s all. More suspicions on him because instead of joining the rest in the hotspring, he went to soak by himself in his own room. A fight is looming when Tatsumaki warns she’ll restrain all of them if they start acting up. Just then, Zombieman wakes up! Well, his name is already a dead giveaway that he can’t die. He relates last night he was quite drunk and couldn’t remember much and just slept there when the sword stabbed him. All he remembers is the sword flying towards him from someone with aura like Tatsumaki. Is she the culprit? Tatsumaki defends herself that she knows Zombieman is immortal and wouldn’t die like this. Besides, she was drunk too and doesn’t remember much. Since it doesn’t bother Zombieman, everyone just let it go and return. Later Child Dragon is shown footage from the CCTV that Tatsumaki was the one who threw the sword at him. She was clearly drunk. But her motive remains unclear. When Saitama and Genos talk about this, Genos believes Saitama may be the reason. He teased her to stop acting like an adult because drinking is only for grownups. She got infuriated and forced herself to drink more sake. Then she took out her frustrations on Zombieman knowing he can’t die.

Sucker Punch!
Wait! What?! It ended too soon?! Just like Saitama’s one punch?! Oh, come on! I was really enjoying it and they had to put up that seemingly rushed ending, which doesn’t feel much of an ending by the way. Oh well, just like how Saitama has got to live with his devastating single punch each time he goes out to the battlefield, we must also live with the fact that this series is only one cour for now.

With so much potential for development, it is a shame that it would be a great waste if this series does not get any more seasons. Because the one thing that was the downside of this series only having a dozen TV episodes is the fact that there is not enough focus on the other superheroes. Saitama and Genos have their fair share of screen time in the initial episodes but as we get to know more and more heroes, it feels like this bunch of S-class heroes are as interesting and weird as they are. That is why personally I felt disappointed that some of the S-class heroes didn’t even get any proper screen time and only appeared just for introductions. It would be really interesting to get to know all of them.

Because in the world we live in today, being good or bad is not as obvious decades ago. Everything is such a grey area. That is why I was hoping to see ego clashes with Saitama and the other top heroes. Heck, even comic book hero groups like Avengers and Justice League have their own share of problems, right? I mean, when you have a group of very weird looking heroes (there is a pig glutton among them, am I not mistaken?), there is bound to be friction as we have already seen in some of them. Some like Metal Knight even have their own personal agenda. For all you know, the heroes are no better than villains and what makes them different is just the tag and label of hero on them.

So let me say again that if I had to point out the most disappointing aspect of this series, it would be the character development part on the other heroes. Or even other characters like Sonic who is pretty much like the villain for now and it feels wasted that he isn’t focused very much after his initial bout with Saitama. Yeah, with monsters rampaging, we have got no time for this fast ninja who seems to be more of a clown when he is not in deadly ninja mode. And Sweet Mask? There seems to be more than meets the eye to his upfront beautiful face…

But as far as our main hero Saitama is concerned, sometimes I find it unbelievable that with such simple exercises and discipline has turned him into a God-like character. Yeah, he is so strong and so fast that it is as though he has got the God cheat code on for eternity! So strong and fast that he is just bored when he fights his very cocky and enthusiastic (and soon to be dead) opponents. Like as though he was reading for the script and knows every inch and move his opponents will make. Those who survived will turn over a new leaf! Yeah, seeing his power is more fearful than meeting Satan himself. So if all that doesn’t even make him God, I don’t know what will. Despite all that, the irony is that Saitama is fairly unknown even in his own city. Like nobody cares who destroyed the monster in a single punch? Like no Hero Association members ever questioned who defeated the monsters to save the cities? Aren’t they even curious to find out who? That is why it just boggles my mind despite being the strongest, he is so relatively unknown like as though he is existence under the nose of everybody.

And at the rate Saitama destroys monsters that keep popping out from the ground, sky, space or anywhere on Earth, it is just a matter of time before these creatures become extinct. Uh huh. Maybe that is how the dinosaurs went extinct. Before you know it, Earth will once again be the world’s safest place thanks to Saitama! All hail Saitama the God! Despite Saitama’s boredom, he still tries to live a modest life and works his way up the honest way. He even questioned if joining Hero Association is the kind of hero he wanted to become. That is why it is sad that he decided to play the villain in becoming the bad guy after defeating Deep Sea King. If taking all the credits is not his style, but being the bad guy? Just think about the implications of Hero Association if he did. What will the public think about them? Will they need Hero Association when they have Saitama to do the job? But not everybody will be against Saitama as some like Licenseless Rider are on his side.

I believe Genos is trying to be a good disciple under Saitama’s wing. Mainly his role in this anime sees him observing and analyzing his master’s actions and words and then reflecting them on his own. I am not sure if there would be anything Genos can learn from Saitama because he himself is quite powerful in his own right. Just that when you compare him (and everybody else) to Saitama, they pale in comparison to his unbeatable power. Something tells me Genos is as ‘immortal’ as Saitama because there are some fights when he is beaten up so badly that he could have been scrap metal, after a few fixes by his master, he is back like new. So as long you don’t destroy, say, his heart or brain, you can fix him up always?

They mix action and comedy well in the series and it is one of the main reasons why this series is popular in its own right. You thought it would be boring with Saitama being able to finish off his opponents with just a single punch, right? Well, you’re wrong. Despite it is true that Saitama does end all his fights (except the one with Boros) in a single punch, the ensuing comedy before that which includes the enemy always bragging he is stronger, tougher, hardy, etc will never fail to amuse you. They will never ever know what is coming at them and it is always too late by then. And yes, before Saitama ends it all with his single super punch, there is wanton of destruction before that. This means you see heroes getting owned, panic across the city and the monsters running rampage before Saitama does his usual. That is why it is never boring to watch every episode. Another ‘downside’ to Saitama’s single powerful punch is that the enemy will die and you will never see him return ever again. Yeah. No rematch. Ever.

Just only one problem that bugged me after all those awesome fights: If Saitama can destroy anything with just a single punch, how come his gloves are still intact?! Think about this. I am sure that he can control the intensity of his punching strength to not give instant kill. But for those that became a victim to his super death punch, how come his gloves are still in one piece?! I have seen his costume and caped messed up a little but his gloves are still in perfect condition! Don’t tell me he can channel his energy to bypass his gloves and directly towards his enemies! Well, it is no surprise since this guy can blow your mind by doing the unexpected an impossible.

Art and drawing feel pretty fine until you realize that Saitama looks like the laziest hero and main character design ever! I know they want to make him look plain to deceive us with that boring look to hide his strength but you can’t help when looking at his face and comparing to the others who are more ‘anime-like’, Saitama’s face is so cartoonish! Even your 2 year old can draw a better face than his! But I am not saying that Saitama’s plain looks is bad but just that it is so contrasting compared to the rest. That is, until he has that menacing serious look. Then you are in real sh*t, baby! But if I want to pick a bone in the looks category, I can go on mentioning at how odd at all the heroes look themselves. I guess with super powers, it makes you look different, huh? And the monsters and aliens? Some look ferocious and some looking comical enough that it makes you think the producers called everyone to come up with a few monster designs and the rejected ones end up in laughable roles. Really. Naturally this show lacks fanservice but unless you are thinking about being gay with Prisoner, we prefer much to keep it that way. Except for Tatsumaki who seems to be hinting the haitenai phenomenon with the slips in her long black dress. All the fanservice you need?

This series has a lot of seiyuus due to the sheer amount of heroes, monsters and other minor characters. Of course recognizable ones include Mamoru Miyano as Sweet Mask, Yuuki Kaji as Sonic, Aoi Yuuki as Tatsumaki, Yuuichi Nakamura as Licenseless Rider and Rikiya Koyama as Deep Sea King. The rest of the casts are Makoto Furukawa as Saitama (Banri in Golden Time), Kaito Ishikawa as Genos (titular character in Kyoukai No Rinne), Kazuhiro Yamaji as Bang (Senor Pink in One Piece), Masaya Onosaka as Prisoner (France in Hetalia series), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Boros (Ugo in Magi), Kenjiro Tsuda as Atomic Samurai (Mikoto in K) and Tesshou Genda as Metal Knight (Soro in Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation) just to name a few. I just feel lazy to go over the rest…

The heavy rock opening very much suits the pace of this series. If The Hero!! ~Ikareru Ken ni Honoo Wo Tsukeru~ has a familiar rocking sound to it, it is because JAM Project is behind this song. So get your vocal chords ready as you try to scream out your heroic lyrics of this piece. Oh yeah! One Punch! Power! Get power! Oh yeah. That was a real good screaming. However the ending theme feels weird. Hoshi Yori Saki ni Mitsukete Ageru by Hiroko Moriguchi isn’t that bad but this slow ballad seems to have somewhat a lonely and hollow feel in it. I mean, after all that great action and comedy, when you hear this song, it makes you wonder if the producers had mistakenly put in the wrong song for this series. The special ending theme for the final episode, Kanashimitachi Wo Dakishimete no doubt is a slow pop piece, at least sounds better and very much fitting to the way it ends. It leaves you with a mix of emotions in your heart as you hear this song while the credits roll up the screen.

Overall, this is one of the few enjoyable superhero themed anime series out there. It is different than lots of recently adapted comic book superheroes and even those from the manga simply because our main hero isn’t your typical hero with a brooding past, big muscles, charismatic looks or the kind of high and mighty or super sense of justice attitude that everyone has come to expect these days. He is just an ordinary guy who is trying to live out his childhood dream of being a hero but it doesn’t turn out the way he dreamt of. Great for people who doesn’t like fights to prolong for over 20 episodes and just finish it all in a jiffy. Yeah, there are so many impatient people these days… Otherwise, I am sure this show that has fights ending too quickly would have you start appreciating fights that last longer than a single punch, right? Oh, carry on Goku. Carry on your fight with Vegeta for the next 20 episodes. We’ll savour and appreciate every single punch you throw from now on. And when you’re done with your match, we can come back again and do a rematch that lasts for another 10 episodes.

Gate S2

August 27, 2016

There is always a little devil in our heart. We get worked up when we see the enemy invade and do all the heinous barbaric acts on the innocent. Then we smile and heave a sigh of relief when our heroes turn up to kick all their sorry asses to back where they came from. Don’t we just love such great action stories like that? Be glad because we are about to see more and continue Japan and the SDF’s awesome dominance over the primitive magical world in Gate: Jietai Kanochi Nite, Kaku Tatakeri S2. The first season was awesome enough to assert their dominance and with the sequel, we’ll get to see even more of their coolness as they ride through crisis after crisis plaguing the land in search for peace. Yes people. All hail and glory to the SDF! Ahem… Maybe they just look like big bullies with over-firepower if you sympathise with the enemy… Oh yeah, then there is that otaku first lieutenant guy and his harem girls from this world… It’s all getting as exciting as before, I tell ‘ya!

Episode 13
Itami is dressed as a local for the negotiations. Don’t blame you if you can’t stop laughing at how dorky he looks. Meanwhile Prince Zolzal El Caesar is f*cking hard a furry sex slave, Tyuule. Punishment sex-cum-rape?! She has to put up with it and scream like hell since he threatens her comrades lives depend on it. I guess she couldn’t keep it up. Anyway, he is interrupted by Count Marx about some of their senators being bought over by the enemy ambassadors with the promise of their safe return as a bargaining chip. As this may be disadvantageous to Zolzal who would be next in line to the throne, Zolzal will make his visit and give the enemy his piece of mind. Pina and Sugawara are holding a garden party. There is this noble loli, Sherry Tyueri who seems to be infatuated with Sugawara. Itami and his troops demonstrate their military firepower. The nobles are so freaking impressed and want to know how to make them! Then they visualize how this firepower can bring down their cities and so they are wise enough to negotiate for what Japan wants in exchange for peace. This negotiation is put off when uninvited Zolzal and his party are seen riding in. Pina is surprised to see her brother here. He takes a look around and isn’t impressed. Till he tastes the food. Yeah, he goes away satisfied, bringing back a few of those delicious meat. You know what they say about a man and his heart. Pina talks to Sugawara that she knows this is Marx’s warning by sending her brother here. Sugawara wants to start negotiations as soon as possible but Pina is shocked and fainted after hearing the freaking huge amount of reparations. I suppose all the gold in the kingdom will not be able to pay that off. Marx reports this to Molto who tells him to let Japan negotiate all they want because he is not giving them anything. And when negotiations fail, Japan will break them off themselves.

Chief Nyuutabaru has Kurokawa under his wing as a medical staff. She tends to a local furry, Misery. She is a whore. With a painful name and body for pleasure, I can imagine… She is here to buy contraceptives. Misery gives out some information that Bessala was a big shot around the red light district. Until that fateful night when the army wipe them all out with their firepower. F*cking slaughtered them all! After that all the other big shots split up his money and territory and even went out their way to offer information to SDF. Misery is sad that the men in SDF refuse to do business with the whores and it breaks their confidence. Yeah, heard of STD’s? I’m sure they’re trying to stay safe instead of being gay. Yao desperately tries to find Itami and some information about him. Especially if he has something he would risk his life to protect. She was told there are 3 people… Late that night, Misery brings her fellow furry whores to Kurokawa as one of her friends couldn’t shake off that shaking feeling. Nyuutabaru recognizes this as a sign of a major earthquake because birds and animals panic before one. He orders for everyone to evacuate. Pina doesn’t appreciate Itami waking up her beauty sleep to inform her about the earthquake. She doesn’t believe it. Then the ground shakes… You believe now?

Episode 14
With the locals panicking and proclaiming the end of the world, Itami and the SDF are just cool. They’re accessing the mini earthquake and it is nothing to be alarmed about as this isn’t the epicentre. Pina wonders why they can be so calm at this moment. Because it happens a lot in Japan. She needs to go warn her father and since the SDF can’t just waltz into enemy territory, Pina begs Itami to accompany her. Is she a little girl?! In his throne room before anything could begin, Zolzal barges in and wants father to escape because this woman Noriko predicted another big one coming. Everyone wonders who that woman is and when Zolzal brings her in, Itami and co are devastated she is a Japanese. Zolzal claims she is a survivor during that invasion. Itami becomes so mad that he beats up Zolzal and his entourage! Boxing time! When Zolzal commands to attack, Itami commands his to fire at will! So Kuribayashi relishes going all out from her punches to shooting her machine gun! Man, those shields are useless! The bullets just went through! Now you surrender? Itami questions Zolzal if there are other such survivors but he won’t say. Kuribayashi then proceeds to give him a super combo beat down till his face swells like hell! Itami could have killed him if not for Tyuule protecting him. When Noriko asks about Hiroki, Zolzal says the men have been sold as slaves at the market. Sugawara will have his banquet with Molto once they rescue the hostages. Molto mentions how strong they are but they have a weakness: They love their people too much. Of course he knows he cannot best them anyhow and agrees to initiate peace talks immediately. Pina is sure going to have lots of explaining to do. Can she?

To further show Japan’s might and as warning, the senate house is bombed although there are no casualties. The senate discusses about this unfortunate event all because Zolzal kept Japanese prisoners. Shaky Pina seems to be describing about the Japanese’s greatness and how much they love their people. Zolzal talks to his younger brother, Diabo that unconditional surrender is inevitable. Zolzal regrets he is not smart like him to make his way through life but it is hard too playing the fool. As they talk about succeeding their father, Zolzal believes himself as most likely. Diabo disagrees because word goes around that he is not favoured. That is precisely why. To end this war, father must resign but that man isn’t going to give up on power and will rule behind the shadows. Since Zolzal is easy to manipulate, it makes it more so he will be chosen. Therefore Diabo is told to choose his allegiance either to father or him. They can’t count on Pina as she has betrayed them. As for the slaves, it is learnt out of the 2 that were sold, Hiroki has already died. When Itami and co return to base, he is told by Yanagida that he won’t be charged because the government intends to use this prisoner rescue incident to boost their image and thus cannot punish the saviour. He is also told about Noriko’s family handing out flyers over her disappearance at Ginza then when the invasion broke out. Itami doesn’t want his team to tell her about this yet. Meanwhile Tuka continues to look for her father…

Episode 15
Yanagida further tells Itami about Yao’s request to slay a dragon back at her home. Itami isn’t too keen on it and what’s more, higher authorities have rejected her. But when Yanagida points out there are oil and diamond resources, perhaps a reconnaissance mission would suffice. You know, he has more liberty to do things. Like, he might stumble upon a dragon and kill it? Itami protests to that. He would not risk his men to fight another dragon. Yanagida then tells him to go see Tuka. She is kicking up a fuss because she is being told her dad is dead. When Itami enters the picture, her hallucination is so bad that she sees her father in him. She becomes all clingy with that in-your-face attitude that her ‘father’ is still alive. It is said that Yao told her the truth and that broke Tuka. Itami confronts Yao about this but she doesn’t regret her actions as she merely told the truth. She was also told Itami hold these 3 women dearly and would do anything for help. It gets emotional for Yao when she explains she sought help through her comrades to defeat the dragon but was turned down. They said only Itami could do it. Therefore she broke Tuka’s sanity just to make her understand the dragon killed her father and thus fuelling her desire for revenge. After all, when a man kills another, he can track him down and take dragon. But what if it’s a dragon? How do you direct your anger? She is willing to give her mind, body and soul to Itami if he pulls this off. When Pina tells Diabo that Zolzal has been chosen as the heir, he cautious her that Zolzal plans to go against Molto. He is worried because Zolzal is the kind who will also bring others around him down. Tyuule is told by her informant, Bouro about Zolzal’s succession. Her plan for revenge has begun and will not let this land be in peace. Bouro suggests killing the Japanese slaves so their comrades will burn down the land in rage. She cautions it is not that easy because Noriko was in the same position as her but offered salvation. Bouro wonders who will kill her. She says Pina will do the job.

Everyone is shocked that Itami decides to play Tuka’s father. Oh, happy days are here. Then one day he gets a mission to head to the capital for another translation duty. He takes this chance to tell her he will be going away for a while. Of course she is not too happy about it. Later Itami is confronted by Yao who tells him he can’t keep up with this act forever. She can see Tuka is still in pain. He can play her father but he doesn’t know her father and that is what causes the inconsistency and pain in Tuka. Even playing house continues to bother Yanagida as he wants him to go slay the dragon. He would even help arrange the paperwork when he is ready to go. Itami sees a doctor to ask his opinion if revenge can help one move forward. Then there is this talk with Duran who reminds him he is forgetting his heart. One must act even though it is very dangerous. Because in his heart he already knows what must be done. After Itami and his team leave for their mission, Tuka’s words flash before Itami’s mind. He suddenly changes his mind and jumps out of the helicopter! OMG! Yeah, they’re going to slay the dragon together. I thought Yanagida should be happy but he is blowing his top because he can’t come up with good excuses to cover for Itami abandoning his current mission. So is Itami sure he is going alone with only Tuka? Think again because Rory wants in on the action. You don’t go play fire with a girl alone, right? I suppose she is making him consider her in his team and even so it will be costly. Can he pay for her assistance? She bites his arm and drinks his blood. A contract is formed. What contract? When he dies, his soul is hers! As you might have guessed, Lelei and Yao will also be tagging along. Off they go and Yanagida cannot understand why there are people who volunteer to follow him. Yeah, I wonder. Four hot gorgeous babes, damn it!

Episode 16
Delilah must be one happy singing bunny girl. Till she receives an official kill order. Now, this is all part of Tyuule’s plan to use her spy to kill Noriko and make it look like the orders came from Pina. Relations with Japan will then break down and war will continue. Then Zolzal, the man who destroyed her clan will be destroyed with everything else. When Yanagida reports to Hazama about Itami’s reconnaissance, the latter knows there is more to it. Since Itami is such an important man, he sends out more troops to support him. Yanagida is in shock since he didn’t expect troops to be sent out so easily. Yanagida is then tasked to talk with Duran. He believes his crown prince is trying to get him out of the picture and needs his help to send letters to his allies to retake his province. Of course Yanagida won’t get involved in this family affair if there is nothing in it for SDF. Duran will allow him to cross borders to fight the dragon but that itself isn’t sufficient. Yanagida negotiates for mining rights and tax exemption. Noriko tries to call her family but there is no answer. She thinks of dying. Delilah heard that and she is very much happy to oblige. Oddly when Noriko accepts her fate to die, Delilah becomes worried. Nobody in her line of work would want to die that easy, eh? Yanagida catches her in the act. They face off. As reinforcements come, Delilah stabs him in the back. This causes him to panic and unload all his bullets into her. Double KO.

As they are in ICU, the SDF use their manpower and intelligence to track the mole and information. It seems the anti-peace faction is trying to use the Formar clan to assassinate Noriko and the one who will gain most from it is Zolzal. As information will take 10 days to reach him, they decide to leak out information of the failed assassination and see how far it takes them. Also, they will investigate people around Zolzal. The air force division tracks down a dragon. Normally a dragon would be furious if something zooms faster and closer than it is. This is part of the air force’s plan to observe the dragon’s flying capabilities. Then they play chicken? Well, the jet seemed to get roasted and the pilot got roasted by the mechanic for being too reckless. Itami and co arrive at the canyon where Yao’s clan lives. As she goes down to call her clan, other clan members surround Itami and co. However the dragon drops by. Bullets and arrows do no harm. Rory and Lelei tackle the beast while Tuka starts reeling from the trauma. Itami then tells her this is the dragon that killed her father. She continues to be in denial so he put his foot down he is not her father and they are going to kill the dragon that killed her father. Then he guides her to use a bazooka and aim at the dragon. Missed. But that felt good, right? Or not. But it got away.

Episode 17
Itami and co take shelter for the night. Yao introduces the rest of her clan members who will accompany Itami to kill the dragon as some know where the dragon’s nest is. First, they are trained on how to use a bazooka. I wonder if they understand the fancy words. Then they begin their long trek to the volcano. Lelei puts Tuka to sleep all the way so she won’t kick up any fuss. Because Rory has bad experienced with undergrounds, she is made to wait outside to lookout for the dragon. The rest head in to plant C4 bombs around and it is a good thing the dragon is not around. They notice swords of fallen warriors who died while challenging the dragon. Also, hatched egg shells. Could there be more than one? Rory spots the dragon coming back but the geographical rocks are interfering with the headset. Everyone panics when they see the dragon. I guess the dark elves forgot their training. We see them all get burnt, smacked, stomped and even eaten! Even worse, the wiring to the C4 is cut off. Can Itami rewire them back in this chaos? Tuka wakes up from all that ruckus and this brings back her trauma. She remembers her dad died protecting her and now she blames herself for his death. Lelei dismisses it and tells her it is the dragon that killed him. Now vent your anger towards it. Tuka feels helpless to defeat it. Lelei also explains the same experience of the dragon slaughtering her village and she lost many friends. She uses all her magic to pick up the weapons and pierce the dragon. It worked. But the dragon is even madder. Seeing the utter chaos and Itami’s life in danger, Tuka unleashes her lightning power down on the dragon. This in turn sets off the C4 explosives as it blows the dragon to bits!

Itami and his harem manage to get out alive. If you’re wondering where the hell Rory is all this while, please note that she is bleeding with all the wounds outside! Giselle, a fellow Apostle like her swoops down to explain how she easily defeated Rory. Because Rory made a contract with Itami, all his wounds transferred to her. Therefore in normal circumstances, Giselle can never beat her. Now you know why he is unscathed, right? Giselle is here under orders from Hardy to bring Rory to her. Giselle reveals she has bred 2 dragons and trained it to obey her. Thus the awakening of the dragon 50 years earlier from its slumber is due to Hardy’s doing. Like she gives a f*ck about other lives, right? She orders the dragons to get them as Itami and his girls make a run for it. That is when the air force and the tank artillery support arrive in time to bomb the hell out of the dragons!!! Oh sh*t! Such awesome firepower! Now Giselle is left shaking in fear what the heck she just saw. Better make a run for it before it’s Rory to return the favour. Itami is surprised at the turn of events. I know, it must be shocking to still be alive. Yeah, a miracle. Tuka has come to terms with reality and is glad she has got her revenge. But she won’t stop calling Itami her father is she is already used to it.

Episode 18
For Itami’s act of desertion, he will be suspended for 2 weeks, stripped of his command and get a pay cut. But now for his rewards! And there are a whole damn lot of them! From obtaining honorary ranks from chieftains to commendations to riches to even ownership of Yao, he is also promoted as the Special Region resources and can go anywhere and even bring his harem along to look for anything. What has he got to say for all this? He just wants his break… Itami and his harem make their way to the academic magic city of Rondel since Lelei has a presentation to do so she can be promoted to the rank of master. This town is as odd as any other town. People think they are followers of Rory but thanks to this they get preferential treatment at their inn. Except for Itami whom they think is a manservant so he gets to stay in the dusty storeroom. The gang make their way to the R&D department of the city. The very hip and lively old lady grandmaster, Mimoza La Mer welcomes them with open arms. Only is she managed to pronounce Lelei’s name right. It’s Lelei not Lily! She is impressed she is trying to become a master at such a young age and even making it more commendable is Kato’s recommendations. Happy Mimoza makes a mess by tripping over the books. This earns the wrath of her assistant, Arpeggio. She is Lelei’s older sister. You can tell how much jealous her sister is when she sarcastically hints about a certain someone trying to become a master while her sister is struggling in her doctorate. A certain someone dabbling in romance while her sister can’t land a man. A certain someone hanging out with rich people but her sister has no money at all. Yeah, jealous sister alright. Got a problem? Deal with it!

The peace talks at the capital begin. Sherry continues to bug Sugawara about being her future wife. No doubt being a lolicon is frowned upon in Japan, it is legal here. However Sherry isn’t just an annoying loli because she observes that no one is talking to the Japanese diplomats as the people are too afraid to approach them. She hopes he can use her as lack on conversation skills won’t be good for peace talks. Zolzal is mad that peace talks have reached this stage. He didn’t want this to happen and despite being the crown prince, he feels powerless. Tyuule can only note he doesn’t realize he is being controlled. The ceremony begins. Zolzal breaks protocol to meet some of his subjects who survived that humiliating beat down. He remembers he held back during the beat down so he could feign incompetence and avoid a purge but it backfired. The head of the dragon was found at the castle gates and nobody knew who put it there. Molto wants to know who defeated the dragon so Shandy Gaff names Itami and his harem. He isn’t too impressed hearing the name but as Shandy describes each of the members, Molto takes an interest for Lelei because she can be considered as an Imperial citizen. Furthermore, a student of Kato. He orders Pina to find her and invite her to this palace as he wants to reward her. Zolzal is furious that someone else is getting higher glory just for slaying the dragon. When everyone drinks to a toast, suddenly Molto collapses, shocking everyone. Tyuule and Bouro had slipped poison in his drink. Zolzal didn’t have a part in this but you can see his face he is sure damn happy about the turn of events.

Episode 19
Zolzal takes over the throne as he rallies his people and army to make their kingdom great again. In short, they’re going to war with Japan. Pina talks to him about imprisoning pro-peace senators without proof that they were bribed to support Japan. Well… They’ll eventually find it. His friends are made generals as they plot their less than ethical way to wage war with Japan. This includes gathering goblins to attack villages around Arnus. They will also dress some of their men up as bandits and criminals. This means Japan will take the fall and have the people lose faith in them. Pina then tries to convince Diabo to help her stop Zolzal’s tyranny but his plan is to bring in other countries to stop Zolzal. Not a wise move from Pina’s perspective because this could mean their kingdom and people will be stolen. Unfortunately Diabo will do the way he deems fit. Meanwhile Mimoza talks to Lelei and co. Mimoza knows Rory 50 years ago and once travelled with her. Rory tries to tease her for becoming an old woman but Mimoza the ever happy old lady takes that in perfect stride. No fun… When Lelei talks about cheap books, this sends Arpeggio into break down mode because it seems her part time job is writing book copies (no Photostat machines in this world) and her pay is dictated by its price. Well, studying mineral magic isn’t cheap… Rory reminds Mimoza about the ‘homework’ she gave her before they parted: Why are there so many races in this world. Her life research shows that the Gods created some Primal Forest where elves came from and then its different clans scattered throughout time. As every elven legend points Arnus as their home, the reason why there are many reasons is because of the Gate. From time to time, a portal from another world opens and it brings other worldly creatures here. They fight with the locals but over time they mix and consummate with each other. Thus it is no doubt that humans here have also originated the same way although they are the newest to arrive. Rory praises her work. Although Rory might not know everything entirely, demigods like her only obey the will of Gods by guiding those who are promising and eliminating those who approach the forbidden. That is how world order is maintained.

Back to Arpeggio is might be going crazy upon seeing a laptop. You know how this could replace books, right? She reaches breaking point upon realizing Lelei has surpassed her in everything and that she should just give up and be a housewife. She asks if Itami is single! Then all the girls gladly give out what they know about him and she is taking down notes! However Lelei notes Itami is no longer single because he has done Ceremony of Three Nights with her. Basically it is as good as married in this world when you sleep in 3 different places together. Didn’t know that, did he? Furthermore, Tuka can be considered during her moments of lunacy. This makes Rory mad because she is left out! Now Arpeggio has lost it. She snaps. Lelei is ahead in everything she does. What else to do? SHE DUMPS SOUP ON HER HEAD!!! OMFG!!! Time for a b*tch fight! Rory officiates this ‘match’ and anything goes as long as you don’t kill or scar the face. So destroying the city is okay? The match is equally fought and when it seemed like a draw, an assassin walks up to Lelei and fires his crossbow! Luckily Grey Co Aldo took him out. They explain about the orders to bring Lelei home because she is a human hero of the Imperial that slew the dragon (I wonder if Arpeggio can keep her cool upon hearing another awesome milestone). Although Lelei protests and doesn’t consider herself an Imperial citizen, that is not what the people thinks. Furthermore, this assassination could mean somebody is jealous of Lelei and wants her taken out. Grey adds another skilled assassin, Pied Piper is also hired to assassinate Lelei. He hopes to work with Itami to protect her and defeat the enemy. However Itami has a different plan: Run! Meanwhile Tyuule passes to Luflus a law created by Zolzal that would make him convict anyone he wants. She hopes the senate will pass this and set it in motion.

Episode 20
Kanou learns this oppressive law, Oprichnina. However he will not let Japan take in refugees and wants those in the Special Region to stay low. As many are being arrested, Casel as the leader of the pro-peace faction is seeking refuge in Sherry’s home. But it isn’t long before those Cleaners come looking here. Sherry’s parents have her guide Casel to safety as they sacrifice themselves and burn down the mansion. She is in shock over her parents’ death but Casel slaps her to her sense so as not to let their sacrifice be in vain. As they have no food, Sherry has to trade some of her pearls Sugawara gave her to get some. Luckily she also has gained some valuable information about the changing of the guard. She suggests to Casel to seek asylum at Jade Palace, the only foreign territory here under Japan that is guarded by the treaty and the empire cannot touch them. They make their way as the Cleaners are making a ruckus from their door to door search. Bozes and Beefeater E Caty have them wait as they go request for the ambassadors to have an audience with them. No luck. Rejected. Sherry wants her to try again and seek Sugawara’s help since that guy is going to be her future husband. Being the good diplomat he is, he has to turn down that offer because if he accepts one, he might as well have to accept all. Besides, Japan’s orders are already clear. Even more heart breaking is how Sherry is screaming his name to hear his voice. Being the professional, he ignores her. The Cleaners are here and Casel knows his time is up and surrenders. Sherry is dragged away but she continues to scream Sugawara’s name. I guess it got to him because here he is telling those uncouth barbarians not to touch his future wife. The Rose Knights help Sherry cross over to Japan’s territory. Sugawara and Sherry emotionally embrace. She apologizes for selling his necklace but he promises to get her another one with his own money and not taxpayer’s money. So that’s how… Of course Sugawara’s act just opened a can of worms. The Rose Knights fight off the Cleaners.

Episode 21
The Cleaners are amateur soldiers so it is no wonder they take heavy casualty. Some ministers talk to the PM about this crisis and to get their people out to safety but the PM insists no action to be taken because of the media and foreign ambassadors who are touring Arnus currently. He doesn’t want such information leak would let the media have a field day. So looks like everyone will have to hang in there for a week… After the Cleaners retreat, Sugawara is left wondering the consequences of his decision. By saving Sherry, he put his nation in danger. But Casel has who now become a refugee in Japan, mentions about the sin he will bear either way. The most he could do is choose the sin he feels most satisfied with. As part of the Imperial’s law, he is now Sherry’s guardian. That is, he is now her father-in-law. Noriko is now a neutral coordinator for the media and talking to Kazunari Komurazaki who intends to expose the SDF’s incompetency and wasting taxpayer’s money. He is sure SDF only wants them to visit areas they approve and the locals are putting up a show to see how good their relationship is. Noriko wonders about this negative reporting and if there is no objective journalism, who are readers supposed to trust? It is not the media’s responsibility! I guess in a way he is right. You are responsible for what you read and believe. Itami and co are back in Rondel after a little runaway detour. That night they anticipate assassins will come into their room. True enough, they did. Itami unleashes a flash bomb that temporarily blinds them and Rory knocking them out. They recognize those assassins as the inn’s staffs. Talking with the inn’s manager, Hamel, they reveal somebody paid them and convinced them they were criminals. They are very sorry for what they done and Hamel too hopes they won’t punish them. Thanks to Lelei and Rory’s mercy, they live.

Grey talks about Pied Piper whose real identity is unknown and he operates from behind the shadows manipulating others to do his dirty job. Unless he is defeated, he will send more assassins. Lelei suggests they remain staying at the same inn as those who are tricked will be more wary. Also, it helps narrow down their opponent’s identities and she is confident Pipe Piper will contact them again and will use the inn staffs as bait to ambush Pied Piper. Next morning, there is a commotion outside the inn. With the bridge repaired, a messenger arrived and spread that heroic dragon killing act, which of course has been blown out of proportion. So the people want to glimpse them especially Lelei who has been made a hero. Itami feels something amiss. If Grey knew about their situation and came here from the capital, but how come this just became public knowledge? As there are many bridges from the capital to here, Itami suspects someone knocked them out and that something happened in the capital after Grey left and they didn’t want them to know. A thousand Imperial guards now appear outside the Jade Palace. Pina is summoned by Zolzal to request her knights to stand down so he could capture the escaped people there. As promised he won’t hurt the ambassadors and leave them until the political situation stabilizes. She refuses to hand over Casel and tells him to do what he wants since this country now belongs to him. In that case, he won’t let her leave this place. The PM chides his ministers about Sugawara’s actions in accepting those refugees. If the media finds out about this, they will be criticized in every way and lose the next elections. But these good men would rather lose the election than not do the right thing and regret it. The PM relents and gives him permission but they will solely bear this responsibility. Time for the SDF to get moving.

Episode 22
Shandy is tasked to keep tabs on the inn staffs as they do not recognize her face. She spots them meeting up with this hot chick, Norra who tells them to let Lelei know there will be an assassin on her presentation day and to wear an armour. Norra will pretend to be the Pied Piper and pretend to kill Lelei. The real Pied Piper will come to check the body and that is when they will nab him. After Norra leaves, Shandy goes to tail her. Man, it took her 4 days to return to the rest! She lets them know everything as well as seeing the real Pied Piper in person. Itami’s plan is to let the enemy think their plan is proceeding well. On the day of the presentation, everyone is on a lookout for anybody suspicious. A frail old man takes out his knife but is easily apprehended. He accuses Lelei of stealing somebody’s life research for he cannot believe a girl as young as her is trying to be a master. When it is Lelei’s turn to present, Norra comes out of her hiding to attack. Suddenly all the magic blasts Norra away. As word of Lelei’s assassin spread around, it seems everyone in the hall has anticipated for this day. Itami and co believe Lelei is in safe hands as they leave the stage. Suddenly Shandy stabs her in the chest! Thankfully Lelei was wearing armour beneath. But I wonder why didn’t everybody blast her with their magic? They didn’t think there would be a second attempt?

The battle between the Rose Knights and the Imperial guards are taking its toll. Tyuule is not amused that Luflus is taking this long and warns him to do whatever it takes to win because Zolzal is awaiting news of their victory. Pina is now treated as a slave and locked in a cell where Tyuule was once imprisoned. Tyuule herself even personally welcomed her to her old room and tells her a message from Zolzal: You lose. Shandy is apprehended and Lelei manages to finish her presentation but her masters title will have to wait until this commotion is settled. I don’t understand this part because it seems Shandy doesn’t remember hearing the inn staffs talking to Norra about letting Lelei wear an armour. Unless she didn’t hear them or she didn’t believe they would tell her. Shandy explains her doing. As Zolzal is after Pina’s life, she wants to prove her loyalty to Pina by bringing Lelei’s head. If Pina is held captive in the palace and risking her life, wouldn’t it be easier to just raid the castle? Unless you want to fight the thousands of soldiers protecting it. Therefore Grey says the fastest way is to cut everything off from the source and kill Zolzal. Otherwise the assassinations will just keep coming. The messenger has just arrived to update everyone about the bad news on Pina. Hazama has now received the official word. He immediately mobilizes the SDF.

Episode 23
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! To see how cool SDF kick ass and kill all their enemies! The action that we have been deprived of this season is now here! Oh yeah! Watch how the SDF easily take out the primitive enemies with their firepower and stealth, leaving no stones unturned. Everybody dies! Also see how cool their jets bomb the place and helicopters drop down parachuting troops into the capital. You enemies are no match! You’re in sh*t hell now Zolzal! Tyuule reminds him he mustn’t run and stay here even if the enemy comes here because he is supposed to give orders. The SDF continue their mission to free the nobles and ambassadors and send them to Italica. They made it to Jade Palace to slaughter all the troops there. To show that they aren’t all perfect, just one freaking guy just got an arrow in his arm. That’s it?! Luflus is slain when he attempts to escape. With the enemy slain, they secure Sugawara and the rest. Bozes and Beefeater hope the SDF can take their Rose Knights with them to Italica too. Then they ride off to rescue Pina. Unfortunately the castle defence is heavy so they have to make a run for it. Fortunately for them, a unit of SDF has been waiting for them. They shoot the chasing cavalry pack and everyone got onboard safely just in the nick of time! Super wow! Only Bozes is crying hysterically because she couldn’t save her beloved Pina. Yeah, no fun reading yaoi doujin without her partner, right? Oops… Zolzal is at a loss over the heavy defeat and asks Tyuule for advice. She suggests telling the people he is leading his army to defeat the Japanese even if it doesn’t seem so. But she knows they will come back here because the biggest key to peace is still locked up in the capital. Pina is screaming at the top of her voice to be freed but nobody is there… Itami is driving recklessly and fast back to the capital. His girls wonder what gives for this bumpy ride. He is worried about his men and can’t let them die.

Episode 24
We are reminded of Itami’s priorities of working to support his hobby. Remember who this guy really is. Itami is reunited with his team as they plan out a rescue mission for Pina and Molto (yup, this guy is still very much alive but in ICU). Although Itami will go through the front gates with Rory and Lelei, he has to act as their servant. Pulling the humvee hidden beneath all that wood to make it look like an oversized cart? Good luck. Pina is bought before Zolzal and she isn’t giving him any answers he wants to hear. However is not cowed because he knows the SDF will return to save her and he will be ready for them when they arrive. You think so? See how scared he looks when Rory bursts in. The guards are hesitant to act because all those outside have been put under a sleeping spell and those inside the chamber want to slug it out with Rory, be my guest. Zolzal becomes desperate as he calls his ogre to attack them. Man, how did this huge creature enter the hallway? Anyway, Rory and Lelei fight it but it is Lelei who steals the limelight and finishes it off with her powerful magic. Zolzal wants to fight Itami man to man but Itami fires a warning shot to stay where he is. After all, they are always watching him and can go to him anytime they want. He is just here to rescue Pina and Molto as well as remind Zolzal to stop sending assassins after Lelei. With the rescue mission done, Itami and co drive their way out as they pick up their comrades, smashing through the Imperial guards. Seriously, bullets versus spears? Humvee versus horses? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who will win. I just have to commend the Imperial guards for their bravery and loyalty.

The bumpy ride even wakes up Molto from his slumber! He even finishes their sentence about making Zolzal a traitor once Pina reunites with the pro-peace senators in Italica. Molto knows Zolzal will not listen to him anymore and thus a civil war is inevitable. He has decided to side with Japan and will make Pina the crown princess and establish a real government. Whether she wants to fight her brother is up to her. It is her path to decide. Zolzal and his subjects as well as the pro-war senators are leaving the capital to the northeast even if it means the government here would fall. Zolzal promises revenge but how can he say that when he spots such a scared looking face and cowering each time he hears a gunshot? Tyuule is also in a dilemma. She spent her life as a prisoner and trying to bring down the empire to avenge her fallen people. Now it is achieved, she cannot understand why she is still crying. I suppose those aren’t tears of joy? Ten days later at Italica, Pina is officially appointed as the crown princess. In this lavish ceremony, we notice a lot of hook-ups . Other than Sugawara-Sherry, there are also Tomita-Bozes (she’s pregnant too?!), Beefeater takes a liking for Shunya Kengun after that last minute rescue, and finally Delilah taking responsibility caring for Yanagida. Shocking romances, right? Especially Shandy who laments nobody chose her. That’s what you get for being conned by the Pied Piper, right? But the most important person of all, Itami is not here. Because he is back in Japan getting his ‘revenge’ attending his doujin convention he missed so much! Oh yeah! This is it! Screw coronation ceremonies! This is his reason for living! His spree is abruptly halted because Tuka, Lelei and Rory won’t let him have all the fun as they have got permission from Hazama to come here so he must take care of them. He tells them to go back but his nightmare has only just begun. Everyone recognizes the girls and they surround them like celebrities! A policeman offers to give them special escort and as they sit in his police car, Risa passes by and is in shocked what her ex-husband did this time!!! And all he wanted to do is to buy his doujin… This war will continue…

Nobody Messes With Japan! And I Mean Nobody!
The ending felt insufficient… Not because it was a bad one because I want more! It is not enough to end it like that! Don’t leave me hanging, come on! It is a worrying trend these days that anime series usually getting sequels will most likely ending having that sequel faring worse and fall below expectations. Thankfully I can say that Gate does not fall into that category because the second season is still as exciting and impressive as the first. Although there are a few things that prevent me from saying that the second season is much better than the first and even if it was, it is just perhaps a little bit more. Even with the serious stuffs picking up this season feel like glorifying Japan’s military propaganda. Yeah, so good I don’t mind being brainwashed by it.

Now, one reason why I said it isn’t way much better (please note, I still mean this season is pretty damn good) is because there are too many characters and this itself can be both a double edged sword in a short series although this series is 24 episodes if you take into account both seasons. But that is still by far an underachievement where it is concerned. Take for instance Itami’s own troops. Last season some of them I believe had very minimal dialogue and roles like as though they are there to make up for the numbers. This season feels even worse with only Kuribayashi and Kurokawa getting the most albeit very limited screen time. And that is just relegated to the first half of the series. What happened to the other guys? Like Itami’s fellow otaku Kurata? Because with Itami away from his team most of the time this season, it is like they need not showcase his little platoon as there are many other army personnel to feature and go about. Not that it makes any difference anyway. Then it is like because it is the final episode, they decided to make it one last hurrah for them to remind us they are still around and not to be forgotten like Itami’s otaku hobby and thus reuniting his team for one big operation. I don’t know if this is fair or not. As long as it ends well.

Some characters who were featured in the first season were sorely missed in this season. Remember Itami’s ex-otaku wife, Risa? Yeah… My hopes of seeing her make her return this season is dashed. Even making her cameo in the final episode didn’t make up for it. After all, this season mainly concentrates on the events in the other world instead of in Japan. Therefore no sneaky moves from foreign world leaders, hit squads and CIA agents this time (sorry folks, Komakado not appearing this season). Same case for Bozes’ partner, Panache. I didn’t know what happened to her till that final episode cameo. Then there are some characters who didn’t even appear this season despite appearing in the first. Such as Lelei’s old wizard master, Kato. Remember this guy? I suppose nobody likes to remember an old fart so that is why he has been dropped. Not that he would play a pivotal part in any of the plots anyway. Remember that merchant, Lyudo too? No? Guess not. Not that it mattered anyway. Maybe the series was just trolling with some of the characters to appear in the first season, making you think they are important but they aren’t actually. What about Diabo? How long does this guy take to get help from other countries? Or did he just run away and never to be seen again.

Remember Kuribayashi’s reporter sister, Nanami? Only appearing for one freaking short scene when the media visited Arnus. That’s it?! What the heck was that scene for anyway? It wouldn’t have been necessary to the plot (at least for this season concerned) and my view is that it is just to show what happened to Noriko. Some new characters debuting this season showed potential but their very short and sometimes single episode appearance only leaves more to be desired. Especially Giselle whom I thought would become the antagonist or at least sub-boss and thus opening up another development that is related to Rory. How unfortunate that did not happen. At least not as unfortunate as Yao’s other dark elves, all who died during the dragon slaying stint. Because it felt a bit funny when Yao introduced them all like as though they might be staying with us for a little longer but they only served their purpose to be sacrifices. I wonder what happened to Norra too. Just another unimportant character tossed away after her failed assassination…

Then there is the plot too. Rest assured that the plots and developments are intriguing as they are amazing. It keeps you on the edge of your seat trying to anticipate what happens next because a lot of things happened in this season. Some would turn out serious and affect the tone for the rest of the series like Zolzal becoming the next emperor and some turned out to be duds and just trolls. Like that seemingly earthquake that occurred right in the initial episodes. Mainly they substituted many of the comedy parts for the serious drama this season. Either way, they are all interesting nevertheless. The plot moves quickly from one to another and this branches out into a handful of developments, splitting this season into one that focuses on Itami’s group and the other on the rest. That is why it feels that Itami and his little platoon didn’t have much screen time this season as Itami is mostly away with his harem from slaying the fire dragon to escorting Lelei to obtain her masters. And while he is away, Zolzal makes his moves to further throw the world into chaos with his brand of war to Japan. I hope after this season that he and the future emperors would learn never ever to f*ck with Japan! All hail Japan!

Talking about Itami and his harem as the main characters, like I have said in my previous paragraph that because of the plot developments and many other characters, their role and appearance seem to have dwindled albeit you will still feel that they are the main characters. One thing good I can see about this that it shows that the SDF doesn’t need to overly rely on this guy to get things done. Itami may have did some ‘miracles’ in the first season but it goes to show that the SDF too can perform as good without the need for being him in every damn mission. With Itami getting a bit serious here, we hear less of his otaku penchant. My last season’s blog I remembered that I was hoping to see more development for Itami’s harem as well. Unfortunately with what I said about too many other plots and characters, this seems to dilute this too. Tuka is basically a damsel in (mental) distress for the first half of the season until she overcomes it but after that it feels like she is just tagging along. A food for thought: Is it okay to get revenge as cure for psychological trauma? Yeah, we’re only human. Apparently it works for elves too.

It feels the same for Lelei too because doing her masters isn’t exactly exciting but making her the target of an assassination plot seemed to drum it up although it isn’t that necessary. Finally the most disappointing would be Rory because she is cheeky, sarcastic (she did ask Itami how it feels to have a ‘daughter’ way older than him) and bubbly and other than her short stint with Giselle, there was nothing devilishly interesting in her role. You don’t see her go on a crazy killing spree in the name of Emloy and thus she is by far quite tame this season. She didn’t even do bold flirty stuffs with Itami here (biting his arm doesn’t count) like the last time (remember that seductive hotspring inn night?) and dare she blame him for not doing anything to her? I thought she is the one who is supposed to take the initiative? And with Yao confirming to be the latest in Itami’s harem, she didn’t do anything important either. She is with him because she is now his property after the dragon slaying mission.

With the drama drumming up, there is no time for Pina to appreciate and enjoy her yaoi doujin… After all, it is all hard work trying to prevent her kingdom and world falling into chaos and it gets even tougher when she gets imprisoned. If yaoi was something subtle last season, then perhaps the issue of child marriage would be that subtle issue this season. Sugawara’s unexpected engagement to Sherry might seem a bit odd for now. It is not like they are getting married instantly. But you have to remember that Sherry is willing to wait till she grows up till the legal age before they get married. By that time she would have grown up into a stunning beautiful woman instead of looking like a loli. Then it would be no different story because even in the real world, there are many marriages with such wide age gaps between men and women.

Some new characters this season were fast becoming my favourites like Arpeggio and Mimoza. In need for a comical character this season (because Pina was one in the last season especially the way stressed out herself), Arpeggio quickly became a likable idiot in my books simply because of her jealousy towards her little sister who seems to be better in everything than her. That soup dumping incident was the funniest by all. She might not take sisterly fights and rivalry to a new height but you can sympathise with her whenever she goes into that breakdown and stress mode. Or not. Somewhat reminds you a bit like Pina, eh? And Mimoza is truly likable because of her bubbly personality. You can never insult or bring this woman down because she takes everything as a compliment. It is odd for me to say this but I find her penchant for saying “Oh my, oh my, oh my…” to be highly addictive. I thought Shandy would become another joker character especially after that flash bomb incident with the assassins. She was really funny, her reaction being temporarily blinded. I’m not sure why or how she became a traitor even if it is the effects of Pied Piper whom we will never know of his identity, it is just mind boggling that she would easily do the unthinkable. Or a crazy theory of mine, she could be Pied Piper herself! Then again, since she is back to her normal ditzy self, guess not. Or is it?

Zolzal might look like the antagonist of the series but everyone knows Tyuule is the puppet master behind it all. This guy became a puppet anyway and if it is not by his father, it would be his furry slave. All under his nose. Just like Zolzal, I feel Tyuule is also lost because unlike others like Pina who have support and backup, Tyuule has always been very much alone. Had she met the right people earlier, would things have turned out much differently? With the way this season ended, you won’t hear the last of him (or any other characters in that matter) because muscle brain guys like him are very hard to put down or change over a new leaf. Even after being scared by the might of the SDF, he still won’t learn his lesson. And with the SDF do not practise killing the big fish (small fries who are unimportant to the series are acceptable), Zolzal will come back again with a vengeance unless somebody really puts a stop in his tracks. Uh huh. Let’s leave it to Itami and co again, huh?

The action parts do not disappoint and it is as good as before. Though, this season they leave it a little late to showcase the SDF’s firepower. I have to admit that there is a little guilty pleasure inside me (and most of us) in seeing the SDF gun down the ‘enemy’ and emerging unscathed. Yes, they make no mistakes and their missions always work out as planned. To perfection. Even if there are injuries, it is so minor that we will overlook it and still consider their victory to perfect. Flawless victory. Oh yeah. True heroes of the world! It is in a way sad to see them being glorified like this because at the same time if you think too much about it, they look like big bullies taking out on enemies with lesser and backwater technology. Heck, I don’t think they even have technology! That is why in a certain light, the media in this series are the other ‘antagonists’ as they are trying to find ways to bring down the SDF. Of course don’t worry. The SDF can’t be guilty of war crimes and slavery, right? (Read: Sarcasm). Other than SDF kicking ass, the dragon slaying mission was also exciting in its own right. Because they added explosions. Yeah, we all love explosions and things going boom. The most boring one goes to Rose Knights and Imperial guards clashing. See how allies clash in a primitive hand to hand combat… Even Lelei and Arpeggio’s magic fight that didn’t amount to anything much seemed better. Just saying…

The same seiyuus from the first season are retained and with more characters this season, the list of seiyuus expands. Joining the casts this season are Ami Koshimizu as Tyuule (Ryuuko in Kill La Kill), Katsuyuki Konishi as Zolzal (Oga in Beelzebub), Rina Hidaka as Sherry (Silica in Sword Art Online), Rumi Ookubo as Shandy (Hibachi in Mushibugyou), Mutsumi Tamura as Beefeater (Sonya in Kill me Baby), Fumi Hirano as Mimoza (Squall in Infinite Stratos 2), Ayahi Takagaki as Arpeggio (Chris in Senki Zesshou Symphogear series), Yuichiro Yumehara as Diabo (Mitsuhide in Akagami No Shirayuki-hime), Hibiku Yamamura as Noriko (Asuramaru in Owari No Seraph), Ayane Sakura as Giselle (Nao in Charlotte), Rina Satou as Norra (Misaka in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun), Makoto Furukawa as Luflus (Banri in Golden Time), Yuka Saitou as Misery (Tamamo in Daitoshokan No Hitsujikai) and Tsuyoshi Kouyama as Bouro (Leon in Trinity Blood).

The same group of people that sang the opening and ending themes for the first season continue to reprise their roles in their respective themes. Thus don’t be surprised to hear Kishida Kyoudan and The Akeboshi Rockets singing the very rock based Gate II ~Sekai Wo Koete~. This song somewhat reminds me of Highschool Of The Dead’s opening theme since it is also sung by the same group. The voices behind Tuka, Lelei and Rory again sing the ending theme, Itsudatte Communication, a generic anime pop ballad. The ending credits animation shows Itami’s harem having fun in a military training stint. Rather odd because I believe army training regiments are quite strict and disciplined. So it feels like they are like in some kid’s summer boot camp. Really.

Overall, this marks the end of a great season and it leaves me wanting for more. Since the novel which it is adapted from is still ongoing, there is still hope that there might be more episodes and seasons in the future. If you can get past all that military propaganda, this series is a good and entertaining watch. If there is one thing we learn from this series, even if it is all just waxing lyrical about the SDF being nice and ethical blokes dedicated to protecting their country and loved ones, you still wouldn’t want to mess with them. They will kick your ass so hard it will send you flying back in time to a primitive era and turn your civilization into a caveman. You have a choice of making them your friends or your enemies and risk being taken out. Don’t you even dare thinking of f*cking them. You have been warned. All hail the SDF! All hail Japan! All hail mighty Japan for their continuous unrelenting efforts in protecting world peace. And anime and manga too!

Never judge a book by its cover. The grass is always greener on the other side. How often have we heard these adages? We must be getting sick of them. But we never learn from it. That is why there will always be funny stories based on this. Take for instance, Kare Baka: Wagahai No Kare Wa Baka De R. From the point of view of others, our main protagonist might seem to have the hottest boyfriend in town. He definitely has the looks. Wow. A hot looking stud whom girls would die for to go out with. But there is a secret that nobody else knows. Despite his good looks, her boyfriend is the world’s biggest idiot! A stupid person! That is his only redeeming quality! OMG! How can hot people be stupid?! Believe it. That is why those adages come in handy. And so this short anime series is about peeking into his stupidity while making us laugh at it all. Hey wait. So it’s like, stupid people would only understand stupid jokes?

Episode 1
Akomi Natsuki is trying to sneak away from her friends, Reika and Makoto. But they know better. She is supposed to show them her hot boyfriend whom she claims is way cooler than theirs. Unless it is all in her figment of imagination. Don’t worry. He is real. Because he is here now. Girls, meet Ponta Ninomiya. OMG! So freaking handsome! So freaking polite! So cool! So awesome that they are blown away to bits! Reika falls to her knees and this is actually a sign of respect of prostrating before Akomi. Meanwhile Makoto is knocked out cold and her tummy is exposed, a sign of surrender and obedience. They want Akomi to spill all the details on him but why are they suddenly flirting with him? Because all hot guys belong to everybody! Luckily Akomi has foreseen this and has Ninomiya rehearsed fake answers like he is from Keio University. However for lines that were unrehearsed, it is natural he screws up. Like when they ask the course he takes, he misinterprets them as duck quacks and mentions he loves ducks! Akomi fears her lie will be exposed. Especially he isn’t even a college student and they only met at a thrift store. Good thing his good looks keep the girls from thinking rationally. Yup, and that is this idiot’s only redeeming quality. His pretty face.

Episode 2
Akomi is shocked that her boyfriend has things to do. But when she learns he is to meet up with his high school friends, she knows what is going on. Apparently he and his friends attend the stupidest high school in Japan! And they are taking part in an Earth Deliberation Meeting! So folks, meet the equally handsome and dumb Piisuke Kurosaki, Monyokichi Ootori and Peruhiko Saijou. So they’re discussing about global warming. Wow. So deep. The world is getting warmer. So what’s the problem? They like it nice and warm. They talk about all the food they can eat in summer as well as in winter. But can they enjoy winter foods if it is no longer that cold? But whatever Kurosaki suggests, it seems they should it down that nobody eats such food in such season. From hotpots to tofu to grated yam to daikon radish, they end their ‘fruitful’ discussion today. Because it is time to get some food! It is getting a little chilly so what kind of food goes with that? Crepes. Yeah…

Episode 3
Akomi is telling her school problems to Ninomiya at a diner. It is about her dilemma of quitting her swimming club to concentrate on her studies but her grades didn’t improve. If you think he has been diligently listening to her, you will know that he is more concerned of the dishes he ordered. Each time he finishes a dish, he realizes he has lots of rice to spare and orders another dish. And when he finishes the rice, he notices the dish is still not finished and orders more rice. Rinse and repeat this cycle of imbalance as poor Akomi pours out her dilemma and troubles that even spilled into her family life. It all ends when Ninomiya realizes his finished rice and he still has a fried shrimp left. Akomi then steals and eats it. She feels good in having someone listen to her troubles but Ninomiya is a sad cat that his girlfriend ate his fried shrimp. The struggle is real. First world problem…

Episode 4
So what is the Earth Deliberation Meeting is discussing now? Declining birth rates! Oooh. How deep. Ninomiya suggests people to get married but before that they have to date. However Ninomiya’s friends can’t say much as they are not popular with girls and don’t have a girlfriend like him. Don’t worry. There is another way. He shows them a packet of birdseeds. It is for storks. If they increase the stork population, it is sure and definite the birth rates will increase as it will attract more storks to carry more babies. Genius! But where to get more storks? He spotted them at nearby Ueda. The trick now is to get more birdseeds and since they need money for that as well as travelling expenses, everyone agrees to do part time jobs! Time to get their ass moving! Oh yeah! Hey wait… Do storks eat birdseeds?

Episode 5
Akomi sees Ninomiya playing with a bunch of kindergarten kids. And they are calling him their leader! Immature? These kids are even busier than this guy as they leave for their own lessons and activities. Ninomiya then tells Akomi that he once had his secret training at this park. That technique is called Fanged Wolf Wind Fist. When he was young, he followed this shady man to his home where he would teach him this secret technique in exchange for his allowance and snacks. Ninomiya of course believed in him and we see him being used to do errands and chores although in his eyes this is the ‘training’. Yeah, child exploitation. Then one day this ‘dojo’ was put up for sale and his ‘master’ vanished. He wonders where he is now and hopes to thank him one day. Akomi is lost for words. When a nearby robbery occurs, Ninomiya uses his special technique to beat down that guy! OMG! It is such a powerful move! Well, all those training did come in handy after all.

Episode 6
A big issue for Earth Deliberation Meeting this time. What the heck is TPP issue? Man, this is going to be difficult. It seems Ninomiya is trying to make a sentence from this abbreviation. For instance, Takahashi was to buy Papayas but bought Panties instead. Then it becomes some sort of TPP story while other TPP abbreviations are rejected. Takahashi at Pudding and Partied all night. Takahashi brought Ponzu sauce to Pakistan. Takahashi becomes a Pizza maker in Paraguay. Takahashi Ponpoko Punch. Takahashi meets Princess in Paris. Everyone is so intrigued to know what is happening to Takahashi after coming this far. What will happen to him? The final verdict: Takahashi became a Paladin in Paraguay. Everyone is so happy for Takahashi. Who the f*ck is Takahashi???!!!

Episode 7
Ninomiya’s grandma is dying and he needs to travel to see her for one last time. Of course Akomi wants him to go to her but fears like the last time he will get lost alone at a train station for a week! Even so, he must go. Akomi is kind enough to follow him. So they begin their journey from taking train, plane, bus and ship. Then they trek through the forests and rivers before hiking up the mountains riding bears! Man, where does grandma live? I’m glad Akomi weathered through all that and is still alive. Grandma is moments away from passing on and her last wish is to see her grandson. Ninomiya pops up in time and hopes she would get better. A sudden miracle happens. She is brought back to life and active as ever as she welcomes him and spoils him with lots of treats. Wow. She is so much better already. Akomi’s conclusion: Hot guys are amazing! Yeah, believe it!

Episode 8
Wow. Another deep discussion from the Earth Deliberation Meeting. What is the issue this time? Deforestation. The world’s forests are simply getting destroyed. Any solutions? Stop destroying the forests! Brilliant! Case solved! Next issue. Ozone layer. The ozone is getting destroyed. Solutions? Stop destroying it! Wonderful! Case solved! Next issue. Noise pollution. How to stop it? Stop making noises? Nope. That wouldn’t simply work. It is suggested to put earplugs. But they can’t hear a thing. Try putting it on your nose? Hmm… Not only they can hear now, they can block pollens! Alright! It is settled! Who’d knew that solutions to such jarring problems are so simple and easy!

When Stupidity Shines The Brightest
Wow. I didn’t realize I would find myself to enjoy such a short series. Before I knew it and was just warming up to the episode, it has already ended! Oh no! Need more of Ninomiya’s stupidity! Please don’t end it right here! Please turn it into a full length anime series with proper number of episodes per season! Am I affected and addicted by his stupidity? Since this series made me laugh, it can’t be all that bad, right? Well, I suppose the reason why it is short and won’t be getting any more longer episodes (for now) is so that we won’t turn into stupid idiots like him. Yeah, we don’t want to take the risk of infecting and turning people stupid. Sighs… I guess these will do.

The entire series is divided into Ninomiya’s time between Akomi and his Earth Deliberation Meeting. As we peek into the minds of the dumb people, it becomes more evident how stupid they are. However they are just so stupid in everything that we cannot find ourselves to hate them! In fact, we love them even more! Don’t you agree?! Isn’t it any wonder that Akomi for absurd reasons become this idiot’s boyfriend? I don’t even know how but I am sure it is of the silliest reasons. I know one of them is his amazing handsome face but if it is in today’s world, he would have been immediately dumped. Because I mean, he is not rich, right? So can you say that their dumb love is keeping their relationship alive? If that is the case, I also want to have such beautiful silly relationship!

Earth Deliberation Meeting in my opinion is by far the most effective Earth preservation group and meeting ever in the world! Don’t you agree? They are better than high profile international meets that gather and just talk about the climate and do nothing. G7, G15 or G100 whatever. They are nothing compared to these blokes. Oh, they are no different than them you say? Well, true. Even if their solutions are freaking simple and silly, hey, at least they came up with a solution, right?! Whether the world’s problem is solved or not is not of their concern! I want to join this meeting! Where can I sign up! I have lots of ideas that I can contribute.

Characters wise, like I said Ninomiya is the lovable idiot who gets away with everything or hides everything just because of his good looks. Can you really blame him because all of us are just being suckers for a pretty face? Isn’t that why the most charismatic and beautiful people are always at the top? Sort of. As for Akomi, there is this temptation at first to be her mother and tell her to switch boyfriend. But if you think about how ‘safe’ she would be under him, I think it is best she remains. Yes, he is a much safer bet out there than other guys. Too bad the other guys in Earth Deliberation Meeting don’t bring much variety to the ‘stupidity’ except for Kurosaki whose role seems to always get his ideas shot down and then falling into depression. I wonder if it is a sign for stupidity because notice how the guys have very funny first names…

Making this series even funnier is the opening and ending theme. Well, it isn’t really a proper one as they are both Baroque-like instrumentals. But what I like most about them is that amidst the beautifully passionate and wild piano pounding and finger drills, we hear Ninomiya humming away to the tune “La la la la la la~”. OMG! It is so freaking hilarious! It is like he is trying to sound like a maestro but he fails so badly that it sounds so funny! You know, when you want to hum to the song in the shower and you do so with all your passion? Yup, that’s the way. Even the ending theme trolls us by putting ‘lyrics’ on screen which is just basically gibberish like “Chachachachadadum” or “Dum Dananana” or “Hmmmhmhmhm”. So f*cking epic!

Overall, this is a highly entertaining short series that pokes fun at stupidity and then it makes you reflect how the real world isn’t any much different. There are lots of sayings being attributed to this. You know, how life is already tough but it is tougher if you are stupid. Not in the case of this anime! So I hope that this season is just testing the market to gauge how many ‘stupid’ people like this series and once enough fans love this series for all the silly reasons, they can go ahead and make a proper anime series out of it. What a perfect way to run away from life’s reality and your own stupidity by watching others. I guess it is true, you can’t cure stupidity anyhow. If you can’t beat them, join them?

If human had shoes that could fly, imagine the endless possibilities and experiences that we would be having right now. Lots of fun. Lots of excitement. Lots of accidents. Lots of mishaps. Lots of fatalities… Yeah… If we humans can’t even properly drive on the road without being huge idiots, what more flying? Anyway we aren’t here to talk about the bad stuffs on what if humans could fly. And if Nike ever made shoes that could really fly, they would of course have made a sport out of it. Too bad you won’t find Nike sponsoring such shoes in Ao No Kanata No Four Rhythm. This series is basically a sports genre with sci-fi elements in it. You put on your shoes that allow you to fly and go play some air game which is what this series revolves around. And of course being a sports genre, you would have expected one of the two: 1) A newcomer into the sport who impresses everyone with her exceptional talents in the sport despite playing for the first time with no prior experience; 2) The tale of the underdog team who will rise up against favourite teams and beat the odds. This series has both. That being said, we all know how the plot will progress, right?

Episode 1
Masaya Hinata helps new transfer student Asuka Kurashina to find her lost house keys. Ditzy girl has been complaining so loud about it of course anybody would stop to help. After finding it, Asuka is surprised to see Misaki Tobisawa flying by. She is Masaya’s friend and classmate at Kunahama Institute. They have to rush to school or else they will feel the embarrassing wrath of their strict homeroom teacher, Aoi Kagami. It is cool that they could fly to school but why the heck do they have to run up the slope into school?! Can’t they just fly in?! Who made this stupid rule?! Anyway they made it in time. As expected, Asuka ends up in the same class as Masaya and Misaki. Since she is annoyingly friendly with them, Kagami makes them her instructor. Misaki acts differently like as though she has a split personality. As explained by fellow classmate, Madoka Aoyagi, due to her low blood pressure, she acts different in the mornings and afternoons. Completing the group is Mashiro Arisaka. Self-proclaimed slave and yuri lover wannabe for Misaki. Read: Another b*tch character. As a newbie, they teach Asuka how to fly with the Grav-Shoes. Of course as a noob she fails badly that it is pathetic. That is why she pleads for Masaya to be stricter and use Spartan techniques. Sure she can handle it? I know it is to help her learn faster but doesn’t that make her sound like a masochist? After a hard day of training, she returns to her room. Masaya didn’t think he got a new neighbour. Oh, it’s Asuka. And she is just changing in her undies! Cue for scream…

Another day of pathetic training… How long will it take before she can decently fly? On the way back, she sees Madoka’s brother, Shion being defeated by Reiko Satouin in a Flying Circus (FC) (some sort of flying sport which is the theme of this series). Asuka misinterprets their school name will be changed so she confronts her to challenge her in FC. Oh, did you know that Takafuji Academy that Reiko is from is the powerhouse of FC? Yet, Asuka is being honest with her noob skills that you wonder if she is making an insult or can be taken seriously. And so for the sake of us viewers too, Asuka is explained how the game works. Within a ring, you either touch your opponent’s back or touch buoys in order to score points. The one scoring the most points in the allotted time wins. Simple, right? Reiko sets a handicap for her and even shortens the game play. Of course as it starts, Asuka can’t even move and it’s like she’s making a fool out of herself while Reiko zooms past her competitor and scoring points with ease. Masaya takes over Misaki as Second (ground coach) and relays instructions on what to do. It looked like it worked but Reiko is a veteran and dodges it. Just when everything seems to just fail for Asuka, she remembers something of her past then she powers up like as though she activated her hidden talent to score a point by touching Reiko’s back with an air kick turn.

Episode 2
Based on the handicap rules, it is Asuka’s win since she was able to get a point. Everyone is amazed at her skill because an air kick turn is very hard to pull off. Before Shion starts getting emotional about their victory, better run away while you can. News about Asuka’s win spread like wildfire and even though it was just an unofficial match, it is still like David beating Goliath. Madoka is so impressed as she tries to scout Asuka, Misaki and Mashiro to join her FC club that only she and Shion are part of. Asuka eagerly joins because of the free drinks? Misaki joins perhaps to rekindle her love for the sport she retired from. Mashiro? Wherever Misaki goes, she goes. So the clubroom is some dirty abandoned bus? Since Asuka has joined the club, Masaya doesn’t have to be her instructor anymore. But why the sad face? Deja vu again when Masaya returns home and sees Asuka changing. Cue for screaming. Doesn’t she know how to use curtains? The newbies train on their first day but since they tire out easily, it is suggested they get some competitive gear. Madoka as the manager takes them to a store to shop for their gear. I wonder how this little shop assistant girl, Minamo is going to sell the products when she is so shy and hiding behind mannequins while explaining things. Eventually they get the gears they want. Next day, Misaki wants a duel with Asuka because she and everybody else want to see her air kick turn again. Shion becomes Misaki’s Second and since Masaya was passing by, Kagami makes him Asuka’s coach. The match starts as Misaki furiously racks up the points and Asuka displaying her usual klutz. When it is time for her to do the air turn kick, seems she falters. This has others think it was just beginner’s luck. Misaki continues to add up to her points tally by repetitively touching Asuka’s back. By the time Asuka is able to get all that motivation to fight back and get a point, time is over. Misaki wins 9-0. Asuka is of course sad about her loss and wants Masaya to stay as her Second. Okay. At least till the summer tournament. Kagami then calls the Takafuji side that since they have enough members now, she would love to hold a joint training camp.

Episode 3
We skip the training of the joint camp so we can have some bathing fanservice! Oh yeah. Why waste time? Misaki becomes the first victim of Reiko’s back washing. We’ll leave it up to your imagine how she got screwed. Masaya meets Takafuji’s captain, Kazunari Shindou. He mentions about his dream of playing a certain someone he idolized in FC but that person faded away from the spotlight. He requests Masaya for a match but is turned down because he doesn’t play FC anymore. Shindou wonders why he came back to the sport again. Is it because of Asuka’s air turn kick? On the last day of the camp, we have practice matches for the representatives. Asuka goes up against Rika Ichinose. Shindou is a bit disappointed because he wanted to face Asuka and see her air turn kick. Despite Asuka improved a lot, she still has a lot more for improvement as Rika gives her the run around with her yoyo and zigzag tactics. When Rika is going to touch Asuka’s back, Asuka does her amazing air kick turn to touch hers. It was a good game despite Asuka lost 1-6. Next match is Mashiro against Reiko. Mashiro is already so scared shivering in her pants facing her that the producers didn’t even bother to show her match! Really. You want to watch how she lost 0-20!!! Finally it is Misaki up against Shindou. As expected, Shindou is freaking fast like Sonic. He is not the reigning world champion for nothing. He could have continued to use his speed to rack up points but I guess he got a little bored and tries to provoke Misaki. Masaya knows this tactic to rouse her up and not be baited to fall for it. But it is kinda hard when you have a guy who is as cocky. Masaya even had to cut her an udon buffet deal just so that she could listen to his instructions of focusing on defence instead of attacking. The rest of the match descends into one big game of tag with Misaki being able to keep up with Shindou. All that paid off when Misaki is able to touch his back once although in the end Shindou wins 4-1. If you’re wondering why Shion didn’t participate when he was supposed to, he was floored by stomach ache. Ate too much during the camp, didn’t he?

Episode 4
How the f*ck can Mashiro concentrate on he studies for the make-up test when fellow classmate Minori Hosaka is giving commentary all the way!!! In exchange for her aid to help her study. Minori gets to interview the FC club. Man, this woman never stops talking!!! With Asuka and Misaki improving a lot, this makes Mashiro worry that she will be left behind. Can she imagine a life without Misaki? No way!!! So desperate she is that she tries to practice alone one night but bumps into Rika and accidentally challenges her to a match. After hearing her out, Rika agrees to train her the basics. Mashiro diligently studies under her. In exchange for her kindness, she gets free udon meals from Mashiro’s parents who run such store. Heck, even mom wants Rika to be her daughter!!! Mashiro’s skills improved and though they are just the basics, tournament matches are another story. At the end of their unofficial training, they form a friendship as well as some sort of alliance. When Mashiro enters a practice match with Asuka, everyone is stunned to see how vastly she has improved. Even more surprising is how Mashiro has decided to go with the speeder style instead of the fighter style she wanted. Asuka continues to be a klutz and even gets distracted by Mashiro’s bluff. Needless to say, the latter won 4-0. At night when Asuka is about the fly home, she is startled by a message from her mom that she drops her handphone. Luckily a girl, Saki Inui was fast enough to swoop down and save it. Asuka is glad there are such nice people on this island. That monotonous cold face is friendly?

Episode 5
The summer tournament is here. Asuka and Shion are so excited that they act like monkeys. Public nuisance? While looking at the board for their match line-ups, Mashiro meets her childhood friend-cum-rival, Arika Okoza from Shitou Suisan. Her senior, Mayu Ganeko ‘punishes’ her for her lack of etiquette before others by getting yuri with each other. As expected, Minori becomes the commentator for the entire event. She’s got lots of energy in her mouth… You can’t blame Mashiro for being nervous because her fist round opponent is Reiko! Remember the last time, right? It is time to see whether her training pays off. Mashiro makes a good start, surprising Reiko. But as the game progresses, Reiko makes a comeback and wins 7-2. Despite the loss, everyone is proud of Mashiro’s improved skill. Next is Misaki against Rika. I’m sure Mashiro is torn to support which but she’ll support both anyway. Misaki wins 5-1. For the first time we get to see Shion in action. He takes on Saki from Kairyo Academy. Masaya cautions him as he has no data on her. He learns from Saki’s Second, Irina Avalon about Saki playing FC in England where FC was conceived. That must say a lot, right? Good or bad thing, we won’t see the full match because we already know Shion would lose right from the start when Saki zooms faster than him. In fact, he lost 1-22!!! I know he wants to forget that… Masaya notices Saki’s different Grav-Shoes. Irina says they are Avalon Grav-Shoes and her father makes them. It is now Asuka’s turn against Arika. The latter makes a good start at first and as expected, you’ll know Asuka will pull off something, right? She shocks everybody by doing an air kick turn while in tailspin. That turned the tables as Asuka goes on to win by a narrow margin 4-3.

Episode 6
Asuka is just fresh from defeating her second round opponent who looks like a typical anime witch character that we couldn’t care less about. The main highlight of the second round matches is Misaki versus Shindou. Misaki is expecting a good dogfight with him but Shindou zooms past her to rake in the points. Misaki puts her trust in Masaya to give her instructions to counter Shindou’s speed. It did pay off with her stealing a point but Shindou just uses it as acceleration and boost to grab his next point. When Misaki uses her air kick turn to touch his back, she becomes very much motivated to win this but time is over. Aww, shucks. Shindou wins 5-3. We skip all other matches to go to the third round because this is where Asuka will face off with Shindou. As usual, Shindou starts off good and fast. Asuka keeps a close tab in tailing him. Shindou pulls off super pro tactics like cobra and suicide to stun everybody and increase his points tally. When Asuka pulls off her signature air kick turn, Shindou uses that with a vertical air kick turn. But the most surprising move came when Asuka did her air kick turn again to score a point. And then again. And again. AND AGAIN!!! OMG! Five consecutive air kick turns to even the score with Shindou???!!! This makes Shindou who is already so freaking serious to be even more freaking serious. What’s the difference? You see his ‘mad’ face. Because he always fights in a cool and composed manner, having him fight this way means the opponent has pushed him to the ropes. A couple of beat downs till Shindou wins it 6-4. And that completes Kunahama’s wipe out from the tournament. Everyone is ecstatic with such enjoyable game play except for Misaki who has been in shock ever since. Shindou never go all out against her because she wasn’t that good?

Episode 7
We see Saki brushing off Mayu to enter the finals to face off with Shindou. In the mean time, Asuka has got lots of fans hogging around her thanks to her air kick turn move… Back to the match, both are equally matched when it slowly starts to become obvious that Shindou is having a hard time. Then it dawned to everyone else that Saki’s purpose is not to score points but to dominate over her opponent. Yup, Shindou’s mad face coming up so early in the match proves it so. Whatever tricks Shindou pulls off, Saki will always be faster and a step ahead. Game is set in Saki’s favour 3-2. This shock win leaves Misaki shock as well because she was brushing off her defeat and putting all her hopes in supporting Shindou as the best player, only to come to crashing into a brick wall. Even more shocking, Misaki sees Asuka beaming with smiles as the latter has enjoyed watching the match. Because of this, Misaki falls into depression and doesn’t take part in her club’s BBQ party in which Shion announces his captaincy over to Madoka (since she volunteered). We see Irina confronting Kagami about their ‘beautiful’ dominating play called birdcage. Apparently it was a move that Kagami once used too when she was an FC player but ‘sealed’ it to avoid the game from killing itself. More gloominess for Misaki as she goes out to town alone. She hears news of Shindou’s shock loss to a newcomer which could tarnish his reputation. When she bumps into him, he looks fine but with a tad of sadness although it is no big deal. What Shindou was afraid of is the fear of losing something he enjoyed, that was why he was desperate in the finals. That match made him realize FC is a sport in which any play style could stop being effective at any moment. If the fun in FC stops, he’ll quit. This pep talk leaves Misaki even gloomier. Yeah, she carries it over to the new term where our Kunahama FC club members are in for the first shock of the term: Misaki tenders her resignation letter.

Episode 8
The girls confront Misaki but she is fooling around not giving any real answers. After class, they try to trap her in but she is fast enough to give them the slip! It is over when she puts on her Grav-Shoes. Asuka manages to catch up. So what is Misaki’s excuse? She can’t fly anymore. As the club members discuss about this, Masaya just says to leave her alone and not put pressure. One evening when Misaki is hanging out in town, she bumps into Masaya who tells her he knows how he feels because he once ran away from FC. He was once a talented player and was even selected for the Nationals. Of course that heavy responsible made him fear losing as he was afraid to lose the fun he had. Around that time, a beginner challenged him to a match. Masaya lost and he quit FC altogether. It was just an excuse to distance himself from FC. But after that he learnt that running far away isn’t easy. I think Irina wants to show who is superior so she lands her helicopter in Kunahama to request for a practice match. Kagami turns her down in view of how sudden everything is. But with Asuka being an eager beaver to face Saki, she jumps at the chance. Right off from the start, Saki begins her birdcage manoeuvre. No matter what tactics Masaya and Asuka employ, Saki is always there to counter it. Saki is so perfect in all her counters that everyone noticed they send Asuka flying off at the exact angles! At this rate Asuka will only be tiring herself out. Asuka tries to shake Saki off but the latter is sticking as close as a leech. Asuka tries to do her air kick turn at this proximity in hopes of surprising her. Surprised, she dodges it and even counters her attack. Asuka tries another one but her Grav-Shoes gave way as she free falls into the sea. Misaki rescues her and we can tell that Asuka is shaken in more than one ways.

Episode 9
Asuka seems pretty fine. She is humming the tune of her old favourite mecha anime, Zephyrion! Even in school she is quite chirpy. Or is it? But something feels off because when Asuka practises FC, it is like she forgot all her basics and is even a beginner in flying! Asuka remembers when she was young, she met a young boy and often played with him. They became good friends. He introduced her to Zephyrion. But of course one day he had to leave and so he gave her his mecha figure. Misaki talks to Asuka. The latter feels scared about confronting her weakness ever since the match with Saki. Madoka gets a shock when she receives a letter from Asuka that she is taking leave from the club. At least she isn’t quitting. It gets ominous when she doesn’t respond her messages and her mom called that she isn’t home yet. Dark rainy day. Asuka wandering around. How ominous is that? Misaki picks her up and lets her stay in her place. Since Mashiro is pretty annoying trying to flirt with Misaki (especially her deluded yuri fantasies), she kicks her out. They go through Misaki’s photo album. Asuka notes a cute little boy. Nope. That is Misaki. Such tomboy… Misaki comes clean on why she left the club. Her insecurities when she lost to Shindou made her think she didn’t go all out on him. And when Shindou went serious with Asuka and lost to Saki, it got to her. It made her feel pathetic. Next day as they head to school, Asuka requests a match with Misaki. Madoka is surprised that her leave absence is only for a day. You expecting it to be longer? Both girls take their battle to the skies and rekindle that awesome and fun feeling they had in the sport. Misaki comes to terms that she was running away because she was afraid to lose something she found herself so dedicated to. She is still scared, though. As for Asuka, she always believed the answers will be in the sky. With that, Misaki rejoins the club. The girls discuss this Zephyrion thing and Asuka tries to describe that young boy. Like a female version of Masaya? Misaki too remembers something similar that she once played FC with that kid but since it was so long ago, they brush it off.

Episode 10
Irina and Saki were captivated when they saw Kagami’s dazzling light. Ever since they have been trying to perfect and surpass it. Masaya has the girls in various stamina training. But even with these regimens, he knows it will not be enough to overcome birdcage. Misaki does the impossible by waking up early before the alarm clock to head for practice. But Asuka is earlier and already practising. The girls also try calibrating their Grav-Shoes but it needs some getting used to. Asuka has called Reiko and Rika to help. Fishing boat arrival + maniacal laughter = WTF?! Reiko gets the wrong idea she is here to challenge her for a rematch before the autumn tournament. The practice match goes well with Asuka levelling up a lot and Reiko doing the same to avenge Shindou’s honour. After practice, Asuka bumps into Saki at an alley playing with a stray kitten. When she tries to talk about FC and do their best for the next tournament, Saki cuts her off that their FC is nothing like theirs. Arrogance, right? Meanwhile Misaki sees Shindou to seek his help to train her on how to enjoy while being in the state of fear. Psychological training? In another practice match, everyone is stunned when Masaya personally enters the fray to teach the girls all that he’s got from his past experience. After all these years, he still hasn’t lost touch. This even motivated Kagami to join in. Yeah, all the experienced masters are pitching in to help our youngsters level up.

Episode 11
The autumn tournament is here and you bet Irina and Saki are going to show the world their beautiful and superior play by winning 2 tournaments in a row. We’ll see about that. We skip first round matches because there isn’t anybody worthy to watch so in the second round, Mashiro takes on Rika in a closely contested match that has Mashiro narrowly beating Rika 4-3. Although it is sad she lost in the next round. Too bad Reiko couldn’t get her revenge and lost to Saki. By now Irina and Saki must be the most hated duo ever in the series because at the end of the day, they rub it in by telling how everyone is exhausted but not Saki who didn’t even have to work a sweat. Otherwise Saki will not be able to show the world a perfect victory. Even before the next match in which Saki is supposed to face Misaki, Irina cockily tells them off how they will be silenced once the match begins. The gang knows better than to give in to her provocations and use it as motivation to spur them on. It is better than Mashiro dressing up like a fan idol to cheer for Misaki… Asuka beats Mayu in the semi-finals 6-2. Misaki and Saki’s match begins and right from the start it is obvious Saki is going to do her birdcage move. Misaki isn’t cowed and tries various ways to get into a dogfight with her. She even tries flying upside down to protect her back despite flying this way is difficult. When Saki has a moment of hesitation, Misaki uses her cobra move to spring an attack and touch Saki’s back. A point earned. No more perfect victory. Irina is irked at this unsightly play. When Misaki challenges her that she has given everything she’s got, Saki could feel some passionate burning within her heart. She feels she wants to beat her. Thus Saki apologizes she can’t play along with Irina’s plans. Saki moves on her own and is quite a good dogfighter. She makes a comeback to defeat Misaki narrowly 3-2. Though Misaki is sad that she couldn’t best Saki, it isn’t as bitter as what Irina is feeling because it is the ugliest victory she has ever seen. So a victory is not a victory for her?

Episode 12
Before the finals begin, Irina warns Saki to fly with grace and silence her opponent. No buts about it. As expected, Saki isn’t being friendly with Asuka who hopes to have a good game with her. Asuka for once dominates when the match begins. She takes the lead until Irina tells Saki to turn off the balancer of her Grav-Shoes. In short, it is a good and bad thing but it brings out its utmost potential. Saki is able to catch up and tie the points with Asuka. Then there is some sort of aerial beat down on Asuka. It could have been endless had not regulation time ended. Saki’s powerful stunning display has silenced the crowd and this is perhaps what Irina wants. As the match ends in a tie, there will be an extra time after a 10 minutes break. Everyone is worried that Asuka has no more stamina after that beat down but surprisingly Asuka finds this match fun (I hope she isn’t a masochist) and wants to keep flying with her. She requests her balancer to be taken off too. Irina brags to Kagami about their perfect and beautiful symphony that silenced the crowd. Kagami replies that is just fear. Because it would be meaningless if the game doesn’t live up to its circus name of entertaining the crowd. As extra time begins, Asuka quickly crashes into the sea. But that is just a prelude so that she could power up and fly with Saki without balancers. Asuka’s power up stuns the crowd to new heights as she regains her points lead. When the girls face off again, Saki has this burning passion in her heart like the last time. For the first time, we see Saki smile! Yup, she’s going to have a blast with Asuka. Now Irina is the only one being a b*tch herself. Saki goes on the offensive to level the points again. They start chasing each other until they become… A giant ball of glowing light?! But it is so beautiful that even Irina succumbs to admit how beautiful it is. Extra time has ended and the match goes into sudden death. Whoever scores the next point first wins. When it seems Asuka’s Grav-Shoes gave way and Saki going to tag her back, with the power of her will (and main character BS), Asuka powers back up and turns fast enough (like as though time has stopped) to touch Saki’s back and win it. The first person to rush to hug the new champion is Misaki. To show that Irina still has a heart, she apologizes to Kagami of her wrong ways. She did it because she wanted Kagami’s approval. Well, damn. Now we can’t hate her entirely ;p. Kagami also admitted she did make some mistakes but now she knows she played an important role in the evolution of FC. End clips show nothing much except everyone going about in their daily lives. Saki has become friends with Asuka and co. Oh, Shion is having it tough with his college entrance exams… Ganbatte, ne!

Flying Dogfight
Time to stop flying in the clouds and put our feet back on the ground. Well, that was fun, right? But it also ended in an expected way as Asuka predictably won the tournament because she is the main character and it will justify and avenge all the other characters who lost to Saki. To put icing on the cake, Irina and Saki have learnt their lesson and drop their snobbish b*tch tag. All is well, ends well. Win-win situation for everybody. Nobody goes home broken hearted and everybody is as happy as they are together. What a perfect world. Till the next big game comes up. Winter tournament anybody?

The game of FC can be summed up as a big game of air checkpoint with air tag and air point guard. Probably I wasn’t paying attention because I believe that the finer points to playing FC aren’t explained quite clearly. I understood the game mainly because of my observations so I believe the game is played that way. For example, I kept wondering why somebody has to play the point guard after the first buoy is touched instead of just continue to race for the next buoy. Then I noticed it could be part of the rules that after the fastest player touches the first buoy, the slower player will then become the point guard and try to stop the other. And you can’t go to the next buoy until both players cross each other. I may be wrong but this is what I observed so far in every match. Plus, I was too lazy to do my own research since I’m not that crazy into the game after all ;p. I think such rules keep the game fresh and exciting because if everyone were to start racing, there would be no dogfights thus no fancy acrobatic flight manoeuvres to drum up the dramatic effects. Besides if racing to the next buoy is all it takes to get points, the fastest player would definitely leave the slower one eating his/her dust. Or air trails in this case.

Thus FC isn’t a game that captivated my heart even till the end of the series. Sure, it is a game that could only possibly exist in fantasy. I mean, ever tried playing real Quidditch in real life? Looks so lame, right? Hah. I’m not a Quidditch fan anyway… Anyhow, one reason being that I don’t fully understand the game rules and to me it seemed like a couple of players having an aerial dogfight as themselves and without planes. I am sure they did their best in producing the best angles and scopes of the flight action but unfortunately I wasn’t really charmed even when purely watching the spectacle. Although entertaining, it isn’t something that took my breath away.

Character development isn’t too deep with many of the ‘action’ taking place within the game especially in the later parts of the series. We have the main characters and their set of little problems but that is clearly overcome. Like Asuka being a klutz in real life and FC would become a rising talent in the game in no time. It is like she is able to grasp the concepts after playing or watching once. Why do retards usually have such great talent in such shows? Then there is Masaya as the ex-experienced player who left the game but came back to just to help out a new talent develop so that he too can move forward and not run away from his sorry past anymore. One would wonder who that small boy was in Asuka and Misaki’s past. He looks like Masaya but my guts tell me he is not. And since Masaya was also once beaten by a kid who could probably be that same boy, it all adds up to the mystery that no one really cares about in the end.

We get the most drama out of Misaki when she has some sort of pride problem as she is unable to accept that she wasn’t up to standard because if she lost to whom she believes is the best and that best lost to another, it really takes a beating to her pride and it lets her know where she stands in FC. I believe Misaki has a ‘split personality’ depending on the time of the day but you’ll probably forget about it since it isn’t something as clear as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Not forgetting Mashiro who continues to yearn for Misaki’s love. But I feel ever since she made friends with Rika, she isn’t that obsessed with Misaki. You know, to the point where Misaki is like her personal property and nobody else could touch her. Because when Misaki temporarily left the club, why didn’t Mashiro follow? I thought she goes wherever Misaki goes. Instead, Mashiro continues being in the club like the independent girl she is instead of bugging her lover (at least in her head).

As for the other side characters, they don’t stand out as much. Like Irina and Saki are there as the series ‘antagonist’ so that we could have somebody to despise and give the series a much needed drama and push for our heroines to do better. Imagine if everyone had the same sportsmanship in FC and played the game well without any incidents. That would be so boring, wouldn’t it? So we see the daring exploits of turning off their balancers and giving FC a fresh breath of excitement in which FC experts call it another revolution to the game. So the duo aren’t entirely that bad and played a vital role in the next step of FC. Like any other high school sports club, there is a need for a manager and that is what basically Madoka’s role is. Otherwise her character would have been quite redundant. At least Shion is there because you can tell from the start he is a joker character with a passion for FC. After he hands over the captaincy to his sister, he further becomes more comical because he still hangs around like as though he feels he is needed. Thus, giving Madoka a role in playing the tsukkomi to ensure this idiotic big brother of hers would just stay home and study for his college entrance exams. Oh, did I mention he is a character that is prone to crying? Especially tears of joy… Then you’ve got redundant characters like shy Minamo just to show us that there is somebody else who supports Asuka. It is not like she appears very often either. Minori? People with gift of the gab are natural for commentating roles. Like, do we even pay attention to what she says?

The rest of the side characters are just there to add up for the numbers. Like Mayu and Arika who look like they have potential to have their own storyline seeing Arika is a rival-cum-childhood friend to Mashiro but that is all you need to know about her and what better way to reflect that by limiting their screen time. Same case for Mayu because this onee-sama type seems to be fixated about good etiquettes and manners of how one conduct oneself, which isn’t a bad thing but that is all there is that you would know about her character. And Rika’s role is to be Mashiro’s friend so that Mashiro won’t look like a total b*tch pervert hoarding Misaki all the time. Reiko is just a prideful b*tch while Shindou has fallen from grace as the best. At least they take their loss in better stride than Misaki but Takafuji’s reputation as a powerhouse starts declining ever since. And besides the fact that these characters are to provide roles as opponents in FC for our Kunahama girls. I mean, don’t you feel that despite having numerous FC players from other schools, how come they tend to face off among each other? Yeah. Plot convenience. Better for characters that we know to challenge each other so that there would be more drama effects compared to one we are unfamiliar with and once it is done, they are never heard of again.

Looking at the art and drawing for the first time, it struck me how similar it was the character designs to another anime, Koi To Senkyo To Chocolate. Unsurprisingly as I found out, both series were made by the same game developer, Sprite. I guess it is one of those things whereby you make lots of games and you want your trademark visuals to be consistent in games that you make and therefore the feeling of seeing a particular character somewhere before. Or sometimes you just think the creators got lazy and just copied some character and tweaked a little bit here and there. But let’s not pick a bone with that because overall the visuals are good especially the scenic backgrounds of the island and yes, the sky. As for the FC outfits, it is like a tight body hugging suit fitted with… Sleeve flaps? I don’t know if that really works for aerodynamic purposes.

As for the visual effects during FC battles, the light trail effects seem cool at first but after a while it would seem pretty odd that those lights would ‘stick’ in the air for that scene instead of fading away (for most of the scenes anyway). It feels like those light trails are something solid. What I mean is that the light trails would be permanent in that fight scene until the next change of scene. I suppose this is good so you can see and chart the movements of where the FC players were. Then come the next scene, it is like ‘somebody quickly took a sky board duster (my term for blackboard duster for the sky) to rub them all off before the next scene plays’. Get what I’m saying?

Despite this series was adapted from an adult visual novel game of the same name, there is practically no fanservice at all. If not, a tiny amount so miniscule that you would probably forget as the episodes go by. Because the only most prominent fanservice I could remember is when Masaya accidentally passes by Asuka while she is changing. That only happened twice and in the first 2 episodes. After that, it never happened again or else we would have started to think that this would become the series’ running joke-cum-fanservice. As for the FC outfits, there is nothing sexy about them. If you deem so, probably you do not have enough exposure to what a real fanservice is :-). Or maybe I’ve watched too many fanservice elements and thus my expectations for pantsu shots and boobs shoots have tremendously rocketed sky high as the standard threshold. Yeah…

It is one of those animes where I once again mistake a seiyuu. This is the case for Asuka as I thought she was voiced by Nao Touyama. There were a few instances when I thought she sounded like her but at other points it wasn’t. So I thought it was the case of the seiyuu being flexible with her voice. I was wrong. Asuka is voiced by Misato Fukuen (Eve in Black Cat, Yami in To Love-Ru). Probably it was the way Asuka sounded when she was in lively retard mode that made me thought so. The rest of the other casts are Ryota Ohsaka as Masaya (Marco in Shingeki No Kyojin), Azumi Asakura as Misaki (Asia in High School DxD), Nozomi Yamamoto as Mashiro (Yukimura in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai), Naomi Wakabayashi as Madoka (Kud in Little Busters), Madoka Yonezawa as Rika (Ui in K-ON!), Risa Taneda as Reiko (Yukina in Strike The Blood), Kazuyuki Okitsu as Shindou (Nagare in K: Return Of Kings), Natsumi Takamori as Saki (Subaru in Houkago No Pleiades), Kaori Mizuhashi as Irina (Miyako in Hidamari Sketch series) and Takayuki Kondou as Shion (Ooishi in Prince Of Tennis). If you remember that gay guy and his Yaoi Stick from Koi To Senkyo To Chocolate, it is that same voice again here, Megumi Ogata as Kagami. Only, no Yaoi Stick this time.

The opening theme is Contrail ~Kiseki~ by Mami Kawada. Hearing this anime pop rock brings back memories to my early days in anime when I was watching shows like Onegai Teacher, Onegai Twins and Hayate No Gotoku. As part of the techno-cum-rock music group, I’ve Sound, the similarities and trademarks are still there to bring back the nostalgia. The ending theme is A-gain by Ray. I feel this slow piece is a little weird. I think it is the weird sound effect that makes it like an underwater song. A song that fits a series like Nagi No Asukara. I don’t know. That is how I feel when I first heard the piece. Sometimes it feels soothing and calm but sometimes it just feels weird. Ray also sings the special ending theme for the final episode, Kimi Toita Sora. This one at least sounds better although it is your typical generic anime pop.

Overall, this anime is still decent on many grounds like the visuals and the flight action. I can’t say if it would be any different had the series been extended for another dozen episodes because although there were 2 tournaments featured, it felt like they were the same thing. Many other ‘unimportant’ matches skipped, featured ones shortened and only the main anticipated matches against important characters were given prominence. Usually tournament arcs especially those under the sports genre would have reasonably numerous episodes but this one is all over within two or three episodes. And just like many sport genres, the lesson always learnt is to enjoy the game and play your very best unlike in reality that winning is everything and the only thing. In that case, the answer isn’t always found in the sky. It is always blowin’ in the wind, my friend :-).

Miss Monochrome S2 & S3

August 20, 2016

I wouldn’t have guessed it that Miss Monochrome would get another season. Not one but two seasons this time. I guess a couple of OVAs over the years must be the foreshadowing of things to come. After all, our famous android idol wannabe still hasn’t reached her goal yet in surpassing her idolized idol. Well, we know it is not easy and seeing there are 2 seasons to cover all the adventures for her to stand out more and to stand atop next to Kikuko, the path to become an idol is a long and arduous journey. Even though each episode is only about 8 minutes long but it is at least twice the duration of its first season. Yes, even androids have it tough in the idol world.

Season 2

Episode 1: Reignition
Monochrome is doing well. Well, if you consider living in a one room apartment using newspaper as blankets as good. Hey, at least the weather is perfect. After recharging herself, she thinks of a way to surpass her rival idol, Kikuko to become a super idol. From mannequin acts to part time job at a convenience store, what else is needed? Surprisingly for the first time, Ruu-chan speaks! He says to increase her fan base by going on a tour and make her first album. She goes to talk about this to Maneo and although he knows it is impossible, well, you’ll never know if you don’t try. At least they’ve got optimism. And I think they got this first album thing wrong… Because they compile a photo album of Monochrome’s past acts! And the nationwide tour? On a rickshaw?! Only old ladies seem to be interested in buying the photo albums… But behold! It is sold out! Then it hit Monochrome that tour means a live concert. This means she needs an arsenal of songs. Back to the drawing board.

Episode 2: Promoter
Having the idea of holding a concert is great. But who is going to help promote it? That is why they need a promoter. Herald Mana! She’s back? To help be Monochrome’s promoter? Hey, what about her 19.3 billion debt? Don’t talk about the past! The future is now! So if she gives her 700 million and makes it to a round number of 20 billion, she’s all set. Where are they going to get money for this scam promotion? They can’t lease the convenience shop that’s for sure. If that is the case, Mana will go return to work as Kikuko’s manager. Thanks for nothing. So they go look for a promoter. I think Monochrome has got the wrong idea that a promoter means pro motorist! So here she is at the drifting circuit looking for that promoter! She spots one (since it makes her heart beat) and races with her. We meet this meek girl, Yayoi. Thanks to their drifting race, Monochrome is able to write a new song! Yayoi has experience working in a small recording label but it was never successful. That’s why she takes out her stress via drifting. She is happy to be appointed as Monochrome’s promoter. Timid and clumsy, but when she is behind the wheel, she becomes a foul mouth speed demon! There she goes…

Episode 3: Guitarist
Yayoi is fast. And I mean really fast in getting things done. So when Monochrome mentions the kind of venues she wants to book for her concert, Yayoi is gone and back in the flash and has already sealed the deal for the venue. I didn’t know Monochrome know how to joke because she wanted a big venue that could house 700 million people. Yayoi already got it done and manages to change it to 150,000 small venues. As for the songs that she will be singing… Hmm… How come they are all anime songs that Yui Horie sung? Aha… Monochrome would also love to dabble in different music types like metal, jazz, reggae, rap, opera, etc. Now for her band members. It is suggested they need a good guitarist to draw the crowd. Conveniently, they hear the sounds of a great electric guitar play. At the back of the store, Akiko who is Monochrome’s co-worker is jamming like a pro badass during her break. Guitarist found.

Episode 4: Goods
Monochrome and Akiko are doing well in their practice. Yayoi discusses with the rest the goods they would like to create to sell at the concert. Monochrome sure comes up with lots of weird ideas and you wonder if she is just joking. From a monochrome Rubik’s Cube to dark lights to towels and just about everything. T-shirts, stationery, posters… You name it, everything she wants. But not a guitar pick as suggested by Akiko? After Yayoi gets a move on to start making those goods, Monochrome tells Maneo she also wants an action figure. She believes her fans want them and she’ll be one on her own merits. I don’t know what happened or if Monochrome misinterpreted something because she turned into a bear! For a while, the hunting guys surround the convenience store but we cut all that crap and just jump to the happy conclusion that she is able to become a real one eventually.

Episode 5: Scout
Yayoi has returned with the towel goods. Monochrome likes it a lot and wants to charge a price enough to buy a house! Just kidding. After winning Wooser awards for being the best mannequin, the production meeting begins. They need to find other band members like bassist and drummer and give them some solo time. Akiko shows off her awesome guitar skills. But Monochrome tells everybody that nobody else needs solo time. This is her concert and nobody shall bask in the limelight. A foreigner heard Akiko’s awesome play and wants her to play for him. Shortly, Akiko quits her job, follows him to America and releases a successful guitar album. What have you got to say now Monochrome? With the band members issue still persisting, suddenly Ruu-chan is heard playing music so Monochrome not only makes as her band member but the DJ table and lighting. All in one! But she doesn’t mind giving him solo time? Too bad it was cut short due to time constraints.

Episode 6: Showdown
Despite Ruu-chan can do almost everything and save money, he can’t be a backup dancer. While Monochrome is in her usual mannequin act, the producer introduces them to a group of idol who just made their debut, Caramel. They are roped in to do the mannequin act with her. But when Monochrome hears them wanting to surpass her as their goal, it really irks her. But hearing that she is like the senior to them, she likes the ring to it and would gladly teach them how to be one. And so it goes without saying Monochrome is a natural but the rest can’t hold their positions any longer. Why do they even pick hard poses? But Monochrome tells them not to give up and observe her. Monochrome changes her position but is this allowed during the film? Some scenes do not focus on them so it is their chance to change position as the audience will not notice it. Caramel tries it out and their move changing act felt like one big slow-mo dance. Monochrome feels she wants to become the reason these girls look up to. She will be their Kikuko. They will stand out more. And that is how the backup dancers for the tour were chosen.

Episode 7: Again
Monochrome and Caramel continue their mannequin practice at the park. Then they discuss about changing outfits between songs. Yayoi mentions about a request to work in a programme and it would be good to couple in with their album and concert. Maneo points out that Monochrome has appeared in that wake up surprise before (although that show was put on hold indefinitely) and maybe she can do it again. The surprise wake up crew enters Monochrome’s room. They see the ‘mannequins’ but do not bother. As they try to surprise wake up what they think is Monochrome sleeping underneath the covers, it is actually Ruu-chan. Monochrome and Caramel spring to life. But they are creepy as hell, moving like horror movie ghosts! Crawling on walls too?! How did they do this?! It really scared the hell out of the crew. In the aftermath, Monochrome considers this a great success although that show isn’t broadcasted. Caramel is helping out at the convenience store but this worries Maneo about the labour cost. Don’t worry, Yayoi has already a job request from them after a surprise wake up crew referred them. Turns out to be a wax mannequin haunted house and they are doing their scaring perfectly. They should make this their day job.

Episode 8: Requiem
As Monochrome is about to recharge herself, suddenly an explosion and pops up before her is a handsome, uhm, battery? Shocking? Indeed. Claiming to be her fated friend, he takes her out and recommends several high quality batteries. Then they go adventuring around the world with their power of friendship. Get it? Power of friendship. I guess they went too far and got lost in the desert. There is no convenience store to recharge and Monochrome is fading fast. Battery did the only thing a friend would do. He recharges her at his own expense. Oh, he is non-rechargeable. Shocking, no? His last wish is to be recycled so that one day he could meet her again. He is a battery after all. Shocking, right?

Episode 9: Publicity
Preparations for everything is going well. Monochrome uses her 3D printer to print out the set where she will perform. Wow. A big amusement park. It will cost 150 billion. Yayoi eagerly goes to negotiate but is of course shot down as the production doesn’t have that much money. Using projection mapping, they can do some publicity stunts like photos for the tour items. Nearby, Kikuko’s crew are recording her music video. Monochrome meets her idol for a short while as Mana suggests an image change because Monochrome’s photo shots look bland. And so her image change only involves hairstyle changes from the ludicrous afro and Mohawk to the more typical girl hairstyles. Eventually she settles for a ponytail. Doesn’t look that all different, right?

Episode 10: Seventeen
Monochrome wants to know the difference with Kikuko and so she becomes Sherlock Holmes to deduce that. But first she needs to practice. Yeah, her elaborate scan of a woman can even reveal her back story as a spy and her future getaway! After almost 5000 practices (in which all were successful case solving materials), are we ready for Kikuko? With Maneo, they spy by joining her production crew as Monochrome only stares… Deep stares… Finally it dawned to her that there is only one question that she needs to ask Kikuko. But for that they have to wait in line for her handshake event. A queue so long that it takes more than 53 days for their turn!!! OMFG! So what is the difference? Kikuko responds that she will always be 17 years old! Why? Because her fans want it and so every inch of her body will forever be 17! So motivating that the entire country clap their hands. Now Monochrome vows to share that same dream and will forever be 17. It will be the most important thing ever like a religious doctrine. Hey. I thought androids don’t age… And hasn’t Monochrome been the same since the start of everything?

Episode 11: Innerspace
Monochrome is doing well in her practice. When Yayoi suggests trying another dance, Monochrome downloads it from Ruu-chan. But Yayoi clumsily drops her pencil and when she goes get it, accidentally unplugs the wire. Monochrome is now malfunctioning. Spinning like a DJ? Spinning and throwing Wooser? Spinning plates as a clown? You get it. Spinning is the theme. Ruu-chan then inserts his wire into Yayoi’s mouth to transmit his thoughts (how is this even possible?). The abnormalities occurring in Monochrome’s body will be big trouble if they don’t do something. So they have to go inside of her and repair her. With Yayoi riding Ruu-chan, you know what this means. So they’re shooting bugs like flying through Death Star? Anyway the problem is fixed and Monochrome is back to normal. She thanks her for the good work and Yayoi could feel a deep bond forming between them. Monochrome then reinstalls the programme but history repeats itself. Yayoi drops her pen and as she goes to grab it… Oh no… Not again.

Episode 12: Crisis4696
Preparations for Monochrome’s first album tour, Black Or White is progressing well and on schedule. It is becoming true that Maneo cannot help cry. But Monochrome tells him not to because it is all fated. But is the next thing that comes along fated? Because Yayoi says there is a big problem. She placed orders of several goods that go into tenths and hundreds of millions! They’re overflowing the city! Monochrome did mention to Yayoi about making those extreme numbers but before she could say it was a joke, Yayoi already left and placed the orders. If they cannot pay their dues by the end of the month, the company will go bankrupt and Monochrome will kiss her dream goodbye. Still insisting that she needs to become an idol? It seems the amount owed is 19.3 billion Yen. Hmm… Doesn’t this amount sound familiar? Very familiar indeed… And then Mana pops in because she heard they are in trouble. Aha! So fate does exist.

Episode 13: Monochrome2
In full emotion, Mana claims she is here to repay her debts to her. She will buy all their glow sticks for about 4 billion Yen and then sell them at Kikuko’s concert for 400 billion Yen, making a cool profit of 396 billion Yen! But there is still the 15.3 billion balance. Akiko returns from the midst of her tour to help. She feels indebted to Maneo for giving her the convenience store job and wants to pay back. She will buy all the remaining items like towel, t-shirts and preserved food at 15.3 billion Yen. The recording label now debt free and this must be fate too, huh? You must be wondering how Monochrome’s goods bearing her name will be used by Akiko. She donated them to refugees and thus Monochrome’s name has become celebrated as a great philanthropist. Monochrome hands out tickets for her first concert to many like Kikuko and Mana. A little girl buys her ticket and greatly looks forward to it, making Monochrome happy. And so her destiny to stand out more begins!

Season 3

Episode 1: Diskjockey
Monochrome and her team are on Mt Fuji to pray for their album’s success. She is in deep meditation when she sees a vision. She realizes there is something missing from their line-up. They lack a DJ! Are you serious? I think she isn’t joking. The reason being that in case if she runs out of battery during her concert, a DJ can continue to entertain the crowd while she recharges. Great idea. Why not just ensure a full battery then? Anyway, she has Caramel to spin to see if they have got what it takes. I don’t think a balancing act is what she meant. Heck, even Maneo has a go. I don’t think she is looking for a ballerina. As Yayoi drives them around in search of the elusive DJ, they stop by a patrol station. Monochrome sees the station owner wiping the car windows and likes his circular motion. That’s it. You’re hired, Mr DJ.

Episode 2: Exercise
I guess Monochrome and her team are going to think big now after releasing their album. Go on stock listing and opening more convenience store branches? Aside that, in order to stand out more and surpass Kikuko, Yayoi suggests more visibility. Monochrome then jokes about producing 7 billion samples. One for everybody! Aside the cost, if everybody had one, nobody will be left to buy it. Instead of giving out samples, she decides to hold a concert with her clones. However they notice the kids are more attracted to some silly yakisoba bread skit nearby. I’m sure Monochrome wants to attract children too but remember that demon getup from the first season that scared them away? She better not try that again. Another suggestion to increase her visibility among children is to do exercise. To do that, she needs gymnastics. And so Monochrome enters all gymnastic competitions and won all gold medals! Wow! Yeah, how could you beat a robot anyway? Now the convenience store is hanging all over with her medals! Maneo then made an exercise song of it and it becomes a big hit among the kids.

Episode 3: Mister
One morning, Monochrome gets this curiosity to put the battery in reverse despite knowing well it is not advisable. After all, it is human’s nature to do the opposite. She is not even human… She does so and what happens? She transforms into a guy! OMG! Mister Monochrome! Not only that, his personality is a total opposite as he is shy and wants to remain secluded. But he is a hit among the girls. So shy that he doesn’t want to go on stage and sing but the girls love him even more. Soon his reputation as an idol booms and becomes popular among the girls because they just feel like they want to protect him. But one day he can’t take it anymore and digs a hole so deep that no voice could reach him. I don’t know how the body was found but Miss Monochrome is back and learnt her lesson of never putting the battery backwards again. Meanwhile, her guy counterpart becomes a legend and his fan girls hope one day he will come back so they can protect him.

Episode 4: Appeal
A Star Wars opening narration parody to remind us that long, long ago in a far, far away past, Monochrome made a promise with Kikuko who is now reborn as the top idol. Yayoi wants Monochrome to change into her mascot costume now because they are going to enter a mascot grand prix. However Maneo says the outfit is only half dry. But it would be a waste if they pass up this long awaited chance. Monochrome’s meditation has her come up with a brilliant idea: Create a new mascot out of card boxes. Brilliant… She has Maneo wear and appeal to them this strange card box outfit. He sucks so much that even Monochrome quipped they can’t even appeal to old ladies! Beyond their wildest dreams! Yayoi suggests making the mascot shorter and with a few modifications, well, this one looks slightly better. Monochrome has a staring contest with it. She finds this danboroid perfect. Although they were too late to enter the grand prix, danboroid helps in distribute flyers and is a hit among old people. Yeah…

Episode 5: Girlfriend
Monochrome realizes Kikuko has lots of merchandise. Now she wants to do cross-promotion to stand out more. Maneo returns with news that the gaming company wants Monochrome to write a song to be used in their game. The theme shall be a Christmas one. Leave it to Monochrome logic to travel deep into the forest to find a Christmas tree so she could find inspiration to write one. Then she decides to go to Finland to seek Santa Claus’ advice on Christmas. So this guy doesn’t live in North Pole? He suggests she go to high school like in that game. Monochrome becomes a student and becomes attached with the teacher whom she calls Master Chris. But she had to leave for a journey overseas. Then it hit Monochrome. Master Chris… Master Chris… Christmas… Get it? With this new song, she demonstrates it before the producer. She is impressed and approves this cross-promotion which will be released during Christmas.

Episode 6: Fisherman
In preparation for their live concert, Monochrome and her team are at Okayama. A Caramel member has a friend who could rent a venue for dirt cheap and her relative runs a hotspring inn so they stayed for a bargain. Real cost cutting measures, eh? Caramel soaks in the hotspring and dream of some gay liaisons of Maneo and a male acquaintance! Yikes! Meanwhile Monochrome stumbles upon a man who pops out from a tuna (parody to Momotarou). He is Magurou and cannot stop moving or else he will die. As he needs to keep moving forward, this word clicks with Monochrome so they become best friends and move forward ahead together. But their friendship is short-lived as Magurou wants to head out to sea in his boat and catch tuna. Monochrome cannot follow as the salt in the sea will rust and leak her battery, leading her to be short-circuited. And so they have to part ways while moving forward their own path. Monochrome might not be able to handle salty water but she seems to be doing just find soaking in hotspring water.

Episode 7: Disguise
After the successful concert in Osaka, Monochrome and Maneo go sightseeing. They hail a cab but a limo pulls up. It is Kikuko and Mana! They are here to preview their concert venue at Super Osaka Dome. Monochrome invites Kikuko to go sightseeing with her and since the top idol has never done so due to her busy schedules, she agrees. But she is so famous that she will be recognized instantly. Don’t worry. Monochrome has a solution. Kikuko wears Monochrome’s mascot outfit. Then they hand out flyers to promote Monochrome’s album. Working while sightseeing? They even visit a place called USJ, which is actually Wooser jamming up the entire place. At the end of the day, they had so much fun and Kikuko thanks her. She will be heading off to America for a film next. The moment she takes off her suit, a fan spots her and you know what happens when all her fans come rushing, right? Luckily her jet is here to pick her up. Ah, life of the rich and famous.

Episode 8: Project
On her way home, Monochrome picks up an abandoned kitten. After nursing it back to health, the kitten speaks! She is Catora and to show her appreciation, will bring Monochrome to her world. In this beautiful fantasy world, Catora mentions there is an idol contest where it could help make her stand out more. Hmm… Those other contestants look strangely familiar to Caramel members… It is Monochrome’s turn as she does her impression of a mannequin. Everyone cheers her perfect act of a mannequin! The king announces the contest winner… Ruu-chan! Why?! He is impressed with his vacuum abilities to suck in garbage and trying to make this world a better place. He is so touched that he must win the contest! Catora feels bad for Monochrome but she can try again next time. It is when Monochrome is shocked that the cat is talking! She wakes up back in her home thinking it was just a dream. But isn’t that Ruu-chan with the king’s crown?

Episode 9: Unity
After another successful concert, Monochrome and her team relax. But while they are boating, Monochrome has been spacing out when suddenly she calls for a meeting. First, she reminds them about the tough competition of being idols. Then she points out their faults during the concert which are just minor faults like being off by a few milliseconds, a few millimetres further or even a little weight gain! It is needles to point out that Monochrome and Ruu-chan are perfect… Of course Caramel argues they are humans and tend to make mistakes. However Monochrome reminds them about the aim to be top idols and that they must be perfect and aim higher. This of course sends Caramel into depression but Maneo knows her harsh words are to remind them that people tend to forget their roots after getting popular. He agrees to act out with her. Therefore Monochrome puts on her perfect mannequin act with Maneo praising it. Caramel sees this and realizes Monochrome has been strict for their sake. Instantly they remember their original goal and join the mannequin act with her. They’re going to stand out more this time.

Episode 10: Radio
Another successful concert in Sendai. Monochrome is now wearing an eye-patch because of chuunibyou? The gang are excited for a music programme the very next morning at Tokyo. But it seems they missed the last train. With the programme on the verge of being cancelled if they can’t make it, Monochrome isn’t pushing the panic button yet. They have Ruu-chan to catch the bullet train. But his battery died! So why need to bury him?! Too far as a joke! Monochrome then takes off her eye-patch for her chuunibyou power to summon… Cows? Too bad they can’t grab any of them. Running out of options, Monochrome then makes an unscheduled appearance over a local radio about her plight. A fan listening was kind enough to send them back to Tokyo where they made it in time for the music programme.

Episode 11: A
During an interview, Monochrome’s answers are pretty obvious that the fans actually expected them. Because of that, she falls into depression. Can she? Or is she just waiting for Maneo to ask her so she can tell all about it. Monochrome feels she needs some unpredictability that would surprise her fans. So they discuss some shock factors like turning Ruu-chan into a girl, suddenly inserting a different anime into this series or trolling viewers with a fake Miss Monochrome: The Movie trailer! When Ruu-chan almost falls into the pond, this gives Monochrome an idea. In the next interview, Monochrome mentions a big surprise for her fans. Suddenly the trapdoor opens and everybody drops down! She calls it a great success. The platform soon rises back up and you bet the fans did have the biggest shock of their lives.

Episode 12: Distress
After a successful concert at Sapporo, Monochrome stays back to promote an album. She meets a fan, Umio Kita who praises her for everything. His fiancée, Michiko Hokkai is also a big fan and calls her but her line suddenly cuts dead and she sounded like in distress. Because she is mountain climbing, he panics that she is trapped at the peak. With the bad weather, the rescue team cannot proceed. Umio falls into despair as Monochrome and Ruu-chan take flight to rescue her. Can’t leave a fan dead, right? They find Michiko unconscious and they take shelter in a cave. Michiko comes to and is grateful for the rescue. As she is feeling cold, Monochrome lets her wear her outfit. Monochrome then sings her lullaby to let her sleep. It’s a rock song???!!! Ah well, since she is a fan, it is music to her ears. Monochrome’s rescue efforts make headlines the next day and because of that, her outfit is flying off shelves as the next fashionable clothing.

Episode 13: Monochrome3
Monochrome and Chrome perform in their final venue of their first live tour. Needles to say, a resounding success. At the backstage, a little girl thanks Monochrome for a fun concert. She promises she will come to her concert if she organizes more. Monochrome is happy she made another promise and will keep them no matter what. A party is held to celebrate the success of the first tour. Kikuko and Mana praise and thank Monochrome for inviting them to her lovely concert. They renew their rivalry and Kikuko is confident they can compete as top idols in the near future. Monochrome gives her thanking speech by naming everyone involved. After all, she couldn’t have done it without them all, right? But it is not over because she will stand out even more and sets her sights on bigger targets. Like getting a turnout of 469.6 billion attendees! How many humans does Earth have? Or does the universe have that much aliens? Everyone chants out Monochrome’s name, believing her dream will come true. Well, if you believe in Santa and aliens, why not Monochrome becoming a top idol?

Standing Out To Be Out-Standing
And there you have it. Monochrome making great progress and development in becoming the next top idol that would rival Kikuko herself. But personally something this season feels incomplete because I was hoping there would be some sort of development or showdown between Monochrome and Kikuko. And I mean competing as top idols. After teasing us with their intriguing past in the last season, I was really wishing to see something of that sort happen (helping Monochrome out during her stints doesn’t count) but as it turns out, Monochrome still has a long way to go before the epic final showdown. So more seasons or OVAs in the future? Well, if that is what it takes for her to stand out.

Although this might be trivial, the one thing I couldn’t understand is why this series is split into 2 seasons despite being aired back to back. Unlike some anime series whereby they air the first cour, take a season or two break before airing the second cour after it. The fact that this series restarts its episode numbering in the third season unlike those other animes which continued their episode numbering from where they left off before the break. So I just don’t comprehend why they didn’t treat it like a continuous series with 26 episodes as many if not all of the episodes feel episodic in nature.

With more episodes in store and even the increase in its duration per episode, Monochrome has definitely more time to shine and do her silly attempts to stand out more. Yes, her quest to stand out more has been repeated so often that it is like as though she wants us to remember that fact that she will do so. Uh huh. And it feels they are playing that joke for us to expect all that in one of the episodes. Monochrome is making steady progress in standing out but I have a feeling her standards to reach there is so high that it might take an awful long while.

I know Monochrome has been a funny android since day one. But what I didn’t expect is how her character can actually try to make jokes! The kind of jokes where she makes unrealistic demands of something before Maneo reminding her it is not possible and then she retracts that statement and says it was just joking. With a robotic face. So we aren’t entirely sure if she was just being sarcastic or really pulling a fast one. It was also hilarious to see her misinterpret certain words like tour and album. Such puns also catch us off guard as it is not what we would expect either and the effect is perfectly executed. Ironically as an android who has lived longer than any civilizations, she has yet to understand the human culture and the current era. Yeah, humans are so complicated that even androids can’t comprehend.

Other characters aren’t too shabby like Maneo who will always be supporting and trying his best to provide what Monochrome needs to achieve her goal. Then there is newcomer Yayoi who provides some comic relief as a naïve, gullible and clumsy woman. She literally believes every demand that Monochrome wants and she is so freaking efficient that before Monochrome could cut her off as a joke, she already has them delivered! Maybe it is thanks to her devil driving skills that makes her deliver them fast! With Ruu-chan as the equipment provider and Caramel as her backup singers, all of them don’t particularly, wait for it, stand out because otherwise it would be an insult to Monochrome by stealing the limelight. Yeah. That android will get jealous if you try to stand out more.

This means that also owing to the episodic nature of the series, many characters come and go and appear only for a single episode. Like that male version of Monochrome, that battery dude, the talking cat from the other world and that fisherman guy. But like I have said, this is so that Monochrome can hog the centre stage of each episode and be the star so she can, you’ve guessed it, stand out even more. Even if her tactics look silly and sometimes fail, but in a way it brought about other changes like that refugee thingy and snow mountain rescue attempt. As such it serves to enhance and make popular Monochrome even more. Mana isn’t such a bad girl because after swindling Monochrome of her money in the first season and running off with it, it seems to make our blood boil again when she returns even trying to trick Monochrome to part with her money. Then all is forgiven when she helps out to clear her debt later. I guess you can’t hate everybody eventually in this series.

There have been a few trivia making its appearance here like that Initial D parody whenever Yayoi gets behind the wheel. But more importantly the handful of Wooser cameos in a handful of episodes. As I have watched all 3 seasons of the Wooser series, I now understand a little of their little cross-over. In fact, Wooser too did make his cameo in her first season. After all, both anime series are animated by the same studio, Sanzigen.

The more I hear Yui Horie as Monochrome, the more I am starting to believe that she can actually pull off that cute robotic voice naturally instead of using special effects. And sometimes in my extreme case, I believe that she is actually an android! Okay, I’m just kidding but she is just so convincing in her Monochrome character that by not believing it feels like I’m in denial. Heh… I don’t even know what I’m saying. While the casts from the first season is retained, new ones are of course added. Especially Kana Asumi who is very much recognizable as Yayoi. She displays both her different sides of her voice with the clumsy version and the tough racer chick version. I thought it was going to be different when they decided to give Ruu-chan a voice, especially no other than Hiroshi Kamiya behind it. However his speaking roles are only limited to what I noticed as the first and last episodes of each season and they are just short sentences. In other normal times, he would be beeping as usual. The members of Caramel are voiced by the famous seiyuus themselves and you would have noticed when they are also suspiciously named after them. Like Yui and Kana. You know who they are, right?

Another one of the baffling things why I never understood this series split into 2 seasons instead of listing it as a 26 episode series is the opening and ending themes. At first I thought they were going to use the same opening theme Black Or White all the way since it was still the same opening well past halfway into the third season. Oh, please note that Black Or White isn’t some sort of rip-off or cover of the song with the same name by Michael Jackson. This song is as catchy and retains the trademark of Monochrome’s robotic voice which I believe what makes the song great. Despite the chaotic and crazy euphoric beat of the song, the only ‘downside’ is how the song suddenly comes to an abrupt halt. Like as though they ran out of their allotted time for the opening theme.

I would have preferred they retained this opening theme but with only a quarter of episodes left in the third season, they changed it to Miss Monochrome Taisou. This song might be a slower beat as compared but I didn’t like it very much since it sounds quite weird and feels like a song for kids. Besides, Monochrome and the other characters are doing weird exercise-like dances just makes the entire experience feels odd. The ending themes also follow the same appearance as the opening themes. Step By Step sounds like your typical idol song as well as Kimi To Boku which only makes its debut with only a quarter of episodes in the season left to go. But at least both ending themes don’t sound bad. It goes without saying that since this is Yui Horie’s show, she sings all of them and could even compile an album with songs sung with her robot voice. For the record, in this aspect my favourite one will still always be Coloring from Papa No Iukoto Wo Kikinasai.

Overall, these seasons of Monochrome are still as entertaining and even perfect if you are a huge fan of her or Yui Horie. It goes to show that being an idol is not a bed of roses because even androids have it tough. Or could it be that anybody in this era can be famous so as long as you put your face up in social media and upload videos there. Or post dumb comments… And of course if you really do aspire to be an idol, this series is not meant to be a guide on how to achieve it. In the end it is still hard work, perseverance and effort. Because at the end of the day, these qualities will never betray you. Just remember to set your goals reasonably, okay? Yeah, where the heck are you going to get 469.6 billion fans anyway? Not even Anpanman has such many characters… :-).

Pan De Peace

August 19, 2016

Cute girls with cute… Hmm… We’re running out of ideas as themes to insert in to go by with those cute girls. Come on, think of what else we can use as setting for cute girls doing cute things. What’s that? We can use the bread as the theme? Oh what the heck, let’s just do it. Because it doesn’t matter anyway since the viewers would just view this as another cute girls doing cute things bread version. And that my people, is how the short 3 minute anime series, Pan De Peace came to be. At least that is how I think it is.

Episode 1
It is Minami Tani’s first day at high school. You know it will be a good day when mom makes her favourite egg sandwich with strawberry jam. In class, she doesn’t recognize anybody but she notices Yuu Aizawa having mini bread key chains. Since they both love bread, they become bread buddies. Yuu also introduces Fuyumi Fukagawa who is her childhood friend. To commemorate becoming bread buddies, Fuyumi gives Minami some croissants. Minami is so happy that she wants to date her! Wait a minute. Is this a yuri theme series? While Yuu may look jealous, Fuyumi playfully says her heart already belongs to Yuu. Yup, getting yuri already. Minami happily eats the bread. Then she asks if they could teach her baking. What a happy day indeed.

Episode 2
Petite Noa Sakura is so cute that the other girls are hounding her. The she draws her ‘weapon’. A French bread? Luckily Fuyumi takes her away. Noa must have some sort of chuunibyou because she considers her French bread as a special item with 2 attributes: Weapon and food. Minami wonders if Noa is Fuyumi’s sister. She clarifies she is their classmate and went to the same elementary school together. The girls discuss and notice that each drink different number of glasses of milk a day. Perhaps there is some sort of inverse relationship between boobs and milk. Because Noa has been drinking lots of them and is still as flat but Fuyumi drinks the least and is the bustiest. Then they start imagining Noa with big boobs and find her cute too.

Episode 3
Fuyumi’s family runs a bakery and you bet Minami is darn happy to visit. She gets to taste a few of their specialties like red bean bun, red bean bun with cream and green tea melon bread. Definitely heavenly. Minami reveals she tried baking bread once but she failed miserably and they turned out to be cookies instead. So the girls help and teach Minami how to bake together. Minami shows her gratefulness by hugging Fuyumi and then comparing her body’s softness like a bread. I think it’s a compliment. The rest can tell from her looks that she wants to join their ranks. Hasn’t she already? They welcome her to Pan De Peace.

Episode 4
Minami tells her friends about the fabled bread this school sells, ciabatta. It is only limited in stock so they join the mad crowd in trying to grab the Italian bread. The sight of this madness is enough to turn Yuu off but Minami and Fuyumi won’t give up. They’re not going to settle for other bread as they return joining the ‘fight’. Yuu thinks she’ll just go for the chicken curry bread. At the end of the day, they failed to get the bread. They thought they lost Noa in the crowd but she returns with the fabled ciabata in hand! She got it! Like a true friend, she shares it with everybody.

Episode 5
Yuu draws a lot for her manga. When Fuyumi asks about the man seen hanging out with her, Yuu denies whatsoever he is her boyfriend. He is a relative of hers that introduced her to a manga assistant job. Becoming a manga artist is her dream. Fuyumi will support her all the way even if this means they won’t get to be like this again. Yuu assures they’re only at discussion stage and if she took the job, she’ll be sure to tell. She wants to spend them with them now. The girls try to give funny ideas for her story but it just embarrassed her. Hey, where is my bread focus for this episode? No, the consolation chicken curry bread doesn’t count.

Episode 6
Oh no. Fuyumi has gained weight. And you know what that means. Time to go jogging and lose some of it. Unfortunately not even halfway she tires out. She thought she could have some melon bread as reward but her friends resume their jogging and leave her behind. Next day, the friends decide to help make mini versions of it. They ask how Fuyumi’s store gets its named Fuwa Fuyu. It was definitely named after her as she was born in the winter where the bakery was also opened. Once done, they noticed a bread missing. Could the culprit steal a piece? Well, Fuyumi claims she needs to test taste them. The rest don’t mind since she looks so happy. And her face so fluffy… That didn’t stop her to take another one.

Episode 7
The girls visit Noa who is sick. Fuyumi is crying like as though she is going to die! Serious case! They see her sleeping in a cute cornet sleeping bag. They are treated with great hospitality by Noa’s little sister, Ami. Noa is looking so cute that everyone admires her like an idol. Fuyumi gives her drink some strawberry milk drink. She has also made lots of strawberry based bread for them to share. Noa reacts to all those strawberry goodness like as though it is some sort of magical life potion. I’m sure she is feeling much better and will be able to attend school tomorrow.

Episode 8
Noa patrons a newly opened French bakery store, Guillame. Mai Kawai serves her baguette and since she is new in town, she hopes she could be her friend and in return she can have their freshly baked baguette every day. Wow! So when Noa tells this to her friends, the most worried of the lot is of course Fuyumi. So she is now like her mother asking her not to take food from strangers? Next day when Noa brings Fuyumi to Guillame, the showdown between the French bread girls is inevitable. Fuyumi tells Mai to stop giving bread to Noa. Oh, since when is Noa her property? Mai hugs Noa and asserts she will continue to give her bread to deepen their friendship, much to Fuyumi’s ire. She even teases that since Noa has tasted their French bread, there is no need for Fuyumi to supply her anymore. Next day when Noa visits Guillame as usual, Mai is chirpy giving her extra service to put baguette in her bag. But it is filled with baguettes already. What happened to her textbooks? Fuyumi took it. Damn that girl beat her to it.

Episode 9
The girls are dressed in cat maid outfit for their school’s cultural festival. Mai is here to take cute pictures of Noa. She is spending most of her time talking to Noa and ignoring Yuu who is waiting to take her order. Fuyumi is trying to hold in her rage. Let’s hope she doesn’t lose it till the end of the day. Mai surprisingly orders a croissant and finds it good. She praises them as she finds out they were made from Fuwa Fuyu. The other girls invite Mai to drop by Fuwa Fuyu and they would love to talk to her more, much to Fuyumi’s dismay. That sour look on her face… She no like it…

Episode 10
Fuyumi’s worst fear comes true because Mai really did patron Fuwa Fuyu! But how did she find the place? She tailed Noa like a stalker! Mai lets them taste Guillame’s new addition, cod roe French bread. Fuyumi gives good comments about it and suddenly what do you know? They’re talking like good friends? Fuyumi also lets her taste her red bean bread. Good comments too. But eventually it boils down to the fundamental issue that they should be Noa’s French bread provider. Ah… The girls take a public bath and it is a much needed one for Fuyumi who just ended her ‘psychological battle’. Fuyumi admits Mai is a nice girl and they could be friends as they like the same thing. But when it comes to Noa’s French bread privileges, she is not giving in! Always remember the fundamental issue…

Episode 11
Minami is saying how Yuu and Noa are afraid of the swimming pool because they can’t swim. But Noa thinks as long as she has the ‘invincible’ inner tube, she’ll be alright. It is decided to have them get better than swimming. While Minami coaches Yuu, Fuyumi handles Noa. Mai also can’t swim but didn’t tell them. However the chance to snap pictures of cute Noa learning swimming is too good to pass up. As Mai tries to make her way to Noa, her foot suddenly cramps up. She cries for help and Fuyumi is surprisingly fast (like running in water?) to come to her rescue. She even did that with Noa in hand! After Fuyumi massages her feet and tells her not to do the impossible, Mai starts bursting into tears and crying in her bosom while not admitting she is a cry-baby. Again hey, where is my featured bread for this episode?!

Episode 12
The girls are invited to Mai’s summer villa, though she initially only intended to invite Noa only. They meet Mai’s older sister, Mana as she thinks Fuyumi and Noa are mother and daughter respectively! I think Fuyumi will be taking that as a compliment. So as the girls start having fun on the beach, Ami manages to drop by and joins them. Perhaps it is this load of luggage she is carrying. All of them are camera equipment to capture Noa’s moments! Mana has made some bread for them. She also prepares steak as Minami and Fuyumi dance like idiots, cheering their support for meat. No sexual innuendoes here, please. The pain de campagne steak sandwiches are completed and as expected taste like heaven. Probably Yuu has been embarrassed by the acts of Minami that she lost appetite and don’t want second helpings.

Episode 13
All the girls sleep together except for Mai whose pride probably won’t allow it as she sleeps alone. The rest talk about their bread adventures which are basically a very condensed summary of some the, uhm, important bread incidents in this series. All this bread talking makes them hungry. This is when Mai feels like she wants to join them and the rest gladly accepts her. So the bread pyjamas party carries on with the girls eating bread, talking about bread (yes, the mind boggling statement how bread brings peace), their friendship bonding over bread and at the end of it, take a group photo. Peace out!

Panned In Pieces…
Usually food themed animes are pretty decent in my books but very unfortunately this could be the first series ever that actually disappoints. Sad to say that this series is just mediocre and perhaps way below that. There is nothing here that particularly excites me. Not even the breads that are supposed to be the main attraction of the series. Or so I believe. So technically if I don’t really label this series as a food theme anime, would it be okay then? Either way, this series is still bad and instead of whetting my appetite, I would just spit out the bread and walk out of the store. Call the Michelin star food critiques to close this down forever. The only good thing about this entire series is that it just lasts 3 minutes. Short enough so you won’t be tortured further by it unappealing, uhm, everything.

Like I have said, the breads I believe are supposed to be the star of the series, if not the co-stars alongside the characters. It is just sad that they are relegated to something like a cameo and even with their short appearance in already a very short series, it makes it even worse. That isn’t the bad part of it. You know a food themed anime is going to be good when the food itself looks delicious that it makes you salivate and want to take a chomp out of your monitor. This one doesn’t. It doesn’t even look good to dream. So okay, they look pretty normal but that is about it. It doesn’t make it feel any special. Worst of all, some episodes don’t even feature any bread at all. Again, this might be just me having expectations but then if you are going to have bread as your theme, one doesn’t simply exclude bread from any episodes, right?

Failing as much as the bread or even making it worse because they do nothing in enhancing the bread appeal are the characters themselves. They are just generic and boring that I don’t really want to even say anything else. You know, you have the lively one, the emotionless one, the airhead one and the, uhm, other one? Yeah, you can find usually one or more or even all of those in any cute girls doing cute things group. Even if the last episode is meant to be some sort of fanservice because the girls are in their nightgown pyjamas, it is so boring that you wouldn’t even want to ‘eat’ them. Seriously.

I’ll just mention that Minami looks like your typical plain ‘main character’ but I felt that Fuyumi is the one stealing the limelight because of her very eccentric character and her ‘obsession’ with Noa’s bread meals. It gets heated up when a new rivalry in the form of Mai appears. I guess this is the only ‘funniest’ thing ever happening in the entire series. The most ‘happening’ of everything so far. Noa doesn’t pretty much care about their spat as long as she gets to eat their bread. An absolute win-win situation for her as she gets to taste the best of both worlds. Having side characters like Ami and Mana don’t do any better because heck, the series could have been the same and as boring as ever even if they are nameless background characters.

Art and drawing are pretty generic and standard. Like I have implied, they just don’t stand out. Cute, yes. But to a level that is considered a masterpiece? No. This series was animated by Asahi Production who also did short anime series like Himegoto, Orenchi No Furou Jijou, Million Doll, Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan as well as standard length series such as Futari Wa Pretty Cure and both the Medaka Box seasons.

The voice acting is rather okay and nothing distinctive since all of the seiyuus are relative new and/or unknowns. The small casts include Ibuki Kido as Minami (Chinami in Golden Time), Erii Yamazaki as Yuu (Roboko in Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda), Moe Toyota as Fuyumi (Fumi in Jinsei), Nichika Omori as Noa (Yurika in Rokujouma No Shinryakusha), Madoka Asahina as Mai (Maki in Nurse Witch Komugi R), Natsuko Hara as Ami (Rena in JK Meshi) and Yu Shimamura as Mana (Hare in Guilty Crown). This is one of those few series where Petit Milady doesn’t sing and do voice acting. Here, they only sing the opening theme, Seishun Wa Tabemono Desu. Sounds just decent and generic anime pop idol kind of music but even so this wasn’t really enough to wash the bad taste of this anime. Yeah, I figure they even know how to stay away from something this bad…

Overall, although this is not a very bad anime in general because there are a few funny moments and who wouldn’t love seeing cute girls eat bread in a cute way, this series could almost threaten to break your faith in the anime and bread industry. The kind where if the host offers you seconds, you would say no thank you I am already full although deep inside your heart (or rather your stomach) you would feel like you want to throw up a little. Okay, okay. So I exaggerated a little. But bad enough to have me think that had they put in sleazy fanservice and named it Pantsu De Peace, I would have even bought it no matter how cheap and cliché the echhi parts are. But now the bread here doesn’t make me feel at peace and instead feeling some rage and wanting to go to war. In that case I guess nothing really beats pantsu for peace.

Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi

August 14, 2016

If you were given a chance to revisit your past and change something tragic that happened, how would you go about it? Would you do everything in your power to assure a different outcome since you know what the future holds? This is an interesting premise from Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi. A man now living his boring and struggling adult life having a few regrets from his past that is associated with the death of his classmates. Deaths which he thinks could have been avoided had he done something. When he is suddenly accused of murder, a strange phenomenon that hurls him back to the past gives him a chance to right the wrong things in hopes of changing the future for the better.

Episode 1
Satoru Fujinuma is 29 years old and a struggling manga artist. He gets by with another part time job as a pizza delivery guy. What a boring life. While doing his delivery, he suddenly felt a strange shift in time. Like déjà vu, he went back a few minutes in time. He realizes something bad is going to happen and looks around for the source. He realizes the truck driver is asleep and is going to ram into a child crossing the road (why do kids not look when they want to cross?). Luckily he manages to grab the steering and swerve, missing the kid but collides into an oncoming car. 2 days later he wakes up in hospital. Don’t worry, he is fine. His colleague, Airi Katagiri is there to explain what happened. Satoru explains to us he has this ability he calls Revival. He goes back around 5 minutes in time and watches the same scene play out again. It is like some force is trying to make him prevent something bad from happening. Usually the outcome ends up neutral and sometimes negative for him in the sense like in this case, he got injured in the accident. He is discharged and returns home to find his mom, Sachiko cooking for him. Looks like she’ll be staying here for a while to take care of things. That night, she talks about that incident they all want to forget. Why bring it up when you want especially him to forget? Anyway, Satoru can’t remember much but he eventually remembers 2 of his school friends died. There was this adult whom he befriended when he was young. He called him Yuuki because of his penchant to talk about bravery and courage. 6 months after his friends died, Jun Shiratori the serial kidnapper-cum-murderer was arrested. He was Yuuki.

While helping mom doing errands, another Revival occurs. Satoru looks around but couldn’t find the source. He asks Sachiko to help and she remembers him saying and doing the same thing when younger. Sachiko spots a strange man walking away with a little girl. Their eyes met. The man drives off but the girl is left behind. That night she tells Satoru about the possible failed kidnapping attempt earlier in the day. Was it because he was spotted. He is surprised so she brushes it off as a joke. Satoru remembers one of his dead friends, Kayo Hinazuki. She was always standing alone at the park. Had he talked to her and walked her home that night, she wouldn’t have become a victim. That is probably what he wanted to forget the most. Sachiko does her own investigation because she thought that suspicious man looked familiar. It was like he knew who she was too. She thinks that Shiratori guy wasn’t the true culprit. She has stumbled upon something and needs to tell Satoru. But back home, she is being stabbed from the back. She tries to get her handphone to call Satoru but she couldn’t make it. She regrets not believing in Satoru when he screamed Yuuki wasn’t the killer. Even if the police doubted him, as a mother she shouldn’t have. Satoru goes home unknowingly passing by the killer on his way down. He then sees Sachiko’s bloodied body. Is this a joke? It gets worse when he touches it and the neighbour came over to check and misunderstood the situation. It was like everything is a setup because the police are here and want to take him to the police station. It gets worse when Satoru tries to run. Then another Revival. He finds himself in a familiar nostalgic place. It is his elementary school gates and he is a kid once more back in 1988!

Episode 2
Satoru is still in a daze about what is going on. Is this really 1988? It is like going back 19 years in time! I guess he ran home in the middle of school hours back home (passing by Kayo) to find his mom. Yes, she is still there. Looks like a pretty normal and happy family. He believes he is here due to Revival and not by chance so there must be some big anomaly he has to prevent. But does he have to go back this far to save mom? Or is it Kayo? In class, he notices a big bruise on her thigh. Then hanging out with his friends, Kazu (typical loudmouth), Osamu (typical bespectacled nerd), Hiromi Sugita (typical is-this-a-boy-or-girl) and Kenya Kobayashi (no, not a black or African but your typical silent, observant and considerate type who only speaks when necessary), they wonder if he likes Kayo since he has been staring at her all day. He did admit he has her on his mind and so his friends commend his bravery and are willing to set them up. If they could only keep it down and not let the entire class hear… And they really did set them up to meet. She’s not impressed he wants to be her friend, though. However she understands him because they are alike. Fake. Since he still insists of being friends (in hoping it could save her), she then asks him if he is willing to kill somebody for her.

Satoru’s friends are excited how things went with Kayo but Kenya tells them not to rush and ruin it for him. Later Kenya talks to Satoru about his weird interest in Kayo lately. He doesn’t understand what is going on but they will gladly help out when they can. He tells Satoru to read the student anthology. Back home, he reads Kayo’s essay that states how she wants to go far, far away to an island all by herself. No parents, no teachers, no friends, no anybody. Satoru realizes this is her cry for help. In his bid to get closer to Kayo to prevent that tragedy, he asks mom if he could hold a birthday party in their apartment. Since it is small, he will only invite 5 friends over. Sachiko is sharp and wonders if he has got a girlfriend! Mom knows… Satoru finds Kayo loitering alone at the park as usual. He apologizes he can’t murder anybody for her. Of course, she was just joking too. Really? She notes he is putting on act so he says doing so makes it easier for him to talk to everyone and make friends. Kayo too feels like playing a part. He gives her an invitation to his birthday party and hopes she can come. She is surprised she is the first person he asks. Then she touches his hands to warm it up. It makes Satoru blush despite he knows deep down inside he is an adult and should know these things by now. It just shows he never experienced such things lah. When she says he is easy to talk to recently, he replies he decided not to lie to her. After she leaves, he remembers this was the place she was last seen. Her body was only found after the snow melted.

Episode 3
Satoru tries to remember the murder case in which Hiromi was the other victim. Because of Kayo’s reported age when she was murdered, it means the murder took place before her birthday. Satoru is in an ice skating race with fellow classmate, Hamada who would eventually go on to be the school’s ice hockey champion. He is unsure whether to lose this race to him despite doing much better than him. Eventually that dilemma has Hamada zoom past him by an inch. Hamada didn’t like what he did and tells how much he hates guys like him. Satoru then remembers this was exactly how it went. History repeated itself. Satoru tries to ask Kayo for her birthday but she won’t say. In fact, she calls him a liar because he said he would try his best during the race but gave the win to Hamada. Not that it matters because they are both fakes. He then tries to peek into the records of his teacher, Gaku Yashiro but is caught red handed. But after hearing him out, he lets him have a look. She shares the same birthday as him, 2nd March. Now it is mid February and he has less than half a month to stop the murder. Satoru then hangs out with Yuuki. He is quite a nice guy to talk to. He remembers the police questioning him about his behaviour. Although Yuuki was sentenced to death, he maintained his innocence since the start. Satoru then visits Kayo’s house but nobody is in. When he sees her broken gloves on the ground and her backpack items scattered, he fears the worse. He opens the shed to find her lying there all bruised up. Before he could do anything, her mother comes to bring her in. He asks about the bruises so mom has Kayo tell him what they are. She fell and tripped. Satoru felt helpless he couldn’t say anything to counter to her sad lie.

Her mom continues to abuse her but it seems so that her wounds would heal before school. Can’t argue with an insane person, can you? Kayo arrives late for class and Satoru spots a bruise mark behind her neck. Later he talks to Yashiro about this. The reason Kayo is always late or absent on Mondays is because her mom abuses her on Saturdays. He too knows about it but why hasn’t he taken any action? Revealing Kayo’s case may isolate her further from her classmates than she is now. In fact, last May they have suspected her mother of being abusive. However her mom knows how to evade from child welfare people. When they visited, they were always not in or she knows how to hide it well. Yashiro has personally visited them and knows Kayo is being abused. Until they get confirmation from the child welfare department, they can’t do anything yet. Satoru thinks Yashiro is waiting for spring break to take action but it will be too late by then. During lunch, Satoru admits he lost the class’ lunch money. Misato accuses Kayo of stealing it since she is always poor and never contributed. The rest start suspecting her too. So as everybody spot checks each other’s bag, Kayo found the money in hers. Before Misato could further accuse her, Satoru puts his foot down that Kayo will never steal even if she is poor. Was his scolding that harsh that it made her cry? Besides, anybody could have taken it from Satoru’s bag and put it in hers. Yashiro quells everything saying Kayo was on class duty so it is not surprise the money is in her bag. Later Kayo thanks him for it and mentions how she hates her more. The feeling is mutual. But Misato did invite her once to her Christmas party just to show off her Christmas tree. This reminds Satoru to bring her go see a Christmas tree. He bought a new pair of gloves for her. Along the way, a couple of red foxes dance around them. Kayo must be disappointed the ‘Christmas tree’ is a huge withered tree. But she feels happy looking at it.

Episode 4
Satoru asks his mom for some allowance because he plans to bring his friends out to the science centre. But mom knows he is going out on a date and he inadvertently spills all the answers she wants to know. Mom always knows… He invites his friends but once they learn Kayo is coming along, they don’t want to interrupt and say they have something important to do. Satoru goes to convince Kayo’s mom, Akemi but of course she won’t allow it. Satoru accidentally hints this outing is to save her from the abuse. Mom asks Kayo’s opinion and when she hints she wants to go, she is about to slap her but Sachiko grabs her hand. This is peacefully resolved and kayo gets the green light to go. Satoru couldn’t be more grateful for Sachiko to intervene. Till he learns she came home early from work and decided to follow her son like a stalker. Whoops… The duo enjoy their time at the science centre. However when Kayo thanks him like as though he knew this was her favourite place and something how this place is like an inspiration for manga artists, this shocks Satoru because he somewhat remembered something like this happened before. He was at the science centre and bumped into her accidentally. Is he repeating history again? But when his friends eventually join them later, he thinks he has succeeded in changing history. Next day in class, Kayo looks much better. Satoru accidentally says aloud she looks prettier, causing an uproar in class. Today is supposedly the day she gets killed so he hangs out with her as much as he can. After sending her back, he purposely says aloud he will come to pick her tomorrow in hopes that somebody would notice he was here. Satoru is so worried that he couldn’t sleep. Before midnight, he ran over to Kayo’s house just to make sure. I know he is desperate but… Nothing happens. Phew. Since he can’t sleep, he waits outside her house early in the morning. She’s there. They are supposed to head to Satoru’s home after school for the birthday party but Yashiro has them do some tasks. After buying food for the party, they return home only to be greeted by a surprise by their friends. It seems they planned this surprise. That is why they had Yashiro cooperate with them to stall the duo. While Satoru gives Kayo a pair of gloves, Kayo shed tears of joy and also sadness as she didn’t have time to complete it since she was hanging out with him most of the time. The day passes like any other day. Satoru is so happy that he is freed from all the tension, he just slept soundly. Of course he is late the next day but to his dismay, Kayo is not present. In fact, she never came to school…

Episode 5
Satoru rushes to Kayo’s home. Nobody is home (but it looks like the guilty adults are hiding). He checks the shed. Not there. But he notices an adult male’s footprint coming out of it. Soon it is reported Kayo went missing on 3rd March but a media blackout was instated to prevent panic. Satoru becomes depressed he couldn’t do anything but Sachiko cheers him that he did the best he could. Yashiro tells his class that Kayo had to suddenly transfer to her grandma’s place and thus she didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. Of course this was just a lie so Yashiro hopes Satoru could play along. A police car is parked outside Kayo’s home every day. Akemi is also a suspect and was questioned. Just 6 days after Kayo’s disappearance, another girl, Aya Nakanishi from a nearby school also went missing. Of course her story is also she ran away to her grandpa’s place but Kenya knows better there is currently a serial kidnapping going on. When the investigation is made public, the news only shows this on certain channels and times. 10 days later, Satoru catches Akemi throwing out a trash bag. He sees those gloves inside and goes crazy. Before he knows it, Satoru is back in his current time right after he became a prime suspect in his mom’s murder. His strategy is to run away. But hiding under the bridge? Ah well… He gets a call from his manager who offers him to stay at his place. Such great hospitality. When Satoru sees on TV about his case, it dawned to him something is wrong. The police are outside and his manager is seen talking to them. That’s why. He sneaks out and bumps into Airi. Because of his handphone with GPS features, it is easily tracked. She helps him back to her place. Can he believe her? More importantly, why does she believe him after what has appeared on the news. Because she knows he is not the kind to kill his own mother. Satoru looks at a book of Japan’s gruesome murders that Airi bought. He realizes history has changed. Before, it was reported that Kayo was murdered when she was 10 years old. Now the book states she died on 3rd March at 11 years old.

The manager is seen talking to a shady person in his office. Airi takes her leave from her shift so the manager tells her to help look out for Satoru as he can’t imagine killing his mom. He will also offer his support so please call him if they meet. Oh no… Satoru does his research about another serial kidnapping 3 years ago and although the kidnapper was nabbed soon, he maintained his innocence. When Satoru returns home, the manager is seen spying nearby and trying to call the police. Airi catches him in the act and is very disappointed that she punches him and breaks his handphone. She really wanted to believe. He claims he is worried about her. If he is, then he will not call the cops to the home of the family who is taking care of her. Eventually Satoru is back hiding under the bridge. Airi apologizes for this but he agrees this is for the best they can’t return there. He asks about her home. Her real home is in the countryside and this house belongs to her mom’s brother. Instead of finding a boarding house, she was told to stay with them. As for why Airi continues to believe in him, she tells her story when she went shopping with her dad. He was allegedly accused of stealing a chocolate bar. The storeowner was a close friend and will forget this if he confessed to the stealing. But he maintained his innocence. The police was called, he got fired from his job and left the house after his wife divorced him as she believed he stole it. Airi always believed he was innocent because she was there the entire time. That is why she wants to believe him for her own sake. Satoru wants her to tell the police that he threatened her but she is not going to do that. Back home, Airi gets a message from Satoru from Sachiko’s handphone to stay where she is. She feels something amiss till she realizes this message is from the killer. Before she knows it, the house is on fire!

Episode 6
Satoru busts in to save Airi. He can’t do this alone and luckily the manager is here to help. Also, he gives Satoru a chance to run away but he’ll take all the credit for saving Airi. Satoru realizes Airi has slipped her handphone into his pocket. He is shocked to see the text’s contents and believes the killer intended to kill Airi and frame him. Satoru then calls Sawada, Sachiko’s ex-TV reporter colleague. They meet up and Sawada believes Satoru isn’t the murderer because Sachiko would never raise a son who would kill. After Satoru shows the text, Sawada reveals days before Sachiko’s death, she called him regarding Jun wasn’t the kidnapper-cum-murderer. She knows the real culprit. He regrets not asking for a name then. He explains what happened in Kayo’s case. She was believed that have been beaten up and tossed into the shed by the adults and froze to death. However there was a time she was missing from there. The police connected Jun as the kidnapper because his pair of boots matched the tracks in the snow. The official story goes that after kidnapping her, he took pictures of her, use some commercial freezer to speed up her death and wait till she is brain dead before putting her back in the shed. Jun was arrested and is now on death row although he has since pleaded not guilty. Before Aya and Hiromi were killed too, there was a similar case in a nearby town. Now this is happening to Satoru. It seems the killer is one who frames others for murders. By doing so, the investigation is delayed and the ‘freshness’ of the murder scene goes stale the more time passes and the more eyewitnesses dwindle. The case will then go cold. As for Airi’s case, the killer needed to frame Satoru for Sachiko’s murder by knowing what time he gets off from work. He must have visited the workplace and Airi must have seen him. Meanwhile Airi is in hospital and perhaps pretending to be in dire straits. She is disheartened to hear theories of Satoru being painted the bad guy and it even goes as far as saying Airi was his accomplice and he was trying to shut her up. She knows what everyone thinks is wrong but would they believe her?

Satoru is looking through the past investigation details of the related murders. Based on the suspect lists and how it is whittled down, he realizes the murderer killed Hiromi despite knowing his true gender just to be eliminated from the suspect pool. Kawada sneaks into the hospital to see Airi. But it is not her in the bed but her mother. Apparently Airi told her mom how nobody believed her. The police insisted she inhaled too much fumes and her memories are still in a daze. Her mother believed in her since she regretted not believing in her husband then. They swapped places. She calls Satoru to meet at the usual place. She thinks a man named Nishizono is most suspicious as he frequently visits the pizza place and the manager looks up to him. He could have been able to check the shift schedule. He might be trying to kill her as he knows her face and they talked before. However Satoru doesn’t remember that name on the suspect list. Could it be an alias? Can a city councillor use an alias? This frustration reminds him of his unfinished manga about a reaper who accidentally killed a child. But the more he tries to undo his mistake, the more it hurts others. Satoru is in that predicament now. But Airi doesn’t think so because she is not hurt and all the other stuffs are probably the reaper jumping to conclusions. Suddenly the police surround the place and take Satoru into custody. Airi pleads he is innocent but is fallen on deaf ears. Airi feels guilty that she probably led the cops here but Satoru says it is thanks to Airi believing in him, he was able to continue fighting. As he is being led away, he notices a suspicious man among the police. He could be that killer because of the same eyes.

Episode 7
With the feeling of unsettled business, Satoru prays hard for another Revival. He gets his wish when he realizes he has returned back in time when he is visiting the science centre with Kayo. This is his last chance to fix things. In school, Kenya talks to Satoru how he likes the person he has become now. But he throws him a question: Who is he actually? Kenya has noticed Satoru has been acting strangely ever since and it is like a different character is occupying his body. Kenya has also known Kayo’s bruises for a long time but never had the guts to take action. So when Satoru jumped in, it was like an insult to show him how it is done. So he wants to know who this Satoru is. A hero of justice wannabe. I guess with that answer, Kenya believes this is the Satoru he had always known. After Satoru explains how Kayo will die after getting abused, Kenya offers to help him. The day before their before, Satoru has his friends hang out with Kayo so that he could hang out in Yuuki’s house to give him alibi. Satoru asks him if he had met Kayo. Yuuki starts panicking but eventually brushes it off after learning she has been hanging out with Satoru’s group. The birthday party proceeded like normal.

But after the party with the excuse of forgetting something at school, Satoru actually goes to Yuuki’s house to deflate the tyres of their vehicle, write a threatening note and throw a rock through their window. This is to make it look like Yuuki is being targeted and not the killer. In his desperate attempt to protect Kayo, he is going to get rid of her mom by pushing her down the stairs?! Luckily Kenya has been watching him and stops him. He doesn’t want him to go so far and do something reckless. Satoru doesn’t care the consequences that will befall him because it is better than Kayo dying. Satoru requests Kenya’s help this time and he has no qualms in agreeing to it. Satoru walks Kayo home after the party but he tells her he is going to kidnap her now. Surprised at first, Kayo agrees to let him do that. He brings her to the school’s abandoned bus where Kenya has been making preparations to make it is their secret base. They let her stay here while they return home. But shortly after midnight when Sachiko is asleep, Satoru sneaks out to go accompany Kayo. March 2nd passed without incident and Satoru realizes they are now in uncharted territory. Satoru has also brought Hiromi to join them in their hideout. We know Akemi doesn’t care enough to call the cops over her missing daughter. Yet. Satoru plans to drop by her place to make her mother call the cops on this. He will take full responsibility on everything. But Kayo surprises them that if they say it was her idea and that they only helped her out, everyone will go scot free. Deep in the middle of the night when Kayo is sleeping alone, it seems the culprit enters the bus…

Episode 8
Kayo realizes this person isn’t Satoru. Seems he got a bit violent in messing with some of the stuffs before leaving. Kayo’s presence wasn’t found out. It has been 3 days since Kayo hasn’t attended school and there is no formal word from the school itself about this. Satoru then talks to Yashiro about taking action as he has been to Kayo’s house but nobody replied. He is hinting to call the police but Yashiro claims by doing so it would inconvenience a certain someone. Yashiro assures him he has already called the child welfare and he will be going with them to Kayo’s house tonight. That night, they knock on the door but nobody answers. Even strange that the lights are on. Yashiro enters and sees the things around the house like as though somebody was here a moment ago. It could mean that the adults must have fled when they heard their knocking. They decide to back off now and give time for them to settle down before trying again. Satoru had been spying on them so he returns to Kayo and updates her and his friends what happened. He believes tonight will end everything. This means the boys will have to part ways with Kayo. Kayo sounds bold in asking Satoru to stay with her tonight. She reveals someone came here yesterday. They check out the box he messed up and find tools for… Kidnapping? That is when Satoru realizes that they still haven’t broken free of the vicious circle yet because if you remember, Aya was the other victim. Going through the other boxes, Satoru finds more equipment for framing. This bus is the centre of the circle and they definitely cannot stay here anymore. So Satoru brings her back to his place and stay for the night. Would Sachiko allow it? She is in fact proud of her son for trying to help a friend. After the kids have dinner, Sachiko calls Yashiro that Kayo is safe at her place. Kayo experiences what a good family is like. Lots of laughter and smiles. Good bath, good sleep, good food. So good that she even cries! Oh my… Speaking of Akemi, she is trashing her daughter’s room to take out her frustrations. When Kayo is at the doorstep, she is about to lash out her abusive ways but stops short because Satoru and Sachiko are with her.

Episode 9
Akemi accuses them for this and when she thinks they are blaming her for not looking after Kayo, she gets violent with a shovel. If not for Kayo’s action, the shovel could have hit Sachiko’s face and luckily she just got a scratch on the forehead. Before she can’t get even violent, the welfare department is here. With Sachiko’s ‘help’, they were able to ‘schedule’ this meeting. They want to discuss about the way she treats Kayo (she didn’t even look for her when she went missing for 3 days) and has concluded she needs to be taken into custody. Akemi will go make a police report about everything but her mom is seen prostrating and apologizing she never supported her daughter when she needed most. Flashback of Akemi an abuse victim of her ex-husband. After they got divorced, she took it out on Kayo. Grandma puts the blame on herself and doesn’t the welfare people to treat her daughter badly. To prove Akemi is still human, she emotionally hugs her mother. Perhaps all she needs was someone to cry on. Yashiro drives Kayo away and Satoru believes the path to her future will be a bright one. Naturally with Kayo gone, Satoru falls into depression. He receives an update from Yashiro that Kayo will be living with her grandma and Akemi cannot be near Kayo for a few years.

However it is not over yet. Despite Kayo is safe, he still has to deal with Hiromi and Aya. Hiromi is easy since he is his classmate but how do you completely get to know a total stranger? He asks mom and she thinks he is going after someone else now that Kayo is gone! Mother knows… Satoru has to schedule his time to be with Hiromi as well as ‘stalk’ Aya to know her habits which is thankfully fairly straightforward. Seems she also hangs out with Yuuki. One night he thinks he can follow her to where she lives but Sachiko needs his help to carry the groceries. Luckily Yashiro drives them home. Satoru asks why Yashiro never married (bad experience?) and also how to make friends with strangers. Satoru opens the compartment and candies came rushing out. Yashiro reveals this is his addiction after he quit smoking 3 years ago. Kenya suspects something amiss because Satoru is now trying to be Hiromi’s guardian. They revisit the bus again and find a few stuffs missing. Satoru mentions that saving Kayo from her mother’s abuse was just part of the reason as he believes there is a child murderer-cum-kidnapper and this is where he keeps his tools. Despite his story sounding like something unbelievable, Kenya believes in him and wants to help him because Satoru believed in him to tell his side of the story. So it seems a little weird like shota gay because Satoru and Hiromi holding hands while walking home?! Oh sh*t… His friends’ trust gives Satoru hope that he can overcome this. He remembers how sad he was when he couldn’t save Kayo and he never wants to go through that again.

Episode 10
Satoru, Kenya and Hiromi try to talk to Aya. She remembers seeing them before because they often sneak into their secret base across the river. Why is Kenya getting mad when she calls the secret base as stupid? It is Satoru’s turn when she calls boys playing heroes as stupid. As she leaves, Kazu hops out from hiding and in front of her to tell her she is wrong. She should come visit their base. Next day, she did visit the base. The next thing you know, Kazu and Aya became an item! Gosh. That escalated quickly! She hangs out with the boys sometimes at their base. With Aya’s case settled, a new one seems to pop up. Hiromi informs Satoru that he notices Misato has been alone lately. Ever since that lunch money incident, everyone has been ostracizing her. This fact made it hard for Satoru to talk to her. He tails her one day to the ice hockey rink where Yashiro and some of the students are there to support their ice hockey team. Satoru observes she has been sitting alone. But shortly after, she leaves for the toilet. He waited for her to return but she never came back. You know how women take, right? As he is about to leave, he stumbles into Yashiro. Then he spots Yuuki’s truck passing by and he asks Yashiro for his help. Yashiro drives and tails the truck. Then there is some seemingly ominous talk in which Satoru thinks he needs his candy fix but Yashiro says he won’t find any. Because this is not his car… Oh f*ck! That evil look!

Don’t hold your breath now because Yashiro is the god damn killer!!! He has observed Satoru’s actions playing detective. He said he assumed there was a killer prowling in town but he is acting that he is convinced there was one around. He is very surprised that Satoru could predict his train of thought. To be very sure it was him, he told Misato to come to the hockey game and then tell Hiromi about it. If Satoru came, then his suspicion was true. He assures the one in the truck is only Yuuki’s father and waited for the right time to give Misato the laxatives. He further reveals on the day he gave him and his mom a ride home he was supposed to carry out his plans. It was the second time his plan was foiled. But now everything has been going according to his plan. He will kill Satoru and achieve the satisfaction that he has been denied of. Yashiro still admires Satoru for thwarting his plans. Like as though he could read his future. He drives to an isolated place. After getting out of the car, he pushes it into the frozen river. Satoru is stuck in his seat belt and struggling to get out. His life flashes before him as he reveals the culprit was right under his nose and he took it for granted. Yashiro’s name popped up along with the list of suspects and he didn’t want to accept it because he trusted him. Also, Sachiko’s name was on the list making him more reluctant to do so.

Episode 11
Yashiro narrates how it all began. When he was in kindergarten, a fellow classmate brought a few pet hamsters in which she had carelessly allowed to breed. Yashiro took them all home and drowned all of them in a bottle. But only one hamster survived and it did so by standing on top of its dead brethren. Ever since, he has been fascinated with this and calls this lone hamster survivor Spice. This reminds him of that Spider’s Thread story and so he began killing kids who have this spider’s thread he sees over their head. Satoru also had this but he didn’t die too. Above all, he foiled his plans. That is why he decided to call him Spice and observe him. We see scenes of Sachiko going about in her daily life. She starts crying when Satoru opens his eyes. He has been in coma for 15 years!!! OMG! A mother’s dedication showed that every single day she did all those exercise on his comatose body in hopes he would wake up one day. As he undergoes rehabilitation, his memories are still hazy what happened 15 years ago. He is glad to see his friends, Kenya now a lawyer and Hiromi a doctor. That girly guy is now chubby! But the one whom he instantly recognizes is Kayo! I believe we have never seen her adult version before and yet Satoru recognizes her. So much so he starts crying. She is now married and has a baby named Mirai. Oh, she is married to Hiromi. In a way she feels guilty for finding happiness and after all that Satoru has done for her, it is like she has abandoned him. But Satoru believes every action he took was his own and he has no regrets.

As Satoru improves steadily in rehabilitation, he meets a girl, Kumi who is supposed to undergo a bone marrow transplant but is too scared of the surgery. She becomes amazed with Satoru’s determination and courage. With Satoru’s improvement, the media and paparazzi are also trying to cover his ‘miraculous’ story. Perhaps even coming up with something scandalous that he might be an adult now but his heart is still of a young boy (his socializing with Kumi). They are stopped by Nishizono who threatens them about the laws they are breaking and enough to put them behind bars. Nishizono then confronts Satoru and identifies himself as Yashiro and his ex-teacher. Remember him? He explains he got married 5 years ago into his fiancee’s family and changed his surname. He even changed his first name to Manabu. As his father-in-law was a councillor, his sudden death 3 years ago made him venture into politics. So he has been a councillor for a year. He met Kumi at a charity event for leukaemia. Satoru’s determination has made Kumi want to go for the surgery. It will be the day after tomorrow and so this is the last day for visitors. Unfortunately she is sleeping so Satoru and Yashiro talk instead. To avoid those pesky paparazzi, they head to the rooftop. That is when Satoru reveals his memories of 15 years ago have returned.

Episode 12
Kenya and Hiromi updated Satoru about their other friends. Surprisingly Misato was the one who initiated the drive to fund Satoru’s hospital bill. Kenya knew Satoru had his memories back but didn’t say anything as he was still recovering. He was glad to have him back and that itself was enough. He doesn’t want him to fight alone anymore and if he still wants to, take them with him. Satoru remembers their strong bond and told them Yashiro is the killer. Now Yashiro wants to know how Satoru knows his every step then. He guesses that Satoru is having a handphone recording this device or letting Kenya hear this conversation. Too bad whatever crimes he did, its statute limitations have expired or never existed to begin with. That is why he will never be caught. Yashiro has also planned Kumi’s death. He will frame Satoru by granting her a merciful death for being worried about her surgery. Feeling guilty, Satoru will then commit suicide. Although Satoru will still die anyhow, he can still have a chance to save Kumi if he talks. There is of course no assurance that Kumi will live but the possibility exists as long as he talks. But Yashiro feels he is wasting time since back then it might just be Satoru’s luck. He has even crafted a nice suicide message for Sachiko to read. Yashiro spent 15 years for him to wake up because when he lost Satoru, he lost the drive that defined him. But Satoru tells him he is no longer alone. Despite Yashiro had the chance to kill him any time, he has not for the last 15 years. Flashback shows he even helped cared for comatose Satoru. No wonder he looks so well shaven. This proves that Satoru is important in his life. He is his purpose in life. He is his hope. He is the one who filled the gaping hole in his heart. Now he has lost.

While Yashiro denies all that, Satoru quickly jumps off the ledge. He didn’t fall because Yashiro grabs onto his wheelchair. This is further proves why he can’t kill him. 15 years may be a flash for Satoru but it felt like eternity to Yashiro. Satoru hints he has repeated his life several times and had several friends killed. Even so he bears no hatred towards him. Because there was only one person who knew the real him. Tears trickle down Yashiro’s cheek. He lets Satoru’s fall to his death as he mentions he can’t live without him anymore. He is about to jump off too but he sees Satoru landed on a big cushion well placed by his friends and mom. Game over. You lose. Yashiro is arrested for attempted murder. Satoru narrates he lost 15 years of his life but he lost his most prized possession: In a town in which his existence was erased and his friends lived through their precious moments for his sake. Satoru now lives as a manga artist and I can guess he is doing quite well since his manga is getting an anime adaptation. He has stopped experiencing Revival ever since. He also visits Yuuki who has a family of his own (Indian wife and son?) and regularly hangs out with his other friends. I believe that hot chick is Misato. By deduction it should be her, right? Satoru seems to have his own Hollywood walk of fame plaque on the ground near his school. Well, something that looks like it. As he hangs out underneath the bridge, it starts snowing. He is surprised and happy when Airi takes shelter there too. He is glad he never stopped believing.

Bokura Ga Ita, Kimi No Iru Machi
We were there, A Town Where You Live. Names of previous anime series and despite the different theme and setting, I can’t help how uncannily similar their names would fit right in this series as well. Because it shows that Satoru and the rest were there. They existed. Not erased as Satoru personally believes the time he was cut away from. They were here existing and living in this little town. Therefore despite Satoru was not there physically, he was there all along in their hearts and it is that presence that strove his friends to continue living their best.

I would never have expected this series to be this good. A reason why I didn’t put much high hopes despite reading the intriguing synopsis because I based my bias and prejudice of the mystery genre on my last anime in the same category. It was unfortunate that Sakurako-san No Ashimoto Ni Wa Shitai Ga Umatteiru fell short of expectations but it was careless and unfair of me to judge a totally different anime this way. It goes to show that every anime is on a case by case basis. It proved how wrong my judgment was and I am glad to have watched this series to dispel that. The plot twists are amazing as it kept me preoccupied and trying to guess what would happen. The execution is also good because there were nail biting scenes that might amount to nothing or something. It was something so simple but yet kept me on the edge of my seat.

The ending was good with all the loose ends tied up but yet bittersweet in a way because when you start thinking all the pain and suffering that everybody went through just to set things straight, it makes you question whether a 15 year justice is worth the wait. No doubt justice in the end but as mortals with very short lives on this planet, 15 years is a very long time to fathom. Everybody eventually had a happy ending thanks to the hard work of Satoru (and friends) in making it happen. He might have lost an important prime time of his childhood life but at least the good thing is that he is able to retain memories of his past lives so it isn’t all that bad. At least he doesn’t need to go to school again for his age. With no more Revivals, I guess the future is very much secure now, huh?

But the one little thing that bugged me at the end is how everybody never seemed to question how ‘advanced’ Satoru is. At least we are not shown how. But the way they interact with Satoru like as though he is an adult. Remember, despite Satoru retaining his memories and vocabularies of his other lives, in this time line to everybody Satoru is an 11 year old kid waking up in an adult’s body. So didn’t they find it strange that he could speak advanced words? Okay, maybe he did not spout a fancy and elaborate vocabulary. But shouldn’t they be suspicious that Satoru is acting like an adult instead of a child? I think everybody is just glad to have him back and couldn’t care less about this oddity. Besides, Satoru has been acting like a responsible adult in his bid to save Kayo and the rest so it makes no difference.

There is nothing much for me to comment on the characters since Satoru has been playing a pivotal role every time. It goes to show that if you want things done, you have to do it yourself. More importantly, things change not because of what you think, your opinion or regrets of what should have been done. Instead, things change because of the actions you take. Satoru is given that golden opportunity to right the wrongs but he is a lucky guy because he gets to do it twice. I think it was wise of him to not reveal about his multiple lives because logically and naturally nobody will believe him. Not even Yashiro. Some truths are meant to be kept by yourself. Speaking of telling the future, I think Sachiko is another one. She has this power because she is a mother. Uh huh. It is sometimes funny to think of the irony that she knows everything about her son like as though she read the script and thus able to tell his future and what is on his mind. So people, beware of your mother next time. They always know. ALWAYS! Otherwise Sachiko is a great mom whom every kid would love to have. She is understand, she is supportive and above all a dedicated mother who loves her son even when he is sleeping for 15 years with hope that he will wake up one day. That is what a real mother should be about. She should win the mother of the century award. Then again when you think about him, what kind of mother gives her 11 year old son so much liberty to do things himself and putting himself in danger of being kidnapped! Yikes! I retract that award thingy…

I feel a bit sad for Airi because when everything worked out in the end, it is only natural that she never existed in his time line. So perhaps I think they try to balance things out in the final scene when they meet again. I can speculate that maybe Satoru and Airi would become a couple after that since well, Kayo is already married. A fresh new beginning, right? But that itself is another story. Say, they are making a spin-off of this series after the manga ends… Kayo is also another sad case. As a child abuse victim, she had nowhere to go and no place to voice out her desperate plea for help. A tragedy waiting to happen. Her case of isolation reminds of this phrase that she didn’t build walls to keep others out but to see who cared enough to break them down. Sceptical of Satoru at first, she quickly puts her trust in him because anything is better than that hellhole under the guise of a home. Kenya turns out to be a potential genius friend of Satoru but ultimately I don’t really see him do anything much. What a waste…

I always had a hunch and suspected Yashiro as the culprit even from the early episodes because of the way he casts he glance and the seemingly suspicious actions he makes. Therefore when Yashiro was actually revealed as the big villain, I couldn’t help feel a mixed sense of happiness and disappointment. I was happy that I got it right which means I was paying attention and understood, right? But at the same time I was hoping that it was a different person. I was hoping to be proven wrong that it had to be somebody else and that I was just thinking too much. Because just like Satoru, I too was some sort in my own denial that I didn’t want this guy to be the perpetrator at the end. After all, had it been somebody different and a new character that we have never seen or appeared before, it would not have been fair to viewers because that ruins the romance of the mystery genre.

There were a few other conspiracy theories that formulated in my head over the series. But thankfully they were just me over-thinking. For example, I kept thinking that Kayo and Airi are actually the same person! Because I seemed to notice that they often use the line, “Are you an idiot?” on Satoru. Yeah, my conspiracy theory goes as far as that Kayo has survived the murder and another kid was mistaken to be her. She grew up, underwent plastic surgery, changed her name and went on to forget those hideous memories. Since they never see each other again, that is why they don’t recognize each other at work. But then again, there are a handful of other lines that a character says that rings a bell in Satoru’s mind that has been said by another character. Another wild conspiracy theory of mind is how the killer is Satoru himself from another timeline! I mean, he could go back in time and mostly for a short time. So what if all that Revival phenomenon has caused him to split another dimension where another version of Satoru materializes? I am saying this because when I first glimpsed at the killer’s eyes, I somehow seem to think how similar (which is not) to Satoru’s.

The art and drawing feels a bit simplistic. Sometimes I feel the characters have that one kind look. Not to say that it is a bad thing but I just can’t help that shake off that one kind look they have. After all, this is generally a drama and mystery genre so visuals aren’t going to be emphasized so much that it will strain the budget. And is it me or just that middle aged women like Sachiko and Akemi have puffed lips? Can’t… Avert… My eyes… Produced by A-1 Pictures who have produced ‘better looking’ animes like Sword Art Online, Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata, Uta No Prince-sama series, Kuroshitsuji, OreImo, Ao No Exorcist, Magi series and even Fairy Tail, they also have made ‘bad looking’ ones like Denpa Kyoushi.

In the voice acting department, I believe this is the first time in a long while that a main character is given 2 different seiyuus. The only other anime I can think of now that uses this is Ranma 1/2. This is necessary to differentiate the thoughts of which Satoru that he is narrating. Is it the one from the future or the one as a kid? It helps in separating and making it easier to viewers to listen as it would have been a bit heavy if they were just voiced by the same seiyuu. Sometimes I think there is a subtle joke about using this because Satoru has a tendency to accidentally speak aloud his thoughts. So maybe the different voices to differentiate which thought Satoru is speaking confused himself too? The adult Satoru is voiced by Shinnosuke Mitsushima. I am not sure if his husky voice is his natural voice but if he does sound like an amateur, it is because this is his debut and only voice acting role so far. But his voice does seem to fit the kind of uneventful life that Satoru lives as well as when he is thrown back into the past and thinking deeply on how to change the future. The child version of Satoru is of course voiced by a female, Tao Tsuchiya and this is her first time voicing an anime character. I checked she had minor roles in live action movies.

The only seiyuu I recognized is Aoi Yuuki as Kayo. Just take out all the lively enthusiasm from her other anime characters and put on a gloomy tone and voila! You get Kayo. The rest of the other casts are Minami Takayama as Sachiko (Conan in Detective Conan series), Mitsuru Miyamoto as Yashiro (Steven in Kekkai Sensen), You Tachi as Kenya (Anzu in Prison School), Akai Kitou as Hiromi (Mary in Cross Ange), Takahiro Miszushima as Yuuki/Jun (Takajou in Charlotte) and Akemi Okamura as Akemi (Nami in One Piece). There are a lot of relatively unknown seiyuus as well such as Yukitoshi Kikuchi as Kazu, Ayaka Nanase as Osamu, Ayaka Kaneko as Aya and Hina Kino as Misato.

Hearing the opening theme, Re:Re brings back familiar memories. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first but once I found out that it was sung by Asian Kung-Fu Generation, instantly all my memories came flooding back. I’m not saying I am a fan of them but the last time I heard these guys are from the opening themes of the anime Naruto (the original one and not Shippuden) and Fullmetal Alchemist (the original one too and not the remake Brotherhood). And those opening themes are from the last decade! The rock style and trademark singing voice are still the same and maybe that is why the nostalgic feelings return. The ending theme is Sore Wa Chiisana Hikari No You Na by Sayuri. A little bit dramatic but not really to my liking after hearing the awesome opening theme.

There is even a live action film of the same name released right after the TV anime ended its run. I wonder if it follows the same storyline as the anime because if it does, I think the thrill and suspense factor would be gone. At least for those who watched the anime. After all, since this series was adapted from a manga that shortly ended after its anime run. Spoilers? I read the anime ending is supposed to be of the original manga. Well, I couldn’t tell since I don’t read it. So if they wanted a twist and changed the ending, imagine the rage of the fans… Can you imagine Kayo staying single and waiting for Satoru to wake up and then they get hitched? Yeah… But as far as the movie is concerned, I just think that it is for adults. You know, anime is like cartoon so it is like kiddie stuff. But whatever the format this story is played or how the end turns out, it is definitely a good one that you should not miss.

That is why if we had a chance to do and change something, we should do it right away for we have no Revival to redo another try and undo the wrongs. A happy future might not be guaranteed but, to borrow and modify from Yashiro’s words, as long as you take action, that possibility remains. Because if I had Revival, I would have gone back and not watch disappointing animes. Now I’m stuck in a single timeline and my only way is to watch every darn anime just to know whether they suck or not. This one doesn’t. Thank goodness there is still hope. Never stop believing :-).

Noragami Aragoto

August 13, 2016

I am making a wild guess here. I suppose there are enough people who remember that god of calamity and his freaking cheap services to do anything and that is why we now have this sequel, Noragami Aragoto. And perhaps Yato’s advertising has been so effective that lots and lots of people have been employing his services that he has gained enough money for the producers to create this second season. Wait a minute. You’re saying that Yato is saving to build a shrine of his own instead of giving it to anime producers, right? Oh well, you know how Yato tends to blow all his savings on useless things, right? Right?! And so, Yato might remain a poor God and his dream of getting his own shrine remains a very distant dream, but at least we got a second season. That’s not so bad, right?

Episode 1
It looks like any other normal day for Hiyori. But her soul still easily slips out from time to time. She joins Yato and Yukine doing a babysitting job (for 5 Yen of course!) since the mother had sleepless nights and is now asleep. However Yato senses the room is under siege by an Ayakashi. Yato draws Yukine but the latter is being too sharp and cuts the furniture. Yato refreshes our memory as a lesson for Yukine how to draw a Boundary. Reviewing the situation, this Ayakashi is just an illusion. The real one is the baby’s image in the mirror and it was formed after the baby years a playmate. With the exact strength, Yukine cuts the mirror and destroys the monster. As for the mess in the room, Yato’s great idea: Run! I don’t think 5 Yen will cover all of that. Hanging out at Kofuku’s place, once again everyone cannot believe Yato blew his funds and got conned out to buy another luck charm. This is why he will never ever get his own shrine. While Yato and Yukine are out in the streets to solicit for business, they have to hide since Yato spots Bishamon close by. She is chasing a girl who is being eaten alive by an Ayakashi. After painfully purifying her, she names her Mineha and makes her into her Shinki and lets her live in her household filled with many other Shinki. But Kazuma is worried about her for taking in too many of such spirits because it is taking a toll on her health and it is not getting any better. Her doctor, Kugaha later tells her about that day when Kazuma went missing for a while (from last season). It was to attend an ablution ceremony with Yato. Meanwhile as Hiyori continues to nag Yato to fix her situation (and thus the reason she will be sticking around him more often because heck, he took her 5 Yen!), Yukine meets and befriends another similar Shinki by the sakura tree, Suzuha. He is one of the many servants under Bishamon.

Episode 2
Kugaha meets up with Nora and there is some shady alliance going on between them. Yukine continues to hang out with Suzuha and hears his great stories of Bishamon. He also hears his heartbreaking story about a girl whom he is still waiting to show up at the sakura tree as promised. Every summer, Tomoko who visited her grandma wandered to his beautiful flower garden. Each time she visited, it is like she never remembered who he was. He watched her grow up into a fine young teenager till one day she never turned up anymore. He notes the living are quick to forget them but he still has hopes she will remember him if she sees this sakura tree. This causes Yukine to start worrying if Hiyori would forget him. As Suzuha continues to wait at the sakura tree, Kugaha pops up to manipulate his mind and feelings how Bishamon has never called him for ages. This melancholy allowed many Ayakashi wolves to devour him. Bishamon wakes up in cold sweat that night and could feel one of her Shinki has died. But who? That’s the problem when you have too many. The next day as she walks around her mansion and notices the dead flowers, she realizes Suzuha has died since he is the one who tends them. Yukine brings Hiyori to the sakura tree to introduce him to Suzuha but he never showed up. Instead, they caught Yato spying on them since he was sending trolling texts about them getting cosy to each other. When Kazuma spots a blight on Bishamon, he thinks one of the Shinki is tainted and gathers all of them so Kugaha could diagnose who. None. Kugaha then advises Kazuma to be careful and keep his confidence in check as they can’t afford to lose an exemplar like him. It makes Kazuma wonder if he had been mistaken all along. Because when Bishamon comes by, Kazuma doesn’t see the blight on her shoulder anymore. That rainy night, Kugaha confronts Yato at the sakura tree. He thought he could best that unpopular God but he was wrong. Yato is still many times better than him. Yato has an idea what has happened as Kugaha takes his leave after learning his lesson the hard way. But no matter, his plan to make Bishamon disappear is already in progress and he is going to make Yato help him do that.

Episode 3
Aiha, a Shinki of Bishamon who is jealous of another fellow Shinki, Tsuguha, is the one who has the blight but since she is in cohorts with Kuguha… Kuguha tells Kazuma about Suzuha’s death so it makes him go investigate further. Then Kuguha goes to fan the fire by whispering to Bishamon he saw Suzuha and Yukine together. Yukine starts to understand why Yato told him to stay away from the sakura tree. He saw him placed a bouquet of flowers there, an indication Suzuha has died. This also means Yato is feeling his pain and he sure doesn’t need Nora to bug him about entangled and unravelled bonds. When Kazuma steps near a shrine, Yukine accidentally pushes him. They fell through a portal that leads them right back to Bishamon’s mansion. If Bishamon sees Yukine, she will… Oh, too late. She gets hostile with Yukine but he starts reprimanding her of not taking good care of Suzuha and even went as far as to mention how he cared for her and kept on smiling so she wouldn’t suffer. She couldn’t even protect a Shinki and this family stuff is just crap. Some of the Shinki start crying and causing great pain to Bishamon. Bishamon questions about Kazuma’s help in Yato’s ablution ritual. He tells her Yato is not her enemy but saviour. She cannot accept it because Yato slaughtered her family. When she fires her gun, Kazuma draws a Boundary to protect Yukine. Immediately she exiles his name from her family. The only person relishing in this family feud is Kugaha. Just as planned… With Bishamon’s executives in disarray because Kazuma was a very good team player, it gets worse when Kugaha tries to take control and put false hopes that they need to focus and not lose their direction. So now Kazuma is crashing at Kofuku’s place. Has her place become a freeloader hostel? Yato is still in pain because Yukine continues to cry over Suzuha’s death. One evening at the park, Yato and Hiyori are attacked by Aiha. They wonder if she attacked because he doesn’t have Yukine with him. But Yato can still best her even if she has a cursed weapon. He tries to extract answers from her but she runs away and in great timing, Ayakashi spiders keep him at bay. They are from Kugaha as he kidnaps Hiyori. Luckily Kazuma was nearby and frees her. He is shocked to see Aiha in cohorts with Kugaha. He paralyzes them with his bind. Even more shocking, Kugaha can still move. Kugaha is a bit disappointed Kazuma’s name wasn’t revoked entirely but at least things are getting interesting. If Kazuma is nameless, he would be immune to his incantations. By the time Yato returns, nobody is around. Only Hiyori’s sleeping physical body.

Episode 4
Kazuma and Hiyori are sealed in a cave. It is dangerous for Hiyori to stay in her spirit form as she will die. Speaking of which, her physical body is hospitalized. Her parents are worried she is in a coma and the doctor detected her breathing getting weaker. Kazuma is trying to think why Kugaha is doing this and his name that his incantation had no effect on. This prompts Hiyori to wonder why Kazuma’s name is different from the other Shinki as they end with Ha. When Gods take on Shinki, so such naming sense would make it like family. Ma was the previous family of Bishamon. Kazuma is the only survivor in which Yato slaughtered them all. While Bishamon also survived, she fell into sorrow for a long time till that turned into hatred. She obtained many Shinki over the centuries to form a new family. Despite this being a kind hearted move, Kazuma has always feared this would be her own undoing. Aiha is getting restless as her body is even more blighted than before. She is horrified to hear Kugaha’s plan (which is also guessed by Kazuma). He intends to replace Bishamon by killing her off. Because the people continue to worship her, a new God will be born under her name. Kugaha will then groom the new God to his own will. But is Kugaha strong enough to kill Bishamon? That is why he is going to have Yato kill her. Speaking of which, Yato thinks Bishamon has abducted Hiyori and is on his way to her place. Because he has no shrine of his own, he begs Tenjin to send him there. He refuses at first but with Hiyori’s life on the line, he agrees with 2 conditions. One of them that his name will not be mentioned being involved in this.

Yato goes on a rampage the moment he arrives. Bishamon is waiting and she too goes berserk. The epic clash has Kugaha anticipating the moment Yato kills her. Because he has drugged and weakened her so it would be easy kill for him. Furthermore, with Aiha feeling guilty as a conspirator, the more reason Bishamon isn’t at her optimum. But she is still able to hold her ground. Hiyori wonders why Yato would go so far so Kazuma explains that he was the one who requested Yato to slaughter Bishamon’s previous family. Long ago when Kazuma was just admitted into her family, shortly after she became blighted. The family became restless when the culprit was never found. Bishamon’s blight got worse. With the Shinki starting to distrust and suspect each other, I believe they too got blighted. Kazuma became desperate. He thought of killing everything and then start anew again as a new God. He heard about rumours of a god of calamity who slaughtered everything with his sword, Nora. He went to beg to Yato to kill his entire family. However he had no means of payment although he would give his life and his name back to his master. Yato agreed to kill them all who are now merged into an Ayakashi with Bishamon being absorbed in the midst. He slaughtered everyone mercilessly and right before Bishamon’s eyes. Sad to say, Bishamon survived the ordeal and her hate for Yato endured. Now Hiyori understands why Kazuma once told her Yato is their enemy and saviour. The battle between the Gods continues fiercely. Yato is separated from Yukine and this allows the other Shinki to bind him. A chance for Bishamon to kill Yato but Yukine uses his body to protect him and gets cut in half!

Episode 5
Yato could feel Yukine’s name has not disappeared. Calling him again, this time Yukine transforms into twin blades! I’m not sure about the science behind this but this kind of transformation means Yukine is a Blessed Instrument. The fight continues until Aiha’s medicine wears off. This means Bishamon is now infected by her blight and this also infects the Shinki she is using. Kugaha awaits her final moments as he explains his goal behind this. He has gotten sick of this place. He doesn’t like how she hoards all those useless Shinki and consider them her family. To further weaken her, Kugaha unleashes his Ayakashi to devour all the weaker Shinki hiding inside the mansion. Hiyori is getting weaker after being in this state for too long. It isn’t the fact that Kazuma’s pounding on the door broke it down. Aiha unsealed it. She regrets what she has done, blaming herself as the source of Bishamon’s blight and wants Kazuma to save everybody. Hiyori wants to come too since she is the only one who can save Yato. Nora hypnotizes Yato to go in for the kill. Luckily he is snapped out by Hiyori’s voice. Although he learns the truth that they weren’t kidnapped by Bishamon, the war goddess has lost all reasoning and continues to view Yato as the bad guy. After all, she feels her other Shinki dying and believes Yato is the one slaying them like before. Her blight has gotten worse. Yato has no choice but to kill her although she will be reborn soon. Before he could do it, Kazuma gets in the way and gets cut by her. He hugs her and gets blighted while he reveals the truth that he was the traitor who ordered the slaughter of the Ma family. He has always wanted to tell her but seeing her sorrow of not wanting to lose another Shinki, he couldn’t bring himself. It was her hatred for Yato that gave her strength too. He blames his misguidance for bringing her pain again. Once Bishamon comes to her senses, she releases her Shinki in use and starts crying like a child that her Shinki are dying again.

Episode 6
Yato calls out to Kugaha and the mastermind pops up. He continues to blame Bishamon for all that has happened. She is supposed to be the mightiest war god but instead played house by bringing in lots of Shinki. She also dragged them into this grudge and blighted them as well. The only way left is to kill herself so that when she is reborn anew, he will probably guide her. Before he could touch her, Yato cuts off his hand. All he hears is a child whining about his mother. If he wants his master’s love, then earn it. As right and wrong concepts do not apply to Gods, this means every move a God makes is righteous. Kugaha summons an Ayakashi to fight Yato but it’s time Yato shows us why he kicks ass. Before he could make Kugaha his next target, Bishamon won’t allow it. She is his Shinki still. She remembers picking him up when he had nowhere to go and how his medicines always helped her. Though, she should never have forgotten the pain stems for her Shinki’s cries. Despite all that, it is true that Kugaha has never blighted her once. In that case, she sees his actions to do this for her sake as righteous. But now she must do what she needs to and releases his name much to his dismay. Bishamon goes to handle the Ayakashi inside the mansion. Yato would have followed too but Hiyori has seen lots of action and drama for today. The remaining Shinki are taking refuge at the spring. The Ayakashi attacks but here comes Bishamon to free her fallen Shinki. It is sad and painful for her to go through this again but this is what must be done. Kazuma wakes up with Bishamon by her side. She tells him Aiha’s ablution was successful and those who survived are recovering well. Kazuma wants his name to be released for he has disgraced her twice. He will only end up hurting her. However she is okay with that as he is human and is allowed to make mistakes. She wants him back as her exemplar since she got lost without him. She lifts his exile and he is more than glad to be back. As to better know her Shinki, Bishamon has an exchange diary with all of them.

Episode 7
Everyone is happy that Yato and Yukine came back in one piece. However Tenjin reminds Yato of his other promise. The other condition was to sever ties with Hiyori. This would mean she will forget all the memories they had. She doesn’t want that and told him she wants to stay with him longer. Eventually he didn’t sever the tie. Hiyori returns to her normal life. She does well enough to go on to the next grade. Yato continues to bug her to join his Yato Club. WTF. Bishamon is being interrogated by the Gods about her recent actions. Her grudge for Yato is not to be mistaken for her grudge to some of these Gods because they know some lower Gods are trying to leech off their name. They are also concerned that masked Ayakashi have infiltrated Takamagahara and regret Bishamon’s action to release him as they could have found out who was behind it. Seems he is a Nora with many names. The recent events have thrown Earth and the Heavens in disarray so Bishamon is tasked to observe the behaviour of every Ayakashi. Yato is being met by one of the Gods of Fortune, Ebisu. He is willing to pay him any amount to buy Yukine as a Blessed Instrument! OMG! Look at all that money! Is he going to sell him? Ebisu even says if Yukine joins him, he will pay him a million every month! Now look at the bling in Yukine’s eyes! Yukine is surprised when Ebisu calls him an exemplar since he risked his life for his master. Ebisu feels a Blessed Instrument is wasted on a God who has to reside in the shrine of others. When Hiyori sees all the cash around, she fears the worst. But Yato says he did not sell Yukine. However if Yukine says he wants to leave, it is his choice.

Yukine talks to Kofuku about being Yato’s exemplar. He is surprised when Daikoku says he is also an exemplar to Kofuku. Although Kofuku says she doesn’t need him to protect her, she did tell him all he needs to do is to raise her when she reincarnates. Each exemplar is different and has their own way of protecting their master so none of them is wrong. Yato gets a call for a job but now that he has money, he is getting picky! Yukine kicks some senses into him to accept the job. After that, they talk about money. This has Yukine deduce that every time his Shinki dumps him, he has Nora to fall back on. That is why he has not gotten rid of her. Yato spots an Ayakashi but it is so small like a flea, he couldn’t catch it. It even stole his money! Yukine notices the Ayakashi loves money and runs back to get Yato’s money. It made him realize that he cannot put his desires first as an exemplar. Yukine then scatters the money all over town! Oh, Yato’s money! He felt the need of doing this because he feels Yato might choose between him or Nora. If that is the case, he must get stronger. This money scattering succeeds in luring out the Ayakashi. Only if Yato isn’t busy trying to pick up those bills… Yukine is serious when he advises Yato to forget about the money. It’s only money, right? Yeah. Screw that. Time to kick some Ayakashi’s ass. Yukine did the honourable thing to turn down Ebisu’s offer but Yato is depressed after losing that cool sum. Hiyori then brings in a little shrine she made just for him. Now he has a shrine to call his own. He is so happy that he cried. Don’t laugh. It’s his dream, remember? As said by Kofuku, ever God would love their have their own shrine because it shows the gratitude and appreciation people have for them.

Episode 8
Ebisu seems to be trying to control a masked Ayakashi. If you are wondering why Yato is ‘harassing’ Hiyori like a boss, it is because with his little shrine, he is now officially recognized in Takamagahara and can even sell merchandise legally! He even has his own little shrine plot but Yukine prefers to stay at Kofuku’s more comfy place. Manabu fails in trying to confess to Hiyori when he tries to thank her for all she did. However Hiyori credits all that saving to Yato. But Manabu doesn’t remember that guy. Learning more from Kofuku, it seems a God will disappear if people forget about them. Even more so for an unknown God like Yato who never existed for anyone. It was a struggle for him to do so in the past. That is why he is so grateful when he got his own shrine because it means somebody remembered him. Daikoku thinks he must have other followers too. Otherwise how can he survive throughout centuries based on that belief. Because Yato was also young and a kid before, it raised a question for Hiyori if he had parents. Meanwhile Yukine seeks Kazuma’s help to train him in using incantation. Well, more practice… Meanwhile Yato sees Nora and wants to end things with her. But she is not happy since he was the one who made her a Nora. Is he going to betray them now? She sets upon her masked Ayakashi wolves to attack him. Helpless and defeated, she says all they need to do is to obey father. Hiyori is worried because Yato is missing for a week. What happened to that drama queen who kept harassing her? So this is not normal? She continues to ask others but they have not seen him. This makes her fear that she might forget him if she continues not to see him.

A mother weeps over her daughter’s murder. The killer only got a prison sentence and not capital punishment because it was his first time. More disheartening, he was smiling during the judgment. Therefore she is seeking Yato’s help to kill him and seek justice for her daughter. Yato and Nora kill him in prison. The deep cut that leaves no traces left police baffled of his sudden death. Nora tries to convince him this is how people appreciate him and that Yukine cannot perform such miracles. Hiyori too has been filling his head with crap and don’t think he can stand on his feet with them. She assures they will not betray him. Bishamon and Okuninushi visit Ebisu who is sick. The latter is not amused because he has been getting sick often. After they are gone, it is revealed his compatibility with the masked Ayakashi failed. All Ayakashi he tries to turn into his puppet will blight him. He needs to rectify this. He gets word that the Locution Brush has been found. Yato and Nora continue to kill wrongdoers. One day Yato realizes he has been in this state for a month. Memories of Hiyori flashes across his mind. He needs to get out and return to her. Nora won’t let him so he goes berserk, even overcoming all the masked Ayakashi wolves. He calms down when father comes in. There is a job for them. Once they are done with this job to rescue a conjurer in the underworld, Yato is free to do whatever he wants.

Episode 9
Yato and Nora are outside the entrance to the underworld. The Ayakashi would be the least of their problems because Izanami, the queen of the underworld is on a far different level than Gods as she is eternal. Nora vows to protect Yato if he is afraid. As they head inside, they are surprised to see Ebisu. This is the person whom father has asked to rescue. Meanwhile the Gods are in a gathering at Takamagahara. Kofuku thought of seeing Yato here but he isn’t. The gathering’s purpose is because they now know who the conjurer of the masked Ayakashi is. They believe it is Ebisu and he will be under arrest immediately and all his Shinki interrogated. This also means his group of the Gods of Fortune will have to remain here. Hiyori seems to have forgotten about Yato. Because she joins her friends on a triple date outing at an amusement park that Yato wanted to visit very much. Ebisu won’t leave this place yet as he needs to find the brush. Therefore Yato had to go great lengths to protect this dude from Ayakashi attacks since he is clumsy. He notices Ebisu blighted so he explains the failed experiments of the masked Ayakashi. Ebisu is interested in naming an Ayakashi like naming a Shinki but it is harder and uses more power. But with this brush which is in Izanami’s hands, he will be able to solve this problem. Speaking of that queen, they saved the trouble of finding her as she brings them to her quarters. Yato is shocked to see her as Hiyori but Ebisu sees her as an old lady of his favourite restaurant, Olive Tree. It seems each sees her differently as an attempt by her to keep them here forever. Izanami is willing to give the brush but on a condition one of them stays here to become her friend. Ebisu plans on leaving Yato behind so they start fighting. Ebisu riles Yato about talking about his very weak existence and on the verge of disappearing. Yato argues back he like any other Gods were born out of people’s wishes and it is only natural he wants to keep on surviving. Ebisu gets the better of him and wins. Izanami is delighted that Yato will be her friend and gives the brush to Ebisu. Yato learns that Nora also serves Ebisu. It is then Izanami realizes this was just a trick and they’re not going to stay. Furiously, she sends her zombies to go after them as they escape. Meanwhile Hiyori is having quite the fun till she realizes she is getting a souvenir for someone she couldn’t remember. It irks her so much that it is bothering her that she cries. What to do but her ‘boyfriend’ to kiss her.

Episode 10
Hiyori must be regretting what happened. When Yukine talks to her, it took her a while to recognize him but when she does, all her memories of them come flooding back. Yukine can’t understand her big hug. With Kofuku haven’t return since the gathering, Hiyori goes out to find Yato. Well, you won’t find him in the living world. He is still running away with Ebisu and he had to sacrifice a few of his Shinki to escape. The latter explains the importance of leaving with the brush for the umpteenth try. As the world is filled with chaos, the reason Gods are needed. But with this brush, he can help bind the Ayakashi and prevent misfortunes they cause. This motivates Yato to protect Ebisu harder. Thinking of Hiyori’s smile? She is doing research on the various God names. Yato is rarely mentioned. She thinks of going to Mayu. Kazuma explains that heaven is in disarray, the Gods of Fortune are being held and Ebisu is blighted. Despite the heavens let his numerous reincarnations slide, this time they are taking action. Kazuma hopes Tsuyu can help find out what is going on further. As she is not really a Shinki and the spirit of a plum tree, she connects with the trees of the world to partially see what has been going on ever since. As the Gods of Fortune are being held, they are told how heaven is going to punish Ebisu as they have discovered Ayakashi masks in his place and many of his Shinki are Nora. Ebisu’s grand scheme has also been confessed by some of them. Okuninushi goes on a rampage threatening to go to war with heaven again. Kazuma picks up Bishamon to get their side of the things done. Hiyori and Yukine are at the gate to the underworld’s entrance but it is sealed and they can’t slash it open. Yato stays back to let Ebisu get away. However his hopes are dashed when the exits are completely sealed off. Yato is captured and about to be done in when Ebisu says he will stay by Izanami’s side. He hands the brush to him to bring it back to the surface as he knows he will die soon but reincarnate later. Yato cannot accept that because he wants to help him. Does he have any desires he wants to do right now? And since he does, Yato takes him and makes a mad dash to escape. Not another chase. Izanami has been fooled for the umpteenth time? But the exits are blocked. Then make one! Ebisu uses the brush to summon many Ayakashi and create a hole. As they are being sucked into the vortex, Yato gets pulled back down.

Episode 11
A Vent opens so Hiyori and Yukine rush towards it. Suddenly Hiyori cannot move. And they are shocked to see Kugaha who is now a Nora since Yukine cannot bind him as he does not know his name. Kugaha tells them Yato is with Nora. As Yukine is weak, Yukine takes him to run while Kugaha continues to attack. Yukine becomes irritated that Yato is with Nora but with Hiyori’s words to believe in Yato, Yukine unleashes a powerful counterattack to knock out Kugaha. When they reach the Vent, they see Bishamon and Kazuma attending to a very blighted Ebisu. He tells them what has happened and hopes they can save Yato. Izanami thinks she has gotten Yato. It’s just his slipper… Yato and Nora are hiding somewhere. Yato remembers Nora never blighted him as a Shinki once. He gets up to look for a Vent but Izanami has found him and drags him away. Hiyori remembers Kofuku can open Vents but the latter tells her as a human being, she cannot enter the underworld as she won’t come back out alive. So Yukine pleads to Bishamon to go save Yato. But the only way for Yukine to enter the underworld is to become someone else’s Shinki. Can he afford to become a Nora? Bishamon assures she will bring Yato back. Kofuku opens the Vent for her to enter but it closes shortly. It could be that Izanami is trying to seal off the underworld. Bishamon finds Yato in a weakened state with Izanami. She reminds her Shinki to concentrate on rescuing Yato and not try to defeat Izanami as this is her home ground. Yato can’t believe they are doing something insane so Bishamon mentions about his hatred for him. Although she knew everything and the massacre of her family was never his fault. She had to hate him to move forward. She can’t believe he has saved her twice and will have to repay her debts. She warns him not to give up because there are others outside waiting for him. Ebisu notices Hiyori and mentions there is another way to bring Yato back and it requires a human from the Near Shore.

Episode 12
The heavens decide to take out Ebisu. Bishamon is entangled in Izanami’s hair. One wrong move and she will be sharply cut. Ebisu explains the only way to save Yato and that is for a human with ties to him to call his name. Hiyori desperately uses this Soul Call into the Vent. Bishamon only comes out when she calls her. So why not Yato? Could it be Yato is not his real name? Unfortunately nobody knows about it because he never told anybody. Perhaps Yato could be regretting that now. He thought of not telling anyone so as not to make them hate and leave him. Now they have bigger problems because the subjugation force from heaven is here. They aren’t going to listen to any reasons as they fire their arrows. Ebisu summons his Ayakashi to stave them off. Bishamon helps him. Hiyori continues to call Yato’s name. She believes it is his real name because he was so happy when she made him a shrine. Then she realizes his writing may be pronounced differently. When she yells out Yaboku, Yato instantly returns. Too bad for Izanami. Alone again, naturally. Bishamon holds off the subjugation force for everyone else to escape. But here comes the mighty lightning dragon, Kiun. Bishamon tells her Shinki to believe in themselves and with Kazuma believing he must be more dominant than Kiun, he manages to strike and bleed the dragon. It’s raining blood! And while Yukine has time to chide Yato for not telling them everything, the subjugation force summons a giant Pacification Ring over the sky. It means you’re f*cked. Because like hell they care about killing mortals now. This is how heaven works? And why do they look like Sith Lords now? But there is always a way. Yato tells Yukine to believe in himself as not only they cut the blast but the giant ring itself! OMFG! With Yato’s past reputation I’m not surprised. But Yukine? Yeah, surprised. You think it is over when the subjugation force traps Ebisu in their ring. Game over?

Episode 13
Yato went to see reincarnated Ebisu (now a little boy) recovering at Bishamon’s mansion. However he kidnaps him and brings him to Olive Tree. Does he have the money? So that’s why he stole Kazuma’s wallet… It is sad this new Ebisu does not retain his memories as Yato feels miserable the last Ebisu died because he felt they could become good friends. As Yato explains the things he did with the previous Ebisu, Ebisu thinks he must be a bad guy that deserved to die. Yato strongly objects that. Flashback reveals after the subjugation force blasts Ebisu with the ring, he was a few moments away from death. Ebisu regrets he wanted to live but soon ‘exploded’. Therefore Yato is now feeling a great regret over this and just wants this chance to apologize to him. Bishamon, Okuninushi and Tenjin are briefed by Kunimi, Ebisu’s new overseer about Ebisu’s goal in obtaining the brush. His desire to control Ayakashi to help people because he believed wealth isn’t the only thing that would make humans happy, has always left him sick and dying many times. The brush is now missing and Kunimi hopes it stays that way as he doesn’t want Ebisu to touch it again. Yato talks to Yukine that he has killed many with Nora. He wants to stop that. Speaking of her, she pops up blaming him for abandoning her but forgives him for completing his job. When Yato asks if Ebisu was killed in place of their father, Nora admits that somebody needed to take the fall. Ebisu just happened to share an interest in controlling Ayakashi. One little push from father and the heavens got all riled up. After Nora berates Yukine for not having what it takes to carry Yato’s burden, Yato does the unthinkable by releasing her. She always smiled like that no matter who died and never changed. He can’t smile with her now. He is no longer Yaboku but Yato. Despite being the god of calamity, he wants his new purpose to be someone who can make others happy. He doesn’t know how to do it and wants Yukine to be his guide. He tells him to do things as it is as always. Since all he can do is kill, then kill the disaster before it strikes. He is his exemplar and will always be by his side. Hiyori is touched by this and prays Yato will become what he wants to be since both of them chose each other. She hopes so because she believes in them. The brush seems to be in the hands of father and he knows about Yato releasing Nora. He is taking a form of a young high school student named Fujisaki.

OVA 1
Hiyori is at a skiing resort with her family. Yato and Yukine are also here because they desperately want to follow her and reveal their failed and silly exploits in getting here. Seems Kofuku and Daikoku are so here. Company trip? Tenjin too. Company trip? Bishamon and her Shinki too! Let me guess. Company trip? Then there is the rivalry between Yato and Bishamon as they try to settle it via ping pong but Yato ended up cutting the table. Meanwhile a psychopath plots the murder of everyone. He first starts by killing Yato! He waits for the next morning to let everyone find the hideous decorated corpse but everyone starts laughing and taking pictures of Yato hanging in his underwear! Baffled he is still alive, psycho dude kills him again via poisoning. Still alive? Yato gets arrowed, shot and even exploded but he still won’t die! It took a while for Yato to realize somebody is targeting him. So he becomes a detective to find the culprit. He accuses Kazuma! Because he might be mad for turning his underwear inside out. But realizing Kazuma didn’t even know that, he changes his accusation to Bishamon. Because he ate her pudding! He continues to accuse others and in the mean time reveals all the untoward acts he did on them previously as their motive for killing him. Yeah, Yato just killed himself many times over. The last straw came when he accuses Hiyori because he has been taking unsuspecting pictures of her and uploading them to social media to spread his Yatoism. It’s a good thing it never caught on. Hiyori beats him up. It is when they see the psychopath kidnap him and throw him off a cliff! Yato still lives! Why won’t he just die?! He reveals he did this to write his next mystery novel. But he has been writing so long and his works were never accepted. When an idol new to the industry got a jump on him, he became agitated. He decided to become a real murderer and create and write real murder scenes in prison. His name will surely go down in history. Yato chides him for his shallow thinking while revealing his own failed pathetic idol stint. Yeah, he only held a concert before cats and pigeons… Don’t ask. He tells psycho guy to pick up the pen and fight instead. He repents his actions and when he learns Yato cannot die because he is a God, he becomes his follower! No kidding! Yato is happy he will right his next novel based on him. However the editor rejects it and recommends a mental hospital! Meanwhile Yato eagerly waits for his book that will never debut… Keep waiting…

OVA 2
Hiyori is surprised when Yato calls her as he wants to take her out to a nice place and treat her. Who’d knew that it is Capyper Land! The place where she got her first uninvited kiss! Oh, the trauma! I wonder how Hiyori is holding it all in. Besides, isn’t it Yato the one who wants to visit this place the most! Yeah, it is his dream! He believes those Capyper mascots are real! Just like Santa Claus, eh? Meanwhile Kunimi seeks Bishamon and Kazuma’s help because while he and young Ebisu are taking photos on Earth, they got separated and lost. As you might have guessed it, Ebisu is at the park and joins Yato’s group. Yato is ecstatic when a Capyper mascot wants to take his photo. Actually he went for Ebisu. How sad… Even Yukine got one… Bishamon and Kazuma see Ebisu safe in Yato’s care. And since they are here, why not check out the place. For the rest of the day, Yato is having great fun. Kofuku spies on him and has this evil thought of ruining his fun only to be stopped by Daikoku. Can’t stand to let Yato have all the fun? When a lost kid mistakes Daikoku as her dad (because they are wearing the same clothes), Daikoku and Kofuku decide to stay and chill. More fun from Yato but it may be tiring for Hiyori as she tries to prevent him from knowing the truth that Capyper isn’t real. Eventually Ebisu wanders off himself and into Bishamon and Kazuma.

Night fall and there is the Capyper parade Yato wants to see badly. But this triggers Hiyori’s trauma. The kiss… Then it turns into a huge commotion when Yato keeps bugging reluctant Hiyori to watch with him or it will damage his social life (what social life?!). But to the crowd, they think it is some lover’s quarrel. Yeah, some high breakup drama this is. Eventually she relents but she is not putting up a smile. That genuine gloomy face makes Yato feel bad. He takes her to leave but that is when she turns around to apologize for all this. She also says she wants to be with him a little longer. This leaves Yato wondering how true those words are. Isn’t this looking a little romantic? Kofuku is enjoying the fireworks when she spots a cockroach. In her fear, she uses Daikoku to crush it, accidentally unleashing a Vent. This causes a little havoc on the parade. Hiyori’s worst fears come true when Yato spots who really is behind the mascot. Middle aged men? Trauma mode on. Just like how kids realize there is no Santa, it is the same for Yato who couldn’t believe this lie. No amount of liquor can cure his depression. But a little Capyper hand puppet play by Hiyori saved the day to make him believe once more. Hiyori receives a letter of thanks from Ebisu as well as some of the photos from the park. She is surprised he took one when she was apologizing to Yato. Yup, it sure looks romantic from this point of view.

Home Is Where Your True Name Is
This season doesn’t disappoint and certainly live up to its expectations. At least from my point of view. Although not perfect at times but at least it brings a reasonably good mix of action, drama and comedy. You’ll be satisfied with the fights and its magic effects. You’ll be satisfied with the steady pace and flow of the plot as well as some of its revelations and progression of certain characters. You’ll definitely be laughing your ass all over whenever Yato gets into his usual idiotic mode. I think it is one reason why we come back this season. Yato can kill without remorse but he sure can make us laugh. Why is it that he is still not a famous God? Maybe that is precisely the reason why… And of course with lots of other potential and development especially that foreshadowing at the end of it all, it looks like it might just get better or worse. But that will be another time if they decide to make another season out of it.

The first half of the series was entertaining and interesting mainly because it was a big conspiracy setting up the 2 big beloved characters of the series on a warpath. Yeah, like Captain American taking on Iron Man, eh? What more, a scheme hatched under their very own nose to make them fight. With their bloodied and raging past between them, all it needed was a simple light of the fuse for the fireworks to go off. It was exciting as well as nail biting rush since you can’t help wonder if they will actually kill each other or only one will emerge victorious. Of course we all know that it will eventually end in the typical path of that the duo will survive, overcome their obstacles and cast away the big puppet master behind it all.

Then came the second half and I felt this one is a bit of a letdown although it is still interesting in its own sense but it doesn’t match up to the awesome epic one that was in the first half. Basically it focuses on Yato trying to shake off Nora as he does one last job(s) for father in hopes he can start anew again. Well, meeting Ebisu in a way was a good thing because Yato finally actually decided to change his outlook and all for the sake of his future and the future of those he cares. The second half’s plot also feels like to forebode a next sequel because I am sure with their father now in the picture, it signals the start of things yet to come. But that of course is another story and another season that I will save for another day. If it happens.

Although there are still comedic elements in this season, I can’t help feel that is toned down. With the kind of story arcs you see this season, it is no wonder. Therefore we see less of Yato being an idiot of trying to solicit business from other people and take a (slow) step closer to his own shrine or even one where he blows his money being scammed to buy useless charms. Hence, this season is more of drama and action as it tries to move the plot forward. The basics and introductions have been done in the first season so if you want to refresh your memory, go watch it again.

It is hard for me to say whether the character development is lacking this season. Because for example the first half as we know is about Bishamon so there are lots of emphasis in focusing on her past and character on how she came to hate Yato and then finally settling her score with everything Yato related. It could have been Bishamon’s season but since they inserted the Ebisu’s arc in the later half, I guess I can’t be saying this season of Noragami belongs to only Bishamon and her Shinki. Old characters like Tenjin and Kofuku didn’t seem as important as they are this season and being in this season feels like so that we still remember that they exist. You know how bad it is for a God when we forget them, right? Even new ones like Okuninushi had potential but with the lack of screen time, nothing more to be said. Then there is Aiha who turned into a good girl after Kugaha’s betrayal. After that despite being called on for missions with Bishamon, she wasn’t standing out that much either.

I think one of the main characters that suffer from the lack of development would be Hiyori. For most of the time she is just hanging around and though her character role does drive the plot like being kidnapped to start the final fight between Yato and Bishamon and somebody who could call Yato’s name to bring him out from the depths of the underworld, there is nothing more about her. After all, she already had her stint in the first season. With the events that have happened, I am beginning to feel that Hiyori doesn’t want her wish to be granted after paying her advance to Yato. There were a few chances for her to do so but seeing she doesn’t want to take them and wants to stay with them a little longer, I guess this sums up about it. Yukine is also not much here but he does grow especially into Yato’s trusted Blessed Instrument. Unlike last season when he did the unthinkable by blighting Yato, his only serious worry would be to be Yato’s exclusive Shinki or Nora. Competition is good, right?

As for Yato, now that Hiyori has created a personal shrine for him, does this mean he doesn’t need to solicit for more cheap business to get his own? I mean, doesn’t he want to have a bigger one and one that is filled with all his dreams and desires (as comically described in the first season). I suppose not. He has a place to call his own now. But still he continues to freeload in Kofuku’s place… Other people’s things are always more pleasurable to use, eh? Now who the hell can we call to and fix our leaking pipes for the price of 5 Yen?! But if you want to pinpoint of who Yato really is, it is hard because sometimes he is a real scary God if you get him mad. Sometimes he is a serious God and gets things done when it is really needed. There are even points when he became indecisive and unsure. But most of the time he is just a goofy idiot trying to leech off and have fun. And cause everyone some sort of inconvenience along the way. I think it is his way of trying to get attention. Yeah, whatever works…

And as we have seen so far from this anime that nobody has really died or being killed off (not counting those minor characters whom we do not care and whose roles are just solely to be killed), there is always a chance for them to return in the future. Like Kugaha. Bishamon didn’t finish him off. Yato couldn’t finish him off. Yukine certainly didn’t dispose of him completely. So what are the chances he will be back as another bad boy the next time? Don’t tell me he might team up with father and bring another round of chaos to the heavens and earth. Same case with Nora. She might have been released by Yato but the fact she is not dead means that she will still be back to haunt Yato and perhaps make him regret for him doing that to her.

Ebisu’s reincarnation and failure to retain memories of his past selves brought up the question of this hole in the plot. If he has been doing the same Ayakashi controlling method for so long, dying and reincarnating in the process, doesn’t it contradict the rule that a God loses all those memories after being reborn? Unless he left messages of his work behind or orders to his subordinates to remind him to continue his work. That may be possible. Or maybe as said, due to his sincere personality to help humans, his character tends to evolve and think the same as he grows up and ends up trying to control Ayakashi.

The opening theme is Kyouran Hey Kids by The Oral Cigarettes (WTF is this kind of rock group name?!). This rock piece has a funky feel to it and this is what makes the song particularly catchy and exciting. It might not entirely fit the overall theme and feel for the series and sounds more fitting if you look at it that it should fit Yato’s theme. But it is not as odd as the ending theme, Nirvana by Tia. After all that dark drama, blood and gore action, suddenly you hear a sunshiny song. How contrasting is that? Like how the opening theme I say is befitting Yato, the ending theme is one that fits Hiyori.

So if you want to see a third season of this series, be sure to remember Yato and the gang. Or you can just donate your 5 Yen and more, flash those bundle of cash in the face of the producers especially Yato so that they cannot refuse. After all, this world is only nothing but money, money and more money, right? Heh. You know how much budget it makes to make another anime despite how freaking popular it is, right? Yato would be freaking happy if his anime ran as long and continuous as that ninja and pirate series. Unfortunately those 2 animes are like Gods and remembered more often than Yato will ever be. Time to get back to making your name the old way by servicing for jobs. I am sure there will be some kind of uproar if Yato decides to increase the price of his service to 6 Yen! Such atrocity! I want my value for my money! Well, you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

Ojisan To Marshmallow

August 12, 2016

Marshmallows. When you think of them you think of how much they are as snacks during camping times. Yeah, those fluffy sweet little softness that melts in your mouth if you roast them over a fire. And yes, who could forget marshmallows going well in your hot cup of cocoa. Mmm… Yeah, who can hate marshmallows. We all love marshmallows one way or the other. So what if we use marshmallows as a theme for love? What’s that you say? I doubt there had been any films or series using marshmallows (no, Ghostbusters doesn’t count) as part of the romance theme so it was pretty strange when I first came across Ojisan To Marshmallow. Literally, a middle aged man and his unwavering love for marshmallows. No food porn here. Seeing this is a romance genre and that there is a woman who has a crush on him, which sort of romance will win his heart?

Episode 1
Iori Wakabayashi offers fellow colleague, Habahiro Hige his favourite marshmallows. He hesitates if he should have one. So when she closes the offer, he becomes desperate to get one. Each time Hige tries to snatch one, Wakabayashi evades like a Chinese kung fu acrobat. It came to a point where their faces are almost touching each other’s. He backs out but Wakabayashi continues to tease him with the marshmallow. This time she puts it in her mouth and dares him to take it from there. He tries to snatch it with his hands and thus begins another kung fu acrobat. The other colleagues have watched this for the umpteenth time as they tell us how much Wakabayashi likes Hige. At the convenience store, Hige wants to get his marshmallows but they are all sold out. Who the heck would buy them all? Aha… Wakabayashi! She even has the cheek to tell him she can’t eat them all by herself and to come to her place to help finish them. Why not just put some back? She buys them anyway so Hige begs he will pay any price for just a bag. She gives him one free with a condition: Give her a baby! Hige didn’t get her point so he returns the favour by buying a baby sardine sashimi. I guess Wakabayashi is okay with that too.

Episode 2
One rainy morning, Hige and Wakabayashi get caught up in it and took shelter at a bus stop. Another perfect chance for Wakabayashi to tease Hige as she takes out a packet of marshmallows. Hige calls the office to tell about their situation. Wakabayashi is heard in the background making cheeky statements if he wants to lick it, suck it or bite it! The marshmallow! Then she goes into full mode in making ambiguous sexual sounds!!! The boss must sure have a wrong idea about them. After Hige ends the call, Wakabayashi takes out an umbrella from her bag. Shall we get going? Devil woman! But Hige thinks she might have forgotten she had an umbrella in her bag. It is as good as Hige walking in the rain because I don’t think that small umbrella could shield half his body.

Episode 3
On a train ride to work, Wakabayashi once again offers him marshmallows. He would love to have one had not he been too conscious that everyone is looking at them. He thinks it is inappropriate to eat here. Wakabayashi points out it is because this is a women only coach! As they try to hurry to the next coach, a short bump has them stuck between the coach corridor. Wakabayashi has her face pressed against his chest. She tries to feed him a marshmallow but you wonder if she is just purposely messing with his face since she can’t see. Hige can’t understand what she meant when she says it is getting too intense. Flashback reveals she folded her blanket thickly and sank her face in it to feel what it is like to bury her face in Hige’s chest. Then her brother, Isamu came in and saw this embarrassing WTF moment.

Episode 4
A marshmallow factory tour for the kids. Therefore the tour guide is surprised to see Hige part of the group. Could he be one of their parents? At the end of the tour, the kids get to savour the free marshmallows fresh from production. I guess this is also the moment Hige has been waiting for. So good that he cries! He even notes the different colour packaging despite the same contents. When everybody leaves, the tour guide talks to her colleague about this strange man. She points out he is a fairy. Because he always bows to the factory whenever he leaves like as though he worships it like God. It is no surprise since he treasures marshmallows. He may seem odd but they are appreciative of him.

Episode 5
Wakabayashi is out drinking with her female colleagues. She is disappointed because Hige is not here. Of course! I guess she is having some Hige withdrawal symptoms that when she sees beer foam over her colleague’s mouth, she starts seeing her as Hige! Wakabayashi returns to office since she sees the lights on only to find Hige doing overtime. She asks if he wants marshmallows (of course, you silly) so she starts undressing herself! These boobs are her marshmallows that she has been growing for 24 years?! Definitely drunk. As she rests beside him, she starts punching his fat belly. She thought it was a dream but when she realizes it is real, she bolts out of the room instantly.

Episode 6
Isamu thinks his sister who likes hot men is being deceived by Hige. So he is going to prove this fat moustache pig is an animal by hosting a BBQ party for her colleagues. Then he dresses up as a woman and tries to seduce Hige while blaming he tried to rape him. Unfortunately Hige recognizes Isamu. His voice gave it away. Even more disturbing how the female colleagues think Isamu is into guys! Isamu tries to deflect the blame at Hige that he was happy when he touched his ‘boobs’. Wakabayashi then reveals Isamu’s fake boobs as marshmallows… No wonder… Sister is mad at him so Isamu complains to the chief about his good intentions. But the chief thinks the duo are an item because of the ‘sucking’ and ‘licking’. I think the shock got to Isamu. He apologizes to Hige and starts calling him big brother. So he has accepted Hige? Wakabayashi approves of this and Isamu thought of hugging her. She dodges and ends up kissing Hige!!!!!!!! OMFG!!! First kiss tastes like marshmallow… Sis is going to kill him…

Episode 7
Mioko is being molested on a train. The molester thinks her butt is as fluffy as a marshmallow! Hige accidentally drops his marshmallow and when he tries to get it, he trips and falls over the molester. Mioko thinks he saved him. She recognizes him as his colleague. She tries to talk to him and because he smiles, she thinks she has a chance. Mioko acts as a clumsy girl spilling water all over his shirt. But Wakabayashi takes a picture of this scandal? Mioko then offers lots of marshmallow flavours in hopes of luring him with her hidden cleavage. However Hige gets up and walks away. Subsequent attempts to talk to him, Hige does the same thing. Then she finds out it is Wakabayashi fanning the smell of marshmallows to lure him away. Then they realize they are his love rivals. Things are going to get heated up over this fat guy. Yeah, it’s so hot that it is like hell!

Episode 8
Hige is in shock. Because his favourite marshmallow brand will be stopping production! Horror! Luckily Wakabayashi has stocked up on some so if he wants some, come to her place tomorrow. Definitely! You bet there is a plan hatching right now. So Wakabayashi gives money to Isamu to eat out and get a hard-to-get plushie. Seems Hige is at the doorstep 30 minutes early and Isamu easily won the prize and rushed home. The guys meet outside as Isamu learns his purpose here. Because Wakabayashi is busy cooking her exquisite dinner, she didn’t realize she had given Isamu ‘permission’ to take the marshmallows to give to Hige. Imagine to her shock when she realizes what happened. Isamu is going to die 5 times! Not even Hige’s thanks text could stop her. Hige visits the factory to ask why they are stopping production. It is because they are going to make a new packaging with the same taste but 1.5 times more volume. Music to his hears, tears to his eyes. A happy day indeed.

Episode 9
Isamu sees Hige with Mioko and thinks he is cheating his sister. But when he finds out Hige isn’t dating Wakabayashi and is glad she is still pure, Mioko makes friends with him so she could get some juicy stuffs out of his sister and even plays psychology to convince him to break up Hige and Wakabayashi. Mioko talks to Wakabayashi about being normal. It sends Wakabayashi panicking. It seems as told by Isamu, normalcy is a taboo word for her. Isamu talks to his sister about many fish in the sea. But he gave himself away when Wakabayashi realizes he knows about Mioko. When Mioko is tasked to design a character for an amusement park, Mioko wants to take Hige along. Wakabayashi wants to come along too and this time she has came prepared wearing ear plugs. She has done her homework too and knows Mioko’s weakness is her age. Despite listing as 25, she is actually 30 years old! Mioko has no choice but to take Wakabayashi along with them.

Episode 10
At the park, Mioko tricks Wakabayashi that she needs to go to the toilet so that she will go with her. Halfway, she changes her mind and returns to Hige. Mioko tries to ride in the Ferris Wheel with him but Hige seems to be lured away in what Mioko thinks is that marshmallow fragrance trick. Apparently Wakabayashi is waiting at the marshmallow stall. Seeing how they both click, heartbroken realizes she never stood a chance from the start. She tells Wakabayashi that she is giving up on him. But suddenly a change of heart? Because Mioko confesses she loves Hige and wants to go out with him. Hige rejects her. Because isn’t she the president’s girlfriend? Holy sh*t! She admits it but also loves him. Can’t she have both? She is sent crying after Wakabayashi calls her a whore! Well, isn’t it? Hige suggests to Wakabayashi a place they can go together since they are here. The marshmallow stall. But of course. When a woman and her daughter recognize Hige and the little one starts calling him her papa, the greatest shock ever! While Hige reunites with them, Wakabayashi quietly slips away.

Episode 11
Hotspring episode! Mioko tries to fondle and grope Wakabayashi’s boobs. Pervy men love listening to such sounds… Is Hige trying to hold it in? He looks bloated like a marshmallow this way… The marshmallow factory employees had an accident with a marshmallow experiment. One of the marshmallows gets stuck in between Mioko’s cleavage. Hige can’t understand why Mioko smells like marshmallow and she realizes the marshmallow in her cleavage is what he is reacting to. She uses it to lure him away and cajoles Isamu to be with his lonely sister. So when Wakabayashi tries to go after them, her stupid brother clings on to her. Once she gets rid of him, she already lost them. She bumps into the factory employees. Describing Hige, they know he is that fairy. Yeah, Wakabayashi painting Mioko as an evil seductress taking the fairy away. They form an alliance to rescue him.

Episode 12
The factory girls plan to use marshmallow scented flares to attract Hige but seeing they are marshmallow maniacs too, they fall victim to it. At least it proves to be effective because Hige comes rushing towards Wakabayashi. All in good timing too because Mioko was about to get sexy and showing her tits!!! And she thought he was scared away by those J-cup monsters!!! Hige and Wakabayashi talk. She is still reeling from the fact he is married. However he clarifies they are his sister and niece. As for why the niece calls him papa, she mixed up his first name. Wow. You don’t know how relieved Wakabayashi feels. Then she takes this chance to sum up her courage and ask him to go out with her. Surprised, Hige thinks she is drunk and she has no choice but to play along. Hige then mentions he has always thought Wakabayashi hated him because she always picked on him using his favourite marshmallows. Seriously? This guy didn’t get the hint all along… One day, Wakabayashi just hands over a packet of marshmallows to him. Surprisingly Hige wonders if she isn’t going to feed him like before. Very much obliged.

Episode 13 (OVA)
Hige has a dream he turned into a baby. Fancy seeing Hige without his moustache?! If that isn’t bad enough, here is Wakabayashi as a teenager smothering baby Hige in her boobs! Although Hige’s thoughts are of a middle aged man, he cannot control his baby emotions since he starts crying and such. So what is Wakabayashi to do? Bare her tits and let him suck! Hige cannot resist and gives in to his primal instincts. Tastes good, Hige? Feels good, Wakabayashi? Apparently she too is having this same dream and finds it great. In office, Hige panics when she is near him and keeps his distance. The reason why the duo is having the same dream is thanks to those factory girls successfully creating an experimental marshmallow that allows people to have the same dream. How is that f*cking possible? Unless they eat from the same marshmallow, right?

The Marshmallow Man
Well… This series didn’t make me feel like I want to crave for marshmallows… Hah. I know it is unfair to say that since this isn’t a cooking genre in the first place. But can marshmallows be considered as sweets or candies? Because if it is so, that would be right up my alley. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I didn’t start fascinating over marshmallows because I figure if I turned into a marshmallow maniac and addict like a certain chubby guy, it is hard to find such ‘delicacies’ from where I come from anyway. Oh wait. I shouldn’t be talking about marshmallows but the series. Heh…

This series had its funny moments albeit they are sufficient if you are looking for some sort of office romance and a little marshmallow taste in the mix. However you’d soon realize that the entire series just revolves around Wakabayashi and her futile attempts to get that dense Hige to realize that she has a crush on him. That is what mostly the entire series is about. A one-sided (marshmallow) love romance. Add in another love rival to make her sweat a little and a little more when it is shown that Hige might be a married man. But eventually it becomes a bit too predictable and status quo in the end. Not that it is a bad thing but it doesn’t have anything else special to make me remember this series in the long run.

Marshmallows are supposed to be the stars of the series but somehow I just felt that they were just ‘tools’. Partly I am to blame for having this sort of expectation. Besides, I know nothing about marshmallows so I am not sure if the marshmallows featured here are real or parodies. Too lazy to even do my research because this series is so short, why bother? Yeah… And since I am not really a marshmallow fan, seeing those delicious marshmallows didn’t really quite make me salivate like how other cooking themed anime shows do with their exaggerated effects and make everything so good that you want to chomp your monitor. Nope. No such effect here. Maybe that is why they managed to keep things simple and enjoyable in its own way.

Character wise, they aren’t too deep. You know as much about them as much as it is shown. Like Wakabayashi and her futile attempts to seduce Hige always backfires. Using marshmallows are like a double edged sword. They do attract Hige’s attention but that is just what it exactly does. His attention is always on the marshmallows and he cannot see beyond the deeper stuff than that. And when Wakabayashi gets a bit bolder, he brushes it off that she is drunk or something. I know it is frustrating but she doesn’t give up. Maybe she could have had more success if she put on a smile instead of that scary poker face? A thought to ponder. If Wakabayashi sometimes teases Hige via sexual innuendoes, can that be considered sexual harassment? Swap genders and roles and we’ll definitely see a clear violation…

Hige on the other hand I suppose is the image of what a marshmallow if it takes a human form. Fat and fluffy. At least his belly. I don’t want to go as far as to say that Hige is a dense and retard because I think he is just a decent man who is more in love with marshmallows than women. After all, marshmallows give you happiness when they fill your stomach and never betray you, right? RIGHT?! OH YEAH! Ahem… It is just that Hige is being considerate and views Wakabayashi as his colleague. I mean, workplace romance isn’t uncommon but I’m sure most of us would love to avoid it seeing how awkward it gets and affects productivity. But his politeness and consideration sometimes seem too suspicious because I get this feeling he is just putting up a show and like Wakabayashi using her teasing to get his attention, his density is just a façade to mask his feelings for Wakabayashi. I mean, for somebody who always teases him using his favourite marshmallows, if he doesn’t like her, wouldn’t he just blow his top for her to stop one day? Didn’t happen. So despite what happened throughout the series, I am just keeping my options and mind open that Hige may harbour hidden feelings for Wakabayashi from the way he (suspiciously) interacts with her. That will be the twist of the series if that ever happens.

Mioko brings in the additional ‘tension’ as she is sexier and bolder. Love is truly blind because when you have girls fighting over a fat guy, it could only happen in anime. Because I believe Hige himself isn’t loaded. Yeah… Anyway, Mioko feels like a ‘time bomb’ in the sense that if pushes Wakabayashi to act to secure her Hige because if she doesn’t, she might get Hige all to herself. Although, even if we all know Mioko has a boyfriend and Hige rejected her, that still didn’t stop her from continuing to pursue the marshmallow maniac. And Isamu… The idiot of the series and big siscon.

An interesting end segment has our marshmallow factory girls hosting this short part in live action. I find it odd that the taller girl is portrayed as a chubby character in the anime although the bespectacled one is the same. Not that kawaii… Anyway, what is interesting is that they show us how to make a few marshmallow recipes. The unfortunate part of it is how short it lasts. I know it is just for fun but I don’t think a handful of seconds is going to cut it. Then I start to notice that each segment is getting shorter and shorter. Like as though it has become a challenge for the girls to conclude their show within the allotted time, in which they always do. But it feels rushed. As it gets shorter and shorter with each passing episode, then it just ‘vanishes’. No more marshmallow recipes? Yeah, who could make something in 1 second? Then it took a few episodes break before coming back but this time they have somebody test tasting and eating marshmallows within a short window. I hope he doesn’t choke…

Voice acting sounds okay. Those familiar to me are Eri Kitamura as Wakabayashi, Tetsuya Kakihara as Isamu and Kana Hanazawa as Mioko. Tetsu Inada is the voice of Hige (Gamagoori in Kill La Kill). For a short series, there seems to be many ending themes and most of them lasting only for a single episode. Unfortunately they sound pretty much similar to each other and none that I find attractive. Whether it is Eri Kitamura singing Message or Labyrinth, Kana Hanazawa doing Ano Toki Mita Tori Wa Ima or Watashi Wa Idol Degasu, Yell by Kaori Taguchi and Machida, Genki Tadousha Uta by Shusei and Marshmallow Factory by Chika Yoshitomi and Nozomi Furuki. The ending credits animation seems to be either of Wakabayashi or Mioko in various cosplay outfits. Are they trying to divert the attention from the marshmallows?

Art and drawing feels average. Nothing special too. Done by Creators In Pack who specializes in other short anime series like Danchigai, Hacka Doll The Animation and Military. Characters look pretty average too with your usual fanservice brought to you from Mioko’s gigantic boobs and Wakabayashi’s sexual harassment innuendos. Hmm… Is it me or does Hige have this uncanny resemblance to Kevin James’ Mall Cop character, Paul Blart? Oh sh*t ! They look freaking similar!!!! I smell a conspiracy…

Oh, I just remembered. The only other marshmallow I saw in movies is that giant marshmallow monster in the original Ghostbusters. Maybe that is why I wasn’t really fond of marshmallows despite that ghostly character looks more cute than scary. Uh huh. And now come to think of it, I once mistake the Michelin Man mascot as the Marshmallow Man’s cousin or something. Looking somewhat similar. I know how different they look now… But still…

Overall, this short series isn’t bad but it just lacks anything special. But just like the marshmallow itself, it is fun and nice to have it in bite size so I suppose this series is rather okay. Fans of marshmallows should enjoy it better, though. Food for thought: Better to have marshmallows in your stomach than one as the shape of your stomach. Heh. Crappy marshmallow philosophy there. Speaking of the fluffiness of marshmallows, I kinda realized my stomach is turning into that similar shape like Hige. But why no girls still trying to attract my attention? I don’t think marshmallows have got anything to do with it. Maybe I lack that bushy moustache…

Dagashi Kashi

August 7, 2016

If watching certain food themed animes like Chuuka Ichiban and the most recent Shokugeki No Souma might be too heavy for you to stomach not because the dishes are bad but they are so good that they want to make you eat them and it hurts your stomach and brains when you realize you can’t, or even foods like breads (Yakitate! Japan) or pastries (Yumeiro Pattisiere) are too much to handle for an average viewer, why not watch something that is of bite size? Is there any? Yes people, you don’t have to eat an entire Toblerone chocolate bar to satisfy your sweet tooth and sometimes only a small pop in the mouth would suffice. No, I’m not talking about M&M’s either. Bet you don’t know that there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of small candy manufacturers that you have never heard of. Some even available in certain regions. And thus that is why we have Dagashi Kashi. A small anime that introduces us to the wonders of those popular and not so popular treats in Japan. They all come in small bite sizes and cheap enough for you to get enough of that sugar rush. Time to see if some of these sweets would bring back the sweet ol’ nostalgic memories of your childhood days.

Episode 1
Kokonotsu Shikada is drawing his manga when his father, You needs to speak to him. About his manga! Father has high hopes of him carrying on as the 9th generation candy store owner but Kokonotsu is bent on walking the manga career. His son even chides him about the bad layout of their candy store that makes children hard to reach and this ‘suggestion’ is probably the reason why You sees him as a great takeover potential. After You heads out, Hotaru Shidare enters the shop. This pretty chick looks like the heroine of his manga! He finds her name familiar. Indeed because her father runs the world’s top candy manufacturer. She has business with You but since he is not around, she challenges Kokonotsu to see if his worthy. I’m not sure about the ranting she did on the umibou and the different flavours available. But it sure makes me salivate! I WANT TO EAT THEM! When You returns, Hotaru and him engage in some silly candy charade. You tries to convince his son to date her but unfortunately she has already someone she loves: The little boy mascot on the snack cover. And you thought it was Kokonotsu, eh? On to serious business, she is here on her father’s request to have You work in their factory. Of course he refuses. The reason being he blames Kokonotsu for not inheriting the shop. So if she manages to convince Kokonotsu to inherit the candy store, he will come work for her? Exactly. And with that, Hotaru will be staying around a little longer. Uhm, welcome?

Kokonotsu patrons Tou Endou, his friend’s cafe. Kokonotsu never knew his father was that famous. When he talks about an odd but pretty girl living with him due to circumstances, Tou’s sister, Saya doesn’t like that one bit and you can see how she takes out her anger by serving her mean coffee to Kokonotsu. It is overflowing with sugar cubes! Kokonotsu can drink them all with no problem because of his sweet tooth. He never likes coffee but her coffee is the only one he can drink. I guess that made Saya feel a little better. As thanks, he gives her some milk coffee candy even though he knows she doesn’t like candies. After he leaves, Tou teases Saya for being so freaking obvious she has a crush on Kokonotsu. Just too bad Kokonotsu is a bigger idiot. She heads out after having her fill beating him up to a pulp. That is when she finds Hotaru stuck in the paddy mud! Don’t worry, she is alright. She brings her back to shower. Tou thinking Saya is back enters the toilet (without knocking?) and sees Hotaru’s naked body. As expected another cold beating from sister. Oddly, Hotaru excitedly thanks the unconscious dude in her birthday suit. Hotaru explains she got into that predicament as she was cycling and eating her ice cream. She thought she won a prize and as she peered closer, she lost control and fell down the mud. When Saya asks about her business here, Hotaru dramatically narrates in RPG style about some quest to obtain the power to succeed the legend. That’s you, Kokonotsu.

Episode 2
A kid wins a prize for a free ice cream at Kokonotsu’s store. But Hotaru catches him and thinks he is a spy from a rival industry! Today’s snack demonstration of kinako sticks is brought to you by Hotaru as she tells the incomprehensible snacks war that led to the destruction of the world and thus the kinako sticks are laying in wait just to bring down mankind. Just go with the flow… She eats them but the crumbs fall over her boobs. To solve this problem, she eats it on top of her face but now her face is powdered. Kokonotsu’s solution is simpler. You use one hand as a bowl and once you’re done with the snack, you just lick off the crumbs. Hotaru tries to show off by eating several off them at the same time and also avoid spilling the crumbs. I bet she is talking while doing so and the reason why she gets choked on them. When Hotaru hints to Kokonotsu of becoming an adult with her, only dirty minded perverts would have hoped for something ecchi. You should have known that snacks will always be on her mind. There is this cheeky named beer but contains no alcohol so minors can drink it and not feel left out in the presence of the other beer drinking adults. They have their own little beer part and although Kokonotsu is amazed with its apple or pineapple taste, Hotaru is completely drunk! Don’t even ask. Expect her mood swings, nonsensical rants especially her imitation on the umibou. At least she is a good entertainer.

Kokonotsu and Saya are lazing around due to the heat. It is going to get hotter when Hotaru is here to show off her whistling skills on this ramune whistle. Yup, there is also a sad back story about this candy. The ramune whistle is taunted by others because he cannot whistle well in the beginning. But a few words of motivation from an older generation candy of the similar type has him whistling right. Although Saya doesn’t understand a word, Kokonotsu does. He does? He knows this is part of her plan trying to make him to succeed the candy store. Kokonotsu is personified as the ramune whistle and his dad as the older generation candy. When Saya realizes what is going on and the horror that there will be no more candy store, she sides with Hotaru for him to continue the shop. Hotaru is glad she has an ally now. Hotaru and Kokonotsu explain menko to Saya. A kid’s game whereby you throw your cards on the ground and if you flip other cards over, it is yours. Saya makes her first try and shocks the duo with a successful flip. Hotaru then does a tactic that allows her to flip 2 cards at once. It took her 2 years to master this, you know. She trains Kokonotsu but that guy didn’t make any headway at the end of the day. I suppose Saya is bored and wants to test out one more time. This time she flips 3 cards at once! In addition to be shell shocked, defeated Hotaru gets down on her knees and starts calling Saya her master! Please teach her the technique!

Episode 3
On the hottest day of the summer, Kokonotsu’s store air-cond is about to break down. Then here comes Hotaru to off it and tell him the way to beat the summer heat is to eat butamen. She has Tou bring over a stove to boil hot water. Man, it’s like sauna in here! I’m sure the reason why Tou agrees to do all this is because of the excitement of watching her eating butamen oh so sexy and the sweat soaking through her clothes makes her bra visible. Yeah, he didn’t pass out from the heat. A different kind of heat if I should say. Hotaru disallows Kokonotsu to turn the air-cond back on but when he mentions the candies will go bad this way, I guess she has to give in. Candies are most important, right? However the air-cond is not working. That is when Tou suggests going to the pool. The guys must be excited to see the girls in swimsuit. But no girls… And You is there working as a lifeguard because the candy store doesn’t make much income. Feeling guilty for leaving the store unattended, Kokonotsu? When Hotaru arrives, Tou is a little disappointed because she is wearing a jacket to cover up those great boobs. It is revealed this entire pool plot is schemed by You and Hotaru. Yup, that being poor part was just a lie. They have hidden jelly snacks at the bottom of the pool. Upon discovering them, this will make Kokonotsu discover the joy of candies and thus increase his interest in carrying on the candy store. Despite finding many jelly snacks, there is a sign that says no outside food and drinks allowed. It disappoints them they can’t savour the jelly. Plan failed.

Hotaru thinks she might have gotten into the wrong store when she sees Tou at the counter. Nope. Correct store. He is helping to man the counter while he is out for an errand. As she waits, she asks him if he likes sweets. Not really. She falls into shock and cannot comprehend that kind of answer. When she passionately explains her love for candies, he gives a casual answer. Not in her vocabulary? When Tou tries to eat a botan rice candy by scratching off the wrapper, Hotaru is horrified since you can eat the wrapper. She thinks if he is trying to test her if there is a better way of eating them. So she does a baseball throw of the candy into his mouth and the spin and his saliva somewhat unwraps it. Screw all that technical crap! As long as it tastes good. Kokonotsu returns with the air-cond repair men. As extra help is not needed, Hotaru is sent to hang out at Saya’s cafe. Saya fears Hotaru may like Kokonotsu when she asks they have known each other for so long. But actually Hotaru is frustrated that she has never seen her eating candy at his store. That is why Hotaru has got this Seven Neon candy for her to try. Noticing Hotaru is watching like a pervert, the pressure is on Saya to eat it properly! You can tell if she is eating it right by the expression on her face. She bites and rips off the candy. Despite this is the right way to eat it, she feels it is a bit troublesome. Hotaru explains the abundance and cheap supply of candies. It will be a waste for kids to buy and eat them fast so some snacks are devised in a way to ‘put some effort’ in enjoying it. They spend the rest of the day eating Seven Neon and talking trivia about it.

Episode 4
If you’re wondering why Hotaru is blindfolded, it is because today they’ll be having taste testing. After she sings praises about the fugashi, she has Kokonotsu tie her hands and feed her one. Very suggestive, isn’t it? She guesses correctly from the taste. Not to be outdone, Kokonotsu is also blindfolded and tied up as she feeds him a fugashi. However he cannot differentiate this taste and only gets correct because of the way the wrapper is opened. They take turns doing this until Kokonotsu realizes there isn’t much fugashi left and Hotaru might guess them easily. So he brings out one and lets her taste this big and hard thing suffocating her mouth! OMFG! Just looking like porn!!! She wants more of it!!! She guesses correctly the sakurabo. Despite only available in a certain prefecture, You was quite fond of it so he stocked up. At this time, tasting all the fugashi has left them dry in the mouth. Hotaru leaves to get some drinks. But she left Kokonotsu blindfolded and tied up… Hello, anybody? He must have waited for eternity till she returns. Too bad it is his dad! He gets the wrong idea they were in some erotic play! Kokonotsu nonchalantly sketches on Saya and Hotaru so Tou adds his nonsensical comments about their boobs. After some time Kokonotsu left the cafe, Tou texts him that he forgot his notebook. Imagine what will happen if Saya sees that… Hotaru can tell from his expression that he is in a pinch. She gives him the Glico caramel and will race there with him. The entire cross country marathon is about them calculating the calories each sweet gives, the time and distance they can run with it. Yeah, it’s freaking technical (but educational) for a dumb guy like me so I’m just going to skip the whole lot. Because I only know how to eat! After a few hundred metres, they will pop a sweet to replenish energy. On the last stretch, Kokonotsu runs out so Hotaru ‘sacrifices’ hers to give him his last spurt. By the time he reaches the cafe, Saya had already seen the sketches. If you ever wanted to know how Saya looks like when she turns into a demon, this is your chance. I hope all the Glico caramel was worth it. He is going to need it. Lastly, I think Hotaru gave him the wrong candy and thus the time lag in reaching the cafe when he should have reached in time. Otherwise if you think about it, if they started out with the same box of Glico caramel and ate them at similar intervals, don’t you think Hotaru would have ran out of hers too?

Episode 5
You sneaks in some powder for Hotaru to taste. Kokonotsu catches them in the act. Is it something illegal? Well, it is bottled ramune. Kokonotsu remembers they used to have stock of this. What happened? Apparently You confessed it was too addictive so he ate them all! Hotaru tries to persuade Kokonotsu not to blame You and coax him into tasting it. Because it is made of powder, he starts coughing. It’s like when a first time smoker smokes. But still, Kokonotsu chides his dad there is no point in selling them if he eats them himself. And so he decides to cleanse himself with some rehabilitation and Hotaru accompanies him. Late in the middle of the night, Kokonotsu hears sounds from his dad’s room. He is uploading candy videos onto YouTube! It’s embarrassing! So how many views has he got? 13 only?! Stop the embarrassment right now! You wants to test video and uses the Baby Star Ramen as his product. In addition to his lame rap opener, he doesn’t know about the product, has to read from a card and goes off track in his topic. Kokonotsu blows his top and passionately shows him how it is done. Yup, this guy is even more creative in coming up stories for this product than his dad. This video is uploaded as Saya and Hotaru watches it. Hey, at least with 100 views, that’s not bad, right? And Kokonotsu doesn’t even know when dad uploaded it…

The guys run out of cash so here comes the masterful financial planner Hotaru to tell them how to make fast easy money via candy prizes. She uses Yattamen as the source as you could accumulate and win money out of it. However Kokonotsu cautions Tou into believing that because no actual cash value is given but a coupon equivalent to it. Hotaru starts off… And makes a losing start! But hey, this is to show that with her losing streak, she has developed a way to identify a winning candy. Something to do about the packaging. She lost anyway. In fact, Kokonotsu knows better about some design in the corner that determines it. You shock, Hotaru? Trying it out, the guys win. Hotaru loses… That is when she reveals she has never won a candy prize in her life. Kokonotsu tells her to stay away from gambling but this gives her another reason to continue her gambling ways. This time she wages Kokonotsu’s life to inherit the store on the line. There are 3 grape gumballs in this candy and one of them is super sour. Whoever picks that loses. So If Hotaru loses, she’ll do anything for him. Want to guess Kokonotsu just had a lewd thought? Hotaru is confident she can win this one as the illustration on the packaging will tell her the super sour gumball (which is of course just a rumour). To her horror she realizes the packaging illustration has changed. There is no way to tell now! They pop the gumball into their mouths. The guys have it sweet. Hotaru’s sour face… Chalking up another one for losing streak. To soothe her, Kokonotsu says her talent for gambling is so bad that it is a talent itself. Poor Hotaru, still bitter from her losing streak that she runs away crying. Uhm, did she forget about granting Kokonotsu his wish?

Episode 6
Hotaru calls the gang so she could show off her long Super String Q. It is some elastic jelly in which you can play with it too. This makes Tou remember about Maken Gummies in which there is an elastic hand toy in it. He demonstrates its ‘true purpose’ by whipping up Saya’s skirt! Wow. Look how far Tou flew. Hotaru explains the many creativity kids used to play with the jelly but can it be edible after that? Suddenly she hands one to Kokonotsu and challenges him to a tug of war in which if he loses he must inherit the store! Thankfully both break and it is a draw. Phew. Hotaru then takes out a longer one as she whips it around. But it snaps so Kokonotsu in his reflex action jumps and eat it. Hotaru believes this amazing skill makes him a good successor to the store. Since Kokonotsu disagrees, they will settle it via ohajiki. The game they play with it is similar to marbles. If you can hit another ohajiki, it becomes yours. Tou and Saya are natural talents accumulating a reasonable number. Kokonotsu sucks with only a couple and if you think he is doomed losing this challenge, wait till you see Hotaru. She has zero! How bad can she get?! Hotaru notices Saya has a penchant to be great in games despite not knowing the rules. She suggests she should work in Kokonotsu’s place to utilize her talents. Saya is so embarrassed that she punched Tou! So powerful that his sunglasses break and perhaps the first time you’re seeing his true eyes! Hotaru thought she has this giant ohajiki as her trump card. However it is heavy as a rock and she accidentally drops and breaks it. Her losing streak continues…

Saya is deep in thoughts about Hotaru’s suggestion. This brings back memories when she was in elementary with Kokonotsu. He introduced her to this Yoguret candy in which claimed it has nutritional values and thus the reason why kids were successful in bugging their parents to buy it for them. In addition to the nice feeling of popping the packaging, the candy is often used in playing as doctor. Despite Saya calling that as childish, she is hinting to play it with him. He has to! But with Saya as the doctor, she is mostly flustering with Kokonotsu’s close proximity. Yeah, it looks like she is the one who is sick. So they switch roles. But each time Saya wants to get him do something physically on her, all he ever does is give ‘medicine’. Is that what doctors only do?! After she complains, I guess it is ‘surgery’ time. Here is the ‘pill’ for anaesthetic. Before Kokonotsu could do anything, he is horrified he has run out of Yoguret. Guess who ate them all up? She feels bad and tries to console him. However they accidentally slip. Don’t expect something like one atop the other. It’s just has them holding hands and staring at each other. That is already something big if you’re a kid. Saya is just embarrassed remembering this chapter of her life. And when Hotaru tries to introduce Yoguret, instantly Saya and Kokonotsu react in an embarrassing way. Yeah, the memories are still vivid. But Saya is glad that Kokonotsu’s reaction means he still remembered it well.

Episode 7
Kokonotsu and You will be operating a monjayaki stall at the festivals. You is confronted by rival, Tamai who accuses him of selling that instead of candies (there’s some link between monjayaki and candies as explained by Hotaru but I wasn’t listening – it was painful to see her climbing down that tree as she explains). When You threatens to stop sharing Baby Star with her, she lost. Then they quickly make up. Yeah, this happens every year. But the adults ditch the kids alone to go drinking. I bet Kokonotsu didn’t see this one coming. As they walk around the area, Hotaru is interested in doing katanuki. She didn’t listen to Kokonotsu’s advice that the store owner usually will find fault in the katanuki and not payout. She starts chiselling her tulip shaped katanuki. Kokonotsu wonders why she is good at this if this is her first festival. She ordered katanuki pieces as practice before and this is her first time doing it in front of others. Can you do that? With Hotaru in full concentration, Kokonotsu can’t help find her cute when she’s not talking! See?! See this kind of charm for men in a woman?! Then she nails a perfect tulip. Because of the high payout, the guys believe the owner is going to find some fault. But it is so perfect he couldn’t find any fault that he happily just pays her off! Time to spend the hard earned cash. This makes Tou want to try his hands. I believe he had many failed attempts and the final one which is also a high value katanuki is enough to cover his losses. He nails it and is about to hand it over when he trips and breaks it… So sad…

Kokonotsu is not happy he has to help his dad with the monjayaki stall. Then here comes Saya looking cute in her yukata. She is hinting about Kokonotsu have to be here to help his dad. But You is quite the perspective father and lets his son accompany Saya around. He’ll handle it. Tou is interested in trying in hands in making monjayaki as repayment for a free one You gave. Kokonotsu and Saya walk around (a little trivia on the history of floss candy too) and you bet she is enjoying every darn second of this. Till that dense Kokonotsu forgot he should call Tou to join them. Saya gives a lame excuse why he shouldn’t and being the dense kid, he agrees. Kokonotsu plays the goldfish game and his foolproof way fails. This brings back memories for Saya how he did the same thing. He tried and tried but failed. Because of his perseverance, the store owner in the end gave him one for free. Kokonotsu gave that goldfish to her in which she still keeps it in her cafe. How long does a goldfish live anyway? Isn’t it a little too big for its bowl aquarium now? History repeats itself as Kokonotsu couldn’t get one so the owner gave him one for free. He gives it to her. Just then they hear word going around that Tou’s monjayaki is selling like hot cakes. Yes, that guy is really getting good and popular.

Episode 8
Tou narrates there is a calendar in his house that cannot be touched. It has always been on the January page and features a baby. He was curious so as he turns the pages, the picture shows the different stages in a boy’s life. In the December page, an old man with his eyes’ closed. Suddenly his eyes open and blood starts streaming out and before he knew it, his hands were bloodstained! OMG! Don’t tell me such scary stories even if this is what the gang are doing during a typhoon!!! Look how scared Saya is! Tou continues he was bedridden with an unknown illness for 2 months. Mom took him to a doctor and when they x-ray his lungs, there is a ghostly face of his grandpa over it! F*CK!!! Saya is about to beat up her brother when Hotaru concludes the story. The boy remembered he didn’t visit his grandpa’s grave and after doing so, he was cured. Hotaru knows this story because it is based off some summer candy horror collection in which she has read all 144 stories. But when Kokonotsu points out the inconsistencies in the story (why would grandpa curse his own grandchild when he failed to visit his grave?), Hotaru talks about the odd part of how despite main characters in scary stories go missing, how come the story is usually told. I mean, if they died or something, then the story will forever be buried with them, right? This is why. A secret she hopes nobody will tell others. All stories are cooked up by the company’s employees. Yeah, I pretty much figure that out too. Saya is still scared so Hotaru explains about a gum that if given to some ghosts, they will leave. Saya finds it odd that ghosts chew gum… When the lights go out, they panic. You comes in with a flashlight on his face. Of course this freaks Saya out and now he is ‘chewing his own gum’.

Tou is bragging how popular kendama is. However Kokonotsu says otherwise as there are some unsold in his shop. I believe it has been there since he was a kid. To prove him wrong, Tou sucks in his pride and buys 2 of them! So they try it out but they suck. Tou did a dangerous move that bends his thumb the other way! When Saya arrives and picks it up, OMG she is such a natural talent! Saya then wonders why he bought them because they have a few back home and even then he said something about them being popular. I guess he’ll never be good at it… Tou talks to Kokonotsu about being popular. Yes, this pop chocolate has this fortune telling gimmick that is it no wonder why girls love them? So they test out a few stuffs like they both never did homework and the chocolate predicted it to be true. Tou then mentions his wish for a pantsu shot. Will he get it? That is when Hotaru comes by to say she was looking for Kokonotsu and will meet him back at the store. As she jumps off, the guys watch in anticipation her under her fluttering skirt… Did they see anything or not? But surely they are excited by this haitenai phenomenon and how the chocolate predicted something like that leaves them feeling amazed. Total respect.

Episode 9
Saya is waiting for Kokonotsu at his shop. But here comes Hotaru. My, what a painful ulcer she has. She thinks it could be from lack of sleep or stress but not eating too much candy! I know that feeling… Against Saya’s advice, Hotaru pops more candy into her mouth. Now, this WataPachi candy has that ‘exploding’ feeling in your mouth. Think of it like M&M’s but instead of melting it pops AKA explodes in your mouth. And thus it starts hurting Hotaru’s ulcer and compounding the pain. So painful that even Saya can’t bear to watch! But at the end of it, Hotaru might be a masochist since she loves the pain. As long as it is candy related… Hotaru than introduces another candy, UnChoco. Because of the way its name sounds, it can mean to be poop chocolate, something that is bothering Saya. The girls have his UnChoco party (poop party?) making Saya feeling all uncomfortable over this bad pun. Hotaru cannot stop ranting and waxing lyrical about it so when Saya can’t take it anymore and tells her to stop, Hotaru reveals she was actually talking about eggs. Wait. What?!

Kokonotsu is shocked to see Hotaru eating rice. This girl eating rice?! Then she reveals she is from Osaka and used to speak in Kansai accent. I think she is doing so, so she can make lame Osaka puns. And introduce this Sakura Daikon candy that looks like radish but is actually a candy that you can eat with rice. More lame Osaka puns… Yes Kokonotsu. We feel your pain of how annoying Hotaru is today. When she finally leaves (thank God), she says she isn’t actually from Osaka. I guess Kokonotsu figured that out since she was doing bad impersonations of it. Making it worse, he realizes Hotaru used his bowl and finished all his rice lunch! Later, she asks him if he likes boobs. Say what? Did I hear that correctly? You know guys have to think hard when a girl asks that kind of question, right? Either way, we’ll be screwed, right? So he decides to give a mature answer that he isn’t into it. Hotaru becomes depressed and walks away seeing he has no business with him then. Suddenly Kokonotsu reverses his decision that he loves them! Instantly she throws to him an ice cream balloon that she calls boobs ice cream. She has him eat it and as he bites off the top, the melted ice cream ‘exploded’ onto his face. Seems this is an experiment of wanting to know how much to melt the ice cream before she could easily eat it. Kokonotsu insists it is called bomb ice cream because of its shape. But do you eat bombs?! So can you eat boobs too? No, you suck on them! Still, Kokonotsu insists this is the name he has been calling it since young. Likewise, Hotaru too. The only way to settle this argument is to eat it. As she does so, she forgot hers has also melted and it splatters all over her face. Ooohhh… White stuff dripping all over her face, hands and boobs. While Hotaru now understands why it is called bomb ice cream, I am sure Kokonotsu understands why she calls it boobs ice cream. Stimulating…

Episode 10
When Tou is at the vending machine late one night, Hotaru is seen rushing towards him. She sounds desperate… Kokonotsu feels something is off. Because Hotaru has not visit his store for 2 days! He visits Saya’s cafe and she is not there too. Worried, with Saya they go visit Hotaru’s home. My, what a freaking big mansion! Rich people… When Hotaru answers the door, she becomes so scared in seeing Kokonotsu that she faints! They put her back in bed and it looks like she is sick. Even when she wakes up, she is still afraid of Kokonotsu. Did he do something? The scariest part is when she sees the candies he brings for her, she cowers underneath her sheets! Hotaru rejecting candy? That’s scary! Saya thought it was insensitive of him to bring candies for a sick person but Kokonotsu knows something like this won’t put her down. So he tries to coax her out with all sorts of candies but she just remains frightened. It comes to a point where he tries to fan the candy smell to her and when she finally bursts out, she is crying incessantly in Saya’s arms! Poor thing… Doesn’t this make Kokonotsu look like the bad guy?

When she calms down, she shows her ulcer has gotten much worse. After last episode of eating those candies, she made a wish on that pop chocolate that her ulcer would go away so she could taste the new Baby Star ramen when it is launched. However the fortune telling chocolate denied her that wish. Whatever she wished for it was denied, Except for outing. Outing? And so Hotaru started running to who knows where and that is where she bumped into Tou and talked to him. His answer was simple: Temporarily stop eating candy. Of course she disagreed as candy is her life. Then he tells her eating all those candies is what got her that ulcer and she won’t make it in time to taste that new release. Besides, if she stays away from candies for a while, Baby Star ramen will taste much better. This gave her the motivation to do so. Just when you think the episode is over, Hotaru now turns into a zombie and tries to eat all of Kokonotsu’s candies! OMG! Such immense strength that the duo has a hard time dealing with her! Is this something to do with her withdrawal symptoms for candy? She only stops when the cuckoo clock sounds. It is time to take her medicine. Despite looking like a poison that only anime girls who are bad at cooking could make, it actually tastes good and soothing. Kokonotsu feels something suspicious about it and to his worse fear, this ‘medicine’ is actually a mixture of pine, melon and American soda powder! See how disappointed his face is? It took Hotaru a while to realize she was drinking candy, thus her enhanced ulcer. Just when you think she would learn her lesson, she succumbs to the sweet taste and is going to drink it only to be stopped by her disappointed friends. I guess she won’t be making it for the big day.

Episode 11
After Saya learns the truth about Hotaru being here to convince Kokonotsu to inherit You’s store, Kokonotsu can’t help wonder why a big company wants to hire his dad. She is going to show it to them as they hide inside a cramped cardboard box to spy on You manning the counter. I wonder if Kokonotsu can keep his hands (or rather elbows in this case) to himself in such a tight space. All they see is You eating the store’s candy for an hour! It just makes Hotaru jealous that he is eating all that without her! Soon a local kid enters and he brings a girl his age in. Most probably he is trying to win her heart with candies. However he has not enough money! The girl feels disappointed! So young, so b*tchy?! You suggests if he wins a prize from this cola gum, he can get another one. So the boy tries but from his face you know he lost. However You acts like as though he won and gives him another cola gum. The girl is so impressed. That easy to win a girl’s heart?! Oh right. They’re kids… Hotaru explains that a candy store isn’t a place where people come to take a break but also bond with each other. Her father’s company plans to open candy-like stores worldwide and needs candy store owners like him and from what they have seen, he sure has the talents. Kokonotsu isn’t so sure about that but Saya reminds him something similar happened to them. When Kokonotsu introduced her to cola gum, she just kept winning and winning! She is going to put You out of business at this rate!!! Just as Kokonotsu has a better thought of his dad, here he is trying to sneak read through his manga. That is when Kokonotsu busts out from his hiding to confront his dad. Things can get ugly…

Kokonotsu and Hotaru missed the train. Looks like a long wait for the next one in this rural area. While waiting, Hotaru says she needs to suck on something. Really? Did I hear that right? Of course, she will let him suck too. Really?! Oh yeah. Bring it on! Nobody is watching, right?! You must be a dirty minded pervert to think of sucking that because Hotaru whips out the suckable konbu Hamakaze. Not what you expect Kokonotsu? Here is Miyako konbu then. Look at his frustrated and disappointed face… So we have a little history lesson from her about this konbu and how it is more fitting as a train station ‘candy’ instead of traditional candy stores as its small size allows you to keep in pockets and bags and you can suck on it while you wait. Hotaru drinks lamune and shares with him. Indirect kiss is all he is thinking? He won’t be fooled this time… And yes, a history lesson how this bottled lemonade arrived on Japan’s shores. Mainly due to that Perry guy trying to open up Japan and used this bottle as his trump card. Of course feudal lord has never seen such invention and is amazed with its great taste. But because Perry left and he didn’t teach him how to open it, I guess that is how they became friends and Japan opened up to the west. BS, right? It gets a little serious when Hotaru mentions about her goal to become the world’s top candy manufacturer. Her knowledge on candies is already exceptional but spending her time here more than expected is eating in to her time of doing more candy research. So Kokonotsu’s stubbornness is to blame? But she understands he has his own aspirations and will not force him to succeed his place. When the time comes for him to decide, she’ll be waiting. It is like something inside Kokonotsu clicked. Like he realizes something important and about to lose it. He chases after the train she just boarded, calling out to her. Because where exactly will she be waiting?

Episode 12
Saya is shocked when Hotaru asks if she knows what the taste of love is… Holy cow! Well, at least she didn’t first think she was implying something with Kokonotsu. Rather, something yuri! She thought Hotaru is serious in giving her a taste of love when she is asked to close her eyes. Then Hotaru pops a candy into her mouth and Saya is left guessing its flavour. Cherry, right? Hotaru is so happy she guessed correctly from this Sakuranbo No Uta candy. Meanwhile Kokonotsu asks Tou if he wants to be famous. There is this candy that can if you will become famous or not. Kokonotsu accidentally shakes 2 pink candies into Tou’s hands. To his dismay, Tou eats them. This is when Tou explains he was fully aware of his plan. The reason Kokonotsu let Tou try his luck first was because he was confident Tou wouldn’t get a pink candy. By doing so, his chances of getting one will increase. Kokonotsu regrets his busted plan but Tou hands to him a pink candy. He pretended to eat 2 but only ate one. Kokonotsu gladly eats the pink candy and they put up a silly dance. I don’t think they’ll get popular this way. The girls spot them and with Saya noticing Hotaru looking longingly at Kokonotsu and talking about bittersweet love, she fears she may like him too. But then she realizes Hotaru is just being Hotaru as she is just fantasizing a candy mascot instead.

When Kokonotsu asks Tou if he himself has been tying down Hotaru lately, Saya gets the wrong idea it is BDSM style! Tou suggests the fastest way is to ask her directly. Oh, here she comes. Oddly, she asks if there is a smoking section. As they observe her behaviour, Kokonotsu realizes the significance when she takes out a milk caramel candy. In the old days, it was advertised as a substitute for cigarettes. Furthermore back in those times, Japanese weren’t used in western dairy products. Hotaru’s face signifies she wants to know more but there is all about to it that he knows. So when he starts giving examples of different flavours, she gets up and leaves satisfied. He remembers he needs to talk to her and rushes out to chase her. It starts raining and they take shelter in a bus stop. Hotaru then shares her Sakumashiki Drops. Its tin can packaging makes it ideal for any situations but it is just hard opening the lid. She is surprised when Kokonotsu uses a coin to open. Didn’t know that, did you? Yeah, she had always been using her will. He picks up a peppermint flavour he doesn’t like and tries to put it back but she doesn’t allow it because it is against the law. What f*cking law?! He has to eat it since her boobs are too close to his arms. Not bad the taste, right? Kokonotsu then mentions about that train station talk where she would wait for his decision. He feels guilty his deferring is stopping her from becoming a top candy manufacturer. She rubbishes that thought because that isn’t a dream. It is her reality. Besides, she can go on a candy spree anytime and even right now. Despite her goal coming to his place every day to convince him, the most important thing is because she enjoys it. The rain stops and they make their way back.

Sweet Romance
Well, that’s all folks. If you expected some sort of dramatic storyline or even a freaking twist, you would be disappointed. But I think those who would be even more disappointed are those who were hoping that their favourite childhood candies would pop up but didn’t make the cut. Uh huh. There is only so much a dozen of episodes can introduce even at most 4 types of candy manufacturers per episode compared to hundreds and maybe thousands of other obscure ones. Basically the entire ‘plot’ of this series is just to introduce some candies and their history. No violence, no sex. Geez, are they trying to change the age old trick of sex sells? Not unless you count sexual innuendoes…

Although there are a handful of pop culture references especially from the anime (Saint Seiya, Fist Of The North Star, K-ON!, etc), the true trivia stars are the candies themselves. Since I am not very familiar with the candies in Japan, there are none that I recognize. It is very obvious. I don’t live in Japan and many of the candies and sweets are produced for local consumption. Though there are some big sweets manufacturers and some of their products are exported worldwide, but for myself as a kid I wasn’t that exposed to the various candies and even my local ones. So it is with mixed feelings that as I watched the series, it felt sad that I never knew them and probably will never ever get to taste them but I’m glad that by watching them being introduced in this anime gave me that sensation of wanting to try it out. You know, like how I want to eat all those delicious foods in food themed animes. For those who have been fascinated by this series and not a native of Japan, this series might have given you the extra enthusiasm to go check out your own local candies. I’m sure you will find a lot of wonders there too.

I later found out that the term dagashi in this case does not accurately refer to candies as I have referenced it in this blog. While it is not entirely wrong either but it is not exact so to speak. To put it simply, dagashi are cheap and filling snacks and usually popular with children. Therefore not all dagashi consists of candy and certainly not all candies can be classified as dagashi. But I’ll continue to use the candy term for consistency in my blog. Yeah, it will be a pain to change my entire blog for a word although there is technology to easily do so…

Truthfully, this entire series could have been one boring affair and a big advertising promotion campaign to promote Japanese candies had it not been for just one amusing character. Yes, that is right. Hotaru. Right from the start, you can tell that she is going to be an oddball character. An eccentric character. Somebody strange enough that attracts your attention. Therefore instead of telling us the boring grandfather-long stories of the candy’s history and its features, we have Hotaru in her unconventional ways telling us all about it. Be it in some silly exaggerated fantasy or some competition showdown. It is never a disappointment to see what kind of things she will do. The only ‘sad’ thing about her is that she is bad at gambling and is still on a long losing streak that will continue to last forever.

Sometimes she is so confident in what she says, even though you know it is a whole load of crap, you can’t help believe what she says. Quite the smooth talker, eh? But Kokonotsu won’t be easily swayed… Of course she has her faults and not entirely perfect but she isn’t all air without any substance. Her knowledge of the world of candies is quite astonishing and I believe she only revealed bits of them here (due to time constraints and we viewers might not want to be bored with prolonged introductions of the candies which will then look like desperate promotional attempts). As Hotaru is such a confident girl, she lacks the self-awareness that would have many other girls feel embarrassed. That’s right. I’m talking about sexual subtexts and ambiguity here. This particular personality of hers is one reason why we guys watch this show. The motivation to do so. Probably she is divulging in the sweet fantasy of her candies that makes her unaware of the sexual innuendoes she is making sometimes. Or maybe she is that innocent and the word porn does not exist in her dictionary. It is all part of the series’ fanservice. Double treat for horny guys who have a sweet tooth. Am I not right? Imagine the impact of it all if her character has small boobs or as flat as a washboard like Saya. Oops! Sorry, Saya…

Other characters are interesting too but they pale in comparison to Hotaru. Like You who could be Hotaru’s partner in crime in whatever shenanigans to annoy Kokonotsu. I guess life of attending a candy store all day long must be so boring that trying to sneak read his son’s manga provides some cheap thrill in his life. That and eating the store’s candy stock. Hey, if nobody is going to buy them, let’s not let it go to waste, right? Kokonotsu might aspire to be a manga artist but he knows his sweet stuffs well enough so as not for Hotaru to pull the rug under him. Then there is Saya whose only existence is to provide the trope as Kokonotsu’s childhood friend and an unrequited crush. And also to balance out the boobs factor… Haha! Aside that, her only other trait is her natural knack and talent in mastering all sorts of games the first time she plays them. Japan should send this girl to the Olympics and she’ll definitely bring back the gold medal. Unless she is only a pro at children’s games… Finally there is Tou whose character is supposed to be so cool that he wears sunglasses on all occasions even if it is night time. He is supposed to be the joker of the series (like being beaten up by Saya at times) but he has his own merits like dispensing good advice and being truthful.

Trying to add more spice and drama to the otherwise would-be drab series other than Hotaru’s colourful personality is the side distraction of romance. We all know it is not going to happen and yet we still hope for it. Me in particular. It might be a good thing it did not happen because you wouldn’t want some cheesy teenage romance to over shadow the great candies that have been around for ages, right? That is why it goes without saying that Saya will forever never have her love returned as long as Kokonotsu is being a dense guy. On second thought, he might have and is just playing poker face as he thinks Saya might not see him that way whatsoever. And sometimes I think Kokonotsu might be interested in Hotaru and there are a few scanty hints about that but that is just when his thoughts get a little perverted about her. And Hotaru? Her first love will always be candies! No doubts about that! For all you know, she might even marry a candy mascot character in the future. They tried trolling us with a few seemingly romantic hints pertaining to Hotaru but eventually it all boils down to her ambiguous actions that will always be something related to candies.

One minor thing that keeps bugging me in the series is how this town feels like a zombie apocalypse! I know that it is a rural town so it is expected that there would not be many people around. However if you noticed for a very big part of every episode it is like the entire town would just consist of the kids and You. Where the heck is everybody else? Apart from a few people entering the candy shop on and off and maybe some old citizens passing by once in a while, therefore at other times it seems like the entire town belongs to our protagonists! Therefore the festival scene was the only scene whereby it was crowded indeed. It’s like the people were hiding in their houses, only coming out to entertain themselves at the festival and then go back to their eternal summer slumber.

While the art and drawing of the series is relatively standard and simple, I believe that lots of emphasis in this area is given to the candies. It would be a waste and redundant for a series that wants to introduce to viewers about the wonderful Japanese candies and they skimp on this visual area. Because I am very sure that with countless of such candies, visual attraction is important and thus you can see lots of colourful and even amusing art on the wrapper to attract customers to buy them. Furthermore, I think that in the case if the candies are parodied instead of in its original form for copyright reasons (heh, you want to know how many times Google, Starbucks and Window brand names have been intentionally misspelled in animes?), which I think isn’t logical, how would you think viewers who would want to buy that candy for real suddenly cannot find it in real life? I mean, as seen on TV, right? Hence I trust that all the candies featured and given the limelight are a true reflection of their real life counterparts.

And still on the topic of art and drawing, the only character design that stands out the most is of course Hotaru herself. Otherwise with everybody else looking so bland and in a boring sleepy rural town in the midst of the hot summer, the candies will be all that we have to feast our eyes on. That is why coupled in with her eccentric behaviour, her seemingly gothic style dress in such a weather makes her stand out the most. Not to mention her enormous boobs! Seriously guys, would you not be more attentive and listen to Hotaru’s shenanigans had she not been this busty? Another eye candy to feast on! Oh yeah!

Ayana Taketatsu has been quite impressive voicing Hotaru. Although she sounds like many of your typical lively Ayana Taketatsu anime characters such as Momoko from Momokyun Sword, Kirino from OreImo and Mio in MM!, this one takes the cake because she really sounds like she is having fun playing Hotaru. Her voice fits seamlessly into her character that it brings out the best (and perhaps worst) in Hotaru’s eccentric character. In short, she did quite a good job and it was quite fun to hear her play this character in various moods. Keiji Fujiwara is also recognizable as his low soothing voice makes him perfect to play cool older men or father-like figures. So as You here, he fits right in. The rest of the small casts include Atsushi Abe as Kokonotsu (Touma in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Manami Numakura as Saya (Narbarel in Overlord) and Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Tou (Ban in Nanatsu No Taizai).

There is something catchy about the opening theme, Checkmate by Michi. Most notably its very funky, jazzy and boogie woogie tune and style which reminds you of something similar like Kekkai Sensen’s ending theme. The opening credits animation itself is amusing because it parodies some of Hollywood’s movies like Indiana Jones and Star Wars. The ending theme is Hey! Calorie Queen by Ayana Taketatsu, a title that is an apt reminder when you are watching this show and binging lots of snacks while at it, sounds like your typical cute idol music. The ending credits animation is amusing as well. After a couple of episodes with boring animation (which ironically lacks any of it) of Kokonotsu watching TV with clips of scenes from that episode, it changes to one with Alice In Wonderland theme. Who wouldn’t want to miss out on Mad Hatter’s tea party, right?

Overall, to say that this is a sweet series depends very much on your taste for sweet things. If you are the kind who prefers bitter, sour or salty stuffs, well, this series might leave a bitter or sour or even salty after taste in your mouth. Only people with sweet tooth will appreciate this series. Like me. Even though it is sad that I have been cutting down on my chocolate and other sweet dessert intakes for years. Blame the price hike and being poor. So I am relegated to just watching the candies being paraded on the store shelves till I have had my fill of salivating and fantasizing myself eating them. That isn’t entirely bad anyway. Because staying clear of sweets help me to be healthy, right? But then again, eating candies will still always be good for you. What do you mean candies are not good for you in anyway? I’m talking it is good for your soul. Always remember, STRESSED is DESSERTS spelled backwards!

Time for another adaptation of a super popular MMORPG into an anime series. Do we need more of this? Apparently, either the series is made to please fans of the popular Phantasy Star Online 2 (PSO2) so they have something extra to wow over or the game itself is not getting enough subscribers and players like how WoW, LOL and Dota are getting. Therefore Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation may be another step for its creators, Sega to attract more fan base to the game and increase its number of subscribers. Honestly, that is just my theory. Otherwise, why bother to adapt a game into a TV series. From history even in Hollywood standards, games to the silver screen never made a good transition. I guess you’ll never know if you don’t try. Although this anime will be adapting the settings from the game, the series is however a totally new story. A new narrative on its own unlike the one in the game. I suppose it is to keep things fresh so that veterans won’t be bored in expecting the same stuffs and it will attract newbies to the game. I can’t tell since I didn’t play the game. At all.

Episode 1
Itsuki Tachibana is on his way to Seiga Academy. Get it? Seiga as in Sega… Despite his typical main character look, he is stopped by the security for looking like somebody suspicious since he misplaced his tag. Hey, at least he is doing his job. The popular student council president, Rina Izumi assures the security he is a student of Seiga. Then magic. He found his misplaced tag. He meets up with his friend, Kouta Kayano who asks him if has played PSO2. I suppose such games are the trend now so if you’re like Itsuki who doesn’t play it, you’ll be left behind. Rina gives her speech during the opening ceremony. You know how popular she is when boys and girls just swoon whenever she passes by. She is perfect in her academics, sports and other club activities that she could win top model student for 10 years running. Serious. Itsuki is called to see Rina and since he forgot, he turned up late. Rina has decided to make Itsuki the student council vice president since the previous one moved overseas. And her first task for him? Play PSO2! Wow. Now I understand why people like her. But why choose him? Seems his grades and lifestyle make him a suitable candidate. Note, he is not in any club so this also means he has nothing better to do. Wait a minute. Why didn’t they hold elections? Or why doesn’t she listen to some of her student council members as they are against his? So much for democracy, Little Miss Dictatorship…

On the reason why he needs to play PSO2, based on his report and after understanding Seiga’s social network, the student council will see fit a style of management appropriate for Seiga. Yeah, you know how everybody is busy looking at their iPhones these days… But Itsuki doesn’t play online games, can he do it? Well, he helps out in other clubs so this is like nothing, right? Itsuki seeks Kouta’s help to play the game. He left him some instructions since he is currently taking a break from PSO2. After Itsuki creates his avatar, he starts playing and finds himself inside the organization of ARKS. He meets a fellow veteran player, Soro who just changed class. This guy is eager to teach a beginner and blabbing about fate. Just ignore him… The emergency is sounded when ARKS is under attack by Darkers. Itsuki signs up for the mission. As a beginner, does he know what to do? Just this simple rule: See enemy, kill enemy! Luckily he gets help from Soro or else it would be embarrassing if he dies on his first outing. Itsuki earns Soro’s praise when he did a headshot kill without any form of aiming assistance. Sure that is not beginner’s luck? Next day after he submits his report to Rina, she reminds him not to let his current grade slip as it is his responsibility too. Because whether this sight of students obsessed in playing their handheld PSO2 depends solely on him! Wow. That is a big responsibility.

Episode 2
Another typical cliché. A girl who has been living abroad for a long time returns to school as a transfer student. Aika Suzuki is now in Itsuki’s class. She talks and acts like a military personnel but is famous enough that classmates bombard her with questions that she answers like a robot. Like other typical clichés, Aika seems interested in Itsuki as he tails him everywhere he goes. Including the toilet. There is one point Kouta tapped on the back of her shoulder, her reflex is to punch him but she holds back right before it connects. Kouta is no useless guy too because he is already in block position. Aika even freaks Itsuki out as she tails him back to the dorm. Itsuki has a horny dream whereby Rina wants to flirt with him. He must be really disappointed to find it is a dream because he was preparing to kiss her. But not as shocking as he finds Aika on top of him! Another girly scream. So Itsuki has got a bad reputation among some of the girls who become Aika’s groupie b*tches. Not that she cares anyway. Itsuki thought he could let out some steam by playing PSO2 but after a mission, he gets scolded by Soro. He doesn’t understand why so he asks Kouta. Kouta is surprised Soro is his partner because that veteran player is a very famous solo player (Soro = solo?) known as The Aloof Warrior. Kouta explains what Itsuki did to earn Soro’s wrath. Something about his reckless playing despite he was levelling up well. Not that I care anyway. Itsuki didn’t realize that and falls into depression so he hasn’t been sending his periodical reports. He gives excuse that he has been logging in but Rina knows better. From her wild inner ranting, we learn she wants to really chew him out because he has been playing constantly. Oh, she is Soro.

I suppose Soro needs to let out some steam and kill some Darkers but falls into a cage trap. Luckily Itsuki is here to save the day. He is sorry for the other day but since he fought brilliantly, all is forgiven. Apparently you can also enjoy your time in PSO2 by watching a virtual idol concert other than taking side quests. Itsuki resumes in handing in his report. Just then, Aika barges in like it is her own office to question Rina’s rational to choose Itsuki as part of ARKS. Rina has something important to prove. There is something about Ethernet and the boom of online games which is a symbol of communication revolution in this era. Really? Now, the academy is considering banning it but Rina views it is restricting the freedom of students who enjoy the game and thus this is like interfering with their private lives. Really? Or is it because Rina is an avid addict player too? Thus Rina wants to prove that with this, students can still do well in exams and not neglect their studies while enjoying playing this game. So it is like real life ARKS (students) versus Darkers (school authorities)? After hearing Aika’s great records in the game, she assigns Aika to help Itsuki to write his report. She is now appointed as the special adviser to the vice president. You bet everyone is damn shock in yet another dictatorship move without democratic consultation. Aika accepts the job with glee.

Episode 3
Itsuki is being made to do lot of ground work as well as fellow grunt, Yutaka Sasaki. So it is no surprise that Itsuki wants to click with him and be gay with that shy guy but the latter is obviously keeping his distance. Kouta joins Itsuki playing PSO2. Like the noob he is, he is being explained a few terms like role playing (Kouta’s avatar is Koa), how an alias is used for avatar so as not to mix up your real life with the game and yes, trolls. Itsuki plays a quest with Kouta and his regular group. He finds it so fun that he can’t stop ranting before Rina. While Itsuki is out on an errand, he heard a couple of macho construction guys talking. To his shock, they play PSO2 and their avatars are sexy female cat characters in Kouta’s group! OMG! That’s real life and fantasy for you! Soro happened to be passing by so Itsuki invites him to join in a group quest. Since they have a spot open, this cowboy dude, Musashi joins them. However during the battle, he sits there and does nothing while leaving the rest to sweat it out. He even spews a couple of insults. They realize he is the troll everyone is talking about. More high and mighty attitude from him even back at base. What’s more, he is got the cheek to send them a friend request! Naturally Kouta would block him but Itsuki wants to talk and find out more about him since behind every avatar there is real person behind. So this guy goes to talk to him but Musashi threatens to reveal his real identity. Itsuki doesn’t mind and then he did the unthinkable. Noticing how similar Musashi talks like a certain someone, he wonders if Musashi is Yutaka. Everybody heard that and Musashi is so embarrassed that he instantly logs out.

Because of that, Yutaka doesn’t go to school anymore and Rina wants Itsuki to fix this as this will hurt PSO2’s image with the school. He is your responsibility. If he won’t face Itsuki in person, I guess online he will. Yutaka reveals in PSO2 he gets to be his real self. In real life, things never worked out for him. That is why he is so envious of Itsuki. But Itsuki believes that is not the real him. He knows the real Yutaka is a nice person. I guess that seals it. Musashi apologizes to everyone for trolling and they forgive him out of respect for Itsuki. Now when they go on quests, Musashi doesn’t want anybody to help and will destroy all those mother f*ckers himself! Yeehaw!!! He didn’t exactly change but at least is better than before. Rina calls Itsuki to meet her. She is surprised about his method of trying to get to know a person in real life and in the game to become better friends. The purpose of this meeting is so that Rina can reveal she is Soro? Want to scream that louder for the entire world to hear? But this hardly surprises Itsuki because he knew it for a long time. Because he seems to notice both characters somewhat use the same phrases. Heh. At least he isn’t as dumb as he looks. As proof, he tries to imitate all those dramatic lines she says. Wait. He remembers every one of them?! This is so embarrassing. You regret it now, Rina?

Episode 4
Rina seems to be stammering as she tries to ask Itsuki to accompany her this weekend. You mean it’s a date?! Because of that, Itsuki now has this silly grin on his face and even turns down Kouta’s invitation to an annual event. So long, pal. He is going to step into the adult world. Turns out this ‘date’ is an annual offline PSO2 fan event. Disappointed? The reason why Rina was flustering was because it is her first time here. Totally disappointed. Kouta spots Itsuki and when he sees Rina with him, he falls into shock. Betrayed? He is so down that a cute cosplay chick gives him a drink to freshen up. He is energized and goes to find and thank her. However something happened to him… Itsuki is freaking surprised to see the real faces of his online team. That sexy siren, Silver? Just a little girl! He never knew Yumiko and Last Samurai are married with a baby. And that robot Kid is actually a butler-like grandpa! Second childhood? They hang out and after learning Rina is Soro, they can’t help invite her to join in more quests but she prefers to play alone. They even want to ask if Rina and Itsuki are dating but before they could finish their sentence, Rina vehemently protests they are not. They only think that kind of reaction means it is true. Itsuki gets a call from Kouta on PSO2. He needs his help but cannot name the details. Then he goes offline.

The group ponder the predicament he is in and fears that there may be something dangerous going to happen here. They go on this side quest to find him instead of telling security so as not to cause major panic. Because they cannot find him, petty tensions among the group start to arise. Seriously, this group who worked so well online can get into this kind of argument? With Rina’s motivation words to bring them back together, they continue to look for Kouta. Retracing what Kouta has said, they believe he is at the storage room. They find his dropped handphone. Contacting him again on PSO2, after they vow to never abandon him, Kouta reveals the truth… He is in the toilet! Apparently that drink made his stomach upset and he needed to urgently answer the call of nature. Too bad there weren’t any tissue papers, thus the emergency. Everybody is so disappointed that they walked off. Yeah, this is one sh*t quest that stinks. Kouta also learns about Rina’s real identity and connects the dots about this ‘date’. At the end of the day, Rina is flustering trying to thank Itsuki for accompanying her. Kouta interrupted them to brag he took pictures with beautiful cosplay girls but still couldn’t find that prettier one. The thought of her makes his stomach upset again… Speaking of her, looks like she has disposed of something dangerous in the background that would otherwise bring chaos to the convention.

Episode 5
If you don’t understand what the heck Tia and Patty are ranting as information brokers, don’t worry. It’s not important. Because they’re NPCs. Because Aika has been quite close to Itsuki, everyone thinks they are dating. Even Aika’s b*tch girls think he is taking advantage of her. Then there is this part Aika doesn’t know why and how bus routes work so Itsuki clearly explains it to her. It makes Rina jealous and thinking they are really dating. WTF. After Itsuki and Rina finish a student council task to borrow equipment from another school (to save cost), they hang out at a mall and see Aika nearby. Her cute smile somewhat awakens some material instinct inside Rina. WTF. Because of that, she would like to become her best friend-cum-mother and takes her out shopping for clothes, games, etc. WTF. A little girl is crying and it seems her balloon is stuck high up. Don’t worry. Aika can grab it just by jumping! Woah! Did she have a cheat code on?! Another problem: The little girl is lost. Under the pretence of playing hide and seek, they go look for her mom till they find her. This hide and seek incident reminds Rina of her past where she used to be a ‘forgotten child’. Kids always forget finding her when playing hide and seek. And this familiar boy that found her… Itsuki also remembers his childhood days but it is his dream to become a hero and save the world. Doesn’t he find that embarrassing now? As Itsuki is on PSO2, he is surprised to see Rina logged on using a new character that looks like herself and even uses her real name. But with bigger boobs? Does she feel left out that Itsuki and Aika are similar in this context and that she doesn’t want to lose out? The duo are on a quest when they are aided by that cute cosplay chick. Her skills are super awesome and the mission is done in no time. Itsuki finds her moves familiar and believes she is Aika. He wants to add her to his friend list but she declines because she has no time for his games.

Episode 6
Itsuki you lucky bastard!!! Actually the student council are heading to the hotspring for an errand but Kouta can’t help think Itsuki x Rina. The inn is run by Last Samurai and Yumiko. Wife tells husband not to touch PSO2 because he has been slacking on his job. Itsuki feels bad for him because he is addicted to PSO2. You don’t say because Rina forbids him to play PSO2 too! When she was presenting her report to the board, they noticed Itsuki’s grades drastically dropped. Like a slap to her face. That is why this trip is for him to study to get his grades back up. Until then, no PSO2. While he is diligently doing the bundle of homework, a student council member, Mika Konoe drops by just to spite him as she wonders why Rina is so interested in him. Upon finding out the questions are set by Rina and she is already so busy with her other work, Itsuki felt bad so he shapes up to complete them all. He finishes them all up in the dead of the night and heads to the hotspring for a much needed relaxation. He logs on PSO2 just to tell Koa he can’t play. Of course Koa gets the wrong idea that something steamy is happening in the hotspring right now. Even more so when Itsuki needs to immediately log out as Aika is coming in. Her mission of hers ended early so she is here. She doesn’t mind sitting naked with him? Rina sees all of Itsuki’s finished homework. Impressive? Since she cannot find him, she logs on to ask Koa. He is freaking excited to be joined by Rina because what do you know? PSO2 has its own hotspring too. Can’t wait to see sexy Rina, eh? But she logs in as Soro… Where did all the enthusiasm go? So dead… Once she learns Itsuki’s whereabouts, she leaves. Mission failed. Rina soaks on the other side of the hotspring and they communicate via PSO2. Funny, right? She is shocked to learn Aika is with him. But then Aika senses something amiss and she leaps out! Basically, she flew into the sky! The rest heard Last Samurai scream. He claims a Darker popped out from his screen and was chased by a girl. Yumiko thinks he is drunk because of the beer. But more importantly, didn’t he break his promise? Oh sh*t… Itsuki’s grades are back up so he immediately logs in. Feels good to be back, huh? Rina warns him about even playing this game right in the middle of class! He claims he is multi-tasking. Isn’t Rina is doing the same? She is doing it flawlessly without getting caught. That’s how a pro does it.

Episode 7
Mika tries to ask Rina if she is free this weekend. Apparently she has something to do with Itsuki. That guy again… What better way for her to take out her frustrations by beating up Darkers with her cute furball avatar. But she is in a pinch and logs out. Unfortunately her problem doesn’t end there because the Darker pops out from her screen! Aika’s Darker sense is tingling and rushes to the spot but before she gets there, the sense disappears. So is Mika. She has been absent from school since but because the student council is busy with their discussion with other clubs for the festival, they put this at the back on their mind. It only gets worrying when Mika continues to be missing and they cannot contact her or her parents anyhow. Itsuki and Rina see Aika asking other people if Mika plays PSO2. Rina catches Mika in the act of rummaging through Mika’s room for clues. Rina sees a book that Mika has about a place to try out some monkfish dish. It just makes her feel guilty all the times she passed her up. Aika leaves once she found Mika’s handheld on the floor. You may think Itsuki is inconsiderate asking Rina to play PSO2 but his intention is that maybe Mika is online and they can ask around. No headway. Till Last Samurai and Yumiko say they think they might see a girl in their school uniform. It is strange because can avatars in PSO2 be customized to that? They head to that spot and are shock to see Mika enclosed inside a cocoon. Darkers besiege them as they turn on the power to rescue Mika and kick Darkers’ ass. But they are having a tough time and Mika is rescued by Aika and her friend. Although she is in safe hands, Rina is about to be killed by a Darker. This is when Itsuki powers up like a main character to do some kickass killing. Yeah, and he had no idea what happened. Next day, everyone is glad Mika is back although she had no memories of what happened and claims she has been in hospital all the while. Itsuki tries to squeeze answers out from her but I guess the most important thing is that she is safe. So bug off with those questions. Itsuki notes that Aika was there to save Mika but she claims she didn’t play PSO2 yesterday.

Episode 8
Itsuki is suspicious of Aika and tries to tail her but fails miserably. She wonders if he is interested in her. I think he is trying to be funny buy saying yes but a few students heard it and think he is confessing. Aika doesn’t reply and now they think he got rejected. When he remembers about some student council work, they think he is avoiding the issue. Cut this guy some slack! Rina and Itsuki go around asking club presidents to agree on some proposal for the festival. With her begging so cutely, it is hard to say now. Any guy who does is gay! Maybe Kouta is a little jealous so when Itsuki does his cute impression on her behalf, it is just freaking gay! I guess rumours that Itsuki confessed to Aika has spread that Rina seconded the idea that they should be the emcees at the festival’s after party. Even online, he is looking for Aika and Rina is not impressed. And she’s not mad! Doesn’t this sound familiar in real life? Silver is worried because like in Mika’s case, a college student in her neighbourhood also went missing. Itsuki’s purpose in finding Aika’s whereabouts is because she might be in the field where the missing person is. He tries tailing her in real life again. Failed miserably once more. This time he runs into Silver who thinks they are dating. There is a nearby shop that is closed and supposedly where that college student went missing. This is where Aika is going. Silver takes it as Aika dumping him and will be his date. Lolicon? Actually, a ploy to leech him off his money to buy ice cream!

If that is not bad enough, wait till he gets back and Rina is waiting for him furiously! Adding insult to injury, she is scolding him so loud that everyone in the hall could hear about how she doesn’t care who he dates (really?) but he missed out an important student council meeting. This is embarrassing yet pitiful… Itsuki finally finds a field where Aika is. He tries to help her kill a Darker but takes a big damage. He is to be done for but some barrier activated. Then he changes into some super form and unleashes a super Over End blast to cut it into half! Woah! Aika logs out as soon as it ends. Itsuki is not happy and tries to find her in her room. Not so fast! The security is at least doing his job stopping him. In an interrogation, I guess he was too deep ranting about his high school escapades of something similar that Itsuki manages to sneak out! WTF?! Itsuki realizes his hip is pain. How can a damage he sustained in the game be real in reality? It gets worse when a Darker pops out from his handheld. Aika is here to save the day but another Darker pops out. Since she is busy handling one, Itsuki is left running from the other. As he tries to block his attack, he then transforms into his ultimate form. Let’s understand this later because right now he is going to kick some serious Darker’s ass.

Episode 9
They defeat the Darkers and subsequently Aika brings him to her base. He introduced to her commander, Kasura. Kasura gives Itsuki a drink to heal his wounds. Just who are they? For starters, they are like NPCs but aren’t. Huh? That is because PSO2 isn’t a game. It is real. And so are Darkers. Time for a little more explanation. Darkers led by their big boss, Dark Falz are planning to invade Earth. However in order to do so, they need a vessel for Dark Falz. When Itsuki powered up and used it to defeat the Darker, that power is called Photon Arts. That power is what Darkers are seeking. Thus the kidnappings to see who have the highest compatible Photon Arts for Dark Falz. Thankfully Mika was not chosen but because Itsuki’s Photon Arts is very powerful, he is going to be a very regular target. Kasura wants his help to help defeat Dark Falz whom he is sure is already in PSO2. Welcome to Oracle. Itsuki is in high spirits taking out Darkers after Darkers. However with the increase in attacks, Aika tells him to stay away from the fight and this makes this boy mad that he is being left behind. There is one time he didn’t heed her advice and jumped into the game. He almost got defeated by this strong Darker but was saved by Aika’s comrades, Xeno and Echo. He starts feeling afraid when his power couldn’t cut down this Darker. As explained, this is a Boosted Enemy, a Darker that has evolved. Aika continues to tell Itsuki to stay out or he’ll get in their way. Because of that, he is able to focus on his student council job and everyone is amazed and praising his outstanding work. But behind the scenes, no PSO2 means he is a sad cat.

Aika has been away for so long that even her b*tch groupies are worried. They even talk to Itsuki to find out more since they are always together. Since when they are friends? I thought a few scenes ago they were dissing him? Meanwhile Aika is against Kasura’s plan about using Itsuki as bait because she feels he is an ordinary Earthling with a life and has not undergone any official ARKS training despite his high Photon Arts. Since when she is concerned over his boring normal life? Kasura reminds her priorities are wrong. If Dark Falz invades Earth, nobody can have a normal life. Besides if this is the path Itsuki chose, they have to respect it. Another Darker pops up before Itsuki. I guess he remembers his promise so he runs away like a coward. Luckily Aika is here to save his ass. But during that, she gets injured. Now see the mad look on his face. The kind that says ‘you f*ck with my girl, I’m going to f*ck you up so hard’. Yeah… He powers up and destroys the Darker. Literally the monster didn’t even see his moves coming… That furious, huh? Aika wonders why he is fighting Darkers. He can’t sit back and let her protect him. Male ego, I guess. He wants her to let him fight with her and promises he won’t get in the way. She wants him to call her by her first name as this is what her teammates call her for coordinating purposes.

Episode 10
The festival is around the corner but Itsuki seems to be tired. Aika doesn’t want the student council members to blame him as it is her fault in keeping him up all night. Oh dear. That is pretty ambiguous… Rina is worried that Itsuki is working so hard that it may be affecting his health. So she privately talks to Aika about this and you know how she ambiguously puts her words. But Aika says Itsuki tends to handle things on his own so she will try her best to protect him. This talk continues to bother Rina… I think I know why as much as you do. Aika and Itsuki continue to hunt and defeat Darkers and even get backup from the legendary ARKS girl who was once consumed as the dark vessel but miraculously returned alive, Matoi. The festival proceeds as normal. Masaya Kudou of the student council is bugging every pretty girl thinking they are those sexy female cat characters from PSO2. Doesn’t he know he looks like a creep? Then he realizes they are those macho construction guys. You should see the regret on his face… Aika senses a Darker during her maid cafe shift. She makes haste as Kouta tails her. While Itsuki helps Rina at the garbage site, a Darker pops out and attacks him. Wow. See him being thrown like a ragdoll! He is about to be killed and shocked Rina suddenly and instinctively summons her guns to fire that Darker away. Now she is targeted. Although the Darker is destroyed, reinforcements arrive. Aika is surprised to see Rina too has the Photon Arts. Rina is still reeling from the shock of what is happening so she gets captured by the Darker leader. Cue for Itsuki to get mad and slash his way like a berserk hero. Yeah, nobody touches his girl! Unfortunately this time, the Darker escapes. He lost his girl. Shocking, no? Not as shocking as Kouta witnessing the entire action battle. What in blazes just happened?

Episode 11
Kouta needs some explaining but even telling the truth needs time for him to digest. They don’t have that so our heroes rush off to rescue Rina. They find her in a cocoon on some desolated planet. However it seems she is corrupted as she attacks them. Itsuki is weakened by her attack so Aika has no choice but to take him away while Xeno stays back and stalls for time. Itsuki wakes up in Oracle and is told that Dark Falz has merged with Rina. In no time they will become one. Itsuki wants to help but is told to return to Seiga and think about when Rina returns. The student council members are worried that Rina is missing and was last seen with Itsuki. He can’t say much about her circumstances but he promises to get her back and for the time being run the festival. Now Itsuki goes to explain the truth to Kouta. Kouta then goes to tell Yutaka this and because Mika was eavesdropping, she too wants the whole truth. Yeah, soon everybody will know everything… Itsuki is not pleased there is nothing much they can do to save Rina. But as Kasura puts it, is he going to save a girl at the expense of the entire human race? I think a young teenage boy in love might just do it… The situation is already out of his hands so please let them handle this. Of course Itsuki isn’t going to be a good boy and listen to such orders. He is going to save Rina himself. He thought Aika is here to stop him but she assures him her job is to protect him. So focus on saving Rina and get their asses back safely in one piece. Fortunately (or not) Itsuki doesn’t have to play the only hero as Koa and the rest of the known PSO2 avatars/characters are going to join him in this rescue mission. That is what friends are for, right? So no Darkers are going to get in the way of Itsuki. Big or small. Powerful or super powerful. Unless it is super duper big powerful Darker. Then that is why we have an excuse to see the party cooperate to take this menace down. Itsuki and Aika go ahead after a chasm separates them from the group. This giant hideous bug before them is Dark Falz’s final form.

Episode 12
A bunch of mechas are heading this way. They are AIS (ARKS Intelligence Silhouette) and are the most powerful bunch of military unit in ARKS. Want proof? They fire their lasers challenging Dark Falz and beat the latter. Although Dark Falz is damaged, he is regenerating. I suppose AIS is also recharging, the reason they can’t finish Dark Falz now. That is why Itsuki better hurry to save Rina or AIS is going to wipe her out along with Dark Falz. Aika uses her weapon to open a portal to let Itsuki enter Dark Falz. As for how to find Rina, he must sense her. Gee, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack, right? It is proof of how much he feels for her, right? I guess he is taken aback to see smiling Rina and forgot about Suzuki’s words of not letting the darkness get the better of him. Doesn’t he notice her evil eyes? When they shake hands, the darkness immediately engulfs him. Tentacle rape?! However, thinking about Rina gave him the strength to break free! WTF?! He is now at a scene in Rina’s past whereby she was the forgotten child. And you might have already guessed it, Itsuki was the one who found her. And now that he has found her again, yup, there she is right in the core of Dark Falz. After calling out to her passionately, cue for them to reunite by reaching out to each other and join hands. Yeah, so freaking cliché. They power up enough to blast their way out of Dark Falz and rendezvous with Aika. Then the trio combine their power to use a towering sword beam, Star Gazer to cut Dark Falz in half! Woah! With the threat over, Aika now gives her excuse not to return with Itsuki and Rina to the festival because, well, her mission is over. WTF?! Is she trying to be the tough guy? After the duo are sent back, remnants of Dark Falz begin acting up so Aika uses her weapon to absorb it. Rina comes back just in time to host the after party of the festival. It is no surprise she even wins the beauty pageant. Of course she apologizes to all those she made worried. I don’t know what reasons she gave but I believe they must be just glad to have her back. Itsuki narrates the aftermath. He returns to his seemingly ordinary (AKA boring) life. He lost his ability to enter Oracle after that and he attends more offline meetings with his PSO2 group. Rina graduates and Itsuki takes her places student council president. All the while, Aika never returned. There is this cheesy moment Itsuki wants to put his hand on her shoulder but was interrupted with Aika’s return! Great timing, girl. Where the heck were you?! Oh, you are back just to tell them you are leaving for another mission?! WTF?! Sure, they will always be connected no matter how far away with PSO2, right?

When Fantasy Is Reality…
Oh well, at least it is slightly better than some animes of this genre, say, Gunslinger Stratos. You have to agree with me on this one, right? I know the characters feel mediocre and the plot as well because the whole series about studying the effects of playing PSO2 just to convince the authorities that video games do not have a direct correlation with your grades feels like a big BS excuse just to play this game. And hence a story. Besides, whatever happened to that? I assume that it must have worked out well because you see the students of Seiga still playing with their handheld on school grounds. This means the authorities are convinced, right? Uh huh. Rina’s parting gift for you future Seiga generations. So be grateful! After all, what is a Seiga school when you can’t even play a decent Sega game, right?

I know the ending was a bit rushed too. Especially when Aika went a little missing after that. It didn’t explain what the heck she was doing during that period. Then she returns just to tell us she is going away. WTF?! At least she has the decency to show her face. But still, popping up for a short while just to say goodbye is still WTF material. It might not be hinted at the end but I am suspecting that Dark Falz like many of the strongest antagonists in video games around, he isn’t totally destroyed yet. That is why I suspect that when Aika absorbed and contained him in her weapon, it may be some sort of foreshadowing of something. I don’t know. It wasn’t really explained but perhaps it is just to f*ck with our minds like people like me who tend to think too much about this kind of petty stuffs.

At first this series was slightly ‘refreshing’ as compared to the rest of its counterparts in this genre. That is because the setting is about high school kids playing the game. The game world itself is not a setting. So it was different to know that the unlike other animes whereby the fantasy world is real and the characters live or at least play in it for survival, this series features our kids just whipping out their handheld and log into the game if they want to hunt down monsters or take on side quests. Of course that changes in the final third of the series. It wouldn’t be any surprise because whenever anybody logs into PSO2, you can see them interacting like in reality. As though they put on their sci-fi cosplay outfits, change the backdrop and voila! It’s like they are in the game, right? I mean, come on. Do you think the characters can really move that freely with their body actions, facial expression and gesture instead of the standard movements set in the game? So eventually the game had to become the reality, right?

The characters feel pretty generic too. Like Itsuki being the main character despite being a wuss and sometimes sounding like a gay. Because of the power of main character BS, he gets to power up and kick Darker ass with his incredible latent talent. You know it bugs me how he can transform into his Photon Arks power up version during all that but after Dark Falz is defeated, he can’t even do that anymore. It is like they don’t need him anymore and thus blocked him from doing that ever again. Rina, yes she is the beautiful, strong and independent woman till the producers decide to make her the damsel in distress. And Aika as the mysterious transfer student who turns out to be more than meets the eye, ushers our main character into something that affects the destiny and fate of mankind. You know that crap. But at least she doesn’t stay a cold person all the way as she learns to open up and make friends. But prior to that I can’t help think Aika is a little liar because if you noticed whenever Itsuki asks her if she was there in the game, she would deny it. Although, it is pretty much clear that avatar is Aika herself. So why need to hide and cover up, girl?

I think they were trying to force in a little romance because you could see how obvious and cheesy it is and it fails. So cliché that the most popular girl who is also the prettiest in school, has the best grades, good in sports and perhaps the greatest role model for all humanity, starts taking a liking for a pathetic main character. Did you not notice that she is using her position and dictatorship to make him part of the student council and play PSO2 with the flimsy excuse of trying to convince the higher ups about the balance of studies and games? Perhaps her pretty face is the only reason why the listen to her. And with Aika coming in between them, you can see her getting irritated just about anything she hears or sees that concerns the duo. And with Aika who isn’t really good in picking her words, the ambiguity factor just goes up by another notch. Then you notice how Aika has been spamming about her mission to protect Itsuki as of late as though it is some sort of hint he has something for him. She would also defy her orders just to stay true to this single mission of hers. I mean, it does look like that, right?

Other characters feel generic too and just to add some spice and variation in addition to your main character. Like the other members in Kouta’s groupie, you would only remember Last Samurai as a henpecked husband whenever he steps out of line in real life. Oh, and his amazing manly chest hair too. Yumiko the nice wife until her husband does something silly and she’ll not hesitate to give him an uppercut. Does she play fighting games too? Then you need to have the generic lively little girl in Silver and the polite old man, Kid (I think he has another real name but I couldn’t be bothered. Yeah, they should just call him Jeeves or Alfred…). And not forgetting Kouta, the other guy who is also idiotic whenever he gets passionate. Aika’s groupies are to make it look like she isn’t a lone wolf. Other than that, I can’t see any point to have such b*tches as her friends. Okay, they aren’t as bad once you know them but not that it matters anyway. It is just sad that they never see her again. Really. They waited for her to return to their class’ maid cafe but she never did. Because all they got was the short end of the stick of Kouta dressing as one to substitute her! No way! So from what we see in the final scenes, did the producers forget about this little part of at least making her groupie happy of seeing her one last time?

Other characters in ARKS do not make much impact. Like Kasura who might be the commander of ARKS but he sounds like as though he has an ulterior motive and could be a turncoat. Thankfully he just sounds like that. Because Itsuki is the main character, Xeno and Echo are relegated to be lackeys that only make their screen time appearance whenever necessary. And I think poor Xeno got owned big time by Dark Falz (while possessing Rina) when he was letting Itsuki and Aika escape. Be grateful! I don’t even know why Matoi is in this anime for besides that she is a real character from the actual game itself and I suppose is to make fan boys squeal over her cameo. Same case for Kuna as she is like the Hatsune Miku of the series. She is also a character from the real game. So they really have a singing idol in this game, huh? Yeah, what a better rewarding way after a tough quest than to watch your virtual idol sing and dance on stage. I suppose it does motivate some players.

The other members in the student council are also one kind. Like Masaya, another passionate idiotic guy whom you will only remember the time he gets screwed after learning the female avatars online are actually macho men. Gay time? I think he got along pretty well with those guys in the end… Split personality Yutaka is a bigger wuss so that it makes Itsuki look less a wuss. Mika the tough chick and so called best friend to Rina in the student council till a certain main character comes along and then she turns into a slightly spiteful b*tch. Oh, there is also a pair of members looking as emotionless as they sound because they either complete each other’s sentences or in perfect sync with each other. Twins? The Tweedledee and Tweedledum of the series?

Art and drawing are pretty standard although they mix in CGI during battle scenes. Many of such scenes, even the characters are rendered in CGI. I guess this makes sense because when you have the game in CGI, to add to the realism, such animation style is necessary so that traditional hand drawn 2D and computer animation will not clash. Sometimes I think maybe they took out some scenes from the game and place it in here but I could be very wrong since this is an original anime. While the character designs are pretty standard, I can’t help notice that when Itsuki and Rina power up into their Photon Arts outfit, they kinda look like the main protagonist and his girlfriend in Gunslinger Stratos! Yup. Looking very familiar…

I suppose the action sequences are okay but if you are hoping to see some spectacular power moves, my best bet is for you to play the game. Yeah, level up your character and equip him/her with rare power weapons for all those flashy hard hitting critical attacks. As far as this anime is concerned, such fights are hardly anything to shout about. It just gives us reasonable entertainment. If it is the producer’s hope of luring us into the game with such scenes, then I believe it is not effective. At least I can say that on my part. I’m saying this partly because I do not play the game and in fact the first time I got to know that PSO2 even exists is during my stint in another Sega created anime, Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girls. Therefore seeing Darkers like mindless drones and when they attack, it doesn’t really feel threatening. It does only because Itsuki is a noob. Eventually I predicted somebody will come save the day or destroy the Darkers. After all, like in many other similar games of the same genre, they exist in large numbers for us players to wipe out and level up, right? There are even comprehensive explanations of the several terms used in the game during the mid-intermission screen. It is really cool if you are interested more about the PSO2 world. But then again, to me it feels like baiting you to go and play the game.

There have been a few misidentifications in identifying a handful of seiyuus. Probably I have seen so many animes that they are all starting to sound alike. Like Kouta, I thought it was Mamoru Miyano because when he goes into his passionate idiotic mode, he really sounded like him. Instead Kouta is voiced by Nobunaga Shimazaki (Shido in Date A Live). Same case for Aika as I had a feeling she sounded like Sayaka Ohara but really wasn’t. It was actually Mao (Madoka in Denpa Kyoushi). Thankfully there are some unmistakable veteran ones I got it right like Hiroshi Kamiya as Kasura, Kana Asumi as Patty, Yuka Iguchi as Tia and Satomi Satou as Matoi. Oh, Kikuko Inoue is Yumiko? I would never have guessed. The other casts include Shouta Aoi as Itsuki (Ai in Uta No Prince-sama series), Ayaka Suwa as Rina (Ikumi in Jinsei), Rie Murakawa as Mika (Hotaru in Non Non Biyori), Emi Nitta as Silver (Honoka in Love Live), Katsuyuki Konishi as Last Samurai (Oga in Beelzebub), Aki Kanada as Yutaka (Chibitalia in Hetalia Axis series), Tesshou Genda as Soro (Metal Knight in One Punch Man) and Hiroyuki Yoshino as Musashi (Bossun in Sket Dance).

The opening theme, Zessei Stargate by Aoi Shouta feels like generic anime rock but I guess for a genre like this, there isn’t anything more suitable than this type of song. Now, the more amusing, if not weird one is the ending theme, Rare Drop! Koi! Koi! One More!, a duet by Rina and Aika. It isn’t so much about this pop idol music but rather the ending credits animation whereby a bunch of Rappy birds (PSO2’s mascot) dance all the way. Then it is like the producers think the birds’ dancing are so cute that viewers might want to dance a long so they put on the bottom right hand corner of the screen an animation of Soro doing the exact same dance movements! I guess it is hard for humans to imitate closely to birds but easier if it is a robot with humanoid features (hands and limbs, so to speak). Because of that, Soro’s dancing feels a bit ‘girly’. Uh huh. Despite the masculinity physical appearance, this ‘girly’ dance makes Soro look gay! I’m not kidding! You will either fawn over the cuteness or cringe hard enough.

Overall, I believe fans of the game can only truly appreciate this series. Or hate it. Casual fans would just categorize it as another MMORPG adapted series with nothing extraordinary standing out. But if this anime series is enough to get you motivated to go try out the game itself and then you get hooked over playing it, looks like Sega is in the right direction. Another mindless sucker walking into our palms, hahaha!!!! Whoops! Sometimes when you are too addicted in playing such MMORPG games, you really become immerse and it distorts your vision of reality that you begin seeing the fantasy stuffs in the game as real. An omen which I am thinking is what this series is foreshadowing. Otherwise why do you have people interacting like real inside the game? And could Darkers popping out of the screens be an indication they have been playing too much? Could it all be just a figment of their imagination? And why is nobody reporting it if it is such a big issue? Either everybody is also hallucinating or Japan’s government do not want to be laughed by the world as their citizens cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy so they are keeping it under tight wraps. Who knows, the entire Seiga and the town might be just one big asylum and sanatorium for extremely addicted people with no hope! OMG! I can’t believe I am saying all this conspiracy theory. Only way to debunk all this by playing the game :-).

Mushibugyou OVA

August 5, 2016

It feels like ages even though it has just been a few years. These days one of the ‘sad’ things about overseas an non-Japanese anime fans is that despite you get to watch the TV anime series you want (legally or not that is not the point we are going to discuss and up to your discretion and conscious), there are probably a whole lot of OVAs that don’t really get their chance of such exposure. In recent years where ‘legal subs’ are now provided in just about a big majority of shows released for a season and thus some believed the reason in contributing to the ‘decline of fansubs’, it is unfortunate that OVAs and specials of many series never got subbed. Even if they do, they take ages. So as in the case of Mushibugyou OVA. While it isn’t very long since it came out, but the time it takes for a group to sub it properly took its toll. You know a ‘busy’ person like me has so many animes to watch and shows like these get pushed behind if it is ‘not complete’. Then there was the fact that there are an unknown number of episodes for the OVAs. Hence I’m not sure how long or forever this will drag out. So I guess I got tired of waiting and just watched whatever that was available. Better to have watched some than never to have any at all?

OVA 1
Bugs are still invading Japan. So why the f*ck are Koikawa, Tenma and Hibachi fighting each other?! Over this cake?! WTF?! Then Jinbei sees the cake and eats it all himself! And he got beaten to a pulp. As Jinbei goes on patrol with Mugai, he sees this kid, Torakichi being bullied and thrown out from a dojo as they don’t want a lower caste to join them. When Torakichi sees and thinks Jinbei and Mugai as samurai warriors, he brings them to his house. His parents aren’t pleased seeing as lowly peasants they must know their place. However Torakichi begs them to teach him to become a samurai as he wants to become stronger and protect his loved ones. As expected, Jinbei is so touched by his determination that he agrees to train him. So we see Torakichi undergoing training from Jinbei sensei and the rest of his comrades soon help out. Except for Mugai who is just watching on as this scene brings back familiar memories of his past. One day as Torakichi goes to defend his siblings from the dojo bullies, Torakichi’s parents tell Jinbei to stop fuelling his samurai delusions because of their lowly social status, that kid can never become a samurai. Watching their son put in so much effort and not realizing his dream can be extremely painful. It may about to get worse because the siblings come back to report how Torakichi lost.

Jinbei goes to pick him up and you can feel his devastated moral that he won’t become a samurai even after giving all he’s got. He thought of becoming a strong and important samurai to stop the bullying but it was all a letdown. Leave it to Jinbei to tell him how much of a samurai he has already become. Because he tried to protect his siblings with all his strength and that itself is the ideal samurai image Jinbei has always been pursuing. Our bullies are getting their just desserts as a giant mantis bug swallows them into its cocoon. Our samurai heroes go into action with Jinbei fighting it upfront while Torakichi climbs its back to free the bullies. Torakichi is going to be devoured by parasite bugs but here comes Mugai in action. Then the rest of the squad members too to show off their bug killing skills. Finally Jinbei destroys the mantis. The bullies apologize to Torakichi but he holds no grudges since fighting to keep people from despair is what it means to be a samurai. More superb motivational advice from Jinbei to not worry about his current status. Continue what he is doing and he will one day become strong. He hopes they can be strong together. And Mugai watching remembers something this similar too as he notes that is why he became strong and betrayed his friends.

OVA 2
Mugai is so deep in meditation that even the animals gather around him! Hibachi is observing this lovely sight when boorish Jinbei had to interrupt. So as Hibachi sings praises about Mugai to Irori, the latter asks if she would instantly accept a wedding proposal from Mugai. Of course! But what if Jinbei says he likes her? This throws her off balance. Speaking of him, here he comes taking her hand to go on a patrol. This only gives more ammo to Irori to cheer for her. Because of this, Hibachi becomes very self conscious as she observes Jinbei helping others in his silly way. Then there is this ‘showdown’. Hibachi and Oharu ‘compete’ to help Jinbei carry his vegetables?! It ends with Jinbei falling on top of Oharu. This ambiguous erotic scene pisses off Hibachi so she tells him off: He will never become like Mugai! Wow. That really hit him hard. Kotori talks to Hibachi about her upcoming mission to destroy a Mushibito (human insect) at a fort. That’s normal but what’s the catch? Mugai is joining her and he personally picked her for this mission since she is the nimblest! You bet she wants to go on this mission. Oh yeah. So excited that she couldn’t sleep all night just thinking about the possibilities (delusions) with Mugai. So the next day as they make their journey, Hibachi realizes something amiss… They didn’t even talk!!! Meanwhile Jinbei seeks Koikawa’s advice on what Hibachi told him. Koikawa punches him and from what I understand it sounds like go-figure-out-yourself.

Mugai continues to ignore Hibachi even when she offers something to eat. Instead Hibachi experiences emotional flutters as she observes how observant he is on his surroundings. Yeah, even careful enough not to step on a pretty flower! KYAAA~!!!!! <3!!!! It is obviously she sees him in an even higher light but why is she comparing him to Jinbei? When they reach the destination, it is raining heavily and Hibachi spots a man being swept away by the current. She tells Mugai about this but she is in for a shock when he tells her he doesn’t care and his priority is to kill this Mushibito. Hibachi couldn’t help feel disappointed and lashes out at him not to say such sad things because this is not what Jinbei will say! She goes off to help the man but the current is too strong for her. Mugai finishes off the Mushibito and even has time continuing his combo to save that guy! Woah! Hibachi regains her respect for Mugai and believes he wanted to exterminate Mushibito fast so he could save this person. Thankfully it turned out like that, eh? She returns and tells this story to Jinbei although she herself feels pathetic for lashing out at Mugai. Jinbei then tells her he has been reflecting deeply about what she said so much so he hadn’t eaten! He hasn’t found the answer yet but he will continue to do things his way and train as much to become like Mugai one day. Okay. Whatever. She is happy Jinbei is being himself but claims she will get acknowledged by Mugai first. Later Hibachi apologizes to Mugai.

OVA 3
F*ck! Let’s just screw everything and put a modern day era high school setting! It begins with the usual cliché. Mushibugyou the new transfer rushes her way to school but bumps into fellow schoolmate Jinbei. A kind soul as always, he takes her there. Meanwhile Nagatomimaru addresses the students in the hall about the cultural festival. The best performance with the most votes will win a luxurious cruise trip and they can bring a partner along who cannot deny. Yeah, it means Nagatomimaru wants some gay time with Jinbei! Mushibugyou is in the same class as Jinbei as he shows her around the school. Nagatomimaru doesn’t like what he sees (it’s like they’re dating) and although Jinbei clarifies, Nagatomimaru wants to come along too. So they visit various characters making their preparations for the festival like Oharu making her dango, Hibachi making her explosives and Tenma reading Playboy magazines for inspiration for his figurines. Really? Jinbei will be doing kendo but he isn’t doing it for the prize as he has a goal and must do it to improve his skills. So the festival is on the way. Various weird acts… Jinbei and Mushibugyou walk around. In the hall, performances that are done and votes casted, their total is displayed on the board. Currently in third place is Koikawa’s yakisoba stand (did he put drugs in them?). Second place is an animal corner. This isn’t exactly a performance because it is Mugai so deep in meditation that the animals gather around him. Of course running away with the lead is Nagatomimaru’s host club for boys and girls. Sexy boys and girls give the other gender their much needed attention for his much needed votes. Nagatomimaru is convinced at this rate victory will be his since there are 2 performances left.

Next up is Oharu and her dango. However she gets clumsy and gives everybody free fanservice. From her boobs in Jinbei’s face and delicious pantsu shots, it is no wonder Oharu’s performance skyrockets up to second place. Only second place? I guess everybody has a little gay pride in them. The last performance is Jinbei’s kendo up against Genjuurou. In a tough battle, Jinbei loses but he doesn’t give up and gets up to fight back. This motivation has everyone in awe as Jinbei continues his power fight. As the votes are being tallied and it could be the big upset of the day, suddenly Yukimura and his men hijack the stage to force everyone to vote for them or else. Before they know it, every other character starts usurping them claiming the top prize is theirs. And all hell break