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 breaks loose because it turns into a free for all with every character beating the crap out of each other. Yeah, I don’t think that character is even from this school. The pandemonium ends when the entire school is destroyed. You happy now? Apparently not Mushibugyou. She is most upset. Oh no. She was enjoying Jinbei’s performance and they had to ruin it. Oh sh*t. They’re going to pay! She transforms into her dark form but since she is wearing a school swimsuit underneath, everyone loves it and unanimously votes for her in first place. And then everything all turns out to be a dream of Mushibugyou while she is at some cocoon castle. She notes how Jinbei makes her dream of fun things. Fun? I thought it was f*cking weird!

Sleep Tight, Don’t Let The (Giant) Bed Bugs Bite
I am not even sure how many actual OVAs there are even if currently right now it officially stands at three. One reason that made me say that is because at the end of the final OVA, Jinbei trolls us with his report of how good the first two OVAs were. They were so well received. So does this mean there will be more? Apparently he is ranting how ‘good’ they were because of the Oharu fanservice offered until pissed Hibachi cuts him off. There is no announcement of the next OVA preview like in before so I assume that it is dusted and done but with this trolling, I can’t say because just like monster bugs that suddenly pop up when you least expected it, the OVA too might spring such surprise.

Overall, the OVAs were just nostalgia to me. Okay, partially fun too especially the final one no matter how f*cking silly it was and far it strayed from its usual setting. I don’t know, I just feel that the subsequent episodes are straying a little. It starts off with the usual of everything like we know, Jinbei training and giving hope to a young samurai wannabe and fighting a big dangerous bug because you know, that is what the show is all about. It shows Jinbei never changed as the idiotic guy with a big heart. Never change, Jinbei. Never change. Then the next focuses on Hibachi and her love dilemma which isn’t much considering how we all know a big dick Mugai is. Yes, it shows that Mugai is still a douchebag but he does it in a cool way. So cool that you’d brush it off aside when he does the next slightest good deed. Oh yeah. That is Mugai for you. We love and hate him altogether.

Finally the high school setting just kills it. Just like how ecchi themed animes must have the obligatory beach episode or pool episode, I suppose when you have a feudal setting, sometimes you need to break all that familiarity and go for something different. It only shows how much gay Nagatomimaru is. Ironically Mushibugyou had the least role as a supporting main character even in the final OVA considering this series was named after her. But I guess that is what underdogs do. They steal the very show at the very final moment. Heck, it was her dream after all. Uh huh. A big troll just to reconcile with our minds why they had a high school setting in the first place. And maybe they should go shameless fanservice with a fourth OVA, making use of all the buxom babes and flat chest girls and putting Mitsuki to good use since she makes cameos in all episodes without contributing to anything important except to show off her sexiness.

Right now, my sentiments of the series is already long gone. In other words, I am not really interested or looking forward if they announced another season. But it could be different then because you know, nostalgia. Bugs are one of my biggest phobias and I don’t know how I even managed to sit through the entire TV series without being scarred. So unless they changed those bugs like those insect men into cute bishoujo girls invading the land, then yeah, maybe. Nanto…

Luck & Logic

July 24, 2016

Usually after reading the rules of any card or board game, it is basically just down to luck and logic in playing and winning the game most of the time. Yes, my initial perception of hearing Luck & Logic being adapted from a trading card game (though I have never heard it before in my entire life) would be something much like Yugioh. You know that retro show, right? You summon monsters, magic or traps with the pack of magic cards you have and battle it out. Good news or bad news, this anime isn’t even close to that. There are no cards even used in fighting enemies that come from another dimension! I know I can only blame myself for not understanding something when I didn’t take the initiative to go find out more and read up on it beforehand. But hey, it couldn’t be that bad, right? What is that you say? This is a sci-fi action series?! Oh God… Sci-fi terms… OH NO!!! Too late…

Episode 1
Yoshichika Tsurugi is watching some epic battle. But when his little sister, Shiori comes into his room, he hides the video. She remains suspicious and thinks he is viewing some porn site. Yeah… There is a Paradox Level alerted so Yoshichika takes extreme but silly measures for safety despite the level is just a low one. You can never be too careful… In town, a police group called Another Logic Counter Agency AKA ALCA (sci-fi magical girls?) are taking on a Foreigner (monster) and easily defeat it. Veronica Ananko, the section bureau chief of ALCA is interviewing Yukari Nanahoshi as a new ALCA member. She is recruited because of the sudden appearance in her power which will eventually disappear when she reaches adulthood. ALCA’s job is to protect the peace in the area. Another Paradox Level alert is sounded and this one is a huge one. Attacking people at a mall where Yoshichika and Shiori are there to get their dad a birthday gift, Yoshichika plays hero by saving a lost kid and then trying to tackle the bull monster on his own. He is led away by a girl named Athena. Although the threat is contained by ALCA, Foreigner got away. Athena has specifically come here to see Yoshichika because he is a Logicalist, those with special powers in this world allowing them to comprehend otherworldly Logic and invoke it. She wants to be his Covenant. As proof, she found his lost Logic Card. He is ready to join but Shiori is very much against this. Yoshichika believes the current strength of ALCA is unable to defeat Foreigner. Shiori throws a fuss about his promise to protect the family instead of being a world hero and not talk like a stereotypical main character! You don’t say… But he has made up his mind. He is going to protect everybody. Because he is the main character! Haha!

As they get into the truck, he asks Athena why she chose him. 2 years ago at Hong Kong, he used the prohibited Over Trance to save a life even if it is from the otherworldly. He is the kind of person who would sacrifice his own personality for that. That is why she wants to protect this world with him. They make a contract and it sounded like a marriage vow if you substitute the right terms. Yeah, they kissed at the end… Our ALCA cosplayers are having a tough time containing the bull who is going on another rampage. Once Yoshichika enters the scene, he takes control and shows his badass side invoking all the special terms to put the beast down once and for all. Yeah, he kicked ass. Some ALCA girls are wary of this guy. Some just want to get flirty with this hot dude. Is it harem time already? But the biggest battle he has to face is Shiori. She will not allow him to transfer to ALCA. Big brother convinces her he will protect her, dad and the city. F*ck it! Don’t be a buranko and just let him go! Yoshichika arrives at ALCA and he would like to save the introductions for tomorrow as he is very tired. To his shock, he thought his room is occupied but as Veronica explains, it is ALCA’s mandatory policy to strengthen the bonds of Logicalists and Covenants by living together. Yoroshiku ne!

Episode 2
Yoshichika is having a weird dream romancing Athena. What a coincidence, she is too! The logic is that since they both Tranced, they share each other’s Logic. Huh? He then meets the director of ALCA, Utsutsuno Jarno before meeting fellow Logicalist, Olga Breakchild. He passes off as an arrogant fortunetelling jerk. Yoshichika tries to ask Veronica about Olga but she tells him not to say that name. His fellow ALCA girls take a quiz helmed by Veronica’s Covenant, Nemesis. In this quiz we get to learn a few things like demons connecting to other worlds via Gates and some of the Gods that come to live here are Covenants help rid those demons known as Foreigners. Of course with the Gate connecting to Tetra Heaven not closed, the reason why Foreigners spill out. So to close the Gate, one needs a Gate Card in which you obtain from a fallen Foreigner. This also disables the Foreigner from going through Gates again. The quiz ends with the blonde chick, Chloe Maxwell scoring the lowest (are they trying to hint dumb blonde?) and she has to make them supper. Those towering burgers… Yoshichika gets a distressing call from Shiori about dad bringing home another woman and doing some funny stuffs with her. Literally. Swimming backstroke? WTF?! Is this how you make love? Apparently this isn’t a big enough emergency for him to go ‘rescue’. Then he remembers yesterday’s introduction cut short so he apologizes and gets to know the girls. Aside Chloe, we have Tamaki Yurine and Mana Asuha along with their Covenants Venus, Artemis and Valkyrie. They are shocked over his 2000 over clocked Trance Time. Fast recovery rate, I guess. Even Tamaki as the best one is only 255 hours. When he asks them about Olga, they feel reluctant to say. He even calls his old pal to find out more but he doesn’t know anything. It makes Yoshichika feel the higher ups have something to hide. Speaking of which, Olga visits that bull Foreigner, Belial and is attempting to do something.

Yoshichika and the girls are in a simulated trial against Belial. Only Yukari sits out because she doesn’t have her own Covenant. As she learns some terms like Trancejack (Foreigner taking over a person’s body), she doesn’t understand the concept of Over Trance. Veronica won’t tell her so Olga is here to explain how all living things have 1000 Logic Cards. You share half of that when you Trance. Over Trance is a last ditch attempt to completely join all your Logic Cards. The risk is that they both will fall into Paradox Sick and your personality destroyed. After the successful trial, Yoshichika sees Olga and bombards him with questions. No answers, though. A low Paradox Level alert is sounded so Veronica orders Yoshichika to go alone. However he is not amused that Olga is given special treatment. What makes him special? He is a Logicalist but not a Logicalist. HUH?! WTF?! What kind of logic is that?! So the Foreigner is bullying small kids and easily surrenders when Yoshichika tells him to. Weakling. When Olga is going to do something to Belial again, Yoshichika catches him in the act and bombards another round of questions. No answer. That is when Athena helps to answer about him being a Logicalist but not one. It simply means despite he is a Logicalist, he doesn’t have a Covenant and his Trance time is zero. Is that supposed to be awesome? He has been trying to persuade Belial but was unable to make a Covenant. The reason everyone avoids talking to him is because they felt bad for him. That’s it? Olga puts on the biggest poker face he will get the greatest Covenant but till then will just consign to his fate. Then he laughs like a maniac. Maybe it is getting to him. Jarno congratulates Yoshichika on his successful trial and has decided to make him the new leader of the group. Tamaki is against it but you know what they say when your boss’ orders are absolute.

Episode 3
Yoshichika can’t get over what Tamaki said. Perhaps the same for her too as she casts a forlorn figure as she writes a traditional letter to her sister she isn’t a leader anymore. When Tamaki becomes distant from the group, here comes Olga with his ambiguous talk about Tamaki can’t give up on her dream. Want to know more? Ask the boss. Yoshichika did ask Veronica. Apparently Tamaki wanted to become a doctor to save lives. But her Logic powers came about and she was drafted into ALCA. She never complained and tweaked her thinking as her job and dream goal is the same. A Paradox Level alert is sounded. A pair of succubus and incubus is terrorizing the city. The team split into pairs and it seems Tamaki is not pleased she is paired with Yoshichika. Chloe and Mana are successful as they quickly destroy the incubus. However it is not the case for the other pair as they are not the offensive type. It gets complicated when Tamaki is ordered to kill the succubus but she becomes reluctant and starts spacing out. Yoshichika had to save her but his attack does not do any damage and thus the succubus escapes. Because she disobeyed a direct order, Veronica has her grounded much to Yoshichika’s dismay because she clearly gave an order that is against Tamaki’s principle to cherish lives. Yoshichika is probably cursing Tamaki’s fate when suddenly Athena confesses she loves him! Hey wait. Too fast?! She loves him because of his deep sense of compassion.

When the succubus reappears, Veronica personally goes down to the field with Yoshichika. Mercilessly right off the bat she bombs the hell out of the Foreigner. Tamaki can’t stay sulking forever and with motivation from Venus, she heads back into the battlefield. The succubus targets Tamaki but she manages to block her attack. Veronica orders her to kill the Foreigner. Tamaki is still hesitating till Venus reminds her about love that eventually hurt others isn’t love. With that logic, Tamaki goes into killing mode and unleashes her Logic Drive to kill the succubus. Yoshichika is disappointed but Veronica will not force him to accept it as he has his own Logic. Tamaki apologizes to everyone and thanks Yoshichika for trying to stop her. She will try to believe in him from now on. Likewise, he is going to believe in everybody. They can put their Logic together and save the city. Maybe except for Olga because nobody gives a damn or expects anything from him. A very high 9.8 Paradox Level alert is sounded but if vanishes soon after. Athena goes to see Lucifer and is not pleased he is in this world. He feels he has no place over there anymore and this world could be his new paradise. After tasting a little Trancing with this chick, yeah why not?

Episode 4
There a short flashback whereby Tamaki tried her best to save Chloe from a Foreigner. Though successful, she was injured. Chloe believes she has better physical movement and wants to become a Logicalist. Veronica and her research team are trying to find the source of that Paradox Level but to no avail. So Chloe does her own investigation and tracing that leads her talking to that woman seduced by Lucifer. Then a couple of Foreigners are detected. Our team goes into action and Yoshichika wants Chloe to rendezvous with them. However she is going to take out the Foreigner nearest to her first. Wow! See her jump over a bunch of kindergarten kids with her bicycle! Chloe manages to defeat the Foreigner although she senses something amiss. Because of that, Yoshichika is injured on his side. When Chloe reunites with them, Tamaki blows her top about not following orders to take out the Foreigners in order as Yoshichika intended. Chloe has no intention to accept that and argues back it is faster to fight Foreigners separately. Because of this, they have bad blood between them. When multiple Foreigners are detected, Yoshichika is called in to do the job. I guess there is no other ace than he is. Chloe and Tamaki are on their way too but they have to wait for some cooling period for their Trance before they can jump into action. In the meantime, let the b*tch arguing begin! Yoshichika is at his limit but he has to tough it out till reinforcements arrive. So when Chloe and Tamaki finally are able to back up Yoshichika, let’s hope they’ll use all their anger out on the Foreigner which is a little weird and unique because the more it is destroyed, the stronger it gets and there are no signs of people who were Trancejacked. It could mean this Foreigner is a puppet. Who cares about that because Chloe just slices them all with her long sword till the real one shows up. Reminiscing their heydays of rivalry and competition, Chloe and Tamaki team up to destroy this jester for good. They get back on good terms as Athena decides to reveal about the Foreigner, Lucifer. That fallen angel is that 9.8.

Episode 5
Yoshichika is worried that Mana is missing but Tamaki knows the story. As a baby, she was abandoned at a locker. Although she was taken in by an orphanage, she didn’t fit in. She always waited by the locker in hopes her real parents would show up one day. Even after joining ALCA a year ago, she continued to do this. The girls tried to be her surrogate family but she is more of the lone wolf type. I know Yoshichika wants to cheer her up but asking his dad for advice? Because he serves red bean soup, Tamaki recognizes this move as she also saw it in a magazine. You do so to seduce lonely girls! Yoshichika, you’re the worst! Yoshichika decides to talk directly to her and he got her attention when he talks about his Over Trance experience. He was just lucky to lose his Logicalist ability because normally memories and feelings would be wiped out as well. A Foreigner is detected. Tamaki and Chloe head in first but they have to escape as their Logic Rate is fast declining. Thanks to the venom that consumes their mental and physical strength, they cannot get near it. This means a job for Mana’s sniper skills. Unfortunately she thinks she can sneak up in her stealth form but gets owned instead. Mana recuperates in hospital. The Foreigner is left alone for the time being but they have to do something quick as it is absorbing the entire city’s electricity. Total blackout. You know it is big sh*t when Jarno himself enters the scene. As expected, Mana can’t sit still and sneak out to handle the Foreigner herself. There is a chance she can beat it from a distance and that is by using Over Trance. In fact, she wants it to happen to her as she wants to start anew. With Jarno taking full responsibility of this, Veronica gives her permission to use Over Trance. Not on Yoshichika’s watch. His plan is to have Mana fire at point blank range as he brings her close to the Foreigner. He even has time to preach about how she has friends now. There are people who will be sad if she is gone. Is she going to betray them? Pulled a few heart strings there, right? And as expected, the duo pull off the move to defeat the snake Foreigner and bring back the city lights. Mana continues her recuperation in hospital. She flashes a rare shy and cute smile but Tamaki misses it and wants her to show it again. Too late. You blink, you miss.

Episode 6
We see Yukari doing errands like serving drinks and cooking. This is what you do when you don’t have a Covenant? She and Olga are called for a Trance testing session. As expected, both fail. Yukari asks for tips to achieving a Trance. Being the smart girl she is, she probably knew it is about reaching out to each other and how it differs from one Logicalist to another. That snake Foreigner, Quetzalcoatl is being imprisoned. Since he couldn’t quit yapping about being cold, this dumb ALCA guard, Kitaoka decides to bring him blankets (really?). He panics when he thinks snakey is dead but that is in fact the oldest trick in the book. Gotcha! Quetzalcoatl Trancejack him and is about to devour Yukari but she let him taste her cooking instead. Good? She manages to keep the conversation going by talking about being managers (she was a football manager in her school) and priestess. He isn’t fond of humans because of the lack of reverence they have towards Gods, that’s why they go rampage here. Veronica and Yoshichika need to settle this fast because whether you realize it or not, Yukari is being held hostage and just buying time. The plan is to blast the floor and collapse it, dropping them both down. What about Yukari? That is Yoshichika’s job to save her. He is talking about saving lives, he should be able to pull this off, right? As for Olga, he has got a job too and that is communicating with Yukari. But he has to be on site to do that and relay messages about their plan and stall for time. Yukari seems to be giving her same answers to both Quetzalcoatl and Olga so it might seem a little odd. Eventually Quetzalcoatl isn’t dumb and he knows Olga has been communicating and owns that dude. Before he could devour her for her ‘betrayal’, the floor beneath collapses. Yoshichika saves her. Veronica attacks Quetzalcoatl mercilessly. Yukari has a bad feeling and doesn’t like even if Quetzalcoatl dies. So she uses her football kicking skills to hit away Veronica’s bomb! Quetzalcoatl is shocked she protected him because he praised her as a manager. It is so touching that Quetzalcoatl just gives up! As she recuperates, he asks Yukari to ‘serve him as his priestess’. In a Trance testing session, Yukari perfectly Trances with Quetzalcoatl. Woah! Now she is flying! But that Trance outfit… Freaking… Weird!!! Like an oversized animal pyjamas… But hey, she has now surpassed you, Olga.

Episode 7
Yoshichika and his team get the day off. This means happy news for Shiori because big brother will be coming back! Miss him? Upon return, he is surprised his other team members pop a happy birthday surprise. That’s because it is not his birthday. Say what? Oh dear. It is a trick by Shiori? If you think their dad is going to bring another woman home at this time, don’t worry, it is Veronica and he won’t be doing anything funny to her. They had their little fun over the evening and things got awkward when dad starts asking about if anyone likes anybody here. Especially if his son has a certain type he likes. A little later, Athena goes out to do an errand and she sees Lucifer flirting with a couple of girls. Lucifer assures he is only here to enjoy himself but Athena is not so convinced because he is the one responsible for inciting the 100 year war. Lucifer tries to hint Athena has feelings for Yoshichika. As she cannot say it, he completes her sentence that once the fighting is over, she will be going back to Tetra Heaven and their partnership is just temporary. Yoshichika looking for her, stumbles into them. He becomes wary of this threat but Lucifer takes his leave. He also admonishes Athena for talking to someone dangerous and didn’t call him immediately. As it is getting late, most of the girls have left except for Nemesis hanging out with Shiori checking up some zombie thing and Tamaki and Athena having a censored yuri fanservice bath time! But it is even mind boggling that Olga is hanging out in Yoshichika’s room and wearing his shirt! WTF?! There is an ambiguous gay gesture from him too! Something about Olga trying to open Yoshichika’s eyes if all Foreigners are bad. Does he consider them all as threat? Why can’t men and Gods coexist? Yoshichika feels the need to apologize to Athena so he rushes up to see her just when she is getting out from the bath. Nice body. Yoshichika is more shock than Athena. So he has to apologize for this too… But to Tamaki? Wrong person. She also scolds him about Athena being down recently because he doesn’t trust her. Yoshichika finally apologizes to Athena and will never doubt her again. See, problem solved. Happy goddess again. Meanwhile Veronica and Nemesis visit Ash Paxton in hospital. He doesn’t remember his former subordinate.

Episode 8
Yoshichika is summoned to Jarno’s room. He finds Veronica’s resignation letter. Time for a little history class. 4 years ago when Ash was Veronica’s trainer, he was Trancejacked by an ice belva Foreigner. His personality was destroyed and he was quarantined in some deep underground base. All Jarno could do was transfer broken hearted Veronica to this branch. Something odd happened when Ash was moved and the belva which was tightly contained started running wild. He wants Yoshichika to bring Veronica back. Yoshichika and Yukari are sent to Sapporo where Ash is relocated while the rest stay back. Otherwise, who would protect the city if they all go, right? Veronica is already at Sapporo where she is questioning the lab chief, Orlov Tunguska of his decision to relocate Ash. She then sees the belva trying to get Ash who is atop the helipad. She goes to confront it and will have her revenge by killing it. When Yoshichika and Yukari arrive, Orlov won’t let them reach Veronica and sets traps to sabotage them. It makes them stumble into a secret lab where there are all illegal experiments on Foreigners and they are all dead. Relaying this info back to base and hacking into the system, they see a shocking video of Orlov and Ash trying to do a dangerous Over Trance experiment on the belva. The belva is rejecting any form of Trance but Orlov pushes ahead with it in hopes he can control Over Trance and become famous as the protector of humans. Of course the experiment failed big time. They manage to reach Veronica in time as she is still facing off with the belva. He tells her and even shows her that video that the belva is actually the victim of an illegal experiment. It is the belva whose mind was destroyed. Veronica still cannot believe it but Orlov blows up the scaffolding, confident he has destroyed all proof. Guess what? All of them survived. Veronica does not heed Yoshichika’s words as she is going to get her revenge. Images of Ash’s kindness towards her flashes through her mind. She is still in shock with the revelations so I think she is going to blow herself up with the belva. Only Yoshichika is faster and throws the bomb away. In the aftermath, Orlov is arrested for his violations. Despite Jarno quashing Veronica’s resignation letter, she feels she has no right to return to ALCA for nearly killing an innocent Foreigner. If big boss cannot convince her, perhaps all the petty problems of the rest of her subordinates would. Yeah, looks like she is staying. And she assigns them to tough duties in that instant. Welcome back.

Episode 9
Olga is the only one left without a Covenant so he must be pretty desperate now. Yes, he is still trying to convince captured Foreigners to be his Covenant. None gave him a hoot perhaps for this one, Enlil. He will do so in exchange for setting him free for a day as he has unfinished business. He will honour his word and come back after that. But the risk is too great for Olga to take even if Enlil claims his power is on par with Lucifer. Lucifer charms his way into ALCA to see Jarno. He wants to join ALCA and be a Covenant to someone. Upon hearing those words, Olga instantly screams out to be his volunteer. Desperate case indeed. Too bad Jarno won’t allow that as there is still much not known about Lucifer. Even later Olga wants an explanation why he was denied this chance but Jarno’s logic is that they need to be cautious because it is the greatest fallen angel they’re talking about. So he takes out his frustrations in some simulator but even so gets owned by a low level Foreigner! Pathetic? Till new ALCA staff, Shinobu Miki stops him and slaps him for not valuing his life. As they chat, Olga gets the hint that they need to ask someone who knows Lucifer. And that person or rather Foreigner is Enlil. Of course he would tell all he knows but in exchange for that single day of freedom. Tempting? Before you know it, the red alert is sounded and Enlil is causing havoc in the city. Yoshichika and his team engage him but Enlil is only interested in settling his score with Veronica. Olga wakes up in hospital and he realizes he has Paradox Sick and his Logic Card is missing. The rest are discussing if Enlil’s escape was an inside job and since Olga is heavily suspected, there is no evidence. Shinobu tries to sooth Olga that she believes in him and how the higher ups are trying to suspect him and bury this case. He remembers clearly he was indeed torn to set free Enlil. But before he did anything, Enlil’s containment opened. But Olga is pissed that he is no longer a Logicalist. There goes his dream. Not too sure if Shinobu is under Lucifer’s charm or is really working for him… Because now Lucifer sees Olga and claims he has his Logic Card. You up for it?

Episode 10
Olga is now missing and it seems Lucifer has brought him to his secret cult base where people are worshipping him like a God. With Quetzalcoatl’s tracking, they manage to confirm Olga is with Lucifer. Also, the one who opened Enlil’s containment is Shinobu. The Covenants interrogate Quetzalcoatl on how he knows all this or else they will cook and cut him up! I wonder what he tastes like… Anyway, Quetzalcoatl has met Lucifer before. It was him whom he got the Gate Card and entered this world. In fact, that is how all Foreigners got here. Yup, Lucifer is your culprit in bringing them here. Lucifer’s purpose was to save demons that are suffering in Tetra Heaven by providing an alternate place to live. He is sorry for the trouble he has caused by doing so. Really? However his ultimate wish is to have humans and Gods coexist. He introduces Olga to his followers as he officially becomes Olga’s Covenant. Olga now powers up with Lucifer’s power (but short of being Trancejack) as he tries to convince the people of ALCA’s evil experiment deeds on captured Foreigners. Yoshichika tries some diplomacy to make him change his mind about the hell he is about to create but Olga is so brainwashed with his paradise concept that I guess he has to do it the hard way. Too bad Yoshichika got owned. Mana on an undercover investigation discovers people with Paradox Sick are lining up in some place to get Trancejacked. In exchange for discarding Logic Cards they don’t want, they will receive more ideal Logic Cards. In other words, deliberate Logic Card transplant. Even when Yoshichika’s girls and even Veronica herself combine to attack, they are no match for Olga. Behold the power of Lucifer! Then he waltzes into ALCA to free all the captured Foreigners. Jarno gives him one last chance to stop this foolishness but do you think a guy who has tasted such power would give up just like that? Olga returns to the cult with the Foreigners and has everyone who wants to Trancejack (heck, all of them wants it) and create their paradise. The city is now overrun with high level readings of Foreigners.

Episode 11
When Foreigners from Tetra Heaven are appearing all over Japan, it is such a bad state that you know Jarno has to assume command of the operation. The ladies do their Trancing to fight past Foreigners we have seen. Yeah, it feels like a final test to contain them. Only difference is that now they are doing it alone. Don’t worry, they’re all contained. Only Olga is left. Veronica is the only one to rendezvous with Yoshichika since the rest are at their limit and need to recover. After watching Olga does his tricks so many times, Yoshichika has deduced his spear can only either attack or defend at a time. He will bait Olga to attack him and when that happens, Veronica will unleash her assault. But we should have guessed that when Olga is the type of the powerful final boss, he has a few tricks up his sleeves. He summons another spear so he can attack and defend at the same time. Yoshichika and Athena revert back as they have reached their limit so Veronica protects them from Olga’s attack, injuring her in the process. Olga gives him 2 choices of either despair or destruction and will wait for his answer. Yeah, he has got all the time in the world. If it is not bad enough, all other ALCA bases nationwide have been overwhelmed by Foreigners. Like as though this city is the only one capable of kicking Foreigners’ ass. Yoshichika sees his family and a bunch of kids at the simulation room used as evacuation centre. With their motivation, he has decided. You can tell he has come up with a dangerous plan from the looks of Jarno and the other ALCA staffs’ reaction. Yoshichika gives Olga his answer: He will choose neither. Then he has Jarno give him permission to Over Trance. He transforms into… An angelic knight? To show how powerful the prohibited Logic is, you can see how fast and powerful as he kicks Olga’s ass. But Olga too won’t lose out so he does the unthinkable going into Over Trance with Lucifer. Hmm… He looks the same as a dark rocker but just with Lucifer’s hairstyle. Oh, darkness tentacles spreading all over the place? Yeah well, it is causing everyone else to be Paradox Sick.

Episode 12
Athena’s Paradox Level reduces the Paradox Sick. There is their argument over their Logic on what is paradise and hope but you know how words never change anything. Yoshichika gets owned big time. The ALCA girls can’t even Trance yet but they can’t sit there in the base and do nothing so they go protect him. I doubt they can do anything like that but yeah, it’s better than nothing. Because Olga will not hurt the girls as this fight is between him and only Yoshichika, Lucifer possesses him. I don’t know what move he made but only Veronica gets injured. Did I miss something? Olga feels betrayed when Lucifer mentions he could have made a contract with anyone. This means Olga wasn’t specifically a chosen one. The other girls tell off Lucifer about his goal to have men and demons coexist. That is just a facade for him to rule over everything. Before Lucifer can fully control Olga, Olga throws away the spear. He threw away his 100% chance of victory just to have a fist fight with Yoshichika? Some Logic… I guess that is why when the mouth doesn’t convince the brain, the fists would. Yoshichika pulls off some combos on Olga before the latter traps him and is going to counter it when he is already at his limit. To save him, Yoshichika goes into Over Trance. The girls try to protect Yoshichika and salvage as many Logic Cards he is losing at the moment. A week later, Athena wakes up from her slumber in hospital bed. Olga seems to have been reformed and learnt his lesson. There are mini bowling balls over him in which if he starts thinking about bad things that would harm the world (like world domination), it would punish him. I wonder if it works for porn… When Olga visited Lucifer in the containment, he has permission to return his Logic Card of coexisting. But Lucifer would rather die than live in disgrace so Olga absorbs the Logic Card as remembrance and Lucifer vanished. Olga explains how every last Foreigner has been put down by each branch and the Gates sealed. Most of Yoshichika and Athena’s Logic Cards were retrieved except for one each…

Speaking of Yoshichika, Athena quickly goes to see him. He looks fine but… He doesn’t remember who Athena is. The Logic Card he lost is for his memories. Why always the most important card?! As for Athena, because she doesn’t feel sad about him not remembering her, she realizes her lost Logic Card is sorrow. She remembers before the fight, they talked about the possibility of their Logic Cards scattering when they Over Trance and become completely different individuals. They then argue they will promise to find each other’s Logic Card when it happens (just like how Athena did the first time she met him). So Yoshichika made a promise the first one to do so will have the other grant a wish. Well, I don’t think he is going to remember that anymore… With the war over, the goddesses are supposed to return home but each has their own lame excuse to continue staying here. Yeah, it will be sad if they parted, right? The girls are given a new mission to find their lost Logic Cards. Olga takes over as their leader and will remain to protect the city. However it feels no different since there is peace. Yoshichika is reduced to taking basic lessons from Veronica but he always seems to escape the facility. On one time, Athena catches him standing at the place they first met. His reason of escaping is so he could help find the Logic Card. Oh, he found hers. Once absorbed into her, Athena is overcome with sad emotions. I suppose he doesn’t remember he has the right to have her grant his wish but he does anyway: To stop being so formal with each other. That’s it?! Can’t argue with his Logic… It gives Athena more motivation to continue searching for his.

F*ck Logic!
Well, the only thing that prevents me from calling this series as average (and on my bad days, poor) is the fact that this series is getting another season! Therefore I cannot ‘judge’ this show entirely since there is another half of it yet to be aired because if I do so, I might look bias and prejudicial in assuming the series as a whole to be so. But it doesn’t prevent me from just reviewing this season alone, right? So yeah. F*ck all that logic and let me just give my 2 cents worth of sh*t here.

Thankfully the terms are not all that bad because for sci-fi genres, this has been the bane that prevents me from understanding and thus enjoying the series (read: Mahouka Koukou No Rettousei and To Aru Majutsu No Index). I could get by most of the simple terms but there are some that still baffles me like the main terminology of Logic itself. I am not sure if it is just a reference to that simple reasoning or it is some magic term. Anyway, I am too lazy to even check it up seeing I am not that crazy about the series. Yeah, now you know why I don’t understand a series in particular too, right? Blame that lazy part of me as well.

There are some character developments albeit not too deep. Seeing there is going to be another season, thus another area of this series which I am prevented to calling the character developments as lacking. Although there seems to be an episode to focus a girl/character in particular, it isn’t deep enough to flesh them out properly. Like Mana’s case as an abandoned child using the locker as her second home-cum-hideout and Veronica’s misguided grudge against a Foreigner towards her beloved instructor. But there is all to it.

Therefore basically the team of ALCA kids we see here are somewhat cliché and typical in what you usually see in many of such anime teams. Like Yoshichika as the main character of a harem that seemingly never materializes (more on this later) and with a heart of gold. The producers knew we were going to label him as a cliché main character so they beat us to it by making a running joke for other characters especially his sister to call his actions as one that is typical of a cliché main character. Yeah… In the end, he might not start out as an amnesiac character, but he ended up being one, which is pretty cliché, right? The one thing that bugged me when Yoshichika lost all his memories, don’t ALCA have any sort of video recorder to replay some of the important scenes like when Yoshichika is fighting with Athena? That should at least you know, give some sort of assurance that she is his Covenant instead of him asking how the heck she is each time. Why hasn’t anybody think of this?! What kind of Logic does everyone have?! I don’t know where lost Logic Cards end up and seeing how they are randomly found in streets (I think), I hope some kid didn’t find Yoshichika’s Logic Card and start trading it like some rare Pokemon card. Yeah, those are somebody’s memories you’re dealing with.

Tamaki is the serious and no nonsense girl just like ice queen Veronica but the latter is more brutal and shows no mercy. Chloe is the liveliest and cheekiest among the lot where her fists do the thinking and talking more than her brains (and a strange penchant for giving everyone weird nicknames) while Mana is the extreme opposite as the quiet and emotionless girl. Then you have the so called ‘manager’ in Yukari but I hardly see that in her as she is more of an extra character till she formed a pact with Quetzalcoatl and the duo become some sort of comic relief of the series. I mean, take a look at this pair. Yukari is the only one who has a monster as her partner instead of another hot gorgeous woman. Quetzalcoatl is already cute and comical, only thinking if something is good to eat in his little snake form. Yeah, the mascot of the series. And when the duo go about fighting Foreigners, they are probably the weakest of the lot and with Yukari’s clumsiness, it makes them all the more comical. Some of the goddesses’ character follows closely to their contracted Logicalist like Artemis but others are totally opposite like Nemesis who acts a lot like a cheeky brat. I was wondering what happened to Shinobu. Did she got fired from ALCA or was she one of the many who perished during the war that we don’t really care about?

What else can I say about Olga? At first he strikes off as a mysterious intimidating character but after you get to know the reason he puts on his high and mighty act, he doesn’t seem to be that intimidating anymore and could instead be the other comical character in addition to being the other guy. I think his character role is one of the rarest in many of the animes out there because not only he plays like the secondary other guy and the joker (“I can hear my Logic…”), he also becomes the main antagonist in the final arc of this season. To show he is not a total jerk and has an evil heart, that is why that chivalrous heart of his to fight Yoshichika fair and square instead of playing dirty of involving others became his downfall. Somewhat pretty cliché for a villain, right? Of course he gets betrayed and then returns to the right path and becomes the next leader. Wow. How cool is that? He gets to play a lot of roles as a secondary character. Well, I believe this is an indication of what might happen to secondary guys if they don’t get enough attention and they themselves are desperate to become the main character. Lucifer is such a powerful and charming character and yet he still lost. Thanks to the Logic of good triumphing over evil in the end. Yeah…

Seeing a single guy and his group of beauties always compel me to hope for some kind of harem. Heh. I guess I am that kind of guy. Too bad as far as this season is concerned, nothing seems to be going in that direction. That last episode with all the girls trying to protect Yoshichika feels like it was a ploy to throw us off. But still, being the cliché main character he is, I suppose at some point he needs to have his harem surround him, right? And there you go. Strike that out from the list of what a cliché main character should have and do. So basically it all boils down to all the girls have their respect for Yoshichika as their leader (and main character) but none that have been hinting any sort of romantic links especially my guts and experience tells me that Tamaki is most potential among the lot. How to have love in peace when Foreigners keep busting our world every day? Perhaps the only one showing potential is Shiori with her buranko but I don’t think she is the extreme type. Of course Yoshichika has Athena and she is the only one who confessed the magical 3 words. But even so is that in a professional sense or romantic sense? After all, everyone has their own Logic for everything. Yeah, they trolled us with the initial romancing dream sequence between Yoshichika and Athena. Therefore Yoshichika pales in comparison as a ladies’ man unlike his dad. I wonder if their late mom has anything to say about this. Good thing or bad thing he isn’t the main character…

There are enough action bits to keep viewers satisfied but ultimately if you are a hardcore adrenaline junkie, this won’t really suffice. I mean, if you are looking for gore and blood on the kind of level which is like Shingeki No Kyojin, you’d be sorely disappointed. There are special effects and there are explosions (it might be just me because my audio hardware keeps getting all those booming vibrations) with some of that fancy sci-fi magic thingy. Whatever that logic is. So every character has their own one or two unique moves like Veronica’s bombs, Mana’s sniping or Olga bombarding his five star, seven star, eleven star, evening star or million zillion starry star magic. Okay, I made up the last bit but you get the idea.

One reason why I sometimes think this is partially a magical girl series is because of the transformation scene when the Logicalists Trance with their goddesses. But unlike other magical girl transformation scenes, we see the characters fuse with each other and thus a little hint of yuri in it. Yup, it seemed like the girls are making love when they combine. It is the same with Yoshichika and Athena and it is like they’re making love for a few short seconds there. If you can stand straight and lesbian make-outs, wait till you see the one with Olga and Lucifer! Yikes! Gay!!! I mean, did those guys almost kissed???!!! Oh yeah, Trancing. Truly fearsome.

Art and drawing are pretty standard. Some CGI is used especially during battle scenes with Foreigners. But the designs of some of the costumes especially when the ALCA girls Trance with their partners would raise an eyebrow or two because like in Tamaki’s case, her outfit looks something like a magical girl. Mana? Black Rock Shooter called. She wants her outfit back! Character designs are pretty normal till I saw Lucifer because of his Super Saiyan hairstyle! Is it over 9000???!!! Just kidding. Well, not entirely his hairstyle but his so called mullet or ponytail that is sticking out like so. And hey, doesn’t Chloe look a lot like Chitoge from Nisekoi?! Is she done being tsundere and decided to kick some monster’s ass? And Yukari, I think I have seen her as a character from Girl Friend (Kari)… As for the designs of the Foreigners, well, I’m not going so far to say they look like worthy of being Ultraman’s monster of the week.

This is probably the first time that I instantly recognize Risa Taneda when Tamaki said her very first lines. Because it instantly brought back how similar her character sounds to Yukina from Strike The Blood. I thought it was the same character transported to a different anime. And what do you know? I thought Tamaki has that strikingly familiar looks to Mirai of Kyoukai No Kanata who is also voiced by Risa Taneda. It is also somewhat the same for Nemesis who is voiced by Izumi Kitta. Due to her lack of screen time, it isn’t obvious but her cheeky nature and her speech time reminded me she sounded so much like that perverted Tomoko in WataMote. Yes indeed. It is refreshing to hear Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Olga after hearing him voice countless stereotypic teen main characters. Thus he sounds quite different but yet retaining his familiar voice over the character. But this isn’t the first time I heard him playing such roles as he did the same in that cowardly baddie character in Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry. Oh, the seiyuu who played Chitoge in Nisekoi, Nao Touyama? Well, she didn’t play Chloe but as Venus. Chloe is played by Sora Tokui (Nero in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes).

The other casts include Kensho Ono as Yoshichika (Slaine in Aldnoah.Zero), Sumire Uesaka as Athena (Shalltear in Overlord), Kousuke Toriumi as Lucifer (Kiba in Naruto), Risa Mizuno as Veronica (Sayori in Vampire Knight), Inori Minase as Mana (Nagisa in Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa), Aimi as Yukari (Sherry in Plastic Memories), Chiaki Omigawa as Valkyrie (Maka in Soul Eater), Fumiko Orikasa as Artemis (Rukia in Bleach), Houzumi Gouda as Jarno (Leorio in Hunter x Hunter), Mariya Ise as Shinobu (Levi in Fairy Tail), Ai Kayano as Shiori (Inori in Guilty Crown) and Ryuu Nakatani making his debut as Quetzalcoatl. Kensho Ono also sings the opening theme, Story a rock based outfit while Emi Nitta does the dramatic ending theme, Meiyaku No Kanata.

Overall, okay fights, okay effects, okay characters and everything else make you wonder if you should just play the card game. Or not. Because I am very sure this is not how the card game visually looks like when you start playing it. It’s all in your head… Oh, I think I know why this season failed to live up to my expectations and the expectations of others: No fanservice! Ah, see what is missing? If they spam more of Athena’s boobs, Tamaki’s undies, Chloe’s ass, have a yuri make-out between Mana and Artemis, some dominatrix BDSM display for Veronica and turn Nemesis into a perverted brat, maybe we can love it for more than it is right now. Even so, we will still call it shameless overdone cliché attempt to attract viewers and milk money with uncensored clips in the BDs. Oh yeah. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That is our fan Logic for ‘ya.

Owarimonogatari

July 23, 2016

The end is nigh. This is it. This is the last story of the Monogatari series. At least that is what I presumed when I read its title, Owarimonogatari. That is what is supposed to mean. End story, right? Yeah, well… One shouldn’t take the word ‘end’ too literally. Because it doesn’t really mean the end of a story and even if it was, it is always the beginning of something, am I right? After all, this is the Monogatari series we are talking about. Take everything with a pinch of salt but at the same time absorb everything you see and hear. And yes, this yet another story and season of the series is once more about our main character, Araragi having problems with his girls again. Well, if I put it generally like that, it does kind of make sense… Isn’t that what the entire Monogatari series has been?

Ougi Formula

Episode 1
What a way to start a story with a one hour special. Although this entire episode is mainly one big dialogue between Araragi and Ougi to solve a ‘maths puzzle’. The duo are stuck in a classroom believed to be suspended in an alternate dimension and the only way to get out is to solve the events that caused it so. It all began when Kanbaru mentioned about Ougi to Araragi. She is Oshino’s niece and seems to know all about oddities. Ougi wanted to request for Araragi’s help. Showing him a floor plan of the school, she finds there is a floor with an irregular room size. Or rather a room is missing between the floors where the audiovisual room is. Could it be a hidden room? Believing this might be the work of an oddity, she suggests investigating it before anybody suffers. Once they enter the room, they cannot get out of this seemingly normal classroom. Noticing the time on the clock has stopped ever since they enter, Ougi tells Araragi to pick a seat and sit down. Although he randomly picks one, she questions his reasoning in picking that particular seat. She believes that this classroom, that seat and even the events of what happened are all connected to Araragi. He starts feeling that sinking feeling that the floor swallows him but could it be just his imagination. But it might jog his memory a little. Realizing today’s date on the blackboard, he believes this might be the event that changed his personality greatly.

Digging deep into his memories, he remembers this day, time and place 2 years ago. It began when his class rep, Sodachi Oikura called everybody for a class meeting. More like she forced everyone to stay back and Araragi was the last to arrive. Oikura then went on to mention about catching the culprit among hem and nobody is allowed to leave until it is done. One the day before the term finals, there was a maths workshop for anybody interested. Some attended included Oikura. But when the results came out, there was a very large difference in points average. Oikura concluded there was foul play. It may be somebody obtained the exam questions from the staff room and brought it up in the workshop. Needless to say, those who participated scored high. But those who didn’t aren’t naturally innocent either. Thus Oikura handed the moderation job to Araragi because he is the only one who scored perfect marks. Oikura who pride herself in the best maths of the grade was in second. It might be the reason she hates him. So the class enters a debate stage to determine who the culprit is. No headway was made and sometimes they strayed from the topic. Patience was running thin. Because nobody wanted to stay back this late. Even Araragi began to suspect was there a suspect to begin with. When things are going out of control and the classmates do not listen anymore, Araragi desperately seeks Oikura’s help to stop this, forgetting how much she hates him. She even said it to him. She went to the front and told everybody to vote who the culprit was. Everybody voted for Oikura. Only Oikura voted for Araragi. He never forgot that sheer disgust on her face. Ever since, she never came to class and Araragi too started skipping some. It was the last time he scored perfect in maths too.

This isn’t the end of it yet. Because as Ougi points out, had Oikura been the culprit, how come they are still stuck in this room? She thinks the lingering regret of that event gave birth to this classroom oddity. His own heart gave rise to this classroom. So perhaps it was recreated so that he could find the true culprit again. Ougi believes Araragi subconsciously knew who the real perpetrator is. Because his empathy for Oikura’s situation is stronger otherwise he could not have recount this story. Going through all the evidence again, Ougi points out that the class was full. Everyone attended. So if Araragi was up there moderating, who was at his seat? That’s right. Their homeroom and maths teacher, Komichi Tetsujou. She doesn’t even need to know the questions. She writes them. What was her motivation in doing this? It would be pointless just to blame a student. If a class’ average increases, the individual’s deviation from the average would decline. And there would be 1 person whose standing improves if the class receives good grades. That would be the maths teacher. Their ability to teach would be rewarded. The duo are now able to exit the classroom. Ougi believed Araragi had been in this prison for 2 years and felt betrayed when a moral figurehead cheated. Tetsujou ‘atoned’ for that by using her influence to keep Oikura’s grade from failing despite she never attended classes. But the fact that threw Araragi into despair was the fact that Tetsujou was the one who voted Oikura as the culprit without any hesitation. The next day when Araragi returned to the same spot, the classroom was no longer there. Only the usual audiovisual room. As he is about to enter class, Hanekawa stops him because it would be bad if he does so. Why? A classmate who has been long absent has returned. No, not a ghost. Oikura is back!

Sodachi Riddle

Episode 2
I’m sure Araragi is worried if she remembers him. I guess she does. Because she asked Hanekawa lots of stuffs pertaining to him. So he goes in there, pretending to be surprised in seeing her for the first time. But that spiteful tone in her voice… Oh, she does remember you, Araragi. All the time! Now you know why women never forget! She even mentions about her suffering while he leads a normal high school life and even having a girlfriend! She didn’t mince her words to remind him how much she hates him still. She doesn’t want to be pitied by him either. Wondering if she hates happy people, on the contrary she likes happy people. It is those who don’t understand why they are happy that makes her sick. It is fools like him think that they could be happy without the help of others. His justice is conceited. Her hate for hate is reaching boiling point. Araragi made the wrong move to touch her to calm her down but she stabs his hand with a pencil! Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, here comes Senjougahara. She is going to kill this b*tch. Because she is the only person who has the right to stab stationery into Araragi! Well, poor Hanekawa trying to stop her is seen like a comical leech being dragged along while clinging onto Senjougahara’s waist. With b*tches getting b*tchy, Oikura slaps her. Senjougahara retaliates by punching her! Cat fight?! Oops. She knocked her out.

In order to find out why Oikura hates him so much, we have to go back 5 years before when Araragi was still in middle school. There were 3 letters signed by an unknown in his shoe locker. The letter seems to be some sort of brainteaser that resembles the Monty Hall problem. The third letter contains a map to a location. An abandoned building. He remembers it was when he first met a girl here. Araragi also tells us his parents are cops. Strict cops they are because if Araragi did something wrong, they didn’t hesitate to drag him to the police station to mete out justice. Wrongdoings must be punished. Ougi notes Araragi is wrong in believing that class meeting was the source of Oikura’s hate. With Tetsujou on maternity leave, it is as though Oikura waited for her to switch places and come back. It’s like she knew who the culprit was. It means the class meeting is connected to her personality change but not directly to her hatred towards him. Basically she hates him because he has forgotten his roots. Because to fight an enemy, you must understand the enemy. Understand their sense of justice. So what is it that Oikura viewed was right?

Episode 3
After Araragi followed the letter to this ruin, he met this girl (obviously Oikura). She is the reason why he started loving maths. Ever since her first lesson in teaching him that Monty Hall problem, he became interested and subsequently returned every other day to take other interesting maths lessons from her. This was like their secret base. They continued this with 3 conditions: They will always meet at this exact room, their study sessions must be kept a secret and he must not ask her name. He was fine as long as he got to study maths. But one day it was all over. On the last day of summer vacation, he entered the room but she was not waiting as usual. He waited and waited but she never turned up. It was then he asked around in school about her but nothing came up. The thought that her existence would disappear along with her made him fearful so he never returned to the ruin. He continued his normal life and despite all the conflicts and violence around, he hoped to find joy in maths. Ougi interjects that girl is no other than Oikura because otherwise why would we be listening to an unrelated story? A big red herring. After all, Araragi had phrased about her like as though they only met in high school. Araragi thinks maybe she just wants to be thanked and will go apologize to her. It won’t make things any easier but it is something he needs to do. Ougi cautions him about doing so. Because what would make Oikura even madder is a half assed apology. He must remember why she said goodbye without saying a thing or his apology would be meaningless. Since Oikura hates him, could it be because he did not live up to her expectations? Was it why she left without saying a thing? Ougi hints: It is related to his parents.

Now, Oikura didn’t expect some sort of reward in teaching him maths. She even knew his maths grade were slipping and seized the opportunity to write those letters. Comparing this house ruin to the school ruin he used to stay sometimes with Oshino, what made him think that this place is a ruin? This building isn’t a ruin. It was Oikura’s home. How else do you explain she was always there first to greet him? It looked so perhaps she came from an abusive family. So when her family fell apart for good, it might be the reason she transferred away. By teaching him maths, there was something she expected of him. More accurately, his parents. She wanted him to report what he saw. Although she did say to keep the study sessions a secret, it was probably she didn’t want to be seen as accusing her own family. She was hoping he would stand up and talked to his parents. And he didn’t live up to expectations. Therefore the empty letter he found underneath the table on the day she never showed up for good was a metaphor that he was a waste of time. With this, Ougi believes the matter has been concluded but despite all that has happened, it is a good thing Araragi never came to hate maths. Next day when Araragi talks to Hanekawa about this, she finds something odd about the whole thing. In spite of all the events that happened after, everything hinges on the fact that she knew his parents were cops. How did she know that considering Araragi never told anybody even if they asked to avoid problems. Looks like there is something he is still forgetting.

Sodachi Lost

Episode 4
Araragi narrates to us at the start about the best way to describe Ougi. Ougi is Ougi. Also hinting how big a fool he was to her. Araragi and Hanekawa are on their way to Oikura’s place. Hanekawa is worried about Ougi tailing them but apparently she isn’t. After all, she knew where they were headed and might have reached there. Hanekawa feels Ougi is a dangerous person and is not sure if she can protect him if something bad happens. Arriving outside Oikura’s cheap apartment where she lives alone now, we go back earlier in the day to see how they came to this. Because Oikura and Senjougahara were absent from class, Hanekawa suggested they go visit them. Time is of essence so she gives him the liberty to choose whose house he wants to visit. So this guy chose his mortal enemy over his girlfriend? As he is about to make his way, that is where Ougi bumps into him and pesters him for a sushi treat since he promised her as a welcoming party. However he apologized since he needs to go to Oikura’s house. This piques Ougi’s interest as she makes him tell what is going on. Ougi thinks Araragi visiting Oikura alone is a bad idea. Imagine the implications if a lone young boy visiting a long young girl. Thus Ougi offered to follow him because as a girl herself, she can help console her to a degree and probably extract more juicy stuffs out from her. Araragi is about to give in and accept her help when Hanekawa who looks like she just ran all the way from the opposite direction, tells him not to accept her help. I mean, do you want to bother a junior with their private problems? Ougi would feel hurt if he declined her. After all, she hints not to destroy they special relationship. What relationship? They just met 3 days ago, right? Even so, they made so many weird memories together. Being stuck in a classroom and went on a ruin adventure.

Hanekawa argues she would do a better job than her if she accompanies Araragi. So Ougi agrees that Hanekawa’s genius is the key. Though, Ougi starts running down her genius isn’t so remarkable after all considering it felt like it went downhill after the last incident. Araragi thinks she went too far so Ougi backs off for she doesn’t want to end up competing and make him hate her. As Senjougahara’s house is further, Ougi tells Hanekawa to get moving. They can change some rules too like Ougi will accompany him on her own accord. She sees herself as an uninvited sidekick. She wants to save Araragi. Hanekawa argues one can only save himself but Ougi points out that was her uncle’s stance. For her, that debt must be repaid many times over. Ougi also warns her that being capable isn’t the only thing that would solve anything in this world. It might even disrupt its balance. Therefore middle ground is more important. Araragi who has been quietly listening while the girls are having a showdown is suddenly thrust into the limelight. Now the ball is in his hands for the girls want him to choose who he wants to go with! OMG. This must be the hardest decision ever. Ougi tries to coax him in choosing her. Don’t make life harder for Hanekawa. She promises to solve everything with him. But Hanekawa puts her foot down. If he chooses her, he can touch her boobs! And that people, is how it arrived to this! Sex always wins! Araragi used his wrong head to think! And he even tells us that her boobs weren’t the motivation that made him choose but rather something extraordinary would have driven her to make such offer. Yeah right! Hanekawa makes Araragi wait outside in case Oikura is in her pyjamas. When she returns, Hanekawa looked defeated because Oikura will not change just for this guy. She remains stubborn and threatens to go naked if she persists! Araragi assures he is not that superficial to get excited over a girl in her pyjamas. But remember… Isn’t he here because of Hanekawa’s boobs… Oh sh*t! Gotcha!

Episode 5
Remember the question how Oikura knows Araragi’s parents’ occupation without asking? As Hanekawa suggested, the best way is to ask his parents. It seems Araragi and Oikura did meet before when they were young. Due to trouble in Oikura’s household, her parents brought her in to temporarily live with them. However she never joined the kids playing and just sat at one corner staring at them. One day she just got up and left for home. Not influenced, not coerced and just on her own will she went back home. Now in Oikura’s apartment, I suppose it must be hard for her to talk with a swollen cheek, eh? I think Araragi did a little healing magic by poking her cheek. It shocked her at first but the swell is gone. Araragi is here to talk about their past but she thinks he is here to make fun of her after fully understanding what happened 5 years ago. She felt so embarrassed that she would rather die just to think she was trying to seduce him in getting his help. However she doesn’t think it is her fault as these things are pretty normal. It could happen to anybody. After all, her parents are the baddies. After they divorced, mother took custody of her. She doesn’t care about father since he is the biggest sh*t. They moved into some house and you thought Oikura’s reclusiveness was bad. Mother was a total shut-in, hiding herself in her dark room and never coming out once! But thanks to Japan’s generous welfare system, Oikura managed to get by and thus she never wished her mom would disappear since she could get by day by day. Despite that, one day her mom just disappeared without a word. So the reason she came back to this town is for some welfare stuff and she really wanted to leave behind that messy sty. Her ‘clean’ empty apartment beats that messy place. She has considered all this as experience and a relatively lucky person. That is why she doesn’t need his pity, apology or amends.

If you have been paying attention like Hanekawa, you would have noted something strange in her story. If she said her mother one day disappeared, how could she have gotten out of the house since Oikura said she returned that day after unlocking the door. Plus, the windows have been barricaded. Perhaps she locked it on her way out? Not possible since it needs a key and Oikura only knows where she put it. But what if the door was unlocked in the first place and Oikura took for granted it was locked since it was the norm? Oikura doesn’t like how they care so much about her mom. She explains she was jealous seeing the warmth and love in Araragi’s family. It was sickening. That is why she only stared at them. It was ripping her apart that she had to leave. She thought she could change her wretched family but boy they beat her again. When she met Araragi in middle school, she thought it was fate and thus tried to get his help. But you know how it went. So maybe it was her fate after all. A cruel fate indeed when they meet again in high school. Now she is blaming Araragi as the source of her misery but the reason for that is that she hates herself so much that she needs to make him a villain to stay sane. Why can’t she be happy? Hanekawa has a simple answer: Because she is not trying to be happy! Ah well, now Oikura is even unmotivated to be happy. Being happy sucks. Now it is Araragi’s turn to be cool. He tells her no amount of happiness can rip her apart. He is willing to be her source of hatred. He will take in all her hate. So don’t hate happiness and the world. Love yourself. She wants them to go home since some welfare people will be coming to check on her. Hanekawa agrees but will come visit her every day. They love bugging people. She admits she really likes her. In that case, Oikura requests to find her mother. Do so and she will go back to school and apologize to Senjougahara.

Episode 6
Araragi and Hanekawa are discussing about the locked room mystery when Ougi joins in. She has eavesdropped on the conversation and has more or less an idea what has happened. She also claims she also knows the answer to the mystery. But first, she shows how deep her grudge of Araragi choosing Hanekawa over her as she keeps pointing out to Hanekawa’s tits. She wants them to apologize for making the wrong decision if they want to know the truth and Araragi was perhaps about to do it when Hanekawa finally breaks her silence not to do it even if he lies or for her sake. In 10 seconds, she will show Ougi why Araragi chose her. I’m not sure about wetting her hair but I guess it makes her look sexy? It seems Hanekawa has also guessed the answer but with Ougi suggesting not to spoil the fool and make him think for himself, they relay to him hints that include Oikura’s mom is already dead, Oikura mistook her mom for who she is and still is now, if her mom is a corpse why hasn’t anybody found out, who long will a corpse stay a corpse, etc. Because they take turns relaying the hints to him that would have probably reached 100, it annoyed Araragi a great deal that he had to put his foot down to shut them up that he already got it. I didn’t. So please tell me! Oikura has been looking after a corpse for almost 2 years and she didn’t realize it until it rotted till it is completely gone and hence she thought she went missing. Her mom has been slowly dying and it is not like suicide as she has lost the will to live after suffering greatly from the divorce. The girls don’t want him to tell Oikura this harsh truth because it is like as though she is pretending to not know something is wrong as she will have to live with this feeling for the rest of her life. However Araragi will go tell her and end it all today. Like how Oikura was oblivious to her mom’s death, Araragi was oblivious to her. Telling her the truth may hurt her more and even make her hate him further but he is fine with that if she is able to love herself.

Araragi narrates the epilogue that takes place after he told the truth. The next day he asks his sisters if they remember about Oikura and they didn’t. Oikura told him when she told the welfare people, they had to cut her allowance by half and will be shifted to a smaller apartment. This means she will have to move and transfer away to another school. However Oikura was smiling when she said that. Even when Araragi told the truth, she was rather calm. On his way to school, Araragi bumps into Ougi who apologizes and admits yesterday was her lost. She underestimated him and thought he would run away. They won’t know what future awaits Oikura but they hope it will be a happy one. And it is all thanks to him. Ougi wants to be a sore loser and says this first round lost is merely a training session. It accomplished her goal to find out how he would treat his childhood friend. Araragi informs Hanekawa of Oikura’s transfer. It’s a shame because they would have been great friends. Hanekawa is also taking temporary leave from school since it is her dream to wander around the world after she graduates. Hopefully she would find Oshino and ask him things. Later Araragi receives mail from Senjougahara that Oikura came by her place to apologize. She kept her promise. Though, Senjougahara’s finger is still broken. He is hoping to show this message to Hanekawa before she leaves but he realizes at the end of it has Senjougahara wanting to shower him with kisses on their next date. Better note. Then he finds a letter underneath his table. Unlike 5 years ago, it wasn’t empty and has letters in it. Araragi thinks back how nothing much has changed but at least something changed. It makes him sad and happy at the same time seeing Oikura walking ahead. The contents of the letters are left to our imagination. Whatever it is, it left Araragi with a big smile.

Shinobu Mail

Episode 7
It is a story Araragi wants to forget but Ougi won’t let him and wants him to tell it to us. It happened 2 months before Ougi transferred to his school and it was a time he was staying at the abandoned school. He is greeted by Kanbaru’s super knee kick. Seems she is getting the wrong idea that he called her here to meet alone in the middle of the night to take her virginity! She is more than happy to give it to him! Before we get sidetracked by her perversion (and worrying Araragi even more), he is here to tell her of an offer but hopes she would refuse. Unfortunately she will never turn down anything from him. Too bad it isn’t about taking her virginity. Unfortunately too, Araragi has no clue what the request is about since he is just a messenger. Had she refused then, everything would have ended right there. Araragi had to assure her it isn’t someone confessing to her and thus we get a little sidetracked by her carnal desires. As he is about to bring her, they hear footsteps of someone coming in. Araragi is sure he did not invite anyone else. Standing before them is an armoured samurai. Kanbaru punches it and the armour pieces scatter. Araragi wonders if she knows how to put it back so he could make sure if that thing moves if they reassemble it. Don’t worry. They don’t have to. Because it is reassembling back by itself. Kanbaru fights it but her punches and kicks no longer pack strength. In fact the samurai gets stronger and Kanbaru gets weaker before she passes out. Araragi has observed the samurai has been draining her energy every time she makes physical contact. The samurai now attacks and chokes Araragi. Kanbaru still has little strength left and plans to attack it from the back to let Araragi run away. But the place is set ablaze (supposedly from Hanekawa). The samurai then speaks. If he sounds like Araragi it is because he absorbed his voice during the choking. He knows he has no chance of victory and will take his leave. Therefore he leaves a message for Shinobu to return his demon sword, Heart Span he lent her for 400 years. As the building is engulfed in flames, Kanbaru is not athletic enough to get them out. Therefore she wants him to sleep with her! She doesn’t want to die a virgin! The only last resort is to jump out the window but before they could do that, an explosion douses the flames. Courtesy from Yotsugi who won’t let him die. Because she is going to be the one to kill him. Ah, what is with girls who want a piece of Araragi? Four that want to own me, two that want to stone me, one she’s a friend of mine

Episode 8
Yotsugi thinks they were trying to commit suicide! From all that talk, it seems Yotsugi believes his actions are because he wants to break Gaen’s promise. Araragi realizes he made a mistake of getting Kanbaru involved despite knowing well she would never refuse his request. Yotsugi suggests taking her to Gaen instead of sending her home irresponsibly because he should have known better that when a person touches an oddity, that person will be affected soon after. Furthermore, Kanbaru punched it. Not too sure if this is some sort of punishment because Yotsugi starts rubbing her bare foot on his face warning about his attitude that things will work out in the end and that life to him will always turn out plus minus zero. While Yotsugi goes on a futile chase after the samurai, Araragi carries Kanbaru to the park near where Senjougahara lives. However Kanbaru points out he is going the wrong direction. He makes corrections but end up in an unknown area after an hour. Lost? This feels like Hachikuji’s case the last time but she is already gone. So could it be the samurai playing some sort of malicious prank? No choice, he calls Gaen for help. Despite knowing everything, she wants him to solve this himself since this is hardly any trouble for him. As he has once been lost before, this time he has Kanbaru to help out and rely on. She climbs up the post to see the direction where they should head next. By smell. To avoid getting lost again because of the tracks of the lost cow, the easiest solution is not to follow it. So they are walking on walls? Well, at least they reach the park. Nobody is there and they think Gaen must have been bored waiting for them after 3 hours. But Araragi believes she must have been fighting some sort of oddity while they were lost. As they look around, they find Shinobu sleeping by the swings. There are scratch marks over her body. She was fighting an oddity earlier on with a cat. Despite describing the oddity as wearing raincoat and rubber boots, it is not Yotsugi. While she and the cat were fighting the monkey oddity, a doll came to assist them. As suggested by the doll that Shinobu’s link with Araragi can be restored by some guy in Hawaiian shirt, she was told to meet at this park. But when she got here, nobody was around and fell asleep. Don’t ask why the swings. However their chat is cut short because the battle isn’t over yet. Oh look, there’s that monster.

Episode 9
The oddity is a mixture of several animals like monkey and crab. Kanbaru has a hard time fighting it so Shinobu throws her Heart Span for Araragi to cut it down. He thought he won but the snake is about to bite them. Shinobu quickly finishes it off. Seems she was watching to test them and she finds their actions satisfying. Shinobu hints about why she was on the swings so Araragi had to go underneath to find a message left by Gaen to meet at the shrine. Along the way, Shinobu believes the samurai cannot be someone she knows because she saw him die 400 years ago and this might be an imposter. As they meet Gaen, she proclaims herself as Oshino’s daughter in which Shinobu fell for the lie. After hearing everyone’s story, Gaen believes that samurai could be the first oddity slayer and Shinobu’s first kin. Shinobu is furious with this amateurish deduction so Araragi explains about Shinobu’s first kin committing suicide by basking in the sunlight. But Gaen still asks why not? Till Kanbaru mentions about vampires being immortals. That’s right. He did kill himself but it took 400 years to be resurrected. Even so, he isn’t fully revived yet but in the process of recovering. Like how a sick person eats and drinks to recover, he does so by draining energy. Gaen wanted to solve this case fast with Yotsugi but she misjudged. Just because she knows everything doesn’t mean everything will proceed well. All because of Araragi who doesn’t act on reason and is unpredictable. It might seem she is atoning by seeking his help but actually she is giving him another chance to fix this screw up. She talks about the coincidence of oddities he meets every day and why they drift into this town. Gaen continues her chronological story about Shinobu taking on her first kin by sucking the blood of a human and making him her slave (we are supposed to have seen this part in Shinobu Time in Onimonogatari). That human hated what he had become and committed suicide. Despite being dead, he really wasn’t. He lived in nothingness. Over the centuries, he regained his form and quickly loses it. His trial and error recovery has become some sort of a vampire reaction reflex for all eternity. Without any conscious and travelling around the world scattered by the wind, eventually with infinite perseverance and willpower he drifted back to this town. And that was 15 years ago.

Episode 10
Gaen can bet the ashes are of the same person because she had the same idea 15 years ago too. Therefore Shinobu is in this town because of those ashes. Shinobu rebukes her that she is here for Mt Fuji. Wrong prefecture… Lost? Gaen adds she didn’t get lost but was led here. When Kanbaru asks about why only then this cycle had been broken, it is because this shrine place is an air pocket for oddities. A place where oddities gather, appear and end. By controlling such places, you prevent undesirable developments. Unlike Oshino’s job of collecting stories of oddities, Gaen’s job is to prevent such oddities appearing. Therefore she must control such places if she is to have an impact. But everything has to come to an end and this shrine was at its limits 15 years ago. There were attempts to restore it but each time it just got ravaged again. When Araragi and Shinobu visited this place during their time slip, they should remember it was filled with oddities. They were also components of the oddities that the first kin, his ashes had attracted. It was what broke him out of the cycle. This ‘food’ synergized him and thus began a 15 year sad revival story. Or rather a revenge story as Gaen puts it. Gaen wants them to find him and it should be easy because Araragi and him are slaves and should attract each other. Araragi thinks she should let Kagenui know about this since she is using Yotsugi. But Gaen wants her to lament she has no chance to display her power for the rest of her life. Gaen has also called for backup. That’s why their meeting ends now as she has to go meet them. They must finish this today or he will get stronger. She wants to make sure he is killed before he eats a human. After she leaves, Shinobu tells Araragi not to be provoked by Gaen. She was doing this out of jealousy. It is okay to be jealous but not to grief. He is the only thing she has now. Shinobu is confident they can deal with this before the day ends. Araragi wants to buy food in the mean time so we see Kanbaru asking him a favour to buy some gay manga for her! And perhaps a bra too. Any bra is fine. She’ll accept his taste! He is at the bookstore and perhaps tries to use his freedom to do the opposite. He buys books of MILF photos. His plan backfires when the employees laugh at his purchase. As he quickly makes his embarrassing retreat, he bumps into a weird girl. She wonders if he has passed her message to Shinobu.

Episode 11
This girl is supposed to be Shinobu’s first kin. She wants Araragi to break up with Shinobu as she wants to make up with her. She believes she is a special person to Shinobu unlike Araragi who can be replaced. She continues explaining the benefits of breaking up with her. He doesn’t have to shoulder the responsibility as it will be now borne by her. Araragi mentions he has given her message to Shinobu and he is pretty sure she doesn’t want to see her again. Even so, First Kin wants her sword and position back. The talk is interrupted when Episode throws a huge cross at them. Gaen is also here and wants to negotiate. However First Kin considers their talk over and the next stage is to fight to the death. It will be tonight but as for the details of the fight, she’ll leave it up to those specialists. Araragi wonders why Episode and Gaen didn’t chase after First Kin. Because they are busy rummaging through his MILF purchase! When Araragi returns to the shrine, he sees Shinobu on top of Kanbaru. Yuri time? Yotsugi pulls him over into the bushes to hide and listen. Shinobu is mad for Kanbaru saying something insulting and wants her to apologize. However she won’t. It seems Kanbaru wants her to go to meet First Kin but Shinobu refuses to do so. Kanbaru cannot understand her logic especially why the idea of Shinobu, Araragi and First Kin getting along with each other. She thinks it makes Shinobu look like she has a problem having more than a kin. Whether she wants to get along or break up, Kanbaru doesn’t care. As long as she tells it to him properly.

She thinks Shinobu is scared that by doing so, it is like cheating on Araragi. But that itself is a mistake as the only one she will be cheating is herself. Therefore she should tell him straight how his revival will endanger Araragi and bring loads of problem to them. If she can’t even do that, don’t lecture to her about master and servants. She is just one who is bad with people and doesn’t have the right to build a relationship. Shinobu threatens to kill her so Kanbaru dares her and be bad in Araragi’s books. Then she will avoid him like how she avoided First Kin. How can you face the second when she can’t face the first. Kanbaru doesn’t care what the outcome is, she will accept it. If she decides to go with First Kin, break up with Araragi, vice versa. Araragi for the first time sees Shinobu resigned and surrendering. It makes him motivated for the duel. After Shinobu holes up in the shrine to sulk, Araragi walks into the scene. He is surprised Kanbaru knows he was hiding but apparently Shinobu didn’t. Her first concern if she bought the books and bra she asked. All right here. He asks for a death defying advice. DIY = Do Your Best. Uhm, shouldn’t it be DIY? Considering the situation, he thinks Do It Yourself fits perfectly.

Episode 12
I suppose Araragi must be lonely so he calls Senjougahara and even ask her if she would switch if there was somebody better than him. She would. But don’t worry. He is perfect in her eyes. They’ll talk more about this when they get back. She’ll be waiting. Naked. Better finish this fast… The duel is about to begin but Gaen lays down the rules seeing Araragi is still weak compared to First Kin who is completely resurrected and in his samurai armour. They will both face each other’s back against this sword. As she counts, they will take a step and when she reaches 10, they will turn around to grab the sword. The first one to hit the other with the sword wins. First Kin knows this match is not intended to be fair but to keep Araragi alive. Araragi requests for some time to train so Kanbaru analyzes his chances with his physique and all. In the midst of it, Araragi receives a cheeky photo from Hanekawa and is unsure what is going on. That is when Kanbaru explains how her house was on fire and has been living with his sisters. We all should know this story for those who have watched Nekomonogatri (White). Gaen would prefer Araragi to use this reason to forfeit the match and go save Hanekawa and Senjougahara who is also in danger at the moment. But Araragi sends Kanbaru back to his house to find out the details as she is a faster runner than him. He faces off with First Kin and before the duel begins, he tells samurai guy that he may not be special or chosen like him, but he is himself and there can only be one. He cannot be him vice versa. As the duel begins, it might seem Araragi has already lost because First Kin has already grabbed the sword and laughing like a maniac over his soon-to-be victory. However Araragi continues to run and places Meme’s talisman on him, paralyzing him instantly. Even Gaen didn’t expect this! I don’t know what First Kin melted into but he is reduced in screaming Shinobu’s name. Before Araragi could finish him off with the sword, Shinobu jumps in. She eats him and apologizes while crying how glad she is to see him again but sad that this will be their last time as she has found someone more important and wants to be with Araragi a little longer. And thus ends First Kin, or rather, Seishirou’s 400 year suicide ritual. Anti-climatic.

Ougi is happy that Araragi’s story has connected several missing plots in the series. Especially now you know why Araragi has been missing for a great deal in Hanekawa’s Nekomonogatari (White), right? But she wonders if Shinobu has completely eaten every part of Seishirou. Araragi believes so. His armour? Not too sure… Because it is part of his bones, you can melt it down into another demon sword and ideally like Dream Span. Isn’t it why Gaen had Episode there? To collect the armour? Araragi doesn’t think so and thinks Shinobu must have eaten it at some point. Yotsugi has been eavesdropping so she asks Araragi if anybody had been happier since he is with Shinobu. None. As long as they’re together, they will impose a burden to others. She finds his excuse lame because it is like he is trying to be left alone because he won’t be happy and isn’t trying to. It is like pleading for sympathy for his own misfortune. Doing so is just negligence and it won’t do his predecessor any good. Being unhappy is only for cowards. Araragi narrates nobody is happy. Not even Shinobu. His thinking might change 400 years later but he is still happy that he has enough time to live and think till the corpses rot and turn into dust. That maybe this time would come to an end was only a matter of time as well.

Presumed Ending Not In Sight
P.E.N.I.S… Hahaha!!! Well, even if it has ended it is only as far as this season is concerned. Just another chapter of this long running series of stories has come to an end. Because by this time there have been more stories that have come out. So it was short-sighted of me to presume that this was going to be the last story in this series and that people may have gotten bored from everything despite they officially name their series with a different name and just attaching the ‘~gatari’ suffix behind. Oh well, looks like the story will keep continuing. For every door that has closed, a new door opens. For anything that has ended, there is always a new beginning. Dang. I should have seen this one coming.

Although I have to say that this season is still interesting, I have to admit that I have mixed feelings overall. And it has to do with both the story arcs. I am fascinated and drawn to the intrigue and mystery of Oikura’s story. Despite it is just a big elaborated story to find out the truth about Oikura and her mom and thus to set her free, the way the story and pacing are executed is fabulous. It was fantastic although the answers to the mystery may be just as simple and nothing mind blowing. Each unfolding drama and questions raised did well to attract my attention and had me glued to the screen. I was all ears and hungry to know what would happen next. What was the answer. I was eager to know. So that is why when her arc concluded with a seemingly average conclusion, it was not disappointing because of how well everything was paced out. And because Oikura herself looked like she had some sort of personality problem with her anger all pent up inside like as though she might blow up like a bomb anytime soon. I was waiting for the moment when that kind of hellish fury would unleash. It would have been brutal. Therefore Oikura’s story was really pretty well done in all these contexts.

However the same cannot be said for the second half, in which Shinobu is the girl in focus. Again, it is one big elaborated piece of story about Shinobu having an ego problem facing her First Kin again. Uhm, or should I just call him Seishirou? Yeah, that is basically what her arc is all about. Aside from the fact it is also a piece to connect Hanekawa’s story in the second season but that is besides the point. Unlike Oikura’s story, this one lacked the ability that made me very enthusiastic with Oikura’s one. The more the episodes drag on, the more confusing and weary it gets because there are some things that I just don’t understand. The problem is that we thought we know all about Shinobu and done about her seeing she has her very own arc in the previous season. But then again, how much do we actually know about her? And then when you have miss-know-it-all Gaen into the mix but don’t really tell it to us bluntly so as to make us think, dumb guys like me just get frustrating with all the convoluted plots and points. Even if she did relay some points, it wasn’t something that I could understand immediately. Therefore sadly, the second half to me lost some steam and it wasn’t really enjoyable watching Shinobu’s story. Maybe it was intended to end in an anti-climatic way too.

At the end of it all, I suddenly realized I had another sort of ‘disappointment’ but I only have myself to blame. Because I was assuming from the start that this series would be about the mysterious and creepy Ougi girl. Uh huh. I thought this would be her story. Sure, the first hour long episode seems to feature her name but it wasn’t anything on her. I subsequently almost forgot all about this because I was blown away by Oikura’s story but continued to be confused by Shinobu’s tale. Besides, Ougi didn’t make any appearance inside Shinobu’s story so I somewhat forgot about that too. During Oikura’s arc, it was perhaps at the back of my mind thinking that Ougi might be somewhat related to Oikura and Araragi from the way she mysteriously hints us things. But that could all be just red herring. So yeah, maybe in the future we will have a real proper story arc on her.

It made me come up with some wild theories of who this girl is besides being the niece of Meme (that itself could be a lie). Please note that I know nothing about this series, the characters and even Ougi herself as I do not read the original works and have my knowledge on this series solely on the adapted anime seasons. Sometimes it bugs me to think that Ougi might just be a figment of imagination inside Araragi’s head. Because she kept reminding Araragi (and us) that she does not know anything and that it is him who does. After throwing all the hints and asserting it is not she who knows it? Fishy indeed… Ougi could even be a personification of Araragi’s inner past, prompting him to investigate and solve an unsolved past so that he would be liberated in some way. Like as though it is to make Araragi tell us the story. He is after all the main character.

Now, you may be asking if I said Ougi was Araragi’s imaginary friend, how the heck can Hanekawa see and interact with her? Well, she doesn’t! My conspiracy theory states that Ougi is not physically there with them. Hanekawa knew about Araragi’s issue and thus she was ‘kind’ enough to play along and act as though she was really there. Crazy, right?! But remember, Hanekawa is a smart girl. She claims that she doesn’t know everything and only knows what she knows. That is like being smart, right? After all, Ougi herself could be an oddity herself seeing how creepy those eyes are and her skin is as pale as snow… Hence, wanting to know more about this Ougi girl in this season story only serves to increase the mystery of her character.

This season, they have a few opening themes. The first one only lasts for the first episode, Decent Black by Kaori Mizuhashi (the voice of Ougi) and it sounds weird even with those techno synthesizer effects. For Oikura’s arc, the second opening theme, Mathemagics by Marina Inoue (voice of Oikura) sounds dramatic with all the orchestra strings. But the creepy part is the animation in which you have mirror-like kaleidoscope effects, half or quarter of the screen popping out from the centre point making some images look creepy at certain points. I read there was another opening song by Marina Inoue, Yuudachi Houteishiki. But I learnt that this is only available if you buy the BDs. I sampled this pop rock piece and it sounds quite okay (if you’re fine with the screeching electric guitar in the background at times).

The final opening theme, Mein Schatz by Meg Rock is the most unique and amusing. It is an instrumental piece but with those Gregorian-like voices in the background, it makes this piece both creepy and interesting at the same time, especially with that horror-like animation it will sure give you some creeps. On a trivial note, this song unlike other typical themes, lasts for only a minute compared to 1.5 minutes. The only ending theme is Sayonara No Yukue by Alisa Takigawa. This tune and pace of this anime pop piece somewhat remind me of other similar Monogatari themes like the ending theme in Bakemonogatari, Kimi No Shiranai Monogatari and Sono Koe Wo Oboeteru from the second season.

I have done this in my previous Monogatari series blogs and I will do it again here because I think it is worth mentioning every time. Ah yes, the unique visuals are once again another outstanding point of this series that differentiates itself from the crowded field of other anime series. However this time round because I was somewhat engrossed in the story, I didn’t have time to pay attention to the visuals but I can assure you they are there and all those SHAFT trademarks like the eye zooming in and head tilt. Ah yes, all so familiar and yet we never get tired of it.

Overall, yet another amazing season of the Monogatari series has come and gone in just a blink of an eye. This season in particular is intended for viewers who have been constantly watching the series ever since its debut. Therefore newcomers will find it hard to connect dots and pieces of the puzzle from start to end. Because this story is just another small story from a bigger story. So if you want to really enjoy and understand this series, you have to start right from the start and then continue watching all the other side stories. Yes, it is that tortuous. But heck, it is better than watching One Piece or Naruto in this sense, right???!!! Oh yeah. At this rate they are going, maybe they will even surpass One Piece and Naruto in terms of number of episodes. Hah! Don’t say it won’t. It is crazy enough to happen and you won’t realize it because they use different names for each season/series/story and they do not run continuously. And when it happens, it will be too late to realize we have all been dancing right into their palms and been mindf*cked. It will be the end of us!

When you hear a magical girl anime, what do you mostly think about? A cute loli. A magical pet. Cute clothes. Don’t forget the important transformation scene. Magic battles against monsters. Magic battles against darkness. They always triumph in the end. Sounds like fun and a dream for every young girl to be the heroine, right? But what if you want out? You don’t want to be a magical girl in the first place and have had it being one. Just like the protagonist of Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara, she didn’t want to become a magical girl but under the circumstances she is forced to. And thus this is her life as she goes about trying to live a normal one while having this additional magical girl baggage to her name. Oh, did I mention this is supposed to be a funny show?

Episode 1
Yuzuka Hanami is sleeping as usual in the early morning. Her dad must be a workaholic because he gladly leaves the house and happily looks forward to working 21 hours straight! Like any other independent girl, Yuzuka prepares herself and heads to school. On her way back, she sees something scary lurking in the garbage site. WTF is this strange ball creature with wings?! Miton is surprised she can see him and initiates a barrier so that no one can interrupt their conversation. Hey wait a minute. If no normal humans can see or hear him, why the f*ck put up a barrier in the first place? What is wrong with having another human seeing him? Anyway the fact that Yuzuka can see him means she has a potential to become a magical girl! Say, isn’t this how Nurse Witch Komugi-chan was conceived? He gives her a wristband and tells her how to transform. When she does, she becomes very embarrassed with this swimsuit outfit. Miton explains the magical girl outfit takes on the form that best suits its wearer. He can’t stop staring at her… She reverts back and doesn’t want to take up this magical girl job but Miton insists she will get used to it as swimsuits do the best work in summer. Yuzuka is not keen in working with him and Miton’s smelliness from the garbage makes her slap him away.

Episode 2
Miton is taken back to Yuzuka’s home. She blindfolds him as she transforms again to ascertain if her outfit is really a swimsuit. It is. Miton believes it must be her fetish. Better keep quiet if you don’t want her to give you that painful scrubbing punishment. He teaches how to materialize her power and it looks like she could materialize water. This water magic comes in handy especially when this pervert starts saying things that are uncalled for. She can splash him or drown him. Miton notices Yuzuka is good in cooking, something magical girls aren’t supposed to be good at. Is this some sort of stereotype? Yuzuka thinks Miton eats garbage. He is distraught she thinks so and tells of his sad story how he almost died of hunger and had no choice but to eat anything he finds. Yuzuka feels bad for asking that. But then he checks out her panties. The frying pan comes in handy sometimes… Miton learns about her parents are often away and thus leaving Yuzuka alone most of the time. He thinks she is lonely and assures will always be with her from now on but Yuzuka shoots that down and would rather be alone. Ouch.

Episode 3
Miton learns more about Yuzuka’s dad and the way she describes it, it sounds like he is working in a black company. Yuzuka did talk to her dad about this before but he told her why his company isn’t one because he enjoys what he does and gets paid properly. But doesn’t that still make him a corporate slave? Miton decides to follow Yuzuka to school since nobody can see him. Too bad her friend, Daiya could. And even Chiya Sakagami. Chiya asks Yuzuka if there is something bothering her lately and if they are good friends. In that case, what the hell is that ball creature?! Miton introduces himself as Yuzuka’s partner but since she denies it, Chiya abuses him and warns never to say that without her permission! It seems nobody else in school can see Miton. Chiya wants to see Yuzuka’s transformation and Miton allows it. You’re her best friend, right? Chiya is impressed at how cute the outfit is. Just when you thought Miton and Chiya can be friends, Chiya beats him up and another warning not to do this without her. She wants in on this.

Episode 4
Unfortunately Miton explains he can only control with one bracelet at a time. Yuzuka doesn’t mind giving up her role but it seems you can’t change the registration of the bracelet. He assures that there is a retirement age for magical girls: 16 years old. Although Chiya is not pleased, as long as Yuzuka is not in danger, she doesn’t mind. Chiya then records every line of Miton says when he assures Yuzuka doesn’t need to fight or be put in danger. Later Yuzuka asks his opinion of Chiya. He knows she doesn’t see him as a friend but is sure she cares a lot about Yuzuka. Then she receives a message from Chiya to be extra careful of Miton and not to be swayed by his sweet words. As they go shopping, Yuzuka realizes how poor Miton is when he can’t stop fantasizing all the premium meat and desserts. Miton enjoys Yuzuka’s finest cooking and wonders if it is alright for her to splurge for his sake. It’s okay. Because Chiya told her to make him owe her! Oh sh*t! Now to make his desserts… No thanks, he’ll pass…

Episode 5
In her bathroom, Yuzuka transforms to test out her water magic. She has some fun but the only downside is the need to wear this swimsuit to use her power. She thinks Miton has peeped at her as he knows what she was doing. He explains he can sense whenever she transforms via the bracelet. He doesn’t understand why she needed to go to the bathroom just to do this since this is her house when she can just transform right here in front of him. I think that is precisely why she did it there. Yuzuka asserts she doesn’t like the swimsuit transformation and even more so a stranger looking at her in one. But Miton considers himself as her partner as he turned her into magical girl although Yuzuka quickly puts her foot down on that. They are nothing more but strangers. Strangers!

Episode 6
Yuzuka’s dad is coming home early today and she wonders if Miton can make himself visible to him. Miton disagrees because doing so will cause more harm than good and will have to manipulate his memories. He fears he would be handed over to some shady organization and experimented on if his existence gets spread around. But when Yuzuka mentions about the potential of getting more money from him and buy better food, Miton changes his mind and supports the idea of not hiding things from the family. Look at how much he is drooling. Once daddy returns, Yuzuka asks if she could get a pet. He okays it. So what will it be? A dog? A cat? What the heck is that creature?! In order for Miton to manipulate his memory, Yuzuka must transform. Although dad catches a glimpse of his daughter in the swimsuit, Miton is able to manipulate his memory to see him as a fat parrot! Miton has also restored his stamina and notes how tired he is. Could his job be tougher than magical girl battles? Next morning, dad feels refreshed with lots of energy. So much so he is ready to work for 200 hours straight! Please don’t!

Episode 7
Miton is placed in a cooler because Chiya is also here in her swimsuit. He is convinced to stay there when Chiya notes Yuzuka will lose he will if he sees her. She then won’t want to do this anymore and won’t like him. Chiya wants to learn more about Yuzuka’s magic. She demonstrates and Chiya finds her cute. The girls want to know what happens to the clothes when transformed. They get replaced? Not a convincing answer. Chiya asks the question what would then happen if the swimsuit is taken off, would it be replaced by another? If that happens, they could sell it! But Chiya disagrees. Because she’ll keep it in her collection. Miton is not sure where clothes go during that but the outfit is essential in supporting the magical girl fight with magic so it won’t do any good taking it off. Wondering if there is any way to leave her original clothes around when she transforms, they test it out but the clothes get mixed up with each other. Yuzuka panics and transforms back but more mix up as this time her panties disappear. So it seems it is a bad idea to add more clothes as it will screw up the process. Too bad. But Chiya keeps her swimsuit top anyway.

Episode 8
Yuzuka introduces Chiya to Daiya. She finds her cute and the trio had a fun outing all day. After Daiya leaves, as they make their way back, they spot a girl with a flying penguin! Miton and Pochi (his name is too freaking long and complicated to pronounce, so we’ll just call him this) know each other. Mafuyu Shinogi points out that since they can see Pochi, could it be that they are magical girls? Thus she mistakes Chiya to be the magical girl. When Miton claims Yuzuka is her partner, she immediately denies it. Mafuyu reveals she is a magical girl and is happy that there is another one around. This too makes Yuzuka happy as this means she has a new friend.

Episode 9
The magical girls show off each other’s costume. Mafuyu is a Santarina and she quite likes it. Mafuyu has always thought she was the only magical girl around since Pochi said the chances of another one were incredibly low. She hopes they can be her friends. Miton suggests to Pochi to link up but the latter refuses and narrates the hell he went through. No shelter over his head and had to eat food from garbage. That sounds a lot like Miton, right? As Mafuyu is a senior, she will be retiring soon. Yuzuka wonders if it is rude to ask her about the retirement age but Chiya directly asks her. For now, Mafuyu will keep that a secret. They see Miton and Pochi like best friends now. Garbage buddies? Chiya refuses to acknowledge what she sees. They go buy stationery and since Chiya and Mafuyu discover they prefer the same supply type, they become extremely good friends. Probably if they have cut all that chatter, they could have made it since the shop just closed for the day.

Episode 10
You wonder what kind of magical girls Miton handled before because he finds it odd that Yuzuka is properly doing her homework. He thought she should wait for last minute and party first. He asks about things that she cannot handle physically. His sexual harassment? Anything else? The swimsuit. He will look into the system since she dislikes it so much. Yuzuka wonders why he never did it in the first place. It is because by removing the swimsuit it would means she is totally naked. Hey, not bad, right? Yuzuka gets mad and gives him a punishment scrub. So now you know why, right? With Miton adding that her consciousness keeps the swimsuit materialized, looks like the only way Yuzuka can ‘hide’ it is to wear clothes over it after she transforms. He cautions the problem like the last time, screwing up the system with overlapping clothes. She kicks him out and will try it out herself. After her transformation, she realizes her mom was watching.

Episode 11
Mom guesses she is a magical girl as well as this poor mascot design thingy (spot on!) turned her into one. But she asks if all monsters are defeated, why turn Yuzuka into one? No reason in particular. As dad has his memories altered, by right mom should have hers too. But Yuzuka seems to hint mom doesn’t care about this things so it is okay to let her be (why does she sound like a neglected child?). Mom learns about her water power but isn’t impressed with it since it can’t make any money! She has Yuzuka show her transformation again. She demonstrates her magic too and mom can’t stop taking pictures. Yuzuka nearly drowns Miton when he suggests she stays in the swimsuit forever. Yuzuka goes into hiding when dad is home early since his bosses got sick and got the approval to come home. He is so happy that for the first time in 5 years, 3 months and 6 days he gets to be with his family!!! Somebody call the labour department! Dad and mom spend a nice time together and Yuzuka couldn’t be happier.

Episode 12
When Miton notes Yuzuka has not many friends, it hits her real hard. She starts thinking of all the friends she has but can only think of Chiya. She thinks harder and could only come up with Daiya and Mafuyu. Not so bad, right? Although she looks at the bigger picture like classmates, she tries to support her view of having fewer friends means the stronger your bonds with each one will be. The more the weaker, right? This is what Miton understands: She is embarrassed that she doesn’t have many friends. Spot on. With Yuzuka flustering, he rephrases his words is Chiya her only friend at school. This only makes her mad. When Miton tells this to Chiya, same expression. Only, she wants to kill him! Chiya for once imparts valuable advice. She knows he is trying to look out for her but should only say those things once he is her friend. So on the way home, Miton has decided he is going to become Yuzuka’s best friend. Well, at least Chiya smiles and agrees. Really? She is agreeing to let this guy into her life?

Magical Swimsuit Model?
Wait. So this is how it ends? What did I just watch? What just happened? What is going to happen? Although the ending doesn’t make it any better, to be honest, I have mixed feelings while watching and once I finished the series. I can’t seem to figure out if this short anime is good or just bad. So I’m going with my usual middle ground approach. Yeah, that always solves a lot of things, right? :-).

Anyway, let’s start off with why it is bad. Simply because there is really nothing much to it! I wonder if we have been trolled and ‘cheated’ into thinking this is some sort of magical girl show but it feels like it is just half of it. The lack of any evil to fight makes it the biggest pitfall for why this series is really a magical girl genre and raises one of the biggest idiotic questions of how this is even possible. Why the heck do you even need to have magical girls when all the evil in the world has already been purged? Even the so called ‘reason’ gave here wasn’t really any reason in particular. It just felt like lazy writing. Hey, if Miton himself doesn’t know the answer, where else can we find them? Unless you take into account Miton is a swimsuit maniac and thus why Yuzuka was forced to become one then it is a different story but still, why the need of a magical girl when there are no monsters to fight? Therefore just because of having only a transformation scene feels like it makes it legitimate to be called a magical girl show just doesn’t justify it. After all, Yuzuka looks more like a loli swimsuit gravure model who can make water bubbles, that’s all.

One the good side, this anime is fairly simple and non-complicated to watch. In recent years, the themes of magical girl genres have gone from being your simple good versus evil trope to one that is complicated with personal traumas and dark themes. I mean, just take a look at Mahou Shoujou Madoka Magica. That has got to be one of, if not the darkest magical girl themes around. We have got magical girls show ranging from dealing with child abuse (Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha), despair and blood (Genei Wo Kakeru Taiyou) as well as hidden dark secrets that might tear even the closest friendships apart (Yuuki Yuuna Wa Yuusha De Aru). With such dark themes around, magical girl series are not for the innocent anymore. Sure, there are still colourful and typical magical girl hype type like the Pretty Cure series down to the silly ones such as Nurse Witch Komugi R and Ilya’s little spinoff, but they still have its own issues to deal with albeit to a lesser degree.

Therefore this series if you are talking and comparing it with recent magical girl series, you would find that this doesn’t even compare to a fraction of it. This means this series is easier to enjoy and easier to understand without the need of cracking your brains, tissues to wipe away the incessant weeping and whatever medication to help your heartache from it all. But this simplicity in turn can be its own downfall because everything is so simple and relaxing, it can become boring. There is nothing much in this anime that makes it memorable in the long run. While it is good for a few minutes worth of chuckles, there isn’t anything much to say beyond that. And that weak ending somewhat ruins it…

Thus having the setting of a world where evil monsters and beings have been defeated and leaving this world a peaceful one is indeed a refreshing premise when it comes to the magical girl genre. So in that case can all magical girls retire early? I doubt that will happen when there are magical mascot maniacs mad about magical girls can’t live the rest of their lives without having to serve one. This leads to the plot suffering because what else is there to do when you have no dangers to face and no inner demons to fight? Hence many of the episodes feel like standalone fillers which don’t really satisfy your magical girl needs. If you really need one, that is. And so I conclude this is how boring and lacking a decent direction a magical girl genre can get if they are not fighting monsters. Yeah…

So okay, overall it might lean towards the negative side and this is also partly contributed by the seemingly simple characters that aren’t anything much themselves. Firstly, Yuzuka is just a typical ordinary girl. That is all. When she comes into possession her magical powers, she is no different than before. Her life somewhat remains the same (albeit now with an annoying ‘poorly designed mascot’ part of her life) and she hardly puts her magic into any good use except impress others and sometimes to drown Miton whenever he goes overboard. Personally I think even Chiya is more interesting than her because of her overprotective-cum-possessive tendencies over Yuzuka and don’t-mess-with-me-you-f*cker attitude and look. She is perhaps the only character why this series is a little funnier. Otherwise it falls flat (no boob puns intended) without anything more to laugh about.

The other funny character is Yuzuka’s dad who seems to be a victim of corporate slavery but can you call it so when he is ‘enjoying’ it so much? Or is he really brainwashed? Somebody should call UN’s ILO and report this company! But then again, with Japan being famous for karoushi, they might just shrug it off. Oh wait… Could this shady corporation be a sleeping evil organization that will burst into the scene for world dominance under everyone’s nose when they least expects it? The much needed antagonist and the reason magical girls are called back to fight evil and putting Yuzuka’s magic into good use for the first time? Yeah. Even so, it might be too late as far as this season is concerned. Let’s not think too much about it.

Miton himself fails at everything. I thought he is some cheap knock off from 2×2=Shinobuden’s Onsokumaru but looked a little creepier. Usually mascot creatures steal the limelight in many shows but this one just couldn’t lift off the ground. Though Miton can be considered a pervert but he lacks that kind of ‘energy’ and ‘passion’ that makes perverts, well uhm, perverts. He sounds so monotonous which goes well with his seemingly simple yet creepy look but I doubt that with this series also being labelled as a comedy genre, we won’t look at him like some sort of jump scare monster. Thus in comparison to Onsokumaru, this little winged ball is nowhere close and his sexual harassment pales in comparison to that said yellow ball. Not sure if you can even call it sexual harassment. Yuzuka isn’t a violent girl to begin with and mostly you’ll see her angry face and the most if he really steps out of line, water bubble drowning or that dreaded scrubbing (which we only see once ever happening to him). So Miton and Yuzuka reconciling with the possibility being friends at the end whereas for the entire time she was not even acknowledging him as one just feels out of place.

Other characters felt like they weren’t necessary in the first place. Sometimes I feel that they were there just to give a little variety and prolong the series that would otherwise be boring as hell if it was always Miton and Yuzuka and occasionally Chiya. Think about it. What the heck was Daiya’s appearance for when she didn’t really contribute anything to the story. She might as well be a total stranger or a character with no name. Same case for Mafuyu and Pochi. Another magical girl. So what? What was the significance of it all? So perhaps the only reason why such characters appear is for the ‘final climax’ so that Yuzuka could count who her friends are. Really, that’s about it. It could have been a running joke about Pochi (ironically a penguin given a dog’s name) that he is usually cut off and often ignored by Mafuyu. Another running joke is how each time Yuzuka addresses Mafuyu by her surname, Mafuyu wants to be called by her first name. But you know that is blatantly ignored when she does this all the time. And do we need Yuzuka’s mom coming home just for her single episode debut? Therefore with these characters don’t really contribute to the story in the first place (not that the series had a good one either) and only serves to make them feel more redundant.

There is nothing astounding from the voice acting with most of them being newbies in the industry or at least not ‘hot’ enough to land them many anime roles. Most disappointing one goes to Yuuki Wakai as Miton (Reona West in PuriPara series). I’m not saying her voice acting is bad. But because of how bland Miton sounds, this character could be the worst magical girl mascot ever. The rest of the casts are Akane Fujita as Yuzuka (Megumi Uda in Haifuri), Nichika Omori as Chiya (ironically she was the voice of this magical girl, Yurika in Rokujouma No Shinryakusha), Miku Itou as Mafuyu (Sahono in Mangaka-san To Assistant-san To), Asuka Nishi as Pochi (Shinobu in Kiniro Mosaic) and Minami Tanaka as Daiya (Minami in Wake Up, Girls). The opening theme is Yumeiro Tori Dori Parade by Earth Star Dream. Sounds like a song for a carnival or children’s parade if you ask me.

Art and animation seems decent. Simple yet cute but there isn’t anything more to it. After all, this is a simple series and you don’t need to go into elaborate and extravagant designs just to serve its comedic effect. That is why sometimes I feel that Miton and Pochi fail as a mascot design because they look one kind, if not a bit creepy rather than cute. So simple this series like as though it feels like they are cutting corners designing the swimsuit outfit for Yuzuka. Yeah, why not just smack on a bikini top and bottom, slap a pareo attached to it and you got yourself a new magical girl outfit! If she doesn’t look like a girl heading to a beach, she looks like an exotic dancer amateur or magician’s assistant. Really. No doubt one of the worst and could be the worst ever (and lazy too) magical girl design I have ever seen. Sure, it looks like a normal swimsuit but when you classify this series as a magical girl, it is hard not to think so. This series is produced by Pine Jam. This is their debut series and so far the only one they have produced. So let’s hope they use this experience and make greater animes in the future. Trivial note: Their website is full of pine jams animation… Sweet! Yum!

Overall, this series is simple and enjoyable to watch in the short run when you are in need of something cute and funny that doesn’t need a lot of brain cells and emotional draining. A plus point if you are a lolicon. Because of that, the downside to it all is the non-existing plot or even its direction. I believe this isn’t supposed to be a slapstick nonsensical series like, say Teekyuu, Ai Mai Mi and Fushigi Na Somera-chan in which the non-existent plot can be forgiven because the hilarious absurd garbage greatly overwhelms it all. Until there is true world peace, magical girls are still much needed to keep evils in check and the world balance. Because we still need them. Lolicons still need them. They will never have enough of wanting a magical girl.

You thought if you are ever sucked into a fantasy realm, it would be just easy to live the life of an adventurer there. Especially for those who have played RPG and MMORPG games and waste spend their time levelling up their characters with all the hours of grinding, it will be a piece of cake. You think so? Well, certainly not in Hai To Gensou no Grimgar. Another fantasy setting whereby our main group of characters are a bunch of amnesiacs, not sure how they got into this world so you can’t really accuse this of being yet another virtual reality MMORPG like Sword Art Online, Log Horizon or even Overlord. Life is tough when you start out as an adventurer with nothing. Yeah, much worse when you don’t have memories of your origins. So what to do but to work hard, trial by error and earn enough day by day, save enough to buy better equipment, weapons and learn new skills. And if that is they are lucky enough not to get killed along the way. Uh huh. Feels like a poor man’s version of realistic RPG gaming. If this was a game…

Episode 1
Get this. A small party is having trouble defeating a single goblin! They’re fumbling and being outsmarted by the little green creature! Not too sure if it is that smart or they are just dumb and unlucky. And aren’t goblins the weakest creature in Grimgar? I’m sure they defeat it eventually since the next morning they are talking about the difficulties in just handling them. As they talk over things, Manato mentions the word game but he doesn’t understand what it means. This prompts Haruhiro to narrate how they tend to use seemingly familiar words but yet do not know its meaning. He adds he only came to this world and has no memories of prior to that. And that was just a few days ago. He woke up in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. People who seem as lost as him. So they head to ask this effeminate guy some questions. Brittany is the chief of this Red Moon office of this little Ortana town of Grimgar. He is also part of the Volunteer Soldier Squad for Ortana’s Borderland Brigade. Tough guy Renji wants immediate answers and is not scared by Brittany’s challenge and in fact dares him. To summarise, Brittany wants them to join the Volunteer Soldier Squad by becoming trainees. Here’s a badge at 20 silver coins. First lesson to get to know this world better is that they have to fight and think for themselves. Yeah. Great survival tip. Oh, here is another tip: Don’t quit. Otherwise you die. Thanks Brittany. I’ll keep that in mind. Renji stormed off with a handful of strong members. I guess this leaves Haruhiro with the weak ones, eh? He continues narrating a few more workings about this world. Like this Borderland Brigade is needed because there are other races hostile to humans. You can also trade monster items for a high price.

Part of the rule to work, one must join a guild. So as advised by Manato, Haruhiro went to join a thief guild. Not too sure if he will regret this one but since Barbara is such a hot sexy teacher, I’m sure he doesn’t mind the strict sadistic training. Yeah, it will be all worth it in 7 days… Hey, at least she gave him his nickname: Old Cat. It’s his face… After completing their training in their respective guilds, they meet up. Manato is a priest, Yume a hunter, Shihoru a magician, Moguzo a warrior and Ranta a dark knight. Complete with RPG-like cosplay outfits. I’m not sure what Ranta’s problem is but it is like he has got a bone to pick with everyone. Like how he chides Shihoru about her boobs and being fat. Huh? Then he blames Haruhiro for even looking at them. What? I don’t even… See? You made her cry! Lucky Yume threatens to shoot him if he steps further out of line. And probably incite more jealousy as she gets a little yuri with her. The group then goes to hunt monsters but they come back empty handed and their wallets are getting dangerously empty. Yeah, they haven’t eaten anything decent. A bigger insult when they see the goblins eating yummier food! Curses! It’s really a dog eat dog world out here too.

Episode 2
Haruhiro couldn’t sleep that night so he goes to chat with Manato who just came back from drinking. I guess he earned it since he is like the big brother of the pack trying to take care of the rest. They look up at the red moon and find it weird even though they don’t remember the moon of their own world but they have a feeling it shouldn’t be red. What a beautiful day to hunt a goblin. One spotted down by the river. I’m not sure about their strategy to surprise attack it but Ranta being an idiot starts screaming and dashing. And I don’t know what he is swinging the sword at. Of course the goblin is alerted and tries to run. But Haruhiro tumbles his way down and inadvertently engages in melee combat. The farce continues because despite the party surrounding and even wounding the goblin, it still outsmarts them! With the goblin screaming, everyone is just as hell mad and scared. The climatic end came when the goblin throws its sword into Haruhiro’s shoulder and then tries to kill him. Haruhiro becomes scared that he stabs its neck. It still won’t die? Ranta fights it before Moguzo finishes it off with a head blow. Manato heals Ranta’s wound. Ranta is searching to goblin for the spoils and he isn’t too appreciative that Moguzo dealt the final blow because it meant the kill was his. Then a jump scare for everybody because the goblin is still alive! WTF?! Is it on God mode?! It tries to run away but Ranta chases it down and violently stabs it to death like a mad killer! OMG! We’ve seen enough violence for today. I suppose you can call that their victory so they trade its wolf fang for a high price. And since the sun is still high, they hang out in town and enjoy themselves. I guess they deserve it. Ranta is satisfied with his first kill because he accumulated enough Vice to summon a demon familiar. That night, Haruhiro wanted to ask Manato some serious questions but the words just couldn’t come out his mouth. Then Ranta decides to go spy on the girls bathing since it is his manly destiny or something. As expected, he got what he deserves as the girls beat him up. Just sad for the other guys who tried to stop him got dragged into this mess and had to apologize.

Episode 3
All the guys are kneeling and apologizing. Except for Ranta of course. He even states he didn’t want to see their flat chests (liar!) so Yume promises not to get mad if he comes clean. Apparently the wall gave way when he tried to peep on them. Then Yume just beats him down. Promise or no promise… A rainy day, a gloomy day… Because our party isn’t finding anything to earn. This continues for a few days as Haruhiro narrates they are so poor that they can’t even afford to buy underwear! Yeah, clothes must be that expensive. Then the thought if the guys don’t wear them while they are sleeping, what about the girls? Are you sinking as low as Ranta? I suppose he tries to cover this up by disallowing Ranta to go wash his clothes at the same time with the girls. You’ll never know. Next day, the gang head to Damuro. It was the second city of Arabakia Kingdom but now a base for goblins. Because goblins separated from their groups tend to end up in old cities, that is where the gang will try their luck. They spot a sleeping goblin and immediately strike it down. Well, this was easy. They continue their hunt for goblins this way till they have enough money. Yes, enough money for Haruhiro to buy new underwear! With extra money, they also splash them on food. Manato suggests saving some to learn new skills. Then there is this heart to heart talk between Haruhiro and Manato about being here and friends alike. But it’s just so boring that I couldn’t give a damn.

Episode 4
What the heck is this opener. Almost 3 minutes of Manato feeding animals and when he invites Shihoru to do it, she flusters and falls. He catches her. That’s about it. Like as though it is foreboding something… The party now has learnt new skills to take on more goblins and at more effective pace. They’re really getting into the groove. During the break, Manato talks how everyone has gotten along well with each other and mentions their good points. Yes, even Ranta has his good points. But did he forget to mention Haruhiro? Oh well. There will be many chances to ask him after that. Suddenly they are under attack by a group of goblins. Revenge? Haruhiro takes arrow hits meant for Manato. Very painful but luckily Manato heals them. As they make their escape, Manato gets shot in the back. Unfortunately I’m not sure why his magic cannot work. He is dying. His friends are panicking on what to do next. All Manato can do is say sorry. When they bring him to his chief priest, he offers his condolences that the dead cannot be brought back to life. Manato… Dead???!!! Haruhiro goes crazy being unable to accept reality. The priest tells him all they can do and must do is give him a proper burial. Because in this land without so, the dead become cursed zombies after 5 days. And that only way is to cremate. Sure, it costs money but Haruhiro will do it. Because Manato is their friend. Cue for heartbreaking cry from Shihoru. A gloomy outlook for them as they scatter his ashes into the wilderness.

Episode 5
Gloomy… Even gloomier, it costs money to live, it costs money to die… The guys are drinking at the bar. It seems Ranta is blaming Haruhiro for making Manato use up his magic that is why he ran out of it. The argument could have escalated further had not the gentle giant Moguzo put his foot down and told them off not to fight each other. As they think of their next step, here comes Kikkawa all happy and drunk. Then he learns about Manato’s death so he tells them how priests have high fatality rate and is targeted by enemies. That is why a warrior is always there to protect them. Kikkawa knows a few people who are of priest class to join them. So this Mary girl… Unfriendly and uncooperative. I think Ranta could even lose to her in any argument and ironically he is the one to say about her attitude! She won’t even fight in the front lines because she values herself as a priest and when some members get injured she won’t heal because it is not a big deal so deal with it! Oh my… If that is not bad enough, there seems to be silent animosity from Yume and Shihoru and Haruhiro thinks it is because he got Mary as their priest without their consultation. Sure, Mary looks pretty and could have been if not for that attitude… Renji (looks like he is promoted) visits them and gives a gold coin as a gift after hearing Manato’s death. However Haruhiro gives it back and can’t accept it. While Ranta is cursing they could have bought their official badges with that, Haruhiro thinks this isn’t what Manato would have wanted. You think so? Haruhiro realizes the group is in disarray and that is nothing to do with Mary itself. Haruhiro goes talk to Yume if she is mad because they hired Mary without their talking to them first. When a woman says she is not mad at that tone… Plus, she won’t tell you what is wrong too… You have to guess… Oh my, doesn’t this seem freaking familiar?! While they are hugging and crying, each consoling the other, Haruhiro realizes how Manato placed importance in their party. Even though he was their leader, he didn’t do everything by himself. Haruhiro is now crying harder than Yume. This is the perfect mood for them to hold each other in such romantic way. Yeah, I didn’t know holding each other like that could be so much warmer. Maybe it’s because they’re hugging in the rain? Then Shihoru spots this and gets the wrong idea. It took a while for Yume to realize what she had done but she brushes it off. So Haruhiro wanted her to take it seriously?

Episode 6
Shihoru apologizes for the misunderstanding. Ranta is bursting with energy trying to find out what happened! Made even worse when Yume bluntly tells him what happened. Now this guy is even more energetic to hear every piece of detail. On the way to their next mission, the girls try to be friendly with Mary but she is still unresponsive. Haruhiro also tries to talk to her but she is as tight as an airbag. When the girls join the guys for the first time at the bar, Mary ignores them and sits by herself. They see her talking to Shinohara from a very famous group, Orion. Haruhiro has this dilemma to play the reluctant leader. Somebody has to do it. So much so he even sees visions of Manato asking him how the party will turn out. So Haruhiro observes his teammates in battle. Like how Moguzo is careful with his attacks because he doesn’t wear helmet. He suggests he go buy one so he can fight all out. He also observes Mary that she does heal but only after the fight. She might claim her staff is for aesthetics but she has learnt some skills for it. Despite not fighting in the front lines, she is at the back protecting Shihoru. As Mary doesn’t want to join them as usual after another mission, they go to the bar to talk to Shinohara to ask more about Mary. But he refers them to Hayashi who knows her better for they were in the same party. They started out just like them as Volunteer Soldiers and everything was smooth sailing. It is surprising to learn Mary was a very cheerful and helpful person. Thanks to her help, their confidence in battles grew and this only made them arrogant. Till that incident at Cyrene Mine. They were trying to hunt down a kobold and beat other parties to it. They went deeper and deeper till they found it. Hayashi was knocked unconscious during the fight. When he woke up, a couple of his comrades have died. One is still standing and trying to fend it off. Hayashi told Mary to quickly heal him but she was crying and apologizing that she had run out of magic. After that she stopped smiling and blamed herself for letting 3 of her friends die and had no right to be a healer.

Episode 7
Hayashi dragged Mary away as she watched in horror the last member of her party gets killed. After they resurface, Shinohara took them into Orion but Mary soon left. Being with him reminded her of her past and it was painful. Mary joined many parties but never stayed long. Sometimes Hayashi thought he only brought back an empty shell of her and the real one is still stuck down there. He hopes Haruhiro and co can save her. After learning her past, Ranta still isn’t so forgiving. So what they know more about her? Does her tragic past make it less than them? But Haruhiro says that even if she is no different than them, if they don’t try to be friends with her, she won’t be friends with them either. If that is the case, Ranta wonders why they don’t be friends with him. Is it because he always says unnecessary things? Yup. I guess things can change because Ranta actually apologize! Yeah, it might snow tomorrow. Next day when they find no suitable goblins to hunt, Haruhiro talks to Mary about Manato. He talks about their ex-priest in a way that pretty much sounds similar to what she had experienced. You know, Manato the leader and mood maker of the team that everybody takes for granted until he is gone. Eventually, everyone thinks of Mary as their friend. Even if Mary still doesn’t join them after missions, at least she opened up a bit. The more missions they go, Haruhiro could feel they are slow getting closer to Mary. They have gone to hunt goblins for so many times that they have been nicknamed and taunted by others Goblin Slayers, though they pay no heed. But hey, at least they can now tell apart goblins and know their habits very well. They also save well and invest in equipment and weapons while learning more skills to level themselves up. Killing goblins has become a whole lot easier. And what do you know? Mary joins them at the bar too. Things are going well that Haruhiro even has his calming talk with Manato. He wants to show him how the party has become now.

Episode 8
Haruhiro and co are going on a revenge mission to kill the pack of goblins that killed Manato that day. You know Manato is such a great guy when his name even crops up in his motivational speech. Because of his death, they vow not to let others die. Unless you’re a goblin. The ambush begins but it seems the boss goblin is no pushover and is a smart one. He knows human skills and magic to avoid them. Even cooperating to fight him or fight him solo is tough because he is one tough mother f*cker. But after a while, they manage to wound him as he retreat. As they chase after him, they see him slumped on his chair like as though he is going to resign to his fate. No more energy to fight? Little do they know it is an ambush because Mary got an arrow to her back! Oh no! Before everybody could panic like history repeating itself, this time they have the experience and more composed. Thankfully Mary’s wound is not critical and she still has magic left. Eventually the big boss is slain and Haruhiro goes after the sneaky goblin that shot Mary at the back. With Yume’s help, they finally avenge Manato. And Haruhiro got back his lost dagger the day Manato died. The friends pay their respects at Manato’s grave. It seems they have earned enough money to buy a badge that makes them full fledge Volunteer Soldiers. I guess it is tough being poor at first since they had to be frugal and save all the money they can on food and lodging. They have even bought Manato’s share as they lay it on his tombstone. Then there is some talk with Haruhiro and Mary. Yeah, about Manato again. The pain of losing friends that will stay in your heart forever, I’m not sure if it is something appropriate to talk right now. But I suppose it is so that Mary can say that there are some wounds that magic cannot heal. Despite a painful topic to talk about, at least they feel better after hearing it.

Episode 9
Haruhiro’s party has their day off. I guess they earned it. So we have Moguzo baking his new bread and carving hobby, Shihoru feeding birds, Ranta fishing and Yume… Rock climbing? Haruhiro walks around town and stumbles upon Mary. They chat… Soon they get word on Damuro that there are new aggressive goblins there ever since they defeated those pack. Rookie Volunteer Soldiers have been injured. As they ponder their next move because if they don’t go for the hunt they won’t earn anything, Moguzo suggests changing their hunting location. Somehow Cyrene Mine pops up in Haruhiro’s head. Seems he wants to go there for a change of pace. It is good that they have gotten better and familiar with Damuro but being complacent they might let their guard down. Naturally, Mary has been having irregular breathing since she heard that place. I am not sure if they don’t remember if this was her traumatic turning point in life. She goes out from some air. Haruhiro talks to her and I think it is a little too late to realize it is a place where she wants to forget where she lost her friends. Because he too has not set foot at the place where Manato died and would like to forget it. Mary admits she cannot be calm at that place but wants to go there to overcome it so she can move on. She is willing to go with them because they consider her their friends. Haruhiro is so happy to hear it that he cried… Don’t laugh… So as everyone prepares their equipment and skills for their new hunting ground, Haruhiro goes to learn a greater skill from Barbara. I guess with all the depression, Yume and Shihoru weren’t sexy enough that is why we have some screen time for Barbara’s sexy-cum-sadistic training. She assures only a few have died in her training. That’s very assuring… Like all flirty masters, she tries to get Haruhiro to spill the beans if there is any girls he is interested but he is more interested in asking her about the strange skill that he could see critical hit points in enemies. People who train well enough and have got enough experience can see it and it differs from person to person. Yeah whatever. It means you have to find more about that yourself. Haruhiro’s party is outside Cyrene Mine. As narrated. It was developed by humans of Arabika Kingdom but was abandoned after a party of kobolds seized and ousted them. They have been living there since.

Episode 10
Fighting the kobolds use a different strategy. Ranta seems to be having trouble with his and he refuses help so he could kill it on his own. But as explained by Mary, these kobolds are low levels and live nearer to the surface. The tougher and stronger ones live deeper below. As the party goes deeper, we see them use more skills they have learnt. After a while, Haruhiro suggests this has been enough kobold killing for today and to head back. That night, Haruhiro calls Ranta to talk about his attitude. It seems he doesn’t like teamwork. He also warns him about his attitude that could be easily misunderstood by others. So is he trying to blame something? However Ranta fires back that Haruhiro too has his weak points but do you see him talk about it openly? Besides, Ranta reveals he doesn’t intend to get friendly with everybody. He is only fulfilling his role as needed in the party and thus it fits on how he sees as working as a team. The next day, the party continues to hunt more kobolds deeper. Ranta is still reckless, almost killing Haruhiro and he doesn’t even care! Haruhiro wants to be angry but he realizes this is just Ranta being how he used to be. Arriving at a level that has its own underground farming and sunlight, they have to lie low after spotting a pack of kobolds. It would be tough fighting them as the open space gives them the advantage. Ranta accidentally triggers an alarm mechanism and all the kobolds go into alert mode. Then the big kobold boss pops up to help search. Mary recognizes this big bad wolf. Her trauma kicks up, paralyzing her.

Episode 11
Mary dreams of her friends but is snapped back to reality by Haruhiro. Still playing hide and seek with the wolves? She composes herself to lead her party to the lower levels undetected as she knows the area well. The next level is hot because of the smelting mines. They manage to sneak through and rest at an abandoned temple since kobolds don’t worship gods. Then zombies pop up… Oh look, they are Mary’s ex-teammates. I guess this is how you would look like when you didn’t get cremated. Looks like they don’t miss her and start attacking. Everybody starts engaging them and Mary wants to go into the frontlines for the first time because she has learnt a dispel move that will break their curse. It is going to be tough since the zombies are stronger, faster and have the brains to use tactic. Just like when they were alive. Only now they’re dead. Mary manages to dispel one of them and turns it into ash. It takes a whole lot of cooperation before Mary could dispel the rest. Each with an emotional hug of goodbye (which I think is part of the spell too). They take a break noting the ashes the zombies have become and realize the need to get stronger or learn better skills. Ranta? He just needs to create an original finishing move for himself… Break time is over when the big kobold boss bursts in and just attacks them like a hulk. Time to run. It is a mad dash for the exit since big bad wolf has howled for his underlings. Why, wolf dude is just going berserk in smashing everything in hopes of bringing down Haruhiro’s party. So there is this scaffolding they’re trying to climb and he breaks it down even if it collapses on himself. But don’t worry, he’ll burst out of that in no time. Ranta grabs Haruhiro by the hand and won’t abandon him. After all their bickering, he won’t let his leader die. Manato is Manato. Haruhiro is Haruhiro. He is not Manato. The roles are switched when Haruhiro gets to safety but Ranta falls down. Ranta tells him to move own and will be fine on his own. You’ll just have to believe in his confidence. Haruhiro reunites with the rest and tells about Ranta’s circumstances. They will have to regroup in the higher levels and go down a different route to save him. Let’s hope he can hold out till then. Nobody wants to go through another round of depression again.

Episode 12
Ranta manages to get back up to the farm level. Thanks to the farm level, he manages to hide within them. Haruhiro goes over his plan to rescue Ranta and for all of them to come out alive. Yume says her piece of mind that she doesn’t like Ranta as he keeps teasing her boobs but the thought of him surviving alone is pretty scary. Ranta summons his familiar for help but it is just teasing and telling him to die! He is regretting He should have groped Yume’s boobs?! WTF is he thinking right now?! It isn’t long before he is spotted and the chase is on again. This time Haruhiro and co are ready to deal with the kobolds. Yume blinds an eye of the big boss as everyone barely makes their escape. While resting, Yume teases Ranta for crying. He denies everything except that pain in his chest whenever he thinks about never seeing them again. So Yume teases about his chest, he teases about her boobs. Till Mary puts down her foot to stop moving or she’ll stop his healing. They are on the home stretch out but the big boss just doesn’t give up. They attack and this is when Mary warns them about this video game logic: The more damage it takes, the stronger it gets! WTF?! Haruhiro knows one must stay behind for the others to escape. His body moves on his on to tackle to big boss and bring him down the chasm with him. Now he leaves it to Ranta to play leader to lead the rest to safety. After that fall, Haruhiro is in a daze. He could see Mary trying to come back to get him and crying but Ranta and the rest took her away. What is worse than facing a big bad kobold? Fighting it with a broken arm. Looks like Haruhiro has resigned to his fate of not making it back alive.

As he prepares to fight, suddenly time slows down. He can’t be at awed with this new ability as he follows to flow to blind its other eye before striking the critical hit. Game over. Next time Haruhiro wakes up, he is back home and Mary by his side. He wonders if this is heaven but she laughs and then welcomes him home. Everyone is glad Haruhiro has awakened. He doesn’t remember what happened to the big bad wolf. He killed it and as proof, they got a whopping 30 gold coins as reward! Ranta said to wait for Haruhiro to wake up so they can split the money because he is their leader. Haruhiro’s name spreads as the man who killed the kobold boss. Or maybe it is because the group is buying everyone drinks at the bar? Hayashi is glad Mary has gotten used to her new group. Renji comes to visit Haruhiro to apologize for what he died after Manato died. Don’t be. At that time Haruhiro wasn’t ready to accept his death yet. That’s why he wants to say thanks now. Haruhiro is alone at Manato’s grave. Another vision of him. He always wanted to ask if being a leader was tough for him. Was it for Haruhiro? Don’t know. There you go. Manato notes he has grown. Haruhiro continues to have vague memories of his former world as each day passes. It makes him irritated that it is as though he forgot something important. But knowing the solid ground he is standing and the air he is breathing right now assures him that all that exists now are real. There are many things he doesn’t want to forget. He heads out on another adventure with his party.

Grim Reality Of Fantasy
It wasn’t that bad. I guess what sets this series apart from the rest of its RPG genre counterparts is that it relies heavily on the drama and building the characters instead of flashy fights, fancy over the top characters or other convoluted plots. It might feel a little disappointing that it fails to answer some of the questions that had been bugging me since but I suppose that is the reality when you have a series that only lasts for a single cour.

My thoughts were this was going to be a boring and draggy show after a couple of episodes. I thought it was going to be a yawn fest seeing there isn’t anything exciting besides the party’s ‘grinding obligation’ of fighting goblins every episode. Then they shake things up with Manato’s death and I too was jolt from my slumber because they really killed him off. With all the depression that comes after that, it is hard to ‘stay bored’ although I could say that Manato’s death is the peak of emotions that one will experience. Mary and Ranta’s near death experience weren’t that shocking because Manato’s death might have numbed some of our feelings and unconsciously still weigh at the back of our heads. Even the initial fight with a single goblin when they were rookies looks more comical than heart pounding. Basically the entire series can be summed up into 3 mini arcs: 1/3 for Manato, 1/3 for accepting and understanding Mary as the new comrade, and the final 1/3 Haruhiro and his new team working together under a new challenge.

Now, one of the things that I said that bugged me is the fact that if this world is actually a game or an alternate dimension. Right in the first episodes, the characters have been spewing a few words of modern technology like game and handphone. This was never really addressed again till the final scene of the last episode when Haruhiro again hinted something about the world he came from. Over the course of the series with your focus on the small party, you won’t be thinking about this petty stuff unlike if you are me, having it right at the back of my head. Therefore we are unsure if this is a game in which the players dived in using some virtual reality helmet or they have been transported to another world as some sort of punishment to play a game and can only return if they are successful. This little issue also serves as a setting so that we will stop asking how these new characters get into this world and what must be done next. It’s like a mystery, right?

The world of Grimgar is perhaps one of the most backwater fantasy locations ever in all the fantasy genres I have watched. Sometimes it feels like they have gone back in time to the Middle Ages where everything just feels so backward. From the weapons they use to the clothes they wear and even the town they are in just have this primitive feel to it and lack any sort of high technology that you would expect in fantasy genres with sci-fi elements. No floating islands and no dark complicated dungeons and mazes. At least not yet at this point in the story. You just add dangerous monsters to the world. Seeing how our heroes struggle to make ends meet just to live from day to day, this is one world where I wouldn’t want to be adventuring in. Yeah, what is the point of playing an RPG game when there are no treasures to be found! And you have to kill goblins for a meagre reward. Lest you kill big monster bosses, that is a different story. But imagine how times you have to level up just to fight on par. Definitely would give this world a skip.

Although character development is heavy here, the way I see it is mainly focused on Haruhiro as he is going through a period of becoming the party’s next leader. Despite that, Manato has got to be one of the most prominent dead characters in all of anime. Even after his death, he is still greatly talked about, still greatly referred to. This guy really left a lasting impression so much so he isn’t really ‘dead’ so to speak. He lives on in the hearts and memories of his party and he is perhaps the sole reason why the team still sticks together and continue to live. But I guess that is the thing with life even in this fantasy world. He is already a great guy while still alive that everybody took for granted until he is gone. A very good lesson for real life too. Always appreciate what you have.

After Manato’s death, it is basically about Haruhiro in a dilemma trying to live up to Manato’s expectations because the latter’s dying words were to pass the baton to him. It is a huge responsibility because eventually no matter how much Haruhiro tries, the ups and downs he has been through with his team, Haruhiro cannot be compared with Manato. They are both entirely different people with different personality. So instead of trying to be him, Haruhiro realizes that he needs to be more of himself first before he could be the leader of his ragtag party. Mary gets her fair share of much needed development as the new member to the party. So if it isn’t about Haruhiro trying to figure out being a good leader, it is about Mary trying to redeem herself to save herself from her past and move forward. Towards the end, it seems hinted Mary might have feelings for Haruhiro thanks to how he tries to accept her but I think it’ll be taking things too far so let’s leave it as it is now.

The rest of the other party members are rather okay but this season doesn’t go deep enough about them seeing Haruhiro is the main focus. You’d probably know a thing or two about them, that’s all. Like Moguzo is the big gentle giant and strength of the group and his hobby is carving. Ranta is probably the liveliest character in the series which would otherwise make this series even duller. I suppose every group needs to have a hot headed guy and some sort of troublemaker. At least this guy is being true to himself and not trying to be others like Haruhiro trying to be Manato. I don’t know about Shihoru. To me, if she is not being quiet or shy, she is crying. And boy, her crying is infectious. When she cries, it makes you want to cry too. The emotional baggage of the series.

Here is the other issue that bugged me. Renji’s team. At the start of the series, we see a whole bunch of new characters new to this world. I thought they would clash or cross each other’s path somewhere but that never happened. Renji looked like the guy who is no nonsense and no compromise and that is why he rose up the ranks very fast. I am not sure about his agenda because why didn’t he take the weaker leftovers? Perhaps not enough cash for his circumstances at that time? The people he has taken with him into his group are also another interesting bunch and from this point of view, they look like weirdoes. This is just personal opinion seeing that we don’t know anything about them.

The fighting scenes feel like supplementary to the drama. It isn’t something that you should look forward too. After all, if this is like an RPG theme with character classes and monster classes, you need to incorporate some party combat for the overall complete feel. I think. Despite Haruhiro has narrated well explaining some of the newly learnt skills by his members, I still can’t really tell the difference. Because like Shihoru who is just chanting her same magic line and materializing the same magic ball. Then you have Moguzo who just swings his giant sword while howling out his move’s name although different actions do have different effects. Yume can switch between long distance arrow shooting and close quarter knife combat, Haruhiro with his stealthy and quick knife attacks and Ranta other than always rushing in to strike first later picks useful skills to avoid enemy attacks.

If you have been watching lots of anime for the past few years, you will notice the art and visuals stand out. You will either love it or hate it. That is because unlike a big majority of standard anime art styles you see today, this series has its background in water colour-like painting. So for a person like me who has been watching tons of anime, it is quite refreshing to see the water colour style of this anime. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I like this kind of style but it is good to see something a little different than the ordinary. It could sometimes give an impression that the producers were too lazy in drawing more details and just made a rush job using water colour painting. Although the characters are typically standard anime drawing style, the contrast with the background isn’t so obvious and they somewhat blend in together. That is because the world of Grimgar looks typically primitive and backwater so there are no high-tech sci-fi fantasy elements incorporated. Given the depressing outlook and drama factor, it only serves to enhance and fit the theme and world nicely. Seeing this is fantasy genre, I can’t help notice how weird some of the local animals are. Like that anteater is supposed to be equivalent to our world’s common house cat. Really. And then you have, uhm, pig worms? Really bizarre creatures.

Voice acting wise, nothing really that spectacular. But it seems I am starting to form a certain stereotype that Mikako Komatsu has a voice that makes her character annoying. I know Yume isn’t particularly an annoying character but with her behind it, it is like the character has that potential to become annoying. Just look at Neko from K, Hotaru from Aoharu x Kikanjuu, Tsugumi from Nisekoi and Yayoi from Danchigai. Those characters are somewhat annoying, right? I don’t know how I got the impression that Saori Hayami was behind Mary’s voice but it was Chika Anzai instead (titular character in Hitsugi No Chaika). And of course lifting all that gloomy depression of the series like an anti-depressant pill is the fact that Mamiko Noto has a cameo here as Barbara. Despite making only short appearances for a couple of episodes, at least they didn’t kill her character off… Yeah…

The most surprising to note is Hiroki Yasumoto as Brittany. For countless time I have only heard him in anime roles that sound so similar like his Sado from Bleach. After all, he has got a low voice so it is typical he plays characters that suit his voice. But now he sounds so effeminate fitting Brittany that you wouldn’t really know that it was him. Okay, so it isn’t his first time voicing a less manly character. Remember Agni from Kuroshitsuji? The rest of the other casts comprise of Yoshimasa Hosoya as Haruhiro (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Ranta (Bossun in Sket Dance), Haruka Terui as Shihoru (Kobeni in Mikakunin De Shinkoukei), Fukushi Ochiai as Moguzo, Nobunaga Shimazaki as Manato (Sunakawa in Ore Monogatari), Daisuke Namikawa as Kikkawa (Mystogan in Fairy Tail), Hidenobu Kiuchi as Hayashi (Ryouhei in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn) and Tomokazu Seki as Renji (Gintoki in Gintama – hey, doesn’t both these characters look almost similar with their silver hair? And a cross with Fate’s Archer?).

Every darn song in this series is sung by [K]NoW_NAME. From the opening theme of Knew Day to the ending theme, Harvest, even all the insert songs are sung by theme. And there are quite a number of insert songs in this series. They are either the slow and calming acoustics (which are my favourite as they fit the drama pace) or the rock type (for battle scenes). Especially those background music with nice acoustic playing, at least it helps ease the boringness and draggy parts of the drama. There is a special version of Harvest sung by Shihoru but that only lasts an episode and don’t really leave an impact since it sounds almost similar to the original one.

Overall, this is a different and refreshing take on the RPG genre and it is recommended that lovers of this genre should check this out for a change in pace and broaden their minds with a different concept of adventuring. Yup, it doesn’t mean hack and slashing monsters, going on side quests, go dungeon raiding and then earn big money or rare items at the end of it all. It is no wonder this type of RPG is never made into games. Seeing how everybody spends their time on DOTA or LOL levelling up their characters, nobody has time to play one about the daily life struggle which mirrors close to reality. You spend hours on improving your stats and your reward is to live another day?! Not going to touch this game again! Sometimes fantasy can be harsher than reality.

Although Wooser No Sono Higurashi has been out for many years and had a handful of seasons, I decided not to watch this short simply because I thought the very cartoonish drawing and animation meant that this anime was for little kids and toddlers. Everything looked so cute that I thought it just wasn’t the anime for my corrupted heart. Yeah… Then one day I read the short synopsis and was became somewhat interested. It says despite the innocent outlook, the main character lies a corrupted heart underneath. Hmm… Is this going to be a dark anime? But it is comedy genre, right? And the clincher? The line that says that he will continue to protect the things he love like money, meat and girls by doing nothing. Oh yeah. This I got to see.

Episode 1
Wooser is not really motivated that he has his own TV. Whatever it is, as long as the money rolls in, he is okay. Rin interrupts and does her own introduction. Wooser is swinging on a tyre like a panda in a zoo, something that all the kids think he is. Rin, who is cleaning the cage accidentally trips on the tools, causing the rake to poke the back of his head. At the farm while feeding a cow, Rin wishes cows can talk so she could ask how good the grass taste. But for Wooser, he just wants to ask how can something that eats grass has its meat tastes so good!

Episode 2
Wooser lazily explains why he loves bribe. Eating other people’s money is the best! Wooser spies on a group of quartet girls. All of them are playing the bass! Is one of them playing an air bass? While Miho and Yuu are talking and walking up the stairs, they didn’t realize they stepped on Wooser. Apparently he had been lying there so he could look at their panties. It was worth all that stepping. Yeah, he even didn’t mind getting burnt after that. The girls are seen at Wooser’s funeral! But they talk about him being a scumbag and wonder if he is burnable trash. Oh, was he something edible too?

Episode 3
Wooser is the king of his kingdom. If he only had subjects… When he does have Rin and Len as his royal subjects, they start bugging him for stuffs. Wooser’s ass itches. I guess it gives him a lazy excuse to cancel this series due to the main character’s health complications! The girls just know he is faking the illness. Wooser is typing furiously on his computer. Seems there is a deadline to complete. As the days pass by, he finally finishes and sends it in the nick of time. He is glad October has 33 days. Till the girls point out there are only 31 days. Yeah, he missed it anyway.

Episode 4
Wooser disagrees he loves uniforms openly. Because it is no good without delicious rice. He pours furikake on his rice and enjoys his food. The girls become DJs while Wooser is singing his whatever rap song. One of his lines is Mexican Salamander but they probably didn’t get it and just repeat it as some gibberish. Wooser moulds a clay bowl but doesn’t like the way it turns out. He mentions how picky he is not only about girls but their uniforms. It makes him feel better about himself. He moulds again and this time it is perfect. Perfect fit as a skirt for his girl figurine.

Episode 5
Wooser is sleeping and dreaming of skirts, thighs and stockings! He wants to eat all of them instead of just one! Eventually he mumbles he can’t eat them all. Rin wonders if he is dreaming about food but Len knows better it is about girls. Rin gets the wrong idea wondering if girls can be eaten. The girls graduate from school and talk about stuffs. Wooser is patiently waiting for any of them to give him their uniform. Any time now… The girls are dismayed that the series will end. Because Wooser claims he worked so hard and none gave him their uniform! He walks off… End of part 1?

Episode 6
Wooser is missing so they put a beach scenery instead. Because Rin and Len are in their bishoujo form (Hubba! Hubba!), I guess this brings Wooser back. He starts describing Rin’s assets. She doesn’t like it and throws a coconut at him. As the duo continue to play in the sea, Wooser continues to stare at them and is asked if he likes small boobs. It doesn’t matter as long as the girl is slender. Rin doesn’t like it and throws a sea urchin at him. At the beach house, Wooser wants to order a beam. What? His eyes start glowing like a beam before turning into a giant robot causing rampage over town! Luckily it is just a dream. But Wooser is still a robot?!

Episode 7
The girls are admiring a tree filled with cicadas. But how come that big yellow one looks pretty familiar? And its mating call goes something like, “I want uniforms… I want uniforms”. The girls walk away. So why does Wooser love uniforms so much? It’s probably the same answer we like jewels. Wooser is being chased by a lion. I’m not sure about his logic to use its head as water for the bath so he can join in with the girls but he gets eaten. No Wooser, you didn’t win but lost! Rin and Len see how the sun and sunflowers are laughing and smiling. But in Wooser’s mind, they are giving out an evil and creepy laughter! He starts to shrivel in fear but in reality he just suffered heat stroke.

Episode 8
They have a long weekend so Rin bugs Wooser to do something. You know that lazy bum… Eventually she also sleeps all day long. Each time Wooser wakes up, he reminds himself he still has a long weekend. Eventually the last day is here… Not so long weekend, eh? However as the lazy ass he is, he has no regrets for being lazy and doing nothing. Back to more sleep. Wooser is a giant monster rampaging the city for uniforms. Rin and Len summon and ride their giant mecha to save the day but since it takes so long, they ran out of time. Episode over.

Episode 9
Wooser thought it would be nice to take up the offer and become a superhuman hero. Then he turns into a grasshopper and since he doesn’t like the looks, he’ll destroy the world! The girls can’t wait to taste the BBQ meat. You thought Wooser was in his robot suite doing the grilling and seasoning, eh? Actually the real Wooser is being burnt over a fire! He is the meat! When Wooser notes something in his diary, Len thought he is going to do something naughty today. Actually it turns out to be a dentist appointment. Disappointing? Yeah, his diary has no other agenda so it looked so lonely. But Rin has a question: Does Wooser even have teeth?! Wooser wants to form his own secret society. Himself as the boss, the girls as his generals, his clones as knights, priests and the government while other useless friends as useless henchmen. All that is left is the mascot character. Isn’t it himself?

Episode 10
Mecha Wooser is terrorizing the town again. Don’t fear, Rin and Len are here. They transform into their bishoujo magical girl form but we only get to see Rin’s transformation. Knowing how Wooser likes money, they drop cash and big gold bars till he explodes! And the day is saved. During the rainy season, Rin admires the beautiful flowers and a snail riding on a turtle. She thinks they are good friends but Wooser hints about how adults always mention never to do things but yet they still end up doing it and without rest. The girls don’t understand what he said.

Episode 11
When Wooser was young, he admire detectives. Then he sees Milky Holmes being idiots at the supermarket sampling sausage! He realizes detectives don’t do as much deductions as kid thinks. As Wooser eats his meat, he thinks about the popular belief people will tend to eat less when they get older. So he vehemently protests that he will never ever get enough of meat, money or girls! He is so fired up that he burns himself over the grill. Wooser seems to be preparing the bed for steamy night. When he finishes, he accidentally steps on a thumbtack and crashes into the furniture. When Rin enters, she sees Wooser’s soul ‘sleeping’ beside his body.

Episode 12
Wooser thinks everyone should hibernate for 1/3 of the year. This is a better way to be environmentally friendly to Earth since you don’t use electricity and other stuffs. Wow. Wooser thinking like this? Or is he just plain lazy? It would be ideal of Wooser if not for those hibernating bears using him as pillow! Wooser sees the girls ice skating and thinks of coming up with a new move. The obi pulling technique! So cool that all the judges give him full marks! Wooser presents himself as the Christmas present to the girls! Then all the characters hold hands and dance about around the world.

Special
Wooser as true to himself is asking the girls what kind of colour they wear for their panties! They gladly answer him since he says it is part of his designer plan. Giant Wooser is causing mayhem again asking for uniforms so Rin and Len summon their mecha to fight him. However Wooser has a barrier to block their beam. They combine more parts and send a rocket punch to him. Wooser is defeat and returns to his original size. The battle might be won but not the war because Wooser continues to cause his brand of trouble for uniforms and meat.

Season 2: Kakusei-hen

The second season since we cannot get enough of that yellow creature. Right?

Episode 1
An entire episode of the girls in bishoujo form? Rin and Len are playing tennis and the yellow pervert is spying on them while making perverted comments on the score they get. The same duo are caught in the rain as they take shelter at a store. Wooser loves seeing how soaked they are since he gets to see through their wet clothes. Then a car splashes the puddle over him. At the supermarket where Miss Monochrome is demonstrating her batteries to kids, Wooser is glad the supermarket is closing because he is fed up of the end song. He discards his big mascot suit to return to his original self.

Episode 2
A kappa monster attacks the city. But because Wooser continues to sleep, everyone died! And he acknowledges it! Wooser narrates his rough life behind the scenes as a hero. It is about how some super grasshopper bestowed him powers but he struggles to take the train and taxi and the scolding he gets from his job till he got fired. So sad that he called his mom who instantly gave him lots of goodies and money. Wooser is clicking like mad and won’t stop even if the end result is a picture of a panda peeking at him.

Episode 3
Wooser finds the deep underwater creatures strange but fascinating. Till he realizes they never left home. Wooser notes a hero on TV only works 30 minutes a week. But a real hero like him has to be constantly be vigilant. He is lonely. He feels so sad and starts crying and doesn’t need friends. But the girls tell him to get over it and come home. Mecha Wooser is causing havoc again asking for money, meat and girls. Turns out to be a dream. He is in hospital as he starts acting dramatically while taking his medicine, puts on his drips and makes everybody hate him!

Episode 4
Wooser tells us some of the food he will never eat. The only thing he will ever eat is meat. He sings his praises for it and even has written a song for his Wagyuu beef! He is getting down and funky! Too bad the girls didn’t feel his lame love. But the cow did?! The girls are happy their favourite sportsman wins. This has Wooser thinking how he will be under the spotlight of the media. He imagines himself in that position. Girls by his side and accepting money. Suddenly he is arrested for corruption! This snaps him out as he vows never to become famous! Don’t worry. He won’t. As the girls enjoy their watermelon, Wooser notes he hates salt on it. But when he thinks of something perverted with it, Darth Wooser starts spitting watermelon seeds at him to eliminate the enemy!

Episode 5
Senketsu of Kill La Kill fame wants Wooser to wear him! But the yellow idiot won’t because dresses are only meant to be worn by girls! Wooser is thinking some perverted versions of a few American landmarks. But somehow he ended up in some bondage position. Wooser notes in hero shows, there is always like many heroes but 1 baddie. Why not send many baddies at one go? Maybe they really don’t want to destroy the world because that would be the end of everything. Rin thinks the baddies are just lonely so everybody starts crying. We understand your pain… Wooser narrates how Earth isn’t so bad since he lost his mothership to return to his own planet. At least he loves girls and cows. Len playing with her bazooka accidentally fires at him, turning him into fireworks.

Episode 6
What’s this? Wooser piloting Chamber of Suisei No Gargantia ?! Wooser dreams of his favourites. Meat, uniforms and money. He tells us people dream because if it was easy to achieve, they wouldn’t need reality. That is why recently he has been spending his free time sleeping. Because in his dream he can fly and become a hero! And there is this fake and exaggerated dream of Wooser being some intergalactic hero on the run, finds orphaned Rin and Len, take care of them and watch them grow up. Yeah, nice dream. Till he crashes out of bed. Welcome back to reality. The girls are visiting a chicken farm. For some reason, Wooser is turned into a chicken and shipped away!

Episode 7
There is a reason why the girls are in their bishoujo form. Because it is the fanservice hotspring! Wooser must be damn happy to share the same hotspring with them. He then complains about wanting to drink something else other than sake. Dark Wooser suggests roast racoon soup and he agrees. Wooser wonders if Santa really appeared over American skies, would they shoot it down on live TV? Then he acts out as the American president who gave orders to his jets to shoot him down! There goes Christmas. But the gang still gets to celebrate them. Wooser is glad to have asked Santa for a present. Who knows, Santa actually returned with a cute girl as requested! So Wooser is worried of going to prison?

Episode 8
Wooser talks about beavers making dams and monopolizing the use of the river but wonders I sea otters care about it. When Wooser was young, he used some graph paper to draw his secret base. It is an elaborate underground building with a giant mecha and a launch gate extending to the sea. He believes he is a realist over dreams so the girls wonder about the giant mecha he is having now. When Chihaya returns to her room, Wooser and his mascot friends are waiting to give her a birthday surprise. After Wooser sings a strange rendition of happy birthday, they become forceful in wanting her to blow the candles. More creepy than cute. This freaks her out as she calls her producer about strange animals in her room.

Episode 9
Wooser narrates about his ‘tough’ life but still goes on living. Because he believes that once you’re dead, you’ll end up in some dark crowded space with no TV. That would suck. For some reason, he wants to die and then ends up dead. And then revives. It is raining and Wooser seems to like it because he gets to stay indoors when everybody else laments they can’t go outside. This insensitivity has Len throw Darth Wooser at him and runs away. Darth Wooser then punches him to remind him about Len’s important day today. Rin and Darth Wooser find Len at the park. They remember today is the day Wooser ate her steak and she got mad and ran away. Wooser comes by and since he starts spouting pathetic nonsense, nothing like Darth Wooser’s laser beam to put him in place. Wooser says to go home. A beautiful rainbow in the sky brightens up their day as they take a group photo.

Episode 10
Rin and Len are paying their respects at a grave and oddly, Wooser is narrating good things about the value of things and to think positively. Wooser tells us a trivia that sakura trees are never torn down or replanted, which is ideal to bury bodies! Miho is seen digging near one and when she has Rin to come help, Wooser finds his old poem notebook! Immediately he buries it again and suggests everyone bury things underneath it. Wooser is starring through the glass ogling at girls. He is hoping they won’t need their uniforms once they graduate. Rin and Len spot him spying and want to call the teacher but he falls off. This might be the third floor but you know how tough he is.

Episode 11
As an adult, Wooser won’t ask for anything stupid for his birthday. He won’t even want his birthday to be a national holiday. All he asks is for him to sleep in. Wooser and Rin on a road trip on their sidecar. But travelling with a dog? Now stranded on an island, he thinks about the question if a girl should ever asks him, would work or him be more important? Of course he would want to say he would only want her for her body and money in a positive way. But first he needs to think of a way to get off this island.

Episode 12
Wooser sees Rin and Len all grown up and able to do things without his guidance. Wait a minute. Has he been doing anything in the first place?! Wooser is even told off not to be in the way if he is going to laze around and not help them who are busy with something. With that, Wooser gets up and makes his way to his underground lab. He leaves the rest to Darth Wooser who hopes he will return soon. Wooser rides his mecha up into space to fight and destroy evil alien Woosers!!! His ship takes a real beating as he vows to protect Earth’s money, meat and girls! I supposed with that slow lovely ballad and Wooser getting owned, is it supposed to make us feel pity for him? Even more so everyone else is actually making a surprise birthday party for Wooser! When Rin and Len go to get him, he is not around. They think he is late as always. Little do they know, the space battle might have ended in a big climatic outer space explosion. All they see is a shooting star and wish they’ll always be together.

Season 3: Mugen-hen

Because we cannot get enough of Wooser, the third season is slightly longer and with more episodes (albeit by just 1 one) to satisfy our love-hate cravings for him.

Episode 1
Continuing off from last season’s cliff-hanger, Wooser looks like he is about to sacrifice himself to destroy the aliens but his robot seems not to activate on his command. It is hijacked by Darth Wooser who against his commands will not let his master die. He ejects Wooser into a mini mecha as it is sent hurtling out of the Solar System. Wooser is then awakened by… Ultraman heroes???!!! They tell him he has a planet he needs to return to and protect. With that, he is hurtled back to the planet he loves in blazing speed. But he crash lands in an unknown land. Like a Pokemon Gameboy map, he rides different animals across different terrains to return home. He thought he could surprise everybody but nobody is around. Then it hit him time has flown back on Earth. There is no way they would have waited for him. Suddenly everyone pops a happy birthday surprise. Len thought he got mad and went on a journey after being scolded. As I understand, Darth Wooser detected some code in the mecha that allowed him to predict Wooser’s return and hence calling everyone back. Everyone welcomes him back. Rin and Len want to hear stories of his return journey but think he is probably lying about riding animals and took taxis instead. The group of Ultraman heroes are action figures standing proudly atop a shelf.

Episode 2
Wooser loves the internet because of gullible people he could troll! Darth Wooser notes the useless master he is and Wooser can read what is on his mind. Wooser even went on to berate his servant for thinking so and threatens for him to blow up. Of course Darth Wooser denies ever saying such things. Later as Darth Wooser thinks by himself, he indeed wanted to say something of that sort to his master. What if there was somebody to tell him in his place… So Wooser is continuing his internet trolling when here comes… Darth Wooser Mk-II! This evil creation didn’t hesitate to tell off the loser but Wooser doesn’t care. He orders Mk-II to clean the room. And guess what? He throws away his laptop! You don’t need junk that will turn you into a NEET! More horror for Wooser as Mk-II throws away his Smartphone, manga, games and everything else! If that is not bad enough, Mk-II whips Wooser into shape by forcing him to exercise and study through the night. No sleep! Wow. Have you hear Wooser scream like this before? Early next morning as Darth Wooser goes to check on him, to his surprise Wooser is already up, doing exercise and even being quite considerate. So did the plan work? Now Wooser is looking up to Mk-II as his sensei. This means Darth Wooser is no longer needed! All part of Mk-II’s plan to replace him and become this season’s regular character! Oh no you don’t! Darth Wooser initiates a self destruct button that his him blow up into pieces! Darth Wooser wants Wooser to remain as the useless, lazy, internet trolling master so he could serve him forever. But that sounded like him dissing Wooser and now the entire house explodes!

Episode 3
The deadline is near and this is what the master of procrastination has done: Nothing! Ah yes, Wooser. He spent last night getting drunk with sponsors to secure funds and today he needs to crack his head for his manga deadline. The girls are being too noisy watching TV so he tells them to pipe down. They are not listening as Wooser hears them idolizing a handsome idol. This makes him fantasize about himself as a handsome lanky yellow dude! And all the girls would hog around him! Personally, I thought this form is just creepy. The girls then feel hot because the air-cond has shut down. Wooser imagines them undressing but is punched to reality by Darth Wooser. Sorry, mosquito on your face. The girls then suggest heading to the beach. They have a splash and swell time. This adventure becomes the source for Wooser’s manga. He gives Darth Wooser the honour to read it first. What do you think of this masterpiece? More like crap! Crappy art too! So much so he throws it away citing sending it out like this would only contribute more to the landfill. Eventually Wooser decides to give up and do nothing. That’s Wooser for you.

Episode 4
Wooser is trying to get psychological with us, saying this is going to be the 88,888th time you are going to see this show. As proof, the characters will be different than usual and we are not going to realize it. So it starts off with everyone looking the same. Wooser is still sleeping despite Darth Wooser trying to wake him up for the draft selection. But Wooser continues to be lazy and sleep in. That is when the owl mascot engages in some thesis debate about sleep and waking up. It’s too technical for me to understand and bother. Then there is Rin spamming questions like why Wooser sleeps (so he can dream about girls) and why he likes girls (because they are there) and there is Darth Wooser doing his online research on the thesis. The battle to wake up Wooser continues with similes thrown in and lame excuses until all that laziness causes some sort of dark spiral aura that turns everything into nothing. Wooser is happy he can continue sleeping without anybody bugging him. And before our Agent Wooser Smith can bug us about the 88,889th time, we cut to the ending. Thank goodness.

Episode 5
It’s that time again when Wooser is being lazy and doesn’t want to finish his manuscript. Oh wait. He is always this lazy! So he starts thinking how nice it would be if he is able to clone himself to get his work done faster. So the ultimate number is 53 Woosers? Unfortunately they all have that same lazy personality… 53 times the laziness! When the girls and other mascot animals start coming in, snapping their fingers and do some weird abstract dance, turns out to be some ritual to summon Monochrome. When her eyes meet Wooser, their hearts become connected. In Monochrome’s bid to stand out more, they form a team to become top idols. But their partnership is short-lived since Monochrome wants to go solo. While Wooser rots away, Monochrome grows to become a popular idol. Monochrome then wins some Wooser Academy Award. The entire audience is Wooser and his clones? Monochrome gives her acceptance speech and the first person she thanks is… Maneo! Then she thanks all the characters in her series before mentioning Wooser’s name. But by this time, everyone notices the Wooser clones are slumped dead on their chair! Oh no! Everyone attends Wooser’s funeral thinking he must be having fun in hell with his many selves. Yes indeed. Being tortured while still thinking about uniforms, money and meat!

Episode 6
Wooser is filming a movie scene. Being the heartless director he is, he has the girls do a retake for the umpteenth time for perfection. Hey wait a minute. Wooser working?! Apparently there is a million dollar prize for this movie contest. I know Darth Wooser wanted to tell him about just getting a regular job but you see, Wooser has other plans after winning the prize. He’ll get to be more famous and even lazier. He’ll move on to other TV shows and get all the girls. Yeah… The girls brought in extra help for the movie: A teddy bear named Kirishima? I think this is some mascot from the Arpeggio series. Wooser isn’t impressed with ‘family’ so he tells her to just stand there and be cute. They dabble in 3D before moving on to a submarine set for filming. Wooser has them act the part and will only later dub the voice. Suddenly the entire set is being attacked. Wooser explains he lied and that he actually borrowed a real submarine (from Arpeggio too)! For realism? Hold on tight to your seats! A rain of missiles is coming! In the aftermath, Wooser’s film did win but only for the best effort category. No prize money for this one… This sucks… However Wooser has prepared prizes for audiences who attend his show. Random pictures? Is he trying to say something about the cutthroat and dog-eat-dog competition of show business?

Episode 7
Wooser and the girls are playing a game called Werewolf. Darth Wooser is the judge. In this game, players will draw a card. The one who draws the wolf card is the Werewolf and the rest who draw villager cards will be the ordinary villagers. They need to deduce who the Werewolf is by asking questions and the likes. At the end, there will be a vote to see who the Werewolf is. If the vote is wrong, the game continues. The villagers win when the Werewolf is correctly voted otherwise the Werewolf wins when there are no more villagers left. In the first vote, Miho gets voted out because she talked too much. Isn’t that the point of the game? To make things more interesting, everyone then closes their eyes. Only the Werewolf is allowed to open and select a villager to eat. So when everyone is allowed to open their eyes, Darth Wooser announces Yuu has been eaten. With the field reduced, we hear Wooser’s narration about billionaire CEOs crap that doesn’t really make sense. Because of that, the girls suspect Wooser. To stop the intense staring, he yells out he loves them! They realize it is the same ol’ Wooser. Now they turn on each other! In the final vote, Rin and Len suspect each other. Oh dear. It all comes down to Wooser’s vote. Who will he choose? The girls try to persuade him to get on their side. However he cannot stand to see them this way. In his eyes, neither are Werewolves and just pure innocent girls looking into his filthy eyes. Therefore Wooser admits he is the Werewolf.

Episode 8
Wooser has been kidnapped by a cult. He thinks they are going to transform him into something so he wishes to be transformed into a girl! Yeah, imagine all the pyjamas party he can join in. Meanwhile the girls are talking about deodorant and the secret fact that Rin and Len are magical girls who are supposed to use their powers to help others. And not to copy homework! This has Miho prop up the question if the ever wash their magical girl outfit since they appear and disappear after use. To prove it doesn’t smell, Len transforms. That is when a giant yellow grasshopper attacks the city. Guess who this grasshopper is. So Rin also transforms and the duo as magical girls are called Wooser Twins. So how do you catch a rampaging grasshopper anyway? Not too sure but it is suggested using deodorant. The grasshopper explodes! The tanuki mascot eats and spits it out. Still alive? Another spray of deodorant should do the job. Overkill?

Episode 9
The beach… But guess what? Rows and columns of coffin everywhere! Apparently Wooser and co are inside it. Since it is so freaking hot, they have to flap open and close the coffin for ventilation. Why not just get out of the damn thing? Anyway, they start talking about food and since the heat is going to their heads, they even start eating and drinking imaginary food in which Wooser plays the store owner. I think the girls don’t like his hospitality… Then it descends into a weird argument whereby the girls talk in relaying fashion. Wooser won’t lose out and has his mascot friends do the same but since some of them can’t talk, I don’t know what the heck they’re supposed to say. Eventually Wooser starts dreaming of his handsome self flanked by beautiful cute babes. Oh yeah. Nice dream. Till Darth Wooser had to abruptly wake him up to remind him they are in hell. Oh sh*t!

Episode 10
Wooser is adlibbing the girls about their uniform. Once again he tells us his concept of loving uniforms is different from what we think. Eventually it all boils down to since they will be graduating and won’t be needing them anymore, might as well give it to him! But as Len noted, some do wear them even after graduation. Wooser is again being lazy. Reading some bishoujo manga instead of completing his. And when he is on the computer, he spends more time on Twitter than anything. He thinks of going to a doujin convention. I guess he didn’t get lazy dreaming about it because he actually got his ass up and go there with Rin and Len. Yeah, too crowded. Not too sure about this doujin booth they want to patron but Wooser asks the author who is dressed in some weird tribal warrior getup if he has any uniforms for sale. He has! Wooser wants 3 of them! One for his personal use, the other to save and the last one to share. But since he isn’t going to share, it is all for himself. Then it gets weirder because Wooser and warrior dude engage in some intergalactic sword fight in which Wooser wins. It has Wooser think he wants his followers to call him God and give them his bank account number so they can bank in all their money. Thank goodness nobody does.

Episode 11
The tanuki mascot is found dead! The girls are horrified. Don’t worry. Detective Wooser is here! And so is his assistant Darth Wooser. Wooser is an eager beaver in playing detective and even taunts us to find the criminal which is among them. That owl mascot obviously holding a gun… Wooser quickly deduces the facts of this locked room murder mystery and points out that Rin is the killer! Because there was a dying message written in blood in which Wooser believes the victim was trying to write her name but she tried rubbing it off and only leaving it looking like parentheses. While Rin continues to deny all those made up facts, Wooser explains how she used her hairpin accessory to lock the window she escaped from to make it look like a locked room. Because Miho insists the parentheses contain no name in the first place, that is when Yuu suspects her to be the killer. She has noticed the tanuki has no blood on his hand so he couldn’t have written the message. She believes Miho has killed him and used his blood to write a fake message. Because she observes Miho has been hiding her hand in her pocket all the while. That is when Miho breaks down and admits she didn’t mean to kill him. They were playing cops and robbers and somehow the toy gun was swapped with a real one. So the owl is holding the toy gun? Wooser is stunned because Yuu did his detective job well. Wooser narrates about the ugly truth that made nobody happy. In actual fact, he just sucks being a detective.

Episode 12
What’s this? Wooser has suddenly become enlightened and omnipotent? All after he took a bite out of a rice cracker? If that wasn’t shocking enough, he can actually change the molecule structure of things he touched and even fill an empty glass with water out from thin air! Darth Wooser must be really surprised and baffled. What in the world has just happened? What kind of trickery is this? Wooser’s omnipotent expands by even changing the weather outside and even completely drying Rin when she is caught in it. If that is not all, she can even transport his conscious to Rin and Len simultaneously. His powers grow to affect the world too. Like increasing eel population, end wars, vanishing air pollution and the likes. OMG. The world is now a better place! Darth Wooser continues to be baffled but worried if the world balance will be destroyed at this rate. Wooser continues to expand his omnipotent by becoming one with the universe! The girls find their refrigerator suddenly filled with Wagyuu beef and decide to eat them. Rin is worried they don’t know whom the beef is from but Len says it probably belongs to Wooser so it is no big deal. Wooser continues to be in zen and meditated state. Darth Wooser can only note that in his bid to bring happiness to the world, he cannot enjoy the blessings he created and is equivalent to being in the state of emptiness.

Episode 13
Everyone is playing in the snow except for Wooser who is as usual lazing around thinking if people can be murdered in a snowball fight. Suddenly Len accidentally throws one in his face! It is hard probably it is made out of ice! Oh sh*t! Death by snowball?! They soon find a UFO buried in the snow. Before they know it, 2 tanuki mascots?! Which is the real one? Miho knows because she just kissed the real one. This only makes Wooser mad for getting ahead of him on his show! As he shakes him up real good, suddenly his head falls off! Then it sprouts out spider legs and runs away! Wooser finds it interesting that there are aliens assimilating as humans. The scene changes into a sci-fi background that parodies Blade Runner. Unfortunately for Wooser, he gets brought in by Rin and Len who suspect him of being a fake. He is made to answer a weird question. Tortoise in a desert? He can’t answer because he can’t understand so Len thinks he is a fake as his answer is not Wooser-like! In the next room, Rin questions mecha Wooser. What does he like most? Girls, money and meat. This is the real Wooser! You got to be kidding me. Wooser runs away from the madness and jumps off the cliff. For cliff-hanger effect?

Yellow Fever Rising
Well Wooser, you still didn’t achieve anything in the end but at least you achieved in making me smile at all the silliness. I want to say that Wooser is my great motivation for a useless otaku and dame ningen to sit around and do nothing but at the same time protect the things I love. But I have to remember that I am not a yellow ‘cute’ creature like him. Things aren’t so smooth in reality… At least Wooser still has got his girls, meat and money in the end. Or at least in his dreams. You may thing that being lazy is a bad thing but let us look from this other perspective. It would be better for him to do nothing and laze around all day because if he starts doing something, things might just go wrong! You know, the kind of situations where you try to be helpful but it turns out more harmful than it should? Yeah. Never change, Wooser…

Wooser isn’t entirely bad but his lazy habit isn’t what we should be looking as a role model. Seriously. Despite not doing anything and never gets anything done and only dreams of his desires, it all works out in the end because of the nature of this series that just resets everything by the next episode. So this means even if it doesn’t work out, don’t worry, Wooser will always be Wooser. He’ll still be there. Never change, Wooser… And we have seen him done some good like defending Earth from aliens and even becoming one with the universe so we can all be happy without knowing that Wooser made a great sacrifice without us knowing so we could continue to live happily. Sniff, sniff. Oh Wooser, we never knew. How can we show our gratitude? But then seeing him being lazy, complaining about deadlines, dream about money and pestering girls for their uniforms, I think I’ll save my thanks for another day. I don’t know what this Wooser creature actually is but I am figuring he is most likely taken after a rabbit because of those long ears and especially the hint from his name Wooser which is pronounced as usa (not as in that country) from usagi. The bottom line is, no matter how corrupted and lazy Wooser is, it is hard to hate him. Am I right?

The other characters aren’t that much but you can’t expect anything deep from them considering the nature and the duration of the series. You might be asking yourself why are Rin and Len continue to hang out and live with Wooser when he is such a lazy douchebag for most of the time. What a waste for a couple of cute girls to be living with him! I’m so jealous! Sure, they might be magical girls who are to save the world in secret. But do they need to live with Wooser? Unless he is their mascot… Darth Wooser works as a good servant to Wooser in the sense to always keep this lazy yellow blob in his place. At first I thought he would be something even worse and darker than Wooser considering his name and dark colour but in fact it is probably just to mean the opposite of Wooser’s nature. Therefore this dude has no qualms in beating up his master if it is to knock some sense into him.

Due to the nature of this series, every episode stands alone by itself and is not really related to its previous one. So they can pull a South Park-like ending and then reset it again in the next. We don’t really care since they are mostly funny. So don’t worry if Wooser dies because he’ll definitely be back in the next episode. Otherwise why do you think he has his name on the title of this series? However I prefer the third season’s style in which the entire episode is just a random skit as compared to the first 2 seasons whereby every episode is divided into a few different skits. This is because sometimes the jokes are too fast for me to understand and does not make sense. By at least giving a ‘proper story’ for one episode (although all episode stories are not related to each other), it gives us time and chance to understand what it is going on instead of something funny that would just last a few seconds.

Over the course of the seasons, you will notice characters from other animes making their short cameo appearances especially in the second and third season. It is cool to see them making such crossovers although they do not play any sort of role in that episode’s plot. Sometimes it feels like their appearance is to promote their anime because at the end of the episode, we can see a poster of that anime in the background. For example, Suisei No Gargantia, Rakuen Tsuihou: Expelled From Paradise, Locodol and Aoki Hagane No Arpeggio (there was an entire episode this anime drops in on this series). But the biggest cameo goes to Miss Monochrome and if you have watched both series up to date, you would have connected the dots because there was one time where they cross over to each other’s series.

The art and drawing makes everything look cute so no matter how corrupted our Wooser is, you’ll never see him anywhere near a threat. After all, what can a lazy creature do? Or can he? The character designs and the bright colours especially the animals do remind me of those created by Sanrio (Hello Kitty). Of course sometimes they turn the cute art style into bishoujo style to make everything look pretty. How I wish the girls would look more often like this. But I can’t say the same for Wooser because he looks kinda weird. Skinny yellow Deadpool?! Despite looking like hand drawn anime, the entire anime is actually animated using CGI. After all, this is an ONA series. As this anime is animated by Sanzigen, a studio specialized in using CGI animation, it is another reason why we see cameo Miss Monochrome crossovers since this anime was also animated by them. The end card illustrated by different people is amusing to watch. Some are funny and some are real good. Some episodes that had special guest cameos will have Wooser and co in a parody of that anime, which is cool, really.

Voice casting is rather okay. Mamoru Miyano as Wooser does really fit into his character role as the lazy yellow bunny. Even his voice sounds like he lacks the enthusiasm… Hiroshi Kamiya is also recognizable as Darth Wooser and ironically, this character does not have any lines at all in the first season. There are very limited and few lines in the second season and then all of a sudden in the third season, it is like he became talkative and has enough lines to match the main character. Not to say Darth Wooser is a talkative character but as a character who needs to be Wooser’s voice of reasoning, I guess he is pretty much needed in saying a lot more than he needs to. The rest of the female casts are voiced by unknowns. So much so, this remains their only voice acting role ever. It is a reason why they sound a lot like amateurs but in a cute way so it doesn’t really get to you. Haruka Nagame is Rin, Minori Ozawa as Len and Yuri Sato as Miho. Yuu is voiced by Tia who also sings a couple of themes for this series. But I guess she isn’t all that popular too seeing her only other anime theme song performances are Noragami and Captain Earth.

There are a few popular seiyuus lending their voice to this series although it is only in the third season. We have that squeaky trademark voice of Yukari Tamura as the pink Announcement Wooser. I don’t know what her character role is but I suppose we all need to hear Yukari Tamura’s cutie voice once in a while. Some make their cameo because of the characters they played in other animes making their cameo here like Yui Horie as Monochrome. I believe a couple of animal mascots like the tanuki and owl have no spoken dialogues. That is why I am baffled to find out that Nana Mizuki and Junichi Suwabe are the voice behind their respective characters! Really?! I wouldn’t have guessed.

The opening themes are the same for all seasons. Wooser’s theme is quite a catchy short instrumental with the first season sounding like a video game style and the subsequent seasons adding synthesizer effects. The very amusing theme about the opening credits animation is how Wooser decides to get up and do some workout. This lazy creature doing exercise?! All his efforts pay off because he becomes a buffed superhero! OMG! Wooser with muscles! How hilarious can this get? As for the ending themes, Tia sings Love Me Gimme for the first season. It’s a cute anime pop but doesn’t leave much impression. I guess the best of themes goes to New Order by Mamoru Miyano, the second season’s ending theme. It is a very disco-like theme that will make you want to get up and dance along with Wooser. Chotto Dekakete Kimasu by Tia is the slower theme for the climatic ending for the last episode of the second season. For the third season, it is Lucky Girl by Yun*chi.

Overall, this is a cute, random and fun short series that will have you question if anything can be slide and glided over just because something is cute. Yeah, it happens a lot in reality. A big reminder of the age old adage of never judge a book by its cover and still waters run deep. I was almost influenced by Wooser’s habit by not finishing this blog of mine just to parody this series. But I realized that I wouldn’t be able to protect my animes and waifus that way so I eventually finished it. Though, I am not sure what and how this series has got to do with it. It is a shame that when you think of a cute little yellow blob, Wooser isn’t the first creature to pop up in our minds. A certain Pokemon creature would… Pika! Pika! Or would you… Girls, money and meat, now! Never change, Wooser…

After my successful stint in watching an OVA in Indonesian subs, I decided to test out another OVA with the same language. Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei No Kyokan OVA is one of the many OVAs of a TV series that is most likely never ever getting an English sub. At least not for the time being. So what better way than to satiate my ‘closure’ of another TV series that released an OVA by watching subs from another language that I understand. And thus this is my second OVA with Indonesian subs. Like many other OVAs, shows from such genres don’t necessarily have the plot continuity and is all for fun and fanservice. Like I’ve said many times in my previous blogs, all to get your 2 cents worth of buying the DVDs.

Lecty’s Pet
When Lecty is out jogging, she finds a stray chick in the bushes. She even saves it from a bad cat who wants to eat it for lunch! Bad kitty! Go away! Poor Lecty has her hand scratched while protecting Piyo-chan. Meanwhile Freon is addressing her team that a Garuda was spotted near Mistgun. It is believed that it has laid its egg somewhere in the city. If the egg hatches and the offspring grows up, it will suck the magic force out of everyone. So for the safety of Mistgun, they need to find this egg first before panic erupts. At the same time, Kanata tells his E601 girls the need to take care of animals as part of their curriculum. Surely the self-proclaimed goddess is too good to do something like this and Misora is giving a lame excuse that she would rather use that time to practice. This means Lecty has to do it, right? Lecty tends to the chicken coop where we are spammed with many cute little chicks. But she notices Piyo-chan doesn’t mix with the rest and wonders if he is scared. She remembers Piyo-chan’s shyness is the same as hers and understands. Piyo-chan slowly opens up to Lecty’s kindness. You know something is strange when Piyo-chan is getting slightly and obviously bigger than other chicks. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking about this chick could possibly be… Lecty continues to frolic with her pet by introducing him to her teammates, take it swimming and even shopping! Hey, are animals allowed in shopping malls?

As the search for the Garuda’s egg drags on, the need to find it quick becomes evident. Therefore instead of keeping it quiet and looking for it in the dark, Yuri and friends start distributing flyers about the Garuda. So you can tell from Lecty’s reaction when she sees the flyer and when she acts like there is nothing wrong. She quickly runs to the coop to take Piyo-chan and run but Freon and her team have already surrounded her. Apparently Rico saw the striking similarity in the flyer and Piyo-chan and reported. So is Lecty going to give up and let Piyo-chan to his fate despite being repeatedly told how dangerous it becomes when it grows up into a full Garuda? Guess not. She’s pretty attached to it. Then cute little bird turns into a Garuda. When Freon orders her team to attack, Piyo-chan protects her. But then it starts sucking everyone’s magic. Kanata saves Lecty before he is the first to run out of magic and collapses. So it is up to Lecty to use the power of words to convince Garuda to calm down. Can she talk in chicken language? When all else fails, she is going to put him down with her own hands. Suddenly Piyo-chan disintegrates himself into a pile of ash! I guess Lecty’s feelings did reach Piyo-chan after all. He too was quite attached to her and for her sake, ends it himself. But all is not lost and you don’t want to let a cute girl being left heartbroken forever. Because here comes Piyo-chan out of the ashes as his original little chick self. Can Garudas reincarnate themselves? Who knows… Piyo-chan becomes part of the family as he frolics with the E601 girls in the pool. You f*cking lucky little bird, you!!!!!!!!!!! And before you start wondering if Piyo-chan is going to become a ferocious Garuda in the future, Kanata already made a necklace that would prevent it from absorbing magic. How convenient.

Cute Chicks, Hot Chicks… Evolution! Then Devolution
Wohoo! I still have it! I can still understand a big portion of the subs. Yes! It isn’t all that bad. So I suppose now it is going to be a trend for me to find TV series with OVAs without English subs that I can easily substitute them with Indonesian subs as well. Oh yeah. I can feel it. The expansion of my anime experience. I’m levelling up alright. Ahem…

Back to this particular OVA, I guess there is nothing much to be said considering that I have already expected it to be somewhat like this. I figure this OVA is made for Lecty fans in mind. Things are pretty predictable as shy Lecty gets her screen time focus and show us that among the loser girls of E601, she is the most caring of the lot. Anime ‘veterans’ could have easily guessed the identity of her chick from the start. Otherwise it would have rendered this OVA pretty much useless and redundant, right? It feels like Lecty is some Pokemon trainer. Although not sending Piyo-chan to fight other cute critters, the way she cares for it and loves it like part of her own family, when Piyo-chan starts to grow up, that scene just feels like a Pokemon evolution to the next stage. And then it devolved itself because of the power of love. Yeah… Not too sure if Piyo-chan will become a permanent member of the team (if they ever make another season) but you can say that he is the new hot chick in town! Oh yeah.

So as not for the little chick to steal all the limelight, this OVA still serve us little bits and pieces of fanservice. Sorry, no bare tits. From the girls having a shower discussion about the need to quickly find the Garuda’s egg (can you call this as shower thoughts?) to pool swimsuits fanservice, I suppose you can’t complain. Wait a minute. Can chicks swim? Sure, chickens can swim but not as well as ducks or geese. You know, I just find it odd that a chick loves to play water. I thought animals that are not water based don’t really like to bathe themselves in water. Like cats and dogs. So why the heck is Piyo-chan so cool in the pool? Just a freaking excuse to see Lecty in her swimsuit and at the end, the rest of the girls. Yeah… Hey, come on. You don’t want to be bored by seeing Lecty taking Piyo-chan to the video arcade, right? He might just beat you in Street Fighter V for the ultimate embarrassment…

Overall, just an okay OVA to complete the TV series. Nothing really special in particular unless you are a fan of Lecty or cute little chicks. Food for thought: If Lecty can tame the ferocious Garuda just by caring for it, is it possible to do the same for those Devil Beetles? Then they don’t have to fight all the stupid war against the bugs. Yeah… Hey, everybody come adopt 100 Devil Beetle bugs each and take good care of it. And when they grow up they won’t blast our city into smithereens and cause other unnecessary damage. Yeah… It’s so crazy it might just work. Unless it only works with Lecty’s touch… Boy, is she going to be a busy Pokemon tamer… But just remember to treat your pets well in any circumstances. They remember well if you pamper or mistreat/abuse. Better never having to have one that bites the hand that feeds than to have one that bites your head off!

Divine Gate

July 10, 2016

They say that the grass is always greener on the other side. Can it hold true too when it comes to a big door or a gate? At least that is what I understood when I watch Divine Gate. In this sci-fi action series that is based on a mobile app game, people who cross over this gate will be given the power to get their wish fulfilled or change some sort of history or future. Therefore a group of people deemed ‘suitable’ to walk through this gate is gathered for this sole purpose. If it was only that easy… I suppose gate crashing isn’t the best solution, huh?

Episode 1
A train packed like sardine. Suddenly this mad guy starts burning things thinking he has the ability to change the world. He even bothers to tell us about how the 3 worlds merged and gifting them with 6 abilities. Such users are called to the Divine Gate where all wishes come true. If it sounds like a fairytale, it probably is in this anime’s setting because it is what mothers used to tell their children as bedtime story. So anyway, before this guy could murder this innocent girl in broad daylight, here comes this sad looking kid, Aoto, slashing him down with his water blade. The end. So much about his change, eh? In the next coach, a pair of World Council academy students, Akane and Midori rush to the scene and misinterpret Aoto as the killer. They think he is in possession of an illegal Driver but he notes he does not have one and then walks away sadly like a boss. Aoto has creepy visions of a kid who keep telling him the Divine Gate is within his reach but he just doesn’t want to reach out. And some traumatic flashback of his dead parents. At school, Akane and Midori’s pet, Metabon (is it a dog? A bat?) replays footage that shows Aoto is the saviour. His sadness is so obvious that they even notice it. Meanwhile the top dogs of World Council, Knights of Round (KoR) are discussing about Aoto. Each has their differing opinions but the big boss Arthur decides that he will enrol at the academy. Akane and Midori are called by their advisors, Ifreet and Sylph regarding Aoto. They want this guy to be their partner and thus they need to convince him to attend the academy. They have to act fast since that water fairy is already making her move. If Aoto’s name sounds familiar, it probably is because he was the kid that killed his parents 4 years ago and the media went frenzy about it.

Aoto is outside his home as Undine waits. She wants him to enrol at the academy but like for the umpteenth time he has turned it down. She claims Arthur needs his power to maintain world peace but personally, she thinks she can be of help to him. So Aoto at least have the decency to see Arthur who in turn gives him a Driver that is created especially for him. Arthur believes his power attracts other large powers. Aoto declines so Arthur will always be waiting for him. Once he is ready, he will tell nothing but the truth. Downstairs, Akane and Midori meet him and get to the point of wanting to recruit him. Not interested. Midori thought he would be interested when she mentions her own dreams to reach Divine Gate. Would he want to have his wish granted? Too bad, sad dude has got no wishes. Akane tells him straight he doesn’t believe about the rumours that he killed his parents but he tells him back straight he killed them. There. Again he sees this creepy kid who creepily tells him he knows all about him because he has been watching him like some sick stalker. Flashback shows Aoto’s parents extremely favours his little brother and shower him with love and gifts. Aoto on the other hand is so neglected that he lives in a rundown shed and his paltry meal is even stolen by a stray dog! Seeing how pitiful the dog is, he even lets it eat his food! No wonder he is so sad! He is so pitiful that you want to cry too! Then little brother came to tell him about the colour of his heart. It is ice cold blue. He wants to hate them but couldn’t. He wants to kill them but couldn’t. That is why little brother can save him but he won’t. WTF?! And if that wasn’t bad enough, creepy kid came to tell Aoto he knows he is always crying on the inside. I’m not sure if he is laughing on the inside with that creepy smile as he said that.

Episode 2
Akane is bugged by Aoto’s words. Because his father meant so much to him. Arthur is bugged by Loki. Because clown guy will like whatever big boss likes. Aoto is bugged by creepy kid. Because he is here to haunt him about his inerasable past. Does this kid have nothing else better to do? Akane and co are here again to bug Aoto and persuade him to join the academy. Sad boy continues to be so gloomy that it’s just annoying. Midori thought of breaking the ice by asking the stray cats he feeds. Akane didn’t like his answer of feeding them whenever he likes. Akane walks away as Metabon talks about his fiery temper. Yeah, flashback about his beloved dad. He was such a powerful guy holding more power than the council but one day he died rumoured to be from an experiment. It is of course something Akane won’t accept. Akane bumps into a poor kid, Hiroto. Seeing he wants money for food, Akane is about to donate but remembers his words to Aoto and becomes hesitant. Hiroto recognizes Aoto and wants to go buy bread together. Akane is not pleased Hiroto’s parents are not around. He wants to go tell them. How the f*cks is he going to do that? A patrolling robot passes by. It starts malfunctioning, shooting missiles in every direction. True to his name, you can bet Loki is the one behind this to see this ‘interesting show’. Hiroto is trapped by the flames. His father wants to save him but his trauma turns him into a coward. Akane not happy. Aoto no feelings. He accepted the fact his father couldn’t.

Akane gives Aoto his Driver. It was his job here anyway. He takes it since he very well wants to save Hiroto. While Akane and Midori take down the robot, Aoto unleashes his water sword to douse the flames. Now Akane scolds Hiroto’s dad for not acting to save his own child. Aoto tells him about the conscious and subconscious effect. He consciously wanted to save him but his subconscious of fear exceeded that. Wow Aoto. You’d make a good psychiatrist. In short, father and son make up. Happy ending. Even Loki is pleased with the show. Now it is creepy kid’s turn to put some subconscious fear into Aoto by making him remember his past. Because of his fear of betrayal, it makes him afraid to move on and take action. We see how his parents begged Aoto to spare them but unfortunately death was their only fate. Not too sure if they really discriminate Aoto so much that they view him as the killer because from what it looks like, it is the younger brother who killed them. Unless he too is named Aoto. Aoto is left in shock and when the brothers touch, they see visions of Divine Gate. Because of that, younger brother believes they shouldn’t see each other anymore and leaves. Aoto goes to see Arthur for his enrolment. I think all that bugging had worked. Arthur relays the good news that recently he received a key that will guide and open the Divine Gate. Now everyone has their hopes up.

Episode 3
Arthur calls Oz just to tell him the truth he got the key. Oz has his concerns but Arthur will do what he needs to do and they can just watch him. While Midori is having a practice match with Ginji, she can’t help space out thinking about her old friend, Elena. She wanted to be Midori’s only friend forever. Like BFF? It was her wish for the Divine Gate. During Aoto’s welcoming party, that creepy kid continues to pop up. What the heck?! Cut that guy some slack! Midori seems pushy when she wants to know about the truth of Aoto (since Sylph doesn’t know how to ask properly how he ended up looking at the Divine Gate) but she brushes it off and jokingly proclaims she’ll be the first one to reach there. Akane notices her to continue spacing out so I suppose it is a cue for her flashback. Remember how good friends Midori were with Elena? When they entered school, Elena became jealous that Midori was mixing well with the rest. That yandere eyes… She even laid down the rules that she only wants her to be her only friend forever. But I guess that kind of heavy stuff was too restrictive for Midori so Elena didn’t quite like it. Midori wanted to make up and ask her out to the festivals but Elena left her last message that she is going to a place to get her wish granted. Where else but the Divine Gate? Midori has never seen her since and she believes Elena must be waiting for her at the Divine Gate. Arthur tells his KoR about the key. Some are quite enthusiastic but others like Lancelot is showing his foul mood which obviously means his disproval. Creepy kid continues to bug Aoto while he is training. He is certain Aoto has a wish and wants it granted although Aoto disagrees. In the others, Aoto seems like a mad man talking to his imaginary friend. Of course Midori is concerned and wants to help him. This means snooping around for details about his past. As he is about to input his name in the search box, suddenly the alert sounds and there is this big red restricted access across the screen. Wow. Is it that bad?

Episode 4
Arthur sees the development of the fifth version of an upgraded Driver. Well, it’s getting too technical for me. Akane and Midori went to tell Aoto straight what they were trying to do. No, they weren’t looking him up but trying to help him because he looks so much in pain. Yeah right. Midori sends Aoto a link to Friend Log where he can post stuffs like instant messaging but I suppose that guy isn’t interested. Later Midori gets a mysterious message that will guide her to read classified information. Prank? She opens it anyway and it leads her to ‘borrow’ Undine’s pass? At least this time they are able to access more information without the red alert. Looking through articles pertaining Aoto, they are perplexed that the Blue Christmas incident is also related to him. Digging further, they realize it wasn’t just a shopping mall accident but an incident of a blonde boy using a knife made out of water killing 666 shoppers! Aoto is a suspect but there was not enough evidence to charge him. This time the red alert sounds with robots surrounding them when they go deeper. Breunor, a secret military agency of KoR has been monitoring their illegal access. But guess what? He’ll tell them all about Blue Christmas! That was easy. Meanwhile, because Breunor left his surveillance seat, this allowed this weird masked guy, Schrodinger to hack into the system and send a creepy message to Aoto. This guy will also narrate what happened during Blue Christmas.

When the lights went out, the moon’s light reflected and made the surroundings look blue. Then Aoto materialized his water blades and start cutting everyone down. Schrodinger was there and saw how beautiful he was (gay love at first sight?) and wanted to join him. Aoto considered him his comrade but slashed his mouth first. Breunor was supposed to meet his father at the mall but only heard his last words describing the killer with blue eyes. An explosion occurred as Breunor was rescued by Arthur. Ever since, he has been trying to trace Aoto and get prove that he was the one who did it, albeit there was another unknown guy as his accomplice. Breunor wants their help to find proof. Although Akane doesn’t like the idea, Midori agrees because she wants to help Aoto. Breunor realizes his tracking on Aoto has ceased. But Midori can trace him thanks to Friend Log. He is at the ruins of Blue Christmas. Aoto meets Schrodinger who looks forward to their reunion. Although Schrodinger notes he looks a little different now. Breunor and co crash gate their lovely reunion. Breunor knows Schrodinger as one of the Geniuses of Divine. Midori believes he is the one who sent her the mysterious mail. Schrodinger sends his robot to stall them. Aoto clashes swords with him as he asks where did the other Aoto go. This makes sense to Schrodinger now as this Aoto isn’t the same one then. He sets loose some hot chick killing machine, Samidare to kill them while he escapes. Akane wants some answers on Blue Christmas. Aoto is about to admit he is the culprit but Breunor will just leave it there. They then pick up defeated Samidare who is requesting an order from her new master. Aoto? What should he do? Midori suggests posting this on Friend Log and he gets a thumbs up by Undine. Huh? Hey, at least Aoto smiled a little.

Episode 5
Aoto and co are joined by Ginji, Hikari and Yukari for a special training in the woods. You can’t blame them for not believing and taking seriously their trainer would be a woman wearing a horse head mask. Is this some sort of internet meme? Apparently Bedivere of KoR was tricked by fellow KoR, Ywain to wear it will make her recognizable from the organization immediately. How gullible… Oddly, the training consists of school sports festival games like sumo wrestling and quiz show. Is this really training? While taking a rest, Akane notices a girl watching him. They have no problems striking up a conversation like as though they’ve been friends for years. But when his pals arrive, the girl is nowhere to be seen. OMG. Is she… At least she is not a ghost. I don’t know how but she zipped back so fast into hiding back into the bushes where her other friends were waiting. Arthur and the other executives are monitoring the special training and his reason for the weird activities in it is because reaching the Divine Gate might not always lie in battles. After the trainees take their shower and freshen up, they head back to base but are set upon by Seconds, human-animal hybrids who will seek any powers to reach the Divine Gate but don’t hurt others. They claim they have trespassed their territory so Akane tells the team to run since their orders are to return base on not kill them. But Akane is forced to fight that girl who is also a Seconds. She adds they are all Defiers, people who are abandoned and forced into hiding after defying the World Council. Watching Arthur wants to see what the kids will do instead of sending reinforcements so as to know what kind of reaction they will do in such situations. Akane decides to go for diplomacy after Aoto hints him about using words. He tries to understand her plight but she injures him when he lets his guard down. I guess she was too tormented to give a sh*t about trust. Before she could kill him, Bedivere and the other instructors arrive to slaughter them all! As they are all important to the progress of Divine Gate, this is the only way left. Arthur seems satisfied in the path taken and playing the cold king. Because if the people is lost, all a king needs to do is decide on a path. In the aftermath, Akane cries and apologizes to the girl. And now she tells him to continue to be happy when a moment ago she was like b*tching you-don’t-understand-me?! Too late for realizing he is a nice person, eh? Hey Akane, stop dripping your tears on a dead girl’s face! And as gloomily noted by Aoto, he had the conscious and subconscious will but did not have the required powers to save her. Yeah whatever.

Episode 6
There is this flashback where young Arthur met a kid named Santa. No, he is not related to that fat red guy from South Pole. But just like Santa, he granted Arthur something good for Christmas. Now Arthur is before the council as he narrates a little history about when the first Divine Gate appeared and merged all 3 worlds and brought chaos. That happened because everybody cared only for themselves. He will prevent something like Blue Christmas from happening again and will do whatever it takes to reach the Divine Gate. So he gathers his KoR just to tell them it is time to go. He also adds his objective to rebuild the world into a happy one. Therefore he will claim the Divine Gate and become king. Aoto’s group is to see Arthur. And here I thought the creepy kid is gone for good but he pops up again to haunt Aoto about believing his wish would come true and pain awaiting him. Arthur tells the kids that they will be joining him for the expedition. They might have their doubts but he remains cocksure optimistic that they will get there. Because if you don’t have the confidence, that is like losing half the battle, right? Loki remembers meeting young Arthur. Captivated by him, he asked if Arthur wanted to become a god like him. Instead, he wanted to become king and bring peace to the world. Loki will do happy things that will make him happy. Like how the people need a king, a king will need a God. So he and his RPG-like comrades gather their Twilight Judgment. Aoto’s side continue to think over Arthur’s words of becoming king and correcting the world’s state. By doing so, his friend Santa will bring happiness to everyone. No, not that red guy. But just like the fatty, some question whether he exists or not. Arthur assembles his KoR as well as the selected few from the academy for the expedition. He introduces Oz and Loki to them. The creepy kid is up to his no good haunting again and thank goodness he is interrupted when Undine comes to talk to Aoto about Arthur wanting to see him personally. So it’s just to elaborate more on this Santa kid whom he wants to repay as gratitude for giving him a chance to start anew after losing everything? Aoto notes his wish is like a wish for himself but isn’t. Arthur points out Aoto is the same. Sacrificing oneself to protect something is more important. He knows he has been protecting his little brother by being his scapegoat. People become stronger when they have something other than themselves to protect.

Episode 7
The expedition finally begins. But Arthur shocks his team by telling his real goal: To destroy the Divine Gate. After the chaos that merged the 3 worlds, it created a world that only rulers understand and covered up dirty secrets. Therefore he is going to destroy it to return the world to its original state. Making their way in, they are set upon by many robot drones sent by Loki. He won’t give Arthur an easy way there. Once inside the tower, they are besieged by… Scandinavian Gods?! I thought those were Japanese cosplayers with powers!!! Arthur has his KoR fight them to buy time while he and the kids head straight to the next door. How do humans fare against Gods? No chance. And so our first victim to die… The little ‘daughter’ of KoR, Gawain whom nobody really cares. Eventually one by one the KoR gets killed off by the Gods who don’t even need to exert so much as a sweat to dispose them off. Apparently these Gods are sent by Oz who thought those puny humans would lose hope and pull back. Now he blames himself for the massacre. WTF. Midori can’t understand why so much has been sacrificed for this. Isn’t this what you were all prepared for?! Now Arthur claims he is a sinner. A sinner who will bear this great sin to change this world. Then he moves on like as though he felt nothing from all those deaths. WTF. The last ones standing are Breunor and Lancelot. So blonde guys only get to live? They look like they did a little yaoi thing before Breunor bites the dust. Lancelot is prepared to sacrifice himself but at this point the Gods just didn’t bother with him and disappear. Arthur is before the Divine Gate when he is attacked by this super mecha girl, Replica from the lab. The kids are sealed off outside as Lancelot joins them believing Arthur won’t die this easily. After Arthur destroys Replica, Loki appears before him and Arthur realizes he had Geniuses of Divine working under him. With no more strength left, Loki gives him 2 choices: Pick up this sword and be his personal king or die. Since Arthur won’t be manipulated by him, I guess you know what he chose. But it seems Arthur leaves something behind and picks up the sword. When the door reopens and he reunites with the others outside, Arthur stabs Lancelot. So he has decided to become Loki’s king after all? The door shuts, the place crumbles, the kids fall into the abyss and a new dark tower springs up. Oh boy.

Episode 8
Arthur is trapped inside his own conscious. Hey, at least Loki kept his word on his physical being to become a king of this tower, right? The World Council imposes a curfew on the world. Oz is interrogated before them about Arthur’s betrayal but since they don’t find his answer satisfying, Loki confirms that everyone has died. Later Oz talks to Loki about what he said. Loki says they are now conspirers against the council. It was his idea to unleash the Scandinavian Gods so his hands are as dirty as his. Loki returns to the Geniuses of Divine. The opening show has ended and now the main show of Twilight Judgment will begin. He hopes Shakespeare can come up with a good tragedy. Apparently the kids are still alive and hiding in a secret hideout. Ifreet, Sylph and Undine go visit them to give supplies but can’t stay long or they will be suspected. Also with the kids is Santa. He was the one who popped up during the tower collapse to save them. He explains how the council kept the truth from Arthur. They are hiding everything thanks to Loki. Conspiring with the Geniuses of Divine, he controls the council. Therefore there is more than meets the eyes of Akane’s father’s death and Midori’s friend’s whereabouts. Loki’s wish is to perhaps open the Divine Gate and start fresh with the world. He loves to see people struggle for the Divine Gate. That is why Arthur decided to destroy it after Santa told him about Loki’s plan so the world will get its peace. He wants their help to save Arthur and follow him back to the Divine Gate again. Why them? Because Arthur chose them. However Ginji’s side decides to go back to the council thinking they can’t be forever hiding in here. They think Arthur is the bad guy for betraying and this Santa dude might be lying. They are just victims caught up in this. But Akane wants to return to the Divine Gate. He wants to know the truth. Midori and Aoto side with Akane’s view so both sides go their separate ways. Ginji is interrogated by Loki as he puts it in nice words to lure out his friends. They are forced to bring him to the hideout but apparently they got the place wrong. Santa has replaced their memories when they left. But Ginji has an idea. He goes to warn Ifreet and co that Akane’s hideout has been discovered. Unknowingly they lead them to the real hideout and instantly Loki sets his ambush. The robots set to attack if they don’t come out. Santa distracts them with his flashy explosions to let the rest escape to an underground passage that is believed to lead to the Divine Gate. Loki signals to Shakespeare for her debut so with the stroke of her pen, Akane, Aoto and Midori suddenly vanish from plain sight.

Episode 9
Akane and co are running away from Loki’s drones. Then they fell through a hole that lands them on a stage. Loki is going to have Shakespeare write out a tragedy for each of them. At first she summons a twisted version of Othello, Macbeth and Hamlet but Loki finds it boring and wants her to rewrite a familiar story with a surprising twist. The trio are separated into their own plays. Akane is a girl! He is Cinderella being brutally beaten up by his stepmother and stepsisters. Midori is in prison for a failed assassination attempt and Aoto is a sad gloomy bedridden boy who can’t even f*cking cry. Like in Cinderella’s story, Akane is invited to the ball and it seems the prince is his father! Midori somehow breaks out and keeps running. And running and running and running… Aoto still stuck in bed… Loki finds the story boring so Shakespeare drops her pen. The play freezes for a while. Akane’s dad takes this chance to take his son away to a place where Loki can’t reach. Akane punches him! That’s to see if he is real. And oh, for faking his death and abandoning them. Midori runs into Elena. They made up and continue to be best friends. Aoto finally gets up and goes to his old house. He sees his younger brother there. Brother explains why he did that horrible thing that night. He claims they only understand each other. It broke his heart to see his parents torture him so much that is why he eventually acted. Had he reached out in time, this tragedy could have been prevented. But Aoto is not moved and wonders who the f*ck this guy is. As Akane play catch with his dad, the latter mentions he regrets everything and would do anything to start again. That is when Akane felt something wrong. He believes this guy is an imposter because he knows his dad is the kind who would abandon his own kid to achieve his goal. That is why if he loses everything, he can’t throw away his dream. His dad turns into Hamlet and laments his failure. As for Midori, she knew this isn’t her Elena when she doesn’t even know what those matching handphone straps are. Yup, Macbeth in disguise. Failed. And as you would have guessed, Aoto’s brother is Hamlet. Shakespeare is shocked that they defied her writing but Loki is very impressed because the best plays are those that don’t follow the script. Just like their lives. Making it even more ironic is how he mentions those actual characters will be making their appearance. Reality is stranger than play. So it is not fiction? He puts Shakespeare to rest while he waits for his favourite drama to unfold.

Episode 10
Aoto meeting that creepy kid. Not a fake definitely. Akane is attacked by drones and when he is surrounded, somebody blew them all away. Hey look, it’s his father! Is this another trap? Father shows off his awesome fire fist that destroys the rest of the drones. Now you believe? Not yet? When he mentions about some birth secret, Akane realizes this is his real father. He wants his son to go back and will talk to the council. As this world has changed the Divine Gate, the disaster claimed many lives. Now people cannot maintain the balance with the Divine Gate anymore. That is why some are here to research it. The drones carry all that data. The Divine Gate cannot be destroyed to but they will try to keep the casualty minimum. Akane is not impressed with his answer of sacrificing for the greater good. He will reject everything that is him and go to the Divine Gate and change this world. I guess an inevitable showdown between father and son. Meanwhile Midori stumbles into Elena and thinks she is fake too. Time to fight? Okay. Then when she sees her matching handphone straps, she realizes she is the real deal. Well thank goodness. Meanwhile Loki is talking to Arthur. Loki claims that the Adapters cannot reach the Divine Gate without the key. Although one already has, the other 2 need to obtain despair as the key. Loki is sure he had put a curse on Arthur to make him his but he knows his real heart is not here since Arthur was able to resist him. Ginji is being questioned by the council. He remains cautious but they assure him they don’t trust Loki anymore and Oz is just useless. They claim he is an important person because he is the only human who can reach the Divine Gate. So I’m guessing Hikari is the princess of the Celestia world and Yukari for Hellistia since they are being picked up by their respective people. I am sure Midori and Elena would love to continue making up and chat but time is short. Because it is like Elena is saying goodbye to her since she has got a new life and new name: Dorothy (which is the name of Oz’s assistant). Before they can wrap up, they are attacked by a Scandinavian God. Another of those Gods interrupts Akane’s fight. Father programs the drones to take his son away. Second time trauma? Then he gives the God a run for his money before getting stabbed. But what makes him scarier is how he is going to do suicide bombing with the God. Yeah, even the God is freaking scared! Boom! Poor Akane. Despair mode awakened. Elena uses her body to protect Midori. Another awakening of despair. Oz is sad too but I’m sure he is irrelevant to it. Undine reunites with Aoto. She can see the creepy kid. Before the door, Aoto is surprised to see his little brother waiting.

Episode 11
Aoto and his brother were once both abused by their parents. Despite all that, Aoto continued to have clear eyes. Little brother didn’t like that because it is as though he didn’t feel anything. We go deeper into their past before they became Adapters. They took turns getting abused by them so that they could become Adapters. I don’t understand the logic in this… Little brother believes Aoto always wanted to protect him. Then there is something about Aoto seeing the Divine Gate before him first. Those who do would pass out due to its overwhelming force but Aoto didn’t. It proves he is stronger despite Aoto claiming his brother is the stronger one. When little brother set fire to the house, Aoto took the blame that he did it. The parents claim all the abuse was so that they could be part of World Council but Aoto believes it is only for their own benefit. Father beat him up and locked him away. Aoto thought this kind act was protecting his little brother but the latter only felt worse because it was as bad and painful watching him being abused. The night before little brother went to kill their parents, he went to see Aoto and tried to strangle him. He got scared by his clear eyes and ran away. That is when he saw the Divine Gate and became an Adapter. To little brother, those eyes felt like looking down on him. He is disappointed Aoto never brought up the suggestion to run away and for the brothers to live alone together. That is why he calls him a hypocrite for wanting to see him suffer. This is of course wasn’t Aoto’s intention but little brother has become so fixated in not accepting him in his life, it is time for punishment. Yeah, after half an episode of drama, it is time for the brothers to fight. However Aoto will not fight him and is only reduced to dodging. Meanwhile Oz thinks he can atone himself by ridding the Scandinavian Gods via using his own life. Whatever. We don’t care anymore. The siblings’ battle ends when Undine uses herself to protect Aoto. Instinctively, Aoto draws his sword and cuts his brother when he goes in for the attack. Little brother is glad he has shown his true feelings in wanting to kill him. So he takes his leave into the Divine Gate and says as long as he continues to protect him, they will move forward. Aoto, Akane and Midori move into the Divine Gate since they are told they have the right. Before them is the creepy kid who shows them the Divine Gate’s true form: A large scale that balances hope and despair and watching over their conscious and subconscious. Aoto wants creepy kid to answer a question he never answered: Who is he exactly. He is the key that guides people who have experienced despair to the Divine Gate. Whether it is the past or future they want to change, they have that ability to choose that answer from the Divine Gate as they have the right.

Episode 12
There is something that makes Santa feels grateful about Arthur, the reason he is going to save him. Geez, you don’t have to scream his name. So here he is facing off with Loki and mind controlled Arthur and talking about some cap about the freedom to choose. Not that I care. Santa purposely gets stabbed by Arthur so he could get connected into his trapped mind. He meets the real Arthur and knows he has kept his real heart hidden in some item. He wants Arthur to come back with him but he has already decided to stay and protect the world the bring everyone happiness. Santa is forced out and left pondering if this is the path Arthur wants to take. Meanwhile Aoto and co are ready to walk through the Divine Gate. But before they could take a step, the Scandinavian Gods stop them. They have survived Oz’s stripping of their Drivers which made him all shrivelled up. The Gods are against them using the Divine Gate as they feel changing fate is too much for a human to bear. So Gods could only do it? But creepy kid sides the humans, believing they have the right to do so and change all that crap. Creepy kid even tells the kids not to listen to these Gods and probably incite hatred in them reminding how they were the ones who killed their father/friend/brother (okay, so Aoto didn’t exactly lose his brother to death). Creepy kid pushes them out, making those loser Gods hate humans and their selfishness even more. Just when you think it is all clear to head in, here is Ginji. Not so fast. The council has sent him after realizing Loki has betrayed them. But what does this guy do? Well, he tries diplomacy despite looking like a guy who lets his fists do the talking. So he is trying to talk them out not using the Divine Gate and is only for the council and rulers of this world to use.

Although Aoto and co’s wish will not change something drastic like that, it will still change. Order will disappear. Because life is unfair. No matter how much effort you put in, at the end of the day only the chosen ones rule the world. That is why the council is needed to make the chaotic world look like a normal one. Creepy kid argues that is why these kids have the chance to do away with all that. Become Gods and control the world they see fit and desire. All this made Aoto realized important things Arthur told him and the way he lived his life. In the end, people won’t change even if they rely on Gods’ powers. They have to change themselves. And thanks to this ‘brainstorming’, our heroes forfeit their right to enter the Divine Gate. So abandoning their wish for a current crappier world is better? Creepy kid is disappointed but since this is their decision, this is also their fate to choose. The Divine Gate closes as Aoto thanks the creepy kid who feels happy this is the first time somebody does this to him. Yeah, who would ever want to thank that kind of creepy face? But now they are faced with Loki and Arthur. They make a run for it when Arthur destroys the tower. Arthur gives Loki a pep talk that he cannot wipe hope away from this world. Loki thinks despair will only be there but Arthur is fine if it is the path they choose. Aoto and co return to the real world and they are surprised Lancelot is alive. In fact the entire KoR survived thanks to some greater power.

Change The World, Maybe?
Well, I’m glad this mess is over. The more this series runs through its course, the more confusing it gets and thus the least enjoyable it has become towards the end. Because I am still not really sure what the f*ck is happening and going to happen. Especially with that foreboding ending that something darker might be lurking but I just couldn’t care anymore. I just wanted it to end. And thank goodness it did. To be fair, this series is adapted from a mobile game app so there might have been potentials not developed yet, the plot still ongoing and maybe the players haven’t reached that far in the levels. Or if this is just one of the many routes and endings. I don’t know, I can’t say as I never played the game. So it sucks because things haven’t finished yet but as far as this season is concerned, it fails to address lots of things and only serves to raise more questions than answers.

Firstly, the plot itself is already in a mess. It seems it is something more than just a simple adventure to head into the Divine Gate. The first half of the series feels like introducing the main characters and trying to give them a little background and such. The second half deals with the so called journey to get to the Divine Gate. It feels just odd thinking that getting there looks tough but on the other hand, it also feels somewhat confusing. I don’t know what the criteria is for one to reach and even enter the Divine Gate seeing that despair is one of it but I myself is totally unsure. Sometimes the first half feels like wasting time to journey towards the Divine Gate because you will keep wondering what is it that is preventing Arthur to just gather a freaking team to head there. Does he need chosen ones like Aoto and co? I don’t get it. Maybe that is why Arthur is so bent on waiting for Aoto to join because that creepy kid is the key to the Divine Gate and without a key, you can’t open the door, right? Okay, now I get it. But I’m still not impressed. Also, I am assuming Arthur’s expedition is illegal because there are top wigs and Gods who don’t want to use it and thus this so called mission to destroy it.

Another disappointing thing is the characters. Firstly, there are too many of them and too little screen time for them to make you even want to care about them. Even our main protagonists fail to give us a reason to why we should support them. For a long time they have been wanting to change the world and get the truth and all of a sudden, it took a mere secondary character to convince them of discarding that goal of theirs and settle for whatever it is now. Be grateful for what you have now. Changing everything could be a lot worse. Yeah, it is like saying they don’t want to take full responsibility when everything turns out wrong after they become Gods. Look at it this way. Aoto and co become Gods, change the world only to find that it isn’t really to what they wanted all along. Despair? You bet. Couldn’t they just undo everything since they are Gods? Guess not. Might as well give the current big bosses the power to rule everything since it is a big responsibility that they don’t want to shoulder. They think they don’t want to be selfish to change the entire world just for their wish but if you look it from this perspective, aren’t they the same? Yeah, humans. So complicated.

Aoto, Akane and Midori each have their own tragic past to deal with but it isn’t something deep enough to care about. Akane wants to know the truth about his dad. Too bad he is dead after they meet. Midori wants to reunite with her friend. Too bad she is dead after they meet. Aoto wants to reconcile with his brother. Too bad still not done. So what is left of them now seeing that their wishes are unfulfilled, they decide to accept this fate and continue with their miserable lives? I don’t understand indeed. Creepy kid is just creepy, sometimes I feel he is like Aoto’s personal stalker with that eternal smiling face, trying to remind him about the choice he should be making. Whatever. At least he is on your side. This kid can even best the Gods if you oppose him!

If that was just the main characters, it is even worst with the secondary characters like Arthur and his KoR, Ginji and his other 2 lady friends and even Loki and Santa themselves. I was hoping everybody would just be killed off in the end to save the hassle of worrying about them but when you have KoR, a group filled with bishonen and bishoujo, the power of lame excuses are used to bring them back to life. Didn’t we see them die? Arthur is a mysterious man whom you’ll never understand till the end. Looks like he has his own agenda by falling into Loki’s trap but could it be he is also walking into his palm? Or is there some sort of dark collusion between them? Not that I care anyway. Loki is amusing as an antagonist only because he is playing the role of an antagonist. Who wouldn’t be f*cking bored in this world and that is why he wants to see players and pawns change the world. At least he is much better than Oz who is just a freaking wuss. I don’t even know how he is God. And Santa? I don’t even know how he fits into everything and I am not even sure of his fate at the end. Did he die after Arthur stabs him? So Ginji’s entire role other than betraying his friends at first is to become an ambassador to give those friends a pep talk and change their mind? Hell it worked. If Gods can’t do the job, a fellow human could. What? And Hikari and Yukari are whisked away to their respective worlds becoming queens for who knows what. Even if the World Council are supposed to rule the world their way, they can’t even do sh*t and need others to do things for them. All they could do is give lip service. This is especially when Loki makes his move and they just didn’t do anything. So much about being at the top, huh? Thus, no need for Aoto and co to worry about them being chased by the World Council (as warned by Ginji) because I’m sure we all also forgot about Seconds and Defiers, right? Yeah…

And you do remember that there are a handful of other side characters that come and go, right? Remember Schrodinger? What the f*ck is his role supposed to be? Looking for the other Aoto so he could have gay time with him? I am not really sure to add just an episode for him to appear and after that you never hear from him again. Whatever happened to Shakespeare? Did Loki forget he left her sleeping? I guess he was even bored of her writing style that he decided to ditch her talent eventually. Sleep forever playwright beauty… You will only be awakened when your next script is needed. There was a killing machine too, right? Don’t remember? Never mind… Even with the spamming of Aoto and his estranged brother from time to time, eventually I don’t even know what the hell is going on between them. So Aoto’s brother who doesn’t even decently have his own name we could all refer to, just walks away to where? Into the Divine Gate? So if Aoto is not going there anymore, does this mean he will wait for eternity and Aoto will never show up? At least better than the case of Ifreet, Sylph and Undine whom I am not even sure why these characters exist. Metabon is supposed to be this series’ mascot but he is always missing in action. Where the hell are you at times? Oh, I don’t even know what this weird animal’s role is in this anime.

I am sure this anime is trying to talk subtly about freedom, consciousness, subconsciousness, making choices of your own will and even about the fate of your future entire depends on yourself instead of Gods and whatever unknown variables. Hey. Remember this is sci-fi. So f*ck logic and please give us a decent story. No? Too bad. I guess this must be fate too. And I suppose the biggest one is that there will always be hope no matter how desperate the situation. But hope and despair are just like light and darkness and exist side by side. You cannot have one without the other. Therefore the ever perpetual argument between Arthur and Loki regarding this matter. We get it already!

There are a handful of recognizable seiyuus lending their voices to this mediocre anime and unfortunately still couldn’t save it. From Yuuichi Nakamura as Arthur to Kana Asumi as Sylph, there are also Tetsuya Kakihara as Akane, Kanae Itou as Midori, Ami Koshimizu as Ifreet, Ayana Taketatsu as Hikari, Aoi Yuuki as Elena/Dorothy, Takahiro Sakai as Santa, Koji Yusa as Loki and Akira Ishida as Oz. Also, there is Rie Kugimiya as that creepy kid. I’m not sure if she is trying to sound creepy because it is like she’s trying to put on her tsundere trademark but at the same time not. Get it? Therefore you get this seemingly creepy impression coupled in with the fact that the creepy kid already looks creepy. At first I had this impression that Aoto and the narrator were the same seiyuu but I was wrong. Aoto is voiced by Souma Saitou (Tatsumi in Akame Ga Kill) while Megumi Ogata (Itona in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu) is the narrator. Heck, I even thought Aoto was voiced by a girl since he sounded almost like a girl with his gloomy voice. Rest of the casts that are Hiroyuki Yoshino as Ginji (Inumuta in Kill La Kill), Sora Amamiya as Yukari (Elizabeth in Nanatsu No Taizai), Mai Fuchigami as Undine (Nagisa in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu) and Yuri Yoshida as Metabon (Mashiro in Mikakunin De Shinkoukei). I know there is a bunch of those from the KoR but I left them out because I’m lazy and they don’t really make an impact since I don’t care to remember them.

Something about the opening theme that just makes it sounds weird. One Me Two Hearts by Hitorie had me wondering if the singer voice was actually like that or they enhanced it with some voice synthesizer or just plain lazy. Plain lazy? I don’t know. Hearing this song feels like the singer felt lazy in singing the piece as the lyrics are mumbled in a lazy manner. Like as though the lyrics weren’t memorized in time so they thought they could get by just by muttering it in this ‘unique’ way. It could be the song, it could be the voice but I didn’t really like it. The rock based ending theme is Contrast by Visitlip isn’t that bad when you compare it to the opening theme.

At least the art and drawing looks okay and pretty standard with your typical anime bishonen and bishoujo. Despite the gloomy background and dull colours of this futuristic sci-fi world, at least the characters themselves are colourful enough in literal sense. Heck, you have the main trio with names that took after colours. In a way, it draws your attention from the dull background because our characters have such colourful hair and eyes that are just much more pleasing to look at. Except maybe for KoR because they wear the same white uniform. So glaring the whiteness that I thought the producers forgot to colour them in. Really… The character designs are rather okay but I still couldn’t get over the fact that Scandinavian Gods look more like Japanese cosplayers with super powers. Heck, even Loki and Oz who dress like some stage play even look more convincing than this bunch of Gods. CGI is also employed that is mostly for the drones and oddly enough they are also colourful but only a patch of it.

I was hoping for better fight sequences but with all that drama especially stemming from Aoto’s gloominess, it just feels mediocre. There is nothing special about the moves the characters make that would make them memorable. This makes their Drivers which are supposed weapons for them to fight even forgettable because it just feels like extra tools needed so that they can enhance their power or whatever. Each character is supposed to have some sort of element like Akane’s fire and Aoto’s water but I could hardly see how this impacts the overall except giving the characters some diversity. Although the designs of each of the character’s weapons are commendable, it is just about that. More of the aesthetics than practical use.

Overall, this is a real disappointing and mediocre series. One that should have at least given some signs of potential and development but turned out into a mess that would only make viewers feel relieved that the season has ended. And with the narrator at times in every episode trying to narrate something poetic like as though words from some deep literature book, it just gets on your nerves because you don’t really know the deep meaning of it and ultimately you just couldn’t care less what the f*ck was said. I am sure that most of us now are in despair after watching this poor series and now have the right to use the Divine Gate. Please have the decency to walk through it and wish that this anime never existed. Divine retribution! Okay, okay. I don’t want to be too harsh. Please have the decency to walk through it and wish for a better written anime, okay?

I didn’t expect that they would make a spinoff of this series. The amusing thing about Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R is that it is a spinoff of a spinoff. Get it? Because Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Magikarte Z was actually a parody spinoff of that darker horror anime series, Soul Taker. So in a spinoff of a spinoff, we have entirely new but yet familiar set of characters and somewhat familiar setting. It is like they take the names of the characters in the former series and give it a whole new role like as though this is another parallel world. So expect the same kind of slapstick comedy for those who have watched the former. A spirited middle school girl turning into a magical girl to save the world (if not at least her city) from monsters while still trying to balance her school and idol life. Haven’t we seen this trope somewhere before? Oh yeah. Sailormoon, right? Or even Ilya… Almost…

Episode 1
Komugi Yoshida is a famous idol as she sings to her cheering crowd. At the end of her concert, the venue is hijacked by an alarm clock monster. Is this some sort of children’s sentai show on a big scale? Turns out to be a dream as Komugi smashes the clock. Now we know why people do that, huh? On her way to school, it seems she is some sort of an ‘idol’ herself because the town folks like this kind and helpful girl despite she is also a klutz. Maybe except her homeroom teacher, Misuzu who is crushing her face for being late! She’s the kind who uses hand grips as training and doesn’t fear doing it before her students. Be careful. I wonder how Komugi still has her cute face after that strong grip. Anyway, her best friend-cum-classmate, Kokona Saionji is a very popular idol. She has good grades and even part of the student council. Currently she is into acting. The perfect role model for Komugi to achieve her dream. On her way back, Komugi helps a strange rabbit from being bullied by a stray cat. Usa-P considers her kindness as the chosen one to be the legendary Tombo-E Girl. What girl again? If it is shocking enough to hear this weird rabbit talk, wait till you hear how he explains the ‘benefits’ of becoming Tombo-E Girl. You need to transform into an embarrassing outfit to use magic. No way! Better run Komugi. But Usa-P latches onto her as her hairpin. Komugi is also doing part time job promoting some pharmaceutical products. Looks like her fans are only old guys dancing to her tune. Hope they don’t sprain their back… After that, Usa-P pops up and is convinced with Komugi’s act that she is really the chosen one. Before she could refuse, she spots a little cockroach approaching. She becomes paralyzed and is screaming for help. Usa-P takes this devilish chance to agree into becoming Tombo-E Girl in exchanging for ridding the bug. Of course. Anything. A little blow makes the little cockroach fly away forever.

Komugi is suddenly picked up by Kokona’s driver, Toranosuke Matsukawa who claims that the film Kokona is currently shooting now, the director has decided to suddenly ad a cute middle school girl character. So you’re in luck Komugi. This is your big break! At the studio, Usa-P senses a monster materializing so in order not to alarm the others, Komugi has to excuse herself and hear out the rabbit and his mumbo jumbo. What the heck is with all the lame naming sense? Now she has to recite the magical words to transform. What parasol chloroform, uhm, tenipole what the heck? Cue card please? The film monster is wrecking the studio by turning everything goofy. Now Komugi faces off with it. She finds the magical nurse outfit cute than embarrassing. Komugi easily defeat the low level henchmen by swinging her magic wand around. As for the film monster, she is guided to use some magical beam to destroy it. A card known as Fan-C Card drops out from the monster. Komugi realizes she has been late for her shoot but when she returns, it is over. So who played her part? Matsukawa! That’s one freaking lame disguise! Your abs are showing, dude! The director must be real blind to be convinced that was her! Poor Komugi, her big break will have to wait. Back home, she is disheartened she cannot just quit because there are 108 Fan-C Cards to collect! I think Usa-P lied when he tells her if she does so she will turn into a cockroach. Buckle up for the ride, girl. She kicks him out realizing he is bathing with her.

Episode 2
A little flashback on the setting. Demons appeared in the Fan-C World and wreak havoc. Then that legendary girl defeated and sealed them in Fan-C Cards. But one day the princess accidentally dropped them down a fountain that connects to Earth. So if the cards will transform into a monster if they touch anything. Something seems to be stalking Kokona… Thankfully nothing untoward has happened yet but she still can’t shake that feeling. So when her agency president who is also a super idol, Ai Mitaka finds out about it, she increases the security around her school and dorm. It will be too late if anything happens. Kokona reminisces her past whereby she told her parents she wanted to become an idol. They gave her blessings and if she is going to do it, might as well be number one. There is a traffic safety event in which Kokona performs as an idol on stage. Part of the stage team for this event are Yuto Tachibana and Tsukasa Kisaragi as well as Komugi in a weird pink panda mascot outfit. At the backstage, Kokona couldn’t help feel being stalked again. Another close call when a hammer almost falls on her. In her dressing room, she is confronted by this weird tanuki, Tanu-P. He claims he has been watching her for a long time and notes her kindness and all. Even her lovely navel. Yup, sounds like stalker material to me. So we have flashback montages of the stalking scenes to confirm that this cute weirdo is the one ‘stalking’ her and in his haste to hide from being spotted, accidents almost befall on Kokona.

A Fan-C Card has just turned a police car into a monster. Usa-P ushers Kokona to transform. Looks like her lunch has got to wait. Tanu-P explains the need for Kokona to become Tombo-E Girl but you know what is most surprising? Kokona instantly accepts! Even shocking Tanu-P himself. Well, she figures he must be in some sort of trouble and need to help out. Hey, I don’t think she is given what to say and she flawlessly says her magical words for transformation! What Marisol sparklism, uhm, penifore what the f*ck? Komugi blunders in handling the monster and could be done for if not for the appearance of a magical maid! OH YEAH! MAGICAL MAID!!!!!!!! Usa-P is not amused and it seems the cute animals hate each other and in some sort of competition. Kokona seems weak in handling the low level baddies. But then it activated a dark switch of hers… She turns into a sadist! OMG! She is whipping everyone to submission! She’s enjoying it to the max! After destroying the monster with her beam, Komugi couldn’t care less about Usa-P in stealing the card since the case is solved. However Kokona being the bad girl she is makes Komugi stuck in her green slime. When Kokona reverts to her original self, it seems she has no recollection of her stint as a magical maid. But she does feel somewhat refreshed. You have no idea… Once Komugi frees herself, she realizes she is late getting back on stage. Look who has replaced her role? Matsukawa! Couldn’t anybody see the difference?! Later, Ai tells Kokona that the stalker case has been resolved. The big mama of her dorm caught one sneaking around. So there was really one…

Episode 3
Although the magical girls are friendly with each other, the critters are not. So yet another rivalry to see who catch the monster first. But when they arrive, it is gone. Our critters know this is the work of fellow rival, Neko-P because his paw prints are at the scene and he must have gotten a really strong Tombo-E Girl. Flashback to a week earlier, we see Tsukasa being popular among the girls in her school. She is a lead star in a detective series that co-stars Kokona and Yuto. Hey, Komugi has got her screen debut. At least as the dead victim! When Kokona talks to Tsukasa, Komugi chats with Yuto who wishes to get closer to Tsukasa as friends. When Tsukasa goes home, we see her true colours. Casting away her tomboy nature, her room is filled with girly stuffs and plushies. She chats with them all. Seriously, this girl needs real friends. As she dresses up and heads to the rooftop, that is when Neko-P appears before her and is amazed by some kindness of hers. The rest is history. So we get to see her singing in concert and it seems she likes the life of fighting monsters. It makes her feel like her true self. After another series shooting (again Komugi plays the dead victim), a monster alert is detected. This time Komugi and Kokona are at the scene first but the monster carp is too much for them to handle. Then here comes Tsukasa as a magical sister to save the day and kick ass! Her super beam easily destroys it. The girls are impressed and make friends but Tsukasa leaves first. While she is hanging out at the top of the studio, Yuto comes to talk to her. She flusters and runs away (almost giving away her real name). But he hopes he gets to talk to her again at this place. Back home, Neko-P warns Tsukasa about revealing her true identity. Failing which she cannot become a magical girl anymore. She’ll be careful but is happy she is a magical girl because as long as she is one, she can see Yuto again. She hopes another monster would appear soon.

Episode 4
Komugi is eager to enter a Miss Kunoichi Contest because the winner gets to be the model for Edo Mansion’s sign next year. So you bet Komugi is going to train hard. But walking stealthily? Everyone in town knows… Even worse, she is late for school and gets her usual punishment by Misuzu. After school she even does more ninja training but it makes you wonder if she is making a fool of herself. Komugi and her family tag along to Edo Mansion where the contest is going to be held. I suppose her parents need to rekindle their old flame on their first date here while little brother, Kotaro is more interested in a special show Kokona is going to appear in. While Komugi goes to prepare herself, her family watches the special show. Uhm, does Kotaro have a fetish for Kokona’s navel?! Then they go over to cheer on Komugi as she and other contestants play ninja-like games. Not too sure if it is pure luck or Komugi’s training that paid off as she advances to the finals. Meanwhile, the slimy frog mascot of Edo Mansion, Oedon has been possessed by a Fan-C Card. Before the finals, Komugi is nervous. Kokona and Yuto are there to give her encouragement. Especially Kokona telling her that Komugi won’t be Komugi if she isn’t having fun. Komugi is in dead last as the final race begins. But then the mascots sense a monster alert! Usa-P wants Komugi to go get the monster but since she wants to win this race badly, Usa-P pressures her to finish it. See Komugi zoom past all the contenders till the final stretch where they are surrounded by Oedon clones! Since the commentator says it is not in the script, I guess you know who they are. Kokona and Tsukasa aren’t faring well since they are caught in its slime. Too slippery to maintain balance. With her family cheering, Komugi gets her courage to dash past them and take the scroll that wins the race. At that moment, all the clones merge into one big Oedon monster and the crowd thinks it is trying to celebrate with her. Usa-P signals for her to transform. And thus our magical nurse saves the day with her super lotion beam. Kokona is eager to get her prize and to her dismay, I guess she never expected the sign model to mean a big panel where you put your face through so you can have your picture taken. Bummer.

Episode 5
Ai has good news for Komugi. For the first time she has a role in a drama series that has lines and is not a corpse! Wow! However when Ai sees her zero score for midterms, she takes it back! Oh no! Easy come, easy go. As told by Matsukawa, Ai was looking out for her since she was once an idol with hectic schedule and never got to go to school properly. And thus it is suggested to hold a study session at Komugi’s place. Hey, Kotaro is so sharply dressed. What gives? Aha… Tsukasa didn’t really want to come but since Yuto will be here, I guess this is the only way she’ll get close to him. Tsukasa isn’t pleased with the instant interruption from Komugi’s mom and Kotaro but when Yuto pops up, she becomes a nervous wreck. As usual, Komugi is lazier than anything and each time Yuto has to scold her to get things moving. But this only makes Tsukasa jealous as she sees how close they are interacting. Sharp Kokona senses Tsukasa has a crush on him. Tsukasa and Yuto are left alone when the duo went to bring in more snacks (is it break time again?). A series of flustering leads Yuto to fall over her and his hand over her boobs. Luckily they regain composure in time before the rest come back. While Komugi is dense, Kokona has an idea why their faces are so red. Finally a group photo to commemorate the study session. Tsukasa feels uneasy since Yuto is close to her. Komugi is confident in doing her tests. Unfortunately, monster alert! She needs to defeat it but hasn’t done her test yet. Eventually she manages to excuse herself that she needs to go to the toilet. Once she has transformed, she sees Kokona already taking on the line machine monster and destroying it. Was she even needed? Now head back for the test! In the aftermath, Komugi scores zero! Oh no! All the hard work! It seems she put all her answers in the wrong column. Had she not, she would have scored 56 marks, her personal highest. But Misuzu is understanding enough. She thinks Komugi was unwell during the test and would ‘remark’ her papers if she attend her special Spartan training. Alright. She’s game for it. But who knows… Why in the world does Komugi have to lift weights while reciting English words? WTF?!

Episode 6
Tsukasa is happy yet down. It seems there is a swimming meet for idols. Despite not very fond of the idea of wearing a swimsuit, she wants to show it to Yuto. Meanwhile, Komugi has finally landed a speaking role and not a corpse! At least being an alien is better than nothing. Tsukasa is down once more seeing Komugi and Yuto chatter away. Her driver thinks of cheering her up by talking about this Buri Bara card his son likes but Tsukasa totally has no interest in. Yuto and Komugi also join in the conversation. Then it hit Komugi about this super rare card they’re talking, Chateaubriand. She bugs Kotaro to give one since he has two. At first he doesn’t want to but thinking he could be introduced to Kokona and get into her good books, he gives it. Komugi visits Kokona’s dorm but found the wrong room. It is Tsukasa’s room filled with girly stuffs. Tsukasa who just came back is disheartened she has discovered her secret. Therefore she is going to threaten her to not reveal her secret but then this thought crosses her mind. What if this is a chance for her to become her true self again? Thus she will work hard and win the MVP at the meet and then make her announcement. So dense Komugi agrees to wait. At the meet, the usual water and pool games the idols play. The producer talks to Yuto and wants him to unstrap the bikini top of the girls so as to increase ratings. But then a Fan-C Card falls onto his swimming trunks. Yuto turns into some green metal bug who becomes a serial wardrobe malfunction maniac, cutting off not only the girls’ top but the pants of guys! Gender equality? Komugi is spared because the monster doesn’t cut school swimsuit. It aims for Tsukasa and cuts her diving/surfer suit. Komugi was fast enough to give her bandages to cover her breasts. Tsukasa then transforms to defeat the monster. Yuto is freed as Tsukasa pulls him out from underwater. At least she got to hug him. In the aftermath, Yuto doesn’t remember much but he has a hunch Tsukasa saved him and thanks her. It made her think she would love to stay this way a little longer. Conveniently the meet is cancelled and so she couldn’t win the MVP too. When she meets Komugi the next time, Komugi hands her the Chateaubriand card. She still thinks Tsukasa’s secret is that she is a fan of the card. Tsukasa is annoyed and just brings her to her room to let her see for herself her true nature. She hopes she can keep this a secret and would repay that bandage thingy one day. In that case, Komugi suggests singing with her and Kokona since it is her dream to sing together at Tokyo Skydome.

Episode 7
Komugi’s friends see her enter Tsukasa’s room and they think they must be having some sort of relationship. They eavesdrop and hear ambiguous stuffs like Komugi touching soft and round things but then big mama chases them away. Oh, Komugi is pressing marshmallows. Next day in school, the friends get the wrong idea since Komugi sounded ambiguous too. They were talking all night when they were interrupted and fought (a monster). Komugi won at the end. Her friends think Kokona was the rival and she lost out in her bid to be Tsukasa’s number one. Speaking of Kokona, here she comes. But with her navel exposed? Since they don’t quite like her indecent exposure, she then tries wearing a moustache followed by some funny raw food (I thought it was a worm!). The last straw came when Kokona is interviewing a retired Olympic marathon gold medallist, Kakeru Michio and she added weird words at the end of her sentences. Michio blew his top so the programme had to be cut. As Tsukasa talks to Kokona, it seems she is trying to find a persona because lately girls with specific personas get all the attention and if she doesn’t have any, she is afraid she will not become a top idol. Tsukasa gives the best advice of not wishing what she doesn’t have but instead to develop a certain trait. For instance, Tsukasa is always cross-dressed as a boy in many parts because it is what she does best. So what is Kokona best at? Komugi’s clue that she is always hardworking gave her an idea. After apologizing to Michio, Kokona gets motivated to enter a local marathon race. She trains hard with others supporting her. Come race day, Kokona is keeping a good pace. Of course a monster appears but luckily Tsukasa and Komugi quickly take it away from public view to fight somewhere isolated. They both cooperate to defeat it although the cutie mascots are still at each other’s throat. Kokona must be a masochist to love struggling since she finds it fun. Because of that, this gives almost everyone motivation. From studying to even a paraplegic grandpa to stand up! OMG! Kokona the miracle worker?! Even Michio cannot stand it and wants to come out of retirement to run! And so everybody starts running! Aliens and robots included! OMG! This makes Kokona realizes that with everyone supporting her, she doesn’t want to be the best idol anymore but the idol only she can become. She reaches the finish line much to everyone’s delight. Best of all, Kokona remains as herself.

Episode 8
Komugi is chasing a white bear monster that changes everything to white through the mountains. The rest of our young idols are doing a hotspring report but the director thinks they are stiff and unnatural. They think a bear is coming through the bushes but it turns out to be Komugi all messed up. So tired and dirty, she quickly jumps into the hotspring and gives the best review of it from her heart! Cut! The director will take her report then. As Komugi joins them, she almost gave away that she is a Tombo-E Girl. This has the other furries telling their respective magical girl if Komugi is that magical nurse. Based on their observations on how klutzy she is, they don’t think she is. They play ping pong and Yuto buys them ice cream. It is that gloomy feeling again when Tsukasa sees Komugi sharing her ice cream with Yuto. Yuto observes Tsukasa is somewhat dissatisfied and thinks he can help cheer her up by organizing a kimodameshi. Yuto and Komugi head out first. But then a monster is sensed. Komugi excuses herself to go back to the inn so Yuto will continue himself. His plan is to scare Kokona and Tsukasa so they will get close to each other and deepen their relationship. Kokona and Tsukasa walk their separate ways since they need to transform alone. So when Yuto sees Tsukasa coming alone, he also senses a bear (that monster) from behind. While Komugi tackles it in the background, Yuto grabs Tsukasa and pushes her down to hide. At first she is shocked at this development but soon learns why he is doing so. Eventually Komugi defeats the white bear monster and is the last one to return to the inn all messed up. The rest think she got lost again. As Kokona and Tsukasa soak in the hotspring, Tsukasa’s mind is elsewhere thinking about that close proximity. So when Kokona asks if she likes Yuto, Tsukasa answered yes before realizing her embarrassment and starts flustering like hell. It is no big deal to Kokona as she has been observing her actions. She gives her hope that Yuto sees Komugi as his little sister so there is a chance for her. Kokona senses Yuto just coming into the hotspring on the other side and takes Komugi (who just dipped in) away so that the duo could talk privately.

Episode 9
Komugi’s hotspring report is shown all over Japan. It becomes a hit that the inn experiences good business. You just really want to try it out, eh? Because of that, Komugi is delighted she has more hotspring reporting jobs. Though, she has to run to all the hotspring areas. Why? Because if Kokona can run, so can she! And so Matsukawa becomes her ‘motivator’ as she runs from a hotspring to another. But her tiredness made it all worth it. Then there is a rundown hotspring she is so supposed to cover but she was so tired and tripped that she brought down the entire structure! Oh sh*t! Next day, she thought she is going to get scolded by Ai but instead she heard her saying she is getting fired. Matsukawa sounded happy. Komugi is so sad that she runs through the entire shopping arcade screaming about it. Yeah, everybody now knows about it. Those old guys feel down too. So they head over to Ai’s office to plead not to get Komugi fired. However the decision is final. Too bad guys. And Ai doesn’t even know what the heck all that was about but she said it with confidence. So what do old guys who lost their wives have nothing except their granddaughter, drinking, reading, travelling, movies, ceramics, mixers, golf, fishing, photography, mountain climbing, sushi, tempura, social work and volunteer work have got to live for if they don’t have Komugi??!!! Yeah, that’s pretty much a lot of things to live for… They won’t let this slide yet.

Komugi is still down and if you’re wondering if she can do her job as a magical nurse, well, let’s say she took Usa-P’s words to take out her frustrations on the yawning monster. She gets even violent when she thinks the monster is mocking her being fired! OMG! She is beating it up so brutally that it cannot be shown! Even Usa-P is scared! Oh my… In the end, she is about to resign to her fate of not being idol material when her friends bring her to a stage. It is made by those old guys and they want her to sing for them. Even if she is fired from her agency, she will always be their idol. Can’t disappoint your fans now, can you? So we hear Komugi sing as she realizes the tremendous support from her fans and vows never to quit being an idol. Ai, Matsukawa, Kokona and Tsukasa happen to pass by and see this. When ask why, Ai seemingly confirms about Komugi’s dismissal though she had intended to make it a surprise. More puzzling, she congratulates her on being fired. Now, before you can hate her, remember that Buri Bara card game? Since it is getting an anime adaption and Komugi went to audition for a role, she got a part. The characters are named after meat parts of the cow and she got the neck part (kubi means both neck and fired). Now you understand? As for the destroyed inn, it was scheduled to be torn down anyway. The owner even sent a thank you note for saving the hassle. All is well, ends well. But Komugi may need to explain about this ‘illegal’ concert…

Episode 10
Tsukasa makes sweets for Kokona and Komugi and she is good at it. However she doesn’t want them to tell others as she has that tomboyish image to keep up in the public’s eyes. Kokona then mentions about the school’s legendary rainbow cupcake and if given to one, they will be friends forever. You bet Tsukasa is going to do that. After doing a promotion for a White Day event, Yuto remembers Tsukasa giving him Valentine chocolates although she said it was obligatory (yeah right). He ponders if he should return the favour. So he asks Komugi what kind of sweets Tsukasa likes. Not wanting to reveal her secret, Komugi replies otherwise. Any fool can pick up her unconvincing lie. Tsukasa finishes her filming fast so she could join her friends to make the rainbow cupcake. As she cannot reveal her expert baking side, Kokona and Komugi are forced to distract the other friends so Tsukasa could make the necessary adjustments that would otherwise spoil the cupcake. Even if it means Kokona taking all the credit at the end. Of course the friends are eager to know whom Tsukasa is going to give her sweets too. Kokona or Komugi? The big battle to end it once and for all? A monster appears by smothering girls in sugary sweet cream. When an uninspiring announcement is made that a pervert is near the cooking room, Tsukasa dashes over to check if the cupcakes are alright. But first, Misuzu uses all her wrestling moves on the monster. She’s raring to go! While she basks in victory, the monster escapes but is short-lived as the magical sister finishes it once and for all. Good news the cupcakes are still intact.

I’m not sure about this WTF scene because some girls not only give Misuzu their cupcake but when her to do a wrestling move on them! Are they masochists?! In the end, the friends never knew whom Tsukasa gave her cupcake to but they notice they are as friendly as ever. Yuto couldn’t find the kind of sweet anywhere (as described by Komugi’s lie). He is contemplating not doing so when he bumps into Kotaro who seems to want to buy a gift for Kokona in return. It is the thought that counts. This makes Yuto know what he has to do. Yuto gives it to Tsukasa at the backstage before their event. Tsukasa is surprised but happy. But that turn into dismay when the gift turns out to be squid ink?! WTF?! Hey, it’s the thought that counts, right? Yeah, according to some fictional island, giving such squid ink on White Day means he hates you! Oh no! She loses motivation to give the cupcake but Neko-P seeing how hard she has put in her effort will help her out. Thus Tsukasa in her magical sister form gives Yuto her cupcake. Kotaro gives Kokona his present and she too has something for him. Same for Komugi for Usa-P. How considerate. But it is damn spicy! Tsukasa is going to resign to the fact she can only be Yuto’s friend as a magical sister but Neko-P has done more homework because he found some region that giving squid ink on White Day means friends forever. Yahoo! Such a happy blissful girl. Yuto eats the cupcake and finds a familiar taste. It tastes like Tsukasa’s style.

Episode 11
Lilia hates being alone. Komugi and her friends are talking about Supernova Lilia, a top idol from America. Seems she is going to make her debut in Japan soon. When Komugi and Kokona head to the studio for their usual filming, they are shocked to find the filming has been cancelled. Apparently some agency took over this slot of filming and will use another idol. Yeah, big money talks too. I guess one programme cancelled is alright, right? Wait till they find out the other shows they are doing are also cancelled! Because those slots are also bought up by that idol agency! Okay… We still got Buri Bara, right? Right before the press conference, Ai had to relay the bad news the entire anime is cancelled! OMG! Don’t tell me that agency has bought that anime slot. Yup. A new anime called Lilia Paradise will be in place of it. So let me guess, this new idol is going to take over Japan this way? With the entire day free, Komugi hangs out with Kokona and Tsukasa. They bump into a lost girl who is clearly Lilia in disguise. It took a while for Komugi to recognize but she is absolutely thrilled when she does. Lilia knows a lot about them since she watches their shows. They have fun at the park together till her agents come to pick her up for a press conference. Lilia aces in all the events and later invites Komugi and co to her concert at Tokyo Skydome. Meanwhile our furry mascots are on their way back to Fan-C World to give an update about their progress. All of them are at a tie with 35 Fan-C Cards each and there are only 3 more cards left. They sense a monster but when they head to the scene, it is over. Could it be some other magical girl beat them to the scene? They don’t know who since neither summoned their Tombo-E Girl. They sense another monster but this time get a real beat down. Animal abuse! OMG! Have you seen them being smacked down like that?! Worse, this monster steals all their hard earned Fan-C Cards. I’m sure we can pretty much guess who that monster is… Meanwhile Lilia’s much awaited Tokyo Skydome performance begins.

Episode 12
When our girls return home to their respective rooms, they are shocked to see their furry mascots beaten up. Too bad Komugi didn’t miss Usa-P while he is gone. After being told what happened, each see an idol magazine in which Lilia is in an article. They recognize her as the monster who stole their Fan-C Cards but the girls don’t believe. To be certain, they hang out with Lilia and our animals are surprised she doesn’t emit any monster signal. Everyone attends another Lilia concert. A monster is detected and this time they spot the camera monster. Better be quick because this monster has the ability to see through clothes with his infrared! Our magical girls transform and hop on stage as everyone thinks this is part of the performance. Before they could do anything, Lilia’s teddy bear activates and combines with her to become a magical idol. The monster is defeated and with Lilia having all the Fan-C Cards, she will now use it to grant her desire. She wants the entire world to become her fan. Not just every damn human or animal on this planet but aliens too! Komugi and co claim this isn’t the way to win the heart of fans but Lilia is not all ears. So our furry mascots tell our magical girls to combine their power for an ultimate move. This means doing a concert of their own to snap everyone out of their spell. Yeah, whatever. Once it is over, it is raining Fan-C Cards and our mascots are fighting among each other to swoop them all. Meanwhile our girls transform back since it is mission over and they are shocked to realize the other’s true identity. Right under their noses… … Then they laugh it off. No big deal, eh? Yuto has seen them transform back too as he confronts Tsukasa being a magical sister. He is glad because he was hoping they were the same person. All of a sudden, Tsukasa admits she loves him. He too replies back he loves her! Woah! Too fast?! Komugi never knew… A few days later after the set is repaired, Lilia continues her awesome concert. The princess of Fan-C World, Hime-P uses her power to animate her teddy beat so she won’t be lonely. Our fury mascots return to Fan-C World and man, they look hot in their bishonen form! They praise Hime-P all they want and did she give them the green light to do something naughty to her? When you have a princess this sexy… Komugi narrates the aftermath that Lilia became busy so they rarely meet up but still do. Kokona trains hard for marathons. Yuto being selected for a swim meet and will be based in USA for 10 years. Tsukasa hopes to follow him there. And Misuzu… She became a pro wrestler! Oh, Buri Bara is back on schedule and dubbing is about to begin. Komugi returns to her normal life till she trips on Usa-P again. He claims there is another threat and she needs to transform into a powered up Tombo-E Girl R.

Go, Go-Mugi De Go!
It was indeed a brainless fun series. I would love to leave it just as that. Because eventually they never explained what the heck that R supposed to mean. Revolution? How is Komugi revolutionized here? Revived? If she dons her magical nurse outfit again, would it means she would be reviving her magical girl career? Yeah, one of the biggest trolls of this series. The characters aren’t too deep and the ending just felt rushed just because it is already on its last episode don’t necessarily help but this show was meant to be silly on all accords so if you want to complain about all that, you’re barking up the wrong tree. You’re not supposed to expect all those here.

If you want to complain about the lack of plot, I guess technically you can do so. But with all the silly slapsticks going around, I’m not really complaining. Although it does feel a bit predictable and repetitive sometimes because the entire series is basically about Komugi and her friends going about in their daily lives, herald the-monster-of-the-week, it gets is 2 minutes of appearance to disturb the peace before being destroyed by some magical beam our magical girls chant with equally insane magical lines, heck even the monster has his final words before being destroyed, when all it is said and done all is well ends well. Period. What more do you want?

Therefore the supposedly magical girl fight scenes aren’t much either. Because the monsters are just so damn comical than threatening that it looks like even the police could have handled it. Only difference is because they might not have the proper tools to take off the Fan-C Cards that are stuck on them. Otherwise you do notice that many of the monsters, their habits and personality after being activated by the Fan-C Card are not really threatening to the world or even to the town itself. Like as though the monsters are made to look and act more docile so as the show can be suitable to be watched by younger audiences. You don’t say… There are a handful of those fancy terms (pun probably intended) but I don’t really give a damn since my brain power wasn’t turned on. I don’t think you’ll miss a lot as long as you understand and remember the frequently used terms.

As there are similarities with the previous series, there are some differences too so as not to make it feel like a blatant shameless rip-off. Most notably that the previous series has its antagonist in the form of viruses but this time they turned it into some card capturing thingy. Just like Ilya, eh? The former had the titular character having a secret crush on the fellow male idol. Our Komugi here it seems their relationship is more like siblings. Also, Magikarte Z only had a magical nurse and a magical maid. Now they added a magical sister to make it a trio. Instead of magical girls being heated rivals with each other, they are rather friendly in both sides of their alter ego. In fact, there are no heated rivals like in Magikarte Z even within the same idol agency. So no b*tch fights to see. And if you remember that tanuki, Posokichi that doesn’t really talk, right? Tanu-P has his fair share of lines and is mostly polite and gentle. I think there could be more but I’ll stop here before nostalgia ‘kills me’. Heh…

Character wise, you can argue they are pretty shallow because how you see them here is how they will be for the rest of the entire series. Like Komugi being the cheerful but clumsy girl, Kokona the polite girl but hides a dark sadistic side and Tsukasa despite being a tomboy is actually a true feminine down inside and yearns for love. You could say that the romance between Tsukasa and Yuto feels pretty much forced and an added distraction to everything. Because all the while Tsukasa have been just so shy to say out her feelings and when it is over, she got the courage. Where did she get it from? Oh, who cares, right? I thought Yuto would be the ultimate twist. You know, he might be the good looking guy but in the end, the culprit who has been unleashing havoc with the Fan-C Cards. Nope. Not even a complicated plot like this for this series. He is just another normal guy. Lilia’s character feels forced too because it was like as though they needed to introduce a new character just for our main trio to unite or something. I don’t even know why her teddy bear was evil in the first place or making her do all that bad things unless it is being possessed by some Fan-C Card. Ah well, this series isn’t good in explaining all those stuffs so you’ll have to accept things as they are.

The furry mascots too aren’t much themselves except to play the roles as comic relief and looking cute while doing so. There is supposed to be some sort of animosity between them but even when they get into an argument, it doesn’t feel threatening but cute seeing how comical they are in the first place. I mean, how can you take something so round so seriously threatening, right? Usa-P is supposed to be a pervert but as I see it here, I don’t think he is as bad as Mugi from the predecessor series. It is a good thing they don’t turn that scene of him joining Komugi in the bath and then she violently kicks him out into a running joke. Come to think about it, no doubt Usa-P is male, but he is some rabbit mascot for heaven’s sakes. So why does Komugi treat it like a real guy in the bath? As long as you’re male, you have that potential… You’ll never know… Better to be safe than sorry. I believe all of them probably got a crush on Hime-P, the reason why they are in competition to do this job and win her affections. In the end, nobody cared who won and all of them got the same sexy love from her. I think.

The rest of the minor supporting characters feel the same and are just there. Whether or not they are of big importance it doesn’t matter. Like Kotaro whom you would remember as Komugi’s brother who has a big crush on Kokona. The same case for Misuzu because her iron claw fist is a devastating move she uses on her students and in the ring. Komugi’s quartet classmate friends feel generic except that rapper girl who talks only in rap language as the only one that stands out from what would have been a typical group of bland friends. Then you have Ai as the caring president and Matsukawa as the loudmouth motivation guy who tries to give Komugi positivism if she is down. I thought it would be a running joke for him to take over Komugi’s place whenever she is away fighting monsters but that was thankfully stopped after a couple of times. The same case of Komugi always playing a corpse. Yeah, a joke like that even gets old even in a silly show like this.

The one big thing that mind boggles me is the fact how our main trio of magical girls cannot seem to guess the other magical girl is their close friend. Okay, I will give them the benefit of the doubt that their magical girl outfits has some sort of screen block that prevents them to identify clearly the other party. Yeah, right… The same reason why many cannot identify Superman and Clark Kent as the same person despite the difference is just a pair of glasses. Even if this theory is true, you would have noticed that their furry mascots have been tagging with them whether they are in normal form or magical mode. As they are there either way and given the fact that the furries know their rival, shouldn’t they have guessed when in normal mode that, say, Kokona is the magical maid? I mean, if Tanu-P is with Kokona and also with the magical maid, shouldn’t the math have been done? Are they that dumb? Or are they too busy trying to fight for the Fan-C Cards just to notice this trivial thing?

Drawing and art are okay with all the bright vivid colours making everything looking so lively and cute. Komugi and Kokona’s magical girl design for this spinoff looks as similar to their predecessors. There are slight differences enough to differentiate them but that is if you have a keen eye for detail because for a casual viewer like me, I was just thinking how freaking similar they look. Like as though they cut, copy and paste the designs and all and were too lazy to come up with a new one. I mean, this show is already a spinoff so there needs to be some similarities to the design. I didn’t think it would be this similar. I may be wrong but recently in the past few years I have noticed that dance sequence these days are starting to use CGI. Because those are how the singing and dancing scenes of the idols are here. Although I won’t say the difference is very jarring but you can tell at a glance. Are hand drawn dance animations hard to draw these days? Maybe with all the jumping around, imagine how many frames you are going to animate… So why not use technology! Not magic, mind you! But I have to hand it to them that the transformation effects and whatever magical effects during the fights are still pretty decent.

It goes without saying that with an entirely new spinoff, the entire casts are also new. This means you’re not going to hear that voice behind Pikachu and Chopper… If you watched the predecessor, you’ll know what I mean. Despite this is Kei Tomoe’s debut anime role, she did quite a good job to make Komugi sound like a clumsy klutz. Everything about her voice absolutely fits her character well. I thought it was Yu Kobayashi behind Tsukasa but it is in fact Makoto Koichi, another new seiyuu in which this anime series is also her debut. The other casts include Erii Yamazaki as Kokona (Roboko in Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda), Yasuaki Takumi as Yuto (Tsukasa in Plastic Memories), Daisuke Namikawa as Tanu-P (Rock in Black Lagoon), Ryota Takeuchi as Neko-P (Shiro in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Uki Satake as Lilia (QT in Space Dandy), Shizuka Itou as Ai (Haruka in Amagami SS) and Kenta Miyake as Matsukawa (Sydonay in Shakugan No Shana). Oddly or not, the only seiyuu from the previous Komugi-chan series is Haruko Momoi. She was the voice of the titular character then but now she is playing as Komugi’s mother. It makes me wonder if this is grownup Komugi of the old series since my paranoia is making me see little shades of her. Then again, what happens to all magical girls when they grow up?

I love the opening theme, Ready Go!! sung by Magical R which is basically the main trio magical girls. It is a very lively and catchy piece and you can’t help but sing along to its catchy lines as well as it makes you want to get up and jump and dance. Sometimes it isn’t enough that I had to replay the opening scene just to hear-cum-sing along again. “Everybody here de Lucky de Go! Everybody say de Lucky de Go! Everybody jump de Lucky de Go! Let’s Go! Go! Go Ready Go!” Oh yeah. Are we ready to sing that one more time? The ending theme is Ame To Namida To Otome To Taiyaki by Shintou Otome and is also not bad and catchy in its own right. It has that cheery sunshiny feel to it (despite the animation is mostly raining) and a little bit of cute rapping. There are also insert songs sung by our magical girls. They are rather okay as they are mostly idol-like songs.

Overall, this one is for the old fans for nostalgia and for the newer ones who want to laugh without cracking up their brains over deep twisted plots or convoluted characters with equally convoluted pasts, this series is perfect to take away the Monday Blues with some silly magical girl action and comedy (and a little magical girl dance) before heading back to that stressful reality of yours. So if you think your job sucks, try putting yourself in Komugi’s shoes. A young girl needing to juggle between her school life and saving the world. If only magic could make reality so much more fun.

Triage X OVA

July 8, 2016

I have resigned to myself that there will be some OVAs to the TV series that I will never watch. In today’s internet age where many claim that fansubs are dying, it is already rare enough for them to exist and fansub some series every season as many series are being officially simulcast and have their own ‘official’ subs. This usually means if a series has an OVA, we are most likely not ever going to see it subbed. At least for English speakers. You’re lucky if you have any despite the bad and horrible grammar of ‘caring’ subbers to give us Japanese noobs out there a chance. At least better than nothing. This is the case of Triage X OVA. It wasn’t a series that I was a fan of and one that I would really be desperate to watch even if it came out another season. Even as of today, there are no English subs of this OVA. So how did I watch this and understand by not watching the original raw version? I saw it with Indonesian subs! Oh yes! For the first time ever (or at least in a decade), I decided to test if my Malay can still be of use and thus that is why I went to ‘try out’ this series.

Recollection XOXO
What a way to start off the OVA with a ‘celebration’ by breaking the fourth wall with loads of ‘dangerous’ fanservice!!! Oh yeah!!! We see Hitsugi talking to Oriha about sizing up the other ladies in Black Label. Of all the ladies, she perceives Yuuko as her main rival. Must be those monstrous boobs… When asks about Oriha herself, she turns into an idol and pretty much is the most excited about it.

The main story proper of this OVA is an expansion of Hitsugi and Yuuko’s past. Remember the part where Yuuko stormed into an abandoned lab and was set upon by this experimented wild child who was Hitsugi? Yup. This OVA tells us what happened after that. Hitsugi is taken back to Black Label’s base where Yuuko and Miki continue to rehabilitate her but to no avail. Each time Yuuko goes into her room, she becomes like a raging animal attacking her and the only way to put her out is injecting some sleep serum. It is already the 50th time and Miki wonders if she is a hopeless case. Even Mochizuki is having doubts whether she can be saved. But Yuuko continues to remain hopeful and vows to save her if it is the last thing she does. But the same cycle continues to repeat itself with no improvements in sight. One day while Miki is watching over Hitsugi, Inunaki comes by to start having some sort of office romance. I guess Miki doesn’t mind because the duo are like so in love with each other. Hitsugi sees this and starts to feel weird. Wait a minute. After experiencing pain and violence all this time and suddenly she feels embarrassed about seeing a couple make out? I suppose it is only natural…

Therefore when Yuuko decides to go by a different approach and have a picnic with Hitsugi, she somewhat opens her heart and gives Yuuko’s onigiri a chance. Thinking that this method works, Yuuko continues to have picnic with her. But when the meal gets more refined, the metallic sounds of the kitchen utensils start reminding Hitsugi of those operation tools. That trauma instantly activated and she becomes wild again. Fortunately she is calmed down with Yuuko’s motherly hug and doesn’t need the serum. Seeing the vast improvements, Yuuko requests Mochizuki to take Hitsugi outside. He agrees on a condition that if she goes out of control, she has to be taken out. For the first time Hitsugi experiences the joys of the outside world. A different experience altogether. Looks like everything is smooth sailing. Till Yuuko left to buy drinks and a couple of punks want to flirt with her. WTF?! Are they lolicons?! Their metal comb induces her trauma as she starts getting violent and beat them down. When Yuuko returns, she slaps Hitsugi! The punks make a run for it when Yuuko shows them her angry face. Sure they aren’t afraid of her monster boobs? Yeah, I think they’re lolicons… Anyway, Yuuko quickly hugs Hitsugi, relieved that she did not kill them. Had she done so, Miki has been waiting from afar ready to snipe her out. Thank goodness it didn’t come to that. As a reward for sticking with us this long, we present to you yuri fanservice with bare tits courtesy of Yuuko and Hitsugi bathing together. Bonus: Hitsugi kisses Yuuko on her lips!!! And now in the present, Hitsugi is cured from her traumatic past and her monster boobs are as big as Yuuko’s, enough to give her a run for her money. Haha!

From Monster Kid To Monster Boobs
OMG! I can’t believe it! I actually understood a big chunk of it all! That means my Malays masih boleh dipakai! Yahoo! Not bad, right?! Time to celebrate! Ahem… So okay, even if Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia do have their differences, there are still many words that I could understand despite having some differences. But overall, it looks like I’m still in touch with the language. Obviously… So a big pat on my back for that. It helps too that I know some basic elementary Japanese and such lines do not need any subs at all for me to understand. So I suppose this is not that all bad. At least for my case.

So back to this OVA in particular. I was expecting some full blown mindless fanservice and nothing but tits, tits and bigger tits. Even the 3 minute opening trolling had me expect that it would turn out something this sleazy. After all, when you have such a series with such a reputation, it is only natural for viewers and fans to quickly assume there would be such fanservice to get your money’s worth when you buy the DVDs. It is both good and bad thing for this OVA to turn out as an origin episode and knowing more about the relationship between Yuuko and Hitsugi. But there is all there is to it and nothing else to shout about. And to shut us up for those complaining about fanservice, they slapped in a few bare tits scenes so that you can’t complain about this fanservice show lacking its fanservice brand.

But be warned. This OVA might give the wrong conception that having a nurse with big hentai boobs can speed up your recovery! Or turn young girls into lesbians who in turn transform their flat plains into towering mountains! You know… When Hitsugi kissed Yuuko, it is like as though they transferred and exchanged some tits DNA and that is why the adult Hitsugi has such ungodly boobs. Haha! I know it is an outrageous theory but we are so accustomed with many anime girls who have small breasts to even have them remain as they are when they are all grown up. Stupid puberty forgot to develop those…

All in all, I wouldn’t have watched the OVA had not for my sole intention to test my Malay. Seriously, that is the truth! It might take years for any English subs to come out and by that time I might have forgotten if there was an OVA to this series in the first place. At least now with the satisfying ‘test results’, I can look forward to watching more OVAs in this manner. That is an advantage if you are multi-lingual. Sighs… If only I could read Chinese… Oh heck, why didn’t I just learn Japanese straight and save me all the trouble?

Denpa Kyoushi

July 3, 2016

You know, I don’t blame you if you believe that school these days suck judging by the standards of society that we live in today. No, I am not saying that I am anti-school. What I am saying is that there are many lessons that you will find later in life that are not learnt from school textbooks. In addition, those who have graduated and are steadily into the working life (yes, all you ‘old’ people out there like me) will look back and realize that school do not really teach the necessary things that would really prepare us for life. Like filing our taxes. Or doing banking. Or how to buy a house and/or a car. Or even the most simplest of task that everybody has to do once they leave school: How to fill in a proper resume. Yes. When you think how much school didn’t teach us about such life skills, we are forced to learn the hard way and in turn it makes us the more bitter than ever. Rinse and repeat cycle. Who the heck wants to know when Alexander the Great died?! How the f*ck will that apply in real life? Impressing your kids is not one of them…

But we are not here to talk about that. But from that opening paragraph, it has got to do with this anime, Denpa Kyoushi. The main character was once renowned as a genius physicist till he one day decided to just gave up everything and become an otaku-cum-NEET. Yeah, anime is more interesting than boring physics, right?! Unfortunately he can’t live that way of life forever because one day he is being scouted to teach a group of students, each with their own issues. You could connect the dots now as we see how an unconventional teacher, what more an otaku fanatic, teaches his students the proper way of life that is not learnt in your usual classroom. Life lessons they’ll never forget and perhaps while teaching his students, he might learn something or two for himself.

Episode 1
Junichirou Kagami is a hardcore otaku and is taking pleasure with his number one blog site when his sister, Suzune fed up of him being a NEET, threatens to beat him up to get a job. Despite this YD syndrome (Yaritai koto shika Dekinai AKA Yearn to Do), she has had it with his lazy bum attitude and has already arranged an interview as a teaching job at his alma matter. Though he is unmotivated when he is in the interview, the principal is more than happy to accept him despite his otaku background. You see, Kagami was once a genius in the physics and science field and wrote an outstanding article many years back. But now he has no interest in all that except his anime blog. Kagami skips the rest of the interview since he heard somebody humming his favourite Magical Cannon Girl Bura-Kura theme song. It only lasts for 90 seconds so he needs to be quick to find her. He finds Minako Kanou practising at the rooftop and her aspiration is to become a seiyuu. However he tells her off for taking this seiyuu thing likely so she punches his face! Already unmotivated to face his first day in class, what are the odds Minako would be in his class? Yeah… Kagami gets an idea for everyone to introduce themselves. They should log on and play this online game and anyone who is able to beat him will automatic get full score for next week’s quiz. Everyone starts taking out their handheld. Kagami observes and can tell the groupings of the class. Especially Minako who is a loner. Later during recess at the rooftop, Kagami confronts Minako and can tell she is being bullied by her classmates led by Miho Kitou. Why does she not fight back considering she was bold enough to punch him in the face. She also knows about his background as a revered researcher. He answers he did had the theory to prove he could make a door to anywhere and even sent it to some magazine. He was turned down since he was still in college. And now he is not interested in science anymore. Minako doesn’t fight back because she wants to be a hero too.

That night after saving her from a stalker, Kagami shows her the school’s underground site that makes her a target. She explains she used to be a delinquent hanging out with Miho’s group. She was ostracized when she wanted out. When she was lost, she found inspiration from words on the internet that belonged to Bura-Kura. If there are no heroes in real life, then become one. So if she becomes a seiyuu, she can become a real hero. Next day, Miho makes Minako drink a drink mixed with chalk. It affected her vocals. Kagami knows it is time for him to act. When Miho and co hang out outside a store and discussing about Kagami suspecting them earlier, Kagami then dumps powder over them! He calls himself Justice Man who teaches bullies preying on weak girls a lesson. He broadcast this to the internet and reveals the underground site was made by him and his fellow otakus. After he graduated and forgot about it, others messed and ruined it. Miho claims they’re just doing this to get Minako’s attention and not bullying her. They’re right. This isn’t bullying. Kagami cites the penal codes for bona fide crimes. The girls are left crying after being made to feel what it is like to be the one at the end of the receiving stick. Though Minako is not pleased Kagami handled this for her, he reminds her that every hero has a sidekick to help out. Heroes might be lonely but that doesn’t mean they have to always fight alone. I guess a big thank you is in order.

Episode 2
Thanks to work, Kagami is sad his blog has dropped from its number 1 spot! No motivation to teach! The chalk feels so heavy… On a rare day Suzune accompanies him to Akihabara to get his usual anime stuffs, Kagami spots a customer trying to steal a merchandise. He stops and warns him to think about it but he screams Kagami as the pervert and makes his run. Kagami chases after him and unmasks the culprit. Turns out to be Yukino Kuribayashi, the class rep of his teaching class. She is blaming his lack of teaching that causes her grades to fall and thus she is stealing to take out steam. He scolds her back by doing so means reducing the company’s profitability and since some director is putting his work on the line, this could lead him to resign forever. She might be venting out her problems but it will screw somebody’s life. Easy for him to say since he does what he wants. The conversation is cut short when Suzune gets the wrong idea he is harassing her and takes him away. Now that Minako and Miho are back to being best friends, it’s surprising to see Miho treating Kagami very well and even makes him her bento. But the first sign of problem arises when pictures of Kagami molesting disguised Yukino is circulated over the internet. At that ambiguous position, it seemed like Kagami was trying to molest her when he was just trying to whisper to her to change her mind and not cause an incident.

He is summoned by the principal for an answer but does not reveal what actually happened. Because of this, he will be expelled. Yukino starts feeling bad and confronts Kagami why has he not told the truth that she tried to steal. Although Kagami points out Yukino’s face is not visible in the photo, the real reason is that he wants to quit teaching so he can concentrate on his blog. Suzune is certainly not pleased with this. After getting a job and now he is going to get fired? She is going to march down to the principal’s house to tell the truth. But Kagami’s smooth operator that he did this to save the student’s future by quitting has her changed her mind. Everyone gathers at the auditorium to hear Kagami’s last words. Some find it hard for him to quit. He stays silent until it is the right time to begin his ‘lecture’. He talks about rules and following them. They aren’t made for you but for people who made them. He is telling them to fight for their future and reality. He shows proof by downloading a rare item for them all for the online game that he just made. Despite the game has rules, it is up to them how they want to play it. Make reality accept their rules. He leaves with his head held high as the students chant his name. Outside, he is met by Koyomi Hiiragi. As the chairperson of Hiiragi Academy, she is here to recruit him.

Episode 3
Koyomi’s intention is to transform Japan via education and not based on economics or industries. She is seeking amusing people like him to be part of that transformation. Suzune learns about this offer and is surprised. Although she goes to Icho Academy, Hiiragi Academy is its sister academy for students with special skills unlike the former which is open to any ordinary students. On the day Kagami is supposed to give his answer, he is missing! Suzune vows to Koyomi that she will bring him back. He has gone off to Akihabara for his usual spree. Koyomi decides to play a cat and mouse game and has her agents and police team cordon off the area. It is ironic that despite their training, they can still lose this guy or somehow Kagami can give them the slip. What are the chances there is another guy that looks exactly like him at Akihabara?! Once he realizes he is being tailed, he hides in a maid café and starts hacking into their system! OMG! This otaku guy can bring down their system!!! He is finally caught by Suzune who was waiting for him at a Bura-Kura autograph event. Kagami declines Koyomi’s offer and not even Suzune’s beating would change his mind. So they bring him to Icho first where Koyomi plans to have him teach here before assigning him to Hiiragi. At the gates, there is Makina Momozono, the strict student council president and disciplinary member. She doesn’t like Kagami a bit because of his NEET background. I suppose Kagami is agreeing with her so he doesn’t have to teach. When Kiriko Shikishima is on her way out and accidentally bumps into her, Kagami learns that this familiar girl is being expelled on grounds for having a part time job. Where? At a maid café. This irks Kagami as he now gets up and wants to cancel Kiriko’s expulsion. Does he have the right? Yes. Because from this moment he is a teacher of this school. That escalated quickly. He calls Makina a failure and will show her the proper maid dignity.

Episode 4
Makina thought she knew all about those English maids. How wrong she is. Now, if she lets him teach her that, it means she acknowledges him as a teacher. She takes up the challenge to learn and so everybody is down here at Kagami’s favourite maid café. He is a frequent member that he has a platinum status. So this is where he blows all his money? Minami Kitayama may be petite but she’s the manager around. Yes, she is 17 years old. In order to truly learn the true dignity of a maid, Makina is forced to work as one. What better way than firsthand experience. Even Suzune is made to don a maid outfit. Kiriko is absolutely natural in her role and Makina uses this silly excuse to call it quits. But when Kagami tells her how does it feel to expel someone who can do something she can’t, she gets back into the game. Though Makina is still shy, Kagami has her observe Minami who is a pro at changing her character to serve each and unique customer. Like that masochistic guy who loves being mistreated. Makina does considerably well then. So when Kagami wants to know her reason for expelling Kiriko and not say because it was the rules, Makina talks about the image of the school she needs to protect. After all, a maid café is still a maid café. Society looks down upon them. In that case, shouldn’t they just change their view? Kagami has already setup by Twitting for people to gather at the building. He is going to make Kiriko do the real changing. Kagami knows Kiriko’s secret identity as the Cutter Girl. An anonymous maid uploaded her moves so sharp that it cuts, Kagami recognized her moves at work and knew she was the legendary maid despite the video never showed her face. Kiriko explains her desire to make others happy as a maid. Kagami will let her go out and sing on the stage but Makina stands in her way. She will reconsider her expulsion and thus to stop this nonsense of making a fool out of herself. Don’t let that otaku ruin your life. Kiriko gives the damning verdict that it is not getting kicked out of school that scares her the most. It is losing her way of life. Kiriko goes out to sing and mesmerizes everyone. In no time, she has amassed 10 million global views! So if Makina expels her now, wouldn’t that lower the school’s image? Makina wonders why Koyomi is siding Kagami. Because he is an amusing person and managed to bring back Kiriko’s amusing self after meeting him. He will be the person who will show how amazing Japan can be.

Episode 5
Kagami returns to his anime life but Suzune won’t let him. He has a teaching job, remember? Kiriko’s expulsion is cancelled but she would like him to keep her identity a secret. Unfortunately after yesterday’s public stint, the entire knows about her. A car almost comes crashing at them. It was kicked by Seijurou Nanami. He beats up anything that stands in this way. Including this innocent kid who accidentally bumped into him. Remember kids, keep your eyes on the road and not on your phone. At first Kagami doesn’t want to get involved but when he sees his Sergeant Saunders phone strap, he wants them to cut it out and look for its missing cannon accessory! WTF?! Suzune defends her brother before Seijurou can step on him. Although she calls her brother an idiot, at least he is proud of what he does unlike somebody who always uses violence to get what he wants. Koyomi stops the fight but she puts words in Kagami’s mouth that they will settle this fight in 3 days. There will be no rules so long you get the other to submit. She also makes him in charge of Suzune’s class since her class is smaller now. Half of the students were hospitalized by Seijurou’s brute. At the maid café, Kagami is surprised Kiriko’s friend is Minako. Minako knows a bit about Seijurou since they went to the same middle school. He was her underling during her delinquent days. His father was a pro baseball player and thought his son well. However he had many enemies and with the media writing bad stuffs about him, he was soon isolated and retired. He passed away due to illness and Seijurou changed after that. Seijurou was banned from playing baseball after he got violent in a game.

Seijurou remembers Koyomi paid off his debts and all his tuition fees in exchange to attend her academy. However he won’t be playing baseball and just want him to be a normal high school student. As she has bought him, he has no say in it. Seijurou is called to meet by Kagami. To his surprise, Minako is also here. Kagami suggests playing a game. This football video game? If he refuses, he will post embarrassing pictures of Minako on the internet! Not wanting that to happen, Minako stays at Seijurou’s play to help him get better at the game (she sponsored his new video game console too). It brings back painful memories of his dad’s last days and how after that he got violent if anything just stands in his way. So while Seijurou is hard practising, WTF is Kagami flirting with girls at the maid café? It makes Kiriko upset and jealous and wishes he would just explode! The match day is here. Seijurou stayed up for 2 nights straight to become a pro in the game. 45-0 score line! Sure, he is tired but has enough energy for 1 more game. However Kagami said they were never playing THE video game. He has his own team of football players ready to take him on.

Episode 6
Seijurou’s team will consist of football girls from Higashi Shinmei. Thinking Kagami has bribed the guys to side him, he decides to play dirty. Each time Kagami is going to get the ball, Seijurou pushes him down. Koyomi as the referee might not know the rules so she just let it slide. Or does she? However each time Seijurou does this, Kagami’s team scores a goal. By the time it is half time, Kagami’s team leads 3-0 and the girls are pleading to Seijurou they want to play real football and win this match. He has had it with this and wants to quit so Kagami teases him for being the ‘smart’ guy by quitting after losing his advantage. When he quotes his dad, Seijurou gets irked but gets back in the game. The score now is 5-0 in Kagami’s favour. The girls are physically weaker than the boys and Seijurou sucks in dribbling. Is there a way they can win this? Then Minako yells at him at what he is doing. Why is he trying to play real football? (Kagami texted her that Seijurou was throwing in the towel during half time). Remember what he has trained for. The girls now make short passes and when they kick a long ball, Seijurou runs and rams the ball into the goal! This kick and rush tactic is the most powerful move in a football video game. For it to be possible in real life, the player must run as fast as the ball and this requires an insane amount of strength, something that Kagami has been waiting for Seijurou to display. By using this tactic, Seijurou’s team manages to draw level 5-5. Finally, Seijurou rams through the guys like bowling pins to win the game 6-5.

Seijurou is going to make Kagami his slave when the girls admire and thank him. It seems Kagami were trying to get the girls to play this match (thus that misunderstood flirting at the maid café). The boys also admire Seijurou and want him to join their team. The ‘bribe’ turns out to be Kagami promising to show them an amazing player. Because some didn’t believe him, he had to wait outside their house late into the night till they gave in. Now they know they aren’t disappointed. Seijurou remembers he was isolated by his baseball teammates but now these guys want him to play with them. He also remembers his dad’s last words about an idiot will stand next to him sharing his same view. So all Kagami wants is just to see him play football? Well, this is part of Kagami’s plan to modify him into a perfect cyborg because he is like a real life video game character. Despite so, Seijurou admits defeat and will be his slave. Do as you wish. But Kagami tells him to stay the way he is. Minako is happy for Seijurou’s win. He now understands why she loves that otaku teacher but embarrassed by his uncalled statement, she chokes him out.

Episode 7
Suzune introduces her classmate Kanan Chinami to Kagami and wants his help to help her study in physics. She needs to score high in her weak subject if she is going to have a chance to go to the concert of her admired singer, You Red Pond. It was a deal made with her parents. But there is catch. Kanan doesn’t speak and communicates via mail! It is believed she was taunted of her voice and that traumatized her and vowed never to speak again. But Kagami thinks she has a legendary anime-like voice and takes up the challenge to make her speak. He remodels the science lab into a recording studio and wants her to speak into the microphone. She is not amused, especially when he is ranting about legendary voices, punching him before leaving. She is having a hard time studying at the library and here comes annoying Kagami. She takes her leave but finds the door cannot open. Kagami has remodelled it to open only via voice activation! No problem. She kicks it down! Kanan is not too amused that Kagami even visits her mom. Using Suzune to ‘translate’ on her behalf (which is just reading what she typed), Kagami tries to make a deal with her that if she ends up in the top 10, he’ll get to hear her voice as reward. She refuses. Is she sure about that? She wants to go to the concert and he is her only ticket to improve her scores. He adds that he will quit teaching if she fails to get in the top 10. Agreed. Kagami has taken to liberty to analyse the areas she is weak and even created an RPG game that develops harder questions when she gets better! However it is still too hard for her so Kagami creates another fantasy game for her. He collapses due to lack of sleep in creating this game. Kanan feels bad about this and is about to whisper an apology. However he stops her because he will only hear her voice once it’s done. He tells her his story of how he scored lowly on his first physics test and didn’t like the subject. But because he wanted to make an Anywhere Door, he had to know physics. Before Kanan takes her exam, she sees Kagami to tell him about her past. When her friends taunted her voice and at the verge of breaking down, all the mocking stopped. She realized everyone was hooked on You’s voice. That is why the singer became her saviour and someone she admires. Kagami sings a poor imitation of You’s song. Horrible, right? The point is, there are things that people like and don’t like. Although he sounds terrible, he still sings and has fun. Kanan is brought to tears. How can she cry silently? Surprising Kagami, she whispers her cute voice into his ear! OMG! So anime-like! Kagami is happy to hear it till he realizes he forgot to record it.

Episode 8
Kagami is not interested in Makina bugging him about a list of truant students that he needs to go visit their house and make them come to school. Instead, he goes to Akihabara to buy his favourite manga that is just out. He notices a girl, Sachiko Tanaka counting the number of people buying that manga as she reveals she is the author’s biggest fan as she has bought the first 100! Because this distracted her counting and she blames him, Kagami snaps when she thinks his love for the manga is not deep enough. Time for a quiz battle. Surprisingly Kagami beats her! She won’t acknowledge this and wants him to come over to her place where she’ll make him admit she is number one. Kagami is impressed with all the works and memorabilia of the series. Then he realizes all these are not on the market. Did she steal them? Sachiko reveals that she is that author herself, Kisaki Tenjouin! Kagami tries to go away thinking she is some deluded psycho but when she demonstrates drawing with her fingers, he believes and becomes awed. When Makina calls and bugs Kagami about the list and sends it to him, Kagami sees Sachiko’s name on the list. So this manga artist is his student? Or this is her relative that looks close like her? Then Sachiko gets a call that the deadline is tomorrow. Challenge accepted. Suzune is called and she is shocked to hear Kagami saying they are not siblings! Even more shocking when he is about to kiss her. Turns out he was just acting so she could put up her natural reaction for Sachiko’s material inspiration. Yeah, here comes another natural reaction from Suzune. Kagami is going to get beaten up… The duo help her complete her manuscript by morning. When Kagami needs some referencing, she points out her laptop has them. He accidentally enters a folder whereby there is a picture of Sachiko and Makina together at the entrance ceremony. After asking and confirming she is Sachiko, she declares she doesn’t have time for school or friends as she only devotes herself to draw and have her readers enjoy her work. Guess what? Kagami approves of it and hopes she stays this way! Now he can be assured his favourite manga will continue.

Then another calling from annoying Makina forcing Kagami to make sure Sachiko comes to school. She explains her past with her. They were in the same class for the first year. But then she started straying into manga and stopped coming to school. She blames her stupid hobby for not understanding the school. Who is she to call her hobby stupid? Is she an idiot too for not understanding manga? Kagami confronts Sachiko and will be bringing her to school. Makina is surprised when she turns up but it seems with Kagami narrating what Makina is doing, it seems Makina is the model of her research of her next manga. This is part of the plan to make Makina think Sachiko is more than a hassle to come to school as she is the only person who wants her so. Thus their ‘research’ includes invading her privacy, watching her at every moment. Including in the toilet! Makina sounds like she has had it when they even observing in her room. Surprisingly, Makina will be her model as much as she wants in exchange for her to turn up at school. Flashback shows when they first met at the entrance ceremony and became friends, Makina was really nonstop in trying to get her to like the school. Slowly, she stopped showing up. Sachiko has decided the school isn’t for her and not to force her ideals onto her. Kagami sides with Makina seeing it’s an otaku’s job to force their hobby onto others! Makina reveals she has made lots of changes to the school ever since she became student council president because she thought it would make her more interested and useful. Next day, the duo are in a face off. Sachiko claims she needs to understand the school better so she can no doubt realize it is a useless place for her. On the other hand, Makina needs to understand her manga hobby so that she would be certain it is a stupid hobby. And that is where Kagami comes in as their judge. The guy is caught in between…

Episode 9
In the online game of Ouroboros, Kagami and his partner, Luce just slew the mighty ancient dragon. Their reputation has soared among the gamers. But there is an event quest for tomorrow that needs a large group of 35 players. Don’t worry. Kagami knows where he can get more teammates. In class, Kagami is going to teach his class about war history instead of physics. Because life is a battle! So he has everyone log into Ouroboros. Yes, he even took the liberty to register and setup their avatar. He introduces them to Luce and I think the guys are willing to work with this cutie. To train them the basics of combat, Kagami has them try to land a hit on either one of them. If they do so, no homework for a month! Despite the great motivation, none could get near since they are amateurs rushing in without a plan. Even with Seijurou teaming up with Suzune, they still couldn’t touch the best Ouroboros RPG player. Though they had Sachiko as the backup element of surprise, Luce is always there to support him. With training over, Kagami has them fight their first mock battle with monsters. Thanks to the training, they find it easy and this gives them encouragement. Kagami then realizes something is wrong. He is short of 1 student! Thought you counted properly? That’s what he gets when he doesn’t even take class attendance properly. As pointed out by Sachiko, that student is another truant player on the list and even far worse case than her, Koutarou Araki. Kagami logs out so he can go convince him to come to school. At the student’s house, there is even an electronic lock outside his room! Not that a little hacking would help. But this is the least of his problems. To his surprise, this kid is Luce! You mean he is a cross-dresser who has locked himself inside all year long playing this RPG game?!

Episode 10
Both are shocked to discover each other’s identity. But the most important now is for Kagami to find his 35th player. He leaves Luce to help train the others while he goes find the final member. At the end of the day, the amateurs grow and level up so much that they feel confident of tomorrow’s event. When Kagami returns, the rest wonder if he has talked to Koutarou. He isn’t sure how to answer. Kiriko remembers coming from the same middle school with Koutarou but had not heard of him till graduation. Something about getting into trouble with other students before he stopped coming to school. When Kagami successfully registers his team for the event, they thought there were only 2 teams registered. Actually, other teams pulled out when they head Monsters Factory are going to be in. They are one of the pioneer teams of Ouroboros and have never lost any team events. Well, that record is going down today. Kagami’s final member is no other than Makina. He promised that she would get to talk to the truant students and convince them to attend class. When everyone notices Luce inactive, it means the person logged in but is away from the keyboard. Kagami will bring her back and wants the rest to hold out. After all that training, they had better. Kagami goes after Koutarou who is seen leaving the house. Otaku guys with no stamina is like watching a turtle chasing another turtle. Once he finally catches him, Koutarou divulges his past. He always liked girly things and started cross-dressing at a young age. This was confined inside his house and one day he got curious to go outside dressed like this. His friends recognized and teased him. Koutarou accidentally pushed one of them down the stairs. He was hospitalized and sorry wasn’t going to cut it. They called him gross. Since then, Koutarou became traumatized and locked himself in his room till he got an online invitation to play Ouroboros and met Kagami who wanted to pair up for his skills and in exchange he’ll get all the cute items he wants. Koutarou is afraid of history repeating itself and feel like that again so Kagami shows him how all his friends are fighting believing he will come back. Whether he is Luce or Koutarou, Kagami will always choose him because he is his partner. When the duo come back, the tide changes. Yeah, those Monsters Factory start losing like hell upon realizing who the great duo are. It’s like the rest were not needed and the training was all for this day just to hold out. In the end, Kagami’s team win big. But Koutarou is still worried. What if his classmates find out Koutarou and Luce are the same person?

Episode 11
Koutarou walks around town cross-dressed. Nobody notices. Till his old pals show up and harass him. Well, thank goodness that was only a dream. But this serves to only make him more recluse. He logs online but nobody is around (there is not point for students to log in after that one-time big event). Even in this digital town, Luce gets harassed by players who want to know her. Seijurou then shows up to beat them up. He was tricked by Kagami to settle his score with him since he got a good lecture from Luce during training. Since town area has no-fighting rules, the guards take him down and ban him for 24 hours with a warning of being banned the next time. Luce wonders why he cares about losing to her since he isn’t a gamer. Seijurou doesn’t like anyone looking down on him especially Kagami. Since Luce is Kagami’s equal, he can’t let his guard down either. Luce realizes he is honest unlike her deceptive self. Luce reveals her identity but Seijurou isn’t interested. Besides, isn’t it bad manners to bring offline matters online? And now Luce wants him to keep it a secret? Sachiko who has been tailing Seijurou heard this and it piques her interest in Koutarou. Next time Luce logs in, Sachiko confronts her and reveals she too knows her true identity. She wants to meet her in person and is already at her front door. The very girly look of Koutarou has Sachiko’s inspirations going wild. Then she takes him to town shopping for girly clothes. As usual, horny guys try to flirt with them and like the cowards they are, they are saved by Makina (prior to this, Sachiko called her). Makina brings her back to her place and treats her with great hospitality. Since Makina’s parents often work late, she often does the cooking for her little brother, Kazuya as well. Sachiko must love ketchup so much that she floods her entire dish with it… I think she should just drink from the ketchup bottle. Koutarou doesn’t understand why she is treating him so nice when they just met. Makina can’t say so Sachiko says on her behalf that Makina’s happiness comes from believing people will be happy if they go to school. Makina hopes Koutarou would come to school and they can come to school with him. If he still can’t bring himself to do that, come over to her place again. This makes Koutarou wonder if school is such a happy place like this.

Episode 12
Kagami invites everyone to a party to celebrate their Ouroboros victory. Luce fears meeting everyone at the offline party but of course they are friendly in meeting this cute chick. Kagami then introduces a few special guests. They are those bullies Koutarou fears. Before they can reveal his identify, Luce brings them away and begs them to keep quiet. They agree to it but still find this cross-dressing habit gross. That wasn’t what Kagami was looking for so he initiates another big main event. An all-out battle between him and Luce. If Kagami wins, he will reveal a juicy secret behind Luce. Kagami has Monsters Factory on his side while the other classmates side with Luce. Numbers wise, Luce’s team is definitely at a disadvantage. 34 against 218… Luce initiates a high defence barrier, Alamo as Kagami has his team break through. It isn’t long before the monsters start raiding the weakening castle. Kagami’s ultimate sword attack brings down Alamo. Kagami defeats Suzune and the rest all by himself and Luce is the only one left. Nothing can come in between them now. Kagami wants to know who Luce is because she is different from the one he knows. He doesn’t consider her his partner anymore and has her remember why she played this game in the first place. If she really thought she could be who she is here and to escape reality, then why did she create and avatar that resembles closely to her original self? After Luce stabs Kagami and wins the game, she blurts out that she is Luce and Koutarou, shocking all those who have listened. Kagami is fine with that because he doesn’t want Luce to ruin the person that she really is. Back in reality, Luce with confidence admits to everyone that she is Koutarou the truant. Although shocked, they gladly accept him.

Episode 13
There is an urgent email from Swiss researcher, Tim Berners Lynn. However Kagami ignores it. No problem. Here she is at his doorstep! Suzune learns their relationship. After Kagami published that article, it became a worldwide debate. At Geneva, CERM the world leader in particle physics where she works at felt challenged by his theory and assembled 1000 researchers to counter his argument. Kagami was even invited to watch how their experiments will prove it all wrong but it turns out Kagami’s theory was right. Even more insulting, Kagami wasn’t listening and playing his game the entire time! Tim offered him to work for her but he turned her down for some anime. This is even more insulting. Tim didn’t give up and continued ‘harassing’ him via emails, phone, telegrams, telefax, you name it she did it. With everything else failed, she decided to come to Japan personally. Since Kagami as usual is not interested, she saw that coming and announces she will be living at his place. Suzune is now upset that he turned down a cool job and beats him up. Tim learns Kagami is now a teacher and cannot believe it. Kagami thought Icho will be his refuge from her but she is already a foreign transfer student in his class thanks to Koyomi who finds this quite interesting. It gets even more worrying when she mentions Tim is living with him. This has our usual girls worried. Very worried. Especially the way she tries to convince him to come back to Geneva looks more like flirting.

They confront Suzune for answers and to put a long story short, Kagami might leave for Geneva. That’s a big no for them, right? Now they confront Tim to stop her harassment but she tells them off of his wasted talents being stuck in this school for he has the power to change the world. Surprisingly Makina stands up for Kagami (although most of it is just based on baseless confidence of him). If Tim can claim nobody should monopolize him, the same can be said to her. The only way to settle this is to challenge him. She has him write down a solution to some physics question before evening. He turns her down but after she mentions about the impossibility of magical girl transformation, he gets started right away! The rest realizes they have been played into her hands because even with a great mind like him, he’ll need a week to get an answer. When time is running out, Kagami gets a distress message of a student being bullied at the park. Right away he rushes there. On foot! By the time he arrives, time is up. The perpetrator is no other than Koyomi. She too made a bet with Tim. To see whether Kagami would continue finding his answer or rush to a student’s aid. With this outcome, looks like Kagami won’t be heading to Geneva. Rejoice! Tim leaves for Geneva alone and she might have to eventually because Kagami already texted the answer to her. She admits her loss now but still won’t give up on him.

Episode 14
Madoka Kuramochi has this strange ability of knowing the monetary value of everything. And this includes you as a human being. It is no wonder she is the school’s student council treasurer and with her estimation, not a single budget is wasted. Madoka even helped Kagami at a flea market when an unscrupulous seller is selling a damaged figurine at high price. In exchange, she wants him to be hers. Is she joking? Kagami runs and since Akihabara is his home ground, nobody could catch him. But he sees her being bullied by school clubs who are not satisfied she slashed their budget. She is about to be punched but Kagami saves her and a distraction allowed them to escape. Unfortunately the new game he bought with his hard earned cash is destroyed. Don’t worry. Madoka has a new one for him. She has several copies too. How? Her family runs a video game company and made this game! She explains that she just turned 16 today and it is her family’s funny tradition that she has to find a partner who will support the company. She heard about his great feats and that is why she chose him. However Kagami refuses saying she does not know anything about him and this will only lead to a bad ending. Kagami receives a big package outside his home. Madoka bursts out! This is a free trial to be his wife! Maid delivery service? I WANT THIS KIND OF ORDER TOO! I’m sure Kagami will have a hard time explaining this to Suzune (especially about Madoka wanting 11 kids to form a football team!) but surprisingly she allows Madoka to stay because she will soon learn his habit and quit. Even more surprising, she cleans well and even cooks well! Then she takes out a contract which is a marriage registration form. If he is satisfied with everything, please sign here. After all, she came to stay today so that he can assess her value.

When it is time for bath, Suzune locks her up in her room and guards it. Kagami takes a bath alone and is puzzled why Madoka is so good in housekeeping if her family runs a video game company. To his surprise, Madoka climbed out of the room to join him in the bath! He asks her a question that if she knows everything about him, she would have known this tactic will not work on him. Something is not right. She mentions her dream of marrying the guy she loves and make a game together. At this time Suzune heard voices and enters. Well, somehow it is Kagami’s fault too. Madoka is tied up in Suzune’s room. Madoka can tell she likes her brother a lot otherwise why would she have an obvious picture of him on her desk? Kagami does some research and finds what he is looking for. A huge American game company and the world’s biggest video game corporation, Activision Frigate is planning to buy Madoka’s family company at a value of 10 billion yen. Madoka reveals a secret condition to that deal. In order for the employees to remain, she must marry the company’s CEO. That is why she is well trained in housekeeping. Otherwise all staffs will be fired and replaced after the buyout. Madoka is sad there is a price on her life and thought she could make her dreams come true with him but alas it was not meant to be. But you know, it’s not over yet because Kagami is stepping in.

Episode 15
Kagami knows all about Activision Frigate’s CEO, Hell Gates. He is also the undisputed champion of King Halo, a game he created. Speaking of which, he is already here in Japan, acing at an arcade and wowing the crowd. Next morning, Madoka is shocked to see Gates inside the house. Isn’t the official announcement next week? He is trying to act dominant over her so Kagami pours water over his head and proclaims he is Madoka’s real fiancé. He even says she’d rather run away and marry him rather than marrying a guy who buys a company he doesn’t want. Gates challenges him to a duel. Kagami suggests they play the new King Halo 3 which officially comes out next month to be fair. If Kagami wins, the buyout and marriage will be cancelled but if Gates win, Kagami will never touch any games in his life anymore and will live under 24 hour surveillance in Gates’ American mansion! So Kagami’s first attempt is to borrow the game from Sachiko and then have Kiriko and Kanan to help play with him (do you believe they were fighting each other just to exclusively help him?!). Being the amateurs they are, not only they blunder all the way but end up fighting each other. But this is what Kagami is hoping for.

On match day, Gates is so freaking confident of his win. Even more so when he is easily taking out Kagami’s NPC team with ease. Oddly, Kagami is acting like an amateur like Kiriko and Kanan. Suddenly their guns vanished. Strangely, it seems a bug caused this to happen. As a game developer, there would be many bugs in an unreleased version. I feel this makes no sense that Kagami knows so much about it but what the heck. He uses the glitches to his advantage to wipe out Gates! Gates agrees to live up to his bargain but wants to challenge Kagami to King Halo 2, a game they are very familiar with and without bugs. Kagami at first refused since his goal has been achieved but Gates insists this is to see whether it was fluke or his skills are greatly superior. As the game starts, Gates finds himself cornered. He starts sweating when he realizes Kagami is toying with him and knows his every position. He did some bold and daring move but ultimately cannot best him. Kagami’s win again. Gates admits defeat and wonders why Kagami doesn’t join competitions if he is this good. To him, games are for mastering. Madoka thought Gates is being a sore loser but he is relieved that she is able to choose the right man. It makes him even more in love with her. Sure, he agreed to give up on the political marriage. But this doesn’t mean he has given up on her yet. Later Madoka tells Kagami how she met Gates. At some game show, he started badmouthing Japanese games so she lectured him. She also reveals why she fell in love with Kagami because she cannot see a price tag on him. This is the first time it ever happened. She is going to work hard so next time she will make him propose to her. That is her new goal.

Episode 16
Koyomi wants Kagami and his students to clean an abandoned boarding house. At first he disagrees but what made him wholeheartedly do it? Ah, there is a big library with lots of manga. Seijurou cheekily suggests burning it all to clean up so Kagami shoos everyone away to clean the other rooms while he himself tackles the library. How many years will it take for him to finish reading all the manga? When the glass breaks, cleaning tools go missing students notice something bumped into them, Suzune fears this place is haunted as the rumours say. She heard about a rumour about a student died here. Speaking of which, ghost girl whom I shall call as Yurei for convenience spooks the living lights out of Kagami. She is actually glad to see him because she hasn’t talked to anybody for over a year! She needs his help in helping her pass on. He calls Koyomi that he wasn’t told about a ghost and knows he has been had in accepting this task. But why didn’t she get an exorcist but him to do the job? Because he is amusing. When Yurei mentions she is a fan of Kisaki’s manga and would like to meet her in person, no problem. Kagami just brings her to her. How come Suzune is the only one freaking out? Yurei isn’t so bad once you get to know her. But she has a request of Sachiko. There is a work she first serialized but never finished because the publisher closed down. She would like to see it. Sachiko actually ran back to her home to get it and let her have a look. Sachiko vowed never to let any human see this but since Yurei isn’t one technically, I guess it is okay. Kagami wants to see too but is pinned down by Seijurou. I guess you have to be dead only to read her work. Yeah, a work to die for? Once Yurei is done, she is happy and is ready to pass on. But nothing happens. Kagami knows what is going on.

Going back to the library, he knows her lingering attachment is not this pile of manga but the desk and manga drawing kit beneath it. When she read Kisaki’s works, she became inspired to draw but the bookshelf fell over her. So nobody cleaned this mess up or find her ever since?! However Yurei can’t draw as it draws a lot of strength. Even turning a page makes her tired. Sachiko gives her free lessons on how to draw and this gives her a lot of strength. But her advices are simple. Just use any pen to draw! Can’t draw? Just doodle anything interesting! When Sachiko starts feeling tired, Kagami shoos everyone out and warns them nobody is to come in until he says so. He then assists Yurei in drawing her first page. When he is close to passing out, Yurei realizes she has been sucking life force out of others. That is why she feels so much better. That is probably why this boarding house was abandoned. Before she could turn her guilt into regret, he tells her to just draw because he wants to read her manga. Morning comes, she manages to finish only a page. He reads it and interestingly it ends with a cliff-hanger. He can’t wait for the next page but Yurei is already so happy that she is ready to pass on. The first page was all she needed to share a feeling with the author she looked up to. She hopes to be his proper student. Is there a next time? Koyomi then reveals Yurei’s real name as Matome Nishikujo. Kagami agrees she is an interesting girl because she grabbed his heart with just one page.

Episode 17
Luce is wandering along in Ouroboros since Kagami has been expelled and banned from the game forever after that loss. Worried about him, Luce is advised to come to school to find out. This of course surprises everyone. But the most surprising is that Koutarou is dressed in a girl’s uniform. But thankfully his classmates accept him since he has always been dressed as a girl and it would be weird if he starts dressing as a guy. Even Makina is giving Koutarou a big hug for coming to school. Koutarou is so cute that guys from other classes start getting attracted in talking with him. This makes Kanan jealous because she is the school’s prettiest girl and ironically Koutarou is threatening to take away that position! She tries to be a clumsy girl but the other guys just ignore her crazy stunts. Yeah, maybe she has lost her charm ever since she started talking, eh? However Koutarou looks up to Kanan due to some accessory she has in Ouroboros and wants to call her his big sister. Kana is flattered and would gladly be one. While talking at the park, Koutarou mentions about the cute miko priestess outfit he saw on a poster and wants to work at the shrine. But with Makina enforcing the strict rules, can he do it? So they go plead to her. She was being stubborn as usual but after seeing Koutarou’s puppy dog eyes, she makes this an exception.

Makina is also working alongside Koutarou and Kanan as miko priestess with an excuse to keep an eye on them. Their duty is to sell charms. Guys flock to Koutarou’s side to buy them. Kanan tries to hold in her jealousy. Then the biggest problem of all: Koutarou needs to go to the toilet. Men’s or women’s? So Kanan decides to accompany Koutarou to the female toilet and Makina mans the stall alone. Her worst nightmare comes true when Kagami is here. She changes her hairstyle and voice to avoid being recognized. Although he does have his suspicions eventually he believes he is mistaken and leaves after buying a charm. But now he stumbles into Kanan and Koutarou. They are about to reveal Makina is here but she texts a deadly warning… Better keep your mouth shut if you know what is good for you. Next day at school, Kagami hogs the broadcast for his own show but furious Makina beats him up. Kagami thought she had loosened up the rules after letting Koutarou worked part time. This makes him compare Makina with that miko priestess who is calmer and more mature. She should learn from her. Makina’s face becomes so red as she continues to beat him up. Later Kagami hangs out with Koutarou to play a game at the video arcade. Koutarou mentions the reason he turned up in school is because he wanted to be by his side in real life too. Kagami gives him the charm. Suzune bugged him to get him one because since he got the courage to come to school, they should give him support by wishing him good luck.

Episode 18
Kagami is such a happy person greeting everybody in school. What gives? Ah, I see he is showing off his super rare card, Glorious Dragon that he got. Nobody cares… He gets what he deserved for flaunting too much because that Makina b*tch confiscates it. Wow. Kagami suddenly in depression. Makina notices Kazuya depressed. Apparently this is the umpteenth time he lost his card battle game with his friend, Kenji. When he sees Glorious Dragon that Makina accidentally brought back, he wants to borrow it but of course she won’t. Next day, Makina couldn’t find the card and has a good idea who took it. Look no further. Kazuya ‘borrowed’ it to challenge Kenji. That sly kid will accept the challenge if they play for keeps. Thinking he has Glorious Dragon he would be okay, Kazuya accepts. Kagami writes an apology letter to Makina. But she won’t give back the card and doesn’t say why. This only makes him grumpier. So grouchy, do you think he has time to care for this student’s love problem? Joe Odawara has a girl he likes but gets intense nose bleed when he talks to them. Kagami isn’t interested in playing his cupid till he learns his crush is Makina! Somebody likes that girl?! Oh yeah. The perfect revenge… Kagami calls Koutarou to help out. Because he looks close to Makina when his hairstyle is tied up like hers. Since Odawara doesn’t nose bleed since technically Koutarou is a guy, this means Koutarou will be Odawara’s practice to confess to Makina. So they’re going on a date? Don’t worry. Kagami even created a Makina simulator for Koutarou to act like that demon! Wait. He got a simulator programme?! Koutarou is sure acting great like the devil but he is confused since he knows Makina is a different person at home. Kagami thinks that act is only a trap. I think Kagami is the only one enjoying this.

Makina is going to give Kazuya a stern lecture but can she after seeing Kazuya’s sad face after he lost? Odawara is going to have a mock confession to Koutarou. So he has to kiss his shoes if he wants to go out with her? Kagami is alarmed when the real Makina is here and sees his silly programme. Not harsh enough? He thinks he is done for but she will let him off today if he helps her out. I think the simulator worked well because Odawara sees the real Makina and is going to confess. By kissing her shoes! Naturally it is just freaking creepy as he kicks him. I hope his masochistic side doesn’t awake. Kagami learns about Kazuya’s case as Makina pleads for Kagami to avenge for him. However Kagami refuses. He lost as a gamer and if he has any pride, earn it back via the game. The best he could do is train him. And you thought a one night intensive training would do the trick, no? Wrong! Kazuya lost his challenge. But he doesn’t give up. Each time Kazuya loses, it is more training from Kagami to get better. So much so, Kenji is just sick that he would just return Glorious Dragon to get him off his back. However Kazuya won’t have it that way. He will earn it back the right way with his gamer’s pride. Here is another problem cropping up. Koutarou is on the run because Odawara prefers to date him than Makina! Holy sh*t! Didn’t see this coming! Good thing he isn’t a masochist, but he is in for yaoi!!! It’s a topsy-turvy world after all since the cross-dresser is a straight guy. Koutarou wants Kagami’s help to get him out of this mess but that otaku is too happy to care about it since Kazuya won and got back his Glorious Dragon. You’re on your own.

Episode 19
Kagami is forced to accompany Makina patrolling the shopping area since there are reports of gangs hanging around. His job is to persuade students to go home. This is not limited to only their school students. What a pain. So he goes nudge this girl, Taki Komiya but she doesn’t listen. Makina does it better but Taki talks back. She claims this video arcade is her ‘school’. Kagami manages to convince Makina to patrol other areas while he handles her. He hangs out with her as she brings him around town which is her ‘school’ because she learns different things from different shops. Hey. A hall to learn bad English?! You mean, bad Engrish? Haha! When Kagami notices a gang watching them, Taki takes him and run. A random guy bugs Kagami for money so Taki beats him up. When the gang arrives, Kagami is shocked that she is actually their gang leader and did this for fun. These boys are homeless and don’t attend school just like her. She recruited such kids into her gang, Black Oracle Neo. When random guy wants to get his revenge on Taki, he gets knocked out by Minako. Long time no see. Minako wants to talk to her but Taki won’t listen and goes away. She explains to Kagami that this was the gang’s former leader before she quit. Minako wanted to disband the gang but Taki was against it and instead made the group bigger by gathering kids with nowhere to go. Taki’s sister was a former member too and asked her to take care of her but as seen, she won’t listen.

Next day, Kagami receives a mysterious letter containing 2 tickets to the concert of a famous idol unit, 5th Queens. Since Suzune is a big fan of them, she forces him to take her along. At the concert, he thought he saw Taki among the crowd. Once it is over, Kagami gets a call from Taki’s sister, Nagare to meet and talk. Kagami is surprised that she is the centre of 5th Queens. She has a request for him to ask Taki to leave the gang since she heard from Minako. Kagami isn’t interested since his policy is to let anyone do whatever they want if they will it. Nagare feels the gang is dangerous but that is when Taki interjects would big sister leave the show business if she told her if it was dangerous too? She is trying to say everyone has a place they belong to and she came here in support of her. Kagami believes now is a good time to quit the gang since the Black Oracle she wants to revive no longer exists. She knows it too but not existing isn’t a good enough reason for her to stop. Kagami likes that sentence and will join her gang! And since Nagare cannot explain why the need to stop her, he will take Taki’s side. Kagami hangs out with the gang comfortably. He even suggests making their own hangout. He hears Taki talking about her past with Nagare. It is not that she hates her as they used to hang time together. But Nagare wanted to become an idol and it wasn’t Taki’s thing as she prefers to hang out in town. Next day, Suzune is alarmed that Nagare is missing since she is watching her live interview and she has not turned up. Well, what do you know? She is right outside your doorstep! Taking heed on Kagami’s advice to do what she wants, she won’t leave until he agrees to convince Taki to leave the gang. This isn’t just for her but herself too. If Taki continues to remain, she will quit being an idol.

Episode 20
Kagami will hear her out but first he needs to arrange things. He has the Icho broadcasting club setup a live stream of Nagare’s supposed live performance so as not to disappoint fans who are waiting. The makeshift event is successful so Nagare has Kagami to thank for as she reveals a never-revealed-before story. Yeah, everybody has that. Nagare believes Taki is supposed to be an idol instead of her. On a day Nagare was supposed to have an audition, she came down with an acute appendicitis. After her successful surgery, she gets a call from her manager that she is successful and will begin lessons next week. It seems Taki has auditioned on her behalf. Of course Nagare felt bad and went to personally decline. This was what the manager told her. He knew an imposter was auditioning as Nagare. Although she looked the same, she lacked something: Boobs! OMG! Is he serious?! Despite Taki’s performance was outstanding, she told him that Nagare will be even better and in exchange to take her in. The manager agreed to this gamble because if Nagare doesn’t live up to his expectations, he will fire her. To take responsibility for this, Taki leave show business forever. Nagare has been improving herself ever since to live up to Taki’s expectations till she got her big break as 5th Queens’ centre. It all boils down to Nagare viewing Taki more talented than her. She feels guilty for stealing her place.

Later after Nagare finishes her work, Kagami calls her to meet him at some abandoned factory that is now used as an event stage. She is shocked when he makes her look like Taki. Even her friends are fooled that she is her. I don’t understand about this event in which they need to sing the Family Rangers theme song for a time slot. Taki has been challenged for that spot and they need to face off in a singing competition in which the one who scores higher will be the champion. Votes are via email. Taki has defended this spot for 2 years! At the end of Moemi, the current challenger’s turn, she goes off stage to display her b*tchiness to ‘Taki’ that she is a loser since she scored perfect. Nagare gets motivated to go onstage but she is doing this because she badmouthed her sister. But the trouble when you think too much, Nagare starts to have cold feet. What if she is not as good as Taki? Now it’s time for Kagami to give his usual lecture. Something about Taki was her stand in during her audition and now it is her turn. Enough talking, time to sing. Everyone is of course being a jerk thinking she cannot tops tonight’s perfect score and are ready to go home. Till they hear her awesome loud voice without using a microphone. Then she starts singing and has everyone in awed. Yeah, even that Moemi girl is trembling! In the end, she also gets a perfect score. As per rules, if the score is even, the defending champion wins. This means ‘Taki’ defended her spot. Kagami passes her in this audition and once again Nagare has him to thank for. Now she can face Taki. As she goes to change, somebody kidnaps her. Kagami is wondering why she is taking so long. Oh you know how long women take to change, right? 5 minutes only, please…

Episode 21
When the real Taki comes by explaining she had a team meeting because the guy who attacked Kagami, Toshihiko Takeda was plotting revenge, Kagami knew something is wrong. He looks for Nagare in the dressing room but she is not there. He finds her being dragged by Takeda and his gang into their car. They can’t call the police as this will tarnish Nagare’s image. Leave it to Kagami to come up with his plan. Because those guys don’t watch TV, they don’t understand why Nagare fans start taking photos of spotting her and then post it on their social media. This allows Kagami to trace them to their hideout. Taki refuses any backup and barges in first only to be subdued. The sisters are going to be recorded as part of their heinous scheme when here comes in Kagami, Seijurou and Minako to the rescue… As Family Rangers! Seijurou and Minako use their brute force to beat up the gang while Kagami uses his tear gas spray. But Takeda takes Nagare and run. He thinks he still has his guys outnumbering Kagami and Taki. Kagami has some special stainless steel whip trap that backlashes back at Takeda when he tries to cut him down. He is still spouting threats till everyone realizes a large crowd of fans are gathering outside. Kagami has posted there will be an after party here. No sudden moves if you know what is good for you. Kagami even surprises everyone by knowing their names. Because who in the world uses their parent’s car to kidnap? Traceable. In a great show of friendship, the gang members leave Takeda. Thanks, it was fun. Still, Takeda remains unsatisfied and thinks he could pull back one by punching Taki. Although he just scratched her, it is a bad move because Nagare turns into a menacing dragon and beats the crap out of him! Holy cow! The strongest character! Nobody touches her sister! And everyone outside is awed at this awesome fight scene. Eventually it really did become an after party. The sisters reconcile and Nagare surprisingly asking to join Black Oracle since now she understands their origins. With Minako talking about Kagami’s lectures that makes all of them friends, it gives Taki the motivation that she wants to enrol in his school next year. However he disagrees and should stay a street girl or she will lose her personality! Besides, he doesn’t need another weirdo in his class. Just kidding. Come whenever she is ready. And Nagare too wants to enrol at Icho. I believe Kagami’s good intention to invite gangless loiters to join Black Oracle. Unfortunately Makina isn’t too happy a teacher is doing such a thing. Better run if you know what is good for you.

Episode 22
I think Tim calls Kagami in the middle of the night just to spite him that he is still doing his teaching job. And then it hit Kagami. He may be neglecting his anime because he missed last week’s manga magazine and his figurines are dusty! He seems down and is quite obvious to his students. Then he sees on TV, Tim and her team revealing they are close in creating the Anywhere Door. While ‘drinking’ out his sorrows, he is met with former classmate, Yamato Toune. She shared the same interest in building the Anywhere Door with him. Now she works for KEC. That is the Japan’s equivalent to CERM and is in competition to create the Anywhere Door. KEC? I thought I saw KFC! It took her 6 years and now the project is official, she wants him to be the project leader. So this guy follows her to KEC’s lab. Wow. It’s like in those spy movies where the underground base is accessible via tunnel. And the underground city has its own daylight! OMG! So sci-fi?! To Kagami’s liking? Yeah, it was worth the 6 years. Vending machines loaded with his favourite drink and researches looking up to him like an idol, what is there not to like? Suddenly there is trouble when the reactor overloads. It doesn’t take a genius to tell something bad will happen if it is not shutdown. Yeah, they’ll lose something too. And then Kagami starts weaving his magic fingers on the keyboard like as though he created the damn thing to diffuse everything in seconds! OMG! Even if they pulled out terms from the air, they sure can fool me with it. Everyone celebrates like they’ve averted the biggest disaster ever. They should be. Kagami the hero! Suzune has been looking for her brother and couldn’t find her. Even asking his students, they haven’t seen him all day. Where could that guy be? Yamato tries to convince Kagami to quit his boring job and join them. However Kagami needs time to think. Despite everything she said was true, he can’t agree to say yes. To his surprise, Koyomi pops up. Heck, she might own or even funded this place. It seems she knows why he is hesitating. It is because he doesn’t need the Anywhere Door. He doesn’t need to build it anymore. That is why he hesitated to accept her invitation. In reverse roles, she starts his lecture this time and fires him as Icho’s teacher since he doesn’t understand what it means to be a teacher. Till then, feel free to concentrate in building that door.

Episode 23
Freed from his teaching job, I guess he takes up Koyomi’s offer. See how happy everybody is? He gets into his grove to help work out some formulas or key in some bunch of data. I don’t know. Looks complicated. Suzune still looking for her brother fears he might be in an accident. Then Koyomi pulls up to tell her he is alright. What? That’s it? Care to elaborate? You’re making her even more worrying. Yamato then brings a little kid as intern, Reiko Mukyou. Wait. A top secret lab accepting interns? Normally they don’t but it seemed some high authority authorised this. Reiko is here because Yomi told her to and from the looks of it she is bored with everything. Kagami is incensed that she doesn’t like manga and makes her read the entire volume of that Doraemon parody. When Kagami falls asleep on the job, he wakes up to find Reiko continuing it for him. Seems she has finished the entire volume and found it interesting so she will help make Anywhere Door. You see, it is her special ability to be able to do anything after observing once. He questions her goal but she says she has none and was here just because Yomi told her to. In fact, she is a first year student at Icho. She is happy to find such interesting things. Then Kagami puts the pieces together. Yomi = Koyomi. Reiko wants Kagami to show her more interesting stuffs. Yamato won’t let her but Reiko wins after calling her and old aunty.

I can hardly believe this is a top secret facility since the place is built for Kagami’s presence as there is an anime store nearby! And so the duo enjoy their anime shopping. Reiko is so happy with all the interesting things, she wants Kagami to be her master. She then explains her past where she was always stuck in some lab where the scientists did experiments to test her ability. But she got bored as the results were always the same. That is when Koyomi popped up and promised her to introduce her to something more interesting if she is willing to become Icho’s student. However Kagami makes Reiko go back to her room, making her cry. Didn’t she say she will follow his orders? She wonders if she had made him mad somehow. The alert is sounded as somebody is trying to hack into their system. A top facility being hacked and nobody can do anything about this? WTF is this security?! You would have guessed it is Tim and CERN trying to hack in. Seems she is angry that Kagami joined KEC instead of CERM. Revenge story? Seems Koyomi had a hand in telling her. Well, top scientists are not top hackers so are they doomed? Here comes Reiko to do all the necessary stuffs that make it look so f*cking easy. There. Hacking over. A kid saved them. Reiko thought she is going to get scolded by Kagami for disobeying orders by staying in her room. However he passes her. Because the lesson is that to truly enjoy what is interesting is to listen and follow your own heart. Had she listened to him and stayed in her room, they would have been goners. Wasn’t that amusing? Tears of sorrow become tears of joy. Yeah, that was amusing.

Episode 24
Makina is mad that Kagami didn’t turn up for classes, she complains to Koyomi for him to be fired. She already did. Why the shock face? Suzune and co try to tail Koyomi thinking she would lead them to where Kagami is. Conveniently there is a cab waiting outside the school gates for them? Due to lack of space, Seijurou has to sit out but his wallet could. Sly girls… Since KEC’s secret base is underground, Koyomi easily loses them in the tunnel. But there is a problem in KEC. Reiko has hijacked the entire lab and shut everyone out! An hour ago, she was told somebody is going to pick her up back to school. She didn’t want that and started sulking. Amazingly she hacked the system to make everybody think the lab is going to self destruct (seriously?) so when everyone gathers outside, she locked them out and will not let them back in until they acknowledge her as their official fellow scientist. I can’t believe a little girl is doing this… Of course Kagami the master hacks back but he goes in alone to face her. Reiko is surprised when he asks her to step on him. This is a ploy to show the rest that Reiko overpowered him with her martial arts and took him hostage. Why is he doing this? Because it is more amusing to be on her side and he doesn’t want to be left out of the fun in locking out the entire facility! True YD in play! This has Reiko start thinking that is why he keeps finding amusing things after another. Therefore she changes her mind and wants to go back to school so she could find her own amusing thing. However what Reiko says next has Kagami start thinking too. Because she claims his amusement is here. Kagami reflects on all that he has done and the way he has felt for them. It is then he realized what Koyomi meant for him to be a teacher. He will also go back to school but warns he will make school obsolete. He is going to turn every student into a YD that they will voluntarily quit school! This will be his education policy. This is what Koyomi is looking for and rehires him. On the way back, Kagami knows Koyomi had a hand in everything that has happened so far, like he walked right into the palm of her hands.

You think Suzune is going to beat up her brother when she finds him back home watching TV. But instead she hugs him and starts crying how worried she was. But she got over that soon since she has to study for her exams. It gave Kagami an idea as he whisks away to work on his computer. The next day, the entire school is shocked to see the kind of questions out on the exam. Makina and the teachers come streaming in to complain to Koyomi about the exam uproar that lots of students scored perfect! Not just Kagami’s class but the entire school! Now exams will be worthless. Last night Kagami created an app that allows students to predict what kind of questions will come out based on certain variables keyed in that includes teachers’ behaviour. It is 90% accurate. Kagami makes his flashy speech atop the clock tower. Everyone had to study for tests that had nothing to do with their future. With his app, they can now control their exam results and thus concentrate in studying what they think they need for their future. Therefore the school takes no responsibility for their future and they are full responsible for that themselves. That is why they are free to do anything they want. One day they may find somebody so amusing it changes their lives. The world is filled with amusing things and they don’t have a second to waste on things they don’t enjoy. The teachers want to stop him but surprisingly Makina stops them because it is too late. Every damn student is cheering Kagami’s name. The biggest education rally ever? Koyomi notes this is Kagami’s policy to turn everybody in Japan into YD. Yeah, hundred millions of YD for Japan’s future! It will be amusing to see that…

Just (Y)Do It!
Can you imagine this? The freaking entire Japan turned into YD! Every darn Japanese would be doing just what they want! Now, that might sound tempting but without a set of rules and laws to follow, I can only imagine anarchy. Chaos. Disorder. Sure, it is good to have everyone to do what they always desired instead of following routine and protocol. But even the truest form of democracy isn’t really democratic and the truest form of freedom isn’t all that free either. So you get what I’m saying? It is not the question of how long Kagami will take to make every Japanese into a YD but if they can turn into one. Because as you know with Japan a nation being famous for all its dedicated researches, innovations and technologies, what would the consequences be if Japan actually loses all of that intellect. Don’t you know Japan is responsible for 78% of the world’s SHiT today since 1952? That is Super Hi Technology for your information! Sure, professors and scientists can claim they have been a YD by doing their research ever since and forever more. But why bother when nobody is going to appreciate your work? Might as well hang up your tools and hang loose, baby!

I am sure Kagami’s intentions are noble but I can only think that with everyone being a YD, it will be more of dystopia instead of utopia simply because we are human beings. We tend to stray towards bad things. Because it is more amusing, can I say that? Hey, I always wanted to be a porn star! I am exercising my YD rights! I am sure you can already imagine the nightmare if everyone in Japan turned into an otaku, what more a YD. And I am sure that many students will certainly want to quit school and abuse this YD thing. And you know what? Kagami is not responsible for you turning into a degenerate! Because he already said in his ‘disclaimer’ how they themselves are responsible for their OWN future. Kagami can do what he wants because he is talented and a genius. But are you?

Before I go on ranting sarcastically on the possible of the entire world being YD, let me just get back to this anime. Yeah, I guess I am not YD in this sense… Anyway, to sum up my overall sentiments of this anime, it just feels passable. I wanted to put this as mediocre but that will be too cruel since I did enjoy bits and parts of the series despite many of them are just plain silly. Some of the lectures Kagami preaches can be quite insightful and interesting but it is sad that by the time I reached here, I would have forgotten most of them and the fact that ‘everybody is going to be a YD’ is the most memorable thing that will leave an impression on me.

To gauge how silly things are, let me put into perspective some of the settings that are just freaking ridiculous and probably that is why it makes some of the funny stuffs funny. Like that weird chase of Koyomi’s agents chasing just an otaku guy around Akihabara. They can actually lose him? If that ridiculousness is already mild, wait till you learn about that top secret facility of KEC. I don’t know what it is top secret from because when CERN can even hack into its freaking system, it says a lot. What the heck is it even connected to the outside world for?! Why does it even have foreigners manning food stalls in that artificial underground city? Do scientists here have a life except doing their dedicated research? And who in their right mind would have approved an anime centre right smack there???!!! So much about being top secret when you even have foreigners working there… Yeah… Don’t even get me started about Reiko hacking the entire lab…

Even more insulting is how Kagami who is such an awesome programmer that he can create games and simulations in one night! ONE FREAKING NIGHT! And that ‘exam cheater’ app? OMG. I don’t think it is even half a day. How the heck does he have data on teacher’s behaviour and past questions? Is he God?! Even a diehard otaku can’t do that? So is this YD thing a fancy name for his superhero power? So he can actually do it but it is just that he is the reluctant hero? He’d rather not show off his skills or something? I know he is a genius physicist but that was ages ago. Despite he is a young man in his early twenties, I still find it all impossible that he could do all that. Perhaps that is why he is a genius. He might not have touched physics for a long time but he is still able to do all that sh*t with ease. Like as though every damn physics lessons have been downloaded and stored in his brain. Yeah, I guess I’ll never understand since I’m not a genius. Therefore, from a dumb guy’s point of view, all his amazing feats just look ridiculous. In a funny way.

With quite a number of characters, each will have their own screen time and episode in focus so that Kagami could weave his magic and make them realize whatever the heck is wrong with them in the first place. But that is mostly about it for many of such characters. If you want more depth than that, then you will be sorely disappointed. Because from what I noticed, the first half of the series seems to be ‘accumulating’ so called regular students under Kagami’s wing. You know, characters like Kiriko, Seijurou, Kanan, Sachiko and even Koutarou are, well, just there. After their personal issue is solved, they’ll just tag along (I suppose for gratitude) with not much importance. It makes Kagami look like he has a bunch of ‘followers’ instead of being a loner. Unless you have other characters that are somewhat related like that gang member case, then recurrence for them is likely. But even so, they don’t really make much of an impact. Then in the series’ second half, from the opening credits animation you could guess what kind of characters would be appearing. Yeah, spoilers. But most of them appear for an arc and never to be heard off again. Except maybe for Tim but she is just there for a split second to further move the plot for the final arc and that is about it.

Kagami at first may be turning into a hateful main character because of his first attempt to solve a bully issue in an unconventional way, he looks very much like a bully himself! I believe he wanted to let the bullies have a taste of their own medicine and the only way to fight fire is with fire. But then the way he executed it just leaves a bad aftertaste in one’s mouth. Sure, he is unconventional and not really a qualified teacher. But still… After a while, you will get used to his brand of antics and somewhat accept them as it is. Because he is an otaku. Because he is the main character. Otaku character + Main character role = Everything will work out just fine in the end. Besides, it is quite ironic that this guy calls almost every character by their nicknames and very rarely by their actual names only when necessary. I guess this is why first impressions count and do make an impact. Because otherwise you’ll be stuck with an undesirable nickname like Face Punch for Minako. Heh… And this guy even has got the cheek to tell Reiko not to give him any weird nicknames… How is that for a taste of your own medicine?

It is strange for me to even think of hoping to see some kind of harem Kagami gets because how inappropriate it would be for a teacher to have his harem mostly consisting of high school girls! No doubt that most of them are grateful for his help for making them turn over a new leaf and for the better but I have a feeling that some goes even more than that. Especially during that time when Kanan and Kiriko were just fighting over him so they could be the one to exclusively help out. I know, it’s insane. When you have a street gang girl and even an idol expressing their intentions to enrol in the school he teaches, what does that say? This guy is such a ladies’ man that he got a ghost girl, a money face girl, a trap, an ex-bully and even a genius loli following closely to him. Can the same be said about his fellow researcher? Despite Suzune being the violent sister, perhaps this is her way to show her love? You know those pictures on her desk… Oh Kagami, I’m so jealous that you are like a main anime character who always gets the girl in the end. Good thing or not, his first love will always be anime and manga. No time for 3D relationship? Because it is more amusing that way! I think.

If Kagami is unconventional and interesting in his own way, then the most mysterious of the lot goes to Koyomi. There is more than meets the eye to this young chairperson of Icho. Just like Kagami, she is also unconventional in her methods as she seeks unconventional people to teach unconventional ways to her students. I know she wants to make Japan a more interesting place but I feel at this rate she isn’t going to even cover Akihabara. We need more people like Kagami! Just saying… Making her even more mysterious is the fact that it is like she knows everything and knows to take the right action at the right time. Like as though she is reading off the script? Is she God? Because she is one of the very few characters to not get a focused episode for herself, it would be interesting to see more of what she truly is. Either it would be amusing or disappointing. But for now in our eyes, she is the ever omniscient and ever smiling enigmatic character.

I thought it would turn into a running joke because Suzune’s trademark and role in the initial episodes seem to be threatening to beat up her baka aniki with her baseball bat. Slowly, she ditches that but her annoying sister act still maintains. But not as annoying as b*tch girl Makina whose righteousness to keep everything up to her moral standards just makes her feel annoying. It is ironic that she is such a by-the-book girl that Koyomi allowed her to stay in her school. I mean, Koyomi can do what she wants, right? So Makina isn’t all that bad and has her flaws too. Eventually if you can’t beat them, join them. Not too sure if she has accepted Kagami’s ways but she isn’t hell bent in stopping him anymore.

One thing that stands out as a bad sore thumb in the series is the drawing and art. I believe I don’t have such high and refined taste but I am personally able to tell that the artwork is not up to standard. Because in some episodes, the animation quality is so drastically pathetic that you can obvious how low the effort has been put in. Sometimes I feel like as though the artists went on some strike and they let the interns do the job for them just to finish it before the deadline. Or heck, they might have employed the entire artwork department with only amateurs and interns! Adding salt to injury, if the design and quality of the main and supporting characters are just barely at passing level, wait till you notice those extra minor unimportant characters in the background. Even worse. Sad to say, a passable anime has been bogged down by what anime and manga should have been known best for: Their artwork. And I am pretty sure that they are not trying a unique art style because the characters are definitely your typical today’s standard Japanese anime style. It is just bad quality with lacking effort, that’s all.

Now, I don’t have any issues regarding the voice acting department as they are quite standard except for this one: Rena Matsui, the voice behind Suzune sounds like a total amateur! To be fair, this is her first and only anime role so far. I found out that she was (yes, formerly by now) part of that idol group SKE48 (another one of those spin off units from AKB48) but even that I would assume her voice would be better. So okay, having a nice singing voice doesn’t really translate into nice voice acting skills. I wonder if she was a centre or just at the sides in her big unit. Anyway, hearing Suzune the first time and for every other time, I couldn’t help feel that there is some sort of unpolished amateur-like feature in her voice. There is also that nervousness in it. Maybe she sounds like that. Either way, it just doesn’t fit the character even if this was intentional to make Suzune sound different than your typical anime sister.

The rest of the familiar seiyuus include Hiroshi Kamiya as Kagami, Ayane Sakura as Sachiko, Hana Kanazawa as Reiko and even Aya Hirano as Yamato. Yes, after all these years not hearing her much in many animes, my first thoughts in hearing Yamato’s voice was that it could be Aya Hirano behind it. Spot on. Maybe she sounded a bit like Fairy Tail’s Lucy? The most surprising one is Aki Toyosaki as Koutarou. OMG. That was her behind the cross-dresser? I could have never guessed. The rest of the other casts are Saori Oonishi as Makina (Hisako in Shokugeki No Souma), Azusa Tadakoro as Kiriko (Kotori in Gokukoku No Brynhildr), Rina Hidaka as Kanan (Enju in Black Bullet), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Seijurou (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin), Suzuko Mimori as Koyomi (Sherlock in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Sora Amamya as Minako (titular character in Akame Ga Kill), Ayahi Takagi as Tim (Chris in Senki Zesshou Symphogear), Mao as Madoka (Renge in Seikai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda), Daisuke Namikawa as Gates (Rock in Black Lagoon), Risa Taneda as Matome (Yukina in Strike The Blood), Risae Matsuda as Taki (Azuna Kuzuha in Dance With Devils) and Satsumi Matsuda as Nagare (Bur in Koukaku No Pandora).

The first opening theme, Youthful Dreamer by TrySail isn’t that bad although it sounds like your typical genki idol song. So is the first ending theme, Dreamin by Tokyo Performance Doll albeit it is a slightly slower anime idol pop. But come the second opening theme, I feel this one doesn’t live up to its predecessor’s hype despite it is another idol-like song. Vivid Brilliant Door by Sphere even though is an idol group made out of famous seiyuus, they still can’t save this song. Especially with a lazy chorus line that simply goes “La la la la la la la la la…”. I’m not sure if they’re trying to match the laziness in the animation quality. Heck, even so, it won’t be as bad as that. Completing the idol-like themes for the series, My Only One by 9nine is the second ending theme. Rather okay but not to my liking either.

Overall, whatever lots of things said true in Kagami’s lecture, it must always be remembered that this is still anime and part of fantasy. Because in reality there is no way such an eccentric person would be allowed to do what he wants like the way Kagami does it. This anime only serves as a little motivation for you to think thoroughly what you should be doing with your life and it might as well be something you prefer instead of something you don’t want. Otherwise, if you can stand the silly plots, weak side and supporting characters and the most atrocious of all, the drawing and animation, this anime could be the lesson you might need that school never taught you at all. With bad education policies, systems and unqualified teachers compounded with the attitude of students, it is no wonder mankind’s intellect is going on a downward spiral especially with the advent of social media. Then you can just blame it all on everything and everybody except yourself. That is the YD spirit! Or not… Kagami won’t be around to give his lecture or clean your sh*t up when that happens. Because he would have made the Anywhere Door to run away from it all!

K: Return Of Kings

July 2, 2016

There was a movie prior to this sequel but as usual I didn’t watch it. Therefore I am going in to this second season. K: Return Of Kings partially ‘blind’ and blur since the movie is a prequel to this season and takes place after the events of the first season. I know I will be asking a lot of questions and there will be lots of stuffs that I won’t be understanding so quickly. Plus, most of the things in the first season I have forgotten and I didn’t want to bother to go back reading my previous blog and refresh my memory since I find some of the confusing terms daunting. That itself was a major put off and yet I still had the guts to want to watch the sequel. I only have myself and my laziness to blame if it all doesn’t turn out too well for me.

Episode 1: Knave
Homra and Scepter 4 are facing off. We have a cool fighting scene of each member taking on their counterpart in a fight filled with, uhm, colours? Anyway, back to modern times, Kurou and Neko are still looking for their missing Shiro. Neko receives some bird present but little did she know it is a bomb and it goes boom. Back at Scepter 4’s base, they discuss about Kurou’s whereabouts and the green clan, Jungle seems to be targeting him lately. Furthermore, Jungle’s website seems to be indicating about toying with other coloured clans for points like as though it is one big game. They are using anonymous and masking technology to orchestrate their activities throughout the city. Homra has also stumbled upon this and it gets worse when Jungle hacks the public broadcast to publish a video announcing the end of the other clans and mocking the death of Homra’s king, Mikoto. This riles up Yata as he heads to the source of the broadcast. He meets archrival Fushimi who is also here for the same thing. Their animosity to rip each other’s head out could have become true if not for their clan’s second-in-command to stop this foolishness. Because they’ve got bigger problems. They are surrounded by Jungle who are happy that there are lots of big players in the field that could earn them big points. Like Anna who is now the head of Homra fetching a handsome 100,000 Jungle points! I guess it’s time to show those low level guys where they stand. Neko and Kurou survived the bombing and they are questioning a Jungle member for answers. However they realize he is just a disposable pawn when they notice his superiors cut him off from some super powers and he lost all his Jungle points. They return searching for Shiro. Meanwhile, Sukuna Gojou from Jungle has been observing the developments of everything and although their plan has failed to lure the Silver King out, but he can see Munakata’s Sword of Damocles damaged and that he is running out of time. Lastly, we see Yashiro on a blimp. He decides that it is now the time for him to descend to the ground. Only this time it is voluntary. Hey wait. Did he forget his parachute?!

Episode 2: Kindness
Kurou is invited to see Munakata at Scepter 4’s base. They talk about Jungle who are playing these dangerous games to earn points and move up the ranks. As the Gold King is missing, the Slates are being kept by Munakata for safekeeping. Munakata knows the silver clan does not have a territory and it would troublesome without a base to operate. He offers Scepter 4 as temporary base but Kurou declines. Meanwhile Awashima talks to Gouki Zenjou, the former right hand man to Jin Habari, the previous Blue King. She believes thanks to him, a greater disaster has been averted. She asks about Munakata’s Sword of Damocles. Honestly, the damage is very obvious and others have noticed this. Elsewhere, Neko hangs out at Homra’s base. She didn’t want to go with Kurou to Scepter 4 because she hates that spectacles boss. Anna gives her a bead that allows her to see Shiro albeit not all the time. This proves that they will always be connected. They talk about a few other things but ultimately they too offer their base for the silver clan to operate and until Shiro returns. Similarly, Neko declines because she knows she has a place called home. Meeting up with Kurou, they head to the island school of Ashinaka. It might not be exactly their territory but it is their home, a place they can go back to.

Episode 3: Kismet
We see the higher members of Jungle talking among each other. Sukuna, Yukari Mishakuji (Kurou’s brother although not related by blood but under Ichigen’s tutelage), Tenkei “Iwa” Iwafune and the Green King, Nagare Hisui (he must be so dangerous that he needs to be strapped like a mental patient) discuss about if the Silver King is still alive. Seeing how Neko and Kurou have come into contact with the red and blue clan, Nagare wants them removed from the game as soon as possible. Yukari offers to go slay Kurou since it is fate. Iwa wonders why Nagare is rushing into things. Nagare is running out of patience and says if the First King intends to continue with the game, he won’t let his subjects die. Yata is not pleased his bounty is lesser than Fushimi. Maybe that guy can process information? Anna needs to return something Neko left behind. Yata volunteers to do it for her seeing as king she can’t simply walk openly in the streets. She should rely on others sometimes. Okay. So is Yata going to return Neko’s panties? Oh sh*t! At Ashinaka, Yata and Fushimi meet again. I’m sure they love to kill each other had not Sukuna intervene as he is going to kill them for his points. If you think something is wrong when a girl sends Kurou a love letter, it’s because it is. Kurou can tell this is a challenge letter from Yukari to meet at the school’s bridge (by the way, that girl is a Jungle member). Without wasting time, the swordsmen clash blades as Yukari talks about Jungle’s roots that will engulf this world and create a new one. He wants to see what kind of world Nagare will make but too bad Kurou won’t be around to witness that. Kurou supposedly would have died if not for Shiro come crashing down! He survived from that altitude? Oh well, that’s why he is king. Yeah, it took him 2 episodes to arrive… Shiro is not happy Nagare is trying to hurt his family but the mad guy couldn’t be happier for the Silver King to return to the game.

Episode 4: Knot
With Shiro back, Nagare calls his side to withdraw since his strategy to lure him out has worked. This means Sukuna has to stop even though he was going to win easy points against both his adversaries. Kurou and Neko are happy to reunite with their king. Neko is more clingy and emotional while Kurou is just playing tough. Shiro knows what is going on. Otherwise how could you explain his well timed entrance? He thought he could do things behind the scene without getting everyone involved but it seems Jungle outlasted him and drew him out. With Shiro back, his first action is to call for a round table conference with the red and blue clan. More like a rectangular coffee table conference in his small apartment! Jokes aside, everyone knows this is about the green clan. First, Shiro says that Koukujouji the Gold King has died. This is the reason why Jungle has become more active and brazen as there would be no one to stop their ambition. The reason they want Shiro too is because of his knowledge about the Slates. His power is eternal compared to Jungle’s of manipulation. Munakata has no objection in joining forces since it is exhausting enough to just counter the green clan. Anna also agrees to cooperate in Mikoto’s spirit. Later Shiro talks to Munakata as he is the one watching the Slates in Koukujouji’s place. He wants to help but Munakata shoots him down. He will not rely on a man who ran away once. Since Shiro had it coming, there’s nothing Shiro can do.

Episode 5: Ken
The red and blue clan are teaming up to take down those low level dudes of Jungle. Easy as pie. Shiro visits the place where Koukujouji lived to take some important documents. The gold clan then seeks Shiro’s permission to cease active participation in this affair and to solely just the maintain of the current system in accordance to Koukujouji’s orders in which Shiro allows. Munakata sees the Prime Minister so that he could transfer all authority of issuing orders that was exclusive to the gold clan to Scepter 4. Don’t worry, it is for the country’s future. Shiro tells Kusanagi to tell Anna to help keep an eye on Munakata because the signs are on his Sword of Damocles. It might not happen so soon but it is best to be on high alert since he is also unstable. Shiro is thinking alone when Nagare pays him a visit (via his parrot). He is here to offer his proposal to team up so they could further evolve mankind. Koukujouji was powerful enough to keep Strains minimal as well as keeping those Slates which give the kings their power under control. Now that he is gone, Nagare wants to unleash it as an evolution accelerator. Shiro rejects but Nagare will take the Slates by force either way. At first he thought of waiting and letting Munakata tire himself out since that foolish guy thought he could suppress the Slates like Koukujouji. Now the plan has to be changed. Shiro deduces that everything that happened so far (if you remember the events like Totsuka’s murder), Nagare was the big orchestrator from behind just to bring him out. Because he believes Shiro isn’t meant to just watch but to play. Now that Shiro has refused him a second time to team up to release the Slates’ power, then be prepared for there will be war.

Episode 6: Keeper
Nagare is telling his comrades about their plan to seize the Slates now that Koukujouji is no longer around. He miscalculated about Munakata lasting longer than expected in suppressing the Slates that would otherwise automatically start mankind’s evolution. With Shiro’s return and the alliance of the 3 kings, the only way left is to take it by force. I wonder if his comrades are really listening since they are busy doing their own stuff. Similarly, Shiro is having a ‘briefing’ with his alliance and his strategy to take down Jungle. Kusanagi questions Shiro’s ability to lead this operation although everyone here acknowledges him as the Silver King. He is the best person to lead as he knows a way to defeat Nagare. Not because he had personal ties with him. Koukujouji and Nagare once fought. The latter lost. Shiro later heard all the details from his former lieutenant. Right after it ends, the tower is under attack by Yukari and Sukuna. The blue clan fights them first in the first part of the plan in weakening them and to stall for time. Of course they cannot defeat the duo as they head up the tower with traps laid out by Fushimi. Although they breeze through all the traps, they are separated as planned. The silver clan is to fight Yukari while the red clan will take on Sukuna. However during the complexity in separating them, the red clan has to deal with Yukari and Shiro’s clan faces off with Sukuna. Shiro knows well that even the might of the 3 allied kings are no match for Nagare alone who can take out every single one of them in this time. Of course the price to pay for having such awesome power is that he can only use it for a limited time. That is why Yukari and Sukuna are here to clear the path for Nagare to fight. Speaking of him, here he is at the entrance of the tower. I guess he can’t wait for the party to get started and is here early. He powers up like God once his strait jacket comes off. Now Shiro’s words start to make sense.

Episode 7: Kickdown
You thought it is going to be an unfair fight with Homra and Scepter 4 ganging up on Yukari. However with everyone sensing Nagare is on the move, Yukari makes his retreat to grab Sukuna and withdraw from the stage as ordered. Nagare is blazing through all the traps. Yeah, he is so white like a ghost I thought the producers became lazy to colour him. Although it is not enough to stop him, the strategy is to make him use up his strength in his limited time. When Shiro examines the damage Nagare left behind, he is puzzled that he is not conserving his energy and is going faster than expected. Nagare zooms past Homra and Scepter 4. Anna gives chase and I’m sure this dude won’t be listening to a little girl to stop. A chance for Anna to showcase her power. Just when Nagare thought he had broken into the room with Slates, Munakata blocks his move and Nagare completely runs out of power. There is some chatter about Nagare and Neko being the same being because they are not bound by human qualities forced upon them. Munakata notes Nagare is not qualified to fight him because he has no heart which he has lost during the Kagutsu Incident. This is also what gave him his superhuman abilities. His power is what keeps him alive and if he runs out of it, he is no more than a corpse. However Nagare says that it isn’t him whom he will face. It will be his trump card. The person he has cleared the way for. While Scepter 4 and Homra race to reach Anna, a mist engulfs the area and this dude just walks past everyone. Fushimi detects unknown power on par with a king. A fifth Sword of Damocles appears over the tower. As you would have guess, that guy is Iwa who is the Grey King and supposedly believed to have died during the Kagutsu Incident.

Episode 8: Kaput
14 years during the Kagutsu Incident, a large portion of the place was levelled. Iwa is shocked and regretted at the magnitude of destruction all because of the ideals he pursued. He is trying to call out for a survivor, any single survivor. He finds a dead kid under a slab. Looks like he healed him. Hey wait. Doesn’t this look familiar to Kiritsugu’s case in Fate/Stay Night?! Munakata carries on with the explanation of Kagutsu Incident. A king’s death triggered its worst destruction in human history. Among the dead was Seigo Ootori, the Grey King. He never expected him to be alive and Jungle’s mastermind. Iwa refutes that guy is dead and is just a simple man. Munakata fights Iwa in a misty battle. Shiro is reduced into protecting Anna since the cold fog is weakening her. Munakata continues more on Iwa’s history. Once a highly respected king of the grey clan, Cathedral, that incident wiped out his entire clan along with other innocent civilians. The death toll stood at about 700,000! All he tried to do was just prevent Genji Kagutsu, the former Red King from Damocles Down. Both sides clash too in their ideals but eventually Iwa gets the better of weary Munakata and breaks his sword, causing his Sword of Damocles to go even more unstable. It is revealed this fight is just a big distraction because Jungle sent in a helicopter to pull out the Slates from underground. See ‘ya. In the aftermath, the wounded are treated. Shiro is at a loss because he never expected Nagare to have a trump card. But instead of whining and doing nothing, they remain positive they can still do something. Things are going to get a little hotter now. Well, there is no time for Yata-Fushimi argument to blame each other that this alliance failed big time. Because Fushimi confronts Munakata not only to criticize how the kings were so obsessed in the Slates, they couldn’t sense the existence of another. He goes on accusing his boss that he thought with Koukujouji out of the way, no one would stand in his way. He could control the world he saw fit. Munakata thinks Fushimi is the happiest seeing he was the one against this alliance from the start. And happy too that his king lost. Fushimi threatens to quit if he bails now but Munakata dares him. After all, he was used to being a traitor. I guess that does it. He’s gone. Awashima gets a call from Kusanagi if Fushimi is hanging around their place. Nope. So why is everyone especially Yata seemed so shocked to learn he has walked out of Scepter 4? Apparently now Scepter 4 knows how important that guy is because the work is piling up. So nobody does computer processing except him? Speaking of that guy, he joins Jungle.

Episode 9: Kid’s Room
Fushimi sees captured Jungle member in the cell, Douhan Hirasaka. She doesn’t play Jungle’s games for the points but for the money to earn her living. He likes her answer and busts her out. A month after the Slates are stolen, random people are now slowly displaying supernatural powers. The top Jungle guys are discussing the start of their new plan phase. They also note how Douhan has been earning points and recouping her loss quickly. Then there is Fushimi who is also moving up the ranks at lightning pace. They think he is cheating somehow but he is the least of their concerns. Shiro is focusing hard to find a solution. He is thinking of using Resonance Hammer Effect on the Slates. Something about this irreversible effect by unfolding the Sanctum under special conditions. Well, keep working on it. Awashima and Kusanagi disguise as a couple to infiltrate a big party hosted by Jungle Corporation in which Yukari is the CEO. The place is filled with politicians, celebrities and foreign dignitaries. This party is to promote Jungle’s system of human evolution as the way of life. Awashima manages to steal a list of guests so they can get an idea who is under Jungle’s thumb. But the Jungle guards chase them down. Right before they are scot free, the list inside the PDA is destroyed by no other than Fushimi. This act earns him enough points to level him up to the highest rank. Awashima is shocked Fushimi has joined Jungle but that guy has no regrets and escapes via Douhan’s power of walking through solid objects.

Fushimi is taken by Yukari to Jungle’s secret base for top rank members. A deep underground maze that connects many exits in the city. Yukari knows about Fushimi’s sly tactic of hiring Douhan to work for him. That way, the points are doubled and that is how he moved up so fast. Even this is like cheating, Nagare accepts it for he likes people thinking outside the box. Now it’s time to see Yata in his outburst after learning his rival betrayed his own clan. Munakata sounds calmer though. Although he is more concerned in replacing the void Fushimi left. Yeah, lots of people from various department just to fill his shoes. Also, he has hired Zenjou as his bodyguard. Why does Awashima look so shock? Fushimi is being treated to a sushi party. Sukuna is in a bad and jealous mood. He had the record of moving up the ranks of Jungle the fastest till Fushimi broke it. No wonder the foul mood. But Fushimi isn’t here to make friends either. Since this is a game, he wants to see what happens after scoring past the limit. He might see if it would change the way he sees things. So don’t let him down that this sushi party is the goal. Certainly not. Because their real plan starts from here. Fushimi would rather complete any missions Nagare throws at him. He will easily clear them all. It is better than dealing with relationships anyway. He really got straight to the point, didn’t he?

Episode 10: Keystone
Sukuna is still jealous over Fushimi beating his personal score. Fushimi doesn’t give a damn so Sukuna challenges him to a match wagering their points. They are stopped by Yukari who tells them to act more responsibly at this important time since the Slates will be blooming soon. Awashima is not pleased to learn that the Prime Minister has fired Munakata to take responsibility for that tower incident. Making it worse is how the Slates were guarded perfectly under Koukujouji but in less than 2 months under Munakata, it was stolen. Now Scepter 4 is in disarray since their king has been fired although they are to await further orders from the government. Rumours surfaced that it is most likely the government is siding with Jungle as many were at that party. Anna returns to her base to inform that she has just concluded her visit to Shiro. They have decided to destroy the Slates. Although she loves her clan, if it becomes the source of hurting the one she loves, she doesn’t mind losing her power. She has also called Munakata over to discuss about this. Munakata views the Slates as important since it was what shaped the nation today and has deep roots to it. But they can’t be thinking about this now. Anna also notes his failing wellbeing so Munakata notes the irony last year he was trying to do the same reasoning to Mikoto but it was futile. However Anna says he and Mikoto are different. Flashback to that awesome fight between Scepter 4 and Homra but with more focus on Munakata vs Mikoto. Especially about their clashing ideas of order and being reckless, the responsibility to use their power responsibly, blah, blah, blah. Munakata views the alliance as no longer valid as he has been fired and cannot assist them. But he is still the Blue King, right? I’m not sure if Shiro’s plan to destroy the Slates consists of many pages or they are just duds and the real plan is just this single draft page. Anyway, as the most dangerous method, he views it as the only way and Nagare won’t be expecting it as he believes the Slates are indestructible. Of course, Shiro says his plan involves him coming back alive so don’t worry. Shiro also takes this moment to give them a small shiny badge. Since their clan has no symbol or name, he thought now it’s the perfect time to do so. He gives Kurou the honour to name their clan. He looks around trying to find something that their clan is best described. Noticing they always love rice, he calls it Hakumaitou (White Rice Party). After explaining the benefits of white rice, I guess they can’t argue with that. Suddenly Shiro and Anna start to feel pain. The Slates are starting to be liberated.

Episode 11: Kali-yuga
Nagare and his pals are narrating about the super powers everyone will have now and be on par with kings. Like Fushimi gives a damn. The power outbreak is starting to get rampant. It is happening at Ashinaka too. Kukuri is freaking out at her own powers but luckily Shiro calms her down. Then they task her to inform others to use their powers for good and to protect others. The power outbreak is also happening worldwide. The Prime Minister is panicking he didn’t sign up for this (I’m sure all politicians only listen to what they want, right?) and even regrets firing Munakata! No balls! Munakata and Zenjou are heading towards Jungle’s base. It isn’t hard to find since the Slates are firing up beams now and then. But first he has to face a wave of Jungle small fries. This will be easy, right? Awashima can’t stand doing nothing so she resigns from Scepter 4 so that she could continue to serve by Munakata’s side. She passes the command to the next alphabetical order guy. He in turn gives the order to go defeat Jungle and protect civilians. This means Awashima is under their protection, right? Yeah. Loopholes. Nagare knows Fushimi is trying to invite Munakata into their secret base. Even if Munakata is king, he cannot get inside if the gates are not opened. Fushimi will become a traitor once he opens the gate. He finds his personality of free will befitting to Jungle instead of Homra or Scepter 4. So what will it be? I suppose Fushimi is going to stay true to his betraying colours and opens the gate. There’s your answer. Now that he is no longer a clansman, Sukuna is more than happy to kill him. Iwa is going to face off with Munakata in round 2. But a giant blimp crashes through. This has nothing to do with Munakata being a decoy. Anyhow, their rematch is still on the cards.

Episode 12: Knuckle Bump
When Munakata left Homra’s base, he caught Yata eavesdropping from outside. He apologizes to him if Fushimi dies. It seems Fushimi’s current position was because of Munakata’s orders prior to that tower mission. If it failed, he was to infiltrate Jungle’s central command as his reputation as a traitor made him the only one who could pull this off. Hakumaitou and Homra are riding the blimp. The plan is for Homra to clear the levels enough for Hakumaitou to reach the Slates at the very bottom level. And so that’s where they crash in. Zenjou stands aside while he watches Munakata fight Iwa. His role is to slay Munakata if his powers go out of hand. Munakata could have lost had not his faithful Scepter 4 come to his aid. Their unit has also been trying to regain order around the country by subduing those abusing their newfound powers. And so with the power of loyal clansman, Munakata is able to dodge all of Iwa’s bullets, get up close to him and slay him once and for all. Piece of cake. Fushimi could have met the same fate had not Yata come to his rescue. The best friends-cum-best rivals somewhat reconcile. You know, they argue but it’s their way of communicating. Yata admits himself as stupid because he couldn’t have guessed all this and Fushimi should have just worded in a way he could understand. How could he? It was top secret mission. So I suppose they acknowledge each other and then cooperate and fight how they used to against Sukuna and win. Yata had to go secure his level as part of Homra’s plan for the final party so Fushimi escapes with Douhan. Meanwhile, the much anticipated final fight between Kurou and Yukari is just about to begin.

Episode 13: Kings
Shiro and Neko reach Nagare who explains a little about Neko as Miyabi. She is one of the few survivors of Damocles Down. It was also when Nagare awakened as a king and Neko gaining powers as a Strain. She was forced to manipulate her own memories and lived as a cat. Though the Slates robbed them of everything, it also gave them everything. Huh? To support Shiro’s statement that humans don’t need the Slates, Neko says all she wants is to eat good food with the people she loves. Nagare is disappointed with their answer so it’s time to get serious and face off. Once Nagare and Shiro’s Sword of Damocles pop up, this is the signal for Anna and Homra to summon all their powers to make clear a path. That’s burning the entire floors to where the Slates is? We take a detour to finish Kurou and Yukari’s fight. Kurou gets the better of him with some beautiful move but spares his life. Shiro mentions his goal of destroying the Slates via Damocles Down. There is a brief technical explanation about it but all I understand is that the Slates and Damocles Down will eliminate each other under the right condition. Shiro begins his move as Nagare swiftly tries to kill him first. Because it takes time for Shiro’s move to be effective, if Nagare can eliminate him, his Sword of Damocles will disappear. Kurou is there in time to block Nagare’s move. Game over. Awashima is so relieved that Munakata survives this incident. He teases her he wanted to see if she had to guts to cut him down. Then she gets back at him by punching his face! OMG! Awashima doing this?! With the Slates gone, Nagare dies. It was the Slates that kept him alive after all. Explosions are heard throughout the place. If this is Iwa’s idea of evacuating everybody so he could die with Nagare, it was just plain weird. And as you would know, without the Slates means everybody loses their power. This means Shiro as the Silver King will also be gone because remember, this body originally belongs to a student of Ashinaka he borrowed. Kurou and Neko are sad he has to depart but he promises they will meet again. Yeah, they ‘lost’ their king again. The end montage shows Yukari and Sukuna hanging out together (with Nagare’s parrot), Yata and Fushimi on friendly terms, Homra still being Homra and Scepter 4 still keeping the peace. Lastly, Neko has transferred to Ashinaka as a student and there is this rumour that a hot new teacher from Germany will be teaching there too. Folks, meet Shiro, his actual form and body.

Power To The People
Hey. It wasn’t that bad. The ending might not be much but with everything over, what is left to tell? Everybody goes on to live their normal lives. Just without all that power. The first few episodes were confusing to me as expected since I did say I did not watch the movie. I was trying to guess what was what and who was who seeing there is a handful of new characters (though they appeared in the movie). However as I go along, I realized this second season just boils down to one simple plot: Baddie wants to steal and release Slates to give every Tom, Dick and Harry equal power as part of his dream to make mankind evolve and our heroes have to prevent that otherwise chaos would be the new law and order. Yeah. That is about it. If you don’t remember the past history and some of the terms, it is okay. You can still get by.

There is only one reason why people who watched the first season would catch this sequel (and the movie of course). It is to see gorgeous people fight. With style. That is right, people. It is one of the only few things why you would put up with the silly drama and the so called simple plot. I won’t say that the fights are truly amazing that your eyes would be popping out at every clash of the blade (or whatever weapons the fighters used), but it is amusing enough to see how ‘beautiful’ the entire fight is. Uh huh. Those handsome hunks are already good looking, enough to make fujoshi girls go straight or even worsen their fujoshi tendencies. Then you see them engage in melee combat with lots of beautifully executed choreograph and with some effects. Cool + Cool = Freaking cooooooool!!!!!

But this is the reason why I came back for the second season: The awesome soundtrack. Yes. This is one anime where a big majority of the soundtrack is beautifully crafted. I am glad that they play familiar tunes used in season one but as I searched around if there were any new soundtracks for the second season, I couldn’t find any at the point of this blog. Because I am sure that there are some that I have not heard of. Later I found that some of the soundtrack from the movie was used. Oh well, if the original soundtracks are good enough, might as well use it to bring back some nostalgic factor. However there is one complaint that I have for the soundtracks: It doesn’t match certain scenes. Because most of them have that cool jazzy and techno feel, sometimes when they are played during drama and talking moments, it is quite jarring. I am not saying that the music is bad but the scene in which it was played makes it sound unfitting. I believe that such songs too aren’t the battle music type and when played during fight scenes, it just raises some more eyebrows that they aren’t suitable. It just feels odd.

Unlike last season, the opening theme this time is sung by Yui Horie who didn’t have any singing role then, which is odd because she is quite a famous singer-cum-seiyuu and if she is voicing at least a strong supporting character, she would sure to have a singing role. I suppose this season makes up for it. However this season’s Asymmetry isn’t to my liking and personally I think this would be one of the few anime songs of Yui Horie that I don’t really like. I think it might be my hardware but I don’t really think so because the dramatic music is louder than her voice. At least the ending theme is better but still not appealing enough for me. The rock based Solution by CustomiZ graces the end of every episode. Except for the final episode in which Angela sings Kizuna.

While the seiyuus from the first season make their recurring appearance, new ones of course come into the fray. Notably Rie Kugimiya as Sukuna. She wasn’t in her tsundere role but I managed to recognize her. But the most surprising once has got to be Masaku Morita as Yukari. For those who have watched Bleach and remember how the main character Ichigo sounded like, you’ll be in for a surprise because you wouldn’t recognize him here. You know how Ichigo has always been a hot head and screaming with his teenage voice, right? Well, Yukari is such an effeminate guy you can’t even tell if it is him. Not that I would notice it either but to hear him in a different role is quite shocking and refreshing. But he hasn’t been landing in many roles ever since Bleach ended. Then there are Kazuyuki Okitsu as Nagare (Andre in Prison School), Houchu Ohtsuka as Iwa (Shiro in Arakawa Under The Bridge), Kenjirou Tsuda as Zenjou (Sadaharu in Prince Of Tennis) and Kaori Nazuka as Douhan (Chelsea in Akame Ga Kill).

The other unique thing about this series and probably would have annoyed some of you is the colouring hue. Remember how odd it was to have uneven colour shadings throughout the entire series? This season is no different and goes all the way. This time we have uneven hues of green seeing Jungle has become the main antagonist. This type of colouring isn’t going to bother you since you will be mostly focused on the hot looking guys. Yeah, everybody looks hot. Even middle aged guys like Iwa and teenage boys like Sukuna, every damn guy look so hot that it would turn straight guys gay. Haha! Sorry, I’m still straight. In addition to bishonen guys, we have girly guys like Yukari so there is something for everybody in the looks department.

Character development in this season feels weaker this time since it is focusing on the battles. But even if there was, the main ones go to Scepter 4 and Jungle. Especially with the final arc at hand, it brings side supporting characters, Yata and Fushimi to the fore by reconciling their past that they can still be friends despite serving different kings. Even some of the henchmen from both clans have their fair share of screen time but I don’t even bother to remember them except I noticed that their names go in alphabetical order. I suppose with Shiro and his clansmen having their fair share from last season, it is only fair that the rest of the other great characters to have their turn to be thrust into the spotlight. Even when Shiro is taking charge of that tower mission, his team’s presence seems lacking since Scepter 4 and Homra are mainly seen on the offensive front against Jungle’s top executives.

Because of all the cool characters, I guess some of the dead ones can’t stay dead. Get what I mean? They reappear in flashbacks. Because with such a cool guy like Mikoto and his untimely death at the end of the first season, I am sure that many fans of his wouldn’t be happy if this guy doesn’t at least make a single appearance in this season. That is why you have that cool face off between Scepter 4 and Homra right at the start. Totsuka isn’t bad looking either and makes his limited flashback appearance though that was mostly protecting Anna. So as long as you are good looking and a hit with fans, you are sure guaranteed for a little cameo. Because if you are like that villain Colourless King, nobody cares or remembers you and thus the reason why he won’t be appearing here.

Newer ones that appeared in this season had potential but feel wasted. Like that Zenjou guy whose only role was supposed to cut down Munakata if he ever goes berserk but thankfully that never happened because you can’t have hot hunks dying one by one. Therefore Zenjou’s existence and role is questionable in the sense that you wonder why the need for another character when Munakata could have just ordered Awashima to do that (unless he had no confidence she would cut down his own captain). Or maybe they just needed to add another handsome guy to the cast. Then there is Iwa who is interesting as the former Grey King but too bad his life was cut short at the end of this season. Looking at how everything has ended by the end of this season, perhaps if the producers find there is good response for this series, they might make prequel sequels like the Kagutsu Incident and tell more about the grey clan. Douhan’s entire short cameo was just to be Fushimi’s backup to escape from Jungle. They could have just used a random unknown but it will make us ask who the heck this person is for this convenience and thus my theory in why Douhan’s character was created for this sole purpose. Silly but yeah.

The most useless character I would say goes to Neko. This season she has been nothing but pretty much be freaking annoying in the most possible way. I’m sure whatever drama about her has been resolved in the first season and since she is part of the greatest colour clan, she needs to have some screen time. Thank goodness they are limited. But still annoying nevertheless. I don’t see her doing anything really special or worthy but complaining about everything else and sucking up to Shiro. Even if the final episode is supposed to be her redeeming point when she tells off Nagare, I don’t think it was because it was like her entire role for this season was just for this last bit which didn’t really amount to anything much. If you want to think of her as the mascot of fanservice, please not that she doesn’t walk around naked this season. Because when you think of busty female fanservice, the role goes to Awashima, whose purpose and existence this season is just exactly for that. The way I see her fight, the way she poses in her fight, the way she sexily moves in her fight, all boils down to one freaking conclusion that it is purely for fanservice. I mean, who the heck goes into battle with a mini skirt?! I know it is her uniform but really? So short that at certain angles you can sometimes you can see her panties. Yeow! I’ll take strict lady any time over annoying cat woman.

One thing I missed about the series are those little cleaning machines that spout the catchphrases “You’re too kind” and “Judgement!”. Darn. Because the setting doesn’t take place in school anymore, it is somewhat sad to miss those funny little drones. It is also just sad that the colour kings are limited to just 7. I wished there would be more because it would be more fun, don’t you think? Because it made me think if the other colours weren’t popular like brown, purple and orange. I can understand there isn’t any yellow because of gold but I wonder why they had to repeat silver and grey since they are almost similar. And if there was colourless, why the heck isn’t one of a rainbow or every colour? But that is only my fantasy if I care to dream more about it someday.

Overall, not a bad sequel since I managed to get by without remembering all that confusing terms in the first season. Beautiful people +Beautiful soundtrack + Beautiful fights = Enough to cover up for its shortcomings. With the story over, it is unlikely there will be another season unless like I have said, do prequels and tell stories of the past. That way they can bring back hot dead guys like Mikoto who is probably one of the fan favourites. Otherwise we can konclude this kolour khronicle. Kthxbye.

Japan loves their hotsprings. So it is no surprise that eventually they would make one with a theme of a fairy hotspring that lay dormant for centuries until she is awakened in modern times. And thus to regain her powers of old, she cooperates with locals to get them back. Well, it doesn’t sound like anything special, Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan. But what do you expect in this short anime lasting only 3 minutes? Wait a minute. You mean you are telling me that this anime is not about girls soaking in hotsprings and giving us the much needed fanservice?!

Episode 1
In the town of Hakone Yumoto, a place famed for its onsen (hotspring), Touya has been sweeping the water source believed to house an onsen spirit every day and thus he always makes an offering that he wants to get close to the girl he has a crush on, Haruna. Little did he know after he offers his manjuu, a little girl pops up. She is Hakone and claims to be the onsen spirit. At first he couldn’t believe it since she is trying to eat the offering right now. But he might think she is the real deal when she chides him for not being a man as he doesn’t even have the guts to go confess to a girl and needs to pray to a spirit! So true! Hakone then tries to extort more manjuu from him. He thought he could shoo her away by doing so but here comes Haruna. She is introduced to Hakone but she too can’t believe is her. Doesn’t the onsen spirit have a great beautiful body? Hakone is insulted and claims she has been sleeping for so long that her powers diminished and therefore she has taken this form. Haruna pacifies her that she is still a kid and shouldn’t be worried about her body and then thanks her for protecting the onsen. Hakone is delighted with her words and then puts it bluntly that a good person like her doesn’t deserve Touya! But she decides to help Touya with his love and pushes him as he falls over Haruna. Those soft buns he is feeling… Oh sh*t! Was that helpful?

Episode 2
Hakone is brought to live in Haruna’s home. She is introduced to her little sister, Aki. Seeing the onsen spirit is here, Haruna suggests taking a bath right now. It goes without saying that Hakone starts questioning Haruna’s big boobs. Is it because she has been using the onsen for a long time? Then why are Aki’s boobs so small? I think Aki didn’t like that and claims Hakone is a fraud. To prove she has powers, Hakone makes the water sparkle in which turns their skin smooth. Too bad her limited powers mean it is only for a limited time. Hakone feels the need to regain her powers but Haruna being the strict onsen regulator has Hakone soak longer instead of getting out. Poor Hakone became dizzy after that. But the manjuu reward was delightful. She becomes impressed and possibly considers Touya and Haruna to be her God because their household makes thousands of manjuu every day! As Touya still doesn’t believe she is the fairy, Hakone materializes a mosaic puzzle box. The steam makes Haruna fall in love with him as she hugs him. Of course the effect doesn’t stay long. This has Touya thinking if she gets her powers back, will the effect last longer? He is very interested to get her powers back but Hakone isn’t quite sure…

Episode 3
Did Hakone wet her bed and is proud of it?! Actually she had a manjuu dream and salivated by spouting water from her mouth like a geyser. As Haruna is going for a resident association meeting, Hakone wants to follow thinking all the important people will be there. Hakone is introduced as Haruna’s distant relative. The topics are so boring that Hakone fell asleep and bumped her head on the table! So Haruna takes her to play with the other kids playing with this yellow box cat mascot, Hakoneko. Similar name? But Hakone is surprised at this creature that doesn’t look anywhere close to a human. She thinks it is a vengeful spirit and becomes scared. Till another kid stars crying because he too is scared. Feeling the need to do something and not shame herself, she attacks the cat! Everyone is impressed she spits powerful geyser from her mouth. They want to see her power again so she demonstrates making a geyser out of a nearby onsen. That is when they request her to be the sightseeing ambassador. It is a job where she tells everyone about the wonderful parts of town. Hakone is revved up and will do it.

Episode 4
Hakone shows her ‘tricks’ and impresses the crowd with her newfound position as an ambassador. Unfortunately she uses too much of her power and faints. Time out. Touya shows his appreciation to her by making a pair of hair clips in the form of those mosaic puzzle boxes. He also pats her head but she becomes embarrassed and as penalty he must give her a manjuu. No, take her to the place where manjuu is made. So here they are at the factory. Yeah, heaven for her. Time to go meet ‘God’. Too bad the maker has gone home and production has stopped for the day. Hakone is sad because ‘God’ died!

Episode 5
Aki is shocked to see Hakone all grown up! This is supposedly her original form and because she wants to show off to the townspeople, Aki can’t let her go out in her small miko priestess outfit since her adult size has outgrown it for indecent exposure. She lends her uniform and probably regrets seeing how big Hakone’s boobs are. Hakone shows off herself but nobody remembers. Even when she claims she is Hakone, they believe she is just a small child. This makes her sad that she runs away but bumps into Touya. He too doesn’t recognize her. But why does Haruna feel jealous of seeing him with her? When Hakone sneezes like a geyser at him, only he recognizes her. It’s because she reverted to her kid form. Haruna relieved? Hakone explains that because the people believed in her after becoming an ambassador, her powers grew and was able to return to her original form. Now she has returned being a kid, it will take some time to regain them again. Touya pats her head and assures everyone will help her. But she gets embarrassed and doesn’t want to be treated like a kid.

Episode 6
A big hotel pops up next to Haruna’s inn. Aki is worried this will steal their customers. They meet the owner, Miya who is just a little girl! She invites them to her event in which she is stealing the hearts of the crowd. Not to be outdone, Hakone tries her tricks but nobody is looking. When Hakone tries to usurp her on stage, it seems some affect wears off from the crowd. Hakone regains some of her power to turn into her adult self. I think the guys love this busty girl. However Miya takes back control of the crowd again. Touya has been suspicious of Miya, grabs her container and realizes it contains some magic to sway the crowd. That is when Miya reveals she is an onsen spirit like Hakone. It is then Hakone remembers her from Miyanoshita onsen. They are rivals and go way back in trying to compete over everything. Hakone didn’t recognize her at first because of her flashy clothing. Miya declares she will take her power and become popular but since she uses too much of it, nothing happens. Hakone uses hers and causes Miya to get a little dizzy. Touya catches her and she starts liking this nice guy. Oh boy. And don’t tell me there are a couple of other onsen spirits thinking they can usurp the moment too…

Episode 7
Miya invites Touya and co to her swimming pool event. I’m sure Haruna’s sexy bikini is more attractive than Hakone’s old fashion swimsuit… As they have fun, Miya in her bid to get her revenge on Hakone, causes a whirlpool to make her dizzy. Hakone is going to get back at her when other onsen spirit rivals pop up. However everyone is usurped by monkeys! The onsen spirits cower behind Touya as they fear the primates. It goes back a long way how they just splash into onsen and eat offerings without permission. Touya had no choice but to throw the manjuu into the forest and make them go back there. Poor Hakone… Miya once again is head over heels over Touya’s bravery. Haruna comes over to see if everything is alright and she misinterprets Touya and Miya’s ‘lovely’ scene. Touya is in sh*t… Hey, at least Hakone gets to eat some manjuu.

Episode 8
As part of her ambassador duties, Hakone and gang ride the tram up the mountain. At the top of the mountain, Hakone starts to become scared because this valley is rumoured as Hell Valley. Of course it was just a rumour to scare children that the oni will eat them. Aki teases Hakone by scaring her with this but she went too far when Hakone really starts crying and runs away in fear. And those onsen rivals also spot the ‘oni’ and freak out. Turns out to be Hakoneko. Hakone thought she could hide inside Hakoneko. But she will get the biggest shock of her life when she sees the dude behind the mascot taking off the outfit. Your nightmare has come true… Meanwhile Miya isn’t thrilled she is the only one who tagged along and handing out brochures to promote their onsen. Where the f*ck did everyone else run off to?

Episode 9
Touya, Hakone and Miya are on their way to a neighbouring town to deliver manjuu. What are the chances Hakone won’t be a monster and devour them all? Though she did not for the delivery, she did eat those that are awarded to them. She’s not admitting to it. Can manjuu just disappear? Because of this, Touya decides to play a prank of her by telling a ghost story that a woman who was executed here, her ghost still roams the place. Don’t turn around now because there she is!!! OMG! For real?! Wait a minute. Onsen spirit fears ghosts? But that turn to surprise when Hakone recognizes her, Otama. Yeah, they’ve known each other for 300 years. As she wants to experience her onsen again but being a ghost bounded to this place, Hakone will bring her onsen here since this is her soil and the onsen water resonates throughout. Otama is delighted to soak in one again (can ghosts do so?). The onsen rivals jump in but upon seeing the ghost, they run for their lives. Really, do onsen spirits fear ghosts? Otama has found her peace and soon crosses over to the other side.

Episode 10
Finally we know the name of those onsen rivals, Ashinoko and Gora. They blame each other for the recent failures. From monkeys to ghosts… When Hakone and co are seen entering the area, Gora becomes upset that they dare set foot on her territory. She proceeds to attack them by unleashing wave after wave of her onsen power. Luckily Gora stops her before she ruins the beautiful garden and takes her away for a tactical retreat. While Hakone and co are left bewildered, the watery attack seems to enhance the sparkly garden as they continue to have a picnic. Meanwhile Gora is ashamed over losing control of herself and almost destroyed her garden. Only the bench is destroyed, right?

Episode 11
Miya has been paying visits more often to Touya and Hakone. Checking out her rival? Sure it is not because she has a thing for him? When they question why onsen spirits are afraid of monkeys we are delved into a quick history of the Seven Springs of Hakone. They were the most powerful onsen before Japan opened up and since then it has bloomed to 20 and with newly developed onsen areas means new onsen spirits were born (Gora and Ashinoko). With people’s devotion becoming scattered, the original power of the 7 weakened and only Hakone and Miya were awakened. Hakone remembers if they travel to the shrine that is the source of their power, maybe they can do something about it. And so the gang take a train and boat ride. Each time Hakone enjoys herself, Miya would scoff her. But when Touya is enjoying himself, she relents. Love or double standards?

Episode 12
Miya tries to use her box to impress Touya but was easily snatched away by Gora. Their plan is to steal their boxes so they could rule the area as new onsen spirits and replace the old ones. Miya starts crying for being useless but Hakone jumps into action to try take the box back. She wonders why Hakone would help an enemy but Touya explains Hakone sees her as a friend. This gives Miya courage to go help Hakone. As they battle on the top of the mast, everyone else thinks this is some sort of attraction. Hakone’s power weakens when Gora tries to play mind games with her that they are being lazy and thus the box would be far more use in their hands. Miya struggles with Gora to retrieve her box. She is successful and unleashes her power to make Gora grovel before her. When they reach land, it is a race to the shrine.

Episode 13
Once they reach the shrine, Hakone and Miya regain their power and revert to their adult version. Gora wants Ashinoko to let this go seeing stealing their boxes doesn’t mean they will attain true believers. Ashinoko considers her a traitor and blows her out of the way. With lots of spouting hot water here and there, Ashinoko’s power starts to go berserk as she can’t control it. To save everybody, Hakone absorbs Ashinoko’s power and plunge into the lake. She was never found. Touya, you crying for her? Seasons passed, Haruna’s inn is bustling with business. Gora and Ashinoko are helping her. Miya visits Touya making his usually delivery at the water source. He accidentally drops a manjuu offering and just like the last time, Hakone pops back out. Why didn’t he think of this? Maybe he did but it didn’t work except for just now. I’m not sure about her onsen current that had her swept back here but it took seasons? Anyway everybody is happy to have her back and now they can continue with their boring daily lives.

Not Making Any (Hot) Splashes
I know the series is very short in its duration but what the heck is this rushed ending feeling? It just makes everything so unbelievable. For some reasons (for dramatic sakes, I guess) we have new onsen spirits trying to take out the original ones in hopes of gaining power and perhaps rule the world. And of course since Hakone is the heroine (because her name is even on the title of the series) we see her do some self sacrificing move to return everything back to normalcy. The bad girls repent and Hakone returns for the weirdest reason and in the lamest way and there we have it, our happy ending. What crap is this? And don’t get me f*cking started on questions like why the shrine only temporarily grant them their powers. So does it mean they can never recharge there again? And if every other darn onsen spirit materializes, are they going to hang out with Touya and co?

I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with the series because it wasn’t anything much. It was just trying to capitalize on a cute girl doing cute things in the form of an onsen spirit. That’s all. There isn’t even a real proper story if you think about it. We see her just doing some antics in her territory but even so as her job as an ambassador, I don’t really see how it is going to bring in the tourists. Maybe more water spouting tricks? Yeah, that should bring in the tourists. Other than all that standalone antics from a ghost to monkey trouble and onsen rivals, the ‘drama’ of trying to regain back their power wasn’t anything entertaining either. That is why it is sad to say that it was a good thing that the series lasted only for 3 minutes. I don’t know if I could stand it if it was a full length episode.

Despite this series is adapted from the manga of the same name, one of the disappointing things of this series is the lack of introduction of the Hakone hotspring tourist attraction and its corresponding areas. Perhaps the manga isn’t about promoting the place and it is just a story that takes place there. But I can’t help feel that maybe that they should also have subtly promoted the wonders of the Hakone area. I know. You’re going to accuse me of shameless advertising and promotion if they did that, right? Well, if they do it the right way and subtly. Heh. Maybe so subtle that I didn’t even realize it was being promoted. Sure, there are other tourist attractions shown here like the cable car, tram and the iron ship but what about the onsen?

The characters themselves feel lacking. Sure, blame the short duration of the series but I’m not saying there should be deep character development whatsoever. Because generally they just feel bland. Like Hakone as the titular and main character who tries to appeal to us with her cuteness and naivety in her loli form. It was fun at first but the novelty soon runs out fast. Sometimes she is just another brat and at other times easy to be bullied. Is it no wonder that nobody makes a big fuss or even bother to believe she is an onsen spirit? Yeah, and they try to give her some character by making her a manjuu maniac. Just like how some anime characters have a certain food they are crazy about that will make them go weak in the knees. So you want to make Hakone your personal slave? Just feed her manjuu. That’s all she needs…

Then the other supporting characters… I don’t know what else to say. Touya is the only guy in the series so I suppose he is there to provide some distraction in the love department because I don’t really see how he is getting closer with Haruna. Everything just feels like status quo. Whatever happened in Hakone’s quest to help Touya get closer to her? Sure, they hint about Haruna having that jealous look when he close to other girls but that could be just red herring for all you know. Towards the end, these human characters just feel redundant and unimportant. Because who gives a f*cks about them when the onsen spirits are battling against each other. Touya’s tears for Hakone are supposed to tell her that he cares for her despite being a bratty nuisance all the time? Oh well. It happens to every anime character in such situations.

And yes, having Miya to have a crush on Touya is another typical cliché of an unrequited love. A reason to have her follow and hang about Hakone and co. Ashinoko and Gora started off as clowns because of the running joke that they could never introduce themselves and whenever they want to foil Hakone’s plans whatsoever, they are put out of the picture. I don’t understand why onsen spirits have to fight each other for territory. Can they just work together and bring more happiness to the people? Ah well, even spirits would like to become more powerful (the more believers and followers the better) and rule the (onsen) world. Other than that, they can do nothing special except command where the hot water should pop up (good for party tricks, I guess) and shoot hot water out from their mouth. That’s the only fighting arsenal they’ve got?

Art and drawing feels rather okay too and nothing spectacular. If you are hoping to see the wonders of the Hakone hotsprings and see how the art reflects the real life counterparts, you will be very sorely disappointed. As already said, this entire series doesn’t even try to promote the Hakone hotsprings and what more feature the sceneries of the place. Because I am sure that if you are visiting the hotspring spot, it is going to be just more than the hot water, right? As for the character designs, I just can’t help feel that the characters have that one kind look. I don’t know. I just can’t describe it in words. And doesn’t it just feel weird that the onsen spirits dress like cosplayers? A miko priestess, a lolita, a sailor-fuku and a Sakura Wars main character wannabe (Taisho era clothes, that is).

Voice acting wise, just feels pretty standard with me only recognizing Ayana Taketatsu as Ashinoko and Aoi Yuuki as Gora. Fans might instantly recognize when the duo are together, they are an idol unit known as Petit Milady. This means they sing the reasonably catchy and lively opening theme, Hakone Hakoiri Musume. I have to admit that hearing this song is perhaps the most exciting thing throughout this series. Seriously. For the rest of the voice acting cast, they are Saki Ono as Hakone (Unko in Himegoto), Taishi Murata as Touya (Ibusak in Shokugeki No Souma), Mao as Haruna (Madoka in Denpa Kyoushi), Ayaka Asai as Aki (Mio in Shinmai Maou No Testament) and Yuuki Kuwahara as Miya (Hakua in Shomin Sample).

Overall, it might be disappointing but it isn’t so bad that it should be erased from history and all traces of it buried in an unknown desert. Of course with the series being simplistic which is much better than being convoluted, it also falls into the trap of being nothing out of the ordinary. Hakone isn’t that bad but it could have been better. How much you enjoy this depends on how much Hakone appeals to you. And since it doesn’t to me, so sorry lah.

My advice that could have made this series better? They should have just inserted mindless fanservice scenes! I know. You’re going to accuse me of shameless fanservice to attract male viewers just to increase viewership and then hope to translate all that into money making potentials with the release of the BDs, right? Of course. But at least having some pantsu shots is many times better than watching this atrocity. What a wasted potential. All onsen scenes must be accompanied with fanservice! It’s da rule! We all just hope such great onsen spirits will go back to slumber for a long time and let us enjoy our hotspring quietly. Yeah, maybe a real hotspring can have a rejuvenating effect to heal our soul after watching this.

Surprise! Bet you didn’t think that there would a top bishoujo list in the middle of the year! It wouldn’t have been if not for this ‘special edition’. After celebrating 10 years of top bishoujos from my anime adventures half a year ago, I decided to do a ranking list of for the really pretty awesome anime ladies from the past decade. Yes, you read that right. All the while, the top bishoujos of the year have never been ranked and only been listed alphabetically.

Therefore with this special midyear top bishoujo special, I hereby rank the top 50 bishoujos of all time. Well, at least from 2006-2015 period. Time to dig deep into your memories to see if you remember them. The criterion to qualify for this list is that they must have appeared in the final top list of that year. So those who barely missed the cut or were just honourable mentions won’t be eligible. It will be listed in ascending order as well. Enough talking. Let’s get down to the list to see how awesome my tastes in bishoujo is ;p. Oh, how to read: Rank) Name (Anime) (Year). And yes, short commentary included.

50) Saber (Fate/Stay Night) (2007)

Holy smokes! Just when I just mentioned the rules, I already broke it right at the start?! For the clueless, Saber didn’t end up in the final list as my top bishoujo that year and went as far as just an honourable mention. I don’t even know why… I promise, this will be the only entry that broke the rules. It’s not a bad thing, right?

49) Nao Yoshikawa (Good Morning Call) (2007)

Haven’t heard of this unknown OVA? Well yeah. You should go watch it. I’m glad I did. A good bishoujo is one way of remembering an unknown series.

48) Rosette (Chrno Crusade) (2006)

I’m not into nuns with guns but at least she was one of the little motivations to watch the series. Isn’t that the same for most animes I watch?

47) Yuuno Houzuki (Kurenai) (2008)

Don’t let her cute looks fool you. She is a stronger fighter than the main character himself.

46) Lydia Carlton (Hakushaku To Yousei) (2009)

When you are a doctor for fairies, it is only natural that you have to be as beautiful as fairies, right?

45) Tenma Tsukamoto (School Rumble) (2006)

Ah, one of the few early crushes I had… Naïve, childish and gullible but that is what makes her so cute and lovable.

44) Nina Sakura (Ultra Maniac) (2006)

I never did get around to finish watching the series then and now. Even so, I suppose she was cute enough to make me remember her after all these years.

43) Rikantz Seaberry (Kenzen Robo Daimidaler) (2015)

Not many anime characters wear a top hat as their standard outfit. With nice braids and cheerful personality, we’ve got ourselves a winner here.

42) Chika Koizumi (Kyou No Go No Ni) (2006)

No, I’m not a lolicon! At least the original OVA version makes her look much better than the TV version that made her look like a cartoonish kid.

41) April (Coyote Ragtime Show) (2006)

Gothic. Badass. Enough said.

41) Mahiro Mutou (Busou Renkin) (2009)

One of the few plain looking girls on this list. Who says you can’t find beauty in such plainness?

39) Kakei Mihaya AKA Blood Leopard (Accel World) (2013)

MEIDO CHARACTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Had she looked cuter, she would have gone up a few places.

38) Motoka Nogisaka (Yosuga No Sora) (2011)

MAID CHARACTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER PART 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Same reason too, had she been cuter, she might jumped a few more spots.

37) Chelsea Arcot (Shukufuku No Campanella) (2011)

You tend to get lost with your lousy sense of direction. So I tend to get lost in your beauty for the same cheesy reason.

36) Hime (Kaibutsu Oujo) (2007)

The (future) queen of all monsters. Can I be your slave?

35) Kouko Kaga (Golden Time) (2014)

Smart. Stylish. Obsessive. Oh well, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad.

34) Tsukino Azusagawa (Yakitate! Japan) (2007)

Who wouldn’t like a girl who is kind hearted and forgiving? Sometimes a little naïve but hey, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad, right?

33) Aria Shichijou (Seitokai Yakuindomo) (2011)

It makes me wonder if she was a little more perverted, would she have ranked higher? Or was it her perversion that every guy’s fantasy would love to have as a girlfriend made her this high in the list?

32) Orihime Inoue (Bleach) (2007)

You didn’t think she would end up on this list, did you? Well, if I wanted some boobs and cleavage I would have gone for Rangiku but then again, she never even made the cut.

31) Saki Rukino (Valvrave The Liberator) (2014)

Everybody wanted to see that rape scene Haruto did to her…

30) Sylvia Van Hossen (Princess Lover) (2010)

The only reason why she ended up here is because her uncanny similar looks to Saber. An indication that Saber might have been placed this high had she qualify in the first place.

29) Chihaya Ayase (Chihayafuru) (2013)

It’s like they’re trying to get me interested in playing karuta by putting a pretty face main character. Too bad I’m only interested in her. Not the game. She is also a testament why some pretty people should just stay quiet… And maybe that is why she didn’t get any higher.

28) Chiyo Sakura (Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun) (2015)

I think it has something to do with her polka dot ribbons… Hypnotizing…

27) Tamako Kitashirakawa (Tamako Market) (2013)

There is this strange resemblance from her, like a cross between K-ON!’s Mio and Yui…

26) Mao Mizusawa (Kimikiss Pure Rouge) (2008)

I’ve said it in my blog before and I’ll say it again. It’s her locks, baby! Her locks!

25) Megumi Katou (Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata) (2015)

What did I tell you about beauty in plainness? Megumi proves it by getting this high on the list for that but I guess that is also the reason why she couldn’t go any higher. Stuck at midpoint?

24) Chelsea (Akame Ga Kill) (2015)

NOOO!!! WHY YOU HAVE TO KILL HER OFF AND DECAPITATE HER HEAD????!!!!!!!!!!

23) Krista Lenz (Shingeki No Kyojin) (2014)

Move aside Mikasa. Just because you are a fan favourite doesn’t mean everybody has to like you, you Eren-possessive b*tch! This angel suits me much better!

22) Chiko Shinmoto (Super Seisyun Brothers) (2014)

Can you blame her for being obsessed with handsome guys when I myself am obsessed with pretty bishoujos?

21) Cecilia Alcott (Infinite Stratos) (2011)

I know Cecilia ranks at the bottom in terms of power and file and rank among the other girls in the harem. Don’t worry, you’ll always be tops in the beauty department in my books.

20) Sahoto Ashisu (Mangaka-san To Assistant-san To) (2015)

It takes lots of patience and tolerance if your boss is an author of a perverted manga. How can she stay so pretty amidst all that sexual harassment?

19) Honoka Sakurai (Suzuka) (2008)

Another plain looking girl. But with her long black hair that is worthy of a shampoo commercial, I think that sealed the deal.

18) Chitose Mihara (Kobato) (2010)

Even if you are a minor side extra character appearing limited times in a series, you still beat out looking your best than the rest.

17) Kurumi Isoshima (Mahou Sensou) (2014)

The series sucked. The ending sucked. At least your beauty didn’t. At least it eased the pain of watching through that horrendous dozen episodes and even more horrendous ‘ending’.

16) Takao (D-Frag!) (2014)

Why do I have a feeling that people will get the wrong idea that I chose her because of her boobs? Doesn’t every female character have them? She’s is just extra larger than the average…

15) Megumi Kannazuki (Muteki Kanban Musume) (2006)

They should have made her the star of the series instead of that ramen delivery bully girl.

14) Shirley Fenette (Code Geass) (2011)

The only reason why her character exists is so that she could die and provide a catalyst for our main character to carry on/power up/ turn the tide/move forward the plot. Literally, having a beauty to die for… Oops.

13) Alicia Florence (Aria The Natural/Aria The Origination) (2012)

With a number of blondes already making it on this list, it goes to show to show that blondes aren’t dumb and there just to look good. For Alicia, she is a good reason to dispel all those dumb blonde jokes and stereotype with her elegance, intelligence and independence.

12) Celia Cumani Aintree (Walkure Romanze) (2012)

Are they trying to get me interested in the art of jousting by putting a top head babe here?

11) Haruka Morishima (Amagami SS) (2012)

Best girl of Amagami SS! No question about it! And oh, Haruka girl, when a girl hints she is tired of playing the little sister to the guy she secretly has a crush on for a long time, it DOES NOT MEAN she wants to be the big sister!

10) Asuna Yuuki (Sword Art Online) (2013)

Yay! We have already breached into the top 10! Don’t hold your breath as we start getting closer to the top spot. Oh wait. How did she end up in my top 10? Barely beating out on Haruka on the looks department. Who cares, right? Despite being relegated to a damsel in distress in the latter half of the series, she still kicks ass.

9) Hare Menjou (Guilty Crown) (2012)

She reminds me of Code Geass’ Shirley’s fate. All of it. Only, she is cuter.

8) Hiromi Yuasa (True Tears) (2008)

Looking very much like a typical generic bishoujo girl, right? What’s so bad about that? If they only design female in characters in every other anime in that era this way.

6) Sawa Okita (Tari Tari) (2013)

I think it is the way she ties her hair… Yeah, that…

6) Touko Fukami (Glasslip) (2015)

Another reason why a disappointing series is watchable thanks to a pretty lady…

5) Ume “Kurumi” Kurumizawa (Kimi Ni Todoke) (2010)

Ume

Don’t worry, Kurumi. Even if everybody hates you and Kazehaya will never set his eyes on you (he’d rather have a horror movie-like girl than a bisque doll like you), your beauty will never be wasted in my eyes.

4) Mio Akiyama (K-ON!) (2009)

Was supposedly to be my ‘official’ third waifu during the hype and height of the cute moe girls era… But then…

3) Kosaki Onodera (Nisekoi) (2015)

Team Onodera FTW!!! If not for this seemingly ‘late’ entry that stole the bronze spot, a certain bassist would have claimed it… Yeah, literally pip her to this spot.

2) Suign Tou (Rozen Maiden) (Eternal)

Is it without a doubt that the first doll of the Rozen Maiden series still holds a special place in my heart after all these years? She appeared in every top bishoujo so it is only right silver place belongs to her. You should look at the specific blog posts I made a few years ago for her. Though, I might be a little guilty for not doing so in these few years.

1) Mai Tokiha (Mai-HiME) (Eternal)

You should have seen it coming from the start. If you have been following my blog for donkey years, that is. Yes people. Mai is still the queen of my heart. Gold place will always belong to my first ever waifu and perhaps this is partially the reason why I came out with this top 50 blog. Just to brag how beautiful and I love her all these time. I know, I know. I haven’t been putting up dedicated posts to her for the past few years either… Well, you know what they say. It is the thought that counts, right?

Eternal Beauty
That’s it folks. If it was already hard for me to just pick top 10 bishoujos every year, now I know how freaking tough it is to even rank them! Even I had this ‘internal rage’ of why a certain girl ranked higher or lower than the other. I thought of putting them on as equal ranks but if that is the case, there would be too many and it defeats the purpose of this blog post. Congratulations for those making the list and for those who didn’t, don’t despair. It is safe to say that all those top bishoujos who do not make the final top 50 cut are automatically honourable mentions. I’m too lazy to list them down here and if you really want to know who they are, you should go do some retrospect on my past blogs. So it goes to show that perhaps my taste in bishoujo has evolved but nevertheless still remains generally the same. I noticed that most of the recent bishoujos would tend to end up in the higher tier compared to older ones so it could also be because they are in my recent memory. Therefore as of this time and date, the rankings of these beauties are definite. It might change in the future or not but I’m definitely not going to do another major one just to show some shuffling changes. With this party over, I guess now we can move on and look forward to a new group of bishoujos waiting to be named at the year end. Can’t really wait for it. Waku, waku desu! All hail Anime Bishoujos! Long Live Anime Bishoujos!

The army is supposed to protect the nation. But who is to supervise them? The army police. Likewise, the police who are supposed to police over the peace of a nation, who is supposed to supervise over them? I’m not too sure but I’m sure there is a special task force to oversee that. I think. In short, in every or most professions, you have another body that supervisors and oversees something. So that is why when you have superhumans protecting Earth from evildoers in the name of justice, who will be the ones keeping a watch on them so that they do not abuse their special powers? According to Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou, Japan has formed a bureau to manage, keep track and organize these superhumans from the shadows as a measure to secure peace and order. These are not only the trials and tribulations of the bureau as they seek to keep the peace by doing their job but you’ll find all the conspiracy and political manoeuvres behind it all. Yeah, what is a superhuman series without all that in addition to all that pow, wham, bam, zap and boom.

Episode 1
Kikko Hoshino works as a waitress when a customer, Jirou Hitoyoshi needs her help. He believes a scientist is going to sell national research secrets that will cause delay in the sciences for a decade. To their surprise, it is the other way round. The scientist seems to be getting something he wants experimented on. With Jirou telling her to steal the package, she does so as she uses her magical wand to teleport away. The agent then turns into a giant evil alien. Another giant alien, Grosse Augen pops up to fight it. As explained, it might look like the giant transported to another dimension to fight. But in actual fact just like in reels for every movie, there is a gap between those films and thus that is where the fighting takes place. Just too fast for our human eyes to catch. Kikko follows Jirou as they continue their mission. He explains they are from an organization that protects superhumans. Jirou transforms his car into a giant mechanical Centaur, Equus to fight the evil alien. And there’s something about using the climate too. Whatever. Anyway the evil alien is defeated. But Kikko is shocked that Jirou attacks Gross Augen too. Jirou tells Gross Augen to separate from that human. However he claims to be sharing this human’s life now. Flashback reveals the human police officer saw he was dying after his spaceship crashed. After being explained about the danger befalling on the planet, he did not hesitate to agree and merge with him. Jirou does not believe about him giving his life for his planet because if he did that, he cannot exist. He also knows the body is at its limit but if they act now, Gross Augen can go back to his home planet. At the back alley, Jirou did the necessary to send Gross Augen back. I’m not sure what happened back at the bureau but the scientist looks disappointed upon learning he was dealing with aliens. Jirou brings Kikko back to his organization and is made a member. Flash forward a few years into the future, Kikko is seen chasing down Jirou but he gives her the slip after all that fighting. It is believed he disobeyed orders from the bureau to save a human’s life and went rogue. And it has something to do with Jirou merging the human with the comatose evil alien after separating him from Gross Augen. Jirou is adamant he won’t return to the Superhuman Bureau ever again.

Episode 2
Fuurouta the ghost kid is at a carnival where a man is exhibiting a rare and expensive bug to awed kids. He causes havoc to free the bug so he could sell it and get the money when a thick black fog engulfs the area. The freed bug is grateful for his assistance and mentions the Tartaros Bugmen in this fog are her comrades here to whisk her away. The black fog is now engulfing the National Diet building. Fuurouta seems to be in prison but when he heard about this news, he decides to get cheeky again. I mean, as a ghost he could just pass through walls, right? When Jirou sees him, he tells police officers to surround him since he cannot pass through living objects. At first Fuurouta is not interested to work with Jirou and his bureau but after seeing how cute Kikko is, he’d love to try it out. He learns everyone here is a superhuman except for Jirou who is the only human. Fuurouta wants to join but they’re not hiring since they just hired Kikko. They brought him in just to watch over him so he doesn’t play pranks on others. Fuurouta smitten with Kikko, tries to impress her but her mind is somewhere else. Along the way, he meets Campe, the bug he saved earlier. He gets the wrong idea she likes him so he tells her he already has someone he likes. He also thinks she is a ghost because she ‘suddenly disappears’.

The bureau’s chief, Daishi Akita talks to Jirou’s adoptive dad and researcher, Magotake about the Tartaros Bugmen who once ruled this world for millennia before falling from power. Magotake believes this virus which he cultivated from their grave is the reason for their downfall. With all the superhumans in the fog case dead, Fuurouta decides to help out with this fog mission since he can pass through things. If he is successful, he’ll join the bureau. He enters the fog and throws the virus container at them. The fog disappears. Campe doesn’t seem pleased and flies away. The bureau members vote whether Fuurouta should join or not. Kikko is against it since she doesn’t want kids working in dangerous places. But by majority votes, Fuurouta is in. In the near future, Fuurouta is attacked by a grownup Campe but saved by Jirou. Campe has been looking for him to avenge the deaths of her Tartaros Bugmen. She as their queen was captured and about to be sold and Fuurouta saved them. The Tartaros Bugmen lived in Japanese woods and had a contract with humans. But today’s politicians forgot about it and started cutting down trees, infuriating them. Because Fuurouta killed them with the virus, she is the only one left. Fuurouta feels guilty and would gladly die by her hands but Jirou tells him his life is not enough compared to the millions he took. Even if Campe took it, what difference would it make? She can’t forgive him is because they are friends. But Campe notes because they are different now, they cannot be friends (Fuurouta is still the same ghost kid who never grew). Fuurouta is sad that he is always stuck as a kid and cannot tell between good and bad. He wants to grow up too. But Jirou tells him to stay as he is.

Episode 3
Detective Raito Shiba is investigating a series of bomb explosions at train stations at airports. He is not too thrilled when the Superhuman Bureau is also assigned to this case. As employees from Yatsuka Heavy Industries were targeted, it is deduces that Yatsuka might be developing weapons for other countries. The loophole is that doing research for it is legal. But what if a superhero is trying to stop them in making weapons for other countries? Shiba lock horns with Jirou about the non-existence of superheroes and will find the culprit himself. Akita explains Shiba was a brilliant detective till an accident. His entire body is replaced with a machine and his memories and personality was transplanted into it. Shiba on his way to a Yatsuka factory, meets a girl named Mieko Koorogi. She asks if he is with Yatsuka. He denies. When he sees the Superhuman Bureau here, he takes her to run but gets electrocuted. She then grabs him and runs into the factory. Mieko is also a robot as she is trying to search for someone but looks like it’s the wrong target. It is discovered that a pair of robots, a male and a female were created during the war. Mieko is one of them. Kaoru Handa is the other although he went missing after the war. It could be that they are sent away and programmed to meet like lovers. When they meet, they might turn into the ultimate weapon. If they are a bomb, you know what this means when infiltrating an enemy country, right?

Shiba finds Mieko and realizes that the recent attacks were because she was trying to find that person and the only clue she got was that he was made from Yatsuka, like how all the bombs were. Shiba is drawn to her but she is not amused and runs away. He is going to shoot her when Jirou borrows some time stopping device from fellow comrade Hyouma “Jaguar” Yoshimura to stop time and grab both of them. Shiba reveals his body is designed very closely to her counterpart, that is why he is drawn to her. That is why he will also destroy her. After telling her about the possible merger that will turn her into a bomb, he tells her it is a safer bet for her to merge with him. Mieko couldn’t accept it and jumps into the water plant to self destruct. In the future, Shiba has turned rogue as he destroys a military escort bringing home a criminal that has been living a recluse life in Guam. He brings her to where the water plant was. He thought Mieko blew herself up but had merely dived to the bottom to hibernate. This criminal is Kaoru who was given orders to hide in the south, Shiba wants him to merge with her. After explaining the false love and sense of justice programmed into them, he will use them to show what true justice is and awake Japan. Jirou steps in to stop Shiba. Mieko and Kaoru have already merged. However they cannot do as Shiba wishes since what he is doing is evil. But aren’t they just machines to programme what they are told to? Jirou says justice and all that crap is only due to humans’ misinterpretation of it and at times make mistakes. Shiba and Jirou begin their super power fighting. If the bomb doesn’t destroy the place, I think their fighting would.

Episode 4
When beasts were spotted in Japan, Jirou wanted to use his power to kill them but was reminded the bureau’s duty is only to secretly manage superhumans. Jirou believes all beasts are evil although his colleague, Emi Kino believes not all are. Upon arrival at the scene, Gross Augen pops up to take the beast on. That was the first time Gross Augen appeared and has fought many beasts. But after he has left for his planet, a month later it seems more beasts are appearing. Will there be another such great hero to fight beasts. Speaking of which, a giant squid beast is dropping acidic drops over the city. Don’t worry, there is this little superhuman, Earth-chan to the rescue. Although everybody knows this superhuman, based on the law, superhumans cannot be reported in newspapers despite the monster incident can. Even if superhumans can appear in magazines, they are all lies. It is what the bureau wishes for in their bid to hide and protect them. Also, since more beasts have emerged, the number of superhumans laying low has increased to help out and show off their fighting prowess by defeating those beasts. Jirou and Kikko are following Fuurouta to a bunch of kids keeping a baby beast, GaGon. They are picked up by Ukyo to see the president Matsumoto of a mini company, Radio Wave. As beasts are popular with many people, his aim is to broadcast them live when they appear. He feels sorry for beasts because they are product of human experiments and industrial wastes and believes they should co-exist. However Jirou believes otherwise that they are born from nature.

They explain GaGon had been Hiroyuki’s brother ever since the war. His real brother died of malnutrition. When he picked up GaGon in the streets, he treats it like his reincarnated brother. As proof, it is quite gentle and friendly. Shiba stops by to report findings from the lab about the DNA of beasts coming from one source. This means somebody is manufacturing beasts and might be selling them to crime syndicates. Jirou defends Radio Wave as this rundown factory cannot make a decent beast. Shiba thinks Jirou is conspiring something because with beasts being the bad guys, it is a good reason to make superhumans look good. Ukyo and Matsumoto thank Jirou for not reporting GaGon. GaGon takes a liking for Jirou and clings all over him. When the news reports the return of Master Ultima, it seems like it is a very bad news. Akita sees a couple of his old friends and in their true form, they discuss what measures to be taken. Akita then reports to his bureau members that all the reported beast appearances have been sold separately to organizations by the same maker. And the broker is Radio Wave. Jirou becomes upset as he rushes over there. However Ukyo comes crying that they’ve gone too far as a Big GaGon has been developed using bits of GaGon. Jirou tries to stop Matsumoto but the latter activates his Big GaGon to crush him. Jirou releases his locks to turn into some fire monster and burn the place down. Ukyo is actually Emi as she ‘repairs’ Jirou by pushing back all his protruding bolts and calm his flame.

Episode 5
Jirou is resting and having troubling remembering what happened. As the beast appearances have reduced, Matsumoto, Hiroyuki and GaGon are currently missing but the bureau believes they are hiding at some university that is organizing a peaceful march. True enough they are. Before Jirou could take action, Hiroyuki stabs him with a serum that makes him go berserk. He accuses them all of being beasts so they should become one too. This is part of the plan to make Jirou look like the bad guy so Matsumoto can send his beast to take him down and earn good public image. There is a dead American beast but with GaGon’s regenerative cell, it can grow explosively well. The beast absorbs GaGon and turns into MegaGon! The rally leader convinces the student to protect MegaGon as Jirou runs rampage. Luckily Fuurouta ejects Jirou before anything untoward can happen. MegaGon and the rest make their march and garner more support from the public. Kikko confronts Emi about her disguise as Ukyo. She claims she is a youkai and can’t shape shift without a model, thus the missing cut out pictures from the magazine. Emi knows the chief loves superhumans and would never have allowed this. But she continued to let Jirou stay on the job because he is far more dangerous and not an ordinary human. That is why she loves him. Only a person who truly loves him can stop him. She shows a burn scar on her palm. In short, everyone has beasts inside them. Kikko sees worried Jirou trying to get up because Emi went by herself to defeat the monster. He reveals his hatred for beasts that began since his childhood. A beast was attacking the city and at that time Jirou just escaped some strict facility. That freedom made him cheered on the beast because it is like it freed him. But at the same time he hated it for wanting to destroy the world. There is one beast he can’t reach and Kikko thinks it is Emi. She tries to kiss him and act like a beast to prove there is one inside her?! WTF?! When MegaGon begins to move, it is stopped by Fuurouta disguised as a sticky mat. Then Emi summons the birds to annoy MegaGon as it turns himself into a ball. To buy more time, Kikko uses her magic to try and lift it but to no avail. The trains collide for some super explosion but since it didn’t reach, Akita possesses a train and fights MegaGon till a large explosion occurs. The crowd then provokes MegaGon to attack and destroy. Matsumoto rants about beasts not able to understand humans and that is why he loves them. Cue for him to get killed off. Jirou arrives to finish it off. Emi is seen giving Magotake blood derivatives of Jirou.

Episode 6
As part of the investigation, Fuurouta joins a music-cum-comedy band, Mountain Horse consists of Don, Freeze, Haru and Dee, as an assistant. Seems they incorporate superhuman powers in their brand of comedy. Previously they were normal humans but after making their debut on stage and after the next band supposedly had superhuman powers played, the next day they found themselves with superhuman powers. While the rest relish about their new powers, Don is cautious because of the laws regulating superhumans that made them illegal. There was a robbery in progress but their powers were more comical than anything helpful. It took another group of superhumans to chase the robbers away. Angel Stars becomes the first bona fide superhuman all-girl band while Mountain Horse is left to become second rate comedians and hardly do any singing. But Don doesn’t think it is such a bad idea since it is making people laugh. One day Don overhears his boss discussing with Michiko Touzaki to control the superhuman population by adding some drugs into chocolates as promotional items for Angel Stars that will take away their power. Don is then picked up by the bureau who wants his help to stop this evil organization but he refuses since it will cost them their jobs. While Don’s band mates are pondering to stop this evil, Don talks about how being superhumans is bad. He doesn’t mind being second rate because he gets to make people laugh. The band is called to see Touzaki who is offering them to sing a song that will sell 10 millions of copies. However Don remains suspicious that she would pick them and refuses her. He knows she is on to them that they know about their plan and shutting them up. He hates being superhuman but if they continue to treat him the way he is now, he will be less than a third rate. He is going to use his superhuman power just this one time. So they infiltrate the factory to destroy the chocolates but the robot mascot attacks them. Even Angel Stars join in the attack as ordered by Touzaki. During all that, Dee was killed. Jirou was about to intervene but Don informs that they are quitting immediately. This means they are free to play wherever they are and will not be tailed. He also threatens them to stop this chocolate production or he will show everyone this proof. In the end, the trio continue their comedy routine. Jirou who wanted to recruit them felt their superhuman powers went to waste but Fuurouta notes that they made people laugh and that itself is a great power.

Episode 7
Kikko’s little mascot helper, Ullr is talking to Emi about Kikko’s whose true identity is a princess of some dimension as opposed to her witch status as the people here think. Both somewhat agree Kikko might be getting to close to Jirou. Ullr as her watcher doesn’t like it. Emi as Jirou’s boyfriend doesn’t like it. Kikko meets Judas to register him as part of the bureau. However Earth-chan thought he escaped from prison to do more bad things and attacks him. However Judas zaps her so they can get away. Flashback shows Judas was part of some evil organization. He used his power for evil till Earth-chan fought him. Her words made him changed and wanted to turn over a new leaf. Now they need to contact Earth-chan. Kikko wonders why can’t they just call her. Well, she is a satellite orbiting Earth! Hey. Kikko is seriously bringing a land phone up there? I don’t think the cable is that long. But she has no time since Earth-chan senses those calling for her help and dives down to defeat the evil and even help a baby bird back to its nest! Yes. Even helping an old lady cross the street! Earth-chan our everyday hero! Eventually Kikko gives her some konpeitou to allow this machine to have dreams. Back home, Jirou tells Kikko that Japan’s Prime Minister will be joining DFE (Defence Force of Earth), an organization to defend Earth from evil space people. However many superhuman youths are against this and Earth-chan is needed to help protect the PM. Because the public will always believe whoever Earth-chan protects is the good guy, the whole plot is to make the public view Japan as joining DFE as good. And it is the bureau’s job to make that happen too.

As they talk to Judas, it seems he wants to join in the protest because he believes not all space people are evil. Some superhuman youths think Japan wants to make them fight again. Earth-chan thinks Judas has lied again to become bad so Judas promises he will join the protest and not use his power. When Kikko asks her was she able to dream, she couldn’t answer and blushes. Then some smart ass tells Earth-chan that Kikko is actually a witch. Earth-chan thinks she is tricked and throws away the konpeitou. The protest begins but Earth-chan is just staying watch since she only reacts and helps those who make an SOS from the bottom of their heart. When the protest gets violent, Earth-chan again thinks Judas lied when he used his power. When Kikko intervenes, Earth-chan fights her. Kikko tells her although lying is bad, humans cannot be right all the time. Jirou adds about Earth-chan’s design that the more people she helps, the more feel good feelings she’ll get. It seems to hint that her design isn’t to help others but to hurt. They see Judas using his power to help an injured man. Judas explains how his heart was calling out to Earth-chan in the past to help him help a guy stuck in some accident. He apologizes for breaking his promise and can never be a superhuman of justice like her. In the aftermath, Japan successfully joins DFE. Earth-chan has not slept well since that day and goes down to visit Kikko. She gives her a piece of konpeitou and tells her sometimes people need a little lie. Earth-chan thinks this konpeitou is what lies taste. Mmm. Brings back nice memories of her family. Sleep well.

Episode 8
A group of young kids, BL Clan led by Yumihiko Otonashi diffuse another student protest case. Although they have superhuman powers, they still refuse to register with the bureau. When rumours surfaced about Eye of Lucifer returning, Jirou gets alerted because he is the enemy of Rainbow Knight, his admired ally of justice. Although Rainbow Knight has been labelled mainly as a criminal because his records stated he kidnapped children and demanded ransom. A collector who collected Rainbow Knight’s gun received a note from Eye of Lucifer he will come to steal it. He engages BL Clan to help protect him. Jirou and co are outside the collector’s house. BL Clan thinks they are working for Eye of Lucifer. Suddenly Eye of Lucifer is seen and has stolen the gun. They try to ring him in but he escapes and leaves his decoy costume behind. Jirou continues to believe Rainbow Knight is a hero because he remembers he died before his eyes. Kikko asks Shiba more on Rainbow Knight. The kid he kidnapped, Daitetsu Maki was never found. She thinks everything was a scam to make Rainbow Knight to look like a criminal. But she is even more confused that he was told Daitetsu did exist. Jirou is not happy BL Clan is here to help protect his home since Rainbow Knight’s mask is located in an underground safe. When a commotion is heard outside, they see Equus slightly activated. They think Eye of Lucifer is trying to break the safe using this. It is puzzling because only Jirou can activate Equus. When Eye of Lucifer is seen carrying off Rainbow Knight’s mask, they think it is a trick. He might be holding a fake to make them check on the safe and he’ll steal it then. But to their surprise, the safe is already open. Only Magotake and Emi know its password. Again Eye of Lucifer escapes with his decoy suit.

While BL Clan is resting in their base, Rainbow Mask appears before them. He claims Yumihiko has stole his mask. When his friends couldn’t defeat him, he summons his mecha, Gigander 7. Rainbow Knight deduces Yumihiko’s power is to bend metals. This proves he is disguised as Eye of Lucifer. Because when the villain appeared, why didn’t he summon his robot? His power could easily make Equus look like it activated and open the safe. Yumihiko claims Rainbow Knight’s mask and Eye of Lucifer costume in his possession are real. When the real and retired Eye of Lucifer (an old guy now) confronted Yumihiko, he was worried his family is now being suspected. Yumihiko suggests donning Eye of Lucifer himself to commit crimes and to give him the perfect alibi. Of course his real goal is to lure out Rainbow Knight because there is something he needs to ask. A golem attacks them. Rainbow Knight saves Yumihiko. It is revealed to be Jirou behind that mask. He made one as a fan. Yumihiko remembers being kidnapped by Rainbow Knight who claims he is doing this to protect him as an ally of justice. But after he was rescued by the police, he learnt there was a demand for his release. Although he remembers him as a nice gentle man, he wants to make it clear he is evil. That is why he will defeat him and never become like him. Jirou calls him strong because he can differentiate clearly what is right and wrong unlike him. He adds that the beast that attacked his town when he escaped the facility, he fought it with Rainbow Knight. He sees him as the superhuman of justice but Rainbow Knight denies and claims he just tries his best to be one. Not everyone can be black or white. Even if they are grey and believe in justice, he wants to be that ally of justice. The golem is taken down. The culprit behind this is Akita and his comrade who believes he now owes him one so stop opposing the DFE issue. He also got back the original suits of Rainbow Knight and Eye of Lucifer. In the future, Jirou confronts Daitetsu who is no other than Yumihiko.

Episode 9
The bureau is keeping an eye on a superhuman family of 6. They are believed to be immortals. It seems the wife is waiting for the husband, Minoru to return. They sent out a signal 2 years ago but there hasn’t been any reply. It all began when some factory exploded. This family who lived there survived and showed no signs of anguish. They hijacked an ambulance and crashed it although no bodies were found. They find it strange for the superhumans putting on such spectacle that would only attract more attention. Jaguar believes the family might be missing one member. Originally there were 7 of them. He was there during the feudal times and watched over the family from time to time. Akita remembers a case from USA about an immortal family but they took 2 years to reply. It is believed Minoru had been taken as prisoner of war during World War II off the shores of Hawaii and then end up being used as human experiment to see what could kill an immortal and the secret behind immortality. Nothing worked and they don’t know what to do with him anymore. Only when the bureau gave details about the family, the Americans admitted to this. Magotake finds it odd that the Americans want to do shared research with them now and thus going to set Minoru loose with this intention to reunite with his family. Of course Jaguar finds it odd that they would release an immortal now whom they have kept hidden for 30 years. The plan now is to keep watching them and once they reunite, they will register the family with the bureau.

The family receives a breaking call from Minoru and they are so glad to hear from him. Suspicions start rising when there has been no contact from the American side. At this point in time too, Jirou seems to have left the bureau but makes a return to save the family. He disagrees with the bureau’s excuse of protecting them because he thinks they are just going to exploit them. Of course old flames are starting to be brought up but they have to put they aside now since the Americans have appeared in their giant Transformer! Looks like Uncle Sam doesn’t intend to do shared research after all. The family is not happy that this happened when they are a whole again but Jaguar argues superhumans need to be under government management. The bureau do all they can to fight the robot but Transformer dude can even melt Emi’s youkai! Minoru explains this biological weapon the American created. As long water is around, this robot also serves as a chemical plant that processes the fluids. But it has a ‘weakness’. It will self destruct once its mission is done: To kill the immortal family. This is of course to hide the destruction. There’s some crap about separating molecules from life but I don’t really understand that scientific crap. The family happily goes to be melted by it. The robot soon melts itself. But shortly, the family regenerates and head their own way. Jirou is still upset that the bureau believes in protecting and managing superhumans. It is like they’re saying they are beyond the control of a nation and mankind. It is just arrogant. I guess this means he won’t be coming back even if they ask. Because they cannot harm anyone and no one can harm them, they have already surpassed humans.

Episode 10
Jaguar is a time police from the future, Time Patrol (TP). He goes back to the past (present time) to stop a criminal from changing history. Meanwhile the police surround a house whereby an ordinary old man is holding a couple of superhumans hostage for scamming him. Jirou and the bureau can only watch. Suddenly a blimp belonging to Infernal Queen (IQ) kills off all the police (because they are inefficient for letting this happen), kills off the old guy (for resorting to kidnapping) and killing off the hostages (for being scammers). Yeah. Everybody died. As explained, IQ is a terrorist organization who decides to kill anybody they deem evil. Next day when Jaguar enters the office, he is asked by Shakkou, the commander of the public security force who suspects him to be a member of IQ. He explains more about IQ and their stealth technology that hides their identity. He shows them pictures of IQ’s members and one of them looks exactly like Jaguar. Jirou believes the photo is fake but Jaguar himself admits it is him. Then he uses his time stopping power to escape but Kikko manages to catch up and brings him back to her place to show him Jaguar’s clone she captured last night! Because he had different items from another era, she believed he wasn’t the Jaguar she knew. This Jaguar is from TP on a mission. Jaguar reveals more that he is also the creator of IQ as he wanted to change history since in the future where he came from there are no superhumans as that potential was taken away from humanity. Jaguar did confronted TP Jaguar before but realizing killing himself would create a time paradox and making himself disappear, he went back in a little further in time to change his methods. Therefore right now there are 3 Jaguars existing in this time line. The bureau Jaguar, TP Jaguar and IQ Jaguar.

Jaguar knows IQ Jaguar will be targeting and to kill the bureau. He throws a question to Kikko about time paradox. Something about if humans would disappear if all the evolved monkeys were eradicated. No. Time would just let it slip by since it would be an unsolvable paradox. But since Jaguar is not big enough to influence time, he would simply disappear. When IQ launches their attack on the bureau, Jirou faces off with IQ Jaguar and although he believes that evil in any form is inexcusable, he questions his method by eliminating evil would make the world a better place. After all, Jaguar was the one who made Equus for him. Equus manages to best the blimp. Jaguar confronts IQ Jaguar and explains why Equus is much stronger because he created it after the blimp. He shoots himself as IQ Jaguar warns he would disappear. But Jaguar already knew it would come to this and is ready to disappear. Eliminating him would just make him feel at ease. He dismisses his childish cold hearted way in making the world a better place so IQ Jaguar thinks he is just trying to erase his embarrassing past as an adult. After IQ Jaguar dies, Jaguar is surprised he is still around. Oh, but the blimp crashes. Did he die? Nope. He pulls himself out of the water and standing before him is Kikko. She explains she went to get TP Jaguar’s time watch and showed it to Magotake. He went to research on how to make time travel work and thus his watch began to research on time travelling. And thus Jaguar’s watch was created, creating a time paradox question of the chicken or the egg. Now he has become an unsolvable paradox and must exist for the sake of time. Like Jaguar once said about history cannot be erased. Just that things get written over. And that is why the past cannot be undone.

Episode 11
Claude, some Code Geass Zero knock off intercepts a US submarine. Jirou is seen talking to Touzaki. He hasn’t forgiven her agency for being involved in that chocolate and GaGon incident. She claims he misunderstood as they support the hypothesis the humans evolve into superhumans. They think the bureau is too liberal with that term and should include aliens, demons, robots, etc. After all, superhumans are humans too. Angel Stars are here performing for the launch of the US submarine. However Claude is seen standing atop it after it surfaces. He asks Angel Stars if they are fighting for justice, freedom or peace. They answer justice and their paycheques. He likes their answer and slices open the submarine! It reveals the inhumane use of superhumans as power source for the submarine. Shiba fights him. Claude believes superhumans should not be used for wars and conflicts. He claims superhumans fight for either justice, freedom and/or peace. The fight ends when Kikko tries to intervene. Claude releases some explosion that reminds Kikko of Jirou’s power going berserk. In the aftermath, clips of the submarine workings are shown on TV. As showing such footage would violate the superhuman law, the bureau believes Imperial Ads must be behind this and pulled some strings. They also think Claude is from that agency seeing their timing is more than coincident. While Jirou drives Kikko home, he mentions his disagreement of Claude’s ways and might be planning to fight him. But Kikko is more concerned about Jirou’s hostility to Imperial Ads. He brushes it off and believes Claude is not superhuman but a demon. Kikko points out herself as a witch. She can’t take anymore of this arguing and walks the rest of her way home. One day Kikko gets a call from Claude to come as he wants her to see something. She decides to go alone and it has been 2 months since Claude has stayed silent. Inside the hospital, she is shocked to see Claude killing the doctors. Wait a minute. Why is Claude shock to see her see this? Kikko starts feeling hot and eats some herb that turns her into some, uhm, evil sexy sorceress? She tries to extract answers from Claude but he says this is something he must do to fight true evil. Then she asks Claude if he is someone she knows. He shows a group picture with Jirou instead. With her suspicions confirmed, Kikko passes out.

Episode 12
A scene showing Kikko meeting Dr Nagakawa. He knows about her identity as a witch who gains her energy from human happiness and is here to find a partner. Read that as spouse. Taki and Takahara from Strange Power Risk Management have been requested by the police to investigate crimes of magic and science abuse. Using magic to materialize simple solidification of that moment carved deeply into that point of space in time, a secret passage is also revealed where dead corpses of superhumans were used to be experimented on. Could it be Claude got word of this place and came here for revenge? Kikko is not pleased to hear a new law to be passed that will put superhumans down with force. It makes Claude’s case more humane. She runs away but Jirou wonders if she and Claude had met. She gives him that group photo and tells him he should just reveals his true feelings for her. Jirou asks Emi about this unknown kid in the photo. Since he doesn’t remember, Emi tells him this guy was his friend, Jin. He is dead. Killed by Rainbow Knight. When Jirou goes home, he sees Magotake talking with his old friend, Yoshiaki Satomi who is now an old guy who receives advisor fees from Imperial Ads. Seems they were talking about that Daitetsu incident and the possibility of somebody being Claude. Jirou asks Magotake about Jin and he remembers how close they were and if he was alive, he would be a year older than him. This Russian superhuman, Golubaya Laika enters Japan’s airspace and is shot down by Master Ultima and the SDF. Kikko sees Psy-Kicker at a school to talk about Claude when Golubaya crashes down. The news is reporting all over about this crash. Golubaya is the first superhuman to head to space without a space suit but unlike Master Ultima who is a spaceman, Golubaya is pure Earthling. He once defied orders and attacked an enemy nation before giving his famous speech of Earth’s beauty that is worth risking protecting the lives of all superhumans. Although he was demoted, he might be in contact with Claude.

News spread soon that another student protest at the school opposing the mistreatment of Golubaya being unfairly shot down and calling for greater protection of superhuman rights. Psy-Kicker translates Golubaya’s last words he is here to see a friend before he passes away. That friend is Claude who wanted him to see the inhumane superhuman experiments. Claude believes superhumans are supposed to lead the world to peace but their freedom is taken away in the name of war. Everyone is separated from justice. He knows Kikko has great powers and wants to save people. He has her show her true feelings as she turns into her dark witch form. Jirou arrives too late to protect Golubaya and the superhumans are siding with Claude. He is attacked by Kikko and he believes she is mistaking him for Claude. Master Ultima arrives to retrieve Golubaya’s body. As Jirou is explained, Golubaya flew over Ogasawara Islands without permission and was shot down. He is told to concentrate in finding Claude. Deal with him or else a war will start. More revelations being Ogasawara used to be US territory before being handed back to Japan. There was a superhuman research facility there and maybe Golubaya knew something about it and was headed there. When Jirou confronts Claude in his hideout (courtesy being tracked by Emi’s familiar), he sees him talking over the phone about the kidnapped kids in Rainbow Knight’s incident that all except Daitetsu were killed. In reality they were sent to an island to be experimented on. The ransom Rainbow Knight demanded was made up. Claude gives Jirou the phone to hear the explanation right from the mouth of Magotake. Rainbow Knight threatened to reveal his existence to the public as well as superhuman experiments performed on children. If Rainbow Knight is labelled as a criminal, it would be easy for the government to strengthen their grip on superhumans. His sacrifice was necessary to form the bureau. Jirou is not happy his hero is set up as a criminal. He demands answers but Claude cuts the line. Claude reveals himself. He is Jin though he goes by the name of Nagakawa. He believes Jirou would have been sent to the island and cruelly experimented on just to bring out his abilities had he not been the adopted son of Magotake. He believes the bureau doesn’t protect superhumans. Akita disagrees. Although he wanted to protect superhumans for the sake of the planet, they were in a hurry to form the bureau. Claude doesn’t believe his word and cuts up Akita to reveal his true alien form. A cigarette smoke cloud?

Episode 13
Strange Power reports the cruel superhuman experiments in a press conference but the police arrest them for breaking the secrecy law. Satomi and Touzaki see Junichi Mitsuya the politician about the recent events as well as the student uprising in major cities around the world. Mitsuya thinks they are trying to cash in on the superhuman stars and selling other people’s goods. Mitsuya argues the revised law that is about to be passed in legislation will define humans and thus human laws will no longer apply to them. However Satomi argues back by defining superhumans, he can create any segregation law he wants. That never crossed Mitsuya’s mind! Later he calls the bureau about failing to find Claude. Akita is disappointed in him and possesses his body. Emi and Ullr talk about world balance if Claude and Kikko pledge. Also, Ullr hints that he is trying to find a partner himself but I suppose he can’t make a move when Jirou’s around. Jirou wants a way to bring Kikko back but that medicine that Nakagawa made for her, absolutely impossible. Emi is not pleased Jirou is doing this for Kikko. She has a spell that will turn her devil queen side into some human tiger. As for her original personality, well, if that is her true personality. However Emi wants Jirou never to see Kikko again. Because whenever he is with her, he is trying to become a person she wants. The uprising in Japan begins. The students do a Zero clone by putting on helmets and impersonate Claude to fight the police. Earth-chan intercepts and the crowd wonders whose side she is on. She doesn’t want that tragedy to happen again and she’ll punish both sides if necessary. But she is attacked by Yumihiko who is siding with the police. Then there is Shiba facing off against Psy-Kicker but Fuurouta helps the latter since he is an ally to all kids. Psy-Kicker and his group are then faced with Jaguar and his ant mecha army.

Of course the ultimate fight is between Jirou and Claude. Magotake and Master Ultima are watching them. Despite Claude has the ability to absorb and transform metal, it is Jirou they want. Although he is a product of coincidence, his powers are still needed. It is hinted Master Ultima sacrificed many superhumans to create Claude. Or rather his helmet that gave him his powers. Kikko is about to assist Claude but Emi keeps her busy. She pops a pill that takes away her devil queen side while her original body falls unconscious. Jirou remains defiant to his ideal he wants to protect and be an ally of justice the best he can. Claude calls his ideals foolish and can never be achieved and is only sweet on the ears. That is why he is going to defeat him and become a second Jin. He will not be his replacement and deny everything that is of him. Jirou releases all his locks to go berserk and smash Claude. Claude is going to absorb all the metal but he realizes his helmet is broken and thus his powers have gone out of control. He turns into a metal statue instead. Now it is Jirou’s turn to go berserk. You know you’re in big sh*t when Emi as the only person who could save him starts pleading for others to save Jirou. Judas senses this and calls on a handful of characters over the series. I’m not sure singing with Angel Stars would do any good but as Jaguar mentions, Jirou needs to be pulled out from Equus that is taking away his power. Psy-Kicker does the honours to bring him out before Emi puts back the locks and seals the raging flames. Earth-chan is seen broken. In the aftermath, the revised law has been rejected based on majority vote and many are in shock that Mitsuya had a change in heart. Little does everyone know this is actually Akita possessing him. Jirou has left the bureau without a word or note and this makes Kikko sad. You happy now, Emi? He did live up to your promise never to see Kikko again. What do you mean you meant for him to chase Kikko out of the bureau???!!! Next time make your intentions clearer!!! Ah, a youkai nevertheless but still a woman…

Super Management Crisis And Complication
Oh… My… God… You mean there is another season to continue?! You mean I have to put up with another season of confusion? Looks like it. But first let me get this first season out of the way. Sad to say, I was hoping to enjoy this series but it ended up confusing the hell out of me. Because of its non-linear storyline as well as the confusing plot over plot, combined with the many characters, it is quite unfortunate that I found this series to be hard to watch. Hard to understand. The confusion took that fun out of it. Gone are the days when superhuman and superhero stories were relatively straightforward and having that goodie-goodie tone. Now it has become this ‘sophisticated’ and complicated. I am sure that hardcore superhero fans and those with brilliant minds would appreciate this kind of work while dumb idiots like me resort to mind numbing ecchi fanservice season after season. Yeah…

Okay, to start off with why all this confusion was bad for my watching experience, let me begin with the non-linear storyline. You see, after a few initial episodes, I realized that they were going back and forth between the past, present and future events. I believe and am very sure that despite how disconnected they are, they are all connected and hopefully in the second season where all the dots will be drawn together. But as far as this season is concerned, with a plot that jumps from here, there and everywhere, it only further confuses me to think what the heck is happening. Because for example Jirou was part of the bureau as seen for most of the episodes shown but in the future it looks like he has turned renegade and fighting against them. Thus, such disconnected shorts, my mind was not able to put the pieces of the puzzle together and by the time this season ends, I have so much wondering to do and questions to ask. But thankfully, I forgot most of them by the time I penned down this blog :\.

This brings me to another point. Because of this non-linear method of executing the storyline, the disconnected stories of some of the episodes feel like standalone fillers. Like that Tartaros Bugmen episode I was wondering what the implication and impact of its story to the series except being Fuurouta’s only prominent episode. In many cases, their stories for the episode do not end there and warrant something like “To be continued… In the near future, b*tches! Hahaha!!!”. Like that robot couple reuniting and facing off with Shiba. Or that case of Yumihiko/Daitetsu in the future. The cliff-hanger ending doesn’t bode well with me since the next episode will be a totally different new story. Except for the final few episodes which became some sort of mini arc. Like I have said that these episodic-like episodes I believe are part and parcel of the bigger story and picture which hopefully will all be connected to when I watch the next season.

Then in most episodes you have like some sort of protests by ordinary citizens (why are they usually unhappy students?) who aren’t happy with something and therefore some blockade and standoff with authorities. Then the confusion comes when the superhumans or whatever gets involved. Whatever. I guess with unhappy people everywhere, it is no surprise to see something similar happening in reality but I’m not going to compare real life and anime here. Sometimes it gets confusing especially that GaGon case where giant King Kong was rampaging but the students were protecting it to go on a rampage. Huh?

The other thing impeding my enjoyment is the characters themselves. Don’t worry, they are cool. Each of them has their own personality and some with weird super powers. I don’t dislike that. What I am trying to say is that thanks to my previous couple of paragraphs regarding the flow of the series’ episodes, it gets even more confusing to try and understand them especially the main characters from the bureau. This means it goes without saying that other side characters or characters that for now appear only in that episode, I’ll be usually wondering their fate at the end of the episode or their overall impact at the end of the season. Except for the final episode where they try to mash in as many of the past characters so that you’ll at least remember that they still have some sort of role to play and related to this whole mess big or small, directly or indirectly. Then again, for the umpteenth time I will say it, they are all somewhat connected and yes, wait for it, I’ll find out more the next season comes.

For example, Jirou himself. Now, I remember clearly this dude says he is the only non-superhuman in the bureau. I am not sure if his memory is faulty (since he really does have memories he cannot remember) or he is being planted with false memories. And then halfway through, we see him spout superhuman-like flames. OMG. Is he a robot or a superhuman trolling everyone else by convincing them he is true blue human? So is he human or some sort of superhuman but doesn’t technically fall under the definition of what a superhuman is? Confused? I know I am. I want to believe his tragic past is simple like how he got involved with all this sh*t but it just got complicated after that Rainbow Knight revelation and all that other crap. Geez. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

But I still have to talk about the other characters. At least from the bureau. But they too are a big mystery since we are only fed bits and pieces of information about each of them. Like Kikko the magical witch from another realm. Okay. Emi the youkai who has more than just colleague ties with Jirou. Okay. Fuurouta the friendly ghost. Okay. Jaguar the man from the future who came back to the past and is now living in the present. Uhm… Okay. Akita the chief of the bureau who isn’t really an old geezer human as we think he is because he is some sort of, uhm, cloud alien? Well… Okay. Magotake the adoptive father of Jirou who looks more than just a scientist than meets the eye. Okay. Then there are other recurring characters like Shiba the detective who tries to quell the situation but often fails because crowd power or bureau intervention. Then there are those who aren’t done yet and more is to meet the eye than them like Master Ultima, Touzaki and Satomi. Are they on our side or against? Okay, too many already. Time to stop.

In short, the character development isn’t the best here but I won’t go so far to say as it is that bad. It is just that with the confusion and complication of everything, maybe there were more revelations about certain characters over the series. Just that I was just being such a stupid guy trying hard to understand. And while my brain was working, my ears weren’t so perhaps the important stuffs just slipped before my ears. Every character including other superhumans making their cameo here holds a lot of great potential and secrets to be revealed which I believe would be quite interesting to know. Even the background of certain incidents as well as how superhumans came about and all that conflict sh*t would be good topic to be explored in depth. But as for this season, I will just leave my thoughts here.

Those hoping to see some sort of romance brewing between Kikko and Jirou and even with Emi might be disappointed. I know I am. Because I thought this seemingly love triangle distraction would be the only thing that I would understand and enjoy. Shucks. Then perhaps they tried to troll us with Ullr but I suppose nobody cares about this cute little piece of crap. Because we are so used to seeing such cute little critters as mascots to assist the heroine instead of being a main character and love interest of others. Yeah, it will be freaking weird if it ever works out. Then again, everything in this series is weird simply because you don’t understand it well enough.

It is interesting to see the series exploring the theme of using superhumans and exploiting their powers for war. The biggest irony is that normal ordinary humans that don’t possess a shred of power are the ones suppressing those with actual powers. But at the end of the day, the question of morality, justice, freedom and peace boils down to even viewers’ discretion. Your stereotypes and knowledge will make you conclude whether or not the act of managing superhumans is good or bad. There will always be two sides to a coin. Anyhow, managing humans, super or not is one big messy piece of sh*t, don’t you think so? Come to think of another irony, do you think it is logical for laws made by humans to regulate superhumans? Imagine superhumans making them for ordinary humans. I smell hardship slavery and dictatorship… On a side note, for those who are wondering why this series looks similar to American DC Comics’ Watchmen, it is because the producers made this series based on its setting.

After all that confusing storyline flow and insufficient character developments, I guess I could say I also take some pleasure in watching the action scenes. In line with the superhuman theme, I guess it doesn’t disappoint as you have your flashy and exaggerated superhuman powers that defies logic accompanied with lots of explosions, booms and bangs. But these action scenes usually aren’t that long as they are just something to supplement the drama and plot. After all, with the bureau going around investigating stuffs, sometimes you might feel it is turning into a detective genre instead.

The art and animation style of this series can be said to be unique in its own way. At least slightly different than your today’s standard Japanese anime. It has lots of interesting character designs although some like Jirou reminds me like he popped up from some retro anime series. Uhm, like that dude in Cyborg 009? Yeah, definitely that similar hairstyle. Some look cartoonish like Fuurouta (I supposed it would be in line as the series’ joker character) and Earth-chan. Besides, I think many of the decent female characters have this bishoujo look. You know how a sucker I am for a pretty face ;p. The colourful backgrounds as well as the bright colours of the characters definitely give this series a superhuman and superhero feel. Also, if you feel that the series is like it popped up from a comic book, that is because some of the background tones use those dots to convey that sort of feel. They just didn’t incorporate onomatopoeia words.

As the cast list of this series is long, the only ones I recognized are Aki Toyosaki as Emi, Ayana Taketatsu as Earth-chan, Shinichiro Miki as Magotake and Nana Mizuki as Campe. The rest of the casts are Kaito Ishikawa as Jirou (Genos in One Punch Man), Sumire Uesaka as Kikko (Shalltear in Overlord), Eriko Nakamura as Fuurouta (Chisato in Koi To Senkyo To Chocolate), Tokuyoshi Kawashima as Jaguar (William Jones in Emma: A Victorian Romance), Tetsuo Kanao as Akita (Chad Adkins in Gangsta), Kenichi Suzumura as Shiba (Sougo in Gintama) andTomokazu Seki as Claude/Jin (Chiaki in Nodame Cantabile).

The rock style opening theme, Katararezu Omoi by ZAQ isn’t too shabby and fits with the overall mood and pace of the series. The ending theme is unique as it is weird. The Beginning by Yohsuke Yamamoto is one of those few anime themes to be an instrumental. Although the rock piece is acceptable, what I found weird is the ending credits animation filled with paper cut-out montage and animations as well as kaleidoscope effects. Superhumans on LSD? I also found out that there are quite a lot of insert songs featured throughout the series but I never noticed them since I was too busy trying to understand what is going on. Although those sung by Angel Stars I have noticed but it isn’t something that appealed to me.

Overall, this series isn’t an easy anime that any Tom, Dick and Harry could just jump in and simply watch and understand. It is not like your Hollywood superhero movies whom everybody can just watch and enjoy without even reading the comic book first or know a damn thing about the characters. You need to take some time to digest what is going on. This season isn’t as concrete as I hope it would be and more like wet cement. Still shaky and not solid yet but in time would be. Hopefully that is what the second season would be. This series is after all like superhumans themselves. They are still humans beneath all that fancy costume and flashy powers and deserve to have a second chance.

I thought Japan had come out with their own version of the American TV series, Bones. But who am I to compare since I never watched that show anyway. Sakurako-san No Ashimoto Ni Wa Shitai Ga Umatteiru might be a mouthful to pronounce and the title itself might be misleading because it literally means Corpses Buried Under Sakurako’s Feet. Saying this is a horror-cum-murder-mystery wouldn’t be exactly accurate either. Our titular character has always been fascinated with bones and an expert in analyzing it. She can tell and describe with intricate details of any bones you present to her. Yes, each bone tells their own story and you can safely guess that there will be murder mysteries that need to be solved based on her expertise in examining these bones. Interesting, no? If she isn’t weird enough for you, why the heck does she have an ordinary high school boy who isn’t exactly a bone freak following her around in her investigations?

Episode 1
Shoutarou Tatewaki sees people gathering before the school gates. A dead cat. He requests for newspaper and cardboard box and Yuriko Kougami brings it for him so he buries it under a sakura tree. As he narrates, the reason he doesn’t freak out as much as others is thanks to Sakurako Kujou. She is a princess who loves bones. She isn’t interested in human relationship (though it is sad she has a fiancé) and has dedicated her life and passion to bones, making a career even out of it. Her home is filled with assembled skeletons of animals. It is a scary place considering she lives alone with only a housekeeper, Ume Sawa. Shoutarou’s relationship with her isn’t clear but he follows her around to dig for bones. And so here they are at the lovely beach and he is made to dig for bones. To motivate him, she will treat him to Alaskan prawns if he finds a good specimen. After all the common animal bones dug up, they stumble onto a big one: A human skull! Sakurako waxes lyrical about the skull and from her touch and knowledge, she can tell the gender, age, race and even how this person was murdered! Yes, Shoutarou lets us know that each time they go bone hunting, they are very likely to find those belonging to humans. All the time. He calls the cops but Sakurako wants to keep this skull to herself and runs away! The policeman comes anyway to take their statements and all of that procedures, blah, blah, blah. Sakurako is confident they’ll never catch the killer. Because this skull is at least 100 years old! She can deduce from the molar cavity and such.

While giving a ride back to the police station, the policeman mentions about finding bodies recently because there is a double suicide washed up ashore just up ahead. This immediately piques Sakurako’s interest as she orders him to stop. I can’t believe that without any identification whatsoever, she barges into the scene and orders the forensics to show the body. Who is she to give orders? She can tell this isn’t a double suicide. It is a murder masked as a double suicide. It took Shoutarou to explain about her relation with her retired uncle who is a great forensics so the police agree to go for her advice to conduct autopsy. After giving her statements at the police station, Sakurako explains how she knows it was a murder to satisfy our curious brains. From the implausibility of tying the knot with a weaker hand and how the knot is facing the wrong way, there is also no obvious evidence that they died drowning and must have been murdered beforehand before being dumped. Shoutarou thought she was acting suspicious when she wants to use the public phone to call instead of borrowing his handphone. He discovers she is trying to smuggle out that skull as her reward! She is still adamant it is hers. Eventually she couldn’t keep it and Shoutarou couldn’t get his Alaskan prawn reward. But back home, Ume has prepared a lavish dinner (Sakurako’s call earlier). She mentions Shouko, Sakurako’s aunt who runs a rose garden visited while they were out. She also left a gift that would delight Shoutarou: Alaskan prawns!

Episode 2
When Shoutarou is at a convenience store late one night, he sees a little girl in the middle of the streets. Naturally he takes her to the police station so he could call her parents. But as a 3 year old, she can’t speak well. I guess police officer, Hiroki Utsumi lacks child diplomacy so she’s not showing him anything. Shoutarou fares better. Trading his candy to take a look at her backpack, they find a teddy bear with a bloodstained handprint. No, it’s not paint you dumb officer. Shoutarou has an idea. So he goes to bug Sakurako at an ungodly hour just to hear him out. After changing her clothes, Sakurako notices something wrong with her left arm. The girl won’t show it to her but after talking about that crap about regenerating bones, I don’t know if she understands it but she lets her see. Sakurako deduces there is some sort of fracture and possibly by force twisting. She could be a victim of child abuse. Although there is no pain and she could go on with her daily life, there will be swelling. This means there must be a time her mother must have brought her to a hospital to check so they can find out her name and where she lives from the hospital’s records. Although Utsumi did find the hospital, however the name and address are fake. It can be concluded the mother fears being reported for constituted abuse. While hanging out at the playground, Yuriko is surprised to see Shoutarou. Even more surprising is that she knows the little girl since she used to volunteer at a children’s centre and they used to play a lot. This means she knows where she lives and her real name: Yuuka Tominaga. At her house, Yuuka is happy to come home but upon opening the door, Shoutarou stops her from entering. He knows that foul stench. The stench of a corpse.

Time for Sakurako to work her magic and unveil the mystery. Checking the mom’s body, she feels there is something off. From the slash wounds, she deduces it must be a surprise attack and the killer must be someone she knows. The sound must have woken up Yuuka. Mother tried to save her daughter but the room is filled with garbage and the only way out was through this kitchen window. But why didn’t she escape herself. When Sakurako accidentally steps on a milk bottle, she believes there is another child. Turning over her body reveals a trapdoor and underneath it is a baby boy. Due to the heatstroke of being trapped, the baby is barely alive so Sakurako proceeds to do CPR. But the mad killer is back and stabs Utsumi. Now he confronts the duo. Sakurako cannot stop her process and Shoutarou is scared stiff. Wounded Utsumi returns to restrain the mad guy. Shoutarou turns into a brave lad to tackle this guy. Don’t worry, he has training in martial arts. But this brave act has Sakurako remember a traumatic event. She screams for Soutarou not to go. When it is over, she scolds him for doing something reckless and having a death wish. In the aftermath, Yuuka reunites with her baby brother, mad guy gets arrested and Utsumi is wheeled into the ambulance. He’ll recover in no time since the attack missed his vital organs. Sakurako deduces what happened although most of it would be speculation. The guy is a drug addict, returned for reasons unknown. He slashed the mother. She tried to get her kids to safety but only Yuuka managed to ‘jump’ to safety. Although she defended her children, it still doesn’t absolve the guilt of letting her child’s injury go untreated. Shoutarou is surprised she called him by his name. But he wonders if he misheard Soutarou then.

Episode 3
Shoutarou accompanies Sakurako on a hiking trail to find more animal bones. He is still irritated that he returned to calling him his unwanted nickname and doesn’t remember calling his real name for once. As he is about to ask who is Soutarou, they hear a woman’s scream. She has found a dead corpse with bones exposed. That sound is like music to Sakurako’s ears, no? And it’s time for Shoutarou to call to police too. As usual, she ignores all protocol to examine and deduce about the hiker of how he died, when he died and even the possible age based on the bone structure and fractures. I guess the detective wasn’t listening to her awesome theory and takes her away. Thus she has been sulking in her room ever since. Shoutarou brings cold watermelons to her room. He sees a photo of her and a young boy. She explains that is Soutarou, her dead younger brother. At the end of the school term, Yuriko wants to see Shoutarou. At the café, she starts getting a little upset. Uhm, is it about the chiffon cake he offered? But she thanks him for finding her grandma. Eh? The police was the one who told her. That dead hiker is her grandma. The police had classified her death as suicide but she kept believing it wasn’t so since the last time she left, everything in her place was left as it is.

Shoutarou brings Sakurako to Yuriko’s place as she explains about how grandma offered to take care of bedridden grandpa by herself. His dementia worsened over the years and the family continued to believe grandma’s words that she could do it herself. Yuriko feels guilty that maybe they just pretended not to know and pushed all the responsibility to her. After all, taking care of an aged person is very stressful and that must have driven her to suicide. As thanks for listening to her story, she gives them a piece of grandpa’s painting. But since she wants to know how grandma really died, Sakurako brings her to the site. She is very sure her grandma didn’t come here to die and thus did not commit suicide. It is true that she might have fallen off this cliff but it is not a height that would kill you. She just fell in a bad way but thankfully she didn’t have to suffer long before she succumbed. But as to why she was here, they head up the cliff. A very beautiful scenery of the mountains and town. This scene is in one of grandpa’s paintings. But the painting is not sunset but sunrise based on the direction he painted it. Therefore grandma got up in the wee hours to just catch the sunrise. Then there’s some scientific explanation about the sunrise rejuvenating your cells. Thus grandma came here to cheer herself and continue to live. Yuriko realizes she wanted to see the sunrise so she could continue living with grandpa.

Episode 4
With the things he has seen, I’m sure you can’t blame for Shoutarou to be worried about his mom and wants her to live a long life. After all, dad passed away when he was young. He gets a call from Utsumi needing a favour because his friend, Fujioka thinks he is going to die. Apparently all the men from his family die premature deaths so he thinks it is a curse and his turn is next. Did he mention Fujioka has got a family too? Of course Sakurako rubbishes this curse thing as mere coincidence. Utsumi wants a favour from Sakurako to tell him the curse is not real. Oh, there is one more thing. He has a cursed dog too. Apparently the dog that has passed through several owners, all of the owners died! The last owner was his uncle and he too died shortly after. The dog was supposed to be euthanized but Fujioka pitied it and took it in. Fujioka’s house is a large custom designed mansion. Must be his lucrative trading business. They meet him and his family. Their dog, Hector instantly jumps on Sakurako and takes a liking for her. They talk more about Hector. Utsumi thought Hector warms up to Fujioka but he says it feels like the dog is more of watching him like as though it has been staring at him for some time. Fujioka still believes in the curse and has already taken steps to assure his family lives comfortably without him. Since Sakurako calls all this crap, Fujioka shows a book containing the names of all the family members throughout the generations, their age of death and even their existing or pre-existing maladies.

Fujioka is even serious when he wants Utsumi to help his family when the time comes and protect them on his behalf. The argument gets too intense that Fujioka decides to cool off and go get his birthday cake. It’s his birthday today. The wife then continues about Hector. Maybe it likes dead animals because when uncle was found dead after a week later, it was seen next to his corpse. Sometimes during walks, it would run off and bring back dead animals in its mouth. She thinks it can smell death. Aside of finding Hector another owner, she also mentions a cursed painting he took in. Since this forest landscape picture was creepy, she has her husband kept it in the storage. They continue examining the various diseases the other men in the family died before they reach 50. Sakurako thinks it might be genetic and skin disease and respiratory illness might be the source. After all, Fujioka previously had asthma treatment. Hmm… Maybe he should just quit smoking? When Fujioka returns, Sakurako immediately wants him to show the cursed painting which she believes is close by here. Everyone is left shock at her actions but she knows the answer to solve his curse.

Episode 5
Fujioka brings them to the room where he kept the cursed painting. Immediately Sakurako has everyone put on mask and gloves because it is toxic. That smell that permeates the room is arsenic. The mould of the painting is the culprit since it is kept in poor conditions and with the humid weather, the mixture of chemicals from this painting that was painted hundreds of years ago out. The easiest way to solve this is just to open the window and let some fresh air in! Thus it can be explained that many of the premature deaths are from arsenic poisoning that could lead to respiratory and digestive system failures. Sakurako notices his nails and coughing as symptoms but assures them his daughter has not shown any signs but to be safe, take her to see a doctor. Sakurako also deduces why only men in his family die young. Something about stress levels releasing dangerous chemicals that constricts blood vessels and thus increasing cardiovascular risk. Women on the other hand have higher tolerance to stress. With the myth of the curse busted, everyone focuses on celebrating his birthday. He is going to continue to live, right? Relieved Fujioka wants to go wash his face and take his last smoke. But it seems he is contacting with some shady guy. The rest continue to talk about Fujioka. Utsumi and Fujioka’s wife knew him as a nice person but after they had their daughter, it’s like he started to change. It’s like he has accepted his curse and worked hard so he would leave enough for his family. When Hector couldn’t stop barking and Utsumi only recently met after having seen each other for a long time, Sakurako feels something is not right. Then it hit her that everyone has been deceived by Fujioka. He is the one who made that detailed family tree. Noticing Fujioka is taking too long, they head outside to see him bleeding to death. It might look like a mishap from the axe handling but Sakurako knows he is trying to kill himself from the way the wound is created and how the handle is broke.

Sakurako continues that Fujioka went to great lengths to adopt a cursed dog and cursed painting despite knowing and fearing the curse. His detailed research of his family and the trouble he went through to print it out so that he could conceal his suicide as accidental death by taking advantage of his family’s cursed history. Utsumi was used because a police officer’s words would have more credibility. Besides, isn’t it strange for him to suddenly trust Utsumi after not seeing each other for so long? Fujioka reveals after the birth of his daughter, he really wanted her to have a good life so he started investing heavily but a year ago the stock market crashed. Truth is, they don’t have enough to survive for next month. Sakurako is a little upset because he came up with this ridiculous plan not knowing how those left behind would feel. Hector was always watching him probably to stop this foolish act. He has fears like when his father died, the family suffered financially. His wife doesn’t care about the money because it’s her dream to grow old with him and they can sell the house to start over again. Although the ambulance siren is heard, they remember a car blocking the path so it will take time for the detour. Utsumi carries Fujioka and makes a mad dash for help. He owes him big time for this. In the aftermath, Hector is now adopted by Sakurako. Fujioka has got a job and doing fine. Sakurako is still puzzled about the appraiser of the painting who convinced Fujioka to keep it and even showing it to a baby. Sakurako believes curses exist but not in supernatural sense. By magnifying the anxiety, death can be easily triggered in some situations. The wind blowing in Shoutarou’s face surprised Sakurako a little as she saw shades of Soutarou.

Episode 6
Yuriko’s friends want her to invite Shoutarou in a group date for the festivals. I suppose she knows Shoutarou is into more of that woman so she didn’t invite him. It feels odd she turns up alone while her friends are with their dates. Yuriko thinks she sees a lady trying to jump off the bridge. A slight distraction and when Yuriko looks back, she is gone. But a letter is dropped where she last stood. Her homeroom teacher, Itsuki Isozaki happened to be here on patrol so she tells him what happened. As the letter has no name, he opens it. It sounds like an apology-cum-suicide letter. There is also a ring. Using a marker pen to determine the authenticity of this diamond ring, Isozaki can deduce it is a wedding ring and there is a date that goes back 3 years ago. Could it be the woman wants to follow her husband in death? Isozaki doesn’t want to search for her claiming it was her choice. Utsumi patrolling the area hears them out. Teacher and policeman get into an argument about saving this woman. I mean, how could they find a total stranger whom they don’t know how she looks like in this sea of crowd? Yuriko tries to reach Shoutarou to reach Sakurako but he isn’t picking up. The argument is escalating so she draws a hideous portrait of that woman so they could at least have an idea on how she looks like. The search remains futile and Utsumi has to go tend to a lost child. When Isozaki gives up, Yuriko chides him for not having someone close to him die. Before she could go look herself, he tells her he still believes he is right. However if Yuriko gets into trouble, it will be his responsibility. Therefore he will accompany with her to search for only an hour. Only an hour? He wants to watch the fireworks…

Yuriko happens to stumble upon Sakurako. And then the lost child announcement paging for her to return to the information centre! You can imagine Sakurako’s embarrassment as she chides Shoutarou for doing such a thing. I mean, she has no handphone, how is he going to contact her? Now Yuriko scolds him for not telling her he is here! His handphone? Forgot to bring. Unbelievable! Yup, looks like his worth is only his connection to Sakurako. Back to the case, Sakurako laughs at everything after reading the letter. This is not a suicide note and this ring is a mourning jewellery. It is practised in the west and often the hair of the deceased is used. However this ring is different because it is made of bones of the departed. Some high compression theory to explain why it became synthetic diamond. It is believed that woman has found a new partner in her life. Therefore she wanted to say ‘goodbye’ to her departed ex-partner and thus the letter. As the ring cannot be simply sold anywhere and she doesn’t want to keep it while with her new partner, the only way is to throw it in the river. There is a way to return this ring to her but to save all the hassle, Sakurako throws it into the river. She’s already starting a new journey in life and you don’t need this kind of things to bog her down. Case solved. Oh, and just in time for the fireworks.

Episode 7
Shoutarou is surprised Sakurako turned up for his school cultural festival. Didn’t she say she would? His class is running a maid-butler pancake store. His friend wonders who this pretty lady is and they couldn’t believe she is just somebody he knows. But they start to believe they may just be casual friends when she got up and left after she finished. Shoutarou goes to find her but it doesn’t take long because he knows she went to the science lab to check out the bones. This place is off limits so Isozaki catches them. However Sakurako isn’t happy how the bones are treated. They are placed like as though to collect dust. She makes a few adjustments and this impresses Isozaki. He then has a favour to ask of her. The prep room is believed to be haunted because of the bones assembled by a science teacher, Atsurou Sasaki long ago. He died on the job and the bones were left ever since. The principal has been bugging him to go through them but he remains sceptical. Since she is here, he thought of asking her to help go through them. She will in exchange for cakes. As a start, she looks through the list of all the items in the prep room. She is impressed with the large number of animal bone specimens. Shoutarou feels uneasy some are of pet category especially the skull in her hand is that of a cat. He then remembers Sakurako’s first pet was a cat and connects the dots that the cat specimen at her home is her cat. He gets upset to learn she only felt sad for a while. She even dissected and did autopsy on it to find the cause of death. I don’t know what’s his problem of getting so worked up. I know, nice memories with pets but doesn’t that differ with everyone? Shoutarou and Isozaki go through other boxes, one that seemingly contains the personal belongings of Sasaki. Then there is a huge chest in which Sakurako picks its lock. Inside are bones of a human. There is fire damage on it so it is believed instead of burying the bones after cremation, Sasaki took it back here. Soon, this is all over the news. The bones are confiscated by the police and even some of the animal specimens. It is learnt the bones belong to a woman named Natsuko Sone. She used to take care of Sasaki’s sister. Shoutarou remembers that name in one of the belongings. Shoutarou notices the cat bones missing. However it is also not on the list. He fears that Sakurako may have smuggled it out. When he goes to visit her at her home, nobody is in. Sakurako seems to be communicating with him via words on a monitor. This bed-ridden guy is supposedly her forensic uncle, Masamichi Shitara. She gets a book of unsolved cases he used to handle.

Episode 8
Isozaki is tasked to mail Sasaki’s belongings to the family since they find it troublesome to come and get the stuffs. But Shoutarou offers to go delivery it personally because he wants to know what kind of a man Sasaki is. So he goes to bug Sakurako and they drive over to the place of Sayuki Haruma, Sasaki’s older sister. Although wheelchair ridden, Sakurako notices her odd toe sizes. These Celtic toes run in the family. Sayuki confirms the bones were of Natsuko who was also her best friend. She asks if there are more bones found and of course they say there weren’t. It supposedly belonged to Natsuko’s baby. Sayuki narrates when Natsuko was first brought into the household to look after her after Natsuko’s mom who worked in the red light district passed away. The trio became close friends. When Sayuki was in her teens, Natsuko became pregnant. Although Sasaki was fond of her, he was not the father. The baby died because it was born premature. Natsuko knew of her position and had to dispose the baby. The family disowned Sasaki when he went into the teaching profession but even then, they did not get married. When Sayuki married, Natsuko immediately left and only a few years later they learnt she died alone. She feels bad and wants to give them a proper burial but it is sad the baby is not among Sasaki’s belongings. However Sakurako believes they are buried in a different place and by following the clues from the poem, they dig up an orgel buried underneath a tree. Inside contains a few bones. Sakurako deduces one of them to be a grown female so it may be possible Sasaki dug up her bones, placed them here and reburied them again. But she senses something amiss from the other bones. They confront Sayuki again and Sakurako believes the real mother of the baby bones is her because of the Celtic feet. She also found holes in her story that if Natsuko buried the child immediately after giving birth, wouldn’t that pose a threat to her life? And why did Natsuko gave birth in Sayuki’s room in the first place?

Sayuki explains the truth that she fell in love with an acquaintance of her dad. Natsuko would help write love letters on her behalf to him and such. They parted ways after they found he had a family but by then Sayuki was already pregnant and her dad was trying to arrange marriage for her. The rest was the truth. Natsuko protected her even it meant destroying any hopes of being with Sasaki. Shoutarou still doesn’t understand even if it was so, why didn’t Natsuko and Sasaki end up together. Sakurako says that Sasaki believed the baby belonged to Natsuko and that she might be his half sibling. Because Natsuko never knew her father and how could their dad bring in someone unknown into the household at that time? Later Shoutarou returns to Sayuki to hand back the poem. It isn’t about something grim but about goodbye. Shoutarou then investigates why Sakurako bothered to steal a cat’s bone when the creature is so common. Realizing her naming sense of why she named her cat after a bone part, he realizes there is a pair of cats. He explains his findings to her and knows she is an alumna of his school. Because she was able to find her way to the lab without getting lost and already knew Sasaki’s name. After all, his school was only opened to girls until 10 years ago. Sakurako claps his brilliant deduction and admits Sasaki was her teacher. A brilliant one that taught her the skills of the trade. In this box contains the bones of her other cat that she believes belong to her. Her cats were poisoned one day and Sasaki without saying a word understood what she wanted. Sasaki also viewed completion and peace in death so when Natsuko died, her bones were already with him and they were already together. He was happy indeed. Sakurako’s day is brightened up when Shoutarou says he already spoke to Isozaki to allow her to keep the cat bones and could just replace it with fox bones.

Episode 9
Sakurako and Shoutarou visit Yuriko. Today happens to be the monthly anniversary of her grandma’s death. There are a few belongings from grandma that was supposed to be for her but she can’t figure out which of them so she has Sakurako help out. Yuriko remembers grandma talking to her just before entering high school. It was something about a time when she will get married. Sifting through boxes of letters and poems, Sakurako shifts her attention to the paintings. One is a painting of lilies which is an obvious reference to Yuriko. The other is some island and despite its tragic grandma-grandchild story behind it, the painting represents a happy time for her. Sakurako tells the truth that she doesn’t know which painting supposed to be for Yuriko. Based on a letter she read, Yuriko received a doll for Christmas. She knows Yuriko doesn’t like that doll but her frustrations were never shown in any of the letters. The conclusion is simple. Grandma’s happiness is her happiness and Yuriko’s happiness is grandma’s happiness. In short, only Yuriko can solve this mystery herself.

When Shoutarou brings several puddings he bought at a local store for his next visit at Sakurako, he remembers he used to buy only this brand of pudding from that particular store when his grandma was dying of cancer and hospitalized. He kept wondering why and surprisingly Ume can solve this mystery. After asking Shoutarou a few questions that include the time and distance he cycles to the shop and hospital, the key issue here is time. His grandma was suffering from some bone cancer in which the cancer destroys her bones from inside out and it is a very painful illness. Each time Shoutarou visits, she will have the nurse inject pain killers as she doesn’t want him to see her in pain. But since the pain killers take time to be effective, the reason she sent him to buy those puddings to buy some time. Shoutarou realizes he had been a burden without knowing grandma’s suffering. But they tell him grandma know how he felt. Because you cannot take possessions to the afterlife, memories and times spent together are all that are left. The reason grandma chose pudding was because Shoutarou liked it and she wanted to see his smile. After Shoutarou leaves, Sakurako tells Ume that she will be taking her to see the doctor tomorrow morning as she knows her back hurts each time she stands up. However Ume has her pride and refuses till the day she dies. Sakurako notes it is time to put an end to this.

Episode 10
Before the snow covers the forest, Sakurako and Shoutarou walk through for the ‘final’ bone expedition. Isozaki also tails along but he is more interested in the plants. When Sakurako catches glimpse of a certain butterfly, they follow it and it leads them to a corpse. Thankfully, a hare’s carcass. Isozaki then gets a call from the parents of one of his ex-students. Because it sounded urgent he had to leave. Of course he had no car so the only way is for Sakurako to drive him back to change first. Isozaki explains the case about his ex-students. Hitoe Madoka, Futaba Nishizawa and Minami Tsutsumi were so close to each other that they were like sisters. In the second year of their high school, Futaba suddenly vanished. A note that sounded like suicide was found and the case was closed although her body was never found. Ever since, Hitoe and Minami grew distant so much so they were like strangers when they graduated. Now, 2 years later, that call was from Hitoe’s parents and she is also missing. They meet her parents but seeing they are like the rich noble kind, Sakurako isn’t kind enough to mince her words. Because why bother to call her ex-teacher instead of the police? Save face? Some family they are. Instead of talking to them to find any clues, Sakurako searches her room for better chance. The missing items are a large back and a handphone battery so it seems she must be going somewhere for a few days and without signal. None of Hitoe’s friends knew of her whereabouts and when asked if she had contacted Minami, the parents don’t think so because they believe their friendship is irreparable after so long. Shoutarou notices Hitoe was in the tennis club and suggests calling ex-members to find out. How? Conveniently Yuriko is part of the tennis club and agrees to help get in contact with some members. But all she could find are rumours about Hitoe might be dating a painter whom she became a model for.

They pay a visit to Minami’s household, which is a total opposite of Hitoe’s. Her parents don’t care and they look like a drunk or slut. As they search her room, mom mentions their fight stemmed from Hitoe sleeping with Minami’s boyfriend who was some painter. After Futaba went missing, Minami got a boyfriend but recently she found out Hitoe slept with him. Sakurako pulls out a painting from underneath Minami’s bed. Isozaki confirms the girl in it is Minami. This painting is also very similar with the one in Fujioka’s house so it is very possible that painter is connected in both cases. She also found receipts in the dustbin. This must be her favourite restaurant. They see her sleeping there and as they try to get more answers from her, she becomes more defensive. Sakurako even mentions Isozaki’s plant hobby was because of Futaba’s disappearance. Because he failed to save a student, this became his atonement. It’s like if he cares for them, they will respond and won’t leave. Still, she won’t help. Noticing Minami’s anaemic behaviour, she has Shoutarou call Ume to prepare dinner and a room for her to stay. Shoutarou wonders why she is being so nice suddenly. Sakurako observed her behaviour in such atmosphere, they won’t be getting any answers. Besides, if you want to lure a kid, always use food. It’s something she learnt from Shoutarou. And Minami sure tasted the best dinner and dessert ever. It brings back happy yet sad memories how Hitoe used to make such pies for her. At the end of the day as Shoutarou leaves, Sakurako invites him to join her for breakfast tomorrow. He is so happy about this food invitation (I guess kids do love to eat) that he couldn’t suspect Sakurako’s intention. Minami remembers meeting the painter, Hanabusa who was looking for butterflies. I guess she got taken in when he said he found her ‘butterfly’. She was so madly in love with him that she’d do anything. And that meant carving big butterfly tattoo on her back.

Episode 11
After Minami dreams of the good times with her friends, she wakes up the next morning ready to talk to Sakurako. She believes Hitoe is at the elm house. She brings them there and the cabin is quite messy with all the paint marks. Inside a room, oh, it’s those corpse butterflies again. Don’t worry. It is the carcass of a dog lying next to Hitoe. Seems she has taken sleep inducing drugs but the amount she took isn’t enough to be lethal. Eventually she wakes up and the friends make up. When Hector starts barking, Sakurako is happy that it means Hector has found a buried corpse near an elm tree. Digging the ground, everyone else becomes shock when Sakurako picks up a bone supposedly belonging to a young girl due to its size. Isozaki falls into shock and depression, trying to dig the rest out. With his bare hands. Sakurako wants to know which of the girls killed Futaba but they deny and say she committed suicide. Flashback reveals the trio found this place. Each has their own personal problems in reality and this secret base of theirs they could do whatever they want without a care of what others think. They were the happiest trio in the world. One day, Futaba suggests they commit suicide. Minami was against this but Hitoe agreed. When Minami saw how serious they were, she ran away. Being their friend, she can’t help worry and went back to check on them. Futaba has hung herself and Hitoe in a daze because she tried to stop her but failed. Minami then buried the body on her own. When Futaba’s skull and other parts are dug up, Sakurako easily concludes that Futaba did not hang herself but was killed via strangulation. Because of the force applied that broke certain parts, considering Futaba is light weight, such bones cannot be broken via hanging. Therefore the only reasonable reason is that Hitoe killed Futaba and faked her death. That was how Hitoe injured her hand by trying to fake the hanging. Hitoe continues to deny this but when Isozaki looks serious in wanting her to tell the truth, it is time to let the cat out of the bag.

Because there was only 1 rope, Futaba was going to kill Hitoe first and then hang herself. She was dead serious (mind the pun). No choice, Hitoe strangled her using the rope since she realized she doesn’t want to die. Then she faked her death and lied to Minami. Hitoe continues to blame Minami for abandoning them in the first place. Isozaki stops her from carrying on. Instead he apologizes for not realizing the pain they were all in and couldn’t do anything. Actually he was more afraid of hurting himself. You thought the emotional crying would end everything but Sakurako is further delighted when she realizes a skull part is missing. There has been a guy who has been stealing sphenoid (the butterfly shaped bone around the nose). There have been cases even during her uncle’s time and although Sakurako suggested it could be from the same person, it was shot down/ Because no trace of the killer is found, cases soon went cold. But now she is sure who is behind this: Hanabusa. Minami defends that painter to be her angel and has nothing to do with this. She believes he gave her a reason to live and took good care of her. Flashback shows how he ‘gave his love’ by carving those special butterfly wings on Minami’s back. Sakurako rubbishes all that and the girls were just his pawns. He would never love them. Unless they become bones. Minami becomes mad and is about to stab her. Unfortunately Shoutarou protects her and gets stab. Finally Sakurako shows some shock emotion. Don’t die Shoutarou! Thankfully he recuperates in hospital. She is there to explain the truth about Hanabusa who collects sphenoid as his prize. That is why this is goodbye. Shoutarou’s turn to fall into shock. As a cunning and dangerous man, he probably knows all about them by now. That is why she doesn’t want him to get involved further. She doesn’t want to see his bones. Shoutarou is mad that this is the reason why she never calls him by his name. He is right. I know he feels hurt but he doesn’t know how much it hurts her inside too. Because outside, she cries.

Episode 12
Shoutarou has not seen Sakurako ever since. He tried calling her but she never picked up. Oh, he had no balls to go visit her home too. So I guess it is time to fill us with a flashback of how they met 2 years ago. He used to come visit his grandma and at that time his senile elderly neighbour, Hatsue Yachi went missing. Prior to this, Shoutarou did see Sakurako before because he used to wander in the woods and reached her home. He always viewed her as an elegant lady till one day it came crashing down when he saw her took in some corpse. So when Yachi went missing, he suspected it was her. In fact he found Sakurako with her and thought she was the kidnapper. Actually Sakurako found her wandering in the streets and was trying to bring her home. But this shrine she was brought to, Yachi becomes depressed it isn’t the one. Although Yachi was sent to the nursing home shortly, she went missing again. This time Shoutarou had a hunch who might be behind. He confronted Sakurako at her house and she believed he was the one who called the cops earlier. Then she explains about her bone hobby and shows her entire collection. She puts on a surprised look when she learns his name. After Shoutarou told everything, Sakurako helped look for Yachi based on what she knows. They visited some shrine and the priestess said something about the older shrine was renovated and merged and some sort of god that the shrine was dedicated in praying to. This leads Sakurako to know where Yachi is and before you can guess what she meant by all that, they find her unconscious body next to a tree at the shrine’s old site.

Knowing that Yachi will go missing again, Sakurako feels the need to find what she is looking for. Shoutarou notes that