Tiger & Bunny S2

3 June, 2023

Oh well. Here is another old anime that has been dug up to be given a sequel. However I am not sure if they waited this long to give it another season. It might just be a big coincidence that Tiger & Bunny S2 came out in the year of the tiger (of the Chinese lunar calendar). Because the first season aired about 11 years ago when it was the year of the rabbit then. Sure a couple of movies between those years (which I didn’t see of course) but I’m still wondering if this was all on purpose. Just wait for a whole cycle before releasing the next season. Or maybe the western style superhero industry is not doing so well in recent years (are we tired of all the shenanigans of the MCU, people?!) and hence we need those Japs to show it how it is done. The irony.

Episode 1
In case you’ve forgotten what this show is about, we see criminals trying to escape after a heist. But soon heroes pop up to chase and apprehend them. Of course all this is broadcasted live as a reality show with hero agencies earning points for certain tasks they accomplished. I believe there are a few new heroes I have never seen before like Magical Cat, He Is Thomas, Mr Black and Golden Ryan. After the successful mission, a party is held to also celebrate this new buddy system implemented thanks to Tiger and Bunny who are the pioneers. However during the party, some sort of disagreement between Kotetsu and Barnaby and just like that they aren’t on talking terms. Although it is pretty much the same between Thomas and Mr Black. They might look like they’re cooperating and that is only for business purposes. Privately, they don’t get along with each other and the feeling is mutual. On another day, the hero alert is sounded. Thomas and Mr Black arrive at the scene first. They have to be careful dealing with this international criminal, Andrzej Hedman because he has this strange power of stopping anything that comes close to him. Including living things. Now that Tiger and Bunny are here, Tiger has a strange and risky suggestion. He tries to throw a fastball using his helmet at Andrzej to see if he can stop it. However he throws it at the wrong direction. This distraction allows Bunny to take him out. Wow. That easy?! Thomas and Mr Black are stumped that they are so coordinated and didn’t hear them say anything to each other. As they explain, they’ve known each other for so long, so they know the other well even without saying. So I guess this means they’re back to being buddies like before.

Episode 2
Subaru Sengoku AKA Mr Black enthusiastically asks the other heroes why they become so. He then mentions about Barnaby doing so out of revenge. Ryan tells him off past reasons don’t matter as Subaru explains he became one to save others. Subaru is then reminded by his agency to do better or he’ll be fired. Kotetsu and Barnaby soon learn Subaru was from a small town and part of a small time hero group. He managed to pass Stern Bild’s superhero exam and that’s how he got here. As for Thomas, he is the opposite. Graduated top from the academy and got in without even taking any hiring exam. This means Mr Black has lots of pressure. When the heroes are deployed to stop some criminal rampaging under some drug’s influence, Mr Black is also called but his alarm isn’t working. The case is solved and they don’t want to hear Subaru’s excuses of why it was somehow not working. They think of making him play a supporting role to Thomas and this doesn’t sit well with him. Plus, he is not amused being a superhero in Stern Bild is like a reality TV. Ratings more important than justice? Too bad he is told off to do a better job first. Then they can talk. Soon all the heroes are called in for a briefing. They have found the drug lord kingpin, Veron Urbano who has been distributing the drugs that has resulted in some deaths. However police are unable to arrest him since the manufacturing equipment he makes those drugs ‘disappear’. This is where the heroes come in as they want them to raid the warehouse where he is based in now. First, Origami will impersonate as his right hand man who got arrested today. He will get close to Veron to get the needed evidence before he uses his powers. As the plan gets underway, Mr Black wants to get ahead of Thomas. Because of that, he makes a mistake that alerts everybody. Veron orders all to be killed and so the heroes bust in and take everyone down. In the end when they apprehend Veron, the equipment is missing. Will he go scot free again? However Barnaby realizes the trick to his power. He did not make the equipment disappear but merely shrunk them. He gets arrested finally. Later the heroes confront Mr Black about his actions. He admits he wanted to get ahead of Thomas. Tiger advises him all that doesn’t matter as long as the person is saved. Mr Black realizes his wrong ways and apologizes. Later Barnaby talks to Yuri of how his life has slowly changed thanks to Kotetsu and others. He is starting to smile more often and although not fully satisfied yet, it could release him from Ouroboros’ spell.

Episode 3
Blue Rose and Ryan don’t get along too? Well, Ryan is being petty so I can’t blame Blue Rose for getting annoyed. Soon, Blue Rose gets a note from a sick girl, Nadia who is her fan. She wants to meet up. Because she is also a fan of Tiger, Blue Rose sees Kotetsu to talk about doing this meet up together. However Ryan sees this and misinterprets that Blue Rose is trying to ditch him and make Tiger her new partner. He talks to Barnaby about this although the latter is not really convinced since Kotetsu will always consult him first. But Ryan is being so pushy that he might be sowing doubts in Barnaby. When Barnaby goes to confirm with Kotetsu about Blue Rose’s visit, Kotetsu thinks he might feel hurt so he brushes it off as nothing. Suspicious… As Kotetsu and Blue Rose plan out their meeting, Ryan goes to secretly record them. Because of the interference and all, without the context, he tries to further convince Barnaby that they are planning their new partnership when it was actually on how to surprise Nadia. On a side note, news of heroes from Ryan’s city where he used to work got attacked. Ryan doesn’t seem to care. Fire Emblem reveals Ryan worked in Stern Bild before getting an offer from a rich guy to work in that city. One day while chasing a criminal whose powers is to make NEXT go out of control, Ryan became a victim. It caused a lot of chaos and the building collapsed on him and he has this hideous scar on his back. However the sad part was that his teammates didn’t even bother to help him and always thought of him as a rival. So when Ryan came back here, he felt glad to be back because he knew these guys won’t betray him. Blue Rose and Tiger go meet Nadia. Turns out to be a creepy stalker of Blue Rose who planned out this whole thing just to hug her! WTF?! Creepy! At the same time, Ryan and Barnaby barge in to catch them in the act. Of course Blue Rose and Tiger are shocked to hear his accusations. In the aftermath, Ryan apologizes for the misunderstanding. Blue Rose assures him that she is still his partner and won’t betray him. After all, it was his power that helped caught that stalker before he escaped.

Episode 4
Fire Emblem is complaining that his partner Sky High is too perfect? Wants to see his shortcomings?! Is this why is bummed out? But recently Sky High seems to be avoiding him too so Fire Emblem talks to others for advice. Soon, Sky High and Fire Emblem are needed for some event. Tiger and Bunny are also roped in. The event is the opening of some sky tower and part of the programme is for the people to ask the superheroes questions. There is a rowdy guy in the bunch. Mr Black wants to tell him off but the rest hold him back since it won’t be very hero-like. Disaster strikes when the structure starts to fall apart. Nobody did any QC?! The superheroes go into action to evacuate the people but since there are too many, Sky High and Fire Emblem combine their powers to just weld the structure back together temporarily. Once that is done, Sky High admits to Fire Emblem that he isn’t the perfect person he thinks. He too has his flaws and dislikes. The reason he was avoiding him was because he was trying to think how they can become better buddies and how to talk to him about this. He views Tiger and Bunny as being the role model for this buddy system and even so, they weren’t perfect in the beginning. Yeah, they’re still having their usual petty arguments.

Episode 5
Antonio is worried that his partnership with Origami is over and might split up. Talking to Kotetsu about this, it seems during a drinking session he got drunk and belittled his name. Because of that, Ivan is not pleased and avoids him as much as possible. Although they still work as a pair as professionals, apart from this Ivan avoids the man like a plague although Antonio feels sorry about it and wants to make up. Barnaby talks to Ivan who then tells him about his name being an origin story. When he was young, he showed a couple of kids his powers. However they soon ostracize him to a point where he didn’t even exist in their lives. One day while on a school trip, a heavy storm occurred. Ivan then used his powers to save the day. That is how his hero name came to be. Antonio with Barnaby and Kotetsu try to brainstorm on what to do. You mean a simple apology won’t do? Yeah, making it more complicated. Even Subaru chips in and suggests complimenting his name instead. Here comes Ivan so Subaru does the complimenting. Because he sounded unsure, Ivan thinks Antonio put him up to this. Antonio tries to deny but with the wrong choice of words, the suspicions only get worse. To a point Ivan thinks of changing his hero name to Toilet Paper Soft Wind?! Antonio goes after an upset Ivan but looks like they stumble into a robbery in progress. Their quick thinking and teamwork allow them to take down the robbers without any casualties (although Tiger and Bunny got the best part in dealing the final blow). Because Antonio now truly compliments how he lived up to his name, just like that their animosity is gone. They’re back to being partners and friends.

Episode 6
Lara Tchaikoskaya (Cat) has her mom who is her personal trainer too. However her biggest concern over her daughter’s growth is Dragon Kid. She believes her partner is deliberating trying to keep her from the spotlight and make herself stand out more. She wants Lara to view her as a rival and not her partner. This stems from mom’s bitter experience in which she got betrayed by her partner. During a robbery, Dragon Kid wants Cat to evacuate the people while she herself goes after the criminals. Cat disagrees and wants to come along too but Dragon Kids refuses. Eventually Cat disobeys and tries to catch a fleeing robber. She gets spooked when his shot misses. Worse, she falls off the ledge but Tiger is there to save her. Due to minor injuries, Cat is hospitalized. Mother visits and speaks her mind to Dragon Kid that all this is her fault. See Cat sheepishly agreeing with her. Mom accuses Dragon Kid of trying to hog the spotlight. Since her daughter is good enough to fight crime, she wants Dragon Kid to be her support. Of course she won’t do that and is willing to do it all by herself. After Cat is discharged, Dragon Kid teaches her some yoga? Then another crime scene. An arsonist. When Cat confronts him, her powers cannot work. Dragon Kid saves her and as they hide, time for Dragon Kid to reveal the truth. She apologizes for everything. She knows Cat’s powers are strongly related to her emotions. The more nervous it is, the power won’t come out. Dragon Kid initially did what she had to do so as not to pressure her. She thought of letting her follow from behind and get used to it little by little. Now it’s back to deal with the arsonist. Dragon Kid suggests Tiger and Bunny block his fire since their suits are fireproof. Cat will finish him off. At first Cat is nervous but with Dragon Kid having confidence in her, Cat’s power soon blast the arsonist away. Dragon Kid also admits the mistake of side-lining her that made her lose her confidence and should have relied on her powers. Lara goes home to tell mom that Dragon Kid isn’t the kind of person she is. But mom insists she is being nice to let her guard down. Trust mom on this. Okay. Whatever.

Episode 7
Kotetsu and Barnaby are supposed to go out drinking today. The former forgot his wallet so as he returns home to get it, he thinks someone has broken in. Turns out to be his daughter, Kaede and her friend, Saroja. I guess they want to get some autographs from Barnaby since Saroja is a Bunny fan. Barnaby lets Kotetsu spend time with his daughter since she rarely comes by. Hence Barnaby hangs out with his old school friend, Mattia Ingram who is working on some new experimental drug that would change the world. Then there is some law session for kids hosted by Yuri. Damn those kids say the darnest thing because they ask if it’s wrong to kill to protect someone. Long answer short, no. This means they view Lunatic who kills murderers means he is protecting them. The way they casually say all that… Elsewhere, Barnaby brings Kaede and Saroja to tour Mattia’s lab. It seems Saroja’s NEXT powers is awakening and she fears people will laugh at it. Mattia gives her hope that his new drug will tear down the wall between NEXT and normal humans so no one will have to go through what she’s going through. Back home, the real reason of Kaede’s visit is revealed. She wants to go to a superhero academy. But she thinks dad will not allow her. He points out it’s a dangerous job and she’s already saying I-told-you-so. She accuses him of being one but neglects her. She runs away. Time to go look for her. Kotetsu calls his brother about Kaede and learns his daughter is always worried while seeing him on TV. Barnaby finds the girls and advises Kaede to talk things out with Kotetsu. When Barnaby saves a boy from a speeding truck, this sets a chain reaction of accidents. Saroja fears to use her power so Kaede uses hers to copy hers to go save the dangling construction workers. However she runs out of power and all could have fallen to their death had not Kotetsu rescued them in time. Then they go to the superhero academy in which the principal is happy to see his old students again. Saroja feels she has no right to be here after freezing at the scene. The principal has her look around to decide what she wants to do because at this place they’ll teach her how to live with her powers. Back home, Kotetsu talks to Kaede again. He is not against her being a superhero but currently there is a superhero serial killer going around. He is happy she wants to be a superhero and will support her 100% but he needs time to think what it means to be a superhero and to do that, he needs to do his job.

Episode 8
When Thomas and Mr Black corner a robber, he gives up. This lets their guard down as the robber sneakily whips out his pistol and shoots. However he misses and hits the leg of a random lady. This makes Thomas mad as he beats him to a pulp! In the aftermath, Thomas receives 3 days suspension as Yuri claims this incident is similar with the one with his sister. Thomas denies it is and storms off. This incident poses the question if the people wants Thomas a superhero anymore. As the rest try to find out what happened with his sister, Thomas will not tell. How can they help if they don’t know? Trust is important. That is when Thomas says he doesn’t need trust. He has worked alone in his entire life and will go somewhere else as a hero if needed. When Thomas is nowhere to be found, the rest learn from his manager about his past. When his parents died in an accident, Thomas and his sister, Ruby were put into an orphanage. The director assured them they will be together but ultimately betrayed Thomas when somebody wanted to just adopt Ruby. Thomas took her and run but came into thugs who then fought back and she got shot in the leg. The shooter was arrested but Ruby was soon adopted and her whereabouts after that unknown. Thomas might seem like a rich prodigy kid but all that was just invented for marketing strategy. In reality, he worked hard and paid for his own stuffs. Life was hard. The rest are resolved to help Thomas but doing so might send a wrong message to the public they support his actions. Barnaby knows a way they can do it via actions. After Thomas visits the museum of a powerful NEXT, L. L. Audun, an old couple seeks his help to drive them back home for medications. He does so and in return, they make him stay for dinner and even stay for the night. Fun times. Then he sees on TV his hero pals all using teamwork to help save trapped construction workers. This is all part of Barnaby’s plan to send him a message. Then he calls his manager who tells him about everything. Basically the public wants him back as a superhero so don’t go believing those fake news that he is fired. Just when he is back into trusting others, the old couple turns out to be thieves who rob unsuspecting others into houses they rob by copying their fingerprints. Thomas beats them up and he is back to being an untrusting loner again.

Episode 9
While dealing with a museum on fire, an explosion occurs and it took out Bunny! Now he lies in comatose state. Flashback shows he saw a girl surrounded by fire. He went to help her but as she tried to save this artefact, it was going to blow up. Bunny took it and ran but got caught in the explosion. The perpetrator behind this is Vincent Carl whose power is to turn things he touches into bombs. Kotetsu acts like normal but he is going down on the ground to investigate. He is soon summoned by Yuri for this since superheroes have no jurisdiction doing investigations. This is a police’s job. Kotetsu replies he’ll do it on his own time. This has Yuri fearing the downside of this buddy system. Whether it is a rift between them or their partner clouding their judgment, Yuri has plans to dissolute this system in the near future. Meanwhile Mattia is in hospital after he injected himself too many of his experimental drugs. His partner, Randle Upton visits him to warn him that they are doomed for. Their sponsors are coming tomorrow to check for results and they might be pulling the plug on their funding. When Sigourney Rosicky arrives and sees no results, she calls off the funding. Randle panics and accidentally injects himself with the serum. Soon, she goes to see Nicolai Brahe who is the one backing the superhero hunt (both of them are from Ouroboros). She claims she has a drug that could make that easier. For years she has been trying to make a drug to give non-NEXT powers like NEXT. She has found that solution and is willing to give it to him. After all, their bosses want them to work together. Kotetsu responds to a crime scene that has Vincent wanting to steal something. Tiger arrives in time to take him down but bomb distractions allow Vincent to escape. Tiger goes after him but when he turns the corner, he sees Vincent beaten to a pulp. Who did this? Yeah, those crazy twins, Fugan and Mugan.

Episode 10
Yuri confirms with the heroes that none of them especially Thomas or Kotetsu did that to Vincent. Now all that’s left is to find the perpetrators and that is the police’s job. As Kotetsu visits Barnaby in hospital, he sees creepy dolls resembling the heroes hanging above. Before he knows it, Sky High and Fire Emblem get done in. They are in a frozen state. Back at base, it is revealed that there is somebody targeting superheroes but this is kept a secret seeing they don’t want to cause the public to panic. Based on Fire Emblem and Sky High’s cam, they see Fugan and Mugan mocking and playing around with them before knocking them out with a single punch. This has the heroes on the edge but they think they’re okay for those who have not revealed their real faces and name to the public. On another visit to the hospital, Kotetsu once again sees those creepy dolls. Who could have entered the room when the guards did not let anybody in? He calls his pals to warn them the perpetrators are still in the hospital. But before anything else could happen, Dragon Kid and Origami get kidnapped by those twins. In some subway, the twins argue about those dumb creepy dolls while letting the duo wait. In the end, Mugan tells Fugan to sit this out as he will handle them. Mugan says his power is to turn invisible. So he mainly fights Dragon Kid but obviously he is just fooling around. Dragon Kid then knocks out the power that causes the subway to blackout for a while before backup power comes back on. This is to signal to her pals where they are. So, everybody was just so sitting and waiting around except Thomas who was scrolling the internet to see if there are any power outages. Lucky him. Well, he says that if they stop and think about it, it is obvious this would be Dragon Kid’s next move. As they rush there, Dragon Kid calls them because with Origami, they manage to zap Mugan while he was distracted. Yeah, this dude is crying because he hates being zapped. But of course this is all a ruse. Mugan was once again fooling them. By the time they arrive, he reveals his true power is not invisibility but warping. So he wrests Dragon Kid and Origami and disappears to somewhere else, leaving everyone else frustrated.

Episode 11
Origami and Dragon Kid are found frozen. Since the enemies know their faces, the heroes have to start living together. Lara is feeling down and guilty for not having enough guts to go with Dragon Kid to visit Barnaby. That’s why Origami went in her stead. Antonio has got it worse. He was at the hospital but yet his partner got kidnapped. Can’t change the past but they have to look forward. Randle tells Mattia their experiment is a success. Their sponsors are pleased and will be continuing the funding. They’ll be rich and famous. Kotetsu as talking to Yuri about taking affirmative action. Yuri is against it since they are not sure the kind of powers they are dealing with. Meanwhile Fugan and Mugan warps into the hero’s base and attacks everyone. It’s a game of hide and seek as they also tease and taunt the heroes. In fact, they reveal their powers. Fugan can absorb any attack and return it as a stronger attack while Mugan does the warping. So, who does the petrification? While Karina and Ryan is keeping them busy, Antonio takes Lara, Thomas and Subaru to escape to call for help (the twins have a jamming device). This is successful as the rest return to fight the twins. Fugan gets injured so Mugan panics and warps back to the lab. Nicolai wants them to regroup but they are in a haste to finish the fight. Sigourney has the perfect present for them. This serum can boost their NEXT. Nicolai is against them using it but since the twins want to become stronger and surpass all the adults they hate, they take it. By the time Kotetsu and Yuri rush back, the place is decimated. Kotetsu having that I-told-you-so tone because are they going to wait like sitting ducks anymore? Antonio, Ryan and Karina have been defeated. The twins are super amazed with their enhanced powers. Finally, Barnaby wakes up.

Episode 12
The cat’s out of the bag. Fugan and Mugan making a public announcement how they have taken out several heroes. Well, if the media won’t cover them, they’ll do it themselves! Although Barnaby is back, no time for any reunion as the remaining heroes need to work together to put a stop to this. It seems the twins’ goal is to surpass Audun who defeated 17 superheroes. They plan to defeat 36 of them and our remaining heroes would reach that magic number. We see the heroes drawing up a plan to handle the twins’ troublesome power. Barnaby will be their trump card since they don’t know he is back in action. He will surprise them with an attack and also their plan hinges on blindfolding Mugan since he has to look where he needs to warp. At an empty stadium, Mr Black mocks the twins to come out and fight. As expected, the duo pops up. However they don’t like this place and want to change. If the heroes don’t like it, they can fight another day. Since this is jeopardizing the plan, Bunny then makes himself known. So everybody is going to warp somewhere else to fight. At some town’s intersection, there are lots of people who are whipping out their phones to snap pics and take videos but Tiger tells everyone to escape since this can turn nasty. Once everyone does so, the fight begins. The twins own everybody. Too fast, too furious for our heroes to see. But they aren’t giving up yet. Meanwhile Mattia is doing his own investigation as he snoops around the lab to see Sigourney and Nicolai continuing to conduct those drug experiments. Tiger somehow lands an attack that temporarily knocks out Fugan. It is deduced he cannot absorb attacks while attacking them. So is this where the tables turn? Maybe not yet. He gets back up and with all the absorbed attacks, he is even more powerful. They unleash it all on Tiger and the way he is sent flying through, this one could be fatal.

Episode 13
Flashback shows Nicolai brought the twins to his orphanage. However, other kids bullied them so they wanted to live with the old man instead. Ouroboros ordered Nicolai to use the twins to defeat the heroes as part of their plan to show the fearsome powers of NEXT. Nicolai was reluctant because they could die. Of course Ouroboros doesn’t care. There are replacements. All of them are pawns. Hence the twins decided to go ahead with this so as to repay their debt to him. Tiger is still alive but this makes Bunny made as he throws a flurry of punches at Fugan. Although this causes an extreme backlash on Bunny that incapacitates him, Bunny’s plan worked. You see, with so much power absorbed, Fugan’s body cannot take it and now his left arm is broken. However Fugan can still use other body parts as the twins target the remaining heroes. Mr Black is taken out but again, Fugan breaks another limb from all the absorbed power. Meanwhile, something happens in the lab. The experiment has gone awry. The prison whom the experiment is conducted on, Gregory Sunshine has escaped. He has stolen the drugs and killed everyone including Sigourney. Nicolai was in another room when he noticed the commotion and goes after him. With Fugan weakening, Mugan doesn’t want to continue with this but Fugan insists they need to finish them off. As they target Thomas, Cat draws inspiration from Dragon Kid’s words. Uses her power to blast them away. This causes Mugan to be pierced by a structure. Fugan tries to finish the rest but Thomas controls Bunny to send the last twin to his defeat. The heroes need their cooperation but the twins aren’t giving it. Though, they are happy the heroes acknowledge them as the strongest. Mugan with enough strength, together teleports with Mugan back to Nicolai. He is shocked to see them in this state. This distraction has Gregory shoot them all dead. With Nicolai dead, the petrification spell is undone as the heroes in hospital regain consciousness. In the aftermath, Mattia reports the discovery of the twins’ body with Nicolai at the lab. Police are further investigating the matter. The heroes recuperate in hospital and the recent incident has strengthened their bonds. Especially Mr Black and Thomas. Yuri burns away his dissolution proposal.

Episode 14
We see the heroes going about their usual training and job. Barnaby talks to Mattia who feels guilty for the recent events so he is trying to create a drug that will neutralize those effects. Mattia also notes that despite seeing the twins’ body with Nicolai, he did not see Sigourney’s corpse anywhere. There will be a show for fans to meet the heroes. Of course Tiger and Bunny who are in hospital and just recently got discharged, they will me a surprise return. This is kept hugely a secret from anybody. However Origami and Rock Bison accidentally see the secret plan and tell it to the rest. Well, they’re not appreciative of it because it spoils the surprise. Now they have to pretend not to know! Yeah, they’re getting nervous now! Even more nerve wrecking is that those guys will drop in right now as part of the surprise gig! And so the duo arrive, the rest fail in pretending but Kotetsu flubs his whatever lines. Awkward. As the show begins, the moment Tiger and Bunny are announced to make their surprise appearance, suddenly Yuri calls for an emergency dispatch. The show is still salvaged since fans can now watch live the action as the heroes go to do their job. Everyone welcomes back Tiger and Bunny to the job as they admit their pretending didn’t work. Oh, only Tiger actually believed they didn’t know! Anyway, it seems in this area, many NEXT people are going berserk, causing nuisance to others. The heroes quickly rein them in as they wonder what is causing this. Don’t look now because it could be that Gregory dude disappearing into the crowd.

Episode 15
All those rioters are unconscious and in hospital. However the source of their rampage still cannot be determined as all suffered some sort of unexplained seizures before starting their violent act. Meanwhile other heroes are thinking Karina and Kotetsu are dating since both are awfully close and he invited out to dinner. Of course she dismisses that and claims he just wants to thank her for some therapy and mental health care books she recommended. Soon, another call for the heroes to get into action because there is another outbreak of NEXT. This time it is happening at several places. As usual, they manage to handle it but there is one whereby Bunny knows she is faking and putting up and act before restraining her. He could tell since she wasn’t showing typical symptoms of those who went berserk. Apparently she wanted some attention from her lover whom she thinks doesn’t love her anymore. But she went too far and getting others hurt. And then there’s Blue Rose giving her a good piece of advice about love. Is she a love consultant? But why is she looking sad about it? Later Ryan talks to her. Something about this recurring nightmare he always has. A time when he was a hero in another town, the perpetrator used his NEXT power against his and got away. Ryan suffered a back injury. The nightmares are tolerable thanks to her being his partner. This in turn has Karina assuring that she isn’t sad or anything. She admitted she loved Kotetsu and wanted him to see her in a certain way. But that wouldn’t be the man she fell for. Over time, those feelings blurred and she is unsure if she still loves him or not. She also thanks Ryan for being her partner and it helped her focus on her job as a hero instead of always thinking about him. Whoever Karina falls for, Ryan will always be there to support him. Though, she quips he’ll be the last guy she’ll love.

Episode 16
The cause for those people going berserk still cannot be determined so they have been conveniently labelled as X. Of course, more such incidents as we see a happy Gregory doing this make several of such go berserk. The heroes are called in to stop this rampage again. As always, Thomas isn’t a team player and prefers to go solo. Not until Mr Black comes back to say his sister is trapped in the tower! Wait. I thought Ruby was missing?! Did miss something?! Better get your ass there fast. Meanwhile Tiger and Bunny try to apprehend this final X who is shooting beams discriminately. The plan goes awry because Bunny starts to feel a sharp pain in his leg. Thanks to Tiger’s improvising, the X is captured. Thomas manages to clear the debris and save the trapped people including Ruby. Time for an emotional reunion. As the heroes finish up, there is a group of protestors calling for NEXT to be kicked out of town. Gee, that’s the thanks they get? As Thomas and Ruby reunite, the latter knew HIT was him. She wrote letters to him but he never replied. See, that’s what happens when you don’t read your fan mail! In fact, Ruby thanks Subaru because he had arranged plans for them to meet. Yeah, Thomas realizing he has been a dick to him. Subaru claims this is to atone for his shortcomings. A previous mission showed Mr Black was clumsy, not only letting the criminal get away with his mistake but it impeded Thomas too. It was the cause of why their partnership is on bad terms. Hence it was for himself but laments he dragged Ruby into this. On the contrary, she is glad that she managed to see her brother. She tells Thomas not to carry all the burden himself now. WTF Subaru is the one crying the loudest at this touching moment?! Even giving Thomas a big hug! Hope that didn’t rub the wrong way. Barnaby sees the doctor who diagnosed some unknown cause in his leg. As there is no known treatment, he is advised to refrain using his NEXT as that aggravates the pain. Gregory is a happy and drunk man as he returns to meet the real mastermind behind this who is no other than Sigourney. Time to move onto the next phase.

Episode 17
I didn’t know Obama is the mayor of Stern Bild!!! Anyway, he is under various pressure to handle this X incident. Flashback a month ago after Gregory broke out of the lab, it seems he was wasting away himself. He tried to rob an old lady but wrong time, wrong place because the police arrested him. To his horror, coming to see him was Sigourney. However she offered him a deal. Either he can remain in police lockup forever or if he cooperates with her, he’ll get to live the way he wants. She needs his power and those drugs. So now that everything is going as planned, Gregory believes Sigourney is from Ouroboros from her mark. He thought it was just some local gang so Sigourney says the organization has its hands in almost everything. From politicians to the police all around the world. Ouroboros controls everything. As for its goals to make NEXT fight with non-NEXT, one reason is to influence the economy. Because she planned something big, he is not allowed to fail and will follow her orders to a T. She still haven’t forgiven him for shooting her, though. The government has ordered non-NEXT citizens to evacuate for fear that it may spread. Yuri then calls the heroes for a meeting. Because of the rumours, government has also decided to suspend all hero activities for fear X may spread to them and they’ll go wild. This means they cannot apprehend criminals and being normal citizens, it is against the law. Yeah, an explanation there were many cases of such in the past but this led to injuries and deaths. Hence the superhero system was made to protect NEXT. However this means other NEXT are not allowed to act as superheroes. So we see all the heroes returning their suits and having that solemn look as they begin their life as normal citizens. Enjoy your long break. It doesn’t take a genius to see that with no heroes around, crime rate has skyrocketed overnight! Yeah, the police can’t even keep up! Must be so proud, huh? Dumbasses. Sigourney is pleased that no heroes can interfere with her plan now. The party is about to get started as Gregory uses a fake ID to enter the evacuee camp of non-NEXT.

Episode 18
Thomas tells Subaru he is quitting as a hero. At least for Stern Bild. He will be going to another city to be one where they are recruiting. While Subaru accepts his decision, inside his heart he is reeling from this breakup. Gregory causes an X to go berserk at the camp. This in turn leads to more people protesting and the need to segregate. Hence Obama the mayor has no choice but to evacuate NEXT but this is just a pretence to segregate them. Kotetsu and Barnaby bump into an old janitor they now as he has info on the real perpetrator. He saw it with his own eyes how Gregory hugged and turned one into an X. Talking to the rest of this, they think this guy could be the same guy in Ryan’s past. However he brushes it off because such effect doesn’t last long. But what if Gregory has powered up? Barnaby confirms with Mattia a mugshot of Gregory since he has seen that dude in the lab. But isn’t he in lockup now? They have an audience with the mayor but he dismisses them as records show Gregory is still in prison and there have been no breakouts. The heroes decide to go look for Gregory. At the same time they learn of Barnaby’s condition. Don’t worry, we can all count on each other, right? So where to look for Gregory? Ryan knows this guy loves booze so you bet he’ll be in some bar. But so many bars in Stern Bild. Perhaps they should start where X went on a rampage. As they hit the ground, Gregory soon panics because he knows the heroes are looking for him. Sigourney has him relocated. Soon Mattia calls Barnaby to tell him he made a mistake. See this picture of Gregory? Looks close to the psychopath we know. He is a non-NEXT too. But soon a call from Pao Lin that they know where Gregory is. While relocating, he stopped by an alcohol store to have bottles delivered to the real place. The staff recognized him because he was rude. The heroes soon surround and ambush his new place but he is not in. From the looks of it, he knew they were coming and ran. Subaru believes there is a traitor. However it’s not among them. Well, well. Looks like a hypnotized Mattia has been ratting out info to him.

Episode 19
All the heroes suspect Mattia since he is the only one knows about their plan. Barnaby insists he is not a bad guy and it couldn’t be him so he is told about the possibility Mattia befriended him just to deceive him when the time comes. Kotetsu and Barnaby decide to go see Mattia themselves. They find him unconscious in a burning room trying to kill himself. Luckily they save him and in hospital, Mattia has no recollections of what happened. Barnaby talks about the probability of him being controlled by a NEXT. There could be a NEXT who could control others. Indeed. That power belongs to Sigourney was we see her control several people or rather shift her consciousness to others by just touching them. Eventually she got to Mattia and had to do damage control after Gregory slipped up. Gregory and Sigourney end up blaming each other but she can’t kill him because doing so will undo all those he has affected. It couldn’t be worse a timing as Little Aurora has stepped into the picture. She is a NEXT with great psychic powers and has been using her powers to help better the world. It is thanks to her that NEXT and non-NEXT get to coexist. Now she has turn her focus to help Stern Bild. This puts a damper on Sigourney’s plan so she tells Gregory to lie low. The heroes apologize to Mattia for suspecting him. For now, Barnaby will put him at a safe place. Kotetsu manages to get footage of their meeting with Mattia. After they left, they see Mattia talking to someone on the phone. How convenient, Kotetsu using his power to amplify and drown out the noises to hear what Mattia said. Can’t make out most of it but Mission A was mentioned. Mattia knows about this plan as he overheard Sigourney talked about it. Basically it’s to drive a wedge between NEXT and non-NEXT. The heroes go into full force trying to find Gregory. Kotetsu and Barnaby hear the local news that a couple of young punks have been on a robbing spree. Oh look, they just pass them. Both go on the chase. However this does not sit well with the police who think the heroes are trying to steal their glory. WTF. So when police reinforcements come by, our heroes let them continue the chase but WTF they are here to arrest the heroes for violation?! You f*ckers gonna let those robbers go scot free?! Meanwhile Yuri gets a devastating call. Yeah, those robbers shot and killed his mom at her home. There’s her body right there in the morgue.

Episode 20
Yuri visits mom’s caretaker in hospital as she survived the attack. She blames herself for this tragedy but Yuri puts up a strong face, telling her she isn’t and the fault lies with the killers. Kotetsu and Barnaby get off with a warning. They still continue to look for the perpetrators. Speaking of them, they’re going to assault this lone woman who just came out of her home. Unfortunately for them, here comes Lunatic as he burns one of them to death. Before he could do the same for the other, Kotetsu and Bunny drop in. Kotetsu gets wounded saving the culprit as Barnaby pushes himself to fight Lunatic. Ultimately the pain is too great for him to bear. Lunatic finishes off the other killer and then escapes. In the aftermath, all heroes are made to sign a disclosure to not act on their own again or they will lose their licence. This works in Sigourney’s favour as now they are contained and can’t act on their own. Mission A is back in action. After Kotetsu and Barnaby get discharged from hospital, Yuri sees them to sign the disclosure. Kotetsu is frustrated because at times like these, he wants to protect this city as a superhero till the end. This is when Yuri reveals the shocking truth that Mr Legend is his father. He thinks Kotetsu will become like him, a prisoner of his own identity. Troubled by his declining powers, Mr Legend resorted to fixing up crimes to maintain it. Isn’t that why Kotetsu came back even after retiring from his declining powers? His father became so obsessed that he abused mom and Yuri also lived through hell. So with this development, this could be a good chance to take a break from being a hero. Kotetsu thanks him but also shares what he thinks. He is grateful to Mr Legend for saving him and inspiring him to become a hero. Although what he did is unforgivable, if only he had a friend like Barnaby to stop him, things would’ve turned out differently. One day he will lose his powers and not become a hero anymore. But he promised himself to always be himself. Yuri comes home, reminiscing happier family times. He continues to be haunted by Mr Legend’s visions. To his surprise, father admits his wrongs and doesn’t want to be forgiven. His life has been warped thanks to his sins. That’s why he wants him to stay true to his justice no matter what form it takes. Mr Legend vanishes and now Yuri doesn’t want anybody to go. All alone. Poor guy. Must be so heart breaking :’(.

Episode 21
We see the heroes bumming around and some packing their stuffs ready to head for the evacuation centre. Ryan’s boss tries to talk to him not to cause trouble because by doing so, he might cause trouble for Blue Rose and her family. Lara’s mom will go to the evacuation centre with her to further talk about her future. It seems she is trying to point out she has been right all along. Lara’s ranking has not risen ever since and she’s like playing a supporting role to Dragon Kid. Lara disagrees because she views Pao Lin as her friend. Too bad mom won’t have any of it. Sigourney is glad Mission A is back on track and promises Gregory the life he wants. But behind the scenes, she shows her true snake colours as she tells her subordinates to get rid of him once the mission is over. Soon on the news, the prison that is holding the X is up in flames. Oh, you bet Gregory is behind this as he makes them go berserk and do a prison break. Kotetsu is going to risk being a rogue hero but Barnaby is here to pick him up to meet the other heroes for some special taping. From what I understand, because they are on this special programme, that is just the cover story for them to go into action covertly. Kotetsu talks to Barnaby privately because he knows something is wrong. Looks like the doctor still cannot determine the root of his pain but knows the more power he uses, the more painful it will get. This means he cannot live his life as a superhero anymore. That is why he wants to do this with him as a last chance to bring heroes back. Kotetsu then talks to him about what he just told Kaede about the meaning of being a hero. In the end, Kotetsu has no reason to stop him so it’s his choice to come along. The heroes get ready to go into action.

Episode 22
Lots of dead guards inside Abbas Prison. Yeah, Gregory using his power to make prisoners go berserk and rampage. Hence our heroes think the A in Mission A stands for Abbas. As the heroes go into action to stop the X convicts, this is played live over TV so you bet many are in shock that the heroes are operating instead of being suspended. Especially the police who still think the heroes are out to steal their glory. Therefore it’s a 3 way fight. Heroes vs police vs X criminals. With the heroes here, Gregory is panicking since this isn’t part of the plan. He calls Sigourney for an escape but she tells him to continue his job because if the heroes stop all the X, the mission fails. Gregory tries to make his escape but finds a certain prisoner who might prove useful. The heroes continue stop the rampaging X as some of them possess troublesome abilities like swapping places and swimming through solids. So far so good, not letting any escape outside the perimeter of the facility. Meanwhile Ryan and Blue Rose head into the facility where they believe Gregory is hiding. They find the bugger in the flesh but he isn’t panicking. Because he sends Audun to deal with them. Now we see the real perpetrator, Obama the mayor is getting ready to kill Aurora. That is what Mission A actually stands for.

Episode 23
Ryan and Blue Rose can’t stand up to Audun’s power. Now he is helping Gregory escape and previously Gregory told him these superheroes are the villains in wreaking havoc across town. Being behind bars for 10 years must have taken a toll on Audun as now he thinks he is a superhero who will help save humanity again. Hence we see Audun taking down the heroes one by one. No match for him. The mayor is giving his speech as he waits for Aurora’s arrival. WTF plot convenience because Mattia notices he is a left hander and the one who controlled him. IS HE THE ONLY LEFT HANDER IN TOWN?! Oh right. Those weird glowing eyes. Hence he deduces Mission A is to kill Aurora and he is being controlled by a NEXT to do so in order to drive a gap into both sides to fight forever. The mayor welcomes Aurora on stage before making his shocking proclamation that all NEXT can go to hell. He pulls out a gun but before he can shoot Aurora, here comes Lunatic. He is going to kill the mayor but Tiger steps in. Obviously the one remotely controlling the mayor is Sigourney. Because of the struggle, Lunatic gets cut and this allows Sigourney to control him to go after fleeing Aurora. Lunatic unleashes his blast but Tiger uses his body to protect her. Meanwhile Bunny and Mr Black are the only heroes left to face Audun. Mr Black wants Bunny to go aid Tiger but can Mr Black do it alone? Don’t worry. Thomas is back! Sorry, it’s not to help you but to meet his childhood hero, Audun. Okay. Whatever. At least Bunny is now free to go to Tiger.

Episode 24
Mr Black and Thomas are having a hard time against Audun. So are Tiger and Bunny against a controlled Lunatic. But first, time to delve into Sigourney’s background why she is doing all this. She and her group of friends were all NEXT. However their powers were weak. Only Sigourney’s power was considered somewhat useful as she was approached by Ouroboros. She is one of those Nemo Children. Because her friends were treated like garbage, they cannot take it and took their lives. Sigourney always believed NEXT are just pawns to non-NEXT and promised herself to right the wrongs to save NEXT. That’s why she didn’t hesitate to use her own comrades as pawns to achieve her goals. She worked hard to rise up through the ranks of Ouroboros but that one blunder made her demoted. So she thought of killing Aurora to regain her reputation. Thanks to Aurora, people’s perception that all NEXT can be useful. So, this dumb reason is why she wants to kill the old lady so badly? She also blames the heroes for having a guilty hand in this since their very existence made people think NEXT have to be useful to them. Other fallen heroes get up to help save the injured people. Yeah, time to preach to us why they love being heroes. Thomas once again thinks Mr Black is in the way and that he is best working alone. This causes a rift between them and Audun thinks of using it to his advantage but gets defeated by their last minute combo. Apparently this is a ruse to let his guard down. Yeah, the duo know each other well inside out. However Audun wakes up and smashes them. Tiger and Bunny use all their energy to take down Lunatic. Sigourney transfer her conscious to another subordinate to flee but Tiger and Bunny won’t allow it. Suddenly Gregory shoots and this also effectively kills Sigourney. Wow. That easy? Then he wants Audun to kill the remaining ‘baddies’. However Audun has his doubts. All the ‘villains’ he fought were valiantly acting like heroes. Plus, he needs to go help the ordinary people. Gregory cannot accept this sh*t and injects his serum to make Audun’s powers go berserk. Can Tiger and Bunny do it together? For the first time Lunatic fights side by side with them to take Audun down. Tiger then tries to apprehend Gregory to stop this madness. However he thought Gregory’s power manifests when one is hugged. Apparently it is not. Just a lick and Tiger now goes wild!

Episode 25
Bunny tries to stop a rampaging Tiger and is having a hard time. Other heroes are having their hands full. Oh my, what huge convenience as a report plays over the airwaves as he reveals the heroes were gathering proof that X was created by Gregory instead of being an infectious disease. Yeah, that is enough to get everyone back to root our heroes again. With Lunatic having a hard time fighting Audun, suddenly Tiger regains himself to help. The only possible deduction is that he has lost his entire powers and thus no longer a NEXT and no longer under Gregory’s control. About time the dumb police chief decides to cast away his pride and support the heroes. After all the sabotaging! Bunny is left to deal with Audun but his suit breaks. Kotetsu throws him his as he receives new power to kick the daylights out of Audun. The day is saved. Ryan and Blue Rose corner and escaping Gregory and beat the sh*t out of him. Kotetsu and Barnaby follow Lunatic’s blood trail. Not sure if they realize he is Yuri as he unmasks himself. They claim he is a hero but Lunatic tells them to carry on their brand of justice before burning himself to death. WTF did he just hara-kiri?! Speaking about that, the police transporting Gregory do another hara-kiri as they crash their vehicle off the cliff just to kill him! Holy sh*t! With that, all the X return back to normal. Now all the heroes want to know what Kotetsu will do since he is now a normal human. Basically, without powers he still wants to help others and will continue to think what he can do. Well, you don’t need to be an official superhero to be a hero. As for Barnaby, he still wants to continue being a hero despite his leg still hurts like hell. So he wants to be like Kotetsu? Even if they can’t be together anymore, they’ll still be partners. Lastly, Tiger and Bunny inducted into the hero museum as buddy hero legends.

Unsung Heroes Of Reality TV
Well, will there be any more sequels in the future? Do we have to wait another cycle of the Chinese lunar calendar to get our answer? I don’t know. The way things are shown, it pretty much ended everything or at least for the most part of it. Sure, maybe new heroes will pop up and the rest will continue doing their hero job. I can’t see anything else major happening thereafter. After all, this series was originally written. And sadly, this season was adapted by Netflix. Ugh. I won’t say it is that awful and bad but well, I’m not really impressed either. I thought at least things will be different since Cyberpunk: Edgerunners was well done. Looks like Netflix back to being Netflix again. Not even the heroes can save them.

The stories and plots for this season feels a bit underwhelming. I don’t know, I just don’t feel the excitement watching it over 2 cours and find certain episodes to be draggy and boring. Especially those that try to focus on the superhero pair and character. Oh you know, try to give some limelight and focus on their issues and relationship with each other as a partner and working professional. It was supposed to give us some more insights into that particular character but at the end of the day, it just felt boring. Yeah sure, they all have issues but nothing that is grave enough to effect anything because it is all sugar coated for some feel good factor anyway. Like for example, Lara’s issue with her mom. Lara is too timid to speak her mind to her mom who wants her daughter to be the main star instead of a supporting background character. Uhm, I just don’t feel the intensity of that issue there. And it all got somewhat resolved or at least mom had a more favourable thinking after seeing Lara in action on TV that put her life at risked. Yeah, that actually changed the mind of a stubborn old goat. So to speak. Then you have Thomas who is a non-team player and it’s like his character is written to be a dick because of his lone wolf tendency. And of course, once he gets reunited with his sister, his world view suddenly changes because team work not so bad now. Wow. So easily resolved.

Apart from focusing on the relationships and dynamism of the superheroes and their buddy system, the plot itself isn’t all that exciting. Of course I’m talking about the need to have villains because that is what superhero genres all need, right? Yeah. An important ingredient after all. Anyway, the first half has an interesting crazy pair of twins. Too bad they are as shallow as we know them. No wonder they took half of that first season focusing on our superheroes while they were just being relegated to the background, disposing off non-important heroes in other lesser known towns. I thought the twins could have been better fleshed out but unfortunately they were written in such a way just to play that shallow villain of the day. Since they were crazy and unpredictable enough to give the heroes a run for their money so that had me interested in them for a while. Too bad they got killed off in a pathetic way so that’s that.

Then came the second half which rubs me and many other viewers the wrong way. You heard me right: Racism. While it is nothing new nor it is nothing wrong to have the theme of ordinary powerless people to fear those with superhuman powers (mutants in X-Men, anyone?), it is sad to say that living in an age where wokeness and politically correct has been permeating the media, I can’t help wonder if the series was trying to subtly hammer in some sort of message even though there is a big chance that there was no intention of this. Hence seeing the second half’s plot of puny normal joes and janes trying to protest a bunch of people who possesses something they don’t, are these people dumb or what? You know if you pissed off a NEXT, one can hurt or even kill you with the NEXT power? Sure, liberty, rights, freedom, whatever. I guess it’s just us being humans to find racism in everything even if there is none.

And so that theme for the second half felt somewhat surreal and it’s like the much needed plot to tie one hand in the back for our heroes and not give them a free pass to do as they wish because had they do so, everything would’ve been solved so easily. Yeah. Good guys always play by the rules and end up finishing last. But alas do not fear. There is this thing called plot convenience and cliché that allows all good guys and heroes to always win in the end. Phew. Therefore the second half’s antagonists are so much more boring and pathetic with drunkard Gregory and scheming Sigourney failing to be even half as interesting as the twins. Yeah, it’s a big disappointment seeing Gregory himself is a coward and relies on others, this is only so because we can hate this despicable character with no chance of redemption and all. His death is so WTF but I guess we don’t care. It’s just to tie up loose ends. And what’s this about Sigourney’s past and ideals? We don’t care! That’s why they could easily kill her off like that. Good riddance.

Sure, they want to put in themes which are not so black and white, themes that dwell in very grey areas and its very thin line that separates what constitutes being good or bad. Because people nowadays are so complicated and we can’t have a straight up good vs evil story since that will be so boring. That’s why they’re trying to confuse, uhm, I mean make us think if having superheroes around is a good thing. To put it simply in my opinion, there are 2 sides to a coin and nothing is perfect. While the justice system isn’t all that perfect, superheroes are the closest thing an ordinary joe can have to protect from super extraordinary bad things. So when things are seemingly corrupted and you question the justice system and all, it is fine to do so but you can’t lump everything all together and call it bad. Yeah, it’s tough being human, no? Strangely, Boku No Hero Academia’s current season is also facing such issues… The very great thin line between justice and evil.

Speaking of antagonists, I thought Ouroboros would finally play a more prominent role this season but looks like this worldwide shadowy organization continues to remain in the shadows. Well, maybe they’re working in the shadows and not shown to be in focus so as to keep the mystery on them. After all, it is said they have many well-known people working under their belt so it could be a huge thing. Makes me wonder if the heroes can take them on if they ever decide to go global with their nefarious plans considering how we see them struggle with such low level villains. Yeah, what if Ouroboros doesn’t think our current heroes are not even good enough to stop them! Oh well, controlling the economy and making money sounds good enough for them for now. Otherwise, their presence this season felt paltry since we don’t even hear anything about their goals or whatever. My guts tell me that it could be Ouroboros who had a hand in killing Gregory because that WTF scene, this could be the only plausible action. After all, perhaps Ouroboros aren’t some inelegant crude brutes and even if they are going to do something evil, it must be with class and style! Yeah.

As for the characters and our superheroes more specifically, what more can I say about them? As already said, some episodes focus on some of the pairs but that doesn’t bring anything much to the table. So if you’re fans of Sky High or Fire Emblem, you’d be disappointed that they only have 1 stinking episode they were prominent in and that episode also felt crappy. Otherwise, they’re just reduced to side supporting characters. And to think this pair is the #1 and top rated pair in Stern Bild. This means the other characters, new and old also mainly face this sort of problem. Yeah, that’s the problem when you have quite a number of characters and don’t have enough time to flesh them out. Forgive me since I didn’t watch the few movies that came out before so I am not sure if I missed anything or if any plots were brought over. Because from what I read, that Ryan guy made his debut in one of those movies whereas Cat, Mr Black and Thomas made their debut this season. Sad to say, they hardly made any impact at least in my books. Yeah, noticed how the final arc’s bosses are always somewhat fought by Tiger and Bunny while the other heroes are taken out? Too bad you guys aren’t the main characters. On a side note, noticed how the superheroes’ moniker are either based after animals, colour or elements? Is there a theme they must follow that I am unaware of?

Of course our titular character gets the bulk of the attention. Safe to say that they are really like best friends, which is a far cry from their cold icy relationship when they first started out at the beginning of the first season. It’s good to see them being this close as friends but oh I don’t know, I just felt there was something lacking that would make me want to support them. After all, Tiger being the guy who cares for his pals and everything, at the same time is facing issues of his relationship with his daughter (which was conveniently improved in the second half because of his seemingly winging it answer of being a superhero) while dealing with his own declining powers. For more added drama, Bunny too is having his setback that he might lose his powers forever. What a way to ramp up the drama because if Bunny can’t fully utilize his power to the max, that means our main characters are in danger, no? So will he do self-preservation to stay a hero or will he risk it all and be a hero for the last time? Well, let me say that there are everyday heroes who don’t wear capes… After all, even superheroes are still humans despite all what’s being said and done. See, Kotetsu still being Kotetsu even after completely losing his NEXT. Who says one has to retire as a superhero if you don’t have NEXT? Might be an ojii-san now but he is still a hero in the hearts of many! Like Kaede eventually.

And blurring the lines further between heroes and villains, we need to have Lunatic fighting alongside our titular heroes once. Because that’s how it is. I’m sure we all know at this day and age, most of us sympathize with the villains’ goal and that’s why they make such drastic changes unlike heroes who always want the status quo. However it is only the villains’ methods that we do not tend to agree on that mostly divides our full support. So in Lunatic’s case he became a villain because of a tragic past. But I guess people like him need a chance at redemption and that’s why a temporary alliance with Tiger and Bunny to show that even people on different sides can put aside their differences to work together for a common goal. Yeah, are we tired of hearing this theme already? But shockingly, they decide to kill off his character in the end and I don’t see why they have to do this. Can’t come up with good reasons to pit Lunatic and the heroes anymore? Yeah, this double character persona thingy is perhaps not looking so good so might as well kill him off and call it his redemption. He already had his brand of justice, now it’s time to pass that torch to others.

Then there is this Mattia guy whom I have mixed feelings about. Basically he feels like he is shoehorned in for a lot of plot convenience. It’s like as though the heroes needed an ordinary civilian to help deduce the mystery or at least help them make a decision for their next moves when their hands were tied. Without him, the heroes will still be running around like headless geese trying to find out the source behind X’s rampage. How convenient, right? And to think that he was Barnaby’s old classmate, this makes it easier for the writers to put him in because well, that’s what are friends for, right? So that Barnaby too doesn’t look like some sort of nerd. Because other than his fellow hero colleagues and Kotetsu as his partner-cum-best friend, you do note that all this dude does when he gets home is to water and talk to his plants! Is that sad? Well, not my place to say but to each his own.

Lastly, I need to comment about the police of Stern Bild. Basically they’re the epitome of what a dumb cop is! Especially the big police chief himself. Ugh, see how ugly his fat face is too! Anyway, the police are depicted as dumb here because that is the only way to make superheroes special, right? Especially in the second half when all they could think is to salvage some reputation by taking down criminals themselves, they got owned so badly they don’t even know it. Yeah, why can’t I help think this is yet another politically incorrect theme of hating the authorities? Anyway, these dumb f*ckers are so dumb that they could see nothing but their own selfish greed to get some glory from the public. This also serves to play a subtle plot that our good heroes must play by the book and not break any laws until the plot calls for it. Then it’s okay because by then when the series ends, the people will mostly back them again. So yeah, thanks a bunch you dumb cops for being an idiotic stumbling block. Geez. Too late for trying to support the heroes in the end. Sure, better late than never but with all the dumb sabotages, I’m still not going to have favourable views of the police in this anime.

If there is one thing I want to note about this series, it is the excessive use of CGI apart from the 2D animation. Well, I have to admit that the CGI animation is not bad but it does make the characters look weird. This is mostly employed when our superheroes don their outfits and head into action. While the CGI is smooth and satisfactory quality, sometimes their movements are too smooth and that makes them move in weird ways. At least better than many anime series out there with obviously bad CGI. As for the 2D animation, they still maintain their quality there so it’s good to see they didn’t skimp on it. Okay, now I have to talk about how certain characters resemble certain real life celebrities. The most obvious being the mayor of Stern Bild suspiciously looking like America’s former president, Obama. It couldn’t trigger my suspicions further because Obama is a left hander and the mayor is one too. This cannot be a coincidence, right?! And why does Aurora look like the late Betty White?! What Fugan and Mugan look like visual kei pairs while Gregory is like a love child between Steven Tyler and Mick Jagger on drugs. Yeah.

It’s nice to have all the original seiyuus from the first season reprising their roles. Of course there are new ones joining like Yuuichi Nakamura as Ryan. I thought Mamoru Miyano played both the twins since they sound indistinguishable but apparently it’s only Fugan while Mugan is played by Kensho Ono (Floch in Shingeki No Kyojin). The one that shocked me the most is Takehito Koyasu as Gregory. I should’ve been so familiar with his voice but I guess he sounded gay and different from his usual trademark that it never even crossed my mind it was this guy! Yeah, I’m still surprised as I type this. Woah. The others are Shouya Chiba as Mr Black/Subaru (Rein in Beast Tamer), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Thomas (Shido in Date A Live), Tomori Kusunoki as Cat/Lara (Natsume in Deca-Dence), Takako Honda as Sigourney (Hone Onna in Jigoku Shoujo), Hiroyuki Kinoshita as Nicolai (Doussant in Radiant S2), Shuuhei Sakaguchi as Mattia (Mest in Fairy Tail) and Tetsu Inada as Audun (Gamagoori in Kill La Kill).

Unison Square Garden who sang for the first season, continues to sing the opening theme for this season too, Kaleido Proud Fiesta. If you are familiar with their style of rock music, you can feel very much at home because to me it sounds similar to their other anime songs they sing like Kekkai Sensen and Yozakura Quartet. The first ending theme is Aida by Ano. This song is weird to me. Firstly, the somewhat screeching electric guitar as the background music. Then the song gets really noisy when it picks up. It sounds more like interference than music if you ask me. Lastly, the singer’s voice sounds weird. Sounds like a kid singing a song (singer is about 25 years old, by the way). For the second ending theme, Pilot by Taichi Mukai suddenly becomes a slow hip hop ballad. I guess we need a change of pace. After all the heroic action, sitting back and relax is what Kotetsu and Barnaby need.

Overall, while this season isn’t all that bad, it still misses some mark and fails to stir some excitement in me. Even weirder with the series playing that racism theme card so that set off some weird vibes. Even if it was all just for entertainment purposes. Sad to say, I still feel that the current and sixth season of Boku No Hero Academia is still far more enjoyable than this one in terms of superhero related content and action. Not sure if they are going to make movies, specials or another season down the road but when that happens, looks like our heroes will be called out of retirement to don their superhero outfits again in the name of justice. And save us from the sh*tty entertainment that we are drowning in! Oh well, who are we to blame since we created and consume such mess we are in right now. We are just as guilty.


2 June, 2023

I was having this dilemma whether to watch this series or not. While I knew Tokko was basically a supernatural themed anime and the reason why I stayed away from it in the first place, there were some sites that listed it as comedy. Oh gosh. You know what that means. Confused the hell out of me. So is this a funny series laced with supernatural themes or what? Are you sure they didn’t mislabel this anime? From the promotional poster and synopsis and even reading some reviews didn’t show that it was such. And so you know me, the only way to blow away all those doubts is to watch it and ascertain it for myself.

Episode 1
A hole opens up in town. Lots of monsters come out. Kills everybody! Bloody! Blood everywhere! Ranmaru Shindo trying to run away from it all but this topless hot chick saves him. Turns out it is a dream. Reality should be better because his sister, Saya doesn’t flinch being in her undies before his eyes. They’re siblings, right? That’s what they always say in anime… Both are graduates from the special police training academy and they’re already late for it but make it in time. His best friend and partner, Ichiro Hanazono knows about Shindo’s dreams since he has been having it for years. Shindo notes the intervals are getting closer and closer and it’s like this topless chick trying to get close to him. Yeah, even Saya knows about this and wants to introduce her colleague, Mikae as his girlfriend! So stop dreaming about naked girls! How caring. WTF?! Shindo narrates 5 years ago, a mysterious mass murderer massacred 97% of the households at the Machida complex. The victims included his parents. Yeah, it was bloody all over. Hence it is the reason the siblings joined the police force to solve this murder mystery. Shindo and Hanazono get posted to some mobile division under Kaoru Kunikida. Damn, is this the yakuza?! Then the duo stumble upon Lt Kureha Suzuka. Hmm, she licks Shindo’s face and takes an interest in him? Of course later she notes that this is to ascertain that he ‘tasted’ like coming from the other side. Later other colleagues tell the duo about Kureha being a genius because she commands her own special security section in this division AKA Tokko. Rumours have it that they have special and dangerous weapons and that they chase things that aren’t human. When an earthquake occurs, Kureha knows a hole has opened so it’s action time. Shindo and Hanazono soon get a call of a murder crime scene. Get ready your barf bag because blood is everywhere and the victims’ bodies are chopped up into pieces. This doesn’t shock Shindo since this seen reminisces of his parents’ murder. Suddenly strange zombie punks attack and kill the police. Eerie voices saying they smell a traitor and survivor among them and to kill them all. No bullets can kill them so is Shindo done for? Until Sakura Rokujo cuts off the parasite from their body. Squish those bugs too to play it safe!

Episode 2
Right after all that gore, hazmat guys take the bugs as specimen. With the Tokko division here and saying how they’ll report this as a drug gang fight, Kunikida is not impressed and he wants answers right now. Some of his men were killed, you know? However Kureha plays it cool and even issues a subtle threat for that persistent yakuza guy to back off. Shindo talks to Sakura as he realizes she is the girl in his dream but isn’t aware she is part of Tokko. She warns him that survivors of Machida are being hunted. He is surprised she knows him as she says they talked before. However he doesn’t remember. Kunikida and his assistant, Shogo Muramasa try to uncover the grotesque mystery but all those photo evidences are locked behind some password. Restricted access. Not much of a hacker, huh? Talking about rumours how Tokko always show up right after at such incidents, they’re going to investigate this thoroughly. Shindo dreams of a young Sakura at Machida. He gets devastated to see her being killed by a demon or something. Yeah, Saya thinks he is a lolicon now dreaming of a young girl! WTF?! With this bugging on his mind, Shindo goes visit Machida. It’s been a while he is back here. Security at the front is tight so he manages to sneak in. So much about security. Seeing this place brings back bloody memories. Then he remembers this place where he met Sakura and now remembers her. Noticing a huge hole in this complex, he soon starts to feel weird when some power wells up in him. Muramasa tells Kunikida of this weird hand that controls people. They think catching the owner means nabbing the culprit. Of course the Tokko guys are already on it. Then some zombie turns homeless people into park into one of them by implanting those bugs. Kunikida dispatches his men to the scene. Yeah, he thinks he can kill them using big firearms! Didn’t do anything! Time for Tokko to show up and show it how it’s done with a sword. A gentle reminder you normal people can’t do any jack sh*t on this. Oh f*ck, Kunikida won’t lose and thinks of calling in the tank and chopper next time?! Seriously, dude?!

Episode 3
Shindo confirms with Sakura herself that she once lived at Machida and that she is also a survivor. She warns him that those things will continue to show up until he takes out the main body. Can she just tell it straight on not be so ambiguous? No wonder Shindo with that confused looks. Me too. Back home, Shindo notices strange tattoo marks on his body. Some short horrifying visions to go with it too. Saya spots those marks and because he claims they are bruises from his job, she starts nagging him to go to the hospital to check and she’ll go with him. Yeah, now she’s like his mom. Next day, Shindo gets his check-up but the doctor doesn’t find anything strange in particular since he isn’t feeling any side effects from it. Just to be sure, he takes a blood sample to test and have him wait. Being the guy not to sit around, he notices a strange brick building across. Wow. Heavily guarded with those MIBs. Yup, time to sneak in. These guys need to do something about their security… He then spots a comatose guy in a room on ventilator. His mark starts to act up and causes him to pass out. When he wakes up, he is in another room with Sakura. Meanwhile Kunikida dispatches his men to the next scene. He orders them to shoot those monsters. Uhm, I thought guns don’t work? Precisely. Just keep shooting to buy enough time till Tokko shows up. Their goal is to gather as many evidence before them. Too bad they arrived too late and Tokko already swept the place clean. Sakura explains that guy is her younger brother, Hiroki who has not woke up in 5 years. Back then, she heard Hiroki’s voice calling for help so she rushed back all the way from school only to see him bloodily injured. Shindo spams her with questions but she cannot say. All she can tell is that Tokko exists to hunt those creatures. Meanwhile the doctors who are testing Shindo’s blood get attacked by those bugs. Can Saya stop those possessed doctors? Oh damn, her scream must be so loud that her brother could conveniently hear her and rush back to protect her! Of course Sakura dealing the killing blow. Slice ‘em up and squish ‘em real good! Later Sakura explains that those monsters are attracted to the blood of Machida’s survivors. Hence not only Shindo is targeted. Those monsters are known as phantoms who come from another world. Saya organizes a mixer and WTF she called Kunikida over? She thought it would be too dangerous for her brother so she called a more dangerous being!? WTF this logic?! Because of that, the siblings get into a heated argument. The fun becomes stress instead…

Episode 4
Oh my. Saya trying to set up her brother to go on a date with her senior, Yukino Shiraishi?! As she works in the forensics lab, all the more reason he rejects. As Kunikida continues to order his men to look for evidence but all the case files are cold, hence the only place where they can get those proofs they need is at the crime lab. I guess it’s time for Shindo to ask Saya for a favour to hit him up with Yukino. So we see them go on a date (damn Saya tailing them?! She no life or what?!) as Shindo talks like he is interested in the kind of job she does. So after explaining the kind of work a forensic worker would do, he would like to visit her workplace. Wow. She brings him there just like that? Sure, a few security checks and all but they really let an outsider in?! And the way he dresses so casual… WTF?! She shows him the work she has been tasked to research by some government organization. Basically, a research on some Italian alchemy about immortality and the likes. See those demon illustrations? Resemble like those bugs, huh? However this conversation is cut short when her father reminds her not to tell such stuffs to outsiders. So as he leaves, Shindo mentions about seeing those monsters but those evidence of scattered body parts are always taken way to this lab. He wants her to help look into it but she cannot say more as she knows she is being watched. Meanwhile Muramasa has also stumbled into some Vatican lore about those demons. Seeing the similarities? Back home, Shindo asks Saya about Yukino’s dad. Was he always that grumpy? Saya explains Yukino’s mom was killed in a robbery and the culprit was never caught. Guess what? It happened 5 years ago. Coincidence? He wants to call Yukino but Saya says she might be at the lab for night duties. Yeah, more lax security as Shindo manages to somehow get in after hearing some screams. Some demon killed a couple of security guards. Shindo faces him off and recognizes him as the one from his visions. Weakling can’t do anything but when the demon unleashes his bugs, his tattoo activates to repel them. Great timing again from Sakura to show up and slice those bugs but demon dude just got away. Tokko identifies that dude as #12.

Episode 5
Shindo is recuperating in hospital. Don’t worry, he is fine. Sakura visits and sees his tattoo. She tells him not to further get involved in this. You think fate will allow him?! Anyway, she calls that tattoo as the mark of destruction. Shindo is soon back at work as a worried Yukino visits him. She needs to talk to him. Noticing those MIBs watching her, he brings her to his secret place on the rooftop. So, the MIBs don’t follow here?! She shows him a photo of a demon’s hand that was brought into the lab for her father to research 5 years ago. She explains her father’s specialty in biology and about evolution. It seems he believes in the theory of altering DNA to evolve. Hence theoretically it is possible for a bug to become a dinosaur. She knows all this because she was his assistant as she shows more photo evidence of that bug. Soon, as more corpses come in, a special division was created where he was transferred to continue his research. In fact, that demon hand she learnt later came from Machida. Ever since, there have been rumours of staffs going missing and sightings of demons eating people. She is very afraid about where her father’s research is heading to. She brings him back to the lab and this time the security won’t let Shindo in. Oh wait, they change their mind since her father specially requested to meet him. Shindo mentions he was here the other night and saw demons. He accuses him of creating monsters. Of course he rubbishes that because why would he do that to kill humans. He talks about some old European legend whereby aristocrats used the Box of Druj to open the door to the underworld. However demons popped up and ate humans so they got scared and tried to close it. Too bad, the box became 108 demons already. In reality, he mentions a drug addict using this legend to go on a murder spree and that’s that. He ends the conversation and WTF, did he just leave Shindo to his own device and not escort him out?! Yeah, Shindo sneaks around and stumbles upon a lab filled with demon parts. Surprise motherf*cker because Yukino’s dad and his staffers are part monsters! He claims this is evolution and to save humanity from destruction. They turned into so by eating those parts. They want to take Shindo as their own but it seems Yukino protects him and gets fatally wounded. She’d rather die as a human than turn into this monstrosity. He notices Shindo’s tattoo repelling his attacks and notes about its symbiont. Time for Tokko to show up again and slash all the monsters. Yeah, security is really so lax…

Episode 6
Sakura is having nightmares too… Ryoko Ibuki reports to her chief, Ogata about the incident at the lab. As for Shindo being a symbiont, if the time comes, they’ll deal with him properly. Shindo gets the worse job to go out drinking with Kunikida. Bad mood. But luckily Kureha is here to steal the most eligible bachelor from that yankee. Hey, better to date a hot babe than a hot headed boss, no?! Kureha plays with her words and claims they aren’t hiding anything and is putting out info the public needs. Because if it was top secret, all of them would be dead. The duo do date-like stuffs as Kureha avoids questions about the job although she hints she was reluctantly trust into this position and even suggested they run away from everything. Just kidding, right? Eventually she brings him to the grave of her brother, Akito. She was also a resident of Machida and her parents too were killed. The siblings were out but rushed back to the complex only to see blood everywhere. Then they got infected by the hole and collapsed. When they woke up, they’re in hospital and Ryoko says they’re been sleeping for 2 years! As they have the tattoo, she recruits them to fight those things since they want revenge so badly. Ryouko’s mission is to find people with such tattoos. It is proof that they are symbionts AKA phantoms living inside them. As the legend of Druj is real, hence Tokko’s mission is to gather all 108 parts and seal that gate. However those parts only come from the main body like that demon Shindo stumbled into at the lab. As he is the 12th phantom they’ve dealt with, oh boy, it’s a long way… With this info, it is all up to Shindo to whether he wants to awaken his symbiont. Doing so allows him to use them as weapons that are the only things that can kill phantoms. We know what will happen if he fails to control it and it controls him, right? As parting gift, she kisses him. As for how Akito died, Kureha killed him after he turned into a monster :’(… At least got a part…

Episode 7
Tokko’s Takeru Inukai is fighting BDSM monsters?! Too bad he gets injured while protecting a group of high school girls. Because he is out of action, Ryoko suggests to Ogata to recruit Shindo as they are short on manpower and that the gate’s threat is growing. However Ogata mentions the higher ups are reluctant. Hence he wants her to test him by letting him fight a phantom. If he dies, they ‘win’ by getting a part from him. Meanwhile Hanazono is jealous at Shindo for having dated so many hot chicks. Yeah, so is he hinting that he wants to go for Saya? Too bad, Ryoko is here to ‘borrow’ Shindo. Curse that popular guy! Not sure what this outing is for as Ryoko just takes Shindo out to lunch and didn’t reveal anything. Soon a big earthquake happens and Kureha can tell it’s #13. Shindo now questions what this mobile division is for. Despite joining to get revenge on his parents, he has yet to do anything and instead got himself entangled with all this supernatural stuffs. Kureha and Sakura are having it tough fighting those BDSM ghouls. I thought they’ve always been fine cutting monsters down even when Inukai is around? Anyway, Ryoko mentions she couldn’t tell Shindo anything as she doesn’t want to rush him. This has Kureha speculating the higher ups having their own agenda. But as she mentions about her date with Shindo, Sakura isn’t impressed and slaps her! Is she jealous?! Shindo gets a call from an unnamed guy who claims he knows who killed his parents and can help him get revenge. He also knows the thing inside him that will awaken. Of course Shindo doesn’t trust him but still goes out to meet him. At the park where that hole just emerged, he gets attacked and almost dragged in by BDSM ghouls. Until of course Sakura and Inukai show up to do a lot of slashing until they kill it. Hole closes and they get a part. Wow. That easy. So is Inukai back on duty? Sakura reveals that he too lived at Machida. However his sister was taken away instead. He has since lived with the guilt of not being able to protect her and thought it would’ve been better on his conscience had she died. When Shindo mentions about the call, Sakura believes it is from the special security trying to test him. However Shindo believes it is not them because he wanted to show him the truth. Sakura then warns him not to get involved. Can he at this point?!

Episode 8
The site of Machida is worsening. It could collapse anytime. Yeah, because another hole just emerged from there. Shindo talks to Muramasa why this division was created. He goes on to smoothly explain it was to deal with unresolved grisly murders and crimes. Because they couldn’t get anything done, hence Tokko was secretly formed and officially they do not exist. With another earthquake felt, Shindo rushes to the site which is not in his jurisdiction. He asks the local forces if they have seen Tokko but apparently they were already here and got things done by the time they showed up. They too aren’t happy with this. As Shindo returns, a couple of MIBs warn him to stay out or he’ll regret it. Back home, Saya asks if there is any girl he likes because there are rumours floating about the various women he is seeing. Then she relays a message from Yukino about the 108 parts and to go see Ryoko for more info. He does so as she reveals that initial ‘date’ was to see if he has any desires to join Tokko. However seeing the way he is now, she doesn’t want him to. Shindo thinks he will be alright if he awakens his symbiont because that is what he needs to avenge his parents. However she reminds him about Akito. You heard what happened to him, right? Yeah. Don’t be like Akito. When Saya goes to meet Mikae, she gets involved in a hit and run accident. Although recuperating at the hospital, Shindo believes it must be that warning from those MIBs. Hence he returns to Machida as Tokko is waiting there for him as they believe he has decided. They tell him there are many other societies including those who want to use phantom for their own nefarious ends. Rest assured, those residing in them are their allies. This is why those phantoms want to kill the ‘traitors’. With phantoms showing up, time to slice and dice those mothers. They also reveal that their job is to prevent them from returning to the hole. After eating humans, they will do so to make the gate grow larger. At this rate, in 2 years the human world will be completely sucked into the underworld. With Shindo ready for his awakening, Kureha kisses him as distraction before stabbing him and let him fall into the hole. It’s all part of the ritual to plunge his soul into darkness to bait the phantom. The rest is up to him whether he turns good or bad. Of course we know and he’ll get a very strong phantom that is on par with Satan himself. Because see how Shindo awakens with his new power that blows away all the monsters!

Episode 9
Shindo’s getting in on the phantom slaying action. He hangs out at their base. Not the best of places but remember, they’re not supposed to be official. Ryoko then continues explaining more truths. It seems that there are other symbionts out there but they do not know if they are friend or foe. Then as we all know, as symbionts they possess a part. You know what this means if they want to get all 108 parts, right? Kunikida is so mad because with official papers, it makes Shindo part of Tokko but he will still be stationed at his office and not be limited to his command! Ryoko then has a meeting with the higher ups who are not happy that Shindo is awakened. Now they have more problems. They want to punish her as Ryoko then speaks her mind that she knows some of them want to coexist with phantom. However she stands firm that they must be eliminated. This is not diplomacy. This is war! Later Ogata calls Ryoko to inform that he managed to get her off getting some punishment although she has made some enemies. But thanks to her, she has revealed that some are agents working for phantom. He warns her not to do this for revenge but she assures him she is control of her emotions. Mikae asks Shindo if she could visit Saya (why is she hinting she really likes Shindo?!) when a bullet is shot at him and the stray bullet grazes his cheek. Mikae recognizes that car’s plate that banged Saya. Shindo going to run after the car?! Conveniently Muramasa lets him get in his as they give chase but soon loses it. Ryoko is being attacked by monsters but Shindo is here to save the day. He has superhuman abilities and even can sniff out where the main phantom is. After Tokko destroys the threat, Ryoko wonders how he knows she was in danger. Well, he just knew. A voice seemed to tell him where to go. Kureha notes Ryoko is bleeding. Unlike the rest who can regenerate, she is only a normal human. Kureha reveals Ryoko’s former partner was assigned to investigate phantoms but was killed while protecting her from one. Ryoko laments if only Tokko was around those days, probably he wouldn’t have died. Ever since that day, her only goal is to kill phantoms.

Episode 10
Shindo and Sakura talk. It seems she was always bullied and thus alone. That’s why Shindo hung out with her so as to make her smile. Then they talk about the horrific possibility of killing each other in the end as well as the mysterious reason why the survivors of Machida all have symbionts. Tender lovely moment with Kureha coming into the picture. Shindo now has nightmares about killing Sakura. When Yukino meets up with Shindo, she says she has quit the lab and returned to her university. Bad girl as she has illegally snuck out that Druj book just for him. Then she reveals another truth. There is a picture that her father brought back during his archaeological dig in Italy. It is one of the 108 parts. Shortly after that, the Machida incident happened. The part went missing because of the robbery incident that took her mom’s life. She fears this is what caused the chain of events today. Shindo tries to investigate more on this but hits a dead end. Muramasa then brings him to the mansion of a strange monk for answers. Because he seems to know a lot of stuffs, Shindo realizes he is that guy who called him. He accuses him of siding with the phantoms but old geezer claims his symbiont is different and that is why he called him. Does he not want to know his true self? Well, Shindo gets violent but gets knocked out by his power. Next thing he knows, he is back in Tokko’s base but he is in a trance as he tries to kill the rest. The obvious answer is to kill him but Sakura won’t. Ryoko shoots him to make him unconscious. Don’t worry, that won’t kill him. Sakura offers to dive inside his mind to save him. It is risky because she too can die. Yeah, going into his mind is like stabbing themselves like sheesh kebab? Anyway, Sakura is trying to prevent Shindo from going over to the other side. Obviously a trap by fake imposters impersonating as his parents to call him over. But she too is being dragged down by her fears and insecurities. But when Shindo realizes her in danger, he cuts everything down including his imposter. And just like that they return to reality. Aww, how sweet they’re holding hands…

Episode 11
Flashback shows when Sakura rushed back to Hiroki and see him unconscious, a monster attacked her. This caused her to fall into the hole where she became a symbiont. Tokko talks about the strange old man whom they call Taishi. It seems that his origins are unknown and no matter how much they try to investigate on him, he always gives them the slip since he has immunity and can pull strings from behind the shadow. Seriously, they even think he is some reptilian race or something! Meanwhile a monster attacks and kills those guys attending to Hiroki. On another phantom hunting mission, Shindo uses his skill to detect the main body. Well, well, guess who? It’s Hiroki! He fights them and Sakura is reluctant to kill him. From his actions, it looks like he is taken over by phantom but there is still hope to save him. Hence Sakura tries to talk to him but he blames her because he was waiting for her to come save him but she never did. Then he cuts her before escaping! Don’t worry, it’s not a fatal wound. Kunikida and his men come by and they are shocked to see Shindo doing such stuffs. Not sure how he is going to explain his way out of this one because Muramasa is also looking quite suspicious. Back at the base, Tokko talks about the strangeness in Hiroki because he is showing emotions. Usually when phantom takes over, the host do not show emotions. Well, Sakura still thinks she can save him. In this condition? Ryoko then confronts Muramasa and knows he is a spy for Taishi. She wants to know Taishi’s whereabouts but he dares her to kill him because doing so won’t change anything. After a struggle, she manages to make that guy talk. She goes back to tell her comrades that he is at Machida. Well, well. Looks like Shindo and Sakura are there too. Sakura talking to Shindo how she blamed herself for letting what happened to Hiroki that day. Oddly, the phantom she saw in her dream is the same as Shindo’s. Are they the same? Now here comes Hiroki. He claims he is feeling much better after this evolution. Unlike Yukino’s dad who thinks evolution of humans is only restricted to the body, Hiroki says true evolution is for the soul. Hence humans will not be destroyed but reborn. Yeah, another nutcase. Since the guys don’t like each other, they fight. Too bad Sakura’s diplomacy for reconciliation meant nothing. As Sakura still cannot fight him at full force, Inukai jumps into the picture. Both guys take each other out. Oh sh*t. Inukai dead?! Believe it. At least they got a part… And Taishi overseeing everything with a smirk…

Episode 12
Ryoko has obtained an arrest warrant for Taishi. She pulled some strings to get it. However as Ogata warned her, doing so he cannot protect her anymore. She is fine with it as she has already prepared herself for the consequences. Of course Tokko isn’t necessarily going to arrest Taishi alive. They’re going to bring back his corpse if it comes down to it. They further discuss about Taishi being an evolved being. Going back to the Druj legend. The nobles who summoned them were killed and the demons were sealed by 12 alchemists. Coincidentally, there are 12 Machida survivors. Shindo and Saya move into Ryoko’s place for security. Security my foot because all Tokko members get attacked by monsters! As Shindo chases one, he stumbles into a pair of siblings killing them. They are Itto and Mayu Araragi. They hunt phantoms and eat them because since they ate their parents, revenge is best served by eating their cooked meat? Sorry, bad pun. When Shindo reports to his comrades, it is obvious those siblings are Machida survivors and since they eat the phantom’s meat, its parts are inside them. Tokko goes to Taishi’s mansion to arrest him. Yeah, those MIBs can’t do jack sh*t to stop them. Taishi is like the big boss but it seems he is only interested in Shindo. He dares Shindo to kill him if he doesn’t care about his loved ones. After all, Shindo and him are the same. He tries to make Shindo mad like hell by admitting he killed his parents in the cruellest way. Luckily Sakura’s voice reach him not to fight the devil himself. As Tokko fights him, they cannot harm him as he regenerates and can even stop bullets! So, this called providence? All part of the evolution. He tries to convince Shindo to see his true self but Shindo is Shindo. Taishi claims they are both evolved and the only difference is he is one step closer to a new existence. He escapes and mentions a nice present he will leave him. Next day, the police arrests Ryoko for falsifying documents and attempting to murder Muramasa. Yup, that guy behind this setup. But Ryoko isn’t shocked, she saw this coming and is prepared to face this. With Ryoko’s arrest, Ogata dissolves Tokko. He claims now they are free and don’t have to kill each other. Damn, the girls slap him so hard his cheek is bruised! They’re not going to let this go easily. Meanwhile Shindo gets a call from Taishi. Saya is kidnapped. He’ll give her back soon in her evolved form. That’s his present. Oh, you mad now?

Episode 13
Shindo is so mad and wants to go save Saya. Kureha and Sakura have a hard time restraining him. Oh, Sakura’s slap did the trick to calm him down. When he has a cooler head, they tell him this is the enemy’s ploy to take advantage of their hatred and sadness so don’t give in. There are arrest warrants for them so they scram. Yet again, lack of security has them sneak into the security section’s HQ. Yeah, for a division named so, clearly they are so lacking. Oh right, monsters killed them. So we can slice their way through with ease. Oddly, there are those MIBs they have to face too. Kureha and Sakura will go save Ryoko and they want him to concentrate in finding Saya. Kunikida catches Muramasa doing shady things. So he beats up and interrogates the guy. Yeah, what’s this about him being a spy for the security section to avoid panic? Kunikida isn’t buying it. They attack and wound each other. Shindo’s search has him to stumble into the Araragi siblings. However they hide because they can sense Taishi. That guy kills phantom hunters like them! Kureha and Sakura’s weapon cannot destroy the special cell Ryoko is in. Kunikida is here to help them by creating explosives! OMFG! You mean that did the trick?! He lets the ladies escape while he faces off with the armed MIBs. How is he going to come out alive on this one? Shindo is at Machida as Taishi tries to lure him in. He is tired of his prattle about evolution, blah, blah, blah. Taishi reveals the truth that humans are the one who created him. After the alchemists sealed Druj, Taishi has been travelling the world for hundreds of years to find those parts to call them back. The final piece is in Japan. Now they face off as Taishi sends grunts for Shindo to warm up. Wow. These grunts have parts too? Dropping them like flies. With Kureha and Sakura here to assist, Kureha takes a deep slash as Taishi escapes into the hole. Don’t worry about her. Permission for Shindo and Sakura to chase the old dude. Dropping into the hole, Taishi plays tricks on them. Sakura realizes they cannot beat him like this so she wants Shindo to kill her and obtain her power. Of course he won’t. She forces him to fight as he accidentally kills her. Now united with her part, he powers up and no phantom can even come close. He continues his fight with Taishi but as I can see, they’re still worlds apart. Not sure what happened as the hole then covers up. In the aftermath, we see Kunikida still alive but it is hinted Muramasa pulled some strings so he is no longer the chief. Sakura is in comatose state. Saya is alive and normal. So are Shindo, Kureha and Ryoko. Then a huge earthquake and a giant hole now appears in the middle of the city. Taishi’s gay laughter resonating…

Between The Inner Demons And The Deep Hell Hole
Well, now I can also see why many of the reviews say it sucked because of the ending. That ending that did not actually resolve anything or bring us anywhere is one of the main factors that many gave this series the thumbs down. Now they can add my vote to that too! It is unfortunate that this series will get another season because as I have found out, the manga that it was adapted on only had 3 volumes. Wow. That’s very short. But there is a good reason why it was that. Because the series got cancelled! Oh my. Therefore I am not sure if the cliff-hanger we see in the anime is an original one or part of the cancelled original source. Either way, we will never get our answers and we are free to form whatever conclusions we want because it doesn’t matter anyway.

It is unfortunate that although the series itself has an interesting concept (food for thought: Will humans remain as humans if they evolve to a higher being? My personal answer is no because that isn’t what humans are or what makes humans human), personally I felt that it was poorly paced out. Even for the anime version, it felt like a drag. Because for a big part of the season, it was like going nowhere. I mean, Shindo only awakened to his parts at 2/3 of the season! Before that, he was just a confused cop trying to go around and get more clues but it all yielded nothing until he became a member of Tokko. But even that, the story continues to unfold at a snail pace. Sure, bits and pieces of the plot is sprinkled to us but as we all have witnessed, it wasn’t really close enough to solve anything. At least no solid evidence for us to do so. In hindsight, if the series didn’t get cancelled and they added another season to the anime, perhaps it would have been bearable. However it was sadly not the case and we’ve got this meandering mess of I don’t even know what to call it now.

Thus a lot of unresolved cases too because you do remember that #12 is not caught and still out there, right?! Did we forget about that or did I miss something about this phantom already been destroyed?! Don’t even get me started on the Druj legend thingy because if it happened half way around the world, why is this only happening in Japan? I’m not sure if it is happening elsewhere in the world, but from the way they show it, only Japan is having these huge holes. Yeah, the public is dumb enough to believe all the flimsy cover up excuses of gang fights and accidents. Maybe the people are so scared they prefer not to look at the truth. Then with Taishi’s revelation that the last piece is in Japan, f*ck, now I’m even more confused. So are there more fragments to the 108 pieces? Like 1 of those pieces can be split to more pieces? That’s why in the finale, it’s like raining pieces everywhere for every phantom our characters kill. So I’m confused. Are there actually more pieces than meets the eye? And only if survivors of Machida can become symbionts, aren’t they really lacking in recruitment to fight phantoms? Shouldn’t they round up all the survivors then? Yeah, because it feels so convenient that this character has this power because, surprise! Machida survivor!

Making it worse are the characters whom are mostly a miss rather than a hit. It was interesting that each member of Tokko has their own tragic circumstances and their reasons for being involved with this. However as far as the anime plays out, they are not fully fleshed out and so we’re left to just accept whatever that has only been revealed. The saddest and most unfortunate case would be Inukai. I thought he was going to be some sleeper hit or something. This guy is quite stoic and in a way is pretty cool. Then they actually killed him off! Oh dear. Here I was having this thinking that he might play a bigger role later on and even if he doesn’t amount to that in the anime, at least there would be the potential as long as he is alive. But now he is dead and this renders his background of finding his missing sister relatively useless. Sad but I guess having some sort of background and tragic past is better than many of the other generic background characters. Like Hanazono. I have this feeling this guy is going to be the comic relief but sadly he isn’t even close to that nor is he memorable. Just existing to tell us that he is best friends with Shindo so that Shindo doesn’t look like some sort of loner. And Hanazono can take the loser role too because Shindo getting hit on by so many chicks, is this anime trying to be a harem anime?! Yeah, Inukai getting killed off means Shindo is the only male in the group. Are you sure this isn’t trying to be a harem anime? I mean, Yukino actually likes this guy and doesn’t have any ulterior motives. What happened to her anyway? Is she interested in seeing Shindo after her father got killed? And what’s this minor character Makie having that potential too? I swear, I can feel Hanazono’s jealousy right now. Shindo may not be the best phantom killer because he’s a better lady killer! HAHAHAHA!!! Sighs…

And where’s the comedy part that I was so intrigued by this series? Ah well, I should have known and seen it coming. The small banter between Shindo and Saya is supposed to be for laughs, right? Yeah. This is your comedy part because Saya feels like she’s not playing the big sister (although she’s the small sister) but also his mom. Yup, can’t stop constantly nag him but I guess that is only right seeing Shindo’s character who doesn’t really know how to take care of himself. I’m sure without Saya, his normal daily life would be ruined. She is the one who cooks for him and every other household chores. Imagine having a sister so concerned about your wellbeing to a point she wants to match make girlfriends. Oh wow. Does she not have a life? Why do I have this gut feeling that she has this brother complex and all this is just to hide it? Like as though when he actually settles down, she can finally let go of her feelings for him. Yeah. That! But of course, unfortunately, it could be just me overthinking and not really something important for the series.

Oh right, perhaps the funniest part of the series (which is also the dumbest) are the security scenes. For a division that is created under that name itself, it freaking lacks a lot of it! When you have a plain guy like Shindo being able to sneak around and without even getting caught until much later, it says a lot about the security. Like as though this whole thing is a farce and just for plot convenience. Anybody can sneak in and show up because of it. And all those MIBs looking tough are just for show only, huh? It’s a good thing such security level is not present at important events like UN meeting or something. I mean, how the f*ck is Tokko going to do their job each time they have to seriously clear security, right? Yeah, how the f*ck do they always arrive on scene before others? Do they have a phantom that teleports them because hell I sure don’t see that anywhere.

Shindo as the main character, his motivation is to go after his parents’ killer but as we can see, he is just a confused kid and has no clue on where to get started. He gets dragged around and doing wild goose chases even as part of Tokko. Oh, what’s this about his true form that is hinted by Taishi? So, I’m going to guess that he is the great phantom devil himself. Uh huh. Satan. That’s the mystery that they want to hang around him but looks like it will remain a mystery forever now. Sakura is supposedly going to play his love interest too? From the way she reacts and all, most likely. As a character who doesn’t show a lot of emotion, she keeps it under wraps. Hiroki seems like the motivation she has to keep going but ever since they killed him off, that is the reason why Sakura is able to do the impossible and let Shindo kill her. Yeah, all for plot convenience later. Which will never materialize anyway. It feels like their dynamism is wasted because despite spending some seemingly tender moment here, it’s like they got nowhere closer. Except maybe for the final part she sacrificed herself for him. Which chick in love wouldn’t do that for a guy she loves, right? Maybe. And to think I had this impression she would do more (because she’s the poster girl for this series, right?) but it all fell short of expectation. Because all of Tokko members are sounding so serious (Sakura, Inukai and even Ryoko), Kureha’s casual behaviour is to light up the gang because otherwise Tokko will be just a very drab team. Yeah, Shindo is this close in becoming a no-fun guy.

You wonder why the series needs to introduce the Araragi siblings when they are so miniscule and don’t even matter. Oh right. For future plots. Which will never come! Because of that, it feels like their presence isn’t actually necessary and the whole anime could’ve been done without them. They’re an interesting pair who eats phantoms they killed but that’s so much about them. Then there is this Kunikida who is hot headed and sometimes it feels funny that he tries to get in on the mystery but in the end is given the run around. He might look like he is a violent person but deep down inside he is a good man. Maybe a lot louder and crude. Obviously I could even tell when I see Muramasa the first time, he is a suspicious dude. He has after all those looks. Even shadier how he can access to several important info which also feels like plot convenience too. Eventually his true colours are shown but it is not clear if he is the real bad guy. Because like Taishi to be some sort of unbeatable boss in the end, I guess Shindo didn’t activate his cheat code properly so that we all get a generic and rushed happy ending. So we’re stuck with this crappy one instead. Yikes.

I have to say that art and animation feel average and well, actually some parts are substandard. While this series came out in 2006 and it is understandable the art style are reminiscent of that era, however in some scenes especially the action parts, you can obviously how much the details downgrade. Sometimes the animation get wonky and it makes the experience a bit weird. Even weirder, Shindo looks like the discount version of GTO’s Onizuka. It couldn’t be more ironic as I soon find out that this series was written by the same author who created GTO. Yikes. Jokes on me then. The other characters look pretty generic too like Ryoko your typical hot secretary babe, Saya your typical cutie imouto, Kunikida your typical delinquent and Kureha, uhm, did she grew out He-Man’s hair?! And why does Taishi looked like a discount unmasked Darth Vader?! The force of ugliness is strong in this one! But creepy eyes, though. Like as though they’re staring right through your soul.

Well I have to admit that those bugs in the initial episodes do freak me out. By my standards, they look scary. I hope I don’t have nightmares about it. Therefore another irony is that because of the substandard visuals, they do not look that scary. Get what I mean? It was creepy enough to see those bugs especially when they have heads sticking out of their human host’s body. But it’s like a blessing in disguise that the animation quality was just average so that saved me a whole lot of nightmare fuel. Phew? Not sure what happened to those bugs but later lesser phantoms look like they come from some BDSM club, which makes them look freakier in the weird sense. Not scary but more like WTF reaction. And uhm, doesn’t the phantom in Shindo and Sakura’s dream look a lot like Thundercats’ Mumm-Ra?

Oh, did I mention that this series also employed some CGI? Thank goodness it is very minimal and the most obvious part is for the car and traffic sequences in some scenes. They obviously suck as you can see the obvious difference. So this is retro anime, so am I more inclined to forgive the lack of technology? Maybe. But nah! CGI is also used in the special effects when for example Shindo unleashed his special powers. But those aren’t so bad because we don’t really know how such fireballs or barriers look like as compared to real life cars so I guess that’s okay. Then again, maybe not. This anime is jointly done by AIC Spirits (Maken-Ki, Girls Bravo, Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpuchou) and Group TAC (Grappler Baki, Gakuen Alice, Shinigami No Ballad).

And yes, we have to talk about the fanservice. The version that I saw has a bit of nudity. That’s right. There are some scenes that show bare tits. I’m sure the very early scene in the first episode of Shindo dreaming about Sakura is to bait us viewers into thinking that we’re going to see more topless chicks like that. You can only see those ‘clearly’ during shower scenes. Like as though they want to animate that on purpose. Yeah, WTF do we need to have shower scenes anyway? Oh right. Be thankful for the tits. And of course the biggest bait in the fanservice is the way Kureha dresses. She actually dresses like that in public for all to see! Ah yes, it is so eye-catching and draws attention for every straight male. I mean, who is going to arrest her, right? The fashion police? The moral police? She’ll cut you f*ckers down! Not sure why she dresses like that so I’m just going to say that it’s because to bait us viewers into thinking we can see some sort of nip slip or something. Does her cleavage need to breathe or what? With just a jacket to cover those tits, it’s like making us hope there may be a chance she could flash those bare nipples to us. Unfortunately with the average animation quality, I can safely say there were none of such incidents. Uh huh. How the f*ck could she keep her modesty as she slices and dices the monsters?! Oh, damn those camera angles too, maybe.

This series’ main draw I believed is the action parts. But once again I have to point out with the mediocre animation quality, sometimes it feels laughable. This means although there are a hell lot of blood spilled here, there and everywhere, it all feels paltry when you consider the animation to be poor. Yeah, this also means poor background characters meant to be killed off by having their limbs cut off or head decapitated, it all just looks like it’s poorly done. I could’ve put the bloody parts on par with Elfen Lied but here I am repeating it like a broken tape recorder, the visuals are just of below average quality. Worse, the Tokko members don’t seem to have any special skill. They just swing their weapons around and that’s all. Maybe it’s my fault to think they’ll come up with some unique special moves like in fighting games but yeah, it just feels boring and cliché because Sakura and Kureha will always pop up at the right moment to cut those phantoms in half. Why does Kureha’s weapon only look uniquely different while the rest look like typical generic swords?

For the voice acting, it’s pretty okay and nothing that extraordinary. Hey, at least better than the animation quality. Heh. So it’s nice to hear recognizable seiyuus like Kenichi Suzumura as Shindo and Kana Ueda as Kureha. When I say I am surprised to hear Hiro Shimono doing his cameo as Hiroki, because I thought this guy was quite a young chap (bugger is almost same age as me????!!!) in the sense that he is in the voice acting business for these handful of years. Didn’t realize he has been in this industry since the early 2000s! Yeah, how the f*ck did I ever come to such conclusion?! Other characters are Fumiko Orikasa as Sakura (Rukia in Bleach), Rio Natsuki as Ryoko (Nanami in El-Hazard series), Susumu Akagi as Inukai (Moutoku in Ikkitousen), Akemi Kanda as Saya (Ryou in Clannad), Wataru Takagi as Kunikida (Genta in Detective Conan), Hiroshi Tsuchida as Muramasa (Ganesha in DanMachi), Tadashi Mutou as Hanazono (Hideaki in Gundou Musashi), Aya Endo as Yukino (Reine in Date A Live) and the late Ryuji Mizuno as Taishi (Midguard in Turn A Gundam). Both the opening and ending themes are sung by dB, Nothing and Sherry respectively. The former sounds like weird hip hop piece while the latter is like a pop ballad.

Overall, I can see why this is considered by many to be disappointing. Draggy story that didn’t go anywhere, interesting characters that ended up with wasted potential and especially that damn lousy ending with no closure that made it all much worse. Don’t we all feel so cheated, no? Sorry, this anime couldn’t evolve into something better and got destroyed instead. The irony that such a big gaping hole in the anime’s setting and story, left a big one too in our impressions and hearts. The legend of summoning 108 demons to our world may be just a myth. But making crappy and bad animes is fact and that itself can easily summon the raging demons inside us to criticize and condemn this piece of garbage. Heh. We already have the perfect evolved demons inside us already.

A great war devastated the civilizations of the world and greatly reduced of the human populace. The land itself reduced to one big barren desert and the surviving humans barely trying to live out their lives. Well, if it sounds like Sunabouzu but it’s not. Because in The Third: Aoi Hitomi No Shoujo goes a step further. Because now humans are being watched and ruled over by a strange breed of creatures who even govern what kind of technologies they can use! Wow. Humans need to be governed by somebody else other than their kind? Isn’t that as good as not existing? Oh well. We humans screwed up big time so I guess they needed some guardians of the galaxy to watch us so that we won’t make the same bloody mistakes again. It’s like our grounded period or something.

Episode 1
The council ponders about some mysterious object popping up on their radar and because they cannot detect what it is, they cannot permit it to exist! Fila Marique shows the trajectory of entry of this mysterious thingy from space. But since Jouganki is not around, the council refrains from making any decision and decides to get more data first. Now we see Honoka waiting for night fall to begin her mission to exterminate spider monsters residing in some decimated city in the outskirts. She kills them all but lets her guard down on the last one. Stuck in her web, thanks to her AI thank, Bogie blasting a hole in the big mother, she manages to get out alive. Back in town, greenhorn mechanic, Joey Toy tries to check and maintain Bogey but the tank won’t allow him. Even Honoka won’t allow him to do any simple checks. She compares him to the veteran, Zankan and that stops his bugging. Honoka and Bogie return to the desert where she lived most of her life and where many of her memories are. In the dead of the night, Bogie wakes up Honoka because he detects a lone human being targeted. She goes to check it out and not sure WTF this handsome Iks guy is doing in the middle of the sand. Yeah, giant ants going to eat him. Honoka fights her way through to bring him back to the tank. Seems he was just doing some insect watching? At this place and weird hour? Oh well, since he is a nice guy, it could be that Honoka is starting to fall for him.

Episode 2
Seems Iks was travelling alone but his vehicle broke down. Since he can’t repair it, he left and Honoka finds it dangerous since nobody should be moving outside during night time. Then why didn’t he wait for morning? Isn’t he moving with them now? Honoka gives up arguing with him. Fila reports to Jouganki about the council’s decision. He reminds her he has no absolute veto over it. Something about their job to protect and do what’s best for this planet. That is why The Third was created. Iks learns Honoka’s job is to do much about anything except kill humans. And Bogie’s job is like Honoka’s guardian, including overseeing her future. Wow. A battle tank has got to play her parent too, huh? Iks wonder why they are moving around at night since they did mention about its dangers. Honoka is on her way to meet Zankan and doing so in daytime would attract attention. When they arrive, they see bandits trying to hijack the ship of Zankan and his daughter, Millie. Honoka’s warning of slicing a tank in half has them realize she is the famed Sword Dancer so they flee. After father and daughter tease Honoka over her ‘boyfriend’, they get to business as Honoka wonders about the PSP she found for him to repair. Sorry, it’s not that handheld console. Powered Synchro Protector and basically a piloted exoskeleton. He promised to have fixed it by today but looks like it needs more time. Zankan explains more to Iks about such technology infringing some Technos Taboo and that’s why Inspection Force are out there. Basically they’re tinkering with something illegal. Another reason they are moving around at night too. With Bogie picking up signals of Jouganki, Honoka gets ready to meet him. However it’s just his hologram. He could see her in person if she would grant his wish. Nah. She’ll chop him up instead. Jouganki knows Iks and wants to talk to him. But the talk is short as he also knows she is harbouring PSP. Deny as you will but he can’t have her flouting the laws and sends a few upgraded bots to fight her. She easily cuts them all down but these weak bots are on purpose since it would be a shame to actually kill her. Though, he notes her skills have deteriorated. As Honoka pouts about this Jouganki dude, Iks helps sooth some of that pain by healing her bruise. Next day, Honoka and Zankan part ways, promising to meet in 10 days.

Episode 3
We see the Inspection Force forcefully apprehending a guy, separating him from his wife and baby. In the next desert town, Honoka parts way with Iks. Honoka reluctantly goes to see Dr Nor for her check-up. As she waits, his busty android maid, Meilin tends to her. Now this is why Honoka doesn’t want to see him because he makes a public announcement for Honoka to come to his room for her breast enlargement surgery!!! That pervy old man! She takes a look at her wrist injury and learns she has been fighting the latest mecha with her sword. He can tell Jouganki is involved and already told her not to get involved with him. After checking further medical data from Bogie, he still finds her wound suspicious and then realizes it is because of a man. He starts teasing her, causing her to be further embarrassed. It couldn’t get any worse when he also prescribes oral prescriptions for her! He warns her the Inspection Force has been getting active lately like as though they’re searching for someone. Honoka believes it could be Iks. Honoka goes about in town and doing odd jobs to earn some money. Then she notices a closed store and learns a raid the other day. As explained, humans are only allowed to use technology provided by The Third. Anything else is considered illegal AKA Technos Taboo and the Inspection Force can arrest you. Later Honoka sees Iks being friendly with the local kids. She takes him away to a bar to talk about him being a wanted man. Well, he doesn’t seem too worried about it. Before anything can start, the Inspection Force comes in. They have orders to bring Iks to Hyperion. What if he refuses? Then they will use force. Before Honoka could do her hadouken or something, Kevin the mercenary beats them up. The entire bar joins in the brawl so as to give their little sweetheart time to escape. Honoka thought this would be goodbye for real with Iks but then Iks wants to contract her for a job. See this gold he’ll pay? The job is that he wants to follow her around. He can’t tell the details yet but would like to see the many things he doesn’t know about. Since Bogie notes they are strapped for cash after all the weapons she bought, I guess Honoka sees no problem to have a male escort this job. Oh boy, Joey gonna be so jealous…

Episode 4
Several people are doing some illegal trade in the desert. Too bad the Inspection Force finds out and executes them all on the spot! Those special units in Inspection Force with such power and authority are known as Blue Breaker. Honoka sees Zankan and this time he has completed PSP. You can see the happiness and eagerness in Honoka wanting to try out this baby. Well, she has to put up with this embarrassing body suit if she wants to take it for a spin. Like a child with a new toy, she has a lot of fun testing it out as it perfectly syncs with her movements. With Honoka satisfied with everything, she part ways with Zankan. Next time they meet, it’ll be when Bogie breaks down. Yeah, Millie wants Bogie to break down faster! Shortly into their journey, Honoka could sense something in the sky. However, Bogie does not detect anything and this could only mean one thing: Blue Breaker. Honoka has Bogie turn around and to her horror, Blue Breaker is attacking Zankan’s tank. Honoka rides her PSP into battle but too late, Zankan’s tank is no fire. She tries to lure out Blue Breaker who is in stealth mode as well as save Millie from certain death. During the attack, Honoka’s bandana comes off, revealing her third blue eye on her forehead. Not sure if she uses some power of this to force Blue Breaker to reveal itself. A short standoff before Blue Breaker flies away. Honoka knew she lost since her hand is injured and would’ve stood no chance had she even attacked. Worse, Blue Breaker went away with a mocking sneer. When Millie sees Honoka’s third eye, she becomes scared and in shock, she faints. Honoka hugs her crying, sad that she couldn’t stop all of this. RIP, Zankan oji-san…

Episode 5
Honoka still feels guilty over her powerlessness to save Zankan. With Iks, they bury his body as Honoka reveals Millie’s mom was killed by a stray bullet from the Inspection Force. As for this third eye, it is known as the astral and all people from The Third have this and thus their name. However, that eye is red and Honoka’s eye is the only one which is blue. This eye allows The Third to communicate in various ways as well as access data in computers. Long ago, Honoka was taken to Hyperion but was kicked out. Despite having astral eye, she had no abilities of The Third and was deemed useless. She ended up in some slums but an old man named Walken took her into his caravan since her parents wanted her to grow up healthy. As long as she remained here, she will never be free of that eye. Walken raised and taught her stuffs. Only members of the caravan new about her astral eye. As per Walken’s advice, she kept it hidden because of her circumstances, she was neither human no The Third. Hence Zankan and Millie don’t. Honoka found it hard to tell them since Millie’s mom was killed in such a way, she thought Millie might hate her. With Millie awakened, it seems she is just trying to act indifferent. Solemn. Awkward. What else can Honoka do? Meanwhile Fila tries to find data on Honoka but no such data exist. Then she interrogates Blue Breaker about his fight with Honoka. It seems there are attacks his sensors cannot detect and that he had orders from Jouganki to not kill Honoka. Honoka thinks of bringing Millie to Emporium, he asks why Jouganki wants her. She explains he actually wants her ability. She demonstrates using this chi thingy to easily cut through a stone. This is what she imbues her sword with. Then she shows him a beautiful flower field that only blooms at night. She wants to show this to Millie. Upon returning, a panicky Millie rushes to Honoka. She was scared she was alone and couldn’t find her anywhere. She’s all that she has left. I take it that their friendship is back to normal. Good thing this is over with because now here comes Blue Breaker to ruin the party.

Episode 6
Not sure what’s the deal because WTF Honoka trying to locate and fight Blue Breaker without her PSP?! Bogie takes the rest to evacuate despite Iks’ pleas he wants to go help Honoka. Bogie’s reasoning about life and death and Honoka doing this for survival, blah, blah, blah. But Iks reminds him that he had a contract with Honoka and must be with her. Since he puts it that way, Bogie accepts and returns to aid Honoka by giving her PSP. Shouldn’t this be done from the start? However, Honoka is blinded by rage trying to avenge Zankan’s death so she mindlessly wastes ammo until it all runs out. Then Blue Breaker damages her PSP so she’s back out as a person. When Millie claims she wants Honoka because it’s not like anything they do can bring back her father, Honoka goes into zen mode, waiting for Blue Breaker to get close before unleashing some force. Wow. Honoka got some haki too?! Then she recites some poem from Donna Myfree (who?!), making that machine feel scared! Even more so, telling him to GTFO because she’s not in the mood to cut anything! Yeah, machine makes wise move to flee. After that, she collapses. She finds herself in some dream world talking to Iks about the memories of this world. Not that Honoka understands it now. Honoka wakes up as a frantic Millie calls out to her. Yeah, not going to have another trauma of losing somebody! Soon, Jouganki comes to see her in person. Actually, he wants to see Iks who is the first official contact The Third have when they came to this planet. Jouganki wonders why he is visiting this planet as well as needing his assistance to deal with some matters. However Iks can’t at this moment and in due time, he will know. In that case, Jouganki will wait until he is willing. As he leaves, he reminds Honoka that he still won’t give up on her powers. Fila learns of Jouganki’s doing and she’ll comply with his decision. Though, she won’t take responsibility if he regrets it later. Jouganki also warns her that Honoka is no longer the girl she thought she is.

Episode 7
Honoka leaves Millie in Zankan’s sister’s care before setting out for the desert. One night, a small group of monster ants stop by near Bogie. Honoka checks it out and one of them is on the tank itself. However it is starting to sprout wings. As explained, it means the ant will become a queen and is most likely going to form a new hive of its own. For some odd reasons, Honoka wants to defend this ant from attack of other rival swarms. Bogie disagrees with this since this is the ants’ problem and that they have a job to do. Doing this will only make them late. However Honoka insists she wants to and hopes Bogie will give her until dawn. For once, he makes an exception. So we see Honoka fight rival ants trying to attack this queen. Honoka’s sword swing doesn’t kill them, but merely put them in a suspended animation state. A technique she learnt from Walken. More and more swarms show up as the strain on Honoka is starting to show. Bogie wants to scram but Honoka insists on that until dawn promise. As she continues her fight, flashback shows Honoka almost got eaten by this discount Star Wars’ sand pit monster after chasing some cute critter. Although Walken saved her, she requested him to save the little bunny too. He did that and put the discount Sarlacc in suspended animation. Then some lecture about the law of nature and why they should not interfere, blah, blah, blah. Hence this will be the only time Walken will bend to her will. Honoka then honed this school from him until his death. Just when Honoka is about to be overwhelmed, the queen ant grows its wings and flies off. Immediately Honoka jumps onto Bogie as they make a scram for it. Honoka notes perhaps she wanted to see this ant take flight and saw herself as it.

Episode 8
Honoka and Bogie get caught within the wave of the stampeding sand dragons. Luckily Bogie manages to ride this one out. Unfortunately the tank takes a hard tumble. Hence Honoka leaves it to Joey to fix it (he’s going to have a hard time overhauling this mother) while leaving Bogie’s AI unit with Meilin. Along the way, she meets Kevin who warns her about some religious cult sending their assassination squad around. It could be possible that they are the ones behind the sand dragon incident. At the bar, Honoka watches this busty chick, Paifu being hit on by a few shady guys. However she is quick to draw the gun on them and will not hesitate to shoot. Honoka notices another guy trying to pull a fast one behind Paifu’s back so she goes to warn the buster to stop it. Those guys then leave and it seems they know who Honoka is. Paifu wants to thank and accompany her. However Honoka declines. Paifu tries to use her power to hypnotize her but it doesn’t work. Later Honoka stumbles into Millie. The latter is now schooling and notes a teacher who is just like Honoka. She is motivated to study a lot so she can become a great mechanic like her dad and support Honoka. Honoka is then taken to see Ingrid who is the chief admin of Emporium. She wants to hire Honoka for a job. Since she has come into the sand dragons, she wants her to pinpoint the cause of its stampede because it’ll be devastating if they come close to this town. Meanwhile Fila summons the council for an emergency meeting. It seems there is this unknown space distortion field barrier. Probes have been sent to investigate but all have been swallowed. They think it is some Technos Taboo. However Jouganki argues this is not because humans have been under their supervision and hence they cannot create something this taboo without them noticing it. He shows them the location of this barrier which is located a year before the great war ended. It has a very devastating power and even more so by today’s standards. He believes it to be Gravestone, an ultimate weapon equipped with mankind’s first space distortion device.

Episode 9
The council wonders if this is even Gravestone to begin with as there is no proof. However Jouganki urges the need to take swift action as the barrier is growing and at this rate, it will destroy the world. Bogie’s tank is back in shape thanks to a talented field of mechanics. I guess Joey can’t handle it himself. So he promises to go to some vocational school to become better. In return, Honoka must come back alive. As Honoka heads out to the desert, look who is here to join her? Paifu. She’s making herself at home in the tank? Well, since she isn’t a bad person, Honoka lets her do as she pleases. Honoka then tells her life story. Paifu reveals Ingrid hired her to watch Honoka but she isn’t surprised since she had a hunch. Honoka also doesn’t feel upset by everything. All she needs to do is work properly so others will trust her. If they don’t? Then continue doing so until they do! That night, Paifu seems to be headed off somewhere. Detecting other life forms coming their way, Honoka rides her PSP to see Paifu engaging with those cultist in their PSP. Honoka helps but have to show her Sword Dancer chops as slicing the machine with her sword is more efficient. Yeah, saves ammo too. Honoka faces off with the boss but Paifu kills him right away. Paifu reveals she was part of the mercenaries hired by the cult and did the same thing. However she didn’t have any complicated philosophy whatsoever and quit. That’s why she has many enemies and is a murderer. She lured them out for this and brushes off rumours that the cult is behind the sand dragon stampede. Honoka watch as she kills all the men. But she isn’t upset since she still believes Paifu as a good person. Because Millie said so. The boss somehow turns into a monster and attacks (genetic mutation whatever). Honoka can’t cut him down in time so Paifu pumps a few bullets into him. Hope he stays dead. Honoka is shocked with Iks’ return. Yeah, where did he go to? Honoka introduces him to Paifu and seeing how Honoka interacts with him has Paifu suspicious of Honoka’s identity.

Episode 10
The council is trying to revive Wormhole Driver, some laser satellite in space created by The Third during the great war to destroy Gravestone. Honoka tries to act all cheerful before Iks but he can tell something is wrong. Bogie reveals she has been having nightmares lately but Honoka brushes it off. They catch up on things as she continues her chirpy ways. Next day, not sure how Honoka can trace the sand dragon source using a metal detector. Yeah, some magnetic thingy. However she is relying more on the sensation in her forehead since it is causing her some unease. Paifu doesn’t trust Iks and soon deduces Honoka’s depression. She thinks Honoka is depressed she killed a man for the first time last night. She confronts her and gives her an earful about this. Paifu claims she was the one who finished the man off and killed him and thinks Honoka wouldn’t want to save a killer like her. On the contrary, Honoka notes she has cut down many things from monsters to robots and didn’t regret turning her sword against that man. She doesn’t think her judgment is wrong and will still draw her sword because she believes in her ideals. As long as that stays the same, things will also stay the same no matter who her enemy is. Paifu scoffs at that hogwash and since it’s come to this, they fight. Too bad Paifu is slower in drawing her gun compared to Honoka drawing her sword. The blade is already at her neck. Then they do fist fighting. Honoka just dodging and making Paifu sweat all over. In short, Honoka’s fighting is still way superior. Eventually Paifu realizes she can’t win against this monster. But great workout, though. She continues to lament her power still doesn’t work on her. Next day, the magnetic trail the sand dragons have gone cold. So now Honoka is using her guts and instincts to lead her to wherever. However they stumble into Gravestone. Jouganki learns too late that Honoka and Iks are in the area. You know when Wormhole Driver fires, it takes out its surrounding too, right? Yeah. Looks like the weapons is all warmed up and ready to shoot.

Episode 11
Honoka seems compelled to walk into the barrier as she feels someone is calling to her. Since Iks won’t stop her, Paifu does the honours. However an energy burst engulfs them. Paifu then finds herself in the middle of a decimated city and war. Amidst the confusion, she tries to run and hide. When she meets with Bogie, she tells him to attack. However he cannot return fire on what he cannot detect. Paifu then sees Honoka in the distance as she cuts and blows away the illusion. This weakens her, though. And Paifu sees her third eye. Resting back in Bogie, the ladies want to know the truth from Iks. So he just tells them that they are in the memories of a certain person and the attack against them is just replaying of his memories on the attack that was made against him. Since he cannot say more, Honoka insists of returning and following that call. Paifu is against this and tells her to rest. She manages to convince her to do that since they need to gather info first. Paifu talks to Iks alone to get more details but he only mentions all the things Honoka said about Paifu. Good and bad, she said them in a cheerful manner. As she grew up in a caravan, she probably wanted to experience a school life, that’s why Honoka addressed Paifu as sensei. That voice calls out to Honoka again. Bogie alerts the rest that Honoka has vanished. Yeah, how can somebody under his constant surveillance just disappear? Don’t know. It just happened. Yeah, Iks too suddenly disappears. Damn, this place getting more haunted. We see more Paifu talk with Iks about Honoka’s depression of killing somebody for the first time. Had Honoka did not do that, Paifu would’ve died. She still finds this dumb so Iks takes it as she likes Honoka. We see Iks talking to that voice and claims he accidentally woke him up. Though, the voice thought he is here to kill him. Iks assures he has no hostility towards him as the voice laments they tried to kill him and thus the reason he hid here as he couldn’t do anything then. As for why he is trying to get out know, he is going to kill them. He is going to destroy the world that hated him. Paifu sees a young kid before her. She asks about Honoka but he isn’t telling anything. Because she’ll die here! Meanwhile Honoka meets… Herself!

Episode 12
Paifu fights the kid but is on the losing end since her moves cannot connect. Honoka too is on the defence as she is only running away from her clone who is more confident and talkative. Iks is talking to the voice that while he was sleeping, the war ended. He wants to know if his enemies lost but Iks said nobody won. If there was, war was the winner. This makes him upset and unable to accept that outcome. If that’s the case he should’ve continued sleeping. Iks asks why he called out to Honoka. His excuse is trying to get rid of her since she deflected his attacks. Iks calls his bluff because he has been calling her for a long time and Honoka responded to it. Honoka’s clone tries to paint Honoka a loner and a killer, hence she should just kill everybody. Honoka disputes that so her clone kills her. Too bad Honoka didn’t die and gets up. Though, it hurts like hell. Honoka hen mentions all the people in her life who supported her. She felt she has done anything and that’s why she’s working hard to be worthy of all that. She is going to live and believe in herself. With that resolve, Honoka is able to cut herself. Meanwhile Paifu applies the same technique as Honoka did with her chi to defeat the kid. Honoka continues to wander about until she enters a strange place and sees a boy sitting by himself. He is Gravestone. She knows he was the one calling to her and was crying. He has watched her fight and claims she is strong. She credits the people who supported her that gave her the strength. When he claims he is not like her, she denies because now he’s got her. Assuring he is no longer alone, Gravestone breaks down in her arms. So now the place is falling apart, how will Honoka escape? Ah, Iks to the rescue. Well, all in time because the Gravestone threat just disappears like that. This means The Third do not need to fire their Wormhole Driver. Phew. Jouganki must be feeling so relieved. Iks explaining to Honoka about Gravestone’s incompleteness, the reason he was unable to emerge from that space. The boy is the image of the scientist’s dead son who died in the war. Honoka is relieved he was never alone to begin with and had his father’s love. He must not have wanted his son to be used in the war and hence that image.

Episode 13
A lost guy in the desert thought he is dead. However he thought a desert fairy saved him and reunited him with his rescuers. As such, this is just part of the many desert legends that are going around. Meanwhile, a couple of cocky punks who got a near brush with Sword Dancer (and chickened out) are bragging about it when this hunter named Leon wants to know where he can find her. They get rude so he deals them with a major bloody pain. Honoka visits Millie to see how she is doing. She also invites her to join her on a short cruise through the desert since she is thinking of taking a break. Would Millie miss the world for it? Yeah, not even school. Apparently this was put up by Paifu because she noticed Millie has been sleeping a lot in class till a point she isn’t even waking up. Like a coma? However she woke up like as though there was nothing wrong. She deduced it could be more than just a sleeping problem and could be suffering from the effects of PTSD. Yeah, remember her dad’s death? Honoka still blames herself for not being able to do anything about it but Iks says not to because at that time, it would’ve been hard for anybody. And so Honoka thought of this desert trip to tell Millie all sorts of desert legends since it is such a mysterious yet beautiful place. Next day, Leon comes to see Honoka. He is on a mission to hunt a desert fairy but since he doesn’t know the area, he needs a guide. Honoka declines him since she is on vacation. She could recommend him to others but Leon won’t bother asking another aside the best. And Sword Dancer is the best in this part of town, right? Leon leaves but is sure they will meet again. He leaves Honoka in shock because he knows about her third eye. That night, Millie sets off with Honoka for the desert trip. Meanwhile Leon is stopped by the Inspection Force. But he does some phantom trick to destroy them. So, is he a desert legend too? A desert ghost?

Episode 14
As Honoka and Millie continue their carefree desert trip, eventually a worried Honoka asks about Millie’s health and if she is eating right, etc. Despite Honoka’s genuine concerns for her, Millie took this the wrong way and thinks she sees her as a hindrance. In that case, Millie doesn’t need all this sh*t. Wow. Now she hates her? And WTF, Millie runs away?! Where can she run in this desert?! It’s as good as courting trouble. Speaking of which, she starts to fall into a sand pit. No, it’s that discount Sarlacc again. Honoka is busy fending off its tentacles who want to have her as dinner too. As Millie slides further in, she hears the voice of a fairy telling her not to give up. Honoka may be freed from the tentacles but she cannot reach Millie in time. What is this thing that is faster than her who saves Millie? Oh, a white desert wolf? After handing Millie back in the safe hands of Honoka, the wolf goes to fight the monster. Damn, it has electric tentacles to shock the monster?! Too big to feel its effects, though. Honoka then has Iks take care of Millie before she returns to go help the wolf. This time her sword is enough to cut the whole monster in half! Wow! Once everything calms down, Honoka blames herself for being stupid and all. Of course Millie apologizes for acting up. She didn’t mean what she said and still loves her. She curses her own powerlessness. Well duh, she’s a kid so she isn’t that strong to begin with. Millie also mentions the fairy she saw. Well, it’s right before them! Iks recognizes it as a Star Seed. A bright glow before the fairy disappears. As Honoka ponders about what to do for her, Iks suggests to find that wolf. After all, they need to thank it for saving Millie.

Episode 15
Journeying for 3 days to find the wolf. Nothing. One during as the desert storm hits, Honoka could sense the fairy. With Millie, they go out to greet it. Honoka asks Iks about it and he explains it is actually a seed of life. It travels across the universe to plant and nurture genetic data of all life forms it collects in a new planet. Honoka thinks this means the planet is doomed. However she still has hope and doesn’t think so. Iks’ comment is that if this is what Honoka thinks, so be it. Double lucky for them because the wolf is here. It proves Honoka’s theory that the wolf is also after the fairy and they’re connected. As they try to approach it to give their thanks. A warning shot is fired and the wolf escapes. Honoka hurries to check what’s going on and it turns out to be Leon. Looks like he wants the wolf too. Honoka warns him to go away so Leon dares her to kill him. They fight and it looks like Leon is made up of liquid metal. Yeah, like cutting through water. Worse, he can shoot lasers and Honoka gets shot many times! With the wolf sneering at him, Leon backs off. Iks hurriedly takes Honoka back to Bogie. Is he going to be a doctor now? His worst fears come true as Honoka has taken too much damage. Her wounds too deep for her to heal since the laser has burnt through her capillaries. A blood transfusion is needed. Well, the nearest hospital is 5 days away. Iks has an idea. He lets the wolf known as Kamui in as it uses its tentacles to do its transfusion. It’s unscientifically unproven so it’s not surprising Bogie is concerned Kamui seems like doing something strange to her. At least Honoka is in stable condition now. Then they talk about Leon whom Iks knows it was from an old military unit of monsters during the great war. Yup. Lost technology. However despite being somewhat immortal, it should be deteriorating over time. The only reason why Leon is able to maintain such high intelligence and functionality is that he absorbs other Phantoms. Cannibalism? Yeah, see him do one right now. He’s feeling so much more powerful and faster. Can’t wait to fight Honoka again. Hence the reason Leon is chasing after the fairy is so that by devouring a higher life form, let’s say he’ll become close to God.

Episode 16
So, Kamui has planted regenerative cells into Honoka. Wow. She’s looking way better now. Such convenience. Meanwhile Honoka has a dream talking to the fairy. She hopes to keep living on this planet. Iks further explains about Kamui. He once lived with humans but now those memories are scattered all over the place. This means he can recall it anytime since it left it out in the open. Millie wants Kamui to take her to see some moon dragonflies. Beautiful. More surprise for Millie as Honoka is here too. She thanks her as they watch this beautiful sight. And then Honoka disappears. Holy sh*t! That was her ghost?! Is this her new ability? Because the real Honoka still in bed sleeping. Once she is better, Honoka wants to settle things with Leon since clearly he is after Kamui and the fairy. Bogie is against this since she is no match for him even if this is to thank them for saving their lives. Since she insists, Bogie will only allow it if she fights using PSP. Sure, it won’t do jack sh*t on Leon but it’s better than being exposed to getting injured easier. Once Leon is detected, they see him facing off with Kamui. Honoka takes over in her PSP as Leon relishes fighting her. Millie wants to go help but Iks tells her not to get in the way. Yeah, what is she going to do with a small handgun? Believe in Honoka! Eventually Honoka has to hop out of her PSP to fight him in person. Then it’s like she achieves some sort of zen state. Using and sensing the gaps in his chi or something, he manages to dodge his attacks faster than the speed of light. And woah! She cuts through his lasers! So sharp that when she cuts Leon in half, it stops his regenerating abilities! Bye, time to die. Then they see the fairy and Kamui together. Both fuse and become one. Iks explains the fairy has been wandering around as she lacks something to move on. So it was whatever vital life DNA the wolf had and that’s why Kamui was chasing her? But take heart, the fairy hasn’t totally depart from this planet yet and is finding a proper place to do so. Wow. Really?! Hence an excuse to say they will continue to roam the land and create more urban legends for dumb humans. Millie returns the handgun to Honoka. She thought of keeping this as a memento but realizes nothing could replace the real Honoka. Yeah, the real thing is way better!

Episode 17
Oh damn. Who hijacked Wormhole Driver and blasts a great hole in some part of the desert?! Honoka has been called to the admin bureau. She thinks it’s for another job but as she waits in the room, she calls out to Jouganki’s ploy to meet her like this. To her shock, it’s not him but Fila. Fila has a request of her but before she can get to it, they have to hide because Inspection Force is raining bullets on them! Honoka takes Fila to safety and has Paifu help disable some of them. But there is more to come. Fila says these robots are supposed to be under her control but has lost them because someone hijacked them. Honoka then uses her astral eyes on Fila. She manages to sniff out the perpetrator hiding nearby. She escapes. Luckily Kevin and his mercenaries arrive in time to take out the rest of the Inspection Force. Getting back to business, Fila claims Jouganki has gone missing. She knows the perpetrator behind this is Rona Fauna, another one of The Third and has taken control over a portion of the Inspection Force. While holding up in one of their facilities, Jouganki went to negotiate with her alone but went missing soon after. You think The Third could’ve used their astral eyes to find some info but Rona uses a different system like a jamming device and that’s how she hijacked stuffs. Hence if they send more robots in, they are likely to be controlled by her. Despite this being an internal problem for The Third, that is why she is asking for Honoka’s help to find Jouganki. Assuming he is alive. Honoka and Paifu load up and prepare what they need for the rescue mission. We see Jouganki alive but captured in the hands of Rona.

Episode 18
Fila sends blueprints of the facilities where Rona is. However recent aerial footage shows she has used nanomachines to change its structure and they can also assume the interior has also altered. So more training and preparing until that day comes. Honoka is eager that Fila is going to introduce a new firepower to the unit. Well, look who’s back? Blue Breaker! Yeah, not so enthusiastic now, huh? The irony that Zankan’s killer is now on their side. Honoka is not impressed with this as Paifu gives her 2 cents worth of opinion that Blue Breaker is probably worth a few more Inspection Force bots. Otherwise it will be just another ordinary bot if the team isn’t unified on this mission. Honoka allows Blue Breaker to be part of their team but has a condition that it must follow her orders. Any independent action, Honoka will cut it down immediately. Got to put aside her burning hatred for professionalism. Meanwhile Jouganki tells Rona that her attempts are futile as the council are putting all their effort into solving this and they will not discount destroying the entire facility along with him. She doesn’t think they’ll do it since he is here but Jouganki they will as this is for the betterment of this planet. Allowing her to continue as she is will only hurt this planet. As a member of The Third, she should also know this. However she poses a question if she is considered The Third because of her astral eye or she is just another creature with such. Fila tries to find more info on Rona but there are none. She believes her data has been expunged and since the permanent councillors are capable of this, why? D-day is here as Honoka and co prepare to launch an aerial assault on the facility.

Episode 19
Honoka rides her PSP to take down the vanguard drones and bots. Blue Breaker backs her up. But with the immense amount of resistance, Honoka and Blue Breaker are soon separated from the rest. Although they crash landed safely, both sides make their way towards the facility. Rona has been too engrossed in her talk with Jouganki to notice the enemy attacking until her assistant points it out. But to her surprise, the enemy isn’t The Third. As Jouganki wants to know what her goals are since initially she had demands about temporarily shutting down the central government but has not said anything about it since he came here. However she claims as long as she has Wormhole Driver, nobody can touch her. This has him doubt if she will use it again. As Honoka draws closer, Rona could sense more of her and as she describes her, Jouganki can tell it is Honoka’s team and wonders if this is what Fila resorted to. Jouganki wants to know what she really is up to because even if she has combined her special abilities to fuse with the system, the central government cannot defeat her. Well, from her reaction and words, why does my guts say that she’s in love with Jouganki???!!! Yeah, because look at her worried face when she sees him worried about Honoka. That is why she is curious to see who that girl is and lets her into the facility. Honoka senses strange things inside and cannot make out of it. It’s something big and spreading all over but yet weak and fragile. Blue Breaker explains the place is covered with nanomachines and have fused with the original materials. Thus this whole place is like a pseudo artificial life form. The whole facility could be overflowing with Rona’s chi.

Episode 20
Some jamming device is also interfering with Bogie’s attempt to make contact with Honoka. But with Iks feeling it is constantly losing strength, another way of putting it that it is dying. Bogie has to let off Iks and Paifu since Rona has sent a huge tank killer to chase the invaders out. I guess we need to see some big machines fight each other. In the end, Bogie comes out victorious since he has more battle experience. Honoka and Blue Breaker walk deeper into the facility. After dispatching a few bots, Blue Breaker turns on Honoka. However he soon tells her to cut him down. It is then Honoka realizes why Fila put Blue Breaker on her team. It’s like some sort of payment. Blue Breaker believes she hates him and can cut him down with ease. However Honoka tells him off that this mission is to rescue Jouganki. Even if she loses a member, the mission is a failure. Hence he is to only obey her orders and get back alive. Yes, she will not cut him. Poor robot, feeling confused that this does not compute. Why doesn’t she cut down something she hates? Well, she points out he has no more ammo left so it’s hardly threatening. Just STFU and follow her orders. Iks and Paifu enter the facility. They are being attacked by Rona’s assistant. However Paifu gets stabbed in the chest. She plays dead to turn the tables on her and kills her. So Paifu gonna die? Not if Iks now becomes her fairy, telling her not to give up and even healing her. So still distrust that dude? Rona gets desperate as Jouganki tries to convince her to come with him and that she can still be saved. However she laments that he is no different than the rest of The Third who think themselves as gods. She thinks he only cared for her research just like how he only cares for Honoka’s abilities. Thus the reason of being kind to her. Surprise but no, she admits she loves him. I know it! With jealousy taking over, Rona has more reason to eliminate Honoka. Speaking of her, looks like she is in a room with a person in a container. Blue Breaker says this is Rona. Oh, Rona going overboard as she overuses her abilities. She’s going crazy.

Episode 21
Blue Breaker explains this is Rona’s real body. She died over a year ago and her body preserved. He also explains how she hijacked Wormhole Driver that is capable of destroying this planet. Why does The Third have a weapon that can destroy when they already have control of this world? It is to keep anyone from interfering. Blue Breaker then attacks Honoka but she anticipates this and dodges. After all, she knew Blue Breaker’s mind has been taken over by Rona the moment he stepped into this room because no robots will know about Rona or Wormhole Driver. Honoka is left to dodge his attacks as she is in a dilemma to cut him down. Blue Breaker using his last ounce of sanity to tell her to kill him. Honoka’s answer is to just cut off his weapon. Poor robot still cannot compute she won’t kill him. Although Honoka hasn’t forgiven him, she talks about things existing for a purpose and he needs to find that out. If he ever wants to settle this in the future, she’ll be glad to oblige. Though, she hopes it won’t come to that. Oh man, did Honoka actually make a robot turn over a new leaf?! Oh sh*t! Blue Breaker reacting like he is in despair after hearing Honoka’s words! Mean killer machine has a conscience?! But Blue Breaker is back to normal since Rona’s weakening means she has lost control of him. This also means Jouganki is freed from her grasp. He still wants to save her and with The Third’s technology, perhaps prolong her life even if 100% recovery to her original state is not possible. However she notes even if that’s the case, what good will that do? She already knows her condition. She pushes him out, knowing he wants to see Honoka. Jouganki knows Honoka can get here by herself. The important issue is to save Rona. Cut yourself from the system before it’s too late. Oh, too late for her. A final confession she loves him and did everything she can just to be close to him for one last time. When Honoka arrives, she asks for Jouganki. Rona claims he is dead because she killed him. This shock distracts Honoka as Rona unleashes her thorny surprise to kill her.

Episode 22
Rona forces Honoka to fight but the latter just keeps dodging and insists she will not. It ends only because memories of Jouganki floods through Rona’s mind. Yeah, just lost the will to fight, huh? Because now it’s time to talk. Rona reveals Jouganki is alive and since Honoka has seen her real body, this means the one she is talking to her is a clone. She can only live as long as the original one does and that means that time is nearing up. Rona explains she has this ability to see weaknesses in the machines. She had this idea to merge their minds with machines to solve this issue via creating an efficient system but The Third feared this and shunned her. That is of course until Jouganki came to help her by giving her this facility to continue her research. By using her own nerve cells as nanomachines, she came out with results and he was pleased. She was pleased. Even more so when he helped hide her from the central government and told her to continue her research. It made her had a purpose of existence. Meanwhile Jouganki finding his way stumbles into Iks who of course knows everything. Jouganki laments he neglected Rona throughout the years and something about The Third unable to have procreating abilities and thus this love thingy is alien to him. Iks says his sentiments has reached her. Honoka helps to help Rona by pouring some of her chi into her. She reveals her blue astral eye and says she is the same like her. A defect of The Third who was also ostracized by them. Rona laments had they met earlier, fate would’ve been different. Unfortunately, Rona dies. But soon the place takes a life of its own. Like as though the dark subconscious of Rona is trying to get revenge and activate Wormhole Driver to destroy the planet. Jouganki makes contact to Fila to stop the weapon but she says she can’t as they still don’t have control over stuffs. He curses their powerlessness. Before it gets too late, Honoka is forced to cut the menace in half. Threat over. In the aftermath, Jouganki learns the council cannot afford to lose him and that’s why they concluded of using Honoka even if it meant sacrificing her. He goes to thank and apologize to Honoka for dragging her into this mess. But she just brushes off as a job. As everyone leaves, Rona narrates that it is not Jouganki is unable to love nor he would not love anyone. It’s only because there’s someone else in his heart other than her. She hopes Honoka would realize that since they share the same soul.

Episode 23
The Inspection Force hauls Joey away. Oh boy… So when Honoka returns to town to get Joey to fix Bogie, his mechanic pals tell what happened. But soon Honoka finds Joey wandering the streets. Looks like he got off lightly despite dabbling with Technos Taboo. He has lost his licence and can’t tinker even with legal Technos either. Joey has a reason for doing this because as his ambitions grow, he realizes sooner or later he will have to touch Technos Taboo. Meanwhile Paifu notices Iks acting strange so she confronts him to spill the beans. He is going to Steel Gorge, an area filled with Technos Taboo that is off limits to everyone. There is something he must do even if it means going against The Third. He hopes she won’t tell Honoka this. Later Honoka talks to Paifu and tells her about Joey’s case. Although he didn’t say it, she believes he touched Technos Taboo because he wanted to make Bogie better. For that, he needed cutting edge technology and thus was cut violating Technos Taboo. So she’s feeling responsible about it? Paifu must have felt sorry for her and tells what Iks is up to. Go to him before it’s too late! Instantly Honoka makes haste. Iks walks through the desert and is surrounded by Inspection Force who tell him to go back. He ignores them. The fire. Nothing happens to him. Jouganki is shown this image and Fila tells him to do something about it since Steel Gorge is under his jurisdiction. Honoka manages to track down Iks and reminds him their contract hasn’t ended. Iks remains adamant this is something he must do alone. Bogie gives a hesitant Honoka a little push to tell him what’s on her mind and so she confronts him again, this time revealing she never asked him stuffs in fear that it would be over if she knew. But she feels it is unfair for him to leave when she doesn’t know anything about him. Oh, you just made her cry. Iks hugs her and takes her on a galaxy trip! Wow. The universe this cold? That’s why there is life and planets to warm it up. However the downside is that wars and conflicts will cause it to vanish. Iks lets Honoka feel the soul and the tears of this planet. It is feeling bitterly cold and sad. Iks is also feeling the same. That is why Iks is on a journey to Steel Gorge to meet the planet’s cold soul. Jouganki doesn’t think Fila needs this overkill. Yeah, the entire desert filled with armed robots! He knows no matter how big the army, it is all futile to take down Iks. Pointless. But looks like Iks won’t be their only enemy as Honoka has joined his side.

Episode 24
A hologram of Jouganki confronts Honoka and Iks. He tells them they are violating Technos Taboo and wants them to go back. Honoka says she won’t. Why? Because screw Technos Taboo! She is doing this intentionally to break it. What about Iks? His objective of coming to this planet is to come here. With negotiations failed, time to move in the army. Honoka will deal this alone. Using her astral eye, it’s like she’s got a new move (Iks said it’s from the regenerative cells of Kamui) and uses some blue wave to cause and earthquake to destroy all the bots! OMG! What a waste! The desert turns into flaming hell! Oh Fila, you don’t mean to look so shock, do you? She panics more when Jouganki decides to personally bring the duo to Steel Gorge. Because if they continue this resistance, The Third will be no different than humans and will bring more harm to this planet. Jouganki brings them to the most top secret facility at the bottom of Steel Gorge. He reveals that besides other lost technologies of the old, there lies a singular energy that The Third have been watching ever since for generations. Or rather, he has been watching them too. This is also somewhat makes The Third afraid and hence limiting access of this place to humans.

At the bottom, a cold spell hits all of them. Iks identify this planet’s soul as the Observer and likewise he identifies Iks as the Arbiter. Honoka and Jouganki are made to experience life from the very beginning on this planet until those damn humans destroyed everything with rage and war. Yeah, the pain and sorrow Observer feels piercing his being. Makes you reduced to tears even for a stoic person. Before Iks passes his judgment, he asks if there is all that’s left and no new hope left. That is when Honoka stands up and wants to give her piece of opinion. She feels very sorry for him due to all the grief and suffering he has been subjected to. Wow, is Honoka apologizing on behalf of humans for what they have done?! However, she also wants to thank him. This makes Observer feel a lot better for there is one who cried for him. Iks then explains the many souls that Honoka has comforted like Gravestone, Millie and Rona. Hence Iks believes it is his turn to observe this planet and will take over Observer’s place so he can learn more about it. Thanks to meeting Honoka, he feels humans have begun to rethink their future. Observer feels grateful for this judgment (why do I have a feeling it’s like he is freaking happy to be freed from this torturous duty?!) as he prepares to depart from this planet. Kamui pops up as the fairy also separates herself so as to ride Observer into space. Honoka and Kamui chasing this blue fireball into space… Jouganki feels this could be the turning point for humans and The Third and hence might reconsider about Technos Taboo. Iks continues to join Honoka on her journey because there is still so much she wants to show him about this world.

Third Eye Blue: Semi-Chi Kinda Life
Humans should be freaking thankful to Honoka for extending life on this little blue planet. Uh huh. She be made a saint. No, a God! But I guess nobody knew about this and I believe Honoka isn’t the kind would love to be put upon a pedestal so I guess that’s okay. Basically humans in general and many of them are jerks but it’s just the luck of this planet and those in power to have met a girl like Honoka who isn’t even actually an actual human being herself. Let that sink in. Having The Third somewhat saving your planet on your behalf too, wow, we humans must be really that useless, huh? Let’s just hope humans can build upon this unseen goodwill and improve themselves for the aeons to come.

The overall story feels rather okay and from what I can see, it doesn’t really have a particular plot in tow. Sure, Honoka is the main character but we mostly see the series being divided into a few mini arcs and Honoka being the centre of it. It’s not like there was any ultimate goal to fight against The Third nor would they try to get rid of Honoka herself. In fact, the light novel source that this series was adapted, the last time I checked, it is still ongoing?! Not sure if this series was quite obscure and didn’t even get any internet update but it seems hard to find sources of it. So I’m not sure if the anime’s direction is independent of the light novel or part of one of its volumes. And seeing that there has been no sequel thereafter, it’s safe to say that we’ll never get our answer. At least for those who don’t read the original source. Furthermore, every episode has the narrator narrate in between. Like as though we’re too dumb to figure it out if the characters didn’t say it. Yeah, maybe like yours truly are really too dumb to get it. Anyway, he narrates in quite a poetic fashion like as though this is part of a storybook but I guess it is better than having such moments an awkward silence. Whether the characters are starring off into the scenery or emotionally hugging, the narration of that scene makes it look less awkward.

The Third being the strange sentient beings they are, there have been many question marks raised as I watched over the series. Well, for starters, who put them in charge of managing the planet? Are they self-proclaimed managements of the universe? Or are they God’s apostles or something like that? Can’t be that as seen in the end that there are higher beings than them that they even fear. Therefore sometimes the way they govern the planet, it is somewhat conflicting. While their noble goal is to reduce as much conflict as possible and for the betterment of the planet, sometimes their methods may give rise to more wars and hurt it all instead. Just take a look at this Technos Taboo thing. You know humans have this rebellious spirit inside, right? In no time if this gets out of hand, humans might force a revolt and The Third sending in more bots to keep the peace, started a war instead. Sometimes I can’t help feel that the Streisand effect is going to play out here. Therefore humans sneaky enough can play this card and allow them to do whatever they want. You know, all for the peace of this planet. Loophole.

Then the other curious part about them as Jouganki mentioned, they cannot procreate. While that line itself is vague, it makes me wonder if they are machines. Well, they do bleed and cry so I guess they’re not. But since they use their astral eyes to connect to any sort of computer, I guess they are. So are they a crossbreed of such? After all, there is not much about them that we know of throughout the series and even towards the end. Because as such, if The Third do not even sexually produce, the baffling thing that boggled my mind is that, why do they even have male and female versions? Do you get what I’m trying to say here? Okay, maybe it is just me assuming that Jouganki is male while Fila is female because of comparing them to human counterparts since they look close enough. Even so, how do they actually breed assuming they are not immortals and in the case of Rona, can face death.

Making them weirder is that it feels like they want some sort of uniform identity among them. Because in the case of Honoka, just because she has a different astral eye colour, she gets kicked out. Not considered part of this The Third membership. Like, what the f*ck? It’s the same case for Rona because of her different ability of her astral eye. So does this mean The Third all strive to be the same robotic-like existence because if you don’t show the same abilities whether they are good or bad, you are not considered one of them. Strange. Even more so, they make human-like blunders especially the one after Gravestone’s incident, as Fila even commented why the f*ck did they not disengage this space weapon after it. WHY?! Why did they even leave it operational?! It wasn’t like there was some immediate threat after Gravestone, right? Yeah, all for the next plot, I suppose. Yeah, pretty weird people and as shady as hell when you consider you don’t even know or see who is part of this central government.

Enough of those 3 eyed beings already, better move on to Honoka because she’s the main character, right? So as one who is sandwiched between humans and The Third, she is trying to find her place and acceptance in this world but I don’t think that should bother her too much because it’s Honoka we’re talking about. Okay, maybe she initially had this bothersome trouble plaguing her of not wanting to kill humans, but I suppose that is needed for some sort of character development. Hence that Gravestone arc so that she could fight herself (because you are your greatest enemy), and then come to realization that if there comes a time where she needs to use her blade, then she’ll use it. No more hesitation and dilemma of sulking like a baby about the principals she swore to stick with. Because life is very much like a grey area, never so obvious in black and white and there are thin fine lines between just about everything. Even forgiving Blue Breaker so as to show us she has greatly matured and in control of her anger. So mature that it even confused a highly intelligent robot! Damn. So we just turned Honoka into a lost girl into a cool casual team leader and eventually the planet’s saviour. All hail mighty Honoka!

In order not to paint her as some heartless mercenary or killing human machine whatever, that’s why we sometimes see her supposedly cute side when she flusters (part and parcel of this series’ brand as comedy?). Like also trolling us she would be falling for Iks because yeah, no other guys in town looks as handsome as he is. And of course she isn’t totally a brute and she could be some sort of cultured person too because she loves reciting that Donna Myfree poems that until this day I have no clue what its abstract lines try to say. Like, huh?! Who the f*ck?! What the f*ck has that got to do with everything?! That’s why it feels a little bit unrelated.

Then there is this mysterious guy known as Iks. Your hot guy of the series. Unfortunately my guts rang like hell earlier on that he was like some sort of sentient being from outer space, so it came to no surprise the revelation about his role at the end. The way he pops up anywhere, goes missing anything and hints about knowing just about everything. Does that not say a lot about his character? Yeah, that spoiled it for me. Iks takes on mostly the observer role as he lets viewers guess who he is but veterans like yours truly could already tell from miles away. So as to keep the mystery of his character, the reason why he is tight lip on certain subjects and he is being casual with whatever decisions the characters make. He isn’t against it nor is he supportive of it. Because if that is what they think it is, then so be it and so he shall accept that decision. Yeah, pretty much on the fence guy. After all, that is what observers are supposed to do, right? So no wonder he didn’t head to Steel Gorge the first time he landed on this planet is because he needed time to wander about, see how the world is doing before making his decision. Yeah, also to troll us with some sort of romance with Honoka because obviously we’ve got to show that Honoka is still human (or The Third) and that she has some feelings too. Basically Iks taking over the observer’s role in the end is like some sort of confession to her because now he gets to travel and be with her a little longer.

Couldn’t make head or tail about this Jouganki dude at first. Is he the antagonist or an ally for Honoka? It sounded like the former because he hints he wants her abilities. But can a mild mannered man be a villain? As we see, he is unlike those faceless and nameless councils of The Third since he has some sort of compassion too. So perhaps he needed Honoka’s abilities for a good cause but since Honoka won’t let him, there’s that. What are the chances he has feelings for Honoka too because he always lets her off lightly. I’m very sure she is that certain person occupying his heart as Rona mentioned. Very sure. His expression just doesn’t show it. Which makes my theory that The Third are closer to robots because of their mostly emotionless expression. Not sure if he is one of the higher ups of the central management too because the council really put him high on a pedestal and consider him a very important person although Jouganki himself doesn’t really want to go with that.

Other characters are rather okay. They give some variety to the series but I don’t really see them as too significant to the overall story. Like Paifu seems to be there to be Honoka’s rival-cum-partner because this busty lesbian is interested in this tomboy but somehow can’t get her way with her. So she’s like providing some sort of fighting assistance to Honoka and be Millie’s teacher-cum-guardian, that’s about it. Bogie being the highly intelligent AI unit serves Honoka’s needs and it could be interesting to see if this AI would actually become more human-like due to his interaction with Honoka and other humans. I mean, sometimes you hear the decisions he makes, it makes you wonder if this tank was transplanted with a dead soul of a human. Though, Bogie tries to remind us that he is still machine and all those feelings and emotional matters he doesn’t really get. But still, the wellbeing of Honoka is his utmost importance just like the planet’s wellbeing is to The Third.

Blue Breaker feels underwhelming but I suppose he exists so as to give Honoka a shot at redemption because can’t stay mad at Zankan’s murderer forever. So as to raise Honoka to a saint-like level by forgiving her enemy and letting him live. Even if it’s a robot. Yeah, a robot feeling so confused about Honoka’s goodwill. Funny. Millie, another stepping stone for Honoka to not feel guilty and get over the fact she failed to save her father. If Millie gets to grow to be strong, then hell Honoka should to. Finally there’s Joey to hint there is some romance but I guess he is just forgettable. Someone there to just fixt Bogie and be somewhat Zankan’s successor.

The action scenes are rather okay and just enough for entertainment value. Especially Honoka swinging her sword and sometimes the effects are unbelievable but I have got to remember that she uses her chi force and channels it through her sword so I guess it’s only right that she could cut through just about anything like hot butter through knife. Now you can’t even send in an entire planet’s worth or armies to fight her because we can already see how much she has evolved. Want to bet who would win the fight if God sends his angels to face Honoka?! Though, I find the fact that sometimes Honoka has to use her PSP, it’s just mostly for show and to satiate some mecha fans. I feel her PSP is just redundant because eventually Honoka comes out and uses her sword, the weapon she is so familiar with and most comfortable of using. That PSP is just like a big toy just for shows to look cool. Oh, this show has a piloted mecha! Cool! Sort of. Yeah, I guess we’re all here to see how badass Honoka cuts up stuffs with her sword. Not piloting some machine. Leave that to Gundam! To prevent Honoka hogging all the action, sometimes Bogie will back her up and fire all his cool arsenal of missiles and machine guns. And sometimes Paifu and her guns.

Art and animation are old school anime and obviously the art style is from that era. I can safely say that it looks better than many contemporary animes today despite the animation being outdated. Yeah, I guess back then people had more passion and less of those technological conveniences to easily churn out results at a touch of a button, huh? Speaking of which, there is some CGI here and mostly are on the robots. Again, I have to say that it is still better quality than today’s animes although I won’t go so far as to say it is a masterpiece. Even though you can tell they are CGI, they still look pretty decent. Like for Bogie looks pretty cool and unique as a tank. Even if the Inspection Force are boring drones, at least they didn’t skimp the CGI quality on it. Though, there are some episodes I noticed a downgrade in quality but thank goodness they don’t make this a habit. On a trivial note, The Third’s astral eyes somewhat bugged me. I won’t say they look creepy but they don’t look like the other eyes either. What am I trying to say? When I first have a closer look on them, damn I thought it looks like a vagina!!! F*CK!!!

Honoka looking so tomboyish (and perhaps androgynous) and dresses up like man. It only feels right as she spends most of her time in the desert and has to cut down things. It will look pretty suspicious if she was all dolled up, looking pretty and very feminine and can kick ass hard. Yes, that will be too fantasy-like. Also, to prevent perverts from jerking off to her… Heh… That’s why we have a mature Paifu and lolicons can fawn over Millie who looks way feminine than Honoka. And of course pretty boys like Iks and Jouganki to please the eye as well. This anime was done by the now defunct (actually now merged with I.G Productions) Xebex who did the To Love-Ru series, Love Hina, Busou Renkin, Pandora Hearts and the original Shaman King.

Voice acting is pretty okay too. Fancy finding Takehito Koyasu here as Jouganki but he sounds more subdued and nothing badass like you would hear in the Jojo series. Then there’s the late Unshou Ishizuka as Bogie and speaking of such, I thought the fairy sounded familiar. Then I found out it was by the late Miyu Matsuki. Oh damn, feeling a bit sad despite it has been already many years they passed on. And I still missed identifying Rie Tanaka as Fila. The other casts are Megumi Toyoguchi as Honoka (Revy in Black Lagoon), Daisuke Namikawa as Iks (Waver in Fate/Zero), Sanae Kobayashi as Paifu (Lucy in Elfen Lied), Tomoyuki Shimura as Blue Breaker (Nakai in Bakuman), Yuki Sakata as Millie, Yuuji Ueda as Joey (Takeshi in Pokemon AKA more popularly known as Brock in the west), Hitomi Nabatame as Rona (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana) and Juurouta Kosugi as the narrator (Arlong in One Piece).

The opening theme is Sajou No Yume by Yuko Sasaki. Sounds pretty dramatic and enigmatic in its own right. I thought this song had traces of Yuki Kajiura’s trademark in it (especially the strings part) but since I couldn’t find any info about this, it might just be coincidence. Both the ending themes are sung by Chou Hikou Shounen. ING being the first ending theme is your typical anime rock pop that should fit well in shonen-esque animes like Naruto. The second ending theme, Late Show is another rock outfit. Well, sounds okay too and I’m not going crazy over it.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent retro anime. Might not be mainstream but it’s still entertaining and watchable in its own right. I mean, when a series was released with other juggernauts and classic hits in the same season like Black Lagoon, Gintama, Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu, Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, Ouran High School Host Club, xxxHOLIC and Utawarerumono, no wonder this was easily brushed over by many. Take heart it can’t be the worst anime of that season too because that’s when Gundou Musashi also made its debut. Hah! But I believe this anime wasn’t trying to compete or go head to head with them and for now it is happy to be one of those obscure desert legends in the pile of animes of yesteryears. Smiling and pleased to those who have stumbled and watched it. I bet that line feels like a Donna Myfree worthy poem! Who the f*ck is that again?!

Creepy! Creepy! Oh senpai! You mean the last time wasn’t enough?! Yeah, I guess we didn’t do enough reflection. Or perhaps they did it and decided that they needed another season of more girl on boy bullying. Heh. Whatever. I guess I didn’t quite come to expect this series having a second season, Ijiranaide Nagatoro-san 2nd Attack but I suppose after a certain forehead girl and sugoi dekai babe getting multiple seasons under their belt, it’s time for this tanned gal to get her dues too. Are we prepared to see more of the wimp shedding tears from her torturous teasing? Strengthen your hearts, people. Because otherwise you’ll be seething mad and die from a heart attack instead. Sorry, bad pun.

Episode 1A
Don’t panic if you’re watching the wrong anime. It’s just a manga that Naoto is reading. A student council president slaves drive his secretary until she discovers him cheating in an exam. She blackmails him if he doesn’t want to be exposed, he must do anything she says! Wow. Doesn’t this relationship look familiar? Nagatoro comes in to show off her new loafers but noticing that he is reading this manga, she too mentions that she is following it. Since he comments the pranks in this manga isn’t as bad as a certain someone, Nagatoro challenges to follow like the manga. Not the first chapter, but the latest one. The one whereby the president has to lick the bird poo off her shoe! At least this time Nagatoro pours a drop of water on it. Then Naoto seems like he is going to do it! Oh my! Is he?! Well, he just cleans it with his handkerchief. Enough drama for today.

Episode 1B
While walking to school, Naoto sees Nagatoro from behind. He thinks of surprising her but backs down thinking it is creepy. Because of that, she sees him and teases him for stalking. Then she proceeds to do several patterns of greeting on him. The final one being hugging him from behind. Of course as usual, she teases she made him hard on with this hug and ‘threatens’ to expose the pervert he is. As they continue walking, Naoto thinks what if he does the same thing on her. Well, he trips! Now he hugs her! And his hands on her boobs! Oh my… She butts him away. With Gamo and Yosshi here, they play ‘pinball’ with him. They invite them to a party after school to celebrate their success during the cultural festival.

Episode 1C
With the weather getting colder, Nagatoro is going to wear some tights. Because of Naoto’s casual comments, this opens up opportunities for her to tease him that he is going to be sad missing her bare legs and all. Hence she is forces him to put on the tights on her so as to satiate his fetish. As he does so, he can’t help feel how soft her leg is. Hard to keep a clear mind, eh? Finally he reaches her thighs and that’s when she puts a stop to it. No more! Don’t like the way he touches her, eh?

Episode 1D
Joining the rest of the gals at the sushi parlour, it seems Naoto realizes he is seated in the wrong place because now he is a slave to bring all the dishes from the conveyor belt. But Nagatoro soon says this party is for him because he worked the hardest at the festival. Will Naoto get the respect he finally deserves? The girls then mix several toppings of sushi for him to eat. Nagatoro makes one too but then it sounds like a dirty joke and her friends tease her over it. However Naoto still eats it and finds it delicious. The star of the day just saved her face. Everybody joins in making their sushi combo.

Episode 2
Look who’s back? It’s those boobs! Oops! I mean, Buchou. Noticing that Naoto is slacking in his drawing perhaps due to the burnout from the festival, she hands him tickets to the zoo to refresh and rediscover the basics in drawing. Love, that is! Of course she wants him to bring that Nagatoro girl along too. Nagatoro heard all of this outside and thinks it’s going to be a date. So she waltzes in and waits for him to invite her. After all that posing, finally he asks her and she is ecstatic to join. Of course more teasing as always. So when they are at the zoo, Nagatoro’s dream date is shattered when he hands her a sketchbook. Yeah, we’re going to sketch animals. So you wonder what that kick on the butt is for, huh? Since he is so into his sketching, he doesn’t pay attention to her until she is pouting. So when he is willing to teach her, she teases him to guide her hand. Don’t get too squirmy now. After she manages to get the basics down, I guess she needs to draw the rest on her own. After a few animal sketches, they take a break. Naoto commenting that she is getting good and of course by comparison, he is still much better. When she goes to the toilet, a couple walks in. Apparently they know Naoto. Yeah, don’t remember who these buggers are but they start to tease their artwork. But when they criticize how bad Nagatoro’s one, that is when Naoto snaps at them and not to belittle someone’s effort. It could’ve gotten ugly had Nagatoro not returned. It’s her art. Got a problem with that? The couple panics and goes away. While she teases Naoto as a wimp, she likes how she stood up for her. To continue their final sketch of the day. Does this sloth indicate it has been a long slow day? But to Naoto’s surprise, Nagatoro drew him. Although not good, but it is carefully drawn. This has Naoto remember Buchou’s words about art is love. He tries to dismiss it but Nagatoro takes it has his eyes violating her drawing after staring at it for too long. Creepo!

Episode 3A
Naoto realizes Nagatoro forgot her handphone. I guess he can’t wait for her to return so he decides to be a kind man and go to her class and return it to her. Heck, he doesn’t even know what class she is and can’t remember her first name. Luckily a student points out her class. Naoto then Nagatoro and her friends coming in. Wanting so much to avoid them, he hides in the locker. You can see where this is going. He hears the girls talking about one of them having a boyfriend. Then the rest try to bug Nagatoro about the kind of guy she likes. She claims the one whom she likes to hang out with. They hear a bump in the locker. Fearing it’s a ghost, Nagatoro goes to check it out. WTF senpai is doing here? Here’s your phone. Oh. Nagatoro distracts her friends to have Naoto escape. Outside, she chastises him for doing all that but thanks him for returning the phone. As for eavesdropping on their conversation… Naoto better run like hell!

Episode 3B
The school is having a marathon. Naoto has done some practice but he is going to go at his own pace and not race. Well, that’s not what Nagatoro and her friends have in mind. They’re talking about the tortoise and hare story. Until Buchou in a bunny suit runs past them. Now it’s going to be a race! They force Naoto along. The girls push and boost him from the back. Due to the traffic light, Naoto and Nagatoro are separated from the rest and have to go ahead. Naoto’s sprained feet starts to act up. Nagatoro learns he has been practising and offers to lend a shoulder to support him. When this is too slow, she offers to carry him. Just STFU and get on! It’s faster this way. She can only go so far so Naoto tells her to put him down as he can’t risk her getting injured. The rest have arrived so now they carry Naoto and make a run for it. With Yosshi running ahead for some BS slipstream, they manage to catch up to Buchou. Just when they thought they had won, the teacher disqualifies them. You’re not supposed to carry! And so Buchou wins…

Episode 3C
Naoto worries that because of that eavesdropping incident, Nagatoro hasn’t dropped by the clubroom for 2 days. Damn, he worried?! Later bumping into Gamo and Yosshi, they tell him she is out sick. Since he knows where she lives, they dump him today’s notes to be given to her. Outside her house, because after a few rings she did not respond, he thinks she is dead! He sneaks around to check but a girl starts snapping away and threatens to call the police. After Naoto discloses himself and his purpose, this girl knows who he is because her younger sister often talks about him. That’s right. Nagatoro’s big sister. Anetoro???!!!

Episode 4A
Misaki (Anetoro) invites Naoto in. Just like in the genes of the family, she starts teasing him. Heck, she actually wants to tell him all about Nagatoro too when speaking of the devil, here she comes looking unkempt. Time to panic when she sees senpai here. Once she is ready, Misaki teases her with the pudding she bought and the one Naoto brought. Nagatoro will not be persuaded until Misaki combines them both. Misaki wants to continue talking about things but Nagatoro will continue their talk in her room. Sorry sis, you’re not invited! In her room, Nagatoro teases to feed him. He relents and that is when Misaki barges in to serve drinks. Saw it! Misaki leaves but hints about the talk they were going to have before Nagatoro came into the picture. Nagatoro then has Naoto play video games with her but then starts to pry about the talk they were supposed to have. She accuses him of trying to find her weakness while she is sleeping. He denies it but she doesn’t believe. In that case, she challenges him if he wins a match, she’ll tell him any secret he wants. Naoto contemplates on this as she teases him what it would be if he wins. Sorry folks, it’s not her boob size or hip size but her first name! The teasing took too long so Naoto win’s by default. She is about to tell but Naoto stops her. He feels it isn’t right to do so via a challenge like this. He’ll ask her properly next time. Wow. Looking so mature. It’s that cue again for dumb sister to barge in wanting to show old pictures of Nagatoro. Yeah, she spoilt it all as she calls her sister’s first name. Nagatoro blows her top telling her to get out but Misaki just can’t wait to tell all those juicy moments. At the end of the day, Naoto leaves. He feels a bit happy as he now knows her name. You guys still remember it’s Hayase, right?

Episode 4B
Nagatoro teases Naoto with her new short skirt. She allows to be his model to draw her in this pose. However the pose she puts up is a sidekick. As expected, she cannot hold this pose long and falls. Naoto saves her by breaking her fall. Of course this only leads to more teasing that he is a closet pervert.

Episode 5A
Naoto in dilemma to call Nagatoro by her first name. He is taking too long so it makes him look creepy. Suddenly Nagatoro tugs his sleeve. This makes him blush and of course another prank of hers. It seems based on this website, the top act to tug a man’s heart is this. Naoto insists he is so Nagatoro won’t give up and try to grab his sleeve again. He continuously dodges her until he realizes he needs to get back at her by tugging her sleeve. As he is going to do that, they end up holding each other’s hands! Then Nagatoro’s buddies come by and see this. Wow. So early in the morning. Nagatoro try to brush it off as practising judo but they aren’t buying it.

Episode 5B
Well, well, well. Looks like it is Naoto’s turn to get a cold. He stays home while mom has to unfortunately head off to work. Soon, a message from Nagatoro. Where the f*ck are you?! No one to toy with? Honest kid tells her his circumstances. Now the call comes. She also learns he is home alone. As Naoto hangs up and falls asleep on his sofa, he is later awakened by the incessant doorbell ringing. Don’t look now but it’s Nagatoro stalking through the window! Déjà vu? So what is she doing here if she claims she is not concerned about him? She won’t have him sleep on the sofa and instead bring him back to his room. Then she wants to search his room for porn mags but I guess that is a bad move as this only increases his temperature. Better put him to bed. It doesn’t end there as Naoto’s temperature increases when she teases him by putting her forehead on his to take his temperature. Can she just let this guy rest? The rest of the day, Nagatoro helps nurse him while he remains in bed. Then as she feeds him porridge, he has this vision of seeing her as his wife?! Then he says something that shocks her: Thanks, Hayase. Threw her off balance but as she teasingly bugs him to say that again, he is already asleep. Watching him sleep, she thinks of kissing him. Too late, mom is back! Oh dear. Next morning, Naoto wakes up feeling much better. Then mom bugs him who that cute girl was last night. His girlfriend? Flashback shows they bump into each other as Nagatoro was on her way out. Mom thanked her and offered to send her back but Nagatoro declined and quickly made her way out. As Naoto makes his way to school, he stumbles into Nagatoro. It gets a little awkward between them but he wonders how much of last night was a dream. Since he is well, she is going the get her fair share of teasing by kicking him?! He grabs her leg and what do you know? The friends see this. Another early morning thingy. Nagatoro brushes it off as another judo practice. Clearly they’re still not buying it.

Episode 6A
Nagatoro asking her sister the best thing to give for Christmas Eve. Yeah, see Misaki’s smile. She has her suggestions but if she wants something that lasts longer, give something that is used on a daily basis. Meanwhile Naoto has this strange dream of giving Nagatoro his present. Well, it’s going to become a reality because he plans to give it to her at school but she keeps incessantly tease him about the gift. Unfortunately her pals soon rope them in for an emergency meeting. You see, the friends are split between those who have boyfriends and those who don’t. Those who don’t are going to go karaoke on Christmas Eve. So, Nagatoro is on whose side? Since she claims Naoto is just for teasing, then it’s the karaoke, right? At this point, Naoto notices the present in Nagatoro’s bag. Likewise, she too. Then they make excuses they have something and run away. The answer is obvious for them. They hide in the clubroom and as they’re about to give their present, WTF Buchou is here stark naked???!!! They then hide in the infirmary trying to elude the strict teacher. Mood ruined when they see Sakura getting naughty with her boyfriend! Too much to see! They escape here and there until finally they reach the rooftop. Well, lots of couples making out!!! At this point it just kills the mood so the duo just anti-climactically give their presents. Both got scarfs for the other. Creepy or weird?

Episode 6B
Nagatoro invites Naoto to come to the shrine on New Year’s Day. Well, well. Looks like she is in a miko priestess outfit and working here. Since there aren’t many visitors yet, she takes him around and during the fortune reading, she scores auspicious luck while he gets a terrible one. Cue for mad teasing. With the crowd building up, it’s back to work. But Naoto is concerned with one of his fortune readings: Under relationship, nothing will happen unless he takes action. Hmm… A wuss like him? He tries to do so by queuing up and buying a charm at Nagatoro’s booth. And then invites her to go somewhere with him after her shift. Sounding like a stalker? Turns out to be a matchmaking shrine? WTF did he even know where he is bringing her?! Of course she teases him for wanting to date her and all. So he sums up his courage to HYPOTHETICALLY speak that if it was the case, he won’t rely on the gods but himself. Yeah, more teasing is his reward. After they make their wish, she asks what he wished for. Family wellbeing. Normal. She? To become his bride! After that shock on his face, she starts teasing it was a joke and all. Yeah, that reaction was priceless.

Episode 7A
Nagatoro notices contact lenses by Naoto. She teases him about trying to become a hot guy from a nerd and even more so when she realizes he is too chicken to put it on himself. In that case, she’ll help him put it on. Naoto thinks it is a prank but she assures she did it on her brother before so she’s already a pro. Well, that convinced him. Hope he doesn’t regret it because look at her eager beaver face! As she gets close to him and trying to put it on, Naoto is facing his own fear factor right now. Eventually she manages to put it on and WTF, did he just cry?! OMG!!! Well… Now the other eye! Oh boy… Once done, Naoto realizes how clear everything is without frames. Yeah, so is he trying to indicate how cute Nagatoro is???!!! Of course she teases him as she dons his glasses because without it, he can’t do his usual habit of propping it when he gets tensed up. He denies and it kinda looks weird as he props up the air. Old habits die hard…

Episode 7B
Nagatoro and her friends are at a skiing resort. Looks like Naoto and his friends are here too. When Nagatoro approaches them, his friends are shocked to realize he knows them. You mean this plain guy is friends with the popular first years? She invites him to ski with her so he accepts and now his friends think they’re dating. Let’s see how is Naoto’s ski level. Well, he crashes into the snow wall! All the time! My, such great human art! Later that night, Nagatoro and her friends are about to go out for another round of skiing. Once more she invites him but he wants to pass, claiming his legs hurt from all that skiing. Okay. But soon Gamo and Yosshi ask if that’s really the case. Naoto thinks he is a hindrance and Nagatoro might not be able to enjoy herself but they hint the obvious that’s not the case. And so he puts on his skiing gear. Still wobbling like a baby. But a cool moment arrives as he saves a kid before he crashes into a tree. Then a couple of reckless guys skiing and posing almost crashes into him. Luckily Nagatoro is there to save him. Her piercing looks tells those f*ckers to GTFO! So I guess skiing lessons will continue. She teaches him to not always look at his feet while skiing. Just look at her. And then teases him for gawking at her beauty. Next morning, Naoto is going to show off what he has learnt. Immediately crashes into the snow wall! LOL time! All those lessons… Back at the clubroom, Naoto congratulates Buchou for being accepted into art college. She then asks him about his future. He too wants to pursue his dream in art. She likes his confident answer as he has never sounded this positive before. Is it because of Nagatoro? This has him think about her. It has been a year and she has been harassing teasing him every day. He wonders what her future goals are. Let me guess. Be his wife! HAHAHAHA!!! Sighs…

Episode 8A
Lots of canvas is piling up in the clubroom. Nagatoro teases they won’t sell. It’s a student’s wok after all. Not until she sees that naked painting of Buchou! Must get rid of this one! Later Naoto stealing glances at Nagatoro? You bet this is going to make her tease him more. Trying to rape her with his eyes?! Well, Naoto needs her to be his model again as he needs to find his inspiration. Since it’s like that, it can’t be helped. Nagatoro poses in a martial arts position for him to draw. Turns out to be pretty good. The other friends come in to see this as Gamo asks if Nagatoro would like to have it again. Naoto is puzzled but Nagatoro won’t tell him and leaves. It’s a secret.

Episode 8B
The school is going to have a judo tournament soon and uhm, Naoto is part of the judo club?! THIS GUY?! Naoto notices Nagatoro ‘disappeared’ after seeing a poster of this tournament. Later when Gamo and Yosshi try to find Nagatoro about the tournament but couldn’t find her, Naoto asks what’s the deal. Hence Gamo suggests he come to a gym she is running to find out. Yeah, what does he see? Nagatoro sparring with Gamo. Nagatoro is shocked to see him and gets socked in the face! Yeah, blame him… Naoto explains he was a failure at last year’s tournament and thought of improving himself this year. Is that a plea for Nagatoro to teach him? Okay. Put on your judo clothes and let’s get rumbling. Of course Naoto is no match for her as she easily pins him down. He can’t get out and the worst excuse he gives is that she is heavy! My, I thought he was going to say her boobs were pinning him down. You bet that makes Nagatoro mad as she lectures him it’s all about the skill! Later Nagatoro and Gamo continue their sparring. Gamo dominating her until Nagatoro manages to do a judo throw on her. Of course had that been judo, it would be Nagatoro’s win but since it is MMA, she just only got a point. On the way home, Naoto asks if she did judo before. Well, yes. But she felt stuck as she couldn’t beat someone and hence left the club. She asserts she will not join this year’s tournament. Naoto compliments her nice throw, though. Next day, Naoto is going to be coached by Buchou?! Well, Nagatoro’s friends ratted out to her that he is joining the tournament. Wow. The school really want to lose that bad, HUH?! As expected, he stands no chance against her. Even more so, those boobs are really pinning him down! Yeah, those could immobilize anybody! Of course Nagatoro barges in, not happy with all this. Naoto redeems himself that he is being currently coached by Nagatoro. Buchou accepts and backs down. Now it’s hell time for Naoto. She’s going to whip his ass into shape. Out of the fire and into the frying pan…

Episode 9
Tournament day is here. Nagatoro and her buddies are participating. Only Nagatoro wins her first round opponent. Gamo could’ve won had not her opponent be Orihara who represents Japan! OMFG! What kind of tournament is this?! Then the friends tease on Nagatoro to impress Naoto and of course she’s trying to deny and hide her embarrassment. Also, it seems Nagatoro knows Orihara as the latter hopes to have a good fight with her. Yeah, she’s facing her in the next round. So as she sits out depressed, Naoto talks to her. Time to tell her story. Long ago, Nagatoro and Orihara were from the same dojo. Nagatoro was always better than her and beat her. Each time, Orihara cried. But Orihara put in the effort until one day she was able to beat Nagatoro and never looked back. To a point where Nagatoro realized she can’t beat her anymore so she lost interest and gave up. Naoto says this doesn’t sound like the Nagatoro he knows. Obviously she isn’t impressed he talked back like that. Until of course he claims she is also strong so have faith in yourself. Then she teases him if he wins his match, she’ll kiss him! Yeah well, Naoto’s first opponent is a guy with six pack! OMG. So screwed. Because that guy resorts to brute force in taking him down, hence preventing him from a clear outright win. So of course Naoto remembers Nagatoro’s lessons and puts up a fight. This makes Nagatoro start to cheer for him but in the end, they run out of time and his opponent wins by referee’s decision. Despite the loss, his opponent congratulates him for a good fight. Now it is Nagatoro’s turn as she faces Orihara. We see them face off in a match like no other. Yeah, you wonder if this is the finals or something. With Orihara as the favourite, Naoto starts cheering for Nagatoro. Embarrassing but don’t go losing your willpower now. This makes Nagatoro come back from the brink of defeat to give Orihara more challenge. In the end, Nagatoro loses via referee’s decision. A good fight. On the way home, Nagatoro hopes to beat her someday. When that happens, she hopes Naoto will reward her with a kiss. WHAT?! She said what?! So she’s toying with him, eh?! Wait. WHAT?! SHE’S NOT?! IT’S FOR REAL?! Yeah, those serious eyes said so.

Episode 10A
With the new school year, once again Nagatoro comes in to bug a lonely Naoto. Knowing he is having a slump on what to draw, once again she offers herself to be a model. Can’t say no, can he? And so Nagatoro dons the swimsuit for him to draw. Yeah, time for her to also tease how his eyes are raping her all over. During the break, Nagatoro feigns her back is pain from the modelling and so our virgin-kun must massage her back. What are the chances she’s making weird noises just to tease him? 100%! Once that is done with, she tells him now she has a goal. She has joined the judo club so as to have him kiss her as reward. Wait. WHAT?! Oh damn, she’s saying it with a straight face that she is not joking and is serious in wanting that reward! Does he not want to kiss her? Uhm, that yandere face… I don’t think that gives him much of a choice, huh? Saved by the bell because a girl enters wanting to join this club. On second thought, more like out of the pan and into the fire. Nagatoro’s continued yandere looks…

Episode 10B
She is Sunomiya and the cousin of Buchou. In middle school, she was in the same art club as him and now she is in high school, she purposely came to join. You bet Nagatoro doesn’t like that one bit but she’s trying to tease senpai that he is famous and all. Sunomiya wonders if they’re dating because she heard about the kiss. Naoto of course denies but you can tell from the yandere face that she doesn’t like it! Nagatoro tries to warn of his bad habits but as you can tell, an oddball like her likes that part of him. Gamo is here to take Nagatoro to join the judo club. Feeling sad to part? Of course Gamo teasing senpai is now having a new chick. Sunomiya will continue from Nagatoro’s modelling and strips! OMFG!!! Those huge racks!!! Yup, definitely related to Buchou. Nagatoro can’t concentrate on judo class so Orihara talks to her and learns from Gamo what happened. Nagatoro giving excuses Naoto isn’t her boyfriend. So I guess it’s okay if she denies. Of course Gamo and Orihara look like they’re not buying it. They ask her to choice between judo and boyfriend and from Nagatoro’s answer, she’ll take ‘em both. As Sunomiya looks at Naoto’s paintings of Nagatoro, she notices how they are more colourful than the drab colours he used to paint. She is confused he keeps calling her a demon but yet so many pictures of her. Sure, a pain at first but it ended up as fun. Sunomiya’s conclusion that this is his love nest with his demon?! WTF forbidden love was being nurtured here?! She wants him to grasp that love that he parted ways with and suggests they go on a date.

Episode 11
Naoto giving excuses why it isn’t a date but I guess Sunomiya isn’t looking impressed. Heck, she doesn’t even know about love but will still help him! As she goes home, now she has biker Buchou to fetch her. At least now in this leather outfit, she can show off her cleavage as much as she wants. Thumbs up! She notices Naoto looking troubled. He won’t say so as not to complicate things but with Sunomiya revealing stuffs, all Buchou tells him is to follow his heart. Naoto thought Nagatoro is still practising her judo late. Well, she’s done. Now she’s teasing him for waiting for her. On their way back, as she ponders they can’t hang out with each other due to different grades and there should be a place other than the clubroom for them to hang out, this has Naoto asking if she wants to go somewhere. Of course immediately she starts teasing him but since that zaps his motivation, better change her strategy quick. She gives exotic examples like the safari, Amazon and even space! You serious? Well, Naoto is losing confidence fast so better ‘repair’ the mood. Maybe somewhere closer to home to hang out. Naoto’s suggestions are all off. Horseracing track to even a dog fighting arena?! You serious?! They part ways with nothing solid. Then he hits an idea. So he rushes back just to invite her to the aquarium on their next break. He is prepared for more teasing but what a pleasant surprise, the nicest smile and cutest face as she agrees to it. This nice moment is witnessed by Gamo and Yosshi. Next day in school, Nagatoro is so happy she is singing a weird creepy song?! WTF?! Sunomiya also learns about Naoto’s ‘date’ (“It’s not a date!”) and is over the moon for him. Because of Nagatoro’s eyes, Gamo misinterprets that Nagatoro plans to steam Naoto’s virginity! Hence they need to warn their senpai. He is not at the clubroom but only Sunomiya who is still wary of these delinquents. She misinterpret that they are planning to interrupt the date. Next day as Naoto and Nagatoro meet up, unknown to them, Gamo and Yosshi are tailing from a distance, adamant to protect senpai’s virginity. Also tailing them are Sunomiya and Buchou. They’ll protect senpai’s date!

Episode 12
Nagatoro claims this date is to size him up for the real one. Yeah, she’s going to give him points and looks like he’s already on a bad start with Nagatoro giving so many negative points. As they start their aquarium date, Nagatoro notices lots of couples holding hands. She hints to him something. Too bad he can’t guess it and an annoyed Nagatoro starts deducting the points. Yeah, not impressed. Then Naoto spots those gals as well as Sunomiya and Buchou. Oh sh*t. He grabs her hand and makes a run for it. This is what you looking for, Nagatoro? So why more negative points?! Sunomiya tries to stop the duo but they think they can handle this junior. Until of course Buchou shows up as support. Can’t handle these boobs. Run! Nagatoro teases Naoto of an indirect kiss while they eat ice cream. The teasing causes their ice cream to kiss instead. During the dolphin show, water is about to splash all over Nagatoro when Naoto gets up and protects her like a man! Awkward. But she came ready with a towel to help dry him. At the end of the day, she tabulates his score. Looks like with so many negative points, can he redeem himself? Better do something before he loses motivation. With a few cool moves, Naoto ends up with 50 points. Out of 1000. Hey, that’s a start. This might be good practice so she hints it was the real deal for her. He too says it wasn’t for him too. So what to do to make this real? A hug? Okay. At this point, Yosshi and Gamo are going to intercept. For once, Yosshi has a conscience and stops Gamo. Better not. Yeah, it’s more fun to watch from afar. But now they have to run from Sunomiya and Buchou still trying to get them. This commotion finally has Nagatoro realize their presence. Awkward. Embarrassing. She turns this hug into a judo practice. That’s not going to cut it… Next day as they go hang out in the clubroom, oh boy Nagatoro gonna get mad seeing Naoto being fed by Sunomiya. So this is her apology? Going to feed him for a week?! Nagatoro claims she will make him lunch tomorrow. When Naoto declines because she has early judo practice tomorrow, everyone thought he is being a dick for being too kind. However he instead will make her lunch and she can do so for him the next day. Deal. Later on their way home, they continue and finish their hug. So warm. Or creepy?

Chronicles Of A Wimpy Senpai & A Tease Whizz
Well, I have to admit that this season doesn’t seem to be as annoying or spiteful as the first. Most probably I have come to expect the worst and it didn’t turn out all that bad. Yes, I was expecting more cruel pranks to make the wimp cry and with that in mind, I was prepared for what’s to come. Unlike the first season when everything was new and thus the shock and cringe factor. Hence having such expectations served as a cushion which is a good thing because who knows the series might make me so mad that I might end up smashing my monitor! Hahaha! Creepy! Just kidding of course! But you get the idea how much this series can irritate you if you’re not mentally prepared. I think.

While this season’s formula plays out in similar fashion like the first, of course it would be one big bore if the entire season is yet another girl tease boy without any major developments. Because we all know how opposite attracts and the reason why they stick to each other despite how annoying they are is because obviously, they’re in love with each other, right? This season pushes that development forward although we’re still waiting for them to officially be an item and not give silly lame excuses why the other isn’t going out with the other. Yeah, I guess certain things must remain status quo because I think a big chunk of the fun will be gone once they officially start dating. It’s not like Nagatoro can’t tease Naoto anymore but the oomph factor won’t be there like before. They’ll be reduced to hold hands a lot more, blushing even more and doing dating-like stuffs. This series will lose its meaning fast. And Nagatoro can’t tease Naoto too much then because… BREAKUP!!! Oh right. Will this fierce tiger allow the wuss to even do that?!

What else more can I say about our main pair? After so many teasing, it is only obvious the direction where their relationship is going. So you can say that their strong pillar of support in their relationship is via the countless acts of teasing. What a weird way to build a relationship but okay. To each their own. Of course Naoto and Nagatoro also change slightly over the course of their teasing relationship. Like Nagatoro who has also shown some of her soft and cute feminine side while Naoto at times shows a bit of courage. Sure, they are largely the same characters but they’re different than where they started off in the first season. When you have both sides somewhat visiting each other’s house and meet the other’s family, next stop the chapel! Oh my, too fast, TOO FAST! Let’s take another few more years of teasing before taking this next step, shall we?

Seeing the direction of this series, we can guess at this point that Nagatoro’s pranks are just for show. Oh you know, she starts to tease him with racy stuffs but when the act is close to being done itself, you can start to see her panic face like as though she actually doesn’t really want to go through with it. So it’s like damned if you do, damned if you don’t kinda situation. Therefore obviously she’s doing all the teasing just to see his reaction and get her sadistic kicks out of it. With all those brutal attacks, Naoto himself has learnt how to be ‘tolerant’ to them. He is still wimpy but not as wimpy as before as we first know him. Most probably he is wearing contacts and that helps shave off some of those nerdy and weakling look.

The supporting characters don’t do much and they’re the same people whom we know from last season. After all, don’t want to take away the spotlight from Naoto and Nagatoro. So it feels like they have not changed much. From the boisterous Gamo to the imitator retard Yosshi and the dating slut Sakura, not to mention the very eccentric Buchou whose fanservice is all in the name of art that conservatives will never understand! New characters add some spice to the new season but they don’t really play much of a role. Like Misaki who seems to be the only character who can panic Nagatoro but I don’t see much of her after initial introduction. She could be as crazy or even crazier than her little sister but my guess is that they don’t want her antics to surpass and overshadow that of Nagatoro. Then there is Orihara so that Nagatoro could have some sort of past and then a goal to achieve for the future. Sure, Naoto has his art and his future lies in art college whatever. But what about Nagatoro? Before we pigeonhole her into a lifetime senpai teasing occupation, ah there you have it, she’s back in the judo club. And with Orihara as her rival (in the sport) there’s room for her to grow there. Yeah, maybe new form of teasing as she will now throw the wuss off his balance!

Lastly, Sunomiya. She’s supposed to replace Buchou now that she has graduated so that it doesn’t feel too lonely in the art club. And avoid it being some unholy love nest. Heh. From what I can see, Sunomiya is not very likely to be Nagatoro’s romantic rival. Due to her eccentric behaviour that is almost a copy of Buchou, you can bet her thinking is also similar along those lines and so she’s not so much into this kind of romance. Unless she’s playing the ultimate poker face and is hiding her feelings. The only way for her to get over it is to have her senpai get a girlfriend because only then she will truly give up. Wow. Sounds quite viable and I hope I’m just overthinking. Because if Sunomiya does indeed become a rival for Naoto’s love, then the whole series will be downgraded to your typical cheesy romcom and not so much about the teasing. It’ll be a different attack by then.

With last season’s seiyuus, new ones joining are Yoshino Nanjou as Misaki (Kokoro in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Kaori Maeda as Orihara (Shizuku in Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai) and Sayumi Suzushiro as Sunomiya (Takemoto in Bokutachi Wa Benkyou ga Dekinai). Nagatoro once again reprises her role in singing this season’s opener, Love Crazy. This time the rock beat sounds more devilish and edgy. Got to ramp up the badass level somehow. The same can be said for the ending theme, My Sadistic Adolescence, a quartet by Nagatoro and her gals. Yeah, those killer electric guitar riffs.

Although the art and animation stay relatively the same, this season has a change in studio. Taking over from Telecom Animation Film is OLM (Summertime Render, Komi-san Wa Comyushou Desu, Isekai Shokudou S2 – but they’re better known to animate a ton of Pokemon movies). Be glad they didn’t make any obvious changes and didn’t skimp on anything because yeah, we still get our fabulous Buchou’s cleavage! While Nagatoro still has those puffy tentacle arms when she starts teasing her senpai (Creepy! Creepy!), I noticed there are more of those, uhm, how should I put it? Shadowy figures? You know, the characters turn into some sort of rounded dark profile with only their eyes and mouth visible. It’s like suddenly they turn into strange beings. Of course all part of the cue for comedy and to save animation time and effort. Weird, though.

Overall, this season is not as bad as the first. Oh, let me rephrase that. This season is not as irritating and vexing as the first as those who have seen that would come into the sequel with some sort of preparation. Also, there’s some cute development between our main couple so it’s not all that boring either. So until next time, keep the flame alive with all the usual teasing because that is how it works for them. Until they become an item, then it’s our turn to tease them like hell. You iyarashi couple gonna take the next step to adulthood or what? Hehehe… On second thought, it would be a dick to make Nagatoro cry! Oh sh*t… That would be truly creepy then. Minus 1000 points!

Not many of us have favourable views of gargoyles. After all, they are scary looking statues placed at the edge of rooftops and those ugly motherf*cker face is enough to give fuel nightmares to young kids. Heh. Unless you’re one of those kids who grew up watching that fairly popular retro American cartoon series in the 90’s. So it’s no wonder such grotesque creatures of western origins didn’t get the anime treatment (and you thought anime would animate just about anything and everything under the sun, eh?) except well for this tiny obscure retro anime: Yoshinaga-san Uchi No Gargoyle. A family wins a gargoyle statue at a competition and now it sits as the household’s gatekeeper as well as the town’s. Don’t worry, it’s not a scary horror show but a comedy. Phew. Safe from any fuel nightmares.

Episode 1
Poor newspaper boy. The gargoyle statue outside the Yoshinaga household zaps him after deeming him as the enemy! Of course Gargoyle gets beat down by Futaba because thanks to that, she doesn’t know what anime is airing today. As explained, Gargoyle’s mission is to protect their household. While everybody in the family accepts this, only Futaba doesn’t. In fact, the whole town knows about this. Later along with her brother Kazumi, they go visit Totensha the shop of Iyo Takahara. Apparently they want to ask how to handle Gargoyle but Futaba has had it and wants it returned. Too bad Iyo will not accept returned products. Well you see, Futaba won Gargoyle over some lottery and is stuck with it since. Futaba then invites her friend, Mimori Onodera to her home. Since she is Futaba’s friend, Gargoyle doesn’t attack. That night, Gargoyle senses Mimori’s home has been broken into by robbers. However her blind father’s guide dog, Lt Avery doesn’t bark at all. Mimori is taken hostage. Only because Gargoyle comes in at the orders of Futaba to protect her family and zaps those thieves did the worse was averted. However this incident traumatizes Mimori as she doesn’t want to go to school. Worse, she hates Avery now for not eking out a sound. Gargoyle then talks to Avery and finds out why. He then explains to Mimori that he was taking an anti-robbery approach because the robbers had weapons. They also already had Mimori in their grasp so if he made a sound, it would’ve put her in extreme danger. Mimori regrets not trusting Avery and feels embarrassed after knowing the truth. In order to gain back that trust, Mimori takes Avery out for a walk. She stumbles into Futaba who is having her hands full because she’s cycling around town trying to bust robberies! Oh look, there’s one happening right in front of them now. WTF Futaba leaving Mimori alone just to get Gargoyle? Well, he is busy zapping robbers. They think they’re safe wearing rubber suits. Well… Gargoyle burns them instead! With Mimori paralyzed, Avery leaps into action. Although Gargoyle manages to arrive and zap these bastards, Avery has been greatly injured. He still won’t bark, though. As a guide dog he has been trained not to. Gargoyle then cannot sense Futaba anymore. She’s gone missing…

Episode 2
Robbers who have been placed in prison suddenly disappear as they find themselves out in the forest. A voice warning them not to return to their criminal activities or else. It seems Gargoyle has been gone for 3 days as he has been looking for Futaba. Well, the family received a call from Amane Higashimiya that she is currently staying at his mansion. That night, Futaba fell asleep in the streets due to nonstop playing her video games. So he found her and brought her back. Now she’s having a blast and won’t come home. Eventually Gargoyle learns the truth from Mimori. Higashimiya then talks to Futaba about some cutting edge technology inside Gargoyle. He seems interested in him because of some unexplained mystical technology. He would love to invite Gargoyle to his place but knows would be turned down. That is why he sent robbers to test his abilities first. Hearing this, this makes Futaba mad for all the trouble he has caused. He however thinks money can fix things and something about wanting to continue his late grandpa’s legacy in this mystic technology. Not that Futaba cares. Meanwhile Kazumi is at Iyo’s place trying to get some advice. Speaking about alchemy, she admits she used that to create Gargoyle. There’s also another company using electronic parts to make such gargoyles but she notes it was all a failure. Knowing that Higashimiya is behind it, she realizes Futaba is being used as a bait to lure Gargoyle. Plus, it is a challenge against her. Higashimiya continues his lament how grandpa failed to best Iyo and that’s why he is carrying on his work. He is confident of outsmarting her. With Gargoyle finally here, it is all part of Higashimiya’s plan to use his own gargoyle technology named Cherub to face off with him. We see both statues engage in a big battle while Futaba escapes the mansion. Futaba wants to leave for home but since Cherub insulted the family, she gives Gargoyle permission to finish him off. Likewise, Cherub gets permission to go all out even if it damages the mansion. In the end, Gargoyle wins and this leaves Higashimiya devastated. Well, Kazumi and Iyo arrive too late. Shockingly, Kazumi punches Higashimiya as warning to never touch his sister and Gargoyle again. Iyo notes his grandpa didn’t stoop to criminal activities and had his pride. Until Higashimiya notes he is going to lose to this old lady, now that hits her nerve as she sends some snakes down his pants! Back home, Futaba tries to thank Kazumi for standing up to her but I guess she’s too shy to say it aloud. Gargoyle then detects someone watching them.

Episode 3
Kaitou Hyakushiki the phantom thief once again steals some antique and leaves the police eating his dust. Next day, he issues a new challenge and that he will break through any gatekeeper. Gargoyle sees this as some challenge and fires his beam at the TV! Oh boy, mama gonna be mad! So when Hyakushiki turns up at Futaba’s home, he sees a tied up Gargoyle in the midst of his punishment. But in no time they start to fight. However it soon ends as mama who is a big fan of his, invites him in for tea. However he soon gets a call for a job and leaves. Not after leaving some peanut butter bomb trap that explodes all over Futaba! Hyakushiki is seen stealing some data in some guy’s house. To his shock, a little girl named Lily seems to know what he is doing. She reveals she is a psychic. She is impressed with his magic tricks and has him do more. She’s having so much fun with him that she doesn’t want him to leave. Next day in town, Lily waits for Hyakushiki to finish his errands but Kazumi stumbles into her. That guy is shopping and stumbles into Gargoyle. Bad blood brewing between them so they start fighting. Oh damn, Gargoyle’s beams gonna destroy the whole shopping district! However Hyakushiki is captured thanks to all the shopping district members cooperating to bring him down. Then as per request they want him to do a magic trick since he is like a magician. Yeah, causing a lot of helter-skelter especially stealing Iyo’s bra as distraction! And Futaba would’ve wanted to get her revenge had not mama come into the picture. Basically she’s like the peacekeeper? Hyakushiki finds himself back in Yoshinaga’s household. While Lily plays with the siblings, Hyakushiki has a serious request as he prostrates himself before the parents with a request to look after Lily for a few days (sorry Gargoyle, Hyakushiki did not kidnap this girl). Meanwhile Hamilton approaches Higashimiya and tells him that a hidden treasure, more specifically the Philosopher’s Stone is hidden inside Gargoyle. Therefore he is reminded not to destroy that statue as he must capture it in perfect condition. Hyakushiki leaves on his mission. Flashback shows Lily told him that her clairvoyance is a result of her father’s experiment. She was made to swallow some medicine every day until she got this ability. So is this getting personal for Hyakushiki?

Episode 4
The town is preparing for the festival as Futaba takes Lily around. Meanwhile Hyakushiki confronts Hamilton who is Lily’s father about the heinous experiments done on her. However Hamilton accuses him of kidnapping his daughter instead. Because of his thoughtless actions, Lily cannot survive on her own. She is dependent on some medicine to calm her fits. Don’t look now because Lily is coughing blood! Hamilton soon points out a permanent solution is the Philosopher’s Stone which is located inside Gargoyle that was created by Iyo. Say no more because Hyakushiki knows what to do next. Meanwhile Futaba brings Lily to Iyo and when that alchemist learns her psychic abilities, she has a hunch of who she is. After they leave, Iyo calls Higashimiya who confirms Lily is Hamilton’s daughter. Did she not know that the English dude who married his late Japanese wife has been residing in Japan ever since? Back home, Lily’s condition grows worse. But thanks to Gargoyle’s light beams, it seems it soothes her. Gargoyle then gets the message and goes to confront Hyakushiki at the riverbank. The phantom thief going all out to apprehend Gargoyle but he isn’t good enough. Until he reveals about the Philosopher’s Stone that might save Lily, Gargoyle then allows himself to be captured since he gave his promise to protect Lily. That is when Hamilton arrives, happy that all has gone according to his plan. Yeah, planning to steal Gargoyle for his own? Hyakushiki knows this is a setup since he is more interested in the Philosopher’s Stone than his daughter (after all, the data stealing job was also from Hamilton).

A shocking revelation is that Lily has been putting up an act and has been under orders from him to get close to Gargoyle. Hamilton fires and gravely wounds Hyakushiki. He then has his robot, Dullahan bring Gargoyle to him but the statue now won’t sit quietly and fights back. Dullahan seems to be better and damages Gargoyle. He is only saved thanks to Cherub dealing his lightning damage. Higashimiya’s goal is to best Iyo so he doesn’t approve of Hamilton’s sneaky ways. Hamilton and Dullahan escape as the rest bring Hyakushiki back to recuperate. Lily realizes she failed her mission and leaves. The rest are confused if she has been acting all the time because many times before, she has been crying over the happy little joys she experienced. Hamilton then puts on a magic show to impress Lily. He too was like her and became disillusioned when his magic tricks don’t work anymore. But thanks to her, he has gotten that passion back. Hamilton is here to take back his daughter but this time Lily doesn’t want to go with him. Hyakushiki has decided to continue taking care of her. Hamilton warns Lily without him, she cannot survive. Iyo then pops up and reveals that the Philosopher’s Stone is not needed to cure Lily. In fact, the one inside Gargoyle is just a replica. She will never tell him where the real one is. Hamilton escapes once more and this time Lily’s condition worsens. Hence Iyo and co with the help of Higashimiya do some weird alchemy transfusion that of course saves her. Just in time for Lily to experience the festival. More good news as Hyakushiki is now a permanent resident of this town. I guess the people don’t care if he’s a criminal.

Episode 5
Futaba helps test a helmet Iyo made that could communicate with plants. Yeah, she’s going through all the pain just to get the right frequency. In the end, a screw broke and this means Futaba is stuck with the helmet until she gets a replacement. What else to do in the meantime as Futaba talks to the garden plants and hears their thoughts and wishes. Yeah, Futaba the gardener now. However with this headgear, everyone passing her starts to giggle. Embarrassing enough for her but I guess mama won’t let that be a reason to skip school. Along the way, she beats up a suspicious foreigner. Hisham from Egypt is looking for Totensha because as an alchemist he has a score to settle with Iyo and wants to defeat Gargoyle. Futaba soon hears a singing voice and this leads her into the mountains whereby she sees a beautiful flower. Calling her Hanako, soon they talk and become friends. Wow. The helmet makes her see Hanako as a human version too. Gargoyle talks to Iyo and is concerned over Futaba because humans communicating with plants could be dangerous. Iyo also has her reservations but since it hasn’t begun yet, she’ll be fine. So, you mean it can get worse?! Futaba comes home late and this makes Kazumi worried. Talk on hold because here comes Hisham. He wants to test how strong Gargoyle is as he unleashes his plant named Osiris that he created via alchemy. Although it regenerates after being zapped, Gargoyle eventually burns everything! Hisham is sad but realizes that even with a single leaf remaining, he can still recreate Osiris. Until next time, suckers! With Hyakushiki back from abroad, he helps pick the lock and release Futaba from the helmet. So he’s joking of charging her this exorbitant fee, huh? Now everybody celebrates with a garden BBQ. But Futaba is feeling sad she can no longer talk to Hanako.

Episode 6
Futaba borrows the helmet to go talk to Hanako. Gargoyle is also here to see for himself that despite being a poisonous plant, she brings no harm to Futaba. As Iyo records Futaba’s experience with the helmet, when Futaba starts to happily talk about Hanako, that is when Iyo stops her and claims she cannot use the helmet anymore. Thus Iyo does an experiment and wants to cut this apple. This makes Futaba panic and stop her. See where this is going? Meanwhile Hisham thinks of a way to make Osiris better. Oh, this beautiful flower might do the trick… With Gargoyle reminding Futaba that humans and plants cannot get along, Futaba won’t take this sh*t so she goes to borrow the helmet from Iyo again. At first she is against it and the ladies are about to fight but with Kazumi wanting to meet Hanako and Gargoyle placing Futaba’s friendship of higher importance, Iyo lends it to her with conditions. But as they go to see Hanako, she is no longer there. Somebody must have dug her out. Nearby, Osiris has evolved as Hisham wants her to get her revenge on Gargoyle. This time she can grow into many clones fast. She captures Gargoyle and is going to destroy him from the inside. Futaba has doubts to destroy Osiris because she could hear Hanako’s voice inside. Even when Osiris goes out of control and withers all the nearby plants, Futaba despite in despair hearing their wails still wants to save Hanako. This forces Gargoyle to only protect them as Osiris unleashes her full blast. Gargoyle then tells Futaba that this is no longer Hanako because she wants to destroy things. With that, a sad Futaba gives Gargoyle the permission to destroy Osiris. With everything over, Kazumi follows Hisham to his hideout since he still wants to recreate Osiris. He soon learns he is doing this to save his country’s economy. By beating Gargoyle, this will get the world’s attention to help his country. Not that Kazumi understands but this still doesn’t dispute the fact he tried to hurt others. But Hisham reveals he didn’t kill Hanako. He just downloaded the flower’s data. It is not his policy to kill plants just to be the strongest. Kazumi puts on the helmet and talks to Hanako for one last time. She is going to wither anyway. Kazumi says goodbye on Futaba’s behalf. Next day, Hisham tries to show off Osiris’ intelligence because the plant can now communicate via handphone. Though, Futaba has this feeling she could hear Hanako’s voice.

Episode 7
With Hyakushiki going overseas for a while, Lily will be home alone. Futaba invites her to stay over but being the strong girl she is, she believes she has what it takes to do errands herself. However she is still facing some sort of trauma. When she stayed with Hamilton, each time she snuck out, Dullahan will always capture her back. She thought she heard his voice and it still sends her the shivers. On her way back, to her shock, Dullahan is here to get her. Luckily Gargoyle disables him but it seems Dullahan has run away from Hamilton. He finds the man scary and prefers to be with Lily. So as everyone stays at Futaba’s place for the night, Lily is still having doubts about Dullahan. He was after all created by her father. This is when Dullahan decides to leave since it is making Lily sad. I guess this has Lily make her decision. Now she goes around town using Dullahan to help her do her errands. Yeah, the shopping district members are going to be in for a surprise. Don’t worry. This robot won’t bite. With Hyakushiki returning and learning what happened, he believes Hamilton won’t allow this. Yeah, why did he jinx it because now we see Hamilton popping up before Lily and Dullahan and kidnaps them. Gargoyle can’t detect Lily anymore so the gang head to Hamilton’s place. Yeah, the dude is waiting for them. Worse, he has Lily and Dullahan fully under his control as he orders them to eliminate. Hamilton couldn’t be happier since Lily and Dullahan were supposed to be developed as a single unit. With the combo being faster and more powerful, Gargoyle is having a hard time. Meanwhile Hyakushiki faces off with Hamilton who has done alchemy experiments on himself and has heightened senses. Of course Hyakushiki then overloads his senses until his brain cannot process them all. By destroying the mind controlling pendant on Lily, a frustrated Hamilton orders Dullahan to just destroy everything. Gargoyle protects them as he asks Dullahan if he is just a mindless drone and that Lily actually meant nothing to him. Dullahan despite saying he only takes orders from Hamilton, however if Lily is not happy, he will eliminate himself. Dullahan turns the gun on himself! Hamilton laments his research could’ve made him rich and famous but Hyakushiki tells him off that all that matters is Lily’s wishes. Until she wants to return, Hyakushiki will continue to be Lily’s guardian and stay with him. He will prove a smile that no alchemy can create. We see Hyakushiki giving the cops the run around again. Another successful steal. This time using Dullahan as his getaway.

Episode 8
Iyo has tweaked a new ability in Gargoyle. But he has to be rebooted for the night. Will the town be safe without his vigilance? Next morning as Futaba comes to pick him up, oh damn, Gargoyle is missing?! Gargoyle finds himself in some snowy mountains as a boy named Heita who looks a lot like Futaba, picks him up and thinks he is some mountain god. Looks like Heita is being bullied by the local kids but with Gargoyle protecting him, they don’t want anything to do with this monster. Heita then brings Gargoyle back to his home. His sister, Kayano (a Kazumi look-a-like) is quite ill. Gargoyle heals her although it’s only temporary. Meanwhile Iyo learns Gargoyle got mixed up when he neighbours moved their stuffs. But then the truck carrying it somewhat lost him. Yeah, rack your brains to find where that statue is right now. Back to Gargoyle, he learns from Kayano about their parents having the role of protecting this mountain. However one night when an impending avalanche was coming, they said they still had time. The avalanche happened and they died along with many of the villagers. Half the village got buried. This is why the children are hated by the villagers. Gargoyle understands their role as protectors since he is one too. So he talks to them about the family he is protecting. Now that he views them as such, he helps them with errands and all.

Meanwhile back in town, the robbers think they can have it easy without Gargoyle. But damn, Cherub, Dullahan and Osiris are in competition to catch them! So scary that the robbers prefer to be captured by the police! At least something human! The village chief soon descends upon the house and calls Gargoyle a monster. Gargoyle can sense he is hiding something and fires a warning shot to make them run. Kayano’s illness is getting worse so Gargoyle has to heal her. Though, it isn’t helping much. Because Heita could sense another avalanche, he is told to go warn the villagers. He would prefer them dead for the treatment they have given but Kayano slaps him and reminds him of his duty. Heita goes to warn the villagers but they think he is lying like his father. Kayano knows she cannot make it and tells Gargoyle to go save Heita and the villagers. When the avalanche happens, oh damn, Gargoyle just freezes everything!!! Flashback shows the parents tried to warn the chief but he brushed it off and lied once the tragedy happened. When morning comes, Futaba, Kazumi and Iyo dig Gargoyle out of the snow. He learns the village here doesn’t exist anymore. So did Gargoyle time travelled?! But legend said that when the avalanche happened, a girl sacrificed herself to call the mountain god and saved the villagers. There were no casualties. Oh wow. Did Gargoyle change the past too?! Did Gargoyle just cry?!

Episode 9
Lily wants to be a phantom thief like Hyakushiki. Yeah, WTF she succeeded in stealing Iyo’s bra?! But as Futaba points out stealing is a crime, Lily views him as different as other petty thieves. Oh damn, lolis fighting?! This strains their relationship so they’re not friends anymore. Back home, Lily tells of her ambition to Hyakushiki but he too disagrees with that. But didn’t he brag about stealing for justice, blah, blah, blah? Oh, that was a lie too?! Soon Hyakushiki is out with a cold. Gargoyle visits him (because a distressed mama wants to deliver presents to him) as they talk about Lily’s future. Hyakushiki admits about teaching her such tricks only to protect herself but now she’s so into it and now he’s regretting it. She has equated phantom thief to being Superman. When Lily comes home, a strange man, Reggie is seen waiting outside. It seems he wants to hire Hyakushiki for a job but was turned down. Lily lies he isn’t home. Soon Lily realizes there is some South American artefact on display that Reggie wants him to steal. Hence she dons her phantom thief outfit and along with Dullahan, barges into the museum to steal it. Yeah, those dumb detectives don’t do jack sh*t. Just spray some smoke screen and Lily has it easy. She is shocked to see Futaba here. When Hyakushiki realizes Lily is not around and then sees that notice, it’s action time. As the detective give chase, he is stopped by Reggie and his men who are impersonating as his police force. In fact he already has the artefact. Lily stumbles into Gargoyle who mistakes her as Hyakushiki at first. He fires a warning shot and gives her a chance to give up. Since she is adamant in sticking to this path, he’ll show no mercy. Dullahan throws Lily to safety while he fights Gargoyle. Outside, Reggie is disappointed it’s this kid who showed up and not Hyakushiki. Reggie is out for revenge and before he could kill here, Hyakushiki is here to save the day. He knows the whole thing is fake and a setup by Reggie to pin the blame on him after he busted his cult ring. Hyakushiki cannot fight well since he is still sick. Gargoyle and Dullahan to the rescue. Sorry, they didn’t fight each other to the death. Reggie holds Lily hostage. She scares him with a toy gun trick before a dropkick finisher by Futaba (though he escapes with the artefact). Why is she here? Well, they’re friends, right? In fact, Futaba knew it wasn’t Lily who stole the artefact and ordered Gargoyle to go protect her. Lily regrets putting Hyakushiki’s life in danger and not knowing things. He reveals he was tasked by someone with a job in South America to save a child from a cult who uses drugs to hypnotize its followers. Hence he isn’t doing this for justice but for his own accord. Lily breaks down in his arms.

Episode 10
The shopping district is having fewer and fewer customers each passing day. To help solve this, mama comes up with this idea to use Gargoyle as its district. Yeah, a talking statue should bring in the crowd. Too bad Futaba and Kazumi are also roped in to help with some of the shops. Even so, the crowd still isn’t there. Lily then talks to Hyakushiki about this. Perhaps doing a steal might help? Sure, but there must be something worth stealing only then can he issue a challenge. And no, Iyo’s bra is not it!!! Well, how about stealing Gargoyle? Hyakushiki admits that it is too big of a task. But what about something precious to him? Like his bell. Flashback shows when Gargoyle first became the gatekeeper for the Yoshinaga, he had no name and all. He consulted a pair of lion statues at the shrine but they don’t think much of it. They are after all just statues. One night, Gargoyle caught a thief nearby. An old lady was so grateful and handed him 3 bells. Since it was too much, he gave the rest to those lion statues. It was then Gargoyle felt what happiness was about and hence the bell has become something special to him. Hisham heard this touching story and vows to help. Oh dear. Lily soon tells everybody about this steal. It’s just a show so don’t get so worried about it. So when the reporters and media all wait on that day for the big steal, the shopping district members take this chance to advertise their store instead of giving a proper interview. As everyone hounds over Gargoyle, suddenly Osiris pops up and swats everyone away. Apparently Hisham told her to protect Gargoyle so she mistook them as his enemies. A big commotion is caused. Hyakushiki arrives. His pride won’t allow him to retreat but they can’t allow this chaos to grow. Thus Gargoyle and Hyakushiki strike a deal. After Osiris calms down, Hyakushiki is seen retreating and cursing he dislikes snakes and eels (a lie!) as Gargoyle claims Osiris is his partner to keep the shopping district safe. The media is abuzz while the poor detective now has fake info thinking he can take down the dreaded phantom thief. Thanks to this incident, the shopping district is buzzing with life once more.

Episode 11
Christmas is around the corner and the festive season means more shopping. Thanks to Osiris, more people are flocking to the shopping district. However with too much snow piling up, Osiris soon hibernates and there’s nothing much Hisham can do. Meanwhile Iyo is turning Futaba into some sort of personal experiment. Not sure about this wool that would make the wearer reveal what’s in his/her heart but Futaba is definitely not pleased since she is made to say something embarrassing. End of experiment. Soon Momo Katagiri, the sister of Kazumi’s classmate comes in looking to buy a doll. You bet she has a crush on Kazumi but if she’s actually looking for a doll, why the f*ck enter such strange shop?! I don’t blame Iyo for recommending some homunculus thingy. Anyway she takes that wool. Soon she has Kazumi meet up. When they do, she is about to give him the doll as a present but to her dismay, she lost it. Well, looks like the doll has taken a life of its own and walking around in the shopping district. Nobody is surprised (talking statue, anyone?) although they are a bit freaked out of its weird movements. Kazumi offers to go find it but to no avail and they end up right where they started at the shrine. Meanwhile Hisham comes to see Gargoyle and Futaba to tell them about the strange doll. He hopes Gargoyle can talk to it and see what it wants. As they do so, other statues notice the doll is looking for Kazumi. Oh, it’s right there at their feet. Seeing the wool, they bring it back to Iyo who of course has no clue on how to solve it. Useless. Kazumi feels bad their search didn’t yield anything. But to Momo, you bet she is happy to have spent time with him. Then it’s like she is about to confess but he pushes her away from the snow about to drop on her. Yeah, looks like a hug. Sorry to interrupt this moment but Gargoyle and Futaba are here. This doll is yours? Momo is glad to have found it but Futaba is stumped it is now no longer moving (matters of the heart as pointed out later?). In order not to ruin the moment, Iyo takes clueless Futaba away. Kazumi and Momo continue their time together for a while. We see everyone celebrating Christmas and although Momo didn’t get to give the doll to him, she is happy to get to be with Kazumi.

Episode 12
The shopping district has mama to thank for as she has always helped them out with ideas especially for the upcoming sakura festival. Yeah, not even Futaba knows about it! Oh, Iyo is her helper too?! On a side note, we see Gargoyle mediate between dogs and cats to understand each other! OMFG! What are the chances he can arbiter between feuding leaders too?! Meanwhile trouble is brewing because Matsukawa who is the manager of the nearby departmental store is holding an opening day on that sacred date. This doesn’t sit well with the shopping district members since this isn’t about the money and more of tradition. Since he will not budge, oh f*ck! Mama getting angry! When the people tell him to run or be killed, it’s a bad sign. Yeah, nobody can even hold back mama! Matsukawa is then outside Futaba’s house. Looks like he is the childhood friend of Futaba’s dad. He asks for a favour and like always, papa will never turn down a good help. Of course when the rest of the family learns about it, this makes mama mad. Attempts for papa to talk to her failed. Yeah, all she’s giving him are suplex moves! Calm down! Holy sh*t! Even Gargoyle doesn’t dare stop her! What’s this excuse it won’t change anything?! It gets awkward now as the parents are not on talking terms. Soon, papa sees Matsukawa who wants to borrow Gargoyle as his opening day gimmick. Papa refuses since Gargoyle is like family and not a pet or tool. If he still insists, then ask him himself. Matsukawa realizes he has asked the wrong person and is forced to call that certain someone. Meanwhile Gargoyle attempts to talk to mama but 2 hours of wasted time. Yeah, mama just breaking stuffs! Hisham then comes by. He is panicking and thinks Osiris has ran away after he criticized her lame dance. Time to go around and ask about. Too bad other statues and animals have not seen that plant. Meanwhile a voice tries to mind control Cherub. Iyo gets a call from Higashimiya to come quickly as Cherub is going berserk. By the time she arrives, too late. He has broken free. His last words were Higashimiya not his master. Iyo checks the data and notices outside interference controlling Cherub’s mind.

Episode 13
It’s obvious who the perpetrators are. Yup, Reggie and Hamilton teaming up to get revenge. Using the artefact, they have kidnapped Osiris and let her be absorbed into the sakura tree and obviously Cherub is under their control. This means, they are not the guys Matsukawa hired for the gig. Who the f*ck this pompadour guy and his dance crew?! As the festival begins, the shopping district uses Gargoyle as a palanquin. Embarrassing? However they are soon outdone as Matsukawa’s men also do the same thing but flashier and offering bigger discounts. This has everyone flocking over. Don’t worry, Iyo has a backup plan. There is this device that projects a huge hologram over the place. The shopping district members take turn to advertise and this helps in bringing some customers back. Matsukawa and his men then start parading on the shopping district’s home ground. All is far in war, right? I guess this means he is prepared to be killed by mama! But before that can happen, a huge disaster strikes. The sakura tree blooms out of control and in the core is a giant Osiris. Mama and the bear mascot (obviously papa) start climbing on it. Hamilton and Reggie kidnap Hyakushiki but it doesn’t take long for him to escape and let their hot air balloon go boom. Hopefully that will be the last of them. Iyo then has Futaba wear the helmet to go communicate deep inside Osiris’ core. But with Osiris clones getting in the way, Dullahan blasts them all to make a path for her.

At the same time, Cherub comes to fight Gargoyle and calls Higashimiya a failure of a master. Because he will not forget his mission to defeat Gargoyle. Higashimiya claims he has not forgotten that but this is not what grandpa wanted. All the dogs and cats surround Cherub. You think they can’t do jack sh*t but if you’re wondering why Cherub isn’t doing anything to fight back their clawing and biting, it’s because of the flaw in his orders to only defeat Gargoyle and not attack anything else. And with our baddies’ defeat, Cherub is easily sent to his defeat and conscious after Gargoyle blasts him. Futaba is deep inside the core and sees past memories of her family at this sakura tree. The place where papa and mama proposed to each other. He wanted to give her a ribbon but the wind blew it stuck on that tree. Oh damn, you mean it is still stuck there after all these years?! Because it’s convenient for papa and mama to reconcile as he finally gets the ribbon for her. At the same time, Futaba sees Hanako who tells her something is chaining them down. Wow. So easy to unchain her? With that, the artefact gets disabled and everything returns to normal. Mama and papa giving each other a big hug being displayed on the huge hologram for all to see. Best ending ever? Mama for the first time speaks! Although, it’s just a simple thank you. Normalcy returns to the town and everybody leading their happy normal lives. Except for Iyo who is crashing in at Higashimiya’s place since her store got destroyed. And Gargoyle is pleased with yet another peaceful day in town.

Special 1
Momo is having a hard time thinking of her play’s script and wishes of not resorting to her brother’s ideas. Can she? She’s out of ideas, right? Then she sees a strange book thinks of rearranging her brother’s script a bit but has problems of finding the right person to play the roles. Perhaps using Kazumi in the role of an actress? Suddenly Kazumi finds himself in Lily’s bedroom and she doesn’t appreciate a boy in a lady’s room at this hour. Dullahan shoots him and even Gargoyle punishes him. Then Futaba bumps into him. Wait, make that Futabarina. She accuses him of locking her up for not acting feminine enough. Cherub then zaps her and tells her to go home. Kazumi wonders why the statues are referring to him as Futaba’s big sister until he realizes he is now wearing a dress!

Special 2
After escaping Gargoyle and Cherub’s attack, Kazumi then stumbles into a pervert who wants to take his dress! Luckily this Snow White fairy Mimori rescues him. Next, Kazumi is before a castle in which princess Momo wants him to rescue her from the clutches of Osiris. Plant woman sends her servant Hisham to attack but he gets easily taken out by passing Gargoyle and Cherub. Osiris will suck her soul then but Mimori shows up to turn Avery into a huge doggie and crash into the castle. Momo is revels to be caught by Kazumi.

Special 3
With Momo missing, Kazumi finds himself in the lake. He thought Hyakushiki is being normal until he mentions he is the fairy of the lake. He is made to choose between a black statue (Gargoyle) or a golden one (Cherub). Since he can’t choose, the statues decide to fight to determine the winner! Not sure what happened to that chaos but Kazumi now finds himself in a home. Ah, it’s papa and mama. They let him spend the night here but soon Kazumi overhears their nefarious plot to eat him! Turns out they are Osiris and Hisham in disguise. Mimori pops up again to save him by telling him to wear these crystal high heels that when tapped, will send him flying to the end of the rainbow of hope! This is getting weirder and weirder…

Special 4
Oh what’s this? Higashimiya is a prince and is smitten with Kazumi’s beauty? Yeah, he is now in a princess outfit. Kazumi runs but chases him, causing Kazumi to drop those glass shoes. As he hides in the maze, Lily and Dullahan spot him. They think he is so obsessed with woman that he is dressed as one. This makes them feel disgusted as she orders Dullahan to attack this creepo. He runs and bumps into Futaba who is also not amused he is dressed so. Cherub zaps them. Kazumi returns to his normal clothes. The statues continue their laser beam battle. But Kazumi’s problem is not over. Many parties still want him. Higashimiya, Hisham, Momo and even Lily are all out to claim him.

Special 5
The big fight over Kazumi is on. How can a frail boy stop all this nonsense? Well, he doesn’t. Because Iyo just, uhm, pluck him out? Kazumi soon finds himself inside Totensha as Iyo explains this book has the power to react to the reader’s imagination and do bad things. It escaped when she was rearranging the bookshelf and it found its way into Momo’s hands and he got dragged into her story as the main character. She has now sealed its contents. They think all is safe now but looks like outside the shopping district, everyone has been turned into some kind of fairytale or folklore character and living up to its role. It’s really getting out of hand. And Momo’s brother can’t understand how the f*ck his script got leaked. Yeah, WTF this guy’s thinking?!

The Garboil At Yoshinaga; Dropkick On My Gargoyle!
Well, that’s a wrap. All’s well, ends well. As long as Gargoyle and his fellow merry comrades are watching over town, you bet that there will be no criminals who will dare intrude on the sanctity and peace of this town. Unless there are criminals that are dumb enough but nothing that could not be swiftly taken care of by our titular main character. Yeah, the best security system ever because it is free and covers a hell bigger area. Imagine if we have such a gargoyle placed in every town not only in Japan and over the world, I believe world peace can finally be achieved! All hail the unstoppable Gargoyle! Such a great pipe dream… Oh boy, those detectives and police in this anime are going to feel like they’re having the most useless job ever…

Anyway, the series’ story doesn’t seem to be anything much and many of the episodes feel like random standalone fillers. I’m not saying you can watch them in any order because the episodes mainly introduces newer characters who will then become part of the supporting fold for the rest of the season. But the series itself doesn’t have a very strong plot to begin with because it’s not like there is some wicked scheme of some shady underground organization out there trying to get their hands on Gargoyle to rule the world! Is there not?! Even if our antagonists do have their ambitions, it is just for some small minor plot that eventually doesn’t even matter on the bigger picture. Because yeah, Gargoyle such an intelligent and effective gatekeeper, why the heck isn’t the military and overseas parties (we love to blame those meddling Americans, right?) trying to get their hands on this mystical technology? Yeah. Like as though the army doesn’t even exist here! Oh heck, who needs an army when a single Gargoyle is enough to take care of everything!

I am not sure if there is an actual story from the original light novel source that this anime was adapted from because there are some moments where it hints there could be one like for instance, the rivalry between Higashimiya and Iyo that goes way back to a couple of generations. This is never fleshed out after Higashimiya’s defeat because ever since, he has become some sort of broke alchemist trying to make do with whatever he has. Yeah, how can he still afford to maintain his mansion and maids? Or maybe that is all to it about them and nothing more. Either way, I think such random plots that are not too heavy, works well for this series. After all, it is intended to be funny and they want us to laugh at some of the brand of slapstick comedy that they offer.

As for the characters, I suppose they are okay but if you want some sort of deeper revelation or character development, you’ll find none of that here. You just know them enough to enjoy the series, that’s all. For example our titular character himself, Gargoyle. Sorry, I don’t think he is pet mascot material either. There are so much question marks and mystery about this statue that you could probably write a whole thesis about it. For starters, you will wonder how such a technology can be imbued into such a statue. Yeah, they conveniently called it some mystical technology so it’s like an excuse not to have regular science explain it. But the funny thing you’ll notice is how Gargoyle moves about. Actually, he doesn’t even move by himself! It’s like as though he has some sort of teleport ability and it’s like blink and you’ll miss kind of feel. The moment you turn your head, he is no longer where he is but somewhere else. Like as though he just popped out of thin air. Hence this might be the spooky part if you think about it because he can show up when you least expected it and give you the jump scare.

So this dude is like close to being like God because he is almost omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Explain that, science technology! Even as Iyo pointed out it is some replica of the Philosopher’s Stone, damn, its AI level is through the roof and by today’s standards, I would say put that ChatGPT to shame! Funny though, it feels like for plot convenience whenever Gargoyle shows off this ability because it’s like he can sense the aura of living things like humans and animals (with pinpoint accuracy) but can’t do the same for plants. Then there was one point Gargoyle mistook Lily for Hyakushiki and I wanted to scream dumb plot convenience but in the end, even Gargoyle himself pointed out this blunder although it was never addressed again. There are a few of such moments in the series and my guess is that they want you to think for yourself and/or draw your own conclusions. So in this case of mistaken identity of Lily for Hyakushiki, I believe that Lily has begun to act and think more like her uncle guardian, a testament that she truly wants to break free from Hamilton. A will so strong to confuse enough a highly advanced talking statue.

Whether or not Gargoyle becomes some sort of AI that has emotions is another story but as far as I can see, he seems to be making decisions that well, humans would often make. Even though he has this unwavering pride and duty to protect those he swore to do so, sometimes he can make exceptions although not at the expense of all that. Furthermore, Gargoyle has a way with words and thus his actions. I won’t go so far as to say he is suave or anything, though. For instance, he still views Hyakushiki as his rival. From time to time you see Gargoyle visiting him not because out of pity or anything else but because mama put him up to it and hence the logic of his actions.

As for Futaba, what can I say about this tomboyish girl? She doesn’t really like Gargoyle at first and you can see her how she does her trademark dropkick on it whenever she gets the chance or the slightest irritation. Not that it will do Gargoyle any damage but damn, it must feel good to give that solid chunk a big dropkick (sorry Jashin, Futaba did it way before you popularized it!). Speaking of which, it’s like her signature move since Futaba loves using this dropkick as her violent answer (and for slapstick comedy purpose). Yeah, she doesn’t even hesitate to dropkick on Lily when their friendship turned a little sour! Luckily Lily was smart enough to dodge. No lolis were hurt during that duration of quarrel. Phew. As the most hot headed person in the family, it is ironic that Gargoyle sometimes becomes the voice of reasoning for Futaba because only with her permission-cum-orders, can Gargoyle do what is necessary like destroying the enemy who was once friend (looking at your former Osiris and Hanako). In the end, it is obvious Futaba doesn’t hate Gargoyle as much as before (I noticed the reduction in dropkick punishments on him) although her pride will not allow her to admit it.

Other characters are okay and a mixed baggage. As I have pointed out, mostly after their introduction and debut, they become part of the supporting gang and are just there for the sake of being there. For example, Mimori and Avery after their mini arc is over, they fade into the background and aren’t that prominent anymore. They show Mimori from time to time so as to tell us that she’s still there since she goes to the same class with Futaba. Today’s enemy is tomorrow’s friend. That is what I can mostly see for some of the characters like Lily and Hyakushiki. It’s like their story is to give them a chance to turn over a new leaf because after all, they’re not really that bad people, right? Futaba gets another cute friend while the town is now livelier with a phantom thief living among them. He says he chooses his jobs but I’ll say, a thief with a cause is still a thief. I don’t think mama would like that…

The other character falling into this is Higashimiya. Like I’ve also said about him before, after his technical loss to Gargoyle, he becomes a minor character biding his time for whatever plot convenience the rest of the series wished to take. Once again, he isn’t a bad guy so he doesn’t resort to underhanded tactics. Looks like his victory over Gargoyle and Iyo will have to wait longer. The same for Hisham too. So why is he starting to be like a permanent resident here instead of going back to Egypt to help his struggling fellow countryman? Like this town needs another weirdo. Oh right. It does. Thus baddies like Hamilton and Reggie are just one-dimensional and written to be typical baddies for us to disapprove. That’s why you don’t see them in the group pic in the opening credits. Not part of the gang and family, huh? Whatever their beef is with everything and their greed, we don’t care because they’re just despicable. Yeah, their final episode defeat, they didn’t even put up much of a fight either. Running out of time. Get them out of the way fast and tie up all those loose strings!

There’s a whole bunch of mystery surrounding Iyo but I guess we’re not supposed to be concerned about how old this old hag is. Oops! So other than the weird stuffs she sells or how she often turns Futaba into her personal experiment guinea pig, a minor running joke is how her black bra is often stolen. When this is also animated in the opening credits animation, oh boy… Then there is Kazumi who is so feminine that Futaba keeps calling him as an okama (tranny). Unlike his brute and crude little sister, he has a softer and gentler side. So I suppose to avoid us actually think he is a girl, that’s why that weird romance thingy with Momo. Especially the final episode we see them going about and enjoying their outing at the sakura festival. Yeah, what are the chances? I mean, that’s the only reason why they introduced this Momo character so late, right? And maybe for that very weird special shorts.

I believe the most powerful character of them all even surpassing Gargoyle himself, you have got to agree with me it is mama, right?! I think she is the one standing atop and without any close rivals on the pecking order of power! She is most probably the main force keeping the peace in town! Because nobody dares go against her! Don’t you dare even think of upsetting her because she can end the world in seconds, way faster than disgruntled leaders pushing the button to fire nuclear warheads! That’s how dangerous this sweet little woman is. Her small stature, I thought she was Futaba’s sister at first! Curse you anime! Yet another mama character turned into a legal loli!!! And so the other best charm about her is that she doesn’t speak and we can only hear her moans and sniggers. Truly, dangerous and sweet. Never change, mama. Never change. I bet the whole world will bow to her feet and feuding leaders shudder and shiver in cold sweat if mama ever gets serious in dispensing her justice! By then, we will all know the true meaning of fear! Come to think of it, this could be the reason why the military and foreign nations don’t try to get their hands on Gargoyle. Hmmm… But yeah. Nobody is going to take away our prize, oops I mean, pet, oops I mean family member!

There is a tinsy wee bit of action but it is of course all exaggerated and for comedic purpose. Need to showcase why Gargoyle is a force to be reckon with and not easily mess about. Hope those robbers in town get the message. Don’t worry, such fights won’t last long either. Heh. Don’t expect it to last for the entire episode, no?! Despite we see the damage caused when the statues start doing their light show, nobody dies. Yeah, buildings and structures can be replaced but lives not. Epic. Funny. So it’s weird and mind boggling to see Gargoyle who possesses such a great arsenal of laser beams, fire and even electric zapping plasma. Is all that eternal or does he need to recharge somewhere? Don’t see an outlet for him to recharge so I’m just going to brush this off as the unexplained mystic science. How convenient. And is Dullahan even legal? This robot is huge only because his body houses a lot of missiles, right? So who and where the heck does he replenish that arsenal?!

The art and animation feel pretty average (it is jerky at times). After all, it’s an anime that was released back in 2006 so you can definitely see the trademark of that era’s art style like School Rumble, Yoake Mae Yori Ruri Iro Na – Crescent Love, Happy Lesson, Happy Seven and Love Get Chu. Though, I feel it has more of this simple, kiddie and cartoonish-like feel and somehow it reminds me of Disgaea. Most probably because Lily resembles closely to Flonne. This means the characters sometimes is this close to having that derp face looks. Oh you know, those eyes so huge that it could almost cover their entire face! Is this cute or creepy? Ironically, the statues of Gargoyle and Cherub look a bit more intricate and perhaps a bit jarring from the rest of the human characters who are drawn in a simple way. But I suppose it also works because the statues do not have any part of theirs move and it saves a lot on animation. Imagine having to animate painstakingly all the details of Gargoyle. What a nightmare. And speaking of Gargoyle, doesn’t he look more like a dog with wings? And Cherub a lion with wings? On a trivial note, bespectacled ladies like Iyo with their typical looks, looks like a dime a dozen from other animes. Futaba from Sore Ga Seiyuu, Sae from Hidamari Sketch, Haruka from Kanamemo and Mai from Nichijou to name a few. This anime was done by Studio Hibari who did Venus Versus Virus, Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan, Sumomomo Momomo, Keppeki Danshi Aoyama-kun, Yume-iro Patissiere and Happy Lesson.

For the voice acting, I have to admit that one of the main factors making me decide to watch this show is Norio Wakamoto as Gargoyle. It has been a long time since I have heard his voice and I find it delightful to hear it again. Though, I have to admit that I am a bit disappointed that it wasn’t what I expected. Here I was expecting this guy to have a joker-like voice (like Onsokumaru in 2×2=Shinobuden) but seeing how his Gargoyle character is a very serious and no nonsense statue, well, in this context that took away the fun that I was anticipating from hearing from his voice. So basically it’s my fault. Nevertheless, still nice to hear him again. Chiwa Saitou as Futaba, she is yet again casted as another familiar character role of feisty loli characters like Chloe from Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya, Becky from Pani Poni Dash, Anita from R.O.D. and Natsumi from Keroro Gunso (okay, not loli but still feisty enough). Also recognizable are Nana Mizuki in her trademark cutie voice as Lily and the late Miyu Matsuki doing a cameo as Hanako.

The other casts include Kouki Miyata as Kazumi (Kouta in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu), Susumu Chiba as Hyakushiki (Kondou in Gintama), Houko Kuwashima as Iyo (Sango in Inu Yasha), Masami Kikuchi as Higashimiya (titular character in Tenchi Muyo series), Kousuke Okano as Cherub (titular character in Flame Of Recca), Yuuna Inamura as Mimori (Kyoko in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Hiroshi Yanaka as Hamilton (Otogi in Nanbaka), Hajime Iijima as Dullahan and Avery (Gakushuu in Ikkitousen), Takurou Nakakuni as Hisham and Futaba’s dad (Minami in Gokusen), Ruri Asano as Osiris and Futaba’s mom (Mutsuki in Happy Lesson) and Saki Fujita as Momo (Ayano in YuruYuri). The opening theme is Ohayou by the trio of Futaba, Lily and Mimori. Generic anime pop. Sounds bland and boring after a while. The same trio sing the main ending theme, Ai Nioide Ai Nioide. This time it is anime rock although has somewhat similar vibes like the opener. A special ending song for the final episode, Kotae Wa Sora No Shita by Chiwa Saitou is another rock outfit that fits as the finale for the series.

Overall, it is not a perfect series but still a pretty funny and enjoyable one. The theme feels like as though it was made for younger audiences but I guess not because there is a bit of graphic scenes (OMG, Lily coughing blood?!), a bit of mature adult themes (I wonder what cup size is Iyo’s bra) and a bit of dark themes (OMG, Hanako died???!!! Kayano too died???!!! I’m so sad…). But if you take all that with a pinch of salt, the series is quite fun to watch with its weird-cum-funny-cum-mind boggling moments. After all, you’re not supposed to take this series seriously anyway. Next time I hear a stone gargoyle talking to me, I’ll just put on my running shoes and run the hell as fast as I can out of here! Oh right, I’m living in today’s modern era so I’m gonna whip out my Smartphone, start taking pictures and post it all over social media. Now you know why all such gargoyles continue to keep their mouth shut, eh?

Hoshi No Samidare

21 May, 2023

Look what we have here. Initially when Hoshi No Samidare was announced, there was some sort of small ‘commotion’ surrounding it. So, you haven’t heard of this series before? I don’t blame you. Because the manga that this anime was adapted from already ended more than 10 years ago! More precisely, it ended its run in 2010. OMG. Why adapt an old anime that was long over? Did they want to do it but ran into several technicalities or development hell along the way? Did somebody see this old title and realized it wasn’t adapted yet and decided to make the initiative? So as just to surprise us all? I mean, there is no rule saying you can adapt animes in a certain time frame, right? Yeah. And WTF am I complaining because here I am grumbling about sequels, remakes and reboots, here is one that is totally ‘new’. Feel like taking a hammer and smash me, huh? Uh huh. Basic premise of the series anyway: A group of selected kids trying to stop a baddie from destroying Earth using a giant hammer hovering in space. Yeah… Don’t ask…

Episode 1
Imagine one morning waking up and finding a talking lizard claiming himself to be a knight and wanting you to help him save this world! Yup. Like any normal person would do, Yuuhi Amamiya throws away Sir Neu Crescent! But no matter how much he tries, Neu is always back with him. Is the stress of handing in his report getting to him? Yeah, he missed the deadline so he makes up an excuse to his lecturer, Hisame Asahina that he got into an accident with some lizard and the lizard is dead and haunting him as a ghost. Yeah. Very funny. Looks like nobody else but him can see Neu. Lizard then tells him about this power. Didn’t realize the ring on his finger, eh? Yuuhi is awed with this telekinesis field thingy and tests it about by flipping up Hisame’s skirt?! Having fun? Back home, Yuuhi still isn’t interested in helping Neu save the world. I mean, if he says there are other knights, why not just let them do the job? Yuuhi goes for a walk when he is attacked by the enemy. This ugly piece of sh*t is a golem? Yuuhi runs for his life but could have died had not his neighbour, Samidare punches it away. Neu recognizes her as his princess. Or at least the vessel for Princess Anima. Later as Yuuhi practises using his field, Neu tells him about the rewards knights like him can have. Anything they wish. If that’s the case, he wants the lizard gone and return to his normal life! Can’t do it? So was it a lie? While Yuuhi still has doubts about saving the world, more flashback on his meeting with Samidare. She thought they have seen each other before but Yuuhi doesn’t think so. Then an angry Hisame crashed her scooter into him?! Well, Samidare is her sister and she thought he did something perverse to her! She let him off the hook with a warning. Later Samidare takes Yuuhi to the rooftop to show him something. Wow. You mean Yuuhi looking this shock? Well, it’s a giant Biscuit Hammer, the golem’s most powerful weapon that will destroy Earth. Damn, Yuuhi getting scared and pessimistic he can’t do it? Well, Samidare claims she will destroy it while Yuuhi will be by her side. To prove her faith in him, she leaps off. This forces Yuuhi to jump and save her while barely making it with his field. There. Did that just prove he protected her? In return, she will protect him and now it’s his turn to trust her. She has him swear his fealty to her and after all the crazy things that have happened today, oh well, might as well go along with it.

Episode 2
Yuuhi has this nightmare that grandpa threaten him not to have friends or make enemies. Live a solitude and lonely life! Wow. Worst grandpa ever! Yuuhi then helps Samidare in her morning training. He sits on her as she does push-ups! Amazing. In return, she invites him to have breakfast back at her place. Later back in his room, Yuuhi feels down as he feels he isn’t as strong as he thinks despite Neu praising he has improved. Then he hears Yuuhi talk about how this world doesn’t belong to her if she dies and the Earth long remains. This is why she wants to destroy it with her own fist and won’t let that Biscuit Hammer destroy it first! WTF?! So only by destroying Earth herself, she considers it her own?! Next day as Yuuhi ponders how to be stronger, oh dear, another golem pops up. An even uglier mother. RUN! It’s his only option but he tires out easily and could have died again had not Samidare come to his rescue. First she throws a car at it as distraction before destroying it with her dropkick! Later, Yuuhi gets a call from mom to come home since grandpa is hospitalized. However he lies and says he has a part time job and can’t come home so soon. Then he tries to train himself by leaping across the river using his field. He fails halfway and drops in. Because of that, he becomes sick. Neu too since his health is linked to his wellbeing. As Samidare nurses him, Yuuhi reverts to his scared state. He doesn’t want her to abandon him and promises to get stronger. Samidare assures she will never do that and to go visit his family. Yuuhi then tells of his past trauma. When he once brought a friend home, grandpa tied him up in chains and locked him in a room for 3 days and nights. Grandpa doesn’t want him to have friends because they will become enemies. Also, not to love or be loved. Jesus, this grandpa is really a dick. Now Yuuhi wants her to command him as he is afraid of grandpa’s chain of command. She won’t. But if he comes back hurt, she promises she will destroy everything he wants in his stead. Uhm, is it me or does Samidare just want to break things? Anyway, Yuuhi feels assured and will do as she says. When he is well, he tries another river jump. However he knows he can’t so he doesn’t do it. Maybe next time when he is stronger. Then he’ll jump over everything.

Episode 3
Returning home to grandpa, Neu thinks of rewarding Yuuhi for making the pact. Perhaps, cure grandpa? In fact, Yuuhi would prefer him dead! Further revelation tells us Yuuhi’s parents are dead. His dad was an investigator who went missing. When they finally found him, it was his body dumped in the forest. It was some undercover arms smuggling mission and the culprit was no other than his partner. When mom found out about it, she had a mental breakdown and went missing. This was when grandpa imposed that twisted ideal on him not to trust others. For 10 f*cking years! Hence Yuuhi hates this entire world and that’s why he is following Samidare in hopes she would destroy it. Uhm, don’t the golems too want to destroy Earth?! When he goes visit grandpa, he still fears him but what’s this? Grandpa wants to apologize. You bet Yuuhi isn’t going to take this sh*t. For years he tormented him and now he wants forgiveness?! Where was he doing his time of grieving? F*CK YOU!!! Yuuhi runs away but stumbles into an ugly mother golem. Run. There is only so far he can do that until the golem catches and knocks him into the river. In his unconsciousness, he meets Samidare in this dream world as he explains he was so afraid of grandpa’s chains that he can’t live without it. That’s why he swore his allegiance to her in hopes of guiding him. She tells him to come back alive and she’ll kiss him. He returns to reality as he now has confidence to fight the golem. Using his wits, he has the golem jump and follow him down a cliff. Of course using his field to smash it when it lands.

A timely call that grandpa is not going to make it. Everybody is sad and preparing for the worst. Yuuhi is in a dilemma but ultimately wants grandpa to be saved. Neu grants this wish as he prays to the moon? The pact is complete. Meeting Samidare in the dream, she is about to give him a kiss for coming back alive but it’s morning so maybe next time. Back home as Yuuhi trains with Samidare, who the f*ck this guy coming into the picture? Hangetsu Shinonome, a hero of justice too, huh? Obviously he is a knight too since he has a talking dog, Ludo Chevalier. The reason he hasn’t been popping up now is because he was trying to find a way to make a cool appearance. Yeah, it ended up being normal. He has no time to chat as he has to go to his part time job. Yuuhi is suspicious of him and even more so, Neu doesn’t have memories of him despite all the knights should know each other. On another day, Hangetsu tries to lift up Samidare’s skirt. Of course she goes to beat him up. Seeing he is a good martial artist, he can dodge her attacks. To stop this, Yuuhi takes Ludo hostage? Of course Hangetsu was just testing her to gauge her abilities. As for Yuuhi, is he going to resort to this kind of tactic if Samidare gets attacked by a golem? Because that’s the worst. Back in the dream, Samidare keeps her promise and kisses Yuuhi because both of them need to become stronger if they want to crush this world.

Episode 4
Samidare has her rematch with Hangetsu but is still no match for him. Yuuhi still distrusts Ludo and they end up in some childish fight. Hangetsu will help train Samidare in exchange she lends him some manga. When they return home, the moment Hangetsu sees Hisame, he is in love! He goes to introduce himself but I’m not sure if this is a joke because she thought his name is In Love! Hi, In Love. Bye! After Hangetsu leaves, Yuuhi warns Samidare not to trust him. However Samidare isn’t fazed. She doesn’t care who since the Earth will be destroyed anyway. After all, she has him and that is enough. Later as Yuuhi is walking in the streets, a golem attacks. He knows he can’t dodge forever but luckily Hangetsu is here to save the day. Hangetsu can also sense Yuuhi’s distrust but still offers to train him if he wants to. Hangetsu tries to get more info of Hisame from Samidare. Little sister sold her sister out that she has no boyfriend for some French cuisine ticket. Hangetsu now works as a janitor at the college as he gets nice with Hisame by giving her gifts and all. This has Hisame wonder about Mikazuki who is Hangetsu’s brother who is a year Yuuhi’s junior. He hasn’t come to class for 6 months now. Apparently he is travelling in South East Asia. Yuuhi gets this evil idea to use Hisame to kill Hangetsu. Neu tells him to stop that thinking or he is no different than his father’s killer. However Yuuhi doesn’t care since he wants this planet destroyed. This has Neu send him the strongest rebuke that he isn’t special but a spoilt brat. Yuuhi doesn’t care either. He knows he is that much. Hangetsu continues to hang out with them and one night as they’re having dinner, the sisters’ dad returns. Hisame then goes out drinking with Hangetsu and Yuuhi as she relates her troubles that dad is never home most of the time and is always travelling to write his book. Despite being some best seller, she never read even one! She doesn’t like dad’s irresponsible ways since Samidare was often sick when young and he took off and left all the responsibility on her. Don’t drink too much or you’ll get a hangover… Too late. While Hisame doesn’t hate dad, she can’t respect him either. To Samidare, he looks like is a big kid having fun. Hangetsu adds that it is an adult’s job to smile and show kids how fun being one is. I wouldn’t bet on it…

Episode 5
Yuuhi must be over the moon when Hisame tells her to hang out with Samidare the whole day. Family approved date? Of course father tails them and when Yuuhi is alone, he asks a few questions. Too bad they’re not dating as Yuuhi claims it is just a one sided love. He hopes he can continue to be with Samidare. Also, he tells Yuuhi that today is Samidare’s birthday and Hisame is baking her a cake. It’s a surprise so don’t tell her. After hanging out the whole day, they return home for the much awaited birthday surprise. Everyone is happy and having fun. Yeah, hope days like this could last forever, huh? Change your mind about destroying the world? Well, Samidare claims even if that happens and they do defeat the golem, she won’t have much of a future. As her body is originally weak, she is only sustained because of Anima. Once the mission is done, she will leave her body and it will be back to where it was. So she wants to take down Anima with Earth when that time comes. She hopes Yuuhi will die with her. Gladly. Before dad leaves, he gives advice to Hangetsu as the latter feels he cannot live up to being a hero of justice. Dad says as long as you inspire others to want to become like you, that’s okay. That’s what being an adult is all about. He also give tickets to a movie Hisame wants to see. So dad approves?

That night as Yuuhi and Hangetsu hang out, Hangetsu reveals his dad wanted him to surpass him in martial arts. This includes watching some fictitious hero anime. Yeah, Hangetsu wanted to fly! So when he found out he couldn’t, he gave up being a hero of justice. Yuuhi thinks a bit and eventually seeks Hangetsu’s help to train him. He wants to help Samidare even if it is a bit. He also knows Hangetsu is lying because there is something else that made him gave up. A strong man like him will not use a silly reason to stop being a hero of justice. Hangetsu reveals the truth he had a pet dog. One day, he saw a boy going to be run over by a car. He froze. He thought saving the boy would mean he would lose his life. However his dog pushed the boy out of harm’s way instead and died. That was when Hangetsu realized he couldn’t become that hero. His dog was his hero. Hangetsu knows Yuuhi and Samidare are plotting something that would make him fight against them. He will not ask further but wants him to grow strong so he could protect Samidare. He is after all her hero. And when that time comes, he’ll just defeat them. They feel the presence of a golem and go hunt it. This one is smarter and faster, even blocking Samidare’s attacks. Yuuhi has observed all the golems have targeted him. This shows they have no intention in fighting Samidare. Yuuhi hates to admit it but he is not strong to defeat a golem and is a liability. Hangetsu views that knowing one’s weakness is a strength. When the golem returns to attack and Yuuhi in danger of getting killed, this time Hangetsu becomes a true hero by pushing him out of the way and taking a fatal blow. Knowing he won’t make it, he has Ludo make good his wish. Yuuhi is frozen in shock to see Hangetsu dead. Before the golem could stage another attack, a mad Samidare pounds it so hard she almost splits the mountain in half?! In the aftermath, the news reports of this unknown landslide and the only casualty is Hangetsu. Poor Hisame… Looking forward so much to the movie… :’(.

Episode 6
Better believe it. Hangetsu is dead. Hisame even shedding some tears for him as she realizes she might have loved that man. She promises to smile no matter how hard it gets. That’s what being an adult is, right? Later Yuuhi is approached by Mikazuki who wants to fight him. However Yuuhi declines and his hurts Mikazuki as he runs away in tears. WTF?! Yuuhi then observes Mikazuki as a very social guy. Everybody around him laughs. On another day as they talked, because Yuuhi blames himself for killing Hangetsu, on pretence to play catch, Mikazuki punches him. Then he badmouths about Samidare and has Yuuhi punching him back. Punch fest. Mikazuki believes Hangetsu is stronger. But if he lost to Yuuhi, it means Yuuhi is stronger. This mean defeating Yuuhi will make him the strongest. Mikazuki relishing at this twisted idea. He is about to kill Yuuhi but Samidare easily defeats him. She is glad Hangetsu’s training paid off. Then they are met with Souichirou Nagumo who is another knight along with his horse, Dance Dark. He claims he has met a few of the other knights (there are 12 in total). So he is just here to remind them about defending Earth from Biscuit Hammer? That’s it? Mikazuki finds him strong and wants to fight him. And lost. When 2 golems are detected, the knights go into action. However Mikazuki still wants to fight Nagumo first. Lost again. Meanwhile Samidare destroys a golem. Yuuhi finds another one. He tries to be a hero and go kill it. But that trauma of Hangetsu’s death flashes before his eyes. He got paralyzed. WTF?! Thanks to fellow knight, Yayoi Hakudou and her snake, Sia Moon saving him, however that golem runs away. As Yuuhi sits depressed in his room, Yayoi goes to check on him. Neu wonders if Sia remembers him. Not really. Neu feels remorseful because in the last battle, Sia lost her life protecting him. Neu also died afterwards, making all that futile. Sia doesn’t want him to bring up such debts in times of battle. Yayoi also advises Yuuhi to not fight next time. He’ll only get in the way. Soon, 2 golems are detected. As usual, Mikazuki wants to fight Nagumo first. Yayoi knocks out Yuuhi when he tries to rush into battle. Neu tells him to run this time but Yuuhi has had it. If he is going to be a hero, he cannot be protected and saved all the time. He also knows New has endured his own powerlessness. He wants the lizard to tell him his wish and he will grant it as a friend. Neu wants Sia to be saved. With that, Yuuhi comes barging in full power and screaming at the top of his lungs, saving Yayoi from certain death from this tough cookie golem. Is Yuuhi high on drugs?! Drugs called motivation maybe.

Episode 7
Mikazuki and Nagumo fight each other at full power until both are taken out. Meanwhile Yuuhi defeats a golem. But soon another one pops up to swallow the defeated as they merge and become a bigger mother. Cue for Samidare to dropkick this mother. Yuuhi becomes sad when he realizes Hangetsu’s wish. That is, to pass all his skills to Yuuhi. That is why he is more powerful now. He cries for his departed friend but Yayoi doesn’t want him to be since he saved her. Later as Nagumo advises Yuuhi to accept Mikazuki’s challenge, Yuuhi doesn’t do so out of Samidare’s respect to not want in-fighting. However when he heard Yayoi has been taken hostage by him, he rushes there. Well, she’s fine. All a bluff to get him to fight him. Yuuhi does so but then loses. OMG. Where did all the skills go? Sure it wasn’t a fluke? Then they spot that defeated golem nearby. It moves but somebody pops out from its mouth! He is Animus the mage as he was using this golem as a portal. He warns the knights that the real challenge is yet to come. Soon, Nagumo introduces another knight, Hyou Shimaki and his cat, Kuh Ritter. Sorry Yuuhi, he’s a fatty and not some handsome hunk as you imagined. It seems Nagumo has also made contact with Taiyou Akane and Loki Helios his owl but doesn’t bring him as he is a kid. No kids allowed in this fight? They also talk about the golems that showed up. Each new one they face have an extra eye. This means that other knights must have fought and defeated them for this recent one with 7 eyes to show up. Mikazuki then presents 2 lovely girls who are also knights: Yukimachi Tsukishiro and her turtle, Long Yue as well as Subaru Hoshikawa Subaru and her rooster, Ly Soleil. They are sad despite the fact they defeated golems because it was their master who did most of the job and died protecting them. He was also a knight and a swordfish one? As Yuuhi ponders the remaining ones, how convenient he stumbles them in the streets, Tarou Kusakabe and his mouse, Lance Lumiere and Hanako Sorano and her mantis, Kir Sonne. With that, Samidare has them all gather for an announcement. Samidare asks if Yuuhi still hates this world (yes he still does). But since she still loves it, she also wants him to do the same. Whatever choices he makes, she will still love him along with it. Samidare gives her speech to her knights to fight not to protect this world or mankind, but to survive and protect each other. Yuuhi notes he’ll keep his role a secret and play along with this.

Episode 8
Yayoi loves anime and manga and is an avid cosplayer. Flashback shows when she first saw Sia, she almost killed the snake! Well, it’s only natural. After learning she talks and about the world about to be destroyed, she agrees to join in this cause. Also, she wanted her wish right now and that is to have her family members die with a smile. Since all living things will eventually die, dying with a smile is a luxury. As Nagumo eats breakfast with Samidare and Yuuhi, they are shocked to learn that he has a wife and kid. Plus, he was a detective and was only unemployed. Hence a flashback on how he came so. When he was sleeping at the police station, he suddenly saw Dance before him. He played it cool as the horse tells him about the world in danger. At the same time, he and his partner were investigating some serial slasher in the vicinity. The chief had a tipoff and they go investigate and caught the bugger in the act. Turned out the slasher was the chief’s son! Since the rebellious kid won’t listen, he sent Nagumo in hoping he would do the job. Nagumo punched both of them. Soon, Nagumo agreed to join Dance’s cause. He wanted to ride the horse but he refused to allow it. He fell off and hurt his back. He remembered all his bitter time at the force and soon quit. Yeah. That’s how. Meanwhile Animus appears in Shimaki’s dream and is baffled when the mage mentions he is Japanese but Animus is his real name and quite common from his era. Shimaki talks to Hisame about time travelling but of course science doesn’t offer much answers. Then later Animus meets Shimaki in the flesh and wants him to join his side. Animus knows Shimaki’s wish is to get Akashic Records and learn everything about the universe. Of course Kuh couldn’t grant that wish. This is Animus’ wish too. However Yukimachi and Subaru attack so they’ll meet another time. Hence Animus meets him in tonight’s dream. He admits he is from the future and is the god of destruction born to counterbalance the supernatural being known as God who created this universe. Although a god, he is born in a human vessel and thus his desire to know everything. He wants to see the convergence point where it began and wants Shimaki to join him. Shimaki creates a golem of his own to attack him. I guess that’s his answer because his goal for using Akashic Records is to make humanity happy. His attack is blocked by Taiyou. Animus claims he is his knight but Taiyou is not amused and views them both as monsters. When Shimaki wakes up, he thinks his role to be a god slaying monster and an agent of peace that devours an evil god. Thus the thought of becoming a monster that fights for justice.

Episode 9
As Yuuhi digs holes to set as traps, he discover a box that contains a letter addressed to him. Hmm… It is from Akitani Inachika AKA Master, the other dead knight. He has clairvoyance and saw Yuuhi digging this spot before his death. He left behind his autobiography that he wants him to read. It seems Master was born 500 years ago! When he was young, he was swept away by the ocean. Back on land, he was taken care by a sage. He meditated every day until he realizes he became with an omniscient being who knows everything. That was how he got his clairvoyance. Soon he was tasked to take on this war orphan as his disciple. He wanted revenge on a samurai who killed his family. Master taught him and found out teaching was harder than learning. Eventually the kid went off for his revenge but was defeated. Then he died. Over the centuries, Master took on many disciples but they also died before him. He realized being omniscient is nothing and it was his disciples who taught him he was just an ignorant human. Fast forward to this era, he met Subaru and Yukimachi in some kiddie candy quarrel. He helped resolve their friendship and took them as his last disciples as he already foresaw his death. Many years later, that is when that swordfish, Zan Amaru popped up. Despite foreseeing this, Master still got shocked by Zan’s appearance. What a big swordfish! Master continued to teach the girls but rather than fighting, he told stories. Yeah, the power of friendship is their strength. Then he buried this autobiography and his final words for Yuuhi is that the answer can’t be found in omniscience but within your heart.

Mikazuki sees Subaru in town and they both plan to go hunt Animus. Since Subaru’s stomach is growling, time to take a break. He asks about her Master’s final days so she tells the rest of the story. On that day, Master sensed the golem in the mountains and brought the girls there. Analysing how to tackle this golem, suddenly the golem shot spikes and Master dived to protect them, taking a fatal hit. The girls were sad but he told them to continue fighting without him as it is their future. Zan is not amused by Master’s thinking because instead of going out with a whimper, he needs to teach them how to die with a smile and no regrets. Master returned to the battlefield to show the girls some strong spear attack. Now it’s up to them. The duo combine their skills to block the golem’s attack and counter it with a sharp cut that sliced it in half. With the threat over, the girls are sad Master is dying as he gave his final words to them. He realized despite having the power and knowing everything, he was still an ordinary person like them. The girls rushed off for help as Master notes how humans are more interesting than omniscient beings. He then passed away from his injuries, hopefully to reunite with his dead disciples. Subaru further relates how Master’s death was stated as an accident and city hall had no records of such a man. Mikazuki however is so freaking impressed and wished he had met him. But it’s time to look forward because Animus has just released his next greatest golem: Hekatombaion.

Episode 10
Samidare and Yuuhi are training Tarou and Hanako. Well, looks like they’re going to need more practice. Mikazuki calls because it is summer and he wants a summer camp. And thus the other knights join in this training camp. Looks more like fun in the sand and sun instead. Nothing out of the ordinary. Some playing in the sea, some staying out while some go fishing. Later that night, Sia talks to Yayoi and know she likes Yuuhi. Why not go confess to him? She is passing by and overhears Samidare and Yuuhi talking about destroying Earth together. Yayoi and Sia decide to keep this to themselves for fear of being eliminated. Next day, a golem is detected. Everyone heads to the mountains and that golem is of course Hekatombaion. Before they can all engage it, Animus pops up and wants Samidare and Yuuhi to sit this one out. He teleports them to the ocean to just sit and watch. His goal? He wants to see how many knights will die! It’s going to get a lot tougher since Mikazuki abandons to team to go chase down Animus and fight him. The other knights have a hard time as they dodge Hekatombaion’s attacks while trying to find an opening. Meanwhile Animus reveals the shocking revelation that Anima is his twin sister. He wonders what kind of game she is playing since she is making up all this princess and knights stuff. This has Yuuhi realize why Animus didn’t just drop Biscuit Hammer right away. It could be that Anima is the game master and some sort of rule is preventing him from doing so. That is why the knights have a mission to protect her as she is enforcing that rule. However Samidare laughs at all that. She claims she will be the one who will destroy Earth and thanks-cum-pities him for dragging everyone into this. She swiftly attacks him but he escapes in time. Meanwhile the knights finally manage to get an opening and combine their powers to take down Hekatombaion. By the time Mikazuki arrives, he is devastated to hear Animus has run away. So now he is going back to fight Hekatombaion? Don’t bother. Yuuhi just received a call that golem has been defeated. Yeah, guess who didn’t fight today? Even made more a bigger loser, Mikazuki is punished with no dinner for abandoning his comrades. Tonight we’re having a lobster feast! Thank goodness there is no lobster knight…

Episode 11
Shimaki creates a golem so the rest can practice fighting with it. Too bad Mikazuki is hogging it all for himself. But today’s episode, Samidare has run away from home and decides to stay at Yuuhi’s place. Why? Mom is coming back. Hisame tries to bring her back but since she remains stubborn, I guess the only way is to make Yuuhi live at her place instead. Sorry Yuuhi, your dreams of sleeping with Samidare won’t materialize. But looks like Yuuhi too has his own mini family problems. Aunt calls him to check on him and when she wants to put grandpa on the line, Yuuhi makes excuses and hangs up. In the dream, Yuuhi hears from Samidare that she isn’t too fond of mom because she left her in her hour of need. Later Hisame talks to him and reveals mom is a doctor and although she left for France to find a cure for Samidare’s illness, she is also a renowned doctor and is still in high demand. Also, Hisame left with mom for France and only returned a few years ago. That was when Samidare’s condition turned for the worst although luckily she pulled through. Although mom had a goal in mind when she left for France, Hisame did not have a reason. So she thought Samidare doesn’t see her as family and wonders if she hates her. Yuuhi’s answer is to obviously bring her to ask Samidare directly. Oh, teaching her how to put on the best smile too? Though, Hisame soon returns since Samidare is already asleep. But she feels better. Mom is to soon depart as her schedule is tight. Not like Samidare has any reason to go see her. Hisame now talks to Samidare and apologizes for leaving her behind. Samidare then believes the reason mom went to France was because she was born. She split the family up. Sorry for being born. Hisame slaps her for saying that. Both sisters emotional hug and make up. Hisame hopes she can see mom. Later as Samidare hangs out with Yuuhi, she is scared not because she doesn’t like mom but rather afraid of mom not liking her. She can’t become an adult. Yuuhi proves his point by jumping over the river?! She need not be scared. He is with her. With that, Samidare returns to see mom right before she leaves. Mom breaks down in tears and hugs her. She misses her so much. So she’s acting like a kid? Well, adults don’t hide their true feelings. With this episode behind, Yuuhi also makes good by calling grandpa.

Episode 12
Yuuhi meets up with Samidare for training. But who is this strange girl she brought along? It’s Anima! Sorry, no hugs from lizards wanted! Yuuhi feels strange as Anima keeps staring at him. Later, he is suddenly whisked to her base along with the other knights. Then she calls out to Dance and turns him into a unicorn! One of the 3 mythical beasts! Just like that, she calls it a day and everyone returns. Yuuhi is left to ponder if each knight has the ability to evolve and power up. Imagine the kind of creatures they’ll transform. But soon a golem is detected. Samidare calls Yuuhi as she cannot move so it’s up to the knights. Animus introduces Metageitnion. 8 eyes. You bet it is way more powerful. However with Nagumo using his drop kick to injure it, the golem flees. That easy? Is this the power of a mythical beast knight? The knights continue their training as Tarou and Hanako show off the new abilities they have discovered. Yuuhi returns home to find Anima wanting him to feed her. Seems she needs to eat to replenish her strength that she zaps from Samidare. Better start cooking. Neu wonders why not go to Tarou or Yayoi’s place since they cook better. Better still, she summons them here right away! Tarou then asks about the other 2 mythical beasts but Anima is only interested in eating. Yuuhi continues to dig more holes for possible golem fights. Next day, Metageitnion is back and has fully recovered. The knights just watch as Nagumo spams his drill kick. Yuuhi feels something is wrong as Nagumo is rushing it. Suddenly he takes a hit. Time for the knights to scramble and fight. Everyone throws everything they’ve got but looks like Metageitnion is still rampaging. Until it charges at Subaru and Yukimachi, Nagumo draws the strength to pin it down. Then everyone blasts all they’ve got at it for their much deserved victory.

Episode 13
A flashback shows Lance and Kir making Tarou and Hanako their knights respectively. Lance noticed Hanako’s subdued emotions which pretty much reminds him of Kir whom he doesn’t like too much because of his similar distant and cold personality. As Tarou thinks of the single wish (many of which he thought were shot down by Lance for being impossible), he soon learns about Hanako’s wish. A serial killer committed suicide and Hanako was the one who made that wish. Lance snapped at Kir for not telling her the karma of having death wished upon others because it also shortens one’s life. Kir forgot?! Even so, it wasn’t a reason to reject her wish. Now Tarou knows what he wants. When Hanako gets fatally injured, he wants her to be healed. Lance agreed but with a condition she must be conscious when she takes the hit. It doesn’t count if it is instant death. Now we see the gang especially Tarou hanging out with each other. Yeah, fun times. Until Animus shows up again for battle. This time a knight golem along with several discount Minion golems. The Minions separate the main fighters of the knights from the pack. The knight golem has perfect offense and defence that Samidare can’t even break through. Tarou thought of being the distraction but the golem aims for Hanako. When the knight strikes, Tarou jumps to defend her. Both get impaled! Tarou confesses he loves her but soon dies. His wish saves Hanako from death. An angry Lance still hates Kir but hopes he won’t die before disappearing. Kir finds it perplexing. Why did Tarou jump to protect her, knowing well she would not die? The other knights have taken care of the Minions (Mikazuki using his field as multiple spears) and as they reunite, it’s time to grieve over Tarou’s death! Over the next few scenes, we see everyone being gloomy over yet another knight’s death. Who knows what Hanako is feeling. That same poker face. Neu tells Yuuhi about Tarou’s wish. Yet he still protected Hanako shows that he could not not protect her. He is a true hero. Yuuhi is resolved to get stronger. Uhm, didn’t he say that the last time? Anima offers to give him that. So he is made to fight Yayoi. So only the winner gets to be strong? Why not give it to both of them?! Is there some sort of limit?!

Episode 14
Apparently the winner of this match will have the powers of a mythical beast. Yuuhi takes a beating because he regrets not living up to Hangetsu’s promise. With Yayoi winning, Anima dumps Sia into the sack and out she comes a dragon! With that, Yayoi confesses she loves Yuuhi. That is why she will stop him. Yuuhi’s depression continues as he goes to dig more holes but falls into one he dug. This isn’t even funny anymore. Mikazuki is here to pick him up to head home. Suddenly they are shocked to see Hangetsu before them. Both guys attack him as he turns into a golem. 11 eyes! Wow. This one can speak! It quickly flees. Yuuhi then calls Nagumo about this. They plan to meet up and discuss about this. Well, too late at least for Hanako because she is asphyxiating as she sees Tarou before her! She sits down with him as she remembers her past with Tarou. Boy was a cry baby and she was always there for him. But as they grew up, the roles started to reverse as the more Tarou smiled, the more she lost her emotions. She became aimless because it’s like her little brother left her behind. Now that she has gotten her feelings in order, Hanako can tell this Tarou is an imposter and is nowhere close to the real deal. She also knows it doesn’t want to fight because if it was its intention, she would be dead now. The golem finds it boring and leaves. Next time the golems appear, woah, everyone dressing so sharply to the battlefield?! How can they move in such suits?! This their mourning attire?! Everyone goes on the offensive as they have Tarou on their mind. Meanwhile Hanako with a new haircut sees Animus and needs a favour. She wants to fight one on one with the golem who killed Tarou. The knight golem escapes and stumbles upon Hanako. With this much damage it received, no wonder Hanako can finish it off easily. She fires repeatedly her ice weapons that she names after Tarou, at it until it dies. Feeling better taking out all your frustrations? This is for Tarou! Yeah, so sad. You just made everyone cry again. :’(

Episode 15
Mikazuki introduces Yuuhi to a well paying job. Uhm, this yakuza job? At least he doesn’t need to dirty his hands and just stand around. So he is having a nice bento after that. This leads to Mikazuki telling about his younger days with Hangetsu since his brother once worked for this yakuza too. Mikazuki always wanted to surpass his brother but never could. One day while tailing him to find his weakness, Mikazuki gets kidnapped by a rival yakuza company who wants him to spill the details on Hangetsu. Mikazuki didn’t flinch and is laughing instead. Because his brother is so strong that he has these adults scared. Eventually Hangetsu came and beat up these thugs to rescue his brother. When Mikazuki insists on getting stronger than him, it is a sign he wants his approval and that he respects his big brother. Hangetsu has him follow his instructions but after 6 years later, Mikazuki continues to lose against his brother. He feels like getting further away but isn’t worried. He’ll take his time climbing that mountain. Yuuhi is inspired hearing this that he challenges Mikazuki to a duel. Anima adds in a bonus the winner will date Samidare. Can’t lose now. Mikazuki then talks to Subaru and Yukimachi about this. Also revealing about his wish. Apparently he was travelling in India and a young girl danced before him. Since he had nothing to give, he wished for a bread to be given to her. Yeah. That’s it. Taiyou is seen giving books for that intelligent golem to read. Then he sees those Minions being created out of thin air. But it’s time for battle as these Minions are soon sent into battle. The knights strategize the best way to beat them but apparently to Samidare, the easiest solution is to just beat them all! OMG, she defeats all of them with her brute strength! The knights didn’t even do anything. Animus can’t believe it, he escapes while laughing. Yuuhi and Mikazuki’s match is here. They fight and clearly Yuuhi has improved a lot. In the end, Yuuhi wins. That scream is for the much deserved win. Mikazuki isn’t sad he lost and looks happy instead. He didn’t ‘lose out’ in terms of the date because he’s got Subaru and Yukimachi with him. Yuuhi’s date may be a nightmare because Anima tags along and Samidare is ordering everything from the menu! Later the knights gather as Shimaki deduces the names of the golems. It has to do with the months so he believes there are total 12 of them. The same number as the knights. Wow. That’s some big assumptions he got there.

Episode 16
Yuuhi, Yukimachi and Taiyou end up eating at a ramen store together. Taiyou asks about their wish. While Yukimachi won’t say, Yuuhi reveals it is to heal grandpa’s illness. Flashback when Yukimachi first got the turtle, she was so impressed it could talk that she puts it in a box to show Subaru and Master. Of course Master knows about all this since he can tell the future. Then both girls deliberate on their wish and it is for the other to be happy. Now are knights continue to face off with the Minions. There are even more of them. In no time they destroy them but Samidare feels a bit different. These golems felt slightly tougher. We see Taiyou hanging out with a friend. He is actually Maimakterion and a golem disguising as a human. He wants to learn and feel what it is being a human. He doesn’t understand much about friendship but ironically, Taiyou is one who doesn’t care for such either. Maimakterion then suggests swapping homes. He thought Taiyou’s family might see through this but Taiyou believes they won’t. So Taiyou goes to the mountains to sleep? Wouldn’t the park suffice? Yeah, Animus kind enough to give him a sleeping bag. Flashback shows Taiyou’s wish is to destroy this world. Then Animus popped up before him and wanted him to join hands. Loki also pointed out no knights have ever beat this mage so it’s best they switch to a stronger side. Besides, the previous owl knight also colluded with him. Next morning, Maimakterion returns. Taiyou’s family didn’t suspect anything and they weren’t even close to each other. Is this what human family is all about or is this only unique to Taiyou’s family? Not that he cares. Time for another golem attack. Those darn Minions again. More of them but they look like they have some offensive power. Shimaki suggests using his golem to fight while they retreat. Eventually his golem gets overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and its final act is to self-destruct. Hope that took out every last of them. Taiyou falls into a pit trap made by Yuuhi. Mikazuki is here and wonders why. Taiyou thought he is done for but lies he is here for training. Mikazuki believes him and will help him. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. After training is done, they converge at Yuuhi’s place to drink. Subaru and Yukimachi are also here. Apparently Yuuhi is to pass them Master’s autobiography. When they leave, the girls give it to Taiyou instead since Master already taught them all they need. Mikazuki accompanies Taiyou home but along the way, Taiyou’s dad is here to pick him up. Turns out it is Maimakterion in disguise and Taiyou doesn’t like it. Maimakterion finds his home to be nice because nobody talks to him.

Episode 17
Looks like another day of fighting more Minions. Now they’re looking a bit tougher. However there is one that soon starts to transform into Magical Marie! That in-anime character? Of course this is Maimakterion in his shapeshifting mode. The Minions first separate everybody. Samidare and Nagumo are left to fight Maimakterion. With everyone scattered and trying to reunite, Subaru has sprained her leg. While hiding, the pain is getting worse. She thinks of being left behind and sacrificing herself but Yukimachi will not allow that. This makes Taiyou panic. They’re going to die. But what does it matter to him? He wished for the destruction of this world too, right? So why fear dying or Animus betraying him? Yukimachi slaps him for talking about death. They’re all going to survive. She asks about his powers so he mentions it is to reverse time but only by a fraction. Then she has him use it to heal Subaru. It works and this leaves Taiyou dumbfounded as he has never thought of using it like this. With more Minions showing up, luckily Yuuhi and Mikazuki show up to save the day. What are they going to do with the rest? RUN! Well, it is to lead them into the hole before they finish up the rest. Finally! Those holes came in handy. Samidare and Nagumo have a hard time with Maimakterion who can shapeshift into somebody they know. Samidare might be weak on this but Nagumo will not be fooled. Even with Shimaki creating a new cool golem to ride, it is still not enough to defeat Maimakterion. However Animus says it is over for now and they’ll continue this another time. As everyone gathers, Shimaki deduces Animus’ words. Despite Yayoi terminating every last one of the Minions here, there is still 1 more left in hiding. Unless they defeat it, the Minions will continue to regenerate. But where could that sole Minion be hiding?

Meanwhile Taiyou is left feeling guilty. Because realizing the potential of his power, he could have healed Tarou. So he let him to die? Making his way home, he asks Loki about the previous owl knight. He turned traitor. After all the knights were defeated, he tried to kill Animus but he saw it coming and was killed. Loki felt sad that all this betrayal for this moment was eventually futile. That’s why he didn’t want to go through this again and certainly not Taiyou. It’s a reason why he wanted Taiyou to join Animus but if he is drawn to the knights, he is free to do so. Taiyou goes home to open his closet. There’s that lone Minion hiding there! It was his idea! He fights the Minion and after getting beaten up, he eventually defeats it. Anima congratulates him for defeating 1 of 3 celestial bodies of Animus. She rewards him by turning Loki into a mythical beast. Later Animus visits him and he isn’t upset. After all, Animus gave his permission to defeat the golems. Loki wonders why he defeated that golem. Taiyou doesn’t know why. Soon he receives a call from Hanako. She heard from Subaru and Yukimachi. She assures him that Tarou’s death wasn’t his fault since he didn’t know his potential then. Taiyou is exhausted from everything and sleeps. Loki notes he is free.

Episode 18
Shimaki is stuck on ideas to create his next golem. So he has some of the knights pitch ideas for him. Don’t count on Anima. She’s only here for the food. And whatever this trust your guts advice she eventually gives. Later he bumps into Animus. Actually Maimakterion wants to speak to him. It seems this golem is frustrated the knights are too fast to hit or dies after taking one. It’s no fun. Hence he wants Shimaki to create a sturdier golem so he can fight longer. Animus also gives him a last chance to join his side because at this rate, his golems will never surpass his. Shimaki refuses and will still defeat him. Shimaki then creates a sturdy looking golem and has the knights fight it. But Yayoi just deals it with 1 great blow and it crumbles! Oh man, back to the drawing board. I guess it must really hurt Shimaki’s pride more. For a change of pace, Yuuhi invites him to dig holes! OMG! Serious! Yeah, look how refreshing it is! But soon, Yuuhi gets a call from auntie. Grandpa is dead after getting hit by a truck! Oh man, that escalated quickly! An emotionless Yuuhi attends his funeral. Is he finally liberated? Wow. It’s like he found his zen seeing this is how life is. His cousin hands him letters grandpa wrote but never mailed to him. The standard questions but it always ends with grandpa asking him when he will come back. Oh well, he’s dead now. Yuuhi gets to say goodbye to grandpa in person in the dream. But soon it’s back to business because in this dream world, Samidare and Anima have a task for him. As he is the key, he needs to pass this. Opening the doors, he walks up a long flight of stairs. Guess who he stumbles into? It’s been a long time, Hangetsu. His task is to defeat him if he wants to proceed. They fight and we see Yuuhi’s improvement in generating his field to a point where he strengthens his agility and slows his opponent’s. Hangetsu is defeated so Yuuhi has officially surpassed him. Continuing his way up, now he meets Master. But don’t worry, he is only here to observe. Move on. Is he going to fight Anima now? No, just a kiss as reward for reaching this far. Samidare will pretend not to see that. Finally he reaches the top. My, what a full view of Biscuit Hammer.

Episode 19
Maimakterion transforms into Parrotman?! Tough as usual but until Shimaki creates a golem that can shoot rapid rocks, unfortunately Maimakterion destroys it in an instant. He laments all are weak. He gives them 10 days to bring something strong for him to fight or he’ll kill all their friends and family. So we see the knights in various training. Like Subaru and Yukimachi suggesting to Mikazuki to test and create a new combined move. Hanako getting cheeky with Yayoi and telling her to ‘capture’ Yuuhi as part of her training. Hence Yayoi trains with Yuuhi and looks like having a lot of fun capturing him and hanging him upside down? She then cooks for him as gratitude. I suppose Sia can’t stand the dragged out tension so she asks Yuuhi about Yayoi’s confession then. Yuuhi admits he did hear her but not the entire sentence. Hence Yayoi says she wants to stop him and Samidare from destroying the world. However that is only after defeating Animus so they still have to be friends. Yayoi also adds a condition if they are successful: Please date me. Well, he’ll think about it. How anti-climactic. Meanwhile Shimaki believes he has got the answer. It never mattered at all to begin with. The battle with Maimakterion is here. The knights go all out and show their fruits of their training. Even though Maimakterion gets a beat down, he still views them weak and wants to go slaughter their friends and family. It is all up to Shimaki now to prove he has something worthy for him to fight. But first, Shimaki asks what he was doing the past 10 days. Why gave them so much time? Was he trying to hide and heal his damage? He then creates 3 golems that fight on par with Maimakterion. In the end, Maimakterion is defeated but felt like he was truly fighting. Shimaki thought golems were shields for others. But he was wrong. It is a part of him and a projection of who he is. This is thanks to Maimakterion’s free transformation and hence Shimaki could freely transform whatever golem he wants and not necessarily be based off Animus. Thus Maimakterion is just an artistic masterpiece of Animus. With Maimakterion’s defeat, everyone has hope they can win this. Subaru and Yukimachi suggest all of them to create a single move together because this is what they need to defeat the final golem. Yuuhi then points out something else in the sky. Now that there is hope, everyone can see another shadow. Blues Drive Monster is a celestial weapon that will counter Biscuit Hammer. WTF this funny toy thingy???!!! Is this Gintama’s Justaway???!!!

Episode 20
Wow. Everybody’s joining hands like there’s some event going on! Well, they’re all training to combine their fields. They’re struggling at it so keep trying. This episode focuses on the past (or rather future?) of Anima and Animus. In the distant future, both of them survived a deadly space shuttle crash on the moon. Because of this impossibility, many think they are aliens. So as they recuperate in the space hospital, the doctor wants to adopt them as his own. They deliberate about this as Anima thinks they should take up the offer and stop this psychic stuff. To which Animus refuses because this means the doctor will find out he was the one who caused the accident! Curious Animus used his power to test and crush the shuttle and he loves it! If his powers get sealed, he won’t be special. Anima disagrees as he is already special even without them. When they agree to be adopted, the doctor is so happy. Because he knows about their power and the accident. Calling them gods, he wants to research them and keep them safe. Animus likes the ring to this and because now he is convinced he is a god, he won’t be kept by a mere human and proceeds to destroy the space station with this hammer. Then he sees Earth. How does it feel like smashing Earth? Fantastic! So much so space starts to crack?! Apparently this throws them back into the past. This fascinates Animus because he will keep destroying Earth and go back and find out the origin. Anima tries to stop him and wants to play a game with rules as restriction to stop his destruction. But as we can see, Anima has been on a losing streak and it has been a century this game has been going on. So much so it zapped the emotions out of a weary Anima.

And now she is in this era and before Samidare. She needs to possess her body in order to accustom herself to this era and see if the people of this era has the desire to live. Too bad young Samidare doesn’t understand a f*ck she’s saying. Anima will grant her a wish but Samidare doesn’t want any. Not even her parents to be here or her illness cured. She wants to go out, though. Uhm, so that’s not considered a wish? As Samidare strolls around town, she meets Yuuhi. He wants to take her to the police as he thinks she is lost but she runs away. Anima has been following her so she continues to ask her wish. None. Maybe she’ll ask her soul directly. Yuuhi then pops up to save Samidare from this kidnapper. Such ingenious tricks to give Anima the slip. The kids talk until Anima shows up to say she is her guardian. Then a bit of floating magic before disappearing! How does science explain that! Must be a dream. Later Samidare asks Anima her wish. It is to fall in love since she is killing her other half and needs motivation. Hence she wants people who can see the hammer to also see hope. She hopes to end it with this secret weapon she is building. But it will take a few years to complete as a few more to finally synchronize with Samidare’s body. Yeah, Samidare understands nothing! But now she has a wish. She wants to see Yuuhi again. As the knights continue to train, Animus pays them a visit. This is to tell them he is giving them a few months break since he wants to spend time completing his final golem, Poseideon. He also knows about Blues and will crush it on Earth’s final day. So enjoy your last winter together. Everyone continues to hone their skill until the final day of Earth’s fate arrives.

Episode 21
How kind of Animus to do some PSA by entering everyone’s dream to tell them to gather for the final fight. So here they are as Animus transports everyone to an open field. He plays dirty as he leaves behind Samidare and Anima. As the knights prepare their ultimate move, they see Poseideon coming in from the distance. OMG. It’s freaking huge! Somebody call Godzilla for help! Nah, because the first volley from the knights dealt it a lot of damage. Then Samidare drops down with her punch to do more. To buy time for their next volley, Shimaki enlarges Kuh to help Samidare fight the golem. The knights are ready as they fire their second volley and Poseideon comes crashing down. Well. That was easy. Animus is still delighted. Because he is going to drop Biscuit Hammer now! Wait. I thought he lost? I guess he doesn’t play by the rules. Anima quickly has Yuuhi come with her. They teleport inside Blues. Yes, he is the key to activate it. Some mumbo-jumbo thingy that I don’t understand but he is the one with strongest connection to Anima and Samidare and that’s why he has that power. Using his conviction, he makes his way as he rescues different versions of himself along the way. All of them turn into some sort of cool accessories. Is this necessary? Finally, Blues’ activation is just a button? Here goes. Discount Justaway blocks Biscuit Hammer’s strike but fails. It crumbles. Anima’s loss? Not quite. Samidare has been waiting for this. Using those broken pieces, she creates a large golem and destroys Biscuit Hammer! For once, Animus is in shock. His prized weapon destroyed. However he doesn’t intend to give up so he fights the other knights. Again he plays dirty by making them drop from the sky and then fire electric balls for fun. Last battle has got to be interesting.

Episode 22
Animus has created a barrier to keep Anima, Samidare and Yuuhi out. Anima believes he is afraid of Samidare and suggests she keep hitting until it breaks. The knights throw everything they’ve got at Animus and looks like he can regenerate in some ways. Animus then wants to take back the power he lent Taiyou. But it is then Taiyou makes Loki grant his wish: To prevent the return of his power. Now that the power is his, Taiyou can fully heal the rest and cover a wide area. Animus is clearly disappointed. He thought Taiyou would be scared and eventually side with him but I suppose he got too friendly for him. Animus then turns into his true form to fight. Uhm, this shadow demon thingy?! The knights continue to fight him and protect each other but each time Taiyou heals them. This could go on forever but it’s not. Because it takes a toll on his mind, something the power cannot rewind or heal. Now that he is down for the count, Animus mocks him as a child. However Nagumo claims Animus as the only child around. Everyone else are warriors. And now is the right moment because Samidare has broken through the barrier. This makes Animus panics as he tries to kill the knights in 1 blow. He fails. Nagumo riding Dance for the first time to deliver the finishing flying kick? Animus is left panicking what went wrong this time. He always won. Well, there’s a first time for everything. Including losing. Anima impales the spear into him. The siblings talk one last time. Animus doesn’t want to die as there is much he wants to know. Anima suggest doing so in his next life-death cycle reincarnation whatever. In that case, he wants to be reborn as an omnipotent being. You mean a God? Animus dies. Anima discards her poker face and finally cries, sad she couldn’t stop him earlier. So the story’s over, right? Well, as Anima puts it, her story has ended because now it is Samidare’s story. Samidare then has everyone attention. We’re gonna destroy this world! This leaves the knights in shock as Samidare reveals this is her goal from the beginning. To make Earth hers so she can die along with it. Nagumo and Yayoi charge to stop her but Yuuhi brings them down. He even takes out Shimaki, viewing him as the most dangerous person. Yeah, look in the sky. Is it Biscuit Samidare now?! Yuuhi challenges those who want to stop Samidare, to face him. Wow. So this is the real final boss fight, huh?

Episode 23
Since Mikazuki has taken a lot of damage from Animus’ bolts, he is forced to this out and bitterly watch as Nagumo, Yayoi and Hanako fight Samidare’s champion. Damn, did Yuuhi grow stronger overnight because they can’t even touch him! Or was he pretending to be weak all the while! Yuuhi then does a despicable move by flipping Yayoi’s skirt?! This is part of his reply to reject her and admit that he is in love with Samidare. Because, plot twist! He wants to be the one who will stop Samidare! No surprises for Samidare either. She knew it all along that it will turn out like this. Despite his assurances to be with her and do as she wishes, she knew it was all a façade and lie. Flashback of all the times they’ve had together. Yeah, so much fun, huh? Then meeting the other knights, she learns that even one who doesn’t have happiness, can still find it after painful experiences. So she thought everyone including Yuuhi will eventually find happiness and she alone will still be the same. As Yuuhi fights Samidare, the latter is still obviously stronger. Yuuhi needs more power so WTF Neu becomes a dragon?! Not sure what this power up will do but at least Neu is looking more ferocious. As the fight continues, Anima tells the knights about Samidare’s illness and how she met Yuuhi and the reason why she came to want to destroy this planet. Because when that happens, her illness didn’t matter. This shocks them as they never knew about it. Yeah, interested to know more about this lonely girl? Can’t do it when the planet’s destroyed, right? Time to end this so Samidare is going to destroy Earth. Yuuhi desperately tries to reach for her when the other knights lend their power to push him higher to her. He catches her and continues to say he loves her. After all that, Samidare still wants to destroy Earth? What pride is this?! I thought she’s a kid! Kids aren’t supposed to be complicated! But eventually after some assuring and hoping they can live together, maybe this is what Samidare needs. She finally relents. Because she loves him more than this planet. Thank goodness.

Episode 24
Everyone welcomes Samidare back and she starts crying. Still a kid… So it’s time for everyone to part with their parts as Anima needs to take them back with her to find some reincarnation ring. Tired of living so long? Another round of tearful goodbye. However Yuuhi and Mikazuki still want to fight each other to see who is strongest. Not tired after all the fighting? Guess not. Anima allows it as her farewell party. Man, the fight lasts the whole day! Aren’t the rest getting bored of watching? Finally even Neu and Mu have to go. Final words from them. Especially Mu. First time we hear this crow speak! And Mu is female?! Never would have guessed. Now the guys are left to fight each other with their own strength. And if that runs out, verbal insults! Eventually Mikazuki tricks Yuuhi and lands the victory blow. Everybody part ways and promise to meet up for the party. But fast forward 10 years later. Yuuhi is all grown up. As he makes his way out, he enters into a different dimension. He knows this is inside Blues and on the final battle day. He spends time talking with Anima like from which century the siblings are from (32nd) and her basis of choosing those animals (because it looked like such on the moon). Something about she is a descendant of Hisame and Hangetsu. A different timeline?! Yuuhi also mentions that he is working under Nagumo’s agency along with Mikazuki and Subaru. Hanako runs a diner while Taiyou is now crazier as a college student. He is dating Yukimachi. And get this: Shimaki and Yayoi are married! The former a university professor. As for Samidare, she battled her illness for 8 years before her mom successfully pulled off the greatest surgery. For the next 2 years, she recuperating in France and today is the day Yuuhi is to welcome her back. Anima hopes to win the battle and reach this future. Yuuhi leaves and picks up a very healthy Samidare at the airport. They meet up with the rest to celebrate her full recovery.

Can’t Touch This (Earth)! Stop! Hammer Time!
Too bad our heroes can’t take their favourite pets along with them. So nice of Samidare to come back in 10 years to give them plushie souvenirs of those animals. I don’t know how bad her illness was that it had to be dragged out for 8 damn years. Woah. Any sane person would think she would have died but I guess it is to show her fighting spirit of never giving up. After all, she battled to save Earth, then tried to destroy it but changed her mind, it would be a shame to just kill her off, right? So I suppose this unseen prolonged illness is some sort of penalty for her to atone. Oh you know, she wanted to destroy Earth but failed so if she wanna live, better go through hell to prove she’s worth it. Yeah. But since she pulled through, jokes on God for not being able to even finish her off. Heh. Yeah, your reward for growing up a little is welcome to the adult life where a different sort of hell awaits…

The story seems pretty basic. A group of people protecting the world from being permanently destroyed. Nothing really extraordinary and of course we have to remember that this series came out way over a decade ago (started its run in 2005 so its conceptualization must have been years before that). Watching from this point in time, I’m having mixed feelings about it because well, it’s not an isekai anime so thank goodness. On the other hand, such plain plot won’t just cut it by today’s standards. Yes, I have only myself to blame for expecting a lot more to this and in lieu of that, the whole thing somewhat falls short. When the show first started, it felt a bit draggy since things were new and we were introduced to a few concepts and characters here and there. Thankfully I didn’t find the focus on the other beast knight characters to be boring and some of them were interesting. Such episodes helped stave off the boredom but at the same time, dragged out the story until the final battle.

Though, there were a few mind boggling questions that bugged my mind while I was watching. At first, I was confused how this could be the umpteenth battle considering in the history of mankind it was never recorded in history. Not especially Master who lived long enough, did he not witness something of this kind? Oh right. They came from the future and go back in time to destroy the world. So while that pretty much covers it, this then led to a new issue: Well, bad news for you young heroes who eventually saved our planet for the first time in history. Because even if they have won for the first time against Animus, there is still no future to go to! Remember, Animus destroyed future Earth. Not sure how long that next future Earth destruction event will happen but you can’t hide the fact that the world still remains destroyed in the future! When you think about it, it’s still a losing game, no? All their efforts actually in vain. Unless you tell me there’s a parallel future universe then it’s another can of worms (Anime hinted the future isn’t fixed so it is possible). Animus will now have to scour alternate timelines to destroy all Earth! Well, at least it’s good to know our young ones beat Animus in this era because who knows, if they failed and the next edition of Earth in the past that needs to be protected, I don’t think the cavemen can do a better job. Though, it gives rise to a great new theory how dinosaurs got wiped out! Biscuit Hammer, people! The Biscuit Hammer wiped out the dinos! HAHAHA!!! Sighs…

Then there’s the curious case on how the knights get chosen or why those animals are so. Maybe the author’s favourite animals? Anyway, does it not seem weird and suspicious that the beast knights chosen are mostly kids? Sure, this series had some subtle theme about adulting or whatever. So is this some sort of rite of passage for these kids to enter adulthood or something? Aren’t there any capable adults of doing this job? Or are they playing superhero in other countries?! Anyway, it feels weird as the criteria on how these kids were chosen also feel shady and iffy. I mean, the animal popped out before them one day and started blabbing about the world’s fate. Any sane person would either be freaked out or be in awe. Hey look, a talking animal! Yeah. So really, how and why did those animals choose our characters as the world’s saviour? Furthermore, all of them concentrated in this particular area in Japan! How convenient. And speaking of those animals, I thought they were going to based them off the Chinese zodiac but I guess it’ll feel weird to have a pig hanging around as a knight. Or a monkey. So mostly little critters who can just sit on their particular knight and tag along with ease. Funny, the cute little bunny isn’t one but instead we got a praying mantis. Why a rat instead of a hamster? Isn’t the latter cuter? Not my place to say. Weird. Yes, that moon thingy Anima explained felt more like a flimsy excuse just to get this small area covered. I’m not buying it!

Character wise, another mixed baggage. Yuuhi as the main character comes off as strange, sometimes funny, sometimes confusing and in some cases, disappointing. We’ve got a sleazy reason why he hates humanity but thanks to this mission to save the world, he joins up with other comrades and opens up. I guess this is part of the plan to have this character development in him. Since he has grown out of it and overcome that phobia, so I guess this means he must be a great character, huh? Not so hateful now, is he? Yeah. Even weirder and perhaps the running joke of the series, this guy loves digging holes in the mountains because that is his best bet to fight against the golems considering his skills are so weak ass. At this rate the whole mountain could be gone. Is there a law in Japan that forbids you from doing such? Yeah, I want to insert the pun of digging his own grave somewhere but I just couldn’t find the right moment…

Confusing though, he shares the same sentiments with Samidare to stop Animus so they can destroy the world together. I’ve got a better idea. Why not just freaking destroy Earth before Animus does?! It’ll give Animus a run for his money and heck, he might even become the hero to try to save Earth! Yeah. I mean look at Samidare’s punch that packs a lot of power. Might not be as strong as One Punch Man but given a few punches to the earth, I’m sure it will set off some record breaking earthquake and cause tsunami all over the world! So don’t wait for the results of this dumb game from the siblings of the future! So this reason to save Earth so as to later destroy it themselves feels like a load of BS because it’s like they just wanted somebody to stop them and that they’re just being childish. Don’t worry you guys, the world will still be destroyed in the next future edition! Yeah, got to remember that! Oh right. Different future timeline thingy too.

So is it on, Yuuhi x Samidare romance? Or are they just trolling us and just playing RPG of knight and princess? The answer is clear at the end. So that’s why they trolled the knights into thinking they want to destroy Earth but it’s just one big drama to get Samidare to realize there is more to life than just destroying Earth. Yeah, it was weird that the duo who are the main characters didn’t even get to fight Animus. Or was I just assuming he was the big boss because looks like it wasn’t. The true final boss was Samidare herself. And it wasn’t so much a physical fight but an emotional and inner fight to make her realize that life is much more enjoyable when you’re alive than dead. Sadness and bitterness are caveats that come with it. So deal with it! Hey, you’re all kids. Supposed to be simple and straightforward. So don’t go confusing everyone and yourself about adult stuffs like life! Do that later when you’re fully grown up! Oh right. Because as Samidare accepts Yuuhi, now they have mature and grown up. Now can we talk about world destruction? Sorry, life and living seem to be a lot more interesting, no? Now the mentality that Earth is here to stay just for her. Well, at least it sounds better that way.

The other beast knights are also interesting but the downside is that there is not much about them that is being fleshed out. Their episode in focus was interesting but that’s all we’ll ever get to know about them. It could be a big bore if they actually go into details and drag out more episodes so I suppose in this context, they are sufficient. Mikazuki I thought would be the most disappointing one among the knights since I thought he would be some wild rebel or something but after his debut, he tones down a lot. While he is reckless and a thrill seeker to be the strongest, I just feel that in subsequent episodes he is not that wild child I think he would be. Could it be that he has blended and mixed well with the rest? After all, with Subaru and Yukimachi hinting they like this guy, this could be why he mellowed out. I thought Yukimachi who is always squint eye will have some super powers awakening when she opens them. Nope. Nothing. Not even looking that cute either… Hmph! Taiyou being the other strange character because they want to make this character look like a turncoat but seeing his confused state and all, I guess it keeps us guessing if he’ll really side with Animus and betray everybody else. Eventually this role is somewhat done by Yuuhi on Samidare. No worries, though. It all turned out for the better.

We need the formula of the main character having a love interest! That’s how I only see what Yayoi is for. Perhaps the best couple Tarou x Hanako wasn’t meant to be and the former’s death only serves as a pivotal point for the latter to change. Yeah, we need no brooding and emotionless character because Taiyou seems to overlap with that somehow. I guess that’s why no more knights were killed subsequently because we might not be able to take it when everyone gets emotional and cry like babies again. Yeah, the proof we all need that everybody has bonded so well with each other. Nagumo as the only adult in the group as he is the oldest, my guess is that he is to serve as the knights’ de facto leader because as an adult, we tend to think adults make better and mature decisions. And it’s probably why he’s the only one with an oversized animal. I can’t stop laughing to think if the horse starts sitting on his shoulders like the other little critters! Oh my! 10 years might sound like a short time to immortals but it’s pretty much a long time for humans. So it’s for some shock factor to see the most unlikeliest person ending up with each other. Shimaki x Yayoi and Taiyou x Yukimachi. Yeah, just makes you wonder what happened. But that’s life. Thank goodness Earth wasn’t destroyed, eh?

Then there are those siblings of the future. Anima looking like your retard character who looks selfish enough and only wants to eat. It’s like she’s in a world of her own but after her past (or rather, future) came to light, I can understand why. After a consecutive streak of defeats, I can’t blame her for perhaps to start doubting if Earth is a planet worthy to be protected. Hence that bland emotionless look on her face because she might expect the same outcome again. She creates new rules to stop him but I wonder the rational of those rules like beast knights and all. Maybe she’s not good at creating games? Yeah, her Blues thingy did no jack sh*t. Felt like a big troll to get our hopes up that something big might happen. Yeah. Big disappointment, that is. I believe even without it, Samidare can still smash Biscuit Hammer with her bare fists.

I can say the same about Animus too but he looks like he is getting wearier and tired after going on a huge winning streak. Sure, he enjoys destroying Earth and has a goal in doing so. But after aeons of doing much about the same thing, it gets really tiring after a while. That’s why when he created his golems, it feels like he didn’t put much effort into them seeing he thinks he’ll be victorious in the end no matter what. Speaking of golems, initially I noticed an additional eye on a new golem in this episode and thought by the time the show reaches its end, the ultimate golem with 24 eyes! Thank goodness. Don’t you know how freaking creepy that is? The only interesting golem is Maimakterion because of his ability to think and not just some mindless drone. Too bad he wasn’t the last boss because that would’ve been a lot interesting.

The most redundant characters I would say are those animals. To me, they are there just to be animal mascots of the series. As mentioned, I don’t even know how they choose their knights and other stuffs. All I see them is that they hang out with the knights, giving advice or making wisecracks (they should all be like Mu who doesn’t even talk until the final goodbye). Uh huh. Especially Neu who feels like some sort of comic relief lizard but fails to be one. Not really that funny. He also tries to be Yuuhi’s best friend by giving some advice at certain times but it feels weird having a reptile being your life coach but in Yuuhi’s case, I guess he’s got nobody else. Their only major ability is providing a single wish and that itself feels iffy. It’s like the flimsiest excuse for them to exist and be by the knights’ side. Because even during battles, they just sit out and watch like spectators. Don’t do no jack sh*t even for those who evolved into mythical beasts, they just power up their knights but I don’t see anything else beyond that. And to think that they know each other from previous editions and some even having dislikes for some, the whole thing just comes off as flimsy and weird.

The action bits are just passable and it’s only because of the theme of needing the knights to fight and defeat golems, it feels like some sort of obligatory part of the series. Until the end, I’m still unsure of each knights’ abilities except that they have their own unique way of using their holding field and custom it to their own personal way of attacking. I guess it’s just for some variety’s sake. After all, just do enough of those moves to crumble the golem. And why is it the fight with golems always happen within the same mountain vicinity? Is this their fixed battleground or something? Yeah, easier to gather all the knights at the same place and kill them, huh? And I suppose there are no authorities or rangers in these parts of the mountain to even get an inkling of what’s going on. Future archaeologists are going to be stumped seeing so many destructive trails! They may think some monster brown bear is having a monster fight with some monster wild boar!

The art and animation I would have to generally say is quite mediocre. Sure, it is no doubt an old series and even if the general feel of the animation style feels like of that era it was released. It tries to stay as close as possible to its manga source. Unfortunately in many scenes, they look a lot inferior like as though not enough effort was put into it and thus turned out lame. The characters looking odd-cum-funny at certain angles and the fight scenes looking somewhat lame due to the lack of animation or just bad quality. Even the colouring tone and hues felt somewhat bland. I don’t expect rich quality high definition colours but overall it just looks dull/muted like as though they were using second hand colour tools or something. The initial golem designs were creepy but the later golems who try to look deadlier, they aren’t as scary looking as before. Maybe the initial ones was because our characters started off as weak and hence this enhanced the scariness effect. On a trivial note, doesn’t Samidare look like Frankie from the cartoon, Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends? Just a whole lot cuter because well duh, Samidare is anime girl! This anime is done by NAZ who did the Hamatora series, Infinite Dendrogram, Hajimete No Gal and the dreaded animation quality that is Ore Ga Suki Nano Wa Imouto Dakedo Imouto Ja Nai.

Voice acting is another mixed baggage. Naomi Oozora as Samidare, she sounds so similar like the titular character in Uzaki-chan Wa Asobitai, I just can’t help think Samidare is the flat chest version of her! Sugoi dekai has become sugoi chicchai! HAHAHA!! Sighs… Then there is Kenjirou Tsuda as Neu. I feel his potential has been wasted on this lizard. Because he sounds like a character who is undergoing some sort of constipation! Really! Just hear how Neu sounds! His lizard sh*t cannot come out or something?! Yeah, it was absolutely weird for me to hear this versatile man being limited by this weird character role. The only other seiyuu I recognized is Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Shimaki and he sounds very subdued here. So don’t expect a Kirito or Bell here.

There are a hell lot of casts due to the numerous characters here. I’m too lazy to name them all and just the main ones. They are Junya Enoki as Yuuhi (Nasa in Tonikaku Kawaii), Mao Ichimichi as Anima (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Tatsumaru Tachibana as Animus (Jin in The God Of High School), Tetsu Inada as Nagumo (Gamagoori in Kill La Kill), Aya Suzaki as Yayoi (Mako in Kill La Kill), Gen Sato as Mikazuki (Chrome in Dr Stone), Chihaya Yoshitake as Subaru (Yuna in Love Live! Superstar), Moeha Nochimoto as Yukimachi, Chinatsu Hirose as Hanako (Shion in Musashino), Mutsumi Tamura as Taiyou (Sonya in Kill Me Baby), Shunichi Toki as Tarou (Fukuma in Kyuuketsuki Sugu Shinu), Shuuhei Iwase as Hangetsu (Yatsutaka in Sankarea), Kazuhiro Yamaji as Master (Bang in One Punch Man), Junko Minagawa as Maimakterion (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis) and Azusa Tadakoro as Hisame (Moroha in Hanyou No Yashahime).

The first opening theme is Gyoukou by Half Time Old. It’s a generic anime rock song but I can’t help feel the singer’s falsetto voice at times makes the song sound a bit gay. Really. The rock outfit picks up even further in the second opening theme, Be The Hero by Raon. A typical song for action shonen genre but not really my cup of tea. The first ending theme is Reflexion by Spendy Mily and is more of a slow rock. And you’ve guessed it, another rock piece for the second ending theme, Zero by Sano Ibuki. Sounds rather okay but too bad, not my kind of tea either. There is a special ending theme for episode 18 is Babylon Tenshi No Uta by The Pillows. The song sounds quite similar with the rock based ending theme in FLCL (Ride On Shooting Star) that I heard aeons ago and even the ending credits animation visuals also remind me of it. What a waste to showcase it only for a single episode because if I had to choose among all the rock pieces I like featured here, it would be this one. Not by much, though.

Overall, this seems to be just a rather passable anime. It definitely has its flaws (and mind boggling moments) and could have been done better because like many others who were disappointed, there seemed to be a lot of wasted opportunities too. More so, from a series that has ended a very long time ago so you thought there would have been proper planning and pacing and all. In the end, the world might be saved (for now) but not the anime. The hammer of judgment from online critics and toxic viewers have killed it all early on. The only biscuits I’ll be smashing with are those sweet delicious Tim Tams I got from the store. Yum! Can’t destroy Earth on an empty stomach.

It must be today’s new kind of trend. They take or copy a main premise but branch off and do other parts differently. So when you first read the premise of Yuusha Party Wo Tsuihou Sareta Beast Tamer Saikyoushu No Nekomimi Shoujo To Deau (WTF freaking long title?!), I won’t blame you in jumping into conclusions of how similar its premise is to Shin No Nakama Ja Nai. We have the main character being kicked out of the hero’s party. Then he goes solo and does his own thing. But that is where the similarity ends. Because in Beast Tamer, he doesn’t open his own apothecary and live a peaceful life. He didn’t settle down with the love of his life. Instead, he continues his adventuring and accumulates his own harem of non-humans! Wow. Looks like being kicked out of the hero’s party proved to be a blessing in disguise.

Episode 1
What’s with all the angry faces? Oh, haven’t you heard? Rein Shroud, you’re fired from the hero’s party! Shocked, he wants to know his party members are cutting him off. They claim he is useless because his beast taming skills do not contribute in battle. Besides, they saved him more than often. Since they continue to insult him, just like that, he leaves his gear and exits. Yeah, the people whom he thought were friends, he thought they have been harsh on him because they expected something from him. But perhaps they never did see him as a friend. With no job, what is he going to do? Better not open an apothecary! Well, thank goodness he decides to be an adventurer. He heads over to the guild to register himself. The receptionist, Natalie gives him a crash course on all he needs to know about being an adventurer. How convenient. While on a quest, he sees a girl going to be killed by this monster tiger. He attacks it. Knife broke of course. He thought he is done for but at least he gave that girl some time to run. However she uses all her strength to this dropkick of hers that instantly kills the monster! Upon closer look, Rein realizes she is part of the ultimate species. Dragons, fairies and demigods are such but there is another species that is much rare: Cat spirits. You mean they are even rarer than demigods? Oh, they’re on the verge of extinction. Although they cannot do magic, they have very strong physical abilities. Kanade introduces herself as she tells him she is on a journey. Yeah, staying in her village is so boring. Then she learns about his circumstances. She feels mad for his unfair treatment but he has put that behind him. Knowing he isn’t useless, she wants him to tame her. It would be an honour since not many can tame a cat spirit. Rein agrees to try in hope that an ultimate spirit by his side, that tragedy will never happen again. They do the blood ritual to make the contract. With this insignia, now they are bound together. Later Kanade sees Rein taming a few rabbits to gather herbs for him. She is amazed because this is an incredible skill level. Many normal tamers can only handle 1 beast tamed at a time. She thinks he would have no more power to tame others after taming her. However this is all normal Rein and she just can’t believe he said that.

Episode 2
Rein is now a registered adventurer. Then there is this ruffian who is interested in Kanade because he has never seen a cat spirit in the flesh before. He tells her to hang out with him instead of this boring pipsqueak but of course Kanade will have no one talk bad about her master. Since she hints Rein is strong, the ruffian takes it as a challenge. An arm wrestling contest? Whoever wins gets Kanade. Rein reluctantly agrees since declining would mean Kanade will be targeted again. And as it starts, OMG Rein owns him instantly! Now he is crying like a baby over his injured hand! A surprised Rein wants to know why he is this strong. Kanade explains when he made the contract with her, this means he also obtains her strength. Yes, now he is as strong as a cat spirit! As they are on another herb picking quest, they see bandits harassing an old man. The duo easily defeat the bunch as Kanade notes how cool Rein is. She hints to us that she might be falling for him. Once the fight is over, they wonder why the man is travelling alone on this dangerous road. He actually hired bodyguards but they fled when the going got tough! He warns them to escape since the bandits will not let go those who hurt their comrades. Rein’s answer? He’ll capture them all! His plan is to use the special bees to sting and disable them while Kanade head to town to get help from adventurers and knights. They’re going to rein in hundreds of baddies, right? Meanwhile we learn the old man’s hired bodyguards were Leanne and Mina! Rein’s ex-comrades from the hero’s party. They thought this would be a good way to kill time before their next mission. They blame this beast timer guy they got for his failure to do simple things. However he is shocked at their rudeness and ignorance because a normal beast tamer cannot tame more than 1 animal. This has them to wonder how the f*ck Rein did it so easily with dozens of animals simultaneously. Anyway, they force him to take the blame entirely or they will kill and resurrect him endlessly until he does so! Rein’s plan is a success. Only adventurers arrive to help because the knights are too arrogant for such small jobs. The bandits thought they have the last laugh as they realize monster lizards from their cages. Yeah, some got owned instead. Time for Rein and Kanade to show what they’re made of. All you worried adventurers can rest easy because here they are out alive and in 1 piece. Rein must be over the moon having so many praising him this much.

Episode 3
Only got 1 room. Yeah. So please share it. Rein would rather camp out but Kanade won’t allow it. She trusts he isn’t that kind of guy who does weird things. After all, can’t let her master sleep outside, right? Trust, baby! Soon, Natalie informs Rein of a hooligan terrorizing and preventing people from crossing Stride Bridge, the only bridge that connects the central continent to the south. Since the pay is good, you bet Rein takes up this job to stop this. As Rein tries to get more info from those who faced the hooligan, none talked and all just kept quiet. At the bridge, soon they see the hooligan who is no other than a dragon. She even turns into her human form. Tania senses they are strong people and wants to fight them since it is dragonoids’ custom to go on a journey and train once they turn 15. Tania starts fighting and although Kanade is on equal footing, Rein could barely do any damage. He realizes it is wrong to fight her head on and must fight her as a Beast Tamer. First he has Kanade buy him some time to fight her. Once that is done, Rein then summons some strange birds to peck all over Tania. Did it do any damage aside being annoying? Well, soon Tania is weakened. Turns out those birds were poisonous and pecking her in large numbers did the trick to weaken her. Tania admits defeat and assures not do this again. But what’s this about wanting to follow him back to town? What if she doesn’t want to? Yeah, Rein doesn’t know what to do? Kanade ‘abuses’ her to follow Rein’s order so as not to trouble him. Natalie is shocked to hear him defeat the hooligan. However Rein and Kanade try hard not to let eager Tania reveal she is a dragonoid. So what’s the point of making her follow? Later Rein lets Tania go as long as she doesn’t cause a nuisance. However Tania has a better idea. She wants to follow him! It’s more fun! Kanade doesn’t agree with this but seeing Rein doesn’t mind, suck it up! A contract is formed and now Tania is his. Meanwhile, the hero’s party is back and they’re frustrated they made no progress at all in the lost woods. Worse, all the jobs they dumped on Rein, now Leanne has to do them. Arios Orlando (the leader) thinks of taking Rein back. But it’s for a sinister purpose. He thinks Rein is dumb enough to accept their apology and rejoin them. But once they get through the lost woods, they’ll abandon him again. Are you sure he is the hero?! Meanwhile Kanade and Tania argue over the bed. Yeah, Rein couldn’t care less and is so tired so he just sleeps on the floor.

Episode 4
Rein and co are on a quest to kill slimes. Because they are the weakest, adventurers don’t bother with them. But when they multiply, they can be a nuisance as they ravage the fields. Rein tries a skill by transplanting part of his conscious to a bird so as to find the slimes. Easy for him but of course his girls know an ordinary beast tamer can’t do it. Tania then suggests Rein to use his magic against the slimes. Rein thinks his magic isn’t powerful and tries so. Damn, now it’s powerful! Remember, he made a contract with a dragonoid so he too shares Tania’s power. She offers to train him but be prepared for some Spartan training! Since the girls want to know more about him, he tells them how he learnt his various beast taming skills from various people. After all, he came from a village filled with beast tamers. Of course his village is now no more. Well, to know him is to know his tragic past too, right? Rein was out in the woods when his village was destroyed by monsters. As the sole survivors, the knights took him in as he worked to earn his keep. Just about 1.5 years ago, Arios offered to him to join his party. Rein thought it would help prevent other villages from meeting the same tragic fate but soon realized he was just being used. Rein now feels pathetic over this but Kanade now realizes why he always rushes in to fight. Because he wants to protect others and not want others to feel the same sadness as he did. Both girls are proud to have him as their master but also curse this Arios jerk. While the trio are out slaying orcs, Tania got cocky and let her guard down. This forces Rein to protect her from an attacking orc and got a bit injured. Though it’s nothing serious, Tania felt ashamed of herself. Surprised but not, Rein isn’t mad at her and is happy she is okay. So Tania, are you now falling in love with Rein? That warmth in your heart you’re feeling, that’s love, no?! As the trio leave for another quest, guess who they stumble into? Oh sh*t. It’s the hero’s party. Hi. Long time no see?

Episode 5
Arios doesn’t even bat an eyelid to continue insulting Rein. Yeah, sorry but not sorry you’re still useless. WTF. Is this how you ask for help?! Obviously Rein turns him down to join them in a mission to traverse the lost woods. Arios is further shock to learn a pair of ultimate species by his side. Sorry, but Rein doesn’t serve them. It’s the other way round. Mina then adds this is a mission to save the world because in the lost woods there exist a noble relic that could help defeat the Demon Lord. If they fail, other innocent people will die. You bet that hits home hard for Rein. Not wanting a similar tragedy, Rein agrees to jump on board. However Kanade and Tania still have a bone to pick with them. If Rein wants to join them, so be it. However they want these arrogant bastards to properly apologize for their insults. Grovel before Rein! This makes Arios so mad that he gets rough with Rein that he will never do such a thing. This makes Rein punch his face! Saying bad about him is one thing. But don’t you dare mock his comrades as pets. Arios wants to settle this once and for all. They are going to fight. First up is Kanade vs Aggath. The latter is already doing all he can to hold his ground from Kanade’s punches. Even when he uses his ultimate technique, Kanade easily deflects it away! And she isn’t even using half her power! Realizing there is no way he can win, he can’t believe why she aligned herself to a weakling. Sorry, but Rein is actually the strongest! TKO for Aggath. Be glad she didn’t kill him. Next is Tania vs Leanne and Mina. No matter what magic they throw at her, she can easily cancel them out. Yeah, just spouting fancy names won’t do any good. The results are the same. Finally she is going to show them true magic. Holy sh*t! The sky turns ominous! God has abandoned them! The duo passed out after getting so scared. Too late to apologize. Too bad it is all a bluff. Yeah, a real one could’ve actually killed them. Finally, Rein vs Arios. Rein can actually stand on par with him because he has observes his fighting skills and knows how he moves. Finally taming an insect to paralyze Arios, the hero is now left scared and begging for his life. Rein unleashes the most powerful punch. Just missed by an inch but enough to knock out the hero. Victorious Rein and his girls reunite. Yeah. Flawless victory!

Episode 6
After Tania forces the hero party to make a sincere apology to Rein, Rein doesn’t see any reason to turn down Arios’ request to retrieve the relic which is a shield. In the lost woods, Rein thinks of transplanting his consciousness to a bird to find a route. Looks easy but when they hit the ground running, it soon dawns to them they are back to where they started. Tania then uses her magic to guide them to a tree which is the source of this. Turns out the tree is creating illusions to make people lost and walk in circles. The only way is to take down this tree. Before Kanade can do it, a voice tells her to leave. Sora the fairy pops up and continues to tell them to do so. No matter what Rein tries to say, it’s that same monotonous robotic voice to tell them and leave. When she threatens to purge them, they run. Maybe next time. Rein soon wonders why Sora popped up before them. History tells us that fairies hated humans for intruding into their land to take resources. So much so they retreated into the hinterlands where no humans have seen them for 200 years! While Tania has a more ‘violent’ approach to solve this, Rein wants to talk to her again. Once again Rein is before Sora. Please leave. In fact, Rein dares her to attack him if it builds trust. Huh?! She attacks and he really takes in her shots! Sora is confused! She will not be deceived and tries to attack again but the other girls stop and vouch for Rein’s goodness. Finding Rein a curious human, she listens to him. Sora admits she is the one who casted this spell to protect the village. There are no monsters protecting the shield either. Must be a lie. In fact, she would go and gladly give it to them! So easy! As they leave, Rein notices Sora not satisfied. So he bugs her to reveal what is on her mind despite her dilemma of not wanting trouble for them. And just like that, Sora tells Rein her problems. You see, she and her twin sister, Runa had a job to protect the village with this spell. One day, they left this space for a while and encountered a warrior under the Demon Lord. They fought this Shadow Knight but to no avail. Runa got kidnapped. You see, Shadow Knights can nullify any magic and can only be defeated via physical attacks. This is why fairies cannot fare well against them. Shadow Knight threatened Sora to open a path to her village but she refused. Sora ran back to tell the chief about this but is told to abandon Runa. After all, it was their fault to leave their space and he can’t sacrifice more lives. A dick move but he’s got a point. And guess what? Rein promises to help her and save Runa! Wow. Taking on a side mission, huh?! Sora so overcome with emotion that she hugs Rein.

Episode 7
Rein wants Sora to stay put because if Shadow Knight sees her, he will know she has broken the promise and might harm Runa. Rein and Kanade throw magic pot shots to distract Shadow Knight. Then a few melee skirmishes. Shadow Knight realizes their goal and will punish Runa by killing her. However he is a second too late as Tania breaks Runa free and rescues her. Now Rein and Kanade is free to tackle Shadow Knight. Even with Kanade’s strength, he is a tough mother. Hence Rein does some boosting magic at Kanade. Her punch is so powerful that it made a hole in Shadow Knight! Victory! The sisters are reunited and couldn’t be happier. Because of what they have been through, they want to put some distance with their village. Uhm, so they want to leave their village? Who is going to put up the protective barrier? Not their problem! Kanade suggests they could travel with them. The sisters are okay with it. Rein is okay with it. Now to form a contract. Yeah, now to add not 1 but 2 fairies into his harem. The ritual turns on well. Welcome aboard. Rein now gives the shield to Arios who is in disbelief. He only took 2 days to complete this mission. Must be a fake! Feel free to check it. Leanne appraises it and is shocked that this is the real deal. With Rein’s job over, suddenly Aggath offers Rein to rejoin the party, much to Arios’ dismay. With the recent events, it is proof they need him. Yeah, Mina doesn’t want to be a mule again so whatever. But when Aggath says he should let go of the past, this irks Rein. He realizes these fools haven’t changed. He rather pass up all the glory to defeat the Demon Lord and be with his harem! Of course Arios still cannot forget the humiliation and is planning to eliminate Rein once and for all. Later Rein tells his harem about the legend of the hero. Because the Demon Lord controls others, the hero bestowed with the power of the gods is only able to defeat him and set the land free. Unlike normal humans, that blood is what allows the hero to surpass his limit and grow strong enough to eventually defeat the Demon Lord. This has them wonder if Rein is also a hero because he tamed ultimate species and that is like surpassing his limits, no? Kanade’s idea if he forge contracts with more ultimate species, maybe he’ll grow strong enough to defeat the Demon Lord. Well, all this is too much for Rein now. He’ll think about it. Whatever his decision, his girls promise to be with him.

Episode 8
Rein thinks of getting better weapons. Yeah, with his expanding harem, got a lot more girls to protect. They patron this weapon store manned by this grumpy dwarf, Gantz Stoloff. As they look around, they notice a customer coming in to buy the best sword before leaving. Rein is suspicious as he questions Gantz why he is selling mediocre quality weapons. Gantz notes Rein’s sharp eyes as he shows them those with quality behind his counter. You see, people think they can buy the best weapons with money. He put his heart and soul in creating the weapon but the people who bought it don’t take care of it and toss it away after it gets broken. He got disillusioned seeing this. Therefore he creates mediocre ones as a test. Those who are only worthy shall wield his prized creations. As for why Rein can spot the fakes despite being made to look as good, it’s probably his profession that needs him to tame beasts that has him observe stuffs. Gantz can make the best weapon for him but there’s a problem: He has no materials. In order to make it, he needs this mithril ore. Luckily his ancestors left a mine with it but now it has suddenly stopped producing it. Hence Rein will be taking up a quest to find out what’s wrong and get some of that ore. On the way to the mind, the fairies lack stamina so they rest by the lake. I guess this is the need for some fanservice hijinks because as the girls bath (the fairies envy those huge boobs!), resting Rein heard Kanade’s scream and rushes over. Just a fish biting her tail. Of course the girls forgive her for seeing their body, right? Hey remember, they belong to him. At the mine, they stakeout and Rein’s suspicions come true as the mithril’s disappearance is due to mining theft. Rein realizes too late a bird that has been on guard, alerts the thieves. They come out as Rein realizes fighting is inevitable but wants to girls to keep it to a minimum so he can question them. Too bad, they’re too strong and now they’re completely knocked out. Oh Tania, they bumped into your fist, huh?! The fairies can peek into their memories so it seems that a group of adventurers are stealing from this mine. But Rein knows there is another problem. Because of that bird guard, he knows among them is a beast tamer.

Episode 9
The thieves know they are busted but will not go down without a fight. They attack first but as you can tell, Rein and co easily apprehend them. Rein faces off with the beast tamer guy who summons his behemoth to kill them. Taming a monster requires high skill and magic but he claims he raised it since young so he doesn’t need that much to tame it. Rein’s plan is for Kanade to capture the beast tamer since the behemoth is under his control. While Rein can easily dodge the behemoth’s slow and predictable attacks, the way it is pounding the mines, can the whole place last this long? Even when Kanade captures the beast tamer, he refuses to concede and would rather die. This forces Rein to do the impossible. That is, overwriting and stealing the behemoth under his own control. Episode could be over but that guy still won’t lose and tries to wrest control back. The behemoth goes berserk and is about to kill him. This forces Rein to destroy the behemoth. In the aftermath, the thieves were Gantz’s customers. Thinking they had been duped by him, they decided to get back at him by raiding his mine so he couldn’t make weapons. Gantz is sad to hear this and realizes his own mistake. He boasts about making the best weapons but decided the average man isn’t worthy to wield them. He decides to start anew again and his first task is to make the best weapon for Rein. Meanwhile Arios shoots down another candidate to be join his party. Despite clearing all the qualifications, he is being compared to Rein. Obviously no beast tamer can tame an ultimate species. You fail. Mina can’t question Arios since she knows he will take out his frustrations on everybody. Consider this a trial from God. She hopes he will rest up since he has an important mission to save the world. But Arios believes there is a side quest he needs to do before that: Eliminate Rein. Rein is saddened to learn those thieves have been stripped of their adventurer title and put to hard labour. They have committed major crimes so that itself is punishable. He hangs out with the fairies who wonder if their contract has boost an ability of his. Uhm, none? They feel useless but of course he doesn’t think so. He doesn’t judge his comrades so and tells of his experience in the hero’s party. Perhaps things would’ve turned out differently had he trusted them more. But he can’t change the past and he is glad being kicked out enabled him to meet them. Suddenly this obnoxious guy comes up to the fairies and asks their name. He wants to make them his. WTF?!

Episode 10
Edgar Fromware is the only son of this town’s mayor. He gets what he wants. Since Rein won’t hand them over, he has his guards take the people around as hostage! Do so and he’ll leave them unharmed. The fairies want to use their magic but Rein is not willing to let them be exposed and get kicked out of town. So how? He summons multiple fireballs at the guards! This multiple and simultaneous incantation is a skill that only fairies have. Rein tells Edgar to leave but you bet this won’t be the last of it. Back with the rest, they discover Edgar has been getting away with things because he abuses his power to cover them up. Also, the knights have found no proof so they can’t arrest him. I understand Tania wants to burn him down or this scumbag will come back and threaten everybody. However this is precisely why Rein wants to act more cautiously. As expected, Edgar uses his power to silence anyone reporting this incident. He has the captain of the knights, Gilet Stregar to investigate Rein and will pay a bonus if he is brought to him. Jerk summons his fox girl slave, Nina to abuse and take out his frustrations on her. When Rein and Kanade go to the knight’s HQ to file a complaint, they laugh it off as a scuffle and there’s no reason to investigate. This is clear proof that they are in cohorts with Edgar. As they leave, they are approached by Stella Enplace, the vice captain of the knights. She apologizes to them for everything especially their failure to do their duty to protect the people. You see, the knights have been corrupted with the collusion. She and a handful of knights find it hard to fight them and can only turn to Rein for help. Rein agrees to help and suggests setting a trap for them. As expected, Gilet and his knights take the bait as they storm the warehouse thinking it contains proof that will expose their collusion. All the knights are taken out as Rein has got his special gauntlet ready from Gantz. Stella is given the honours to face Gilet who claims there is no justice in this world. Too bad justice didn’t prevail for him as Stella takes him down. In the aftermath, Stella takes over his position and this leaves Edgar fuming. This is when a disguised Arios pays him a visit. A fellow Rein hater, eh? He lies about Rein will take everything from him and gives him this ring that will bring death to Rein. His negative emotions will make it stronger.

Episode 11
Stella and her knights approach the mayor’s mansion to arrest them. The guards will not allow to pass and when told about their corruption, they call for reinforcements. You think having numbers solve it? Yeah, unless you’re dealing with Kanade and Tania. As diversion, Rein and the fairies manage to sneak in to save the hostages. But as the fairies detect, there seems to be an ultimate species locked among them. Rein wonders if it is a hostage or the trump card. Anyhow, the fairies will rescue the hostages while Rein investigates this. He is shocked to see Nina in the cell. He heals her and assures he is her ally. So how the heck did this jerk get a demigod ultimate species under his leash? Flashback shows Edgar stormed into a shrine and forced Nina to be his. Yeah, he took the local kids hostage. His favourite game as always. Nina relented and was given this slave collar. Then he abused her right on the bat and felt good. F*cking creep! Don’t worry now because Rein uses his magic to destroy the slave collar. The guards think of using the hostages too but with the fairies revealing they have let them escaped, now our ultimate species can go wild. They reunite with Rein and although trolling Rein with their jealousy he picked up another girl, they start to like Nina. She’s fuzzy! The gang manages to capture the mayor as he tries to escape. Edgar then uses the ring to summon a grim reaper that strikes Rein for instant death! Arios is pleased with this and goes away, knowing he can sleep well tonight. Yeah, stupid dude didn’t stay and check because Rein is still alive! HOW?! Is it because he is Rein? Runa suddenly blasts him with poison gas as experiment. He survives. It is believed he has got the fairies’ nullification magic so any instant death magic is nullified. Yeah, the gang happily chatting away, not even noticing poor Edgar in despair. How did it not work? He can’t accept all this. His negative emotions are so strong that the evil aura from the ring swallows him. Too late for help now. This in turn revives a demon. See that traumatic face on Rein? Yup, it’s that demon who burnt down his village. As gratitude, the demon will kill them all.

Episode 12
The demon wants to kill everybody in town and obviously Rein will not allow that. Sorry to interrupt your town terrorizing activity because Rein and his girls are here to stop you. Obviously after throwing a few moves and magic, the demon is unscathed. He even throws in a few of his subordinates but they are small fries that nothing our heroes can’t handle. The demon then gets serious as he summons more minions to protect him as he prepares for his ultimate destruction. If you’re wondering why Arios and his party aren’t doing anything, the jerk hero says their job is to slay the Demon Lord and only that. Not take on any other small fries. Yeah. That. The fairies want to use their teleport magic to transport the citizens out and somewhere safe. However since revealing they are fairies, many are having doubts. But for those who have met them, they are thankful for their support. Herd mentality means everyone also follows suit. With demonic beasts here too, Sora will handle the teleportation while Runa will fight them off. Back to Rein, looks like the numbers are getting too overwhelming. That is when the adventurers are here to help. They receive a special request to help Rein and with Gantz providing them high quality weapons, they can buy time for Rein. Nina realizes she has been afraid for too long and that’s why she has always been running away. She wants to help and she can do instant teleporting. This means teleporting Rein close enough to the demon to defeat it. After dodging many of the demon’s attacks, Rein does the ultimate taming as he tames the demonic beasts and uses them against their master. The demon dies, Nina runs out of power but Tania saves their fall. The day is saved. The townspeople continue rebuilding their town and our girls fit in perfectly with the people. It doesn’t matter what species they are, they are their heroes. Stella calls Rein that but he insists he is just a normal beast tamer, making his girls laugh. At least Rein is still Rein.

Episode 13
Now it’s official. Nina is now contracted under Rein. Welcome to the gang. Let the fuzzy cuddling begin. Poor Nina could be rape cuddled to death… Rein’s heroics has promoted him several ranks as well as a handsome monetary reward. Of course there is the issue of his every growing harem, oops I mean, party, the inn is too small a place to live. Any ideas? Natalie suggests buying a house as it will also serve as their base. Oh boy, now we’re turning into a house hunting anime? Natalie shows them several weird units before the last one. Such a perfect place with everything they need. It’s even affordable. This has the rest suspicious. Why show this to them last? What’s the catch? It’s haunted. Wow. Kanade being the first to go crazy. Yeah, it’s like they want us to call her a scaredy cat. Wait. A cat spirit afraid of ghosts?! So yeah, nobody is snapping this place up with its dirt cheap price because of it. More like the ghost playing pranks than anything harmful… Rein and co go in to check. Hope it doesn’t turn horror genre now. Suddenly the furniture move and a voice telling them to get out. Ghost girl is here! Kanade first to freak out. The fairies try to use magic but do magic work on ghost?! Nope. When the ghost gets desperate, they realize her only ‘skill’ is to move furniture. The ghost then targets Kanade and haunts her. So scared she becomes, she can now hurt the ghost?! Wow. Apparently fear has her skills transcend to this level! Seriously! Now Kanade is the scary one haunting the ghost! OMFG! When she targets Rein, he commands her to stop! OMFG! Can he tame a ghost too???!!! Apparently there was a phantom tamer in his village so he learnt a bit. SERIOUSLY?!

So ghost girl gives up and introduces herself as Tina Holy. She was a maid from a different town and died 30 years ago. Her master was a cruel sadist. Yeah, he killed her. So she wandered and ended up here. She is about to leave but Rein wants her to stay. Yeah, they can stay together! It is thanks to her that they could buy this house at dirt cheap price. And so it is official, this will be their new home. Sorry to break all that fun and revelry because meanwhile in town, Arios and co try to get free provisions. However the people won’t give them any. How dare they talk and treat the hero party like that! Apparently they did nothing to save to his town. So you think these people trust them to go save the world? Get out! Oh my, who does Arios blame now after hearing the people praising a certain beast tamer who is more heroic than him? Next time, pal… Rein and his girls have a great housewarming party. It makes him realize he now has a place to call home. The girls too are thankful of what he has done for them. Rein so touched that he cries. Luckily they are fooled that he is crying because he is hungry. Eat up. There’s more from where that came from.

Ultimate Harem Tamer
After all those heroic deeds, I guess it is only fair for the finale to be a calm and casual episode. Do a bit of housekeeping. And yeah, new character to be added into his harem! Didn’t see that one coming. Who’d knew that Rein would also get a ghost girl under his wing! OMFG. This guy surpasses my expectations in the harem sense. I bet if there was a Casanova back in his village who ‘taught’ him how to ‘tame’ girls, I am 100% cocksure Rein would have learnt it and could easily sway the hearts of dozens, hundreds, no, maybe thousands of girls! That freaking playboy! I’m glad that didn’t happen (hopefully) so he’s happily stuck with his new family. And they’ll have it no other way.

Honestly, I didn’t find the overall story to be that boring. Maybe I was putting my expectations on low mode so perhaps that played a major role in not affecting my boredom. Of course the story itself isn’t anything great too and it’s your standard affair of a guy who just got fired from his previous employment, picking up the pieces and starting anew again. Definitely a blessing in disguise because it could have been the same sh*t hole if he continued to stay stuck in the dead end job. So yeah, Rein going solo is definitely what he needed and deserved to get out of the rut and stop the rot. Because of that, we see him accumulate a bevy of beauties and they are by means not just any ordinary girls. Yes, ultimate species so to speak. In order to elevate Rein to a godly status, hence he is thrust into a position to fight a demon that would seal that legendary status of his. Might be cliché and following the usual script but I guess we won’t have that in any other way. Rein is of course the main character.

Interestingly, I did a little reading up on future chapters of the manga and stumbled upon something even more interesting. You all noticed how much of a dick the hero party is especially Arios, right? Well, it seems that in a future chapter, Arios did turn to the dark side when his hatred for Rein reached past boiling point. The hero turned into the villain. So in order to stop him, his comrades sacrificed their lives for that. Ultimately, it is good that they realized the err of their ways but it is sad that they realized too late and paid the price. Perhaps the only way to repent? I don’t know, this part looked interesting and I was hoping they would adapt this part. Yeah, not sure if that chapter is too grim for the animated version but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I WANT TO SEE THIS PART!

What else to say more on the characters? Rein as the standard main character is expected. Because of his selfless ways, friendly outlook and his penchant to help others, this is why he has earned a lot of respect from many others. Even till the end, Rein remains humble as he is. He has done so many things that a hero would only do and yet he still only considers himself a normal beast tamer. I suppose if he starts acknowledging the hero title, a certain jerk will not have it and there is a possibility that Rein might lose himself. So that’s a pretty no-no. As long as Rein remains as himself, we all know that everything will be just fine. Because Rein is Rein. Period.

But the one thing that bugs me about Rein is his beast tamer abilities. As the main character, obviously he is going to have that overpowered treatment. However when I stopped to think of this power of his, it makes me wonder of his origins. You know, perhaps Rein himself is not human and could be an ultimate species or even the son of God! Yeah! Stupid conspiracy theory but this is the only thing that explains why Rein is the only beast tamer who could do all this with ease. As already pointed out, a normal beast tamer and even a pro can only tame a single beast at one time. Another more than that, you’re basically dead because it fries your brains whatever. Therefore for Rein to easily do all that, could it be that he is God?! The untold story that his late parents picked up a strange baby found in the woods and raised him as their own! Well, to be fair, Rein did not obtain all those overpowered moves from day one nor did they lie latent. Only after he makes his contract with the ultimate species, only then his abilities boost up.

As for his contracted ultimate species AKA harem, they’re pretty standard affair too. No surprises, as you can guess them as early as the opening and ending credits animation. We’ve got a bunch of muscle brained women, Kanade and Tania, a pair of loli twin fairies, Sora and Runa and finally how do you like your shy little fox girl, Nina? All in the family. Among them, I find Runa most ‘likeable’ (in the loosest sense) since she is quite a cheeky girl. Now I’m just waiting for Rein to tame a demon girl into his harem! I bet he can do it. Uh huh. Not all demons are bad! Eventually I think he’ll come to that conclusion if he stumbles into one. Then Rein’s party will be the most badass and powerful harem ever in the history of such genre. Oh wait, does this series have vampires? If so, feel free to add a vampire mistress into the list too. That’ll be so overpowered. So when will Rein tame an angel? For God’s sakes, angels are not beast, dammit!!! For now, new girl Tina doesn’t seem to be an officially part of the harem because no contract is made. Can one do a contract with ghosts? Oh well, maybe she’ll be the housekeeper when the gang is away even though she isn’t a ghost who is bound by a place. Just like how Natalie is always bound to the guild. Can’t have every girl as your official harem, can you?

It can’t be complete without mentioning dickhead Arios because yes, this character is really meant for us to hate to the bone. As I have already mentioned above his fate and the rest of his party, unlike in Shin No Nakama Ja Nai whose only most hated person in the hero’s party is Ares (and he too died), everyone else in here is freaking unlikeable. Arios takes top spot of course since he is arrogant and selfish. Imagine the irony that the hero is the actual antagonist. Sorry Arios, but there will always going to be Rein on your parade! Hahaha! Waiting for and wanted to make that pun. While the rest are not as spiteful, they’re still unlikeable and especially they are also scared of Arios and don’t dare go against him. Like Mina who thinks whatever Arios’ say is God’s will and a challenge. Sounds like a cowardly excuse to stand up to me. In the end, I’m glad they get the due recognition they deserve. The townspeople starting to wake up and realize they’re not the heroes they thought they were. Yeah, nobody going to trust you blokes anymore. See if you can keep up your arrogance any longer. The people would sooner trust a hungry lion than a hero with an insincere heart (sorry, tried to make a pun based on that Neil Sedaka song).

The actions parts are just rather okay. I won’t go so far to say as they are downright boring but they are not close to being adrenaline pumping either. They’re just sufficient enough so that they can showcase Rein’s greatness. After all, he has contracted with several ultimate species and since the rule says he takes on their abilities or boosts his, it is like his own version of levelling up. Still not wanting to take on the hero title, eh? Yeah, he can also be a warrior, a healer, a castor, a magic all into one! Of course those who want some physical punching action, that’s what Kanade and Tania are for. Brute force is the best!

The art and animation have the characters looking slightly a bit cartoonish, just like those art style vibes in Cheat Kusushi No Slow Life. I mean, the characters do have this cute and kawaii looks to them and sometimes the grim and dark factors like corruption and abuse are blown away because of the way the characters look. Because they look simple and not drawn intricately. In a way, they almost look alike. Like Kanade and Tania could be twins if you tweak them a little. Nina could be triplets with the fairies. Thank goodness CGI is used at a bare minimum and so far I noticed on the knights and the demons. Could be better quality but I guess they may have budget restraints. Not sure if it is part of the tactic to use the darkness to hide some of the bad quality (for the demons) and they focus the action elsewhere to divert your attention (for those knights fighting in the background). This anime is done by EMT Squared who did Yuusha Yamemasu, Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, Nyanko Days and of course Cheat Kusushi No Slow Life. So if you’re wondering why the cuteness level feels similar, now you know.

Voice acting is also pretty normal. Didn’t recognize anybody outright. Not even Rie Takahashi as Stella or Aoi Koga as Mina. Somehow they flew past my radar or I wasn’t really paying 100% attention. The other casts are Shouya Chiba as Rein (Mr Black in Tiger & Bunny), Azumi Waki as Kanade (Special Week in Uma Musume: Pretty Derby), Rumi Okubo as Tania (Sharon in Engage Kiss), Minami Tanaka as Sora (Mary in Kakegurui), Maria Sashide as Runa (Emmain Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai), Marika Kouno as Nina (Suzuka in Uma Musume: Pretty Derby), Mao Ichimichi as Tina (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Arios (Yuno in Black Clover), Atsumi Tanezaki as Leanne (Anya in Spy x Family), Daiki Hamano as Aggath (Valtos in Black Clover), Yuuki Takada as Natalie (Elma in Kobayashi-san Chi No Maid Dragon) and Shinpachi Tsuji as Gantz (Makarov in Fairy Tail).

The opening theme is Change The World by Madkid. Sorry, it’s not a cover of Eric Clapton’s hit song or the first opening of the Inu Yasha TV series. Unfortunately this song sounds weak and doesn’t resonate in me at all. A bit of rock, a bit of K-pop like energy and sounds a lot gay! Feels strange for it to be paired with a series like this. The ending theme sounds better but still not my cup of tea. Love & Moon by Marika Kouno sounds like your typical generic anime rock pop.

Overall, this anime is just passable by my standards although the internet isn’t as kind as me. That’s right. Especially when many like yours truly will definitely jump in head first to start labelling this series a copycat of Shin No Nakama Ja Nai even though it is by far clearly not. Damn, we must be looking at the ‘kicked out of the hero’s party’ premise so hard, huh? When you look into the series which looks like your ubiquitous overpowered character and his harem, that sums it all up. That basic formula and eventually the series has this feel good and happy-happy mood, only amateurs and newbies in anime would be awed by this. Veterans and casual viewers will not be impressed as we expected something better. Yeah, can Rein tame all those rabid viewers who are not impressed with the series? Too bad there weren’t toxic fanbase tamers in his village then…

Imagine if you are holidaying in a foreign country only to witness something that any tourist should not be witnessing. Either you die or… You become an assassin! That premise seemed to raise an eyebrow for me and that’s why I had to curiously check out Phantom: Requiem For The Phantom. Not even tourist can catch a break these days. And to think this is happening in some third world backwater country but nope, it is the big ol’ US of A. That’s right. Welcome to America. Hence the only way to survive is by killing others? Definitely a dog eat dog world out there. I’m sure you won’t be bringing back carved up body parts as memento or souvenirs when you return home, huh?!

Episode 1
A guy wakes up in a room and has no recollections of himself except for the fact he is just a Japanese tourist. As he makes his way out, little does he know that he is being watched by Helmut Von Giuseppe AKA Scythe Master as he is treating this as an experiment to see how far his instincts can be awakened. Claudia McCunnen joins in the observation. Soon that amnesiac guys stumbles into a masked woman who tries to kill him. I mean, is she seriously trying to kill him because all her shots miss even at close range! Scythe narrates about when one is pushed to the limits, their instincts for survival will kick in. Because he is tired of this world where the weak depends on the kindness of others to survive. When both engage in knife combat and he gets defeated, it’s like his instincts start to activate as he overpowers her and slashes her mask. He thinks she is someone familiar as he has flashbacks about talking to someone familiar (although he can’t remember her face) about killing for freedom. He does not kill her and walks out of the facility. Stumped this is all in the middle of the desert, he yells about his missing memories. That is when she tells him he is Zwei while she is Ein before shooting him with a tranquilizer. Scythe then comes to congratulate them and praises Zwei because he lacked any sort of training but yet his instincts enabled him to overpower Ein. That pressure allowed him to do so and it’s like as though he was born to join their organization, Inferno. Claudia is still unconvinced although Scythe will continue to use his brainwashing specialty to seal his identity. After all, Zwei was an unfortunate witness for something and should have been killed. So he calls this his benevolence by taking him in. Now we see Zwei and Ein in some high profile killing as they kill all the bodyguards of a rich guy’s mansion and eventually that big man himself. This is part of Inferno’s plan to take out several organizations as their goal is to create their own world and begin Inferno’s era. Ein narrates that both of them as a team are called Phantom because they are ghosts that cannot exist anywhere and do not have identities.

Episode 2
Ein explains that Zwei is chosen because of his instincts to kill and survive. He refuses to accept it and tries hard to remember his past but he couldn’t. Ein adds that he can’t because his memories have been erased by Scythe. It is hinted Zwei was a tourist who witnessed a murder. By right he should have been eliminated too but they recognized his skills and let him live. So his choice to live is to become an assassin or die. Since Zwei doesn’t want to die, the choice is obvious. Ein then trains him how to shoot a gun rapidly, accurately and in succession. One day Scythe takes Ein for a sniping mission. Zwei is left behind but is visited by Claudia who decides to tell him about Inferno. Basically it is the mafia organization of the UN level and they’re trying to create their own sovereign nation via illegal means. Helping them achieving this dream is Phantom. Their power is absolute. But Zwei thinks they are just slaves. Claudia begs to differ and believes even he has freedom. As long as he has a desire and work for it, he can achieve any goal. So never consider yourself as a slave again. When Ein returns, Zwei asks her why she became an assassin. Hey, how the heck can she remember? She got her memories erased too. As long as she is alive, that is all that matters. Zwei then tells her about his talk with Claudia today. He is free to believe what he wants but after a few jobs, he will have no more feelings like her. It’s the only way to cope for this way of life. He will understand when he actually kills someone. Zwei continues to train more as he thinks it will be a different story when he actually shoots a real person instead of bricks.

Episode 3
Ein continues to train Zwei. Then she is called for another mission. She goes to see Scythe for some ‘adjustments’. Ein is surprised when Zwei comes back earlier than planned. She says tonight will be the test and he must get ready. Scythe, Claudia and other Inferno members like Raymond McGuire and Lizzie Garland arrive. Also with them is Lieutenant Juarez from the US Navy Seals. As he has been selling arms to them, however he also has sold them to many other parties. This caused the FBI to be suspicious of him. As this puts Inferno in a precarious position and they want to keep a low profile, hence they are going to get rid of him. However they give him a chance to survive and 10 minutes head start before Ein comes hunting him down. Zwei is shocked that he must kill but Ein reminds him of his options. Die now or kill and survive. The choice is clear. The cat and mouse game begins as Ein gives Inferno the analysis of her predictions. Basically both are equally matched so it’s down to their respective potentials. Zwei finds Juarez first but is unable to pull the trigger. As Juarez piles on the lies to stall for time, this allows him to escape. Zwei hunts him down and gets cornered. Juarez now overpowers him and his mistake is to beat up this newbie to teach him a lesson instead of killing him outright. Because Zwei remembers Ein’s teachings and makes a comeback, killing Juarez with a point blank shot. Ein comes to check on him. Zwei is feeling torn after his first kill. I guess he really wants this nightmare to end so she shoots him. Uhm, did she miss or was the shot non-fatal but infused with something else? Because now Zwei is like a lifeless zombie and Ein welcomes him as a true member of Inferno.

Episode 4
Trying to troll us that Zwei and Ein were once happy students dating each other at a mall. Turns out it is all just one big act for their next assassination mission. They look pretty normal but Ein notes his bad acting. They’re supposed to assassinate some mafia don who will be making his appearance at the mall. Not sure about their plan to mingle in the crowd because in the end, they plan to attack him where his guards let their guard down. And it certainly isn’t in the mall where there are too many people. As the mission begins, the don’s guards start suspecting Ein and tail her. She calls Zwei to meet somewhere in the mall as emergency. They put on a full display of a lover’s drama as she slaps him for being late and so on before making up. The guards then go away and don’t think much of this. Once the don is done shopping and getting back in his car, the duo now go to assassinate him. Well, I don’t see why they needed to do that mall mingling thingy if they’re going to pull off this dangerous kill in the end. Why not just wait for this and then let all hell break loose? Anyway, as both sides start firing, Zwei saves Ein from being killed by the bullets. After the don is assassinated, Scythe comes to pick them up for their escape. Another mission completed. Back home, Ein notes how they are like dogs living in their kennel awaiting for their next order. Meanwhile Ein starts to think how Zwei reminded her of herself of what she used to be. What took her 2 years to achieve this level, it took him only 3 months. She is now scared that she might see herself as who she really is.

Episode 5
Tony Stone might be a mafia. However he has principles and won’t allow hard drugs to be sold on his turf, especially his casino. Soon, Richard Harrington from Inferno meets with Tony. He wants him to hand over his casino to Inferno but Tony sticks to his guns and will not do it. Richard gives him a warning and will give him 3 days to change his mind. Tony then has his men dig up more info on Inferno but they only get inconsistent info. Claudia then calls Ein for a mission. He will obey what she commands but that won’t do for her since she wants him to question things. Tony decides to go negotiate with Inferno but on condition he meets their boss. Knowing the only way to survive is to kiss up to them, however Tony will not bend his knees so as not to betray his people and family. His men fear retaliation so Tony bets on them to keep his family safe. Soon that arrangement is done. Claudia may not be the boss of Inferno but she has been given full authority to act on this case. As usual, Claudia asks him to hand over his casino to Inferno. No can do. Will he change his mind if his family is in danger? Tony warns doing so, they will also lose everything. With negotiations at an impasse, a shootout between both sides begin. An Inferno bodyguard is dead as Ein is late to do her sniping. Tony’s wife tries to take her child to safety but there is Zwei, gunning them both down in cold blood! Hey, where are the guards?! I thought they were supposed to be heavily protected?! With Tony and a bodyguard the survivor, he returns home to see his family dead. So was it worth it all now? Zwei returns to Claudia as she hugs him but his eyes look so dead.

Episode 6
Tony plans to strike back at Inferno not out of revenge but to protect his turf. Noticing that many gang members who joined Inferno are the traitorous type, his plan is to publically reveal them and just like any organization, they will take care of this misconduct to protect their reputation. Hence they will stay close and reveal their true colours. Inferno has a meeting and they know Tony is up to no good as he has dispatched spies everywhere. Scythe has a plan to take his turf without turning it into a battlefield. Of course this will require the use of Phantom. Raymond is impressed and gives him a chance to carry this plan out. Ein and Zwei soon receive their mission to kill a dozen people in a night. Hence we see Phantom and the rest of other Inferno hands conducting a huge operation in killing bigshot mafias all over town and making it look like a gang war. Eventually Tony gets frustrated as all his spies did not report back. Then he realizes too late that his own right hand man, Anton Claude betrays him and is killed off. In exchange for working with Inferno, he now can say goodbye to this filthy town. He is also in cohorts with the local police officer, Cyrus Grant whose reward is getting the much needed promotion (as well as taking credit for ending the mafia war). In the aftermath, it is reported that the 6 mafia guys who control the town are all dead and Tony as their mastermind is also dead. With the end of the old era, now these organizations will be united under Inferno and head towards a new era. As Zwei wonders if anybody will believe the fake news, Ein says nobody cares about the truth. Who will pray for those who died? There will be no prayers or atonement. Death is the end of everything. Anything you do after that is useless.

Episode 7
Although Inferno’s operations are to move to the east coast, Claudia thinks of doing covert operations in LA so as to make the organization owe her. She has Scythe in on this plan and they’ll show how important Phantom is. When Ein and Zwei are to go meet Scythe for their next mission, Claudia is here to pick up Zwei. Ein tells him to go with her and she’ll go see Scythe herself. Claudia has Zwei practice driving in her sports car. Almost got killed! Well, Zwei doesn’t mind since his death will mean less 1 murderer. However that will not do for Claudia she wants him to live and will only die when she tells him to. Then she goes to meet some guys from Godou Group to make some business deals. As Ein sees Scythe for her next mission, he notes about Claudia being too close to Zwei and advises Ein to keep watch so as she won’t steal him away. Zwei assures even if that happens, it will be okay since Ein is never vital for her to carry out her missions. Scythe somewhat agrees since their partnership was coincidental. Hence a flashback sees Ein hunting down a reporter. Before he got gunned down, he passed all the info to Zwei who was seemingly lost in the alleys. Zwei then ran for his life. But WTF he managed to tackle her and still get away?! Eventually he hid in some place until he couldn’t last anymore. Scythe was impressed with his survival instincts and hence took him in. As Ein and Zwei recce the site of their next mission (they are just to play backup to the main raid team), they talk about dreams. Of course even if Ein dreams of colours, she rubbishes them as illusions. On the night of the mission, Zwei receives a call from Lizzie. Change of plans. She has a mission so she wants him to go protect Claudia instead. Zwei is torn between the conflicting orders so Lizzie claims Claudia is his boss and to ignore Scythe. Ein gives her blessing for him to go to Claudia as she will carry out the mission herself. Claudia and Raymond talk and know Scythe is moving on his own. As long as he doesn’t cross the line, he is free to do whatever he wishes. Otherwise Claudia will have to dispose of him and his puppets.

Episode 8
When Zwei wants to be taken off this mission, Claudia shows him his passport. Yes, this is his previous life. Zwei is now in shock whether or not to take a look at it as he fears his memories will return and won’t be able to kill like before due to being tormented by the sins he has done. Claudia wants him to look at it and regain his memories as she doesn’t want him to be a mere puppet. As Inferno will be reborn again, she needs one who wants to follow her on his own will as she wants a companion. Zwei opens his passport to learn his real name is Reiji Azuma. With that, his memories return as he goes into shock. Claudia offers him to follow her. Do that and he’ll have a wonderful life. However she is not forcing him and he can also choose the other option to go back to Japan. Meanwhile Ein starts sniping when the deal begins. At first this confuses Lizzie who is on this mission but after she sees many of her own men being taken down by Ein, she realizes Scythe has betrayed them. Lizzie faces off with Ein and although she wounds her, Ein manages to escape. As Zwei returns, he is still in a dilemma to choose. He called home and although somebody answers, he hangs up and realizes there is no way he could go back there. Returning home, he sees Zwei bleeding. Then a call from Claudia explaining Scythe has betrayed them. This means Inferno will be out for their heads. Claudia can offer him an alibi if he chooses to come with her. Don’t take too long to decide. Zwei treats Ein’s wounds the old fashion and hard way. Hope you’re ready for this painful surgery on the fly. He manages to extract the bullet and save her life as he talks to her about his previous identity. Then he contemplates their choices. They can’t go back to Inferno as doing so means death. Or he could just abandon her by going to Claudia. However he can’t abandon the one who trained him so Zwei chooses the next best option. They’re going to run away from here. They’re pawns to be used and disposed of in the first place. Zwei takes Ein and drives off.

Episode 9
Ein still wants to meet up with Scythe although Zwei says he has betrayed Inferno and is on the run. Knowing that Scythe still has Phantom, hence Inferno can’t act recklessly. That’s why if Ein gets caught, it will give him a disadvantage. The best option is to stay with him. Ein thinks Zwei has a place to return since he has regained his memories. She has none and only her master to return to. During the journey, she wants to talk about his life in Japan. Yeah, it just makes her feel emptier and doesn’t have anything. Since she is persistent on this, Zwei rips up his own passport. It’s just a scrap of paper. He believes she is like him and has a name too. She thinks doing this will not benefit him. Even so, he is doing it on his own will and doing this proves he is himself. He will not let her die. Gee, just short of saying I love you. They stop by a motel to rest. Later Zwei sees Ein trying to shoot herself. However she can’t because she just realizes she is scared. She wants him to shoot her. Of course he won’t. Ein further deliberates she only had her master’s orders to live on. Without it, what is she? Now a fugitive, she is just one who is on the run. She laments she should have died then. At least she would have died as Ein. Since Zwei doesn’t want her to do anything stupid and has made his resolve to go against Inferno, to further resolve Ein to live, he gives her a new name: Elen. Not a number, not a Phantom. Time to live as herself and not a puppet or assassin. Later in town when they split up to do chores, Ein thought she saw one of Inferno’s dogs. She goes to kill him but couldn’t do it. It is Scythe who finished the job. Meanwhile Zwei has been caught by Lizzie and brought back for interrogation. She thinks he is in cohorts with Scythe because one of their agents is dead. Zwei has no idea. Claudia takes over and because of what he did, his options are limited now. However he still has an ideal choice. She hands him a gun. You know what to do. Kill Scythe.

Episode 10
It seems Ein has returned to Scythe. Claudia accepts Zwei back into her fold. Though, Lizzie isn’t happy about this. Scythe is going to make some trade with his Russian pal, Roshenenko. Inferno picks up on this and they’re going to send their men to ambush. This will be Zwei’s chance to kill Scythe. At the pier, the cat and mouse game begins with both sides firing at each other. Zwei goes to look for Scythe but stumbles into Ein. She fires a warning shot at him after he pleads for her to come back. Too bad she can’t. Because Scythe tells her to kill him. Doing so she will become the Ein he desires. Thanks to Lizzie firing pot shots did Scythe and Ein flee. Scythe has Ein stall Lizzie so he could escape. But now he gets stalked by Zwei and you could see the fear on his face. Zwei chasing him like a zombie? I don’t know, this chase scene feels hilarious! Scythe thought he is done for when mad Zwei is going to fire at him. However it is Ein who takes the bullet! Now Zwei is in despair about the promises he couldn’t keep, Scythe finishes him off. Why do they have to fall into the ocean when they die?! Oh, right. So they could be washed up on some shore somewhere while the rest thinks they are dead.

Episode 11
Reiji reminisces about his past as he lies in a daze on the shore. Yeah, a largely recap episode as we also hear from Scythe and Claudia’s point of view. Claudia and Lizzie talk about the past. Something about Inferno crushing her organization and she was made to join it. Also it is hinted that Claudia’s younger brother, Romero got killed in the conflict. Claudia notes about the weak will be killed by the strong since it is the law of nature. This is a reason why she joined Inferno. Because one day she will get back what she has lost. 3 months later, Inferno has successfully taken control of powerful organizations in the area. They offered rivals to join them but will not hesitate to wipe them out if they betray them. Raymond lets Claudia handle this affair since she is adept in it but of course if she chooses to betray Inferno like Scythe did, she will also pay the price. Speaking of that dude. Looks like he is living in Japan and looks like he is plotting something as he meets up with Godou. I think Inferno’s mistake is to think he has no more value since he has lost Phantom. Zwei is still with Inferno but he has proven himself to be the top killer. Damn, there is this weird cult-like ceremony to accept him as Inferno’s Phantom. Of course Claudia has ulterior plans and Zwei is essential for her to obtain everything.

Episode 12
6 months down the road. Wow. Zwei is on a roll! He is like a pro as he terrorizes and assassinates all those in the underworld! Raymond talks to Claudia about a Japanese organization who would be joining them. Her intention is to use Godou Group to establish a relationship with them so they can monopolize all export products to Japan. This doesn’t sit well with Isaac Wisemel since she is put in charge in negotiations now. Raymond doesn’t care as long as she does a good job. We see Zwei completely different than before. He is more suave, confident and aggressive when it comes to making out with Claudia! The duo are supposed to go do some drug deal with the yakuza. However at the meet up place, something looks awfully wrong. Zwei investigates and finds all of them dead. Looks like the goods have also been stolen. Zwei tells Claudia to return while he cleans up the mess. During that, he finds a woman dead in the alley. Must have gotten into a crossfire since she is so out of place. Zwei then has Lizzie look into this and her investigation shows that dead woman is Judy Devens and has no connections to anybody whatsoever. Zwei then returns to her murder site and sees a little girl praying there. She is Cal and is her younger sister. When Cal learns that Zwei wants to get revenge on Judy’s murderer, she wants to join him. He refuses at first but Cal claims she know who the murderer is since she was there with her at this scene. Judy protected her. Zwei accepts Cal as her partner and lets her tag along.

Episode 13
As Zwei treats her, she has doubts if he can avenge Judy. I mean, he doesn’t look strong… Zwei claims he has friends who can do it. But Cal seems to be a smart girl. She won’t say anything about the killers because now she wants to meet with this friend of his. Only then she’ll tell. With no home to go, she crashes at his place. That night, Zwei calls Lizzie with a favour to help play this friend of his. Zwei then talks to Cal about her family. She ran away from her abusive parents and was found by Judy. Yes, they aren’t blood related. Now that Judy is dead, what will become of her? Zwei also relates how he was in the same position as her. Later, Lizzie is at his doorstep. Actually Isaac found her poking around in his territory. Forced to tell what is happening, Isaac wants to see Cal. Zwei will not allow her and even risk starting a fight. Isaac is now more interested and tells him to come to HQ to explain everything. After they leave, Zwei talks to Cal and knows she does not know anything about the case. In other words, she lied. She admits that. Everything was too dark to see in the alley when Judy got shot. Cal heard Isaac call him Phantom. That famous assassin? Well, it’s the person she is looking for. Because in this bag is actually the stolen money! She was going to use it to find and hire him to avenge Judy. This is why she has not used any of this dirty money at all. Next day as Zwei faces the Inferno executives, he tells them first that Cal knows nothing about the trade. He has no proof so is he expecting them take his word? The reason he is housing her is because he saw potential and talent in her. He saw that intent to kill. That’s right. He wants to train her to be an assassin. Yeah, apparently Lizzie isn’t good enough for him. While Isaac is not amused, Raymond is only concerned in producing results. Because he knows what’s good for him if he fails, right? Zwei leaves as he contemplates nothing was solved. The perpetrators weren’t found and the money is with him. And now not only he has the job of avenging Judy, he has to turn Cal into a world class hitman.

Episode 14
Zwei claims the money isn’t enough. She needs to earn a bit more to cover it so he suggests he help her and be his assistant. Cal is more than happy since she’ll get to see some vengeance. Meanwhile the Godou brothers see Claudia and they are impatient that their money is stolen and men dead. Claudia assures they’ll catch the culprit and hopes they will stay till the end. Later Claudia talks to Zwei as she suspects Isaac leaking the deal. Because it happened on his turf, it made him look like the victim and naturally he won’t be suspected. After all, Isaac is against Godou Group from joining Inferno. She believes he will target them again. Her plan is to let Godou Group be the bait while Zwei will be the hook. After Zwei helps Cal shop for some clothes, Lizzie sees him to give him a gun for Cal. He needs to start his training on her because Raymond is already asking for updates on her progress. Zwei then takes Cal to his old training ground to train her how to shoot. As she practises alone, he goes around the facility. Brings back memories? Nah. Not that kind of guy. Then a call for Claudia for his next mission. Because the Godou brothers are bored staying in, they’re going out to the casino to have some fun. Zwei’s job is to watch them and catch Isaac in the act. Zwei blends in as he watches the Japanese entourage. When one of them retires to his room with a lady, Zwei follows. Only, he is too late because that dude got killed by a shaver in the room. Zwei then tries to track down the killer and before the elevator door closes, he catches a glimpse of her face. To his shock, could it be Ein?! He eventually loses her as he tries to reason that person isn’t her since she is dead. Killed by him.

Episode 15
Daisuke accuses Claudia behind this. Claudia doesn’t mind getting the blame or if he kills her now but he must be prepared for the consequences. Since she assures Inferno will get to the bottom of this, Daisuke agrees to see what she can do and clean up this mess. Claudia then tells Zwei about Godou’s meeting with Inferno in a couple of days. She still wants to use this as a bait to lure our Isaac and it could a very risky gamble. Zwei and Cal then discuss the possible sniping positions for the enemy sniper. Cal has a few good ideas on possible sniping spots so Zwei agrees to take her on the field and examine the best places. The Godou brothers talk. Their friend’s body has been sent back to Japan and at the same time, more men will be sent to them. As for if Claudia is behind this, Daisuke believes she isn’t because of the same tattoo she has like him. He believes they are the same kind of people. I guess he’s right, I guess words won’t make people like us understand. Once Zwei and Cal pick their ultimate sniping spot, Cal wants to be there to witness everything. Zwei doesn’t think she should witness death but oh well, she already saw Judy died before her. Hence he has her be his sniping assistant so as to observe the changes in the situation. As the meeting begins, Zwei is already in position when Cal spots a sniper hiding behind the water tank of the building across. This makes Zwei wonder if this is Ein. So much so he can’t think straight and couldn’t listen to Cal’s advice. Desperate he is to make the sniper come out of the shadows, he stands up and fires at the water tank. Well, good news it isn’t Ein (it’s Isaac’s right hand man). Both shoot each other. While the sniper is dead, lucky Zwei manages to get away with a scratch. Cal isn’t happy since he was being reckless. Just when they think it is over, suddenly a sniper shot almost hits Godou. Time for war? Yeah, did Zwei not think there was another sniper? Well, from that angle and range, who else can do this? Yes, your true fears confirmed. It’s Ein! Woah, did she bend the bullet or something?!

Episode 16
Daisuke thinks Inferno set this up while Isaac accuses the Godou Group for it. Daisuke orders his men to kill everyone but Claudia says hold your horses. Then she shoots Isaac herself and claims he is the one plotting to kill him. Later Lizzie talks to Zwei about this and the latter reveals another sniper whose goal was not to kill but to stir mistrust between both sides. Now that Isaac has been blamed for everything, Zwei dumps the money in his house to solve this missing money case. Back home, now that the avenging is done, Zwei doesn’t need Cal anymore as his assistant. However he likes her cooking and would want to keep her as his kitchen maid. While Cal is happy about it, the duo still discuss about Cal wanting to be an assassin. Her reason is that she doesn’t want to stay weak and needs to protect herself and not rely on others. Zwei still has his doubts because killing has become his second nature that he can’t go back. It’s a reason he hates himself and he doesn’t want her to end up like him. He continues to remind her that killing isn’t all that pretty and nice. There’ll be lots of bitterness, pain, sadness and unforgiving stuffs. When you make your first kill, it changes everything in you. He doesn’t her to become like that. Perhaps he yearned to go back to that world. He realizes he was a dead person before he met her. If he lets her go, he’ll forget how to laugh and cry and then he’ll be a dead person again. With Isaac’s death, Claudia takes over his position. As we should have known, Scythe is behind all this as he shows a picture proof to Shiga that shows Zwei as the one who gunned down his comrade at the hotel. Of course this means war. Soon Zwei gets a call from Lizzie to get ready because remnants of Isaac’s group are trying to rebel and they need to settle it without causing a ruckus. He prepares to leave and unknown to him, this is all a setup as the Godou brothers force this upon Lizzie.

Episode 17
As Zwei goes to meet Lizzie, he soon realizes this is a trap as she is seen held hostage by Godou Group. Daisuke throws the photo proof but before Zwei can explain the misunderstanding, Godou tells him the real truth: Claudia was the one behind all the attacks against Godou Group and has used them as stepping stones. He also reveals that it was his group during the ambush at the pier a year ago (the one where Ein was supposedly killed). They were cornered but Claudia offered them a helping hand. At first they can’t understand why she is doing all this but soon realize she wanted an organization within Inferno that can watch her back as she is always alone. This prevents her from standing out. Claudia is also the one who sold out Scythe. Zwei thinks back and considering how everything went so smoothly, it may be possible. Daisuke further reveals Claudia will eventually kill them all to seal their mouths as she too wants to control Godou Group. Daisuke now doesn’t care about Inferno and will kill them all. Suddenly somebody snipes and takes out the Godou Group. Zwei goes to chase after the sniper and what do you know? It’s Ein! He has lots of questions but she tells him to run because Inferno will come to kill him. Then she escapes. He’s not going after her? Right, got to get back to Cal. She’s in danger. Meanwhile someone is commending Scythe for playing and stirring up a three sided struggle of fear and doubt, screwing all those who wronged him. Daisuke is still alive. Yeah, a few bullets missing his vitals can’t kill this bull. Shiga is his only men alive. Daisuke wants to teach all a lesson but Shiga claims all this can be solved with his death. Shige shoots him and is then praised by Scythe for showing his sincerity. He will guarantee Godou Group’s safety. Shiga wants to shoot him too but he can’t. Lizzie returns home but can’t find Claudia anywhere since Inferno is out to kill her too. The moment Zwei reaches outside home, a huge explosion. Where is Cal?!

Episode 18
Uhm, the perpetrators who bombed the place were inside the building?! Oh right, it was only the floor they lived in got bombed. So as they come out, Zwei shoots them all dead. Yeah, felt like WTF. Scythe talks to Raymond and explains Claudia’s conspiracy and betrayal. Raymond promises a cruel end for that cunning woman. Flashback shows Lizzie not impressed with Claudia who wanted to work under Inferno despite it was Isaac and his group who killed Romero. Does she want to climb the ranks so much? Claudia’s reason was she wanted to reach where Romero couldn’t. That is the best way to pay her respects to him. Lizzie agreed to follow her as long as she promised not to put profit above righteousness. And now Lizzie thinks she has went overboard. Claudia is now missing as Inferno’s men mount a search for her. Claudia is seen calling Zwei. She apologizes for her deception but needs a final favour. Scythe orders Ein to kill Zwei to atone herself. He believes she will sacrifice herself to achieve and that. He is not fazed if that happens since it is hinted he has created more Phantom puppets. Lizzie meets up with Claudia. They both talk and finally Claudia realizes there is no way left. She apologizes. Can Lizzie pull the trigger with all that emotion? From this angle, it looks like she did. Zwei returns to the training base where it all started. Ein is there as they start their final showdown. However Zwei purposely loses because he knows he can’t win. Plus, he is tired of it all and wants to be killed by her. So what if he kills her? What will happen after that? More lies and deception awaits. He thinks she has Scythe and has the will the fight through. On the contrary, Ein quotes him back to survive, that’s why she can’t die so easily. The scars on her body are proof of his oath. She kept dreaming there is another her inside living freely somewhere. So now she wants him to kill her and end it all. He can’t of course. She can’t kill him too since she doesn’t want to live in a world without him. First time seeing Ein break down like that? If that’s the case, Zwei will make good his promise. He gets them both passports to Mexico as they prepare to leave USA.

Episode 19
Is this a recap episode from Cal’s point of view?! Not entirely. As there are a few scenes that we have never seen previously. Starting with Cal and Judy walking home in the alley and the latter got killed by a stray bullet. Then we all know the deal of Cal being picked up by Zwei and wants to hire him to get revenge. Of course those millions aren’t enough so she’s going to work as his assistant to pay him off. So in between we see their time spent together including Zwei buying her a timepiece that she’ll cherish forever. Then the incident with Godou Group and after the death of Isaac, Zwei and Cal continue to talk about continuing being an assassin because it isn’t exactly a bed of roses. Finally when Zwei went out for a job, Cal was actually at a video store to rent some videos (the irony she rented the video Backdraft!). That was when the explosion happened. Poor Cal thought Zwei was caught in it. So as Cal sits alone in the burnt down place and calling Zwei a liar because he broke his promise to always be together, Scythe approaches her as his next part of his plan. Zwei and Ein have no entered Mexico.

Episode 20
2 years later… Reiji and Elen are high school students in Japan!!! Woah! Am I watching the correct anime?! Anyway, Classmate Sanae Kubota sets up Reiji to meet her friend, Mio Fujieda at the school rooftop. Obviously Mio wants to confess to him but right timing has Elen interrupting. Mio leaves but after Elen learns what happened, she wants Reiji to follow up. We don’t see the confession but it looks like they’re starting off as friends first. Are you sure it’s not dating because both of them decide to hang out together in town. At the park, a biker woman pulls up near them. She then fires a discreet warning shot at Reiji. Reiji knows what is going on and returns to tell Elen. Has Inferno tracked them down? Not sure but looks like they can’t stay this dream any longer. Elen then reveals a shocking revelation about Mio: She is the daughter of Godou Group’s head, Kaiten. Daisuke is her older brother but from different mothers. Obviously her surname is her mom’s maiden’s name. However Mio does not know about the Godou Group and only a handful in the group know of her existence. This is to protect her from any future power struggle. However this also means she is Kaiten’s biggest weakness. Elen knows all this because Scythe once told her about it. He would use this trump card in case anything happened. Now she thinks she can use this in their favour especially against Shiga who is now part of Inferno. Going to use Mio as hostage? Next day in town, Reiji comes across that biker lady again. But we will all soon know who she is. Yeah, that timepiece looking pretty familiar. Reiji is shocked that she is still alive. More importantly, HOW THE F*CK DID CAL GROW UP TO BE SUCH A SMOKIN’ HOT BABE IN 2 YEARS???!!!

Episode 21
I hope Reiji isn’t joking thinking Cal might be a ghost. She’s real. He blames himself for turning her into a monster. Now we see Lizzie and Scythe trying to conduct some raid on a Chinese mafia’s base. Lizzie has her men all set and ready to go but Scythe has his own way to do it. That’s right. Drei AKA Cal rides in and starts a shooting spree. Either she’s a ghost that all those bullets pass through her or those mafia guys have really bad aim! She kills them all and even the head. Cal is now looking forward to kill Reiji next. Scythe doesn’t consider Drei to be a full Phantom yet since she is too impatient and always rushing in. Once she has fully taken on that name, only then she will become steady and flexible. To do that, she must defeat her predecessors. Reiji and Elen join their friends in lunch. Whose logic is this that Cal won’t target them in a group?! But soon a letter is passed to Elen. She knows exactly what it means by just feeling its contents. Yes, it’s a bullet inside. She makes her way to the chapel. Reiji soon follows but stumbles into Scythe nearby. Scythe notes Reiji can kill him by his own will and not out of orders or being cornered. That’s what make him special yet flawed. This in turn gave Scythe a new research theme: Hatred. This experiment he did it on Cal without any brainwashing or even any control of memories or emotions. He knows Reiji is mad and wants to kill him but can’t because of the risks involved. He further compliments this specialty for being able to think straight in such moments. The same can’t be said for Cal since she lacks self control. Speaking of which, better hurry if he wants to help somebody. Cal meets Elen for the first time. The battle of 2 women whom Reiji/Zwei thought was dead but is alive and kicking ass!

Episode 22
Both ladies draw their guns on each other. Cal claims her hatred for them is what kept her going all this time. She thinks of killing Elen before Reiji so as to see his tormented face. Elen doesn’t flinch as she refutes that since Reiji has changed. Only Cal has been clinging onto the past. If she stands in his way, he’ll kill her. With Reiji here, he tells Cal to stop but she dares him to shoot her. Doing so means she’ll take Elen with her. The standoff ends as Lizzie barges in. She threatens to kill all of them if the shooting starts. And just like that Cal feels bored and leaves. Lizzie tells them that Cal is the new Phantom and she is her support. Now that Inferno has found them, they cannot remain here. In order to buy some time, Reiji calls Shiga. Using Mio as a shield, he is pressuring Shiga to tell Inferno to stop coming for them. With his hands tied, Shiga orders some of his men to keep a close watch on Mio. At the same time, Scythe and Lizzie tell Cal to stop hunting her Phantom senpai because of Mio. Of course this doesn’t sit well with Cal since she continues to harbour hatred for Reiji whom she has continued to blame for lying, using and eventually abandoned her just to protect himself. She thinks Reiji is afraid of her and will definitely pay him back. While Elen goes to secure some negotiation for their escape, Reiji keeps Mio company. This is convenient since nobody can easily make their move. But soon Cal approaches Reiji and wants to settle everything. There can only be 1 Phantom. But Reiji claims that title belongs to her. In fact, he is willing to be killed by her on condition she stops hunting Elen. Cal then punches him and will kill him as he wishes. But she’ll torture him slowly to her heart’s content. I guess today is not the day so she leaves. Too bad for those punks who want to hit on Cal. She’s in a pretty bad move. Time to take out some frustrations…

Episode 23
Reiji and Elen already have an escape plan. However that will only take place in a few more days. Meanwhile Lizzie realizes Cal is gone. Noticing she took her weapons too, she know what is going on. A short flashback how Cal became Phantom. As Mio goes home, she is approached by Cal who threatens her to go with her. She is going to tell all about Reiji. What choice does Mio have? First, she has to survive this death defying ride! Ride to hell, literally! This is interrupted when Lizzie is before them. She tells Cal to stop this recklessness but Cal won’t listen. Pulling out her gun, Cal takes it as a challenge. Hence she gives a handicap to draw hers once her timepiece is done counting. So Lizzie better shoot her by then. Obviously Lizzie is hesitant because she really does not want to shoot her. In the first place like Reiji, they did not want Cal to become Phantom. Time’s up. Cal shoots Lizzie. Cal places Mio at this abandoned house. She then tells the truth about Reiji, the one who taught her how to use a gun. That’s right. Your boyfriend was the best assassin in USA. She also reveals Daisuke was his brother and not uncle. Plus, he was killed by Reiji and not via accident as she believed. Cal is doing all this so she could have a death match with Reiji. Using Mio’s phone, she calls Reiji. If he wants to continue playing his school life, go ahead. But he cannot vanish without a trace. Doing so means Mio is dead. Reiji realizes Cal has crossed the line and betrayed Inferno and using Mio as a shield. That way, Godou Group can’t even act rashly. Meanwhile Shiga is shocked to see all his men at Mio’s place are dead. He confronts Scythe to fix this sh*t because if anything happens to Mio, there’ll be hell to pay. Scythe promises to do something about this. Time to bring out his ultimate weapons. Elen believes they should act independently. Her plan is for Reiji to do as Cal wish while she work behind the scenes to kill Cal and rescue Mio. Even if Elen dies, she is confident Cal won’t do anything to Mio because her target is only Reiji. The most important thing is to keep his emotions under control.

Episode 24
Reiji wants Elen to leave Cal to him. However she wonders if she can kill Cal. Since he wants some time to think, I think it’s pretty obvious. If he cannot do it, she will do it instead and save Mio. During school hours, Reiji finds out too late that Elen has left. He would have too had not Mio’s friends continue to bug him and return to class. Reiji soon receives a message from Elen to meet at the escape point. If she isn’t there at the designated time, assume she is dead. Since Mio doesn’t believe Reiji and Elen are assassins, Cal roughs her up to teach this sheltered princess a lesson. This includes firing a few shots that barely miss her as well as ripping her clothes. Sorry folks, no rape scene. Shiga sees Kaiten and wants to take responsibility of this. However he tells him to let the foreigners handle it as the group is not directly threatened. He appreciates his help but must not let there be any connections between the Godou Group and Fujieda. Otherwise the whole nation will know why the group is doing so much just for 1 girl. Scythe is happy to release his ultimate creations: Zahlenschwestern. Using Phantoms as his test subjects, Inferno and Godou Group are just the stage. Now they will enter the fray to fight Phantom. Cal makes a call to Elen to settle this themselves somewhere and tells where Mio is held. Elen then goes to rescue Mio and confirms the siblings are assassins. Elen wants Mio to stay put to increase Reiji’s chances of survival. In other words, she’ll be a hindrance. Even if Mio confesses she loves Reiji and wants to be by his side, those feelings will not be enough to defeat Cal. Elen blames herself for dragging everyone into this so it’s not Reiji’s fault. Hence she must kill Cal or she’ll kill Reiji.

Episode 25
Shiga and his men rescue Mio. Back home, she talks to mom about the truth. Her father isn’t dead and is still alive and living in a different world. Had mom followed him, he would not have been able to achieve his dreams. Whatever. Complicated adult stuffs. Mio then calls Reiji who is still trying to search!!! OMFG!!! Mio already gone home and cleaned up and this guy is still out there?! Had Mio not called, he would’ve searched till kingdom come. She tells him what happened and the supposed place Cal and Elen are supposed to meet for the final fight as overheard. Cal meanwhile sees visions of her dead people asking her what she would be accomplished for doing this. She wants to end this madness. Reiji manages to find Elen first. He wants to kill Cal although Elen is still sceptical he can do it. He believes he can. He must. Or he’ll be bound by his past. Yeah, this confused Elen so she gets emotional about freedom or something. When Cal finally arrives, she is surprised to see Reiji. She’ll be dealing with him. Meanwhile Shiga has brought his butt load of yakuza guys into the scene. Don’t worry, Elen kills them all! Really, those guys are useless! We see Reiji and Cal talking about the what-ifs, if life turned out differently for them. In the end, Reiji shoots Cal. Too late to think about how they would be happier had they met under different circumstances. Well, if Cal is satisfied by this outcome so be it. Reiji is saddened with Cal’s death. Will he be a cold blooded killing machine from now on? Kill to survive? Meanwhile Elen confronts a wounded Shiga. But popping up before them is Scythe and his Zahlenschwestern. The final scene is at hand. Who will make the final curtain call?

Episode 26
Uhm, there are only 6 Zahlenschwestern? Wow, I was under the impression there’s more. Anyway, don’t mind seeing Reiji and Elen kill them easily because they’re faceless characters whom we won’t care anyway. The goal is to find Scythe and kill him. Reiji wants Elen to do that since nobody knows him better than she does. He’ll take on the other Zahlenschwestern. When Elen finds Scythe, she tells her intentions to kill him and doesn’t plan to die on this stage. After all, he won’t let her die so easily since it will be too boring. He lets his Zahlenschwestern handle her but in no time she kills them off. She notes they were trained the same way as he did for her so nothing changes. Meanwhile Reiji is having it tougher with the remaining Zahlenschwestern but manages to eliminate them. Elen points her gun at Scythe. Surprisingly, he gives up and surrenders. He believes he cannot kill her unlike Reiji. Doing so will go against her principal of following orders and she will sink into despair and darkness, blah, blah, blah. She can’t shoot because she needs him. Even if she does kill him, it’s not like her memories will return. Elen somewhat agrees to that. But now she has a new name and she can continue living on from here. His mistake is that he thinks he knows everything and has hurt Reiji. That’s why she can shoot him. She pulls the trigger and sends Scythe to hell. Reiji reunites with Elen. End of play. 6 months down the road, we see them travelling through Berlin. It seems to find Elen’s past, they must understand Scythe’s background. We are briefed about his specialty field in psychology and brain physiology before turning his services to the underworld. This leads them to an orphanage in Hong Kong in which the orphanage lady still remembers a man who came here 5 years ago wanting an orphan from Mongolia! Why?! So Elen is Mongolian?! Then they travel to Mongolia and to the plains in which Elen now remembers her origins. Because all Mongolians will remember the sky and land that they were born in. So I guess the sky in USA and Japan looked very different, huh? With the search for Elen’s past ended, a sniper shoots Reiji while Elen who thinks these memories are more than enough, eats those poisonous plants and dies. I guess hell makes a better place than this sh*t hole!

Picture Drama

After all that serious drama, time for some 5 minute laughs. Uh huh. Time to see what these people are up to when they’re not on the job. Yeah, assassins and underworld syndicates have to keep us entertained and laughing too. Can they do it? YES WE CAN!!!

Picture Drama 1
Ein thinks Zwei should improve on his acting and has Scythe teach him. So he demonstrates playing this Jack Bauer character. Oh sorry, Back Jauer?! Zwei has his reservations for such acting during assassinations. Well, you never know. Scythe gives several scenarios for Ein to act out. Yeah, not sure if this is copyright material since she starts acting like Lum from Urusei Yatsura. Darling!

Picture Drama 2
Inferno executives are having a meeting for their field trip! They’re arguing the snack budget for it. Will it be $3 or $5?! This leads to a guy asking if bananas are considered as snack. Claudia shoots him! But it gets uglier as Isaac thinks it is but Raymond believes it is an after meal dessert. It is then Claudia suggests if bananas aren’t considered a snack, they can add other snack-like items into the package. With this realization, Isaac and Raymond become buddies. And so it is set the snack budget for the field trip to be $3. The discussion continues with the bus seating and karaoke amenities…

Picture Drama 3
Claudia has an assignment for Lizzie. Their next assassination target who rarely appears in public will be attending a masquerade ball. Phantom will be stationed to shoot the target and will have a backup in the ball. But he’ll need a partner and this is where Lizzie comes in. That’s right. She’ll be attending the ball. Hence she takes dance lessons from the Phantom duo. Clumsy with the steps but they can see her improving. In order to further improve her, they make her dance with Scythe! The ultimate embarrassment. Reverse psychology that when one is cornered, it bring out the best. During the ball, turns out it is actually a gathering of animal mascot suits. Ein quickly snipes the target. Yeah, Lizzie didn’t have the chance to show off her dance or dress. What a waste.

Picture Drama 4
Ein teaches Zwei how to shoot. Today’s lesson is to shoot a part of the human which is the largest. Zwei thinks it is the head but apparently Ein says it is the belly. They argue about this until they decide to the practice for real. Yeah, which poor afro guy got kidnapped for this practice? But Zwei keeps shooting at the head so Ein shows as she shoots at the belly. Zwei then continues to train day and night until he manages to get it right. While it looked like only shot once at his belly, all the bullets are shot at the same spot. Magnificent.

Picture Drama 5
Looks like Inferno is having a wild party after another success. Raymond making Claudia the star of the show. Scythe is wiretapping all this as he laments and curses Claudia for using him for her own gains. Yeah, some trapping and framing she did to him back in high school about some stolen funds. That vixen. While Claudia continues to be full of herself, Scythe continues to feel miserable while noting he was the one who created Phantom. Then he dreams of himself being some top Phantom. WTF is Saturday Night Fever around the corner? He wakes up to reality and hears the party is still going on. Wilder than before. He curses them to have fun as much as they like because he’ll get his revenge someday.

Picture Drama 6
Imagine assassins as manzai comedy! Yes, that is what Ein and Zwei are today. Damn, Zwei being the talkative and lively one while Ein is the usual emotionless stoic girl. Basically Ein is helming the boke role while Zwei the tsukkomi. I’m sure they’ll bring down the house if they actually made this their main job.

Picture Drama 7
As Cal practises shooting alone, Claudia comes to visit her. Damn, Cal keeps calling her Obama! Then she starts mocking this aunty that she is single at her age and lost her chance to get married. Hence Cal doesn’t intend to take things slowly with Reiji or she’ll grow old like this Obama! Claudia hints that Reiji is in an adult relationship with her but Cal quickly accuses her of power abuse! Cal will soon grow up to have a voluptuous body and when that happens, Obama will have no chance against her. Yes, she can do it! YES WE CAN!!! OMFG! Still remember this catchphrase! When Reiji comes into the picture, Cal has him call Obama but without the ~ma. Instantly Claudia drives off. What was that all about? Later Claudia notes in making good her promise to Romero, that’s why she can’t give up. Can she do it? YES WE CAN!!!

Picture Drama 8
So, Inferno is having a meeting inside a bathtub? Claudia has lots of questions but she can’t seem to say it straight to Raymond. She hopes the rest will tell him about this odd meeting place but instead they go with the flow and argue about some rubber ducky thingy. In the end, Raymond has everyone strip and join him in the bath. So nakedness unites everyone in Inferno? More shenanigans and in the end, Claudia comes up tops because she is the only one who can withstand the heat while the rest all passed out.

Picture Drama 9
It’s time for Ein to teach Zwei hand to hand combat. Poor agro dude becomes the punching bag again. While Ein shows off her rapid succession of punches, Zwei seems like he is hitting like a pussy. Yeah, that won’t do. Hence Ein has him shoot at her as she does that Matrix bullet time dodging thingy. Not sure what lesson is supposed to learn here but Zwei continues his training until finally he could land those badass punches on the agro guy. The secret is to use that montage of his training.

Picture Drama 10
So, Lizzie infiltrates this Japanese high school so she can be a teacher? GTL? Great Teacher Lizzie? Oh well. She trains our students including Reiji and Elen to do knife combat. While Elen is seriously trying to kill her partner, Reiji and Mio almost look like lovebirds. Next training is to catch your enemy off guard without any weapons or armour. Yeah, so why wearing swimsuits? While Mio easily ‘killed’ Reiji, Elen’s partner is almost close to real death caught in her stranglehold. With training over, Lizzie graduates them all as Phantoms. Uhm, so this unit is called Love Guerrilla? Their job is to eliminate a perverted teacher who wants to date any cute girl he sees. And that teacher is Scythe! Here he comes wanting to date these cuties so they swiftly eliminate him. Yeah, he can die proud for this school having such great talents. With the mission over, everyone gets confused by their group name so Lizzie maintains it as Love Guerrillas.

Picture Drama 11
Reiji learns Cal is still alive and is mad at him. Regretting all that, he wants to apologize to her. Any ideas? Elen suggests prostrating himself. That didn’t work so he calls Lizzie. So Cal likes something cute? This doll? Okay. But nope. She shot it! Insincere. Then he calls Shiga. How do the yakuza apologize? Cut off your finger or hara-kiri! Well, Reiji is about to do that but Cal walked away. I guess Japanese culture don’t mean a thing. Finally he calls Scythe. Take responsibility. Well, Scythe suggests prostrating, a gift and even hara-kiri. Tried all but none work. Then he has nothing more to say. Hung up. Oh my. Reiji is at his wits’ end. How?! Meanwhile, Cal plans to actually forgive Reiji the next time he shows up. Too bad he never did. I guess he ran out of guts.

Picture Drama 12
Mio and her friends are talking about some love drama plot. The main couple turned out to be siblings. Uhm, just like Reiji and Elen? Because of this, they go tail and spy on them like stalkers. Oops, I mean detectives. They observe the duo out in town doing shopping. Even giving their own commentaries and freely adlibbing what they think those lovey-dovey lovebirds are saying. Then finally at the park as they wait for the crucial moment for them to display their love, turns out that love sweater they bought is for their uncle and aunt. What a downer. Time to go back and watch more sappy love drama. Of course this is all part of Reiji and Elen’s elaborate plan to dismiss their suspicions. You can throw away the sweater now or do you really want to wear it?

Inferno Affairs: Phantom Of The Opera(tion)
Well, I can’t say that I am quite satisfied with that kind of ending. But when I think about it that it is only fitting for a pair of assassins who have been taking lives to ‘give back’ too. You know, what goes around, comes around. It would be too naïve to think that they could have a happy fairytale ending just to satiate viewers. Because karma being the ultimate b*tch itself, Phantom would be most likely to have received a fate similar that they have made many others meet too. If you are willing to take the lives of others, then you must be prepared to have your own be taken. Thus the ending has more of a bittersweet tone since Phantom were allowed to live a short dream before heading off into the sunset permanently. Hey, at least I don’t to scratch my head and ponder their fate. Similarly like the rest of the many other characters too! On a side note, I read the animated version did a different ending than the original visual novel… Oh well…

Looking back at the entire story of this series, I have to honestly say that it is actually one boring drama being dragged out. That’s right. Perhaps the focus of the story is on the assassins taking on the Phantom name. It could be largely my fault to expect something more than this but ultimately it is mostly about Phantom and mainly Reiji AKA Zwei. Unlike Ein AKA Elen, Zwei has also somewhat been ‘trained’ to think for himself instead of being another puppet. There is both good and bad points about this. Story wise, it is supposed to give our main character some depth because with emotions and thinking, it separates him from other unimportant background characters or NPCs AKA tools. This could also bite you in the back because what good use is a soldier who does not obey? All is fine and dandy if it goes according to plan or what you want but in the event if an assassin starts doing more than he should, does that make him a good or bad assassin? Therefore a big part of this series somewhat tries to explore these set of options for Zwei and at the same time also somewhat trying to forcefully convert a more robotic and an emotionless Ein into giving in into this concept.

Because the whole Inferno thingy keeps bugging me at the back of my head. What do I mean? I was under the impression that Inferno is going to be some sort of ultimate power in the end that will seize control of America and eventually the world. However from what I can see, they’re like insignificant and do not seem to make much progress save for bullying and eliminating smaller local mafia organizations. Uh huh. Like as though Inferno wasn’t such a big deal to begin with. The next big thing turned out to be the next big disappointment instead. This could be a huge bias from my side since the story wants to stay focused on Phantom rather than the dealings of Inferno. Because instead of seeing Inferno reaching for greater heights, what we get are petty dramas and betrayals within the organization itself. Any big organization is bound to face this problem but I suppose from my point of view, all that has happened here from Phantom’s defection to the deaths of its high ranking executives, well oh well, it makes Inferno looking not so great, huh?

I mean, look at how the series kills off almost every darn main and supporting character here. In fact, as the series reaches its end, I was expecting everybody to just die or get killed off and hence the collapse of Inferno. Damn, Raymond as the only survivor left among the characters we know, at this point he looks more like a clueless idiot to me. I don’t know, I just find it funny that with everybody else slowly being killed off, I wonder how he is going to keep Inferno afloat. Not like he replaced Isaac, Claudia and Scythe, right? Maybe he did but they didn’t show us. Not that it mattered. That’s why sometimes I wonder his poker face is because he is a cool guy or he is just clueless or oblivious to what has just happened. He is the boss of a big organization and he lets his executives do what they wish. Uhm, does he have any reins over them? Oh well, I guess he is the only one living in the end so I guess that makes him the winner. Yeah, why didn’t they just kill off Shiga too because now I’m wondering what his fate is.

The characters are mostly hit and misses. The series’ main 2 protagonists, I have mixed feelings about them. Zwei who was taken in as a protégé and apprentice, went through and learnt a lot under the guidance of Ein until her ‘death’ that made him grow up and mature to take her place. Because he has the ‘guidance’ of Claudia, he is not so rigid like Ein who has been completely brainwashed by her master. Interestingly, despite sounding a whole lot monotonous and gloomy (I guess that’s also what you called being realistic about the world) she is one who is mostly heavily conflicted since she has absolutely no recollections of her past. It’s like we’re waiting to see when she’ll reach her breaking point. After spending some time with Reiji, the dam finally breaks. So it felt rushed and forced that for her to have a closure, all the sudden conveniences about her past being revealed to us so that we can quickly dust and done this chapter. How did the Mongolian end up in a Hong Kong orphanage? Not sure but hey, at least now we all know Ein has a past so is that not good enough?

Until today I still don’t really understand what Claudia’s intentions are. It’s like she has this ulterior motive of her own and that’s why she has taken a liking for Zwei just to further her own agenda. Something about her dead brother that I still don’t really get. But in the end, she couldn’t achieve that and got killed. Sorry, no fake death privilege for her like how Ein did. Then there is Lizzie who has been sticking around for donkey years and could have been awarded the most loyal employee of the decade or something. Too bad she isn’t as good as Phantom and that’s why she’s stuck in this whatever support job. Then there’s the antagonist and mastermind of this series AKA Scythe. I’m still confused about the mind games he is playing with Claudia. They think they upend or outwit the other but in the end, I just don’t really understand. Weirdly, Scythe wants to create some masterpiece Phantom using his psychology specialty whatever but in the end it all just backfired on him. Yeah, the Gods are playing a cruel joke on you. He thinks he has it all under control (because psychology, I guess) and that’s why he is acting so cool and all, thinking he is the cleverest person in the entire world. Wow, so confident he knows all about Ein, blah, blah, blah but I guess he didn’t read the script that it won’t turn out the way he wanted. For a guy who keeps thinking the world is a huge stage, he surely didn’t get the script, huh?

Then there’s Cal whom I feel is there for the plot convenience at least for the final stretch of the story. History repeats itself when Zwei takes on an apprentice himself. It makes me wonder about Inferno’s policies in hiring assassins. It’s like the flimsiest excise would be enough to convince Raymond to allow it as long as there are results. Well, there are results, right? The most unbelievable thing about Cal is how she grew up to be a bombshell within 2 years while everybody else just stayed the same. Did Scythe feed her with some growth hormones or something? Or did time stop for everyone else? I swear I thought I saw 2 different people in this character. Anyway, the other unbelievable thing is that her hatred for Zwei is the thing that has her keep living so one day she can have her revenge on him. I mean, did she understand the circumstances that lead to their separation? Oh right. Forgot that this series is set in an era where internet wasn’t everywhere yet! In the end, it could be that Cal was just throwing off some tantrum for being left alone again and thus she wanted the very person who saved her be the one to take her life. So tired of losing the ones she loved. Mio also feels somewhat the same. A little plot device to show proof that Reiji and Elen are having a blast with their life before all comes crashing down. Yeah, make it more realistic that she likes Reiji so there’s your possible but not plausible love romance thingy. So is she in love with a dead man? I won’t even bat an eyelid if she was killed off but I suppose you can’t have cute Japanese girls dying on us at this point.

The action parts are a mixed baggage. There are some parts that are gory and some that look a bit comical (the part where Zwei was going to kill Scythe at that botched mission was personally hilarious if you ask me). After all, we have top assassins going around killing people so definitely they have to stay at the top of their game. The action in the earlier parts of the series can be a bit dark and gruesome because if you remember one of them involves killing a child (remember Tony’s kid?) although they didn’t show that on screen but it is very much hinted that happened. Towards the end, the action wasn’t so much as exciting because the final showdown with the sister clones felt a lot lacking. I mean, they were supposed to be Scythe’s masterpiece (who knows which orphanage he plucked them from but I guess we don’t care since they have no face or voice) but they turn to be easy pickings instead. Hardly any challenge.

The art and animation are okay and since a large portion of the series is set in America, there is some sort of realism in it. At least in the sense they show the gloomy parts of the country. Well, we’re dealing with the underworld, right? Some scenes are dark but basically the overall atmosphere is just grim and not colourful and bright as you would see in some other ‘happier’ animes. Yes, the colouring and hues are mostly bland too. They also tease some fanservice but no straight up nudity. This anime was done by the now defunct Bee Train who was famous for their girls with guns trilogy (Noir, Madlax, El Cazador De La Bruja) as well as Tsubasa Chronicle, Murder Princess and the .hack// series. Hence you can see some sort of similarity in the art style here. Zwei/Reiji = Carrossea of Madlax or Syaoran of Tsubasa Chronicle? Ein/Elen = Kirika of Noir? Claudia = Madlax or Mireille of Noir? Cal = Ellis of El Cazador De La Bruja? Busty Cal = Falis of Murder Princess? Scythe = Rosenberg of El Cazador De La Bruja or Friday of Madlax? Isaac = Ricardo of El Cazador De La Bruja? You be the judge.

For the voice acting, I only recognized Miyuki Sawashiro as Cal. Reminds me so much of Rozen Maiden’s Shinku. The other one is Ami Koshimizu as Mio but that took me a while. The other casts are Miyu Irino as Zwei/Reiji (Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicle), Ayahi Takagaki as Ein/Elen (Chris in Senki Zesshou Seymphogear), Isshin Chiba as Scythe (Fubuki in Scarlet Nexus), Aya Hisakawa as Claudia (Maya in Tenjou Tenge), Akeno Watanabe as Lizzie (Aisha in DanMachi), Hideo Ishikawa as Isaac (Itachi in Naruto), Susumu Chiba as Raymond (Kondou in Gintama), Souichiro Hoshi as Shiga (Kaoru in Ai Yori Aoshi) and Tomoyuki Shimura as Daisuke (Arashiyama in Nanaka 6/17).

The first opening theme, Karma by Kokia sounds weird. I personally feel it doesn’t feel like it fits the theme and pacing of the series because of all the choir-like voices, I thought this is some sort of cultist song! Well, perhaps it would suit series with some sort of supernatural theme like Madlax but for this song to be played here, definitely unsuitable and sometimes downright creepy. Well, I’m not saying it is bad but just not for this series and this mood. The first ending theme opens the floodgates to nostalgia. Because the moment I hear Jigoku No Mon, OMG how many years has it been since I heard from Ali Project?! Yup, that playful music style is still their biggest trademark. So much so I think this is copycat song of Rozen Maiden’s Kinjirareta Asobi. They also sing the second opener, Senritsu No Kodomatachi that also retains a lot of their trademark style. The second ending theme is Transparent by Kokia. It is a slow dramatic ballad but making the weirdest part is its ending credits animation. Lots of abstract stuffs and computer frame textures. The weirdest, naked people with masks holding a gun and walking in a funny way. Strange.

On a side note, there was an alternate version of this series released prior to this one. However I only breezed through the 3 episodes of this 2004 OVA of Phantom The Animation so forgive me if I am missing out a lot. Basically this series adapted only a single volume of the series and from what I saw in my 5 minutes of fast forwarding, it’s Ein vs Zwei in which the latter eventually emerged the winner. Despite looking like it is more action packed, this earlier version was still a very inferior version compared to this one that is more and well fleshed out in terms of story and characters. When you cram everything from a single volume like this, there’s going to be a hell lot of confusion and in the end was just underwhelming. That’s why it didn’t fare well compared to this alternative remake. Even the art style looks different (is it me or does the characters have this derp face look? AKA ugly) as it was done by a different studio (Arcs Create – which remains their only ever production) and they even employ different seiyuus to voice the characters (Takahiro Sakurai as Zwei, Omi Minami as Ein, Kikuko Inoue as Claudia, Kazuhiro Nakata as Scythe, Ai Orikasa as Lizzie, Sho Hayami as Raymond). So yeah, this 2009 alternate remake is still superior in many ways.

Overall, this series is just average. It has its fair share of drama and action but when you think about the fact that top assassins who could kill anybody suddenly becoming fugitives themselves, why the f*ck do they not just kill everybody and bring down the whole damn organization?! I mean, they’re the best there is, right? Nobody can beat them, right? Oh yeah. Need to have that human conscious to tell us that even as assassins or top ex-assassins, they’re humans and not mindless killing machines. We leave those to Skynet to create those Terminator robots… Just like Phantom who are nameless killers who will forever dwell in the shadows and never be known by anyone, I feel the same ironic fate befalling on this series. At least it is a good thing there is no remake or reboot whatsoever. Because Vier or Funf or Sechs just won’t cut it. Du meine güte, gott sei dank!

Spy x Family

14 May, 2023

Some wars are not fought directly nor do they use upfront physical violence. Yes, those are only for bloodthirsty barbarians. For a more sophisticated and ‘elegant’ kind of war, the war of information is much preferred. Battle of the minds and info. Espionage comes to mind. It’s not the kind of game for those who are impatient as those in the spying game will take a long time to plant the seeds and routes of their intended outcome. And one of those ways is to, uhm, wait, what? Raise a family?! Oh yeah. Didn’t read that wrongly. Because Spy x Family is about a top spy agent needing to form a fake family in order to get close and gather intelligence of a prominent but reticent politician. But beware, the rest of the family isn’t a totally ordinary family. Because the wife is an assassin and the child is a mind reader! Wow. It’s like a group of superheroes but without superpowers.

Episode 1
Looks like some diplomat got assassinated so those shadow government people of Westalis thinks the extremist of Ostania is plotting war against them. What to do to get more info? Send in their best spy AKA Twilight to do the job. And look how masterfully he gets it done because he is a master of disguise. So good his job that for the next mission, his target is Donovan Desmond who is the leader of the National Unity Party. He is a threat to the peace between both nations. Hence Twilight’s next mission is to raise a family?! AKA Operation Strix. You see, Desmond rarely makes public appearances and he only does so at an elite private school, Eden where his son attends. Hence Twilight must enrol his child here and he only has a week! Can you make a child in 7 days?! Oh well, he heads to the orphanage to get a child who can read and write. The caretaker is eager to get rid of Anya since she is weird. Anya proves herself to be smart as she solves a crossword puzzle. As narrated, Anya has a special ability to read minds. She was an experiment subject but escaped the facility and has been wandering around to get people to adopt her. Twilight brings her back to this apartment he has rented out as their home. Twilight will go under the alias of Loid Forger. Anya is excited thinking she is going to play a spy and save the world and tries her best to please papa. Of course he cannot understand how she thinks and when he thinks of sending her back to the orphanage and get another child, she starts to cry and all. Don’t want to go back there again! When Loid tries to leave and has Anya stay put, she follows him instead but he can tell where she is hiding. Eventually he locks her in. He goes to see his informant, Franky Franklin who has dug up some info on Anya. Not much is known about her except that she has been adopted 4 times and all have returned her.

When Anya thought she found a time bomb to diffuse (because professor says her powers must be used to save the world), little did she know it is a transmitter and she sent some cryptic message that Twilight is here to his enemies. When Loid returns, he knows something is off. Immediately he fights off the goons who are waiting to ambush him. He realizes Anya is kidnapped but as he wonders if he should start anew with another child, he is left open and taken out. Anya is kidnapped by this bad politician, Edgar. The goons return and as one of them hands over Twilight, they soon realize this is fake because it’s their own man. Loid in disguise has already retrieved Anya and escaped. Anya’s cries reminds him of his tragic past whereby nobody helped him as a child. That is why he became a spy to make a world a better place so that kids like her won’t have to suffer. He lies to Anya to send a message to the police for help when it’s just to get her to another orphanage. Loid thinks he didn’t fail as a spy but his mistake was to bring danger to this girl. Of course Anya read all that and plays along. Loid returns to beat up those goons and threaten Edgar to leave him alone if he knows what’s good for his own daughter. Wow. I think he made the mistake of not killing him. As Loid leaves, he sees Anya waiting for him at the corner. She won’t leave him and realizing she will have to go through another adoption, he takes her home. Of course he forces her to study for Eden’s entrance exam. Yeah, mind reading won’t help if other kids are too dumb to answer! Thankfully all those memorization paid off as Anya is accepted. Loid never felt happier in his life. But soon a letter from Eden. The next stage is a family interview and both parents must come! Oh dear. Time to go hunt for a wife!

Episode 2
Franky impersonating as Loid’s wife? Not going to cut it! Meanwhile we see Yor Briar and her fellow office girls gossiping. As Camilla the b*tch suspects Yor to be a spy because she is still single at that age despite looking beautiful, she cautions her about spies everywhere and getting reported by the tiniest things. She invites all of them to her party this weekend and she wants Yor to bring her partner along. Back home, Yor talks to her brother Yuri who is worried that she is still single. So Yor lies she already has a boyfriend. This only makes it worse because he’ll send his friend, Dominic to make sure her boyfriend is not a loser. Yor has no time to fret over this as she gets a call from her employer for a job. Yes, she is an assassin as she singlehandedly kills her target and his men. Hence her nickname, Thorn Princess. Franky has given a list of single women in this city. He wonders why Loid doesn’t use one from his agency. Many have records or being caught so it’s risky. As Loid takes Anya to the tailor to get some clothes, similarly Yor steps in to get her dress fixed. Loid is shocked he couldn’t sense her presence but even more so when she claims he has been staring at her. Yor thought she could ask him to be her boyfriend for the party but backs off upon seeing he has a kid. Don’t want to get killed by being involved with a married man. Of course Anya reads her mind and gets excited about her being an assassin. Noting her worries about the party, Anya acts up to papa that she longs for mama before he too gives up on this potential as his wife. After Loid explains his wife died 2 years ago and is raising Anya by himself, Yor also tells of her predicament. He agrees to be her boyfriend but in exchange would like to play Anya’s mom at the interview.

Soon, Loid gets a message for another mission to retrieve art pieces that were stolen as well as to eliminate the smuggling ring. Oh, it’s on the same day as the party. Well, it’s going to be a bit of a rush. With Franky’s help, they steal the art pieces and rush off as the goons chase them. Yor thinks she has been stood up and heads to the party herself. This only serves to boost Camilla’s suspicions that she is a spy and been sent here to lower their birth rate. Dominic who is Camilla’s boyfriend tries to talk to her but Camilla can’t stop being an arrogant b*tch. Just as Yor is about to leave, here comes Loid barging in. All bloodied?! He claims as a psychiatrist, one of his clients got violent. He shocks everyone by claiming Yor is his wife. Camilla refuses to believe it and tries to embarrass her but it all backfires. Even claiming Yor did shady stuffs before like giving special massage services, in fact Loid is quite impressed with her and continues to praise his ‘wife’. They leave but soon those smuggling ring goons are hot on their tails. So, some patients have a grudge with him and haven’t recovered? Okay. We’ll go with that. Loid goes down to fight some of them. So, uhm, beating them up is part of the new rehabilitation process? Surprisingly Yor assists. She’s good in martial arts too. Yor then asks to marry for real. Although she claims it to not have everyone suspect her for being single, it is to cover her assassin job. Loid agrees and uses the grenade pin as the engagement ring to solemnize their vow. Till mission/killings do them part.

Episode 3
Yor moves into Loid’s place. Franky has forged a marriage certificate since it will be too suspicious for them to get married right before the interview. Anya gives her the grand tour of the house. Once she has settled in, Loid has them in a mock interview for Eden. Let’s say it doesn’t go very well since Anya is being too obvious with her answer while Yor, uhm, why is she thinking of people getting killed?! Besides, how do you actually pass this exam that will also judge how cultured the parents are? For a change in pace, Loid has the family go for a walk. To get some exposure of those cultured stuffs, he takes them to an opera and then an art museum. Anya drawing her dad as a spy and mom an assassin but thank goodness her scribbles are so horrible so nobody catches on and just think it’s from her favourite detective anime. Loid then brings them to a tailor to get some nice clothes before taking a family photo. While hanging out in town, they witness a purse snatcher snatching from a granny. Yor immediately jumps into action but fails to track him. The same for Loid too as he realizes the culprit has already blended into the crowd. But thanks to Anya’s mind reading, she can pinpoint where he is. So as not to blow her cover, she points to a certain shop (where the thief is walking by) and wants to eat there. Loid then recognizes the thief’s walking pattern and quickly goes to apprehend him. In the aftermath, the granny is very grateful to them and notes the lovely family they are. Back home, Loid continues to conduct the mock interview and looks like they are still far from perfect. Even if granny thinks they are, Loid believes his preparations are only 1% done.

Episode 4
Time for the interview at Eden. As the parents and their child walk in, it is obvious they are already being tested. Loid can tell that many are watching and observing their every move. Especially housemaster Henry Henderson who is obsessed with elegance. He is curious with the Forgers since they have elegance but yet not quite. Then there is an obvious test where a fatty kid is stuck in a dirty drain. Nobody helps for fear of dirtying their clothes which results in automatic disqualification. Loid just pulls him out and dirties his. So is he out? Luckily he brought a change of clothes! Elegance! Then somebody releases the barn animals. It’s a stampede! Trying to see their true selves in emergencies? It is Yor who uses her pressure point techniques to calm down the raging cow. And with Anya calming it down, all the animals quietly go back? Don’t tell me she can control animals too?! Don’t worry, they still have another set of fresh clothes to change! Elegance! Now in the interview room, they are faced with questions from the housemasters. Other than Henderson, there is Walter Evans who is a nice old man as well as Murdoch Swan who is a total opposite. Greedy and selfish, this fatty seeks to take out his frustrations on any family since he just got divorced and lost custody of his daughter. Hence he asks hard hitting questions and while the Forgers manage to elegantly answer them (Anya barely winging it by reading from Loid’s mind, almost revealing the true intention of this infiltration!), eventually dickhead Swan has Anya compare her current mom with her biological mom. This causes Anya to cry but the jerk still acts like a dick claiming he can’t have students crying without their mommies here! Loid has told himself many times not to get agitated but looks like he lost it this time. A punch! On the table! To kill a mosquito! Then he makes it clear if the school likes toying with children’s heart, they have chosen the wrong school. Please excuse us. This is when Henderson realizes about elegance and as an educator if he just curry favours from authorities, he has no right to be called one. He punches Swan. Truly elegant. Back home, the Forgers lament their blunder. Will the mission fail? But Anya still wants to go to school since she wants all of them to continue staying together. No point fretting on all that. For now they drink to a toast. To the family’s bright future!

Episode 5
Today the results are out and Anya is… NOWHERE ON THE LIST! OMG! Mission failed?! Henderson then talks to them and shows them the waiting list. Anya is on top. This means if somebody drops out, she will be the first to get in. Just go home and wait for the call. Oh Yor, don’t think of killing somebody just for Anya to get in! Back home, that call comes. Anya is in! This calls for a celebration. Franky even joins in. He even claims Loid will do anything she wishes. So uhm, Anya wants to play out her favourite spy show, Bondman? Hence Loid sends an emergency request to mission control. Because they think this is part of Twilight’s important mission, they give top priority as they have the Forgers fly to that castle where Bondman is set. However it is empty and all. Where’s the villains?! Okay, another request to mission control so now they scramble all agents down to the castle. Because everyone is a fan of Twilight and think they’re part of this whatever important mission, they are more than happy to play along. Now Loid becomes the spy hero as he fights off Franky the big bad guy and his goons to save Anya the princess. Not sure if this is the level of agents because Loid owns them completely. Need to go back to training. Yeah, Loid so cool! Eventually the final boss face off is with Yor. Because she is drunk, she attacks him with full force. Loid could have lost for real had not she fell asleep halfway. Once Anya is ‘rescued’ a big fireworks to cap it all off. What a wonderful night. Hope Anya has the motivation to go to school now. Meanwhile mission control gets a hefty billing for all those expenses. Yes, those numbers are real! The price for peace, no?!

Episode 6
While getting measurements for her uniform, the tailor warns about kidnappings because you know, Eden is such an elite school. Oh Anya, don’t feel like going to school anymore? Yeah, it never hurts to be wary… Loid then goes to see his handler, Sylvia Sherwood. As the mission will move on to the next phase, she tells him about Eden’s system. The elite of the elite will be known as Imperial Scholars. There is a separate social gathering for such to attend and this is where only Desmond shows up. To earn that, a child must contribute greatly to society or have exceptional grades. Earn 8 Stella and you will be part of that elite. Be warned, doing bad things will earn the opposite called Tonitrus Bolts. Earning 8 will have the child expelled. This is going to be a tall order… As Yor and Anya go pick up the uniform, they go shopping afterwards. Some punks decide to kidnap Anya but luckily Yor shows her true strength to scare them away. As Yor frets she isn’t a good mother, Anya wants to learn some self-defence. Training begins at home so you bet Loid is worried when he sees this. As new students are called to be placed in a class, Loid knows which class Anya will be. He has pulled strings and has her in the same class as Damian, Desmond’s son. If Anya fails to become an Imperial Scholar, Plan B will have her make friends with him. Since Anya can read Damian’s mind and he is a jerk, she ignores him. What a way to start the friendship! In the same class also have children of important people like Becky Blackbell. Loid thinks Anya should make friends with all of them! Too bad she’s ignoring them! Henderson will be the housemaster for this class. Damian mocks Anya since her dad is a nobody. Anya is mad but remembers mom’s teachings not to let her emotions get to her. Hence this smirk that pisses off Damian. Oh Anya, that is one hell of a creepy smile! When Damian makes it clear he will bully her every day, the final straw came when he badmouths her dad. Anya punches his face! Oh dear. Remembering mom’s teachings, she wiggles her way out by claiming Damian was stepping on Becky’s foot and was saving her from trouble. Fighting for your friend and holding her emotions back? Elegant! Becky so impressed. But Henderson still has to exact his punishment. So when her parents are called, you can see Loid’s face after learning what she did to Desmond’s son! Friendship plan over! Anya would’ve earned 3 Tonitrus Bolts but Henderson managed to reduce it to 1. We’re off to a rocky start…

Episode 7
Anya still feels bad about the punch but Loid tells her to forget about it. No point dwelling in the past. Just apologize to Damian. At school, Anya wants to apologize to him but she is nervous. Worse, Becky keeps interfering and doesn’t want her to apologize seeing it is his fault. Loid has infiltrated the school to spy on this and is not amused with Becky’s interference. Because Becky and Damian’s family have trading ties, he ponders the possibility that Becky too is a spy out to stop this operation. In class, many stay away from them since Anya has a reputation of being violent. Yeah, it’s nasty to read everybody’s mind on this. Becky calms her that everyone is being immature and only judging based on what they see. There are many attempts for Loid to leave hints for her to apologize. During lunch, Anya attempts another apology. This time Loid manages to distract Becky and get her to go somewhere. Anya takes this chance to confront Damian. Although still nervous, she can hear his lackey’s nasty thoughts on her. This makes her cry but at the same time she blurts out her apology and just wanted to be friends. As we can see, Damian has been flustering the whole time and finds it hard to give her his piece of mind. So when this cutie does that apology, unfortunately his pride won’t allow it as he runs away. However Loid takes that he has rejected the apology. Mission failed? Back home, Loid being a Spartan trying to forcefully teach Anya. With the friendship plan failed, this is the only route left. He makes a few threats and this causes Anya to not want to study anymore and hole up in her room. Loid and Yor talk about this for ideas. He asks if she taught Yuri but on the contrary, it is him who taught her a lot. He lighted up each time she praised him hence it was perhaps that motivation that made him study more. She hopes Loid can be like that for Anya. Loid thinks that he might not be her father but he can be her ideal father. Though, nothing ideal has happened so far. Realizing he needs to go back to basics, patience is a necessity for true spies. That is why in order for this mission to succeed, he must understand Anya first. He tries to go talk to Anya but sees her asleep while trying to study on her own. Let the sweetheart sleep for now. Meanwhile Yuri is shocked to hear from Dominic that Yor is already married.

Episode 8
Sylvia meets Loid and warns him that one of their agents have been compromised. It is no other than this country’s counter intelligence agency AKA the secret police. And guess who is on this organization? Yuri! We see him interrogate a spy. Starting off nice at first, Yuri has picture proof not even his own secret police has for that spy to confess the treason he did of selling documents to the enemy. Yuri wants to know if he knows a man named Twilight because he claims this master of disguise is trying to make this world fall into chaos. He is his rival! Oh dear. Yuri then gets aggressive with him because he also loves his sister and will do anything it takes to protect her. Anything! Yor realizes she forgot to tell Yuri she has been married for a year! And now he is coming to visit their place tonight! When Yuri is at the doorstep and both men meet, obviously they are suspicious of each other and will expose the other’s true identity while keeping theirs a secret. When Yuri questions Yor why she didn’t tell him, previously Loid talked to Yor about this and thought the current issue of women being single at this age is of concern. Yor has a better answer and it’s the truth: SHE FORGOT! Oh my… Well… Yuri believes! As long as it comes from his sister, all his logic is thrown out the window. A bit drunk, Yuri still refuses to accept. Loid tries to change the topic and asks his work as a diplomat. However, Yuri’s textbook answers are predictable. This means Loid puts the pieces of the puzzle together as he realizes Yuri’s secret occupation as a secret police. Previously he had Franky looked into him and found he worked in the foreign minister department for a year. That is actually a gateway into the espionage industry. As long as Yuri doesn’t discover who he is, he’ll be fine. In fact, he can use this relationship and trust to get more info. Yuri still refuses to acknowledge this marriage. When they were poor, Yor was the one who supported them with her jobs. Don’t ask what kind of job that has her return in blood all over! Because Yuri felt himself as the only one who will protect her. He will not accept some random stranger. Sure, he wants Yor to be happy but that guy must be stronger and better than him. With a straight bold face, Loid says he loves Yor and promises to protect her from any harm. Because Loid and Yor’s hands accidentally touch, making them have that amateur love reaction, this fuels Yuri’s suspicions. Are you really married? Then prove it with a kiss now! Loid is ready to do that but Yor… Yabai!

Episode 9
Yor can’t do this sober so she drinks and gets drunk first. Then as they are about to do it, Yuri has second thoughts. Yeah, remember the time she kissed a kiddie him and he promised to marry her when he grows up. That. Yuri changes his mind and won’t let her kiss him. At the same time, Yor realizes she can’t go ahead with this. She is about to slap Loid but Yuri got in the way and got slapped instead. You know how powerful Yor is, right? Yuri still remains suspicious of Loid although Loid can’t help smile that both siblings are good with each other. He thanks him for protecting Yor all this time and hopes from now they can do everything to make her happy. Yuri still isn’t pleased and takes his leave. Next morning, sleepyhead Anya might have forgotten all about the uncle until she read daddy’s mind. Especially about Yuri from the secret police. Yeah, she’s so disappointed! Give back her excitement! Because of Yuri, Loid now has doubts about Yor. What if she too is acting like him. The only way is to plant a device on her and find out. Yuri is at work as his colleague thinks he got injured from picking a fight with Yor’s husband. Or maybe it is self-inflicted since Yuri forgot to put the device in their house to tap their conversation. He is reminded to not think so much of his sister that it would interfere with their work. Their mission is of course to catch Twilight. Yor has doubts if she is a good wife so she talks to her colleagues about this. As Loid is tapping into this, he needs to make a move to be very certain. So with Franky, they disguise as the secret police and haul Yor up in the alley, claiming she has mailed some secret coded letter. This is to get her to name Yuri because they will only let go family members. Once she does so, it will be clear she is involved in it all. However Yor claims she is a hardworking wife but if they ever do anything to harm her family, she will fight them. With that determination, Loid ends this whole charade by claiming they decoded the letter wrongly. Later as Loid meets Yor, she still has doubts of being a good wife and mother. He talks about many people putting up many acts. It could be tiring so he wants her to be as she is. She is thankful to be married to him. With that, Loid doesn’t need to tap her anymore and destroys the device.

Episode 10
Looks like the class will have a mini dodgeball tournament. Rumours say the one who wins MVP will get a Stella. With Anya hyped up about it, Yor is eager to train her. Forget about the stamina training, I wonder if Yor is teaching her how to kill instead of throwing a ball! Yeah, see how her throws decimated the trees! Since it is a class tournament, Anya and Damian are of course on the same team. Anya could hear his thoughts that he needs to win the MVP and get a Stella. The faster he becomes an Imperial Scholar, only then his father will notice him. He thinks the person to target in the opposite class to get his MVP is Bill Watkins, the son of the army’s major. Holy sh*t! Are you sure this giant isn’t an adult disguised as a kid???!!! We see how he is so freaking technical in his training and analysis of this dodgeball game. Yeah, he too has hopes to earn his daddy’s praise and become the next army leader for his country. No matter what Damian and his lackeys do, whatever formation they put up, all easily defeated by Bill. Bill then targets Anya. Because she can read his mind, she dodges, causing Bill to become frustrated. When Anya slips and is down, she cannot dodge. Bill is about to get her but for some odd reason, Damian protects her and goes out. There goes his shot at MVP. Anya is the last one left. It’s all up to her. Remembering Yor’s teaching on the ultimate shot, she does so and it would’ve been a killer (Bill panicking like mad) had it not bounced off so pathetically and weak. Eventually, Anya is taken out. Yeah, enemy class wins. Everybody thinks Bill will get a Stella but Henderson dismisses it. How can such be awarded for a mini game? In fact, a Tonitrus Bolt should be given for such inelegant gameplay. Though, he believes Anya and Damian who are sworn enemies, putting aside their differences to help each other, that should be worthy of a Stella. However seeing them blame each other, then again, maybe not. Yeah, Anya regrets mom’s teachings were useless!

Episode 11
That face from Anya… Holy cow! She failed all her tests! Single digits and some even a zero! Oh dear… Trying to start a tantrum of not wanting to study?! This time Loid isn’t going to be strict so he tries to find other stuffs that Anya would be good at. Music or sports… She sucks at them! Another way to earn a Stella is to do community service. Taking her to a rehab centre, however Anya is clumsy or is slacking. So much so the nurse had to tell them not to offer her service anymore! As she leaves, she heard the thoughts of a boy undergoing rehabilitation, drowning. In order not to raise suspicions, Anya rushes back and claims she wants to be good at swimming. She dives right into the pool but there is only so far she can go before she too starts to drown. Luckily Loid dives in to save them both and this shocks the adults as they did not see or hear anyone drowning. Precisely. That’s how drowning works. Because of that, Anya earns her first Stella! Wow! Congrats! Everyone is so proud! Keep up the good work, Anya! Oh sorry, it’s Starlight Anya now! Sylvia talks to another colleague about Anya getting a Stella. She thinks of setting up such incidents to earn her more Stella however the colleague shoots that down because it will raise suspicions and they can’t put their agents at risk of being exposed. But time is of essence as news of Desmond getting involved in some shady financing. Anya feels like a celebrity and thinks this will bring world peace! Too bad Damian is still being a dick. World still at peril. Then there are some nasty students who think she cheated or paid a lot for it. Surprisingly, Damian shuts them down and tells them off Eden isn’t that kind of school. If they don’t like this school, feel free to transfer out. Wow. So cool. Of course Damian is frustrated because Anya got it without cheating. When Becky suggests asking for a reward, this has Anya think if she gets a dog and that Damian has one too, perhaps they can be invited over. Hence she pleads to dad to get a little puppy as a reward. Time to go shopping for a pet.

Episode 12
Despite handling Operation Strix, Loid still has to accomplish other side missions. This tires him out. I know he is the best spy but doesn’t the agency have other spies?! However Loid soon hears the neighbours talking about their suspicions about the Forgers. As this puts the operation in jeopardy, Loid will take his family out this weekend to make it look like they’re a normal family. And so they’ll be heading to the aquarium. However he is soon called for a mission. Loid turns down the agent’s request despite this is an important mission that comes directly from HQ. But upon learning Loid is taking his family to the aquarium, the agent is impressed he came prepared. Because this next mission is there and he needs to retrieve a top secret film hidden in a penguin before the enemy retriever gets it. Worse, the neighbours are also here. Yeah, got to juggle with his family and mission. But the biggest problem is to find which penguin. He isn’t going to sift through each and every of the 200 penguins! Luckily Anya’s mind reading has her pointing out to a penguin acting weird. It keeps drinking but spitting out water. Something must be stuck in its throat. Loid excuses himself and impersonates as a penguin feeder to get close to that penguin and take it for treatment. But soon he is approached by a guy who claims he marine biologist professor and will treat it. Loid can spot his fake ID and knows he is the enemy recipient. He runs away. Loid is forced to give up on him so as to retrieve the film. Luckily Anya latches onto the guy and claims she is kidnapped. Yor gets the wrong idea and beats him up! The mission is a success but the neighbours think Loid has been gone too long and is cheating. He comes back with a big penguin plushie. Of course a lie that he was trying a quiz to get this plushie for Anya. The neighbours’ suspicions are doused and now they think how cool he is. No cheating… Back home, Anya inducts her penguin into her own make believe spy organization. She introduces it around the base (house) but as she is about to enter her parents’ room, Loid stops and scolds her. Anya cries aloud, she hates them and wants to run away. To diffuse the crisis, Loid and Yor act as her minions and claim to go beat up baddies for world peace. Yeah, the candy store is being attacked… Uh oh… With Anya getting her snack and her mood improved, peace has been restored. At least for the Forger household.

Episode 13
The day Anya has waited for. Yes, getting a doggie pet. However this pet shop is affiliated with the spy agency so you bet these ‘ugly’ dogs are trained for war. WTF they flexing their muscles?! Anya not finding them cute! Well, there’s an adoption shelter nearby so maybe they should check it out. However Loid is soon called for an emergency meeting so he gives excuse he has a stomach ache. It’s going to be a long dump… There is reports that an assassination plot will happen tonight on foreign minister Brantz. One of the guys have been caught but is not talking. This is where Loid comes in. Impersonating as the ringleader, Keith, he soon blames that guy for everything. He soon loses faith in his leader and blabs all their plans. Apparently the strangest part of the assassination is strapping bombs to dogs and explode when they pass him. So we see some of the comrades taking a few dogs to their new hideout. One of the doggies save a little boy before he gets crushed by a falling sign. Anya is amazed at this adoption drive but sees that doggie passing by. Reading its thoughts, she wonders how it knows her family. She follows it to a warehouse opposite and overhears Keith and his buddies about their assassination plan to start a war and restore Ostania to its former glory. Then she gets busted. Keith is going to kill her but doggie breaks out of its chains to protect her. Only, it hides behind Anya when the rest threaten to beat it up! Meanwhile Yor is panicking since Anya is missing. Could she have been kidnapped to be sold off as a bride?! As the spies bust joints but all are misses, Sylvia tells Loid about the startling info on some of the dogs. Project Apple was an experiment created by the previous government to create high IQ animals. Then that government collapsed and the project stalled. Instead of putting the animals to sleep, some were sold on the black market. This might be how the terrorist got their hands on them. Doggie communicates with Anya. A telephone ring distracts the baddies. They are shocked that their plans have been discovered. It is this point doggie takes Anya and run. Anya realizes the dog can tell the future since it predicted the phone call. Keith and his men go after Anya since she has seen their faces. Anya thought she can get another Stella if she solves this case. Well, if doggie didn’t run around in circles and get cornered by Keith! Before Anya gets done in, cue for Yor to rescue her daughter. Her kick that makes a baddie ricochet, even the dog is scared! And it’s too early for Anya to get married by you perverted kidnappers! WHAT?!

Episode 14
Nothing is scarier than a mom baring her fangs! Even the fiercest dog is scared! With this getting attention, Keith is forced to retreat. While Yor makes a police report, doggie lets Anya see a vision of the future. In short, a bomb goes off at the clock tower and Loid dies! Anya wants to tell mom about this but fearing her identity will be busted, she gives excuse to run off with doggie: Need to give daddy some toilet paper! WHAT?! As Keith’s accomplices and bombs have been discovered, they are undergoing interrogation. They claim they want war until Sylvia smoothly tells them to imagine the atrocities of war. From dead flesh and bloodied mangled corpses all around, do you still want that? Keith is the only one not caught but he is hell bent in carrying this mission out alone. Anya is at the clock tower. Where to look for the bomb? Should’ve studied in school how to read time! But luckily with Keith here, she can read his mind about placing a bomb to lure his pursuers in and kill them all with his bomb trap. She heads into that room. Does she even know how to disarm a bomb?! Cartoons tell you nothing! She doesn’t even have the right tools to begin with! Improvise time… Loid’s team is to sniff out the tipoff they get in this area. They see a strange warning sign on the door written in ketchup. Loid’s colleague is hasty to open it but luckily Loid stops him. He manages to detect the bomb trap. But with the secret police arriving, they need to get out and let them handle the disarming. Anya is happy the explosion didn’t happen and this means the future is saved! Now it is time for Brantz to head for the summit. Suddenly he wants to drive a car alone without escorts? As explained this is Loid in disguise. Earlier Sylvia called Brantz about Loid coming to take his clothes to fool the dog’s scent. Keith now tails this fake minister and I suppose he is so obsessed in bombing him, he doesn’t even realize anything suspicious when Brantz drives off course and going in circles! Loid’s colleague tries to take Keith out but fails. Keith didn’t even suspect anything amiss when Brantz gets out of his car and starts running. He happily sends his dog to chase. Damn, can a 60 year old minister do parkour moves?!

Episode 15
Loid manages to disarm the bomb on the dog before Keith detonates. Plan in tatters, Keith flees. Yor spots this and kicks the car for it to crash! Then makes a police report to apprehend this criminal. With this case solved, the Forgers reunite. Sylvia posing as state security needs to take this dog away since it belonged to the terrorist. However Anya insists she wants this dog and threatens never to go to school if she can’t have it. Sylvia agrees to let her have it since it is harmless and not its fault. Yeah, Loid going to have more responsibility to look after it. Because this incident must be kept under wraps, sorry Anya, can’t brag about being a hero and thus no Stella. Hence she thinks of trying to impress Damian with her dog. She tests it out with Becky and of course she is interested. However doing the same with Damian, that guy doesn’t care! Plan failed? Feeling bad, he asks her its name. Oh my, didn’t name her dog? Damian loses interest. Wasted time. The Forgers then go to the dog park to take doggie for a walk. Isn’t Anya the one doing most of the running? She tries to name it too but I guess Lucky Vanilla Princess III or Atomic Angel Charlie General doesn’t have a nice ring to it. She even asks other dog owners for some ideas. But when doggie retrieves her lost gloves from a scary dog, Anya has an idea. She calls doggie as Bond. Yup, from Bondman. Welcome to the family. Back home, she potty trains Bond and even watches cartoon with it. And the cutest moment as they both sleep next to each other.

Episode 16
Loid notices Yor has been coming home late recently. He also notices bandages and bruises on her fingers. He doesn’t pry further into it as agreement she doesn’t into his. We soon learn that she is taking cooking lessons from Camilla. Yor is pressing the panic button because she thinks her breakfast caused Loid to have stomach ache for the entire day! Her marriage might be on the rocks! Initially Camilla didn’t want to teach her but Dominic insisted she is a good cook. So is he going to take responsibility to taste her cooking? That’s why he called Yuri over! Brother so happy he can taste her cooking. Hell’s kitchen begins as we see Yor butcher everything! How can she even mess up such simple instructions?! She makes this poison dish but Yuri eats it and finds it delicious! How can he say that when he is also vomiting at the same time?! When Camilla and Dominic try, the instantly died! Camilla thinks she is hopeless and would be better off divorcing Loid. Music to Yuri’s ears… Since Yor won’t give up, Camilla asks if they remember anything their mom cooks. Some stew with eggs. Okay. We’ll make that. For the first time, this turns out to be a success. Yor goes home and makes dinner. The others await their death sentence. Surprised! It tastes good! And Anya thought this was going to be her last supper! They love her cooking so they want more. But the next dish she makes, they died instantly! Now it’s the last supper! Franky calls Loid to meet. Apparently he has fallen in love with a girl and needs his help. Loid isn’t interested until Franky agrees to make some device for him free. So as Franky tells all he knows about Monica McBride (like a stalker?!), he needs Loid to come up with a date plan. Yeah, this flow chart with thousands of possibilities, please memorize them! No way! Eventually Loid disguises as Monica so they could have a mock conversation. Franky thinks he is ready and goes to ask Monica for a date. Too bad she rejects him. Franky now drowns his sorrows with cheap alcohol but Loid accompanies him. Broke and no girlfriend. Loid says people like them in this job can’t have stable relationships even if he manages to go out with her, it probably won’t last long. Drinking is going to last the whole night. On Loid’s tab.

Episode 17
Anya thinks of showing her family photo that includes Bond to impress Damian. She purposely drops the photo but he continues walking and never notices. Plan failed. But it is picked up by Becky. She finds Loid handsome and wants Anya to introduce her father?! She’ll be keeping the photo. Today’s class is arts and crafts. The class is randomly designated into groups to create an animal with their limited resources. As expected, Damian and Anya are in the same group. She creates this WTF garbage. This is supposed to be Bond?! No wonder Damian is not impressed. Plan failed. Again. Anya reads his mind that he plans to create a griffin, the symbol of his family to impress his father. Thinking this would earn some points, she agrees to help him make it. However she somewhat screws up. Do griffins need jet boosters?! This riles up Damian as he starts to get pushy but Henderson reminds him to be gentlemanly. In the end, Anya feels so bad, she gives him this Bond garbage as she claims to ‘refurbish’ it as the griffin’s child. WTF. But guess what? When the judges see, this terrible sculpture that is about to fall apart wins first prize! They think it is a symbol that both countries have a future and can recover from the war! Yeah, just look at that dead griffin child beside it! WTF?! Anya thinks Damian can show it to his father but of course he can’t show that junk to him. Plan failed. Later Damian calls home and talks to his butler, Jeeves. Because father will not be home even during the break, Damian decides to stay put and will not return. When asked about father’s response about the orientation day (the time Anya punched him), Jeeves says father is worried about his health. Of course Damian knows it is a lie because father never cares for him. We see Sylvia walking in the streets, knowing a couple of spies tailing her. Because of her mundane routine, this has them stop thinking. When they think she’ll be at this pool for an hour and then slack off, it is enough time for Sylvia to put on her disguise and go meet Twilight. Updating her on Operation Strix, WTF he says his daughter can now a few levels of jump boxes and jump several times in a row with a jump rope. A flashback sees Yuri happily eating all the poison Yor cooked. Enjoying and barfing at the same time. It’s so delicious! Eventually this builds up invincibility in his body and that’s why when he gets run over by a truck, he is still alive and in 1 piece.

Episode 18
Anya thinks she did well in the tests. Too bad she failed. Supplementary lessons for her! Yeah, if she fails in the mid-term exam, it will be 1 Tonitrus Bolt for each failing subject! Anya thought she could read Damian’s mind for the exam since he scored well. However she realizes something amiss. She remembers the scientist talking about the eclipse that will have her temporarily lose her mind reading power. So uhm, the exam is happening at night or does this last the entire phase regardless of day or night? In order to help with Anya’s studies, Yor has Yuri come over to help tutor her. Of course Anya’s mind reading has her know who he is. In order not to give herself away, she plays dumb, much to his chagrin. But Yuri tolerates all this because of Yor. So they power through the night but in the end, Anya still doesn’t get it. Yuri has had enough and leaves. He realizes if he was strong enough, he would’ve captured Twilight. He needs to do his own studying. Likewise, Anya realizes the importance of this and does her own studying too. Loid returns and realizes Yuri has been teaching her foreign language, which isn’t going to be on the exam… So in order to play it safe, Loid is going to sneak into the safe where all the students’ exam sheets are kept and do some alterations. However before him is a buffoon. We learn he is Daybreak, a self-proclaimed spy who is set to be Twilight’s rival and become better than him. From all his actions, we can tell he is an idea. He leaves traces in his tracks and Loid is forced to cover it up so as not to blow his own cover. So dumb this guy, he has Loid (disguised as a professor) open the safe before knocking him out. Of course Loid is only pretending to be passed out to let him do the work. It seems he is trying to alter the Desmond brothers’ exam papers. Loid can’t stand anymore of his idiocy after Daybreak claims he is going to be the world’s famous spy! However to Loid’s dismay, Daybreak in fact wants him to spread the word of his greatness instead of keeping it a secret. And off Daybreak goes. Loid examines the papers he alter. It seems he is trying to make the Desmond brothers fail. Loid alters it back. Time to look at Anya’s. Well, what do we have here? When the results are out, Damian is one of the top ranks. Anya? Down in 213th. She is happy because she didn’t fail and thus no Tonitrus Bolts! Well, mission might be safe but not for Anya. Better study harder! Meanwhile Daybreak is in shock after his boss fires him for his failure. Hopefully we’ll hear the last of him!

Episode 19
While cleaning the school compound, Anya reads the mind of George Glooman. Looks like he has a grudge on Damian and his plan to fail him failed. Yup, that’s the guy who hired that stupid spy to change Damian’s marks. So he tries to frame Damian by planting a cigarette. Then make it look like as though Damian punched him. When the teacher sees to this, Anya vouches for Damian’s innocence (because she needs to carry out father’s plan to be friends with Damian). The teacher can tell this girl is bad news and won’t get involved with these kids. Once the gig is up, George soon reveals his father’s company is going bankrupt and the one who crushed it is the Desmond Group. Because of that, he can no longer attend Eden. Damian doesn’t want to get involved with adult stuffs but with George so in despair, I guess Damian buys him some juice. Oh, since it’ll be his last day too, perhaps buy him the expensive caviar lunch and even borrow a Stella from him. Finally, a group choir for all the memories. Yeah, everyone obliges. Anya having that meh face… Once school is over, everyone gives George something from them for memories. Goodbye everybody! Back home, George learns from his dad that in fact the company has been bailed out by Desmond Group. He will just lose his CEO title and the company’s name, that’s all. George will have to go back to school tomorrow like always. Imagine his embarrassment and to everyone’s chagrin. Better give back those stuffs and pay them back. One day, Yor thinks Anya has forgotten her gym clothes. So she races through the city to give it to her at school. I can’t believe nobody sees a woman jumping from building to building in the middle of the day! Then she sneaks around Eden trying to find Anya. Eventually she does and gives the gym clothes. Well sorry mom, no gym today. Loid has noticed this and thought Yor knows about his real activities. Later he goes talk to her and finds out the truth. But since she is depressed as a failure as a mom, he takes her out for lunch.

Episode 20
The class is given an assignment to write a report on the profession they admire and want to do. So Anya goes to ask mom about it. Gee Yor, thinking of bringing your daughter along and let her watch how you kill people? I guess Anya read her mind on that so she’ll go with dad. Loid brings her to his psychiatric ward where he works. She meets some of his nice colleagues as they also explain Loid’s work. Since he cannot let her watch him work as that would be violation of privacy, he lets her wait in the consultation room and play with this sandbox. Of course she is more interested in the secret passage she read on Loid’s mind. Little girl goes exploring and ends up overhearing a room debating about patients’ disillusion on ghosts. Because Anya got stuck and realizes she needs to get back, hence those ghostly wails! Now those doctors will not take light of ghosts! Anya returns in time as she dumps all the items in the sandbox. Loid is shocked to see this ‘devastation’ and thinks she is also having it hard inside her. Yeah, this is serious. Let’s go home for today. When Anya presents her report, her phrasing has her list her dad’s job as having lots of snacks and beating up people?! Loid is summoned to school to explain but he smoothed it out. After seeing a spy cartoon on using secret codes, Anya gets inspiration to do one. Since her handwriting sucks, she has Yor write for her. Then she gives to random people and those she know to see who can decipher it. Well, I was thinking it would look like Anya giving a love letter to Damian but apparently he won’t even read it. Eventually the one who ‘solved’ it is Franky. He thinks a woman is using this secret code and wants to meet up. So excited this dude, he didn’t sleep the whole night. On that appointed date, he waits patiently for that love of his to show up. Well, keep waiting. Because Anya’s plan is to show up and congratulate that person but looks like she is sleeping in.

Episode 21
Sylvia will have Fiona Frost codenamed Nightfall, help support Twilight in Operation Strix. It seems everyone in the agency doesn’t like her much because of her cold and cruel woman with ambitions. She visits the Forgers but only Yor is at home. Posing herself as Loid’s colleague, Fiona tries to size up her flaws. Thinking she is a hindrance to Operation Strix, she could easily get rid of her and take her position but that will be too obvious. Hence she tries to convince her to give up that role. As she tries to make it sound like Loid complains a lot about her at work, here comes the man. While they both normally talk, they also use coded language to actually communicate with each other. Of course, Anya knows her true identity but this is the real shocking truth she reads on Fiona: She is in love with Loid! She wants to marry him! She is so extreme when it comes to Loid and all that guy does is just be impressed with it. And so now she thinks she is more qualified to be his wife than Yor! Oh Anya, this is going to get messy! While everything Loid does she is impressed (and those habits she is not familiar with, she has some excuse to reason with it), anything Yor does she criticizes. Anya knows which mom she wants when she learns if Fiona becomes the mom, she’ll whip Anya into shape! TORTURE! Hence Anya quickly goes to coddle up with Yor! How lovely. This makes Yor who is depressed that she might not be up to par, vow to do her best. Loid continues to play the caring husband as Fiona thinks this is all part of the great act. A fake smile. In fact, he was the one who trained her to hide her emotions as a spy. Though, she took it to extreme lengths. As she leaves, she notes that she will continue to hide such feelings until the war is over. She will show him that she is more capable than him the next time. And the one who is suited to be his wife!

Anya is saddened after a cartoon character gets killed off. Hence she sleeps with her penguin plushie. However Bond gets jealous and the next morning, Anya is so sad that it is ripped apart. Bite and claw marks. The culprit is obvious. Anya hates Bond and sends doggie into depression. Yor promises to fix the penguin but it turns out even more damaged! How the f*ck?! Loid will buy another one but Anya views this one as important since it is daddy who bought it for her. Loid promises to fix it and of course, a much better job. All those sew lines, take it as battle scars and medals of honour. Bond redeems himself by giving some peanuts to her. In no time, both reconcile and are back to normal. Peace treaty is done. Loid could only hope their nations at war would find peace this easy.

Episode 22
Fiona laments playing house has dulled Twilight’s skills. However she also loves this new side of his. Hence her goal is to steal the title of wife from Yor. She talks to Loid about Cavi Campbell who is an energy tycoon and an avid collector of antiques. One of them is a highly valuable painting that once belonged to a late high ranking intelligence officer, Colonel Erik Zacharis. He is believed to possess dossiers that contains troublesome info and truths that might reignite the war again. But investigations have not yielded results of those dossiers and as you would have guessed, it could be hidden in that painting. Hence their orders are to retrieve it. Of course, Campbell keeps all his antiques in the basement with very tight security. But Fiona has an idea on how to get in without all the hard sneaky stuffs. In short, play tennis! Here’s the long story: Campbell organizes a secret underground tennis tournament, Campbelldon in which the winner gets to take home any prize from his collection. Of course entry fee is high and there are underground punters betting on the game. Loid and Fiona participate as a husband and wife team. Seriously, they call themselves Phony. Yeah. How apt. Obviously Fiona’s idea is because she likes that husband and wife ring and hopes to impress Loid with her tennis skill to become his wife.

First round starts and they’re up against a pair of hippie caveman? And they’re tennis champ pros?! Soon they are made to eat their words as Phony pair win flawlessly against them. Next up is a brother pair who is clearly on steroids! See how buffed they are! Oh, forgot to mention that this tournament, anything goes. You can modify your body and racquet too. Yeah, why not bring guns? Since the brothers mock Loid, Fiona sends them to their defeat with her incessant smash. Overkill. They manage to reach the finals and are made to wait in a room. Their final opponents are Campbell’s son and daughter. Their tennis skills seem to be mediocre so Fiona thinks she can easily win this. Loid cautions her not to be overconfident. He knows he has strained herself and has some injuries. While Fiona is fawning over him, Loid thinks she hates him. After all, his colleagues warned she is trying to get ahead of him and to watch her. Then they realize strange odourless gas inside the room. This is why the Campbell siblings manage to get to the finals as their opponents are weakened this way. As the final begins, we see the siblings using modified racquets. Jet powered ones to send powerful returns and also it can elongated itself to reach the ball. They easily take the first set. Come the second set, Phony pair fights back. A signal to the MIBs to activate some pesky tricks. Some parts of the floor cave in, causing them to lose their footing. The fun’s just getting started.

Episode 23
Despite all the traps, the Phony pair manage to adapt and adjust. Things are getting desperate as the siblings now resort to using a hidden sniper! Loid manages to pick up the signal and protects Fiona in time. Luckily those are just rubber bullets. And more traps and tricks they throw, our spy duo can overcome them all! Are they even humans?! They not only actually win but manage to reform the siblings. They admit they have been beaten despite all their tricks. They’ll work harder next time! As Phony pair goes through the catalogue and pick out the painting, Campbell then mentions something came up and he’ll compensate them with something else. So were our spies too late since the state security just called him about this issue? After everything is settled, Loid and Fiona leave. They got the painting. Loid was impersonating as one of the servants. He swapped the real painting with a replica while making the final checks. Mission accomplished and perhaps the state security will be searching for a code that doesn’t exist. Loid returns home to see Yor and Anya playing tennis. Instantly Fiona challenges Yor to a match to prove her place. Oh damn, Anya getting all sorts of delusions daddy might get a new mummy! Yor accepts the challenge and as she serves, she misses! But wait! The ball turns into cubicle bits?! Did she swing too hard and the racquet strings cut them?! She serves again but as Fiona is still reeling from this shock, she tries to return, she finds this WTF fireball is too much for her strength. Will her love for Loid be this strong?! Eventually her racquet breaks. Fiona lost. She admits it and wants a revenge match in the future before storming off. Yor tries to boast to Loid she won but he doesn’t seem to get the hint…

Later Sylvia tells him about the deciphered code in the painting. It led the team to a basement where the goods were retrieved. Well… The dossier is an album containing young play actresses. His obsession with this caused a rift with his wife. She wanted them thrown away but he can’t throw away his treasures and sealed them in his basement. Hence the troublesome truth that could reignite the war is not between the nations but between husband and wife. Before his death, several officers visited him and he took them to the play. That was what he wanted them to keep a secret from his wife. So all this work for nothing? Loid thinks there must be a hidden code elsewhere but further analysis showed none. But can we just leave it like that? Nothing to threaten the peace. Yeah. That sounds good enough. Because Zacharis was also a loyal family man and tried to keep his family together, it makes him wonder how hard it is to maintain a family. Oh you don’t know yet, Yor’s feeling very much depressed right now. Meanwhile Fiona continues her power practice swing in the mountains. The bears are so scared…

Episode 24
Yor really thinks Loid is going to toss her aside for Fiona. This has the neighbours think Loid is cheating. Of course Loid heard it and needs to do something fast. So he takes Yor out for a drink. He is going to talk about Fiona but Yor jumps to conclusions that he wants to dump her for his colleague. Yor can’t complain since this is a marriage of convenience to begin with. Since she needs the confidence to tell him stuffs, she downs the whole bottle of alcohol! Now she’s drunk. In her drunken state, she accuses him of getting cosy with Fiona. It soon dawns to Loid that she is just jealous. He uses his suave charms to win her over but she gets embarrassed and kicks him in the chin! Wow. Such powerful kick. He thinks she rejected him! He passes out and remembers some lullaby his mom used to sing to him. Waking up on Yor’s lap, he explains how he loved to be in his mother’s arms because it was safe despite growing up in such war times. Because Anya feels the same, it proves Yor is a safe place for her. Therefore she is the only mother for her and there won’t be no other woman for it. Fiona’s parenting skills are zero (does this mean as a spy she is lacking in this area even if it’s all pretending?). He praises her for building up such skills while taking care of Yuri and hopes to continue being Anya’s mom. That’s enough conviction for Yor to get emotional. Yor now truly feels part of the family. However next morning she forgot the whole thing! Thankfully Loid explains everything again.

Anya is still at her wits’ end to be friends with Damian. Because so, Becky thinks Anya likes Damien. Anya disagrees but that only makes her think she is tsundere. Becky will help Anya but first, appearance is important to steal a man’s heart so she’ll take her go shopping. And so we see Becky renting the entire mall just for this outing. Anya tries on many clothes. Anya the fashionista? But why try out weird WTF outfits? Is this really fashion? Yeah, Anya don’t even understand. Becky soon realizes she could buy some clothes for herself too to get Loid’s heart! Did she just waste her time on Anya? Try on she did and since she can’t decide, she buys everything. Hmph. Rich kids. After more shopping, the only thing Anya bought is a sheep keychain. This is to commemorate shopping with her. Becky seems reluctant to accept since she remembers father’s words that she must only wear the finest. But her servant, Martha reminds her that rejecting such gesture would bring a bad name to the family. Okay. Keychain accepted. Look who’s the tsundere now? Martha remembers Becky growing up as a lonely girl who is stuck up and cocky. That’s why she doesn’t have many friends until she met Anya. Next day at school, both girls sport the same keychain. Their genuine smile and happiness, did it make Damian’s heart skip?!

Episode 25
The security at the social gathering is so freaking tight that it makes the UN or G8 summit look like babies! Loid contemplates the best way to sneak in but as mentioned, the freaking tight security. Finally he answers my question on why not just impersonate one of those famous people and this even does away with Operation Strix! Easy, right?! Well, as prominent people, they are easy to trace and you bet if Loid impersonates as one of them, they might give conflicting statements when Desmond meets the real one. Also, their child might suspect the parent acting strange, hence making the elusive Desmond even more elusive. Yeah. Looks like I’m not so smart after all :-(. Hence Loid must go meet Desmond as himself. Last night, Damian called his brother and asks if dad is attending the gathering. Yes. In that case, can send him a message to meet up? He’ll do so but don’t get your hopes up. He is a very busy man after all. Anya heard this and wants to ‘fight the evil boss’. Hence her stalker mode! So creepy Damian tells her to stop! Feel like punching him again?! When Damian makes his way, suddenly he changes his mind. He won’t meet his father. This is when Anya drops in to reveal that he is scared! Because he got a low score in his previous test! But do not fear, Anya is also the same. Despite getting scolded by her own father, she will still show her failed tests because she loves papa! Wow. So cool. That changes Damian’s mind although he claims he isn’t scared or anything. Anya is going to stalk wait too but falls asleep! Oh my. And so Becky has Martha carry her back home. Her fight with the evil boss ended without even starting!

As Damian waits, Loid pretends to look for a lost keychain in which he planted a replica for Damian to find. He starts a conversation with Damian and wants to apologize for the time Anya punched him. Just then, Desmond makes his way in. It’s show time. Introducing himself to him, Loid wants to formally apologize and all but Desmond says it is not necessary. Instant rejection. It is after all a fight between kids. Loid backs off seeing he doesn’t want to court more suspicion but with Damian insisting the pride of the family is at stake, Desmond puts up a scary expression that forces Damian to drop it. Loid then talks about how he even has a hard time raising his own daughter, prompting Desmond to comment the impossibility to understand what someone else thinks and hence people will never understand each other. While Damian takes this as his father doesn’t care, Loid believes this means Desmond believes in using force to make others bend their knee. Loid uses a bit of his psychiatry work to understand his daughter. He also brings up the report Damian did about him which moved him a lot. He thinks of attending one of his party lectures next time. Loid hopes Damian can continue to be friends with Anya. After Loid takes his leave, Desmond wants to know what Damian wants. If it’s nothing, he’ll be going back. Damian ekes up his courage to mention his achievements, good and bad. Oh. Keep up the good work and don’t bring shame upon the family’s name. That is enough to make Damian very happy. Loid may not have gotten much from this conversation but since Desmond remembers his name, that is a start. Loid returns home and oh my, Anya is still sleeping?! You missed the whole boss fight thingy!

The Family That Spies Together, Stays Together
At this point, it is not even a secret anymore. That’s right. There is going to be another season and there’s no doubt about that. After the way things are going and so far everything that has happened, it was pretty obvious it wasn’t going to just abruptly end there. And that’s why it is no surprise that even before the series ended, an announcement for a second season was made. Yeah, what a way to quash rumours whether or not this series will have a sequel. And what’s this? Going to get a movie too?! Wow. Best news for fans of the series. Heh. That is how spies control the masses with their flow of info and we all certainly took the bait. Elegant! So Anya, be glad to know that you still have your chance to fight the evil boss!

Story wise, seems I have mixed feelings about this first season. The plot itself already isn’t much because as we already know, top spy guy playing pretend family in hopes to get closer to his target. That’s the very basic premise of it all. But as you watch the series, sometimes you wonder if it is taking a long detour as we mostly see missions, antics and shenanigans that feel a lot like fillers (underground tennis championship, people?). Then of course I have to remember what I said earlier on about spies playing the patient game. Yup, the whole idea is to plant all those seeds in the early stages and all that takes time. Imagine if they rushed through everything, it would be just unbelievable and hell, we don’t even need a second season because our spies would have already completed their mission! Therefore it is only justified that 2 cours of this first season is not enough and hence the first season is just laying the groundwork for the next phase.

The other factor why the plot and flow of the story is so is also to of course flesh out Loid’s family. By the end of the first season, it is very much believable that they are acting a lot more like a real family than just a pretend one, although the latter is still very much true. So imagine if the series skipped all those parts and rushed through everything, once more we will not feel the bond that has been created by this family. Yes, even if the family is fake, the time and bonds they have spent together were real. That is why by the time the first season ended, we are very much invested in the Forgers and are more inclined to support and believe in them whether as a family or some group of strangers with secrets living together. Thus looking far ahead and speculating about the future of the family, once the mission has ended or even the war has been avoided, will they continue to live together as a real family or disband? My guts tell me the former because it would be a shame not to.

Character wise, I think the one that many would agree that takes the cake is Anya. The ultimate darling of the series. I believe that without this little girl, the series would have been a lot more boring and mundane. The cuteness and innocence of bright eyed peanut lover Anya as I can see is the one that makes the series a whole lot of fun. True enough, this girl never failed to amuse me and brings in a lot of smiles especially with that looks of hers. Speaking of which, I think that Anya look has become a popular meme itself! That smug face… Of course, it’s not always bright and sunshine cheery for her as there were heart breaking moments to see the loli sad and in tears and it just tugs your heartstring whenever Anya is not her usual Anya. One who lives for the thrill of life, we hope Anya never changes! Yeah, I can’t imagine Anya being grownup and a teen! Oh my, sounding like a lolicon now, eh?! Too bad, I won’t count on her to save the world! Because I can safely say she’ll be sleeping on the job! Yeah.

Loid being the main character and the man of the household, of course he is just doing his job and somehow he is juggling both his job and family in a spectacular fashion. I bet luck plays a huge part in it too. Oh don’t forget Anya’s mind reading abilities. As a guy who is good in getting information, it seems the most important info about his family, he seems to omit it. I suppose this is for the plot of the series because imagine if Loid knows Anya as an esper and his wife is an assassin. Yeah. Imagine the family breaking apart. Don’t worry, Anya won’t let that happen. Somehow. Hopefully. Anyway, sometimes it feels like Loid is missing something on Anya because of the plot convenience as there were many moments he as a very observant guy should have noticed how Anya knows what she is thinking or does actions that is in line with his thinking. Maybe mind readers are not common in this world but he should’ve been suspicious. Did he let his guard down because she is a child? Oh well. You can’t be perfect. Masterfully jack of all trades but not perfect. At least we all agree the worst spy in fiction history is still James Bond, RIGHT?! Oh right. Daybreak. Too bad he isn’t that famous… Almost forgotten about him, eh?!

He doesn’t even suspect his wife to be an assassin and thinks she is just an office lady. Yeah, that episode felt about him suspecting her to be more than an ordinary housewife was like just to sweep this under the rug. Just to assure us he won’t question or bug her true identity further. I mean, it’s not like Yor tightly keeps her identity as tight as how Loid does for his spy profession, right? Loid being the top spy in his agency, I can understand why but seeing how he perfectly juggles them all to near perfection, it makes me wonder if he is even human. I bet this guy could even beat a perfectly programmed machine in its game! Conspiracy theory of mine: Because he has worn so many hats over his job, it makes me wonder which is Loid’s true face. Because there could be multiple clones of him, the reason why he is so adept in almost everything! The secret truth of the spy agency!

In the end, I’m sure that we all are going to believe that Loid is doing this for his job but he’ll also succumb to the charm of this family because this is a family that is unlike others. After wearing so many hats (and masks), this one is his most heavily invested so you bet he isn’t a heartless monster to give up everything once everything is over. After all, he did say that in order to know Anya, he must understand her. In the process this also makes him understand himself and what he truly wants. But I suppose I’m just getting ahead of myself speculating all this because Loid can’t truly be a heartless cold person, right?!

Whether or not Yor is the perfect wife for Loid is up for discussion. Still boggles my mind how trying to play family helps keep her assassin job. So what people suspect of single women her age? Just f*cking kill them! Haha! Oops. Anyway, Yor manages to deflect a lot of suspicions because she is also naturally some sort of an airhead (though, you have to give her points for she has very grand delusions she often jumps into quickly – usually violent ones). She’s so good at assassinating that she literally sucks in other departments especially the household. Is her bad cooking some sort of running joke of the series? Not forgetting her suggestions are usually violent assassin-like solutions. Not very pretty. Wow Anya, not what you bargained for, huh? You thought that being an assassin, she would be at least ‘brainier’ and not as clumsy as she is but if you think for a second, her assassin job is to take orders and not question them. That’s why she’s pretty oblivious and don’t suspect Loid as a spy or Anya as some genius mind reader. Just a normal wife. Nothing else to see. Move along.

Latest addition to the family, doggie Bond feels a bit underwhelming for now. Borf. Like as though this is the pet mascot the series needed but too bad, Anya is way better as a loli mascot and we don’t need no animal mascot for the series! Yeah. For now, Bond seems to be just the family’s dog. After his intro arc, once he has been inducted into the Forgers, nothing really much happening for this doggie. Maybe the next season he will play an even greater role since its ability is to tell the imminent future. Assuming he doesn’t stay a coward! Borf! And like we all still love to speculate once this family stops playing the pretend game and be a real one, perhaps Anya will get a real younger brother or sister! Hah! Would we like to see that happen?!

Other characters are okay and wacky in their own right. For instance, Yuri and Fiona have their own agenda trying to separate the Forgers. Thus the Forgers have to be well aware that they are also fighting another form of enemy. I can imagine and see Yuri and Fiona teaming up together to break up Loid and Yor because their intentions 100% align with each other. Crazy siscon brother and crazy stalker lover could be even more dangerous than shady politicians. Better watch your back. Because they are also strong monsters who won’t give up without a fight. Then there’s Franky who is the minor comic relief character and punching bag. That’s all I have to say about him. Yeah. Sorry.

Then we have Damian who is Anya’s rival and very possible her love interest. Obviously. The way Anya ‘stalks’ him, boy that would eventually sure send the wrong signals. Both somewhat dislike each other but for the sake of the plot, they have to get along because well, Anya needs to help daddy save the world and thus trying hard to be friends with him. Damian being the boy his age definitely won’t admit to like her and I can see that he is more likely to fall for Anya first than the other way round. Yeah, poor kid has got daddy issues since he really wants some much needed attention from father. It’s a strange love-hate relationship between Anya and Damian but I guess they’re kids so they look cute doing that. Yeah, if only complicated adults can be as simple like kids when it comes to friendship. As for Becky, sometimes I feel she’s like an adult trapped in a child’s body due to her penchant for liking and doing adult-like stuffs. And with her having an eye on Loid, it’s like she’s trying to start young committing adultery! Better not let the secret police find out!

With Desmond’s final episode appearance, he truly gives off a very enigmatic presence. The security at the social gathering is already so tight and damn, this dude is even way tighter than that! So elusive that I bet you have a better chance of finding a unicorn, the Easter bunny, the Loch Ness monster and a gold pot at the end of the rainbow all at the same time! This guy is truly very tightly concealed and very careful with his appearance, actions and words not to give anything away. One wrong move and there goes your chance forever. So it makes him a very dangerous man since you cannot tell what he is thinking. Is he friend or is he foe? From the way things are flowing now, he could be the enemy of the state but I hope they won’t eventually pull a silly plot twist in the end like in the case of Zacharis. Uh huh. A red herring. What if it’s not some plans to spark a war but something else that is just petty and insignificant? Worse, what if Desmond is actually some zombie alien masquerading as a human trying to take over the world! Hey, don’t blame me for overthinking. The spies have got to be more than carefully careful and leave no stones unturned even if they have to come up with stupid conspiracy theories. Better safe than sorry.

Art and animation look pretty good. The style is mostly clean and there aren’t many dark scenes as I thought it would be (well, this is a spy themed anime). Though, there may be some blood and gore (thanks to Yor’s job) but nothing traumatic. Yeah, they turned Yuri’s vomit (after tasting Yor’s cooking) into some sparkling water! The setting is mostly against the western backdrop. And here I was having this misconception of the war between east and west was the Caucasian and Sino type. Then I wondered why everything looks so westernized even for the east. Do people from the far east look this western? Got confused. Yeah, found out a bit later that the east and west reference is most likely of the old East and West Germany. Shame on me.

The characters look simple and some a bit comedic. It’s like either you are good looking (Loid) or just weird-cum-comical (Damian’s underlings and yes-boys look cartoonish goofy and not to mention George too). Even Yor looks a bit cartoonish because of that silly grin of hers. Of course the cutest of them all has got to be Anya. Her myriad of facial expressions (especially that Anya look) will definitely put a smile on your face. On a trivial note, why does Loid look like a more suave version of the main character from Great Pretender? This anime is jointly done by Wit Studio (Shingeki No Kyojin, Koutetsujou No Kabaneri, Mahoutsukai No Yome, Vinland Saga, Owari No Seraph, Great Pretender) and Cloverworks (Sono Bisque Doll Wa Koi Wo Suru, Yakusoku No Neverland, Bocchi The Rock, Wonder Egg Priority).

For the voice acting, the one definitely taking the cake is of course Atsumi Tanezaki as Anya (Chise in Mahoutsukai No Yome). She is perfect as the loli and she brings out all the cuteness in her character that makes her oh so lovable. Kudos and hats off to her and hopefully we’ll hear more of those cuteness in the next season. Other recognizable seiyuus are Saori Hayami as the lovely Yor, Yuko Kaida as serious Sylvia, Ayane Sakura as a frosty Fiona, Yuuichi Nakamura as dumb Daybreak and Hiroki Yasumoto as overly-matured-for-a-kid Bill. At first I was very cocksure that Miyuki Sawashiro was behind Camilla’s voice. B*tch mode activated. WTF you mean it’s not?! Who the f*ck is Umeka Shouji (Sara in Bihada Ichizoku)?! What a bummer.

The other casts are Takuya Eguchi as Loid (Hikigaya in Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru), Kensho Ono as Yuri (Mugan in Tiger & Bunny S2), Natsumi Fujiwara as Damian (Eddie in Satsuriki No Tenshi), Emiri Katou as Becky (Aura in Overlord), Kazuhiro Yamaji as Henderson (Bang in One Punch Man), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Yoshino (Mic in Boku No Hero Academia) and Kenichirou Matsuda doubling as Bond, the series’ narrator (Gordon in Black Clover) and Takaya Hashi as Desmond (Normandy in Princess Principal).

The first opening theme is Mixed Nuts by Official Hige Dandism. It tries to be a mix of a spy song and an upbeat anime pop. However I feel that because of that, it comes off as chaotic and messy. From the deep bass lines to the background fanfare, if you want to hear better spy-like anime songs, may I suggest the opener from Najica Blitz Tactics. Unfortunately the second opening song is Souvenir by Bump Of Chicken also doesn’t fare any better. More like a generic and boring anime rock that resonates so similarly like their other anime songs such as in Kekkai Sensen, Granblue Fantasy and 3-gatsu No Lion. Sorry, not really a fan of them. The first ending theme is Kigeki by Gen Hoshino and has this slow and hip hop feel. Sounds rather okay but not really to my liking either. A livelier hip hop feel for the second ending theme, Shikisai by Yama. But also not my cup of tea.

Overall, this anime is quite fun and enjoyable (mostly because of Anya and her cute antics) although it has its flaws (mostly because of Anya too because it distracts us from everything else). With such greatness from this season, obviously we are expecting more from the second season. Who knows? Maybe they’ll follow this formula or they’ll shock us with some plot twist or huge shake up. All the trouble and the lengths some people will go through just to protect the peace. But it’s going to be worth it, right? The same logic can be applied to real life because such peaceful times allow many of us to be armchair critics and badmouth sh*tty animes that are also being abundantly produced! And we can even go to bed and sleep soundly with no remorse! My, such privilege. Heh. I call it elegance! I can see Anya’s smug face anytime now…

Here is another series that I wanted to initially watch both seasons at one go: Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi No Kyoushitsu E S2. Yes, looks like it is another one of those series I never expected to have another season. Not at least 5 years later! So when they announced it was going to have both a second and third season, I was then happy to wait for it all to come out before happily watching them at my leisure. And then of course, recently with so many anime series ‘suitable’ too my taste and soon I will be having too many on my hands to watch, that’s when the panic button was pressed. Yup, just like how it was and started with a certain shield hero sequel. After all, I thought it would take a cour break before resuming but I guess after coming close to a year later and the third season has not come out yet (I believe it is scheduled to be in the later half of this year), this was another factor that accelerated the panicky anxiety. Yeah. Not that I can remember what happened 5 years ago nor this season when the next arrive. So just clear my backlog first. Think later.

Episode 1
Our students are on a luxury liner on their way back after that deserted island test. But soon an announcement for students for the next special test and to follow the instructions in their email. Ayanokouji enters the room to see other than instructor Tomoya Majima, his other fellow 1-D classmates are Sotomura, Karuizawa and Teruhiko Yukimura. Long story short on this next test, with various scenarios and rules, THIS IS ONE HECK OF A CONFUSING GAME OF IDENTIFYING THE CULPRIT!!!! Okay, gotta try my best… All students are grouped into groups based on the planets of the Solar System. In Ayanokouji’s group, Mars. Each group will have 3 students from 1-A, 3 from 1-B, 4 from 1-C and 4 from 1-D. One of them will be anonymously chosen as VIP. Now, the confusing part is identifying this VIP because right or wrong, there will be personal and class points awarded. Of course the VIP will stand to gain the most points in various situations, right or wrong. So you bet the VIP will not want to reveal himself/herself so easily. Certain situations like guessing wrongly before the allotted time will end the test for the group. Later as Ayanokouji and Horikita meet up to discuss, neither seems to be the VIP. However they are approached by Ryuuen who is targeting Horikita and is hell bent in exposing how she achieved such outstanding result on the deserted island test. The test begins as we see Mars group in a room discussing. Others in this group are from 1-A: Kouji Machida, Takuro Morishige and Shigeru Takemoto; 1-B: Ichinose, Ryouta Beppu and Tetsuya Hamaguchi; 1-C: Ibuki, Shiho Manabe, Nanami Yabu and Saki Yamashita. Ayanokouji analyses Ichinose’s smooth operator as she takes control of the discussion by suggesting she becomes the moderator. Because anybody who opposes will have to take that role and might expose more than they should. As they discuss, however Machida suggests 1-A will abstain from any discussion. They discuss the pros and cons especially the fairness among the classes distributed here and as usual, I DON’T REALLY GET IT! Anyhow, Machida claims 1-A will continue to abstain. During the break, Manabe and her friends confront Karuizawa about fighting with Riko Morofuji before summer break. Karuizawa is unsure what they’re talking about and they might have got the wrong person. Manabe thinks she is playing dumb and wants to take a picture of her for assurance in which Karuizawa resists and causes a fuss. This is only stopped when Machida tells them to stop picking on her. During the second discussion, 1-A stays out and the discussion continues to be in deadlock.

Episode 2
Hirata approaches Ayanokouji because there’s this SMS rumour going around saying that Kushida is the VIP. Kouenji will not participate in this farce so he sends his answer whether wrong or right, and thus Jupiter group’s test ends. Horikita calls Ayanokouji to talk. But Ayanokouji wants to know more about Karuizawa because she is acting unnaturally. She wonders if he wants to bring her into the fold. Whatever it is, Ayanokouji needs unity from 1-D if they’re going to go forward. They are interrupted by Ryuuen who wants to know if they have figured out the VIP. Of course they won’t tell so he brags he is already closing in on it. Something about how he’ll forcefully have everyone give their handphones and he’ll check their emails. And he won’t let this word get out to the school. Then he suggests that 1-B, 1-C and 1-D join hands to pool their info on VIP to crush 1-A. Obviously still not going to accept. As Ayanokouji leaves, he bumps into Kushida. WTF she hugs him because she’s lonely? Then he overhears Karuizawa arguing with Hirata. Although he agrees to protect her, however he will not hurt others. She gets upset about that although he remains consistent with what he said. This includes them being a couple is fake. Because of that, she doesn’t need him if he won’t do as she says. After she leaves, Ayanokouji shows his face. He isn’t surprised at this revelation because they’ve been dating for months and yet they aren’t close. He deduces Karuizawa like a parasite who is trying to protect herself. Hirata admits he agreed to play as her boyfriend to protect her from everything. You see, Karuizawa has been a victim of horrific bullying since young. As the test discussions continue, despite Ichinose taking the lead, 1-A continues to sit out. Karuizawa is now seen warming up to Machida. With the discussions ending at a deadlock, Ayanokouji notices Manabe and co tailing Karuizawa. With Yukimura, they follow just in case. Manabe and co confront Karuizawa again over Rika’s case. After getting a little rough, Karuizawa admits somewhat to shoving Rika. Though, she won’t apologize since it’s not like they’re going to let her go. And hence the bullying starts as Karuizawa is reduced to a helpless girl. Yukimura needs to go help but Ayanokouji wants to wait it out.

Episode 3
Yukimura won’t allow this further and against Ayanokouji’s advice, goes to stop the bullying. Although Manabe’s side leaves, the thanks he gets from Karuizawa is nothing. Nobody asked for your help! Karuizawa then gets a message from Hirata to meet at the engine room. Turns out it is Manabe’s groupie instead and they have brought Rika with them. As they start bullying her, they can tell she is a veteran bully victim as they try to get her to beg for mercy. When that doesn’t happen, Manabe teaches Rika how to slap! Meek girl tries out a few times but the more she slaps, the more she enjoys! OMG! Karuizawa’s cheeks so red! Ayanokouji has been watching all this and it seems he was the one who sent the fake message. He confronts Karuizawa after the bullies left. He claims he knows all about her from her fake dating and bully victim. He can blackmail her and wants her to do as she is told by spreading her legs. Uhm, isn’t this also bullying? Because she is willing to do it, he talks about the greater darkness that exists in this world and that she must be hiding something far more darker to allow herself to offer her body like that. He will protect her better than Hirata or Machida. Next time the bullies bully her again, show them this clip that he recorded of them bullying her. Of course he needs her help and they’ll act in each other’s interest. First up, is to win this test. Before the final discussion, Ayanokouji sees Ichinose sleeping in the discussion room. They talk about graduating from class A and one way is to save up 20 million private points! Ayanokouji knows she has about 2 million from the last time he pried and promises that won’t happen again.

As the discussion begins, Hamaguchi has this suggestion that everyone show their handphones. Although this might risk the first person betraying the group to identify the VIP to get all the points, this is better than the deadlock. With Machida still against this, they think he is the VIP. After all, 1-A will lose nothing if this ends in deadlock. Soon many start to show their phones. It is then Yukimura starts to apologize. He is the VIP. He hopes everyone won’t betray him. As narrated by Ayanokouji, Yukimura isn’t the VIP. It is Ayanokouji and they switched phones prior. However Ichinose calls Ayanokouji’s phone to make sure. Oh dear. Now everyone knows Ayanokouji is the VIP and blames 1-D for being dirty cheaters, leaving Yukimura in despair. But Ayanokouji isn’t panicking. Further truth reveals he isn’t the VIP but Karuizawa. They switched phones then and he will switched his with Yukimura (who will be unaware of their pact) to set this double trap. But what if someone calls them? Because they cannot switch SIM cards. Don’t worry. Ayanokouji has met up with Chabashira to use his points to allow for that. Apparently Ichinose seems to know about this plan too because it doesn’t matter where the false identification comes from, 1-B will still benefit. Thus the reason she stalled discussions was to pull this stunt in the end. As results come out, 1-A comes out as the biggest losers as they lost a lot of points. While 1-B has no change and 1-D added a few points, 1-C comes out tops as the winners with the most points. Ryuuen comes to brag to a frustrated Horikita that he knew Kushida was the VIP on the second day. He will make her his next target. All Ayanokouji knows is that 1-D is now placed in a difficult position.

Episode 4
Class 1-D talks about the logic behind the VIP game. Basically if you arrange all the members of the group alphabetically and line it up against the planet sequence of that group, voila! You get your VIP. Of course it was hard to determine that logic during the discussion. With the second term starting, Chabashira hands out materials to her class about the upcoming sports festival which is of course an important event that will impact their scores. There are mandatory and voluntary events (obviously with higher points) in which the top 3 will get bonuses but the bottom 10 will receive penalty in the sense that they will have points from their next exam deducted. Tough. Furthermore, 1-D will pair with 1-A as red team against the white team of 1-B and 1-C. Later Ayanokouji and Horikita talk about this. The former believes sneaky tricks won’t have bearing as it will depend much on stamina, endurance and athleticism. He knows she wants to find quick fixes and loopholes like having someone absent or dropout halfway. Whether it can work or not depends on her. As 1-D decide on who to participate in which event, Sudou volunteers to do them all and bring in the glory to 1-D. But Horikita suggests instead of putting best participants for each event, they should pair a weaker one to guarantee higher placements. However some disagree because this reduces the chances of non-athletic people of winning everything. Horikita claims this is for long term benefit. Karuizawa then voices her opposition because it’s hard to understand before asking Kushida about her opinion. As Horikita continue to berate her as dumb, some start to agree with Karuizawa. Hirata then has the class take a vote. It seems more people agree to Horikita to Karuizawa while others like Ayanokouji abstained.

Later Karuizawa confronts Ayanokouji about his message because she actually was in favour of Horikita’s proposal. It seems he told her to think up of some excuse to oppose Horikita and then ask Kushida’s opinion. He can’t tell her the details so she asks about his goal. He claims he now believes he can bring 1-D closer to 1-A and has laid the groundwork to create a framework that will make her see and believe so. Because he intends to produce a traitor during the sports festival who will spill all info on 1-D to others. As 1-D practice for the big day, it seems some girls are not happy with Horikita. The b*tch is telling off others for being slow in the 3-legged race and the slow ones should be matching her pace! Ayanokouji talks to her about the need to compromise or she’ll lose trust in others. In order to prove it, he has her practice with him. Shockingly, she finds it hard to keep up with him who is faster. The lesson is, it is not about individual speed. Horikita needs to learn to look at her partner and giving them a degree of initiative. Then he wants her along with Kushida to come with him to go do some recon on the enemy. Why Kushida? Because in the last test, she was the traitor in Earth group!

Episode 5
Ayanokouji believes it was Kushida who leaked it herself to Ryuuen. She might have done so to receive points from other class. He advises Horikita that a class with a traitor cannot win and that if she wants to lead, she must rethink her strategy. So as a lively Kushida is happy Ayanokouji calls her out on this ‘date’, he claims it was Horikita’s idea. Horikita wastes no time in asking her as Earth group’s traitor in which of course she denies of such sort. Sports day is here. Sudou is giving his class the great moral booster as red team takes the lead. However all that starts to change when Ryuuen and his guys start targeting Sudou and even getting a bit physical. It might be against the rules but the school will see it as a minor accident. Then Horikita gets her feet injured after colliding with Minori Kinoshita. Red team continues their downfall with Sudou falling to Ryuuen’s provocation and losing the lead. Sudou then descends into a tyrant. Karuizawa confides in Ayanokouji who reveals the traitor leaked their participation list to Ryuuen. He believes he is trying to achieve 2 things: Pit weaker players against Sudou and everyone else up against someone slightly superior to rack up overall wins. The other is to crush Horikita. Ayanokouji further reveals his tactic is not to do anything and in fact 1-D must lose as much as possible as this will empower them later. Sudou is about to go beat up Ryuuen but Hirata tries to stop him. Other students claim about his tyranny and ultimately Hirata gets punched. Sudou quits and won’t do this anymore. Ayanokouji then approaches Horikita to talk to Sudou to get him back or they’re done for. Since she thinks it’s futile, he calls her useless. She might be alone now but a future ally might prove useful. Hence she must learn to use Sudou like how he uses her. Kushida later calls Horikita because Kinoshita’s injuries has worsened. They go to see her but looks like Ryuuen is there too. They claim Horikita did this on purpose and they will file a report. Horikita rubbishes their lies but what prove does she have? Ryuuen is happy to see her in ‘court’. Ryuuen offers to let this slide if she gives him a million points. She won’t at first so he’ll let her have it her way it. Because troubling her brother weighs heavily on her mind, she will reconsider. Too late, that is off the table now. Because if she really wants it, not only a million points but also beg for forgiveness. He’ll hear her answer after the sports festival. Horikita realizes she has fallen into his trap. She passes by Manabu and assures she will not trouble him. Whether or not he cares, she thinks for now it is sufficient he at least stopped to listen to her.

Episode 6
Horikita goes to talk to Sudou. He is not in the mood for some lecture. Meanwhile Ayanokouji talks to Kushida and reveals she was the one who revealed their participation list to the enemy. At first she denies because if he knew about it, why didn’t he change up the list? Even if he did, the traitor will still find a way. Ayanokouji can go to confirm it with Chabashira if there are still doubts. This is when Kushida admits she is the traitor. Ayanokouji knows her intention to get Horikita expelled but is unsure of the source of that grudge. She admits to that and is willing to sell out 1-D for it. That has been her only goal. Oh, now she adds a new one: To get Ayanokouji expelled too. Of course she knows he cannot expose this as she too has some dirt on him (that molestation thingy). With Sudou cooled down, Horikita continues to talk that they are very alike. She reveals Manabu as her older brother and how she is so focused in trying to catch up with him. She never thought the class was her priority until this festival proved she had her priorities wrong. She realizes she can’t do this alone and needs his help. Somehow her words resonates with him so he agrees to go back and help. First, he apologizes to everyone and takes the blame for the failures. Everyone rally behinds him for the final relay event. As the event starts, Manabu approaches Ayanokouji and asks what changed 1-D because they were hopeless at first but now that’s no longer the case. Ayanokouji credits Horikita for it but Manabu has interest in hypothetical futures. So Ayanokouji wonders if he is interested to learn who he is.

When Manabu’s teammate passes the baton, he doesn’t run. He waits for Ayanokouji’s teammate to do so and only then both start running with all their might. Damn, they just zoom past everyone! In the end, Ayanokouji lost. While red team wins overall, class 1-D still ranks bottom. Horikita learns a valuable lesson that she saw hope in this failure and will continue to grow. Then she goes confront Ryuuen since she won’t run away. But first she calls out to Kushida and wants her to drop the act. Now that she recognizes who she is, Kushida shows her true colours. She is hell bent in expelling Horikita and is willing to sell her soul to the devil to do it. She won’t ignore her because everyone in her past who knows it must be eliminated. When Horikita claims Kushida sold out the list to Ryuuen who then planned on all this, Ryuuen will play along with this fantasy of hers and admits all that. Including beating up and threatening Kinoshita to make her injury look worse. Horikita has got recorded evidence of this conversation if they ever so want to blackmail her. However Ryuuen also got this whole thing recorded in case she tried to edit the real footage. After all, Ryuuen did not actually admit to all that wrongdoing. Now he wants her to prostrate herself but a well-timed call catches him by surprise. He plays out a clear recording of him making detailed plans with Kushida on what to do during the festival. He realizes there was also a traitor amidst their team. This means Kushida has been used and her betrayal was anticipated in advance. Ryuuen calls this off but promises to find the person behind this.

Episode 7
Manabu gives her final speech as student council president and his post will soon be handed over to Miyabi Nagumo of 2-A. Later Katsuragi approaches Ayanokouji to warn him that Ryuuen is targeting Horikita. He regrets working with him because he is their enemy. Busy day for Ayanokouji because fellow classmate, Maya Satou approaches him to ask he has a girlfriend. Nope. Impressed with his run at the sports festival, she wants to start out as his friend and exchange contacts. Chabashira announces that with the recent results for once there will be no one from 1-D expelled. But wary of the next special test called Paper Shuffle. Basically, they will be paired up and their total scores will determine if the pair get expelled or not. To determine that pair, a mini test next week will be held although it has no bearing on their standings whatsoever. For Paper Shuffle, the classes themselves will do the questions and they can request from which class they want to get their questions from. Of course it must be within the syllabus as the teachers will scrutinize it so no cheating happens. Later as Horikita wants to discuss with her friends about this, Kushida wants to join in. No grounds to reject, right? While the rest go ahead, Horikita talks with Ayanokouji to tell more about her past with Kushida. In the same middle school but in different class, it seems days before their graduation, somebody greatly trashed the classroom. Rumours said it was Kushida. Anyhow Horikita became her target. Ayanokouji wonders if she can bring Kushida to her side and Horikita is confident she can. Meanwhile tyrant Ryuuen interrogates his class about a traitor. He’ll forgive whoever if the culprit confesses. But then beats up Manabe first and knows she’s the mole. She and her lackeys reveal the whole truth so Ryuuen starts to believe the plausibility that Ayanokouji could be the mastermind. Time to make use of Kushida. Horikita talks about the mini tests and from what Chabashira said, the low number of expelled indicates the highest is paired with the lowest score to average it out. As for whom they want to get their questions from, because 1-A and 1-B are too academically smart, 1-C is their only choice. That night Karuizawa calls Ayanokouji wanting to know if he is really dating Satou. Just exchanged contacts. As he confirms Manabe has not bullied her since, he assures if that happens, call him because he’ll definitely resolve it for her. After the mini tests, here are some of the notable pairings for 1-D: Horikita-Sudou and Ayanokouji-Satou.

Episode 8
1-D makes arrangements for study groups and on rotation basis. When Akito Miyake and Haruka Hasebe confront Hirata as they are bad matchups for each other, Horikita is hinting Ayanokouji should help be their tutor but surprisingly Yukimura would take that task to make up for his inability during the sports festival. However Horikita still wants Ayanokouji to observe them. Later Ayanokouji asks Horikita for any updates on Kushida. For now it seems she isn’t leaking anything to 1-C although that won’t solve the root of the problem. It couldn’t get any worse for Ayanokouji as he gets a message from Ryuuen hinting he knows he is the mastermind. Horikita realizes that had she not enrolled in this school, Kushida’s life would’ve been much different. That doesn’t mean she is at fault and hence goes to confront Kushida and wants to make a bet. She lets her pick a subject for the finals in which if Horikita scores higher than her, Kushida will stop sabotaging her. Otherwise she will leave school on her own accord. What if the loser reneges on her promise? Horikita has brought someone reliable as witness: Manabu. He doesn’t care whatever dispute they have or what happens to his sister. He is merely called as a witness. With him as a trustworthy person, Kushida agrees to the bet and the subject in focus will be maths. Kushida also knows Ayanokouji is listening to this live recording and also calls him out to meet. She thinks of adding another condition and that is for him to leave if Horikita scores lower. Horikita disagrees as it has nothing to do with him but Ayanokouji agrees to that on one condition: She must tell everything about her past. Because if he claims he doesn’t know anything, will she let him off the hook? And so it begins. Kushida from young got praised for the littlest of accomplishment. She became hooked on it. But as she grew older and the praises getting lesser, she needed to do something to gain attention. That is, she started volunteering to help others. Despite getting the praise she wants, being a gopher was a pain. The only way to vent that all out was via her blog. But despite not naming names, her classmates soon found out and accused her of everything. After all that she has done for them. That was when she revealed everyone’s dark secrets. Everyone got so mad and turned on each other, causing the classroom to be destroyed! So now Kushida vents all her stresses verbally. Her whole life’s purpose is to get praised but she gets a new sort of kick when people reveals their darkest secrets to her. She might not know 1-D well enough but has enough info to take some of them down. So now that the truth is out, time to live up to your promises.

Episode 9
Kushida and Ryuuen make a deal to trade their class’ questions for the Paper Shuffle. As Ayanokouji’s study group gets underway, Ryuuen pays a visit. He asks if any of them got his message. None answered so he has Hiyori Shiina remembers if anyone strikes her in particular. None. With that, Ryuuen leaves. Later Hasebe suggests to form their own group. The guys agree and even call each other on first name basis. However Yukimura hates his first name because it was given by his mother who is a bad person. Instead he wants to be called as Keisei, the name his father would have given him. Surprisingly Sakura wants to join this group too so they allow her. Ayanokouji then calls Karuizawa for their next plan during Horikita’s big study group. As they gather, Karuizawa picks a fight with Kushida, blaming her for wanting to see her fail and hence to drop the nice act. It goes as far as Karuizawa splashing water over her clothes. After Hirata manages to calm her down, Karuizawa feels sorry and as apology will help clean her uniform. Kushida then hands in the questions to Chabashira and tells her if anyone from her class comes to give them, it is fake and to pretend to accept it before destroying it. Then she gets the copy of 1-C’s questions from Ryuuen. As Paper Shuffle begins, Kushida realizes she has been tricked because the questions are not from 1-C. When it is over, she confronts Ryuuen but he tells her that Horikita outmanoeuvred her instead. This is also explained by Ayanokouji to Karuizawa. Horikita foresaw this so on the day Paper Shuffle was announced, she went to see Chabashira to have her accept only questions handed in by her. If from others, to pretend to accept and then destroy it. This plan worked well so Ayanokouji’s backup plan of Karuizawa having a fight with Kushida to plant a cheat sheet in her clothes wasn’t needed. Kushida calls out to Ryuuen for betraying her but he reminds her that their relationship is that of convenience. With Horikita winning, obviously Kushida is forced to keep her promise. Horikita would love to be friends with her but it isn’t over for Kushida yet. The only agreement was to stop sabotaging Horikita. Get what she meant? Ayanokouji also weaved his magic by sending a message to Ryuuen to give him 1-C’s papers or alter the sheet he gave to Kushida. He chose the latter after being told how Horikita saw through Kushida’s plan. Ryuuen now plans to unmask Ayanokouji for using him. He wants him to identify himself or he’ll destroy Karuizawa. Ayanokouji is up for that challenge. Bring it on.

Episode 10
Karuizawa notices a guy from 1-C following home. Back home, she calls Ayanokouji about this. He tells her to just ignore them. Then he asks about the task he gave her about a stalker stalking their study group. She has a picture of a girl but it turns out she isn’t from 1-C but 1-A. This has Ayanokouji believe it’s an initiative from Sakayanagi. Guys from 1-C try to pick a fight with Sudou but he just ignores them. This has Horikita believe 1-C is targeting them since they lost many points from Paper Shuffle to them and there were no expulsion from Paper Shuffle this year. It is also their plan to uncover 1-D’s mastermind and she believes Ryuuen has seen through the ruse that it is not her as he has not be in contact with her. She then gives Ayanokouji to return some book to the library. Doing so, he stumbles into Shiina trying to get a book on the top shelf. He does so and they talk about books. Apparently Shiina is a book lover and no one in her class shares this interest. She isn’t interested with all that fighting and hopes everyone to get along. Soon, Chabashira calls Ayanokouji because there is someone here to see him in the reception room. It is his father. First, he blames his son that their ex-butler, Matsuo is dead. Last month he set himself on fire. The butler was the one who recommended Ayanokouji this school and hence ‘escaping’ from his father’s clutches. Matsuo was fired for that. Father believes that path he created for his son is perfect but Ayanokouji will choose his own path. Without wasting any time, he wants his son to sign on this form to voluntarily quit school. Of course he won’t. Ayanokouji reminds him that he is not obliged to obey his orders. This is not White Room. Speaking of which, it is back in operation. So why need him? Because no other talents could come close to him as he is his most prized possession. Gee, that’s a weird way to say it’s because he is his son. Or is he actually not?!

Last chance to sign or else. This is when the chairman comes in. He is Sakayanagi’s father and was once working for him as his secretary many years ago. The chairman cannot agree to Ayanokouji’s father’s request because the school places priority on students’ independence. Father believes that all those entrance exams are just formalities and knew his son cannot enter without a recommendation. It is the chairman who recommended Ayanokouji. Therefore it is his duty to protect Ayanokouji until he desires to quit school himself. Ayanokouji’s father leaves him in his care for now and out of respect for him. Ayanokouji then talks to the chairman, confirming he is Sakayanagi’s father as well as he will not give his own daughter special treatment. This means he is still bound by the rules of the school and that is as far as the protection can go. When he leaves, Chabashira asks about the meeting so Ayanokouji believes she has been lying to him. Based on the talk with the chairman, Ayanokouji now knows she has no ties with his father. He knows she is obsessed with her class becoming 1-A and rued she didn’t have any gifted students. Until Ayanokouji came along. Because he could never get expelled, this means there is no reason for him to follow her orders. He hints he is not interested in helping 1-D become 1-A anymore. Later Karuizawa is surprised Ayanokouji calls her. She thinks he should be more proactive like Hirata and that would make him more famous. However he is calling to apologize all that has happened. He says his is no longer motivated to help 1-D to become 1-A and will leave it to Horikita and Hirata. This will be the last time they will be in contact so be sure to erase all evidence. This comes to her as a shock because it is so sudden. He reminds her that their relationship is only transactional.

Episode 11
Ryuuen visits 1-D. But as Kouenji leaves, he and his goons follow. This has some of 1-D racing out to see if anything will happen to their classmate. Ryuuen wants to talk to Kouenji and the situation is further complicated with Sakayanagi and her groupie wanting to join in. Ryuuen warns her not to interfere. Kouenji knows Ryuuen’s ploy to sniff out the mastermind but he assures that he isn’t the one he is looking for. For Kouenji has no interest in doing all the special exams and has not put in any effort. Ryuuen believes he could’ve participated in others and he might be the one secretly controlling 1-D. Kouenji thinks he is dumb for thinking like that so Ryuuen hints of using violence to dominate him. Kouenji dares him and even believes he can take them all down. Ryuuen is then irked when Sakayanagi teases him and unheeding his warning to stop, he attacks her but is blocked by Hashimoto. With this farce ending, Horikita is confused over Ryuuen’s erratic behaviour. He claims he is weeding out the mastermind and has an idea who the culprit is. Ryuuen will continue his hunt as we hear his plan of having his lackeys watch and stalk 1-D to sow uneasiness among them. Now it’s the time to end it as he has called out the bait to come and hopefully the mastermind would show up. That bait is of course Karuizawa and she shows up after receiving his text. In short, he knows her past as bully victim and threatens to expose it unless she tells the name of the mastermind. He has proof from Manabe’s mouth that because of the mastermind’s threats, her groupie stopped bullying her. Karuizawa insists she knows nothing so Ryuuen has his lackeys start pouring water over her. Note, in this construction area, the temperature is almost freezing. As she continues to insist and suffer over it, Ryuuen notes that this school might look like it follows the rules. However there are circumstances that forceful methods to a degree are permitted like behind the scene trading with other classes. Hence those smart enough will want to test those boundaries and this is part of it. Karuizawa remains resilient so Ryuuen is going to take this slow torture to the next level for his own amusement.

Episode 12
Ryuuen claims the mastermind has abandoned her because he has not come to her rescue. This has Karuizawa starting to doubt. All she needs to do is give a name and Ryuuen will no longer touch her. However Karuizawa is willing to get destroyed just to protect the mastermind. Well, it’s been fun being around Ayanokouji. She doesn’t mind going out this way. Suit yourself. Ryuuen will destroy her now. Ayanokouji talks to Chabashira about Ryuuen putting up one of his shows with Karuizawa. He hints if he breaks her, the chances of 1-D advancing will be forever gone. So he wants her help to stop this? Ayanokouji has also brought Manabu into the fold. However his role is to clean up the aftermath and testify against 1-C with things go awry. In exchange, Ayanokouji will assist Horikita’s entry into the student council. Ayanokouji arrives just in time before Ryuuen begins his finale. Ayanokouji reveals he is the mastermind he is looking for and is only here to save Karuizawa as she initially send a text to save her. Ibuki can’t believe he is the mastermind so he reveals some of the things he did on the deserted island. Ryuuen is interested in his plan but Ayanokouji claims he has none. After all, if Ayanokouji wanted to keep his identity hidden, he wouldn’t have used Manabe as a tool. Hence everything was planned from the start to make Ryuuen think he was in control. Ryuuen’s lackeys start to assault but damn, Ayanokouji is good fighter! He knocks them all out! Even Ibuki goes down with a single chop! Now it’s time for the boss fight. Ayanokouji still better in fighting against the violent brute. Ryuuen telling his formation years of his ideals revolving around violence. That is what the world runs on. The only thing that overcomes it is death. As they continue to brawl, Ryuuen claims he has no fear as he tries to make Ayanokouji feel some sort of feelings. But as Ayanokouji beats his face to a bloody pulp, Ryuuen then puts up that fearful face that this guy has no feelings at all! Eventually Ryuuen gets KO. Ayanokouji tends to Karuizawa who of course is disappointed in him for using her. But she didn’t rat him out and doing this for herself. She cries in his arms as the whole experience was scary. Ayanokouji assures he will come to save her if anything like this happens again.

Episode 13
Ibuki can’t find Ryuuen. When she does, looks like he is wandering around aimlessly. She wonders if he is quitting. He throws her his phone and tells her to take all his points. That’s your answer. However she won’t accept it and even beats him up. Since he didn’t even fight back, she goes away angrily. Ayanokouji spying on those notes Ryuuen still can be of use. Meanwhile Karuizawa is starting to have thoughts that she might be in love with Ayanokouji! YOU THINK SO?! But soon Satou calls her for advice because she wants to date Ayanokouji on Christmas! I mean, who else is a pro in dating, right?! Even better, she wants to double date! Back in her room, Karuizawa gets a call from Ayanokouji, giving her a mission to find out more about Satou. From her personality to her likes and dislikes. I thought he was done with Karuizawa? She is confused if he is asking because he is interested in Satou or wants to use her as a pawn. Ayanokouji talks to Horikita to tell her Manabu recommends her joining the student council. Untrusting at first, he lets her call him to confirm he is not lying.

Busy day for Ayanokouji because he goes to talk to Ryuuen. Because 1-D claims part responsibility in destroying the surveillance cameras, it saved Ryuuen from expulsion. Ryuuen also didn’t expose his abuse on Karuizawa because that would make his lackeys get expelled and as their leader that is not a cool thing to do. Ayanokouji notes that Ryuuen put up a nice show before surrendering. Because if he was there alone, the fight could’ve lasted longer. Ryuuen believes Ayanokouji wants to use him to get other classes, the reason why he didn’t get expelled. Ayanokouji claims he has no interest in raising 1-D’s standards and wants to observe. However there is a more pressing issue: Kushida. He has already formed a conclusion that 1-D will take over 1-C by the third term. However they will likely fall back down because of Kushida’s expulsion. That is his goal.

The double date begins. Nothing extraordinary happens. The end of the day as both couples part ways, Satou wonders if Ayanokouji had fun because he never smiled. He claims he did have fun but she is unworthy of his smile. Then she goes for the kill by asking to be her boyfriend only to be rejected. He cannot be the kind of man she wants him and has never felt romantic feelings before. He is not mature enough to fall in love. A heartbroken Satou runs home in tears. Ayanokouji then calls out to Karuizawa hiding. He explains his rejection is partly he has concluded Satou is not close a good substitution for Karuizawa. She really wonders if he only sees others as tools. Then they both exchange presents before heading back. Ayanokouji noting this situation for now will do. All part of his plan to make Karuizawa totally dependent on him. From the ‘threat’ to cutting contact with her to make her have lingering regret as well as his delayed appearance to rescue her, she is now a reliable pawn who will not betray him so easily. But he too wonders if he himself can move on from seeing others as pawns. After they part, Sakayanagi confronts him. She knows about his past and the greatest masterpiece created from the White Room. She hints her goal is to destroy him. You think Ayanokouji will get intimidated by that?

Deception Inception: Walking With A Friend In The Dark Is Better Than Walking Alone In The Light
As of course, everything is not over by a long shot. There is next season to cover and I’ll cross the bridge when I get there. But as far as this season is concerned, I am generally surprised that I found my quite interested in what is going on even if there were at many times, stuffs that I do not comprehend or connect the dots (because of my failing memories, what else?). So yeah, despite not getting the bigger picture, somehow I find this series entertaining in its own right rather than downright boring or crappy as I initially jumped the gun and concluded before I started watching this second season! My, oh my. Such prejudice, am I?

Now, despite my interest in the series, of course not everything went smoothly as the biggest stumbling block has been my ability to understand things that are slightly a bit complicated. Hence the same kind of dilemma and feelings watching series like Kakegurui. For instance when this sequel started off with one of those weird games AKA special exams, I somehow found it interesting but the problem was the slightly confusing mechanics was the main factor in hindering my overall enjoyment of that said mini plot. Heck, I even went online to do some reading on it and I still couldn’t actually grasp the whole concept! AM I THAT DUMB???!!! Thus this weird feeling that the plot for this particular mini arc was quite interesting and intriguing however my brain being unable to comprehend such mechanics became the biggest hindrance for me to enjoy and make total sense of what was going on. Sighs.

But after the first quarter of this second season, the rest of the sequel descended into some political outmanoeuvring game or something. Hence it wasn’t so much on the games itself. Be it the sports festival or the Paper Shuffle, there was nothing that intriguing to these events (pretty normal and very much uneventful, if I should say) as the plot now tends to focus more on the backstabbing, betraying, backhanded strategies and whatever outmanoeuvring tactics our main characters are playing. Even this part was quite interesting for me. Alas, once more I have to blame my sluggish brain being unable to process all those mind games they were playing. Yeah, I guess I will be the best pawn or the worst tool ever! So, did I watch this anime at the wrong time when my brain isn’t functioning well?!

Therefore I believe a big chunk of this second season was probably to resolve the case with Ryuuen because you have to know that he isn’t the only ‘bad guy’ around whom Ayanokouji ‘must defeat’. That’s right. Ryuuen is only one of the sub-bosses in a pool with other big fish bosses to deal with. Remember, there is Ichinose and eventually Sakayanagi who are very different individuals. Unlike Ryuuen using violence and his tyranny. Now that Ryuuen is one obstacle out of the way (even bringing him under Ayanokouji’s fold), Ayanokouji has now less one problem (technically) and he is now freer to concentrate on the other problems at hand. After all, Ichinose and Sakayanagi make only a small cameo here and my guts tell me they might come to the fore next season now that Ryuuen is ‘done’. Of course there is the imminent threat of Kushida because it is not yet game over for that girl too.

Ayanokouji as the main character, this season reveals a lot about him. Of course, I believe there are more secrets and hidden stuffs, things that are more than meets the eye to this guy. But now I can safely say that his poker face that is devoid of any emotion is for real. Unless of course he is once more pulling the wool over our eyes and is concealing it very tightly, tricking us to think that he is a machine without feelings. But I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is so because of that experiment thingy. After all, I did once suspected Ayanokouji could be the main villain himself! Uh huh. If there is one thing about him that I have learnt, it is to doubt this guy from head to toe! Too bad I won’t be smart enough to outmanoeuvre him, that’s for sure! So whatever his beef and his intentions with other students as well as his own goals, hopefully we’ll find out more as the pieces start rolling in next season. Damn, Ayanokouji is so smart that he concocted plans and scenarios from the start in which everyone in the end is actually dancing right in his palm, it got me thinking that this guy himself might have written the script for this anime! How else do you explain why everything falls into place according to his plan 100%!!!! HOW?! Oh right. Someone once said, the best way to predict the future is to create it!

The other character in focus this season is of course Karuizawa. This season brings to light the trauma of her past but at the same time, turning her into Ayanokouji’s reliable lackey. Or pawn. Or tool. Whatever you want to call it. Unless she too is trolling us. Just because she showed us her weak side and that her ‘acting’ to make us believe that she has become reliant on Ayanokouji especially that clincher she has feelings for him, all could be a ploy to let our guard down! Yeah, I know. I might be overthinking and at this point I’m just highly sceptical of everyone and everything in this series. Doubt everyone and everything at first go! Uh huh. That’s my philosophy now when I approach this series! Unless the biggest plot twist of Karuizawa has been leading Ayanokouji around, I doubt that would highly happen and even in the most remote chances it did, I’m sure Ayanokouji has foreseen and predicted it, has even taken countermeasures for it. Oh, I can imagine his deadpan expression when he doubles down with this plot over plot twist thingy! I mean, he is the one who wrote the script for this anime, RIGHT???!!! Just kidding. But you get what I mean.

Ryuuen as the antagonist of this season, he is shown in a way to be a scumbag and something for us to pile our hate on him because of his tyranny and dictatorship over 1-C. Especially how he tortured cutie pie Karuizawa just to make us want to not forgive him, right? It was like a big chunk of this series has him playing this game of cat and mouse with the mastermind in his bit to unveil that culprit’s identity. He is not stupid either and has his own ways. He could be the same like Ayanokouji in terms of controlling others but only their methods differ. Ryuuen is more physical and upfront brash in showing his authority while Ayanokouji is more subdued and pulls strings from behind the shadows. Eventually still waters run deep because we have seen shocking things that Ayanokouji we never thought was capable of (like being a good fighter) and Ryuuen’s cockiness and arrogance led to his own downfall. He is still respectable and takes responsibility as his class’ leader and thus this prevents him from turning him into a 100% unredeemable jerk. He might have sounded defeated and allowing himself to become Ayanokouji’s pawn but I wonder if he is just lying low and waiting for a chance of weakness to strike back. I can see that potential in Ryuuen. Of course I believe Ayanokouji will not allow that if that ever happens. Yup, I bet he foresee such outcomes already.

Don’t even mention the students but looks like even the teachers themselves have their own agenda, namely Chabashira. Don’t really remember the deal about her with Ayanokouji but it seems her obsession for her class to rise to the top is her main priority and she is using Ayanokouji for that. Yes, that guy can use others at tools but now the other way round. So it begs the question if only meritocracy and talent are just on the surface, just there to look nice and proper. Because deep down in our darkest human hearts, we all have that selfish and greedy ulterior motive. So much about being elite, huh? No wonder this series continues to have its trademark that at the opening of every episode (which also serves as the episode’s title), an excerpt taken from some European philosopher’s literature generally about mankind’s behaviour. However for this season, the mid-intermission no longer has those detailed info like the last. Just a picture of a random character, that’s all. I guess there are no rules when it comes to political manoeuvring, huh?

The rest of the other characters aren’t so prominent for example, Horikita. Her small moment to shine was during the sports festival in getting Sudou to work on her side as well as throwing away her inferiority complex against her brother. Surprisingly, we always thought Manabu hated her but could it be that it was all just from Horikita’s perception? Or is it because now he isn’t the student council president, he is now freer to support his sister? Either way, Horikita plays a smaller role this season and this one probably sets up whatever for the next season. Though, Kushida’s beef with her has been revealed, I still cannot put my finger on why Kushida blames Horikita for it. How the f*ck was she related to her case? Am I missing something? If Kushida wants all those in her past to disappear, Horikita is not the only one. Sakura felt even more negligible this season and if she doesn’t even appear, the story will still progress and we would have even forgotten all about her. Kouenji, sorry this guy hasn’t turn out to be a villain as I thought he would the last time. Not yet. Maybe. Hirata, still putting up that nice guy act, though…

A few new characters introduced here (not an accurate term since they were around in last season but were not prominently featured) but the more noticeable one would be Satou since she truly has feelings for Ayanokouji but such heart breaking moment for her to be rejected. I wonder if this was all just a side distraction and Satou will serve nothing more in the future or will there be another antagonist in the making. Because there is nothing more fearful than a girl who gets jilted by her first love! Oh the horror! And yes, I bet Ayanokouji won’t be losing sleep about it.

Last season was animated by Lerche and they continued to do so for this season. Nice to see that they maintained their consistency of the art style and quality. Though, there were some scenes that were too dark for me to see. My hardware problem? Nah! All of the seiyuus from the first season were retained and some of the new ones are Rie Takahashi as Shiina and Souma Saitou as Nagumo. ZAQ who sang last season’s opener is retained to sing this season’s opening theme, Dance In The Game. It maintains that hip hop rock theme like the last time so it’s not entirely that bad. The ending theme too isn’t that bad. Hito Shibai by Mai Fuchigami has some nice hip hop beat to it.

Overall, I find this season is still interesting as it partly advances the plot and some of the characters despite not being able to understand some of the stuffs. Of course this series has a lot of dialogue (Ryuuen’s outburst of violence doesn’t make this series count it as action) and uses some grey matter power so if you’re not into that sort of category, you’re going to be confused and most likely to stay far away from. All that’s left for me is to look forward to the next season and then perhaps I could form a more conclusive conclusion about this series. Hopefully when that happens, I won’t have forgotten mostly what happened in previous seasons! After all, there is this saying: People are machines of forgetfulness. Also: One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory!

Harem Camp

12 May, 2023

HOLY F*CK???!!! HOW THE HECK DID I MISS THIS???!!! Oh well… You see, when I first heard of Harem Camp, I thought this was the much needed ‘male targeted’ series to counter that wholesome (and extremely boring!) anime about a group of cute girls doing camping. That’s right. Here I was, thinking this was going to be so much more ‘entertaining and a whole lot of fun’ with a little bit of funny fanservice hijinks on the outdoors. So I thought. Thus it baffled me why this series was not on the seasonal list of animes even more so when it aired back in the final quarter of 2022. Did it slip my radar somehow? Yup, the thought of as well as the huge tag labelling as HENTAI, I somehow missed that sign and only realized so until I watched the first episode. Oh… Oh… OOOHHH… No wonder… So I got a little more than I bargained for on this sex camp…

Episode 1
Kensuke Yamamichi is camping alone in the mountains when suddenly 3 lost girls approach him. You can tell that they are not prepared for camping. Uh huh. Wearing those kind of clothes in the mountains?! He offers them to stay and of course he thinks he can get lucky with them. Too bad when Haruki Azuma shows up, that killed his libido thinking these girls belong to this dude. Haruki doesn’t think they should stay with this creep but what choice do they have? So as they camp for the night, obviously a single tent is too tight to have 5 people. Yamamichi is still drunk so he tries to get lucky with the one sleeping next to him. As he gropes, he is shocked he is fondling Haruki. But here’s the surprise: Haruki is actually a girl! Now that he thinks about it, she is kinda cute so he continues to molest her. Haruki definitely is against this but you know, the script says she must be turned on by this rape and since she is feeling so good, she lets all this slide. Party is over when he cums all over her thighs! He gets away with it since he calls her cute. Sweet dreams.

Episode 2
Haruki is acting strange the next morning. The girls decide to hit the hotsprings so Yamamichi tells them where to go. Along the way when there is a forked path, Aki Minami tells them to go ahead first since she forgot something. Yamamichi is waiting at the hotspring to peek at the girls. However to his shock, Aki is here. He is busted since she knows he is here to peep on them. Oh well. I guess that’s then end of the voyeurism. And the start of sex! Because Aki tells him to f*ck her. And f*ck her real hard!!! This must be so much better than voyeurism. At the end of the good time, Aki hints she knows he did in Haruki is well. To keep this a secret, they think it’s best not to see each other again. As school begins, the girls will have a new replacement teacher. Guess what? It’s Yamamichi!!!!

Episode 3
While Aki is more forgiving, Haruki isn’t so for doing, uhm, let’s say he did stuffs on her. It seems Aki wants Yamamichi to become the advisor of their camping club. He agrees because he knows some camping stuffs (and of course Aki ‘threatening’ she’ll reveal some stuffs if he refused). Hey, at least he might have a chance to get lucky with them. Like real soon. Because Natsuki Kitamura comes to help clean the clubroom with him. It’s one of the sleaziest reasons for them to have sex. Uh huh. She really wanted to see him again and just like that, he lets her have her way with him. The standard hentai stuff and thankfully they finish up before the rest arrive. Yup, all cleaned up and nothing dirty left behind. Get what I’m saying?!

Episode 4
Yay! We’re going camping again! Of course Yamamichi must tag along since he has a car and of course as Haruki puts it, he’ll get all the necessary items for the camp for them, RIGHT?! Are you girls seriously interested in camping? So we see him do all the work setting up while they laze around. Except for Natsuki. She’s helping out so this makes the rest too want to help out. Because Natsuki has been flirtatiously close to him, this makes Aki a bit jealous. So when all the girls are outside cooking, time for this vixen to lure him in and invite him to f*ck her ass! You think this guy is going to pass up this chance! Thank goodness he brought his condom so he can f*ck he real hard! YEAH! What a wonderful start to the camp and hope they aren’t full from this. Once they’re done, suddenly they hear somebody about to come in.

Episode 5
Touko Saionji is looking for her dog but only sees sensei and Aki. Oh, looks like they managed to cover up in time. Nothing suspicious here. Later as they eat, Haruki bans Yamamichi from sharing the same sleeping tent with them. Go sleep in the car. Heh, trying to vouch for human rights, huh? Haruki doesn’t care! This causes the rest to think something is wrong because Haruki has always been cool and never loses composure. Of course Haruki blames him. While the girls take a bath, Yamamichi plans to peep on them. But what’s this? He realizes he is in the wrong side when he sees Touko changing. Shy girl turns into sexual monster because after seeing the shape of his dick, she likes it?! Then she makes him obey like a dog. Consider this his doggie training. She does feet job on him until he cums and then makes him lick her pussy till she cums. Best training ever?

Episode 6
Since Touko is taking too long, Aki and Natsuki come to check. Yeah, caught them in the act. Aki realizes sensei has done in all the students and wants to continue this training and so the orgy continues. However Natsuki is in shock and devastated that she thought she was the only one whom he was f*cking. But with Aki pressuring her, she won’t lose out and joins the orgy. The best foursome ever? Yeah, when you can make all the women cum at the same time… Haruki comes in looking for everybody and sees this unholy act. Yeah, everyone caught with their pants down. She becomes mad that he has been f*cking her friends. Is a slap going to be effective? Haruki wants to hand Yamamichi to the cops although Aki cautions her in doing that. If that happens, no more camping club. Nobody to help them with camping and they’ll lose their ride (and to ride the dick too, AHAHA!!!). While everyone else is ready to forgive him and continue to let this convenient guy be by their side, Haruki isn’t impressed and runs away. Yamamichi goes to look for her as he has the rest wait at the camp since it is getting dark.

Episode 7
Well, Haruki is lost. Luckily Yamamichi is here to bring her back. However en route home, she needs to go to the toilet. Luckily for her, there is a stall nearby. Too bad there are lots of bugs! Yeah, bugs are attracted to lights. Well, if she can’t do it in there, then it’s the bushes. After she is done with her business, she realizes Yamamichi isn’t around and gets scared. He returns with toilet paper as a scared Haruki clings onto him. Yup, your cheesiest excuse for the sex scene. This sexy Haruki turns him on as he starts fingering her with pretence to help clean her. Yeah, the other excuse is that she’s too scared to move or rather she’s feeling good from his molestation. Time to take this to the next level because as he is about to put his dick in, she stops him. Don’t want to do this on the outside. So she’s saying she’s willing if it’s inside? That’s how any guy would interpret it, no?

Episode 8
So technically f*cking inside a car still counts. Haruki allows him to get inside her because she thinks back she has been tomboyish all the time and the one protecting her friends from being hit by those unruly guys. Now she is being treated as a woman so it’s alright, right? Yeah. The most sorry of excuses to get f*cked! Heh. At least she gets done in like a woman. And yeah, best car sex ever? At the end of all that good time, Haruki gets embarrassed and punches sensei. Thanks a lot. Next day, it seems Yamamichi has no recollections of what happened after finding Haruki. Yeah, he thought that make out session was all a dream! Back to reality as he fixes the broken gas stove while Aki cheekily hints at Haruki that she has f*cked sensei. Her mouth says no but her body reaction says… Then all the girls fight over his attention. Better take responsibility equally for all of them! Harem camp or hell camp?

Camping Sex Is So In-tents!
Oh well. It’s the same as always. Honestly, I wasn’t totally surprised or bored while binge watching the entire series. Probably my mind was already on auto numb after the first episode. This is after all a short pseudo hentai series so what else is there to expect? We’re all here for the pseudo sex parts only, right? Right. Perverts.

Feels like a long time ago since I have watched a pseudo hentai series. I mean, not including that raping healer one. If you remember, a few years back, they slipped 1 pseudo hentai series into the normal anime season. A couple of years later, it suddenly died out. No more seasonal pseudo hentai series? Well, probably it was good since those who really want to watch this kind of genre will have a different anime list for them. Yeah, you’d be surprise the amount of 2D smut they are churning out every season. For better or worse, I suppose shows like this won’t ever get listed like this ever again. At least not in the near possible future. Hence this was why this show flew undetected under my radar and I was unaware of it until only recently. Yeah, speaking of which, I don’t even remember how I actually stumbled upon this. After all, Harem Camp doesn’t really sound like a hardcore porn title to begin with.

As usual, have to touch on the sex part because what else is there to talk about? Like I’ve said, after taking a reasonably ‘long’ break from watching such pseudo hentai series, long story short, it didn’t turn me on. Not sure whether this is good news or bad news. Because it proves that I’m not really addicted to this kind of genres and will scour the internet to find more or even hardcore series. On the other hand, could it be that now that I have grown a bit older, that libido inside of me is slowly burning out? Oh wow. How worrisome. I guess I don’t have a girlfriend or wife to make sure of this but whatever! As far as this series is concerned, the sex scenes are pretty standard and quite predictable. Porn logic takes over and thus the dumbest reason to f*ck or the female do something stimulating to the penis of the guy until he cums while the ladies all have super big busty tits. Refractory period doesn’t exist here.

Of course, the genitals are blurred out but is it me or does the mosaic seem minimal? Even with a bit of imagination, you can clearly tell (in your mind) how those genitals look like. Yeah, good thing our girls here love to shave their pussy clean. It might not be new to many but for me, this is the first time such series having 4 different girls to be f*cked. Not 1, not 2 but 4. This is what a harem should be like. So I guess this staves off the boredom of the same couple having the same kind of kinky sex in every episode. Now you have a variety to choose from and even spoilt for choice! So are we getting new members to the camping club or what? On second thought, the less women, the more share. Of his dick, that is! The camping club sure has monopolized Yamamichi’s dick.

As for the story… WHAT STORY?! Oh heck, it could have been anything but camping either. It could have been a gardening club or an outdoor nature loving club and the same sex scene and logic would still apply! Yeah, camping is just a stepping stone and to provide some variation and even bait some like yours truly to think this would be an ecchi version of Yuru Camp. That’s right. Come to think of it. I think this is the biggest reason why Yuru Camp has no males in their groupie!!! Those poor girls will all lose their virginity overnight and stay away from camping forever!!! OMFG. So don’t even think about learning any camping lessons here because all you’ll get is just campy sex! HAHAHA!!! Sighs…

The characters too are so predictable and cliché. You got your psycho b*tch, the psycho slut, the psycho lover and the psycho, uhm, tsundere tomboy? Whatever. Girls in this universe must be sex maniacs and love huge cocks because otherwise the males will die of loneliness for there will be no one else to help release their love juice! HAHAHA!!! I could write crap lines like that too and I’m not even high on drugs! Anyway, you wonder if these girls actually are into camping because all I see is that they haven’t the slightest interest in it and perhaps this club is just a cover up to go f*ck their sensei. I mean, they are so ill prepared the first time (how the f*ck do you even dress like that going into the woods?!) and even in subsequent camping trips, it is Yamamichi who does and sets up everything. How convenient. Makes me think that they were lost in the first episode just to hunt and prey for a sex slave. Yamamichi hit the jackpot. Such a win-win situation for everybody because as a teacher, he gets to f*ck his young girls who will not rat on him. Losing access to the camping club is just a big load of BS and just a cover up and another way to say that they don’t want to lose their favourite dick. That’s actually how I see it!

Aki is perhaps the most boring of the girls because well, she’s your pretty standard slut who wants to f*ck. Touko is a bit curious because on the outside she is a shy person but don’t let her catch a glimpse of your erected dick because she’ll become some monster dog trainer or something. Bad dog if you don’t obey! I never thought a girl like Natsuki would actually truly have feelings for Yamamichi but tough luck she is in the wrong genre and anime. Yamamichi’s dick has been inside of everyone so too bad Natsuki, your pussy wasn’t the exclusive one. Hence, peer pressure is the only thing that is making her stay instead of walking out and finding a more faithful man or a wholesome life. Ah yes, true love so hard to come by.

Finally, Haruki your tomboyish character and the rebel. This is needed for some drama because with the other girls so willing and easy, there must be one that has to put up the resistance and seemingly against you. Because it is all so satisfactory when you get to f*ck such kind of people. It’s like a sign that they have submitted to you. Uh huh. Haruki’s mouth might say no but her body is saying yes. Thus this guilt that she looks so tomboyish but when she gets f*cked by Yamamichi, it is a privilege because he is treating her as a woman! Porn logic working at its finest, people! On a trivial note, when I first saw Haruki, it had me thinking why the f*ck as that titular character from Uzaki-chan Wa Asobitai is doing here???!!! OMFG!!! Tomboyish girl with sugoi dekai tits… Oh no! I cannot unsee this!!! Is this what Uzaki porn looks like????!!!! F*ck! Now my image of sugoi dekai has been truly tainted!!! It’s now sugoi hentai! OH NO!!!!

Also to note the ending theme, Harem Beat by our quartet camping sluts girls is a lively denpa song that would’ve been oh so cute if not for the sex theme that somewhat ruined the cutesy and innocent image of this song. I also doubt this would be a song for sex or even a camping song! And why does this song sound so familiar like the ending theme of Inu Ni Nattara Suki Na Hito Ni Hirowareta? Must be those crazy denpa vibes. And there’s an instrumental version of this if you don’t want to hear those cute squeaky girls’ voice and just want to hear the crazy techno synthesizer laden music. Which honestly, sometimes sounds a heck lot better.

Overall, this series is cheesy and crappy as it is disappointing. I give it a perfect ten(t). Heh. Just wanted to make that lame camping pun. Only sex amateurs might be turned on in seeing this. And you know, such shows are a dime a dozen on the internet and especially the dark web. So garner more experience and turn into a veteran by watching more of those shows! Otherwise, I think I’ll be waiting for the next and (boring) third season of Yuru Camp to be aired so as to blow away the disappointment of this pseudo hentai series. Better wholesome than horny. Yeah, I must be getting old. Now I’m going to sing a SpongeBob’s campfire song version of this before I go to bed…

C-A-M-P-F-U-C-K S-O-N-G song,
C-A-M-P-F-U-C-K S-O-N-G song,
And if you don’t think they can f*ck ‘em faster then you’re wrong.
But it’ll help if you just cum along,
C-A-M-P-F-U-C-K S-O-N-G song!
C-A-M-P-F-U-C-K S-O-N-G song!
It’ll help, it’ll help if you just cum along!

Perfect ten(t) for my humour! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Candidate For Goddess

7 May, 2023

I hope this would be the last time I would say this and remind everyone who has been following me on this topic. What topic? You know when the Corona virus pandemic hit our shores, right? Yup, those lockdown years, remember? Uh huh. Then those list of emergency animes I drew up as substitutes? Yup. That one. Guess what? What if I tell you that Candidate For Goddess AKA Megami Kouhosei is actually the final series at the bottom of that barrel! You read that right. It feels like such a long time to finally reach the end but yeah, there’s a reason why I have put this off for a long time. Not really enthusiastic about this series but at the same time I was curious about this retro and that is why it is left hanging for a long time at the lowest level of my list. Finally. The day of reckoning is here. The chapter of this dreaded incident can now come to a close. I hope.

Episode 1
As narrated, Ingrids are 5 giant humanoid fighting vessels (mecha?) that humans pilot to fight off an alien entity known as Victim who is trying to conquer their home world of Zion. All current pilot candidates are trained on GOA before they can pilot one. However it seems there is an accident. A trainee named Zero Enna has fallen into a cockpit of an Ingrid. Leena Fujimura tries to get him out but system isn’t responding. Meanwhile Zero sees his past. He was separated from his mother as everyone scrambled for shelter when Victim attacked. He thought he was done for but a white Ingrid saved the day and especially him. Meanwhile Azuma Hijikata who is the instructor is about to see his new trainees and notices Zero missing. Because the system cannot trace him all over GOA, this could only mean one thing. Meanwhile Zero sees some woman who is trying to show him something but she claims he is seeing the same thing as her. Great timing as the Victim alert is sounded. All scramble to your battle stations. All Goddess Pilot are on standby for launch. This upsets Gareas Elidd because he is supposed to be the Goddess Pilot for this Ingrid. Zero continues to see his dream that he wanted to become a Goddess Pilot. So he left mom and promised to come home when he is so. The woman is trying to guide Zero on how to do stuffs but he is low on his confidence and thinks he doesn’t have the knowledge of a pilot yet. After several attempts, Leena manages to get the mandatory abort order through. This allows Gareas to remove Zero from the cockpit and take his rightful seat inside Ingrid. All Ingrids launch successfully.

Episode 2
As the Ingrids engage in this seahorse Victim, Gareas realizes his Ingrid is moving the way he wants. It is making its own moves. Could it be because of that candidate did something? Meanwhile other pilots in lesser models are sent out to help support the Ingrids. One of them being Erts Virny Cocteau. It seems he doesn’t want to fight. Azuma has pilot candidates, Hiead Gner and Clay Cliff Fortran wait at the sick bay. Hiead claims he can fight using a trainee model but Azuma tells him to follow orders. The duo is then forced to help Dr Rill Croford to amputate a mechanic’s leg. Gruesome. Once that is done, Clay is shocked to see his fellow pilot candidate Zero here. He is in comatose state. Zero dreams of a girl asking to find her. This wakes him up so he starts asking about for that woman. Who the f*ck knows what you’re talking?! It is then Hiead asks him if he has been inside an Ingrid. Because Zero will not say, this causes both of them to fight. You wonder why Azuma is letting them do that. It’s because he wants to let them display their power known as EX despite within the confines of GOA. As Hiead uses his EX to block Zero’s, he notes that it is only this power that will make them become real Goddess Pilots. Despite Erts not wanting to fight, he still puts up an awesome show of skill and leadership to not let his comrades get killed. Though, he looks like he regrets fighting. How can humans keep on fighting like this?

Episode 3
Aside Zero, Hiead and Clay, the other top pilot candidates in their batch are Yamagi Kushida and Roose Sawamura. The trio are also roommates because basically you can’t have everyone to have their own rooms, no? Clay sounds like the brainy type but are we listening? Zero seems to want to challenge Hiead to everything but the latter just plays it cool. We see the candidates go through vigorous training. The baffling one is dancing?! I guess they need to get their sense of rhythm and footing. When the nurses scan their bodies for any atomic injury, it seems they are shocked they can’t find any on Zero. It’s like he has a perfect body (it is said that everyone born with some defect). One of the Goddess Pilots, Rioroute Vilgyna is badly injured and his Ingrid badly damaged. He is fine although his mechanic, Philphleora Deed is worried like hell. Better make a stronger Ingrid so he won’t die next time. Zero continues his dumb challenges on Hiead but ultimately I can see he is the loser. More training and more adjustments. When Clay asks how he got into the Ingrid, Zero doesn’t really remember. But we see how he accidentally fell in and the system then automatically started to recalibrate and connect to him as though he was the new Goddess Pilot. Zero remembers the excitement when Ingrid moved along with him. Clay notes that with no errors showing up on Zero, this means he has adapted to it and his rejection quotient is infinite. Soon, Azuma has the candidates take a live test.

Episode 4
The pilots aren’t going to fly alone. They have mechanics who will support them too as well as draw out their power. So we have top 5 mechanic ladies who are excited to get paired with the pilot candidates. Before the live test, Azuma introduces the candidates to the mechanics. So choose your partner wisely? Clay partners with Saki Mimori, Roose gets Wrecka Toesing, Ikhny Allecto goes for Hiead, Tsukasa Kuscha for Yamagi and I suppose Kizna Towryk lucked out and got Zero. Yeah, she sees how uncouth and childish this guy is. When Zero accidentally knocks off her cap and reveals her animal ears, she becomes mad. She hates him and runs away. Azuma tells Zero to get her back or he won’t be able to do the test. So he finds her and tells her he doesn’t mind those ears (is he also saying he doesn’t care?) because he needs her otherwise he won’t be able to take the test. Like a caveman, he carries her and rushes back. It’s the fastest way but oh well, Zero being Zero. Meanwhile Hiead is first to try out this training simulator. Not sure about this vision of himself he is seeing but once he gets over that and Ikhny supporting him well, he passes it with flying colours. Yeah, I bypassed all that technical mumbo jumbo. Next is Clay. This panicky guy doesn’t even last for 4 seconds and fails! What does he mean he doesn’t have enough info?! Fail! Zero is back and he is hard up to be next. However Azuma first slaps Kizna and has her remind who she is. Pretty childish of her to run away from her responsibilities, no? Zero also wants the same treatment since he is her partner. In that case, Azuma punches him! Not fair! Just be glad to know that was just a warning. Zero and Kizna patch things up and promise to not run away again. Meanwhile Rioroute laments the state he is. Unlike the Ingrids that can be forever repaired, Goddess Pilots can get wounded and even their EX depleted. How long can they stay as pilots?

Episode 5
Zero’s test run begins. You might think that Zero and Kizna are arguing but I guess that’s the way they communicate. Yeah, Zero sounding so bossy but as his support, she has to bring the best out of him even if it means tolerating his behaviour. But it is Azuma being a dick this time as he reminds Zero of his zero gravity phobia. This is when Zero realizes there is nothing under his feet and gets sick. Oh damn, he throws up! Kizna tries to do some damage control but as Azuma says, if he cannot get over his phobia, there is no way he can become a Goddess Pilot. During the run, Hiead leaves the room. Ikhny approaches him because she saw some anomaly in his memories. That is when Hiead gets scary as he warns and reminds her that she is just his support. Don’t pry into his head. Wow. Scary. Once Zero has regain his composure, he is pretty confident in intercepting the Victim so he has Kizna give him some parameters for the obstacles ahead. Damn, the interface sure looks like Atari level graphics! In the end, Zero passes with perfect score. After the training, it seems Kizna is trying to hide Zero’s hair or something, hence her weird hot and cold treatment on him. Later she tells him about some EX reaction that changes his hair colour when he gets tuned in to a heightened battle environment. Though, this power up is only temporary. However, this is a violation and will earn him demerit points? Don’t understand. In order to help him overcome his phobia, Kizna forces Zero to put on a spacesuit and float in space. Hope he doesn’t puke inside. So while he is still afraid, she asks him if he wants to quit because it’s okay if he doesn’t want to achieve his dream. So I guess Zero needs to suck it up and remember his pledge to become a pilot. Hence Kizna adds that he just need to look forward and into his dreams. There is nothing to fear. Zero also relates how the training simulator feels different from the Ingrid he rode since that woman is not there. Hence he wants to ride the real thing.

Episode 6
Those lesser Ingrid models that others use in battle or training, they’re called Pro-Ing. Our newbies watch in awe a demo of it. So awe Zero is that he didn’t even listen to a word Azuma says. He also introduces Erts to him. His skills are so exceptional that not only he is the youngest top pilot but also a very close candidate to become a Goddess Pilot. Later, the rest are shocked at how slim Roose has become. Yeah, not that fatty kid anymore thanks to Wrecka putting him on a secret strict diet. Because of the ambiguity in words, Zero thinks it’s sex or something so he asks Kizna if it is possible. WTF. Obviously she beats him up for asking such strange things. Yeah, the guys try to fatten Roose back up by forcing him to eat! Zero is so excited to fly a Pro-Ing that he can’t sleep. He hopes mom is doing well and when he comes back as a Goddess Pilot, his colony will have more energy. Last time I saw his flashback when he left, uhm, mom doesn’t look so good… More flashback as we see Zero whose real name is Rei, complaining to mom how his classmates teased about his name meaning Zero. She told him it is a name his father gave to him and there’s nothing to be shy about it. Next day, he asks the rest if they remember their moms. Clay thinks with all the stuffs they have learnt, it is possible they may have overridden such memories. For Yamagi, he is glad he has forgotten that broad. Before training begins, the newbies are paired up with their Pro-Ing seniors. Zero is paired with Erts. As they begin, Erts assures Zero this training is land based so no need to fear his zero gravity phobia. It seems Erts has this ability to read minds. Zero’s thoughts were strong enough then for him to read. Erts praises Zero for losing his fear then and his will to become a pilot. Zero has what his older brother has. Ernest is one of the Goddess Pilots. The reason Erts fears fighting is because despite you destroy your enemy, you also destroy part of yourself. Zero takes a more optimistic view because the only way is to move forward.

Episode 7
Zero-Erts is up against Clay-Aracd Narocke. As Erts predicted, Aracd targets Zero and they end up in a locked wrestling combat, which is a disadvantage to Zero. It seems Zero is moving faster than predicted. Kizna wants to do adjustments but Azuma tells her to let Zero figure it out himself. He is the one who needs to adapt and get a feel of the environment. This works as Zero is soon adapting to his environment. Meanwhile, Clay tries to run away from the fight! Too bad he has to deal with Erts. While this training is going on, our Goddess Pilots are fighting another Victim. This time, Gareas became desperate and reckless. He could have died had not the top Goddess Pilot, Teela Zain Elmes come to his rescue that also destroys the Victim entirely. Back on base, a mad Ernest beats up Gareas for his recklessness. He understands his feelings but he was just lucky he got out of this alive. Gareas is also scared because during the battle, he heard Ingrid’s voice telling him to stop. Back to the training, cowardly Clay gets cornered and falls off a cliff. This disrupts the fight between Zero and Aracd, allowing the latter to take advantage and push him off the stage. Yup, free falling zero gravity. At this point Clay’s EX starts to activate. Zero is cowering in fear as Kizna tries to get him out of his phobia. However Zero could see a vision of Kizna being killed. Azuma orders a forced termination but Kizna won’t give up. Finally her voice reaches him as Zero returns to the battlefield. Hence a flashback of Zero and Kizna’s talk during that space floating training. Something about Teela because women don’t have EX and that’s why they can’t become pilots. But Teela was exceptional and that’s why she is where she is. Hence it’s like Kizna putting her dreams of becoming a pilot all into Zero.

Episode 8
For some reason, the rest aren’t allowed to watch the training of Roose and Yamagi. Hence Erts has Zero hang out with him via fencing? Okay. Erts asks if he is scared of him as a telepathist since many stayed away from him. Well, it doesn’t bother Zero. Good. But how can Zero wins against one who reads minds? He can’t. Even if he tries his brute force without thinking, Erts is still able to catch up and win. But after the match, Erts suddenly starts to shiver in fear. Meanwhile a huge swarm of Victim is detected targeting Zion. The Goddess Pilots are thrown into action. This time, Ernest finding the big mother boss and being the reckless one just to protect his comrades. It costs him his life! Although Teela manages to deal some damage and the swarm escapes. Back at base, Tune Youg (Ernest’s mechanic) reports he is dead. The Ingrid is heavily damaged. Teela orders her to fix it while she goes to commission for a new pilot. Duty over feelings. This leaves Gareas very upset and sad. He was supposed to die but Ernest took that place. Azuma then gets the news and is given the authority to select the next Goddess Pilot. He chooses Erts. Erts isn’t shocked because he knows this means his brother is dead. Erts soon packs his bags and heads off, vowing to follow Ernest’s will. Then a space funeral for Ernest. They have a national anthem too? Sorry folks, sounds like a carnival to me. Tune regretting things she should have said to him when he was alive. Like how she loved him. I guess that’s what happens when you’re too scared. Does kissing a corpse mean anything? All salute to our brave fallen soldier! Also, press F to pay respects! Just kidding!

Episode 9
Erts is now officially a Goddess Pilot. Even his Ingrid has a new name. Although Tune will continue to be his mechanic. But what’s this? Zero and his pals are in a countryside school?! Before you can say this is some filler episode, Zero is snapped back to reality. Seems he has this dream while in the midst of training and because of that, he lost. So when they tease him about it, Zero talks about this dream where the horizon was endless. Clay believes it wasn’t his colony home world but a real planet. And Zion is the only planet around. Yamagi talks about his colony being shut down. It’s his reason of becoming a pilot to save everyone for Victim. Is this supposed to be Zero’s reason too? Well, he’s not entirely sure. Back to the dream, Zero’s EX start to go berserk. You see, Clay thinks that in order to test his hypothesis, hence to recreate the very same environment Zero was in. This means sneaking into the simulator and recreating the environment of Zero inside Ingrid. Because now they’re in trouble as malfunctions are happening all over GOA! Rill and Azuma come to check the trouble. From Rill’s analysis, Zero’s EX is not dangerous but they can’t suddenly wake him up and he must do it on his own. Zero sees Teela in his dream as she tells him he’ll find the answer if he rides an Ingrid. Once Zero has gotten a hold of his dream, now he is seen talking to mom. He realizes he can’t remember her face nor the friends he has back on the colony. But he knows he loves her and everyone else. That is why he is going to save everyone, the reason he becomes a pilot. Whatever the outcome, mom will always support him. He thanks mom as he gets up and leaves. With renewed confidence, Zero now looks forward to the day he can ride an Ingrid because answers are waiting for him. Meanwhile Hiead wants to duel with his senior, Force Wartlliam. Seems he has this goal of defeating and removing anyone in the way until he is the only one who can manipulate the Goddess.

Episode 10
Hiead’s EX goes out of control and Force takes a brutal beating. Azuma wants Hiead to be ejected into space and retrieve him later to save Force but Rill doesn’t approve of this barbaric method and puts Hiead to sleep. Both are taken to the infirmary to recover. Ikhny becomes sad when she sees how well Zero and Kizna’s relationship are going. So she really wants to get inside Hiead’s head? Clay then tries to hack the system and find out more data on Hiead but to his shock, there are none. Heck, there are also no data on the other candidates. With Hiead back to normal, everyone keeps their distance from this moody guy. Except for Zero. Still trying to be friendly. Can’t read the room? A short snippet on Hiead’s past. Looks pretty violent. Killed some thugs in the alley? He vows to use this new power to live on. Then there is this test to select the next top pilot. Looks like battle royale in space to me. It seems Hiead is obsessed in tracking down Zero and fighting him. Although Ikhny tries to dispense some advice, she is told to STFU. By the time Hiead finds Zero, the first test is over. On a side note, Clay tried his usual running away tactic and as expected, didn’t last for seconds. A disillusioned Ikhny talks to Kizna who advises her that they should survive since it’s a way for Hiead to acknowledge her. However this gives Ikhny a devilish idea as she sabotages Zero’s Pro-Ing. When the next round begins, suddenly an announcement for the test to be cancelled as there is an emergency request by the Goddess Pilots to help support them. This means they’re going into real battle. Ikhny then realizes the grave mistake she has done.

Episode 11
The Victim swarm is back. How can 5 Ingrids keep all of them away? I guess this is where the pilot candidates come in. All they have to do is stand in line and shoot any stray Victims that get past our Goddess Pilots. Just think of it as your extended shooting training. Easy, right? At first, Zero’s Pro-Ing seems to be hard to control but Zero eventually manages to get a hold of it. I guess this means he has also gotten over his zero gravity phobia. While on standby, they talk about why Victim targets Zion. Yeah, the hint could be why Victim is named so. Then how the f*ck did they get a stray Victim slip past them?! And even so, all of them are bad shots! Luckily Hiead manages to shoot it down. Need more training you guys! Seriously. However at this point Zero’s Pro-Ing starts to go out of control and Kizna can’t communicate with him. The other guys think it is pretty normal for Zero. After all, they have strict orders not to move from their position. Plus, more strays are coming through. Kizna is so worried that she snaps back at Azuma to help recover Zero. Because if he dies, he is the one who will get court martialled! She’s got a point. When Zero finally manages to wrest back control, he now finds himself amidst the swarm. I know he is amazed but shouldn’t he be doing something? Even Rioroute can only do so much. Stop being at awe! And then something happens. It seems Zero and Hiead’s EX activate and it’s like it stops time? Teela then uses this chance to use some ultimate move to blast away the swarm. In the aftermath, Azuma wants to discipline Zero and Hiead for disobeying orders. But he just warns them that there are many other pilot candidates to replace them. So go ahead if you want to die. Zero thought Hiead came to his rescue but he brushes that off and just wanted to test his EX. Zero argues with Kizna she didn’t maintain his machine properly. She claims she did. That is when an emotional Ikhny reveals she was the one. However Kizna is quick on the uptake and takes the blame that she didn’t do a thorough job. Later Ikhny talks to Kizna but so as not to dampen the mood, they sing? Well, sounds better than that national anthem. Meanwhile Teela notes Zero and Hiead’s EX reaction simultaneously happened with hers.

Episode 12
What’s this?! Why do we need a flashback story?! From a dead character?! We hear from Ernest when he was a rookie pilot, everyone stayed away from him because of his EX that can read thoughts. However Gareas was the first to talk to him and became his friend. Yeah, aim to become the Goddess Pilot together! Because of his confidence and liveliness, nobody saw the dark secret he has. That exploded one day during training when his EX went out of controlled. Bloodied all over. Only Ernest could hear Gareas screaming inside his heart. That was when he really vowed to become a Goddess Pilot. But now he notes the emergence of a couple of special pilots and they are Zero and Hiead. They are even more special than others. Yeah, flashback of their training simulator. IS THIS EPISODE ALSO A PART RECAP?! Next, Ernest narrates a Goddess Pilot’s job of defending Zion from Victim. Each time they win, their moment of peace is brief but it’s worth it. We see Ernest and his fellow Goddess Pilots and mechanics having fun together during those times. How such times would last forever. Hence he laments of failing to keep his promise to Tune. Another short recap of his funeral as well as the time Zero accidentally fell into an Ingrid. This is to note that Zero is special because he is able to control his EX unlike the rest. And the voice that called him? Ernest knows but he can’t tell us as he is not himself. What a freaking cliff-hanger! So now he is just a spirit of Erts’ Ingrid? Yeah, Goddess Pilots and the pilot candidates continue to work together to fight Victim.

Episode 13 (OVA)
We’re going back to the time when Zero and is starting to be a pilot candidate. As narrated, Zion is the only planet left after others are being destroyed by Victim. That’s why humans are so hell bent in protecting it. Zero and co are being transported to GOA. Zero being the country bumpkin is in awe with everything. First time seeing Zion like this. Azuma is also on this flight as he learns about Zero’s phobia of zero gravity. He is in shock since the data didn’t say any of this. Zero is proud of some blood type he has and since his EX is also cleared, he is in high spirits of becoming the Goddess Pilot. Speaking of the real ones, they just finish off fighting a big Victim. The explosion causes the ship to rock a little, causing Zero to fall over Hiead. WTF this seemingly gay moment?! Hiead is not impressed with Zero’s dream and of course the hot head will not let that fly as he uses his EX to, uhm, pull down his pants?! WTF?! They finally dock on GOA as Zero makes friends with Clay. Clay explains about the Ingrids whose origins and manufacturers are unknown. Of course the best one is being piloted by the top Goddess Pilot who is a woman. After the Goddess Pilots return from their mission and dock their Ingrids, Leena gets right away to service them. Then we see some higher ups discussing the current Goddess Pilots are sufficient to stave off Victim threats. However this cannot last forever as using EX will endanger their lives. Hence the backup of having several pilot candidates and the reason for GOA’s existence. Zero just had some traumatic haircut experience (is it me or does his hairstyle still look the same) and soon he gets lost. Yes, he wanders about into the Ingrids’ hangar. He is startled when one of them starts to react to him. Leena then spots this unauthorized kid walking around and tries to tell him to get off. However he falls into the cockpit and the rest is history. Uh huh. We see how the system recalibrates and adjusts itself to accept Zero since he is very compatible with it. Leena furiously tries to abort this but nothing she does including the emergency abortion has any effect. And as we all know, Zero hears the voice of a woman telling him to find her.

Oh My Goddess!
Now I can definitely see why many didn’t have favourable reviews of this series. Uh huh. It is so obvious it didn’t solve anything and for it to end on somewhat a cliff-hanger note, it leaves more questions than answers. Of course there is the original manga source that has already long ended its run back in 2001 (the anime came out in 2000) and it’s like trying to tell us to go check it out if you want to have a conclusion to all your begging questions and curiosity satiated. Too bad, some of us like yours truly only get their info and fill from the animated version (too lazy to go read! Or can you even find those out-of-print materials today?). Therefore all hope of any answers are quickly extinguished since this series never got a sequel, reboot or remake. Yeah, come to think of it, perhaps it is better that way. Between the devil and the deep blue sea, that is, between an unsatisfying ending of the TV series and the unsatisfying remake, I think I will take the former any time, any day.

As said, the biggest problem of this animated series is the storyline. Actually when I think about it, I can’t put a finger on what it is supposed to be. Sure, the main premise of humans defending the last habitable planet from alien invaders is generally it. And as the title suggests, perhaps the focus would be on new potential rookie pilots. However I just don’t see that throughout the dozen over episodes and I felt the plot was just meandering here and there. Worse of all, they throw in bits and pieces of interesting developments but in the end, nothing comes out of it. I could list several paragraphs of it but I guess I would be just wasting my time. Because, why rehash the same unanswered questions when what we want are answers! Am I right?!

But to give just a few examples for the sake of argument and discussion, there is this old dude whom I believe is one of the top dogs of GOA. It is hinted that Teela has some sort of relationship with him. That is as far as this anime shows us. Anything more, don’t ask. Very teasing, huh? It makes us scratch our heads wondering what the deal is this dude and why is he so important to her. If the anime omitted this, I am very sure that there will be no problems. This can be applied to 90% of other stuffs too. However if you omit them, what will this show have? Nothing. That’s right. So all those bits and pieces are just to tease and eventually make us wonder and confuse even further once the season ends. What a disappointment. Others like that EX thingy felt like plot device. Ooooh, these guys have some sort of power. WTF I don’t even clearly know what it is but it is meant to be something cool so accept it! Yeah. What a bummer.

This means the entire casts are a big disappointment too. When you already have a weak storyline adapted, the characters too somehow become accomplices in this crime. Obviously for a short series that lasts only 1 season, there are too many characters! While we all don’t really care about the numbers, eventually this affects the quality and hence the reason why I am complaining about this. Because of the sheer amount of characters, the spotlight has to be divided among them. Of course Zero being the main character gets most of the limelight but even watching the entire season, I felt that his character has gone nowhere. Same like the rest. Status quo. If you know Zero as the hot headed guy who is bloody adamant to ride that white Ingrid who saved his life in the beginning, be glad to know that he is still that same darn bloody character right in the end. Oh, what’s this? You’re saying he has fear of zero gravity? Oh wow! What a way to add some character! It’s like as though you want to be a pirate but fear the seas. Something that he needs to overcome and grow stronger, right? Yup. Character development. So quick he seemingly overcame it that I thought he was just putting up an act. Yeah. That.

Otherwise, a lot of other things like I have said before, feels wasted. Especially about his perfect body that lacks any atomic injury. Wow. They brought that up once and never again. What a way to tease us and leave us hanging forever. And what’s this about the girl in his vision telling him to find her? Yeah. Another great mystery and cock teaser. Good luck to you hardworking people who decide to find out more and go dig your archives of this retro manga for answers. And don’t get me started how he even decided to go with the Zero name that he was often bullied about instead of his original Rei. Oh well, I guess zero multiplied by zero is also zero. HAHAHA!!! Get what I’m saying?! As long as he remains overly passionate to his dream, we can write off his dumbness, retard and lack of gentlemanly behaviour as because he’s got the will and guts! Yeah!

The rest of the other pilot candidates are also guilty of this but can you blame them? Not enough episodes to flesh them all out so they look really unimportant and well, just there. Like this Hiead guy whom my guts tell me will be Zero’s rival. But too bad he looks a lot grumpier and brooding more than anything else. Sure, every group has such dickhead and it’s sad to see Hiead get this sort of treatment when he could’ve flown to greater heights. At least in my imagination. Then there is Clay who is supposed to be the ‘brainy’ guy of the group but I find him to mostly give snarky comments and his favourite catchphrase is “This is very interesting…”. Well, it should be if they just give us some answers! Not sure if he is supposed to be the comic relief of the group because he is mostly chicken and his best strategy in combat is always to run away but it often backfires. How the f*ck did he even end up as a pilot candidate? I don’t know what those bosses see in his EX but whatever. On the fringe of this quintet are Yamagi and Roose who feel like they’re just there to make up the numbers. While Yamagi teases us with a very brief situation of his hometown and dreams, what do we know about the ex-fatty? None. So, what else can I say? These are the next best generation pilots and hope they’ve got against Victim? I hope they do better. And to think they’ve got this seemingly cigarette smoking ‘tough’ instructor Azuma to guide them. I don’t know, sometimes I feel he is their best friend-cum-father more than a drill sergeant.

If you think these pilot candidates are bad, wait till you realize their mechanic partners. They are worse off in this character development segment. The whole idea of pairing is because no pilots should fly alone. At least the burden of defending Earth. The pilots can focus solely on flying their machines to defend Zion and leave the technical parts and maintenance to the ladies. That’s the plan. However as you can see, they also feel like fringes. Obviously Kizna gets more screen time than the rest because she is paired with the main character. Saw it coming too that they’re going to argue a lot because it only feels livelier that way. Because if you’re like those girls of Yamagi and Roose whose names I still can’t remember at this point, I’m betting they get along fine and that’s why they’re so boring. And then you got Ikhny who looks like she could turn psycho because of Hiead treating her indifferently. It could’ve been more interesting to see this pair play out but in the end, we got nothing. Sadly, these girls in the end felt like they don’t really matter at all.

Before I forget, I wonder why Kizna has animal ears. I want to say there are other kinds of species but apparently I don’t see other people around with such ears. Therefore from my point of view, she is the only one who has this feature although everyone else do not get surprised. Meaning to say that they are aware of this. But why only her? Where’s the rest? Is she the only qualified animal ear tribe to be on GOA? Very weird. I guess they need to add something to her to make her stand out from the rest of the pack. After all, glasses girl already goes to Ikhny and the twintail girl already goes to Saki. Get what I’m saying? So there you have it, slap some animal ears on her because are you going to be racist if you don’t like it? Yeah, nobody cares alright. See?

From time to time, we are given focus on the Goddess Pilots. Yeah, if I should say, they have their fair share of screen time. A fair share of their own problems and drama but of course as we all know, the greatest offender of not having enough episodes to flesh them out, zips their relationship through. Hence the confusion if you’re wondering if Zero’s new side are the main characters or these veteran Goddess Pilots. So much so you might notice in my entire blog I left out one of them. That taciturn Japanese looking guy and his equally taciturn sister as his mechanic. Yeah, what are their names again… Oh right, Yuu and Hikura Kazuhi. One of the very few shocking moments is that they killed off one of the veterans just to remind us that this is no child’s play. And of course, plot device to promote Erts. I guess that’s the only reason why they introduced this odd characters. But I guess it is better than the other senior candidate pilots who just made their cameo once and then what the f*ck happened to them we all don’t care. Uh huh. GOA is said to house about 3,000 of them so I wonder if those other pilots are stuck in this job forever if they don’t get promoted to pilot an Ingrid. Yeah, must be.

After all, I wanted to say just make more Ingrids for them but I have to remind myself that these machines cannot be replicated by man (although ironically they can be repaired and maintained) and that’s why they are limited in numbers. It’s a privilege to be given the Goddess Pilot’s seat, you know! Thank goodness they come as colour coded to tell them apart. Sort of. Too bad they can’t combine further like Voltron to become a bigger robot. What a waste. Hence my dumb conspiracy theory that Ingrids actually belong to Victim and mankind stole it to destroy the universe! WHAT?! You know that time Clay hacked into the system and found missing data? Yeah, what if there is some shady activity to hide the real history of mankind? Because they are the ones who went about destroying other life forms, stole these mechas and then claim Zion which is the last and actual home world for Victims as their own! Now you know why they are named so?! That woman in Zero’s vision? She’s the Victim queen! You know why Zero can’t remember his mom’s face? Maybe Zero’s true lineage is that he is actually a Victim! Other than his perfect body, mom is a monster! Those dreams a planted memories! Oh yeah. I’m going overboard with my conspiracy theories, am I? I did not go so far to scour the internet to confirm this theory of mine but hey, there could be some truths in it and darn I’ll be surprised if they actually are!

To further nit-pick on this series, I want to point out the very weird names these characters have. Sure, they want to make it sound different than your standard commoner John Smith or Yamada and Satou types. However I have this feeling that some of the characters they were in a dilemma to name them. So they blindfold themselves and throw a dart at the alphabet chart to get some of their names. I mean, how the f*ck can you even come up with names like Hiead or Ikhny, Rioroute or Philphleora?! Good luck trying to pronounce these names correctly on your first try. They want to make Kizna sound like some Eastern European origin or something because Towryk sure looks like one. Or did the cat walked over the keyboard and the author got inspired seeing those jumbled alphabets together?! Sure, sure. Trying to Romanize the Japanese characters is one thing and back then I don’t think there’s this standard spelling for the characters in English and that’s why some characters may have different spelling to their names. Like Gareas some spelt as Galew as it is pronounced in the anime.

With a show about big giant robots fighting big giant alien monsters in space, you’d think the redemption would be on its action, right? Well, no. The action bits feel more like side shows but I guess it is a good thing they don’t focus too much on it because imagine if you drag out the Victim fight to several episodes! Damn, we don’t have enough episodes in a season! But even so, it feels a lot mediocre and forced because you know, there has to be some sort of fight between humanity and Victim. Until today, I still don’t know what those Ingrids can actually do. I don’t know what kind of power they have even for Teela’s Ingrid, I just know she can do some super cool move that is unexplained to save the day AKA plot convenience for good guys to win. That’s it. Otherwise, I’d rather go watch a live action sentai show of a Masked Rider fighting the villain of the day. Yeah.

As for the art and animation, no prizes to guess it reeks of that era’s style and so all the characters are looking like those who from that era. Like Zero is your typical spikey haired main character, Hiead your brooding silver haired bishonen and Ikhny your plain bespectacled chick. So I don’t blame you if you see Lucy of Elfen Lied in Kizna because yeah, in certain shades they almost look the same. For some odd reason I keep seeing Metal Slug’s Fiolina in Saki despite both aren’t even close to each other. Oh wait, or is it that character from Tenchi Muyo? I wonder if this how caters to shotacon because you see how sexily the boys dress with their shorts and short sleeves but the girls who are mechanics, they’re covered up wearing long ones. So there’s no immediate danger in piloting?

Of course now we have to talk about CGI. Wow… It’s actually not that bad. Although I won’t say it is close to being a masterpiece or even passing the good level, at least it is still much better than some of today’s bad CGI quality. I believe the Ingrids are totally rendered in 3D. Their movements look pretty smooth too so I have to give them some credit there. They try to look awesome but the longer I look at their face, the scarier it becomes. Yeah, why do they have to have that creepy looking mask-like face? Are they some gigantic porcelain dolls in space or what? This anime was done by the now defunct Xebec who did the original Shaman King, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, the To Love-Ru series and Love Hina.

I didn’t want to bother with the voice acting since they sound rather okay and nothing special. Until I noticed Rie Kugimiya as Ikhny and now I have to bother. Heh. Yeah, not in trademark tsundere mode but at least if you pay attention, you’ll know it is her. Then there’s a few which I didn’t quite catch on because of their limited appearance. Mainly Norio Wakamoto as that old dude Teela has some relationship with and Ayako Kawasumi as Hikura. Heck, even Akira Ishida had double roles here as Yuu and Aracd. So minimal that I even fail to notice. Yeah. The biggest blunder is not realizing the late Keiji Fujiwara as Azuma. Wow. Have I really forgotten how he sounds? Other casts are Yukimasa Obi as Zero (Cisca in Starship Operators), Miki Nagasawa as Kizna (Lisa in eX-Driver), Susumu Chiba as Hiead (Kondou in Gintama – really, this guy?!), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Clay (Mic in Boku No Hero Academia), Chiemi Chiba as Saki (Mio on To Love-Ru), Kenji Nojima as Erts (Eiji in Banana Fish), Yuri Amano as Teela (Momoko in All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku), Wataru Takagi as Gareas (Genta Kojima in Detective Conan), Kouichi Toochika as Rioroute (Neji in Naruto) and Yumi Kakazu as Leena (Mir in Geneshaft).

The opening theme is Aim For Zion, The Planet Of Hope by Tomoyuki Asakawa. Well, I want to give it points because this entire song is instrumental. Yeah, sometimes songs are best when they have no singing. However it sounds so grand and if I hear it without the context that this song is this series’ opener, it sounds like a song from an old Disney movie or one of those old American TV series of the 70’s or 80’s because of all the hyped and jazzy fanfare. Sure, it’s a splendour of grandeur but somehow when I think back that it is the opening song for this show, I just realize it just doesn’t fit. So there’s the plus minus and zero sum game of this song. The ending theme is Chance by Kouhei Koizumi. Sounds just okay as a normal anime pop. Nothing special. The same singer sings the final episode’s song, Kagayaki. A slow and breathy ballad with dramatic orchestra sings.

Overall, this series has been hampered mainly by its storyline pacing and characters that seem to go nowhere. It leaves viewers hanging with more questions than answers by teasing us with bits of potentials that got nowhere close to anything and as far as the adapted series is concerned, more of a nothing burger. Sad to say, there are many other space and sci-fi action series of that era that could easily surpass this one like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Outlaw Star, Soukyuu No Fafner, Vandread, Martian Successor Nadesico and even Blue Gender. Yeah, watching this from this point in time, it feels like I’m having first world problems. Like, I’m the victim of watching a bad retro! No matter how hard humanity tried to save Zion, unfortunately they couldn’t save this anime. A victim of its own failure. Sorry, bad pun. But I just wanted to say that ;p.

There is always hope. Just like I have for many animes. Like this one. Uh huh. With the prequel being somewhat a boring disappointment, my hope is that Muv-Luv Alternative S2 will the season that fixes all that. Get back to what it is important. Yes. Instead of humans fighting humans in some petty political ideology stuffs, can I get more of that monster BETA chomping action that throws humanity into despair instead? Oh, what was it I was saying again about hope? As long as humans persevere and never give up, there will always be a chance to come back victorious, right? Even if that chance is 0.000001%, at least there is still a chance and not completely zero. Hope!

Episode 13
Woah! What’s this? Sexy Meiya waking up next to Takeru?! You bet jealous Sumika will be so mad. Before you start wondering if you’re watching a reboot of the series, be informed this is another one of those time trips Yuuko sent him back. Yeah, no time to waste here. I’m sure Takeru would love to stay in this happy world with all his friends like they should have been. Then he goes to see Yuuko to get whatever documents that he needs and she gladly gives it to him. That night, he talks to Sumika and she asks if he could imagine a world without her and he passionately replies he can’t. I’m sure she is happy about it but Takeru vows to come home. He returns to reality and gives the documents to Yuuko. Hmm… Don’t remember but he can bring physical stuffs back now? Anyway, Yuuko is happy because this is what she wants. Yeah, took herself to figure what she wants. Oh damn, I’m so confused… She thanks him for being the world’s hero. So end of this anime?! Oh well, at least the first step to avert Alternative V is happening. Next morning, Takeru and his girls are summoned to converge in the hall. When he sees many officers coming in, especially the base commander Radhabinod, he thinks it is over because he is the one who announced Alternative V. But that didn’t happen until Christmas. Did he screw up? Actually, he is here to graduate them as he praises them for the hope they have given. Also a personal letter from Yuuhi to thank them for their contributions during her rescue mission. Basically, they are also promoted as pilots of the UN force and have earned their wings. After it is over, they go to emotionally thank Marimo for all that she has done and made them for who they are. Well, now they outrank her and she won’t be guiding them anymore.

Episode 14
Takeru and co’s promotion means they will be posted to Yokohama base. Oh wow. Marimo is also posted there? The emotional goodbye must be looking embarrassing now, huh? Their first task is to participate in a training with veteran TSFs. This is to implement Takeru’s OS and see if it works. At the end of the day, it works like a charm and they get high ratings for it. Though, Takeru thinks they could’ve done much better. Takeru is then called by the veterans. They sound intimidating that they don’t believe he came up with this system. Turns out they actually love it and praise him as a genius. Takeru’s confidence is boosted and he believes he can save mankind. When training resumes, suddenly BETA pop up and attack! Takeru is shocked to see some units getting decimated despite having OS. Then there are orders for the newbies to go retrieve the weapons (because their training weapons are just mock weapons). Because of the drugs sedating them, this has an adverse effect on Takeru. He becomes aggressive and thinks the veterans are looking down on them, treating them as rookies. He is told off that his unit has mobility and to get to it. As they get moving, Takeru is still not happy with this. He starts to engage BETA and tries to kill them. However he gets torn apart. Everything goes offline. Too late for regrets. About saving mankind. About Sumika. He gets so scared he wet his pants and screams for someone to save him! In the aftermath, the BETA wave is wiped out. Takeru sits dejectedly outside his decimated mecha as his girls feel his pain but leave him alone. Only Marimo talks to him and praises him he held out this long for reinforcements to come. However Takeru regrets talking big. Now that he has faced BETA, he is nothing but a coward. Marimo doesn’t care if he is a coward or brave. As long as he lives long enough to protect others, this is enough. She relates her own story that all her comrades got killed and she is the only survivor. Then she thought the purpose of her survival was to help many others to survive. It is the only way to make it up to her dead comrades. And another secret of hers: She also wetted herself. Now don’t go telling others this! Just when Takeru is about to pick himself up, suddenly a BETA sneaks up behind and chomps off Marimo’s head!!! OMG! WTF???!!! Back to the depths of despair for Takeru.

Episode 15
Safe to say, Takeru has been completely traumatized. Back in his room, he is full of regrets. Meiya talks to him about all this being destiny and fate. But this only makes things worse as he blows his top and is he going to rape her?! She allows if it makes him feel better. Then he sees Marimo’s face in her. Bugger runs away in fear! He thinks he wants to go back to the other world where there is no BETA. Oh dear. Look at that crazy rape face. You’re making Kasumi scared! Yuuko tells him off not to bully her and if he wants to go back, so be it. They make the preparations as she cautions him about some caveats because when that happens, he will cease to exist. Yeah, wonder why he needs to apologize to Kasumi for not being able to keep his promise. Weakling. Takeru is back to his own world. But he still doesn’t look happy with everyone around. And then… Here is Marimo! OMG. This guy just got emotional and started crying! WTF?! This drama is so embarrassing. Hell, this guy can’t stop bawling like a baby when Marimo is around. Thank goodness she is kind enough to stay by his side and then listen to him. In the end, she is understanding enough and remains positive after he talks to her about everything. But the next day, MARIMO IS FOUND DEAD!!! OMFG!!! WTF?! Her stalker got jealous seeing her talking to a guy (that’s you, Takeru) and pushed her into a meat slicer! OMFG!!! Sure, the stalker got arrested but now it’s trauma time all over again for Takeru. Yuuko then learns what happened. So he brought back whatever this causality crap with him from the other world, huh? Yeah, it’s your fault? Yuuko worries this whole world will become distorted with Takeru at the centre. No point regretting to not come back here in the first place. It gets worse as Sumika is also affected. You sure didn’t come back here to make her feel like this, do you? Takeru plays hooky and at the end of the day, Meiya talks to him. She tells him Yuuko told her to stay away from him. He tells what happened that day and still blames himself. He asks if she wants to run away from here. Gladly. At that tree spot, Meiya asks if he would like to go somewhere tomorrow since it is his birthday. Oh? Okay. Anywhere. As long as it is with her. Gladly. Meanwhile Sumika leaves a message on Takeru’s phone. They were planning a surprise birthday party for him but looking how things turned out, maybe it’s cancelled. She still wants to celebrate with him, though? Want to go out somewhere tomorrow?

Episode 16
Takeru is about to go out with Meiya. Suddenly she doesn’t remember last night’s promise. Heck, she doesn’t even remember talking with him. Oh, forget about that, who the f*ck is he?! He talks to Yuuko about this and there’s some weird technical thingy about both worlds using Takeru as a pipe to flow info. HUH?! Don’t understand! In the end, nobody will remember him. Takeru tries to remain positive he can be friends with them again but Yuuko cautions that their memories will reset again. Yeah. Condemned to be alone forever. When Sumika meets him in the streets, he gets very agitated and tells her off not to see him again because he hates her. That will make things better, right? Later she still continues to be with him despite all the hurtful things he said. She wants to know what happened. Did she do something to make him hate her? Well, never try, never know. Hence Takeru tells about his parallel life in the other world right up till Marimo’s death. This makes Sumika believe that she will remember him no matter what. They’ll always be together. Well, when a girl says this much, it must be true, right? At least it gives Takeru some hope. Yeah, they even kiss. This will surely be unforgettable, no? Next day at school just as Takeru has resolved himself, the dreaded thing happens. Yes, Sumika forgets who he is! F*cking kiss didn’t work!!! Worse, she gets crushed under the basketball board! Oh dear. Bloody. A distraught Takeru sees Yuuko and wants to die. Yuuko says Sumika is still alive although her condition is critical. Then she brings him to Sumika’s home. See all the diaries she kept and wrote about him? Damn, is Takeru her observational subject?! Yeah, brings tears to your eyes to read and remember everything from Sumika’s memories, eh? Now Takeru is resolved that as long as Sumika is alive, he doesn’t care if he is forgotten. Yuuko then theorizes about his emotional strength influencing and acting as a causality conductor. WTF I don’t even understand… Her goal now is to send him back to the other world since he doesn’t belong here. In his absence, this world’s effects will be undone. So in that other world, he must find out what caused this causality conductor. Once that is resolved, only then he can return to his original world. Takeru looks forward to undo the damage he has done. Strap it in because he’ll be back there for a while.

Episode 17
Yuuko and Takeru sneak into some lab. More theories from her about how he cannot die and more accurately he actually dies but each time he comes back, he loses his memories of that. HUH?! So uhm, a few devices and cables are what going to send Takeru back? Yuuko then reveals the documents her counterpart gave her had instructions for almost all situations including one if Takeru doesn’t come back. Her other side is cunning enough to word it in a way to keep her from realizing the outcome knowing that she would be preoccupied with this time travelling thingy. As Yuuko readies the machine and before the guards barge in, she has Takeru scream out his love for Sumika. And back he goes. So when he apologizes to this Yuuko, she clarifies that she is doing this because their interest aligned. She is going to find him a role suitable for the next phase. Calling him to her office, she introduces Unit 00. Uhm, Sumika?! Not a joke, but she is the product of Alternative IV and the key to destroy BETA. Well, Sumika gets worked up, screaming kill all BETA! She collapses after Takeru tries to calm her down. Seeing this, Yuuko wants him to help fine tune her. That will be his new role. Later when Takeru stumbles into Meiya, she throws him a few punch for not telling them and making them worried he was away on a special mission. But now he’s back, right? Takeru is then inducted into A-01 Squadron. Some new members too. Yeah, all girls. Led by Captain Michiru Isumi, some of the other members introduced are Haruka Suzumiya, Mitsuki Hayase and Misae Munakata. All are students under Marimo too. Later the rest introduces themselves. They are Touko Kazama, Haruko Kashiwagi, Akane Suzumiya (Haruka’s sister – sorry, not the one from Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien. Oh wait. Sh*t. YOU MEAN IT’S HER?! AND SO IS HARUKA?!) and Sakura Usuki. Of course Takeru is glad to also be reunited with his usual girls. They all got to Marimo’s death site to pay their respects and vow to do the best they can.

Episode 18
This brain that was captured at the Yokohama hive, yup that’s Sumika. Yuuko explains more confusing mumbo jumbo. As the perfect specimen to create Unit 00, the biggest problem is transferring her personality. Because to translate what BETA thinks, they need a human personality to do that. Yeah, they have to be careful with every biological aspect of that or it’ll lead to her human parts dying. Takeru understands the Sumika of this world is killed. Takeru’s role is to get Sumika functioning in a week. How? He tries to talk to her but her trauma starts acting up. The only thing he can do to calm her down is hug her. This goes on for quite a while and although she is slowly improving, they won’t make it at this pace. Because A-01 Squadron’s role is to eventually protect Sumika. Yuuko then hints that she has setup things all along. Meaning, she was the one who killed Marimo! She gives Takeru a gun to shoot her since the programme can run without her. But Takeru shows his mature side and won’t. Whatever his reasons I don’t understand, he believes the Sumika now is better than before. To prove her survival meant something, he is prepared to fight to the end. This is how he will make amends to the dead. Takeru goes to Sumika and the usual scene plays out. Kasumi noting how Sumika is like this only with him as her feelings are usually more mixed up. Kasumi reveals she has been reading their memories and assures Sumika’s memories of him are happy ones. On another day, the same ol’ Sumika trauma. This time she is yelling not to take Takeru from her. Sad that he left her, he assures otherwise. But now that Sumika acknowledges him, Takeru feels now is the right moment. He gives her a wood carving present he made himself and tells about the promise to be her Santa every year. She gets up close and cosy with him until her trauma acts up again. Now she blames them for taking everything from her and will kill them all! Another round of assurance that he’ll always be with her to calm her down. That didn’t last long. Because now she looks like a calm plotting murderer as she claims she can finally get revenge on them for killing him. WTF is going on?!

Episode 19
Sumika suddenly acting like the Sumika he knows. Phew. Wait. Did we skip a lot here?! Because suddenly a mission briefing in taking the fight to BETA. FINALLY! Lots of mumbo-jumbo here but A-01 Squadron’s mission is to guard and escort a secret weapon. That is the essence of this mission. To test this experimental weapon, Susano-O Mark II. Yeah, this robot is so damn huge and to Takeru’s fear, Sumika will be piloting it into BETA’s hive and drop some bombs that are more devastating than the atomic version. Later Tsukuyomi talks to Takeru privately and has a favour to ask of him: Take care of Meiya because he is the only one she can rely on as her unit has been relieved of the duty to protect her. Due to the last events, looks like the Americans know about the shogun double. So to avoid Americans carrying out something similar, they have to pretend and show Meiya is not related to the shogun and thus no more protection. Basically abandoning her and commissioning her to be killed in action. Distraught at first, Takeru looks at the positive side because now Meiya can live as she wishes. Next few scenes show A-01 Squadron undergoing more training to get in shape for the important mission. More mission debriefing as Michiru explains the various parties involved in this mission and their mission to escort as well as clear the path while this weapon is being delivered. As A-01 Squadron move out to begin their mission, Takeru talks to Haruko about the latter hoping all this will go well so her brothers don’t have to fight. It may be a selfish thought that she prioritizes her family but that’s how it is. This has Takeru think he is also selfish when it comes to Sumika. Then he talks to Michiru and WTF do we need to hear her unrequited love for a man? Yeah, making it more amusing is how all the other girls who are after his heart are her sisters! She hints her youngest sister is part of this operation. Michiru gets jealous hearing Takeru’s childhood friendship with Sumika. So she orders him to come back alive so that he can make amends to her.

Episode 20
The invasion on Sado begins. Finally! The action on BETA we have been waiting for! Don’t really get all that military manoeuvres and communication but hell yeah, need to see more dead BETA even if we know this is eventually going to be a losing battle. Takeru and his girls enter the battlefield for the first time. This is what a real bloodied BETA battlefield looks like. Welcome to hell. The surface invasion goes as planned. The vanguard then makes its entry into a few levels deep into hive to analyse and scout. Looks like you’re going to be in for some shocking numbers. 40,000 BETA reserves digging straight up to the surface! With Susano-O landed, now it is up to Squadron A-01 to do their job. They easily take out the BETA vanguard. As long as there is no Laser class, they’ll be fine. Speaking of them, here they come. Yuuko deducing BETA is after Susano-O, the reason they did not bring out the Laser class first. Yeah, what kind of hardware are they using to know? Squadron A-01 is ordered to hide as everyone switches to anti-laser shells. The next plan is to hide in this valley and let the advancing BETA swarm advance. Then they’ll pop up to attack them from the back before turning around and back others in taking down the Laser class. While waiting without the power, this dark cockpit brings back haunting memories for Takeru. Hope his therapy is working. But what the heck? Visions of sexy Meiya on him?! No time for that as the mission resumes. More BETA slaughter as the Fort class are trying to protect the Laser class. At this rate they will be overwhelmed and Susano-O will be in their line of fire. Takeru suggests to be the diversion while the rest go in for the kill. Somebody needs to play the hero and live up to his reputation as ace pilot.

Episode 21
Takeru looks like he is having too much on his plate. Some think of backing him up but as Takeru’s girls put it, have faith in him! He said he will get it done so believe in him. And that pays off as we see Takeru pulling off his slick moves to make BETA drop like ants. Now Susano-O has come into the picture. Once its laser is charged, it fires and HOLY SH*T! The entire BETA on the surface including this hive is destroyed! Can’t blame grown men for crying. Finally mankind has hope to defeat those BETA bastards. Susano-O recharges and fires another round at another hive. Yet another success! However after that, Sumika suddenly passes out, causing Susano-O to crash. The team scramble to find what is wrong. Yuuko then communicates to Takeru about this. Looks like the machine is fine so it could only mean Sumika is unconscious. Here’s the plan: Takeru is to retrieve Sumika and then Michiru will try to activate the autopilot manually since the remote autopilot is not working. If that fails, they are forced to blow it up so BETA cannot get its hands on it. It’s a shame to lose their secret weapon but it’s a risk they can’t take. Takeru is distraught to see an unconscious Sumika in the cockpit. He takes her out as Michiru scrambles for the manual activation. More bad news as a horde of BETA is detected to reach the surface all over Sado. Because of this, the best escape route planned by Yuuko for Takeru’s is blocked. There is a longer route he can take but he will not have enough fuel and will be caught in the self-destruct blast. The admiral has another plan and with his artillery ships entering the bay untouched and giving their firing support, there is still a slim chance.

Episode 22
The artillery ships may be in the direct line of fire from BETA but they are equipped with weapons and shields to fight them. The escape plan begins with the vanguard clearing a path for Takeru’s escape with Sumika. Michiru then has Meiya and Haruko escort Takeru, leaving her behind. Before you can talk about honour in death, Michiru gives her pep talk about doing so is only good for once. And if you plan to do that, make sure you get the biggest return. They move out and along the way, encounter a few BETA resistance. Sumika wakes up for a while. This causes all BETA to stop dead in their tracks. Wow. It’s like they’re glitching. Even Susano-O’s programme starts to respond and boot up. However Sumika falls back unconscious and hell resumes. With BETA hordes detected heading towards Susano-O, Yuuko has Michiru cancel the autopilot and switch to self-destruct. Because Haruko’s unit is damaged, she decides to go back to Michiru. Even if they get through this BETA, she cannot last long enough to make it back all the way. Takeru and Meiya rendezvous with the vanguard. They will be scot free once they reach the beach but sorry, more BETA has been detected popping up all over the island.

Episode 23
Michiru needs Haruko to buy her a few more seconds. But I guess she took too long. Haruko gets KIA. There’s only one option left. That’s right. Michiru will be going down with the ship. However she’s going to take down all the BETA on Sado with her. Literally destroying the entire island to prevent BETA from invading the mainland. Not sure what she activated because now all the BETA on the island is drawn to her. This gives Takeru and others a path to escape out and back to the rendezvous point. After Takeru puts Sumika back in the infirmary, he goes to see Yuuko. Before he gets emotional learning about Haruko’s death and Michiru’s suicidal mission, Yuuko reminds her that this is vital to save many other lives and to keep Alternative IV afloat. A plan that Michiru herself has worked hard to keep afloat. After Michiru activates the self-destruct, she contacts Yuuko. Wow. With only 10 minutes on the clock, Yuuko allows her to say her goodbye to her subordinates but spends half that time talking to her?! Okay. At least Michiru gets the good news her sister survived and didn’t have any serious injuries. Then Michiru talks with Takeru. The irony Michiru remains compose and calm while Takeru is getting all emotional. Yeah, he respects her and all. We know that. That itself eats up half the remaining time! Finally, a group goodbye to the rest of her subordinates. Must be a quick one. Now it’s all over. At least for Michiru. A giant dark matter-like explosion engulfs all over Sado.

Episode 24
Apparently that blast eradicated BETA from all over Japan?! FOR REAL?! An official funeral is held for those who perish. Michiru’s sisters are shocked as they break down when they receive a letter of her official death. An accident during TSF training?! WTF?! A-01 Squadron is briefed about the next mission to target the hive on the Korean peninsula. Mitsuki is made the leader of A-01 Squadron. Later we see Meiya talking to Takeru about Michiru’s words to her. After that, Akane learns from Takeru about Haruko’s final actions. It’s not classified info so he tells as it is. Yeah, gonna go cry alone. He then visits Sumika who is starting her tantrums again. It seems she has this fear Takeru doesn’t love her anymore. Once more, Takeru’s strong affirmation that he’ll never leave lulls her to sleep. Kasumi translates Sumika’s meaning is that she thought he was in love with another girl. A busy day for Takeru as now he sees Yuuko about the next mission. However she warns that UN now has cold feet because Alternative V proponents have decided to use this outcome as a failure. She can’t tell them the whole truth yet as she is trying to lure them out into the open. There is also plans to take on the main hive and that’s why their next mission is important. Takeru believes Sumika is in no shape for combat so soon as Yuuko mentions about her rapidly degrading brain fluids. She is stumped on this until Takeru tells her about what Kasumi said. And then that sexy Meiya vision, it is unsure if those are memories from his previous loop but I guess the hatred for BETA and woman jealousy was enough to cause Sumika’s brain fluids to overflow. Before Takeru can blame himself again, Yuuko commends him for doing the impossible job by getting Sumika ready in record time for the Sado mission. Had those who died didn’t, it could be Takeru who died. Hence Michiru’s decision to die wasn’t a result of some coincidence and there is no better timeline than this. Meiya and the girls plant Marimo’s memorial next to Michiru’s. They remember her final last words for them. Sorry Takeru can’t be with you. He’s busy accompanying Sumika. Fixing things one step at a time.

The BETA Male Test
Wow. The finale felt like a draggy affair. The whole war on BETA is far from over but it’s like they’re closing the chapter on Japan. Yup. The land of the rising sun is now the world’s safest place from BETA. Will the BETA make a revenge comeback by having an all-out invasion on the island? That will be another story but I guess as far as for this particular series and this season, it’s like the efforts of our heroes have been rewarded. Hence the draggy finale to pay tribute to our beloved Michiru who might be with them for just a short while but has impacted the rest of their lives. Yeah. Salute to our honorary captain! Where Takeru, Sumika and the rest of the girls take from here is another different story entirely. By the time Takeru fixes things, I think he doesn’t want to go back to his non-BETA world.

Initially, I thought this season was going to be sh*t all over again. That’s right. That fear of mine was going to come true as we see the first half mainly about Takeru turning into some kind of big chicken. I know it is wrong to blame him for being that after all the trauma that he has gone through. But I thought as the main character he should have had a stronger resolve than that. Besides, didn’t he already made such resolve in the last season? And then to see him get all traumatized again and I thought the rest of this season is going to be one huge psychological trip because there so many confusing moments that I don’t get. Yeah, that part really sucked. Takeru and his moment of weakness was probably the worst part of the series and probably even sucked more than last season’s finale of bickering among humans. But I guess that is necessary to build his character. I mean, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Past the halfway mark after Takeru returns and regains his sanity and balls back, the attack on BETA on Sado was the much needed relief that I had been waiting for. That’s right. The action parts of man and machine taking on alien monsters for a battle of survival for the future did not disappoint. Seriously, this final stretch redeemed itself and personally added back some points that I have rashly taken off at the start. Though, still not enough to save this season entirely. Heh. Just like hope keeps trolling with us and playing with our hearts, we see how Susano-O gave everyone the much needed morale booster and confidence for the fight against BETA. Yeah, I have to admit that I too fell for this. Because eventually reality will back harder than before. Because BETA still reigns supreme especially when they have seemingly unlimited numbers. Like as though they’re using some sort of cheat code to eternal spawn more monsters. Just how many BETA are there underneath the surface? I don’t know. At this rate I’m thinking they might have so many that the Earth’s core might even be populated with them! Yeah, hope to save humanity fading pretty fast. Alternative V seems to be looking brighter and brighter now…

Takeru despite as the main character, he is only human. No doubt it was annoying to see him become a wuss after the death of Marimo, but as I have said, it was all necessary to build his character. He should be stronger in the end. I might not see it directly because he still gets emotional at times. But ah, that proves he is human, right? I mean, if he has returned and overcome his trauma, that doesn’t mean he is void of emotions. Can’t be a totally new person by being an emotionless bastard. Therefore Takeru being Takeru, he’ll still show some emotions from time to time. It’s okay for grown men to shed some tears. Initially, Yuuko’s character comes off more as confusing and enigmatic. Because of Takeru going back and forth between different timelines, it became more confusing with Yuuko’s actions towards her other self. It’s like she anticipated it all and knew what to do. Hey, nobody knows you better than yourself, right? So it was really perplexing and even more shocking to hear Yuuko being the orchestrator of some of the events at the beginning, especially the one who caused Marimo’s death. Like, is she playing the villain or something? I don’t know. It was all very confusing. Until the invasion on Sado, Yuuko mellows down and feels like a different person than the cunning calculative scientist I thought she was in the first half. Is this the same Yuuko?

The other character to the fore this season is of course Sumika. Her whereabouts in this world is now solved. Yeah, if you had paid attention, you would have guessed that she is that brain and the secret weapon against BETA. However I am unsure if they skipped some chapters on this part. Because as Takeru returns to this timeline and knowing about Sumika’s whereabouts, a few scenes of him trying to calm her down and ease her trauma. Oh boy, I thought perhaps the rest of the season would be to see how Takeru plays the smooth guy to smooth things over. And then suddenly, suddenly she is all fine and ready to be part of the mission to invade Sado. Uhm, were there parts cut out here because it feels rushed. Of course there is more to her than meets the eye as she is considered the most important thing for mankind against BETA. At this point, it is very curious if she is some sort of BETA queen and would rule over them because of that single scene where her consciousness stopped every BETA dead in their tracks. Hmm… I don’t know if there would be some plot twist later on but as far as this season is concerned, that’s all there is to her.

Hence the other characters especially the main girls in Takeru’s harem feels very much side-lined. Meiya feels like she has slightly more appearance (because of that weird vision from Takeru thingy) but the rest feels really forgettable. Damn, at this point I almost forgot their names! Yeah, with Takeru giving Sumika all his attention, no time for other harem shenanigans. In a way it is good because it is like the guy finally decided on which girl to settle down with. And then with them being inducted into the special A-01 Squadron, oh boy, more girls! I thought how the f*ck is he going to handle and influx of girls into his harem but thankfully that’s just my stupid assumption that didn’t come true. But even if that is the case, they too feel forgettable. I don’t know if the game fleshes them out further but as far as this season is concerned, I thought that since they don’t have any such fleshing out, they would be BETA sacrifices! I mean, that’s the only reason why this squad needs more members, right? Can’t have Takeru’s main harem get killed and what better way to substitute that with new characters that at this point we don’t even feel connected to. Both good and bad thing, the casualties from this squad are only Haruko and Michiru. Yeah, dedicating the penultimate episode just for the latter’s goodbye.

On a side note, I find it curious and amusing that Haruka and Akane look a lot like their counterparts from the Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien series and even joked to myself that some timeline shenanigans had them crossover into this timeline. Heck, even that Mitsuki girl is here. So I thought they got the same crossover treatment like Takeru being pulled from a non-BETA world into one. Instead of some tragic romance, now they are forced to fight BETA! Well, jokes on me because I soon discovered that both games were created by the same company, Age! Oh f*ck. I wonder if they have other games in the series with characters having the same crossover treatment. Well, none. Those are the only games Age has made.

If there is a character whom I somewhat feel disappointed the most, it would be Sakura. Actually I do not even remember her character had they not briefly pointed this out on her. If you remember the first episode of the first season whereby BETA invaded Sado and everyone perished save for a lone girl hiding in the closet, yup, Sakura is that girl. She is now grown up and part of this special squadron. Unfortunately she didn’t do any special jack sh*t or anything out of the ordinary. That’s why she’s so forgettable and it made me wonder what the heck was all this for instead. In the end, she is still seen wallowing over Michiru’s death. Is this all she is good for? I thought perhaps the game fleshed out her character more until I discovered that she only existed only in the anime! Oh my. An anime only character. What a waste. So is this all part of the trolling? You know, trying to give people like me some sort of false hope and anticipation? Yeah. They succeeded in that. No wonder I can’t help feel disappointed with her character now that they got me thinking about it.

This season’s opening theme is Akatsuki Wo Ute by JAM Project and Minami Kuribayashi. If you’re familiar with JAM Project’s trademark rock music, you’d feel very much at home here with this one. Personally, it just sounds average to me as there are other anime songs that fare better than this that I personally like better (example, Scrapped Princess, Busou Renkin, One Punch Man and Yomigaeru Sora: Rescue Wings). As for the ending theme, Sakai by V.W.P sounds like some slow rock ballad. Again, sounds average to me. So who this group who sang the opener in the first season? Don’t know much about this virtual group but I read some of its members have some voice acting lines in this season. Not that I care anyway.

Overall, this season still falls short of expectations and is not as great. However it is not as bad as the first season so I guess that itself is an achievement? Comments and reviews online are divided and mixed about this season. Especially those who have played the game would definitely curse this abomination because you know, the biggest issue of adapting a game with hundreds of hours of gameplay and cut scenes is to cut out so many parts and condense them into parts to nicely fit the airing schedule. And of course simpletons like yours truly who knows nothing about it will be left confused especially the first half being some psychological trauma on the main character and the second half somewhat slightly redeemed itself with some BETA action. So will there be another season? Well, there is always that small chance of hope. Yeah, why do I have a feeling that we have a better chance of getting that instead of eradicating BETA?!

Sorry if this series seems a little late. Initially I wanted to watch Tate No Yuusha No Nariagari S2 along with the third season. Yes, as if it wasn’t enough announcing a second season but a third! So anyway, I thought the third season would happen soon but looks like after a year later and no signs of the third season, you bet the panic button was pressed. Uh huh. With quite a number of anime titles I’m planning to watch, I thought of clearing this out of the way first seeing that it won’t make a difference because it’s not like I remember many stuffs from the first season. Though I believe this series’ third season will be coming out at the end of this year, alas I made my decision to just get over this first otherwise I’ll be wondering why this series has been sitting on my hard drive for over a year while the deluge of current anime series start to flood my watch list. Sighs…

Episode 1
Naofumi sees Keel and Lecia training. The latter dressed up in a penguin suit?! What’s this to hide her depression and get her confidence? Anyway, the place is soon attacked by monster bats. Nothing that Raphtalia and Filo couldn’t handle. Naofumi soon senses something strange as the countdown to the next Wave stops. Soon Mirelia calls all the heroes about this phenomenon. Apparently a horrific disaster known as Spirit Tortoise that revives once every few centuries is going to wreak havoc on the world. However all but Naofumi are not interested in handling this. They’re summoned to fight Waves and not whatever this is. As Naofumi is the only one seemingly agreeing to handle this, Mirelia explains how Spirit Tortoise has left a wake of destruction in is trail. In no time it will reach Melromarc and trample on Naofumi’s land. Well, that’s your cue to accept this job and stop this. Lecia continues to be depressed because Itsuki just told her the devastating truth that he cut her off from his team because she is weak and useless. Hence Raphtalia takes her to Berocas to turn her into Naofumi’s slave so she can be stronger. However Naofumi will not force anyone to be his slave. Oh well, Lecia volunteers since she is desperate to get Itsuki’s approval. After a painful ritual, she is now Naofumi’s slave. Naofumi’s party start their travel to the very Chinese-like Spirit Tortoise Kingdom where the said giant turtle spawned. Along the way, they notice many refugees running away. Upon arriving, they heard rumours how 3 of the heroes have been killed and everything is futile. This makes Lecia panic as she tries to run off. To where? Naofumi stops her and has Filo contact Fitoria to confirm that none of the heroes are dead. Feel better? Leave that for later since the place is under attack by bats and baboons. With the overwhelming numbers, Naofumi is forced to resort in using his cursed shield. Yeah, left a huge crater but Naofumi is still intact. Barely. A woman who recognizes the shield hero wants him to quickly kill her.

Episode 2
For a person who wants to be killed, she sure disappears quickly. Next day, Naofumi along with Mirelia have a war strategy discussion with other nations’ rulers. Some arguing they don’t need the shield hero until they realize their army may not even stop the Spirit Tortoise’s might. Naofumi also learns that there are other chosen heroes: Seven Star Heroes who use vassal weapons and some of them were summoned from another world. However Mirelia won’t put her hopes too much on them as they are much weaker than the 4 heroes. Then that woman from yesterday pops up. Everyone recognizes her as Ost Hourai who is the concubine to the kingdom’s late king and the current regent. However she reveals all that they know about her is a lie. She is actually a familiar of the Spirit Tortoise. This means those bats and baboons are her brethren. Her role is to get close to the centre of power and collect human souls. This is why wars between nations happen so she could collect the souls of the dead. Because it is believed those souls will form a barrier to black the Waves. If she fails, her brethren will forcefully kill. And if that too fails, Spirit Tortoise will break its own seal and go on a rampage. However Spirit Tortoise has awakened too early and somebody has broken its seal to control it. That is why she wants them to kill it. Because it will be useless if Spirit Tortoise destroys the world, right? Hence she will provide her assistance to stop the menace. With the council descending into arguing who should be in charge or taking credit, Naofumi puts his foot down that he is out if nobody has a better plan to take down this Spirit Tortoise. Ost goes to meet the rest of Naofumi’s groupie which now includes Eclair Seyaette and Elrasla Grilaroc, both whom are training Naofumi’s girls especially Lecia. Next day, everyone makes their preparations to take down the Spirit Tortoise as they believe this is its next target since it is densely populated. That night as everyone rests and has a nice time teasing Lecia’s love for Itsuki, that loud roar signals the arrival of the Spirit Tortoise.

Episode 3
Naofumi’s group heads out first. The army gets their morale boosted as they cheer on the shield hero. While Naofumi’s group is to lure the batty familiars away and then take them out (uhm, why is Lecia in a Filo suit?!), Eclair leads her troops to lead the Spirit Tortoise into a ravine where the siege group is waiting to throw all they’ve got at it. Well, nothing works. You think their puny weapons can have any impact on this big turtle. They won’t give up and try to focus on severing a leg. With casualties rising, finally the bombing commander sacrifices himself to bomb the ravine to stop the turtle from moving. Now that it is trapped, the plan is to sever its head. It’s going to be tough because now Spirit Tortoise is shooting spiked beams! Long range attack! As the casualties continue to mount, Naofumi signals the next stage of the attack. This includes having the mages cast a very difficult spell that can only be used once to damage its head. That is when they’ll swoop in to cut it. The plan works like a charm as everybody concentrates their effort until the turtle’s head gets cut off. The survivors celebrate at rejoice at this victory. Naofumi and co believe with Spirit Tortoise’s demise, Ost will no longer be around. But surprise! She still is. This means the Spirit Tortoise isn’t dead yet.

Episode 4
Lecia was born to poor nobles but lived a happy life with her parents. All that came crumbling when the wicked neighbouring noble took her away as her parents couldn’t repay some debt. She thought her life was over until Itsuki freed her. That is why she wants to repay him but her lowest moment came when she got kicked out of his party and couldn’t be of use to him. Naofumi’s plan is to head up to the back of Spirit Tortoise and find any clues of its weakness to defeat it, hoping Ost would remember something. Because of the fog and instead of risk wandering aimlessly in the dark, Naofumi sets up camp on the turtle’s back. Perhaps this is some sort of cue for Lecia x Ost bonding whatever. When the fog lifts, some of Ost’s memories return. She leads them to a place which looks like a decimated village. No survivors. Inside the shrine, there are texts that explain about the Spirit Tortoise. It seems Lecia can read those until she stumbles upon unfamiliar alphabets. To Naofumi’s shock, those words are written in Japanese. Ancient summoned heroes from his world? Some words are hard to read as they are blurred out but it seems like it is trying to tell a way to defeat the Spirit Tortoise. How convenient, place starts to collapse. Everyone get out. So I guess nobody took a picture of that mural and important clues, huh? Don’t worry. Because how convenient either. Ost remembers how to defeat the Spirit Tortoise. There is an entrance inside the shrine deep into its body. Destroy the heart and you destroy the Spirit Tortoise. Yeah, better hurry because it is reported to soon be awakened. Naofumi will only take Raphtalia and Filo with him and the rest return to the army. However Lecia sums up her courage to come with them as she doesn’t want to be left behind. Okay, it’s your choice. As they trek deeper, they are almost attacked by adventurers. They claim they are here on Mirelia’s orders. Suspicious, Naofumi has Raphtalia undo whatever disguise spell and it looks like they are L’arc, Therese and Glass.

Episode 5
Refresh your memories as we are reminded about L’arc’s group here to kill Naofumi to save their world. However they should’ve returned after their last battle during the Wave. L’arc claims they are here to kill the guy who took control of the Spirit Tortoise who is doing this for his own personal greed. He suggests a truce and work together but Naofumi refuses because he won’t work with someone whom he’ll eventually kill. But they’re free to do whatever they want without getting in their way. Ost leads Naofumi and co to an hourglass deep inside. This indicates how many souls it has collected. Ost is conflicted that her task was to steal souls but now ponders the meaning of taking the souls of those nice smiling people. Finally they reach the heart and the perpetrator shows himself: Kyo Ethnina who is one of the vassal weapon heroes. They can’t hurt him since this is not his true body and only a projection. Kyo claims he has deceived L’arc’s party by making them destroy fake generating hearts (I guess this solves the issue of why L’arc earlier on got to the heart first rather than Ost). Naofumi wants Kyo to release his control over the Spirit Tortoise and return the souls he stole. Obviously not going to do it. He lets them fight the heart’s defensive system. Raphtalia is forced to cut it knowing it will kill Ost. Well, trolled us again because she is still alive! So a severed head and heart, the Spirit Tortoise still lives. However Ost has regained her full memories as she brings them to the deepest depths of the body. At this point, the Spirit Tortoise has fully revived. That loud healthy roar signals, “I’m back, motherf*ckers”! Inside this room where Kyo is, he hints that Naofumi has understood what has happened. For those dumb enough not to get it: The whole problem would’ve been solved had they kill Ost because she is not a familiar. Her true identity is that she is linked to the Spirit Tortoise’s core. In other words, the Spirit Tortoise herself. She that mark lighting up on her chest? That’s right.

Episode 6
Had Ost been a familiar, she would’ve been under Kyo’s control. Kyo seems to have captured the other 3 heroes and is using their life as energy to power up the core. Now it gets harder because they have to destroy both the head and heart simultaneously to end this sh*t! Fitoria now joins in the battle as she fights with the Spirit Tortoise. L’arc’s side also joins Naofumi to take down this scumbag but because he has the protection from the Spirit Tortoise, they can’t touch him. Then he uses a soul to control gravity and bring them down to their knees. He abuses and badmouths Naofumi. Until Lecia stands up and fight back (something about manipulating ki allowing her to do this). She claims Kyo is a coward and weak like her. Because he relies on the powers of others. This hits a raw nerve as Lecia fights him and technically she is much better than her. Wow. Did Lecia just change into a different person? Ost uses her strength to have Naofumi chant some spell to break free of the gravity. Then she opens a path for L’arc’s them to the heart. Naofumi has Filo follow them so they can coordinate with Fitoria to destroy their targets simultaneously. Long story short, they did the job (did Spirit Tortoise’s head explode because of its own mouth beam?!). Kyo hasn’t lost yet as he uses the souls as protection around the core. Naofumi then uses his curse shield, seemingly going to end it all. Then nothing happens. Because he has not enough hatred? Kyo laughs his ass off but he’s not going to be the last one laughing as Ost activates the power she left in his shield. Wow. Now Naofumi has wings? And other cool accessories to the shield?! Against Naofumi’s will, it fires at the core, destroying it. And it looks like Kyo has pulled another fast one. He already achieved his goal by saving some of the souls in this container. He escapes back to his own world as L’arc’s side pursue him. The rest tend to a dying Ost as she tells Naofumi he doesn’t need to rely on hatred to use that cursed shield. Because he doesn’t have that, the reason this shield version activated. Naofumi is going to follow the rest to the other world. He wants Lecia to stay with Itsuki but she won’t. She’s part of this team. Ost revels in the beauty of such friendship and wishes to be their friend if she is ever reborn. The Spirit Tortoise disappears and its life force turns the barren land green.

Episode 7
Naofumi and Lecia find themselves in a prison cell. Worse, they realize their skill levels have been reset back to level 1. Well, well. This means Raphtalia is back to being a child. Kawaii! Though, Filo is missing. The door is unlock so they leave and find themselves on a strange island. There is a coast and a beach but no wind. They fight weak weird monsters to level up but at this rate they’ll take forever. But when this kappa monster attacks, they’re not strong enough to defeat it until Kizuna Kazayama saves the day. She is one of the 4 heroes but the hunting hero? As they trade notes, we learn Kizuna too was also summoned from another world but not to fight Waves (a term she has never heard). She adds this is an infinite prison. Once you get in, you cannot get out. She got captured by the enemy and was placed here. For many years she has tried to find a way out but all attempts failed. Yes, she has been stuck in here for many years! She gets excited that Naofumi knows Glass because she’s her best friend. Now Naofumi distrusts her. To prove it, Kizuna strikes him with her sword. She can attack but cannot damage. Next day, Naofumi joins her to look for an exit. After years of exploring, she believes this place might have some clues. This small chapel room, it looks like the far end of this prison and it is believed there is nothing beyond it but another dimension. However they cannot go through it. Naofumi notes that this is like a bug so to solve this, he plants a seed that grows into an infinite plant that bursts open the walls of the room. Using this chance, they dive through the crack and voila! Out of this prison and back into the real world! Kizuna cannot contain her happiness that she is out and no longer alone. Giving her saviour a big hug!

Episode 8
The plan is to head to Sikul, the country that summoned Kizuna. However it is a week’s worth of travel. Hence it is best they head for the capital of Mikakage, the country who captured her and use their hourglass as it has teleporting abilities. Entering town, they witness various races so Kizuna explains to them. Especially the spirit race which Glass belongs to as such race has enormous energy and hence they don’t have levels. A notice states that the enemy state is suspected of making new weapons and doing experiments to copy the teleporting abilities of the hourglass that only the heroes can use. Noting that they need to make some money for food, armour, weapons and even a visa, Naofumi hits an idea when he learns some soul soothing potion to be very valuable for the spirit race. Hence he starts selling them and it sells out like hot cakes. Then they hunt monsters and learn that if the heroes exchange and use each other’s items, they have different effect on them. More selling of the potion as it now turns into an auction to the highest bidder. Sneaky move by Naofumi to make Lecia the clumsy one breaking all but 1 bottle to jack up the price. Later they see a crowd congregate and tight security. Apparently some genius mage from another country who developed the new research technology is back. Sorry it’s not Kyo but Kazuki. But he looks like another arrogant character whom Naofumi would love to hate his guts for. That night as it snows, Kizuna thinks they should use this opportunity to sneak in to use the hourglass where security is low. They do so but as they’re about to enter the room, it is a dead end. Yes, a trap. The guards try to capture them but they run. They split up to effectively find that room and eventually do so. Kazuki is waiting for them and has set this trap as per told by Kyo. He is working with him. In exchange to sponsor this research, he is to capture them. When Kizuna finally manages to activate the hourglass, however only Raphtalia does not begin to warp. Kyo’s maniacal laughter is heard. All part of his plan to separate them, the reason he placed Naofumi in that prison along with Raphtalia so he could see his despaired face when they part. Some parting words from Raphtalia that she’ll be his sword till the end as she fights off the guards while her comrades warp away.

Episode 9
Can’t use the hourglass to return there because the other side has shut it. Naofumi is impatient as he wants to go back and save Raphtalia. For those wondering if Filo has been roasted and eaten as a chicken, sorry folks, it’s a fate worse than that. She’s an auction item for some slave trader. As the Sikul subjects are glad to have Kizuna back, they learn of what happened to her but once they realize who Naofumi is, they go on full alert. They believe he is one of those who want to destroy their world. Luckily here comes Ethnobalt, another vassal weapon user. He returns Chris who is Kizuna’s shikigami pet to her. Because such shikigami can help locate others, all Naofumi need is his blood and something from Raphtalia. Using her hair, now we have a cute raccoon shikigami. Since this raccoon is alive, it means Raphtalia is alive too. Naofumi notes Ethnobalt is not human and true enough, his true form is a monster rabbit and his race is to protect this world. As Chris and the raccoon point out Raphtalia and Glass in the same area, Raybul the enemy nation aligned with Mikakage that Kazuki is from, this is their next destination. Ethnobalt’s boat is even better than the hourglass as he can teleport anywhere without registering. He leaves them at Raybul. As they walk through town, Naofumi hears a familiar cry. Don’t look now but Filo being put on show and being abused. You bet Naofumi wants to kill this bastard but Lecia is rational and suggests sneaking in to save her at night. After all, can’t risk Filo being hurt. That night they do so and in this cage, Naofumi recognizes her and breaks the talisman that is keeping her stay in this little monster form. Filo is so happy to reunite with her master again she won’t let him go. When the slave trader is here, Naofumi unleashes some illusion fear to break him. Apparently he is the son of some noble and is doing this as some sideshow. It could have been Kyo who had given Filo to his father who then gave it to him. Since filolial race don’t exist in this world, it could be that Filo as filolial queen allowed her to retain her human form. Next day, a notice that has Naofumi and the rest as wanted people. But it was dark so their faces aren’t drawn clearly. But a more distressing issue, Naofumi suddenly loses Raphtalia’s stats. This critter is still here so Raphtalia should be alive. But something still feels off.

Episode 10
Raphtalia is being locked in a snowy prison. To her surprise, her other cellmates are L’arc and his party. They fell into Kyo’s trap and got captured. They trade notes as Glass is relieved to hear Kizuna is okay. To thank her, she will definitely return her to Naofumi. Because this prison makes you exhausted, the reason why they can’t break free despite having weapons. However Raphtalia has an idea. Making an illusion to disappear, this has a guard open the door to check it out. Raphtalia then steals his special talisman which negates the exhaustion spell for their much needed prison break. Their mission now is to use Raybul’s hourglass to Sikul and meet up with Naofumi. Along the way, they hear a commotion. Apparently a new katana vassal weapon wielder will be chosen. Since it has been Raybul’s tradition to wield it, everyone is watching with baited breath as they watch Kazuki making his turn. However the sword soon disappears into Raphtalia’s hands. Kazuki thinks she stole it and orders the guards to help her. So as not to make a fuss, Raphtalia escapes on her own. As a vassal weapon, she cannot discard the weapon and now she is back into her adult form and that makes her clumsier. Also, her slave crest has disappeared. Thank goodness she stumbles into a shrine who serves the katana vassal weapon wielder for generations. Yes, time for a change of clothes for Raphtalia. Fancy a miko priestess outfit? Now that she can move easily, Kazuki is here to get what he believes is his. Despite still weak, Raphtalia can defeat him and even copies of this Byakko tiger monsters he sent at her. Raphtalia finally paralyzes Kazuki and learns he wants the sword so badly so as to make Kyo owe him one. Well, not going to happen. Now that she has used up too much energy, she can’t deal with this huge Byakko. This is it? Think again because Naofumi and co drop in to destroy this beast. Instead of asking for forgiveness or punishment, Raphtalia is glad to be back with them. Despite being free, she continues to be by Naofumi’s side.

Episode 11
Kyo is mocking Kazuki for his failures. This guy is so irritated that he moves from his spot, allowing Raphtalia’s curse to take effect and slicing him in half! Don’t worry, Kyo will take him back to his lab to be revived. But in the meantime since the other heroes will be a hindrance to Kyo, Yomogi Emarl offers to go eliminate them. Kizuna is reunited with Glass. But once she hears how they were trying to destroy Naofumi’s world thinking it would stop the Waves, she starts chewing everybody out. Kizuna believes there is another way than that. But when Naofumi questions what if that is the only way, Kizuna maintains she won’t fight him. Oh, did we mention L’arc is also the young king of Sikul? No wonder he’s so famous… In order to prepare their fight against Kyo, Kizuna takes them to Romina who will make them some weapons. It will take a week but Kizuna wants it done overnight! Suddenly here comes Yomogi to kill them. WTF she declares to fight and claims unfairness that they outnumber her?! As they fight, her sword starts acting strange. It tries to absorb her but the rest manage to tear it apart from her before it goes boom. Yomogi wants to be killed seeing that she has failed. Of course Kizuna won’t do so. However Yomogi is willing to die for Kyo’s noble cause AKA stopping the Waves. Instead of having a hostile environment to interrogate her, Kizuna brings her to her own home to talk. She doesn’t want her to deem them as the enemy. This upsets Naofumi because she is the enemy. Kizuna is being kind because she hasn’t seen the atrocities Kyo has done. Anyway what Kizuna wants is to have Yomogi tell the truth and perhaps they can find a way to stop the Wave. Yomogi starts talking about being childhood friends since young. Kyo displayed his genius at an early age, even knowing about Waves. She followed him and vowed to protect him. Now she has doubts if Kyo has done something wicked behind her back. If so, he must pay and she will atone with him. Romina has done the impossible and completed the weapons. Even more amazing, here’s the hefty bill! Trying to put it on L’arc’s tab, Kizuna! Suddenly the Wave countdown accelerates. Kyo seems to be glad his experiment is done. Multiple Waves appear in the sky. Yomogi sees Kyo’s lab and becomes disheartened. Now she knows the truth he isn’t out to stop Waves but to create one.

Episode 12
A short flashback of Kyo’s previous life. An otaku who hates his life and his games were his only escape. But he too got tired of it and killed himself. Now with this second life, he is going to live the way he wants. Yomogi leads Naofumi’s group into Kyo’s lab while Kizuna’s group fight the monsters. They are up against Kazuki’s lackeys who are combined with other monsters to power up. They think doing so will bring Kazuki back to life. Damn, Raphtalia just took them all down in 1 strike! Kyo is here to say hi as well as let them toy with Kazuki. Sorry, he is just an undead. A lifeless body. A homunculus. Raphtalia, Filo and Yomogi fight this zombie while letting Naofumi and Lecia go ahead. Kyo purposely insults Naofumi and the likes just to make him mad. So mad that his cursed shield now activates and he is engulfed with the demon inside it. When Lecia tries to calm him down, Naofumi chokes her and claims she is a useless slut and laments he has to take care of someone who is after Itsuki. Basically he is useless like Raphtalia and Filo once were but now they’re at least useful to him. But Lecia is glad to hear his thoughts on her and that he still thinks of them as treasured friends. She wants whatever controlling Naofumi to get out. As Naofumi struggles, Lecia goes to fight Kyo who is still trying to use the Spirit Tortoise’s essence to fight her. Naofumi facing his inner demon as this one tries to convince him he needs his power to do his task to destroy the Waves. The power to burn everything! Thankfully, Ost returns and tells him he does not need such flames and whatever task he intends to do, it is for him to decide. Naofumi regains his sanity this time with Raphtalia and Filo by his side. Naofumi accepts all the hatred and anger because he needs it to move on. His shield evolves as he blasts away Kyo. But even so, Kyo is not panicking in death. He believes he’ll have the last laugh and will find out soon what it is. With Kyo’s death, the world returns to normal. Yomogi thanks Naofumi for defeating Kyo. With this mission over, Naofumi and co will automatically return to their world. Kizuna is sad this is too soon because she hasn’t thanked him properly yet. Uhm, don’t be wasting time now! She does so and hopes to come to his world one day. If she knows how. Back home, Naofumi has been awarded and given the title of viscount for his role in defeating the Spirit Tortoise. During his absence, another Wave occurred but the other heroes redeemed themselves to defeat it. Naofumi notes more tough challenges to face but as long as he has his friends, he can keep this world safe.

Episode 13
Naofumi and co are on a trip. While taking a fishing break, Filo is sad she can’t fly anymore like she did in the other world. Raphtalia remembers the time when Kizuna picked out their clothes in the other world. Flashback on how she toyed with the ladies by having them wear different outfit before settling on the one we saw. When asking Naofumi which clothes of them was the best, he replied his because it has the highest defence. Yeah, this dude didn’t get it… Meanwhile Kizuna and Yomogi are fishing. Yomogi wonders how Kizuna fared during her imprisonment. Kizuna relates when she first got here, she thought she was going to be stuck here forever. But she didn’t give up in finding a way out. Solo camping was only fun for so much so she created a boat trying to escape. Until she hit a wall. Oh well, back to more solo camping. Then she tried to kill herself but couldn’t bring herself to it. Subsequently she created a familiar volleyball as companion! OMG I wonder if she called it Wilson!!! One day she saw a light crashing in (Naofumi) and that’s when she got hope she might get out of here. Yomogi fears she can’t remember Kyo anymore. So Kizuna tells her to remember the fund times. Ah, perhaps this. The time when Kyo was frantically finding his glasses when it was on his head all along! Yomogi couldn’t help keep it a secret until she couldn’t and that priceless reaction when she told him. That was the last time they had fun before Kyo went to hunt down the Spirit Tortoise. Meanwhile is Filo trying to kill everyone by trying to fly???!!! CHICKENS CAN’T FLY! Luckily she didn’t. The girls then remember what Ost talked to them about getting intimate. Raphtalia and Filo didn’t understand what it meant so Ost whispered to them. While Filo doesn’t find mating indecent, Raphtalia finds it otherwise. Ost would’ve love to tell more but Lecia can’t take any more of it. Naofumi and co are now at the Spirit Tortoise’s resting place as they pay their final respects. I’m sure the spirit of Ost is here to thank them for one last time.

The Tortoise And The Harbinger Of Death
As mentioned, the long and arduous journey of the shield hero isn’t over yet. From the few short ‘tantalizing’ clips at the end, it looks like more sh*t is going to hit the fan and it could be even worse than what our heroes have faced in this season and the previous. Or maybe it is just me overthinking because you know how they like to overdramatize things. Yeah, don’t worry. I’ll soon find it all out in the next few months. Glad I got this out of the way so I can go watch my other animes before the next season arrives?

Personally, I thought this season felt like one big side-tracked mission or side quest. After all, there is a countdown to the next Wave so what else to give our shield hero something to do in this not-so-optional side quest. That’s why the first half is about taking down a giant mythical beast that is seemingly about to destroy the world prematurely. And then the second half throws our titular hero and his harem into another world. Heh. Imagine being given the isekai treatment TWICE! Although the mini story arcs weren’t anything great but at least they were interesting enough to retain my attention. That’s good enough already, right? What more do I want? I mean, it’s pretty typical and cliché of such plots that the hero needs to save the world from destruction from a crazy baddie and only he and his team can do the job. At least Naofumi did his job/role/task as he was summoned for.

Character wise, there are some developments between the main characters but nothing that significant or major. Like Naofumi may be still full of angst because of what he went through but this time I don’t see him as angry as before. Maybe it’s partly due to my failing memories. Sure, he does get angry but more than often it is because his friends were put in danger. So he claims he doesn’t care and all that but his actions tell us otherwise. It’s just that he doesn’t sugar coat or put up the most romantic or gentleman act. He is still a little crude but I guess that is way better than putting up a fake front that is not you. And so this season we see him deal with the major hatred residing inside him but thankfully with the power of friendship and bonds, he managed to get it under control and move forward. I’m not saying that those resentments are totally gone and it is most likely they’ll come back to haunt him in the future but at least he has a clearer view of what he needs to do and the important things he has right now.

Taking up a bigger share of the spotlight this season is Lecia. Obviously she somewhat joined Naofumi’s group at the end of last season so it only makes sense that they need to flesh out her character more. Basically she has a lot of insecurities and being the newbie of the group, character wise she is definitely the weakest but I suppose to look in a positive light, that only means she has more room to grow and improve. While she is still overall an emotional cry-baby and scaredy cat, Lecia can still rise up to the occasion when needed to. Especially her moments of shine came during the confrontation with Kyo. And she owned him TWICE! I guess that proves all that wasn’t just a fluke or beginner’s luck. I’m not sure at this rate she’ll continue to be a permanent member of Naofumi’s team. I mean, this is not like some internship where she’ll eventually go back to Itsuki’s side, right?! I am betting she’ll continue to stay since she is much freer here and even if she made improvements, I don’t see the point of her returning because I feel being in Itsuki’s group would just stifle her.

Raphtalia and Filo continue to play an integral supporting role for Naofumi. Obviously they don’t get too much focus this season as they have been fleshed out last season. So they’re just playing their role sufficiently to assure us that they will continue to be Naofumi’s support no matter what. On a side note, when Filo got separated and went missing for a while, then when we were shown her whereabouts, I find those short moments to be unnerving. Because hearing Filo screaming and being abused, it was really unsettling. Makes me think if she was turned into a fried chicken and eaten it would’ve been a whole lot better! Holy sh*t! What am I saying?! Speaking of animal mascot, I suppose now they have this cute little raccoon AKA Raph-chan to tag along now, huh? After all, it’s part of Raphtalia. Now we can enjoy double cuteness one from Filo and the other being Raph-chan. Yeah, Naofumi’s party is going to ramp up the cuteness level.

I’m sure that you do notice that some other characters from the first season are sorely missing this season. Namely, Melty. The excuse that she’s busy taking care of Naofumi’s territory, I guess this seems legit because otherwise he has got another girl to bring along in his adventure (is that why Lecia in some ways took her place?). Sorry Melty fans, I guess this is not her season. I don’t even think she has any spoken dialogue too! The irony her mom has more prominent role than her. At least for the first half. Others sorely missing are the other heroes. Obviously nobody is going to usurp our shield hero’s screen time. What was the name of this anime again? And so with Naofumi taking on side quests, the heroes were almost reduced to forgettable especially how it was just mind boggling for them to get owned so easily during the Spirit Tortoise. Like, WTF HOW?! And then behind our backs the redeemed themselves but I guess I have to remember this anime is not about them. At least with their non-appearance, they don’t have to be dicks and confrontational to Naofumi. Especially that Myne b*tch. Thank goodness! Oh right, it’s Bitch/Slut (her official new name).

I have this feeling that Ost is the member that would have been in Naofumi’s group had she lived. The way they treated her as though she is an indispensable part of their group and especially how they shed tears and got so sad when she passed on, it’s like the party member that they never had but should have. Same thing for Kizuna too but since she is from another world, perhaps one day we will have crossovers from various worlds when they fight the ultimate Wave. Yeah. Is it me because sometimes I feel Kizuna is Melty’s replacement in some ways. At least appearance wise, they look almost similar. Sorry, Kizuna is no Melty substitute but Kizuna herself is very much an opposite to Naofumi. Instead of being antagonistic for most of the time, she would prefer to try to take the friendlier approach. So I guess she would be the bridge between Naofumi and L’arc’s group? I bet after what happened, they’ll be fighting alongside each other than killing each other again. Now we see the amusing banter between Naofumi and L’arc. The former calling-cum-teasing him the young king and the latter will rebuke with passion not to call him that!

It’s like they wanted to write an antagonist whom we will hate our guts this season and hence this one dimensional baddie, Kyo. He is crazy and has no redeeming values and that is why it is easy for us to hate him with all our might. I don’t think his brief past life was to make us feel more sympathetic and in fact, nothing about it was. And thus with this conniving scumbag as this season’s villain, all the more reason why this helps elevate Naofumi’s goals to be looking more saint-like. Yeah. And of course the inferior villain lackey AKA Kazuki who is just another pawn in Kyo’s schemes rather than being another mighty villain who can stand on his own. Gotta pile all our hate on Kyo rather than split them into 2 antagonists. I figure Kazuki is just needed for some fighting practice for Raphtalia and Filo in the end.

While this season’s art and animation remain largely the same, however there are some scenes where I noticed a slight downgrade especially the battle and fight sequences. Not sure if they plan to cover that up using great lighting special effects but whatever. Worse, the CGI for the Spirit Tortoise looks weird. I’m not saying it is bad but it certainly looks a bit out of place. Then when it got its head decapitated, wow, that chunk of meat… Strange. On a trivial note, because this series takes place in another world which is very much western influence, hence the second isekai part where it is so Japanese-like. Ah yes, got to make us appreciate the Japanese culture with its resemblance. Not that it’s a bad thing but perhaps can’t pigeonhole us into thinking isekai will always be 100% western style fantasy. Or maybe it’s just me.

New seiyuus this season include Kana Hanazawa as Ost as the only one I obviously recognized. The rest are Miyu Tomita as Kizuna (titular character in Gabriel Dropout), Ryohei Kimura as Kyo (Tsubasa in Kyoukai No Rinne), Kengo Kawanishi as Ethnobalt (Rei in 3-gatsu No Lion), Maki Kawase as Yomogi (Will in Saihate No Paladin), Shinnosuke Tachibana as Kazuki (Tomoe in Kamisama Hajimemashita), Ruriko Aoki as Eclair (Yugiri in Zombie Land Saga), Maki Izawa as Elrasla (Chitose in Sakura Quest) and Rika Kinugawa as Romina (Onemine in Komi-san Wa Comyushou Desu). One again Madkid is retained to do the opening theme, Bring Back. If you like their style of rock music then this should feel at home. Heck, does it sound almost the same like the last season? Although it fits the series well, it’s not really to my liking. Chiai Fujikawa is also retained to sing this season’s ending theme, Yuzurenai. Somehow I feel that this slow rock ballad is a spiritual successor to the first seasons’ Atashi Ga Tonari Ni Iru Uchi Ni as it sounds almost similar in certain lines.

Overall, this season is passable by my standards. Unfortunately, a majority of reviews out there didn’t take this second season too kindly because of how tame it was. Because back in the first season we had been given darker stuffs like Naofumi’s betrayal and false accusations and of course rape! This season then overshadows all that and turned it into some generic isekai series which of course as you can see why let many people with high hopes down with such disappointment. Thank goodness I’m not one of those elites as I believe this season is still watchable. Heh. Thank goodness for my failing memories too so I don’t have all that fury and hatred built up inside me. Phew. Anger can only get you so far. No wonder I’m so happy. Happy watching sh*tty animes despite each time I complain how disappointing they are! Did I misplace my anger and hate somewhere? Should I get it back or someone please return it before I watch the third season? Oh never mind. Because someone once said, the greatest remedy for anger is delay. Wrong! Imagine the rage if the third season got delayed just like how this second season was! Sorry, we won’t have a hot Chinese chick like Ost to calm our raging inner weeabo spirit!

Chainsaw Man

30 April, 2023

Well, it sounds like one of those lame or rejected superhero names. But rest assured, Chainsaw Man isn’t from the western media. Sorry guys, this isn’t Ash Williams or Leatherface. And just as its name implies, it’s about a normal kid who contracted with a devil with such powers and he can transform into those rotating motor blades all over. Sorry if my description makes the series sound like one lame comedic anime but I can guarantee you the show is very far from that. After all, what else comes to mind when you say chainsaw? That’s right. Lots of blood, gore and ripping guts! Handle with care…

Episode 1
Denji sold a kidney, an eye and even one of his balls (ironically, that doesn’t worth much!) and is still in debt. Only 38 million yen to go. But the job that makes the most money is devil hunting. As he successfully slays another demon with his chainsaw devil dog, Pochita, his yakuza boss-cum-employer is pleased with his work and pays him well. Only, after deducting all those expenses, he is left with not much. Best of all, Denji doesn’t question and obeys everything. So as Denji dreams of having a decent meal and even a girlfriend, flashback shows his father killed himself since he couldn’t pay off his debts. Naturally the yakuza has Denji take over this. Shortly, Denji spotted Pochita and thought was going to be killed but noticing it is injured, Denji has it suck his blood since such heals a devil. In exchange, they made a pact and Denji became the yakuza’s devil hunter. One day, his boss calls him for another devil hunting job. But after arriving in this abandoned factory, Denji gets killed off. Apparently the yakuza tried to dabble in making a pact with a devil. It didn’t go well so this devil turned them all into zombies! Denji is then cut into pieces and thrown into the dumpster. As he lays dying, Pochita remembers Denji’s worry is that he knows he will die fighting a devil. When that happens, what will be of Pochita? Thus he wanted doggie to take over his body, move away and live a normal life. We see Pochita fusing with Denji. Pochita is happy to hear his dreams. In exchange for giving his heart, Denji must show him his dreams. Denji wakes up all healed. Pochita not around. Just his tail sticking out from his chest. The devil then orders the zombies to eat him but Denji pulls the tail as his body turns into a chainsaw! Time to slice through all the zombies! The devil becomes scared but eventually fell to Denji’s rage. Denji then continues to kill all the zombies who are the yakuza. They hired him to kill devils and so he’ll see that job through. Besides, no more debts, right? In the aftermath, a group of Public Safety personnel arrive too late. They see Denji but can’t tell if he is human or devil. When Makima hugs him, he reverts to being human. She gives him 2 choices: Either he gets killed by them like a devil or he can join them as human. The latter assures he will be fed. After hearing what’s for breakfast, wow, it’s like a dream come true. Deal!

Episode 2
Makima wants him to be obedient. Otherwise he’s dead. Starting to regret making a deal with her? But after weighing to pros like she buys him food and clothes him, not to mention she is a real cutie, he is more than happy to follow her. Soon he asks what kind of guy she likes. The Denji type? Is she hinting something? She brings him back to her Tokyo HQ to meet his colleague, Aki Hayakawa. Today he will be working with him. Denji throws a fuss he wants to work with her and not this guy. Well, if he works hard enough, one day he might work with her. As they patrol, Denji can’t stop bugging Aki if Makima has a boyfriend. So Aki takes him to the alley to beat him up! He tells him to quit because all those in for the money without motivation all end up dead. Denji fights back by kicking his crotch! He might not have thought through about this devil hunting job but if he gets to keep this kind of lifestyle, why not? I guess Denji’s constant kicking on his crotch knocked him out! Back at Makima, the duo still arguing they can’t work with each other but Makima sees them getting along fine perfectly. After all, she created a special experimental division that Aki is the leader of. Hence Denji will get special treatment. This includes if he tries to resign or run away, they will kill him like a devil. Yes, you’re working with them till you die. Denji lives with Aki so he can keep an eye on him. Well, just 1 step away from being a roommate from hell. When the duo are called in to handle a case of a fiend (a devil taking control of a human corpse), Aki wants him to transform into a devil so he can see how useful his powers would be. Denji just decapitate the fiend with his axe! Well, he doesn’t want to transform as it would be troublesome if he used such powers and might end up as a fiend. He also gave this fiend a quick painless death. Aki then warns him, his family was killed before his eyes by devils so hell he is going to make friends with them. In fact he wants them to suffer more. But for Denji, he has no friends so having a devil friends is fine too. As Denji ponders about his goal his life, he feels something is missing. What else could be missing as he is already living the dream? Oh right. Boobs! He wants to touch them again after he hugged Makima before. Soon, Makima introduces Denji to his new partner: Power. She is a fiend and a crazy one too. Denji realizes he has been setup by Aki to be her partner. As they patrol the streets, Power is itching like mad for blood. Then she senses a devil nearby and rushes into battle. Hammering it flat with her blood hammer. Boy, that felt good.

Episode 3
Apparently there’s a rule on whose devil you can kill. A Public Safety can be arrested if they kill a civilian’s devil? Because it’s like obstructing their business? When Makima thinks Power is not cut out to be a devil hunter, this makes her panic as she lies and accuses it was Denji who ordered her. This leads him to counter and argue back but Makima doesn’t care. She just wants to see them work together. Later Power relates how she only love cats but hates humans. However she also hates devils since one kidnapped her pet cat. She allows him to fondle her boobs if he helps get her cat back. And just like that, Denji is pumped up to kill that f*cking devil! So as she brings him there and he talks about his own pet dog and how he can’t pet him anymore, she rubbishes his talk because it still means his doggie is dead. He doesn’t like it but puts up with it only for the boobs. Meanwhile Makima is before the higher ups who continue to remind her to raise those she recruited and put them to work. Don’t get too attached to them. Later Aki wonders why Makima sees potential in Denji. She explains all devils are born with a name. The scarier the name, the more ferocious they are. Hence a coffee devil might not be harmful. A car devil might. But Denji is a chainsaw devil… Aki still can’t accept Denji as he is a bad fit to their organization. Everyone in Public Safety has a goal but he just wants a good life. So that isn’t a goal? Denji is too slow to realize he is tricked as Power knocks him out. She brings him to this bat devil hiding inside the house. As promise to bring him a human, she asks for her cat’s release. The bat drinks some of Denji’s blood but finds it taste bad. Though, he regenerates. Now he needs to find some pure human to devour to get rid of this bad aftertaste. As punishment for bringing a bas tasting human, bat devil swallows her pet. Power remembers all the times spent with kitty and now understands what it feels like when Denji said he can’t pet his pet anymore. Yeah, it sucks. Then she gets swallowed whole. Denji then transforms to fight him. Bat devil is shocked he is a demon. He thinks he is protecting humans but Denji doesn’t give a damn. All he wants are those boobs! The fight devastates a part of town as bat devil soon grows scared of him because he just can’t die. Denji then shreds his guts out. All this just for the boobs, huh?

Episode 4
Can you stomach Power killing animals and drinking their blood? She likes how it tastes but also finds it warm. Power is still alive and so is her cat thanks to batty’s death. She allows Denji to fondle her boobs. As he rejoices, his right hand gets shot off! Oh, now this leech devil is going to kill him for killing his lover? Denji tries to transform but with not enough blood, his transformation is only minimal. Denji is not happy to hear her dreams about eating all of humanity. He is pissed thinking people with such dreams make them superior so he thinks of having a dream battle. If he kills her, this means his dreams of fondling boobs is much superior than hers. In the end, Denji loses and is about to get eaten. However Aki summons his fox demon and devours the leech. In the aftermath, Denji’s hand is reattached. He explains how he was under surveillance and this lead them to batty’s house. Since Power betrayed them, normally she and Denji will be disposed. But after hearing a few testaments from the people grateful towards a certain chainsaw guy saving them, he will close an eye on this on condition Denji does what he says. Aki then reports to Makima. Because his team broke some regulations, at the same time they defeated 2 devils and there were no casualties, Aki thinks it is good deal to close an eye. Makima wonders if Denji has influenced him since he is flexible now. He denies as he hasn’t changed. You would think Aki and Denji return to their normal lives. Until suddenly Power barges in to stay! Oh dear. Roommate from hell! Literally! It seems Makima’s judgment to let Power stay with them so Aki can keep an eye on her. She trusts him after all. Well… See how Power refuses to eat veggies and not flush the toilet! Then Power reminds Denji to grope her boobs as promised. He gets 3 tries. The moment he has been waiting for. Don’t chicken out now!

Episode 5
Here comes the first grope. Power’s pads drop out. Okay. 2 more. He feels them up quickly and once it is over, Power is happily relieved. That was the best, right? Uhm, look at Denji’s shock face. That’s it? Yeah. So disappointing! So much so he is in shock the whole day! Makima notices and asks what is wrong so Denji tells the problem. He has been looking forward to it but when he gets it, it was no big deal. It’s like the journey more than the destination, huh? He can’t help feel so disappointed so Makima suddenly caresses him and guides his hand to touch all over her! Is it sex lesson time?! She tells him to observe things and all. Then letting him touch her boob, Denji goes into shock! OMG. Looks like he is going to die of a heart attack?! Because now she has a favour of him. There is this very strong devil that all devil hunters want to kill but nobody has ever seen it since its first appearance 13 years ago that devastated the land. She thinks he can do it because he is different. Do that and she’ll grant him any wish. Any wish. Yeah, you bet Denji is up for it. She shows him pieces of flesh of the gun devil they’ve collected. It is strong enough that any demon who eats this small bit will become extremely powerful. The pieces will start to be attracted to the original body so this can be used to find it. And so Aki’s team is sent to investigate a request in which the target has consumed a piece of the gun devil. Aki still pissed at whatever prank Denji and Power played on him. Yeah, they’re in sync. Hence Himeno tries to motivate the team. Whoever kills this devil will earn her kiss on the cheek. Denji tries to sound mature he already has sights on someone whom he wants to kiss. Trying to sound like an expert that sex is better when 2 people know each other? Until Himeno promises to give him a kiss with a tongue if he slays the demon. And just like that Denji is so motivated for it! This makes Hirokazu Arai jealous and obviously he has a crush on Himeno. And the other newbie member, Kobeni Higashiyama… She’s a scaredy cat… Aki and Himeno size up these rookies and wonder their chances of survival. Aki can’t tell since even strong ones died. Flashback reveals Himeno managed to survive another scathing demon attack. Her partner died. Aki was soon introduced as replacement. It’s her 6th partner. She hopes he won’t die on her. Walking through the hotel, this walking head attacks. Himeno who is contracted with a ghost devil, uses her invisible skills to catch it before Power slices it in half. Then as they walk up the stairs, Arai feels something amiss. He does an experiment of walking down but ends up coming back to the same floor. Yeah. We’re stuck in some loop!

Episode 6
Can’t go through the windows either. End back at the door. Whatever they do, they’re stuck on this floor. As they all deliberate if they got baited in, Kobeni is starting to lose her sh*t. Suddenly blabbing about how she was forced into this job and gave up her college dreams just so her brother can have his. It was this job or the sex worker! Wow. I can see why she’s going nuts. Yeah, it’s not funny. Oh sh*t Power laughing her ass off! Denji? He just wants to sleep because with this eternity, he should be thanking the devil for this opportunity! Eventually Aki is the only one working hard. The rest goof off or they’re traumatized. A flashback shows Aki saw Himeno got slapped by her ex-partner’s girlfriend. Well, who else to take it out on if no devil is present. Aki then stuck a gum on her to get back. Himeno laughed and then introduced him to cigarettes. Now he is a smoker. Aki returns with bad news. The demon they slew has grown bigger. Yeah, such grotesque form. Seems he wants to eat Denji. Kill him and he’ll let them go. Denji thinks it is bluffing but as the devil mentions a contract, it is the truth. Kobeni now tries to kill Denji but is knocked out. Himeno uses her ghost powers but it just makes the devil madder. Plus, it won’t do nothing as the devil claims this is not his real heart. They are in his stomach as he is the infinite devil. So as the gang deliberate on whether to kill Denji, Aki is against so. He wants to use his sword when it comes down to it but Himeno will not allow it even if it gets them out. She would rather have Denji die than he using it. Things get crazier as the devil gets closer and corners them. Now can Denji die? Aki is going to use his sword but Himeno stops him. Kobeni tries to stab Denji but Aki protects him. Aki’s logic to want Denji alive is because he knows he can’t defeat the gun devil himself and needs people with guts like him. Now that Himeno is losing her sh*t that Aki may die, so I guess Denji has to give himself up and get eaten. He is through with owing others and calls it even if they get out. He believes this devil is scared of his chainsaw somehow and that’s why he can’t kill him directly and trying to force the rest to do it. Hence Denji leaps into the demon and is going to kill and tear up this f*cker.

Episode 7
Denji starts cutting and ripping. He carries on the cycle of drinking the blood he spills to replenish whenever he gets weak. Seeing how crazy Denji is going, Himeno remembers her master’s words about the devils that devil hunters fear the most are the ones who are crazy. Himeno feared Aki will die fighting against the gun devil not because he is weak but rather he is kind and cool. Now she thinks Denji is crazy enough to kill the gun devil. After 3 days (everybody must be bored of waiting), he finally destroys the heart. They are out. Even got a flesh of the gun devil. Soon, the Public Safety organizes a mini drinking session. All the food you can eat, Denji! Denji, Kobeni and Arai introduce themselves as the newbies. What about other newbies from other divisions? They’re dead. Oh sh*t. Hope that didn’t kick up Kobeni’s trauma again. Denji is hoping Himeno will do good on her promise to kiss him. Since she is shy, she wants to get drunk first before proceeding with it. So it looks like Denji might be getting his first kiss seeing the way she is chugging down the beer. And then Makima shows up. What’s this kiss they’re talking about? Gulp. Don’t want her to see him kissing Himeno, he tries to change the subject. This has Aki asking Makima if she knows something about Denji that they don’t since she is somewhat taken an interest on him and devils with the gun devil flesh are appearing more frequently. Is there a connection? Well, if he can outdrink her, she’ll tell. During all that, Himeno is drunk enough to start kissing Denji now! Oh my, Makima is staring! Denji feels something soft going into his mouth. Is it her tongue? Well, it’s her puke! OMFG!!! GROSS!!! Can’t blame this guy for vomiting later. His first kiss tasted like vomit. And to think he teased rats in eating some drunkard’s puke when he was young. Karma’s a b*tch. When the party is over, Himeno brings Denji back to her place. What is sexy Himeno trying to do with a dazed Denji? Are they going to have sex or what?!

Episode 8
Fancy seeing a drunk Himeno bringing Denji back to her home and chilling about until she asks him if he wants to do it? Yeah. Almost 5 minutes of that! Plus, she kisses him again and this time her mouth is full of beer. So Denji, what’s there to think? Girl wants to f*ck you and you’re still worried about wanting Makima as your first?! As Himeno strips his pants, she finds a lollipop inside. This brings back memories when Denji wasn’t feeling so good last night and complaining his first kiss tasted like puke and he is probably going to think about this each time he kisses, Makima gave him this lollipop and told him he will experience so many new things before he dies, he won’t have time to think about it. Like this first indirect kiss tastes like cola flavoured lollipop. So yeah, no sex tonight. Next morning when they’re both sober, Himeno confirms that Denji really likes Makima even if her personality is bad. In that case, she suggests an alliance. She will help him get together with Makima and in exchange Denji must help her to get Aki. Deal. But something ominous soon happens. Normal people gunning down Public Safety personnel. Oh sh*t! Makima dead?! As Aki, Denji, Himeno and Power eat at a ramen joint, some dude talks to them about crappy food. He reveals his grandpa is Denji’s former yakuza employer. He also heard he is looking for the gun devil before swiftly taking out his gun and shoot them! Denji takes a direct hit in the head while Himeno is severely hit. Aki using his fox to stop him but he turns into some blade devil. Aki then draws his sword. After enough hits, he tells the curse to finish this guy. Done except Akane Sawatari brings him back to life and tells him to finish the job. Aki takes a fatal hit. Power can’t do jack sh*t since she cannot follow his movements. This forces Himeno to make her deal with her ghost devil to take what she needs. Just save Aki. As the ghost devil overwhelms the blade devil, Himeno slowly starts to disappear. She hopes Aki will cry for her when she is dead. All this in vain as Sawatari summons her snake devil to swallow the ghost devil whole. She calls for a retreat. When it’s over, Aki is safe but nothing is left of Himeno.

Episode 9
Aki in shock. Perhaps as good as dead. Power has run away but Sawatari doesn’t want to bother with her since their goal is Denji’s heart. The ghost devil manages to pull Denji’s string as he revives as his chainsaw devil form. Denji and the blade devil fight. Metal clashing with metal. Just when Denji holds a comrade hostage, Blade devil cuts through both of them! On the train, Public Safety killers think of their next move. They are shocked to see Makima still alive. At the next station as Michiko Tendo and Yutaro Kurose await for Makima’s arrival, they are surprised to see her covered in blood. This is just after they receive reports on the attempted assassinations on the Public Safety members. Makima claims the blood on her clothes does not belong to her and all her attackers are dead. Huge hole in their bodies! Makima then has the duo arrange to borrow 30 life sentence or worse criminals as well as to reserve a temple with the highest altitude. As Sawatari and her men try to carry a lifeless Denji into their van, suddenly one of them feels strange. He suddenly gets squished and splatters into blood in thin air! This is what happened. Makima has all the convicts and even her subordinates blindfolded at the temple. After doing some ritual, she tells the criminal to say a certain name. By doing so, that person gets that bloody treatment. The convict also falls dead. Sawatari realizes this is Makima’s work and calls other comrades to confirm Makima’s body. But slowly one by one all of them get squished. Only Sawatari and blade devil remain. I guess Makima ran out of convicts. As Sawatari and blade devil are reeling from this shock, Kobeni is before them. Apparently she survived the assassination attempt because Arai protected her. Then she swiftly killed the attacker. OMG. Can Kobeni move that fast?! And this strong?! Sawatari and blade devil are forced to go on the defensive before managing to escape by the skin of their teeth. Well, at least Kobeni secured Denji. But she is going crazy. Might be a good time to retire? Makima then stumbles into Madoka who reports all the special divisions of Public Safety came under assault. Just about everyone except non-humans are dead. Because of that, the survivors will now be absorbed into a single division in which Makima will be in charge. Madoka then hands over his resignation. Scared to die, huh? She accepts. He asks how much of this did she anticipate. Sorry, classified info to civilians. Now, you wonder why Tendo and Kurose aren’t panicking. Seems they are from the Kyoto branch and are here only to help with the training. They aren’t going to join her special division.

Episode 10
Aki is in hospital. I think his shock is too deep to give a sh*t about Denji and Power fighting over an apple! He checks with his sword, the curse has left him with how many years left? 2 years. Oh well, not enough time. Might as well light up. Then reality hits him as he realizes Himeno is dead. He starts crying and Denji feels awkward. He too realizes he hasn’t cried for anyone. Will he cry for those who die? Makima? Maybe a while. Is this what it means when he has his heart taken too? Is he a sh*tty person? Oh damn, don’t want to think too much about it! Makima brings Denji and Power to see Kishibe who was Himeno’s master. He is to train them. First, Kishibe asks them a few questions. The duo answers that would make many think they are dicks. But Kishibe likes them and will start their training. First he breaks their neck! Then revives them with blood. He has an idea. Thinking he is the best devil hunter out there, any devil who beats him is the strongest. Hence he is going to hunt them until they get stronger to beat him. They think he has a screw loose and before they know it, he kills them! Meanwhile Tendo and Kurose visit Aki. They’re here to give him consultation as per instructed. Since Aki cannot call forth his fox devil anymore, they think he should quit. Aki will not quit when the devil who killed his family is out there. After they leave, a woman visits him. That shock on Aki’s face. Back to Denji and Power’s training. They have died countless times. Kishibe will continue their training tomorrow at their place. As the duo walk home in shock, they start to get this bright idea to use their brains to get him. Feeling smart, eh? Oh my, I think I know how this will go. Next morning, they try to ambush him but as expected, Kishibe kills them easily. He gives them credit for their effort and even mentions what they did wrong. Today’s training is over. Really? Yahoo! It’s not! Get killed again. Meanwhile Tendo and Kurose take Aki deep within underground. If he is going to survive, he needs more powerful weapons and that is to make a contract with another devil. They ask about that woman and Aki says it’s Himeno’s sisters who leave him letters her sister wrote to her. Mainly it’s on Aki. Aki is brought to a room with the future devil. A couple of Public Safety members are contracted to it and they paid with half their lifespan or lost some senses. Hopefully it will go easy on Aki.

Episode 11
So this hippy devil is the future devil? Okay. Peeking into Aki’s future, future devil wants to live in his right eye because he saw how epic his death would be. Aki doesn’t care if he dies as long as he can kill his targets. Denji and Power continue to die under Kishibe’s training. But they’re getting better. So Kishibe they’re going to start an assault on the guys who killed their members. Remember all your training or just perish. Denji isn’t fazed. He thanks Kishibe for training him to be stronger, he can now kill more devils and this will get him closer to Makima. Later Kishibe talks to Makima and he suspects she let the massacre happened instead of doing anything to stop it beforehand. He doesn’t care what she is up to as long as she serves mankind’s interest. Sawatari and the yakuza guys are holing up in a building. They know they Public Safety will come for them. They have also prepared zombies in the basement for the fight. Makima talks to the yakuza head who claims the massacre wasn’t under his orders. He tells this Sawatari girl behind it all and had some of his men hooked on this deal involving the gun devil. For 20,000 yen, they get guns and ammo. Wow. A devil needing money, huh? Makima wants him to write down names of everyone in his organization including their families. But the boss talks about the yakuza wiping out each other means other foreign gangsters will invade Japan. Hence the yakuza helps in keeping Japan safe from foreign invasion. Makima then shows a bag containing eyes of their loved ones. They can be returned if they cooperate. Society doesn’t need whatever excuses and it’s not necessary evil unless the nation itself is maintaining control. The police and Public Safety surround the building. As this is a collaboration between the divisions, Kishibe warns about some of the new members of the division that are non-human. As we see them massacre the zombies, we are introduced to shark fiend who can swim through any solids, violence fiend who is freaking strong, spider devil who can kill easily with her legs and finally angel devil (?!) who can shorten your lifespan with a mere touch. Aki searches the halls until he comes into contact with Sawatari. She has her snake devil regurgitate ghost devil to choke Aki to death.

Episode 12
All that choking is making Aki remember the time Himeno introduced him to smoking. It was awful. The first and last time, eh? Aki is released from the choking as the ghost devil gives him Himeno’s secret. Easy revenge. Aki then coolly walks over it and decapitates the ghost devil. He remembers Himeno’s words that the ghost devil has no eyes and only ‘sees’ with fear. Then he tells Kobeni not to kill Sawatari. Woah. How did she get so fast behind her?! Why is she still with Public Safety? Bonus is coming up. So it’s still the money, huh? Meanwhile Power engages with more zombies. She is going to show off to Denji how powerful she is but I guess he has already left. He confronts the blade devil who is willing to surrender on conditions. He says he is just doing this to get back at him for killing his grandpa. He also says that his heart has been taken over by the blade devil but unlike Denji, he still has a conscience. So he wants Denji dead to atone for his sins. Denji of course won’t have that and since negotiations break down, they fight. From building to building and ultimately on a train. Blade devil slices off both his arms but makes the mistake of targeting his head. Because Denji too has secret saws in his leg and slices him in half! In the aftermath, both have their bodies still intact as Denji has him tied up. Before the police arrives, he wants to have a contest with Aki. Whoever kicks his balls the loudest wins! Aki reminds him their job is to capture him and doing so isn’t what Himeno want. So you’re letting the guy who killed Himeno go? Okay then. Screw it. The winner also gets his balls! Wow. See Aki’s happy face as they both take turn kicking his nuts! They hope this requiem will reach Himeno in heaven. Oh damn, you guys! Makima reports to her boss about Sawatari being a former devil hunter from a private sector who was contracted with the gun devil. In exchange for distributing guns to the yakuza, her task is to take the chainsaw devil’s heart. However, no more can be revealed as the snake devil kills her off. Possible a contract trigger with the gun devil. Poor Kobeni, another traumatic moment before her eyes. They have recovered a good chunk of the gun devil’s flesh at Sawatari’s place. Combining it with their stash, it seems it has finally begun to move towards the main body. Aki, Denji and Power have their own mini party like nobody’s business. Got to live life to the fullest. Denji then smokes Himeno’s cigarette. Denji has this dream he always forgets about wanting to meet Pochita behind this door but is told never to open it. And a girl named Reze asking Denji if he prefers being the country or city mouse.

No Chainsaw Life
Well… Uhm… Erm… Eh… That’s it? That is all there is to it for this season? Yeah. Somehow I am having this similar feeling of dissatisfaction like Denji. Oh you know, the time when Power let him groped her boobs and all the excitement and anticipation just got thrown out of the window. Yeah. That kind of feeling. The end of the entire series has me wanting for more but I guess it’s not possible at this point and even especially that curious ending that perhaps sets up the events for the next. So can somebody tease me already and give me some sort of motivation and hope for the series?! Sighs. Guess not.

If this series feels underwhelming, then probably it is. I have read comments and review of those who have read far ahead into its manga chapters and it seems this adaptation is just merely the introduction and possibly just warming up to everything. Because as I read, the real villain of the entire series has not even showed up here. I have also briefly browsed (read: Lazy Google search) on some of the future chapters and at first looks, it looks like sh*t is going to hit the fan and some shocking twists and revelations later on. So yes, if this series really felt underwhelming, it is probably because of that. While I am not saying this season is a huge disappointment because personally I find it interesting and kept wanting more. It stumps me why they didn’t make this a double cour since it’s not like they’re lacking materials for it, right? With the way things ended, I’m still baffled they didn’t announce another season at the point of this blog yet. Yeah, so many sh*tty series get a sequel announced right after they ended but those I am interested in don’t really have that immediate treatment. Who knows? Maybe in a few years they’ll do it but that is highly speculative from my side.

As you can see, the story and plot doesn’t feel like it is anything much. It introduces Denji to his powers and the kind of world he would be living in. Then of course there is this plot about some parties that wants his heart that isn’t explained too much in detail at this point. Other than that, things are moving along at a slow pace even with a few mini story arcs inside this first season. Basically, crazy people in a certain special division of Public Safety all have their reasons to go bat sh*t crazy and exterminate devils.

As you would have also come to expect, the violence, blood and gore here are quite graphic. This series is not for the faint hearted. The dark, grim and violent theme of this series may be a factor that this series isn’t getting renewed for another season just yet. Or maybe it is on hold because there is a petition drive to call for this anime to be redone! Yeah, it has gotten steam with thousands of signatures as many didn’t like the adaptation choices by undermining the source’s intensity and comedic elements. Oh wow. So it was meant to be a funny series?! Oh well, good luck with that…

Anyway, while I won’t say that they are gory enough for me to squirm and throw up each time it gets bloody, it is still indeed graphic enough. We’re killing devils here so it doesn’t necessary need to be pretty. Don’t even mention that Himeno’s vomit kiss! So gross! I don’t think the mosaic censor is enough to stop this trauma. So if you’re not ready to see blood splattering all over and guts flying all over the place, then you’re relegated to watching just Sesame Street and Barney shows for the rest of your life! If I should say, the goriness of the series could be on par with Elfen Lied. After all, when you’re in an industry whose job is to exterminate devils, there’s no other way than this because negotiations and conversations do not exist in the devil’s dictionary. We would be having such a bloody time if devils were such peaceful creatures, no? There’s going to be a lot of deaths too. Too bad I spoilt myself and ‘looked into the future’ so I know what happened to some of these characters’ fate… Damnit…

As for the characters, well, they’re all very weird. Our titular character isn’t a role model or your typical hero which is good and refreshing once in a while. I want to say that in Denji’s case, he is out of the frying pan and into the fire but Denji seems to be having a much better time in the Public Safety although basically it’s the same hell and sh*t. At least he doesn’t have to live in poverty and is properly fed so that itself as a big win for Denji. Can’t blame Denji for being a simpleton as we have seen his origins and it’s like trying to make us feel sympathetic for him and that we all got it better than him. Anyway, because of that, Denji often looks like a dense retard and doesn’t care about world justice and equality as long as his basic needs are taken care of, he’ll side by you. Unlike many other main characters, it feels like he is somewhat weak despite possessing the menacing chainsaw ability as well as immortality. But I can’t find myself to hate this guy. Also, I feel he isn’t really quite prominent later on in the series and he is only so because of the plot of certain people wanting his heart. What a way to make you stay relevant as the main character.

Power is a psycho and basically one helluva crazy b*tch. It’s like she’s trying to have fun in her own selfish way and pace but I guess that’s how she operates. She laughs in the face of danger and doesn’t seem to know what it means. And now suddenly together with Denji, they’re like an unstoppable force of idiots! Yeah, try not to argue with them because it’ll make you feel stupid too. Then there is Aki who looks like your typical guy who will do anything to get his revenge. Only, that poker face. I’m sure in this division, he can’t let his emotions get the better of him. Might as well take that all out on the perpetrator. Could have been a nice kid had not for this sh*t and perhaps that’s why Himeno has been desperately trying to protect him to avoid him losing his sanity and humanity. All I can say is that, it is sadly all for nought… Then there’s Kobeni who looks like a coward but she’s freaking fast and strong. Yeah, she’s probably regretting making the wrong career choice. Could’ve been an athlete winning medals for her country instead! I worry for her because it’s like she’s been so scared all the time, it’s like only a matter of time before she snaps and becomes crazy. That would be dangerous. The only ‘winner’ I can think of from all this is Madoka. He made the right choice to get out of this sh*t. Sure, the rest can’t and that’s why they’re stuck in this sh*tty job. Kill or be killed.

One of the most mysterious and perhaps the most dangerous character in the series is Makima. I can’t tell what she is thinking. You don’t know whether she is friend or foe but my guts always ring like hell that it is more of the latter. There is something about her that feels unsettling. Despite her gentle and persuasive moves, there is more to her than meets the eye. Unlike Power who is easy to read because she is true to her emotions and does whatever she wants whenever she feels like it, Makima is more subdued and hides her intentions perfectly, never letting her true colours seep out an inch. I’m not sure even that poker face of hers is real. Don’t let her sweet side fool you because the way we see Denji fall head over heels for her, obviously this simpleton has been manipulated. Think you can get something out of her by being her obedient dog? Well, she’s just using you for her own means and ends. Just because she looks cute, does and says those simple buzzwords that would easily win simps over, it’s a reason why we give her a free pass. All that doesn’t mean she can be fully trusted. Especially the way we see how she shadily deal with things and it shows that even so, she is not one to be messed with. After all, how much do we actually know about her? Her true intentions as well as the strange and yet powerful devil that she is contracted to. If I should say, this woman is the walking devil herself. The devil of all devils!

Talking about the devils themselves, there’s a whole myriad of them and while some of them are scary, some are even stranger than strange. This makes me wonder if there is a devil for just about anything. Because the devils are named after their abilities or appearance, it makes me think if there are those like the sh*t devil or heck, even a dildo devil! Oh right, the intensity and power of a devil depends on how much people fear that name so I bet those I just named won’t be as powerful! Yeah, nobody is going to be afraid of a giant dildo anyway! This gives rise to me thinking all sort of weird types of devils just for the sake of laughs like fart devil or hell, meme devil! And as we have seen, the oxymoron of angel devil even exists here! So I bet there could be some devil devil or even human devil among them. Yeah. Whatever it means. So, I’m laughing at how hilarious these devils are named, does that mean they are weakened and have no power against me! I’m awesome! Now I’m thinking like Denji and Power! I also wonder if there can only exist 1 such devil in the world or will a new one spawn in the future to take over this devil? For instance, bat devil is dead. Will there be another one spawned in the future or will there be no more of such? If it’s the latter, better get that (long) checklist to check off the types of devils they’ve killed off that will guarantee never to return ever again.

The art and animation, overall it looks grim and dark. The visuals looks surreal and thus sometimes I think the animation looks a bit jerky. Therefore sometimes I wonder if there was some rotoscoping technique involved because sometimes the characters move a bit awkwardly. The characters themselves look a bit surreal and slightly realistic. This means don’t expect your typical sparkling wide eyed anime characters with lots of colourful colours everywhere they go. Yes, the whole series is painted as one monotonous and boring mundane tone. Such grimness. Of course some characters look pretty familiar like Denji looking like a retard version of Bleach’s Ichigo while Aki resembling a little like Naruto’s Sasuke. But that could be just me. Some of the devils’ designs are scary and gross but thankfully I won’t have any nightmares and trouble sleeping. But nothing could beat the ‘scary look’ of Makima because I wonder what she has for eyes… This anime is done by MAPPA who did Jujutsu Kaisen as well as Shingeki No Kyojin’s final seasons. Hence you can see some of the resemblance of the themes between these series.

Voice acting is rather okay but I find that many of the characters sound subdued. Yeah, not really going to passionately shout out some special moves when fighting the devils, right? After all, when you’re in this crazy job that puts your life on the line and you don’t know whether you’ll see tomorrow’s daylight, it can really zap the zest out of you and it tells from all those who survived. So forgive Kenjiro Tsuda as Kishibe for sounding very subdued although he still sounds badass in this role. Hence only Ai Fairouz as Power remains the only constantly lively character and it makes her sound, uhm, noisy? The liveliness we all need for the gloom and doom. The other casts are Kikunosuke Toya as Denji, Tomori Kusunoki as Makima (Setsuna in Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai), Shogo Sakata as Aki (Akito in Tsugumomo), Karin Takahashi as Kobeni (Suika in Dr Stone), Mariya Ise as Himeno (Levi in Fairy Tail), Hitomi Ueda as Tendo (Gold Ship in Uma Musume: Pretty Derby), Kengo Kawanishi as Kurose (Shiden in Scarlet Nexus), You Taichi as Sawatari (Dorothy in Princess Principal), Shiori Izawa as Pochita (Tanpopo in Witch Craft Works) and Reina Ueda as Reze (Akane in SSSS.Gridman).

The opening theme, Kick Back by Kenshi Yonezu is a weird rock song. A bit of hip in it and gets you into the action pace of the series. Sounds all happy-happy when you consider the opening credits animation also sees Denji and his Public Safety mates having a lot of fun together. Wow. Such a dream. We know how all that didn’t turn out in the series proper, right? Another unique thing about this anime is that every episode has a different ending theme. Mostly all of them are rock based and unfortunately none of them resonate with me. Yeah, sounds pretty average to me. I wonder if this is another reason why they don’t have the budget for another season. Anyway, with different ending songs, this means different ending credits animation too. Yeah, some do have that edgy feel and look to it.

Overall, I kinda like this series despite being overwhelming at this point. Even with some parts being slow and the trolling adult moments (Himeno trying to get us into thinking she wants sex with Denji aaaahhhh!!!!), at least the gory and bloody parts satiate my needs. I don’t know about you sophisticated naysayers who have a certain rigid expectations of this series, but I am just like Denji, a simpleton who would love and stick to things if it gets to fulfil my needs. I guess that’s the good thing when you jump into the adapted animation first without having the manga source as the starting foundation. This series is of course not a masterpiece and certainly has its own flaws and I would definitely love to see another season to this. Can the future devil tell me if that is going to happen anytime soon?

Bocchi The Rock

29 April, 2023

After all these years, we never got a third season of K-ON! Yeah, feeling pretty old now after realizing it came out back in 2009 and the sequel in 2010! Though, the movie in the following year which I didn’t watch probably ended the whole series. Ah yes, such nostalgia. Many years down the road, we now have something similar to K-ON! Though, I wouldn’t say Bocchi The Rock isn’t another blatant copycat with a talented guitarist joining a small band and slowly making their impact in the local music scene AKA cute girls doing cute things music version. Initially I was having second thoughts about watching this series since these days my tastes in music genre animes have completely dwindled. I mean, after stints with BanG Dream, Show By Rock and even idol series especially the Love Live one, I thought I was pretty much done with this genre. At least, not on my priority list. But after reading lots of comments and reviews how funny this show was and my thoughts of wanting to compare this to K-ON!, might as well give this rock a try and see what they’ve to offer.

Episode 1
Hitori Gotou as introduced has no friends. Not that she likes this kind of lonely lifestyle. It doesn’t help when she has social anxiety. But one day while watching TV, an interview with a rock band member who claims he too was an introvert, just like that, Hitori gets inspiration to borrow dad’s guitar in hopes of changing her social life. 3 years later, she’s still jamming all solo. So what happened to all those grand dreams of playing at her cultural festival or graduation? Nothing. At this rate, she’s going to finish high school without playing in a band! Though, she is quite popular online under the moniker Guitarhero. Online support gives her some cheer but it won’t be long before she has haunting memories of her lonely middle school life. In order to get people to notice her, she brings her guitar to school. And nobody notices her! Lamenting her lonely fate at the park, suddenly Nijika Ijichi runs up to her and needs her to come play in her band. Their guitarist has run away and she needs a guitarist replacement since their show is tonight. Oh Hitori, this is you big break so why are you feeling so nervous and full of doubt? She is brought to the live house where she meets the other band member, Ryou Yamada the bassist. Somehow Hitori feels this place is at home because it is gloomy and dark! Then they start their practice run. At the end, they find Hitori sucks! OMG! WHY?! It seems because she is so nervous, her coordination with her band mates is all over the place. There is no sync. Hitori feels like she wants to die and that’s the end of the show! Just kidding! Traumatized Hitori holes up in a bin and thinks of doing hara-kiri with her guitar?! They try to motivate her but it’s not working. Ironically they think Hitori should find some inspiration in Guitarhero. She’s right under your noses… Eventually Hitori thinks she can’t let go of her dream that easily and will continue to perform. But since she is still scared to face the crowd, Ryou suggests playing underneath this cardboard box! OMG! Really?! Since she doesn’t want to use her real name, Ryou suggests this moniker of Bocchi as in hitoribocchi (alone). Hey, the band’s name is already a bad pun itself, Kessoku Band! A cable tie?! That night they play their gig. Wow, Bocchi actually playing from the cardboard box?! How the heck can she play her guitar???!!! Yeah, feels like the lowest point in her life. Their show bombed big time. Nijika thinks of throwing a welcome party for Bocchi but she claims she is tired from all this social interaction and goes home. Maybe next time she’ll bring out her full Guitarhero power, eh? Uh huh. This band has no ties… Forgive the bad pun…

Episode 2
Kessoku Band meeting. Unsure what to talk about? Nijika has a die to decide what topic. Too bad Bocchi only has bad memories from it all. Yeah, 2 hours to commute to a school whom she has no friends so that they don’t know her past?! She thought Ryou is a loner like her but to her dismay, Ryou actually likes being alone! Then they talk about the workings of this live house especially the quota the band and the studio must meet and split the proceeds and costs. If that quota fails to be achieved, the band comes out with that money from their own pocket. So until you get famous, this is going to a financial struggle. Of course the solution is to do work but that itself scares the sh*t out of Bocchi! NO WORK FOR ME! She is even willing to break her piggy bank her mom saved for her wedding as contribution! WTF Bocchi fears she will be charged for failing to give proper customer service and sentenced to death! Oh Bocchi! Since Bocchi has to give her first work a try, she goes home and tries to get sick by bathing in cold water! Too bad she is still healthy as f*ck next day. Damn, can’t skip work. She makes her way to the live house and meets Seika who is the manager of the place. She finds her a nice lady until she learns she is Nijika’s older sister. Well, she already told her including how they live above this place but I guess Bocchi was too nervous to hear all that. Yeah, her heartbeat was too loud! Nijika shows Bocchi the ropes of this place especially how to serve drinks and where the stuffs are. Bocchi already a pessimist she can’t do this. She has to do it anyway and although could use some more polishing, I say she’s handling it pretty well. Sort of. The girls can breathe easier when the performance of another band begins. Let’s hope Nijika’s motivation of why she is doing all this, to see the happy faces of people and to have a fun experience, maybe Bocchi can grow to like this band and place too. Work for the day is done as Bocchi happily runs home. She made it through the day! What an achievement! Oh, what’s this? Now she gets fever and is sick. Damn… Meanwhile Nijika contemplates in getting a vocalist for the band.

Episode 3
So Bocchi thinks she has grown now that she is in a band, huh? Well, too bad her school life still sucks. Still a loner and eating lunch alone in some dark corner underneath the stairs! Remembering Nijika’s aim to find another band member, she thought Ikuyo Kita would be a fitting one. Too bad she looks so perfect that it is scaring the sh*t out of Bocchi. Even singing an elegy about her own self! Kita heard how good she is and talks to her, making Bocchi even more nervous. Bocchi tries to recruit her although Kita admits she can’t play a guitar and once lied that she could and eventually ran away. Hmm… Sounds familiar? Because Kita sounds so enthusiastic in joining Bocchi in her job after school, Bocchi panics and sends a message to Nijika and Ryou to bring lots of energy drinks and have the EDM blare like hell. Trying to give off that party girl image?! So as Bocchi leads Kita to her workplace, once Kita realizes where this is going, she tries to ditch. Too bad Nijika and Ryou spot her. Ah, that runaway guitarist! Awkward! So as Kita apologizes about her lie, she makes it up by working here as a maid. Well, since she is a social butterfly, you bet she is good in her job. Bocchi getting demotivated and fear of losing her identity, she hides in a bin?! Yeah, there’s an elegy to go with that too. Bocchi and Kita talk about stuffs. Like how Kita admires Ryou a lot and views her as cool in playing her bass. However Kita thinks she doesn’t deserve to join this band since she has lied and ran away once. Bocchi stops her. She too was like that. However she noticed the callouses on her fingers and believes she is trying. The rest invite her to join and although Kita is still hesitant, I bet she will have no more doubts when she realizes she could be part of Ryou’s quota. Although Kita can’t play the guitar, she is willing to learn. However she is stumped she still can’t play a guitar despite having practised one for so long. Turns out she got a bass guitar. Does she not know some bass guitars have 6 strings?! Oh dear. Oh my. Kita wanting to quit so fast despite Bocchi giving her some guitar lessons? Better think twice since Ryou bought her bass and lent her this real guitar. Now she’ll be eating weeds! Don’t give up!

Episode 4
Kita finds it hard to sing and play the guitar at the same time. But if she just sings, it’ll be awkward during solo parts. She thinks of Bocchi singing with her. Damn, look at Bocchi furiously shaking her head to not want that! Kessoku Band then has a meeting to do band-like things. Nijika starts off with selling their merchandise! Maybe this cable ties will make a good profit. Even more with autograph! With Ryou writing songs, Bocchi remembers her task to write the lyrics. So back home, she puts on her thinking cap in trying to find the lyrics needed. Too bad she comes up with nothing. Then the band meets again in town. Sorry Bocchi, this isn’t to punish you for failure to come up with the lyrics. It’s to go around and take promotional photos of their band. So as they go around and finally find a spot they want to take, WTF Bocchi starting to go into seizure?! Well, she always has this emotionless look in her photos. So when she tries to smile… Ah well, you can see what happens. Worse, she thinks if she manages to do so, she’ll be accused to be an attention whore! WTF?! Eventually they get the photo they want. Well, don’t mind Bocchi looking sullen… Later Bocchi meets up with Ryou since she wants to see the lyrics she has written. After taking a look, she asks if this is what Bocchi wants to write. This has Ryou telling her she was also in a band before this. Their lyrics were awkward but at least it was honest. However when they started to bend towards commercialization, that’s when Ryou called it quits. Only until Nijika invited her to join again because she loves her bass playing did Ryou started to do so. Hence Ryou advises Bocchi to write what she wants and do not write generic lyrics based on other concerns. Though, writing a social outcast one for a lively person like Kita to sing is still a big mismatch. Eventually Bocchi works hard to get the lyrics done. Yeah, see those bags under her eyes. You could say the lyrics is really somewhat of a downer! But it’s great and they like it since it is so Bocchi-like. Yeah, look at Bocchi’s creepy smile after that praise. Now that she feels motivated, she hopes to stay like this forever. Uhm, Bocchi pasted that group photo all over her entire room walls and ceiling!

Episode 5
Bocchi is happy she finally gets paid. She thinks her band story will take off from now until she hears the rest talking about the costs and all. That’s right. This means more money needed and yes, the dreaded word: Need to work! Oh no! Bocchi would rather loan her guitar and sell her liver just to avoid work!!! After Ryou lets them listen to the song she wrote, Nijika feels confident they can make it this time. She talks to Seika about wanting to do a live performance. Instantly shot down. Seems she deems them not good enough to play. Remember the last time they flopped? Yeah. That. She only allowed it once so she could have some experience. This makes Nijika mad as she storms out. Oh dear. How? Seika tells Bocchi to relay this message to her. If they want to perform, first they must pass an audition in which she and her assistant, PA-san will be the judge. Kessoku Band continue to put in the effort to practice. Later Nijika talks to Bocchi and never got to know her dream of playing in a band since she dragged her into this. Obviously Bocchi can’t tell her it’s to get people go crazy for her! As for Nijika, it seems her dreams are bigger than just playing at the Budoukan. She can’t tell her right now. Audition night is here as Kessoku Band plays before Seika and PA-san. In the end, Seika trolls the girls. I mean, with that unimpressed look as well as telling them their flaws, her ambiguous misleading words make the girls fear for the worst until of course PA-san ‘translates’ that they passed. Girls so happy especially Bocchi that she throws up like water gushing out from a dam?! Seika notes Bocchi has talent but needs support as she lacks self-confidence. Because Seika notes she will be watching her, this gives the wrong signal to Bocchi of course that she is mad or something. Later PA-san talks to Seika that she actually intended to let them perform as she is always keeping a window open for their schedule. Seika being a tsundere claims she is doing this so that Nijika and her band could grow. PA-san further teases her for having sister complex. As Kessoku Band revs up for their next performance, they set a quota of 5 tickets per member. Oh Bocchi, counting who could come? Dad, mom, sister, dog… Are dogs allowed?! Even so, just 1 more… Just 1 more!!! WHO?! Oh man, it’s really over this time…

Episode 6
Yes, Bocchi is actually agonizing who to sell the tickets. Well, mom can invite some of her friends but when her sister teases she doesn’t have her own friends, Bocchi lies and claims she has tons of them! Okay. Good luck. Now she has dug her own grave and wondering where to get those people. Even piling on the pressure as her band mates have texted her they have sold out their tickets! Oh my! How?! Till this drunk woman, Kikuri Hiroi pleads her help to sober her up. Can a scared Bocchi refuse? After that, Bocchi tries to get away from this crazy woman but too late. She notices he guitar. Ah, Kikuri is a rocker too. After hearing Bocchi’s story, as thanks for helping her, Kikuri will help perform. It’s the best way to attract potential audience. What? Right here? Right now? YES! Street concert! Kikuri is a bassist and she’ll support Bocchi as the main guitarist. Nervous at first, Kikuri tells her to close her eyes. But when Bocchi starts to play, she becomes all natural as she starts jamming and Kikuri observing this is the kind of style she plays. At the end of the performance, a few girls are interested and would like to buy her tickets. Kikuri then buys her final ticket. Quota complete. Oh, Kikuri has no money for her train home so she borrows from Bocchi. Rockers are always poor… Late Bocchi texts an apology to her band mates for failing to show up at today’s concert. She also notes she has sold her quota but it seems they think she is lying and feel bad for pressuring her.

Episode 7
Nijika and Kita are going to Bocchi’s house to design their uniform. Well, you can’t miss her house. This huge banner that welcomes the Kessoku Band members! What a welcoming reception as Bocchi in a weird getup pops the party popper to welcome them! WTF?! That’s not all. Look at her room. Damn, is this disco night or what?! As she goes to get drinks, they stumble into a pile of that same group photo. What the heck there are sealed seals on the walls?! Little sister Futari comes in to explain how Bocchi had this all over the walls until mom told her to take it down because it was hurting her eyes! When Bocchi returns, she sees her friends having lots of fun with Futari and doggie! Futari insists on hang out until Bocchi bribes her to play somewhere else. Then they get down to business in designing their t-shirt. Lame! WTF this dystopian future imagination of Bocchi being persecuted and burnt at the stake for not being a team player! No cooperation, no life! Bocchi’s parents come to check on her friends and are delighted! They’re happy they aren’t imaginary friends this time! This calls for a celebration! They dine together as the parents talk about embarrassing stuffs for Bocchi. Ah well, Bocchi acts like this at home too so it’s no different. They also mention how Bocchi spent days planning the room layout and even tried Twister in case they were going to play it! Yeah, the friends having so much fun with the family that Bocchi feels alienated and can’t join in! Eventually they get back to the t-shirt designing. Bocchi’s idea also sucks. This has the friends wonder they have never seen Bocchi in anything else than a tracksuit. So they force upon her a cute dress. Kawaii! They might feel ecstatic about it but the stress got to Bocchi as she turns into dust and dies! WTF?! So much so it also affects them because they breathe in the dust and become pessimistic and lethargic like Bocchi! HOLY SH*T! The parents think some sort of exorcism is needed! Eventually, the design comes out as a simple plain black t-shirt with their band’s name on it. Yeah, should’ve just gone for this from the start. Bocchi suggests to make teruterubouzu to help ward off bad weather on their concert day. Yeah, let’s make tons of it. On that day, a big typhoon blows in. Teruterubouzu is crying…

Episode 8
The typhoon is really having an impact on the attendance as well. Nobody is coming. Or so it seems. Until Kikuri shows up first and it seems she is Seika’s junior at college. Slowly, others coming strolling in. Especially fans of Bocchi. Bocchi making that ungodly face after being praised, making the rest think they’re talking to the wrong person! Even with this few people, Kessoku Band still has to play. They play their first gig. Bocchi notices everybody is all over the place. This is a far cry from their perfection during practice. Heck, when you see some of the audience staring at their phones and some even leaving, you know something is wrong. All isn’t well by the time they finished their first song. As they are about to start the second to the unimpressed crowd, Bocchi suddenly starts jamming her solo. This attracts the crowd’s intention as soon the rest of the band pick it up from there. Safe to say, this is what they’re waiting for. We don’t get to see the final song but we know it’s a success since everyone is celebrating this at the restaurant. Bocchi getting that tired feeling from all the social anxiety. Worse, she hears a couple of adults drowning their sorrows in the next table and starts to stray in her mind. Yeah, some horrible future awaiting her, eh? We also hear Kita doesn’t like her first name because it sounds a lot like a pun. Kikuri also explains that Seika was once in a famous band but quit suddenly. She claims she is sick of it but why is she running a live house then? This is news to Bocchi as she has never heard it from Nijika. Later she talks to her about this but Nijika can tell she is Guitarhero from that solo. No use hiding it now. This has Nijika telling about her real dreams. You see, mom died when she was young and dad was never at home. Since she didn’t like being alone, she pestered Seika to bring her to her performances when she was in a band. It brightened her day. Nijika is the reason Seika quit her band and started his live house. Hence her dream is to make a band popular enough and make the live house even more famous. Each time Nijika thought the band was through, it was Bocchi who pulled them through. Everyone here has their hopes invested in the band. Good time for Bocchi to adjust her dreams to make Kessoku Band into the best band ever. Since having Bocchi around makes their dreams closer to realization, she hopes Bocchi can show them more. More of Bocchi’s rock. Roll credits!

Episode 9
Bocchi in despair! Yeah, summer vacation is going to end soon! What has she done? Nothing! Except playing her guitar, what else has she got? Nothing! Even her band mates can tell she is acting weird. You know it has gone overboard when she starts making cicada graves in front of the live house! Oh sh*t! Then everyone realizes that because of their own busy schedules, nobody invited her out to do anything. They try to salvage this as Kita invites the band to head to Enoshima. You know, the beach! Not that Bocchi is impressed anyway. Yeah, WTF this tropical love trauma? She almost died… Anyway the band heads there and Bocchi is still half dead. Like as though she doesn’t want to be here. At the beach, they almost got hit by some hot guys and WTF Bocchi explodes?! Yeah, it zapped all her energy. So when she finally warms up, is it the end of her summer? It’s only getting started! Apparently Kita is the only athletic one as the indoor trio tire easily as they climb up the stairs to the shrine. Yeah, taking the escalator is tempting. Need money, though… Yeah, the stairs are free… Ryou trying to sell her bass for the tickets! At the observation deck, Kita tries to make things lively but the rest aren’t interested and unmotivated. Just enjoying the air-cond and not the scenery. Then as they rest, Bocchi’s food gets stolen by a bird! WTF even the birds target her?! Thank goodness she didn’t die. After praying at the shrine, they take a train home. Bocchi admits she had fun today and this gives her motivation for the new school term until the next break. Sorry, she still won’t want to hang out EVERY DAY to make memories with you, Kita. That’s just so tiring. On the morning of the first day of school, Bocchi isn’t feeling so good and wants to stay at home. The family thinks she is lying to just avoid school but in fact her muscles are sore and can’t even move. Then Futari touches her. Hell begins…

Episode 10
You know it is too good to be true as we see the hysterical crowd chanting Bocchi’s name on stage. Wake up, girl! Time to get back to reality because her class is trying to decide what to do for the cultural festival. Yeah, time to make that dream come true of playing at a cultural festival. Suddenly a lapse of memories as Bocchi doesn’t remember how she got in front of the student council office and having a form suggesting to play at the festival. She doesn’t even remember she wrote it! Too much for her to handle, she collapses! Later she tries to ask Seika and PA-san for advice but apparently they’re the wrong people. Seika doesn’t care and PA-san quit high school. Nijika and Ryou heard about this and they like the idea of Kessoku Band playing there since it will help advertise their band. As Bocchi frets about it and even has her usual episode of pessimism (WTF the school disciplines her for gloomy lyrics?!), she decides to throw the form away. Only, Kita picked it up and submitted it! Yeah, Bocchi dead in a coffin. Then Kikuri hears about this and invites them to come over to hear her band play. No need to buy tickets. On the house. Sorry if they have a poor rocker perception on her because yeah, Bocchi still lamenting she hasn’t paid back that train fare! Oh sh*t! Seika forces her to do it (as well as Ryou too for borrowing money from Bocchi during the Enoshima trip). Kikuri brings Kessoku Band to her live house and let’s meet the weirdoes. Don’t be alarmed that the manager of the place is an effeminate guy. The rest of Kikuri’s Sick Hack band consists of the polite Shima Iwashita as well as foreigner who loves anime (but of course) Eliza Shimizu. The band plays psychedelic rock so Bocchi could feel the psychedelic waves hitting her and becomes awed with their music. After that, Kessoku Band then plan on how to go about their festival’s performance. Later Kita apologizes to Bocchi for the submission since it was against her wishes but Bocchi now thanks her because she’s looking forward to it. Kita vows to work hard but too bad Bocchi can’t be teaching her since she has to attend remedial classes! On the day of the festival, Bocchi is missing! Cold feet?

Episode 11
Well, Bocchi’s class is doing a maid café. Looks like she got scared thinking her band mates would see her in this maid dress so she ran off and never came back. Time to go look for her. As Bocchi laments this fate, there is another problem cropping up. She checks back on her online video and sees comments of people thinking Guitarhero is dead! Yeah, haven’t uploaded a video in a long time! But her band mates found her so it’s back to the maid café. But first, they have fun going round the festival. I bet Bocchi would’ve been the scariest thing in the haunted house. Back to work, Bocchi’s dead face is even scaring the toughest of delinquents! At least she keeps the order. She doesn’t even put the moe kyun-kyun in the omelette rice and Kita shows how it is done. Her band mates then decide to help out and dress up as maids. I APPROVE! Yeah, they’re bringing in more customers compared to Bocchi and making it even livelier. Bocchi has a feeling it’s like a preview of tomorrow’s concert. Kessoku Band takes a look at the stage they will be playing before proceeding to do their usual practice. On the day of the performance, as usual, Bocchi having fantasies that the band will be scouted and they’ll be famous! But right before Kessoku Band’s turn, Bocchi gets nervous. You can tell because her heartbeat is louder than the drums! It’s their turn on stage and Bocchi as expected notes how the crowd is more into Kita. However, Bocchi’s family is also here as they cheer on her. Not only her family, but those street fans too and uhm, Kikuri. Yeah, she’s all drunk. Regret inviting her? Time to get their gig started.

Episode 12
Their first song revs everyone up. When they are in the midst of singing their second, Bocchi feels something wrong. A guitar string sounds out of tune. And then the peg breaks! Oh dear. Her solo is coming up. Don’t worry. Kita improvises and covers for her. Even Bocchi improvises and uses a bottle to play! Then before they play their last song, Kita wants Bocchi to say something to the crowd. REALLY?! Bocchi panics and as she thinks of saying something funny, suddenly she decides to do mosh! She dives into the crowd! Nobody catches her! OMG! Splat! This has got to be the funniest and most embarrassing moment! Did I hear Futari apologizing on her behalf? Wow. Bocchi rocks, huh?! Bocchi is fine as she recuperates in the infirmary. Bocchi noting Kita has improved a lot in such a short time. She thinks she can’t be like her in attracting the crowd. Kita believes she still has room for improvement and hopes Bocchi can continue teaching her. Back home, Bocchi grovels before dad to apologize for breaking his guitar! He isn’t mad and thinks it is a good time for her to buy a new one. He has the money. Of course it’s not from shady dealings! You see, Bocchi uses her family account for her Guitarhero. Hence the family knows about it and has been secretly monetizing it from all the views and ads. They hope she can get even better at her guitar. Like how she does in her online lying! Oh my! With so much money, Bocchi calculates she can actually quit her job and do nothing for 2 years! Such motivation has her confront Seika but looks like she chickens out and claims she’ll work hard instead. Her band accompanies her to the guitar shop to buy a new one. Bocchi so nervous that the staffs think she is some head banging metal rocker! A few more shenanigans before Bocchi settles on this one. The girls then plan on what to do on their next concert. Bocchi feels good holding her new guitar. At the same time can’t help feel guilty and apologizes to her old broken one! It’s not like she’s forgotten about you! This isn’t cheating! Then she heads off to her job. Wow, did she stop being lazy?

Between A (Bocchi) Rock And A Hard (Social) Place
Well guys, what else more can I say? Life goes on. The ending may not be anything much but I guess for a series like this, it is very much expected. Oh, you don’t expect the girls to suddenly become famous overnight and then become international stars by next week, RIGHT?! They’ll then churn out hits that would shove Taylor Swift down into memory lane and overtake The Beatles as one of the most legendary bands in the world and history! Oh wow. My delusions are as great as Bocchi! But so sorry folks (or rather sorry to me), it is not that kind of anime in the first place.

While I do admit that this series is quite funny in its own right, one main reason is because many of the jokes rely and plays on Bocchi’s social anxiety. In every episode, it never fails to amuse and make viewers laugh at all the ‘funny moments’ that Bocchi has to go through. Each moment is a torture for her but a riot for us. Yeah, I know I shouldn’t be laughing my ass off at her even though if that is the intention because I’m the same as her when it comes to being socially awkward! Oh my. It’s easy to type all this, laugh and criticize behind the keyboard but when I imagine myself in Bocchi’s shoes, perhaps I’ll be the same as her! I mean, some of those baseless delusions that Bocchi has, I do from time to time have such thoughts! So yeah, sometimes it hits close to home. Ouch. Damn, to think that Bocchi and me could actually be good friends! Only, if social anxiety didn’t get in our way! Oh damn.

Furthermore, the series does not focus heavily too much on the music side. I mean, when you compare this series to the likes of BanG Dream and Show By Rock, the music focus pales in comparison. Instead, we see mostly the daily lives and shenanigans of Kessoku Band and as already point out, the social anxieties of our titular character. After all, these are just ordinary girls who don’t really harbour such big dreams. I’m saying that I belittle their dream but when you compare theirs to those in the aforementioned anime series, the latter have big dreams of making it big in the music world where their band name would resonate across borders and all. That is why in a way this show feels more like K-ON! as it focuses more on the antics and shenanigans of the characters rather than the music.

Speaking of music, well sad to say that none of the rock music here resonate with me. Uh huh. I have to admit although I do like music but I am not a hardcore fan of it. Especially rock music. Therefore many of the rock pieces here sound almost the same to me. Haters can hate but personally, they just sound rather okay to me. I don’t find them bad, just that it’s not something that I would love to listen to again and again. Thus all the rock music that Kessoku Band sings here are just pretty meh in my books. From the opener, Seishun Complex to the various ending themes, Distortion (first ending theme), Karakara (second), Nani Ga Warui (third) and Korogaru Iwa Kimi Ni Asa Ga Furu (fourth and final episode) are just so-so. Even their insert songs they sing have those kind of average vibes to me. Yes people, I even prefer to hum to the tune of Cagayake Girls, Don’t Say Lazy and No Thank You, classic hits from After School Tea Time.

As for the characters, they have their own charm that makes them lovable. I want to draw some comparisons to K-ON! but too bad I have mostly forgotten about that classic series. Hey, it’s almost 15 years ago!!! But anyway, many would find these cute girls likeable as they are somewhat down to earth (term used very loosely) and as ordinary girls, we normal people can mostly relate to them. Unlike those other rock band animes where you have girls chasing the stars which just feels unrealistic and ungodly. Sure, the music scene has their own upper echelons and the elites but for many of us ordinary people, we’re just, uhm, ordinary. Don’t need all that complex musician stuffs. Need to go back to our own daily lives. These girls don’t even harbour that typical dream of playing at the Budoukan. At least, not that we can see them dreaming so at this point. They need to get their band off the ground first. One step at a time. Slowly but surely.

So what else can I said about Bocchi? Like any other normal human being and a teen, she harbours some big dreams but in reality, it is all a different story. Like as though her real life and mind are 2 different worlds. Yeah, probably it is. Here she is struggling hard trying to cope with her social anxiety and each time she experiences panic attacks from overthinking. It’s amazing that she is still alive and didn’t die of a heart attack. I want to say that Bocchi has changed towards the end of the series but it is such a small and minute change that it is as good as she hasn’t changed at all. Yup, the same Bocchi we always know from the start. Imagine where the fun would be if she grew out of her social anxiety, HUH?! Yeah, we are such sadists. So Bocchi, stay as you are because we love to laugh at you! From hiding into a cramp bin when she gets anxious to her grand delusions anytime and anywhere, oh Bocchi, we love you just the way you are! Never change. Of course her real talents come as she plays the guitar that could be on par with many legendary rockers. In this mode, it’s like she is in a trance as she hammers away and pulls off power slides and riffs that awes all those who hear.

As for the rest of the Kessoku Band members, too bad they do not hog too much of the limelight compared to Bocchi. Yeah, what’s this anime’s title again? So we just know the minimum about them like Nijika’s reasons in wanting to form a band, Ryou’s passion in music as well as Kita being the liveliest of the pack and perhaps the poster girl of the band should the group go places and climb the greater heights. Only a brief mention about their past and nothing more. Nijika trying to keep the band together, Ryou and her deadpan quips and puns, Kita making the greatest improvement because now she can sing and play the guitar simultaneously. I won’t say the quartet’s friendship is tightly knitted but they have flaws that make them imperfect. That’s why I’m thinking they named their band so just to make some puns about their group isn’t totally united or something. How did they even come up with this band name? Not sure. Yeah, we’ve grown so fond of it that it’s a pain to even change it at this point. Then you need the big sister who watches over them AKA Seika. She plays the tsundere role and acts like she doesn’t care but she does a lot. She just doesn’t show it in a typical way. I guess with her around and having a live house, it’s like for convenience that Kessoku Band has a home base to operate.

Then there is Kikuri because we all need that crazy drunk character. Thank goodness we don’t know whether she’ll go into some ranting depression about not having a boyfriend! With Sick Hack making a very short cameo, this makes me remember that the other factor that this series doesn’t feel like a music heavy focused one is because of the lack of rivals. Can you name a rival band for Kessoku Band? I don’t think Sick Hack can be considered as one. Not to mention they never even consider it so. So unlike Poppin’ Party has with Roselia and Raise A Suilen, Plasmagica with Criticrista and Tsurezurenaru Ayatsuri Mugenan, the biggest rival Kessoku Band faces is probably themselves. Yeah, can’t even get their own members to be in sync how to have their own music rivals? Plus, we only see them really perform only twice: Their first gig with audiences less than the number of fingers on your hands that almost bombed and at the cultural festival. Not exactly making waves or ground shattering effects if you ask me.

The animation and art style are a mixed. Basically, the characters are simplistic and lacks lot of detail. You can say they look almost cartoonish. It’s only so since this series originated from a yonkoma panel so it’s not surprising to see such visuals similar to other series of the same type like Lucky Star and Azumanga Daioh. However, the backgrounds and sceneries are ironically gorgeous. Sometimes if you pay attention away from the band’s shenanigans to notice the backgrounds, I would say they are quite breath-taking and high quality. Sometimes you think they may have taken real photos of that backdrop instead. Maybe. I can’t really tell either. Once you realize both of these, you might feel how jarring the blend of both types of visuals.

Of course the curious and fascinating one goes to Bocchi in terms of the different types of visual art styles she goes through whenever she experiences her panic attacks. Yes, whenever that happens, most of the time you could see her face literally melting! Thanks to her grandeur delusions too, this is where the various art styles come into play. In addition to the various types of 2D visuals, we have from 3D CGI graphics to even live action visuals, these are all short. As for the character designs, in my years of watching so many animes, I want to say I have seen them from somewhere like Bocchi reminds me of a discount Super Sonico and less curvy and thicc. Yeah. And doesn’t Nijika look like a chirpier version of Yami from To Love-Ru while Kita like Itsuki from Go-toubun No Hanayome? The rest I can’t think of it right now but they sure look familiar… On a trivial note, when I first saw Bocchi’s parents, damn I thought they were her siblings! OMFG they look so young! This anime is done by Cloverworks who did Sono Bisque Doll Wa Koi Wo Suru, Yakusoku No Neverland, Spy x Family and Seishun Buta Yarou Wa Bunny Girl Senpai No Yume Wo Minai.

The voice acting is okay. Didn’t recognize anybody in particular and crazy conspiracy theory is that they can’t use established ones in case they have to commit to their characters and suddenly become a rock group in real life. Oh you know, how some idol series have their seiyuus turn into real life idol units too. I’m sure they can do this with unknown ones and perhaps they can establish it from there. Anyway, Yoshino Aoyama as Bocchi (Yoshino from Wake Up Girls) probably takes the cake since she gives Bocchi her character with her zany form of social anxiety. Can’t laugh too much. Could sound like me too! The rest of the casts are Sayumi Suzushiro as Nijika (Kei in Kaguya-sama Wa Kokurasetai), Saku Mizuno as Ryou (Rena in Selection Project), Ikumi Hasegawa as Kita (Desumi in Koi Wa Sekai Seifuku No Ato De), Maaya Uchida as Seika (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Sayaka Senbongi as Kikuri (Shuna in Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken) and Kotori Koiwai as PA-san (Renge in Non Non Biyori).

Overall, this anime is funny and has its own cute charm. It is no wonder that many are calling it as an underrated gem of the season and some as far as one of the contenders to be the anime of the year. The best cute girls doing cute doings series ever? Enough to dethrone even old veterans like K-ON?! Oh I don’t know. If only nostalgia didn’t get in the way. The irony that Bocchi who is so scared of mixing in with the crowd, stands out the most and entertained us all with her extreme social anxiety disorder. You would think an introvert would be one helluva boring person but when you go through the thoughts of such, it could be an even more interesting place than the most extroverted and charismatic character out there. Remember, still waters run deep. Bocchi’s one most definitely has a crazy riptide undercurrent underneath it! What else more can I say for these girls? Just continue to rock on! In no time, Bocchi and co will bring the house down!

Pop Team Epic S2

28 April, 2023

Looks like it is too epic for a certain anime just to have only a single season and stay that way. That’s right. Like as though we need more garbage nonsense in our life (yes we do in this case!), herald Pop Team Epic S2 AKA Poputepipikku S2 for those who have been waiting for this legend to push out another season to cement itself of being the most legendary of the legendary. Uh huh. We must not take life too seriously because sometimes real life can be a pain despite being a big joke and nonsense. That is why this series is a timely reminder to put your brains and logic at the doorstep and enjoy the nonsense and laugh through all the absurdity. Blow away all the blues and depression, escape from the real world without having to use drugs! People, this is your answer, so what are you waiting for?!

Episode 1
* Don’t be fooled with this live action beginning with an equally dramatic-like sentai opener. So who the f*ck wants to mess with Shouta Aoi? Well… It’s his own evil self!
* Popuko tries to show off to Pipimi how she can slide her tooth. Well, Pipimi can do it! In that case, Popuko shows off she can warp her tooth from top to bottom. Hate to break it to you but Pipimi can also do it! Not to mention this hair whirl thingy! Popuko feels so sad that she is not needed anymore but Pipimi stomps her feet and tells her to find something that she can only do. And yes, the start of a musical! With rainbows! And finally what can Popuko do that others can’t? Wink with both eyes! Yay! She did it!
* The duo have a press conference to thank people for this second season. And what do they have to say? Well, Popuko showing her gratefulness by calling all of us sh*t!
* A radio show asking how can a sh*tty show like this get a sequel. Well, that’s because the characters here are so cute that you should just die!
* Pop Team Epic B-side: How do you like our duo looking like hot cool handsome guys?!
* Popuko asking for some new ideas and all the enthusiastic bunnies have got it. When one makes a positive suggestion, she shoots him in the head! Any others? Oh sh*t…

Episode 2
* A woman sends her dog to the vet for a trim. Only, Popuko shaves everything off! Oops. When the owner returns, what is Popuko’s reply? Her dog is dead!
* Popuko wants Pipimi to pat her head harder. She does that until her head explodes! Then Pipimi tries to feed Popuko but looks like she deliberately misses by hitting her lips and gums.
* Some dude wants to debate Popuko. However she finds this method barbaric and wants to settle it peacefully via violence! With this bat with nails! He calls her out with this oxymoron but she beats him up anyway. Settled, I take it.
* A meteor is going to crash! And Pipimi is going to kick it away with her kick?! Oh yeah. Maybe this perfect angle will do the trick! Only, the meteor smashes into her face! But yeah, the angle was perfect…
* The duo try to market this mosquito repellent. The boss thinks this crap won’t sell. When they put the product in front of him, he suddenly squirms and dies! Yup, a mosquito in disguise!
* Some epic space battle between the mecha bots. Not sure who Pipimi is fighting against and it sounds like some recording industry thingy. She loses as she falls back into the atmosphere, remembering a promise she made with Popuko if she ever makes it back alive, they should get obari. WTF is obari?! Baddie thinks he has won and will do more subcontracting but that is when Pipimi combines with Popuko into an ultimate mecha to fight back. Biggus McHugeGuy Combination for the Great Bari Bari Team Epic! They suck his profits and sh*tty budget energy into their Sh*tty Manga Drive so as to blast him away with their Great Sh*t Cannon and Full Burst! BOOM! Once again, world peace is preserved thanks to Pop Team Epic!

Episode 3
* Wow. Pop Team Epic being an educational programme?! We see the duo at a farm going to a milk a cow for milk so they can make delicious cake with it. So where to milk come from? That’s right, kids. From a cow. The farmer cheekily says if they want to milk his milk. So they tie him up and prepare to saw off his balls! Now we return to the milking. Popuko finds it so hard that she gives up! F*ck this sh*t! The lesson is not to put your expectations on others! So let’s all apologize to a sulking Popuko, okay? Well, she’s not responding. Time to bring out the bag. What do we give her? Money! And just like that she is back to normal! They use the money to buy meat and beer. As they enjoy their BBQ, the farmer returns, asking if they like to try his wiener! Back to the sawmill!
* The duo going to torture somebody in the park. A mother tells them off there are kids here! Okay, so how do we turn this kid friendly? Well, now they’re torturing a teddy bear instead!
* WTF this Nanachi Ranking? They let this rabbit girl eat some sushi as we see her orgasm from its taste! If this is how she reacts for the fifth placed food, imagine how she will for those ranked above!
* Popuko tries to surprise Pipimi in her sleep. But as she opens the door, Pipimi is already awake. And waiting!
* Popuko running so cutely like as though she is glitching like a computer game. And then she glitches like all those typical and glitches in modern video games! We’re falling through the texture!

Episode 4
* A bored Popuko takes a train to Kyoto. When she asks permission from the person sitting behind her (Pipimi) if she could lower her seat, she refuses. Considering this a challenge, hence initiating a train battle! Everybody to your stations! We see Popuko and Pipimi take on each other in the coach like throwing hand creams at each other. Finally both seem down for the count. But Popuko stands up and is declared the winner. Pipimi hands her an ashtray as she tells about those days where such indicated economic growth in Japan. Yeah, everybody just fought over it. That’s how the train battle started. Popuko vows to train to become the best train battler in Japan but too bad there won’t be a continuation!
* Popuko throws away stuffs that she doesn’t want or broken into the bin. So what about this dark matter thingy? Throw it away too! The whole world explodes!
* Pipimi wonders if Popuko can look both left and right at the same time. Popuko uses all her powers to split herself open as a smaller version of herself pops out!
* Fancy our girls writing haiku? Well, if only Popuko doesn’t write her lines as STFU!
* Popuko is accused for being a serial killer and is interrogated by Pipimi. She is adamant to accuse her all the way. Then both of them turn the tables on the inspector and accuse him endlessly! And that’s the end of the serial murder case.

Episode 5
* English lesson time! Pipimi will say an English word as Popuko repeats after her. Chaos reigning upon us. The evil awakens. The evil awakens… Oh sh*t… Soon, this turns into some English song with lyrics as we see Pipimi the hero going on a journey in this epic fantasy tale to slay the dragon! All hail the Shining Shoulder!
* Popuko is looking weird. She claims her mind to body ratio is 9,999:1. Pipimi injects her with a serum that turns her super buff! Now her ratio is 9,999:9,999! It’s over 9,000!
* Popuko invites the kids to try her cooking. When they rush towards her, she flings the fillings of her spoon at them! Is this a shoot ‘em up game?!
* Popuko trying to warn that Earth is in danger but Pipimi doesn’t believe. Well, everyone is free to believe what they wish. Then this alien says he doesn’t believe it either!
* In this game, Popuko breaks down everything! Zero points for artistry. However she soon runs away as she can’t eat this cute Pipimi food. 9,999,999 artistry points!
* Pop Team Epic B-side segment is going to be cancelled?! Well, Popuko just threw a bomb at the HQ!

Episode 6
* Popuko interviewing Earth on her show. Then she realizes, if this is Earth, then what are they standing on! Pipimi claims everything is a sham!
* Fancy a visual novel dating game! Welcome to Pop Memories To You! We see the main protagonist in a typical dating sim as he meets and interacts with various Popuko and Pipimi characters. Yeah, all in their cute and hot anime version. Until he meets the cartoonish duo, they don’t like who he is and punches him in the face! Game over! Gamer dude mad at this sh*t game! In the later half, a similar version but the girls now switched to hot handsome guys! However the game suddenly ends because it is incomplete and gamer girl is mad at this sh*tty release!
* Popuko tries to do auto tracking but keeps running into obstacles no matter how small. Yeah, dumb AI. Pipimi keeps falling into a chasm but respawns. And when she doesn’t, this worries Popuko. She gets a jump scare when she pops up behind her, causing her to fall into the chasm. Then both respawn at the same point. Now they’re combined! Horror or error?
* Popuko is at the cinema. The girl next to her keep answering her phone. She has had it and sprays black paint all over her. And all over the cinema too!
* Pipimi shows Popuko this huge chunk of brown sugar. Popuko salivates and goes into orgasm mode that she is glitching!

Episode 7
Remember that superbly epic sketchbook cut-out story?! Yes! Hellshake Yano is back! OMFG! This time they have even surpass themselves with even much more cooler and creative storytelling! This is the most epic thing I have seen in this entire series! They even go so far as to do this thingy for the opening and ending credits! How hats off to them and a million rounds of standing ovation and applauses for this perfection! The story? This rocker guy coming out of retirement to enter some guitar competition. His pick broke so he has to go find some legendary pick. He does so all in the nick of time and wins the whole damn thing! Yeah! Even if I don’t really understand what is going on, the presentation is so damn f*cking awesome and creative! And to think they rerun this segment again, I think they’re just replaying the same thing. Because if they actually did it twice, oh man, I have nothing but absolute respect for these people.

Episode 8
* Looks like this series is also on the battle royale bandwagon. Yeah, we’re playing Fortnite, baby! Everybody is dropped on the island. But of course, the intense rivalry is between Popuko and Pipimi. They own everybody else while trying to outdo the other. In the final stages, they suddenly realize they are playing with a cheater. They have to team up to beat him or he wins. Pipimi sacrifices herself and this leaves Popuko mad. She is gunning for revenge but its’ a bridge too far. Just when she thought is going to get kill and telling off the cheater that he will never truly win the game and that he not only cheated the game but himself, suddenly he freezes. What gives? And just like that Popuko wins! How? Because Pipimi in real life tracked down this cheater and shoots him in the head! People, do not ever cheat!
* Popuko and Pipimi decorate Earth in such a cute way that the aliens find it so ugly that they don’t want to invade it anymore!
* Popuko is now a harp as she begs Pipimi to play her. However Pipimi says she prefers to play with the real Popuko. Sad Popuko realizes her heart is being played.
* Because Popuko wants to hear some hot guy doing ASMR, Pipimi kidnaps one and makes him do it. In the end, a satisfied Popuko orders him to be killed!
* When Popuko is about to give grandma Pipimi a shoulder massage, she glitches out. Pipimi tells us youngsters don’t know how such happens in old video games. To solve it, she blows into the cartridge. Yeah, more glitches.

Episode 9
* Cthuo enters high school and becomes a delinquent with Popuko and Pipimi. Yeah, high school days never been so fun. One day, this gangster dude approaches Cthuo and tells him to bring Popuko and Pipimi to the warehouse so his gang could teach them a lesson. Cthuo won’t sell out his friends but the dude threatens his mom. At school, Cthuo is in a dilemma to tell this to them or not. Later in the day, Cthuo shows up at the warehouse alone. He couldn’t sell his buddies out. Baddie has his bald goon clones beat him up. Soon, Popuko and Pipimi arrive. They know what is happening due to Cthuo acting strangely. Well, you call for room service? It’s time for payback. Yeah, see their ripped arms as they easily rip apart those goons. Including their clothes! Boss tries to escape but too late. He gets a taste of his own medicine! The trio walking home happy with their friendship still intact.
* Kids want their father to take them somewhere. Dad doesn’t have a clue so herald Popuko and Pipimi to introduce and advertise this Brazilian theme park for them to have fun. Washuzan Highlands! Should be better than Disney theme park…
* Popuko and Pipimi see an alien UFO. They are excited it is going to draw a mysterious crop circle. But when done, it looks like sh*t! They get so disappointed and scold the alien for underestimating street art! Poor alien, his feelings got hurt!

Episode 10
* So how much sugar was used for this cake?! THIS MUCH! Yeah, so small that even the molecules might look bigger!
* Popuko shakes hands with an otter but it crushes her hand! Then as she tries to lure a mouse out of its hole, the mouse pops out and shoots her head with a gun!
* A judge telling Popuko how to move. Left! Right! Back! Forward! Box step! Box step! Court adjourned!
* In some African reserve park, because of the lack of carnivores, herbivores are now flourishing. Hence the answer is to introduce these wild dogs to remind these herbivores the fear of being preyed upon. All this turns out to be some pop quiz show in which Popuko the contestant is just simply answering. Of course she also says humans are the most selfish because they destroy the things that they want to preserve now. Hence our presence is a hindrance. This makes her win the quiz show.
* A mother and son witness a meteor going to crash and plunge Earth back into the Ice Age. MIBs Popuko and Pipimi initiate those park pigeons that turn into some cannon to blast away the meteor! Yes, people. Those pigeons protected the parks where children played!
* Pipimi giving a hell load of refills to Popuko. Yeah, a refilling party. Her response? Can she have another? Why, of course! Then she forces another to have a refill…
* We’re going on some grand RPG fantasy adventure. But the duo end up playing mahjong with some dark knight. Ron!

Episode 11
* Popuko is now a veteran and famous comedian. As she enters her room, she realizes she will be sharing it with her old partner, Pipimi. She is upset that despite being popular, she still didn’t get her own room. She fears them in the same room will be awkward. Popuko tries to strike up a conversation but Pipimi isn’t much of a talker. Then a bunch of amateur comedian newbies enter the room to introduce themselves. They look up to the duo and tell their brand of jokes. They leave their lunch for them before taking their leave. Popuko looks at the lunch and it looks familiar. Flashback 35 years ago when the duo were new comedians on the scene, the crowd booed them. Safe to say, they weren’t likeable. Pipimi shared her lunch as apologies for bringing Popuko into this strange world. But Popuko doesn’t mind since she was poorer before this. Now they need to come up with new jokes. And so this nostalgic taste brings back those memories for Popuko. Yeah, the taste never changed. Because of that, the duo are acting like old partners once more.
* Pipimi tickles Popuko to death!
* Popuko thought it was Pipimi but it is actually a missile! She throws it back to the ocean, literally killing Poseidon!
* Popuko is supposed to be some pro gamer but she is pulling off a lot of cool dance moves, sending Pipimi into ecstasy.
* Popuko tries to correct Pipimi’s irregular visual perspective. Too bad she messes about so much until she looks freaking weird!

Episode 12
* I bet we’ve forgotten about the Shouta Aoi live action segment, eh? It’s all here! In this alternate universe time bending thingy, Shouta saves this Japanese Princess Leia as she gives him a timepiece to save the world. Soon, agents sent by Nishikawa pop up to hunt them down. Shouta and one of the agents, Nakamura fight off the rest to protect her. However her time is up so she apologizes and explodes! She hopes they can save everyone. When Nakamura returns, he wants Nishikawa to explain what’s going on. Apparently there are so many timelines and he blames this woman who created them all. Shouta is also supposed to be some space-time criminal. Nakamura doesn’t think so because Shouta protected her. Nishikawa beats him up to tell him the facts how these criminals threaten their original timeline. The more timelines created, the weaker theirs become. Hence it is their mission to destroy other timelines. Nakamura doesn’t agree to this and escapes before Nishikawa’s men can capture him. Soon his agents go to other timelines to, uhm, disappear other people? Nakamura appears in some timeline and meets his other version. Then he sees Shouta sulking because of his failure to save the girl. If that’s the case, he’ll do it himself. A boy sees Shouta down so he lends him his timepiece. This has Shouta remember his purpose and regains his faith.
* Ad break time. Popuko and Pipimi singing a song on how to break your spinal cord! Pop ‘em out, people! Yeah, turns out to be a pop-up candy. Buy ‘em now!
* We return to our live action series. Nishikawa and his men have appeared in this time line as Nakamura tries to stop them but fails. Shouta returns in time to transform and help the fight. It is revealed that his dark version was friends with Nishikawa who was the one who gave him this scar when things soured. With Shouta winning, Nishikawa transforms to his dark self to power up. But advantage to Shouta because all different versions of Popuko and Pipimi pop up to aid! Pop Team Epic multiverse?! In this certified eco-friendly anime, we see how the stiff cut-out animations of these girls beat up the baddies. Finally Shouta defeats Nishikawa. The latter admits defeat and leaves it all to him to create a new timeline. The day is saved. So peaceful now that Shouta does an exercise song with all the versions of Popuko and Pipimi. Including a samurai version we have never seen before. Where did they come from? The future!

Poppin’ Party Epic PoPiPaPic!
Well guys, that’s a wrap. But who knows? They vaguely hint that there might be a possible sequel and when these people insinuate so, don’t brush it off lightly or take it with a pinch of salt because there is a high chance it might come true. Don’t know how long it will take, but hell yeah, we’ll be waiting for it when it comes out, right? After all, we need to see all the possible different versions of Popuko and Pipimi and to have them converge in one big crossover that would put Marvel and DC’s multiverse combined to shame! Yeah!

But seriously, although this season is still great and as funny as hell, something inside me personally feels that it lacks that oomph that would have made it even funnier or crazier than the first season. One main reason is because I have seen anime series that are so bad that are largely huge, this one if I should say fell to the wayside. When I have watched ‘epic’ shows like Pugyuru, Condom Battler Gorou and even the very recent Kenda Master Ken, all of which are very nonsensical animes to begin with. Pop Team Epic was already meant and supposed to be an anime that is crazy in everything. Hence there is that sort of expectation. Unlike those aforementioned animes, I did not have any initial expectations of what it would be and because it was so bad that it turned out so good, that is why I personally love them more compared to this season of Pop Team Epic. Don’t get me wrong. This season is still as outrageous but it is all within that expectations. In other words, no surprise element. After all, some skits are so fast (lasting only seconds, blink or you’ll miss) and I didn’t really get the joke. Probably it was gunning for the WTF reaction from viewers but mine is more like, “HUH?! What the f*ck going on?! Don’t get it…”. Yeah. That.

Which brings me to the next factor: Nothing actually ground breaking or different than the first. Yes, the jokes are still short and bizarre in its own way, making anyone who loved the first season feel a lot like home. But therein lies that problem. It feels like nothing different and more like an extension of the first season. Sure, sure. You want to tell me of not fixing things that are not broken and very true, this formula still works like a charm for this series. But like I’ve said, although it is still good, it does not give anything new that would make it fly even higher or even more epic that it already is. So based on this context, this is why I felt this sequel is good but nothing exceptional that would make me want to crave for more. After all, in every episode (save for the final), there would be one ‘main’ skit which lasts longer while the rest are short quick ones like as though they needed to fill in the remaining time left.

This means, this season’s format stays largely the same as the previous. The show itself is only like 12 minutes long. The second half repeats itself but with different voice actors. But this time I noticed that the first half is usually reserved for female seiyuus and then the second half, the male counterparts will do their lines. I have to admit that although I did not fully sit and watch the second half because I knew it would be much the same, I did see many of it but this time did not find anything that is different from the first half. You see, in last season the second half usually have slight changes in animation or visuals. However this time I have not picked up any except for that dating sim skit. All largely remain the same. Only difference is the voice acting in which the lines are just said in a slightly different manner instead of following blindly word for word. That’s all.

Though, I am not sure if the next episode preview is adlibbed or if they’re following a script. Some though, feel like they’re improvising their lines but some feel like they’re reading as per the script so I can’t really tell. But mostly here, the animations remain the same (WTF are you trying to save some budget?!) and mostly the seiyuus are giving their thoughts on whether they would buy BDs and Blu-rays of season 2! Mostly I hear they’re not! Yeah, we viewers better do so in hopes they’ll make a third season! Haters gonna hate! Speaking of seiyuus, like I’ve said, every episode has a different seiyuu casted but this time around I didn’t find anyone recognizable. Maybe I did, one or two (Shiori Izawa as Nanachi) but mostly I am not very bothered this time anyway.

Of course if I have to point out, the only skit which I am totally impressed and absorbed is the Hellshake Yano one. Oh man. That one is still the most impressive and creative of it all. It still blows my mind to think of all the effort and coordination they have put in. From its conception to even practising like hell until they get it perfect all in one single take! Even if the presentation feels low quality and subpar, but the creative and entertainment level is skyrocketing high! This one is truly amazing and perhaps the best of all the other nonsense of Popuko and Pipimi had to offer! True! It feels like it can never be replicated ever again! You can’t beat this one! This is really true dedication and extremely entertainment. Kudos and hats off to all those behind this once more.

Which reminds me, that Hoshiiro Girl Drop did not make any appearance this season! You do remember them, right?! Oh well, I guess not. I thought it was interesting if it had its own spinoff series but I suppose nothing must be more epic than Popuko and Pipimi themselves! Yeah, not even this Shouta Aoi live action version thingy. Uh huh. Sentai-like show feels pretty generic, cliché and low budget but I guess it’s the much needed variation for this season. So much for Hoshiiro Girl Drop and their second season they dropped hints of from the last season! Yeah. Already a forgotten and forgone conclusion. Sad. Oh well. Have more Popuko and Pipimi then.

What else can I say about this season? Oh well, maybe the art style and animation. In addition to your usual cartoonish versions of Popuko and Pipimi, some skits have totally different art styles and it is nice to see our characters in many different versions of themselves. So whether it is your classic 2D Japanese anime style or some surreal claymation or even CGI, it’s quite cool to see different art and animation styles all under one season. Variety is the spice of life, they say. Couldn’t agree more. This season’s opening themes are sung by Shouta Aoi. Psycho:logy is the main one but I didn’t really like this hard rock piece. Sounds very noisy. Yeah, the opening credits animation is creepy with Popuko and Pipimi cloning themselves like as though it is some glitch or something. Though, Endless Love, the opener for the sentai-like theme fares better with its typical sentai-like rock music. The ending theme is Nakayoshi Peace. Though, there are many versions of this song in addition to your ‘normal one’ by Popuko and Pipimi. From rock versions to children’s lullaby, if this song won’t drive you crazy, then the ending credits animation will. Because each one is different and showcases a different animation style. Yeah, what a way to make you not skip this part!

Overall, this sequel is the much needed relief and welcome after a certain pandemic virus wreak havoc across the world. Yes, the first season was released before all this pandemic crap back in 2018! The strange and uncanny gags might be a turn off to some since many are relying on crude and uncouth approach to tell their jokes. To some, it comes off more as WTF since those funny moments are so fast that it could be a hit or miss. Also, some feel that this series is just a show to showcase some voice acting chops of the veterans and scout potential new and unknown ones. Until the next crazy anime like this or one that is so bad that is so good, we’ll return to our mundane and crazier reality. Series like this reminds us that we all perhaps live for such crazy outburst moments. Life has to be that way. Or we’ll grow mad from all the plain and insipidness! Thank Pop Team Epic for showing us the path! We need a little madness in our lives. Maybe a bit more in today’s world…

Oh my. What a misleading title! At first glance, I thought this was another surprise season from that famous isekai slime series. After the movie recently aired at the end of last year, heck, they announced another season! Amidst all that confusion I thought this was it but why the heck did it come out so soon?! Apparently upon closer look, Tensei Shitara Ken Deshita has nothing to do with that. Phew. Although, it is still another isekai themed anime. Dang. So what’s the twist of this isekai anime that makes it different than many others? You know how when somebody dies, they get reincarnated into a powerful version, right? Well, those are more than often a character that his human-like. What if one is reincarnated as a weapon instead! That’s right. As the title implied, our main protagonist is reincarnated as a sword. Of course it would be creepy if the sword is always seen flying or moving on its own. And hence meeting a wielder qualified enough to wield him as they go on a whole lot of adventures together. And yes, levelling up into an overpowered character.

Episode 1
Main character just died in a hit and run accident. End of anime! NOT! He gets the isekai treatment of being reincarnated in a fantasy world. Sorry, not as this cute catgirl. But as a sword! Before they met, Swordy (temporary name) was sitting all alone in some pedestal. Upon realizing he reincarnated, he checked his stats and found he is quite a powerful one. Then several goblins tried to pull him out and since they get a bit violent, Swordy used his telekinesis to slice them. He realized that breaking their core crystals allowed him to level up and gain more skills and thus his mission to do so, so as his future wielder will be powerful. Hence we see him going around killing monsters and levelling up like hell. From teleportation to even regeneration, you name it, he’s got it. The further he deviates from his pedestal, the stronger the monsters. Strange, isn’t it supposed to be the reverse if heroes come looking for this legendary sword? Of course even after putting up a tough fight, Swordy always emerges victorious. Meanwhile we see a catgirl as one of the many mistreated slaves of a couple of slave traders. She cannot fight back because of her collar and she must obey whatever they say. Her wish is to get stronger but at this rate, will she even evolve? One day Swordy flies into an area with no monsters. He soon realizes why there are none as the ground absorbs and nullifies his magic. This means he is stuck here and can’t get out! The days turns into weeks and into months. Doesn’t matter if it’s a hot elf chick or not, somebody get me out of here! Yeah, the irony that he might be the strongest sword in the world but with no wielder, he is basically useless. Lucky for him, the slave traders are passing by and are being chased by a monster bear. The slave traders force many of their slaves to be bait as they run but one of them gets killed. Catgirl’s desire to become strong, so she’s going to fight it with a stick? Not working. Oh look, there’s a sword nearby. She touches it and both can communicate telepathically. Swordy tells her to equip him and doing so, she acquires new skills as she cuts down the monster like a pro! Once it’s over the slave trader wants to see the sword but Swordy kills him and burns his contract and destroys the collar. Now she is free. Swordy promises to train her to become strong. Asking her name, she has none when she became a slave. Before that, she was Fran. And so Fran she will be called. Swordy? Because he is like her teacher, thus she calls him Shishou! Perfect. And hence the beginning of their journey. Oh, Shishou now acting like a father because he’ll cut anyone who gets close to his precious Fran!

Episode 2
Fran’s family were on a journey to evolve. However tragedy struck. Now Fran is training hard to achieve that goal. Along the way, they saved a carriage from goblin attacks. This earns them a ride to the next city of Alessa although Randell wants her as extra bodyguard just in case. Randell talks about some war among the monsters. One of the great monsters died and this makes weaker monsters only spawn there as its mana still lingers. This explains why Shishou fought tougher monsters the further he goes out. Randell also talks about monsters having ranks that determines how dangerous they are. One way to take them is to join the adventurer’s guild. At Alessa, Shishou is disheartened to find that many weapons other adventurers possess are much stronger stats than his! And he thought he was such a rare weapon. Of course to Fran, he is the strongest because he saved her. At the guild, Fran goes up to receptionist Nell to register. She has him take a mock battle test with one of the strongest guild members, Donald Trump Donadrond. At first Fran is pushed back because of his aggressiveness and strength. But Shishou helps by buffing her and casting his magic, allowing Fran to defeat him. She is then taken to see the guildmaster, Klimt. As Shishou told Fran not to reveal what they can do, Fran remains silent when Klimt asks about her. He tries to use his skill to evaluate her but is blocked. However he passes her since he senses the spirits are calm so she isn’t a bad person. Now that Fran is registered, she is given a card. She also sells items to make some money. Yeah, all these monsters she killed along the way earned her 195,000 gold! Never seen so much money before! As she leaves, she is confronted by a few guild members. They think she cheated (since the same monsters they sold earned them way less) and want her to give up her gold if she wants to get out of here in one piece. Nell then tells them off that they sold stuffs that were badly damaged. They attack Nell but Fran protects her. The last straw came when they badmouth her black cat race so she uses some magic to slice off the leader’s feet! She easily disables the rest of the goons. The joke is on these losers as Nell tells them to pay up to clean up this mess or she won’t get a healer to heal them. Don’t mess with this woman… As Fran leaves, a dwarf, Garrus has appraised her and can tell she is holding an intelligent weapon.

Episode 3
As Shishou suggests Fran get a good armour, Garrus invites her to his shop. He sells his best armour at a reasonable price to her. Because she is also looking for swords, Garrus doesn’t think she needs one as her sword is already good enough. After all, it is an intelligent weapon. This has Fran and Shishou on their guard. How does he know about him? Garrus reveals his special eye that can see through all. With Shishou not needing to keep his identity a secret from him, he asks about the more powerful swords in his shop. Garrus explains about mana conductivity. He has Fran charge up Shishou with her mana. She easily cuts one of the best swords of Garrus. Simply put it, depending on how much mana she charges, Shishou’s attack level will double. Shishou thought Garrus would know who forged him but unfortunately he can only speculate those of Godsmith level can make swords that will split the earth or pierce the heavens. There are only 5 recorded in such history and the only divine sword he has seen is Ignis, a blade of flames. Sorry Shishou, you’re way out of this league! Shishou then gives him some ingredients like monster corpses to make a scabbard. As it will take a month, the duo go do something else. Taking care of Fran’s clothes and food, they rent an inn as Shishou thinks of spending some evolution points on her to get some healing skill. Next day as they do some boring herb gathering quest, they stumble into a group of adventurers in trouble. Already injured, they would have been killed by this goblin horde had not Fran jumped in to slay all of them singlehandedly. She even heals the party members. They also warn her about Goblin Stampede. When hobgoblins get together, it is probably a goblin king has been found. Soon he will find a queen and produce offspring faster than rabbits. This is enough to form an army and they will start intruding into human territory to find food. This is what a Goblin Stampede is. With goblin reinforcements, Fran will fight them all (also to train herself) as she wants the adventurers to go back to Alessa to report to the guild. With the goblins cooperating and getting smarter, Fran gets exhausted with their seemingly endless wave. She gets injured. Shishou wants her to retreat but Fran makes her resolve she will not run away.

Episode 4
Shishou realizes he has been trying to protect Fran. However she doesn’t want to rely on borrowed power and would rather become strong herself. Seeing how prepared she is, Shishou also does the same. They fight until the last goblin. Then when they have found the nest hideout, the adventurers return with reinforcements. They realize this isn’t a mere hideout but a dungeon. They want her to go back to report to Klimt while they observe things. She does so and Klimt feels the need to recall all adventurers to raid this dungeon as soon as possible. He will also promote Fran to the next level. She might not have completed her prerequisites yet but after seeing how she took down the goblin horde singlehandedly, she can’t stay at this lowly rank forever and will have her move up. Fran then goes to Garrus to fix her armour. He also explains to them about dungeons. Spawned by the Goddess of Chaos, the monster who becomes close to its core becomes the Dungeon Master and a servant of Chaos. Then as they relax at the bath, Nell is also there. She too further explains in detail the dungeon concept. More like its history as she talks about the different Gods that made this world. Hence Chaos was so to bring balance and give humanity the strength to persist. Asking about the God of War, there used to be one but after it became evil and tried to subjugate other Gods, it was defeated. However its parts are split and scattered across the worlds. So the monsters who are of the fiend race are its descendants. Garrus has finally made Shishou’s scabbard. Fitting in there nicely and even has a special unsheathing ability via telepathy. The day for dungeon raiding is here. Donadrond takes charge but as he addresses the adventures of their goal to take out the goblin king and queen and more importantly the Dungeon Master, suddenly the goblins attack! Was his speech too long and boring?! With the adventurers caught off guard, Fran fights her way through. Their goal is to get into the dungeon. She even awes others with her skills she is currently practising like leaping on air and using Shishou’s fire explosion. This helps create a path to the dungeon but with the adventurers still busy taking on goblins at the rear, Fran will be heading in first.

Episode 5
As Fran advances deeper into the cave, Shishou guides her in killing goblins that are worth their crystal and skipping those that aren’t. Finally they reach where the goblin king and his queen are. There are lots of other goblins surrounding and protecting them. Shishou’s idea is to trim those numbers down so Fran can concentrate on killing the big bosses. However his magic is so great that the goblin king and queen also perish! OMG! WTF?! Fran so mad because he stole her glory! That’s not the end of it yet as they head beyond this suspicious door supposedly to where the Dungeon Master is. First they have to take down some bugs. Once that is done, Shishou buffs and heals her and promises to make her his signature curry meal. Now before them is a greater demon. Shishou analyses his stats and he is quite powerful. Lots of skills that are over a thousand? Oh, this goblin is the Dungeon Master and its stats are pretty weak. Dungeon Master wants this demon to kill them for they have ruin their plans to invade the human city. Once that is done, all that is left is to summon a new king and queen as long as the core is here, hoarding its points allows the summoning of as many monsters they want. The demon tells Dungeon Master to STFU because he will not take orders and will fight as he wishes. Fran starts her fight but the demon moves too quickly. One point he cuts off her hands! OMFG! NOW WHAT?! Don’t panic. Shishou uses some backup skills to protect Fran and even reattach plus heal her hands back. Phew. She returns to the fight as Shishou tries to deduce this weird teleporting skill the demon has because he is just too fast and popping out from nowhere. Then he realizes he is using Fran’s shadow. However Fran’s counterattack for this trick and even using some ungodly poison, did no harm at all. All out of tricks? Shishou thinks they should escape the next chance they get but Fran is hell bent on winning. For the curry! That is, if she survives because the demon uses his bonus skill to steal her swordsmanship and make it his.

Episode 6
Sorry to disappoint, Fran can still use her skills. Shishou realizes those skills belong to him and he shared it with her. Hey, can’t steal what doesn’t belong to you, right? Dungeon Master summons more goblins to aid but the demon bombs them out and warns not to interfere or he’ll die. Because the demon wants to destroy the city and hence needs to put an end to her quick, Fran refuses to escape to avoid more casualties. As they resume the fight and the demon bombing everything indiscriminately, Shishou then observes he is deliberately missing the Dungeon Master. Remembering how the dungeon will cease all activities once the Dungeon Master is dead, they make this goblin their target. Instantly the demon goes to protect it. Now that they know the trick, Fran and Shishou unleash all they’ve got and reduce the demon into just protecting. However it won’t be enough to finish him off so Shishou suggests a gamble. Fran throws Shishou with the intention to hit Dungeon Master. The demon anticipates this and unleashes a great power to block him. This is also anticipated by Shishou as he then changes direction and aims for the demon’s core crystal. Shishou uses all his MP to thrust himself through the demon, finally defeating him. Then he shatters and breaks. Fran is distraught her master is dead but thankfully, he regenerates after devouring the crystal. The Dungeon Master is taken out and the dungeon goes into hibernation. Once the rest of the adventurers arrive, they are surprised to hear Fran taking out this greater demon. But this still doesn’t make her immune to Donadrond’s lecture for being reckless! I wonder how many HP she lost… Fran is not happy Shishou was only thinking about skill points while she got lectured. Luckily he manages to get away with that curry promise. Then they talk about all the cool skills they’ve got including that skill stealing technique. After Klimt receives the report, he decides to turn a blind eye to Fran’s recklessness because that helped save many lives. He also thanks her for giving the demon’s corpse to them since it has lots of high quality material. She would’ve invoked the wrath of many had she kept it for herself. However this brings to another question: Where is its crystal? It is a very valuable material coveted by many. Fran claims it broke and shattered during the fight. Klimt believes her since he doesn’t detect any ill will. But WTF who this ugly smarty pants fatso barging in and claims Fran is lying!

Episode 7
August Allsand is the lieutenant of Alessa’s knights. Yeah, we’re feeling the cringe. Shishou analyses him and his skills are pretty low. Despite having a skill that detects lies (which is low tier too), this allows him to trick others that they are lying even if they are telling the truth. I mean, what proof do you have, right? August doesn’t like Fran’s rudeness but will let it slide if all the raw materials are given to the knights. However Klimt will not since the knights turned the request to hunt goblins down. August claims the info given was vague and hence will not spare his precious knights. Because the adventures solved this, it is only right they have the materials. Klimt wonders if he is the one who made the decision in refusing to send the knights (in which he has no authority) so he would like to ask his father, Olmes who is the knight’s captain as well as ruler of Alessa. August goes on the defence thinking he want to pick a fight. Fran and Shishou don’t care about such politics but they try their skill taker on him and steal his lying and noble etiquette skills. Just like that, August can’t tell a lie or not even if it’s a simple obvious one (Fran is 100 years old?!). Confused August leaves. With Fran promoted, the other adventurers also thank and praise her for her gallant efforts. The moment Fran has been waiting for as Shishou guides her to cook curry! They make lots of it and keep the rest in his other dimension storage for future consumption. Hence Fran’s subsequent missions, she also makes it a point to kill monsters for their meat and add to her curry stock. Fran is soon warned by a knight that August made a blunder with some royalty and his father blew his top and let him have it. And somehow he is trying to look for her. Ah well, she did steal his etiquette. Soon, they realize a couple of shady people following them. Who the f*ck this zombie guy?! Oh, it’s just August. How far he has fallen. He blames her for everything and wants to get back at her. Fran: Who the f*ck are you?! Confused August almost fell for the trick he might got the wrong girl until he remembers her big sword. He irks her when he badmouths her black cat race. Then he calls out Gyuran to deal with her. Fran looking very angry because Gyuran is a blue cat race, the black cat’s archenemy.

Episode 8
100 years ago, the blue cats betrayed the black cats and eventually sold them out as slaves. When their swords clash, Shishou can sense Gyuran’s sword is much superior than the one wielded by the greater demon. Fran is traumatized so obviously she couldn’t fare well against him. Gyuran then brags about how he tortured and flayed his victims alive and watch them get eaten to starving dogs. Shishou snaps Fran out of her trauma and claims she can’t lose to this weakling because she fought a greater demon. With that, Fran picks herself up. She is now faster than Gyuran and cuts him up to pieces so she can take his materials! Shishou is worried about her dirtying her hands but Fran knows letting bastards like him alive will make the black cats extinct. It’ll be too late by then so she must do it herself. Shishou realizes he shouldn’t impose his own world’s morals on her but use him to kill. Fran decapitates Gyuran. Before she can deal with August, Klimt’s water spirit stops her and has her see him. He tells her Olmes have secretly sent a request to capture his son who will be punished. That’s why he wants Fran to secretly do it and doing so will close this case. On her way out, whose boobs did Fran bounce off?! So this Amanda girl wants Fran to call her mommy?! Fran can’t get out from this annoying woman’s grasp. As explained, she is Alessa’s strongest adventurer and she loves children. You mean a pedo? She is back to report some investigation. Over the next few scenes, Amanda coincidentally bumps into Fran. You sure she isn’t stalking? Asking Nell for help, she says Amanda isn’t a bad person since she created an orphanage when she was young. That’s why many children like her and even the gods approve of her. Still not impressed with her stalking, though? Klimt calls Fran again for a dungeon quest and will give a couple of high quality crystals. Fran drives a hard bargain so Klimt is forced to accept this ‘daylight robbery’. Klimt insists Fran on this quest to quell rumours from adventurers that he is showing favouritism by promoting Fran too quickly. And that he isn’t a lolicon! Completing this, he will also grant Fran permission to enter Ulmutt dungeon that she wants to go so much. Amanda heard this and wants in. Can’t let Fran be alone with all those male adventurers now, can we? Back home, Shishou eats up all the crystals and evolves further. Yeah, more new set of skills. But soon Fran gets into a duel with Amanda.

Episode 9
Fran meets up with other adventurers on a quest to explore this spider’s web dungeon. This expedition will be headed by Cruise Riouselle whose party will serve as invigilators for other adventures who want to rank up. Amanda is also here but on to observe. Other adventurers in this expedition include Krad and Frion. Krad has a bone to pick with Fran and thinks she pulled some strings to rank up. Only Amanda makes this hot headed bugger know his place. As they make their journey, Krad tries to embarrass Fran but it all backfires. And then more beat downs by Amanda. When they make camp, Krad is still unimpressed with Fran. Thinking she is a fake, he wants her to duel him. She didn’t want to until he badmouths about her sword. She will not take any insults for her master and quickly steps up to face him. As we already know, Krad learns the hard way and gets his ass handed to him in no time. But now Amanda wants to duel Fran. If Fran loses, she must call her mama! Don’t lose! But can she? She’s up against the guild’s top adventurer. Even so, Fran wants to know how long she will last against her. The duel starts and Fran gives all she’s got but that is not even enough to touch Amanda. Then Amanda gets serious as she imbues her whip with magic and this is where sh*t hits the fan for Fran. Despite injured and all, she refuses to give up and continues fighting, eventually using some trick to blast Amanda with her fire magic. Too bad that did not even scathe her thanks to her protection blessing from the spirits. But whose fault is it when Fran collapses from her injuries?! Yeah Amanda, you went too far. But you bet everyone who saw this fight can’t believe they saw monsters in these ladies. Fran wakes up and admits defeat. So she’ll be calling Amanda her mama? Oh no. As she reluctantly tries to eke that word out, Amanda is not so bad hearted to force her to do so. She hugs her and knows she already has a real mama in her heart. Shishou now understands why she is the protector of children. Next morning, Fran wonders why everyone is bruised. Yeah, they tried to take on Amanda but nobody lasted as long as Fran. Now they begin their venture into the dungeon.

Episode 10
Going down into the dungeons, the first few floors are easy but it’ll get tougher with more enemies and traps. While the spiders aren’t tough, their webs can be a nuisance. Although easily to deal with using fire, it is also valuable material so don’t go easily burn them. That’s a memo for you, Fran! As Fran asks the difference between arts, skill and magic, Amanda kindly explains to them in detail and gives examples. Well, if you’re interested in these technicalities, get ready your pen and paper. I’m good so… That’s why I’m always so confused and don’t get it in the end! At the end of the enlightenment, Fran shares her curry with Amanda as thanks. So she trusts her now? Fran also bugs Shishou to teach her this thunder compound magic that she recently found out. Now we’re in the final level of the dungeon and they have trickier spiders to do it. However with the spiders dealing poisons that cannot be healed (save for Fran’s healing), they realize the spiders have evolved. Cruise calls for a retreat. But as they do, a couple of Krad’s men got hit by some confusion poison. They bump into Fran, causing them to trigger a teleportation trap. This is where Fran gets separated from Shishou. They thought they would be teleported in some room but turns out, no. Could the dungeon have evolved without a Dungeon Master? Amanda believes there is a monster who can set up all this: Trickster Spider. Shishou tries to frantically use all his skills to look for Fran but to no avail. Fran and Krad’s guys are in a room faced with, you guessed it, Trickster Spider. Oh dear, without Shishou, Fran can do jack sh*t! Uh huh. All the skills come from him.

Episode 11
Everyone splits into groups to find the missing ones. Meanwhile Fran and the guys get owned by all the traps and tricks from Trickster Spider. Fran realizing that she is useless without Shishou’s skills and magic. Shishou becomes desperate to find Fran so as suggested, he summons an onyx wolf that has great detect abilities. However upon summoning, it attacks him. Shishou risks his identity blown to Amanda as he requests her assistance not to kill it. Analysis shows that when the wolf is summoned, its heart is overwhelmed by mana. Because it is from Shishou, it sees him as a threat since it is causing it pain. Amanda suggests naming it to strengthen their bond. After Shishou calls it Urushi, the wolf calms down and is tamed. It then leads the way to where Fran is. Better hurry since Fran is getting beat down. However she will not give up. Even if she has no weapons, she can use her limbs to fight. Just in time, Shishou breaks through the wall and causes some damage to Trickster Spider. It flees after that as Shishou heals Fran. Master and student emotionally reunite as Shishou is proud of her for holding out this long. He introduces Fran to Urushi who is like her junior. Now Amanda is suspicious of Shishou but decides not to pry so as not to offend Fran. But since Fran trusts her, she wants to tell all about Shishou. Amanda is in awe to learn he is an intelligent weapon and even more thankful to Fran for telling her such secrets. After healing Krad’s men, they set off the reunite with the rest. However they cannot be found and believe something has happened. Then pops up this white owl monster before them.

Episode 12
Cruise and his side are having it tough. Too many monsters. It’ll only be a matter of time before they get done in. Don’t worry. Fran to the rescue! Apparently that owl is Taruaa, a sprit guardian of Frion and it led them here. Look at how Urushi fires his beams to make some massive destruction! Even Fran too! Can’t be too picky about methods now. Burn everything! With everyone rescued and boosted, all that is left is for Fran to take on the Trickster Spider. It tries to escape but Fran is close on its heels. Until Fran gets blown away did Amanda remember a couple of young orphaned black cats in her care. She never taught them how to fight thinking doing so would shorten their lives. Too bad they went off on an adventure and died. She regretted not doing so and this time she is going to protect Fran as she fires a powerful blast that destroys the Trickster Spider and its core. Well, too bad that isn’t appreciated by Fran since she wanted the crystal! Oh dear. Does Fran hate her now? After looting the dungeon, they return to Alessa. Klimt is satisfied with Fran’s achievements and allows her to set foot at Ulmutt. This means she will leave Alessa. Before that, Fran sees Nell so she could change her class to battle mage. And then Garrus who made her a full set of black cat clothes and equipment. Sorry if it’s too sexy for Shishou but the less clothing, the better she can move about. Garrus is also thinking of moving to Ulmutt. Since Fran will be travelling by sea, dwarves can’t swim so he’ll take the land route.

Amanda continues to regret about her failure to save those 2 black cats. She got the news of their deaths late and couldn’t find them when she looked for them. If only she taught them how to fight, she could’ve seen them off with a smile. The day comes as Fran leaves. Almost everyone seeing her off and some getting emotional. As Fran leaves, perhaps just to make Amanda happy once, she calls her mom. Mom-anda?! This surprises Amanda because this was the same word her black cats used to say to her. So if you haven’t guessed it by now, those black cats were Fran’s parents. She is glad their daughter is now living a fulfilling life. Frion reports to his uncle who is Klimt about secretly keeping an eye on Fran. This whole mess started by August who paid one of the guild members to feed mana rich evolution potions to monsters in the dungeon. As such potion is rare and would be costly, it is most likely from the northern kingdom of Raydoss. August’s plot could be to revoke the guild’s right to the dungeon and pass it to Raydoss. With Taruaa vouching Fran as pure, Klimt has no more reason to suspect she is a spy from Raydoss. Better to have her as an ally than a threat. We see Fran and Shishou trying to head up to a floating island but a monster knocks them down into this house where they meet this necromancer, Jean Du Vix. Who the f*ck?

Katanagatari: Neko No Tsukaima
Well folks, it is no surprise at this point. Because yeah, it’s getting another season! From the way things are developing and that cliff-hanger ending (if I should call it so because who the f*ck that creepy new character!). Fran fans can rejoice while others mumble in disbelief as yours truly. Yeah. Didn’t think this would get a sequel and even if I thought it will have one, it was just a pipe dream from my side. Well, it isn’t now.

So how is the story for this ubiquitous isekai anime? Heh. Feels generic of course. There isn’t really a plot at least not as far as this season is concerned. Sure, the goal is for Fran to evolve into a greater being, something that her tribe has not been able to do. But that feels more like the setting and excuse needed so that the pair can go on seemingly random adventures in mini arcs so as to fight powerful monsters to of course, you’ve guessed it, power and level up. Isn’t that the reason why they are made to fight a greater demon and the Dungeon Master? And defeating them both without the aid of other people?! Amazing. But all within expectations.

That’s why with Shishou having so many sets of skills and magic in his arsenal, I am so lost to think what kind of skills he doesn’t have. Probably he still needs to learn some more skills but at this point I think he already has a lot more than necessary covered. At least for an average adventurer. Some feel like for convenience especially those healing ones. Because it would be absurd for the main characters to not get hurt and maintain 100% perfect HP, hence some damage is taken, some injury gets inflicted. But at the end of the day, no biggies because just a simple heal to not only heal flesh wounds but if Shishou breaks, he can also heal himself and make himself look as good as new. Wow. Just one step away from being God. So yeah. So many powers, the list is almost endless. My mind automatically goes blank each time he goes through his list of skillsets because it’s not that I would understand anything even if I paused the scene and slowly read through all of them. Yeah, so tragic that I’m not even interested. No wonder I fail to follow and find amusement in this series.

Speaking of all the overpowered skills, have to be reminded that those actually belong to Shishou. He just transfers them to Fran for her to use at her convenience. Hence that penultimate episode whereby Fran was totally unarmed and ‘naked’, it was a grave reminder and wakeup call on how dependent she has become on Shishou as many of such overpowered skills came from him. Oh well, got to remember that Shishou is the one who got the isekai treatment and based on the typical formula, he should get all the goodie good stuffs.

And so the series plays out mainly the dynamism between Shishou and Fran. While I want to think that Shishou could actually survive in this world on his own because of all the overpowered skillsets he has, it would be totally boring and ultimately weird to see a sword as the main protagonist. Uh huh. That’s why we have this cutie pie wielder AKA Fran so that it would be more fun having someone to converse with. I mean, Shishou can move by himself telepathically and heck, he even has phantom limbs to take or move other stuffs! Doesn’t feel like a sword anymore but hell, he still mostly looks like a sword so it’s still weird.

Fran is of course the apprentice of Shishou whom he has personally vowed to make strong. Yeah, Shishou is already strong himself so what’s the point of getting stronger? It’s more fun to teach and see someone grow and level up and that lucky person or black cat rather is no other than Fran. I’m sure everyone finds it cute her deadpan and monotonous communication and this somewhat becomes part of her charm. Fran being frank in her answers too as well as her genuine reactions contribute greatly to this cuteness and in a way, it’s hard to hate her unless you have a very strong dislike for such moe characters. Even if I said most of the cool powers belong to Shishou, the one thing that Fran can claim credit for herself is her tenacity and that she doesn’t give up easily. Even if she is still weak and has a long way to go to become stronger, you have to give her points for trying her best and going beyond that. Of course Fran by no means a 100% innocent character since she has her hands sullied with blood. She knows the risks and what needs to be done if she is going to achieve her ultimate goal. Only that way she can continue to grow even stronger. The only way is to build up more experience with more adventures. Can’t wait to see what more adventures will be in store for Fran, huh?

Even if there is this probability Fran would find an even stronger and more powerful sword (or other weapon), I am sure Fran will not abandon Shishou since he is after all the one who taught her like a master and guide her like a father. The only sword for her forever is you, Shishou. Hey, don’t forget how Shishou introduced and taught her how to cook curry! Mmm! Yummy! Besi