At first I was going to pass Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou No Alderamin or also known as Alderamin On The Sky seeing that this is another military series, a genre ranked quite lowly on my favourite genres list. I’m not saying I totally dislike this genre (better than mecha or yaoi) but seeing I have watched mecha series when I am supposedly not interested to begin with, what are the chances of this one? The main point that attracted me was the synopsis about a main character who is lazy as f*ck. He gets drafted into the military and forced to fight a war he doesn’t want. But his lazy tactics prove to be the winning formula. Sounds familiar? That’s right. Because of my stint with the amazing Senjou No Valkyria which also has a non-military background protagonist who used his unorthodox non-military out-of-the-box thinking to win, it is simply this reason and similarity that I became interested in checking this out. Man, did I procrastinate long enough to release this blog? Talk about being lazy already…

Episode 1
Ikta Solork and Yatorishino “Yatori” Igsem are going to board a ship that will take them to their official exam. Currently the kingdoms are at war and Ikta is viewed as a pessimist for believing the defence garrison under their kingdom, Katjvarna Empire will soon fall under the hands of Kioka Republic. Also on board this ship to take the exam are Haroma “Haro” Becker (nurse wannabe whom Ikta can’t help flirt), Matthew Tetdrich (whose family has been famous in the military for generations but not many seem to know it) and Torway Remeon (handsome guy whom Ikta scorns as his rival). The ship starts sinking during a stormy weather. The quintet are then ushered to the deck whereby they are dropped into a lifeboat. In this weather? I guess it beats going down with the ship. They see a little girl slipping off the deck and into the sea. Ikta becomes a hero by diving in to save her. When she wakes up, everyone is in a cave on a remote island. Yatori can tell from her royal ring that she is Chamille Kitra Katjvanmaninik. They have met before when Chamille’s father the emperor visited her home but that was many years ago. Yatori informs that only them have survived the storm and were fortunately washed up on this shore. Ikta and Torway return from their scouting and they have spotted a garrison line. This means they are in Kioka’s territory. Ikta has 2 options: Surrender and become their prisoner of war or take a gamble and burst through it to reach back to their kingdom. Because Chamille furiously won’t become a prisoner of war, Ikta shuts her up that being angry won’t make the impossible possible. Yatori tackles him and asks Chamille to forgive his rudeness since this is the man who saved her. So while they live out their isolated life, they have time to think about their options. They spot a Kioka blimp hovering over and go into hiding. It is Kioka’s new weapon that recently caused much damage to the eastern mission. Since it is alone, it is just on a scouting mission. That night, Chamille goes into the woods to relief herself. However the enemy patrol is metres away from her. Because they tripped on some makeshift alarm, the rest instantly got up and take precautionary measures. Chamille thought she is going to be discovered but it seems the enemy caught Ikta instead.

Episode 2
Ikta acts like a scared asylum seeker and this makes the enemy let their guard down. When Ikta gives the signal, his comrades strike and kill them. One of them is barely alive so Ikta interrogates him in exchange for treatment. But he died from his wounds after Ikta gets all the necessary information. Torway is scared because it is the first time he killed and almost screwed up so Yatori had to remind him he is a valuable comrade since he can use an air gun. Chamille also feels guilty about this so she bites her finger till it bleeds. Ikta kisses it and uses his scientific explanation why her blood isn’t rotten and it should be as good as it is if it remains in her body. Chamille thought he hated her but he says he just thought what happened before was just a childish tantrum. As twisted as Ikta may be, he gives his enemies a decent burial and even offerings. Next day they discover a mini blimp that the enemy came by at the beach. Instead of picking 3 to ride it home, Ikta has this sly idea. Dressing up as a Kioka army and the rest as asylum seekers, Ikta pleads to the garrison’s chief that the blimp is being stolen (currently it is unmanned and visibly flying away in the sky). Ikta lies that the ‘thief’ demands his family to be returned to the kingdom in exchange for the blimp. The chief of course panics as he has to make a decision now and Ikta’s acting is so convincing he could win an Oscar. Thus a decision is made and Ikta and co are moving steadily across the border and back into Katjvarna. Chamille is greeted by the garrison’s head, Lieutenant General Hazaf Rikan. She introduces her saviours.

A month later, our heroes are living the luxurious life but it all comes crashing down when news reports that the eastern territory has fallen into enemy’s hands and Rikan has died in battle. Flashback shows Ikta desperately tried to persuade Rikan to withdraw because either way they are going to lose. He believes the whole war is rigged. Because the Empire failed to develop this section, they want to rid of it. To make the people think they are fighting the war seriously, that is why they placed a famous general there. Of course he cannot withdraw because he is following direct orders. Ikta becomes mad and before he could get violent, he is knocked out by Yatori. The quintet then have an audience with the emperor who bestow upon them the title of Imperial Knight. Ikta is not happy because this means they are now soldiers who cannot disobey orders. So much for his life. He blames Chamille for this political move because the people had no favourable news for the loss and the only way was to make heroes to make them feel better. Chamille has dug up some past on Ikta. His real name is Ikta Sankrei. His father was the famous General Bada Sankrei who died in prison for disobeying orders. She also knows about Ikta’s master who thought him about science, Dr Anarai Kahn who fled to Kioka last year. She also talks about his mom, Yuhka who was part of the emperor’s harem. Before she could continue, Ikta gets violent with her but luckily Yatori puts him down. While Ikta is glad that this Imperial Knight thingy may be good for Yatori, it isn’t for him. He managed to become 3 things he didn’t want to in the same day: A noble, a soldier and a hero.

Episode 3
The Imperial Knights attend Katjvarna Empire High Level Officer’s School. Chamille also enrols here to learn with them. Some bullies think they can get the better of Ikta by dropping him a live centipede. Ikta isn’t scared. Instead he kills it and eats it! How about that! Even in class he might look like he is slacking but he knows his stuff well. If his comprehensive textbook answer isn’t impressive enough, he even adds his own analytical thoughts to it! Torway runs into trouble when he meets his elder brothers, Sarihaslag and Sushuraf. It seems they hate their younger brother and badmouth him as a coward. Because their loudness ruined Ikta’s nap, he intervenes and says what he wants. Sarihaslag beats him up even when he is down but that didn’t stop Ikta from running his mouth. They stop when Yatori and Chamille pass by. Yatori tags with Ikta to judo throw some of them so Sarihaslag calls it a day and leaves. Don’t bet it would be their last time. 3 months later, the Imperial Knights are done with their studying and some of them are given their own platoon. Like Yatori commands the Fire Troop, Torway leads the Air Rifle Platoon and Ikta gets Light Platoon. In this platoon is Sergeant Major Suya Mitcalif. Who? The daughter of the woman whom Ikta slept with! Oh sh*t! Not even Yatori can save him from this. Because of that, the troops won’t listen to him and Suya won’t let him take command. Matthew relays bad news about their upcoming problem. It seems the groups have been split to have Sarihaslag and Yatori on one side against Ikta, Torway and Matthew. Obviously revenge objective but Ikta isn’t panicking yet. He goes to make a deal with Suya that if he can prove himself that he is a vital factor in this victory, he will be allowed to lead the platoon. He makes his first proof as his platoon treks to the camping grounds. Nothing special except that Ikta got his troops to the site exactly on time and having without using a map. It’s all memorized in his head! He also sets up camps all over the place that will give him advantage in battle. On the second day the mock battle is supposed to start, Sarihaslag thought Ikta’s side didn’t turn up because they got lost. Then Yatori points out this is just a meeting place and it didn’t say anything about fighting. Sarihaslag panics and advances his troops. Ikta knows this will happen and has his men already lying in wait.

Episode 4
Sarihaslag thinks he knows the grounds and conditions better than anyone and is even confident of splitting up his troops to get ahead of the enemy. He disregards Yatori’s advice just because he is the commanding officer. But then it proves fatal because Ikta has his troops cross the river to attack. Last night they used a tree and made an underwater bridge. Thanks to the rainy day before, the muddiness hid it. Sarihaslag panics and has his troops fight back. Only when Yatori returns, Ikta too has his troops retreat. Sarihaslag thinks Ikta will come chasing him and has his troops lie in wait for a pincer attack. However we know Ikta won’t be doing that. It’s just exhausting to chase somebody. Instead he cuts off the northern exits that lead to the central base. At some point they have to return there and if they can’t, it is as good as they have lost and Ikta’s team will win by default. Predictably Sarihaslag follows the enemy for a showdown. He even orders his troops to break the rules just win. Before he can charge, he is sniped in the head courtesy of Torway hiding in the trees. Sushuraf takes over command and has everyone break through to reach the base. In the aftermath it is Ikta’s win. He lectures his troops about science and laziness. Apparently he believes slacking off in a war means doing the right thing. So follow him and they can fight easy and win easy! Woah. With all the men cheering his name, it’s like Ikta is now God! Ikta then receives news that Chamille is heading towards a wrong direction and something feels wrong. He sends a Morse code signal to Yatori about this. Chamille and her royal guards are rushing through the forest when some of them are killed. It is then Chamille realizes that the report of Ikta being hurt was just a ruse to lure her out. The mastermind is no other than the royal guard captain, Ison Ho. As they make their way, some of them are ambushed by Yatori’s troops. Yatori sticks her sword at Ison’s neck. He is willing to die and orders his men to shoot her. However they don’t move. Ison then reveals they are all students of Rikan and admired him. They know his death was all part of a political ploy and their aim is to kill Chamille to avenge him. Ison overpowers Yatori and could have killed her had not Torway snipe a headshot. Yatori swiftly picks up her swords and slices the remaining guards. She is reeling in shock and blood all over her. Only Ikta’s voice calms her down. Ikta learns of Ison’s aim and understands. He tries to cheer up Chamille soaked in blood as well but I guess that tomato joke went too far and she starts crying and hitting him.

Episode 5
It still gives Yatori the chills to think she was in that state. Ikta’s touch can only bring her back. She is sure that as long he is around, she can never fully turn into a sword. Flashback shows Yatori wanted to go study under Bada and her father gave his approval. She arrives in this remote village and started learning about scientific stuffs under Bada and Anarai. She quickly learns about scientific explanations which are another approach to explain theology instead of just always claiming acts of God. Of course there was young Ikta too and she trained him sword fighting. It looked like a blissful time the duo have. Playing pranks on some villagers, ‘taking’ ingredients from old ladies and fishing a big one out of a swamp. It’s really the simple life. One day the duo go on an expedition with Ikta’s older brother. At a remote cabin, the grownups forgot some tools and head back. But why the heck leave the kids behind?! They could have had the whole day to themselves had not for a hungry pack of wolves attacking them. They are holed inside the cabin as they use whatever resources, ingenuity and traps to scare them off and show who is boss. But that won’t deter the wolves because they’re really hungry. So far so good in counter attacking the wolves’ attack and even killing a few of them. In the dead of the night, the battle resumes again. This time a wolf jumps inside from the roof. The kids were fast and hid in a makeshift crate fortress. Yatori is willing to sacrifice her life for his safe return since one dead is better than both dead. However Ikta disagrees and anything less than both of them alive is a failure. The only way is for them to become one and solve this together. They will be each other’s hands. Somehow they manage to escape outside and trap the wolves in. They set the cabin on fire and wolves that try to breakthrough get killed in their trap. Eventually they face off with the remaining 2 wolves and one of them is the pack’s leader. The suspenseful battle is heading for a standoff when a cub’s cry is heard. The wolves back down and return to the forest with their offspring. Next day, the duo just chill eating whatever leftover burnt meat from the burnt down cabin. Shortly, Bada is captured and Ikta and his mom went missing. Many years later, Ikta returned to her and claimed he is here to take her away from this land with no future.

Episode 6
Ikta reads a letter saying that Anarai’s box is about to open. It is a safe supposedly containing his intellectual properties. But when he sought asylum, Kioka had him give up some of the military applications of it. The usuals are heading to the north for an expedition and some aren’t too fond of the Sinack tribe ruling there. Commanding the northern garrison is Lt General Tamtooktsk Safida and Major Yukshiram Toakk. During the banquet, Ikta meets First Lieutenant Senpa Sazaluf who will be his supervisor throughout the duration. A burly platoon commander, Deinkun Hargunska challenges Yatori to a duel. After getting permission, they face off where they stand. Chamille didn’t like how Yatori’s sword skills are to be gawked at but Ikta begs to differ as it is meant to be gawked at. The emperor gave the Igsem family the ability to wield 2 swords which is the symbol of invincibility as long as they never lose a sword fight. The family values this order very highly and to continue carrying 2 swords, they must show everyone their superiority and protect that order. Yatori might look like she is just defending but one strike back is enough to win the match. Sazaluf leads the trainees patrolling around the mountains. It might look boring since they have been circling the same path for 3 hours. But this is to show their force and put silent pressure to keep the peace. He then realizes Ikta has gone missing. An officer is confiscating books belonging to Kanna Temari. This is when smooth operator Ikta comes in the save the day. He reveals this officer’s intention to sell the books he confiscates as they have a high value. The officer wants to teach Ikta a lesson but a spider prank has him running away. Kanna is grateful he saved her books. They discuss about this particular book that contains the Aldera religion. Ikta views her as a fellow science member. Before he could really hit off with her, Sazaluf is here to bring him back and reprimand him. Ikta is so sly that he could even trick Sazaluf and escape. However he stumbles upon a cell he shouldn’t have. Nanaku Daru thinks it is time to go to war to recover their stolen Hahashiku.

Episode 7
Ikta returns all dried up but with some liquids, he is back to normal. This guy then goes to flirt with Kanna. She thinks he is a lady killer but Ikta has the best reply: All the women in the world are conspiring to seduce him! Ikta learns from Kanna’s observations that Toakk does most of the leading around and keeps an eye on Safida. However when it comes to Sinack matters, Safida takes full charge. This is in line with what Ikta saw in the dungeon. There were many sprites locked up. He believes they were forcefully taken away from their Sinack masters and this amounts to spirit abuse. Sazaluf says they are all locked up under Safida’s orders. Kanna then explains her analysis of Aldera because the Sinack speak of the spirits without mentioning the God that everyone else prays to: Alderamin. With the difference in core tenants and commandments, she feels as though the sprites have nothing to do with being messengers of Alderamin. This sends Ikta into ecstasy because this means she escaped the bigotry that twists the truth. He likes her scientific thinking and believes if there was ever a God, the first command should be thou shall be lazy and all other Gods are fakes. Huh? Toakk and his men are supposed to fetch a Sinack representative but see him dead in his home. They are then attacked by Sinack rebels. When gunshots are heard, Yatori heads in and sees Sinack and his men killed. She instantly kills some of them but the rest escaped. Shortly, Ikta and Kanna enter the place and see the massacre. All other tenants of the house are dead. Ikta sees Alderan pilgrimage clothes in which Sinack people do not wear.

Yatori and her men chase the rebels but stop in time once she realizes an ambush is waiting for them. She seeks answers to her comrades’ murder but Nanaku as the chieftain of Sinack speaks of the discrimination and oppression over her people. She calls them monsters for stealing Hahashiku. They demand nothing and will return everything to its original state like how she should be. Erm, so isn’t declaring a holy war the same as a demand? Once Safida learns of this, he doesn’t want to report to Central yet. He will use this moment to purge all the Sinack. When some soldiers call for revenge for Toakk, surprisingly Deinkun voices his disagreement. He might always sound willing to go to war but that is only if it involves the enemy. And the enemy is no other than Kioka. Although Sinack people are considered citizens under the Empire, they aren’t treated on the same level as other races. As a fellow imperial soldier, they should be reluctant to point their sword at their own people. Ikta keeps thinking hard about the holy war declaration because that word never existed in the Sinack vocabulary. To them, war is just survival. He can’t bring himself to think it is to take back their spirits. The only reason he can come up with is someone has been giving them ready-made excuses for war. Safida mobilizes his punitive force to strike the northern mountains at dawn. With Chamille being sent away to the halfway base instead of Central, it only proves that Safida is acting on his own. What more, he managed to gather this large punitive force in such a short time. While the Imperial Knights are just on standby, the other soldiers are already starting the heavy fighting.

Episode 8
Casualties are mounting because the soldiers are not used to the high elevations. But Safida will not retreat and orders to keep pressing forward. The Imperial Knights are now thrown into the front lines since they have to deliver supplies. When the enemy attacks at night, Ikta suggests his platoon defend at the back. Since the front is chaotic, he doesn’t want to get caught up in it. With great tactics and strategy, Ikta and his side manage to defeat the waves of Sinack rebels without losing a single man. Kanna is part of the troops at the front. When her platoon takes over a seemingly abandoned Sinack fort, they realize too late that it is a trap since the Sinack surround them at night. Though they manage to escape to higher ground, Ikta’s troops who are supposed to deliver supplies to this fort can only see the enemy occupying it. First Lieutenant Manubans Najiru is hell bent on sending the supplies and orders Ikta and Matthew’s troop to perform force reconnaissance. Ikta knows the conditions will be unfavourable to them and requests Torway’s group as support. He even guarantees he can retake the fort in an hour. In actual fact everything can be settled in 20 minutes. To summarise the plan, Torway will snipe the enemy and the rest will barge in. But how? Can his air gun reach such distance with accuracy? Well, it did. The enemies are taken out right under their noses before they got a chance to prepare. It seems based on Anarai’s technology from his box, Torway was able to modify this air rifle to make the shot more stable and accurate. When an injured soldier from the front lines requests aid because the fort is being surrounded by the enemy, Ikta will take command of this mission and no one else will know about this. As they trek higher, suddenly Ikta wants everyone to make camp even though they can still go on and have energy. The reason being he wants everyone to adapt to the high altitude or risk having Alpine Sickness. They may be late in saving their comrades but his top priority is to keep everyone here safe. Speaking of that sickness, everyone in that fort is already starting to weaken. By the time Ikta and his troops adapt and move on, he realizes they have lost because he couldn’t see any of their comrades from the fort moving. Everyone has been slaughtered. To his dismay, among the bodies is Kanna. He had hoped so much to see her again but I guess this is goodbye.

Episode 9
Sazaluf explains to Ikta and co their next mission to fight the Sinack tribe by separating their forces and taking 3 different routes. Then he has them burn down the homes of a Sinack village and take them with them to a refugee camp. It is at least better than Safida’s haphazard plan of killing them all because at least they can be used for negotiations. Besides, Ikta is wary of the separation plan as the routes are over 100km wide and there is no way they can get help from each other. While Ikta is sorting the housing for the refugees, a little Sinack boy comes to take out his frustrations on him. Ikta ignores him but flicks his nose. He starts bleeding and crying. Then Deinkun punches Ikta. And then himself. It was his way to save Ikta from the hostility. Safida gives his speech on the upcoming battle with the Sinack where a large force of them has gathered on the other side of the canyon. So that night they rest and the guys talk about… Sex? At least it is hinted that way. Hey, you still got to make love and peace in times of war. Next day as the troops march through the canyons, Ikta and Sazaluf have a bad feeling the enemy can flank them from the opposite mountain although it may seem impossible. Better to be safe than sorry, Ikta suggests Sazaluf talk to Safida to walk instead of riding a horse since he is the highest officer around. Lucky old fat guy agrees although he isn’t happy. True enough, the Sinack rebels attack from above with arrows and from the opposite with air rifles. Haro is slow to equip herself and could have died if not for Ikta’s quick saving. But he too needs to be saved from Deinkun again. Nanaku targets Safida but Yatori stands in her way. Yatori observes her unorthodox fighting and finally learns her trick. It might look like she stabbed her back but it is some equipment powered by her sprite. As a sword warrior, Yatori find it odd that she was confident in leaving her back open and knew she had a trick up her sleeve and thus managed to avoid her hidden gun. Nanaku’s sprite self destructs to let her escape. Meanwhile an elite assassination group crops out from the bottom of the cliff to target Safida. As they race towards him, Deinkun gets slashed. However when Yatori faces them and other troops surround them, they dive back down the cliff. Yatori hears Deinkun’s last words to take care of his comrades before passing away. Nanaku returns home vowing revenge but finds her village burnt down.

Episode 10
9 years ago, Ikta was at Nanaku’s village for a festival celebration and they know each other well. Nanaku is devastated to see her grandparents killed. She mercilessly kills the guards. Although she is pinned down, they make a foolish mistake of not finishing her off because they want to rape her. Thank goodness they are such dumbasses fighting over who is supposed to f*ck her first because this gives Ikta time to beat the crap out of them and save Nanaku. Once everything is under control, Ikta explains to his comrades that the men who showed up at the end of the last battle are Kala Karm, the ghost squad of Kioka. It only makes sense that Kioka has been teaching Sinack guerrilla tactics and supplying them with air rifles. When an Aldera inspection team speaks with Safida, he mentions they were here to check on spirit abuse. But seeing how some of them are dead in the recent battle, the answer is clear now. Safida has Ikta’s team chase after him and they discover a huge army, La Saia Alderamin making their way here. They are the nation army of Aldera who invade other countries in the name of God. Ikta puts the pieces of the puzzle. From Toakk’s assassination, Kioka has been manipulating Sinack so this will spur Aldera to invade the Empire. With Safida needing suggestions on what to be done, Sazaluf suggests forming a small team to buy time for the others to escape. As this is his suggestion, he is put in charge. Part of the plan is to use Sinack’s help and manpower. This is where Ikta comes in to work his charm. First he frees Nanaku who feels this apology thingy is an insult. While Ikta doesn’t intend to apologize for the war, he will apologize for those non-combatants who were killed in the midst of it. To show his sincerity, he cuts off the tip of his pinky finger!!! Yikes!!! This is part of the Sinack tradition of apology as Nanaku once told him. It is then she recognizes who Ikta is.

He has 3 favours to ask from her. First is to accept his apology for the misdeeds. Second, the Sinack help them to repel Aldera. They are using this opportunity to wipe out both of them since both sides are exhausted from the war. Of course this is an excuse for Aldera to crush them in the name of the spirits. They are just a pawn for Kioka because once Aldera takes over here, they will destroy Sinack whom they view their religious beliefs are heretical. As apology for this favour, Ikta cuts off the rest of his pinky finger!!! OMG!!! I can’t watch this! Does Ikta know fingers don’t grow back?! His third favour is to remain calling her Nanaku. Well, since this favour is made as a friend instead of a soldier, he doesn’t need to cut any fingers. Phew? Once Ikta returns to the rest, he tells them Nanaku can supply 800 men for this operation. Thanks to Sazaluf putting them in one village, it will be easier to gather them. Sazaluf also returns promoting the quintet as per Safida’s reward. Ikta wants Matthew, Torway and Haro’s troops to be part of the evacuating squad. Because he makes it sound like it is goodbye, Matthew becomes upset that it is as though he has been a hindrance in his battles. He knows that there is a high chance his men will die, he will die. But it’s the same for Ikta too. Even so, will he be a hindrance? Ikta and Yatori retract their statement and apologize for underestimating their resolve. They hope they can lend their strength for this upcoming battle. For the next few days, the rear troops work hard to cut down and burn the forest because this is where Aldera must pass through if they want to invade. However they are quick to counter it by also using fire to fight fire by burning down the forest. Rumour has it that they have a guest officer from Kioka lending their strength as a strategist. Like as though God send somebody to counter and balance Ikta. They heard this prodigy is never seen resting and is always working nonstop. Nicknamed the Unsleeping Shining Officer, he is Major Jean Alkiniks.

Episode 11
Jean is fascinated and wants to know the tactician on the other side. Certainly it couldn’t be that incompetent Safida. Ikta’s plan now is to shift the enemy’s focus on them by fighting them head on. This is because there is a small pass through the mountains that will come out near the back of their camp that Kala Karm might use. Of course using this longer route will delay the enemy’s attack but it is not enough time to let the main group evacuate. Ikta wants to pin them down here for at least 8 days. So when there is a portion of the forest that stopped burning, opening a route, Jean knows that the enemy is trying to invite them to head that way. He has a plan so they are going to play along. Ikta and his troops wait around the newly erected fort at night. The first wave of enemy arrives and they are taken out. However they realize that this wave is to set up barricades. This is a problem as it will throw their cannon trajectory off and it is like they are trying to bring in something. Immediately Yatori and Nanaku request to fight the enemy head on. Nanaku gets too confident and has her Sinack men push further forward against Yatori’s better judgment. They are then sniped by the Kioka’s air rifle squad. Aldera then pushes in a giant trebuchet. Ikta is in a dilemma to abandon the Sinack or rescue them but risk some of his men’s lives. He can’t hesitate so he orders his men to protect the Sinack. After carrying back all the wounded to the fort, they set fire and escape. Although Jean’s side lost this battle, he is happy to have got certain information from the enemy like their battalion numbers. Even more important they didn’t lose entirely.

Back at the camp, Suya reports to Ikta the number of casualties of their men. However she is not happy as she thinks he doesn’t take their deaths seriously as they died upon his orders. These men lost their lives because Ikta ordered them to save the Sinack. Well, would you have all the Sinack die then? Suya still cannot accept this because those men looked up to Ikta and admired him. Yatori tells her she is blaming the wrong person. Yatori is partly responsible for this because she knows Ikta will take her into consideration to make such orders. It was the same assumption for Ikta too. When told soldiers are required to put aside all emotions, Suya asks if she will kill Ikta if ordered to. Without hesitation and in short, yes. Suya still can’t accept all this. After all, everyone here has always been on the winning side and thought it would be okay if they followed Ikta’s orders. But that is what war is about and the tide can swing the other way quickly. Ikta then asks Yatori how she would kill him. She’ll kill and destroy everything about herself first so that she will never come back to life. Then the last remaining Igsem will kill him. Kala Karm receives word that their allies are still delayed at the mountain’s base. This time they are going to move out.

Episode 12
Chamille is not pleased that Safida has returned safely. It is the priority to safely evacuate the commanding officer? Good too. Because he is going to stand in the military tribunal. Nanaku wants to atone her sin to Suya by allowing her to cut off her hands. But do so only after the war. But Suya can’t bring herself to do it. She has killed so many enemies. How will she forgive herself? Sazaluf tells her there is no reason she should be blamed at all. All responsibilities fall on him as he gave the orders. When it is reported the Aldera’s cavalry are giving the infantry a ride so the journey will be faster, they believe the enemy plans to split their units. Somebody needs to go intercept them but who? Sazaluf volunteers as he believes Ikta and Yatori must not leave this place. Jean flies his blimp over enemy territory to scout. This is shocking because such technology is a blasphemy to Aldera. With the forest fire dying out, Ikta rallies his troops to fight scientifically and lazily. Huh? It means replenishing the forest fire and repelling the enemy as they attack. While Matthews’ troops are putting up extra forest fire fuel, they are attacked but manage to hold their ground. The blimp is reported to be seen hovering over the eastern area again and again. Nanaku confirms there is no route there so Ikta is suspicious of the blimp’s actions. When Torway suggests deploying his troops to the rear of the fort, it was a wise move because Kala Karm is lying ready in wait to ambush. Torway’s troops ambush them first from higher ground. The remaining Kala Karm retreat but they are flanked by other troops at the end and got taken out. This is all thanks to Ikta’s foresight as he knows they will setup a rear attack. He has Torway think what he would do if he was Kala Karm’s commander and in turn what he himself will do to counter it. On the 6th day, enemy reinforcements are seen taking the long route around the east and pulling something big. They are explosion cannons and they pack a massive impact in shooting through the fire and destroying the fort. This is another technology from Kioka that is blasphemous t Aldera. Ikta then realizes they have been had. The blimp was there to record paths through the forest. The enemy setup obstacles and memorized how to break through the wall of flames as training. With the fire wall broken, Jean leads his side through.

Episode 13
Ikta has Matthew take command of this post for the next few days. He is pessimistic of his chances so Ikta reminds him he will never give orders to others like defend this place with your life. That is unscientific. Because if he dies, everything else will also collapse. So his single order is to live. Easier said than done, right? Ikta and Yatori head out to the battlefront. He needs to adjust his thinking to defeat the enemy. Then it hit him. When Jean and his army arrive, they see the traps laid out before them and also smell oil. They figure the enemy is going to burn the place. Not wanting to end up falling into their hands, Jean orders his troops to prepare fire. Suddenly he feels something amiss when the oil smell starts to subside. From underneath them, Ikta and his soldiers pop out from their hiding and pierce through and attack. This causes chaos for Jean’s side as they have to recalibrate their attack on the sudden change in distance and thus nullify their horses and air rifles advantages. Ikta then puts up a willing to negotiate flag. Not to be mistaken as want to negotiate because it means they are cornered. He is counting on Jean to do the same because he is the kind of guy who wants to be in control and they’re both sick of this battle. Jean accepts. Both masterminds meet each other for the first time. Jean calls for their full unconditional surrender and Ikta wants their troops to complete retreat. Since both sides are not backing down, Ikta uses his sprite to shine at Jean’s heart. How is this light going to kill him? He warns Torway is lying in wait to snipe him and he has been marked. Jean reminds him the war treaty regarding attacks during negotiation is disallowed. Ikta says this negotiation can fail and then he will quickly lower his flag and shoot him. Jean calls this a threat instead of a negotiation but in war times, what’s the difference? Just because it didn’t go his way, he calls it a threat. Ikta further reminds the difference now is that he has put his troops in place where they could aim directly at him but Jean has failed to do that. Jean has a feeling Ikta is 90% bluffing but he still can’t ignore the 10%. Surprisingly, Jean accepts Ikta’s terms. A good move that Jean should not be ashamed of. A good one for Ikta too because Torway isn’t there! He won the poker game.

Before they part ways, Jean asks Ikta what motivates him to work for the Empire because he wants to make Kioka’s ideals come true. Ikta tells him he doesn’t even want to protect the country in the first place. What he wants to protect are people. More advice from Ikta as he says all heroes die from overworking. Jean is an ideal example as he is slaving himself to death. A wrong way to work hard. And the rest around him are being lazy in a wrong way. Chamille is desperate to find Ikta and co once she learns the troops are back. Almost given a scare when Ikta isn’t around. He’s right here. A big hug from her but he points out important people she needs to encourage now. Chamille praises her brave men and the Sinack. In the aftermath, Safida is tried. He is demoted and will be executed for prolonging this war. We can only hear him scream for his life. When Ikta tells Chamille privately about the decaying state of the Empire, she wants him to make it to the top of the military because he has talent and knows he can do it. And then immediately lose a war to Kioka. This will lead to Kioka’s external influence of economy and political philosophy to purify the Empire’s core. Of course Ikta needs to lose just enough to maintain the Empire’s unique culture. As a person who hates soldiers, the imperial family and heroes, he is the right person for the job. I’m sure Ikta is lamenting about it as he notes his dad died of overworking and with no regard for how the people felt around him. If he follows Chamille’s plan, it won’t be long he will come into conflict with Yatori. If this country wants to die, let it die. What he wanted to protect has never been the country. That’s why he came to take her away from this and not allow her to be caught up in its collapse.

Too Lazy To Be Lazy
So what’s next for Ikta? Looks like the more he tries to get his hands out of this military business, the more deeply he gets involved. If the only way out of all that crap is through this sh*t hole, so be it. Thankfully this series lives up to expectations. As said in my opening paragraph that I didn’t like war genres but the thought of Senjou No Valkyria and its near similar setting had me raise the bar of expectations of this series. And once again I am awed and pleased with everything it offered.

The plot and story unfold and move at a decent and fast pace. From escaping enemy lines to being drafted into the military, having a mock game and even a quick royalty vengeance story thrown in. All this was just in the first half of the series. Then they spend the rest of the second half in the mountainous region battling the Sinack before making a truce with them to fight the Aldera army. Safe to say that none of these stories feel bored and by the end of it all, you feel like you want to see more. So it’s that dilemma of wanting the war to go on so we can see what interesting tactics they come up with.

Well, since this series is set in a fantasy world (not the kind with dragons and exotic floating islands), it naturally tries to set itself apart with weird names. Thus my old problem of trying to pronounce and remembering some of the tongue twisting names. Yeah, it felt like as though I am trying to learn Latin names or something. Some are easy to pronounce and remember but the rest are just like, how do you spell that again?

The concept of war is nothing new especially when war is fought on the baseless religious grounds. Well, if your religion tells you it is right to kill others, then you should rethink and relook at your religion again. What this series perhaps subtly tries to add into the mix is the factor of science. While this isn’t dominating the aspects of this series, it feels like in addition to the battle of wits, this war also boils down to a battle between religion and science. Even if you are blindly faithful to your religion, there are some scientific and technological aspects that you have to use and improvise if you want to win a war. After all, you’re not just going to sit there and pray to God, hoping He would rain boulders on your enemies, would you? God doesn’t work that way! He won’t give you that kind of victory you ask from a prayer. Because first you kill your enemies and then you ask for forgiveness! Haha! Whoops…

Ikta is likeable as the main character because he thinks differently from the rest. Complete with his suave charm and you’ll be rooting for this guy in no time. One of the biggest ironies I find about him is that despite claiming to be lazy and thinking so, he is in fact the most hardworking of them all, don’t you agree? He doesn’t sound or look like he needs to think hard to come up with solutions and tactics and the way he does so makes him sound lazy. But then again I would like to beg to differ because if Ikta didn’t really put in his effort and hard work, he wouldn’t have been where he is standing now and not be respected by many. I mean, war especially with eternal rivalry with a neighbouring country is not child’s play to say the least.

You also noticed that Ikta has to take into account so many factors when he lays out his plans to send troops to fight the enemy while minimizing casualties. That itself is already a herculean feat. Maybe he is such a smart guy that such strategies are just peanuts to him but an ordinary (dumb) viewer like me would definitely be in awe. Also, this guy is a scientific believer. How can you be a lazy bag of bones if you support science? There are lots of hard work, the amount of time and energy spent in researching and all that sh*t. So how can Ikta be lazy as he claims to be? If it is his way to motivate the morale of others, maybe. But then again how do you scientifically explain that? Hmm… Maybe this quote will: “Hard work pays off tomorrow. Laziness pays off today!”. Wow. That makes sense. Now I am motivated to be lazy too. Another reason Ikta isn’t a lazy person he claims to be is that when he takes on a job or mission, he properly sees through it till the end instead of doing it half heartedly. In a way, the perfect word to describe him is responsible. That’s why a lot of people respect him.

Complementing Ikta is Yatori and if this guy is the brain, this girl is his hands. They both make an interesting and effective pair since they have known each other from young. They think alike and know what each other is thinking. It is as though they are twins only born from different mothers. It is true that two heads are better than one that it is applied here. Because if Ikta loses his way, Yatori will be there to remind him and bring him back and vice versa. Jean proves to be a formidable foe for Ikta with his own ideas and tactics. I won’t go so far to say that he lost because Ikta is the hero but rather Ikta played his cards better. Remember, it was a battle of wits (and bluffing) and Ikta played his part more convincing and calmly than Jean in the final lap. I bet this won’t be the last time these great brains will meet as there will be more such encounters in the future seeing Ikta now has to go lose a war. Oh heck, why not just let Kioka walk through your Empire and ‘welcome’ them with open arms?

Unfortunately for the other main characters like Haro, Torway and Matthew, it is nice that they do get a little of the screen time but they are always being overshadowed Ikta and Yatori. Maybe because Ikta and Yatori have their own flashback whereas the trio are just there to make up the numbers as their close comrades. I’m not saying that they can be done without as they too play a few minor important roles throughout the series. But then again as I said, ultimately they will be eclipsed by the superiority and amazing dynamic duo. So we’ve got chubby Matthew whom you’d remember as someone who complains the most but he gets his job done. He is sometimes pessimistic but who isn’t afraid to die in a war? But it’s always the cool words of Ikta that motivates him. Sort of. Then there is Torway whom we’ll always remember as a sharp shooter with his air rifle. Sure, he has his past with his brothers but that is forgettable once that story is over since Sarihaslag is a jerk nobody wants to remember. Finally Haro is like, uhm, can somebody tell me this medical officer’s achievements here?

Other characters are pretty decent too. Like Chamille trying to do her duty as a royalty but unfortunately with the second half of the series being fought in the mountains, Chamille’s presence has been relegated to somewhere safer: Off the screen. Haha! Oops. Then suddenly she grows up and got all serious business with this devilish plan of hers to save her country by losing a war. In order to win you have to lose? Is that scientific? I know Suya is trying to be a good soldier but it is hard when you have a superior officer who once had a fling with your mom! Imagine a classmate same as your age having an affair with your mother! No wonder she can’t trust him but Ikta uses the right head to win back her trust and respect. You know, I have this feeling inside that all these girls would somehow have some sort of romantic interest in Ikta. That guy is pretty charming in his own right too, right? Some of them he tries to blatantly flirt with. Too bad this damn war couldn’t afford to turn this into a harem anime whereby we will have tropes of a childhood friend, the other childhood friend of a different race, the rich royalty, the tomboy, the shy and friendly natural beauty and the fellow bookworm. Oh right. Kanna’s dead.

One of the mind boggling if not disappointing elements of the series is the sprites. Their presence is hardly felt and it feels as though they can actually be done without. Sure, they are part of the lore and setting of this series but they hardly do anything that would warrant anything memorable. Some weapons and vehicles are powered by them and it feels funny because I thought they are just living batteries. Even funnier to see how soldiers insert sprites into their guns but I hardly noticed any sort of ‘magical’ effects while the sprites just look stoned as they are put in use. Or not. I always try to keep in mind that maybe somewhere the little sprites will play a pivotal role and a turning point in the series but it turns out we are so engrossed in the war tactics that they hardly even matter. These small little fairies are the sole and diminutive reason why the latter half of the series is dedicated to a single arc of fighting in the northern mountains in which you will hardly notice them playing any sort of important role anyway. Oh, I noticed they’re good torch lights, by the way.

Therefore it felt like nothing when we see those sprites who have names and belonged to our heroes, sometimes they talk to them and show some concern but eventually in the end they don’t really matter. I mean, do you even remember their names after their initial introduction in the early episodes? And to think that they come in a variety of elemental types based on their colours. Say what? Hence these sprites as far as this anime is concerned are only there to look cute and perhaps distract you from the atrocities of war. I suppose that they don’t have any decent screen time to focus on them so as to remind us, the next episode preview is just a still picture of them lazing around or doing whatever cute pose they are doing. WTF, right?

The action scenes compliment the war tactics and strategies well. Whether it is seeing Yatori slicing her enemies with her double sword wielding technique or seeing both sides of the divide firing their guns to outdo the other. But be warned there is quite an amount of blood spilled here. I mean, what is the use of having a war themed anime when there are no deaths and casualties. Therefore some scenes might get real bloody like as though somebody simply splashed red paint everywhere like that Ison and Chamille scene. Yeah, there was blood everywhere.

The animation is fluid and art and drawing are pretty decent but the funny thing is that the main and supporting characters look like they have more colour compared to the rest of the extra background characters who are just bland in terms of hue. Of course this is to easily identify the characters. Because how many red heads do you know and see in this anime? Who else here have green or purple hair colour? Is it me or does Matthew have that uncanny resemblance to that guy from Nameless in Senjou No Valkyria, Alfons Auclair? The designs of some of the weaponry and objects are not too bad either and perhaps quite creative as we see the guns and cannons mixed with some sort of air compressors to give it that extra oomph. Science, b*tch!

Let me bring up the sprites again but this time on your design. I know they are supposed to look cute but I can’t help feel their design is inspired from Care Bears… Don’t laugh! It’s true. They might not have those cute lovely colourful symbols on their stomach and yell out “Care Bears Stare!” but certainly when they use their power, their stomach flashes, right? Remember what I said about them being useful as torch lights? Maybe this is their Care Bears Stare. And don’t their overall body design somewhat resembles closely to Care Bears? Ugh… Anyway note that Care Bears are way much cuter than these sprites. Just saying…

I was pretty damn sure that Yoshitsugu Matsuoka was the voice behind Ikta. To my surprise after finishing watching the series, I only realized that it wasn’t him at all but Nobuhiko Okamoto (Karma in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu). It’s pretty embarrassing since I was really 1000% confident it was that guy from Shokugeki No Souma and Sword Art Online. At least I got it right for Risa Taneda’s Yatori, Takehito Koyasu’s Sarihaslag, Tomokazu Sugita’s Ison, Jun Fukuyama’s Jean and Keiji Fujiwara’s Bada. The rest of the casts are Ryousuke Kanemoto as Torway (Seiji Sagara in Happiness Charge PreCure), Junji Majima as Matthew (Kinji in Hidan No Aria), Haruka Chigusa as Haro (Tsugumi in Soul Eater NOT!), Inori Minase as Chamille (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Rie Takahashi as Nanaku (Megumin in Kono Subarashi Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo), Ayumu Akikawa as Suya (debut), Shinobu Matsumoto as Sazaluf (Galdarblog in Dakara Boku Wa H Ga Dekinai), Toshiharu Sakurai as Safida (Andou in Kaiji), Itaru Yamamoto as Deinkun (Jacques in Zero No Tsukaima F), Ikumi Hayama as Kanna (Sayaka in Strike The Blood) and Mugihito as Anarai (Wombat in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!).

The rock based opening theme is Tenkyou No Alderamin by Kishidan Kyoudan and The Akaboshi Rockets. If you find their style of music pretty similar it is because they have also sung the opening themes for Gate and Strike The Blood in which all of them strikingly sound almost the same. At first glance I can’t seem to tell the difference between the songs since they have this very similar rock beat to them. Very similar. Another rock outfit graces the ending theme, Nameless by Kano (for some reason I keep thinking the singer has some sort of relation to that Black Dragon dude in Mortal Kombat).

Overall, this series might not be Senjou No Valkyria but it manages to be more than interesting enough that you don’t remember and want to compare them. Even if you aren’t the kind of person who has any interest with war related things, at least the action bits as well as the tactics and strategies thought up by a ‘lazy’ person should be fascinating. Especially some of the decisions that Ikta makes it compel you to question what the heck he is thinking. I thought the yakuza only cut off their fingers but… Since when cutting off limbs is a true sign of sincere apology? It might be wrong to look up to Ikta’s laziness as motivation. But I’ll stop being lazy once lazy stops being awesome.

Kyoukai No Rinne S2

February 18, 2017

As per that cheeky request as seen in the final scene of the first season, thus Rinne has kept his promise and will give fans another season of Kyoukai No Rinne! After all, there are still a lot of things that needs to be properly developed and resolved. Especially the relationships and Rinne’s poverty issues. Yeah well, even if Rinne is still as poor as a church mouse, the production company still has enough budget to make another season. And possibly a third??? I’ll leave that aside for later but for now let’s see where this second season will take us and Rinne and his friends.

Episode 1
Young shinigamis are trying to catch snake spirits set loose. But Ageha won’t seeing she hates them. However a black cat boy plays a snake prank on her. Before he gets away with it, Rinne catches him. It is revealed Oboro is Ageha’s contracted black cat (like how Rokumon is to Rinne). They don’t get along well. It all started a year ago when they were supposed to catch an anaconda spirit. Oboro knowing she hates snakes played a prank on her. In retaliation she dropped a boulder on him in which he was stuck there for a year. So Oboro released the snake spirits recently to get back at her. Heck, their love-hate relationship goes back to even when they were small. Oboro’s family have been serving Ageha’s family for generations. So whenever the duo play, they always play rough and ended up fighting. Of course they can just terminate the contract but Ageha wants to make him suffer before doing that. So she makes the lamest trap to lure Oboro. He could have easily got it if not for some mongoose spirit intervening. With the contract now in its hands, they give chase as the contract change hands several times till the mongoose swallows Ageha. Oboro thinks he is free from Ageha but she manages to fire a missile at him. Rinne wants Rokumon to bring back Oboro because the penalty for a familiar leaving his master is 5,000 Yen! Oboro is surprised that the contract is in his possession and a note from Ageha that she allows him to be free. He thinks this is a trap seeing this is too easy. On his way to save Ageha, he remembers Ageha did defend him when he made a major blunder so she isn’t all that bad. Rinne enters the mongoose to find Ageha has set up an emergency shelter. Looks like she is having fun. This is part of her trap to lure Rinne in and have a good time with him. Before anything suspicious can happen, Oboro and the rest break into the shelter. The contract with Oboro is actually real. She is firing him because she wants to spend time with Rinne. Besides, doesn’t he hate her? The rest realize maybe Oboro doesn’t want to leave her and was waiting for her to stop him somewhat. The duo sheepishly reconcile but they end up in their usual argument and fighting. Part of the contract falls into Rinne’s hand as he is shocked to learn the compensation by the employer is 500,000 Yen! Oboro should keep his job… In the aftermath, Tamako reprimands Ageha and Oboro for being the source of this incident.

Episode 2
Rinne is called in to help the tennis club because the tennis balls always go missing. Rinne smokes out the spirit and it turns out to be a tennis club player who has been amassing tennis balls. His story goes that when he joined the club, he was relegated to only picking balls. A year later before he could play a decent game, an accident occurred. So he hates everyone who plays tennis as he just wants to play a decent match. Rinne has Sakura and Tsubasa join in to play doubles. But the tennis boy sucks at playing tennis and gives up. Rinne gives him a better racquet laced with some spirit to help him out. It then becomes an intense grudge match between Tsubasa and the racquet. So the guy just settles for practising swings with Sakura. Enough for him to find peace. And Tsubasa’s fight with the racquet ends with a double knockout. Were they playing tennis in the first place? Tsubasa attends a client whose son is ill ever since they opened a box of love letters in their shed. Through enough, a spirit named Yayoi is clung onto him. But after Tsubasa exorcises him, Yayoi now follows him. Her back story shows that she was in love with some guy. Eventually he married a rich girl since he was poor. Yayoi died of heartbreak later. In order to pass over, she wants to date someone even if it is pretend. So we see Tsubasa going on a strange date with Yayoi but mishaps always befall on him. Rinne deduces she is an evil romantic spirit bent on taking Tsubasa to the next world with her. Despite knowing all this, Tsubasa still continues to date her and tolerate all the misfortunes. Because he understands how it feels not to be loved back. Is he hinting something at Sakura? When Rinne notices a number at the bottom of the box, he goes back to the shed to investigate. It seems Yayoi’s crush had other women sending their love letters and he labelled them via numbers. Learning about this might have turned Yayoi into an evil spirit. When Yayoi tries to hasten Tsubasa’s death, Rinne warns her even if he manages to kill him, she will be sent to hell and Tsubasa sent for reincarnation. They will never be together. Yayoi laments she lost another love and hopes he will date her when they reborn again. After Yayoi passes on, Tsubasa is admitted into hospital where he thinks he is lucky to have been alive. Yeah, because after he has been through, he should be dead.

Episode 3
A black cat girl, Suzu is looking for Rinne. She drops him a reminder to pay up for his monthly shinigami membership fee. However Rinne clearly remembers he never missed a payment no matter how poor he is. He goes to the census to complain but serving him is Kain. There are no records Rinne paid. Could it be Sabato swiped him? He ascertained that too so nope. With Kain maintaining his stance he has not paid, Rokumon asserts that he was here at the counter to pay it. So where’s the receipt? No receipt? Well there you go. Instead of haggling with him, Rinne will investigate and set the truth straight. With Sakura, they retrace their steps on that day. It seems Rokumon detoured to several shops that offer free samples and discounts. Hard to resist, right? Rinne has him describe the person he handed the money but it seems that person was wearing a mask just like him. Wait. What? They trace the mask to be from a rice store in which they only give away to kids. So the person at the counter was a kid? Suzu is Kain’s familiar. He picked up this abandoned cat simply because of the ‘free’ word. Poor people… But look at her mask. Doesn’t that look familiar? Next day, Kain finds Rinne and Rokumon doing their investigation behind the counter. They bought a kit to take fingerprints but Suzu wipes the place clean. Rokumon remembers it was her who accepted the payment. When Suzu hands Kain the task for today, he sees the payment. He remembers he was away from the counter that day and Suzu might have come by then. Now he pretends not to receive it. This means if he passes it across the counter, it will be deemed not received. Using Suzu as distraction, he puts the envelope back to Rinne’s side. However Rinne won’t pick it up. It means acknowledging there will be late fees. So he also uses Suzu as distraction to shove it back to the counter’s side. This goes on until Rokumon accuses Suzu to remember. She doesn’t. But when Rokumon wears the mask, she instantly remembers and claims to receive the payment. Kain then waives the late payment fee. Rokumon is upset because he didn’t even apologize but Rinne doesn’t want him to waste his breath. Apology won’t earn him a penny. However Rinne has bought a very expensive recorder and has recorded Kain’s misconduct. Kain threatens him to report since it won’t earn him a penny. This isn’t about money. It is about pride. Few days later, Rinne finds coupons worth as much as the recorder. He knows it is a bribe to keep him quiet. Making it even sweet is that the recorder is just a cheap recycled junk.

Episode 4
Rumours have been surfacing that the student council president, Naomi Yuuki looks nice but mugs people. Miho as her secretary doesn’t believe all that till she gets mugged by her. Despite dressing up a bit different, Miho can tell she is Yuuki. However Sakura knows better that this girl is a ghost but why can her friends see her? Talking to Rinne about this, they catch her vandalizing the wall with graffiti. She acts like a punk and Rinne deduces her speech is old gangster talk. When Yuuki confronts her, she is shocked of their similarity but asserts she doesn’t know her. This causes delinquent girl to be mad as she thinks she is playing dumb. Rinne goes after her and learns that she is Ranko and she believes that is her twin, Rinko. They are like day and night. While Rinko is all proper, Ranko is more of the gangster type and since then everybody has shunned her. Only Rinko tried to talk to her and didn’t treat her like trash. Sakura confirms from Yuuki that Rinko had a twin and she died around this age. Sakura would like to talk to her mom but he is away on vacation in Hawaii. Tracing the truth from the umbrella Ranko always has, it seems she has a strong desire to apologize. Talking to Ranko again, they want to know why she is angry seeing Rinko was always on good terms with her and never understood why she was mad. Ranko remembers on that day she did something unimaginable and left. That was when she got into an accident. She realizes she is dead and this wasn’t Rinko’s fault as she did something horrible. They believe Yuuki’s father has something to do with this so they seek Yuuki’s permission to get an item that her father used a lot during his school days. A guitar? Further revelation reveals Ranko knows Rinko loves Yuuki’s dad. One day she wanted to tease them and left a love letter in her twin’s name and even dressed up like her to meet up. As Ranko was in coma for 3 years after the accident, it is natural her memories stopped at that point. Rinne uses a tool to replay what happened on that day. When Ranko met Yuuki’s dad, he was singing his lame song. So lame that Ranko beat him up! She declared he hated him! It was then Ranko realized he loved him too. It was enough for Ranko to apologize to Rinko (Yuuki acting on her behalf) and pass on. In the aftermath, Rinne shows Ranko how Rinko and her husband are doing. His guitar still sucks after all these years. She doesn’t even want to believe…

Episode 5
Rinne and Sakura visit Tamako’s mansion to help clean up. In return he gets to take anything for free. They discover an album in which Rinne was a bad delinquent. But isn’t that Sabato? Sabato hands the real album in which Rinne is all proper and nice. What is Sabato doing here? Trying to help clean up too? Or just stealing?! Tamako puts the brakes on his theft and then they resume cleaning. Once done, a giant black cat crashes out from a closet. He is Kuroboshi and Tamako’s familiar. Rinne has never seen him for so long so he thought he retired. Apparently when Tamako had him put something away in the closet, she forgot all about it when delivery of new furniture arrive and dumped it blocking the closet. So he has been sealed in there for all this time? Well, the place is in a mess now.

Sakura knows there is trouble when Sabato comes asking her for money! He pleads he wants to buy a gift for Rinne’s birthday. But he doesn’t even know his son’s birthday! Luckily Rinne is here to foil his plans. Apparently Sabato was trying to rob Kain’s house too and bluff Ageha that Rinne was in hospital for money. As they all try to figure why he is so desperate this time, Bijin explains that loan sharks came this morning and took away everything in his office. There was an item on his desk that he is willing to pay to get back. This shocks everyone. What is so special that this swindler is willing to buy back? They guess right he will be in the recycling shop where seized items are. They see Sabato rummaging through his seized items. Even more shocking he is ignoring the expensive items around. Is this the real Sabato? It is revealed one of the seized items is a photo of Sabato and young Rinne together. It’s his only copy. So heart-warming that Sakura agrees to lend him a thousand yen although she expects never to get it back. But a few days later, she is shocked that she got it back! What gives?! It is revealed behind the photo contains 50,000 Yen! Too good to be true as always…

Rinne and Tsubasa follow Sakura to her friend’s vacation cabin, Kana Noroi. It seems her brother, Taishi found demon tags around and has been burning them in his bid to summon a demon. Of course they warn him how demons kill the summoner or drag your soul to hell but there is only one tag left to burn. When they realize Kana’s neighbour is Masato, they get a gist he is behind this. True enough, it is his plan to make Taishi finish the summoning so he could drag his soul back to hell. But if Rinne and Tsubasa are here, this means they’ll beat the crap out of his ass and he doesn’t want that. So they make Masato stay for the BBQ instead of escaping. Accidentally Taishi completes the final ritual and Masato thinks an army of a thousand demons are going to descend and cause havoc. However there is a note saying they are on vacation. Masato’s pride is shattered to pieces. You were saying about the threat?

Episode 6
Shouma is a young shinigami in training and a brat who is under a homestay programme with Rinne. However trainees his age should be exorcising pets instead of humans or vengeful spirits but why is Shouma doing it? It seems they earn him more points compared to simpler ones and once he achieves 50 points, he can get out of this homestay. Besides, I’m sure he is just complaining living alongside Rinne’s poor life. Despite his cocky attitude and big talk, he can’t even get close in purifying one and Rinne always has to finish his job. One night when Sakura and her friends walk home from karaoke, they stumble upon the rumoured alligator faced woman ghost. It is no surprise when Shouma hears about it the next day, he is going to purify her. Worse, he stole Rinne’s scythe thinking he can do the job. Of course he fails. Sakura then meets a woman who looks exactly like the alligator woman, Onee-san. It is revealed she is the owner of her alligator pet, Chibi who has been masquerading as her in order to look for her. There is a monologue in which she explains how she bought Chibi on the streets (unknowingly it is illegal) and they become like best friends. But one day her pet escaped and went missing. It has been a year. Shouma stokes trouble by making Chibi visible. This freaks out Onee-san since she doesn’t believe her pet was this big. She runs away in fear rejecting Chibi. This is bad because Chibi won’t find peace and in time it will turn into an evil spirit. Sakura tries to talk to Onee-san that her pet has died but she refuses to believe. Rinne and Shouma chase Chibi into the portal and back to the living world. They get to hear its monologue how it escaped its cage and the weary ‘adventure’ it had trying to make it back to its owner’s place. It eventually died of exhaustion. Unfortunately Shouma fell asleep listening to its story and this pisses off Chibi. Now turned into an evil spirit, it attacks Shouma. Still can’t do anything, huh? When Onee-san is here again, she could sense familiarity in this alligator. It then returns to its small size and emotionally reunites with her before passing on. Good news for them but bad news for Shouma because since the owner was the one who calmed the alligator, Shouma didn’t get any points. And so Shouma’s poor days with Rinne continues. And so does his whining.

Episode 7
Shouma can’t stand living the poor life now. He bumps into Masato who is willing to help alleviate his ‘suffering’. Masato tricks Shouma into reaping some grumpy granny spirit. If Shouma reaps wrongly, not only Shouma will face the consequences, because he is related to Rinne’s homestay, Rinne will also be punished. That is what Masato wants. Luckily granny defends herself and even lectures Shouma about respecting your elders! Masato escapes when Rinne is here but leaves Shouma a letter. Rinne warns Shouma never to go near that demon again. But you think that stubborn kid is going to listen? Even more so when he finds a 500 Yen in the letter! That’s it. Masato is definitely cooler than stingy Rinne. Money swayed his heart. Masato gives him an evil spirit sensor. Shouma is thrilled when evil spirits gather around him. Little did he know the sensor is turning innocent spirits nearby into evil ones and Masato is collecting them to be sent to hell. Although a single evil spirit is enough for him to earn points and pass this homestay, he wants to earn thousands to brag to his friends. Sakura and Rokumon try to stop him but he gives them the slip. Once Masato has enough spirits, he reveals the truth and is going to drag Shouma to hell too. Lucky is Rinne is here to the rescue. Because heard the penalty for this is a hefty fine! Masato throws a bomb decoy at Rinne to escape into the portal. Shouma feels guilty for the wrong he has done. He struggles with Masato in a bid to free the spirits but clearly he lacks strength as a kid. Rinne manages to catch up and throws his hoop to bind Masato and free the spirits. But they’re not out of the woods yet as Masato threatens to report. But Rinne beats him up and threatens! Enough for that dumb demon to shut up. Till next time. In the aftermath, Rinne has remorseful Shouma guide a few innocent spirits to the afterlife. They will be enough to help Shouma score the required points to pass. But first he has to listen to their lecture that lasts for 3 days! Patience is a virtue…

Episode 8
Sakura and her friends visit a shrine where a cursed straw doll is rumoured to be. When they see the ghost, the friends and even the ghost run away, leaving Sakura alone to inspect the doll. She finds a picture of Suzuki in it. She talks to Rinne about this as they investigate the site again. Who would curse Suzuki since he is a popular and nice teacher? The ghost appears again when Rinne picks up the photo. Yoko Kanou explains she was a student in their school. At that time Suzuki was a trainee teacher and she became interested in him. She was happy to learn he had no girlfriend and became close to him (as in a normal teacher-student relationship). When his internship ended, she gave him her email address but he never replied. A year later, Suzuki became a full teacher and she was happy. However she became angry upon learning he had a girlfriend. So she went and followed the ritual to curse him late that night. She didn’t die from slipping down the stairs, falling into a manhole or attacked by dogs. It was the morning after when she regretted her actions did she die of food poisoning. Her regret is the fear of someone else discovering this curse. Rinne suggests asking Suzuki in person. Teacher doesn’t remember her at all. You mad now? Suspicious why Suzuki doesn’t remember her, they spy on him and surprisingly see him visit Yoko’s mom and paying his respects to her altar. Mom shows him Yoko’s diary in which she wrote she was in love with sensei. From anger to embarrassment. When Rinne and Sakura confront him about this, he is forced to tell the truth. He does remember Yoko and has a hunch she likes him (he couldn’t get denser than this since Yoko was always making lunches for him). On his last day, Yoko gave him her email address in which he shortly lost it. When he came back a year later, he wanted to apologize to her but she avoided him. He thinks he hates her. At the shrine, Yoko thinks she can pass on now but Suzuki is here and sees the doll and the picture. He thought he got rid of it. As explained, the night before Yoko’s death, he saw her coming down the shrine. Because of the darkness, he lost her. A few days later he heard from the priest about this picture in the doll. Before Yoko is overcome with guilt, Rinne makes her visible so she can talk it out with Suzuki. He assures the picture never bothered him and acted he never knew her to protect her name. Since they only know this, let this be their secret. Yoko finds peace and she moves on. Suzuki then remembers he forgot to thank her. Because shortly after he lost her email address, a woman found it back for him. That woman is his current girlfriend! Oh my. It is a good thing Yoko didn’t hear that… She will never be able to rest in peace.

Episode 9
Rinne is disheartened that the usual repair and maintenance shop for his scythe has increased in price. Then comes along this bunny girl, Raito who offers free service at her Mikazukido shop. FREE?! Of course he won’t let this offer slip. She introduces to her twin brother, Refuto. Apparently they are in this business for generations but ever since their father passed on, people refused to use their service as they believe Refuto’s inexperience won’t do. However Refuto has a penchant to badmouth others so could this be the source of their poor business? Rinne agrees to give him a chance as Refuto forges his scythe back to normal and even adds a faster purification deal. When he returns to Sakura, there is a vengeful female spirit who died after being dumped by her boyfriend. Rinne purifies her but she slaps him before passing on. As Rinne purifies other spirits, it seems they beat him up before moving on. He complains to Refuto that the after effects have the spirits taking out all their anger on him before passing on. He won’t have this and wants him to remake it again. However he is told they forge his scythe for free and the next will cost him. Could this be a scam that they reforge it in a way so that they can charge exorbitant fee to change it back? Refuto puts his pride on the teachings of Waga Hansei books. But when Rinne points out a disclaimer how this teaching was discontinued, Refuto agrees to reforge it for free. But they realize that each teaching has a disclaimer and could it be that these are just records of mistakes? Yup, it is. Raito returns Rinne’s scythe all fixed up back to normal and for free. But this time she is trying to sell her special wax. Sakura then reports about the gym being mysteriously covered with filth each time it is cleaned. They see dirty rugby uniforms doing the mess. Rinne tries to purify them but each time his scythe gets dirty and the uniforms got away. Rinne goes back to Mikazukido and finds out they are the ones behind this uniform scam. This is when they play an ‘advertising’ video. It shows the manager of a rugby team fed up of washing their uniform and chucked them in a corner of a shed. When Raito came to free them, they were happy of their freedom but felt they cannot pass on being dirty. That is when she recommends the wax so they can pass on happily. The twins try to throw in special price and freebies until Rinne accepts the deal. He easily purifies the remaining uniforms and believes he just purchased a good deal. However no more dirty spirits ever showed up so his purchases were useless. Money wasted. And the twins might be going out of business too because they lost money with many product refunds. Time to discontinue the product?

Episode 10
Rokumon asks for Rinne for a day off tomorrow as there is a gathering for black cats to celebrate Eisei Kuroida’s reincarnation. But a poor moth enters their room. It takes away their wealth. Enough said. So better catch it. However Shouma and his black cat, Kurosu are also trying to catch it. Both sides struggle and sabotage each other as Rinne and Rokumon see Kurosu swiping Shouma’s money and pretend he didn’t do it! Kurosu also doesn’t work overtime so when it is exactly 5pm, he leaves. It is then Shouma catches the moth. The black cats gather as they witness Kuroida’s rare public appearance. He is all white for a black cat. No surprise since he is very old. It must be a challenge to blow out 700 candles on the cake! Before he reincarnates he wants to leave his estate of high quality cat food. But there is a condition. Sakura and her friends are at a cat shop and see an ugly cat. It is being possessed by an envy cat spirit and it seems Rokumon needs to catch it as the condition. But Kurosu is also on the hunt as he sets up various tricks and underhanded tactics to get the spirit. But because Rinne was the one who caught it eventually, Kuroida can’t grant Rokumon his estate. Which isn’t the cat food by the way. It’s just gifts for the guests to be given out later. The real estate is inside this box which contains his life’s testament. The one who can take it from his hands claims it. This time everyone goes all out to get the box. But when Rokumon senses something wrong with it and throws it away, Kuroida senses his great integrity that he has no desire for power and money. He gives the box to Rokumon but he seemingly doesn’t want it. But as Kuroida is being forceful to pass it on to him, suddenly its contents burst out. Tons of debts! 700 years of debts! No wonder he wants to give it away! Then the loan sharks come in to claims their due and Kuroida disappears. Well, at least Rokumon can take heart he got the cat food. Rokumon remembers it was the poor scent the box had which was similar to Rinne that made him stay away. When Sakura talks about Kurosu being a poor person too because he was the only one who jostled with Rokumon for the cat food at first, the actual fact is that he just hates kids. I don’t know how he put up with Shouma.

Episode 11
Sakura’s friends talk about some dancing people spirit since the festival is near. Sakura stumbles into one but that looks like an ordinary human slapping himself making him look like he is dancing. So when she goes to tell Rinne about this, they discover the cause to be mosquitoes that are supposed to be sent to the other world but the coil was instead set in reverse and thus the mosquitoes swarming humans. Rinne tries to get the coil but fails. He thought some old method of using his own blood to seal it but he got anaemic instead. Tamako solves it but turning the dial on the coil to its correct position and just a simple incense would do. Sakura and her friends meet up at the festival. Tsubasa is there too but he has to be their sugar daddy. Isn’t that why they call him to join them? Then they see Rinne on a date with a hot chick! Now, before you succumb to jealousy, let’s hear him out. Apparently Natsumi Motoba already has a boyfriend. Each year they come to the festivals, he always needs to play the shooting gallery and target this teddy bear. He always loses and ends up crying. So in order to be freed for this curse, she hires him to be her boyfriend. I guess you can see why Rinne is eager to hop on. She’s paying for everything! So he can’t quite bail out when he sees Sakura. Natsumi threatens him he better live the end of his contract or else! At the shooting gallery, the spirit of Natsumi’s grandpa appears as he explains 10 years ago Natsumi wanted the teddy bear so grandpa tried to shoot it for her but failed. He would love to try again next year but passed away a few days later. But when Rinne tries to shoot, grandpa sabotages him! It is revealed he is behind all the sabotages as he will not allow his granddaughter to date other boys. But Rinne makes a deal with him that grandpa will pass on if he manages to shoot the prize. And grandpa will also let him date his granddaughter. But it is going to be tough since grandpa is possessing the teddy bear and making it move around. Rinne manages to shoot it and then makes grandpa visible so he could make his amends with Natsumi. He gives her the prize but it seems there was a mistake. Then, it wasn’t the teddy bear she wanted but the fashionable bag next to it. But now she wants him to get a more expensive branded bag! I guess grandpa is ready to pass on and leave his granddaughter in Rinne’s hands. Bye. Too bad Natsumi won’t get the bag. Natsumi then returns to her real boyfriend and this spares Rinne from explaining this dating business. As they have fun for the rest of the festival, Sakura notes Rinne never showed him that smile he did for Natsumi. That was his business smile. So it costs money?

Episode 12
Sakura is at the beach and so is Rinne and Ageha. It seems the lifeguards are complaining every time of this year, there would be somebody out on the boat at sea waving for help. But when they arrive, it is gone. So as they go check out the ghost boat that is happening now, they see a pretty YOLO lady as the source and being attacked by an umibouzu. After Rinne saves her, she explains she setup this prank so as to get the lifeguard she likes to come rescue her. However an old ugly fisherman is the one who tried to save her. She tried to escape but of course cannot out-swim him and drowned. The umibouzu is an imaginary monster she cooked up. Rinne gives her a doll in which she can imagine her lifeguard crush onto and then pass on. But since she cannot remember his face, Rinne’s image will do. Ageha will not accept this and ruins the doll. There goes Rinne’s investment. When another imaginary monster appears, a tanned Tsubasa comes to her rescue. She totally falls in love with him and you thought she would pass on after that. However she continues to bug him to date her in which he constantly rejects.

Sakura and her friends investigate a haunted tunnel when a staff warns them never to go through it. When they hear and see Tsubasa at the other end, once he enters, he gets beaten up and thrown out. There’s black ink all over his face. Rinne is also here to exorcise the spirit upon request from the guest house union. When it is revealed an octopus spirit is guarding the place, they try to lure it out but all the traps do not work. They remember stories about a truck transporting octopi and one went missing after passing through the tunnel. It is believed that octopus is making this tunnel as its hideout. Their motivation to get it out is to make takoyaki and octopus related dishes? I think that only makes it even madder. When Sakura finds a dried up body of an octopus, they release it back to the water after realizing its regret of being a dried up corpse. The octopus gratitude? Shooting black ink in Rinne’s face. But they can take heart that the union treat them to takoyaki and octopus related dishes after that.

When a handful of guys try to hit on Sakura and her friends, she notices they are also attracting spirits. Tsubasa exorcises them. In fact, this beach is filled with spirits. As they go look around for the source, they realize that it is this Nehanya guest house formed by Rinne and Ageha to lock in spirits of the beach. They take up this part time lifeguard job to gather the spirits and help them pass on. So there is this judo dude who can’t pass on because he died without a girlfriend while he was training. He targets Sakura but instead of going on a one on one date but she says she has a crush on somebody else. So in the end, judo guy ends up with YOLO girl and they pass on. Of course what Sakura said was just a white lie and it was a big relief to our concerned guys. Or is she?

Episode 13
Renge Shima is the new transfer student in class. Starting off as weird because she has a Marilyn Monroe spirit following her, Shuuto Saka the ace of the football club stalking her and his girlfriend, Erika Sawa jealous as f*ck! Although Renge claims she has this misfortune of making other couples break up, it soon becomes suspicious when she seems to lure Shuuto in trying to kill himself if he wants to prove his love for her is real. Luckily Rinne saves him. That night when he investigates, he finds Tsubasa’s lifeless body and a letter from Renge pleading for his help. He manages to dodge Renge’s attack. Renge reveals herself to be a Damashigami working under Sabato. Her artificial Marilyn spirit is not only to trick love struck boys and lead them into the portal but to also weed out humans who can see spirits. Rinne gets mad when he learns Sakura is in danger. Speaking of which, she just regained conscious in Renge’s hideout and besides her is Tsubasa’s soul. Conflicted to go save the boys or Sakura, Rinne then throws Renge’s pheromone spray on Tsubasa, causing the guys to go after him instead. He follows Renge back into the portal but it’s a trap. Renge returns to her hideout and throws away Tsubasa, supposedly to some soul vault. He is the 99th soul and she will send all back to the afterlife once she gets the 1ooth. Want to guess who that soul is? Speaking of Rinne, he is fighting for his life.

Suddenly Renge claims she wants to be Sakura’s friend because all girls despise her. She agrees but unknowingly this is Renge’s plan to make her become her subordinate when she drinks her tea. Luckily she won’t since Rinne crashes down. Renge forces them to hear her back story. She was a top shinigami student and did well in exams. On the day of her entrance exam, she bumped into a food thief no other than Sabato. She fell into the river and by the time she got out and reached her exam place, it was already over. No choice, the only other offer that came to her was the Damashigami school. Of course she aced and on the opening ceremony, imagine her anger when she saw Sabato as the head giving his speech. Of course she has no grudge on Rinne for that but she has a bone to pick with him for getting in her way. As they fight, Renge steals his robe and this sends Rinne and Sakura back to the real world. Without his robe, he cannot enter the portal and this means he cannot follow her to where she keeps her soul vault. Rinne returns home to request Rokumon to open the portal but he is busy trying to hush the noisy souls next door. So… This is where Renge keeps her soul vault?! In the end, all the captured souls are released. Renge returns to school the next day and acts nothing happened. But it is tough for Tsubasa because all the guys still love him! Oh sh*t!

Episode 14
After Rokumon helps Tama the granny black cat with chores, she treats him to tea. So when he serves this high quality tea to Rinne, Sakura and Tsubasa, suddenly they become paralyzed. Turns out Tama works under Renge and this tea controls one’s mind. Renge puts the effect into test but having the guys punch each other. I’m sure they love to beat the crap out of each other but Renge then has them love each other! OMG! Gay moment! Getting to serious business, Renge orders Rinne to get more souls for her and Sakura to deceive hapless guys. When her friends wonder why she is hanging out with the boys instead of being in class, Renge wants Sakura to tell them off she is no longer their friends and have Rinne take their souls. Luckily the tea effects wear out and they put a stop to Renge’s scheme. Thanks to Rokumon’s frugal behaviour, he only used very limited tea amounts, that is why the effect wore off faster. Renge now officially moves in next door to Rinne. When real charms help students fend off their sleep paralysis, this affects Rinne’s business since nobody is requesting for his help. Turns out they were made by Renge as atonement for what she did. Rinne leaves her alone since the charms are real and it does purify the school. But this means no business for Rinne and he is starving to death. No choice, Rokumon pawns some items to have some food. That is when the school is suddenly filled with spirits and trying to possess students to kill themselves. All part of the bigger plan of Renge. Despite the charms are good, they have an expiry date and once over, the evil spirit inside it will seep out. Rinne cannot purify them because his scythe is replaces with plywood! Rokumon was the one who pawned it thinking he didn’t need it for the time being. Sakura has her friends help out to spread the word the charm is cursed and gather it all as she tries to put them away at a place no one would go. However now all the spirits are attracted to her. Renge is shocked when she sees the spirits running away from Rinne’s room. Renge realizes the poor aura in his room is much scarier! She admits her lost and returns to her room. Rokumon then returns with Rinne’s scythe. Where did he get the money to buy it back? He pawned Renge’s furniture! A week later, Rinne still has no business. His poor aura must be really that bad, huh?

Episode 15
Raito and Refuto give Rinne a free sample of a recovery cream in which it can repair his scythe to good use. Rokumon has a toothache and rather than going to a dentist, he would rather do it himself (aside from being poor). The tooth comes out and touches the cream. It turns into an evil version of Rokumon. Heck, the evil one is much stronger than the original one. Raito and Refuto reveal they were trying to use Rinne as a test subject before they market their product. But they didn’t expect it to have some effect on living organisms. As it repairs blades back to normal, a tooth being from a living thing means it turned it into some biological weapon. Raito had a neutralizing solution but it was damaged. Then the rest realize the solution is just plain water. Thank goodness it starts raining and the evil Rokumon returns being a tooth. The siblings scrap the product and though they want to give them to Rinne to fix his scythe from his battle with evil Rokumon, he wants them to fix it normally for free.

There are rumours of a girl who lost funds haunting the storage room. As they investigate, it seems there is a seal on the locker and Rokumon doesn’t want Rinne to open. The supposed ghost girl pops up but she is a teacher. When they remove the seal, there is a cursed box. However it is just deception as inside contains money. They belong to Rokumon. Of course it is his hard earned money and if he was to put it in their room and it goes missing, who do you think the first suspect is? Trust issues, eh? Even best friends fight over money. So while they argue, the teacher tries to take advantage and steal it. Luckily she is roped in. When she explains her story, they realize she is a teacher of the school from the next town. Apparently she likes borrowing money to buy luxurious stuffs. So when loan sharks start appearing at school, she hid in the storeroom. When they came knocking on the door, she jumped out the window and died. This is when she realizes she is already dead and free of her debt and passes on. It is revealed Rokumon created the rumours so everyone would stay away but it backfired because it created a negative aura and attracted the teacher ghost. As Rinne and Rokumon reconcile, he is still not lending him a penny. Oh, money…

The black cats are on their annual mushroom hunting in which they can use for food or sell as medicine and other stuffs. They stumble upon the notorious Kuekuedake mushrooms who eat everything in sight. Despite they taste like crap, they fetch a cool 100,000 Yen price tag! So you bet Rinne is going to jump in for this haul. Of course the catch is their price tag wouldn’t be so high if they weren’t so hard to catch. Kuekuedake release toxic fume spores each time they attack. So when the gang are guided to a field of high quality matsutake mushrooms instead, they think these friendly creatures who never attack back is showing them this place in exchange to be spared. Touched, they take these mushrooms back. Sometimes you have to let go of money to make money. But when they are back at camp, the Kuekuedake spores over them sprout and they start eating all the mushrooms the others gathered so hard. Although Kain catches them, Rinne will get nothing since his matsudake catch is the same as the cost of all the other mushrooms. I don’t think he’d appreciate the Kuekuedake canned food either. They still taste like crap.

Episode 16
Ageha sees a fortune teller about her love woes. She in returns is given a breakup kit but is warned if she curses the wrong person, disaster will happen. Of course Ageha blatantly does the ritual right before Rinne and Sakura’s eyes and nothing happens. So as she explains herself, here comes Renge and it seems the duo know each other from shinigami elementary school. Renge hates Ageha because of her stupidity. She is only popular among other kids because she is rich. It doesn’t take long before they fight as Ageha mocks Renge’s poor status and turning into a Damashigami despite her top scores while Renge taunts Ageha’s failed sister. When Renge realizes Ageha has forgotten her kit, she hatches up a devilish plan. Renge is looking for her kit and follows the trail to Renge’s room. All in good timing, Renge has brought Rinne to her bed and make it look like they just did something. Ageha is pissed as Renge gives her back the kit knowing that if she curses the wrong person, something bad will happen (remember, Renge is not dating Rinne for real). Angry Ageha whips out a breakup sword from the kit. When she cuts the space between Rinne and Renge, a basin named ‘Disaster’ drops on Ageha’s head! So this is the disaster? Since Ageha is dumb and Renge is vengeful, she makes her use other various items in the kit to make Ageha feel the pain. Then the rest saw a disclaimer. It states initially the disaster will fall on the buyer but after the fifth time, all affected parties will experience calamity. And with the bad luck they have, it reaches the fifth time. A big sand pit tries to suck them all in. At the bottom of it is some mini god that will cut your romance/relationship ties forever! For once, Ageha takes responsibility and beats up the god. Then she and Renge fight over the god’s scissors to get back at each other. Eventually when everything fails, the duo go back to the ol’ fashion showdown of clashing scythes. Sighs, their nasty relationship could sure use some severing…

Episode 17
Rinne receives an invitation for his old shinigami school reunion. 3000 Yen to attend?! Not coming! Suddenly Masato is here slapping 3,000 Yen in his face! He explains while he was setting a trap for him, somebody came to steal his wings. He left the money and a pawn card in Rinne’s name. Of course Rinne has no obligation and would love to cash in the pawn card but instead of becoming the bad guy, he goes to help solve Masato’s predicament. Following the address on the card, it leads him to the hotel where the reunion is held. Many of Rinne’s old friends recognize him but Masato has to run when the rest chase him out as a demon. They confront the perpetrator but it seems Rinne can’t remember his name. Not only him but everyone else doesn’t remember who this guy is. An imposter? It sees this reunion was set up by him with plans to humiliate Rinne. He gives Rinne a hint by materializing a balloon demon. Rinne remembers the class was out on a practice hunt for balloon demons and teamed up with the most timid kid in class. It ended in some disaster as the balloon popped. Rinne realizes that timid kid is him, Matsugo. Matsugo has his balloon demon attack Rinne and his scythe got stolen and automatically pawned. While everyone thinks Matsugo is being a dick, Rinne can’t remember why Matsugo hates him. All he remembers is that they were good close friends. Yeah, really good friends. Like girls? Matsugo continues after that balloon demon training, he woke up and saw Rinne kicking him into the river. He was saved by the teacher but Rinne whispered to forget about this. Like a threat? Ever since that day, Matsugo studied hard and changed himself in various ways. Rinne partially remembers something. On that day itself, he ate a pill to erase part of his memories on that incident. Matsugo is bent on making him remember why he kicked him into the river and has a heavy ball drop on his head. Rinne dodges and is able to get back his scythe while saving Matsugo from the ball. But cutting it in half has more mini ones dropping on Rinne’s head. Now he remembers. He talks to Matsugo privately. After the balloon demon popped, Rinne saw Matsugo wet his pants. Fearing everyone would tease him, he pushed him into the river. As precaution he might rat it out, Rinne took the pill. Matsugo now understands but makes Rinne eat the pill again. He has new respect for Rinne and even blurts out how much he loves Rinne! Oh my. WTF?! Everyone heads home after the reunion. It’s like as though they’ve forgotten something… A week later, Masato is not pleased they forgot to get his wings back and already used up the pawned money.

Episode 18
Rinne couldn’t understand why despite taking up many shinigami jobs, they are still poor. Sakura suggests cutting down on the shinigami tools they always buy. Too bad it’s tough for them as they barely succeed. Rokumon stumbles upon a black cat ranking test. Initially Rinne is against it as it is worth 500 Yen and he doesn’t think Rokumon is mature enough to enter. When he hears higher ranking black cats have more discounts for shinigami tools, he immediately changes his mind. So in the written exam, Oboro is bloody confident, Suzu is just bored and scratching the wall and Rokumon has studied hard enough. It is no surprise he scores highly. But Oboro scores zero! He forgot to write his name. Even Suzu who failed all questions even got marks by writing her name. For the practical exam, their shinigami owners join in. But they find it weird that their scythes are tied to the end of the obstacle course littered with a cat’s favourite stuffs as a signal for their black cat to finish the test. It seems there are bugs eating the scythe so your black cat better hurry and end the course. As expected, most black cats get distracted. Even though Oboro wasn’t (because he is bored with rich Ageha always providing him everything), he went out of bounds and argue with the examiners. Rokumon could have aced it if not for being distracted by free fish! Eventually Suzu wins because her short attention span has her move along quickly. The next test is the cooperation test where both shinigami and their black cats must make their way up. The winner will get a free scythe repair coupon. You bet Rinne is going go all out and win. At the top is only a door that black cats can enter to retrieve a key for the door their shinigami master can enter. But inside this room is Shouma studying and Kurosu accompanying him. It’s hard to get the key since Kurosu throws everyone out for being a distraction! Rokumon gets an idea to defeat him but needs everyone’s cooperation.

Episode 19
Rokumon has everyone divide into teams to raid the room. However with Kurosu throwing snacks at them, everyone is back to being selfish individuals. When Oboro takes Shouma hostage, Shouma becomes mad and accuses Kurosu for abandoning him. Rokumon uses this commotion to steal the key and open the door. It is a mad dash for the free coupon at the top and eventually Ageha and Oboro win. Because they are so rich and don’t need the coupon anyway, they tear it up! The final test is a battle royale in which the last standing black cat in the ring wins. Each black cat is given coupons to buy weapons but if those coupons are not used, they are given free to their master regardless on the outcome. So you bet Rokumon is going to win this on a tight budget despite his small size disadvantage. Oh, Suzu wasted it all on food… Rokumon is going great guns with his recycling method of attacks but of course it breaks and he has to spend more. He teams up with Oboro to take out the rest who are obviously more brains than brawns. They have been waiting for the field to narrow down before swooping in. Rokumon is smarter as he has them participate in a true or false quiz whereby the correct answer sends them out of the ring. Oboro is out when he slips on Suzu’s banana. Then she gets sleepy and bored and walks out of the ring herself. Rokumon and a handful of black cats are left. Everyone teams up against tiny Rokumon who is forced to dodge all their attacks. This is when Rinne tells Rokumon to spend the remaining coupons for weapons. Even if he fails, Rinne will sponsor his exam the next time. He’s crying blood over it… Rokumon buys a cannonball and swings everyone out of the ring. Rokumon wins and is promoted. Apparently Suzu and Oboro who won their previous tests also got promoted. Rokumon also wins MVC (Most Valuable Cat) but the trophy is just a piggy bank. Actually, maneki neko design.

Episode 20
Rinne is so poor he can’t even have a decent oden meal. So he can’t shoo away Ageha when she brings high quality ingredients for nabe. The new goddess of his life! Because Ageha kicks out Rokumon, he returns with Tsubasa and Sakura to join them. They notice there is this little samurai spirit inside the pot. Rinne tosses him away as Tsubasa starts ranting about the nabe magistrate and all that importance crap. Why, Tsubasa has also certificate as a certified nabe magistrate and is willing to take over this duty. You know what? Rinne doesn’t give a damn because he is the law! So as they enjoy this heavenly dish, Rinne notices there is only one radish left. Everyone notices the spirit eating the rest of them. This in turn makes the guys fighting over the only radish but surprisingly Ageha splits and shares it with everyone. Then Rinne notices there is only one egg left. Yup, the spirit swallows the rest. History repeats itself. The guys are fighting over it. How do you split an egg anyway? With the spirit also jostling for the egg, Renge and Tama come in to see the commotion. The egg slips off and into Tama’s mouth. While the guys sink into depression, the girls continue enjoying their nabe meal. Yeah, what’s all the fuss about anyway? Masato is sick and of course being a demon, the doctor tells him he needs to spread the virus to others. The more he spreads the faster he is cured. This means Masato is going to pick on Rinne. But that guy is also sick. This gives Masato a chance to cough all his virus and double Rinne’s pain. However Rinne has a kind of virus that temporarily sucks out your soul! Wow. This is much more dangerous. So as they try to outdo each other, Masato is then cured and heads home. However he caught Rinne’s virus so this means from time to time his soul would temporarily leave his body whenever he sneezes. In the end, both guys are cured but unfortunately Tsubasa caught their virus.

Episode 21
Rumours of the Strangler Scarf appears and strangles a guy whenever his girl presents her scarf as present. So to solve this case, Sakura is going to knit Rinne a scarf. You don’t know how happy he is. But she doesn’t know how to knit, she learns it from Haruka Igawa, the knitting club’s president. While learning, Strangler Scarf almost strangles Igawa but Rinne was there in time to stop it before it disappears again. Rinne and Sakura call out Igawa to witness their scarf giving. However Sakura still has not finished hers and lets Igawa help finish it. That is when Strangler Scarf appears again. This time Rinne manages to catch it and Igawa is surprised to see it. She knows this scarf. Apparently she knitted it for a senior she had a crush on. But she saw another girl gave him a scarf. Heartbroken, she threw it away. After Igawa apologizes for throwing it away, Strangler Scarf becomes obedient. They deduce it wants to be given away to find peace. While Rinne has plans to receive Sakura’s scarf, he is forced to act this one out just to close the case. However he got strangled. Maybe Rinne isn’t Igawa’s type. The scarf tries to escape but is caught by some plain judo guy. Since this guy is Igawa’s type, she gives it to him and Strangler Scarf is purified. While Rinne is sad he couldn’t get Sakura’s scarf, he can be happy that a few days later she managed to finish it and give it to him. All nice and warm.

There are rumours of a ghost shoving people at the skating rink. Sakura sees a little girl, Yukina furiously waiting for her friend, Shizuka Arakawara to show up. When she tells this to Rinne, he says he too got a request from Shizuka. This guy has a letter from Yukina to come to the rink where she’ll teach him how to skate. Apparently Yukina died a long time ago so he isn’t sure why this is happening. Shizuka never liked skating and his parents forced him to take up skating class. Yukina trained him and was nice to him at first but suddenly ignored him. When he received that letter, he was sick that day and couldn’t come. At the rink, Yukina couldn’t recognize a grownup Shizuka so Rinne uses a balloon device to materialize a young Shizuka. But this lad doesn’t want to train and instead says he hates her. She blames him for his fault because of that kiss. Shizuka doesn’t remember and this irks Yukina. She uses her ice attack but Rinne saves the day. It is then Shizuka remembers when Yukina was training him, he tripped and fell over her. Their lips met and everyone thought they saw them kissing. Yukina ignored him ever since. The reason she eventually wrote that letter was because she was going to move away due to her dad’s job. She might never see him again. Shizuka and Yukina skate together for one last time before the latter passes on. But now the rink staff wants them to pay compensation for destroying the rink and Rinne who was a total noob in skating suddenly quickly skates away. He learns fast when money is involved.

Episode 22
Renge is about to make an illegal underground purchase when Kain comes in to bust this join. Although she escapes, she dropped her purse. Kain traces the purse back to Rinne’s room and accuses him of trying to do something illegal. Renge comes in during the commotion as Sakura returns the purse to her. Renge is glad to have her entire fortune of 700 Yen back but is shocked when she sees Kain. Seems they know each other during school. She sympathized and admired him for wanting to take down scums of society. Read: Damashigami. If only Kain knew what Renge is now because he still thinks she is an honour student. Renge threatens Rinne and Sakura not to spill the beans or else. Sakura can tell Renge has a crush on Kain and she is willing to risk her entire fortune to keep her identity a secret. Because of that, she heads out to steal some souls to make some money. Luckily Rinne intercepts. When Kain also comes into the picture, Renge runs away thinking her identity is busted. However Kain thinks Rinne is the one who is trying to steal the souls. Renge laments as she thinks back her failed confession to Kain. On graduation day she wanted to confess to him but other girls got in the way. She never managed to. Now that he knows her true identity, she feels it is a good thing she never confessed. He must have thought she is an awful person. But seeing that Kain wants Renge to be witness over Rinne’s atrocity, Renge is more than happy for Rinne to take her blame! Die for her sake! Kain offers the 700 Yen if Rinne confesses to his crimes. He actually hesitated before disagreeing. When Kain uses a seal to make the purse return to its owner, Rinne takes Renge to escape through the portal. Rinne is willing to help her out under the circumstances but for a price.

Kain talks to Sakura that he heard about rumours that due to unfortunate incidents, Renge missed the entrance exam and never made it to the prestigious shinigami school. Unlike everyone else, he refused to believe it and was scared to find out. He still believes in Renge because she is poor like him but she is studious and gets good grades. It’s as though he is living his dreams through her. Sakura thinks Kain might also like Renge. Kain’s search dogs detect the purse as they continue the pursuit. Kain spots Renge and Rinne ahead but the search dogs surge past forward them. Rinne is actually using a doll decoy to make it look like another party is stealing the purse. All the traps and contraptions just within the 700 Yen budget. Of course the doll soon leaks (it was on cheap sale by the way) but Rinne makes it sound like the culprit got away. Shortly, Sabato appears and swipes the purse. Might as well blame him as the culprit. Although he escapes, the purse is empty. Remember, Rinne used them all up. Sakura advises Renge to give up being a Damashigami but she won’t seeing how she spent her entire fortune on this. When Sakura tells her what Kain said about her, she starts flustering. Although Kain is relieved that Renge is not a Damashigami, if she ever turns into one, he will not hesitate to throw her into prison! He adds Renge has not changed. She is still pure, true and beautiful. This gives Renge a reason to quit being a Damashigami. When she asks him out for tea, he rejects her. He has no free time or money so she shouldn’t waste her time hanging around him and should study hard to become a great shinigami government. A dream that he could never achieve. So this was his actual dream? Are you disappointed? I think so because Renge really thanks Rinne for once. It might look like she might take some time to recover from this heartbreak but the next day, she is back to normal in hunting down souls to recoup her 700 Yen.

Episode 23
Tamako sees a job to exorcise a black fox spirit that pays a good 50,000 Yen bounty. As she goes to pick up her special scythe, she sees Sabato stealing it. Luckily there is a security barrier that zaps him. However the scythe falls into Sakura’s hands and registers her as its owner. Apparently the security barrier prevents males from touching. If Sakura wants to unregister herself she has to purify 7 souls. So Sakura has to do a shinigami’s job? Rinne and Rokumon are suspicious of Tamako leaving them to train Sakura because they guess right she is going after the bounty while they are training. Tamako explains that scythe is Oihagizuki. It is able to purify any spirits possessing something without the use of accessories. You know how much this will save Rinne, right? Therefore it becomes a race to see who can catch the fox first. Rinne is eager to begin Sakura’s training and I believe there is another motive why he is happy to be with her… When Sakura is trying to purify a vengeful spirit and cannot handle it, Rinne is forced to give up chasing the fox to save her. He might be thinking quality time with Sakura is way better than having the money but then he starts imagining the amount of food he can buy with that amount… Renge is also after the fox so when Rinne clashes with her, the fox owns them. They drop their scythes and Sabato steals them. He tries to run but gets possessed by the fox. Only Sakura can save the day. Renge tries to use Oihagizuki since she is female but since she is not the owner, it becomes limp. Renge then tries to smoke the fox out and the scythe accidentally drops on Sakura’s food. Rinne is devastated over the wasted food that Sakura prepared for him for the training. Even more so when the fox starts devouring it because it is its favourite food. This allows Sakura to purify the fox and also complete her quota as Oihagizuki deregisters her. However Tamako returns with bad news that Sakura cannot claim the bounty because humans can only help purify spirits on special months. So the bounty is annulled? But Sakura is more than happy to give back Oihagizuki to Tamako. Next time, Tamako and Rinne bug Sakura to go spirit hunting with them and make money in the upcoming month but she refuses. Once is more than enough.

Episode 24
You bet Ageha is going to buy a choker believed to make her be destined with her loved one forever. When she tries to put it on Rinne, Matsugo returns and tries to take it to pawn it. He believes Rinne is not appreciative of this choker which is also some sort of stalker surveillance. Matsugo and Ageha fight each other over Rinne. Wait a minute. Is Matsugo being gay for Rinne? No matter how he puts it that he wants to repair his friendship with Rinne, we can all think this leads back to being gay. Oh, he has no other friends too. After Matsugo disposes Ageha and the choker, he gives Rinne his present. Turns out to be the same type of choker. Rinne gives it to a dog leaving Matsugo to stalk the dog. Next day Matsugo returns to give another gift of a picture of them in a bowl. Rinne is not impressed because he already got many other gifts in this similar fashion. To deepen their friendship, Matsugo invites Rinne to come to a shinigami mixer. At first he didn’t want to go but Sakura would like to come too and help end Matsugo’s unhealthy fixation on him. Besides, she is okay to pretend to be his girlfriend. Don’t want to miss this chance, right? At the orientation, Rinne tries to introduce Sakura as his girlfriend to Matsugo even if it is a lie but Matsugo won’t hear any of it. Also, there is Matsugo’s classmate, Anju who seems to be mocking Matsugo’s failed friendship. From a distance. You can guess Anju likes Matsugo although she doesn’t admit it. Because when she badmouths Rinne a few times, it is clear she wants Matsugo to end his obsession on Rinne. There are a few free charms along the way but with limited stock. Rinne hurriedly takes Sakura to get them. This has Matsugo racing to help his friend out so he could show he is the better one. This means setting up traps to separate them with his black cat familiar Kuromitsu. In turn, Anju also uses this chance to admonish Sakura for not doing enough for her boyfriend. With the girls eavesdropping, Matsugo asks Rinne why he likes Sakura (so he could find out what she is good at and be better than her). Because Sakura is kind like an angel. Aww, don’t make her blush. Because Sakura feeds him and lends him money. Oh… When it rains, they take shelter. Sakura is clearly upset when she tells Rinne to go get the free charms with Matsugo. She’s not angry, she says. Yeah, right. Rinne knows he said something bad. His luck runs out when the charm is also out of stock.

Episode 25
Sakura follows Anju who is trying to trace Matsugo. Using his hair for a gadget to pinpoint his position, it only leads them to his black cat familiar, Kuromitsu. Nearby, they see a pool containing examinees with regrets and they are turning vengeful. Meanwhile Matsugo tries to throw a lavish party with great food and facilities in hopes of cheering up Rinne. But Rinne is more concerned about Sakura misinterpreting his intentions that he prefers Matsugo because he is rich. Anju tries to purify the spirits but they put up a great fight. Rinne sees the commotion and it seems his charm is the only way to solve this. Obviously, we can see how reluctant he is to let it go but eventually has to. Despite so, this only makes Sakura more disappointed in him. When a portal opens up supposedly leading to the next shrine, Rinne quickly takes Sakura through, leaving the rest behind. Anju tries to drill it into Matsugo’s head that he has been dumped but he isn’t listening… Rinne thought he could talk to Sakura alone but she is clearly in no mood and tells him to get the charm or he’ll miss it. He is further devastated when he hears her say she knew he got close to her for her food and money. Sure, it is partly true but it isn’t either. When Sakura turns around, Rinne is gone. She was just testing him and thinks he chose the charm over her. She feels a nasty feeling in her heart. In fact, Rinne has fallen through a portal. It has him pop up near the shrine. Because other shinigamis are also racing to get the last charm, nobody could get it because random portals get in their way. Rinne sees Sakura’s backpack containing her homemade lunch. He realizes she too has fallen into the portal and must find her quickly because normal humans cannot get out on their own. Sakura bumps into Matsugo who seems very happy that their relationship is failing. Even when she says they aren’t even in a relationship, this makes him happier. Rinne finally finds Sakura but she ignores him, believing he doesn’t think of her as much as she thinks of him. He tells her he wants to eat lunch with her. It makes her happy as she has the same thoughts too. They couldn’t care less about the charm (Anju got it by the way) and ignore everything else around them as they happily enjoy lunch together.

Still A Poor Soul
If this season doesn’t feel any much refreshing or without any closure and that it feels more or less like last season, take heart and know that there is going to be a third season! Hmm… So I am guessing from my previous blog that this series is slowly trying to build itself up to greatness to go over 100 episodes like other works under Rumiko Takahashi that was adapted. Instead of airing a series straight, it is more feasible to have breaks in between especially animes that are going to be long running and have many episodes. At least in this way it tries to counter the boredom and staleness if it was aired consecutively. Of course there is the downfall that the hype may not be there because as far into 2 seasons into this series, I can see that everything seems more or less the same thing.

Because there is no real story plot to follow like Inu Yasha, Kyoukai No Rinne is more episodic with lots of random antics like how Ranma 1/2 is. This season follows this exact same pattern with nothing greatly developing or progressed. They might introduced a few new characters but you can see the overall progress between the romance of the protagonist (which is partly the main draw and attraction for viewers of the series) continues to be stagnant. So if you are hoping for some sort of great turn in events or a terrifying twist in the plot, you will be sorely disappointed.

Let me start off with the new characters making their debut this season first. It is nice to see fresh new faces like the fallen shinigami Renge whose predicament is as similar to Rinne, the friendship obsessed Matsugo, the blacksmith bunny twins who are always trying to push hard to promote their samples for any sort business (thus inadvertently scamming Rinne) and a host of black cats such as the very dumb and carefree Suzu, the arrogant Oboro, the kid hating working-from-nine-to-five Kurosu and Tamako’s long lost black cat Kuroboshi. Despite bringing in something a little new, I can’t help feel that overall it doesn’t really bring any great changes to the series. They are just like one more character to remember. Of course I am not pointing that out in a negative light. Having said the nature of this series, how do you expect them to contribute greatly to the overall plot and story?

With the second season having the same number of episodes as the first, with these new characters joining in, this means some of the older ones would have to share or sacrifice their screen time with them. Take for instance, Tsubasa. It feels like he appears lesser and plays a less prominent role even for a main supporting character. Because there are no stories that really involved him directly, there is no reason why he was to be featured prominently other than becoming the third wheel or as the comical character. Same goes to Sabato and his Damashigami Company. Last season was because Sabato is revealed to be Rinne’s father and they have all sorts of misadventures and exploits as one of the stories. Once that was somewhat done, Sabato now in this season feels even more reduced to a petty thief. Well, he actually still is. Even pettier since he doesn’t make any more appearance than as last season.

Other than that, the other characters predominantly stay the same. Very much the same. Like Rinne and Rokumon will forever eternally be in poverty, Sakura continues to help out and make some deadpan sarcasm with that deadpan face of hers, Tamako still hates being called a granny or else be ready for a noogie, Ageha continues being another dumb idiot trying to get Rinne to fall for her, Kain still despises Rinne, Masato still trying to get back at Rinne with his pettiness and Sakura’s friends still have this habit of talking about ghost/spirit rumours and when it pops up before them, they run like hell! Oh yeah. All too familiar. So it is either you will love them because they tread in familiar ground or you will be bored because they’re still the same people we know back from the first season. But at least it is good to know that no matter what kind of character they are, all of them have their silly side that makes them funny and lovable. Some just more idiotic than normal.

So going on to my next point is the love polygon. New characters do amplify the love chart but as far as we can see up till this season, it is still simple enough for anybody to follow. I mean, have you ever seen or try to map out the love chart for the characters in Ranma 1/2? Yeah. Complicating and messy as hell. So be thankful that as for now the relationships and love interests between the characters are still relatively simple since the character pool is still relatively small. For those hoping to see something moving between Rinne and Sakura would also be disappointed. Basically nothing much changes. Nothing much progresses. They’re still like that. Believe me, if they are going to drag this series out to over 100 episodes and possible reaching 200, it is going to be frustrating for us hopefuls who would love to see them come together as a couple. Because for those who watched Ranma 1/2 would understand the pain of waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for Ranma and Akane to just f*cking say those magic 3 words to each other but it never happened. At least not in the anime.

Sure, in the final couple of episodes they might have hinted something a bit more because it is like Sakura is seemingly enjoying being in the company of Rinne. There might be a few and obscure indicators throughout the season about hinting their feelings but none as this obvious. Of course the initial misunderstanding that strains their relationship for some added drama. But eventually they’ll go back to where it has always been. Then they put in lots of drama in the last episode to troll us if Sakura really likes Rinne but then it all goes back to square one. Seriously, Sakura’s face has always stayed the same from start till finish and even Anju like as though trying to break the fourth wall, points this out for us. You don’t know what she’s thinking so you can’t tell if she truly loves Rinne. But our guts says yes. Same case for Rinne if he is being nice to her just for food and money even though he says he isn’t but that is only if you consider he is thinking about his long term future. Again, our guts says it is true love. But don’t hope for any sort of confirmation whatsoever. So fans, keep your fingers crossed. But then again, don’t really have high hopes. Otherwise it will inhibit your enjoyment of the series. Ah well Rinne, looks like money can’t buy you love after all.

Sometimes I think up of the silliest and drastic thing Rinne should do to escape his poverty. You know, become like that Kaiji guy and take ultimate risks to gamble! Holy cow! After all, what has he got to lose, right? Well… I guess it is a lot. Imagine this series turning from a light hearted romantic comedy with some supernatural action into a dark psychological thriller. That would be just sick. But if it is the risk for him to break out of the poverty cycle, then why not? Hmm… I guess there are some things that aren’t worth the risk. So carry on what you always do, Rinne. So I understand a bit why Sakura was upset when she misinterpreted Rinne stuck by her because of money and free food. She did it out of the goodness of her heart and you compare her to being your banker and mother? Poor choice of words even if that is reality.

My other sentiments for this season is mostly the same of what I had for the previous so putting it down here again might be repeating what I said. Yeah, I’m that lazy. Okay, okay. I’ll just give an example. Like how Rinne and Rokumon buy or show shinigami tools they bought and as usual the narrator will inform us its use and how much it costs. But sometimes it gets a bit annoying because there are some things repeated so often that it becomes irritating. Like how the constant reminder why people cannot see Rinne because he is wearing the robe and why other shinigami characters cannot be seen or heard by ordinary folks. We get it already. For those who don’t even get this basic fact at this point of this series shouldn’t continue watching it.

Well, at least there is one slight improvement. Last season I mentioned how boring the mid-intermission illustrations were because they were all basically the same picture. This time around, they put a variety of other characters and poses so it is not all that bad. Although the end card is still the same picture in all episodes. Also, a handful of trivia to spot if your eyes are quick and sharp enough to spot characters from Rumiko Takahashi’s other works like Ranma 1/2 and Urusei Yatsura.

This season’s opening and ending themes didn’t really attract me. They still can’t beat the first season’s Ouka Ranman by a mile but at least they are not as bad as Toki No Wa. Yeah, that one was personally atrocious. The first opening theme is rock based, Melody by Pile and the second opening theme is Ainii by CreepHyp. I thought the latter, the singer’s voice sounds a bit drowsy. You know, he might have been drinking too much last night and he is struggling to hit the high notes in some of the verses. Also to note, the second opening credits animation feels a bit weird because of the kaleidoscope effect. The first ending theme is Hanashi Wo Shiyou by Glim Spanky. It is quite a nice and lovely ballad with nice guitar strumming. The second ending theme is Beautiful Life by Shiggy Jr and sounds more like a dance song with all its techno effects.

Normally I would want to skip doing a list for the seiyuus this season. But since I have to ultimately note that Mamiko Noto made a cameo appearance as Onee-san, I guess I am obliged to do the rest. With old ones retained, new recognizable ones are Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Oboro, Rie Kugimiya as Anju, Shizuka Itou as Raito, Ayako Kawasumi as Natsumi, Ami Koshimizu as Ranko, Kana Hanazawa as Chibi and Akira Ishida as Kurosu. Wow. That’s pretty a lot. For those I didn’t (sorry), they are Shizuka Ishigami as Renge (Mito in Shokugeki No Shouma), Suzuko Mimori as Suzu (Kanae in Teekyuu), Taishi Murata as Matsugo (Ibusaki in Shokugeki No Shouma), Katsuyuki Konishi as Refuto (Oga in Beelzebub), Yumi Uchiyama as Kuromitsu (Ruri in Nisekoi) and Yuko Sanpei as Shouma (Seita in Gintama).

Overall, the second season is still enjoyable especially if you very much like the comical and story style of Rumiko Takahashi. Of course it still doesn’t resolve anything so those wanting to find some sort or closure or get hyped for some sort of development would find this season to be the same boring formula as the first. Because if Rinne breaks out of his poverty and has enough money to live a comfortable life with no enemies coming after his ass, he wouldn’t be going this far in doing all this. Or would he still? Yes, Rinne. Even with your great shinigami thriftiness, you still can’t get the girl of your heart. Indeed, money can’t buy you love. But remember, without money nobody loves you! It sucks being poor…

 

Mahou Shoujo Naria Girls

February 17, 2017

At first I was sceptical of watching a magical girl show since currently this isn’t really my cup of tea. But what made me decide to watch Mahou Shoujo Naria Girls? No, there are no maid characters here. Well, it is this funny synopsis that I read. Three girls aiming to become nationally renowned characters by creating animation themselves. They choose this magical girl theme to appeal to adults and kids. So the challenge arises as they try to become popular characters in an anime that only lasts for 1 cour. Wow. That sounds interesting. It could be a parody of a parody. Magical girls trying to keep up their popularity via TV show? Well, we all know with the abundance of magical girl TV series, it’s not going to die out soon. But to stand out and be remembered for generations to come, that’s a different story…

Episode 1
Nariadia was once a lush green world but it has now become an icy one. The prince is frozen and Animaru is tasked to gather warriors to fight the Ice Queen and bring back light to the kingdom. Urara looks like your typical cliché main protagonist. Having such strange dreams and running late from school. Her friends are Hanabi who is an airhead and sometimes foul mouth and the busty Inaho who is supposedly to have things come out of her breasts?! WTF?! The trio discuss the meaning of objects seen in dreams like eggplant, hawk and Mt Fuji. So they conclude that the dream wants them to save the world? Whatever. Later they do more talking and I’m not even sure what the heck they’re doing. Are they acting out some sort of quiz or interview? That is when some beast attacks them. Animaru throws them gems and has them say certain words so they can transform into magical girls. That fast? That easy? No reservations or suspicions? Except strange cute things from a strange cute stranger, huh?

Episode 2
The beast runs away. What a bummer. Animaru explains to them how the Ice Queen has stolen the Naria of Winter that causes the kingdom to lose its power and thus her monsters appear in their world. Only the legendary warriors of spring, summer and autumn can stop her. The trio talk about becoming a magical girl especially the bad parts like getting muscle ache and the need to sacrifice and exchange something in equivalent value. Then they tell some joke and blame it on the camera because it didn’t get it. So do I. So is it my fault too? And Inaho is telling us she is just a girl with big boobs and not an airhead like the duo. I think I like her honesty. Anyway, the beast returns with a magic mirror that will make the girls fight over a cheating man although this is just an illusion. Okay… So the girls look like they are acting it out? Pretending to be a plant? Arguing about rent? Giving sexiest names for oden? Thank goodness Animaru snaps them out of this nonsense by throwing gems for them to transform. Immediately after their transformation, they blast away the beast. Sorry folks, no magical girl action. They reconcile and become friends.

Episode 3
Somehow the trio lost their powers. Then they are tasked to become idols and discuss about being one. What’s this about Urara and Inaho teasing Hanabi by changing her name to Nose Hair (Hanage)?! You bet the idol monster is going to wreak havoc. While the trio wait in the audition waiting room, the monster (disguised as a kawaii manager) is going to embarrass them in front of the audiences via this magic mirror that will have them act out as an evil talent agency head, sketchy fortune teller and a new idol. On stage, I don’t even know what the girls are doing. Maybe the magic is really in effect having them talk nonsense. Then they realize they suck and can’t get their act going like they did in practice. When the audience starts making fun of them, a group of girls from some popular high school chide them for laughing at those who are trying their best. The audience become embarrassed by their act and started cheering on them. This causes them to get their powers back as they transform and defeat the monster. Oh, they won the audition too.

Episode 4
There is a new transfer student in school. He is hot so naturally lots of girls like him. So Hanabi teases Urara about thinking about him but the girls detour talking about abbreviated terms before returning to the subject about that guy and making a promise they won’t steal him from anybody despite having a little interest. Of course the monster is going to wreak havoc by showing them an illusion and making them act out a play about a boyfriend who loves big tits and trying to ask a strange father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. I don’t know… The act and conversation are so weird I just can’t follow. Once it gets too awkward, Animaru throws them gems for them to transform and defeat the monster. They realize they almost fall for a bad guy and decide to focus on becoming better magical girls and idols.

Episode 5
The girls are chosen to star in a chocolate commercial. They will star along with a new actress, Uika Majuuzaki. Excited to be on TV, the girls talk and make jokes about dieting and its fads. Of course, Uika is a monster and is going to give the girls trouble. She calls them to come in their normal clothes and at a certain time tomorrow. But when they do, the producers get mad for turning up late and in the wrong clothes. He drops them from the shooting. While depressed, Uika uses her magic mirror to make them play out as a conman trying to pass a married woman off as a high tech maid robot to a pure boy who can’t seem to refuse because he can’t resist maid tits. WTF… The act gets lamer and lamer… Melting cheese… WTF is that… Animaru snaps them out by throwing gems for them to power up and destroy the monster. The producer apologizes for having a wrong impression on them and reinstates them back into their commercial.

Episode 6
Urara dreams of her grandma whom she has been staying with since her mom passed away. As she is sick, she wants to go to her right now although she has practice. So we have the girls talk about using special effects and green background screen to make it look like she is flying over there to visit her. Oh hell, screw all that because they learn to use their magic and fly over there. Finally, a good use for their magical girl power. Urara is sad and doesn’t want grandma to die because she will be all alone. Grandma tells her about life and death but I guess it is too complicated for her to understand. This is when the monster takes advantage of this depression and has them act out as a weird boy dating a girl and his ghostly grandma appears to give unwanted advice. WTF. Even more WTF when they make puns about boobs bouncing like watermelons. As usual, they snap out and defeat the monster. Sadly, Urara’s grandma passes away and it wasn’t the monster’s attack as she suspected. As she cleans her house, she finds a letter from grandma addressed to her. It reads that her mother is still alive but living somewhere else but is always thinking about her so please don’t hate her. Urara realizes she was abandoned.

Episode 7
To help cheer up Urara, Inaho lets them stay at her rich beach villa. Inaho also has a maid, Fuji who will serve them but she is actually a monster. And like always, she makes them play out a silly act. Of all the acts, this is the funniest and tolerable one. It’s about Hanabi returning to her villa only to find that Urara the squatter has lived here since forever. Forever is like 2 weeks. You hear all the silly reasons the squatter gives as she claims the house is hers and even sold Hanabi’s old precious manga to rid of the junk. It gets ‘complicated’ with Inaho coming into a picture as a prospective house buyer. Since when there is a 2 week trial period? They have a contest to see who should get the villa. Read: Lame villa dance and puns. Animaru snaps them out as they transform and defeat the monster before heading to the beach for fun.

Episode 8
The girls are talking about monsters when fellow classmate, Usagi Yukino overheard them. They try to deny everything but Usagi shows them she a gem and is a fellow magical girl. They ask Animaru if there is a fourth one but he is certain the Naria of Winter is in the Ice Queen’s hands. For now, they let her join their ranks to fight monsters. Of course as you have come to expect, Usagi is a monster in disguise. When monster minions come to attack, Usagi launches her illusion attack on them. Yup, another lame acting about one of them realizing she is a perverted boy in disguise that will hinder the gang from fighting the monsters effectively and will eventually break up. So we’ve got Urara acting as the pervert even to a point wanting to take out her ‘magic stick’. Ugh… And some lame international pun contests too. Like always, Animaru snaps them out as they defeat the monster. The girls are sad realizing Usagi is a monster but Urara starts questioning what are monsters.

Episode 9
Urara even questions why they need to do all this. It’s not like she wants to become a magical girl in the first place. Then she starts asking deep questions why she is alive. A guy sits next to her and admits he is a monster. Don’t worry, he won’t attack when he is alone. He talks to her about himself that he isn’t good around other people (because he is a monster?) and in turn Urara tells him what is bugging her. But when her friends arrive, the monster decides to go back to his old ways to help the Ice Queen and make the girls do a lame play of a shopkeeper catching a girl shoplifting. It gets odder when her father comes into the picture. Urara kills it as that father. She’s saying how the daughter takes after him and have ‘sticky fingers’. Get that? Oh, apparently the father also slept with the shopkeeper years ago and will forget about this if they sleep together again. Yeah it might work since dad conveniently forgot all about the shopkeeper after their first time! Same routine of being snapped out and destroying the monster. The girls get a call from their manager that they will be performing at the Nippon Dome.

Episode 10
The girls meet Nastasha Satou who is the Dome’s producer. Before their concert starts, they brainstorm for ideas for this new concert. A few weird ideas that I think went off track. I wonder if they are really serious. During the concert, Satou has them sing a different themed solo song for the audience. For example, Inaho sings about world peace but as some roly poly insect? Hanabi sings enka style about illegal parking and Urara a Christmas song that is about not touching her azuki soba. I don’t know how she messed up and heard soda instead. Anyhow, the songs they sing sound like they are about to burst into laughter anytime. Like it’s all a joke. Are they really serious? If I was the audience, I would ask for a refund! At the backstage, the girls thought they have charged up their gems but it is still empty. They should have seen this coming from a mile because Satou is a monster and tricked them in charging up when they are actually charging up the Ice Queen. Even if they defeat Satou, their power won’t return. Yeah, it’s like these dumbasses never learn.

Episode 11
Urara looks through her photo album and asks dad about mom again. As usual, he dodges the question and this makes Urara upset he continues to keep it a secret. Urara meets up with her friends as they discuss if the monsters attack now, they cannot defend themselves. Then a knight appears and has orders from the Ice Queen to take their power. But aren’t they without power? Even so, they will not give up without a fight. The knight reveals the Ice Queen is Urara’s mom and this makes her upset even more as she wonders if she enjoys making her daughter suffer like this Yeah, suffer more because the knight makes them act out a silly play about biker ladies and the boss is being bossed around by his stupid subordinates. Uh huh. Because Urara is naturally filling up with power, this lame act is to prevent it. After the lame jokes, Animaru snaps them out to transform and destroy the knight. Urara’s dad finally tells her the truth. She was stillborn. They were devastated and mom sacrificed herself to make a great wish to Naria. He wants her to know that mom loves her dearly.

Episode 12
Urara asks Animaru if her mom is really the Ice Queen. He isn’t quite sure either because if she had some big wish, Naria would have absorbed her and unable to maintain her human form. Huh? The only way left is to go face her. But there are tons of snow minions before them. Can’t waste a single magic. So how? Do a lame act! About bras! WTF?! Yeah, those minions must be perverts because they’re talking about striping and showing their bra colour. WTF???!!! But you know what? It’s not like it’s going to work anyway so Hanabi sacrifices herself to path a way for the rest to go ahead. At the front gate, it is obviously a trap. How? Thank goodness no more lame acts. But Inaho sacrifices herself to blast it open. Yeah, the slab just fell on her. Urara is before the Ice Queen. The latter attacks but Urara breaks through with her own power. The sadness of losing her friends powers her up and brings her mom back to normal. She seeks forgiveness and dies. WTF???!!! At least she died as her mom. Even sadder, Urara now makes a powerful wish because she didn’t like the idea of sacrificing someone to make wishes to come true. So she wants everything to be turned back to a world without Naria! Animaru is against it because what about his world? Screw that, right? F*ck! Does she even have enough power?! In the final scene, we see Urara has turned into a boy named Urao. Yeah, he is a f*cking pervert! At least he has a happy family with mom and dad.

The Chronicles Of Naria: The Monster, The Magical Girls And The Horrendous Animation
Wait a minute?! As I was watching a few episodes into the series, it then occurred to me how different it was from the synopsis. Because it felt nothing like it. Unless you consider that lame acting as making a series. So was there some sort of deception?! Well, there is another synopsis which goes about saying about the land of Nariadia which was once vibrant and green only to be trapped in eternal winter by the Ice Queen. Therefore to restore its balance, warriors from the human world known as Naria Girls appear to save the day. Wow. That’s totally different. Had I read this one first, no doubt that I would have passed it up. But in a way it is a ‘blessing’ too because now I get to ascertain how crappy this anime is. That’s right. This is bad. Thank goodness they are not getting another cour out of this. Because this doesn’t feel like a magical girl genre but more of a stand-up comedy.

Okay, the first thing that will strike you as the worst offender is the very badly animated scenes. If I should even call this generally. The series is divided into 2 types of animated scenes, the 3D CGI type with motion capture and the traditional 2D hand drawn type. To cut short a long story, it is horrible as f*ck!!!!! You know, it almost feels like the one who made the 3D animations did not have any programming knowledge beforehand or they had their kids practice their computing skills here. Or maybe it was just the bad acting of the motion capture. I was thinking if this horrible 3D animation is to make us laugh but it is so terrible that my laughter turned to despair. They are so bland that it makes me also wonder if they lack any budget to invest in this CGI part. Coupled in with their lame acting, the CGI animation feels like as though it might go into some glitch anytime! Serious! It looks as though the movement of the girls are on the verge of turning into a glitch. Even if that didn’t happen, it makes their overall movements still as stiff and as lame as ever. Not only zero points but negative points for this!

Although the 2D drawing fares better, however the girls look quite odd in a certain way. As if this is the art style trademark of this series. I don’t know. Just take a look at Urara. Doesn’t she look a bit weird in her 2D form? I know she is cuter than her 3D form but it still looks freaking weird. Besides, the 2D animation is not really animated. They are still pictures and some are even recycled throughout the series. Yeah, what a waste of talent. Therefore it feels like a big deception because the promotional poster of the series is by far the only and I mean the ONLY best looking art ever for the series. I’m not kidding. You thought you might at least see some sparkly special effects and maybe not put your hopes too high. But none can prepare you for this horrendous visuals. Oh, thank goodness they never got another cour.

Next in line to how bad this anime is the voice acting. I might not be very well versed in the voice acting industry but something tells me that the voice acting isn’t really up to anime standards. For example when the girls go into their lame act, the way speak feels like as though they are talking at some live variety show. There is some sort of feel that their voice acting isn’t too polished. Because of the fact that sometimes you could hear that they are about to burst into a giggle over their ‘funny’ joke but trying to hold it back. You know, like what a live show is like when a host is talking to a guest. So it is just freaking lame to hear them speak this way like as though this isn’t something serious enough. At first I thought they were going to pull off some twist like how they are just putting up an act in front of the cameras (because I noticed sometimes they are a bit shaky) as this might be one big show but nope. Just bad voice acting and bad animation. They really trolled us.

Thirdly, that horrendous ending that just leaves us screaming WTF. You know, it is like undoing everything that has happened so far and by the sound of it, I won’t even discount that this Urao ending could be a parallel world. They should have just killed everybody and destroyed the world. I think that even sounds better despite it is sad to kill off magical girls. But with everything going south like as though the producers were running out of time and needed something to end the series with a bang, they thought up of this crap. Worst of all, I don’t even understand what it all meant or why Urara’s mom turned into the Ice Queen in the first place. If there was, I wasn’t paying attention. Lame acting got me turned off. Serious. And we don’t even care what happened to Nariadia eventually. Screw that land! It never existed! Oh yeah. It makes things so much simpler. Oh Animaru, you really failed your mission.

Talking about the plot and characters, the bad animation and voice acting is already enough to eclipse this. Because if you think about it, our Naria Girls are just weak and useless as they are. I mean, in every damn episode they would fall for the monster’s stupid spell to act out a stupid act. I believe this is supposed to be the plot and feature of the series but come on. To have the girls fall into this damn trickery each time and then they have to depend on Animaru to snap them out and finish the job? There has got to be a better way than this. Maybe a few times at the start it would be alright, but all the time falling into the trap of stupid lame acting? And why the heck do monsters want to make them do this? Such humiliation would prevent them from powering up? Yeah, it might just work… By the time the series reaches halfway, the girls should have guessed or at least be cautious with all the people they deal with. But no, they continue to be trusting and hence you can’t blame anybody but them each time they fall into this silly trap. Sure, they are nice girls who would prefer to show us they trust everybody instead of letting the cynical nature of society darken their heart. But at this point I was already hoping that they would forever get stuck in this silly acting and spare us the misery. Oh wait, does this mean we are doomed to watch that when that happens? No way! And if you’re wondering why most of their lame acts sound perverted and a bit horny, yeah, maybe that is why that gender changing ending explains it. Their boy alter ego is perverted in the first place. Or maybe they are just perverted from the start. Once a pervert, always a pervert.

The main magical girls are as shallow as they are. Urara only has some depth because of her links with the Ice Queen. Her other friends aren’t as likeable because their personalities don’t really stand out. Animaru I believe is supposed to be the animal mascot but he fails since I figure his primary job is to snap the girls out of their lame hypnosis and let them finish their job. That’s all he ever does. As for the monsters, sometimes I feel they might have even more personality than the girls despite their single appearance. Because for the eye-catch, they will have a short rant about themselves or at least do some sort of promotion of movie or music release. Yeah, blatant advertising. But it makes them a little more interesting although they are as silly. Another thing I want to say about the monsters is that some of them have voices that don’t really match their looks. I mean, they don’t look scary and ferocious and look more like the monsters that would most likely appear on a children’s Sunday morning cartoon. With some very odd voices trying to go with it, I’d say that it makes them overall weird. Really. And to think that those monsters are supposed to take after Urara’s favourite things when she was young, doesn’t this mean Urara is a twisted person?

Action wise. WHAT ACTION???!!! There is no magical girl action whatsoever here!!! You will be sorely disappointed. Because once they transform, all we are shown is a single still picture of them defeating the monster. Too bad about seeing their special magical girl moves which are none. Heck, at least they have a transformation scene. Despite all the scene being the same, it is the nonsensical themes that Animaru has them spew while they transform. And then they say some random lines as their magical attack to destroy the monster. And the monster will have one final say like all villains should have before they die but it is mostly some promotional items. Damn blatant advertising.

The opening and ending themes are sung by the Naria Girls. They might not be the best anime pop song but at least it offers a little respite to all the horrendous things that this anime has to offer. The opening theme is We Are Naria Girls while the ending theme is Mezase! Kokumin-teki Chara. Note, the ending credits animation is CGI animated with the Naria Girls doing a concert. Yup, crappy sh*t animation. It makes me wonder if the audiences are just cardboard cut outs. Harsh… For the record, the main seiyuus are mostly newbies. They are Seria Fukagawa as Urara (Touko in Glasslip), Aoi Koga as Hanabi (Momoko Ogi in Beyblade Burst), Yuuki Kuwahara as Inaho (Hakua in Shomin Sample) and Koutarou Ishidate as Animaru. Interestingly, there are a handful of popular seiyuus making their cameo as the monsters. For instance Kenichi Suzumura, Mikako Komatsu and Tomokazu Sugita. It is nice to hear Kana Asumi as the Ice Queen as I haven’t been hearing much of her lately and her character only had a voice in the final episode. Funnily most of her lines are screaming roars and I instantly recognized it was her. Yeah, her trademark voice still resonated within me after all this time.

Overall, this is a horrendous production that should not have been made in the first place. It is as though a bunch of drunk guys got together and wanted to animate their silly jokes they told each other but hide it in a form of magical girls (which makes them looking uncouth when they’re acting it out). Everything feels lost here and sometimes the laughter will turn into tears and then back to laughter again because by this time if your mind and heart aren’t strong, you’ll go crazy with all the lameness and silliness that the girls go through. Which reminds me, the lame acting could have been people like me who have stage fright when go up there to put on a simple act. Yeah, not a laughing matter. I’ll never return to showbiz again. And at this rate if I was their manager or the show producer, I would have immediately drop them or cancel their show off the air, earning them a spot on the top 10 list of series that got cancelled before they even finish their run.

World Trigger

February 12, 2017

At first World Trigger might look like Bleach or comparable to it because it involves ordinary teenagers becoming extraordinary heroes, using a faux body to battle armed with almost unique weapons to fight invaders from another world. Well, if you look at it in a general sense. But if you go into its deeper aspects, you will start to see many differences and soon you’ll forget this is ever a Bleach rip-off. And oh, it almost ran forever… Thank goodness it didn’t?

Introduction Arc
* Border Defence Agency AKA Border are set up to fight invading aliens called Neighbours from another dimension.
* Yuuma Kuga is a new transfer student at Mikado City and he doesn’t seem like an ordinary human being. He has got this little alien chaperone, Replica to help guide him around town. Obviously everyone would think he is some sort of foreigner for his lack of knowledge on the local custom. And he is carrying stacks of cash around like nobody’s business! Definitely a target of crooks and punks. But don’t think this shorty is a pushover.
* Fellow classmate, Osamu Mikumo is tasked to help him around. He gets involved with class punks trying to get revenge on Yuuma because he earlier returned their favour for picking on him. He gets beaten up.
* Before it could get worse, the dimensional gate opens and a Neighbour type Bamster (I thought I heard hamster…) wreaks havoc in the Forbidden Zone. Osamu is actually a C-Rank Border agent and a trainee. Despite getting owned by the bullies, he still saves them because of his strongly held beliefs.
* This leads Yuuma to help out as he uses his Trigger to destroy the Bamster in no time. However Yuuma is not a Border agent. His Trigger belonged to his late father who told him to go to Japan in the event of his demise. Oh, his dad isn’t a Border agent but his friend is. And guess what? Yuuma is a Neighbour!
* When other Border agents arrive on the scene, they are perplexed that they cannot identify which Border agent cleaned up this threat.
* Because punks constantly harass Yuuma as he nonchalantly flash his cash, Osamu had to remind him to keep a low profile and that means not revealing his Neighbour origins because you know how Border will react when they find out. But with many friends impressed with Yuuma’s ‘kung fu’, they try to talk more with him. Technically, he isn’t lying when he says he comes from a place where war is always ongoing. Good thing they never ask more or specifically.

* Out of the blue, a dimensional gate opens up at school. This is rare because the gate opened up outside the Forbidden Zone. The students scramble to safety as a pair of Marmods begins attacking.
* As trainee Border agents cannot use their Trigger outside training, Osamu decides to break protocol and fight them because waiting for other agents will only mean casualties. Of course Osamu is not strong enough (not enough Trion power) and gets owned. He gets impaled and his limbs torn off but don’t worry, Trion suits substitutes the actual physical body.
* Yuuma comes to help out by borrowing his weapon and easily destroy the Marmods as he explains about the invisible secret gland that humans have that produce Trion values. But many other factors determine if your Trion is strong or weak.
* To Osamu’s dismay, Yuuma lets him take all the credit and all the students can help be in awe over Osamu. Well, if this is the only way to hide Yuuma’s identity, right?
* A group of A-Rank agents, the Arashiyama Squad arrives to assess the situation. While Jun Arashiyama is grateful for Osamu in saving the day since his siblings go to this school, fellow Ai Kitora is not because this b*tch believes rules are there to instil discipline and maintain order. What the f*ck is your problem? He saved the day and nobody died. And you want to talk about rules? However every reasoning she has, Yuuma counters it and she cannot answer back. Especially that Triggers belong to Neighbours in the first place.
* Osamu still needs to go to HQ to report. Surprisingly Kitora is here to escort him. She is famous enough to automatically pose for other students who want to take picture of her. WTF.
* Kitora explains that Neighbours appearing outside the Forbidden Zone are getting more frequent. But thanks to off duty agents, they were able to contain it. Oh look, here is another one appearing. So this whale creature, Ilgar is a bomber you say? Kitora goes to neutralize it while Osamu helps to citizens evacuate. She manages to figure out its pattern but and fatally damages it. Ilgar’s programme is to perform kamikaze when that happens. Yuuma provides indirect support to minimize damage and maintain casualties at zero.

* Osamu along with super elite agent, Yuuichi Jin from the Tamakoma branch meet the executives. Border HQ commander Masamune Kido (what a big scar on his face), HQ director Masafumi Shinoda (normal guy), assistant director Kyouko Sawamura (plain girl), external affairs and business director Katsumi Karasawa (what is Bleach’s Aizen doing here?), Tamakoma branch director Takumi Rindo (what is Fullmetal Alchemist’s Maes Hughes doing here?!), R&D director Motokichi Kinuta (fatty – why does he look like a bad guy?) and PR director Eizo Netsuki (why is the face of Border a sneaky villain-like rat face?). Some of them want to kick out Osamu for violating the rules but with Kitora giving Osamu his due credit, some prefer to promote Osamu to B-Rank and make use of his abilities. Kido allows him to stay and gives him one more chance. Don’t let this happen again. Jin wants the higher ups to leave Osamu in his care.
* A-Rank agent, Shuuji Miwa confronts Osamu to ascertain if he was the one who destroyed Bamster. Miwa suspects Osamu is in contact with a Neighbour because if he was the one who destroyed Bamster, his Trigger identification with the Marmods are different. Kido gives him the green light to keep a close eye on him and if there is indeed a Neighbour, exterminate it.
* Osamu is surprised that Jin knows about Yuuma. His Side Effect told him. Side Effects are extension of human abilities. Like in the case of Jin, it lets him tell the immediate future.
* They find little scorpion-like Neighbours called Rads responsible for opening abnormal gates. There are thousands of them so it is impossible to flush them all out. Well, with the right PR, info and cooperation from all agents, every last one of them is snuffed out. And Kitora got the honour of killing the last one.

* Yuuma and Chika Amatori coincidentally meet and become friends. When a Neighbour appears nearby, she heads off into the Forbidden Zone. Yuuma saves her before she becomes mincemeat and newly promoted Osamu (wow. B-Rank already, huh?) destroys it. Apparently Osamu wanted to introduce Yuuma and Chika in hopes the former can help solve the latter’s problem: She attracts Neighbours.
* Yuuma explains Neighbours invade this world to steal Trion energy from humans that will be used to fight wars in their world. But why come to this world if theirs also have people with Trion? Earth has simply lots more people. Thus the Neighbours might be attracted to Chika as she might have a high level of Trion.
* As she gets measured, Osamu explains his relation with Chika. Her brother, Rinji is a Border agent and his mentor. Before Border was set up and when Neighbours targeted her, nobody believed nor helped her. Her only one friend who took her seriously went missing shortly and she believed a Neighbour got her. Subsequently her brother too was taken by them. That is why she never sought Border’s help thinking it would only make things worse. Thus Osamu joined Border because he wants to save her. And guess what? Chika’s Trion is so freaking huge and high!!! Mystery solved.
* However they are set upon by Miwa and his squad who now confirms Osamu is in contact with a Neighbour. They are adamant in taking down Yuuma but despite the latter just making evasive moves, he is no pushover. He is not fighting back as he is trying to figure out a way to amicably neutralize his opponents. Eventually Yuuma uses his Black Trigger to copy their moves and use it upon them for their ultimate defeat. Despite Miwa’s squad members giving up as advised by Jin, Miwa still won’t forgive and forget this. Apparently he has a deep grudge on Neighbours because his sister was killed by them.

Black Trigger Capture Arc
* Osamu and Jin have to report to HQ about this Black Trigger and Yuuma being a Neighbour. Some aren’t amused that Osamu has been keeping this secret although Jin suggests getting the Neighbour on their side would be a valuable asset instead of becoming his enemy. And so this is what Kido has decided: He orders Jin to capture Yuuma’s Black Trigger and dispose the Neighbour since he too has Black Trigger. But Jin won’t do it unless it is a command from his direct superior. So when Kido tells Rindo to give the order, he does and Jin immediately accepts it. However Rindo tells him to get the Black Trigger the way he deems fit. This means he doesn’t need to kill Yuuma.
* When Osamu mentions about Yuuma’s father, some of the executives react with super surprise. Yuuma’s father, Yugo was a founding father of Border, a colleague to Rindo and a senior to Rindo and Shinoda. They aren’t sure if he is Yugo’s real kid but what is important is the need to seize his Black Trigger.
* Jin explains to Osamu that Border is currently split into 3 factions. Those who hate Neighbours and want to exterminate them gather behind Rindo. Those who want to protect the city from Neighbours rally behind Shinoda while those who think should get along with Neighbours as friends are from Tamakoma branch. That is why they are viewed as traitors. Since Kido’s party is the biggest party, getting Black Trigger would just tip the power balance. Jin has thought of many ways about other Border agents coming for Yuuma’s Black Trigger but he concludes the simplest plan is the best and that is for Yuuma to join Border.

* Jin brings them back to his Tamakoma base. If you think it is going to be another grand Border base, you’ll be in for a shock. Let’s see. They have a toddler, Yotaro riding his capybara, Raijinmaru and this bespectacled cutie, Shiori Usami. Everyone is so laid back and concern about what to cook next that it is more like a cosy home than a Border base! Yeah, shocking, right? The branch has only 10 people but most of them are A-Rank agents.
* When Rindo returns, he talks to Yuuma about the friend of Yugo he is supposed to see. Souichi Mogami is also another founding member of Border, Yugo’s rival and Jin’s mentor. He has a Black Trigger but died 5 years ago and now Jin is in possession of it. Rindo owes a lot to Yugo so he wants to return the favour and asks Yuuma to join this branch. However he declines.
* Replica explains the reason why Yuuma came to this world. Yuuma and Yugo were just joining the Neighbours’ war back in their world. Yugo and the country’s defence team leader were close friends and helped each other out. All went well till Yugo died.
* Their country is being invaded by another. Since they were sending high level assassins, Yugo told Yuuma to stay put. Apparently he didn’t because he saw how his side was having a hard time and thought he needed to help out. Well, he got killed. He should have stayed dead had not Yugo used his Black Trigger to seal his dying body inside it. As a result, Yugo turned to ashes. And all Yuuma had was his black hair turned white? Because Yuuma inherited Yugo’s Black Trigger, his Side Effect is to detect lies.
* Yuuma continued fighting for his country in Yugo’s stead. For 3 years he became stronger. When the war was over and both sides reconcile, there was nothing for Yuuma to do. Replica suggested going to Japan to find Border where he might retrieve his original body. This is the reason Yuuma looks small as his Trion body doesn’t age. But it doesn’t mean it is immortal. It is slowly dying and once it does, Yuuma will also die.
* However Yuuma had another goal in Japan: To resurrect his father. As seen that Border cannot help him and Mogami is already dead, he has lost all that purpose. Therefore he wants to go back. Replica wants Osamu to give Yuuma a reason, a purpose.
* Osamu is surprised that Chika wants to join Border to find her brother and friend. She is aware of the risks but it is better than doing nothing. And I suppose Osamu can’t dissuade her too.
* Thus Osamu goes to talk to Yuuma about all that he has learnt. As Chika is joining Border, he wants to form a team under the Tamakoma branch and work to become an A-Rank agent. Since Yuuma has nothing to do, he agrees to join under a condition that Osamu is the leader. Of course Osamu disagrees seeing Yuuma has the experience and knowledge fit to be a leader. But with Chika also wanting Osamu to be the leader, you can’t beat majority. They go report to Rindo but he already has their forms filled out. Remember, Jin can peak into the future.
* Shiori explains to the newbies about the rankings and its tournament for one to become A-Rank. Chika wants to be a combatant and after analyzing her traits, she is most suited to be a sniper.
* Meet the A-Rank agents of Tamakoma branch. Scruffy handsome guy Kyousuke Karasuma, laidback muscle guy Reiji Kizaki and another b*tch character but at least she is gullible and funny, the one and only Kirie Konami. Each is assigned a newbie to train before the official enrolment at Border. Looks like Osamu has a lot to train for as he is the weakest.

* The top A-Rank agents that include Kei Tachikawa, Isami Touma and Souya Kazama have returned from an away expedition retrieving 4 Triggers. Kido immediately gives them orders to retrieve Black Trigger and Tachikawa is confident they can do it tonight.
* Tachikawa and many of the A-Rank agents are on their way but Jin stands before them. I guess he saw this coming. There’s a lot of ‘diplomacy’ at first. Lots of points argued whether it is just a Neighbour seeking refuge at Tamakoma or an official Border agent. Eventually we know this is going to turn into a fight and if you think Jin is going to fight them all, he has Arashiyama Squad to back him up.
* Jin seems to be stalling around and not going on the offensive. Surely he is up to something. Then they catch wind of his plan. He is trying to force them to go home by making them run out of Trion. So instead of playing this useless game of tag, they should just head to Tamakoma. That is when Jin gets serious and uses his Black Trigger’s trump card, Fujin. Slowly, Jin and Arashiyama Squad send those A-Rank agents back to base and prevent the capture of Yuuma’s Black Trigger.
* The executives still won’t give up especially Kido thinking of using Tsukihiko Amo, another S-Rank agent with a Black Trigger. Too bad he has personality problems and the kind that could destroy an entire city himself!
* Jin then interrupts their meeting to negotiate. He wants Yuuma to be officially enlisted in Border and in exchange he will give his Fujin. This deal sounds too good to be true especially with Kido not even giving in and can use the excuse of him violating the rules to confiscate his Black Trigger. If so, Jin argues Tachikawa and co will also have their Triggers confiscated and either way it would be a peaceful way for Yuuma to join Border. What if Kido seizes only his Trigger? Jin dares him… Jin adds that his goal is not to fight them and he doesn’t care about the power balance. He believes his juniors can be useful to Kido’s goal in the future.
* Some are still reserved that Jin who has fought so hard for Fujin only to let it go like that, there is more than meets the eye. Furthermore, Fujin is Mogami’s keepsake. Jin is willing to let it go to move forward. Or is he? Now that Jin doesn’t have a Black Trigger, he is no longer S-Rank and an A-Rank and can participate in ranking tournaments, something Tachikawa eagerly looks forward to.

Border Enlistment Arc
* A bunch of new recruits join Border. If Osamu is already a B-Rank, what the heck is he here with Yuuma and Chika?! Does he want retraining again? Sure, it is to accompany Yuuma and his registration. Is he the only one?
* Arashiyama Squad handles the recruitment as they pass down lots of points and tips as Border agents on how to move up to the official B-Rank. Either you get lots of points from your training or via ranking tournaments.
*Kitora was a pupil under Karasuma. Obviously she has some sort of crush on him. You can tell when she wants to be his pupil and learn more. Unfortunately he has no more to teach her. Making her nightmare come true, Karasuma takes Osamu as his pupil! Well, he already did since the special training at Tamakoma but he’s just making it official.
* Border agents who want to be attackers are in a mock simulation to destroy a Neighbour within a designated time. This year’s recruits might seem boring as only a handful just managing under a minute. When it is Yuuma’s turn, he clocks in 0.6 seconds! OMG! Not believing their eyes, he is asked to do it again and he breaks his own record! 0.4 seconds!
* Chika and the rest of the snipers are trained under Arashiyama Squad’s Ken Satori. At first everybody laughs at Chika due to the ‘silly’ question she asked. Even more so a little girl trying to handle a gun that is bigger than her? But when she test fires, it blew a big hole through Border’s walls! OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
* Kazama seeks a mock fight to test out not Yuuma but Osamu. Obviously Osamu takes a beating since Kazama is on Chameleon (stealth/invisibility) mode. Despite realizing Chameleon’s weakness (other weapons cannot be used), Osamu still can’t touch him. After more than 20 rounds, I think it is time to call it quits and Kazama is disappointed and puzzled how Jin sees potential in this guy. But when Osamu learns Jin gave up his Black Trigger for Yuuma’s enlistment, he requests another match. This time Osamu reads his movements. First he spreads his Trion via slow bullets (like fluttering bubbles). Kazama can still rid them. Osamu then uses his shield to charge at him. Once Kazama is backed to the wall and trapped by his barrier, Osamu fires his bomb inside the enclosure. However Kazama was able to attack back and this tie is considered a draw. Well, after 24 losses, I guess for Osamu’s standard this isn’t entirely bad. Kazama assesses Osamu as physically weak and low on Trion power but with his creativity and wit, he finds it acceptable.
* Chika feels so guilty about blasting a hole that she is apologizing like hell that she will pay back, etc. Don’t worry. Satori will take the responsibility. Right?! Good thing he did because he gets an earful from Kinuta. But why is Kinuta treating Chika nicely after hearing the truth? Lolicon? Well, she reminds him of his daughter.

* Yuuma aces in his training and gets perfect points. But in order to get more points in a short time, he needs to participate in Rank Wars and steal points from players with more points. And so Yuuma teaches those arrogant bullies and steal a big chunk of their points.
* Osamu is invited by Shun Midorikawa to fight a solo Rank War. He agrees but loses all 10 matches. Yuuma can tell Midorikawa’s plan to sully Osamu’s reputation because with the crowd watching and getting the wrong idea Osamu’s draw with Kazama was a fluke. So Yuuma challenges Midorikawa to a match and will stake all his points. But if Yuuma wins, he must show respect to Osamu and call him senpai. Oh, did I mention that Midorikawa is A-Rank?
* For the first couple of rounds, Midorikawa easily defeats Yuuma. But after that, Yuuma comes back and shows no mercy to win the remaining matches. Midorikawa then keeps his word and apologizes to Osamu. As he is a big fan of Jin, he was jealous when Osamu joined Tamakoma and wanted to humiliate him. The guys then patch up and become friends. Midorikawa hopes to beat Yuuma next time and transfer to Tamakoma.
* Yuuma and Osamu are ordered to see the top executives. They have foreseen a huge invasion scale attack from Neighbour. What better way than to rely on Jin’s Side Effect when we have a real Neighbour for intelligence. Thus they want Yuuma to divulge information of which Neighbour country and weapons that will be attacking them. Yuuma hands it over to Replica since he has all the experience and records of everything. But in exchange for that, Replica wants Yuuma’s safety and rights to be guaranteed as there are some who blindly hate Neighbours. Kido agrees.
* Replica begins by explaining how Neighbour nations are divided not by borders but as planets. Therefore each of these planet nations goes around in a fixed orbit and when their orbit is close to Earth, they can launch an attack. There are also nations that do not have a fixed orbit and these are called errand nations. Currently there are 4 possible Neighbour nations coming close to Earth at this point. The water world of Liberi, the cavalry nation of Leoforio, the freezing Kion and the largest military nation of Aftokrator. They also have to take into account errand nations as well. Because the map of Yugo and Yuugo’s travels 7 years ago might be outdated, there is a possibility that each nation has advanced including the number of Black Triggers each nation has.
* Shinoda is grateful for Yuuma’s intelligence and would help promote him to an official agent as soon as possible so he could help better. However Yuuma declines as he wants to do it the normal way. After all, there would be suspicions if he abused the system or something and some won’t take it well.
* Jin talks to Miwa as his Side Effect tells him Osamu would be in trouble during the large scale invasion. He wants his favour to help him as he would be the only one crossing his path. Help him out and he can he recommend Miwa as the one to wield Fujin as there are other candidates for it.
* Chika makes friends with fellow C-Rank sniper, Izuho Natsume as she hangs out with Osamu and Yuuma.

Large Scale Invasion Arc
* Oh look, the invasion is here. There are more gates opening up everywhere this time and endless amount of Trion soldiers flowing out. As C-Rank agents handle the evacuation, other B-Rank agents try to stifle the Neighbours from getting out from the Forbidden Zone. But after destroying the Bamsters, a new type of never-seen-before Neighbour pops out. This one is deadlier, faster, stronger and smarter. It is trying to capture the agents. Once Replica receives information on this type, he recognizes them as Rabit. They were prototypes created from Aftokrator and their goal seems to be capturing those with Triggers.
* Yuuma realizes Aftokrator’s smart plan to split up the agents. As Border agents cannot individually deal with a Rabit or risk being captured, they will have to attack it as a group. Due to lack of manpower, this means letting the other Trion soldiers escape out of the Forbidden Zone. If the agents concentrate on these Trion soldiers, the Rabit will take them out.
* Ilgar bombers target Border HQ and though the defence barrier is strong enough to withstand several suicide bombings, it is our number one A-Rank guy Tachikawa who easily takes a couple out.
* Osamu almost got owned by a Rabit if not for Yuuma breaking protocol and using his Black Trigger to beat it down. Yuuma is then attacked by several B-Rank agents who mistake Yuuma as the new humanoid type Neighbour. They get captured but luckily Arashiyama Squad is here to save the day. They become the first agents to take down a Rabit.
* Osamu and Yuuma want to head to where Chika is as he believes that area is unguarded. However Kido will only allow Osamu alone to go there since he believes people might be confused if they see Yuuma as a Neighbour and attack. Kitora will accompany Osamu there while Arashiyama and Mitsuru Tokieda will join Yuuma in keeping the Trio soldiers within the Forbidden Zone.
* When Kazama Squad takes down a Rabit, they do not find any agent inside but a condensed cube.
* Replica finds it odd that Aftokrator is having a large scale invasion because this means their nation is left defenceless. Even more perplexing is how they are scattering their troops instead of concentrating them. They should have known Border’s Bail Out system if they had sent their Rads to come scout for information. Plus, the attack on Border’s HQ feels like a diversion as they could have easily destroyed it soon.

* Kitora fights a different Rabit version. This one flies and even goes so far as to do random attacks. Heck, there are different coloured versions of them too. She improvises by cutting off her leg to destroy it. But then more Rabits pop up. Then she realizes the enemy’s plan to capture C-Rank agents. Unfortunately she gets captured herself.
* Chika is too scared to move. But when she remembers her reason to fight in Border, she picks up the gun and her large Trion blasts away a Rabit. The Tamakoma agents are the strongest Border agents as they are here to back up our young ones. Konami easily slices a Rabit because of her unusual Trigger. As explained, Tamakoma branch’s Triggers are personally customized to the user to fit them unlike HQ’s standard types. Because of that they are prohibited to participate in Rank Wars but at the same time their fighting is so much sharper like Neighbours.
* The Aftokrator humanoids (horned people? But those horns don’t make them horny. They’re Trion receptors) led by Hairein have been watching the battle since. Noticing Chika’s extreme Trion levels, Hairein changes his plans and sends his other generals down to either stop the other agents from interfering with the Rabits’ duties or to capture Chika.
* Kazama Squad faces off with Enedra. Thanks to Shiro Kikuchihara’s Side Effect that enables him to have enhanced hearing, they are able to avoid Enedra’s attacks from blind spots. Enedra is a Black Trigger user and they thought his ability is to turn his body into liquid that makes their attack much harder. When Kazama thought he had sliced him, Kazama himself gets damaged. Inside his body there are blades piercing through him and this has him Bail Out. This sends shockwaves to other agents over his defeat. Knowing they can’t beat Enedra, Kazama orders his teammates to retreat.
* Ranbanein is having a field day cornering the Border agents. He is superior in attack and defence. With very well planned coordination, attack, defence and distraction from Yousuke Yoneya, Kouhei Izumi and Midorikawa, they along with the other B-Rank snipers are able to corner Ranbanein and beat him at his own game.
* To let Karasuma, Osamu, Chika and the other C-Rank agents get away, Reiji takes on Hyuse and Viza to stall for time and keep them here. But old man Viza is in possession of Organon, an Aftokrator’s national treasure that allows him to slice through everything including Reiji’s thick barrier.
* Once Hyuse and Viza catch up to their targets, they have to face Jin and Yuuma.
* Hairein unleashes the remaining 7 Rabits to capture the C-Rank agents. When Osamu is pinned down, Chika lends her Trion power to him as he uses as a powerful blast to successfully destroy a Rabit. This has Hairein coming into the battlefield personally to retrieve the golden target. You know he is the powerful end boss because his Alektor may look like birds, fish and lizards flying and crawling all about but a single touch of it will turn you into a Trion cube! Even your triggers too! Osamu tries to do the same tactic with Chika lending her Trion power but this time it backfires and Chika is turned into a cube. Instead of regretting his decision, he takes the cube and makes a run to the HQ. Rabits are hot on his tail. Who is going to assist him this time? Now it’s Replica’s turn. He has even made his own Rabit version fused with Yuuma’s trigger to give it more power and speed to fight the Rabits. Since this leaves Replica more vulnerable, better get running to the base now.

* Enedra defies Hairein’s orders and infiltrates Border’s HQ to cause chaos. He faces off with Suwa Squad but since they manage to trap him in a fight simulator room, this means although they have unlimited Trion power, they cannot hurt each other. They plan to keep him here and analyze his Black Trigger.
* They thought they found his weakness he creates lots of dummies to fool them. Just when they figure out his Black Trigger’s property is also turning into liquid and gas (that is how he attacks you from inside), he breaks out of the training room. Invincibility time over.
* Don’t worry, Shinoda is here to show off his cool skills. He cuts all of the dummies as he corners Enedra. What about his gas attack? Just use the air-cond and blow it away! Just when Shinoda thought he cut the real weak point, it is another bluff and Enedra has switched sides with him. This means the wind is now blowing against Shinoda and he falls victim to his innards attack.
* Guess what? Shinoda is just a decoy. Enedra thought he saw it coming when a stealth agent comes to attack from behind. He is a decoy too. The real stealth attack comes from Kazama Squad who has been staying stealth all the while. They destroy his weakness.
* Now that Enedra has lost his power, they are going to capture him as a prisoner. However, Enedra is glad Mira is here to retrieve him. Unfortunately she is here just to take his Black Trigger. He is of no use to the team. Enedra’s aggressive and disobeying nature means his brain is consumed by the Trigger and it is only a matter of time he dies. Enedra will not accept his fate so Mira kills him off.
* Hairein thought Izumi is using the surrounding buildings to crush him. But it is just to clear the way so that Miwa Squad snipers and Touma could aim at him. Their great sniping weakens Hairein a lot as he is leaking Trion. Hairein orders Mira to warp several Rabits to keep them at bay since his firing range cannot reach that far. With the snipers at bay, Hairein replenishes his Trion using those cubes. Good as new. Unfair, right? Time for Izumi to Bail Out.

* Karasuma as told by Jin is doing his best to keep Hairein at bay. However Hairein also knows about his plan and has done enough to keep the agents separated before they go in for the big catch. After Karasuma is defeated, Hairein and Mira stand in Osamu’s way to safety. Osamu’s options do not look good. But out of the blue, who is here to save the day? True to Jin’s prediction, Miwa is here. Surprisingly he can fight on par with Hairein.
* Yuuma cannot match up to Viza’s fighting experience. So he pulls off some limb sacrificing manoeuvre to deceive him and then wipe him out in his normal body.
* Osamu gets a little reprieved when their friendly Rabit comes to assist him as he inches closer to the base. When Osamu is struck, he transforms back to his normal body and makes a mad dash (because Trio weapons only effect Trion related things). It got me wondering if he should have done that in the first place. Hairein and Mira become desperate as time is running out and so is their Trion. And then Miwa also transforms back to his normal body to fight but equips himself with Fujin. Shouldn’t he have done that too in the first place? In fact, shouldn’t all agents fighting the Aftokrator guys do this? Unless this Bail Out is only exclusive to a few agents…
* Apparently they have non-Trion weapons that hurt the real body too… With Osamu’s body pierced, as suggested by Replica in a last ditch attempt, he throws Replica through the portal that leads to the Aftokrator’s ship to command it to retreat. But this would mean it would be the last time Replica will be with them as he will be trapped there. When Hairein picks up Chika’s cube, he realizes this is a decoy. With no time left, he calls off the mission. He only picks up Viza and abandons Hyuse. Despite the failure to capture Chika, he considers the mission accomplished.
* The remaining Neighbours are finished off as Osamu is rushed to ICU. Izuho locates Chika’s cube and those who were transformed into one are soon turned back to normal. Although many of the C-Rank agents are missing and considered abducted, it could have been a lot worst according to Jin’s Side Effect. Innocent civilians could have died and A-Rank and B-Rank agents could have been kidnapped.
* The city is undergoing major repairs and Yuuma is looking for Replica. Osamu is recovering but is still unconscious. He dreams about the past especially the events that involved Rinji. After it is believed Chika’s Side Effect has her attract Neighbours and she even refused Border’s protection, Rinji decided to head to the other world to investigate. When Neighbours send their attack, they must go back somehow and he is going to sneak in that way. Against Rinji’s better advice, Osamu wanted to come along too but when that day came, Osamu was left behind and Rinji was already abducted. It was the first time Osamu saw Chika crying. He tries to join Border but he failed the enlistment exam. He didn’t want other positions in Border and even thought of sneaking into the HQ to talk to a higher up. That was when a Neighbour attacked and Jin came to his rescue then.

* Osamu has woke up and he finds not only Chika by his side but his own mother. It has been a week since Osamu has passed out. His mom tells him all of the people who came to visit him except Yuuma. Later Shiori visits to tell him he has received an award for his outstanding service. There are others named too but basically the entire case who fought in the battle.
* When Yuuma finally visits, he tells Osamu that since mini Replica is still around although inanimate, this proves that Replica is still alive and the more reason for them to promote to A-Rank faster. Osamu still blames himself for being weak but Yuuma says he ordered replica to protect Osamu and Chika and that was what he expected.
* Karasawa then brings Osamu and co to a press conference whereby they are grilling Border about the recent invasion whereby 32 trainees were abducted and a few Border staffs died. Netsuki handles the press calmly although it seems they really want somebody to blame on. When a reporter raises a tricky question that sends everybody alerting (the event that Osamu fought to stave off Neighbours from his school), it seems it was a ploy to divert the blame instead to the Border organization and to a single individual, Osamu.
* Of course Osamu isn’t going to take this quietly (at first he did but you can’t lie before Yuuma), he is going to give them his piece of mind. Despite all the questions thrown at him, Osamu answers in his honest fashion way even if it only riles the press. They still want to blame him and take responsibility so his answer to them all is that he will rescue all the abducted trainees. This is when Kido butts in to announce Border’s next big project by sending agents to other worlds and retrieve all lost citizens (despite Border has been doing this on an experimental basis, the public doesn’t know about it). This big news has the press scrambling to cover more on it.
* Osamu is relieved after the press. He did well. His mom remembered that she was very much against him joining Border. But when his comrades visited him, she noticed none told her to tell him to quit. She now understands after watching it all. Since joining Border, he has found what he needs to do so she is going to let him do what he wants with his life.

B-Rank Wars Arc
* It is time for our C-Rank Tamakoma agents to move up to B-Rank as they participate in its official ranking wars. Shiori becomes their operator and since Osamu is still injured, he has to sit out the first match. But you know they’ll be alright because Yuuma and Chika defeat their opponent in a flash and with super power! OMG! Unbelievable! Just promote them to A-Rank already!
* Tamakoma-2 (Osamu’s team name) will be up against Suwa Squad and Arafune Squad which consists entirely of snipers. As much as they do research on their opponents, the opponents also do research on them. With more simulation training, Osamu works hard to find the best strategy and location to give his team the advantage. But there are too many options and he becomes stressed out and unable to decide. Maybe a little relaxation to clear to mind?
* Round 2 is here. As the lowest ranked team, Osamu gets to pick the stage. He chooses an urban hill slope. This might seem to give Arafune Squad the advantage as there are many buildings to hide. However this gives some sort of mutual understanding with Suwa Squad too as Tamakoma-2 teams up with them to take out the snipers who are no good once the fighting range becomes close.
* As expected, Tamakoma-2 wins considering some of the tricky strategies including Yuuma using a feint move to trick his opponent and when Suwa Squad thought they could gang up and hold down Yuuma, here comes Chika with her obliterating blast! Unfortunately Chika was taken out by a snipe shot. All that is left is for Yuuma to become the bait, enough for Osamu to hit Suwa from the back and Arafune Bails Out by default seeing he has run out of Trion after his legs were slashed during the feint attack. This win propels Tamakoma-2 to the top tier of the rankings.
* The next round will have Nasu Squad and Suzunari-1 as their opponents, both of which have similar battle formations as Tamakoma-2. A difference is that Suzunari-1 has a fourth attacker, Kou Murakami and he is the reason why Arafune quit being an attacker and became a sniper.
* Murakami needs somebody to practice with and nobody is willing to till Yuuma volunteers despite the better judgment of others. In a 10 round match, Yuuma seems to be owning him easily leading 4-1. After a well 15 minutes break, Murakami quickly turns the tables and wins the remaining matches for the final score of 6-4. It is all because of his Side Effect something to do with enhanced sleep learning. He performs better after a rest as his brain preserves and organizes memories more effectively during the break.

*Naturally all sides are making their strategies and provisions on the data they have as wells as researching their opponents. We take a short detour to see why Arafune quit as an attacker. Rumour has it that they were of same age and although Arafune joined Border way before Murakami, the latter surpassed the former in 6 months under his tutelage thanks to his Side Effect. But nobody knew that Murakami was distraught with the thought that he is only good at stealing skills of others. Arafune dispelled that since his goal is to become an all-rounder and move on after achieving a certain points level.
* With Nasu Squad given the honour of choosing the stage, it is a city landscape separated by a river and it is believed they will go for middle range battles. It gets trickier since the weather is stormy.
* With everyone separated in the stage, some try to reach for the sole bridge to secure it. However Chika blasts and destroys it, leaving everyone stuck on their respective sides. This sets up for individual matches. On one side we have Nasu Squad’s Yuuko Kumagai against Murakami and Yuuma while Akane Hiura waits for an opportunity to snipe the guys. On the other side, Osamu is having a tough time fighting against Rei Nasu while Suzunari-1’s Tatsuya Kuruma and Taichi Betsuyaku wait for their chance.
* When Kumagai and Murakami target Yuuma, they manage to cut off a hand. Kumagai sends signal to Hiura to shoot. However she misses and this has her location discovered. Yuuma races there to take her out. Hiura despite Kumagai’s advice to Bail Out (so the enemy won’t score points if she is taken out), she continues to snipe at him and sets up a big bomb trap. It was all futile since Yuuma was quick enough to take her out.
* This leaves Murakami in a straight fight with Kumagai. Obviously he is better than her in many ways. Despite her desperate various attacking attempts, Murakami nails it and defeats her. He didn’t even fall for her bomb trap she placed on his weapon after her defeat.
* Now we have a rematch between Yuuma and Murakami. Both draw out their experience and wits to face each other in an intense fight. Eventually Yuuma draws Murakami into the river to break down his defence and that is when he uses this advantage to defeat him.
* Nasu constantly keeps blasting Kuruma and Betsuyaku with many tricks and feint attempts. She finally got Betsuyaku and Kuruma is hanging on a thread. Osamu has this nasty plan with Chika to flood the city with the gushing river to reduce Nasu’s mobility and make her and Kuruma take each other out. In the event if they want to avoid the water and fight at higher ground, they will be in Tamakoma-2’s line of fire.
* As Kuruma is being taken out for good, he manages to deal Nasu quite a huge damage. Osamu then uses this advantage to attack her seeing it was part of his strategy to have her run out of Trio. But being the weakling he is, he too lost. By the time Yuuma arrives to fight her, Nasu has already lost a lot of Trion and Bails Out. Tamakoma-2 wins.
* With the results of today’s match, Tamakoma-2 moves up to 6th spot and into the top tier. Their next opponents will be Ninomiya Squad (ranked no. 1), Kageura Squad (no. 2) and Azuma Squad (no. 7).
* Before the next match begins, there’s going to be lots of soul searching especially for Osamu who realizes he is still the weakest link in his team. So after bugging Kitora to help train him get stronger, she relents. He lost all his simulation matches. Since he isn’t going to give up and Kitora is already bored, Midorikawa takes over. And then followed by other Border agents. Osamu lost all of them. The greatest losing streak ever! It’s like he is some sort of masochist and everybody is like, “Hey, let’s go take turns and beat up this guy!”. Funny…
* During a routine patrol, Osamu stumbles into a boy in a restricted zone. He is an admirer of Osamu and wants to be like him. Cue for a couple of Marmods and a Bamster to attack for Osamu to show his stuffs. Too bad he lost a lot of Trion and held out as much as he could till Yuuma saved the day. Osamu is sad he can’t be like Jin but Yuuma tells him he isn’t. Osamu is Osamu.

Fugitive Arc
* We take a detour from the source material and follow an anime-only arc.
* Several gates open over Mikado City as Jin and Tachikawa successfully eliminate never-seen-before Neighbours. They noticed they were chasing down a couple of Trion soldiers that broke through earlier. A mysterious man, Giev seems to be hunting them down and don’t think these Border agents are any threat to them.
* Osamu and co are at Shizuka City for a training camp.
* Xeno seems to be hunting down humans with Trion but is disappointed that normal ones contain very little Trion.
* Osamu and co stumble upon such a victim. Xeno’s Trion soldier appears to attack them. They engage the various never-seen-before Trion soldiers that Xeno unleashes upon them. Their cooperation almost has them take out one but Xeno will not let his precious Trion soldier die and protects it. Chika wants to treat his wound but Xeno has a Trion soldier taking her hostage. All he needs to do is give an order and her head will be cut off.
* Things calm down when his partner, Lilith enters the scene. Taking refuge in a forest, she explains they are from Ergatis and running away because they betrayed their country. They will be seeking refuge in another nation that will pass by in a week’s time. But during this period, they need Trion to run away and thus Xeno’s actions. Thankfully Xeno is the kind who listens to Lilith so as long as she keeps him under her leash, he won’t do anything drastic.
* When Giev attacks the forest, they have no choice but to seek another safe place to hide. This means back at their training camp. Osamu lies to Shiori, Konami and Karasuma about their circumstances although Shiori pretty much knows what is going on because Jin told her.
* Giev sends his Trion soldiers to attack again, this time Trion soldiers that move underground. Our Border agents are of course superior in destroying them all and this frustrates Giev.

* Now they’re taking refuge back at the abandoned park near the forest. Don’t want to bother other? But staying in an abandoned haunted house attraction?
* Since Xeno is still having trust issues, Lilith explains their reason for being fugitives. Xeno is a smart and top engineering student. Thus this is the cause of jealousy from many others. Because Xeno has no friends and what sets him apart from others is his treatment of his Trion soldiers as his friends rather than tools. Trion soldier technology is important and Ergatis not wanting to sell them is also part of the problem.
* But the free info is over and if they want to know more, Xeno challenges Osamu to a duel in which if he beats him, he’ll get to know more. They haven’t even begun to warm up when Giev sends his attack. Yuuma and Osamu don’t even need to lend a hand as Xeno is self-sufficient to take Giev’s cloning Trion soldiers out. Though another lost for Giev, his chaperone, Charon finds it fun because this means they get to toy with them again.
* Probably being cooked up hiding has led to some stress so Chika thought bringing Lilith out for shopping would be great. But this would make them susceptible to attacks and put others in danger. So they bluff Lilith by making her think it is a real shopping centre when it is just a simulation room. Yeah, more depressed. So they decide to bring her to see the sunset and this was enough to make her happy again since the sunset here is similar to Ergatis. Xeno had never seen her smile like this in such a long while.
* Reports of the new Trion Soldier types have been occurring outside Mikado City. It’s time to take another detour as Miwa Squad is trapped in a building that is being taken over by such Trion soldiers. They are hard to kill since they can regenerate many times before being put out of commission. It is believed that they have taken many people hostage and they serve as Trion energy source that is transmitted to other Trion soldiers via web-like cable. To cut things short, Miwa defeats the big boss with his timely delivered Fujin to save the day.
* But HQ detects something odd during that takeover because it seems that the Trion taken from the people doesn’t add up and surpasses the amount used in battle by far. This is the doing of Giev as he now has a huge source of Trion from this easy picking.

* A nice campfire ruined thanks to Xeno’s sourpuss attitude. It won’t stay long because a huge amount of Trion is seen arriving from the sea. It is believed Giev has hijacked a ferry and is going to blast the entire city away once he gets into radius. Because Xeno and Lilith have hidden their ship somewhere, their run will be useless if they don’t have a ship to meet the other party.
* So our heroes try to stop Giev before he gets into radius. However Osamu and Xeno get trapped inside his Trion reflector box. They can’t use any Trion since it will just bounce off like rubber and they can’t use brute force to smash it because the Trion is powered by the people of the ferry.
* Xeno doesn’t know who Giev is and the latter thinks he is playing dumb and will force him to remember.
* Arashiyama Squad arrives to backup Kitora and Yuuma. Also on the team are Arafune and Murakami. Knowing that the people are being the source of Trion, Giev can’t kill them or sink the ship so they go on a rampage destroying the Trion soldiers. But Giev has limited number of them so instead he powers them up. Quality over quantity.
* I’m not sure about this tactic because Osamu has everyone cover themselves like the reflector box. I’m not sure what happened or what bounced off what. But it was enough to break Osamu and Xeno’s prison. They head into the ship to destroy the big Trion soldier supplying the Trion power.
* Giev hasn’t given up yet. He will just restart everything and detonate it in the air, which is equally as devastating.
* After Osamu saves Xeno from drowning (he can’t swim), Xeno orders the release Chika as his hostage. This allows Chika to transform and use her big Trion firepower to fire at the bomb monster. So powerful that it pushes it back out to sea where it detonates. I hope no marine life was destroyed. And so the day and city are saved. Osamu thanks Xeno for trusting him and setting Chika free although he asserts he was just doing it for Lilith. This guy can’t be honest, can he?

* Not pleased that their collection of Trion energy is wasted, Charon suggests targeting Osamu.
* Speaking of them, they’re supposed to train at the water park but I guess it is an excuse to have fun. Osamu suspects somebody is stalking them. It turns out to be a Trion soldier made out of liquid so you bet it is going to be tough trying to even cut it.
* Using the control room to lure it to the top water tank where Chika will destroy it with her powerful shot, Osamu realizes too late about this trap because when Chika fires, there are still some of those liquid in her gun and it exploded in her face.
* With almost everyone taken out, Lilith has no choice but to reveal her true form. So is she a Trion soldier? Or some sort of goddess mecha? But she packs one hell of a powerful blast. She can’t make any further rash moves because Giev has got Osamu as his hostage. They retreat for now and shortly after Lilith collapses.
* Time for flashback. Xeno was a scientist experimenting and creating Trion soldiers. One day he stumbled upon Lilith, a very life-like Trion soldier that can experience emotions. Fascinated by her, he interacts and talks with her. She was created by Lamia, Ergatis’ top scientist and despite never stepping foot out of the lab, she can have realistic dreams. So Xeno took her out to experience the real world. Yeah, like taking out your robot girl on a date?
* When it is discovered the scientists intend to keep her for battle and erase all those unnecessary memories and feelings, that is when Xeno took Lilith and flee. Lilith once transformed into her true form to protect him. Their goal is to live quietly on another planet where nobody knows their identities.
* The rest tries to search for Osamu’s whereabouts but it is like finding a needle in a haystack. Osamu tries the toilet trick in an attempt to get his Trigger from Giev but fails. When Reiji’s team start fighting Giev’s Trion soldiers outside, Giev made the stupidest careless mistake by putting down Osamu’s Trigger. And why didn’t they tie Osamu up properly either? Because this allows Osamu to activate his Trion. Although he was quickly destroyed and returned to normal, this gave out a signal to pinpoint where his whereabouts at a rock quarry.
* Giev welcomes his enemies to find him because it will mean easier for him to catch them all in one fell swoop.

* Chika and Xeno become separate from Yuuma while they traverse the maze-like quarry. Yuuma then stumbles into Giev who uses a Trion soldier to peek into his memories and materialize ordinary Trion soldiers like Bamsters and Marmods for him to fight. He thinks Giev is trying to learn his moves which means using his usual techniques will not work. It gets to a point where Replica is replicated. Yuuma is not fooled and instantly cuts him down. This greatly upsets Yuuma as he uses his Black Trigger to kick ass and break out of his predicament and confront Giev. But Giev isn’t so worried yet and confident Yuuma can’t beat him. Because he too has a Black Trigger.
* Chika and Xeno find Osamu (after he manages to break out from a Trion soldier guarding him) as they go try to find Yuuma. But first they need to retrieve Osamu’s Trigger. After doing so, they are kept company by Trion soldiers that can assimilate themselves as walls, making the maze even a harder and trickier place.
* Flashback shows Lamia told Giev that Xeno stole their top secret Trion soldier, Lilith. She told him to retrieve Lilith and kill Xeno. Because Giev has some grudge against Xeno, he accepts the mission.
* With both Black Trigger users clash, Giev unleash superior Trion soldiers that know every move Yuuma makes. Xeno takes over Yuuma’s place so that the latter can go help Osamu and Chika trapped underneath the rubble from their powerful Trion attack to exterminate the enemies.
* Although Giev is superior, Lilith then enters the fray in her true form and destroys all of Giev’s Trion soldiers. Giev is upset that Lilith continues to protect Xeno. Giev takes a lot of damage and uses all his energy in focusing to rid Lilith. Xeno is okay as he laments Lilith used up too much Trion to save him. Giev is lying somewhere and knows he won’t last long.
* But next morning, he is alright again. This is the last day and Giev becomes desperate to apprehend his targets while his hate for Xeno constantly grows. He attacks their hideout but Reiji, Karasuma and Konami provide tough resistance. Giev goes all out to even sacrifice his Trion soldiers just to win. He even tries to provoke Xeno that Trion soldiers are just soulless tools for war.

* When Giev is victorious, he realizes his targets aren’t in the hideout. They are hiding in another place. The Tamakoma trio revive to take him out. That is when Giev starts transforming into a monstrous form against his will. At the same time, reports come in that the entire Shizuka City has been taken hostage to harness their Trion. They thought it was Giev’s plan but he clearly has no idea about this. Turns out that Charon is behind this and this real plan involves gathering a large amount of Trion. Giev realizes he is just a Trion soldier.
* Giev turns into a giant Trion soldier. He wasn’t just a prototype before Lilith but somewhat a failure. However he is so powerful that he blasts a hole in the mountain! Thank goodness he stopped functioning after watching the sunset since nobody could even bring him down.
* Back at the hideout, they discuss if the sunset is a trigger for Giev. Lilith relates that Lamia once told her stories about the sunset and when Xeno took her to see the real sunset, it was beautiful. Lamia might have told sunset stories to Giev as well.
* Giev just woke up from yet another dream with Lamia. He attacks Charon for being deceived but Charon mocks his unrequited love towards Lamia and was abandoned by her. And then Charon erases those unnecessary memories.
* Our agents are then trapped in a thick barrier as Giev attacks them once more. Lilith tries to talk some sense into him and make him remember some of the memories deep inside his heart that are hard to erase. Well, all Giev understands is that he needs to do whatever it takes to make Lamia happy. So he absorbs Lilith and turns into a more powerful but hideous Trion soldier. Is this giant ET?
* Xeno’s distrust of Osamu and co grows when he thinks they are going to hand Lilith over to the higher ups once this is over. He traps them and will solve this himself.
* Charon is trying to order Giev to blow up himself along with Lilith so as long as not to leave any Ergatis technology behind.
* Lilith is trying to minimize the explosion (if it happens) but she can’t hold on very much longer and since Xeno fails to save her, he has to go back and request help from Osamu. It’s the umpteenth time Osamu promised he will not betray and you still hesitate? No time left. Just do it!
* The plan involves cutting open Giev’s outer shell enough to pull out and rescue Lilith and also cut off that cancerous bulging Trion supply to prevent the explosion. Charon thought he knew all of Yuuma’s tricks but surprisingly Giev is the one who drags Charon closer to the core. They’re going to die together.
* After Xeno rescues Lilith, she says the self-destruct mode isn’t stopped yet. If you’re wondering why Osamu and co hiding behind a few trees can save their lives when this worse-than-atomic-bomb explosion blows up, it is because the other Border agents who are just fresh from saving the entire Shizuka citizens and ridding every Trion soldiers there is, chip in their Trion to put up a barrier strong enough to contain the blast.
* Xeno and Lilith say goodbye before they miss their flight to the next planet. Not that Lilith mind staying back with her friends. For once, Xeno really thanks Osamu. Lilith also shows her thanks by kissing everyone’s cheeks. Mad Xeno takes back his thanks and couldn’t be happier to leave.

B-Rank Wars Arc (cont.)
* Osamu knows he is insufficient and relying too much on Yuuma and Chika. All he does is come up with a plan and give orders, right? So we are going to have a summarized review of all the B-Rank matches they’ve had so far. I’m not going to do this again so let’s move on.
* Osamu follows Rindo and Yuuma to see Kido at HQ. But he is surprised that Hyuse will also be going. After the large invasion, Tamakoma branch has been keeping him here.
* Naturally Hyuse is not obliged to give out any information and will not speak out. Shinoda confirms with Yuuma about how prisoners are treated in those worlds. Torturing a prisoner is useless since many would say anything to save their skin. To extract information, many are needed for consistency so torturing one would be just for amusement. But this is why Yuuma is brought here. To see if Hyuse is lying. How is he going to tell if he isn’t going to speak?
* Shinoda isn’t trying to threaten Hyuse or anything but he tells him how his team had intentions to kill Enedra and abandon him from the start. They even have audio and visual proof if he wants to check out. So after being abandoned, does he still feel the need to be loyal to his country? This angers Hyuse for a while but his lips are still sealed.
* Seeing they can’t get more out of him, Kido has Rindo take him back. But for Yuuma, he wants him to follow Kinuta for some R&D. As explained by the grumpy fatty, although he laments Osamu letting the Ergatis pair go because they could have gotten more information, Kinuta made a deal with Kido that if Yuuma agrees to help his department out, they would allow Hyuse to be under Tamakoma’s care even if it’s forfeiting their only Aftokrator information source go.
* Kinuta shows them Enedra. The real one is dead. Because Aftokrator’s horns serve like some sort of personality backup, they manage to plant them into this Rad and talk. Because he is surprisingly cooperative, Kinuta needs Yuuma to see if he is lying.
* Enedra explains the large invasion was part of a mission is to find a replacement for Aftokrator’s dying god. Each planet is made out of Triggers that often give life to them for a few centuries before dying out. So if that Trigger/god dies, the planet dies. Of course capturing small fries won’t simply replace the god as there are strict conditions. Enedra is willing to betray his countrymen and even tell a way to get to Aftokrator because his aim is to get revenge on those who betrayed and killed him. While Yuuma detects some lies in his statements, at least cooperating with them is true.

* Osamu and co are then visited by Masataka Ninomiya, one of the top squads they’ll face in the next B-Rank battle. He is gets straight to the point about Rinji. First he shows them a picture of a woman and if they know her. Nope. This woman is suspected of supplying Triggers to civilians and disappeared. It is believed she went through the gate. There were 3 others with her too but since they aren’t from Border, they must be civilians. Supplying Triggers to outsiders is a grave breach and offence. Kazama Squad was to hunt them down but they were already gone. Ninomya wants to find out about her collaborators and Rinji is one of those suspects.
* Even if Ninomiya finds out, it is too late to do anything. The executives are already keeping this under wraps as spreading word about this will have serious percussions. Only a handful knows about this. This incident also caused Ninomiya Squad to be demoted.
* The reason Ninomiya is investigating this case because this woman, Mirai Hatohara was once his squad’s sniper. As his subordinate, he knows she cannot pull off something this big and there must be some mastermind behind this. Osamu remembers from what Rinji told him, he could be the one. Surprisingly Chika also believes it could be Rinji because he is capable of pulling off something this big. But there is no supportive evidence whatsoever. Osamu also believes Hatohara wasn’t instigated into this by the mastermind but their interests aligned so they made a deal.
* Osamu wants to know the progress Ninomiya made but he won’t tell anything. At this rate they cannot become A-Rank and go for away missions. So what is the use of telling him information he will never use? If they really want to find Rinji, let Yuuma join an A-Rank. That’s the most viable way to go to other planets lawfully.
* Since Osamu wants to be a proper fighter instead of relying too much on Yuuma, Karasuma arranges for him to get training from Arashiyama and Izumi.
* Chika is also in her sniper training and meets fellow sniper, Yuzuru Ema. She learns his mentor was Hatohara. To his knowledge, Hatohara qualified for away missions but was side-lined and disqualified by the executives simply because she cannot shoot humans. She won matches by shooting and disabling her opponents’ weapons. Chika too mentions she can’t shoot humans because of fear. Ema finds it funny since he is from Kageura Squad whom her team will face next.
* Yuuma finishes another training with Murakami. He asks about Masato Kageura since he is one of the few persons Murakami has trouble is despite not ranking high. Yuuma will soon witness first-hand about his bad temperamental personality. His Side Effect may look like he can read people’s minds but it is more of some sort of negative emotions he feels from others. Depending on what negative emotions, it pricks his skin and gives him pain, thus his moody personality.
* Osamu is supposed to go train with Izumi but this cocky Takeru Yuiga stops him at all cost. He brags himself to be one of the top A-Rank agents but as Izumi puts it, he is the weakest A-Rank agent and even weaker than many B-Rank agents. Izumi has Osamu train by getting 100 wins from him. It is no easy task seeing how weak Osamu is. 2 out of 10 wins isn’t all that bad. If Yuiga can just stop the bragging…
* As Karasuma explains, Yuiga is the son of Border’s top sponsor. Because so, he insisted to join an A-Rank team but since nobody wanted this snobbish guy around, the executives eventually threw him into Tachikawa Squad.

* The next round of matches begin with the 4 teams dropping into a city landscape that is snowing.
* Kageura Squad’s Hiro Kitazoe seem like the first to draw first blood but his Meteora bombardment is haphazard and sloppy, missing everything!
* Everybody seems to be targeting Tamakoma-2 because they have the weakest defence and preventing them from rendezvousing.
* While Yuuma is forced to ‘play’ with Kageura, Osamu is being targeted by Ninomiya Squad’s Sumiharu Inukai. Azuma Squad’s Tsuneyuki Okudera and Noboru Koarai join in the battle but Inukai’s teammate, Shinnosuke Tsuji backs him up.
* It seems like Osamu is being ‘neglected’ because the duo of Azuma Squad and Ninomiya Squad are fighting each other inside a building, a tactic working well for the former since they picked the stage so that with the snow preventing mobility outside, they are able to force their enemies to come inside buildings with narrower hallways which enhances their melee combat. That is when Haruaki Azuma uses his superb sniping skills to shoot through the walls and directly hits Osamu! Instant Bail Out! First casualty. Everybody is looking so shock.
* Chika has a chance to take out the quartet inside the building in 1 shot. However she still has that disability of not shooting people and is hesitant. When she does, she missed. At least the quartet sensed it enough to get out in time.
* Chika is supposed to Bail Out but Azuma is close on her tail that the feature is disabled. Although Inukai is close on her tail, he is sniped by Ema and then finished by Kageura. Chika is then able to Bail Out safely.
* All the attackers are now here. Yuuma, Kageura, Okudera, Koarai and Tsuji duke each other out in a mad close quarter combat but Yuuma is mostly targeted as he is the most mobile.
* Ninomiya hunts down Ema and finishes him off. Azuma tries to snipe Kitazoe but is blocked by Ninomiya simply because he wants the points. Before Kitazoe gets owned, he lets out another sloppy bombardment on the attackers. During the chaotic disarray, Kageura slashed Okudera, Yuuma took out Koarai and Azuma shot down Tsuji. Now Kageura can fight Yuuma in peace.
* Too bad Ninomiya came to spoil the party and rain down all his Trion power on them. Yuuma has taken lots of damage and in his final attempt to strike, he loses all his Trion and Bails Out. Even top guys have to lose once in a while. With only 3 left, it becomes super quiet and the match ends when the time runs out. I guess no more easy targets to take out so they’re just playing the waiting game.
* Now that it is over, there is lots of soul searching for Osamu. Being given a hint from Kazama to do his duty as captain, he goes to talk to Jin and wants him to join Tamakoma-2 since he is now a free agent. Of course he can’t seeing he has important things to do. Jin doesn’t want Osamu to rush since there will always be chances in the future but Osamu is really in a hurry. As we know, Yuuma doesn’t have time left and that is why they need to become A-Rank agents and join away teams so that Yuuma and Replica can reunite.
* Jin tells Osamu it isn’t his fault that Replica is gone. It was Jin’s fault to begin with. His Side Effect already told him that Chika was already targeted. Yet he knew he could have sent her far away. But he doesn’t want other areas to be damaged and thus decided on a future that could have cost Osamu’s life and sealed Replica’s fate. Thus he is mostly responsible for what happened to Replica. Jin hints that there is someone else more suitable to join Tamakoma-2.

* Jin joins the other elites in an emergency meeting. From the information they have extracted from Enedra, there are 3 Neighbour nations that will approach Earth soon and another attack threat. Among them are Rhodokrhoun and Galopoula, both vassals of Aftokrator. As Jin has not seen another kidnapping or deaths, perhaps this invasion could be stealth and not target people but technology. For now, Kido doesn’t want this to get out to the public and they will do their operations covertly to avoid unnecessary panic since the last invasion was just recent.
* After Osamu tells Konami and Reiji about his failed recruitment plans over Jin, they think about it and think the person whom he meant might be Hyuse. No, not Yotaro. However Hyuse will refuse to cooperate any how even in the rare case if HQ allows it.
* Osamu and Yuuma go to talk to Enedra to find out more about Hyuse but learn the impending invasion. Enedra might not know much about these 2 nations but if Earth can repel Aftokrator, these are nothing. How Enedra knows about the invasion is because this is what Hairein would do to play safe.
* Yuuma feels odd that Aftokrator should be happy their Trion source would come to them instead of going on invasions. Enedra explains when they get back, there is usually a big argument to choose the next god. Because this is a very important decision for the planet’s future, everyone has their own opinions and disagreements, thus they have no time to defend invasions themselves.
* Enedra warns not to tell this to Hyuse because he has a feeling he might be trying to find an opportunity to get back to his homeland.
* Chika gets training from Ema who suggests she uses and shoot lead bullets that immobilize the targets with heavy lead instead. Of course it has lots of drawbacks but it is the only way if Chika can’t shoot people.
* Enedra further explains the Aftokrator feudal system how there are 4 feudal lords and many houses and subordinates under them. Hairein is one of the 4. If they’re not fighting other planets, they argue among themselves. With the planet’s god dying, this gives a chance for the feudal lords to increase their influence with their achievements. Hairein has a pessimistic way of thinking so he took into account his away missions to fail. If that happens (in which it did because they failed to get Chika), he will use the one with the strongest Trion under his house as replacement. That replacement is Erin house who is Hyuse’s master. Since this is an unpopular move, the reason Hyuse is abandoned but Hairein is determined to do all it takes to increase his influence. That is why even if Hyuse hasn’t concluded of this betrayal, he would still want to go back home to his master and the impending invasion is his chance.

* Yuuma is about to go train himself when Nozomi Kako, the captain of Kako Squad approaches him and invites him to join her team. Instantly he rejects and despite all the goodies her team is willing to throw in, Yuuma has his own reasons to stick with Osamu.
* As advised by Tokieda, Osamu is better off seeking training from Kitora. She again? Of course she declines seeing that with his goals and limited time, it is very unlikely it will do him any good. She is being realistic but you wouldn’t know if you don’t try, right? Eventually seeing Osamu beg must have bothered her so she agrees to teach him how to use Spider. It is just a low level trap and unpopular in Rank Wars. But Osamu can use it as his own weapon like distracting others.
* Jin senses the enemy has arrived. The squads sortie to protect the base and at the same time the B-Rank Wars will proceed. This means Tamakoma-2 and other B-Rank teams playing tonight are unaware of what is going on. If the breach is only very serious, the Rank Wars will be stopped and all agents will go on duty.
* They see the Trion soldiers to have humanoid features. They are smarter as they work in groups and can use shields. They also have gadgets that open portals to let other Trion soldiers in. Their numbers are overwhelming as the A-Rank Agents on the ground have to retreat to higher places for now. At the same time, Tamakoma-2 begins to start their next match.

They Make The Strangest Animes Ever
You know what? I thought they ran out of budget and that is why the sudden end of the series. Or maybe fans got bored after they inserted more drama after the last B-Rank Wars. Despite that arc continued after the filler, there was only actually 1 B-Rank match. And that lasted for a few episodes. Getting boring and draggy, right? Then it’s like they counted how many episodes left needed for the rest of the season. They put in the exciting stuff of another Neighbour invasion in the final scenes and leave everything as a cliff-hanger. Well, that sucks. They even had the cheek to let Jin tell us his Side Effect tells us that a possible future may have a sequel. Remember, one of the MANY possible futures. Have we lost interest yet? It’s disappointing that they have to end it like this.

Honestly, the plot and the story arcs are not too shabby and some of them are quite interesting like the Aftokrator invasion and B-Rank Wars, although they may be a little bit draggy with some drama here and there but they’re still interesting. However the worst storyline and the one that possibly tested my patience was that unnecessary Fugitive arc. Since it was an anime only story, I guess it is just a damn freaking filler. It was painful to watch because it was so filler-like that didn’t contribute much to the original plot. And you know very well that I’m going to say it is not that bad after all because luckily they casted Mamiko Noto as Lilith. Or else the entire series would just tank just because of this damn arc. Really. Some little development I’m sure we’ve forgotten by the time the anime ends. Remember the 3 factions in Border? What happened to that?

Building and trying to get viewers into this series’ world setting is a good way to cultivate interest. There are a handful of terms especially the weapons and fighting tactics that they used that one could learn as you watch. They aren’t hard to learn and remember but personally I’m just lazy (thus you see lack of my terms used in this blog). Heck, they even have this 100 Fun Facts segment at the end of the series before the next episode preview. Well, it is interesting at first as they explain more about the world, concepts, terms and characters, it starts to get old and sometimes annoying. I bet it won’t reach 100 fun facts because there are only 73 damn episodes! You cheated us! Even more so they short-changed us when some of the earlier topics they covered in earlier episodes are covered again very much later. It’s like they’ve run out of topics to cover and think a refreshing course would suffice. Although they didn’t use recycled footage for it, but it’s bad enough to think that there is nothing more to learn and you’re just waiting for the characters to do some punch line or something.

One of the biggest problems facing animes that have so many episodes is the number of characters. This one has a lot. And I mean really a lot. And these are just the Border agents themselves. While it is good to have a variety of characters aside the main ones and tell different stories that would one day all (if not some) converge, the downside is that from the perspective of this anime I don’t really feel connected to them. Some even feel forgettable that I don’t even remember them what more their names by the time the anime ends. Heck, I think they even introduced a few more as the anime heads towards its closing. Like would that even matter? For example, some like Miwa whom was featured decently enough in the beginning start to fall off the radar after the Aftokrator invasion. It’s like he doesn’t matter anymore. This is true with many of the other characters from other squads whom at this point I can’t even remember. Still remember Midorikawa? No? Me too.

So many characters involved that you will eventually noticed that every damn episode they when a minor or a supporting character pops up, his name and rank will pop up in a small box to introduce us. Again. It might be good for lesser known characters we have forgotten but not so for those we should have already know by now. I get this guy is named Jin so can you please stop spamming his name already each time he appears the first time in today’s episode? So while it is only logical and right that Osamu and the Tamakoma side get more focus than the other squads, sometimes it makes me feel that if introducing so many characters is necessary in the first place. Of course I understand that Border is a huge organization with so many agents so it is not like you’re going to meet a handful of powerful and mediocre ones. So with this bunch of Border agents, you can at least feel that this is very large and diverse organization with different people. I’m sure they are trying to let us know more some of the characters in detail because the mid-intermission puts up the bio-data of the characters although they are mostly recycled because well, we’ll all know just this bunch of them only, right? The weirdest information on this data screen is the zodiac. They aren’t your typical Aries, Cancer or Virgo constellations but something that is even more complicated to read and pronounce. Yeah, what the heck is an Aptenodytes? I don’t know what constellations they follow but I figure that if they have other planet nations from the other side of the galaxy, I’m sure the stars in the sky are also different.

Having seen so many characters and people in Border, it raises the biggest question while I was watching the series: How come that a big majority of the Border agents are high school kids or college kids? The oldest usually being young adults. Whatever happened to real adults who are supposed to be help protecting the city with them? Do they just get promoted to executives and work behind the scenes? I mean, it is true that if you are on the battlefield, you have to be fit and sharp to stay ahead of your game. So being a Border agent is like being a sportsman? Once you reach a certain age because your body has grown old, you ‘retire’ and get a desk job behind Border’s HQ. Noticed all those middle aged guys as executives? Yeah, I guess this theory of mine explains why there are so many young kids who are supposed to be in school learning something but instead out there fighting giant monsters. It’s not like the country made a compulsory draft for all teenagers who reached a certain age, right? Even if they did, these kids are still in high school for heaven’s sake. Ah, stolen childhood years. But how can you have a peaceful one when Neighbours keep invading. And yeah, why do all females become operators? Is this some sort of stereotype? Yeah, we love hearing the soothing female voice over the telecommunications, right? As far as I remember, there was only 1 male as an operator and he is a highly ranked macho man working behind the scenes.

So let me go into some of the individual characters. Over the course of the entire series, personally I think Osamu didn’t really improve much. Yes, he does improve but not in a big way that there would be any sort of major changes or impact to anything. He is still a weakling after all that training. I believe he takes a longer time to get better but at this rate he might turn into an old man and never get to go on an away mission. His brains might be his forte but that can only get him so far. The said can be said about his kindness to help everyone. I understand it is good that he sticks to his ideals but in the world he lives in, if he doesn’t adapt quickly, he’ll end up regretting and hurting others. As almost seen it can happen in certain situations. Each time he promises his team they will do better next time, is it like trolling or promise still unfulfilled yet?

It doesn’t help too that teammate Chika isn’t all that great either. The only thing worthy about her is her large amount of Trion. That’s about it. She is a good sniper but only because of the super big amount of Trion she discharges when she pulls the trigger. Even worse as we learnt that she is unable to pull the trigger when it involves living things. Wait. What? I know you’re trying to keep your good little girl image but you have got to prioritize what is important. Guess what too? She can’t even fight back? I understand she specializes in sniping and doesn’t have good martial arts but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when she had to voluntarily Bail Out in a mock battle when she is cornered. Talk about going down with a fight. Not. So if Tamakoma-2 gets screwed, the only viable option for Chika is to surrender without a fight. I don’t want to believe she is frail and weak. I know the match was to avoid enemies from taking points since she voluntarily Bailed Out but that’s not the point. She should at least try, know what I’m saying?

Because here is the biggest irony of Tamakoma-2. They want to quickly get promoted to A-Rank agents and for away missions but yet they cannot even overcome such a simple stuff like this. It made me think if the series is trying to portray a kind of hero whereby they are given 2 choices in which they can only make one choice but instead they f*ck that choice and will be going for both. It’s like they want things to go their way and that the situation should change for them instead of them adapting to the situation. Because like in Chika’s case if she cannot even shoot a people even if it is training, what are the chances of Tamakoma-2 winning the B-Rank Wars and moving up? The other teams aren’t going to be so kind and just let them have a walkover, aren’t they? So they have got to realize and open their eyes on what is important now. What do they want? So can Chika at least get over herself and shoot people? And when I say that I don’t mean to kill them. Just shoot and immobilize them. That’s it. You don’t have to kill.

Therefore the only reliable member in Tamakoma-2 is Yuuma. This guy is pretty cool and experienced so I have no complaints about him. Sometimes when I see Tamakoma-2 in action, I just feel compelled to root for Yuuma instead of the others. Quickly commenting on the other Tamakoma members, Yotaro feels redundant as he just sits around giving comments. After all, he is just a kid so what else you expect him to do? So he is relegated to playing the comic relief role. I guess they need somebody young and cute in addition to a capybara. But you know that the producers need to do something to make Yotaro’s reputation seem less like that when they even give him a filler episode of his own inside a filler arc! How f*cking badass is that?! I don’t think Jin even gets his own damn episode! Speaking of this cool guy, sometimes I feel his Side Effect is just a blatant reason and an excuse for a plot to move in a certain direction. His clairvoyance isn’t perfect but it is sure hell of a useful at convenient times. It’s like he is reading directly out from the director’s script and know what is exactly going to happen. Because have you seen this guy panicky before? Just cool all the way. The rest of the Tamakoma Squad are good mentors and good people. Reiji is the serious type so nobody messes with him and Shiori the hard working operator. Karasuma loves teasing and bluffing Konami and see her reaction. She’s so cute when she realizes she is fooled so it is no wonder Karasuma loves doing this and pulls it off magnificently with his poker face and also because Konami is just naïve. But why take it all out on Osamu? Yeah, your running joke for Tamakoma.

Let me see some of the other characters who are worth commenting. Ah, Izuho. I thought she would become Osamu’s fourth team member and I was waiting for it for a long time even before Osamu had the thought of recruiting. But that never came to be because I realized Izuho is still C-Rank! Man, how long is she going to be a trainee? So what the heck is her role for except to be Chika’s friend in training and the girl who carries a cat with dead eyes around? WTF?! Then there is this mysterious Amo guy. Due to lack of appearing and information on him, he sounds like he is the biggest trump card after Jin because short clips show him all alone by himself in a wasteland like as though he is some very dangerous person with uncontrolled powers. Well, it’s a waste of opportunity for this guy at least in this anime. Kitora is being a b*tch at first but I have a hunch and just hoping she is just being tsundere with Osamu. I hope she is. Sure, she has a crush on Karasuma but what good will that do? What the heck am I thinking of hoping for some sort of romance triangle in this series? When you have a long running series, you tend to put and mash everything inside. So sorry. No romance, no fanservice. Say what???!!!! No fanservice? But that pool episode? Sorry. Girls in their ordinary swimsuits just don’t cut it these days. But lashing out at Kitora for being harsh is just unfair. She is just being realistic. Because everyone else is mostly too kind to Osamu, he might get ‘spoilt’. In turn, he might end up getting very disappointed and soul crushed. For a guy like him, it is most likely to happen.

The action scenes are quite exciting to watch. It might not be top notched but they are still interesting in its own right when you see the characters pull off different moves and tactics to get the better of their opponents. That’s why I said the Aftokrator invasion and the B-Rank Wars were the most interesting arcs as they showcase lots of battles and different characters using a combination of different styles. But sometimes I can’t help that this fake Trion body that they use in battles makes this whole war thing fake and cheating because even if you lose a limb (you don’t even feel pain), the most is that you Bail Out and return to your real body inside the comfy safety of Border’s HQ. It’s also like a censor since in place of blood, Trion energy drips out and thus less scary for younger audiences. That way too, no major and supporting characters get killed off. Yeah.

The art and drawing seem simple and decent. Although it is not very bad but it is simplistic enough to make you think that this isn’t such a high quality anime in the looks department because they’re going to spread this out over 70 episodes so why not just make it look a bit cartoonish to appeal to kids. Yeah, that. While many of the character designs look simple and you’d probably tell them apart from their different hairstyle and colours, some also look a bit odd like Tachikawa has bug eyes! Creepy? But the oddest and most inconsistent one goes to Chika. That’s right. It seems that she can go from looking cute to looking weird in a matter of frames. That’s because with the kind of hairstyle she has, she sometimes looks like a kokeshi doll and sometimes have high bangs. Making her looking weirder is her smile that sometimes make her look like a frog. No, seriously. When characters go into chibi mode, they have butt mouths… I’m not kidding you. The designs for the Trion soldiers look a bit bland after a while. They look like they take after some animals like Rabits obviously from bunnies, Rad like scorpions and Vanders look like giant worms. Yeah. “They’re sinking cities with a giant worm!” ;p. For the Trion soldiers during the Fugitive arc, I thought those fat brown ones look like they were inspired from Doom’s Mancubus. Rock version. Speaking of the Trion soldiers’ design, their weak point is so obvious in the form of a ball right in front of their mouths. It’s like saying, “Hey, shoot here. That’s my weak point!”. Design fail. Shouldn’t they have just put it somewhere inside the body where it is less obvious?

Voice acting seems pretty decent and with so many characters, I can’t really name them all (read: lazy) but there are a handful that were instantly recognizable like Yuuki Kaiji as Osamu, Yuuichi Nakamura as Jin, Jun Fukuyama as Karasuma, Rie Kugimiya as Konami, Kana Hanazawa as Kitora, Keiji Fujiwara as Rindo, Junichi Suwabe as Ninomiya, Tomokazu Sugita as Kageura and Tetsuya Kakihara as Yuiga. Not forgetting from the useless Fugitive arc, Mamiko Noto as Lilith (all praises to her!), Daisuke Sakaguchi as Xeno (no Shinapachi voice here) and Takahiro Sakurai as Giev. Rest of the other main casts are Tomo Muranaka as Yuuma (Micie in Escha & Logy), Nao Tamura as Chika (Minori in Log Horizon), Eri Nakao as Shiori (Miki in Hayate No Gotoku), Megumi Urawa as Yotaro (Makoto Kurita in Jigoku Sensei Nube), Tomoaki Maeno as Reiji (Junichi in Amagami SS), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Arashiyama (Accelerator in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Hikaru Midorikawa as Kazama (Lancer in Fate series), Masakazu Morita as Miwa (Ichigo in Bleach), Takuya Kirimoto as Kido (Gazelle in Eureka Seven Ao), Takeshi Kusao as Shinoda (Trunks in Dragonball series), Hideyuki Tanaka as Replica (Kogure in Slam Dunk), Hiromi Konno as Izuho (Sae in Amagami SS), Nozomu Sasaki as Hairein (Ushio in Ushio & Tora), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Hyuse (Shido in Date A Live) and Sakiko Tamagawa as Charon (Natsumi in You’re Under Arrest). Phew. What long list. I think I missed out some but I don’t care anymore :p.

I think when I say the opening themes are unique will be misleading. Heck, there is only an opening theme and no ending theme. Wait. That isn’t accurate either. At first it started out as an opening theme but a few episodes into the series, they ‘changed’ and now this theme is right smack in the middle of the episode! Fancy hearing your anime music right in the middle? The only series that has only that I watched that has an opener but without an ending theme is One Piece. They’re still doing it. But that was right in the beginning. So for this series, they seemed to save cost without the need to put in additional songs. Because for a long running series, having 3 themes overall is just pathetic if you compare it to today’s standards. But what about the music? That’s more important, right? Well, the first opener, Girigiri by Sonar Pocket is personally the best one because it has this hip hop and dance feel to it and it has some synthesizer effects that make it sound cool. The second opener is a slower ballad but still not bad, Ashita No Hikari by AAA (WTF is this group name?! Running out of ideas?!). Finally the rock based Dream Trigger by Pile.

Overall, this series might be longer than your usual single or double cour seasons and doesn’t break up or take break in between seasons like what some other animes are doing. But because it doesn’t run forever and ended, it still feels a bit like a long journey. People’s attention these days are so short. As I can see there are so much more potential in the story and characters that I myself is in a dilemma that if they continue this with more seasons, I don’t know if I would be happy to watch or will dread watching it. But since I have already ‘a foot in the grave’ with this series, might as well continue and give it another chance. Too bad I don’t have Jin’s Side Effect to tell me if it is happening or not. If you like series that can work as your Sunday cartoons for teens, this one has all the typical formula that you will love. Lots of characters and pretty cool fights as well as a somewhat simple plot (“Destroy Neighbours!”, “Let’s train to power up and participate in matches to advance!”) so it is still enjoyable to that degree. Until then, it’s Trigger Off. On standby mode at least.

P/S: I wanted to insert a “Love Thy Neighbour” pun somewhere but it seems I couldn’t find the right place ;p.

Gyakuten Saiban

February 11, 2017

After several video games, a handful of spinoffs, a live action movie and countless of parodies, Gyakuten Saiban (or better known as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney in the west) finally receives its anime adaptation. Albeit the 24 episode anime series is only adapting from the first 2 games of the series. So if you ever dream of ever becoming a lawyer but couldn’t just because your understanding of the law sucks, you can draw inspiration from this series to be one. Or at least satiate your obsession of watching courtroom dramas. Or maybe we just wanted an excuse to say “Igi ari!” (“Objection!”). Yeah, that felt good, doesn’t it?

Episode 1
A man kills a woman. In order not to be suspected, he plans to pin the blame on somebody. Ryuuichi Naruhodo is a rookie defence attorney and is about to make his first court case appearance after getting his badge 3 months ago. Chihiro Ayasato is his boss and wouldn’t miss his first case which is homicidal for the world. The suspect is Masashi Yahari who is Naruhodo’s best friend. Because the media accused and painted him as a killer, this was a reason why Naruhodo became an attorney. He knows he is a good man but has the worst luck. And worst attitude. Takefumi Auchi is the prosecutor as he presents evidence of 22 year old model, Mika Takabi in her apartment. She was killed by a blunt object which is a sculpture made by Yahari given to her as a gift. Naturally his fingerprints are all over it. It doesn’t help with Yahari acting like an uncivilized idiot and making it even more suspicious is the accusation Yahari may be jealous of Mika’s current boyfriend and killed her in a fit of rage. He was after all at her apartment on the day of her death. I wonder why the defence attorney didn’t speak on his behalf and let Yahari just rant his mouth like that. Auchi calls in an eyewitness who is no doubt that real killer, Hoshio Yamano. As a newspaper subscription seller, he accounts how he saw Yahari left the apartment before he stumbled upon the body. Naruhodo cross-examines him and holes in Yamano’s story surface when the difference in time contradicts his story. He said he found the body at 2pm when the autopsy report listed it as 4pm. There was no other way to tell the time since there was a temporarily blackout. The time is told from the sculpture since Yahari created an in-build clock inside that can tell the time once you turn the head. However Naruhodo’s cross-examining comes to a halt when he cannot prove if the clock was running slow on the day of the murder. He thought he has lost when Chihiro hints to him to think from a different perspective. Naruhodo comes back with proof from Mika’s passport that she recently returned from USA. That time difference was enough to indict Yamano as the culprit and free Yahari. The real story goes as Yamano is a thief who robs from his subscribers when they are out. At that time Mika had just came back and he took the sculpture and whacked her head. Yahari is grateful to Naruhodo. He gives the sculpture to Chihiro as gift. That murder weapon? He thought Mika never loved him but on the contrary they think she did because why bother bringing something bulky all the way overseas?

Episode 2
Chihiro invites Naruhodo to dinner at the office since her little sister, Mayoi will come visit her. When he comes at the appointed time, he finds the office in a mess and Chihiro’s body lying slumped against the wall. He sees Mayoi cowering in fear in a corner. Detective Keisuke Itonokogiri and his police force arrive. They see a blood written word that spells Mayoi’s name on the back of the receipt. He is convinced she is the culprit and arrests her. Next day, Naruhodo talks to her at prison. He learns she was visiting her sister because she wanted to show her the sculpture. Her odd outfit is because she is a spirit medium although just an apprentice. Her family has always been well known in the spirit arts especially the women. Of course since she is still a trainee, she can’t really contact her dead sister yet. She wants Naruhodo to contact her lawyer, Soraonsuke Hoshikage because Chihiro said to contact him if anything happens. Although Naruhodo wants to defend her, she doesn’t think he can because when she first saw how he looked at her at the murder scene, she was convinced he saw her as guilty. Naruhodo agrees to contact Hoshikage for her and that lawyer accepts the case since Chihiro was his student. Naruhodo returns to his office to find Mayoi’s dropped handphone. It has the conversation with Chihiro the other night. Itonokogiri thinks Naruhodo is Mayoi’s defence lawyer and wants him to give up. There is no chance for him to win since the prosecutor is Reiji Mitsurugi. He has never lost a case ever since becoming one at the young age of 20! After hearing the only witness, Shouchiku Umeyo is still living at the hotel opposite, Naruhodo sneaks in to find some clues and discovers a strange screwdriver, a cufflink and a wiretap. He gets a call from Hoshikage that he can’t take up the case anymore and can’t even refer to another defence lawyer. He knows he can’t give up on Mayoi because she is in the exact position as he was when he was young (kids finding him guilty without proof). Naruhodo informs Mayoi who knows she has been abandoned. But she sees how hard Naruhodo has been trying for her. His notebook contains many numbers of other lawyers. All do not want to take the case except for a couple. He is going to try contacting them. Then they just screw all that complication and hire each other. It works, right? At the court, we see the vast difference between the lawyers. Mitsurugi is swamped with reporters, arriving in a sports car and has tons of reputation behind him. Naruhodo arrives alone on his bicycle and is basically a nobody. Yeah, David versus Goliath. The duo come face to face in the courtroom and it seems they know each other not because of media coverage.

Episode 3
Mitsurugi calls Itonokogiri to the witness stand and testify how the sculpture was used as the murder weapon and it was Mayoi who did it because of her name on the receipt. DNA lab proves it was Chihiro’s blood. However Naruhodo counters that with the contradiction in his police report that states Chihiro died immediately so there is no way she was alive to write it. Mitsurugi says his report is outdated as a second report this morning amended that she was almost nearly dead. WTF?! Umeyo is called to testify. She saw the murder happen from in her hotel room. Although she testifies the time of the murder, Naruhodo has the sculpture examined that inside is empty. But how could he tell it wasn’t removed after the murder? Mayoi’s handphone has a conversation that Chihiro states she removed the clockwork on the morning of her murder. Umeyo panics and slips out she was hearing on the conversation. Naruhodo shows the wiretap and she mentions she was doing it on somebody’s orders and has nothing to do with the murder. Naruhodo takes out the cufflink to confirm if her hirer wears this. This is when Mitsurugi asks for permission for the case to be adjourned to tomorrow since there have been new evidences surfacing and need time to investigate. After Umeyo is arrested for wiretapping, Hoshikage comes to see Naruhodo personally. He feels sorry for running away and shows a picture of Masaru Konaka. The cufflinks match so could he be the man? As explained, he is the president of Bluecorp, a company that collects information but in reality digs up dirt and then blackmails you to keep it a secret. He is not arrested since he owns businessmen, politicians, the police and judiciary. Man, it’s like he owns the country! Hoshikage can’t go defy him either. Chihiro has been on his tail for many years now. Naruhodo returns to office to find files on Konaka but they are missing. So he goes to see him at his office (faking an American accent?). Konaka is trying to pain Umeyo his secretary as passing the buck to him so Naruhodo deduces he murdered Chihiro on that night and stole all the files on him. That is when Konaka decides to testify at tomorrow’s court and give juicy details. He is going to make Naruhodo as the one who killed Chihiro! Dumb Itonokogiri was called in to arrest Naruhodo. Mayoi is set free but is shocked to see Naruhodo now swapping her place in prison.

Episode 4
The court resumes as Naruhodo defends himself. Konaka takes the witness stand to testify he was in the hotel room with Umeyo and saw how Naruhodo killed Chihiro. But Naruhodo catches his contradiction when he said he heard the lamp dropped and smashed to bits during the murder. Because based from the hotel’s view, he couldn’t have seen the lamp at the corner and if he had never visited the office before, how did he know what was there? He only knows it because he murdered Chihiro and the lamp was in his sight. Konaka is cornered but Mitsurugi breathes new life by mentioning about the wiretap. Somebody must have entered the office to place it there. Konaka chances his story that he did enter to place the wiretap and thus knows where the lamp is. Of course Konaka’s actions were wrong but will be tried for this another day. As Naruhodo further cross-examines, he cannot break the deadlock and is in danger of being given the guilty verdict. Mayoi prays so hard for help that Chihiro now possesses her body to give Naruhodo a little push. She points to the receipt. Naruhodo presents this old evidence and has everyone look at the date of its purchase. It was bought a few days ago and if Konaka claims he wiretapped weeks ago, he couldn’t have because the lamp wasn’t there. Cornered, Mitsurugi wants to postpone the trial again to perform another inquiry but Chihiro scribbles something and throws at Konaka. It is the list of all the people he blackmailed. She remembers it all in her head and can read them out if he wants. He stops her. Anything but that. He’d rather admit he killed Chihiro than to have the list known. The judge declares Naruhodo and Mayoi not guilty. As Mayoi’s power is not strong, Chihiro will have to go but before that he tells Naruhodo to meet at the office. There, he finds Mayoi ready to work for him since she heard her sister’s last voice to take care of the place.

Episode 5
Mayoi is a big fan of the famous Steel Samurai series. However one morning on the news he has been arrested for murder. The one who played the main antagonist in the show was killed, Takeshi Ibukuro. How ironic. The superhero killed the super villain. Naruhodo and Mayoi go visit Saburou Niboshi (the actor who plays the hero – doesn’t he look like Wolverine?). He states on the day of the murder he had morning practice, then lunch and fell asleep. He overslept and by the time he arrived for rehearsal, the body was there. He is suspected because his samurai spear was impaled in the victim’s body. The duo visit the studio but are stopped by this grandma security personnel, Kaoru Ooba. She is a fan of Ibukuro who played the villain so it says a lot… Itonokogiri is also here investigating and believes Niboshi is really the culprit because from the map, Niboshi had to pass through this security post in which Ooba confirmed only he did as she was keeping watch all the time. As she can’t stop her nagging, a boy trespasses the area. The guys fail to catch him as he escapes but drops a scrapbook. It seems he is a big fan of the series too. After all the investigating, the court is in session with Mitsurugi as Naruhodo’s opponent again. Ooba is called to the stand but she rants about everything that we couldn’t care less to hear. She has photographic proof from the security camera that Niboshi passed the post to commit the murder. If it really shows him, Niboshi is done for. However it is somebody in Steel Samurai’s outfit and how could she tell it was him beneath that costume? During morning practice, Niboshi sprained his ankle and the picture shows him walking limp. Naruhodo notices this is the second picture taken. The first picture taken was deleted by her as suspicious. It is believed to be that trespasser kid. Seeing a kid can’t hold that spear which is quite heavy, he is ruled out from the suspect list. Niboshi is in danger of being declared guilty so Naruhodo takes up Mayoi’s advice to suspect someone else first so he suspects Ooba as the killer. Because she is watching the footage, other than Niboshi and Ibukuro, only she knows Niboshi sprained his ankle. During Niboshi’s nap, she might have donned his costume to hide her identity from the camera. This earns the case to be adjourned tomorrow as the judge tasks Mitsurugi to interrogate Ooba. Naruhodo feels bad for implicating Ooba but the old woman blows her top and will speak the truth. She was told not to mention there were other people at the studio on that day.

Episode 6
She was told her not to reveal those stuffs so obviously. Naruhodo views that in light of such, he obtains permission to adjourn the court and look for more evidence. Talking to Niboshi, he too knows there were other people but was also told to keep quiet. He also knows that boy sneaking around the set a lot since he is a Steel Samurai fan. Though, Niboshi didn’t tell him his identity to not ruin his dream. Revisiting the studio, they see a nerdy guy who turns out to the director. He brings them to the scary producer, Sakura Himegami who tells them no one here could have killed Ibukuro since everyone was trapped here on the time on his murder as the head of the studio’s mascot fell and block the path. Investigating the head holds true as there was a time stamp. As they leave, Ooba is back and berating Naruhodo for accusing her. She was quickly released because when they fit the Steel Samurai costume on her, it didn’t fit. Naruhodo calms her down by pretending he is also a fan of Ibukuro’s movies. Ooba won’t say an accident happened on studio 2 involving Ibukuro 5 years ago. But the boy, Kyuuta Ootaki sneaks in again and Naruhodo catches up to him. Mayoi returns his scrapbook as Kyuuta brags about Steel Samurai and all the photos he took at his events. This means he saw the murder but gets upset to see Steel Samurai killing the bad guy. Naruhodo realizes photos on the murder day are missing. Kyuuta deleted it. But he recounts meeting Steel Samurai and shows the pose he did for him that day. However Naruhodo can tell that is not Steel Samurai’s pose but the villain’s. It is then Naruhodo understood what happened. It is actually the bad guy defeated Steel Samurai. That’s why Kyuuta deleted the photos. Naruhodo explains it was Ibukuro who was wearing Steel Samurai’s costume that day. He knew of Nibushi’s injury and faked it. On his way, he saw Kyuuta calling out to him and accidentally gave his villain pose out of habit. Naruhodo mentions Steel Samurai’s catchphrase of justice to help Kyuuta reconcile with the fact as a fan, he cannot avert his eyes from the truth. He admits he deleted all but one photo. With this photo, Naruhodo confronts Himegami and believes she killed Ibukuro at studio 2. However she refutes him because Ibukuro was killed with a heavy spear that she is unable to carry and why would she kill her main star that brings in the money? See you in court tomorrow.

Episode 7
Himegami is called to the witness stand. Despite Ibukuro’s murder happened during the meeting time, there was a 15 minute break in between. Then they examine the spear. If Naruhodo cannot even carry it, how can Himegami? Naruhodo objects that the spear isn’t the murder weapon because it was broken and thus stabbing it through that thick costume is not possible. However Mitsurugi counters that if he cannot produce the real murder weapon, his case is as good as over. When all seems lost, Kyuuta suddenly barges into the middle of court to emotionally rant about justice. While the guards restrain him, Ooba quickly gives a photo of that accident at studio 2 five years ago to Naruhodo. Ibukuro accidentally killed a co-star and worse, a paparazzi took a photo. Himegami of course covered it up and had Ibukuro work under her with low pay. After Kyuuta is ushered out, Naruhodo resumes by presenting this new evidence. The picture shows the dead co-star being impaled by the fence’s spear, implying Ibukuro may have been killed in the same way. Ibukuro has had enough for being used so on that day he borrowed Steel Samurai’s costume to go kill Himegami. A struggle ensued and he died that same way. But how can she move the body and do everything in just 15 minutes? Especially that mascot head blocking the path? She hid the body and did it in stages. Although Himegami concedes to Naruhodo’s theory, unless he can show proof how, he still hasn’t won. That’s the rule of this court game. With no more proof, she is about to leave. Surprisingly Mitsurugi calls her back to testify again about what happened after the body was found. She called the police, she went back to her trailer and went home. She didn’t bring her script along for rehearsal because she didn’t think it was going to happen. Not after the murder. Again Mitsurugi objects and finds her claims odd because like as though she knew there was a murder. She claims Ibukuro was injured and thus a reasonable reason why she expected there was going to be no rehearsal. Naruhodo bounces back that she wasn’t there and how would she know he was injured. The director told her. Unfortunately he was at the rehearsal and knew who was injured. And that was Niboshi. Himegami gives up and admits she murdered Ibukuro. Niboshi is declared innocent. In the aftermath, Niboshi thanks Naruhodo who in turn thanks Mitsurugi for his actions. However Mitsurugi did not expect to see him again after all these years and is now saddled with unnecessary feelings of uncertainty and confusion. He hopes never to see him again.

Episode 8
Naruhodo thought he would have a big case for Christmas. Santa is going to grant his wish. It might seem normal on the news that a body by the lake was found. Till they announce the suspect is Mitsurugi! Obviously Naruhodo sees him and wants to defend him. Mitsurugi dismisses him and views him as an amateur with beginner’s luck. Well, he won all his 3 cases, right? Mitsurugi will not hire him and tells him to stay out of this case. At the lake investigating, they meet Itonokogiri and his team collecting evidence. Itonokogiri is not pleased sin the police has settled for Mitsurugi as the killer. The story has it that around midnight, 2 men rowed to the middle of the lake. A gunshot is heard. 5 minutes later the police came and since Mitsurugi was around the vicinity, he was arrested. Apparently there was a witness so that is why the police came quickly. However any more information is classified. Itonokogiri hopes Naruhodo can help Mitsurugi because no lawyer dared defend him. Also, Itonokogiri heard Mitsurugi praising Naruhodo after his handling of Steel Samurai’s case. Also nearby is Yahari setting up some bun stall. In this dead place? Yahari is shocked to hear Mitsurugi as a suspect because they were all classmates. His father was a defence lawyer but is stumped why Mitsurugi became a prosecutor instead. This lake is also famous for a monster like Nessie. They call it Hyosshi. It is no surprise there is this photographer, Natsumi Oosawagi is camping there with her hi-tech camera and equipment to snap the elusive creative. She took a couple of pictures during the night of the murder but won’t show it to them and gives excuse she needs to report it to the police. Naruhodo sees Itonokogiri to get the autopsy report. The victim died instantly with a point blank range shot. Mayoi has seen this guy before since she saw him at Hoshikage’s office before.

They go visit Hoshikage and he confirms Yukio Namakura once worked under him but left a long time ago. This might be related to the DL-6 incident 15 years ago. The victim was Mitsurugi’s father, Shin who was shot to death. He was an excellent defence lawyer who could go head to head with the greatest prosecutor of all time, Gou Karuma who never lost a case in his 40 years of service. On the night of a trial, that murder happened. Mitsurugi was also there witnessing his father’s murder. After the murder Karuma adopted Mitsurugi and became his mentor. The culprit was taken to court and Namakura was the one who defended him and proved his innocence. With no leads on the case, the case went cold and unsolved for 15 years. It may be Mitsurugi’s motive to kill him. This case alone also ruined many people’s lives. Including Mayoi’s mom, Maiko. The police was desperate and used a spirit medium to channel Shin’s spirit to find the culprit. However Namakura exposed this secret and Maiko was labelled as a fraud. She disappeared from the public eye later. Hoshikage apologizes he was the one who leaked this secret because Konaka threatened his firm. (Remember, Bluecorp collects information). This was the reason why Chihiro decided to become a lawyer and despite knowing all this, she still worked under him. She built a steady case against Konaka but was unfortunately killed. They go back to talk to Mitsurugi again. Seeing Naruhodo is this far in the case, he lets him know what happened. Namakura wanted to meet for the first time in 15 years and agreed. They set out by boat and after hearing a gunshot, he realized he was alone. He doesn’t know who did it and picked up the pistol without thinking. After Mayoi’s plea to find the truth, Mitsurugi relents and allows Naruhodo to defend him. But he must be careful because the prosecutor is no other than Karuma.

Episode 9
Court is in session. Karuma is so powerful that even the judge is afraid! Uh huh. It’s like we don’t need the judge at all because Karuma calls the shots! First he calls Itonokogiri to testify what happened. Further proof shows Mitsurugi’s right hand fingerprints on the pistol and the ballistic markings of the bullet matches the gun. Making Mitsurugi even more as the killer is that he is exercising his right to silence. Next is Natsumi as she testifies she heard a gunshot and then another one shortly. She also shows a picture as proof. Two men on a boat with one of them having a gun in hand. Karuma declares this case as over and wants the verdict handed down but Naruhodo wants to cross-examine and agrees with Karuma’s condition to ask only a question. He asks what she saw and not what the photo shows but Karuma ends his cross-examining. Mayoi objects and claims the lake was foggy that night and the photo is unclear and she refused to elaborate whether she saw the 2 men. Natsumi then asserts she clearly saw Mitsurugi because she had binoculars. This changes her testimony as Mayoi is thrown out of court for contempt. This at least gives Naruhodo a lease of life to continue cross-examining her. Because the judge overrules Karuma’s objection. Naruhodo argues that Natsumi’s equipment takes a photo if react to loud noises. So when she heard a loud bang, she was looking for Hyosshi instead of a boat. She also has an enlarged version of this photo. Although still unclear but Naruhodo can tell Mitsurugi isn’t the killer because it is seen shooting with his left hand. The judge adjourns the court for them to continue investigating. Mayoi is bailed out thanks to Mitsurugi. Back at the lake, Naruhodo sees Natsumi who realizes being on the stand wasn’t as fun as she thought it would be. When they see a tank floating up, Naruhodo has a hunch about Hyosshi. Because it belongs to Yahari’s stall (has his name on it), he believes he was using the tank to pump air into his balloon. But it pumped too much air and the whole thing became a rocket landed in the lake. Thus the mistaken photo of it being Hyosshi. Natsumi is shocked that her dream is deflated. As she packs up, she gives them the first photo she didn’t submit to court. It is all dark and nothing but the lake. She also tells them the one who called the police was the old man who lives in the boat rental.

Episode 10
They visit the old man who thinks they are his children. Because of his failing memory, he shows his parrot, Sayuri who remembers things for him by repeating words it was made to remember. The old man recounts he heard a loud bang and looked out his window to see 2 men on a boat. He couldn’t see clearly but when the boat returned, the culprit walked by his window. As he is relapsing between naps, Naruhodo can’t get a good statement out of him. It is then Sayuri keeps spamming not to forget DL-6. Naruhodo visits the police station to get the case files on DL-6 but it seems Karuma has just borrowed them. Luckily the Itonokogiri has copies. The trial resumes with the old man called to testify. But this time he remembers and sees clearly the culprit’s face who walked past and he is no other than Mitsurugi. Naruhodo argues the gun proved his innocence but Karuma argues he might have worn a glove then. With the judge already giving the guilty verdict, suddenly Yahari leaps in. The judge reverses his verdict because it is his duty to prevent an inaccurate verdict. Yahari testifies he was also out on the boat that night to find his inflatable. He returned to the dock and heard one loud bang. However he isn’t sure how gunshots he heard because he was listening to the radio. However Naruhodo realizes from Yahari repeating the radio lines, it occurred 10 minutes before midnight. Unlike Natsumi’s photo, the time showed was 10 minutes after midnight. This means there were 3 shots fired that night. Naruhodo explains the truth behind this case is to frame Mitsurugi. The one Mitsurugi was on the boat wasn’t Namakura but the real murderer. He was killed prior to that (thus the first gunshot). Then he dressed up as Namakura and pretended to meet up with Mitsurugi on the boat. The second shot was to draw other people’s attention. After the third shot is fired (which is also a fake shot), the killer pretended to be shot and dropped into the lake, therefore making it look like Mitsurugi had done it. So does this mean Naruhodo knows who the killer is? Sure, but not his name because he never told anybody. He is that old man. They want to bring him back but it seems he has already fled the court house.

Episode 11
The judge adjourns the trial to tomorrow as he cannot hand down the verdict like this. Back at the office, Naruhodo tells Mayoi why he wants to help Mitsurugi so bad. He was once accused of stealing the class’ lunch money since he was the only one sitting out of PE. Even the teacher believed he did it. Mitsurugi told them off for accusing without evidence. Yahari also supported his decision. Ever since, they became close friends. But after Shin’s death, Mitsurugi transferred away and Naruhodo at that time didn’t understand. Many years later his name popped up in the newspapers. Naruhodo tried hard to contact him because he is now a prosecutor when he clearly remembered Mitsurugi wanted to be a defence lawyer like his father. So the only way to get to know the truth is to enter the same field as him. Itonokogiri calls to say they have caught the old man at his boat rental shack. They examine his place and the only thing suspicious is his safe (thanks Sayuri for the code). They see a letter addressing to get revenge on the 2 men who ruined his life. Naruhodo is very sure there is a mastermind behind this. Short flashback shows Mitsurugi, Shin and an officer trapped in a lift. Running out of air, the police officer is panicking and threatens Shin to stop breathing his air! Mitsurugi didn’t like what he saw and picked up a gun… The trial resumes with the old man brought back. He claims he was buying food for Sayuri and didn’t mean to run. Naruhodo shows the letter but since there is no name of the sender and recipient, Naruhodo is going to link it to DL-6. He calls Hoshikage as the witness.

On that day, there was a blackout and 3 people were trapped in a life. When the power was back on, Shin’s body was found dead. The officer, Koutarou Haine was a court bailiff and accused of shooting Shin. He pleaded not guilty. When the case hit a dead end, the police resorted to Maiko. Shin’s spirit said it was Haine who shot him. Namakura defended Haine and claimed that although he fired the gun, the severe lack of oxygen in the lift made him unsound of mind and cannot be held responsible. Haine was acquitted. However he was vilified by society and a year later his fiancée committed suicide. If Haine was innocent, he must have also resent Shin for accusing him of murder. Naruhodo believes this old man is Haine but he is not saying. They can take his fingerprints but he has burnt them many years ago. That is when they bring Sayuri in. Mayoi cross-examines the parrot. Testing it could answer questions, everything goes well until the important part where it stays silent. It might be that Karuma had retrained it? But Naruhodo points out several evidences. From the records, Sayuri is the name of Haine’s fiancée and the code of the safe corresponds to the date of DL-6. As Karuma tries to overthrow and object Naruhodo’s case, that is when the old man gets up and admits he is Haine. He has already achieved what he wants to. 15 years ago when Namakura was his attorney, he refused to listen to what he said. He wanted him to plead guilty in shooting the gun despite he did not in hopes of saving his fiancée and the only way of getting him acquitted. However it did not change a thing as everyone still treated him as a murderer and Namakura washed his hands off everything, not wanting to be bugged again. Sayuri couldn’t take all the pressure and killed herself. Ever since he lived his life away from the public while dreaming he would get his revenge someday. As for why he targeted Mitsurugi, ask that man himself. With Karuma even agreeing that Mitsurugi is innocent, the judge declares him innocent. Before he adjourns the court, suddenly Mitsurugi objects. He reveals he is the true culprit of DL-6.

Episode 12
Mitsurugi explains his recurring nightmare. Dark, hard to breathe, a gunshot heard and a terrible scream. During the court’s recess, Mitsurugi tells Naruhodo why he became a prosecutor. Because of Namakura’s forced shady acquittal, he started hating criminals and defence lawyers. Karuma was the one who reached out to him and taught him that justice should be perfect, cold hearted and a merciless hammer to be used upon all. So he made up his mind to become one to make criminals atone but perhaps he was just escape the sin he committed. However Naruhodo still believes in him and not his ‘nightmare’. The court resumes as Naruhodo argues Mitsurugi was just describing his recurring dream. He was at the court on that day to observe his father taking on Karuma in a court case in which the latter won. When the blackout occurred, help didn’t arrive for hours and the air was running thin. When Haine attacked Shin, Mitsurugi picked up and threw the gun at him. A gunshot was heard and he blacked out. He doesn’t remember clearly what happened after that. If Haine said he didn’t shoot the gun, it could only mean Mitsurugi was the one who fired it. Photo evidence on that day shows 2 holes. One in Shin’s body and the other in the door. Although the report said the gun was fired twice, there was only a bullet and it was lodged in Shin’s body. Naruhodo claims the second bullet was taken away by the real murderer. It is because the bullet hit the murderer and if he was shot at the time of the crime, he would’ve been forced to take the bullet. Records might say nobody else was shot at the court that day, but what if that person was injured? That person is Karuma because Hoshikage told him he took a day off after Shin died as shock. It was the only day he took off in his entire career. But what if he was forced to take a day off like a bullet was lodged in him? But it would take more than a day to recover from a surgery to extract the bullet. So the bullet is still inside his shoulder! Wait. 15 years?! No infection?! Using a metal detector, it is confirmed there is something lodged in his shoulder. But how can he link it to DL-6? Naruhodo can compare the bullet in Shin using ballistic markings. However the evidence is gone!

That is when Mitsurugi fakes a collapse to stop the verdict. Sneaky… He knows Karuma hides disadvantageous evidence in his office so they have to sneak in to get it. Because the office door has retinal identification, he can only help Mayoi go that far as he needs to reappear in court. It isn’t enough time actually. Because Yahari is impersonating as Mitsurugi! Nobody buys this imposter stuff! Throw him out! Mitsurugi returns in time and Mayoi shortly after as she presents the bullet. With the evidence at hand, Naruhodo orders the bullet to be extracted from Karuma. He starts screaming and that is the scream Mitsurugi remembers. Karuma explains what happened that day. He was at the court’s record room which was near the elevator. A bullet was shot through the door and lodged into his shoulder (when Mitsurugi threw the gun, it went off once). When the power got back on, Karuma saw 3 people unconscious and seeing Shin was one of them, the thought of getting revenge on someone who could taint his reputation was great. He picked up the gun and shot Shin knowing that nobody would knew the killer. That’s why Shin’s spirit thought it was Haine to protect his son. Karuma laments he was pierced by the bullet a second time but Naruhodo says it was the truth that pierced him. Mitsurugi is acquitted as he thanks Naruhodo for sticking with him. He says it is to repay that lunch money incident. Then the real culprit for that is also revealed. Yahari stole it?! No wonder he was on his side… I guess Naruhodo is going to become a prosecutor and sue him! In the aftermath of this case, Mayoi decides to leave and train to become a full-fledged spirit medium.

Episode 13
A flashback to Naruhodo’s past with Mitsurugi and Yahari. Although Mitsurugi was in the same class, Naruhodo never talked with him. One day when Yahari found a stray dog, it had money in its mouth so he exchanged his snacks for it. It was the same day Naruhodo was sick, exempted from PE and saw the envelope funds that belonged to Mitsurugi on the floor. A classmate saw him and that is when they accused and started the class trial. You know the rest. With the dog following Yahari around and since none can take it in, Mitsurugi uses his detective skills to locate the owner since the box has partial address. However the owner feigns ignorance and doesn’t care a bit. Nobody is going to take a kid seriously despite citing the law. As they cannot just abandon it, Mitsurugi asks his father if he could keep the dog. Of course he can. The trio continue to become best friends and as explained, Yahari gave the money he found to the police but Japanese law states that if nobody claims it in 3 months, it is his. Thus Yahari treats his friends to play games where he won keychains of Signal Samurai. They commemorate their friendship with this. Shortly after DL-6 happened, Mitsurugi moved away with Karuma. Karuma didn’t want him to bring the ugly keychain and threw it away. Naruhodo and Yahari were too late to reach him but saw the keychain on the dustbin. Yahari took it as a sign Mitsurugi was no longer friends with them but Naruhodo continues to believe Mitsurugi wouldn’t do something like that. Yahari also wants out and throws away his keychain. The same night, Mitsurugi ran back to his old home to get his keychain. You mean Naruhodo was waiting there for him to show up?! I know he believed in him but he actually waited?! What if he never showed up? But anyway the friends reconcile (including Yahari) and they get their keychains back. In present time, Naruhodo is glad their friendship has never changed and their case has finally reached a closure. However it might be the beginning of a second goodbye because Mitsurugi leaves a note in his office that he chose death.

Episode 14
Naruhodo accompanies Dr Tetsurou Kirisaki to Kurain Village, Mayoi’s hometown. The case is about his nurse misdiagnosing his patients and causing all of them to die. However she died in a car accident and this leads the press to believe he killed to silence her. So he is going to use a spirit medium to make her confess that she did it. Wait. What?! How is that going to work? And he brought a gun just in case? At the village, they are met with Kimiko (Mayoi’s aunt) and Harumi (Kimiko’s daughter and thus Mayoi’s cousin). As they wait in the room, Natsumi is also there since she believes there is going to be a big scoop in this case. When Mayoi is ready, Kirisaki follows her into the channelling room whereby Kimiko warns nobody is to enter and disturb the ritual. While they wait in another room, they hear gunshots. Running back and breaking the locked door open, they see Kirisaki dead and what it looked like a possessed Mayoi shot him. Kimiko will handle this and wants the duo to quickly call the police. When Itonokogiri arrives, Naruhodo wants to see Mayoi but as said by Kimiko, she is unconscious after the channelling ritual ended. Gathering all the related parties, there is another guest around when the murder happened. She is Nodoka Hanaka, the one who referred Kirisaki to this place and is also the younger sister of Mimi, Kirisaki’s nurse. After the police is done with their investigation, Naruhodo and Natsumi check the crime scene. It is learnt that Kirisaki was stabbed and shot. Noticing a hole in the wall, Naruhodo wonders if a shot missed since he heard 2 gunshots. Kimiko further explains when a weak and inexperienced medium is in possession of a higher level spirit, tragedies like this can occur. Naruhodo then talks to Harumi (who pretty much believes in him because she heard so much from Mayoi and got the wrong idea he is Mayoi’s ‘special someone’). She gives him a key she found in the incinerator. It is believed this is the only key to the channelling room and Mayoi was the one in possession. Bad news when Mayoi is taken into custody by the police. Naruhodo believes she is innocent since she isn’t the kind to kill. But can the law believe that a spirit possessed her and killed the doctor? Just like the first time they met, it is déjà vu again when Mayoi seeks Naruhodo’s help to defend her. At the courthouse, Harumi was so worried that she came alone to help. How is she going to help? Itonokogiri warns Naruhodo the prosecutor is Karuma’s successor. Another prodigy who has never lost a case? Yeah, until they face off with Naruhodo, right?

Episode 15
Mei isn’t only the daughter to Karuma, she might be worse than him. How the f*ck can she bring a whip into the courtroom?! Is the judge a masochist to allow it? And what the f*ck she just whips anybody she doesn’t likes?! Anyway Mei calls Itonokogiri to give his witness testimony as he describes how the murder probably took place. The gun and knife has Mayoi’s fingerprints on it and it is confirmed Kirisaki was shot point blank as there is gun powder on his forehead. Mei gives Naruhodo a chance for his client to plead justifiable self-defence. However he rejects it since it still means Mayoi committed murder. Mei has Itonokogiri continue his testimony with a damning evidence that Kirisaki’s blood was all over Mayoi’s ceremonial robe. Naruhodo notices a bullet hole on the robe’s sleeve. It proves that Kirisaki tried to shoot Mayoi. However Mei points out since Naruhodo rejected her self-defence plea, this means this evidence bears no relevance in this case. But wait. If both were struggling at close range and a shot was fired, there should be gunpowder on the sleeve. Since there is none, it means Itonokogiri’s statement has contradictions. Natsumi is called as the next witness. She explains after hearing a gunshot, she rushed to the room and snapped a photo. It shows a different person in Mayoi’s robe and Kirisaki’s dead body. But as explained when Mayoi is acting as a medium, she will take on the form of the channelled spirit. Since Naruhodo knows how Mayoi works, he cannot lie and thus the picture is not Photoshop or whatsoever. Naruhodo points out a contradiction in the photo. Mayoi was wearing a headband but this person was not. Could it have fallen off? Harumi is certain the headband fits 100%. This means a different person committed the murder. But if that is the case, where did Mayoi vanished too considering nobody could get in or out of the room during that time. A locked room mystery. Naruhodo is in a pinch. Harumi prays hard enough for Chihiro to possess her and hint to Naruhodo about the proof that someone enter or leave. Naruhodo brings out the key he found at the incinerator. If Mayoi only had this key and if he is in possession of it, this means Mayoi might have left the room before the murder took place. If Mayoi committed the murder, there was no way she would have time to throw it away as Kimiko quickly ushered her away. With this impasse, the judge adjourns the court. As Mayoi praises Naruhodo and Harumi, Naruhodo feels that Kirisaki’s death and Mayoi’s framing has been a planned setup. You don’t say because it looks like Kimiko has got a hand in this…

Episode 16
Naruhodo accompanies Harumi back to her village as there is also something he wants to investigate. He asks her whereabouts during the murder. She is reluctant to say but eventually reveals she was playing near the hallway but accidentally broke an urn containing the village founder’s ashes. She pieced back the entire urn until the gunshot was heard. She never told anybody in fear she would be kicked out. Kimiko mentions about Maiko who went missing after that incident. She believes she will never come back and in a few more years she will written off as dead and a new head will be chosen. Naturally Mayoi is supposed to be the next head but with the murder charges… The way she says it makes it more suspicious. She warns Naruhodo not to come close to her daughter again. Naruhodo investigates the incinerator. He finds a piece of Mayoi’s cloth in it and realizes the key wasn’t intentionally thrown in there. Since Mayoi kept the key in her robe, the culprit threw the part of that robe into it. Naruhodo sees Natsumi lurking around and catches her. Why the heck is she hiding in a box? Naruhodo also notices a similar bullet hole there. Natsumi talks to him that she mainly suspects Nodoka. She learnt Nodoka was hospitalized for 6 months and was supposedly in the same car as Mimi. While Mimi was burnt to death, Nodoka managed to escape alive but was badly burnt. She underwent a major surgery to reconstruct her face and the doctors used her driving licence as reference. Naruhodo wonders if Nodoka could pull this all off alone.

He then talks to Nodoka about that night in the car with Mimi. She was asleep and when she woke up, the car was in flames and in her reflex she opened the door and jumped out. Harumi is shocked to see the police take away Kumiko. She assures she is just going with them to help them with the case. Naruhodo tells this to Mayoi who feels bad for bringing trouble to her clan. She lets him know that it is tradition for the eldest daughter of the clan to become the head. However Maiko broke this tradition. Although she is the younger sister to Kumiko, her spiritual powers were greater and thus became the next head. Naruhodo pleads to Harumi to channel Chihiro during the trial. His plan is so that she wouldn’t have to hear what happened what comes next in the courtroom. As the trial resumes, Mei changes her statement by claiming Mayoi left the room after murdering Kirisaki. She can proves this by calling Kumiko to the stand. She testifies that after having Naruhodo call the police, she tried to take Mayoi and sever the spirit’s possession but was attacked and left unconscious. She saw last Mayoi leaving the room. This proves Mayoi fled the crime scene. She never said this because she didn’t want to bring shame to the family but finally decided to bring the truth out to the light. It is believed Mayoi ran and talked to another person. Mei calls in her second witness to testify: Nodoka.

Episode 17
Nodoka testifies she was sleeping in the room when she saw her sister (remember, Mayoi was still possessed). Mimi told her she didn’t die in an accident and was murdered by Kirisaki, that’s why she came back to take revenge. After that Nodoka took her back out pass the hallway. Naruhodo cross-examines and finds holes in her story because Harumi was fixing the urn during the entire time. She could not have missed her since she was occupying the entire hallway to fix it. Naruhodo claims Nodoka was inside the channelling room all the while. She already hid there before the murder took place. There was a box behind the folding there before it was moved to the storeroom. Natsumi’s photo of Mimi with blood on her clothes is the real Nodoka and not a possessed Mayoi. This was how it went. Nodoka hid inside the box and when the ritual began, she drugged Mayoi and stabbed Kirisaki. While she is trying to move Mayoi into the box, Kirisaki with his last ounce of strength fires a shot. Since he missed, the bullet hole from the angle he shot corresponds to the folding door, sleeve and box. Panic, Nodoka used the gun and finished Kirisaki off. That is when the rest come in. Of course Nodoka couldn’t have pulled this off by herself. She had an accomplice who is no other than Kimiko. How else would she get the ritual clothing? When the murder happened, Kimiko ushered the rest to call the cops so that Nodoka could move the box to the storeroom and Kimiko throw the clothes into the incinerator. Nodoka then used the back way bypassing the hallway into the room where she pretended to sleep. Mei objects why Nodoka would go to such complicated lengths to do this. Besides, there was no proof Kirisaki set up the accident.

After Chihiro encourages Naruhodo to believe in himself, he cross-examines Nodoka again but this time during the crash. She claimed Mimi was sleepy while driving and why didn’t she drive when she too had a valid licence? Because Mimi didn’t want her too since it was her precious American car. That itself is a dead giveaway because American cars are left hand drive and since Nodoka mentioned she exited from the left, it could only mean she was in the driver’s seat. Naruhodo further claims the person here is not Nodoka but Mimi. The public believed Mimi is dead but was she? Because Mimi was badly burnt, the surgeons used Nodoka’s driving licence to reconstruct her face. As Mimi was responsible for the medical negligence, Kirisaki’s spirit channelling would have failed because Mimi wasn’t dead in the first place and thus exposed she is alive. That is why she had to go through this complicated procedure to silence him. Mimi admits her real self. She was close to discarding her old identity. The burden of medical negligence and killing her sister was too much to bear. When she first stepped into Kurain Village, she sought Kimiko’s help to fake the channelling. However Kimiko had a better idea and suggested this murder. The judge will have Mimi and Kimiko go on trial for another day but this case proves that Mayoi is not guilty. There goes your perfect record, Mei. Kimiko tells Naruhodo that she intends to have Harumi inherit the head of her clan and she is not going to give up yet. With Mayoi cleared, she returns with Naruhodo.

Episode 18
Naruhodo and Mayoi attend a circus act and are awed by the top magician’s performance, Maximilian “Max” Galactica. Next day, the morning news reports the ringmaster has been murdered and Max is arrested. Mayoi being a big fan of Max wants to go defend him. Seeing him at prison, Max explains he is probably suspected because he was the last person who saw the ringmaster. They were discussing about his salary since Max is the one drawing the crowd. The ringmaster left shortly but never returned. Naruhodo has doubts whether he should take up this case since he doesn’t fully trust him, much to Mayoi’s dismay. They investigate the site whereby the meet the ringmaster’s daughter, Mirika. She is not distraught with her father’s death because she believes he is now up there with the stars as with their beloved pet lion. Then they investigate the crime scene as Itonokogiri explains the ringmaster’s body was slumped over a heavy wooden box that is currently being investigated. However they realize that only his footprints were in the snow. If the perpetrator killed him at close range and left no footsteps, could it mean the killer can fly? And the only person who can do this is Max. They interview the other circus members and everyone seems to hate Max because of his obnoxious attitude. None side him. They are about to talk to Ben the ventriloquist but he is looking for a ring can can’t talk thanks to a pain in his head. That is when Tommy the clown reveals it was Max who smashed a bottle on Ben’s head. Tommy has been in this industry for 20 years and founded the circus with the ringmaster. He too suspects Max.

Checking the ringmaster’s office, they see a document pertaining to Max’s salary increment. Then they go back and question Max about it. The document was dated last week which means he already has an increment. This trust issue has Naruhodo unable to defend Max. But the magician becomes desperate and starts pleading not to be abandoned. He tells the truth that the ringmaster called him to discuss about his attitude and not to fight with others including his recent hurting of Ben. Max knows everyone hates him and he too looks down on others as they have no ambition and staying in their comfort zone. Max has spent 10 years perfecting his magic and won the magic championship last year. Naruhodo decides to defend him. Going back to the circus, a monkey steals his shiny badge. He chases it to a room, puts up a monkey fight till it escapes. They see the room has lots of valuables including a bust of Max and a ring. When they leave, Rilo (Ben’s puppet) requests the ring back. After giving it to him, Rilo lets them know he was at the crime scene and saw Max and only Max passing through. However Naruhodo finds contradiction in his statement. Because if he had been there at the crime scene, he should have seen another person passing by: The ringmaster. His statement proves that there is someone else went to the crime scene. His eyewitness account is not enough to declare Max guilty. But Rilo isn’t throwing in the towel as there was an eyewitness who saw something crazier who will be appearing in tomorrow’s trial.

Episode 19
The trial begins. Itonokogiri is called to give his testimony. We already know what happened but the additional info is that inside the box is just a small bottle of pepper. Tommy is next to give his statement. He recounts seeing Max flying. Max argues he was ‘flying’ only because of the thin wires. As the scene was not set up for magic tricks, the judge postpones the trial for them to get more evidence. Naruhodo talks to Max again and it seems on that night, the ringmaster offered him to wear his clothes since it was pretty cold outside. So could it be Tommy saw the ringmaster who was actually Max. Naruhodo returns to the crime site. He notices the building and room above it is where he faced off with the monkey. Talking to the person who lives in that room, Acro was once the acrobat but had an accident a few months ago and is now wheelchair-ridden. Mei then comes in to take in Acro as he will be tomorrow’s witness. Mayoi wonders why Mei is being harsh with Naruhodo. Her aim is Mitsurugi. She accuses Naruhodo of ‘killing’ him. Although he left a death note, she believes he is still alive. She is certain that if she defeats Naruhodo, Mitsurugi will come back. Naruhodo goes to talk to Tommy who on the morning of the murder saw the ringmaster very mad since there was an odd memo on the board. As the memo is now missing from the board, Naruhodo searches the office and finds it in the trash bin. There are no names but it is addressed to the murderer and called him out to meet. Showing this to Tommy again, they believe something happened here that is connected to the murder. Tommy reveals Bat, Acro’s brother and acrobat partner who was in love with Mirika. He’d do anything for her. While they were fooling around with a lion stunt, it went awry. Acro tried to save him but to no avail. The ringmaster shot the lion. Bat is in coma and Acro was hospitalized. When Mirika sees the memo, she recognizes it. Actually she found it in her pocket and is unsure how it got there and thus put it on the board thinking the owner lost it. Naruhodo now understands this tragic mystery. The trial resumes the next day and Acro appears to give his statement. He was sleeping and saw Max flying up outside his window. Naruhodo cross-examines him since there is contradiction. Because Max’s hat was found at the site, there was no way Acro could have seen it with him. Naruhodo accuses Acro as the mastermind behind this crime and murder.

Episode 20
Naruhodo with the help of the rest re-enact the murder scene. The ringmaster’s target was the box. Since it was too heavy to be lifted, he squatted to try and lift it back. But that is where the murder weapon was dropped directly on his head and killed him. The only one who can do this was Acro who was living directly in the room above the murder scene. The murder weapon is a bust of Max which he won in last year’s championship and thus the mistaken identity that Tommy saw that night. But if Acro is wheelchair ridden, how did he setup all this. It is his pet monkey who has a penchant for stealing shiny things. Mei is surprised that the circus members are now siding with Max when they were so against him. Previously Naruhodo showed them the salary negotiations letter. Max wasn’t just seeking his own increment but he wants everyone else to have a similar increment too. This shows how much he cared for the circus. Despite proving everything right, Naruhodo has yet to prove the motive for this murder. Why would Acro kill somehow whom he treated as his father? Naruhodo didn’t want to do this so he shows the memo. Bat was wearing a scarf that Mirika gave to him that contained pepper. So when Bat did the animal trick by putting his head into the lion’s mouth, the lion sneezed and that was when the tragedy happened. Therefore Acro’s real target was Mirika. As Mirika often took care of Acro and brought food to his room, that was when he slipped the note into her pocket. Since she is unaware of what that note meant, she posted it on the board. The ringmaster probably knew about it and went there in her place. Because of Acro’s condition, he couldn’t ascertain if he killed Mirika that night.

However Acro counters that he doesn’t have the proof linking him to the murder weapon. Is there proof that Acro dropped the bust on the ringmaster. Mei even argues that the police searched and catalogued every item in the circus they searched but found no bust. Naruhodo knows where he hid it. It is underneath the blanket of his wheelchair. Because the police was searching the place, all personnel was removed and because Acro and other circus members were sent away during the search, the bust has also gone along with Acro. Acro removes his blanket and there it is, the bust. He admits to the murder. He further explains Bat and Mirika were very close. Bat played a pepper trick on Mirika and she sneezed nonstop. So she too wanted to play that trick back on him that day but tragedy struck. Acro became mad when he heard Mirika unconsciously made an insensitive remark on Bat (something about becoming a star in the sky) and that’s when he hatched his murder plot. Mirika is very sorry and apologizes to him. But Tommy tells her the reason why Acro wanted to get away with murder instead of disappear is because Bat is still in coma and wants to be there when he wakes up. Mirika promises to be by Bat’s side till he wakes up. The circus gets back on its feet and everyone is surprised that Max is back with them. Since the circus is aiming to become the best and everyone has forgiven him, there is no reason to go their separate ways. Lastly, we see Mitsurugi just off from a phone call with Itonokogiri. Looks like it is time for him to come back.

Episode 21
Naruhodo, Mayoi, Harumi and Niboshi attend a hero show award at a hotel. Nickel Samurai beats Jammin’ Ninja for the coveted award. Also at this show are Yahari working as a reporter covering the event and Ooba as the security. Oh my, this old hag now doesn’t stop talking! There is supposed to be a show by Nickel Samurai after the awards but the announcer announced its cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances. After Mayoi leaves to answer a phone call at the front desk, the rest snoop around and thanks to Itonokogiri’s blunder, he reveals there has been a murder. Ironically it is not Nickel Samurai who got killed but Jammin’ Ninja or more accurately Isao Fujimino, the actor who played him. Again the hero is arrested for murder? More accurately Shingo Outorou who plays Nickel Ninja. Shortly after, Naruhodo receives a call from a person known as Koroshiya. He claims to have kidnapped Mayoi and his demand is a no guilty verdict on Outorou to guarantee Mayoi’s safety. Naruhodo speaks to Outorou to represent him but that his agency already has called some big shot lawyer. After hearing about Koroshiya, Outorou agrees to let Naruhodo represent him. He claims he and Fujimino are rivals but in a healthy way so there is no way he would kill him. When asked about the confession he was supposed to make at the show, Outorou isn’t sure what he is talking about since he left most matters to his manager, Kirio Kamiya.

Naruhodo speaks to Kirio who found Fujimino’s body. She was in his room to remind him the show is going to start soon as he was to be part of Nickel Samurai’s act. Ooba is also doing her own investigation and she believes Kirio is a vile woman who sets up scandals to make Outorou’s rivals lose face. There was a case before. In short, Ooba is a fan of Jammin’ Ninja. Examining the murder scene, a knife is stabbed in Fujimino’s chest and Outorou’s fingerprints are over it. Mei is also there but she is more concerned in whipping her whip around and blaming Naruhodo for smashing her perfect prosecution record. Just do your job, lady. Afterwards, Koroshiya calls Naruhodo that he will be giving him a ‘present’ for tomorrow’s trial. As Mei leaves the police HQ, she got sniped in the shoulder! Everyone is shocked when Itonokogiri barges into the courtroom to report this. Koroshiya calls Naruhodo again if he likes his ‘present’ and of course it is his turn to get a no guilty verdict. Naturally the judge will postpone the trial. However Mitsurugi returns! He has memorized the facts of the case and will prosecute Outorou by his own method. Naruhodo doesn’t look too happy that he is back. What about him choosing death over a year ago? He admits his past self is dead. Well, lawyers have a way with words… He went to do soul searching and asked himself questions like why he wanted to become a prosecutor, why is he standing in court. Well, duh. You’re a lawyer, right? He also points the same question for Naruhodo. The trial will resume.

Episode 22
Itonokogiri testifies that based on the autopsy, Fujimino was strangled to death. The knife was only stabbed later. Of course Outorou was arrested since his fingerprints were on it. Mitsurugi argues the murder was premeditated since the knife was from Outorou’s missing and the crime scene shows the knife in his room is missing. Mitsurugi also calls Ooba who was the witness. As she is clearly a fan of Fujimino, she believes Outorou was the one who did and saw it with her own eyes that he left the room although it is stated that Outorou was sleeping in his room wearing the costume. She even has photo evidence of it. Did she stole Yahari’s camera?! But it seems the person in the photo is dressed in Nickel Samurai. Yup, she is damn sure it is him. Naruhodo objects to it because he realizes a different person is wearing the suit thanks to the height. The pants of Nickel Samurai is sagging on the floor. He believes the only person who fits this description is Kirio. She is called to the witness stand. She testifies that there were 2 Nickel Samurai costumes prepared. The one who gave the press conference and the confession teaser was Fujimino in that suit. She didn’t tell Outorou about it so clearly he is unaware. Because Fujimino was going to reveal Outorou’s secret if he didn’t win the award, Kirio refuses to further testify since it will incriminate her. Even when Naruhodo pinpoints all evidence that she could be the one who took the knife and implanted Outorou’s fingerprints on it, she still refuses to testify. Because of that, the judge is going to put off the trial for today and Naruhodo becomes desperate. Unfortunately it gets adjourned. Luckily Koroshiya gives him a last chance to win tomorrow’s trial.

Before Naruhodo leaves, Outorou gives his keys to his house so he could feed his cat. Mitsurugi sees Kirio and wants to know a certain card she is having. She found it next to Fujimino’s body. Mitsurugi then talks to Naruhodo and wants to know what is going on because clearly he is not acting like himself. He tells what happened to Mayoi. Mitsurugi believes this card has some connection. Sazaemon Koroshiya is a top assassin that special forces have been pursuing for a long time. He leaves his card by his victim to make it known he was responsible. There is another reason he does this: His duty to his clients. He dislikes his clients being accused of murder more than anything. So this could mean that Outorou is Koroshiya’s client who killed Fujimino. Mayoi is trapped in some room and uses her ingenuity of a card to open the door. Unfortunately she is caught by the butler. Naruhodo is at Outorou’s house but his butler assures the cat is fed. He feels strange Outorou didn’t mention about this. He goes back to the crime scene where Itonokogiri becomes clumsy and trips over one of the large bear plushie present. To everyone’s surprise, there is a hidden camera in it. It might have recorded the murder. So when the source of the camera is traced, Naruhodo is in shock as he sees Outorou again. The one who sent the bear present was Outorou because of his credit card receipt. The bear is a rare imported luxury. Naruhodo then asks if Outorou knows Koroshiya because he believes it is him who contacted Koroshiya to kill Fujimino and then filmed his murder with this camera. Naruhodo hopes he is wrong but Outorou starts laughing like a maniac. It’s like he has an evil split personality.

Episode 23
Outorou confirms he hired Koroshiya to kill Fujimino. The camera was insurance so if Koroshiya betrayed him, he will release footage of him doing the killing. Naruhodo knows Outorou is equally as guilty but Outorou warns if he doesn’t get acquitted, you know what will happen to Mayoi, right? Naruhodo feels lost so he sees Mitsurugi for advice. Yeah, only he can decide. Just like how Mitsurugi left a year to seek the truth, it is his turn to decide. Still fretting over saving everybody? Mitsurugi tells him they are not superheroes but just humans. Koroshiya calls Naruhodo one last time. Naruhodo hears a cat in the background and knows where he is. By the time police swarm the place, he is already gone. So is Mayoi. Naruhodo realizes too late that butler is Koroshiya. In the room where Mayoi was held captive, they see a picture of Yurie Kamiya, Kirio’s late sister who was also Outorou’s manager. Next to the picture is a note left behind by Mayoi. It’s like she is saying goodbye and won’t forgive Naruhodo if he acquits Outorou. The trial resumes with Mitsurugi presenting facts about Koroshiya as a hired killer. Naruhodo argues that Kirio might be the one to hire Koroshiya. Mitsurugi presents a teddy bear that was found at the crime scene to be in Outorou’s house. Naruhodo objects that it might be from Kirio’s orders to frame him because why would Outorou bring back Fujimino’s stuff? Mitsurugi calls Kirio to testify on this teddy bear so the court gives 10 minutes recess to prepare. During that period, Chihiro possesses Harumi to relay news that Mayoi is being held captive at a circus. There is only a circus in town…

When Kirio is back on the stands, Mitsurugi ask about the teddy bear. It’s a souvenir Yurie bought while on holiday and gave it to Fujimino whom she was dating at that time. As previously she was Outorou’s manager, she was also in love with him. However that love is one-sided. When the media got wind about their relationship, he dumped her to prevent any scandal. Because of that she was fired but Fujimino’s agency took her in and literally saved her. They were also engaged but it was called off as Yurie killed herself. It seems Outorou told Fujimino about their relationship and he didn’t like it. She left a suicide note after taking her life. The confession Fujimino wanted to make public was this suicide note. Kirio didn’t want it to go public and searched his room but to no avail. She got an idea to frame both men as revenge for Yurie so she dressed up as Nickel Samurai, took the knife in Outorou’s room with his fingerprints on and stuck it into Fujimino’s body. The suicide note is inside the teddy bear, that’s why she couldn’t find it. Naruhodo objects Koroshiya doesn’t know about it but Mitsurugi shows the hidden footage Koroshiya does. He was watching Fujimino all the time. Creepy. Naruhodo tries to buy more time to verify if the note is really written by Yurie. With the court granting more time, Itonokogiri calls back to say Koroshiya has already fled again but this time Mayoi has left an invaluable clue and he is on to it. The court resumes and tough luck as the handwriting belongs to Yurie. Mitsurugi then seemingly helps to stall for more time as he calls a new witness to the stand: Koroshiya! WTF?! The killer going to testify himself? He called Mitsurugi a while ago to do so. So he is testifying from a phone?! Can a mere phone take the stand?!

Episode 24
The judge wonder is Koroshiya taking the stand is credible. How do we know he is the real person? Koroshiya lets Mayoi speak. It is him alright. Koroshiya admits he killed Fujimino. But before he can testify his client, he tells everyone about his code of confidentiality and how he hates traitors the most. Then he reveals his client is Kirio. This is of course a lie but how to proof? This also puts Kirio in risk of being wrongly accused and sentenced. Naruhodo cross-examines him and Koroshiya made a simple mistake when he explains how he went to meet his client. He thinks Kirio is a man. Naruhodo catches him there and this proves they never met. But this doesn’t change Naruhodo’s fate because at this rate Mayoi will be killed. Koroshiya even changes his stance that he remembers making an exception accepting Kirio’s request via email. The judge is going to announce Outorou not guilty when Mei comes in to throw a CD to Naruhodo as evidence. However the judge rejects it because the murderer is already known so this evidence is useless. Chihiro hints to Naruhodo that if the judge doesn’t need it, guess who needs it? Naruhodo then shows this disc to Koroshiya. It seems this disc was duplicated by Mayoi during her captivity so she wasn’t just being a useless hostage. The footage belongs to Outorou as it films Koroshiya killing Fujimino. It seems Koroshiya also had a same exact duplicate but was told not to watch and he kept his word. After Naruhodo reveals Outorou’s untrusting behaviour, Koroshiya decides to change his target since he feels betrayed. You better watch out, Outorou. That guy now is panicking like mad. Before the judge can hand down his verdict, Outorou screams in protest. He wants to be declared guilty seeing that if he is a free man, Koroshiya will kill him! Okay. You’re guilty. Feel better? It was between the devil and the deep blue sea anyway.

In the aftermath, Mei is not happy that despite Naruhodo lost, he looks so happy. Mitsurugi is here to explain he was once lost. As a prosecutor he thought of raking up victories till he met Naruhodo. He opened his eyes to what he really needed as the truth. When he lost for the first time to him, he lost everything. He realizes the importance of relying on each other for the truth, the reason why defence and prosecutors exist. It is also the reason why Naruhodo couldn’t forgive him when he left and felt betrayed. The reason Naruhodo wanted to become a lawyer was because of what he said and when he betrayed his own words, he put aside their symbol of friendship. Naruhodo then realizes he was wrong because Mitsurugi pushed himself to find the truth. Mei still cannot accept this because it feels like both losers licking each other’s wounds. Mayoi is reunited with everyone. The sisters reuniting brings tears to the guys’ eyes. How touching. At the airport, looks like it is Mei’s turn to run away? Mitsurugi sees her off. After all that has happened, she just cannot throw everything away. Being the daughter of Karuma is hard. She still considers Mitsurugi her rival and it got harder when Naruhodo beat him. Mitsurugi respects her decision and if this is the case, they’ll have to part ways since he intends of moving forward. Mei lets out the most emotional cry we’ll ever see as she proclaims never to walk in his shadows. Naruhodo continues practising law but he is still a big rookie having Mitsurugi and the judge telling him off to rethink his argument again. Objection!

No More Objections, I Rest My Case
I certainly have not played any of the games and although I do watch the parodies that fans and random people make just for fun, something tells me that the anime adaptation isn’t as greatly adapted. In short, a little bit poor quality. I don’t know, it just feels like that. I’m not sure if they’re trying to capture the essence of the game because there are some very familiar poses from the game like Naruhodo’s trademark objection but the overall execution just seems to not live up to a decent expectation. At least my expectations. So should we vouch for another season to adapt the rest of the games or would you object and igi ari to that?

Firstly, the plot of each of the cases. I am sure that they are following faithfully to the source material but somehow I feel that the execution of trying to make the cases interesting isn’t there. What I mean is that I could actually easily guess who the damn culprit is. Because from a small pool of characters in that certain arc, who else could it be? They can’t just throw a random character we have never seen before as surprise. That will defeat the whole purpose of this setting. So a big part of the trial seems to be trying to figure out how the culprit did it. That’s right. It isn’t so much on who did it because from the various clues and testimonials, if you use your grey matter a little harder and observe the body action of some characters, it is clear who the perpetrator is. Thus most of the deductions go into unravelling how the culprit did it via the most logical cause. And once you’ve nailed and cornered, the culprit, you’ll see how many of them will be blown away by a strong gust of wind! It’s like as though a comet flew passed by and they are caught in its turbulence. Oh yeah. Great special effects. Sure, for funny moments. It made me laugh. But hardly funny anymore when you try to compare it in real life. What the f*ck am I doing this in the first place comparing?!

Next, the art and animation seems pretty mediocre. Sure, it looks like the game itself but somehow it just doesn’t cut it for the anime. The characters look a little bland and some of the character designs feel a bit outrageous. Like Naruhodo’s hairstyle I thought his hair is made out of car engine inlets or something. No kidding! I thought for him to have a hairstyle like that, his hair needs to be made out of steel. And have you seen Kimiko’s large plume of hair? I thought she can have an ecology of birds living inside it. Even the animation itself isn’t that smooth but since this isn’t an action genre, who cares, right? Oh, did I mention that there is a bit of CGI employed? Why the f*ck do you need CGI when you only relegate them to the jury (or at least the people sitting at the sides)?! That’s right. Unless they are shown up and close, you’ll notice the jarring difference and poor CGI effect of those people on the side.

I know very well that real court cases are not like this. Of course you can say that this is a game and not reality but I can’t help feel inclined to always remind myself that such as being portrayed here isn’t so in real life. Because you must have realized how lax everything is. First of all, almost everyone is such a happy person. See in the opening credits animation of Naruhodo and his team? Everybody’s smiling! Everybody’s cheering! Hooray! Oh come on. Who the f*cks would be happy to come to court unless you know you’re going to win a billion dollar lawsuit. But even so, nobody is going to be this f*cking happy like as though all this is just a game. Oh wait. This is just a video game.

You know how unrealistic the courtroom is when you have witnesses and other people fooling around like as though they’re on some variety show. For example, Ooba keeps fawning over Mitsurugi and isn’t embarrassed to hit on him right in front of everyone! If you do the slightest foolish thing and trying to be just a little funny in court, you can even be charged with contempt of court! So do you see how lax everyone is here? Hey, if Mei can bring a whip in, does this mean I can bring my rare demon slaying sword in too? Then there is also how the lawyers argue and present their cases. Because the entire court case feels like a big show and tell presentation. Uh huh. You bring in a witness to testify, then you show the court the object in contention, then you argue your points and see who has the better contradiction. That’s it. And yeah, what the f*ck are those jury for? Assuming those people at the sides are the jury because why do you need them when it is the judge who makes the verdict? Oh, also notice how these attorneys don’t carry stacks of files? In view of all this, don’t you think the court of law is pretty much lax? So long the truth matters, right?

As for the courtroom layout, I believe it is apparent in some countries that the defence and prosecution don’t face the judge on opposite ends but face each other. I’m fine with that. But notice there are no seats for them? So you expect them to stand there the entire trial duration? Looks like it because that is what they have been doing. You don’t sit down when the other attorney is questioning or explaining. You stand there and listen. Man, don’t you get tired? And to think Harumi needs a box to step so that everyone can see her. And I believe this is the biggest offender of all if you noticed. I understand how longwinded and complex each court case is so the game and this anime might want to simplify it for fun. That’s cool. But do you not notice that the attorneys do not cite a precedent case? There is none! I’m not even a lawyer and somehow I noticed this strange thing that precedents are not quoted anyhow in cases to prove a suspect’s guilt or innocence. Man, if real life courts were this easy, I think I can even feel safe if Naruhodo is my lawyer. No, seriously.

There is a personal peeve that I didn’t like when I watched the anime. I am referring to the localization of all the character’s names. Apparently when the game is adapted to the west, I suppose white people have problem pronouncing Japanese names. So they changed everybody’s name to have a more westernized names. That is why Ryuuichi Naruhodo became Phoenix Wright, etc. If the westernized names sound funny and weird itself, it is because the names in its original Japanese are also weird and mostly revolve around puns. Many people of the western side I heard welcomed the use of localization because these are the names they are used to when they played the game so it makes sense to retain them. However for me who doesn’t play the game, it was confusing at first. Because reading the subtitles and then hearing the original Japanese language of the name complicated my already simpleton mind. It’s tough on my ears and my mind because I’m hearing one thing and then I’m seeing a different thing. And since I am so biased to my Japanese side, all the names in my blog are reverted to the original Japanese names. Hah. Take that! Yeah, I have to Google each time when they introduce a new character just to find out the original name. Heh. Hearing Naruhodo sometimes pronouncing his own name was pretty funny because it means “I see…”.

I’ve talked about everything now let me talk about the characters. Naruhodo as the main titular character is a big fail as a defence lawyer! Like I said, this is a game and simplified court case versions of real life but the way Naruhodo handles each case it makes you wonder if he is well prepared. You see, when the prosecution counters and objects his claims or evidence and Naruhodo has no clues left to counter, you can see him struggling in vain to think. Think, damn it! I know it is to enhance the dramatic effects because it won’t be fun if Naruhodo has all the answers, right? So we see Naruhodo trying to crack his brains for a contradiction or something. Like as though he is praying to God to give him a sign. Yeah, sometimes God descends in the form of his beautiful but dead mentor. If it is not her, then even his rival Mitsurugi later on might point out and give a few hints. But even if Naruhodo manages to salvage it, this won’t be the last time because there will be many times and I mean lots more of similar cornering cases he will have to endure. That is why I am saying if this guy is really prepared for this job and has done his homework.

And sometimes it almost feels like Naruhodo has lady luck on his side but one with a whim. Sometimes when trying to find evidence to ‘get out of a corner’, he looks around and thinks back harder. Conveniently he finds the solution! It shows that he doesn’t know it in the first place! For him to come back like this many times it’s like he has absolutely good luck that is also fickle, right? Yeah well, when you consider Naruhodo who comes to office riding a bicycle (I guess to show us how poor he is) and wearing a mini backpack on his back, don’t you think he looks like an oversized elementary school kid in a suit?! Holy cow! It’s true! No wonder he will always be a rookie.

Mitsurugi feels like a better attorney and although he seems arrogant but I suppose that is why he is the top of his game. But I still don’t understand about him wanting to find the truth in the end. Isn’t that his goal the entire time? So in the end, if Naruhodo and Mitsurugi team up, you can be sure you are screwed. Which is what the final case felt like. It’s like the defence and prosecutor teaming up against you. But that’s the thing. You either do your job or you find the truth. And seeing how lots of things turn out in favour for our heroes eventually, I guess there isn’t going to be any fear of the lawyer profession being tainted. All lawyers here are righteous! Yeah. That will be the day in real life. Then there is Mei whom is more of a b*tch thanks to her constant compulsive habit to crack her whip. She either becomes a lion tamer or go into S&M porn. Haha! With so much anger and focusing on defeating Naruhodo, it’s no wonder why her record fell, right? And even the god of all prosecutors like Karuma will one day fall. To show Mei isn’t some cold hearted angry b*tch and still human underneath that exterior, they reduced her to tears in the end. Ugh. Was it necessary? The biggest irony for all these great lawyers who have never lost a case is that they lost to a rookie who has only recently got his lawyer licence. Yeah, lady luck is really with Naruhodo. Even if Naruhodo lost his first case at the end technically, it was still a big victory because his conscious is still clear.

Mayoi feels predominantly like a useless character because not only she was indicted once for murder, but twice! In almost every arc, she is in some sort of trouble like the one involving the assassin she is kidnapped instead. Man, this girl is trouble. Trouble is her middle name. If she manages to not get in trouble and stay by Naruhodo’s side, she doesn’t do anything much. Sure, Naruhodo is the lawyer and should be the one speaking most of the time. So why the f*ck does she need to be by his side for company in the first place? I know, an excuse to channel Chihiro sometimes. That is just the courtroom. What about outside during on-the-field investigation or just in office? This girl is seen having too much fun. Just because the cases they take up has her favourite character or TV show, yeah I suppose it gives her a reason to frolic around. After all, she is still a kid technically, right? They try to enhance her reputation by making her do something useful in the final case instead of being a useless hostage but if you think about all the things she did, it would be impossible. I mean, how did she know what to record and where the resources are? Come on. I thought she was locked in a single room but she was made to wander about? And the computer is such a vital piece of information you’d think the culprits would at least lock it or not have other files or important documents on it. I mean, how do you hide your porn files on your computer? Am I right?! Seriously, they left it out so openly that Mayoi could even do such an easy job and give our lawyers a clear victory? They deserve to lose then. Harumi doesn’t fare any better but she is not as bad since she is younger and at least less annoying than Mayoi. Maybe it is her cute loli factor…

You have got to agree with me that the judge feels like a joke character. He feels like Santa Claus is having a part time job when Christmas season is out. Haha… I know they want to make him partial since he is after all the judge but I can’t help that sometimes they make him look so silly. And in a way cute. You should see some of his old man facial expression when he is surprised to hear a shocking revelation. Or the pitiful tone he puts up when he hears the witness’ sad account. He does look kinda innocently cute for a bald guy when he looks dumbfounded. If that is not bad enough, seeing him being pushed around by Mei was hilarious enough. I mean, the highest ranking person in the courtroom allows this whipping happy woman get what she wants? Who is she? Does she remind him of Mrs Santa Claus?

But the one that takes the cake of how the judge is just a silly joker is when Chihiro makes her appearance by possessing Mayoi or Harumi. I guess this is the only reason why they bring Chihiro back. For fanservice. Those melons feel like they’re going to bust out any time of that small tight suit fit only for Mayoi. Thankfully Mayoi and Harumi’s clothes are made of stretchable rubber like the Hulk’s pants so it won’t be ripped and can revert back to normal when she leaves without having to outrage the modesty of the minor girls. Anyway, the silliest part is that Mayoi and Chihiro look very different in terms of height and even boobs (duh!). So when she physically takes over somebody’s body, the judge wonders who this busty babe is. Chihiro’s reply? Just your imagination. And he believes it! OMG! OMFG!!! Yeah, must be having a hard day at the court listening to arguments, huh? And yes, who aren’t anybody else bothered that Mayoi ‘transformed’ into Chihiro? Shouldn’t they be shocked and call some paranormal investigators? Oh f*ck. Who cares? Case solved is all that matters.

Another joker character is Itonokogiri. This guy easily falls into the dumb detective category as you can see how sloppy he sometimes do his job. Although he is a good cop and his intentions are always good, you can’t help wonder if he is incompetent seeing the way he does some of the police work. It is amazing he hasn’t got fired probably because he hasn’t made any major blunders. Thank goodness for him. Adding to the running joke of this character is that many people will have the tendency to mispronounce his name because of how longwinded it is. At least by Japanese standards. So they tend to mispronounce it as something else which makes his entire name sound funny and weird. Yahari can also be a joker character but his presence is so minor and forgettable, it makes you wonder why the heck he even bother to show up. I know it’s to support Naruhodo but really, he is forgettable in that sense.

And speaking about lawyers, judges and detectives, at this point when you have watched the end of the anime series, you might have wondered and even asked yourself if the town has no other lawyers, judges and detectives other than them! It’s so true! Because every court case our Santa Claus judge presides them. Because every crime scene that occurs Itonokogiri will be there. Because every other damn suspect needs to have Naruhodo to defend them (so okay, he is the star so it is only right to focus on him) and either prosecuted by Mitsurugi or Mei (or previously Karuma). Are there no other people taking up these professions in this city?! Jesus. Heck, it’s a small world after all when they even had to call the same witness for different cases (Ooba and Natsumi).

Voice acting is pretty decent with Yuuki Kaiji helming the titular character Naruhodo and sounds like any other Yuuki Kaiji character he voiced. Same goes to Aoi Yuuki as Mayoi with her typical cutie pie voice. The rest of the main casts are Masahi Tamaki as Reiji (Reiji Aoi in Kindaichi Shounen series), Saori Yumiba as Mei (Kyouka Iburi in Engage Planet Kiss Dum), Ben Hiura as the judge (Kazuya’s father in Gosick), Masamu Iwasaki as Itonokogiri (Iemitsu in Katekyoushi Hitman Reborn), Chie Nakamura as Chihiro (Sakura in Naruto), Misaki Kuno as Harumi (Serara in Log Horizon), Tooru Nara as Yahari (Nishida in Chihayafuru) and Akio Ohtsuka as Karuma (titular character of Black Jack).

The opening themes are sung by an all-male idol pop group, Johnny’s West. Personally, they sound so gay to me. Well, somehow I think the singing style is pretty much similar to one of the opening themes of Inu Yasha, Change The World. But hearing Gyakuten Winner as the first opening theme and Jinsei Wa Subarashii as the second one, I can’t help feel that they sound almost similarly the same like in the beat and pace. And still gay. At least the ending theme sounds better, Message by Rei Yasuda as the first ending theme is a pop ballad. It’s back to pop idol group for the second ending theme but an all-female one. Junai Chaos by Tokyo Performance Doll sounds energetically decent but nothing that attracts my attention.

Overall, this anime might be cheesy but it is still fun to watch. Because where else are you going to find lawyers who are as easy going as them and making evidence collecting and arguing statements in court look so cool and easy. Not even American legal dramas like Ally McBeal can match them. Not only that, they can prove your client’s innocence or send the perpetrators to prison in no more than 3 trial days! OMG! F*cking record time! So f*cking efficient. Well, that’s because it is part of the game world settings whereby the court has to reach a verdict within 3 days otherwise the backlogs. Which is what is happening in our world, right? You wait like sh*t and then you pay like sh*t. Time and money, that is. It really want to make me go out and shout out to the court systems of the world to follow this style. Objection to the current world’s court system! Matta! Igi ari! Heh. I just felt like saying that for fun.

Danganronpa 3 – Hope Arc

February 10, 2017

To bridge the twin simultaneous series of the Despair Arc and Future Arc, thus we have this special broadcast, Danganronpa 3 – Hope Arc to bring closure and end everything once and for all. Will the world finally be flooded with mindless hope because hope is still hope no matter how you put it. Unless that is like despair in disguise. Oh damn. I’m confused now…

Hope Floats
Hinata is seen by Yukizome’s body. He regrets the terrible things he has done with his power but because of it, he managed to bring everyone else back. Naegi is being cornered and pushed back by the elite force. But the luck of Komaeda has taken them out. It seems the Remnants are back and are now on the good side thanks to Hinata healing them back to normal. They are the ones who also helped dig out Togami’s side from the rubble. We see them display and use their talents fending off the elite force. Then they face Mitarai who is still bent on resetting everything even if it means everyone losing their emotions, etc. He claims he is not strong like them and blames himself that a lot of people died. Hinata doesn’t blame him for thinking that way but doing so means erasing history. Because it is as though they are acting Nanami never existed. Their role as survivors is to atone their sins and carry on living. Mitarai is unsure of what to do since he is always alone. Well, look no further. These guys will always be with him from now on. After a lot of contemplating, crying and breaking down, Mitarai finally finds the courage to stop the broadcast. Now you can let those tears run freely and have a big group hug. That’s a good boy. And everything is resolved without Naegi having to lift a single finger or say a single word.

Naegi returns to base where Togami shows a footage released from Future Foundation. Hinata and the Remnants are claiming responsibility on this since hope is boring and thus bringing to you this despair. Before you jump to conclusions that they are sheep in wolves’ clothing, take note that this is just an act to ‘deceive’ the world and make them think they are behind this so as not to tarnish the good name of Future Foundation. It’s like playing the villain. Nanami is heard talking to Hinata and narrating to us when Hinata entered the New World Programme. An AI was supposed to be created to monitor him which was supposed to be her. However there was no need for all that since there was someone all of them wanted to see again. Since Nanami is able to see all of them, she thinks miracle has won. The ex-Remnants leave the place via ship. Munakata warns Naegi that he is going to be a hero as the world needs one who fought despair. Can he shoulder it? If the ex-Remnants had the burden of carrying despair, then Naegi has the burden of carrying hope. Munakata also has his own burdens to carry then. Tsumiki shows an antidote that Seiko tried creating during the mutual killing game. It’s a medicine that would slow the spread of the wristband’s poison. So guessed who lived? That lucky person who was able to received Tsumiki’s treatment with this antidote is no other than Kirigiri. And this completes our full cycle of hope and not let it end in despair, right? A few months later, we see Naegi’s side rebuilding Hope Academy. Naegi is the headmaster and Kirigiri a teacher.

Hope To See You Again
Erm… Somehow I feel that there are a few parts missing here and there. Because you know, it just doesn’t explain how Hinata return back to his normal state from his super Kamukura form. Maybe there wasn’t much to it. Ushering back the ex-Remnants feel a bit rushed because they need to spend some time giving some drama to Mitarai and end it. So it ends like that? No wonder hope is so boring. And there’s this Nanami’s explanation that I didn’t get at all on how the virtual reality programme works but what the heck, as long as a good happy ending is in sight then everything else doesn’t matter. I was wondering the fate of some of the characters like Monaka because I suppose she is going to be stuck in space forever. What will be of Munakata? How will he pay his respects to Yukizome and Sakakura assuming he isn’t part of the new Hope Peak or whatever academy Naegi wants to call this new future school of his. And where are the ex-Remnants going now? They leave by ship but to where? Are they going to live on an island all by themselves seeing that they have become the bad guys in the eyes of the world? Most likely. Because you can’t blame anybody for trying to kill them seeing them walking in the streets after the despair they have caused.

And the most ‘outrageous’ of all is Kirigiri coming back to life. It feels unfair that only she is the dead one who has to return to life. She is the last person who died from the poison in the wristband but I am not sure how long it was since her death and the end of this entire drama. How long can a human body stay dead and then revive again without having any major damage to the body organs? Kirigiri looks fine to me. As though she woke up from a great sleep. And I believe it hasn’t even been a day since the mutual killings started so if Kirigiri can be resurrected, why not the rest who died from their forbidden actions? Unless you tell me Seiko only made a vial worth for one person. Too bad. But even if you think of it, if Kirigiri was administered the antidote right on time, the poison would have spread quickly throughout her body during that time interval and thus the antidote would be useless in slowing it down. I mean, if this was the case, the rest wouldn’t have died a fast death, right? So it makes no sense. Yeah, this story was written on hope, not logic.

Overall, I feel that this special episode felt a bit lukewarm in trying to end everything on a feel good note. Some bits I felt were not there but maybe they’ll show another special episode to bridge it. You know, like the big battle between Naegi and Enoshima that resulted in the latter’s death. I can only blame myself for expecting a lot after the tense and suspenseful arcs but then again, we’re all weak in our own ways. So from what I learn from what these guys said, we are supposed to accept our weakness and failures because it gives us hope? Well okay. I’m a loser otaku and have always been one for the longest time. Gee, that doesn’t make me feel better and instead just feeling more despair instead. Oh, right. I remember I’m not even a super high school level in anything. Despair seems to be so much more tempting…

Mob Psycho 100

February 5, 2017

The biggest question that everyone has been having on their minds since. What happens if One Punch Man’s Saitama had hair and he didn’t have a brutally strong physical punch but the most powerful psychic and esper powers ever. And now you have your answer. Voila! Behold! You get Mob Psycho 100! Haha! Just kidding. But no, really. The similarities are more than just coincidence because both series are written by the same author. The main character of this show indeed looks like Saitama with hair. But that is not the point of this show. It isn’t an alternate reality whereby Saitama is an esper. Heck, it isn’t about Saitama at all. It’s not a spinoff or alternate retelling of One Punch Man even. This is a completely different anime. A totally different series. A boy with special powers trying to do his good by exorcising dangerous and wicked spirits around.

Episode 1
Arataka Reigen is the new rising paranormal detective. He accepts to look into the case of his client, Hanako because she claims some ghost is always head butting her in her dream. However her boyfriend, Tarou is suspicious Reigen might be fake and his suspicions are close to true when Reigen points out the wrong haunted building and is more afraid of cockroaches than ghosts. When the real spirit appears, Reigen throws salt. Nothing happens. Even the ghost mocks him only purification salt will do. So Reigen calls his next trump card, Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama. This kid walks in casually and instantly exorcises the ghost! Mob is supposedly Reigen’s student but he wonders why Reigen can’t take care of such lowly spirit. Reigen claims he is training Mob to control his power that will ‘melt’ everything. Really? Mob is just an ordinary high school student otherwise. Has a crush on this pretty girl, Tsubomi, bad in studies and definitely the worst in sports. Reigen calls him for another mission. This time a haunted tunnel supposedly where a busload of people died and their vengeance is swirling around the area. Reigen lets Mob handle the small fries while he claims to find the bigger one but actually does nothing. When Reigen bumps into this wrestler guy, he is actually a real ghost and the leader of his biker gang. They all perished here when their bikes slipped on a banana. Yes, seriously. Reigen could have been done for had not Mob used his barrier to protect him and the gang leader thought this weakling had some sort of cool power. Eventually Mob reduces him into pipsqueak level. Reigen wants him to finish him off but Mob wants to hear him out. It seems there is another big evil spirit that is commanding them to do bad stuffs. Mob moves forward to take a look although pipsqueak believes he is not powerful enough to take it on. When the spirit shows up and devours Mob, Mob exorcises it from within! And he thinks it wasn’t very powerful to begin with! Oh sh*t! Mob even hands back pipsqueak’s group photo of his gang, enough to touch his heart and send him passing over with peace. Mob’s such a great guy. When Mob asks why Reigen didn’t even do anything, he manages to worm his way out with this excuse that he already told him to leave the small fries to him. Can’t argue with that.

Episode 2
Reigen’s client doesn’t believe his ghostly problem as pointed out is due to porn sites! Reigen then starts massaging his shoulders and back. Once his full chiropractic therapy is done, this guy really felt good! So it’s all over? When Mob asks the serious question about life, Reigen thinks he is on to him so he tells him not to rush it and take it easy. All he needs to do is laze around and make money for him. When a member leaves the Telepathy Club, Tome Kurata the president goes into emergency mode to find another member fast. Because here comes Tokugawa the student council vice president threatening to abolish the club and give it to another club if they don’t find a replacement member in 2 days. So with her members, Inukawa, Kijibayashi and Saruta, they go all out to recruit anybody but were all rejected. Till Mob is brought in since he doesn’t have a club. Tome is desperate enough to try and act all nicely for him to join but Mob is unsure since he has a job to do after this. He calls Reigen for advice. Hearing him out, Reigen believes Tome is only using him for her means. Tome takes over the conversation and calls Reigen a fraud but he tells her off for trying to steal his student’s time. Mob thinks of joining when he sees Tome in tears but Reigen warns those are just crocodile tears. He adds how the club does nothing and if it is going down it is because it is meant to go down. Mob is about to leave but Inukawa tells him Tome really believes in telepathy while the rest are here to only goof off. This is the only club where he can be carefree so think about it.

Mob is given the night to think about it as he goes for a job with Reigen. How are they supposed to infiltrate an all-girls’ high school? Dressed up as girls! Nobody is going to be fooled with that awful disguise! However the guards think Mob is a real girl and lets him in! Mob meets the clients, Chihiro and Mari who tell him about the poltergeist events spotted at school. As Mob walks around, the duo start wondering if he is the real deal. Then Mob detects the evil spirit and traps it at the gym where the basketball team is practising. The spirit thinks he can crush Mob but Mob is f*cking powerful! Now he is scared and going to take a hostage. But Mob finishes him off. While the girls around praise him, Mob hears the spirit’s final words. He was like Mob, a loser. When things started to go right for him, he died. So is he living life to the fullest? This has Mob start thinking hard. Next day as he is about to give his answer to Tome, here comes Tokugawa bringing a club filled with macho men in. So Mob is their new recruit, eh? Tokugawa spams him with lots of questions till one he cannot answer: Does he have anything he wants to do. Mob is finding it hard to answer as Tokugawa tells him about goofing off in this club doing nothing productive. If he wants to join on his own free will, that is fine. But please reconsider carefully if this is what he wants to do. All Mob could think about is confessing to Tsubomi. Flashback shows she used to be awed with his psychic powers till she got bored. And then she her attention shifted to stronger guys. If joining a club can change anything, he’ll do. So is he going to join the Telepathy Club? HE JOINS THE MACHO MEN BODY BUILDING CLUB!!!!! This guy needs to build some muscles, right? Glad to have you onboard!

Episode 3
Mob is seriously lagging in the body building aspect. No stamina. Thankfully these macho guys allow the Telepathy Club to share the room. Tome doesn’t believe he has psychic powers but after he demonstrates, she hopes he could help her achieve her dream of communicating with extraterrestrials. He won’t. She then tells him off being strong won’t make him popular. It is reading the minds of girls that will. So when Mob asks Reigen about this, he too can tell he wants to be popular for a girl. It’s written all over your face. On his way home, Mob encounters a strange lady who believes he has problems in love. He would have declined following her had she not assure him it will make him famous. He follows her to a secret underground base and the group is called LOL. I kid you not. Everyone is smiling and laughing. Mob along with a couple of new recruits that include a grumpy man and his classmate, Ichi Mezato are ushered onto stage to be introduced. Then the clan leader, Dimple makes his appearance. Laughing is the of course first order. He tries to get them to free their hearts and laugh but Mezato claims she doesn’t believe all that BS. She is the school’s reporter and heard about a religious cult gaining popularity in a month by brainwashing others and forcing them to join. Dimple proves his work by putting a mask on the grumpy man and now he is all smiling! Mezato still doubts but she can’t leave as Dimple wants her to smile. She can’t force herself to laugh or that will be lying to herself. After a mask is put on her, she starts laughing too. It seems her body is laughing on its own accord but deep down inside Mezato doesn’t want to. Welcome aboard.

Mob then wants to leave. The mask has no effect on him. Dimple is shocked it doesn’t work and has Mob play a game of starring with his best smilers. The first to laugh loses. His smilers all lost. Dimple then challenges him himself. He spiked Mob’s drink and almost caused him to laugh in which Mob denies he is so. When everyone restrains him and Dimple is trying to hint to him to get a clue and laugh, this makes Mob remember how the other kids told him to go home because he was the only one not laughing. Worse, Tsubomi told him to get a clue. Dimple tries his direct hypnosis but doesn’t work. He then tries to instigate Mob that he has no feelings and thus he can never be with the one he loves. It is then Dimple realizes he has similar psychic powers and is his enemy. He orders his followers to get rid of him. But then Mob bursts into full power! As narrated, Mob rarely showed his powers in public. As he realized how dangerous it was, he is unable to act or do as he pleased and this meant his emotions came to a halt. His aversion to using his powers has become a complex. His emotions locked inside his heart. But now an emotion has burst out and it is rage. Wow. Mob becomes like a Super Saiyan as he fights off Dimple. So powerful that Dimple couldn’t even touch him! If it is emotions you want, here they are. Feel the rage! In the aftermath, Mob is bummed out as he talks to Reigen who thinks he shouldn’t be too conscious since he has no social skills. Because he is the protagonist of his own life. After hearing what happened, Reigen explains that incident was just a simple mind control. That wasn’t salvation and Dimple was just having them depend on him. Since Mob was super dense, it didn’t work on him. This means that density itself has him saved many people today. The followers of LOL are broken free from the hypnosis. They barely remember what happened but think that kid has awesome powers and want to find him and worship him as their new God!

Episode 4
When Black Vinegar Middle School’s gang leader, Tsuyshi Edano is beaten up by Tenga Onigawara, the gang leader for Salt Middle School, he calls in their trump card, Teruki “Teru” Hanazawa to avenge them. This pretty boy easily beats up a gangster with no sweat? He is the real villain because he has no qualms using others for his own gain. Mob is surprised Dimple is hanging around him as a friendly ghost. He states his goal to become God and wants to team up with him to achieve greatness. But Mob isn’t buying it and wants to exorcise him. After pleading for his life, Mob will seek Reigen’s advice. However Dimple can see Reigen is a scam as he has no spiritual powers and thus cannot detect him. But you know what Reigen said? The spirit is too weak to be detected so Mob can do whatever he wants! Dimple is going to use Mob like how Reigen does so the first thing is to observe Mob. Mezato tries to talk to Ritsu, Mob’s younger brother in order to get an interview with him. He tells her off that Mob’s psychic power is not some sideshow. Despite Ritsu is good in his studies and popular, he sets Mob’s psychic power as his standards and always envies it. So when he asks Mob why he doesn’t use it often in public, Mob replies there is more to it. Instead Mob is envious of Ritsu’s popularity and brains and wishes he had other powers like reading his surroundings.

Onigawara and his co try to get the Body Building Club to help them beat up their enemies. But they get beaten up as warning since these guys do not use their muscles for violence. But after noticing Mob as a member, Onigawara hatches his plan. He puts a fake love letter in Mob’s shoe locker. It’s so bad anybody can tell it is written from a guy. Of course Mob being the ‘kind’ person who doesn’t want to break the heart of the ‘girl’ who might be waiting, takes the bait. Onigawara also has sent a challenge letter to Black Vinegar guys. So when Mob arrives, the Black Vinegar guys tie him up thinking this must be some sort of trap as they wait and use Mob as hostage. Similarly, the Body Building Club also gets a letter that Mob has been taken hostage so they rush to rescue their comrade. Black Vinegar guys are going to be in for a shock to see these macho men whom they cannot touch and just flick away with their fingers! Then here comes Teru. First he beats up Edano for being a failure and reliefs him as the gang leader. Then he easily beats up the musclemen with ease. When Onigawara joins in, he too gets taken out. It seems Teru has very powerful psychic powers too. To his surprise, he didn’t realize Mob is the only one left standing and didn’t even notice his presence. Mob warns him about using his power in public and for fighting. Shock to see another person other than yourself with power?

Episode 5
Teru becomes defensive and tries to establish the hierarchy by showing off his threatening power. Dimple tries to convince Mob to use his power but Mob clearly remembers Reigen’s advice that everyone is good at their own talent. People with psychic powers like them can be dangerous when used wrongly. Like a knife. Because Mob refuses to fight back, Teru pounds him with his powers. Dimple suggests to Teru for this to be a draw since he needs Mob too. Since Teru rejects, Dimple transforms to his true form ready to beat him up but was instantly exorcised! Mob becomes shocked that Dimple is gone (memories of Dimple being an annoying company flashes through his mind?). Teru gets mad when Mob doesn’t like the way he badmouths others. It makes Dimple look like a pretty nice guy. Teru becomes mad as he beats up Mob with full power, trying to force him to use his power. When Teru hurls knives in a bid to scare him, Mob uses his barrier and it deflects back to shave off Teru’s head! He thinks Mob did it on purpose and is even madder now. As the fight rages on and Teru continue to be cocky about himself as the main character, Mob hits it right at his nerves. He realizes Teru is just average like him. Not because they have the same powers but rather they are losers who are nothing if they do not have their psychic power. Angry Teru denies all that and still believes he is very different than him. Teru uses his brute strength to strangle Mob as he blames him for ruining his perfect world. Teru thinks Mob’s weak ‘punch’ in his face is an insult. So after all that muscle training and this is what he has got to show? It’s like he didn’t change.

Mob fears he cannot not use his power at this rate. Then he passes out. Teru thinks it is a draw as he walks away. But then Mob wakes up totally a different person! Oh sh*t! Who is this guy?! Is this power over 9000???!!! Teru thinks he is now serious to fight back with his power but is blown away. Even his clothes are blown away! Realizing Mob is in an unconscious state, Teru thinks he has awakened something he shouldn’t have. Mob is observing powers from Teru and his surroundings. Too late to be sorry now and repent. Because Mob’s telekinesis lifts Teru and the entire school block into the sky!!! Holy sh*t! It’s like Teru has gone to heaven! When Mob regains consciousness, he realizes he has failed to change. This leads him to explode into another form of emotions: Sadness. So sad that his power put back each and every block of the decimated school! OMFG! The school is like good as new! When Edano and co wake up and see Teru in this humiliated state, they run. Teru admits he has lost and just like Mob said, he is nothing without his powers. As for the macho men, they are just glad Mob is okay and they head back to do more squats. Back home, Ritsu can tell Mob is down. Mob feels sorry for that incident. The one where high school boys attacked them and Mob believed he did something to hurt Ritsu (he has no memories when his power is released in that full state). Ritsu says it was nothing. One of the punks kicked him and he got hurt. But Mob protected him. However Mob can tell something is off because he remembered it in a slightly different way. The TV news plays the supernatural phenomenon of building blocks floating into the sky and witnesses telling their dramatic sightings. Ritsu is also watching the news and he doesn’t want to believe that was Mob’s doing.

Episode 6
Reigen is in another spiritual medium scam. Yeah, this dude is trying to call his late father all because he wants to password to the safe. When he can’t get what he wants, he gets violent so Reigen punches him out in self defence. This has Mob wonder if fighting back this way would be okay. Of course his previous supernatural ‘fight back’ didn’t count. Mezato tries to get Mob to confess he was the one behind that phenomenon but he won’t say. Tome is shocked it wasn’t done by aliens! Thinking there are more espers, she suggests going on a ‘date’ to find more of them. Doesn’t Reigen count as another one? Apparently there is a difference between psychic power and spiritual power. According to Reigen, that is. Onigawara feels the need to find the guy who beat up Teru and make him their shadow leader. He thought he was the Body Building Club’s captain, Gouda Musashi but was told he wasn’t. It’s like Musashi knows who that person is but refuses to tell so as not to get him involved. Ritsu is in a student council meeting that includes that president, Shinji Kamuro. They are trying to tackle a more effective way of delinquents. Kamuro wants to hear Ritsu’s opinion so he suggests reprimanding them. On his way back, this strange guy, Kenji Mitsuura gives him his card inviting him to his Awakening Lab to help awake his psychic powers. Ritsu thinks he must have mistaken him to be Mob and leaves. Ritsu then stumbles into Tokugawa who has noticed his behaviour of trying to play a minor role and let others have the spotlight. He tells him not to act like his brother. This was enough for Ritsu to take up Mitsuura’s offer. He is introduced to other kids supposedly having such powers. In short, weak and pathetic. Not a big deal. Thinking Mitsuura bribed them or something, Mitsuura explains he is just a son of a wealthy family and his dream is just to become an esper and thus spent a lot on this research. Ritsu agrees to join since he too wants to raise his standards.

Kamuro has his own family problems. His brother is a very accomplished person and it seems he is hounded by his family to live up to that expectations. Next day in school, Ritsu is called to a class where Kamuro tells him they are going to frame Onigawara by making him look like he stole the girls’ recorders as he is the school’s worst delinquent. At firs Ritsu is against this but when Kamuro points out at Ritsu’s unwanted praises, Ritsu thinks back at how his parents always praised him and Mob too for his talents. Before you know it, there are recorder parts all over the classroom. Onigawara is running with Musashi and forming an alliance in hopes he could learn the name of the shadow leader. When he returns, there is already a commotion and Kamuro and Ritsu are searching everyone’s bag for evidence. Ritsu then finds the recorder mouthpieces inside Onigawara’s desk. Easily he is suspected and labelled as a pervert who wants to lick the girls’ recorder. As much as Onigawara wants to deny he can’t. Nobody believes him. Plus, he is finding it hard to resist fighting back since everyone is expecting him to use violence to solve things. He almost loses himself when he gets rough with Ritsu when he found more recorder parts in his bag. Onigawara is ‘defeated’ when he falls and accidentally peeps underneath a girl’s skirt. It’s the end of the road for him. The girl isn’t that pretty by the way… Ritsu feels sick having to think he was in cohorts with this and Kamuro was laughing his ass off after that. He gives up on Awakening Lab and throws away his spoon, admitting he has no such powers. But Mitsuura is left shocked when the spoon is twisted in such a hideous way. You can’t bend a spoon by throwing it like that, right? Ritsu is already in a bad mood when he stumbles upon Reigen and then he senses a spirit in front of his house. Isn’t that Dimple?!

Episode 7
With Teru’s defeat spread like wildfire, other school gangs now term this mysterious dude as White T Poison and want to take him on. Ritsu is shocked he can communicate with Dimple. But he beats him up as exorcism?! Dimple explains he manages to come back but because his spiritual power is way lesser, he can’t come back to this house where Mob has such great power. Noticing Ritsu’s power has awakened, he has Ritsu demonstrate bending spoons. At first he couldn’t but subsequently he could. Dimple tricks him into teaming up to become more powerful. Fortunately Dimple’s plan to possess Ritsu’s body didn’t come into fruition since he is too weak to do so although it does enhance Ritsu’s latent power. Kamuro and Ritsu go around cleaning up the school by ousting delinquents. They frame them for a crime they didn’t commit and then give them an option to save their own skin by blaming it on Onigawara who ordered them. While Kamuro revels in this accomplishment because it makes him look like a hero, Ritsu is rife with guilt. However he realizes this is fuel for his powers. On the streets, a few delinquents want to get back at Ritsu as they know he was the one who framed them. With Dimple’s cooperation, he beats the crap out of them. Then here comes Teru. My, a new beehive hairstyle?! He is trying to advise Ritsu from straying down the wrong path but Ritsu is stubborn and wants to test his powers, much to Dimple’s dismay. If not for the distracting wind blowing his wig, Ritsu might not have gotten the chance to get away. This makes Ritsu believe there are stronger espers out there and feels the need to get stronger.

Meanwhile Mob is tricked by a con artist to buy a vase. Since he has no money, she makes him accidentally break it. Then her gangster boss comes in to rough things up. Mob calls Reigen and of course he knows this is all a con job. When they get rough with him, Reigen claims he is hurt and demands millions in compensation! Using bad words? Another million. Your breath stinks. Another million. There, enough to cover the vase. They try to curse Reigen but he bluffs them about ghosts and possessions. The place suddenly rumbles and it scared the daylights out of them. Reigen thought it was Mob who helped out but apparently Mob thought Reigen called the spirits. Kamuro is now harassing the Body Building Club since Onigawara is hanging out there instead of going to class and that Musashi defends downtrodden Onigawara as he believes he didn’t do anything. When a rival gang comes to challenge White T Poison, Ritsu easily beats him up. Kamuro is impressed but is confronted by other rival gangs who think he is White T Poison. He is beaten up so badly that he becomes scared and shut himself in his room. Ritsu visits him and can tell he is broken. Kamuro wants out of this game but Ritsu says it is too late for them who did something unforgivable. Nobody can save them now. When other rival gangs team up to fight Ritsu, of course he goes into full mode to beat them up. Teru sees this and thinks he is pretending to be Mob. Once he is done beating them all and even giving his own advice about freedom, violence and losing one’s limits, Ritsu didn’t expect to see the person he doesn’t want to see all this: Mob.

Episode 8
Previously Teru had to break Mob’s ‘date’ with Tome to go bring him to ascertain Ritsu. Ritsu admits he did these to these punks although Mob doesn’t want to believe it. He even dares to take on Mob and this is when Dimple flees. Still, Ritsu knows his trigger for his power. After demonstrating a little of it, he reveals his inferiority complex he always had and always wanted psychic powers. The friendly brother act is over. Mob still believes half of that is true. He goes to apologize on Ritsu’s behalf. The punks get cocky as they even make him grovel, much to Ritsu’s dismay. There is this hooded guy, Koyama who have been watching this and his boss just raided Awakening Lab. His mission is to nab Mob in which of course they mistake as Ritsu. So Koyama comes down and slams Ritsu’s head into the ground. He seems to be the most powerful of the lot and beats up some of the punks. Then he also makes them grovel before him if they want to live. That is when Mob revives and attacks Koyama because he hurt his brother. Because Mob still holds high his values not to fight back, he takes an extreme beating by Koyama who could actually kill him! It is then Ritsu wants him to stop and leave his brother alone. He will go with him as intended. Unfortunately Koyama is angry so he beats up Ritsu. This enrages Mob as his feelings now burst into ultimate animosity. What follows next is an epic super power battle in which Koyama gets beat down. Even those punks are cheering for Mob! However Koyama is still strong and incapacitates Mob with some spray. He is going to kill the punks as he is not going to leave any eyewitness. When Mob stands back up, Koyama realizes he cannot best him and takes Ritsu and run. While the punks praise Mob, Dimple has come back with Teru who tells them he is unconscious while standing and it is best to get away from him as he is still dangerous.

When Mob wakes up, he is in Teru’s place. Seeing that Dimple is back, Mob at first thinks he is the one behind this. Better explain yourself. Teru knows who those people are. He was once followed by them for a few years. Of course he showed them a lesson and that’s why he lives alone now. He warns Mob to stay away from them or he could be killed. You think Mob is going to sit around knowing his brother is kidnapped? Teru further explains these people are from the organization called Claw. They want a revolution. Many organizations around the world have tried to manufactured espers but only Claw succeeded. They kidnap child espers and mature their powers as well as brainwash them. Although manufactured espers are not as good as naturals like them, they can still overwhelm you with numbers. Dimple adds that Ritsu has been going to this lab to awaken his powers. He takes them there only to see all the scientists knocked out. They interrogate Mitsuura for answers but clearly he doesn’t anything or what is going on. He is shocked when he learns who the real Mob is. He also tells them that the other esper kids have been taken as well. Speaking of them, they are being taken to a secret facility hidden in the woods.

Episode 9
When Koyama’s colleague, Sakurai learns that he fought Mob and let him go, he chastises him for doing so because it’s their job to bring in such powerful kids. If the division leader finds out about this, they’re not going to let him go. Claw’s upper echelons are known as Scar in which Koyama and Sakurai are part of. This conversation is heard by fellow Scar, Terada who is going to bring in this kid himself. However he got his ass kicked and interrogated! Claw’s meeting begins. Another group of weird looking weirdoes that include Muraki (shoulder pads), Mukai (little girl), Takeuchi (Indian?), Miyagawa (psycho), Tsuchiya (fugly) and the division leader, Ishiguro (gas mask). Ritsu thinks he can plead for them to be released but you think these baddies are going to let them go even if they have no psychic powers? Muto, another Scar interrogates them and picks Kaito Shiratori to show his power or else. To teach them a lesson, he brings Kaito to another room and kills him before bringing back his corpse for the rest to see!!! Mob and Teru force Terada to bring them to their hideout. The boys think he is no harm thinking they’ve tortured him enough and won’t attack them. Wrong. Terada attacks them with his psychic whip otherwise his reputation will be tarnished. It isn’t long before Mob defeats him. Ritsu suggests they escape but the rest thinks it is possible. But Kaito’s brother, Daichi agrees. He isn’t grieving? Because he can still sense Kaito alive (they’re telepathically talking to each other), he thinks Muto’s killing was just an illusion and the real body somewhere. Everyone agrees to Ritsu’s plan to bust out. Since he doesn’t remember their names (so do I), they reintroduce themselves again. Aside the Shiratori brothers, nice to meet you again Rei Kurosaki (clairvoyance), Takeshi Hoshino (telekinesis) and Go Asahi (pyrokinesis).

The plan begins with Asahi using his fire to mould the spoon to fit into the lock and then Hoshino using telekinesis to break it. Using so much strength for this pathetic little job? Of course the guards anticipated this and mock them. The rest fears Ritsu didn’t think far ahead and are doomed. Ritsu then coolly walks out and is not scared by their threats. He sees them as incompetent. This riles them up and as they are going to beat the crap out of him, Ritsu’s psychic power slams them into the wall. Ritsu then explains this was to let the guards let their guard down. Ritsu beat them up in the blind spot of the camera so he made it looked like the guards took them out to be disciplined for a while. They need to find Kaito first and Ritsu wants Kurosaki to use her powers. Mob and Teru beat up a few entrance guards as Dimple possesses one of them because of his weak mind. Their infiltration is of course picked up and reported to Scar. Koyama wants to pay back Mob for the humiliation. Ishiguro allows him but if he loses again, be prepared for the consequences. And here is Koyama facing off with the boys again. This time with lots of fury. Before he could begin his attack, Mob freezes him and then throws him about like a ping pong ball! OMG! He is ricocheting like hell! He definitely lost this time. With Koyama out of the picture, the rest of Scar is going to take action to show them the true terror of Claw.

Episode 10
Ritsu and co sneak in to rescue Kaito since those guards are busy talking about some experimented lab. But even when they are spotted, the old guy lets them go because lackeys like them can do nothing. All that is left is to let Claw rule the world and they will get rewarded too. Dimple stumbles into a lab filled with human size chambers. He is then faced off a Scar member, Matsuo whose ability is to send out demon familiars. Dimple knows he cannot fight him straight on so he deduces Matsuo is pretty defenceless without his demons. This causes Matsuo to panic and go on the defensive. Just when Dimple seemed like he is charging, he then trips. He actually left the possessed body to escape. Pissed Matsuo orders his demons to go after him but it was just a ploy since Dimple repossesses the body to fight Matsuo physically. Unfortunately Matsuo has more demons with him. Teru fights again pyrokinesis maniac, Miyagawa. It might seem Teru is having trouble fending off against his flames but Teru turned the tables to burn him back. However Teru is knocked out by Muraki and captured. Ritsu and co are finding the exit but stumble into a few small fries. After taking them out, they are met with this kid, Shou. Ritsu finds him weird since he doesn’t look like he is part of Scar but takes him on nevertheless so the rest could escape. Meanwhile Mob is surrounded by wooden dolls. They are controlled by Mukai as she gladly goes to play with her ‘new toy’. However she comes back crying to Tsuchiya since Mob destroyed her dolls. Tsuchiya throws her super hardened punches at Mob but he is not fighting back. Reigen told him beating up girls is only what losers do so Tsuchiya tells him that was an insult and wants to fight him fair and square. Yeah, she lost. Now it is Takeuchi’s turn to get serious but we didn’t see him do anything and he lost! When Mob gets going, he finds Ritsu collapsed on the floor. He starts feeling angry. Muto then shows Mob despair of Ritsu being killed. This only makes it worse as Mob’s feelings explode. It amplified Muto’s own illusion and reversed it on him. Like short circuit? After Mob collapses, Shou gets out from his hiding. It was his plan to put Ritsu as bait and it worked well. He then takes the brothers back to Ishiguro. Teru is shocked that Mob is defeated. Matsuo returns with Dimple trapped in his jar. Hoshino are co feel a great aura approaching. It could mean the big boss of Claw is here. Hey. Isn’t that Reigen???!!!

Episode 11
Mob is glad Ritsu is alive and instead of getting mad, he hugs him. Ritsu feels bad he didn’t have a chance to apologize. Since they are in a cell, a strange barrier power is suppressing their esper powers from getting out. It seems when Reigen arrived, the small fries thought he was an intruder. But from his confidently ambiguous talk, they start thinking he is the boss of Claw. So when they bring him in and they stumble upon Hoshino’s group, Reigen chides them for doing bad things even they are from a bad organization! When Ishiguro learns the big boss is here, everyone is surprised because he is supposed to only come next month. Reigen goes to collect Mob and everyone misinterprets Mob knows the big boss of Claw. As they leave, Ishiguro and Scar confront them. Who the f*ck is Reigen. This is not Scar’s boss. Reigen tries to cockily warn he has some martial arts belt. If not for Teru’s quick thinking, Reigen could have been killed by Ishiguro’s gravity blast. Ishiguro is even willing to sacrifice the small fries since they stupidly followed a new boss. But Reigen is kinder. He tells them to escape or else they’ll never make it big. He wants to leave too but is trapped. Can’t worm his way out now. Teru and Ritsu know these guys are tough to handle so their only chance is Mob. When Mob is caught under the gravitation powers, Reigen drops a dropkick on Ishiguro! OMFG!!! Then he warns the rest about stressing his student because Mob is not meant to use his powers to harm others. So is he going to fight in his stead? What do you mean he is going to resolve this as peacefully as he can? He tells Muraki to look at his coin for hypnosis. And then suddenly he punches him in the face!!! OMFG!!! IS THIS VIOLENCE OKAY???!!!

Reigen is almost cut by Sakurai. Reigen realizes his plan backfired. He thought of scaring them with a punch and then talk with them. Because Reigen has never lost an argument before. At least with adults. He realizes these guys aren’t adults. They are kids who never grew up because they want to take over the world! Then it begins. The biggest baddest most epic esper fight. All hell breaks loose as both sides fight each other. However Reigen tells Mob not to fight them. Don’t use his powers on them. But Teru and Ritsu tell him otherwise. He must use his power to fight or they will all die. This causes Mob to be confused and conflicted. When he starts thinking as long as his friends are alive and he doesn’t care what happens to his enemies, his emotions are fluctuating at a dangerously high level. That is when Reigen smacks him back to reality. He tells him not to do it as he will be the one who will suffer in the end. When things are going bad, it is okay to run. Flashback reveals Mob first went to see Reigen for advice thinking he had the same powers like him. At first Reigen gives him very general advice but upon seeing he has powerful esper powers, he decides to have Mob come every day to his office so he can teach him how to use his powers. However Mob’s emotions reach the pinnacle when Sakurai slashes Reigen from his back. Real sh*t is going down.

Episode 12
Surprisingly Mob keeps his cool. Because when Reigen tells it to leave it to him, it means leave it to him. More surprise! Reigen gets back up with no injuries! OMG! Sakurai tries to decapitate him but nothing happens! Reigen easily breaks his sword! OMFG! IS REIGEN GOD???!!! Everyone shock! Matsuo’s spirits? He thinks they are nice mascot costumes and easily exorcises them! Muraki’s clones? Nice 3D effect! Easily swatted away with a touch! OMFG! REIGEN IS GOD!!! Before we think so, it is narrated that Mob somehow temporarily transferred all his powers to Reigen. So all Mob has now in his emotions are 100% respect for Reigen! No! It’s going over 9000! Just kidding. Just maxed at 1000%. Ishiguro is getting desperate to take him out. After Reigen easily destroys his black orbs, Ishiguro then unleashes hard pounding techniques. Guess what? No pain at all! Reigen tries to unmask him but his immense strength has him fling Ishiguro through the walls! Super! Now what is Sakurai ranting about being an abandoned child from a broken family? His life is a curse? Lonely? That’s how his power awakened? Screw all that! Reigen too experienced loneliness. He forgot to tell his parents about his school’s sports day. WTF?! Reigen gives Sakurai and Muraki the ultimate lecture about society. The most damaging one has got to be they are all just commoners. Because if Reigen is just a commoner and they lost to him, what does this make them then? So true! Morally defeated! Ishiguro is back an unmasked. Just an old fart?! Now he rants about them with special powers as superior and thus it is normal for them to show off. When his tantrum is at its peak, he wants to destroy everything and restart again. However he is stopped and taken out by powerful Shou. He reveals he is from Claw’s main HQ and here to see if there is anyone with potential and take them back. None. He points out Mob as the most disappointing and will dissolve this division. Bye. When Matsuo thinks of unleashing his final powerful spirit, Dimple bursts out and knocks him out. He is itching to help and fight but it’s already over.

In the aftermath, Mob returns to school like a normal kid. Still has his crush on Tsubomi. Mezato still isn’t giving up on interviewing him but today is still not the day as Mob is busy with club activities and part time job. Kamuro has repented and wants to go round with Ritsu to apologize. First with Onigawara. But the delinquent doesn’t care. He knew everyone hated him but what he despised was how weak his own heart was. Mob looks like he is struggling to run and keep up with his body building guys. Ritsu believes he is okay since he is the strongest. You sure? He just collapsed there. Hoshino and co return to Awakening Lab but not because Mitsuura called them back but Teru. He offers to help develop their powers so they can fight better when Claw strikes again. Reigen now only gains the power of seeing Dimple. And they both exchange sarcasm. Mob still has problems controlling bending his spoon during dinner but don’t worry. Now Ritsu can bend it back like new. Shou reports to his father who is the big boss of Claw. He is not happy of what he hears so Shou mocks his organization that he is so proud of isn’t so great after all and tells him to quickly come back to Japan. We see Reigen taking Mob to go hunt for tsuchinoko. But he got distracted and collected lots of edible mushrooms. When a real giant tsuchinoko spirit attacks, Reigen runs but Mob exorcises it. With the great mushroom hall, they head back to grill them. What about the tsuchinoko? Oh, that? It doesn’t exist.

Flash Mob
Just wow. I can’t believe how absorbed I was watching this series especially the final infiltration arc. Before I know it, it is already over. Yeah, like Dimple’s case? I was ready and itching for more but too bad it is already over. So next season please? Seeing that there is still potential for another great esper and psychic fight assuming the big boss of Claw and all its other divisions return to Japan. Here’s hoping that will happen.

The plot moves along and builds up at a nice pace from Mob’s introduction to the inevitable clash with Claw. At least it is sufficient for this season. The funny and comedic moments may be silly because mostly I noticed that they come from the exaggerated facial expressions from the characters. You know, the flabbergasted and dumbfounded reaction they make. A hint to tell you it’s supposed to be funny? Well, I still laughed anyway. You’ve got a pretty decent character development too as this series is not always about Mob but his little brother also gets a fair share of screen time too. Other likeable and amusing characters as well as quirky villains despite some make a pathetic short appearance despite looking all that tough but I guess they’re expandable for the sake of comedy.

I personally think that Reigen is one of the most amusing and interesting characters in the series. This guy is just a bloody conman. Because of his smooth operator, charm and suave, he executes his arguments with full confidence so much so even if you are a staunch believer of your own beliefs, you are going to believe this dude. Because he is so damn persuasive. Even if what his say is all crap and BS, lying through his teeth and doesn’t know what he is talking about, it is the way he coolly relays his words in a very confident manner that makes it all very convincing. So cool that I wouldn’t even mind becoming his follower! Oh dear. What the heck am I saying?! It’s like I’ve fallen for his sweet talk. Because of this confidence, eventually I am not even sure if this guy has psychic powers. Yeah, I even doubt myself.

At the start I can tell you that he has no such powers whatsoever and is cleverly using Mob for his own means and ends. But then I start to wonder if maybe he is so powerful that he could be actually hiding a hidden power. A fearsome power that is more powerful than Mob’s. Aside this, he seems to have a good side as he really cares for Mob. But then again, I’m not sure if he is truly looking out for him and not wanting to use his powers that there is an ulterior motive to it all. Then the final episode blew me away. It again made me question if he was the f*cking master of hiding such powers. He does everything with ease and still maintains his suave charm! This guy is f*cking awesome! Although it was temporary, at least he is still cool and not let others step over him. So whether you love or loathe him, we’ll see Reigen in a different light now and with a little respect.

The other interesting character is Dimple. This guy is also as cool and has his own charm. Could be another conman second only to Reigen. Because he has got this laidback and easy going voice that makes him sound convincing too. Despite being reduced into a weak form, this guy has quite a very practical view on everything. What he says and thinks hold true if you think a moment about it. He is sly and will not hesitate to take advantage of a situation in his favour if an opportunity rises. He is also smart enough to run if it is not in his favour. After his failed cult, you bet he has learnt his lesson. Now in his little ectoplasm form, he serves more as a comic relief. In a way, it keeps his bad side in check since he knows who to side with if he doesn’t want to be wiped out entirely from the face of the earth. Yeah, he experienced 2 near death experiences at the hands of Mob and Teru. Literally.

Mob is certainly no Saitama although they share some striking similarities (or coincidences if you would like to call it) but overall they are still as different as day and night. Mob feels like a simple and normal kid but yet for his age he is quite a confused one especially when you factor in his psychic powers. He definitely wants to use his powers for good but under the (mis)guidance of Reigen whom he is unaware that he is a fake (assuming he is a real conman), he is always hesitant in dangerous times that calls for quick decisions. It was a bit surprising that he wasn’t the ‘main hero’ to save the day and defeat Claw’s division in the final episode since Reigen took over that role. But I guess Mob has already did a lot previously so it is time to sit back and let his master get some limelight. Had Reigen not been there to always remind him to never to use his powers, would Mob have gone rogue like Teru and abuse his powers for his own gain? We can’t say. In a way, it could be a blessing or a curse that Mob found Reigen. But we’re glad that Mob is on our side. He might sound and look like a retard the way he speaks as though his genes has left out his sociable skills but I think we would much prefer an emotionless Mob compared to one that will be bursting with full negative emotions like rage. When that happens, you’re screwed. Not even any Super Saiyan can save your ass then.

The relationship between Mob and Ritsu can be said to be something like the grass is greener on the other side. Each looks up to the other and admire to have what he doesn’t have himself. So it is unsurprising that Ritsu who is much more smarter in his studies, more popular and good looking, doesn’t appreciate all these natural qualities and instead looked up to his big brother as his benchmark and standards of his goal in life. I’m glad he learns what values most after he gets into trouble with Claw. They might not share the same psychic powers but they do share a blood bond that nobody can take away from them. At least a good ending for Ritsu too now that he has part of his esper powers awakened and he can put it to a little good use.

Teru feels like a character straight out from shonen genres because you know, an enemy that the main character defeats becomes his ally the next time. But it is good that Teru encountered and fought Mob. It’s like he has totally turned over a new leaf after learning that there is someone else more powerful than himself. It is a good thing he is on Mob’s side because they make a good combo team taking on baddies together. Well, if that really happens.

Some of the minor supporting characters at the start have mostly been forgotten by the time the series reaches its end especially when we are introduced to Claw. Or at least become insignificant. Because for Tome, her character role feels like a troll. She and her useless club could have been done without except for the fact that they are the sole reason why Mob decided to go with the macho guys. At least Musashi is a decent captain who looks out for Mob very much. Mob may stick out like a sore thumb and doesn’t fit in there physically but these macho men are giving him the right support so he feels like home. Even the delinquent Onigawara is hanging out there. He actually joined that club in the end. Yeah, those are true men of men.

Then there is Tokugawa who feels like there is more to him than meets the eye. I was expecting like some sort of big revelation. You know, maybe he is part of Claw? As for Kamuro, I guess he is out of the picture for good. He was a bit unrecognizable in the end but I guess it is a good thing he turned over a new leaf. Less one problem to worry about in the future and perhaps could be an ally. Mezato? I thought she would be snooping around since she wants to interview Mob so much and that she would stumble into Claw and then into trouble. Well, we don’t need another damsel in distress (the other being Ritsu when he got captured but I guess he could do fine on his own).

The action sequences especially those involving the use of esper powers are quite exciting to watch. No doubt with all the jaw dropping flashy exaggerations, it makes the entire fight enjoyable and exhilarating to a point you might find your jaws dropping with the sheer genius of it. Well ,sort of. When you have characters with abnormal powers, you’d expect things and everything else to go flying and hurled everywhere, right? It’s nice to see Mob take on a few members of Claw because fights between powerful espers are always exciting. So maybe after taking down this division, he can take on the world? Yeah, future possibilities. Maybe once he defeats the evil of the world, just maybe he could finally land Tsubomi as his girlfriend? Because he is already the world’s strongest man by then.

One of the most notable and stand out aspects you will notice is the different animation art style. It is not your conventional Japanese anime type with everything looking very cartoonish and hence looking like old school anime. This is because the characters have very simple facial drawings especially their eyes which aren’t drawn to your typical Japanese anime’s wide eye design. Even a 3 year old can draw such eyes. So simple. Therefore if you take away the hairstyles that differentiate most of the characters, many of them would look the same if they’re bald! No wonder Saitama would love to have his hair back. In addition to the characters looking simple (and funny), sometimes they can look ugly. Well, in the simple and funny sense (see Yondemasu Yo, Azazel-san for reference). What do I really mean? Even the ‘prettiest’ and most kawaii female character which personally is Tsubomi is as ugly as you can imagine. If ugly is a word too strong for you, then perhaps cartoonish would be a better substitute? Other than that, the flashy and psychic special effects look cool too although they seem like they might be drawn using colour pencils, crayons or oil based painting. But it is still vibrant and sometimes there’s an explosion of colours all around.

Voice acting is decent with recognizable talents such as Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Teru and Tokugawa, Takahiro Sakurai as Reigen, Koji Yusa as Kamuro, Shinichiro Miki as Koyama and Chiaki Omigawa as Mukai. There are lots of casts lending their voice for this series but I’m just going to stick to the main ones. They are Setsuo Ito as Mob (Ryouhei Ameyama in Pupipo), Miyu Irino as Ritsu (Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicle), Akio Ohtsuka as Dimple (Rider in Fate/Zero), Rumi Ookubo as Ishiguro (Chinatsu in YuruYuri), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Onigawara and Sakurai (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin), Toshihiko Seki as Musashi (Senketsu in Kill La Kill), Ayumi Fujiwara as Mezato (Misaki in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama) and Atsumi Tanezaki as Tome (Lilith in Monster Musume). The hard rock music themes seem fitting for this series because with lots of crazy stuffs happening, you need this kind of head banging music to get your grove going. I think. The opening theme is 99 by Mob Choir while Refrain Boy by All Off is the ending theme.

Overall, this is quite a good, fun and enjoyable series if you like super powers and a hero who is so reserved that he won’t kill a fly unless it hurts his brother. Okay, so he is not all that reserved anyway. If you are already tired of long running mainstream animes (like a certain orange ninja), this one should be refreshing. Some may not like the simplistic art style because it doesn’t look anime enough, but you’ll be awed in some of the action sequences and the decent and funny characters this series has to offer. So it goes to show that you don’t need an army of super powered humans to kick ass and save the world. One boy is enough for the job. Move aside superhumans of Concrete Revolutio and the budding superhero students of Boku No Hero Academia, Mob has got it all covered and he is just a one man show. Move aside, One Punch Man. Here comes One Psychic Punch Boy.

If you love the original animated Danganronpa series, then we have good news for you. Make that double good news. Because not only Danganronpa 3 – Future Arc was released as a sequel, it was also aired alongside with another arc (Despair Arc) in the same season and both series run concurrently side by side with each other. Double the fun, double the despair. For this one, as its name suggests it takes place in the future after Naegi and the survivors leave Hope Peak but in the aftermath of fighting the biggest despair incident to have been brought down on mankind. However history seems to repeat itself again as this group of people find themselves in another deadly game of killing for survival. Can Naegi’s hope save the day, world and mankind once again? Can hope be unlimited like despair? Hope has never been much more powerful than prayers… If you find my opening paragraph somewhat similar to my previous blog on this series, well, you’re not seeing double. After all, I watched them simultaneously or rather together.

Episode 1
As narrated, the biggest and most atrocious despair inducing incident happened in human history. These Super High School Level Despairs fought wars that destroyed the world and humanity’s last hope was Future Foundation. They fought a bloody battle and it reached a turning point when Enoshima was killed. Humanity was victorious. However Remnants of Despair continued their activities and the war continued. At a Future Foundation branch, Kazuo Tengan is the chairman and former director of Hope Peak High School. He chairs a meeting with other executives to discuss about Naegi’s betrayal. However the rest end up arguing about the safety of this place since it isn’t on any map and how the Remnants have been increasing their attacks lately. Till Kyousuke Munakata the vice chairman tells them off and to get back on track. It seems Naegi has hid Remnants. Not just ordinary Remnants but million dollar class that served under Enoshima. Some believe Naegi put on a show to kill Enoshima to let their guard down and he was an ally of Despair all along. So when Naegi is ushered in, Juzo Sakakura immediately cuffs him and beats him up. Since he is in no position to be interrogated (thanks for those injuries, Sakakura), the meeting is suspended for the moment as Chisa Yukizome treats him. She also talks to him why he shielded those Remnants. Naegi isn’t sure but he thought at one point they had hope before falling into despair. She cautious that you can’t defeat the Remnants by being nice and that’s why they need Munakata’s decisiveness. After Kirigiri bumps into Ryouta Mitarai who is supposed to meet Tengan for the meeting, something rocks the building. They believe Remnants are attacking the place as all entries and exits are sealed off. Furthermore, all security guards are found dead in the bathroom. Once everyone gathers in the meeting room, a smoke bomb is dropped in and everyone immediately passes out. When they wake up, each of them has a wristband with a timer. A familiar laughter is heard. It is Monokuma on the monitor. Is he still alive? He ‘thanks’ everyone for Remnants’ losing streak and thus this is his way of ‘thanking’ them. They are going to play a game to kill each other. Of course nobody is going to play this game as they are all allies. It is then Munakata realizes Yukizome is missing. Then they realize her dead body stuck up in the chandelier! Monokuma adds that his killing game will determine the fate of humanity as well as the conclusion to the story of Naegi and Monokuma.

Episode 2
Monokuma explains the rules. Once the timer runs out, a sleep inducing drug will put them to sleep. However one will wake up and pick somebody to kill. So if everyone manages to find and kill the killer, the next time they sleep and wake up and nobody dies, they win the game. Also, everyone has an action they cannot perform on their wristband or else a lethal poison will be released. They also cannot take off or destroy it or else the same will be done. Good luck and Godspeed. Miaya Gekkogahara tries to hack into Monokuma but got her avatar in which she speaks through hacked instead. It seems the system is perfectly guarded from outside but somebody hacked it from inside. This further proves one among them is the traitor. Sakakura believes Naegi is the one and tries to force him to admit. Asahina defends him and he too gets violent but since Mitarai advises him not be violent on girls, he got beaten up instead. That is when Daisaku Bandai suddenly dies. His weakness is that he cannot witness violence. Of course the best course is to check everyone’s weakness but many are against of letting it be known for fear of being used against them. Munakata then has everyone pinpoint the killer. Majority votes for Naegi. Munakata tells Naegi that if he hates despair, kill himself. Since he won’t, Sakakura and Munakata are going to kill him but Great Gozu won’t let this injustice happen as he fends them off. Kirigiri releases a smoke bomb to let Asahina and Naegi escape. Asahina has to carry him and run since his weakness is that he cannot run. Gozu and Gekkogahara side with Naegi and Asahina as they fight off persistent Munakata and then lose him. It is nearly nap time as everyone scatters throughout the building. Naegi and Asahina are hiding and she is scared this killing is going to happen all over again like last time. Naegi gives her hope to trust his super luckiness. They overcame this before and know each other better this time. Nap time comes and goes. When Naegi wakes up, he finds his fist bloodied and Asahina dead.

Episode 3
Well guess what? Asahina’s blood is tomato sauce and the knife in her stomach is just a toy. Phew, right? So who got killed then? GOZU!!!!!! The plan now is to talk to everyone and Naegi can do so if he goes to the broadcast room in which Gekkogahara has regained some control over the hacking. Naegi notices Gekkogahara’s odd way of travelling in her wheelchair. He realizes her weakness is that she cannot turn right. Gekkogahara fears for her life but Naegi assures he will not disclose her secret and shows his. Asahina also shows them hers: She cannot get punched or kicked. Thinking somebody is nearby, Asahina and Gekkogahara become decoys so Naegi can carry on. He informs everyone of Gozu’s death and explains why he helped Remnants. Before they were driven to despair, they were ordinary students till they met Enoshima. Thus Naegi helped them by using a virtual rehabilitation programme, New World to restore their memories before Enoshima implanted despair in them. He talks about the need to trust each other. He is going to abandon this game. By telling everyone his weakness? Well, logically if he was the killer he wouldn’t do that, right? Of course Munakata despite calling it a fine speech finds it hollow because Naegi speaks of hope but doesn’t know true despair. We take a short detour to see Seiko Kimura having some bone to pick with the couple Ruruka Andou and Sounosuke Izayoi. Both sides accuse each other of being traitors as Seiko chases the couple down. Beast mode? As expected Munakata finds Naegi to kill him despite the latter pleading he doesn’t want to fight. As allies they should talk. Munakata chides him he doesn’t know what true despair is and he won the last time because it was a game based on Enoshima’s rules. Therefore Naegi is much more dangerous as behind his words are not hope but despair. Munakata believes in power. That is why he will make many victims as it takes to destroy despair even if it means his own death. If Naegi’s words have power, stop his sword then. Alas his shallow hope cannot stop his sword.

Episode 4
Sakakura attacks Kirigiri’s group since he believes all those associated with Naegi are traitors. However he is taken out by Tengan. Not bad for an old man. Asahina and Gekkogahara reunite with Kirigiri’s group. Mitarai feels useless and guilty as he partially injured Kirigiri during the fight. They tell him he need not be like Naegi. Just be himself. Munakata then announces he has captured Naegi and will execute him. Kirigiri knows this is a trap to lure the killer because he would have killed Naegi already. True enough, this is Munakata’s plan as he explains the rest to Naegi. He is very sure Naegi is not the killer. The worst outcome for this game is not everyone being wiped out by the killer. Because the killer would have killed everyone in one go if that was the case. Imagine if Munakata dies and nobody else is killed. Normally one would think Munakata is the killer. However there is no way of ascertaining that. This would mean the killer would easily infiltrate Future Foundation, pose as a top executive and spread despair in the name of hope. They will be controlling Future Foundation from the shadows while using Naegi as a tool to achieve their means. Tengan attacks Munakata and fights him so Asahina could rescue Naegi and take him to a safe place. Meanwhile Kirigiri and Mitarai are re-examining Yukizome’s corpse. The chase between Seiko and the couple is still ongoing. Both blame each other for their expulsion from Hope Peak. Munakata and Tengan’s fight ends in a bloody draw. Well, not actually. When they fall off the level, Tengan was pierced by a metal rod. Seeing Tengan’s resolve has made Munakata to admit he was wrong and changed his mind. He wants to know what he is thinking. Sakakura is hot on the heels of Naegi. Seeing neither Naegi nor Asahina can fight properly, Gekkogahara faces off with him. However he kicks her off her wheelchair. It seems Gekkogahara is just a robot and the real person is controlling her from somewhere.

Episode 5
Flashback reveals Seiko, Ruruka and Izayoi were friends when they were young. Ruruka was impressed by her medicine talent. However Seiko cannot eat any sweets or sugar as she has some medical condition that would kill her. This insulted Ruruka in a way since the only thing good she can do is make sweets. Over the years we see Seiko becoming Ruruka’s errand girl all in the name of friendship. Meanwhile Munakata once believed Tengan used to be stronger till he became a coward. He replies about Munakata’s naivety in thinking if he wipes out all Remnants, he can rid the world of despair. War alone cannot extinguish despair. That is why Kamakura Project was initiated. Munakata thinks Tengan is part of Remnants since this means he was the attacker. Ruruka has figured out Seiko’s weakness as she has Izayoi get some weapon (in which he discovers some secret entrance). From the way Seiko acts, she knows her weakness is for someone to step on her shadow. Ruruka can help Seiko if she eats her sweet. Of course Seiko refuses citing her condition. But Ruruka still refuses to believe that. In that case, kill Munakata. She thinks if he dies, this whole mess will end. Of course Seiko can’t do that too. When she was expelled from Hope Peak, he helped her. Seiko devours more pills to become a super ferocious beast as she takes out all the lights and then hunt down Ruruka. But their chase ended up getting caught in Sakakura’s fight with Asahina and Naegi. It gets messier when Gekkogahara returns to fire her missile. Kirigiri continues her corpse investigation to find the killer’s pattern. Tengan refutes he is a Remnant. Munakata takes his answer as that he knows the killer’s identity. For suspense, we don’t get to hear what the old man says and we see Munakata’s shock reaction. Tengan reveals his weakness: Answer questions with a lie. But Munakata won’t waver and cuts him down. Not before Tengan quickly blinds his right eye with the metal rod. As nap time is around the corner, Seiko laments how things with Ruruka turned out this way. All she wanted was a friend and did her bidding because she trusted her only to realize she was being used. Unfortunately she’ll never get to know because she became the killer’s next victim.

Episode 6
Munakata remembers his past. Just after he, Yukizome and Sakakura graduate, he tells them his plans to expand Hope Peak to overseas since there are many bad rumours about Hope Peak as an organization. When he comes back, he wants Sakakura to take over security and Yukizome to forge ties and contacts as a teacher. Making the world a better place is not his dream. It is his plan. And now Munakata might feel his plan might be a little dashed so he stabbed his sword into Yukizome’s chest? Trying to make sure she is really dead? I knew it would be too good to be true when Naegi is shocked that Kirigiri became the next victim. It was just a dream. I hope it isn’t a foreboding of something. Kouichi Kizakura follows Kirigiri and Mitarai in examining the bodies. Then they stumble upon Izayoi’s body. Making it puzzling is that Seiko’s body is also found. Is the killer breaking the rules? Ruruka is saddened her boyfriend is gone. She pleads them to take her into their group as she is a useless person. Okay. But Kirigiri will have her help them out with their investigation. Gekkogahara connects to the security cameras to find the next victim. Naegi breaks down when he sees Tengan’s body. This hopeful guy just fell into despair. He thought all he did was for nothing. Ironically Gekkogahara gives him hope that everything will be fine in the end. There is also an ‘encouraging’ note left behind by Tengan supposedly for Naegi entrusting the future to him.

When Asahina notes how she hates the game and the rules they have to stick with, it then hit Naegi they don’t have to play this game. But how can they get out if all exits are sealed? Have someone from the outside make one! Gekkogahara sets up her system trying to connect outside. It is Togami who picks up the line. Apparently he doesn’t know there is this killing game going on. There is no worldwide broadcast as claimed by Monokuma. After hearing Naegi’s story, he lets him know that a spy he sent reported that Future Foundation’s peacekeeping squad is headed towards Jabberwock Island. It means Munakata had intended to kill everyone on that island regardless of the meeting’s outcome. Since the squad only answers to Munakata, there might be a connection with what is happening at the branch and on the island. Togami has also sent his forces to the island and he will personally be on his way to Naegi. After the call ends, Togami’s subordinate wonders why he didn’t tell Naegi the truth. Because the real Gekkogahara is dead and the one with them is an imposter. Togami’s reason is that because she is close to Naegi, it might put him in danger if he were to expose her. The best thing now is to let her be and strike the one behind this. He believes the only Remnants who can do this is Monaka Towa who is hiding in Towa City. Fortunately for Togami, Fukawa and Naegi’s little sister, Komaru are there.

Episode 7
We see Monaka giving her eulogy at Enoshima’s funeral. She is blaming Naegi for this. Claiming there is still hope for despair (oh, the irony), Monaka will become Enoshima’s successor and drive Future Foundation and the world to despair. Komaru and Fukawa are pushing forward fighting an army of Monokuma troops. Komaru narrates she is neither hope nor despair but just an ordinary girl who got separated from her brother during that greatest incident. She has been waiting in this town like a video game and waiting for Naegi to end the war. The duo barge into Monaka’s tower and see Monaka on a monitor as she proclaims to bring despair to Naegi. As she sends her robots to surround them, suddenly and surprisingly she surrenders! She knows too well that somehow hope always wins. She’s done with this and detonates the place! At least half the building is still standing. Komaru and Fukawa then find the real Monaka bumming around in her filthy Monokuma trailer room. They are shocked that Monaka doesn’t want to play this despair thing anymore. It’s embarrassing. She reveals she is not the one behind the killing game at Future Foundation’s branch and although she did kill Gekkogahara, it was just to see Naegi up close and personal. She was the one that did the murder prank on Asahina. When Monaka heard Naegi talk about hope and despair a while ago, it made her realize she didn’t want to end up like him and is done with despair. Although she doesn’t know who the culprit is behind this game, what she does know is that because of Naegi, one of the survivors of Enoshima’s killing game will die. She will not say who. Monaka is bored with life on Earth and decides to head off and live in space. Blasting away into the sky! At first Fukawa wanted to follow her to squeeze more info out of her but Komaru wants them to go back. She cites Togami’s name as a good reason. You want Fukawa to do things? Always cite that guy’s name. While they think Monaka doing nothing is a form of despair, Komaru believes once she is bored staying in her room, she’ll come back. Komaru manages to hack into Gekkogahara’s system to inform Naegi about Monaka’s warning. Fukawa does the same to Togami.

Episode 8
Once the transmission ends, Gekkogahara acts like a robot. Naegi and Asahina try to leave but stumble into Munakata. If not for Gekkogahara combining with her wheelchair into some mech to fight him, the duo might not have a chance to escape. Kirigiri is still looking at every inch of the room for hints. Kizakura just dismantled all the traps set by Izayoi in the room. Because Ruruka is seemingly clumsy, Kizakura vaguely hints about her trying to form her own breakaway group in Future Foundation. Sakakura enters the room hell bent on killing Kirigiri. Kizakura fights him and manages to let him step on a trap and wound him. Kizakura’s sharp observation notes that this former boxer has been attacking using everything except his fists. Could it be his forbidden action restricts him from attacking with his bare hands? In exchange, Kizakura tells his own forbidden action: He cannot open his left hand. It must remain closed/clenched. When Kirigiri resumes he investigation, Ruruka lets off a bomb that would have sent her dropping down and to her death had not Kizakura used his hands to grab and pull her up. Oh. Did he just open his left hand? Damn. And another one bites the dust. Ruruka is going to kill all of them as she makes Sakakura eat her chocolates that will control his mind. However he fights and resists against it. Watching Ruruka’s actions, Kirigiri has deduced she was the one who killed Izayoi. He died of his own forbidden actions. It was made to look like he died via the killer’s knife. However all victims had an embedded stab in their hearts. There was none on Izayoi. It is believed Ruruka used the knife from Seiko for this deception. Kirigiri even went as far as to taste Izayoi’s saliva and tasted something sweet. Who else is a master of cooking and close enough to him? She reveals a secret door behind the shelves from the way the marks the furniture was dragged. It is believed to be an exit. Thus Ruruka’s forbidden action is for anyone who leaves the game. So when Izayoi found it, Ruruka must have panicked. Sakakura tries to open the door and leave as Ruruka desperately tries to stop him. Kirigiri and Mitarai didn’t join in helping to open the door but head out of the room. Togami has arrived outside the building. Hagakure must be happy to see him seeing we’ve seen him running around like a clown and his luck managed to still keep him alive from all the attacks. After setting the explosives, they blast away the rubble. A member carelessly activates a trap that sends the building sinking.

Episode 9
Sakakura opens the door but realizes he still can’t get out because they’re underwater! Kirigiri tells Mitarai that the secret exit was fake. This might be an identical space below and not the original room they were in above ground. When they were knocked out the first time, they were moved to the identical part below. Whoever did this must sure put in a hell lot of effort to move everyone. Kirigiri knows this because she observed some of the damage marks in earlier rooms were missing when the killing game started. She suspects Munakata as the main culprit because he was the one who designed this facility and she notices the game rules favour him the most. Kirigiri and Mitarai reunite with Naegi and Asahina. Naegi sounds like he is starting to lose faith so Kirigiri gives him the much needed motivation to continue being hope. After Munakata slashes Gekkogahara into half, he reunites with Sakakura. After a short talk about their ideals and past endeavours, Munakata then stabs him! Then he blames despair for killing him… WTF. Ruruka has witnessed Sakakura’s murder. Although scared, she thinks he deserved being betrayed. Flashback shows Izayoi after discovering the secret exit, went to seal it up and set lots of traps so no one can find it as he knew Ruruka’s forbidden action. He promised he would never betray her and assured he cares more about her than himself. Naturally Ruruka is still scared so how to you really ensure Izayoi won’t betray her? Betray him first! While they were passionately kissing, she slips a sweet into his mouth knowing his forbidden action is putting food in his mouth. Izayoi didn’t hate her and continued to love her till his last breath. It is sleeping time again. Naegi and co barricade themselves but Kirigiri thinks it won’t do them any good since the culprit has full control over the playing field. But whatever happens, she tells Naegi never to lose hope. Sleeping time is over. Ruruka has become the latest victim. So this means Naegi is alive. Yay! Mitarai is alive. Hooray! Asahina is alive. Yahoo! Kirigiri… Hey, she’s not getting up. OMFG! SHE’S DEAD!!! Death by her own forbidden action?! That is, passing the fourth time limit with Naegi alive. That doesn’t sound fair. Naegi is in despair when Munakata contacts him. He should have known of Kirigiri’s forbidden action by now. He mocks this is why his hope is useless. It is time to settle whose hope is right.

Episode 10
Although Naegi puts on a brave face, he understands Kirigiri never said anything about this for she knows he will panic and run around to help her out, losing sight of his goal. The only thing he can do now is to face off with Munakata and settle this once and for all. The cat and mouse game begins as Naegi seems to be luring him into a certain room. It looked like Naegi has taken a beating and is going to be cut by his sword but he stops short. Naegi knows his forbidden action. He has observed the times he has chased him and all. Munakata cannot open doors. So if he kills him here now, he will be trapped in this room. Naegi wants to talk and cooperate but Munakata is not convinced. He will wipe out all despair even if it means sacrificing. Naegi disagrees that is not hope. All he is ever looking at is despair. Even if he gets rid of despair, that itself won’t create hope. Munakata reveals Tengan told him the truth. There is more than one killer. Everybody in Future Foundation is a killer! It made Munakata realize that Yukizome was also tainted with despair. There was a photo of kids being massacred and she was in despair who did this. When in actual fact it was her who did it. When did she first get tainted with despair? That is why he will rid of despair even if it is only a memory. Naegi disagrees again and doesn’t want him to say that he’ll rid of others like Yukizome. He gives example had Kirigiri turned into despair and betrayed everyone and had Naegi had no choice but to kill her, no matter what he would still be glad to have met her. I guess those are the winning words because Munakata’s scream of despair could only mean that, right? As the guys sit and cool themselves down, Munakata can only lament when did they go wrong. Asahina then comes in to tell them to stop killing each other because she has found out who the killer is.

Episode 11
According to Kirigiri’s notes on her observations, she believes the victims killed themselves and it has something to do with the monitors. Naegi tests this out as he is tied up and placed next to a monitor before the next sleeping session comes into effect. Naegi then wakes up first and sees a pre-recorder video of Monokuma on the monitor. He watches some weird crap sh*t on the video and the next thing he knows, he is hallucinating and sees his dead pals from the first season. All blaming him and then tempting him to come over to their side. Naegi goes crazy as he picks up a knife dropped from the monitor and tries to kill himself. Luckily he is stopped and snapped out by Sakakura. Why is he still awake? He cut of his hand! Bloody! Naegi explains that the killer is actually the victim committing suicide. When everyone is asleep, the monitor detects the one closest via the wristband and wakes him/her up to watch a brainwashing video before committing suicide. Naegi wants his help to destroy all the monitors. Is he crazy? Does he know how many there are? Sakakura is not going to do it. He tells Naegi he hated him because he defeated Enoshima who once brainwashed him. He knew she was evil but never reported to him and this is the result. In the end, he believes Munakata abandoned him for that. When the rest wake up and learn of this, Munakata believes the only one who can set all this up is Tengan. Because he is the true Remnants. It is hard to believe that old guy is the culprit as Munakata continues that his team were once investigating Enoshima and all evidence pointed to her as the evil. But Munakata heard from Sakakura and Yukizome that she isn’t evil and he believed them despite he knew better otherwise. That is when Tengan took advantage of their weakness. Sakakura is at the breaker room and turns off the power, cutting electricity to the monitors and releasing the wristbands. OMG. That simple?! Why didn’t somebody think of this in the first place?! Naegi tells Munakata to go to Sakakura. Even though he abandoned him, Sakakura still believe in him to get him out of this game. By the time he arrives, too late to apologize to a dead body. In the aftermath, Naegi asks Mitarai about the videos because it seems as a super animator only he can make this. Mitarai is fraught with guilt but insists he didn’t do it but Enoshima stole his technology. Suddenly Mitarai gets a call from Tengan!

Episode 12
Many years before, Yukizome passed a USB containing the video that brainwashed the Remnants to Tengan. She lies she has never seen its contents. He took and kept it. Now, that call from Tengan is a pre-recorded video of him admitting he is the mastermind of this! Mitarai falls into despair as he explains how all this came to. It was his brainwashing video. He ran away then but now he won’t. Now he is going to put an end to this by showing the world another brainwashing video filled with hope. Fighting fire with fire? He can do it now since his forbidden action was the use of his talent. It seems Mitarai disagrees with Naegi’s way in overcoming despair as the former believes despair as long as it exists, humans will repeat this tragedy. He makes Asahina watch his brainwashing video and orders her to stop Naegi. Mitarai stumbles into the special forces, has them watch his video, spread it to others as well as a special order to eliminate those who gets in his way. Naegi could have been done for but Munakata saves him and hears him out. It is then Naegi realizes Tengan isn’t one of the Remnants. So he setup this elaborate mutual killing to force Mitarai into doing this? Also, the killings aren’t broadcast outside. Naegi remembers Mitarai wasn’t supposed to be in the meeting. That’s why Tengan was a bit surprised. Had Mitarai know there was going to be mutual killings, he would have used the video. Also, all the hopeful things Tengan said weren’t directed towards Naegi but Mitarai. They deduce Mitarai is going to eliminate all negative emotions with his broadcast. He is making his way to the annex where he can broadcast his video to the entire world in 30 minutes. Naegi and co rush there but are obstructed by the special forces. Now we take a detour to Enoshima and Yukizome commenting on everything. It’s like a cinema for dead people? So Enoshima explains about Tengan’s actions and the main cause of Tengan and Munakata’s hostility boiled down to their interpretations of despair. The source was Yukizome because she told Munakata to eliminate despair. There are clips of Naegi trying to ‘repair’ the Remnants in his secret location via brainwashing virtual reality but he was summoned to Future Foundation before he could learn the results. Even if Mitarai is successful, Future Foundation’s image is tarnished and nobody is going to follow it. So Enoshima thinks. She is glad despair did a good job. But Yukizome still believes even though their future is over, this is the beginning of hope. Not that Enoshima cares. They’re dead, right? Cornered Naegi is saved by bumbling Hagakure. He even suggests they surrender! Till Togami comes in and has his efficient MIBs take out the squad! Seeing Naegi in a pinch, he taunts if he is really that lucky.

Hopelessly Hopeful
Oh wait a minute. You mean it ended on a cliff-hanger? Just like that Despair arc too? Oh, I see. Looks like they are going to link up the finale with that hope arc. The final episode that converges and ends everything. I guess it is not that bad then but as far as this particular season and arc goes, I would say it is rather intriguing and fascinating overall.

Following the first season’s formula of mutual killings, this season still feels interesting since they bring in a new bunch of faces and mix old ones who survived the last killing game. The fun on my part was to guess who was going to go next while trying to also predict the culprit behind it all. Of course I know certain main characters would last longer or if not survive the ordeal. But I could never be too sure of myself either because I keep thinking that they might add and throw in some twist or revelation that the real killer is somebody else hiding outside the game (or somewhere inside the building’s super secret room) or it could be just straightforward fashion that the perpetrator could be among them.

A theory of mine for saying so is because when this arc is first introduced, there is a counter in the opening credits that always keeps track of how many players are left in the field. It started off with 16 survivors. However as I started to count and trace who those 16 players are, there seems to be one there is missing. I mean, as far as I can count and name, there are only 15 of them trapped in the building playing this deadly game. So could this extra unknown person be the real perpetrator? It’s not like we viewers would actually count who is left, right? Or do we? This is true even in the penultimate episode as it gets clearer with the reduced number of survivors. There seems to be 1 extra player but who is that person? It made me think if this was even a troll because maybe that additional person could be Hagakure who has been kept out of the building since the start of the series. Or could that other person be Monaka who is controlling Gekkogahara? Even if the android personality got destroyed, it only reduced the survivor count by one. My guess is Hagakure since his mug is alongside the other Future Foundation members in many promotion posters.

Some of the theories feel like impossible and do not make sense like Kirigiri deducing that the entire playfield is actually another very similar level below the actual building. Assuming that if Tengan was the perpetrator, how the heck can this old fart move everyone in record time without breaking his back? Well, everybody here is a super at something so it is not surprise maybe he can pull off such feat. Plus, we don’t really know how long time has passed since they passed out the first time. Then the forbidden actions on the wristbands, I wonder how it sophistically detects forbidden actions because like Bandai’s case he dies if he witnesses violence by the participants. How is violence defined? Can slapping be considered violence? Some I feel can be easily bypassed like if Munakata cannot open doors, can he just use his trusty sword to cut down the wall and make his own doors? Yeah, maybe the walls are so hard that he couldn’t. Otherwise he would have cut a hole outside and escape. Oh, they can’t. Underwater.

The most ridiculous of them all is cutting off the power to somewhat end the game. To be fair, nobody knew the monitors had anything to do with the wristbands at first but when you think about it, you can’t help feel it is just silly yet simple solution. I guess when everybody is busy killing each other, they don’t really think outside the box. Of course the mind boggling one was Tengan himself being the mastermind. So he orchestrated this mutual killing just to make Mitarai use his video? It’s such a simple thing. People had to die so that somebody would use his brainwashing talents to save the world? So this old fart is playing the role of the villain? He sure trolled us by making us think so and that he might be the final last boss till the twist in the twist surfaced. I guess it is the question of if you want to save many, a few must be sacrificed. So will Mitarai be the final last boss now? I suppose it is not good just to have all positive emotions. Because that itself is not being human.

I am not sure whether to call it spoilers or knowledge beforehand because since this arc is aired side by side with the Despair arc, many of the revelations and the character backgrounds are related. Therefore if you watch this series without watching the Despair arc at the same time, you might be confused to some of the characters’ background. For instance, the ‘complicated’ relationship between Ruruka, Seiko and Izayoi. Their story might feel like a filler and distraction to the main plot of this arc since you need to know all about the character they died. It’s like a death flag or something. But if you don’t watch the Despair arc, you won’t really understand why they hate each other.

Therefore many of the other characters’ back story and relationship greatly depend on the other concurrently running arc that tells of what happened in the past that led to the situation that is of now. It goes without saying that you need to have watched the first Danganronpa series to understand what is going on too otherwise you would be lost as the series progresses. But some like Monaka’s case feels like distraction. It was just an elaborate sidetrack to show us that there was somebody else behind Gekkogahara and to give Naegi’s little sister as well as Togami’s insane admirer some screen time.

The art and animation style remains consistent among the series. But for this one, I find the character designs to be less weird than the rest. You know, very odd looking characters that make them look cartoonish. By far, the oddest looking one was Bandai whom I thought looked creepy himself. Thank goodness he got killed off early? Gozu despite wearing a metal bull mask isn’t so bad. Oh, not to mention the pink coloured blood, one of the series’ trademark. Everything is so dark and gory so why the heck not liven it up with bright pink? And when I mean dark, some of the scenes are really dark since like the hallways and some ruined sections of the building.

Seiyuus from the previous season like Megumi Ogata as Naegi, Youko Hikasa as Kirigiri and Chiwa Saito as Asahina return to reprise their roles. Among the new casts, the weirdest one I find is Rie Kugimiya as Bandai. I know this farmer guy looks weird already but it is even weirder when he sounds all so squeaky! I don’t know if it is a good thing when he got killed off early because I don’t think I can get used to hearing him in his squeaky voice throughout the season. Recognizable seiyuus new to the line-up include Junichi Suwabe as Sakakura, Keiji Fujiwara as Kizakura and Mai Nakahara as Yukizome. Aya Hirano was behind Monaka? I guess I haven’t heard her in a long time (the most recent being Fairy Tail’s recent season) so I’m starting to forget…

The rest of the new line-up include Toshiyuki Morikawa as Munakata (Naraku in Inu Yasha), Hidekatsu Shiba as Tengan (Igneel in Fairy TailKanta), Hongou as Mitarai (Sakamoto in BTOOOM), Takako Sasuga as Gekkogahara (Hata-bou in Osomatsu-kun), Kenta Miyake as Gozu (Klaus in Hayate No Gotoku), Inori Minase as Ruruka (Nagisa in Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa), Takuya Eguchi as Izayoi (Hikigaya in Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru), Saki Fujita as Seiko (Inami in Working) and Aya Uchida as Komaru (Kotori in Love Live). Both the opening and ending themes are rock based with Dead Or Lie by Maon Kurosaki featuring Trustrick as the opener and Recall The End by Trustrick as the ending theme.

Overall, this is a great and enjoyable series especially if you like survivor genres and a fan of the Danganronpa series. I read certain comments online (read: fan boys of the game) call the anime adaptation a disappointment because certain parts were rushed and how bad its execution was. Personally I didn’t play the game so I can’t compare. Therefore for me not knowing ‘everything’, this adaptation is still interesting in its own right and I am quite satisfied with the series generally (except maybe how it ended and you need to watch another arc to complete it). So look who’s fallen into despair? It makes you wonder if hope and despair are 2 sides of the same coin. The same glass is half full or half empty expression. Both need each other to exist, like light and darkness, yin and yang. So it might get a little confusing in this series when they talk about hope killing hope and despair killing despair. It’s like saying two wrongs make a right. I guess we can only hope the next instalment would be better and the greatest (if there would be any). Where is a super high school level game developer when you need one?

Another art club themed anime? How many have we had since Hidamari Sketch? Well, not many but there are a few of them. Folks, we can add Kono Bijutsu Ni Wa Mondai Ga Aru to the list of anime series having an art club as its focus. But it isn’t going to be a copycat to Hidamari Sketch or other such animes. While you can expect funny antics from art club members, I doubt it would hardly be any different from the general formula. I mean, if this is going to be a normal high school club anime without any super powers or conspiracy, how far do you think this kind of show can go? Just like every piece of art despite being closely similar, you can’t judge one and judge them all the same. There are some little variants in which you have to pay a little close attention to. After all, this isn’t some sort of law cases whereby a precedent is a precedent and it’s all the same. Despite the name of this series’ title that the art club has a problem, don’t worry, it isn’t the kind of worldly problem or one that threatens the very existence of mankind. Seriously, nothing like that. But still, everybody in the club has some sort of problem…

Episode 1A
Mizuki Usami isn’t fond that her fellow art club member, Subaru Uchimaki prefers to draw 2D waifus. 2D waifus FTW!!! She ‘murdered’ his current (and seventeenth) waifu by punching a hole in her face just because he thought she was quite bothered in his taste. Does that mean she likes him? Usami finds it hard to draw an apple so Uchimaki advises on love and anthropomorphize it. Looks creepy… Then he asks her to be his model. She has her reservations as the last time he drew a completely different person (his waifu, that is). Thinking she could be up for this pose of sitting and wrapping her hands around her knees, she agrees to it. Don’t worry if your pantsu is shown, Uchimaki has no interest in 3D girls. Too bad President got a snap shot of it! The end result of the sketching is a totally completely different person and in a different pose! The only thing he got it right was her pantsu, courtesy of President’s picture. So while Usami goes out to hammer him, Uchimaki draws a decent sketch of that Usami’s pose from the picture.

Episode 1B
Usami again has to hear Uchimaki rant another one of his completed waifus. And then he drops the bombshell. He is going to quit the club after finishing this last piece. So why is she strangling him? Can’t wait to get him out? Uchimaki thought she never liked his work, the reason he is quitting. Thus Usami has a flashback when Uchimaki first joined the club. She and President interviewed him. Hearing his weird answers like the reason of joining this club is because his anime ended and is bored as well as his ultimate goal to draw his ultimate waifu, Usami certainly wouldn’t want this weirdo in but President quickly approves! She wanted to shake his hand but he declines as he mentions he is not interested in 3D girls, giving Usami the wrong idea he thought she was trying to ask him out. And now here she is asking him if he is going to quit for real. He wonders if she would be lonely without him. She is feeling conflicted now and needs to tell him to stay when suddenly he says he was just joking. Oh dear. Real tears streaming down her eyes! And she can’t stop! Next day, she is surprised to see him in the clubroom. Did he not quit? He changed his mind. So how does strangling him make him feel welcomed back? He admits her endearing tears were the one that made him changed his mind. Wait a minute. So he is staying so he can draw girls crying? And this is going to be his next ultimate waifu? Whatever. At least he is staying.

Episode 2A
Uchimaki accidentally knocks down paint on the floor. Worse, Usami’s painting dropped smack on it. Because there is no time to clean up, President tells him to stall Usami who is coming in. Eventually she comes in and sees President lying on the ground. It’s like a murder scene! Of course she knows it is just paint but Uchimaki insists in playing detective believing she will kick his ass if this prank is found out. Then she reveals she needs her painting. She is to submit it for a contest otherwise the club will be shut down. Oh sh*t. As he distracts her to look for it on the shelf, President needs to take a leak! Hold it in. Uchimaki teases he could see her pantsu and this makes her lose her balance. Luckily he catches her like a princess. She thinks a deep kiss will follow next but apparently she is too heavy for him to continue carrying her. An insult? When they fall over President, Usami now realizes what happened to her painting. Instead of blowing her top, she suggests handing in Uchimaki’s work. His waifu is not side show material. Eventually it won second prize. Usami is shocked it won this high and Uchimaki is disappointed it didn’t get first.

Episode 2B
Usami’s friend, Kaori Ayase sleeps over and wants to know if she likes Uchimaki. So she has to start off with a story, huh? There’s this one time when he just joined and she accompanied him to buy painting tools. They stumble into a mother looking for her lost daughter, Moeka. They help find her and see her with a suspicious young girl. Ultraman mask? Moeka is reluctant to go with them as Ultraman girl paints them as bad people. When it is 5.30pm sharp, Ultraman girl leaves and goes home. Moeka is still scared to go with them and since Usami can’t do anything, she too starts crying. WTF. It is then Uchimaki uses his art to draw a picture of Moeka’s mom. She thinks they are her friends and gladly follows them. Moeka doesn’t know what an art club is so Uchimaki says it is a place where one can draw lots of beautiful (2D) girls. To put her story shortly, Uchimaki is not a bad guy. Too bad her friend is already asleep.

Episode 2C
Uchimaki receives a love letter. So why are you flustering Usami? It’s not from you, right? When President mentions how popular he is because there is more than one girl who likes him, he is about to him Usami but she slams the canvas on his head. It grinds Usami’s gears that Uchimaki is asking her about love letters. Not like she wrote one in her life, right? Anyway he plans to reject her but since he is doing it chuunibyou style, I guess Usami has got to coach him in order not to traumatize the poor girl. So here Uchimaki is rejecting her because he already has a character person he likes. But she asks if that girl goes to this school. Hiding Usami and President try to hint to him on what to say when the girl mentions that girl must be Usami. She has always seen them together so that is most possibly the person he likes. His answer? There is nothing between them. Usami couldn’t feel be more disappointed. On the way home, Usami is shocked when Uchimaki stares at a young girl and notes how beautiful she is. She remembers President telling her that his artworks are all resembling young girls. Over time, this might translate him into becoming a lolicon. Could it be his awakening already since she remembers he was nice to Moeka? Then she realizes it was the character strap on her bag he likes. Disappointed and relieved, right? That little girl is apparently the sister of the girl Uchimaki rejected. When she tells of a creepy guy staring at her, she is very sure that is the makings of a predator. Call the cops!

Episode 3A
Colette is another member of the art club and a localized foreigner. Uchimaki agrees to help her find her lost locket thinking it contains pictures of her dear parents. As they go look around at the lost-and-found section, they find Usami’s hairpin. In her gratitude, she gives them a bead bracelet that belongs to President. Colette thinks she can benefit from this when Uchimaki tells of the straw theory whereby a poor trades up till he has riches. When Colette returns the bracelet to President, she is eagerly expecting another reward but obviously she got nothing. When she puts her hands in her pocket, she starts acting strange and wants to give up on the search. The guys are suspicious and have her empty her pockets. There is her locket. Feeling stupid right now? The picture turns out to be a sticker picture of herself being hip. So this is her precious picture?

Episode 3B
When the art club girls realize it is not President sleeping in his usual couch but Uchimaki, they sing a lot of praise for President’s ‘improvement’. It seems Uchimaki is in a slump as he has run out of ideas and hairstyles in particular for his new waifu. Usami suggests a short bob but unfortunately he doesn’t even know what it looks like. You’re looking directly at one… And no, it’s not a bunch of macho guys called Shou and Bob, Colette. Next day, Usami gives him a fashion magazine that contains various haircut. But you wonder if he is going to put it to good referencing use since he realizes these girls are 3D… Now, don’t be picky…

Episode 3C
You bet Kaori wants to intervene in Usami’s ‘romance’ (because life’s much more exciting watching the romance of others) so along with Sayaka Honda and Ryouka they follow Usami to the art club with the pretence to try it out. Kaori gets bold when he casually touches Uchimaki’s hands, irking Usami. Then she suggests a drawing competition in which the loser will buy all drinks. Now for the subject of the art… Usami and Uchimaki together! Now, get even closer… Closer… Closer… But Usami puts a stop to this right before Kaori can suggest a kissing scene. Smashing the bust in her face? In the end, Kaori loses because her drawing was horrible. Was she even trying? Because Uchimaki’s requested drink is unavailable, she bought a carbonated drink instead. However Uchimaki cannot take such drinks. Kaori suggests trading. This causes alarm bells ringing for Usami because Kaori has partly drank hers. Indirect kiss, eh? Uchimaki doesn’t care and is going ahead anyway so Usami snatches it and drinks it down entirely. Guess what? Uchimaki takes her drink and chugs it down. Now they’re even. Oh well, an indirect kiss happened. At the end of the day, Usami felt thankful her friends came to hang out otherwise this indirect kiss never happened. However the next day Sayaka publishes an article for the entire school about this ‘indecency’. Time to go bonkers, Usami.

Episode 4A
Due to the reshuffling, Yumeko Tachibana will now replace Koyama as the art club’s advisor. Naturally she is nervous but that turns into confusion when she sees Colette rolling from across the hallway to the clubroom’s doorstep. When Yumeko introduces herself, Colette gets scared. She thinks she is an imposter who wants to kidnap her for ransom and runs away! Yumeko prepares for more weirdness but thankfully Usami and Uchimaki already know who she is as Koyama told them beforehand. Remembering Koyama’s advice, Yumeko observes the art club members. Because of President being lazy, she thinks he is a delinquent. Because Uchimaki introduces his life size cardboard waifu cut-out, she thinks she is a pervert. She goes out to take some fresh air so the rest device a plan to bring her back. It involves President talking to her and during that time they will sketch her. Once it is done, Yumeko sees lovely portraits of herself (hey, Uchimaki’s cat girl version of her isn’t bad either). This is their welcoming gift to her and this touched her heart.

Episode 4B
We follow Colette walking in the streets and trying to walk in the shades while avoiding direct sun. She meets Moeka and both have this sense of meeting each other before. I guess we know who that Ultraman mask girl was, right? When Colette reaches a full path with no shade, she thinks of walking behind the shadow of a taller person. That person turns out to be President.

Episode 4C
Usami is sleeping in her bed and having a nice dream of Uchimaki. Only to be caught pants down by her mom. That’s what happened when you daydream and not pay attention. It seems there is a call from Uchimaki for her and mom came to gave her the phone. I guess he heard everything too, huh? But first Usami has to shoo away her mom who is so eager to listen. Don’t mind her. Your daughter very much does. Apparently Uchimaki is now at her doorstep this late to hand the printouts (earlier in the day, Colette messed it up with her failed magic trick). Mom is puzzled Usami dresses up so nicely even if she is not going out. Aha. A boy, right? You can tell by how much she is flustering. Usami has to talk with Uchimaki a little further outside because mom cannot stop staring and eavesdropping. After passing the printouts, Usami suggests they exchange handphone numbers to avoid this inconvenience. While Usami is trying so hard just to say it, it’s like all that don’t matter to him because he just coolly agrees so. Well, he is that dense, right? Don’t be too happy soon because mom is still watching… Back in her room, Usami is super happy like she’s got a platinum achievement.

Episode 5A
Why is Colette doing a stare showdown with the bust? We know who is going to win, right? Oh, Uchimaki’s sketch of the bust turns out to be a kawaii magical girl!!! Later Colette thinks the bust looks rather sickly and decides to paint colours over it. Of course she goes overboard and feels the need to get rid of it before the rest finds out. When Yumeko enters the clubroom, she sees books from a box strewn all over the floor. When she opens the box, she is horrified to see a head inside it and faints. So when Uchimaki and Usami enter the room, they mistake something happened to Yumeko. Usami goes to get help and leaves the rest to Uchimaki. Is he going to consult a manga on what to do? Mouth to mouth resuscitation, huh? President gets the wrong idea seeing Uchimaki trying to kiss Yumeko. Wasn’t he into 2D girls? Guilt-ridden Colette returns but President takes her away. They both have the wrong idea on what the other is talking about. Colette thought it was the bust and President thought it is about Uchimaki. It gets complicated when Usami is here. So she brought Koyama as help? That old guy is really slow. Of course her perspective is of collapsed Yumeko so it gets weirder when President thought Usami supports Uchimaki’s love for sensei. But when they reconcile their thoughts, Usami realizes what is going to happen and zooms back to the clubroom. Thankfully Yumeko has already woke up and Uchimaki didn’t have to ‘kiss’ her. All the misconceptions are dispelled as they figure out what happened to the bust. Colette just grovel and apologize… No excuses.

Episode 5B
President needs to call Uchimaki for an important ritual. Because Usami has his number, President teases her about it and even goes as far as discovering she saved his number under his first name. It is very embarrassing for her but if he tells Uchimaki this, she’ll erase his existence! So the important ritual is putting on a dove headgear on Colette? Huh? WTF?! Yumeko then has everyone clean the pool. Why on Earth would an art club be doing this? Because Yumeko is having trouble fitting into her swimsuit (damn those big boobs), President has brought washable paint for them to have fun and turn the pool into their canvas. So let your creativity fly! It turns out to be a gigantic gorgeous picture of a mermaid and her dolphin. Uchimaki is sad to have it erased since they have to start cleaning the pool. And then the paint doesn’t come off… Oh sh*t… They’re so in trouble. Didn’t President make ascertain it was supposed to easily come off? Well, he’s not so sure now. Oh, so he is trying to run away now? He puts on the dove headgear and becomes the dove. WTF?!

Episode 6A
Maria Imari is the new transfer student in Uchimaki’s class. She’s cute so all the boys love her except for a certain 2D lover. However Maria is a fan of a certain manga series and they quickly click. When Usami heard about a cute transfer student in his class, she becomes worried naturally. There are bad omens like her strap broke and Kaori’s yoyo snapped. When she goes look for him in his class, his classmates saw Uchimaki with Imari. Usami tries to maintain positive that he might be showing her around. Then she sees this heart stopping scene whereby he takes her by the hand. Worried now? They’re just acting out a scene from the manga.

Episode 6B
Naturally Usami is depressed and nobody can touch her as she is hogging President’s couch. They believe her attitude must stem from something happening to Uchimaki. Speaking of him, here he comes. It gets awkward for her to face him. He tries to ask what happened but you know being a woman means she won’t say anything and you have to figure it out all by yourself. Then it descends into some pillow throwing fight. Though it breaks President’s heart to see his expensive pillow torn, he’ll forgive them if they patch up. He can buy the pillow again. With club funds. As they reconcile, Usami manages to ask him to accompany her to buy a new strap. And then they have the bad luck to bump into Imari because now Uchimaki invites her to join them. Gladly. The more the merrier. Kuuki wo yonde yo!!!!!!!!! So they end up in a manga store and observing how they interact, Usami believes they are close only because they love manga and their friendship is of that sort and nothing more. She feels a little relieved. Again the duo start arguing because Uchimaki caught her smirking at him. This has Imari thinking they are close to each other. Are they dating? Usami vehemently protests and Uchimaki coolly dismisses there is nothing going on between them. So are you relieved and frustrated at the same time? So if they’re not dating, can Imari date Uchimaki? Wait. WHAT?! Just kidding. Haha! That’s enough heart attack for today. On the way back, they see a boy crying because his balloon is stuck up a tree. It is too high for them to reach so Uchimaki suggests Usami sit on his shoulder to get it. Of course she flusters thinking about dirty thoughts. So will Imari do it then? That’s even worse! Can’t imagine him stroking her lap, eh? And so Usami will do it. After all that flustering, they still can’t reach it. Imari thinks she can jump and grab it. And she did it! She’s quite athletic just so you know. Should have done it in the first place. Imari spews cool manga lines to the kid but it is such heavy stuffs that he almost let go of the balloon. Next day, Usami wants to show off her new strap to Uchimaki but he is more distracted with Imari sharing her manga. Usami cannot understand if she can get along with her or not.

Episode 7A
Yumeko revs up the art club members since there will be an art competition soon. Of course Uchimaki isn’t so keen to enter and leaves it to Usami to join. She tries to bait him by belittling his waifu but he doesn’t care what others think. Their conversation is overhead by this jerk who claims Uchimaki’s second prize at the previous competition was a fluke. He continues to badmouth everything about it. Although Uchimaki is cool, ironically it is Usami who blows her top. It is suggested that they compete in this next competition to see who can rank higher. Thus Usami wants Uchimaki to submit his artwork. Although he is not so eager about it, I guess he doesn’t want to see her angry anymore. So to help him out with his art, as per requested Usami brought a gothic dress for him to sketch. And you know all those unholy thoughts propping through her mind that he had to remind her that she accidentally lifted her skirt too much. Did he saw her pantsu? Will he put it in?! Many days pass as Uchimaki also sketches variations of the original. On the day of the presentation, Uchimaki’s lovely art wins first place. He attributes part of his victory to Usami. Without her, he couldn’t have done it. How sweet. Then they forgot what this competition is all about in the first place. Remember that jerk? He is at the receptionist wondering why none of his work is on display. Only winners are displayed. Loser…

Episode 7B
President sees Colette writes hero of justice as what she wants to be. Then they bug Usami about hers. When she says a housewife, they start laughing. Embarrassed, Usami fires back that her hero of justice is even more ridiculous because it doesn’t exist. However Colette is hurt and runs away in tears. At the rooftop, she bumps into Imari who is acting out lines from a manga. Basically, chuunibyou. They get to know each other and Colette becomes impressed with her and wants to call her master. When she tells Imari about the recent with her friend because of the non-existence of heroes, Imari tells her to make up with her first because that is what heroes are good at. If she can do that, Imari will be her master. Motivated Colette returns to do just that and the girls are back on good terms like the fight never happened before. But now Colette is acting like her master and Uchimaki can make a guess who she is influenced from.

Episode 8A
Remember the bust Colette messed up? Usami has problems focusing on it (“Amigo!”) and since President spent the club funds on a new pillow, he remembers there was another bust in which the old members used but it is in the old storeroom next door. The door is jammed so it is quite hard to open. President accidentally closes it and teases Usami of going wild with Uchimaki in there, making her punch the door. Then when they realize they cannot open it because it must have got out of alignment, fears that they will be trapped here the entire night sink in. At least for Usami. Yeah, time for her delusions again. There are a few close moments between them but don’t worry, nothing scandalous. It’s all in your mind… Colette was outside the door but gave up thinking it is stuck. She couldn’t hear them because she was listening to her headphone. Usami really fears that it will be just the 2 of them so Uchimaki assures it is the 3 of them. His waifu figurine is here. That’s not funny! Best of all, his figurine has torchlight embedded inside and hope a patrolling teacher will pass by. Why does it have to be Yumeko? Of course she sees the light and thinks otherwise. As she goes up close and sees the figurine with flashing lights, she immediately passes out. Uchimaki teases Usami with a few ghost pranks. Any more and she’ll break his figurine! Scarier than a ghost… Looking at an old photo, they realize there is a door that connects to their classroom. Thank goodness it does and they’re back into normalcy again. Next morning, they realize why this other bust was put away because it was also doodled like mad.

Episode 8B
Usami is doing her homework in the clubroom (not at home?) and she doesn’t like how noisy Uchimaki and Imari are reading manga in the storeroom. But when they get too quiet, she even protests! What do you want?! Then an envelope slips out from the manga. It seems to be a treasure map left behind by ex-art club members. The trio decide to go on a treasure hunt by following its clues. This involves looking out from the boys’ toilet and figuring out the number of Van Gough’s sunflowers in his painting. It leads them to a loose tile on the ground. After digging the box out, they are very happy to share their hard work by opening it. What artistic treasure awaits them? Tadah! Porn magazines!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you disappointed?

Episode 9A
Imari tells Colette that they need to find an evil grimoire called Necronomicon hidden in this school. And they’re not really sure what it is about. Yumeko heard about it and would also love to help find it. Not that she knows what it is too. President and Uchimaki alone in the clubroom. President hinting the guys are alone together… Sorry, no gay time. What he meant was the porn magazines. Knowing it is too dangerous to keep it here, he wants to take it home to be disposed. Uchimaki can see through his plan because in that case he is the best person to take it home and dispose off since he isn’t into 3D girls. As they argue, Usami comes in and sees this. Why must girls be so mad when they see guys they know having a porn magazine? But they have to hide it since Yumeko is here and she is looking for Necronomicon. They think it is the porn magazine since there is a front page article called Neko Milk On!!! President manages to slip it to Uchimaki who then runs out with Usami. They bump into Colette and Imari looking for you-know-what. The bump underneath Uchimaki’s shirt is suspicious so they think it is the grimoire. Colette tries to unshirt him while Usami hints to Imari the book Uchimaki has. Before they can stop Colette, the porn magazine drops out. Colette picks it up and flips the pages like a boss. When Yumeko arrives and sees this, Colette just points to Uchimaki who is the owner of this magazine. I think this is the first time we’ve seen Yumeko so enraged. Of course poor Uchimaki is the most devastated. He isn’t even into 3D girls. Life’s so unfair. And Colette doesn’t understand what this porn magazine is about. Safe?

Episode 9B
Remember that jerk? He is back to challenge Uchimaki. Because Uchimaki doesn’t want anything to do with him, he starts begging pitifully… So suddenly it becomes a challenge who can draw Usami the best. Because Usami strikes an unnaturally cute pose, Uchimaki laughs at her. This makes her mad as she roots for the jerk to win. He is taken in because this is a first time in his life a girl is supporting him. What a loser? In the end, Uchimaki as usual draws a moe version of his waifu and the only thing he points out similar to Usami is her pantsu. She isn’t wearing that type today. So obviously the jerk is the winner, right? He didn’t draw anything!!! To star struck?! Reluctantly Usami declares Uchimaki the winner. The jerk runs away in shame and can’t help space out about Usami all day long…

Episode 9C
Moeka somehow sneaks into school and interrupts President’s slumber outside in the garden. I guess he is a good guy so he gives her a tour around the school. From buying her a drink at the vending machine to watching the girls at the gym. So as he is about to drop her off at the staff office, Moeka recognizes Koyama. He is her grandfather. However Koyama warns her about wandering off herself because mommy was looking for her and this made everyone worried. She starts crying so President shows a sketch that Moeka draw of her and grandpa. As they comment on it, Moeka starts thinking about the pecking order. President > Uchimaki. But because President bows to Koyama, grandpa is the greatest of them all!

Episode 10A
Usami and Uchimaki are commended for helping lost Moeka. Sayaka interviews them but a little problem props up for Usami after that. Her teacher, Takeda wants her to become a student council president. Usami finds it hard to decline and thus Takeda can’t stop bugging her about it. Each time, Usami gives some sort of weird reason not to answer. One day she is being called to the staff room. She knows it is Takeda and this time she will really tell him no. However to her dismay, Takeda viewed that since she was always so busy, he has already submitted her application on her behalf! What is she going to do now? That is when Uchimaki walks in. Is he going to save her? Surprisingly he scolds Usami for lagging behind her paintings. He claims the art club needs to enter competitions and the likes, thus the reason she can’t busy herself anymore by joining the student council. As he takes her away on pretence to finish her painting, Takeda asks about the student council then. Do you not get it? At least this time Usami said no to him.

Episode 10B
Uchimaki and Colette are arguing over some manga. They thought Yumeko could help mediate but she is even madder. It seems both of them scored very badly in their exams. They understand for the dumb blonde but Uchimaki has always been an average student. Why suddenly do so bad? Well, there were lots of animes to watch so he couldn’t study… Yumeko warns them to do better in the make-up test or else she’ll have to take drastic measures. It is then Usami offers to coach them at her house. But why call President too? She can’t handle it herself. But he is always sleeping… While studying, Uchimaki gets a little sleepy. Usami offers him to sleep in her bed. No funny thoughts, please. After putting him to bed, she can’t help go on top of him and… She’ll just settle drawing on his face. She goes back to coach Colette and when it is time to wake up Uchimaki, Colette would like to do the honours. Since she took too long, Usami goes to check it out. Colette is sleeping next to Uchimaki! TRIGGERED!!!!!!!!!!!! GET UP!!!!!!! In the end, the study session was well worth it because they score very high marks. Now they can sleep in.

Episode 10C
Kaori thinks Imari is going to steal Uchimaki away from Usami. She has photo proof of it. Maybe they just share the same manga interest? She also has photos showing Usami in depression. But they’re not related to that in any way… Kaori then vows to support her friend and tail Imari. Of course you can tell from her actions she looks like a suspicious person. And then she trips. Imari exaggerates her tiny wound and bandages up her entire leg. Kaori is ready to face the interrogation and vows not to reveal everything. So while Kaori sits there like a statue, Imari interacts with her nicely and even treats her nicely. From giving her food when her stomach growls and lending her umbrella when it rains. Wow. Kaori really just sat there doing nothing? Next morning, Kaori brags to her friends that Imari is a nice girl and it is bad to suspect her as a suspicious person in the first place. Wait. Weren’t you… Never mind.

Episode 11
Yumeko is collecting empty cans so that the art club can do a giant sculpture made of cans from this school for the cultural festival. But isn’t it too late? So as not to let her efforts go to waste, the art club members help out in designing what to do. No pretty waifus. No ridiculous words. Seriously, just no. It is decided to make a giant paint tube. The first order of business with the collected cans is to pull out the tabs, wash them, dry them, rinse and repeat. They did it over 30 times! So boring and tedious that no wonder President wants to go back to sleep. When Imari goes to get more cans in the storeroom, she passes by a teacher who mistakenly thinks she is throwing them away because she was speaking in chuunibyou language. Colette fools around and damages some of the cans. She thought Yumeko is mad but she is sad that all the cans she recycled have been thrown away. If they are not giving up, how are they going to collect that many cans in a short period? President has a suggestion. Buy cheap cans from a supermarket and then sell them at school at dirt cheap price. Since the students will throw them away, the cans are still considered to be from school and their theme is still valid. The great idea gets underway and it attracts many cheapskate interested students. Imari is selling well thanks to her boobs. Usami might be a little bit jealous but that nameless jerk would love to buy one from her. Till Uchimaki shows up. He challenges him right now to a drinking contest. However he spits it all out on Uchimaki’s face when he sees Yumeko in a cat mascot outfit. With Usami wiping Uchimaki’s face, the jerk becomes a sore loser. He still lost anyway. Finally they have enough cans and complete their work of art. Yay! Now to haul it to the gym to display. But wait. There is a problem. How will they get this thing out of their clubroom? Dismantle and reassemble it back again. Phew. It was worth the effort.

Episode 12
A rainy day and Imari has got no umbrella. Since Usami needs to help out after class, how about asking Colette? That girl brought a raincoat. Well, ask Uchimaki then. When Usami almost finishes her work, she receives a message from Kaori saying that she borrowed her umbrella without permission! Now she is stuck in school. To her surprise she sees Uchimaki waiting. Where’s Imari? She took off in the rain just like that. Because chuunibyou. But why didn’t he leave too? He was waiting for her. Apparently Kaori took Usami’s umbrella and left her own behind. Hint, hint. How considerate. Now her dream of walking home with him can come true. Usami is giving her silent thanks to her friend till Uchimaki opens his umbrella. Anime character print. Ugh. But still it wasn’t so bad. Next day she is chirpy and her friends know about it. They advise her to quickly do something about her feelings because before you know it, it will be over. Usami sees Uchimaki with Imari. He is telling her he has fallen in love with Usami! Am I hearing this right?! Imari supports him to tell his feelings quickly. Usami is having mixed emotions but she needs to keep calm. In the clubroom, Uchimaki drops the bombshell. He is in love with her. I guess Usami can’t keep her cool that she too blurts out she is in love with him but is quickly cut off when he shows her the anime character named Usami on the magazine’s front cover. Look familiar? That umbrella… Usami must be so frustrated… So why the need to tell 3D Usami this? Since he is so in love with 2D Usami, calling them would be confusing. He suggests calling her by a different name. Perhaps Mizuki? She is surprised and thinks maybe there is some good that came out of this. After Uchimaki left, President pops out from his hiding. He heard everything and advises to move along quickly because at this rate they are not making any progress and it’ll be over before they know it. Same ol’ story, right? That night, Usami contemplates this with her friends who are furious she didn’t agree immediately. They wonder if she dislikes being called so. After lots of thinking and the next day she meets up with him, she rejects his idea of calling her so. He shouldn’t use her name that easily. But Uchimaki is okay with it. He is over with his 2D Usami. Yesterday anime revealed she had a boyfriend and he viewed this as f*cking betrayal! But he gets over it pretty quickly since he has decided the only way to be happy is to draw his own waifus. Yeah well, at least we’re glad things still stay the same.

The Art Of Love
And so another art themed anime came and go without much ado. There are ups and downs but once you realize, everything in the end basically stayed the same as they were in the start. Your point of views might change but that art piece is still the same art piece. What do you expect when you see art club members doing other stuffs which are non-art related like going treasure hunting, group studies, hiding porn and dealing with ‘corpses’ instead of seriously focusing on their canvas? Yeah, that will be too boring.

But if you are looking for character development, don’t get your hopes too high up because shows like this one rarely does it. You know all your characters and their quirky behaviour from start till finish. Having said so, it is no denying that certainly the characters are colourful and amusing in their own right. And in this anime’s context, I suppose it means problems. Because like Uchimaki who has probably one of the greatest talents in art is only very much concerned in drawing his ultimate waifu and adding to his previous collections. I mean as an otaku, that is how you find your waifu, right? You draw them! No need to wait for Ms Right (3D) to pop up in your face. Because of that he lacks the sensibility when it comes to dealing with 3D girls who are looking to be more than just friends. But I suppose as an otaku, he can live with that. We can live with that. It’s not like 3D girls ever mattered in our lives, right? Right?! If Uchimaki ever ‘grows up’ and changes, it would then be seriously “Houston, we have a problem”. Haha!

And then you have the nameless President (at least his name at this point in time is not known) whose only sole purpose in the club (and role of his character) is to sleep as much as he wants. I suppose it is the only club where he can sleep in peace. He should form a sleeping club like a certain sleepy girl in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai. Because of his mature looks like a young adult, it makes me wonder if he failed to graduate and thus had to stay back in school. I mean, President doesn’t look like your average high school student, right?

Then you have the rich halfie foreigner Colette who is of course filling in the typical role of the cheeky troublemaker. That is how such genres expand their variety of comedy by having a mischievous character. Not that I’m complaining. She’s the Sanae (of Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai fame – heck they even share the same seiyuu) of the series but less chuunibyou mode. The only boggling thing about her is that although she officially appeared only in episode 3 (the second episode was kinda unofficial since she was behind a mask and didn’t really introduce herself), I noticed she did appear in the first episode. If you look closely through the locker’s hole in the clubroom, you’ll notice a creepy girl hiding inside who is no other than Colette. It made me wonder what the heck was she doing in there and what was the significant of it since it was never revealed. Yumeko as the advisor is meek, clumsy and knows nothing about art but you can’t help feel you need to help her out since she is trying her best.

Imari should officially join the club seeing that she hangs out and often helps out the art club. She is an interesting and amusing character seeing she has a tendency to go into chuunibyou mode and also the unknown factor that would give Usami a run for her money when it comes to getting Uchimaki’s attention. Even Usami’s pals who are not part of the art club also have their own ‘problems’. Like Kaori being another troublemaker, Sayaka who won’t pass up a chance to write stories about Usami’s unrequited love and Ryouka… Okay, I’m not sure what she has (except spectacles?) but all I can say is that the trio seem to stick around and love teasing Usami till she flusters like mad about her crush. Yeah, I think it makes their lives more exciting. It’s always more exciting to watch such drama unfolding onto others. Even that nameless jerk who keeps challenging Uchimaki and always loses is not different. He has got a problem confessing, doesn’t he?

With all that said, I suppose Usami is the one without any problems, right? Because she is the only true art club member who wants to make true art whereas the rest just don’t quite cut it as a true artist. Well, wrong! She is perhaps the one with the biggest problem all because of her tsundere and crush on Uchimaki. It is so obviously painful that the entire world knows about it except for the boy she loves. How can love be so blind in this literal sense? I guess that is the strange thing about love. She knows well about his otaku habits but yet doesn’t really like it (is it because she can’t stand other women he likes despite they are being just 2D?). She has unholy thoughts of getting closer with him but after so many times you’d think she would learn to control her daydreaming fantasy delusions in public but she ends up getting more embarrassed and redder than the red paint. Sometimes it happens so many times that you wonder if this is going to get old and stale. I mean, this is one of the series’ staple for jokes, right?

Therefore the biggest problem in the art club is you, Usami! Just confess your true feelings and it will solve everything for better or worse. Oh yeah, Uchimaki got confessed and turned down a girl… Don’t want that to personally traumatize you, do you? That is why this one-sided love will never be requited because imagine if they hook up. The end of all the challenges and funny moments Usami has been providing us. For Uchimaki’s case, it will be ultimate betrayal. 2D waifus will never betray you! So better to leave it as status quo. For them and everybody else.

I had a hunch when Uchimaki dropped the bomb when he said he is in love with Usami. I knew there was a catch. Because I’ve been watching so many shows like this, my guts instantly told me something was up. It can’t really end this way. After all, a dozen of episodes and this guy being a typical dense otaku who only loves his 2D waifus, can he change so quickly? There is a slight chance he might be trolling us with his otaku personality all the while but you know what? Otakus don’t really lie that way, right? So this love twist in the end didn’t become a surprise because I expected something like this. Oh well. I guess as long as everybody is happy in the end being status quo. We’ll cross the bridge when we get there.

Drawing and art seem pretty decent and okay. Your typical Japanese anime with typical bishoujo looks for the characters. Of course if you want to compare with all the other art themed anime series out there, visually in this sense this one is better because you know how oddly moe the characters look in Hidamari Sketch, GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class and even Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~. But if you are talking about other visuals, this series has nothing to offer. I mean you’d expect to see some sort of creative works of art but the most we get is Uchimaki’s beautifully hand drawn waifus. No, that vandalized bust that has an uncanny resemblance to Freddie Mercury doesn’t count. Uh huh. That bust looks like an Indian version of Bohemian Rhapsody hit maker. So yeah, the only major project they’ve done is the giant paint tube. And yeah, minor pantsu fanservice. Now, how to draw more without being labelled as a pervert… Animated by Feel, you might see their familiar trademark art style here in some of their other works like Jinsei, Futsuu No Joshikousei Ga [Locodol] Yattemita, KissxSis, Papa No Iukoto Wo Kikinasai, Oshiete! Galko-chan and Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru.

It is nice to hear Nana Mizuki’s voice again as she plays the character Yumeko. I believe I haven’t heard her for quite a while. At least not for the animes that I have watched (sorry, I’m not a Nanoha fan). She sounds like her super cute version like 2×2=Shinobuden’s Shinobu and Dog Days’ Ricotta. The rest of the casts are Ari Ozawa as Usami (Kirin in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Yuusuke Kobayashi as Uchimaki (Tanukichi in Shimoneta), Sumire Uesaka as Colette (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Kentarou Tone as President (Hattori in Bakuman), Nao Touyama as Imari (Chitoge in Nisekoi), Sora Tokui as Kaori (Nero in Tantei Opera Milku Holmes), Hirohiko Kakegawa as Koyama (Mihawk in One Piece) and Aimi Tanaka as Moeka (titular character in Himouto! Umaru-chan).

Naturally Nana Mizuki is still going strong as a singer so it would be a waste if she doesn’t showcase her strong vocal talents. She sings the pop rock opening theme entitled Starting Now. However I had this misconception that she also sung the ending theme, Koisuru Zukei <Cubic Futurismo>. At least I thought she used her super cute voice in singing this piece. However as I subsequently found out, it is Sumire Uesaka who is the one in the vocals. Now that I think about it, she certainly sounds more Colette than Yumeko. The final episode’s ending theme is Kokoro Palette featuring the quartet of Usami, Colette, Imari and Yumeko.

This series might be cute and has its own funny charms to make it enjoyable and fun for a few laughs but it is hardly overall not any different in a genre that is filled with shows that are somewhat similar in this format. It’s like art in different variants and versions but it hardly breaks the mould or any new grounds. So I guess this anime too has its own set of ‘problems’ and that it isn’t perfect. Nice visuals with interesting characters although they lack depth and a simple plot that would bore those seeking to challenge their minds, well at least it didn’t disappoint. So now that we consider art as subjective, can we consider porn as a form of art too? No? Alright then. Houston, we have a problem.

If you love the original animated Danganronpa series, then we have good news for you. Make that double good news. Because not only Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc was released as a sequel, it was also aired alongside with another arc (Future Arc) in the same season and both series run concurrently side by side with each other. Double the fun, double the despair. For this one, as its name suggests it takes place as the prequel before Naegi’s class entered the deadly survival game and details the events that led to the biggest despair incident to have been brought down on mankind. If you have not watched the original Danganronpa series, be warned there will be some spoilers here since this is a prequel.

Episode 1
Chisa Yukizome is being hired by Hope Peak’s principal, Jin Kirigiri as a teacher. She starts her first day enthusiastic but finds there are only 5 students turned up: Hiyoko Saionji (super traditional dancer – bratty girl), Mahiru Koizumi (photographer – normal girl), Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu (gangster – wait, WTF?!), Sonia Nevermind (princess – wait, huh?) and Mikan Tsumiki (health committee – hentai potential). Seeing how the class don’t get along well, Yukizome as the former super housekeeper decides to bring them along as they go retrieve their other classmates. In the toilet Nekomaru Nidai (team manager – his sh*t is so powerful it blasts through the wall!), in the cafeteria Teruteru Hanamura (cook – also super masochist), in the field Akane Owari (gymnastics – also a glutton), in the garage Kazuichi Soda (mechanic – sorry, Sonia doesn’t love you), in the animal shed Tanaka the Forbidden One (animal raiser – chuunibyou), in the music room Ibuki Mioda (rocker – is she rocking her guitar or cooking?), in the dojo Peko Pekoyama (swordswoman – don’t mess with her) and at the vending machine Nagito Komaeda (lucky – or is that unlucky?). Seeing the class is dirty, Yukizome has them clean the class while she goes pick up a couple of more missing students. One of them is Ryouta Mitarai (animator – chubby) who is trying to run away thinking she is the editor trying to force the deadline on him. Last is Chiaki Nanami (gamer) who is somehow with Hajime Hinata who is a student of the Reverse Course that was newly established last year. This course is for ordinary students but the fees are high. Hinata laments he wished to have a talent but Nanami says it doesn’t make a difference whether you have it or not. In fact ordinary people like them have greater freedom than those with talent because like for her, all she has are her games. With her students assembled (and the class clean as hell too), Yukizome is revved up that she can retrieve them the same day tomorrow. Later Yukizome calls Kyousuke Munakata to tell him she got a teaching job at Hope Peak. She assures him she will be okay without him since Munakata is planning to expand Hope Peak to overseas and won’t be around. She is grateful to this school as it allowed her to meet him.

Episode 2
Yukizome thought she has everything under control till she gets a call her class is in trouble. Owari and Nidai are fighting each other and ripping the class apart! But since they say it is for realistic combat training, she lets them continue. Nanami leaves the class believing she doesn’t mix with them since her super gaming skills will set her for life. But Yukizome advises her to make friends as it will be more fun to play with everyone. Yukizome is also doing a secret investigation for Munakata on Reverse Course. As these students pay very high fees, these funds are channelled to the board of trustees that controls the school. The issue is how the money is being used. Munakata has her investigate more as he notes if the overseas expansion is successful, it will give him a better voice. Later Yukizome talks to Hinata about why he enrols in Reverse Course. However he has low self esteem so she tells him to believe in himself. Subsequently the school’s advisor, Kazuo Tengan talks to him if he has made his decision. Not yet. Tengan is against that project because hope comes from people acting like people. Hinata is concerned his family cannot pay the high fees so Tengan tells him he can always decline and return to his normal high school and live as himself. There is nothing wrong being normal. When Yukizome returns to class, she sees everyone playing video games. Everyone chipped in to make the necessary as Nanami brought her games. She is glad that Yukizome was right that she can make friends via games. With everyone having their go at Nintendo rip-offs, Hanamura then cooks for everyone. Can’t play for hours on an empty stomach, can you? However Saionji cheekily puts Hanamura’s sexy potion into the soup and this turns everyone horny! Steamy scenes, gay scenes, lesbian scenes and sexual subtexts! It gets out of hand when Hanamura is about to rape Saionji but Nanami saves her with her super uppercut. What has Taylor Swift got to do with this?! The girls praise Nanami recuperating in the infirmary as she happily relates her uppercut inspiration from Double Dragon. Next day, Yukizome makes Nanami as the class rep. Everyone unanimously agrees so she agrees to give it a try. It lifts her spirits that she goes to invite Hinata to play a game with her. Next day in Hinata’s class, Natsumi Kuzuryu is the new transfer student. She starts off as a b*tch as you can tell how she badmouths everyone as trash and thinks highly of herself.

Episode 3
Hinata narrates his dream of attending Hope Peak. In class, Natsumi teases him since he is constantly looking at the main building. She proclaims herself as the super little sister since her brother is the heir of the Kuzuryu Gang. But if she is here, does that mean she is talentless? She hasn’t given up yet and will do what it takes to get into the main course. Natsumi is then confronted by fellow classmate, Sato who hates her guts to the very end as she warns not to pull off some sneaky move on Koizumi (seems the trio were once in the same photography club). Natsumi is not cowed as she badmouths and even threatens her with death. Typical gangster move, right? Koizumi comes by to quell the tension but even so Natsumi gives out her threats and make it sound like Koizumi is here to mock talentless people. Fuyuhiko talks to Pekoyama about his sister’s problem. He doesn’t want to jump to conclusions yet and reminds her that they have nothing between them now since enrolling here. Pekoyama is Fuyuhiko’s bodyguard and hitman. Hinata sees Sato and Natsumi arguing again. Sato is about to hit her for yet another badmouth rant but Hinata stops her. Hinata talks to Natsumi about her intimidation as he tries to advise her using Nanami’s words about life is more to just talent. But Natsumi disagrees although Hinata knows how it feels for being left behind. Apparently being with her brother and making memories with him aren’t just enough. She wants to stand by his side and be with him. Later, Hinata sees a commotion around the building and the police have barricaded the place. It seems Natsumi has been murdered in the music room!

Hinata eavesdrop Koizumi talking to Sato if she has killed Natsumi. At first Sato really wanted to kill her because she believed Natsumi was going to do kill Koizumi. However she realizes she has no talent to even kill people. So that’s that. Koizumi believes her. Hinata then confronts Sato about it but she starts panicking cooking up theories like Natsumi might have killed herself for being talentless. Then she goes crazy and runs away. Sato never turned up to class for a few days. Then her body was found. Hinata tries to enter the main building to speak to Koizumi for answers but is stopped by the head security, Juzo Sakakura. He is given an answer what happened but it felt like the authorities is trying to sweep the problem under the rug. When Hinata becomes resistant, he is beaten up. Sakakura continues to badmouth talentless people like him by making it up with money and they should just live a normal life instead of thinking they have some sort of talent. Hinata disagrees with his train thought and before Sakakura could punch him, Yukizome gets in the way. After Hinata leaves, Sakakura reminds her about her mission and shouldn’t be too involved with such normal students. Even so, Yukizome believes that was just pure violence and she should stop him as a human. He shouldn’t beat up students who don’t know anything. Sakakura warns if he digs in too much, he will be the one dying. They fear Hope Peak might be going down the wrong path and if so, only Munakata can stop this. Meanwhile Jin tells Tengan that the project about artificial hope and artificial talent has been given the green light as the subject has decided to participate. Because Hinata has finally decided to join and become everyone’s hope.

Episode 4
Yukizome informs her class about the upcoming exams. However nobody is in good mood seeing the double murders. Komaeda later pleads to her to cancel it but since there is nothing she can do, he is going to do something himself. After giving a sexy idol poster to Hanamura, this allows him to get access and up close with Seiko Kimura. He is seeking laxatives for her but because she has to entertain Ruruka Andou and Sounosuke Izayoi who are bugging her for a performance enhancing drug, Komaeda has to go get it himself. He is unsure which drug to take and lets his luck set fate in motion. After much pressure and talk about ‘friendship’, Seiko gives in and agrees to make a drug for her. Next day, there is a threatening message on the board to cancel the exam or else there will be hell to pay. Of course the authorities do not take this seriously and carry on with the exam. Little do they know there are bombs hidden in the hall’s ceiling. Ruruka serves her cream puff to the judges. Super awesome as expected. But suddenly their stomach starts to ache. Trying to find what is happening, Ruruka starts thinking Seiko intended to sabotage her and gave her the wrong drug. Seiko looks into her bag for a cure but sees a remote control for the bombs! This is when Ruruka starts accusing Seiko on just about everything. I believe they have trust issues from the start. This makes Seiko snap as she too calls her a traitor.

Meanwhile Komaeda thinks he has got everything in order. When he accidentally spills a drink and a dog drinks it, it grows into a giant! Realizing the drug he put wasn’t the laxative, he opens the bag to find only medicine. He remembers bumping into Seiko this morning and their bags must have switched. The dog runs rampage in the hall. Seiko and Ruruka panic and accidentally press the button. Boom! Hall exploded. Komaeda notes he didn’t do anything but this was the result he intended. So is this super lucky? Later Komaeda is given the talk by Yukizome. He jokes about being a trash but she slaps him. She assures he is not trash and she is his teacher. Because of this incident, Ruruka, Seiko and Izayoi have been expelled immediately. Although some are calling for Komaeda’s expulsion, he wasn’t directly involved but yet got his desired results. That takes a lot of luck. Therefore as compromise he will be suspended indefinitely and Yukizome will be transferred to Reverse Course since she is taking responsibility as his teacher. Her students are hounding for answers and if they wonder if this is a mistake. Yukizome explains that Komaeda did this in their best interest so when he returns, please give him a warm welcome. As for her transfer, she sees it as a training stint and will be back. Well, at least she is able to investigate closer the shady dealings behind Reverse Course. Oops. I don’t think that was a joke.

Episode 5
Six months have passed. Yukizome speaks to Sakakura if he could get an ID of the board of trustees for her. She explains the Kamukura Project which has begun in secret. Something big is going on since Kamukura is the name of Hope Peak’s founder. In order to investigate more, she needs an ID. Sakakura will try but if caught, he could be fired. She adds about Hinata that he suddenly quit school around the time she heard about the project. Yukizome will soon be transferred back to the main course. Komaeda has not been heard ever since but they hope to lift his suspension. When she returns to class, her students are already waiting to pop the surprise welcome. They heard from a teacher about her return and prepared the necessary. Everyone credits Nanami for pulling this together. In addition, she is the one who organized activities and supported the class during Yukizome’s absence. Other notable differences are Saionji who has a growth spurt and busty lady (curse you puberty!) and Sonia taking after Tanaka’s chuunibyou. Meanwhile Mitarai returns to his room to see a skinnier version of himself pushing to create an anime that will save everyone?! On the other hand, Enoshima returns and waits at the airport for Ikusaba. They are putting forth in motion a plan that will lead to the most atrocious despair incident in human history by enrolling in Hope Peak. There is a short narration by skinny Mitarai that he was often bullied. Physically weak, he believes anime saved him. Because he is working so hard and disregarding his own health, fat Mitarai ‘kidnaps’ Tsumiki to nurse him. He explains the truth. Both guys were living next door to each other. Fatty has no name and is a super imposter. He lives his life in the guise of others although it doesn’t last long. Noting that skinny Mitarai only wants to make anime, he views their interest overlap and requests to take over his name. Skinny Mitarai can shut himself in and make anime all he wants while fat Mitarai will take over his place. Thankfully fatty trusts his classmates so Tsumiki doesn’t have to die or sell her body. Oh God, what was she thinking? Meanwhile Hinata is in some sort of experiment. Still in a daze, he believes he will become the protagonist of his own story and someone who can be proud around Nanami.

Episode 6
At the end of Hinata’s experiment… He grows longer hair?! He is also given the new name Izuru Kamukura, Hope Peak’s founder. He will be the world’s new hope. Sakakura manages to sneak an ID for Yukizome although it has a time limit. This is also the same ID of a trustee that has recently gone missing so be careful. Speaking of that trustee, he is kidnapped by Enoshima and tortured. Yukizome hacks into the trustee’s computer to shockingly read about the project. Despite the subject will become humanity’s hope and gain every known talent in the world, he will lose his emotions, personality and ideals. It is a small price to pay to save the world. The project has already moved on to testing phase. Yukizome reports to Munakata who fears the worst thing is not the public finding out but an unscrupulous person using this for his own gain. Hope will become despair that will threaten the world. Munakata will immediately return and until then she is not to say a word about this to anyone. Enoshima and Ikusaba use the trustee’s eye at the retinal scan to enter Kamukura’s room. At first she fawns over this dude but suddenly wants to kill him for being mankind’s hope. However Kamukura easily pins her down and not even Ikusaba can do anything. He asks if he has super analytical abilities that can calculate several steps ahead, why she even tried this. Because despair is an unknown. She is bored with the world with its pre-existing harmony. Only despair sets her heart racing. Despite being overwhelmed by him, she is having so much fun. Erm, isn’t that just being a masochist? Enoshima tries to coax him to join her side. Because hope doesn’t lead to the unknown. He won’t find salvation there. Only despair can save him. Enoshima is knocked out and the next thing she knows she is in the hospital bed. It seems Kamukura didn’t tell anybody about this. He told Ikusaba to leave Enoshima a message: He will be waiting. So he is taking up her offer? Enoshima is so happy that she waltzes out of hospital. That is where she bumps into skinny Mitarai just coming in. She doesn’t know why she feels so happy to see him and starts hugging him. She believes this must be yet another fateful encounter.

Episode 7
Enoshima badmouths anime so when Mitarai counters her, she dares him to show it. Of course she is absolutely moved and no other anime crap will do! He explains how he uses everything to make such a great anime but all Enoshima must have heard was how it brainwashes others. Hearing Mitarai wants to make a better world, you don’t say because Enoshima too had the same intentions… When fat Mitarai tells Tsumiki his skinny version is missing, she goes to check on him at his room but Ikusaba sees her and kidnaps her. Sakakura tells Yukizome that many trustee members have also gone missing. Security is now so tight that he can’t get an idea of what is happening. Enoshima is providing skinny Mitarai a comfortable room to create his anime (courtesy from the trustees, if you get what I mean). Ikusaba brings in Tsumiki and they make her watch Mitarai’s anime. Touched as hell. Enoshima super analyzes the situation and forms a plan. This involves bringing Kamukura to witness something extraordinary. In a classroom where Hope Peak’s student council members, Ikusaba announces all of them to kill each other. At first they refuse thinking it is a joke but when she demonstrates by killing one of them, she gives them 2 options: Kill each other or be killed by her. For motivation, there are videos containing their darkest secrets. So if you don’t want those out… All it took is just 1 crazy and disillusioned member to start the ball rolling. Next thing you know, we see everybody killing everybody and blood everywhere. Enoshima narrates to Kamukura the unpredictability of despair that will save him a boring future. The last standing member faces off with Kamukura. Of course he couldn’t best him. A fluke made him accidentally killed himself. Jin is upset that the plan is already in motion and being covered up by the authorities just to continue their existence. Enoshima deals the fatal blow by sending a message to all the students about this project being funded by the Reverse Course’s exorbitant fees. Making it worse is how all the student council members were found murdered by this Kamukura specimen and the school is trying to cover this up out of self preservation and hide their failed experimentation. It makes the Reverse Course students accomplices to murder. Naturally all of them are enraged after reading this as a mob gathers to demonstrate against this scam.

Episode 8
With the students trying to barge their way in, the higher ups are getting worried and need to act before the government steps in. Tsumiki has turned into an obsessed worshipper and slave for Enoshima. Mitarai is unsure of how she turned like that but when he clicks a preview video in a mysterious folder, he sees footage of the student council members killing each other. He becomes sick. He thinks Tsumiki saw this and went crazy. She tries to seduce him so he can help them out to realize Enoshima’s goal but Enoshima beats the crap out of her for being a slut. And she loves it! Mitarai is scared as Enoshima explains (with video) that she plans to turn the entire world into despair. However she lacks the brainwashing power that Mitarai has and wants him to make one which is way better than his last. Mitarai tries to run but is warned she might make his classmates kill each other next. Everyone is worried that Tsumiki has not showed up in class for a long time. Even if Komaeda returns, they are not in a mood to celebrate. He then tells them he saw Tsumiki at an area. This has everyone go look for her. Sakakura is having trouble fending off the invading students. He is surprised Munakata is back and is going to lend a hand. Sakakura tries to call Yukizome but she isn’t picking up because she is busy looking for her students. Komaeda and Nanami are at the founder’s statue. By luck, he opens a secret underground passageway that leads to skinny Mitarai’s room. That guy swamped with fear as he thinks he hasn’t done anything bad yet. Enoshima and Komaeda face off. He tells her Ikusaba can’t come to her aid because he talked to Pekoyama to keep her at bay. Komaeda pulls out a gun at Enoshima. He will do anything to protect hope. He views despair as a stepping stone to hope. So he wants to test if he could kill her, it means she wasn’t good enough as hope’s stepping stone. Suddenly he senses Kamukura behind him. Komaeda pulls the trigger but it is jammed. Kamukura whispers he too has good luck. He snatches the gun from him and shoots in his chest. Luckily luck didn’t abandon Komaeda because his handbook stopped the bullet. Nanami takes a closer look at Kamukura. He’s Hinata, right? Mitarai runs away fearing for his life. That’s when he bumps into Yukizome who assures it is her duty to protect her students. She has a bad feeling about this as she heads downstairs.

Episode 9
Enoshima just warmed up introducing herself to Nanami. Yukizome throws a fire extinguisher so that Nanami can take Komaeda and leave. Enoshima explains this will be the last day Yukizome and her students will be themselves as they will fall into despair as part of her plan. She knows Nanami will call her classmates to come and rescue her. True enough, Nanami explains what is happening and despite Komaeda’s not to go against them because their despair level is off the charts, they still want to go save their teacher. Fat Mitarai reveals his true identity to everyone and also wants to join in. Munakata has done his research and no matter what, all evidence points back to Enoshima as the culprit. Sakakura will go find her and bring her back for interrogation. Yukizome is forced to watch a brainwashed student hack himself to death and then strapped down to watch a video of the killings. She is resisting hard so Ikusaba sticks some needles into her head trying to adjust the frequency or something?! Creepy! Yukizome’s students encounter the angry Reverse Course students who think by ridding them they can get their seat. Nidai and Tanaka fight them to let the rest through. Skinny Mitarai is running away and being chased by the mob. Then he trips and is surrounded. Enoshima pops up and his here to thank and say goodbye to him. She is grateful his collaboration will help turn the world into despair although he argues his works is for the betterment of the world. In the end, he is forced to run because that is what Enoshima tells him to do. Running away is his despair. He falls into a flowing river. Sakakura has found Enoshima and is going to give her a good beat down. Yukizome’s students trek down the basement filled with hope. Since Nanami and Tsumiki are at the back of the pack, Tsumiki pushes Nanami down a secret shaft. When she wakes up, she finds Yukizome by her side as she claims Kamukura freed her.

Episode 10
What a surprise. Sakakura lost to Enoshima! She then begins to mock his one-sided love for Munakata. She threatens to show pictures of him fawning over Munakata’s pictures if he doesn’t report back that she is innocent. Very unfortunately, Sakakura complies. Blinded by love or despair? Nanami is shoved into a dark elevator by Yukizome. Enoshima appears on monitor revealing to Nanami about Yukizome being brainwashed by the despair video. However she feels that she is a step away from perfection. And Nanami will be that perfection. When all her classmates finally gather in a strange room, Enoshima is on the monitor again and is going to make them watch a video called Nanami’s Punishment. We see Nanami trying to dodge all sorts of dangerous traps in a dungeon. She has already taken some damage but still tries to maintain her positivism that she will not give up. Her classmates can only helplessly watch and cannot move because of the hypnotism effect. Just when Nanami reaches the goal door, all the spikes impale her. Game over. This drives all her classmates spiralling into despair and madness. Enoshima congratulates her new ‘colleagues’ as they will bring the world ultimate despair. Nanami in her final moments sees Kamukura standing before her. She realizes he has no memories being Hinata. Even in this state, she is trying to be positive. She doesn’t want to die and continue to be with her classmates but all is in vain as she struggles till her last breath. Kamukura picks up her hairpin and couldn’t understand why tears start flowing down his cheeks.

Episode 11
Munakata is told that the overseas expansion is cancelled. No reason is given. Then he asks Sakakura about his report in which he lies through his teeth that Enoshima is innocent. Munakata has his doubts at first so he confirms it with Yukizome who also says Enoshima is innocent. It is then Munakata believes he was wrong all along. Enoshima sets off the biggest chaotic despair with all the Reverse Course students getting violent and barging into the main building to slaughter everyone. While Yukizome gives her graduation speech to her class (everybody is under some sort of hypnotic despair too) and ends it by detonating a bomb! Enoshima wonders why Kamukura asked her to erase memories of him from the memories of others. As he will meet them in the future, he wants to know if hope or despair is the unpredictable factor. That is why he too will have his own memories erased. It will be more fun that way. After that they part ways. Jin and Tengan are trapped inside the school’s building. They see on the news the worldwide chaos. While Tengan wants to escape as they can’t do anything much here, Jin wants to stay behind to entrust hope to the survivors. Enoshima ends everything by having the Reverse Course students commit suicide when they’re done killing others. Ikusaba wonders why she didn’t have them join her ranks. They might have their brains rewired like hers but they are too low specs to be of any use. She warns Ikusaba to watch out because she’ll backstab her without hesitation. Then they go join Naegi’s class. We finally get the answer to why they were barricaded inside the building is because they themselves put up the barricades. Enoshima notes Naegi’s luck and wants to test it out. He is lucky he missed getting killed by her. Enoshima rethinks her decision to kill him because she doesn’t want him to derail her plans. Yukizome’s students are somehow outside. Munakata picks up Yukizome from the rubble. As narrated, her students go all over the world to spread despair. Everything fell apart as part of Enoshima’s plan. Sakakura deeply regrets not stopping Enoshima that it has led to this. Yukizome cries crocodile tears pleading to Munakata to stop this insanity so that she can make him despair more deeply than any of them.

Zetsubou Shita!
Well, it is with mixed feelings the way this arc ended. I knew it was going to be on the tragedy side but yet I feel so unsatisfied about it. I know everything hasn’t really ended yet and the only thing that has ended is hope. Especially that final scene about Hinata and Nanami nicely meeting each other at some island resort. What the heck was that? A dream? No way, man. Please don’t troll me any further when my sentiments are already this shaky. Gosh. Am I in despair???!!! Oh my God. Say it isn’t so. Phew. At least I didn’t take up a weapon and trash everything around me. Thankfully it isn’t 100% despair because there is still hope. Turns out there will be an episode to end and bridge this as announced at the end of the final episode but that will be for next time.

Unlike the first Danganronpa series and the Future Arc, this one breaks away from the mutual killing game of picking off each other one by one. Sure, there’s that student council version of it but that lasts only for minutes and serves as an appetizer. This arc heavily focuses on Enoshima’s grand foundation in building up her plans to bring ultimate despair to the world and the unfortunate souls who became victims of her mind controlling schemes. So if you are hoping and guessing from the promotional poster arc that these would be the ‘new’ characters to kill each other off in a survival game, you’d be very far off the mark. Of course this is assuming you didn’t play the game and like yours truly came to this assumption.

This means that the class under Yukizome’s care feel like they aren’t fleshed out properly. Each has their own interesting and quirky personality that makes them all so different in every way but because we don’t mostly see them do fun things together throughout the series (like Nanami’s video game session), it feels like their initial introduction in the first episode was like some sort of trolling and has been watered down as the series progresses and focused on other happenings. So if you want to have an idea of what Nanami’s class did together, the best bet is watch the ending credits animation where there is a montage of it. Well, I’m not saying that all characters in every Danganronpa series are fleshed out. This is the case for characters who are killed off very early. However for these special super talented students, they aren’t really killed off so it makes their roles for this arc feeling a bit much more to be desired. Like as though they’re just waiting around till the final moments of the plot to become somewhat relevant.

Hence among the students of this main course class that get the most screen time or at least playing more notable roles are Nanami and skinny Mitarai. Sadly, Nanami is the only main character to die. I know you’re going to remind me about Natsumi and Sato but they’re just minor characters whom you’ll forget once this arc reaches its end. What happened to Mitarai after he got washed away? I suppose he just kept running and running and running. Supposedly strong characters like Sakakura and Yukizome who are thought to be able to put up a decent fight against despair, ironically succumb to it. At least it shows they are human, right? They too have weaknesses and not perfect. Hey, being super high school level currently or formerly doesn’t mean that you are perfect like God. You just happen to be more successful than others normally. Finally, Hinata/Kamukura felt a bit of a waste. Of course from where the plot of this arc is going, there is nothing much he can do. But I thought it was a waste to have this all-so-powerful-God like as though he is very much the last boss to fight and lose but he is just observing and biding his time. That’s all.

In one of the biggest ironies, the higher ups trying to play God and create their own artificial super level of hope instead ushered in the biggest despair instead. Normal students pay big money in return to get some sort of future hope but what they got was a big let-down and ultimately despair. That’s what happened when a large sum of money is involved. Can you now say that in addition to money is the root of all evil, it is now the root of all despair? It is no longer just a sin to be poor but sad to be without money.

Another irony is Enoshima and her love for despair. It feels like a big contradiction. If she loves despair, shouldn’t she herself be wallowing in misery, desolation and hopelessness? Instead we see her revel and taking joy in seeing others suffer and this makes her more of a super level sadist than one who is gunning for ultimate despair. I mean, she did bring the world to its knees but she is happy in achieving that goal and seeing how it is brought upon others. In that sense, she is like a hypocrite to her own goal of despair. She should be called a super high school level evil maniacal mastermind sadist instead. If she really wants to go into despair, she should look at that Nozomu guy from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series. That guy is truly in despair.

I am not sure whether to call it spoilers or knowledge beforehand because since this arc is aired side by side with the Future arc, many of the revelations and the character backgrounds are related. Therefore if you watch this series without watching the Future arc at the same time, you might not be missing anything out since this took place before all the Danganronpa series chronologically. It stands alone by itself. But if you do watch the Future arc, you will find that there are quite a few incidents that will be related. So you can consider this arc as spoiler when you do so. Or if you’re being optimistic, it gives you better understanding when you watch the Future arc subsequently. For instance, the ‘complicated’ relationship between Ruruka, Seiko and Izayoi. While you might think their cameo appearance might be seen as one of the few driving points in the story and insignificant for this arc, you will find and understand better about their role in the Future arc which in a way makes sense. It also makes sense to learn why skinny Mitarai is the only ‘survivor’ among his class. You’ll see what I mean if you watched the Future arc. So spoilers or knowledge beforehand? Either way, both these series complement each other.

It goes without saying that despite this arc is chronologically the first, for those who have not watched the first season’s Danganronpa, you will be greatly spoiled because we all know who the main big villain is, right? Therefore watching this prequel arc hinges on pretty much on the assumption that you have watched the first season and you pretty much know what has happened. Doing so makes it easier to connect the dots and lines and gives you a better idea and understanding of what is generally happening.

The art and animation style remains consistent among the series. This means that some of the character design feels odd. Characters with odd looking parts that make them look more cartoonish than anything. For example Hanamura. This guy is already creepy as a little pervert and with his cartoon-like face like as though he popped out from some baking mascot cover, he looks even creepier if not funnier. Soda looks more like a rapper than a mechanic. Just saying… One thing I find odd is how the other non-important students of the Reverse Course are drawn as what I call ‘blue mannequins’. Every time I see them I feel like I wanna go “I’m blue da ba di da ba die”. No, seriously. With all the blue people around, it feels like they are clones or something. I understand that they paid through their noses to get enrolled here and when they found out the truth they get disappointed and hence the blues (okay, I’m just bullsh*tting) but it just looks odd to see them drawn this way. Well, we’ve seen the odd pink blood which is the trademark of this series.

A handful of recognizable seiyuus lend their talents to this series such as Kana Hanazawa as Nanami, Mai Nakahara as Yukizome, Junichi Suwabe as Sakakura, Akira Ishida as the imposter Mitarai, Jun Fukuyama as Hanamura, Tomokazu Sugita as Tanaka, Yu Kobayashi as Koizumi, Yoshimasa Hosoya as Soda, Hiroaki Yasumoto as Nidai, Ami Koshimizu as Mioda, Ai Shimizu as Sato and Rikiya Koyama as Jin. Oddly, Megumi Ogata who voiced Naegi in the other Danganronpa series plays Komaeda here. It gave me an impression that Komaeda might be his older brother or something related in this sense as they both have that similar feel. I mean, one is with super hope and the other is super luck. Talents which are somewhat intangible, right? At first I thought Aoi Yuuki was behind Saionji but I was greatly mistaken as it was Suzuko Mimori instead (Sherlock in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes).

For the rest of the new casts, they are Minami Tanaka as Hinata/Kamukura (Conan in Detective Conan), Kanata Hongou as Mitarai the animator (Sakamoto in BTOOOM), Ai Kayano as Tsumiki (Kanade in Chihayafuru), Daisuke Kishio as Fuyuhiko (Suginami in Da Capo series), Kotono Mitsushi as Pekoyama (Excel in Excel Saga), Romi Paku as Owari (Hitsugaya in Bleach), Miho Arakawa as Sonia (Hanabusa in Akuma No Riddle), Haruka Yamazaki as Natsumi (Tomoyo in Inou Battle Wa Nichijou-Kei No Naka De), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Munakata (Mard Geer in Fairy Tail), Hidekatsu Shibata as Tengan (Igneel in Fairy Tail), Saki Fujita as Seiko (Inami in Working), Inori Minase as Ruruka (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka) and Takuya Eguchi as Izayoi (Kon in Ixion Saga DT).

The opening theme is Kami Iro Awase by Binaria. I’m not sure how to put it but It isn’t exactly a rock piece but it is in a way. I’m confused too. Maybe because the singer’s voice of singing the song in a calm way. Watching the opening credits at first made me think Shaft did this anime because of how similar its style is to the Monogatari series. Turns out to be Lerche who did Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, Hamatora, Unbreakable Machine Doll, Saijaku Muhai No Bahamut and Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai. The ending theme is Zettai Kibou Birthday by Megumi Ogata. At first I didn’t believe it was heard because from what I can hear it sounds like a man’s voice singing this rock outfit. I thought it might be some type error. I even looked at various sources and finally the ending credits itself and confirmed it is her singing this one. Straining my ears to closely hear, I finally realize it could be her. After all, she has this low voice and this makes her suitable to voice many anime roles for young boys.

Overall, the series is pretty interesting and sets the foundation and the ball rolling for the other Danganronpa series in a chronological sense. Despite the lack of mutual killings or the main characters being killed off (unless you consider falling into ultimate despair as a metaphor for the character being killed off) the plot and turn of events make it an interesting watch. At least it is good to take heart that the writer and producers of this series are so super high level because otherwise we would be brainwashed and fall into despair. Instead we leave with satisfaction and high hopes for the series. Naturally an ideal point if you want it to be a commercial success. Because what’s worse than the world falling into despair is for your series to be ultimately cancelled and then into oblivion forever. Then it would be truly zetsubou shita!

Ange Vierge

January 28, 2017

I couldn’t make out much of Ange Vierge from the synopsis. Not sure what kind of anime it will be. My thoughts it would be something like Valkyrie Drive ~Mermaid~ but noticing it isn’t going to rely on cheap yuri fanservice, I guess it isn’t. But then again, there is some cheap yuri fanservice although not on a boobs monstrosity level. Based on a trading card of the same name, from what I can see is that the world is going to be destroyed if a group of beautiful girls of different backgrounds do not try to do something and stop its acceleration. Hmm… Bishoujo you say? Okay. Count me in.

Episode 1
Saya Sougetsu with Amane Ayashiro’s help is fighting against the enemy known as Ouroboros. Erm, towers looking like penis? With the other cosplay girls arriving to intercept, they defeat the enemies before it reaches Seiran Island. We are now being given a narration of heavy stuffs for the setting. There are 5 worlds namely the Black World, Darkness Embrace (night and magic powered); the Red World, Terra Rubiri Aurora (prayers and gods); the White World, System White Eguma (science and technology); the Green World, Grunewald Silt (weapons and military); and the Blue World, Earth (…) I guess we’re useless piece of sh*ts. One day a portal called Halo opened and connected all 5 worlds. It’s not a good sign. It means the end of the world is coming. Because when all 5 worlds lose their power source and combine, it’s really the end. World End as it is aptly named. So to save the world, girls with special powers are gathered on Seiran Island on Earth to fight the menace. These are Progress Girls and those with special abilities are known as Exceed. They link with each other and amplify their powers via Alpha Drivers. You get all that already? The report credits Saya, Amane, Almaria, Elel, Code Omega 77 Stella, Nya Lapucea and Miumi Hinata in the recent victory over Ouroboros. Damn the rest of the episode sees the girls relaxing naked in the entire building which is probably the biggest bath house in the world talking about stuffs. Damn censors… Anyway Amane thinks everyone did a good job but Saya thinks otherwise. She chastises her to do a better job because Saya wants to promote quickly to the next class instead of staying in the same class forever (it is believed if you’re promoted, so are your abilities). She doesn’t like Amane’s laidback attitude. Saya remembers she was just an ordinary girl and one day she was bestowed powers from out of the blue (I don’t think it’s a pun). She was happy thinking her power was unique but eventually it wasn’t. So instead of blaming herself, senior Aoi Mikage points out Saya’s inexperience. If she was perfect, she doesn’t need to worry about anyone else. Saya wants to become stronger and get into EXR class so the best way is to train with Mikage. Similarly, the other girls elsewhere also have this same idea with their seniors. So the fight a simulation battle but end up losing. In the aftermath, Saya is most bitter of the lost. Amane thought of cheering her up with some positive words but Saya scorns back at her that there will be no next time.

Episode 2
Flashback shows when Saya first entered Seiran Academy, she got lost. She picked a random girl (Amane) to follow. Soon she too realized that she is lost! But hey, they became friends. Everyone is reflecting about their loss in training but mostly they point out Amane needs to do a better job because as an Alpha Driver, she has to keep the Link between them stable. Dr Michael, Ruby, Clara, Euphiria and Aurora are trying to research on Ouroboros’ attack patterns but can’t find a thing. As Saya observes Mikage and Hinata in training, she remembers chastising Amane for being laidback. Despite Amane viewing her as special, it wasn’t for Saya. To her, being the SR and EXR classes like Hinata and Mikage is special. Code Omega 46 Xenia and Code Omega 33 Carene are patrolling the seas when they are attacked by an Ouroboros. Instead of destroying it, they decide to send data back via quantum sonobuoys. This will allow Euphiria to track the enemy outside space and time. Because of that, they now manage to pinpoint the base of Ouroboros at Ryuujin Island. An announcement for SR and EXR classes to go intercept the enemy via sneak attack while other lower classes like C and UC class will stay back to guard Seiran Island. That’s you Saya. Why looking not so happy? Amane tries to be positive again about Saya rushing for promotion. However Saya snaps back at her at the rate Amane is progressing, she will never get any stronger. She doesn’t understand how she feels. Saya later learns that Amane is super famous at the Alpha Driver’s training facility because she always trains in super hard mode like as though she’s a masochist. This makes Saya feel guilty over her outburst and realizes she knows nothing on Amane. If the attack on Ryuujin Island is too easy and progressing so well, it probably is. Because it was just a diversion as the real Ouroboros main force is now attacking Seiran Island. But where are they? Nobody can see them. From underground! Yikes. Giant tentacles attacking this time? The Exceeds engage them but it seems Saya can’t feel the Link that Amane is giving to her. Obviously it is the girls’ lost but Ouroboros stops attacking them. Could it be they are not their target? True enough, they target the Alpha Drivers. When dawn breaks, the girls inspect the Alpha Drivers’ section. All of them are crystallized. Including Amane. Too late to feel sorry now.

Episode 3
Flashback of happier times between Saya and Amane. They watch a Blooming Battle between Sofina and Ramiel. This made Saya want to get stronger faster. It seems the crystal deflects all sorts of attacks so this means it can’t be destroyed. At least Dr Michael has not enough data to form any solutions. Because the SR and EXR class at Ryuujin Island have not returned, Saya and co want to head there and find out what happened. Making their way there, they see defeated giant Ouroboros. Never knew they were this big, huh? Euphiria detects another problem: It seems the collision for World End is speeding up. They believe there isn’t enough energy called Extras slowing it down. That is the reason why Blooming Battles are held. When Dr Michael checks the state of the crystallized Alpha Drivers, she notices their brain activity is still high. It turns into a nightmare because she realizes Ouroboros has also corrupted their minds. If they were in Link their Progress, it means they too will be corrupted. Saya finds unconscious Hinata. When she wakes up, she is now corrupted and attacks her. The rest come to Saya’s aid but Mikage keeps them busy. Hinata is trying to ‘guide’ Saya by making her feel guilty especially when she brings up Amane’s name and role. She is accusing them for being weak. They don’t understand each other. That’s why Amane had to train hard away from her eyes and Saya is still safe. Of course Saya breaks down and admits her shortfall and the need to blame someone then. But she won’t run away anymore. Saya’s rage and strong determination defeats Hinata and brings her back to normal. So Hinata got all her clothes blown away in effect? Mikage still wants to have a go but with Aurora and Euphiria coming in, she escapes. Thanks to that battle, enough Extras were generated and the acceleration towards World End slows back down to where it’s supposed to be. Meanwhile the other corrupted SR and EXR Progress Girls are hatching their own destructive schemes.

Episode 4
Flashback shows Almaria first met Amane by saving her falling off a building. What do you know? She was practising diving at the outdoor bath on the highest floor. Since Amane is pretty casual about it and not even thinking about death, this vampire from Darkness Embrace decides to become her sister. The UC Progress Girls think about the irony that their weak Link with their Alpha Driver was the one that saved them from corruption. While we see the corrupted Progress Girls being devilish, we see a more retarded diversion from the sisterly pair from Grunewald Silt, Ageha and Mayuka Sanagi. They claim they are now Ouroboros soldiers and will train on food survival. Large servings of onigiri? WTF. Do you normally find that in the forest? Dr Michael and the rest discuss about the insufficient Extras. Because a large number of Progress Girls have fallen into darkness, the acceleration of World End speeds up again. They think the only way is to defeat them. Right now, Darkness Embrace’s Extra is rapidly depleting. Our UC Progress Girls volunteer to go check out that world. I mean, all the SR and EXR Progress Girls are ‘gone’, right? While flying into the Black World, Almaria remembers her training with her senior Sofina. Almaria got embarrassed when Sofina teased and offered her to drink her blood. Arriving into Darkness Embrace, Sofina attacks them. Almaria faces off with her while the rest have to fight the Ouroboros guards in which some of them are corrupted Progress Girls. Almaria is still weak against Sofina. She almost gets tentacle raped as Sofina teases her to drink her blood again. When Saya rescues her, Sofina turns her attention to help Ouroboros destroy her world’s crystal at Dark Cradle by using her ultimate witch spell.

Episode 5
Almaria isn’t too pleased Amane keeps endangering herself since Amane is confident she will save her. Almaria talks about how she admires Sofina but is unable to get to her level. However Amane thinks Almaria herself is as special because she loves her. Thankfully Dark Cradle still stands thanks to its powerful barrier although Rizelitta is unconscious. Sofina is cursing about the strong barrier and will wait till her magic replenishes before attacking it again. We take a detour to the comical Sanagi sisters again. This time Ageha teaches Mayuka how to throw a hand grenade. However she got it mixed up and throws the pin and holds the grenade. Boom! The girls discuss about Almaria and vampires sucking blood. She dismisses the movie theory of becoming a vampire when you get your blood sucked because eventually if everyone becomes one, there is no blood left to suck. Kinda like zombie movies, right? They guess Almaria has never drank blood before and despite she can’t drink from someone she doesn’t know, how does that make Amane then? She can’t either because she views Amane as her sister. Time for them to go back into battle as the enemy has resumed pounding on Dark Cradle. Almaria faces off with Sofina again. Sofina mocks her and admits she loves her and wants everything that is of her. That’s why let’s end the world together. But Almaria won’t do that and will save her, infuriating Sofina a lot. She attacks and Almaria resigns to her defeat but is saved by Saya. A little pep talk has Almaria agree to suck Saya’s blood (she volunteered). The sight of sinking her teeth into her night pisses off Sofina. Nobody can do that to her belonging. Almaria powers up and defeats and cures Sofina. The Black World now returns to normal with all energy signs stabilized. Despite the ‘fall’ of Darkness Embrace, the other corrupted Progress Girls are still confident they can destroy the worlds.

Episode 6
When Elel first came to Seiran Academy, she is revved up to make friends. And then she stumbled upon Amane. Did they meet before? She can’t remember. Elel panics as she tries to change the subject and everything but it seems Amane too doesn’t know her and was just trying to be friends with her. Almaria and Saya are closer to each other now. To the point Almaria just wants to suck her blood! Almaria and Sofina also reconcile seeing it was the Ouroboros side that made her fall to the dark side and amplified her feelings. But now Sofina views Saya as her rival! Since when did this become so complicated? Do we need more military training from the Sanagi sisters? Yet another food survival. But can they eat the natural bugs? They lower their threshold to eat a giant elephant! Although the Black World is safe for now, they need to check out the other worlds as Ouroboros will be targeting them. And so the UC Progress Girls head to the Red World, Elel’s world. But along the way they got separated. Elel is before Ramiel as the latter shows off her fabulous wings. While Elel is very happy and impressed with her, it soon hits Ramiel nerves when Elel mentions she has other friends. Speaking of them, they are trying to find their way out of a 3D maze. Ramiel accuses Elel for lying all the time. In fact, she thinks her existence is just a lie and the reason why she could always praise her for her beautifulness despite knowing the fact Ramiel actually only had 1 wing and cannot fly by herself unless she has an Alpha Driver. Despite all the refuting, Ramiel refuses to believe her. Then she has Elel choose between her and her other friends to save. Elel considers all of them her friends. Still not impressed, Ramiel orders Elel to fight her if she wants to save her other friends. Elel loses but is saved in time by Saya and co who bust out of the maze in time. Jealous Ramiel flees leaving poor a crying and heartbroken Elel.

Episode 7
Elel is depressed, naturally. Believing that Ramiel isn’t her friend anymore, she too thinks Saya and the rest aren’t real friends and are only so because they’re a team. Saya regains her trust by allowing her to use her Exceed. Just believe in her. More flashbacks on Elel’s friendly times with Amane and Ramiel. Elel realizes that she wasn’t looking at Ramiel closely and Amane understood that better than her. Almaria is now upset because Elel is trying to hog Saya to herself. Since when Saya is her personal property? Seeing how friendly Elel is with these girls, this only increases Ramiel’s hatred on her. We take a detour on this hate and go see what the Sanagi sisters are up to. Riding a tank? For once nothing bad happens except maybe the occasional Mayuka pressing the fire button instead of the accelerator. But other than that they have a nice ride and even watch the sunset. Ramiel is now trying to destroy the crystal at Palace of the Seven Goddesses. Cue for Elel to come to her and ‘talk’. The other girls fend off other Ouroboros guards to let Elel meet up with Ramiel. Elel continues to apologize but Ramiel still won’t accept all that. She doesn’t care about anything anymore. Not even the friendship part or anything that has got to do with it. Gee, then why are you still persistent on your fate of just having 1 wing instead of 2 full wings like Elel? This makes Elel screams back that it isn’t the wings she cares about but Ramiel as her friend and the one she loves. I guess this time her feelings got through to her. This honesty about Elel’s feelings is what Ramiel likes and hates about her. Their reconciliation hug is powerful enough to purify Ramiel and return their friendship back to where it always is.

Episode 8
Amane fooled around with Stella’s body thinking it was a doll and accidentally started her up. So as Stella tries to determine if she is her master/creator/programmer, Amane says she is her mom. Before we move on to serious stuff, let’s check out what the Sanagi sisters are doing now. Today’s training: Resting. Day off? Nope! Learn how to rest! Not sure if Ageha’s explanation is so boring that Mayuka fell asleep. But good job nevertheless. Because Mayuka is b*tching for Ageha to come sleep with her, she gives in to her demands and soon can’t escape Mayuka’s clutches because she uses her as a pillow. Not sure if Ageha got raped because in the end she is naked and only clad with a towel… We’ll leave that to your imagination. With Ramiel on the healing path, Elel thanks Saya for everything in which of course she humbly denies. While Elel and Almaria fight over to be Saya’s, ahem, more than just friends, Saya talks to Stella who seems to be concerned about increasing her speed. Stella views Amane as a tool and vice versa. This is because of one bad experience when Amane slapped her for not listening despite they have been together for most of the time. It is a reason she decides to think the same and the only thing that’s important now is her speed. Stella gets a distress call from Xenia. Euphiria wants to go save her mom but leaving her place means leaving Earth vulnerable. Yeah, why not just send Saya and co as they have a proven record of saving 2 worlds already. Reaching the White World which is literally a huge cyberspace, Stella pushes forward ahead of the rest when Xenia’s distress gets stronger. When she reaches her, it is all too obvious a trap as Carene attacks her. Xenia too is part of the trap to lure her. They try to inject her with a virus to turn into the dark side but luckily her firewall is strong and rejects! The duo want Stella to unite and become one. They view this as the ultimate form of love. As proof, they merge. Since she won’t, they continue attacking. By this time Saya and co have reached as they counter attack. Carene-Xenia show a virus in which they intend to destroy the barrier protecting the crystal. If Stella had merged with them, it would have been done immediately. But no matter. It is only a matter of time. Carene-Xenia escape.

Episode 9
From what I understand, because Carene-Xenia are far ahead in this infinite cyberspace to reach the crystal, Stella is going to do some repairs to her own machine so she can catch up to them. Of course she refuses help from others. Saya can’t help feel worried for her but this does not compute for Stella. When she views everyone and herself as tools, Saya does an Amane by slapping her. Don’t you dare say we’re tools because we’re all friends. Why slap her if she considers her as a friend then? Because she is mad and sad. If she was a tool, she wouldn’t even have those feelings and slapped her. Does this compute? Once Stella is done, she blasts off in the speed of light while the other girls take care of the Ouroboros. Stella catches up and tries to insert vaccine programmes but Carene-Xenia destroy them as well as damage Stella. They then press forward as Stella remembers she broke her own speed record and thought Amane would be impressed. Instead, Amane slapped her because she was worried that Stella didn’t listen to her and was being reckless. The same emotions from Amane and Saya now makes Stella understand. From a programming point of view? With new resolve, Stella accelerates even faster to catch up and overtake her seniors. Carene-Xenia won’t allow that and try to go even faster. However they have never done this before and this threatens to tear Xenia apart from Carene, something Carene doesn’t want. Stella is able to handle such speeds because Amane has always been bearing the brunt of her pain. Stella catches up and catches them. With the mission over, Stella emotionally shed tears after saving her sisters. Time to go home. Lastly, we can’t have an episode without the Sanagi sisters. This time Mayuka owns Ageha for once. Or twice. Because she is snickering about what happened the last time. Ageha vowed it won’t happen again but déjà vu can be a b*tch.

Episode 10
When Nya first came to Earth, she thought how different and better it was than her own. Amane heard that and learning she is an ex-soldier, she asked her advice on how to go about playing some battle simulator. Amane surprises her with her tactics of not sacrificing anyone and using team work. Nya is reluctant to teach her further since she is so done about giving and receiving orders. Amane rewords it as a favour instead of an order so Nya agrees. Our last Sanagi sisters’ special training? Well, just a dismissal speech from Ageha it is over. Carene and Xenia are healing well but they have some small distorted data on the enemy in which they give Dr Michael and Euphiria to analyse. Now Stella is sitting on Saya’s lap because that is what her mom Amane used to let her. But Saya is not her mom. Just a friend of mom. In that case, her aunty? With Stella close to Saya, the rivalry goes up a notch. Stella versus all the aunties! Because Almaria claims to be Saya’s sister. That’s an aunty, right? Elel claims to be Saya’s friend. That’s also an aunty, right? Saya talks to Nya and learns she is a former super elite soldier. She was discharged and ended up here. Previously she got a new recruit in her team. But a mission to rescue a POW went wrong and she was forced to abandon her and retreated. By deduction, Nya knows it is her turn to settle things. So she is going to the Green World herself and doesn’t want Saya to tell the rest. Well, Saya is a bad liar considering her body language… Once Nya arrives in the desolated desert, Eins Exaura is already waiting for her. She is trying to play no Nya’s guilt of abandoning a friend. Flashback shows Eins was that new recruit and an enhanced soldier. The Sanagi sisters were also under Nya. When the mission went wrong, Nya was looking for Eins but Ageha requested an order to retreat since they have already retrieved the important target. No choice, Nya had to give orders to retreat. Eins doesn’t hate Nya for the abandonment since she was picked up and further enhanced. In a bid to make Nya serious, Eins has sent the Sanagi sisters to attack Earth! Nya can relive her past of abandoning her friends again while she fights her. These idiots? Bah! They’ll flop, you’ll see. Oh wait. I can’t believe it. They’re dominating Saya and co! OMG. They won and took them as hostage?! Surprise, surprise. Nya fights Eins and doesn’t want to get all-out serious but she is trying to force her. I’m not sure what countdown Nya’s limiter had but when it reaches zero, a super blast wave so great that it transcends dimensions and knocks out the Sanagi sisters (ripping their clothes too???!!!) and thus saving Saya and co. Also, Eins is purified. Wow. So fast? And that was Nya just being half serious. Seriously?

Episode 11
When Saya thought she could finally fight officially as a Progress Girl with Amane, to her horror Amane has already made other friends. Jealous? Sad? Not the only special friend that Amane has? Eins recuperates and reconciles with Nya. She relates how she wanted to impress and thus rushed into the mission but it went awry and put everyone in danger. While everyone else didn’t like how Nya silently went back to her own world, they blame Saya for not telling them since she knew. It’s like she doesn’t trust them. But all that hate turn into love for Saya’s attention. Thankfully Nya isn’t like those cheap lesbians and is staying out of this ‘war’. Dr Michael is having a hard time analyzing the corrupted data so Carene and Xenia suggest to manually merge and reconstruct missing data from there. Since Mikage is from Earth, no need to hop to another world because a showdown with Saya begins now. Mikage claims the other EXR Progress Girls are just for show as the real deal starts now. Herald Abyss, the greatest weapon of Ouroboros. Uhm, giant dick head? So the Alpha Drivers weren’t merely just sealed away. They are going to be used to power up Abyss and destroy Earth’s crystal. Saya clashes with Mikage but the latter mocks her she will never be better because she is always dreaming and thus nothing special. Cue for Saya’s friends to jump in to save her and prove Mikage wrong because Saya is special to them. But they too cannot match up to her might. Who else is there to take on her? Yeah, Hinata. Your turn. After the epic power clash, Hinata defeats and purifies Mikage. However that is the beginning of their problems. Because now Hinata has fallen to the dark side (Mikage infected her during the fight) and initiates Abyss. Sh*t is going to hit the fan.

Episode 12
Hinata is so powerful that nobody can touch her. They still carry on bringing down the menace while Dr Michael’s side tries to activate something. When they do, Saya now finds herself inside Amane’s mind. She sees her sitting dejectedly. Amane has now resigned herself to being lonely forever without friends. Role reversal. Saya’s turn to be the understanding one here. Saya tries to explain how precious she is to everyone and how they never realized how much they loved her till she is gone but Amane continues to wallow in despair. She thought of trying to understand everyone but failed. That’s why it is no difference when Saya lashed out at her. So now Saya thinks she has been wrong. Amane has tried her best and it is okay to be wrong. She doesn’t care if she will forever hate her but Saya wants to apologize and won’t let her carry the burden anymore. She will never let her be lonely again. This is enough to let Amane break out of her crystallized state and into Saya’s arms. Now that she is back, Dr Michael ushers her into this dick egg tower so she can link up with everyone to power up. And of course Saya defeats and purifies Hinata because of the greatest emotion power and bond with Amane. But now they have to take care of the numerous Ouroboros. That’s where the rest of the EXR Progress Girls join in to kick some ass. But that is just for a short while because you know how Amane powers up everyone and a super beam rains down on Seiran to destroy the enemies. Everyone is saved. The worlds are saved. The future is saved. Wow. So easy that it is too good to be true. And all because they got their bonds back. Saya and co happily receive Amane. Welcome back.

Sorority Sisterly Love Saves The World
Yay! Everything is saved. The world, the future, the girls and more importantly their bonds. What a happy good ending if I must say. Read sarcasm. If only everybody knew it was this easy to defeat Ouroboros as long as you have strong bonds. Because the stronger they are, the more powerful you are and that itself is enough to take out the entire horde. I know it sounds crazy but I guess that is why the wars in the real world we live in won’t stop. We get offended and insulted by the slightest things and if there are none, we make the hell up out of it. Not sure if Ouroboros will return in the future to continue accelerating the world’s end but for now, let’s leave our girls to enjoy their much deserved company.

The only reason why we can have a storyline of our UC Progress Girls is because they are all somewhat linked to Amane. It feels like she is the sole reason why everyone else bonds or bothers to make friends. A reason for drama. Without Amane, the world would have been doomed. It gives an excuse for the girls to bond further and thus a reason to go into each other’s worlds to save the day in a predictably systematic order. Well, don’t you see a pattern after the introductory arc? After the Ouroboros attacked and poor Amane got crystallized, it made the other girls realize how they have taken Amane for granted and some treated her like sh*t (looking at you Saya). It gives them a chance to think back about the times they first met her, bonded with her and her quirky honesty so it gives them a reason to fly into the world that it is currently being attacked by a corrupted senior and Ouroboros. In return, they free their senior from the clutches of darkness, push back Armageddon a little more and since they can’t physically bond with Amane, Saya as a substitute will do. Therefore Amane is the most important character and factor, the sole reason why this entire series exist! Had it not been for her, who knows where everyone else will end up. So for these lucky few girls, it is like an angel came to touch their lives, don’t you think? Now that Amane is back, everyone can have a double dose of their favourite girl around.

Of all the characters and worlds there are in this anime’s setting, the most interesting and my personal favourite are those from the Green World. It may be the most boring and uneventful of the 5 worlds but they made it up with very quirky characters. Because the Sanagi sisters are the most hilarious of the bunch. They should have more scenes of the duo doing futile special training that has nothing to do with the real mission eventually. Heck, they should even have their own spinoff! When you get tired of the other girls sorting out their sisterly problems and all that jealousy drama, we can always look forward to every episode and take heart that there are idiotic people like them who can be this cool. Even cooler than the other girls.

Even Eins is not so bad as the corrupted ‘senior’ but her case is in reverse. Unlike other girls, Eins is the only junior while her saviour Nya is her senior. Because of that, she lacks that cockiness and arrogance as seen in Sofina, Ramiel, Carene, Xenia and even Mikage. Nya is also better than the rest of the girls in her class because as an ex-soldier, she is most mature and doesn’t stoop to the lowbrow yuri competition over Saya. Vampires, gods and androids losing out to a mere soldier on the battle of companionship? No wonder the worlds are in danger of being destroyed. You might think that the Green World is less exciting and has been short-changed because it only has 1 dedicated episode compared to the other worlds with the minimum of 2 episodes. But I would like to think how efficient Nya is in getting the job done despite her lazy laidback nature. Heck, she actually got it all over in just half the episode. Don’t need to waste time on unnecessary drama whatsoever. Just do it. That’s the military style.

The rest of the girls feel like annoying b*tches but because the look kawaii and moe, the reason why they aren’t as annoying as hell. Basically most of them have this inferior complex to each other. You know, juniors admire their seniors and want to be like them. On the other hand, seniors are envy of their juniors because they have what they have not. Yeah, something like that. In the end, it is supposed to give us the much needed sisterly drama for them to fight and reconcile, kiss and make up. It almost feels like a game because once they’ve overcome this relationship hurdle, it’s like this problem has been forever solved. They’ll never have to face such strain in their relationship again. And till Amane comes back, Saya becomes their temporary replacement for some good skinship. Yuri time, I guess. So you could say that Ouroboros actually are the good guys here technically. Because they gave a chance for this group of b*tches to resolve their insecurities and differences in which otherwise they will forever put on that fake mask charade that everything is okay but it’s not. Failure to settle and get back on good terms would mean the end of the world, their existence. So don’t you think Ouroboros are the true heroes of the worlds? Ultimately it is the girls who save everything. They save the worlds, thus saving their existence, they save their seniors and eventually they save themselves.

The rest of the background staffs like Dr Michael’s group also don’t fare well. They are supposed to be Seiran’s top and most powerful fighters or so I think. But they spend so much time in their lab trying to analyse and who knows what else there is to do. I understand Dr Michael has her research and Euphiria is stuck in some tube with her own time-space abilities. But what are Aurora, Ruby and Clara for? Just giving lip service? Especially there is this odd relationship between Ruby and Clara in which the former has a tendency to mock the latter for not knowing her stuffs, thus a reason for a much needed explanation to us viewers. I find it odd that Carene and Xenia are always hugging each other, like as though they can never be apart from each other. Is this is some sort of yuri fanservice? Why do robots need to hold each other like that? Can’t they just use a wire or cable to connect and sync themselves? Yeah, so complicated that I don’t even want to understand.

One thing nice is the art and design of the characters and worlds. I’m not saying it is a masterpiece but when you are blending different sorts of worlds from demons to gods to robots and wasteland, these worlds look worthy for a fantasy type genre. When you girls from various backgrounds, normal high school girl, vampire girl, fairy girl, robot girl, military girl, gothic girl, scientist girl, demon girl, angry girls, it is only right to have a variety of designs. While they are not too shabby, it does differentiate their background well. And that’s why even if the story seems generic and nothing new, we can all ogle at the kawaii and moe bishoujos as our saving grace. Yup, they boldly throw in a heavy fanservice teaser for the first episode with nothing but the girls talking in their birthday suit in the baths for almost the entire episode. Don’t hope for the rest of the episode to have that same treatment. Some small baths here and there but nothing as major as this one. Damn those steam censors… As for the design of Ouroboros, I’m not sure but personally many of them look like giant sexual objects. I don’t know. Does this mean I am a pervert? Because these chequered pattern aliens some of them look like dicks and others look like giant sperms. Maybe the design of them is too abstract that I start seeing them as so.

Action wise, I think this department is rather okay too. We have cute girls in fancy clothes and power ups. It would be a waste not to make them use it in battles. So it is a necessary evil for them to show us that they can kick as well in addition to looking good. But they don’t have much of a variety because well, this anime isn’t going to last like 3 digit number of episodes, right? So one or two variations may be enough and sufficient for the big battle of the arc. Like Almaria’s blood materializing weapons, Elel replicating abilities from others, Stella’s speed, Nya’s special gauntlet and Saya’s light sabre sword. There are some terminologies as well but they aren’t that much of a headache to remember like I dread in sci-fi genres. At least some of the terms used I can get by.

There are lots of recognizable seiyuus lending their voice. Among them are Yukari Tamura as Amane, Aki Toyosaki as Elel, Shizuka Itou as Mikage, Aoi Yuuki as Ramiel, Kana Hanazawa as Xenia, Minori Chihara as Carene, Ayane Sakura as Eins and Saori Hayami as Aurora. For those that I didn’t recognize are Minako Kotobuki as Saya (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Yumi Hara as Almaria (Kodaira in Anne Happy), Rika Tachibana as Stella (Reiko in Shomin Sample), Sarah Emi Bridcutt as Nya (Chika in Haruchika), Yuka Aisaka as Hinata (Muse in Amagi Brilliant Park), Mai Ishihara as Sofina (Suzuki in Girls Und Panzer), Mai Aizawa as Dr Michael (Minene in Mirai Nikki), Sumire Uesaka as Ageha (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Nozomi Yamamoto as Mayuka (Julie in Absolute Duo), Yoshiko Ikuta as Ruby (Cosette in Seikoku No Dragonar) and Saya Satou as Clara (debut).

The opening and ending themes are rather okay, nothing spectacular. Seeing that the entire casts are made up of only girls, the songs do feel like idol pop music. Well duh. The ending theme, Link With U by L.I.N.K.s is made up of the voices behind Hinata, Sofina, Ruby and Mayuka. Personally, what an odd choice for a group because usually it would have been Saya’s group of UC Progress Girls or the senior EXR Progress Girls’ group or Dr Michael’s team instead of randomly picking different characters from different groups so that we can have a sense of connectivity. Maybe these people can sing better? It’s just a personal trivial notice of mine, nothing much to it.

Overall, if you do not want to be overwhelmed by the guilty pleasure of yuri that is seen in Valkyrie Drive ~Mermaid~ but still want to see cute girls in battle, this should be your ideal anime. Sort of. If I could have a girl or a girl would become close to me each time I watched a mediocre anime, I would have my own kingdom, no, an entire universe of bishoujos right now. Unfortunately only such cute girls can save the world and the universe. Otaku guys can’t even save themselves. You don’t hear of a group of men (not even hot handsome hunks) saving the world at this level of scale and proportion, right? No, Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!’s Earth Defence Club isn’t all that menacing if you think about it. Because nobody wins an argument or a fight better than women. They always win no matter what happens and are always right no matter what you think. Unless Ouroboros too are all women…

Teekyuu S4 – S7

January 27, 2017

Well, what do you know? Some series are so popular that they must be milked again and again they dry up. And then you have to keep on beating the dead horse to cough out more of it until there is nothing left. Not even bones. That is why random antics fast talking Teekyuu got multiple consecutive seasons and ran for a single year. If you’re feeling stressed out from work and need something mindless to laugh at, this series is the perfect tonic to blow your mind away and make you go insane little by little. Week by week. Before you know it, you’ll be hooked and insanely addicted to crazy cute girls doing crazy cute things. Except playing tennis.

Season 4

Episode 37
Marimo freaks out after forgetting her lunch. So she wants to borrow $100,000?! Lucky Tomarin is here to save the day. She tries to introduce herself but nobody else believes her. Then the girls show her around the school but exaggerate the rooms they are in. So this human anatomy model is from a yearly sacrificial student ritual? And the piano is a game of just pressing white keys but avoiding the black ones? Most baffling of all, why does the school have a space command centre?! To protect schools from space monsters, silly! They demonstrate by blowing up a house on the moon. Isn’t that Tomarin’s home?! Don’t worry, a telegram says everyone is safe. Marimo wants Tomarin to transform and scare everyone before she leaves. She turns into a hideous monster but everyone else got distracted by the cool appearance of Predator!!!

Episode 38
The girls got tickets to the aquarium and they deliberate on who and how to get there. On an elephant? With strangers? With clones? There, Kanae looks into the jellyfish compartment but finds an old man cleaning the windows from the inside. Then at the tuna corner… Tuna food? Sashimi? At the feeding corner when they feed a fish, a bigger fish eats the little one. And then Marimo gets eaten… Strong eats the weak? They go watch the dolphin show but it turns out to be a stand-up comedy. With dolphins! Next to the aquarium is a devilquarium. Don’t ask… Inside this ‘zoo’ we have a polar bear and mean looking red dragon. Hey, they can feed it. With Casear salad? This time Marimo didn’t get eaten but gets blown away by its fire breath.

Episode 39
Kondou bugs Yuri that she found a love letter in her shoe locker. But inside is a stock certificate! Based on their school legend, if someone confesses under the sakura tree, they’ll find true love. No! They’ll be buried under it! They are there at the tree so Kondou confesses to her. She tells Yuri not to die or else she’ll become part of the legend. But that night, look who is here to come kill her? Kondou?! Nah, she is just on her way to the market to cut up some squid. Then they go check out the sakura tree. Kondou unearths the soil to find a giant squid buried. And then the squid grabs them for some tentacle fanservice! Yuri is being tickled to death while Kondou just snaps her photos. Then she uses the excavator to destroy it. Next morning, Yuri thought she slept well but she just woke up half buried underneath the sakura tree! Did she become the legend?

Episode 40
There will be a meteor shower tonight. Nasuno suggests they can watch it using her space rocket. Can they see it if they are in space? Gathering at the rooftop that night, using the telescope, they see various constellations. Yeah, I didn’t know there was a prawn constellation or a fried shrimp constellation. Yummy. Nasuno might have a time machine in her compound but not a toilet? Yeah, the nearest toilet is at the park. Then the stars start falling. Biscuits? Just when they think the meteor shower isn’t happening, the sky is suddenly filled with colourful falling stars. So many stars, can they make 5,000 wishes? With everyone making silly wishes, Yuri wishes that they can keep having fun together. But that won’t come true because a giant star slams into the town and destroys everything.

Episode 41
Beach episode. Kanae instead of bringing swimsuit, brought along diapers. Too absorbent to swim? Kanae seems to be drowning at the deep part of the ocean but could it be she is just too short? Marimo tries to fondle Yuri’s boobs but she got the wrong person. Who the f*ck is this foreigner stranger?! Yuri suggests a breath holding contest. Apparently the rest didn’t participate as they were talking about tropical cyclones. They can’t play split the watermelon since all they have is a cabbage. Then when they try to play beach tennis, it doesn’t work because the ball doesn’t bounce on the sand. As they relax on their floatables, they realize they have drifted far away from the shore. Then the squid tentacles attack…

Episode 42
Continuing from last episode, the girls are lost at sea but there is a floating convenience store?! But it is smaller than your ATM card… Get this. A bathtub and toilet bowl in the middle of the ocean too? Nasuno’s cheap watch has GPS tracking so she believes her father is tracking her down now. Here comes the boat. A toy boat… Now a pirate ship! Jack Sparrow?! Attacking them?! They finally reach land and thrive on vending machine drinks? Marimo almost gets kidnapped by natives so they run away into a… Convenience store? Sorry, they don’t sell wet wipes.

Episode 43
Kondou shows Yuri a paranormal photo. The ghost is Nakamura? Who the f*ck is that?! Kondou has a gyaru sister, Annekov. Russian name? The trio head to the graveyard to exorcise the ghost but Annekov wants to just go there and laugh their asses off. Kondou tries to take a sexy pose picture of Yuri. She is disappointed Yuri doesn’t have the talent. But there is a ghost in the photo! Yuri panics and thinks she is possessed. Calm down. It’s just Nakamura. Who the f*ck again? Then they clean the Jizou statue but Annekov puts makeup on it complete with a wig. Yuri thought her photo is possessed by the Jizou statue but it was just a prank by the sisters.

Episode 44
Kanae goes visit her grandma living in… Africa?! She’s not lonely because she has a cat. Kanae notices a giant spider and wants to squash it but grandma says it is useful to kill cockroaches. But when the spider seemingly kills the cat, grandma kills the spider! They go visit grandpa buried in a pyramid! A mummy scares them but apparently grandma says it is her neighbour who goes shopping with her occasionally. A couple of treasure hunters try to usurp them but they fell into a trap that Kanae unwittingly triggered.

Episode 45
Nasuno helps Youta practice football but with disastrous and hilarious results. Then she decides to go watch him play a practice match with Usakame Junior High School. Win and she’ll buy him dorayaki or else she’ll make sure he’ll never play football again! But Usakame’s team has a zebra?! His own team are a bunch of losers with not teamwork spirit. Uh huh. Youta is on the reserves. You can tell their team is going to lose when the referee is a baseball umpire and everyone gets owned by the zebra. The zebra even beats everyone up. It is up to Youta to save the day. He gets beaten up too and just when it seems he is going to strike back by remembering Nasuno’s training, he gets further owned. He won’t be playing football for a while…

Episode 46
Marimo and Tomarin visit an electronics store. Of course Marimo messes with Tomarin’s mind by falsely introducing the electronics like the massage chair is an electric chair and the fridge as a cryogenic chamber. Marimo seeks the salesperson to buy a laptop as she simplifies the technical explanation with her layman understanding. Eventually she decides to get a calculator. No, an abacus! I think Tomarin got hypnotized by the alien on TV so she acts like a menacing one so the salesperson use the heaviest person to knock her out! Marimo ties her up on the ‘electric hair’ to ‘torture’ her.

Episode 47
It is summer and the girls figure out what to do other than lying in their air-conditioned room all they long. Catch bugs? But why the need to buy a mountain first? And don’t you know there are no bugs at the top of Everest? The girls are set to catch bugs but Nasuno wearing beekeeping protective clothing? They find lots of other things other than bugs. Yeah, human trash. If they’re not catching bugs, wild animals caught them! When they catch beetles and make them fight, it turns into a battle anime! Super power special effects! Fight to the death!

Episode 48
Nasuno is telling Marimo how a person helped return her wallet one day and she rewarded her by giving her a hill! The duo try a part time job. Nobody is taking their tissue samples despite cloning arms or themselves. So they become poster girls. Nasuno dresses as normal but Marimo a seaweed alien? Then there are a bunch of seaweed nerds-cum-fans. They know everything about seaweed… Not that I care. Finally they do hard labour by pushing blocks to build a pyramid. Marimo doesn’t mind getting whipped as she is a masochist. But what about Nasuno? She becomes the queen and whips everyone to work harder! Now she is the ruler of this place!

OVA 5
Our girls are turned into young kids as they play in the playground. Expect kiddie mayhem as they toy around with the chin-ups (Kanae getting stuck and have to live like this forever), jungle gym (it turns into some spaceship with a secret toilet), swings (a competition to kick off shoes and panties?) and slides (sliding up?). They then bury a time capsule to dig up when they are older. Too bad they return when they are grannies and the playground turned into a park. So old that Marimo changed gender?! When dig up, there is a subway line beneath it.

OVA 6
The girls head down to the riverbed. They bring their BBQ stuffs and Marimo brought her ice. Kanae built stones but each time she finishes, Nasuno kicks them down. Marimo uses rocks as her breasts and Nasuno is a pro in skipping stones. Then they see a peach floating down the river but it turns out to be somebody’s butt. Actually it is just a mannequin. Then they have a real BBQ at a real restaurant.

Season 5

Episode 49
After Kanae wins a raffle, the girls are going to Cambodia. But they’re going to need passports. So we got an eventful time as the girls get their passports like Marimo making an idiot’s resume and then getting arrested. As they depart at the airport, Marimo’s luggage is heavy as she brings all her dumbbells for work out. Their flight is 8 hours and they got stuck at the terminal for 8 hours. They can’t believe that Cambodia has McDonalds and their tour guide and translator are those annoying unrelated characters randomly popping up at the start of this episode. So they are going to sleep at McDonalds?

Episode 50
The Cambodian trip continues with the tour guide letting them tour the temple ruins. He takes his own selfie and then charges a high price for them to buy! They take an elephant ride and visit Angkor Wat. When they head to town, all the buildings look like they are from Japan! So local, so foreign? When they return and arrive safely back in Japan, they might be lost because it is a jungle out there! Are they sure they are back in Japan?

Episode 51
Yuri and Kondou walk around their school festival. Marimo is dressed as a funny monster as she ushers them into her haunted house. An irony is a ghost is scared by their entrance. Tomarin is also playing a ghost but they are not scared of her and ignore her. They go to Nasuno’s maid café and she is not happy that she has to serve them. Especially with Kondou teasing her and tricks her to put up a standard maid greeting. Finally there is Kanae’s massage activity in which her Thai massage might be breaking a few bones…

Episode 52
The girls are picking up trash. Nasuno picks up a stack of money but since it has no purpose, she calls it trash! Damn rich people… Marimo hopes to find adult magazines but finds a gorilla magazine. They see a cat stuck up a tree so Yuri goes to get it down but Marimo relishes looking at her panties. She calms herself down by reading the gorilla magazine. The cat returns to repay Yuri but in the form of a fat old man?! Yeah, he is making himself at home in her house. So the only thing good he can do is kill the cockroaches.

Episode 53
The girls gather to make takoyaki. But it seems they are missing all the ingredients to make them. We see their usual antics like using hairpins as tools to flip it over, Marimo can’t stop drooling till she floods the room, Kanae wants to add takoyaki to takoyaki and Nasuno adding something dangerous that can’t be shown on TV! After they have eaten their delicious takoyaki clean, a yakuza guy comes knocking on the door claiming he left his finger in the takoyaki! Oh sh*t!

Episode 54
Kondou wants to interview Tomarin. The latter thinks she can call the shots but gets threatened. We see Kondou ‘bully’ Tomarin like experimenting with her antennas and bulldozing her to see if she can be killed. When they are abducted by real aliens, Kondou tries to fake a human accent but the aliens speak perfect Japanese! They want to dress them in sesame miso. Tomarin’s antennas come in useful for once as it hits their crotch. Oh, Kondou’s bulldozer defeats them too. The spaceship crash lands but Kondou chose not to publish this extraordinary story but instead one whereby Marimo gets arrested for stealing and eating lingerie.

Episode 55
Kanae crashes her bicycle into a pole. Marimo screams revenge although Kanae is injured because she ate too much. The pole is too hard for Marimo’s hand. Kanae avenges her with a head butt. You know how this will turn out, right? Because Yuri is just staring at their stupidity, they claim she is a cold insensitive friend. She is forced to avenge for them but she looks like an idiot in the eyes of the public trying to hit a pole. To add insult, the duo lost interest in the revenge and even tease Yuri for looking stupid doing that! Yeah, the pole is the one consoling Yuri. When Kanae prepares to leave, she crashes into the rail guard. Time for another revenge? Or she can just stop riding her bike.

Episode 56
Kanae suggests scouting an enemy tennis club despite never having real matches just to keep up with their appearance. So they are here at Usakame as they are dressed as spy or robber but eventually decide to go for that generic background character blend. So it seems these Usakame girls might not be any different. They slack around and chat. But when they start practice, they play badminton and kite flying?! I don’t know how but it worked out their cores. When the girls are spotted, they run away by blending into the crowd. Now they’re stuck in this shape forever.

Episode 57
The girls want to make baked potato. Shaking a tree for potatoes? Now to start a fire. Does Marimo have magic?! But rubbing Yuri won’t start a fire either! If they can’t bake this now then Kanae suggests going home and try another day. Next day Kanae brings a lighter. No fire. Postpone again? Yuri quickly buys one from the shop. But they have no potatoes… No, French fries don’t count! Postponed again… Next day Yuri comes prepared with a lighter and potatoes. She even has thought out other inconveniences and have prepared for them. Nothing is going to stop her today from baking potatoes. Or can it? Because it starts raining! Don’t worry, Nasuno calls her baked potato truck.

Episode 58
Kanae is definitely sick but she doesn’t want to admit it because she is saying she is emitting heat! Yeah, Nasuno wants to cook food on her. That mask? Fashion! Marimo feels cold and thinks of doing lots of silly things in order to keep herself warm. Not working. Nasuno? She wears 2 bras! After Kanae eats a warm meal, she is now fired up! Literally on fire! Nasuno cooks more on her… They thought of practising tennis but the court has turned into ice. Yeah, practising making snow objects. Before you know it, Kanae’s mask becomes a leading fashion style and trend.

Episode 59
Tomarin asks Marimo how to celebrate New Year’s Day. Sit around and watch TV all day. Isn’t that what they day every day? First they try calligraphy but the ink doesn’t come off. Tomarin settles by using a marker pen. Then they play Japanese badminton using chopping boards as racquet but crash into the furniture since the house is small. I know they suck at the game since well, they play tennis, right?! As they pound mochi, Marimo’s mom uses her fists to pound them! And the mallet moves by itself. They made so many mochi that they could open a shop, branches and so big that they got listed on the stock market!

Episode 60
Yuri follows Kanae to visit her grandma in hospital who will be undergoing some surgery. The way she paints her grandma makes her sound like a baseball player-cum-rapper. She is! I don’t know if grandma has got a problem since she could crush a whole apple and turn them into rabbit shaped apples. She also introduces her hospital friend, a fellow grandpa rapper (Master Roshi?) and the doctor who is a frail old man. And the doctor kicked the bucket… Kanae thought her grandma is dying but she came up with some cool lyrics. Then she sprouts angel wings! Her surgery is a success and now she can rap and play baseball way better than before.

Season 6

Episode 61
Kanae, Marimo and Nasuno are outside the school field and it is very cold. They think the sun is dead. Nasuno shows her fur underneath her jersey and they think she is a snow woman. They try to emulate her by putting on mops. They do some warm ups and Kanae is twisting her body too much. Or her neck. They are supposed to do high jumps. Marimo could clear a 90cm height and she thinks it is a freak. Nasuno jumps over a normal one but the bar is thick and expensive. Kanae? She jumps underneath. They try to wave to Yuri in class and annoy her. Suddenly her class is on fire. Kanae wants to save her by jumping into her class but remember her low jump as she crashes into the wall.

Episode 62
Kanae is thinking of getting a new handphone because it is freaking heavy, eats up battery power and has only 1 button and it doesn’t work. So they see some shady underground witch who offers her dumbbells or tissues for the weight issue. What’s the knife for? Because the dam is for power. Hydroelectric power for your phone! The witch gets mad when Kanae was just browsing after all. A few days later Kanae got her new handphone but she also bought the dam courtesy of Nasuno.

Episode 63
Valentine’s Day is coming up. Yuri plans to give one to her senior but Kondou gives her a curry chocolate and asks if she is going to give her money in return. Kondou goes to Yuri’s house to make Valentine chocolates since she really has an old stove that uses hearth. But she makes curry with all the ingredients. And when she starts making chocolate, it comes out as a real katana.

Episode 64
The girls plan to go flower viewing but of course the punch line is that they are going to watch it at a flower shop. So when they arrive at the real park, for some reason they brought in a few unrelated parties to watch with them like a blossoming old man (he wants to scatter ash?) and a lump man (lump on his face?). Who the f*ck is Gomez? They start playing badminton. Remember they’re a tennis club… They even use chicken wings as shuttlecock. They end their trip with puns relating to those unrelated people. Who the f*ck is Gomez again?

Episode 65
Marimo patrons a snack shop but gets stuck in the door. She thinks she has met the storekeeper before. In some exaggerated fantasy RPG? Didn’t think so. Apparently she is Kinako Tanaka of Usakame and first met Marimo at the first round tournament. Was there? Couldn’t remember. Since they’re in the same grade, Kinako suggests trading hearts. She tries to sell certain stuffs but almost everything contains slime. Even the extremely cheap raffles that she is pushing to sell have slime. The Chinese cabbage too! But it feels raw since she cooked an alien! Marimo has had enough of this and leaves but gets stuck in the door.

Episode 66
Kondou alerts Kanae and Yuri that her grandpa can no longer make udon because he injured his hand while bowling. But he can still make sushi. Or did he order them? But Kondou’s sister, Annekov returns to help make udon. While she and Kanae do nonsensical stuff and ‘abuse’ the dough, Yuri is reduced to retorting their silliness as usual. After all that kneading and stomping, it turns out to be a mochi soup. And grandpa ordered pizza this time. Once his hand is healed, he starts bowling again…

Episode 67
The producer pleads to our girls to put up a hero show for the kids because their usually heroine is injured. So we have the producer acting as the bad guy. Kanae is dressed up in an all white tight suit as the heroine. I don’t think it is special effects that she can zap lightning out of her hand! Producer uses a machine gun! Marimo comes in next but she is a pervert wearing panties on her head. The police take her away. Next is Nasuno as the evil queen who will rule the world with money! I thought she was supposed to be the hero? At this point the kids must be bored and don’t care. Time for Yuri to make her appearance but here comes the original heroine. Too bad she injured herself and justice is not served…

Episode 68
Get ready for a twisted version of Cinderella. Sorry, nonsensical version. Yuri is the titular character and Nasuno is the evil stepsister. She has 244 other evil sisters too! Despite getting bullied, Nasuno gave her money to blow on pachinko in which she traded the prize for some weird creature. So the evil step sisters organize a family party and Yuri being restrained and do all the house chores. Till she spilled her drink on the keyboard in which Kanae the witch grants her 3 wishes. A new keyboard, how to work the washing machine and wishing for everyone’s happiness. So touched that Kanae treated her to a good meal and a dress in which she then headed to the party. She danced with Marimo the prince but has to run home seeing the spell last until midnight. She missed the train and slept at an internet café. Marimo wants to find the owner of the glass slippers to marry that person. A long queue of people wait in line to try to slipper but Yuri and Kanae are playing Othello. And one of the evil stepsisters wins a body building contest. See, did I tell you how crazy this is?!

Episode 69
Despite being in the tennis club, the girls want to form a music band. Yeah, what can they play? Conch shells? So they’re already discussing about royalty rates and record labels? With Yuri reminding them to be more realistic first like naming their band, it seems everyone wants it to be Rice Spoons because everything they describe look like rice spoons. Whose underwear too? They leave it to Yuri to pick a name. Let’s see… The Tennis Club? Rejected! Eventually they go with Rice Spoons. Why do application forms need a stamp or thumbprint? What’s the next agenda? No, not what’s for dinner but who plays what. Yuri on vocals, Marimo on organ, Nasuno on conch shell and Kanae on shamisen using rice spoon. Wow, they really look the part. Thinking of going indie next, eh?

Episode 70
Kanae is super hyped for their tennis practice but since she lost her contacts, everyone is super hyped to go look for it instead. Then they go clean the court and tan themselves before doing some real warm up exercise. Then they start practice for real but Kanae brings in a katana. Marimo moves like the wind. Is she going turning into a pro? Well, she hasn’t return a single ball. With so many balls around, picking is such a hassle. Don’t worry, Yuri clones will do the job. Kanae comes up with some super technique that will make her win Wimbledon. She practises hard on it and when that day arrives, she’s just a spectator. Well, at least she made it to Wimbledon technically.

Episode 71
Kondou takes Marimo to look for an unidentified object that fell nearby a park that her radar (handphone actually) picked up. If Tomarin isn’t it, could it be this suspicious blob object? But popping out from it is Kinako. She points out a crashed UFO nearby. They go inside and investigate but since Kinako is pushing random buttons, the UFO then takes off into space and lands them in another planet. They can’t go back as the engine is dead. Made out of rubber bands? So they can’t use hair bands because of different compatibility? Then they have to play mahjongs and win sets just to continue looking for rubber bands. Although Marimo wins, the rest are more interested in continue playing.

Episode 72
While looking for a rubber band, they stumbled into an alien using the toilet! Instead of being mad, he invites them to dinner. This wood board is their meal? Though he has no rubber bands, he brings them to his friend who has one. Yeah, she framed it on her wall. They can have it if they beat her in a game. Mahjong again? Marimo wins by a mile. Alien friend really can’t part with her rubber band so she’ll exchange it with Kondou’s hair bands. Kondou won’t allow it since there is no telling what will happen to her. Oh, she turned into an Argentinian football player. Seriously… With the rubber band, they are able to go home. No, wait. They’ve landed on another planet! And they’re still playing mahjong.

Season 7

Episode 73
Yuri finds Kanae digging a hole. So she quit the tennis club and is now part of the well digging club? Aiming for the nationals? And since when did she make Yuri the president? As Yuri climbs down, Kanae explains Marimo was digging with her but she pushed her away when a boulder fell on her. So why didn’t they go save her? Marimo is comfortable stuck between the rocks. Kanae lets Yuri try digging. She instantly gets addicted and cannot stop digging! Aim for the nationals! Don’t stop! You bored now, Kanae? When it’s time to go home, their rope out is missing. Will they be trapped here forever? Nasuno calls to them and they tell her to join them. She tries digging and also finds it addicting! She can’t stop! Only 80 days left until the nationals.

Episode 74
Kanae picks up Yuri so they could go pick up fruits at her grandma’s orchard. Apparently grandma just came back from Egypt and she allows Yuri to pick anything she wants. She doesn’t even know they have fruits. So they go to pick durians. How to get those spiky fruits off their tree branch? Use a sword? But now how to break it open? Grandma uses her karate chop. Don’t worry, she is wearing her diamond ring. Kanae eats the stinky fruit but her cheeks start drooping. Then they go to pick butt-like peaches. No, they are actual butts?! Yeah… They taste like butts! WTF?! This time Kanae’s tongue melts. Butts melt your tongue? A warning not to try out this kinky sex, just saying… At the end of the day, grandma lets Yuri keep the sword. Not a fruit? And she doesn’t want butts either.

Episode 75
Yuri follows Kanae to hike up the mountains. After taking the cable car up, Kanae has this thought of committing suicide if they ever get lost. With a butter knife? Otherwise cover her with butter and let the eagles peck her to death for a sky burial! When they reach a certain altitude, the station number is in the form of algebra equation! Solve it! They take a break as Kanae serves tea fresh from the swamp. They try echoing but it echoes back in English and some other foreign language. They finally reach the summit and a tatami mat is waiting for them. Kanae serves her toxic onigiri made out of seaweeds. Or would you prefer some swamp food?

Episode 76
Yuri is about to weigh herself after bathing but Kanae and Marimo breaks in to do the same. Marimo is heavily weighed at 77kg but she needs 700kg more to get 777 like the slot machines! Since Kanae also gained weight, it is decided they go dieting tomorrow. Marimo is starving already since she hasn’t had anything to eat since last night. She drank vegetable oil, what do you expect? When Marimo asks Nasuno about dieting, she takes this as an insult and blames the world for making it so tasty so she overate. Kanae will guide them on how to diet via her guesses. Among the silly techniques involve eating steak and even praying to God. At the end, they all gained weight and become fatter. Marimo is so heavy she now weighs 777kg and coins flood out from her mouth! Jackpot? Is this what you call a successful failure?

Episode 77
Winter is here as Kanae and Marimo think of hibernating. But appearing before them is a bear! A friendly talking smoking bear. They piss him off asking if he is going to hibernate. He explains he needs to fill his stomach before hibernating. So they eat salmon by cooking it and drinking it with wine like humans? How about honey? This makes him remember and hate a certain yellow bear but he is actually scared of him and stops talking about him. What about humans? What?! Bears don’t eat humans! They taste horrible! He adds how scary humans are because they won’t hesitate to shoot you like how his uncle was shot. Since he didn’t like him much so it’s okay. Feeling sleepy, the bear wants to cork his ass so that sh*t won’t flow out while he is sleeping. WTF. He falls asleep but the cigarette ash burns his fur.

Episode 78
Kondou speaks to Yuri via telepathy but it only pisses her off. She invites all her friends to go bowling. Well, looks like her udon family refurbished it to a bowling centre. First they choose a variety of weird shoes from clogs to glass slippers. What about bowling balls? From a lettuce to a watermelon, they’ve got it all. Marimo bowls first but breaks every bone and tendon just by picking the ball up. Kanae needs to throw hers quickly because it’s a bomb! Nasuno uses a world globe to curl. Kondou throws it like baseball! Finally it is Yuri’s turn and everybody uses telepathy to cheer her. Who’s that unknown voice? So her bowling ball is an old man?! When they’re hungry, they have udon. Ah well, the shop is still an udon shop after all.

Episode 79
Kanae complains about the cafeteria food so the lunch lady tells her off not to eat then. But when she tries it herself she finds it disgusting! Even more insulting, Kanae says she can make better for the same price. She challenges Kanae to a cooking duel. However Kanae and Yuri end up being commentators so the lunch lady will be facing off with the bakery manager. So the first match is cooking friend rice. Bakery manager does the usual cooking but the lunch lady just heats it over the microwave oven. And she wins! The next matches include chess, dominoes, foot pressure points, collecting red leaves, etc. Nothing to do with cooking. But whatever. In the end the bakery manager wins. The lunch lady is so impressed that she wants to learn under him to make better lunches. However what she learnt was making easy money and her food still sucks. So who replaced the lunch lady at the cafeteria? The bakery manager of course.

Episode 80
Yuri is sick so you bet her friends are going to visit her. They troll her by looking even sicklier than her. They bought gifts like coloured traffic cones and a car jack (so they can jack up her bed). I’m sure Yuri wants to retort their stupidity but don’t worry, Kanae will do it for you! Lame! Then they want to measure her temperature but isn’t that a protractor? How do you measure an angle with a thermometer? That’s a protractor lah! Yeah, lame retort. Yuri is sweating so Marimo offers to wipe her body. Since she refuses, Nasuno thinks she prefers doing it with her brother! Incest! So as not to bother, they make themselves at home by playing her video games. Once Yuri is well and returns to school, here comes Kanae’s late retort about playing video games at people’s home. Give it up already.

Episode 81
Annekov is on her way to a mixer and since she has got not enough people, she drags Yuri along. Seems the guys are all monks! WTF?! Except one of them who is just a freelancer. Though the girls are still missing a person, Annekov starts the party by drinking. Monks drinking and singing?! I’m sure Yuri can’t stand this nonsense and excuses herself to the toilet. As she contemplates leaving, the ghost of Hanako haunts her! Yeah, she died in despair from no toilet paper! Luckily Annekov and the monks exorcise her. After they leave, Annekov’s friend just arrived. She looks like a giant Great Buddha from Nara!

Episode 82
Yuri is crying tears of joy thinking her pals still have the tennis passion and sense to arrange a practice match with their Usakame counterparts. Of course both sides start off with silly antics like Kurumi and her banjo playing, Nasuno hinting she has lots of money, Marimo asking questions with answers she doesn’t even know, Nishi doing an arm lock on Yuri just to fix her messy bangs and Ayako happy for Yuri being around because retorting is easier with her around. When the real practice starts, we see them throw great fireballs, ice shields and banjo beams. Wow. Is this tennis? On the day of the tournament, both lost at the first round. Yeah, what to do but to hang out eating burgers together. Except for Kurumi who went on to play the banjo and Nishi counting all the stars in the sky. Don’t ask…

Episode 83
Let’s go camping! Nasuno bought an RV fitted with gold furniture. Too bad nobody knows how to drive. So we see them pitching a tent but instead made a kite, trying to make Indian curry but Kanae ended up baking naan, if they have no electricity to work the appliances then they use charcoal fire to power up the appliances, curry becomes ramen, Marimo fishes for tuna but fishes out panties while Kanae gets stabbed by a tuna, more ramen, croaking like a frog around the bonfire, trying to test their courage by eating blowfish liver and live. Ah, with them refreshed, they can go on to win the baseball championships after this training camp. They play baseball? This was a training camp?

Episode 84
Finally practising tennis for real? Not without the usual antics. Yeah, they’ve got a robot to help them practice but he punches masochistic Marimo as part of the training. Marimo then gives Nasuno an aroma oil message to turn her into gold. Kanae knits panties and Marimo wants to force it up Yuri. She thought she could start practice for real by using marker cones (not bra pads!). Kanae can even miss while trying to hit at point blank. Nasuno turns it into a quiz show and the winner will win an apartment. The robot wins. Then they practice with the robot and improved a lot till they made it into the Nationals and win. Well, at least it is the robot who won. Another tower as his prize?

Teekyuu Take You On A Wild Ride
Well, what do you know? It seems Teekyuu has come back again with another season after taking half a year’s break! OMG! OMFG!!! Can we ever not get enough of Teekyuu?! Apparently not. Yeah, it is like this series is the shorts version of Gintama. Anything goes. We can’t get enough of them. Though, I have a theory why Teekyuu got renewed for its eighth season. Remember how bad Usakame was? Yeah… It trolled us by thinking it would be another great Teekyuu spin-off but it was just awfully bad. Therefore to forever hide this unpleasant and poor series and forever blast it into oblivion from our minds, we should have another season of Teekyuu to override all that. I mean, if you think what the last series of Teekyuu was, Usakame comes to mind. Technically it isn’t Teekyuu but since it is riding on Teekyuu’s popularity and fame, you can’t help think about it. At least for me. So to bury that dreadful crap, here, have another Teekyuu to invigorate your insanity. Thank you. You’re welcome. Please come again.

Basically, what I want to say for the entire series echoes the same and similar sentiments that I wrote in my previous blogs. Therefore it would look like cut and paste if I were to say it all over here again. I won’t. Because mainly I am lazy too ;p. Because everything goes on perfectly well as they stick to the same formula without changing anything. That is why Teekyuu works so well. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The random acts of silliness at lightning pace will throw you off into a frenzy because everything happens so fast that your mind will be trying to understand what is happening and your stomach hurting from laughing too much, before you can recover from all that, the scene quickly changes to the next. It is chaotic trying to adjust to this series’ pace. Thank goodness it only lasts 3 minutes. I wonder if our bodies will break down if they last the usual 24 minutes length. Yup, better not risk it. Don’t want to have cases of otakus found dead at their TV screens after watching this series. That will be just bad. Because no more Teekyuu ever :’(.

So it is generally the same characters, the same quartet that we find so insanely lovable. From the down-to-earth and retort specialist Yuri to the idiotic Kanae to her partner-in-crime Marimo (also a masochistic pervert at times) and Nasuno’s rich and money-solves-everything thinking. Other characters aren’t too bad too like Kondou who has abnormal priorities in life, Tomarin the alien and wouldn’t you be surprised that Annekov is actually an exorcist instead of some tanned bimbo. Usakame do make their cameo appearances here and although they are funny, they still can’t beat the Teekyuu quartet. It gets even depressing to think how bad their own series were although it is hard not to try and compare. Because at this point you can only think that their appearance might seem to help with their series’ image but sadly it doesn’t.

The only different thing I can note about for these seasons are the opening themes. They are as wacky and crazy as ever. If you can get past the bizarre opening credits animation filled with nonsense, you know you’ll be okay for the rest of the series. Some themes are catchy enough like the fourth season’s Fatto Shite Tougenkyou by Suzuko Mimori sounds like an Egyptian song (Mayday! Mayday!~) while the fifth season’s Qunka by Kana Hanazawa feels like a dramatic Arabian piece. Earth Star Dream sings Tottemi Safari for the sixth season and it sounds like a generic idol song, not really to my liking. The main Teekyuu quartet sings Tsuppari-kun vs Sekitori-man for the seventh season and it gives an impression it is a song for a stage show or Broadway.

Overall, this series is a great stress reliever despite making you go WTF many times. Because no matter how sh*t things get in life, it can’t get sh*ttier than this. Can it?! Unless you’re one of those abnormal people who get mad seeing this kind of nonsense… But for an average Joe like yours truly, such short silliness is very much welcomed and although they are short in duration, they produce enough in the long run to get you unconsciously hooked on it. Yes, I did say this series is like visual drugs and it still is. So many disappointing animes and a handful of new ones and old ones get to do the trick of satisfying us. As long as they don’t play real and serious tennis, we’ll follow you girls to the ends of the earth and still be fine.

Handa-kun

January 22, 2017

Gee, I never thought Barakamon would get some sort of prequel sequel. Because Handa-kun tells about the trials and tribulation of that calligrapher during his younger days in high school. So I thought it would be interesting to see the back story of this guy and how he turned out to be an up and coming calligrapher with a short fuse. But then I realize that everything I thought I knew this series would be was wrong. How far I was off the mark. Be warned. This isn’t his high school life that you think it is. When you realize it is pure slapstick comedy, everything is thrown off balance. If I was writing this blog via traditional paper and pen, I would have smeared right across in shock…

Episode 1A
Right from the start we are already breaking the fourth wall with the boys of Handa Force overjoyed that Handa has been adapted into an anime series. So they discuss what kind of genre it will be. They dismiss Yukio Kondo’s idea it will be a normal high school drama since he is a normal guy. Then they realize the anime has already started and nobody recorded it. They call relevant parties but they aren’t really Handa fans. They even call the production studio but were hung up. That is when they decide to do their own Handa series. Yuki opts out as the guys get starting. A few days later we get to see their effort. Let’s just say it is a lame, crappy and cheap effort that you can’t even tell what the f*ck is going on. And if you’re like Yuki pointing this out, the rest will chastise you on how freaking hard it is to make anime. Then they get a special delivery from the studio. It’s not a legal letter to sue, right? Fortunately it is the first real episode of this series. Put it on and let’s play!

Episode 1B
Everyone fears Handa in high school. He is okay with it and doesn’t intend to make friends. Handa finds a letter in his shoebox and thinks it is one of those challenge letters. He throws it away but didn’t realize he did so in front of the sender, Maiko Mori. It’s a love letter by the way. However her big head ugly friend, Juri scowls him for that, blah, blah, blah. Thinking of giving Maiko a chance and it isn’t she can harass him with this crowd around, he lets her speak. Maiko summons her courage to ask him to meet behind the gym. Handa misinterprets this as a challenge and the bad endings he will get. He can’t run now or he’ll be bullied and called a spineless pig. So in a dilemma is he that he ignores class and does his calligraphy right smack when the teacher is teaching. Because Handa doesn’t know Maiko’s name, he needs to find out via Juri but doesn’t want to directly involve her. Juri gets the wrong idea Handa’s stares mean he likes her. To her surprise, he hands her a letter to be read only alone. When she does, she finds his handwriting unreadable! Do calligraphers normally write like this? Trying to fish out some words, she misinterprets some of them like ‘love’. Now she starts thinking he really likes her. Is she betraying Maiko? So when Maiko joins her for lunch, Juri feels awkward but her cutie innocence suddenly pisses her off and come to think of it, Juri doesn’t remember a single good time they had together. Obviously as time passes, Handa gets worried that Maiko didn’t get his letter. He has no choice but to go meet her behind the gym where a large crowd has already gathered. Here for the drama? Handa Force is surprised with the cliff-hanger ending. Well, they wasted the first half of the episode, right? What about their handmade work? They decide to return it to Handa. You can bet he is so creep out when he sees the show and not understanding what the f*ck is happening.

Episode 2A
Continuing from last episode, when Maiko summons her courage to give her real love letter, each time Juri intercepts! You bet Handa can’t understand why these women are ‘wrestling’. Handa thinks he is let off when Juri tells him to go now as she talks about jealousy and the ugliness of the heart. Like hell he cares. Handa leaves as he advises them to take care of each other because friends like them are hard to come by. When Maiko breaks from her Juri’s stranglehold, she manages to give him her letter. However he won’t read it because he saw how lousy her handwriting was! Words mean everything to a calligrapher! I take it. You’re rejected. So the girls cry and lie down till they reconcile. Juri suggests taking up calligraphy so they can write nice love letters to him. After all, they are best friends and love rivals.

Episode 2B
Junichi Aizawa has always been the class rep for ages so it is no wonder he is looking forward to it. But he didn’t expect Handa to be his rival in the runoff vote. Actually Handa didn’t want to be here either. He was dozing of when other lazier boys who didn’t want to shoulder the responsibility nominated Handa’s name. In the end, the votes are tied. Everyone is okay with a simple rock-scissors-paper but Aizawa is freaking devastated this needs to be done properly. But he relents since this is what the people wanted. Handa realizes Aizawa wants to become class rep and their interests aligned. So he tells him he is going to purposely lose by putting up rock. Too bad Aizawa thinks this is some scheming tactic so he goes the other way. And loses! Handa the class rep? Not quite! Aizawa protests passionately and needs more rounds. So the next round he follows Handa’s rule and wins but on the final round, his scepticism plays mind tricks again. And so he loses again. He is crying his heart out of his lack of faith in others. When Handa voices out he resigns from his post, so why the f*ck is Aizawa still not excepting it? Handa felt sorry for him at first. This makes Aizawa realized he learnt an important lesson that he was thinking about himself and not the people. When they check Handa had actually voted for Aizawa, this brings him to tears. If Handa wants him to be the class rep, so be it. However the next day, Handa is the one who becomes the class rep and Aizawa the vice. Handa thought he was screwed. Aizawa explains that after what he said yesterday, everyone ultimately decided he should be the class rep. But Handa doesn’t even know what a class rep does…

Episode 2C
Reo Nikaido is a handsome guy who is also a model. It is no surprise girls love him. Only second to Handa. So it is natural he gets worried when girls are taking more interests in Handa because they feel that guy is just more than his looks. Yeah, you don’t know… So he tails Handa after school to find out his charm. Reo sees Handa ‘disappear’ when a group of classmate girls approaching. And then he sees him staring at a cat for 30 minutes. Does he love it or hate it? Reo tries to do the same thing but got scratched. By the way, Handa likes cats but is allergic to it. Finally they end up in a street where famous models are scout. To his dismay, his scouter and model agency, Caroline Yamauchi is here and sees Handa. Reo tries to block her view and is smacked! Caroline approaches Handa, wanting him to wear her clothes and rise to stardom. However Handa puts it on Reo (because his clothes are dirty) and tells them he doesn’t need it and please reach out to someone who does. This is when Reo realizes why Handa is different as he doesn’t flatter others or taint himself in common ways. Reo subsequently was fired by Caroline but he accepts it maturely like a man. He now realizes there is no worth being competitive or having pride. He wants to be a real man like Handa. Unknowing to him, Handa is cursing a lady standing in front of him at the bus stop. Some dark secrets should never be exposed… On an unrelated note, Maiko left a present for Handa on his table. That guy picks it up and puts it on the lost and found section…

Episode 3A
Handa is not pleased when Aizawa has him deliver notes to the class’ truant, Akane Tsutsui. But at his doorstep, this big delinquent guy is him! So what happened to the meek girly boy?! Half a year ago, he was always teased for it. He shut himself in his room and kept blaming himself for being weak. Then he saw an ad to buff himself up. He did it and he turns out the way he looks now as he pounds all the punks in the neighbourhood to become the strongest. Because he is the strongest, he doesn’t think he needs to go to school anymore. When Handa gives the notes, Tsutsui over-reads his reactions and thinks he is giving some kind of challenge. It is making him sweat and shiver! When other punks arrive for revenge, Tsutsui misinterprets Handa is fighting on his side when all he wants is just to pass him the notes and leave! When the punks try to stop Handa, they misinterpret his scary looks. Then they start ‘remembering’ all his legendary badass status. Yeah, it felt like they just plucked it out from thin air. So badass that they decide not to mess with him and run away! Tsutsui is shocked at Handa’s status too. What has happened in school since he was absent? There is a note telling him to come back to school. Thinking it was from Handa, a touched Tsutsui makes a shocking return to class. Nobody expects him to look like this. Tsutsui decides to become Handa’s bodyguard but his vicious stare is making Handa afraid. Did he do something bad?

Episode 3B
Kondo narrates the normal guy he is. Till he is group with Handa and his weirdo ‘friends’ in cooking class to make pudding. Kondo can tell Handa is nervous but the rest interprets it as his absolute order to make something themselves. As usual they get into a fight and it seems Handa then makes a huge fire. While the friends try to save Handa (splashing things on him?), Kondo is the more sensible one trying to put out the fire with the extinguisher. And yet Handa gets praised as they think he did that to stop their fighting. They’re even dumber trying out Handa’s pudding and despite tasting like sh*t, they believe this is his style! There’s room for more and they saved some for Kondo. Join the gang… And so Handa’s reputation grows with rumours spreading that he created a legendary pudding dish with a fire pillar. WTF?! And in reality this guy just dropped the pudding he bought from the store. Sad…

Episode 3C
When Miyoko Kinjo, the girl sitting next to Handa didn’t realize she dropped her eraser, Handa starts thinking she might scoff him if he returns it (feminism?). So he tosses back his brand new eraser. Of course Miyoko is very flattered but Handa thinks she is out to get him as her eraser is dirty and uh, inerasable. Handa believes his only friend is Kawafuji but tries to avoid him in school. But every time Kawafuji’s female friends are in the vicinity, Handa quickly stuck himself in a tight spot? Huh?! Handa notes Kawafuji’s popularity and he treats him the same as everyone else. That is why he is trying his best to ignore him till graduation. Kawafuji narrates Handa’s current personality was his fault. When they first met, he was a nice normal calligraphy loving chap. One day a popular senior girl used Kawafuji as a middle man to send her love letter to Handa. Not amused by this, Kawafuji told Handa that girl scorned his writing. That is when the trauma started and has been ever since despite being told it was just a joke. Kawafuji would love to tell how popular he is but is enjoying every second of it and will let him be for now.

Episode 4A
When girls think Handa is selling his calligraphy poem at the park and paste it up in class, Handa of course knows better that he never wrote such crappy poem. He needs to do something before everyone makes fun of him. Naturally Handa Force (yes, this includes you too Kondo) go out to investigate and instantly find a Handa imposter. You can tell from his bad set of teeth. Kei Hanada is also a Handa admirer and has observed him well enough to seemingly act like him. This means attracting a bunch of girls as well. Too bad they don’t know Handa enough to know he is an imposter. However the attention is too great for Hanada to handle so he shows his teeth and instantly all the enthusiasm dies down. Disappointed. Handa Force cries and feels his pain. They take him back to class to apologize but they see Handa’s writing over the poem that says if he wants to copy someone, be better at it. Hanada is so touched that he breaks down. Kondo is like, WTF. And so in his bid to become like Handa, Hanada starts off by wearing braces to fix his teeth.

Episode 4B
When Handa is spotted with a beautiful lady at the school gates, rumours fly that he has a girlfriend. Naturally this causes all the girls to start getting jealous and the beginning of the Handa bashing. So much so there is a death threat written on his table to die. When Handa Force closely examines it, they deduce it is a suicide note. Turns out that Miyoko was the one who wrote it. She is going to jump from the ledge. And doing a musical about it?! Something about Handa’s eraser he ‘gave’ that made her not able to study because she couldn’t use it (why not get another one?). And something about the guts he had to flirt with another girl when he should belong to everyone. Is Handa public property? Handa has just returned from trying to exchange his new table unaware of the commotion outside. Miyoko thinks she will test his resolve. Of course Handa is talking to his table about how irreplaceable and special it is to him. Guess who took it the wrong way? Yup. Enough for Miyoko to cancel her suicide and come back down crying. However her jealousy isn’t over yet and she still cannot get over his girlfriend. So while she cries herself, she bumps into Handa’s ‘girlfriend’. She is actually Handa’s mother and lost her way to a teacher-parent meeting. Miyoko is so f*cking relieved and that was the end of the Handa bashing. Died down as fast as it came.

Episode 4C
During Handa’s parent-teacher meeting, the teacher told his mom that he lacks sociability but Handa believes that everyone hates him. For some reason. As suggested to be sociable, Handa tries to start up small talks about hobbies and relatable subjects. As we are well aware, misinterpretations are abound. Everyone around him seems to misinterpret in a bad light of his intentions. Are they offending him somehow? Then when Handa is alone in the classroom and Kondo comes in (he thinks Handa didn’t realize they need to change classrooms), a grateful Handa follows him and starts talking about… Japan being a great place? Huh?! Kondo doesn’t even know what the f*ck is going on. Back home, Handa proudly tells his mom that he spoke to a classmate (if you can call that speaking). But seeing mom’s uninterested reaction, Handa thinks maybe this wasn’t as amazing as he thought. Doesn’t his mom always look and sound like that?

Episode 5A
Sawako Tennouji is the student council president whom all the girls love. Despite dressing like a boy, she is a feminist and will make this school a paradise for girls. That is, until she bumps into Handa and his gang and thinks just because he is male, he is trying to form a coalition against her. What I said about Sawako being popular with the girls? I take that back because they love Handa more. So she has her vice president, Rikimaru (cross-dressed as a girl?) to find his weakness. Since there is none, she’ll just make up one! She sends a couple of girls to go seduce him. They are about to go pound on him when it seems Handa might have spotted them! He talks as if he can’t entertain them so the girls leave quietly. Actually he is feeding a couple of stray cats. Sawako is upset the girls failed and even more so they are in love with him! Thus Sawako forcefully brings Handa to her office and falsely accuses him for seducing girls. His punishment is to wear a girl’s uniform for a year as she believes this will change his outlook. He runs away as the student council corners him. I don’t even know how this happened. When Rikimaru tries to put the skirt on him, Handa trips over the stairs and falls over Sawako. The mind boggling part is how the other girls pulled down Rikimaru’s skirt to reveal his ugly (but censored) panties!!!!!!!!! OMFG!!!!!!! Flashback reveals Sawako was often bullied by males when all she wanted was to just play with them. That’s why she hates them and vows a world where only girls rule. When she wakes up, she finds herself on top of Handa. Her underlings explain Handa turned and used his body to cushion her fall. So is Sawako starting to fall for him?! Till she sees Rikimaru’s panties and freaks the hell out, beating the crap out of him. Acting like a real girl now, huh? Aizawa is glad Handa is alright. But something feels wrong. Handa has lost his memories!!!

Episode 5B
Because of that, he is acting all chirpy and thinks he is hell of popular. His cringe worthy act is enough to make his Handa Force’s hair stand at ends. Unbearable. This is not the real Handa! They want the old Handa back! We see Handa trying to flirt around. It even gives the girls the creeps. For those still enthusiastic about him, wait till he wants to offer a kiss to them. They suddenly lose interest and think he is a fake since Handa is not a cheap person. Imagine if Miyoko finds out… Too late. She becomes a monster demanding a kiss from him! As Handa ponders about his popularity, he almost got killed by Tsutsui’s hammer! Apparently this is Aizawa’s method in bringing Handa’s memories back. He read it from a manga. Getting the wrong idea that Tsutsui wants to kill him, seeing other Handa Force members doing the same only reinforces the fact that he may be the school’s most hated person. As he reconciles with this fact, suddenly he snaps. He returns back to his original self but falls down the stairs. Seeing Handa’s ‘evil’ stare and grin that send shivers down their spine, Handa Force can be ‘glad’ that Handa is back. Thank goodness, right? Lastly, when Sawako wants to put a poster to warn others about the dangers of the stairs, Rikimaru scoffs her off and won’t take orders from girls. Is he now a misogynist? Well, thank his memory loss for that.

Episode 6A
Handa hangs out with Kawafuji and thinking he shouldn’t ruin his life, he disguises himself as an American? It gets worse when Kawafuji also invites his classmate, Hasegawa to hang out with them. So while Hasegawa is clueless about Handa (disguising himself under the name Hanzawa), Kawafuji can’t help but silently snigger at all the awkward moments. They play bowling, darts and basketball, all of which Handa isn’t good at and it provides good amusement to Kawafuji. And Hasegawa thinks it’s some American joke. But they manage to win the games and earn Hasegawa straps he wanted. When Kawafuji goes to get drinks and leave the duo to chat, all seems to be going fun (for real? Handa having a real conversation?), Hasegawa’s seniors come by to bully him. Feeling the need to distract them, Handa casts away his disguise. Immediately the seniors become scared and retreat! Hasegawa views Handa as so cool that he forgot who the heck Hanzawa is. Next day in school, Handa’s reputation has Hasegawa fearing him too and this only deepens Handa’s lack of trust in others.

Episode 6B
Koutarou “Dash” Higashino is the school’s top sprinter. As usual, he is one of those guys who hates Handa and blames him for some nonexistent reason. He thinks the only way to resolve this is to request a 100m race with him but he too cowers in fear when Handa walks pass him. Hanada thinks he is another obsessed Handa fan and suggests a few ways to motivate him. Hanada disguises as Handa and Dash really makes a dash! But if he can’t challenge him directly, why not make a situation leading to a race? So he starts a fire in order to make Handa run but he crawls to safety instead. After getting scolded by the principal, his manager advises him not to ruin his future all because of Handa. Think about his team and going for the Nationals! He is about to do just that when Handa runs past him the fastest ever he has ever seen. Triggered, Dash starts running to catch up with him. Suddenly Handa jumps away. Did he give up? Actually he was being chased by a mad dog! OMG! Dash now becomes the victim! But wait. The dog isn’t mauling him. It is copulating with him?! OMFG!!!!!!! And so Dash’s inferiority complex of Handa only deepens. And Handa doesn’t even know this guy’s name… He’s the worst?

Episode 6C
Tsugumi is into palmistry and likes to read palms as practice for her fortune telling. This means she wants to read Handa’s palm and asks Handa Force for their opinion. Handa overheard this and thinks helping out will add to his good karma. So in an awkward position of letting his palm out, Tsugumi reads his palm and finds something horrible… It is freaking normal! The only thing she can read out of it is his extreme paranoia level. Not wanting to put him in a bad light while explaining to Handa Force, she puts it in a way that Handa has a harsh fate. Wait a minute. Handa Force is rejoicing?! Trying to read his future, she is shocked that despite not seeing him getting married, he is surrounded by kids. How should she put this one? He won’t have a decent life! In the aftermath, Tsugumi realizes her arrogance and can ‘thank’ Handa for making her realize she is just a novice. WTF. Later as Handa rues about his fate, Kawafuji tries to put it nicely that she might have good results but purposely say it in a bad way just to trouble him. This gives Handa confidence that he is the most hated guy around. And he is loves it. WTF.

Episode 7A
Reo and Tsutsui fail their test and must take a supplementary one. Thus this is where Handa Force makes Tsutsui’s place their hideout as Aizawa guides the duo to study. However they get sidetracked in discussing if Aizawa is the top in their grade, then where is Handa? Because that guy is number one and can never be number two! Could it be her purposely fail so as not to stand out? That must be it! They’re going to study for Handa! Also taking the supplementary test are Hanada and Dash. Since it is free sitting, they argue whether to sit on Handa’s place. Yeah, it looks like a big responsibility. Everyone is shocked Handa comes in! Is he taking the test too?! Everyone can’t believe he failed and thinks he must have forgotten to write his name. True enough, that was the reason. By the way, he is ranked 25th in the whole grade which isn’t bad. During the test, everyone is more preoccupied in observing Handa from his sneeze and his noisy scratching writing. They even try to emulate him! At the end of the test, everyone has a filled experience with Handa. Huh? In the end, Reo and Tsutsui barely pass as they think it was Handa’s consideration to join them as he didn’t want to make them look like failures. Oh really? And it seems lightning strikes twice for Handa because he forgot to write his name again. Oh, Hanada and Dash failed…

Episode 7B
Kasumi Hirayama is a librarian. The place is losing its shine since nobody reads anymore and thus the budget to buy more books was slashed. However the thing that kept her going is her ‘prince’. Guess who? Damn right is Handa! He is the only one who patrons the library. Obviously she has a crush on him and her sneaky way of stealing stares makes Handa think she is some sort of stalker. She narrates her cheesy love story fantasy about him that includes using whatever budget to buy his favourite books since he is the only one borrowing them. However she hates the Handa Force as she thinks they act like as though they have privilege to be around him. However Handa Force can also guess she is a big fan of him (she would most certainly disagree). Since they are pretty sure of being experts on Handa, they assure to leave the library design to them as they will redesign it according to Handa’s taste. The place looks better now and soon lots of students start streaming in. Kasumi couldn’t be any busier as people now start borrowing books nonstop. Although she feels fulfilled, Handa has never stepped in since (because he doesn’t like being crowded). At the end of the day, Kasumi is surprised that Handa personally came to return a book. For the first time they talk to each other. She thought he was going to praise her but it is to point out the wrong book cover. She didn’t listen properly and misinterpret his words. So when he praises her for her work, she realizes he has always noticed her. That is when she tells him she will no longer order books he likes. She is going to order more book variety so he doesn’t have to come here anymore! Of course Handa takes this the wrong way and thinks he has been kicked out of the library forever when it is actually Kasumi’s twisted wish that she will go to see him instead of him coming to see her. Creepy smile?!

Episode 8
Handa’s class is going on a school trip with another school, Shiro High. They too have their own popular guy just like Handa, Asahi Ichimiya. And yup, he too has his own squad, Ichimiya Bodyguards. We see the ‘henchmen’ already facing off in the train and almost got into a fight when Handa accidentally tries to throw away his sweet but got stuck in the guy’s hair. Luckily Ichimiya uses his charm to settle it and bring his men back. Even at the shrine, these guys are trying to outdo each other for the fortune reading. I wonder how high their luck can go. Ichimiya tries to talk to Handa but because he doesn’t want to, it gives Ichimiya an impression that he is arrogant. While sleeping at the inn, Handa Force talks about the bloody history and haunted place this inn might be, enough to knock Handa out. It’s a good thing because Shiro High who is staying a floor above them drops a body dummy to scare them. Hand Force thinks Handa is so calm and just go to sleep. The tour continues tomorrow and more girls flock around Ichimiya. As usual Handa Force and Ichimiya Bodyguards have a showdown. Aizawa against Souichi Nagamasa about their nationwide test rankings. Reo against Sousuke Kojika about being the cutest. Yes, Kojika is a cross-dresser whose goal is to meet her cute seemingly cross-dressing idol. Hey, isn’t that the old Tsutsui? He is going to be disappointed… Then there is Tsutsui against Tomohiro Jomoto in a brute match. Even the plain guys have their confrontation. While Kondo doesn’t really care, Tsukasa Komichi is more obsessed in finding his place to make Ichimiya stand out more. Handa takes a picture with Ichimiya when the latter invites. However Kondo realizes Ichimiya has a deep grudge and was trying to stick a sweet in his shirt as payback.

Back at the inn, Kondo tries to distract Ichimiya Bodyguards and not let them know Handa is just under their noses. Literally. Too bad Kondo has to beat him up? He uses Hanada as decoy to chase. But you can’t fool Komichi as he is sharp. He warns Kondo and the rest not to get in the way of their leader. Ichimiya continues enjoying the company of the girls. But when they talk about Handa and how hard to get an opportunity to him, the moment they see Handa, they flock to him. Ichimiya doesn’t like this and privately talks to Handa. He is trying to get Handa to disclose what it is that is bugging him since they have pressure to put up a reputation to others. Don’t be shy, let’s talk as kings. Seeing Handa is sceptical, he extends his hand to make friends first. Meanwhile the henchmen of both sides almost go to war but when they realize the other is pretty cool, they become friends. They look for their leaders and they hear this shocking thing. Handa rejects to become Ichimiya’s friend. Before any world war can blow up, Handa explains he can’t be friends with someone as popular as him. He doesn’t want to be the target of jealousy. He should look around and already has friends. Ichimiya has renewed respect for him because he doesn’t treat his subordinates as subjects but friends. Peace is about to reign for both sides but Komichi will not accept this and tries to attack Handa! While Handa was unfortunately pushed into the river by his own guys as ‘safety’, Komichi is stop dead in his tracks when Kondo slaps him! OMG! Kondo’s mad! Stop this crap right now! Scary. Now Komichi’s crying like a baby… So with both sides even and calling it peace, there is no need to compete to see who is better. They are who they are. But poor Handa is reeling from hypothermia after being picked up from the river. This school trip sucks…

Episode 9A
Hideo Okayama is Handa’s class biology teacher. He is shocked that his frog dissecting is cancelled because of complaints from parents. He thinks if Handa agrees, everyone will follow. Oddly despite Handa doesn’t want it, it is Aizawa who is all for it. He takes it upon himself to get the entire class to approve. It’s either that or pressing flowers! Then they let Handa decide! Handa thinks everyone is mocking him and so he blurts out he loves the bizarre. Because of that all the boys vote for dissection! But what about the girls? They don’t want to do this icky thing. Maybe Handa can convince them? Handa says if they don’t want to do this, then don’t make them. But the girls interpret this as being considerate and agree to do it. In the end, it is a unanimous vote for frog dissection! Okayama is so happy that to show his appreciation, everyone will get a frog each and the biggest frog for Handa! Chaos ensues when the frog touches Handa’s hands. He is semi-passed out and wants to leave (kaeru) but the rest interprets he is being possessed by a frog (kaeru). Seeing the cruelty of this decision, they decide to let the frogs go in the river and just do pressing flowers. Meanwhile Handa is recuperating in the infirmary and is almost suffocated by the big from over his face.

Episode 9B
Aizawa is stalking watching Handa today. Suddenly he runs away and hides. Thus Aizawa believes there is a stalker! Handa Force gets pumped up to find and beat the crap out of that stalker. Since they’re so motivated, Kondo can’t bring himself to tell them they might be the stalkers! They split into groups. Kondo thinks the most suspicious one is Miyoko. Look at her eyes! But Aizawa is relieved it is her because she helps reign in all girls who want to give Handa their presents! She has earned the nickname Eraser! Since when did she level up?! She then captures Kasumi whom she thinks is trying to stalk Handa. Handa knows Aizawa and Kondo are following them and makes a run. This has Dash trying to run after him but lost sight of him since he can’t turn. Sprinters can’t turn a corner at high speed, right? Tsutsui and Reo think the real stalker is nearby but got trapped into some mad dog’s lair. So all our related Handa parties gather to continue searching for the culprit. Handa has to meet Kawafuji and knows is just over this wall. When he climbs over, he sees all of them. Thinking how troubled he has been and the need to see Kawafuji, he yells out to them about them following him every day. What did he do to deserve this?! He is going to lose a friend because of them. Don’t ever follow him again! Everyone is left in shock after Handa leaves. Did Handa just scream out his true heart? Just when you thought everybody should have learnt their lesson, Aizawa thinks Handa has been directing his outburst to the stalker! Everyone agrees! OMFG! And they think Handa referred to them as his friend. OMFG… Handa finally manages to meet Kawafuji. It seems he was the one who was responsible for that mad dog thingy.

Episode 10A
Even normal guys can get a love letter. That’s what happened to Kondo. Of course he panics. Because normal guys normally don’t get such, right? Can’t take the pressure of handling this, he tells this to Handa Force. Tsutsui thinks it is a letter of challenge since he got one during his pretty years. They called him up and shoved something down his ass?! WTF?! Handa Force is being positive supporting Kondo to go meet with this girl. Who knows, he’ll end up with a real girlfriend. Kondo then realizes despite his normal looks, because he is associated with Handa Force, even he levels up. So when he goes to meet this girl, she tells him to stop acting he is part of Handa Force and is just an average guy. That’s all. Wow… Can’t blame Kondo for feeling heartbroken. Even normal guys can get depressed. Along the way, he bumps into Handa who is suspicious of him because remember, Kondo was the one who ‘tackled’ him during the school trip. From Handa’s words, Kondo can also see he is a shy and kind person like him. Maybe that’s why he keeps getting swayed by others without realizing it. Kondo passes his flower postcard supposedly to be given to the girl as confession to him. However the blot in the ink made the words look like insults and Handa thinks it is some sort of harassment! While Kondo is glad to be part of Handa Force and will never leave it, I think Handa’s relationship with them is getting worse.

Episode 10B
Neo Sakurame, Takoyaki and Dr Psycho are part of the bishoujo club. They draw bishoujo and create bulletins on their favourite topic. All is happy and well till Aizawa on behalf of the student council decides to terminate their club. Well, there is no merit in funding them anymore and not a single of their bulletins were sold. Nobody understands their taste… He just reminds them next week’s paper recycling pickup. Recycle those manga… The trio then brainstorm to do something. How about a gender swap of Handa? They discuss his personality but it ends up sounding like the real Handa. They decide to draw their own interpretations of him and then compare. Neo decides to go talk to Handa to determine his personality. Speaking through his figurine, he tries to bait Handa into talking. Although successful, he then tries to undress his figurine but Handa covers it with his handkerchief. Handa thinks a girl shouldn’t be doing things like that even though she is a figurine. This makes Neo realize he has been treating his waifu as a slut and has found new respect for Handa. A week later as they compare their manga, Neo punches them for drawing ecchi versions of Handa. Because it is like belittling him. Well, it is to be expected if you draw bishoujo, right? Neo shows them his and they simply fall into deep respect that they don’t need cheap fanservice for a great story. The trio decide to go find Handa and seek his approval. Unknowingly they left their work on the recycle table so Handa comes in to get them. When they return and realize it is gone, they rush to chase the truck. Handa overheard this and quickly dash to get the truck to come back. His reason for doing this is because he doesn’t want to be blamed if somebody loses something important. As the trio scavenge for their manga, the wind blows the ecchi pages into Handa’s hands. WTF is this???!!!

Episode 11
You know Sawako is smitten with Handa when she announces during the meeting that the school’s cultural festival be named as Handa Festival. So obvious. Aizawa leads the class to discuss what they’ll be doing. As none can decide, they leave it to Handa to decide. But of course. There is pressure on him not to disappoint and activity choices that he isn’t good at. He runs away from it and while contemplating how he cannot make everyone happy, Sawako talks to him and requests he writes the sign for the festival. This gives Handa motivation to pick the choice he wants. By the time he returns, everyone has gone home. Apparently everyone has decided to mix in everything except calligraphy. Because it’s the thing that Handa is good at. WTF. On his way home, Handa sees some delinquents. Since Tsutsui is around, he tells him to help the victim as Tsutsui uses his all mighty fists. For the theatrical play that Handa’s class will do, Reo and Tsutsui are not happy Aizawa set them up as Romeo and Juliet respectively. They want to do the other’s. Yeah, Aizawa is King Lear. Bringing in characters from other Shakespeare works? Kondo? A normal citizen with no dialogue. As the class prepares, all Handa is made to do is just sit and watch them. And Miyoko serving him? On his way back, those delinquents want to pay back Handa but Handa Force intercepts them. Hanada and Dash’s class is doing role playing eye makeup and wants Handa Force to test it out. Handa sees his calligraphy sign being put up and gets motivated he can get through this. But when he sees the guys with pretty eye makeup, he loses all hope. That was fast. As the festival gets underway, Kawafuji and Hasegawa patron the theatrical cafe and experience a load of weirdness. From ordering ‘poison’ on their menu and watching the odd play of Romeo & Juliet while they dine. Tsutsui is hideous in all that makeup. The typical tragic love story turns into a WTF one when you have King Lear and Othello joining the brawl. It is stopped by Queen Elizabeth I. Handa in drag. Handa is already stumped in this role with no dialogue. Then he sees Kawafuji in the audience. Their eyes met. They feel for each other. Needing to get off the stage quickly, Handa screams out the need to destroy the Spanish Armada. The crowd cheers! Handa Force will go wherever he goes! It’s madness! Kawafuji just feels sorry for him. Lastly, those delinquents brought back more of their buddies for the ultimate payback.

Episode 12
Handa Force learns those delinquents from Kuro High are here. They need to find them before trouble starts. But they have bumped into Handa already. Or at least Hanada. And a bunch of Handa clones?! Hanada’s makeup skill… They threaten him to reveal Handa’s whereabouts. Although Hanada kept his mouth shut, Dash accidentally blurts his location. On their way, they bump into Tsugumi who keeps annoying them and wanting to read their bad fortune! When they arrive at the theatrical cafe, nobody is around so they wait. Actually Handa is around but just sitting behind the props. Guess who comes in too? Ichimiya and his entourage. Both sides have bad blood and before you know it, they start fighting. Handa Force also enters by this time. If you’re wondering why Handa didn’t say anything, it’s because he is focusing on his lines. Thinking it is his turn to show up, Handa pops out from hiding and screams for everyone to stop fighting! Handa returns embarrassed realizing he screwed up. But the rest take this as Handa overhearing them and thus wanting to stop them. Everyone feels guilty for being childish especially Kuro High guys who wanted revenge on Handa because they have become so weak that they lost their delinquent status. Before we even know it, the war ended and everybody reconciles.

After the festival ends, Sawako announces the best class for the festival. Naturally Handa’s class wins. Only Handa doesn’t expect it like everyone else. As the representative, he is ushered up to take the samurai helmet prize. However Handa is fearful thinking this is some prank move. That is when Kawafuji comes up and wants Handa to give it to him because his class also deserved to win. Handa is shocked of this move because it will let everyone know they’ve been friends. However everyone else doesn’t think this jerk could be Handa’s friend even if he admits it. This makes everyone think that if Handa doesn’t want the prize, they can get it. Wow. A massive brawl now. Kawafuji’s plan is so that Handa can get off stage and not be further embarrassed but Handa is still worried everyone will know they are friends and thus ‘endanger’ him. Kawafuji tells him to take a good look around. He sees everyone cheering his name although he doesn’t understand what is going on. It means you’re popular. Handa then takes off the helmet. He proclaims it is not his and not Kawafuji’s either. It belongs to everyone who worked hard for this festival. Wow! Blinding angelic light! So godly!!! Sawako sees this coming and unleash a giant mikoshi of Handa to celebrate. Yeah, we don’t understand what the hell is happening anymore. Handa Force wants him to get on it but then it catches fire! And when they say how beautiful it burns, Handa better not over-think they were trying to kill him! Next morning when Handa meets up Kawafuji for school, he is unsure how everyone will treat him now. Just take a look around you. Everyone wishes him good morning. See, not that bad, right?

Haven’t You Heard? It’s Handa-kun
Well, I didn’t really expect this series to turn out like this. As I have mentioned in my opening paragraph, I was expecting this to be Handa’s back story, one that is directly related to Barakamon. However it turns out into a pure slapstick comedy so much so it feels like there is nothing that would connect this series to Barakamon. And that they just borrowed the character’s name and his love for calligraphy. That’s all. Everything else is unrelated. And you might just think Handa here and Handa from Barakamon are just accidental coincidence. Well, not to say that it is a bad thing. Although I love how funny this series is, but sometimes it feels like deception (maybe that word is too strong to describe it) because of how different it is. Maybe this is what really happened in Handa’s school days for real. However the differences in the setting between both series are so vast that one might easily think they are different stories only with the main characters having the same name. Because this comedy series turned out okay and enjoyable, the reason why it isn’t panned as bad had it done badly otherwise.

Watching the series somewhat reminds me how similar Handa-kun is to Sakamoto Desu Ga but yet so different in ways that are so opposite to each other. Both titular guys are popular but Handa is unconscious and doesn’t know that he is popular to begin with. He thinks he is the worst and everybody hates him. Unlike Sakamoto who knows what is going on and knows what he is doing. Both guys exude an aura of coolness but in Handa’s case it is because everyone else around him has this misconception but for Sakamoto he himself knows he is cool and thus makes everyone around fawn over him. And whatever these guys do, they will always seem cool in the eyes of others no matter how negative that situation is. Cool guys can never go wrong, right? However, Handa may seem more realistic than Sakamoto because the latter can do impossible stuffs and thus everything feels so exaggerated. It makes him look like an alien hiding under a human skin whereas Handa is more relatable. I mean, haven’t we all have that deep burning hatred of not wanting to be sociable? Do we?!

The characters are lovable as they are funny. It is with mixed feelings that there are quite a number of side supporting characters. They too are likeable but with their cameo appearances now and then, sometimes I feel like it is a waste. I would love many of them to be regulars like Handa Force but the limitations of time and space don’t allow for it. Of course if all of them get their equal screen time, it would just dilute the worth of Handa and Handa Force. So I suppose in a way it is good that many of the side supporting characters make sparing cameos. Because also in a way it makes it look like Handa has a whole different bunch of followers to. With everyone being idiots and quickly jumping the gun, after all the chaos and misunderstanding everything will somehow be resolved without Handa even lifting a finger or getting involved. And he doesn’t even know it too.

Handa as the main character feels so much different from Barakamon that I expected but then again, this could be me coming up with my own perceptions before I started watching the series. Handa is still unsociable and thanks to everyone being an idiot, both sides often misinterpret the situation, leading to Handa hating and being annoyed by everything and everyone else in awe of this super cool dude. It works both ways. There are always 2 sides to a coin. Maybe that is why when Handa grows up as a calligrapher, that single moment of frustration he took it out on a VIP when his works was criticised. Not sure if Handa has put a lot of thought into what he is going to say or do but it is always open and prone to misinterpretation. Thus leading up to hilarious consequences that Handa would loathe to be.

I don’t know whether to call Handa Force as dumbass idiots or just super positive people. For the oddest and funniest reasons they become Handa’s unofficial followers. And they become one without Handa ever realizing he has his own groupie! He never did. From the seemingly smart Aizawa to the brutish Tsutsui who was formerly a pretty boy to the now pretty boy Reo, these guys only seem to add fuel to the fire and make it worse for Handa at times. You can’t blame them for being the only ones as dense. Handa in a way is partially at fault to. It takes 2 to tango. Though, it can be mostly seen as these idiots who are the ones aggravating the situation. Kondo despite being your typical normal character is the most sensible of them all. He is probably the wisest. Forced into Handa Force, this guy is the voice of reasoning that nobody listens to since he can actually see what is happening and going on. Just too bad he will forever be labelled as a plain dude.

The rest of the other characters are pretty funny too like Miyoko the self-proclaimed fan of Handa has slowly turned into stalker material and possibly voluntary servant-cum-slave at the end and by the time it ends, we’ll all know her as just Eraser. Then there is the knockoff Handa who by far is ironically the one looking the least like the real deal if he applies his makeup skills and Dash who just wants to compete running with Handa. His running joke (pun intended too) seems to be unable to completely say Handa’s name. Doing so makes him vomit. Shy and reserved Kasumi could be mistaken for a certain famous Japanese ghost if she doesn’t clean up her hairstyle. These people and more feel like an extension to Handa Force instead of part of the main team. Even Ichimiya and his entourage despite being rivals, they respect Handa for who he is. It would be good to have them ‘officially’ in Handa Force but it is good to sometimes see them operate independently of our usual idiots. The only character that is seemingly not a Handa supporter is Hasegawa. This guy seems to be like Kawafuji’s lackey. Something about Okayama remains unexplained till the end: Why and how the heck did he grow beard and moustache like as though he lived as a caveman from birth?

Art and drawing aren’t anything special. Especially if you are being drawn away and focused by the slapstick humour, the art doesn’t matter. Really. It is simple and bright enough just hovering above average. With some good looking boys and girls as well as odd looking ones (Juri feels like she came to the wrong anime). But other than that, there is basically nothing much to complain about. This series is animated by Diomedea who also did Shinryaku! Ika Musume, Akuma No Riddle, Mayoiga, Sola, Kodomo No Jikan, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu and Kantai Collection.

Another major reason that compelled me to say that this series is totally different from Barakamon is because they even changed the seiyuus for the character who voiced Handa. In Barakamon, the gentleman voice of Daisuke Ono graced Handa. But here, we have Nobunaga Shimazaki (Makoto Sunakawa in Ore Monogatari) as the titular character. It is only right seeing if they used the same seiyuu, it might have really feel out of place seeing the genre the character is put in. Even Kawafuji’s character who was voiced by the suave Junichi Suwabe in Barakamon is now voiced by Kazuyuki Okitsu (Nagare in K). There are a few recognizable seiyuus too like Tetsuya Kakihara as Reo, Yu Kobayashi as Sawako and Kana Ueda as Tsugumi. The most surprising one is Rie Kugimiya as Kasumi. I did recognize her but it feels a little odd because having her without her trademark tsundere high pitch voice just feels weird. I’m so accustomed to her in such roles. So as Kasumi, you just take away that tsundere voice and go monotonous all the way. That’s how her character sounds. Though, this isn’t the first time she voiced a character that isn’t of her specialty trademark.

Due to the nature of this series, there is a large cast of characters playing a lot of cameo characters. I’m just going to name a few notable ones. They are Yuuta Hirose as Aizawa (Daichi Norita in Cheer Boys), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Tsutsui (Arata in Chihayafuru), Daiki Yamashita as Kondo (Touya in Log Horizon), Kaede Hondo as Miyoko (Kukuru in Fushigi Na Somera-chan), Yusuke Shirai as Hanada (Io in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!), Makoto Furukawa as Dash (Banri in Golden Time), Kenichi Suzumura as Ichimiya (Sougou in Gintama), Yoshitaka Yamaya as Hasegawa (Sugino in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Miku Itou as Maiko (Mafuyu in Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara), Kimiko Saito as Juri (Chieko in Kuragehime) and Gou Shinomiya as Okayama (Yajima in Linebarrels Of Iron).

As epic and funnily delusional they want to make this anime, I think they did all the crazy stuffs in the opening credits animation. While the hard rock tune of The Liberty by Fo’xTails sings (and screams) in the background, we see characters adorning our titular character as well as Handa and his groupies turning into what I believe are video game characters to take on the non-existent evil in the series that is threatening to destroy the world. Epic, no? It is more toned down for the ending theme, Hide And Seek by Kenichi Suzumura. However you do notice that there will be more characters-cum-followers of Handa as the episodes go by. So when he started out as a loner walking all by himself, at the end of the series he has amassed a great deal of people behind him. Whether or not he considers them as friends is another matter but safe to say that all these affected people are now his believers.

Overall, this is one of the funniest series of the season. You will either love it or hate it depending on what you expect from this series. Of course, major disappointment from purists who wanted to watch a real serious back story on Handa but instead got pounded by the slapstick humour. But for the rest who don’t care about this, it decently tickles your funny bones whether or not you know or watched Barakamon in the first place. I don’t mind watching if they churn out another sequel. Because it may look like I am a sadist for wanting to see Handa and the rest of the gang getting into trouble and misinterpreted situations, but could it be that I am unconsciously a Handa follower now? Sure, I might not love that guy so much but I don’t hate him either. Interesting things always happen around him. Why? Because simply, haven’t you heard? It’s Handa-kun after all.

Oh dear. Love making is back! I didn’t know this was getting another season! I thought with all that has been said and done in the first season, there wasn’t any more left to tell but I guess I was wrong. And that strange funny mysterious attraction of gayness that somewhat compelled me to watch Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love! Love!. I know the series is not that gay but from my point of view having an entire cast with only males certainly does so from my point of view. In a funny way of course. And it seems the world is under threat from a new pair of villains and thus the reason why we need more love making to save the day. Yeah, nothing beats world happiness and peace seeing hot handsome guys getting yaoi with each other. Oh wait. This isn’t what this series is about. Phew.

Episode 1
Starting off with our Battler Lovers soaking in Kurotama talking about random stuffs. Some connection between hourglass and kanchou that I don’t really care. The student council trio also join in. It seems they are going abroad to study starting tomorrow. There is an awkward moment between Kusatsu and Atsushi that is just giving the rest tension. Just say you want to come and see him off, damn it! Eventually it is Yumoto who ‘asks’ since he wants to see a plane. After the student council trio leave, an hourglass monster attacks Battle Lovers. He gushes his pink sand all over them which disintegrates their Loveracelets. Because there are no more mosaic and censors, he knows who they are now. Before he could finish them, Goura comes in furious since somebody messed up his bath. Time to back down for now. Next day as the quintet enter their clubroom, the monster is waiting there and before you know it, another epic fight begins. Before they get owned for real again, Wombat drops down to give them new Loveracelets. Different outfit means more power up, right? Yes, because it’s the second season! Oh, more wombat molestation from Yumoto too. Didn’t forget that, did he? With their new transformation and powers, they blast their love powers on the monster. But I guess the monster is also toughened up for the second season since he hasn’t given up yet. Because time is running out as the plane will be leaving soon, Battle Lovers combine their power to defeat and purify the monster. They know this kid to be Tomaru Tokiwa who was born very early in the year so he gets jealous that he becomes a year older faster than the rest of his classmates. They manage to arrive (plane is already taxing) and wave goodbye. I guess Kusatsu must be so relieved he believed in them and almost had his trust betrayed. When Yumoto asks Wombat about Tawarayama, he suddenly realizes he left his body behind. Speaking of which, twin foreigners, Akihiko and Haruhiko Beppu who are new exchange students at Binan find his slumped body.

Episode 2
Tsukuro Ouso is a chubby pretty boy and he is sad that nobody believes what he says. Till he stumbles upon the twins who are well out to corrupt him. It is that time for the Pretty Boy contest again so when Tsukuro waxes lyrical about the twins being the most beautiful, as usual the rest don’t believe him. But when they do appear, some of the boys throw down several challenges. However the twins easily best them all whether it is brains, brawns, games, cooking or just about anything. Even more so, the loser becomes their follower and they are starting to amass a huge group. Yumoto and the rest notice a large building built across Kurotama. Too fancy to be a love hotel, right? This is the first time both sides meet. Yumoto is being Yumoto as usual but the rest try to be as polite as possible. Yumoto gives them coupons for Kurotama but I can feel there is some sarcasm and insult in their ‘thanks’. The twins then call Tsukuro alone to attend their concert. We see them transform into Galaxy Idols, VEPPer! Based on our past season experience, we can tell Tsukuro is turned into a monster. The Loveracelets alert our Battle Lovers to go fight this tofu monster who starts throwing tofu at them. But it only takes Yumoto to defeat and purify him as he doesn’t like others wasting food. This is also when Battle Lovers and VEPPer see each other. Thanks to the mosaic and concealing technology, both sides are unaware of the other’s identity. VEPPer as usual being obnoxious and cocky, as they declare war on Battle Lovers to wipe them out. Oh, they’ve got a green squirrel familiar by their side, Dadacha.

Episode 3
The quintet realize their usual spot for lunch is taken over by the twins and their group of followers. They heard the twins won the contest and have a group of loyal fan boys who call themselves as Beppu Apes. When Yumoto suggests they should read a play to kindergarteners, Tagaru Katari protests since he feels it is his job and duty from the speaking poet society to do it. Of course they ignore him and the twins can feel Katari’s jealousy and sense this could be useful. The quintet talk about Japanese folklores and one of them being the Jizo and the hats. Yumoto also experienced something similar and thanks to Goura’s guidance, he did a great job. The more Katari observes them in preparation, the more his jealousy grows. On play day, the act goes smoothly. But it the straw that broke the camel’s back for Katari is when the kids are laughing instead of being moved. That is when the twins turn him into a microphone monster. As one, he is formidable because he can materialize kanji words to hurt you. Who’d knew dreams could be painful, right? Literally. Battle Lovers fight back with Yumoto giving his own lecture about love. Love is something you give to others! He relates the folklores Goura read to him as bedtime stories might not be well read but they all moved him. With the children and Goura supporting Battle Lovers, they deliver the decisive blow to end it all. Encore! Encore! Goura is glad that Yumoto has grown up well. And Yumoto in turn realizes that Goura has always been watching over him even if he is busy. The only unhappy ones are the twins as they need to find a way to defeat their enemies quick. But Dadacha tells them not to be impatient as it has only begun.

Episode 4
The twins really want to get rid of Yumoto but when they approach him and he is in his carefree form, they still can’t do anything. Back in their greenhouse, they notice Bernardo Salvatore sad. This Italian guy claims he doesn’t get along with his twin, Alan. A total opposite if you’re asking those perfect twins. It seems the Italian twins were never this bad. Only when they hit puberty did Alan start distancing himself. Thus the twins go talk to Alan to find out the reason but he won’t say it seeing it is shameful for an Italian. But after managing to convince him that they can help out his complex, Alan reveals that his jealousy of Bernardo stems from his twin’s manly chest hair! Alan has none. Thus a perfect excuse for Alan to be turned into a chest hair monster. And those are his tits not eyes. His power is of course making everyone grow tremendous chest hair. Battle Lovers fight him but get caught in his beam as they grow unsightly armpit hair before getting caught in a chain of chest hair. A hairy situation they’ve gotten into, eh? Of course they could easily end this charade but Yumoto doesn’t want to. Even if they cure him, this won’t solve his complex with Bernardo. The only way is to call him here as he is the only one who can save Alan. Bernardo never knew chest hair was the source of their animosity. He is willing to give up his chest hair by pulling them out now! Ouch! Looks painful but that is nothing compared to the pain of love, right? In the end, when both reconcile, Battle Lovers purify Alan. The Italian twins are back on good terms as they enjoy a good bath at Kurotama. Somehow Bernardo’s chest hair grows back but Alan doesn’t mind.

Episode 5
Shuzo Oka fails his training with Shigoki Munakata, the volleyball club president. Because of that, they are over as Munakata wonders if there is somebody worthy enough to receive his balls! I kid you not! When Yumoto accidentally receives his balls, Munakata believes this is the one who will receive his balls. I kid you not he is going to spam this line throughout the episode. So Munakata forces Yumoto to join his club and the latter had to since his way to the toilet is being blocked. Oh, he needs to recruit 4 members too. I can guess who they are. And so Earth Defence Club becomes volleyball members as they train to receive and touch Munakata’s balls!!! While Yumoto happily receives his balls, the rest just dodge it like a plague. Does this mean Yumoto loves playing with balls?! Eventually the rest quit (and they have an interesting discussion about why volleyball is called ‘haikyuu’ in Japanese which literally means ‘excrement ball’) only Yumoto is left playing the balls. As Yumoto and Munakata forge stronger ties, Shuzo becomes more and more jealous because he believes being near Munakata is supposed to be his spot. So he wants to be near his balls?! Anyway with the twins sensing Shuzo’s jealousy, time for another round of the usual. Shuzo turns into a black volleyball. I think black balls are something Munakata can’t receive. Battle Lovers fight the black ball but it absorbs all their powers. Until Yumoto tells him how he is already a beautiful diamond instead of needing to wait for someone to polish him up, the monster is easily defeated. In the end, Shuzo and Munakata reunite and continue their training. It seems Munakata is 26 years old and will not give up till his club enters the tournament! Good luck in doing that. Forever. I take it he is never going to graduate. Of course Yumoto has quit seeing the only club for him is Earth Defence Club.

Episode 6
There is a standoff between Io and Ryuu. Despite all the sarcasm they throw at each other, they’re still close by to each other? Apparently from what I understand from En and Atsushi’s explanation is that they have always hated each other from the start since they have the wrong first impression of the other. So everything they do together seems to be a coincidence and sometimes trying to outdo the other. Like how they join Earth Defence Club on separate occasions, En and Atsushi were unaware of their bickering and allowed them to join. Besides, the club wasn’t even official yet so there was no reason to refuse. When Kuroshiro Kumano asks the twins how it feels like to be idols, they use his insecurity and turn him into a panda monster. So when Loveracelets are signalling, Yumoto, En and Atsushi have no choice but to take on the monster themselves thinking Io and Ryuu won’t reconcile in time. Everyone is admiring how cute the panda monster is. Everything he does is cute. Even pooping. So when the trio arrive to take him on, the crowd turns hostile. Even more so their power is not enough to defeat him and the crowd’s admiration turns him big. Surprisingly Io and Ryuu turn up to beat the crap out of him. They’re in sync now? Yumoto gives them the honours to finish and purify the panda. VEPPer makes their brief appearance just to tell Battle Lovers they are not worthy of any love. In short, they hate them. In the aftermath, Io and Ryuu’s standoff continues. Didn’t they get better? It gets weirder when they start complimenting the other greatly but they won’t accept it. WTF?! So apparently this whole standoff thingy originated when they overheard other boys making fun of the other. So when they start explaining how amazing the other is but is not acknowledged, that is when their tension brew. Dumb, right? This reminds Yumoto their standoff was like the first time they visited Kurotama. At the entrance they were already bickering when Goura poured water on them and ushered them in. But if not for that, they wouldn’t have spoken to each other ever again. Yumoto then apologizes as he reveals he was the one who splashed the water. He was cleaning the roof at that time. He also apologizes for the heart shape sewing he sewed on their jacket. They don’t mind it but when Wombat makes a cheeky remark, they get offended. Love shock?!

Episode 7
At the ramen store, En surprisingly suggests doing a Christmas party and Yumoto gladly agrees and will have it at Kurotama. But what will they do for food? The ramen owner suggests he can deliver his Christmas ramen to them since his son, Hitori Hijiriya is also Yumoto’s classmate. On Christmas Eve as Hijiriya sets out his unpleasant journey (kids teasing his costume and all), the twins come to work their ‘magic’ on him. The twins pretty much hate Christmas and Santa too but when Goura invites them, they instantly accept. Christmas isn’t so bad after all, eh? But what about the monster? Oh no. They leave it to Dadacha to sort it out. So here the idol twins are, surprisingly our quintet who thought they had better things to do than hanging out with them. Maybe they had no plan in the first place. Oddly they observe the twins being obedient to Goura but totally ignoring Yumoto. When Dadacha gives the signal he failed to stop the monster, the twins try to push up the programme to exchange gifts since they want to get Goura’s present. But too late the reindeer monster is here and he is b*tching about working on this day while everyone has fun. The twins for once feel they have to leave it to Battle Lovers to defeat the monster but it seems the quintet can’t just transform in front of everyone. They try to make lame excuses to leave and the twins play along but it never worked out. Whether it is the monster calling them out for ignoring him or Goura somewhat inadvertently interrupting things. The last straw came when Yumoto pretends to fake a stomach illness so the rest can usher him to the hospital (but actually outside just to transform). The monster accuses them of fake acting so the twins rebuke him for ruining their dream. This is when the monster gets upset about everyone being selfish while he worked to the bone. Even so people complained. What the f*ck is he doing this for then?! Yumoto then invites him to join them. The gift exchange proceeds and the twins are glad they got Goura’s gift. Atsushi realizes En wanted to do this because his gift was a postcard from the student council trio doing their own Christmas gig. The monster gets Atsushi’s bag of candies and leaves happily. For once they didn’t even need to do any fighting and purifying as a happy Hijiriya automatically returns to his normal self on the way home. A Christmas miracle indeed. And no bath scene too for once?

Episode 8
Yumoto is eager to eat Goura’s soba and see the first sunrise of the year with him. You bet with the twins eavesdropping, they’re going to ruin it. So they approach, Makoto Jinzou who has been failing his entrance exams for 5 years in a row. They make him mad and then give him hope they can help him. You know the rest. Now a snowman monster, he is ordered to lock the guys in at Kurotama but a short blackout throws them off at first. Yumoto is sad his friends have to leave but they realize a thick snow blocking their path. Oh well, they’ll just stay here then. Next, the monster goes in to fight them but everyone is in holiday mood and not willing to fight. Of course snowman can’t go back empty-handed seeing the twins are already celebrating their ‘victory’. So he decides to go back and sabotage En, Ryuu and Wombat who are out to buy stuffs as they lost a game as punishment. But whatever snowman does, it works in our heroes’ favour. Meanwhile the rest are playing snowball fight and when the twins hear Goura in the midst of playing, their horror ups an ante when they see Yumoto wearing the sweatshirt they knitted for Goura. Forcing the monster to come back and fight, snowman threatens to destroy their newly made igloo if they don’t battle him. But right after they transform, snowman breaks down as he laments about his fate of repeating winter over and over again. It is Yumoto’s spring-like advice that gives him hope and purifies him without much fanfare. Of course the twins are now pissed as the guys are looking at this mishap on a positive tone. So when our Battle Lovers are visiting the shrine, the twins have had enough of their density. They go up to them and in their face reveal they are the ones sending monsters out to get them. Need proof? They transform right before their eyes.

Episode 9
The twins are furious because after their declaration, the quintet ignored them and it has already been a month and a half since! With Valentine’s Day around the corner, they get more jealous seeing Yumoto get Goura’s chocolate so they hatch a plan to rid him once and for all. The quintet receive a bunch of chocolates. Yumoto pops them in his mouth and suddenly he feels strange. Of course the chocolates are from the twins and it contains some chemicals that would create high stimulation. This means Yumoto wants to hug and cuddle everything at full force! OMG! The most gay-est scene ever! Hugging and confessing his love to each of his pals! The twins now pop up and they aren’t happy Yumoto is still too happy. They view them as their idol rivals and transform to take them out. However the rest don’t have a reason to fight and escape. So the twins go to instigate some of their Beppu Apes and make them hate Battle Lovers for all the chocolates they are getting. As chocolate block monsters, these guys are going to bring them misery. Despite Battle Lovers transforming, everyone decides to leave this to Yumoto since this idol battle thingy isn’t their cup of tea. Yumoto manages to get the monsters to cheer and support him before purifying them. Even back as normal students, they continue to love him so the twins need to act now. They are about to throw some devastating power but Yumoto quickly hugs them. They manage to give him the slip and escape. Since Yumoto is still stimulated, the rest feel the only way is to throw him into Kurotama’s bath. When Goura learns of this, he jumps in and hugs him. His serious brotherly returns Yumoto to normal. Seriously. Now the rest are starting to think the twins are more than meets the eye and can’t ignore them.

Episode 10
Yumoto sighing?! Is this the end of the world?! Apparently Binan Land is closing down. Yeah… The rest only remembers bad reviews about the place so it is natural it will be closed down. The twins also love Binan Land. So when Entao Junya mocks it, they become mad and are going to teach him a lesson. As Yumoto complains to Goura about Binan Land’s closure, his friends decide to take him there for one last time and also pay his ticket. Yumoto wants to ride this hardcore Mad Mouse ride since you have to ride it 7 times before vomiting! Once is enough for everyone! Yumoto barely remembers after that, Goura put him on the bench to rest (axe behind his back?) and then left for something and never returned. Battle Lovers have to fight a carousel monster and they quickly finish him off as they don’t want to hear his longwinded back story. Thank goodness. But here is VEPPer. When Yumoto claims they aren’t competing with them as idols and should stop becoming enemies, this only makes them mad. Ryuu and Io are right when they put it this way: I won’t date you but let’s still be friends; The investment went wrong so give me back half my money. The rest did ask why VEPPer hates them so much. They believe Maximum Gorar (Goura’s hero name) would have been their big brother. Yeah, they are fans of his TV show. Flashback time. Remember last season when the entire plot was some reality TV to destroy the world? If the current Battle Lovers was the second season, there must have been the first. That was Gorar. Then at Binan Land, the twins were held hostage by a monster. Gorar came to their rescue but was defeated. The twins were sad but Gorar revived and turned the tables to save the day. Gorar had to leave because he left someone (Yumoto) alone. The twins could only dream of him staying with them forever. Although Battle Lovers acknowledge this love-hate relationship won’t be easy to solve, they are feeling tired of all these battles and threaten to have higher authorities and third party intervention or court restraining orders! When they head back to Kurotama, Goura wasn’t there as usual to greet them. They sense something amiss as he is missing. Earlier on it seems he has a mishap while chopping wood…

Episode 11
As they look for Goura, he is not anywhere to be found. The twins were devastated to learn their father will be transferring to Andromeda as part of his job. This means no more Binan Land? Because the twins support Gorar, they are bullied by their fellow classmates. Now Goura is lying in a comatose state inside a transparent coffin in the twins’ mansion. Meanwhile the student council trio are experiencing and witnessing many bad omen signs. It is suggested Kusatsu emails to Atsushi. However his handphone is dropped inside the toilet bowl… Something awful is going to happen indeed. While the quintet are soaking at Kurotama, Dadacha comes to tell them the twins are going to take Goura out to space with them. Of course they capture him and interrogate him to spill the beans that their battle has always been a fight to see who is worthier of Goura. As the twins are arguing who Goura should stay with, Battle Lovers come in to rescue Goura. Yumoto is most upset and rushes in to fight but his pals calm him down that they too have the right to fight for Goura. However the twins will not accept their plea since they already said they don’t want to fight. Not even Yumoto’s honest plea would change their mind. Suddenly a familiar voice tells them to accept it. It is Zundar! Working for another production company, he wants them to battle it out for the sake of TV ratings. Oh, get this. Dadacha is Zundar’s little brother and he is totally in love with him. Yeah… Not even the same species… Dadacha hosts this idol battle programme to all the universe’s viewers. They can vote and Like the team they like. When it is decided VEPPer goes first, Battle Lovers are suspicious because usually the one who goes second has an advantage (like you see in movies) but yet they are confident. VEPPer starts singing and they garnered lots of Likes. This in turn become attacks against their opponents. Battle Lovers take a beating till they collapse. If they don’t get up, VEPPer will win by default. But before that could happen, Caerula Adamas returns! Since Atsushi didn’t reply, they rush back quickly knowing something is wrong. The trio are going to join the fray and show that they are different than before.

Episode 12
But Caerula Adamas hands us a twist and refuses to join in the fight. Battle Lovers revive to sing back. Not only they have garnered lots of likes but Goura is also resonating. A video shows some bird (or duck?) scouted Goura to fight. As we see him take on baddies, the twins note the bad editing of the video. His voice is not sync and he is saying words that he wouldn’t say. It is revealed that Goura was supposed to be the villain but instead became overwhelmingly popular. This derailed the producer’s goal and thus the reason the first show was cancelled. The twins were sad hearing about the cancellation and that is when Dadacha scouted them. If they go on TV, Goura will be certain to see them. But how can they when that series is cancelled? Be an idol. Idols do a lot of variety of things. And thus began the twins’ harsh journey as a galaxy idol. Just when they thought they were good enough to get their own show, that was when the show between Caerula Adamas and Battle Lovers came about. They were supposed to return home to Earth as the greatest idols and they can’t believe these idiots beat them to it. The fight resumes with some talk about love. Yumoto is beaten at first because of the twins’ twisted take on love. Actually they view themselves as not needing it because idols just trick, deceive and entice others with their fake facade. They claim they are better because of their pure intentions they do are for Goura.

When they take Goura away and vanish, Yumoto becomes distraught. So angry and worried that he suddenly becomes Super Saiyan and powerful emotions start bursting out. The other Battle Lovers know this is deep sh*t because if you consider the contest of emotions for Goura, Yumoto has the greatest. It is going out of hand but they pin him down and make Yumoto come to his sense. With that, Yumoto now has a purer view of love. He transforms into an angel and talks about the love in idol. As in ai-dol, get it? The rest also transform into angels and they purify to wake up Goura. The twins are surprised to see Goura still recognize them. Because he too sees them in his dream. They feel pathetic that they have done bad things on him and yet he still views them kindly. He sees they have grown big and strong and more importantly they kept their promise to Gorar. This brings the twins to tears. Man, it feels weird seeing guys hug and cry like that. In the aftermath, VEPPer becomes the greatest galaxy stars with sold-out concerts everywhere. The Earth Defence Club quintet soak in the bath with the student council trio. Making it merrier are the twins who have joined their ranks. Man, they are going to need to get a bigger bath. They feel they have forgotten somebody. Goura? No, he is at the back chopping wood as usual. Zundar and Dadacha? They’ve gone back to space? Hmm… Who could it be? Oh well. We don’t care. Answer: Tawarayama.

Big Brother Dearest
It really feels weird. Not about love making saving the world again (it is too) but rather this entire series is about the battle over the brotherly love of Goura. I’m not used to seeing anime series revolving around love between men (that’s not even venturing into hardcore yaoi stuffs), so to see the main characters here fighting over possibly the coolest big brother ever in the galaxy (at least for this season) it makes me feel a little weird because can this can of brother love be just your normal brotherly love or more than that?

Basically this season mainly follows the same formula as in the last. A big portion of it and at the start would follow the basic route of villains unleashing a monster who are students with problems (that we’ll never care eventually) followed by Battle Lovers fighting and then purifying the said monster. Rinse and repeat. There is nothing much difference except that this time the main focus and issue now seems to revolve around Goura. Despite not making core appearances, his background is enough to initiate an entire season to have both sides at each other. At least VEPPer trying to get rid of Battle Lovers. I guess Goura is the manliest man of all men, the coolest of the coolest, the hottest of the hottest that we have our heroes and villains fighting over him.

This season feels like a waste for Wombat. He was somewhat funny in the first season but in this season it feels as though his presence is forced to be necessary. There is no reason why this pink marsupial should return aside from the all-important ‘plot’ at the beginning to give Battle Lovers their Loveracelets replacement. Throwing Wombat further back into oblivion is the fact that Yumoto rarely rapes molests cuddles him to the extreme. There are a handful of scenes to see Yumoto doing this but it just feels forced. Because like I said, the focus now is on Goura so Wombat is now seemingly unimportant. Even as a running joke. This means Tawarayama is also unimportant and it feels he is like dead furniture lugging around. Even that ‘important’ announcement in the end about him being revived to normal doesn’t really make a difference. Like we care.

As for our Battle Lovers, since whatever back story and relationship issues they had, were already solved and covered in the first season so there isn’t anything much to cover about them here. Thus Yumoto seems to be more in focus compared to the rest of the other Battle Lovers. It is good to see that Yumoto isn’t just a simple and dense kid (although he is still mostly is) but there are times when he gets mad too. I mean, really mad. But that is only when it involves his big brother. If that is the most ‘shocking’ revelation for this season, it would be Yumoto’s never-seen-before burst of emotions. Therefore a warning to all you folks out there. Never mess with Yumoto’s an-chan.

With Caerula Adamas pretty much missing for a big chunk of this season and even when they reappear they are just reduced to a role of a spectator, the twins as the new villains of this season try to give off some sort of drama and tension especially bringing down Yumoto. Sometimes I feel that their misguided hatred towards Yumoto feels the same when Caerula Adamas had for Battle Lovers in the previous season. I heard of guys fighting over a girl and vice versa. But guys fighting over a big brother? Man, that feels brotherly gay if you ask me. Still feeling weird about it…

Compared to Zundar, Dadacha feels weaker because this flying squirrel seems to be more interested in cooking and doing chores for the twins rather than coming up with eviler schemes or something. It’s like, what the heck is he here in the first place for. I don’t know what VEPPer means in this context but at first I often misheard it as fap! So hearing FAPPer twins was really shocking! Even more so when unlucky students who get turned into monsters are ushered into the stage whereby Dadacha would announce, “Welcome to the VEPP theatre”. Wait, welcome to the FAP theatre?! Oh sh*t!

This season’s mid-intermission also has some bio-data and information on the characters albeit I feel that they are much lesser data. In fact for the Battle Lovers, they just put up their nickname and their finishing move. That’s all. After all, if you want to know their blood type, hobbies and likes, might as well refer back to the first season. Such information is only for new characters like the twins, Dadacha and Goura.

While the casts of last season are maintained, it is funny to note that Hiroki Yasumoto who was the voice of Zundar now also plays Dadacha. I thought he sounded familiar and true enough it was him. Though, he did pretty well to differentiate between both characters because Dadacha sounds very gay. Seriously. So this guy went from being a hedgehog to a bear (Kuma Miko’s Natsu) and now a flying squirrel. The other new additions are Keisuke Koumoto as Akihiko (Raul in Yuushibu) and Yoshiki Murakami as Haruhiko (debut main role). There are also tons of other seiyuus lending their voice for very minor characters just like in the first season. Those I recognized are Rikiya Koyama as Munakata, Takehito Koyasu doubling as Alan and Bernardo, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Kumano, Kazuya Nakai as Hijiriya and Akira Ishida as Tokiwa. Of course if you realize by now, they are all males. Not a single female seiyuu.

This season’s opening theme is also sung by Battle Lovers and Futten Toppa Love Is Power has that similar feel to last season’s opener as well. Of course with the galaxy idol twins, it is only right for them to sing the ending theme, Anata Wa Haruka Ittousei in place of Caerula Adamas. Typical idol song too with that almost similar feel to the first season’s ending theme.

Overall, the second season is still funny thanks to all that gayness that I feel from watching the Battle Lovers spout love making battle lines to all that sparkly transformation scene. But still, it doesn’t mean that it is any better than its predecessor. Well, I thought with the plot dusted and done in the first season, this one seems unnecessary. Like as though they needed to enhance Goura’s reputation whatsoever. At least, my overall sentiments of why the sequel was made in the first place. I’m not sure if I can take any more of the love making gayness should there be a third season. In that case I would want to be one of those students-turned-monsters purified and forgotten after every episode, never to return, never to care again.

I was wondering why it took so long for Dungeon Ni Deai Wo Motomeru No Wa Machigatteiru Darou Ka OVA to come out. It has been more than over a year since the TV series ended in 2015 and this OVA only came out back in December 2016. Trying to match the long ass name of its title? Just kidding. I suppose it is to remind us for the upcoming side story of Aiz. So what better way than to whet our appetite with a typical OVA. What do I mean? Do you love Hestia? Do you love boobs? Do you love swimsuits? Do you love fanservice? If you love all of the above, you’ll definitely going to love this OVA. I guarantee.

Is It Wrong To Pick Up Hotsprings In A Dungeon?
Taking place after defeating that giant monster in that paradise place, as usually Hestia and Lily are fighting over Bell’s attention. Everything’s normal. On their way back, they fight a few more monsters and Hestia becomes jealous that Bell is taken in by everyone’s flattery. She kicks a stone and this leads to some walls breaking down that leads them to a giant hotspring. Alright! Fanservice time! How can everyone go in without losing their modesty? Don’t worry, Hermes has made Asfi brought swimsuits beforehand! Amazingly he knows all their sizes… Except maybe for Hestia. Because it feels it was done on purpose. Her bikini is too small a size and snaps! There are no extra swimsuits so how? Welf is called and he thought he is the luckiest guy getting all the glory. Too bad it is just to help make a new swimsuit from leaves. I thought he is a blacksmith who crafts weapons or armours? Anyway, before they jump in, it seems Mikoto is forcing them to do silly rituals. This is her own and nothing to do with the eastern culture. You can tell how embarrassed Ouka and Chigusa are watching their comrade do this. The few fanservice include Ouka being called by some of the girls to test a portion of a hotspring. He is somewhat fascinated at looking at their crotches that probably he is boiling the water he is in. Yeah, too hot to handle. Also, not sure why Welf can’t help looking at Ryuu’s bloomer-cum-crotch so he tries to take his mind off by carving a statue of Hephaestus on the rock.

Hestia is bummed out that she can’t get a decent time alone with Bell since Lily is always stealing him away. Bell no baka! So when she finally gets that time, something strange is happening with the water. We should have seen this coming. The water turns acidic enough to melt their swimsuits! Before Hestia could confess, here comes monster fish to attack. Luckily the others arrive in time to destroy them. Of course there is this big mother fish, the master of this hotspring whom Bell must slay to show why he is the big hero. He does so but at the expense of his pants! All the girls get a big shock from this free show. Not Hestia. She thinks it is the ticket to beat that Aiz b*tch. Speaking of which, we have a few fanservice of her soaking in her own bathtub scattered throughout the episode. As the gang prepare to leave, they realize this place is just a trap set by the monsters. They believe many adventurers got killed in this trap and that’s why this place was never reported. Mikoto prostrates herself apologizing for losing her sanity when it comes to hotspring. What’s done is done. Time to head home.

Is It Wrong To Like Hotspring Fanservice Episodes?
Those who were expecting something better than fanservice would be freaking disappointed. And like I have said earlier, those who ‘appreciate’ Hestia, boobs, swimsuits and fanservice would totally fawn and gawk all over this episode. I mean, that’s all there is to it, right? Everything is so silly and doesn’t make sense that you just drop thinking and go with the flow. I mean, how can skilled warriors not sense this is a big monster trap? Ah, the allure of the hotspring blinded them. Just like how the allure of fanservice blinds us fans to watch mindless fanservice and fork out a few bucks so we can satiate our horny desires. Plus points if you’re a fan of big boobs loli. Nothing gets you motivated with a loli with big boobs, huh? Even more fanservice with the ending credits animation showing the girls sleeping in their sexy babydoll lingerie while hugging a dakimakura guy they love. Except for Mikoto. Hotsprings will always be her first love.

So it makes me wonder if this is the right OVA for us to refresh our memories for the upcoming new side story TV series about Aiz. Heck, it is a side story of her (supposedly as I have read. I could be wrong). Not even a continuation of this TV series. Perhaps that is why Aiz makes a very limited cameo appearance here (and all of them naked in her bathtub!). Or maybe this OVA is just a long awaited extra episode that fans had been waiting for over a year. That’s all. Right, it’s not even supposed to be a substituted for Sword Art Online or Log Horizon whatsoever. Just as long as you have a loli with big boobs and at least another girl for some harem cat fight, you can guarantee with this perverse reason fans will follow you into the deepest dungeons for this blessing.

Qualidea Code

January 15, 2017

Hmm… Apocalyptic world whereby aliens have invaded and devastated mankind. Check. A group of high school kids with special abilities hold the key to fend off these invading unknown aliens. Check. Sci-fi action. Check. Potential conspiracy twist and plot. Check. Harem. Uncheck. Wait. What? No harem? Oh what the heck. You can’t have all the anime series follow the same predictable pattern. Anyhow I’m still going to watch Qualidea Code for better or worse although I have a feeling that it might end up being the latter.

Episode 1
Many years ago, an unknown alien race called, uhm Unknown devastated the world. Young Ichiya Suzaku and Canaria Utara are one of the few miraculous survivors. Now in their teens, Ichiya like other kids his age has this power called World to fight against Unknown. Ichiya is a cold a bitter guy and doesn’t like amateurs and kids. But he respects adults for whom he believed to have saved their lives. He also believes he is all they need. Obnoxious, right? But what can we do? His past is scarred. This means he doesn’t like the idea of teamwork and often fights on his own. The duo meet up with others like them who are also head or subhead of a city like Hotaru Rindo and Maihime Tenkawa (subhead and head of Kanagawa respectively) and the Chigusa siblings Kasumi and Asuha (subhead and head of Chiba respectively). Ichiya and Canaria are of Tokyo. Ichiya and Kasumi hate each other’s guts and could have continued arguing had not the adults Gutoku Asanagi and Airi Yunami who are both regional management officers. They begin their ranking announcement and meeting. After the meeting, Unknown is detected attacking at Aqua Line. Everyone sorties. I’m not sure why Ichiya and Canaria arrived last since they flew and everybody else arrived by train. Unless they’re in the very part of town. Ichiya being the usual selfish jerk, tells Canaria to stay out of this so she powers him up with her singing. Ichiya is so damn good that he takes the targets of others, earning their ire. It gets worse when the students also start fighting over each other for targets. WTF?! You’re supposed to be fighting the enemy but instead jostling for more kills? This isn’t Call of Duty, am I right?! Apparently the more kills and scores you do, the higher your ranking and thus your compensation. Yeah. All about the money. Welcome to capitalism. I suppose this is a chance for Kasumi to ‘accidentally’ shoot Ichiya as friendly fire. With the enemy coming on too strong, Maihime decides to unleash her super power. This has everyone including Ichiya to run like hell out from her perimeter. Her big slash wipes out the enemy but too powerful that it destroys Aqua Line too. Oops. In the end, Gutoku admonishes all of them because he specifically told them not to destroy Aqua Line. Guess what? Hotaru and Kasumi conveniently blame Ichiya for this. Wanna fight? Gutoku screws all that and reprimands all of them.

Episode 2
Part of their punishment is to guard the engineering students while the repair Aqua Line and help them out as some of them are afraid they have spotted an unidentified Unknown (that’s like an unknown Unknown, right?). So they split themselves into 2 teams. Team A has Canaria, Maihime and Asuha. As you have guessed, Team B has those who constantly fight each other and hate each other’s guts. So while Team A is cheerful and motivational, Team B is gloomy and always arguing. During lunch break, Ichiya is being rude when Aoi Yaegaki serves him a hot towel. He doesn’t bother remembering names of those lower than him. This has Kasumi throw a hot towel in his face (I guess to give a reason to provoke) and before this reaches boiling point, Canaria calms them down. If you think Gutoku is being nice lending them swimsuits after that, well they have another task coming. As Aoi’s World can scan other people’s memories and transmit to others, they see a mysterious Unknown popping out of the waters and heading back down. No casualties have been reported. I’m sure it must be awkward seeing through a vision of a guy kissing!!! So the gang dive underwater to find the elusive mystery. Kasumi’s World is super hearing. He can figure out the layout of the underwater seabed with his ultrasonic hearing and resonance. He hears one approaching Asuha quick and fires a shot to take it out. In the end, it was never found and they remain suspicious if that was an Unknown because signals should have been picked up then. Asuha sheepishly thanks Kasumi but he becomes a big tease and wants her to repeat it many times, earning her wrath. So much about getting back into her good books. Meanwhile Gutoku and Airi discuss about the enemy being shot down and will be sent to HQ for examination. They fear their secret of the barrier’s layout might be known.

Episode 3
Medical officer, Mahiro Okuni hands in the list of students to be transferred internally to Gutoku and Airi. Airi is not pleased that she treats these students as objects although this transfer is to protect them as their valuable assets in sustaining their world. Okay, so she does make them sound like goods. Later they brief the usual about an unusual Unknown popping up. While Kousuke Hashibiro and his team were on patrol, this giant tower popped up in the middle of the sea. They codename it Leviathan. Their mission is to destroy it as the enemy’s goal is to occupy Umihotaru as a bridgehead. It seems Ichiya was supposed to be with Kousuke during the patrol but instead he was visiting an injured student who is on the transfer list. When Canaria returns home that night, Ichiya isn’t around and from the wide open window, she knew he had gone to fight the menace alone. Luckily Canaria, Kousuke and his team caught up and want to help out but Ichiya continues to be a selfish jerk thinking he can handle it all. But when they all continue to provide support and Canaria starts singing and even reminding him he is no longer alone, he relents and gives teamwork a chance. Everything is going great until Canaria collapses. And she is bleeding like hell! Time for Ichiya to remember what fear looks like. They get overwhelmed by the enemy and even worse, Leviathan is just the tip of the iceberg. You mean this enemy tower is just like a puny antenna for the bigger red durian below?! Knowing they have no chance of winning, they take refuge inside Umihotaru. Ichiya is desperately trying to seek help to save Canaria.

Episode 4
No use to start thinking how useless you are right now. This opens up for the Kanagawa and Chiba counterparts to tease him as they arrive in time to rescue all of them. After Canaria is wheeled into ICU, naturally Ichiya continues to feel down. Then he is summoned by Gutoku to explain why he acted by himself and defy his orders to form a team and take it out together. After a manly slap, Ichiya wants to take responsibility and finish this by himself. Oh, so is he going to rush out there by himself again? No. He has friends whom he needs their power to help. So now he realizes the importance of having friends? Ichiya takes the lead in studying the enemy and preparing tactics for all 3 cities to attack Leviathan which is occupying Umihotaru. While the Tokyo side provide air support and distraction, the Chiba side provides long range gun fire and the Kanagawa side supplying underwater tactics. Canaria wakes up in the hospital bed and once she hears Ichiya out in battle, she wants to go help him despite Aoi’s objection she needs to rest. Besides, she can’t fly there, right? Don’t worry. Kousuke and his team can do the job. By the time they arrive, Canaria’s singing powers up the fighting students. Leviathan takes a lot of damage so naturally it tries to run away. I’m not sure about Ichiya’s strategy to use Maihime’s powerful attack but her finishing move has something to do with E=MC2. WTF?! Since when did Einstein’s theory has got some sh*t in this?! Everyone celebrates their victory as Ichiya brings Canaria back, taking this opportunity to apologize. So now he is a changed person and is going to appreciate the power of teamwork. Gutoku is shocked to learn Aoi has entered the no entry zone. Even more so when he learns Canaria has left the hospital. He desperately tries to get her back. Ichiya talks to Canaria he is asking for a demotion and thus making her the next Tokyo head. He will train and do his best to become number 1. Suddenly a huge rock crashes onto Canaria! WTF?! THIS IS NOT COMEDY, ISN’T IT???!!! No it’s not. Canaria, nooooo!!!

Episode 5
OMG! Canaria is really dead?! I know it’s impossible to survive that but I was hoping some absurd reason would have at least put her in coma in ICU. I guess they really killed off her character :’(. Apparently there are a few students who were also killed in this mysterious fashion. Airi and Gutoku have the Kanagawa and Chiba help out for the time being. Although Maihime is raring to go, Kasumi isn’t fond in particular as he views this as Ichiya’s problem so he should be cleaning this mess up. With Maihime as the interim of Tokyo, she barges into several departments to make some ‘fun’ changes. Yeah, it’s like she’s having fun. While she rallies and gives hope to Tokyo students, Kasumi is on the direct opposite. He badmouths Tokyo, saying there is no hope left and should just come to his city where they’ll protect them. Maihime then goes to visit Ichiya who is wasting away in his room. Of course she blows her top for his hypocrisy but he tells her off that Canaria might just be a number to her but she isn’t a number to him. True. But remember, they are fighting a war. No time to be sulking. When alone, Maihime lets loose her cheerful disposition and cries in Hotaru’s arms before putting back her happy mask on. Kasumi is less forgiving as he forces Ichiya to go do his duties. Meanwhile Aoi just finished her surgery of replacing her Code. Something fishy is going on when Okuni doesn’t want Airi to explain details to her. Something about a group of students including Aoi entered the no entry zone and she was the only one to come out alive. When Aoi accidentally touches Airi’s hands, she sees some horrifying visions. After Aoi is released, Hotaru approaches her to get any hints. Because Aoi’s group was the only one who approached Leviathan from the back. All the mystery murders seemed to come from the group who entered from the rear. Aoi isn’t sure if she should tell but decides she doesn’t know anything. Unknown attacks again and the usual fight and defend battle again. Could have been just another day’s fight if not suddenly the entire sky turning dark red. Freaking hordes of Unknowns dropping down. Apocalypse now?

Episode 6
Hotaru and Aoi are driving towards the no entry zone like crazy since Unknowns are attacking them. I believe the students’ Code serves as a homing device, the reason why certain Unknown types come crashing on them! Holy cow! It looks like those funny cartoon moments when the anvil drops on a character!!! Good news is that Ichiya has snapped out of his gloominess and fights the hordes. But bad news means he has snapped. Going crazy to just kill off the Unknowns recklessly. If there is nobody else to protect, he’ll just destroy everything! Nice reasoning there, mate. Airi for some unknown reasons rushes out into the battlefield and almost got killed. Had not Maihime and her force save her, she would’ve been dead. There’s some flashback about them being together. It is a reason Maihime wants higher authorities to survive. She lets Airi board the train to safety and lets her keep her timepiece. Why do I have a bad feeling about this? So more flashback when Maihime was young, her powerful World just came bursting out. There’s some theory about her special ability awakening from cold sleep but I don’t really understand. Nor do I care. Airi accompanied Maihime to her late grandpa’s house where she took over his coat and timepiece. She explains the normally peaceful dream she has about everyone and the reason she can’t leave this place is because of her promise to Hotaru. With more ‘anvils’ falling and the enemy overwhelming, Maihime orders everyone to retreat. What about her? She is going to play the heroine to buy everyone time. Man, doesn’t that sound like a death wish? As she beats the crap out of the enemy, she remembers about her promise with Hotaru to meet here again after the war because they were going to separate shelters. Maihime refuses to get onboard the train and continues to stop the enemies. Like, she’s really having a death wish now, right? Even more so as she is going to take on this new bunch of humanoid horde. I hope they didn’t postpone her death to the next episode.

Episode 7
Kasumi and Asuha are also racing towards Tokyo. Asuha rides like the wild chick and unknowingly the side car got detached leaving Kasumi behind. Hotaru remembers she got lost many years ago and was taken in by some secret service. She was trained to kill ruthlessly. Aoi and Hotaru stumble upon stranded Kasumi. Hotaru didn’t want to pick him up but kind Aoi did. Too bad he has to hop on while Hotaru is stepping on the accelerator. Nearly killed him. Don’t worry, she believes that won’t kill him. We hear more about Hotaru’s promise with Maihime. Because the latter honoured her promise by waiting for her for 10 years and was the one who brought Hotaru back to her senses. It is the reason why she follows Maihime wherever she goes. With the fight against Unknown wrapping up everywhere else, only Tokyo is left. Airi is trying to reactivate the barrier but it will take time. Maihime is still fighting the Unknowns. Oh, here comes the supposedly big boss. Hey… Doesn’t that look like… Kyuubey?! OMG! Anyway she realizes it isn’t the enemy that is getting stronger but herself getting weaker. Duh. She’s been fighting for who knows how long. Naturally Maihime is on the verge of defeat and succumbing to her fate when here comes Hotaru to rescue her in the nick of time. It seems Kasumi hatched a plan to support Hotaru to jump straight to Maihime. It’s faster that way. With Maihime safely in her arms, Hotaru can now unleash all anger at the Unknowns. Eat this! Everything looks set for victory. The barrier is about to be activated, the Unknowns retreating and Hotaru her final strike. Suddenly Maihime stops Hotaru from her job. Then she destroys her Code and lets a giant Unknown blimp smash into them. Can anyone survive that? I don’t know what Hotaru said in her final words to Kasumi but he sure looks shocked.

Episode 8
Everyone is sad hat Maihime and Hotaru are dead. There are lots more who are dead, injured or missing. Gutoku and Airi suggest Aoi take over Kanagawa’s management while Asuha temporarily handles Tokyo. Okuni suggests scaling down their battles and pulling their defence line back inland by abandoning the current one. She also wants Chigusa to be relocated inside but everyone including Chigusa herself objects. Although Gutoku reluctantly agrees with Okuni, he will decide the time for her relocation. Okuni personally tries to persuade Chigusa the perks of relocating and she can be closer to her family. However she turns her down. Ichiya confronts Kasumi and is mad about his announcement about scaling back battles. What else does Ichiya has to live for if he doesn’t fight to avenge Canaria? Kasumi doesn’t give a damn, Ichiya isn’t going to accept this. Later Kasumi and Aoi go around patrolling and since everyone is teasing them on a date, it is no surprise that Asuha is stalking them from the shadows. Okuni talks to Kasumi and again tries to persuade him to change his sister’s mind. But after learning Hotaru said something to him before her demise, she wants to discuss more in private tonight at a secret location. Don’t tell anybody. Not even Asuha. So here he is and instantly he knows he is set up since the coffee she served is drugged. There’s something mentioned about the world the kids see is fake and Okuni intends to erase that memory from him. He is attacked by… Invisible tentacles! He can’t see but at least he can hear. Okuni beats him up, damaging his eye, claiming they would be better off without obstacles like them. Fortunately, Kasumi didn’t come alone. Okuni couldn’t react in time as Chigusa freezes her. Kasumi finishes her off by breaking her frozen body into pieces. Chigusa isn’t satisfied and goes for overkill by burning every bit of her morsel. Wow. Kasumi may get his awaited sisterly love treatment but don’t make her mad. Taking off his bandage, Kasumi realizes something is wrong with his vision.

Episode 9
Rumours go around that Okuni got promoted to the inside. Although Kasumi is okay, he realizes the visions he has been seeing the world as are fake. He leaves it to Asuha to guard the area while he goes off to do more research. He tries to look up for more information but it is easy and not secured. He believes the ones he wants are locked away as standalone. Aha. A hidden wall filled with paper documents? Big words he finds… Adaptability coefficient and erosion rate… Asuha goes to talk to Ichiya who is still mopping around. When Unknowns attack again, Asuha and Aoi cannot agree on what to do. Ichiya returns to reorganize the team and do something good for once. When Ichiya goes down to the battlefield, an officer tries to prevent him from fighting. And then he got sniped! Ichiya is enraged and he knows only a person has such skills. He confronts Kasumi. One chance to explain. Would you believe it that he was protecting you? Nope. Time to kick ass. More Unknowns descend and attack. Asuha is having a hard time fighting off a couple of super Kyuubey types. She got her Code destroyed in the midst. When an Unknown intervenes Ichiya and Kasumi’s fight, Kasumi instead shoots at Ichiya and lets the Unknown go. This enrages Ichiya even more as the fight becomes a cat and mouse game. Ichiya is being mad and Kasumi is like talking nonsense. Ichiya is so mad in wanting to fight him that he doesn’t even care about the Unknown coming in. And I’m sure Kasumi meant literally is that because the worlds they see are very different. Kasumi then hums Canaria’s song. He doesn’t know how to sing it up until now. Ichiya is still in denial but becomes more confused when he hears Canaria’s voice singing it. Isn’t she supposed to be dead? He is brought to tears hearing her song as the Unknown who is Canaria hugs him. When his Code is broken, Ichiya could finally see the real Canaria in the flesh. Still cheery as always. Then he gets a glimpse of the real world for the first time: A decimated apocalyptic wasteland?

Episode 10
Asuha is rescued by Maihime and Hotaru. Along with Kasumi and Aoi, they are brought to Johannes. She is the Chigusa siblings’ mother. She is so spunky and lively it is as though she didn’t leave any of those genes to her children. Really. As the commander of this operation she explains what has been going on. Many years ago, children were kidnapped and raised by Unknown to fight against real humans. When the first war started 30 years ago, many adults put their children into cold sleep as emergency measure. However that was the Unknown’s plan to kidnap and then implant false memories into them. Therefore the Code embedded behind their neck was necessary to maintain a false world. Of course to the real humans, everything looked vague too so they had a hard time differentiating friend or foe and many perished. The no entry zone is the farthest of the barrier and if one crosses over, they would see the real world. That’s why the humans were trying to destroy it. Ichiya feels like a dick after hearing Canaria’s explanation. Not only he was fooled and failed to live up to his hero dream, how can he face Kasumi whom he can picture has that I-told-you-so smug on his face. Canaria remains positive that he can start anew and get along with everyone else. Johannes shows the ultimate cannon that will wipe out the entire area and destroy all Unknown. Yeah, they’ve put all their budget into it so it better work. Aoi is still hesitant because some like Airi and Gutoku have been really kind towards them. Johannes assures the kids don’t have to fight anymore and leave it to the adults. The alert sounds. Time to kick Unknown ass. Our usual heroes go into their action mode slaying the aliens. Ichiya repays his debt to Kasumi by saving his ass. They’re even now although they’re still the same throwing insults at each other. Oh yeah. All is fine in the world.

Episode 11
It’s like Airi and Gutoku are having their final liaisons together before the big decisive fight. But it seems they have their own plan as they take out their own comrades who are guarding the sleeping kids in the capsule. Johannes further explains that Unknown invaded Earth not to steal resources or territory but to alter their children so it would evolve into their kind. Something about Unknowns cannot reproduce on their own. However Aoi is still in doubt as she believes Airi and Gutoku are good guys who treated her well with love. She can’t just defect. She doesn’t want this truth. Johannes then orders the use of the cannon. It creates a huge damage but the remaining enemies counter attack. Johannes gets injured in the attack. Cue for mother and children to bond tightly in the infirmary before the kids heading off to finish unfinished business. Just when Maihime is going to lead her troops to fight head on, Kasumi and Asuha have another plan. They are going to strike the tower where Airi and Gutoku are. Kasumi calls Ichiya to convince that guy to join in. At first Ichiya has lost all reason to fight but when Kasumi tells him to take a good look at the girl he loves, he changes his mind. That should be a reason worth fighting. The general outline of the plan is to sneak into the tower via this lousy boat and then destroy the gate. Simple. As for how to destroy the gate, Kasumi hasn’t thought that far. Hey, he’s trying to keep things simple. Once inside the tower, they split into groups. Ichiya’s group is shocked to find a trail of bodies of Unknowns lying around. Did somebody beat them to it? They are then confronted by Gutoku who has been waiting for them. Noticed something? He still looks like the Gutoku they all know. That’s because Gutoku has always been a human from the start! Maihime and Hotaru head deep down to rescue the sleeping kids. They are confronted with a hideous Unknown fit enough to be a boss of Dark Souls.

Episode 12
Gutoku once encountered an Unknown looking a lot like a human (Airi). He got stabbed. Now he explains to the kids why he is working with the enemy all along. It’s not like he hate mankind or anything. Just that he saw a goddess. WTF?! What kind of excuse is that? So Airi is his God or something? At this point, Aoi can no longer be untrue to herself. She decides to defect to the other side. And she has no regrets about it. So while the girls chase her, the guys stay back and fight. If you’re wondering if Gutoku is just human, why is he displaying superhuman abilities? Well, Unknown tinkered with his body so he is part Unknown! That sentence feels so strange. When our young heroes are on the verge of losing, Canaria starts singing and this gives them hope to fight back. This means Asuha takes out Aoi via some wrestling chokehold and Aoi thrusting her sword into the Unknown. This makes her remember a long time ago she talked to Airi about her dream. It was to have her own child and die the way she wants. Once Aoi sees Airi’s timepiece on the ground, she knew what she had done but she has no regrets. She and Hotaru free the children. Gutoku senses Airi is dead and tells the guys to flee because this tower will now collapse without her as the administrator. He is going down with the ship. So everyone gets out and before you know it, the gate closes and all Unknowns in the world is gone. Rejoice mankind! For you have won! Gutoku did want to die with Airi in the collapsing tower but he sees a vision of her spirit asking him to take care of Aoi. If that’s her wish… So peace reign over the area and everyone is trying to rebuild their lives. Ichiya and co visit an unnamed grave dedicated to Airi.

“How Can Mirrors Be Real If Our Eyes Aren’t Real?”
Now that Unknowns are expelled from the world, what is there left to fight for? What the heck was Canaria’s final narration about learning more about their World? At this point does it really matter? Now the kids can go back and live their so called normal lives as normal humans but they can’t really because they’ve always been under the care of a certain kind pair of Unknowns but we don’t care anymore since the anime has pretty much ended on a cliché good-humans-triumph-over-everything.

Well, everything seems pretty cliché and predictable by the time it reaches halfway. And when they started killing off our young heroes one by one, something inside me felt that there was more than meets the eye. There must be a hidden plot twist somewhere. I mean, killing off one of the cutest main characters as early as episode 4? That’s insane, right? Something must be amiss. With Canaria’s ‘death’, Ichiya literally ‘died’ on the inside. Yeah, he is dead for the middle parts of the story. And when Maihime and Hotaru seemingly accepted their untimely ‘deaths’, I could actually guess what the entire twist was about. And hell yeah, I was right even before that revelation about the world they’re seeing being fake is greatly hinted or revealed. The biggest twist is supposed to be “You’re the bad guys all along”. Because of that, it took away some of the pleasures and fun in watching the series. It somewhat became boring then. I don’t know. Is it my fault? Well, at least it is a good thing because it shows that I am paying attention, right?

The characters feel unexciting and as monotonous as Kasumi’s slacker character. By the way, the Chigusa siblings are the more interesting ones compared to the rest of the main characters. Kasumi is like forever like in his sleepy mode. His looks feel like he has this “I wish I wasn’t here” sound. Despite looking like a lazy slacker, he feels like the main character because he has to do all the dirty jobs while the others weren’t around. Making him more amusing is his interaction with his sister. I wonder if this can also be called sibling love-cum-hate. It’s like they hate each other but they don’t because that is how they talk to each other. The way Asuha always spites him with sarcasm about his creepy attitude and Kasumi being reduced to a weakling, giving us an impression he may be a siscon or something and Asuha a tsundere with buranko complex.

Ichiya may look and start off looking like the main character but after Canaria got seemingly killed, he is reduced to a wreck. A lost soul sulking trying to make out the reason for the rest of his existence. He is the kind of character full of angst and would settle for throwing punches instead of diplomacy. It makes his whining annoying. Well, if they wanted a less than perfect main character whom everyone would love to dislike, they’ve done a good job. His butt heading with Kasumi is amusing too but only second to Kasumi-Asuha banter. Maybe that is why he needs happy go lucky Canaria around to calm him down and rationalize his thinking. Maihime’s childish and lively character balances up the otherwise gloomy group of characters (asides Canaria). Well, she has to. When her name is the name of an anime series where my first waifu came from, she’d better be. Then you have Hotaru who looks like a typical strict swordswoman but serves more of a potential yuri role for Maihime.

Finally, Aoi. I think she is the most annoying of the group. She doesn’t even have fighting capabilities and overall I see her as a whiny confused soul. I can’t really blame her. Imagine if you’re being raised by adults whom you think are your biological parents. Then when you reach your legal age of adulthood, suddenly somebody drops the bombshell that they are not your real parents. But these ‘parents’ of yours have been taking real good care of you ever since. So how not to feel confused? I understand her case but I don’t know. It doesn’t really do much good to her character in that sense. Then finally when she defected, it’s like she become totally useful and able. It’s like her dark side unleashed and we see a side that we never expect her to see. I am not sure if Aoi is alive in the end because despite seeing Gutoku picking her up and hinting they will continue living, where are they going to run then? Conveniently, their existence is thrown into mystery when we see a slab falling supposedly on them. So if we don’t really consider their deaths, this means Airi is the only main supporting character who died?! Wait! NOT MAMIKO NOTO GETTING KILLED OFF AGAIN???!!! WTF???!!!! I don’t want to see this true world anymore!!! I know there is this Okuni character too but she isn’t a memorable one so it doesn’t really mater…

In short, sure, all of the kids have their flaws and troubles and some like Ichiya and Maihime have their own back stories to give their character a little more depth. But in the end, the kind of problems they have are mostly their own personality that you want to tell them to get over themselves. In the end, they mainly stay true to themselves because Ichiya and Kasumi continue their sarcastic banter. Some things never change

As for the aliens known as Unknowns, I’m sure they’re being namely apt so that we don’t question what the heck they are or where they come from. All I know when they first appeared, I thought they came out from Kirby. Not because of their shape but rather their colour. Funny to see kids fighting against Kirby-coloured enemies. Even more mind boggling is how they steal kids to reproduce or more accurately to continue their species’ existence. Of all species in the universe (assuming there are other aliens out there), they had to pick us humans (for the sake of the plot). Don’t they know how weak humans are (assuming humans here are your average Joes like in the real world)? They are prone to diseases and illness and their bodies are so frail that once broken it cannot be recovered as good as before. And they want to evolve us to their own kind?

This is supposed to be an action sci-fi anime. Or so I think. Because the action parts feel as boring as the plot. They’re supposed to supplement it and in worst case scenarios supposed to be the relief from the dull story. Instead, the fights are nothing special and feel forced. Just because they have to fight the Unknowns, the fight scenes are necessary. I don’t think I even remember if each of the main characters has some sort of special skill that makes them stand out from the rest. Even so, they are just general. For instance, Kasumi’s sniping, Asuha’s gunning, Maihime and Hotaru’s sword slashing, Ichiya’s erm, magic and Canaria’s uhm, singing? As for the other students, I find it really odd for those who fight aerially. Because they have to ride ‘magic wands’ that look like broomsticks. I thought they had to go play Quidditch after that. If the anime wasn’t ‘funny’ enough for you, there is a short still picture segment at the end of each episode that depicts a chibi and comical comic of the characters doing random stuffs. All are illustrated by the series’ author, Maki Toyama.

I won’t say that the quality of the animation is totally bad. But I noticed that there is a drop in it during the later episodes. Sometimes I feel that there isn’t enough ‘animation’. What I mean is that you know how Japanese animation sometimes would like to show off their animation like their hair waving in the wind when even there is no wind. So in the case of this anime, I feel that the lack in such animation makes certain scenes look like still pictures. Sometimes it surprised me a bit to make me think that my computer has frozen or something.

The only redeeming factor is of course hearing Mamiko Noto as Airi. I know I’m bias but who cares at this point. When I realized the twist of her character that she is supposed to be on the alien’s side, it still proves that my unwarranted worries that they may try to kill her character off. And they did… Damn you! Why do you have to be so bias!!! The only other seiyuuu I recognized is Aoi Yuuki as Maihime and Mai Nakahara as Johannes. The rest of the other casts are Souma Saitou as Ichiya (Kain in Kyoukai No Rinne), Yui Ishikawa as Canaria (Mikasa in Shingeki No Kyojin), Yuuma Uchida as Kasumi (Yabuki in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Chika Anzai as Asuha (Chaika in Hitsugi No Chaika), Ayaka Fukuhara as Hotaru (Rin Shibuya in Idolmaster Cinderella Girls), Hiroaki Hirata as Gutoku (Sanji in One Piece) and Sora Amamiya as Aoi (Akame in Akame Ga Kill).

Despite having a few opening and ending themes, none of them resonated with me. I believe it isn’t the fact that they are all rock based which is quite fitting for what this series’ genre is. For the first 2/3 of the series, the opener is Brave Freak Out by Lisa followed by Axxxis which is also sung by the same singer. Claris does the first ending theme, Gravity while Garnidelia does the second one, Yakusoku -Promise Code-. For the third ending theme, Claris and Garnidelia combine unite and do a duet for Clever.

Overall, this isn’t entirely a bad anime per se. It’s badder because they killed off Mamiko Noto’s character and triggered my phobia last minute. Just kidding. But seriously. I know with all the criticisms that I have given, it is not as bad because at the end of it, I was still somewhat ‘entertained’. Maybe all this bad review about this anime all boils down to our own biasness and prejudice. That has become our Code in looking this anime in a negative light. Because I am very sure that compared to a person like me who has watched so many animes and have come to form my own (unrealistic) expectations and hope, to another person who is new to anime, there would definitely be very disparaging comments. So maybe this series is trying to subtly hint that for us veteran anime viewers, if we could take away all the preconceptions and prejudgments that have been blinding us for a long time, this series is actually a good one if not a decent one for what it is worth. Or maybe this is just straight up a bad anime that even the blind can see how bad it is from miles away.

New Game

January 14, 2017

We have gone behind the scenes on how your weekly manga magazine is published. Then we have gone behind the scenes for a comprehensive understanding on how anime is produced (and scared the hell out of us lazybones who thought animes were easy). Then there are a few seemingly behind the scenes or the lives of seiyuus wannabes. And now it is time to come full circle to complete Japan’s famous modern age pop culture and exports: Video games. Ah yes. Would you like to know the workings behind a video game company? Then New Game might be the anime to watch if you are interested in becoming a programmer or designer of your own game. Well, at least that was what I thought at first. Because you know how games are usually marketed greatly with all that hype till the real deal comes out? Yeah… Now, I’m not going to spoil anything for now for this anime but this anime more of revolves around a group of girls working in a video game company and their antics/obstacles they face at work. Sort of.

Episode 1
Aoba Suzukaze just graduated from high school as she is eager to start her first day at work at a game company, Eagle Jump as a graphics designer. She is nervous but meets art director, Rin Toyama. Taking her work station for the first time, Aoba thought she heard a monster but it is Kou Yagami sleeping in her panties! Rin introduces her as they try to guess each other’s age. You know how animes screw up our perception of a character’s age, right? Aoba learns that Kou is the character design of her all time favourite game, Fairies Story. This makes Kou her boss now. After Aoba is introduced to the other staff, it seems it isn’t so well for the rest of her team members. They act funny and seemingly ignore her. Even when she introduced herself to Hifumi Takimoto, she didn’t respond. Aoba also sees a fat cat, Mozuku that belongs to the game director, Shizuku Hadzuki. She brings it to work since it is bored and might stir up trouble at home. Hadzuki is so laid back that her assistant, Umiko has to shoot BB pellets and take her away to remind her the meeting is starting. Aoba returns to work and it seems Hifumi converses with her via instant messaging. She isn’t good at talking and this is the best way she can converse. As Aoba has little knowledge on 3D programming, Kou gives her a thick textbook to read. You’re on your own. Seriously?! But with Hifumi’s help, Aoba manages to get by. During lunch time, the other team members are shy in trying to get Aoba to go out lunch with them. Eventually Hajime Shinoda asks her. But Hifumi declines to join them as she has never gone out to lunch with anyone. So Aoba joins Hajime and Yun Iijima for lunch. Back to work, Aoba needs to go to the toilet when Kou sees her sitting by the hallway depressed. Because she lacks an ID, she can’t enter certain rooms. Kou is quick to blame Rin for not processing an ID card for her but gets shot back when she was supposed to get a picture of Aoba in the first place. During the break, the girls talk about how the busy period is coming up. Hifumi dreads it because it means going home late or not at all. Like Kou who sleeps over here. Might as well call it her second home. But Kou is amazing since she does the workload of a few people. At the end of the day as they clock out, Aoba asks an important question that she couldn’t: What game are they making? Fairies Story 3. This gives her more motivation to work harder as this was this game that got her interested in becoming a graphics designer.

Episode 2
Aoba has gotten used to things at the office. But she still can’t get used to seeing Kou wake up in her panties. Yeah, the office is really like her home. As Aoba gets to work, Mozuku comes to fool around, Naturally Hadzuki also does the same and cheekily wants Aoba to ‘punish’ her! When Aoba finally asks Hifumi when she could join them for lunch, she replies she normally don’t as she has lunch back home. Why? Because she wants to eat with Soujirou. Her boyfriend?! No, her pet hedgehog. Oh… Aoba tries to encourage Hifumi to smile but she just looks weird. Very weird. So when Hifumi returns home to Soujirou and puts up a decent smile, the hedgehog ignores her. Is the hedgehog a moody one in the first place? Because of that, Hifumi ‘complains’ to Aoba that she got into a fight with Soujirou. You make it sound so ambiguous… Kou gives Aoba her first assignment and that is to design and create NPCs for the game’s villagers. But soon the designing team head to the restaurant as Aoba’s welcoming party. Kou then drops the question probably everyone would love to hear from Aoba: Does she have a boyfriend?! Flustered at first, she says no and asks the same question back at Kou. She flusters even more than her. So blame work? Rin doesn’t sound happy. Worse, she gets drunk and admits she has no boyfriend. Hifumi has issues ordering (because it involves using her voice, I guess) so Aoba helps order on her behalf. However she mispronounces some of the kanji and there are a few options in ordering this alcohol so eventually Hifumi has to speak up. Aoba gets curious to try Hifumi’s drink but is luckily stopped in time since it is against the law for people under 20 to drink. When the restaurant is about to close, Kou suggests another round. Rin and Aoba agree while Hajime takes sleeping Yun home. At the bar, Aoba thought she could call a harmless drink like a pro but didn’t realize it has alcoholic content.

Episode 3
Aoba wakes up late and you can bet she is panicking she’ll be late for work. On the train as late as her is Yun. Once alighted, they make a mad dash and Aoba is much slower than Yun! Kou chastises Aoba, Yun and even Hifumi for being late at the same time. But when they explain Aoba tripped and all her belongings fell out, they were helping to retrieve them and thus the reason they were late. Kou feels embarrassed for lashing out at them and won’t record their tardiness but still has them submit their late report. These noobs don’t even know how to write an official report as they even put down their real reason for being late (hence Kou can’t write it off) including with emoji. Once Aoba is done with her character model, she shows it to Kou. Although it is good, there is still the issue of shading and the character’s face being stiff. She shows Hifumi’s work as comparison. Aoba has to redo it again. Down at first, when Mozuku comes to play with her, Hadzuki hints she can play with it all she wants whenever she is feeling down. This gives Aoba motivation to work hard. But each time she submits, Kou rejects and has her redo it. This makes Aoba push herself as she works real hard and stays overtime to get it done. It’s getting late and she still hasn’t finished. So Rin had to stop her and walk home together. She advises her about this is what working life is all about. Normally the one she sent in this morning was okay. Aoba is confused if it is okay or not. Rin’s reasoning for Kou for her to redo her work is so that she doesn’t get complacent and not be satisfied with the normal line for what’s okay. Thus there is lots of expectation from her. Aoba gets a call from her childhood friend, Nene Sakura as they talk and update each other on their current lives. While talking about the NPC Aoba is designing, Nene’s input gives Aoba the much needed idea for a change. When Kou wakes up the next morning, she sees Aoba already at her work station. She has completed her design and shows it to her. She passes. Although it took her a week, Kou gives her next deadline to design another one in 3 days. Aoba isn’t sure and pleads for 4 days. However Kou intends to have her finish in 1 day! So is this the infamous can’t-go-home thingy that Hifumi fears? Well, if you finish you can go home…

Episode 4
Kou thought everyone has left so she takes off her skirt and makes herself at home as always. She didn’t realize Rin was still around. Be glad she was the only one who saw her. Since she missed the last train, she’ll be staying here too. They talk about stuffs like if the game will sell but all that is important to Kou is that the game must be good. Just when Kou is going to get back to work, the worst fear of every programmer ever: The computer freezes! FFFFUUUUUU!!!! Ah well, time to start back at square one. Next morning as Rin wakes up and sees Kou sleeping in her panties, she gets this curiosity if sleeping with them would feel refreshing. So she takes off her skirt just to try it and what do you know? Kou saw her! Embarrassed? Be glad she was the only one who saw her. Just then Aoba just came in. I suppose she was too focused on work so she didn’t see them. However she heard weird sounds and checks it out. The most shocking discovery ever. Because Rin was trying to hush Kou, this ambiguous scene looked like they were having some hot lesbian make out! When everyone is talking and nobody is listening… Later Rin gives everyone their pay. This is Aoba’s first paycheque. Aoba is surprised if she should get this much. She earned it for staying late and completing her tasks. Chirpy Hajime tells her to keep up the good work and she might get a raise. Looks like she got one herself. Rin also talks to them about their yearly evaluation. Apparently Hajime isn’t from the same design team as them but the animation. It’s because her department lacks space so she is put here. Then they talk about what they did about their first pay like Hifumi bought cosplay but won’t elaborate further. Because spending your first paycheque is important as it leaves behind memories, Aoba is advised to think carefully about it. Hey, it’s her money. On her way home, she contemplates about clothes but realizes this suit her parents bought her was pretty expensive. So she ends up buying cake for everyone. Meanwhile Kou and Rin take a break by heading to the spa. Yeah, those ambiguous actions make it look like they’re making out. Rin thought Kou is going to ask an important question but it turns out to be a question all women hate: Did she get fat? Time to die…

Episode 5
Hajime shows Aoba the animation work she did on her character design. When Rin’s tablet pen isn’t working, it would be feasible to ask around if any other department has extra but Kou sends Hajime and Aoba to go buy one. At the store, Aoba realizes she left her wallet back at her table. It is worse for Hajime. She might have dropped it! But good news when Aoba returns to get her wallet. She saw Hajime’s wallet on her table too. Somebody’s getting pretty absentminded lately. Hajime is so happy that she acts out of character and this freaks out Kou. Since summer is here, the temperature outside is sizzling. Aoba wonders why Yun still wears long sleeve. She can’t say but the real reason is to hide he flabby arms. Since the office’s air-conditioning is getting too cold, Hajime turns up the thermostat. Yun is sweating like hell but thinks this might be good as she can burn some fat in this heat. Obviously Kou can’t take the heat so she turns down the thermostat. This cycle repeats a few more times before Kou decides to hide and catch the person in the act. Yun feeling comfortable fears she won’t burn away the fat and goes adjust the thermostat. Kou catches her in the act and since Yun can’t say the real reason, it makes her more suspicious. Then Hajime pops up and claims she is the one who was adjusting the thermostat. Because Yun also wants it hot, she claims majority wins. But it is going to get hotter when Rin blows her top when they are fooling around. As long as they cannot compromise, no one is allowed to touch the thermostat. Period. Wow. She’s also the coolest too. One early morning when Aoba is in early, she sits on Kou’s chair. Hifumi almost got the wrong idea if she has some sort of weird fetish. They talk to Rin about Kou’s old personality because it seems when she first started working here, she wasn’t very sociable. But ever since, she is starting to improve herself and just being true to herself. They’re glad they are getting along well with her. Aoba contemplates how she should act before Kou but Hifumi gets depressed thinking it would be hard for herself to change. When Kou enters, Aoba notices a big bag. She is going to stay here for a few days and it carries her clothes and other essentials. It seems she finds it easier to work at night. Aoba thinks she still doesn’t like interacting with people but nevertheless voices her support. Meanwhile Hifumi talks about the need to change her character to Soujirou. Screw you! Leave the hedgehog out of your human problems! Just feed him the food and not tease him!

Episode 6
With Aoba finishing her task, Kou hands her a new character design task. This time there is a specification list and unknown to Aoba, the character is modelled after her! Her character has a crueller fate: She dies! Aoba later tries the demo version of the game which is of course still work in progress. It really feels her hard work and everybody else’s come together seamlessly. When Hajime fantasizes about becoming the boss of this company, Kou quickly cuts her off and says she’ll quit the first thing! Everybody else too. On Aoba’s day off, she meets up with Nene to go see a movie, Moon Ranger. Because Nene looks younger than she is, she thought she hasn’t made any friends and thus the reason she accepted hanging out with her. You think too much… Of course the duo can’t help act like kids at times and even the staffs think they are as they look the part. Aoba finishes her popcorn and Nene offers her. But when she comments how fattening it is, Aoba puts her temptation on hold. Note: The movie must be screwed up if they have this alien baddie dude wearing a bra!!! Back to work, Aoba notices Rin and Kou are called for a meeting. They discuss what goes on in there and it seems the directors and other department leaders will sort out any issues faced. Then Aoba throws in the question of what if there are really issues. Will production get stopped? Hopefully not! Once the duo are out of the meeting, they relay the bad news. As Rin has miscalculated, her team needs to work overtime or come in on their day off. Of course they will be compensated monetarily. While the rest opt for coming in their day off, Aoba decides to stay overnight with Kou. But after a few hours working into the night, she has already fallen asleep on her table. Kou nudges her to go sleep since she bought her sleeping bag. However Aoba finds it hard to sleep since the figurines are like staring at her. So why go bug Kou about this? Just go sleep in the meeting room. Next morning when Kou wakes up and prepares for work, she realizes Aoba is still in the meeting room. She quickly knocks on the door to wake her up as employees are starting to stream in. She’s still sleeping…

Episode 7
Umiko sees Aoba and gets straight to her point that her character models are causing errors. All of them. This is causing the programming department she is in a big headache as the errors pile up. Aoba never thought there was anything wrong because Kou never taught her about it. This annoys Umiko about Kou for not teaching stuffs to her junior. Aoba hears a scathing comment when Umiko notes all the graphics department cares about is looking good. When Aoba asks Umiko for her surname, she is reluctant to tell. Till Kou shows up and calls her Ahagon in which Umiko instantly fires into her. She is from Okinawa and her family name of course makes it sound weird. She wants Aoba to call her given name. She will call her by that. Once Aoba has fixed the errors, Umiko returns to thank her and also apologize for being mean. To make it up, she gives Aoba a real shotgun shell! This is where Umiko starts ranting her love for airsoft and Aoba has no way of getting out of this conversation till Kou jumps in. So they decide to give her airsoft thing a try. At the rooftop which is supposedly her training ground, Umiko is seriously all geared up. It’s like she’s going to war. Once the rest suit up, Umiko demonstrates her deadly accuracy. Then Umiko and Kou get into a western style duo but end up pumping bullets into each other. Aoba isn’t sure if they get along well or not. The staffs are given a medical examination at a hotel. They see how ‘traumatized’ Kou is and this puts them under unnecessary pressure. Although Hifumi is attended by an old experienced nurse, the trauma causes her to act unnaturally. Aoba gets a panicky young and new inexperienced nurse. So much so Aoba is the one telling her to calm down! She’s clumsy too! Watch out for the injection! I don’t really know how she passed her nursing exam. Because of this, Hajime and Yun pray hard to get the old nurse. Unfortunately she is going out for a while. Holy sh*t… The young nurse is so panicky that Umiko got annoyed and just did the injection herself!!! Badass! Yun thought her tummy size was okay when her measurements were taken. Then when she hears the nurse praising Hajime’s tummy, she gets jealous. Yours not good enough? Once the examination is over, some head back quickly to work because it is that time of year where they’ll get busy. A time where they also hire part timers for debugging. But what does airsoft has got to do with this since Umiko tries to persuade Aoba to try it out in her spare time. She’ll pass.

Episode 8
College’s out for 2 months for Nene and she’s bragging about it to Aoba. She doesn’t get the summer off… Nene sees an ad for part time debugging for Eagle Jump and applies. Umiko is in charge of newbies and she almost fired Nene for being late on the first day! Because Umiko is trying to look for Aoba, this suspicious act has Umiko think she is a corporate spy! When Aoba spots Nene, she instinctively goes to hide. Thinking she wants to surprise her, Aoba acts well enough to make her presence known but enough to make Nene think she hasn’t noticed her. As Nene tries to approach her, Umiko catches her thinking she is snooping around. You sure you’re not a spy? After Aoba explains and introduces Nene to her seniors, Nene gets straight to debugging. During lunch time, Aoba introduces her other colleagues to Nene and they think Nene looks like a kid. Hadzuki as usual has a habit of jumping in and even teases if Nene was a spy, she would really divulge all the company secrets since she is so cute. Nene spends the entire day testing and now she realizes how tough this job can be. Umiko thinks she is slacking but sees her notes of bugs so she’s actually doing her job. When Kou is suddenly in despair, it turns out somebody ate her pudding in the fridge. Oh my. That guilty look on Nene’s face. Yup. She was the one. To apologize or to keep quiet… Later Rin sends out a company-wide email for the pudding thief to see her and promises she won’t scold. Wow. It has gotten that serious? Nene is in a dilemma to turn herself in but couldn’t help imagine the repercussions on Aoba. She runs away before Rin. Next day, Aoba buys Kou a pudding for her hard work. Nene is visibly guilty and Rin can guess why. She goes back to the fridge to see another pudding and an apology note from the supposed thief. Rin then hypothetically speaks how the thief secretly came to apologise yesterday. Despite her email making it hard for her to apologise, she can tell how sorry she is. She hopes everyone won’t be so harsh on her. Nene once thought the company is a scary place but is glad Aoba is surrounded by great and kind people.

Episode 9
Nene tries to look up an NPC’s skirt. She did it! It works! Umiko is not happy she is fooling around and is supposed to report this bug but Hadzuki explains this is a hidden feature in the game. Rin is feeling unwell so Kou takes her back and nurses her. Because of that, the other girls start chatting and even Nene joins in. Hifumi feels the need to tell them to get back to work and by the time she is ready to do so, Umiko has already lectured them all. Umiko then talks to Nene why did she come work here in the first place. Is it because her friend is working here? Nene replies Aoba was in a dilemma to pursue her studies and instead decided to come out and work to fulfil her dream. She is just worried for her wellbeing having being her friend since young. She promises she won’t screw around in a company that Aoba treasures working at. Later Umiko tells of a change in schedule because the wiring company is scheduled to come in tomorrow to check the cabling and wires so the girls will not be able to use their computers. Nene is glad this means Aoba will have some spare time. However Aoba realizes the importance of the schedule and with lots of corrections to come in the next few days, she decides to sleepover to cover for tomorrow’s work. The rest of the girls also have the same idea. We see them working great for the first few hours but then exhaustion starts to creep in. Hifumi then suggests going to a nearby public bath. Girls relaxing in the bath… Nothing much to see here… Next morning, Aoba feels refreshed and has slept well. She makes her way home and calls Nene. With how good Aoba sounds, Nene gets the wrong idea she fooled around last night! Kou is also out of the picture as she has got Rin’s cold and Rin hasn’t recovered enough. Nene brought this fate upon herself because as she is admiring the gun collection in Umiko’s station, she accidentally dropped her cake on the table. Now Umiko has Nene transfer her PC next to her table so she can keep an eye on her and make sure she concentrates on her debugging work. No more playing around! Aoba can’t help you this time.

Episode 10
Aoba comes in early to work on the weekend and on the way she bumps into Kou. They bought doughnuts on sale for the rest of their colleague but it seems Hifumi has also done the same. Aoba notices that the company’s policy forbids part timers to work overtime especially on weekends because otherwise they might get paid higher than the staffs! This has Aoba wonder if this wages law is just a loophole for cheaper wages! She might have opened a can of worms as Kou wants to ‘talk’ to her about this… Aoba and Hifumi go give some doughnuts to Umiko’s department who is swamped with work thanks to Nene’s diligence in spotting bugs. As thanks, she wants to give them a bullet shell. No thanks. Better go before she persuades you to join in another airsoft game. When they return to their place, Hajime and Yun have also bought doughnuts. More doughnuts overload when Rin and Hadzuki also bought some. However Hadzuki has bought senbei to go with it. Sweet and salty treats. Can they finish all of that? When Nene comments about Eagle Jump’s weird working policy to work on weekends, Aoba shoots back that the college life must be so easy and laidback. No reports to write that she has to come work part time? This causes a rift in their friendship. So Nene talks to Umiko about it. Aoba does get mad. Well, at least when she saved her from boys bullying her. For lunch, both avoid inviting the other. Aoba has to make do with Kou since Rin ‘dumped’ her too while her other colleagues are busy. Nene feels bad while eating alone so Umiko hints there is still time left till end of break time. This has Nene rushing to go find and make up with Aoba. Too bad she is out for an errand. When they finally meet, Nene trips and is literally flying! Funny! A cue for them to patch up and become best friends again. You can tell it worked when Nene’s mood is ultra happy. But then she accidentally trips on the power plug and disconnects Umiko’s PC!!! OH SH*T!!!! Did she save her work? Anyhow she is still going to get it!

Episode 11
Kou has Aoba and co visit the game expo today since Fairies Story 3 will be on preview. It will be good experience for them. We get a glimpse of its trailer and it is no surprise Aoba and co are astonished. They get motivated when they hear positive feedback from the crowd so when they return, they put in their best for this final stretch. Hifumi has been ‘missing’ since she was doing cosplay at the expo and even ‘testing’ the game there. One day Aoba forgot to pick her suits up at the cleaners so she had to pick another for work. She can’t decide and eventually let her mom decide. Thus she looks a bit different when Kou sees her. But Kou is going to get her own dressing down by Rin for a photo shoot. Kou dislikes dressing up since she doesn’t look too feminine. Eventually whatever tricks Kou pulled, she still has to change and get her photos taken. She looks decently cute and even Aoba noted it wasn’t some photography trick, the reason why she couldn’t recognize her when she first came here! Is that an insult? Umiko is already stressed with all the errors and programming and here comes Nene with another debugging report. Well, not her fault. She has Nene go buy drinks and snacks since everyone else will be staying over to finish it. I guess Umiko still doesn’t trust her and sends Aoba to keep a watch on her. Nene thinks buying the expensive energy drinks will help. You don’t know how wrong it is because Umiko blows her top. The fatigue must be getting to her. But when she tries it out, her tiredness is gone! Miracle? Nene and Aoba try it but their taste buds are like children. Since this is the last day for part timers, this means today (or the dead hours of the morning) would be the last for Nene. Wow. It’s like an emotional goodbye as Nene hopes Aoba’s colleagues will take care of her. It’s not like the end of the world or they’ll never see each other again. Yeah, Nene is crying the hardest…

Episode 12
Aoba and co are outside the game store as Fairies Story 3 goes on release today. Although the company has given each staff a free copy, why do they need to stand in line? Because you buy the game, you get limited edition of freebies! Uh huh. The company had to cut cost so the staffs only get the game. Nene and Hajime are so in sync with each other it’s like they’ve been friends forever with the same thinking and actions. It seems they have gone to different stores to get different editions of bonus goods. Despite the company has some recordings, I guess it is the experience of waiting in line at stores that counts. So happy they are that they accidentally disclose some information about the game’s final boss. This causes a few around to hear them. Panic then sets in especially for Rin because they could be fired if they leaked game info! Oh no. It is already spreading on social media sites! Oh sh*t!!! Thankfully those comments are those from people who stayed up all night to clear the game. Phew. Imagine what Umiko would do to Nene if she actually found out about it… Umiko shows them an article interviewing their company for this game. What’s so special? A picture of a feminine Kou! Everyone wants to buy the magazine now but Kou is swamped with embarrassment.

There is a post production party and all those involved from developing to marketing the game are invited. Nervous Kou gives her thank you speech followed by Hadzuki before they toast. Nene joins the raffles and won a prize: A military rifle. Looks like her fate will always connect her back to Umiko. Although Nene doesn’t like her prize very much, she takes on the challenge to research about the gun and will disclose what she finds in the next debugging job. However Umiko says that won’t happen since the company will be outsourcing debugging to another company. Nene so sad… Umiko gives her some hope in the form of her name card to contact her if she needs to get in touch. Hadzuki approaches Kou because she wants to promote her as art director as Rin plans to become a producer and work with the current one. However this leaves Kou very shocked like as though she didn’t see this coming and didn’t want this in the first place. Hadzuki tells Aoba that Rin once helmed that position during Fairies Story 2. She worked so hard but didn’t get the desired results. This led to frustration and clashed with those around her. It caused a newbie like Aoba’s age to quit. It was a bad experience for Kou. Aoba then goes to talk to Kou feeling depressed outside. After getting her to sign on her game copy, she thanks her for everything. She might not know much about her past but the way she is now, she can respect her as her boss. This means Aoba is going to stick with her thick and thin. This gives Kou lots of hope as she returns and joins the party. But Kou and Rin might have too much to drink as a surveillance camera catches them sobering up on the roadside while Aoba tries to negotiate with a policewoman. And then Nene came by with her gun… Oh sh*t!

Game Over. Restart Or Sequel?
Well… If you really want to know what goes on behind in the workings of a game company or at least how a game is produced, then you’d be sorely disappointed. Because after the great insights that we have seen in Shirobako and the trials and tribulations in Bakuman, this one didn’t even come close. Sure, we see some graphic design and some programming but those are so minimal that they don’t even matter. I am not sure if I can classify this show as the cute girls doing cute things genre because programming games aren’t really the cutest thing especially when you have all the headache of debugging and testing to do. Besides, the way they are seen doing their job isn’t in a cute fashion either.

Therefore watching this anime in hoping to learn something great feels like what big AAA games in the west are now these days. They play on your hype with all the great marketing and advertising and when the real deal comes on release day, nothing but disappointment. Now, I’m not saying that this anime is bad but partly I myself am to blame for hoping that this series would be something like this. Also, I didn’t really read the manga that this anime was adapted from so I didn’t really know about the plot when I decided to jump in and watch. Did they say something about how games are made in a game company? Nope. My fault. Even the synopsis didn’t say anything about it. Just about a newly hired girl and the rest of her colleagues working in a game company. That’s all. I guess I read too much and misplaced my hopes too much. While it does bring in the occasional laughs, there isn’t anything ground breaking to expect either.

At least where this anime is concerned, everything for the production to the release of the game seems to go on quite smoothly. I doubt it would be such a happy and smooth ride in the world but let’s not get mixed up with reality for a while. So to see the girls finishing up all their work and meeting the expected deadline is indeed a happy ending and thus a feel good factor to end the season. Heck, better than being stuck in development hell, right? So whether or not Fairies Story 3 will be a commercial success is another story because well, money brings in a potential for a sequel, right? I’m sure the Fairies Story isn’t planned out as a trilogy. But that’s just me speculating on things.

The characters… Some of them are interesting but some are boring. Personally, I find Aoba’s group of colleagues to be boring although they have varied personalities. Because like Aoba she just feels generic. Although as the newest girl in town (or in this case the company), it feels like she has settled in very quickly and before you know it, you’d think she has been an old staff like the rest. Well, it is good to always fit in and adapt to your surroundings. Other than that, nothing really stands out about her except for the irony that her small stature sometimes has her being mistaken as a middle school student. Oh, and the fact she dresses up nicely in her formal suit just to do character design. Because people doing her kind of job are usually dressed very casually like you see as the rest of her colleagues. First impression counts, right? I guess this dispels that game developers are hippie people with unkempt long hair and jeans.

Aoba’s friends in the same department are also boring. Hajime loves the sentai genre and loves buying its props while Yun is your typical girl concerned about her weight and thus has to diet. Hifumi is the obligatory shy girl of the series who loves to cosplay but the only amusing thing about her is her penchant to talk it out with her pet hedgehog who really is the ‘star’ among the duo. Because the hedgehog don’t really give any f*cks what she is saying and is only interested in what she feeds him. If he was blue and had shoes, he could have run away and far from her, get what I’m saying? Haha! As for their seniors, I only remember Kou as the girl who sleeps in her panties in office. Really. Rin? Nice girl. That’s all.

Therefore the most interesting character of them all in my opinion is Nene because of her tendency to cause trouble whether it is her fault or not. In a way, she brings life to the department that is already plagued with overworking, late nights and trying to meet deadlines. Yeah, she should just quit college and get hired here quickly. Life at Eagle Jump would be more interesting then because she is the joker of the series with many of the laughs coming from her antics. Only the constant supervision of Umiko should put her in place. The mere presence of her would send shivers down her spine. Uh huh. It is the case of being constantly guilty. As though Nene must always have done something wrong. Speaking of Umiko, calling her the series ‘antagonist’ might be too far fetch. Because her job is one of the most stressful considering she has to debug and reprogram any problems found. You don’t want to release of game full of bugs on your release day, would you? Oh yeah. Just release a day 1 patch… So by being the meanest of the lot (that itself might be an overstatement), she keeps those who are laidback in line. To show that she is not merely a working robot, we see her have interest in airsoft. Another sign not to mess with her because nothing is more dangerous than a girl with guns.

Last but not least, Hadzuki. I noticed this very laidback director has a penchant of popping up just about anywhere. Like as though she has this teleport ability. But when she does, she has some good advice or treats. You might be asking if being at the top must be very relaxing for her. Well, you don’t know what you see. It could be a whole lot worse than everybody else’s job. Or it could be the easiest. We don’t know because we are never shown what she really does in her office. Or if she is even there to begin with.

I’m not trying to be or sound like a sexist here but do you not realize that the entire Eagle Jump company is only made out of females? Do girls make better programmers? I don’t think that is even a valid question. It’s like saying only guys play video games when there are as much girls out there who play video games too. Even the staffs in other departments are all females. Does this company have a female only hire policy? Well, as I learnt later on, Hadzuki does have a penchant for cute girls and thus the reason why her staffs are all females. Is this why she always goes to ‘disturb’ the girls at work from time to time?

Art and drawing style aren’t anything much to shout about too. Because all the girls look cute enough as distraction and to focus on them. Especially in some episodes we get our pantsu fanservice because Kou likes to strip down to her undies whenever she stays overnight at the office. Yeah, might as well since the office is like her second home. Or is it her first? With bright and vivid colours and backgrounds, it sure makes this anime about making games looking a lot happy instead of being stressful. I mean, I haven’t seen how real programmers look like when they’re rushing for deadlines, but I believe they can’t be looking all this cute and their best from start to finish, right? Right?! This series is animated by Doga Kobo who also did Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Plastic Memories, YuruYuri, Himouto! Umaru-chan, Love Lab, Luck & Logic, Sansha Sanyou, Koihime+Musou, GJ-Bu and Mangirl.

Voice acting, I didn’t recognize anybody despite there are a couple of seiyuus I should like Eri Kitamura as Hadzuki (also doubling as Mozuku) and Youko Hikasa as Kou. The rest of the casts are mainly unknowns or newbies such as Yuuki Takada as Aoba (Rin Kurosawa in Aikatsu), Megumi Yamaguchi as Hifumi (Koharu Nanakura as Aikatsu Stars), Megumi Toda as Hajime (Yuzu in Sakura Trick), Ayumi Takeo as Yun (Eri Sajou in Aikatsu Stars), Madoka Asahina as Nene (Mai in Pan De Peace), Chitose Morinaga as Umiko (Karen in Shomin Sample) and the only veteran being Ai Kayano as Rin (Mashiro in Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo). Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Fourfolium (basically the voices behind Aoba, Hifumi, Hajime and Yun). Sakura Skip is the opener and sounds like your typical all-girl group idol pop while Now Loading as the ending theme also sounds like your all-girl group idol music but with a hint of rock in it. Well, both songs don’t really appeal much to me.

Overall, this is still a fun and enjoyable anime. It just didn’t meet my personal expectations that I thought it would be workings of a game company. But still, a good anime to watch if you want to watch cute girls doing something. And that something here is making games. Next time when a game is released and you critically called it bad and one of the worst games ever played, just remember the hours put in to develop and making the end product despite all the numerous glitches, bugs, crashes and falling short of expectations. But then again, I’m not going to tell game developers how to do their job. A bad game is still a bad game no matter what the problem is/was. And how dare you charge a full retail price on such a lousy game?!

Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu

January 13, 2017

Normally I would stay as far away from the BL or yaoi genre. Those are for fujoshi, right? You know, girls who enjoy seeing men make out with each other. But what happens when there are guys who also like to see this?! Isn’t that full on gay? I don’t know. They’re called fudanshi by the way. I wouldn’t have picked up Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu if not for my curiosity of thinking how funny this anime can get and weird for a guy who is into BL. It is like a guy taking ballet lessons, right? It is rare but possible. Plus, this series is only 3 minutes long so there is no danger of me turning gay with such short duration ;p. I hope this series won’t be spamming about hot guys making out with each other and being stalked by a male peeper. Yeesh… Hair standing on ends right now…

Episode 1
Ryou Sakaguchi is a fudanshi. He is not happy that the manga store has labelled the BL corner for girls. This makes it harder for him to go get his manga. Although he manages to get it, the biggest problem now is paying through the cashier. He can tell from this newbie’s reaction that he is shocked in seeing what kind of manga he purchased. Worst, he is being stereotype as a gay. Of course Sakaguchi as he complains to his best friend, Toshiaki Nakamura (not a fudanshi by the way) about this stigma. Sakaguchi might like BL but he is certainly not into guys. Huh? What? He explains something about reading it to be fulfilled and admire someone else’s happiness. Sakaguchi is also on this forum for BL lovers, SNS. Nakamura reads an entry about being groped, which was something he told him last week. He is using their talk as story fodder? Nakamura warns him not to use him in his stories. But Sakaguchi reveals his dream to have more fudanshi friends. So why doesn’t he find more on SNS? Because the internet isn’t forgiving. Like how? When he posted a picture of a cake, everyone thought he was a girl. First world problems…

Episode 2
While taking the train, Sakaguchi sees a couple of guys close together and believes they are into each other. Nakamura isn’t too fond that he jumped to such conclusions. If he loves BL so much, why didn’t he enrol in a school for boys only? Guys in such schools fall for each other because there are no girls around. Now, if guys fall for guys even though there are girls around, that is even more exciting. It’s the kind of BL he is looking for. Then Nakamura points out a couple of boys who may fall into that category. Akira Ueda seems to enjoy being the gopher for Yuujirou Shiratori. Sakaguchi is not convinced so he asks Ueda if he is his b*tch! Ueda denies. He is in love with him! He likes Shiratori because he has both traits of a guy and girl. This makes him double strong. Can’t argue with that. Sakaguchi and Shiratori are called to join a mixer to even the gender balance. However if Ueda is coming along, Sakaguchi wonders the need to be here. Oh, that guy is just to carry stuffs. So he isn’t even human? So all the girls hound around Shiratori. The other guys are ignored… Then they wonder about Ueda. Shiratori assures them he is only here to carry their stuffs so don’t mind him. If it doesn’t get weirder than this, one of the girls asks Ueda if he has a girlfriend and his reply is that he belongs to Shiratori. What a way to ruin the mood.

Episode 3
A new BL manga comes out and Nakamura is feeling uneasy accompanying Sakaguchi go get it. Ironically this time Sakaguchi isn’t shy to hide himself from the girls. He could also have got this manga from normal bookstores but depending on which store there are extra freebies thrown in. When Sakaguchi is helping to carry a box, he accidentally bumps into a girl, Rumi Nishihara. The other guys note he doesn’t get along well with real girls compared to fujoshi ones over SNS. As long as they talk about their same love for their BL fetish, everything else doesn’t matter. However he points out that fujoshi are also very dangerous. For example he shows them their tweets and they are very crazy and dangerous stuffs they want to fantasize doing like sneaking under their bed and watch them close up or licking them 24 billion times!!!! Sakaguchi thinks fujoshi aren’t everywhere but he sees Nishihara looking through SNS. Comrade? Before you know it, they become very good friends. They are squealing in delight they never knew a ‘comrade’ was this close. They exchange contact details and Sakaguchi is amazed this is his first contact from a girl.

Episode 4
Sakaguchi and Nishihara discuss a yaoi pairing. While Sakaguchi doesn’t like official pairings because it takes the fun out of fantasizing, Nishihara prefers it official. Nakamura thought they are fighting but they clear the air that they are just discussing. Really? They looked like they’re going to fight. She explains terms like seme and uke to Nakamura but he doesn’t get it. For some reason, Shiratori starts molesting Nakamura’s butt! This makes Sakaguchi mad because they’re supposed to do such things when his hands are free! Nishihara’s friend, Kana asks about her getting along with Sakaguchi lately. She can’t expose his fudanshi ways so she mentions something about watching over each other’s forbidden love and console the other for their unfulfilled desires. Kana doesn’t get it. Sakaguchi wants Nishihara to accompany him to somewhere. It is the BL section for girls. This way he doesn’t have to worry as it will look like him accompanying her. She then suggests to go to a place where he cannot go without her. The shoujo corner. This is much harder than BL stuff.

Episode 5
Shiratori is also the president of the cooking club and makes good food. Because Sakaguchi always freeloads on him, Shiratori cheekily hints he will have to pay back with his body someday… For now I guess he just do the dishes. Shiratori then introduces a club member, Keiichi who joined the club to help his childhood friend, Reiji. Sakaguchi becomes ecstatic learning there is BL potential but this scares Keiichi and giving him the wrong idea. Keiichi then describes Reiji who is just useless and carefree. Because he mocked his cooking, the reason he joined to prove him wrong. With Reiji around, Keiichi introduces him to Sakaguchi. Still the carefree dude, he describes their ‘wonderful’ times together. It always seem Reiji is the cause for Keiichi’s troubles. Especially the reason why he is now afraid to get a girlfriend! Because when the mood was going good for them, Keiichi interrupts by coming in between them. From the window! Naturally their relationship ended. But for Reiji, he doesn’t think his best friend need a girlfriend as long as he has him! Yeah… Sakaguchi might consider Reiji a jerk but he couldn’t be thankful enough for this BL potential.

Episode 6
Nishihara invites Sakaguchi to a doujin event, Comima. This will be his debut of such events and despite nervous, he must have underestimated it because he didn’t bring enough cooling and hydrating stuffs for the long wait in the sun. Even Nishihara came prepared also got ‘defeated’. Oh, did I mention the train packed with people too? Sakaguchi gets signatures from his favourite BL authors. Of course those female authors are puzzled that a guy is reading BL. Sakaguchi sees a BL doujin that has the protagonists looking familiar like Shiratori and Nakamura. Turns out the author is Daigo, the guy from next door’s class. This guy likes BL too and so much of it that he decided to make his own series and ended up using some of his friends as references. On the way home, Sakaguchi’s bag breaks. It is horrifying when the public knows what kind of manga you read. When Nishihara offers her bag, he sees the Shiratori x Nakamura print on it. Don’t tell me…

Episode 7
Sakaguchi almost gives the wrong idea when he says he went one step further with Nishihara. To Comima, that is. Because he says he also wants to go to the sea and watch fireworks, Nakamura thinks it is weird for him to say such normal things. Well, he thought at such places where couples spend time together, he thought he could see some BL-like scenarios. Nakamura then sees the doujinshi of him and Shiratori… Oh sh*t… Sakaguchi learns Nakamura saved and bought a pair of limited edition shoes costing 30,000 Yen. He thinks he is mad but then is made to relate his own similar experience. He bought a limited doujinshi for 6,000 Yen when originally it cost 400 Yen. Nishihara too had something similar. She wanted to buy a nice dress but it cost 4,000 Yen and gave up. But she ended up buying it online as limited edition for 6,000 Yen. Nakamura wonders why he needs to accompany Sakaguchi and Nishihara to a doujinshi store. They even separate to buy at different sections, leaving the poor normal guy alone. He waits outside and despite it took them a long time, they didn’t buy much. Because most of the stuffs were for over 18 anyway.

Episode 8
Nishihara tells Sakaguchi that Kana thinks they’re going out. Of course that’s not the case since Sakaguchi only sees her as a fujoshi partner. However Sakaguchi shocks us by saying there is a girl he recently likes! She isn’t from a manga either. As he describes her, Nakamura feels it is getting more confusing. Later Nakamura sees Shiratori putting on a girl’s wig. It’s his club’s cross-dressing day. Then he realizes this must be the ‘girl’ Sakaguchi must be talking about. Nakamura gets cheeky saying ambiguous stuffs like Sakaguchi is having a crush on him. This excites Shiratori and doesn’t want him to tell Sakaguchi. This is going to get awkward. Sakaguchi then comes in and sees this beautiful ‘girl’ who wants to kiss him! Nakamura won’t allow this and stops them but it gets complicated when Ueda steps in and won’t allow Sakaguchi to have this ‘girl’! I guess dumbasses don’t make their words clear because it only confuses Sakaguchi even further when Ueda claims Shiratori is only his and have a ‘crush’ on this ‘girl’. Shiratori is loving every bit of this…

Episode 9
BL version for Halloween? I’m sure the BL freaks would love it. Nishihara wants Sakaguchi and Nakamura to cross-dress but they are against it. Since she throws a tantrum, they agree. My, they look hideous. When Shiratori sees this, he blows his top and shows it how it’s done. Man, they look better now. Nishihara lost as a woman… Even more so when Shiratori makes Nishihara cuter. And how the heck is Ueda cuter than Nishihara?! This guy is really talented. As they make food for Halloween, notice how the guys are using ambiguous words while carving out the pumpkin? “It’s pretty hard”, “It feels good when it’s all clean inside”, “Look at all the stuff that came out”… Sakaguchi realizes too late that he just gave Nishihara the best Halloween fanservice.

Episode 10
The gang prays at the shrine. Nakamura tricks the BL lovers into revealing their wishes. Sakaguchi wants all the gays in the world to be happy! Nishihara wants to buy all the BL manga from the circle she wants. You know what they say about wishes don’t come true when you reveal them… Working in this shrine is Keiichi’s sister, Yukari. Nishihara starts fawning over a real life miko priestess. But Yukari may not be all innocent as she looks. Deep down, she is trying to control herself from unleashing her savage desires on her brother! Yukari and Nishihara talk about the hit or miss about lucky bags in which Yukari usually ends up buying them. Of course Nishihara notes if she’d spend that kind of money, she would prefer to do it all on BL instead. When they leave, Sakaguchi realizes he has not much money left. Apparently not only during New Years that those BL lovers are in such dire straits. Something about not being able to buy a 28 page doujin for 500 Yen.

Episode 11
It is Valentine’s Day but why is Sakaguchi excited? Well, he might be into BL but he isn’t gay. Yeah, my head hurts thinking about this. Anyway, Sakaguchi is looking forward to chocolates but he got none in his shoe locker. Even more depressing is him mentioning he would prefer to be at a doujin event instead of dating a girl. But Nakamura has a love letter in his locker. It is his first. Sakaguchi stays optimistic. It could be from a guy… From Miyuki Takei. Sounds like a girl. Maybe he read it wrongly. It could read as Yoshiyuki. Thankfully they see she is a girl. Sakaguchi ever the optimist thinks she might look girly on the outside but underneath all that she might have a dick! Trap?! Nakamura confronts her and she gives him not chocolates but a hair accessory. She likes making them and always thought he has beautiful hair and hopes he will put it on. Sakaguchi is laughing his ass off. He tells this to Nishihara and she casually gives him chocolates since it has design of an anime he likes. Nakamura is irked they are so normal and yet their relationship is not happening. Nishihara has also given her chocolates to someone else. However that person is a 2D manga character and she’ll have to live with the fact that she will never get anything in return.

Episode 12
When Sakaguchi says he intends to take up a part time job, Nakamura thinks it is to observe a romance blossoming between male co-workers. Actually he wants to save up to buy a new BL manga at Comima. Well, at least it is still a BL reason in the end. When Daigo hears this, he hopes Sakaguchi can help out. He agrees seeing Daigo knows one of the authors. At the booth, Sakaguchi envies Daigo who has good looks and is a hit with the ladies. Daigo insists Sakaguchi is also popular. Well, that is only because with the guys sitting close together, the other guys are happy fantasizing a potential BL about them. You freaking out, Sakaguchi? And yes, Nishihara is one of those who enjoyed this. After the event, they talk how they started liking BL. Sakaguchi happened to stumble upon it in a bookstore and find it surprisingly good. For Nishihara, her mom and sister are fujoshi. So naturally, right? Nakamura sees Sakaguchi and Nishihara heading to the bookstore to check for new volumes. He apologizes for interrupting their date but they in sync protests they aren’t. Everyone has this annoyed looks… Frustrating, right?

Men Make Better Lovers?
Well, good thing it wasn’t that bad. The BL and yaoi elements are only used as comedy and are so mild that I won’t even classify it as a yaoi series. You know how mild that lesbian series, Sasameki Koto was? This series isn’t even that close to that sort of mildness. Safe enough for young kids to watch. Woah! Okay, the thought of males making out with each other may already be the alarming signs but what I meant was that other than this setting and their slightly twisted thought of ‘romance’, this series is pretty much safe for anybody. If you just want to have a few laughs about this topic, this series is light enough to do the trick. Or maybe this is light enough as an appetizer to get you hooked into BL? Yikes, thank goodness I didn’t.

Thanks to the short duration of the series, there won’t be very much to draw on especially the characters. Because we will all know who they are right when they appear the first time to the end. Like Sakaguchi as the rare male fudanshi but as mind boggling as it is he isn’t totally gay because as he said himself he might love the genre of yaoi but that doesn’t mean he has to be gay himself. I think this is true because we all tend to jump the gun that if you like such gay stuffs, you’re 100% gay. For example, we like to play first person shooter games doesn’t mean we are all gun freaks and like to go around shooting people, right? I think there is a clear division with what you like and what you are and I believe that this series subtly hinting that is good.

Other characters are also rather okay and also nothing much like Nakamura as your normal guy but so normal that he doesn’t even have his own girlfriend :’(. Yeah, pretty normal for guys his age but not normal when you think about this guy actually his quite good looks. This isn’t normal! But the good thing about him is that he accepts Sakaguchi and his fetish. If this was the real world, I think many of us would be forcing others to be normal. That’s not cool. Nakamura’s role feels like he is to play the rebuttal every time Sakaguchi goes into his BL fantasies. Well, I guess that is what a normal person should do each time his gay friend does or says something like that.

Then there is Nishihara as Sakaguchi’s partner in crime in BL. Unlike Sakaguchi, we aren’t sure if Nishihara is really a lesbian herself. She interacts with Sakaguchi normally because she only sees him as her comrade of her favourite genre. And possibly Sakaguchi would be the closest real life yaoi she can experience in 3D if a need ever arises. Yeah, with so many hot guys around, there is always that possibility. Speaking of Shiratori, this guy is like good in everything and feels like he is waiting for that moment whereby he can make Sakaguchi do yaoi things to him. I don’t think he is a BL fan but he is a true gay. And it has become some sort of a running joke that Ueda is his lap dog trying to please him with everything in hopes that one day his gay love will be accepted. Kana is like the female version of Nakamura but unfortunately she doesn’t get as much screen time so there is not much that we know about her except she is a little dense. It is good to know that the BL lovers even have normal friends. Too bad for those hoping for Sakaguchi x Nishihara, if that ever happens, it will just destroy the definition and setting of this series. Ultimate shocker!

But it is more baffling and confusing to think if Sakaguchi will ever fall in love with Nishihara. Definitely he isn’t into guys when it comes to love but being with Nishihara for so long and although we know they see each other as BL comrades, there is always that chance that Sakaguchi’s romance will kick in because he would like to have a female if he should have a girlfriend. I mean, it is possible after seeing how he fell for Shiratori’s cross-dressing. Unless it was his inner BL that was the attraction… But let’s not confuse ourselves with that seeing if there is the possibility Sakaguchi does find himself falling for Nishihara, would it be the end of his gay and BL fetish? Yeah, that would confuse the hell out of everyone including us. Unless he can keep it separate reality love and fetish love. Yeah, that will be hard for me…

The art and drawing are pretty normal and of course if you look at all the characters, they are pretty good looking. How can you not have any good looking guys when you have a BL theme? Animated by EMT2, it seems this relatively new company also did another ‘gay’ short, Ame-iro Cocoa. Yeah, that series already has 3 seasons but let’s not talk about it. The only other show they produced so far and isn’t gay is Kuma Miko. Surprisingly I like the ending theme, Sekai Wa Boy Meets Boy by Wataru Hatano (voice of Sakaguchi). It is quite a lively and energetic piece that sometimes wants to make you get up and do a little dance.

Overall, this short series is funny and gives you a little peek into the minds of BL lovers of a guy albeit not much. You don’t have to be a BL fan to watch this little series. This is generally for everyone. Though, I’m still not going into BL myself. Ever. Look, you don’t even have to fear of turning gay by watching this. I believe this series isn’t offensive to the straight people or even the LGBT community and if you are, you shouldn’t be living on this planet. That is what makes humans interesting because of our many different and twisted fetishes. Because remember, love knows no and comes in all shapes and forms. So why should BL and gay be any exception? Therefore whatever you consider yourself including the gender that you want to assume, let us all sit back and relax and sometimes laugh at ourselves for being weird. Make love, not hate.

Taboo Tattoo

January 7, 2017

Back in the old days, having a tattoo means being associated with all those underground gangs and bad people. Although people are more open these days and many have spot some harmless to funny tattoos on some parts of the body, in some culture like Japan, tattoos are still regarded widely as taboo because it is still a mark associated with the yakuza. So what a better way to promote and lift the taboo of tattoos by doing an anime series regarding the cool use of tattoos. Tattoos that give its users super powers and fight the forces of evil! Okay, I lied. Taboo Tattoo isn’t about trying to remove the stigma of people with tattoos. But it is still about certain people bestowed with strange tattoos that give them super powers to fight. And what do you know? We must always have that normal Japanese high school boy who gets caught in between the power struggle and he is the key to it all because he possesses a rare latent power. No matter how cool this sounds, I’m not going to get a tattoo after watching this series by any means.

Episode 1
Seigi Akatsuka saves a homeless from thugs. As his reward, he sticks some tattoo in his palm which eventually becomes embedded. Thanks for the pain, mister. Naturally that tattoo won’t come off no matter how much he tries to rub it off. Well, it’s a tattoo. Since his ‘high school wife’, Touko Ichinose is b*tching he was the reason they were late to school this morning, she forces him to come shopping with her after school. While he waits outside, this strange girl, Bluesy “Izzy” Fluesy steals his handphone. It is just a ploy to lead him to an isolated place where she proceeds to beat him down. So the main character is going to die on the first episode? Then she apologizes for going too far as she was just merely testing him. You call beating him nearly to death as a test? She is impressed he could stand his ground without using his tattoo. Well, Seigi is trained in martial arts after all. She explains the tattoo is a product of some super scientific experiment. It allows its users enhanced physical abilities and bring forth supernatural phenomena. Such users are called Sealed. She demonstrates using a chalk as a trigger on her tattoo that turns into an air bomb. Like Naruto’s Rasengan? Seigi gets more beat down from his dojo class. His grandpa tells him to get stronger because justice without strength isn’t justice. Is he playing a pun on his name? Anyway that is why he thinks Seigi’s dad died because he was weak. Tom Shredfield, Izzy’s subordinate isn’t pleased Izzy told a lot of confidential information to that kid instead of apprehending him. He reminds her as they are from the US Army’s Tattoo Retrieval Unit, their mission is to retrieved tattoos that have spread outside America but she isn’t listening.

For the next few days, Izzy keeps a close watch on Seigi. Apparently he knew she was ‘stalking’ him but chose to ignore her till it gets annoying. He asks her on finer details to activate his trigger since a chalk didn’t do any good. Well, each person has a different trigger. Suddenly this big American guy tries to kill them after Tom failed to apprehend him in time. I suppose it’s time to show off some of Seigi’s fighting skills and the just as spectators. Theodore Wilson is from the American mafia trying to get those tattoos from the yakuza. While he is also a Sealed but isn’t using his powers to its potential. Even so this guy’s brute strength is formidable. Seigi uses his agility and speed to get the better of him but eventually takes a fatal blow. This is the second time he is going to get killed this episode so naturally he has a flashback on what his dad told him about reaching out to get what he wants. He did just that and immediately Theodore is blown away by Seigi’s tattoo. Izzy is shocked that Seigi is in possession of a Void Maker, a triggerless tattoo that none has matched since. Till Seigi came along.

Episode 2
Seigi wakes up in his room and is not too pleased Izzy and Tom are making themselves at home. Izzy gets straight to the point that they want him to join them. As they are on a mission to retrieve stolen tattoos smuggled by a certain researcher and since it is hard to remove the tattoo once it is rooted in the body, either he cooperates with them or they will have to at least take back his arm. When explain about the potential death that Void Maker has, Seigi blows his top that they are acting arrogant when it is all their fault. Izzy tells him off about her own side effect because she is stuck in a child’s body forever. They give him time to think for his answer. But next day in school, Seigi’s hell begins because Izzy becomes a transfer student in his class! Worse, everyone hates Seigi seeing Izzy knows him. Stoking the flames, she makes seductive moves on him and his classmates throw him out of the window! Isn’t his class on the highest floor? Don’t worry. There’s a pond below. Now, his ‘wife’ steps in but Izzy can tell she is jealous for her childhood friend. Then she starts fondling Touko’s humongous boobs. Later Izzy and Tom seek Seigi’s answer. He agrees to join them seeing he needs to get stronger for justice (or for himself literally?). In turn they explain he might need to do shady stuffs because it is their job to prevent a war from breaking out between America and the Kingdom. The Kingdom’s technology on tattoo is far more advance and if they were to use it as weapons of mass destruction, you do the math. And right now the tension is at all time high.

After welcoming him to Team Blue Moon, Izzy also lets Seigi know as she has figured out his trigger is blood. Otherwise he would have been swallowed up by the void. Tom is shocked that Izzy won’t report back to HQ about Seigi. She wants to keep an eye on him for now because it would be dangerous if the Kingdom gets their hand on Seigi as he has the triggerless tattoo. Besides, Seigi might be summoned to America and be experimented on. Seigi is called to meet at their secret base but he is upset to be made to wait as Izzy is not around and will be running late. Little did he know that Touko has followed him and the more she sees him suspicious, the more suspicious she gets. Yeah, blame Izzy for that. However a creepy girl, Iltutmish attacks her. Tom has Seigi get boxes from the basement so he could answer a call from a landline phone. An informant informs that Princess Aryabhata has killed the royal couple and took over the throne. And since she is a hardliner, you know what this coup d’etat means, right? Now the doorbell rings. As Tom answers it, he is instantly stabbed by Touko! OMG. Is this what a yandere looks like?! Well, Touko isn’t happy she got the wrong guy but is glad the one with the triggerless tattoo is here. Meanwhile Izzy just finished placing devices that detect activating tattoos throughout school. She is attacked by R.R. Lakha AKA Behemoth Viper. He is a subordinate of Aryabhata and a member of her personal tattoo force, Brahman. This crazy sadist rips apart the place (and almost all of Izzy’s clothes) with his whip.

Episode 3
Touko witnesses memories of Iltutmish. Aryabhata stumbled upon her in the slums. She teased to lick her feet if she wants food. Iltutmish quickly attacks but Aryabhata saw it coming. Aryabhata likes her way of getting what she wants and wants her to join her team. After that lesbian kiss and butt molestation, anybody would be her lackey. Izzy uses her air bomb distraction to escape Lakha and run home. Seigi is mad when Iltutmish explains her twisted definition of justice (involves killing others). Touko is fighting Iltutmish from within herself to get away from her ‘prince’. This struggle allows Seigi to knock her off balance. Tom finishes the job by using his tattoo and pull out Iltutmish from Touko. Seigi is so mad that Touko got involved in this, he takes Iltutmish’s stab in his palm to activate Void Maker. Luckily Touko pulls him back before tragedy could strike. Well, only a big portion of the house is gone. Iltutmish receives orders to retreat. In the aftermath, Seigi trains with Izzy to become stronger. Still a long way to go. Apparently after that incident Touko now has a tattoo on her forehead. They are unsure about most things since mechanisms of tattoos itself are a mystery. Tom’s tattoo is not original and a copy. This means he can take it off whenever he wants. It also means its capabilities are very much lesser and can only act as a negating factor for supernatural phenomena. Izzy lets Seigi watch a horrifying video of a triggerless tattoo experiment. The body is devoured horribly. After warning him how the void will bore through everything and leave nothing, she has Seigi promise he will not use his Void Maker without his permission. Touko accompanies Seigi on his running training. After watching the plight of a stray cat and its kittens, Seigi vows to protect Touko. The strong needs to protect the weak. Sounding quite cool now, is he? Izzy meets up with her colleague, Lisa Lovelock. She is sharing information on the recent incidents. Since Aryabhata has taken over the Kingdom, it has been decided that America will send additional forces for the tattoo case. Meanwhile Lakha and Iltutmish receive their new ‘toys’. For now they are to prioritize the elimination of American forces connected to the tattoos. Their next target is Lisa.

Episode 4
Seigi catches a tattoo thief as part of his training and also control his tattoo’s drive. Iltutmish drops into Lisa’s hideout and slaughters everyone with her awesome sword! No chance! Iltutmish faces off with Lisa and the latter knows she is no match and intends to blow herself up along with her. Lizzy gets a distressed call from Tom to head to Lisa’s place. But along the way, suddenly gravity works against her as she is pinned onto a building’s roof. Lakha has a device from the Kingdom that binds Sealed and because Lizzy’s tattoo is activated, she is grounded. He isn’t going to kill her and lets her hang around. Seigi follows Izzy but she pleas to leave her and go save her friend. Shortly after he leaves, the device explodes. Don’t worry. Izzy is a tough chick and won’t die easily. He becomes sick seeing the slaughterhouse. He climbs up to the roof where Iltutmish is waiting for Lakha’s helicopter to pick her up as they need to bring back Lisa as a sample. Seigi is upset over Iltutmish killing people indiscriminately. Too bad she blows him off the roof. Had not Tom caught him, he would be dead. When Seigi returns to Touko, the gore of that place still sickens him and his failure to beat Iltutmish his him took out his frustrations on her. Izzy and Tom investigate Lisa’s place. She finds her handphone and a newly recorded message about Lisa being transported to the Kingdom. She wants Tom to call for reinforcements while she is going to settle this and get her revenge. Izzy calls Seigi and Touko to the hideout but locks them there with Tom as she heads out alone. Seigi complains but Tom tells him off he shouldn’t trample on Izzy’s goodwill. His Void Maker is still unknown to their superiors and if they find out, Seigi will be shipped to America whether he likes it or not. Izzy by doing so is clearly breaching military protocol. As for Touko, since she got the tattoo from Iltutmish, they are unsure what it can do so it is safer for her to be by Seigi’s side. It’s like those words awakened her because she really wants to be by him and get to know him. In turn, this also makes Seigi to free himself and decide his own path. After beating up Tom, they escape by Seigi using his Void Maker to blast open the door. Only thing is the entire house is now gone! Whoops! Izzy blocks Lakha’s path to the port. Time for the gloves to come off and things to get ugly.

Episode 5
I am guessing those American soldiers are there for the body count and to get slaughtered. Thankfully with Seigi in the picture now, Iltutmish have to stop her killing and focus on fighting him. Although she is superior, Tom relays information that Iltutmish’s power source is based on the uncertainty principle (as she also known as Schrodinger Cat). As long as there is no observer, she cannot return to her indistinct self to normal. All Seigi needs to do is close his eyes. However there is Touko on the field too so this negates everything. Seigi takes a nasty slash and he is bleeding like hell. This makes Touko mad. Her will to protect Seigi activates her tattoo and gives her boosting powers that pin down Iltutmish. Seigi hears a voice telling him to use the void to negate. He’ll use it alright to protect Touko. Once he destroys the ground and gives Iltutmish a knockout punch, it might seem he is going to kill to negate her. However Iltutmish’s stray pet cat gets in the way. Of course what Seigi want to negate wasn’t her but just her words. Before he can rest, Aryabhata pops up and gives him a kiss! Iltutmish can’t accept that and ‘purifies’ her with her multiple kisses. Aryabhata praises Seigi for being able to use Void Maker because had he not been able to control it, it would have swallowed up the girls. She finds him with potential and wants to use him. But for now she is here to pick up her subordinates and retreat. We return to Izzy’s fight with Lakha. Since he manipulates things with weight, she uses shock waves to attack him mercilessly. She falls for his gravity device trap again. Before he can kill her, Lisa broke free from her captivity and after other soldiers destroy the device, the duo cooperate to take him down. They would love to take Lakha in but Aryabhata warns the only way to do that is to fight and kill her but risk another round of bloodbath. See her majestic beast behind? That’s another triggerless tattoo. She leaves Seigi with an advice to learn more about tattoos because the source wants him.

Izzy is ready to take any punishment by Colonel Sanders (no, not that guy from KFC). But he has her bear the responsibility till the end and look after Seigi. He also wants that kid to participate in tattoo research. Seigi and Touko are shocked to see Aryabhata and Iltutmish casually walking in the streets. He wants to talk with her but this time Touko has more ‘authority’ as she challenges Aryabhata to a ping pong match. WTF?! If Touko wins, Aryabhata must stay away from Seigi forever. But if she loses, her boobs will be hers! WTF?! Because apparently big boobs are filled with dreams. Small boobs? Filled with hope! You can’t ever hate boobs! Touko takes a beating and is defeated in this one-sided match. This means Aryabhata has the pleasure in molesting her boobs until, uhm, she climaxes? Seigi wants to know everything about the Kingdom and tattoos so Aryabhata asks him the reason he is fighting. For world peace? For people to stop killing each other? Even so, for who? She tells him if her wish comes true, his world without fighting that he dreams of will be realized. Join her side and she will tell more. Later Aryabhata stumbles into her ex-Brahman subordinate, Blood “BB” Blackstone who thinks she is in her next phase of her plan as she is in Japan. Now Seigi asks Izzy about America’s goals in gathering tattoos. For world domination. Serious. They are. Because it is safer than using nuclear. Make sense but are you sure? Although Seigi won’t join the US army, if being their partner to stop the war, then count him in. Seigi should have known better why Izzy and Tom are staying at his house. He destroyed theirs, remember? When Seigi is out training, BB wants him to follow him. But once learning he is from Brahman, he attacks. Let’s say Seigi needs to work out more because BB didn’t even put up a sweat in making him look like a fool. BB is also a Sealed with a tattoo on his tongue.

Episode 6
BB calls Izzy. They know each other. He tells her he is borrowing Seigi for a while. He brings him to Aryabhata’s lab where countless people are being experimented on. BB reveals he was a former member of Brahman but now opposes the Kingdom. Tattoo ruins exist in 4 places worldwide. America has 1 and the Kingdom has 2. Guess where is the last one? Thus it is Brahman’s objective to find this last ruin in Japan. A reason why America is desperate. The duo stumble into a lab run by a mad scientist, Karam and his assistant, Manisha. He lets loose experimented humans with artificial tattoos by copying traces of the source. Apparently that is the nucleus or the soul of the tattoo (it could be that voice Seigi has been hearing). As a hero of justice, Seigi is unsure what to do since Karam explains these warriors have a bomb inside them. If they go unconscious, they are set to explode. I think it’s amazing Seigi managed to avoid all their overpowered moves but with a little help from BB. BB is going to get serious as he uses his Void Maker to knock unconscious the enemies. But the bomb didn’t go off because he also used Void Maker to find and erase the bombs within without harming their organs! After BB punches Karam, Manisha tries to defend him. BB looks like he is about to kill her but Karam pleads not to harm her and he can do anything he wants to him. BB gives Seigi some lecture about heroes and their ideals. Everyone has their own and how troublesome it would be in reality if everyone’s justice would come true. What a true hero of justice needs is the almighty power to make his own ideals into reality and the resolve to force his own justice on others. Isn’t that like being a dictator? He uses the same move to knock out the scientists. It’s not his policy to kill. The police raid the lab soon after and Seigi starts seeing BB as a real hero of justice.

BB is seen talking to Wiseman, that ‘homeless guy’ who gave Seigi his tattoo. They talk about BB’s triggerless tattoo and its regenerative power which makes him like immortal. That is also what Seigi is for. BB passes data from the lab to him and Wiseman is obligated to help him seeing he knows what Aryabhata’s plans are. In turn, BB will make his wish come true. After BB trains Seigi to effectively use his Void Maker, Izzy meets up with him. From the looks of it, she sounds like she has a romantic interest in him. BB was formerly from the US Army but defected to the Kingdom. She was devastated when he left. He tells her how grave the situation is now. It isn’t about making tattoos into weapons anymore. The ruins are the main engines in rewriting the world using the power of tattoos. That is why all 4 ruins are needed. Aryabhata’s goal is to change the world by altering the ruins into a world that fits her. He knows she is already there rewriting it so he wants Izzy to protect the one in America at Grand Canyon. Also to take care of Seigi so he doesn’t stray down the wrong path. Bye. We take a little detour as we see Touko visiting Seigi at his dojo. Yet again got owned by his grandpa. His ‘inviting body’ makes Touko want to rape him. Till he wakes up and she panics. It feels like an ominous foreboding when the duo spend some time together. She’s saying she wants to be with him and he is okay with that.

Episode 7
Seigi and Touko join Izzy’s team to go attack Aryabhata at the ruins. Aside from familiar faces like Sanders, Tom and Lisa, the rest include Wang (Asian guy), Johnson (white guy) and Leonardo Burns (black guy). BB learns Izzy is going to ambush the ruins but he can’t do anything right now because Wiseman is doing some code modification on him. Leave now and risk death. So we have the US Army making a grand entry by blasting everything. Standing guard outside the ruins’ entrance is Cal Shekhar, Brahman’s vice captain. Instantly she cuts Johnson in half when he charges at her. And then decapitates him. No chance. Then the other American soldiers get slaughtered by her sword. Yup. The only role they are here for. But Cal won’t be alone as her maids will be assisting her. Wow maids! Can I join you???!!! Aryabhata thinks Cal needs additional support so she lends some of her powers to Iltutmish to help out. Iltutmish turns into a giant monster to bring down the helicopters. Black Hawk down! I think it’s too late for Izzy to regret not listening to BB. Did she think America had a chance against Brahman? I believe they don’t even think of America as their tattoo rival. After Cal kills Wang, Seigi thought of fighting Cal. But remembering BB’s teaching, he tries to avoid facing off with her and head straight for the ruins. Unfortunately Cal incapacitates his body and he is reduced to a bloodied spectator.

Sanders and Izzy team up to fight Cal. At first they were doing great but Cal unleashes a special move that cuts off Sanders’ limbs and greatly wound Izzy. Cal then blinds Sanders. Before she could kill Izzy, here comes BB. Izzy realizes this might be a trap to lure out BB. Aryabhata has just finished her rewriting and has a maid pick up the scattered tattoos. Outside, she confronts Seigi and they argue about their different views on justice. He might view her justice of rewriting the world as just suiting her purpose but what does that make of Seigi’s? Even so, can he stop her? Aryabhata wants Seigi’s key and reveals she was the one who leaked info of this place to the US Army. She knows they would bring an army of Sealed here and one of them would be Izzy. Because Izzy and BB had romantic liaisons when they were together in the force and thus she is easy bait to lure him here. Once BB exhausts all his energy and be devoured by the collective source, she will then take that into herself and obtain her second key. She then tortures Seigi by stabbing spikes all over his body to make him fall into despair and hate over his powerlessness. Cal wants BB to fulfil his role as a key. Suddenly BB mentions that he knows Cal is in love with him! She flusters and denies but as BB makes her admit it, he loves it off because his heart belongs to only Izzy. He is not going to let anybody have a shred of it. If this is his plan to work her up, it’s working. You didn’t think he would come walking into this trap unprepared, right?

Episode 8
Lisa finds Sanders bleeding too much so she has Burns take over command. He has everyone retreat and leaves Touko in Tom’s care. But since he is weak, Touko ditches him to go find Seigi. Speaking of him, he can’t activate his Void Maker because Aryabhata is overwriting it. Lisa and Burns team up to take down Iltutmish but Burns ends up sacrificing himself to keep Lisa alive. So much about the soulmates dying together. Izzy tries to snipe Aryabhata but nothing penetrates her barrier. She is then restrained in a way that looks like she could be tentacle raped anytime. Then they are forced to hear Aryabhata’s reasoning about humans will never stop fighting as long as they exist so the best way is to rebuild it from scratch. Seigi realizes she is trying to play God and kill everyone else. Erm, why am I not surprised? BB continues his epic clash with Cal. Because of nanomachines in his body, even though his limbs are cut apart, he can still put them back together. It gets weird and confusing because each time they use a trump card that seemingly is supposed to take the other out, but it’s not because they somehow pull off something that makes them still standing. Then Cal is going to really finish BB off when Seigi prays hard to his source and breaks free from his predicament. It allows BB to win over Cal but now he wants Seigi to finish him off. But since he won’t do it as BB forces Seigi’s source to devour him. Aryabhata won’t let that happen but she has to take care of Sanders and co who are distracting her. Once Seigi’s source devours BB, Seigi now possesses both tattoos of BB and Cal. But ultimate despair is to come for Seigi. Touko happily rushes towards him when Iltutmish devours her! This isn’t a joke, right?! Aryabhata predicts Seigi will make his way back to her and the only reason he is carrying to live on is a revenge story. She’ll be waiting with excitement.

Back in town, Seigi wallows in despair when Wiseman pops up before him to explain about Sealed and their sealed fate (no pun intended) with the ruins. You get to use their power but in exchange you are assimilated into it till it corrodes you. However Iltutmish was able to disregard all that because she had help from Aryabhata’s rewriting. When a Sealed exhausts his soul, the source overtakes him or he becomes invalid. A fate that BB wanted to avoid and the reason he wanted Seigi to devour him. He entrusted the future to him. Wiseman wants to atone for getting Seigi involved in this but Izzy points a gun at him and will punish him. Seems she lost her left arm. He is confident she won’t hand him over to the US Army because he has inherited BB’s wish. As the one who supported BB in Japan, he wants both of them to help him out to carry out BB’s goal of eliminating tattoos from the world. And there’s some explanation of what the source is and all I understand is that due to some high evolutionary process of the brain and soul, the tattoos were responsible for that and eventually took a will on its own. Whatever. Seigi becomes mad when Wiseman needs him to mature because if he does so, will that bring the dead back to life? Since a fragment of BB’s soul is inside him, a chance for Wiseman to let him have a peek into BB’s past. Flashback time.

Episode 9
As a test to see BB’s worthiness, he fights Cal and manages to stand his ground. As Aryabhata views him useful, Brahman’s captain, Ajita welcomes him aboard. He also meets fellow Brahman, Varma. Shortly after, Aryabhata gives him a triggerless tattoo and warns of his betrayal. He is also told to stay away from a place within the compound called Samsara. As expected he decides to check it out. He realizes that Varma is also a spy for the king to keep an eye on the princess. Varma is also the king’s lover. Oh sh*t… Samsara seems to be a tattoo research centre that Aryabhata took over recently. They are attacked by its guardian, the blind and deaf Ganesha. BB barely escaped with his life and only regenerated because of his tattoo. When Varma introduces BB to the king and that they can work together, BB has his suspicions on the king. Yes, it is that he doesn’t swing that way too but also he knows Aryabhata is not his real daughter. His nonchalant attitude makes it even more suspicious because she is the one who will inherit the throne and he is doing nothing to stop her whatever schemes. It’s like he feels some sort of guilt towards her. BB and Cal are tasked to guard the first ruins. BB’s policy doesn’t make him kill the American soldiers not because he was their former comrade. But Cal shows no mercy and kills them all. As time passes, Aryabhata is getting closer to act so BB and Varma need to act now. They try infiltrating Samsara again and cooperate to defeat Ganesha. Using Void Maker, BB and Varma head to the deepest section of Samsara only to find a girl’s playroom? Heck, Kujuli (Aryabhata’s sister) even knows they are spies and welcomes them as she shows them around.

She shows them a cloning room. BB thought everyone is clones of Aryabhata (including Ganesha) but Kujuli somewhat disagrees as they are all sisters. 35 years ago when the ruins were first discovered, the king realized the potential of the ruins and tried to rewrite the world. The problem was the interface to rewrite it was at an unreachable place. That is why the sisters were created. All sisters living here are failures of Aryabhata and their only existence is only confined to Samsara. Kujuli is telling them this because a part of her wants them to stop Aryabhata. Though, there are some sisters who are very supportive of her. With security alerted, BB has downloaded what he needs and they run. Aryabhata orders her team to not let BB escape the country. BB thinks back what he was further told. Kujuli doesn’t hate humans as much as Aryabhata does because to deny humans would mean denying themselves. Aryabhata’s revenge against the king is just a process for her to rewrite the world including humans. It is revealed the sisters were created via human experiment. They are descendents of the tattoo creators. Everyone was experimented while still alive, men had their sperm samples taken and women were forcefully impregnated. Just to create Aryabhata, the king wiped out the entire clan of 3000 people! That’s why Aryabhata feels she is a demon. BB brings back Varma’s dead body to the king and asks if he is happy now (Varma was directly hit by Cal’s attack). The king expected Aryabhata to hate her but didn’t realize the issue was this trivial. He views his mistake wasn’t seeing her as a tool but loving her as a daughter. As a result, he gave her the power and reason to overthrow him. BB is not happy he is going to ignore Varma’s wish and his lover fought hard enough to keep him alive. The king thinks it is already too late. He lets BB escape via secret underground train in hopes he could expose Aryabhata’s scheme and save this nation. Brahman relentlessly attacks BB while he makes his escape. BB thinks back over Varma’s last words that include nothing will happen if one doesn’t take action and the weak will always remain weak, that is why they need to entrust their hopes to others. He sees BB as his hero.

Episode 10
Seigi is still feeling hopeless even seeing the truth. So BB had to tell him to help him so that he can still fight. Because now he entrusts his hand which is his future into his. Cheesy? It has been a year since. Seigi looks like he has matured physically. With Izzy they are hiding in a secret base in the mountains. Then the Kingdom discovers it and left a video letter. While it might seem infuriating Aryabhata flaunting her bikini on a private beach in America, she claims she is here for archaeological work and wants Seigi to meet up and help. Or else who knows what will happen to Lisa who was captured by them. Seigi wants to go for revenge (it’s the reason she killed Touko so that he could meet up with her someday) but Wiseman can’t have him die like that. Because even if Aryabhata activates the ruins in Grand Canyon, she still needs Seigi’s key. When that happens, Wiseman’s plan is to plant a virus in Seigi and this will be used to destroy the ruins system. For now he has to keep running away to put it bluntly. BB would have wanted that. However Izzy threatens him because BB would have wanted to save Lisa too. She promises to bring Seigi back even if it costs her own life. Tom and Souha Tamaki agree to back Izzy. Before the leave for America, Tamaki sees his cosplay fiancée, Yumi. He promises to marry her when he gets back but she is worried this only raises his death flag. So much otaku style talking has the crowd puzzled. At Grand Canyon, the American army protecting it can’t distinguish friend or foe so they’re just shooting at any intruders. Seigi and co see Lakha and Aisha (she’s got a tattoo on her vagina!) mercilessly kill the troops but they have to restrain themselves for revenge. They split up to complete their objectives. While Tamaki faces off with Aisha, Izzy is shocked that she has to fight Lisa. It looks like she is brainwashed. Lakha is the one responsible for ‘guiding’ her as he brags and b*tches about it. Well, at least a motivation to kill him. Aryabhata attacks Sanders’ command centre to steal something.

Episode 11
Seigi uses his Void Maker to drop straight down to the ruins. But first he has to face off with Cal. Although she might have lost her Sealed ability, she has honed her physical skills. Izzy is cornered by Lakha and Lisa. Thank goodness her old comrades come to her rescue. Too bad they died when they try to take on Lakha. Izzy gives Lisa a good punch and this knocks out Iltutmish possessing her. Then she shoots a special venomous bullet into Lakha and pays back by kicking him in the nuts. Aisha acknowledges her loss to Tamaki. But she tells him if he wants to really defeat her, he must come die with her in her bed of spikes. Izzy throws Lakha towards Aisha and they both die together. There, finished. Seigi asks Cal about supporting an idea to become God. She tells him the truth that once Aryabhata activates all 4 keys, she and all her sisters will fuse. This means Aryabhata will lose her own personality. This unified spiritual body will rewrite itself as it will rid the limits of the human species. If one truly wishes to be omnipotent, the human framework is only a hindrance. Both get ready to pull off their final strike. Seigi has BB covering his back. So you might say Seigi got a little advantage since Cal hesitated when she sees visions of BB, allowing Seigi to deal the final blow. Now he has earned the right to face off with the final boss. It’s all about revenge for Touko and about getting over the hate for himself for being too weak to protect her. He is able to go all out with Aryabhata since Wiseman gave him some pill that will curb the exhaustion of his soul. However he finds he cannot use his power when needed. Aryabhata explains he was consumed by hatred and lost his way, thus losing his slim chance of victory. Ajita loses to a bunch of jet fighters but this only activates his self destruct void as it engulfs a big chunk of the area. At least it cleared the way for Izzy, Tamaki and Tom to head straight to Seigi. But they encounter Sanders lying around. WTF is he doing here?! He tells them to stop Aryabhata. Like duh! So I guess this redundant scene is so that we are reminded of his role he could set off some nuclear bomb if the worst scenario comes to. Izzy’s monologue indicates she is coming back to the same place where it took her parents and brother’s life. She wonders if she had only reported to Sanders and not sheltered Seigi, would things have turned out differently. She too ponders if her mom was the one who let her into meeting Seigi. This time it will be her turn to protect him. When they arrive, they see Seigi impaled all over.

Episode 12
Aryabhata is telling Seigi how at this rate he is over using his power while she herself is willing to give up her life for the new God she will be creating. Then there is something about the poison Wiseman gave him that will not heal his wounds and thus can’t use his sealing power. It means Wiseman had never intended him to defeat her in the first place. Whatever. Izzy and Tamaki save Izzy and let Tom take him to safety. Too bad there is nothing Seigi can do about it since he is brimming with anger for vengeance. Izzy and Tamaki then take on Aryabhata but they too get owned. It is time for Sanders to detonate the bomb. His comrades are hearing it for the first time since they’re going to die with it! Wait a minute! Sacrifice yourself for your country! When he pushes the button. Nothing happens! Sanders become a joker calling himself a clown. Of course. The joke was on him. Seigi takes this chance to jump off the helicopter. In great timing, he rescues Izzy. Seigi wants to give his life to safe her but Wiseman activated something that materializes his source and devours Izzy. Wiseman explains 2 things that everyone got wrong. First, not only your own soul that the source can consume. Secondly, all tattoos are linked so when Aryabhata kissed Seigi then, she opened up a link to him. So whatever affects Seigi will now affect her. Seigi and Aryabhata’s source transform into giant beasts as they pound each other, trying to mindlessly devour the other. In this state, Izzy is able to reunite with BB who thanks her for opening Seigi’s eyes. Tom screams to Seigi to save everyone. Save America. Save the world! You think Seigi can hear that? Oh yes, he did. Now he is revitalized and can control his source on his own will. He knows Aryabhata’s source is draining her sisters’ soul so he has to end this quick. After all that ground pounding punches, Seigi holds the edge because he is more trained in martial arts compared to that princess. He finally delivers the final blow to that whiny princess who sounds like a shrieky loser now. In the end, both sources disappear. Seigi saves the day and the American soldiers chant “USA! USA! USA!”. WTF?! Shouldn’t they be chanting Seigi’s name?! He did your job and saved your asses! So Izzy is alive, Tamaki is alive, Lisa is alive and Iltutmish is alive but captured. Ah heck, nobody died in this episode because Aryabhata ran away. Seigi vows to carry on BB’s beliefs since it is his duty after inheriting it. Good for you. The world lives to fight again for another day.

Injustice: Gods Among Us
Wait. What? Is this the end? Is this truly the end? At least for this season. I am not sure the montage of scenes at the end of the final episode is a strong indicator that there will be a second season because all those scenes strongly hint like as though those events happen in the future. Like the American president smirking with a creepy smile claiming his army is the best in the world (what happened to China?), a final battle with Aryabhata in the South Pole, Kujuli in coma and Sanders still being the clown in some tropical jungle. There, some manly American explosions to go with that. At this point, I’m just glad the season ended. It was getting confusing the more I try to understand what the heck is going on.

I believe the one year time skip towards the end of the series threw me off a bit because it felt like it was rushing to end the series. Because with that sudden one year time skip, a lot of things changed and at first I was really confused of what was happening. I was even contemplating if it was a flashback. When Seigi looked so mature and brooding as hell, I even thought he was a different person altogether at first. And then I remember Izzy losing an arm but suddenly she got it back after the time skip. I mean, did she grow it back? As hard as I try to see, I don’t see it is some sort of prosthetics either. Oh right. It was blown off during the final episode’s battle with Aryabhata. Yeah, it was moving like so real that I thought she actually grew her arm back. And also suddenly they introduce a new character, Tamaki and I was wondering who the f*ck is this guy. Everything just moved too fast towards the end to finish up this ultimate battle once and for all and it made the pacing of the story which is already weak in the first place, to be a little more disjointed.

If I have to point out the most worthy aspect of the show, it would be the action bits. It is cool to see different tattoo users wield different abilities although they are just mainly the same time like Seigi who can just only use his Void Maker and nothing else. Tattoos might be the ‘main characters’ of the series but they aren’t as many as you think there should be as they are only confined to the few protagonists and antagonists you will see over the course of the series. Besides, I feel that the use of the tattoo powers is just supplementary if not complementary to the other physical fighting skills the characters have. It isn’t the tattoo powers that the characters are totally reliant on since they’ll be throwing some kung fu punches and kicks as well. It is good in a way so it doesn’t make the fight seem so Dragonball-like. The tattoo powers are enough to make their presence felt in each fight without overwhelming its entirety. Because of this balance, it makes the action sequences entertaining to watch with some flashy power effects on occasions. I know it may look exaggerating at times but I suppose that is why these tattoos are ‘magical’. It’s just mindless action fun, I guess.

And oh, not forgetting the amount of blood spilled in many of such scenes and perhaps the body count of American soldiers just to show off how amazingly powerful the Sealed are. Some of them even got their bodies and limbs cut up. Uh huh. Feels like they are there to provide the numbers and lambs to be slaughtered because they should have known better that conventional guns and bombs cannot win over those with tattoo powers. Some of those American soldiers felt like a joke because they only appear for a short while before being killed off so fast. Yeah, there was this poor chap in one episodes coming into the scene so quickly and the moment he finished introducing himself, he got killed off. Like, that’s funny, right? Yeah, we’re not going to care about him anyway.

Because of the series focusing on the action bits, the character themselves suffer from a lot of potential and many are turned into stereotypical clichés. You know you have a big problem when you have the main hero who is as generic as any other normal high school kid with latent powers roped into a national conspiracy. Just to make him more badass and ‘changed’ at the end, they had to kill off his girlfriend whose role was probably set up for some forced fanservice and romance possibility which will never materialize. He had to stray for a while using his dead girlfriend as motivation to fight but realize she’ll never ever come back so might as well go with BB’s wishes. That’s what a hero of justice should be, isn’t it? Then you have a strong female lead like Izzy to accompany the hero. While she can independently stand on her own, there is nothing much else to note about her. They might throw in a shocker that Sanders is her father but I’m not really sure if he is her adoptive father instead of her biological one. Whatever. Yeah, now a handicapped person, he is fast becoming a joker of the series. Thankfully the series ended before he could realize that potential.

Then you also have a seemingly generic badass villain who wants to become God or more. So basically no matter how you word or put it, it is still Aryabhata trying to play and become God in the end. Because whether she maintains her personality or not, whether it is for better or worse, she is still the one who is rewriting the laws of the world and perhaps the universe. If that isn’t playing God, I don’t know what is. No wonder the ladies want to have some yuri time with her before she loses her feminine form… Wiseman might be the biggest snake around since he looks and sounds like he has some sort of ulterior motive. Everybody is like his pawns and dance nicely into the palm of his hands. Because all his plans went accordingly and it looks like there is more to come. BB is the equivalent to a main hero’s master/teacher. You know, someone who teaches the main protagonist certain stuffs and moves and then dying so that he could show his resolve by shouldering and championing his cause in the end so that his master/teacher’s death won’t be in vain. Yeah… BB is cool and all that because he kicks ass and has a pair of shades. Enough said.

The so called romance between some of the characters feels like a big fail and distraction. Something that isn’t necessary in the first place because why the heck do you need love when this anime is just about spilling bloods and cutting up guts. It’s like trying to give the character some depth but ultimately I don’t really see the point in it because for Izzy and BB they might be lovers during their stint in the US Army but it is never really shown in deep so I can’t really connect why the heck it mattered in the first place. It is probably to make BB look more like a badass because when you have a forlorn ex-lover pining for you and then you have to die to save the world, it makes you look even cooler than you are right now more than ever before. And WTF was there a love triangle with Cal too? Not really sure.

Seigi and Touko feel like a failed one too. Like I have mentioned that they set up Touko’s role in a way as a turning point for Seigi to go full on badass later. Lots of wasted potential that could have developed the relationship between the duo but then again, it might turn out cheesy so I’m not sure. So when Touko and Seigi start reminding us how much they want to be with each other and to protect the other, it should have been a sign of things to come. If you’re hoping for Seigi x Izzy from this, you better stop hoping. So I guess the only ‘true love’ is between Tamaki and Yumi. How many otakus get to marry their counterpart in real life? Like a dream come true for gamer boys marrying their gamer girls. And yeah, like their romance really mattered in the plot of the story too but what the heck. Love needs to get some spotlight sometimes too. Since that ‘sneak peak’ at the end shows Tamaki still alive, I guess the dream to marry his otaku girl still has a chance of coming true. Fingers crossed.

Going back to the other characters, they feel insufficient and are just enough to fulfil their whatever role onscreen. Like Tom for instance he is actually the series’ joker. One second he could sound all serious and the next he could come up with some sort of punchline or joke. Funny or not, who knows. That’s why it made me suspicious they selected a seiyuu who voiced Gintama’s Gintoki for this character because there are shades of how similar they are, just that Tom is relegated to a side supporting character. Even Lakha makes a better funny character than Tom because he is more psychotic and it makes you want to become his b*tch. Just kidding. I’m sure the members of Brahman like Iltutmish and Cal have their back story to tell but with only a dozen episodes, we’ve only got a summarized history of Aryabhata via Kujuli. I thought Ajita would be some sub-boss whatsoever since he is Brahman’s captain and looking like a dangerous madman but his appearance is already so limited and he went out as easy as it looks. Cal should just be the captain since she has more screen time and kicks better ass from the way I see it. Oh and Lisa, she’s like the damsel in distress because she not only gets kidnapped once but twice!

The mysterious tattoos are supposed to be the main subject of the series but after all that has been said and done, they just feel like secondary and their whatever potentials wasted. Because I start thinking it might all boil down to lazy writing because anything that cannot be explained they just claim it as an ancient technology that nobody understands. Well duh. Wiseman, if you can’t really explain well to me, then you fail at your job at telling what the heck all your experiments are for. Sure, there are other stuffs like overusing and exhausting one’s soul, etc. But by the time the series reaches its climax, you’ll hardly remember all of that. And what was the importance of the voice or rather the soul of the tattoo that Seigi heard in his head? I’m sure he isn’t hallucinating. So f*ck all that and we just either use the tattoos to change the world or erase them all from the face of the earth.

The designs of the tattoos are unique. Too bad you don’t really notice them much during the episode and the only place where you’ll see all the different types of tattoos is in the next episode preview. Such a shame because I thought they really look cool and with different colours and illumination, some make really cool idea designs for organizations and groups. Having said that, the rest of the series’ art and animation style are just decent. I mean, everybody has the bishoujo and bishonen look so for a guy like me, I can’t complain. Yeah, Aryabhata looks more like an idol than a super villain if you ask me. Even her near final form with wings seems more appropriate looking like an idol than a monster. Just saying… However I noticed that some of the background scenes look like they used CGI. It’s bad. They might be using such scenes for only a few seconds but they really stood out and it makes you heave a sigh of relief that they stick to traditional 2D animation for the characters, action sequences and the big chunk of the series. The final big beast battle also used CGI but I guess it didn’t look quite as bad since they’re fighting mostly in the dark and with them having so shiny-like skin armour, it doesn’t make a difference. Say, don’t those beasts look like a cross between Aliens and Yugioh’s Blue Eyes White Dragon?

Voice acting sounds pretty okay although I only recognized Tomokazu Sugita as Tom, Sho Hayami as Wiseman and surprisingly Mikako Komatsu as Izzy. I didn’t really notice Eri Kitamura behind Lisa’s voice. I was mistaken all the time thinking Yuka Iguchi was behind Iltutmish but only in the end found out it was Shiori Izawa (Tanpopo in Witch Craft Works). I really like Kenjiro Tsuda playing as Lakha because he really makes his character sound like a real bloodthirsty sadistic psycho. Good job. The rest of the casts are Makoto Furukawa as Seigi (Saitama in One Punch Man), Akari Kitou as Aryabhata (Hiromi in Boku Dake ga Inai Machi), Hitomi Nabatame as Cal (Nobue in Ichigo Mashimaro), Toshiyuki Morikawa as BB (Munakata in Danganronpa), Nobuyuki Hiyama as Tamaki (Madarame in Bleach), Chika Anzai as Touko (titular character in Hitsugi no Chaika), Tesshou Genda as Sanders (Umibouzu in City Hunter) and Ai Kayano as Kujuli (Shiro in No Game No Life).

If you are a fan of May’N and familiar with the usual kind of songs she sings (displaying her powerful vocals, that is), then Belief as the opener should be your cup of tea. It is just like her other anime opening songs she sings with live exuberance such as Accel World’s Chase The World, Ookami-san To Shichinin No Nakama-tachi’s Ready Go, Hidan No Aria’s Scarlet Ballet and Blood Lad’s Vivid. The ending theme is a rock piece, Egoistic Emotion by Trigger which is basically made up of a duet between Mikako Komatsu and Chika Anzai.

Overall, this series is more of style over substance and if you want to watch this, just stay and be entertained by its action and fight scenes. And blood. It’s the usual wasted potential and that it-could-have-been-better rant. I read many panned the series for a lot of reasons but you know me, I’m always a lot ‘kinder’ to such animes. Even though it is bad in many ways (but not the worst. There’s a whole lot of difference in that), at least I didn’t feel it was a waste of time as the action sequences ‘distracted’ me from being bored. So for those who are prone to regrets, just like when you do lots of thinking before getting a tattoo, because it is hard to permanently get it off once it is inked onto your body. Bad animes are like bad tattoos that will linger in your memories forever. Flashes of regret remind you of the bad choice you made each time you remember the bad anime you watch. No wonder they want to permanently get rid of tattoos here…

Hatsukoi Monster

January 6, 2017

Remember that guy who looks like an adult but is actually an elementary school kid? Yup, this means despite looking like an adult, his state of mind and thinking is that of a child. But no, Recorder To Randoseru didn’t get another season or renewed for a full TV length anime. Instead, Hatsukoi Monster has this similar setting but with romance involved. You can call this show a romantic comedy if you will. Sort of. When a high school girl is saved by this handsome young man whom she thinks is her age, she decides to go out with him till she learns he is just an elementary kid. Yeah, never judge a book by its cover. At least visually she doesn’t look like a paedophile. So how is she going to cope dating a guy younger than her as well has the maturity of an elementary kid? Is it no wonder why women date older and men who are more mature?

Episode 1
Kaho Nikaidou falls in love at first sight with a tall handsome guy. When she asks his name, he rejects her on grounds he shouldn’t give strangers his name. Good boy. And so poor Kaho was rejected. The end. Just kidding! We go back a few hours in time as Kaho tells us she comes from a rich family. Filthy rich. Because of that, people around her act nice and she has never been scolded in her life. This spring she decided to live a new direction in her life and live by herself. Upon arriving outside Kasumi Apartments, she meets Kouta Shinohara a resident and high school student. They are being overly polite with each other. While trying to help move her stuffs in, Kaho accidentally drops her kokeshi doll. A truck is about to ram into her when a tall handsome guy saves her. He scolds her for being reckless. She thinks he is only after her money or favour from her parents. But he disagrees he wouldn’t want all that and it is just common sense to save people in danger. She starts falling for him, confesses, rejected. The end. Just kidding! So as Kaho returns to Kasumi heartbroken, Kouta’s high school senior, Chiaki Yokouchi can tell from Kaho’s face she has fallen in love. She argues with Kouta and joining in the argument is college guy Atsushi Taga. They are all residents of Kasumi. Kaho laments she will never meet that guy again but then he pops up before her. Guess what? He lives here too! Seeing they are no longer strangers, he gives his name. Kanade Takahashi. She sums up her courage to ask him to be her boyfriend. He isn’t shock whatsoever. He agrees. But… Can she continue dating him once she knows the real him? This left her to ponder if he is married, gay, some alien or a cross-dresser. Yeah, you think too much. Couldn’t sleep a wink… Next morning, she finds out the truth about Kanade… Are you ready for this? He is actually in elementary school! Holy sh*t!!!! So does this make her a pervert or criminal? But as Chiaki tells her, Kanade is a lonely guy since he lost his mother a couple of years ago.

If you think he is the only handsome hunk, his fellow pals are also tall handsome guys!!! WTF???!!! Are elementary school kids this hot these days???!!! Folks, meet Ginjiro “Gin” Sannomiya and Tomu “Tom” Kaneko. Guys looking hot enough to be models on a woman’s fashion magazine. Despite their handsome outlook, they are as immature as any elementary kids you would expect. After school, Kaho joins Kanade and his friends at the park. It gets odd because the guys keep spamming the word dick in their play! I wonder if Kaho understands its meaning. Eventually she did. After they play tag, they mention their other friend who is the coolest of the coolest. Kazuo Noguchi. Is he also a tall handsome hunk? Nope. Just your ordinary looking elementary kid. Finally somebody normal! She is so relieved and acting like normal with him that the rest tease Kanade that Kazuo might just steal her from him. But upon hearing Kanade and Kaho are dating, Kazuo seems to put on a disgusted look. The tag game continues and it gets worse with Gin touching his dick and wanting to touch and tag everyone with his ‘tainted’ hand. And spamming more dick words. Boys… Kanade saves Kaho again as he assures he will protect her no matter what because his mom taught him to always save girls in trouble. When it is time to go home, Kazuo tells something to Kaho. He doesn’t approve of them dating. Later we see Kazuo and all the guys gather in an after class homeroom. He is listing down marks for a certain word that should not be said but said so many times throughout this episode. Can you guess what it is? Yeah, nobody could guess it despite spamming all they said was dick. Gin is leading the offending list… So Kazuo blows his top to quit saying that word. Oops. Now he has got one strike too…

Episode 2
Kaho ponders about Kazuo’s words. She meets Shugo who is the landlord and Kanade’s father. Also staying at Kasumi is Arashi Nagasawa who is Chiaki’s boyfriend. Doesn’t it feel weird for him to harp how cute Kaho is when he already has a girlfriend? Kaho fears Shugo might find out his son is dating her when Kanade is going to get honest but luckily Taga covers them with an excuse about a soap opera they just watched. But Kanade is still persistent so he asks Arashi on tips how to date a girl. Well, you call her all the time. Yeah, Chiaki has like 50 calls this morning! Kanade then seeks Kouta’s advice but since he is a virgin and Kanade doesn’t understand what it means, he asks Kaho for its meaning! Luckily dad stops his rudeness. After Taga shows Kaho around the apartment, she joins Kanade and his friends outside the lawn to play skipping ropes. But with Kazuo staring at them, she decides to go back inside and tidy up her room. That is when Arashi discloses to her that he likes girly boys!!! In his room is filled with Renren posters and memorabilia!!! OMFG!!! He is so f*cking passionate!!! The point is despite this odd fantasy, Chiaki still accepts him for who he is even though they are 5 years apart, age has nothing to do when you’re in love. This makes Kaho realize that Kanade accepted her for who she is and she too has to accept him for the same.

So when Kaho rejoins the guys at the park, she hears them discussing an important matter about their ‘partner’. Yeah… More dick words spammed… Kanade feels bad that they can’t discuss this in front of her since she doesn’t have a ‘partner’. He would give her one if he had and extra one! WTF?! Because Kanade doesn’t really want one, the guys go into shock mode. How can anybody not want one?! To pacify them, she says she would like to have one. It just feels so freaking weird… Back at Kasumi, after Taga tells Kanade to go catch some ladybug, he ushers Kaho into a room in pretence they need to pool money for her welcoming party. She thought of getting her wallet to chip in when suddenly Taga pins her against the wall! He knows she is a spoilt sheltered princess and dating Kanade only proves how stupid she is. People like her make him sick. Kaho is on the verge of tears when Kanade returns and punches him in the face! That is for making his girlfriend cry. And as her boyfriend, it is his job to protect her. As said by mom. He flicks Taga’s forehead for all to be forgiven. In Kaho’s eyes, this ‘monster’ now looks so cool. Later we see all the guys in another after class homeroom discussion. About virginity. The young ones don’t know what it is so Taga puts it in a way that it is like some sort of magic. They are awed but Kouta disagrees otherwise and would want to throw it away. This causes some misunderstanding because Kanade and co fight over to get his virginity!!! Taga assures all of them are virgins. And they’re so happy about it. Arashi takes this opportunity to say he is also a virgin. But he has a girlfriend. True. Although he loves Chiaki, his true desire is girly boys. Awesome?

Episode 3
As Kaho leaves Kasumi, she ignores Taga waiting outside the gates. He calls her rude for that so Chiaki interrupts that this could only mean Taga has some sort of feelings for her if he ‘cared’ this much. Chiaki hints Kaho is popular since many men like her (indicating Kouta too). Kaho is shock when Taga admits he likes her. But that was just trolling. He doesn’t like her one bit. Kanade is the one he is interested. Wait. Could it be? Screw all that negative thoughts because Kanade suggests they go on a date. But seeing both are clueless on what to do, Kaho believes it is some place fun. Kanade has the right place in mind. Well Kaho, you think it is some romantic beach escapade, right? Well… Making a sand mountain in the sandbox… Messy and dirty, are we having fun yet? Chiaki notes how ‘lovey-dovey’ they are. At least better than her boyfriend since he is more interested in taking photos of his Renren figurines. Chiaki talks to Kaho about their boyfriend problems. Despite Arashi being useless in everything, his only redeeming factor is his good looks. Oh, his nice character too. It must be the same for Kaho, right? After Arashi reminds Kanade not to leave his girl hanging on a date, he takes her to the next place: The candy store. Gin, Tom and Kazuo are also there and I figure Kaho is going to have to wait longer here because the boys end up playing some sort of dodgeball that aims at the balls?! Luckily Kanade is mindful of his date and ends the game to continue their dating.

At this point Kaho is deep in thoughts about Taga and Kazuo against their love. So Kanade tells her having such obstacles only fans their flames of love. Did mom tell him that? No, he made that one up himself. Then they eat the same snack because apparently happy couples eat the same thing together. The last place is back at Kasumi. But it is not over yet till the goodbye kiss. Kaho pretends to give him one on the cheek but Kanade says real couples do real kisses. He kisses her on the lips! This leaves her in shock but runs away in embarrassment when she realizes Kouta has seen this. I guess this guy is even in more shock than her. It doesn’t help when Chiaki taunts him that his crush kissed a guy who is only in elementary school. Heartbroken Kouta tries to tell her off for being mean but she is not cowed, telling him back that this kind of intel is her cup of tea as she reveals his beautiful eyes hidden underneath those messy bangs. Arashi is kinder as he tells him to just come clean with his feelings and tell Kaho. For after class homeroom, Kazuo teaches the young ones how to speak English. But they mess up so badly that it is like they didn’t even catch a word of English he said. He punishes them by putting on a poop shaped paste on their head.

Episode 4
Kaho can’t stop thinking about the kiss. More shock for her when Kanade hugs her from behind and wants to do something secretive that dad won’t find out. She is already flustering like mad when all he wants is just his favourite seaweed food that dad rationed one packet per person. Later when Kazuo visits, he reminds Kaho he is still against her dating Kanade. What does she see in him? See, further proof of his idiocy as he fools around with his pals. He thinks because Kanade lost his mom, he is clinging on to an older woman as substitute. However Kanade disagrees. Kaho looks nothing like his mom! Kazuo thinks they both don’t understand each other well enough to be dating. Because of that, Kanade is going to let her know more about him. He pushes her onto his bed and is going to show her something. At this point, you should know it isn’t what it is because he takes out his secret underneath his bed. His perfect score in maths. When Shugo walks in, Kaho thought he misinterpreted this scene. However he is horrified he hid test scores of those he did very badly. He thinks of getting him a tutor. Kanade starts ignoring by putting peanuts up his nose?! When Kaho tells him to stop, he immediately does so. Shugo thinks he trusts her enough to follow orders and has an idea. So could Kaho be his new tutor? Well, she passed that up. When she bumps into Taga, his usual cold demeanour has her think he might be Kanade’s tutor. Except that she starts deluding some sort of gay time they will have. Time to pollinate?! Well, good thing it wasn’t him. But the tutor turns to be a very busty high school student, Mafuyu Hayashi. Right off the bat she tells Kaho that she is not interested in Kanade but his family.

Somebody’s underwear is stolen. Who the f*ck would want to steal Shugo’s underwear?! When Kaho hears ambiguous deep breathing sounds from Mafuyu’s room, she sees something horrifying. Mafuyu sniffing Shugo’s underwear!!! Kaho’s life is at stake when Mafuyu discovers she has been spotted and turns into some creepy Japanese ghost to chase her down!!! Nowhere is safe!!! Too bad Kouta got owned trying to protect her. Kaho gets al little reprieve when Mafuyu’s head got stuck in the toilet window. Then the stalking continues. This time Chiaki throws Shugo’s underwear at her in which Mafuyu devours it all before returning to normal. Absolutely WTF. Despite monster time is over, Mafuyu ushers Kaho into her room. She explains there is nothing wrong with smelling the scent of someone you like. Mafuyu wants to marry Shugo. Although Kaho points out their age difference, she is not one to say because she is dating a younger boy, right? Mafuyu returns the undies to Kaho and makes her promise not to tell anyone. Kanade spots Kaho with his dad’s underwear. She thinks he’ll get the wrong idea but he says he gave it to her since she asked. He knows about Mafuyu’s love and plans on supporting her. Kaho is relieved on Kanade’s innocent thinking and that Mafuyu is not her rival. Kanade then carries Kaho into his room. Kouta sees this and is worried. Why do they always have to make and say ambiguous words and sounds behind closed doors?

Episode 5
Get your mind out of the gutter! Kanade is just giving Kaho a good back massage since she looked tired. Too ease her tiredness further, they head to the mixed bath house. When Kaho accidentally slips, Kanade wasn’t there to save her this time. But a cool hunk named Jouji Takahashi. Immediately he says he likes her and wants to be her boyfriend! Kanade comes to her defence as her boyfriend. It seems they know each other. They are cousins and haven’t seen each other for years. However Jouji still won’t give up on Kaho and wants her to dump Kanade for him. He is more mature and grown up. For your information, Jouji is just 1 year older than Kanade! Thus the boys get engaged in a childish water kibasen over Kaho’s love. I don’t know how, they’re supposed to take each other’s caps but somehow they got Kouta’s trunks. While the lifeguard berates the ‘adults’, Kanade asks Jouji why he is here. Claiming himself as a traveller, he has forsaken his home because his mom threw out his Pachimon cards collection. Instantly Kanade and his pals understand his pain and they bond like hardcore brothers. WTF. On the way home, Jouji has something to say to Kanade and Kaho (as usual the rest are spying). At the park, Jouji takes out a super rare Pachimon card he always kept with him. He is willing to give his card to Kanade in exchange for Kaho. Before Kaho could think of the worst case scenario, Kanade immediately disagrees. A girl is not an object you can trade with. Kaho couldn’t feel happier than that.

But that lasts only for a while because Kanade suggests Jouji also date Kaho with him! Eh? WTF?! Aren’t you treating her as an object now? Aren’t you being hypocritical? Her heart hurts like hell as Kanade claims he is looking out for Jouji’s feelings too but Kaho asks what about hers. What about Kanade’s? How does he feel about her? Because she loves only him. This is where Taga butts in. He reminds Kanade he punched him when he made Kaho cry. Now it’s his turn and this time her crying is far worse. He believes he doesn’t love her at all and that is why he is going to take away Kaho and her heart. While the boys disagree, Kaho also voices her disagreement. She knows this is just his ruse and he is impressed she isn’t taking the bait this time. She’s gotten smarter. After Taga calls out those ‘spies’ because elementary kids fighting over her is such an amusing watch, Kaho feels confused and hurt. Running away in tears, she is certain her words aren’t getting through Kanade. She thinks everyone is enjoying this and she doesn’t know what Kanade is thinking. We take a detour to the after class homeroom where Kazuo and the guys are discussing why there are so many words to describe your penis. From peepee to wiener to dicks, maybe it has got to do with the age stage of a man? Then with other words like rods, bats and poles, they think some kind of evolution has happened and they think it is called erection! All hail the final evolution of erection!

Episode 6
Kanade is really a kid to think that after sleeping and waking up the next morning, all problems will be solved. Chiaki lectures him about understanding a woman’s heart. In class, Yuki Fukaya left a love letter in Kanade’s desk in which he uncouthly reads aloud misinterpreting it as a challenge letter. But even if he is told he is a love letter, he mentions he is already dating someone. Weren’t they fighting? Kazuo chairs the class as they elect to play dodgeball for the sports festival. Kanade teases Kazuo for his stature and all the girls gang up to rebuke him. But Kazuo’s maturity to let it go has all the girls’ heart melt. He can do no wrong in their eyes. Later Jouji challenges Kanade over Kaho. Via tennis? Using a recorder and abacus? I don’t know how it ended up as some manly bonding. So they talk about not understanding woman. Arashi offers his assistance. The best way to understand a woman is to dress up like one?! Or is this his reason to snap pictures for his fetish? Even Kouta is roped in. And he is the girliest of them all. Kouta doesn’t like this one bit as he tells them off what may be fun for them may not be fun for him. This has Kanade remembering Kaho’s words and his mom once told him not to force someone to do something one dislikes. But they continue teasing Kouta so as he runs out in tears, he bumps into Kazuo. OMG. Love at first sight for Kazuo? Even more so when Kouta picks up and reads this crappy berry poem Kouta drops. He tries to go after ‘her’ but bumps into Kaho. Explaining his feelings, she tells him he is in love. This has her remember the first time she fell in love with Kanade. I guess Kazuo is so deep in love that he couldn’t give a damn why the boys are cross-dressed. I’m sure Kaho wants to know but Kanade says it is top secret. Mafuyu will not have Kanade dress like a pervert as it will not be good to score points with Shugo. He asks what to do if one makes a person mad. Apologize and apologize. If not punish yourself. Like how she is suffocating herself in Shugo’s underwear? Damn masochist… That night, Kanade talks to Kaho. He is going to do hula hoop 200 times as punishment for hurting her feelings. His best is 175 times and if he reaches 200, he hopes she will forgive him. Ah well, he fell short. A personal best at 197. So what now? He wants to break up. Serious?

Episode 7
Kaho protests because he was this close to the target and he wants to give up? Surprisingly Kouta pops out from his hiding to tell Kanade about giving one last chance. I don’t know how it ended up as best of 5 rock-scissors-paper in which Kaho won all 3 games. This settles it. They’re over. Kouta knows he should be happy that they’ve broken up but he couldn’t. He couldn’t see his love sad. Kaho thought everything will be normal the next day. Because kids, right? Unfortunately Kanade ignores her! Apparently it is for their own good if they don’t get along. Taga wonders if his mother said this too and by following her advices doesn’t that make him have Oedipus complex? True, but it isn’t wrong trusting the words of someone he loves. Kaho peeps outside Kanade’s school and sees him talking to Yuki while waiting for his friends. Despite their conversation is normal, Kaho over interprets them as Kanade ditching his old love and has found someone new. Unfortunately for her, she is taken away by a policeman who finds her suspicious. She dug her own grave when she says she is just a high school girl interested in an elementary school boy. Suspicious indeed. Suddenly Kazuo’s butler drops down to request for the boys’ help. He notices Kazuo absentminded and forgetful lately and he believes his master is in love! He needs their help to seek out the object of his affection. Kanade and co become detectives to ‘flawlessly’ deduce that Kazuo’s love is that Hanako of the toilet! So when they break this news to home, of course he isn’t going to believe it. What kind of girl lives in the toilet?! But Kazuo accepts it when Kanade explains his breakup with Kaho. Get your love while you still can! With Kouta acting panicky and Kanade and co being so active, Taga forces Kouta to spill the beans. Looks like he has a devilish plan after learning cross-dressed Kouta is Kazuo’s love interest. So that night all the guys sneak into school but since the front door of the building is locked, they start wondering how Hanako can enter if she has no keys. Then Taga reveals it. Hanako is a ghost! It just means Kazuo’s love is somebody else. Something rustles in the bushes and this freaks out the boys as they run for their lives. Even more so when a police officer is in the vicinity. The ‘ghost’ turns out to be Kaho spying and for the second time today she gets interrogated by the officer. Looking desperate, huh? For after class homeroom, the guys talk about pooping? WTF?! It ends with Taga asserting he never goes to toilet. Never!

Episode 8
Kaho is down and out. Spacing out so much that she didn’t realize she has 80 over miscalls from home! There are telegrams too! WTF?! When she returns the call, all we hear is a creepy moaning from the other end. But Kaho realizes this means it is time to go home. Similarly, Kanade is acting all gloomy as well. Kazuo deduces he is lovesick. Since he will not response normally or ignore you, the other guys at Kasumi propose a hotline for children. As they test it out, we hear their usual follies like Arashi fantasizing and turning on just by hearing Kazuo’s voice! Then it gets out of hand talking about the softness of breasts. Down to serious business, Kanade at first doesn’t know what to say so when Taga tells him to say what comes to mind, Kanade starts off by saying how lonely he is. He wants to tell all the silly things that happened today to Kaho. Although he was the one who dumped and ignored her, he feels a world without her is hell! I guess the sh*t is getting real so Taga isn’t used to this kind of drama and passes on to Arashi to give real advice. He needs to tell it to her then. However Kanade learns she is no longer around and went home. What will he do? He will go to her. Well, Kaho lives 5 hours away by car and Kanade plans to go there on his bicycle?! Don’t worry, Tom, Gin and Jouji are accompanying him too. On their bicycles. So they just let them go like that? We see them encounter ‘obstacles’ like traffic lights, the slope and crossing the mountains. But I think they didn’t get far because eventually all their tyres become flat. Don’t worry. Taga is here to save the day because ‘coincidentally’ he was driving pass here and can give Kanade a lift. Meanwhile Kaho reaches back to her seemingly dilapidated home. There are lots of kokeshi dolls everywhere and a creepy laughter creeping her out. In the after class homeroom, it is believed that riding at a certain speed, the wind through your hands feels like a woman’s breast. Arashi demonstrates how it is done but he descends into his delusion of fantasizing on Kazuo! WTF?! Somebody call the police!

Episode 9
Kaho’s big brother, Daikoku is back from America. Because he found the house deserted, he panicked and thus those calls to Kaho. The kokeshi dolls are what he made to overcome his loneliness and a symbol of Kaho. Creepy… When Kaho asks why he went to America since he never disclosed the reason even to their parents, he becomes evasive and changes the subject. Kanade asks Taga why he is nice to him. He lost his mother at a tender age too so watching him is like reminding him of his childhood. As for being mean to Kaho, his dad remarried a woman somewhat wishy-washy like her. We see how creepy Daikoku is when he secretly swabs the food and utensils she touched or put in her mouth! Then he collects the water she bathes in and even her hair from the drainage! SUPER CREEPY! Next day, Daikoku can tell something is wrong with Kaho and to his shock, she admits she fell in love. Even more shocking, she got dumped! Who the f*ck would dump his super cute sister?! Speaking of which, here is Kanade and Taga at the door. Daikoku likes that she is not here but luckily Kaho shows her face. Both guys don’t like each other so there is going to be a showdown between brother and ex-boyfriend. So everyone plays Red Light, Green Light?! Shows you how important this is. More shock for Daikoku when he learns Kanade is an elementary school kid and they have already kissed! Eventually Taga wins the game and wants to claim Kaho as his prize. Or at least her tissue. Huh? This has Kanade confronting him and revealing despite he dumped Kaho, he cannot imagine living in a world without her. Those 3 magical words are enough to bring the girl back but that is when Taga chastises her for being cheap. Kanade shoots back that the reason Taga tagged along is because he too loves Kaho. It makes him admit maybe he bullies her is because he likes her. However Kaho knows his badmouthing means he just found a new game to bully her. With Daikoku’s protests mainly being ignored, Kaho requests to talk alone with Kanade. She wants to be with him but not the same way as before. Then there is some odd talk about showing their combo moves and staying the way they are right now. Why does it sound so simple and yet complicated? It ends with Kanade singing via melodian a lame song for Kaho. It’s so bad it’s just good! I don’t even know what the song is about! If this is enough to take back a girl’s heart, man, I must be a Grammy winner by now for every year!

Episode 10
Taga buys Kanade a crab whom he now keeps as a pet named Kaniko. Did Taga feel guilty for coming along? Flashback reveals Taga telling Kanade and Kaho that they are still kids and very far away from the legal age so they still have time to get someone better. However Kanade doesn’t know what a better woman is and will take Kaho. They make a pinky promise to marry each other. When they reach back at Kasumi, Jouji quickly informs that they are currently having a ceremony for Shugo’s wedding! With Kouta acting as the priest, Kanade barges in time to state his objection. He thinks dad remarrying to Mafuyu means betraying mom. Mafuyu claims it is to protect the family, blah, blah, blah. Kanade is then made to realize that his dad is sleeping so could this wedding be carried on without his consent? Kanade uses Kaniko to attack with its special weapons (huh?) but Mafuyu uses Arashi and Kouta as human shield. It is Chiaki who ends everything by throwing Kaniko at her! When Shugo wakes up, he isn’t clear what is happening but assures everyone that he only loves his late wife. He will not love anyone else. This makes Arashi appreciate Chiaki more and Kaho the same for Kanade. Too many couples make Kouta go crazy. Crazy Mafuyu accidentally slams the cake over Kaho so she has to go take a bath. When Kanade decides to put Kaniko in the tub, he enters the toilet like normal. However in the bath is not Kaho but Daikoku! You disappointed?! Anyway Kanade left Kaniko in the tub. Daikoku is screwed… Kaho is changing and Kanade comes in without knocking and brags about something. However he didn’t notice her in her underwear and then leaves once he is done. Kaho felt ashamed but before she closed the door, Taga saw her. Her feelings are exploding inside now. Next day, Kouta got the bad luck of having Daikoku sleep in his closet. Kanade can’t find Kaniko anywhere and to his horror sees everyone eating it!!! I’m sure all those flashbacks of good times together never happened. It was just one freaking day! Chiaki tells everyone to pipe down. Because humans survive by receiving all kinds of lives, better to be eaten than waste away. Kanade is still sad so Daikoku thinks this kind of attitude is not worthy of Kaho’s love. Then he brags about Kanade who thought he saw Kaho in the bathtub but was actually him. This gives Taga a reason to be sarcastic as he fires probably Kanade can’t tell because of her body. With her thinking nonsense again, he bets Kanade doesn’t think of her as a woman after the way he didn’t react seeing her in her undies. Kaho is in tears but she is also mad. Oh my, doesn’t she look like Jigoku Shoujo from this angle?!

Episode 11
Kanade gives his small umbrella to Kaho and then rushes back home. Time for Taga to stir up more trouble because he takes away the umbrella and give his, giving the excuse he doesn’t want to get her virus. Taga then goes back to spy on Kanade and sees with a young girl named Sadako. Busted, Kanade wants Taga to keep this a secret because he wants to personally tell this to Kaho. Speaking of her, she accidentally finds Kanade’s secret diary and reads it. It contains Sadako’s name and Kanade’s ‘top mission’ to tell it to her one day. It gets worse when Taga sees her doing so and calls her the worst. She tells her troubles to Chiaki but Mafuyu interrupts her. Can the person who steals and wears somebody else’s underwear be the one to lecture her? And taking all his thrown away stuffs too? Mafuyu might not be the worst in this department because Daikoku does everything without Kaho’s permission and right in front of her face! Shugo finds out that Kanade has his school sports festival tomorrow, the same day he is away for his association’s meeting. So who is going to make his lunch? Don’t worry. Taga will come along as always. And he will bring the rest of Kasumi like always.

Next day, the sports festival might seem one sided because Kanade and his ‘grownup’ buddies have easier reach in the balls throwing game. The girls are mad because the boys won’t let them play. The argument causes all their balls to fall out and giving the other team the victory. Even in the tug of war, Gin starts making jokes about prostitution and bearing children!!! I kid you not! This causes the girls to lose interest and let the other team win. Besides, blame all the loss on the guys! When Yuki attends to Kanade who scrapped his knee, Kaho thinks she is Sadako. Time for Taga to be her b*tch again to rile her up saying she is jealous of an elementary school kid. Daikoku counters back saying Taga might be the one who is jealous of her. They are interrupted with the announcement of the scavenger race. Kouta again gets bullied into participating because as Taga puts it, of all the virgins in Kasumi, Kouta is his slave! Kouta has the worst luck as he needs to cross-dress as per instruction. So the only guy who bought female clothes? Arashi. For Renren. As he moves on, he bumps into Kazuo who thinks Hanako is back in his life. Wait. Don’t go. Come back! There ‘she’ goes again. For the three-legged-race, Kanade teams up with Kaho and if they win, he is going to kiss her! And they did win! When Kanade wants to speak with Kaho alone, she takes this chance to apologize reading his diary. And then she turns menacing to ask who the f*ck is Sadako. He has her close her eyes. She thinks he can cover this with a kiss. Suddenly something is licking her lips. When she opens her eyes, she freaks out seeing a… Dog?! More precisely a dog with a human face and hair?! So this is Sadako? Kanade wanted to wait the right moment to tell her because Sadako gets worked up when hungry. Just when it seems everything is heading for a happy ending, Kanade doesn’t want Kaho to touch him and says he can’t be with her anymore. What is this shocking development on the penultimate episode?!

Episode 12
Like as though we don’t have enough pure romantic scenes between Kanade and Kaho, we see Kanade as the romantic hot stud and Kaho his girlfriend swept off her feet with each of his seemingly romantic antics. Like when Kaho says “I love you” towards the seaweed, he takes it as her personal feelings for him, embarrassing her. Then there’s the time he protected her from the scary lightning flashes while taking shelter at the bus stop and bandaged her sprain ankle at the infirmary. And then he battles out with Taga in a skating battle in which everything from here goes ridiculous. From Taga’s super reputation as a skater to dancing and twirling till sweets come out of their armpits. Yeah… WTF indeed… In the end, Kanade wins. Late that night Kanade reveals his secret to Kaho. He is actually a popular idol and Shugo is his manager. This makes Kaho feel jealous because she thought she was the only girl for him and now there are many other girls screaming and swooning at him. He then practises a drama kissing scene with her by kissing her hand. This surprises her for always doing such things. But all is well when he asks her to be his girlfriend and then really kiss her.

Now it is time to wake up from the daydreaming and find out why the heck Kanade doesn’t want Kaho anymore. Because he has been bitten by Sadako, he thinks he will turn into a dog and will have to marry Sadako! While all the kids believe this and start crying, not Kaho. Taga then relays the good news that this isn’t a human faced dog but just an ugly dog! He has taken Sadako for shots so rest be assured that Kanade is safe. As the kids revel in joy, something is boiling deep down inside Kaho. If that incredulous face wasn’t enough, suddenly a side you never see of Kaho bursts out. The ultimate ranting and complaining of all the weird things she has to go through because of his childish thinking. Wow. We’ve never seen such an outburst before. Kaho, are you okay? Better let it all out. It gets even ‘worse’ when Kaho starts inserting poop and dick words into her sentences!!! OMFG!!! KAHO ARE YOU OKAY???!!! At the end of it, Kanade laughs at how funny she said them and this snaps Kaho back into reality. Kaho might have embarrassed herself again as Kanade’s friends now nickname Kaho with poop and dick words. Way to go. The rest of the sports festival continues and Kanade’s team wins it. They have a celebratory BBQ back at Kasumi. With more poop and dick words inserted. My, where did you guys learn such words? Kanade explains he picked up abandoned Sadako and couldn’t let her be since she reminded him so much of Kaho. Doesn’t that feel like an insult? Kaho = dog. He gives her his winning medal and hugs her but the mood is ruined when Sadako takes a leak at Kaho’s feet! That’s when they realize Sadako is a boy. Kanade knew this and that’s why the ‘ko’ is actually for ‘cock’. Wait. What?! Kaho, must be up to here right now. For the final after class homeroom, all the guys argue to take care of Kanade as their dog. It’s a good thing Kaho doesn’t join in this nonsense.

Dick Jokes Monster
And so nothing much that really happens and nothing much that moves ahead. Kanade and Kaho are still at an immature stage of their relationship in which I believe Kaho is still going to need a lot of tolerance and patience if she is going to continue tolerating this kind of childish crap. But hey, that is what love is all about, right? Right?! You get some seemingly romantic moments, you get some seemingly funny moments, you get some seemingly dramatic moments but in the end everything feels like status quo.

You know when adults make dick and butt jokes they sound so disgusting and immature but when little boys do it, it doesn’t sound as bad and to a certain point it is okay because you know, they are cute little innocent boys. At most you would just politely discipline them never to say such words again. Yup. This is how I feel the dick jokes are. In almost every episode you can bet there would be some sort of dick joke made by Kanade and his friends simply just to show their immature kiddie side. As though it is some sort of reminder that these ‘grownups’ are still little kids in their minds and hearts. Just that their bodies decide to take off on its own for a growth spurt. So if you can’t handle this kind of harmless dick jokes, you shouldn’t be watching anime at all. And when they spam dick words in the final episode with a big majority coming from Kaho’s mouth, I wonder how many viewers felt offended. Me? I was just laughing. You’re supposed to laugh when we say those words, damn it!

I know its brand of comedy is sometimes weird because it mainly relies on Kanade and his pals so it mainly revolves around kiddie and childish jokes. That can’t be help, right? Otherwise you could view Kouta as a bully victim or Mafuyu craziness-cum-fanservice-boobs as the other source of so called comedy. Not to mention sometimes the miscommunication between Kanade and Kaho thanks to their age difference. Even some of the dramatic parts may look like it is sensationalized but when you realize it is some childish logic, everything just dies down.

The romcom between Kanade and Kaho is interesting to watch because of the different state of mentality they are both in. Sometimes I feel that there is some sort of subtlety to tell us that their kind of relationship reflects many of the real life relationships. You know, men may look their age but deep down inside their hearts they are still immature children. Generally speaking. It is only right for Kanade to act and speak like a kid. Like many other kids his age who are not yet maturely ready to handle a real love relationship, he thinks it is all fun and games even when times he sounds serious is just probably because of his voice sounding mature. That’s why Kaho is always confused and worried about the repercussions. Is it even legal? Sometimes when she has high hopes for something but reality brings it down to an elementary school kid’s level. It’s not what she thought it would be in the first place. She’s been through a lot of emotional rides from breaking up to suspicions of another woman. And she is just a high school kid. And he is just an elementary school kid. Kids these days. Already so much drama. And then the final outburst in the final episode just stuns us. Albeit not in a very shocking way. We might not see this coming especially from her gentle character but it wasn’t the most shocking outburst ever. Remember that harem anime, Inou Battle Wa Nichijou-kei No Naka De? Yeah. That was shocking.

Of course it gets a lot weirder when you have Gin, Tom and Jouji having the same grownup body size but small child’s mentality. As though one isn’t enough but a whole bunch of them. Did their parents eat GMO food while they were carrying their child in their womb? So ironically to even out this unbalance, that is why we have Kazuo as the coolest and most mature of his age. After all, he is from a rich noble family so we can’t have him act like some uncivilized monkey, right? Unfortunately I kinda noticed that whenever Hanako is involved, his intelligence and rationality drops significantly. I guess love makes you lose and do all kinds of crazy stuffs. It’s a shame that he’ll never know who Hanako is as far as this anime is concerned and nothing progressing about it. Like as though it feels like this is going to be Kazuo’s running joke.

Taga feels like the most dangerous character of them all. Firstly because I can’t seem to know what he is thinking. I am not sure if he likes Kanade or Kaho. Or both. Experience tells me he has a crush on Kaho because he keeps being mean and picking on her whenever he gets the chance to. Because that is what boys who have a crush on girls do, right? They bully them for attention. Or could he really spite Kaho because he got in the way of his shotacon love with Kanade? Because before Kaho came to Kasumi, I don’t think anybody else got this tormented by him. Maybe except for Kouta but this guy is easy picking for everyone. Like as though it is his role to be bullied whenever the opportunity arises.

What about Mafuyu, you say? Isn’t she even more dangerous because of her delusional and crazy affection for Shugo? Well, at least Mafuyu is easy to read. You know what Steve Irwin said about crocodiles and humans? Crocodiles are easier because they want to kill and eat you. Humans on the other hand sometimes pretend to be your friend first. Yeah, this quote somehow describes more on Taga. So while Mafuyu might be a dangerous psycho in her own way to make Shugo her husband, at least her intentions are clearer to see. Daikoku is equally as dangerous but he falls more into the baka aniki category. I wonder if he is a permanent resident of Kasumi seeing that he often hangs out there most of the time. It could be too lonely back at their own mansion because nobody is around.

For the rest of the Kasumi residents, they are mainly nice people. Even though Arashi is somewhat a Renren fan-cum-pervert, he does give good reasonable advice once in a while. He does manage to separate fantasy and reality. Perhaps I can say Chiaki as his girlfriend keeps his foot firmly on the ground. Otherwise he might have turned into another dangerous character. Chiaki’s presence isn’t much in the series but it’s like she is the information master and knows a lot of things. Last and not least, Shugo the landlord. This guy is pretty cool as a single dad and looks out for the best for Kanade. Sometimes he may be passed off as dense because he might not be aware what is going on with the rest but his calm and cool composure says it all. His strong bond with his late wife that also forms a strong bond with Kanade is supposedly the most heart-warming point of the series. I thought Yuki would play some sort of pivotal role in the series but apparently they’re just sticking to status quo by being friends and better for Yuki to have a secret crush. After all, Kanade already rejected a certain love letter right in front of class. When that happens, you think you got the guts to even confess straight up?

On a trivial note, in each episode there will be some sort of kiddie game that Kanade and his friends will play. These games I believe are what many children (at least in Japan) played during their childhood years such as tag, rope skipping, hula hoop and even the forbidden crotch massage using one’s feet. They are explained by a narrator on its basics and visuals of it become like retro black and white film. At the end of the explanation, there is always a symbolic apple being cut into half. It might be the colouring aspect but they make it look like the inside seemed like poison. I don’t know what it means. Does it signify understanding or we have grown out of such games?

Art and drawing are rather okay. With lots of hot looking bishonen, I can’t blame girls if they start falling for kids who are 10 years younger but look 10 years more mature and more handsome. Stupid puberty didn’t do that to me… But if you find the overall art style to be somewhat familiar, it is because Studio Deen animated this series and you can find their familiar trademark in animes like Fruits Basket, Vampire Knight, Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni series, Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka and even Jigoku Shoujo just to name a few. Now I know why that scene of Kaho looks a bit like Enma Ai… Some of the characters nearly have this derp face look like, uhm, Renren?

It’s nice to hear that Takahiro Sakurai voicing a character that isn’t a brooding one. At least for the many animes that I have watched him casted as since personally that is how I have typecast his voice to be suitable for over the years. Thus it was a bit refreshing hearing him as Kanade whose character has the voice of a teenager but yet the feel of an elementary school kid. Yui Horie as Kaho is still as lovely and sweet after all these years. Still recognizable are Tomokazu Sugita as Gin, Showtaro Morikubo as Tom, Kenichi Suzumura as Jouji and I almost didn’t notice Nobuhiko Okamoto as Kouta. Well, he sounded familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it for the first time. For the rest of the casts, they are Ayumu Murase as Kazuo (Riku in Show By Rock), Kaito Ishikawa as Taga (Tigre in Madan No Ou To Vanadis), Kenjiro Tsuda as Arashi (Inui in Prince Of Tennis), Mizuki Wai as Chiaki (debut anime), Shinsuke Takeuchi as Shugo (Jose Carlos Takasuka in Kuromukuro), Ai Kayano as Mafuyu (Inori in Guilty Crown), Hikaru Midorikawa as Daikoku (Lancer in Fate/Stay Night) and Iori Nomizu as Yuki (Haruna in Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka).

Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Shouta Aoi who is the voice of Renren in the series. Innocent as the opener is your typical anime rock style and nothing really special that attracts me. The ending theme is the odd sounding one. All of a sudden it becomes super hard rock style. Hearing Kimi Ni Sasageru Chinkonka is like giving you a shocker after watching a romantic comedy. I mean, I didn’t really expect this kind of music to be in this kind of genre. Making it weirder is that the ending credits animation is our cute Renren who is supposed to be the cutie boy epitome of the series is seen hard rocking with his hard rock band! It proves little boys like him can be hardcore too? There is a special ending theme for the penultimate episode. Bamboo Primary School Song sounds exactly what it is supposed to be: A school anthem. But the thing which I find most odd is how they pronounce the name of their school: Chikushou. I don’t know. My kanji reading is still bad so I am not sure if this is the way they pronounced their school name or if it meant something else. Because as far as I know, chikushou is like a curse word which is equivalent to “Damn it!”. Therefore I am wondering if this is a pun made on purpose because you know, when you have a series that brazenly has little boys talk about dicks, this is nothing, right?

Overall, this series is fun and enjoyable to watch in its own way. Because all of us still have that kid inside of us, right? Hmm… I don’t think I put that one out right. This series isn’t just aimed for immature people or those who won’t grow up. Because if you think so, then I suppose your big budget blockbuster Hollywood sci-fi fantasy films like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are the same, no? Deadpool, anybody? So it goes to show that love is blind as well as irrational. It is not the outside that counts but the inside. Having said that, it only affirms the reason why women would love to date and marry older men. Money is another issue… So really, what is love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more…

Hatsukoi Monster

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017 EVERYONE! Ah, time really flies. Maybe I am getting old. Just like in previous years, I hope to watch more anime and hopefully they won’t suck as much. Yeah, maybe I should just change my taste and lower my standards, eh?

After the confusing I-don’t-know-what-this-season-is-all-about-or-heading-to sequel that left me more confused than ever, especially that kind of cliff-hanger ending that didn’t resolve anything but only raised more questions, I was sceptical if I should watch Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru Zoku OVA. Not too sure if I would understand what is going on if they decide to wrap and explain things up. The good news? This OVA isn’t all about that. It isn’t a continuation of where that ‘ending’ left off. I suppose that is good enough for me. So instead, this OVA is about Hikigaya ‘dating’ his girls. Oh yeah. That at least I can understand. I think.

Sugar, spice and everything nice… Thrice!
Woah! What?! Iroha meeting up with Hikigaya on a date?! What’s going on?! Yup, we’re as surprised as Hikigaya. Apparently yesterday she requested him to help out for a job. Since she put on her cutie smiley face, there is no way a guy like him can say no, right? So this ‘date’ is because Iroha believes Hayato is going to get busy so she would like to introduce some light casual fun. Is this just an excuse to date him? Oh wait. She makes Hikigaya say that this was his idea. So on their ‘date’, they first hit the movies but it seems they want to see different movies and Hikigaya is cool with that. Let’s watch what we want and meet back here once it finishes. I guess Iroha isn’t going to take that so change of plans. Playing ping pong? So Iroha is trying to make intimidating sounds during her smash but hits it all over the place. Trying to even cheat on the score? In the end, Hikigaya obviously wins but sly girl worms her way out that although she agreed for him to treat her if she won, he didn’t say anything about she treating him if he won. Loophole… Not that Hikigaya wants a girl to pay for him anyway. Next, Hikigaya takes her to a ramen store. I don’t know, she looks so disappointed. Hasn’t she eaten ramen before? She hates to admit it but it tastes good. Next, he takes her to a café for desserts. They see the student council vice president and secretary coming out together. She thinks they are dating and I’m not sure how Hikigaya’s comments made Iroha think he is trying to hit on her. Oh right. We got to have her usual annoying trademark on him. In the café, Iroha has Hikigaya take a group photo with her. He is getting quite conscious of how close his face is to hers. At the end of the day, Iroha’s criticism on just about everything landed him with zero points. But 10 points for being fun. I guess messing with him was it. I’m sure he finds her annoying at this point. However to show she isn’t a sly b*tch, she thanks him for today’s good reference.

Next day in the clubroom, Iroha thanks Hikigaya and the other girls are just giving that look. Iroha is here to request making a free newspaper by the student council. It will contain articles like places to hang out and restaurants with good food, etc. Thus yesterday’s ‘date’. She shows them the photos she took of the places they visited. But it’s that jealous look when they see the picture of Iroha and Hikigaya close together. Having fun, aren’t we? Not sure if Iroha was showing that on purpose as she now tries to give excuse on how he was trying to help out with the coverage. Since she claims it isn’t done yet, she wants them to help out too and take some pictures. Why looking at Hikigaya? I see. He must come too. So this time Mr Lucky Hikigaya gets to ‘date’ Yukino and Yui. They look through various clothing shops and there’s a lingerie store Hikigaya tries to avert his eyes but it’s like Yukino is keeping a close watch on him and matching his actions. Huh? Then he sees the inevitable of the push up bra on sale. So what? That’s pretty normal, right? Unless you see it with a girl… The rest of the outing feels quite normal. Iroha is satisfied with it. She wants to take a group photo of them. Hikigaya feels shy about it but relents. Yui’s nice smile, Yukino’s dumbfounded looks (?!) and Hikigaya’s typical sarcastic face. That makes a good photo? Hikigaya narrates he might not know how to define this club yet but it isn’t as bad as he thought it would be.

Date A Live Wire
Uhm… Okay, I guess… No, wait. ANNOYING! So I am thinking this OVA is a much needed excuse for Hikigaya to go on a ‘date’ with his ‘harem’ because screw everything else. Iroha is given more limelight because we just need to be annoyed by her sly ways. It is like trying to warn us guys that if you have this kind of girlfriend, DUMP HER IMMEDIATELY!!! Cute on the outside but devilish on the inside. In normal circumstances, normal guys don’t really want to put up with this annoyance so it is a sign to get out of the relationship or be trapped forever as her eternal punching bag-cum-slave. They didn’t really have to put Yui and Yukino’s ‘date’ in it because it somewhat felt forced. Like as though if they dedicated this entire OVA to Iroha, it would be unfair to the main duo. Besides, I don’t think we can stand it any much longer if their outing lasted the entire episode because as it is it already takes up more than half of the OVA. Yeah, I think it’s better to show some boring outing with the less radical ones than continue with an irritating foxy girl. Well, I figure that’s why some girls are sugar, spice and everything nice but at a price!

Top Bishoujos of 2016

December 31, 2016

Before I know it, yet another year has ended! Oh gosh. Have I really gotten so old that time has flown by so quickly even by my own standards? By the time I realized, I had already done 10 years’ worth of top bishoujos posts and even a ranked one. Wow. Time has passed quickly indeed. If you have noticed that the number of bishoujo candidates every year has been steadily increasing. At this point it would have already gone over 100 (because the last one was just 1 short of being a century). Well, let me assure you that didn’t happen. It scaled back down to just 60 bishoujos. Did my taste in 2D beauty changed over the course of the year? Has my beauty perceptions refined? Nah. Without further ado, I present to you the 11th edition, the Top 10 Bishoujos of 2016! As usual, they are listed in alphabetical order:

1) Alicia Melchiott (Senjou No Valkyria)

2) Ayame Yomogawa (Koutetsujou No Kabaneri)

3) Kikko Hoshino (Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou)

4) Mary (Hai To Gensou No Grimgar)

5) Megumi Tadokoro (Shokugeki No Souma)

6) Nancy Lee (Ninja Slayer The Animation)

7) Narberal Gamma (Overlord)

8) Reina Izumi (Musaigen No Phantom World)

9) Yuriko Kougami (Sakurako-san No Ashimoto Ni Wa Shitai Ga Umatteiru)

10) Yuriko Star (The Irresponsible Captain Tylor)

Congratulations to the winners for 2016! Just like last time, the vast amount of candidates means I have had another round prior before choosing the winners. Here are the 10 shortlisted candidates for the third round (in alphabetical order):

Beatrice (Umineko No Naku Koro Ni), Bozes Co Palesti (Gate: Jietai Kanochi Nite, Kaku Tatakeri), Celestia Ralgris (Saijaku Muhai No Bahamut), Paladin (Bikini Warriors), Miyuki Kujou (Shomin Sample), Rico Flamel (Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei No Kyoukan), Rina Izumi (Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation), Sakurako Kujou (Sakurako-san No Ashimoto Ni Wa Shitai Ga Umatteiru), Sayuki Kuroda (Shoujo-tachi Wa Kouya Wo Mezasu) and Sakuya Tachibana (God Eater).

These next 10 candidates made it as far as the second round (listed in alphabetical order):

Ayase Ayatsuji (Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry), Chika Homura (Haruchika ~Haruta To Chika Wa Seishun Suru~), Ema Yasuhara (Shirobako), Erin (Seisen Cerberus), Hana Midorikawa (Prison School), Hana Satou (Joukamachi No Dandelion), Iroha Isshiki (Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru Zoku), Karen Jinryo (Shomin Sample), Meryl Sherbert (Chaos Dragon: Sekiryuu Sen’eki) and Shannon (Umineko No Naku Koro Ni).

Last and not least but they are still worth mentioning, the balance 30 candidates for the first round (also in alphabetical order):

Aina Kuronuma (Sakamoto Desu Ga), Anna Nishikinomiya (Shimoneta To Iu Gainen Ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu Na Sekai), Aoi Miyamori (Shirobako), Arpeggio El Lalena (Gate: Jietai Kanochi Nite, Kaku Tatakeri), Chinatsu Kuramoto (Flying Witch), Chiyo Kurihara (Prison School), Darkness AKA Lalatina Dustiness Ford (Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo), Fubuki (One Punch Man), Haruna (Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan), Hotaru Shidare (Dagashi Kashi), Ichi Akabane (Aoharu x Kikanjuu), Karen Kisaragi (Hundred), Kotori Iida (Amaama To Inazuma), Masaki (Mayoiga), Milinda Brantini (Heavy Object), Miya (Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan), Miyako Ootori (Shounen Maid), Mizuki Sera (Classroom Crisis), Noct Leaflet (Saijaku Muhai No Bahamut), Ojou (Oshiete! Galko-chan), Reiko