Are we ready to find out if Setsuna lives or dies given the cliff-hanger from the first season? Oh hell, I think we all very well know the answer because it is a given she’s part of the main characters and she is still on the cover of the promotional poster for the sequel, Hanyou No Yashahime: Sengoku Otogizoushi – Ni No Shou. And with other unresolved matter from the first season, hence this sequel promises to answer all that and silence the critics! Not too sure about that (and I don’t have a good feeling about it either) but let’s not jump the gun and see what happens in this second season first, shall we?

Episode 25
After that very brief recap and that galactic battle with Kirinmaru, we jump right in where we left off. Yup. Setsuna is dead as Sesshoumaru hands Towa his broken Tenseiga to revive her. At first, Towa is distracted by the Dream Butterfly flying away from Setsuna. Please concentrate if you want to bring your sister back to life. No matter how much Towa screams, looks like her lightsaber is just a pea shooter. For now. Dropping into the scene is Totosai who isn’t happy his Tenseiga is broken. Sure, he can fix it but that will take 3 days. Sorry, Setsuna only has an hour the most before those imps take away her soul. Towa is still screaming as she now channels her demon power to Tenseiga (turning her hair black). Still not enough. Seeing Setsuna’s naginata wasn’t all that powerful, Totosai decides to forge one that befits her Blood Blade. However, this will attract all the youkais and Moroha must help protect him. Exterminate all of them. Every. Single. One. Moroha going to have a hard time even if Kirara is helping her. Now Towa can see those imps but she is hesitating and also it is using all her strength just to get this lightsaber glowing. It is only when those imps start to take away her soul, Towa manages to draw the strength to cut them all. Power of sisterly love! Now she can drop dead. I mean, fall asleep. When the youkais are overwhelming, Sesshoumaru then calls out Setsuna’s name. She opens her eyes as Totosai finishes the new naginata in time and throws it to her. Yeah, she destroys them all in one strike. Sesshoumaru leaves Totosai to fix his Tenseiga before leaving. Moroha is glad Setsuna is alive. She doesn’t even know she was dead. Totosai advises Setsuna to hone her skills with this new blade since he views she is still not up to mark yet. And also a caveat for using Tenseiga: It can only be used once on a life brought back. So no more Tenseiga restore game feature in the future. As for Towa, he warns about Towa not to infuse demon power in a weapon made by humans. She must go obtain a Kyuyokon root if she is to have a fighting chance with Kirinmaru. Also, don’t go fighting with unsuitable weapons. It won’t matter how many lives you have. As to where to look for a suitable weapon, try asking Bokusen Oh for a start. Is Moroha the biggest loser because she got no cool weapon upgrade or anything after all this?

Episode 26
Riku talks to Mimisenri about his betrayal to Kirinmaru. Now that he is free, he plans to do what he pleases and even if that means siding with the Yashahime might get him into trouble. Setsuna and Moroha leave Towa behind to look for clues of the root and Bokusen Oh. Rumours say that a demon that lives by the sea might know something about Bokusen Oh. However many don’t know how that demon looks like because well, you can’t look at her directly or else… Anyway, the duo are at a seaside village and they also hear rumours how some Sea Snake Woman attacks those with long beautiful hair and that’s why girls cover them up. When they help a nun, turns out she is that Sea Snake Woman and she is envious of Setsuna’s long black hair. And what do you know? She too is that said demon who might know about Bokusen Oh. The reason nobody knows how she looks like because those who see her will become stone. Did they borrow this straight out from Medusa?! The duo can’t fight her effectively without their sight. Yeah, I can’t believe they keep missing. I thought their special skill covered the whole place! Anyway, we hear Sea Snake Woman’s back story. Once she protected fishermen from the dangers of the sea. She saved one who was drowning when bad weather overturned his boat. She fell for him and tried to visit him in her sea snake form. Of course to fishermen, such creatures are a sign of bad luck so they attack her and the heart breaking moment was when he lover dealt the finishing blow. She became enraged and turned into this demon that turns everyone into stone, even her lover. So she’s jealous she can’t go back to her original form and thus her attack on women with long beautiful hair?! Whatever. Towa to the rescue now. She has mirrored sunglasses! WTF! She failed???!!! If Riku had not help her by freezing the sea and immobilizing Sea Snake Woman, it could’ve been really a disaster. Time for Setsuna to use her new naginata. Well, she’s seeing some red string that she must cut. But a voice tells her not to. This leads her to that fisherman lover. She brings his stone body up and Sea Snake Woman can hear his cries that he loves her. And just like that she reverts to her original self and becomes docile?! The day is saved although our heroines rue they lost the chance to ask her about Bokusen Oh.

Episode 27
Sesshoumaru checks on Rin. This prompts a flashback when Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha were dealing with that comet, Zero appeared before Rin and wanted to kill her daughters who would spell Kirinmaru’s end. Since killing Rin would be too easy, she cursed her a silver scale curse. Silver scales will slowly cover her body and she will die rotting an ugly b*tch. Before Sesshoumaru can save the day, Zero warned him about killing her because doing so will also kill Rin. So if he tells her the whereabouts of his daughters, she will lift the curse. But Rin would rather die since she loves her daughters so much. Finding it amusing, Zero gave them time to think about it and will return once Kirinmaru revives. Jaken suggested to preserve Rin in the Tree of Ages to slow the curse. But he pointed out Inuyasha would be the problem because he would try to take down Kirinmaru and Zero. Hence Sesshoumaru’s ‘cooperation’ to help seal Inuyasha and Kagome inside the black pearl. At the same time, Zero burnt the forest to kill the sisters. With Rin’s curse still spreading, the Tree of Ages gave Jaken a Dream Butterfly. Stick it to someone close to Rin. The butterfly will bring dreams to Rin and this will freeze her in time and stop the spread. And so Jaken gave it to Setsuna. In present time, Setsuna alone fights off some monsters and one of them has a Rainbow Pearl. After she kills them, Riku takes the pearl. She is wary of him but he wants to help them. More specifically, he believes Setsuna still hasn’t mastered her new naginata and doesn’t have what it takes to protect Towa. He wants to be Towa’s bodyguard. As a small token of appreciation, he gives her a map to Bokusen Oh. With the rest, they find this old tree who tells them the root’s location at Mt Musubi, which is also the location of the Dream Butterfly. Riku gives the Rainbow Pearls to Zero and now she has it all. Then she speaks to Kirinmaru via Riku. This shocks Riku so Zero explains that his origin was a part of Kirinmaru’s horn that was cut off during a fight with Great Dog Demon. As he is a part of Kirinmaru, he hears and sees what Riku does. She tells him to never see her again lest he wants to die. Later Zero looks through the memories of the Rainbow Pearls. She is shocked to see Izayoi and the Yashahime sisters inside it and it is now an extra layer of the pearls. She curses Sesshoumaru for sealing them inside his daughters’ eye knowing this would happen.

Episode 28
Long ago when Kirinmaru fought Great Dog Demon, he lost and was fatally wounded. But Great Dog Demon did not finish him off as he noticed his daughter, Rion watching. Don’t bring a child to a battlefield. Is that an excuse to not finish him? So when Kirinmaru returned, he complained to Zero about it all. Hence he turned his broken horn into Riku as a reminder of his failed self. Each time he sees Riku, he is reminded to train more and become stronger. Rion is somewhat barricaded inside Musubi and the Yashahime trio have just entered it. The barrier causes them to be separated and each experiencing their own illusion. Towa is in her modern era while Setsuna is before the Tree of Ages. Moroha stumbles into sleeping Rion. She notices the Dream Butterfly and wonders if her dreams too get stolen. When she wakes up, Rion wants her to take her away from this place. Noticing Towa and Setsuna are still trapped within the barrier, Rion sends Moroha back into the barrier to help them. As she floats through the dimension, she spots Inuyasha and Kagome. Setsuna learns Rin is her mom and has been sealed 14 years ago. She wants to protect her so what can she do? Play the violin! Towa wanders around her neighbourhood when Moroha drops down in time to tell her this is all an illusion. She fires a way out and this leads them to the Tree of Ages. Moroha asks about her parents’ whereabouts. They’re in the border of the afterlife. As for how to save Rin, Setsuna must use her naginata. Now that they have their answers, Kirinmaru’s voice allows them to enter Musubi to accompany Rion. The trio meet Rion who have no qualms in giving them the Kyuyokon root. Meanwhile Kirin notes that the times are changing as Kagome’s grandpa doesn’t remember about the Shikon Jewel and the well is no longer here either.

Episode 29
Rion wants to trio to slay her father. Because Kirinmaru wants to fight the strongest, they must first prove their strength to break out from Musubi’s barrier. Further revelations reveal she died 600 years ago. Kirinmaru cannot accept her death and sealed her soul here. He has been using the Dream Butterfly to meet her in the dreams. She wants to put a stop to all this, including Kirinmaru’s ambition to destroy the world (he wants to find Akuru’s pinwheel). Towa sad by her story that she hugs her? How the f*ck can you hug a ghost?! Setsuna sees the red strings and cuts it. Take it as training to save Rin. The red strings turn into a Dream Butterfly in which Kirinmaru used to bind her here. Although that bind is now severed, her cocoon turns into ashes. Even so, Kirinmaru still wants to keep her here. Rion’s strong resolve to walk on her own strength has her break free. Then she plays her flute that is made from the Kyuyokon root as her final goodbye before giving it to Towa. Kirinmaru has placed demons to prevent anyone from escaping. Uh, coloured dinosaur bones? They can’t coordinate their attacks because their attacks are haphazard so they have to run. Rion suggests Towa to use the flute. She plays it and it becomes a legendary sword, Zanseiken (the other pair, Bakuseiken is currently being wielded by Kirinmaru). Towa could feel the power welling up in her and easily destroys the demons. Once they leave Musubi, Sesshoumaru is seen waiting. He asks if Setsuna has mastered her new naginata. She still needs time. Then a Dream Butterfly appears from her as Sesshoumaru reveals how her dreams are stolen to suppress Rin’s curse. If he cuts it, Setsuna will be able to sleep but Rin’s curse will accelerate. Since Setsuna’s resolve is to save mom, Sesshoumaru cuts her Dream Butterfly. So how to save mom? Up to you to figure out. I bet he doesn’t even know! Later they stumble into Riku taking out all the demons who were trying to hunt down the Yashahime. He is surprised to see Rion and learns what happened. When Towa finds out Kirinmaru sees and hears from Riku, she screams a personal message to come challenge them. They’ll not run or hide anymore. Riku then takes Rion under her care so as not to burden the trio on their journeys.

Episode 30
Setsuna so deep in her sleep that she didn’t realize she has been kidnapped! When she wakes up, she finds herself all dressed up and in the quarters of Aiya. Looks like she wants Setsuna to be her body double as she wants to skip some etiquette lessons her father arranged for her today. Of course Setsuna will not do it but after shedding some crocodile tears, got to help the ‘oppressed’, eh? Yeah, a princess’ life is such an oppressing and stifling lifestyle. Aiya now goes to the beach with her newfound freedom. Setsuna is shocked to see the mentor is Hisui. Actually, Kinu put him up to this after she accepted payment for this job. They have to pretend to be doing something since Aiya’s father checks on them from time to time. In between, Setsuna learns of Hisui’s reason to become a demon slayer. Basically, Kohaku saved him from a demon attack and Hisui saw his determination to protect the village. That was the incident that also gave Kohaku a scar on the nose. But soon, Aiya is in trouble! She’s been captured by an octopus demon. Does this octopus know how to do tentacle rape?! Why is it just flinging her around?! Only Hisui comes to rescue her since Setsuna has to stay put in case father checks on them. Whiny Aiya keep pestering to be rescued! And she just can’t STFU! Why didn’t she get tentacle raped! With the octopus using her as human shield, it is hard for Hisui to attack. Thankfully, Gyokuto and Kinu are here to help distract the octopus for Hisui to defeat it and save the princess. Also safe to say, Aiya has fallen for him so the twin sisters can tell and play a prank on Hisui to let her ride with him. Dense Hisui thinks she wants to ride Kirara… You bet she’ll hold on tight to him. Hope she had all her fun because when she returns, father is going to give her a good lecture for shirking her duties. Money well spent?

Episode 31
Because Riku cannot personally go see Zero, he sends Rion instead. But Zero is not home. Luckily she has a mirror to communicate. Zero learns of Rion’s circumstances as well as her goal to help the Yashahime to defeat Kirinmaru. Zero agrees with her niece’s intentions but notes the next time they meet, Towa will die. Meanwhile Takechiyo hires Moroha as a bodyguard and takes her to his land of birth. They meet up with Hachi who knows about Moroha since her parents entrusted her to be put under the care of the wolf tribe. Hachi has not seen it but believes Inuyasha and Kagome are dead since they went up against Sesshoumaru and Kirinmaru, fuelling fears to Moroha that they are really dead. As they wait outside the castle of the Full Moon Racoon Dog, Moroha just heads straight in without a plan. She gets paralyzed by Sauron’s Eye some surveillance eye in which it alerts the guards. Elsewhere, Setsuna knows she still has long to master her naginata. As she cannot see the strings of fate, this makes it harder for her to save Rin. Towa spars with Kohaku and loses. He notes that she cannot dodge in a fight because she never considered it an option. He thinks due to a past trauma, she harbours deep regret if she runs away and that’s why she always fights head on. I guess the lesson here is that it’s okay to run away sometimes. Since she is reckless fighting this way, Kohaku will only take Setsuna for some big demon extermination job. Time to show Towa’s fruits of training and realization as she takes on a cocky golem demon with her Twin Azure Dragon Wave. Now she realizes how naïve she was because she has been using Setsuna as an excuse for her own weakness.

Episode 32
Towa notices Akuru passing by. However he disappears when Riku and Rion come into the picture. They are here to warn her that Zero is targeting her life. Zero is at the palace of Nanahoshi. He can grant any wish in exchange for all the sorrows from the heart. But he is stumped when he couldn’t find any sorrows in her as she reveals she sealed them in the Rainbow Pearls. Then he ties him up and is going to use this place as trap. Moroha gets locked in a dungeon but manages to escape with her… Swiss knife!!! She goes to peek on those raccoons and it seems Shogen Mamiana (the leader of the tanuki tribe) has a grudge against Moroha because her parents scarred his face. When Moroha’s escape is discovered, they search for her. She has to run from them and although the low level guards are easy pickings, Shogen soon summons Full Moon Racoon Dog. Moroha transforms into Beniyasha but to her dismay, her attacks do not have any effect. Kirinmaru appears before Towa’s side and wants to take down Rion since she is interfering in his plans. Towa offers to protect her despite her guts tell her to run. Before they fight, Towa spots Akuru curious with her bicycle. She is the only one who can see him. When Kirinmaru realizes this, he won’t fight her anymore and escapes. But he unleashes an attack for his escape and this injures Riku’s eyes. He may have temporarily lost his sight but the good news is that Kirinmaru won’t be able to see their location. Kohaku leads his demon slayers to Gokoku village as the northern demon slayers have requested his assistances to take down the flaming bull demon. It burns down houses. Yeah, there’s 1 now and it’s just to prove Setsuna’s skills to nonbelievers. The village head then summons a shaman to make a blizzard fall over the village to prevent any more fire attacks. Of course this measure is temporary and they still have to go about with their livelihood. When the blizzard stops, the demon slayers will then protect the village from the demons. Kohaku realizes the local deity that controls those demons is Mayonaka and not Mahiruma. He wants him to take them to the grain blessing shrine that this village worships. Because of this grain, the village is blessed with crop abundance. It is no surprise that many demons and rival lords want to take this.

Episode 33
When Towa gives Riku her lavender lotion, he can see. But only her. Huh? The demon slayers work hard in setting traps for the flaming bulls. Setsuna then lures them into the abyss and the traps work like a charm. However a rogue flaming bull is at the village burning houses down. With the seal of the shrine broken, Mayonaka manages to break in. Setsuna tries to stop him but is knocked out by one of the demon slayers, Goro. When she comes to, Mayonaka doesn’t care if she kills him because he isn’t even interested in this village or blessing in the first place. He is however unable to leave this place. Though, that blessing was a divine treasure that belonged to him. And yes, Mahiruma is him as well. I guess it’s time for a flashback. Many decades ago, he was the local deity and seeing how they worked hard, he decided to help them with the crops. The village flourished. Then one day a tax collector came here and settled down and became the mayor. His greed made things worse. His daughter, Oharu begged for Mahiruma’s help as the people are still hungry. However her father became greedy and stole the blessing and hid it. Oharu tried to get it back but she failed. She suggested eloping with him. But she didn’t turn up on that day. So Mahiruma wandered off by himself and decades later returned to see the village flourishing even more. He became confused why Oharu did this to him (he learnt she already died) and in that moment of madness, he became Mayonaka and his flaming bulls started to burn the village. He notes the village will not last much longer as they have used up too much of the blessing. Is there such a thing? As for Goro, he is Mahiruma and Oharu’s son! Oh sh*t! So they f*cked, huh?! Setsuna senses her naginata trying to tell her something. She also starts to see his strings of fate. She watches his tragedy including Oharu didn’t abandon him but arrived too late. Setsuna then cuts it, severing Mayonaka’s fate with the blessing. Then the shrine reveals the tomb of Oharu. She has always been waiting for him here. Both lovers reunite and ascend to heaven. What a weird tragic happy love story. With the village returning to being impoverished, the demon slayers leave empty handed and not paid. But at least Kohaku is glad they managed to score victory against human greed.

Episode 34
Moroha, Takechiyo and Hachi discuss about the Kikunosuke, Takechiyo’s younger brother who will be crowned the lord of the tanuki clan tomorrow. This is bad since Kikunosuke is timid and he will merely become Shogen’s puppet. While Moroha rues he is overpowered, Hachi notes that tomorrow will be the new moon so this means he won’t be so powerful and it’ll be easier to take him down. Speaking of new moon, Towa has her hair black and grown. She is now worried for Setsuna because now that she can sleep, she too will become like her and be vulnerable. Her worries trouble Riku because the same thing happened to Zero. The demon slayers are taking refuge in a snowy village. Setsuna now realizes how it feels to be in Moroha’s shoes. She has also lost her powers on this night and is vulnerable and cold. A snow demon, Yukinyudo senses her and is out for her blood. Hachi tells Moroha and Takechiyo how he witnessed Inuyasha’s group take down Shogen and Full Moon Racoon Dog. While mourning the death of the previous lord, Inuyasha’s side showed up and with the ladies pretending to party, all the tanuki soon get into partying mood and started drinking. A drunk Shogen then declared himself as the new lord and killed off anyone who opposed him. Of course this was a ruse by Inuyasha’s side to make him show his true colours. In the end, they manage to seal the Full Moon Racoon Dog although Shogen got away. Too bad Hachi wasn’t there to see it so he can’t say how Moroha’s parents sealed it. Many years later, a storm weakened the barrier so you bet Shogen found the seal and took it back and resumed his terror. He sided with Kikunosuke and tried to kill Takechiyo. At first Takechiyo was cursed but luckily Miroku managed to remove it. For his safety, Miroku left him in the care of Jubei. Zero has sent paper butterflies to attack Towa’s side. But as Riku cuts them down, it is merely a distraction as Towa gets into a teleport trap to Nanahoshi’s palace. Now Zero can kill her at her weakest moment.

Episode 35
Nanahoshi gives Towa some bug trying to suck out Towa’s pain and suffering. She tries to resist but the pain gets more excruciating. As Yukinyudo sneaks into the inn where Setsuna is sleeping, it looks like the demons slayers are waiting for him. Turns out Setsuna has already laid out the plan for various scenarios including dispatching the small fries. Basically, comical traps that send Yukinyudo flying away. In the end, it is no biggie as Setsuna manages to sleep through all that racket. The inn destroyed, Yukinyudo defeated, what a glorious day. A drunk Shogen prepares to crown Kikunosuke for tomorrow as he enters the castle. But shortly, Shogen returns with a captured Moroha. What’s the meaning of this? The first Shogen the guards let pass is Hachi in disguise! Sound the alarm! Of course this is a ruse and the guards tackle the real Shogen instead. This allows Moroha to enter the room and take back her bow and arrows. Kikunosuke is also there but the painting containing the Full Moon Racoon Dog comes alive. Moroha’s arrows won’t work. How? Just put the painting face down! The real Shogen is here but the guards are confused after so many tricks so they don’t know who to listen as Moroha and Kikunosuke make their escape. While they go look for the real seal, Hachi and Takechiyo lead the other tanuki to revolt against Shogen. Underground, they find this moon that Kagome supposedly sealed. Yeah, destroying it did the trick. The place also collapses but they get out in time. Now Moroha has to settle it with a mad Shogen. Thanks to some scroll of instructions left by Miroku, Moroha is able to do some double Uno reverse on Shogen’s magic and blast him away into the sky like Team Rocket. With the clan freed from Shogen’s oppression, Takechiyo leaves it to Kikunosuke to continue ruling the clan. He is more than happy to be a bounty hunter. The reward would definitely clear Moroha’s debt but she doesn’t want it since she needs an excuse to hang out at Jubei’s place and continue her bounty hunter job. Hope she doesn’t regret it later. Since nobody wants the money, it’ll go back to the people.

Episode 36
After sucking enough from Towa, Nanahoshi puts on a stage where he’ll enact and let her see her tragic past. Towa claims her past isn’t that tragic but Zero begs to differ. So basically we see more scenes of Towa’s life in modern times after she got separated from Setsuna. Despite Souta and family treat her very well, Towa still has that lingering regret of being unable to find her sister. Towa continues to resist the sadness but Zero shows other memories from Setsuna’s side. During her absence, she was taken care by Shiori. Seeing how happy she is, Zero claims she has forgotten all about Towa. Towa’s resistance is futile as she slowly gives into this thought. Zero will then show her the loneliness she never knew about. Then more scenes as Towa grows up in modern times. She’s still having those feelings about Setsuna. Now her hatred is at her max, she goes berserk and will kill them for toying with her feelings. Riku and Rion arrive at the scene, following her lavender scent but they’re too late. In her anger, Towa has cut down Nanahoshi. She is targeting Zero next but it looks like this is what Zero wants. Meanwhile as the demon slayers are being confronted by a horde of vengeful goblins, Sesshoumaru drops in to ask if Setsuna has mastered her naginata. Well, she did cut the red string once. Good. Now go to the Tree of Ages because Towa is crying. Setsuna listens to her father who then stays back to help Kohaku and his demon slayers destroy the small fries. At the Tree of Ages, Setsuna is horrified to see the progression of the curse over Rin. She tries to use her naginata to cut the red string but is stopped by Rin in time. Remember, it is tied to Zero’s regret and if she severs it, the curse will never be lifted. Rin wants to save both Towa and Zero and passes something to her to be given to Towa. Setsuna makes haste. Does she know where Towa is? Oh right. Just follow this thread. Riku tries his best to stop Towa from killing Zero since she is still connected to Rin. Unfortunately Towa is blinded by rage and won’t listen.

Episode 37
Zero trying to provoke Towa to kill her by revealing she was the one who ordered the burning down of the forest. Had she not done that, the sisters will not be separated. As Towa’s rage grows, Riku continues to try to calm her down. Because if Towa kills her, she will be scarred for life and that is what Zero wants. Before Towa goes in for the kill, now it’s Setsuna’s turn to jump in and stop her. Meanwhile Jaken stumbles into Moroha and Takechiyo and has them take him to the Tree of Ages. Strangely, he cannot enter. Is Rin forbidding him to enter? Sesshoumaru then arrives and hands Moroha a black pearl where her parents are trapped in. Sesshoumaru enters the Tree of Ages and sees the scales have almost covered all of Rin. When Towa doesn’t care that killing Zero will kill their mom, Setsuna slaps her. She uses her Dream Butterfly to show the truth. From the day the forest burnt down and they were separated, Setsuna was found by Jaken who was then told to take her Dream Butterfly to feed Rin to slow down the curse. For the first time in ages, Setsuna calls her onee-chan and just like that, Towa’s anger dissipates. She holds no grudges against Zero as she realizes thanks to her, she was able to regain her bond with Setsuna. Zero is not pleased and will kill herself to drag Rin to hell. How to save them then? Setsuna sees a red string connecting to Great Dog Demon and severs it. This has the sisters see Zero’s memories and her sadness-cum-regret when Great Dog Demon died. At least she gets to talk to him one last time. Zero realizes Towa’s strength comes from being surrounded by love and hence she is overflowing with love just like the Great Dog Demon. With no more regrets, Zero releases Rin’s curse and instantly all the scales disappear. Rion pleads for Zero to help stop Kirinmaru but she claims this is goodbye. She forces Riku to kill her and then reveals a set of Kirinmaru’s memories on the day Rion was killed by a half demon named Sakasa although Kirinmaru killed him subsequently. She thinks even though the Shikon Jewel prophesized his death, they may be able to save him and Rion. Kirinmaru can tell Zero is dead as he continues to pursue Akuru. This leads him to Moroha and he steals her black pearl. He wants her to bring Akuru to him or say goodbye to her parents. Evil.

Episode 38
Moroha will not abide by that and becomes Beniyasha to fight him. Even with this rematch, she is still no match for him. After Towa and Setsuna go off to go see their mom, Rion has a favour of Riku. She needs his help because she wants to kill her father. Although this means Riku will die as he was part of Kirinmaru, he has made his resolve and has no regrets after meeting Towa. Moroha is defeated but just in time Sesshoumaru is now Kirinmaru’s next opponent. After all, if Kirinmaru wants to become the strongest, might as well his opponent is also a strong one and he shouldn’t pick on weaklings he beat before. Why the heck did Kirinmaru give the black pearl to him? Confident he’ll win and make Sesshoumaru look for Akuru for him? Their fight is ground shattering. The Yashahime trio assist and fight Kirinmaru. He is mad with this unfairness (nobody told him all’s fair in war?) that he unleashes a powerful spell he has not used since 500 years ago. Before the girls get toasted, Sesshoumaru absorbs this attack and without using his sword. Before he passes out, he tosses the black pearl to the girls in which it absorbs them. As Kirinmaru looks for Sesshoumaru to settle their score, a panicky Takechiyo takes the black pearl and runs. The trio are inside the black pearl when suddenly Kagome shows up before them. Mom? Daughter? Can’t blame them for not really sure of each other. It’s been a long time. But eventually they’re overcome with emotion and give the biggest hug ever. Yeah, even Towa and Setsuna crying over this family reunion. Oh, now here comes daddy Inuyasha. Is Moroha’s heart ready for this?

Episode 39
Mother and daughter have an emotional reunion. But not so with father and daughter. They’re trying to fight?! Oh, they’re just nervous maybe. So once the rest helps a little, it’s back to the loving family and we hear Moroha crying her heart out. Yeah, everybody’s crying over this reunion. As Kagome learns that Towa was brought up by her family, Towa also shows her pictures of how they are doing. You know what’s amazing? HER HANDPHONE STILL GOT POWER?! HOW THE F*CK SHE RECHARGES IT?! Oh wait. Don’t tell me some sort of magic whatever. As the sisters wonder how they know about Moroha without seeing her, they take them to a lake which is connected to Jaken’s staff. How convenient it shows them pics of Moroha from time to time. Meanwhile Kirinmaru has cornered Takechiyo and wants the black pearl. Don’t worry, he doesn’t have to die as Rin and Jaken are here. Now he can hide behind them. Rin is willing to fight Kirinmaru in Sesshoumaru’s place. Sure she’s not joking? We take a short detour seeing Shippo doing some instructor’s job. When he learns about Inuyasha and Kagome’s whereabouts, he whisks over there. Right in the midst of Kirinmaru and Rin’s showdown?! Funny, Takechiyo clings onto him in hopes he can make this confused fox help them escape but these jokers fly away instead! At least there won’t be interruption now. Yeah, haven’t you heard, Sesshoumaru’s back although still pretty much wounded. Can’t let his wife fight, eh? When Inuyasha learns Setsuna was revived by Tenseiga but broken by Towa, he has an idea of knowing how to get out of this place. He wants Towa to summon Tenseiga. Sorry to interrupt as Kirinmaru is about to make a big announcement. He claims that in the future, another comet will hit Earth. The one Great Dog Demon and Kirinmaru destroyed was just a small fragment. Yup, the future comet is big enough to destroy all mankind! Extinction! So you mean Kirinmaru wants to become mankind’s saviour? Actually he doesn’t care about that. He wants to prove that he is the strongest and make all humans and demons revere him. But how does he know about the future? His right arm that was severed by Great Dog Demon, he dropped it into the well. Remember Riku was Kirinmaru’s horn? Yup. Kirin is Kirinmaru’s right arm! Oh Towa, you looking very surprised…

Episode 40
Kirinmaru believes that Akuru has not chosen him because he is not strong enough. That’s why he thinks by defeating Sesshoumaru, he’ll be the strongest. Even if he is almost dead, Sesshoumaru prepares to fight him. Inuyasha and co are at the grave’s belly as Inuyasha has Towa call out to Tenseiga. It’s like Sesshoumaru knew what was happening so he tosses Tenseiga in the air and WTF it resonates with Towa’s calling and the blast so powerful it blasted Kirinmaru away?! Well, at least now Sesshoumaru can collapse. Rin and Jaken quickly bring him to the Tree of Ages. Now that Towa has called forth Tenseiga, she has to pick it up. But she can’t! It’s stuck. Trying to be Arthur and Excalibur, huh?! Even using her demonic powers won’t make it budge. Realizing this is the pain Towa went through to revive her, Setsuna goes to help. Even if she gets zapped, this is nothing compared to that pain, right? Now Moroha joins in and the 3 idiots show us how their friendship can pull the sword out of the stone! Great drama, people. Then they use it and show it to the gate and it just lets them out. So easy. Like your free get-out-of-gaol card. Meanwhile Shippo and Takechiyo end up in Sango’s village. Takechiyo telling what happened so Sango has her daughters get Kohaku and Hisui while she goes to get Miroku. The furry ones head to the black pearl’s exit. THERE’S AN EXIT???!!! Why didn’t anybody try to bust in from there?! Anyway, we’re glad of their reunion with Inuyasha and co. But since Tenseiga is acting up, Towa and Setsuna make haste to follow its lead where it takes them to a dying Sesshoumaru. I’m sure Rin is glad to see her daughters but that can wait. Jaken tells Towa to use Zanseiken to absorb the demonic power that is eating Sesshoumaru’s life. Hooray it worked! But oh sh*t! Towa dead???!!! I guess she finally succumbed to all the pain. Is it me or does Sesshoumaru’s family has a knack for dicing close to death?

Episode 41
So basically Towa’s soul is gone and her mind is dead. So how?! Oh yeah, Akuru conveniently coming into the picture to bring her back to life! WTF???!!! So easy! I guess this is the only way they can usher in Akuru for the next part, huh? Then the spirit of the Tree of Ages (Kikyo?) comes to tell them about the comet smashing into the future soon. Their mission is to destroy it and remove the foreign entity AKA Kirin. Who the f*ck is she to give them missions now, huh?! Anyway, they are to head to the Windmill of Time. It is located at Sesshoumaru’s mother’s manor so Jaken will take them there. But before that, some parting words by Rin because mother always loves you, right? Yeah, don’t forget the Inuyasha family time too because they give Kagome a new bow made from Inuyasha’s hair. Family time interrupted when Kirinmaru arrives. Still looking for Sesshoumaru? Too bad he has to deal with the Inuyasha family. With Towa and Setsuna arriving and damn Akuru trying to make Moroha tag along, the parents leave it to the young ones to save the day. A furious Kirinmaru has no time to deal with this but he escapes after he senses Rion has collapsed. He goes to her and heals her. Apparently her artificial body is showing signs of limit as she has been moving around too much. Kirinmaru says he is going to the future and wants her to come along too. Kohaku and Hisui are at the deputy shogun’s place to warn them to evacuate. They are given a sword that can purge evil spirits. Hisui suggests taking it because Towa has some connections and it may help to defeat Kirinmaru. Inuyasha and Kagome return to Kaede’s village to warn them to evacuate. To where? The world’s gonna be destroyed, no? Sango reunites with Miroku who just completed his training. Almost. In present time, Mei and her friends are wondering about strange crows. Thank goodness they’re too far to see they’re monster crows! Luckily, Kirin destroys them. He notes that the comet is bringing in these monsters as they do not exist in this time.

Episode 42
Hi grandma, how are you? She knows what the trio are here for and allows them to use the Windmill of Time. That easy? Of course not. She warns that many have tried to use this but they perished. Hence they have grudges as their souls get stuck in the netherworld. This means they are to fight this embodiment known as Meidomaru before they can begin their journey. Kirinmaru tells Rion and Riku about the comet in the future and hence he’ll be the one to save mankind. Not sure why he blames Riku for it for he was the one who threw his arm into the well. He also mentions he has found a new suitable vessel for Rion: Towa. You see, Zanseiken sucks its user’s soul and when used often enough, the wielder will become an empty husk. Rion and Riku detest such vileness so they fight him. Surprisingly, Rion wins against her father. He dares her to kill him but she gets cold feet. WTF?! I thought she was determined to kill him, if not defeat him?! Because of that, he takes advantage of her but as Riku tries to protect Rion, Kirinmaru sets it up so Rion kills Riku. Rion so sad as Kirinmaru puts her to sleep and takes her away. Back to the trio’s fight with Meidomaru, Moroha’s powered up arrow manages to reveal his red strings. This has Towa realize she needs to absorb his demon energy using Zanseiken. Against Setsuna’s wishes, Towa does so and this allows Setsuna to finish the job. There. Easy. Sesshoumaru’s mom can tell Zanseiken is cursed and warns Towa about further using it. In fact, she wants it to throw it away or she’ll be taken over by its owner. Well, Towa doesn’t think Rion is a bad girl or knows about this curse. After all, she gave it to her to fight Kirinmaru. How trusting. So all she needs to do is master Zanseiken, right? Yeah. Easy. Now the trio head into the Windmill of Time with Akuru guiding them. Kirinmaru is flying as fast as he could to catch the last train and manages to sneak in at the last minute. Back to the future!

Episode 43
By day, Kirin as a teacher but by night, he turns into a demon slayer! Towa’s group reaches first. However they think Kirinmaru is lying because they don’t see the comet. They meet Mei and her family. They’re glad to see the girls again. When asked about the comet, they say they heard nothing on the news. But Towa and co need to go find Kirin and ascertain what is happening. At school, the trio meet Kirin who has realized that he is the foreign object in this world that caused the comet. He explains the comet is on the other side of the world. Can only be seen at night. Oh Towa, did not learn your science in school?! Setsuna and Moroha remain sceptical of Kirin even if he claims he wants to save this era because he is quite fond of it. To prove it, he destroys a few demon birds attacking them. That convinced you? Although their aim is to destroy the comet, because they can’t fly (or watched Armageddon), they’ll have to do what they can on the ground. Kirin shows a flyer on tonight’s concert that features Moe. He is certain that demons will show up here. At the concert hall, they fight demons lurking in the shadows and Towa thinks of cancelling this concert. They go to the backstage to talk to Moe but she seems pretty calm about demons. That night as the concert begins, part of the show is having the boyband 6xs (pronounced as Rocks and damn, I thought it was pronounced as Sex!) fighting off a demon. Yeah, must be special effects looking so real! Luckily our girls drop in to fight, making others think this is part of the awesome show. Meanwhile Kirinmaru is forcing Kirin to guide him to this era. However Kirin will not obey because even if he destroys the comet, he will ruin this world. Kirinmaru has other problems to deal with as Riku (still not dead?) recaptures Rion. Back to the future on hold. Kirin and the girls finish the rest of the monsters outside. With the comet so visible, why is everyone so calm? Normal humans can’t see it. They head up to Tokyo Tower, ready to destroy the comet. Like, how they gonna destroy that huge mother?!

Episode 44
Kirin goes to investigate the comet while the Yashahime trio keep the demons at bay. How the f*ck are the demons popping up in the past too?! How the f*ck they transcend time?! Oh well, it’s to see our Inuyasha and co in some piece of action. Meanwhile Rion and Riku are at Musubi. So uhm, how does planting an apple seed from Towa can help suppress Kirinmaru? It must not be a very big comet since Kirin is able to get to its core and come up with an instant solution. First, they have to clear the miasma around the comet. Next, eliminate its demon energy around it. Finally, attack the main body to make it into smaller pieces. That’s it?! I bet they should’ve seen Armageddon… Plan works fine until miasma and demon energy replenish itself. Yeah, should’ve seen Armageddon… With no choice left, Towa uses Zanseiken to absorb it. Don’t worry. Will to protect her loved ones > risking your own life! Oh wow. She did it! And trolled us for a while that she died! But she’s back to normal! Seeing how valiant Towa is, Kirin now becomes Superman and uses all his might to stop the comet. Wow. Just like that?! Hilarious. Now the comet is just hovering motionless in the sky?! Hilarious! When Kirin advises Towa to not use Zanseiken anymore, he also learns that Rion has died. In that case, he takes Zanseiken and will use it to defeat Kirinmaru. How the f*ck is he going to take the comet back to the past?! Oh yeah. Just open up a big wormhole! The trio thought they can rest now but they realize that if Kirin said he will kill all demons, this means their parents are gonna die too! Hurry, back to the past! Kirin meets Kirinmaru. Yeah, weird meeting your arm again, huh? After Kirinmaru punches him for not listening to what he says, Kirin claims he brought back this comet just for him to defeat. Only his Bakuseiken can destroy it. Yeah, that ego maniac loves the sound of it. Towa and co are at the Tree of Ages. Please take us back. No response. That’s right. We’re stuck! No way home!

Episode 45
How now that they can’t go home? Oh well, Kagome’s mom invites them to stay over and then perhaps try again. Souta remembers something similar like this for Kagome. Well, she returned after waiting 3 years! I know it’s a long time but does it matter if they’re going back to a single point in the past?! Next day, they plead to the Tree of Ages. You think that’s going to- Holy sh*t! You mean it worked?! Well, Akuru using all his ounce of strength to rip open a portal before dying. OMFG. You girls just killed him. Hilarious, if you ask me. So, nobody can use him anymore? No time to waste going through that portal but WTF they take their time to say goodbye?! Yeah, the portal so considerate to wait for them. Some tears streaming, everyone getting emotional, we’ll meet again someday, right? Okay. Let’s get moving! When they return, they are shocked to see youkais everywhere and the comet stuck in the sky. Conveniently everybody reunites. Partly for Kohaku and Hisui to pass Towa the sword. Rion sneaks into Kirinmaru’s ship to plant that apple. However she is spotted by Kirin who claims he has put Kirinmaru in some slumber. Kirin is happy to see Rion and knows a way he can help realize her dreams. They can create a world without suffering too. Riku doesn’t approve of this and confronts Kirin. However Rion doesn’t need Riku anymore and casts him aside. Rion uses the apple to fire into the comet. Out comes a giant cocoon in which a giant butterfly hatches. So this is the comet’s true form? Kirin and Rion get absorbed into the butterfly to begin their new world creation. This includes eliminating all youkais. Kirinmaru wakes up and is not impressed with this development. He forces himself inside and fights Kirin. He tries to call out to Rion but she’s in a world of her own. Kirin then gets psychological with him. Being the bad father he is, this wouldn’t have happened had he not fought Great Dog Demon. Their clan will destroy Rion’s dream one day so he better get his ass to stop his sons. Is he not trying to prove he is the strongest? Conveniently, Riku stumbles into Towa and tells her the developments. Everyone goes off to stop the butterfly. And look who is back in time for the final party? Yup, Sesshoumaru has revived. But Kirinmaru has returned to settle things with him.

Episode 46
The butterfly is going to absorb all demons. Quick! Before they absorb the tanuki clan! Just in time. A disaster averted. All that’s left is to hijack the butterfly to save Rion. The Yashahime trio along with Riku hop inside while the rest try to find a way to stop the butterfly in its tracks. Inside, they are confronted with Kirin who claims this is the world that Rion wants. Are you sure? He continues explaining how humans have fought each other for millennia that they have the power to destroy themselves. So what is better than letting humanity perish? Why, Kirin and Rion will now become kings of humanity and control them! I’m sure humans won’t fight in that way. Towa and Riku will stay back to handle Kirin while the rest go ahead to free Rion. Kirin fights Towa as he further explains about history. It seems throughout the history texts he read, the youkai and other non-human species were left out although they were pivotal in saving humanity. That is why he wants to teach real history and tell the whole truth as ruler of this world. He knows this is what Rion wants because he is her father. Well, just a right arm but still part of the father. Setsuna and Moroha do not get any warm welcome from Rion as she attacks them with colourful threads. Each time they sever a thread, they could hear her true frustrated feelings especially her complaints that her father never cared for her. Outside, everyone cooperates to trap the butterfly in some Buddhist barrier. Now it can’t fly anywhere, right? Kirinmaru thinks of targeting Rin to pay back what was done to him but as Sesshoumaru points out, resorting to such methods won’t make him the strongest. Special lesson is over for Towa as Kirin uses Zanseiken to turn her human and seal her demon powers.

Episode 47
Suddenly Riku jumps in to kill Towa?! Remember what he said he will the one he loves? Looks like he is making good on that promise. So he rather kill her than let Kirin do the job? Okay. Whatever. He’ll follow her after that. Of course this is all a bluff as Riku then turns on Kirin but gets a fatal slash. This distraction however allows Towa to finish off Kirin. Last few words from Riku. Now he understands why he can’t kill the one he loves. He warns the Rion still loves her father. After trolling us for so long, Riku finally dies for real. Towa then joins Setsuna and Moroha in saving Rion. Amidst that as well as Kirinmaru’s fight with Sesshoumaru, we hear past thoughts from father and daughter. Like how Rion was always worried about her father but was glad he was alive in spite of all that happened. As for Kirinmaru, all he wanted was to make Rion smile again but she never did. The same thing for Rion as it made her happy seeing him smile after winning a battle. So much so she forced herself to smile. She did not want to hate him but ended up doing so because she is weak. Kirinmaru and Sesshoumaru in their true demon form go at each other one last time. Sesshoumaru wins. But he won’t finish off Kirinmaru. Rion takes her father back but before they could reconcile, WTF Kirin’s glasses is back to haunt them?! Actually it is Sakasa and he is going to get Rion! Everyone telling Rion to use her own strength to fight back but she’s too scared. Damn, this chase scene looks creepy in the pervy sense! Towa then decides to use Zanseiken to help, draining her soul. This allows Rion to cut Sakasa and put the ghost of her past to rest. Towa dead again. How? Tenseiga can’t be used. Akuru is dead. HOW?! Towa’s spirit asks Rion to use her. This is to reconcile with Kirinmaru as they make peace and Setsuna severing Kirinmaru’s thread. Zanseiken and Bakuseiken join together to become Amatsumikaboshi to send father and daughter to the next world to join Zero. Rion returns Towa’s body and she’s all revived. Not even sure how this crap worked but yeah, she’s back. Again. And just like that, everything reverts back to normal. Towa and Setsuna can finally hug their mom. Jaken wonders why Sesshoumaru didn’t finish off Kirinmaru. Had he done that, he couldn’t save his daughters’ heart. Oh Sesshoumaru, such a great dad!

Episode 48
Time to end everything. Life returns to normal as people are rebuilding their lives. Peace is back. And wow, the Yashahime trio got time to bury Riku’s horn and put up a nice grave? Moroha hunting demons with Inuyasha to pay off her debt. Apparently after Kagome heard about it, she ordered Inuyasha to help her. No daughter of hers is going to stay in debt! With the mission a success, Jubei frees Moroha as her debts are fully repaid. Then some guy pops up and has a request to slay demons. Guess what? THIS GUY IS RIKU!!! OMFG!!! HE STILL ALIVE???!!! HOW?! Not too sure about Kirinmaru and Rion’s soul revived him but whatever. We see Towa, Setsuna and Moroha talking and assuring their friendship. Uhm, aren’t they actually cousins? Then we see them say goodbye to their parents as they will leave on this demon slaying job which will also serve as their training to get stronger. And of course we see them easily kick ass and slay demons like a pro. And more importantly, Towa and Setsuna admitting they are daughters of Sesshoumaru.

Throwing The Princesses Out Of The Bathwater
Oh God. Thank goodness it has ended. Not sure if I can take it anymore but I suppose with this good happy ending, all is well in the end and that’s all that matters. Only difference is that I had this conspiracy theory that perhaps the Yashahime trio would do a reverse of what Kagome did. You know, go to the future to live because it is so much fun there. I guess it is better to have a blast in the past then. Good for them. And with no other antagonists in sight (please, nobody comes up with the uncle of Kirinmaru and Great Dog Demon popping up to want to rule the world with some, uhm, gemstone fruits series thingy!) peaceful days are here to stay indeed. The occasional demon slaying from time to time but those are small fries compared to our heroines who have considerably levelled up to God-like level, right?

As expected, this season covers and answers all the unsolved matters from the first season. However I feel that most of it are like rushed writing and some are like being plucked out of thin air. Especially when the season reaches its final stretch and when you have the comet going to strike Earth and then the final battle our heroines have against their final boss, it sometimes make me think, “Did they made that all up on the fly?”. For instance when Zanseiken and Bakuseiken combine to form an even mouthful sword name. I mean, what the f*ck was that for?! Oh, I see it is to get rid of Zanseiken so that Towa will not using its cursed powers again. And die on us again! Also, nobody gets to loot or own those swords now that they have gone somewhere else. That puts an end to whatever these swords’ fate.

Hence a lot of stuffs throughout this series felt something of that sort. You could say that they sounded ridiculous especially the final stretch when everything began after that comet thingy. Uh huh. How can something in the past suddenly effect the present time. I suppose it is needed so that our girls can go back to the future and bring back some non-related but familiar characters for that brief period. Yeah, maybe because I’m not really a big fan so I wasn’t giving my utmost attention to the entire story and thus the reason I’m unimpressed with everything in the end. I mean, there were some stuffs you’d thought it was important but almost somewhat have forgotten by the time this season ends. Rainbow Pearls, anyone? Yeah, looks like they’re so irrelevant this season. Sorry, it wasn’t the next Shikon Jewel after all. But good riddance, now we can put this sequel spinoff series to rest for good, am I right?

With the sequel also having 2 cours, it’s like they needed to drag things out and that’s why sometimes the story goes all over the place. For instance in the first half, they decided to try a different formula by having the main trio go solo and each facing their own separate missions. While it may seem like a fresh and interesting idea and take, but the plot underlying their solo missions felt boring. It is very Inu Yasha-like level of plots as we see Moroha trying to free the tanuki clan from a dictatorship, Setsuna solving some local village’s problem and of course Towa being the target of Zero’s revenge. It wasn’t anything that extraordinary and as expected in this series’ typical fashion, the girls end up having the upper-hand and claiming their victory.

The main trio still do not impress me this season. Towa and Moroha remain particularly the same as last season while Setsuna has the most obvious change thanks to solving the mystery of her Dream Butterfly. Which is both good and bad thing because for the rest of the season we can now at least have a Setsuna who has emotions rather than that emotionless b*tch resting face for the entirety of the first season. Yeah, time to make her appreciate her tomboy sister was trying so hard to help her and tug some of her heartstrings and repay some of that caring sisterly attitude for her. Sure, Setsuna is a tough demon slayer too but behind that armour she is still a girl and a sister.

It’s all in the family this season as we see their parents get reunited with them. I’m sure old veteran fans of the original Inu Yasha will be overjoyed to finally see their arrogant and prideful half demon dog Inuyasha and his wife Kagome again. Yup, reuniting with Moroha, the whole family can be whole again. With Rin waking up and freed from her curse, Sesshoumaru’s family too can be whole again. I understand Sesshoumaru being emotionless and taciturn because imagine if this guy suddenly becomes some baka oya and dotes on his daughters with full emotion… THIS IS NOT THE SESSHOUMARU I ENVISONED OR WANT!!! Since Miroku appeared in last season, now all that is left for his wife AKA Sango to pop up. How the f*ck can she remain and look so youthful all these years?! Can I blame fanservice?! Yeah, nobody wants to ogle at an old aging haggard Sango… Yeah, how the f*ck is Kaede still alive? Anyway, and now they too, their family can be whole again. At least on screen time. With these characters back, that’s why it’s the greatest excuse to bring back Shippo too. Because 2 cute animal mascots are better than one. Oh, forgot about Kirara. Oh, forgot about Hachi. Does he count? I don’t think Jaken could… This guy serves more like a mini comic relief as well as one who explains stuffs because you know, Sesshoumaru doesn’t want to waste his breath in telling us dumb mortals.

It must be one of those confusing ties and bonds because that is what compounds the confusion of this series as we go about and delve into Kirinmaru and his daughter’s relationship. Yup, Rion as a new character introduced this season, adds more confusion to the plot because they make us think she hates her father and wants to get back at him but in the end it turns out that she actually loves him so much and daddy the same too because which father does not love his own daughter? Only demons can do that. Oh wait. They are demons to begin with. And hence when I think about it, this whole conquest from Kirinmaru from the start could all just because for the sake of his daughter! Oh f*ck. The whole damn mess including right up till saving humanity from that doom comet was all to make Rion smile? Absurd if you think about it from a general and stranger’s point of view but if you put yourself in Kirinmaru’s shoes as a father, it is very plausible. Because any parent will go great lengths even if it means destroying the world just for his child. So with that turn of events, I guess this saves our Yashahime trio from fighting him for the umpteenth time. Yeah, look how their past duels with him fare. Not good. May I remind you a certain someone getting killed at the end of last season. So now they don’t have to deal with taking on Kirinmaru and defeating him means their conscious can be clean and take heart that Rion has finally made up with her papa. Double good ending.

I feel Kirin and Riku are trolling characters. You thought Kirin was going to be on our side but eventually he is still part of Kirinmaru and has his own twisted goals whether it was for the better or worse. I suppose they needed some sort of antagonist to deal with seeing that we might be bored if they let our Yashahime trio fight Kirinmaru again. Because Zero is already long gone and the Four Perils, oh goodness, you still remember them? Yep. No replacement for those guys serving under Kirinmaru. Who needs weaklings like them when our heroines have powered up considerably. Towa’s got a new sword, Setsuna a new special naginata and Moroha gifted a more powerful bow and arrow set by her parents! Oh wow. Don’t need her to resort in becoming Beniyasha further, eh?

As for Riku, this guy being another part of Kirinmaru, I think he could be just confused from it all. I thought he was loyal to Zero but since she is gone, he pledged his loyalty to Rion. And then what’s this about killing those he loves? Yeah, if he really believed it, Zero and Rion could’ve been dead but they’re not so does that mean he doesn’t love them? Even Towa since he waited till the last moment to troll us that he would kill her? Good riddance just like Kirin, parts of Kirinmaru are dead. Uh huh. You do notice all those related on Kirinmaru’s side are deceased while Great Dog Demon’s descendants are all alive and reunited in one big happy family reunion. Yeah… And why they all have daughters but no sons… Who gonna carry on their lineage? Even Souta got a daughter. Is it why Kohaku never got married because he foresee his child will be a girl? Yeah, Hisui the only boy in his generation… WTF am I thinking this. Oh, why the f*ck do I care in the first place. Oh wait. They have to mess up my conspiracy theory by bringing Riku back for no good reason! For the umpteenth time, this guy trolled us with his death! I get it, they want to keep the possibility of Towa x Riku, eh? Just like how they’re setting up Hisui x Aiya. I bet that’s the only reason.

Well, if there was one thing that cleared the air for me was how Kirin explained that demons were written out of humans’ history texts. At least this puts to rest my wildest conspiracy theories of how these people are back in the past and yet the future has no records of their actions, even more so any such repercussions. It’s like as though modern history writers don’t want our future generations to know about such mystical beings that can’t be explained by science and left it all out. Uh huh. Like as though there was some secret war between scientists and religious zealots and the former won so they get to rewrite history and the latter has been vanquished and relegated to as myths. Holy cow! I think I just started a whole new conspiracy theory there! Anyway, with our heroines left out from the history chapters, I guess in a way it is a good thing because imagine if Mei starts bragging to her friends that her onee-sama Setsuna and her aunt Kagome were heroes in feudal times! Uh huh. The whole class will be laughing at her…

The art style, visual and even the action scenes remain the same and consistent like last season so there is nothing more for me to comment. However this season’s opening and ending themes suck. Sorry if that sounds too harsh but I didn’t really like them. Because like Reborn by News (first opening theme) and Kyoumei by SixTones (second opening theme) sound all over the place and chaotic. The former being a rock piece while the latter has hip hop elements. The pacing of the songs also feel weird. Honestly, even if both bands reprise their roles in singing the openings this season, I still prefer their opening songs from last season than this crap. Although not by very much. The first ending theme, Toumei Na Sekai by Little Glee Monster sounds a bit better but still not really liking it. Anaaki No Sora by Adieu as the second ending theme sounds more like WTF. It’s a slow piece but has that playful tune it in, making it sound weird for a series like this.

Overall, this season is still not as impressive as the first although I won’t go so far as to say this is far worse than the prequel as the first season was mostly building the foundation for the sequel. Unless you are a mad crazy Inu Yasha hardcore fan who cannot hate the series or anything related to it forever, otherwise other casual viewers like yours truly hope that they won’t make another season or worse, another sequel spinoff soon or in the next 10 years. What do you mean another sequel spinoff?! Well, you see, Towa, Setsuna and Moroha are going to grow up one day and get married and have their own kids. This includes Hisui and his sisters. And then we can have a whole new generation of semi-demi-hemi-whatever breakdown prefix you can think of, children with their own set of adventures. And when you trace the whole Higurashi lineage, holy sh*t you mean Souta and his mom were all descendants of Kagome!!!!! OMFG!!! THE CREEPIEST TIME PARADOX EVER! Imagine this series was the result of not getting Rumiko Takahashi (the author and creator of the Inu Yasha series) to write its story. Now imagine if they hired me to write that for the next spinoff because who knows, anime stories may run out of ideas in 10 years! Can we all just leave this series to rest in peace? You know, let sleeping dogs lie? Like, forever? Please?

Mnemosyne No Musume-tachi

12 August, 2022

After a few paltry and disappointing Mamiko Noto cameos, that’s right, looks like I thought I needed to hear her in a main recurring role instead of one that just pops up for a few seconds and never heard of again. Uh huh. And that was how I decided to take a deep breath, grit my teeth and clenched my fist as I prepared to dive into the complexity of Mnemosyne No Musume-tachi. Yes, it was one of those series I knew that it would be better for my brains to stay away or otherwise it will experience some sort of meltdown. But with my desire for more Mamiko Noto burning strongly, that wishful thinking made me believe I can pull it through as long I have her within my audio range. Yeah. The things I do for Mamiko Noto these days are getting weirder and weirder… Maybe my brain has already been short circuited.

Episode 1
Rin Asougi is being chased by a killer, Laura. She can only run so far before being killed. Now we see her back alive in her office as her assistant, Mimi serves her. Her job is jack-of-all-trades as she goes out to look for a missing cat. She stumbles into a man spacing out, Kouki Maeno. Soon, MIBs start to harass him so she beats them up and takes Maeno back to her office. Yeah, Mimi quipping how she brought home a man instead of a cat. Anyway, Maeno wonders who he is. No, he doesn’t have amnesia. He remembers all his personal details well. Just that he feels that everything isn’t real. He doesn’t know why those men attacked him. No use thinking about it now so they’ll investigate it tomorrow. In the meantime, have some brandy! Next morning, Maeno still having hangover from last night’s brandy. Here, have more brandy then! Fight fire with fire! As they go investigate the place he grew up in which he too doesn’t feel real, they are suddenly attacked by more MIBs but Rin easily takes them all down. She searches for clues and finds an ID. They’re from Ueyama Estate. Asking some yakuza dude who owes her, he doesn’t know anything so she asks a cop friend about it, Tamotsu Yanagihara so he thinks it could be a front for some yakuza gang who has a hand in many big corporations. Aoyama Pharmaceuticals seem to ring a bell to Maeno as he remembered a friend introduced him to work there as it has a good pay for testing some drugs. Rin dresses up and attends a fancy party organized by the corporation. She seduces a director and they’re going to get steamy in his room but I guess he got knocked out by her drug. Then she analyses his computer and downloads whatever data. However she senses somebody at the door and hides. It is Laura and she is back to kill her. She’ll do it how many times it takes. Rin manages to overpower her and asks if she is working for Apos but she will not say. Rin then kills her and leaves. Something emerges from Laura’s pool of blood.

After Mimi does her hacking, Rin and Maeno infiltrate a lab of Aoyama Pharmaceuticals disguised as repair workers. It seems this place brings back some horrific but hazy memories for Maeno. Some weird experiment done on him. He feels sick. After resting, they climb through the ventilation shaft. It is rigged with lasers. Rin thinks she can slip through? Yeah, her butt gave them away. Now Rin is captured by Sayara Yamanobe and this twisted vixen is going to put more holes in Rin. Here comes the pain! She then reveals Maeno is a cloning subject. Something about discovering some RNA in bacteria for replicating led to this. Yeah, so technical she won’t even explain it! Her goal is immortality. Rin laughs and thinks she has let Apos manipulated her but Sayara don’t know who the f*ck is that. Rin adds that people want immortality so bad that they never learn. Sayara then kills her off. But after her body is chucked into the morgue, Rin springs back to life. Taking out all those hole extensions is going to hurt… Sayara sees Maeno strapped down and won’t let him go again. Rin makes a run for it as the guards are after her. She runs into some ward and sees all the specimen that Sayara has been doing. Then in another ward, Sayara authorizes the release of… Zombies!!! Sorry, no zombie action as Rin runs. Yeah, too many heads to blast off anyway. Sayara then realizes the disease will spread and orders burning down of this entire lab and dispose of the evidence. She returns to her office to get her belongings and is shocked to see Rin. After pumping a few bullets to make sure she is dead, Rin comes back to life. Looking for me? Sayara in fear runs out but the zombies are waiting for her. Zombie raped? After saving Maeno and escaping, Maeno wonders if he is a clone. Unsure what to do, Rin gives him a gun to let him decide since his pain is something she will never understand. A gunshot is heard. Back at the office, Rin regrets she should’ve found the cat instead. But look who is back? Maeno! He decides to live and has even found the cat for them! Oh, he wants to work here. Hired! Time to hit the drinks.

Episode 2
Mimi trying to make out with Rin when Maeno is away for a job. Yeah… Maeno finds a girl named Yuki Shimazaki who requests of his help to find an angel. Some corporate secretary sees Rin for a job and that is to find the owner of a Sutherland stamp whom he believes is residing somewhere here. Rin wanted to decline but Mimi forces her to take the job. Hence Rin goes to see her sensei who is now a homeless man living in some cardboard shed. He talks about his life ruined after dabbling in the futures market but finds himself unable to throw his stupid human pride away. From what I understand, he claims he doesn’t have a used Sutherland stamp that her client is looking for but after she leaves, it is revealed he has one. Next day in the news, that corporate secretary turns out to be a foreign minister incognito and he was murdered in his hotel. Rin goes to get more info but then learns sensei has been attacked and hospitalized. He realizes someone has been tailing her and it’s about the stamp. Suddenly she is attacked. Yup, Laura is back to kill this b*tch. Both fight and wound the other but ultimately Laura blows herself up with her. Maeno listens to Yuki as she talks about trying to find her brother, Shougo who went missing a week ago. Because she saw an angel, she believes the angel knows where Shougo is and that is why she must find it. When Maeno notices an explosion nearby, he goes to investigate but gets sickened to see Rin’s innards all exposed! She is also in the process of being regenerated. This makes him sick so Mimi lets him drink as much! Yeah, he is going to need it. Mimi then explains who they are immortal thanks to the Time Fruits that somehow ended up in their body. She won’t blame him if he quits. However he wants to continue. Mimi so happy she wants him to stay and drink more! With Rin continue her investigation, she stumbles into many murder scenes (all of them have ‘Angel’ written in blood on the wall). She is then taken into custody by the police while Maeno goes snooping around that leads him to some triad and he got punched! Rin is then released since there is no evidence and another murder is committed. Rin then goes to see an informant who has info in exchange for yuri sex.

From what I understand, some Russian dude will be visiting Japan. He is pro capitalism so those communists back home aren’t happy and hence assassination is on the cards. Mimi gets scared just thinking about angels since Rin saw one during her investigations and she knows it is the real deal since her body reacted to it. She promises to defeat it for their sake. When Maeno sees Yuki and claims the angel is Shougo, she gets upset and thinks he doesn’t trust her. When Mimi receives a letter without a stamp, suddenly they realize the stamp refers to some legendary assassin who only accepts payment in stamps. That night, Yuki sees Shougo turning into an angel and fleeing. So she calls Shougo over to admit he was right. Since she saw Shougo doing something on the computer, let Mimi hack it for some info. Turns out Shougo is a hacker. Rin then talks to Maeno to add to what Mimi revealed. It is true that Time Fruits made them immortal but this only applies to women. For men, they become angels. In exchange for some power, their lives are cut short and have about weeks to live. Hence Shougo must be going around to kill those who wronged him. Immortal women become attracted to angels and want to have sex with them. Angels go around f*cking these immortal women until they are destroyed. That is why she vowed to kill one whenever she sees one. Rin then goes to meet the assassin and knows how he will assassinate the Russian. She won’t get in his way and just want the stamp back. However he shoots her. Of course she can’t die when suddenly an angel (Shougo) takes him out and takes Rin away. Damn, having sex in mid-air?! Weird, Rin trying to get f*cked and kill him. In the end, she manages to kill him as he disintegrates. All that is left is just his Time Fruit. Then Apos appears as Rin realizes he was the one who ratted out the details to Shougo just for fun. He wants the Time Fruit but she won’t let him have it. Her hatred for him has him unable to maintain his form. Rin returns the stamp to sensei and advises only he himself can give meaning to his life. Yuki knows Shougo is dead so Maeno gives her the Time Fruit.

Episode 3
Wow. 20 years time skip. Maeno is a middle aged guy married to Yuki and with a son, Teruki! When Rin is out on a job, she stumbles into a dying maid, Yuria Takimoto. She wanted her help but falls to her death. So they learn this high school girl went missing a week ago and talking to Yanagihara, it seems Rin had the same reaction as the coroner who did the autopsy on her body because they think it isn’t the kind of illness it was supposed to be. With Mimi’s hacking, Rin talks to an old woman in the foster care, Yoshie Shimizu. Rin introduces herself as Rin’s granddaughter and that grandma has died. She lets Rin have all the documents she needs. Long story short, Yoshie was sent to the solitary island known as Death Island to investigate some disease. Flu-like symptoms will show up first before victims start hallucinating some flower and that flower shape will appear all over that body. That similar symptom was found in Yuria. As the military was researching biological weapons, only 1 showed such symptoms but the project was halted after Japan lost the war and all evidence destroyed. This includes wiping the island off the face of the planet and its inhabitants relocated to the mainland. Rin met Yoshie and saved her from policemen harassing her. Now they have to find survivors of that island. Yeah, finding old farts will be hard. Maeno receives a call from his friend’s wife. Her husband went missing but before he did, he left this strange doodle on his desk. That night, Rin gets attacked and kidnapped. With Rin missing, Maeno talks to Mimi about the dangerous job they have been doing instead of living simple lives. Mimi points out when you’re immortal, you do dangerous stuffs as proof that you’re alive. Maeno finds a survivor and talks to this senile guy. He notices he is drawing that doodle. Someone attacks the place. However he escapes but Maeno notices that same doodle as his tattoo. Stumped, looks like they are forced to seek that yuri informant. Against Mimi’s desires, Maeno must watch Mimi get violated if he wants the info. So she explains that doodle as Kudol. In Sanskrit it means evil eye and people in the past often associated it when struck with an unknown illness. Nowadays that is the logo of some underground arms trade.

Rin is alive and realizes that Sayara is still alive and behind all this. Apparently before the zombies got her, she got the Time Fruit. Now she operates on Rin to see how much it takes to kill her. Of course that won’t happen as Rin soon escapes. Mimi has done some hacking and research as she pinpoints Rin’s location on Death Island. Yes, it still exists but not on any map. Wow. Even arranging a helicopter for Maeno to get there. Sayara hunts down Rin and explains how this island was further used to develop biological weapons and hence the locals were evacuated and some legend fabricated. More technical stuffs about the disease but it seems Sayara is not interested like some other parties to sell it as biological weapon. Yes, she wants to spread it and end mankind so that they immortals don’t have to hide anymore. Overpopulation and environmental issues also solved. Sayara kills her so that the next time she wakes up, she will be in time for the main show. Something about using snow cannons to blast and spread the disease from her tanker. Maeno arrives to save her but is shot by Sayara. Rin has no choice but to go after the madwoman. They fight but suddenly they feel an angel nearby. It is Maeno and he has turned into one using that Time Fruit. He claims it is the only way to save Rin as he drops her into the sea and goes back to f*ck Sayara. Apos then pops up to take Maeno’s Time Fruit. Maeno dies and butter fingers Apos accidentally drops it into the ocean. Then he kills and takes Sayara’s Time Fruit and devours it. He doesn’t like the young taste and can’t wait to savour Rin’s. In the aftermath, Mimi is very sad over Maeno’s death although those looking for him, Rin says he has retired. Yuki puts up a strong front as Teruki can’t wait for daddy to come back. :’(…

Episode 4
Now we’re in 2025! The future is upon us! People dive into virtual realities and surveillance cameras everywhere! Thank goodness we’re not there yet in this reality! Anyway, Teruki is a teen now as he indulges himself in this virtual reality and makes out with this super popular avatar, Ruon. He wants to meet up in 1.0 instead of 2.0. Whatever that means. In reality, Teruki is close to being a delinquent as he goes to meet Ruon. But the moment they meet, she gets killed by baddies. Obviously they want to take out witnesses to so Teruki runs. Luckily he stumbles into Yanagihara (old as f*ck now) and learning who he is, he decides to bring him to Rin’s agency for further help. He tells what happened and Yanagihara can vouch for him because a fake policeman was trying to get him. So they talk about AI and the creation of Ruon. Her origins were unknown and there were many who claimed who created her but rumour has it that it was Katsuyuki Kamiyama. Yanagihara finds that name familiar and will do some investigation. In the meantime, Rin takes Teruki out on a date. Her intention is to make him standout as bait to attract the baddies. But instead, she stumbles into Laura (cyborg version?) and they start killing each other. Rin wins but Teruki has seen everything. Rin explains about the immortal thingy. Time Fruits come from this huge tree known as Yggdrasil that only immortals can see. It scatters spores all the time but on rare occasions, Time Fruits. It rarely comes into contact with people but when it does especially for women, it will take them some time to figure out they have become one. Rin wonders if Laura knows about Teruki because she identified him as Stigma. Teruki feels scared of what has happened as he relates that somebody has always been watching him during his growing up years. Unknown to him, Rin was always there watching and protecting him.

Mimi takes the initiative to see the yuri informant. She must have got used to the sex by now… This leads her to confirm that Kamiyama indeed created Ruon but it was for a project named L’lsle-Adam. A call from Yanagihara confirms that Ruon is the daughter of Kamiyama even though all data online says he was single. Because Kamiyama killed his daughter when she was 16 and one of his men handled this case back then. To further investigate, they have Teruki dive into the virtual world to meet Ruon. She is very happy to see him as she reveals how daddy killed her just for L’lsle-Adam project. It seems Kamiyama is trying to hack his way into this so Mimi unplugs Teruki from it. But now they have to run since the military barges in. Their poor dog got killed! Don’t worry, it’s an immortal too… Our gang talk about the possibility that Apos and Kamiyama are in cohorts as well as L’lsle-Adam being the ideal mechanical woman. More technical sh*t that I don’t get it but if I understand, Ruon is like a self-learning AI programme. I’m like Teruki so damn blur! The military surrounds them. After taking Teruki away, they kill the ladies and bomb their car! We know they won’t die but it buys them time. Apos and Kamiyama are indeed in cohorts. He didn’t expect to get Teruki the Stigma but since he is here, he can now proceed. Rin and Mimi discuss about the complexity of the AI programme. Damn, more technical stuffs. I think Ruon wanted to avoid being fully controlled by Kamiyama and hence went to see Teruki to hide/pass him a key AKA Stigma. Yanagihara calls and has found out Teruki’s location. After he mentions an airport flight time, he gets sniped. Rin rushes there and manages to board the plane. Aside all the mechanical bodies, he sees Kamiyama dying. He complains about Ruon going against him despite creating her and wanting Stigma all to herself till his final breath. Rin sees Ruon trying to make Teruki his own since he was the only one who wants to meet her in 1.0. Some complaint about dad sucking all her data out, leaving her body as an empty shell just for science. She was happy Teruki wanted to meet in 1.0 but she couldn’t as she was only a programme. After given an artificial body, she ran away to meet him to plant the key in him before escaping back online. Now she wants them connected in 1.0 forever. Rin won’t allow that as they fight. It’s hard to kill a robot… Teruki parachutes off the plane and so Rin’s death is more gruesome this time as the only way to stop Ruon is getting suck through the turbine! Ouch. Teruki returns to the office but it’s completely destroyed. Mimi leaves a flower at Yanagihara’s death site.

Episode 5
What’s this? Rin killing a soldier in a battlefield and taking her Time Fruit? How far we jump into the future this time? Oh. Not far. Only 2055. This means Teruki is now a father to a teen daughter, Mishio. Yeah, he is the CEO of his own conglomerate too. Cheeky Mishio finds an old file data on her dad and looks through it. Yeah, a pretty delinquent past. Then she sees Rin and wonders if she is one of his past girlfriends. Mishio is at a party with her male friend, Kei Tajima as she spots someone looking like Rin there. Now we see Rin in some folklore class. Might sound boring and dry but I guess it is to enlighten us with a theory of immortality that some emperor sent his men, namely Tajimamori to go look for Yggdrasil. By the time he found it, the emperor had already died. It is also believed that Tajimamori had branches and descendants of a few families and one of them includes the Maeno family. The professor wonders if Mishio has any family relics. None that she knows of. Mishio then skips class to go hang out with Kei. On her way back she sees Rin running away from a spot and as Mishio goes to look, a dead body! She calls the security but they think she is bluffing as no body is found. Hence she and Kei decide to look further into this by playing their own detective. They tail her and they find out that she is now going by the name Tamaki Saito and is dating this guy named Ihika. They watch as he proposes to her. No, those aren’t tears of joy. It seems Rin has no memories of her past and dreads it. She is wearing a Time Fruit as a pendant because as far as her memories go, she was saved by Ihika after he found her naked and washed ashore and in her hand she was clutching this. Mishio goes back to tell he dad about this. So after doing his own investigation, he finally confronts Rin. However Rin is shocked and instead gets desperate to know who she is. Teruki is forced to claim he has mistaken her for the wrong person and leaves. Teruki then goes to see Mimi who is now a nun. Looks like she too has been in contact with Rin but notes that immortals are being hunted down. After what happened, she created a network and list but it seems now all those immortals are dying one after another. Could Rin be behind the killings?

Ihika proposes to Rin again and this time she accepts. Nothing like sex to come after that but too bad, Christmas sex interrupted as an explosion rocks their place. Oh no! It’s Santa! No, it’s Laura! Wait, she looks like Rin now?! Laura kills her after being disappointed she lost her memories. Mishio and Kei are nearby so they distract Laura and enough time for Rin to revive and regain her memories to kill her. We see Apos confronting Tajimamori who is his father and previous guardian of Yggdrasil. Sonny boy claims Rin will be his so he can stay locked up here and eat Time Fruits. When Laura returns, Apos is not happy she failed and tortures her as well as make out with her mutilated body. Rin sees Teruki. With her memories returned, she explains that it took her years to regenerate due to her body completely destroyed and in exchange it cost her memories. Her Time Fruit could be from Maeno. Mimi might be a nun, be she still engages in orgy sex with multiple informants for info! When Rin goes to see Mimi, doggie can tell it is not her but Laura. Mimi has come prepared with comrades to attack her. However Laura holds the upper hand as she has brought angels to the scene. By the time Rin comes into the scene, she sees the angels f*cking the ladies. She resists the temptation to kill them before finally fighting with Laura and getting the best of her. She goes to save Mimi and sees her being f*cked by Apos. She is further shock to see Apos having both genitals of male and female. So he is not a hermaphrodite but an immortal angel AKA God? He kills Rin and takes her Time Fruit.

Episode 6
Rin finds herself in a wedding dress and in a strange castle. Even creepier, a room filled with tortured women from roof to ceiling to the wall! Outside, Rin gets attacked by angels. However they do not f*ck her as Apos is here and controls them. He is going to give her a present. Had Mishio not passed by, Mimi would have been left to her fate. Now she is back and trying to do hacking to find Apos’ castle. As Rin left behind her Time Fruit pendant, Mimi says it was the one that belonged to Maeno. Mimi also explains how Rin saved her when she was attacked by an angel. They’ve been together ever since and this time she wants to save her. Well, if all else fails, how to get info? Yup, the yuri informant. This sex has got to be so worth it. Rin and an angel are placed before each other. So it’s like a torture game as they try to break out of their chains to f*ck each other. Rin breaks out first and manages to kill the angel. Then she realizes this angel is Ihika! Did he not die in the blast? Yeah, somebody gave him a Time Fruit… He thanks her for freeing him from this torture before disintegrating. With Rin in agony, this only makes Apos happy. Apos then has angels destroy plants all over the world to cause some meltdown. This is to purposely let people see the existence of immortals. Now that mortals can see Yggdrasil and Time Fruits, many are trying to get their hands on it. Yeah, too bad for some woman who instantly got raped by angels! Laura once again fights Rin and makes her mad when she throws away Ihika’s Time Fruit. However angels start to attack Laura instead and this gives Rin time to escape. Laura realizes Apos has betrayed her.

Mimi and Mishio arrive at some old dilapidated European castle to see Tajimamori. As Mimi cannot approach him (that sex drive), Mishio has to go talk to him on her behalf. Tajimamori explains Apos is the current guardian of Yggdrasil. But he is trying to change things. As a guardian cannot last forever, the role is abdicated to another when he chooses his next bride. Apos is now trying to offer Rin’s Time Fruit to Yggdrasil to become the eternal guardian. Tajimamori cuts open a path for the girls to enter while he fends off the angels. After Mishio saves Rin from an angel, they see a decapitated robotic head of Laura. Having no more obligations to Apos, she will tell where Rin is. Rin stumbles upon a throne of woman. She is happy to be reunited with Tajimamori whom she has been searching for 1000 years. He explains that throne is immortal women whose hearts have withered and tossed into a pile to act as spiritual attractor into this world. Flashback 1000 years ago, Rin got killed by bandits but he saved her and taught her things and about Yggdrasil. They make out as he impregnates her before angels descend on the throne and it all becomes one bloody Seraphim Egg. Apos then kills off Tajimamori and tries to do the same to Rin. He reveals his true goal of wanting to taste Rin’s memories. The more painful, the tastier. He is also curious to know if Yggdrasil will accept her as his bride as he reveals that the tree records everything via its spores and reabsorbed back. Time Fruits are just glitches. Apos intends to turn all spores into Time Fruits and release them to the world. Turning this world one big memory thingy he can feed on. All that is left is for Rin to enter the egg. Mishio uses her hacking skill to use a satellite laser to destroy the egg. Nothing happens. Rin gets thrown inside as Apos buys his time torturing Mimi. Inside the egg, Yggdrasil wants Rin to become one. But Rin devours her pendant Time Fruit and realizes this belongs to Maeno and how she has been fated to be involved with them. Yggdrasil won’t let her escape but the spirit of Maeno helps push her out. Now Rin is the new guardian and an angel superior to Apos. It is time to have him taste his own medicine as she dumps him into the egg. As he only has tasted female memories, she forces him to take male memories especially of his father’s. Now all of Yggdrasil’s memories can be his. As Laura doesn’t want to be stuck in this robotic head, she lets her Time Fruit be devoured by Apos to let him know all her suffering. Apos becomes part of the throne and a new root. Things go back to normal as Rin soon gives birth to a son who has a natural link with Yggdrasil. Is it me or is the baby looking freaking creepy?!

Die Another Day: No One Lives Forever
Well… That was all bearable! Thankfully! But nevertheless it was still confusing and tough to follow. Fortunately for me, I did a bit of reading over the internet to help understand better what happened so you could say that in a way it prevented me from having a headache trying to piece the puzzle together. Wow. Me understanding something this complex finally? It must be a fluke! Time to buy the lottery tickets! Just kidding. But yeah. I am surprised that I seem to understand for the most part of what is happening despite the complexity of the themes and the plot. After all, it was intriguing enough to make me binge watch at a longer duration than your normal anime series. Uh huh. This one lasts about 45 minutes per episode! Yeah, like as though they took 2 episodes and cram it into one and doubled its running time. So excuse me for now as I go lie down and rest my aching back and sore butt, thank you.

The story and plot might sound confusing at first but naturally that is only in the beginning. Interestingly, each episode feels like a standalone episode due to the different timelines. Although each episode showcases a different sort of case, they are all somehow interrelated and come together in the end and I believe that is what makes the series interesting and intriguing. Sure, I may not have grasped the entirety of the whole setting but at least I wasn’t as blur as many of my other anime experiences where I just gave up understanding and accepted it all as it is. Thus this series was quite engaging in its own right as it slowly feeds to you the mystery of several topics like Yggdrasil and the Time Fruits.

Sometimes I wonder if this series was trying to be a bit too detailed. What I am trying to say is that, perhaps to justify the 45 minute duration of the episode, I noticed that there are what I would call side plots that will eventually be tied to the case of the episode. Because you know, Rin runs an agency and she has to gather intelligence and hence lots of snooping around for info. Not sure if I explained that right. Let me give you an example for instance. In the second episode where we are introduced to angels, we saw snippets of Maeno asking around and eventually got punched by the triad dude. Now, this triad gang thingy isn’t very prominent to the plot and it could be something important or not to the case at hand. Eventually as explained, this triad is tied to the rocket launcher that they supplied to the stamp assassin so that he can take out the Russian bigwig who was riding in his armoured limo. There. So was it a big deal or not? But I suppose that is to tie up the mini loose ends. Hence many of such small details and side plots are just for this. Cool? Impressive? Yeah I needed extra brain cells to process all that.

Giving this series its reputation as a dark erotic thriller as you would have noticed that in every episode, sex. That’s right. From bare nude tits to characters engaging in fornication, this series is not one for the younger audiences or those who are pure at heart. Although it is not technically hentai because the lower genitals are not shown or at least not properly/clearly animated, but it is still graphic enough whenever those steamy scenes come to play. Especially when you have the setting of angels wanting to f*ck and women who just want to be f*cked by them. After all, the mind is a powerful imagination tool because what happens when you see faces of women orgasming and giving out moans of pleasure? Sorry to disappoint you, the gruesomeness of the theme did not make me feel horny inside. On a trivial note, I will still shudder to the rape scenes in Kaifuku Jutsushi No Yarinaoshi than this one. Yikes. Still disturbing, though. Not your typical fanservice and sometimes it feels like it is the kind that you bite off more than you can chew.

If sex sells, what other theme sells? That’s right. Violence. Sex and violence go hand in hand in this series. Because of the theme of immortality, it gives every reason for Rin to be killed, be it shot, mutilated, sliced open, etc. Not sure if it is because of many of the scenes happen in dark areas, the graphic and gruesome level are turned down. Meaning, you can’t really see them as clear broad daylight. While this might not be the bloodiest or the goriest anime yet (Elfen Lied, anybody?), there are still lots of blood and dismembered limbs to go about that would make you wonder and think twice if it is a good idea to become an immortal despite having regenerative abilities. Can’t die but the pain is real. I don’t think I’d want that. Makes your stomach squirm just recalling all those gory moments. Not guts, no g(l)ory… Sorry, bad pun…

While the series tries to delve into the theme of immortality, there are some parts that are just creepy especially when it comes to the setting of Yggdrasil. Aside angels wanna f*ck immortal women, it goes beyond our comprehension when we see such stuffs like all those tortured females inside the castle. So I suppose this are the horror elements of the series. Well, I was a bit spooked but thankfully not enough to give me nightmares for a few nights.

The characters, I think they’re quite fascinating. They have their depth although nothing too complicating. There might still be some questions left unanswered in the end just like Yggdrasil itself but I think as far as this anime is concerned, it has addressed most of the outstanding issues. So for Rin, it’s like she’s trying to find Tajimamori for a thousand years and not sure why he kept distancing himself from her. Maybe I’m missing something. Rin and Mimi being immortals, I guess when you’ve lived for so long, you do really weird stuffs and sometimes dangerous ones just to feel alive. Only the living can feel that sort of thrill. It could have been interesting to see how Rin and Mimi met but I think that would serve as a distraction that this series doesn’t need. Hence just a very brief mention and nothing too deep about it. After all, we see Rin getting involved with 3 descendants of the Maeno lineage. That’s a pretty long time.

I think this one is some sort of mini running joke because in the initial episodes as it opens, it usually has Rin with some sort of hangover as she requests Mimi for water. Mimi would instead bring vodka and say how it means water in Russian. Alcoholics would love to have her as their wife. But so sorry, Mimi doesn’t belong to you. Because she and Rin get a little intimate with each other at times because well, no dicks are ever going to satisfy those immortal pussies unless it belongs to those of an angel. The funny and ironic part is how when they can’t get any more info, they seek the yuri informant (and her descendants or successors) and engage in more sex. Sounds like forced sex scenes but this made me wonder how the heck those mortal informants can get info that is almost accurate when Mimi a super hacker herself can’t? Is she lacking something somewhere? I guess sex is worth the price of the info, huh?

I don’t think it is meant to be a running joke because in each episode we see Laura coming into the picture just to kill Rin. Subsequently when this happens, I will be going like, “Oh, it’s that killing time again. Time to die again”. Your excuse for some obligatory gore and action-cum-violence but when you have both characters who are immortals and try to see how much it takes for them before they can die, I think it becomes like some sort of joke. They’ve been doing this for so long that it has become some sort of twisted love-hate relationship. Like as though this is the only thing in life that gives meaning to Laura’s existence. After all, Laura is one of Apos’ tortured beings and I believe the one whom we often see as chained, blindfolded and impaled with many sharp objects by Apos’ side playing solo chess. I think it’s her. So it’s like all that pain and suffering, she’ll get to take it out on Rin. Not sure finally if she made amends and I’m not saying they bury the hatchet but thank goodness there won’t be any more Laura-killing-Rin moments from now.

I suppose with the existence of guardians of Yggdrasil, they aren’t entirely God either. Apos claiming he is one only because there isn’t anybody around him to challenge him. Not sure why Rin is the only one he thinks can be fed to Yggdrasil if he wants to become the eternal guardian and to think that the previous guardians didn’t think about this or this obvious big loophole staring down at Yggdrasil, perhaps it is a role that nobody wants to helm forever. After being a guardian for so long, you just want to move on. Which is silly if you think about the condition for that is to take on a wife. Huh?

The art and animation, well, it is kinda mixed for me. While mostly it is pretty average, sometimes the characters in certain scenes look simpler and lacking any sort of detail. Sure, the animation and colour and hues are sharper but it sometimes feels a bit lacking on the detail side. Then there are those dark scenes which I can’t see anything clearly. Not sure if this is intentional or not. The one that bugged me was flashback scenes in which it’s like they want to tell us that this is a flashback scene so they have this blurry ripple effect across the entire screen. At first I thought it was Rin’s eyesight and that she can’t see well but then it wasn’t. Yeah, can’t see anything clearly with this special effect. Kinda irritating. This anime was done by Xebec who did the To Love-Ru series, the original Shaman King, Love Hina and D.N. Angel.

Of course, what else can I say about the voice acting? I am truly satisfied with hearing Mamiko Noto as Rin, a main character role with lines in every episode. All sing praises to my numero uno! Mamiko Noto shall forever be the queen of seiyuu. No, the God of seiyuu! That’s immortality for her, for me and you, like it or not!!! Nice to hear some other familiar seiyuus too like Rie Kugimiya as Mimi, Akira Ishida as Apos, Sayaka Ohara as Laura, Nobuhiko Hiyama as Maeno and Rikiya Koyama as Ihika. I actually missed Rie Tanaka (again) as Sayara. Other casts include Daisuke Hirasawa as Teruki (Makoto in School Days), Kaori Nazuka as Mishio (Tsukasa in Amagami SS), Hitomi Nabatame as Ruon (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Masahiko Tanaka as Tajimamori (Pixis in Shingeki No Kyojin), Yasunori Matsumoto as Yanagisawa (Seta in Love Hina) and Yoshino Takamori as Yuki (titular character in Nadia – Secret Of Blue Water). Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Galneryus, Alsatia and Cause Disarray respectively. You know with that kind of metal name, you bet the songs are going to be some heavy hard rock punk metal noise music that is on par with Motorhead, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Anthrax, Metallica and Black Sabbath. Yeah. Not my kind of music but get ready to bang your head like you’re high on drugs if you want to hear the full song. It’s going to get disturbingly noisy!

Overall, this anime is indeed interesting and engaging on how it weaves its story and characters but only if you can get past the great deal of sex, blood and gore that comes with that package. You have to be prepared for all that if you want to watch this as this series is not for casual viewing. Take it or leave it. It is definitely not for everyone and certainly not for the general public. So controversial that China has been this series! Can’t take the heat, huh? So whether or not we achieve immortality one day, whether it is physically existing or just as data in another plane, only as mortals one can appreciate life because of the limited time of existence. So does this mean I cannot complain and must appreciate bad animes of the past, present or future?! Well… Just as Rin puts it, it is more fun to be alive than dead because in life you’ll never know what will happen next! Immortal, not omniscient. There’s a big difference. So when the next Mamiko Noto series to hit me? Who knows? Time will only tell.

N/B: Now that we have seen how the immortal characters never age, can we now investigate Sazae-san for the same effect too?!

Sabikui Bisco

7 August, 2022

Somehow, I thought Sabikui Bisco was going to be the next big epic long running anime like One Piece, Naruto and even Black Clover or Fairy Tail. Of course you would know by now how wrong my assumption was. Well, reading the synopsis of how some sort of rusty plague is plaguing the world and our heroes are on a journey to find some sort of legendary mushroom that is said to eat such rust, it is no surprise that I was already forming that sort of shonen-esque expectations as I finished reading that sentence. Oh well, now it is important to remember why it is not always a good thing to get so hyped up before seeing the real thing. Having said that, you know what it means, right…

Episode 1
Well, most of Japan is a desert wasteland now. Wataru Watarigani, a monk on pilgrimage is at a station checkpoint and trying to head to Imihama. While waiting for clearance, the officer talks to him about criminals trying to escape from Gunma to Imihama but they have to cross the vast desert. Of course the most wanted terrorist is a man named Bisco Akaboshi who is known as the Man Eating Mushroom. We see Milo Nekoyanagi treating patients who have been infected with the rust disease. As a good doctor, he treats the poor without no money and has turned down working for the government who can offer him better pay. Simple because he and his sister, Pawoo loves this town a lot. Speaking of her, she is the leader of a local watch but she is also inflicted with the rust disease. It has almost reach her heart. Milo is finding ways to find a cure and has received a few new ingredients from Governor Kurokawa in hope of finding a cure. Pawoo cautions him on relying him too much and it will come back to bite them once they are too indebted with him. When he goes out to get some ingredients, Pawoo warns him because just on the news, the terrorist was spotted close to Imihama’s walls. A kid tries to steal from Milo but he manages to get him and treat his whatever wound. Kurokawa has observes his kindness and is being sarcastic over his wasted talents over the poor. In short, he wants Milo to come work for the government. With his skill and all the money, he might save his sister. Just then, a terrorist attack strikes the heart of Imihama. Meanwhile at the Gunma station, the officer is shocked to learn his huge baggage has loads of corpses inside. Is he brave to check it because he is warned about bugs that might attack and sting him. Okay. You may pass. The terrorist is no other than Bisco. Government forces try hard to fight him but to no avail. He fires his arrows and wherever it hits, huge mushroom sprouts. The people fear breathing its spores because that is the cause of the rust disease. When Milo returns home, Pawoo just got ready to go out to fight. He wants her to stay since she is not well but she insists he is more important and knocks him out. What Milo has got to do but continue experimenting with the few mushroom species he’s got. Suddenly before him is Bisco and he wants to know if he can make medicine.

Episode 2
The monk turns out to be Bisco in disguise. Not sure why he got mad when the officer said something insulting. With the cover busted, he and his master, Jabi make a run for it on their giant crab, Akutagawa. They are being chased by hippos with lasers! But Bisco springs the largest mushroom to jump over the wall and into the desert. Now Bisco needs Milo to treat an injured Jabi. He has threatened 3 people and all recommended his name. But those guards surround the clinic and want Bisco to surrender. Despite Bisco threatening he has hostages, they just shoot through. That tells us Milo is worth nothing to them. Unfortunately they have to escape and that means destroying the clinic. Meanwhile Tirol Oochagama is shaking in her pants as she is brought before Kurokawa for her failure to kill Bisco. She claims Bisco wasn’t the kind of man Kurokawa described and his arrows took down her Escargot plane. Kurokawa wants her to continue the job to kill Bisco and make it so before Pawoo’s Watch can apprehend him. Flashback shows Bisco and Jabi camping in the desert. Bisco not appreciative that Jabi is talking about his death. Because Bisco has brought him through all the checkpoints just to find a doctor to heal his rust disease, he will not let this old man die. Soon they are attacked by an Escargot plane. They are stumped since it has no Imihama banner so what business does it have with them? Jabi got gravely injured while trying to protect Bisco. Bisco’s rage has his arrows took the entire plane down. Milo has treated Jabi and finds him a very strong guy. Despite his wounds and disease, his heart rate is still stable. Bisco wants to go fight the guards as distraction and has Milo continue to treat Jabi. However Milo refuses to let injured Bisco go out there and get himself killed. Get treated first! Pawoo learns from her man that her brother’s clinic has been directly hit by a mushroom. You bet she is going to take on the culprit herself. Bisco just finished disposing the guards, including Tirol. She is giving excuses to save her own skin when Pawoo rides in to fight the terrorist.

Episode 3
Milo manages to do his miracle save on Jabi as Bisco fights Pawoo. Bisco notices the sever rusting on Pawoo but she blames him for growing the mushrooms and spread its spores. For the umpteenth time, Bisco is tired of correcting this misunderstanding because mushrooms do not spread the rust disease but consume them. The same revelation is also told by Jabi to Milo. Long ago when the rust wind killed many species, among the species that managed to adapt to thrive it are mushrooms. Mushroom Keepers have the ability to grow them but since they do not have an immediate healing effect, to amateurs the mushrooms look like they spread rust because they are grown in places that are heavily dense with rust. Of course not all Mushroom Keepers are good as some are scrupulous and trying to make a profit out of it. Of course among the Mushroom Keepers, there is a legend called Rust Eater that eats away any kind of rust no matter how deep. This has been Bisco’s mission. Pawoo doesn’t believe all his lies because if he claims mushrooms save people, why does he not save Japan? Well, if people like them stop getting in their way! Eventually when Bisco notes her similarities with Milo, she gets worked up. Blinded by her anger that he might have done something to her brother, he manages to knock her out. Rendezvousing with Jabi and Milo, it seems Bisco wants to quickly leave Imihama for the northern parts. However Jabi just recovered and cannot go. Well, the journey will be useless if there is no one to harvest and synthesize Rust Eater, right? Yeah. Jabi’s looking at you, Milo. Milo pleads to travel with him. Even if he is weak, he wants to save Pawoo even if he loses his limbs from it. With the Watch closing in, Bisco has no choice but to form a new team with Milo. Since it’s going to be a long journey, Milo says his goodbye to Pawoo. Jabi buys them time to escape to the north. More guards? Thick high walls? Don’t worry. Just use a giant mushroom to spring over! As they make their journey, they stop to rest at the Nikko war memorial. Then the whole place turns out to be a giant living creature.

Episode 4
Milo thinks they’re straying further from Akita but Bisco doesn’t listen. Flashback shows Pawoo was concerned that Jabi has only about a month left. Assuming they even find the Rust Eater, if they’re walking at this pace, they won’t make it back in time. Of course this straying isn’t on purpose as Bisco is looking for Akutagawa. There he is. The crab was told to travel outside the city walls and was burying itself from the heat. With Akutagawa, they can head to Bonecoal Mines Mountains to ride the railcar all the way to southern Yamagata. Unfortunately, Akutagawa does not let Milo sit on him and tosses him off many times. As good as walking at snail pace, huh? Bisco lets him train to handle Akutagawa but the results are the same. Yeah, just treat it good and it’ll treat you back good. Easier said than done. One day during another training, Milo stumbles upon Tirol. This girl tries to steal the crab! Of course she fails and escapes. It seems Akutagawa becomes obedient when Milo wants to treat its wounds. That is when Bisco realizes he doesn’t need training and has a talent for crabs. As they rest for that night at the war memorial, Tirol is also there. However she looks like she is choking. Milo quickly administers CPR to eject some worm bug. It is used for prisoners and they are fed drugs to keep it from hatching. Because without the drugs, this is what happens. Tirol finds them weird because if they wanted to take her stuffs (she’s a peddler now?), they would’ve just let her die. Nevertheless she will sell them her stuffs. Milo just buys some biscuit brand named Bisco. Later because Tirol thinks she can’t sell fuel to a crab rider, she dumps it away. That becomes the reason why the war memorial becomes alive and starts chasing them. Tirol clinging onto Bisco for dear life. Yeah, he can’t do anything as Milo takes Akutagawa’s reins. With Bisco’s instructions, the novice crab rider uses Akutagawa’s pincers to crack a hole in its skull for Bisco to fire his mushroom arrows. The beast stops dead in its tracks right before Bonecoal. However it fired a final shot and destroyed the mines! Looks like they have to find another way. Next morning, Tirol is gone and you think she stole their money. But she left them her goods. As they trek through the desert, Bisco sees a watermelon but a child steals it. He tries to get it back but a warning shot is fired from an armed child. Damn, this place is ruled by kids?

Episode 5
The kids don’t believe about them so Bisco reveals himself as a wanted man and the bounty. Hence the kids now take them in so as to turn them in to Imihama to get the reward. Uhm, this is part of Bisco’s plan? Meanwhile we see Pawoo on a journey and enters a desolated town. Seeing an old couple about to be eaten by a monster, she saves them. They show their hospitality by bringing her back to their place so she can fix her bike. They tell their story about the town they used to live in nearby. A Mushroom Keeper came and helped healed their rust disease. Turned out he was injecting them with more rust. Slowly everyone died and only this couple was left. Before the Mushroom Keeper left, he thanked them for a successful experiment. Soon Pawoo realizes that the couple isn’t what they seem. From what I see, they kill travellers and turn their body into statues or something. They drugged her drink but it has no effect on her due to her rust. Then they realize they cannot defeat her and went back and bomb themselves. WTF?! Bisco and Milo are kept separated. Milo learns from Plum that their parents were away earning money. Because it is expensive to treat the rust disease, hence why they left and many of them ended up working for Kurokawa. Milo realizes the disease on her isn’t rust but some shell skin. Easily treated. Bisco on the other hand admires the cool harpoon that belongs to Nuts (sure that’s not a misspelling of Natsu?). Or rather his father’s. Seems he put it on display as part of his grudge for the Imihama army who killed him. Bisco wants it because he can use it better. Nuts will not give it to him. Nuts go to see what’s the commotion. Apparently Milo has healed most of the kids. He is Buddha and Jesus! Bisco then talks to Kousuke who wants to become a Mushroom Keeper himself since his life was saved by one. He gives him a map of the railway lines in hopes to repay his favour. Due to abnormal weather, blowfish monsters are here to eat the kids. Due to their poor weapon quality, they won’t stand a chance. That is, if Bisco can’t help singlehandedly kill them all! That is how you use the harpoon. As the duo leave, Plum wants Milo to stay but he believes she is a good doctor enough for this town. Nuts gives his harpoon to Bisco. Kurokawa’s men couldn’t find Bisco so he thought another wasted effort. But he smokes out Jabi hiding among his men.

Episode 6
While traversing through the snowy terrains, look who they pick up? Yup. Tirol could’ve froze to death had not the duo come by. Seems she fixed the helicopter and flew her way here before getting shot down by some anti-aircraft gun. She is quite bitter of all the bad luck that has happened since she has always been trying her best to survive and is now tired of living. Bisco sticks something hot in her head just to see her reaction. There. Proof that she doesn’t want to die yet. Well, this is going to be the first of many Bisco-Tirol arguments. Tirol follows them to the railway lines. They stop by some Eskimo settlement and try to do trade. The guys suck at it but Tirol being a natural, manages to convince them to give them lots of goodies. Arriving at the railway lines, they find their destined train. Of course it is not up and running but don’t fret. Tirol can fix it! Yes, she has experience doing this sort of labour for survival. Not pretty memories but she survived those harsh conditions. So while she fixes it up, the guys talk as Milo learns about Bisco’s relationship with Jabi. A mentor and father figure to him, long story short, he wants to save him. Once Tirol is done, they go through some sketchbook that contains sketches of animals. Due to its unique art, it is believed to be drawn by Mushroom Keepers. How convenient, there’s the Rust Eater that can be found on some pipe snake. Tirol parts ways with the guys and for the first time she reveals their name to them. As the duo ride the railway lines, they are attacked by mud squids?! The small (oily) fries are easily taken off until the big boss octopus starts wreaking havoc. I have to wonder how the f*ck does Akutagawa fit on this train through this narrow tunnel?! Anyway, as they are nearing the exit, Akutagawa tosses the train’s engine into its mouth. Milo’s hands are shaky in aiming his arrow so Bisco guides him and gives him some self-confidence. Boom. Arriving out and near a deep ravine, there’s your pipe snake. It’s going to be tough bringing down this mother. But do they have time to deal with Pawoo who has now arrived and hell bent in giving Bisco her divine punishment?!

Episode 7
Pawoo still thinks Bisco is lying. Then she gets caught up with the pipe snake. Milo does a reckless move to save her but the pipe snake latches on to Akutagawa’s pincer. Milo is forced to cut it off to save the crab but risks himself from being devoured. Don’t worry. Bisco-Pawoo bike riding combo saving the day. In the end, they also take down the pipe snake. But when Bisco eats test tastes the Rust Eater, he finds this is a dud. Just a normal mushroom. He wants to go find another prey but Milo tells him he needs to get treated first since he is losing a lot of blood. It is then Milo realizes that these Rust Easters aren’t duds. When it comes into contact with a Mushroom Keeper’s blood, it seems its properties activate. Soon, Kurokawa’s giant airship steals the pipe snake’s corpse. Bisco trying to get him but Kurokawa shoots him with a rust bullet. He just got his blood transfusion from Milo… Next day, Pawoo decides to go back to Imihama and believes in Milo travelling with Bisco. She won’t take her share of antidote because she doesn’t want Kurokawa to get suspicious of her sudden healing. Instead, she gives it to Bisco in case his rust wound becomes worse. When Pawoo returns to Imihama, her Watch is acting strange as they try to attack here. And here’s the devil Kurokawa himself. She can’t do anything since he has Jabi captured. As Milo is cooking, he receives a transmission from Kurokawa. Some warning that leaves him devastated. So when Bisco returns, he can tell something is wrong with Milo. Instantly he knows it has something to do with Pawoo. He tries to leave to go save her but Milo will not let him go. He knows that Bisco is very injured and as a doctor, he can’t let that slide, even if Bisco thinks it is his life and he does what he wants. Both start fighting and obviously Bisco is better. He accidentally hits Milo too hard but this is just a ploy to inject a serum to make him sleep. Milo is resolved to become his shield now and take on as many wounds he has taken on his behalf. So, Milo wants to play the hero and save Pawoo and Jabi himself?

Episode 8
Milo barges into Kurokawa’s base by himself. Kurokawa’s expecting him of course. Flashback further on the transmission shows Kurokawa having Pawoo in his hands. She could’ve beaten him up but because Jabi was his prisoner, she got beaten up instead. He tortures her and then proceeds to tell the terms of the exchange. For Pawoo, Milo must tell him the Rust Eater secret and also bring Bisco. Now Milo is forced to tell the secrets of the Rust Eater if he wants to see Pawoo. He makes one on the spot but this is just a ploy to create some numbing mushrooms to take out his mind controlled goons. Milo then slashes a few nasty cuts on Kurokawa. But before he could do more, Kurokawa shoots him with a mind control mushroom. He then heals himself with an antidote. How does he know so much about this? Because he was a Mushroom Keeper! Kurokawa now has Milo under his grasp as he reveals Japan’s true revenue of distributing antidotes to the rusted. Hence the world’s economy is based on the demand of extending the lives of those who got rusted. That’s why Kurokawa actually doesn’t care about the real effects of the Rust Eater because it will affect him lining up his pockets. But if it falls under his control, it could be the biggest bargaining chip for him. He forces Milo to say its secrets or die where he stands. Just in time as Bisco comes in for the rescue. Bisco doesn’t care nor remember this guy so Kurokawa reveals he is the one who spread the false rust superstition and sold out the reputation of Mushroom Keepers. Bisco destroys his mechanical hand but Milo plants a few rust poison into Bisco. Because Milo pleads to spare Bisco, he is forced to reveal the Rust Eater’s secrets of mixing with a Mushroom Keeper’s blood. Now that Kurokawa knows this trick, being the vile villain he is, he can’t let them live. Don’t want them coming back for his head, no? But before he can let Milo finish off Bisco, Jabi’s turn to the rescue. Yeah, he broke out of his cell and even freed Pawoo. He just came to see what the commotion is about. Jabi has Milo take Bisco away so he could heal him while he stays behind to fend off Kurokawa’s goons, much to Bisco’s dismay. Milo doesn’t stop running and continues to do so despite getting hit by more arrows. Can Bisco’s heart take all of this today? It’s about time Akutagawa showed up to own those goons. By now Milo is close to being dead.

Episode 9
Milo wakes up as Bisco in the midst of treating him. He has taken some antidotes from Kurokawa’s place and read Milo’s easy to read notes. They talk about stuffs including Pawoo might have a crush on Bisco. Milo believes he won’t cheat on her like her previous boyfriend because Milo operated on him! Of course Bisco is going to settle things with Kurokawa. Time for the draggy drama of Milo not wanting him to leave his side so there’s going to be lots of words of assuring and how they brought meaning to each other’s life. This starting to feel like a death flag bromance. Then it’s off Bisco go as he rides on Akutagawa, happy to note he has made a friend. Kurokawa brings Jabi to a huge facility. Kurokawa finds the catch-22 situation that healing people of the rust disease means he will sell less of the antidotes. Hence to bring back the demand and supply equilibrium, he is going to make artificial rust wind. Thus this is what this facility is about. See that sea of rust below? Yup. That’s right. Using one of the remaining functioning Tetsujin (some giant robot that is believed to have started this rust phenomenon all over Japan), he is able to produce this sea of rust and will be using his cannon to fire it wherever he wants in Japan. Kurokawa wants Jabi to join him to provide young Mushroom Keepers to him. Jabi will not accept it and that’s not what Kurokawa wants. Jabi would rather die and dares him to do it when a goon starts beating him up. Kurokawa doesn’t want him dead and threatens to cut off his fingers so he won’t use a bow again. Jabi still dares him. The goon then cuts Jabi free and attacks Kurokawa. He is Bisco in disguise. Bisco will handle Kurokawa so he wants Jabi to stop that cannon. Can he fight that big gorilla? Don’t worry, Pawoo is back to repay her debt. Bisco fights Kurokawa who thinks he has won after blinding one of his eyes and a couple of his fingers rust away. But that won’t stop Bisco. He still can punch him, right? Oh sh*t! The rust has eaten his arm so much that the punch broke it off! With Milo distracting Kurokawa before he can pull the trigger on Bisco, Bisco pushes Kurokawa into the rust sea, falling with him. Bisco making a Terminator reference? After Kurokawa melts within the rust sea, Milo wants to save him but Bisco remains positive that even though his flesh and bones are gone, his soul will never die. He wants Milo to keep smiling and to kill him before the rust gets him. Milo fires an arrow to his heart. RIP Bisco. We’ll always love you.

Episode 10
The cannon is going to fire. How? Pawoo throwing the gorilla to knock it off balance! That easy? The entire facility crumbles. Milo reunites with the rest and tells of Bisco’s fate. As the big clean-up is underway, suddenly a huge titan pops up! Did it enter the wrong anime?! Oh, it’s Tetsujin. Basically a rusty titan. You can tell its firepower packs a punch as its beam can destroy a wide radius. It’s massacre time. So, Milo going to go after it. I know he has the Rust Eater running through is blood but he is seriously going to chase that giant on foot? Tirol happens to pass by the Watch’s station and she hears them talk as some of Kurokawa’s men are desperately fleeing. I guess that’s the only convenient way to learn that Kurokawa and Bisco took each other out. Now you happy you get to know his fate? They also witness Tetsujin’s might destroying the puny army who could do nothing with their pea shooter shots. Monster indeed. So what Tirol gonna do now? I suppose sitting back and do nothing or run away isn’t an option. At least not with that looks in her face. Milo calls out to Tetsujin and can tell it is actually Kurokawa?! Well, funny to hear it calling out to Bisco. Grudge not over yet? Milo now acts and talks like Bisco as he fires all his mushroom shots into Tetsujin. Jabi comes to help but even with giant mushrooms, it’s not having an outright effect on Tetsujin. Though, it’s screaming in pain and pulling out all the sprouted mushrooms. Tetsujin then fires the most devastating shot yet.

Episode 11
Pawoo hitches a ride in Tirol’s truck. Tirol has gotten her hands on a manual on Tetsujin. Too bad Pawoo can’t understand all that complicated stuff. As Milo treats an injured Jabi, they talk about rust being the death god and hence Rust Eaters be the death god eater. Huh? Milo then resumes his chase on Tetsujin. Speaking of which, he has stumbled into that city of kids. Fighting it will get them all killed so Nuts listens to Kousuke’s advice to run away. As long as they’re alive, they can rebuild their city again. Of course they lay traps for Tetsujin as they make their escape. But Tetsujin just decimates the place. Nuts tries to be a hero and be the decoy. Before he gets blasted, here comes Milo to the rescue. Don’t go bullying kids. Remember who you’re supposed to fight! Pawoo has also managed to get help from her Watch to evacuate the kids and help with the firepower. But of course they are still no match for Tetsujin’s might. Tetsujin inches closer to Imihama as the residents evacuate. Milo injecting some power serum that might harm his body later. This is what Bisco would’ve done too, right? Milo continues his valiant effort against the giant. Not sure why he jumps on Tetsujin’s nape and starts carving out his neck. Hope he didn’t take this inspiration from Shingeki No Kyojin! What can a few knife scratches do?! Oh wait. Tetsujin stopping dead in his tracks?! Did it actually work?! When Milo sees Bisco’s googles, he becomes weakened. Tetsujin smacks him off and continues its march. Milo resigned that he has lost? Not until we see familiar person emerging out from Tetsujin’s body! OMG. Bisco is back, b*tches!!! Is he a ghost or did he return from the other world as a powered up god?!

Episode 12
Bisco heard Milo’s voice and that was enough to break him out of his rusty slumber. Oh Jabi, you’re correct when you say Bisco has returned as a God! Because he has a new power too! Any arrow he fires, all mushrooms will turn into Rust Eaters! And this dude is on fire! Keep firing those Rust Eaters! With Tetsujin bloating up, luckily Tirol arrives in time to tell them not to shoot at it because by doing so, its explosion will destroy the entire country. So how? Well, better hurry up reading that manual. Aha! Got it. Just shoot the pilot’s brain to prevent any sort of detonation. But how to get through its thick metal mask? That’s where Pawoo comes in as she’ll break it with her pole. Bisco can make jokes about her death, huh? Yeah, says the guy who just came back from one. But since she is looking very serious, I guess he promises to give her what she wants. In that case, she kisses him! She’s taking her reward in advance! Then off she goes to slice off Tetsujin’s mask, revealing that puny Kurokawa sticking out like a sore thumb. Who cares what he rants, right? Kurokawa thinks he has blinded Bisco from shooting but Milo is now his eyes as he guides Bisco to fire his arrows right through Kurokawa’s head. A huge field of Rust Eaters pop up and eventually squash the governor. In the aftermath, so much Rust Eater here that Pawoo’s rust disease is healed. I’m sure it wasn’t Bisco’s kiss… Bisco and Milo having a nice chat together. Trolling us some bromance stuff because Milo putting his ears on his chest to hear his heartbeat and doesn’t want Bisco to leave him again. Hope this isn’t two-timing Pawoo! Pawoo becomes the new governor of Imihama (Jabi her assistant?) and declares independence from Japan. Bisco still is a wanted person and with a higher bounty. But Milo too? This is for giving free treatment to the sick. So this is how Japan treats its saviour? Like they care. Maybe Milo. Man eating panda his nickname? Yeah… The duo once again give the station checkpoint officer the slip as they head off on a new journey.

Rust In Peace!
So where are they headed to? My guess is that they might be travelling across the country and possibly the world to help rid unfortunate people of their rust disease (I bet Tirol is going to sell them, seeing how she stuffed her truck with a full load of them). A Mushroom Keeper’s work is never done. After all, can anybody else be as devilishly evil as Kurokawa? Don’t say. It’s a huge world out there. But for the series the end things like that, I take it, there isn’t going to be a sequel, right?! The way they rushed things towards the end for this good happy ending. The series is done and over with, right? Well, no news so far at this point of writing. Phew.

As you can see, the story and premise started off looking quite unique and very promising. But then it slowly starts to descend into mediocrity. Starting off to introduce us viewers about the setting of this world is important and I suppose it was a bit confusing since they switch scenes in between from the time Bisco snuck into Imihama and the time he was stranded at a station checkpoint. It was helluva confusing to say the least because it messes with those trying to keep up with the continuity. Couldn’t they at least just dedicate 1 episode and put all those scenes together instead of jumbling them up, jumping back and forth between the present and the past? Guess not.

Next, the obvious pairing of the Bisco-Milo team unit because how else are they going to look for the legendary Rust Eater? This part felt like the pacing fell apart because, oh damn, didn’t realize they managed to find it so quickly! Yeah, about halfway through this series, they found the Rust Eater and managed to get their hands on it! Damn that was quick! Even Luffy still hasn’t found One Piece and become Pirate King yet! After over 1000 episodes! OMFG! And for our heroes here to find the elusive Rust Eater when other Mushroom Keepers couldn’t by halfway mark? Seems pretty ridiculous. Like as though they skipped and rushed through so many chapters at once. Once that happens, the rest of the series turns into one long dragged out final fight between the main villain. Because, what else is there to show once the legendary Rust Eater is found, right?

With the writing this bad, will the characters help pull this series out of the rot? Sorry, didn’t feel like they did that either. It could be that dilemma of mine that because this series only has a dozen episodes, it is not enough of a time to properly flesh out the characters even though this series does not have that many characters to begin with. It just feels like the characters meet the minimal points and checks off the list of the bare minimum. Like a feisty hero, a newbie disciple who takes after him, an old far, a strong female character, a comic relief character, a pet mascot and a vile villain. Can’t get any more confusing and complicated with the minimal set of characters, right? Yeah, too bad they aren’t really that interesting either.

Even the Bisco-Milo combo feels a bit forced and out of necessity because how else to forward the plot? Yeah, having them as a combo feels like a good name for a snack. You know, Milo and Biscuit! Haha! Jokes aside, it is typical of them to become a pair and I suppose it is made ‘interesting’ because of their opposite behaviours. Bisco being the brawns over brain type and is more brash, daring and reckless in his actions. However he is more experienced than the gentler and kind-hearted Milo who could serve as his conscience. You know, had not Milo been there, it could have caused Bisco his life since he is quite bold as he is more of the shoot first, ask questions later. Same can be said for Milo. Because of his inexperience, many situations would have cost him his life had not Bisco be there for him. In a way, both cover each other’s backs and as you would come to expect, form some kind of bond that will ultimately make them want the other to stay alive. Just that it happened so fast in a span of a few episodes so it somewhat felt unrealistic. But hey, the moment they decided to become partners, trust must not become an issue because otherwise they wouldn’t be partners. So sorry folks, no budding bromance and fujoshi awakening between them. Although there are lots of hints pointing in that direction but just to troll us. After all, the duo will be away for so long so Bisco is going to have better relationship with Milo than his sister, right? So is Bisco x Pawoo official or not?!

For the shock factor, they killed off Bisco temporarily. It felt weird because if they actually did so, it would have made the name of this series redundant. Unless you tell me, Milo takes over Bisco’s name and becomes the new Bisco. Just like how kings change their name when they ascend the throne. Because Sabikui Milo just doesn’t have that badass ring to it. Or Sabikui Panda-sensei… Anyway, Bisco’s death is necessary to further transform Milo into a formidable fighter. Because with Bisco around, he would always be in his shadows. You see how Milo grows up and matures overnight. Which isn’t unrealistic because there are many such cases in real life. But it feels weird for Milo to take after Bisco’s character. Like as though they want to tell us that Bisco’s soul lives in Milo and hence not a total loss. Looks like Milo but acts like Bisco. There. Your ultimate Mushroom Keeper combo. And of course, just like many clichés, the great hero must rise back up from the ashes (the rust in this case) and be back to make us viewers shed tears of joy that our beloved hero is back. Who doesn’t love a great comeback story? Though, I agree this isn’t one of the greatest comeback and even from death. And no, I did not cry because I expected Bisco to get revived in some ways. But hey, at least it wasn’t via some genie’s wish or reversing back time! Phew.

If I had to really pick an ‘interesting’ character, it would be Kurokawa. Yes, this is a very vile character who is rotten to the core. This guy is close to being the devil himself and heck, could be the devil reincarnated. He is definitely one despicable character whom you’ll want to hate with all your guts. He is very scheming, sly and cunning in getting what he wants and won’t bat an eyelid to do so. Not even a speck of conscience and doesn’t even hide his evil side. I mean, who is going to stop him, right? He is the most powerful man in Imihama. You don’t want to really cross paths with this dude. Now, Kurokawa does not have a back story and I think this works very well for his character in terms of his antagonistic role. Unlike other shows whereby we see the villain’s past, this gives us the option to sympathize with the antagonist as we understand how he/she came to the evil he/she is now. But there is no such thing for Kurokawa. It’s like they want us to really loathe this guy so badly so that we can support the Bisco-Milo pair. It’s like when he dies a horrible death, they want us to cheer for him. Yeah, can’t have a badass villain get killed off too early so they ‘reincarnate’ him in a death machine to go on a massacre. Don’t have to see his contemptible face so they substitute it with this giant instead. Because you know what they say: The bigger they are, the harder they fall. How sweet the victory feeling would be once this dude gets taken out for good in the end.

The other characters just feel meh and not really that interesting. Like Pawoo being Milo’s sister is probably to serve like another opposite character for her brother. You know, need a strong gorilla woman when moments that require incredible feats of strength. Or else, don’t really see her playing a significant role in the series (I guess breaking down Tetsujin’s mask was somewhat necessary so that she has something to do for her part). Bisco’s love interest you say? They just trolling us! How weird it would be if Milo’s master is now his brother-in-law! Sure, that kiss was just out there to confuse us. Felt more like a goodbye kiss because it’s like she is giving her brother to Bisco! OH SH*T! WHY THE F*CK DID I COME UP WITH THAT?! Tirol, her character feels so out of place and she’s like the comic relief this series needs. Not to say she is the ultimate joker but her role can be generalized somewhat as that. As a merchant, I suppose her skills is to get whatever supplies that is needed to help aid our heroes at some point. Why can’t she just join them since from time to time they keep stumbling into each other? Well, don’t want to get in the way of our Mushroom Keeper bromance, do we? Jabi? Sometimes we need a little help from our little old friend. I mean, Bisco has always been so worried about Jabi. Then after forming a pact with Milo, you could see the change of importance as Bisco worries more about his partner than his master. Not to say he totally neglects old Jabi now, but yeah, there’s your character development!

Akutagawa as the series’ pet mascot doesn’t do much except giving rides to our heroes. But there is one thing very strange about this giant crab that has been bugging me since. Why… THIS CRAB DOES NOT WALK SIDEWAYS!!! It actually moves forward like many other animals. Of course, this might be on purpose because as you would notice, there are many strange animals in this world. Especially how they are hybrids or more accurately, have some sort of auxiliary machinery attached to them. Yup, looking very weird there. Hence Akutagawa as the only normal looking animal that does not have such, I guess to make this crustacean stand out in this weirdness department, hence they make it move forward. Also, it would be freaking weird to see our heroes riding the crab sideways, right?

Action wise, it is passable. Sure, it is one of the main cores of this series but it is not as exhilarating as you think it would be. It might only look so because the Mushroom Keepers keep shooting their mushroom arrows in which they suddenly sprout and spring out in their giant fungi form. I suppose that is the ‘explosion’ for the series because by doing so, the giant sprung mushrooms will knock the least suspecting enemies off their feet. The way they are shooting their arrows, it makes me wonder if they have some cheat code activated because they never seem to run out of arrows. Yeah, even guns can run out of ammo but not these arrows? Not sure if they picked it up and reused them again but I digress that. So why not have a gun and shoot bullets that sprout mushrooms instead? Oh yeah, maybe guns look and sound so barbaric. Having bow and arrows are like going back to nature! We’re so zen today! That is all there is to a Mushroom Keeper’s arsenal. And can you even tell apart the effects of different mushrooms? Certainly not! And we don’t even care at this point!

Art and animation are pretty standard. Some CGI used like Akutagawa and Tetsujin but it does not look bad that it conflicts with the 2D animation. Then of course, many of the character designs look like from other animes. Such as Milo, when I first saw him, I was wondering what the f*ck Rimuru from Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken was doing here! Bisco? Does Kirishima from Boku No Hero Academia moonlight another job? Tirol? If Yuno from Mirai Nikki wasn’t so yandere, this is probably what she looks like in legal loli form. Heh. Pawoo doesn’t ring any bell to me but the thing I find her weird are her huge shoulder pads. I mean, really. She needs shoulder pads for what? Does this indicate a higher authority in the Watch? Glad she ditched that when she became governor. This anime is done by OZ and this is their first production.

For the voice acting, kudos to Kenjirou Tsuda as Kurokawa as he plays the villain role to perfection. The only others I recognized are Natsuki Hanae as Milo and Sayaka Ohara making a short cameo as that odd couple. The other casts are Ryouta Suzuki as Bisco (Ishigami in Kaguya-sama Wa Kokurasetai), Reina Kondo as Pawoo (Ronie in Sword Art Online: Alicization), Miyu Tomita as Tirol (titular character in Gabriel Dropout), Shiro Saito as Jabi (Jogorou in Sankarea), Natsumi Fujiwara as Nuts (Mao in Shin Chuuka Ichiban), Miharu Hanai as Plum (Twin Turbo in Uma Musume: Pretty Derby) and Hitomi Ueda as Kousuke (Gold Ship in Uma Musume: Pretty Derby). The opening theme is Kaze No Oto Sae Kikoenai by Junna. Typical hard rock music that fits the series. The comic book-style animation is cool, though. The ending theme is a duet between Bisco and Milo, Houkou (though, there is a solo version of Milo singing it but not much difference). Has a bit of samba feel to it. Just rather okay to me. For the final episode, Buchi Nuke by Takeshi Ueda is yet another head banging hard rock piece. Just short of screaming. Yeah, the music is so loud that it drowns out the vocals. So much so I thought it was instrumental!

Overall, this series had potential but it squandered that chance and went into a downward spiral and rusted away. Bad writing and pacing turned this into one of those crappy animes of the season although I won’t go so far as to say that this could be one of the contenders of the worst anime of the year. Sure, it is bad but it is not that bad, RIGHT?! I’m sure many would love to digress on that. I have a feeling that it was supposed to challenge some big boys and mainstream action shonen series like the Dragonball series, Naruto (oh sorry, is it Boruto now?), One Piece, Shingeki No Kyojin and Boku No Hero Academia but it never quite made it there. Not even halfway. Having main characters fight using mushrooms might sound unique at first but when there is all to it, that novelty dies out fast. Now you know why we prefer our characters shoot ungodly projectiles or transform into powerful beings or ride overpowered mechas. Unfortunately for this series, the mushrooms did not make us high with cool hallucinations (like it did for Mario – WHAT?! Do you not think those power up mushrooms do not have hallucinatory effects?!), but turned out to be poisonous toxic mushrooms instead. Ack!

Mou Hitotsu No Mirai Wo

6 August, 2022

If you could communicate with the future, what would be the first thing you would ask? Well, we might not be at that stage yet but the short ONA series, Mou Hitotsu No Mirai Wo seems to be dabbling with this idea. Imagine the endless possibilities the world and humanity could have if such technology becomes part of everyday life. That is, until something goes wrong. Oh hoho… Are we communicating this correctly?

Episode 1
Fyuuto who is the programme navigator for AU Future Laboratory (AUFL) narrates the lab taking on a communications project of the future. We see the scientists along with the management discussing about putting brain wave communications into practical use. Yeah, my brain is already going to be fried with some of the technical points… Anyway, the scientists deem it to be unstable and does not respond well with many. Except with Daisuke Kido (who is the vice president’s son) and Yuu Mizue. If this succeeds, it will give them an advantage over other rivals and change the way humans communicate. Now we see Kido and Mizue getting ready to start the experiment. Mizue still has doubts about the effects of the current and future self when coming into contact. Whatever this time paradox thingy and whatever this explanation, F*CK I’M LOST! Mizue doesn’t understand it too but finds it unfair because it only benefits them as they are taking advantage of people from the future. She thought they should find more beneficial ways to communicate with the future instead of something like this. Kido starts the experiment as he calls his future self which is 2 days ahead. Future Kido is worried because he was told he died 2 days ago in his workplace! Well, all is looking fine. Experiment cut short when an explosion rocks the place! Everyone escapes but it seems a slab is about to fall over Kido.

Episode 2
Mizue and the scientists are trying to tell him to get away! Too late! Thank goodness there is a hole in the slab! And so he lives… Later as they watch the footage, it is confirmed that the explosion is the work of an industrial spy. The explosion was a diversion and the spy is seen stealing some important module from the lab. The team believes they will get punished because it is a top secret project and the only way this got out was because someone leaked it. While team leader Yamaoka goes to deal with the board to buy more time, Mizue has this idea to peak into the future. The company’s whose stock rose suspiciously in the next couple of days, that should be their culprit. This leads them to see a future article that writes about a foreign company, New Thunder Technologies releasing a future communicating tool. However even more disturbing, they notice Kido in the group photo of the press conference. Don’t be startled now as Kido receives a call from someone who claims who developed a future phone and wants to recruit him to join their company. Oh sh*t. Is he the mole?!

Episode 3
It seems Kido has gone to see the rival company’s agent. Flashback shows the phone got a call from Kido’s mom from the future. Not sure how she managed to call back but she tells her concern about the future. Although she is proud of her son working on an important project but she feels sad this invention will cause a lot of grief to many. To put things simply, this creation will lead to the destruction of the human race! Oh sh*t! Could mom mean it came sooner because she’s still around and witnessed the end of mankind?! She puts her faith in him. And so Kido sees the agent only to tell him to give the prototype back as it is not yet completed. He claims communications cannot be used as one way or it will lead to violence and misunderstandings. You mean like now? Because the agent beats him up! Yeah, there’s your miscommunication! Kido doesn’t give up as he claims he needs to communicate his true feelings and that they aren’t communicating with the future. What took Mizue so long to get the guards and come to arrest this dude? WTF, the agent didn’t run and just stand there to get arrested?! So with AUFL deciding they don’t have it takes to communicate with the future yet, I think they decide to throw this problem to the future generation. Yeah, they’ll figure things out, right? Uh huh. The future phone gets the cryogenics treatment. The phone is going to the future! Lastly, Fyuuto narrating that even we have all sorts of communications, we are still at a level of easily getting into misunderstandings. Even though future communicating is not for us yet, humans still need to communicate. It’s for the sake of the future. So don’t stop communicating!

Ushinawareta Mirai Wo Motomete Tsutaete…
Well… That felt like nothing burger if you ask me. We just had a small glimpse of hope before being extinguished like a bug. But of course the option remains open for those who dare to try again and bring in some new ideas. But as far as this anime is concerned and the technology of communication level that we have now, I won’t go so far to say that this short anime series wasted our time because unless you just watch and forget, once the series ends, it will make you think a little or discuss with your buddies about this kind of possibility. So there’s your communication. Don’t stop discussing and let the brainstorming flow!

Anyway, there is nothing really much to this series except to just make us aware of the idea. I mean, it sounds pretty cool that you can communicate in the future. Which of course brings in the time paradox dilemma like in Kido’s case, if he was talking to his future self, would his future self not know that he would be communicating with him like this? And if Kido had really died, would his future self not exist?! I mean, how can he communicate with his future self if he was dead, right? ARGH! My brain hurts now! Even more so if I am thinking if what Kido did would eventually change the future. I mean, if Kido didn’t go along with the agent, this means he will not end up being in that future articles picture and would this mean that the foreign company would give up? I mean, think about it. Would the rival company just give up like that assuming Kido revealed unfounded basis from his mom’s future call about the end of mankind? Wow. How they got so brave to plant bombs and steal the prototype? And now they scared of destroying the future? Yikes. Don’t wanna be responsible for the destruction of mankind! No siree! Better to tackle with lawsuits for spying and unlawful acts of illegal possession of explosives!

Well, I was afraid they were going to spam some technical jargons throughout the anime but aside the introduction, I guess the rest kept it simple and straightforward. Basically, playing on our moral consciousness if we should even exploit something like that. Of course we should! Because we are human! We can do it because we can! By only taking such risks, that is how we evolve and progress, right? Yeah, we all wouldn’t be staring at our Smartphones, have easy access to the internet or glued to our screens on various social media sites for mindless time wasting entertainment if not for such technology or progress, RIGHT?! On second thought, maybe in an alternate universe when we don’t have all that, life could be much better… One can only imagine…

Anyway, before I drift off again, back to the series. There isn’t anything else much to note here as the characters themselves aren’t memorable either. Heck, what can you do with only 7 minutes per episode and the whole series only has 3 episodes? So why Kido and Mizue have high compatibility is beyond anyone’s guess. I guess we need some great looking Japanese anime styled kids as main characters. Yeah, those old men researchers are just pretty plain and boring, right? Youth is the best! So whatever chemistry between them and the other scientists just falls flat and they don’t really matter in the end. Yeah, maybe to note Kido is a man of justice because he followed his mom’s word not to destroy humanity. And Mizue for some cute eye candy and fanservice because for half her screen time, she is in her swimsuit (to get ready to dive into the experiment). On a trivial note, the reason I decided to take a peek as this is because of Jun Fukuyama and Ayane Sakura as Kido and Mizue respectively. Nothing really extraordinary and they’re pretty much standard and basic in their voice acting roles.

Overall, this series is easily overlooked because of dealing with such themes and even more so because of its very short duration that doesn’t contribute to anything much. Save for some short term discussions with your friends on such possibilities of the future. If you have interests in such topics in the first place. Otherwise, if you want some real meat in your animes with time traveling theme and the likes, I would recommend Steins; Gate although I myself have not seen it due to all the complexity and difficulty from the theme itself. Otherwise, we’re all just happy planting our faces in our Smartphones and spending most of time away on the internet and social media sites. That’s the communicating of the future for us all. Speaking of which, doesn’t this new form of communication has dumbed us down a lot in terms of basic face to face interaction sort of level?! Oh the irony… Communication is supposed to bridge us together but look how it divided us instead. Somebody create a device that would call Steve Jobs many years ago and warn him of the kind of damning future he brought us all with his innovation!!! SOMEBODY! Yup, no need for any reminder call that humanity is already on its slow path to destruction…

Cossette No Shouzou

5 August, 2022

You must be tired of hearing this at this point, right? Uh huh. Going to sound like a broken tape recorder very soon. Because, yeah. Once again Cossette No Shouzou AKA Le Portrait De Petite Cossette is one of those shows that in the past I would not have watched. And won’t do so in a million years. Heh. Sighs. It wasn’t the kind of show that I would find interesting to watch and even more so when I remember generalizing it as a horror genre and so that was enough to make me stay clear of it forever. Heh. Sighs. But now do you know what changed my mind recently? If you’ve been following my trend recently, then you would know that the only reason I checked this out is… Drumrolls please… Have you guessed it? Wait for it… That’s right! MAMIKO NOTO!!! HUZZAH!!! YEAH! Another one of those shows that she has a cameo in it. Besides, with only 3 episodes, this won’t take long. And horror or not, nothing is going to beat being scarier than Mamiko Noto’s Enma Ai of Jigoku Shoujo, right?!

Episode 1
A group of guys are trying to console one of their friends who have just been dumped. But Eiri Kurahashi seems indifferent. Does he not care? Well, they think he is in love. Well, he admits he is! Just kidding! After that he goes back to his shop. It seems he is selling glass antiques. Shouko Mataki talks to him about his group of friends. She of course knows Eiri as the kind of guy who isn’t in love with women. When a few beautiful customers walk in, this makes Shouko a bit jealous. She accidentally drops a glass but luckily Eiri saves it. Eiri then lashes out at her with full force. Breaking it is like killing someone! Once both side have cooler heads, they apologize to each other. Shouko is worried because he seems so spaced out recently but he denies. After we see a montage of strange visions, Eiri narrates to us that he could see the life of a girl named Cossette inside this glass. Normally, he would throw out such stuffs but is somehow attracted to her and even has draws sketches of her. One of the visions, it seems she is running away from a killer. Which turns out to be Eiri?! He kills her in the name of love! Not sure what the f*ck happens next because it gets messy as Eiri is the one getting panic attacks. Did he get killed? He is then forced to drink the glass of her blood if he doesn’t want to be separated from her. Yuu Saiga the shop assistant finds him in an unconscious state but nothing fatal.

Subsequently, he cannot see those visions anymore. Later when Shouko is cleaning a room, she shows to Eiri she found a picture of a girl in here. It’s Cossette. Cossette d’Auvergne. With love, Marcelo Orlando. Then after delivering the painting to a client, more strange visions for Eiri. Okay, now it is getting really mindf*ck here. Eiri sees Cossette before him. Glass filling up with blood. Explosions. Light souls. Fire. Explosions. Eiri getting ripped apart and his blood scattering everywhere. WTF IS GOING ON???!!! Then he turns into a monster. Cossette narrates that she has been searching for 250 years for someone who could see her and agree a blood pact with her. Someone who can save the souls of cursed objects. Since Eiri’s soul is filled with ill will, he absorbs the curses when stabbed with sharp curses before turning into a monster that is corrupted to the core. Eiri is mad that she is toying with his feelings but she will not allow him to escape if he has feelings for her. More blood explosions before Eiri resigns to the fact he doesn’t want to lose her. With the pact complete, Cossette adds that he is reborn and the souls will emerge to possess him until he dies. The ritual is done. The cursed souls residing him are saved. And to save him, she brought him back to life. Eiri now has a big blood scar over his chest. Cossette pleads for his help. Okay. He finds himself back in his store. What a weird trippy dream!

Episode 2
Eiri is spending time with Cossette as she talks about her parents while complimenting his drawing. But Eiri is bought back to reality as Yuu comes running in, worried that he would disappear forever. Of course Shouko is not pleased with it all. Anyway, she shows him what she has found out about this Cossette drawing. The one who drew her was an Italian artist named Marcelo. He was commissioned by the French family to draw portraits of their daughter. But when the household died out, Marcelo went missing. Shouko then notices Eiri’s perfect drawing so much so he copied exactly Marcelo’s handwriting and signature. But Eiri is perplexed as he does not remember doing that. Next time Eiri meets Cossette, he wants to know about Marcelo. However she forbids him to ever say that name again. Now the portrait has a slash across. Meanwhile a spirit medium who is also Eiri’s customer, Zenshinni talks to a local doctor (also Shouko’s aunt), Hatsumi about seeing death around Eiri. You sure she consulted the right person?! WTF she wants a scientific explanation for this?! Are you sure?! Zenshinni fears that if they leave Eiri alone, he will die. Meanwhile Shouko consults a fortune teller, Michiru Yajiri who foresees Eiri in love and risking his life for her but can’t see whom. Eiri continues to bug Cossette about Marcelo. He really wants to know about this guy. So she relents. She claims Marcelo is the one who killed her. Eiri is just like Marcelo, both are artists who fell in love with her. That’s right. Marcelo is her fiancé. They both loved each other. Since she thinks he won’t understand, she lets him see through his own eyes how Marcelo killed her.

More strange visions and Eiri being tortured in his monster form. Because he must atone for his sins, hence he must have his body engraved and split open! To remove the object possessing him, killing him is to purify them. It’s the only way she can forever rest in peace. After yet another execution, Eiri wonders if he will end up killing Cossette too. Shouko returns and this time she wants him to spill the beans but to her horror she spots that hideous scar on his chest, though he tries to hide it. Zenshinni brings Eiri to some site. It seems she starts a ritual to cleanse the evil spirit she believes is possessing him. However looks like the evil spirit is too strong for her to handle. And now back to more abstract mindf*ck visuals as we see more of Eiri’s pain. Yeah, tortured giant monster form. More blood spilling. Cossette telling him to bear the pain and don’t fight back even if the sins aren’t his. Now we see what happened between Marcelo and Cossette. Marcelo considered Cossette his perfect art of beauty. Because she started to change, he feared that beauty will change too. In order to crystallize it forever, hence he stabbed her to stop time of her beauty forever. This is his ultimate love for her. Now Eiri asking Cossette to do it on him. Don’t know what the f*ck is going on in this chaotic scene but I guess it is successful as everything soon calms down. Eiri claims he will love Cossette with all his heart just like Marcelo. But he is different than Marcelo as he will bear any pain or suffering for her. Eiri and Cossette share a tender moment. He realizes how fragile she is and how she endured the pain and loneliness all this time. But fear not. She is no longer alone. Shouko becomes shock as she questions Eiri whom he has fallen in love with to have done such hideous things on his body.

Episode 3
Eiri just wants to complete a painting of Cossette. However she tells him this is goodbye and disappears. When Shouko and her friends return, they are shocked to see a desperate Eiri smashing the glasses in his bid to search for Cossette. Eiri then thinks Cossette is in that painting and rushes home to find it. We hear Cossette regretting using Eiri as a tool. She had that purpose at the start but realizes despite he inherited Marcelo’s soul, he is not Marcelo. She doesn’t want to rob his future. More weirdness happens. Yup, don’t understand what’s going on. Eiri might be doing that ritual again as he claims the cursed objects think he is Marcelo and that is why they are inflicting pain on him. However he wants to save Cossette from all that loneliness as he rips out his own heart just for Cossette’s love. More abstract weirdness follows. In reality, Eiri has gone missing while Shouko falls into coma. Eiri has found Cossette. She thinks of leaving him if he is to be happy. But since he is happy to be with her, she gladly obliges. As gratitude, she will do anything he asks. He wants to complete her portrait. Hence she takes him to some place in between life and death where nobody can obstruct them. Eiri then asks why she did all this seeing she left him once. She replies that she wanted to test his feelings.

At the top of a statue, Eiri starts painting Cossette. However he is unsatisfied with all of them until he manages to sketch a life-like one of her. Cossette is impressed and now wants him to confess he loves her. If Marcel can do it, certainly he can. However Eiri does not look impressed. Well, he does love Cossette. The real one, that is. He knows this Cossette isn’t the real one but the portrait Marcelo drew. With the place start crumbling, this imposter reveals how Cossette already passed on without telling him. Because Marcelo created the most beautiful things, she wants Eiri to love her and not Cossette. Eiri will not be swayed as he goes to find the real Cossette. It’s probably that painting across. However he can’t reach it as the imposter claims the moment she was born, Cossette became a fake as she is the most beautiful in the world. Eiri tells her she is free to think whatever but this is not what he wants to paint. Hence Eiri finds Marcelo’s atelier and paints Cossette’s portrait with his own blood. Once done, Shouko has found him. She comments how his drawing is warmer than Marcelo’s. This causes the imposter to scream in agony as all the other paintings burn away. Even that painting in real life disappear and Shouko wakes up from her coma. She mentions about dreaming of Eiri and that he will be coming back since he wants to draw some more. We see Eiri admiring the calm sleeping face of Cossette.

Pain My Love, It’s The Picture Of A Thousand Bloodsheds!
Well, do you understand what the f*ck is going on?! Well, certainly I don’t. At least not in the most specific way. Thank goodness that there are only 3 episodes here because if I think there is just 1 more additional extra episode, my brains will explode and my blood will splatter out from my ass trying to comprehend all the madness, chaos and confusion of what I have just seen. Yeah… Sighs… So for better or worse (mostly the latter), I’ll leave the series to where it is because well, it is all up to your interpretation what happens in the end, right? I mean, Eiri finally freed from the curse and returning to reality. That’s the good happy ending, right? But what if it’s all just an illusion just like the painting and the curse is actually still ongoing… Yup. My mind in overthinking overdrive mode and on the verge of being fried thinking of such unrelated nonsense.

Firstly, I have to point out the visual aesthetics of this series. Basically, the whole appeal to watch this series is solely that. While I am not saying that this series is exactly a masterpiece in its art and animation department, unlike many other animes, this one shows a myriad of scenes from different angles and viewpoints. There is so much of it that I think that is why the average episode lasts about 35 minutes compared to your standard ones. Uh huh. It is part of the tactic to drag out the drama but then again it could be the other way around. In a way, while you might be distracted or wowed with all the artistic and aesthetic visuals, sometimes it adds to the confusion of what is going on. At least that is for what I experienced.

Some scenes can get pretty graphic because of all the blood that gushed out from Eiri and perhaps this is where some of the horror elements I read beforehand came from. You know, creepy dolls and those dark places where those kind of supernatural stuffs beyond our comprehension lurks. Yeah. That. Even if you take a closer look at Cossette, she looks a bit creepy if you ask me. Yeah, she’s no Shinku from Rozen Maiden but whatever. But thankfully whether it is a good thing or not, because I was so confused and trying to make sense of what is happening, I didn’t get spooked or have trouble sleeping. At first I thought this anime was made by SHAFT seeing that there were a few moments of their trademark visuals like the head tilt and zooming in of the camera. Maybe all that is just coincidence as this anime was done by Daume who did Ichigo Mashimaro, Onegai Twins, Onegai Teacher, DearS and Shiki.

The story otherwise is generally very simple or confusing, only dragged out because of the visual aesthetics. It’s just about a guy who fell in love with the girl in the painting and something about he’ll do anything for her love which includes becoming the object of torture and suffering. I think that is basically what the entire premise is about. Maybe there is something deeper to this but for me, I just didn’t see it. Something like the underlying theme of eternal beauty. Due to the passage of time, mortals cannot forever keep their beauty unless it is forever captured in the likes of that of a painting. Sure, paintings too will wither over time but at least they will last way longer than an average human’s lifespan. So for Eiri in finding his true love and freedom, that is up to us all to interpret in the end. After all, a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, no?

The characters too aren’t anything much especially the other supporting characters. It feels like they don’t matter at all and just for some sort of side distraction. Like the fortune teller and spirit medium, if they weren’t included at all, I am sure the series will still run fine without them and perhaps even a shorter run time. Even Shouko feels more like a minor side character than anything. It is hinted she likes him because of how much she worries for him but nothing really conclusive or really matters in the end since it is Eiri who has to deal with his own inner demons and heart. So I am guessing that these characters are only here to support Eiri because otherwise without them, Eiri has no reason to go back since in reality he would be lonely. With real life girls worrying about him, probably Eiri will have thought out his future a bit more.

As for Eiri and Cossette, it is one of those twisted love and romances because sometimes you wonder if Eiri is actually in love with the girl herself or just the portrait. Sure, better to have the girl in the flesh but it is the painting he first fell in love with. Then the mother of all plot twists reveal this Eiri supposedly to be some imposter and the real one passed on. Perhaps this is just to make Eiri realize that he wasn’t blindly in love with Cossette after all. Imagine suffering and being tortured for a fake Cossette. That would be WTF logic. Yeah, even paintings have feelings. Too bad beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Also it was a sad, tragic and twisted logic that Marcelo wanted to kill Cossette to preserve her beauty forever. Well, can’t blame him. Photography and the internet weren’t invented then. And yeah, Photoshop effects depend on your mind’s creativity!

And now of course, time to roll your eyes and hear me gloat about Mamiko Noto for the moment. Unfortunately as Yuu, her role here is minimal and so forgettable. I know, I know. Better than nothing, right? I only recognized Marina Inoue as Cossette. The other casts include Mitsuki Saiga as Eiri (Phantom in MAR), Megumi Toyoguchi as Shouko (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist), Masahi Ebara as Marcelo (Might Guy in Naruto), Rei Igarashi as Zenshinni (Precia in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha) and Ikumi Hayama as Michiru (Sayaka in Strike The Blood). If you noticed how familiar the BGMs are, be glad to note that the award winning Yuki Kajiura composed the songs here. So don’t be surprised to hear her familiar trademark that will take you back to other series like Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Mai-HiME, Princess Principal and Sword Art Online. Hence the opening theme reeks this feature although it sounds like some dark church hymn. Which is pretty cool too. Marina Inoue sings the ending theme, Houseki. It’s quite a dramatic piece and sounds like it came from those medieval times. Yes, this song too was written by Yuki Kajiura.

Overall, this anime is indeed unique as it is strange. I can’t say about veteran movie freaks who might see the deeper meaning and effects of this series. But as a casual viewer like yours truly, I can say that it is definitely confusing if you start overthinking or even put some sort of high expectations in it. Otherwise it could just be a simple series of love, that is all. Nothing more than that. And of course obviously the main draw are the visuals so if you want to feast your eyes on them, this is the series to add to your watch list. Otherwise don’t go laughing and sneering at some who fall in love with a portrait of somebody. Because, aren’t we all guilty of the same thing too? I mean, we keep a photo of our dearest loved ones in our wallet or pendants? Yeah, we have a whole stack of photo albums and even much more kept in our Smartphones!

Shaman King (Remake)

24 July, 2022

Here is another old classic anime that has been given the remake treatment. Yup, after Fruits Basket decided that the original TV anime needed some new breath of life and more accurately, adapt the entire manga volumes, now it is the turn of Shaman King to do the same. Because otherwise how do you get new and younger viewers to go appreciate old retro animes of the past? Yeah, looks there are going to be hundreds or thousands of old classic retro series that needs to be remade. But that is a discussion for another time. Because now it is time to see how old shonen battle tournament genres of yesteryears face in today’s time. With all the modern technologies and decline in spiritual quotient, do we even believe in spirits that we form bonds to help us fight in tournaments to determine the best Shaman King? Grandma and grandpa should be turning in their graves right now…

Coming To Tokyo Arc

* The birth of evil – 13 years ago, a mother going to give birth to twins. However, grandparents don’t know which one is evil so how? Kill both of them! The first twin comes out and grandpa goes in for the kill but fails because this evil baby already reincarnated with his spirit guardian. They escape and the ritual killing stops because the other twin hasn’t been born yet? I guess that’s why the first twin became evil! You people trying to kill him right after birth!!!

* I see dead people – Manta trying to take a shortcut through the graveyard, gets the shock of his life when he sees Yoh talking to ghosts! Guess what? Yoh becomes a transfer student in his class the very next day!

* Shaman King ni, ore wa naru! – Manta learns that Yoh is a shaman and is here for training.

* Desecration – Manta trying to find out more about shamans, stumbles upon Ryu and his gang. They desecrate the grave of Amidamaru. Manta gets busted and beaten up. Yoh returns to avenge his friend by forming a pact with Amidamaru and sends them fleeing with their tails between their legs.

* Spirits are not tools! – Ren is here to take Amidamaru and of course fights Yoh. However Unlike Ren who uses his spirit, Bason like a tool, Yoh treats his like a friend. And because of that, you bet that is the winning formula of how Yoh defeats Ren despite the latter getting close to killing him at first.

* The queen arrives – We all know very well this Anna b*tch, right? This future wife of Yoh has tracked him all the way to Tokyo so she can train him to be the best shaman warrior and win the tournament to become Shaman King. Oh, you know there is going to be a tournament in Tokyo with the gathering of shamans, right? And yeah, Manta suddenly becomes her errand boy and he better get on her good side if he knows what’s good for him. I didn’t make that up, Anna herself said so!

* Spirits have feelings too! – With Ren’s defeat, now it is his sister’s turn, Jun to take Amidamaru from Yoh. Her spirit is Bai Long, a famous martial artist. As usual, she treats her spirit like a tool until Yoh is able to break him free from her control. Then he goes into rage realizing he was purposely murdered by the Tao family as present for Jun’s birthday. Anna summons Bai Long’s master to integrate with Yoh just to calm him down and return to the right path. Because he can still perfect his martial arts, he wants to continue to be with Jun but without all the brainwashing.

* Love at first sight – Ryu falling for Anna at first sight? Wait till he finds out whom she is betrothed too! Just be glad you’re not her fiancé!

* Even lizards need a second chance – Ryu gets possessed by Tokagero who has a grudge against Amidamaru. He takes Manta hostage and uses all sorts of dirty tricks just to see Amidamaru suffer. Time to use the power of friendship to wear him down. Even if Anna wants to send him straight to hell, Yoh wants to save his soul because you can’t just do that in hell, right? So Yoh lets Tokagero possess him to see the light. At first Tokagero thought he’d won but after realizing he can’t bring himself to murder Yoh because of all that inner peace and trust crap, it is his first step towards salvation. Yeah, and to think that Anna will blame Manta if Yoh actually dies!!!

Shaman Fights In Tokyo Arc

* Fighting fire with fire – With the comet flying through the sky indicating the start of the tournament, Yoh is being tested by Silva to see if he has what it takes to participate in this tournament. Basically, Yoh understanding the principal and forming his own Over Soul to defeat Silva. This earns him Oracle Bell, a convenient device to tell him info and the likes about the matches.

* There can be only one – Well, if you win the tournament and become Shaman King, you’ll be the only person who can see the Great Spirit who oversees everything in this universe. Basically, meet God, right?

* Exemption – Despite Ren killing one of the test officials, Chrom, he is still allowed to participate because Great Spirit said so. Uhm, so what’s this about the Great Spirit knows all but is not a prophet and hence can’t tell the outcome?! So God isn’t basically God?! I’m confused! An excuse so that nobody will know who will become Shaman King, huh?!

* Yoh vs Horohoro – A shaman participant must win 2 out of 3 matches to qualify for the next round. With this Ainu kid as Yoh’s first match, lots of awesomeness about their dreams, blah, blah, blah. But we all know Yoh will win this match, right? And great sportsmanship from Horohoro because now they’re like friends with each other. Yesterday’s enemy is today’s friend. If only his sister, Pirika isn’t so angry Yoh ‘killed’ their dreams. More training for Horohoro then…

* Yoh vs Faust – Is it Thriller Night already? Faust the necromancer wants to dissect and experiment on Manta. This riles up Yoh to go protect his friend. Better finish this match fast or Manta will die from blood loss from this quack surgery! Yoh’s turn to rile up Faust when he calls his Over Soul, Eliza (Faust’s dead wife) a doll. Some talk about the life and death and although Yoh manages to take down Eliza, he runs out of furyoku first. Yup, Yoh lost. But yeah, losing this match is way better than losing a friend, right? Unhappy Faust wants to kill everyone despite the match being over but is easily taken out by Ren. Guess who is next for Yoh? Did Ren upgrade himself to ride a horse?!

* Cruel to be kind – Manta’s family warning him to stop being friends with the shaman and they want him to go America to study. It gets worse when Yoh is blaming Manta for his loss. But of course this is just a façade to not put Manta in further danger. Knowing he can’t beat Ren at this rate, Yoh returns to his family estate in Izumo for more training.

* Ren & Stimpy – Did Ponchi and Konchi take after that Nickelodeon duo?!

* Just a fan – Just as Anna puts it. She relegates Tamao’s love for Yoh to be just that of a fan. Because Yoh can only have 1 wife, right? What’s wrong with having 2 wives then?! Okay, I’m sorry. Please don’t kill me, Anna!!!

* Evolution – Apparently the fruits of Yoh’s training of walking through a dark cave is his evolution of his Over Soul. Now Amidamaru can talk in this form, huh? What happened to that telepathic thing?

* Destroying the rot from its core – It’s nothing new. Ren revealing to us he will become Shaman King to destroy the Tao family because they’ve only cared about revenge. It’s their only basis for existing.

* Panned-da – Ren’s dad, Tao En is giving Jun one more chance to redeem herself. Sure, but WTF?! He killed his cute panda pet just as show of forces?! WHAT THE F*CK???!!!! HE JUST KILLED AN INNOCENT PANDA!!!!

* Yoh vs Ren – The rematch is here. Yoh is being himself and very casual while Ren is just fuming with angst. In the end, both of them lost their furyoku at the same time. A draw. How? Because the Great Spirit sees great potential in them, both qualify for the next round. FAVOURITISM! Yoh doesn’t even meet the simple majority of 2 wins (1 win, 1 loss and a draw) while Ren only fought 2 matches. SO HOW IS THIS EVEN FAIR???!!!

* Singing monks – Uhm, next round not yet started but is it even fair for a couple of singing monks to attack and take down Yoh? Thanks to Ryu’s help, the monks run away. It is hinted they are underlings of Hao. Oh, haven’t you noticed? Ryu is also now a shaman (after that measly training in Izumo?) and manages to qualify for the next round. Great Spirit must be really fickle, huh?

* The father of it all – After clashing with Yoh, Ren realizes his goal has changed. He doesn’t hate humanity that much and that is why he is returning to China to defeat his own father first.

* The bigger monster – Ren may have gotten all the small fries away but he still has to deal with Tao En who has already dismembered Bai Long and imprisoned Jun for siding with Yoh. Of course Ren is still too weak and gets defeated and thrown into the cell.

* Friends in need – Bason made it in time to seek Yoh and company’s help to save Ren. So they make all the way to Guizhou, fight some modified jiang shi and then free the imprisoned siblings. Of course Ren isn’t going to go home yet until he defeats his father and the scars he has embedded into him. Ultimately, it is all to overcome this burning hatred inside of him. What’s Yoh got to do but help support his friend? Never try, never know.

* Will the real Tao En please stand up – It seems unbelievable Tao En is like an immortal that cannot be defeated. Until Ren reveals that this monstrous form is just his Over Soul form that he has been using to deceive everyone.

* Trust – Apparently this is the main issue that divides father and son. Because of the family’s bloody history of betrayals, Tao En cannot bring himself to trust anyone anymore and that’s why he can’t accept his son putting his trust in friends. But fight stopped because grandpa and mom saw Tao En waver and that was enough for the fight not to go on? And some ranting about the acceptance of the ever changing definitions of good and evil and Tao En lost his way when he became obsessed in protecting the family honour. So did Ren win because he was stronger? Oh heck, at least Tao En gives a family heirloom, a sword to him. So he is the family head now?

* Long way to America – Oh f*ck! You mean Ren is going to ride his horse all the way to America for the tournament?!

Travelling Through America Arc

* Pay your respects – Hao makes his first appearance before Yoh, Ren, Horohoro and Ryu just to tell them he is going to be the future king. Don’t pick a fight with this dude now unless you have a death wish.

* Tribal wars – The first mission for all shaman candidates is to find Patch Village. While the quartet are trying to find clues to get there, they are met with Lilirara from the Seminoa tribe who are arch nemesis of the Patch tribe. She tries to discourage them to further proceed by showing visions of the past. 500 years ago, this Silva look-a-like, Patch demolished the Seminoa tribe. The truth about this tournament is to find the best shaman and recreate the world again and rid of all the humans. Because you know, current humans are the root of all evil, right?

* Revenge of the fallen – Well, well. Looks like Hao cuts short Lilirara’s life after she has outlived her usefulness. It seems Hao was that Patch dude 500 years ago but that was just his temporary form to get one of the 5 grand elemental spirts: Fire Spirit which is now his Over Soul. Now he has returned to exact revenge on humans.

* Shaman Sherlock – Lyserg insists in having allies for his revenge against Hao for killing his detective parents who refused to be part of his groupie. He tries to show his strength as proof but ends up hurting Ren and Horohoro. Yoh is not amused and teaches him a lesson not to lose sight of what’s important. Since their goals align, Lyserg joins the group and everyone gets along fine like friends.

* Hao to become God – Grandpa reveals to Anna about Hao become a great onmyouji and mastered all the 5 elements of the pentagram. Not only can he control stuffs, he can even have foresight into the future! Now that he has reincarnated to participate in the tournament, you bet he is going to destroy humanity. The Asakura family tried to destroy him 1000 years ago but hao can you destroy God, eh?

* Cheat book – But don’t worry, there’s this book called Cho-Senjiryakketsu that contains all of Hao’s abilities and secrets that might be useful to take him down. Breaking the seal would unleash a couple of Hao’s shikigami but Anna proves herself by easily destroying them. Now she must send this book to Yoh. Yup, that guy doesn’t know this is the burden and destiny he has to carry for his family.

* DLC – So the cheat book isn’t enough and grandpa already sent some package to him, huh?

* Bear necessities – Horohoro got separated by the gang in some snow accident and ends up being nursed in the cabin of a park ranger, Bluebell Bloch. She warns him about a wandering bear named Apollo who hates humans because poachers killed its parents and scared its face. But Horohoro being the Ainu guy in touch with nature, goes to ‘talk’ and calm this bear down and just when you thought you have a happy ending, Apollo gets killed by those f*cking poachers! Since they do it for fun, Horohoro gets mad and teaches them a lesson but short of killing them because he is not a scumbag like them.

* Overlapping characters – Yoh and co stumble into some of Hao’s men. They claim they are here to kill his friends so as to make Yoh undergo a severe trial. Boris Tepes Dracula is going to do that job but Yoh and friends laugh at him because he doesn’t look like Dracula himself and the one who looks more is one of their comrades. Hence Boris kills him off just to avoid the confusion!

* Turning Dracula human – So we’ve heard Boris’ tragic story of persecution. So Boris turns Lyserg into a controlled puppet and has him hold Yoh hostage. If anyone dares make any move, he’ll make Lyserg stab his own throat. But you know? They’re not scared and fight back. That’s right, power of friendship! They even convinced Boris’ spirit to not listen to him too.

* Angels of death – X-Laws might have the same goal of taking down Hao, however they have no qualms in killing those who are associated with him. This doesn’t sit well with Yoh but obviously at this point he is too weak to fight them. And he got his sword broken.

* Hao are you – Well, looks like Anna and co have arrived in America. Look who is here to greet them? HAO! Hao the?! He wants her to send Cho-Senjiryakketsu to Yoh so that he can power up and assist him with his goals. Anna puts her faith with Yoh that her future husband will win. Though, a slap may not put Hao down but it certainly shows Anna’s determination.

* Jokes on you – With the gang awakening inside Patch Village after passing the first trial of watching the Great Spirit and all its memories of Earth, Lyserg is missing. Soon they stumble into Chocolove who wants to join their team because the upcoming tournament is team based and 3 to a team. Aside his dumb lame puns, he also relays info that many of the competitors have aligned themselves with one of the 3 factions: Hao, X-Laws or Gandhara as all of them has God class shamans. So if you want to have a chance of winning and making your dream come true, it is better to pledge your allegiance under them. So I’m guessing there’ll be a 4th underdog team?

* Doctor’s call – Yoh reunites with Manta… Sitting on Faust’s lap???!!! Actually he isn’t here to fight them but to request to join their team. However they claim their team is already full with missing Lyserg so they turn him away. But that is overturned by our queen Anna who thinks a doctor on their side will be great (of course she wants to get his loyalty for her hotspring plans). After all, she has seen Faust’s capabilities and knows nothing about Lyserg. And just like that, Faust is on Yoh’s team.

* Defect – With Marco comforting a lost Lyserg, it is safe to say that he will be joining X-Laws’ side.

Shaman Fights Second Round Arc

* Back to Tokyo – Uhm so the next round of the tournament will be on an uninhabited island in Japan? All the way back there again, huh?

Team Ren vs Team Tsuchigumi
* Looks like Ren doesn’t want to take on small fries so he lets Chocolove handle the small fries who are those singing monks. He easily defeats them but this is all part of Peyote’s plan to use them as medium to continue forcing them to fight. If Chocolove further beats them up, they’ll die.
* Time for Chocolove’s flashback of his crime ridden life until he was picked up by an old man from the Amazon who believed in saving the world via laughter and harmony. He taught Chocolove on the importance of that before passing his guardian spirit to him. Hence trying to be funny and making his opponents laugh without killing them is what Chocolove is trying to do. He manages to do that (although his jokes are pretty lame) but is too weak for the finisher. And that’s when Ren steps in to deal the finishing blow to win it.

Team X-I vs Team Niles
* Lyserg is part of this X-Laws’ top team and he is given the directive to proof himself by taking on this Egyptian themed team. He is willing to go as far as killing his opponents. He gives them a chance to surrender after defeating them but unfortunately they won’t. So as he is about to kill them, Morphine stops him.
* This makes Jeanne feel disappointed in him for hesitating. So she casts him aside and takes to the ring and kills off their leader, Anatel after he too once again refuses to give up despite being warned. She too gives his teammates a chance to leave or face the same consequences like him. Pride and anger won’t allow them so unfortunately they got the same fate. What a bloody showdown.

Team Funbari Onsen vs Team Icemen
* Time to see how much Yoh has powered with his Cho-Senjiryakketsu skills. Using the package that contains a small Futsu No Mitama sword, this allows Amidamaru to evolve into a higher spirit.
* But the cold regions themed opponents decide to take on Faust first, thinking he is the weakest. Likewise Faust will handle them all on his own and won’t let them touch his saviour.
* After seeing Mephisto E, a giant Over Soul of Eliza that is just freaking scary, Team Icemen turn to freezing Ryu. Too bad they can’t do it too because of Ryu’s strong bond and training to protect Yoh and make him the Shaman King, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, Tokagero has also evolved greatly into Yamata No Orochi Go. Basically Hydra on wheels.
* 2 crazy dudes, so Team Iceman target Yoh. Wow. Yoh does nothing and their ice all melts away! Not sure about the explanation about his soft supple furyoku warded off their cold brutal furyoku. Realizing they cannot win, at least they go out without regrets so Yoh defeats them and frees them from whatever blinds their past.

* Recruitment – Hao finds Ren and tempts him about learning everything from Cho-Senjiryakketsu that he wrote. This means Hao wants Ren to join him. Because at this rate he cannot surpass Yoh. Thankfully Ren’s friendship with Yoh is stronger so he rejects Hao’s offer although he is overcome with fear after feeling Hao’s limitless furyoku.

* Recruitment part 2 – Yoh goes to see Lyserg and being the guy he is, won’t admonish this guy who is feeling guilty and lost for defecting to X-Laws. Hey, it’s his decision. But WTF, Marco abuses Lyserg for talking to the enemy? It could’ve been worse had Jeanne not stopped this angry dude. Jeanne wants Yoh to join them because of his immense power but of course he declines because he doesn’t like the way they do things.

Team Hanagumi vs Team T-Production
* WTF?! Not even worth to see how these otaku clowns get owned by the Halloween babes.

Team Hoshigumi vs Team X-III
* Hao wants to take all of Team X-III at once. Safe to say, he is too fast to even see and kills them all off! X-Laws not shedding a tear except for Lyserg who is slowly losing his mind after witnessing the killings. This is all part of the plan as X-Laws already planned to sacrifice themselves to reveal Hao’s secret to defeat him. But to add more insult, Hao himself tells them the secret of his Fire Spirit.
* In order to take Hao down with him, Venstar sacrifices himself by detonating a powerful bomb. As the arena is protected with a powerful barrier, those outside will not be effected. But as we can guess it is all in vain because Hao is unscathed.
* And if you think that’s the end of it, Hao captures their souls and will use them to forever serve as his nutrition.

* Separated at birth – So with Yoh’s pals learning about his connection to Hao, they’re pretty bummed out but continue to maintain by his side. Though, this is a battle that Yoh can only end it by his own hands. So we have a full flashback on the day Hao and Yoh were born. Other than their failed attempt to kill baby Hao, Hao noticed his other self was split into another half that we all know as Yoh. When the time is ripe, he will claim his other half back. While it might look gloomy, the Asakura family realized that if Yoh can rival Hao’s power, then he will be their only hope to defeat him.

* It’s over 9000!!! – Well, Yoh tells his pals the big thing that is bugging him: Hao’s furyoku is quantified and measured to be 1,250,000!!! To put that into perspective, Silva as the strongest among the Patch officials is measured at only 10,000. Plus, the devastating news is that Yoh predicts that Hao will actually win the tournament.

* Sleeping with the enemy – Looks like a couple of Patch officials, Nichrom and Magna are siding with Hao. So much for impartialness.

* Fight of fathers – Yoh’s parents, Mikihisa and Keiko see the Tao family in order to get their permission and corporation to teach Ren their Cho-Senjiryakketsu. Because Tao En doesn’t acknowledge and wants proof that this book is stronger than his own doctrine, the fathers fight. Chinese father lost.

* May the most stubborn man win – Mikihisa begins ‘training’ Ren and obviously the latter is much weaker and is more prideful but both sides won’t give up. Eventually Ren lost. But I’m not sure when he learnt it because it’s just in time for him to show his stuff when the enemy is about to attack.

* Off the cards – Are these the next official matches? Because we see Hanagumi targeting Mikihisa’s team, Team Kabbalahers (consists of the Munzer siblings, Redseb and Seyrarm). Luckily for them, Anna, Tamao and Jun are here to play with them too. Meanwhile Peyote, Tabarsi and Zang Ching target Ren’s side. Ren does pretty well until he learns that the Patch official overseeing this match is Nichrom who is the younger brother of Chrom whom Ren killed during the qualifying round. This hesitancy cause Peyote to kill him off. Horohoro and Chocolove fight back to save their friend. Their furyoku is too low to even protect Ren or defend against their attacks. So how? Funbari Onsen to the rescue! Because of Yoh’s fearsome aura similar to Hao, the follower’s back down although Nichrom isn’t very happy about it.

* God’s miracle – Oh, if even Dr Faust can’t save Ren whom he claims his body is technically dead, how will they resurrect him?! That’s right, call in X-Laws! They’re going to use God’s powers to save him?! Aside the fact that putting oneself in a near state of death helps one tremendously increase their furyoku (Hao’s multiple reincarnation and Jeanne’s Iron Maiden torture), the condition for saving Ren is that Yoh must quit the tournament. And Yoh’s decision… Friend > tournament. Sorry Anna, looks like you’ll have to change your title or find another husband.

* Unbelievable – WTF?! Marco is shocked at Yoh’s decision?! I thought he wanted him out?! And now he has voluntarily quit, WTF Marco being dramatic over this?! So what do you want?!

* B*tch showdown – Kanna and Anna having showdown of words. This gonna get ugly…

* Terminator zombie – Anna wants Jun to fight her to see how much Bai Long has improved. Basically he has been modified and is part zombie and part machine!

* Emeth – Anna leads Redseb and Seyrarm kids away as she learns Seyrarm has no emotions after seeing their father murdered. Redseb participates in this tournament in hopes the Great Spirit can do something about her. It seems they only recently became shamans after their father died. They were thought about the supernatural stuffs via a golem named Emeth that their father found during his travels. Looks like a powerful secret weapon…

* B*tch fight – Hanagumi girls take on Tamao and Jun. Ghost, doll and sylph magic outdo a bunch of joker spirits and a rotting corpse. Wow. You mean Tamao and Jun are ready to die for this?

* Big daddy – Look who is here to teach both sides of these girls some life lessons. Yes, big daddy Mikihisa gives them a few slaps too. It is a good thing he stopped this fight because it could’ve been real devastating had Emeth been used here. Magna calls for Hanagumi to retreat since they have done their part in revealing the golem with powers they are even unaware of.

Osorezan Le Voile Arc

* Time to get a wife – We go back in time when Yoh was 10 years old. Grandpa thinks it is time for Yoh to meet his wife. So he summons a split tailed cat, Matamune, a familiar who has been serving the Asakura household for centuries to accompany Yoh to Aomori.

* Out of my way – The first time Yoh and Anna meet face to face in the streets, she tells him to GTFO for blocking her path!

* Leave me alone – Anna’s rude behaviour leaves much to be desired as she often confines herself in her room most of the time. This has Yoh wondering if a demon attack on him earlier in the day had anything to do with her. One day out in the streets, Anna came to surprisingly tell Yoh to find another wife. Yoh wants answers but he sees for himself Anna’s aura forming another demon trying to kill him. That is when she reveals this is what happens when she is outside and that’s why she confines herself in her room. Yoh tries to fight it but Anna gets worried and that’s when the demon just disappeared.

* Former master – Matamune narrates Hao was his former master and he defeated him in a Shaman King tournament 500 years ago when the latter reincarnated as a Patch tribe. More flashback reveals Matamune was a stray cat living in poverty but picked up by Hao who was the great onmyouji then. He helped contribute greatly to society but his kindness and powerful furyoku was consumed by demons and slowly he started to lose himself. It corroded his soul until he became a demon himself. In such times, he also saw the worst in humanity and that’s why he vowed to become Shaman King. But as noted, that was his weakness that drove this ambition for his.

* Save my heart – Now Matamune must overcome his past and save Anna as she holds the same power as Hao: The power to see people’s hearts. This has what made Anna to hate and avoid others. This is causing her to materialize demons. Hence Yoh’s help is needed to open her heart.

* Heart of darkness – Yoh invites Anna to the shrine for New Year. But along the way, she starts to materialize demons because you know, there are hundreds of people streaming into the shrine and they’re all harbouring earthly desires. Matamune helps stave off the demons but ultimately a demon eats the rest and grows into a big one. Matamune thinks of sacrificing himself and use up all his furyoku to slay this demon but this evil reincarnation is intelligent. He kidnaps mommy Anna and leaps towards Mt Osorezan. If Anna runs out of Furyoku at that freezing mountain, she’ll die.

* Fighting your inner demons – When Yoh and Matamune arrive at Osorezan, the demon seems pretty chirpy because Anna’s furyoku replenished him. But is now Anna who is broken as she is filled with hate and anger. She cannot forgive all the abuse and humiliation and wants everything dead. This is the same as Hao back then when Matamune failed to save him and it has become his regret for a thousand years. She orders the demon to kill them but that is when Yoh is forced to resort to using Matamune to fuse with his soul and become a giant sword (AKA Over Soul but he doesn’t know the term then). The sad part is that once Matamune takes this form, he cannot return to his cat form and will die once the furyoku runs out. So Yoh promised to become Shaman King and create a new body vessel for him again. With Anna’s feelings wavering, this weakens the demon so he tries to attack them both but alas, Yoh slices him down. In the aftermath, grandma collected all the beads of the demon that became Anna’s tool while those claw necklace thingy that Yoh always wears is Matamune’s medium. As Yoh returns to Izumo, Anna accompanies him for 1 train stop. He was also given letters written by Matamune but he couldn’t read most of the writings.

Five Warriors Arc

* Shaman slap – Well, how is Yoh going to make up to Anna now that he won’t become Shaman King anymore? Even if he is out of the running, this doesn’t mean his mission to defeat Hao is over. A few slaps to remind him of this. Damn, does Yoh have mumps now?

* Kiss of life – So what is the miracle that will bring back to life? A kiss! Sorry folks. If you think it is cutie Jeanne who is going to sully her lips for that, you’re wrong. She uses Shamash for that job. And just like that, Ren is back and kicking. He might not like being indebted to Yoh again but I guess it’s better than being dead.

* Soul collector – Bill and Brocken trying to prevent Icemen from leaving and collect their soul for Hao. Horohoro jumps in to save them despite being the weakest. Until his father comes to show him the meaning of survival of the fittest, it’s the game changer for Horohoro.

* Crumbling blocks – My, you certainly don’t want to play with this dangerous Lego. Thankfully, Horohoro doesn’t play with Lego so he owns this blocky kid.

* O’ Great Buddha– It is hinted that Bill got killed by an X-Laws’ angel believed to be of Lyserg. So to get revenge, Peyton and Tabarsi go to ambush Yoh’s hideout since Lyserg is with them. Ryu stalls them to let the rest escape. However he is not match for them and thought he died in their attacks. Turns out it is the Gandhara group who decided to intervene and save his life.

* Revenge is a dish best served cold – Chocolove wanted to see his old gang buddies but finds them all dead. They are killed by Redseb and Seyrarm riding Emeth who accuse Chocolove as the one who killed their father.

* Sorry not going to cut it – Chocolove may have repented killing others but the kids aren’t so they kill him off.

* Vengeance sparks vengeance – Because Yoh interrupted, Redseb thinks their revenge is incomplete and fights him. But after getting a pep talk about always losing something if your cause is due to revenge, Redseb sees the light. But…

* Revenge spree continues – Showing its side of power that Redseb doesn’t know, it looks like Seyrarm has completely taken over Emeth to continue her revenge (Seyrarm in fact possessed by their dead father, Camel). Hao’s team shows up and wants to take Emeth because its true power is integrated furyoku. Basically it is like a battery to store additional power and Emeth’s furyoku stands at 550,000. Before Fire Spirit can consume Emeth, Lyserg and Yoh’s pals come into the picture.

* What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – So, Hao not going to join this fight because he intends of using Emeth to make Yoh stronger? I guess it’s another excuse to postpone the boss fight.

* Straw that broke the Camel’s back – Camel isn’t even aware he is dead and although Emeth took out Yoh, it used up all its furyoku. So mad Camel that he is going to kill his friends to replenish its furyoku. Redseb’s voice didn’t get to him so are they dead meat? Unless you count Chocolove coming into the picture to atone for his sins. He admits he killed him and is here to make amends. Yeah, Chocolove so zen and all that you bet he is going to win this fight. NOT! Oh sh*t! He lost?! So much for all that cool sounding talk.

* Henpecked husband – Camel thought he has had his revenge and want to destroy Emeth. Too bad Anna won’t let him do it because she will be taking it to help fight against Hao. And also some pep talk for him to abandon his kids and being selfish. Well, nobody can go up against Anna so…

* A different point of view – It is revealed that Chocolove was resurrected by Gandhara but in exchange he seems to have lost his visual sight so that he could enhance other senses to increase his furyoku. Though, his lame jokes still suck! But hey, did it make Seyrarm smile a teensy bit?!

* Back in the game – Well, Opacho is here to observe and send a message from Hao to Yoh. He wants Yoh to rejoin the tournament or else he will kill the golem and the kids. So what is Yoh going to do? He already made his promise with X-Laws. Can he break them? Of course with Anna giving him a pep talk, I guess it is pretty clear that Anna > Marco in terms of scariness. And with that, Yoh decides to return to the tournament but will have to face off with Marco just to prove his point that he is done grovelling before others.

* Gay bois – While we see Yoh having the upper hand against X-Laws (WTF Marco filled with angst just because Yoh mislabelled him as the leader instead of Jeanne?), Luchist decides to help aid Yoh to defeat X-Laws. You see, Luchist and Marco have a long history going back to Sicily. Apparently Luchist was a father and he took in and cared for Marco. He was also the founder of X-Laws before he betrayed and left the organization. Now father and ‘son’ are going to have a showdown to put behind their past and move on. Only… WHY THEIR BATTLE OUTFIT MAKE THEM LOOK SO GAY???!!! While Marco is still no match for Luchist, only thanks to Yoh and Lyserg’s deception in using a decoy Jeanne and also the real Jeanne to deceive Luchist and take him down.

* Ordinary girl – As revealed, Jeanne is no God sent. Just an ordinary girl being raised by Marco to play her role in taking down Hao.

* Drive my car – Uhm, so Marco and Luchist also once opened a car sales dealer? Until of course Hao showed up and Marco lost everything.

* Passion of the maiden – Marco wants to kill himself for his failures but of course Jeanne won’t let him do it. She still needs him and as X-Laws’ leader, she orders him to stick around.

* Strike when you’re sleeping – Yoh reiterates to friends and foes alike that Hao will win the tournament. With that insane furyoku power, nobody can take on him. However this is the next plan: After Hao wins, he will undergo some cleansing ritual and temporary death as he becomes one with the Great Spirit. It is then they will strike to take him out. Of course it will not be easy as they will have to fight and defeat the Patch officials who are guarding him. That is their true purpose. It is also the reason why Hao has recruited many allies.

Team Ren vs Team Wisdom Kings
* Ren vs Yainage – WTF?! Dhalsim with big ears? In short, overbearing desire to become the strongest beats neutrality.
* Horohoro vs Jackson and Kado – WTF?! Discount Renji Abarai and dancing Charles Bronson?! After the duo did sneaky moves to take out a tired Ren and insta-kill Chocolove, Horohoro shows his true badass side because realism beats neutrality, right? Yeah, and you thought Horohoro was the weakest of the lot but apparently he is the greatest pretender.

Team Hanagumi vs Team Magical Princess
* WTF???!!! MAGICAL PRINCESS ARE TINY OLD WITCHES???!!! MY EYES AND BRAINS ARE MELTING????!!!! Oh, so insignificant this fight that the moment they debut, they lost. I was rooting for the hotter Halloween chicks anyway…

* Taking the law into your own hands – It seems Team X-II lost faith in Marco and decide to go eliminate Hao themselves. Being former military elites, you think that’s enough to stop him? You guessed right. They all died even if they unleash their final trump card, their angel shooting a satellite beam from space! Oh well, you get what you give…

* The pharaoh’s curse – Oh, Anatel has a brother? Anahol? What Asshole again?! He is gunning for revenge as he kills Marco and now tries to take Jeanne’s life. Oh, Jeanne in shock to even do anything?

* See you in hell –It seems Sati Saigan who is the leader of Gandhara wants to fight Yoh and that he must die and go to hell for the sake of the 5 warriors.

* Hellish training – Well, Yoh and Amidamaru’s soul are sent to hell for training. They will have to fight infinite times if they want to get out of here. First up is Yoh’s ancestor, Yohken. As expected, Yoh defeats-cum-save his ancestor and they have a long talk about stuffs and what they need to do to defeat Hao. Since Yoh won’t completely extinguish his other half’s soul, he opts for the other tougher option: Changing his heart. Oooh… It’s more fun that way, no? Yoh then has to fight with other demons after Yohken gets smashed flat!

* The great spirit robbery – Sati reveals the true purpose of sending Yoh’s to hell in order to obtain the 5 warriors AKA elemental spirits. More accurately, 1 spirit for person. Although Hao is the master of the Fire Spirit now, when he merges with the Great Spirit, he will be asleep and the Fire Spirit and other 4 elemental spirits will be masterless too. They will seize this chance to take them. This is Gandhara’s mission in this tournament.

* Hell’s companions – Yoh isn’t the only one in hell for that training. Looks like Team Ren are there too and are sent there courtesy of Team Wisdom Kings.

* X-tinct – Team X-II is dead. Same can be said for Team X-I and now Sati gets killed by Hao’s followers. Killing her means preventing all those sent to hell from returning to their bodies. Oh, except Marco who was saved by Jeanne’s Shamash at the very last moment. Because otherwise who will be there to kick Anatol’s ass when he tries to bully Tamao?

* International crisis – It seems when Team X-II fired the laser from space, it caused the entire world to notice this small little rock in Japan. So WTF, everybody going to send their military to investigate?! WHYYYYYY???!!! And because of that the tournament cannot proceed if it is seen by the eyes of the public???!!!

* Anna and the king – Time for another showdown between Anna and Hao. She has the rest take the fallen comrades away. This is primarily to hide some truly destructive power and form that she doesn’t want the rest to see.

* Back from hell – Thanks to Faust mastering Cho-Senjiryakketsu, he manages to revive Yoh. Team Funbari Onsen is back in business! Since Faust can do this resurrection business 1 more time, Yoh wants him to resurrect Sati so she can help bring the rest back. But that won’t be necessary. Because Team Hanagumi is supposed to take out Team Ren but they resurrect in time courtesy of Jun. Oh, so Sati thought her how to resurrect? Damn, this resurrect business is really easy to learn, no?!

* Fighting your inner demons – The only one left in hell and running scared is Lyserg. Then he realizes this scary demon hounding him is his worse inner fear and hate. Time to overcome it, right?

* Failing the failed – Hao’s followers are instructed to take out the international military who are closing in on the island. But Peyote starts talking about their failures and if they are actually fighting for a noble cause to make a better world. Then he starts to kill them off before taking his own life!

* Trampled flowers – Team Hanagumi is although dead, they’re trying to get to Hao in their soul form. But they stumble into him in the midst of his fight with Anna. Just in time because he is running low on furyoku. Time to feast on the souls. Luckily for them, Anna sacrifices one of her familiars to feed Hao and now he can take the form of his armoured Fire Spirit.

* Over a cuppa – Well what do you know? Yoh and Hao now having a nice chat over coffee?! Of course it’s to relay their feelings but how does it work for Hao seeing he can read minds? He wants Yoh to become stronger and when he stops being that, that is when he’ll consume his soul. If you think Hao has no feelings, well, he says he does. A bit. Especially Peyote’s betrayal.

Team Funbari Onsen vs Team Ren
* Before the start fights, both sides have a few words to say. As usual, Ren won’t hold anything back and become Shaman King. Yoh? He is asserting how he will never fight with hate in his heard because it makes no sense if he is going to become Shaman King and make this world a better place for everyone. The kicker is when he reveals he drank with his brother is because Hao has no friends!
* Yoh using his techniques from hell he learnt to neutralize furyoku. Cool, but how is it going to work on stuffs that aren’t spiritual? Because Ren and Horohoro can do lightning and ice respectively.
* Ren thought he killed Yoh but apparently Yoh points out that somewhere in his heart, he doesn’t want to kill him. Otherwise, how do you explain he is still standing?
* Lyserg has returned from hell after being revived from Sati. Yeah, new scary Over Soul power up. So, his intervention to stop this pointless match is because Team Ren and Team Funbari Onsen both progressed to the final round?! Turns out that the qualified teams of Sky (Gandhara) and Team Kabbalahers decide to withdraw. Hence leaving 2 spaces open. Who the other team to fill in that spot? Team X-I of course. Yeah, with the Patch officials agreeing to this, all the main players are assembled for the big finale.

* Together in the bath – Well, Hao once again joins Yoh and co in the hotspring. Is it me or does this look so gay with all the men sitting around!!! Anyway, Hao talks about the Mu continent in which the finals will take place. Yup, that lost continent that sunk into the ocean. That is where the records and memories from time immemorial of the Great Spirits reside and it is where Hao is confident he will become Shaman King and obtain all that knowledge.

* Shaman crisis – However before heading to Mu continent, Hao warns of a threat they have to deal with. Remember those international military coming here? Yes. This fleet is commanded by Manta’s dad, Mansumi and you bet his greedy human ass he wants the power of the Great Spirits. Hence, Hao blames Yoh for bringing a normal human into this and it’s his responsibility to clean it up because the Patch officials do not care and will not deal anything that has to do with humans. Trying to guilt trip him, huh?

* Brotherly alliance – For this just once, Hao and Yoh team up for once to take down the army without killing them.

* One man army – Hell yeah, Hao going all out and destroying Mansumi’s forces with ease. Don’t even need anybody’s help. Yeah, just leave it to Yoh and co to clean up the mess, huh? Yoh looking sad because he feels Hao’s sad source power and has suffered more in his 100 years living here than his 900 years of training in hell!

Invading The Plants Arc

* Walkover – After reaching Mu and before the next phase of the tournament could start, Yoh makes an announcement that Team Funbari Onsen, Team Ren and Team X-I will be withdrawing from the tournament. They know there is no chance in hell they can defeat Hao. Hao is declared the winner and will proceed to the ritual for the Great Spirit. Yoh and co will use this chance to take down Hao but will of course have to face off with the Patch officials.

* Till death do us part – Because Luchist will prevent them from interrupting Hao’s ritual, Marco fights him. Strange, Yoh telling the rest especially Lyserg not to interfere because if somebody wants to die just to let them pass, so be it! WHAT?! REALLY?! And so both of them take each other out including reconciling with each other. Justice or love? Well, they’re dead now. And Yoh still not happy?! I guess nobody’s going to listen to him anyway so he just let them as they wish. Hey, it’s their choice. Gotta respect that, no?

* Hi ol’ Silva – First Patch official they’ll face is Silva. Yoh needs to test some new moves on him.

* Plant plan – Well, this fight is just introductory. Now our heroes have to past through 10 plants, each guarded by a Patch official. As this is the path the Shaman King takes in this ritual, stray and they’ll get lost. And looks like they have about 15 hours if they want to prevent the end of the world.

* Desert plant – First plant up is guarded by Namari. Ryu takes on him and although he loses, he was able to reveal Namari’s trick, allowing Ren and Horohoro to send this guy to their defeat and earn their first plant victory.

* Valley plant – This one is guarded by Bron who was Lyserg’s officiant. Hence Lyserg is the only one who knows his tricks and didn’t get caught in his web like the rest. I think it’s cringe fest when Bron starts singing Patch’s hypnotic song because it is as lame as hell!!! I’m surprised you are brainwashed instead of committing suicide! Bron thought he killed Lyserg and this forces Jeanne to move to protect the rest. Thanks to Marco’s bulletproof glasses, Lyserg survives and incinerates Bron.

* Volcano plant – Magna tries to attack Jeanne first but this Iron Maiden is just an empty shell and the real one stayed behind at the valley plant to replenish her power. So it boils down to Ren vs Magna. It might seem that Ren is being cornered as he is only defending himself. But Ren has learnt his moves and takes him down.

* Lake plant – Radim tries to be reasonable to Yoh’s groupie that this isn’t worth it because they’re expending so much furyoku and by the time they reach Hao, they will be depleted. Well, never say never. In that case, Radim strikes Faust first and kills him and since the latter has used up most of his furyoku, he can’t resurrect anyone. Don’t worry, he won’t really die yet as he now exists in ghost form. This way at least he can be with his love and still hang around the gang. Yoh finishes off Radim.

* Mother’s soul – Redseb and Seyrarm decide to take matters into their own hands and attack Hao at Mu. However he destroys the golem and kills them both, revealing that it is their mother’s soul that is animating Emeth. Hao lets Redseb’s soul go so he can tell Yoh all this. So confident that he doesn’t even need his Fire Spirit and gives it to him.

* Plateau plant – Kalim vs Horohoro. Well, what a fast fight. Horohoro lost. Then they all have a good rest. Uhm, I know they need to regain their energy but time is of essence here! How many hours they have left?! Next morning, Horohoro resumes his fight with Kalim.

* Frozen love – Kalim invokes Horohoro’s wrath when he calls his real name: Usui Horokeu. It was a name he threw away a long time ago. There was a girl in his class named Damuko who just transferred in. She was an outcast and her father was the boss of a company that was constructing a dam that would flood the Ainu village downstream. Despite she tried to be friends with him, he was a dick to her. Until one day she didn’t show up and the next time they met was in the next spring: At her funeral. Apparently she died in the snow while looking for him (he stormed off in one of his moods). Feeling responsible for her death, he casted that name and put all his effort in his training so one day he could be a good shaman and apologize to her. Horohoro gets a surprise when Kororo turned out to be actually Damuko. After she died, the spirits told her to join them to watch over the land as it is the only way if she wants to see Horohoro again instead of passing on. Until the day she hears his true feelings, she kept herself in this form. With this over, Horohoro has Kalim to thank for. So this is all planned? Well, that means Kalim is defeated, right?

* Forest plant – Renim is cloaking himself so the others can’t sense him. But he gets worried when Lyserg uses his detective smarts to pinpoint him. Though, all that was just a bluff since this allowed Opacho to locate him due to his ‘noisy’ thoughts and just like that he is defeated! IS THIS A JOKE???!! FASTEST PLANT CONQUER EVER!!! They must be running out of time, huh?

* Cave plant – Ren gets to settle the score with Nichrom and even helps him overcome whatever is bugging the latter to help unleash his full potential (because Nichrom being a weakling and getting his ass handed to him at first by Ren). Of course, still not enough to defeat Ren. Wow, we zooming past the plants at lightning speed.

* Beach plant – Thalim has different kinds of plants to counter whatever tricks and powers the rest throw at him. But it is Chocolove who uses the wind power to dry out the land and killing all plant life. Yeah, we’re really fast forwarding the final stretch here.

* Glacier plant – It’s time for Yoh to fight Silva. And another fast fight this is because it’s like Silva wants to lose and lets Yoh stab through him.

* Outer space plant – The final plant. They’re fighting an alien named Rutherfor?! And she controls gravity?! She tells them the history of how an alien spaceship crashed on Earth near the Patch village. The alien exchanged some technologies, blah, blah, blah. From what I understand, the thirst for knowledge cannot be quenched no matter how advanced one’s technology is. Hence the original reason for shaman fights is to find a solution to those woes. Yoh manages to overcome all that gravity and cuts down the alien, which actually turns out to be a Patch girl in an alien suit.

* The awakening of the king – And soon Yoh has awakened as the Shaman King. You guys a little too late? With Hao commanding a fearful presence, Opacho gets scared because this is not the Hao she knows. Hao easily kills everyone by just breathing. Yoh is the last one last standing as he tries to fight Hao, disappointed that he is using his body as a puppet because his soul is supposed to be all over the world. Hence it is just an empty shell to test him. Eventually Yoh gets killed.

* The great reset – Now the brothers are inside the Great Spirit as they talk about Hao going to eliminate all humans. Surprisingly, Yoh agrees because he too was originally not really good with humans. But Yoh still finds Earth a pretty nice place to be despite all the setbacks. Simply because it’s no fun when you’re dead, right? Because of their different thinking, Hao can’t reunite with Yoh so they’ll do this another time.

* The great comeback – But Hao can’t seem to purge Yoh from this place. He still remains. Not only him but Ren, Horohoro, Chocolove and Lyserg manage to enter here. That’s because they are in possession of the elemental spirits. They pull off some heavy elemental combos on Hao but they know it isn’t enough to kill him. Now it’s all about the battle of the wills. Hao can only be defeated once his will breaks. Hao doesn’t see the point for them in using their elemental spirits with him because it definitely doesn’t have any effect on his spirit ally which is the Great Spirit. Of course their intention here is to turn him into a decent king. After all, they can’t defeat him so the next best thing is to change his mind! Might take a little longer since Hao is going to destroy their souls forever and send them into absolute despair.

* Against the universe – Can Yoh and his friends using Earth’s elements fight against Yoh’s planetary star power?

* The Polar Express – If that didn’t work, here comes Manta riding a train to help Yoh and co.

* Roll call – Holy f*ck! Almost every character from this series boarding this train so they could give their piece of mind to Hao! From heroes to villains and even their dead parents and loved ones! Everybody is here! We are one big family!

* Back to where you once belong – When Hao demands an explanation for all this, Anna points out the irony of this. Could he not read minds? He can’t now because he had no reason to work out what anyone else feels. Because he is surrounded by warmth, he has now reverted to his original state because his will has been broken. HUH?!

* Mother’s love – The ultimate clincher when they bring Hao’s mom to him. Not sure why her soul still exists but looking at Hao’s shocked face, I guess she did. Anyway, everything Hao has done was revenge for mom who were killed by worthless humans. Hao gets humiliated by mom in a public execution and lectured about stuffs. Apparently she is not as weak as he thinks and if he wants to be king to rule others, he must first be human. With that, Hao is going to watch over the humans for a while although he claims his intentions to do a Thanos still has not changed. Yeah, I wonder if mom will allow that if he decides on that.

* The great reunion – Fast forward 7 years later and we see everyone grown up. Oh yeah. Everyone looking like hot bishonen! Except for Chocolove. He looks so different that he is juts unrecognizable! Ren is married and has a son and is hinted his wife is Jeanne!!! Of course Yoh and Anna are also married and have a (violent) son named Hana. Oh damn, Yoh looking like a hippie?!

Battle Spirits Burning Over Soul
WAIT A MINUTE!!! HOLD ON A SECOND RIGHT THERE!!! What do you mean we’re going to have a sequel after this???!!! I thought the manga already ended and thus the whole Shaman King story ended too?! Oh… Oh! I see… Looks like even after the main manga ended, there has been a sequel and various spinoffs after that. So I suppose the sequel is going to be like Naruto, huh? Yup, Boruto his son took over and become the protagonist. So now that we have little Hana in tow, most probably the sequel will cover that. My guess is that it will be Hana’s turn to fight uncle Hao when he decides to change his mind on eliminating humans again. I guess we’ll have to wait and see by then.

Story/Plot
So yeah, as we all already know from the start, this remake adapts faithfully all the chapters of the original manga. Unlike the first adaptation, it created its own path and ending about halfway through. I have watched clips here and there of the original series just to compare and of course there were some differences. Mainly the pacing of the story. When this remake started off, it felt like it was zooming ahead way too fast. Uh huh. It’s like they started to cram in several chapters and went on fast forward mode unlike the first adaptation that spread out all that throughout a few chapters. Especially the road trip in America in the first adaptation, they really stretched that out. Thus with the remake, the pacing for the initial chapters are hasten before they start to focus on the second round fights, the part where the first adaptation truly deviated.

Being an old school shonen-esque style of story, it is pretty typical and nothing special if you’re watching it from today’s point of view. It may give old veterans like yours truly some sort of nostalgia but ultimately if you’re looking for some interesting story, you’d be better off watching story driven animes like Code Geass, Fullmetal Alchemist among many others. Hence you’re not going to get much out of the story which is basically some sort of weird pseudo tournament trying to determine who becomes the next big boss of the world and universe. Good guys have their goals. Bad guys have their goals. The one left standing in the end is the winner whose ideals is superior, right? Though, this ending doesn’t follow that but basically as long as the antagonist didn’t get his way of destroying the world and all humans get to continue living their lives, that’s a good enough win for our heroes, no?

Surprisingly, the most interesting story that I find was the Mt Osorezan arc that fleshes out the past and first meeting between Yoh and Anna. To me, this was way better than the rest of the half-baked fights that this series is supposed to be driven on. Even way better than that obligatory training arc AKA Gandhara’s arc AKA Five Warriors arc. Imagine, rushing through a training arc and suddenly having the characters coming back from hell and stronger just like that. Not sure if this was the pacing in the manga but I’ll try to look at it at the positive note that at least by fast forwarding this pace, I won’t get to feel bored. Yeah. Let’s move on to the next part, shall we?

Action
Being a typical retro shonen style series, obviously the fights are supposed to be the main draw, right? Well, personally I don’t really find them exciting and just passable. There are lots of flashy, power packing and over the top grandeur as you see the characters pose in style as they introduce their new moves and the likes. Each has their own special moves but personally they aren’t memorable to me. Yeah, you’d probably guess I’m not a fan so I’m saying all that. Yeah, some look the same to me and I think many of them are used once or twice just to overcome and counter the opponent’s unique brand of attack. Even if they spam the common ones, it’ll be quick and in a jiffy. I mean, don’t want to waste time to see them spout all that lines to materialize that move, huh? Hence it is that dilemma because with the fast paced action, sometimes the fight can be over in a few seconds but I suppose that is better than dragging a fight for a few episodes.

If there is one thing that I was dissatisfied with, it was probably how this whole series didn’t turn out to be a real tournament. Of course I only have myself to blame for expecting that. You see, I have this impression that this is what the big chunk of the series will be. Then it came as a surprise and perhaps the twist of the series that everybody else forfeited their right to fight in the final Shaman King fight and just gave the crown to Hao on a silver platter. Like, that was the biggest bummer and WTF for me. Sure, the battle went on to take place on a different level. I came to assume that the series’ title is some sort of tournament and I forgot it was just the title given to the winner and it did not mention if it was going to be some official tournament or backdoor brawl. Yeah, there goes my bet in trying to guess who is going to face who in which matchup and emerging victorious. I suppose Hao is too big of a villain to just have Yoh vs Hao epic finale and that’s why you need everybody else for the final fight to defeat him. Before everybody ganged up on Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, Shaman King already did it almost 2 decades prior! Well, just that they did it without throwing any punches and mere words and a certain mother played a role in taking down the series’ villain. Instead of a typical tournament, they replaced that with some mini boss fights AKA plants invasion that feels so rushed and some unimportant Patch officials felt like they were there as comic relief or punching bag. And I thought the one with Silva was going to last but oh look at the episodes left, gotta rush that through too. Sighs.

Sometimes the matches don’t make sense especially the rules of qualifying rounds feel vague because as we can see how it was done between Ren and Yoh’s fight. By right Yoh should have been disqualified for not meeting the very clear cut instructions of achieving 2 wins but they allow it because I guess those Patch officials got the memo that he is the main character. Yeah, preferential treatment. How else to get your epic shonen fight between 2 strong characters? Hence that result is the only way to satisfy both the Ren camp and Yoh camp without any sort of fan fury backlash. Even the tournament itself feels like a sham as many of the other matches weren’t shown or just whizzed through. Yeah, I still wished I could see Team Magical Princess’ fight. What a waste. And to think that these unknowns somehow managed to qualify for this round. Are there no other worthy opponents around the world?

Characters
Oh boy. Where to start. There’s quite a number here and it is only reasonable because of the nature and direction of where this series was going. Once again, this is an old school shonen anime so the kind of character development you see here are of that era. Looking at it from this point in time, it is pretty cliché and standard for a shonen genre for that time. That means nothing really spectacular or extraordinary as such characters and their development would have evolved throughout the many anime series that have come and go between the 2 decades the industry has had its hands in. Thus they’re pretty much sufficient and satisfactory and at least meets the minimum standards of what a main character should have and undergo throughout his journey before achieving his goal. You know, the basic ingredients of the main hero needing to save the day from a nefarious villain who in this case is his brother so yeah, making it a worldwide brotherly feud, realizes not strong enough and undergoes some sort of training, flashback to flesh out his character further, received power up, final boss fight, wins the day. Generally that’s how it is.

Therefore I have mixed feelings about Yoh as the main character. You know, not the best there is but also definitely not the worse. He is your usual laidback character who appreciates his brand of freedom and justice and sometimes I find it that he is quite imposing on this even though he sounds very lax. You know, I am cool with whatever you do as long as it is within the boundaries of what I accept it to be. That is how it feels. Also, sometimes Yoh is like a hypocrite because he gets to break promises and gets away with it. You know, it is not okay for others to do it but it is okay when he does it. For instance when he decided to save Ren’s life by quitting the tournament, hence breaking his promise to Anna. Thank goodness that was somewhat resolved so technically Yoh didn’t break any promise at all. Because it’s like Yoh is the favourite pet boy of those Patch officials. Uh huh. Imagine the special privileges he got by being reinstated in the tournament TWICE! Not once, but twice! Remember, the first time he drew with Ren in the qualifiers and technically he didn’t meet the requirements to advance? Yeah. That one. LOL. They should just f*cking hand him the Shaman King title. In the final stretch, it’s like he doesn’t give a damn about what the rest of his pals does since you can see his not-too-happy face as they do as they wish in their fights in the name of friendship. Hey, wasn’t he the one who said you get what you give? Strange, huh?

And Hao himself is also a strange person being the primary antagonist. Not sure if he is just trolling us because since he can read thoughts and minds, sometimes it feels dumb he doesn’t use it to its full potential. Like as though he is so confident of the outcome but look what happened? Sure, he makes regular visits to his little brother so as to check on him and see if he is closer to his desired status so that they can merge into one being in the end. Uhm, isn’t Hao supposed to be all-knowing too? Did he not see this ending coming? Or what we see here is incomplete and the inevitable is still yet to come? Am I missing something? Hao has got to be the most confident slackster just like his brother because he too is so lax and bloody confident in buttering up Yoh that even in the final stretch he sent Opacho to accompany the guys. Like, what this little African kid can do that Hao himself can’t?! That or perhaps Hao is just greatly misunderstood because what he really needed was somebody to stop him dead in his tracks and who else better to do that than his own mom. Yeah. Weird. But okay. Whatever.

Many of the other supporting characters feel lacking especially in the final stretch. It feels like they’re there just because they are part of Yoh’s groupie. Like Ryu who is just so forgettable during the plants’ invasion and they just throw him into some random fights just to remind us he is still there. After all, his past and back story has been fleshed out earlier on so there’s nothing much left on him. Same for most of the other groupie members albeit at different stages like Chocolove in the middle and they leave it really late for Horohoro so as for some surprise twist factor on his spirit’s true identity so he can have some sort of closure on his past. Faust? They need a dead doctor to become a ghost to perform some miracle resurrection on the rest. I don’t know, that’s how I feel about him in the later stages. Lyserg? He feels less a confused kid out for revenge compared to the first adaptation. Forgettable nevertheless.

The ‘second in command’ Ren is also one strange fellow. Because of this guy’s pride, he is being a ‘tsundere’ with his friendship with Yoh and the rest. Sometimes making us wonder whether there is going to be some sort of bromance between him and Yoh. In a way, Ren remains the arrogant and prideful brat he is and even if he sounds haughty with his friendship methods, nevertheless he still values friendship, which is many steps up than the initial Ren we were introduced. Yeah, because we see him regret killing the Patch official but has come to terms with it and moved on. So basically these pals are there so as to complete the elemental power up they’ll get to fight Hao which eventually feels redundant. Captain Planet would’ve been so proud to recruit them as part of the Planeteers. Since Ryu and Faust did not get chosen to be part of this elemental Power Rangers, the reason why I felt their characters lacking so much in the final stretch.

Anna started off as amusing and terrifying at the same time. Because it is like she is the true God of the series as nobody, including her future husband AKA Yoh and not even the great self-proclaimed God himself AKA Hao can best her. She has a sharp acid tongue and does not give you an inch. Makes Ren’s pride look like a baby. Considering the kind of tragic past she had, I guess this seemingly b*tch character is fair seeing that this way, nobody gets to step over her head. Not so that she can control and dominate others (partly it is) so that she won’t be her weak and feeble past self again. It is just sad that in the final arc, she has been relegated to a side character along with the rest.

Speaking of them, oh man, they feel so side-lined in the final stretch when Yoh and co went on a journey to face Hao. They feel so redundant that it makes me wonder if they’re even relevant at this point. Even when I think about it as a whole, most of them feel a lot redundant. Like Pirika. Don’t remember the most significant thing Horohoro’s sister did except to be there for emotional support. Tamao? Sorry, don’t hope for some sort of love triangle when Anna is around. Because Anna won’t allow it! Manta, Yoh needs a human friend, right? And yes, petite kid must come from a rich family so that we can cover the final arc of gathering everybody in his sponsored transportation for a great reunion. I thought Manta was going to be like a technician-cum-advisor for Yoh and co like in many tournament genres but he did nuts here. Considering the spirits are supposed to be the main characters, they feel close to inexistent during the final stretch. Amidamaru, Bason, Tokagero… Uhm, you guys still around, right?

Then you look at Yoh’s family, Ren’s family, Mikihisa and those golem-riding kids, X-Laws (yeah, there’s a couple of minor X-Laws members that ended up as a couple during their fight against Hao that feels so out of place – And Jeanne didn’t even really matter in the end except to become Ren’s wife… WTF?! How they even get together???!!!), WTF they’re all here for in the end? Giving emotional support is the best they can do? Seems so. What else can they do? Heck, they even try to throw in Hao’s multi-racial comrades for sympathy points. To show how they’ve not forsaken their leader but also changed in some ways. Then you wonder why the heck Gandhara is even needed and even for that very miniscule plot of getting those elemental spirits for our heroes and the convenient tool of resurrecting because that is what Faust gets since he didn’t get an elemental spirit. Gandhara feels so lacking and I was under the impression that they’ll be the other third force to be reckon with but their role fizzled out in the end although they sounded grand in playing a role to help Yoh’s side to defeat Hao. I guess with Christianity and tribal Native American spirits, somebody needs to bring the big Buddhist theme into the equation. I think.

Art & Animation
Just like Fruits Basket’s remake, the visuals are clearly updated in the sense that the visuals are sharper looking and brightly coloured in contrast. Of course, the basics of the art style like the characters remain primarily the same so every Tom, Dick and Harry from 20 years ago can still identify the very same Yoh and Hao 20 years later. They still have that cartoony look (especially Manta who looks like a Teruterubouzu come to life) and of course with today’s technology in animation, the visuals look better and not so dated compared to the first adaptation. If Manta isn’t the weirdest looking character, take a look at Brocken. Damn, I think this guy was really modelled after Lego. It’s creepy to think that this guy’s real skin is like Lego. And do I need to remind you whom Ponchi and Konchi take after again? There’s some CGI used (albeit not many) but this is mainly for special effects during fight scenes when the characters pull off their special moves. Not very jarring and unnoticeable, if I should say. Blends in well with the 2D animation. The first adaptation was done by Xebec (To Love-Ru, Love Hina, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san). The remake was handled by Bridge (Munou Na Nana, Devil Survivor 2 The Animation, Mitsudomoe)

Voice Acting
Unlike the remake of Fruits Basket, this series actually uses back the entire cast from the first adaptation! Well, almost. From Yui Horie as Jeanne to Romi Paku as Ren to Nana Mizuki as Tamao to Takethito Koyasu as Faust to Megumi Hayashibara as Anna to Katsuyuki Konishi as Amidamaru and even Minami Yakayama as Hao and Inuko Inuyama as Manta, almost the entire main and supporting characters from the first adaptation got retained for this remake. With the exception of Yoh. Previously helmed by Yuuko Satou (Lust in Fullmetal Alchemist), the remake casts Youko Hikasa as the main protagonist. I read that she has retired from voice acting and has left the industry to raise her family (read somewhere from the internet as the official source didn’t mention about it so it could be highly speculative).

I found it strange at first, Youko Hikasa as Yoh as I didn’t think it was here (I was thinking she would sound something like Tio from that Arifureta series). Eventually I did and got used to it. Anyway, the voice acting I believe is pretty fine and dandy and I’m saying that only because this is the first time I am watching this series in its original voice acting form. Yup, the first adaptation I watched back then was dubbed as one of those early morning weekend cartoons and that time I wasn’t an anime nerd yet. Looking back in retrospect, of course the original voice acting sounds way much better than the dub ones (yeah, somehow locally dubbed cartoons have this one kind in their voice). So I’m pretty sure they’re much at home especially for all the veterans coming back to do the remake to voice again their characters.

Of course Yoh is not the only character who has been recasted as the rest are mostly minor characters like Pirika who was voiced by the late Tomoko Kawakami is replaced by Rina Hidaka while Marco who was previously helmed by Akimitsu Takase is now done by Yuuichi Nakamura. There are also new casts especially for characters that didn’t appear in the first adaptation like Koji Yusa as Anahol and Anatel but I’m not going to list all of them here. TLDR: Too lazy! Do you know how many f*cking characters are there in this series, even counting those that only make a short cameo appearance!!!

Music
Sad to say, the first opening theme, Soul Salvation by Megumi Hayashibara cannot even hold a candle to the first adaptation’s Over Soul and Northern Lights. Soul Salvation tries to maintain that trademark that made the latter two catchy and memorable but it just fails. Somehow I just cannot bring myself to like this theme as it sounds bland and worse, a copycat of those great retro pieces. Heck, even the ending themes of the first adaptation, Trust You and Omokage (both by Megumi Hayashibara) even sound way better than this.

The first adaptation had all its opening and ending themes dominated by Megumi Hayashibara. So for the remake, they didn’t let that happen. For instance, the second opening theme, Get up! Shout by Nana Mizuki. My conspiracy theory is that this is the only part where Nana Mizuki gets to be of prominence since her Tamao character feels so negligible. Uh huh. Time for us to listen to her great vocal chops. Even so, the song pales in comparison to those I love aforementioned. This means the rest of the other ending themes, Adieu by Yui Horie, Hazuki by Saji and Courage Soul by Youko Hikasa are all pretty meh. Forgettable and not really memorable. Heck, even the insert songs, Ringo Urama Uta by Ringo Awaya and Bob Love by Bob sound totally weird. Especially the former. I don’t know how to describe it. Especially the way she sings it. Is she actually singing? Just listen to it. You’ll see. Or hear.

However all is not lost as there is only 1 song that I like: Osorezan Revoir by Megumi Hayashibara, the ending theme for the finale of the Mt Osorezan arc. This one has quite a catchy tune as it mixes both traditional style and modern pop and the lyrics itself are quite meaningful. This is the only piece that can stand comparable to its predecessors and I won’t mind hearing it over and over again. Until I get bored, that is.

Overall
Well, feels like a long and nostalgic ride for me. It’s all pretty passable to me. Not the best and certainly not the worst. Yeah. Once again, middle of the fence answer but that is how I feel too. Since I’m not really a big fan of the series and I’m mostly here for the nostalgia and perhaps that’s why it propped up the points. Otherwise, the typical shonen-esque story, characters and battle style are pretty much very cliché in today’s standards and there were some eyebrow raising moments that made me go, “HUH?! WTF?!”. Yeah, that excludes Chocolove’s lame jokes. This remake may have divided some but I guess it brings a closure to the series at least in adapted animated sense. We can all rest easily now that a great classic has been given its dues. Just like how Fruits Basket and to a certain extent, the Fate/Zero series did justice by remaking the entire thing by being faithful to its source, this series can now RIP. Unless in the next 20 years some dumbass decided to remake this remake for whatever reasons. Oh, I don’t know, because… Shaman King, live action version! By Netflix! PLEASE, NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Let the spirits rest in peace or do you really need Hao and his Great Spirit to come reset the whole damn world?!

Mushi-Uta

23 July, 2022

You know the drill by now. I would never have watched Mushi-Uta had not Mamiko Noto had a cameo in here. Heh. Yup, the sole reason for me to watch one of those series that I would never have watched no matter what the circumstances. Unless that circumstances is Mamiko Noto and that would drastically change everything. After all, when you have a series that has bugs, something that I am not really fond of. Okay, that’s a very weak word to describe it because more like I hate and fear those damn creepy crawlers! Even more so when I read the synopsis about people that have been infected by bugs known as Mushi, they gradually lose their dreams and emotions although in exchange they get some sort of supernatural powers. That’s enough to turn me off. Until Mamiko Noto came along…

Episode 1
Daisuke “Kakkou” Kusuriya shoots a girl who gives him her dream in exchange for making it true one day. 4 years later, we see a guy running away from GARDEN’S Special Environmental Conservation Bureau (SECB) as he will not be taken in. It seems there is also this Mushibane resistance organization that opposes GARDEN who is trying to take this guy in. Some big bugs battle but in the end, time runs out as the guy becomes infected and Mushibane has to give up and escape. Azusa “Minmin” Horizaki mocks Kakkou but the latter doesn’t give a damn. Kakkou is then told by Keigo Haji who is the branch chief that he will be going to school soon for his next mission. Minmin wonders if Haji has told him but it seems he wants this to be a secret. Next day, Kakkou becomes a transfer student. A boring introduction. Don’t want to attract attention? Also, classmate Rina Tachibana gets a certificate of appreciation for winning some painting competition. Later Kakkou goes to admire her painting and likes it because it is so beautiful but she gets embarrassed and tells him to leave. Later, Kakkou gets a call from Haji who explains this mission is to exterminate Mushibane as they recently have a charismatic leader who managed to expand the organization within a year. Also, we learn that Rina is actually from Mushibane and her codename is Lady. She is told that a fugitive named Fuyuhotaru has run away from GARDEN. She notes that the Host (those infected with Mushi) has become a Fallen (they lose their dreams, memories and emotions). We see some weird psychedelic snippets of Kakkou. Not sure what’s going on. Then across he spots Shiika Anmoto. So happy to see her, he jumps over the railway crossing!

Episode 2
Don’t worry, he crosses in time! Everyone almost died of a heart attack. Before the police can catch this troublemaker, Kakkou takes Shiika’s hand and they run. At some place, it seems Shiika doesn’t remember much. Kakkou seems to be interested in talking with her. Since he has school now, he gives her his contacts and promises to meet up later. It also seems Shiika is experiencing some lapse in her memories as she forgets why she is here. In school, some female classmates get nosy to know more about the girl Kakkou just met. They pester him if she is his girlfriend or ex. He denies it all. But with Rina giving her 2 cents worth of opinion that plain girls are the dangerous type and it is weird for a girl to give the okay signal for a guy she just met, Kakkou quips that the girl feels a lot like Rina. Kakkou and Shiika meet up. It seems like the perfect date a couple would have. Yeah, such a fun outing. Unknown to them Minmin, is spying on this interesting development. Shiika goes back to her home. Empty. Dark. She remembers snippets of her family life. Seems pretty normal. Has a caring sister too. Looks like she was afraid of that Mushi thingy since one of her transferred classmates showed such symptoms. Sister rubbished it as rumours. But one day when Shiika saw a girl going to be run over by a truck, Shiika unconsciously unleashed her powers to stop the truck. The girl saved and probably the truck driver died. Yeah, lots of blood. People who saw this become afraid of her and think she is infected. Worse, her parents turned against her and called the SECB to arrest her. Shiika is sad thinking about this so she calls Kakkou just to hear his voice and set up another date tomorrow. Looks like nosy Minmin is still listening and knows all about their seaside park meeting.

Episode 3
Kakkou is so spaced out in class that he isn’t paying to his group discussion about the field trip to a recycling facility. You bet those nosy girls tease him about being in love and since he doesn’t deny, they press on for more details! How’s the kiss?! Even more so, they want to know how similar his girlfriend is to Rina. Since Rina claims she is elegant and tidy, Kakkou quips Shiika is quite the opposite and gets smacked. They resume about the field trip discussion and it seems that there are some Mushi lurking. Kakkou doesn’t care as he doesn’t want to get involved because it’s just a myth. They think of issuing a challenge to kill it but Rina gets upset about joking such things. As Kakkou meets Shiika at the park, Rina meets her Mushibane members who tell her that Fuyuhotaru will be showing up at the park. Guess who? Rina’s plan is to get Fuyuhotaru to join their side so that they can crush SECB and create a place of belonging for Hosts. Centi is determined to make up for his failure that day but Rina wants him to maintain protecting her because if it boils down to a fight, it will be a first for many of their members and she doesn’t want to lose them. Centi is shocked when his Mushi doesn’t obey him. Can we guess what this will lead to? At the park, nice date between Kakkou and Shiika interrupted when Haji has his SECB guards seal off the place and evacuate the people. A young girl named Mayu becomes so afraid that her bug starts attacking her family. Rina is there and is forced to take this young Host away. Kakkou gets a call from Haji about this farce. He is told that Mushibane members are here, especially their leader. Get dressed and go get ‘em. Centi tries to fight a SECB member. However his Mushi doesn’t listen to him. Because of that, the guards ignore him as their orders is to find and capture Lady. Mayu becomes desperate to reunite with her family so she escapes from Rina and stumbles into Kakkou. Because she wants to go home so much, Kakkou tells her that will come true as long as she doesn’t give up on her dreams. Then her Mushi appears and the moment he shoots it, Mayu falls into a vegetative state, much to Rina’s horror.

Episode 4
Centi is slowly losing himself to his bug hallucinations. Rina (in Lady form) accuses Kakkou for destroying the dreams of Hosts despite they live in fear for being devoured someday. Kakkou calls her weak and she will not save anyone this way. Rina disagrees and fights him with her Mushi, Nanahoshi. In the end, Centi saves Rina and they escape. One of Mushibane’s members, Mosquito got scared and runs away but stumbles into Shiika. Uhm, is it time to make friends. The duo then stumble into Touko Goroumaru, Haji’s retard assistant who is sent to guide them to where Haji is. Kakkou is confronted by Minmin who talks about Hosts being espers and the strongest ones become elites in SECB. It is her dream to become to strongest Host in SECB and she wants to know his dreams. Kakkou ignores her. She won’t let that slide and attacks him. He fights back but then she backs down and claims this is just a greeting. The next time they meet, he’ll die. Looks like she is a double agent for Mushibane. Rina and Centi are captured by Haji’s spider webs. He views Hosts as dangerous weapons AKA monsters. His dream is for Kakkou to find the original trio who created them all and exterminate them. After that, the elimination of all remaining Hosts will then return Japan to a safe country. He claims they don’t kill the Host but only the Mushi. However this is as bad since it’ll leave the Host in a vegetative state. Centi tries to protect Rina but he fails as Haji pumps many shots into him. Then he turns into his monstrous form. Haji explains he is undergoing the process of having his dreams devoured. Kill the Mushi now and this will save the Host’s life although he falls into a vegetative state and become a Fallen. Otherwise when the dreams are fully devoured, the Mushi will mature and Host will die. Rina tries to talk to Centi to wake up. Not happening. Kakkou arrives. Thank his lateness for dealing with a traitor. In fact, Haji knew Minmin was a double agent all along and has been feeding her with info. Kakkou feels like wanting to betray too but Haji is confident he won’t as he hasn’t fulfilled his promise to Fuyuhotaru. Kakkou goes all out to kill Centi while Rina trying to let her voice reach him. Kakkou believes that despite a Fallen’s state, as long as that person is alive, there is hope for recovery. Not sure what Rina did to extract Centi out. She takes him away as she talks about going back to the good times like before. Too late. He is already a Fallen. So, going back to fight SECB now?

Episode 5
Uhm, did I miss something? Because Shiika and Rina are living together like family now?! Shiika accompanies Rina to her mom’s grave. Time for a tragic back story. In short, dad was a wife beater until mom died of a disease. Rina thought she was next and didn’t want to die that way. So she thought of killing him first. That was when she started receiving powers and became a Host. Although she attacked her dad, he managed to survive. Then she decided to use this power to rid of SECB. Apparently she doesn’t know Fuyuhotaru’s identity yet and vows to find her and make her an ally. Can I say she’s right under your nose?! That night, Minmin reports to Rina about SECB failing to secure Fuyuhotaru too. However she fought Kakkou and her identity has been busted. This means she cannot relay info from SECB to her anymore. Kakkou meets Haji as they talk about the past. Something about turning bureau members into Fallen as well as Fuyuhotaru. Flashback shows when Kakkou first joined SECB, his first mission was part of a team to take down Fuyuhotaru who had taken out some of its members. At the same time, there was a coup happening in the branch’s leadership so it was pretty messy. When the entire unit was taken out, Kakkou was the only one left so Haji forced him to take in Fuyuhotaru. Of course she is no other than Shiika. At first Kakkou didn’t want to do it but she wanted him to since she doesn’t want to hurt others anymore. Their dreams is to find a place of belonging. With Haji pressing him to capture Fuyuhotaru, she wants him to shoot her. Hence that opening scene of this series. After he shot her, he vowed to find their place of belonging and hoped she would remember it too.

Episode 6
Asami Minagawa doing some late night journalism about the Mushi, eh? She is spooked that her teacher, Oogui is here. She asks about her dreams before getting bugged. As Rina prepares for school, Shiika notices the same uniform she wears. She must go to the same school as Kakkou, right? I guess she wants to go to school too. Rina grants that wish as one weekend she brings her to school to also meet her friends. They play house, I mean, class before spending the rest of the day in town having fun. Such happy times. Then Shiika realizes she forgot to call Kakkou. What? He her boyfriend now? Rina gladly lends her handphone so that Shiika can hear Kakkou’s voice to tell her that she is fine. Hey, their park date was interrupted, right? Soon, rumours swirling around school that people will disappear or vanish into thin air and some witnessed this before their very eyes. Kakkou sees Rina painting at school late into the night so he warns her about Mushi and ghosts but she isn’t falling for that. Not sure what this part for because it’s to force some cheesy drama and trolling us some potential romance. Because WTF Kakkou tries to prank and scare her and this causes her to fall off the stairs. He manages to catch her but he gets a bit injured. Because of that, next day he is absent from school. Another late night assignment for Asami when she suddenly disappears and finds herself in some digital world before falling into some dark nothingness and then waking up in reality. What a great dream?! Rina goes to see Kakkou in his dilapidated place. So when did she become his mother or girlfriend? She claims she isn’t worried but the way she is spamming questions like if he is eating alright… HMMM!!!! This has Kakkou remember of something similar in the past. Chiharu Ayukawa keep pestering him about his minor injuries and making a big deal out of it.

Episode 7
Kasuo and her subordinates, Kirikiri and C, see Haji. They are from HQ and because Haji is taking his sweet time capturing Fuyuhotaru, her team will take the initiative from now. Kasuo then stumbles into Kakkou and she claims she will have the last laugh. Asami is in her digital dream. She sees one of her blur photos and it turns out to be Shiika. Asami then goes to see Shiika (when Rina is out). WTF she scared of her but still wants to talk to her? She confirms Shiika was at the park the other day and that she is a Host. Asami also admits she is a Host recently but wants her to keep this a secret and not tell anybody. Not even Rina. She fears her dreams will get eaten one day and then starts to make her own assumptions of those guys from SECB taking her away. Fearing that, she’ll go delete all her uploaded photos on her site right away! Wow. Really? Does she not know what gets uploaded on the internet, stays there forever? Haji and Kakkou meet again. Apparently we learn that Haji’s sister is in some vegetative condition. She thinks it is some illness, unaware she is continuingly eating his dreams. HQ doesn’t know about the Mushi she has as she is only eating his dreams. But Haji knows a loophole around this. Thanks to the recorded videos, he can go on without ever forgetting his dreams. Whenever he sees those hope filled dreams crumble away, he feels alive but angry too. His anger is used by her and she becomes his reason to live. That’s the best bond ever. Kakkou thinks he is broken but Haji feels he is the same. Later Kasuo tries to blackmail info of Fuyuhotaru out of Haji since she knows about his sister’s condition and threatens to hurt her but Haji mocks about her parents and this makes her mad. Haji will not give any info for free so he gives her a job to capture Asami. As Asami is furiously trying to delete all her photos, Minmin comes to burst the bubble as she tells Rina that Asami just became a Host.

Episode 8
Haji tells Kakkou about Asami turning into a Host. Yeah, he wants to see who will get to her first. Sorry, it’s Kasuo’s team. Asami becomes scared and will not go with them. So she runs around as they chase her. Yeah, makes her look like a horror movie victim, the way she is running about! Cornered, somehow she uses her ability to escape into the digital world. However Kasuo and Kirikiri also follow her and the chase continues. When Kakkou arrives, he sees C and seeks her help so C lets him into the camcorder. Before Kirikiri can kill her, Kakkou comes to her rescue, destroying Kirikiri’s Mushi. But Asami runs, thinking Kakkou is also out for her life. Kakkou and Kasuo face off. Some flashback snippets. Not sure what’s going on. She claims he was stronger and cold-hearted then and is weak now. Kakkou claims she is weaker for she only enjoys fighting. He knows about her deal with Haji. As she lost everything, when she becomes stronger only he will send her back to her hometown. That is her dream. Asami returns to reality just as Rina comes looking for her. Panicky Asami tries to delete everything in her camcorder, thinking this will erase those suckers. This disruption allows Kakkou to wound Kasuo. Asami thinks everything is fine now. And she still wants to hound Rina about her being a host and Mushibane (yeah, I guess she saw those photos in the digital dream). But for now they call it a night and go home. After they leave, C hacks the laptop. F*ck! Asami forgot to delete the data here! She extracts Kasuo and Kirikiri as they retreat for the day. Uhm, is Kakkou still trapped inside? Next day, devilish Asami burns the memory card. Yeah, think you’re free now? All that’s left is to interview Rina and spread the word! I thought she was scared sh*t about all this?! She attends class normally but looks like Kasuo found her camcorder in her clubroom and destroys it, effectively turning Asami a vegetable. Rina is horrified to see Asami’s transformation right before her eyes.

Episode 9
Rina so devastated she couldn’t save Asami that she is skipping school and seeking solace in the arms of Shiika? Is this how a charismatic leader should be?! Oh well, sometimes you have one of those days… Haji reveals to Kakkou that there was somebody who helped Fuyuhotaru escaped and that person is still unknown. Also, it is not certain if Fuyuhotaru was turned back from her Fallen state. The reason Fuyuhotaru returned to this city is because is most likely this is her birthplace. Haji further adds about his goal to eliminate the original trio and doing so he will fulfil everyone’s dreams. That’s like playing God, no? Rina trying to show that she’s okay to let Shiika not be concerned with her and to go on a date with her boyfriend. Shiika and Kakkou meet up and they head to the planetarium. Is it so boring that Kakkou fell asleep? When that’s done, Shiika talks about dreams and especially about a boy whom she met long ago who shared the same dream with her. Funny, Kakkou remembers saying something similar to a girl too. As Shiika is feeling weak, so assuring for Kakkou to ask if she’s afraid or running away from something. He won’t know if you don’t tell. He realizes that isn’t the most romantic question so he decides to hold her hand and get close. And what do you know? Rina sees this! Shock! Uh huh. So her boyfriend is the same guy whom she has a crush on, eh? Shiika tries to pick up her dropped documents and sees Rina’s sketches of Kakkou. That proves it. In that moment of wavering, the girls’ Mushi pops up a bit, revealing who they are. Rina runs away. Shiika gives chase. You not going after them, Kakkou? Yeah, it’s the girls’ problem. Not my fault they fall for the same guy! HAHAHA! Not sure if it’s a good idea as Shiika shows her Mushi to Rina to prove that she is Fuyuhotaru. Double slap because the target you’ve been looking for lives right under your nose in addition to having the guy of your dreams.

Episode 10
Kakkou as mad at Haji that he knew Shiika was Fuyuhotaru all along. Haji did this because he wanted her to play a role so that Lady will be eliminated together. However he miscalculated and now they’re best friends. However this also works in his favour because now Lady has a weakness. This means she will be fragile and it’ll be easy to kill her. Once she’s gone, panic will spread throughout Mushibane and victory will be ours. Or his. Kakkou can’t shoot him so he shoots his car instead? Oh well. He claims Hosts have feelings too. You think this dude cares?! Rina is feeling dumb. When Shiika tries to leave forever so as not to give her trouble, Rina claims she isn’t mad and they have always been like they were. Both girls try to be considerate. Rina giving her support for Shiika to be with Kakkou. But Shiika claims she won’t see him anymore because she has her. Yeah. Yuri > dicks! Later Minmin sees Rina to tell her she has found out GARDEN’s base. Basically it is at the recycling facility and there is a midnight train that takes you only there (sorry, not to Georgia! HAHA!). Next day in school, Rina tries to tell Kakkou that he supports him and Shiika. Of course he wants to see Shiika again. Is she trying to brush aside her own feelings? Later Rina introduces Shiika to Mosquito and Snail. Both of them babysit her while Rina goes to meet Kakkou in secret tryst?! HUH?! Anyway, when Mosquito and Snail ask about GARDEN, Shiika explains it is a fake town filled with zombies AKA Hosts. As they have no emotions, they don’t think for themselves and will do anything you say. Anything. Shiika views them as empty vessels and doesn’t want to go back there.

I’m sure Rina didn’t call Kakkou over just to paint him. She talks about willing to die for the future. She’s serious. But she is shocked when he tells her she does not need to go to GARDEN to make a place for Mushibane. How he knows? He reveals his Mushi and Rina thinks he has him fooled all the time. Yeah, I agree you were the bigger fool. Rina summons Nanahoshi to kill him but stops. WTF?! I thought she was dead serious? If she can’t kill him, how can she handle GARDEN and save everyone? He adds that GARDEN and SECB aren’t their enemies. If it was, he would’ve destroyed them long ago. Shiika is strong because she didn’t blame or hate anyone. She reminded him that it is more important to be alive rather than die for others. He saw the same in Rina too. As long as they’re alive, they’ll get through. One day their dreams will be fulfilled. So don’t go to GARDEN. It’s a trap. Too bad Rina remains stubborn. She’ll do what she needs to do. Next time they meet, they’re enemies. That’s what they always say. Shiika reads a late letter from Rina. You know, the goodbye she is saying and the dreams she hopes Shiika will fulfil. Sad. Oh Shiika, you won’t find Rina back home. Just a really nice and recently completed painting of Kakkou. Rina takes the train to GARDEN. Don’t say they didn’t warn her because the moment she arrives, zombies everywhere as she lets out a horror scream.

Episode 11
Haji is also here to explain to Rina about this facility where GARDEN observes these Hosts. She is shocked to learn as Haji hints that Mushi are created by humans. Haji reveals his tactic to use Rina to get Fuyuhotaru here. It’s like killing 2 birds with a stone and he’ll get the Host who wiped out almost the entirety of SECB when they tried to capture her 2 years ago. With numerous SECB guards surrounding her, Rina begins her fight. Meanwhile, Shiika is confronted by Oogui. She reveals she is one of the original trio who created Hosts. However she is only here to remind her. As Hosts can recall their dreams many times, she wants Shiika to have more of such dreams so that she can feed on them. Shiika will not lose to her so Oogui has her prove herself. Shiika’s Mushi protects her but is ultimately saved from the blast by Minmin. But it’s out of the fire and into the pan because Minmin now wants to get her. Looks like this traitor is in love with Haji and she thinks that she’ll be rewarded if she hands Fuyuhotaru to him personal. Shiika’s Mushi just blasts away everything. Because it’s easier to kill everybody who wants to hurt Shiika, right? Yeah. RIP Minmin. You get what you give. Not over for Shiika as she gets stabbed! Rina puts up a brave front as she fights the endless waves of SECB. She has Haji in her grasp but such great timing as her Mushi matures and she turns into a monster. Haji saved a second time as Kakkou makes his entrance and protects him from a falling slab. He is going to save Rina but damn, he too is at his limit and his Mushi also matures. Making it worse as Oogui is here and will begin her harvesting.

Episode 12
Oogui having a field day devouring those puny SECB guys. Third time’s not the charm for Haji as he becomes fatally wounded. He warns Kakkou about Rina’s Mushi completely breaking free from its Host. As Kakkou tries to fight it, Rina is having visions of him. She blames him and tries to kill him but realizes he is not the problem. Who are our enemies again? That’s right. The ones that feed on our dreams! Don’t give up on your dreams! Instead of killing the Mushi, he manages to break her free from it. However it is too late. Rina’s last words are for him to be with Shiika as he is the only one she has left. Be a place for her to return. After that, Rina disintegrates. Instead of regretting he couldn’t save her, Kakkou uses his last ounce of power to beat up his own Mushi into submission so he can give Nanahoshi a Merry Christmas present. With Nanahoshi destroyed and Oogui satisfied, she leaves. Meanwhile Shiika is still alive but having deliberations with her Mushi to kill everyone or not. But luckily Kakkou is here for her. Looks like they remember each other now. In the aftermath, Shiika wakes up in hospital. Kakkou is there but remains hidden as he tells her about Rina’s death and how she never gave up on her dream till the end. I suppose cue for Shiika to be strong and live her dream, huh? He warns SECB will continue to observe her from now on. He adds that next Christmas he will wait at the planetarium. He can’t meet her yet but he’ll definitely go. Huh? So that’s like stalking level? Then off he goes, leaving only behind Rina’s award winning painting for her. As the city undergoes reconstruction, Touko visits Haji who is in ICU.

A Bug In The Ointment: Bug Dreams Are Made Of These…
What. The. F*ck?! WTF happened?! What does it all mean?! Can it end like that?! Oh well, what to do? Not that I was expecting or having high hopes from this series in the first place. But still, can’t help feel and hope that there was something more to all that. Definitely a bittersweet ending at least for where the anime adaptation is concerned because if you would like to know more, feel free to continue reading the rest of the volumes of the light novel of the same name that this anime adapted. The story and characters as I read from comments are better fleshed out than this crappy adaptation. Yeah, the anime feels so buggy…

From what I can see the story of this anime adaptation, it feels flimsy and mostly waste of time. It feels like a wasted potential as a big chunk of the anime focuses on the school life of our protagonists. I mean, WTF is that even necessary? They waste time by focusing too much on the budding feelings between Kakkou, Shiika and Rina and turn it into some sappy love drama romance. Well, for the most part. Because of that, it feels like SECB and Mushibane and whatever bug related matters have been tossed aside. The whole thing feels like a drama between them and not something on a big scale because I was under the impression at first that this was going to be a huge nationwide war between SECB and Mushibane to retrieve the (not so) mysterious Fuyuhotaru. And look what it turned out to be? Some weird drama romance we’ve got. And it’s not even a good one. I suppose that’s to build some character, huh? So it was never really about SECB, never really about Mushibane, never about GARDEN and certainly never about the Mushi. It all feels like side plots and stepping stone for the aforementioned trio and their weird love drama. It’s like they’re banking on the cliché surprise factor of when they start to realize the other’s identity but also felt conflicted because of their feelings from all those moments together. Yeah, weird dreams we’re having.

The characters are mediocre and appalling because like I’ve said, it’s all to build up to the fact that the trio who never realized each other’s true identity to suddenly realize that. How will feelings of love get in the way of bonds and friendship? We got our answer here. And it was cheesy to say the least. How convenient for Kakkou and Shiika to not remember each other when they first met so that they can play this cute dating game together. How convenient for Rina to take in such a cute stranger and let her live in her home and they both fall for the same boy! What are the freaking chances! Oh well, happens a lot in manga and anime.

I suppose if I had to look at it from a different perspective, it is to give these characters some sort of development because you know, despite the trio being Hosts, it is to show that they still have that strong human side. Uh huh. Rina isn’t some cruel local leader of Mushibane. Why, she can have feelings and fall in love too! Kakkou isn’t some mindless dog who works for Haji. Why, he can have a normal school life and a cute girl to like him back too! Shiika AKA Fuyuhotaru isn’t some monster who can wipe out an entire organization who is out to target her. Why, she has her soft side too! So kawaii! Now do you see why this absurd waste of time drama was necessary? Their dreams may be fulfilled but it sure hell wasted our time! Certainly their past wasn’t fleshed out well enough because who the f*ck let Fuyuhotaru escaped and why? The anime didn’t say so but the internet told me it was Oogui. And how did Shiika recovered from her Fallen state? Anime didn’t address that so I am thinking it wasn’t important.

Not sure about Mushibane but sometimes it feels like Rina is playing house with the declining members of her local Host friends. And to think SECB thinks she is some new charismatic leader who have recruited many into Mushibane recently. Where the heck did they get that info?! Or did love actually break Rina?! Either way, she does not seem to be a Mushibane leader. Certainly fooled us there. Oh yeah, thank goodness Rina and Shiika didn’t try to salvage their relationship by becoming yuri!!! HAHAHA! Imagine the way to console their broken hearts for falling for the same guy is to fall for each other! What a way to get back at Kakkou for two timing them (even though it is not). Thank goodness I didn’t write the script here.

As for the other characters, not sure if Haji is playing the villain and God at the same time but at this point I don’t care. He is a character written just to helm the antagonist role because the series just needs one to distract us from the Mushi. Humans are the biggest crooks, right? So Haji is like a sneaky and scheming person as he knows a lot of stuffs and has everyone dance in the palm of his hands for his greater plan. It’s hard to say he is a good guy even if his intentions are good (that term used very loosely) because of his evil face. You see those evil eyes and grin? How can you not say that someone is not evil with that kind of look! And Kakkou being his lapdog who can’t go against him, I don’t think I am seeing Haji taking anything of him that is of value as hostage, do I? Am I missing something? Or those Kakkou sympathize with him in some ways? So he gets to live but Rina gets killed? Okay. Whatever. Then this Minmin is like one b*tch whom we’ll love to hate because she’s just a b*tch. So she’s a double agent and the reason why she still goes back to Haji is because… SHE IS IN LOVE WITH HIM???!!! Oh boy. I actually didn’t see that one coming. Yeah, almost laughed my ass off and fell off my chair! I have almost become a fallen! Sorry, lame pun. But come to think of it, now I can understand why she hates Kakkou and wants to pick a fight with him because he is close to Haji. Yeah, this better not turn gay!!!

And one of the most out of place character is Touko because she is so ditzy that she is more WTF than funny. Not sure if everyone hates her because I noticed Kakkou always ignores or hangs up on her when she talks to him. It’s amazing she is still alive in the end. I suppose somebody needs to be the comic relief seeing Shiika and Rina are too serious and they needed somebody unrelated to loosen the tension. Honestly, Touko is not the answer! And speaking of Kasuo and C? What happened to them? After crushing Asami, they are never seen again. Save for that final episode montage. Looking well and kicking. But really, what happened after that? Did they return to HQ with their tails between their legs? In that case Kasuo is just all talk and a bully. She sounded like she could do the job but eventually failed. WTF? And what’s this past she has with Kakkou? Again, not clearly fleshed out but again, at this point I don’t care. Hence it makes Kasuo feel like a side character so that it would lead to the event to drive Rina to some sort of despair over the loss of a friend. Oogui? Oh well, now we know who she is, better be careful… Rina’s Mushibane pals? Where the heck is Centi now? What the fate of Mosquito and Snail now that Rina’s gone? Yeah, forgot not to care anymore.

For the action parts, it feels obligatory and mostly wasted. I thought I would be seeing people with different insects and each having cool different insect powers but there’s just a handful of them. Heck, don’t even know what Mosquito and Snail’s Mushi or their powers are but I can guess from their names. Yeah, they didn’t even f*cking fight. While it looks cool at first, Kakkou using his insect as power source to fire his gun, this is his only arsenal I believe. And what can Rina do by just zipping around on her Nanahoshi? Yeah, you’ll get easily bored with the limited amount of action and moves. That’s why there isn’t so much action sequences unless necessary for the plot. This explains why so much cheesy high school trolling love drama. More so when you think about how people should be fighting against bugs and not using Mushi to fight each other despite they got infected! You people really being played by the Mushi.

Art and animation are pretty standard and you can tell it is of the 2000’s era. This means characters look like other animes of that same era such as Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni, School Days and Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Most scenes are dark and gloomy, perhaps to reflect the nature of this series but because of that, I feel the animation quality takes a setback as it is sometimes too dark to see what’s going on. A bit of CGI was used and mostly for the bugs. Looks weird but does not make it look horrible as compared to some recent animes. While the bugs aren’t fuel nightmare, since I don’t primarily like bugs, of course I’m not very fond of it. Especially those with many legs… Ugh! And one of the weirdest uniforms, why does SECB members wear goggles?! Is this part of the official uniform? Weird. Makes you look badass is one thing… And Mushibane just wearing a simple mask to hide their identity, I mean, does that really cut it? This anime was done by Beat Frog and till today it remains the only anime they have produced.

And now this is the most atrocious part: You know I already said how Mamiko Noto was my motivation to watch this series, right? Well… SHE ONLY GOT 1 F*CKING LINE IN THIS ENTIRE WHOLE SERIES!!! OMFG!!! As Chiharu, that short flashback with Kakkou was the only line she ever said in the entire series!!! IT FEELS SO WASTED!!! I FEEL SO CHEATED!!! GIVE ME MORE MAMIKO NOTO FOR GOD’S SAKES!!! IT’s NOT LIKE YOU KILLED OFF HER CHARACTER, NO???!!! And here I was thinking, ah, now that this character featuring her has popped up, maybe she’ll pop up more in later episodes even as flashbacks. I was actually waiting for this to happen! It never did! Oh my. I feel so sad. My dreams were not fulfilled!!! No wonder when the series ended, I feel so bugged out and this might be the primary reason! So who this Chiharu character you asked? Don’t know. The anime doesn’t care. Of course I did a bit of lazy Google research. She’s the missing sister of Kakkou who was the one who turned him into a Host and in subsequent chapters she became the main character after Kakkou has fallen as a Fallen. But yeah, why do I care about all that if Mamiko Noto is going to voice any more of her lines in a series that never got a sequel, HUH???!!!

The other voice acting that surprised me was Kana Hanazawa as Shiika. At first I did not recognize her until much later. No matter how much I hear her lines, she does not sound like the Kana Hanazawa that I am used to hearing. Perhaps this was one of those moments, the early days when she was fairly new in the voice acting industry and her voice hasn’t ‘matured’ to her current trademark one yet. But for others like Yukari Tamura as Minmin, Marina Inoue as Kasuo and Ai Nonaka as C, thankfully I could recognize them. The other casts are Shintarou Asanuma as Kakkou (Tsuda in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Hitomi Nabatame as Rina (Yukiji in Hayate No Gotoku), Daisuke Hirakawa as Haji (Makoto in School Days), Mitsuki Saiga as Oogui (Phantom in MAR), Yumi Shimura as Asami (Kanaria in Rozen Maiden) and Reiko Takagi as Touko (Kaolla in Love Hina). The opening theme is the same name of this series. A pretty generic rock piece that feels rather okay for me. Nothing that special. The ending theme on the other hand is a slow rock, Sayonara by Hiromi Sato. Brings me back to those good ol’ days of 2000’s animes that I watched like Clannad, Air, Izumo: Takeki Tsurugi No Senki to name a few. Yeah, this song has that kind of nostalgic vibe.

Overall, this series is definitely disappointing. Even more so for me when Mamiko Noto couldn’t even make a decent cameo! WTF???!!! How could this even f*cking happen???!!! The anime adaptation has more unresolved questions than answers so if you really want to watch it, be prepared to be disappointed or get ready to continue with the light novels. Otherwise, everything here is just mediocre and doesn’t make sense. It’ll leave you bugged for days! Just kidding. But who knows? Maybe because those unanswered mysteries will just keep bugging you until you find the inner power to just give up and move forward with your life! Heh. The irony. Especially me living the dream of watching animes that I want despite many of them being crappy and garbage. Good thing this anime didn’t get a sequel because what kind of song will the bugs sing? Well, only hearing the crickets chirping amidst the sound of deafening silence.

Devidol

22 July, 2022

Do you want to know how to become an idol? Sorry folks, Devidol is not here to answer that question. And so I thought it was interesting to see a short anime about 3 devil girls wanting to know what an idol is. And hence they enrol in a school to learn more and become one. So apparently this anime is a sequel spinoff of the commercial anime series, Kochinpa. Did not watch that anime (which had 2 seasons before this one) because well, it was a commercial anime series that promotes and advertises pachinko (couldn’t have guessed it if you read it backwards!). And then from pachinko to an idol, oh well, gotta see how tough the road to being an idol is.

Episode 1
Aira, Hana and Shima are part of a school in the demon realm trying to learn how to do world domination. However the curriculum is so big and vague, the trio are unsure how to go about it and handing their plans for graduation. So they discuss about doing a fake manga and even a fake website just to get by. Devilish but it won’t solve their problem. When they spot Shima’s magazine and browse through it, they are taken by this idol stuff. They think idols brainwash people and hence the trio will become idols to brainwash people for world domination! Rocket becomes their teacher as well as one who will train them to be idols. First lesson as he introduces them to AKB48 (oh what, it has 320 members actually?!) as he talks to them about some revolutionary system that made them famous. One of them is the handshake meet. As the trio are unclear about this, they must figure out what it means. Hence we see them making weird puns of it and missing the whole point of what it actually means. Eventually Aira and Hana thinks it is a shogi game so they sit down and play. Yeah, it becomes an epic battle! WTF they shooting Hadouken too?! In the end, it was a great fight and they shake hands. Yup, that’s it. Shaking hands. Rocket then has them take an idol aptitude test. He shows a couple of pictures and asks what song these idols debuted with. Answers are all snarky remarks… Not that I get it. Yeah, how can they become idols with these?!

Episode 2
Aira and Shima are arguing because the latter spoiled her suspense for a crossword puzzle she was solving. Now that they hate each other’s guts, Aira leaves. Since a grand audition for a new idol will be decided tonight, Shima and Hana have grand dreams of recruiting as many as 50 idols into their group despite they have not done anything as an idol yet. They post recruitment posters around school and the only one who shows up is Aira! Oh heck, the school only has them as students! Aira takes the interview as she makes some impressions (including an impression of Rocket) as well as her reasons of wanting to become an idol. Since she is the only one, she gets recruited by default. Welcome to the team. Just like that, they’re back to getting along with each other. Rocket’s lesson for today is to have them react as their facial impression is important for idols. They are given a mug to react but it seems they are too exaggerative or simple. Hence Rocket has them slide down a high slide. With their true feelings out this way, now they can give their true reactions. Great. And they slide into a big cup with hot water! For the aptitude test, they are to name the idol poses shown. Is it me or does some of them look like sex poses!!! Yeah, how can they become idols with that?!

Episode 3
The trio are talking about the kind of foods they eat. So in order to stave off boredom, hence the flavours are often changed. This leads them to play a charade whereby they pick a card and they have to act out that character. In the first play, Shima seems to be doing a lot of tsukkomi. In the next play, Shima striking her pals’ forehead and making them explode?! Should idols do that?! Can idols even do that?! Idols should not be killing people! Rocket’s lesson today is shock report, basically reacting to an event that will have a strong impact on the audience. So the trio eat and react to the food they are serve. How cute and all until they realize what kind of animal they were served! Yucks! And Hana eating the pizza, so sorry for all the cute creatures living on it! Death by devouring! In the aptitude test, the girls must identify the pose of the mic. Not sure how this will make them good idols but they get most of the (weird) answers correct.

Episode 4
Colours are used to help idols stand out, right? So they discuss what certain colours remind them. Aira thinks of voting Hana as the leader but Shima points out Aira should be the leader since her colour is red. This has Aira feeling good about it and trying to give excuses why she is to be one. To solve this, Hana suggests all of them should be different shades of each other and given weird names to differentiate their tones of red. Since Shima rejects this, they suggest wearing a different colour every day. How to decide? Via darts! Nope. How about all of them wear all colours instead? Looking like clowns! Aha! They should go with the colour they are with now. Clearly they have given up… Today’s lesson has them make a music video. They sing themes about their own colour theme. Because Hana messes up for them (the song is lame anyway), when it is her turn, they also try to mess it up for her but she manages to turn them into something positive. A familiar aptitude test as they are to name the song of the idol group in the picture debuted with. Not sure if the girls are even trying because we all know this won’t help them being idols, right? Yeah, they’re fooling around and giving joke answers instead. Having fun, aren’t we?

Episode 5
The trio talk about different coloured noodles and claim how their colours should take after them. Then the topic diverges into that of wanting to form a rock band. So what instruments to they play? Triangle and castanets? I said, real instruments! Sorry, vuvuzela, whistling and futon beating stick aren’t even instruments! So why not the normal drums, bass or guitar? Well, Aira and Hana claim that they have bad experience using it. I mean, they fear of whacking others with it! For today’s lesson, Rocket wants them to practice cheki hanbai. What’s that? Not sure, it’s their job to figure it out. After making lots of silly puns on it, they think it is doing a cute pose while taking a picture. Of course we see creepy results like ghosts in the background or she not even appearing in it! Lastly, today’s quiz is to state reasons why bands breakup as well as characteristics of a bass player. Well, it seems they got a lot of right answers. Lastly, they are to say a phrase using a screaming death metal rocker voice. Are you sure this helps them become idols?

Episode 6
Because idols always face risk, the only thing to get them protected is… INSURANCE! Oh God, hope this isn’t an ad to sell insurance! Of course to avoid become loser idols, they need to create a good schedule. So we see them come up with one from morning to night that keeps their fans updated on all the things they do in a day. Yeah, their schedule is 26 hours per day… In the end, they didn’t gain any fans. That’s because they were all just talking hypothetically! Today’s lesson has them showcase their pets in order to boost their cuteness. While Hana and Shima show their cute squirrel and cat respectively, WTF Aira has this buffed macho bunny?! For today’s aptitude test, our girls turn on the tables on Rocket as they decide to quiz him this time to make him taste his own medicine. So they give him random flash questions as he has to answer them spontaneously. I think Rocket is purposely answering them in wrongly just to make a joke because some of them are pretty straightforward like Princess Kaguya’s origins. I didn’t know she come from a ski resort! WERE WE LIED TO THAT SHE CAME FROM THE MOON!!!

Episode 7
Shima wonders if her pals have got any dark history. Because it will be troublesome if it becomes a scandal once they are idols. However she only has power enough to erase it 1 time. So you bet Aira and Hana explain their ‘dark history’ when they’re all just petty dumb situations. What about Shima? Does she not have a dark history? She claims she is clean and perfect. Okay. But unknown to us all, she keeps a diary of all the hot guys she has a crush on! Today’s lesson has the girls practice how they would deal when a scandal hits them. Basically an interview apology. Aira goes first as she apologizes for eating the ice cream the wrong way. Pretty standard. Next is Shima. Eating hamburgers without pickles? Damn, she shows no remorse! She doesn’t give a damn! I SUPPORT HER! Finally, Hana. Using magic to find Waldo, huh? She quickly turns it into her own ad and seeks fans to follow her. In the end, Hana gets perfect marks, Aira 10 points and Shima zero points! Boo! The aptitude test has Rocket question only Aira this time about general knowledge. An idol must know everything, you know. However the questions are the same from last episode when Rocket was questioned. Yeah, looks like this is Aira’s version of giving snarky remarks. Anyway she passes. Being an idol this easy, huh?

Episode 8
The girls talk about what happens when strange items suddenly pop up before them. They try to guess what kind of profession used those items and what happened to them. This leads them to talk about certain idol groups covering their entire faces. Of course this gets rebuked by Shima as they’re supposed to be doing more idol-like stuffs and not less. This leads them to talk about cute dresses that includes a dress made up of entirely contact lenses and a certain singer wearing entirely raw meat. I suppose becoming animal mascots won’t cut it either. Aira thinks no matter what they dress, it is the true beauty of their heart that shines as an idol. Cool. Only if they didn’t forge this concept in the first place! Today’s lesson has them doing a news broadcast. Aira is covering a crime scene (somebody just doesn’t want to go to the dentist) while Hana doing weather forecasting and blood type fortunes. There’s a C type?! No wonder Shima has had it with them. Now it is Shima’s turn to do the aptitude test. Same questions as the last. Her own brand of sarcastic answers. Of course she passes. I guess is really concerned if this method can really make them idols.

Episode 9
We’re starting off with today’s lesson already. Rocket has them become a district police chief for the day. First up is Shima. She reads the usual precautions to the citizens and then hands out safety pamphlets to the citizens. Pretty standard. Next is Aira. She does the same but at the end of every sentence, she adds who cares about it anyway. This means she doesn’t even hand out pamphlets and goes straight home. Finally, Hana is so nervous she mispronounces words and hence too anxious to hand out pamphlets. In the end, understandably Aira fails as she wasn’t being serious but WTF Shima also fails for being too serious?! ARE YOU SERIOUS?! Hana passes because she’s being cute! Am I sensing a pattern of biasness towards Hana?! Hana’s turn at the aptitude test of the same questions. Of course she passes too and just like Shima, she really wonders if this can really make her into an idol.

Episode 10
The girls talk about virtual idols and how an ideal one should look like. This means coming up with all sorts of weird designs that of course seems further away to what a virtual idol should be. Shima then wants to redo Aira’s hair. However in the end they cannot show it to us for fear of copyright infringement! Yeah, I think Aira just turned into Hatsune Miku! Today’s lesson has the girls run up a steep slope. Really… Aira goes first but tumbles down halfway. Next is Shima. She uses all her strength to get to the top. Should be a new record, right? Nope. FAIL! Finally Hana, she takes her time running up in a cute way and catches her breath at the top. SHE PASSES! So the less you run the better, huh? Aira wants to redo but this time starts off with some flashback of all the things she did this morning to prepare for this. FAIL! Too long! Today’s aptitude test has them take on the voice acting role. Of course they play their roles perfectly. Duh! Then they adlib Renaissance paintings. Might be out of context and character roles but definitely worth comedy gold! Forget about being idols, become seiyuus instead!

Episode 11
Today’s ultimate test is for them to do a radio hosting show and Rocket will co-host. We hear them talk nonsense in the initial parts and then talking about the memorable parts of the show (a lengthy one from Hana talking about the director singing himself the opening them in one of the episodes!). Then there’s answering fan mails which is basically more of some of the stuffs that happened over the season as well as talking what other characters in this show they would like to be. Rocket wants to be Hana… Creepy…

Episode 12
Our girls are supposed to have a graduation ceremony. Yeah, be worried that they haven’t learnt a thing for the entire time! However Rocket tells them the most important thing that they must do before graduating: Name their group! So they come up with all sorts of silly (and some copyrighted) names. Oh Shima, if you’re so smart, please suggest. Lovely Sugar Heart Angel? Oh Shima, is this the real you? Eventually they agree on Devidol because they are devils who aim to become idols. Duh. Roll credits! Hence for their graduation, they perform a concert before a sell-out crowd. Safe to say, they have graduated so they’re spending their last time together in this classroom. They’ll go their separate ways once they reach Earth. However all of them seem to want to go to Akihabara. Obviously. Now it’s time to get moving as Rocket guides them to the portal. So as they fly through the portal and the end credits rolling, they’re still trying to keep the conversation alive with all sorts of nonsense like another season and everybody ignoring Rocket who wants to sing. It ends with a creepy ass pic of 3 ‘ugly’ babies encircling a tiny Earth. WTF?!

Devil Jokers: Devil Worshipping At Its Cutest…
Okay, so it was fun while it lasted and who knows if they will get another season. Mind you, this series came out in 2018 and since nothing has been said about it ever since, who knows if these girls were actually successful in becoming idols on Earth and brainwashed fans for world domination. My guess is that they failed and instead become otaku addicts trapped in Akihabara! Oh man! It would be great to follow up and see what happened to the trio now. And I bet they would have become a full-fledged otaku citizen of the world’s holiest mecca of anime, manga and games. Yeah, I bet they would, given the kind of characters they are. Well as long as they are happy… But they failed the demon realm in the sense of taking over the world. Oh, who cares, right?!

Of course there isn’t any real plot here and despite the girls are supposed to learn stuffs pertaining to what idols do, well, not to say that what we have seen aren’t unrelated but in fact most of them are what idols these days would do as part of their job. Just that they didn’t do and experience all that in training. So it’s like Rocket sensei giving them an on the job training experience? Each time the girls complain in the end (which is the signature episode ending line) of how these lessons would turn them into an idol, can’t blame them for not knowing as they are devils, remember. Hence it is somewhat valid if they are suspicious if what Rocket teaches them would help them become idols which in turn would help in their brainwashing of humans and world domination. But in the end, they just go along with it and have a lot of fun. That is what matters, right?

With only 15 minutes to spare, each episode is divided into 3 parts. All of course to tickle our funny bones. The first segment usually has the girls talk trash on certain topics. Of course this is to make puns and jokes on the topic at hand. Then to follow up on that theme, hence the supposed lesson by Rocket as he puts them into certain situations that idols would need to deal with or build up certain experience. Finally, the mind boggling quizzes that just feels so out of place because it is either you get it or you don’t. It is mostly the latter for me since my understanding of the otaku culture is very lacking. Yeah… And thus that’s why you hear them come up with obviously wrong answers just for the joke and punch line factor.

From what I read, this anime is supposed to be adlibbed. Something like Himouto House (which actually came out in the same season as this series) and Tesagure! Bukatsumono. However I only noticed that in the aptitude test segment in which it sounds mostly like spontaneous and adlibbed. You can hear the chuckles in the background and the likes so it really feels like this part was adlibbed. However for the other earlier segments, it doesn’t feel so and it feels like they’re reading off a script because the conversation and dialogue seem to really flow very smoothly and seamlessly. Unless you tell me that they are so pro that they could really make an adlib scene sound very natural. That’s very impressive.

As for the characters, nothing much I can say as they exist to make us laugh. But I can see that Shima plays the straight character as she often rebukes Aira and Hana for their dumb and silly thinking. Yup, Shima as my favourite character because she is just funny, serves as the tsukkomi role and she does it to perfection while Aira and Hana are the bokke girls but Hana being a bit more of a ditzy retard compared to Aira. Sometimes I think that these girls have more talent and what it takes to be stand-up comedians rather than idols. Do you not think so? With Shima playing the straight (wo)man so often and never failing to do so in every episode, I bet they can make better living and more effective brainwashing than as idols. Yeah, idols are getting too common in Japan and the competition is too tough. But stand-up comedians? Comedy gold is hard to find and looks like they are naturally talented for it! Imagine their jokes so effective as brainwashing tool that people have withdrawal symptoms when they don’t get to hear their daily joke! Just kidding! Since I’m not, it shows they still have a long way to go being stand-up comedians. Yeah, the world is safe as long as these devil ladies continue as they are.

As for Rocket, it feels like his is more of a host than a teacher since he too has his own comments and comeback lines when the girls make their funny or sarcastic remarks. The synopsis say he is sometimes strict character but I just don’t see that throughout the series. Sure, he does sometimes tell the girls to get serious but it feels more like a mild advice. I remember he makes a few threats too but that feels more like jokes so it was hard to take him seriously and think so. After all, the trio are having such a blast, why ruin it all with whatever punishment, right? I mean, you don’t see Rocket holding a, uhm, rocket launcher threatening to blast them if they fail to live up to expectations, right? In fact, he’s such a cool guy and passes most of them. Save for Hana. Now we know why the biasness of some tasks he gives 100% to Hana…

Now we have to talk about the animation. 100% 3D CGI effect! And yes, they suck as hell. While I will not say that it is the worse CGI animation ever (Ex-Arm, may I suggest?), it is still paltry in many ways. I’m sure they could have done better than this. Sure, this is supposed to be a commercial anime but how the heck can you have bad 3D graphics to go with it? Oh, so make the girls look cute even though their animations are stiff and weird, then everything will be okay? Yeah. I think that’s it. Also, everything here is so brightly coloured that sometimes I think you may get epilepsy in watching all those bright colours spammed in your face. Uh huh. Makes you wonder if this is really the demon realm as the colours are really, really, really, really, really, really bright and vivid.

There are some 2D drawings too and that is mainly when the girls start imagining stuffs. However these drawings are just still sketches. Tolerable compared to the 3D animation. Oh well, we forgive them because they look cute, no? In the penultimate episode, they try to get a little bit creative as they use live action cardboard cut outs. Yeah, there’s a remark someone stating they got tired of animating? During the lesson segment, the girls are before a stage where Rocket talks to them. The animation here looks like it used surreal pictures and sometimes it looks creepy the longer you stare at them. Sometimes reminding me of the Madoka series’ witches… Lastly, is it me or does Rocket’s character design looks like Hatsune Miku being flattened?! Yeah, this guy gets no animation whatsoever anyway.

For the voice acting, it feels at home hearing Kana Hanazawa as Hana and Yuka Iguchi as Shima. They are the primarily reasons why I decided to take a look at this series in which was otherwise easily passed (and yes, it was not subbed until recently too, the reason I took this ‘long’ to watch). I believe Yuka Iguchi takes the cake because of how she plays her rebuking role to perfection. Especially when she has to get loud and possibly at the top of her voice just to censure her dummy pals. Good job. As for Aira, she is voiced by Suzuko Mimori (Kanae in Teekyuu) but I am not sure why they replaced her original seiyuu, Pile who voiced that character in the Kochinpa series. Not like she resigned or anything, right? Not that I care anyway… Rocket is voiced by Ryou Fukawa.

The opening theme is Devil Idol by our Devidol trio. While it sounds like a typical anime idol pop song (mix with rock and Broadway style in some parts), it is the lyrics that probably takes the cake. Because when you have lyrics like blatantly calling us fans as sheep for being obviously exploited, buying this song will allow you to vote, I’m sure that with these cuties singing on stage, fans don’t mind to be brainwashed by them! Now give them all your money! But there is one version whereby the director sings himself solo! OMG! It is so hideous but yet so hilarious! So out of tune! Is he even trying???!!! COME ON!!! One of those moments when cringe and laughter both hurt my stomach so bad! Makes you appreciate why cute idols are the only ones suitable for this job, no?! Come to think of it, I would sound exactly (or worse) than him if I sang this myself!!! The ending theme, is Idol Nante Naranai by Suzuko Mimori. Typical generic anime pop with lots of sound effects. Because of the beat, I guess there is one version whereby they animated it as slapping Rocket’s butt! Like one of those rhythm games!

Overall, this is one of those animes you watch to pass the time and for a few small time chuckles. Even more so if you are fans a certain seiyuus, this brings a whole lot of joy. The CGI animation may be bad but the voice acting and the jokes make up for it. Though, some of the jokes I don’t really get it. The series is charming in its own way but it won’t be that kind of brainwashing propaganda that will take the world by storm ever. As long as you’re a decent idol group and got a legion of fans, technically there’s your brainwashing job done for you. Otherwise this anime doesn’t teach on how to become an idol but how to have fun with satirical remarks and laugh. Learnt something today? Oh, who cares, right?!

Orient

17 July, 2022

Remember a bunch of young people wielding special weapons hunting down terrifying and powerful demons that terrify the land and fellow humans? Well, can’t blame you if the first thing that comes to your mind is Kimetsu No Yaiba. Certainly, there is another anime that shares this somewhat general premise: Orient. Only difference is that humans have been brainwashed to think such demons are their saviours and thus worshipped like gods while the human samurais are the evil villains. Hence humans now worship the demons and the samurais are casted as rebels. Of course when a group of young lads realize the truth behind this, they embark on an adventure of their own and restore the reputation of samurais across the land.

Episode 1
As narrated, demons known as Kishin invaded the human land of Hinomoto. A group of samurais known as Bushi stood up against their rule. But 150 years later, the humans are worshipping the oni and the Bushi outlawed as villains. Musashi is one of the many students in a training school to become a miner. Unlike others, he believes the education of worshipping the demons as their saviour is BS. Long ago, his childhood friend’s father told them the truth about this because he was a Bushi. Musashi was inspired and vowed to become one. Now Musashi visits that friend of his, Kojirou and thinks now it is the time to leave town and form their own Bushi. However Kojirou is reluctant and claims his late dad told that lie just to make them feel better. He even calls out to Musashi if he is serious of being a Bushi. Because every day at mining school, he has been chanting the pledge to become a miner. Even if he was acting, does that not also show he wasn’t really serious? With Musashi leaving mad, this is of course Kojirou’s ploy to allow his friend to live a normal life. As Kojirou is a Bushi descendant, he is subjected to abuse and discrimination and must carry around a samurai sword as identification. As all the people see off the miners to their utopia, once they enter the holy land, they realize it was all lies. Miners are slaves mining rocks for the oni to eat till they die. Or they just get eaten alive! This is your dream, right? Of course Musashi expects this and is going to start his demon hunting. Only, he left his giant pickaxe outside! Still, he doesn’t give up and fights. Though, it looks like a losing battle. Meanwhile Kojirou stumbles into Musashi’s notes and realizes he was really serious in being a Bushi. So before Musashi gets eaten, Kojirou rides his bike into the mining area. Woah! Futuristic bike?! And how the f*ck did he get in here?! Don’t tell me the bike can fly! Anyway, he hands Musashi his pickaxe and couldn’t believe Musashi’s notes that contain samurai techniques. Now you believe his seriousness to become a Bushi? Both friends slash the oni horde as Musashi reveals he wants Kojirou to join him not because he is scared of being alone but he wants somebody to celebrate his victory with. Basically, friendship thingy, eh? Time to shake things up because the big boss Kishin is here.

Episode 2
While Musashi is excited their dreams will come true, Kojirou doesn’t feel the same way. Cool. But he’s over it. When they stumble into the Kishin, they find it small and weird. Musashi cuts it in half but it soon regenerates. When it eats more metals, it soon transforms into its true ferocious form, Engoku Tengu. The Kishin is adamant to take Kojirou’s sword and eat it but Kojirou will not let go. He feels the irony that he always wanted to get rid of this stigma but now can’t find himself to let it go. More words he remembers from father about not losing it because it is the soul of the Bushi. Too bad he gets swung around until he loses grasp of it. The Kishin eats it. Game over? Not yet. Because Musashi comes by the hack open its belly! Don’t laugh at the Kishin trying to smash his own belly to rid of Musashi. Because it’s like slapping yourself to rid of the mosquito… Eventually Musashi cuts it open and dives into the digestive juice to retrieve the sword. I believe you dropped this. Eh, his clothes not even melted? Before they could continue attacking, they here the alarm that a Bushi group is heading here. From the crest, it belongs to Takeda. A flying fortress and samurais on futuristic flying bikes! Now I’ve seen everything! The Bushi swarm the Kishin like flies and the hole Musashi created is now totally healed. Yeah, he thought that would kill it, eh? That captain, Naotora Takeda tells the kids to evacuate since the Kishin is mad and has materialized deadlier weapons. However Musashi refuses to allow others to take their first kill and returns to the fight. Naotora returns to his main group as he has located the core. He notices the kids still fighting. Unlike some members who think of these lowly people as nothing, Naotora dismisses that idea because if they fail to save humans, what are they slaying demons for? So seeing Musashi’s reckless fighting spirit, he takes a liking for this idiot already.

Episode 3
As much as Musashi tries to kill the Kishin, it regenerates. Enough as Naotora pulls him back and tells him off about his naivety. It takes the whole Bushi just to fight a Kishin and he thinks he can take it down himself? Good thing or bad, Musashi remains stubborn and returns fighting it. Luckily for him, Kojirou manages to get info about the Kishin’s core weakness. See that horn protruding from its belly like a sore thumb? Yup. Just cut that off! Musashi does that but fails. Before he gets killed, Naotora saves the day and steals the prize by cutting it off. The Kishin is defeated and you wonder why everyone is posing strangely, it is to absorb the Kishin’s power. Now they can celebrate. While Naotora gives his speech of hope, Musashi has been feeling sore ever since his prize got stolen. He tries to be considerate not to ruin everyone’s fun until he can’t stand it no more. He throws a tantrum as his way of releasing his frustration. Naotora acknowledges his guts and gives him a crystal as consolation prize. Back home as he takes a look at it, it seems it has the official seal of the Aki province. Then looking into it, it’s like some colourful kaleidoscope. Kojirou finds this familiar until he remembers this pattern is drawn in one of the Bushi scrolls. There it is. The pattern might be the oni and this tool is one to help them find it. The scroll further narrates the history of Kishin’s invasion. It also lists all the names of the Kishin including the recently defeated Engoku Tengu. What gets Musashi’s motivation going is the narration of the biggest dream that no one has been able to achieve. Because when the last Kishin is slain, humanity will be reunited and the land unified. This is the 1 true duty of the Bushi no matter how different their goals are. It’s great Musashi is having his dreams to take down every last Kishin now but I hope he keeps it realistic and not get to his head. To take that first step, Musashi and Kojirou leave their village and venture to the outside world.

Episode 4
The duo have been travelling for days and they promise they won’t fight each other. That is, until supplies get low and that’s where they start arguing. Kojirou brags he can fish better than Musashi. Yup, he is reeling in a haul. But later when Musashi feels stupid for this petty quarrel, he returns to see Kojirou injured. He has been attacked by a girl named Tsugumi Hattori. Musashi fights her and despite her tricks, she is actually way weaker. How can Kojirou lose to her? Well, she tries her seduction on him (that’s how) but Musashi is so gay that he didn’t fall for it. She is about to get serious using her weapon but she realizes she is late, steals their bike and rushes back to her lord, Hideo Kosameda who is of course the leader of his Kosameda Bushi. She loves it when he praises her. When the duo finally reach the castle, Tsugumi changes tune and she’s very polite in showing them around. Yup, there’s a whole civilization in this castle since Bushi have to be mobilized to fight the oni. Despite this Bushi thing is like one big family, Tsugumi laments she has none who is blood related. Well, she had her older sister, Tsubame. But she got killed. The duo is then ushered for a great feast by Hideo. Wow. Looks like a nice guy. He then requests their help to join hands to fight stray oni in the area. They can split the Kitetsu after that. However, they don’t know what Kitetsu is. Suddenly Hideo shows his true colours and calls them useless and throws them in prison. Then he forces Tsugumi to mock herself for being stupid and useless. He reminds her because of their constant hunts, they are low on manpower and Kitetsu. He might have to mobilize the entire castle to fight the next wave. This worries Tsugumi because aren’t those the old, women and children? She wants to protest but look at Hideo’s hidoi demonic face! Who’s the real demon here?! She returns to the submissive woman. Later Tsugumi visits the duo in prison and asks if they really don’t know what Kitetsu is. Basically, when an oni is defeated, those sparkly iron sand is Kitetsu. Uh huh. Bushi absorb them to power up to fight the next oni. Musashi notices Tsugumi trying hard to suppress herself. We see her actual thoughts, she is against Hideo mobilizing the entire castle because everyone will get killed. Instead of admitting that, she blames the duo for making her think weird thoughts. Yeah, what should she do?!

Episode 5
Thanks to Kojirou’s fishing skills, he fishes the key hanging across their cell. With the oni nearing, Hideo calls Tsugumi to mobilize everyone to fight. Her worst fear comes true. Remembering Musashi’s words, she then disagrees with him and this causes him to put on the most contorted face of displeasure. Instead of using violence, he threatens to kick her out of his castle and she’ll die alone in the desert. Tsugumi fears that and will obey him. Later she thinks how Tsubame has been subjected to the same punishment. Having thoughts to defy again? Only, the inner demons are now haunting her. That’s when the duo ride their bike in looking for their swords. Contrary to Hideo, Musashi praises Tsugumi as strong and not useless. They see Hideo has mobilized the entire village and wants them to fight. However being farmers they whole lives, they don’t know about fighting. Hideo claims this is their chance to be a Bushi and it will be an honour to defend their land. This is when Tsugumi pops up to argue her thoughts about it. She wants everyone to flee and then call for reinforcements. But Hideo thinks it is a shame for Bushi to run away and the penalty for desertion is death. This talk is a distraction as Musashi and Kojirou knock out the guards to let the people escape. However none are moving. They are still afraid of Hideo. In that case, Tsugumi will fight him to prove him wrong. She takes a beating and the usual verbal abuse about being useless. This time she doesn’t back down and continues to defy him. She then rallies the people to give up their safe zones because if they continue to follow him, they’ll lose everything just for today’s assurance. The time is to fight now! After Tsugumi takes down Hideo, the people begin to escape as the oni stampede is now here. They have gotten to safety but there is not enough time for Tsugumi to escape. Will she die and join her sister? Don’t forget you’re the main character. Biker boys ride in the save her. Everybody so cool, right?

Episode 6
As the town is undergoing rebuilding, a few villagers hope the duo can take Tsugumi away. Of course she refuses. Their reason being this is to let her escape Hideo. Now he has degenerated into a recluse and fixated on Tsugumi. Who knows if she serves him again, he’ll manipulate her once more. With the other villagers vowing to protect Tsugumi, she realizes she can’t burden them and decides to go with them to become stronger. That night, she still has cold feet and doubts about leaving so Musashi talks to her about Kojirou’s dad whom he admires so much. Though, he is gone now. Next day, Tsugumi leaves with the guys as the villagers send her off with an emotional farewell. You think bringing a woman into their group won’t cause a fight. Well, it’s going to start soon. Because Tsugumi is getting flirty with Musashi! Even stripping herself! Oh sh*t! Kojirou watching with envy. Musashi needs to reject her without hurting her feelings. The truth is that he is into older woman! He can’t let Kojirou know about this embarrassing secret! On the other hand, Kojirou thinks himself as a loser. He is not good with any girls due to his Bushi status unlike Musashi who is probably a hit with the girls because he was a miner. Isn’t that why Tsugumi is indifferent to him? Yeah, the problems of guys… In the end, it turns out Tsugumi thinks this is how one makes friends. Being slutty? Hey, can’t blame her for not making any friends outside the castle. Next morning, Musashi catches a demon trying to steal Kojirou’s sword. He chases after it and his scythe cannot even do jack sh*t. This leads him to a field of swords and this weird guy, Shirou Inukai. He lets Musashi borrow one of all these swords that belong to him since the demon is going to devour Kojirou’s sword. The moment Musashi picks up one, he feels some strange power welling up inside. Instantly he cuts it down and feels the Kitetsu absorbing into him. Though, the sword breaks. Shirou thought Musashi is the chosen one but upon closer look, he isn’t sure. His partner, Nanao Inusaka reminds him it is time to go as Musashi learns that all his swords are Kitetsu Blades. When Kojirou and Tsugumi arrive, the mysterious pair disappears. All the swords too. Could he be dreaming? Musashi learns more about Kitetsu Blade from Tsugumi since she is in possession of one. They are the only things that can cut down a Kishin due to their hard skin. In fact, you can actually buy them! And so they’re here at this merchant market where they sell anything from supplies to weapons and even info to the Bushi who needs them and can pay the right price. Time to go shopping. Oh, do they even have money?!

Episode 7
Tsugumi shows them around the market and the main currency is Kitetsu. But being one who needs direction, she wonders which of the duo is the leader. Without a doubt, Musashi says Kojirou because unlike him who has got no surname so he can’t form his own Bushi without it? Is there a rule for that? Then there is the main event of auctioning 25 finest Kitetsu Blades as hosted by Mitsuru Osafune. Unlike your typical auction, all one needs to do is pick up the Kitetsu Blade and undergo a trial. Basically it is the sword seeing if you are fit to wield it. Kojirou passes his easily and learns that there are different coloured auras, each with their own attributes. His is blue, which is fairly common. Now we take a peek at Musashi’s trial. Hmmm… It’s taking some time. Musashi sees his past like his father being executed. Then there’s this hot chick hugging him but soon turns into a monster telling him he is not needed. Musashi then starts to sprout spikes all over his body. But they disappear when the trial ends. He tries again with different swords but all end up with the same result. Mitsuru has no choice but to break it to him that he has been forsaken. His black aura is sign that he cannot wield a Kitetsu Blade. Forever. End of his dream? Soon, a Kishin lends and sends its lesser oni to wreak havoc. Kojirou easily slices through the oni and earns praises from those he saved. This boosts his morale and realizes he can help others with this. Yeah, time for this dude to take the spotlight. Musashi can only watch on Kojirou’s heroics. Yeah, everyone is praising him as the new hero. Feeling regret he can’t join him? When the people want to go ahead and take the Kishin’s head, Musashi wishes them well. Kojirou just leaves, thinking it would be better for Musashi to be left alone for now. Musashi is surprised that Shirou is here. He has seen his sword trial and thinks they’re the same. Because Shirou shows his black aura spikes too!

Episode 8
Shirou is so happy to have found him that he is brought to tears. Actually, what Shirou is after is the person residing inside him. Musashi lights up when Shirou claims there is a way to become stronger. However Shirou reveals that method is to become a Kitetsu Blade. Of course that won’t do for Musashi since he won’t be able to fight alongside his friends. Shirou then has an idea, he’ll turn his friends into materials for his sword then. He then tosses Musashi into the endless pit he just made. Tsugumi is stumped of Kojirou’s treatment towards Musashi. She thinks Musashi has some sort of hidden power since he is one of those rare kinds. Sorry to burst your excitement as Kojirou reveals Musashi comes from a family of normal farmers. Nothing special there. Nanao checks on Shirou and wonders if he finally found what he want. He claims Musashi is the real deal and not the fake because inside him resides the Obsidian Goddess. Musashi uses a Kitetsu Blade to stop his free falling. Continue to do so and he will fall into the lava but holding onto the sword means letting it take over him and lose conscious. He tries to fight it when a voice tells him that won’t die and he must hide for now. Musashi plunges below into the lava although the spikes protect him. That voice is Obsidian who tries to sway Musashi not to fight but stay here. She is forced to draw out his painful past. His parents died from an epidemic and nobody wants to take him in for his parents befriended the Bushi and they think they do not believe in the Kishin. So when a relative reluctantly took him in, they put up lots of conditions. He is not to be seen interacting with them in town, etc. One day, to prove his worth, he is forced to throw a stone at Kojirou’s dad and shout anti-Bushi slogans. He did it and it made Kojirou’s dad sad. Obsidian now accuses Musashi of doing anything just to have a friend. That includes becoming a Bushi. She adds that since he cannot wield a Kitetsu Blade, he is worthless and this means no friends. All this is to break his will to fight so that he can remain here forever with her. He should not concern himself with the ongoing war. Musashi slowly turns into a rock.

Episode 9
By the time the Bushi reach the top, the Kishin has been slain. The culprit turns out to be Shirou. Some Bushi don’t believe him and wants him to show proof so he kills them all! Then he reveals his true intentions to kill all of them so that they can be materials for his Kitetsu Blade. After identifying Kojirou, you bet Shirou is going to target him. Meanwhile, Musashi has fully turned into a black rock. However Obsidian thought that this would make him safe but unfortunately he is found and pulled out. Musashi starts breaking out from his rock and this makes Nanao horrified. She thought he is dead to retrieve Obsidian but looks like she pulled him out too early. Musashi remembers his friends in danger and rushes to them. Flashback shows after Musashi threw the rock at Kojirou’s dad, he was still ostracized. Nowhere to go, he headed to Kojirou’s dad’s place to repent for what he did. Of course he welcomed him and understood the situation he was in. He viewed Musashi the same as Kojirou and they both saved each other. Ever since, Musashi lived under his tutelage and hoped to remain true to the Bushi’s way of life. Shirou is mad that the Bushi is running away. This cowardice will dull the blades he will make. But still, he intends to kill Musashi’s friends. Kojirou realizes he is targeted and turns back to face Shirou. Definitely no match for that crazy guy but before he is killed, Shirou drops dead in his tracks. Why looking so surprised? Because Musashi is back and alive! Shirou being considerate to give the friends time to talk? Musashi says he still hasn’t passed the test but those black spikes don’t pop up now when he grabs a Kitetsu Blade. Shirou takes this as he is neither rejected nor accepted. As Nanao explains what happened, he doesn’t blame her in wanting to finish the job quick. But now it gets more interesting. Musashi is at a moment where Obsidian hasn’t passed judgment on him yet. So by killing him, only then will Obsidian do so. Nanao gets motivated to kill them as she turns her Kitetsu Blade into 7 swords. Musashi is also thrilled to fight her because she is human and not an oni. This means he doesn’t have to rely on the powers of a Kitetsu Blade. Of course Musashi is still no match for her. But don’t worry. Kojirou has a plan.

Episode 10
Tsugumi catches Nanao’s blades so that Musashi can slice one of her blades. This is only possible since Nanao’s target is either Kojirou or Musashi. Shirou then jumps in to fight them. Nanao thought he would be teaming up with her but he scoffs her off that they will never be doing that. He views her as weak and will only be in his way. Ouch. Shirou shows what he is capable of as he uses his Kitetsu Blade to carve a portion of the land and turn it upside down. Bushi falling into the sky to their deaths. Musashi and for a lucky few, they are hanging on their Kitetsu Blade stuck onto the ground. Shirou continues to run his mouth how all Bushi are all weak and that’s why they stick together like insects. He decides to kill them all and lets their Kitetsu Blades slip loose. In that moment, time freezes for Musashi. This is the work of Obsidian as she intends to save Musashi to let him escape. His death will be problematic as Shirou is after her and she is only using his body to hide. However this is at the expense of the rest. Musashi rejects this idea because there is no meaning if he alone survives. Because he is weak on his own and has to rely on others. Obsidian changes her perception of him since he values friendship and teamwork. This is how Bushi survives. She will borrow his body and demonstrate how she fights. Obsidian has time flowing again and draws all the Kitetsu Blades to her. This saves all the Bushi from falling. Then she turns the place back to normal. She explains how the black aura can attract or repel attacks. This vortex of magnetism will leave some confuse and render Kitetsu Blades useless. Because taking this form in the outside world drains her power, she must return soon but Musashi will lose all these powers. That is why she will be relying on his friends to help protect him. Shirou wants Obsidian to join him but she rejects him. She will blow him away before returning to her slumber.

Episode 11
Obsidian telling Musashi that he is her vessel since Jisai (Kojirou’s dad) couldn’t finish what they started. Obsidian easily blows away Shirou and Nanao. Musashi then gains control of his body again although his Kitetsu Blade shatters, indicating that it channelled more power than it could contain. Everyone praises Musashi their hero as they also a large hole carved out from the ground and the Kishin is missing. Indeed. Shirou using his technique to escape Obsidian’s blast. Now for some sombre mood as a funeral procession is held for those Bushi who died. Tsugumi has some thoughts about it because even though Tsubame left her these Kitetsu Blades, it is not her replacement. It’s over when somebody dies. Next day, Musashi takes the test again and chooses the first Kitetsu Blade that failed him. With Musashi giving his answer on Tsugumi’s thoughts yesterday, Musashi is still interested to learn more about the Bushi and their way of life. With that, he picks up the Kitetsu Blade and easily passes. Everybody glomping over him for his feat. Of course making Musashi even more special is his red aura which is the rarest. Later Musashi talks to Kojirou and asks if he saw something during his test. Because Obsidian talked about Jisai and it’s like they know each other. Kojirou isn’t sure either and all dad left him are the legendary scrolls and the bike. Speaking of the bike, where did he get it from and did he have some connection with a Bushi outside town? Never thought of that, right? Now we see Nanao talking to Shirou about the man they’re supposed to look for looks like Jisai since he is the one housing Obsidian. However with Musashi hosting her, it could be that Obsidian somehow transferred herself to him. After all, Jisai has been in hiding for 15 years. Shirou is just glad that Musashi doesn’t know a thing about Obsidian. Before everyone departs, Kojirou stocks up on food and supplies. He also bought a very useful map of Hinomoto. Never knew how large it is, eh? Now they know where to go next. To the east!

Episode 12
Our trio are pushing their dead bike through the jungle. And they’re lost. Suddenly they are attacked by a stray plant Kishin. Time for Musashi to show what his new Kitetsu Blade AKA Enma Oodachi can do, eh? Easy pie. After defeating it, they notice a hot chick trapped within it. They free her and she puts on the most beautiful smile in thanking them. Then her old servant comes by to check on the princess. Princess? Yes, she is Michiru, the daughter of Nobumitsu Saruwatari of the Saruwatari Bushi group which is part of the Uesugi Alliance. They are heading to Harima port to meet up with other Bushi in an upcoming battle that will decide the fate of the nation. Giving them a ride in their tank, Musashi notices Michiru being very serious and cold. He tries to strike a conversation with her but the rest keep interjection. Only when he calls her name, she changes and is surprised he remembers it. The tank hits a rocky road and both Michiru and Musashi fall off. Thanks to Michiru’s Kitetsu Blade that becomes an umbrella, they can float down like Mary Poppins. But don’t think it’s going to be a nice view since she points ahead a huge darkness ahead. That is in fact a giant Kishin! In fact that was the first Kishin to appear in Hinomoto over 150 years ago. It devastated the land and split the people into those who want to destroy it and worship it. For the latter, mining towns were created to feed it and now it has grown into this size covering half of Hinomoto. As it is growing, hence Uesugi Alliance has decided to come slay it. They have the nation’s strongest Bushi, you know. Hence defeating the Kishin at Awaji Island will be critical in taking down this Black Kishin. So, Musashi and co not joining Michiru to Harima? The guys ponder if Jisai ever knew about this. The scrolls didn’t say anything. As they check it, Tsugumi tells them that all Bushi groups have this. To know which group, there is a seal. There, Jisai belongs to Uesugi group. Meanwhile we see various Bushi arriving at Harima and registering themselves. Is this some sort of tournament? Kanetatsu Naoe reports to his master about the sighting of Obsidian. Nanao is seen talking to a group of shady people known as Obsidian Eight. Shirou is part of this group. As Yataro Inuta mentions, all of them have the same stone and their goal is to ensure the survival of the Kishin so they can live alongside them. Kojirou plans to head to Uesugi to find out more about Jisai. Ironically he never wanted to know about his father or his origins but now he ever wants to know more. They reach the sea for the first time.

Bore-rient!
Well guys, if that seemed like it hasn’t end yet then be glad to know that a sequel is coming! It isn’t anything surprise seeing the final episode’s announcement and from the direction of where this anime is heading, it wasn’t going to be a surprise either. It was just a matter of time. So might as well hype up the hype when the season ends, right? Good thing we don’t have to wait for over a year (looking at you, final season of a certain Titan series!!!) for it so see you soon at the battle of Awaji.

Honesty, the overall story seems pretty average to me. I have to admit that I wasn’t really that enthusiastic going in watching the episodes of this season. At least, I didn’t have that feeling of eagerness to find out what happens next nor do I have that excitement to can’t wait to catch the next episode. It was all just, well, pretty average. From what I can see, this season is divided into a few mini arcs. The first introduction arc that sets the motion for our young heroes to go on a road trip of their own. The middle arc feels like the need to add a new member to their group and thus some sort of drama to have her at peace with the people she is living with all this while and a reason for her to leave them and joining the boys. Finally, the last arc seeks to tells us the hidden power that lies dormant within Musashi because yeah, as the main character he has to have some sort of special power, right? Also to introduce the supposed villain of the series and of course setting the tone for the next season. Having said all that, that’s why my keenness wasn’t really quite there. Long story short and to sum it up in one word for me: Boring! Not sure if it would be if they replaced Kishin with Titans! Then I’ll call it a big rip-off too!

As for the characters, I guess they’re pretty average to me either. Boy, I must be having such high standards, huh? Musashi being your typical main character and hero. He is young. He is energetic. He has his own sense of justice and never gives up. And when he seemingly does it, it is only temporary and also because it serves as a stepping stone needed for him to level up to the next stage. He has a secret hidden power so you bet he is wanted by unscrupulous parties who are out to get it. He has friends whom he can trust. So what more can I say about him? He’ll eventually triumph in the end, right? To show Musashi isn’t some sort of lone wolf, that is why he has his Kojirou pal with him. The power of friendship always prevails. You can’t talk about all that ideal form of justice if you’re a lone wolf and don’t have somebody to share your spoils, no? For now, Kojirou plays second fiddle so to make up to Musashi’s main character vibe, that’s why he has this bishonen looks and is mostly the brains and rational one of the group. That’s me speculating it but I’m sure I’m very much right on this.

Lastly, completing the group is Tsugumi because it would feel so gay and bromance if the entire journey was just only Musashi and Kojirou. With Tsugumi around, it gives some sort of feminine touch and prevents this show to be an entirely a sausage fest although a big majority of characters and Bushi are male. Heck, I think those Bushi grunts are all males. For now, I don’t see how Tsugumi contributes to the group but it’s unfair for me to say that since she only joined halfway and is a newbie. After all, Musashi and Kojirou’s friendship goes all the way back to when they are kids. For now I’m glad they don’t turn Tsugumi’s character into some b*tch who would get in the way of the guys’ friendship. Imagine how ugly and unsightly it would turn out if they started fighting over a woman who is supposed to be on the same equal footing as them as friends. Yeah, the entire series would lose its meaning. Thankfully, friendship > love. Though, Tsugumi using her feminine charms and flirting to be friends is played only for comedic purpose. Yeah, I’m so glad the trio have dead family members to look up to whenever they need some motivation in life.

I am sure there will be other Bushi groups that our main trio will encounter in the future and bump again. Like Naotora. I bet it won’t be the last of him seeing he too has a bunch of weird followers and it feels wasted that this group isn’t given much prominence. This means I am left to wonder if Musashi’s group will have more recruitments in the future. And if that happens, how will they get their own flying fortress to accommodate the growing group members? Because it looks like Kojirou’s bike is already having full occupancy. Yeah, having 3 people on a bike is illegal! Makes me wonder if the fourth member will be riding like wakeboarding… And I’ll be damned too if they put in a twist of Shirou and Nanao joining Musashi’s groupie! I just can’t imagine this would happen but there’s a small chance it might…

Shirou introduced as the main antagonist feels like for now he is overshadowing the Kishin because he has this crazy looks and has an ulterior motive. The calm tone of his voice says it all. The enemy of mankind that is far worse than the Kishin kind would be of course mankind themselves. For now it is unsure why he wants to get Obsidian but I’m guessing it is for a nefarious reason. I mean, it can’t be a good reason like saving the world, right? Seeing he could easily sacrifice a bunch of Bushi just for his own ends. What does a guy who is already so powerful himself needing something more powerful? Can’t think of a good reason. And for Nanao, sometimes I feel that she is sticking to Shirou only because she has no place to escape and he might perhaps have something valuable on her as hostage. Just my huge speculation but I’ll be damned if something of that sort gets revealed. Seeing the revelation of Obsidian Eight at the end as well as their true goal, they could be the biggest stumbling block and obstacles that the Bushi and our heroes will have to face before they get to the Kishin.

While this series has a fantasy-like setting, one of the weirdest things that I still find it funny are the bikes that this series terms as iron horses (how the f*ck do they name it so when I don’t even see real horses here???!!!). Yup, I still find it so out of place. I mean, we have floating Bushi fortresses and even though there is somewhat magic in this primitive land, just to see samurais riding these bikes… Damn, funny and weird! I still can’t believe it. And with huge crystals sticking out of the back, I bet it isn’t for aerodynamic purposes. Thank goodness it doesn’t run on gas. Does petroleum exist in this anime? Seeing these bikes also makes me wonder who manufactures them. I mean, they just can’t exist like that in nature, right? Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki or Honda? I’m really curious to know. The final episode proves that they don’t exist in bike form but tank form too. As long as those crystals are sticking out like a sore thumb, I bet it will make huge chunks of metal move. So why hasn’t anyone make an airplane yet?! Oh right. We have floating bases, making that redundant.

For the action bits, sad to say that they aren’t that exciting in my books too. Just the obligatory fights because you know, this is shonen genre anime. While this series is still at its beginning and that in a way it is good that Musashi doesn’t start off as an overpowered character, but he just mostly feels weak. And Kojirou didn’t do any jack sh*t with his double samurai swords either. Even with the magic of the Kitetsu Blade, it just doesn’t make the fights any more exciting. So yeah, I’ll be waiting for a time when Musashi’s Kitetsu Blade can turn into a fiery fire breathing dragon and eat up all the enemies! LOL!

As for the art and animation, it also somewhat feels average. There are times when the action bits look a bit stiff and maybe it is because of that I don’t feel the excitement in the battles. Worse, with the bright colouring and hues, sometimes I have this weird tendency to compare the main trio to that of the one in the anime series, Magi. I don’t know, looking at Musashi, Kojirou and Tsugumi feels like looking at Aladdin, Alibaba and Morgiana. And what do you know? Later as I found out, both series were written by the same author! Wow. Didn’t know I would get my answer this way. As for the Kishin, their designs might look scary at first but they aren’t nightmare fuel. Thank goodness. Funnily, initially I thought this anime was Chinese based in the sense that the author was from China seeing that there were a few Chinese-like influence like the generic male peasants’ dressing and the building structure. And even the naming of this anime. Well, all could be just a coincidence as the town Musashi and Kojirou came from, that’s all. This anime is done by A.C.G.T. who did To Aru Kagaku No Accelerator, Kino No Tabi, Freezing and Dies Irae.

For the voice acting, sounds pretty alright to me either and nothing special. Hiro Himono must be getting active lately since the animes I watched has him in it. So as Shirou, he is in between a comedic character and a crazy dangerous one. The others I recognized are Marina Inoue as Mitsuru, Satoshi Hino as Naotora, Natsuki Hanae as Kanetatsu and Tomokazu Sugita as Yataro. I thought Kikuko Inoue was behind Obsidian’s voice but turns out it was Houko Kuwashima (Sango in Inu Yasha). The other casts are Yuuma Uchida as Musashi (Iori in Grand Blue), Souma Saitou as Kojirou (Hermes in DanMachi), Rie Takahashi as Tsugumi (Megumin in KonoSuba), Azumi Waki as Nanao (Special Week in Uma Musume: Pretty Derby), Kiyono Yasuno as Michiru (Charmy in Black Clover), Katsuyuki Konishi as Jisai (Fuegoleon in Black Clover) and Wataru Hatano as Hideo (Gajeel in Fairy Tail). The opening theme is Break Out by Da-ice and the ending theme, Naniiro by Wataru Hatano. The former is pretty okay as a rock based song to get you into the flow and pace of the series. The latter feels a bit out of place as it sounds like your generic happy anime pop. Not the kind of song that I would expect from this genre.

Overall, this season did not really impress and you could say it was a pretty generic and boring journey. It doesn’t really quite cut it. It’s like it was just trying to hit the minimum in the checklist of what a shonen genre anime needs and that’s that. You know, main character levels up as he fights his way through more powerful adversaries and learns more truth about this world while remaining steadfast to his brand of justice. Yeah. That. Thank goodness he isn’t an amnesiac character or one who is overpowered or worse, an isekai! Phew. So not that all bad, huh? Just like many anime series that I have watched throughout the seasons, they started off as having potential but slowly as it inches towards the end, it lost all that spark and magic and became a drab. Unfortunately, this anime also feels like that. Like as though it wasn’t trying to go head to head with shonen genre juggernauts and will remain a tiny little mediocrity of its own, happy enough if you have took notice of it. I don’t know how the next season will fare but I hope it would be better to make up some of the disappointment here. Maybe. Maybe not. Only time will tell. It’s hard to have that kind of enthusiasm Musashi and Kojirou put on as they begin their next road trip, when you have something this mediocre and average. Makes me feel like wanting to go back to the safe space and continuing to worship the Kishin! Better be safe than disappointed!

Finally it’s here, Princess Connect! Re:Dive S2. Can’t lose out to a bunch of horse girls who have already gotten their sequel so I guess this is the next Cygames franchise to get its very much due second season. More foods to be discovered and enjoyed by our Gourmet Guild, right? More importantly, the revelation of the truth behind this world. So if you’re not full from the first season, hopefully this second season would be the main course and dessert that will satisfy that craving.

Episode 1
Kokkoro was given a map by Karin as thanks for completing a quest. The map might take them to a legendary seasoning known as Sea Drops. So what’s the goal and name of this quartet again? Yup, so shove those complaints aside, Karyl. We’re going on a wild quest! Gourmet Guild make their way to this coral forest. So as they decide to camp and hunt for food, what a better way to use Yuuki as he attracts trouble, right? Yeah. Caught one in the trap! After they feast on this tasty meat, they are surrounded by furball monsters! They’re out for revenge. You mean the meat is from their kind?! Karyl losing her appetite as she soon gets paralyzed. And it’s not because she is in shock, I mean, she and soon the others get paralyzed because of the poison in the meat! Oh no! Are they going to die in a stupid fashion? Who to save them? Cue this old man to be the hero. His skills scares off the monsters. As they thank him, he also tells them the legend is true while hinting of his own younger days of adventuring with his comrades. They continue the journey as he explains to them this Sea Drops is when minerals seep out of the shell after a turtle lays an egg. When he brings them to the supposed spot, they are attacked by ghosts! They think the old man tricked them but Kokkoro soon notices these ghosts resemble his old comrades. With Yuuki’s help, she purifies them. The old man also turns out to be a ghost. He laments the poison of the coral forest turned them into monsters and he couldn’t just leave them behind. He laments his adventure couldn’t be concluded but adventuring with them was the best treasure. Pecorine then invites them to come adventure with them. They’ve gotten this far so better see it till the end. Now they’ve reached the land where the turtle is ready to lay an egg. They wait… And wait… And wait… Uhm… No egg coming out. Upon closer inspection, the turtle is male! ARGH! Great adventure then. Yeah, old man and his comrades ascend to heaven as fast as they could. Gourmet Guild return home and even though empty handed, they won’t be empty in the stomach as they cook a great meal to eat together. This is what adventuring is about, right?

Episode 2
Karyl reports to the queen. However it seems the queen knows she is not reporting on something. This makes Karyl tremble in fear because this means she has been watching the fight and Karyl was the one who interfered with her plans. However the queen forgives her as she is her only blood relation in this world. Pecorine and Kokkoro see Yuuki dressed as a girl?! Actually he somehow became a model for Tsumugi who is a member of the idol guild, Carmina. She is trying to make costumes for their next idol concert. Care to join in? Thought so. Then Karyl comes in. Next victim… After that, Gourmet Guild decides to help Carmina with their concert. While Yuuki washes himself outside, he is approached by tough punks who claim to be fans of Carmina. Yeah, don’t get chummy with their idols-cum-saviours! Damn Yuuki a natural as a retard! Until they hear Carmina practising their singing and Yuuki noting how their songs will make everyone smile. Now Yuuki is their best friend! When Karyl goes to see the queen, it seems Christina is here. She surmises that the only reason she is summoning them is to do a shady job. Hence Karyl has to break the bad news to her pals that she won’t be joining them at the concert. Lost and confused, I guess she went over to Tsumugi to get some advice. While Carmina sings on stage, Shadows start popping up nearby. This is where Karyl and Christina come in to take them out. Christina deduces these stray Shadows are supposed to collect human souls but escaped the queen’s control and became monsters that exist to only kill humans. In such case, they have become a threat. Now she understands why they are the only ones capable of doing this job. In the end, every last Shadow is disposed and the concertgoers don’t even know the danger. Yeah, had a great time enjoying Carmina’s music. As Karyl trudges back tired, even more confused on what she is doing, she hears her pals calling and looking for her. So now have you found your reason? That’s right. She goes back home to them.

Episode 3
Oh, look who Yuuki and Kokkoro stumble into while doing errands? Remember Aoi? Looks like she has transferred to an all-girls school here and she needs their help! Yup, still fail to make any friends. She brings them to a library where they find a girl, Yuni Shingyouji buried under some books. She gonna lie here till she dies? Apparently she was searching for books when it all fell on her. Since her back gave way, she spent the night lying around. Once she gets better, she reveals she is doing a research on the lies that lurks in this world. She believes there is a great deception that exists in this world. However due to her lapse in memories, she cannot remember much. She introduces her to her other friends, Chieru Kazama and Hanako Kuroe as they also seek their help to solve the case of something creepy in the forest behind the school that some students use as their path home. With Pecorine and Karyl joining in, they venture into the forest. Don’t worry about getting lost. Yuni’s talking stone serves as a compass! Things start to get creepy with the thick fog and they keep circling back to the same grave despite walking in a straight line. All hell breaks loose when the stone talks in a ghostly manner! Helter-skelter! Who those creepy giant shadows?! Then they realize Aoi is missing so they split up to find her. But soon, one by one they go missing. Karyl then got her neck snapped by Aoi?! Actually, Aoi is behind all this. Those giant shadows are actually her friends she made from wood. So she knocked out her pals to avoid them from finding out. Too bad Yuni, Yuuki and Pecorine see this. Before Aoi can explain herself, a skeleton pops up behind and scares the daylights out of Yuni. Thriller Night begins! Suddenly the whole forest turns into a burning decimated city. Realizing the skeleton wants to tell them something, they now see through its memories. Hmm… Happy elf kingdom, destroyed by bandits, king gets mad, turns into demon and ravages everything in revenge. Pecorine hugs the skeleton and assures those feelings are delivered. Everything returns to normal. In the aftermath, Yuni remembers she threw her original research notebook in the incinerator. Then there are no info regarding that country’s existence so she deduces what they saw were events of a plane existing outside their world. The academic society rubbished her research and thus she devoted herself to archaeology. But she feels good from all of this because she gets to learn. Yuni admits she isn’t a hero or a great person and that’s why she won’t expose the dark secret of this world that she might forget someday. She’ll just happily learn alone all by herself.

Episode 4
Yuuki along with Pecorine and Labyrista are part of the Seven Crowns taking on the queen. However she engulfs them with her ungodly power. Yuuki wakes up from this dream. I take it. Past life memories? Now we see Gourmet Guild running for their lives because this giant monster wants to eat them! Whose fault is it for not doing research before embarking on this quest?! Déjà vu for Yuuki as he gets kidnapped by a giant bird after being flung away by the monster. Thankfully, he is saved by a guild named Caon (Makoto Aki, Kasumi Kirihara, Maho Himemiyaand Kaori Kyan) and they in turn save the cornered Gourmet Guild ladies before they become monster chowder. They bond over dinner as we learn Caon is a vigilante team that protects the beastfolk on this island. However there are too many sightings of Shadows recently and they’re here to investigate it. Of course Gourmet Guild will help out and soon enough they stumble into a horde of Shadows. They manage to defeat them but to their surprise, they find one taking Kasumi’s form. Wow. A splitting image. Calling her Kiiri, she might look the same but her speech is slow. She is reacting to Yuuki so Kasumi thinks his light power during the battle had some effect. When Yuuki accidentally uses it again, now Kiiri takes a liking for Kasumi. The rest then follow a group of Shadows making their way to a giant golem. It is trying to resist being taken over by the Shadows. As they discuss with the rest, Metamorregnant shows up because she needs their help. Apparently she knows Yuuki but realizing he lost his memories, she doesn’t bother. Anyway, her real body is trapped inside the golem and the Shadows are after her core. She needs their help to save her. But too late. Looks like she senses the Shadows devouring the golem. She warns this island will be next and to get everyone to evacuate. Since that is an impossible task, what will they do? Yup. Fight it! Not only they have to be wary of Shadows, but also the giant golem swings. Eventually they manage to break in to try and free Metamorregnant but it’s not going to be easy with all the resistance. Pecorine will not give up and repeatedly use her Princess Strike to break through. Right before the final breakthrough, she suddenly disappears to the queen’s castle.

Episode 5
The queen wants to assess Pecorine and see how much she has grown. She claims everything about Pecorine belongs to her and she wants to take it all back. She then proceeds to mention of all the people she met and bonds made. She’s going to forget all of them again. This makes Pecorine in despair and the queen loves that look. She lets the Shadows engulf her. Yuuki saves Kiiri before the Shadows take her. At that moment, Yuuki is whisked back to Ameth who reveals to him about Shadows. They’re virus that aren’t native and are supposed to be destroyed. However somebody is using them instead. With Yuuki back, she tells Kasumi and Kokkoro about it. They experiment and find the golem and Shadows indeed are trying to follow Kiiri. Part of their next plan is to lure this horde into the lake and then escape. But as they are about to do that, a strange light zaps Kiiri unconscious. She starts disintegrating. This causes trauma to Yuuki and flashbacks reveal he got fatally wounded while protecting his comrades. Yuuki goes to great lengths and straining himself to try to save Kiiri but everything becomes futile as Labyrista somewhat shuts down all that. She explains about Shadows even if they take a human form, it is hollow. But this world has rules that won’t allow another same human existing and hence Kiiri’s death. Flashback continues to when Yuuki was fatally wounded. Labyrista and Ameth gave him 2 options: Get healed and return to fight a losing battle (in which his comrades still die anyway) so as to protect his bonds. Or start anew. He might lose everything then but as long as he remains himself, he will rediscover those bonds again. And so Yuuki chose and is sent back down. Now he returns to fight the golem and the Shadows as Labyrista pins her hopes on his courage. Similarly, Pecorine breaks free of the Shadows. She still disagrees with all this but wants to sit down and eat with her to understand her better. The queen rejects this and will take everything once she ripens. She throws Pecorine back to the battlefield. Golem punch vs Princess Strike, who will win? Well, we all know. Because Pecorine has got friends cheering for her! A huge crater in the aftermath as the friends are relieved to find her alive. Yeah, even tsundere Karyl too. Welcome back. Metamorregnant’s core might be freed but she finds it troublesome because it is in the hands of the queen now.

Episode 6
Monika Weisswind is from the Weissflugel Landosol branch. The guild is meant to be her spy but she didn’t realize her teammates, Kuuka Tomi, Yuki Nijimura and Ninon Joubert are useless! Yeah, they accidentally blow up a bridge and now in debt, they have to fix it up! Or it’s the slammer! Meanwhile Yuuki stumbles into a cabaret guy who is looking for his worker who ran away. He warns if he finds her, please don’t let her go down the wrong path. Turns out that girls is Kuuka and she is reading her porn mags?! Yuuki burns them all! That night, a mysterious knight attacks Yuuki and Kokkoro but luckily Saber, uhm no, Rider, uhm no, Jun saves them. The knight disappears but leaves behind some green goo. Because rumours go around that the knight might be Jun, this makes Tomo and Matsuri suspicious although they continue to believe in their captain. Monika admonishes her useless buddies since they’re all not working. Then she heard how punks are really going to teach them a lesson if the bridge doesn’t get fixed. Better get your asses moving. But what’s this? Ninon hands some monkey toy as bribe? It starts to move by itself and this attracts a crowd. They love it and want to buy it! I’ll pay more! No, I pay higher! Monika now has an idea as she goes in search of the green goo that is believed to animate things. Yes, they find the source but soon a huge deluge of goo floods the place. As Tomo and Matsuri face off with the knight, to their relief, Jun comes to help them, allaying rumours that she is the one behind the armour. As they use their combo to defeat it, it revives thanks to the goo. Now that goo source floods town. With Weissflugel seen trapped in it, the people all pitch in to help them. Once pulled out, Pecorine finishes the job with her Princess Strike. Well, the vicinity is destroyed. Looks like more repair work for Monika. That night, she sends a report to HQ how her investigations are hindered thanks to financial problems and age related harassments. But she is pleased to learn that the people love this place and will need more time to learn about this nation.

Episode 7
Chika of Carmina is seen running away from something. However she soon loses memories of herself. Meanwhile Gourmet Guild saves Ayane and Kurumi from some bees. Karyl not impressed with Ayane’s ventriloquism of Pukichi, her bear wand. Anyway, the lolis are from Saren’s orphanage and they thought of making honey lemonade to help her since she just opened a new store. Back in Landosol, they stumble into Chika and they are shocked that she has no memories of herself. While letting her rest at Master’s place, suddenly Kurumi starts to smack Charlie for not leaving his wife for her?! WTF?! Chika then wakes up and starts to eat everything! After the chaos settles down, Ayane talks to Chika and know Pukichi is inhabiting her since she saved her during the chaos when everything was being tossed. Indeed this is Pukichi in her so the bear reverts back to Chika to let her explain better. Apparently this is the work of Foggy who is the spirit of memories. Foggy can make you forget your own memories while implanting new ones and loves seeing everyone struggle. The only way is to find its seal in the forest. While the rest stay back to keep the possessed ones at bay (WTF, Master is now a baby?!), Pecorine and Karyl travel to the forest to go get it. Time for some Pecorine x Karyl bonding. Pukichi then goes berserk, revealing that Foggy has been inhabiting this bear all along. Thankfully, Pecorine and Karyl come back in time. Yuuki protects Pecorine from a blast and he finds himself in what is believed is his past memories. He and his group of girls are going to Sol Tower to make their dreams come true. This leaves Yuuki somewhat sad. Chika manages to seal Foggy with her idol power. Things return to normal but Yuuki continues to look sad.

Episode 8
As Kokkoro goes to post a letter, robbers rob the place and not only had they taken the money but the letters as well! This makes Misaki Tamaizumi and Suzuna Minami panic because they just mailed their letter of recommendation. Kokkoro has placed markers so they can trace where the robbers go. She learns the duo are from Lucent Academy and their school is on the verge of being shut down because of their low scores! So low that Landosol thinks the school is useless and not fit to run! Despite their teacher, Io Hasekura not giving up on them, their scores continue to keep getting worse. Hence the letters are for them to transfer to other schools so Lucent won’t be shut down. As they arrive at the hideout, Misaki thinks of using her sexy charms to seduce the men. Either they are gay or she’s not having enough pheromones she thinks she has. Yup, she got captured. Meanwhile Yuuki looks down so Labyrista talks to him and finds out about him remembering having comrades whom he failed to save. She thinks it is all not lost since he is alive and has comrades now. Pecorine on the other hand wakes up from a dream of fearing if others find out if she is Eustiana, they will disappear from her life. Kokkoro using some smoke as distraction to sneak in and save Misaki and take back the stolen letters. They escape but the robbers are hot on their heels. Thankfully, Io has arrived with knight reinforcements to take those bandits in custody. Why would Io go so far for them? Simple. They are her precious students. So when the duo have got the chance to mail their letters again, this time they rip it apart. Sensei didn’t give up on them so neither should they. Yeah. That’s the spirit. But they’re already reciting wrong multiplication table! Oh boy… I can see why. Pecorine is harvesting rice and even if Yuuki and Karyl help, this is going to take a long time. Don’t worry. Kokkoro has returned with friends to help. That’s why she mailed those letters. Yeah, can you name all the characters Gourmet Guild has met here! I certainly can’t!!! They have loads of fun harvesting and partying. Pecorine is so touched that she is in tears. Woah. Rice gonna taste even saltier. Yeah, the flavour of happiness. Best flavour and seasoning. So infectious, Kokkoro is doing the same. With Pecorine assured, she is going to tell her pals her true identity.

Episode 9
Easier said than done. Pecorine hugs Karyl instead and this makes the latter feel weird all over. Karyl goes to see the queen and has brought her some rich lunch. She obliges and this makes Karyl a happy girl. Jun investigates an unknown part of the castle. She never realized it until Christina told her about Landosol being a human nation but ruled by a beast. When she stumbles into a room with an encased Metamorregnant, looks like she will now find out the true identity of the queen who has her surrounded with her Shadows. Gourmet Guild goes to attend a festival happening all over Landosol. Kokkoro giving Pecorine some time with Karyl as she goes to accompany Yuuki. Will Pecorine get her courage? But as she sees Karyl’s happy face and her wish for this to last forever, looks like she’s going to hesitate. Meanwhile Labyrista confronts the queen whose real name is revealed to be Mana Senri and the one known as Omniscient Kaiser. She feels responsible for the situation they are in by Kaiser points out that it is because she couldn’t defeat her, that is why they are in this situation. They fight as Kaiser wants Labyrista’s powers to create anything freely. She uses Metamorregnant to overpower her. Labyrista notes that too. But what about her own power, Hadou Tensei? She thinks she cannot use it because like Yuuki, has been through Re:Dive many times. Kaiser is shocked to realize her magic is waning and she can’t call forth her Shadows. Shizuru and Rino are holding them at bay outside their battlefield. Labyrista continues explaining Hadou Tensei allowed her to predict the future but something unexpected happened and she fell into deep sleep. Now that it is broken, that’s why she gathered Shadows as a temporary source of power. The moment Labyrista is about to strike Kaiser, she teleports Karyl as a shield. Labyrista stops in time but Kaiser’s clone stabs her from behind! Karyl is in distraught as she watches Labyrista fall. Labyrista regrets putting Yuuki’s friends through such pain.

Episode 10
Miyako and Shinobu barely escaped being captured by Kaiser as Illya helped them escape before getting captured. They seek refuge at Gourmet Guild’s base as they told what happened. Seems the soul of Illya and Miyako are special and that’s why they’re targeted. However the more depressing news is that it is now no longer a secret that Karyl is working for Kaiser. Suddenly pillars rise over Landosol and a huge wall locks everyone in. Kaiser makes an announcement that everyone will be freed from this world by becoming sacrifices to her. She then has Karyl play the executioner as she releases Shadows upon the land. As panic sets upon Landosol, of course we see our heroes and other characters fight back. Yuni and Kasumi are explaining to their pals their findings of their investigations. They believe everyone’s memories in this world has been tampered and that the one sitting on the throne and claiming herself as Eustiana is fake. This means the real one is somewhere among them. As some citizens are demanding answers from Kaiser, they should know better because she sends Karyl to kill them all! Luckily Pecorine is here to protect them. She tries to get to Kaiser but Karyl is protecting her tightly. The others are holding their ground well. But oh Yuuki, he picked a nice time to collapse, huh? Tactical retreat! Pecorine has no choice but to face and fight Karyl first. After pinning her down, she asks about the times spent at Gourmet Guild. Were those lies? Please tell me your true feelings. Is blasting her away the answer you looking for? Soon, Yuni hijacking the broadcast to tell everyone this beast Eustiana is fake and the real one is somewhere. What good does that do because Kaiser orders Karyl to kill everybody! But Karyl taking pot shots and missing? Because now we see her pleading to Kaiser she doesn’t want to do this. She doesn’t want to hurt anybody. However Kaiser doesn’t care. She’s just a puppet. Hence Kaiser continues to use her strings to force Karyl to cast her attack magic. With her mask coming off and seeing Karyl in tears as well as her plea for somebody to stop her, you bet it is Pecorine’s cue to step in. Yup, assure Karyl that she is going to save her. Pecorine then makes it official to everyone that she is Eustiana and that she will reclaim her kingdom and protect everyone. No prizes to guess whom the citizens choose to rally behind and support with.

Episode 11
Pecorine can’t jump in and fight the final boss yet. Kaiser sends Jun to fight on her behalf and forces Karyl to watch until she can’t and faints. Despite Pecorine taking some damage, she will not give up on rescuing Karyl. Meanwhile Metamorregnant and some Twilight Caravan members storm beneath the castle to get her real body back. Standing in their away is of course Christina. She won’t budge and is itching to fight. Especially with crazy Eriko too having the same sentiments. Elsewhere, Kokkoro’s group is still running from Shadows. A giant pops up and crumbles the bridge they’re running on. It is then Kokkoro gets linked with Ameth who entrusts her with some key since she can’t interact with the world. She warns Kokkoro about Yuuki using his powers too much. Because it is unstable, he may lose control any time. That’s why she wants Kokkoro to keep watch on Yuuki and check on his unstable power. This is what the key is for. When Kokkoro returns, Yuuki has awakened and trying to carry Ikacchi out from the Shadow’s harm. Thanks to Little Lyrical’s quick thinking of summoning a giant bird to flatten that Shadow, now all can breathe easy. The remaining Twilight Caravan members show up just as Christina has owned the rest. But as valiant they are when they mount a counterstrike, Christina still cannot be defeated thanks to her absolute defence and offence abilities. Metamorregnant recognizes that strong power and if they teamed up, they could bend the world to their will. But Christina isn’t interested in that and is trying to find the excitement that stimulates her. But this talk is just distraction as Eriko has destroyed the chambers containing the bodies of other residents. But before she can free the rest, dark Kaiser awakens. Pecorine and Jun power up all they’ve got for their final strike. Pecorine emerges victorious and commends Jun’s great power that could have helped protect Landosol. Kaiser is not happy with this results and goes crazy as she is about to destroy them. Jun this time protects Pecorine and hopes to serve the real princess. Together they send Kaiser to her defeat. Karyl retrieved. Mission success. They see Kaiser’s true form as a Shadow. She is terrified of death but soon succumbs to her fate. Unfortunately the final ultimate true boss shows herself. Dark Kaiser? She has been in slumber all this while and to show the enormous power she has, easily flicks Jun away. She is going to make Pecorine and Karyl her sacrifice but it’s time for the true hero to enter: Yuuki!

Episode 12
Pecorine remembers the many teachings her parents taught her. But the most important one is to remain cheerful. Because if she lost that, she wouldn’t be herself anymore. Pecorine goes head to head with Kaiser with the rest of Gourmet Guild supporting her. Don’t forget the voices of the people too. Kaiser turns the tables by summoning Labyrista and Metamorregnant to her aid. Karyl steps up her game to help. It’s time to return the favour for those who believed in her despite all the lies and mistakes she did. Kaiser laments that no matter how many times this repeats, Karyl will always betray her in the end. Karyl believes it is different this time. She still invites Kaiser to eat with them. I guess that isn’t convincing enough as Kaiser chains Pecorine. What’s this about wanting Minerva to grant her world? Sorry, not going to happen now that Yuuki has joined the offensive. However this is some sneaky cheat code by Ameth so that Yuuki can use his power to set the avatars of Labyrista and Metamorregnant free. The moment they are free from Kaiser’s control, they turn on her. Labyrista trying to tell her how bonds formed managed to drive her back. Too bad Kaiser takes it the wrong way. She thinks she needs to surpass her limits and thus putting her existence on the line by letting her Shadow devour her. Everyone knows that once this happens, she has lost because her soul will perish with the Shadow. While everyone is making hateful comments how she deserves it, it just makes Karyl sad. But don’t cry. Because Pecorine and co will now go save her! Oh yeah, other guilds helping out too! Can you name them all again round 2?!

Gourmet Guild plunge deep into the giant Shadow as they pave the way for Karyl to go save Kaiser. However during this move, Yuuki gets fatally wounded. Oh dear. Giving that dilemma choice again, huh? Save or reset? Meanwhile Karyl sees Kaiser sitting alone inside the core. Kaiser doesn’t care anymore. She wanted to change this dull world and create a utopia but it resulted in an endless prison. Karyl remains steadfast to save her even as this world crumbles. But she has not the strength to pull her out? How? That’s right. Yuuki again! He’s back! This time he wants to protect these bonds so he lends a hand to save Karyl and Kaiser. Shadow crumbles. But Gourmet Guild pop out with Kaiser. Victory! Pecorine gets emotional as she is reunited with her parents. Kaiser gets arrested and last lecture from Labyrista that people can change and move forward despite making mistakes. Will she learn this time? Only time will tell. Life returns to normal in Landosol as Pecorine makes her way to rejoin Gourmet Guild. I suppose the excuse that from her journey she learnt that she isn’t good enough to rule the kingdom yet and so she wants to join Gourmet Guild again not as Eustiana but as Pecorine. Why can’t she be honest she wants to be with them? So what’s their first mission? Karyl says it is to eat her cooking! Don’t judge a book by its cover! Oh sh*t did Yuuki barfed?!

Never Fall Out With Your Bread & Butter
What a double happy cliche ending, don’t you think? Not only they manage to defeat the antagonist but also save her in the end. But of course, nobody really dies in this series, right? Oh right. Kiiri. But she’s not human to begin with so that’s an exception. Can’t let the baddie take the easy way out via death, huh? Some kind of atonement is needed. So I’m not sure if that is the end of the series itself, now that the real threat is gone, what else is there for this series left to showcase? Maybe they’ll make Kaiser’s punishment to join Gourmet Guild to learn the true meaning of bonds and friendship. And see them in way wackier adventures next time! Yeah. Happening only if another season takes place. Maybe.

This season follows mostly the same format as last seasons. Although the first few episodes feel like standalone fillers because we see Gourmet Guild getting into their own (mis)adventures-cum-shenanigans, this season also releases more bits and pieces about this world. While I feel that isn’t entirely the whole thing, it is most likely just to lead up to the fact whereby Pecorine has to come with terms about her own identity and take it back from the fake ruler. That’s basically how I see this season. Other than that, it still maintains its comedic and dramatic charm among the characters.

Last time I was hoping that the true revelation of this world would be revealed. You know, the one where I said this entire world is just a game and some crazy megalomaniac trapped everybody in it and erased their memories. Yes, that one. I was waiting for that to happen but it didn’t. So I went looking lazily around the internet again and I discovered that plot was most likely set before the events of Re:Dive. The anime (both seasons) are set after that. Hey, I didn’t play the game so I’m not very familiar. However the series did not really address this whole thing as a game in the end. As long as everybody is happy doing what they love in Landosol, it doesn’t matter.

So yeah, Gourmet Guild having a lot more prominence than the other guilds here especially with Pecorine, Yuuki and Karyl being shed more like on their past. This also means that I felt that Kokkoro has been a lot side-lined. Well, perhaps that isn’t the accurate word to describe her role this season but with Pecorine, Yuuki and Karyl being given a lot of the spotlight, it makes Kokkoro’s presence somewhat miniscule compared to the trio. Hence that is why I also felt that short moment with Ameth was to help bring back some sort of relevance to her character. Otherwise Kokkoro isn’t the most prominent Gourmet Guild member this season as far as my memories hold.

Speaking of memories, if there is one thing that I hate most, it is my own failing memory. Yeah, can I blame aging for that? Anyway, last season already introduced tons of guilds and their characters. While this season does introduce some more new ones, the old ones can only make some sort of short cameo and I don’t even remember if some of them even showed up at all. Heck, you bet that I have actually forgotten all their names too! Both characters and the guild! Aside Gourmet Guild, that is. So it was really frustrating for me that I couldn’t really remember that particular character from the first season and even more so if they have nothing that particularly stands out. For instance, I remember that llama girl but can’t remember her name or guild – it’s Rima from Elizabeth Park. As for the rest, who that girl again already? Thank goodness for keeping my old blog for reference, eh?

Thus it was that big dilemma of mine if this series could do a Boku No Hero Academia trademark by having the characters’ name and guild they are part of on screen for every episode. Yeah, I know what you gonna accuse me of. Shouldn’t be watching this show if we can’t remember all the members’ names of Gourmet Guild by this season, right? So I guess for better or worse, that didn’t turn out and so there goes the reinforcement for my memories. Last season’s Twilight Caravan was somewhat my favourite guild because of how crazy their members are but I guess they’re just making the final stretch cameo and not being the lovable quirks I hope they were. Instead, we have Weissflugel as the quirky clowns and even though they are still funny and eccentric in their own right, somehow I feel they lack the oomph Twilight Caravan had last season. The rest of the other newly introduced guilds are just okay and nothing that memorable. I guess I’m not really a fan of this series, huh? Yeah, I think I forgot their names already by the time I write this.

Yuuki’s retard behaviour has been somewhat explained. It makes me wonder if he loses this trait and becomes more competent, will he be the same Yuuki that we have come to love? And if they actually lose again this round and have another hard reset of starting anew again, will Yuuki be even much more a retard than he is now as he starts over again?! I can only ponder that possibility. Because I wouldn’t really want that to happen either. Sure hell I wouldn’t want my progress wiped out so that I can start all over again, right? Hey, I’m not a criminal, right?! With the threat over Landosol, Pecorine decides to stop playing house and take up responsibility to reclaim back her rightful place and name. She’s still young and so are her parents. Uh huh. Leave the ruling to them while she goes play with her friends for a few more years before she is ready to assume the throne. She deserves it after working so hard to get it all back. Otherwise there won’t be any more time or place for her to play as Pecorine if Kaiser gets her way. As for Karyl, she has always been a confused girl all along. Just a tsundere and not a bad person at heart. This season plays out more of Pecorine-Karyl friendship so that we can see the latter truly choose in the end who she actually wants to be with. After all, Yuuki already has Kokkoro. Who else to pair Pecorine with? And I thought Gourmet Guild gonna get a new member to join.

Art and animation remain consistent like last season. So if you’re amazed with the high quality and resolution of the series, be glad to know that all that remains consistent here. And yeah, all the cute girls of all the guilds still looking as kawaii as always. The only ‘ugly’ one is Kaiser especially during the final battle moments. Her face has contorted and twisted to some level of ugliness. Whether she is angry or having some sort of twisted anticipation, it’s like they want us to obviously see the monster in her and thus the animation on her face feels a bit weird.

If there is one thing that I didn’t like this season, is how the sound effects are very loud! I had to switch forth between turning the volume up and down because the conversations and dialogues are too soft to hear on the other hand. It can’t be my hardware because other anime series are just fine. Only this particular one the booming sound effects especially during the exaggerated and flashy battle scenes, not sure if my speaker will explode the way the thunderous sound effects are often played. Sometimes it gives me a jump scare. Especially the opening theme. Oh boy, never have I reached so fast my finger to turn down the volume. Speaking of the opening theme, they used the same song from last season, Lost Princess. Yup, still can’t get it out of my mind how much it sounds like Sakura Taisen’s iconic Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan. Just change the animation, that’s all. But they didn’t use the same ending theme this season. The same trio signs Tabidachi No Kisetsu, a slow and lovely ballad. Can put you to sleep if you’re not careful. It is comparable to KonoSuba’s Chiisana Boukensha but not as ‘loud’ since it doesn’t have those violins.

Overall, if you are a fan of the game and series, you’ll enjoy this one. But for casual viewers like me who is even struggling to remember names of the characters and events that happened from the first season (I just remember the general gist of it and not very much in detail), it’s going to be a hard pill to swallow. Yes, it wasn’t that enjoyable for me this time. Though, it is still fun to watch Gourmet Guild go on silly adventures. Pecorine’s cheerfulness and positivism, Yuuki’s retard, Kokkoro’s purity and innocence, Karyl’s tsundere, what is there not to like about these goofballs, uhm, I mean, retards, uhm, I mean, whatever. I won’t say this season is worse than the previous. In fact they’re both the same for me. After all, I’m not a fan in the first place so that’s my excuse to sit precariously on the middle fence. I’m satisfied with this season’s offering and not really want to order any desserts. But if they offer me some sweet tasty delights, who am I to refuse, right?

Narutaru

15 July, 2022

This was one of the animes that I knew existed eons ago but refused to watch it because I read there were some disturbing and horror-like elements. That’s right. Narutaru might troll the untrained and inexperienced to think this might be some weird spinoff of Naruto but seriously it has nothing to do with that ninja series 100%. So being the horror averse chicken I am, I was very well sure that this will be one of those animes that I will never forever watch. And fast forward today, tadah! Yup, you might be asking why I am watching this now, right? Something changed my mind, right? Indeed. Because scrolling through the list of retro animes that, wait for it, Mamiko Noto had a role in, I was surprised to see this title in her resume. Oh dear. Of all the series out there, it had to be this anime? Hence I was forced to recall and re-evaluate my thoughts on this 2003 series. Remember what my original goal is. After all, nothing is going to be scarier than Mamiko Noto as Enma Ai in Jigoku Shoujo, right???!!!

Episode 1
Shiina Tamai visits her grandparents on some small remote island for the holidays. During her stay, she, she is also working on some drawing project and since grandma says her father, Shunji too drew a lot in his days, she goes to the shed to check it out but is disappointed they’re mostly simple doodles of monsters. Then she hears a strange voice calling her and warns not to call her by that same name. Soon, Shiina joins the local boys in swimming and challenges them to swim to a shrine across. They won’t do it as it is dangerous due to the currents. However Shiina dares. Despite weakening and almost giving up, she eventually reaches it. Buoyed by her success, she dives down and sees a weird starfish-cum-squid-like creature. Sorry, it’s not anywhere as cute as Patrick! This shock causes her to drown as thoughts of disappearing flashes through her mind. As the locals mount a search and couldn’t find her, they are relieved to hear the news that she is found unconscious outside a clinic. Don’t care how but she’s safe, right? Nothing serious for Shiina as she sleeps and rests. But as night falls, she hears that voice calling her again so she makes it out to the beach and sees that starfish. Knowing it is the one calling her, it then transforms into some sort of transport and lets her ride it like a hover board. Shiina has fun flying with it and later as she tries to strike a conversation with it, obviously it has no mouth so it can’t speak. Yeah, just staring at her with those cute eyes. Shiina decides to call it Hoshimaru. Then a huge dragon rises from the sea. Riding it is a naked girl with tattoos. It flies away. Huh? Soon, Shiina leaves the island for home but has Hoshimaru in tow.

Episode 2
Hoshimaru can act like a doll or toy whenever anybody’s around. How convenient. Shiina attends a kendo class and since there is a new shy girl, she is made to go be friends with her, Akira Sakura. Shiina weaves her magic to become friends with her but Akira continues to feel scared and all. Something about hurting others and being hurt. She fears getting violent and hurting her opponent will make them hate her? Shiina assures she won’t. The kendo class goes well. At the end when Akira is about to thank her, she sees Hoshimaru and gets scared and leaves. She returns home and tries to cut her own wrist but chickens out. Then she reveals she has a simiilar Hoshimaru-like creature kept in her box! As Shiina sleeps, Hoshimaru notices a bugging mosquito. It catches the insect and absorbs it into its skin! A call from dad saying he won’t be back. So Shiina goes out to eat only to find her usual place is closed. She wanders about and enters one where Akira’s family runs. The moment Akira sees Shiina and Hoshimaru, she drops her glass in fear. Although Shiina helps her, nobody else gives a f*ck?! Akira then brings Shiina to her room and shows her very own Hoshimaru. She claims she doesn’t want to be involved with it but Shiina doesn’t understand. What’s this about Akira channelling with it? Akira continues to tell her first experience with it. In school, she heard a voice talking to her. Next thing she knew, she was dropping from the sky. The voice told her to fly but she couldn’t and splat! The effects were real as Akira was reeling from its pain in class. Yup, no classmates gave a f*ck and thought it was one of her usual sickness. Shiina isn’t sure about Akira asking about how this creature can channel its senses like seeing what it sees. Akira has dreams of falling and feels pain at the end. This happens many times over. She doesn’t like it and would rather die. At a loss, Shiina then becomes friends with her. Yeah, friendship always work things out, right? Let’s hope she’s right. Akira feeling so happy. After Shiina leaves, it seems a stalker has found Akira.

Episode 3
Akira’s little one is called Ain Soph, based on some Hebrew meaning. She fears some evil group will kidnap it or experiment with it… Maybe she read too much manga. Shiina takes her to the woods when they encounter a creepy squid-like creature. It turns into a flying lance and attacks Shiina. Had not Hoshimaru pull her away, she would’ve died. As Akira cowers in fear, Shiina hops on Hoshimaru to chase it. However she cannot withstand the speed and has to catch her breath. It is then the squid attacks her again. Hoshimaru tries to fight back but gets fling away as Shiina takes a beating. Meanwhile Akira is being approached by that stalker, Tomonori Komori who claims those things are dragons. Yup, that squid one is his. He wants Akira to join him in changing the world. Basically, he views today’s world as complicated and wants to commit genocide and bring the world back to those agricultural days. So that is a simpler society to him? He hands her a knife to decide whether she can take life of others or take her own life. He then joins his squid and introduces himself to Shiina. He claims Shiina has seen a real dragon and not a baby one. Dragons are memories of the stars and will only come into contact those who have full control of them. He sounds jealous that Shiina is that chosen one. Of course Shiina doesn’t understand a thing he says and doesn’t know whatever dragon he is talking about. As Shiina reunites with Hoshimaru, Komori suddenly has doubts if she is really linked with it. He then kills it off but then it turns into Ain Soph. This causes Akira some pain. The real Hoshimaru materializes a big knife and plunges it straight into him, killing him outright. The frighten girls make a run for it, stunned they saw someone got killed. While Akira continues to cower in fear, Shiina tries to normally live her life.

Episode 4
Not sure why Shiina calls her friend, Hiroko Kaizuka to accompany her to the woods. Yeah, she doesn’t take Hoshimaru this time. What does she intend to do going back to that crime scene and bringing an unrelated party? As they stop by a store, a snobbish girl, Satomi Ozawa and her friend, Bungo Takano walk in to ask the shopkeeper about a certain missing person. Because Shiina finds Satomi’s uniform strange, Hiroko mentions she is from a private school. Because it sounds like Panda, Shiina laughs her ass off! Satomi is not pleased and slaps her! Shiina wanted to fight back but Hiroko holds her back. It seems Satomi and Takano are looking for Komori. Shiina and Hiroko return home as Shiina mentions her intentions never to get married and bear children. Later Shiina goes to visit her estranged mom. She must be some corporate bigwig, huh? Shiina looking timid as she hands her report card. Despite her bad grades, mom doesn’t care. After wishing her daughter happy birthday, she still asks if she is eating well since she is so skinny and about Shunji. Yeah, Shiina just sitting there saying nothing. But mom points out Shiina still writing her name in katakana because it means that she hates the name her parents gave her. Time’s up, back to work. Mom then has a meeting with politicians and generals about her findings on folklores known as dragons. With some blur footages, she adds how they exist freely outside their imperfect world and devour humans… Shiina celebrates a simple birthday with dad back home. I guess she ate too much and had to throw up. Satomi and Takano meet up with Naozumi Sudou. He is the one tasking them to help find Komori because he hasn’t returned home recently. It could mean he has found a new toy and started killing. It seems this group of friends have intention to kill humanity but they can’t act rashly or the government will be on their tail, especially they too know about the existence of dragons. They have got some guns as a last resort. Their goal is to create their own peaceful society. Discrimination creates equality. Shiina tries to call Akira but she’s not picking up. Oh, Akira’s dad not even checking on his daughter. Why she so quiet in her room? Does he not think she could’ve killed herself!? Don’t worry. She’s just cutting her hair… In the dark?!

Episode 5
Shunji is flying the skies with his fellow colleague, Ono. Suddenly this creepy angel creature pops out of nowhere and starts riding on their jet’s nose. It hints it wants to play so it materializes a machine gun! Both pilots try to avoid it but unfortunately Ono was taken out. Shunji experiences some weirdness like his space having no air and thus free falling but manages to get his craft back up and running. Since he has no weapon, he thinks of ramming it. You think so?! Of course that didn’t do any jack sh*t as the angel drops some explosives into his air intake. Soon, Shiina gets called by her teachers. She is shocked to hear her dad as reported missing in action. She refuses to believe and is about to get Hoshimaru to look for him. Where? Then she hears a voice calling her. Then she could feel her dad’s heartbeat and realizes he is still alive. Shunji is indeed alive and hospitalized. He is surprised his wife visits. Of course she is here to take his testimony on what happened. Since explaining in words won’t help, she has him draw. This is the second time he encountered something like that and the first was a long time ago when she didn’t believe him at all. After mom leaves, Shiina visits. Shunji’s president also visits and she will have a hard time trying to convince the media that it wasn’t her pilots’ incompetence that caused this mishap. When Shiina leaves, Takeo Tsurumaru passes her and notes that it’s a good thing Shunji is okay. Shiina didn’t give much thought about it and thought he is Shunji’s colleague. That night, Shiina attends Ono’s funeral and is driven back by Suzuki, Shunji’s colleague. She asks him why people die. Yeah, I bet he can’t answer that. In that case, she asks why people are born. Does he look like God to you?! When Shiina returns home, she sees Akira waiting outside. She pleads for help as she has received a poison letter that sends its regards to Hoshimaru and Ain Soph.

Episode 6
Akira believes she knows who sent it and he has comrades. So both girls swap their dragons as they stake out to find Tsurumaru. It is Akira who finds Tsurumaru first as he exits a parking lot. Damn, is she going to chase him on her bicycle whereas he is riding a bike?! Oh damn, Shiina rides faster than her! They finally track him down to a warehouse but it seems Tsurumaru knows they have been following him and lets them in. Inside, they see that angel dragon. Just a model? They think he is the one who sent that letter but he plays a fool and thinks it’s a love letter and that they’re in love with him. This creep is even trying to hit on Akira for real! And to think she cut her hair because Komori ‘defiled’ it and know she got to deal with this jerk. The girls think he is playing dumb about the dragons so he takes him to his pal, Norio Koga who is crafting doll dragons. Yeah, he makes a lot of these. Again, they think they’re fooling around but Koga thinks they’re too much of a simpleton to engage in a decent conversation. They leave and warn not to do anything funny or else. Or else what?! Akira then sees on the news that Komori’s mother has died of starvation since her son went missing so this incapable mother was not able to take care of herself. Akira is still haunted by his words so the next day, she makes a trip to his house to offer some prayers. Sudou is also there and has her come along with him to avoid others asking about her relationship with Komori. He drives her home as he talks about the dead not needing flowers and it’s only to appease the living. However Akira could have given herself away when she hints Komori is dead when Sudou did not even imply that he is murdered. Suddenly police siren is heard. Sudou wants to scram. He has no licence! Oh sh*t! However the police crash and the dragon with a gun shoots and finish them off! KABOOM! Akira asks about him so he claims to be a protector of mankind. Damn, haven’t heard Akira laugh like that! As Akira goes to school the next day, she is shocked that a flower dragon is before her. She gets kidnapped. Damn those classmates making a joke of her absence that she’s dead!

Episode 7
Akira is in some cabin in the woods. She pleads to Shiina for help. You think she has telepathic capabilities?! Oh wait… Shiina spots Ain Soph at her doorstep and she knows Akira is in trouble. Time to go to her rescue. The police takes a statement from Akira’s parents who believe she is kidnapped. You think the police can do anything? Satomi and Takano meet up with Sudou who introduces them to a new member, Mamiko Kuri. Pale girl loves walking around naked, huh? Sudou says they’re going to do some killing today and their target is the military. Because Takano’s dragon is far away doing some training, it is good practice to see if Satomi’s dragon can do the killing. Hence her flower dragon crucifies Akira in the air as bait. Shiina spots this and whacks it till the dragon releases Akira. Whatever pain the dragon gets, Satomi feels it. Satomi recognizes Shiina so she goes all out to hunt her down. However some missile is fired at her dragon. The military is here. Shiina is taken to a nearby makeshift army camp and thankfully Akira is there too. Though, she is too distress to speak. Akira then suddenly steals a gun and tries to shoot herself! Luckily it is not loaded. Wow. Getting a lecture from the soldier if she has the guts to die, might as well try to live a little longer. Satomi tries to fight the army but she takes a beating. Satomi is taking in a lot of damage and feeling the pain but has to control it and soldier on for she will not let her dragon control her. However all this proves that her dragon is not suitable for combat as Satomi soon passes out. As Shiina and Akira are escorted to a helicopter, the one just flown by gets blown to bits by that angel dragon! Instantly Shiina orders Hoshimaru to engage it.

Episode 8
Not sure what Hoshimaru can do because it is just zipping around for that dragon to take pot shots. Holy sh*t! Hoshimaru destroying a helicopter to take its blade and whack the dragon?! Why the heck is Tsurumaru here? Shiina thinks that the dragon belongs to him but he says it is not. In actuality, it belongs to Takano and he is trying to use it to distract and retrieve Satomi’s dragon. The angel dragon wreaks havoc and destroys all the military offensive that come at it. Oh damn, why the f*ck didn’t Shiina’s side take cover and just standing there watching the action?! See, a helicopter comes crashing on her! Don’t worry, she is not dead thanks to Koga summoning his dragon to protect her. When Satomi returns from her vegetative state, she decides not to chicken out and continue fighting. This time the flower dragon starts releasing spores. Hoshimaru is quick enough to wrap the girls in its protective barrier while Tsurumaru floats away in Koga’s dragon. The spores kill all the ground soldiers who breathe it. With the air military offensive continue, the angel dragon continues to slaughter them all one by one. Even the nearby town gets affected. Yeah, today’s training is pretty intense, huh? With the wind blowing that direction, more dead townspeople. At the end of the day, it is a wipe out and Shiina starts to descend into trauma after witnessing today’s massacre. The girls leave for home. Akira’s dad happy her daughter is back but she pushes him away. Don’t feel like getting touchy today, huh? Shiina also returns home but she can’t contain her emotions and starts breaking down under Shunji’s arms.

Episode 9
Tsurumaru’s girlfriend is here and she is pregnant. His answer? Yeah, all girls have that function! WTF?! He is willing to take responsibility and send her some money but her concern is that she can’t let her dad find out. His answer? He’ll let her dad know!!! OMG! Classic! She wants him to marry her to take responsibility. He can’t. So does he not love her? Well, he does. And also others. In fact, he already has 5 kids! OMFG!!! No wonder girlfriend gives up! Soon, Shiina visits him and wants to know how to control the dragon’s powers since she is not very linked like the rest. However this is something Tsurumaru doesn’t know either and she must figure it out herself and what she wants most out of doing this. There is this girl, Chiomi Kawamura who likes Takano but she knows he likes Satomi and believes this is ruining him. She tries to portray herself that she is better but Takano isn’t interested. By the time she gets to know him, it’ll be too late. Hence she goes to confront Satomi but is given a pep talk about arrogance and control. Took Kawamura to disagree with that so as she goes to look for Satomi who already left, she is horrified to see a disfigured doll in the alley. Akira has been traumatized and locked herself in her room. Shiina visits and because the shop is shorthanded, she goes to help out. How considerate. Damn, Akira’s dad asking Shiina to be her daughter! When Sudou is here to see Akira, it seems Akira allows it. In her room are a bunch of folded paper cranes. Atonement for the soldiers’ death. Sudou wants to take the girls somewhere tomorrow. Turns out to be fishing. The catch and release is pretty fun. Yeah, Akira sad she won’t be eating Nemo for dinner! On the way back, Sudou is glad Akira is having a lot of fun. But then he gets psychological with her. So toying around with a fish life is fun and negligible compared to a human’s? Oh sh*t. That feared look on her face. What Sudou wants is for her to join his group. He knows that she knows what his group does and yet still comes to him. He claims about bringing change to human society. It is foolish to do something for the dead and the most important is how they live. Not sure about Shiina but since she is sleeping, Sudou doesn’t have to worry about her hearing this conversation. After Sudou drops them off, Shiina thinks he is such a nice guy but Akira’s face clearly shows he is more than meets the eye.

Episode 10
Shiina tries to train with Hoshimaru but finds it hard to pull off complex acrobatic moves. Then she meets a witch. Actually she is Jun Ezumi riding a broom that she calls Nendo. She asks if she would like the see the future of dragons. Jun learns Shiina has seen a dragon and a girl riding it. Jun calls that girl Otohime and can’t believe the dragon went out its way to make itself appear before Shiina because they don’t show themselves before humans. Then a huge dragon surface from the sea. They get close but not close enough so as not to get their thoughts harmonized with it. Out from it is a dragon but Jun believes that is Otohime in her true form. Otohime then greets Shiina before returning to the dragon. Jun believes Shiina is somebody special. Shiina accompanies Shunji for his check-up at the hospital. She notices a comatose boy in a room, Kyoji Kawamura. On the drawer is a group picture and one of the girls look like Jun. Kyoji’s cousin, Shouko comes in and wonders why Shiina has Jun’s goggles. Well, she gave it to her. Both girls talk about how they were close friends with Jun until they moved away. They exchanged letters but never meet ever since. Shouko becomes sad knowing that Kyoji might die since she did some bad things to him before. Of course she was in love with him but don’t ask that to Shiina because she’s never been in love before! A detective comes by to ask if they know this girl in the photo which is Jun. It was found in Kyoji’s camera. When they return to Kyoji’s room, Jun is there. But Jun is not here to play nice and tells all of Shouko’s bad habits like being selfish and depending on others. She tells the reality that Jun will die and when that happens, she’ll be alone. She also reveals she has met up with Kyoji many times but just couldn’t find the right time to tell her. Shouko leaves in a shock state. The detective receives a letter and it states that Jun died 2 years ago! And it was written by Jun? Jun reveals the truth to Shiina that she is dead and the one she is talking now is just a copy. This is the power of Nendo, to replicate exact copies. Hence she has taken Kyoji and left behind a replica. She is interested to see what happens next before she gives her life to Nendo. She wants Shiina to witness the birth of a dragon. Shouko attends Kyoji’s funeral and realizes she is now all alone. Then she finds Shiina and needs a favour. Road trip? They head to the old school where Kyoji fell. Shouko hints she might know Jun has been dead because the letters she sent to her got returned with an unknown address. Then a mermaid dragon soars in the sky. Riding it is Kyoji but with tattoos. Shouko chasing after it? Oh it’s gone. Perhaps just to make Shouko realize that she is not as weak as she thinks and that she can still continue to love him. Uhm, loving a dead man?

Episode 11
It seems Hiroko is being bullied by a group of girls led by Aki Honda simply because she has very good grades. Even if Hiroko claims she purposely put some wrong answers so as not to score perfectly, they still make her drink a special concoction. After they leave, she starts throwing up since it has worms! Back home, her father looking disappointed she didn’t get full marks?! But he thinks it is because of those girls and doesn’t want her to associate with them so as not to have bad influence. Meanwhile Akira collapses during PE. Nobody wants to carry her to the infirmary except maybe for Ishida because he has a crush on her. Heck, everyone even teasing them to get married. In the infirmary, Ishida confesses he likes her. So this has Akira doesn’t want him to leave her side. Oh sh*t! She’s willing to let him f*ck her! For better or worse, Ishida chickens out and that’s the end of that. Poor Akira. Alone again, naturally. Yeah, Ishida must be kicking himself so hard for this missed opportunity. Meanwhile, Hiroko lies she is sick so she could skip school. She is waiting outside Shiina’s place when Akira also comes by. The duo somewhat click because they both consider Shiina as their only friend. Yeah, they’re so alike in that sense. Hiroko talks that she is tired of trying her best but not getting the results she desires. Akira thinks it is her own fault but Hiroko believes the world is at fault. It is better everything in this world disappears. You really wish that? Can you say that now that Shiina has arrived?

Episode 12
Shiina invites them in for dinner. Together with Shunji, it’s probably the greatest time they had in their lives in recent times. When Akira goes home, her father warns her not to become a delinquent but Akira gets afraid and runs to her room. Mood swings. As for Hiroko, damn those bullies are so free to harass her in the middle of the night?! This time they are going to violate her. She screams for help but thankfully Takaya Mizushima is here to stop this atrocity. A guy who has a crush on her, huh? Hiroko is still distraught but she tells him not to tell Shiina about this. When Hiroko returns home, her father knows she did not go to school today but does not question her further. Because subsequently he makes a call to Shunji and warns that his daughter is having a bad influence on his and to stay away. However Hiroko is dismayed to learn who he has called. Just then, some monster comes crashing in and kills her father! Mizushima is at her doorstep. WTF this late?! Here to just say he will protect her? Yeah, Hiroko thinks he is too late for that. Confused guy leaves. Next day, both Hiroko and Akira are absent from class again. That night, one of the bullies stumble upon a monster who kills her! As police investigates this bloody crime scene, the only witness is a homeless man. He is in fear because he saw a demon killed the girl. The monster then shows up at Aki’s house, decapitating her brother before injecting worms into her, violating her before killing her! Gruesome! Just desserts?! In school, the remaining bullies are getting pretty scared now…

Episode 13
With the town all abuzz about the murders, in class, one of the bullies reveals to the teacher and classmates about Hiroko’s bullying and names those involved including herself. In fact, many others who did not directly partake in the bullying also knew of this but did nothing. That is when the demon breaks into class and grabs the other bully (who is first to bolt out) and lets her fall to her death! Then she attacks the remaining bully and breaks her leg! She must be so in shock and regret not to feel pain. As the demon squeezes her to death, Shiina, Mizushima and the teacher try to break her free but they failed. Even if Hoshimaru coming to help fight the demon (again it got smacked away!), too bad the last of the bullies dies. Shiina realizes this demon is Hiroko’s dragon. She tries to talk to it but it escapes. She then heads to Hiroko’s home. She is shocked to see her parents dead and Hiroko gone insane. Hiroko thinks she should have done this a long time. As she has already have blood on her hands, it doesn’t matter anymore. In fact, her demon is now at her father’s workplace and taking them hostage. Hiroko wants to kill Shunji because she believes Shiina should be better off without her father. When she has the demon start the kill, Shiina gets desperate and tries to strangle her. It’s like Hiroko wanted her to do this because she’s so calm. However Shiina couldn’t do it. Hiroko notes kindness won’t get her anywhere. Either she kills her or say goodbye to papa. It is then Hoshimaru strangles Hiroko to death, ignoring Shiina’s orders to stop. At the same time, Akira stabs her father to death! In the aftermath, with the new spring, Shiina spots a new hairstyle. She is still happy her father still lives as she heads off to that, uhm, Panda school that she is now a student of?

Dragonborn: When They Die
What the heck? How did it just end like that?! What does it mean?! Anyway, there’s good news and bad news now that I have finished watching this series. The good news is that it isn’t as disturbing and scary as I thought it would be! Phew. The bad news? Well, that kind of unsatisfactory ending sucked and it took away all the intriguing vibe that I had for the entire series. Well, not to say that I was somewhat enjoying this series but it has been somewhat a fascinating ride and it managed to pique my interest throughout the series albeit the third quarter felt a bit slow and irrelevant before the nail biting final stretch.

One reason I am saying that this series did not turn out to be very creepy and scary as I thought it would be, could be because I am watching it from today’s point in time. In the span of almost 20 years, a lot of things could have changed. Hence if I watched it back then when I was still an anime amateur, I would have actually agreed with all the old comments and reviews at how disturbing this anime was. Yup. Comments that tell you not to watch this series if you are not prepared to deal with what is going to happen in here! Not to say that I’ll be curling up in the corner of my room, shivering in fear for the rest of my days if I watched it then either. But I’ll definitely have a different viewpoint on this. Back in those days when the internet was still at an infancy stage and the world wasn’t really as open (and f*cked up!) like today, perhaps the darks themes that we have seen here such as self-mutilation, suicide, deaths and bullying could all be very harrowing to take in a single series. It was thought provoking as it was disturbing. But now watching it from this point in time, it just feels so mild to be honest. Heck, even the recent Elfen Lied that I watched can be considered darker, more violent, bloodier and much more disturbing than this! And don’t let that promo poster of the series whereby Akira points a gun to her own head fool you.

As you can see that there were many questions left unanswered in the anime series and thus that unsatisfactory ending. That is because the anime only adapted half of the total volumes of the manga. I thought it was so because the manga was ongoing at that time but further (lazy) checking told me that the manga ended the same time the anime finished its run. Not sure why it didn’t want to adapt the remaining volumes and have another cour but my only guess is that this show was shown on Kids Station. That’s right, a channel with a name like that is for kids, right? Yeah, the same station that aired that absurd Pugyuru. Imagine having a kid friendly channel only to show such disturbing anime that would make kids have nightmares, I can see why. And spoiler alert: Again my lazy Google search has me discovered the ending of the manga: Everybody dies and the world gets redone or reset! Wow. Guess we won’t see that one getting animated, huh?

Speaking of deaths, this anime seems to have watered down the murder scenes in the final stretch. Compared to the manga which I have saw some of it randomly over the net, the deaths are much gruesome to say the least. And because many of the characters in the anime still live by the time the series ends, that is why we don’t get to see those gruesome deaths of the other characters. The murder of the bullies could be the most disturbing factor in the series but of course it was not shown directly as the camera was shown from a different angle or some sort of self-censor in the way. What a way to end the series with the deaths of young children! Horrifying but after building all that hype and ending it like that, it’s no surprise I’m having weird mixed feelings right now.

Those disturbing death scenes did not look as scary to me mainly because of the animation too. In short, the overall animation could be said to be just mediocre. It is not the worse but you can see that there are lots of stillness in the scenes. Moving the camera angles is not really considered animation! Even the character designs are a bit weird especially like some of the girls such as Shiina, she looks so skinny and lanky that I thought she’s just a step away from being an anorexic victim! Oh heck, many of the characters too have almost this similar looks so sometimes it confuses me. If there was the scariest and creepiest one, it would be that angel dragon. The first time it spooked a bit of hell out of me because it has this doll-like face and a small smile, which gets scarier the more I stare at it. Yikes. Oh hell, if this is how an angel really looks like (especially from the bible), we’re all really screwed, huh? The rest of the dragon’s design is a mix of funny to creepy. Like Hoshimaru who looks comical (can’t help think this is Patrick Star!) and those like Ain Soph and Sudou’s, cute but somewhat scary. This anime is done by Planet who did Ginga Tetsudou Monogatari.

As said, the story feels a lot very incomplete because of the limited volumes it adapted. But I can’t just help wonder some of the later parts especially the one involving Jun, that felt like a filler and did not amount to anything much. That was the most boring episode and could have been done without. Maybe it could have had some bearings later on in the manga but as far as the anime is concerned, it felt so disjointed and did not really matter. Not that Shiina had anything to do with it either. Otherwise, the overall story might be slow and at times a bit complicated since bits of info about the dragons are told to us but it feels like there is more to it and thus they still remain the biggest mystery of who or what they are and how certain people can control them. It’s like Pokemon or Digimon but deadlier because you’re all using it to kill people, right? Hence many felt the first episode deceived many because it was harmless. Then real sh*t started to hit the fan in the subsequent episode. Especially the final stretch that ramps up all the sh*t. Although like I said from this point in time, it does not feel that scary or disturbing.

As for the characters, it feels like the ones we see here are just introductory and left more to be desired. Especially Sudou’s group who wants to change the world. What happened to them especially after their attack on the military? Who is that Mamiko chick? From first impression, she could be the main antagonist as there were too many red flags on her. What about Tsurumaru and Koga? It looks like they are on the good side (spoiler alert: Shiina fell in love with him and he impregnated her!!!!!!) but for now they don’t really do much except Tsurumaru just using Koga’s dragon to fly around and get about. Does he have his own dragon? But gotta love this guy on how he coolly handles his girlfriend. Can’t forget those lines but I wonder if it will really work in real life! Anybody care to try and tell me?!

Shiina as the main character, she’s a pretty happy go lucky person. A cheerful persona who can make friends easily. Too bad the world isn’t all sunshine and roses. Hiroko’s death may be starting to eat her away slowly but we won’t see that since the anime has ended. Despite her cheery disposition, she probably has her own darkness like her displeasure of her own name and that voice she keeps hearing from time to time (could be Hoshimaru). Shiina may not be as smart as Hiroko but at least she has the freedom and a loving papa, the source of Hiroko’s jealousy. Hiroko has the opposite of that so it goes to show that grades isn’t anything. Be nice to your child or she’ll summon a demon and kill you and everybody! Akira is a mixed baggage. It feels like she is falling in and out in terms of relevance of this entire show. The entire series she’s like being timid and scared of something and never really broke out of her shell even though she became friends with Shiina. Eventually from where I see it, she’s just delaying the inevitable of walking down the path of destruction.

The biggest mystery is the dragon themselves. They aren’t explained in detail and how some humans came into their possession. I guess I am largely to blame myself for expecting something out of Hoshimaru. Because you see, despite its innocent retard looks, I was actually expecting that Hoshimaru would turn against Shiina and become her enemy when things go downhill. You know, the cute mute waiting for Shiina to make her first kill and then it got tired of waiting and decided to show its true colours. Yeah. Something like that. That would be the true horror and shocking factor in my books. Fortunately or not, all that didn’t happen and Hoshimaru is just one docile and friendly creature for Shiina whom she can ride as a hover board. Hoshimaru sometimes feels useful but other times it feels useless. It’s always there when Shiina wants it but in fights with other dragons, it’s too weak to do any jack sh*t on its own and gets owned pretty quickly due to its small size. But I guess that’s better than Ain Soph whom I don’t recall doing anything useful at all. Yet Akira seems to fear it and all so why can’t she just get rid of it? Do such dragons make contracts with humans? Aside Satomi and Takano’s dragons, don’t see the other dragons do any jack sh*t of importance.

Voice acting, pretty normal to say the least. Of course you all know I’m here for Mamiko Noto and as usual she doesn’t disappoint but because of her Akira character as a meek and timid one, it limits a lot what she can say. Asami Sanada as Shiina, well, doesn’t sound anywhere close to the Date A Live’s Kurumi we all love. We all love Kurumi, right???!!! The only other seiyuu I recognize is Akira Ishida as Komori. Satsuki Yukino is the voice of Mamiko but it is also listed that she is Hoshimaru’s voice. Uhm, did that little starfish speak? Well, maybe not in reality but in Shiina’s head. So that’s Hoshimaru, huh? Also, she plays Jun. Going to have to stop formulating conspiracy theories that Jun = Mamiko! Because Jun is dead and can create copies of bodies, right?! The other casts include Nobuo Tobita as Shunji (Gus in Saihate No Paladin), Hideki Tasaka as Sudou (Duelo in Vandread), Hisayoshi Suganuma as Takano (Atsushi Kitamoto in Natsume Yuujin-chou), Kaori Tanaka as Satomi (Megumi in Yumeria), Eiji Miyashita as Tsurumaru (Kuina in Nil Admirari No Tenbin), Kouki Akaishi as Koga and Sakura Nogawa as Hiroko (Hina Ichigo in Rozen Maiden).

Trolling us that this could be not be a disturbing show like we thought it could be is the opening theme, Nichiyoubi No Taiyou by The Neutral. It’s quite an upbeat song that has some nice harmonica accompaniment. Even more so the cute child-like sketches for most of the opening animation credits won’t make you think that this is going to be a dark series. As for the slow rock ending theme, Kairo by Biniou has some dramatic feel to it. Oh, before I almost forget, I think the other factor that almost makes this series creepy and scary are some of the BGMs and sound effects. Some of them have this orchestra strings and played during those tense moments. It really gives and ramps up the anxiety that one would normally feel during jumpy horror scenes. I believe this really played that effect out well. Especially the opening scenes of the very first episode. Very strange and eerie sound effect. WTF was that?! That caught me off-guard so I was spooked for a while there.

Overall, this anime is definitely strange and provoking in its own right. It has disturbing and dark themes and even the climax where a bunch of children die (evil or not, they’re still kids). While it is true that it is not for everyone, in today’s time if you can’t take something like this without further experiencing some sort of life threatening trauma, it is best you go live in a cave or well forever. Or better, don’t proceed to live and go kill yourself. Oh sh*t! Uhm, blame this anime for having influence my thoughts for now! The series leaves a lot to be desired given the way it has ended but I guess if you really want to find out how things went, the original manga source is your best finisher. Then let your imagination run wild as you see what happen to the gruesome fate of the rest of the characters. Seeing today’s disturbing trend of taking long dormant animes out of their slumber and giving it another season, I am not sure if I am happy to see this getting a remake or a continuation. Yeah, I wish the world would stop making these or resetting/rebooting franchises. Better to reset/reboot the world than that!

N/B: If I have Hoshimaru, most probably I’ll ride it to Bikini Bottom to find Spongebob! HAHAHA!

Witchblade

10 July, 2022

I keep thinking that Witchblade is one of Marvel’s titles and kept wondering why it didn’t make the cut in the MCU. Even if it was a lesser known title, was it because it got adapted into anime back in 2006? Turns out I was wrong. Although it had some sort of crossover in the Marvel and DC comics, it was actually published by Top Cow Productions which was part of the Image Comics (third largest comic book publisher after Marvel and DC). Anyway, the only reason why I’m watching a retro western comic book turned Japanese anime series is because, wait for it, Mamiko Noto helming the titular character! Oh boy. My favourite seiyuu in a main character role. This means more lines to hear from her. Hooray!

Episode 1
Masane Amaha and her daughter, Rihoko are taking a boat to Tokyo. The irony that Rihoko is acting more grown up than Masane. But Masane is proud of her and thus the boatman tells her to take good care of her since after that incident supposedly caused by Child Welfare Agency (CWA), children are scarce now. Meanwhile a detective investigates some corpse splitting incident. It’s the 4th case and some nearby drunkard claims he is the killer. But the detective thinks he is just drunk and has him lock up instead. Meanwhile Sakurai from CWA confronts Masane. She is given a talk to hand over Rihoko over to CWA. Even though she is her mother, the law has the right to take her away?! Masane claims they chased them out but she says a max of 6 years they can only live in some collective dorm. Masane and Rihoko were found alive at ground zero AKA Null Point of that incident 6 years ago. Masane lost her memories but thanks to her maternity passbook, she was determined the mother of Rihoko. But now things has changed. She has no job or house and that’s why CWA thinks they can provide for Rihoko. If she is her mom, think what is best for her. At that moment of weakness, Masane gives in. But after hearing Rihoko’s cries of not wanting to be separated, Masane tries to reclaim her daughter. Damn, police too weak to stop her as she steals their car! She gets desperate to chase them but crashes. Don’t worry. Still alive but thrown into the detention centre. Rihoko feigns going to toilet to escape from Sakurai. She bumps into journalist, Yuusuke Tozawa and forces him to take her to mama. Well, I guess he has to since he was illegally here waiting for some scoop. Don’t want to get caught now. As Masane sits in her cell, something in her right hand glows and causes her great pain. This attracts that drunkard a few cells away as he turns into some weird machine and kills all the police. He is going to have fun killing her too but she transforms into a sexy killing machine and easily kills him. She escapes as Tozawa snaps pics of this. Hiroki Segawa who works under Reiji Takayama sends a movie file of this scene. He confirms the Witchblade user has popped up. Since she was shot a tranquilizer, they’ll retrieve her shortly. Masane slowly loses consciousness as she reverts to normal with only Rihoko on her mind.

Episode 2
Once more, Rihoko trying to force Tozawa to help her mind mama at the detention centre. However with detective Akira Nakata hot on his tail because he is always on the scene before he does, Tozawa takes Rihoko back to his place for now. His landlord, Mariko Natsuki isn’t impressed. She will call CWA the first thing in the morning as she doesn’t want to be sued. But a scared Rihoko clings onto underneath the table and puts up a fight! Feisty! Okay. Suit yourself. Stay there if you want. Segawa reports to Takayama that Masane in their hands. He also has data about her past but they’re mostly created by the government since her actual past records were destroyed during the catastrophe. More interestingly, she was rescued at Null Point and it could be then and there she met Witchblade. Next morning, Mariko calls Sakurai to inform her about Rihoko and to send someone to pick her up. At the same time, Tatsuoki Furumizu, the chairman of NSWF Foundation who helped established those children laws and established CWA, leaves after inspecting the place. Looks like he is looking for Witchblade too. Tozawa develops his photos of the victims. Some victims were employed by NSWF and with Nakata on this case as well as monsters popping up, he wonders if they are all related. Later Mariko barges in to say Rihoko is gone. Yeah, not going to stick around to let those CWA assholes take her, right? Masane is taken to see Takayama who explains what is going on. That bracelet she has now is Witchblade, an ancient powerful weapon that could be the key to rule the world. For millennia, wars have been fought over it. The last owner was Douji Group but they lost it 6 years ago at Null Point. As for how she got it, she has to ask Witchblade herself. It seems only certain woman are chosen to activate its powers. Masane doesn’t want it and they can gladly have it back. Just take it off. They can’t. They’re still researching how. Lest she wants to cut off her hand. Nevertheless, since Witchblade is theirs, this means they own Masane and she will work for them. After all, she has nowhere to go and is on the run after breaking a slew of laws. Takayama takes her to his lab to test out Witchblade’s capabilities. Masane is forced to transform into Witchblade’s complete form. Now she’s a bloodthirsty killing machine.

Episode 3
Masane doesn’t know why but in this Witchblade form, all she wants is to kill! And she destroys that robot completely! Thankfully she passes out because otherwise the damage would not be confined to just the robot. When she recovers, she is still not amused with this and wants an explanation. Takayama already told her that she is a weapon and she already knows it. Because she started fighting without them even telling her what to do. Of course he shuts her up with the trump card: Rihoko. He gives her time to decide if she would join them. Do that and he will guarantee she can live with her daughter. Well, if only they know where Rihoko is. Speaking of her, she is trying to make her way to Tokyo Tower because that is where mama promised to meet if they get separated. Too bad she has no money since she got pickpocketed. Luckily that boatman gives her a free ride there. Rihoko calls out to momma but looks like she’s not here yet. That pickpocket gets fried by a weird fatty who turns into some microwave machine. Tozawa is threatened by Mariko to find Rihoko or else he has to pay up his rent. But I guess he is more interested in taking pictures of the crime scene of that murdered victim than finding Rihoko. Masane wants Takayama to explain the deal before she decides. So he explains about X-con. It is one of the weapon series his company makes but it was put on hold due to problems. However many went missing due to that catastrophe and they have been on a recovering mission. As you can tell, it is not easy because it is hard to tell X-con from humans as they look the same. Yup, those people who can transform into those machines are called X-con. There are 11 victims already. And as we all have guessed, only Witchblade has to power to defeat them. So you in? If it guarantees a life with Rihoko, she’s in. And so before that microwave X-con can claim another woman, here Witchblade is to distract him. He tries to fry her but nothing happens and she slices him. Easy recovery job. On the way back, they so happen to pass by Tokyo Tower. How the heck could Masane see a tiny girl sitting there?! Mother’s instincts?! Woah! Masane just jump off the helicopter to reunite with her daughter! And she’s fine! The power of motherly love for you!

Episode 4
Masane and Rihoko will temporarily be living in one of Takayama’s hotels until they find a place of their own. For now, I guess order all the great food and put it on his tab! Takayama is contacted by Reina Soho who offers her help to find Witchblade. He declines her offer and lies that he is still finding it. Of course he has no intention of letting NSWF or Douji get their hands on it. Masane and Rihoko head over to Mariko’s place to thank her for the time she took care of the little one. But she is not in and the only ones there now are this perverted old man, Cho Sato, a quiet giant, Michael and a meek fortune teller, Naomi. Cho mentions there is room for rent since an occupant left. The downside is that there is no bathroom. Immediately they want to rent this place. Reina sees Furumizu about trying to get the Witchblade and they can’t let Douji have it. He hopes she won’t repeat the same mistake that got many of her sisters killed. Mariko refuses to rent it to them and claims many have defaulted on their rental payments and will only rent out as office spaces. Despite Masane and Rihoko promising this and that, Mariko remains stubborn. This leads to an argument where both women start throwing things at each other! I think the whole building would’ve been demolished had the rest not stop them. Later it is revealed Mariko received a letter from the authority that they want to demolish and redevelop this place. Elsewhere, another woman falls victim to an X-con. Make that 3 same fatty microwave X-cons! Of course Masane is called for this job. She will know if she stumbles into an X-con as her Witchblade will detect it. Rihoko sneaks to Mariko’s place but as a customer. Masane is not happy about this. But as Mariko reveals some company has taken up her place, it seems that company is Jack Of All Trades Amaha. It’s mom’s company?! Uh huh. Sneaky little girl planned the whole thing. So with that loophole, they are able to stay here now. Of course Mariko warns them they only have a year because of that redevelopment thingy. Reina and her assistant, Shiori Tsuzuki bait those X-cons to come at them and easily defeats them in their Witchblade form. With Masane arriving at the scene, she is confused to see them and thinks they are X-cons.

Episode 5
Reina and Shiori just confirm her as the wielder of Witchblade and then leave. When Masane returns, Takayama explains they are Cloneblades. More accurately, Neogenes who are humans created and chosen by NSWF to wield Cloneblades. Long ago Douji and NSWF cooperated on this technology but stopped 6 years ago. He also warns her about Furumizu because he wants the Witchblade because when a superior Neogene equips it, rumour has it this will make the strongest human alive. Hence CWA is a pawn for NSWF to select candidates for Neogene so don’t cooperate with them. Now you know why they’re targeting children, eh? Masane then tries to negotiate with Takayama about her salary. Then why refuse this living expenses? Masane and Rihoko move into their new place. Mariko ups the rent but Cho has bought a few stuffs for them as their welcome party. He even suggests they go to the public bath together. Intentions very clear… Too bad he won’t get to see anything… Tozawa has been released after spending a night in cell. He returns to Mariko’s place and learns Rihoko and her mom living here. He tries to bug Masane for a story because he believes she has seen something while in her cell. She claims she knows nothing. Rihoko and mama go shopping but Rihoko is like the mature adult and making the decisions. Weird… Tozawa still won’t give up and tries to bug Masane, showing her a photo of Witchblade. She still maintains her stand she knows nothing. Takayama is forced to attend some charity party and looks like Furumizu is also here. Of course they talk about Witchblade and Furumizu believes Takayama has it. Takayama claims those are lies and reminds him that it was his daughter who lost it. As there can only be 1 Witchblade and it choses its wielder, he thinks Takayama is releasing X-cons in fear of Witchblade trying to change hands since it will go to those who are worthy. Masane gets a call to hunt down an X-con. After easily defeating it, she has to face off with Neogene Shiori. Just in time because killing the X-con didn’t satisfy her enough. They fight and Tozawa is shocked to learn Masane is indeed Witchblade.

Episode 6
The babes fight, even hinting some yuri. Unfortunately Masane gets pounded although she’s showing signs she’s a masochist. Eventually Takayama’s men intercepts and takes a deeply wounded Masane into their van. Shiori chases. Reina chases. Tozawa chases. The van ploughs through the traffic jam on the bridge and then use smokescreen to hide their cover as they deliver Masane to Takayama’s cruiser beneath. For now, it is safer to stay on the ocean. Shiori wants to continue chasing but is stopped by Reina. Tozawa might have lost his lead but he is confident this story will come up big. So he tries to bug Rihoko about Masane’s work but she is reluctant to tell anything to this jerk. Believing that some big company is backing Masane, that’s where he’ll start first. Masane wakes up and her wounds all healed. The after effects of using Witchblade is that she is very hungry and starts eating anything they serve. She is shocked to learn she is in the middle of the ocean and won’t be back on land for a while. If she is worried about Rihoko, just call her. Masane realizes Segawa changed her bandages and especially the wound right across her chest. I suppose there aren’t any other female staffs on this cruiser? Reina checks on Shiori. Her wound did not heal although she feels no pain on it. Then some corpse is found on their compound and Reina orders to dispose it. She wonders if it is an X-con because if it was, why did she not sense it? Takayama wonders if Masane cannot understand her situation because despite being Witchblade’s wielder, she is being cool about it. Well, no use agonizing over it since her priority is taking care of Rihoko. Then she asks if insurance covers this since she got hurt during her job. He just calls her an idiot. I guess that means it’s not covered! Back in her room, she spots a photo of Takayama and Reina together. Reina is analysing Shiori’s brain pattern and notes her change in behaviour. Too late because Shiori has gone berserk and kills nurse.

Episode 7
Shiori is in shock when she sees all the blood. But as Reina tries to calm her down, Shiori breaks free and escapes. Masane demands an explanation from Takayama. This photo of him and Shiori. Time for a short flashback. A time when Douji and NSWF were working together on Witchblade, NSWF sent one of their staffs (Reina) to work with them. But one day she disappeared with Witchblade. At first he thought she was under orders from NSWF but realized she could want Witchblade for herself. This also came when talks about not letting Reina wield it just because she is from NSWF. It is unknown how Masane ended up with Witchblade but it is certain that they met. When both sides were having war with each other, Shiori was caught in the crossfire that caused the incident of Null Point. Reina went back to work with NSWF since she is a valuable and closest candidate for Witchblade. Can’t give her up that easily. Tozawa requests Cho’s help to find the location of the boat. Damn old geezer makes contact with some super hacker to get the job done! Just get the mixer with hot babes ready for him! Rihoko thinks Tozawa is still after her mom so she’s going with him to keep an eye on him. Shiori has gone berserk and finds her way to Masane to satisfy herself. Takayama and Segawa support Masane with their guns with special armour piercing bullets. Because Masane isn’t completely healed, she is weaker and soon Shiori loses interest. Shiori is interested in Takayama but before this weird rape scene can happen, her Cloneblade breaks and she turns into dust. When they dock, Reina is here to get her assistant. Well, here’s all that’s left of her and the Cloneblade. Masane is also surprised Rihoko is here. Courtesy of you know who. Tozawa wants her to introduce him to the owner of the boat. She will but wants him to take them home first. Takayama and Reina talk about wielders of Witchblade might end up like Shiori. Cloneblade is after all a clone of Witchblade. Even more so as Witchblade is high performance and has a higher chance of destroying its wielder. The only time it will come off is when its wielder dies.

Episode 8
Masane drinks with Mariko and talks about how she can’t remember anything before the catastrophe. She is surprised to learn Tozawa was once a great photographer but decided to go chase after silly scoop stories to earn a living. The party is just getting started when Cho wants everyone to drink. Yup, Masane getting all drunk and everybody forcing Tozawa to drink too. It is no surprise the next morning, Masane has a big hangover so Rihoko has to be a responsible ‘mom’ and go buy some medicine. Tozawa is also having hangover but wants Masane to tell her story. When both of them are sober, Masane claims she doesn’t know what he is talking about and this Witchblade in the photo is not her. He insists. She insists. Maybe next time. Soon, Tozawa hears another murder case and wants Masane to help out. He will pay her of course. Masane watches him take photos of the crime scene from a hidden spot as she wonders if he likes doing this kind of job. He asks her the same question but she feigns she doesn’t know. Tozawa is then confronted by some punk who wants payback of a photo he published of his bodyguard and some woman. Tozawa the smooth operator acts like he is going to pay him off but drives off. As they lie low, he continues to bug Masane about the photo. No matter how he looks at it, this Witchblade is her. He could sell this to a magazine so Masane pleads him not to. She doesn’t want Rihoko to know. Then they talk about Tozawa’s photography. He claims he blew it all on photography when he was young and naïve. But then the grim side of life had him start taking photos of reality instead. Suddenly they are attacked by an X-con. Strangely, Masane can’t transform. Cornered, she wants to make a deal. She wants Tozawa not to tell Rihoko about all this as she wants to tell her first. And also to hold out telling anybody else for a year. With that, Masane transforms and fights the X-con. However the X-con feels afraid and doesn’t want to die and flees. Rihoko is done shopping and stumbles into Reina. Why she keep looking at the loli?! Rihoko returns to Masane and they’re back being the usual happy mother and daughter.

Episode 9
Another murder from that X-con. That makes it 3 nights in a row. Of course with Tozawa being the hard worker and ‘smarter’ than any police officer, he realizes there is a connection between all these murders. They all happen at around 11.45pm and near broadcasting centres. With Masane, they go interrogate a witness who saw that murder. He describes what happened but he is left shaken in fear. Wow. Tozawa even doing the police’s job now?! Our hardworking Rihoko is also doing some shopping. She meets Reina again but they part soon. Then Rihoko meets that X-con in the streets. It’s like they become strange acquaintances as Rihoko hears him talk about his girlfriend and the home he would like to buy. They promise to meet again here tomorrow and this time she’ll make him lunch. That night, Tozawa and Masane lie in wait for the murder to happen. Masane senses an X-con nearby and goes into action. The woman is saved but the X-con once again flees. The duo then use the public info at the police station to look up data on this X-con, Takeshi Muraki. It seems he was a police officer and he died in the line of duty. WTF Nakata tells them to stop looking into this?! If he had only done his job! Then we see Rihoko hanging out with Muraki same time same place. Wow. Such a nice guy. Same time same place tomorrow too. And with lunch provided. Later Nakata talks to the duo that Muraki was his subordinate. The true story was that he committed suicide. He was a fan of this radio star named Sakura. He protected her from a deranged fan but she mistook him for a stalker and sued him. Muraki couldn’t take it and subsequently jumped off the building. Sakura later died in the catastrophe. The duo’s task is to ask Muraki himself. So that night as Masane intercepts him again, this time he is full of regrets and thinks he shouldn’t have come back alive. In order to force her to kill him, he attacks Tozawa. Masane is forced to protect him and deals the fatal blow. She is left puzzle to what X-cons are. Next day, Rihoko waits for Muraki but he never showed up. Must be busy. Oh well, at least she got mama to return to.

Episode 10
Tozawa has dug up some articles on Douji and it seems there are many parties trying to force their way to associate with them. That’s because they have the permit to create and export weapons. Now, it wouldn’t be so much of a story to that. But if those weapons are actually humans, then that’s something. Masane will try to ask Takayama about this while Tozawa will try looking into Neogenes from NSWF. Takayama notices that Masaya Wadou of the biotech division is organizing a party because he won some international science award. But he isn’t invited. What’s this about the invitation needs a partner too? Speaking of which, here Masane comes to ask about X-cons. Are they humans? Takayama doesn’t bat an eyelid to admit they are. Rather, they were. Dead humans turned into weapons. So isn’t that bad because it’ll cause war? Takayama reasons that weapons aren’t the cause of war. War will never end so they’re just trying to use ex-humans to save more lives and end the wars. Can’t say he is entirely wrong… Takayama also knows a reporter sneaking around with her. Being the bad liar she is, now that Tozawa’s existence is known, don’t worry, Takayama won’t kill to silence him. So he doesn’t mind a pesky bug snooping around? Of course. But Masane must pay a penalty and be his company to the party. Or would she rather pay a fine? And so he takes Masane to shop for some dress. Are they serious? Because it feels more like a cosplay try out. But we all know this elegant stunner is going to be the one. And with a little makeup and hair styling, OMFG, Masane could be Miss Universe! And so they gate crash the party and with Masane so stunning, you bet Wadou is letting this slide. Until you see her being excited with all the food! Takayama also notices the former Prime Minister here and connects the dots that Wadou has been sending funds to him. How else could he have won this award, right? With Masane so excited, she bumps and crashes into the trophy! Oh dear. Broken. How will she pay? Oh, she’ll pay. Wadou doesn’t think so but Takayama will help her. He will know the cost once he asks a certain man. With this being embarrassing, Wadou drops the monetary compensation to save face. But Takayama must settle this via vodka! It’s their way of settling things during their student years. Record has it that Wadou can hold his liquor so Takayama is at a disadvantage. But in the end, it is Wadou who collapses. After leaving, Masane can tell Takayama is actually drunk. Poker face did the trick. So they just sleep out there right in the park?

Episode 11
Maria kills another colleague during training. Yup, the fifth one. She is a Witchblade candidate and who knows what she’ll be capable of once she wears the Cloneblade. Takayama wakes up in Masane’s room. Rihoko being the real adult and treating him nicely. Oh Rihoko, she thinks Takayama makes a better husband for mommy than Tozawa! They should get married! Now the kid is a matchmaker?! I hope it’s not because of the money… Takayama calls Segawa about being late for today but the latter says not to come in because Wadou is here and he is pretty adamant in asking about Witchblade. Segawa hopes to avoid any sort of confrontation. Since Wadou can’t wait the whole day, he eventually leaves. As Rihoko goes out to do more errands, suddenly she collapses at the market. When Masane received word about this, she rushes out! Barefoot! And she doesn’t even know where the hospital is! Thanks to Takayama, he manages to summon a taxi to bring her there. It is believed a passing doctor manage to treat her before sending Rihoko to the hospital. She is diagnosed with some mile stomach inflammation so she’ll be staying here for at least a day for observations. Later Masane could sense a Neogene nearby and she is lusting to fight her. Takayama wonders why she is so eager and thought she was afraid of her Witchblade. She still is but she wants to leave something for Rihoko before she goes even if it means taking on jobs to fight Neogenes. So does she know? Masane fights Nora who is Furumizu’s secretary. The latter wants her to come with her to meet Furumizu but since Masane will not, hence they start fighting. Not sure why Takayama calls for backup to support Masane because they can’t even do jack sh*t! Eventually Masane loses and Nora kidnaps her. Tozawa has infiltrated NSWF as a researcher and to his shock, sees an unconscious and injured Masane being wheeled into a room. Rihoko sleeps at the hospital… Being stalked by Reina?!

Episode 12
Maria goes to see Furumizu who is her grandpa. However she throws a tantrum thinking he hates her because he isn’t paying attention to her. Well, between this spoilt brat and Rie Nishida doing important data extraction on Witchblade, what do you think? So Nora has to babysit her and take her out shopping. But she too throws a tantrum and almost kills a kid just because she took a plushie she wanted to buy! Nora threatens to kill Maria if she doesn’t restrain her behaviour! Segawa gets a call from Wadou who knows Takayama has lost Witchblade. He views this his failure and will bring it up at the next executive meaning. Stumped at how Wadou knows about Witchblade, Takayama has no choice but to resort to his next action. Nishida extracts Witchblade’s data and tells Furumizu some important details like Masane’s circumstances as well as the shocking data that Reina is no longer a match for the Witchblade. This has Furumizu think that Witchblade isn’t completed yet for choosing a plain woman. Nishida also notes they are completing Cloneblade with this data and it will soon be a more powerful weapon that surpasses the original. Tozawa tries to sneak in via dumpster but look who is there? Segawa! He is impersonating as the security and he too has plans of sneaking in. Of course not like Tozawa. He is glad Tozawa is here because if anything goes wrong, he can blame him! Tozawa manages to get into Masane’s room. But she is too weak to move. He tries to play the Rihoko card but that didn’t do much. All that screaming of course attracted the security. As told by Segawa, Tozawa says Douji will give her a million yen if she gets out here. And just like that she powers up and busts out! Oh man… Money > daughter?! She owns the security but when surrounded, that is when Takayama’s force surrounds them. A courtesy call by Takayama to Furumizu about his lie that he didn’t have Witchblade. Otherwise this could have been avoided or would he like another Null Point incident? Furumizu gives up and lets Masane walk. With that, Wadou is mad the meeting is cancelled and curses Takayama’s luck. With Rihoko discharged and reuniting with mommy, this calls for double celebration! But this is ruined when Sakurai shows up. No, she’s not here to take Rihoko away. Rather, she throws them a DNA report. It proves Masane and Rihoko are not genetically related! GASP!

Episode 13
Masane can’t accept this even with this proof. What’s this? Even Masane’s name is assumed? Well, she lost her memories, right? The irony is that Sakurai tried to separate them when they were a family. Now they are not, she is still trying to do the same thing. Sakurai wants her to think about Rihoko’s happiness and will return to get her tomorrow. After she leaves, Rihoko suggests they run away again. Good. Cho will help. Meanwhile Maria is throwing another tantrum and she doesn’t want to study. Hence Furumizu will reward her with what she wants if she becomes a perfect human. She wants mama, believing she will be loved by her. Okay. Whatever you say princess. She starts studying and this is just a ploy by Furumizu because he claims anybody can just be her mama. When Sakurai returns to take Rihoko, she is not impressed that everyone is playing dumb and not knowing where she went. The mother and daughter are seeking refuge on the boatman’s boat. He is Cho’s friend. Meanwhile Segawa has got info that Rihoko and Masane are not related. The real mother is… Reina! Why am I not surprised? As Masane goes to town to get money, she ponders what is best for Rihoko. Rihoko writes a letter for Cho and has the boatman’s dog to go deliver it. Unknown to them, Nora has been tailing to dog so it leads her right to the boat. She uses a gas to put everyone to sleep. But as she is about to take Rihoko, Reina comes to fight her. In the end, Nora loses and dies. Just in time when Masane returns to learn Reina is the real mother. Reina thinks Masane doesn’t care much about Rihoko and that is why she often exposes her to danger. Even during that day when she collapsed in town with a cold. Yes, it was Reina who sent her to the hospital. Although Rihoko is clinging onto Masane, the latter suddenly has a change of heart. She tells Rihoko to go with Reina and says the most hurtful things like how she is a bother and that she can do whatever she wants if she has no child to raise. Rihoko ‘understands’ and goes with Reina. A heart breaking parting and of course Masane cries after that. Rihoko being the smart girl did what she had to do because she knows as long as she is with Masane, mama cannot be free. Yeah, both kind-hearted people trying to be considerate to each other and nobody’s happy.

Episode 14
Rihoko is amazed with her new home. So spacious! Reina has bought her everything from toys to clothes. Feel free to have fun and play to your heart’s content. Even so, there seems to be a very strict separation of duties. Whenever Rihoko wants to help out, Reina declines her because it is not a kid’s job to do such things and that Reina can do it herself. No fun. But Rihoko being the obedient kid just does as she is told. Reina also keeps a log of being a mother. Nothing much happens until one day she starts to feel the pain in her hand. She knows that it has begun, Witchblade is destroying her. As Maria is making good progress and now even donning the Cloneblade, she now wants to about mama. Furumizu makes good his promise and gives details about Reina. Maria earnestly believes this is her mom. Tozawa and Cho are doing some hacking as they discover Neogenes all have the same father but different mothers. That is why they are referred to as sisters. Of course Tozawa sees Reina profile. With Masane sulking and not wanting to do anything anymore, Takayama reminds her of her contract. She doesn’t care too. Feel free to take back Witchblade and cut off her hand if you wish. Since this won’t do, he drags her into his car and will bring her back to her real hometown. Meanwhile Segawa calls him to inform that Wadou has called for a meeting and claims he will be successful with the Witchblade project. Takayama isn’t worried. He has failed once and there is nothing more he can do. My, confident is he? Takayama brings Masane to this orphanage where she was raised. He asks if he remembers the name Yasuko Oohara. Nope. That’s supposed to be her real name. Masane cannot remember anything at all from here. Oh look, that group photo. That must be her, right? I’m pretty confident it’s those boobs… Masane then asks about his family. It’s a concept alien to him since his mom died young and his father was always at work, leaving him alone. Hence when he saw Masane and Rihoko, he thought they were a real family. It makes Masane happy because Rihoko was everything she has. Time to troll us as they both embrace and comfort each other. Reina on the other hand starts to feel strange and tears start strolling down her eyes. Uhm, is this what is called motherly love?

Episode 15
Tozawa calls Masane to take Rihoko back as he explains Reina and the other sisters of NSWF are basically from the same father who is no other than Furumizu. Yeah, all the women are his wives, daughters and granddaughters. However Masane is reluctant seeing that she views herself as a monster. And if you compare Reina who is rich and a doctor, not to mention she saved Rihoko twice, what else does Masane have? Maria decides to go see Reina. Damn, this girl using her brute force to open the locked door?! I guess she never learnt about knocking. Her happiness in seeing her mama is short-lived since she sees Rihoko. Who this b*tch?! Technically, Rihoko should be Maria’s older sister! Reina can tell Maria is very dangerous and could be the next generation of Neogenes since her Cloneblade is unrecognizable. Reina trolls Maria to wait in the room while she escapes with Rihoko. But then Maria starts to get mad just thinking about Rihoko. That b*tch gonna die! So mad she transforms and starts her hunt. So powerful that it starts awakening and attracting several X-cons. Not sure where the f*ck Reina is driving too but her car gets stuck in the mud. She tells Rihoko to stay put while she goes to settle things. Luckily for Rihoko, Tozawa saw them driving by and has Rihoko jump into his car. Too bad, that is short-lived too as he crashes when a huge X-con blocks his way. As Masane senses a great bloodlust, she transforms and makes her way to Rihoko (does she know where to find her?) but has to slash all the X-cons along the way. Reina and Maria fight. Maria thinks mama hates her too and will kill her. Damn, this girl sure has personality problems. Although Reina is dealt a fatal blow, she manages to injure Maria. Great timing as NSWF is here to retrieve Maria. Seeing Reina has not much time left, they just leave her. Tozawa calms Rihoko down as he explains how Masane has been doing everything for her all the time. That is why he is certain she will come. And that’s the magic word as Rihoko hears mama calling for her and both mother and daughter emotionally reunite and embrace. Takayama sees Reina dying. She talks about the irony of all the research she has done her whole but yet understood nothing. But this last battle she fought, she felt satisfied. Though, unsure if it is because she is dying or because she protected Rihoko as a mother. Well, time’s up. Bye Reina :’(.

Episode 16
As promised, Tozawa has set up a few hot girls for Cho. That’s right, he is going on a beach vacation with them. However, to avoid Mariko’s pestering to pay up his rent, he invites everyone to come along and he’ll buy anything they want! Meanwhile Masane sees Takayama to get her dues but is then told a dark secret that she too may end up like Neogenes. Dead. He doesn’t want her to use it too much and go into battles too often. Because if she dies, Rihoko will be alone and she’s the only mother she’s got. That is when Segawa also reveals if she dies, Rihoko will become the next wielder of Witchblade. When Reina was pregnant, she showed high compatibility with it. That compatibility drastically reduced after she gave birth, proving that Rihoko is the one. Hence Masane is just warming up the seat until Rihoko is ready. Masane of course will not allow that and will kill anyone who dares touch Rihoko! Oh sh*t, did she just use Witchblade’s power?! But forget all that because now it’s time for some fun at the beach! Yeah! Beach episode! What’s this? A few girls trying to get Cho’s attention?! For real?! Not sure what they heard about being some rich hacker-cum-real estate-cum-athletic-cum-whatever other cool jobs. I think they’re all lies! But Cho in seventh heaven the way they’re all fighting over this old cock! Of course these girls are the colleagues of Kyouko Sasaki who is the editor in chief and Tozawa’s boss. Cho obviously going to have fun with these ladies but I guess nothing beats that dynamite body of Masane! YEAH! Don’t make those girls jealous… But soon, those ladies notice something amiss because if he is that rich, why doesn’t he have a yacht or own this hotel? Scammed? Then they notice Michael and realize he is the famous one. Hey, if he is that famous, why did they not recognize him in the first place?! So what is Michael famous for?! Well, they claim if you don’t know about him, you’re uncool! Just like that, Cho loses all the girls. Ah well, easy come, easy go. Yeah, the only girl he can count on his Rihoko! I hope he doesn’t turn into a lolicon! That night, everybody enjoys their own spectacular fireworks show.

Episode 17
Masane confronts Tozawa as she thinks he revealed her dangerous job to Rihoko. He assures he didn’t mention about her transformation so Rihoko might think she is working with the cops. He reminds her that he is sticking to his promise of not publishing tons of details on all this. But for now he is interested in Furumizu because of his obsession in using his genes on Neogenes. Masane doesn’t care, though. As long as he doesn’t touch Rihoko. Maria is now the obedient girl undergoing regular check-ups from the research. While it makes things much easier for Nishida, she thinks this project will hit a dead end since things will likely remain the same. She is stumped in why Furumizu is using his genes for this project because if he wanted to clone himself, he would’ve just done so. Ah yes, we need to be reminded again as we see Furumizu adoring his perfect father and he hints despising being born by his imperfect mother. As Tozawa researches on Furumizu, he realizes nothing is mentioned about his mom. He meets up with the autobiography author to ask why and is told his mom didn’t like the spotlight. All photos of her has been disposed except for 1 that was carelessly not. Tozawa then heads to the location in this photo to get his answers. Wadou holds a meeting with his executives to present his ultimate Witchblade called… Ultimateblade! Yeah. How special is it? Now men can wield it! Gender equality! He claims their profit will go up as much 150% but Takayama pours cold water on it. He might be able to sell 1 or 2 units and that’s about it. Because clients now want weapons that are powerful but to minimize casualties. People nowadays aren’t weapon enthusiasts and this is just academic foolishness. With Wadou losing again, you bet his office is going to be trashed hard. Tozawa returns to tell Masane about details on Furumizu’s mom. Apparently Furumizu hates his mom. Although his father was an exemplary scientist, his mom was a carefree person. It took his strict family 10 years to recognize this. Furumizu lived under the care of his mom and it is only when he became an adult his hatred started to show. In short, Furumizu’s body father any children. To him, this is like denying his existence. Hence that is why he is going to have Maria to become the perfect mother. She will give birth to a new corrected him that will leave behind descendants! Sick! So isn’t this some sort of mother complex too? Later Masane feels the presence of X-cons and calls Takayama about it. He senses something is wrong because all X-cons have been dealt with during Reina’s last moments. Maria looks like she sounds like she is going to start a rebellion. After all, they Neogenes are the chosen ones, right?

Episode 18
Nakata is investigating another murder site. He finds parts and traces them back to Douji. He confronts Takayama about this but he lacks the evidence to prosecute him. Meanwhile we see Masane splurging the cash on Rihoko, buying her stuffs. No money is wasted if it’s spent on her! On the other hand, Maria is now kinder and gives advices to her other sisters. Wow. She sure matured. Are you sure this is the same Maria? While Furumizu is pleased, Nishida isn’t because this is not what she wanted and the research will soon hit a dead end. Nakata receives an anonymous disc that shows a couple of people picking up pieces of the weapons in the aftermath. This same footage is now played all over the airwaves. He has his team analyse the data and even obtain a search warrant. It seems this info leak is made by Wadou’s department. It is his intention to pin it all on Takayama. When Nakata has gotten what he needs, he confronts Takayama again. This time his team confiscating any assets they deem appropriate as evidence. There is also a large protest outside. As Masane cannot contact Takayama, she is going to see him. Eh? Why is she worried for him? I see, can’t spend money on Rihoko if her source is cut off, huh? Douji’s executives meet and wonder how Takayama will take responsibility. Don’t worry, he has planned for all this. After Tozawa talks to Nakata, he realizes that nobody realizes the weapons originated from humans. This means he still has the edge in the scoop but notes Masane is in danger. When Masane arrives at Douji, she is brought to Wadou. Where’s Takayama? No longer around. He just gave a press conference that he is solely responsible for all this and immediately resigns. This means Masane’s new boss is Wadou. Segawa is now under him too. But Masane doesn’t like it. So she prefers Takayama? I think I can guess why. She tries to leave but Segawa reminds her that Rihoko will be in trouble if she cut ties with that. Yeah. It’s that buzzword. Although Takayama is taken away, Nakata is left frustrated because of a loophole in the law, with Takayama taking all the blame, the company is spared. Masane returns home and promises to always protect Rihoko. She sounds serious and why does this sound like a death flag?!

Episode 19
Masane in a suit and rushing to work? This makes Rihoko worry since mama looks like she doesn’t care about Takayama anymore. After all, Rihoko likes Takayama as he is a nice man. Wadou is relishing that he has finally defeated Takayama. He has his position, his secretary and even his woman. Perfect victory! Tozawa gives Masane a ride home and it seems this was requested by Rihoko. Kyouko is also here because she intends to do an interview on Takayama. She wants to find out what others think about him first. Masane may be a bit drunk as she talks a lot about his good points and his bad too. Wow. She awfully knows a lot about him. This makes Rihoko happy that she still cares for him. This means mama likes him, right? With Masane denying that, this descends into a quarrel and once again, it’s that time where their relationship is strained and won’t talk to each other. Yeah, 2 children fighting… Kyouko then talks to Masane how she was once like her too, putting everything for her daughter although it’s just one way street. Sometimes it’s okay to let your child pamper you. So Masane for that rare moment becomes an adult and talks to Rihoko that she wants to go see Takayama. While this might cause her to be fired, Rihoko thinks they can get by if they sell bento. Kyouko has an idea where Takayama is now so Tozawa drives Masane there to see him. Well, obviously he is depressed after being fired from a company he worked so long. The usual quarrel. She tries to leave but he won’t let her. Kiss. Another kiss! Must be so romantic kissing in the rain? Because Segawa has been giving weird advice, Wadou fears that Takayama might return. Hence he is going to send his previous secretary, Yagi (who is now experimented on as an X-con) to eliminate the threat. Next morning, Masane can tell Takayama is Rihoko’s father. But he will not reveal it to his daughter as it would be awkward at this point. Masane then detects a threat and protects Takayama. She changes into Witchblade to fight Yagi. However he is too powerful and has her cornered. Wishing for more power, she becomes Super Saiyan with extra power and extra speed to kill Yagi. She realizes her Witchblade is cracking but pretends it is nothing. Furumizu has another successful operation to take his genes for the next generation of sisters. He wants to thank Maria and will give her anything. In that case, she wants power. She stabs him and kills off the other researchers! Furumizu thinks he will be reborn again but Nishida reveals she didn’t use his genes. He is shocked and becomes unsightly in trying to take back his gene samples but Maria kills him for good. Maria lets Nishida live since she still has uses. Nishida believes Maria is already perfect.

Episode 20
Maria has taken over the top of NSWF with Aoi as her aide. Of course, in order to secure full power, she will eliminate all those she perceives as a threat and that includes the first generation of sisters. Nishida reports that she has made it known that Furumizu died in an explosion. She knows she must not slip up or Maria will have her head. Then a panic call from Wadou because his Ultimateblade has been defeated. He fears Takayama will come for his head. Nishida isn’t panicking yet and thinks of using this in her favour. Looks like Takayama has changed his mind and decides to be Rihoko’s father. Hence Masane happily tells Rihoko that daddy has a special arrangement for 3 of them tomorrow. Oh Cho, he is sad because he wanted to become Rihoko’s father???!!! Next day, only Rihoko turns up and passes a letter from mama to Takayama. She claims she has an urgent job but from the letter, he can tell it’s just a ploy to leave him alone with his daughter. Have fun. So the only way a rich guy knows how to treat a kid is to let her ride in his private speedboat, shop at an expensive boutique and dine at a fancy high class restaurant. Money not a problem. Takayama’s poker face coming in handy because he feels he doesn’t know how to handle this. Similarly, Rihoko thinks he is mad. But when she learns the truth, she is relieved and teaches him how to smile! What. The. Heck? Masane who has been spying on them all day has been busted. The trio then have fun together in this family outing. On the way back, Masane is confident of leaving Rihoko to him. Suddenly an Ultimateblade attacks. It is trying to pry Witchblade from her. Because Witchblade is trying to get Rihoko, Masane will not allow this and claims she can fight. Hence she transforms into Witchblade and finishes off her opponent. Though, cracks all over her are now obvious. Rihoko has seen all this but she is not scared of her. Because mama is still mama. Nishida watching this is not pleased that Witchblade possesses more power than her Ultimateblade. It sounds like a death flag as Masane wants Takayama to take care of Rihoko before collapsing.

Episode 21
Masane is hospitalized and she claims she is okay and wants to go home. Takayama knows that the effects of the Witchblade are starting to kill her. Wadou is not pleased with Nishida’s failure although she manages to recover some data on Witchblade. Wadou will seek the government’s intervention and this will allow them to hunt for Witchblade open in public. Masane returns home so the rest decides to prepare a party for her to recover. Tozawa knows something is wrong with Masane and tries to bug Takayama about it but he isn’t saying anything. Heck, he even lets the reporter follow him around and do what he wishes. They return to Douji since Takayama wants to get data on Witchblade. Damn, this research place no security?! Takayama meets a few staffs who was dismissed. It seems the weapons Douji sold started malfunctioning. They wanted to recall to investigate but higher ups refused to listen. Looking at the data, Takayama notices the time of malfunction is similar to when Witchblade was in action. As both are connected, this means the more Masane uses Witchblade, the faster she’ll die. Tozawa learns this and is not happy. Is there a way to take it off? Well, if there was a way, it should have been off by now. The only way out is death. Meanwhile Masane tries to force and pry off Witchblade. Nothing works. Damn, even the crusher machine fell apart!!! I don’t know if I should laugh! Well, if she was really that desperate, she could cut off her hand… Masane realizes that Witchblade will still be around if she dies. This means Rihoko will be next. Her plan is to take Witchblade with her. As Takayama is going to stay back and do some detailed analysis, he wants Tozawa to take care of the women. So heads back just in time as everyone beings their party. Better hurry or Masane will eat everything up! Since Tozawa has learnt the truth, is he in any mood to party? Oh well, can’t be a spoil sport. He joins in as Masane suggests taking group photos. This one will last forever, right?

Episode 22
Aoi is making all the sisters fight each other intensely. Because the strongest one is then chosen for the next mission. Yup, always have to be the crazy looking one. Asagi is introduced to Maria who then gives her the permission to wield Cloneblade. Tozawa talks to Masane and learns about her impending death. But she isn’t afraid because she knows Rihoko will be in the safe hands of her real father. I don’t think that’s the answer Tozawa is looking for. Takayama has found the source in X-cons that makes them abnormally react to Witchblade. He has his team scramble to disable this feature. Wadou and Nishida are blaming each other. Both have the same idea that once they get the Witchblade, they’ll eliminate the other. Masane takes Rihoko to the park and they have a lovely picnic. But damn, this feels like Masane’s death flag as she starts talking about heaven! Rihoko not really understanding this but then it gets worse as Masane hugs her and claims she won’t see her anymore. However she’ll still be around and hopes she won’t forget her. At the same time, the news reports that a few X-cons have escaped from the facility. The police is ordering everyone to evacuate. Tozawa sees through this as he knows this is just a ploy to hunt down Witchblade. He stops Masane from trying to go into battle alone. Yeah, she was telling Rihoko to go home herself! However Masane can’t resist the temptation to fight. She transforms into Witchblade and heads off to do X-cons massacre. This is when Rihoko starts to see the picture. Realizing mama will die, she starts to scream in sadness. Tozawa can only carry her back. Witchblade causing so much damage, you’d think a war just happened! Meanwhile Wadou is in despair. With this failure, he thinks his position is done for. Yup, that’s all he cares about. Masane in the aftermath, still has thoughts on Rihoko as she makes her slow trek back home.

Episode 23
As Masane makes her way back, some cops thinks she is an X-con. Damn, are they gonna die? Wadou has pressed the panic button as he is screaming at Nishida to send more units. She is against the idea but looks like the guy has lost it. When Masane reaches back, everyone gets the biggest scare out of their lives thinking Witchblade has come for them. But after seeing Rihoko welcome her mama back and she reverts back to her human form, the residents are in shock that Witchblade is Masane. More woes for Wadou as the I-Weapons he sold to some Middle Eastern nation has gone berserk and are coming back to Tokyo on their own. If this happens, this will be a bigger scandal than this X-cons one. He is so desperate to get Takayama back and reinstate him if he must. He goes to even see that guy himself and to beg and do something about it. Okay. If you say so. But they’ll have to use Wadou’s name since he is the one in charge. Yeah, anything that happens they can just blame him, right? And just like that, Segawa also switches back to his old boss. Masane wakes up just in time to receive Takayama’s call. He tells about the 3800 I-Weapons heading towards Tokyo because they’re attracted to Witchblade. She too can tell since that feeling of Witchblade has been growing inside of her. Takayama and his team will do all they can with the lab units to help trim the numbers. All that’s left is for Masane is to spend some quality time with Rihoko first before she joins the rest of the apartment dwellers to evacuate the city. Masane leaves her with her bank account and a phone that contains Takayama’s number. In return, Rihoko gives her own handmade bottle pendant. Then it’s off to fight those robots. War has begun.

Episode 24
Masane aggressively takes out I-Weapons after I-Weapons. This also prompts Maria and her groupie to go out and fight the mindless waves of drones. Meanwhile Tozawa goes to see Kyouko to tell her the biggest scoop he has. No point keeping it a secret now, right? Rihoko escapes the evacuation centre so as to go see her mama. Damn, security not doing their job! Takayama and his men are using their remaining X-cons to blow up the next incoming wave of I-Weapons. Well, they did what they can. The rest is all up to Masane. Takayama is shocked to get a call from Masane. Turns out to be Rihoko. Know where mama is? He tries to tell the kid to get back to safety but after hearing explosions in the background, the worried father goes to look for her. Does he even know where? Masane now stumbles into Maria and co. Do they have time to fight each other? You bet. Because Maria wants her Witchblade. As Masane wounds Maria, Aoi gets upset and goes all out to kill Masane. Too bad her recklessness causes her to get killed. With Asagi mocking how empty everybody is, Maria kills her off. HUH?! Now Masane and Maria can fight to their heart’s content. Rihoko is hiding away from those I-Weapons. Why the f*ck are they targeting a loli?! Aren’t they supposed to be drawn to Witchblade?! Ah, but great timing because Masane could sense her daughter in danger and uses some power to draw them away. Now all the I-Weapons are gathering at the Tokyo Tower where Masane and Maria’s fight is taking place. Nishida who is so engrossed in watching all this gets run over by an I-Weapon! Good riddance. Wadou? Looks like he has regressed into a child. Maria still hell bent on taking Witchblade when she suddenly sees visions of Reina in Masane. Mama, do you love me? Was that all she wanted? This distraction allows Masane to kill her off. With all the I-Weapons gathering here, Masane does the ultimate sacrifice to take them all out with her. Sure, one last glimpse of Rihoko calling out to her. Don’t worry, Takayama is with her. In the end, it’s raining light seeds but Rihoko is happy as she catches mama’s seashell. Always keep smiling.

Bloodlust: The Lyin’, The Witchboobs & The War Dopes
Uhm, that’s it? It just ends like that? Oh well, at least it didn’t cause another great disaster and the second Null Point. But now I’ve got to ask if the Witchblade has been completely destroyed because if it wasn’t, Rihoko is screwed! If it was, it only shows that it wasn’t unbreakable after all. Imagine an explosion that is way less than the atomic bomb did the job in destroying the cursed gauntlet and saved future girls from becoming its bearer. So people, if you wanna destroy the Infinite Gauntlet, make sure it’s not a crusher machine but a mini explosion. Sure, you lose your life but think about all the lives you’ll be saving! Yeah.

Can’t say that I’m impressed with the storyline because it feels generic and not really that exciting. We just have a bearer of Witchblade trying to come to terms with her power as well as dealing with it and other parties who really want to take that away from her and at the same time trying to be a good mother and protect her most precious one. It’s nothing really special if you ask me and sometimes the whole story feels like one big wild goose chase because interested parties want to steal the Witchblade but ultimately they fail. Then they wait for a while before trying another attempt which also doesn’t yield their desired results. Are these people serious in getting the Witchblade or not? Oh right. They care about their public image more so I guess that’s that. In the meantime, Masane trying to bond with her daughter more than ever.

I read that one of the controversies surrounding this anime adaptation was the introduction of Masane as a new character. From what I read and understand, the anime adaptation is completely original from the manga adaptation of the same name. Although with the seemingly new story and new characters, it is still set in the same Witchblade universe. Not that I can tell anyway since I don’t even read the original comics. Hence Masane became a controversy to fans of the series because they created a new character to wield the Witchblade instead of one that has been established. From what I know, Shiori was one of the original characters from the manga and she has been reduced to a side character here and even killed off subsequently. Yeah, what a short-lived appearance to say the least. Not sure what happened to the controversy after that because I wasn’t interested to know more about it seeing that all I know is that this anime wasn’t really that good anyway so that’s the end of that.

As for the characters, I think most of them are miss than hits. Seeing that Masane also holds the moniker as the titular character, it is obvious that she is going to be the main character. I feel that half of the entire series tries to play out the mother and daughter role and perhaps pull our heartstrings into seeing Masane trying her best to provide the best (albeit not perfect) mother for her only child. Even if it is later revealed that they are not blood related, it shows that their bonding has been so strong that they’re as good as a real mother and child. One of those moments where blood isn’t necessarily thicker than water because as we’ve seen for a short period of time when Rihoko returned to her real mom, they were like freaking strangers. Uh huh. It’s like Reina doesn’t actually understand the real concept of what being a mother is and it just feels strange she is acting like a dummy. Yup. Got Rihoko back as my daughter. Plays motherly role strictly as per the book says. Like, WTF?! No wonder this mother and daughter combo was really forgettable and we’re more inclined to think that Masane and Rihoko play that role way better and made us forget that they’re not even blood related.

Of course the funny part watching the dynamism between Masane and Rihoko is that the roles are actually reversed. Rihoko despite being a loli is actually more responsible and mature compared to Masane who is clumsier and more carefree in her attitude. Makes you wonder who takes care of who, huh? The irony that we are actually more worried about Masane than Rihoko! Oh, that little girl will be fine by herself. Even if she goes into a dangerous alley alone and unarmed. But Masane, oh she’s a different case altogether. You’ll worry if she can make it out of her bathroom in one piece! Yeah. Sounds exaggerated but that’s our main sentiment for her. But at the end of the day even if Masane isn’t anywhere near capable as Rihoko, their mother and daughter relationship also pulls some heartstrings since at the back of our minds we’ll be having grim thoughts that one day all this will come to an end. And that’s why both are living their lives out as they want. More of that as you see the next episode preview is either narrated by Masane or Rihoko, writing to each other and pouring out their heartfelt feelings and thoughts.

The only thing that boggles me was how Masane and Rihoko became a pair. If Masane was said to have a different persona before the incident, and that she lost her memories and her current identity was given by the government, how did Rihoko ended up as her daughter anyway? How did Reina who was pregnant with Rihoko, lost her daughter in the first place? Sure, the maternity passbook said so but I believe that is all made up, right? By how? Why? The government can’t be so stupid to assign them together and then try to separate them, right? Or maybe they are. And how did Rihoko ended up with that Amaha surname if it was supposed to be Takayama, her real father? Given that fake name to hide her or what? Because it is only much later they found out that Witchblade is waiting for Rihoko to become ready so it can’t be somebody having such foresight in the earlier parts of the anime. Or was it somebody’s devilish scheme to pair Rihoko with Masane the Witchblade wielder because once the latter dies, the former will be immediately be ripe for the picking. Don’t see any character that fits this role anywhere here! Am I missing something somewhere? The plot twist here sure feels confusing now that I am thinking too much about it!

Having said that, there isn’t anything much about the Witchblade itself. What I mean is that I was expecting this Witchblade gauntlet thingy to have at least more prominence but it just doesn’t feel so. Perhaps they don’t want to bore those who are already familiar with the lore and other settings pertaining to the Witchblade. So this Witchblade feels like whenever the scene needs that obligatory action and fanservice combo, hence the activation to turn Masane into some dark vampire empress or something. Heh. It’s just here to make Masane do some conscious weighing options of either choosing ecstasy or ruin with it. And here I thought it would finally gain a sentient mind of its own and speak to the puny humans how it was going to destroy all of mankind. Heh. It’s a good thing I wasn’t the scriptwriter!

Takayama, this guy is very capable beneath that stoic and poker face he puts up. Not sure if he was born with that kind of face or it froze up while he was growing up. Sometimes I feel that at the end, he’s just like the insurance and consolation trophy that Masane leaves for her daughter. That’s why those cheesy romantic scenes of Masane with Takayama. Uh huh. Just feeling weird when you have very different characters put together. I know opposite attracts but they don’t even as hell click together. Only by the basis that they are employer-employee status. So yeah, their moment together feels weird and forced just to lead up to the finale. Even weirder when I start thinking if Rihoko is going to call Takayama as papa or continue by his surname. Imagine calling your daddy that. Both equally weird. And what’s this about Tozawa being the third wheel in the love triangle? Man, actually I didn’t even feel it that way even though I had a hunch he would have a crush on her. He certainly doesn’t show it either so I’m thinking he is helping her so much not because he wants to get the scoop but because he also likes her. But like I said, I never felt all that from him and hence no such obvious romance factor. In the final, it’s like he is trying to redeem himself by telling all the misunderstood people that Masane is not a monster. Her tits yes but not her character. Okay, jokes aside, I feel this didn’t even really matter or help his case because it’s not like I see the people around care anyway.

Wadou serves to be one of those loser antagonist because right from the start you can see how arrogant he is and the way he treats others. Thus whatever happens to him in the end is just desserts. A fate far worse than death. A character like him would definitely make us feel more supportive of Takayama than this douchebag, right? Then there is Furumizu whom I feel was just there for the uninspiring plot twist. His true goal feels like a side distraction that doesn’t matter and he died pathetically without even putting on a fight. Yeah, I was thinking he would turn into the Hulk or something for the final battle but they killed him off. Maybe for character, it is a good thing. At least he doesn’t have to further humiliate himself and be hated like Wadou. As for Segawa, I have this feeling that he could be a backstabber or double agent because sometimes they show his suspicious actions. Turns out nothing of that sort and he was just trying to be a good secretary. He manages to keep his cool and professionalism as we see him work for both a good and bad boss. This is what most of us hope to be when facing such bosses, right? No. Okay. Whatever.

Then there is Maria who also feels underutilized. I thought she was brought up so she would be the final antagonist for Masane to go head to head with. You know, Witchblade vs Cloneblade epic finale. And look how this turned out? Ever since that turning point of being disappointed with mommy Reina, she has mellowed down a lot. Even killing Furumizu by her own hands felt forced and then after that she’s just like quietly playing CEO of NSWF that don’t even matter to the rest of the story. Poor girl, all she wanted was just mama’s love and she thought Witchblade was her answer. Well, you get the love that you give. Even Aoi and Asagi feel underutilized and my guess is that they’re there just to make it look like Maria has got some lackeys of her own. Is it me or do I not see Asagi once in action?! Making this Neogene pretty redundant. Good thing they just unceremoniously killed her off.

Not sure if I should be feeling disappointed with some of the apartment residents but I can only blame myself for expecting too much. I understand Cho is a funny and interesting character because aside from being some sort of genius underground hacker, this old dude is actually the liveliest of the pack. He is funny in his own ways and it’s like despite his aging body, his soul is actually decades younger! My guess is that the apartment residents are there so that Masane and Rihoko won’t feel lonely and that not the entire world is against them. You have Naomi who is some sort of diviner but she only divines gloomy stuffs. There is all there is to her! Worse, I thought this Michael dude could be some X-con in disguise due to his large size but he’s just a character with no dialogue. Gentle giant. WTF is he even famous for?! There goes my own twist that they may be spies or X-cons. Mariko? Somebody needs to play the b*tch character. Although she is more brash and has a sharp tongue, she is actually kind-hearted beneath that chubby exterior.

If there is one thing I would like to complain about this series, it is its animation quality. Many times, there are scenes that just feel like they downgraded a lot until it all seems like low quality. Especially the action scenes. The quality takes a dip and it’s like they just want to do a quick job on it. Even more so in non-action scenes, the characters sometimes look funny and that is not in a good way. I’m sure they want to attract attention of a certain demographic viewers and that’s why Masane has such huge ungodly tits. I hope Null Point didn’t mutate them and made them grow bigger! And whenever she transforms into Witchblade mode, I find it weird that in this semi-naked form, her ass is exposed! It’s like she is fighting naked if you look at her from a certain angle. This anime is done by veteran anime studio Gonzo who probably had better animation quality in their other works like Samurai 7, Full Metal Panic, Rosario To Vampire, Gantz and Seto No Hanayome.

As for the action scenes, they just feel passable and nothing really that exciting. But as said, because of the animation quality, it makes the whole thing look inferior. Even more so when they make this Witchblade character so overpowered and that nothing can literally defeat her. Not even those Neogenes, Cloneblade, Ultimateblade or whatever they call it nowadays. Like as though they are there to be taken down by Witchblade and add to her body count. Heh. As compensation, here, have a look at her orgasmic face each time she gets her thrill of the blood.

I guess one of my only consolations is to hear the great Mamiko Noto helming the role of Masane. Like as though this has made up (sort of) for all the cameo and side character roles that she has been doing a lot lately. Therefore it’s nice to hear her in a consistent main character role and it’s good to know that she hasn’t lost her touch and sounded the same as she is now and as she was then. Oh wait… I just realized this… DID THEY KILL OFF ANOTHER MAMIKO NOTO CHARACTER!! AT THE VERY LAST MINUTE!!! OMFG!!! Sighs. Looks like I have to live with this trauma if I am ever going to watch all her featured series. Other recognizable seiyuus include Rikiya Koyama as Takayama, Nana Mizuki as Maria, Shizuka Itou as Shiori and Kenichi Suzumura as Segawa. The other casts include Akemi Kanda as Rihoko (Ryou in Clannad), Masaya Matsukaze as Tozawa (Ren in Jigoku Shoujo), Kazuhiro Nakata as Wadou (Ron in Outlaw Star), Shouto Kashii as Cho (Tadataka in Gunparade March), Maiko Itou as Mariko (Eldegard in Planets), Mie Sonozaki as Reina (Hazuki in Happy Lesson), Shinji Ogawa as Furumizu (Milch in Nodame Cantabile), Mika Itou as Naomi (Miki in Aishiteruze Baby) and Sakiko Tamagawa as Nishida (Natsumi in You’re Under Arrest).

The first opening theme, Psychic Lover by XTC is a high octane rock piece and although not really my favourite, but it fits the pace of the series. Because come the second opening, Dear Bob by Koologi sounds more like WTF!!!!!!! It really throws you off pace when you have lyrics that go, “Hey mama, father, walking down the street in a Babylon”. HUH???!!! Even the rock music feels so frantic and at a chaotic pace. Then they mash it up with scenes from the series especially from Masane, it makes it all one helluva weird experience. Does not match the series at all! Feels more like a joke than anything else. Truly, could be one of the weirdest anime songs I hear for the year! That’s why I feel that for the final episode, they reverted back to Psychic Lover so as not to make the last episode feel so out of place with this joker song. Thank goodness. The first ending theme is Ashita No Te by Mamiko Noto. Well, the song isn’t that bad and although my stereotype of Mamiko Noto is that she isn’t particularly a good singer, she doesn’t sound all that bad here. It just reminds me of Enma Ai singing, that’s all. Ironically, still better than the second ending theme, Kutsu Himo by Asami Yamamoto. This lively pop rock piece feels out of place. At least, not that I can imagine it fits this kind of genre. The final episode’s ending theme, Kodou ~Get Closer~ by Psychic Lover sounds more bearable as this slow rock gives the ending to the series a bittersweet taste.

Overall, this series just feels mediocre. I’m only here for Mamiko Noto and that’s the only factor that doesn’t really disappoint me as I leave this series for good. Otherwise, I’m sure fans of the Witchblade series will have something more negative to say about this adaptation and thus they bait you by having sexy Witchblade and other skimpily dressed female fighters in mediocre action. Hey, isn’t the original comic covers of Witchblade as sexy too? With this negative bias of mine, it is probably the biggest excuse for me not to go take a look at Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers. Yup, Japan got that Marvel franchise animated too. And of course, Mamiko Noto not really in there so I’ll pass it up forever. Just like Rihoko moving on in life, I’ll be moving on to my next Mamiko Noto series… Is this my ecstasy or ruin?

Koroshi Ai

9 July, 2022

Imagine if Saber was an assassin. Sorry if that confused you but I’m not talking anything about the Fate series either. I know, the main character looks so much like her so I had to quip that. Anyway, what happens when assassins on contract fight and fall in love with each other? That’s what Koroshi Ai is seemingly about. Trying to keep love and your job apart seems like an impossible task. Till death do us part? I’m just wondering if they do end up surviving each other’s assassinations and marry each other, will they become something like that American Hollywood movie, Mr & Mrs Smith?

Episode 1
Song Ryang-ha and Chateau Dankworth stumble into each other during a mission. They both try to fight each other but Ryang-ha gets the better of her. His next move surprises her because she thought he is going to kill her but he takes out his phone to take pictures of her and wants to know her name. Confused, he tells her straight that he is flirting with her. Over the few scenes, we see Ryang-ha really a pesky stalker trying to get Chateau’s attention! She must be really one patient woman… Chateau is a bounty hunter for the agency, Ritzland. Her boss is Euripides Ritzland and they go to see a client who wants them to take out their target: Ryang-ha. You see, Ryang-ha has a very scary reputation as a hitman and there was a mission he killed 18 top brass in a single night. Hence there are many bounties on his head. Euripides and Chateau later ponder if they should take on this job. Though, Chateau claims she has set her sights on another target. After Euripides is distracted with a call, Ryang-ha has been waiting to speak to her. So they change place and she asks why he is pursuing her. Is he mocking her? He finds that offensive and just wants to get her attention. She tries to attack but again, he gets the better of her. Ryang-ha is willing to give details of that target in exchange she dates him on Christmas Eve. And so we see her do just that (albeit she purposely showed up late so as to make him give up but he actually waited…) and this date is like on and off. She is not really impressed with him but is forced to play by his rules because if he doesn’t consider this a date, then the deal is off. At the end of that day, he sees her off at the station. Euripides who is walking by, is shocked to see them together. Before she leaves, he hugs her and claims only she smells nice. Scent of others pukes him. Perhaps he gone a bit too far as he tries to touch her face but she slaps his hand away. Flashback 17 years ago in some countryside, a taxi driver found dead in his seat but a young Chateau found sleeping soundly in the back.

Episode 2
On the phone, Ryang-ha guides Chateau to a storage where a dead body of her target is kept. Oh, there’s a woman alive tied up there too so please take care of her too. As Chateau is about to leave, Euripides calls her and needs her to return quickly. He also tells her to forget about Ryang-ha because their client is the son of a mafia group and he just got hit by Ryang-ha! Boy, news sure travel fast, huh? As Chateau drives along, she gets ambushed by a biker guy. WTF, did she really let her guard down?! He fires into her tyres and this causes her car to go out of control. I don’t know, she crashes into him and although he is okay, I thought this scene was dumb. To avoid the oncoming truck, Chateau swerves off the cliff. She survives but too bad for that woman. Ryang-ha knows something is wrong because his call to Chateau keeps ringing. Normally she would’ve just cut the call. Chateau tries to run from that biker dude. But it’s raining and she slips. Whoops. Then he beats her up just to make her sit still. Ryang-ha investigates the scene as he tries to put the pieces together. He calls Chateau. Biker dude answers. Ryang-ha hears rain and fires a gunshot. Since he can also hear this in the phone, he believes she is nearby. Biker dude tells Chateau to give Ryang-ha a message: It’s time to face the music, traitor. Then he shoots the phone. By the time Ryang-ha finds her, the culprit is gone. He brings her back to his place to nurse her. With her fever burning up, I guess it’s not a good time to be a romantic. She tells what happened including describing the guy having a tattoo on his left cheek. He admits he messed up since he didn’t see this unforeseen circumstances. Ryang-ha examines the bullet from the phone and tries to recall of any guy he knows with such tattoo.

Episode 3
Chateau takes a shower and realizes her clothes are gone. Should she be more appreciative that Ryang-ha took them to the laundromat to dry them? Guess not. After they part ways, she tells him the message the biker dude left for him. Ryang-ha thinks he knows who. So flashback 5 years ago, Hou was not happy as he complained to Seung Woo about Ryang-ha getting promoted. He cried favouritism, blah, blah, blah. Seung Woo talks to Ryang-ha and gives him some advice like there’ll be people after him. He hopes both of them can get along and has arranged dinner to celebrate his promotion. However Ryang-ha apologizes he can’t make it and shot him! Euripides is mad but he can’t stand to see Chateau bowing her head and keep apologizing. Although she’ll compensate for the car, he wants to know if she is in contact with Ryang-ha. She won’t say that too. She leaves for home and guess who is waiting outside? Yup. Ryang-ha. Don’t want him to wait forever outside even if she shuns him, she is forced to let him in. He sees a picture of her with people whom he thinks are her parents. When asked, of course she won’t tell. She isn’t much of a conversationalist and only tells him her agency knows she is in contact with him. But Ryang-ha isn’t worried. Because her boss shouldn’t be able to get in between them and since they’re making a profit off him, either they’ll continue to use him or get rid of him. Chateau doesn’t understand why he is putting his own life at risk. What does he stand to gain from this? Wasn’t she paying attention? I thought he loves her? Or am I reading this the wrong way? He throws the same question back at her. Because he believes that she too wants something from him and is using him. If she had truly wanted to reject him, she would have used any means to get rid of him. So is he implying she is in love with him too?! A phone call but it is voice recorded. It is mom. She hopes Chateau can come home in time for father’s death anniversary. Ryang-ha then leaves. He warns her not to let strangers in as there are bad people out there. The cheek to say that… Oh, I assume he was referring to himself…

Episode 4
While Chateau visits the grave of her father, Abel, Euripides visits her mom, Anna. Their fathers know each other and often visited here. Euripides is here to ask something like why Chateau took up this profession. She thinks she is looking for something. It’s time Anna tells the truth since they have taken everything from Chateau. Chateau is not pleased that Ryang-ha is at the church. So much free time, huh? He continues to shoot down his requests to go out with him when they detect a few assassins outside. Of course all are easily taken out by Ryang-ha as he interrogates the last one. It seems they are targeting Chateau but didn’t expect Ryang-ha to be here. Ryang-ha realizes too late that Chateau is gone. She comes face to face with that biker dude who is Hou. She is forced to surrender as he is holding the nun hostage. When she tries to trick him and tasers him, he feels nothing because the drugs he took killed his nerves. He then knocks her out. Too late again for Ryang-ha when he arrives. He calls Chateau and Hou picks up. Hello. Remember me? Time for the flashback 17 years ago after Abel found little emotionless Chateau in the backseat of the taxi. She identified herself as Chateau Noble and immediately Abel took her with him. Every day he has Chateau eat lunch with his wife while he carries out the investigation. Past and current records show there was no such person named Chateau Noble. Chateau was taken to an orphanage and eventually the case went cold. After Abel retires, he finds Chateau still not used to the orphanage so he officially adopts her and hence she became Chateau Dankworth. The biggest puzzle was the dead taxi driver. The only identity on him was an Italian passport. His name was Song Ryang-ha and like Chateau, there were no other records of him that proved he existed. Ryang-ha meets up with Hou and they start their death game. Ryang-ha obviously better but Hou won’t go out without a fight. That includes playing dirty by setting off the bomb in the car Chateau is held in.

Episode 5
Hou is definitely out for revenge over Seung Woo’s death. Ryang-ha is way better than him so Hou plays cheat by setting off the bomb. Luckily for Chateau, she was already awake and managed to drag herself out of the car before it goes boom. Too bad, shrapnel caught in her leg. Hou is gunning for a second round. Desperate dude charges with his knife. WTF why didn’t Ryang-ha just shoot him in the head? See, he manages to stab his side before he dies. Yeah, short flashback how Seung Woo took Hou in from the streets probably because he too was from the same background. Ryang-ha manages to find Chateau and is relieved she is alive. Noting her injured leg, he carries her. No time for her to be embarrassed because she also notices his bleeding trail. Once he puts her in his car, he faints. Chateau then contacts Jim (Euripides’ office boy assistant) for help and so Ryang-ha gets treated by some back alley doctor. Ryang-ha wonders Chateau’s next move so he tries to entice her by coming with him and her life will be much easier. She won’t take the bait and even has arranged a car for him to get away. This allows Ryang-ha to tease her how much she cares for him. 3 weeks later, Ryang-ha calls her. Chateau has been suspended ever since and Euripides keeping tabs on her. He knows her suspension ends today and that Euripides won’t tell her today’s mission for fear of being in contact with him. But don’t worry, he is going on a trip. After the call ends, Chateau remembers this morning’s dream. There was this strange man who came into her room and covered her mouth when she was young. Euripides, Chateau and Jim will be going on a voyage on this luxury liner. Of course this is for work as they are to protect an influential financier who has ties with many bigwigs and politician. And he is related to Euripides. Oh, you bet Chateau is going to be surprised because Ryang-ha is also on board.

Episode 6
So the client they’re guarding is no other than Euripides’ wife, Hawke. She’s a business prodigy and a gorgeous woman to boot. No wonder Jim so jealous. Gonna drink till he pukes? Can he drink while on the job? While this is also surprising for Chateau, the biggest surprise is here: Ryang-ha. She takes him away to talk. What’s the deal? He hints his target is her client but makes a proposal that he will not do anything as long as she watches him. Is that an indirect way of saying date me and nobody dies? In the end, Chateau contacts her boss about it and so they’re keeping Ryang-ha on 24/7 surveillance in his room. With Euripides watching via remote camera, Chateau guards him in person. You bet Ryang-ha is going to spew some lame pickup lines and come cheeky ones too. So if you’re hoping that something steamy will happen between them tonight, be a disappointed cat. Chateau who is sleep deprived easily falls asleep so Ryang-ha things she really must trust him that much. Next morning, Ryang-ha notes how Chateau stood out too much because she was in her suit. Hence an excuse to get her a really beautiful gown to match her beauty. Stunning, isn’t she? After that, Euripides calls her to tell that they will get a couple of helpers do help with the job. He also wants to speak to Ryang-ha. First, he assures they are not targeting him but that may change depending on the circumstances. Then he asks if the name Chateau Noble rings a bell because Chateau herself has no recollections of her past. He hopes they can meet up tonight and talk about this. So as Euripides waits for him, pondering the need to know Ryang-ha’s true intentions as well as knowing the truth about Chateau, he is approached and attacked by someone. Chateau and Jim realize Ryang-ha and Euripides have gone missing at the same time. Boss not replying them. Oh sh*t. Somebody stuck a knife in his throat!!!

Episode 7
We see a young kid, Won Jinon approaching Euripides and stuck his knife in his jugular. When Chateau tries to contact him, she is surprised Ryang-ha picked up and told her to call for help. She quickly jumps to conclusion that it was him who did it. Ryang-ha then spots Jinon and chases after this crazy kid but damn, he can evade bullets?! Jinon is too quick for him to catch. Chateau’s fear comes true as she sees Euripides’ state. Luckily he is able to eke out that this was not Ryang-ha’s doing and that she is not to blame before passing out. A helicopter flies Euripides to the nearest hospital as Hawke and Jim accompany him. As Chateau ponders her next move, she stumbles into Jinon. Then she returns to Ryang-ha’s room and points his gun at her. He can tell from her wobbly hands that she has met Jinon. What did he say? Flashback shows Jinon played a recorder that showed somebody is at her mom’s place and possibly holding her hostage. This is to make negotiations easier and he wants her to sell Ryang-ha to him. However she declines because she doesn’t have that ability. However Jinon cannot accept that. He has used a lot of resources to set this up and she must get it done by hook or by crook. Or does he need to stab someone else in the neck to get her moving? Hence Chateau is to hand him over when the ship docks at the next port. Ryang-ha says that he will always be on her side no matter what. However Chateau is overcome with depression and is not thinking straight. She is further confused with Ryang-ha’s goodwill to help her. After all, he already saved her from danger twice. Her logic is that if she kills herself, others around her will not have to be put in danger. Thankfully Ryang-ha is faster than her finger pulling the trigger to her head. Ryang-ha is not impressed. This won’t do for him. Hence he strangles her to black her out. Not feeling up to dying now, huh? But uhm, you sure you want to kill her? We see Donald “Donny” Bachmann anticipating a few troubles Jinon encountered since this is his first job but Jinon’s brother, Mifa isn’t very happy. Flashback shows Ryang-ha was taken under the care of Donny. Hence Ryang-ha admires him a lot and studied as much as he can to be of use to him one day. And that one day, Donny has a job for him.

Episode 8
Flashback a young Chateau was crying in the taxi nonstop. In order to calm her down, the taxi driver tries to talk to her and introduces himself as Song Ryang-ha. Euripides is recuperating in hospital. As Jim drives back to the port, a biker, Tom goes up to him and shoots him in the head! Tom contacts Donny about the need to finish off Euripides but is told to find Chateau. Jinon is surprised that Ryang-ha obediently decides to come with him. He takes him to Nikka who will bring him to their boss. Ryang-ha learns their boss is Donny but claims he doesn’t know that guy. This has Nikka get rough with him as he thinks he is playing dumb. He heard a lot about Ryang-ha from his previous colleague who is no other than Hou. He thinks Ryang-ha is scheming something because why in the world would Donny be so obsessed with him? Ryang-ha continues to assert he doesn’t know that guy and with repeated warnings from Jinon to not mess with his prey, Nikka backs down but not before he gives him a smack in the head. Nikka promises not to do any more funny stuffs since obviously Jinon was prepared to kill him had he continued with this charade. Nikka knows Ryang-ha isn’t an ordinary dude. He intended to hit him on his blind side but he reacted fast enough to get hit on his temple instead. Jim is still alive as he finds Chateau inside a dumpster. As he brings her out, she notices his injury. He explains he was attacked. Wait. Did Tom miss at point blank?! Jim’s injury was because of the glass shard. Failure as a hitman not to even make sure the body is dead! Jim was able to track Chateau thanks to her phone’s GPS. Chateau has Jim hide as Tom approaches her. He needs her to stick with him for a while but Jim springs a surprise attack by throwing a chair at him via the window. Damn, is Jim that strong?! Or is Tom’s reaction just the worst? Chateau is able to pump a few bullets into him but short of killing him. His phone rings. A call from father AKA Donny. As he is not picking up, Donny knows something is amiss. But that will wait as Jinon and Nikka bring a blindfolded and cuffed Ryang-ha in.

Episode 9
Donny talks about his role in life of taking children born in prison who have been branded as criminals from birth. He gives them a new life and a new name. Hence Ryang-ha is one of the many children under his wing. Since this is Donny’s first meeting with Ryang-ha, it is hinted that he is the imposter. But Donny is stumped because all of the records from academic to medical history are exactly the same. So why does he take this identity so badly? All Ryang-ha has to say is to insult him as a breeder. This has Jinon wanting to kill him but Nikka stops him and punches him. Nobody gave him the right to kill their guest. Since it’s getting late, they’ll continues this tomorrow. Meanwhile Chateau and Jim manage to get away via dump truck. They interrogate Tom and he is willing to give details to Donny’s place because it’ll be much easier for them to give up and go there. Chateau then has 2 requests of Jim: She wants him to add some security for her mom. Also, she wants to quit the agency. Of course Jim will not allow the latter because it involves a huge amount of paperwork. So get your ass back to the office when you’re done! Chateau then goes solo, driving towards Donny’s place. Nikka keeps watch on Ryang-ha and knows he has some pick to free himself. He waits for that moment for them to just duke it out. Ryang-ha falters due to an old wound from Hou. However other guards aren’t so lucky as Ryang-ha kills them. As he gets away, short flashback shows that the taxi driver named Ryang-ha was talking to him in the next seat. Nikka gets bored tormenting a weakened Ryang-ha and hints of an intruder. Indeed. Chateau ramming her truck through. You mean the stupid guard just stood there and got rammed?! Perhaps this gave Ryang-ha some life as he sees the security control room, Chateau running about. Chateau runs from the snipers who have orders not to kill her. She notes the irony that Ryang-ha popping up at times she never wanted him to. And now she wants him, he is nowhere! Oh sh*t. You really wished that? When she gets pinned down by a sniper, she is set free again because here is Ryang-ha. You happy your wish came true?

Episode 10
WTF?! Ryang-ha and Chateau are now living with George, a homeless guy who speaks Mandarin under the bridge?! Temporary hiding, I guess. Surprisingly, Ryang-ha has her to thank for. He actually had given up and thought of really dying back then. Nothing like the love spark of your life to give you back the spark of life, eh? Meanwhile Donny interrogates Nikka for letting Ryang-ha escape. He dismisses that although he admits he went too far with his shenanigans. To make it up to him, he wants to kill Ryang-ha. But Donny notes about the other target whom he really wants: Chateau. Seems she is a child who slipped through his fingers 17 year ago. Expect more Ryang-ha x Chateau trolling lovebird shenanigans. Especially when Ryang-ha and George have to cook up a story that they’re married and Ryang-ha is the long lost son of George when George’s homeless friend pays a visit. Chateau can’t stop beating him up, huh? Such a lovely couple. Next day they move out and head to Ryang-ha’s hideout. She notes about Donny’s organization not listed anywhere (duh!) and this means they are powerful individuals. She doesn’t want to get involved with them but it looks like they’ll be a threat to her. Hence she wants any info from Ryang-ha. However he doesn’t want her to get involved with this. In that case, she’ll do this alone. Ryang-ha isn’t pleased with that tone and starts to threaten her that he might teach her the hard way. He even dares her to shoot him. But when he calms himself down, he apologizes since he can’t let her go. Not after he found her again. Flashback shows Donny giving the original Ryang-ha a job. He is to escort a man named Liszt Noble who will be arriving in this town soon. He is officially dead but has been on the run for 5 years. Due to this town’s upgrading facilities, the maps aren’t updated and that’s why Donny needs his help to get around with this escort job. As Ryang-ha makes his way, he stumbles upon a couple of guys kidnapping a kid to traffic him for his organs. Ryang-ha decided to help knowing Donny would do the same and pulled out a gun Donny gave him to shoot 1 of them dead. The other tried to whack him but was beaten up by the kid. Ryang-ha fled but that kid chased him until he collapsed. He pleaded to him for help. Elsewhere, Liszt hides Chateau but feels it would be his last time seeing her.

Episode 11
Ryang-ha allows the kid to live him for the time being while he waits for further contact. He waited long enough to realize he can’t keep the kid here so he is going to send him off at a train station. But it is then he gets a call from Liszt who is being hunted down. Noting that he is the guide, Liszt wants him to find her but soon after he gets shot. While Ryang-ha is in shock, the kid smacks the phone out of his hand since he can tell the killer (who is no other than Seung Woo) is on the end of the other line. Before Liszt died, he told Ryang-ha about the location of a suitcase. The boys go to look for it and finds it in a locker. What’s inside the suitcase? Why, a sleeping Chateau! Damn, she so small she can fit in there! Then they hijack a car to get away. When Chateau wakes up, she starts crying because it is not her papa (Liszt). Then she has to go to the toilet. Ryang-ha stops by a service station to let her do her business but the kid notices shady people observing them. Chateau continues to cry so Ryang-ha talks to her until she cries herself to sleep. Then they break into someone house to take a rest. At this moment, Ryang-ha panics and thinks he knows nothing about the kid and he could be with the enemy. His body language so obvious that the kid warns him not to do what he is doing. Yeah, will he be fast to pull his gun out from his back pocket and shoot him? The kid then warns him that his half assed determination will get him killed one day. With Ryang-ha scared, the kid understands his situation and leaves. Ryang-ha continues to panic as he thinks he can’t leave that kid be after all that has happened. He throws his gun down and goes out after him. However Ryang-ha is cornered by those shady people and one of them is the trafficker who wants revenge on his dead buddy. Chateau wakes up alone and scared. She picks up the gun and hides in a closet. Ryang-ha returns and notices Chateau gone. He thinks she is hiding inside and tries to talk to her that he is back. The moment he opens the door, Chateau shoots him!

Episode 12
Ryang-ha didn’t exactly die yet. So he takes Chateau and leaves. Meanwhile the trafficker just finished beating up the kid and wants to go back and take out his friend. Hence Ryang-ha gets back up to fight him and ultimately blinds and kills him. By the time he returns to the house, he notices the car is gone so it only makes sense they have gone without him. But then he starts to fear that something might have happened when he sees blood trails inside the house. Then a flashback of how Ryang-ha asked his name but he never said anything because he had so many names and changed them whenever he moved places. The kid soon loses consciousness and when he wakes up, he is in hospital. Thanks to a nosy passer-by who saw him badly injured and called the ambulance. An inspector (Abel?) visits him and shows him a pic of Ryang-ha. Does he know this guy? The kid attacks but he is too weak to land anything. The inspector tells him that Ryang-ha died of a wound to his neck. It was a miracle he managed to drive half a day. He tells him to forget all about Ryang-ha and everything that has happened between them. Just like that? So easy to leave him off the hook? When the kid asks about a girl with Ryang-ha, the inspector claims he knows nothing but hints that Ryang-ha may have taken somebody with him. The kid is seen standing outside Ryang-ha’s place. Ryang-ha’s friends come by to check if he is okay since he hasn’t been around lately. They think the kid is one of his friends. They ask his. Seeing it is important to have a name, the kid claims himself as Song Ryang-ha. They think he is pulling a fast one. We see the original Ryang-ha stopping somewhere and he is at his limit. He wonders what happened to that kid and hopes Chateau will forget this nightmare when she wakes up. That’s the last of him.

Chateau wakes up in Ryang-ha’s hideout. He tries to act the usual with her but she pinches his cheeks. This is to confirm he isn’t a ghost. Is she joking?! Apparently she’s not. Because she now fully remembers she killed a guy named Ryang-ha and thinks this Ryang-ha has been lying to her all the time and using that name. She is visibly shaken as she believes she has shot someone who is close to him. Now she is fraught in guilt for killing a man who tried to help her and then went on to live her life and forgot all about him. Ryang-ha hugs her and now understands why she couldn’t push him away and that she never forgot that name. After she calms down, she wants to hire him but Ryang-ha rejects her. Whether it is to eliminate Donny’s organization or rescue her loved ones, that will be a bad move because Donny is anticipating her to react to that so as to catch Ryang-ha. The best option is to stay put. But Chateau can’t sit back and do nothing again. She doesn’t want him to hide her and go fighting by himself again. He is the only one she’s got. Because it is not a wise move for an assassin to hire a fellow assassin, the best option is to do business as a peer. What do you have to exchange? However Ryang-ha rejects any monetary compensation from her because he knows she’ll use her insurance money. So what is it that he wants? He lets her figure it out. But we all know the answer, right?! So obvious before our very eyes! Oh Chateau, you’re not paying attention, are you? But that will have to wait as a suspicious helicopter approaches and both of them get into alert mode.

Fatal Attraction: Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls During My Assassin Jobs?
WTF????!!! What the heck is with this unsatisfying open ending?! It’s like as though they have shown us the missing pieces of Chateau’s past puzzle and that is the endgame. End of story. At least for the anime. I know. This cliff-hanger ending sucks because it leaves a lot to be desired. So whether or not Chateau and Ryang-ha will team up to take down Donny’s organization (most likely, because Nikka is seen taking Jim hostage), perhaps it might not be as fun as before. You know, Ryang-ha always bugging and teasing Chateau down to point of harassing her that makes her feel so annoyed. Yeah. I guess that magic is gone now since we know what exactly happened back then.

The overall story feels average and it didn’t feel interesting to me. Surprisingly, I found the past flashbacks to be more interesting than the current affairs. Most probably they have been teasing us by showing snippets of Ryang-ha and Chateau’s past so it intrigued me a lot as to wonder how everything tied them up together in today’s time. So I’ve got my answer and naturally I’m satisfied with that. But looking back with the initial episodes and the final stretch of the arc, these still felt draggy and not really exciting to be honest.

Perhaps it is because Ryang-ha being some sort of strange creepo who is trying to hit on Chateau who on the other hand tries to push away his advances but can’t because this stubborn guy keeps coming back. And since he is much more powerful than her, the only way is to grit her teeth and go through all this crap while hoping for the best. Yeah. This kind of scenario somewhat reminds me of an old Merrie Melodies cartoon: Pepe Le Pew. You know, that narcissistic French skunk who keeps mistaking that poor black cat to be a fellow skunk? And how she frantically always tries to get away from him but somehow he always coolly gets her in the end. Though, she always narrowly escapes in the end. But he keeps coming back. Yes, this is what watching Ryang-ha and Chateau’s relationship throughout the series reminds me of. Therefore it gives me a sense of weirdness more than anything else and sorry if I can’t really see anything pats deeper than that. Because all I see is Pepe Le Ryang-ha chasing after Penelope Chateau. That’s all.

Having said that, the chemistry between the 2 main characters is most likely a miss with me. Because as pointed out, Ryang-ha looking a lot more like a creepy stalker and Chateau is viewed as some hapless and powerless woman who can’t get away from his grasp despite she herself being a capable assassin. Because it feels that Ryang-ha is some kind of God who has this innate ability to see the future and hence he can predict Chateau’s moves and stay a step ahead of her. It is because of that, I began to think Chateau isn’t exactly at the top of the game as I thought she was. I mean, look at how things have been going between them. If she was really adamant in not wanting this man in his life, she would have gone all out, and I mean really risking her own life and even blowing up her surroundings or people around her, just to teach this bastard a lesson. It’s extreme but I suppose that’s what a top assassin needs to be. Instead, we see her get bullied, harassed and cornered by a superior Ryang-ha who probably also gets his kicks seeing this tigress turned into a meek cat. It’s weird but yeah, Chateau looks like an amateur assassin to me right now. She probably doesn’t want to make things even more complicated by taking things into her own hands and that’s why the situation she is in now. On a trivial note, I still find her newly taken family name to be weird. I mean, how strange does it sound, Dankworth? Prefer Dank Memes, though! HAHAHA! Okay, I just wanted to make that joke. Please don’t kill me.

Of course Ryang-ha knows he has the upper hand and that is why he is being like the cool cat he is. If it was any other ordinary girls, they’ll be taken by his suave charms. My guess is that Ryang-ha doing this sort of harassment is because he knows Chateau doesn’t have all her memories back and it would probably scare her a lot if he starts dropping the truth. What better way than to make her remember it all naturally because in that way she’ll realize she has been a dick to him sometimes and feel sorry for doing all that. I’m so sorry I didn’t realize all that so here, let me make it up to you by becoming your girlfriend! Wow. And here I thought hoping this would happen, eh?! But after the latest incident, we see how they have tolerated each other so I guess it is not a bad situation. I won’t say it is a win-win situation but for now this is the best for them. Especially how things are going in this direction now.

So it’s like your cheesy and weird moments we see Ryang-ha and Chateau together like for example when they are treating each other’s wounds or on the run. It feels like these parts are supposed to be light-hearted and comical because you know, Ryang-ha will not seize the opportunity to make cheesy pickup lines and jokes that would definitely irk the hell out of Chateau who tries to maintain her calm composure and all but can’t hide that agitated face. Are these moments supposed to bond them together and eventually make Chateau fall head over heels for him? Don’t let some of those moments troll you. You think it might be it but it’s not. At least not by a long shot. In retrospect, the whole harassing of Chateau could be just one big ploy of Ryang-ha to find out the truth from her. He can’t force it so that’s why he has to take his time to play the creepy stalker role. Because I do notice the big relief on his face when he finally hears from Chateau’s side of the story on what happened to the original Ryang-ha. He never knew of his fate and it is something that would bug him till his grave if he did not find out the truth. Therefore, everything just a big cool charade leading up to the truth he is seeking for. He might not be truly aiming for her heart in the first place but perhaps now he is.

As for the other characters, they didn’t really resonate with me. Like Euripides who is just Chateau’s boss but becoming a very concerned one the more he realizes Chateau gets deeper with her connection with Ryang-ha. I can’t believe his agency only has an odd office boy AKA Jim who perhaps does everything else and a single mercenary AKA Chateau for the field work. Is this enough for his agency to survive? I don’t know. Not really into this assassination business thingy so my guess is that a unit like them needs to have a small team to operate efficiently. Nothing much is known about Donny but despite his frail looks, he looks like he is a very influential person and his voice can command others. Not sure about this ‘saviour’ business he does for lost kids but from what I can see, all of them turned out to be really crazy people. So I’m not sure if they were already that scarred in life before Donny picked them up or if after they came under Donny’s care, they started to train up and become psychos. Either way, you don’t want to mess with them and you’ve got to be like some sort of overpowered character like Ryang-ha to stand a chance. But it still bugs me why he didn’t make his move on this pseudo Ryang-ha earlier. I mean, Ryang-ha has been gaining notoriety with his ruthless assassination skills and you think Donny would’ve picked that up the soonest. Maybe need to do some background check on the Ryang-ha he thought he was dead to avoid any blunder or mistaken identity?

Speaking of the action bits, there are quite a few bloody and gory scenes here. So if you can’t stomach the sight of blood even if they are just 2D animation, well uhm, not sure if that purple dinosaur Barney series will be good enough for you. But yeah, killings from Ryang-ha are brutal and it affirms why he is the top of his game and leaving everyone else eating his dust trail. He’s just like a video game character with cheat codes enabled because once he enters a building of an organization, no matter how many goons you throw at him, he’ll be doing a John Wick and gun everybody down and leaving blood trails in his wake. The only way to fight him on par is to be even crazier. After all, Ryang-ha is an assassin and a cold blooded one to be precise because in this kind of game, you don’t want to leave chances that will make you too late to regret afterwards. In fact, no time to even regret when the enemy you are supposed to kill, comes back to kill you.

Art and animation are okay but they are mostly gloomy and grim seeing the nature of business our main characters are dealing with. Of course as I have said at the start, seeing Chateau reminds me so much of Saber from the Fate series but the only difference is that she does not smile so it makes me wonder if this is what Saber looks like if she has a b*tch resting face. No, seriously. So much so at this point, seeing her eke out a smile makes her look weird. And Ryang-ha himself looks a bit weird. Because of his slit eyes and perpetually closed eyes, add his enigmatic Cheshire cat smile, he looks a bit cartoony. Except when his face stops smiling and gets serious. Then you know sh*t hits the fan. But the weirdest looking character is Jim. Why, this boy has no mouth!!! I thought it is part of the animation technique to save all time and effort. But this guy doesn’t have a decent mouth drawn even when he is talking! Heck, I don’t even remember seeing him with a mouth! So it makes me wonder if he is some kind of alien in disguise because his character feels like an immigrant AKA alien. This anime is done by Platinum Vision who did Servamp and Kono Oto Tomare.

For the voice acting, haring Hiro Shimono as a cool super assassin is one way to stop the pigeonhole of joker characters he voiced. Namely Zenitsu of Kimetsu No Yaiba, Connie in Shingeki No Kyojin (the initial seasons) and the titular character of Peter Grill To Kenja No Jikan. Ryang-ha isn’t the first emotionless baddie characters he voiced since he has done the same like Dabi of Boku No Hero Academia. But the weirdest voice acting I find goes to Kouhei Amasaki as Jim (Otto in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu). Because as a Japanese, he is trying to sound like a foreigner who is speaking in Japanese. Which comes off as weird if you ask me. While I only recognized Houchu Ohtsuka as Donny and Youko Hikasa as Mifa, the other casts are Saori Oonishi as Chateau (Aiz in DanMachi), Kenyuu Horiuchi as Euripides (Kinemon in One Piece), Masakazu Morita as Nikka (Ichigo in Bleach), Ayumu Murase as Jinon (Luck in Black Clover), Maaya Sakamoto as Hawke (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Tomoaki Maeno as Hou (Naotsugu in Log Horizon) and Hiroshi Tsuchida as Seung Woo (Grisha in Shingeki No Kyojin).

If there is something even stranger, the opening theme takes the cake. Midnight Dancer by Toshiki Masuda is a lively jazzy piece and definitely it raises a lot of eyebrows when you try to wonder how it fits in with this assassin themed anime. This song also feels like Broadway with all the jazzy fanfare and finger drilling piano in the background. Come to think of it, the more I hear this song, the more it reminds me of Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. Not to say they sound the same, but the general vibe prompts me to think of that song. And to see the opening animation where our Ryang-ha, Chateau, Euripides and Jim are dressed all sharp and snappy like as though they’re going to be attending some fancy ball party… The ending theme, Makoto Period by Aika Kobayashi is now a slow ballad that is heavy on the piano.

Overall, in retrospect on what this anime could have and should have turned out, all I can say it was just mediocre and at best just average. I’m much more forgiving than all the negative comments on the internet has given this series. Heh. Here I thought this was going to be like Kaguya-sama Wa Kokurasetai but with real guns and knives (yes, I was expecting this to be some sort of high octane romantic comedy action thriller), but it descended into this weird draggy drama of a creepo assassin stalking a fellow assassin. Uh huh. Lots of dumb moments too especially that includes Chateau looking like she’s really an amateur assassin for all the mistakes she could’ve avoided if she was a bit sharper! That effectively killed off this series. Good thing the dead don’t rise back up as zombies, right? What I’m saying is that this means this series isn’t going to get another season, AM I RIGHT???!!! Some things are left better dead and staying dead! Love of kill. I guess our ‘love’ killed this anime for good, no?

Amazing Nurse Nanako

8 July, 2022

Well, this sounds like a curious title. But sorry folks, Amazing Nurse Nanako is not some cheap hentai title of yesteryear but the titular character is some clumsy and ditzy person who tends to break things and do everything wrong! Holy crap. Might be a slapstick comedy but it makes you wonder and worry that if such a character who blunders all the time would be fit to save lives! At least for this profession. And hence, I got to find out myself how she goes through one blunder after blunder and turn it all out into miracles in the end. And so I thought it was that but the story was not how I imagined to turn out to be…

Episode 1
A military man and a priest seems to be making some high political manoeuvres. If that seems too confusing for a start, here, take a look at Nanako Shichigusa, the clumsy maid-cum-nurse who literally destroyed the breakfast she is making! Like, HOW?! Then she tries to stop a fight between Komanechi the witch and Kuron the Chinese doctor but I guess she can’t do much. Since Dr Kyoji Ogami is not around, she goes to buy ingredients to cook for him. Then she rides to the military lab to find him. There he is. But at first she gets scared when she thinks he is going to use her for tonight’s surgery. Yeah, he trolled her good. The patient is this alien corpse that Saint has brought him. Nanako tries to atone herself since Kyoji knows she broke his precious Copenhagen plates so he forces her to do some training instead. Later we see Kyoji and Saint operating on the organism and they see how similar it is to humans. Later they analyse its DNA molecule. Not that I understand this technical part. When Kyoji discovers an odd sex chromosome, the organism starts to act up and mutate. WTF Nanako comes into the room?! HOW COULD SHE EVEN?! As expected, she gets assaulted and engulfed by the organism’s jelly or whatever. As the organism gets violent, Saint authorizes the guard to fire. We know it’s going to do nothing, right? The organism slaughters the guards as Kyoji has a Eureka moment. He then takes out his magic staff or something to fight the organism and break Nanako free. He continues fighting it as Nanako keeps on clinging to her professor. Finally he freezes it completely to destroy it. With Saint reporting to his general and the holy man, looks like they are pleased the situation is contained. Or else they would have sent a couple of jet fighters to bomb the place! Yeah, good thing they could save the missiles. Kyoji explains about the influenza virus in Nanako triggered the DNA mutation. Saint tells him he is to submit a full report on this. Nanako must be feeling on top of the world as Kyoji nurses her all through the night. Yeah, this flu isn’t so bad after all.

Episode 2
Nanako is undergoing some training with Genki Ueda. You bet she’s going to fail… Nothing but complaining… I wonder how the hell she even survived. And she thought this was some sort of vacation! As Saint reports to the pope, it seems the latter is very interested in this experiment because of the regenerative trait in the DNA of the subject codenamed as GREEN. As too much money is invested, failure cannot be accepted and of course they must keep it a secret from the public. I can see why. Man of God doing such blasphemy. And something about some resurrection he’s been waiting for… As Nanako camps out and eats with Genki and Kuron, looks like Kyoji is not impressed she can’t even remember the simplest of facts. Because of that, later Nanako decides to run away. Oh dear. The forest is going to spook her all over… Meanwhile Kyoji is looking at old photos. Supposedly of his grandpa and a maid that looks like Nanako. Yeah, she seemed more reliable then. He asks Kuron about his grandpa’s thoughts but is told they’re the same as his. Then Genki shows a note that Nanako has ran away. They go talk to the military guy, Jack who has been tasked to watch them, to borrow his helicopter to go look for a runaway. Can’t miss Nanako. She’s being chased by a bear now! Yeah, pervy bear rips her skirt! Running in her undies. She is trapped upon a tree and is glad that Kyoji has found her. He tells her to jump but she can’t. Bear is closing in. Genki then jumps down to fight the bear. This causes the tree to break and fall. Kyoji grabs her in the nick of time. He is not pleased of all the trouble she brought him and wants her to undergo more training. She is glad to do that and won’t run away anymore. Yeah, he drops her into the lake. Training begins now! Later when she gets back and taking a bath, Kyoji returns with the toy he gave her but dropped during the chase. It has a transmitter that tracks her movements. Also, it has a recorder and since it recorded her badmouthing him, you bet he isn’t pleased. She’s gonna get it… Yeah, now running away naked from her master… Sometimes I wonder if they are on good terms or not. Maybe they are. Meanwhile, we see the bear scared of Genki and runs away! OMFG! Saint is talking to David Griffith about Nanako who seems wanted by many parties. Griffith believes she is the key to the dawn on the new humanity. I don’t think I can see how at this point…

Episode 3
As Nanako is doing her chores, suddenly the police surrounds the hospital! Kyoji is prepared because a family friend called earlier and told him they’ll be sending a serial killer who has recently committed murders in town to be experimented on. As Naruse Hyde is wheeled in, he claims he did not commit the murders but something feels strange when he and Nanako exchange glances. As Kyoji goes over the data and analysis, he finds his DNA and blood are unusual and it could be possible he has split personalities. He summons Nanako and Kaoru Satsuki to help with the next stage of experiment. Really? Nanako? As Satsuki hypnotizes Hyde to make him remember what happened during those murders, Nanako analyses the blood. Oh, an error. Is it Nanako’s fault? Well, genetic error it says. This has Kyoji realize he is a clone. Hyde then turns into a monster as his DNA is degrading, proving he is from mass cloning. He wonders if Hyde is also a biological weapon but Hyde targets and chases Nanako around. WTF Nanako dragging Satsuki with her?! Now Hyde is rampaging through the hospital. With all the residents safely gathered, Kyoji has a plan. Yup, it involves Nanako and he’ll use her as bait! Oh sh*t… So the first trap is to have her in her undies and have Kuron do some pain on her because this will send Hyde come running in. I don’t know that logic save for fanservice purpose. Once Hyde is in range, she’ll shoot tranquilizers into him. Well, turns out she missed and shoots Kuron instead! HOW?! Next, Komanechi hangs Nanako over a boiling pot. Same thing. But Hyde is agile enough to miss the pot and Nanako misses once again, hitting Genki this time. Not sure if they lost the plot as Satsuki is going to get yuri with Nanako. Oh yeah! Well, same thing. Hyde barges in but this time Nanako is out of tranquilizers. Satsuki gets smacked unconscious. The chase continues. Before she gets done in, luckily for her, Kyoji shoots the monster. Hyde reverts to his human form. In the aftermath, Kyoji is glad to get lots of data but when he asks if there is someone else who could make such monster, no reply. Nanako sees Satsuki putting some makeup (because Kyoji quipped the monster likes younger girls like Nanako and not old hags like her!) and wants her to teach her how to do it. Too bad she sees Satsuki’s ‘real face’ without the makeup. Now she’s going to regret it. The horror continues for Nanako…

Episode 4
Since Kyoji is away, Nanako thought she could sleep in. But she has a rude awakening from Satsuki. What’s this? She is now donning a power suit and being put on display?! Did you not know? A weapons exhibition is being held at the base! Since she can’t take off the suit, Nanako is forced by Satsuki to demonstrate the power suit. Having fun, Satsuki? Suddenly somebody starts attacking the place. The culprit is Alan Mizuki who claims to be Kyoji’s enemy and wants his head. Nanako is forced to fight him but the power suit ran out of ammo from the demonstration. Oh dear. Alan believes Nanako is Nana-Go and calls out to Kyoji for a challenge. But after Nanako says he is not in, Alan realizes it is a waste of time. So I guess he has tea with the other hospital residents and starts talking about his past with Kyoji. Long story short, Kyoji turned his girlfriend, Jamie into a cyborg. She was used as a guinea pig for the blueprint of a cyborg he was making named Nana-Go. Hence Alan is very sure Nanako is that said cyborg since she looks like it although Nanako refutes it and claims she is human. Although Jamie was turned back to normal, she subsequently disappeared. Hence Alan made it his life goal to get revenge on Kyoji and created this Griffin cyborg of his. Yeah, now it runs rampage throughout the hospital. When Alan drops his controller, nobody must move because it shoots any movement. WTF Nanako is trying to jinx the situation and wanting to play shiratori game?! To get it back under control, the controller is needed. Holy sh*t, you mean they’re going to play red light green light? Using the falling debris as distraction and move closer to the controller? Yeah, they did this before Squid Game!!! It’s a close call until debris fall on the controller. Now that it’s destroyed, Griffin will attack indiscriminately! Okay, you can run like hell now! It targets Nanako so she panics and throws it away. Now it self-destructs! Oh boy! With the power suit having no power, it comes off and reveals Nanako’s naked human body. Now you believe? Alan is arrested but can’t help wonder the similarity of Nana-Go’s face. For a happy ending, Jamie is found to be part of the military exhibition. Time for her to save him? Meanwhile Kyoji goes to see some old guy, Joji who tells him to hurry up in finding the cure instead of focusing on cyborg projects. This is for his own good to avoid the same mistakes he made. Flashback shows a young Kyoji was devastated when Nanako was taken away. And something about some guys talking about her death was an honourable sacrifice for a great experiment, which left Joji angry and bitter. When Kyoji returns, the hospital is in shambles. Oh sh*t, what just happened?

Episode 5
Looks like whatever experiment the holy man is doing failed. He thinks he has to rely on heretics again and pleads to God for help. Well, that’s how much he has his faith in the Lord. Meanwhile in the hills of the Himalayas, Saint is watching Griffith in his own secret experiment. Then he gets a call from the holy man that this must succeed at all cost. From what I can see, it is cloning and it fails. Griffith is frustrated so Saint mentions Kyoji’s name and shows a photo of Nanako. Griffith is angry because he thought Joji washed his hands off the project. Back to our hospital residents, Nanako is cooking a nice outdoor meal for everyone. Yeah, it sucks. But outdoor camping is nice, no? Kyoji is working hard as he remembers Joji’s words about the organization knowing about Nanako’s existence and will be making their move. Speaking of which, suddenly disguised construction workers take the hospital residents as hostage. They are looking for Kyoji and Nanako but the doctor has taken his nurse and fled. Clueless Nanako thinks they’re eloping! HOW THE F*CK DID KYOJI HIJACK A MILITARY PLANE???!!! F*CK HOW THE HECK HE KNOWS HOW TO FLY IT BUT THE DAMN ARMY IS SLEEPING!!! Jack’s forces ambushes the construction workers as he tells them about Kyoji’s hijacking. It is then Kuron realizes they have begun to make their move. Hijacking into Kyoji’s PC (using Nanako’s name as a coded password), he reveals the truth about this hospital as a cloning facility. Back in 1936, Nanako was a former schoolmate and started working as a nurse. But at age 20, she suddenly died. Kyoji’s grandpa, Kenji collected her genes to start cloning her. It is unsure how he succeeded with such technology at that time but the only fatal flaw is that when the clone reaches 20 years old, she also dies. Hence this Nanako is the third clone and the fourth if you include the original one. Kenji and his son Joji tried hard to find a cure and now Kyoji must be trying to stand up to the fate of his family. As Kyoji’s plane has entered into unauthorized air space, several jet fighters try to take him down. But after orders from the general, they back down. At this point the plane has taken some damage and is losing altitude. Kyoji tells Nanako to reduce the weight. Damn, she’s throwing all the grenades in the back! Oh f*ck! Did she just bombed a Tibetan monastery?! So is the plane light enough? Nope. Take off your clothes! Sneaky. Just the fanservice we all need. Not enough?! Oh sh*t! Oh Nanako, you so dumb! Because cheeky Kyoji throws her off and soon follows suit after crashing an expensive military craft into the Tibetan mountains!!! How’s this eloping adventure going for you, Nanako?

Episode 6
Griffith is pleased that Kyoji has come to him to continue working on the cloning project. Both families have a history in researching the sciences together. They talk about how all cloning failed with the exception of Nanako as well as Kyoji’s suggestion in using the triple helix DNA of GREEN to triple replicate itself. WTF don’t understand this science mumbo-jumbo! In short, a body that never ages and thus immortality. As Kyoji prepares Nanako for the surgery, this is why her special training all this time is led up to this. She must have a strong physical body to withstand what comes next. I’m not so sure about this, seeing Nanako’s always slacking and complaining… As Saint wonders if Kyoji can do the job, Griffith assures that he can as he is a man true to science. Griffith claims he is not like the holy man who wants to create a saviour just to profit from science and the general who is out to clone weapons to flaunt his power. Saint is not pleased that Griffith will call himself as the creator of mankind as this was not what they agreed on. Griffith assures that he will give the holy man any amount of clones of Nanako he want but he gets to keep the original. Nanako will be the fruit of his long arduous journey. Meanwhile the president makes a call to the general, claiming this experiment is too dangerous and it will be scandalous if the public finds out. He orders to submit a final report and then destroy all evidence. Oh my. You know what this means. The general can only hope Kyoji survives.

As Kyoji begins his operation, flashback shows he was quite attached to Nanako. He promised to cure her illness by becoming her doctor but she soon died. After Kyoji is done with his surgery, Griffith’s men surround him. Yes, sleazebag wants to take credit for this. Just in time, the American jets start bombing the place (it seems Kyoji anticipated this). During this chaos, the GREEN specimen awakens and starts slaughtering the baddies as Kyoji take Nanako and flee. Saint calls the holy man about this and is told to abandon it all. The White House gave their word they will note hold the Vatican responsible and since this began with nothing, so it shall end as one. Of course Saint is displeased and takes the data CD and flees. Eventually, Griffith becoming a madman and claiming to be God before getting killed by GREEN before the whole places blows up. As Kyoji floats down the river, he sees a vision of the original Nanako. He doesn’t think it is the real her even if she is a clone because her memories will not be the same. But Nanako claims he is the one and only master she served and is that not good enough? Kyoji and Nanako wake up by the river bed. Nanako claiming she had a weird dream of a young Kyoji promising to be a doctor to cure her. They are conveniently picked up by Jack. Yeah, he brought the entire hospital residents (unauthorized too!) just to pick them up for home. In the aftermath, we see Saint having the CD and will find a buyer for this data. Nanako will be proof of this experiment. As for Kyoji and the rest, they’re continuing their outdoor camping lifestyle. Kuron wonders if Kyoji got the job done. Kyoji says he did his best so Kuron thinks it is all up to God now. Of course Kyoji won’t even let God take Nanako. The military arrives and has new orders for Kyoji. He will be newly assigned to a new project in a space station. Kyoji knows this is just to make him stay low until this blows over. He refuses this unless Nanako can come along. And yeah, this means more training for Nanako. Oh f*ck, the hospital residents too going to space?! Armageddon, Nanako version?

Amazing Nuts Ba-Nanako!
Only time will tell if Nanako dies or lives past 20 years old but for now, it’s back to the same shenanigans and antics from the one and only Nanako. In space! Oh yeah. Everything is without gravity now. I’m sure it’ll help because she won’t spill or break stuffs! Oh yeah. Fun times. Hope it stays that way because on the other hand, it would seem unrealistic too that the American military and the Vatican would easily give up on this miracle project after putting a lot of funding into this shady project. They’ll probably find another way to get what they want so based on this context, Nanako is at least free from their reign of terror. And the best part is that she doesn’t even know all this happening! Wow. It’s so blissful to be Nanako. No wonder Kyoji wants to keep her forever.

I can’t really say I’m impressed with the overall story because there were many parts that felt flimsy and the plot holes were like Swiss cheese. Of course I can’t entirely fault the entire series so because it was originally written and not based on any manga or game. While I can understand that they tried, I still thought that it could have been better even just by a bit. After all, with only 6 episodes, how much can one flesh out? Like as though the producers have this sort of idea (cloning in this case) and wanted to write a story around that. However they lack something to go further than that and that’s why the series turned out so. For instance, the episode featuring Alan. To me, that felt like a big red herring that brought nothing to the table. It was curious for me to want to know more about the connection between Nanako and Nana-Go but nothing more of that came of it. Hence that whole episode felt like another usual episode of Nanako getting into trouble. Otherwise, it could have been quite interesting to see how this fits into the series’ narrative.

Then there is the episode on the serial killer named Hyde. Again, Kyoji was wondering who created such monster that the only people in the world to have such calibre in doing so are those like Kyoji himself. What does that end of the episode supposed to mean? So who created it and why? Was it just to test Kyoji or send some sort of warning to him? Because it all doesn’t matter at the end of the day as the final couple of episodes head straight for the finish line and ignore whatever detour AKA burning questions that I had from the previous episode. Sure, Nanako’s real history was revealed but it felt rushed and nothing was really resolved. Especially if this current clumsy Nanako will live past 20 years old. Oh well, Kyoji still has time to find the cure, right? My guess is that if the OVAs did well, perhaps they could have adapted it into a proper series but since overall sentiments and reception for it weren’t that good, I guess that is where the series met its demise.

I’m sure the series wants to tackle about the issue about cloning. Especially when the first successful cloning of a sheep named Dolly happened back in 1996. Note, this OVA came out between 2000 and 2001. So blame me for not having a scientific mind because when the characters start talking about genetics, DNA, RNA, double helix and whatever mumbo-jumbo, my brain automatically gets turned off. Yup. Don’t understand a thing. Sorry, gave it all back to my high school science teacher! It all only sounds impressive and remarkable only because I know nuts about this topic. And to look more ‘convincing’, hence you can see all those computer charts and analysis and whatever mumbo-jumbo supposedly to make this cloning thingy more credible. Yeah. Not that I understand it anyway.

As for the characters, let’s start off with the titular character, Nanako. Basically she is dumb retard who plays more of a role of a damsel in distress than anything else. Each time she blunders but Kyoji will always be there to save her ass. Of course, being written into such role is to provide some comic relief and yes, fanservice. Nanako’s such a cutie that we forgive her being the dumb retard, right? Female dojikko characters cannot be hated, right?! And so it never fails in every episode to see Nanako being hounded by trouble and somewhat escaping it by the skin of her teeth and at the same time provide us horny otaku boys with some decent fanservice because yeah, sometimes Nanako wears sexy lingerie. This means there are some bare tits nudity too but this is very far and few compared to Nanako stripping down to her lacy lingerie. Thumbs up!

If there was one thing that I have a gripe with this series, it is the fact that Nanako dresses and does her occupational role more as a maid than a nurse! Grrr!!! False advertising?! I guess back then, nurses could be to top cosplay fantasy for guys and maids weren’t such a big thing compared to nurses. Sure, Nanako might be working in a hospital but to see her in a maid outfit most of the time and to do maid chores like cooking and washing instead of a nurse (like administering injection), it feels really odd. Hence my guess they termed the title so is to bait people like you and me to go check out this. Well, to be honest, I can’t say I am disappointed because if you all know by now, I’m more of a maid fetish than nurse. So win-win for me in this context! Yay!

Kyoji himself is a bag of mystery. Before Nanako, sometimes he plays the cool master whom Nanako would love to fall head over heels for but other times, he could be the sadistic master who forces her into some sort of weird special training and abuse the poor maid/nurse (I still can’t believe the flimsy reason that a strong physical body was the reason needed to withstand the surgery, hence Nanako being subjected to torturous special training). Perhaps this is the best way to protect Nanako who seems to have no clue on her origins? Imagine if Kyoji was really a serious guy and told her upfront about the truth, how do you think Nanako would react? Furthermore, this clone Nanako business feels like an atonement that he needs to do for failing to live up to his promise to save the original Nanako. Doesn’t matter if Nanako is a genius or a retard, as long as she can live till a ripe old age, he will have then banish the demons of his past. So can Kyoji beat God at His own game? Only time will tell…

The other residents of the hospital feel like a waste of potential. They just feel like some sort of dysfunctional family and give a place where Kyoji and Nanako could belong to. Otherwise they don’t really have any role of importance save for some comic relief. Like this Genki dude who is a taciturn gentle giant. Then there is the ever feuding old farts, Kuron and Komanechi. Perhaps quarrelling with each other prolongs their life? Satsuki, sexy hot babe bombshell, do I need to say more?! Finally, there is one young lad whom I believe is part of the hospital staff too but I don’t remember his name. Sadly, he feels very negligible.

As for the villains of this series, they feel very cliché and one dimensional. Of course it is to be expected for a short series like this. Like Griffin who thinks he is doing it all for science but eventually his head got too big and it was all just for himself. No pain, no gain. Yeah, he can die with Kyoji’s works. No he can forever be God. As an undead. And of course there’s the sneaky holy man from the Vatican and the American military general. Both with their own ulterior motive and hidden agenda with this cloning business but I can’t believe the biggest folly being they listen to the American president when he decided to pull the plug on this shady project. Yeah, for all you know he may be the biggest crook and to cover up his own ass, he wants them to give it all up. What have they got to lose? Try other avenues. I mean, it is hinted some organization knows about Nanako. You think they’d give up just like that? Unless, there really is another secret evil organization. As for Saint, he could be the biggest threat in the future for Kyoji as he isn’t merely a yes man and more like a mercenary. Who knows? If this series had more episodes, not only the plot but characters like him could have gotten more fleshing out. And of course, more sexy Nanako fanservice. That’s why we’re here for, right?!

Being the anime that came out from the turn of the century, of course it reeks retro style as the characters and the anime visuals are damning evidence from that era. Even the action parts are very bombastic and firebrand. Animes from that era, if they decided they want to go all out and exaggerated with their brand of action, might as well go all the way. Hence the action bits may be jaw dropping only because they’re mostly overdone in a silly way like all those explosions and excessive gunfire. Not that I’m complaining since it is a lot of fun in a way. There are also some CGI animation although it is sparingly done. Yeah, definitely a time when 3D animation was still as its infancy and you can see how jarring its effects are. See the ending credits animation to know what I mean. If you’ve seen the ending credits animation of the series, Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure, you’ll know what I mean. This anime is done by Radix who did Haibane Renmei, Master Mosquiton, Lamune, NieA_7, Lemon Angel Project and Love Get Chu.

For the voice acting, it was a pleasant surprise to hear Takehito Koyasu as Kyoji. While he isn’t as badass as his Jojo counterpart, he isn’t in a wuss role either. It’s more like in between so I guess that is okay. The only other one I recognized is Showtaro Morikubo as Hyde. The other casts are Maria Yamamoto as Nanako (Kano in Kare Kano), Tomokazu Seki as Saint (Gilgamesh in Fate series), Yuuko Katou as Satsuki, Jouji Yanami as Kuron, Chinami Nishimura as Komanechi, Hidenari Ugaki as Genki, Takeshi Watabe as Griffith and Ryotaro Okiayu as Alan (Byakuya in Bleach).

There isn’t any opening theme and even if there was, it wasn’t a fixed one and it’s just some seemingly sci-fi instrumental with grand orchestral strings fit for a Hollywood movie. The ending theme is Nanako No Sentaku by Maria Yamamoto. Typical lively anime retro pop. Just okay in my books. On a trivial note, I noticed the sound director is Shigeru Chiba. I thought it was just coincidence but it is truly THAT Shigeru Chiba the seiyuu! Seems like I am today year’s old to learn that this guy’s other main job is a sound director in addition to voice acting. Also, the script writer for this series is Yano Rasputin. Who? Don’t know. But it was weird to note that there’s a guy named so.

Overall, this anime had potential but it fell short of expectations. Hence the only thing ‘memorable’ here are Nanako’s dumb retard antics as well as her fanservice. Like as though this series was written for that and they just added that flimsy cloning theme so as to have some sort of story. Yeah, lots of dumb moments (Nanako being hounded by the bear, the gang playing red light green light with a killing machine, Nanako dropping bombs to lighten the plane’s weight… Yeah, I could go on…) but they’re all in the name of entertainment, no? Well, it’s been well over 20 years since this series released. Are we going to hear something of it? I don’t know, lately lots of animes that were seemingly ‘forgotten’ and came out like 5 over years are suddenly getting sequels out of the blue. Are they running out of new stories to adapt? Well, perhaps in the long run, it is better this series stay dead this way. We don’t want to tarnish Nanako’s image more than the original already did, right? Imagine having a sequel named Amazing Maid Nanako… In Space! Yeah, maybe that doesn’t sound all that bad either…

Too often that we hear stories only from the heroic side. Especially their origins or what is going on behind the background pertaining to the hero. Very rarely we see the point of view and the likes of those from the villain side. Even if we did, it is only for the convenience of the plot. And so, if you are in Japan and happen to love the tons and myriads of tokusatsu and sentai creations over the years, then you’re one helluva big fan. But have you ever stop to think what goes on behind the scenes of the villainous organization that creates those monsters for the heroes to fight? Well, wonder no more because Kaijin Kaihatsu-bu No Kuroitsu will take you on an eye opening trip as we go behind the scenes of the staffs of an evil organization face as they try to achieve their ultimate conquest of taking over the world! Don’t be surprised, it isn’t as easy as it looks!

Episode 1A
Megistus who is the chief of staff for the villain organization, Agastia reports to the supreme commander, Akashic. Plans of taking over the world are going on as planned. But Akashic wonders if he can speed up the process as there are other rival organizations out there too. Not to worry. He shows that in some prefectures, the local sentai have defeated them. They will pose no threat. Now they only need to unleash a terrifying monster to take on the hero of justice, Diving Swordsman Blader. Speaking of which, the monster development department, Professor Hajime Sadamaki is trying to push the monster presentation to Touka Kuroitsu. She is forced to present their latest monster development (despite everything being last minute). If only Hajime didn’t do things last minute, she wouldn’t be in this sh*t. She must be successful or face a salary cut! So… Back to basics… Looks like an old man in a loch ness monster outfit! While other monster executives have something to say about it, the real challenge is Megistus as he is the smartest of the lot. Megistus sizes her up as well as all its weakness including how its pun name supposed to be! Kuroitsu isn’t going to give up and tries to convince this monster is worthy. After all, how can you have others believe in it if you don’t believe it yourself, right? Anyway, despite a creative concept, Megistus rejects it because it cannot fit into this budget! Later when Megistus visits her department, she is quick to throw Hajime under the bus. However Megistus is not here to execute them but to chide them for not telling how much they were struggling. Had they done so, he would’ve pushed back the meeting! He claims their health is utmost importance! Employees are the company’s assets! Feel free to take some time off too. Wow. And he lets them off with a little warning. Don’t do this against or else… But what about the monster then? Yeah… Kuroitsu dresses it up and goes to face Blader. I don’t think this will cut it…

Episode 1B
Kuroitsu buys food from her usual vendor. He is always curious what kind of job she does since she looks happy. She says it can’t be discuss in public. Oh sh*t. Sent him the wrong idea. She returns to the lab to complete a monster that has been approved by the committee. Wolf Bete looks like he is impatient to sink his claws and rip Blader apart. Be patient. You’ll get your chance. All that’s left is the final tuning. When tuning is up, Wolf steps out from his chamber. His body… A SEXY WOMAN’S BODY???!!! Well, you see, Akashic visited the lab and wanted Wolf to be more feminine so they had to accommodate her last minute changes. Yup, pulled an all-nighter there. But why didn’t they give her a feminine brain too? No budget! That vendor is actually Kenji Sadamaki and is the real identity of Blader! He wonders about Kuroitsu’s shady job. Could it be? But it’s time to transform into sentai because he has to fight Wolf. Because she is stark naked and Blader being a virgin, he is defeated without even touching her! Now, Wolf could’ve easily defeated him had not Kuroitsu realizing some bug in the armour’s integrity that makes her look like streaker. Uhm, did they not think of just putting clothes on her?! So back to the drawing board and pulling another all-nighter. At least Megistus pays them some bonus.

Episode 2A
Kuroitsu meets up with Megistus at the train station for a company work trip. She thinks he rigged the train with a bomb but he reminds her that it is not Agastia’s policy to do acts of terrorism towards innocent civilians! Actually Kuroitsu was called last minute in Hajime’s place. He ate some expired salmon and fainted. Meanwhile Karin Mizuki arrives late for a van that takes a bunch of other employees somewhere for a job. She is given an advanced payment and made to sign a waiver by Heiki Matsuyama. Oh sh*t. The company won’t be responsible for any injuries on the job? She realizes she got on the wrong van and looks like the hirer read her name wrongly. She doesn’t care because she got enough headcount. Kuroitsu is fascinated that Megistus is able to work and relax at the same time. Compartmentalization? He also tests out games created by their company as well as other products produced by their affiliates. Kuroitsu and Megistus’ job today is watch a local evil organization fight the sentai. Of course he loses because he was up against 6 heroes. When the day is done, they return to their hotel. Of course it is not Agastia’s policy to share a single room with another gender. And since it is not right for management to rest before the worker, Megistus gives his room and lets her have his. Can he find one in this fully booked hotel? Eventually he finds one and Kuroitsu is too afraid how he got it. Did he oust somebody? Turns out he is happily camping outside and doing his laptop work, carefully minding not to disturb other similar guests. Compartmentalization! Meanwhile Mizuki returns all bruised with the other employees. Don’t tell me they’re those heroes…

Episode 2B
Hajime and Kuroitsu welcome Wolf to the department. I guess they have to hire her since their department is understaffed and she’s not too happy about it. As they work on their next monster project, Hajime designs this awesome cool Cannon Thunderbird! Wow! This should be it! However their plans go through various other departments and they have their own opinions why they reject this design. Need to stick to the budget? Needs to be more aesthetic? Not safe enough? Not realistic enough for manufacturing? Yeah, even Akashic has her own input. Hence the plans have to be redrawn again and again. And again. Wolf can’t understand why Kuroitsu is running around like that but yet still looks so happy. A senior manufacturing head tells her about Kuroitsu’s dedication. Despite the higher ups telling her all sorts of things, she takes it as a challenge and never loses heart. Finally Cannon is created. Uhm, this oversized Tweety bird? Okay. Everyone celebrates their success as Wolf feels this department is going to be a lot of fun. Now all that’s left is for Cannon to take down Blader. Yeah, instantly got owned. Kuroitsu and Wolf chiding Blader for being mean. Do you know how much effort they went through to create him???!!! Well, Blader advises them to make it big, bulky and powerful weapons everywhere. Isn’t that like the first blueprint?

Episode 3A
Kuroitsu has unleashed Hydra to attack Blader. Only… It has only 1 auxiliary head?! Yeah, budget constraints. Blader needs to hurry up and finish this because his part time job will start soon. Once done, he is late for his part time job. He sees a couple of magical girls being interviewed, Pilia Magia. He thinks how awesome they are since they have lots of perks and even sponsorships and merchandise to go with their name. Hence he starts wondering if this Blader job is suitable. When Kuroitsu comes in tired, he gets the wrong idea some leach is living off her. She talks about her bad day at job and since Kenji mentions about compromise, this gives Kuroitsu an idea. And now she creates Hydra II. Now with 2 auxiliary heads! Yup, budget constraints still. Blader not happy Agastia keeps attacking on days he works part time! Easy finish! Back to his job, Kuroitsu now comes in and looking even further exhausted. To a point she drops her load of documents and Kenji had to help pick them up. That is when he learns the reason why she has to work hard and won’t give up despite the setbacks. This makes Kenji remember the reason why he became Blader in the first place. To help those in need. Subsequently, Kuroitsu now releasing New Hydra… With 4 auxiliary heads! You guessed it. The budget. Damn, Blader still complaining they really pick days he has to work. Meanwhile Mizuki gets called for another job. Isn’t this the same as last time? Well, they point out now they’re in Hokkaido for a different organization. Yup, fighting another hero. Yeah, basically another tough job for her… Ganbare!

Episode 3B
Cannon takes a job interview. The interviewer not impressed with his ‘chicken suit’ and that his skill is basically only ‘murder’. Definitely he didn’t get the job. So for now, he gives out balloons at Agastia’s amusement park. A couple he gives the balloons to, Reo Shikishima and Yuto Higaya are actually Pilia Magia in disguise. When their device detects a monster nearby, they transform into Rose and Zwart respectively. The monster they detected is Hydra. Yeah, her auxiliary heads are having some petty argument. The magical girls attack her but Hydra knows she is not up to task to handle them so she retreats. The Pilia Magia chases her until they corner her. Before they could finish her, Cannon comes to the rescue. He takes Hydra and runs. Rose gives chase but Cannon is a sharp shooter and shoots her magical wand, causing her to revert to her original form. What’s this? He can also summon lightning to zap them? Wow. This devastation, I wonder where the customers suddenly disappear to. Cannon and Hydra manage to escape as Reo is in shock that she lost. She throws a tantrum but Yuto consoles her that she’ll always believe in her. Next day, a grateful Hydra has made lunch for Cannon. Do I see where this is going?

Episode 4A
Blader is having it tough against Adamant. Because of his magnetic metal, his sword is rendered useless. Well… Blader just drops his sword and punches him!!! Adamant then returns and reports his failure to Immortal Camula who is not impressed with this and forces him to write an essay to reflect on his failure! Future failures will not be tolerated! Camula then visits Kuroitsu’s department for a surprise audit. She is not impressed their work is slowing down and even more so their monster production cost rising lately. Kuroitsu explains about the shades of grey by providing monsters with flexibility and personality. While Camula accepts it, she still points out that they have not defeated Blader once. Kuroitsu then requests her to lend some of her pluripotent cells for research but Camula disagrees because she doesn’t want to be a guinea pig. Kuroitsu then has Wolf try to take it by force but they are no match for her and they all get tentacle rape. Actually, centipede rape?! Later, Kuroitsu goes to do some idol research. Uhm, so basically an idol fan? But at the concert, she bumps into Camula. Camula is in shock to see Kuroitsu and panics. Sorry, wrong person! Not working. She tries to run away but Kuroitsu catches her. A tearful Camula explains to her how a big idol fan she is and has all of their works. Kuroitsu understands and will also comply with her request not to tell the organization about this secret hobby of hers. But Kuroitsu’s sly smile… That’s because she got Camula’s pluripotent cells. Yup, that handkerchief she lent her to wipe her tears. It was all worth it…

Episode 4B
Kuroitsu is tasked to do some maintenance for monsters who work at the amusement park. Guess who wants to tag along? Yup, Akashic and Wolf! Now it feels like Kuroitsu is babysitting them too. So as Kuroitsu checks on Cannon, Hydra and Sahuagin (this seahorse monster in trauma for scaring too many kids), Akashic and Wolf having a blast. Then there is a last special balloon on sale. Akashic wants Wolf to buy it. But nearby a girl really wants it although mom told she was too late. So will Wolf let her have it then? Akashic tells her to ignore the kid and buy it. She claims limited resources should go to the powerful and that this is their basis for world conquest. Before you can call her a dick, she soon gives the balloon to the girl. Yeah, never knew she got a big heart, eh? Though she claims she is bored with the balloon. Later some ruffian is trying to bully that girl because he bumped and spilled his crepe. Wolf to the rescue as that guy soon turns into a monster. He is White Alligator and from a rival evil organization, Black Lore. He takes the girl hostage and Wolf has no choice but to get beaten up by him. Until Akashic just flicks her finger and he disintegrate into pieces! Now, you may think it is all over but soon Kuroitsu and her department have to make haste in putting him back for they fear this might spark an unwanted backlash from Black Lore! No to inter-organization wars! Akashic trying to claim it’s not her fault… Meanwhile Mizuki receives another job offer. You bet she isn’t going to fall for this bait again despite being told of the great perks and money. If that didn’t work, she plays the friendship game. You’re my friend. I am happy working with you. I want to see you… And the sucker for friendship accepts… And so she gets what she deserves. Yup, another tough job fighting against another local hero group. Hope she really learns her lesson this time…

Episode 5A
Kuroitsu has finally navigate the maze to reach one of Agastia’s executives, Arachne. She is here to get her stamp of approval! It all began when they submitted their approvals for new equipment, etc. However they realize they need to get approval stamps from the executives. Kuroitsu thinks she can handle this if she splits her job with Wolf. It looks like an easy job at first after Kuroitsu gets Camula’s stamp. But for the rest… Damn, they have to trek miles to their secret lair?! Like Eldridge who will always be gone for weeks for testing. Keep waiting. Kraken wants you to fill up every last detail of yourself so he can cross check with Agastia. For the record, they got it in 2 days. Tentacle rape check should’ve been better, just saying… And yeah, Kuroitsu has to challenge and fight Warrior of Jaguar. This is just for a stamp, right? WTF, Wolf has to go on a romantic dinner date with Long-range Uncle, huh?! This guys ‘conquers’ his women by giving them the greatest massage! In the end, they’ve gotten all the stamps and submitted their proposal. Things are looking up, right? Then a call from general affairs claiming 2 of the stamps aren’t real and 1 of them has the wrong year. Please resubmit them again. FFFFUUUUU!!!!!!!!! Thanks to that, Agastia soon implemented a digital approval form. Hey, at least their suffering wasn’t in vain, right?

Episode 5B
Wolf is shocked to see this handsome man is Hajime. This is how he looks like without his visors? You bet Wolf is jealous. This is because today they’ll be greeting a staff from Black Lore. Remember that company? Yeah. They welcome Dr Koharu Hoen who is obviously here to brag and show off her new cat monster creation, Elbucky. But Elbucky can sense Wolf is a virgin boy and is interested in getting inside her pants? With Hoen bragging how they cannot defeat her, this has Kuroitsu learn that she and Hajime were both classmates. Hoen continues to boast about her head researcher title. While the Agastia counterparts don’t really care, they still treat her nicely and politely and this makes Hoen feel weird. Flashback shows everyone ostracized her and talked behind her back as they think she is stuck up who thinks she is better than everyone else. Only Hajime helped her and told her to ignore those insults. When Camula comes into remind them about Premium Friday (Japan’s law of allowing employees to leave work early on the last Friday of the month), this puts Hoen in shock. More shock for they note Black Lore doesn’t do paid leave and overtime work is not paid. How contrasting to Agastia, eh? This makes her notice the huge staff turnover in Black Lore and some have died at work! She refuses to accept and returns. But the next day she returns with starry eyes to brag that she talked to her bosses about it and they with a smile told her otherwise and that working had is their duty. Hence she thinks Agastia heard false rumours and that she is right. Well, we’re glad somebody is loyal to the (black) company.

Episode 6A
Kuroitsu suggests creating a Valentine monster. Although Akashic is interested, Megistus throws in his caution. Agastia’s monsters are based on folklores and legends. So what does this Valentine monster has got to do it with? None. When she notes Valentine events and how profitable it is, you bet that is the buzzword for approval! And so the R&D department gets the green light to create their own Valentine monster. Of course Akashic is here to help out. Kuroitsu and Wolf are put into sexy apron uniform before they begin mixing their chocolate with whatever those ingredients are. Yeah, they even have to find a vendor that provides quality chocolate within the budget and make it before the deadline. Eventually they get it done. So folks, welcome Melty! However soon on the news, the chocolate vendor issuing a public apology for foreign objects found in the chocolate product. Although Agastia doesn’t see a problem with this since they’re just going to defeat Blader, this won’t do for Megistus. Their reputation is on the line and they cannot endanger the public. As Kuroitsu tries to argue she can fix this, Hajime then points out if she redoes this again, it will past the deadline and it will have no meaning. Because combat power halves past the expiration date?! HUH?! And so, Melty gets cancelled… Sad… As Blader awaits his enemy, Kuroitsu pops up and gives him a basket of chocolates supposedly from Melty. She promises next year, Melty will crush him for good. But for this year, I guess Kenji is over the moon for getting his first chocolates ever.

Episode 6B
Middle management officer of Black Lore, Red Mantle General and monster, Red Room are talking about economic recession? Yeah, price remains constant but the quantity of products reduced! And since their supreme commander, Lord Kaiserlore is very troubled with this, the goons start to recite the organization’s lines. It lasts for 50 minutes! Later, Hoen is troubled because she fears her failure will have her demoted or sent elsewhere. Monsters, Bull Head and Purple Mirror feel guilty for making her feel so because at this morning’s meeting, they really got fried. Seeing that she needs to get some results, Elbucky has an idea. That is, they’re going to do a joint training with Agastia. You think they’re easy pickings, right? At least Hoen thinks so. She’ll never lose to Hajime! So we see Hydra taking on Bull Head. Although she gets hypnotized with fear, her other heads attack Bull Head. He is no match and can’t concentrate fighting multiple enemies. Purple Mirror fights Wolf and tries to hypnotize her with her desires. Wolf sees herself defeating Blader and even a confession by Kuromitsu! Going to make out now?! However Wolf destroys Purple Mirror and snaps out from this illusion simply because Kuromitsu addressed him wrongly! Remember, Wolf is actually male inside. In the end, the Black Lore losers return and get scolded by Red Mantle General for their pathetic failure. He is going to discipline them so Bull Head in his fear trying to save himself, hypnotizes him. In the aftermath, it is learnt that Red Mantle General tendered his resignation on the spot so the rest think he just got scared of staying in the organization.

Episode 7A
The R&D department are having a drinking session. Only… WTF Camula is here?! This makes it hard for them to party freely and flashbacks showed that when Kuroitsu and Hajime invited their colleagues, Camula was spying outside and you can see that she really wanted to join. They aren’t sure if Camula is the kind who gets offended when the party gets drunk but they’ll be careful and keep an eye on her. So as the party rages on and slowly everybody getting drunk and rowdy in their own manner, suddenly Camula puts her foot down. Oh dear. Too late? Turns out she starts crying and rants about her problems. So she’s the weak type when she gets drunk? And so the drinking continues. Everyone have a wild time!

Episode 7B
When Wolf wakes up, she is shocked to find herself in Kuroitsu’s bed. Don’t worry. Nobody is naked. Did she bring her back? Since today is their day off, Kuroitsu brings Wolf out. However Wolf is still conscious of being treated like a girl especially being put on a skirt. But Kuroitsu doesn’t see a problem and finds her cute. In fact, she sees her as her little sister. Is Wolf offended? Wolf then learns Kuroitsu’s dreams of becoming an executive. That’s why she always show up at work to show face. This has Wolf realize she knows nothing about her. Unlike herself who just bums out on her days off. Then a few guys try to hit on them. Wolf thinks of using this chance to defeat them to show her masculine side. However Kuroitsu is the one who defeats them! Holy cow! She knows kung fu?! She explains she has to be tougher than the monsters she created. Kuroitsu then apologizes for thinking Wolf as her little sister. In fact, she thinks she fits more as her daughter! She’s her creator after all. Poor Wolf continues to be so confused and conflicted…

Episode 7C
Mizuki talks to Matsuyama about always doing this line of job. Well, she’s in for the free food! Mizuki is worried because they always lose. Don’t worry, she has some top secret documents that the next hero they can win easily. Basically it’s an old guy in some suit so he’s a real pushover, right? With Mizuki motivated, hence begins her training. On the day they fight him, Mizuki’s muscles are aching. But she sees all the other goons beat down the hero. However each time he goes down, he gets back up. He’ll never give up! So much so Mizuki is the last one left. Oh dear. You’ve guessed it. Beat down! And she couldn’t get back up even once.

Episode 8A
The president of our magical girls is our talking about the importance of both justice and money! He summons Reo and Yuto because of how shady Agastia is. Hence the duo will have to infiltrate and find more info about this organization. They arrive at a back alley where they see Megistus ushering a few guys in. Is this some sort of screening process? Turns out to be an interview! Our duo take one too. While Reo is a smooth operator and can tell believable backgrounds, Yuto is a bit panicky. Although it raises an eyebrow or two, good thing Megistus doesn’t dig too deep because he understands everyone has their circumstances. So as the interview continues, Reo is so detailed and convincing that Yuto worries that she might actually betray justice and turn to the dark side! In the end, Megistus cannot hire them because it is unethical to hire underage people. He also hints he knows who they are because it is so unethical for a justice organization to send underage people for an infiltration mission! With their cover busted, the magical girls attack but Megistus dodge them and can still ask some questions! In the end, he escapes but the place is trashed. Who are the real villains? After they leave, Megistus returns to continue the interview for others. Back at HQ, the president laments a special outfit should’ve been prepared for the infiltration. That’s also because they can also sell goods for this outfit! Justice + money!

Episode 8B
Blader thinks he has fought the weakest monster brought by Agastia. However as Kuroitsu explains, this Bandersnatcher revives into a better form and is able to learn from its mistakes and attack him with more efficient attacks. Flashback shows Kuroitsu suggested to Hajime about wanting to make a monster that can adjust to Blader’s attack patterns on the spot. This is risky because if there is a bug, they cannot fix it in time. Nevertheless, they went ahead with it. So, as Bandersnatcher is about to deal a finishing blow, Blader transforms to another form and defeats it! SHOCK! We see the R&D guys depressed about it. They never thought about Blader’s other form because they’ve been struggling so much with his base form. Megistus visits them personally and gives some good advice on why they shouldn’t blame themselves. This gives Kuroitsu the motivation to do better as she starts anticipating other forms like the big robot one. This excites Wolf because she loves the prospects of seeing giant robots duke it out. But here’s some reality check as Kuroitsu crunches the numbers. Yup, this is going to cost way much! Not going to happen. Bummer. This has them think how heroes have so much money. Do they have sponsors? Back home, Kenji is stumped because he didn’t know he could transform into another form. The suit automatically activated when faced with danger. So when big brother Hajime returns, he asks in a roundabout way about weird stuffs he get. Hajime thinks he has been scammed and wants to see the documents. Kenji can’t show them either and so both are left to worry in their own ways.

Episode 8C
Megistus is now interviewing Mizuki. He asks what evil deeds she has done before. Aside squeezing lemon on an entire shared fried chicken plate to skipping work when there’s an online game event to even counterfeiting a bill, the biggest evil deed is that she reveals herself as useless. Nobody wants her because she only gives others trouble. Oh sh*t… Not sure how to feel about that one! Suddenly Matsuyama barges in and wants her to come take this job she’s got. Mizuki thought she was always in the way but apparently Matsuyama really needs her. And off they go to that job. For Megistus, next candidate please!

Episode 9A
Our R&D guys are thinking that swords are ineffective in water. Hence the question on how to drag Blader into the water. Akashic has heard this and has a plan. This means… BEACH EPISODE!!! Why do I have a feeling she just wants to have fun in the sand? Also here are Camula and Arachne. The former dragging the latter out to test her skills. Yeah, Arachne acting like a baby and it’s giving executives a bad name. Anyway, Wolf still can’t get used to the swimsuit so Kuroitsu tries to psycho her to accept it. Sorry folks, no yuri since Wolf chickens out. The experiment begins as we see Cannon and Wolf fight each other. They are going all out at each other’s throats because Akashic hints that there is someone they want to impress. Cannon seems to have the upper hand but before he can deal the finishing blow, his inside short circuits. So his mechanical insides aren’t waterproof? Cannon sinks to the bottom while the rest try to pull him out but to no avail since he is too heavy. Hey, why the rush? Robots don’t breathe, right? Or am I mistaken? Anyway, cue for Akashic to do her specialty as she becomes Moses and splits the sea open! Now they can bring Cannon back to dry land. Back in base the next day, an article on the front page reads about some beach miracle. All of them get scolded by Megistus because he told them to be discreet.

Episode 9B
As Kuroitsu leaves work, she stumbles upon a hidden izakaya in the back alley. Oh, Mizuki also working here, huh? As she sits and sifts through what to order, she notices a guy asking the mistress for some smoke. But it’s not ordinary smoke. Not only it is disguised as a lollipop, Kuroitsu realizes this is some nuclear reactor coolant?! This means this guy has a nuclear reactor in his body and an ex-battle android! Then she starts to listen to the other customers who start telling and lamenting their own tales of the past. Glories and failures. Then it hits her that this is a place for retired heroes and evil organization staffs! She can’t let her identity be found out. As she hears more stories, in a private room, ex-heroes get drunk and start blaming each other. Eventually it becomes a brawl but since they’re washed up old heroes, not much damage done, eh? But to turn this back to normal, the mistress is an ex-magical girl as she whips them into apology! Hey, at least she still looks hot and young in her transformed version!

Episode 10
What’s this? Blader meeting his match?! Mummy is as terrifying as she looks because she has hidden weapons all over her body, which makes her a formidable foe. Blader is even forced to go into his second form. But what’s this? Suddenly Mummy leaves the fight. Huh?! As Kuroitsu and Hajime ponder what went wrong, Mummy then comes in and claims she wants to be an idol! Yeah, she saw a programme during the fight and decided then and there she wanted to become an idol! So Kuroitsu takes her to see the idol maniac AKA Camula. Of course she is against this but decides to lend her some idol CDs. Wolf is then tasked to coach her. Well, the other monsters couldn’t do it any better. And since Mummy is calling him onii-chan, that’s the buzzword that gets Wolf to become her mentor. As they continue the training, Hajime laments that this might be a waste of effort because Mummy doesn’t even have proper vocal chords and was built only for battle. One practice session, Mummy accidentally slashes Wolf with her weapon. Although this is nothing to Wolf, this leaves Mummy traumatized. Mummy then stumbles into Camula who still thinks this is a bad idea. So she is made to see a vision of herself performing before fans. Suddenly her weapons get exposed, frightening them. Camula then attacks her. Hmm… Nothing happens? Back to practice, it seems Mummy now can speak a little. Hajime is stumped at the growth of her vocal chords but Kuroitsu knows what’s going on and confronts Camula about putting her pluripotent cells in Mummy. Her answer is that she is still against this idol thing because monsters aren’t supposed to do jobs meant for humans. But if she insists on taking this path, she’ll face a far more difficult road and so she thought she could help make it easier. That’s a long answer for yes-I-helped-her. Her lament is that if Mummy actually becomes successful, her cells will be part of an idol. Is that a bad thing? We see Mummy’s first debut at a mall. Damn, she’s got really nice voice now! You bet the crowd is thrilled. After the show, Mummy has only thanks for her fellow comrades who helped her. Then it is revealed that Megistus is the one who did everything from writing the lyrics to mixing to production! WTF he is also known as the golden boy of the industry?! Meanwhile Kenji also was at Mummy’s debut and is taken by her voice but can’t help feel he met her somewhere.

Episode 11
Wolf follows Kuroitsu for a retreat for employees. However, she realizes this isn’t just an ordinary retreat. In fact, the others are actually Agastia’s executives! More like an executive’s retreat! Of course, not all came. Camula, Kraken and Amanoiwato claim to be busy in their jobs to come. Wolf is forced to get acquainted with Skylla. In fact, this creepy woman is whom Kuroitsu based Wolf’s design from. Since Skylla takes a liking for her and Wolf cannot refuse, I guess it’s going to be a tiresome retreat than a relaxing one. Kuroitsu’s job is to just observe the executives. For instance, she observes Salamander, Fleurety and Peryton talking about some food. However Salamander being the cute little guy, Kuroitsu can’t stop cuddling him. Jaguar wants to face off with Fenrir to see who is better but the latter keeps thinking he wants to form some sort of plan to take down heroes. When Kuroitsu teases Jaguar and he is about to hit her, Fenrir defends her and tells him off not to get physical with other employees! Kuroitsu observes Arachne not wary about Uncle. Well, she got him trapped in her web so she’s free to play her games. Meanwhile a group of secret hero assassins are getting ready to defeat the evils of Agastia. Now for some bath time fanservice with Wolf and Skylla! Yeah. Too bad they are interrupted by a couple of heroes. Skylla is not amused they ruined her precious time with Wolf and easily defeats them. You sure they are heroes? Similarly, another group tries to get Salamander, Fleurety and Peryton but their trap failed. Heck, Peryton even lectures them on how to be a secret agent! You’re doing it all wrong! Jaguar and Fenrir are engaged in a heated ping pong match. They freaking take out a couple of sneaky heroes without even interrupting their match! Kuroitsu is awed in seeing Eldridge taking out some too but too bad he doesn’t remember her. Those heroes aren’t done yet. All of them ride their giant robot into battle. Don’t worry, Fafnir burns it down! The other civilians think it is some show. In the end, the retreat is successful. Except for Wolf. She doesn’t want to go on this ever again! Meanwhile Mizuki stumbles into Akashic and joins her playing their handheld. They both relate how they are strong but lonely. Mizuki shows her kindness by sharing her food with her. That night, Matsuyama calls her regarding a new job offer. Next day, they turn up and realize their employer is Akashic. She has made them both their newest executives! Welcome aboard! Oh sh*t!

Episode 12
Mizuki and Matsuyama pleasantly serving Akashic. Hey, better than being beaten up, right?! Akashic soon gets a call from Megistus. Oh no. Looks like business. Will be right back. As Kuroitsu is doing her usual R&D, Camula comes in to bring in the bad news that Agastia is going to be bought over by a foreign investor known as Zet Arc (ZA). Their president, Zet Acht is talking to Megistus and Akashic about the acquisition but they need some time to think about it. While this sounds like a good idea especially for the R&D side because they’ll have more budget for their department, however soon Agastia is being attacked by ZA. Uhm, did Agastia say they’ll get back with an answer? Looks like Zet Acht has decided to withdraw that option and conduct a hostile takeover AKA invasion. He will show what true power looks like. He unleashes his cybernetic monsters to wreak havoc. Kuroitsu notices these monsters have been modified against their own will. Even though they can’t say anything as an evil organization, she still doesn’t like this method. So if you think ZA is going to dominate Agastia, think again because coming into the picture to help is Black Lore. Oh, the magical girls too! The enemy of my enemy is my friend. This miscalculation forces Zet Acht to transform into his battle form to fight them. But don’t worry, Megistus and Akashic to the fray! Heck, Agastia’s executives are resisting ZA’s armies all over Japan! Zet Acht still thinks this is nothing because the monsters can be easily reproduced. Agastia will be over once he takes their HQ. Megistus has the last laugh because it isn’t just Agastia fighting all over Japan but all the local heroes and evil organizations! The biggest hero x villain collaboration! This is possible thanks to Mizuki and Matsuyama making the call to the respective organizations for help. Wow. Something they’ve done right for once. Even the retired heroes and villains come out to kick some ass! And of course here is Blader. WTF?! He gets defeated?! Hoen and Hajime then throw a device for Wolf to use but since it is too much for her, Kuroitsu wields it and turns into Black Blader! Together with Blader, they kick ass and after receiving power up assists from Megistus and the magical girls, they finally defeat Zet Acht! Hooray! That’s right. No matter how much assets you have, it all boils down to your employees! Kuroitsu realizes she can’t get out of the suit. Then a notice saying that update will only be available tomorrow. Oh well… Gotta be patient.

Red Tape Bureaucracy 101: Back To The Drawing Board
Yeah. What a wonderful cliché finale. You know, instead of pitting favourite heroes and villains together that will tear fans of both sides apart, the only obvious choice was to introduce a third side so that both heroes and villains get together and do some ass kicking. Goes to show that no foreigners must ever get involved in the sacred sanctity of Japan’s heroes and villains’ industry! For only they themselves are allowed to deal with each other! Otherwise, how else would they make money, right???!!! You gaijin better stay out of it!

Obviously, this isn’t your typical sentai, tokusatsu or hero show. However, it does feel like an office themed show instead! Only, we have an evil organization as the main company in focus here. So don’t expect to see your typical hero tropes here like the hero battling monsters and the likes. Even if there are, they’re just a small part and not the main driving force. Hence a big portion of this series feels like random standalone filler episodes because of all the different departments that we see the R&D department has to go through. Everything in the company is so inter-related with each other despite each department clearly has its own roles and are supposedly running at their own independent pace. So in that sense, this series doesn’t really has a plot to follow and that’s good if you’re bad in keeping up with the story.

Of course the biggest irony and the funniest part of it all is how Agastia operates like a normal huge company and conglomerate. Even more so its corporate ways are mostly based on the Japanese style and version of corporatism. Yeah, you thought that as an evil organization, they shouldn’t even give a hoot about human resources and the likes but here they are, abiding it to a T! Heck, Agastia could put most real life big companies to shame with their great policies! But I suppose that is why our prejudices and biasness got us blinded. Just because their goal is to take over the world and this quickly makes us form conclusions that they are the bad guys. But hey, even if they are true villains, in order to smoothly obtain one’s goal, managing resources smoothly and efficiently is a must. Hence the only way for Agastia to achieve that is via being a corporate entity. I suppose this series made us realize that good organizations or bad, if they exist in such a huge massive size, then it is more efficient for them to form a group that operates in the way of corporate companies. Otherwise with no such managing and handling of resources, everything will fall apart.

As we have seen from time to time, Agastia has a pretty huge hand in almost every industry to support the main one. I am only guessing that they could be second to the nation’s biggest employer which is the government. So in that sense if Agastia has already infiltrated many of the industries and from what I see they are doing pretty well, isn’t that itself world domination or at least they have already dominated the local nation? Damn, doing the consolidating accounts for the company overall is going to be scary and a nightmare! Take it from one who does accounting and bookkeeping… Anyway, as said the irony that Agastia actually abides by the rules and treats its employees with respect makes you wonder if they are truly the bad guys. Hell, there are even real life companies that I am sure who are more evil than them. Worse than any black companies and sweatshop style employment systems. Uh huh. It’s funny for me to say that Agastia is a lot better a role model for companies in terms of its HR system. Yeah, Agastia treating its employees way better than some people treat their own family members! After all, the employees are the important assets who run the company so it is only right that they should be treated their dues instead of being exploited, right? Isn’t that why human resource is named so? Only when employees feel part of the company, only then they can be more productive and make even more profits for the company instead of the short-sighted exploitative ones used by black companies.

Of course even as Agastia being a huge company, there are pitfalls of its own and perhaps this is where its funny charm lies. The series pokes fun at the typical day to day bureaucratic red tape that many huge companies face. While this might not give us the entire picture but at least we have a good idea of how it works. So for you freshies out there just about to join the shackles of society, uhm, I mean help contribute to society, get ready to learn the code. So it is both funny and painfully true to see how Kuroitsu’s R&D department having to go through different departments to get several executive approvals as part of the many examples that highlights one of the redundancy but ubiquitous corporate policies. I’m sure the intentions behind this are good like Kuroitsu just can’t simply dish out anything she likes without higher ups’ approval since this is not her company and she has no authority, but at the same time this whole thing got lost in the process and it becomes a real pain. It’s like you need to get flawless victories in all your fights and one little mistake sends you back to square one. Frustrating indeed. So is this why each episode’s title are so long ass winded so as to reflect this red tape blunder?!

There are tons of characters in here but thankfully none of them are too deep to understand as many of them fall under the many stereotypes of monsters and the kind of roles that they have been pigeonholed into. So don’t worry about character development here because there’s basically none. If you know that character is like that from the start, they’ll be like that till the end without any drastic change. As Kuroitsu’s department is the main focus, Kuroitsu being the poster girl and the main character of this series, we see her going through all the troubles and sadly most of her efforts are often futile because that damn Blader would just defeat her creation. Don’t tell me they have to follow the script that good always triumphs over evil too! But the important is that we see she doesn’t give up and this is both good for her character, her department and Agastia as a whole. Then there is Wolf who feels a lot like being confused of her gender because she’s been put into the wrong girl body. Is this her running joke? Oh yeah. Better to have Kuroitsu and Wolf as feminine cuties than your ripping muscle male Wolf, eh? The other ‘failed’ creations just feel barely like Hydra having multiple personalities from her other heads, Cannon is a big nice chicken, Mummy just wants to sing and Melty, well, she just melts.

Perhaps the most respectable character of all is Megistus. He is the main reason why Agastia manages to maintain its good corporate culture and values. He might sound intimidating but I can assure you that he looks out for all his employees and is a very fair guy. Damn, if only this guy was headhunted in other companies, I’m sure that black company will transform into a worthy company of the year overnight! I feel that without this dude, Agastia could have collapsed and be like your other typical evil organizations and real life big tech firms who don’t care about its minion and treat them like dirt. Then there is Akashic who looks more like a brat at this point but don’t let those young girl looks fool you and she is not the leader of Agastia without a reason. Just because we’ve never seen her power yet, it tempts her to underestimate her and form conclusions that she’s just a useless brat sitting at the top. Of all the other executives of Agastia, probably Camula stands out as I feel she makes more appearances than others. Hence she’s got this dark secret of being an idol lover is perhaps to tell us that executives too are like ordinary people with their own likes and dislikes. Just that the corporate role drew the line and separate them from us in the pecking order.

While this is predominantly a series focusing on the evil organization, the good guys aren’t left out too but they are shown on a smaller scale. So in the case of Kenji/Blader, he is your normal boy helming the role of typical hero. Yawn. Boring, right? The other irony and funny moments include how Kenji and Kuroitsu can be considered as acquaintances but yet do not know each other’s identities. They talk whenever they stumble into each other and they look like pretty nice people. Heck, it is not big secret by this point we all should know that Hajime himself works in Kuroitsu’s department and his brother isn’t aware he is fighting the very same people he knows and is related to! Imagine how differently things would turn out if they knew who the other is. I’m only saying all this because it can relate to all of us in real life. I mean, how much do you actually know about the other person or family you think you know that they are doing? We always assume based on what we think we know like how Kenji often does for Kuroitsu’s job. Yeah, so perhaps that nice guy who always smiles and waves back to you every morning on your way to school might actually be a serial killer! GASP!!! Oh damn, hope I won’t turn paranoid and suspicious to everyone after this! With Black Blader seen coming to visit Kenji’s stall at the end, will Kenji finally put the pieces of the puzzle together? That’s for you to draw your own conclusions.

Interestingly, Kenji isn’t the only hero in town as we were showcased a pair of magical girls too. While they are an interesting lot, they are not given too much focus because well, they’re not the main characters. But seeing them from Agastia’s point of view, it’s like they’re the bad guys, huh? We see them more violent and reckless than the Agastia monsters themselves. Uh huh. Another irony that the good organization is acting like an evil organization, vice versa. So while Kenji and the magical girls duo may be helming some sort of heroic job, just like everyone else (and even the employees at Agastia and any other evil organizations), they’re just normal people underneath it all. Hence people like the police, fire fighters, doctors, teachers and even politicians are just normal human beings when you strip them down to the bare minimum level.

Being a series that has roots in the hero elements, of course they can’t discount the existence of heroes too. Like light and darkness, yin and yang, they need each other to exist. So what I’m trying to say is that if you noticed over the entire series, there will be cameos of real heroes scattered throughout. Even in the end credits, they have to put this disclaimer that these heroes are actually real and not made up! Yes, further proof is that they show a picture of those heroes in their pose and all. And since Japan loves their heroes like they love their idols, you bet that there are going to be tons of them. I’m sure not all of them get featured and the lucky ones get showcased here. Hence, sometimes it is fun to play Where’s Wally here if the heroes do not make a very obvious cameo. They might be in the background or just in the form of a poster. So keep your eyes peeled.

With that said, hence the only reason why I think this Mizuki character exists not only is to become a punching bag for these heroes but to introduce them. And of course to be a punching bag for them after that. That is why this unlucky character has to hop from one odd job to another only to find they’re all the same and that is to be one of those nameless and faceless villains to be beaten up by the featured hero of the episode. Poor girl. That’s her running joke. Not sure about her qualifications, but can’t she land a safer job like working at the convenience store or something? Oh right. That Matsuyama girl who keeps relying on her too. Got to play the friendship card since Mizuki obviously has no other friends. Perhaps Mizuki’s character is some sort of lesson we can learn. As long as we don’t learn from our mistakes and we don’t improve ourselves, we’ll most likely stay in the rut and get beaten forever. So people, don’t be a Mizuki! Heh. In the end, it is a good thing that finally she got the job that suits her. Sort of. I mean, it’s better than going around getting beaten up, right? Is the money worth all that? Yeah, you could say she finally found her calling. That is, doing the most important job of calling all the heroes and villains together! Makes you wonder this good vs evil thingy is really some money making business, huh?

On a trivial note, I am not sure if I should find this annoying yet because in every episode, the names of the character and their job position appear the first time they come on screen for that episode. This is both good and bad for me in the sense that while lesser known characters can be introduced again, for the main ones if you haven’t remembered them in your head, then my friend you either don’t give a sh*t or just have very bad memory. Yeah, have to remind all of you again that in the many seasons of Boku No Hero Academia, they continued to spam the characters’ names. So unless this series gets more seasons, this name introduction thingy is both a good and bad thing in my books for now. Yeah, it’ll be bad if you can’t even remember the names of the executives! You wanna get fired???!!!

Art and animation are pretty standard and the characters look like your typical anime cute girls and monsters. Nothing really out of the ordinary. However I noticed that the episodes towards the end feel like they have a dip in quality as I find the characters looking slightly different and not really in a good way. They look a bit weird and odd if you ask me. Not sure if they rushed out the animation then or they delegated to amateurs. Or this is part of the joke about having limited budget? That’s why some of the monsters that came out from Kuroitsu’s lab look more cute than menacing because, yeah, budget constraints! Gotta be realistic where the money is concern! No matter how big your corporation is, it’s not like it has infinite pockets! This anime is done by Quad and this is their debut production.

Voice acting, with so many casts here, it is no doubt that I will find a few recognizable ones such as Ayana Taketatsu as Camula, Shinichiro Miki as Uncle, Rie Kugumiya as Salamander, Shigeru Chiba as Red Mantle General, Tomokazu Sugita as Zet Acht and of course the lovely veteran duo of Yukari Tamura and Yui Horie as Reo and Yuto respectively. Despite all of that, Mamiko Noto nowhere to be found :’(. Must be busy in other roles in other animes of the season, huh? The other characters are Kaori Maeda as Kuroitsu (Tillis in Sentouin Hakenshimasu), Satomi Amano as Wolf (Rena in Shuumatsu No Harem), Takuma Terashima as Kenji/Blader (Shiroe in Log Horizon), Tetsu Inada as Megistus (Gamagoori in Kill La Kill), Yuichiro Umehara as Hajime (titular character in Goblin Slayer), Mao Ichimichi as Akashic (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Shunichi Toki as Cannon (Glenn in Monster Musume No Oisha-san), Miyu Tomita as Melty (titular character in Gabriel Dropout), Fumi Aikawa as Hydra, Yurie Kozakai as Mizuki (Pekola in Jashin-chan Dropkick) and Nao Shiraki as Matsuyama (Mismis in Kimi To Boku No Saigo No Senjou Arui Wa Sekai ga Hajimaru Seisen) and Arisa Komiya as Hoen (Dia in Love Live! Sunshine).

The opening theme is Special Force by AXXX1S. A lively rock song infused with some heavy synthesizer effects. I suppose looking at the context of this anime, I guess this song suits the series well. I the ending theme, Aimai Identity by Maybe Me. Despite the heavy use of synthesizer effects too, they have a cute and catchy ring to it. Can also sound like a song for a hero show too. Speaking of which, there is another alternative ending theme with a similar vibe and not too bad either, Destiny also by Maybe Me. This rock outfit has a more dramatic vibe to it and sounds suitable for shonen style animes.

Overall, this series is quite entertaining and funny in its own right although it is not as heavy in its corporate themes in other animes like Shachou Battle No Jikan Desu and Meikyuu Black Company. At least, not as obvious as them. But still worth the laughs in parodying the corporate culture (but sentai, tokusatsu and hero version) that is supposedly keeping the world’s economy running in today’s modern era. It’s like the biggest open secret ever in the world. I’m sure that this anime can relate to most of us who are working and it doesn’t matter what kind of job or industry you’re doing. Because I’m sure that you’ll at least find one or two very familiar situations here. I know, I nodded my head a few times in agreement and went, “Yup, same here. Same here…”. Now that the series has ended, back to mundane reality for me. Sighs… I wonder if Agastia has any new openings for hire…

Elfen Lied

2 July, 2022

This was one of those series that I would never have thought I would watch in my life time because you know of its horror-like and dark themes. Or so I thought it was. And what prompted me to change my mind to watch Elfen Lied? Not because I’m getting old (yes I am) and my preferences are changing, but it’s because, sighs, you might have guessed it already from my past few blogs and recent trend. Yup, Mamiko Noto having a role here. Hence that’s the sole basis for me to check out this series and brush aside whatever fears or biasness I had to not watch it. Sighs. Oh well. At least I’m one step closer into watching (almost) all the series she appeared.

Episode 1
What a bloody start to the series. Lucy escapes from her confinement in a secret lab and kills all the guards with her telekinesis power! OMG. Whether their body splits in half or limb dismemberment, nobody lives! However, it seems she doesn’t kill the head research chief, Kurama despite he orders all his guards to shoot her. All his guards dead. Lucy manages to get outside so Kurama has the sniper take her out. Although he shot her, he missed the chance to kill her as she falls into the sea. We see Yuka and meeting up with her cousin, Kouta. What’s this they’re supposed to live together alone in a large traditional Japanese house just because they going to the same college? Anyway as they hang out at the beach, they are shocked to see naked Lucy emerging from the sea. Lucy is confused and all and since she is clumsy, they help her. But looking at Lucy, Kouta starts to have some sort of trauma regarding his dead little sister, Kanae. Since she can only say Nyu, they call her that. They take her back to the house and it looks like Nyu is a retard in doing everything. Not knowing how to eat an onigiri to even doing her business in the middle of the hallway! Meanwhile Kurama’s next task is to hunt and kill Lucy. Yup, not capture her. Mankind will be destroyed if Lucy is released to the world. Hence he sends a group of elite SAT (Special Assault Team) and one of them, Bando is a crazy guy who just wants to kill! Kouta is reminiscing Kanae’s memento, a seashell, However Nyu snaps it in half! This makes Kouta enraged as he gets rough on her. Yuka tries to stop them but he kicks her out of the house. Nyu runs away as Yuka later explains that she did so perhaps he was looking sad each time he looked at the seashell. If he is sad each time he thinks of Kanae, imouto-chan will be sad too.

Episode 2
Bando isn’t the kind who take orders well. He defies orders to go look for Lucy on his own. As Kouta feels bad about his treatment over Nyu, a couple of detectives come knocking to ask if they’ve seen this girl (Lucy). He claims no. Then he goes to look for her and finds her at the beach. However Bando has found them too. He beats up Kouta and takes Nyu away. Hey, I thought he wanted to kill Kouta so as not to leave any witnesses? It seems Bando is trying to make Nyu do that killing machine thingy. He can’t believe she is a frail and scared girl. So where’s that bloodthirsty killer?! He gets bored of tormenting her and has his comrade kill her. However that is when Lucy returns and kills off that poor chap. Is this the Lucy you’re looking for? Now who’s sh*tting in his pants?! Bando is forced to run and hide as Lucy gets aggressive in throwing stuffs and attacking him. But he feels the thrill. He realizes part of her telekinesis is because she has several ghost hands that stretches out for 2 metres. Eventually Bando loses and is tormented. Lucy cuts of his hand, twists his arm and even blinds him. How dull. However Bando is spared because Lucy reverts to the meek Nyu who then runs away. Luckily for Bando, a runaway girl, Mayu who is hiding nearby treats him. But when she returns to treat him further, he is gone. Meanwhile Yuka has found Kouta and taken him to the hospital. His injuries are light so he’ll be discharged soon. The detectives come to talk to him so as Kouta gives his account on what happened, they think he is crazy but also warn him to forget everything. Kouta returns home and sees Nyu sitting outside. Seems she was at the beach trying to find the replacement seashell. Kouta hugs her and vows not to let anybody get her. Now the daunting task of trying to change her wet clothes. Oh boy. As expected, Yuka walks right in when he strips her.

Episode 3
Thank goodness Yuka is an understanding girl, right? Well… She asks Kouta if he remembers about the promise on that festival night many years ago. He doesn’t. Okay, now she’s mad. She slaps him and leaves. Is Kouta’s talent making girls cry? Soon, Kouta develops fever and Nyu being the retard can’t do things right. Luckily Yuka is still around and helps to nurse him. Talking about that festival night, it was the night they both parted ways. It is the first time Yuka hears that Kouta’s father would soon die in an accident followed by Kanae getting sick. No wonder he doesn’t want to remember that day. Kurama goes to see this Lucy clone named Nana. She looks like another dangerous being as she is chained and locked up. But for ‘papa’, she’ll do anything. Kurama has a job for her and that is to hunt and kill Lucy. But Nana says she can’t kill Lucy (let alone best her). In that case, at least locate and bring her home since Diclonius can sense each other. Then he goes to see Bando who is surprised that he is to be castrated! That or he dies. This is to save mankind. Kurama then continues to explain about Diclonius. Basically a mutated human who has been given such deadly powers at birth including those hands known as vectors. The thing about Diclonius is that they don’t have a normal reproductive system. So they either die at birth or in the next generation. So a way for Diclonius to reproduce is to infect humans with their genes via their vectors. Hence in order to evolve mankind, they will destroy all those that currently exist. Because Nyu lets Kouta fondle her boobs, another act caught red-handed by Yuka. Slap. Soon, Mayu comes to visit to return the umbrella they left behind on the beach. She mentioned about seeing a soldier attack Nyu. As Nyu is cleaning the house, she slips and knocks her head. Oh dear. Lucy’s back. She is about to kill them but images of Kouta has her stop and leave. After Mayu leaves, WTF Yuka wonders if Kouta would like to fondle her boobs?! Shouldn’t they be looking for Nyu. Oh, looks like Nana has found her and wants her to come home.

Episode 4
Lucy refuses to abide so both Diclonius fight. We return to Yuka’s question about boobs fondling. He tries to change the subject by go finding Nyu but this only makes Yuka mad. I guess she is jealous that he only cares about Nyu, huh? Oh yeah. You made Yuka cry again. Here, this time a punch and now she runs away from home. Mayu notices the fight between Lucy and Nana. Nana has already got Lucy in her grasp when Mayu waltz into the scene. This distraction allows Lucy to counterattack and cut off Nana’s fingers and leg. Mayu is horrified but Lucy tosses her away. Lucy proceeds to tear off all of Nana’s limbs. Gruesome. Before she can finish her off, Kurama and his guards enter the picture. This distraction allows Nana to use her vector and prevent Lucy from using her abilities further. Kurama is not happy of what has happened to Nana and slaps Lucy. She escapes while Nana feels guilty for failing this mission. Meanwhile Yuka asks about since she has been seeing Mayu around lately. Then she stumbles into a terrified Nyu. She realizes it was dumb of her to be jealous of this retard so they go home. Meanwhile Kouta gets a call from the hospital. I guess Mayu is being treated and she had no one to call for help. Uhm, did they give her their number? Anyway, Kouta brings her home and Mayu is at first shocked to see Nyu. Hmm… But she doesn’t look like the bloodthirsty Lucy so she may be seeing things. So while Mayu and Nyu bathe together, Kouta tells Yuka what happened at the beach and that’s why he is concerned for Nyu. Yuka also tells what she found out about Mayu and believes she is a runaway. She hardly talks about her family, right? Since they can’t trust the police, I guess they’ll have to let her stay here. Yeah. There are lots of rooms. The more girls the merrier, right? Kouta is so going to be in trouble… Kurama has been given orders by his boss the director to kill Nana since she has become useless. Kurama doesn’t like it and is forced to inject some serum to kill Nana. But Nana knows what it means and says goodbye to papa and makes this even harder for him. Bye Nana. The director then gets a call from his son, Kakuzawa who is requesting some additional budget, claiming his research is almost there. Looks like he also has an ulterior motive to target Lucy.

Episode 5
Mayu decides not to impose on Kouta and runs away. Of course the logical reason for Kouta and Yuka is to go find her. We see Mayu’s flashback that after her mom remarried, her stepdad sexually assaulted her on many occasions. When she tried to tell this to mom, she slapped and blamed her! Naturally, she ran away from home. As she is hiding in her usual site on the beach, several officers come checking as they received reports of a stray girl. She runs away but this time bumps into Kouta. He explains she is family and it is their weird tradition to run away if they get into a fight. You don’t know how true that is… With Mayu back, they allow her to live here until she sorts things out. Coincidentally, today is her birthday so they celebrate it and make her cry even more! Apparently Kouta also went to talk to Mayu’s mom and surprisingly she had no qualms of giving her permission to let her live with them. Yeah, it’s like she doesn’t want he daughter anymore. I guess they can’t leave Nyu alone so they bring her to college. This is going to be a disaster… They attend a class by Kakuzawa and the moment he sees Nyu, he goes into shock. WTF Lucy doing here?! He cancels class and has Kouta and Yuka talk to him in private. He claims Lucy is his niece and has gone missing. She has lost her memories and speech impediment. He threatens them with abduction and kidnapping if they don’t return her. Obviously and reluctantly, Kouta says goodbye to Nyu who becomes frantic as she calls his name. He ignores her… Back home, the duo are obviously agonizing over the whole thing although they try to put up a brave front. Meanwhile Kakuzawa looks like some sick dude as he is going to rape Nyu?! WTF he thinks they’re going to destroy the old mankind and become the new Adam and Eve! After that, Lucy awakens. Kakuzawa tries to assure he is on her side. He shows his true identity that he is a Diclonius like her. However she doesn’t need him and kills him off!

Episode 6
Bando has regain his sight and has mechanized limbs. That’s in exchange for his castration. Of course being the baddie he is, he won’t live up to his promise and beats him up before escaping. Damn, they sure dumb to give him all the goodies without taking his balls first! A worried Kouta decides to go see Nyu. However only his assistant, Arakawa is there. She thinks he is in his underground lab as she reveals that Kouta might be lied to as Kakuzawa doesn’t have a brother let alone a niece. She then tells him the truth about those with horns. They are isolated and killed. Then they see Kakuzawa’s dead body. Shock of course. Arakawa surprised to see Kakuzawa also has horns. She tells Kouta to go home and not say a word to anybody. Wow. That easy, huh? The director learns about his son’s death and isn’t even moved. We learn Kurama had a daughter but she died. He killed her. His wife who saw this then committed suicide. Sick. As Mayu heads to school, she sees Bando loitering at the beach. Glad that he is okay, WTF has he softened up because he gives his number in case she is in trouble. Now they’re even. When he asks if she has seen a girl with horns, the moment she thinks he is referring to Nyu, he gets rough with her. Woman or kid, he’ll kill her depending on her answer! Now tell me where that horned b*tch so I can kill her! Smart Mayu then uses the phone call as her out-of-gaol card. At least he isn’t a loli killer so he lets her go this 1 time. Meanwhile Kouta and Yuka are looking for Nyu. Rain makes them conveniently take shelter at a shrine. Yuka cold so Kouta holds her close. Cue for them to get physical with each other. Yup. Your obligatory make out scene. Just short of getting naked and full penetration. Damn, it’s like the rain doesn’t want them to drag out this kissing so it stops. They return to look for Nyu but oh look, there’s Lucy. Shocked that she could talk, Kouta wants her to come back home where she belongs. Of course her real home is the facility and she doesn’t have fond memories. It seems Lucy has met Kouta before. She gets emotional thinking she has no right to be with him. The shock reverts her to retard Nyu. Okay, time to hug. Yuka gives her permission. But not too long! Meanwhile a pod is washed ashore and it contains Nana. Kurama has defied the director’s wish and let her live and escape. Her limbs are rebuilt. His orders for her is to get far away and live discreetly. It may take years but he’ll get her eventually. Bad luck for her because the first person she meets is Bando!

Episode 7
He wants to know where Lucy is but Nana tries not to fight as to live up to her papa’s words. As Bando keeps attacking her, she has to fight back. He tries to break her spirit by revealing that Diclonius like them only exist as guinea pig. Otherwise they are killed off. Eventually she overpowers him and breaks his mechanized arm. She gets traumatized after realizing she is bleeding all over. Is Bando feeling bad for her and gives up?! They realize that Lucy is both their enemy so Nana suggests teaming up. He refuses because he wants to kill that b*tch alone. Nana mentions that Diclonius can sense each other so she’ll be of help. He gives her his number but since she doesn’t know what it means, he tells her he’ll always be waiting at the beach. If you find her, you know where to look for him. The director realizes Kurama has defied him by having Nana lived. Although he learns he treats Nana like his own child because he lost his own to some vector disease, he is still going to make him pay. As Mayu is walking her dog, this leads her to Nana hanging out at the cemetery alone. Feeling glad that she is okay, until Nana’s limbs come off, Mayu faints! She wakes up and they talk and become friends. Mayu then suggests to come live at the place where she is staying because there is another horned girl there. Suspicious Nana agrees. She is surprised that Lucy is living here only because she cannot sense her. Just in time as Kouta comes out and sees another horned girl. He wants answers! Nana wants to leave but since her stomach is growling, food more important than pride. Then the moment Nana sees Nyu, she right away attacks her! DIE, B*TCH!!!

Episode 8
With everyone protecting Nyu, Nana doesn’t understand why. Even more so when Kouta slaps her for making this mess. She runs away but Mayu chases after her. Meanwhile Arakawa is ordered to bring Kakuzawa’s head to the director. Now that she has seen this secret, he shoots her! Because there were other footsteps at the lab other than hers, he wants to know other witnesses. Since she doesn’t want to die, she spills the beans all that she knows. Nyu tells Mayu the truth about herself as Diclonius who aren’t actually humans to begin with. She also demonstrates her vectors and how deadly these invisible weapons can be. But Nana claims she is different from Lucy because she will not do bad things unlike Lucy who has killed many during her escape. Kurama sees the director and is surprised that his intentions isn’t the vaccine that his son was creating but the virus itself. He wants to bring rebirth to a new mankind and with Lucy at the top, it is possible. Oh f*ck, another maniac who thinks he is God’s proxy and hence the right to bring an end to the current humanity. Because of Kurama’s betrayal, he will send another Diclonius to kill Nana and capture Lucy. Nyu is sick but temporarily reverts back to Lucy before being too weak and reverting back to the retard. As she falls asleep, we see a glimpse of Lucy’s past. Growing up in an orphanage, she was bullied by other boys because of her horns. The only one who defended her was a girl and her only other solace was a stray puppy outside. Lucy tolerated the torment because she knew these boys were unhappy too and needed someone unhappier. As Lucy slowly learns her vector’s powers, she also tells her friend about the dog. Until the boys got hold of it and used it as hostage to torment Lucy. Worse, Lucy learnt her friend ratted the dog out to the boys. When the boys finally killed the puppy, enraged Lucy killed them all with her vectors. After burying the doggie, that is when she met Kouta.

Episode 9
Lucy was going to kill Kouta until he mentions how cool her horns are. Confused, Kouta promised to come see her every day until he leaves since he is visiting a relative. Next day as Lucy waits, she thought he was just another liar but Kouta showed up. He gave her a hat to cover her horns and also shared his sketches and orgel. Such nice times. They hang out like this and you can tell Lucy slowly warmed up to him. On the last day together, he took her to the zoo. Like a country bumpkin, she was impressed with all the animals. However, she started hearing voices that told her to kill everyone. Lucy tried hard to suppress and ignore it. The kids continue to have their fun. At the end of the day, Kouta told her he can’t see her tomorrow because of a promise made to a cousin. Lucy wondered if this cousin of his is a girl. That is when her inner voice started to psycho her again that this girl will make he feel unpleasant. So why not just kill? By the time Lucy brushed off that threat, she is already strangling Kouta?! Damn, that kid just brushed off the strangulation and acted like nothing happened?! Then she said if she ever started killing people, please kill her. Did Kouta get that?! To Lucy’s relief, she learnt the cousin is a boy. So she looked forward to the night’s festival because she wanted to tell her true feelings before he leaves. Then to her horror she saw Yuka clinging all over Kouta because she is sad they’re parting ways. Lucy thought Kouta already had someone he liked and that’s when her inner voice goes in for the kill. Telling Lucy she has nothing, but she has the power to change the world and to switch with her. The moment she did that, Lucy turned into a killing machine and started slicing all the merry people. A bloody festival alright. Now Lucy has awakened and Nana senses her. Is this going to be brutal b*tch showdown round 2?

Episode 10
Uhm, not sure what happened in this fight but I’m thinking Lucy is too weak to fight back. Even more so when Mayu tries to get in between to stop them. Hey, at least her clothes get shredded which is better than she getting injured, right? Mayu’s pleas to stop reminds Lucy of a young Kouta so she reverts back to Nyu. With Mayu introducing Nana as her pal, Nana gets permission to eat and boy, see her pig out at all the food. Sorry girl, no seconds. Don’t have much food. Mayu suggests Nana to live here but Nana refuses because she thinks all of them are bad people the way they treated her. Until Nyu offers some food of hers. Is this peace offering? Yeah, I suppose one does get mad when they’re hungry. Just like that, Nana apologizes for being rude and all. Now we delve into Kurama’s flashback. He and Kakuzawa were college buddies and after graduating, they worked at the lab for a top secret government research programme. Of course, that means testing AKA tormenting young Diclonius girls. Kurama’s face tells it all that he is afraid of seeing the girls get tortured and killed but what to do, that’s what the experiment is about. Then there is one who escaped and Kurama could’ve died had not Kakuzawa killed her. With the number of Diclonius at the lab mysteriously growing, the director gives permission to kill them before they grow up to be dangerous. One of the Diclonius belongs to a staff member so you bet he is against killing his own daughter. That was when Kurama decided to shoulder on the burden to kill them and take the blame. They say karma is a b*tch because at the same time, Kurama’s wife gave birth. Guess what? The newly born daughter is a Diclonius. Fear started to ring through Kurama’s head and those lines he said to that colleague. Of course his wife was in shock when he wanted to kill the baby. Not sure WTF this is but it seemed she was also undergoing surgery to remove the cancer from her uterus. So, uhm, why is she covered in blood?! Was her operation over?! Anyway, she died and her last words were to save their daughter. Later studies showed that the outbreak was caused by some virus and the irony of this mystery solved was because of Kurama. Kakuzawa left to focus researching on the virus so Kurama took over as lab chief. The director believed there is a queen, the one who transmitted the virus first. Thus Kurama’s job is to trace that queen. He is reminded his daughter’s life is in his hands and to do what he says. Now, Kurama wished Nana didn’t have to get involved in all this sh*t. Well, looks like she’s happily eating and part of the gang now. We’re like family. Meanwhile, the strongest and most violent Diclonius is about to be released to hunt down Lucy.

Episode 11
Mariko is said to have 26 vectors that can reach up to 11 metres. She kills anyone on sight but is believed the only person she won’t kill is her ‘mom’ who is the researcher, Saitou who has been studying her for years. So for the first time as Mariko is released from her chains and Saitou goes to greet her, she kills her off!!! Oh well. What now? Luckily Saitou (whose body has been cut into half) managed to activate some pain to subdue her. This is the only way she can’t use her vectors. Shirakawa (Kurama’s assistant) is now in charge of her and will lead the hunt to find Lucy. Meanwhile, Kurama finds Bando loitering at the beach. He can find parts to fix his broken mechanical hand. In exchange, he wants him to kill a Diclonius that will soon come here. When Nana sees a picture of Kanae, Kouta explains she is dead. The irony is that he felt he did something mean to her before she died but can’t remember what. Nyu suddenly gets sad and doesn’t want Kouta to be so. She cuts her hair and wants to be Kanae so he won’t be sad anymore. Kouta appreciates her gesture and hugs her. Looks like Yuka doesn’t. Yeah, run away, eh? But in town, she notices town is being cordoned off by the police. The helicopter carrying Mariko lands. Shirakawa threatens her if she does something funny, she’ll detonate the bomb that was planted inside her since birth. Nana starts to feel shivers that a Diclonius is out to kill her. In order not to trouble Kouta anymore, she heads out to settle business. Subsequently, Mayu tells Kouta about this and the obvious choice for the man of the house is to go look for his girl. Everybody can’t believe that Nana came to face off with Mariko when she should be running away. As Nana isn’t aware of how powerful and dangerous Mariko is, she instantly gets torn apart from a distance! Looks like fun?!

Episode 12
Mariko is slowly tormenting Nana since she is the only one she gets to kill. But it gets boring soon as Nana doesn’t fight back. And then Kouta comes running into the scene and is horrified to see what has happened to Nana. Nana warning not to harm this boy so Shirakawa thinks something is going on between them because it’s rare for a Diclonius to have a human friend. Shirakawa wants to talk to him but the rest are not taking any risks and start firing. They also order Mariko to finish off Nana. But as Mariko gets close to Nana, the latter using her vector to nullify hers before falling into the sea. Then here comes Nyu. Everyone is shock that Lucy is here. However Mariko won’t kill her because she doesn’t sense this is Lucy. Kouta tries to protect Nyu while Mariko is distraught that her vectors are not working before being taken away. Now Lucy is about to play. She kills off Shirakawa and this jogs Kouta’s memories. That festival night, Kouta’s family managed to reunite and get away. Though, Kanae was traumatized because she saw Lucy killing people. Hence it was a quick goodbye with Yuka who promised to wait for him to come back one day. On the train home, Kanae told Kouta how she saw a girl with horns killing people. But Kouta doesn’t believe her. As Kanae asserts her case, don’t look now because here is Lucy on the same train!!! Kouta is glad she is here but Lucy isn’t. She calls him a liar. So his cousin isn’t a boy… Snippets of Kouta x Lucy time if you forgot those happy moments they had together. When Kanae told Kouta to run away, Kouta slapped her for saying something rude. Apologize or he’ll hate her. Kanae became fearful at that thought. However it was then Lucy sliced her in half and subsequently their father. Kouta in shock, demanding why she killed his family. Well, isn’t he glad she left him alive because he is her friend? A stunned Kouta then pinned her down and kept begging her to stop it all. Now Kouta remembers his memories. He wants to know what she is. She doesn’t think it has anything to do with him but he insists it does. But this conversation is to be saved for later because Bando is here to get his revenge.

Episode 13
Kurama saves Nana as she wonders why he wants to kill Mariko. Because Mariko is his real daughter! WTF we don’t even get to see how Lucy defeated Bando and worse, she doesn’t kill him?! I guess leaving him in agony that he’ll never see her again is much better. Yuka tells Mayu the truth about Kouta’s family being murdered and the culprit was never caught. It left Kouta in shock and hospitalized for a year. She blames herself for always being jealous of Kanae and that’s essentially her way of confessing she loves Kouta. With Mariko sensing that Lucy has come for her, her powers are back as both Diclonius face off. Obviously Mariko is so much more powerful and rips one of Lucy’s horn. Mariko claims she is victorious but before her is Kurama. She recognizes her father but as she comes close to him, he pulls out a gun. Mariko says she has been looking forward to the die to reunite with daddy and mommy, the day where she can get out of that dark room to live with them, and what the heck is this? Even more so when Nana is calling him her papa. Mariko thinks of killing her to let him have a taste of sadness. Kurama drops his gun and hugs her. Then he carries her away and wishes Nana happiness. Kurama then tells Mariko how mom loved her till her least breath. At that point, a researcher can’t risk it all and detonates the bomb inside Mariko, taking father and daughter out together. That bugger wants to kill Nana next but is swiftly killed by Lucy. The director laments how everyone dug their own graves. But he isn’t worried because his plans have just begun as he reveals his true identity: He is a Diclonius! Must run in the family, huh? Lucy then meets up with Kouta to talk. She admits she is that Lucy he met 8 years ago. She claims she can turn every child into a Diclonius but doing so, Kouta will not be alive. She views him as her dream and freedom even if it’s a brief one. She regrets what she has done and endured and lived on so that she can make amends. Kouta hugs her. He can’t forgive her for killing his family. But if she gets hurt again, he’ll regret it again and he doesn’t want that to happen. After admitting he loves her, they both kiss as much as they want because it’s going to be their last, right?! At least she apologizes for making him sad. One last big hug for the road before Lucy goes to face off with the army. So, she dead now that her other horn comes off? Kouta, Yuka, Mayu and Nana are seen happily living together and sometimes they think about Nyu.

OVA
Taking place between episode 10 and 11, it seems Nana tries to be useful by helping around her house. But as Mayu advised, she must not use her vectors. Because Nyu can do chores better than her, this somewhat becomes a personal competition although Nana ends up failing. She doesn’t want to do chores anymore and this has Kouta raising his voice that she needs to contribute if she wants to live here. Nana doesn’t care and, wait for it, runs away. She goes to hang out with Bando at the beach but this sharp dude can tell she may have found Lucy and threatens her as he thinks they’ve both joined hands. Nana promises to bring her here this evening. So Nana returns on pretence of wanting to take a walk with Nyu. As it starts raining, they take shelter but Nyu is starting to get fever. Nana thinks of using this chance to kill her but realizes she is crying. Time for a flashback as Nyu dreams… Kurama and Kakuzawa discussed about Lucy being the queen and the one whom the virus originated. After the orphanage’s massacre, killings have been increased since. They manage to track her down hiding in some complex. At that time, she befriended a human girl who didn’t care about her horns and wanted to be friends. Lucy fought the soldiers but it seemed the girl was sniped out. Lucy in despair. Kurama then made a deal with her that if she comes with them, they will do all they can to save this girl’s life. Lucy obediently did so but soon Kurama told her the bad news that the girl died despite their best efforts. That was when Lucy promised that she won’t kill him and will make him suffer the same sadness she felt. Nyu gets better and at the same time Kouta and the rest have found them to bring them back. They also brought some clothes for Nana since it’ll be a pain to always borrow from Kouta. Not Yuka’s?! Now Nyu and Nana are best friends. Meanwhile Bando realizes he has been duped since Nana didn’t turn up.

The Lucy Show: I Love Lucy!
Heh. What a fine mess we’ve gotten into, right? Can’t say that I’m impressed with the ending because it leaves some room for interpretation if Lucy is dead or alive. Most probably it is the latter because she’s the main character of the series and more importantly we didn’t see her body. And that person knocking on Kouta’s doorstep could be her. I know, all this is very much just a speculation and I suppose it is to leave viewers with something to discuss. After all, the anime was made while the manga was still ongoing although it ended about a year later in 2005.

So we have to talk about the most controversial thing about this series and that is about its gore, blood, violence and nudity. Yes, this series does not hold back in all of those and while it might not sound like a big thing then, bear in mind that this is back in the year 2004 where the internet was just starting to take off and hell yeah, the popular video sharing platform named YouTube wasn’t even born yet! Hence if I was watching this series when it came out back then when I was still very much an anime noob, I’ll definitely be in shock and horror of what I have seen. Watching this when I am much older and can consider myself an anime veteran, all these controversial stuffs didn’t really bother me at all. Sure, it was shocking to see limbs flying, bodies cut in half and half the screen painted in blood red. But it wasn’t anything that would give me nightmares forever and scarred me for the rest of my life. To me, it was all just good entertainment. Yeah. Seeing the body count pile up with endless blood gushing out is so called entertainment!

Then there is the case of nudity in every episode. Yes, you get to see the bare tits of the Diclonius girls because their clothes get ripped but somehow their bodies sometimes can regenerate like in the case of Nana who gets tormented buck naked. Feels more disturbing than stimulating. Even more so when I feel like she’s the embodiment of Natalie Imbruglia’s hit song: Torn, lying naked on the floor. Heh. And when you see Diclonius children being tied up and experimented on stark naked, this feels more troubling to your guts and spine rather than arousing your libido. To be honest, never have I once felt any kind of arousal whenever such scenes are played out. There is also somewhat frontal nudity but I guess they beat the loophole if they don’t draw the vagina area. So once again, it feels more like disturbing to see naked Diclonius girls and being somewhat featured full frontal nudity but without the actual vagina. Even if they drew that part, I will still not get aroused at all seeing the dark and bloody nature of this series.

This series is definitely for kids in light of all that because it also explores a lot of dark themes such as discrimination, social elimination, prejudice, abuse, jealousy, regret and revenge. Well, all those you can find them as part and parcel in a package in each and every tormented Diclonius subject. It just tells us that humans are the biggest dicks and that we call ourselves as humans but lack of any integrity of being one. Maybe that is what being a human is. We specialize in all that. No wonder they want to wipe out this humanity. Seeing today’s real life and society, I can even see all the reason more to. Sure, there are some good humans but the rest of us are just pricks.

The art and animation style of this series might reek of mid-2000’s style of anime and watching this series might bring back memories of certain animes shown during this period such as Chobits, Girls Bravo and DearS. Yeah, the characters look one kind from the era, no? Despite that, the actually put in some detail during those gory and graphic violent scenes. When the characters get killed and their blood splattered all over the place, you can see the dismembered bones and the muscles of the body parts as the dead corpse lies motionless on the ground. I can see why this was controversial. The blood festival is so gory that I sometimes think this series took inspiration from Mortal Kombat! F*cking hell, every move Lucy makes is a FATALITY!!! FLAWLESS VICTORY!!! Yeah, I think some of those violent slicing moves even put Mortal Kombat to shame! BRUTALITY!!! Man, here I wonder why Lucy didn’t become a guest character in the Mortal Kombat series. Anyway, the sceneries and backgrounds are also somewhat picturesque seeing this series takes place at the seaside town of Kamakura and Kanagawa. The vectors I believe is done in CGI and because they’re translucent, they don’t really look all that bad. This anime is done by Arms who did Gokukoku No Brynhildr, Isuca, Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girl and the Queen’s Blade series. Too bad we won’t hear from them anymore as they went bankrupt a couple of years ago.

Voice acting feels pretty normal and you’ve guessed it, I still love Mamiko Noto as she sounds like her usual as Yuka. The only other seiyuu I recognized is Jouji Nakata as Bando. The other casts are Sanae Kobayashi as Lucy/Nyu (titular character in Madlax), Chihiro Suzuki as Kouta (Ikko in Amaenaideyo), Yuki Matsuoka as Nana (Orihime in Bleach), Emiko Hagiwara as Mayu (Alice in Da Capo Second Season), Osamu Hosoi as Kurama (Fumihiro in Initial D), Tomoko Kawakami as Mariko (Misuzu in Air), Hiroaki Hirata as Kakuzawa (Sanji in One Piece), Maria Yamamoto as Kanae (titular character in Petite Princess Yucie) and Kinryuu Arimoto as the director (Whitebeard in One Piece).

I think this has got to be one of the strangest and if not a creepy opening themes ever. Lilium by Kumiko Noma and is sung entirely in Latin (later I found out its lyrics are based on biblical passages). It sounds very much like those Gregorian hymns but in opera style and perhaps a motif that suits Lucy overall. I find the opening credits animation to be creepy too. And that’s not just including pictures of naked Lucy. At first it reminded me of the kind of art style seen in witches from the Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica series (and to a certain extent, the opening animation of Sora No Woto) but later I found out this art style closely resembles the work of the Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt. Despite its calm and relaxing nature, I can’t help feel it sounds creepy at times too. As for the ending theme, it takes a whole different turn. The lively rock piece of Be Your Girl by Chieko Kawabe may raise an eyebrow or two and in some ways reminds me of a cross between Joan Osborne’s One Of Us and Avril Lavigne’s Complicated. I wonder if this song sampled from these songs since they sound similar in most parts. But this song isn’t that bad. Yeah, more naked pics of sleeping Lucy.

When I think about the entire story and plot, there is actually nothing much about it. Basically a dangerous lab specimen escaped from the lab and lost her memories. Bad people trying to find her as she is living under the radar with a different persona in a normal guy’s house who seems to have a connection with her in the past. I think that is basically the whole story at least for this anime concerned. So if you really want to know about this Diclonius thingy and other stuffs, the manga has better fleshing out on all of that and seeing the kind of ending the anime has given us, it really leaves more to be desired.

As for the characters, they are a mixed baggage. Don’t you just feel odd that the series doesn’t even give full names to many of its characters? Yeah, what are even Kouta and Yuka’s surnames… Not that I care anyway… The whole series was just trying to eventually reconcile between Kouta and Lucy. It just felt weird when Kouta confessed he loves Lucy and it made me wonder if he had some twisted kind of Stockholm Syndrome. I mean, that girl basically slaughtered his whole family before his eyes. I know, probably getting mad and engulfed in revenge won’t really help as that will get him killed. Then it’s not the Kouta we know. So the obvious way was only to love her because that’s his true feelings when they first met, right? Yeah, thank goodness for the power of love that conquers all! All Lucy wanted was just to be loved. Was that too much to ask? Yeah, just turn her split character into a retard to be more loveable. We can’t hate this cute retard, no?!

Then there’s Yuka who doesn’t really amount much to anything and perhaps just to play up some love rivalry and keep Kouta in check. I guess they can’t explore much about the incest route when Kouta is infatuated with Lucy/Nyu, right? So yeah. Yuka’s just there to feel jealous and realizes that she isn’t on top of the pecking order of Kouta’s love list and even more so when he starts picking up girls and letting them live in his house. Yeah, can’t make those empty rooms go to waste, eh? I believe Yuka is the only one who isn’t exposed or seen any Diclonius power in action. Mayu feels like a plot convenient because random homeless girl that has nothing to do with any of the characters here is only connected by the thinnest possible line and to make it feel that Kouta is having a harem. I should feel sorry for Nana because it’s like her character has been written to be a punching bag. Worse, a torture victim. Because her limbs can be detached back, it’s like they use her as rag doll to satiate our bloodthirsty lust and see her writhe in agony over her various torment. And this girl still hasn’t lost her mind. Damn, I think she’s the strongest character if I should say. Turns into a funny character whenever it comes to food. Glutton mode on. Never tasted such good food before, eh? Too bad Kouta’s pockets aren’t that deep… And the funny part is how residents of this house loves to run away after an argument or disagreement with Kouta. Is this a trend or something? But yeah, the good thing of having a house is that they have somewhere to return to afterwards. Good, right? Lucky girls. Lucky Kouta bastard.

One of the most underused and perhaps disappointing characters is Bando. Starting off as a badass dude who do not play by any rules, after his early bout with Lucy and loss to her, this guy went into slumber mode and patiently playing the waiting game. Here I thought he would be some sort of final boss for Lucy to fight but turns out it was just a big bummer. This series is infamously known to kill off just about anybody so I am not so sure why they didn’t kill him off. I mean, it would be understandable if Bando dies but more baffling is that Lucy spared him. Like, WTF?! Now I’m left to contemplate on this and having more sleepless nights on why this redundant character was made to live whereas Kurama and Mariko got killed off just so to make us have some feels that this professor isn’t that all bad and finally went out together with his daughter. Final redemption. Put an end to all this f*cking misery. That was acceptable. Yeah, he’s not the character whom we all should hate. But Bando, damn it just makes everything about him feel so redundant. The only reason I can see is that they want him to be connected to Mayu who is connected to Kouta’s groupie. There were many theories about Bando x Mayu about whether their relationship was more of like father-daughter one and even a romantic one. (I read somewhere that it was rumoured Bando went to kill Mayu’s parents for that defiling her, the reason they never came after her but that was all unsubstantiated). But from what I can see here, it just doesn’t feel that way.

The biggest jerk to hate is of course the director himself who is revealed to be a Diclonius. Whatever his nefarious plans to end humanity and bring a new world order, I guess if you’re interested, you’ll have to go read the manga. Even more so about his family lineage being a Diclonius because you don’t see male Diclonius wielding any sort of dangerous powers unlike their female counterparts. And I feel something doesn’t add up because if he thinks Lucy is the queen and where the virus originates, how is he a Diclonius to begin with? He is definitely way older than Lucy, right? Lest you tell me he got infected subsequently. Otherwise this dickhead comes off as a very heartless person and one whom you’ll just love to hate. Another redundant character is Arakawa. Now she feels like the director’s lackey but looks more like a joker in her sparing cameos because she’s complaining that she hasn’t taken a decent bath and all. Huh? Now got to have more sleepless nights thinking about characters that survived and those who didn’t. Even Shirakawa got killed off and Kurama’s previous clumsy secretary that became one of the very first victims of Lucy in the first episode and was used as body shield, I thought this series would just kill off everyone in the end. When you think joker characters like her get killed off, nobody is safe.

On a trivial note, it seems I have been pronouncing this series’ name ever since I got to know it. Uh huh. I have always pronounced ‘Lied’ as in the falsehood/untruth meaning. Turns out it was supposed to be pronounced as lead (like to take charge). Thanks, next episode preview. Boy, I was shocked. Yeah, just as shocked as seeing bloody mutilated bodies! And so here I thought the series stemmed from being the Diclonius being lied to but as I (lazily) read, the title may have come from a German poem, Elfenlied AKA Fairy Song. Yup, it’s a German word alright. And now I am having a hard time transitioning to pronouncing this correct way because my brain is stuck with this old fashion mispronunciation. Sighs.

Overall, this series is definitely controversial and notorious for its time. Though, I read that many weren’t really fond of the anime and preferred the manga mainly because of the different ending the anime reached (well, like I said it was aired while the manga was still ongoing). Nevertheless, it can be considered an avant-garde for trying to explore bold themes. So much so that it had lasting international influence like how it inspired the creation of the American sci-fi horror drama, Stranger Things as well as the series was eventually completely banned in China! Definitely this kind of series is not for everyone. Especially not for you pussies and weaklings out there. All I can say is that if you can survive watching this one, you can survive almost any kind of shows thrown at you nowadays. You’ll be fine. Yup, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

Alright. I guess the final stretch is now here. But WTF?! Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Gaiden Final Season – Asaki Yume No Akatsuki is only 4 episodes long????!!! WTF???!! Why did they not combine it with 8 episodes from last season to make it one full season instead of splitting it up like this and made us wait???!!! Albeit just about half a year but WTF???!!! Why didn’t they just finish it off in one go?! Do they really like keeping the suspense?! Because people like me who aren’t exactly fans (and yet I still watched this) can’t exactly remember the details of what happened and too lazy to go back to refer to my old blog! And they released all 4 episodes together at one go?! Oh well. I guess this way is still much better than turning the finale into a movie, eh?! Uh huh. If it was done so, you bet I won’t be watching a 2 hour long movie but damn I’ll do it if it is split into 4 half hour episodes. Damn. How considerate they are, huh? Must really want me to watch the final season, eh? Oh. Where was I? Right. Anyway, time to finish this series and finally put an end to all the rumours that I’m tired of this series. WHAT RUMOURS?! Because… It’s a fact!!! HAHAHA!!! Oops…

Episode 1
We see Ui, Touka and Nemu as ‘permanent residents’ in a hospital. Their only ‘access’ to the outside world is Iroha who often visited them and wowed them with gifts. The innocent trio decided to make rumours and spread them throughout Kamihama with the thought that even if they are dead, as long as one finds a rumour in the city, they’ll be remembered. In that case, Iroha would also love to make one and that is for all of them to be reunited under the base of a sakura tree. One day, Iroha is met with Kyuubey who can offer to make her wish come true. At first she brushed it off but soon Ui’s health takes a turn for the worse. Hence Iroha had no choice but to plead to Kyuubey for help. And just like a miracle, Ui is soon cured. But subsequently, Iroha rarely visited them and even if she did, it was for a while before she rushed off somewhere. The curious trio then decided to tail her to see what’s going on and were shocked to see Iroha in a magical girl outfit fighting wishes. Seeing her in a pinch, you bet that little Kyuubey is going to offer them a wish to help save Iroha. After a few questions, they deduce that Ui’s disease was cured thanks to Iroha’s wish. This makes Ui sad that her sister suffered because of her. She became desperate to make a pact with Kyuubey to save her but Nemu and Touka are still sceptical and don’t trust that thing. First, they did some research on how to defeat witches and investigating missing people in the city. Unclear of its connection, they go see Kyuubey and have a Q&A session with it. As for the final question if magical girls would be able to live normal lives once all witches are gone, Kyuubey says that if all witches disappeared, so would magical girls. This has them realize that magical girls = witches eventually. This means Iroha will eventually become a witch. Touka’s answer to stop that? Just take away that destiny! WTF?! It’s like rich people telling the solution for poor people to stop being poor! At the same time, Alina is also hunting down Kyuubey because she heard of this magical girls becoming witches eventually.

The trio then decide to make a wish on Kyuubey. They want to steal its power. Ui will have the power to collect, Touka the power to transform and Nemu the power to manifest. Magical girl transformation scene! Ui uses her power to gather impurities from Soul Gems. This is followed by Nemu to transform it into magic for magical girls to use before Nemu manifesting to give that magic a physical form as energy that will be used to expand the range of the automated purification system. This system will prevent impurities from building up in Soul Gem. While it worked like a charm at first, however Ui starts screaming in pain as she is taking in too many impurities at a rapid pace. The duo try to save her but this was only possible because Alina casted her barrier around Ui. Even so, her Soul Gem is falling apart. Needing a vessel to keep it stable, Nemu puts it inside Kyuubey. But Ui’s body has completely turned into a witch. Her wish is to save Iroha and the magical girls. Touka thinks they were successful and believes this witch was artificially created by them. She gets disillusioned of creating a perfect system where magical girls don’t become witches. However despite Nemu’s best efforts to say that they have failed and that this witch is Ui, Touka rubbishes that and doesn’t remember Ui. Touka then invites Alina to join them and hasten this revolution. Nemu deduces after isolating Ui’s soul inside of Kyuubey that was transformed by Touka, Ui was cut off from this world. In order to save all magical girls, Nemu decides to call this with Embryo Eve, the beginning of hope for magical girls. As part of Touka’s efforts to make their dreams come true, she’ll get rid of all the Kyuubeys. It’s time to liberate the magical girls! But only Nemu is the only one grounded in reality as she realized there is nothing left for them to take back as they have failed.

Episode 2
We return to current time as Touka now remembers Iroha, she is distraught she had tried to kill her. Though, Iroha doesn’t blame her for it. Nemu further reveals that it was them who used Embryo Eve to reach out to all the suffering magical girls to come here. They didn’t think that all of them were this weak! Touka then took it upon herself to save them all but it drove her crazy. While Iroha and Touka reconcile, now Touka turns to Nemu and wants to know why she never told her the truth. Damn, Touka looking like a yandere… In short, Nemu saw hope in what Touka was doing under Magius (because she was doing it so well despite having losing memories of Ui). Had she told her the truth, Touka may have given up on the plan. Well, that earned a slap. But she realizes that Touka was true should she remember that. Now that they remember Ui, they still won’t give up because they want to prove her soul existed. Looks like they are going to complete the imperfect Doppel system to save all magical girls. From what I understand, they’ll sacrifice themselves since they started this. They whisk Iroha away in a barrier. Now they begin their liberation as they awaken Embryo Eve to fuse with Walpurgisnacht. This activation causes all the other magical girls to be taken over by their Doppel due to system overload and this is causing lots of pain to their unstable souls. The only ones not affected are Yachiyo and Mifuyu. Mifuyu lets Yachiyo go ahead to go after Touka and Nemu while she stays behind to handle to magical girls. Don’t worry, when it gets too much for her, Momoko comes to support her. They’re going to dive in and touch their souls and rip it away. Mitama would want to help too but since she is the Coordinator, she is told she will be needed to take care of things afterwards. We see all the magical girls coming to terms and making up with each other in one big hand holding ceremony. Yeah. In the end, all of them are saved as they return to reality. Okay, not all of them. Mifuyu and Momoko’s Soul Gems are destroyed.

Episode 3
We hear Kyuubey narrate how Alina’s barrier kept it out from interfering. Kyuubey also finds it baffling that they are wasting their souls by trying to escape. Because by doing so, they’ll harm their own human society. Yachiyo is trying to catch up to Touka and Nemu who tell us that once Embryo Eve and Walpurgisnacht merge, a huge explosion will occur that will take out the entire city and how the f*ck does this prevents s any magical girls to become witches again?! Don’t tell me dead girls are the answer! More Kyuubey’s narration on how the universe will soon become extinct but a solution was found to extend its life via this magical girl and witch thingy. Hence Kyuubey disagrees with Magius’ ideology because becoming a witch isn’t a bad thing as one helps contributes to keep the universe in existence. Then there’s this interpretation of justice in which depends on which ear you live in. Hence in this era where magical girls are put on a pedestal, that’s why Kyuubey does its best to accommodate their desires. Hence Magius might just be contemporary and a reflection of the current trend but Kyuubey thinks their perpetual growth and prosperity system is better in the long run. Meanwhile Iroha realizes she is inside of the mini Kyuubey. She is reunited with Ui but looks like things won’t be the same again as Ui says she has changed after becoming a magical girl. Since they have failed in what they were doing, she hopes big sis can stop Embryo Eve. Stop Touka and Nemu. She says nothing when Iroha asks if she’ll turn back to normal once this is over. That speaks volumes. Iroha is let out and now find herself in the midst of a partly destroyed Kamihama. Before her is Kuroe who is already in her Doppel version. Iroha tries to save her but Kuroe remains pessimistic that she is weak. Flashback shows her magical girl life. It didn’t get better and she remained weak. There was another weak magical girl she befriended but then got scared and abandoned her. She laments she is not strong like Iroha and can’t be anything. Kuroe has reached the deepest point of her despair that she has turned into a witch despite Iroha’s optimistic attempts to save her. You know, we can do this together! Yeah, that not going to cut it. Such platitudes only make Kuroe feel like sh*t! Relieved that now nobody can save her and that she can stop being a magical girl, Iroha is forced to take drastic actions that breaks her promise to Ui.

Episode 4
The look on Iroha’s face after she has killed Kuroe. And she isn’t too pleased to hear from Kyuubey what she did was right. Basically, her hope drove Kuroe further into despair. Worse, her Doppel is trying to blame her for acting like she knew everything but in fact she knew nothing. Of course, thanks to her friends, Iroha is snapped out of this. She regains her composure to join them in stopping Touka and Nemu. With the other magical girls lending their hand to restrain Embryo Eve, Iroha jumps in to give her sisters a big hug. Wanna guess whose argument will win at the end of the day? Yeah. Basically all you need to know is that Iroha will always be their onee-chan and this is more than enough to break down the duo because that is what they want most too, right? With their case resolve, here comes the true antagonistic b*tch AKA Alina. She is going to continue with their plan. However it is not to save magical girls but turn the entire world into magical girls! Because normal people don’t have Grief Seeds to recover, their Doppel will hijack them and turn them into instant witches. By sharing the same fate as magical girls, they will all know how true the sufferings of magical girls. To her, this is more exciting than the liberation of magical girls and she views it as a form of art! Sick. Alina sacrifices herself by fusing with Embryo Eve to get the ball rolling.

Looks like Touka and Nemu give Iroha the slip again. Uh huh. Again they’re going to sacrifice themselves to stop this. Hey, they started this mess, right? Yeah. Goodbye onee-chan. In that instant the clash and explode within Alina-cum-Embryo Eve, Yachiyo is transported to some Galaxy Express thingy and meets with her dead friends including Mifuyu and Momoko. What’s this they’re talking about her carrying their hope? When Yachiyo invites them to live at the dorm after this, WTF all of them want to stay in the living room to watch them?! Are they going to haunt the living room?! Anyway, chat is over, back to reality. Similarly, Iroha has another chance (but the last one) to talk with Ui. I guess it’s goodbye for real, huh? Iroha now has become enlightened or something, uses Ui’s collecting powers from all the magical girls and with that power saves the day and humanity. In the aftermath, life returns to normal and all humans think the city’s destruction was due to the simultaneous occurrence of earthquake, typhoon and some terrorist attack! You think so?! We hear the magical girls narrate how all their achievements and failures, their feelings and the things they have done are not known to anybody simply because records of them never existed. Kyuubey has only them to thank for as the existence of magical girls and the truth of what happened shall never be known. Iroha giving Kyuubey the angry look. But what can she do, right? Nobody knows but she will never forget.

Salvation, Salvation, Salvation Is Free!
Uhm, wasn’t the ending a bit rushed? Or what do I really want? Dragging out a so called proper ending for another episode?! I think it is pretty fair to have such a bittersweet ending because you know, the day might be saved especially that of humanity in general. However lots of sacrifices were made and ordinary people will never know about it. That is the tragedy and irony of being a magical girl. Hence from this context I can understand why they would want to avoid a very happy, satisfying and generic ending because it would have just spoiled and sullied all the magical girls’ doing for the past couple of seasons, whether for better or for worse. After all, we know the bittersweet ending that was in the original Madoka Magica series, right?

One of the reasons I felt this final season was rushed was because of how they decided to do away with any other distractions and head straight into resolving the conflict. This means no detours or other side diversions that would end up looking like standalone filler moments that don’t bring anything to the actual plot and would just add to more confusion. So whatever questions that we mostly had dangling and unresolved in the past couple of seasons, this finale is here to answer most of it and then dive straight into putting an end to all the chaos and mess. So that’s why in a way it feels like there weren’t so much of magical girl fights either. We already had our fair share in the previous seasons so it’s time for the big revelation to put the pieces of the puzzle together and end it all. No frills whatsoever.

Iroha as the main character takes a huge chunk of the final season and all she needed was to just accept reality and move forward. That’s basically all there is to it because you know, your usual ingredients for a main character like her to have hope, faith, friendship, etc. So it was a pretty sad thing that the sisters she wanted to save all turned out dead in the end. Of course their deaths weren’t in vain as they took responsibility to end the mess they started. Most important of all, Iroha at least will not forget about them and whatever the things they have done will forever stay in her heart till the day she breathes her last breath. Even if the tragic cycle of magical girls and witches will continue until the universes burns out its essence. The world might not remember, history might not have recorded it but as long as Iroha does, they’re not entirely dead for sure. So I guess there goes my conspiracy theory that Ui is just a figment of Iroha’s imagination, huh? And a whole lot of other conspiracy theories I had, all put to rest…

As for the other characters, it feels like they’re barely there and doing the bare minimum. My biggest disappointment was perhaps Kuroe. I was thinking she would be holding an important turning point role in the finale since her character was very minimal in the previous seasons. But it turned out that she’s just another sacrifice. The whole series could actually be done without her now that I think about it but I guess she had to play the role that would force Iroha’s hand to decide and realize that life is not always sunshine and roses. Even Yachiyo, Felicia and Sana felt negligible except for that brief moment of using their power of friendship to help bring back Iroha. And I certainly don’t see how Mitama as the Coordinator do anything. Last season saw the cameo of Madoka and her friends but I’m not sure what happened to them here. Did they return to their own city after Mami was saved? Lastly, Alina revealing her true colours here feels like a short-lived purpose so that the whole series can end with some sort of bang. Yeah, the flashier her final moments become the flashier and more magical Iroha’s efforts will be. Yeah, see such great magical effects that saved the world! Too bad Alina did not live to see her art. Heck, I guess we too will never know the art she tried to bring forth to the world. And is Kyuubey the real baddie of it all? You decide.

The rest like the visuals remain constant and high quality like its previous seasons and since this was produced by SHAFT, the few SHAFT trademarks like eye zooming in and head tilt are still there. Yeah, I thought for that moment when Touka did that, she would turn into some ghost from The Ring! A reason why I thought this was just an extension of the second season is because they used the same opening and ending themes from there. Only the final episode we have a new ending theme, Orgel by the duet of both groups, Claris x Trysail who have been singing the opening and ending themes of this series. Not my kind of song but I guess the happy and calming tune is fitting for the bittersweet ending.

Overall, this final season brings a sense of closure for the series since its inception 2 years ago. If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll definitely love the intriguing plot and characters. Then there is of course the unique art style and visuals that may come off as strange to some but hey, at least it is still way better than badly done CGI! So I’m not sure if there is going to be more spinoffs and side story from this franchise and I won’t be surprised if they announce another one (oh heck, I think I will still be surprised) because gotta milk the series dry just to satiate hungry fans who want to see more dead magical girls! Whoops! After all, it is already said that there are no records of all the actions and exploits of the magical girls. Hence there could be more of such stories in other cities and this one in Kamihama is just one of those many untold stories! Or maybe they are all just unfounded rumours…

This looks almost pretty similar to Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha No Oukoku Saikenki. Uh huh. Another anime that needs one to put on the thinking cap (at least that is how I feel) because we’re going to have all that outsmarting manoeuvring. However Tensai Ouji No Akaji Kokka Saisei Jutsu has its difference. For one, the main character who will save the kingdom is a prince of his country (phew! Not isekai!) and that he actually wants to sell off his nation so that he doesn’t have to deal with all the responsibilities of being a ruler! Wait. I thought he was supposed to save his kingdom? Ah yes. But in order to sell it off to whoever wants it, he has got to make his kingdom look attractive from every perspective. And that is why he is going to work hard to raise his kingdom’s value. Early retirement and simple life in sight. But his plan often backfires in the sense that he makes himself and the country look way better and this earns him even more respect as a ruler! Oh, retirement put on hold. More work piled on. Uhm, is this supposed to be comedy gold?

Episode 1
Crown Prince Wein Salema Arbalest of the Natra Kingdom tells his subjects how to deal with the sudden passing of Earthwold’s Emperor. They praise him for his intelligence and all. Once they’re gone, Wein throws a tantrum he wants to sell off this kingdom! He complains to his aide, Ninym Ralei about how poor Natra is. Just a tiny mountainous nation at the north with long winter and with hardly any resources for capital. His father has fallen ill and now he has to take over his job. Yeah, he can’t wait to sell it and disappear. But for that to happen, he needs to increase Natra’s value so he can retire comfortably. Of course Ninym rubbishes all that. His sister, Princess Falanya Elk Arbalest visits to update about father’s condition. He is doing well but they’ll have to hold off their family matters because he can foresee the neighbouring Marden is going to attack them. With their unpopular and corrupt king, he is going to attack Natra as easy win to distract his people. Falanya has hope in her brother to win this war although his true intention is to fight this half-heartedly and then sue for peace! At the battlefield, Wein is just winging in to raise his soldiers’ morale. But when the battle fight, both sides are surprised. Marden’s general, Urgio is shocked that his side is being pushed back. Wein is equally shock that Marden is weak and that they are kicking ass! He remembers speaking to Fisch Brandel, the ambassador for Earthwold and requested her side to provide funding and expertise to Natra’s army. She gladly accepted it. Now it is paying off.

But this won’t last long as the Natra’s side becomes weary and scared from too much bloodshed. Urgio notices this and has his side flank Natra while he joins the main force to charge directly for Wein’s head. But Wein is seen running away. They give chase but soon realize it is a trap as Ninym’s unit ambushes them in the narrow valley. She gives Urgio a chance to surrender and since he won’t have that shame, she decapitates him. Putting Urgio’s head on a pole drives the enemy to retreat. A great victory for Natra. Now that they have momentum, the subjects want Wein to continue their advance and take some Marden territory. Wein knows that this all risky but he can’t back down now for fear his subjects will view him as weak and a traitor. A coup d’etat. So he suggests to capture the Jilaat gold mind. With the subjects debating, Wein’s plan is to have them think that all other areas will be unsuitable to capture. And since capturing Jilaat is risky without any planning, they’ll give up on their advancement. Guess what? They call him a genius and love this plan! They’ll go with it! Later Wein complains to Ninym about his plans going awry. They talk about sending scouts for intel on Jilaat’s defence and reassessing their supplies. If they do take the mine, it’ll be back to back battles after Polta Highlands. How troublesome. He hopes they’ll stumble along the way just enough for their side to withdraw. But what do you know? Natra actually captured Jilaat!

Episode 2
Wein dreads another battle with Marden when Perint who is the leader of the miners, shows him a report that the gold in the mine is almost empty. Yeah, it’s pretty worthless now. Meanwhile Marden’s king is angry with this humiliation. Hence Holonuie who is the finance minister suggests a full offensive that uses up many of their border troops and leaving their borders weakened. Wein’s plan is not to tell Marden that Jilaat is exhausted and will instead try to negotiate for them to buy back their mine. But looks like for now, Drawood who is the new commander who is leading the expedition to take back Jilaat, he is confident his 30,000 strong men will be enough against Natra’s meagre 5,000. But after a few days, Marden is not making any progress! The big part in giving Natra the advantage is the terrain. With the narrow roads up, surely they can’t send all their 30,000 men at once, right? Of course all this is part of Wein’s plan for Natra to hold out for a month to make Marden lose their fighting spirit, enough to start negotiations. When an escape mine shaft is found, Marden quickly send its men to ambush. All is going well until they realize chasing Natra through the narrow corridors with bulky armour and weapon is really tiring. And then they realize too late it’s a trap. Mine collapses. All part of the plan to demoralize Drawood slowly because his pride is on the line. Drawood tries to stay positive since that they’ve blown up the only exit, they have nowhere else to escape. Drawood gets some good news when one of the mine’s stations is captured. One night, Natra’s forces suddenly ambush Marden’s camp. WTF?! Marden got no guards on duty?! And what’s this?! The ground is rumbling?! Natra making a full charge towards their camp?! Drawood believes Wein is using this confusion to charge through their camp and take his head. He orders all the defence near his camp. When morning comes, he sees that the paths to the mines have been covered with rubbles and logs (hence the earthquake) and that Natra has retaken their station. You mad now?

2 weeks have passed. Natra’s supplies are still sufficient. Wein knows it is only a matter of time since Marden has lost almost everything and nothing to show for. Drawood then sends Logan to negotiate. Of course Wein rejects his terms because those are not peaceful terms but unconditional surrender. But when Logan badmouths Ninym as a lowly caste and that it will taint his noble lineage, it looks like Wein is going to explode but manages to keep his composure. When Drawood launches an all for nothing invasion, suddenly his troops report about Logan’s head. But these troops are Wein and Natra in disguise. They kill the guards and wound Drawood. Wein reveals that the mine shaft collapse wasn’t a trap but to make them forget about it. Because he has Perint dig another path in advance. This allows them to get down the mountain without being seen. Drawood tries to grab a sword to kill him but Wein is faster. He has no qualms in killing off this bastard because all those who badmouth Ninym, he will kill them personally. Evil. We see Brandel in shock when she discovers that Wein is a top graduate of the empire’s military school. The empire hid it because it felt shame that he bested all their own candidates. She fears this will haunt them in the future. While Wein celebrates this victory with his men, Ninym brings some bad news. The capital of Marden has fallen and the king has died. Because most of their troops were used to retake Jilaat, their borders were left open and the neighbouring Cavarin took advantage of it to invade. This means their peace negotiations with Marden goes up in smokes. Can’t negotiate when the country doesn’t exist, right? But for some good news: Perint has discover a new gold streak. Not enough to return it to its glory days but enough to get them out of the red. Wein thought he could take his foot off the pedal but Ninym reminds him of all the responsibilities he needs to tend to. Can’t wait to sell this kingdom, huh?

Episode 3
Wein is surprised that Lowellmina, the princess of Earthwold is here to see him and offer herself her hand in marriage to him. But what could be more surprising than that? She was his fellow classmate in the military academy who went by the name, Lowa. Wein is cursing she hid her royalty lineage during their time there but is he the one to say? Anyway, this reminds Wein and Ninym of all the troubles they barely escaped from ever since Lowa became their friend. Yeah, skating on thin ice whatever things they did. So as they have a formal dinner, Wein can tell that she is using this marriage thing as a cover up and there is something more than meets the eye. He’ll get to the bottom of this. So that night he sends huge chests to her room. But Lowa can tell Wein and Ninym are hiding inside it. There goes his surprise. They talk about old times before getting down to business. Basically, Lowa wants Wein’s help to seize Earthwold. Wein knows his limits and will not attempt something so dangerous because Earthwold could just snuff out Natra if they put their mind to it. So Lowa explains that her 3 older brothers are fighting for the throne. Everyone is picking sides with one of them while she is ignored simply because she is a woman. So to end that chaos, she must ascend the throne. Of course still, he won’t easily accept that. Later he believes that there is something even more to this as it is not Lowa’s habit to ask for help directly. It could be her calling her bluff but Wein has noticed suspicious weapons being distributed around Natra lately.

Later Ninym talks to a worried Falanya as she voices out her concern that Wein has have a lot on his hands lately and now he is going to get married. She always thought Ninym would be the one he would marry but Ninym dismisses that because of her Flahm race. Ninym is happy that Wein has given her the position of his heart. When Wein ends his long journey, he will allow her only to be his heart. Then we see Wein tutoring Falanya especially about the country of Antgatal. Long story short, long ago when various countries saw the empire as a threat, they formed an alliance to fight it. But Antgatal betrayed that alliance by using clever diplomacy to stall for time and this allowed the empire to fight back and defeat them. These countries fell and all came under the empire’s rule. Their rulers punished except for Antgatal’s king who was made a marquis and given his own land to govern. He has passed on and now his son is ruling the land. But rumours have it that the grandson is brutish, tyrannical and militarily inept. A subject reports to Wein that he has found those suspicious weapons. They are new and not made from Natra. Wein believes Lowa has made her move. Flashback during their time at the military academy, Wein can tell that she wants his advice for something so he just tells her straight to go start a war. So if she wants her ideology strengthened throughout her land, she must wage a war or risk submitting to social norms and lead a dead life (oh, the irony). In that case, she wants him to join her fight. She is not happy when he refused. So he puts it in a way that if she really wants his help, why not just drag him in. He’ll try to get out but if he can’t make a clean escape, he might help out a bit.

Episode 4
So will Lowa be going home since she failed to seize the throne with his help? Wein furthers exposes Lowa about those illegal weapons and she is using Natra as a transit point to distribute them back home for the civil war. He knows because of the ledger of large movements of weapons. Had the quantity be small, he couldn’t have detected it. Also, the weapons will be distributed equally to the 3 factions and prolonging their struggle. This leaves more time for rebellions to spark across the empire as nations conquered by Earthwold will surely arise. He knows she has warned her brothers but being a girl and with no political influence, they ignored her. Hence she took matters into her own hands by having 1 of the rebel factions revolt before the others as evidence. She set the stage for that in Natra and Antgatal, expecting them to butt heads over this if she comes here. As for Wein handing her over to Antgatal, Lowa is sure he will not do that because of Ninym. Unlike the east, the west still treats Flahms like slaves. By doing so and letting the rebellion succeed will make Natra be caught between a rock and a hard place. With Antgatal attacking Natra to claim Lowa, her plan is to have Wein help her thwart them so she can save the empire. But Wein is sure Antgatal will not invade because he sent a letter to them inviting them here. There won’t be any attack if he comes to get her. Don’t look now because they’re really here! Oh sh*t. Gerard who is the marquis Grenache’s son is here to claim Lowa as his wife as per Wein’s letter. Now Wein is mad and ruing Gerard really came. But not as mad as Ninym because Gerard showed disrespect to Wein. The duo discuss what will happen so Wein foresees this as how Lowa would play this out. Despite Natra has no power to intervene, Lowa can show her home that she has political backing from Natra. Doing so, Antgatal will have no reason to invade Natra. Which is why he believes she will do the opposite by using Gerard to put down his father’s rebellion. Gerard after getting close to Lowa might learn about his father’s rebellion and with Lowa’s help, put it down. Since Lowa has not enough military troops, they plan to borrow from Natra. So it boils down to this: Lowa wants to get Wein to lend his troops. Doing so she wins. Otherwise, Wein wins if he does not. This same plan is being thought up by Lowa as she tells Brandel about it. Both think they will outsmart each other.

During dinner, Wein and Lowa try to make the other yield but they’re both stubborn so it’s at a deadlock. When Gerard learns that Wein can do swordplay, he wants to do a mock swordfight to impress Lowa. I guess Wein is forced to. Now, he is in a dilemma because he doesn’t want to make Gerard look bad but at the same time he has his own pride to protect. He thinks of going for a draw by knocking the sword out of his hand and then pretend to drop his. Yeah, that ugly fatty thinks he really got a chance to win! Due to an accident, Wein knocks Gerard’s sword off. While it is obvious that Wein has won, he still drops it in hopes to make it look like a draw. But it gets worse. Gerard shows his sore loser side as he charges straight at Wein. Knowing he can’t protect himself, Wein can only avoid it and tries to make it look like a natural accident. He bends down to pick up his sword but Gerard continues charging and rams straight through the window and falls off several floors! OMG! HE’S DEAD!!! OH SH*T!!! When Grenache receives word of his son’s death, he is in disbelief. Worse, the squire who returned, reported all the retainers have been taken captive by Natra. This leads Grenache to believe his son was murdered and thus a reason to invade Natra. To add fuel to the fire, that letter although was written by Wein, it could be that Lowa is also involved in the assassination and that she might have caught wind of the rebellion plot. Brandel talks to Lowa about remaining here further would endanger her life. She admits ascending the throne is no longer important and in the grander scheme of things, protecting her homeland is now utmost priority. Wein is ruing this complication. The letter sounds pretty much like an assassination trap now. Even more so, Natra has to face possible wars with Antgatal and Earthwold. And he was just trying to get Gerard engaged to Lowa so they’d go home! Then a surprise visit by Lowa as she claims she has given up the throne. Now she is focusing on crushing the rebellion and wants Wein’s help. So as they strategize Natra’s troops, it seems Wein can only expend 500 troops against Antgatal’s 4000 strong army. This is to show they don’t intend to have war. But Wein has further plans. Instead of just defeated Grenache, he wants to make him confess about the rebellion so a mass uprising never happens.

Episode 5
Grenache barges into Wein’s territory seeking revenge. But the smooth operator prince manages to convince him to sit down and talk and not spill more blood before his dead son’s corpse. Grenache is shock when Wein talks about the rebellion plot and even more so, trying to pin it on Gerard that he is the ringleader behind it. Because of Gerard’s unpopularity, it is more feasible to think that this prince would abandon the allegiance to the empire and take his own father captive. Of course as his father, he will be held for treason but if he can present the evidence, Lowa may just give a slap on the wrist. Grenache takes the bait to accept Wein’s plan and will leave. As Wein and his men walk down the street, they are ambushed by Antgatal soldiers. Wein can tell these aren’t Grenache’s men and are possibly the real rebels. Led by Owl, Wein shocks him by revealing he knows their plan of assassinating Grenache and then burning down his manor to destroy all rebellion evidence. Because of this foresight, he has sent Nanaki Ralei (a Flahm servant-cum-bodyguard for Falanya) to kill the assassins who are just about to break into the manor. Wein uses a tricky move to slice off one of Owl’s arms. This forces him to make a real retreat. When the cavalry is heard, Wein can tell it is not that of Natra but Grenache has broken his promise and is leading his men to try and capture him. What’s Wein’s next plan? Run! As Grenache and his men chase after an escaping Wein, they are shocked to see a huge Natra army before them. Wein knows in his bid to chase him, he will focus on speed and only have a few men taken with him. With a smaller size, this allows Natra to defeat them easier. Grenache is then further stumped when Lowa’s forces are coming up from behind and she wants an audience with him.

As he meets the princess, he is shocked to see Wein here too. So he demands to know why he is here because with Natra’s large forces here, it is enough proof that he intends to invade. Of course this is Grenache’s plan to prove Wein has no business here so Lowa will not pass judgment on him. But has he not heard? Natra and Earthwold are doing a joint military exercise so he has every right to be here! Grenache realizes he has been dancing in Wein’s palm all the time and knows he can never win. With Lowa having him make a choice between life and death, he of course has no choice but to beg for her mercy. Later, Lowa and Ninym talk about the former’s proposed marriage being called off. Lowa doesn’t really mind about it until Ninym points out she knows that she actually likes Wein as a woman. Lowa trying hard not to panic but her body reaction shows it all. Lowa admits she does have feelings for him ever since the military school. Later Lowa asks Wein about how much easier it would’ve been had he capture Grenache and torture him till he confessed. Sure, he thought about that but realized if he could break him, he would be easier for Lowa to control. I mean, you remember the promise they made back in military school? Now he has done all he can so he is hoping she’ll take the throne next. You bet she will try to do that so she can proudly stand alongside him one day.

Episode 6
Ninym dyed her hair black?! Before you think it is to attract Wein (I partly feel it is), the reason is that Wein has been invited to participate in a Spirit Festival held by Cavarin. And you know, they don’t take lightly the Flahm people and hence this dyeing is for disguise. They stop by Jilaat as they talk about General Hagal’s retirement because of his age. This is worrisome because with his absence, the nobles are showing signs of rebellion. Speaking of which, a group shady hooded people are plotting to kill Wein. They attack his entourage but Wein manages to flee enough to enter and be saved by the remnants of Marden’s army. He is taken to their base to talk to Prince Helmut. However he is unwell so his aide, Zeno talks to Wein instead. Learning about the festival he is to attend, she draws her sword and threatens to strike him down. But next thing we see, they’re best friends?! You see, after she threatened him, Wein has her think that killing him might prevent the Natra-Cavarin alliance. But Marden has not enough troops to fight Cavarin and once winter is over, Cavarin will send its full force to wipe them out. Hence Wein suggests Zeno accompanies them to Cavarin. Those rebels who attacked them are likely from Cavarin. He doesn’t understand why they want him dead so it is his best interest to align with Marden and having someone from there will send a loud and clear message especially to the influential Holy Elites who will be attending the festival. The place will be heavily guarded but if they go as special delegates, they can enter easily. Zeno puts her trust in him and agrees to his plan. Together they head to Tristoria, Cavarin’s capital. As Wein is ushered into the palace, along the way he passes Levert who is Cavarin’s army general. The latter making some sarcastic greetings but Wein maintains his composure because he notices his companion could be one of the attackers as he remembered his face and wound.

Meanwhile Zeno spots Holonuie stepping out of a carriage and wants to kill him but only held back by Ninym. Zeno blames this guy for betraying Marden and causing her family’s death. She takes up Ninym’s advice to gather more info and hold off his assassination. Wein meets King Ordalasse who introduces him to the Holy Elites. Not only that, Ordalasse proposes Wein to join them! Wein is lamenting about this as he rues the Natra royal family can be traced back to Caleus, one of the disciples of Levetia, the founder of this faith. No use complaining about it at this point so he intends to make a courtesy call for each of them. Ninym advises to bring Zeno to help with her cause. First up is Mamiko Noto Caldmellia. Wein starts off by praising her high position and even joining this group since male chauvinism is rife in her country. Caldmellia would recognize him as a candidate but with a condition that he must eliminate all the remnants of the Marden sinners. This is to restore peace to the hearts of the faithful and then display their corpses in public. Wein and Zeno maintain their composure but soon leave. We then see this was ‘payback’ for Owl’s arm and they are in cohorts. Meanwhile Ninym has been given a task by Wein to spy on Levert and his inner circle. Her lip reading has her learn they are planning to defeat Natra with Wein out of the way. Speaking of which, those shady hooded people have taken over Jilaat.

Episode 7
With Ninym’s report, Wein can figure out Ordalasse’s goal. Knowing his popularity has gone down, he tried to seek unity by taking Jilaat during the confusion between Natra and Marden. His plan fell through when Natra defeated Marden and took Jilaat. Hence now he sets his sights on Wein as nominating him to be part of Holy Elite will put him in his debt and strengthen his faction. Zeno wants to accompany Wein to seek an audience with Ordalasse. This is not to assassinate him but for Marden to form an alliance with Natra. Wein has no reason to trust her and although she cannot provide anything trustworthy, she quotes on him an earlier quote about treachery and trust value. Basically, take a gamble on her. We know Wein always wins, right? He agrees and they go talk to Ordalasse who has Holonuie by his side. Wein starts to sum him up that he is very unpopular seeing he has an outsider as an aide. Ordalasse then continues to brag about killing his wife for not giving him a prodigal heir. This is all fine until Ordalasse asks for the impossible. Wein thought he would be asking for Jilaat but shockingly, he wants Wein to loan some of his Flahm so as to kill them as sport! Wein manages to keep his cool and gives Ordalasse the option to decide now or later. Since he says now, Wein kills him! He doesn’t care about his lineage and is just a scumbag. As for Holonuie, he lets Zeno decide. After all, he and Levert plotted to kill him. Holonuie pleads for his life and claims he was threatened by Levert but Zeno finishes him off. So now they flee after setting the palace on fire. Wow. I’m sure Wein has got the next step planned out, right?! He figures that an alliance with Marden and Natra is inevitable since Cavarin will be going to war with them. Caldmellia is secretly aiding by inciting riot in Cavarin. She spreads rumours that Levert killed Ordalasse to usurp the throne. Then there is the issue of Natra rebels sealing the body in hopes of taking Wein’s head when he arrives.

Levert leads his men to chase down Wein’s side. Noting they dropped their belongings along the way, he also learns because of the avalanche at the pass which is the shortest route back to Natra, they have been taking a detour. He also thinks this is a ruse and will be taking the other detour. When Levert’s forces arrive at the end of the detour, they are shocked to see some renegade force (Natra rebels). Ambushing them from behind is Marden’s forces. Levert gives the orders to fight their way through the rebels. This has all been planned out by Wein. They were hiding at the avalanche and once Levert’s side passed, they followed them from behind. But can their small numbers take out both sides? It seems Wein has also called Hagal and his forces to route the rebels at once. Unfortunately Levert and his forces get caught and they all die. Later Wein meets with Helmut who is actually Princess Zenovia. He isn’t surprised. Yeah, I’m wondering how she hide those boobs! She explains when Cavarin attacked Marden, she is the only royal who survived because as a woman, she was casted away in another castle. You could say it was a blessing in disguise. Wein expects Marden to be their shield in the west but to his surprise, Zenovia wants Marden to become a vassal state of Natra. She knows nothing about ruling despite being a royalty. With both Natra and Marden sides agreeing to this and Zenovia pleading to him as their only hope, once again Wein gets the short end of the stick. Not even Ninym can help. You brought this upon yourself…

Episode 8
Lowa talks to Mayor Cosimo of Mealtars for an arrangement to hold a summit for Earthwold’s heirs. Lowa has also invited Natra to join this and while this might show others that Natra backs Earthwold, Lowa relishes to see Wein’s sour face. But the joke is on her because Falanya is here on her brother’s behalf. Back at Natra, we see Wein being a worrywart about his sister. In a meeting with his subjects, Wein didn’t want to go because he knew Lowa will try to drag him into her faction and this caused a debate about their alliance and relationship with Earthwold. That was when Falanya offered to attend the ceremony. Now Falanya is at the party as Lowa introduces her to her 3 older princely brothers: Manfred (the youngest who is most handsome but also cunning), Bardloche (middle prince who is in the military) and Demetrio (oldest guy who looks typically evil and yes, useless jerk). From the start, the princes try to get Falanya to align with them. Being the smart girl she is, she knows she can’t further get dragged into their trap so she manages to excuse herself about the non-existent promise she made to Lowa. As Falanya stays at the party to observe whom she can control (she’s trying to be Wein v2?), Lowa talks to Ninym outside and wants to make a deal about info of the summit. Of course Ninym is not impressed as she has already been told by Wein who foresaw this. Basically she turns down her offer because all this is just a stepping stone for Lowa. Wein cares more about Falanya instead so if she wants Wein to care more, hurry up and become the next emperor. Otherwise no matter how lively she puts it, he will not care. That sure hit a nerve.

While Lowa and her brothers are engaging in the summit, Cosimo takes Falanya on a personal tour around Mealtars. This city is famed for its trading and merchants. In the town hall, Falanya witnesses a group of merchants in a heated debate over the city’s affairs. She is enlightened by Cosimo’s words how a city run by merchants should be ruled by them. This is why everyone is so passionate and interested in this decision making process. She wants to stay and listen more. As the summit ends, Demetrio is not happy his younger siblings are trying to take his rightful throne. But of course, that sleazy evil face means he has come up with a dastardly plan. And that plan is to summon an audience with Falanya right now. He cuts to the chase and wants to take her as his bride. Of course she knows there is an ulterior motive behind this aside his reason to forge a close alliance between both nations. She thanks him for the proposal and will convey this message back to Natra. However Demetrio wants her answer now! Since Wein is not here, she must decide. We learn his true ulterior motive is when Falanya is his bride, she is deemed her property and he will torture her to his heart’s content and nobody can object to it. This is to make Wein regret sending a child here. Falanya may be pressured but she keeps calm and claims she is young and inexperienced. Hence she cannot decide on her own matters pertaining to royal marriages and state affairs. Thanks for that merchant assembly lesson, eh? This angers Demetrio so he threatens when he becomes emperor, he will no longer treat Natra is it is now. He thinks she is regretting her decision but he will be the one who will regret it because Wein is here! The hero has arrived! See how bright the girls’ faces light up!

Episode 9
Wein is as surprised as he can get when he learns about Demetrio’s proposal. Since Wein is here, Demetrio believes Falanya will have no objection should her brother decides. And surprise! He agrees to it! Then he talks about being happy that there is double marriage for both parties. What? Have you not heard? Wein’s engagement to Lowa! Lowa gets the hint as she puts up an act to agree to this ploy to help save Falanya. Seems Demetrio objects to this and so with Wein’s suggestion, he agrees to put this matter on hold and further discuss it tomorrow. And with that, Falanya’s future is saved since Wein won’t hand his sister to scumbag like him. Those who wants to marry her must unify the continent! I guess she’ll be a spinster for life then… I know Wein could do it but what did Ninym said about Natra’s traditions forbidding royals marrying the same blood? Later Wein goes to talk to Lowa and he knows she wants the princes to decide who the next emperor is. The summit is just a show to parade their influence but no decision can be made. Even the princes themselves believe they won’t come to a decision. With Lowa not even announcing herself as a throne candidate, he fears the empire may have already abandoned the princes and trying to make Lowa to become the empress. Lowa chose to ignore such fears and waited for her moment to shine. She has pondered for a long time until she decided to place all her hopes on the summit. Meanwhile Manfred can tell Wein is an exceptional and dangerous man. He orders for his assassination during his talks with Demetrio because he wants all those opposing him swiftly eliminated after he becomes emperor. As Falanya continues to join the assembly and even gets the honour to take part, Wein and Ninym go continue their talks with Demetrio. When a servant pours tea for Wein, he wants her to drink it after ascertaining she made it. She gives excuses but Demetrio thinks the coward thinks it is poisoned and proves it himself by drinking it. He gets poisoned!!!

Although Demetrio survives the poisoning, he is quickly taken to his recuperate in his domain. Manfred and Bardloche prepare to siege Mealtars and have surrounded the city with their troops. Wein has been held for questioning but knows he needs to escape back to Natra before this sh*t gets any deeper. To add fuel to fire, Levetia’s army is also making camp outside the city walls of Mealtars on grounds that they are here to free the city from imperial oppression. Wein is worried that this means there will be riots as it is impossible for city guards to keep the peace. Wein so stressed up he faints! OMG! It’s real! While he is out, Falanya does what she does best. She returns to the assembly which has descended into some fracas. They are divided of joining Levetia or lose their self-rule if they bow down to the empire. Falanya’s calm voice manages to have everyone listen to her. Looking like a real leader now. When Wein wakes up, Ninym is overcome with emotion. She regrets not noticing he was really tired. Well, the way you’re working him to death and if he cuts some slack, you don’t like. HOW?! Anyway, with Wein back in his groove, they will use this momentum to get out of here. Falanya once again uses her exemplary leadership to rally the Mealtars people. The entire 30,000 popular march out of the city in solidarity and head towards Levetia’s camp. This shocks Caldmellia and King Gruyere of Soljest because certainly their camp isn’t equip to take in 30,000 people. Didn’t expect this turn of events, eh? But don’t worry. Wein can offer his advice if they care to listen.

Episode 10
Wein expresses his gratitude and suggests that Mealtars take back their city by their own hands. This means Wein is willing to buy all their supplies and weapons at 3 times the price! Caldmellia is truly amaze with Wein for surpassing her expectations and she really wants to toy with him more and hence she wants to reject his proposal. Because she spends too much time on this thought, Gruyere accepts his proposal. Caldmellia reminds him that she is the one who makes the decisions but Gruyere believes that a militia will be created from the people of Mealtars and after the princes are worn down by battle, they could get Mealtars to fight alongside them. Gruyere warns he is not interested in getting caught in her whims. Caldmellia only agrees to sell their supplies but their army will stay put. Seeing Mealtars taking up arms and marching to retake their city, the princes panic and Wein and Lowa hatch the next part of their plan to have a meeting with Bardloche and Manfred. Wein starts off by claiming the mastermind of it all is Demetrio. Of course everyone knows that this is a ploy for to pin the blame on him. Wein further explains after both brothers worn each other down, Demetrio is likely to return to attack them and take the throne. Both princes think if they reject, the other will accept. They’ll still end up fighting each other for the throne in which Demetrio will usurp. Hence they dance into Wein’s palm as they both accept to go along with his plan. With this a success, later Wein and Ninym talk about the growing trade in Marden. Thanks to their allegiance to Natra, now they get to trade goods freely from east to west. Although western nations will not accept goods from Earthwold, that is why Wein has a plan for Marden to falsify its land of origin. That is, it’s like they’re exporting goods from Natra. Technically, not a lie. Ninym brings up the possibility that Marden may be doing so well, they might end up calling for independence and Natra may have to find another trading partner.

Wein is then to visit Marden as Zenovia talks to her aide, Jiva about their chance to show their allegiance to Natra. One of the concessions is for her to marry Wein and this will boost Marden’s standing in Natra. Of course Wein heard about this proposal and he wants to reject it because he still wants to stay single. He also wants to see if Marden is cooperative and if so, they are most likely to ask him to marry Zenovia. In which of course, he’ll still reject her. During the visit, Zenovia talks about the kingdom of Delunio sent a complaint letter about the trading goods. Natra also received one too. Delunio is a very conservative nation and everything is handled by their PM, Sirgis who is also a fervent follower of Levetia. They will purge any outside influence to preserve their own culture. Wein wants her to ignore the letter and continue the trading. The discussion ends and this shocks Wein as she doesn’t bring up any marriage discussion. I guess there goes his chance to coolly reject her! Later Zeno gives the duo a tour around the city. Wein hinting options for Marden to call for independence as they grow stronger but Zeno claims they are happy to be Natra’s vassal. Wein takes this as they want to maintain their relations with Natra. Then Wein talks about bloodlines and venerability because even as royalty of his own country, he is wary of his own people. As his bloodlines can be traced back to Caleus, he too was a commoner and so his parents. Only through hard work and the likes that his bloodline became royalty. This means all royalties can be traced back to once as being commoners and that all commoners have a chance to become royalty. That is why royalties tend to create exaggerated mythologies surrounding their family. Zeno is so awed by this enlightenment that her shock in her face is obvious. Since she too didn’t bring up the marriage proposal, I guess Wein does. While Zeno agrees that it would lift a lot of burden for Zenovia, it is most likely that she won’t accept the marriage is that Wein’s face is not her type! OMG! That’s got to be a joke, right?! Well, for the first time, WEIN IS DEFEATED!!! We hear from Zenovia that Wein looks more like a respected hero to her, a reminder that she can never be a queen to such a great man. But is her heart still for him? She gets news that Sirgis is at her doorstep.

Episode 11
Sirgis is accusing of Marden of distributing fraudulent goods through Delunio. If she cannot help him out, he will talk to Wein. Zenovia can tell this means he is looking down on her. Good for him, Wein is here to hear him out. As he pours out his woes and tying this to their Levetia faith, Wein just tells him off that he is just overstepping his bounds by presuming to speak for all under the faith. Sirgis leave disappointed and will discuss this on another time. Wein and Ninym then head to Soljest to have an audience with Gruyere. Wein thinks Gruyere wants to form a loose friendship to stop Natra’s expansion and work with Delunio. But Wein’s intention is to turn this into a Natra-Soljest alliance to defeat Delunio. Once Delunio is defeated, they can divide the land among themselves. Wein also meets Tolcheila who is Gruyere’s daughter. Wein gets too engrossed in the great food that he is served. Yeah, did he eat too much? Meanwhile Zenovia receives another letter from Sirgis. He claims that since Marden is no more, he wants back a region that Delunio lent to the royalty. Of course her answer is no although the letter further states that declining means war. Next day, Wein tries to talk to Gruyere but it seems he is busy attending to his own stuffs, leaving Wein looking for him all over. Hence at the end of the day, he thinks Gruyere is avoiding him and the only reason he is doing so is to assassinate him. But why wait this long? There were many chances Gruyere could’ve finished him off. Unless something is happening back at Natra. He wants to prepare for home right away but such great timing, Gruyere can now have a private audience with Wein.

As the duo go see Gruyere, they need to make this quick and know if he intends to side with Natra. Otherwise, they’ll kidnap him and head for home. First, Gruyere allows Ninym to sit alongside them. Although he knows she is of the Flahm race, he believes they are to be treated equally. Heck, even as king, he believes equality among his people. While treating Flahm as equals is against the Levetia teachings because the holy scriptures say they are of a demonic race, he rubbishes the scriptures as pieces of paper. He claims that the most important thing is what they do in life and whether or not God will forgive them only happens in the afterlife after they die. We’ll cross the bridge when we get to it. Wein is enlightened by his wisdom and so he gets to the point to seek an alliance between their countries. Gruyere agrees. Wow. That shock on Wein’s face. You mean he didn’t expect him to say yes?! Knowing that Wein needs to leave for him, he lets him go. But after they’ve left, we see that this is all just an act. In fact, he is in cohorts with Sirgis and can’t wait to see how his charade plays out. As Wein is back in Natra and is still in disbelief nothing happened back here while he was away, looks like hell is going to start now as he receives report that Delunio just attacked the Marden border and Soljest is backing them with military power. We hear Soljest wanting to defeat Wein as he views him as a rare beast. Wein realizes he has been played out because now Soljest has declared war on Natra. Too late to realize that Gruyere was lying with his empty promises because after all, their talk was all verbal. Zenovia wants to take responsibility as she has sent her vassals to go negotiate with Sirgis. If Delunio backs down, Soljest will not see a threat to their ally and also pull back. This is the same exact thoughts that Wein wanted Zenovia to do. He doesn’t blame her for the events leading up to this but if she can pull this off, her punishment will be lighter.

Episode 12
Gruyere feels this war is boring since he won’t be fighting Wein head on. But he still feels the thrill of the battle as the Natra side ambushes him. Meanwhile Wein and Zenovia go to negotiate with Sirgis. He is reluctant to deal further with her since the agreement is that after Soljest takes over the land, he has arranged for them to give it back to them. Hence Zenovia makes a bold decision to surrender twice the size of the land if the invasion is stopped. However Sirgis won’t buy that too. His goal is to look good in front of the Levetia faith and become part of the Holy Elites. I guess this is cue for Wein to intervene. He suggests they kill Gruyere. He tries to paint that Soljest will only grow stronger and start conquering other nations. Although Sirgis still won’t agree to that, he will agree to take it some of Natra’s refugees should they get caught in the war. Wein agrees to that and will have all 800,000 Natra citizens enter Delunio! Of course this shocks Sirgis as his nation cannot handle this number. Then Wein goes on to mention about the recent trend in Delunio of wearing some yellow scarf. It is actually laced with some toxic flower and slowly the people will die. While this is obviously a lie, Wein further adds when the people are confused, they will start targeting the authority. Delunio’s soldiers will not be able to hold back that mob. That time, Wein will unleash his refugees into Delunio. Due to shortage of everything, both sides will start to fight each other and once Delunio is in a weakened state, other nations will take this advantage and invade Delunio! Sirgis cannot believe he would sacrifice his own people like that but seeing he had a hand in moving those from Mealtars, this is not impossible. News of Natra’s army being routed by Soljest reach them. At this rate, Soljest will conquer Natra. Of course this is all part of Wein’s plan. Because of the delay in sending messengers during war, Wein has taken account of that timing (because right now Natra’s forces are regrouping in a stronger fort). With Sirgis desperate in making his goal come true, Wein then nails the clincher and needs his help for Delunio to help attack Soljest from behind.

Gruyere thinks it is going to be another boring war as his Soljest side slowly makes strides in taking down the fort. But then the tide changes. Delunio’s army is seen charging from behind and this revs up Gruyere. Knowing that Soljest will be pincer between both armies, Gruyere will not run but instead barge through the Delunio army. Once they’ve done so, they’ll use Delunio as a wall while they regroup. They will then return and rout the confused sides. As Gruyere makes his move, he is distracted by the sight of Wein. This allows Ninym to jump in and take down Gruyere. WTF, so easy?! With that, Natra wins. In the aftermath, Gruyere is a prisoner in Natra. He is expecting to be executed by Wein will not allow that and would prefer negotiations between the nations. Gruyere understands this is for Natra to prevent an all-out war with Levetia. As for Sirgis, he destroyed his own political career. Because it was him who made an alliance with Soljest but last minute he forged a deal with Natra. No more trustworthy. Wein wants him to sign some form so that he could be returned to Soljest. However Gruyere wishes to die here. Yeah, he is willing to let Natra get into war with Levetia! He’ll be dead so what does he care! But there is a condition if Wein wants him to return in one piece. That is, he wants to know the beast within him. What are his desires that feeds that beast of his. Well, this part is inaudible and it leaves Gruyere with utmost shock and flabbergast. Hence Wein has the last laugh because if he dies, he will not find out if it’s true or not. Gruyere laughs hard and admits his defeat. And with that, he will live on. Later Ninym reports how the reparations covered the costs of war and also bought back the surrendered land. But that bad news is that the conflict with Gruyere has Levetia giving them the cold shoulder. This means their pilgrims do not pass through Marden on Natra and their economic takes a tumble. This means Wein can give up on his early retirement. So wake up and get back to work!!! Selling Natra won’t happen. You can only retire 10 years after you die, AHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Wein’s World: How A Scheming Prince Saved The Kingdom Out Of Trouble
Well, there’s a lot of speculation about that inaudible part that Wein said to Gruyere about what drives his inner beast. My own personal guess is that he is actually the son of the Demon Lord and he needs to take over this continent as proof to be worthy of succeeding the throne of the demon realm!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!! More realistically, it could be reuniting the Flahm race and restoring their reputation and perhaps the more shocking one is that Wein’s real identity could be a Flahm race?! Oh well, whatever it is, looks like Wein has to start cracking his brains even more. While it may look like his dreams of selling the kingdom has gone up in smoke, do not worry because I am very sure that in the near future there will be more chances for him to do so again. Given the conflicting state the nations on this continent, I am very certain that there will be disputes and differences will arise. What are the chances Wein will be thrown into the midst of the chaos and try to make a profit out of it? Yup. You bet he will. As long as he doesn’t give up the early retirement dream of his.

It is one of those shows where once again I have mixed feelings about the overall story. On one hand, it sounds interesting because of all the political strategies and military manoeuvres but on the other hand, it all sounds confusing to me because you should know me by now, I’m still a simpleton after all these years. Just like Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha No Oukoku Saikenki, this anime needs to use some of your grey matter to think and digest to make sense of what the characters are doing. I am not saying that it is as mindf*ck like Sonny Boy, but the charm and main factor of this series are those strategies. So you’ve got to put on your thinking cap and not doze off halfway if you want to appreciate and understand all that is happening right here. Which is also very true because as a person of Wein’s position, he can’t afford to be lax in so many areas and he must pay attention to everything around him and play his diplomatic cards right if he is to stay a step, if not many steps ahead of his rivals. And so it also feels like they deceived the anime title to us because it doesn’t feel like Wein is raising funds to raise Natra out of debt. Heck, don’t even see how Natra is in debt either and to whom. Should rename this anime into How The Genius Prince Outmanoeuvres His Enemies And Earns A Few Waifus… Hah!

Aside from Wein being the main character, all his strategies, schemes, tactics and plans more often turn out in his favour even though at first he finds them troublesome. Being the genius he is (thanks to the military school training background to help back up why he is such a genius), he is able to come up with counter strategies in such a short span of time. What I want to say from all this is that, from my simpleton point of view, everything just looks majestic and impressive. Because I am not really apt in reading into political strategies and military manoeuvres, hence the reason why Wein’s actions seem to really look inspiring. Every time Wein seemingly pulls off a miracle move, I would be going wow and giving him some due praises of how awesome this royal prodigy is. Hence making his enemies look dumb as they dance right into the palm of his hands. Brainier people or those who are more articulate in this area may find them pretty normal. After all, the anime can’t be too complicated with its twists and turns in the plot if they want to retain its viewership, right? I mean, this isn’t the kind of anime that caters to a very specific demographic, right? I believe on the overall, it is not that hard to understand the whole picture but if you truly want to appreciate and go into details about the moves these characters make, that will take a bit of thinking.

This series seems to have a few similarities with Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha No Oukoku Saikenki because heck, even here we have a single huge continent divided into many nations. Good thing that there are no foreign invading demons. So they fight among themselves. Not to say that the kingdoms in Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha No Oukoku Saikenki are all united either since there’s some in-fighting too. It could have been interesting to hear some of the lore and setting of this world but I guess for now, the primary focus is on Wein as we see him navigate through the political waters whose allegiance and shaky relationships are like shifting sand. One false move and you could find yourself pulled from under your own rug. And the other big difference is that this anime has got no magic! Sure, the technologies are still ancient with no internet or even airplanes. People ride across the next region on their horses and send handwritten letters! The irony that this show is even more realistic than that realist one. Heh.

So for Wein as the main character, I think they pulled the wool over our eyes when they made us think of him as per the synopsis as someone who is sleazy and traitorous. I think most of us like yours truly have been duped. Wein is definitely not a bad guy at all. Each time you see him brag about wanting to sell his kingdom and quickly take the easy life route, I assure you that could just be his way of joking. I mean, if he really wanted to do that, he could have done so by running away and go into hiding. That is so much easier than going through all the trouble of making Natra look good. Besides, do you not see that all his actions have been for the good of Natra? Don’t let that selling-the-kingdom narrative fool you again. He is truly doing everything he can to push up Natra’s reputation. It would be dumb for him to put in all the hard work to make Natra have such a high value and then giving it all away to the highest bidder. But then again, it’s Wein we’re talking here so he might actually do that and pull the rug under our feet again. But I digress this would happen. Because that won’t be Wein at all.

So the other reason I can explain about Wein’s smug attitude is not him being arrogant or haughty at all. There is a saying that to hide one’s cleverness is clever. This guy is just putting up his act so as to fool his enemies. Don’t be fooled by his monologue in his head as he sounds excited and all while narrating to us how his plan will work out. I mean, when you’re the new prince regent who has been thrust into that position and has no past credentials to prove yet, this means he could be behind other established players in the field. So by being this polite and accommodating instead of being uptight, stuck up or overly serious, this will make his enemies let their guard down because it might lead them to think that they’re just dealing with a foolish prince and make them more prone in making the first mistake. The most important point is to maintain being cool because at time as seen, his gamble actually pays off and you could hear the relief in his inner voice. Lady luck is sure smiling on him. Otherwise, Wein’s occasional childish rants and his wittiness are part of his charm to be funny and confuse us at the same time. Funny? Cute? That’s Wein for you.

By now you should know that Wein is a man of his principles and there are some things that he will never budge about. Compared to Souma from Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha No Oukoku Saikenki, Wein is slightly different than him in the sense that Wein has no qualms, not even a moment of hesitancy to actually dirty his own hands and kill those who even verbally belittle the ones close to him. Especially Ninym or the Flahm race. I don’t remember if Souma actually having killed anybody with his own hands directly but for Wein, it is a no-brainer and that this is a topic that is non-negotiable. Death to all who speaks ill of his beloved! In view of this, it makes Wein actually a much more terrifying character and someone whom you would not want to really mess with. Note that I have not watched the second season of Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha No Oukoku Saikenki at this point and things might change regarding Souma keeping his hands clean. Although Wein even dares use his own people as a trump card for his own advantage, it could be just a big bluff but it’s no joke to think that he is a person of such calibre and knowing Wein, he might just actually do it just to surprise his enemies.

At this point, there is not much and very little known about the Flahm race, the supposed ‘demons’ of the series. My guess that they could be one of those factors that divide the continent and flimsy excuses to go to war with each other. It would be very interesting to know why Wein keeps one by his side and goes all out to defend them and especially his own personal aide Ninym, when half of the continent actually despises this race. Even more so the Levetia faith that Wein’s ancestors that are believed to be originated from. More light could be shed on the duo and how they became a pair fit for each other. It could be some lifesaving event when they’re young and they made some promise together. But for now, everything is up in the air and only speculation. For Ninym to serve her master well and to even know what he is thinking and they put their full trust in each other (notice how often they can read each other’s minds?), this shows how deep their relationship goes and if not for their public positions, they could’ve gone deeper down that road.

Keeping Wein on his toes is also another brilliant strategist, Lowa. Both came from the same military school and class so it is no surprise that they somewhat think alike. Sometimes it feels like the battle of the sexes to see who outsmarts who in some 4D chess game of their own but of course we all know that Wein being the main character somehow holds the upper hand. My guess that the only reason that Lowa will not best Wein is because she loves him. Ah yes, that love sounds like a weakness, no? At this point I’m wondering if this is going to be a harem series because Wein is such an eligible bachelor and he’s got a few princesses from neighbouring countries interested in him. Other and Ninym and Lowa, we’ve also got Zenovia who wants to prove herself to be useful to him. Trying to fool us that he is not her type is just a roundabout way of saying that she isn’t good enough for him but essentially it means that she likes him. Is it not like that?! I won’t even discount Zeno but with Zenovia back in the picture, she is now reduced to playing a supporting role. And what are the chances are for Tolcheila? The continent’s most eligible bachelor is up for grabs! Place your bets! This kind of fight is definitely way tougher and more brutal than kingdoms fighting each other if it really comes down to that! Last but not least, Falanya. We might not see much of her in action but from the Mealtars incident, it looks like she is showing promise of following Wein in his footsteps. It all runs in the family.

While this series has got some action scenes, they are not the main draw. But those fight scenes may get really violent and bloody. Okay, by my standards not enough to shock me and make me have sleepless nights. Yeah, I’ve seen way worse shows with extreme violence and gore so this is just mild compared to that.

Art and animation are pretty good. The sceneries and backgrounds are quite picturesque and even the cities of the different nations give off this old European feeling. The character designs are of course your typical and standard anime bishoujo and bishonen looks. There’s this typical and clichéd look for bad guys too. One look at characters such as Demetrio, Holonuie and the rest, you can tell they have that stereotypical villain looks. Except some good looking guys like Manfred that can be deceiving while those looking ugly like Gerard are more of the dumb kind. On a trivial note, is it me or does Gruyere look like Obelix from the Asterix comics?! Just that he has gotten a bit older. And for some reason I can’t help think that Lowa is a more feminine version of Youjo Senki’s Tanya. This anime is done by Yokohama Animation Lab who did Miru Tights, Lapis Re:Lights and Magatsu Wahrheit: Zuerst.

Once again it is a delight to find my favourite Mamiko Noto as the cunning nun, Caldmellia. How long has it been have I heard her voice an antagonistic role? Elsa from Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu? Valkyria in Gokukoku No Brynhildr? Well, looks like she sounds like she’s having an awful lot of fun in this one too. Other recognizable seiyuus include Youko Hikasa as Brandel, Nao Touyama as Lowa and Rie Kugimiya as Tolcheila. Rie Takahashi as Ninym, she sounds so much like the titular character in Karakai Jouzu No Takagi-san. No pranks here. The other casts are Souma Saitou as Wein (Ray in Infinite Dendrogram), Sayaka Senbongi as Falanya (Shuna in Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken), Yuki Nakashima as Zenovia and Zeno (Lisa in BanG Dream), Akio Ohtsuka as Gruyere (titular character in Black Jack), Ryuuichi Kijima as Demetrio (Lenka in God Eater), Kenichirou Matsuda as Bardloche (Gordon in Black Clover), Kengo Kawanishi as Manfred (Rei in 3-gatsu No Lion), Fumiya Imai as Owl (Hiiragi Kashima in Given) and Yuki Sakakihara as Nanaki. The opening theme is Level by Nagi Yanagi and The Sixth Lie. Sounds okay as an anime rock but did not impress me. The ending theme is Hitori To Kimi To by Yoshino Nanjou. Feels a bit weird with the trumpet fanfare in some parts of this upbeat pop piece.

Overall, this is quite an interesting anime. In view of the deluge of isekai and trapped-in-video-games tropes these days, this offers something different. Not the most confusing or complicated series out there, but it’s still manageable even within my means. Unlike Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha No Oukoku Saikenki which leans more towards rebuilding a world, this one feels more like a cat and mouse game. The one with the better brains stays on top and it is a never ending game to see who outmanoeuvres who. Might sound far-fetched for a main character to have things always go his way but hey, seen the word ‘realist’ in this title anywhere? Thought so. Truth to be told, Wein could be more of a realist than Souma only because we attached the genius label onto him. He’s just a normal kid who just wants the best for his nation and taking the most realistic action to achieve that, right? I guess selling oneself to the world still sounds way better than selling out your country to your enemies. Now, if somebody can introduce the concept of NFTs to Wein…

Oh no. Not another overpowered character stuck in a VRMMORPG that has somewhat changed to become more realistic! Yes, I’m talking about Kenja No Deshi Wo Nanoru Kenja. Is this trope starting to be tiresome? Guess not. Only difference is that the said overpowered legendary character went to change his avatar out of curiosity and by the time he returns, many years in the game have passed and many things have changed during his absence. Of course with a new avatar and look, he still retains all the ungodly and overpowered moves, abilities and techniques from his previous character. So I suppose he is going to have to go around and prove that he is that said legend and not this cutie girl? Well, it’s a good time to teach those who judge the book by its cover…

Episode 1
As narrated, Ark Earth Online (AEO) is such a massive popular VRMMORPG. Players have the freedom to do anything and some went as far as to build kingdoms. Of course with all that comes war as player fought each other for supremacy. In the Age of Strife, those with strength like warriors dominate while those with magic like mages suffer. Many seek refuge in the Kingdom of Alcait ruled by Solomon the paladin. Among his 9 wise men AKA Elders, the most trusted among them all is Danblf. Uhm, Dumbledore x Gandalf? Solomon summons Danblf for a mission to take out 10,000 monsters. He accepts the job since other Elders are busy with their other roles. Later in Solomon’s quarters, the duo chat since in real life they are best friends. It is hinted that indeed Danblf is the ideal mage whoever this player created because of the love for all kinds of Hollywood mages. Danblf then returns to make preparations for his war. After loading up his inventory, he goes to face off with… Bad CGI goblins!!! You’re wondering how Danblf will live up to his nickname as One Man Army when he summons his dark knights and valkyries to pummel to puny goblins. There’s some explanation but if he is controlling this army, he can’t be called One Man Army no matter what, RIGHT?! Noticing that an army this large, there must be a ring leader, WTF did he not see that winged demon sticking out like a sore thumb? The only monster that is so different! Yeah, he had to send a scout to sniff that monster out. And just like that Danblf easily defeats it. Other goblins run but he summons his dragon to burn them all! No mercy! Danblf returns from his successful mission and gets praised by Solomon. However a few days later he suddenly disappears and this started a crisis in Alcait as well as the beginning of turmoil in all of AEO. Then we see this cute little girl making her way from the forest to Alcait. Wanna bet that this is Danblf? Looking very kawaii now…

Episode 2
This loli is indeed Danblf and Solomon is laughing his ass off. It seems she was messing around with Vanity Case she bought due to expiring e-credits. As she experimented with her avatar, she fell asleep. Next thing she knew, she is in this form and it is irreversible as she doesn’t have Vanity Case anymore. Also, it seems 30 years have passed in this world. Solomon has been guarding Alcait during his absence. A few major changes include they cannot use floating islands (there goes Danblf’s collection where he store things) and NPCs now take on a life on their own. This means as Danblf returns home, her maid, Mariana is overcome with emotion to see her master back. But she is suspicious of this loli. It’s not Danblf. Danblf now lies that she is Mira, Danblf’s disciple. He is away making a new summoning spirit and cannot return now. That’s why she has returned on his behalf to thank her for taking care of this place while he is gone. Mariana is glad and overcome with emotion to hear the good news. Soon Solomon summons Mira and introduces her to others. With monster packs once again causing ruckus, Solomon wants Mira to stop them. Some like Reynard do not believe Mira is Danblf’s disciple so Solomon tells her to prove herself. In her absence, Solomon has developed an armoured jeep. Mira getting the hell ride of her life! I guess this is faster than horses. Nobody thought of teleportation? Anyway, Garrett the driver is one hell of a driver. Hold on to your seats! It’s a good thing Mira isn’t an old dude. Or else the hips would have broken to pieces! So while others take care of the goblins, Mira fights the demon who summons a huge cockatrice using some demon crystal. She summons a dark knight to slice it but soon it regenerates into a more power legendary beast. Mira uses that crystal to summon a dark beast to fight it. Because it doesn’t listen to her, she has to lock it back up and summon her other dark knights to finish it off. So now you nonbelievers believe? Yes, now everyone has no doubts she is Danblf’s disciple. Further investigations show that the monsters might be trying to create some swamp that spawns the undead, the reason why some kill each other. Even more so a lesser demon controlling the monsters. Solomon feels excited and that Danblf/Mira came back at the right time.

Episode 3
Solomon summons Mira for another mission. Going back to the early days of AEO, there were initial kingdoms that many players started off with. There was an event whereby demons attacked these kingdoms and ravaged the land. Players manage to fight back and win. With the focus on rebuilding, hence a nonaggression pact was formed to not fight each other for the next 10 years. That pact is almost up. Alcait has been protected by Elders but looks like all except for Mira FKA Danblf are not here. Hence he wants her to find them. But where to start? Mira thinks Nebrapolis would be a good place since immortality loving Soul Howl would be residing in the dungeons. Along the way, they stumble into a zombie but it seems it doesn’t attack humans and only tramples on fields. Then in the next town, Mira meets a boy, Tact who wants to be taken to Nebrapolis since he wants to see his dead parents who went missing many years ago. A mirror there allows one to converse with the dead. They aren’t going alone but will travel with a guild named Ecarlate Carillon that includes Emella, Zef, Asval and Flicker. In the dungeon, they fight off ghouls and when their numbers are overwhelming, Mira just summons her valkyrie, Alfina to just destroy the rest. So easy. At the mirror, Tact calls out to his parents. No response. He is saddened they don’t want to see him. The rest think it is broken so Zef tests it by calling out to his dead sister, Lyrica. Instantly she pops up. Flashback shows she was suffering from a disease so he had to work hard as an adventurer to pay her medical bills. Too bad she died. He still blames himself for it but Lyrica tells him otherwise. With Asval telling him to show how much he has grown, Zef tells her all the great things that has happened since. Everyone getting so emotional after this. Even Mira. Those aren’t sweat from your eyes! So finally it is deduced that Tact’s parents might still be alive because they have not been actually certified dead but just gone missing. Now Mira tries to use holy water to try and talk to some dead NPC guy named Howard (as per Solomon’s side request). Either you have a strong bond with that person or a deeply meaningful memento. But nothing happens. The only awakening is pervy Flicker to Mira’s holy water. WTF…

Episode 4
Mira wants to go alone deeper in the dungeons. But I guess the rest want to stick with her since they’ve gone this far. Okay then. Emella then asks about Howard because she met him before. Yeah, that sick dude kept splashing his holy water on everyone. It could be that this might be related to lesser demons as there have been sightings in many kingdoms. When they reach a certain location, she has everyone wait outside while she enters. WTF, it’s just to use the toilet?! I don’t want to even comment on this strange spacious toilet… Once done, she makes her way to the throne room. Lots of lifeless maids and on the throne is a lifeless girl but not dead yet. Mira then rummages through Soul Howl’s lab. This includes trying his outfits for size (all too big) and then borrowing some of his books. One of the books has a reference to the Holy Grail of Heavenly Light. This has Mira think that Soul Howl is trying to obtain it to revive that girl. Flashback shows he was devastated by the death of a young beautiful girl. Instead of burying her, he will not allow her beauty to be rotted away and will find a way to embalm her beauty forever. Mira returns to her party and looks like they’re a little bit afraid because they discovered a room with even more lifeless maids! On their way out, they stumble into a high ranking demon, Wolf Bane. Since the rest cannot fight on par with her and think there will even be sacrifices, you bet Mira is going to fight this herself and has the rest sit back and watch. So we see her pulling all sorts of magic arts to test Wolf Bane as well as her abilities. Then once she is confident, she uses her real magic forbidden immortal arts to finish him off once and for all. So easy. Everyone so awed with her that they want to know who she really is. She then reveals she is Danblf’s disciple. She is stumped everyone believes her. My girl, after seeing how crazy you went with your skills, what is there not to believe?! Only Flicker left ‘unimpressed’ because this crazy back story makes her want to fawn over her even more! That pervert… Mira is now convinced that these aren’t your typical NPCs as they have their own lives and memories. On the way back, Mira regrets wanting to hear stories of Solomon and Danblf. Looks like they can’t shut up… You mean there’s even more to it???!!! Oh dear… When they return to the city, it is being attacked by zombies! Thriller Night has begun?!

Episode 5
The zombies are made of soil and vegetation so even if you cut them down, they still regenerate. So how? Mira summons Alfina’s 7 sisters. Uhm, do they have time to chat about Alfina’s harsh training?! I know they haven’t seen each other for quite a while but time is of essence, you know. So we see them help the citizens fight the zombies. But ultimately they notice the ringleader is a flying zombie. Flying zombie? Now I’ve seen everything. Because it is blanketing the whole region with unnatural mana, the valkyrie sisters do their usual magic to take it down. So easy. Later as Mira celebrates with Ecarlate Carillon, their leader, Cyril comes to thank her for being a great help. Mira then distributes the loot equally despite she did most of the work. Later Mira takes Tact to the guild to get his aptitude test to see if he can be a summoner. Let’s say his stats are well above average so he can be more than just a summoner. A priest, diviner, sorcerer… Mira hopes Tact will work hard and one day they’ll go adventuring together. Mira then meets up with Cyril and she suspects he is a former player. He admits that and can tell Mira is also the same. Seems it has been a year since he has been trapped in this world and trying to find a way to go back. But he suspects Mira is Danblf because he heard tales from Emella that mirrors exactly like that old wizard. And since Danblf doesn’t take on disciples, could it be that Mira is him? Mira panics a bit but brushes it off as Danblf’s real life friend. Thank goodness he believes that bluff. Mira changes the topic and wants to know more about his circumstances. When Cyril first awakened here, he was in strange land and had to fight goblins. He helped saved a village from them as he realized he cannot log out and that the NPCs do not run like the system. So he stayed in that village and help the villagers rebuild their village and took care of the remaining goblin threat. Once the village is self-sufficient, he left for the big city and found more friends and people who identified with him. Basically Cyril wants Mira to join his group. But she declines she is unable to commit but will help out whenever she can. She also has him look into this strange letter Solomon sent her. Mira then returns to Alcait. She thought she could show off to Solomon how much she has levelled up with this new robe but he starts laughing. Then she realizes the truth as Mariana explains it is a replica of Danblf’s robe that is popular with kids. Who’s the kid at heart?

Episode 6
Garrett comes to a screeching halt as a cat just pops up before his carriage. Turns out this shikigami called Nyanmaru is a friend of a wind spirit and it helped saved her from bad people at the lake. Mira returns to Solomon to report her failure to summon Howard, Soul Howl not to be found anywhere and that zombie attack as well as a third ranked demon attacking her. She thinks all these are connected but still can’t understand the objectives of demons. Reporting about Nyanmaru, Solomon has received reports about an armed group trying to capture spirits called Chimera Clausen. While this will need more investigation, Mira continues revealing the forbidden area pass she got. She talked to the union leader about a dungeon being made a forbidden area because its loot keeps respawning and causing in-fighting. Mentioning about Cyril as a player, Solomon will also investigate this. When Suleiman encounters problems in deciphering some of the works, Mira helps him. She too has trouble deciphering so Solomon notes a depository of a person called Crescent Moon Emissary who has kept all books in his dungeon. This brings back memories as Solomon and Danblf were there to help found Alcait. Because this world is becoming real, there are more places opening up. In order to proceed to the other levels of the depository, Mira needs some firefly glow stones. Hence, Garrett and a couple of guys go mine for it. Short of staff, huh? Once done and about to leave, they are attacked by a legendary bear beast. You mean Mira only left 1 stinking dark knight to protect them! And it lost!!! Oh sh*t! Before they get owned, they are saved by this spunky Chinese martial arts lady, Meilin. She wants to fight the dark knight too but Garrett declines since it is their escort. Maybe next time. He return to report what happened and they believe it is Meilin who is one of the Elders and she has been on some sort of training journey. She probably got so engrossed in it that she has forgotten anything else. They forget about her for now and head off to the depository.

Episode 7
Mira’s next step is to get into the archive known as Fool the Wunderkammer which is located beneath the Alcait Academy. Outside the academy, she is approached by Hinata who is a teacher of the school. She wonders if she is interested in joining her evocation magic department since no one else is interested. She also talks about how her department has been coming up last consecutively in some tournament. To prove her point right now, there’s this obnoxious dude, Caerus Berling from the sorcery department, scorning and mocking Hinata. He comes from a great lineage of mages and you bet his department has been monopolizing the top spot for some time. And you’ve guessed it, an annoyed Mira is going to help Hinata teach this dude a lesson. As the tournament begins, we see Caerus wowing the crowd with his magic. A near perfect score. Of course to Mira, it’s just a big bore. Well, that’s not what the judges think. After all the other departments demonstrate their turn, finally it is the evocation magic department’s turn. Mira summons this giant angel, Leticia to sing a healing song for everyone! Then she has her use her voice to instantly destroy the target! Splendid! Perfect score! Only, the sore loser Caerus won’t accept it and thinks she must have used a trick. Because there is no way a child can use such high level magic, right? So the judges decide to settle this via duel. Before Caerus can finish chanting his spell, Mira already has several dark knights pointing at his throat. It is clear this is Mira’s win. F*cking Caerus still won’t accept! Now she summons more dark knights and this time the coward faints. Good riddance. After all that, Mira is approached by Cleos who is one of the Elders. First he wants to test her as they summon their familiars and fight. But eventually it is Mira who has the upper hand and defeats him. Cleos is satisfied and can safely confirm that Mira is Danblf. Nobody pulls off multiple layers of magic like that old dude. Mira admits to it and then they proceed to head down to the Fool.

Episode 8
Since there are many low level enemies, Hinata offers to help out by summoning her discount Charmander to kill them. Good job. Then at the entrance before the final level, it’s time for Mira to flex her stuffs as she uses her 4k Charmander to destroy the golem knights before they could even activate. Awesome. Since the books that Mira wants is at the far end of the archive, they have to walk and no shortcuts because Cleos warns that there is an anti-theft mechanism that will send golems to attack and traps to activate all over. So have a nice long walk. Then there is this troublesome Rubik’s cube they have to solve to enter the next room but Hinata solves it in a flash! With no students in her class, she bides her time doing puzzles! Then a room with ancient text on a slab, Mira summons her rainbow fairy, Pam to decipher and instruct them which stones to move to open the path. Finally they start copying the books they want and luckily they finished doing that because naughty Pam takes a book that shouldn’t be removed. All the golems and traps activate but all they have to do is just fly out from here. Mira returns to Solomon to report on her success. But he tells her about someone waiting for her after learning she let slip her identity to Cleos. So Mira summons her white dragon, Eisenfald who is happy to see her after 30 long years. He takes her flying around. Of course the person whom Mira must face is Mariana. She returns home and tries to reveal her true identity but is always cut off by Mariana who thinks she knows the truth. Like how Danblf likes his pancakes! Almost gave Mira a heart attack. After a few trolling, Mariana shows a couple of robes she wants to make for Danblf and Mira. But then she starts crying, hoping Danblf will return soon. This is when Mira gets serious and tells her the truth. At first Mariana finds it hard to believe but Mira shows evidence via Fairy Grace, proof that Mariana devoted her life to someone she is contracted to. After renewing it, Mariana is overcome with emotion her master is back. Though, she notes no matter what form, she will always serve her master. It gets awkward for Mira as Mariana spends more time closely to her like sleeping with her and even bathing together. If you can get the old man impression out of your head, watching 2 cute girls bonding is just fine.

Episode 9
WTF?! Amalatte and Marianna trying to teach Mira how to wear underwear and gonna strip?! Good timing to excuse herself to answer Solomon’s call. Solomon’s next mission for Mira is for her to investigate the Child of Prayer Forest. Soul Howl might have been there as this is part of his quest to find the Holy Grail of Heavenly Light. After taking a long flight there on her Pegasus, she decides to rest but sees a group of adventurers trying to repair a fort. She learns from Ratri that unusual monsters have been constantly attacking them. Even more so, a monster boss has been bringing hordes of monsters every time. Their attacks are devastating and many are injured. He then takes her to one who is very injured, Melissa. He hopes Mira can take her back to Healer’s Union. Even though Dolan has administered all sorts of healing, she has not gotten better and is dying. Of course, leave it to Mira to diagnose this poison and even administer a cure using her evocation spell with this white snake of hers. And just like that, Melissa is cured from the poison!!!! Who is your God now! Now their focus is to take on the monsters but some are sceptical. These people don’t understand evocation magic well so they think evacuating is better than fighting monsters that give you instant death. Mira then summons a couple of holy knights. They specialize only in defence so it is up to them if they can defeat the monsters. After devising a plan, they head out into the forest to do hunting. In no time, they start fighting with the monsters and of course the big ape monster boss shows up. The fighting lasts the whole day and in the end, the adventurers emerge victorious. Everyone parties back at the fort as Mira thanks Tomoki as the one who helped swayed everyone to go along with her. She can tell he is an ex-player as they discuss that these unnatural monsters could be caused by human intervention. Next day, Mira leaves for the giant tree in the forest. She speaks to the tree spirits and their descriptions match the person she is looking for. Indeed Soul Howl has been here. She also asks about the unusual monsters but all they know that something strange is happening in the east. As thanks, Mira offers them some sweets. Thank goodness she brought that because otherwise they would’ve asked her for her ‘natural fertilizers’! Too bad Mira has drank too much from the party and needs to go. The tree spirits are eagerly anticipating this… Why is everybody perverts?!

Episode 10
Entering the forest, looks like a whole bunch of cute animals want to follow Mira! She must do something about this or succumb to their cuteness! Especially this super cute blue rabbit! Hey, is Danblf into rabbits? Using her Cait Sith to do the job, now we can stop wasting time with this filler and adventure further into the forest. So basically the boring first half sees the duo going through the forest, fight a few creepy tree monsters, enter a cave, talk to a giant talking flower for a way out and then riding the stream. WTF Mira getting naked? I know there isn’t anyone around and she doesn’t want to get her clothes wet but does she not have any swimsuit? Ah, trying to bait us with this cheap fanservice! While drying herself, a ninja dude stumbles upon her. He claims he is looking for herbs before heading back to his village. But WTF, is Mira not ashamed he saw her naked body?! They were talking like normal while she’s naked?! I know she’s a man but it’s like modesty doesn’t even exist right now! Anyway, Mira senses something amiss as she tails the guy. He is about to attack a spirit and Mira is too slow to act. Luckily an onmyouji guy protects the spirit and fights him. Unfortunately the ninja is better. Before he gets killed, now Mira jumps into the fray. Both fight and use their poison arts on each other. But of course, ninja dude loses and Mira doesn’t even get paralyzed a bit thanks to her Fairy Grace that negates all poison. Convenient. The onmyouji, Blue and his assistant, White thank Mira for her help. They introduce themselves from a group known as Isuzu League. They are an organization that fights against Chimera Clausen where this ninja comes from as they capture spirits. Mira then remembers that Nyanmaru incident and the only Elder who can use shikigami is Kagura. She wonders if they are related. Blue and White will take ninja guy back to their village for interrogation. Mira will follow them so as to get more info.

Episode 11
Mira parts ways and joins up Ecarlate Carillon for a mission. Damn, Flicker still wants to get a piece of Mira but thanks to her cute blue rabbit protector, Mira won’t be losing her chastity to this loser yet. Cyril talks to Mira about a city that was attacked by monsters but a lone hero in black defeated them and left without telling his name. Hence the people call him the Black Hero. Mira thinks this fits the description of one of the Elders, Valentin. Time to get with the mission as a caravan has been attacked. It seems they stole some items that include a stone tablet. Mira and Ecarlate Carillon go in search of the missing loot and get lost in the misty forest. No worries. Mira just summons her korpokkur pairs, Uneko and Etenoir to help guide them through. Easy. They arrive at a spot where there are many (badly animated CGI) monster lions awaiting them. You call this a lot?! Even with their gold and silver bosses, it’s going to be easy for Mira and Cyril, right? After disposing all of them, Mira finds the tablet but after touching it, she is transported to another dimension. Hmm… Nice sceneries. And what this long cult queue?! One of them talks to Mira and he explains that the mana caused some space-time ripple distortion effect and now only her soul has been thrown back to the past. She’ll only be here temporarily. Some confusing talk about mana. Before Mira disappears back, she learns that these people are devils and are heading towards the reincarnation gate to be reborn as angels. She notices a black gate at the top of the reincarnation altar. Mira returns to present time and felt that experience was like a dream. Mira parts ways with Ecarlate Carillon and returns to Alcait. However, the entire kingdom is on fire! Garrett explains that a horde of monsters have started popping up within the kingdom’s borders. Mira wonders if the space-time distortion did this. She needs to rendezvous with Solomon but doesn’t mind having a piece of some action first.

Episode 12
Holy f*ck! It’s… ATTACK ON BAD CGI!!! Monsters are attacking the fort at the border but Reynard and his men are doing well to hold the fort. Though, it is only a matter of time they will fall if a certain somebody doesn’t return. As Suleiman and Solomon discuss about this, the former will not let the latter go into battle for something may happen to him. So no faith in Solomon, huh? Also, to prevent to other kingdoms from misinterpreting that this is war due to that pact thingy, yada, yada, yada. Yeah, if they do so, I think they’re just dumb. While Reynard has got assistance from Cleos and Amalatte, this is the same reason Suleiman doesn’t want them to be too flashy in their assist. Wow. Solomon anxious for Mira to return. Never has he wished her presence so much. And you know the good news has returned with Mira taking down the hordes and even have time to go assist Luminaria and save the day. Wow. So easy that we don’t even see Mira in action. But don’t rest yet. Suddenly the sky cracks and out comes a huge behemoth. Time for the epic final boss fight. I suppose this is needed so that we can see Solomon in action together with Mira. Yeah, can’t always think of that smug kid who only gives orders, right? And of course, Mira not exactly panicking so I’m sure she’s got it all planned out to take down this raid boss. Basically, summoning almost all her familiars so as to give them a chance to shine and show their abilities. Long story short, they emerge victorious. In the aftermath, Mira refuses to be awarded by Solomon as that would mean publically declaring herself as Danblf to the world. WTF, I thought the whole academy knows about it?! So what’s the difference?! Mira prefers it this way so she can freely move about as Danblf’s disciple instead of being that old guy himself. Soon, Mira will once again be on a journey to find the Elders and investigate those problems cropping up. It’s adventure time.

(Wise)Man In The Mira
Oh sh*t. Final scene of Mira looking herself in the reflection and quipping how cute she is… WTF, does this mean that Danblf has soften up and realize that he prefers this cute little avatar than his old goat one?! Oh yeah. Being a cute Mira has much more perks compared to that Danblf name that has lots of baggage attached from over the years. But it still feels weird for Mira to say that whenever I start thinking within that context.

Seriously, I’m confused on if there is a plot for this series in the first place. After being told about the great history of events that happened in this world (which is by the way, an online game that I have to constantly remind myself so as not to mistake this as another blatant isekai genre – which is still bad either way), the rest of the season feels like random adventures by Mira. Sure, it’s to find the missing Elders of Alcait but all I see is a wild goose chase bringing Mira and whoever she brings with from one place to another without bearing much fruit. I mean, they’re still trying to find the first Elder they suggested, Soul Howl! Where in the world is that guy?! Heck, I think trying to find Wally is even much easier and less hassle! Then other Elder names pop up which don’t really bring much to the table except maybe if you have a strong memory, you’ll keep that in the back burner in case they stumble upon them in the future. Because of all that, I tend to forget that each adventure or mission that Mira undertakes is for this purpose. To put it bluntly, they all feel uninteresting and boring even for a simpleton like me to just dispense a few brain cells to remember this.

There are some interesting developments and potential about this world setting but this is not fully explored as of yet in this season. It came too late about that gate of reincarnation because it was really something curious. For them to throw in something like this in the final stretch, wow, I thought they might make another season to explore all that and whatever anomalies that are happening right now all over the kingdom. Sometimes I wonder if the players are actually stuck in this game because it was never really explained (not that I’m listening even if they did) if this world’s setting is similar to Overlord, Log Horizon or even another anime that came out in the same season, Leadale No Daichi Nite. Players stuck in a game for no reason and can’t logout. And to think that Danblf logged out to change his avatar and then returned 30 years only to find things have changed and now he is both stuck in this world and as a loli character. If this is not some excuse to showcase an overpowered character in the new world (because newbies will tend to look down and then be in awe when Mira struts her stuffs by using her powerful magic that she is somehow allowed the keep and bring over to this new avatar), then I don’t know what is.

Safe to say, the characters are just boring and don’t really inspire me. So I suppose the reason they turned an old man avatar who is amalgamation of famous fictitious wizards (why is Merlin not one of them?!) into a cute loli character just to bait us. Yeah. LOL. Nothing exciting happens after that. So what Mira speaks like an old man? Because of her cute voice, I don’t think I even realize this most of the time. So if you really like this cutie pie Mira and find her adorable, be sure to remember that this means you also like the old man beneath it and that makes it even more awkward and creepy! Sometimes to ‘remind’ us that Mira is indeed a guy, a few scenes of her trying to mind herself in relieving herself in the bushes. I don’t know, this comes off as weird than funny. Uhm, is turning guys into girls a new trend? Because in the same season, Fantasy Bishoujo Juniku Ojisan To also has a main character who was a guy but now transformed into a hot cutie. Anyway, not sure if Mira still has that old man’s bladder problem. Because if she does, it feels weird. Mira’s body is a cute young girl and not an old guy!!!

To also showcase how powerful Danblf/Mira is, hence her evocation magic specialist feels like it is to introduce her familiar of the episode to get things done. Uh huh. It’s like she can just summon anything and she has so many of them, so they’re like playing musical chairs to pop up and revere seeing their master after 30 odd long years. That’s why I’m feeling sceptical about Danblf’s nickname as a One Man Army because if he used his own magic to own the hordes of enemies, that is fine. Otherwise using her familiars especially dark knights and valkyries to get the job done, that’s just cheating.

The other characters aren’t really memorable either. Like Solomon who feels like he wants to play pranks on Mira whenever he has a chance because I guess life is so bored as the top paladin. The way he puts on that playful and carefree face, I’m not sure if he or anybody is panicking about this world. That’s why I said I’m not sure if the players here are actually stuck for real. I know the panic button shouldn’t be pressed but it seems nobody feels the urgency to look into this. So are they really stuck or not? The rest of the other characters from Marianna to Ecarlate Carillon to Hinata to Tact to Ratri to Tomoki and the most recent onmyouji pair of Blue and White (heck, why do they sound like a Pokemon title?), I feel they all just serve to show Mira can rebuild and add to her friend list. The more allies the better, ja no? A special mention to Garrett because it seems this guy’s role is to become some expert drifter the way you see him drive his vehicles. Hold on to your seats! I only realize in the last episode that characters whom I thought were Elders like Cleos and Amalatte are only acting Elders! Just replacement only. No wonder I was so confused. This means the only Elders are Mira and Luminaria and the rest are actually missing.

If there is the most annoying character, it would be Flicker. Yes, this Ecarlate Carillon member is just plain annoying because she is a pervert for Mira. It’s okay because she is female and imagine if her character was male, it would have been a totally different situation. Thanks to this, this allows her character to be viewed as a comic relief although it has reached levels of annoyance. Uh huh. Every time you see her in the picture, her first reaction is to want to harass/molest/rape or whatever other indecent stuffs she has on her mind on Mira. I bet her actually name is F*cker and that should have been very apt in many ways! Perhaps the font style made many misread FUCKER as FLICKER. Do you not see how similar the word is?! After all, is it not strange too for a female character to be named so?! What’s this you say? Some sites officially spelt her names as Fricka or Frikka?! Freak Cunt maybe, AHAHAHAHA!!!!!

I believe that the biggest factor for me in giving the thumbs down for this series is the horrendous CGI visuals! OMG. I can’t believe they can still make such inferior quality with today’s technology. While the anime is mostly in your typical 2D style and the characters your conventional anime style as well as being colourful and even most of the scenes are brightly coloured, it is the CGI visuals that really takes the cake of disappointment. These are mostly reserved for enemy monsters and some of Mira’s summoned familiars. The moment you laid your eyes on them, you can just tell they are of subpar quality. It’s like they didn’t have enough budget to buy a proper software or they had amateurs to do it because they again didn’t have the budget to hire professionals. Or both. This kind of quality is unacceptable nowadays. It’s even worse when 3D in video games were starting to become mainstream in the 90’s.

Worse, their animation looks pretty stiff. Mira’s dark knights although are also CGI animated, they are not that bad perhaps because they don’t look like living creatures like those goblins or demons. It’s just a piece of shiny armour. Not as bad but still bad. This means the animation quality during the supposed action scenes aren’t really that convincing and some scenes were even resorted to still picture frames. Yeah, the obligatory action scenes aren’t that exciting to begin with. Now with this terrible CGI quality, it gets even worse. Might as well have Mira use a familiar that can with a snap of a finger, disappear anything into thin air! Who knows? Maybe she has one but she it didn’t cross her mind to use it as she has too many familiars under her wing. This anime is done by Studio A-Cat who also produced Deatte 5-byou De Battle which also had bad CGI visuals. Did they not learn and improve from this?

Voice acting feels okay and nothing exceptional. Didn’t think I would recognize a few seiyuus like Yui Horie as Marianna, Ayane Sakura as Amalatte, Haruka Tomatsu as Alfina, Hiroki Yasumoto as Asval, Youko Hikasa as the talking flower and Akira Ishida as that demon cult guy Mira talked to during her short space-time distortion trip. The other casts are Nichika Omori as Mira (Yurine in Jashin-chan Dropkick), Ayumu Murase as Solomon (Luck in Black Clover), Isao Sasaki as Danblf (Joe in Gatchaman), Yoshiki Nakajima as Cyril (Licht in Plunderer), Yuuko Natsuyoshi as Emella (Himeko in Show By Rock!! Mashumairesh), Kanomi Izawa as Tact (Rui in Toji No Miko), Yae Sakura as Flicker, Junta Terashima as Garrett (Nakano in Animegataris) and Manami Numakura as Hinata (Narberal in Overlord).

Oddly, the Cait Sith character actually had no dialogue when it cameoed in the first few episodes. I thought it was going to be one of those dialogueless characters since it communicates via signboard. But in the final stretch when it went on an adventure with Mira, suddenly it speaks! With proper lines and all! It gave me this feeling that the producers didn’t manage to secure the right seiyuu for the role and eventually decided to settle on Yae Sakura. Yeah, what if Cait Sith is actually Flicker in disguise?! The opening theme is Ready Set Go by Asaka. Feels flat, bland and generic. The ending theme is Ambitious by Erabareshi. Also feels flat, bland and generic although not as plain as the opener. Just blast some synthesizer effects and make it feel like a techno dance music!

Overall, this is no doubt a disappointing anime and unfortunately it is now part of the statistics of giving this ubiquitous genre a bad if not a boring name. This isn’t anywhere near to be a candidate as the worst anime of the year (unless by a miracle there are no animes for the rest of the year of this level) but it’s just bland and unexciting. The plot feels directionless and the characters aren’t exactly memorable. Making it even worse is the CGI quality that has this series dropping points faster than a rock dropping straight down the ravine!!! Not even Mira can pull off a Mira-cle to save this one. Heh. Sometimes not even the wise man has answers to everything.

Paranoia Agent

24 June, 2022

It was one of those weird anime shows that I probably would not have touched. And I still would not have touched it had not Mamiko Noto had a role in it! Yeah. And that was how Paranoia Agent AKA Mousou Dairinin made it to my watch list recently simply just because my favourite seiyuu was featured here. Strange or not strange, that’s my reason to finally pick up this series. And that’s the current fad-cum-trend-cum-excuse-cum-reason to pick up any sort of series. Oh, she’s in this? *Snap fingers*. Got it. Let’s try this one then. Yeah. You could say that my paranoia for her is really making me go back to watch anime series that she voiced in. And with this series I am watching, it’s already picking up steam! No, it’s not me who is paranoid. It’s all of you who don’t understand and appreciate her exemplary talents! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!! Hahaha… HAHAHAHAHA~~~ Raaaiiyaaa raiyora!!!! Raaaiiyaaa raiyora!!!!

Episode 1
Tsukiko Sagi seems to have hit it big with a design. This Maromi dog is now the company’s best seller and she is under pressure to create another hit. On the way home, she feels something creepy and this causes her to panic, dropping her sketches. That is when she sees an assailant with a bat before her. He strikes her. Fortunately for Tsukiko, she manages to dodge although she still got injured on her leg. Detectives Keiichi Ikari and Mitsuhiro Maniwa are trying to talk to her for more info about her assailant but it seems she is in a bit of a trauma. Eventually she sketches a figure of him. A young boy holding a bat. Then it is all over the news as people give their 2 cents worth of opinion about this attack as they nickname the assailant Shonen Bat. Not sure if Tsukiko is experiencing some sort of delusion from her trauma because her Maromi plushie is talking to her and trying to assure her things will be alright. Meanwhile a sleazy reporter, Akio Kawazu also takes interest in the case and does his own shady investigation. For instance, an old homeless woman believed to be living in the vicinity during the attack but now she has gone missing after it. Then he goes to talk to Tsukiko for more info. Damn, this guy is just freaking weird trying to extract info out of her. Just look at his disgusting body language of licking the parfait and eating the cherry! F*cker even tries to incite that she is unpopular among her colleagues. You bet Tsukiko is going to be very wary of this lecher. This also invokes a bit of her trauma and she also remembers Shonen Bat was on inline skates. Kawazu is now even stalking outside her home but she’s not in. When she returns and sees this, she quickly runs! I agree with her! He goes after her and picks up her dropped handkerchief. That is when Shonen Bat pops up from behind. He also pops up before Tsukiko but it’s just to say hi before leaving. Next day on the news headlines, Shonen Bat has claimed his second victim and he is seriously injured.

Episode 2
Yuichi “Ichi” Taira is a popular middle school kid. Good in his grades and sports, but all that came crashing down everyone suspects him of being Shonen Bat for he loves to do inline skates and baseball. Of course, Ichi suspects all this must be the doing of fellow classmate, Shogo “Usshi” Ushiyama. Because this fatty country bumpkin transfer student is a rival for the student council presidency. Now Usshi is getting more popular as Ichi is slowly ostracized. The only person whom Ichi can talk to is his private tutor, Harumi Chono but she too can’t do anything much. When things start to get worse, Ichi confronts Usshi and accuses him of such but the latter only cowers in fear. Unknown to them, somebody took photos of this and during class, spreads this through everyone’s handphone. Although Usshi is the first to stand up and claim it is Ichi who is being bullied and to stop, Ichi thinks this is all part of Usshi’s ploy to gain sympathy points. The detectives interrogate Ichi but he remains positive that this will clear his name. He expects everyone will soon realize their wrong and return to his side by his next birthday party. Unfortunately the investigations backfired and nobody came. Happy birthday to me. Ichi has sunk into depression and ironically Usshi is the only one who continues to talk to him like normal. One evening as they’re walking together, Usshi knows how he feels because he too was a bully victim, the reason he transferred out from his previous school. But Ichi isn’t listening and wishes for Shonen Bat to attack him and everything will return to normal. Don’t look now because Shonen Bat skates up to Usshi and smacks him from behind! A happy Ichi tries to catch Shonen Bat but he disappears like the wind. With Usshi hospitalized, Ichi locks himself in his room. He knows everyone will suspect him if he goes to school since he was the last person with Usshi. Then Ichi’s delusions go out of hand as he sees everyone accusing him of being Shonen Bat. His face lights up when the real Shonen Bat pops up. Hey everyone, it’s the real Shonen Bat! Nobody around… Then he gets whacked in the face…

Episode 3
We see an otaku f*cking Maria. Good sex. Maria looks like a prostitute for hire as she answers the calls who need her services. Once all is done and she returns home, she takes off her disguise and she is Harumi! Turns out Harumi has a split personality and by day she is an assistant to a university professor. She also has a doctor who diagnoses her situation and he has talked to Maria that since she is slowly fading, hence she is just going all out. Harumi goes to see Ichi who is hospitalized. So he really became a victim? Yeah, no wonder he looked so relieved as he felt Shonen Bat set him free and he is no longer a suspect. One day, the professor pops the question to her. Since she accepts, this means she will put away her Maria clothes and accessories and say goodbye to this other life of hers. But soon this will come back to haunt her as Maria will not let her go. The next several confusing scenes will show what seems to be a battle for existence. Maria trying to accuse Harumi of erasing her without her permission by getting rid of her stuffs. This makes Harumi to begin feeling scared from Maria’s threats and harassments. Then she begins throwing away all Maria’s belongings for good but the stalking continues. Basically it is all in her mind as she gets tormented by Maria who won’t let her go easily. Harumi remembers Ichi’s words about Shonen Bat setting him free. She’s about to meet that same fate and gets smacked. Waking up in hospital, her husband is relieved but the detectives too feel weird because after Tsukiko and Ichi, now it is Harumi putting on a very relieved face. Soon on the news, it is said the police has caught the suspect.

Episode 4
Masami Hirukawa is a local policeman. That’s his day job. It seems he is also on the take from a local yakuza to close an eye on their shady dealings. Despite having a wife and daughter as well as harbouring of building a home for them, this guy also wastes his money on prostitution. Life is good until the yakuza boss, Shunsuke Makabe says that one of his men is getting married and hence is collecting 2 million yen from each person as a gift. Yeah, better cough that money in 3 days or he’ll burn him down and considers him no longer his friend. Desperate, Hirukawa then resorts to robbing an old lady. Although he is a million short, looks like Makabe imposes interests and so he still owes him 2 million. Hirukawa continues his robbing spree from lone females walking alone at night to even breaking into people’s house. He then pleads for leniency but Makabe tells him that his family’s happiness is built on someone else’s suffering. He gives him a pill to calm his nerves. This means the next robbery, he becomes really bold in robbing a family of all their savings and is even being a freaking creep before their daughter! After that robbery, he bumps into Ikari. They go out for drinks and the detective is frustrated of hitting dead ends in his investigation. He wonders why people resort to crime. Hirukawa tries to be a lively clown to cheer him up and also hide his own misdeeds. After they leave, Hirukawa thinks he can’t take it anymore. He begs for somebody to stop him and that’s when Shonen Bat skates by to whack him. However, Hirukawa is in a very drunken state and instead gets back up. Very mad, he beats the sh*t out of Shonen Bat! Oh my, how the tables have turned. With that, his name is now all over the news for apprehending the suspect. Ikari gets ready to interrogate Shonen Bat.

Episode 5
Makoto Kozuka is supposedly Shonen Bat’s real name. Ikari tries to interrogate him but it seems Makoto is spouting lines from some fantasy game. There’s a book to go with it for reference too. Yeah, what the heck he thinks he is some holy warrior who must save those who are possessed by Gouma? You think Ikari has had it up to here with this nonsense, Maniwa also plays along with him! So now we see Makoto’s attack from his point of view starting from Usshi. Basically, it is all fantasy, sword and sorcery as he drags the detectives along in his journey to slay Gouma. Ikari is going to get real tired following this nonsense. Will he run out of sarcasm first? Then they go climb an ancient tower to see an old man for some prophecy. The next Gouma is in possession of the princess (Harumi) and here she is wanting them to give some ruby if they want her back. The gang head to her castle and fight her until she is defeated. Though, Makoto let his guard down and got owned by a Gouma before Ikari kicks it away. Ikari must realize at this point he is just surrounded by idiots, huh? Makoto explains that Gouma is not of this world and if they find an old woman from some tribe, they might know its origins. Back in reality, Maniwa brings Ikari to a park and there they find that missing old homeless woman.

Episode 6
Ikari trying to interrogate the old woman but all she talks about is wanting to see her granddaughter as she is worried since her father’s company went bankrupt. She laments the family is in shambles and that she has no home to return to if she wanted to. Meanwhile, we see a girl named Taeko wandering around and remembers of being bullied but as long as she has her father, everything is okay. Quite the daddy’s girl. She also gets a call from someone whom she doesn’t want to. Just as the old woman reveals the truth on that day, the storm blows away her makeshift home. More flashbacks from Taeko as she was happy with the new home daddy bought and was going to surprise him with a present she made. But then she saw on her computer snippets of video of her changing. A hidden camera in her room. She went berserk and trashed the place and ran away. The detectives call back Tsukiko for questioning. She thinks they caught the suspect but then they want her to go over the details again of how she was attacked. In short, they think she made up the whole story because she wanted to escape from the pressure. They found a crooked pipe in the nearby drain. Based on the old woman’s testimony, she was there when it happened and she saw no one else but Tsukiko. This means Tsukiko used the pipe to injure herself. Meanwhile Taeko thinks of jumping off the bridge. But she sees the old woman being washed away. Then a call from the harasser. She can’t take it anymore. She wants to become empty. It is then it seemed like Shonen Bat smacked her. But Tsukiko reacting to being hit? The detectives are shocked she becomes unconscious. Taeko’s ‘harasser’ turns out to be her dad who is Hirukawa who is pleading her to come back. The old woman survives and her granddaughter, Midori visits her. Hirukawa is also by Taeko’s side in hospital. He is glad she has finally awakened by that turns into horror when she doesn’t remember who he is.

Episode 7
Tsukiko wakes up and she claims Shonen Bat came. The detectives receive word of another Shonen Bat attack. Ikari goes to visit Taeko. She looks happy. Even Hirukawa looks like a happy retard. They think it is another copycat act. But because Taeko has amnesia and there are no witnesses, this case is as good as closed. The detectives go back to interrogate Makoto and this time Ikari is on the aggressive attack, claiming Makoto was just the copycat and deluding himself as a hero. He can’t do anything on his own. This breaks Makoto’s spirits. Maniwa is seen talking to Harumi and Usshi and asks if they were troubled before they got attacked but it seems they’re reluctant to say. He believes that the victims were emotionally distraught but Ikari dismisses that notion because how would Shonen Bat know their victims were feeling so? Even if it is his detective instinct, they still need some proof. More interrogation on Makoto and he comes clean in admitting that he was just trying to imitate Shonen Bat since he looked cool. A troubled Maniwa has a creepy dream of an old man from the hospital like doing creepy magic tricks and joining him for dinner. Maniwa finds proof that Taeko’s phone was cut off at the same time Tsukiko got attacked and this proves they got attacked by Shonen Bat at the same time. This means Shonen Bat can appear in front of anyone anytime and that he is still at large. All Ikari can do is hand him a leave form. Then Maniwa discovers something and wants Ikari and the rest to trust him on this one. Outside Makoto’s cell, they see Shonen Bat before them but he disappears. Worse, Makoto has been killed! It is reported that Makoto committed suicide while in police custody. The police is forced to issue an apology and Ikari resigned to take responsibility. It is most likely the case will be closed. But Maniwa is still not convinced. It looks like he got attacked by Shonen Bat but that could just be another dream. His paranoia at max level, he enters his room filled with wires and radios as he makes his narrative that Makoto was murdered by a person who is capable of appearing out of anywhere. He is one person but yet he is not. Shonen Bat is still out there!

Episode 8
A group of internet buddies decide to meet in real life. But when Fuyubachi and Zebra find out that Kamome is actually a young girl, they run! She will not give up and wants to join them but they won’t let her. It is discovered that these internet friends are actually wanting to commit suicide together! So in a dilapidated shop, they start eating pills and all and that’s when Kamome found them and wants in. Oh well, might as well. But as they start doing so, the excavator crashes in. Time to demolish this place. Oh well, death postponed. Time to find another way. Fuyubachi has a great idea: To jump before a train. But this is his plan for them to push Kamome away before they jump. Now as they wait for the train to arrive, holy sh*t! Somebody else jumped before them! Squishy. Not looking good. Okay, don’t want to die this ugly, better find another way! On a trivial note, that suicide actually lives! Now they discuss other ways to die without pain or looking bad. Picky, aren’t they? Speaking of trains, Kamome thought of taking a trip on a train. And so the trio head to the countryside. Yeah, they’re going to hang themselves on a tree. Pretty exciting, eh? And so it begins. With Kamome being so active, the branch breaks! OMG, Fuyubachi and Zebra tumbling down the cliff! They’re still alive! Damn, this is looking more comical! They thought of pretending to be dead so Kamome would give up and go home. But what if she gets lost in the forest and dies! Can’t have that! They go back to her and see her trying to climb down the slope, feeling sad and mad they’re leaving her behind! Uhm, are they sure they know how suicide works? With death postponed again, they head to the nearby inn and enjoy. Hey, got to go out with a blast. Then they talk about the rumours of Shonen Bat and how his imposter was killed. They feel envious if he should appear before them. That night, they hear strange noises. Could be the forest animals. Well actually, Shonen Bat smacking the person in the next room! The trio are so happy to see him and chase after him! Oh sh*t! Tables are turned! Shonen Bat gets scared and runs away! Eventually the trio lose him and wonder if they will see him again. Just then, Fuyubachi experiences some heart attack and thought he is going to die. But then, he goes back to normal. An illusion? The trio then continue their own adventure.

Episode 9
A group of housewives are talking about the rumours and stories swirling around Shonen Bat. Better promise not to tell anybody…
* A kid studying for his exam that he has failed many times. During the exam, he starts sneezing and coughing but he notices that each time he does so, he spits out his memorized formulas! He excuses himself to the toilet and he can’t stop sneezing and coughing. This means more formulas spit out. Then Shonen Bat appears before him and now he vomits out all the formulas!
* A newly married housewife is being abused by her mother-in-law. As her husband is away working, she hopes he can return soon but the abuse continues and she can’t do anything because it is mother-in-law who pays the bills and all. One day, she can’t take it anymore and goes crazy. But looks like her husband has returned. Both rush to greet him at the door. Mother-in-law wins but it’s not her son but Shonen Bat! Smacked!
* A fertility doctor treats an expecting woman. Later he learns from his nurses that the data is wrong. The sperm and egg does not belong to her! The doctor wants them to burn this report and wants them quiet on this or he’ll kill them! So the doctor continues to lie to the woman and one day when she feels pain in her tummy, the doctor takes an ultrasound and he sees an outline of Shonen Bat?!
* A tragic love story between a boy and a girl. They have many romantic moments together but the girl will eventually die from her illness. The boy tries to do something for her but Shonen Bat got to them and killed them both?!
* A rookie baseball player is nervous on the big stage. His teammates come to give him advice but he is only confused with the different actions they suggest. It’s show time as he faces off with the batter who is no other than Shonen Bat!
* A boxer tries to get back in shape as he does his morning jog. But each time he sees tempting food lying. He manages to punch his way through the temptation and continues his training. The ultimate temptation came with a table filled with great food and at this table too is Shonen Bat! Safe to say, he gave in and never made his comeback.
* The stories now get more ridiculous like a stranded man on a deserted island thought he saw a submarine periscope but it turns out to be Shonen Bat! A yakuza boss needs to act now or he’ll be caught. When is Shonen Bat when you need him?! Oh, he is right here now! NASA’s failed rocket launch due to… SHONEN BAT!!! WTF is going on?! With all these incredulous stories, the housewives think they should come up with at least credible ones
* One of the housewives return home only to see her bloodied husband. When he claims he was attacked by Shonen Bat, his wife lights up with glee! Instead of calling for ambulance, she wants him to tell how he was attacked so she can tell this story to her groupie!

Episode 10
Maromi is being made into an anime! So we hear Maromi narrate from time to time the staffs and importance of their position in bringing an anime alive. But the main character for this episode is Naoyuki Saruta. As the production manager, it is his job to see production goes smoothly. But as we will find out, he is somewhat of an incompetent fool. Now he is tasked to bring the finished product to the studio and he promises he can. As he drives through the stormy weather, he starts to doze off and this brings us some flashback of some of his incompetence. At first the whole production was going smoothly. Until slowly one by one the staffs are met with accidents that threaten to delay the whole process. Eventually after each incident, that staff will experience some accident and the team is a staff short. Of course some of the incidents are directly from Saruta’s incompetency like accidentally tripping on a wire that unplugs somebody’s computer. Then a time he is forced to go collect animation materials directly from a staff working at home (instead of waiting to be brought tomorrow) and he goes to collect it even unaware that she is dead at her table! Then there’s that time he folded the paper for the background art. Another time he failed to notify a staff of the new deadline and thus impossible for that staff to actually complete it. Surprised he still isn’t fired all this while until now. So when the final product is out, he becomes Shonen Bat and whacks his manager to take that from him. He will be the anime’s saviour and get the last laugh! Now as Saruta drives, looks like he realizes Shonen Bat is on his tail and trying to get him too. After a few lucky misses, finally he falls victim too. Nobody cares about him as long as the final product is delivered, right? Yeah, anime is saved! Now all of you can rest. Forever…

Episode 11
Maromi anime is now being shown on the airwaves. But with the rumours of Shonen Bat spreading, different people tell you different story on how he looks like. But now Shonen Bat is at the home of Misae who is Ikari’s wife. It seems she knows she has summoned him because she thought of dying and not undergoing an operation. She knows that Shonen Bat goes around attacking indiscriminately is to lift the burden off their shoulders. Before Shonen Bat can smile with glee and kill her, she makes him sit down and listen to her on why humans aren’t so frail as he thinks. She begins of her weak constitution since birth and even the doctor thought she won’t last long. Until of course she met Ikari and married him. They lived a modest life until it was discovered she cannot give birth due to her weak body. She though it was a shame but her husband embraced reality and stayed positive. This gave Misae some hope. However her worries came back as she realizes he has been working to the bone to provide for her. Therefore she became resolved to play the role of his wife who will supporting him no matter what. Damn, Shonen Bat in his buffed form can’t wait to smack her! Each time he thinks she is going to be depressed, she has a comeback positive story! Take in those deep breathes and make all those air swings if you will. You can’t touch her! Misae continues that she thought it was all over when her husband lost her job. But wait! Shonen Bat can’t kill her yet. Because he’s got a new job now. Meanwhile we see Ikari as a construction worker. He makes acquaintance with an old guy, Inukai. In fact, they know each other as Inukai was a petty thief whom Ikari put behind bars. That was a long time ago and both are like friends now. Misae worries about the piling medical expenses and her worries return that if he had not met her, he wouldn’t have experienced such hardships. But he told her off for trying to run away and never to say that again. They’ll overcome this together. Hence she knows Shonen Bat is just taking advantage in trying to provide false salvation. He who is not human will not understand this. His existence is a deception just like Maromi. He only deludes people with a temporary peace of mind. She will move forward and undergo the surgery. At this point Shonen Bat has badly trashed the place but since Misae has found her inner peace, he disappears. Ikari talks to Inukai how he is undeserving of his wife because she’s always there to support him whenever he gets home. He thinks he has reached his limit and won’t go back to the old days of having his childhood dream of catching thieves. Inukai thinks he can still do that. Now Ikari enters this cartoony world and lives out his dream to catch a thief. Maniwa visits Misae who notes her husband still hasn’t come home.

Episode 12
Holy cow! Maniwa is dressed (lamely) as a superhero named Radar Man and he is fighting a monstrous Shonen Bat! All in your imagination? After Maniwa takes some damage, he knows that at his current skill level, he cannot defeat Shonen Bat. He goes to see the old man at the hospital for hints and he says follow the bunny girl. Then he goes visit Misae and is shocked as he wonders how she drove back Shonen Bat. He is in further shock as she reveals that Shonen Bat and Maromi are the same. She hopes he can find her husband. The Maromi craze blows up as you can see the people everywhere just can’t get enough of this. Other snippets include the old man has passed away and Ikari still living out his dream in that cartoony world. Maniwa thought he is seeing things but he follows a figurine of a bunny girl to an otaku’s room. It is filled with other figurines who come alive as they tell him to dark secret behind Shonen Bat. Apparently 10 years ago there was a similar incident. The culprit was never captured and it came out only as a small article. The victim was Tsukiko who was just an elementary school children then. From the recent interview, Maromi was inspired by her dead dog of the same name. Maniwa decides to get down to the source of this. Tsukiko’s boss is under pressure because there are others expecting Tsukiko’s next big hit. He then gets rough with her thinking she is resting on her laurels. He backs off and continues to play nice in hopes she’ll net him the next big fish. After he drops her off, he gets killed in a car crash! Tsukiko sees before her a giant Shonen Bat. Maniwa goes to see Tsukiko’s dad in the countryside. From what I understand, her dog was killed so daddy carried around this bat with him just to assure he’ll get the culprit for her. Though, this was all just to appease her. Maniwa takes the bat and figures this is his new sword that will defeat Shonen Bat. As everyone attends Tsukiko’s boss’ funeral, many think he was driven to a corner by a certain girl. Maromi tells her not to blame herself. As Tsukiko works late, Maniwa calls her and tells her he has spoken with her dad. She goes into shock as Maromi tries to save her by cutting the phone and telling her to run. Shonen Bat is after her. Luckily Radar Man is here to save the day. As he fights the monster, Maromi leads Tsukiko into a door. She then bumps into Ikari. Maniwa becomes frustrated when Shonen Bat suddenly disappears in the midst of their fight. Next morning, every sign on Maromi has disappeared. Rumours swirl that some fanatic fans may have committed this crime. Misae suffers a heart attack as the doctors wheel her into the emergency room. At death’s door, the old man asks where to. To her husband.

Episode 13
It is said that this world belongs to Ikari and that Shonen Bat doesn’t exist here. Yeah, everybody so happy! Meanwhile in reality, a strange black ooze is engulfing everything! OMG! Is this the end of the world?! Maniwa is trying to look for Tsukiko whom he believes is the very source of it all. So when Maniwa’s pleas reaches Ikari’s world, he shuts off the transmission. Everyone praises him until Ikari spots his wife in the midst of the crowd. He starts to feel strange. While he is chilling out at a restaurant, there is Misae. She is trying to get her husband to come home but Maromi gets in the way and wants Ikari to run away with his ‘daughter’ (Tsukiko). He does so as the establishment collapses. As he catches his breath, he explains how he always wanted a daughter because if he had a son, he thought it would end up like his own father as their relationship were bad. Then scenes of his time with Misae and the hard hit reality of how she couldn’t bore a child. Finally Misae appears before him. She says she is going to die soon and that’s why she is here to say goodbye to the husband she knows. Soon, she disappears and this means in real her surgery has failed. RIP, Misae. This is when Ikari comes to his senses. He rejects Tsukiko as his daughter and takes a bat to start smashing everything. This world is fake! He returns to reality in which it looks like a dystopian movie. Did he come back to the right anime?!

Before him is Maniwa who reveals the truth about Tsukiko. Shonen Bat and Maromi are the same. While Tsukiko continues to blame Shonen Bat, further revelations show that Tsukiko actually let Maromi die. While she was walking Maromi, she accidentally let go of the leash, causing the dog to run into the path of a car. Afraid her dad will scold her, hence she cooked up this Shonen Bat story and played the victim. This is the reason why the police never caught the assailant as he never existed in the first place! Of course her dad actually knew she lied but went along with her story as repentance for her strict upbringing that turned her into an introvert. Hence this bat is the embodiment of her dad’s atonement. With the ooze now getting bigger, Maniwa returns to fighting it. Ikari and Tsukiko are left to run. History threatens to repeat itself as Tsukiko drops her Maromi plushie. Then she gets engulfed. Now we visually see how it happened on that day and hence the creation of Shonen Bat. But this time the current Tsukiko embraces the truth as she apologizes to her dead dog. With her coming to terms with reality, Shonen Bat then bids farewell. The ooze is gone. The country is indeed like a dystopian aftermath. 2 years later, the country is on its path of being rebuilt. Everyone resumes their normal lives without a care. Tsukiko has a new hairstyle and most probably from her uniform, got herself a new job. Ikari still in his construction job. Some cute cat is now the latest trendy craze. Lastly, the twist is that senile Maniwa now takes over the place of that old man in the hospital as he continues to frantically write his formula that would scare the hell out of Einstein! Oh, what revelation is he going to get today?!

Bat Out Of Hell!
Oh wow. This is a sure fine mess that we’ve all got into, eh? The final episode even has a next episode preview but I guess that is to further f*ck with our minds. Normally it was always narrated by that old man and I myself too don’t really understand the enigmatic riddles he was trying to say. So with Maniwa taking over his role and talking about eternity and no mystery going unsolved, is he trying to tell us to go watch the entire series again if we’re not paranoid enough???!!! Sorry folks. Not going to be fooled by that even if that is not what he meant! I guess one series like this is enough for me not to take a look at it ever again. Phew. Paranoid, aren’t we?

Truth to be told, the plot is really skating on thin ice since it revolves around the mystery of the mysterious attacker. However to my surprise I don’t find the first half of the series boring and it was quite interesting as it showcased different characters. I thought it was going to be like this, this series was supposed to be a collection of weird stories only connected and intertwined because of Shonen Bat’s presence. The stories were fascinating since these characters had some sort of inner demons and issues that they were facing. It makes you really wonder who this Shonen Bat dude is. Could he be a real human? Or could he be something supernatural as seen later on. And with the final revelation of what Shonen Bat’s true identity is, everything comes to a close. No frills or anything. Just a plain ending that probably serves to f*ck your mind further if you truly expect more than what is given. Thus in that context, the story may not sound like the grandest plot ever but it was crafted in an intriguing way that makes the whole series interesting.

It makes me wonder if the whole thing was just a figment of imagination but if that was the case, why did the effects of the attacks feel so real? Why did it left some sort of mark in real life? Hence my paranoid theory is that everybody in here is just paranoid to begin with! They allowed it to happen and that is why it happened. If you noticed that all the characters featured here have some sort of issues and problems of their own. Hence the only way out of it was perhaps to ride on this infamous Shonen Bat’s reputation. Basically, taking the easy way out. After all, once you have become the victim, you get to earn sympathy points and a few other privileges like for instance, people will stop bugging you and leave you alone just because you have become the victim. It’s a great short term strategy, don’t you think? Thus I believe that Shonen Bat is only real because everybody wants him to be real and that’s why the long lasting devastating effects in real life. It’s just like the saying if a lie is told often enough, it becomes the truth. I am sure this Shonen Bat nature operates somewhere along those lines.

Due to the nature of this series, the characters are not very deep but for those who were featured, they were interesting enough. I would be repeating myself again as I have said from before that everyone here has their own problems. Hence it was interesting to see the kind of predicament they were in and in the end somehow they were linked to Shonen Bat. After that, you won’t mostly here about them anymore because, well, they’re freed from all the burden. See what I mean when I said the rights you’ve earned once you’ve become a victim? So for Tsukiko as the main character, it was obvious that she had a past that she could not let go of. Hence the saying came true when they said your past will come to haunt and bite you in the back one day. Today is that day for Tsukiko as she unleashes the terror of Shonen Bat probably to escape from her tremendous pressure and expectations. Seeing how much workaholic the nation of Japan is, I am not surprised that hers isn’t an isolated case. Imagine Tsukiko wanted to escape so badly that this eventually led to some national level disaster that got almost everyone involved. All she had to do was accept what has happened and just like that, the devil was defeated. Yeah, I guess everyone can return back to their boring, mundane and stressful lives, huh?! I’m not sure if I prefer living in terror or being terrorized by the government/authorities than living in terror or being terrorized by Shonen Bat. Ironically, no group puts him up on a pedestal and turned him into some sort of hero. Yeah, that could have complicated and made things worse but I suppose there wasn’t enough episodes to cover all that, huh?

I thought Ikari and Maniwa were going to be the main heroes of the series but hell, they didn’t even do much jack sh*t. Ikari has his ups and downs as a man and husband. He has his strong points as well as his weak points. The same can be said for Misae because as much as a pessimist she is due to her weak constitution, her husband was always there for her. The same can be said for Ikari because whenever he has bad days, Misae will always be there for him. Hence the husband and wife combo may not be the ideal kind of family they want, but they were there for each other, supporting each other’s backs. Shonen Bat’s issue was mainly solved because of Tsukiko accepting her past so Ikari wasn’t the main hero after all. He only looked so because he is the one of the ‘last characters’ standing so it looked like he was perhaps going to save the day. Same thing for Maniwa. This guy started to turn paranoid after Makoto’s death and Ikari got fired. Then he became some sort of vigilante-cum-superhero fighting that black ooze that could perhaps all be part of everyone’s imagination. You might think that black ooze is the one causing the damage all over Japan. But I think it’s Maniwa because he’s got his sword-cum-bat smashing everything! Everyone was blinded by Maromi and Shonen Bat and the ooze, nobody actually saw reality that the maniacal Maniwa self-proclaimed superhero wannabe was the culprit in destroying Japan! Yikes.

Perhaps the weirdest group of characters in the series would be those suicide friends. Yup, those trio were really funny bunch of people! It is unfortunate that they never made any more appearances after that but oh boy, their episode sure threw me off in some ways. You’d expect the typical kind of psychological thriller after a few episodes and then when it comes theirs, it was light-hearted but also fun as hell! Geez, it’s like they are the only people in the world who are not affected by Shonen Bat! The irony is that they might be the only characters who actually have more fulfilling lives than the other characters! True, they may want to die but we see them go through all the hilarious failures and it’s like Mr Death himself doesn’t want them to die yet and sabotage their attempts. Hence I think by far they are the best characters of the series, do you not think so? Or am I just being paranoid? Who knows what happened to them. I think they were having a blast somewhere while the country was engulfed with that black ooze. Or, they could already be dead and they’re ghosts! How else would you explain they can’t die! Ghosts don’t die, right?! Oh sh*t. Don’t want to get even more paranoid with this paranoid conspiracy theories of mine!

One of the factors that put me off in watching this series a long time ago was the art and animation style. To put it very bluntly, it looks ugly! Okay, so it is not fair to label this series’ animation style as ugly since the art style gears towards realism. So instead of your handsome bishonen hunks and your cutie pie wide eyed bishoujo and typical anime kawaii girls, many of the characters here look ‘ugly’ only because they wanted to go with something looking a bit more realistic. If you have seen the anime NHK Ni Youkoso, yeah, the animation style resembles something that too. Hence I don’t blame you if you raised an eyebrow or two seeing how weird some characters look. Taking top spot in my books is Kawazu whom I keep thinking that he might be some frog race people in disguise, waiting to spring out when the city is in chaos! Thankfully that didn’t happen. Even the overall animation for other background characters is mostly simple and doesn’t go into very much detail. To help with all the paranoia, the backgrounds and even the colouring and hues are very bland and gloomy. This anime was done by Madhouse who did One Punch Man, No Game No Life, Overlord and Black Lagoon.

There is also a bit of nudity here but those are only in the first few episodes. Don’t worry, just a few scenes of showing bare tits. Veterans like yours truly won’t really jump up and down compared to newbie virgins. Heh. Besides, with the ‘ugly’ animation style, it was really hard to turn me on anyway. So keep your knickers on and this is most probably for the shock factor because after halfway, there isn’t any of that. Yeah, we’re well on our way to paranoia over a few forgettable bare tits.

As mentioned, Mamiko Noto became my primary reason to watch this weird series. I shouldn’t be complaining because as Tsukiko, her character is very introverted and soft spoken. This means her lines are quite limited and whenever she speaks, she is quite soft. I feel that many other characters have more lines than her even though her character was labelled as a main one but oh well, at this point I can’t really complain. Long story short, she still rocks. Other seiyuus I recognized are Daisuke Sakaguchi as Shonen Bat/Makoto and the late Keiji Fujiwara as Makabe. And holy sh*t, was that Nana Mizuki as Taeko?! I sure did not recognize her! The other casts are Haruko Momoi as Maromi (San in Seto No Hanayome), Shouzou Izuka as Ikari (Kokujouji in K), Toshihiko Seki as Maniwa (Aleister in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Kazue Komiya as Misae (Ran in Urusei Yatsura), Kotono Mitsuishi as Harumi (Boa Hancock in One Piece), Toshihiko Nakajima as Hirukawa (Sakon Suzuki in Moeyo Ken), Kenji Utsumi as Kawazu (Armstrong in Fullmetal Alchemist), Mayumi Yamaguchi as Ichi (Forte in Galaxy Angel), Makoto Tsumura as Usshi (Shoukichi in Kamichu), Kiyoshi Kawakubo as Fuyubachi (Kevin Yeegar in D Gray-man), Yasunori Matsumoto as Zebra (Seta in Love Hina), Miina Tominaga as Kamome (Yahiko in Rurouni Kenshin) and Hiroyuki Yoshino as Saruta (Mic in Boku No Hero Academia).

If you think this anime is strange, wait till you see and hear the opening and ending themes. They’re… REALLY STRANGE!!! The opener, Yume No Shima Shinen Kouen by Susumu Hirasawa has this weird ring that it sounds like some sort of hallelujah praising song although it sings about mushroom clouds, jet streams, the sea and other seemingly picturesque but depressing sceneries. Raaaiiyaaa raiyora!!!! Raaaiiyaaa raiyora!!!! Praise the lord, baby! Even weirder is the animation in which all the characters here are seen standing and laughing!!! OMFG!!! What. The. F*ck. WTF???????!!!!!!! You wonder what the f*ck is going on because amidst all the sceneries, the characters just stand there and laugh all the way!!! Laughter the best medicine? Think not. Wow. Truly an embodiment of the paranoia term of this series. Now everybody, let’s be happy and keep laughing! Even as Shonen Bat smacks you! Yeah, even Shonen Bat is laughing! If that wasn’t weird enough, you can add creepy to it when you come to the ending theme. Shiroi Oka – Maromi No Theme by Susumu Hirasawa is actually an instrumental. While it gives off that carnival-like circus atmosphere. The more you hear it, the creepier it gets. And as always, the animation itself is mind boggling. Especially when you see all the characters peacefully sleeping around a giant Maromi plushie! So… Everything just a dream? Or Maromi has everyone right under its thumb? Looks like everyone has their troubles lifted in this slumber. Oh wait. Or are they dead?! Whatever it is, this gotta be strange or creepy? Or both?

Overall, this is truly one strange show but still interesting and intriguing if you are looking for something different. Uh huh. If you’re tired of those isekai tropes or even sports, idols, high school romance comedies and action mecha or shonen titles out there, this one can provide something different before you go back to all those overwhelming trendy genres. There is always a fine line between paranoia and reality so this anime is there to remind you of that. Remember, it’s all only inside your head. And now this paranoia has fuelled me to go find the next Mamiko Noto anime. I have to or my anime life would be meaningless. I’m not crazy, it’s you people who don’t understand! All hail the mighty Mamiko Noto! Raaaiiyaaa raiyora!!!! Raaaiiyaaa raiyora!!!!

Well, this seems like an anime right up my alley. Because Fantasy Bishoujo Juniku Ojisan To sounds like the kind of slapstick comedy that I will jump straight in without even reading the synopsis on what’s it truly about. Uhm… What’s this about 2 different guys who are polar opposites… Whatever… Erm… Got whisked into another world… Oh f*ck, another isekai… One of them turns into a hot smoking babe which no men can risk… Ahahaha… They have to fight the Demon Lord before they start falling in love with each other… So is that gay or what?! Is this some twisted romantic comedy?! Oh anyway, I know it’s all going to be some funny sh*t so hit me and intoxicate me with all the stupidity! It’s going to be a knockout from this LOL fest alright.

Episode 1
Childhood friends, Tsukasa Jinguuji and Hinata Tachibana are at a mixer. The latter complaining he couldn’t get the girls but the former is more into fish?! Short narration tells us that Jinguuji has been a popular guy and many girls like him. Because they show their dark side in trying to win over him, he distrusts the fairer sex and has never been interested in them. It is hinted he joined this mixer to avoid girls taking his best friend away. On the other hand, Tachibana is an average guy. All the girls he has a crush on fell for Jinguuji. Hence he brought him to this mixer in hopes of marrying him off quickly. Outside, Tachibana is clearly drunk as he blabs about wanting to become a beautiful girl and all. Suddenly a strange goddess zaps them. They wake up in another world. Tachibana’s body melts and then he turns into a cute blonde girl! It’s the body he’s always wanted. Cute but now his best friend is a girl, Jinguuji doesn’t really like that. The goddess tells them she has brought them to this isekai. They have to save it from destruction from the Demon Lord and she’ll grant them any wish. However they continue insulting her so she has had it and curses them. They better save this world, or else! So, could the curse be like they are somewhat attracted to each other?! The way they see the other as cute and cool but deep down in their heart they realize he’s just the other old bugger and must not fall in love! So as they make their way across the woods, they literally try to test each other out if they have fallen in love. Some great counters but deep inside their heart is pounding hard from all the cuteness and coolness. Suddenly they are chased by a cutely ferocious monster. Did they take inspiration from Resident Evil? Jinguuji carries Tachibana as he runs while trying to psycho himself the softness of her skin. Realizing he can’t outrun the monster, he faces it and kills it with a single punch! One Punch Man?! Hitting the gym must’ve paid off. He gets experience points and soon a screen detailing their stats pops up. Tachibana laments she has no skills and even more so this girly appearance was granted when she was drunk. So why didn’t Jinguuji get any appearance change? Because he views his current self as ideal! Then they notice some suspicious skill in Jinguuji’s stats and try it out. Hmm… A door…

Episode 2
The door leads to Tachibana’s apartment. Jinguuji thinks he wished for that when Tachibana was drunk then. They eat whatever food there is but Jinguuji soon realizes there is none left. After all, Tachibana doesn’t eat at home so he doesn’t stock up. They return to the isekai as the next plan is for Tachibana to use her beauty to get info and new clothes. However bad luck strikes as bandits are in the midst of raiding this village! Sorry Tachibana, they’re not holding a festival! But the bandits who stumble into Tachibana are taken by her beauty and are willing to stop their bad ways just to marry her! This ends up in all of them fighting and taking each other out. They are captured and the villagers worship Tachibana as their goddess. The baddies then brag that they are just the vanguard. Soon the main force will wipe this village out. This only has them reveal that their base is nearby. If they won’t reveal anything more, leave it to Tachibana to use her beauty wiles. The duo are now close to the hideout as they deliberate how to take them on. Since she won’t let him fight alone despite not combat effective, this has Jinguuji remember the good ol’ days that this is Tachibana’s good side. He was raised never to question things and to do stuffs for others. So when he was dumped with work after school, Tachibana came to help. He was the only one who could do things for others when it really counts. This nice thought suddenly has Jinguuji thinking of wanting to marry him! This causes him to go berserk and give themselves away. So mad that he beats up any baddies that come his way! Even the villagers are here to help but those who get too close to Tachibana will get beaten up too! In the end, Tachibana can tell Jinguuji is charmed by her. Yeah, there’s a status above his head that says so. Jinguuji tries to give excuses but it gets out of control so she slaps him. That calmed him down. The status gone. After securing the hideout and all its treasures, Tachibana has this wicked idea that even Jinguuji has his weaknesses. Hence she teases him about it and isn’t it a good thing that she is the one who knows it? She feels good and invincible until Jinguuji smacks her down. Then she realizes the place is on fire! Jinguuji too deep in his thoughts on what Tachibana said. A couple of elves wake up in the morning, ready for another day of protecting their forest. What’s this? IT’S ALL BURNT DOWN!!!

Episode 3
Jinguuji puts up the pelt of that defeated monster. He learns it is some sort of guardian deity but don’t worry, it’s not theirs so feel free to do whatever you want with it. He returns to Tachibana but sees her totally naked body since she just came out from the shower. The first girl he has ever seen naked is technically his best friend… When they return, Tilolilo Lilili Lou is screaming her head off and wants blood! Oh, so that monster is the elves’ guardian deity? Oh dear. Time to retreat. As the duo contemplate about this, Jinguuji comes to a conclusion that they had to kill the deity as self-defence and hence this justifies burning down the forest. Tachibana tries to be more diplomatic but Jinguuji’s arrogance always gets in the way. He will not apologize. But soon Tilolilo gets distracted by Tachibana’s beauty and gets jealous. So she shows more of her skin to prove that she is more beautiful? With Jinguuji not interested in women, this has Tilolilo getting angrier as the argument descends into childishness. Yeah, get the villagers to vote on who is prettier, huh? Everyone sides with Tachibana! Sore loser elf thinks they’ve brainwashed them and the only way is to kill Tachibana so she’ll be the most beautiful one! The duo run into the forest since they don’t want to get hit by her magic arrow. Since she is persistent, Jinguuji grabs a stone and throws it at her. It cuts off her braids! Oh sh*t! Her elvenhood symbol. Now she’s crying like a baby. Best time for the duo to bail. With that, Tilolilo takes it upon herself to hunt them down. So it’s personal revenge now, huh? Jinguuji and Tachibana are enjoying their outdoor meat BBQ. Yeah, this meat is from the deity. Tastes good! Tachibana gets drunk with just a can of beer due to her change in body composition as a girl. Now she is acting uncouth and goes running of herself. Damn, she gets captured by a tentacle plant! Jinguuji stunned and can’t do anything because of that charmed status popping up. So he really wants to see her sexy body, huh? He realizes the only way to snap out of it is some shock so he has Tachibana tell him the most shocking thing. He hates green bell peppers. So mad that an adult still hates this, one punch is enough to destroy the plant! Though, it’s just a lie. Covered in slime, Tachibana complaints and whines about having a girly name but have no girls by his side. It just makes him sad. Jinguuji helps her up as they head home. Meanwhile Tilolilo stumbles upon that outdoor picnic. Hungry, she eats the meat… Damn, if she only knew… Then she gets captured by that tentacle plant. Divine retribution?

Episode 4
Entering another town, Jinguuji has Tachibana wear a paper bag to cover her face. Can’t risk her charming everyone (and himself), eh? Then they go to a weapon shop just to get a knife. Tachibana using her charms to sway Jinguuji to buy a sword for her but he beats her up. Charm didn’t have an effect? Well, it almost did. He controlled himself well. He asks the shopkeeper if there is an item that turns people’s eyes away. This tiara is going to cost a bomb so Tachibana uses her charms. Damn, the shopkeeper wants to give the deeds of his shop to her to marry her! Plus, other guys are like zombies being charmed by her beauty! Jinguuji throws her back into the room and then buys the tiara. Later he gives her wear it and it seems it is working not to attract attention. Suddenly they are ambushed by a couple of those bandits seeking revenge for their destroyed base. Before the duo can do anything, they are taken out by Kirito Schwartz von Lichtenstein Lohengramm. Oh no. Not another maniac who self-proclaims he is summoned to this world as a hero. Looks like he is from Japan too since he knows Jinguuji is wearing a suit. The duo ignore him but I guess he is desperate for attention. Knowing his Schwartz name is false, the duo also create false names. Hi, meet Watanabe and Audrey. Schwartz is then charmed by Tachibana and asks if they’re a couple. Tachibana tries to pretend that they’re a couple but Jinguuji vehemently denies that. I guess there goes their story. This has Schwartz think Jinguuji is a father trying to protect his daughter. Hence Schwartz wants to call him father and will fight him to earn the right to protect her. He uses his sword, Gram to cut a house in half! Damn, he himself is surprised it worked! This the first time he used it?! Before anything stupid can happen, Schwartz is arrested by Lucius. She is the local police and will bring him in for destroying a building. She also has the duo voluntarily come in for questioning as witness. Or do they prefer to get arrested too? Lucius doesn’t believe in Schwartz’s story since this hero summoning thing is a dime a dozen. As proof, Schwartz shows a crest on his palm. Apparently this only piles the charges on him because it is illegal for one to wear such seal. Tachibana then wonders if she has one. Perhaps it’s in a place she couldn’t look. She strips for Jinguuji to look. It’s on her nape. Jinguuji nearly died of blood loss… The boss comes in and learns of Schwartz’s story. All he needs is to prove himself as a hero. Schwartz instantly agrees without hearing the details. So this is what he has to do: Take out some armoured knight who collects magic items that has been disrupting the trade flow in the area.

Episode 5
It is hinted that Lucius is also attracted to Tachibana although she dismisses it. She explains about the armoured knight stripping people of their belongings but no fatalities have been reported. Suddenly they are attacked by the said perpetrator. Schwartz tries to show off but he gets owned. Not only he gets stripped naked but the armoured knight eats his Gram! Then he targets Tachibana because it has magical properties. Lucius tries to fight back but gets part of her clothes ripped. Tachibana offers her clothes to cover her up and this sends the guys into some weird ecstasy. The armoured knight, Vizzd then hints he is an ancient weapon and is one of the top officials under the Demon Lord. Then Tachibana and Jinguuji get into petty arguments over their preferences. Each time, they ignore Vizzd and somehow Jinguuji dodges all the attacks and accidentally hits back during their arguments. In the end, a powerful takedown on Vizzd also ends their stupid squabble. Then out comes from armour of Vizzd is actually a petite bratty girl. She is taken back for interrogation but she remains cocky and defiant. She doesn’t know how fearsome Lucius’ interrogation is… Especially her grudge over her for ripping her clothes… Schwartz tries to tell her he is the hero but even she thinks he is a phony. That night as Vizzd laments her loss, her comrade, Kalm comes to free her and take her back. Next morning, Schwartz visits Tachibana’s room and is surprised to see very male-like stuffs. Tachibana then tells him the truth… Schwartz devastated to learn Tachibana is male… There goes his first love. To cheer him up, Tachibana teaches him how to look at his stats in which he is unaware of. He allows them to take a look at all his stats except his real name because it’s unbearable for him. As he fidgets around with some of his skill, holy crap, did he just summon something ominous from the sky???!!!

Episode 6
The summoned being is a goddess named MAMIKO NOTOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Ahem, I mean, the Goddess of the Night. She has the same vibes as Schwartz. With that, Lucius and the guards bow down because now they only believe he is the real hero! Night Goddess then strips Tachibana’s top and checks for her hero mark. She gets haughty and claims victory over this mark that is from the Goddess of Love because her hero has more spirit and vigour than her. Tachibana learns that their goddesses can bestow any type of weapon they wish for. Before she can get ahead of herself, Jinguuji is quick to rain on her parade. The reason why she doesn’t have any is because she considers him as his strongest weapon. This makes her embarrassed because it’s just embarrassing to think that she thinks of him as the strongest. The boss then comes in and wants to marry Tachibana for his own political agenda. This has Jinguuji deduce that her beauty has different desire effect on others. This shenanigan is stopped with Lucius beating him up. In the aftermath, the boss needs their help to rebuild this town and even throws a good deal to Tachibana to just be the town’s symbol. She’ll be provided free meals and a nap. Before she can accept this, Jinguuji once again throws caution. He probably meant to work her to the bone before giving her all that. Also, he reminds her when she stated that she wanted to travel and considered this as their vacation. And so they decided to leave the village and in return get a map to the royal capital. Well, 2 weeks to reach there. But they’re going to have fun along the way, right? Yeah, they see Tilolilo tiled up in a carriage! Pretend not to see anything!

While resting in her room, Tachibana finds and old school notebook of hers and shows Jinguuji the proof. When asked an item to bring when stranded on a deserted island, she wrote his name. So she considers him as an item rather than the strongest something. Jinguuji rubbishes all that and scribbles her notebook. This causes her not to talk to him for a while but look at this squid guy trying to help cheer them up by giving them free squid food. By the time Jinguuji finishes his thinking, Tachibana is already gone. Time to press the panic button. Then he sees that carriage in town. He claims he wants to take a look at it but accidentally destroys it! The owner is a merchant, Shen and tries to calm him down with some herbal leaf. He mentions there was an elf lady inside it but was sold off because of her beauty. Speaking of which, he also has seen a much beautiful girl around too. Yup. That’s the one. Tilolilo is indeed captured and is before a man named Hidari. She thinks he will defile her and will rather die. Actually, Hidari points out she will die because she is made to be a sacrifice! But then he points out it is a waste since she is quite a beautiful person. Tilolilo gets ahead of herself thinking he has fallen for her and thinks the only way to weasel out of this is to use her charms? Well, it made her do silly poses. That squid guy is Migi and Hidari’s partner in crime. He has brought back someone even prettier for the sacrifice. Yup, it’s Tachibana. Tilolilo real mad to see her. Yeah, that angry face of her just made her look the ugliest! HAHAHA!

Episode 7
Tilolilo still thinks she is the prettiest. Until Hidari proposes to Tachibana. So mad that Tilolilo wants a majority vote! You do realize if she wins, she’ll be the sacrifice, right? Jinguuji learns from Shen that this village worships the squid so it’s like they celebrate a squid festival. Yeah, nothing says how you worship you god squid by eating more squid! As they look for Tachibana, they find Tilolilo alone in the warehouse. Jinguuji gets rough with her for answers but Tilolilo isn’t in the mood. Apparently snippets show all the troubles she went through just to hunt them down. Including the latest drawback in which she lost the majority vote. Yup, Tachibana won unanimously and has become the sacrifice. But she is willing to join forces with him to kill the squid god that this village reveres. Jinguuji’s plan? Tie Tilolilo to floats and throw her into the lake where the squid god lives! Oh, did she say she can’t swim?! They wait for hours and the squid god didn’t show up. It took a naughty kid to tell them that squids are nocturnal. Duh… Then it shows up. Squids have tentacles too, right? And Tilolilo is about to… Oh never mind, she gets eaten! Meanwhile Tachibana is about to be put as a sacrifice for the squid god. She tries to shake her tiara off to get attention. Well, guess how many men are proposing to her now? Jinguuji can’t seem to fish out the squid god. Gosh, is he this weak? Then he sees a commotion in town. Tachibana clinging on top the squid god statue for her life! All the men want to marry her! All the women want to kill her for seducing their husbands! Tachibana has had enough and starts badmouthing everything. Jinguuji is impressed so he gets his strength back as he tosses the squid god out of the water and onto the statue. Pierced! Squid kebab? Squid god struggles but tries to eat Tachibana. Then emerges Tilolilo from the mouth trying to take down Tachibana? Until they tell her they’re trying to kill it so Jinguuji tosses her a knife and she uses it to cut them free and then burn the entire squid. Free squid meat! Tastes damn good too! With that, the villagers realize they decide to do away with squids and now appoint Tilolilo as their new village head. Wow. That was quick. Jinguuji and Tachibana reconcile. They’re back on talking terms again. Meanwhile Vizzd and Kalm have been watching all this. The latter realizes Jinguuji’s strength halves when separated. Looks like she has a sneaky plan up her sleeve…

Episode 8
Jinguuji forcing Tachibana to kill a cute rabbit? Yeah, this is to test out the experience levelling up system. As long as you have a hand in defeating the creature, you still level up. Case in point, although Tilolilo dealt the finishing blow and most of the damage, because Tachibana also helped out, she too levelled up a little. When Tachibana is in the toilet, Jinguuji faces off with Shen. He finds him suspicious because he read his stats and one of them being an assassin. However Shen is already a step ahead of Jinguuji as he has poisoned his meal. The only way to settle this is to get shirtless and fight it out? When Tachibana returns and see this shocking showdown, Jinguuji tells her to run because Shen’s target is her. However Shen claims he is not charmed by her. This makes Tachibana jealous because if she isn’t cute, she has nothing! I thought she hated that? The more she tries to flaunt her cuteness, the more annoyed Shen gets. To a point that Tachibana is going to strip herself and make him fall for her! Before this could ‘kill’ Jinguuji, he tries to distract himself by looking at Shen. Gay! In this twisted mind games, Shen claims victory since Jinguuji chose him. Both now try to seduce him! Of course it’s lose-lose for Jinguuji as they’re both men. Tachibana realizes too late that Shen’s target is Jinguuji because he was never charmed by her anyway. Shen knocks her out and then proceeds to massage Jinguuji? He noticed Jinguuji very tired so as one coming from a family of masseurs, he wants to relieve his tiredness. Yeah, so that’s what this whole gay saga is about… As they enter the capital, Shen shows them directions to the temple. They need to gather info on the Demon Lord if they can find the goddess of prophecy. The nun seems very polite and attractive and if they want to join this faith or even observe it, they must wear this skimpy bikini. Are you sure this is that kind of religious faith? For the sake of info, Tachibana sums up her courage to wear it. Then they enter the hall… Just a huge pool party with merry revellers! Calm down, Jinguuji! Don’t destroy the entire place! The nun then sees the mark behind Tachibana’s neck and soon everyone turns against them. It gets even worse when Jinguuji badmouths about their stupid goddess. It’s better for him to risk his life and be at odds protecting Tachibana because it’s just tiring to be considerate. No matter what weapons or magic they throw at him, Jinguuji is unbeatable. The brawl ends when a cute chick, Mouria tells them to step and tells them they are heroes summoned here by the goddess. She hereby orders a royal decree to forbid anyone to hurt them.

Episode 9
Mouria is from the intelligence department as she shows them a map of the world that resembles a shape of a woman. Then she brings them to see the king. Uhm, he’s clad in only a towel?! Tachibana thought of using her charm to persuade negotiations but it seems it has no effect. Then the king takes out his lyre and starts singing a lame poem praising the heroes before discussing with his subjects to give the heroes their taxes! So the charm did have some effect. Later that night at the party to honour the heroes, Tachibana is feeling so bored. She wants to have some fun like drinking alcohol but Jinguuji refuses to let her because she’ll get into trouble. This makes her unhappy as she runs away. Oh no. Is it that time for their rift again? This is when she stumbles into a girl who is trying to jump off the window! Ygraine doesn’t feel like living anymore in this wretched world so Tachibana somehow manages to bring her down and talk to her. In the meantime, talking about her own problems with Jinguuji. This makes Tachibana wonder if all she wanted are praises from Jinguuji. Is she in love with him? Nah. Must be the curse. Feeling good, she returns to Jinguuji. The next day, Ygraine barges into their room to apologize. She did not realize Tachibana is the said hero. Introducing herself as this kingdom’s princess, she looks very hopeful in wanting to follow their journey to defeat the Demon Lord. However Jinguuji rejects her as their journey is dangerous. This causes Jinguuji and Ygraine to argue in the pettiest way. Ygraine trying to assert he doesn’t know anything and a child while he tries to prove her wrong with some party tricks? Tachibana tries to cover for Ygraine in fear she would take her own life again. To solve this problem, she brings her father the king in. Not only he rejects her notion to join their journey, it becomes public execution when he spells out all her insecurities! Pouring fuel on fire, Jinguuji jumps in on the bandwagon to badmouth Ygraine, thinking this is all part of Tachibana’s plan! Ygraine runs away in tears so Tachibana wants them to leave it to her. Ygraine talks about her loneliness and has no friends her age. Tachibana knows this feeling all too well and promises to help her in any way. That will come back to bite her as Ygraine organizes a rally to revolt against the king! OH SH*T!!! The king and his subjects are torn on how to deal this because they don’t really want to hurt Ygraine either. It is decided to send Mouria to take back the princess in secret. Good luck. As Jinguuji realizes he may have been misunderstanding Tachibana’s intentions, soon report comes in that Mouria has been captured. Well, everyone expected that.

Episode 10
Well, I think this is expected. The moment Tachibana takes on the stage, all the men deeply fall in love for this cutie! Resting back in her tent, she laments about her circumstances as Ygraine talks to her head maid how her actual plan of the rebellion doesn’t involve violence. This doesn’t sit well with the maid. Tachibana decides to escape but realizes all the men are now protective fans of her! As she escapes, she stumbles into a tied up Mouria. Too bad no time to free her as the men are closing in so she has to run. Yeah, back to her tent, the only safe place. Stressed out, the maid then proceeds to do some relaxing massage for her (using slime?!). Tachibana remembers the first time he met Jinguuji. He was being bullied and Jinguuji saved him. He has never thought despite how strong he is, he was always a loner. The maid then makes Tachibana realize that this is all not her fault but of the goddess. This is when the maid starts her ulterior agenda as she does something to her mark. She brainwashes her to keep away from Jinguuji for now. Meanwhile the summoned person the king called for help is no other than Schwartz! The moment he sees Jinguuji, he ignores his highness to go talk to him. Upon realizing who the king is, he redoes his entry. This time Lucius lecturing him about respect. The king tells of the situation of his daughter’s rebellion. Unfortunately he has no troops to spare as the bulk of his army is away on another land to stand guard against their warring neighbour. He hopes Schwartz can help save this kingdom and not have them use their last resort. As he takes to the battlefield, he sees all the crazy men who are willing to protect their cuties to the death! At first Schwartz is reluctant to use Gram because of its power but after Lucius reminds him of their training, he swings it and all of them become stark naked?! At least they have no recollections of what happened. With that, they all decide to go home. End of rebellion. Easy. After getting praised by the king, Schwartz goes to brag to Jinguuji who is obviously depressed. Thinking he is so because Tachibana cheated on him, this makes Jinguuji mad! Holy sh*t! He turning into a monster that is scaring the sh*t out of Schwartz! He calms down when Schwartz is willing to listen his worries, in which Jinguuji of course denies he has any. Schwartz realizes he is just depressed because Tachibana left him. Spot on! Schwartz makes it worse, thinking he is just worsening his jealousy. Before Jinguuji can kill him, something rocks the place.

Episode 11
The head maid is actually Kalm and of course she is in cohorts with Vizzd to take down this kingdom for making her do all the chores. Uhm, isn’t that what a maid’s job is? She thinks her brain controlling plan is working like a charm until she receives a report that the people have gone back farming (naked). The end of the revolution. She is frustrated her carefully crafted plan just came undone like that. So how now? Oh well, she’s just going to blow the whole kingdom up! Hence she takes a hypnotized Tachibana and uses her powers as the source to power up this huge bunny mecha, Mehpon. You can’t miss this giant robot coming from a distance. Many are confused because it looks like that guardian deity. It’s supposed to protect us, right? Until it unleashes a beam that destroys a mountain! Oh sh*t! That’s definitely a threat. As it warms up to the next beam, I guess Jinguuji makes Schwartz handle the next beam. Yeah, if he doesn’t, many will die! That pressure luckily has him deflect the beam. Good job. That is when Vizzd communicates to them, blah, blah, blah. Revealing that Tachibana is inside, Jinguuji then provokes her to shoot another beam. Of course Kalm soon argues with her to get the job done instead of stalling. This argument leads to more juicy revelations like how the beam takes time to recharge and she’s just talking to stall for that. Also, it would be dangerous for Jinguuji to get close here, right? And so Jinguuji takes Schwartz as they make their way closer to Mehpon. After Vizzd fires the next beam (and misses), suddenly everything blacks out. Did she use up all the power? Actually, Tachibana has taken over. Jinguuji is glad that she is okay but it seems the sentiment is not mutual for her. Long story short, Tachibana’s true feelings pour out as she rants about her jealousy over him. She feels that everything good has happened to him all the time but none for her. She wants to be praised! She blames him for never praising her once in his entire life. I suppose a little praising now won’t help? Yup. Didn’t. Although Tachibana knows she is in the wrong and acting like a child, she can’t help feel worthless to him. She is only suffering so much only because having him as a friend is the only thing she can brag. Therefore, she is nothing and useless. Wow. This depression sure cuts deep.

Episode 12
Jinguuji falls into despair as he reveals he has never praised anyone before. He could’ve died had not Schwartz come to his rescue. As Jinguuji is wallowing in his self-loathing, for once Schwartz does something good and tries to snap him out of it like saying Tachibana has always been proud to be his friend. Yeah, Jinguuji better hurry come to his senses as Schwartz is using all he’s got to defend against Mehpon’s onslaught. And so Schwartz snaps because Jinguuji is so whiny. In fact, Schwartz mentions about his own jealousy when his friends got a girlfriend. So basically feeling jealous is normal. Short flashback shows of Jinguuji’s strict upbringing in which he was not allowed to show any weaknesses. Now that he has come to his senses on this, it is time he gets honest with his best friend. Jinguuji begins his praises for Tachibana but it seems Kalm is trying to brainwash her that it isn’t so. However this doesn’t exactly work. Although Tachibana still feels envious about Jinguuji being her hero, she uses her own strength to pull out whatever mind control thingy on her mark. This stops Mehpon dead in its tracks. On second thought, Mehpon now goes on an annihilation mode! Any living thing will be annihilated! Schwartz cuts Mehpon to allow Jinguuji to enter. Seeing she is in self-loathing mode, he begins his ranting of praising her. Not going to list it all down but damn, does this guy have full stop in his sentence?! Holy sh*t! Those praises enough for you?! Yeah, it’s kinda embarrassing right now. With that, their friendship is amended and they escape before Mehpon self-destructs. Tachibana apologizes to the king for all the troubles but the king also apologizes. Jinguuji believes the culprit responsible is the head maid and must be part of the Demon Lord’s army. This makes the duo believe they need to return to their mission to defeat the Demon Lord. So where to start? However Schwartz knows where the Demon Lord’s location is. You know that big cross in the sky? Yup. That’s it. He never told them because he assumed they know (after all, it is the goddess who is supposed to tell them) and also, THEY DIDN’T ASK! Tachibana and Jinguuji rest in their room before they leave tomorrow. Tachibana almost getting charmed when Jinguuji changes before her. Yup, there’s that charmed effect above her head. She claims she is just tired. Next day, they part ways with Schwartz who thinks he has learnt a lot from the duo but he’s still the same douchebag. Tachibana and Jinguuji realize that they are in danger of falling for each other and to prevent themselves getting married and having a baby, they’re going to defeat the Demon Lord and lift this damn curse!

Fapping Niku! First Time’s The Charm
Thank goodness the end of the civil war, right? Yeah, whenever Tachibana and Jinguuji are at odds with each other, personally it feels like a civil war to me! Ahaha! Sure, now it looks like they are back to their usual friendship ways again but who knows what lies in the future. Being the best friends they are, arguing is part and parcel of that so my guess is that there will be more civil wars between them as they also bridge the gap between their friendship. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? They’ll just marry each other and have a child!!! Oh sh*t!!! Better get going and defeat that Demon Lord whose face we didn’t even see once popping up over the entire series.

Well, it feels like there is no real plot to follow whatsoever. Sure, our dynamic duo are supposed to go on a mission to defeat the Demon Lord but that feels just like an excuse for them to go on very random and wild missions, hopping from one town to another and stumbling from one misadventure to another. Basically it just feels like that because that’s the only way to push out a slapstick comedy vibe by having seemingly very random misadventures along the way. When you have an anime titled so, it already gives you that kind of impression this is going to be all out no holds barred comedy. Maybe that’s just me reading and expecting too much of it. Alternatively, Fantasy Bishoujo Juniku Ojisan To could’ve been a cool porn video title, just saying… Life With An Ordinary Uncle Reincarnated In A Fantasy Bishoujo Harem World… I partially Google translated that…

So it doesn’t feel like Tachibana and Jinguuji are getting any closer to defeat whoever the Demon Lord is or getting any clear hints about this final boss. They’re just bouncing around from one place to another getting into all sorts of weird trouble. Hence it is with mixed feelings for me that this series isn’t the kind of slapstick comedy that I was expecting to be. Yeah, I was thinking it would go the way of the Looney Tunes still with anvils dropping on the characters’ head! Oh well, even at least Gintama style parody but I was sure way of the mark. Funny moments, sure. Okay. But do they really make me LOL like mad? Not really. That’s the problem when you’ve put series like Gintama as the benchmark as slapstick comedy material and then when you compare other animes that aren’t up to its standards, it falls flat. So while the series itself is still funny, there are moments when it just comes off to me as funny in the weird sense. Instead of laughing, I’ll be like, “WTF?”.

I have this feeling that the entire series relies on the dynamism between Tachibana and Jinguuji because it is the interactions between the duo that will lead to all the shenanigans that we have seen. Truth to be told, I don’t think much has changed ever since the duo got teleported to the isekai world. Everything just got enhanced and they’re much truer to their feelings and opinions thanks to the power of isekai! While it tries to confuse us with this funny stuff because Tachibana is a guy but is now a girl, both of them fawning over each other is definitely trying to troll us if this is being straight or gay. Then they try hard to deny all that and try to pass off looking cool whatsoever. Deep down, heat beating like hell. The resisting force is strong. Yeah, I guess it wouldn’t really be funny anymore if they give in and start making out!

You might want to blame the charmed effect that Tachibana has but I think even back in their ordinary world, both of them actually like each other already! It’s just that the magic makes their feelings more apparent. After all, they only have each other. Tachibana wants to have a harem but no girls like him so he’s only got Jinguuji. Jinguuji doesn’t like anybody else and so he’s only got Tachibana. See how they fit together perfectly? Hence my conspiracy theory is that Tachibana is only turned into a girl because he wants Jinguuji to find him attractive and all. Jinguuji is already a handsome guy himself so the only way is to become a cutie pie himself. I don’t know. That’s the kind of logic one might think up when one is drunk. Or just me spewing nonsense.

So I’m not entirely putting the Tachibana x Jinguuji pair on the same level as Abbot and Costello level or even Laurel and Hardy. They have their own quirkiness and issues to iron out. And nothing like Jinguuji to flex his muscles and use his immense overpowered strength to solve problems without batting an eyelid. You bet everyone is going to be dumbfounded when they see a strange bespectacled guy in a suit taking down monsters like One Punch Man. His poker face is supposed to help when he makes comeback lines? And the running joke for Tachibana is how all the NPCs just want to marry her the moment they laid their eyes on this cutie. Oh well, Tachibana’s wish is to be popular among the ladies. But strangely this isekai doesn’t have any obvious lesbians because Tachibana makes the wives and girlfriends mad instead. Shouldn’t they all be fawning over her too?

It isn’t all dumb slapstick comedy interaction between the duo and in between, we see snippets and flashback of their past in their younger days at school. I suppose this gives more depth and character to both of them as we see their insecurities and anxieties, the reason why they only had each other and how they shaped each other’s character. Unfortunately for me, watching other slapstick moments and then suddenly having this throwback, it just doesn’t pull my heartstrings. Because I’m expecting something funny out of it although their past plays out to a sadder and gloomier tune. Then it’s back to the usual slapstick comedy like we expect they would pull off. That’s why I can’t take them seriously even if their problems are real. Uh huh. So I figure the problem isn’t about defeating the Demon Lord. It’s to truly understand each other better. Only then they can be unstoppable. Demon Lord of God, nothing will stand in their way! Essentially, both have their own pros and cons and the only way is to accept it and cover each other’s back like how they’ve been doing since they know each other.

Many of the other characters are just played for laughs and personally, aren’t that memorable. Like this elf girl Tilolilo, her character really feels like she was written to be a punching bag. It saddens me to see the elven race go this low. Nah, probably just her character because her elf servants looked happy that she’s away. I wonder if she’s happy about her new role as a village head. Then there’s Schwartz who is also written for a comical purpose since he is another summoned hero who wants to be a hero but feels more like a lackey as long as Jinguuji remains in the picture. Shen feels like he has an ulterior motive. Lastly, it didn’t occur to me that the king’s name is Van Damme. Damn?! Really?! Couldn’t make it out from the katakana in the credits but after seeing how other sites romanized it as so, damn, really?!

Art and animation are pretty standard with the characters looking like your typical bishoujo and bishonen character and everything here is brightly coloured and colourful. Of course when things get funny, the characters turn into chibi form and some like Tachibana, just a simple outline. Is she a ghost or something at this point? Some character designs look like they borrowed from other anime like Vizzd personally remind of Kotoko from Kyokou Suiri, Kalm a discount version of Rider from the Fate series, Tilolilo like Elf from Goblin Slayer and of course, Schwartz almost having that uncanny looks to Kirito and it could’ve been a field day for my conspiracy mind had he been voiced by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka but thankfully he is not. I think the weird animal hybrid designs may be taken inspiration from Resident Evil. Yeah, that guardian deity looks cute but wait till it opens its terrifying mouth! Well, not enough to be fuel nightmares but seeing other creatures like the squid and the crocodog, I just can’t help feel they have this cute-cum-scary look to them. This anime is made by OLM Team Yoshioka and this is their debut production.

For the voice acting, I must say that I am surprised to find Mamiko Noto helming a minor role as the Night Goddess You could say that I would definitely be charmed by her for the first and umpteenth time and it never got tired. So sue me. Then there are Satoshi Hino as Jinguuji, Junichi Suwabe as Shen, Sho Hayami as the king and Rie Kugimiya as the goddess whom I recognized. I haven’t heard Eri Kitamura for quite a while so it slipped past me when she had several decent lines as Lucius. Come to think of it, she sounds more like that Mahiro role from the Nyaruko series. The other casts are Mao Ichimichi as female Tachibana (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Ken Itou as male Tachibana (Hirotaka on Wotakoi), Kaito Ishikawa as Schwartz (Iida in Boku No Hero Academia), Yukiyo Fujii as Tilolilo (Sister in Edens Zero), Haruka Yamazaki as Vizzd (Ruka in Gotoku No Hayate), Aimi Terakawa as Kalm (Kasumi in BanG Dream), Yuu Serizawa as Mouria (Yumemi in Kakegurui) and Yui Makino as Ygraine (Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle).

Hearing the opening theme, oh damn, I thought it was JAM Project! Oh well, at least one of their members. Akatsuki No Salaryman by Yoshiki Fukuyama reeks vibes of JAM Project’s anime rock trademark. Although I feel that the song is a mismatch with the series itself, the song itself is pretty good. Yeah, brings me back to the good ol’ nostalgic days when I was watching shonen anime genres like Busou Renkin (yeah, its opening theme, Makka Na Chikai was sung by this dude too) and even weird ones like Kamen No Maid Guy (oh heck, its ending theme, Work Guy was sung by him too!!!). Compared the opener to the ending theme, I think it is so vastly different. Fa’ntasy To by Luce Twinkle Wink sounds more like your denpa song with heavy synthesizer sound effects and cute high pitched girls leading the vocals. Weird but fits the series if you think about it. But I still prefer the opener much more than this. Not charmed by the cutesy ending theme for sure.

Overall, this is another one of you weird isekai genres of the year and season. It’s supposed to be (presumably) a no holds barred comedy and while it has its funny (and weird) moments that made me laugh, it’s not the kind of laugh that will make me think about this series when I go to sleep and laugh myself to sleep. Yeah. It did not totally knocked me out. Sure, it was fun but it wasn’t the LOL fest that I thought it would be. Sorry folks, I was not totally charmed by Tachibana nor intimated by Superman Jinguuji. Just make another season to prove me wrong, maybe?

Oh no. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear about a main character who reincarnates and become a stronger version of himself? An isekai crap, right?! Well, sorry folks, but Shikkakumon No Saikyou Kenja isn’t exactly isekai. You see, the main character needs to obtain a greater power and the only way for him to do that is to reincarnate himself into the far future. Wow. It’s like taking a huge gamble on something so iffy. Good news: He got that power. Bad news: Magic has declined and this so called ultimate power he obtained is now labelled as the number 1 failure and worst kind of power. Something fishy going on. So, the strongest sage with the weakest crest = the irregular at magic high school but only magic replacing sci-fi and we’re in a fantasy world and not high school. Oh boy.

Episode 1
Mathias “Matty” Hildesheimer heads to the royal capital to take an exam to enrol himself in Second Academy. He hears Alma Lepsius arguing to a blacksmith that she needs a new magic sword fast for her friend. However he claims it is impossible. Matty claims he can do it. She puts his trust in him. So while they wait for the blacksmith to forge the sword, they introduce themselves. Alma then introduces her friend, Lurie Abendroth. Matty smitten by her cuteness starts to fluster. The sword is done so now Matty uses a magic stone to enchant it. Everyone is stunned when he did it in such record time and even without chanting. At Second Academy, they take the test and Lurie passes with flying colours thanks to the new magic sword. Matty gets ‘special treatment’ and fights the head of the knights, Guile. So proud of himself that he didn’t see himself losing to Matty. During the casting exam, Lurie aces as her first crest that is suitable for magic combat. Matty has the fourth crest known by many as the Crest of Failure. But he manages to overdo it and blasts a crater in the ground! Eduardo the headmaster gives his short speech for the successful candidates and also has Matty come to see him at his office. Will he be expelled? Turns out he needs his help to teach his staffs and students how to use wordless casting. The only thing stopping them is their sister academy, First Academy whose policies state that all magic must have incantations. Second Academy is forced to follow their curriculum. The only way to prove it is to beat them in the next inter-school competition. Matty trains the staffs and students. Even transferring some of his magic to Lurie if she ever runs out of them. A month later, Matty is selected to represent Second Academy at the competition. His opponents are cocky and looking down on him, especially his crest. But Matty can detect this dude is a demon in disguise. The match begins and Matty shocks all when he uses his wordless magic. This has his opponent panic and accidentally reveal himself to cast a spell without chanting. Now Matty is certain. Demons were responsible in making wordless casting into decline so as to make humans’ spells as weak as possible. They must’ve infiltrated First Academy a long time ago and convinced everyone the fourth crest is a failure. Matty reveals his opponents true form. Everyone in shock he is a demon. With a name like Devilis, HOW CAN THEY NOT SEE THIS???!!! After striking the demon down, Matty now ponders what went wrong. In his previous life as Gaius the Sage, he drove them on the brink of extinct