Eventhough there are only 6 episodes in Iriya No Sora, UFO No Natsu, I didn’t really get what the whole thing is really about in detail. At the end of it, I was still as confused as ever and there were more questions than answers. Haih… So short sci-fi drama thriller anime also still cannot get it.
 
So let me get right into the storyline and see if you can grasp the whole picture. In episode 1, we see this boy, Asaba Naoyuki (who looks a little bit like Asakura Yoh of Shaman King), sneaking into some swimming pool complex in the middle of the night, as it’s the last day of summer and he wants to make good use of it.
 
But he’s not the only one there. He spots a girl, Iriya Kana, seemingly hesitating to take a dip. Ah, somebody’s beat him to the pool. Of course, as he calls her, she was taken by surprise and falls into the pool. The thing is, she doesn’t know how to swim. So, the kind hearted Asaba dives in to save her. Then their eyes meet, some blushing, you know typical boy meets girl encounter. But this is interrupted when Iriya suddenly has a nose bleed. Asaba opens her bag to find any towel but instead a bunch of pills. She’s on drugs?
 
And when things calm down a little, Asaba asked her if she could really swim, if not he’d liked to offer swimming lessons to her. Love at first sight? Maybe. Then during the lesson, he notices some strange electro-like pads under her wrists. What’s that. Dunno either. But Iriya said something like "do you know how electricity tastes like?". Huh?
 
Soon, police sirens could be heard in the background. Busted, time to leave. But before they could do so, some strange guy, Enomoto, appears claiming to be Iriya’s brother, comes to take Iriya away. She doesn’t put up much resistance though. But they manage to escape without getting caught.
 
The next day, start of a new school term. As Asaba looks through the window from his classroom, some van arrives and before you know it, introduces a new transfer student, which is Iriya, to be in the same class as with Asaba. Coincidence, you say?
 
But Iriya’s a really strange girl. Quiet and keeping to herself with the other girls blabbering how she and Asaba met. And then, some girl Akiho Sudou, emerges and demands an explanation from Asaba how she met her. Sounds like a jealous girlfriend. But Asaba kept denying he knows her. Then he became unconscious. What the?
 
So later after when he awoke and found himself in the nurse’s office, he heads back to class only to find Iriya sitting there alone. Suddenly, another nosebleed. Looks like this is going to be quite frequent. Then the PA announces that Iriya has a phone call for her. So she left to answer that phone call.
 
Next day, we get to know that Asaba is a member of the school’s press club. This is because the club’s president, Kunihuiro Suizenji, approaches Iriya with flowers to celebrate her entrance to the club. Well, not like she really has joined the club yet, but look at it as a way to persuade her. By the way, the club isn’t just some ordinary club. It’s actually some sort of a UFO sighting club too. And currently the club has 3 members (with Asaba and Akiho being the other 2). But Iriya doesn’t seem interested.
 
Suddenly the sirens went off. Everyone in school is covering their heads in the hallway just like in those drills. But Iriya dashes out of school towards some hangar, tagging Asaba along. Upon approaching the hanger, it seems like Iriya knows her way round the complex. At this point too, Iriya explains to Asaba that some sort of war has been going on since 1947, only thing nobody realizes it. Yeah, we won’t get to see that war or what that war is all about either.
 
Then the phone rings, and the person on the other end sounds like Enomoto. Donno what was it all about, but I remember Asaba and Iriya engage in some high-tech video game like simulator. Er… And if you predicted it, Iriya goes into one of her nosebleeds again, but this time she collapsed.
 
Not knowing what to do as Asaba is in a state of panic, Enomoto directs him to inject some very huge injection needle into several designated parts of Iriya. Of course, Asaba would feel unsure of his actions at first, but has no choice. Then the gates open and we could see the shcool nurse and several military guys behind her.
 
And that was just episode 1. Damn… it was bloody long and I still don’t get it. It’s worst in episode 2, as the episode starts off without resuming where the previous episode left off. But this episode is more light hearted. We start off with some flashback with Suizenji asking (more like forcing) Asaba to go on a date with Iriya so that she could join the club.
 
So let’s fast forward a little. As Asaba arrives at the designated spot, he caught a glimpse of Iriya already waiting there. Talk about punctuality on your date. But it looks like Enomoto and the school nurse, Shiina Mayumi, seem to be spying on them. Not only that, Suizenji and Asaba’s little sister, Yuuko, are also spying on them! Anyway, as Asaba and Iriya went to watch a movie, those ‘busy-bodies’ also follow suit.
 
During the movie, Suizenji blabs about something which I don’t remember to Yuuko. A lot of eavesdropping. Then Iriya sensed something wrong and quickly dashes out with Asaba. Now this part I like because it’s funny. So Suizenji (carrying Yuuko) decides to give chase to them. Iriya steals a bicycle from the parking lot and peddles with all her might (Asaba being the pillion) and Suizenji with his scooter with Yuuko being the pillion. A lot of funny high speed chase action.
 
Before you know it, the chase ended with Suizenji and Yuuko being flung out of the scooter and into a nearby river. A heated argument ensued between the two and it resulted in Yuuko giving Suizenji a good kick. Hahaha. So Iriya and Asaba manage to get away and we’re greeted with some flashback from Iriya. Something like Iriya was part of some military group wandering in the desert and they stumble upon some playground in the middle of it. Huh? Then helicopters arrive and whisked them away. Huh?
 
Return to the next day in school, Asaba finds some sort of a love letter in his shoe compartment. Looks like from Iriya. Is it another request to go on a date? Nope, it’s her application to join the press club. The reason: Because Asaba is there. Wow. I guess she really have a soft spot for him.
 
I don’t remember much about episode 3, except the school’s preparing for the upcoming school cultural festival. But I like the end part of this episode where Iriya leads Asaba to some open space and then she flies the Black Manta aircraft, like dancing in mid air, with Asaba looking with astonishment and amazement and probably following it’s dance too.
But Akiho seems down, because Asaba isn’t at the school cultural festival. Hmm… a really green-eye girlfriend.
 
 
So in episode 4, it’s really another light-hearted one, at least in the beginning. This episode Akiho who’s still suspicious of iriya, challenges her to a soba eating contest. Wow! These 2 girls really have a huge appetite and room for all those sobas they eat. It’s really amazing (and funny) to see them both face-off bowl after bowl, with the guys cheering them on. In the end, both fell sick of overeating. Who wouldn’t. I think I’ll pass out even after the first one. But I’m glad that Akiho and Iriya made up and are now on good terms.
 
Later at school, Asaba noticed something wrong with Iriya. So after class, he came looking for her in the school attic. Then as expected, she gets into one of those seizures and that usual nosebleed. Now even more serious than before. But Shiina arrived just in time to stablize things. Here she explained the after effects of piloting the Black Manta on Iriya to Asaba like temporary vision disorder and change of her hair colour. Bla bla bla. Then Asaba and Shiina got some disagreement and went into a fist fight. The thing is, Asaba punched Shiina back! So daring. But Iriya manage to awake (weakly) and stop them both. It is here too that we find out that Iriya’s the one who’s been stealing Asaba’s stationery. She claims it was some sort of a charm to her and was sorry. Obssessed about him, isn’t she.
 
As they both returned to the club room, Asaba noticed certain peculiar things in the room, like the mouse on the keyboard. It’s a sign of something has happened and Suizenji has gone to do something. At the same time, Asaba receieved a call from him. Suizenji calling from a phone booth claimed he saw something big. But before he could explain, some military like people whisks him away. So Asaba and Iriya decided to run away.
 
But Iriya told Asaba that it would be impossible because that there’s some ‘bug transplant‘ on Asaba. That’s whay they could be easily tracked. And we get to see that Asaba used a blade (reminds me of a drug addict scene) to cut it out right behind his back. Ouch!!! And when Enomoto arrived, he found out that the transplant has been disposed off. Too late. Asaba and Iriya already long rode off on a bike to somewhere.
 
So in episode 5, Asaba and Iriya are residing in some secret place only they both know. As Asaba left to the convinience store to get some supplies, Iriya stayed put. But some mad guy came to rape her. Although Iriya tried to buzz Asaba for help, it was futile. That darn Asaba. Reading some soft porn mag at the store (must be very stressed out). However, Iriya manage to defend herself using some commando knife and seriously wound the rapist.
 
By the time Asaba realized it, it was too late. He rushed back. But even so, they continue to do things normally and didn’t talk about that incident. But soon the police arrived and they have to leave. While they’re walking along the railway lines, tension broke out between the 2. Asaba chided Iriya saying that he’s fed-up of her sloppiness and how he has to put with it. To add salt to the wound he said someting like "don’t follow me, don’t wanna see your face again". And this shocked Iriya a lot. Screaming madly like a dejected girlfriend. So Iriya attacked Asaba with the knife when he approached her, wounding him a little. Feeling scared, Asaba ran away alone. I didn’t really like what Asaba did. But could you blame him after all that he’s gone through. Plus, my heart sank a little when Iriya turned out like that.
 
Soon, Asaba felt sorry for his actions and went back to apologize. But it seems that Iriya is losing her memory and doesn’t recognise him. She says she’s waiting for Asaba. So you’ll hear this a little frequent from Asaba "Iriya, who am I?". And each time, Iriya responds and sees him as a different character. Boring part here as Asaba tries to figure things out. Then Asaba use some walkie-talkie and Iriya recognizes the voice which belongs to Asaba (though still not visually). So they plan to go to the grandma’s house of one of Asaba’s relatives.
 
So at night they hop onto a passing train just like a stowaway. Then some flashback from Iriya something about a girl named Erika and about going swimming. Is this getting more and more confusing or what. Then seemingly like they took a pitstop at the beach, have some chat, Iriya suddenly says she wants to go back to school tomorrow because there’s someone she likes. You know who lah. And as they arrived at the grandma’s place, we see Enomoto already waiting there for them.
 
So the final episode 6 starts off with Asaba and Enomoto having dinner and chatting on the rooftop. Enomoto said something about some Gravity Control Device which needed and ESP to work it. And then there’s this made up story of UFOs and aliens to cover up the war humans have been fighting among each other and make Iriya believe so that she treats it like a video game (that simulator thing in episode 1), and she’s already killed hundreds of thousands of enemies. So Iriya’s something like the last line of defence keeping humankind from total annihilation.
 
Then Enomoto reveals that he’s actually here to arrest Asaba and Iriya but donno he said something and decides to give them a 30 minute head start before coming down on them. Again we see that war on tv. Argh… I’m scratching my head like there’s dandruff.
 
Next day in school, Asaba’s classmates ponder if Asaba really did ran away. Then helicopters hover over the school. PA announcement that the Self Defense Force military unit is looking for Asaba as it is an emergency. The next thing, he’s whisked away.
 
By the time they reached their destination, some battleship cruiser, it’s already evening. Looks like Enomoto’s waiting for Asaba and quickly he leads him inside to where Iriya is. He says Iriya’s trhowing tantrums and might commit suicide. So Asaba went to talk to a frantic and scarred Iriya. Finally she recognizes him and asked why he’d left her and hadn’t return. She thought he hated her. Then Asaba takes a machine gun and starts firing at the military. Saying he won’t let Iriya die, don’t care if mankind is annihilated.
 
Asaba then confessed out loud that he likes Iriya. Iriya understood his feelings and told him that she doesn’t care about others or if others die too. And she’ll protect him and die for him only. How touching. Then she pushes Asaba off the platform and off she goes into the Black Manta.
 
As Asaba reached up to the top, Enomoto pulls out a pistol and is going to shoot Asaba from the back. Thanking for his help all the while for what he has done for Iriya. But Asaba fires back first hitting Enomoto. Then some long talk before he dies, bla bla bla. And he said something like "Glad you’re the one whoe killed me in the end". Huh? What the? What’s that suppose to mean? We see the Black Manta flying off in the sky for the last time.
 
Next day, like normal as nothing has happened. Suizenji’s back and he’s so happy that he can’t remember a single thing. Plus, we see the army leaving. So is the war over? Then a letter from Shiina to Asaba telling the whole truth.
 
Iriya and Erika Proudfoot were the only pilots of Black Manta left and their fighting spirits were faltering. They’re barely fighting because they wanna protect each other. Then Iriya got an order to take down Erika. After that, she got lots of after effects. So their primary job is to recover’s Iriya’s motivation and find something that she needs to protect. But she ran away and encountered Asaba. The rest of the story then begins from there lah.
 
In the end we see the 3 members of the press club meeting. Though Akiho still wants to know what happened to Iriya, but Asaba kept mum, though Akiho’s willing to wait and listen one day if Asaba ever wants to tell. So we see the members wanting to do some project with Asaba wanting to do some mystery crop circle design but Akiho wants to do a cover on the leaving of the army. But Suizenji just deliriously said "do as you like". The end scene shows a crop design of the hiragana character ‘yo’. I wonder what’s that suppose to mean.
 
Overall, you see I still didn’t get it. What happened to Iriya? I think she died, but it wasn’t shown. I really wished Asaba and Iriya could be together in the end, but it didn’t turned out so. But I guess this anime isn’t really that bad after all. Trying to understand who Iriya or Enomoto really is. The sceneries aren’t really something to shout about either, though there’s that dull, gloomy, mundane and monotonous atmosphere kinda feeling. *Sighs* Note: seems that I like Iriya with her hair long.

My Will

July 28, 2006

  Tsuyogaru koto dake shiri sugite ita watashi,
  Dakedo ano toki kara mayoi wa kieta yo
 
Actually those verses above are the middle part of My Will, the first ending song of the anime Inu Yasha. Why is it so rather than the first or second verses? You see, that’s because the tv version of this song starts of from these lines. It’s funny and rare for an anime to have a video clip and the whole song start at different points (and distance wise too).
 
  Misetai to omou mono ga kitto atte,
  Kikasetai kotoba mo takusan aru
 
When I first heard this song after finishing watching the first episode of Inu Yasha, I was really hooked to it. But when I downloaded the full length song, I was rather a little disappointed. Yeah, it seems that I somehow find the tv version sounds better then than the real thing. How ironic. It should be the other way round, with the full length version enhancing the tv version.
 
  Egao nakigao mo zembu mite hoshikute,
  Matte iru watashi wa yamete CHANSU wo tsukamu yo
 
Anyway, this isn’t a relatively tough song to sing either. No really really high pitches or long voice sustaining notes. Even the end part where the singer, Dream, goes a tone higher, but I can still manage that. Phew… Good for me. As usual the song starts off with a slow pace and then gradually turns into a faster piece. Love the synthesizers part (if that’s the instruments used).
 
  Anata no koto wo omou,
  Sore dake de kokoro ga,
  Tsuyoku nareru ki ga suru yo
 
But the thing is, this isn’t actually a karaoke version. Yup, it’s more like an instrumental or off-vocal version. Therefore, there are no background vocals to support my lead singing. So it feels kinda awkward, so empty, so unfulfilling. But I can’t complain. At least this is one of those few songs where I can sing with some confidence and ease.
 
  Hakanai omoi zutto,
  Donna toki demo negau yo,
  Anata ni todoku you ni to…
 
Ah… if you just realized, all of those lines above are the whole lines sung from the tv version. Short, simple and nice.

Onegai Twins

July 22, 2006

At first glance, Onegai Twins may look like a love triangle type of story. Okay, maybe not exactly. Perhaps there’s love but without the triangle. When I first watched the series, it reminded me a little of Onegai Teacher. That’s because there’re cameo appearances of characters from Onegai Teacher in this series. Plus, since I watched nd finished both these animes at approximately the same time, it was like, "hey… isn’t that the character from Onegai Teacher?"
 
Well, Onegai Twins is actually a sequel to Onegai Teacher, as it takes place several years after the latter. Yup, also the scene is that same ol’ sleepy town with that huge lake in the middle. This time round, we have this boy called Maiku Kamishiro, who wants to know more about his past and family (yeah, he can’t remember it clearly). The only clue he has is a photo of 2 young children playing outside a house in some inflatable pool. Of course, he’s one of those kids in the photo, but the other kid, a girl, not really sure.
 
So in order to search for his other half of his family, he rents this house next to this giant lake and works as some sort of a programmer. All seems smooth sailing until one day 2 girls showed up at his house claiming to be his twin. Okay, not arrived simutaneously.
 
The first girl, Miina Miyafuji, arrived first. Actually, she already met Maiku earlier on when her bike broke down, but didn’t realize it was him. What makes her say she’s his twin? Well, she has that exact same photo too. Plus, they have the same blue eyes. Then the second girl, Karen Onodera, arrived by train. Also she has that same photo and set of blue eyes that of Maiku and Miina.
 
Another coincidence is that, those 2 girls also don’t have a clear memory of their past and real family except that they had a twin brother. Haih… Memory deficient characters. That’s what the first 3 episodes try to tell, mainly about these 3 characters and how they try to figure out their past and putting the pieces together, especially about the photo. A lot of theories. So you’ll here the words "we could be related" and "we could be strangers" quite often. Quote of the series.
 
Of course, they’ll still face some problems and obstacles at first. Like Miina who’s contemplating to leave the house after a few days of arriving because she felt that she was a burden to Maiku. But Maiku didn’t want her to leave because I guess that he really really yearns for a family too. So until then, he’ll allow them both to stay at his place.
 
By episode 3, you’ll get to see Ichigo Morino, who’s now the president of the student council. Now looking more sly and scheming. Plus, you’ll find out too that there’s this girl, Tsubaki Oribe, who seems to have a liking for Maiku. Anyway, since now that there’re 3 people living in Maiku’s house, Maiku suggests that those 2 girls would do house work and he continue with his programming.
 
With Tsubaki coming for a visit to Maiku’s house to see things, you’ll know there’s going to be a storm with those jealousy kind of atmosphere, especially between Tsubaki and Miina. Some hillarious misunderstanding took place by the end of this episode. As Karen was telling Maiku her reason why she ran away from home, she cries and puts her face on Maiku’s lap. Then Tsubaki and Miina came in and was shocked to see what was happening, they dropped the trays they were carrying. Yeah, looked like a little hentai scene there. Yeah, Maiku was unaware of it too until those 2 point out to him. Too late, what a big misunderstanding.
 
In episode 4, in order to be even close to Maiku, those 2 try to look for a job at school even though they’re underage and don’t qualify. So by dressing up older they went for an interview. Guess who’s the interviewer. It’s Ms Mizuho! Surprise? No. In the middle of the interview Ms Mizuho had to leave and attend to something. At the same time the 2 girls spot Maiku and Tsubaki alone together just outside of the room they were in. Of course, they both felt jealous when they see Tsubaki ‘closing in’ on Maiku and screamed something like "you shouldn’t be doing things like this at your age".
 
Of course, as Maiku and Tsubaki went to check, both Miina and Karen need to run and hide or their identity will be blown. Before you know it, the whole school’s on alert on these 2 ‘intruders’. I didn’t remember much this part, except that it ended with some misunderstanding again. Maiku tripped and accidently did some ‘compromising move’ with Tsubaki and Ichigo watching in disbelief. Oh dear. But in the end, Maiku told them that they’ll be attending school too and Ichigo got them some job at Herikawa’s store.
 
In episode 5, Miina and Karen came to a conclusion that Maiku may not be interested in girls at all. Plus, there’s a rumour that Maiku and Kousei Shimazaki, are like some no. 1 ‘couple’ always seen together kinda thing. So they made some friends in their class and asked them about Maiku and Kousei’s relationship. So are they gay? Well, Kousei seems to be the one wanting to hang around Maiku, and Maiku doesn’t really approve it and keeps trying to punch him. As usual, those 2 girls decide to put this to a test with a little element of sexual teasing to see if this is true. So a lot of blushing and a little hentai imagination. Hmm… But good thing is, Maiku isn’t gay. Phew…
 
Because of the constant tension in which of the 2 is the relative and the stranger, Miina and Karen came out with a love alliance code to avoid tearing them apart until the truth is revealed. So here’s what the code is all about:-
 
Love Alliance Code #1:
Until the truth is revealed, neither should confess her love to Maiku
Love Alliance Code #2:
If the twin is known, inform the other immediately
Love Alliance Code #3:
Must support the other’s love for Maiku if the other is the stranger
Love Alliance Code #4:
Must stop any advances from other girls towards Maiku
Love Alliance Code #5:
We will always be with Maiku
 
Seems pretty straight forward, huh? Well, they’ll have a hard time trying to stay faithful to the love alliance, except maybe number 5. It really seems all too familiar in episode 7. Those 3 won some contest and decide to take a trip to that same beach hotel we’ve seen in Onegai Teacher. Hey, nearly the whole gang from Onegai Teacher is there. This time round joining the cast is Matagu’s little genki and blur sister, Haruka.
 
Also, remember that little girl with binoculars and dog? Yeah, she’s back again with a little cameo appearance. She’s got her few seconds of love again when she spot Maiku. And again heartbroken once she found that that he already had 2 beautiful ‘girlfriends’. Oh, the heartache. So funny. But this episode sees how the girls worry that Maiku wanted to spend more time with his classmates rather than the 2 of them. So insecure lah those 2.
 
Episode 8 takes a breather from Miina and Karen’s overprotectiveness over Maiku. Since Tsubaki has a crush on Maiku but doesn’t know what to do, she enlists the help of Ichigo. So Ichigo planned some sports festival but only Maiku and Tsubaki are the only members in the student council. You know what that means. In addition to prevent Miina and Karen’s intervention, Ichigo resorted to some intel connection threats to keep them at bay.
 
So as Maiku and Tsubaki are working together, another unintentional and accidental move by Maiku (he touched Tsubaki’s breats) made Tsubaki slapped Maiku. Upset, she left in a hurry. But Kousei seems to be serious and demanded what Maiku had done to her. Then we have all this flashbacks and come to know that previously Kousei and Tsubaki were once a couple. But since Kousei’s a pervert and can’t seem to keep his hands off Tsubaki at ‘certain places’, they broke up. Bla bla bla. In the end, Tsubaki and Kousei manage to reconcile, but Kousei’s still the same ol’ perverted guy but Tsubaki’s more tolerable this time (although still punching him for that). So does this mean, that Tsubaki won’t be all over Maiku anymore. Yup, that’s how it seems. Must be good news for Miina and Karen.
 
After all those planning and hard work, the rain spoils it all and Ichigo calls the school festival off. Too bad, Maiku. Life’s like that. So in episode 9, Maiku along with Miina and Karen decided to go downtown shopping. But during their time there, they got separated and Maiku ends up being with either one of them at one time, trying to look for the other. So you could say that it was some sort of a date. Plus, both girls had an indirect kiss with Maiku. But couldn’t confess directly as thoughts of the love alliance came into mind.
 
By the end of the day, the girls ended up together and became frantic when couldn’t find him. And when they do, it’s like a burst of happiness as they rush to hug him. Oops… another blunder they slipped, with their panties showing (that’s what Haruko said). Oh, how they vowed never to leave Maiku’s side again. And how Maiku vowed never to go outside with these 2 again.
 
Episode 10 introduces a character from Miina’s past, Yuka. I thought it would bring a clearer perspective or shed some light on which is the twin or the stranger, unfortunately it didn’t. It’s mainly about why Miina likes to run away. Literally. See, Miina was once a runner and has a prospective of receiving a scholarship. At that time she lived under the same roof as Yuka. But an accident shattered her dreams. So that’s why she decided to leave and went in search of her real family.
 
Now this is the part where it’s really disappointing. In episode 11, Karen made a huge discovery. Something’s not right in the photo. Yeah, it’s the position of the house in the photo and the one they’re currently living. So Karen decided to go and investigate. At this point I had a hunch that Karen was going to be Maiku’s real twin but this episode manage to keep that a mystery until the end. Because of this, Karen asked Maiku out on a date just for 1 day.
 
In the end, Karen is Maiku’s actual twin! That means Miina’s the stranger. Because now that Miina felt she was not related, she decided to leave again. It’s really really really disappointing how they try to reveal who the real twin is. It was just some old notebook belonging to the twins’ mom, she found at the abandon house nearby. No backstory, no closer look at what the notes say. What the?! Is it because the series is gonna end and there’s no time to explain it? Haih… So disappointing.
 
And in the final episode 12, Maiku and Karen try in vain to locate Miina. They found out she was residing at Haruko’s place. And even the next day in school, Miina refused to speak directly to Maiku. But Maiku feels that they’re being abandoned about the separation since now that the truth is out. But Maiku’s classmates including Ms Mizuho and Haruko manage to plan and trick Maiku and Miina into meeting at the train station. And before you know it, both of them are on good terms again, of course not before finding out that this whole thing was a ploy.
 
And with that, a happy ending, all 3 of them have their photo taken and will be living together as a family. Then there’s something Maiku said. About Miina being in the photo? Huh? In the photo but not related, then where’s Karen? I didn’t get this part.
 
And just like Onegai Teacher, the 13th episode is also and OVA. This time time, in order for Maiku to finish his work, he camps outside. But the others seem to follow him and camp near him too. We see how Miina now try to advance their relationship as lovers since now that she’s the stranger. But Karen seems to be wanting to keep Maiku all for herself and doesn’t want any other girls to have him.
 
What happened to the love alliance? Well, the now sly and cunning Karen said it’s dissolved, much to Miina’s ire. Yeah, for a girl who has a habit of fainting and saying ‘nyuu…’, she has pretty much changed, don’t you think. Anyway, we get to see Kei and Ms Mizuho ‘making love’. I wonder if the rest knows about their relationship? And Matagu’s still a loser, and is the only one that ended up alone in that camping outing. But he manage to find solace in some beautiful ghost rumoured to take on losers only. Hahaha.
 
So the ghost rumour must be true, huh? I mean we see Ichigo in an interview with some video proof (she seems to be secretly videotaping what other people does too during that camping). And she always sinisterly say ‘huu… huu… huu…’. Must be her new trademark. Before this OVA ends, Miina and Karen spot Maiku with a girl bashfully trying to hand Maiku something. And with mere convenience, they decided to put back up the love alliance and kick into action rule number 4. Still so insecure after all.
 
Overall, I kinda like Onegai Twins plot except for how the twin is revealed. I though that there’s gonna be some twist somewhere. That maybe none of them are twins or they’re actually are triplets. Nope. Just straight forward, that one of them is really the twin and the stranger. *Sighs* Also, the scenery of the lake is still gorgeous.
 
Finally, I’d like to ponder on earlier one way Maiku said to decide which of them is the twin is to take a blood test, but couldn’t because it’s costly. Then, why do they have different sets of surnames? I mean, if they’re twins, they should have the same surnames right? Wait a minute. Maybe that’s their adopted family’s name. Darn.
 
Then there’s a little bit of nudity here. You see, the funny thing is that Miina and Karen usually have their girl time talk or discussion during bath time in the bathroom. What an unusual way and place to do so. But don’t worry, the nudity isn’t that extreme as the necessary parts are ‘strategically covered’.
 
Plus, Miina, looked a bit like Mai Tokiha of Mai-HiME. But Mai Tokiha is still much more prettier than her! Definitely! Kitto! No doubts about that!

Magikano Characters

July 21, 2006

Ah… Another fun anime with fun characters worth talking about. Yup, I’m talking about Magikano. So here we go…
 
 
Haruo Yoshikawa
Your usual male lead character. In fact the only male lead character. Seems to be leading the normal kinda life from his point a view, like having perfect shool attendence record. But actually, he unknowingly lives with his 3 sisters who are magic users. Because of this, he’s quite ‘blur’ in what’s going on. And if he ever finds out, his memory of what he just witnessed will be erased by some giant hammer. However, Haruo has some latent powers which he is unaware too. He’s also believed to be some vessel for some great devil who will destroy the universe once unleashed. In the end, before the devil in Haruo can fully awakened, he was managed to be sealed again by Ayumi.
 
Ayumi Mamiya
Coming from the magical world, Ayumi came into Haruo’s life because she suffers from a curse that only Haruo can cure. If not, she’ll die from it (whatever that curse is). At first, she dislikes Haruo because he looks like a dork. But then she found out that the only way to bring out his latent powers and cure her curse is to ‘make him into a man’. Yup, so she mostly try to ‘seduce’ Haruo, but to the ire of his sisters and other girls (and usually with disastrous results and effects too). In the end, her ill feelings towards Haruo became less as she wanted to save him for his sake and not because of her curse anymore. Also, she hates eels.
 
Maika Yoshikawa
The oldest among the 3 sisters and the one who’s most protective over her dear brother. Because of this, she’ll become very suspicious of any other girls who try to make a move on him, especially Ayumi. So you’ll see most of the time that she and Ayumi will gave some sort of face-off. She loves cooking and cleaning.
 
Chiaki Yoshikawa 
The middle sister among the three. Chiaki is not so protective over Haruo as compared to Maika as she’s more the dreamy type. Because of this too, when Haruo is in trouble, she doesn’t really get on her feet right away, unless it’s really really serious. She loves working out and eating. You just wonder, how come she never gets fat after eating so much of those calories. Must be the work out? But didn’t see her doing it most of the time. Ah… Every girl’s dream diet to eat what they want and stay slim. 
 
Fuyuno Yoshikawa 
The youngest sister. Fuyuno sometimes may look like the smartest one among the bunch. Sometimes figuring out what’s happening or the cause of it. But of course, she has a weakness too. That is… Money! Yeah, she really loves money and anything which involves making them. Also, like Chiaki, not that overprotective over her brother Haruo and would come to save him if he is really really in deep trouble. Or else, she’ll just leave it to Maika.
 
Yuri Kurosu 
The student council president in Haruo’s school who secretly have a crush on him. On the outside she seem to uphold strict values like students shouldn’t display their affections openly in public. However, deep down within her, she’s just quite the opposite. Always having ‘dirty’ thoughts of being with Haruo. Like the part where she daydreamed she offered her body to Haruo as a present for Christmas. So ironic. She’s the number 1 idol in school until Ayumi came along. Also a magic user. Whenever she uses magic, her hair and outfit would change and she’ll wield some giant sword.
 
Marin Nijihara 
A witch hunter sent from Heaven. She looks up to Haruo and thinks of him as the good guy and must protect him from evil witches, like Ayumi as she regards as one. However, she’s quite clumsy and bungling at times. And mostly her success is attributed to the Yoshikawa sisters or Yuri’s intervention (without Marin knowingly) and she’d thought she had pulled off some successful magic. She comes from a poor background and doesn’t experience much simple luxuries in life. Like she got excited when she got a whole cake from Haruo as she had only manage to eat a triangle (a piece of a cake that is cut out) piece only. Poor girl…
 
Michiru Mamiya 
Ayumi’s younger sister and she’s very very determined to stop Ayumi from trying to break her curse. By doing so, she’ll become the head of the Mamiya family. Of course, each task is met with failure until the final few episodes, where she manages to abduct Haruo and seduce him properly to bring out his latent powers. Why? That’s because she realized that with the control over Haruo’s latent powers would also allow her to rule the universe. But in the end, she had to cooperate with the other girls to save Haruo and the universe.
 
Rika Anju 
Reminds me so much of Vanilla of Galaxy Angel. A maid sent by Ayumi’s father to be of any assistance to Haruo. At the same time also to collect data from the other girls. Your usual taciturn, serious and expressionless kinda character. Also, able to thwart Ayumi’s advances towards Haruo.
 
 
NOTE: The names of the Yoshikawa siblings are named after the 4 seasons. With haru of Haruo meaning spring, Maika meaning summer, aki of Chiaki meaning autumn, and fuyu of Fuyuno meaning winter. Hey… I thought natsu means summer. But then i checked that if the kanji writing of Maika has the character ‘summer’ in it. But when written this way, it is pronounced so. Strange.

Maria-sama Ga Miteru

July 15, 2006

If you’re looking for an anime with pure 100% drama, then Maria-sama Ga Miteru might just be your cup of tea. This particular anime has relatively no violence or any sort of that action-packed excitement or even fantasy-filled adventure journeys. Yup, just pure high school teenage girls drama, that’s all.
 
But the amazing thing is that I didn’t fell asleep throughout the entire 13 episode series. Maybe a few occassional yawns here and there, but I didn’t doze off. That’s mainly because I felt more confused trying to understand what’s happening and trying real hard to grasp the things and terms in the anime. By the time I finished watching the whole series, I only manage to understand it generally. I even had to do some reading on the Internet to help me better understand what’s going on. Well, it helped a little, but not that much.
 
First of all, let me mention that there’s quite a few French terms used here in this anime. Why? That’s because the story takes place at Lillian’s All Girls Catholic High School. An exlclusive high-upperclass school where girls where their uniform’s always, their pleats of their skirts must be unnoticeable, have angelic smiles… Err… Something like that as said in the beginning. Plus, if you notice that the Maria in the anime’s title is referring to Virgin Mary. So naturally, Catholic high schools and French, I have that perception that they go hand in hand.
 
Generally, for most parts of the series, it explores the relationship between first year student Yumi Fukuzawa, and her ‘elder sister’, the reserved second year Sachiko Ogasawara. In the first episode, we see that Yumi admires and looks up to Sachiko. She got to know from a member of the photography club, Tsutako, about a photo of Yumi and Sachiko being secretly taken while they’re both standing in front of the Virgin Mary statue. Yumi wanted the photos, but Tsutako would only give it to her on 2 conditions. One, she’s allowed to put up the photo in the shcool cultural festival, and two, Yumi must ask permission from Sachiko. So Yumi decides to pluck up her courage and go see Sachiko to ask permission for the photo.
 
Little did she know that soon she’ll be drawn into the inner circles of the Roses. Before I move on, I want to make clear of this part which will be the main stem for the anime. You see, in this school, it has been a tradition that the Yamayurikai (term for student council used in this school) to adopt a soeur (French for sister), usually senior students taking junior students, by giving them their rosary. Upon acceptance, the soeur will be taken care and looked out by her respective senior.
 
So for this Yamayurikai, there are 3 head officers named after some roses, Rosa Foetida, Rosa Chinesis, and Rosa Gigantea. Under each of these Rosas, they have a soeur called Rosa en bouton, and under each of them they have Rosa en bouton petite soeur. So for easier reference, here’s who’s who in the system:
 
Rosa Foetida
= Eriko Torii
Rosa Foetida en bouton
= Rei Hasekura
Rosa Foetida en bouton petite soeur
= Yoshino Shimazu
 
Rosa Chinesis
= Youko Mizuno
Rosa Chinesis en bouton
= Sachiko Ogasawara
Rosa Chinesis en bouton petite soeur
= Yumi Fukuzawa
 
Rosa Gigantea
= Sei Satou
Rosa Gigantea en bouton
= Shimako Toudou
Rosa Gigantea en bouton petite soeur
= Nijou Noriko
 
Get the whole thing? Well, at least it’s clearer to me this way. Anyway, back to the story. So as Yumi upon reaching the room in the Rose Mansion, where the Rosas were having some meeting, she overheard how Sachiko needs to choose a soeur in order for her to become the next Rosa Chinesis. So Sachiko said she’ll find one and left in a haste left, only to bump into Yumi. And in a haste too, she grabs Yumi and asks her to be her petite soeur. So there’s alot of talk here and there, but in the end, Yumi refused Sachiko’s rosary. What a shocked! Nobody has ever done so!
 
There was a reason, but I can’t remember. To make things worse, the school’s newspaper club is always seeming to be interested in the Rosas and what they do (reminds you of papparazis, don’t they, but less extreme). And with Yumi’s refusal of Sachiko’s rosary, a person whom she admires so greatly, it’ll be a big scoop.
 
So in episode 2, Yumi had to face with the consequences of it like being well-known all over school for her actions (not the kind of fame anybody wants, that is). Plus, there’s a play coming up (to be done jointly with some all male high school) where Sachiko has to play the part of Cinderella, but refused to do so. Thus, the student council members suggested that if Yumi changed her mind of being Sachiko’s soeur, Sachiko won’t have to do it, but Yumi will instead. In this episode too, you’ll get to see that Sei seems to take a liking for Yumi, but more of in a playful manner.
 
And in episode 3, we find out that Sachiko actually hates men. So the part of Cinderella being given to her is some sort of the student council member’s doing and ploy to make Sachiko hate less of men. Something like that. Also, Yumi now understands things and finally accepts Sachiko’s rosary. Yay! So this made headlines in episode 4. Then it is here too that Yumi learns more on the relationship between Rei and Yoshino. They’re actually cousins. However, Yoshino’s in hospital due to some illness. By the end of the episode, there’s a crack in their relationship, and Yoshino decides to give back Rei’s rosary. Oh! The horror! Guess it’ll make another headlines.
 
Yup, that’s what happened and it seems to be blown out of proportion in episode 5. Meaning that, the other junior girls are now unsure and panicking. Some of them gave back their rosaries following in suit. That’s because Yoshino and Rei are seen like model sisters in their school. And what happens if something that perfect starts to disintegrate? You know the answer. Plus, in this episode too, that Rei’s kendo tournament coincides with Yoshino’s operation. How will they mend their differences? Darn… Can’t remember too, but Yumi was there to save the day. I think. Speaking of which, it seems that Sei loves to bother Yumi, caressing her (like rubbing her cheeks), much to Sachiko’s chagrin. But Sei seems to enjoy it lah. Poor Yumi. She maybe thinking that Sachiko may get the wrong idea that she enjoys Sei’s company. Therefore, she’s a little worried.
 
A new competitor, calling herself Rosa Canina, emerges in episode 6. She’s challenging Shimako’s position in the student council elections. But the thing is, Shimako doesn’t mind or care. As usual, the ever helpful Yumi can’t just stand and watch, as she encourages Shimako to run for the election. In this episode too, we’ll discover that Shimako’s really afraid of shouldering her responsibilities when she becomes Rosa Gigantea after Sei has left. Shimako became Sei’s bouton just because she wanted to help her, and doesn’t have any ambitions in the Yamayurikai. At the same time, Yumi and Sachiko’s relationship hit a little bump. But as usual too, in the end all ends well with the positions of the student council members retained.
 
It’s Valentine’s day for episodes 7 and 8, and the girls are figuring out what to give to their dearest ones. Meanwhile, Yumi learns that Sachiko has a habit of rejecting gifts from people. Will hers be rejected as well? But at the same time, the scheming newspaper club proposes some plan to create some media hype. The en boutons will hide their invitation cards somewhere in the school and the winner who finds their invitation card will get to go on a date with the en bouton of the card whom she finds.
 
Also, Yumi and Sachiko’s relationship hit rock bottom. Something to do with those chocolates Yumi made, something happen, but Yumi kept quiet, Sachiko telling her off, a teary Yumi. Haih… Plus, we get to see Yoshino’s darker side, someone who just wants to posses Rei forever and nobody can have that but her. Yeowzers.
 
Luckily for Yumi and Sachiko, they manage to patch their relationship back just before the hunt begins. Many theories of where the en boutons will probably hid their cards. The results in the end… Rosa Canina found Shimako’s card! Oh, how ironic, how cruel life is. Some random unknown student found Sei’s card (Yoshino getting really jealous here). As for Sachiko’s… nobody. Surprise? Where could it be?
 
Yumi was sure it was hidden in the Rose Garden, but somebody beat her to it. Fortunately, the person there said there’s no card here. After the hunt is over, Sachiko heads to the place to reveal where she hid her card. It’s in the Rose Garden! But… how…. why…. Yumi tried to explain that she dig that spot as though like nobody will belive her. But Sachiko does.
 
So in episode 9, we’ll see from the perspective of that student whom Yumi saw in the Rose Garden. Ah… so she was the one who dug up the card but put it back. Why? Uh-huh… Some flashbacks of how she was fascinated with Sachiko since kindergarten too. And why she feels Yumi doesn’t deserve to be Sachiko’s soeur. Bla bla bla. But in the end she understood why and accept that Yumi’s the right person.
 
A best selling autobiography book is causing a storm in the school in episode 10. That’s because the story of the book seems to suspiciously match certain events that happened in the school. Furthermore, the author’s pen name is Sei Suga. Could it be Sei of Rosa Gigantea? She denies it, but the story told seems to point to her.
 
Yumi buys the book and was moved to tears about some suicide attempt where one of them dies. So Yumi and co decides to go investigate. Good thing was it wasn’t Sei, but some ex-Lillian student who’s now an chief editor of some magazine. Phew!
 
At the same time, in episode 11, Sei remembers her dark past, just like what almost happened in that book. When Sei’s a junior, she was some sort of a rebel, until she met Shiori, then she started to change a little. You might think here there’s some sort of a lesbian kind of relationship brewing. Well, if you want to look at it that way. So another few bla bla blas, Shiori had to leave to become a nun and this made Sei devastated. But her seniors were there to provide that usual advice, shoulder to lean on, words of comfort. Thus, that’s why Sei manage to overcome her past, which makes her a better character today.
 
Ah, finally, last 2 episodes 12 and 13 of the series sees the ‘date with the en boutons‘ in process. Since Yumi found Sachiko’s place where she hid her card, it’s only right that Yumi dates Sachiko. Of course, the newspaper club is trailing along, spying on their every move. And a very green eyed Yoshino following and watching her beloved Rei’s date. There’s this funny part where Yumi and Sachiko were at a fast food outlet. Sachiko doesn’t know how to eat at such place and has to be taught by Yumi how to do so! She thinks she needs chopsticks to eat hamburger or the food will be automatically served at her table. So funny lah. But can’t blame her. Sachiko leads quite a sheltered life from the outside world.
 
In the end, the newspaper club’s plan didn’t materialize and they just decide to drop it all and relax when they bumped into Yumi and Sachiko. In the end, everything turned out well. Yumi and Sachiko’s relationship at all time high, and Yoshino come to terms with her jealousy. And Yumi said something about her future at Lillian’s. But she’ll do her best even more.
 
Wow… that was real slow drama, isn’t it. Wait a minute, there’s a sequel to see how Yumi and Sachiko’s relationship and emotional bonding further develops. Err…. Somehow I felt reluctant to watch it. But overall, it’s a little refreshing to watch such animes after watching all those with mindless violence, comedies and exaggerated stuffs. If not for the kawaii-ness of Yumi and Yoshino, I think I would have stopped watching this anime a long time already.
 
Plus, it’s the first time that I’ve watched an anime with opening and ending credits without any singing. Yup, just like intrumental. Pastel White, the song quite calming and soothing. Also, the character developments are rather ok. I had a hard time at first figuring out which Rosa and the others are who.
 
Also, the shortened title of this anime is known as Marimite. At first I thought what in the world is that. Sounds like some food supplement like Bovril that I took when I was younger. Then after some time, I realized that it is its abbreviated form. Silly me.
 
By the way, if you put Yumi and Sachiko side by side, don’t they remind you a little of Chiyo and Sakaki of Azumanga Daioh respectively? Hmm… Saw some webpage about that comparison. Yalah! A bit same lah, now that I think of it. And Yoshino reminds me a bit of Hanajima of Fruits Basket. Hmm…

Onegai Teacher

July 8, 2006

What do you get when you cross aliens with teachers and high school students? Sounds familiar? Yup, it’s Onegai Teacher that I’m talking about. Another one of those romantic comedy-cum-drama type anime with a little bit of sci-fi in it. It’s been quite some time I’ve finished watching this anime, so I’ll try my best to recall what happened.
 
The basic synopsis is that a high school student marries his homeroom teacher. Why? What? How? Don’t worry, there’s a story to that too. We have a normal 15 year old high school student Kei Kusanagi, who leads a normal live, staying together with his uncle and aunt in an apartment. Yeah, it’s quite a nice quiet town too, and there’s a huge lake in the middle of town.
 
So one night, Kei witnessed something that he shouldn’t. A whirpool and a sudden appearance of a female in front of him. The next day at school, his usual homeroom teacher resigns and is quickly replaced by the girl Kei saw the previous night. Mizuho Kazami, she’ll be the new homeroom teacher for Kei’s class from now on.
 
But the coincidence doesn’t stop there. Later that day, Kei found out that she’s moving right next door and will be his new neighbour. As usual, the helpful Kei decides to help Ms Mizuho unpack her stuffs. During the shifting, Kei stumbled upon a secret corridor, which leads to some space ship. Yup, Ms Mizuho is actually an alien! An alien who’s job is to observe and collect data of the human species. Something like that.
 
Of course, you’d be in a shock if you find such a beautiful person living next to you to be an alien. That’s what Kei felt too. So in a panic, as Ms Mizuho tries to stop him, Kei tries to find a way out and make sense of what’s going on. And there’s that little yellow creature with a float around her body, Marie. Suppose to be the space ship’s operator and controller, for example, able to teleport people or things when commanded. But during Kei’s panicky moment, she was flung by him and is somewhat ‘damaged‘. Yeah, you’ll see what I mean. She’s gone a little ‘coo-coo’ (mad).
 
But when Kei’s cornered by Ms Mizuho, like anybody would, promised that he’d keep this a secret. Somehow she trusts him. However, the next day, many people and especially Kei’s classmates are talking about the mysterious UFO lights they saw last night. Yeah, that happened during when Kei panicked too. But Kei pretended not to know anything.
 
Like I said earlier on, since Marie became a little ‘coo-coo’, she teleports Kei and Ms Mizuho to the school sports equipment storeroom. However they’re locked in and can’t get out. So they had a talked about the incident that happened and who Ms Mizuho really is. As night falls, Kei’s uncle and aunt began to worry of his whereabouts and proceeds to find them. Good thing is they and the school’s headmaster manage to find them still at the storeroom. Bad thing is, they found them in a little compromising position.
 
The next day, as they’re listening to the headmaster’s words, because of the school’s strict policy, their act can’t be tolerated and they both must be expelled. In order to save them, Kei’s uncle told the headmaster that they were both married. And that’s just the beginning of things to come. But it’s illegal to marry at 15 years old, right? Well, Kei’s not actually 15, he’s actually 18 years old. How come? Now you’ll here some story of his condition called taetai or ‘withdrawal’. Some sort of a comatose state where you sleep for a long time and the time you wake up is uncertain. Yup, so Kei spent 3 years in ‘withdrawal’ and lied about his age. After hearing this, the headmaster accepted it. So easy, just like that.
 
So by the end of episode 2 and beginning of episode 3, as Kei ponders about his future, he accidentily signs (actually official stamps) the marriage papers. Yay! Now they’re both really married as well. Uh-oh, what have I gotten myself into, Kei must be thinking. Now he’s gotta live together in Ms Mizuho’s apartment. The age gap thing really bothers Kei when you know, Ms Mizuho requests Kei to sleep closer to her. Oh yeah, Ms Mizuho really likes to eat that Pochy chocolate stick snack. Reminds me of some same snack I had when I was little too. Couldn’t remember.
 
Not only that, they had to keep their marriage a secret from the others. You couldn’t imagine what would happen if people found out about it. Especially there’re some of Kei’s classmates who have a crush on Ms Mizuho. Tough spot. And in episode 3, Kei’s friends, Ichigo Morino, Koishi Herikawa, Hyosuke Magumo, Kaede Misumi, and Matagu Shido, decides to visit Ms Mizuho. To their suprise that it’s just next to Kei’s apartment. Hmmm… How suspicious, since lately they’ve noticed that Kei has been avoiding them too. In this episode it’s quite funny to see the near misses of Kei being discovered. After all that Kei had to go through, hanging out on the balcony and escaping a dog’s attack, luckily the gang didn’t manage to find out.
 
In episode 4, because Ms Mizuho’s late for some teacher’s meeting, Kei gets a call from Herikawa and Kyosuke to go see a movie tomorrow. As Ms Mizuho gets back, she’s all drunk and after Kei told her that he’s going out with some of his friends tomorrow, a small quarrel ensues. Oh, their first ever lover’s quarrel. So Kei had to sleep back at his uncle and aunt’s place. The next day when he goes out with his friends, a suspicious Mizuho (more like jealous) follows and spies on them. There she also meets Ichigo and Kaede who’re also spying on them as well. Somehow I notice that at the end of the episode, Ms Mizuho is behaving like a spoilt child. So contrasting of her earlier character. Must be that jealousy thing when she sees Kei and Herikawa together. But their relationship didn’t get better.
 
The summer’s here. So in episode 5, Kei and Ms Mizuho are on some sort of a honeymoon only to be bumped into their usual classmates. And as usual, they try to hide their relationship from them. Oh, in this episode there’s that little girl with binoculars and a dog. She’s a little genki and would say out loud when she spot some handsome guy (Kei in this instance). But her joy is soon crushed when she found out that Kei has got some other women. So sad. But when she sees Matagu, she like calls him a pervert. So funny lah this part.
 
In this episode too, we’ll find that Kyosuke and Kaede’s relationship will start to blossom, Herikawa harbours some sort of a crush on Kei but just couldn’t tell him, and Matagu accidentily went to sleep with Ms Mizuho, not realizing he’s got the wrong room. Being scared, Ms Mizuho thought it was a pervert, screamed and ran out. Can’t remember this part. But just when it looked like Kei and Ms Mizuho are finally setting of on a right note once again, comes that little girl with her dog saying how heartbroken she is and her first love being stolen. This causes some misunderstanding between Kei and Ms Mizuho and you know lah, she starts acting like a jealous kid and starts hitting Kei.
 
Kei and Ms Mizuho had an unexpected surprise in episode 6, when Ms Mizuho’s mom, Hatsuho, and her little sister, Maho, drops by from a visit. Early in the morning as Kei wakes up, he spots Ms Mizuho at the balcony and proceeds to hug her. Only thing is, it’s not her, but her mom! And when Ms Mizuho saw this, you know already, right. By the way, Hatsuho look so young and can be mistaken for Ms Mizuho’s sister. While Hatsuho was all for Kei and Ms Mizuho, Maho was against it, making excuses and reasons why they weren’t meant to be together. Oh, Maho’s got that strange creture with a float around it too, Nacchan. Seems Nacchan and Marie are in love and won’t listen to their commands. Hahaha, must be frustrating for them.
 
In the meantime, Kei decides to play matchmaker between Kaede and Kyosuke. Although they both eventually decided to become a couple, Herikawa decided to confess to Kei. But Ms Mizuho got another misunderstanding of the situation and ran away crying. Maho, furious at what she saw, teleported Kei to another world and starts shooting him. But Kei gets into one of his ‘withdrawals’ again and so Ms Mizuho came in time just to save him. After when all this is over, Maho realized that Kei and Ms Mizuho are meant for each other. And she even started to like Kei. She gave him a peck on his cheeks as a farewell gift! Oh no! Ms Mizuho saw it too. Another misunderstanding. Another jealous kid act. Haiyah. Why she so like that wan.
 
Anyway by episode 8, Ichigo encourages Herikawa to pursue Kei, in which finally she manage to confess to him. Sadly, Kei rejected her (ouch!). The reason, he has someone that they already love (Ms Mizuho lah. Who else). At the same time, Matagu decides to confess his feelings to Ms Mizuho too, but he chickened out. In the end of the day, Kei and Ms Mizuho’s relationship seems to be better now. But I see that eventhough Herikawa’s quite disappointed, she manages to handle it well. Of course after some inspiring words from her dad, Yamada (seems like an airplane freak), who’s also a teacher at her school.
 
After wathcing what happened between Kei and Herikawa, Ichigo decides to confront Kei in episode 9. Here we also learn that Ichigo also has the same ‘withdrawal’ condition as Kei. But she’s more serious and spend 6 years in it. So actually she’s 21 years old! But Ichigo suddenly falls into ‘withdrawal’. But just for a short while. Feeling bad, Kei decides to break up with Ms Mizuho. What lah. How could he do that!
 
Anyway, by episode 10, Kei and Ms Mizuho realized that they can’t stand without being with each other. And Herikawa also learns about Kei’s condition. Before anything could happen, Kei went into withdrawal again. And in episode 11, as Ms Mizuho tries to revive Kei, we see Kei in a dream-like world talking with some girl who’s given up on life. I think it’s his sister who committed suicide many years ago. But I didn’t understand this part. But she tried too hard went to far. As a result, some high superior organization she worked with had to punish her. Now she’s being banished from Earth and all those in the town including Kei will have their memories erased since the day Ms Mizuho arrived. Too bad. As they go on living their normal lives, Kei couldn’t help thinking of something whenever he looked at that Pochy box?! Huh? Something there but can’t seem to get it.
 
In episode 12, Ms Mizuho managed to sneak back to Earth with the help of her mom and Maho. And it’s just exactly like in episode 1. Kei’s homeroom teacher suddenly resigned and Ms Mizuho is their new homeroom teacher. She’d wonder if Kei still remembers her. Oops… No reaction. Doesn’t look like it. And as usual, she moves in next to Kei, asks him for his help. All of the sudden, while moving stuffs, Kei said to Ms Mizuho that we’ll always be together. What the? He remembered. But when? The time when he saw Ms Mizuho first appeared (the 2nd time, that is) and that Pochy box he always have. Huh? How does these 2 things connect? Anyway, in the end, they’re both together and really happy and would start everything all over again. So is Hatsuho and Maho as they flew away in their space ship. But so sad for Marie and Nacchan. Can’t be together. But that’s not important.
 
There’s an OAV episode, some like to refer it as episode 13. Nothing much except Hatsuho and Maho are back again. This time, Hatsuho is a little scheming and decides to ‘steal’ Kei for a date, much to Ms Mizuho’s chagrin. And of course, Maho. Seems like that little girl wants to date Kei too. As they try to search for them both, Kei’s friends are also curious about their whereabouts. It seems Hatsuho took Kei to some hotel where lovers usually have their ‘first experience’. You know what I mean.
 
As Ms Mizuho and gang finally found the place they’re in, Kaede and Kyosuke also took their relationship a step further. But I see what Hatsuho did as a prelude and preparation for Kei and Ms Mizuho to be together. Although, didn’t show, but from certain clips, I think Kei and Ms Mizuho ‘did it’. Yup, I really think so lah. But I’m glad that they’re happy together and Ichigo and Herikawa manage to really move on.
 
Overall, besides Ms Mizuho’s sometimes fickle childish character when jealous, I think I like this romantic comedy anime. I mean, not really number 1 in my books, but I quite enjoy it. And the sceneries of the lake is quite awesome and beautiful. The characters do play some role in the development of the story even though some of them are just supporting and side roles. Just to end things, let me wish for Kei and Ms Mizuho’s eternal happiness. Hehehe.

Present

July 7, 2006

  Ukettote my song,
  Boku no sasayaka na PUREZENTO,
  Ukettote my song,
  Boku no chippoke na PUREZENTO sa
 
Long ago, this was one of my favourite Ranma 1/2 songs. Yup, Present is one of the many ending themes of the series. Though I rarely listen to it nowadays, sometimes when I listen to it, brings back memories of nostalgia during my early days of anime.
 
  Mezamashi ga naru yo,
  Asa no hikari ga sashikonde kuru yo,
  Suzume-tachi PII PII,
  Hashaide utau yo
 
Like most of the songs from this series, it has no karaoke version of it (so sad). Therefore, I’m forced to sing along with the singer herself, Tokyo Shonen. Some sort of like a duet, I’d say. Only thing is the song would sound much better without my contribution, if you know what I mean.
 
  Nante kibun utagoe kasanaru,
  Ima koko de kono basho de,
  Suteki da na
 
This song isn’t relatively tough to sing. That’s because the singer herself too isn’t one of those with squeaky high pitch voice. Yeah, the one which sound more hoarse-like (no insults meant here). Even if she’d tried to go a higher pitch, which some of the lines in the song have, it isn’t really that bad. Of course, I also can lah but doesn’t sound so good like hers.
 
  Ukettote my song,

  Boku no sasayaka na PUREZENTO,
  Ukettote my song,
  Boku no chippoke na PUREZENTO sa
 
Lyrics wise, there aren’t many words to remember (although I forgot them by now) and the chorus is mainly that one and only chorus. Ah well, since I’m currently singing other songs, maybe the next time I sing this one would be… Aiyah, don’t know when lah. But it sure brings back memories.
 
  Okuru yo! I love you…

Ai Yori Aoshi

July 1, 2006

There’s nothing really that special or out of the ordinary when I’ve finished watching Ai Yori Aoshi. Sure, it’s a normal love story with some obstacles here and there, but it ended good anyway.
 
So it’s about this university-going student, Kaoru Hanabishi, who lives all by himself in a small apartment. One day he meets a kimono-clad lady, Aoi Sakuraba, who’s lost at the train station. Because the station was so crowded, her sandal straps snapped. Thus, Kaoru proceeded to fix her sandals. Later on when he was about to part, she tells him that she came to meet her fiance whom she’s engaged for 18 years. So he decided to help Aoi look for her fiance.
 
Upon reaching the address on Aoi’s note, she was devastated to find that the place is a vacant lot. Not wanting to see her even depressed, Kaoru asked if there’re any other clues that may lead to finding him. Aoi took out an old childhood picture of her and her fiance. Suddenly, Kaoru recognizes that boy in the picture. It’s himself! So he’s Aoi’s fiance and the one she’s looking for.
 
Why didn’t Kaoru remember such a thing? You see, Kaoru too had a terrible past. He was born out of wedlock. An illegitimate child of the Hanabishi clan. His mom had an affair with one of the Hanabishi clan member (Kaoru’s father, that is) and their love wasn’t approved by their elders. After his father died they mistreated and physically abuse both Kaoru and his mom. This would explain the scars on Kaoru’s back.
 
Because the Hanabishi clan needed an heir to their clan, they had no choice but to accept Kaoru. But he’s still subjected to torture. In addition, the Hanabishi clan and the Sakuraba clan (throughout the generations the Sakurabas are famous for their kimonos and dominate the industry until today) are supposed to be close and any child from their clan will be married to each other to keep the ‘royalness‘ of their clan.
 
After Kaoru’s mom passed away and no longer could Kaoru take anymore of their beatings, he ran away. Thus, it’s some part of Kaoru’s bitter memories which he wants to totally forget. Which he successfully did until Aoi showed up and gradually he’s forced to remember them once more.
 
Basically, if you just see the first few episodes and the last 2 episodes, you’ll still be alright. That’s because the rest of the episodes mainly introduces other characters and how they interact with each other. Plus, if you don’t watch it in chronological order, I think it’ll be okay too. Most of the episodes are like stand-alones and aren’t really connected to the previous ones. I mean, it does but not so much.
 
So by the 3rd episode, Aoi’s caretaker Miyabi came to bring her back home. But Aoi pleads with her to let her stay with Kaoru. Of course it didn’t and she had to go back, but you know lah she managed to escape. So finally with Aoi’s mom permission, she’d finally be able to be by Kaoru’s side.
 
Just as things were going back to normal, the next day walking back from university, Kaoru found out that his stuffs in his apartment were missing. That’s because Miyabi took the initiative to move all his stuffs into the Sakuraba’s summer mansion. Wow! It’s such a huge mansion and they’re going to live there all by themselves. Well, not really. As the story progressed, you’ll find that there’ll be more occupants living in this mansion.
 
By the way, speaking of which let’s take a look at the other main characters of the series first. You’ll notice at first that they’re all girls! Yup, 5 of them. Firstly as mentioned earlier, Miyabi Kagurazaki, Aoi’s appointed guardian and educator by Aoi’s father. She’s strict and no nonsense type of women. At first she’s quite sceptic about Kaoru and Aoi’s relationship, trying to keep control and in view of Kaoru’s actions from Aoi. But later loosens up a little. Besides this, she also handles the Sakuraba’s marketing division. One thing I find peculiar about her is her somewhat liking towards watermelons. Yeah, she seems to like them very much. Like she thinks summer won’t be complete without some watermelon cutting activity thingy.
 
Another character, Tina Foster, is one of Kaoru’s old friend and an American who speaks fluent Japanese. A year ago she went abroad travelling but now she’s back because she wanted to be with her ‘darling Kaoru’. She’s quite loudmouth and energetic but all in good fun. She too got a weird habit of greeting ladies by squeezing their breasts! Sick. Likes to drink and get drunk too. She seems to ‘fear’ Miyabi a little. If she gets a little too loud, one word from Miyabi and Tina’s all quiet down.
 
Then there’s that in-house maid Taeko Minazuki. Also one of Kaoru’s university mate. She previously worked as a maid in some other people’s home. But her clumsiness made her always on the lookout for a new home. Yeah, she’s really clumsy for a maid. So why did Miyabi took her in? At first she didn’t want to but because of her perseverance, determination and support from the others, I guess it’s okay to give her a second chance. Though, there’ll be more clumsiness from her if you observed.
 
Also, there’s that Mayu Miyuki. Some rich girl who returned from England. At first she hated Japanese education system. But when she found out that Kaoru was attending the university that she’ll soon be attending herself, she’s all for it. Yeah, there’ll be some flash back to see why Mayu liked Kaoru so much. Something like when she was young, always alone, her parents often busy, no time for her, and Kaoru was there to cheer her and give some words of encouragement (hey, could be something big for a little girl at that time). Plus she lives in a really really big mansion all by herself with her servants and it seems like a dull place. Therefore she go visit Kaoru’s place everyday.
 
So that first-kiss-on-the-lips-like-greeting between Mayu and Kaoru seem to worry Aoi later when rumours of it finally reached her. But anyway, it was just something like a friend’s greeting. No big deal. Plus Mayu and Tina are always at each other throat. Always quarelling and bickering just about anything. As usual there’s nothing serious about it. Just to provide some comical relief, that’s all.
 
Finally, there’s Taeko’s little sister, Chika. You won’t really see her until episode 16 of the series when the gang went to visit the beach where Taeko’s mom worked. What a late appearance. At first glance she doesn’t really resemble anything close to Taeko. She’s got this really tanned skin and if she isn’t wearing any shirt (didn’t happen directly so you could see her chest, though), you’d thought that she’s wearing a singlet. Really tanned (due to working at the beach for so long). She’s that genki kinda character and looks up to Kaoru as her older brother. Though she sometimes seem to play matchmaking and tries to hook up her elder sister with Taeko.
 
Then there’re other characters too like their pet ferret Uzume, whom Miyabi scorns at first but later on began to accept it. Seems quite close to Tina though. Also Kaoru’s photography club members Satou and Suzuki. While Satou has uncanny interest in cosplay costumes, Suzuki has an uncanny interest in trains. Yup, trains! He finds them ‘sexy’. Plus, these 2 also usually ‘use’ Taeko as their photography subject. I don’t think these 2 play any significant parts except to provide a few laughs here and there.
 
So back to the story (wow! Didn’t know my brief character introduction was that long), with other occupants occupying the mansion. Miyabi strongly advice Kaoru and Aoi to keep their relationship a secret. This is to avoid some scandal or any undesirable incidents towards the Sakuraba clan which could bring their downfall. So in the eyes of others, Aoi is the landlord while Miyabi is her manager. Throughout the whole series they manage to keep their relationship as it is though there’re times when you thought that "oh no, the secret’s gonna be out". Didn’t.
 
And as mentioned earlier on too, some of their adventures include a visit to the hotspring, Kaoru and Tina spending a night alone in the mansion with power outage due to a storm, Aoi visiting Kaoru at his university (attracting the eyes of other students. "Oh, who’s that beautiful girl in that kimono"), Aoi teaching Mayu to cook, Kaoru working part time to earn extra money to buy that special dress for Aoi, a visit to the zoo by Tina and Kaoru only to find that they had to put up a night at a hotel (nothing really happened. Really. And Aoi got so worried there), everyone else trying to help do chores in the mansion when Aoi fell sick (and failing mierably), and Aoi’s visit to Kaoru’s mom’s grave. But mainly these adventures seek to further bond the relationship of the characters.
 
Also as the story progressed, you’ll see how Kaoru and Aoi’s love for each other blossomed and how they lean and support each other. Quite romantic scenes I guess, coupled with some lover’s philosophy (can’t remember them but I remember that I was touched by those words). Though indirectly the other girls, especially Tina, Mayu and Taeko harbour some feelings for Kaoru, they don’t really try to confess their feelings to him.
 
Is Kaoru really that nice a guy? Yup, he is. Quite helpful and kind, I’d say. So much better than Rin in Shuffle or Junichi from Da Capo. Most probably because of his dark past, he decides to become a better person rather than being a bitter person. No wonder the girls liked him.
 
Even if they had to ‘fight’ for Kaoru’s love or attention, it’s all just comical releif and doesn’t impact the Kaoru-Aoi relationship. Although too that there’re times when Aoi seemed worried about Kaoru’s interaction with the other girls, but later on it isn’t such a big deal either.
 
The last 2 episodes took a little serious turn. With Aoi’s father wanting to break their relationship and separating them forever. So instead of running away like he did in the past, Kaoru went to face Aoi’s father and explain things. At first it wasn’t looking good. Yeah, you’ve got to look it from Aoi’s dad’s perspective too. When Kaoru ran away, he left Aoi all alone. So whose fault? Not important. But more importantly, with Kaoru’s steadfast decision, Aoi’s dad finally manage to accept him and Aoi together. Plus we get to hear the meaning of Aoi’s name. Something like born during the clear blue sky which brings tranquility. Something like that.
 
So it’s all one big happy family in the end. With everybody working hard and doing their best. A happy ending and one that I’ve actually expected, after watching a few other animes with ‘unpleasant’ endings, this one was quite a relief. So overall, I guess if you want to watch happy ending animes with only a little tension here and there, I think this anime is quite suitable. Plus, nothing too flashy and more down to earth kind of relationship. Now to watch the sequel.
 
Oh yeah, do you notice that Aoi always wears that same purple kimono outfit 99% of the time that it becomes some sort of her trademark. And if she’d wore something else, it would seem like it doesn’t really suit her and it’s just plain weird. I felt so lah.