Da Capo Second Season

September 30, 2006

Further to my blog on 28th April 2006, finally I get some answers after watching the entire Da Capo Seond Season series. Though it’s another one of those abundant harem genres, it isn’t too bad actually. But with 26 episodes in the second season as well, perhaps in a way I wonder what adventures and stories will await our main characters, since I thought that with so many episodes how would the producers ‘stretch’ the storyline.
 
Okay, to start things off with a recap on the first episode on my previous blog. It’s been 2 years since that fateful day on Hatsunejima. Now all the sakura trees are blooming according to its season. Nemu and Sakura are gone. Junichi and the rest of the other girls are graduating students of Kazami Academy (that Junichi guy still has waking up problems). Also some new faces like Tamaki Konomiya, Nanako Saitama, Alice Tsukishiro and Kanae Kudou as Junichi’s new pals. Yeah, seems that Junichi and Kotori had some ‘fling’ together. By the end of this episode, a mysterious girl named Aisia fell unconciously when she arrives at Junichi’s home.
 
So the next episode continues where the end of episode 1 left off. Junichi and Kotori are trying to nurse back Aisia’s health. Good thing she’s regain herself the next morning. Soon she shows Junichi a map of Hatsunejima but the contents of what she’s searching isn’t clear. Yup, she doesn’t talk much either. As usual, a kind hearted Junichi decides to help her look for whatever she’s looking with that map, at the expense of skipping school. During their search, Junichi meets his ex-teacher, Koyomi Shirakawa. Looks like she’s retired, married and have a child of her own.
 
Of course the duo didn’t manage to find it until Suginami appears and helped them solve the mystery. It’s actually Sakura’s old house that Aisia’s looking for, and Sakura’s grandmother in particular. Duh! Next door to Junichi’s only lah. As they arrived at the run-down home, Junichi explained that Sakura’s grandma has long passed away, much to Aisia’s disappointment. But her gloominess disappears soon after she heard that Junichi and Sakura were related, and thus proceeds to call him master and requests for him to be her teacher. Uh-huh, she wants Junichi to teach her magic. Now she’s more lively and talks more.
 
We find out that Aisia’s actually an enthusiastic wizard-wannabe. She wants to help people using her magic, just like Sakura’s grandmother. However, since she’s just an apprentice, her magic usually doesn’t end up all too well, usually with some disastrous (or hilarious) results. And Junichi’ll always sternly remind her not to do so due to the events that happened 2 years ago, but she’s stubborn and doesn’t listen and be tempted to use it.
 
So over the next few episodes will try to see how Aisia fits and adjusts herself with her new surroundings. Like in episode 3 where Mako thinks that having a little girl staying at Junichi’s place isn’t a good idea and proceeds to ‘snatch’ Aisia and take her in to live with them. Unfortunately, that’ll be her huge mistake. Yeah, her magic messed up everything giving Maki and Moe a hard time. In the end, they decided to let her live with Junichi, saves them a heap of trouble. Phew!
 
In episode 4, where as usual, Aisia uses her magic to help several people ‘in trouble’ (actually they’re doing fine, but it seems that Aisia’s treshold and definition of in need of help is quite ‘low’), so in school as Junichi finds out, there’re rumours of such weird things happening. Junichi suspects it’s Aisia, and it gets worse since Aisia wanders into the school compound. So he and the girls split up to search for her. Unfortunately, one of his search place was the girl’s locker room. You know what that means. A lot of angry, modesty-outrages high on Junichi’s tail. In the end, though Junichi manage to find Aisia, Suginami the saviour helped them to get away from that sticky situation. Yeah, Suginami’s a real friend, as he’s always there when you need him. Or is it?
 
Episode 5 is just Junichi, Aisia and the rest doing their school cleaning up chores. Aisia somehow fell into a garbage truck along with Junichi, which is on its way to the garbage compacting centre. Luckily Junichi’s pals are aware of this and are racing against time before they become squished. Fortunately, they arrived just in time to save them. It is here that finally Aisia found out about Junichi’s only magic (yeah, that making Japanese sweets with his palms) and wasn’t too impressed by it. Disappointed, now she calls him by his first name. Oh, the shockness. Nobody ever calls Junichi by that. Well, there’s a first time for everything.
 
Well, the unexpected happened in episode 6. The moment that I’ve been waiting for. Actually, it was more like I was caught off guard. NEMU HAS RETURNED!!! Yay! The episode started as Miharu discovers a letter in her shoe box. Everyone thought it was a love letter and Miharu’s too shy to say anything. During the assembly, it is announced that there’ll be a new school nurse trainee at Kazami Academy. Yup, you’ve guessed it. It’s Nemu. And Junichi must be real shocked and surprised to hear that news. Her old buddies later rushed to greet her, including a tearful and emotional Miharu. Yeah, that letter’s actually stating Nemu’s return but Miharu was pretty shocked by the news, that’s why she didn’t say anything.
 
And as usual, though Junichi and Nemu finally meet face to face, at first it was like Junichi’s quite angry at her and there’s this question of whether she’d be better off if she didn’t return. Yeah, that usual sibling tension as before. Eventually, Junichi welcomed her back and they both embraced. Aww… so touching. As they both returned to Junichi’s home, Nemu spots Aisia doing household chores. And she gets mad when Aisia calls Junichi by his first name and accusing her of being a burglar (actually that only happens in the next episode where she tries to sneak into the house to find out more about Aisia). She walks out furiously. Oh well, the good ol’ days are back again.
 
The next day in episode 7, it’s a little more light hearted at first, with the girls at school taking a physical examination. Don’t worry, Nemu’s doing the examination. I wonder what’s the big fuss of girl’s wanting to have larger breasts size. Yeah, Mako tried to ‘bluff’ Nemu that her bossom’s actually grown larger by putting her hand behind her back so that the measuring tape will seem to go round longer. Then there’s that Miharu who squeezed Kotori’s breasts and in her mind she thought that Kotori had ‘betrayed’ them with her larger ones. They look the same to me. No… I’m not a pervert.
 
But the turning point of this episode is when Junichi’s hiding in some locker when Nemu came in the room together with her mentor, Akishima. From his point of view, it looked like the doctor kissed her! Oh, now he’s real mad and jealous. And the sibling squabbling starts later at night when Junichi argues with Nemu about that incident. A confused Nemu felt hurt and ran away crying. Bad move, Junichi. You shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions without getting all the facts.
 
So in episode 8, as Junichi tries to find Nemu in the rain, again another misunderstood situation as Junichi saw Nemu being driven away in Akishima’s car. Oh well, I guessed he jumped the gun again. So the next morning, he tries to take his mind off this by doing some housework, something we never see before and much to Aisia’s amazement. Then he and Aisia along with Kotori went to do some shopping. Aisia who noticed Junichi’s strange behaviour began to worry, but Kotori explains to her about Junichi and Nemu’s relationship as lovers. This made Aisia wanted to help them.
 
And as usual more quarrelling from the siblings when they meet again (Nemu’s temporarily staying at Miharu’s place after that fight). So Junichi decides to meet Akishima directly and clear things. He’s in for a surprise. You see, Akishima isn’t a bad guy. He’s just Nemu’s mentor and their relationship stays that way. Good man. Akishima proceeds to explain to Junichi about Nemu’s motivation during her 2 year training under him. Looks like her source of motivation was Junichi and she wrote letters to him everyday but didn’t want to send them because she doesn’t want to make him worry and things like that. So now Junichi must be feeling like an idiot, huh. Serves him right. He should be ashamed of himself. In addition, the night he saw Nemu in Akishima’s car was because Nemu fainted and so happened that Akishima was passing by and rushed to take her to the hospital.
 
Therefore, in episode 9, a realized Junichi tries to reconcile with Nemu. But she’s still mad at him. Can’t blame her, right? Anyway, Junichi took the opportunity to explain about Aisia’s presence. Now the scene shifts focus to Aisia. Yup, she’s still a little depressed not finding what she hoped for. Then she meets a girl on a swing at the playground. At first I though it was Kotori, but she looked a little different. Actually I found out later that she’s Misaki Sagisawa. Remeber the cat lady from the first season, Yoriko. Yeah, it looks like eventhough Yoriko won’t be making her appearance this season, at least her master had the courage to finally come out of her shell (her room, that is). And she’s telling Aisia the events which happened previously 2 years ago.
 
Also more ‘dating’ by the siblings and flashbacks of when they’re young. Ah… the memories of season 1. Just like back then Junichi once again promise to continue protecting Nemu. Looks like they’ve both made up and I think they see each other as a couple now rather than siblings. At the same time, Aisia, after hearing those stories from Misaki, starts believing in the powers of that old sakura tree, the one that Sakura ‘killed’ at the end of last season. Uh-oh, I smell trouble.
 
Okay, I felt that the next 3 episodes, episodes 10-12 were just fillers. Yeah, theyr’e actually just some side adventures of Aisia and the 3 new girls. Also I felt that this was to make their presence known a little better. Like how Aisia joined some priestess club of Tamaki’s and tries to use her magic to help some high school baseball players. Or the part where she tried to help Nanako with her manga as the latter’s editor is getting impatient over her work. Plus the editor doesn’t believe in magic. And because of that, er… Aisia even played some magical girl thingy and this inspired Nanako to even do her best. Then it’s some circus performing thing with the rich girl Alice. The pair are suppose to do some performance for a sickly girl at the local hospital. Also, a statement from Junichi about how Aisia uses her magic to bring people happiness, motivates her even more. Hey, why isn’t there one on Kudou? Maybe he isn’t that much to tell.
 
I too felt that the next 3 episodes too, episodes 13-15, could’ve actually been squeezed into 1 episode. But instead, the producers manage to drag it over 3 epsiodes. Here the whole gang took a trip to the beach after the gruelling exams. Plus, it’s summer! Yay! Time for some real fun and relaxation. They even rented (I think so lah, if not maybe belong to one of them’s) a summer house. So a lot of bonding between the friends, a lot of Junichi and Nemu time, a lot of Aisia thinking about her grandma and Sakura’s grandma (read: flashback), a lot of Aisia having doubts here and there about happiness and magic. Perhaps, it was better to drag it over several episodes. Or else we wouldn’t get some information of how things came to.
 
Also, we see how Kotori come to terms with her feelings with Junichi. Yeah, looks like she still harbour some hidden feelings for that guy. Then there’s one part where Nemu was thanking Kotori but the latter said it’s okay because she too likes Junichi as much as the former. Uh-oh, a deafening sound of silence and uneasiness. Luckily Mako stood up and said that she liked Junichi too, and everybody else followed suit. Er… then the girls proclaimed that they’re some sort of Junichi Support Team. I guess this guy still need those girls to continue his life. Or else, he might end up far worse off. Symbiosis or parasitic. You can look either way. Meanwhile, Aisia who’s watching from afar, is then confused about Kotori’s feelings on Junichi.
 
Because of that, we’re gonna see several near misses of Kotori trying to confess her feelings to Junichi. Yeah, there are times when she got close to him, tried to do so, but couldn’t. Don’t you just feel frustrated. I mean, perhaps Junichi’s really looking at Nemu only. Poor Kotori. I guess you’ll never be Junichi’s at this rate. And it’s because of this too that Aisia in a way felt a little disgust with Kotori as she thought Kotori wasn’t true to her feelings. But Kotori said that it was okay, and that kind of stuffs. This made Aisia wanted to do something about it.
 
So episode 16 was more of Aisia feeling irritated about the Junichi-Nemu relationship. A lot of daydreaming of it, can’t-get-it-out-of-my-mind feeling, must-do-something- feeling, you know that sorta stuff. From this point on, I felt that Aisia was no longer that cute innocent girl. Instead I have this feeling that she’s gonna turn into some busybody that will ‘right the wrong things’. I also noticed that she confides herself with Misaki at times. No doubt those 2 are like friends now, they seem to get along pretty well. Hey, hasn’t Misaki met anybody else yet? Junichi in particular. Maybe she’s just ‘watching’ and doesn’t want to get involve.
 
I remember that one time when Aisia was pouring out her heart’s discontent about it, Misaki told her that perhaps Aisia herself also likes Junichi. Oooh… Didn’t realize that, huh, little girl. Anyway she denies it. Another self-denial case of not being true to her feelings. And she’s the one to speak. Maybe. But we’re not sure if Aisia really have feelings for Junichi. As Aisia decides to investigate the other girl’s feelings for Junichi, she discovers that Junichi is overall a nice guy and it’s no wonder that the girls have a place in their heart for him (aside from his bad habits, of course). Then Aisia slowly understands and started to like Junichi herself. Ironic, isn’t it.
 
Episode 17 wasn’t really much except that more of Aisia’s confusion about Junichi-Nemu relationship. She gets angry at Junichi for being a slob (okay, no man is perfect) enjoying himself while Nemu is slogging with all the housework. Yeah, Aisia did some ‘Nemu Observation Diary’ to observe her. And it’s pretty contrasting the way things turn out like that. Then, Nemu tries to comfort a grieving and confused Aisia and reassures that she’s happy with the way things are right now. However, this made Aisia thought about the other girl’s feelings for Junichi. Thinking could be a dangerous thing. Looks like Aisia has some ‘evil’ plot up her sleeves to use her magic for the other girls’ happiness.
 
Episode 18 takes a breather from all that. And again I was caught by surprise. You know why? SAKURA HAS RETURNED!!! Forgive me for spoiling you so early. But I didn’t expect her to return for the second season. Anyway, the episode starts with Miharu telling the gang that she saw Sakura in town. Well, it wasn’t clear cut but it was enough to convince them to go look for her. However Aisia doesn’t really know who Sakura is but gets fed up and decides to go home instead of helping the rest look for her when nobody answers her. I guess everybody’s eager to see Sakura too.
 
Hey, I totally forgot to mention Utamaru. In this episode he plays a role as Sakura Finder. Yup, the gang thinking that Utamaru would be a good device to track Sakura since those 2 are quite close together. Unfortunately, they’ve been on a wild goose chase the whole day. You see, Utamaru’s just going from store to store, eating its favourite food, sleeping in an air-conditioned room. And the store keepers gladly allowed it do so. They must’ve been captivated by its cuteness.
 
So the gang leaves Utamaru and went on to search for Sakura themselves. Just then they saw a girl just like Sakura from afar. Whoops… wrong girl. It’s Akishima’s little sister. Darn. So as the day soon to draw to a close, the gang disperses. As Junichi and Nemu are walking back home, they saw how Utamaru dashing somewhere excitedly. Of course they followed it. And tada… Finally, it’s really Sakura! Welcome back. Okaerinasai as the 2 girls hugged each other. At home, Sakura and Aisia gets acquainted and as they walk Sakura back to her old house, Aisia began to see the connection between Sakura and the house. By the way, Sakura didn’t grow up much didn’t she. As far as I can see, she’s till petite in size. Plus, she even made a joke that her breasts have grown larger (what’s with girls and wanting to have large breasts). But what’s the reason Sakura came back? Dunno. That part’s still a mystery.
 
Episode 19 was just a prelude of things to come. Yeah, the whole gang came to fix Sakura’s house. Notice how Suginami is now so ‘attached’ to Kudou. They seem to be together most of the time, like his new best pal. I guess he has to, since his buddy Junichi’s got a girlfriend now. In additon, an enthusiastic Aisia tries to write and jot down everything that Sakura does. Going a little overboard, isn’t she? By the end of the episode, Aisia and Sakura have that 1 to 1 talk on magic. Yeah, her reasons why she killed that old sakura tree, how magic is a dangerous thing, bla bla bla. Therefore, she’ll never teach Aisia how to use magic. Shock!
 
From now on, you’ll see how stubborn Aisia is. In the sense that, no matter who explains the whole damn thing to her, she’ll remain adamant from her stand and believes. Yup, she believes that she should use her magic to bring happiness to others, just like what her grandma did. So, it’s like, I’ve explained to you a hundred million times but you still don’t get it. Or rather, she doesn’t want to understand. Hmmm… Yeah, she’s planning to revive that dead sakura tree again. This girl’s really out of her mind and lost.
 
Isn’t it like deja vu again. I mean, episode 20 and 21 is like another round of flashbacks of that fateful event 2 years ago, Aisia still refuse to believe what others had told her, Sakura’s constant reminder and lecturing towards Aisia about what she intends to do, then another one of those Kotori’s I-still-love-him-but-can’t-confess-to-him situation. Can she go on living like this? Yet she says how happy the both of them are and it doesn’t really matter to her. And then some conflicting thoughts from Aisia, something like if Nemu’s happiness can come true, why not Kotori’s, and something like how that old sakura tree was imperfect in a way.
 
Before I could say that this anime is going to be another draggy one right to the end, the producers put another light hearted episode 22. Yeah, at least another breather before the ultimate finale. As Aisia is still desparately trying to revive that dead sakura tree, the others have some fun at the school’s pool. There’s this funny incident where Moe was calling out to Junichi. Suddenly a ball hit her head, causing her and her breast to be pushed and pressed against the fence. You should see that slo-mo effect. And that Junichi was ogling at it until he saw Nemu’s deadly aura. Better get away. Hahaha.
 
Later at night, the gang plans to make Junichi and Nemu closer together by organizing some test of courage thing. Junichi manage to see through their ‘lame’ plans but Nemu’s pretty frightened as she’s really clinging on to him. Uh-huh, it’s just Junichi’s pals in some lame ghost outfits trying to scare the pair. Whoa! Nemu’s really freaked out. Anyway, the 2 of them manage to end up alone and closer. But Aisia’s still not amused and continues her sakura tree reviving task.
 
I guess I could pretty much say that episode 23 is the start of the turning point of the series. One significant part is that Junichi and Nemu bought a matching pair of white watches. And over the rest of the episode, the 2 experience strange talk from their pals. What kind of strange talk? You see, they notice how strange it is that their friends are treating their relation as siblings. A brother-sister kinda love and nothing more. And slowly, Junichi and Nemu too are forgetting that they’re being a couple. Oh no, the sakura leaves are starting to fall again. Could it be? No way. She couldn’t. Ah, nevermind, she did it.
 
So strange things happened in episode 24. Suginami sense something strange with most of the girls as they seem to be wanting to be with Junichi more boldly. Call it his intuition but Suginami still can’t place his finger on it. Plus, Nemu and Kotori have that feeling that Junichi-Nemu’s relationship are siblings only but felt that it isn’t. Something’s not right. Sakura began to realize something that the memories have been turned back or reset, as she rushed to that sakura tree. To her horror, it’s alive again and in full bloom. Sakura now has to find Aisia and reverse what she has done, but it seems to no avail. The sakura tree had reacted to Aisia’s desparate plea. And it doesn’t seem like slowing down. With this in effect, Junichi and Nemu are now merely siblings and this would mean giving the other girls a fair chance to be with Junichi.
 
As Junichi and Nemu hug each other under that sakura tree and promised that they would never ever forget or be separated from each other, they finally kissed. Unfortunately, the powers of that sakura tree is wrecking havoc in Junichi and Nemu’s minds. My heart sank a little when I watched this part. And we can see that satisfied evil grin of Aisia’s. She’s really turning into an evil mage.
 
By episode 25, the process of turning back the memories has been completed. It’s like there’s no recollection of Junichi and Nemu being lovers ever before. This time, all the girls are trying to be Junichi’s girlfriend. Suginami even came out with some betting scheme and statistics who’d end up as Junichi’s gal. And look how happy Aisia is. But Sakura confronts Aisia and asked her if everyone is truly happy and something about feelings can’t be triumphed over magic. However, Aisia still refuses to believe and insists that she had done nothing wrong.
 
It’s starting to get worse when Junichi accidentily dropped the white watch from his pocket as he was trying to take out his handkerchief. He was taking refuge under that sakura tree with Kotori when suddenly he remembers the kiss he had with Nemu. It’s like his memories are coming back, as he rushed home, leaving Kotori behind. Meanwhile back home, Aisia is surprised to find Nemu crying. Yeah, after Nemu saw that white watch of hers and the letters she’d written for Junichi. Aisia’s now in shock and doubting whether what she did was right. Took you long enough to realize it, huh girl.
 
The final episode starts off with a gloomy tone. Everybody’s feeling depressed and Aisia’s regretting her actions. So there’re instances where Junichi tries hard to remember that he and Nemu are lovers, but the powers of that sakura tree takes effect (reminds me just like Sakura’s case in Tsubasa Chroncle). Aisia finally rushes back to the sakura tree and desparately wished for her actions to be undone after Nemu collapses. Her effort was in vain. Then Sakura appears and have some long chat with her.
 
Realizing that this whole mess was her fault, she began to understand everyone’s feelings and she’d do anything to make them happy again. Then this part I don’t understand. Junichi, who’s searching for Aisia, finally found her at that sakura tree. Looks like Aisia is going away. As Junichi tries to stop her, Aisia apologizes and then soon disappeared. With that, the sakura leaves also disappeared. Not before Aisia said a few touching final words for the girls she encountered. Poof! She’s gone. Everything went back to normal after. So, did Aisia use her magic to really really stop that sakura tree? Or did she sacrifice herself for this? So where did she disappear to? Huh? I dunno lah. At this point, I had mixed feelings for Aisia. Felt pity for her though she finally saw her wrongdoings and corrected it but couldn’t help feeling disgusted with her earlier actions. You could’ve saved us the heap of trouble and probably the episodes. Just kidding.
 
In the final scenes we see a wedding ceremony in progress. Looks like it’s Junichi and Nemu getting hitched. Yeah, Koyomi said that it’s good for them to get married while they’re still young. At least this solves the problem of other girls trying to go after Junichi’s affections. And all those girls who onced liked Junichi, especially Kotori, gave their blessings. I guess they accepted it. Hey, now Misaki is part of the group as well. A little too late, huh. But it’s better than never.
 
Then as Nemu throws her bouquet of flowers, a mysterious hooded girl grabs it, throws it in the air, and pop… mini bouquets fall into each of the other girls’ arms. As the hooded person walks away, Junichi calls out Aisia’s name and that person’s identity is revealed. It’s Aisia! She’s back?! When? How? What? Why? Oh, nevermind. She turns around and throws herself at Junichi.
 
As the ending credits are playing, we see how the rest of the girls are successfully pursuing their dreams. And finally, the mind boggling picture at the end of the show reveals that the girl who puts her hands on Junichi’s shoulders as he browse through the photo album is Nemu. Ah… mystery solved.
 
Overall, I kinda liked how the ending went. Good happy ending for the protagonist and all ends well for the others. Though I felt that at times the series was a little too draggy with some time wasting repetitive scenes. There wasn’t too much of character development for the other characters. Even the new ones. It’s just like a one-off thing or ‘for decoration’. It mostly concentrated on Junichi, Nemu, and Aisia. Even I felt that Sakura’s appearance was solely for this purpose in the series and nothing else. And Suginami isn’t as prominent as he was in the first season.
 
The drawing and animation is still consistent with the first season, so there isn’t any big significant difference. Not that the animation is that good or that bad, but I felt it’s rather in between. Nothing special and at the same time nothing to shout about. Same goes with the voice acting. Especially I can’t get that Utamaru voice out of my head. Nyaa… Hehehe. Yeah, no side story this time. Probably the whole series in a way, Aisia was the main and side story. No lah. Just made that up.
 
I’m not pretty sure if I’m gonna stay around and watch if there’s a 3rd season. Most probably not since the way it already ended. Unless the producers have too much free time and cooked up something crazy. And as for Junichi-Kotori fans, I hope that they accept the outcome. No, it’s not that I’m a Junichi-Nemu fan. I figured that the latter would be much better and more fitting. Since, we’ve heard of Kotori’s own admission too.

Much More Mai Tokiha

September 29, 2006

YAHOO!!! It’s that time again. More pictures and dedication to my eternal one true love, Mai Tokiha. Don’t think I’ve totally forgotten about her. Actually, I’ve been on ‘the hunt’ for her pictures over these last few months. So you’d notice her long ‘hiatus’ in my blogs. And for you newbies, if you don’t know who this Mai princess is, she’s the heroine of the anime series Mai-HiME. So here we go, have a look at this Mai-infatuated-head-over-heals shrine of loooove.
 
FIRE BEAUTY… Care to dance with me?
 
BONJOUR… A photo size head shot pic of Mai would be perfect fit in my wallet
 
LOOK UP IN THE SKY… Is it a bird? A plane? Superman? No, it’s that red HiME star
 
CLASS’S OVER… Mai preparing to return home after class. What’s that she’s bitting?
 
GLOOMY LOOK…Mai ponders over her future
 
THERE’S NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT… Your future at Fuka Gakuen is assured
 
TOUGH JOB… Being a HiME is hard work and responsibility
 
LIFE MUST GO ON… Can’t forever be Fuka Gakuen’s protector, huh? Mai’s other job as a cafe waitress
 
THE MOMENT YOU ARRIVE… Mai in her casual clothes just before she dons her school’s uniform
 
WOULD YOU LISTEN TO MY STORY… Even a girl needs somebody to listen to her story
 
PUZZLING LOOK… Another close-up on Mai’s beautiful facial features and expressions
 
MOMENT OF INTIMACY… Ah, Mai with one of her close encounters with Yuichi
 
YET SO CLOSE, YET SO FAR… Yet another near miss confession of Mai (let’s hope it stay that way for my sake!)
 
NUMBERS NEVER LIE… Statistics and records show that you’re 100% hit with the guys but 1% when it comes to love. Okay, I just made that up.
 
YOKATTA… Mai is all smiles after being praised for her outstanding culinary skills
 
HAVING A BREAK… Sipping some juice while pondering over things
 
GETTING READY… Powering up to fight Orphans
 
LOOK MA, NO HANDS… No, she’s not riding a bike.
 
WAIT FOR 4 SECONDS… Zzzzzz… WHAT??!! NANI??!!
 
SHINING DAYS… Would you believe it? This is the first picture I saw Mai many years ago eventhough I didn’t know her or the series. I instantly fell in love with her beauty but couldn’t find out more. Eventually, a chance curiosity to watch Mai-HiME brought back instant memories of this pic. I knew I’ve finally found the girl of my dreams. Is this sheer chance meeting pure luck or fate/destiny?
 
 
Don’t think it’s the end already. Be sure to watch out in the near future for more pics and dedication to this pretty stunning kawaii bishoujo. So stay tuned… And one last word… MAI-CHAN SUKI SUKI DAISUKI!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tsubasa Chronicle

September 23, 2006

I wasn’t a really big fan of the anime series Card Captor Sakura. But somehow, there’s this mysterious sense of intuition and feeling that I need to watch season 1 of Tsubasa Chronicle. Yeah, it seems that the main characters of the series were based and taken from the former. Surprisingly, I found that this anime is quite enjoyable to watch.
 
One of my first impressions of this series is that the producer of the series, CLAMP, is that there’re gonna be some overlapping of several characters from them. Meaning, that there’re gonna be cameo appearances here and there from characters of other CLAMP animes. Well, I guess it isn’t such a bad idea to have different characters from different series and genres clash in this universe. It’ll be interesting to see how they act and interact with the main ones. Though, I haven’t really watch other CLAMP-made animes. Just heard and read about it with a pinch of salt some many eons ago.
 
Okay, so basically Tsubasa Chronicle is more of a fantasy adventure type genre with some romance and drama element it. Of course, which anime wouldn’t have that comedy component in it too. But this one isn’t that prominent nor is it the main driving factor of the series and is just usually to provide a little comical relief here and there.
 
As seen in episode 1, we’re introduced to 2 childhood friends, Syaoran, who is some sort of an archeologist, and Princess Sakura, the princess of the desert Clow Kingdom. As you’ve probably guessed it already that these 2 are some sort in love with each other but haven’t confess to each other yet. But Sakura has plans to confess to him soon. Seems like Syaoran is that clueless in love and ‘to a girl’s feelings’ kinda guy at first. Yup, he didn’t suspect it even when Sakura dropped hints of it.
 
Unfortunately, Sakura isn’t able to do so in time. You see, there’s this mysterious villain, Fei Wong Reed, and his assistant, Xing Huo, who’re sitting in some mysterious unknown lair, who wants to ‘change the world’. And to do so, they need to harness Sakura’s latent powers. So while Syaoran’s doing some excavation at some ruin, Sakura decided to go so see him. But soon some black warriors appeared and attacked them. Seems that Syaoran has got his hands full. Luckily, Sakura’s older brother, Toya, and priest-mage, Yukito, arrived in time to help fend off the attackers.
 
During the fight, as Sakura’s latent powers are being harnessed, they sorta became activated and in appeared in the form as wings on her back. Although Syaoran manage to foil the kindapping attempt, this causes the feathers of her wings to be scattered through some dimensional portal. At the same time she fell unconscious. So as Toya and Yukito explains, that those feathers are actually Sakura’s memories, and over time without them, she’ll die. An adamant Syaoran vows to recover all her memories back as Yukito prepares to send both of them to meet the dimensional witch, while still fighting the seemingly endless hordes of black warriors.
 
And off Syaoran and Sakura went. The start of their adventure. So in episode 2, they finally arrived at their destination. Seems like the dimensional witch, Yuuko, and her assistants are already awaiting their arrival. At the same time, we have a glimpse of 2 other characters that’ll soon join Syaoran and Sakura on their journey. One of them is Fay, the ever-smiling magician who is running away from his king, and the other, Kurogane, a skilled warrior who’s being exiled for killing senselessly in order to be stronger, bent on returning to his world.
 
And if you know about xxxHolic, you’d probably know that Yuuko isn’t doing charity work. Uh-huh, in order for her to grant their wishes, they must give up the most precious thing to them. Basically, although they have different reasons, all 3 of them wants to hop through different dimensions and worlds. So Fay has to exchange his magical tatoos on his back (which is the source of his magic), while Kurogane had to reluctantly give up his Ginryuu sword (silver dragon sword) , and Syaoran, his relation with Sakura. What’s that suppose to mean? It means that even if Sakura regains all her memories, she won’t be able to remember Syaoran at all because her memories of him are being traded for this time-hopping thing. I guess intangibles will also do for Yuuko, huh. However, that doesn’t stop Syaoran at all nor does it discouraged him one single bit. He’ll do it even if it takes a lifetime (yeah, literally a lifetime journey) or if it’s gonna be a real pain with lots of suffering and hardship. Ah… such good hearted guys are hard to find these days and in this world.
 
So in exchange for those stuffs, Yuuko gave them some white rabbit dumpling looking thing called Mokona. Yeah, Mokona’s suppose to have the ability to open dimensional gates, sense Sakura’s feathers (it’s eyes changes and it goes "Mekyo"), and communicate and send or receive stuffs from Yuuko whenever they’re in different worlds. I kinda like Mokona in a way as it’s the one providing comical relief. Yeah, it may be cute and genki and most of the time, it seems like having fun in times of danger. Also, throughout the series, you’ll get to know some of Mokona’s 108 special abilities. Most of which I see as nothing special (but funny), such as super sneaking in, super voice over and some other super stuffs which looks kinda normal. Mokona seems quite close to Fay and likes to ‘disturb’ Kurogane such as giving him funny names like Kuro-pon or Kuro-rin, irritating him most of the time. Plus, I think Mokona’s favourite is ‘puu’. Saying that most of the time and sometimes busybodying when there’s this lovey-dovey moment.
 
Anyway, I felt that those 3 guys are being ripped off by Yuuko. I mean, each gave her their stuffs, and in return she only gave back 1 dimension hopping creature. 1 for the price of 3. Since they’re in a group, couldn’t they trade collectively as 1? Maybe not. Who’s gonna be the one to give up what then. And Sakura, she didn’t need to exchange anything right? Yup, she’s still unconscious. And without any moment to lose, the 5 (including Mokona) are on a journey of a lifetime (no pun intended).
 
So the first world they arrived at looked like some present day city. Their presence in this world spans around 5 episodes, that is, episode 2-6. First thing, you’ll notice that there’re similar faces before. Yup, as Yuuko said, in different dimensions and worlds, there’ll be different versions of that particular person. Reminds you of that Jet Li movie, The One, doesn’t it. And you’ll find at least one common face in the the worlds to come. So, the gang met Sorata and his wife Arashi (Yuuko look a like in this world) who helped them to provide a place for shelter as Sakura is still unconscious. And as usual, since this is their first time travelling together, there’d be times where they try to get to know each other better and at the same time go round searching for Sakura’s feathers. Syaoran and gang also meet a young boy, Masayoshi. By the way, Toya and Yukito are some sort of restaurant chefs in this world. And the gang seems to patron their shop most of the time. Nostalgia for Syaoran?
 
Also, so happens that some gang fight is ensuing. Yeah, they’re using some Kudan thing to do their battles and everyone in this world has one. Must be another one of those CLAMP things I read somewhere but still not too sure what is it. I remember something like Syaoran spotted Sakura’s first feather and in a way when he tries to retrieve it, interupts the gang fight. So those gangsters got to know Syaoran’s power. One of the gang’s leader, Shougo seems interested to have a rematch with him. While the leader of the other rival gang, some fat punk, wanted to enlist the help of Kurogane’s, but of course, turned down lah. Oh, there’s a brief awakening from Sakura, but she and Syaoran didn’t manage to meet face to face as she soon fell unconscious once more.
 
Anyway to save time, Masayoshi and Mokona have been kidnapped by Primera, Shougo’s girlfriend. And because Mokona’s gone, Syaoran, Kurogane and Fay had a hard time understanding each other. Seems like that Mokona also serves as a universal interpreter or rather language converter. Some fight fight fight. Then they discover that Sakura’s feather is located in Masayoshi’s Kudan (some giant chinese vampire). More fight fight fight. Yay. They manage to retrieve the feather. Gave it to Sakura. Yay. Another feather down… Umm… lots more to go. But hey, it’s a start. Also, Shougo and Primera made up. Some bla bla blas before leaving. And that fat punk seemed so sad that they’re going. Plus those 2 gangs seem like they don’t wanna fight anymore and looks like it was because of Sakura. Yeah, it seems that she has hidden powers to change the hearts of others. Way to go girl. Okay, so let’s move on to the next world. Hey, why are the Kudans of Syaoran, Fay and Kurogane leaving them? Aren’t they gonna follow them through the portal? Ah, maybe Kudans do only exist in that world.
 
Just to note that, everytime I noticed that each time Sakura receives her feather, she’ll fall unconscious and we’ll get a short glimpse of that memory. And her memories are all devoid of Syaoran, which is kinda weird. Then we see Syaoran’s version, which is the actual version of what really happened.
 
Another world which spans another 5 episodes, from episode 7-11. This time arriving in an ancient China kinda country. I think it’s much better if I just blog on the important points from now on. Or else it may get to long-winded. Okay, in this world, some autocratic tyrant overlord who seems to be ruling this kingdom with an iron fist. What’s the source of his power? Sakura’s feather in a crystal ball. Yup, that’s what it is. He also uses this power as a barrier to prevent help from the outside from entering his area. Plus, he’s got a son to do stuffs (read: bullying).
 
But the gang befriended a girl named Chu Nyan, who wants to avenge the death of her mother caused by that overlord. Because of Syaoran and co’s unusual clothing, Chu Nyan mistakens them for some saviour who will lift their land from this tyranny. Oh, somewhere in this world, Sakura finally awakens and gets to meet Syaoran face to face. I’m delving into details how. But I’m glad she’s awake now.
 
So a lot of drama, a lot of things being revealed. Anyway, Syaoran, and co along with some of the villagers decide to penetrate through the overlord’s castle but some strong barrier is making them unable to do so. So Mokona suggests some trade off with Yuuko again. This time, Fay gave his staff in exchange for some black ball. Yeah, it was enough for them to go through. I felt that it was another rip off. Also, Syaoran and Sakura got sucked into some part of the castle where the overlord seems to keep the dead souls. Yeah, Chu Nyan’s mom there too.
 
Skip to the final battle scene. The overlord decides to unleash some terror witch which he kept in one of the castle chambers. As Fay and Kurogane battles her, Syaoran proceeded to face the overlord’s son. Of course, our heroes won lah. Then the final fight begins. The overlord seems too powerful as long as he posseses that crystal ball with Sakura’s feather. Plus, he seems to have hypnotize the other villagers to go against them. So Syaoran has to fight them and at the same time don’t do much damage to them too.
 
In the end, though the overlord was beaten, the witch which he kept earlier on, seems to take him along to some dimension to seal him forever there together. I guess she doesn’t like the idea of being caged up either. I smell revenge. Well, at least now the people of this country are free. And the usual goodbye words, come visit us again in the future. Soon, off they go to another world. Before that, don’t those rescuers who finally came to the village after the barrier has been broken, looked like those from CLAMP Campus Detectives? I think so lah.
 
Now the next world is only a one episoder. Uh-huh, episode 12 is just about the gang arriving in some world with no civilization in sight. Yeah, it’s a jungle out there. Plus there’s a really big lake in the middle of it. Mainly this episode shows some of the flashback of memories that Sakura obtained, as Fay, Kurogane and Mokona went on to search for her feathers on land, Syaoran does his part by diving into the big lake.
 
I didn’t get the part where Syaoran was swimming in the lake, only to stumble upon some very tiny village underwater (but it looks like there’s no civilization there too) and a huge whale which communicates telepathically with him and at other times, Sakura. In the end, they didn’t find any feather and that strong power sense by Mokona was actually some giant plate belonging to the whale which supposedly provided sunlight to that undersea village. Huh? Oh well, without wasting anytime, off they go again.
 
The next world they arrived in has that Victorian European setting during winter time. Spanning 3 episodes from episode 13-15. Currently, that world is experiencing some terrifying old folks lore. About some legend about a golden haired princess who was given a feather (hint hint) hundreds of years ago. Soon after receiving it, the king and queen died and all the children of the village followed the feather and disappeared. That’s what’s happening too. The children are slowly disappearing one by one and their parents are very worried.
 
Syaoran and gang disguised themselves as some story or folk lore writers, collecting such stories on their travels. So they stayed at Dr Kyle‘s place (looks like Yukito). Then there’s that serious looking Grosum. I wonder is he the town’s mayor? Duno. Can’t remember. However things turned from bad to worse when the town people suspect that Sakura is the one abducting their children. That’s because she and the rest of the children were missing one morning. Now Syaoran and the rest have to get to the bottom of this and put up with the town people’s hostility.
 
Actually, Sakura’s been kidnapped and imprisoned in a castle said to hold the legendary feather along with the other children. So somebody’s behind all this right? As Syaoran and co try to gather more information, they found some diary with torn pages of Dr Kyle’s in Grosum’s mansion. Okay, so I figure out that the culprit is Dr Kyle. True enough it was him. Yeah, it seems he wants to posses the powers of the feathers too. So in order to obtain it, he has to use the pureness of the children’s heart to do so. Something like that. So that princess was just made a scapegoat afterall. Her intentions were actually good. She’s actually trying to lure the children away from Dr Kyle but unable to so in her ghost form. So I guess there’s that misunderstood situation there.
 
With the gang infiltrating the castle and trying to stop Dr Kyle, Sakura tries to free herself and the children. To cut things short, the children were freed, Sakura got her feather, and Dr Kyle got squashed by some falling statue in the castle as he was pursuing Syaoran and Sakura. Before the gang embarked on another dimension hopping trip, they wonder how Dr Kyle knew about Sakura’s feather and such. It seems that Dr Kyle is some sort of Fei’s underling. Is he? But the way Fei says things. Probably. And what’s that Syaoran’s look-a-like twin or clone doing in some tube? I’m predicting some twist at the end.
 
Another one episoder in episode 16 with the gang arriving in some Mayan themed world. Hey, there’s a Syaoran and Sakura alter-ego too. Mokona sensed some powerful force from an item but is unable to tell whether it’s Sakura’s feather. Luckily for them, that item is currently set as the prize for an ongoing tournament. And the gang was lucky enough to be just in time to participate it. So some short battle clips here and there.
 
Finally it’s Syaoran vs Syaoran. Who’s gonna win as both are determined to get the prized item. The alter-ego Syaoran wanted that item to save his beloved alter-ego Sakura. The latter’s been cursed to die and only that item can save her. In the end, our dimension hopping Syaoran wins. However, the prized item was just a ring. So he gave it to his alter-ego. It was a good thing too. Yeah, Fay said something like it would’ve been troublesome if it turned out to be Sakura’s feather as both of them will have to really fight for it. As the alter-ego Syaoran healed his beloved Sakura, they thanked the gang and went off to live their lives. So no feather here either. Next world then.
 
This world that they arrived in is the longest as it spans a whopping 9 episodes. Yes, 9 episodes. Count them. Episodes 17-25. Seems like a computer RPG world. Yeah, like it’s some kind of game where people have to register themselves, obtain information, work, earn money that sort of thing. Also, there’re demons called onis terrorizing the town but their attacks come in sort of pattern, in terms of time, place and who they attack. There’s some complicated system and details about the onis, but I won’t go into detail about them. So Syaoran and Kurogane took up a job as oni hunters while Fay and Sakura as waiters at some cafe. Just like in RPG games, they need to have nicknames. And that cheeky Fay gave Syaoran and Kurogane’s little puppy and big puppy respectively while he and Sakura’s big kitten and little kitten respectively.
 
Also, at the same time, Sakura kinda felt ‘useless’. Yeah, somehow she has got that inferiority complex of not being able to help Syaoran when he and the rest are doing their best. But Fay always say to her that she should smile more often to him and wait for his return.
 
It is in this world that Syaoran starts using a sword as his weapon. Yeah, before that, he’s always been using his kicks in battles. Under the guidance of Kurogane, Syaoran learns and improves quite fast. Plus, we learn that Syaoran has a faulty right eye as it was noticed by Kurogane, thus making him a little vulnerable and susceptible to the oni’s attacks. Also, Syaoran and Kurogane stumble and make new friends with another group of oni hunters, Kusanagi Shiyuu and Yuzuriha Nekoi, and Ryuoh with Souma. While Syaoran and Ryuoh gradually gets along, Souma seems to remind Kurogane of the one back in his homeworld.
 
So in this whole world, the gang tries to find out more about the onis when their pattern suddenly changes. A lot of slow drama and fights with onis. I wonder what’s that part all about where Syaoran and Kurogane entered some cave, fight some onis, then reached atop some tower only to find 2 chibi like characters. Besides finding out more info on the onis, I think it’s kinda weird. Then there’s that rumour about the strongest oni and a new kind of breed controlling the rest of the onis. Er… seems like a guy who knows Syaoran. And he does seem to have Sakura’s feathers.
 
To cut things short, I’ll just tell the spoilers. That guy is Seichirou, from Syaoran’s world, the man who thought Syaoran how to fight. Yeah, it’s like the case of the master vs the student. His intentions are something like to become stronger, and he traded one of his eyes to go dimension hopping. Or so it seems. I was surprised that when he face off with Fay, Seichirou killed him! I was thinking like, there has to be a catch somewhere and this isn’t happening. The same too, when he killed Syaoran and Sakura.
 
Remember this whole world seems to be like an RPG? Yeah, actually that world is just some sort of a game simulation. Which means Fay, Syaoran and Sakura are still alive! Thank heavens. When they arrived in this world, their memories were temporarily erased, and this game simulation is somewhat popular in this world. So Kurogane, who thinks that his companions are dead, proceeds to fight Seichirou. Problem is, with the powers of Sakura’s feather, Seichirou fused both the game simulation and the real world together. Yeah, now it’s like one odd messed up looking world. Oh, and the strongest oni’s supposed to be that piano lady at the bar. Something like the final boss kinda thingy. Well, not so important.
 
And because so, the players in the game still have retained some of their super skills like fighting abilities. But Seichirou stopped the fight once Kurogane knew his pals were still alive, saying something like now he can’t fight properly since he knew about their well-being. And before Syaoran could retrieve Sakura’s feather, Seichirou hops to another dimension, asking him to be stronger and come chase after him. Oh… it must be so frustrating. After 9 episodes, and it’s like yet so close yet so far kinda feeling. And this was the fastest ever dimension hopping by Mokona and the gang. No long goodbyes or emotional farewells. Though Ryuoh wished they’d come back soon.
 
I felt that when they left this world, they leave quite a mess behind and a little bad taste in my mouth. Meaning that they left so abruptly and in such a haste in a way they didn’t stay to ‘clean up’ or tie up the loose ends. I guess that world’s fate and aftermath is left hanging. But probably that’s not important since they’re hot on Seichirou’s trail for Sakura’s feather.
 
So the last episode number 26 of season 1, Syaoran collapse due to fatigue upon arriving in the new world. An old woman takes them in and tells them about some legend about the castle in the air where if one manage to make it into the castle, their whatever wish will be granted. However, many of the villagers have tried and died doing so, that’s why the place looks devoid of people. Hey, there’s Sorata and Yuuko’s alter-ego, appearing after such a long hiatus.
 
Could it be another one of Sakura’s feathers? The gang investigates. And those black warriors appear to stop them from advancing. Some cool fighting here before Syaoran and Sakura manage to get into the castle. Yup, looks like another one of Sakura’s feather. The weird part is some God statue is in possession of it. And because they both manage to reach here, that statue willingly grants Sakura 1 wish. And she wished that all the dead people of the village to be brought back to life, before receiving back her feather. How noble of her.
 
Soon all the dead ones were resurrected and everyone’s happy to be reunited with their previously departed loved ones. So another feather collected and they’re off on another journey. I personally felt that this episode was to make up for the last episode where they didn’t get back any feather. Yeah, and just to please viewers and end the season well.
 
Overall, eventhough I’m not a big fan of fantasy adventure genres, this series managed to captivate me. Thus, I’m all for the second season. Most probably the second season will have more flashbacks and character developments as this season was just mainly on Syaoran and Sakura and getting the feathers. Plus I assume that the next season will see the gang journey to more beautiful worlds as compared to 6 worlds only in this season (the one where they visited Yuuko at the beginning doesn’t count).
 
Did you notice that the characters here are quite lanky? I mean their body and limbs are kinda a little slender and long, don’t you think? Whether it’s male or female, even the chubby ones do look like it too. Okay, maybe not so the fat punk, though the skinnier ones are more prominent. I guess it gives the show a unique ‘personality’.
 
Also, I like the music and the soundtrack of this anime, especially the battle scene song. It’s quite exciting and catchy tune and makes you feel that you’re feel part of the battle. There’re wide variety of background musics ranging from slow numbers to fast paced to solemn ones. It all fits the mood and setting perfectly.
 
One last thought. How many feather do you think Sakura has? 100? 200? More? But I guarantee it must be a lot since the producers are planning to make season 3 (probably in the process already). And each feather gives her just a few seconds of memories only. Oh yeah, I also felt that Fei and Xing Hua just sat throughout the whole season watching and commenting on Syaoran and gang. Didn’t do anything much don’t they? Perhaps the next season, they might. And with that Syaoran look-a-like in that tube. Something about unleashing their secret weapon too. I guess so. Maybe in the next season too hopefully this will be answered as well as other questions that seemed left hanging.

Green Green

September 22, 2006

If your first impression is that Green Green is gonna be a hentai anime, than I wouldn’t blame you totally. Uh-huh, the opening credits already features several naked girls (with the important areas being strategically covered), gradually being clothed by some hand-like mouse icon. But the one thing that I like most about the opening credits is the music. Yes, the music, not the naked girls. I love the electric guitar part especially. Sounds like one of those beach surfers kinda music and tune.
 
However it’s the hentai part which makes this 12 episode series funny and fun. And in a way I seem to like and laugh at those moments. No, no, no… I’m not a pervert, mind you. As I say, that’s the core element which drives this anime. Yeah there’s a little bit of romance and drama too, but somehow I felt that the hentai thing overwhelms it all.
 
So what’s it all about, you ask? Okay, to start things off, we have this all-boys high school, Kanenone Gakuen, situated right smack in the middle of the luschious forest among the mountains and hills. In other words, right in the middle of nowhere, isolated from the rest of the world. Then the school announced that for the coming summer semester, there’d be some sort of an experiment for the school to go co-ed. Yup, you know what that means. There’ll be girls, who’re gonna be transferred there for 1 experimental semester, for the first time at Kanenone Gakuen. And it’s very good news for those girl-starved high school boys.
 
As seen in the first episode, the boys are preparing a welcoming party for the girls, who most of them seem not too happy about it. Before we delve deeper into the storyline, I’d like to introduce the characters of the series first. Though, there’re many boys at Kanenone Gakuen, the series mainly focuses on these 4 boys.
 
First off, we have Yuusuke Takazaki, who is the ‘normal’ one out of the 4 musketeers. The term normal here means that he isn’t obssessed about the girls nor is he really pervertly excited about them. Maybe in a way that isn’t quite ‘normal’. So this means that the other 3 must be real perverted, right? Right. Yeah, one of them is Tadatomo Iju or more commonly known as Bachi Guu. He’s the fat bespectacled cassanova (yeah, right) who wants to turn into a man (adulthood)from a boy. Also, the slightly more handsome looking self-proclaiming ladies’ man, Hikaru Ichibanboshi, another don juan (yeah, right) who’s nearly as similar in pervertness of the mind to Bachi Guu but less extreme. Finally, there’s Taizou Tenjin, the kind where he’s got the size but lack the brains kinda guy, has that ‘little sister’ fetish. To describe these guys in a word… Losers. Real desparate losers AKA The Baka Trio. That’s right. Most of the time, these 3 will drag Yuusuke into one of their perverted schemes and poor Yuusuke has to bear its consequences with them too.
 
There’re 2 other guys as well, but they aren’t that prominent. The school ‘s student president, Soccho (who looks a bit like a cross between Kazuma of Yu Yu Hakuso and Onizuka of GTO), seems to be ‘not perverted minded’ and serious about preserving justice and fairness in his school. Also, there’s that sickly and zombie looking Koyasu guy, who doesn’t have much of a dialogue. Though he too wants to get close to a girl, but he usually ends up being ‘repelled’ away too. Plus he isn’t that aggressive as compared to those 3 losers, maybe that’s why he always lose out. Oh, by the way, doesn’t he look a little bit like Manta of Shaman King? I mean, the latter may be shorter and rounder and the former taller and thinner, but hey, look at the facial features. Isn’t it close? Dunno. But that’s my first impression when I first looked at him.
 
So much for the guys. It’s now the girls. As usual, we have one of those tough-raging-no-nonsense girl, Futaba Kutsuki. Then her little sister, Wakaba, who carries her pet cactus, Togemura, around whenever she goes. She even talks to it! Funny. She even has names for her cactus’ ‘attack moves’ (actually she’s just swinging it aimlessly) which looked the same to me, often hitting Tenjin. Poor Tenjin. A sickly looking and weak girl, Sanae Minami, who opted to be in this transfer for the fresh air surroundings to help cure her illness. Midori Chitose, a little bit genki type, cheerful and sometimes blur one. The mysterious and Reika Morimura who seems to provoke, incite, and stir up trouble for Midori. Why? You’ll find out later. Also, they’re not just transferring female students, but a female teacher as well. She’s Chigusa Iino, the physical ed teacher and also to supervise things. So you’d probably guessed already how’d the boys react with such a sexy and ‘lenient’ teacher. I’ll let you imagine that part. Plus, she actually encourages the girls to flirt with the boys.
 
Also, there’s this one girl, Arisa Haruno, whom unlike the other girls, is ‘desperate’ to be with a guy. Ironically, the other guys, including The Baka Trio, seem to avoid her. I have that impression that they think that she’s ‘ugly’, but to me she looks rather ok. Dunno.
 
So back to the story. As the bus carrying the girls arrived, the boys just couldn’t wait and rushed to greet them (or rather have a glimpse of them). Yeah, like wolves on the loose. With the girls’ mindset not too keen on such experiment (with the exception of Arisa) and with the boys’ attitude of display, I guess most of them already made up their mind what kind of school they’re gonna be in. Plus, with Yuusuke as the welcoming committee leader, he’s being ‘persuaded’ by Bachi Guu to greet the girls first. As the bus door opens, a ray of light shines as though it was something coming from Heaven. Must be Heaven for these guys.
 
Soon a female figure appears. Actually it’s Midori. And in her excitement and happiness, without hesitating, she jumps and grabs Yuusuke, saying something like "I’ve found you". Er… Do they know each other? Well, Midori does, but Yuusuke doesn’t. So basically the main premise of the entire series will be to find out or discover the relationship that Midori and Yuusuke had or what kind of their relationship they had. Midori will try her best to make Yuusuke remember. Then Reika, who seems to know about their past relation, tries to separate them, also saying discouraging things like their relation wouldn’t work out. But an adamant Midori would still try her best. Of course in the mean time, The Baka Trio will carry out one of their perverted schemes and this is where the fun usually begins.
 
After some mingling with the ladies, you’ll pretty much figure out The Baka Trio’s ‘ideal’ girl. Ichibanboshi‘s got his sights set on Futaba while Tenjin wants to be Sanae‘s ‘big brother’. Yeah, he doesn’t think more than that, just playing ‘big brother’ is suffice for him. As for Bachi Guu, though he wants a harem, then any girl, then at one time it was Reika, and I think he finally settled for Chigusa. This guy really has the wildest perverted imagination. And though, Yuusuke just want to be friends with Midori and the rest of the girls, it’s Midori who takes action (not so perverted ones like The Baka Trio) as she would willingly do anything for him. Like filling out a perverted questionaire form for The Baka Trio. Yeah, the perverted questionaire is what The Baka Trio would call ‘getting to know the girls even closer’. Nobody else except Arisa filled it out. And Arisa’s so happy that she’d even read out loud her particulars. And as usual, the Baka Trio wished they didn’t want to hear it from her. How ironic.
 
So in episode 2 as The Baka Trio embarked on another perverted scheme by trying to take a peep at the girls taking a bath at the hotspring at their dorm, tagging along with them a reluctant Yuusuke. Of course, the dormitory had to be separated, duh. Unfortunately, they’re being discovered. Surely, if you can’t control your pervertness and there’s only 1 tiny hole in the fence to peek into, what do you expect. As there’s gonna be punishment for them, Soccho steps in and announced something like a game of finding the key thrown in the hotspring, where the winners get to use the hotspring. Something like that. I think it was something like there’s only 1 hotspring and the boys wanted to use it too. As the girl side is represented by Futaba, the boys chose Yuusuke, much to his dismay.
 
Of course, the boys lost. But the thing is, during the game, Futaba noticed that Yuusuke was different from the rest of the other boys, for instance, instead of gawking like the other guys at her wet and soaked clothed body, Yuusuke handed her a towel to cover her up. So this is the point where Futaba’s got a change of heart for him. Yup, she’s starting to fall for him and have feelings for him gradually. And for the rest of the episodes, you’ll notice how spaced out she’d be whenever Yuusuke comes to mind. Haih… But it looks like another ‘competitor’ for Midori and Reika is already scheming to capitalize on it.
 
In episode 3, Futaba just had enough of Kanenone Gakuen when The Baka Trio pulled off a perverted and humiliating prank on her. So she decides to leave and go back alone, but gets lost in the forest on her way. However, Yuusuke and Midori went to find her. Luckily for Futaba, she gets rescued by Yuusuke, and this made her to like him even more, though she still puts on that tough act in front of him. Oh yeah, there’s those 3 mischevious monkeys in the woods too. They suspiciously resemble like The Baka Trio, don’t you think?
 
By episode 4, The Baka Trio still isn’t giving up on ‘visiting’ the girl’s dorm. And as usual they ‘forcefully’ bring Yuusuke along with them. I like the hilarious part where Bacchi Guu was gonna ‘do it’ with a girl. Yeah, the road to adulthood. He said something like he’s so captivated with your beauty that I can’t hold it back. And that girl nod her head and allowed it. Bacchi Guu was so happy that he stripped naked and the censored part of his crotch was a number in degrees indicating his erection. So funny. While Tenjin found Sanae while she was sleeping and was doing something like smelling her and eating rice at the same time (some pun which I don’t get) while she’s asleep, in the nick of time, Wakaba came in and thought she saw a bear. And another Togemura in Tenjin’s face. Too bad. Oh, Ichibanboshi’s been ‘kicked away’ by Futaba long before.
 
Finally Bachi Guu‘s rendezvous came to an end when he discovered that the girl he was gonna ‘do it’ was Arisa. Oh, the horror! So the girls rounded up the 2 and Bachi Guu’s censored crotch has the word ‘shrivel’ written on it. So funny. Meanwhile, Yuusuke who’s been running away from Futaba’s wrath, came to hide in some room. And it was a coincidence that the room was Midori’s and Reika’s. And how happy Midori was when she intepreted that Yuusuke had ‘come to her’ instead of she always coming to him. I guess Reika wasn’t too happy about it.
 
Episode 5, focuses more on Sanae. Also, Tenjin made some bear sculpture as a present to Sanae. At the same time, because Sanae was pretty scared of Tenjin when he decided to give his present, in her haste she forgot her medicine. So Yuusuke decided to help Sanae looked for it. In the end he found it. And in a way, you could say that Sanae too likes Yuusuke. Is this gonna turn out to be another one of those harems. Just then, Sanae suddenly fell ill. So at the infirmary, Midori used her mysterious light power to heal Sane. I see Midori seems to have some sort of power too. Entering Sanae’s dream, making her feel warm, some voice of encouragement. You know that kind of stuff. Fortunately, Sanae felt better afterwards. And she said something like how she’d support Midori and Yuusuke, to be grateful. Well, Tenjin’s not ready to give up either.
 
Episode 6 is the sickest episode, and one of the most funniest too. Bachi Guu has been tricked by Reika to ‘do it’ with her in the gym room. So as he’s getting ready for the meeting, a jealous Ichibanboshi and Tenjin sneaked in so as not to be left out. Just when the 3 of them were arguing, Reika locked them in. There’s no way out for them now. Overtime, the gym room gets hot and stuffy. And since Reika didn’t show up, Bachi Guu and Ichibanboshi started to have arguments over who’d be the best lover. Yeah, and those imaginations are pretty wild too. So… They took their wild fantasies out on each other!!! Naked!!! At first Tenjin didn’t want to be involve, but he’s been dragged in too. It’s like a seemingly sick wild threesome orgy!!! With their imaginations running wild and those moaning and groaning, it’s all too hilarious lah, I tell you. Just when the gym teacher decided to investigate some commotion at the gym, once he unlocked the door, the biggest misintepreted situation ever. Sad case.
 
More perverted antics from The Baka Trio as they continue their schemes at the school’s swimming pool in episode 7. Of course, they all flop lah. And Ichibanboshi’s been using some step by step love guidebook by Dr Tanaka to improve his chances. As usual, he flops too. In this episode, The Baka Trio gets some tips and advice from Midori on how to attract girls. What an unusual source. Like how Ichibanboshi wrote some song and sang it over the school’s PA system about Futaba. A furious Futaba rushed down to the office and bashed him up. Ouch. Must be painful. Very painful.
 
Bachi Guu’s encounter with Chigusa also ended in failure. Yeah, Chigusa wanted to stick some injection needles in him. Ouch. Also, Tenjin’s decision to give Sanae his now smooth bear sculpture as a present wasn’t received well either. So The Baka Trio decided to go to its source. Yup, they’re gonna dress up as girls to further understand how girls feel. And all of them looked so hilariously ugly in it. Before that, they knocked Yuusuke unconscious and dress him up as well. Surprisingly, he looks pretty good. While The Baka Trio were dressed in their female costumes, again they had their wild imagination and fantasies run wild. And Bachi Guu squeezing his fake fruit as his breasts with all the juice oozing out, I felt a little disgusted in a funny way and was laughing like crazy this part.
 
In the end as Ichibanboshi approached Futaba, as usual, shocked and disgusted too, she pounded him. But luckily Yuusuke arrived in time to stop her. Yeah, he made her realized something like how The Baka Trio was true to their feelings although they’re being foolish. I guess this made Futaba realized something too about her feelings for Yuusuke. Eventually, Ichibanboshi decided to follow and rely back on his Dr Tanaka guide book. Sad case also. Hey, wait a minute. Why would Wakaba want her sister to teach her pet cactus how to swim? Strange.
 
Everything just went bare in episode 8. Yeah, I mean this episode the girl’s breast are so visible from the start right up till the end. There’re other episodes too where the girl’s breast are visible but this one was just too long and I felt that it was done on purpose. This episode actually isn’t that much except Reika doing some analysis on what has happened so far (read: episode recap) in the hotsprings. And is mainly about the love interests of some of the girls they have with Yuusuke.
 
Then slowly, the other girls join in. A little chit chat here and there. Then at the near end of the episode, we see The Baka Trio being camouflaged against the rock in the hotspring with their backs facing the girls. Yeah, they’re so tempted to turn and take a peek but have to hold it back. It must be real hard for them, huh. In addition, with some ambiguous talking (read: ambiguous sexual innuendos) from the girls, I guess it must be real torture for those guys. Surprisingly, The Baka Trio didn’t get caught even when after the girls left. They just float in the hotspring, feeling relieved (or are they?).
 
It’s that time again with Chigusa organizing a ‘test of courage’ for the school in episode 9. Thing is, the boys are to be paired with the girls in pair. So it must be delightful news for The Baka Trio. Anyway, the pairing ended up like this. Midori with Bachi Guu (the latter wanted Chigusa, but she’s part of the organizing committee thus exempted), Sanae with Ichibanboshi, Wakaba and Tenjin, Arisa and Koyasu, and Futaba with Yuusuke. Oh, and Reika played the scaring part. But mostly she wanted to scare the Yuusuke-Futaba pair so that Futaba would get closer to Yuusuke.
 
Ichibanboshi’s charming lines didn’t work on Sanae. Yeah, she’s blur on what he’s saying. Tenjin’s been ‘attacked’ by Wakaba’s Togemura. Seems like Tenjin’s more afraid of that little cactus than the ghosts. Midori gets concerned about Yuusuke and Futaba being alone together when Bachi Guu explains the implications of the ‘test of courage’. So Midori ran off to find Yuusuke leaving Bachi Guu behind (yeah, he was dreaming himself again the pervertness of being held so tightly when the girl’s afraid).
 
One of the funny part is that those 3 mischevious monkeys after some scolding from Midori, helped put a stop to Reika’s plans by doing some hentai thing to her, like taking off her panties and ahem… You know the rest lah. Can’t believe she’s being stopped by monkeys. Then the other funny part was Bachi Guu who’s seemingly lost caught a glimpse of Tenjin (as so he thought) and rushed to hug him. He’s in for a surprise when he found out that he isn’t Tenjin, but a large bear. Yeah, in the final scenes of this episode, we see the bear ‘doing it’ with Bachi Guu. Too bad boy, being mistaken for something like that. Hehehe.
 
With the exams just around the corner, the gang are putting in some effort to study. So in episode 10, in order to encourage Midori to do well, Yuusuke suggests that if she does well in the exam, he would give her anything she wanted. Of course, the word spread throughout the college and somehow it has been twisted into ‘if you do well in your exam, you can do anything to your loved one’. I suspect it must be Arisa who twisted it along the way. Imagine that when it reached the ears of The Baka Trio. At first they tried their best but didn’t do well. So they resort to some purification thing like sitting under the waterfall. At the same time, the rest of the school students are studying very hard and the school library being fully utilized. something that never happened before.
 
I love this funny part. Just before the exams, The Baka Trio returned, looking so manly, so knowledgeful, so terror, so ready to sit for the exams. Suddenly a girl ran passed them and they saw her G-String. When they saw the girl’s face to be Arisa, they suddenly vomit and lose all their knowledge of what they’ve studied. HAHAHAHA!!! The vomitting part was bloody hilarious, the way they draw the animation.
 
Though in the end, Midori didn’t do quite well, Yuusuke still allowed her to request for whatever she wanted. Then suddenly she slipped, and their lips met. Suddenly Yuusuke’s memories began to come back. Now he remembers her. It seems something like this. Long ago, both Yuusuke and Midori were lovers, but their love was a forbidden one. So before they committed suicide, they made a promise to be together in the future. However, they’re being borned 100 years apart, with Yuusuke in the present and Midori from the future. This explains that first encounter in the bus where she’d appeared right in front of him.
 
Also, we find out that Reika is actually some Guardian Of Fate thingy. And according to her, Yuusuke and Midori’s meeting shouldn’t have happened, that’s why she’s been trying to break them apart. But I guess she gave in too. After this, Reika seemed more friendly towards Midori and even supports her relationship with Yuusuke. In the mean time, Futaba tries to confess to Yuusuke her feelings but unable to do so as she realized that Midori is the one for her. I guess she just accepted things as it is too.
 
In episode 11, the co-ed experiment is soon coming to an end. Meaning the girls will soon have to go. Not wanting to waste their last days, The Baka Trio decides to do something for their ‘memories’. Yeah, again they try to sneak into the girl’s dorm, in full ninja outfit. And as usual, they failed. This time, Soccho was there to punish these guys. And like he said "Those guys never learn…". I think they never will. As punishment The Baka Trio are forced to organize some Bon Odori festival. They wanted Yuusuke to help, however he was reluctant. That’s when his relationship with The Baka Trio was strained. Yeah, they kick him out of the group. They claimed that since he’s being lovey-dovey with Midori, he rarely had time to spend with them.
 
So Yuusuke felt confused about himself since now he knows about his past. Something like there’re 2 Yuusuke’s, the past Yuusuke known by Midori, and the present Yuusuke known by The Baka Trio. As Midori is happy with the way things are, she tried to cheer Yuusuke up. I think Yuusuke isn’t comfortable with who is right now and wished that this never happened in the first place.
 
During the Bon Odori (somehow The Baka Trio manage to set it up nicely), Futaba seems receptive of Ichibanboshi when he asked her to teach him to dance. Wow! He couldn’t believe it. Perhaps he was expecting another whack in the head. Yeah, he thinks his Dr Tanaka book was the source of his success. Looks like the other boys and girls are getting along pretty well too. Meanwhile, Yuusuke who’s still upset over what has happened recently got into an argument with Midori. A tearful and upset Midori ran away but Yuusuke gave chase. As it was raining, Midori slipped down a slope. Luckily Yuusuke manage to grab her but used his body to protect her.
 
Fortunately, the 3 monkeys manage to alert The Baka Trio and take them to where Yuusuke is lying unconsciously. Looks like he’s in coma and the school’s power is out due to the heavy freak storm. As the gang ponders what they’d do to save him, Midori uses her last resort to save Yuusuke. Yeah, she used her light powers to heal him. It seems that the light is some sort of ‘lifeline’ for Midori to survive in this time period, as mentioned by Reika. If the light ever runs out, so will her time to stay in this period as well.
 
As Yuusuke comes to, Reika had to take Midori back to the future in order to save her. So I guess they said their goodbyes and soon parted. I think Yuusuke said something like we’ll meet again in the future. Next day, the girls are leaving and the boys especially The Baka Trio are so sad. Before that as they exchange and viewing pictures they took during their stay at Kanenone Gakuen, they noticed a pretty girl in the photo but don’t know who she is. It’s Midori! Only Yuusuke remembers her. Looks like she’s being wiped out from the other’s memory banks. Even Bachi Guu said something to Yuusuke like he’d wouldn’t stand a chance in dating this girl even if she existed. Hmm… As the girls left in their bus, Yuusuke said he’ll gladly plan another great welcoming party when they return in the future. The end.
 
But wait… Actually there’s this episode 13 called Erolutions and I was a little surprised when I watched it. It isn’t a direct continuation of episode 12 as it takes place 6 months after the co-ed experiments ended. And it seems that starting next year, Kanenone Gakuen will become a co-ed school. Happiness! And we see that Chigusa, Futaba, Wakaba, and Sanae returning to Kanenone Gakuen for a short stay. Hey… Since when Yuusuke and Futaba are all lovey-dovey and a couple? It’s so obvious here. A lot of blushing from them. They also have their moments of intimacy! Plus, since when did Ichibanboshi liked Wakaba? Since when Sanae’s more receptive of Tenjin? In addition, these girls don’t seem to mind when the guys pull off their perverted wild fantasies. Yeah, they seem receptive of it and put up with it, even that naked ice sculpture The Baka Trio made.
 
Speaking of which, there’re lots of sex scenes here, all of which are censored (the version that I’ve watched). The show is 30 minutes long, and I’ve only watched 15 minutes of air time. So, you thinking what I’m thinking? Also a lot of ejaculation depictions from The Baka Trio. And there’s this deja vu and nostalgic feeling from Futaba of a certain girl being here before, but can’t quite remember it. Yup, it’s Midori. Yuusuke still does remember her but for now, he seems to be wanting to be with Futaba only. And we can see Midori smiling from above. Hey, Midori’s hair is long now.
 
So as the girls prepare to head back the next day and the boys eager to start the new term with them, Arisa finally arrives in her bicycle. Aw… Too slow, you missed the whole experience. And she’s so eager to start the next term with the boys together. Yeah, it seems that The Baka Trio aren’t too happy about that now. Now the end.
  
Ahh… Though the ending was a little far fetched for episode 12, but I guess it’s rather okay. And it was a culture shock for me when I watched episode 13 as it was so contrasting to the earlier 12 episodes, though the ending was a little okay. I love the perverted antics of The Baka Trio and how they fantasize their wild imaginations. It made me laugh so hard. Plus, I felt that it was these guys who made an impact and impression on the series rather than the girls.
 
Besides the perverted schemes, however I didn’t like the nudity of the series. Yeah, though it’s from a hentai pc game, but I felt rather uncomfortable with it, with too much chest-baring moments from the girls. The sound acting is really good, especially Bachi Guu’s. In a way, I like and enjoy his character the most. And again, no, no, no, I’m not a pervert, nor am I planning to be one like him.
 
So lesson learned is… No matter how desparate you are for a girl, DO NOT imitate any of these loser moves anytime, anyplace, and especially on any girl. Such antics are solely for entertainment and ‘educational’ purpose whereby it gives you an idea WHAT NOT to be done. So be warned! In the meantime, I’ll be thinking back those silly perverted antics and laugh my heart out once more. Hey, some laughter is good for the heart, isn’t it? Okay, maybe too much isn’t a good thing.

Mamotte Shugogetten

September 16, 2006

Because it was shown quite early on Sunday mornings by the local tv station, there’re some episodes of the anime series Mamotte Shugogetten that I’ve missed. Mostly episodes at the beginning and the penultimate episode. Plus, the local tv station sort of listed the anime title in a different way (something like Help Me Moon Guardian) so I wasn’t able to identify it at first.
 
So I had to do a little reading up just to get to know the series a little better. It’s about this lonely high school student, Tasuke Shichiri, who lives alone and does many things all by himself. That’s because his single parent father and his sister are travelling round the world. I guess this is a case of being left home alone on purpose. Oh yeah, his mom’s passed on too.
 
One day, he received a gift from his dad (who’s still travelling abroad), a ring-like hexagon crystal called Shitenrin. And as usual, curious, did something to it, and before he know it, some lady in chinese style costume appears before him. Yes, she’s Shaorin Shugogetten, a moon guardian. Just like a genie, she’s been freed from her long imprisonment in the Shitenrin. But unlike a genie, instead of granting 3 wishes, she now becomes Tasuke’s guardian angel who’ll protect and help him.
 
She can also use the powers of the Shitenrin to summon some weird characters (from small one to large ones) to help her. Among those weird characters, there’s a dragon, a weird bird, a large beardy guy, a few tiny soldiers, and Rishu, the one who communicates telepathically with Shaorin as she can’t speak and also to accompany Tasuke when she’s not around him. Because she’s been imprisoned in the ring for so long she doesn’t really know about the customs of the current world. Something like ‘katak dibawah tempurung’ kinda situation. Also to be near Tasuke, she enrols in his school as a foreign exchange student.
 
They say that two’s a company and three’s a crowd. How true when Tasuke receives yet another weird wand-like artifact called Kokutentou from his travelling father. So same thing, curiosity kills the cat. And wahlaa… Another girl by the name of Ruuan Keikounitten appears. She’s quite the opposite of Shaorin and sees her as her main rival and obstacle. Yeah, her main role though isn’t to protect Tasuke but to make him happy with any means possible.
 
She does this by using the powers of Kokutentou which makes inanimate objects come to life. Yeah, you can see the objects have those strange plain eyes and limbs sticking out. And usually they go havoc. I find it funny lah. Plus, when she say "Youtenshin Shourai" to activate her powers, it sounded funny (maybe the dubbed voice was like that). Also as opposed to Shaorin, she doesn’t hesitate to seize the opportunity to make Tasuke hers, as she’s more bold as compared to the shy and naive Shaorin. Yeah, and to make matters worse, she becomes Tasuke’s teacher in his school.
 
So at first and probably most of the episodes we’ll see how Shaorin and Tasuke actually like each other but are too shy to confess to each other. You can see their body language. And gradually they’ll come to terms with their feelings. But there’re other parties obstructing this in the mean time. Yeah, it’s more than just a love triangle between Shaorin, Tasuke and Ruuan. There’re other characters as well.
 
Firstly, there’s Tasuke’s classmate, Takashi Nomura, who fell in love with Shaorin at first sight. And then there’s the spectacle Koichirou Endou, Takashi’s best friend (or rather underling), who fell in love with Ruuan at first sight. If you look at it in a way, they’re both kinda losers, though they both try their best to impress the ones they have a crush on, but to no avail. But I don’t see them getting really jealous or any ill-hatred feelings towards Tasuke. I guess that’s what true friends are (at least in this aspect). However, they’re not giving up just yet.
 
Also, there’s that young local Shinto priest, Izumo Miyauchi, head of the local Miyauchi shrine. Though he’s a priest, he has some sort of a reputation of hitting on girls. Some priest. And he too has a crush on Shaorin. At first he doesn’t really make any significant moves to take Shaorin, but later on the series he does.
 
There’s a character not involve with this love triangle, Shouko Yamanobe. Another one of Tasuke’s schoolmate, she used to be the school’s delinquent, often skipping class and causing trouble. But not only after she met with Shaorin, did she change her ways. And the 2 became instant friends, with Youko trying to teach her stuffs of this world that Shaorin doesn’t understand. Later on, she also helps to bring together Shaorin and Tasuke in their love.
 
Around halfway of the series, in episode 12, we’re introduced to another ‘competitor’ to Tasuke. Yeah, she’s Kaori Aihara. Tasuke met her during some new year prayers at the shrine. And with some twist of events and Tasuke’s kindness and helpfulness, she fell in love with him. We soon find out that she’s a junior student at Tasuke’s school. Also, she’ll get jealous with any other girls being close to Tasuke and is usually in direct competition with Ruuan to win Tasuke’s affections.
 
As mentioned earlier, most of the episodes deal with the relationship between Tasuke and Shaorin and how the others try to get involve and obstruct things. Such as in episode 7, where the gang is being stucked together in pair by their index fingers with some chinese finger band twister or whatever you call it. The pairing of Izumo with the small tank soldier is hilarious. Izumo getting shot most of the time. Poor guy.
 
Or in episode 11, where Shaorin accidentily loses her Shitenrin and Tasuke has to go to great lengths to get it back. Episode 14 where the gang enters some tv game show in a way helped the host and his assistant get back together. In episode 17, Takashi mistakenly steals Shaorin’s school uniform. In order to protect his identity who’s soon to be discovered, he dressed in some make-shift uniform he got nearby. Thus, a rumour of a uniform thief spreads quickly throughout the school. To further prove his innocence that he isn’t the uniform thief, there’re times where he has to quickly change back and act as though he’s chasing the thief. Don’t the other guys notice? I mean those 2 characters aren’t in the same place at the same time? But that’s not important. He even forcefully enlisted the help of Koichirou. But the latter was very reluctant at first. Eventually, when there’s no possible way out for Takashi to hide it all, then comes another uniform thief look-alike (actually it’s Koichirou). Yeah, and a few others too. They came in assortment of colours as well. So funny. In the end, Shaorin got her uniform back and Takashi’s little secret is kept safe among the few.
 
The gang took some trip to some snowy ski resort in episode 13. There Aihara tricked the rest so that she and Tasuke could be alone together in some abandoned cottage. However, her plans go awry when the snow storm’s too great causing both of them to freeze. Luckily Shaorin was there and manage to save them in the nick of time. It’s a battle between Ruuan and Aihara to see who gets to give Tasuke her valentine chocolates in episode 16. So sad for Koichirou. When he thought that Ruuan was gonna give him her chocolates, he was ‘repelled’ away. Funny and sad case. Oh well, tsudzuku ganbatte yo! A non Shaorin-Tasuke-love-related episode 9 is about Ruuan’s fear of cats and how she overcomes it with the help of Koichirou.
 
Of course, there’re episodes where Tasuke’s family members return and he has to deal with them. Like in episode 8, Tasuke’s sister unexpectedly returned from her Egyptian trip. And Tasuke’s trying his best to cover up Shaorin as his sister thought he had a girlfriend living with him. Eventually, she found out and accepted her. Before you know it, she’s off to another world adventure. In episode 18, Tasuke receives a message that his dad is being kidnapped. So the whole gang followed Tasuke to save his dad. Turns out that this was a ploy from his dad to test Tasuke. Yeah, he faked his own kidnapping and played the evil kidnapper. As expected, he’s proud of how his son turned out to be and soon left for another expedition.
 
In episode 18, Izumo is supposed to be wedded off to another girl in some arranged marriage. Of course, he doesn’t want to because he’s still much in love with Shaorin. Then he made up the biggest lie, saying that he’s engaged to her. Ooohh… Tasuke’s not gonna like it. But to prove that Izumo’s telling the truth, the bride-to-be and her mom insisted that they watch Izumo and Shaorin do things together. Yeah, like some sort of a 24 hour surveillance. Of course, Tasuke didn’t allow it at first since it was Izumo’s wrong doing to begin with, but eventually gave in as Shaorin wanted to help him and since it’s only ‘pretending’.
 
So you can see a jealous Tasuke everytime Izumo tries to get close together and do things seemingly what lovers would do. And he’d tried his best to keep his cool. Eventually, Izumo’s cover was blown and this prompted his bride-to-be to be in ‘explosive’ mode. And I mean explosive. Yeah, her anger can just destroy things around her. I guess that’s why Izumo didn’t want to marry her. As the bride-to-be unleasehes some punishment spell on Izumo, he avoided it and the spell hit Shaorin which causes her to be sucked and trapped forever into her own Shitenrin. A brave Tasuke comes to her rescue. This must be the turning point in Shoarin-Tasuke’s relationship. And after witnessing such acts, the bride-to-be and her mom decided not to marry but instead go frolicking. Talk about a change in character. And Izumo’s being punched away by Tasuke.
 
To be grateful for what Shaorin has done for him, Izumo decides to give her (and himself) a free holiday trip ticket to some island. Tasuke wasn’t included but with Shaorin’s request, he eventually allowed it. Well, I guess this episode takes Shaorin-Tasuke relationship a little further with the other gang trying to find some legendary necklace said to make the one you love be with you forever on some mysterious sunken ship which mysteriously resurfaced. They did find the necklace but decided to return it to its rightful owner at the bottom of the ocean.
 
In the last 2 episodes, Shaorin has been imprisoned back in her Shitenrin. Yeah, there’s some old guardian saying something like her time is up, a love between man and such guardians will never last, bla bla bla. And that old bugger took Tasuke through some time travelling back to the past and showed Shaorin’s previous live. Seems like she and Ruuan are bitter enemies and are still fighting one another. And then there’s Shaorin’s previous master, some dying chinese lady. Didn’t get that part.
 
In the end, the love that Tasuke had for Shaorin was so great, that she was managed to be freed once more. But that old guardian, who still couldn’t believe what’s happening, said something like her stay in this world is allowed but only temporary and just for now. Huh? Didn’t get this part too. Then he disappeared. I guess it’s a happy ending that Tasuke and Shaorin could be together again, as so with the rest of the others, though they aren’t bent on giving up just yet. Just like in the final scene where Tasuke took Shaorin’s hand and starts to run away, with the rest chasing them. Ah… The good ol’ days. Perhaps it’s better this way, huh.
 
Overall, this typical man-deity romance comedy anime is rather okay. Felt that those Shaorin’s little helpers weren’t playing a significant part as the series nears its end. One thing I like is the opening theme song, ‘Saa’. Yeah, it’s quite a catchy funky tune with some heavy bass thumping. I also somehow find that the chorus of for ending song ‘I Just Feel So Love Again’ a little out of tune. Is it intended to sound like that? I dunno. Sounds weird. But I got used to it after awhile.
 
As usual, there’s a 6 episode OVA which explores the relationship between Tasuke and Shaorin even further. My guess is that those other people won’t leave them alone either. And I’m sure that in the end those 2 are going to end up together and love each other even more. Am I gonna watch it? For now, since I’ve got my hands full with other animes, I think I’ll pass this one for the time being.

Kanon

September 15, 2006

I’m not really sure how closely the anime Kanon follows with the pc game itself, but that’s not important here. Yeah, it’s another one of those hentai dating games turned into an anime because of its popularity. So probably why I’d watch this was maybe because of the harem thing. No, I’m not a pervert. Just that I read the storyline somewhere saying something about some touching story with some touching emotions bla bla bla, how the girls with some past comes to this guy and eventually why they leave him. Something like that. But I didn’t felt so.
 
So the main protagonist of the series, Yuuichi Aizawa, is the only main leading guy just like Rin in Shuffle, Junichi in Da Capo, and Kaoru in Ai Yori Aoshi. After 7 long years of being away from the town he once used to visit as a child, he finally returns. Also, because he was away for quite a long time, he couldn’t remember much of it during his younger days. Looks like there’s something he wants to forget.
 
Once he arrived at the town, he’s being greeted by his cousin, Nayuki Minase, who came to pick him up back to her mom’s place. Yup, he’s going to stay at his aunt’s place, Akiko. Save the hassle of searching for a place to live and rental problems. Byt the way, Akiko seems too young to be Nayuki’s mom, as I thought it was her elder sister in the first place. But she’s a nice and good person. So, you might have guessed it already, Nayuki being the first girl Yuuichi encounters, also harbours some sort of a crush on Yuuichi since childhood, and is keeping that crush in her heart eversince. Yeah, another case where I-can’t-confess-to-him-directly.
 
You’d wonder why would Nayuki like such a person in the first place. Not only Yuuichi’s blood related, but you’ll notice that Yuuichi likes to tease people. Not in a very bad way, of course. But it’s just a harmless one. And not just with Nayuki, but the other girls that he’ll encounter as well. Oh, one thing I want to mention is that, Nayuki seems to be a heavy sleeper. With all the alarm clocks she has, and when it rings away, she can still sleep. Funny girl.
 
Anyway, since Yuuichi has moved back into this town, he’s gotta settle down and continue with his life like enrol in a local high school and things like that. Taking his usual walk downtown, he bumps into another girl, Ayu Tsukimiya, a girl with a backpack with angel-like wings. Hmm… She seems like she’s running away from somebody. In order for her not to get caught, she pleads for Yuuichi to help hide her. Yeah, this girl has stole some takoyaki, her favourite food, from the shop owner. Though, Yuuichi was reluctant to help her at first, I guessed he pitied her eventually.
 
But because of some words that Yuuichi said, it brought back some memories to Ayu about some promise back in those days. Thus, Ayu was convinced that this was the Yuuichi they both made a promise to each other when they were younger. Though, Yuuichi doesn’t seem to remember it. Oh yeah, Ayu’s favourite word seems to be "Uguuu…". At least that’s what she always say when she’s in a bind or things don’t go her way.
 
During one of those coincidental outings with Ayu, I’m not sure I remember this part well, but some small fracas caused Ayu to bump into a nearby snow-ladden tree. And the snow fell onto a girl sitting next to it. It looks like a sickly looking and shy girl. Before anything happens, she ran off. Then there’s also stuff that Ayu dropped from her backpack during that bump. One of the items seems to have triggered some sort of memory effect thingy. Though I’m not sure what it is, but I guess it’ll be the thing which’ll be instrumental in the later part of the series. I think. 
 
As usual too in school, Yuuichi and Nayuki in the same class also make friends with others. The more prominent ones are Nayuki’s best pal, Kaori Misaka, your typical smart, hardworking model student, and Jun Kitagawa, your typical other supporting male character. Though I felt that Jun didn’t really made and impact throughout the entire series. And at times as Yuuichi takes a peek trhough his classroom window, he always sees that sickly girl that he and Ayu bumped into earlier on, standing waiting at the school gates. Who is she? We"ll’ find out later. Also, there’s another girl whom Yuuichi saw standing alone in the school compound at night. And with a sword in hand, I guess that made Yuuichi even curious rather than "I shouldn’t be messing with this one". More on her later too.
 
So to round up our girls-that-Yuuichi-meets-and-will-effect-his-live, she showed up during another one of those coincidental encounters between Yuuichi and Ayu. She appears from some box (funny way to hide and then appear), and challenges Yuuichi. Yup, she’s Makoto Sawatari. She claims that she has a score to settle with Yuuichi, but can’t remember what it is. *Smack*. Another memory deficient character, but she’s definitely certain about getting revenge on Yuuichi as he’s the one. And while trying to figure out that reason, Makoto stays with Yuuichi and Nayuki for the time being. Guess she’s got nowhere to go too. Plus, she’s quite ‘blur’ and ‘naive’ of certain human customs. Like there’s this one part where Yuuichi asked her to go buy some erotic magazines, which Makoto didn’t know what it was. But Yuuichi’s plan backfired when she really goes to the store and asked out loud for such magazines. Yuuichi must be blushing as he didn’t expect her to go through with it. And Nayuki’s calling him a pervert. Hehe.
 
Basically, that’s how Yuuichi encounter those girls. So there’ll be events to make Yuuichi closer to remember his past with secrets and memories resurfacing. And also how Yuuichi help those girls with whatever their problems and overcome it. So now I’ll just blog on that.
 
So the first girl that Yuuichi ‘helps’ is Mai Kawasumi. The third year student whom Yuuichi saw standing alone in the school compound at night wielding a sword previously. You’d wonder why the school allowed her to carry such a weapon to school. Dunno. But the reason she carries a sword is to fight off demons at school.  Seems those demons only appear at night when the school is deserted.
 
Because of this, she usually gets into trouble with the student council president. At first looks, he seems like the obnoxious and arrogant guy. Yeah, he’s always targeting Mai, blaming her for breaking the school windows and destroying school property and accusing her of being a delinquent. He’s even threatening to expel her from school if this happens again. Luckily besides Yuuichi, Mai’s got a good friend, Sayuri Kurata, who stays by her side and stands up for her no matter what. Though she doesn’t know about those demons, she’s always willing to help her in time of need. So much so to a point she reluctantly joined to student council as the president wishes in order to save her.
 
Anyway, in order for Yuuichi to believe Mai’s words, he stayed back one night with her at school. How true. It seems that there’re actually demons. But why? So some fighting here and there. Anyway, to save time, during the school ball, the demons suddenly attacked. And it is here that Yuuichi made a discovery. That Mai actually ‘creates’ those demons herself and she’s fighting them with her own psychic energy, hurting herself in the process. This explains those wounds were not inflicted by the demons.
 
This is the part where I didn’t understand. After Yuuichi made her realized that all this was her doing, then there’s some sort of a flashback saying that Yuuichi some sort of remembers her that he’d met her before (though Mai says she couldn’t remember a thing). Yeah, something like "I was once with you in your life". Huh? There’s no further explanation on that part. I felt it was mere convenience to the storyline. In the end, she calmed down and things turned back to normal for her. Yeah, she and Sayuri snubbed the student council president too after that for whatever reasons. Yeah! Serves him right whatsoever.
 
Moving on to the next girl, Shiori Misaka, the sickly little girl earlier on. A first year student, she’s always absent from school because she’s always ill with an incurable disease, as Yuuichi finds out. So sad. But she likes Yuuichi because he’s kind and gentle, except the fact that he teases her on occassion. But the saddest part is that her elder sister Kaori (yes, you should’ve guessed it by their surname), doesn’t acknowledged her existance. Why? Something like when she goes, she doesn’t want to be sad or feel lonely, so it’s better off that she doesn’t know her at all. Cruel, but I guess it can’t be helped.
 
Oh yes, before proceeding, this is the most memorable part of the series and the funniest part that I liked best. Yup, it’s the conversation between Yuuichi and Shiori somewhere in episode 5:
 
Yuuichi: Do you want to eat something? How about something spicy?
Shiori: I can’t eat something like that
Yuuichi: Then what kind of food do you eat?
Shiori: I eat food like ice cream
 
A moment of silence and the wind blew…
 
Yuuichi: But I think with your current conditions, you should be eating something warm and shouldn’t be eating something like that
Shiori: Then is there any warm ice cream?
 
The wind then blew even harder!
 
HAHAHA!!! This part especially when the wind blew, it was so hilarious. I purposely watched this part over and over again. Haih… Shiori, Shiori.
 
So anyway, then the inevitable came, Shiori fell really ill and was confined to her bed. It was at this time too that Kaori realized she’s just been hiding her true feelings all along. She’d still really love her little sister. And with some emotional bla bla blas, a miracle happened (can’t really remember how). Shiori’s condition’s starting to get better and she’s on the slow road to recovery. So the 2 sisters resolve to make the best of their times.
 
Next girl, it’s Makoto’s turn. I’ll save the trouble by telling what’s just important. As time goes by, Makoto begins to remember. But not totally. You see, Makoto’s actually a human reincarnation of a fox. That’s right, a fox. Back when she was a cub, a young Yuuichi and Nayuki took care of her when she was wounded (that scar on her chest proves it). In a way, because she loved him so much, she decided to come back in a human form. But the thing is, if she stays too long in such form, she’ll forget how to become human (like the part where she can’t even remember how to hold a chopstick).
 
Actually, I wouldn’t figure out all of that, and so would Yuuichi. The short appearance of Mishio Amano, a mysterious schoolmate of Yuuichi’s, explained it all. I too felt it was more of a convenience to end Makoto’s part. She’s like some sort of understands Makoto and can tell if something’s human or not. Er… But the way she say things, she seems close to Makoto and knows her kind.
 
So as Makoto’s health begins to fail, Yuuichi carries her back all the way to the mountain where she was born. Once they reached their destination, Makoto begins to die. I’m not sure whether she really dies or not. But I guess she went back to her world as she disappears. So sad.
 
Next stop, Ayu. You know what. Ayu’s a ghost! Sorry for the early spoiler. But her part’s the crucial one in recovering Yuuichi’s memories. Notice why she’d always bumped into Yuuichi? Yeah, it’s something like time is repeating itself for her. Also, when they’re young, they made some wish doll as a time capsule in the middle of some forest. Seems like these 2 were some sort of a couple already at such a young age. Some flashbacks, that they’ll always meet here, and this meeting point will be their ‘school’, bla bla bla.
 
But one fateful day, Ayu fell off the tree near where the time capsule was buried. And she was sent to the hospital. No word from her ever since. So this is the part why Yuuichi wanted to forget. It must be real tough for a kid at that age to witness such a horrible accident. But it was too late, Ayu’s gone and won’t be coming back anymore, even as a ghost. Too bad Yuuichi had to relive this horrible experience and feelings again.
 
So next day in school as Yuuichi’s still depressed over what’s just happened, comes another bad news. Akiko had just been involved in an accident and is sent to the hospital. To make matters worse, she’s in a comatose state. This made Nayuki shocked too, but soon after she decided to confess her feelings to Yuuichi. Though, there’s no certainty from Yuuichi of these, but I kinda noticed how he said "I even trampled on Nayuki’s feelings" many times. It’s like he knows the situation and Nayuki’s being depressed because of it, but he doesn’t take any action. Just watching only. Duh! What lah. In addition, Yuuichi’s contemplating to leave town and return home to his mom.
 
So as Nayuki stays by her mom side at the hospital, she noticed a room with a familiar name on it. Surprised at what she has discovered, she quickly calls Yuuichi to come at once. So who’s that mysterious person? Tada! It’s Ayu! Looks like she’s been in a coma all this while and isn’t dead yet. So somehow she communicates in a ghost form. Something like that. Sounds a little far fetched, don’t you think? And as usual, with Yuuichi’s touch some emotional words, a miracle happens. Yup, Ayu opened here eyes once again after a long time. And at the same time, Akiko also recovers.
 
In the end, Yuuichi and Ayu starts dating each other again once she’s been released from hospital. It’s not what Nayuki had hoped for but she accepted it. And they all live happily ever after. At least for Yuuichi (who decided to stay on) and Ayu, Nayuki and Akiko too. Well, Yuuichi’s still that same ol’ teaser, teasing Ayu. And Ayu still going "Uguu…" .Ah well, some things never change.
 
Overall, I guess the anime’s ok and decent. No hentai elements as compared to the game (at least that’s what I read). One thing I notice is that the chin area of all the characters are quite ‘high’. I mean, the characters have such a small nose and mouth and the relative distance between them is small, thus giving them a wide chin area. Looks so funny and ‘ugly’ lah.
 
Before the start of each episode, we’ll have that narration of which sounds kinda sad, depressed, and melancholy something about life, love or dreams. Then I find the mid-intermission a little bit weird. It’s a still picture of one of the anime’s characters and that character will say ‘Kanon’ with a silent background. Sounds weird. I mean, it’s like in Popotan’s case, but the latter sounded much ok with music in the background. I dunno. I just felt weird with this one.
 
In fact, there’s a special 20 minute episode called Kanon Kazahana. It’s some sort of an ending extension of the series. Personally, I felt that if you don’t watch it it’s ok too since there isn’t anything much. But it won’t be fulfilling or complete if you don’t either. So what the heck, give it a try.
 
We see Mai and Sayuri furthuring their studies in some foreign land taking care of themselves. Yeah, they wrote a letter to Yuuichi telling him how they’re doing over there. Then Nayuki’s part of some atheletic track team as she’s doing one of her laps alone at school for an upcoming track meet. Can see that she still have that I-love-Yuuichi-feeling in her. Kaori and Jun are dating though the former doesn’t want to admit it. Ayu who’s worrying about her ugly haircut (looks fine to me) meets Shiori and have one of those girl to girl talk and does some girlie things (like trying to fix Ayu’s hair) before they part.
 
Nayuki on her way home then meets Yuuichi sitting alone on some swing at the playground. Have some little chit chat. That talk felt like there was some I-still-love-Yuuichi kinda feeling. But she didn’t mind it all even though Yuuichi teases her on something, and off she goes. And Yuuichi went his way to meet up with Ayu. Yeah, they’re still dating.
 
Oh, and what about Makoto? We see her brief appearance in a human form over some hilltop next to Amano. Some bla bla blas, something about she can see Yuuichi anytime she wants. And with a gust of wind, she disappears leaving Amano just watching over. Talk about gone with the wind. And then we see Akiko explains why it’s snowing in summer which showers beautifully over town. Actually it’s dandelion seeds. Something about leftover memories from winter, thus the name ‘Kazahana’ (direct translation would be wind flower).
 
And recently there’s been much hype about the remake of this anime series. It’s set to be longer with more episodes and the animation looks a bit better. However I’m not so sure whether the storyline will remain the same or not, or are there going to be major changes or minor adjustments with new characters thrown in. But for now, it seems I don’t have the interest to watch it. But let’s hope for the best anyway.

School Rumble

September 9, 2006

I love those slapstick comedies and gags of School Rumble. Yeah, I was laughing all the way (okay, maybe most of the time) because of its jokes and silliness. Plus, there were quite a number of zany and interesting characters which also helped contribute to its wackiness of this 26 episode comedy-cum-romance-cum-school-teenagers-drama series.
 
The main plot of the series is quite simple. A second year high school student, Tenma Tsukamoto has this crush on some dull and boring looking guy, Ouji Karasuma, who doesn’t know about this (I’m not sure whether he’s purposely avoiding her or just plain dumb. But I’m guessing that he’s actually smarter than he looks). I mean, how could such a cute girl fall in love with such a guy. What does she see in him? Oh well, love works in mysterious ways. However, she can’t seem to confess her feelings to him. Yeah, she gets all nervous and panickee whenever she just catch a glimpse of him. To make matters worse, Karasuma is going to transfer to another school soon. Oh, the horror. Just when she finally gets her wish to be in the same class with him for the second year, then comes this bombshell. What will she do?
 
On the other hand, we have this school delinquent Harima Kenji, a tough macho looking gangster student, who surprisingly has a crush on Tenma. He too becomes soft whenever he’s near her. Hey, even delinquents have feelings too. And just like in Tenma’s case, he doesn’t have the courage to confess his feelings to her, and Tenma’s unaware of it too. A typical love triangle? Well, it’ll get a little more complicated with the other characters thrown into the fray later on in the series.
 
As seen in the first episode, during the start of the new school term, we see how desperate Harima is wanting to be in the same class with Tenma, of course that’s in his mind while maintaining his macho delinquent looks. Oh, how horrible! His name isn’t anywhere in Tenma’s class. Wait, but some student pointed out that he’ll be in the class next to Tenma’s. Oops… sorry, false alarm. It’s actually Harry McKenzie (which sounds like Harima’s if you pronounced it fast). Too bad, that student gets pounded by Harima.
 
In fact, Harima’s not on any of the class list for the new term. Why? According to some teacher passing by, he’ll be repeating his first year again. Aww… Too bad. Later on, Harima manage to get his wish come true when he’s placed in the same class as Tenma. Woo-hoo! How? He did some ‘begging’ in the teacher’s room, of course. Don’t look so tough and macho when he did that desparate begging, huh.
 
So back to Tenma’s case, after finding out about Karasuma’s transfer, Tenma devices a plan to try and make Karasuma stay. So she writes to him a letter not to go. And what a long letter it is. Actually, there’s nothing in it except the words "Please don’t go". And the funny part was, Karasuma stayed the whole night trying to read and figure it out. And it seems that all seems lost when he doesn’t get it. Tenma must be real depressed.
 
However, the next day in school, Tenma notices that Karasuma is still around when he should already be transferred. How come? Well, her friends told her that some anonymous person wrote a long-winded letter telling him not to go and thus he decides to postpone his transfer. Yatta! Good news for Tenma. Only thing she forgot to write her name on that letter. *Ding* What a letdown.
 
At the same time, Harima also tries to write a love letter to Tenma. Only problem is, the meeting time and place is exactly the same as his rematch with his eternal nemesis, Noboru Tennouji. Yeah, this is another hilarious part where there’re some miscommunications too. Tennouji asked if Tenma is waiting for somebody, and she replied about the anonymous love letter that she received. Yup, Harima too forgot to write his name down. And this Tennouji took the opportunity to say that the letter was written by him. Oh, the shock and anger Harima must be feeling. But, Tenma told Tennouji that she had somebody else that she liked, thus rejecting him. How sad. And after she left, it was quite funny to see such a tough guy cry, only to be beaten up by Harima then. Yeah, Harima thought too that Tenma was referring to him. Oh, the misunderstandings I tell you.
 
So basically, the first few episodes sees how Tenma tries to attract Karasuma’s affections like trying to get him to say the word ‘suki’ (love) to her by using various kanjis with the same pronunciation (of course, only to fail miserably). And also sees how Harima tries to do the same to Tenma like trying to help her pass her English test. But she forgot to write her name on her test paper, and in view of this, Harima ‘sacrifice’ himself by writing her name on his. Unfortunately, both of them flunked.
 
Then there’s one episode where Tenma decides to make Karasuma some curry lunch, his favourite dish. And that’s the part where Harima found out that Tenma’s real crush is on this guy. Yeah, because of this, whenever Harima sees Tenma and Karasuma together, he’ll get sort of jealous and you can see those angry flames burn and wants to give him his wrath. When Tenma asked Karasuma about which he liked better, her or curry, Karasuma remained silent. And this prompt Tenma to freak out saying that she couldn’t make Karasuma decide on which is better, thus running away crying. An angry Harima approached Karasuma, but is being told by him to chase after her. Surprised by his words, Harima does so. And it looks like Karasuma is thinking about some curry lunch offer that he saw in a nearby ad. Hmmm…
 
Harima’s failed attempts have caused him to go into depression. Yeah, he’s been through a lot, like trying out drawing manga. Looks like he’s got real talent in it for a delinquent. Then he found out that his manga artist whom he’d looked upon is no other than Karasuma. Oh, the shock and horror! Later on, he confides in Yakumo on his manga secret as she’s the only person who knows Harima is into this. As she tries her best to keep it a secret, a misunderstanding arises as others thought Harima and Yakumo are a couple. Also he seems to be acquainted with animals during that period of depression. Yeah, a giraffe, a pig, a lion, and lots more other animals. He seems to get along with them fine and understands them.
 
Harima’s misunderstanding with Eri starts when he’s chasing after Tenma and tripped. He then grabbed the hand whom he thought it was Tenma’s and confessed he loved her out loud. Only thing is, it’s the wrong girl. So I guess, it’ll be some sort of a love-hate relationship between these 2 as the series progress.
 
Oh yeah, there’s an Initial D parody too in episode 1, where Karasuma riding a bicycle to school, is being chased by Tenma on one too, who’s being chased by Harima also. So funny lah this part. Can’t believe the Toyota AE86 lost to some manpowered vehicle. In fact, there’re too many near misses and miserable failures of them trying to confess to their loved ones (and I laughed real hard at each bothced attempt), I’d lost track and forgot (how sad) most of the episodes. *Sighs*
 
But the character developments of the series is quite well done. With the numerous number of characters introduced, I’m sure that there’ll some be memorable ones. Like Tenma’s best buddy classmates, Eri Sawachika (some very rich girl), Suou Mikoto (the atheletic and judo expert), and Akira Takano (seems like the scheming kind and never smiles too).
 
Then there’s Tenma’s younger sister, Yakumo, who seems to be a total opposite of Tenma herself. Yup, on the outside, Tenma may look just pretty and cute, but actually she’s just a klutz, and not good in anything school related or not. Whereas, her soft spoken sister does the cooking and in a way does protect her if anyone tries to say bad about her (though not in a violent way). As oppose to Tenma, she’s quite popular with the boys but currently doesn’t feel commited to have one. Plus, Yakumo seems to be able to read other people’s thoughts. You can see the kanji words on top of that person’s head when this happens. Funny though, you’ll see this occuring a lot of times in the early episodes and as the series progresses, it gets lesser and lesser.
 
Then there’re other classmates as well such as the energetic and hyped class rep, Hanai Haruki, who seems to be in love with Yakumo, and isn’t afraid of expressing it. Unfortunately, his love is unreturned as his attempts are usually ‘thwarted’ or rather avoided by Yakumo. Sad case. But that doesn’t stop him from trying. And from time to time, he’ll have misunderstandings with Harima because he thought Harima too is in love with Yakumo. Yup, they both call the Tsukamoto sisters by their surname, thus a misunderstanding is sure to arise.
 
Then there’s that lazy pervert-minded Imadori Kyousuke, who seems to like girls who have D-cup, like Suou’s. Plus, he can correctly guess the size and category of girl’s breasts. Not that he’s perverted all the time, but when the time arises, he’ll turn into one, albeit not a serious one and usually gets repelled away. In addition, Imadori is also some sort of fan of some Power Ranger spoof thing (can’t remember the name). So he may seem childish at times too. Also, the class photographer Fuyuki and the no nonsense Asou Hiroyoshi and his best pal Suga Ryuhei. More of the other classmates later on.
 
Then there are the 2 senseis as well, Itoko Osakabe, who’s Harima’s elder cousin and is also another scheming type, and Tae Anegasaki, the school’s doctor and the one who lets Harima lived at her apartment during one of his depressions. Yeah, there’s some misunderstandings too between Harima and Tae’s relationship from the other’s point of view, especially Eri. These 2 senseis seem to be like buddies and does things together. Could it be that they are…? Nah.
 
The whole series isn’t just about the love triangle and its failed attempts. Slowly as the series progress you’ll notice that this will take a back seat a little and there’ll be side adventures with the other characters (though keeping the original plot in view too). Like the time where the gang decides to take a trip to the beach. More misunderstandings between Harima and Eri, and we discover another classmate, Nara Kentarou, seems to have a crush on Tenma. However, his attempts to confess to fails under the ‘watchful evil eye’ of Harima.
 
Also, there’s that episode where the relationship between Suou and Eri turned sour because of some comments of how uncute the other is. But they manage to patch up in the end. Then there’s the part time job which Harima, Hanai, and Imadori took up some part time job to earn some extra cash by moving stuffs, only to find out (and freaking out) that the other strong person is a girl, Karen Ichijou, who’s their classmate and also have a crush on Imadori. She’s shy and timid but quite strong because she’s part of the school’s wrestling club. However Imadori doesn’t seem to keen on her, though there’s one time he went out with her to fulfill some promise he made during that part time job. Yeah, you wonder why she’d fall for such a guy either. Ah… Well I’ve said it before, love works in mysterious ways.
 
Plus, a chore of cleaning the school’s pool turns into some pool hockey game. Tenma’s cat, Iori gets lost and is found to be drifting away in some drain, but Harima comes to it’s rescue. Unfortunately, Tenma doesn’t recognize it’s Harima. Or the time where the school’s tea club organize some test of courage, with Harima and Tenma being paired up. Here’s a hilarious part. Because it was raining, Tenma and Harima took shelter in some abandoned house not knowing Yakumo and Eri did the same thing too and is in the next room watching them. Harima tried to hide his wild imaginations. But at the same time, in order not for them to catch a cold, he suggested that they took off their clothes. Imagine the misunderstanding that Eri and Yakumo had. Luckily there were some old rags nearby to cover themselves.
 
An episode where Ganji Nishimoto seems to be the head of some secretive club with the objective of ‘admiring’ and obtaining data of a girl’s prized assets (you know what I mean). Yeah, some sick club. Other members include Fuyuki, Yoshidayama, Nara, Suga and Imadori. Then there’re some flashbacks too like when Hanai and Suou were young and something to do with some recorder instrument Hanai used to play. And the reason why Harima has a crush on Tenma was because he saved her from some thugs when they were younger and he was without his sunglasses and beard. Unfortunately, Tenma doesn’t know it’s him (and there were some compromising positions too during that rescuing effort, in a way, Tenma scorns him).
 
Some news circulating that Itoko’s gonna pose nude for some art gallery thingy. So this caused that sick club to get all excited. At the same time, Harima and Hanai misinterprets that Tenma and Yakumo is helping out with the exhibit, they get all excited too and decides to stop the exhibit from going on and not let other people see their nude bodies (though they themselves would like to see it). Actually Tenma and Yakumo were just helping with some admin duties. Phew. What a relief.
 
Then there’s an episode where Sara wanted Yakumo to take part in a mock wedding play. Sara’s intended groom was Asou but since he was unable to come, Hanai had to replace him. Oh, Yakumo must be dreading this moment. Of course, Harima misinterprets that Tsukamoto is going to marry Hanai and sets off to stop him. A lot of fist fights powered by ‘love’. In the end, Harima found out it was Yakumo actually and Hanai didn’t get to be the groom. So who became Yakumo’s groom? Akira, of course. So those 2 guys just reconcile and chill. Tough luck, though.
 
New character introductions later in the series such as Lala Gonzalez, some brute Mexican girl who sees Karen as a challenger and who also has an uncanny resemblence to her late mother. Funny thing is, Imadori enjoys picking on her, and then always getting violently bashed by her. Doesn’t he learn his lesson? Finally, the appearance of Harry McKenzie in episode 21. Looks like some kick-ass blond wearing red sunglasses. Could he be Harima’s new challenger? And Togou Masakazu, some close buddy (in his mind) to Harry, and always has some philosophical ways of saying things. Note that these 3 (along with Tennouji) belong to class 2-D, the natural rivals of class 2-C, in which Tenma and co are in.
 
Anyway, there’s one point where Tenma thought that having a beard was cool because she spot Karasuma with one, and this prompt Harima to grow one. Then Eri accidentily cut it off. And after much effort to try to apologize, she and Harima went into another misunderstanding mode, thus making Eri shaving Harima bald. Ooohh… That’s gotta be real bad.
 
Then there’s that school sports festival, with class 2-D challenging class 2-C. It’s quite fun to see how all the gang fare in the Kibasen (some sport where 3 people become like a horse chariot supporting 1 person who is supposedly to be the rider). So everyone fell off leaving Harry and Lala of 2-D facing off with Hanai and Karen of 2-C. In the end, class 2-C won, and this made Harry even more excited to beat class 2-C.
 
At the same time, Harima who’s still embarrassed to let anyone see his bald head, reconciles with Eri (who injured herself while trying to help Harima hide his baldiness), as they danced in the background of the bonfire with everyone else watching from afar. Harima and Eri a couple? I wouldn’t bet on it still. I mean, the way Harima’s obsessed with Tenma, I wouldn’t think otherwise.
 
With Harima’s depression of not getting to confess to Tenma, he decides to leave school and begins a new life on some fishing ship. However, the crew bullied him. But the boat’s captain (his very low mellow voice seems fitting) made him realized that this is not his way of life (after reading his manga too). Thus, prompting Harima to go back to his usual ways, not before letting him have some fish-bone pen?! Must be some sort of encouragement and inspiration for Harima.
 
Then there’s this penultimate episode 25, where Karasuma is revealed to being an alien. At first I thought this was just some dream or imagination cooked up by Harima (like that Street Fighter parody much earlier). But the events that took placed and the things that fell into place seem to be so convincing. How they both confessed they love Tenma and how Karasuma can’t return Tenma’s love. It was all so confusing but so real. In the end, when Karasuma left in his spaceship and Tenma opened her eyes and she and Harima was going to kiss… Suddenly it was just another manga drawn by Harima. Huh… They caught me by surprise. Didn’t really see that one coming.
 
The last episode sees how Harima rushes to send in his manga entry for some rookie manga artist contest only to bump into Eri and in the process she helped him deliver his manga on time. Also how Tenma and Iori switched bodies causing some misunderstanding with Harima about Tenma’s nature (yeah, he thought she was onto him). And how Tenma decided to confess to Karasuma on his birthday. The funny part was that Tenma had some weird dream that her plan to confess wnet well. Then on that day itself, everything seems to be going in order, so the plan must be working. That is, until the last part, where instead of Karasuma saying "Suki da" (love you), he said "Sugi da" (passed already). Hahaha. His birthday’s passed 3 days ago. Oh well, Tenma, looks like you’ve failed again. But there’s still hope. I feel though that the middle part of the series, Karasuma was ‘absent’ from the series and didn’t really do much.
 
The series didn’t just end there. There’s a 2 part OVA series too. The first episodes are mainly filling the gaps of certain parts of the School Rumble series. Such as how Yoshidayama wants to beat the crap out of Harima but until then he’d be his follower (only to be bashed by him), how Yakumo and Sara met and became good friends (something to due with some vicious dog gonna attack Yakumo), how the sitting arrangements in class 2-C came to be. It was hilarious how Harima bullied Nara to sit near Tenma in front because he gave some excuse of eye problems, only to retract it later when she moved back behind.
 
Yeah, there’s the part too when the gang returned from their beach trip and stopped at a hotspring. With Imadori wanting to peep on the girl’s, Harima and Hanai tried to pull him back, only thing is the barrier collapse with Hanai and Imadori being ‘blown away’. Then Harima’s towel dropped and Eri witnessed it (Tenma and Suou had their backs that way, so they didn’t see it). She must be very embarrassed to see ‘it’. Poor Harima, as he puts back the barrier. Also, Akira receives a phone call to do some ‘Italian Job’.
 
There’s a scene where Yakumo had an encounter with a ghost girl questioning her love life. I didn’t get that part. Seems like a dream, but looks real. But in the end it made Yakumo smiled. Huh?
 
The second OVA episode is mainly the prehistoric version of School Rumble. Yeah, on how they live their lives in the past and how in an instant invented some modern day items, only to be questioned by somebody, "What’s a pen?". Also how they try to fight off some gigantic mamoth too. In the end, they won, and somebody said "I’ve a feeling that all of us will become classmates one day in the future". Yeah, they would. Then a voice responds "What’s a classmate?". Hahaha. Then a peek into modern day where Tenma and Yakumo visits a museum only to find some prehistoric rock painting which curiously resembles like Tenma (Harima drew it back then). How ironic.
 
Overall, I’d consider this anime to be one of my favourites. Hilarious jokes accompanied with various character developments and nice animation drawings, ah… such a nice combination. The voice acting is great too. Plus, I think Tenma is rather cute and kawaii, despite her klutz character. But because of that, she’s just so lovable. Harima looks cool and macho with his trademark sunglasses and beard.
 
The jazzy opening theme song sounds cute and catchy with all the trumpets and horns blowing. One thing, that the opening and ending sequence isn’t fixed. Meaning that, sometimes it may start just after a few seconds or after 1 part of the story ends (around 5 minutes later). Also, after the opening credits and preview of the next episode, there’ll be some additional info about the characters or other stuffs relating to the current episode or next. This may provide some useful insights to get to know the series better.
 
So if you want to confess to somebody you like, probably this anime has all sorts of wacky ideas and suggestions for you to do so. Be warned though, it may not work out, just like in the series. So use them at your own risk.
 
Since there’s a second season and I’m in the midst of watching it, will Tenma ever get her message to Karasuma as well with Harima? I wouldn’t bet my money on it. Oh yeah, notice how I used too much of the word ‘misundertandings’. So true. But that’s what’s happening most of the time, right? And just like what’s said in the last episode… SCHOOL RUMBLE 4EVER!!! Let the hilariousness of teenage school romance and life continue!

Rewrite

September 8, 2006

  Kishinda omoi wo hakidashitai no wa,
  Sonzai no shoumei ga hoka ni nai kara
 
Hardcore fans of the Fullmetal Alchemist should know that those opening lines are from the fourth opening song of the series, Rewrite. Yeah, another one of those rock songs which suits well with the series.
 
  Tsukanda hazu no boku no mirai wa,
  Songen to jiyuu de mujun shiteru yo
 
As it is sung by Asian Kung-Fu Generation, I kinda like the heavy electrical guitar playing, especially the beginning and the end part. Plus, the drum playing too seens ‘catchy’. Though, I’m not really one of those heavy metal listeners or fans, but somehow this particular song mysteriously appeals to me.
 
  Yuganda zazou wo keshisaritai no wa,
  Jibun no genkai wo soko ni miru kara
 
Unfortunately, this is one of the few songs that has no karaoke version of it *Sob! Sob!*. Haih… Why is it that some songs that I like and really would like to try singing it, have no karaoke version of it? Maybe it must be the band who doesn’t believe in doing karaoke versions. Furthermore, I notice that songs sung by Asian Kung-Fu Generation don’t have any karaokes to it. WHY, OH WHY???!!!!
 
  Jiishiki kajou no boku no mado ni wa,
  Kyonen no KARENDAA hidzuke ga nai yo
 
So as usual, I have to sing along with the singer himself. Well, at least it covers up my shortcomings. Hehehe. That’s because you need to have that ‘hoarse screaming voice’ to sing this song, especially the chorus part, where you really yell. Of course, I don’t sound good. Like some bugger being stabbed (actually it sounded much worse that that). But the rest of the song, the singer seems to sing through his nasal. So I also follow. Felt a bit weird and a little kinda low for my voice too.
 
  Keshite… RIRAITO shite,
  Kudaranai chou gensou,
  Wasurarenu sonzai kan wo
 
The overall lyrics of the song is quite short, though I had some hard time remembering it because the choice of words used to describe some ‘abstract situation’. I think so lah. Yup, the verse is only at the beginning with the chorus being repeated twice, and a bridge after the solo part.
 
  Kishikaisei… RIRAITO shite,
  Imi no nai souzou wo,
  Kimi wo nasu gendouryoku,
  Zenshin zenrei wo, Kure yo
 
I think I’m getting a hang of the ‘screaming part’. Okay… One more time… KESHITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RIRAITO SHITE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Darn, I need more practising.
 
  Woh woh woh yeah yeah yeah…

Karin

September 2, 2006

Although this is a vampire-themed anime, it isn’t really that all scary. It’s more like chibi-vampire type. That’s right, I’m talking about Karin here. The comical supernatural chibi-vampire with some romance and action (the more later part of the series) all thrown into it. And if you think that it’s taking place at the turn of the century, then you’re worng. It’s actually taking place in the 21st century, modern day Japan.
 
As seen before the opening credits of each episode, we’re introduced to a family of Eastern European vampires, the Maakas, who have migrated and settled down in Japan. Of course, as vampires, they still discreetly suck human blood and have those peculiar characteristics all vampires should have.
 
That is, except for one member, Karin Maaka, the middle child and eldest daughter of the family. What’s so weird about her? Well, if you look at her characteristics as a vampire, she doesn’t actually fit any criteria as one except being borned into a family of one. What do I mean by that? First, she seems able to be exposed to sunlight without getting her skin burned, thus allowing her for a ‘normal school girl life’. Secondly, she loves garlic, something which all vampires hate. Third, she seems immune to any holy water.
 
But the most peculiar trait is that she doesn’t suck blood. More like, she’s a blood maker. Huh? Meaning that instead of sucking human’s blood as a meal, she overproduces blood and usually this over blood production will come out as what other people will view as ‘extreme nose bleed‘. Plus this is the thing that Karin is most embarrassed about.
 
The episode begins with a seemingly young Karin seemingly bitting a neck of another young boy at a lake. Fortunately, it’s all just Karin’s bad dream. Actually, that really happened, as you will find out later in the series.
 
As the rest of her family sleeps during the day, Karin gets to do things all normal school girls would do, as mentioned above, and continues to live her happy carefree life. That is, until a new transfer student, Kenta Usui (looks a bit like Seiji of Midori No Hibi), comes into her life. What’s so bad about him? Well, nothing actually, except that Karin notices that everytime she’s near him, her blood levels will increase and she will have that feeling of nose bleeding again. Is he the boy in that dream? Maybe.
 
So in order not to nose bleed and have her identity revealed, she tries her best to stay away from him. Yeah, won’t you find it weird that everytime you approach a girl, and without valid reason, she just take off as though she’s seen a ghost. Yup, that’s what Kenta thought at first. Could it be his body odour? Nah, I just made that up.
 
Unfortunately, she can’t keep running away from him. So the inevitable happens. Karin nose bleeds in front of Kenta eventually. Fortunately, Kenta thought that it was some serious case of nose bleed and nothing more. Plus, he cleaned up the place and carried her home on his back. Hey… How can some school kid clean up a place soaked in blood, so squeaky clean? Aren’t blood stains hard to remove? Dunno.
 
So we find out that Karin, though not a blood sucker, still have some blood preference just like her other family members. Meaning that Karin is attracted to people who are unhappy or sad. Like how her dad, Henry, likes those who are prideful, her mom, Carrera, those who are dishonest, and her elder brother, Ren, who likes those with stress. Karin’s little sister, Anju, isn’t a full vampire yet, meaning she’s not mature yet and won’t be bogged down by vampire’s weaknesses. Later, you’ll find out that her blood preference are those who’re jealous. Oh, forgot to mention that Anju has some weird doll named Boogie, whom she always carries with her. He can’t actually move except for his mouth and usually talks sarcastically and annoyingly. But sometimes he does say good things. Sometimes. Also one way to avoid this painful nose bleed is for Karin to transfer her excess blood to other people. In the process, that person will lose his/her unhappiness temporarily. But she’s always reluctant to do so as she wished for a more ‘cute’ way to do it, much to Ren’s annoyance.
 
So at school, there’re few instances where Kenta thought Karin’s a vampire and seek to do some tests on her like exposing her to garlic, but with no effect. His ‘test’s are so because she notice some vampire-bite-like marks on her mom’s neck. Plus, he saw Karin and her mom in an ’embracing’ position the other night. And previously, he saw Karin with that same position with an older man as well. So he thought that Karin was prostituting herself. Silly him. Also, with those bite marks, her mom’s depression disappears and she becomes so carefree and happy (until it wears off of course). So, woudln’t anybody feel a little curious?
 
Anyway, eventually Kenta discovered Karin’s secret identity. Boy, Karin was so scared that now her cover and her family’s are blown, she’ll be scorned by society. Good thing for Karin, Kenta isn’t that kind of guy. Yeah, he’s quite understanding and kind hearted actually. But anyway, whether he likes it or not, he still has to keep their identity a secret or risk his memory being erased. In addition, it was Anju’s idea that it’s better to make Kenta to be on their side for Karin’s nose bleed problem.
 
Since Karin knows that it’s Kenta’s unhappiness which causes her blood levels to increase, she decides to make him lunch everyday. Yup, this should keep him happy and her blood levels normal. And her best schoolmate pal, Maki Tokitou, got the wrong idea and thinks that they’re in love.
 
But why is Kenta unhappy? You see, his mom (who seems to look young) just lost her part time job. Because she’s quite attractive, many of her employers would try to take advantage of her. But in the end, some mishap will cause her to get fired anyway. So in order to financially support themselves, Kenta has to work part time at a cafe called Julian’s. Who knows, Karin too ends up working there. And the manager of Julian’s always seemingly ‘match-making’ Kenta and Karin and always his eternal line "Seishuun da…" (Youth).
 
Well, all seems to go well, until some foreign guy named Winner Sinclair appears. What a weird guy, he seems to talk through his nasal and the way I see it, he’s more like a loser and an idiot, though because of his good looks and speaks fluent Japanese for a foreigner, he seems to steal the hearts of every other girl. Actually he’s some sort of a vampire hunter (not a very good one too). A new transfer student too at Karin’s school, but the moment he sets eyes on Karin, he fell in love with her and doesn’t hesitate to confess that she’s the ‘ideal person’. Some more, claiming that he and Karin had kissed before (to the class’s shock and amazement) but then said was only his dream (also to the class’s shock and amazement). *Ding*. And how ironic that he fell in love with a vampire when he’s suppose to eliminate them. Anyway he seems oblivious to them. Even unknowingly bumping into Karin’s other family members on the streets and calling them good citizens. Sheesh.
 
Oh yeah, Winner’s afraid of blood too. What the? A vampire hunter having phobias of blood and fainting or feeling dizzy with just a mere sight of them. It’s all in the mind, Winner. Even that paint Karin and Kenta used as ‘fake blood’ to escape Winner’s vampire traps, even made Winner a little nauseating. Baka. Oh, forgot to mention too that he’s the guy in Karin’s dream as seen earlier on in episode 1. Wow. Karin really did that to him, huh? No wonder Winner’s got only her on his mind. The reason as we’ll find out later, that Winner’s such a bad vampire hunter that his grandpa had scolded him for not being up to mark. So being depressed he met Karin and her blood
 
Before you know it, he sees Kenta as his arch-rival. Another misunderstanding and jealous case. And proceeds to challenge Kenta over Karin. Actually, Kenta couldn’t be bothered except that Winner called him a chicken and things like that so he couldn’t back down. Another thing is that, I can’t believe that Maki would really have a crush on Winner. It’s confirmed that he’s such an idiot, but yet she still likes him silently. Maybe it’s the looks. To add salt to the wound, Winner always call and refer Maki as ‘Karin’s friend’. Can’t seem to remember her name, huh?
 
So basically, it’s like this, Karin with the help of Kenta tries to keep her identity a secret. Then there’re factors which tests their relationship. Like Winner. Though Karin and Kenta don’t really see each other as a couple, I figured out that eventually they’d turn into one, don’t you think? Plus small adventures here and there like the part where Winner invited Karin (with Maki tagging along) to some pool resort and bragging it to Kenta how he spent the whole day with her. Or the time where Maki stayed over at Karin’s place to be her tutor. Or the part where Karin couldn’t hold back and needs to bite Kenta’s neck, but manage to withhold it. But Kenta’s so understanding that he doesn’t mind if Karin bites his neck now and then if she can’t control it.
 
Soon, we’re introduced to another family member of the Maakas, Elda, Karin’s very youthful looking grandma. Though her son, Henry is pleased of her awakening, the other members aren’t too pleased. Especially Carrera who can’t seem to get along with her very well. When she found out about Karin’s relationship with Kenta, she decides to break it up. Yeah, something to do with her life in those days where she was in love with a human but society’s stereotype thinking that humans and vampires shouldn’t mix made her think all humans are trash. Can’t blame her entirely. She doesn’t want Karin to experience the same heartache that she went through.
 
Eventually she had to put her plans on hold, when she heard the name Sinclair. Yeah, Winner interupted to save Karin just when Elda’s about to make her move on Kenta. Though it was bungling somehow. Elda left to do some research on how to turn Karin into a full fledge vampire, since she too found out that Karin’s a blood maker.
 
There’re flashbacks for other characters as well. Such as Ren’s on why he hates men and human (something to do with some supposedly guy who looks like a girl but Ren thinks is a girl kinda story), Anju’s love for her dear sister (didn’t get that make an eternal snowman thing), or Henry going all out to save Karin when she had her first uncontrollable nose bleed at school disregarding his safety under the sunlight.
 
As the series nears its end, there’re other problems cropping up too. Such as, Anju is finally turning into a vampire and in doing so, sucks Maki’s blood, only to Karin’s horror when she discovers it. Then there’s the time where Ren told Kenta about leaving Karin as she’ll soon turn into a full fledge vampire, at the same time showing him what it’s like to be a vampire. So a reluctant Kenta decided to leave Karin alone only to realize that it’s should be him that should be deciding his fate and not others. I think something like that lah.
 
But the climax of the story is when Winner’s grandad, Victor, arrived to exterminate the Markers. Who? Actually it’s the Maakas. They changed their names when they migrated. He looks like a real bad ass compared to Winner. At the same time Elda came back with the required method to change Karin into a full fledged vampire, only to bump into Victor. And a battle between them ensues. It’s also the part where Victor told Winner that Karin’s a vampire. Oh, the horror and the shocked he must be in to hear those words.
 
Luckily, Victor’s presence is made known to the rest of the Maakas as they proceed to escape. Seems that they’re heading to the lake where it all started to complete Karin’s transformation. Unfortunately, Elda was killed by Victor during the battle and their house was totally burned down to the ground. Then the persistant Victor resumes his hunt for the other family members.
 
During that time, Maki manage to confess to Winner (still in shocked mode) his feelings and kissed him! Saying something that now she’s level with Karin. Silly girl, still couldn’t give up on him, could you. And for the first time, he called her by her real name. Surprise, surprise. But Winner and Kenta isn’t going to sit around and let nature takes its own course, as they both teamed-up and went to save Karin. I wonder where did Winner get that horse?
 
So at the lake as the Maakas prepare for the process of Karin’s transformation, Victor arrived. But during the process, Karin is unable to move as she watch helplessly how Victor kills her family members one by one as they try to stop him. Just as Victor is going to eliminate Karin, Kenta and Winner arrived. The process too is now completed and it seems Karin has transformed into a more ferocious beast and is going to pound on Kenta. Victor commanded Kenta to move away (he was protecting Karin from being harm from Victor in the first place). But Kenta refused and wouldn’t mind being bitten by her. And that’s what she did.
 
However, contrast to Victor’s believes, Kenta didn’t turn into a vampire. But Victor still insists and seeks to eliminate them both. Now here’s the funny part, as Victor made his attack, he shreds Karin’s clothes. I couldn’t help but notice how come Karin’s breats were so huge now. Anyway, seems that Victor’s a pervert too, as he has a nose bleed of his own (hahaha) and faints after seeing Karin’s naked body.
 
Then the thing is, the whole of Karin’s family members aren’t dead yet, even Elda who’s seen soaking herself in a bathtub at their burned down home. It seems that vampire’s body are much stronger in withstanding these kind of things. And that Victor didn’t do a good job in eliminating them. Yeah, how come he doesn’t really make sure they stay dead. Failed as a vampire hunter too. So in order to solve Victor’s problem, all of them bite Victor (and they say how horrible it tastes), taking away his pride, dishonesty, stress, unhappiness, and jealousy. And what do you get? A very carefree and genki grandpa. Yeah, and he’s making embarrassing remarks about Winner. Hey, Winner didn’t do that much to help Karin in those last parts. Yeah, he was out cold. Too bad.
 
Later back home, it was found out that the process to turn Karin into a full vampire was actually a breast enlargement process! And you can see that with Carrera’s too as Elda is seen shrieking and pointing at it from behind. So hilarious lah this part. She’s like freaking out. Oh well, I guess, Karin’s still the same ol’ self.
 
And at Julian’s cafe Karin seemed to have made a ‘love’ bento just for Kenta, with all their family and friends watching, much to their embarrassment. Yeah, Winner’s still not giving up on Karin, as with Maki too on Winner. And it seems that Kenta’s mom is happier too. I wonder if she and Julian’s manager would make a great couple. I mean, they seem to get along well and have the same thoughts about Kenta, Karin and youth. Hmm… So, do you think Kenta and Karin would make a good couple? Maybe. All the signs are pointing towards it. Okay, maybe it’s just my intuition.
 
Overall, I guess this anime’s kinda ok with all that humour and steady progress of the storyline. Also the character developments were quite ok too. I like Karin’s deliriousness and sometimes ‘denseness’, she seems funny and kawaii that way. As for Winner, I just like the way he looks and dress, otherwise I think his role was merely to provide comical relief (what else).
 
So it goes to show that vampires aren’t really all that bad as seen in those classic horror films. Vampires are people too. And they have feelings just as well. At least in this anime.

Kage Kara Mamoru

September 1, 2006

Here’s another short zany ninja action comedy, Kage Kara Mamoru. One should watch this just for fun and some laughs and not for long term reasons. Luckily too, the series is short too with just only 12 episodes. Well, maybe 11, if you feel that the last 2 episodes shown in a 1 hour special to be considered as 1 episode. Furthermore, the characters in this anime too are just average and you’d probably guess what kind of characters they are at first impression or after a few actions by them.
 
400 years ago, a ninja named Hanzouyo Kagemori is assigned to protect the Konnyaku lineage from whatsoever dangers. Something like the family’s personal bodyguard. And thus it begins, the descendants of the Kagemori clan have been doing so successfully ever since. You’ll be reminded of this at the start of every episode (except the last 2 episodes), so it’s kinda ‘drilled’ right into my memory bank.
 
So fast forward to modern day where we have this kid, Mamoru Kagemori, who’s assigned to protect Yuuna Konnyaku. In order to protect his identity, Mamoru disguises himself like a dork. Yup, with those thick spectacles, I guess no one will ever find out his true identity that easily. But I must say that when Mamoru changes into that ninja outfit and kicks into high gear, he looks way much better. Besides that, for 24 hour security, he lives just right next door to Yuuna’s and her family (obviously lah).
 
But the most fun character in the series I have to say is Yuuna (looks like the comical version of Lacus Clyne of Gundam). Yeah, she’s blur, slow, naive, clumsy and so dense that instead of getting annoyed, I just love her character. You really gotta love her. I think because of that too, she never realized that Mamoru is the one protecting her all along. She’s always thought that she and Mamoru have been childhood friends just like their parents. Though, secretly deep down in her heart she really does love him (and ironically Mamoru doesn’t know about this since he’s suppose to know everything about her).
 
Another thing is, Yuuna is prone to attracting trouble wherever she goes, for whatever reasons too. Bad luck or fate or just at wrong place at the wrong time. This is so as seen in the opening scene for episode 1 where some burglars are trying to break into her home but are swiftly dealt with by a ninja (who else).
 
So as usual, the start of the new school term both Mamoru and Yuuna both find themselves in the same class again, just as in previous years throughout their entire school life. Yuuna should’ve suspect something’s amiss here. Same class again with Mamoru. Maybe not. Perhaps it’s better this way. Then we’re introduced to a new character, Airi Sawagashi, Yuuna’s extremely stinking and filthy rich (really) pal. She seems to be the ‘abusive’ kind towards Mamoru. Sometimes calling names and hitting him.
 
Anyway, Airi invites Yuuna to a bowling game after school, and as usual Mamoru has to tag along to keep her safe. During a match at the bowling alley, Yuuna decided to go to the toilet only to overhear some yakuzas doing some illegal deal on some fake dolls (what the? Yakuzas into that?!). When the yakuzas discovered that their secret tryst has been blown, they kidnapped Yuuna.
 
Luckily for Yuuna, Mamoru manage to follow them. So we get to see Mamoru in action, as he battles the yakuzas and their boss who’s using the gattling gun. Wow! I can’t believe he sliced through all those bullets in lightning speed and precision. Oh yeah, before every rescue attempt for Yuuna, you’ll notice that eternal line from Mamoru before he begins his rescue action. "Continuing to protect for 400 years…". Yeah, that line too has somehow been ‘drilled’ into my brain. In addition, whenever Mamoru (or other ninja characters) throw up or uses some ninja-like weapon, we can see some introduction of that weapon in kanji. Seems pretty interesting. But mostly I go ‘huh?’. Plus, Mamoru’s got a pet ninja dog Burumaru, to help him out in tough situations too.
 
And as usual Mamoru defeats the yakuza boss and rescue the clueless Yuuna who wakes up only to be told that it was all a dream. And she believed it! I told you didn’t I, you gotta love this girl. By the end of this episode, of course, the yakuza boss doesn’t easily admit defeat. Thus, he’s hiring somebody to avenge his shameful defeat. Who could it be?
 
That’s right. In episode 2, it’s the appearance of Tsubaki Mapputatsu (who looks a bit like Motoko of Love Hina). She’s been told (rather deceived) by the yakuza boss how evil Yuuna and Mamoru is. Thus Tsubaki’s off to rid of this evil. Can’t believe that she’d believed him easily too. On the outside, Tsubaki may look like the serious no nonsense kind. But in some ways, I find her a little ‘dumb’ sometimes. Uh-huh, donno how she got ‘duped’ (actually more of her own misunderstanding) into a tennis match with Yuuna, and lost. Plus even after that defeat, Tsubaki still tries to challenge Yuuna, only to be ‘defeated’ by Yuuna’s blurness and dumbness.
 
Later as Tsubaki and Mamoru face-off, in the end, she concedes defeat to him. And that’s when Mamoru told her how she’d been deceived by the yakuza boss. Of course, being embarrassed she then decided to ‘teach him a lesson’. This time the yakuza boss’s butt gets whipped by Tsubaki. So pitiful. But no love lost. But hey, Tsubaki decides to enrol in the same school as Mamoru and Yuuna the next day. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
 
You know that this is going to be another one of those harem shows when they keep introducing female characters. That’s the case in episode 3 where Yamame Hattori who dropped her wallet in the park, mistakenly smacks Mamoru thinking that he’s being scamming her with that return-the-wallet-trick. What’s Mamoru doing at the park? Well, he’s actually waiting for Yuuna and Airi coming back from the toilet.
 
Yamame’s actually some relative of Mamoru. And boy was she surprise to see the dorky Mamoru now as compared to the brave one when he was young. When she realized Mamoru’s sincerity in returning her wallet, it’s too late as the yakuzas kidnapped her (not again. What’s with these yakuzas anyway). Luckily Burumaru saw the whole thing and manage to alert Mamoru for another rescue attempt.
 
Thing is, Yamame’s been hipnotized and is under the yakuza boss’s control. But some memory flashback of how Mamoru saved her helped restore her memory. But that’s not before she injured him a little. Before the whole thing’s over, the yakuza boss hired another person just as back-up. Looks like some guy Chin Panji who dons animal costumes and fights like that animal. Weird. If you guess that Mamoru’ll beat this guy too, then you’re absolutely correct. So did the yakuza boss learn his lesson? We’ll have to see in the future episodes to see if he gets anymore crazy ideas for revenge. Oh by the way, the next day after everything’s been settled, Yamame decides to enrol in the same school as Mamoru and Yuuna. Hmm… Anyway, what’s with the last part where Tsubaki’s cutting the candle flames with her sword and said something about tennis. Didn’t get it.
 
Episode 4 isn’t anything much except some idol contest in which surprisingly Yuuna won. The most memorable part of this episode is the banana song that Yuuna herself wrote for the contest. It’s so funny lah. Another banana freak. Reminds me of Miharu of Da Capo too. So at the same time some mega-producer decided to offer a deal to make Yuuna an even bigger idol. But after much thought, Yuuna decided to turn it down because she doesn’t want to be separated from Mamoru. Aww…
 
Tsubaki suspects Mamoru as the panty thief in episode 5. That’s because she saw some sick fella dressed as a ninja going around doing so. Though it’s pretty ambiguous the thief’s identity. Well, how could Mamoru be a pervert when he doesn’t seem to show interest in girls? Well, maybe for Tsubaki, in that earlier face-off with Mamoru which nearly ‘exposed’ Tsubaki… perhaps. So to play safe, Tsubaki needs to be with Mamoru at all times to make sure and at the same time catch the real culprit.
 
But their ‘together’ is being misintepreted as a date by Airi and Yuuna. And boy does Yuuna seem ‘concerned’. As they both try to follow Mamoru and Tsubaki, Yuuna decides that she needs to go to the toilet at the convenience store. Unfortunately, soon after, a robbery takes place. Mamoru who noticed Yuuna had went into that store, as usual, it’s the usual rescue lines and resuce action. It’s like killing 2 birds with 1 stone. After subduing the thief, it turns out that the thief is also the panty thief. And you know what’s the funniest part? Yuuna fell asleep in the toilet! This girl… And Mamoru got so worried for nothing.
 
I thought there’s a girl missing after counting how many of them in the opening credits. Well, at least the last one, Hotaru Kumogakure, made her appearance halfway through the series. At the beginning of episode 6, Airi excitedly announces a new transfer student. And during class Hotaru requests Mamoru to meet her at the school rooftop. Surprisingly, she confessed she loved him! Wow! That’s really bold and early, don’t you think. As usual, Mamoru thinks it’s a joke and rejected her. Oh, the heartbreak of an girl being rejected, as Hotaru starts to cry, Mamoru noticed some knives being thrown at them coming from behind and pushes Hotaru out of harm’s way, at the same time wounding him.
 
It looks like Hotaru’s brother and he’s telling her little sis that she’s suppose to come here and finish the Kagemori clan off, but instead fell in love with the enemy. So he’s here to finish to job. Luckily Mamoru manage to summon enough strength to send Hotaru’s brother packing. Then this is the funny and weird part why the Kumogakure clan hates the Kagemori clan so much.
 
It seems that a year ago during some ninja atheletic meet, Yamame deceived Hotaru by telling them an appearance of a UFO. As Hotaru and her clan looked, Yamame and hers won the meet. Eversince that defeat the Kumogakure clan has been known as the UFO clan. Hahaha. So disgraceful. So funny. Couldn’t believe that they’d fall for 1 of the oldest trick in the book. But a teary Hotaru bids farewell to Mamoru then. The next day when everything seems to return to normal, to Mamoru’s amazement Hotaru’s having breakfast in his house. Looks like another one bent on being close to Mamoru.
 
I felt that episode 7 is another one of those ‘flashbacks to understand better the character‘ kinda episode. It sees why Mamoru decides to protect Yuuna not because he had too, but rather he wanted to. During Mamoru’s younger days, he’s always been grumpy and complaining why should he protect such a troublesome girl like Yuuna, since she’s the one who’s always causing him to be in much trouble. But as Mamoru realized Yuuna’s being kidnapped and some promise she made to him. He regained his will to protect Yuuna until today.
 
We get to see how stinking and filthy rich Airi really is in episode 8. Some thief stole some priceless dolphin ornament from Airi’s home but he got caught up between a fight between Yamame and Hotaru and dropped it. Burumaru who’s passing by picked it up and brings it home with him. A furious Airi decides to install a super security system then. The next day as she shows Yuuna and Mamoru the stolen ornament, Mamoru realized that the thing Burumaru brought back was Airi’s precious ornament. So he decides to give it back stealthy. Though, he suceeded in returning it to its rightful place, but got ‘ejected’ from the house with one of Airi’s super security system.
 
But Mamoru’s mom isn’t willing to accept such defeat and sends his son back for a ‘revenge’. She even gives him a diamond for a reason to go back. Huh… Some mom. How did she steal that diamond anyway. I like the funny part where Mamoru was facing a huge giagantic robot. All seems lost when there seems no way of defeating the robot. Then he decided to get to the root of the problem to defeat it. He unplugged it’s power source. Hahaha! I was laughing like mad this part. See Airi, you should use battery operated or non cable power source.
 
After putting back the diamond, Mamoru picks up a diary. But the robot’s explosion sent Mamoru flying away. Of course back at home, a curious Mamoru decides to take a peek at the diary. It’s contents were about Airi humiliating and ridculing someone she liked secretly. But Mamoru doesn’t care who it is. The next day he manage to slip back Airi’s diary as Airi’s frantically looking for the ‘most precious item’. The end of the episode sees Airi putting a photo back in that diary. It’s a picture of Mamoru!!! I can’t believe that this girl too has a crush on this kinda of guy. But she certainly sure doesn’t show it.
 
It really gets weirder with aliens and UFOs in episode 9. Airi was telling Mamoru and Yuuna how she saw a UFO while she woke up to go to the toilet last night. I love this part. As Airi was explaining how ‘terror’ and ‘grand’ her encounter was, Yuuna interupted and said "More importantly, did you manage to go to the toilet?". HAHAHAHAHA! Oh, Yuuna, I didn’t see that one coming.
 
Anyway, the lizard-like aliens were real, and they’re dumb too. That’s because they decided to abduct Yuuna and Burumaru to be their specimen. Big mistake. Her dumbness is gonna dumbfound them. Especially with that banana part. So as usual, Mamoru and the other girls decided to team up and go rescue Yuuna and Burumaru. In the end, the alien decided to leave our good ol’ planet (yeah, that first hand experience with Yuuna must have been a real nightmare). In the end, there’s a big misunderstanding of the girls towards Mamoru. That’s because, Yuuna’s being naked in the containment unit and when she’s being freed, the clothes won’t automatically put themselves on right? Poor Mamoru, those girls think you’re a pervert of the worst kind.
 
Then in episode 10, Yuuna who read in some newspaper article about some Tokugawa treasure in her backyard starts doing so. Of course Mamoru wouldn’t believe her at first. That’s until she went missing from the dig. No choice, Mamoru along with Hotaru and Yamame decided to go look for her underground. And it’s really a maze down there. What’s more surprising is the giant mole people! Yeah, attacking them and like they’re some sort of enemy trying to steal the treasure.
 
Mamoru and the rest manage to free themselves from the giant mole people but without any luck finding Yuuna. Luckily, Yuuna didn’t went further underground. Something to do with going to the toilet and forgetting about it. And all those worrying and effort were for nothing. Poor Mamoru. The next day the result of the earthquake that night causes some part of Airi’s house to cave in. And there’s a whole lot of treasure buried there! Now she’s even more filthy stinking rich! Ah… the income inequality. The rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. But the next day at school, Yuuna still fascinated of finding treasures, heard from a school teacher about some buried treasure at their school grounds. Could it be real this time. Dunno. Anyway, Yuuna’s being chased by giant ants this time. Here we go again.
 
The final 2 episodes sees how Yuuna won a year worths of Belgian chocolate through some love letter writing contest. But the thing is it isn’t the chocolates that Yuuna’s really after, it’s the letter that she wrote that she really wanted to give to Mamoru. A letter which confesses her feelings to him. And that Mamoru still hasn’t got a clue to it. As Yuuna begins to confess, he stops her. Ouch! Yuuna then runs off but nearly had a brush with death when a car nearly collided into her. Luckily only her arms injured.
 
As Mamoru’s being hesistant about Yuuna’s feelings, Mamoru’s dad brings him some bad news. Because of so, the Kagemori clan decides dismiss Mamoru and replace Mamoru with somebody else. It’s Tasuke Hinomori and he seems to know everything about those 2. So as Mamoru and Tasuke have their fight, surprisingly Mamoru lost and was sent back to his village. Meanwhile, the fake Mamoru tries to get close to Yuuna but she felt something amiss, though not sure of what’s really happening.
 
At the village, Mamoru realized that this was all a set-up by the Hinomori clan to steal some tome of the Kagemori’s. But he realized too late as other clan members of the Hinomori rounded up all the members of the Kagemori clan. And they can’t do anything because Yuuna’s life is at stake. If they try something funny, Yuuna will be executed and their 400 years of protection comes to an end.
 
But the Kagemori clan head manage to let Mamoru sneak away and with that, Mamoru returns to the city to face-off with Tasuke. I didn’t get the part where the tome had the kanji words ‘heart’ written in it. And Mamoru used this technique against Tasuke and won. Maybe it’s suppose to mean that you’re suppose to do things from the heart. I felt that the help from the other girls were just a waste of time. Perhaps to make the episode a little longer.
 
At this point too, Yuuna then realized everything, on how dumb she was not to realized Mamoru had always protected her and how she doesn’t want to rely on him but protect him instead. Plus, she really confess to Mamoru this time. I really felt sad for Yuuna as she was crying while saying those words. But at least she realized it. However, this is cut short as she slipped on a banana peel while approaching Mamoru and lost her memory of what’s happened for the day. Darn. And I thought it was going to get better for these 2.
 
Looks like Yuuna’s back to her normal self. Blur and talking things that made no sense. At least Mamoru knew Yuuna’s feelings. Oh well, back to the good ol’ days like before. Continuing to protect for 400 years… Don’t worry Yuuna, Mamoru will always be there for you.
 
How I wished that Mamoru and Yuuna could be together at the end. But sadly it didn’t turn out so. Then another thing I want to note is that, the other girls. You notice how the other girls at first seems to pick a fight with Mamoru and then after that can’t help fall for him. But in the end, they didn’t do anything much to pursue his love. Just like in Ai Yori Aoshi. They silently love him. Did they realize that Yuuna is the one for Mamoru?
 
Also another thing to note that, do you notice that Yuuna and toilets doesn’t make a good combination? Usually trouble beckons everytime she heads for the loo. Yeah, she should just stay away from them. Maybe wear adult diapers or something. Oops… maybe that’s a little too premature to jump to such conclusion. But hey, isn’t so, Yuuna and toilets don’t go together.
 
The opening theme song, sang by Yuuna’s voice actor may sound cute and the animation too as well, but I didn’t find it interesting enough for me to download the full length version. Also, I like the background music where Mamoru says his usual line continuing to protect for 400 years. It gives some sort of that comeback action kinda mood. Hey, what happened to that yakuza boss? Well, I guess he gave up, huh? But that’s not important.
 
Like I’ve earlier said, this anime is entertaining in the short run and doesn’t really have much sticking out. But it’s wackiness is enough to make this one memorable, hopefully for a long time. Though, it’s being overshadowed by other more popular ninja genres like Naruto and Himawari. Haih… So as Mamoru continues to protect for 400 years, I will continue to watch great animes for many years to come. Hehehe.