Aria The Animation

October 28, 2006

I have this mixed feelings when I watched Aria The Animation. Firstly, I felt that this anime is kinda slow and boring but at the same time it is quite calming and soothing. So which is it? Knda both of them actually. This anime series doesn’t have that mindless gore and violence nor that overly-done humourous slapsticks, but rather explores the interaction between human emotions and bondings, at least from that 1 girl’s point of view.
 
Before I begin, I’d like to mention that there’re quite a few terminologies in used here, mostly Italian terms or terms which are somewhat adapted from it. So it was quite confusing for me at first trying to figure what in the world they mean by that. Luckily, there’re those fansub notes which helps me to understand a little.
 
The series takes place in a distant future where the planet Mars has been renamed as Aqua and planet Earth, Man Home. Yup, Aqua now is no longer that red dusty uninhabitable planet but a planet overflowing with water, thus popping up lots of islands here and there. So we have this city on Aqua, Neo-Venezia, where the story is focused on. You’d notice why the city is named as such is because it’s just like Venice in Italy. Water water everywhere and the main mode of transport are gondolas. I guess that’s why the producers decided to use several Italian terms. Maybe he/she liked that place so much and it inspired him/her for this anime.
 
As the first episode begins, we are introduced to an apprentice undinese, Akari Mizunashi. By the way, what’s an undinese? It’s a term for a person who works as and rows a gondola. Ah… As there are 3 undinese companies in Aqua, Akari works for the Aria Company, with her full-fledged professional undinese, Alicia Florence. And there’s that weird looking creature named President Aria, who’s actually… the president of Aria Company…?!
 
What the?! I thought that funny creature was a Martian at first, then I thought it was a dog. Later on, I found out it was actually a cat. A cat??!! Doesn’t look like it. Plus, it goes something like "punyo, punyo". Doesn’t sound very cat-like. To save time, somewhere later in the series, wel’ll find out that for an undinese company to prosper, be successful and for stability, they need to have a blue eye cat as its president. Weird custom. So basically this President Aria, does nothing but hang around and follows Akari or Alicia. Hey, if he’s the president, you don’t have to lift a finger, right? But good thing is Akari and Alicia takes good care of him (well, he IS the company’s president).
 
Back to our storyline. Akari picks up a phone call from a customer (some little girl who’s too short to be seen through that phone video) who’s requesting for Alicia to ber her undinese. However, Alicia isn’t around at the moment and that girl then said anybody would be okay then (meaning Akari has to do it lah). But Akari was reluctant because she’s still an apprentice and may not satisfy the customer. Unfortunately, the girl just hanged up the phone. Uh-oh, Akari’s getting worried. It must be something big.
 
As Akari heads out of her headquarters, she found a little girl in the boat. She immediately asked (seems more like she commanded her) for Akari to boat her around. As the polite and soft spoken Akari tries to refuse (yeah, saying something like company policy this and that), the little girl threatens her. Well I suppose Akari has to give in then. At least she could say that she’s taking a friend around. Like that will help much.
 
As the 2 head off, they meet Aika Granzchesta, Akari’s friend but working for a different undinese company, Himeya. Yup, she’s suppose to be the heir to that company. So the 3, along with President Aria, embarked on some adventure of their own, some chatting here and there. At this point, Akari then found out that the little girl’s name is Ai and she’s the one who made the phone call earlier on.
 
Later on, as they stopped for a break, they noticed that President Aria is missing. Oh no! He’s being set adrift to the middle of the river. Akari tries to row fast to reach him but some ship is approaching President Aria. Will she make it in time? Then, like out from nowhere, with a graceful swing of the paddle, Alicia flips President Aria into safety. Phew! Saved.
 
As Ai watched we find out the reason for her wanting to request for Alicia so badly in the first place. Her elder sister who recently got married, honeymooned at Neo-Venezia and Alicia was her undinese. When she got back, she boasted how good Alicia was. This made Ai jealous and hated her sister and wanted to see it for herself if it’s true. Yeah, she ran away from home just to experience this. Haih… this girl. Soon Ai realized her mistake and eventually didn’t hate her sister anymore. As the gang made their way back to Aria Company’s headquarters, Ai’s parents were there to take her back, apologizing for any inconvenience caused. Of course, the undineses said they wouldn’t mind. Before they part, Ai gives that usual words of encouragement to Akari and how she’d come back someday and request for Akari to be her undinese. Aww…
 
So it’s like this for the rest of the episodes. In the beginning, Akari narrates about something relating to the current episode, then some adventures here and there, at the end, Akari and Ai exchanges e-mails over what happened during that particular episode like good pen pals and there’s some lessons in life, moral of the story and human bonding thingy we all learn in the end.
 
Episode 2 starts with Akari waking up and realizing that their headquarters is partially flooded. Well, nearly the whole of Neo-Venezia is. Yeah, some occurence of some Acqua Alta phenomena thingy. Didn’t understand. Basically, this episode focuses a little more on Aika. Also, it introduces her full-fledged professional undinese, Akira Ferrari, who is just somewhat like Alicia but more contrasting in character. Uh-huh, Aika seems to nicknamed her ‘demon instructor’ due to her harsh and strict training. And you’ll start to notice that Alicia’s favourite word is "Ara, ara" (My, my).
 
Also we get to see President Hime of Himeya. Now this cat looks like a cat. And President Aria seems to try and want to court her at times but is always ignored and brushed off, much to President Aria’s dismay and disappointment. Yeah, who would want to go out with such a weird looking cat like that. And you’ll see President Aria’s futile attempt in most of the episodes. So sad.
 
Anyway, in this episode, Aika is fed-up of Akira’s nagging and decides to ‘run away’. Well, actually she decided to work at Aria Company and stayed with Akari. Aika seems to be fed-up with all that hierarchy thingy as well since she’s the heir to the company and I guess that’s why Akira is training her real hard from a ‘single’ (indicates that an undinese is an apprentice wearing only 1 glove) to a ‘pair‘ (a full-fledged professional undinese with a pair of gloves as an indication). So Aika challenges Akira to some competition whereby if she wins, she’ll get to work at Aria Company, or else she’ll go back to Himeya with Akira.
 
But during the competition, Aika gave up. I guess she must have realized something. But in the end, it was all good for them. Hey, at least they still get to see each other, right? Oh, by the way. You’ll also notice that whenever Akari says something which is thought to be something emotional or self-realizing, Aika would quickly interupt and say "Embarrassing remarks aren’t allowed". Quote of the series. Then Akari would go "Hehh!!!". And also Akari will have that ‘what?!’ kinda chibi face. Yeah, this will happen at least once in every episode.
 
Episode 3 introduces another upcoming single undinese, Alice Carroll. During Akari and Aika’s training, they meet Alice, who’s talented rowing and manoevering of the gondola impressed them. Yup, she’s just a 14 year old from the 3rd undinese company, Orange Planet, and probably the largest company in Neo-Venezia. But Alice isn’t that friendly kind at first, quite stone-faced and doesn’t really open up.
 
Not until when Akari is stopped by a guy named Akatsuki Izumo. He’s some annoying guy who isn’t impressed with what Akari does (actually he has a crush on Alicia) and calls her ‘pigtails’ though Akari doesn’t have one. And you’ll find that Akatsuki’s job is a ‘salamander‘. What’s that? It’s actually some job where they control the weather on Aqua through some floating island called Ukijima…?!
 
Akatsuki’s actually waiting for someone but since that person’s running late and Akatsuki doesn’t want to waste time, he might as well go sight seeing first. I’m not sure how and why, but Alice seems to be tagged along too. So along the trip, Akari gets teased and mocked by Akatsuki. Yeah, he’s just like a backseat driver. Alice isn’t too impressed by all this and wonders how can Akari tolerate all this.
 
Well, a job of an undinese isn’t just to row a customer from point A to B. They have to also be able to tell the customer what, where, and why all those special monuments and places of interests. Think something like a tourist guide and a historian put into 1. And it seems Akari isn’t too good at it. But anyway, Akatsuki had to stop his yapping when Alice put on a tough face and said something like how she’ll report him to the tourist society for being rude to an undinese. Yeah, serves him right.
 
Anyway, their trip ended and the person Akatsuki’s waiting for has arrived, and is actually his brother. Some chatting here and there (Hah… Akatsuki’s being teased by his brother) and in the end Akatsuki gave them 2 residential tickets to visit Ukijima as appreciation for their efforts. He isn’t such a bad guy after all. And finally, Alice begins to open up and smile more because of Akari. Good for her.
 
Basically, episode 4 is about Akari trying to send some letter from a mysterious little girl to some obsolete place. And we are introduced to another type of job, the ‘sylphs‘. It’s some kind of a wind messenger. The way I look at it, looks like some delivery boy on some hi-tech floating bike machine. There’s that old-fashioned postman too but with that slow moving gondola, you wonder can he deliver all those letters in time?
 
To save time, Akari enlists the help of Woody, a sylph to send the message to some faraway island. I figure out that the mysterious girl who send the letter is actually a ghost. So right I was. Anyway the video message letter was quite touching, though I didn’t remember much of it.
 
You might have guessed that Akari, Aika and Alice could be the 3 stooges of Aqua, since they’ve always been and doing things together. Well, maybe not the stooges part. But at least those 3 are great friends. Thus in episode 5, the 3 received some special invitation letter to Neverland. Actually, it’s some scheme that their superiors came up for their intensive training. Not surprisingly, those 3 singles weren’t too happy about it at first since well, the invitation card sounded like fun-the-whole-day kinda programme.
 
However only 2 of the 3 Legendary Water Fairies were present. What Water Fairies? Actually, it’s some nickname given to the greatest undinese at the current time and Alicia and Akira are 2 of them. So who’s the third one? A pair by the name of Athena is. But Akira mentioned that she got lost somehow. Yeah, got lost. So you won’t be able to see her in this episode. Too bad.
 
So some funny moments here and there, some weird training methods like balancing on some log. But in the end, they all manage to have some fun and relaxation after all that ‘gruelling’ training. And we see a little bit of Akari’s flashback about some ribbon and some swimming pool. Didn’t remember that part clearly. Also a lot of that reflection of life that makes you think deeply (also couldn’t remember. Darn). But I’m glad they all had a good time together.
 
Okay, finally that elusive Athena makes her appearance in episode 6. Akari secretly went to stay with Alice for a while at Orange Planet Academy. Since Akari stuck out like a sore thumb, Alice had to borrow her some of her clothes and uniform to blend in. Remember, it isn’t official, you know. And imagine what will the Orange Planet staffs think to have another rival company within their walls.
 
Also we find out that Alice is secretly keeping a cat called Maa (because that’s what it sounds like). Oh wait. Is that a cat. It looked like a minature panda. Oh well, if Alice says it’s a cat then it must be a cat. No more arguments. Alice is secretly keeping Maa because she’s afraid that her senior, Athena Glory wouldn’t allow her and may even throw it out.
 
But don’t be surprised by Athena’s serious looks. She’s actually dopey! Yup. A dopey person. She can even fall asleep while pouring a glass of water. And Alice isn’t too happy about this when she found out that her senior, someone she thought she respected turned out to be something like this. Much to her disappointment. Anyway it’s fun to see Athena’s dopiness. So funny.
 
One day, Maa was gone from the closet Alice hid him in. So Alice frantically went on a search for him with Akari. Alice was worried that Athena may have found out about Maa and have reported to the company. But in the end, Athena’s singing (she’s got a nice singing voice for a dopey person) help to bring back Maa. I guess that cat loves to hear her singing too, huh? And Alice realized that Athena wasn’t really against her having Maa as her pet. And before you know it, Maa is officially the president of Orange Planet. Oh yeah, and Maa seems to love bitting President Aria’s belly, much to the latter’s dismay. Yeah, President Aria becomes afraid whenever Maa is nearby. Hehehe.
 
So do we see some pattern here? Each of the 3 singles from different undinese companies have their terror skilled superiors and their cat presidents. One from each. Hmm…
 
Episode 7 is more on Akira. Yeah, the 3 singles get to view first hand how Akira goes about doing her job. Well, what do you know, even the ‘demon instructor’ has her soft side. She seems very professional and gentle to her customers. Basically, she took a young couple on some tour. That lady looked so over enthusiastic. Anyway as their tour ends, they wanted to stay on and see how Akira train the singles. Not bad idea. So some bloopers here and there as the trio take turns handling the gondola over Akira’s watchful eye. Some trouble here and there, they got lost but manage to find their way out. In the end, everybody had a get-together and enjoy the moment.
 
President Aria gets his 1 episode worth of spotlight in episode 8. Divided into 2 parts, the first part sees President Aria running away from home because he felt he was useless and unwanted. You see, Akari and Alicia were doing some chores in Aria headquarters. So he couldn’t stand it anymore and pack his bags containing an onigiri and a stuff doll. Is that really enough?
 
But President Aria then realized that he has really nowhere to go to. I mean, you see him bumping here and there. He even tried to make friends with some bird but the bird stole his onigiri! Aww… too bad. In the end, he returns to Aria Company (maybe because he ran out of food). As Alicia and Akari tries to find him, they notice him on the rooftop and though he was stucked up there. Actually, he’s crying because of all those disappointments. But his sadness is over when they bring him down and they have dinner.
 
The second part is when President Aria decides to become some super hero after being inspired by some comic books he recently read. So he puts on his weird costume and off he goes trying to help anyone in need. However, whenever he bumps into familiar faces, those people seem to recognize him, much to his fears. Then there’s 1 funny part where President Himeya actually starts to fall head over heels over President Aria as he’s flexing his muscles, but when Akari mentioned what President Aria’s doing, suddenly his identity is busted and President Himeya realized that she’s been duped and shruggs him off. Hahaha. So close yet so far. Oh well, try again.
 
But President Aria’s true moment of glory came when he tried to return a little girl’s lost doll. It wasn’t all smooth sailing as he had to go through various obstacles. In the end, eventhough the girl got back her doll, she didn’t know who did it, but thanked that hero. President Aria is all smiles as he heads back happily.
 
Episode 9 is where the 3 singles decided to visit Aria Company’s founder (let’s call her grandma) to get some answers how to become a good undinese. Well, it seems that Aqua still has a large land base, since they took a train to some remote area with mountains in the background.
 
Well, in no time grandma sent the trio to do some chores like planting seeds and collecting fruits among them. They thought it was some metaphor to being a good undinese but the chores they did was actually just that. Bummer. Well, they had a good feast by the end of the day.
 
It’s during that night when the trio who couldn’t sleep watched the beautiful night sky which made them realized. Grandma notices them and proceeds over to talk to them. She mentions something like one should enjoy everything no matter happy or sad. And when she finally asked are they happy with being an undinese, and they replied yes, grandma said that there’s nothing else she could teach them. Ahh…
 
Hey, there’s one funny part here. It’s the part where Akari said something then a slight moment of silence. Then Alice said to Aika something like "Hey, you let an embarrassing remark slipped by". Hahaha. I guess if Aika’s not there to do it, Alice is her backup. Didn’t see that one coming.
 
Well, more of that bonding among the 3 singles and their superiors in episode 10. All of them decided to take a trip to some hot spring. What else could you expect from a hot spring episode. The girls soaking themselves in the hot springs (don’t  worry, no nude or graphic scenes here), some chatting here and there, then after the hot springs, they go have a feast, played a few indoor games.
 
I liked the part where the 6 of them gather at some abandoned and quiet section. It’s quite a lovely scenery here plus with the fireflies flying about. This scene actually turned this ‘slow’ episode into a worthwhile one. Yup, I’m glad I was able to catch it all in the end, though I didn’t remember what all the earlier chatting was about.
 
Episode 11 is the flashback episode. We see how similar or rather deja vu the lives of the 3 Legendary Water Fairies to the lives of the current 3 singles. Yup, a flashback of Alicia, Akira and Athena. Alicia and Akira who’re singles and best friends at that time, heard rumours about some upcoming talented single. Later on, they befriended a dopey Athena and to their shock and horror (at least to Akira’s) that Athena’s that person. Well, you can hear another of those ‘nice’ singing from Athena, which even made the whole surrounding area to a stand still, just to hear her sing.
 
So the 3 of them are still together, only thing that they rarely meet like they used to during their younger days because of their jobs. And Akari realized that the moment that she’s experiencing now with her other 2 pals wouldn’t stay like this forever. That last scene where she cried waving goodbye nearly moved me. I also thought about the same thing about myself. Oh well, like she says, one shouldn’t be stucked to the past or else one wouldn’t be able to enjoy the present.
 
It’s Akari’s day off in episode 12 and she decides to explore beyond some old bridge. As she walked through, it’s like she’s been transported to a different place. It wasn’t snowing as it should like before the bridge. Plus this town looked obsolete as compared to the futuristic Neo-Venezia. And there she made friends with a school teacher-cum-photographer named Akiko Hoshino, who also share many characteristic similarities with Akari. Like her clumsiness.
 
Mainly this episodes adventure besides the 2 bonding together was the day where the people in this area is anticipating some water flowing through their water way. And the people were happy once the water starts flowing. And some lesson about how water connects others from one another. And I’m starting to think that the producer is also a cat lover. Yeah Akiko said something like how cats were like mediums connecting the past and the future. Since I’m not a cat lover I’m not sure if that’s true or not. Maybe it’s made up just for this series.
 
The final episode 13 is like one big reunion. Yup, all the characters that Akari met, gathered at some square to celebrate New Years Day. Well, since it’s Aqua it isn’t actually a 12 month makes a year thing. It’s actually 24 months to a year. Hey, what do you know, Ai and her family are there too. And she’s repeating out loud all those people Akari met (that she described through her emails), much to Akari’s embarrassment.
 
And there’s that Al the ‘gnome’ guy. I don’t remember seeing him in any of the previous episodes. Really. When Akari meets him there, it’s like she knows him. But how come I can’t remember, ah? Anyway, what’s a gnome you ask? People who live underground and regulate the gravity on Aqua. Another one of those uniquely weird jobs like salamander and sylphs, huh?
 
I didn’t get that part where Akari and Ai wondered off to some desolated alley and found several cats there. Then the scene disappears. Huh? Anyway, the 2 then head back just in time for the countdown. And when that time approaches, everybody throws their hats in the air and shouts "Auguri, Buon Anno". Must be Italian for something like good wishes or happy new year thing.
 
Finally the gang gathered near some shore and watched the sunrise. Akari realized a lot of things (and I hope you do too. Unfortunately, I can’t remember them). How she promised and vowed that she would work even harder and try her best just like everyone else to be a better undinese. A suitable and soothing end to the series, I’d say.
 
Overall, this is quite a refreshing anime for me after watching too much of those violence and nonsensical jokes. It may be slow paced at times, but it soothes you and makes you think about the lives that we live in. Plus, I like the sceneries in this series, Although it isn’t that beautiful but it’s enough to make me feel so.
 
Another thing I liked about this anime is the background music. Yeah, there’re plenty of classical lounge type guitar pluckings. Some easy listening and some fast paced. All of them perfectly suited for the atmosphere and mood of each scenery. Now that’s what I call music to my ears. Also the opening and ending themes are quite soothing too. Oh, the opening credits isn’t that fixed video, meaning that we see some beautiful scenaries as the opening theme is played in the background. So don’t just simply skip the opening themes.
 
Hey, did you notice that many of the main characters have their names start with the letter ‘A’? Maybe the producers love that alphabet. Might have got lots of them during his school days. Except for that Woody guy. Perhaps they wanted a little variety, huh?
 
Also, each of the undinese have their unique chibi facial expressions when they get mad, upset, discontent, in shock, or in a surprise. Yeah, they all remind me of pac-man. Hehehe. Except for Alicia’s. I’ve never seen her in that form. Perhaps she’s such a casual and happy person she doesn’t need one.
 
As for the terminologies, it isn’t so bad once you’ve got the hang of it. Surprisingly, I wasn’t that confused about what is what in the end and have a general idea what they are. But I’m still contemplating whether I should watch the second season. After all, I’m guessing it’s gonna be more of the same thing as the first season. Ah, but those sceneries, background musics and life lessons, they’re all quite tempting. Hmm… Still can’t decide. Maybe I should watch a little more violence, blood, gore, and nonsensical slapstick comedies first. Then I’ll come back and think about it.

Ah… It’s been a long time since I’ve done a versus. So to welcome back this section again, I’m gonna compare 2 comedy animes, that is, Daa! Daa! Daa! and Mirmo De Pon. Yup, though I haven’t completed watching both these animes yet, but somehow I felt there were some things between the 2 that made it so familiar to each other, but yet so different. Get what I mean. So without wasting any further time, here’s a comparison of the 2:-
 
Alternate title
These animes aren’t known with such a name as mentioned above only. They have another alternative title probably because they are also shown worldwide (outside Japan, that is) and are more popularly known by their other name title.
Daa! Daa! Daa!: UFO Baby
Mirmo De Pon: Mirmo Zibang
 
Main cast
Refers to the main male and female protagonist of the series. Hey, don’t the 2 protagonists look similar in a way?
Daa! Daa! Daa!: Kanata Saionji and Miyu Kouzuki
Mirmo De Pon: Setsu Yuki and Kaede Minami
 
Mythical creatures
Human beings aren’t the one stealing the limelight here. Plus, since there’s some fantasy elements in these animes, such mythical creatures are most appropriate for the storyline.
Daa! Daa! Daa!: Aliens
Mirmo De Pon: Fairies
 
Storyline
Daa! Daa! Daa!: A baby alien, Lou, and his caretaker, Wannya, crash lands in Kanata and Miyu’s temple home. Lou starts calling them daddy and mommy and the 2 protagonist have to hide from their friends and outsiders that these 2 are aliens. And therefore their lives will never be the same again.
Mirmo De Pon: Kaede decides to buy a hot chocolate mug from a store and reads a note engraved at the bottom of it, making a love fairy, Mirmo, appear and grant her every wish. However, Mirmo isn’t that helpful and is lazy and selfish. Katie sometimes go to the love fairy’s land to help Mirmo and other love fairies with their problems. And therefore her life will never be the same again.
 
Love triangle
What would a comedy anime series be without that occasional love triangle recipe.
Daa! Daa! Daa!: Though not direct, there’re hidden feelings between Kanata and Miyu. Plus, there’s another girl, Christine Hanakomachi, who’s in love with Kanata. Although she’s shy, she can’t stand seeing Miyu being with Kanata and when she gets all jealous, she’ll uproot things! Yes, uproot things. Ah… the power of jealousy.
Mirmo De Pon: It’s clear that Kaede has a secret crush on Yuki but the latter doesn’t know (or rather doesn’t bother) at first but finally realizes his feelings for her. Another girl by the name of Azumi Hidaka, is more daring and bold compared to Christine. She is scheming and more daring in trying to win Yuki’s affection and snatch it right in front of Kaede’s eyes. Also, Kaede’s rich classmate, Kaoru Matsutake is in love with her but is usually shrugged off.
 
Mythical creature’s love
Well, it seems that the mythical creatures of the series too have their share of love.
Daa! Daa! Daa!: A human toddler named Momoka is head over heels for Lou, though the latter doesn’t realize it.
Mirmo De Pon: Another fairy Ririmu is deeply in love with Mirmo but the latter refuses to commit.
 
Mythical creature’s power
Refers to what are the creature’s special powers. (Duh!)
Daa! Daa! Daa!: Lou has ESP and telekinesis powers and can float around while Wannya can morph and change its appearance.
Mirmo De Pon: Mirmo have a pair of maracas in which he uses to apply his magic powers. His magical powers multiplies when Kaede uses her magic microphone. The other fairies too have their own unique musical instruments to do so such as Yacht’s triangle, Rirumu’s tambourine, and Murumo’s drums.
 
Tele-shopping
Well, how should I put it. Hard for me to explain. Something like the mythical creatures sometimes get their products for whatever purpose through some vendor kinda thingy.
Daa! Daa! Daa!: Wannya calls some intergalatic tele-shopping and they’ll deliver the product within several days or weeks.
Mirmo De Pon: Usually Yacht interfaces with some small pink creature and when a deal is made that small pink creature will use some fat gloomy looking guy, popping out suddenly from somewhere giving the client a sudden shock. And the delivery is immediate.
 
Home
Refers to where the main protagonist stays.
Daa! Daa! Daa!: Since Miyu’s parents are overseas, she has to live along with Kanata together alone at the Saionji temple since, Kanata’s dad too went abroad to India.
Mirmo De Pon: Kaede and Yuki live in their respective homes with their parents.
 
Opening and ending theme
Refers to the song for the opening and ending credits of the series
Daa! Daa! Daa!: There are 2 opening and ending themes each, making a total of 4 songs.
Mirmo De Pon: There are 7 opening themes and 11 ending themes, making a total of 18 songs.
 
Bad guys
Daa! Daa! Daa!: No bad guys here
Mirmo De Pon: Several antagonists here, usually opposite Mirmo, such as the bungling Warumos and Mirmo’s arch rival fairy, Yacht.
 
Dubbed
As both series are shown in loca tv stations, they’re dubbed in another language and aren’t shown in their original Japanese speaking format. Darn.
Daa! Daa! Daa!: English
Mirmo De Pon: Malay
 
Name change
Why is it that when a series is dubbed, the names of the main characters are changed. Why can’t they just leave it as it is? *Long sigh*.
Daa! Daa! Daa!: Among them such as Kanata becomes Cody, Miyu becomes Kelly, Wannya becomes Bow-Meow
Mirmo De Pon: Among them such as Yuki becomes Dylan, Kaede becomes Katie, Kaoru becomes Kyle
 
Number of episodes
Daa! Daa! Daa!: 78 episodes up till year 2002.
Mirmo De Pon: 172 episodes up till year 2006.
 
Conclusion
Well… It’s kinda hard to choose which is the better one. But personally, I like Daa! Daa! Daa! slightly more than Mirmo De Pon. Maybe it’s because of there’re more interaction between the main protagonists in the former. As I felt too that in the latter’s case, the episodes I saw were more on the fairy world and not much love triangle scenarios. And perhaps Miyu seemed a littlecuter than Kaede. Hehehe. But I still think that these 2 animes are worth to watch if you’re looking for a few laughs, though there’re more prominent slapstick comedies out there.

Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu

October 21, 2006

I can’t seem to understand a lot of things during and even after I’ve finished watching Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Yeah, it’s pretty confusing. The main reason why I decided to watch this series it’s because I read somewhere that this show was a runaway hit in Japan just after 2 weeks being aired. You could say that I was a little tempted and curious, therefore there was a need to find out what it’s all about and without any hesitation, jumped on the bandwagon.
 
Before I proceed any further, I’d like to mention one unique thing about this series. That is, the chronological order of the show is mixed up. Yup, meaning that episode 1 isn’t actually episode 1 but some later episode. So there’s gonna be a lot of back and forths between the episode orders to keep viewers confused. Just like me. So each time the episodes start I would be going like ‘Umm… How did this happened?’ or ‘Er… what happened for it to become like that?’. I’d be scratching my head and thinking so hard (I don’t even think that hard during exams). So for easy reference, below is how the episode is shown:
 
Episode No.     Actual Chronological Order
        01                      11                          
  02                      01                     
       03                      02                          

   04                      07                      
       05                      03                          
  06                      09                     
       07                      08                          

   08                      10                      
       09                      14                          
  10                      04                     
       11                      13                          

   12                      12                      
       13                      11                          
   14                      05                      
 15                      06                     
 
Phew… Luckily there’s only 14 episodes. So it’s not that confusing but it was enough to mess it up and screw my brain for me. So for the rest of this blog, I’ll refer to the episodes as they are shown and NOT as in actual chronological order, unless mentioned, so as to avoid any personal confusion. Plus, at the end of every episode during the preview of the next, we see how Suzumiya announces the next episode number only to be rebutted by Kyon telling the actual episode number. It’s funny to hear this part especially only episode 12 is when the shown episode is the same as the chronological one. And that part we hear Suzumiya saying the next episode is episode 12, and the usual from Kyon, "wrong it is not episode 12 but it’s episode 12, oh wait, that’s correct". Hahaha.
 
Okay, the first episode isn’t anything much except that it is a really badly made amateur video from the SOS Brigade. It may seem a little rush trying to get to know the characters and who’s who. But if you set aside that and whatever confusion (the one I had was, what in the world is this all about. Huh?), it’s quite fun to see their poorly made acting, blunders and slip-ups. Uh-huh, that Suzumiya girl as the film’s director trying to get things right as you can see her from the edge of the camera trying to tell the cast to do this, or even adjust certain things.
 
Basically, the film, sarcastically narrated by Kyon, is about some bunny suit space combat waitress, played by Asahina, who is fighting some battle against an evil wizard, played by Nagato. Yeah, there’re several attempts and scenes before good triumphed over evil. Uh-huh, due to some circumstances, their battle is always postponed. And in the film’s end, the waitress finally lived happily ever after with her boyfriend, played by Koizumi.
 
The closing of the 1st episode sees how Suzumiya is happy with how the ‘superb’ film turned out and is going to show it proudly to the public during the school cultural festival, much to a shocked and unimpressed Kyon. If you look at it, it’s filled with flaws, comical errors and poor quality. No wonder Kyon isn’t too happy about it. And Suzumiya bragging, well, I guess that really crosses the line. But since she’s the boss, there’s nothing Kyon can do about it either.
 
Episode 2 is the real thing. Meaning this is where the series starts off. The episode, in fact the rest of the series, is narrated sarcastically and cynically by Kyon from his point of view. And actually that’s not his real name either. It’s what others tend to call him. So his real name is somewhat of a mystery.
 
The first day of high school sees a new transfer student in Kyon’s class, the pretty but strange Haruhi Suzumiya. During her introduction, she told the class that she has no interest in normal people but instead asked for aliens, time travellers, and espers to join her. Of course the class would be a little surprised to hear such strange statement. Well, they say curiosity kills the cat. I guess that’s what will happen to Kyon soon. Throughout the month, Kyon observes her abnormal behaviour and spots many strange characteristics such as changing different hairstyle on different days (to counter alien attacks…!?) and changing her clothes right in class and right in front of the boys. Yeah, she sees them as low life and doesn’t care about them and ignores them, that’s why she doesn’t feel any shame doing so. However, she’s quite atheletic and has good grades as well. Is this normal too or abnormal?
 
As Kyon approaches Suzumiya to strike a conversation with her, their conversation usually don’t last and Suzumiya doesn’t seem interested and is quite moody. Albeit, through time it does get longer and so much so his classmates thought that they’re both going out. Fat chance. Another peculiar thing Kyon noticed about Suzumiya is that after she joins a club she quits them faster than you can say hallelujah. Talk about club hopping. Yeah, she said that those clubs were boring and uninteresting. It is only when a conversation with Kyon regarding this, that Suzumiya came out with a ‘brilliant’ idea to form a club of her own. And this is the beginning of hell for Kyon as he is reluctantly dragged into it. Too late to turn back now.
 
Yeah, Suzumiya in a way ‘forces’ Kyon to join her club and to go look for a room for their club. And eventhough Kyon tried his best to decline, it seems that Suzumiya isn’t listening. Just like Kyon mentioned, she only says and listens to what she only wants to. You could say she’s a selfish person. No choice though. Finally, Suzumiya decided to use a seemingly deserted room, the literary club’s room and claim it as her own’s. Wow. This girl can be a successful conqueror if she’d lived 500 years ago.
 
But there’s somebody in the literary club’s room. A quiet and mysterious bookworm named Yuki Nagato, who sits there all day long doing nothing but reading at a corner. At this rate she can become part of the furniture. Haha. Just kidding. And well, her presence or rather her interest of them using the room is ignored, but she doesn’t mind it as long she can read. She isn’t an official member of Suzumiya’s club, but at times she’s dragged along into their activities and the thing is Suzumiya didn’t even forced her nor did Nagato said she wanted to join in. Hmmm… So it’s like this throughout the show. She’s part of the club but actually isn’t but she is.
 
Later on, as Kyon waited at the room for the club’s first meeting (by force, of course), Suzumiya recruited another member for her club (also by force if you look it that way). She is Mikuru Asahina, a naive, shaky, soft-spoken, scared-of-many-things squeaky girl. The reason for her recruitment… her cuteness and big breasts to attract new club members. *Smack*. Oh well, what do you expect from a weird person. Suzumiya even go round squeezing Asahina’s breasts to compare how much bigger hers is compared to her own and even asked Kyon if he wants a go at it. Of course, he passed.
 
By the way, in the series, there’ll be lots and tons of trivias for viewers to spot. However, I manage to spot a meagre 2 only. The first one being the part where Suzumiya is ranting about Asahina’s recruitment while holding up 2 magazines with the Shuffle anime on its cover. The thing is, the voice actors for Kyon and Asahina are the same ones for Rin and Kaede respectively.
 
Also, that most of Kyon’s sarcasm is actually upon what Suzumiya says and does. For example the time when Suzumiya chided Kyon not to knock on the clubroom’s door because it’ll be misintepreted and perceived as a customer visiting them. But when other club members do it, she doesn’t say a thing and let it pass. And in Kyon’s mind you’ll hear that he’ll point out such contradicting and the obvious in his head. Yeah, like stabbing her behind her back. Oh well, I guess that’s the most he could do considering the circumstances he’s in. But he’s right in a way. He’s quite observant too in a way, isn’t he? But that’s because he’s being picked on. No choice too, though.
 
Before this episode ends, Suzumiya finally names her club, the SOS Brigade. What does it stand for? It stands for Save The World By Overloading It With Fun Suzumiya Haruhi Brigade. Er… Well, I suppose that will do. It’s better than STWBOIWFSHB. There’s a Japanese version for the SOS acronym too but I can’t remember what it was. And the main purpose of the club is to hunt and investigate abnormal and mysterious things. I suppose too that’s a start.
 
Suzumiya quickly recruits another club member in episode 3. This time the enigmatic and ever-smiling Itsuki Koizumi, who’s also a new transfer student. Well he seems casual and joins the club without any fuss. So this episode basically is how Suzumiya wants to create a webpage for her club. So she barges into the computer club and demanded the computer club’s president to hand over a computer to her. Of course, any sane person would refuse to do so, moreover without any valid reasons.
 
Then this is the hilarious and sadistic part. Suzumiya takes the hands of the computer club’s president, puts it on Asahina’s breasts, and took several pictures of it while a shocked Asahina screams. The purpose? She’s planning to use it as a blackmail. Wah… she can be a school bully and future gangster too. Not only that, she shoves him above Asahina and make it looked like as though they’re in a compromising situation and took more snapshots of it. In the end, the computer club’s president had to give in. And the way Suzumiya said things, nobody’s gonna believe him either. No choice. This girl is scary.
 
Once the computer is set up, Suzumiya as usual forces Kyon to create the SOS Brigade’s website. What to do? If the boss say like this then like this lah. Later on, Suzumiya barges in and reveals 2 bunny suits. She and Asahina are going to distribute flyers about the club. So she forced a very reluctant Asahina to put on the bunny suit. Note that, everytime Suzumiya wants to try an outfit on Asahina, the latter will refuse and she’ll struggle not to get it on but with Suzumiya’s ‘overwhelming powers’ she’ll eventually get it on, much to Asahina’s embarrassment. It’s like that all the time throughout the series. You’ll notice too that in a way, Suzumiya likes to pick on Asahina. Maybe it’s because of her character. Then we also find out that Kyon actually likes Asahina and especially in her funny outfits. Yeah, he even secretly keeps a whole bunch of photos of her in some directory in the computer. Naughty naughty.
 
Anyway, their plan to distribute flyers in bunny suit is cut short when the teachers stopped them. As the day near its end, Nagato reminds Kyon to read the book that she suggested earlier on. At night when Kyon’s doing so, he finds a note telling him to meet him somewhere. As Kyon followed it, he saw Nagato at that spot which then she led him back to her apartment to explain something. To cut short, Nagato explains to Kyon that she is an alien. A WHAT!?
 
Okay, you won’t get that continuation from the end of the previous episode because episode 4 is about the SOS Brigade and a bunch of Kyon’s classmates and even his little sister, playing baseball with a skilled college baseball team. Yeah, they initailly practiced with their own school’s baseball team but surprisingly the latter weren’t very good. So it is here too that I didn’t understand certain things. That’s because there’re some later episodes not shown yet which led to certain events which happened in this episode. Are you confused? I know I am.
 
But it was something during the conversation between Kyon and Koizumi about some closed space. And we see some weird flashbacks (probably of the previous but yet to be shown episode). As Suzumiya is getting moody, that said dangerous closed space will unleash some sort of disaster on the world. So the baseball match has become something like save-the-world-battle thingy. Luckily with Nagato’s alien power, Suzumiya’s team won. And Koizumi said something like they need to keep Suzumiya happy and not bore her if they’re to avoid such things from happening. The next day, a hyped Suzumiya barges into the clubroom and asked if they wanted to participate in some rugby or football match. Oh well, here we go again.
 
Episode 5 resumes where the series left off with Nagato telling Kyon that she’s an alien. For most of this episode, I didn’t understand what Nagato was trying to explain. I’m just like Kyon, don’t understand what’s going on. Huh? What? Er? Umm? So it wasn’t the case of ‘I don’t understand what I’ve just heard’ (my Japanese vocab still isn’t there yet), it’s also ‘I don’t understand what I’ve just read’ (the subtitles too seemed to be using high standard scientific English). All I know is that with Suzumiya’s mysterious appearance 3 years ago, the aliens believed that she’s capable for the alien’s auto-evolution (whatever that is) and Nagato is created to observe Suzumiya and obtain data for that purpose. Anymore than that I’m in a lost. So for me let’s just leave it that way. Kyon thinks she’s crazy and doesn’t believe her.
 
Then there’s something that Nagato mentioned about Kyon being ‘chosen’ by Suzumiya. For what? I dunno. Then she also said that Suzumiya isn’t just an ordinary human. Like duh, her forceful and selfish behaviour isn’t what any ordinary humans would do. But what Nagato meant was, she has some sort of powers to wish for what she wants to come true, although Suzumiya doesn’t realize this herself. I’m really getting a headache.
 
The next day, as the SOS Brigade converges to look for any mysterious happenings, the group splits into 2, with Kyon and Asahina being paired up and the rest with Suzumiya. Ah, must be Heaven for Kyon. I think Suzumiya’s jealous with the outcome. Yeah, she constantly reminds that they’re on a job and not a date. Too bad Suzumiya. She must be jealous.
 
During the search, Asahina decides to inform Kyon about something. Nope, it isn’t a confession as Kyon was hoping for. The thing she wanted to inform Kyon is that she’s actually a time traveller. Oh my goodness! Another weird one. Ah well, at least Kyon had to stick around and listen to her explanation because she’s cute… at least. Also, I didn’t understand a word Asahina said. To sum it up, something like in the future, she and her colleagues found a time rip 3 years ago from present time. Yup, it has something to do with Suzumiya again. So Asahina is sent back to observe Suzumiya and to prevent anything like that from happening. She also said that Suzumiya had ‘chosen’ Kyon for reasons unknown. After hearing 2 such cases, would Kyon believe it all? Maybe he should seek a third opinion.
 
Well, the whole investigation thing didn’t yield any results by the end of the day, as the club members disbanded and went home. The next day, Kyon approaches Koizumi to discuss things and expects him to be like the other 2 as well. Yup, he’s an esper. I didn’t understand too the blabbing. But what I know is that Koizumi and his colleagues, who’re created 3 years ago, thinks Suzumiya is God. That’s because they belive she can manipulate dreams just like the world that they’re currently living in, which is actually Suzumiya’s dream (reminds you of The Matrix, doesn’t it).
 
Now let me see. It seems that whenever I (and even Kyon) want more information about this ‘weirdness’, we’ll never get the answers. Why? That’s because, the alien will say "there’s no words in human vocabulary to describe it", the time traveller would say "it’s classified information", and the esper will say "we just know it’s like that". *Double Smack*. Such convenient answers, don’t you think? Besides, I figured that if the producers do come up with some explanation, I’d have a hard time understanding it too. So again, perhaps it’s better to leave it as it is.
 
However episode 6 takes another break from all that. Or does it? Actually the SOS Brigade takes a trip to one of Kyon’s relatives remote island for some summer vacation. And because of what Koizumi has done for this trip, Suzumiya promotes Koizumi to be the club’s vice president. No comment. Hey, Kyon’s little sister also tagged along. This episode reminds you of one of those whodunnit sleuths kinda episode. The gang arrives at the mansion, greeted by the butler and maid, Arakawa and Mori Sunou respectively, then there’s lots of build up to the tension, suspense and mystery just like in those typical detective shows. Other casts (or suspects) include the mansion’s master, Keiichi Tamura (Don’t remember how he’s related to Koizumi) and Yutaka (I think he’s Keiichi’s nephew or something like that). Anyway, the episode ends with Keiichi being found dead in his room with a knife stabbed through his chest. And Yutaka isn’t anywhere to be found. Oh the horror!
 
So will the killer be found? Well, not just yet. Episode 7 is the episode with events happening before the previous one. Get what I mean? Though not connected, it starts off with Suzumiya being unhappy about Kyon being unable to recognize the SOS Brigade logo on their website. Of course, who wouldn’t. It’s so badly designed. Later, Suzumiya noticed that their website and logo has been completely screwed up. Hackers? Kyon tries to fix it but to no avail.
 
Just then, a girl by the name of Emiri Kimidori came into the clubroom. Hah. Suzumiya must be thinking they’ve got their first customer after all those efforts. Well, in a way she’s right. Emiri came to the SOS Brigade as she wanted them to help her locate her lost boyfriend. Who’s her boyfriend? It’s that computer club president. Kyon must be thinking after that incident, most probably he ran away due to that embarrassement.
 
Soon the SOS Brigade made a trip to the computer club president’s apartment to investigate. However, nobody’s home. While Suzumiya is being deliriously jumping around. Koizumi and Nagato sensed something amiss about the room. Yeah, something about that closed space thingy. The gang departs with Suzumiya losing interest when there’s nothing unusual to be found. But the others regrouped again at the room after Suzumiya went home.
 
This is another part where I didn’t understand. It’s all Greek to me. Bla bla bla. And suddenly the room changes into a vast desert. Then some closed space overlapping with outside space remark by Nagato. Huh? I didn’t get it, as much as Kyon. Then the appearance of a hostile giant cave cricket gets ready to attack them. There’re 3 funny parts here, all from Kyon’s remarks. The first one is when the desert appeared. Asahina became scared and started to cling on to Kyon’s arm with Kyon saying "I had no time to enjoy the sensation against my arm. I was desparately trying to verify the location I’m in". He must be enjoying it in a way, huh? The second one he said something like "Are you aware of an insect known as a cave cricket? If not, I’d like to show you what I’m seeing right at this moment". Hehehe. No, I’ve never seen a cave cricket before and thank you for showing it to me. The third one is when Asahina, who is now very scared so much so she couldn’t move and was clinging on to Kyon very tightly. And then Kyon said something like "Due to Asahina engaging me in lower body excersices, she’s taken my ability to move so I can’t escape". I guess in a way he really kinda enjoys it.
 
While Kyon and Asahina were helpless, at least Nagato and Koizumi used their special powers to stop the cave cricket. Nagato’s powers were murmuring some inaudible words, which sounded like those over unclear wave frequencies. While Koizumi unleashes… fireballs? But Koizumi claims due to the closed space his powers are not at optimum. Then this is the second trivia which I spot. During Koizumi’s fireball attack, he mentioned the words ‘Fumoffu’ and ‘The Second Raid’. If you know Full Metal Panic, then you’d know that those are the titles of its sequels. Uh-huh, the company which made this series also made Full Metal Panic. So no copyright infringement here.
 
Eventually, they manage to defeat the bug as it disintegrates, revealing the computer club president. Looks like he’s till alive. And before you know it, the whole scene switches back to his cramped apartment. Now the explanation part. Yup, you’ve guessed it. I don’t have a clue what they’re trying to explain. All I know is that million of years ago some alien lifeform landed on Earth and hibernated. When computers were invented they became semi-awakened. Another one of those alien’s auto-evolution thing like Nagato but she claimed they strayed, taking a different path. So how did the computer club president get infected? Something like people who saw that weird logo became infected. But don’t worry, those who saw the logo are all probably students in their school. I think that’s what they said. Since there’re only 8 who’re infected (though their access counter hit is 30,000 hits. Makes you wonder why would the same idiot access their site over and over again, like that computer club president). And Suzumiya thinks it’s a lover’s quarrel. But wait, the computer club president at the end said he didn’t have a girlfriend. Amnesia? And what happened to Emiri? Hmm… Something’s strange is going on. In order not to have any internal brain concussions, I’ll accept and leave it as it is.
 
Episode 8 is back to that whodunnit thing back in episode 6. To summarize, there’s a lot of theories on how Keiichi have been killed. Yeah, the way and position he fell, how and in which direction and force the knife was stabbed into his chest. So the gang suspects Yutaka, since they heard him quarelling with Keiichi the day before and he’s nowhere to be seen during breakfast when the murder occured.
 
Hey, there’s a scene where Kyon and Suzumiya are together. If you look at it in a way, don’t you think it’s ‘romantic’ and there’s a little chemistry brewing? Both of them holding hands outside during the storm. That close ‘intimate’ moment in the cave. Maybe not. Anyway, to save time, Kyon ‘killed’ Koizumi as the latter deducted that the one who really killed Keiichi was the one who broke the door down, which is Kyon or Arakawa. Oh no! Kyon the killer?! Just then Kyon’s sister spots Koizumi’s lifeless body and alerts Arakawa. Then Kyon and Suzumiya entered the room where Keiichi’s body is still lying there and said that they’d want to stab it to make sure he’s really dead. And soon, Keiichi gets up. What the?!
 
Well, actually this whole thing is just a setup. Yeah, this whole mystery-cum-murder thing is just an act, all properly planned by Keiichi, Yutaka, Arakawa, Mori and Koizumi himself. We now see how Suzumiya brags about her murder deduction. She looked so scared that time. How ironic. And that part where Kyon ‘killed’ Koizumi is just all pretending and to ‘get back’ at them. In the end, Kyon found out that Koizumi planned this so that Suzumiya won’t feel bored, thus avoiding that closed space thingy. After all the explanations, the gang finally head home. And what’s with the last scene where Koizumi looking at Kyon’s mole, as it zooms closer. Disgusting. Nothing maybe. Perhaps just a distraction.
 
Episode 9 is the most boring episode. Because it was chronologically the last episode, I was enthusiastically anticipating something interesting. Well, nothing was. Basically, Suzumiya managed to get a free heating system for the clubroom from that guy who sponsored their badly made film (you could see him in episode 1). So she asked Kyon to go get it. Of course he’s reluctant. But who’s gonna do it if not him and it’s better that way since it won’t get the other club members involve with her schemes.
 
Then there’s this one long stretch of boringness, lasting several minutes. We see Nagato reading in the corner and in the background some softly played random tv sounds. I thought that some surprise was going to happen and was on my toes if anything springs into action. Maybe a loud explosive sound or some alien busting into the scene. So I waited and waited and waited. NOTHING HAPPENED!!! I don’t get what this part is for except to fill in the remaining time of this pointless episode. AND I WAS SO READY FOR NOTHING!!! Well, maybe that’s the surprise, nothing. Expect the unexpected.
 
In the meantime, Suzumiya forcefully tries more weird outfits on Asahina as the latter tries to run away but being caught up everytime. After Kyon returns and fixed the heater, he took a nap as he was tired. Who wouldn’t? Carrying such a heavy thing all the way back to school. But Suzumiya woke him up just when school hours is over and told him it’s time to go home. Since it’s raining, they shared an umbrella. Er… are they both ‘romantically linked’? Suzumiya even playfully ran ahead of Kyon in the rain, beckons him, as he then ‘pursued’ her in the last scene. Could it be that what I’m thinking could be? I shouldn’t jump to conclusions yet. Maybe that’s just another teaser to mess with my mind.
 
Kyon discovers a note in his shoebox in episode 10. A love letter? Nope, just a note asking him to meet in some classroom at some time after school hours. So Kyon decides to do so. That person turned out to be Ryouko Asakura, one of Kyon’s classmates. So a lot of talk between them and something about Kyon and Suzumiya’s relation. Okay, to save time, Ryouko wants to kill Kyon. WHAT?! Yeah, she said that she wants to know what Suzumiya would do if Kyon is killed. So as Ryouko attacks Kyon, he tries to flee but he can’t seem to escape as she has freezed his body. Before she could kill him, Nagato manage to arrive in the nick of time and intercept her.
 
We find out that Ryouko is also an alien just like Nagato. But I don’t remember why she acted like that. I thought she’s suppose to be Nagato’s helper or backup or something like that. But I guess she want astray. So fight fight fight. There’s even a scene which reminded me of Terminator. Yeah, that liquid mecury reassembling itself. Anyway, Nagato manage to defeat Ryouko and restore the space around her. Kyon must be very relieved.
 
The next day, Kyon discovers another letter in his shoe box, but it’s from Asahina. Could it be a confession for real this time? Nope. Just another meeting. But this time, this Asahina looks like the grown up version of the current one. Actually she’s the current Asahina’s future version. She came back to this time just to tell Kyon something about Snow White and remembering it in times of need. Huh? Must be for some later episodes. And soon off the future Asahina goes, not before Kyon asked her age. Of course, that’s classified information, she quipped.
 
In episode 11, the computer club challenges the SOS Brigade to a 5 on 5 computer game duel. Yeah, it like some massive real time strategy starfleet intergalactic battleship thing, dubbed ‘The Day Of Saggitarius III’, designed by the computer club themselves. The deal? If the computer club wins, they’ll get back their pc ‘stolen’ by Suzumiya. If the SOS Brigade will get a few laptops from them. So it’s on!
 
But before the real thing starts, the SOS Brigade played a few practice rounds to familiarize themselves with the game. Oh well, all of them sucked. Big time! Looks like no hope. And during the real match day, at first the SOS Brigade seems to be losing. Eventually it’s found out that the computer club used some cheat code to ensure the SOS Brigade’s loss. Then the tides are turn when Nagato used her super fast and super computer knowledge to rewrite and reprogramme certain areas during the game! And in the end, the SOS Brigade won. That Suzumiya claimed that she did all the hard work (yeah, right).
 
With the computer club admitting defeat, they realized that Nagato had some amazing computer skills and asked that if she would like to join their club. Of course Suzumiya protests as she thinks that Nagato is part of the SOS Brigade (unofficially, though. Don’t remember she asked her to join). But Kyon said that Nagato probably enjoyed the game and it wouldn’t hurt if she visit the club once in a while. Well, Nagato agreed and would do so once in a while. At this point, I think Nagato listens to Kyon more rather than Suzumiya. After this and the past several events whereby it’s Kyon’s words which made Nagato get up and do things (as Nagato blindly follows or totally ignores Suzumiya’s).
 
It’s the school cultural festival in episode 12 with the SOS Brigade members doing their respective roles. Like Asahina as a waitress for her cafe, Koizumi in some play acting, and Nagato into fortune telling. I guess Nagato’s way of fortune telling is really scaring away the customers. What about Kyon? Well, he isn’t doing anything in particular, just wandering around till he reached some performance hall. A lot of bands playing there.
 
That is, until Suzumiya and Nagato came up stage along with another 3 female members to perform. What a shock it was for Kyon. So was I. I didn’t think that Suzumiya had any singing talent nor could she play a guitar, but she was quite good and with Nagato on electric guitar, it’s even better. And after the performance, she was quite happy. This is so different than the Haruhi Suzumiya that I know. Is it really her? Yes it is.
 
The next day Suzumiya even explained to Kyon how she ended up doing such a gig. The band’s lead singer and guitarist had an accident. At the same time, Suzumiya heard about it and offered to help them along with Nagato. Hey! Has Suzumiya changed and become a much nicer person? And her explanations doesn’t sound like she was bragging or filled with that hype-ness. She’s so different. I couldn’t believe it. I guess even Kyon felt this way at first. Well anyway, the band members expressed their gratitude by inviting them to their next performance.
 
The next day, Kyon spots Suzumiya lying on the grass in the school compound as she’s still thinking about her performance. Looks like she’s not used to being appreciated by other people. All of a sudden, she asked Kyon if he plays any instruments. And decides to form a band of her own for next year’s school cultural festival. Oh well, she’s back to her old self again, not listening to any of Kyon’s words. Perhaps it’s better that way. Too good to be true, huh?
 
In episode 13, continues where Kyon was saved by Nagato from Ryouko’s attempt to kill him. Suzumiya tags along a reluctant Kyon to find out the disappearance of Ryouko. But was told by the apartment manager that she had moved out suddenly. But we all know what happened to her, right? Plus, the manager said something about Ryouko moving in 3 years ago too. Does that number ring a bell? Anyway, after losing interest, they both just head back.
 
Here we also see Suzumiya’s flashback. Yeah, somewhere at the railway crossing Suzumiya asked about if Kyon realized how insignificant he is. Like she’s soooo ‘big’ like that. Her flashback was something to with a baseball stadium. Sea of people, like ants, like a drop in the ocean, so the same, so insignificant. That kinda thing. In the end, nothing interesting happened fo her.
 
Soon after that whatever metaphor explanation, they both parted ways. But Kyon is going to listen to more of those when he spots Koizumi waiting for him. After the latter hails a taxi, Koizumi explains more confusing stuffs. Though I don’t know where their destination is, but I guess he wanted a private moment to talk things out with Kyon. You’ve guessed it. A lot of ‘Err…’, ‘Umm…’ and ‘Huh?’ from me. Why can’t they explain it in lay man terms?
 
What I know (I think) from Koizumi’s explanation is that, since Suzumiya is God and since she has the ability to create worlds, she can also destroy it. And then her power to wish what she wants for unknowingly like how the whole jin-jang gang, Nagato, Asahina and Koizumi were ‘brought together’. Once they’ve arrived at wherever that destination is, Koizumi proceeds to show Kyon what a closed space is. Looks like a mundane, grey, world with nobody around. He further explains that it occurs in concurrence with Suzumiya’s mood. Kyon and his colleagues can detect and enter it. Then there’s this large poltergeist kinda beast who’s wrecking havoc in the city in the closed space. And to destroy the closed space, that beast must be destroyed. Once it’s done, the close spaced disappears and the normal world would reappear back. And so Koizumi gave a little demonstration to Kyon for all that. After all that, they head back. I guess that’s enough for 1 day, huh.
 
So the last episode is the turning point of the series. If you look at it,  it’s in the middle of the 14 epsiode series. This episode starts with Kyon trying to figure things out like why he was dragged into this mess and the other 3 self proclaimed ‘extraordinary beings’ of the SOS Brigade. And then at school, nothing unusual, just that some interaction here and there with the SOS Brigade members, that usual chiding from Suzumiya, secretly look at some photos of Asahina stored in the pc (I’m thinking he may be turning into a pervert, the silent kind).
 
Later at night when he’s sleeping he has some weird dream. Soon he heard Suzumiya’s voice calling him to wake up. It seems that they’re both in their school uniform and at school all alone. Kyon recognize this as a closed space due to his earlier experience with Koizumi. What’s happening? Where’s everybody else? Suzumiya seems to be afraid. As Kyon suggest that they escape from the school area, an invisible barrier prevents them from doing so. Therefore, they decided to head back to their clubroom.
 
Then Koizumi, in a form of a little light orb, manage to find Kyon and explain to him that the worse might have actually begun. Meaning that Suzumiya has already given up on the current world and is in the midst of destroying it to create a new one, unknowingly of course. Some more bla bla blas which I can’t make out. Then Koizumi told him that what he meant when he said Suzumiya had ‘chosen’ Kyon was most probably that Suzumiya had fallen for him! What?! This is so ironic. She doesn’t even show it! Perhaps chiding him is her way of showing her affections to Kyon. Really weird girl.
 
Since Koizumi can only stay for a short while, before he disappears he asked Kyon to switch on the computer. Doing so, he finds a message from Nagato. Though they’re not completely cut-off yet from the current world, soon they’ll be. Yeah, more bla bla blas from Nagato too, something like how he wished Kyon would return to the current world along with Suzumiya so that the aliens could continue observing her. Before everything goes blank, a text ‘Sleeping Beauty’ appeared as Nagato’s last message.
 
Oh no! There’re several beasts wrecking havoc now. Kyon takes Suzumiya hands and tries to make a run for it. Suzumiya is feeling estatic about it. At the same time, we see Kyon trying to persuade Suzumiya to return to the old world. But she kept saying how this world is much more exciting. Then when Kyon said how much he wants to see his old pals in the old world again, a confused Suzumiya then dejectedly said that she thought Kyon was bored of the old world all this time. Huh? Does he look like it? Maybe tired from her rantings and scolding lah.
 
Then some right words from Kyon and he suddenly thought of the connection between Snow White and Sleeping Beauty fairytales. Oh my! That transfixed position. Am I thinking what they’re gonna do is true? Before that Kyon says this, "Ponytails turn me on". *Explosion*. That’s the quote of the series. Finally, he leans and kissed her!!! I was caught off guard on this. Is that what the fairytales and this had in common? The prince kisses the sleeping princess to wake her up in the end? Probably. Soon a great flash of light as the closed space and the beasts dissintegrates. And Kyon woke up and finds himself back at home in his pajamas. Actually he had fallen out of his bed. Was it a dream? Hope that he doesn’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
 
The next day in school, Kyon tries to figure out if last night’s ‘adventure’ was real or not. He spots Suzumiya with her new hairstyle. Yeah, she has ponytails. She said something like how she had a horrible nightmare last night and couldn’t sleep well. Looks like she still doesn’t realize it. Later, Kyon is greeted and gladly welcome backed by the other SOS Brigade members. What a relief it must have been for them.
 
A few days later, Kyon and Suzumiya together goes out for their 2nd investigation of the neighbourhood for anything unusual, as the rest couldn’t make it. As Kyon narrates his last few lines, one of them being how he would like to tell Suzumiya those many things, but first would like to talk about aliens, time travellers and espers… So is this the start of a romantically beautiful relationship? Don’t think so. But you saw hints of it, right?
 
WARGH!!! And so it finally ends, this seemingly confusing series. Overall, if I look at it generally, it’s quite okay. I just didn’t like the long winded scientific theories and explanations. I’ve never had migrane this bad before. Basically, I can separate the series into 2 parts. The first half being the introduction of Suzumiya’s problems and how the gang overcomes it. The second half was merely them trying to keep Suzumiya from being bored with those side adventures, which I felt wasn’t that significant as compared to the perplexing first half.
 
If you think about it in your head by rearranging and put the whole series in chronological order, it does make sense after all. But because of this fact too, many complained about how the character developments were screwed up. I know, it’s pretty confusing if it’s not in sequential order.
 
One thing I like most is the ending theme. Well not so much the song, but the cute little jiggle and dance by the SOS Brigade. I tried to imitate it. Unfortunately I suck big time. Nevertheless, I still find the ending credits to be quite amusing and worthwhile to watch. Moreover, the song seems to fit it quite well. As for the opening credits, though I didn’t quite enjoy it, but it’s filled with lots of those scientific equations and stuffs if you look carefully. Signs of what the show is about? It’s complexity and extra-terrestial things, perhaps.
 
And I thought that this was supposed to be a funny show (as I read somewhere)! Maybe the word funny here meant weird. Yup, a weird show with weird characters. Maybe that’s why it’s so popular. Maybe there’re lots of weird people in Japan. Just kidding. Since I’ve watched it, am I considered weird too? Weirdly confused. Hehehe.
 
It’s a good thing that the producers have decided to scrap and stop producing further episodes or make a second season out of this series. There’s a very high probability that I won’t watch it. That’s because I don’t want to be confused all over again. I know, many fans of the series weren’t too happy about it. However there’re many more weird (some may call it interestingly unique or creative) animes out there. Some more prominent, some just waiting to be found, and some forever hidden beneath that heap of pile of B-grade or ‘garbage’ section. That depends on your perception too.
 
One final word though, if you believe in aliens, time travellers and espers, then you should also believe in Haruhi Suzumiya. That’s because both are abnormal and are beyond normal human’s comprehension. Hahaha. Sighs… If not for her one kind character she may have been quite a pretty person. Yeah, like a rose with a million thorns. That ‘coldness’ of her erased it all. Uh-huh, so you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

Is incest an acceptable thing in Japan? Well, I’m not really pretty sure about it. That’s because I’ve watched several animes and I’ve noticed that whether or not they are siblings or cousins, the lovey-dovey kinda relation in which lovers do, are done so ‘openly’ and ‘boldly’ by them. Yeah, as though as it’s okay to love your little sister or your older cousin brother just like your boyfriend or girlfriend.
 
It’s the same thing here in Boku Wa Imouto Ni Koi Wo Suru. However, rather than going on for several episodes, this OVA is only 1 episode long and approximately 60 minutes. So I suppose there’s nothing much to it, huh. Well, that depends. If you view the length of the OVA, perhaps it’s nothing much then. But if you really like this kind of animes, well, then I guess there’s something to it.
 
The series revolves around the unidentical twins Yuuki, Yori and Iku. The movie opens with some sort of a flashback of the twins during their younger days. They’re witnessing a wedding in progress and was amazed by it. Ah… Such pure innocent love. I guess that they must have been very close to each other. Why not? They’re twins, aren’t they.
 
Fast forward many years later where the twins are now grown up and attending high school. We see the dashing Yori having some discussion about some entrance exam thingy with his school teacher. Once he has finished, a cheery Iku approaches him to ask how about it, but was shrugged off, much to Iku’s shock. It seems like Yori has changed. He’s become much colder. Must be those raging hormones teens get during their age.
 
Then at home, we get to see that Yori’s heart seem to ‘beat heavily’ when he sees Iku sleeping in her ‘sexy’ pajamas. That’s even the case when he even touches her. Oh oh, the signs are clear. He’s developing feelings for her but it’s more than just the sibling love kinda feelings. But he seems to be controlling his feelings. Also some tension between the two. Haih, how things changed.
 
Next day in school, we see even Yori has a girlfriend, Tomoka Kusunoki. Well, actually not his girlfriend outright. More like an admirer. Tomoka likes Yori and even confessed to him, but Yori doesn’t seem interested and just shrug off the whole thing and also thinks it’s a joke. And Tomoka seems to tolerate it. Like as though she’s willing to wait until he changes his mind. Sort of. Well, things take a little turn for the worse as Yori spots a couple of guys teasing Iku. As he can’t stand it, he proceeds to beat them up. Luckily his best buddy, Haruka Yano, manage to calm him down and stop him from hurting those guys further. However, Yori is still that angry-and-leave-me-alone guy just walking off without saying anything. Everybody’s wondering what has gotten into him, especially Iku.
 
Then Tomoka tries to comfort him. Yori has another of those ‘heavy heartbeats’ when she touches him. Don’t tell me this guy also have feelings for her. But he seems confused about his feelings. Anyway, before you know it, the 2 started kissing and ‘made love’. Don’t worry, you won’t get to see that part in detail. Just various clips shown here and there.
 
So over the next few minutes, it’s something like this. Iku tries to be her usual cheery and happy self and probably wants to cheer Yori up. But that Yori seems to be mean to his twin sister, emotionally hurting her. So sad. I felt a little pity for Iku and at the same time want to smack Yori right in the head. Even after that guy to guy talk with Haruka about is there any girl Yori likes, he seems spaced out with lots of anger and uncertainty.
 
Later at home, Yori saw how sad Iku is, crying alone in the dark in her bunker. Suddenly, he proceeds on top of her and starts to kiss her! And then he explains that he’s in love with her. And it’s not the sibling kind of love as said before. Yeah, he even said things like she’s the only girl in the world for him in his eyes. I guess he’s lost it. And she’s pretty confused and indecisive too about it.
 
Then as if things couldn’t get any worse, Tomoka arrived at their doorstep. Yup, she’s a little frantic as she found out that Yori is going to enter a far far away university. You know what that means. Iku, who’s eavesdropping, of course felt shocked and saddened by what she’s just heard. How would you feel if someone close to you your whole life is going away? And especially in the case of twins. And so Iku dashes out to try and stop Yori from going away. Well, actually Yori has just gone out a little while with Tomoka to talk things over. When Iku manages to catch up with him, Yori decided to delay their ‘talk’ and then carries Iku back home. Yeah, he carried her like newly-weds, if you know what I mean. And they had a little conversation like how twins should be always together even in the same school and university, how Yori needs to go away or else he couldn’t control himself over her. And also things like how Yori wants Iku to grow up faster so that he could love her as a woman and him as a man. Uh-huh, a little moment of semi-nakedness intimacy back at their room. Don’t worry, no sex scenes here.
 
The next day, the twins and Tomoka were walking together to school. And you could feel that undecisive feeling between the twins. Oh but what the heck, those 2 manage to give Tomoka the slip and ran away together, skipping school. Well, those 2 seemingly went on a ‘date’, having their time outside some clover field near a cathedral. Then there’s that smart remark by Yori about how to spell clover. "C" as in "she" and "lover", therefore "she is my lover, Iku is not my sister but my lover". Maybe I should try this if I wanna steal a girl’s heart. Hehehe.
 
Anyway, before you know it, those 2 are soon kissing and caressing inside the cathedral. Oh my, what a forbidden place to do such unholy act. But during that, Iku realized that what they’re doing is wrong and stopped Yori. I guess she felt impure now that she’s done it of all places in the House Of God. As she’s crying, Yori comforts her.
 
Next day in school, Yori and Tomoka finally had their private chat. This time, Yori said things in a way that meant ‘Tomoka, I’m in love with somebody else. And you’re not the one’. I felt it was like that. Of course, Tomoka wouldn’t just accept it without any explanation. She’s guessing that the ‘other girl’ Yori loves is his twin sister. Oh what do you know, Iku’s passing by and overheard about something like Yori and Tomoka making out at a love hotel meant nothing. What’s her initial reaction? She ran away of course, not before Yori noticed her.
 
He managed to chase and get a hold of her. Some bickering here and there. The next thing you know, they made up. Well, soon after school, Iku wanted Yori to take her to that love hotel and… well, you know. Okay, so they did a little here and there, reluctant at first, but you won’t see anything graphic. Later, Yori realized his guilt and is willing to take full responsibility of it. He just wished for her to be happy as she’s his precious little twin sister. Aww…
 
Soon that time has arrived. Yup, it’s their graduation day and Yori will soon be leaving for the university he applied far far away. So we see Yori’s parents and Iku sending him off at the train station, saying their last few words together, like the usual ‘keep in touch’ and ‘take care of your health’ lines. Iku tries to play tough girl by saying she doesn’t care if Yori’s going far away and how she won’t feel lonely. But her speech is interrupted when a tearful Tomoka suddenly arrived and hugged Yori, pleading him not to go. Hey, even Haruka’s there to see him off. Well, that’s what best friends are for. They stick with you through thick and thin.
 
Finally, just before Yori leaves, he gave everyone else a hug, especially, Iku. And then a little peck on her cheek. I guess Tomoka’s not too happy about that. Oh well, couldn’t help it as she just watched. Later that evening back at home, Iku’s still trying to get used to Yori’s absence. Seems tough at first. Then she discovered a note under her pillow which says "Please don’t cry". Do you think she can do that. Didn’t think so.
 
And the last scene shows Yori saying to himself that eventhough he asked her not to cry but she’d probably be crying now. Then a tear trickles down his cheeks. How sad. A final word from Yori saying that whenever he thinks of her crying, he felt like crying too. I also felt like crying too, but I manage to hold back my tears. End of story.
 
Overall, I’m not really fond of this incest type of anime. Perhaps I don’t know what they’re going through since I’ve never experienced such a case before. Yeah, I guess this anime is just another one of those where it explores one of the many kinds and aspects of the mystery of love, such as forbidden ones. But I’m glad Yori manage to foresee his problem and try and take steps to overcome it, though maybe it wasn’t a smooth one during the process. Yeah, love hurts too.
 
In conclusion, therefore, one should have an open mind in order to watch this. Or else, you’d be disgusted by it. Well, I was a little at first. But later on, I felt it wasn’t that bad either. I also realized that in a way love is something like God, works in mysterious ways, and like water, too little of it, you die, and too much of it, you’d drown in it. Hey, that’s a nice way to put things.

Akane Maniax

October 14, 2006

This is some sort of a sequel spin-off to the anime Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien. True to the OVA format, Akane Maniax has only 3 episodes worth approximately 30 minutes of love, drama, suspense and comedy. Okay, maybe not so heavy in those areas, just a bit here and there. Hey, what do you expect from a series that has only 3 episodes. Not much right? But I figured that it was okay since it’s short and doesn’t take too much time. I mean, that’s what OVAs are for too, right? To explain further subsequent events or to tie up certain things. Something like that.
 
So for this particular series, it focuses more on Haruka’s little sister, Akane Suzumiya. Also, the setting is set after the events of what happened at the end of its predecessor series, whereby Haruka and Takayuki broke up and the latter finally goes out with Mitsuki, who’s also Haruka’s best friend. Akane’s now all growned up and attending high school at Hakuryo High.
 
As seen in episode 1, we are introduced to some wild guy named Jouji Gouda. Yeah, he’s the new transfer student at the said high school. Arriving and is all psyched up to beat the crap out of the school’s baseball team. Something like, he wants to take over Japan through baseball kinda thing. But it sounded like a ridculous plan to me. Anyhow, he successfully beats everyone up including the coach. Just before the coach passes out, he told Gouda that he’ll never do so because he’s already a 3rd year student. Shock for Gouda! Yup, he didn’t realized it too and fell into some sort of depression.
 
His whole new classmates must have thought that he’s got many screw lose and wires crossed when they heard his introduction-cum-explanation story. Well, all this gloom is suddenly lifted when his homeroom teacher, Yuuko Kouzuki, asked the class rep, which is Akane, to help him to his seat. And when Gouda laid his eyes on her, it was like instant joy like totally falling in love with her at first sight. Yeah, you’ll see Gouda’s wild imagination and fantasies of her here and there, usually lovey-dovey kind, which is so contrasting to reality.
 
But the thing is, Gouda immediately proposes to Akane to marry him! Wah… So fast! And poor Akane couldn’t help feel embarrassed. Of course, she hit him away, as she’s not interested in that kind of relationship. Who could really blame her? After what happened to her sister and Takayuki. Though she forgave him, but I guess that event left some sort of a scar in her heart and made her think real deep. Furthermore, she got an SMS from Takayuki asking her to congratulate Haruka’s release from hospital. She must be feeling down and confused.
 
Unfortunately, Gouda came at the wrong time. Yeah, though he offered his umbrella but he went on to brag about love and that kind of stuff. This made Akane felt uneasy and she didn’t stay to entertain him, thus ran away. Gouda is confused over what happened. Did he say something wrong? Well, you should’ve guessed from her facial expression and body language that something’s wrong with her, pal.
 
So the next day, he asked Kouzuki for some advice on how to get a girlfriend. From the first time I saw Kouzuki, I knew that she was the scheming kind. Plus the way she dresses is way too sexy for a homeroom teacher. Anyway, she then asked Akane to take Gouda on a school tour, which Akane is quite reluctant of. But since Kouzuki said so, I guess she has got no choice. Uh-huh, Gouda’s daydreaming about being with Akane. He’s so happy that she’s giving him the tour. Until he caught a glimpse and said something about that tree. Remember that tree which started it all in Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien? I guess at that point Akane has had it with Gouda and stops the tour completely, walking away. Another wrong thing he said? I guess he’s left a bad impression of himself as hot-headed, annoying and simple-minded, huh.
 
But Gouda’s real stubborn, he’s determined to try again. He gate-crashes a meeting for the upcoming school cultural festival. I’m not sure what all that blabbing Gouda said, but eventually he said something like in order for the cultural festival to be successful, it should be renamed as The Akane Festival. Oh-oh. This even embarrassed Akane even further. So she and her best pal, Chizuru Sakaki giave him a good whack. And Akane’s determined to transfer Gouda to Chizuru’s class to get rid of him.
 
By the way, I wonder what’s that ‘match’ between Kouzuki and Marimo Shinguuji all about. Yeah, it’s during that cultural festival planning meeting. There’s some disagreement and Kouzuki challenged Marimo by showing her breasts. And because hers was bigger and Marimo’s low self-esteem, the latter backed down. What the?!
 
In episode 2, Gouda’s been transferred to Chizuru’s class. There’s a gloomy and evil aura around Gouda and as it gets bigger the rest of his classmates around him just quickly move away. This part so funny lah. Then he has another one of those visions (or rather illusions) where there’re multiples of himself discussing things and something like how this Gouda will die and a new Mk-II version will arise. And soon, he’s all hyped up again and the gloominess just disappears. Scary guy.
 
So his next ‘attempt’ sees how he tries to join the swimming club which Akane is in. Without thinking, he dives into the pool. Thing is, he can’t swim. *Smack*. However, Akane can’t just let somebody drown and has to jump in to rescue him. And after Gouda comes to, he was slapped by Akane for doing something stupid. Serves him right. Then there’s talk about how Akane scorns Gouda not being truly 100% devoted to his baseball club so how could he do so for the swimming club. But Gouda replied and said something like though he loves them both, he can only do 1 at a time and for the time being his basball interests is taking a back seat for now. Akane could’nt answer back. She just walked away.
 
Also, we get to see Gouda’s mecha battle fantasy. Yeah, it’s your typical good versus evil, with Gouda being the good guy and that Takayuki look-a-like, King Iresoryu, the baddie (he’s got 2 ladies flanking him too). And usually King Iresoryu has taken Akane hostage and it’s up to Gouda to rescue her. So there’s lots of that exaggerated mecha action. Will Gouda rescue his beloved Akane? Since it’s his dream, I suppose he will. But not just yet. It’s too early still.
 
Back to reality, Gouda relentlessly practices swimming. He seems to be putting a lot of effort into it and Akane seems to be noticing all of it. Once Gouda finished his rounds, he saw Akane observing him and they both had that usual talk. Seems at this point, Gouda has said the right things. About believing in oneself and doing the best one can. I guess even idiots like him have their up days. This made Akane realized and she couldn’t hold back her tears as she cried on Gouda’s chest. Much to Gouda’s surprise. Has Akane finally accepted Gouda? Is this the moment that Gouda’ve been waiting for? But he doesn’t seem to be enjoying it like in his fantasies, as he tries to comfort her.
 
By the end of this episode, we have that short cameo appearance of Ayu-Mayu in chibi form. Uh-huh, the chibi form of Akane and Chizuru was hogging the spotlight talking to viewers when Ayu-Mayu came barging in. Ayu’s still that arrogant loud-mouth brat while Mayu doesn’t seem innocent anymore, supproting Ayu’s actions, though she didn’t do any violent actions. And what’s with that machine-gun-shooting-and-taking-over-the-world-thing? Didn’t get it but it was funny.
 
Episode 3 begins with Akane having some weird dream about herself and Takayuki. Yup, some guilty conscience thing about the way she treated Takayuki and things like that. Then there’s a part where it’s said that Akane has some feelings for Takayuki? Huh? Did she? Don’t know. Eventually, she woke up in cold sweat and crying. I felt pity for her.
 
So in school, the cultural festival has begun and Gouda seems to be doing some yakisoba frying. Of course, his usual daydreaming fantasies of Akane is the fuel for his motivation. Yeah, then in his mecha fantasy he finally won, manage to rescue Akane and gave some advice to King Iresoryu and even the latter gave up (due to some complaints from his flanking girlfriends that this was too long and they wanna go home) with a smile. And what’s with that Kouzuki doing some strip-teasing thingy. Yeah, she’s dressed all sexy and letting perverted photographers snapping away happily. But I guess she won the school cultural festival contest that way.
 
Gouda finally gets to here that whole Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien story from Akane when they both meet at that tree at the end of the day. Must be nostalgic for Akane. At least now Gouda has heard the whole story. Still he manages to say the right words, in a way impressing and comforting Akane. Then Akane finally confessed that she was starting to like him. Before she could finish, Gouda is getting all excited and having his usual fantasy too.
 
But she dropped the bombshell. As she wasn’t sure of her feelings between Gouda and Takayuki she decided just to be friends. DOUBLE TRIPLE SHOCK for Gouda!!! He can’t believe he’s hearing it. He’s being dumped, I think. And we hear how Akane wants to go the America to further her studies and stuffs like that. As Akane left, a shocked Gouda sat there until the next day. Poor guy.
 
So the next day arrives, Gouda’s feeling really really depressed as he trudged to school. But this is the surprising part. His gloominess is lifted when he saw another cute girl (another classmate of his) passing by. Suddenly he got over Akane. What the? Talk about sudden change of heart. However, all this came to an end when Gouda found out that that girl already has a boyfriend (another one of his classmates) as is all lovey-dovey with him. Ah well, depressed again.
 
A limo pulls up in front of Gouda then. A sword wielding lady, Meia, invites Gouda to join her and soon his troubles will be over. And this Gouda suddenly fell in love with her at first sight. And in no time, he got into the limo and off they go, wherever that is and whatever they’re doing.
 
The next day, Akane and her classmates were talking about Gouda’s sudden transfer without saying anything. Like he was here just a while and now he’s gone. Like it’s all too soon and happening too fast. But Akane remarked and said "He’s the worst", smiling. Probably she’s happy for him. Though I thought that she’d be happier when he’s gone, but I kinda get the feeling that it wasn’t so.
 
Then the last part of the episodes show the characters of the series in chibi form receiving some contract from the producers and crew. Then the whole cast of Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien barges in, led by Ayu, starts whacking everybody. Even the innocent Mayu has changed! Yeah, she’s evil now, whacking everyone too. Whoa! It’s a really bloody scene at the end. All the Akane Maniax characters are down and we see Ayu saying something like ‘give us back our roles’ and the end a sentence popped up on the screen saying "is this sanity?". What does it all mean? I didn’t get the mindless violence. But it was so bloody funny (mind the pun) that it doesn’t really matter.
 
Overall, this whole OVA felt rather okay. Though it wasn’t a fairytale ending nor the Gouda-Akane relationship didn’t work out eventually, but I felt that it was the right way to end it all. Probably the storyline wasn’t really that much since it was so short as it was more on Akane’s conscience and Gouda’s attempt to win Akane’s heart. Drawing and animation wise, it’s also okay. It’s your typical anime drawing.
 
Since I’m not a big fan of mechas, I felt that many of Gouda’s mecha fantasies were just fillers. And the other characters in the series too, there weren’t much character development (that’s because it’s only 3 episodes long and besides as I’ve said it focused more on Akane and Gouda), most of them I see them as side roles only. If not for the Ayu-Mayu cameo appearance, probably I wouldn’t enjoy reminiscing about the series, since even the predecessor series was quite gloomy. At least this was less gloomy and more light-hearted as compared to it.
 
Good thing Akane’s happy and know what she wants now. And as for Gouda, he’s still an idiot the way I see it. But that’s his character. Can’t help it, can’t you. Just that I hope he doesn’t fall in love at first sight with the first girl he sees everytime he’s being dumped. Can’t go on living like this, can’t you? Or wait, maybe in his case, he could.

Kasumin

October 13, 2006

I had a hard time finding some information for the anime series Kasumin. Why is that? That’s because when the local tv aired the series, it was under the name Mistin. So there weren’t much details about it under that name. But luckily that one website manage to mention the name Kasumin, so I manage to find some info on it, albeit it wasn’t that much, but sufficient.
 
So how did it end up with that name change? I read that there was some adaptation of the Japanese version to the English version. Yup, meaning, there’ll be some voice-overs (read: dubbed). And I don’t know why, most of the time when there’s such a case, usually there’s a change in name of the characters. So somehow the title of this anime is also changed to suit the name change of the characters.
 
And why is it Mistin instead of Tintin or Carotine? Well, maybe the former might overlap (or copyrighted) with some travelling reporter of a famous comic strip. And the latter, perhaps this isn’t a health related anime. So I checked that the word ‘kasumi’ in Japanese means mist. Ah… so it’s a translation of the word. Hence, the main character of the series, Kasumi Haruno is renamed Misty Springfield. Yeah, and ‘haru’ means spring in Japanese.
 
It’s not just her character which has a name change. In fact, I think nearly the entire cast has a name change. Like Senzaemon becomes Ebenezer, Sentaro becomes Hermit, Ranko becomes Lily, among them. Most of them if I think about it are translations from their Japanese meaning. Haih, why bother. But anyway, to make things a little easier, I’ll refer to the characters’ name and terms based on the English version (since the version I watched is dubbed in Malay which is based on the English version) to avoid any ‘personal’ confusion.
 
The storyline is something like this. Misty a 10 year old girl arrives in a town to see her parents off who are going to Africa to do some research on animals. Of course, they couldn’t just leave her home alone. While they’re away, they leave her under the care of the Mistins family. I’m not sure how are they related since their names are quite similiar. As Misty arrives, she noticed strange things such as a big house located right smack in the middle of a large forest. One can even get lost trying to reach the house.
 
She finally arrives at the house and is greeted by the house family members. And there’re even stranger things like talking and walking appliances! There’s a rag cloth, a scrubber which looks like a duck (why is it carrying a tamborine?), a microwave oven dog, a turtle with a camera lens for it’s head, and a thermo flask who has a low morale and self-confidence. Actually all these creatures and the inhabitants of this house aren’t humans. They’re creatures called Morphs (Henamon in the Japanese Version). And they live a secluded life away from the eyes and ears of humans. That’s because it would be a big deal if their presence is made known, like they’ll be scorn by society and things like that. So it’s better that way.
 
In exchange for living with them, Misty has to do household chores like cleaning and cooking. But the Mistins has got themselves a robot maid already. Do they need an extra hand? Well, the robot maid’s gonna get married and leave soon so Misty’s there as her replacement. But later on, due to certain circumstances, she didn’t manage to leave. Guess she’ll always be part of the family, huh.
 
Of course, Misty and the head of the househould, Ebenezer, don’t seem to get along and are always at each other’s throat, quarelling and arguing just about anything. The stubborn Ebenezer doesn’t trust humans and is shocked to find that Misty isn’t one. But Misty is determined to prove him wrong. Probably that’s why they don’t see eye to eye. Other family members include Sakurame, Ebenezer’s wife, who seems casual and lenient at times, Hermit, their elder son, who doesn’t talk much and constantly blushes whenever anything is said or done towards him, Dragon Prince (Ryuunosuke in the Japanese Version), who’s the prince of the Dragon King, sent to live with the Mistins as part of his training. He can be quite naughty sometimes bringing Misty trouble, but at other times quite close to her and likes her a lot. Then there’s Lily, another loggerhead with Misty, who’s sudden return back to the family because she just divorced her husband just after a month of marriage. Yeah, she’s quite obnoxious and likes to order Misty to do things. And what’s that tree with that opera mask-like face in the forest? Er… seems Misty is quite afraid of it. Who wouldn’t? Popping out just like that.
 
But the funny and amusing part is how the Morphs use their magic. It’s quite funny to see it actually. What they do is that they cross and put both their hands under their ear (make like an x), and at the same time they stick their tongue out. Then whatever magic they do becomes activated. Even the serious face Ebenezer looked so funny. Hahaha. I guess that’s the only part which I liked watching the series.
 
So throughout the series, Misty will probably face a lot of obstacles coping with her school life and trying to keep the Morphs family existence a secret from her friends and society. Like how one of those talking walking appliances followed her to school and Misty has a hard time trying to keep it down. Yeah, probably eveyone in school thinks she’s a cleaning freak. Or the time when her homeroom teacher decides to visit her home as part of her ‘routine’ to visit her student’s home. Then there’s that time where Misty has to babysit Dragon Prince along with his other kindergarten pals. So you’ve guessed it, a lot of magic wrecking havoc.
 
One thing I would also like to note is that the Mistin family members seems to like to call Misty, Mistin. Uh-huh, much to Misty’s annoyance. Not only that, her classmates too prefers to call her by that. Speaking of which, Misty has got a classmate, Ozzie, who’s very much interested in exposing the Morphs. And he thinks Misty is the key to it all. Yeah, with that devilish snickering, you’d probably guess he’s the mad and desparate kinda type. Fortunately, his schemes usually gets thwarted by certain circumstances in the end. Oh well, but he seems adamant and not willing to give up yet.
 
Unfortunately, after viewing the first few episodes, this anime series wasn’t enough to sustain my interest to continue watching it. So I’m making a guess what will happen over the remaining episodes of the series. Misty’s life is gonna be a roller coaster ride with the Morphs’ magic wrecking havoc and obstructing her daily life, turning it upside down and inside out. Probably she manages to overcome it and accepts it by the end. Also, Misty maybe helping the Morphs and her school friends in any problem that they face. And there’ll be closer bonding between Misty and the Morphs as the series progresses, getting to know and understand each other better. Things like that.
 
By the way, by the end of most of the episodes or during one, due to the unfortunate events that befall on her, Misty always contemplates of leaving the Mistin house. But she never gets to do so. Yeah, I guess this is another one of the many examples of a love-hate relationship.
 
The drawing and animation of the series is ‘innocent’ meaning that it looked like it’s targeted for younger audiences with cute characters, especially the funny, weird and different looking Morphs (okay, maybe some people may call it cute). Besides, the storyline and the humour is kinda ok too. Nothing much special to me. Also, I read that this series is quite a hit in Japan, spanning a 3 seasons with a total of 78 episodes. But I think it isn’t as popular as Pokemon or Digimon, but there’s a reasonable number of followers.
 
However, like I’ve said earlier on, somehow I’ve lost interest in watching the series and won’t be continuing to do so. In addition, I don’t have to wake up on early Sunday mornings just for this. Probably I need to catch up on my sleep rather than catching up on watching anime titles. Sheesh, bad me.

Futakoi

October 7, 2006

You’re not having double visions here when you’re watching Futakoi. Yup, there’s really nothing wrong with your eyes or ears. You’re just gonna hear and see double that’s all. Yeah, so you could say that this anime has twice the romance, love, and fun, literally. However, it isn’t twice that long, as it’s that usual 21-24 minutes and spanning 13 episodes only.
 
To kick things off, we have this guy, Nozomu Futami, who’s returning to the town where he once used to live when he was young. In addition, his mom has passed away some time ago and his dad has been transferred to work overseas in Hawaii. And since Nozomu didn’t want to follow his dad, he decided to move back to this town. But this town is a bit different. In the sense that there’re quite a number of twins here. And Nozomu is gonna meet a few of them.
 
So the first twins he’ll meet are the Sakurazuki twins, Kira and Yura. I want to note that though these 2 are from a really really wealthy family, they seem naive of the outside world. Yeah, I guess that they’ve been locked up in their home for so long that everything whatever normal people does seems to be a real challenge to them, like taking an escalator. *Smack*. So their dad (who’s overseas and we don’t ever get to see his face) gives the 2 some sort of ‘tests’. Yeah, test number xx, do this, test number xx, do that. And they’ve got a protective old butler, Kenmochi, to guide them.
 
As in episode 1, Nozomu ran into the Sakurazuki twins at some convenience store. The twins dropped their purse and Nozomu proceed to pick it up to return it to them. Only thing is that the twins thought at first he was a pick pocket. And so Kenmochi sprung into action to stop Nozomu. Since Nozomu didn’t know what’s really going on, he left their purse at the cash counter and just got out of there. Later, the twins realize that it was their mistake and his intentions were sincere.
 
Meanwhile, Nozomu still fresh over that incident, manages to find the place he’s gonna stay, some sort of temple shrine. And the shrine owner, Miyabi Higaniku greets him upon his arrival. Well, actually Nozomu meets another set of twins when he arrived. This time Lala and Lulu, Miyabi’s twin kindergarten daughters and they seem to like Nozomu once they get to know him. You’d probably guess that their love is the innocent type. Uh-huh, they even said they’d both want to marry him once they’ve grown up. Plus, they have a goat named Billy. It doesn’t seem to like Nozomu that much, causing and giving him lots of trouble (usually kicking his belly). And Nozomu seems to tolerate it well. To make things worse, Lala and Lulu thought that they’re both getting along well! Ah, a different display kind of love.
 
Also the usual stuffs such as Nozomu needs to enrol in the local school. And which leading male cast would be complete without his supporting male buddy. Yup, Keisuke Kosaka recognized his old pal when they meet. Must be such a long time, huh? Plus, he finally gets to see his childhood friends Kaoruko and Sumireko Ichijou (yup, another set of twins) all growned up. Yeah, he previously thought that Lala and Lulu were them at first. But they’re glad that Nozomu’s back. Hey, what do you know, the Sakurazukis too are also new transfer students in Nozomu’s class. Mere coincidence?
 
Even Nozomu’s homeroom teacher is a twin herself. Yup, Ai Momoi is Nozomu’s homeroom teacher, whereas Mai is the school’s infirmary nurse. They seem pretty young to be teachers for their age don’t you think. Ah, maybe I need to get my eyes checked. Nope, just kidding.
 
By the way, you’ll also find out just as Nozomu, that the Ichijou twins has a secret fan club and the twins doesn’t really know of their existence. Led by Gonda (who looks like a typical bully) and a few club members, they sort of worship the Ichijous and are obssessed with them (all in secrecy and behind the twins’ backs of course). Also, they wouldn’t hesistate to threaten or pound any other guys who gets close to them. Yeah, even Nozomu’s got a warning from them already.
 
So in episode 2, Nozomu’s really in a pinch. He meets the Ichijous and the Sakurazukis at some shopping complex where Nozomu and the Ichijous once used to play while they were young. At the same time, Gonda and his gang are there too. So it’s really quite funny to see Nozomu trying to avoid being seen together with the Ichijous. A lot of near misses, though, but he manages to get by. By the episode’s end, the Ichijous and Sakurazukis became good friends with each other. Much to Nozomu’s relieve. Oh yeah, from time to time we’ll get to see flashbacks of Nozomu and Ichijou when they’re young and what they did. Must be nostalgic for them.
 
In episode 3, we see how incapable (perhaps useless is a very degratory term) the Sakurazakis are. They along with the Ichijous decide to bake apple pies for their dear Nozomu. You must’ve guessed it by now that those 2 set of twins have a crush on Nozomu. Ah well, the Sakurazakis really did mess up the whole work station, being overbaked and burned, things like that. But this doesn’t stop them from trying their best. And poor Kosaka, he really wanted to taste just anyone of those twins’ baked apple pies, but they said they’d reserved it all for Nozomu. Too bad.
 
Meanwhile, Nozomu learns about the legendary Curse of the Twins. There’s a Twins Mould near the shrine where Nozomu’s residing and Miyabi’s just telling him about it. Something about long ago there were 2 ladies, both twins, who fell in love with the same guy. Since they were so torn and worried that which one of them he’ll end up with, they turned into birds and flew away. So this mould is to commemorate that. I’m pretty much guessing it’ll turn out the same way for Nozomu and those twins. Except that they won’t be turning into birds.
 
I felt that episode 4 is just another opportunity for Nozomu to encounter another set of twins. Billy has fallen ill. So a concerned Lala and Lulu along with Nozomu took Billy to a nearby vet for a check-up. Unfortunately the vetinarian was out except for his shy twin daughters, Koi and Ui Chigusa. I felt that this episode is the only one throughout the entire series in which these twins played a part, albeit not that prominent one.
 
The Chigusa twins try to handle things while their dad’s out. Well, it’s all smooth sailing treating Billy until a blackout occurs, then those door to those animal cages opened. What’s so bad about animals on the loose in the building? Er… unless it’s a… CROCODILE!!! Luckily, eventually it’s a baby croc, so it didn’t pose much danger. And by the end, you’ve guessed it, the Chigusas too have a soft spot for Nozomu’s kindness. But like I’ve said, this is their only ‘prominent’ episode, therefore there won’t be any ‘chasing after his affections’ kinda situation.
 
More of that usual flashbacks between Nozomu and the Ichijous during their younger years in episode 5. When Billy ate Nozomu’s school notes, Nozomu had no choice but to go over to the Ichijou’s home to copy them. This really gave a whole new meaning to ‘my goat ate my homework’. It’s here as well that Nozomu will learn more about the sisters and we see that Nozomu is some sort of an astrologer wanna-be. Yeah, he seems quite familiar with the stars in the sky and knows how to use the telescope.
 
The gang takes a trip to the beach in episode 6. Here, Nozomu meets another old pal, Yuuya Hiyama. Most probably this is the start of the turning point in the series. As Yuuya is planning to be some aeronautics expert, he also plans to confess his long time love to Kaoruko. And after Nozomu hears this, throughout the series he has this sort of hesistant, unsure, torn, indecisive feeling about it. To me, I think he’s jealous and selfish in a way. Yeah, even if he and the Ichijous were just friends, the thought that he wants to keep them for himself (eventhough he didn’t mention it, but I felt it was like that through his body language) and doesn’t like other guys to confess their feelings to them, is just despicable. And he’s gonna act all weird whenever he is around them. And the Ichijous will be wondering if they did something wrong (of course they didn’t) and will be worried about him. Dumb guy.
 
The Sakurazukis invite Nozomu and his pals to their summer villa. Boy, it’s a really really really large mansion. And with so many butlers and maids to take care of things, no wonder the Sakurazukis don’t have to lift a finger. Here, the gang have some sumptuous meal, do some fishing, and all sort of fun stuffs. And that Kenmochi is really concerned for the Sakurazakis but Miyabi assures him that everything will be all right. She’s so relaxed. Also, they played some hide and seek in one of the mansion floors.
 
Nozomu stumbled upon a forbidden room, which is supposedly the Sakurazuki’s deceased mom’s room. Brings back memories too, huh. It is here too that the Sakurazuki’s confessed their feelings to Nozomu that they really like him. Now he’s got several ‘love problems’ and they’re double because they come in sets of twins. I wonder if such situation could be considered a harem too. Hehehe. Anyway, Nozomu’s now pretty torn between the Ichijous and Sakurazukis. Yeah, he can’t decide either. What a guy.
 
Well, episode 8 and 9, takes a little breather from that for a while, as Nozomu encounter another set of twins. This time, Nozomu spots a fraile looking girl, Souju Shirogane sketching near the Twins Mould. Okay, to save time, she also likes Nozomu and also has a sketch of him. And she has some sort of incurable illness and couldn’t stay long. But then her twin sister, Sara, seems to be a total opposite of Souju. Yeah, she’s the tough girl type. She boldly told Nozomu to cut all ties with the other girls and go date with Souju, since she thought it as her last wish. Wah… can like that one ah? And she despises him if she sees him with any other girls.
 
Somehow Nozomu manages to cope with Sara’s pressure. I mean, it’s not like he went on an outright date with Souju. Since at the same time his school is organizing some cultural festival, both the twins along with the other twins participated in it as well. The funny part is one magic show conducted by the Ichijous where they’d ‘transfer’ a girl from 1 box to another. Yeah, a simple trick, just put the 2 twins in each box. During the process, as usual Sara spots Nozomu with another girl and stood up and told him that usual stuff. Oops… I guess the people saw through their act. Must be real embarrassing. Eventhough the magic show was a failure, the audience had a good time laughing. I guess that’s not so bad. In the end, both Souju and Sara had to leave. But they promise that they’ll return again once Souju is much better.
 
Okay, back to that Nozomu’s strange spacing-out-whenever-Yuuya-mentions-about-Kaoruko. Uh-huh, it’s that feeling again in episode 10, as Yuuya told him that he plans to confess to Kaoruko during Christmas Eve. What’s he so worried about? He’s even got to out dinner at some fancy restaurant with the Sakurazukis, Kosaka, and Sumireko. Oh wait, Kaoruko’s not there? Probably that’s why he’s worried. She must be with Yuuya now. Yeah, that guy set up some meeting so he could confess. Nothing wrong with that, except that fact that Nozomu’s act is really getting to me.
 
Eventually, Yuuya manages to confess to Kaoruko. But Kaoruko turned him down, saying that she isn’t ready for such relationship yet. I think she has her heart with some indecisive guy (you know who lah). But Yuuya isn’t just willing to give up yet. He’ll be waiting until she’s ready.
 
Remember that secret club of the Ichijous? Yeah, Gonda and Yuuya had a face-off in episode 11. It’s the New Year and the gang are making their usual prayers at the shrine. So happens that Gonda found out that Yuuya has been seeing Kaoruko and wants to teach him a lesson (a fight, that is). If Gonda wins, Yuuya must stop seeing Kaoruko forever. If Yuuya wins, then he would continue to see Kaoruko without any hindrance. Sure, no problem. Unfortunately, Gonda lost. Nozomu who just got there tried to explain that Yuuya had taken some self-defence class and that’s probably why he lost.
 
Then this part is where it made Nozomu realized everything (hopefully). Yeah, Gonda explained that eventhough he and the other members will never be the Ichijous’ type, but just the mere sight of seeing them smile and be happy is enough for them. That’s why they wanted to protect that from everybody else who’ll take that away. Wah… Even a guy like Gonda can say such meaningful things. I guess this really woke up Nozomu. Yeah, he realized that even those Ichijou’s secret club were true to their feelings and he hasn’t all this while. And because of that, he didn’t notice the kindness of the Sakurazukis towards him until it’s too late. And he kept saying "I’m the worst". Yeah, you are pal.
 
Why? That’s because in episode 12, Kenmochi decides to transfer the Sakurazukis back to their former school, thus not allowing them to attend their current school at all, much to the Sakurazukis’ dismay. No matter how much they beg, Kenmochi seem steadfast in his decision. Furthermore, Valentine’s Day is approaching. And that Kosaka’s daydreaming how he wants to taste those chocolates made by the Ichijous and Sakurazukis so badly.
 
Anyway, just before the Sakurazukis are about to leave forever, they decided to see Nozomu just after school has finished and meet him outside the school gates to give him their home made chocolates they made during their ‘curfew’. Unfortunately, as they were to approach Nozomu, the Ichijous arrived first and gave theirs to him. All of a sudden, they have that ‘pain in their heart’ feeling. Could it be? And after the Ichijous left, they hurriedly manage to catch Nozomu and eventually confessing their feelings, saying that they wouldn’t lose to the Ichijous’ feelings. Shock for Nozomu. Now the real competition’s brewing. And that Nozomu guy now is more torn than ever. Seems like the Curse of the Twins is taking place. Speaking of which, the Ichijous too were recently quarelling among each other over Nozomu, when they realized about the curse then.
 
So in the final episode, we see how Nozomu races on his bicycle and chased after the limo that Kenmochi is driving the Sakurazukis in. What sheer determination he’s got. Yeah, he wants to try and stop him from transferring the Sakurazukis to another school. So it’s decided, he wants to be with them too. To cut things short, Nozomu manage to catch up with him and at the same time, his other classmates also appear to support him and begged for the Sakurazukis’ to stay on.
 
And when all seems hopeless after much persuasion, suddenly Kenmochi announced that the Sakurazukis has passed the final test set by their father, that is to make many friends. Phew. Yahoo! And everybody’s glad and relieved that things turned out this way.
 
In the final scene, we see the whole gang celebrating after finishing their exams. Funny thing is, how come those who attend are those main characters and what happened to their classmates? Even Gonda and his members are there. Yeah, he’s crying and sad that since now he’s graduated, he won’t be able to see the Ichijous’ smile. Awww. Hey, the Shirogane twins came back just for this party. Yeah, all the set of twins Nozomu met are there. And Billy’s still kicking Nozomu in the belly. Still can’t get used to him, huh. Well, Yuuya, he’s still there, still not giving up on Kaoruko. But this time, Nozomu seems to handle the situation better. And they all have 1 big photo group shot. The end.
 
In conclusion, I guess that this anime is just okay. Just your typical teenage love triangle-romance story and nothing really going overboard. Yup, no hentai scenes here. What do you expect? Even the animation and art seems ‘innocent’. Though there’re only 6 sets of twins total appearing in the series (you could’ve guessed them from the opening credits), only the Ichijous and Sakurazukis made an impact on the series. The rest were just like filling to make up for the numbers.
 
In addition, I had a hard time trying to distinguish the twins from each other. To me, they look and sound the same eventhough they wore different coloured accessories. So I was like going "er… is that Sumireko or Kaoruko… or wait… isn’t that Yura… perhaps it’s Kira…". Eventually I figured out that it must be that person lah, since the other twin mentioned the other’s name. Maybe I should have my eyes and ears checked.
 
And just like in most guy’s cases, where there’s a harem or rather several girls in love with him, he manage to stay away and avoid from choosing which ones he wants to be with. I guess that’s why men are afraid of commitment, huh? But I’m glad they’re all good friends and happy in the end.
 
PS: If they ever make another season, maybe they’ll put in a shocking storyline like the sudden appearance of Nozomu’s long lost twin brother. With him, there’ll be lots of mixed up and confused love triangles. Hahaha… Just made that up only lah. Not like anything like that would ever happen, unless I’m the writer (yeah, right).

Ichigo 100% OVA

October 6, 2006

More compromising situations and indecisiveness from Junpei. That’s what I thought when I watched Ichigo 100% OVA. Uh-huh, seems that there’s an extension to the tv series. This time there’s only 5 episodes but longer airtime. Yup, it’s close to 30 minutes as compared to the usual 21-24 minutes long. Plus, all the ending credits of the OVA are different from each other.
 
Like I’ve said, that I felt that the OVA was more of an extension of the series rather than anything new. As you can see the first episode continues where the tv series ended. Junpei and the rest of the photography club members take a trip to some cabin in the forest to film some movie of theirs during the holidays. Except for Toujou who didn’t tag along as she had something else to do first and she’ll be joining them much later.
 
So as usual, the gang needs to get use to their surroundings, have some trouble setting up stuffs for the filming, and Junpei can’t seem to focus on the script since he’s been handpicked by Misuzu to play the lead role along with Nishino. Speaking of which, Misuzu seems to proclaim herself as the director in charge, and later sends Junpei to greet and fetch Toujou who’ll be arriving at the train station.
 
Nothing much when Junpei finally meets Toujou. However, since it’s the holiday season the bus schedule isn’t so frequent and the intervals for the next one are hours apart. So they decided to walk. It’s gonna be a long and far walk. That’s why birds fly south. No lah. Just joking. That has no relevance to the story, the bird part of course. Not surprisingly too, they got lost and a thunderstorm is brewing. And luckily there’s an abandoned house nearby. So the 2 decided to take shelter in there for the night. So can you see the plot or what’s going to happen already?
 
Yup, I sort of guessed it. Put 2 young teenagers alone in an abandoned hut, a stormy outside weather makes them stick in it and can’t go anywhere else, their clothes are wet and in order not to catch a cold, they have to… ahem ahem, you know the rest lah. Also, this is Junpei’s chance of getting close to Toujou, since she’s the one that started his strawberry panties fantasy craze. Wants to confess but can’t, that kind of situation or tension lah. I don’t think Junpei has had such moment of intimacy with Toujou before. Not that I can remember.
 
At the same time the rest of the gang are worried about them and even goes out in the storm to look for them. So call it bad luck or a good thing as Nishino enters the abandoned hut right at the moment just before Junpei and Toujou are caught in a ‘compromising situation’. Aw… Yet so close yet so far, or rather, phew, What a close shave. Luckily, Nishino didn’t get mad, just glad that they’re both okay, and proceeded to head back to the cabin afterwards.
 
Later, the film gets rolling with Misuzu coming up with a ‘scheming’ idea for it. She wants the lead actor and actress to play their part like a real couple. So she came up with the ‘test of courage’ thing. Yup, Junpei and Nishino got paired together. Yeah, the rest of them were trying to scare the couple so they’d be close to each other. Eventually their scheme is exposed. But the thing I like is that part where Junpei and Nishino were together and there’re fireflies around them. The scenery and atmosphere was quite nice there. Though they both weren’t acting, the rest of the crew think the acting was so genuine too. Another moment of intimacy for Junpei but this time with Nishino. Yeah, another yet so close yet so far thing. But I guess that’s the only scene that I like throughout this whole OVA.
 
In the second episode, the gang returns from their holiday filming trip. And it’s that time again in school. Yup, the time where classes have to organise events for their school cultural festival. As the gang are setting up their room, due to some ‘unfortunate circumstances’, the whole classroom gets messed up and the props destroyed. There goes all the hard work.
 
In addition, I felt that the producers decided to add another girl to Junpei’s harem. She’s Chinami Hashimoto. And she’s some sort of a two-timer (or three four five-timer) with her angry ‘boyfriends’ chasing after her and wanting to get some explanation about it. To make matters worse, she tries to run away from it all by suddenly saying she’s Junpei’s girlfriend. Oh, the shockness those guys and Junpei’s friends they must be. Especially Satsuki. Yeah, I guess she and Chinami locked heads with each other. In the end all her boyfriends had to leave. Now Junpei’s got another problem in his hands.
 
Back to the earlier event. As their class room’s in a mess, the gang didn’t want to clean it up and insist that Junpei do it because it was his fault in the first place. So poor Junpei has to do it all until evening where nobody’s around. A concerned Toujou later arrives to help Junpei clean up. However, during their cleaning up, one of the structure was going to fall on Toujou but Junpei manage to prevent so by using his body to protect her. If you look at in a way, another compromising situation for Junpei. Yeah, they can’t move because of the structure’s collapsed around them. Therefore, another moment of intimacy between Junpei and Toujou.
 
Eventually they manage to break free. But you know, some leakage, their clothes get wet, have to take them off. Isn’t this all to familiar? Yeah, and you’d probably guessed it already too. The rest of the gang comes back later that night to help Junpei clean up most probably their conscience is telling them so. Then they spot the semi-naked 2. What do you think happened? The usual super kick from Satsuki and the rest of them this time really misinterprets the situation. They thought he was doing something bad to Toujou. Too bad Junpei. With so many such circumstances you’ve been, you should’ve seen this one coming.
 
So the next day when the school festival starts, they decided to make a cafe then and Junpei’s been caged like a wild animal in some small cage, and partially naked too. Yeah, their class’s special attraction. Pity him. Must be really embarrassing, huh.
 
More perverted situations (what do you expect) in episode 3 when Junpei has to reluctantly return notes that Yui borrowed from her friends at her school. The thing is, Yui’s sick and is unable to do so but she needs to return it today. And since Junpei’s late for his school, might as well do so. Another catch is that, the school that Yui goes to, Oumi Gakuen, is an all-girls school, the same school which Nishino attends. Hey what’s so bad about an all-girl’s school? Well, this one in particular is very protective of their female students.
 
As Junpei will find out after he sneaks into the school. Manage to return the notes but needs to hide as he heard that the girls are coming back. Problem is, it’s in the changing room locker he hid in. *Smack*. Unfortunately, the girls changing in there found out about a pervert (Junpei, that is) spying on them in their school compound, sounding the red alert. Yeah, there’re crazy teachers, security guards and even electric security fences, trying to catch the pervert.
 
Junpei manage to hide in some store room after a lot of running about here and there. But a girl comes in. Oh no. Busted. Phew… It’s actually Nishino. She couldn’t believe his story at first but soon she does after Junpei explains the whole thing. Thus, Nishino became an ‘accomplice’ to hide Junpei until things settle down. Looks like they’ll need to wait after school hours. Fortunately, at the end of the day, things end well for them.
 
Another summer holiday as the gang decides to work at some inn deep in the remote mountains in episode 4. Another thing, I also felt that the producers too decided to add another girl to Junpei’s harem for no reason. Yup, for no reason too, another girl, Kozue Mukai joins the gang for this. She’s just like Toujou, shy and quiet but more extreme. Hmm…
 
So why did the gang decide to do something like this. It’s because the owner of the inn promised them ‘exceptional wages’ which the gang needs for their filming club. Unfortunately, it’s all just a ploy. Yeah, the 3 staffs at the inn has hidden intentions. While working, the 3 staffs make it look like it’s Junpei’s fault for breaking a very expensive vase. Therefore they need to work really really hard to repay back the loan.
 
Yeah, those guys are really perverted too, making the ladies wear all sorts of funny and revealing uniforms. Also, those 3 staffs have their eyes on certain girls and are going to do perverted stuffs to them. The thing is, I felt that these 3 losers have bad tastes. Do you know why? The targeted girls were Satsuki, Misuzu and Chinami. The first 2 being so violent, they’d wouldn’t stand a chance. Of course, their plans to get even close to them backfired with a lot of comical ‘accidents’ and near misses.
 
In the end, their plans were foiled when the gang found out there’re actually many other similar vases hidden behind some secret compartment. Actually one of the staffs was going to make his move on Satsuki. Noramally, she’d beat up the guy, but she was thinking ofd paying off Junpei’s debts so she let her guard down. Of course Junpei barged in and tried to stopped him. But was stopped by the other 2. Then he accidentily hit a corner and the fake wall of the hidden compartment is revealed. Busted. Good for them. Then the others proceed to beat them up real good. Just in time the real owner of the inn (one of the staff’s dad) came back, found out what’s happened and had a ‘real good talk’ with him and the other 2. Oh yeah, this time Junpei’s brief moment of intimacy’s with Satsuki. Ah… another one of those ‘compromising situation’. I guess the other girl’s jealous too.
 
Episode 5 is really crap. It’s about Junpei and the other guys who noticed that the girls are acting really strange. Yeah, the shy Toujou is now so bold, and the bold Satsuki is now so shy and innocent. What happened? To save all the trouble, the girls are actually being mind-controlled by aliens who are in the form of strawberry panties that they’re wearing. Isn’t it crap, I tell you. So the guys have to run from them while the strawberry aliens try to take over Earth and catch them.
 
Yeah, it’s just like some survival series as Komiyama and Hiroshi getting picked off and leaving Junpei all alone. So what is he gonna do when cornered. He came up with the sickest idea in the history of hentainess. He took one of the strawberry panties and proceed to wear it!!! Oh my goodness!!! Then suddenly the strawberry alien just shrieked in pain (or rather embarrassment after looking at such horrible act) and disappeared. Then the girls are back to normal. Because of that, they saw Junpei in strawberry panties and misunderstood everything and without a second beats him up.
 
Then this whole thing was exposed to be just a film they’re making. Even so, it’s really sick. Yeah, Hiroshi and Sotomura decided to let the girls vent their anger (or embarrassment) on Junpei for a little while longer. Hey, if it’s just a film, why did the girls allow him to do so for this scene? Maybe they’d think he wouldn’t do it. Wrong, he did it. Probably he deserves being beaten up.
 
Overall, I guess this OVA is just decent with the hentai part being funny and just for plain entertainment only. Or else, I wouldn’t have watched it either, since the tv series is better in comparison. The drawing and animation seems a little ‘richer’. But the only thing is Komiyama now looks even ‘uglier’ than before. Yeah he really looked like some weird octopus this time. Hey, there’s no Okusa too this time. Probably Junpei had cut all contacts with him since he went to a different school.
 
So will Junpei finally decide which girl’s gonna be? Don’t think so at this rate. With his indecisiveness, the girls’ will be waiting until kingdom come. Better dump him and find somebody else. But the girls seem to tolerate him. And with new additions like Chinami and Kozue who didn’t pretty do much too, I couldn’t see where their relationship with Junpei heading towards to, since they made a few appearances only and in such short time. Well, at least they’re unofficially part of the gang (or harem).
 
When I think back to those times when I watched this series, I’ll just probably smile and laugh in my mind all those antics. Not that I want to be like him. Let’s just leave it like that.