Ai Yori Aoshi – Enishi

November 25, 2006

If you haven’t watched the prequel, most probably you’ll still manage to get by after watching Ai Yori Aoshi – Enishi. Yup, I somehow felt that there isn’t any major significant difference in this sequel. Yup, probably you won’t be able to tell the difference whether this is the prequel or the sequel.
 
So is there anything much? With only 12 episodes, which is half the number of episodes from its prequel, I can pretty much say that this sequel in a way felt like an ‘extension’ to the prequel, if you know what I mean. It’s just to satisfy hard-core fans of the series with a little more adventures and relationship bonding here and there.
 
Well, this series takes place approximately 2 years after the end of the 1st season. Uh-huh, 2 years since Kaoru and Aoi’s fateful meeting with Aoi’s parents. Okay, so you may need to watch the prequel just to know how things ended up this way. Let’s start things off with a short recap.
 
Kaoru Hanabishi and Aoi Sakuraba are supposed to be engaged since childhood. But Kaoru ran away from Aoi family’s household because he cannot stand their abuse as he’s an illegitimate child of one of the clan members. Many years later, Aoi manages to track him down and they started mending their relationship. Under the guidance (and watchful eye) of Aoi’s tutor, Miyabi, they began a new chapter in their life and adventure living in the Sakuraba’s summer mansion, along with other interesting characters as well. In the end, Aoi’s dad decides to break them up but Kaoru is determined not to run away anymore and face up to his past. Fortunately, her dad accepted him and now the 2 can go on living happily ever after.
 
In this sequel, Kaoru’s already a graduating student in his college and is busy than ever with his assignments and projects, the rest of the occupants of the Sakuraba’s summer mansion are still there with their ‘one kind’ and weird habits. Oh, by the way, the mansion gets a new occupant as seen in the first episode. Who could it be? Well, it’s no other than Taeko’s innocent and genki little sister, Chika.
 
Yup, she decides to move in with the whole gang, probably because she didn’t want to miss out on all the fun she had with them in the prequel. Of course, she has a liking for Kaoru too, but she sees him as an older brother, that’s all. By the way, Kaoru’s photography club pals, the train obsessed maniac Suzuki and cosplay fanatic Satou made their only appearance in this episode and won’t be appearing for the rest of the series. You’ll see them helping Chika unloading her stuffs into the Sakuraba’s summer mansion, and that’s it. No more Mr Satou or Mr Suzuki. I guess they’re really not that important, huh?
 
Also, why is the sequel called Enishi? You’ll find that out in the first episode too as innocent Chika probes every occupant in the mansion about their feelings for Kaoru. Aww… Of course, those girls like Tina, Taeko and Mayu are too shy and embarrassed to explain it to her as you know, deep in their hearts, they too love Kaoru as much as Aoi does. Yeah, they’re reluctant to tell her their true feelings. And when Chika asked Aoi about it, she mentions about some invisible bond that binds her and Kaoru and the rest of the other occupants together. That bond is called ‘Enishi’. Ahh… I see. Furthermore, Aoi explains that her Enishi with Kaoru has been bonded a very long time ago, thus in a way that’s why the 2 are quite close together. Well, I’m not sure if Chika really understood all that in the right way, but in the end, she’s determined to ‘love’ Kaoru as her big brother more than ever.
 
And as mentioned, the rest of the episodes in the series sees the gang going about with their adventures and how they bond even closer with that. Probably that’s what the whole series is about, friendships and relationships. So in episode 2, Chika brings 2 of her classmates, Natsuki and Chizuru, to let them see first hand the guy (Kaoru) she’s been living with. Well, the 2 didn’t really get to meet Kaoru face to face but instead met the other occupants of the house and had their share of fun along the way. But in the end, they’re glad to know that Chika has many wonderful friends.
 
Somehow in a way I felt that this was going to be a Chika series because in episode 3, she tries to learn how to play tennis for some upcoming sports event. So who’s gonna train her? Surprisingly, it’s Miyabi, who once was a good tennis player. Well, I suppose she’s an all-rounder, excelling not only in business but sports as well. Maybe the producers felt that they need to give Chika her fair share of air time since she made her appearance only after half way through the series last season. This is also the case in episode 8. Chika and her 2 buddies are gonna enter some regional swimming competition relay and they need to practice real hard. Fortunately, they have a coach who’ll guide them through. It’s Tina! Surprise, surprise. With her help, the trio manage to pull through. Yay!
 
Okay, it wouldn’t be fair if there weren’t adventures from the other girls as well, wouldn’t it? So in episode 4, the gang hear some weird noises from an unoccupied floor above Tina’s room. And they thought it’s a ghost! Well, they can’t just sit around and do nothing, right? Yup, they had to investigate it. And surprisingly, it seems that Taeko is some sort of a supernatural expert. In the end, they found out that it’s actually Uzume (their pet ferret) making its home up there. Plus, they discover some old furnitures in the abandoned area and a picture of the mansion’s early inhabitants. One of them looking so much like Taeko. Hmmm… But don’t worry, even though this episode is somewhat of a little horror-themed, it isn’t that scary at all. At points you may want to laugh at their antics.
 
It’s Mayu’s turn in episode 5. What do I mean? Yeah, in this episode, she decides to ask Kaoru out on a date. Only thing is, she asked right in front of the other house occupants! Oh, the shock, especially Tina. Would she approve it, since she and Mayu are both loggerheads. You see, Mayu’s mom sent her some nice looking dress all the way from Paris and Mayu would like to wear it on some special occassion. Uh-huh, that is, a date with Kaoru would be perfect. And since Kaoru’s too kind not to refuse, he agreed to do so. Oh, I hope Aoi doesn’t get too worried. I mean the guy she fell in love with is a very kind person, right? So that’s to be expected, right? Anyway, since it’s Mayu’s first time on a date, she’s been having problems of what to do on a date. She seems nervous trying to make her date with Kaoru go right. But Kaoru’s such a nice guy, he didn’t mind. I suppose in the end she manages to calm down and take things easy when she played one of piano recital to Kaoru.
 
The girls try to compete for Kaoru’s attention to try and spend some ‘Kaoru-time’ in episode 6. However, Kaoru’s so busy with his college assignments that he has rarely time to spend with them. When they find out about these, they try to help him in his assignments only to make things worse than they are. Not until Aoi chided them for being a hindrance that they leave Kaoru alone to finish his assignment. Just like in every other episodes, it all ends well and the gang celebrates. Typical.
 
After that gruelling assignment, it’s summer vacation time as Kaoru and the gang decides to take a well deserved break in episode 7. Unfortunately, Mayu can’t tag along much to her disappointment as she has to go to her own vacation. The funny part is where the gang needs to split into 2 cars for the trip. Aoi and Miyabi in one and the rest in the other. Well, it’s smooth driving for the former but not so the latter. Why? Because Taeko’s driving it! Wait a minute? A clumsy maid like her has a driving license?! How did she pass? Actually, she doesn’t have a valid one. She just got her driving ‘skills’ from some video game outlet. Wargh!!! It’s a hell ride for the rest of the passengers. Reminds me of Yukari of Azumanga Daioh. Even Tina was reluctant to go on board at first, but the car that Miyabi’s driving is only a two-seater. Shucks. They should’ve rented a van. Anyway, the gang are glad when they manage to reach their destination safely. Phew. But not without those after-effects.
 
So the typical have their fun outing, have some barbeque next to a stream. And fortunately, Mayu’s summer vacation is also the same place as the gang as her gloomy spirits are lifted when she caught a glimpse of them (actually more like Kaoru) and proceeds to join them, much to Tina’s dismay. Yeah, the 2 still bickering. Later that night, they played some indoor games and one of them is some sort of like where a few players randomly draw sticks with numbers on it and the one with a ‘king’ symbol gets to tell the player holding stick number xx to do stuffs. Each of them gets their turn and fun. That is, until Tina (with the ‘king’) asked to confess his/her first true love. And the unfortunate ‘victim’ is Aoi. Oh, the horror. She’s reluctant to tell. She can’t possibly tell or else, their landlord-resident relationship facade will be jeopardized. And based on the game rules, you have to tell the truth or else. But Aoi mentioned that she can’t say, much to Tina’s disappointment. I guess Miyabi and Kaoru are relieved in a way.
 
Later, Aoi and Kaoru had their moment of intimacy at some open hotspring. Don’t worry, it’s gender separated as they talk face to face through some small window in the barrier. Wait a minute? That window’s large enough to see through the other side. But that’s not important. Anyway, the 2 reassured each other’s love and kissed. Aww… how touching.
 
More of that Kaoru-Aoi moments in episode 9. In recognition of Kaoru’s hard work and effort in college, Kaoru’s lecturer, Professor Itsuki gives him 2 tickets for a trip to Yokohama. Here, besides the 2 have their fun outing, they also ponder about their future (being married, have kids and those sort of stuffs). Also, some reflection about their past and themselves. This episode is different from the rest because… there isn’t any of that ‘harem intervention’. Yeah, just the 2 of them alone. I like that romantic atmosphere where Kaoru and Aoi are spending their time together in some hotel room overviewing a large ferris wheel (reminds me of Honey And Clover in a way).
 
Another trip to the hotsprings in episode 10. Well, this must really be hotspring heaven. There are so many types and versions for customers to try out. Not only that, they have other attractions as well such as saunas, massage parlours and water slides too. Hey, Chika and her 2 buddies are also joining the gang. And as expected, more fun and adventure from the bunch. Hehe, Taeko getting all drunk and mistaken some racoon statue as Miyabi. Here we also see, Tina telling Aoi her experiences and happy moments when she came to live with them, her past, and especially Kaoru. But don’t worry, it’s not like Tina’s gonna snatch him away. She’s just thinking that maybe Kaoru needs somebody to support him, that’s all. Hmm… Aoi’s a little concerned. But she’s just kidding about that last part too. By the end of this episode, Mayu overheard Tina’s conversation over her handphone saying that she’ll return to the USA for sure.
 
Yup, I guess that’s the seemingly turning point of the series. The part where it gets a little serious and make viewers a little ‘worried’. Yup, it’s true, that in episode 11 Tina’s going back to her homeland as requested by her parents, but she is unable to tell the others directly only saying that she’ll be back for just a short reunion and will return in time for her graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, she’s not going to come back ever and will skip graduation day. By the end of the episode, Kaoru and Aoi entered Tina’s room when they discovered a letter on her door, just to find many photos of her time there and Kaoru came to a conclusion that Tina may never return as she has left her memories here. Oh no. Tell me it isn’t so. How lonely the house would be without her craziness and rowdiness and how everyone will miss her ‘breast squeezing’ greeting. Okay, maybe not so much of that. But hey, that’s her trademark in a way, isn’t it? Something unwanted that’ll sorely be missed. ;p
 
So in the last episode as the other occupants of the house expects Tina to return any time soon, Kaoru and Aoi seem to think otherwise. And Aoi is really starting to miss Tina very much. A lot of flashbacks here and there about the time with Tina and what she said. Meanwhile, Tina is back at her ranch in USA and her parents are glad that she’s back. I don’t get this part. Tina’s been playing some toy where you need to put and fit the ball with a hole (attached to a string to the toy) exactly at certain parts of the toy. I’m not sure what it’s called. But Tina’s having a hard time completing the trick, failing at every attempt. Just when finally she got her final attempt right, she realized something. She told her parents how much fun it was being back home, bla bla bla, but there’s some place where she needs to be right now, the place where her heart is.
 
And guess what. Yeah, she’s coming back! Much to the everyone’s relief. I guess even Mayu misses the bickering. Though, she’s still too noisy. And for the first time, we see Tina in a traditional kimono as she heads to college for her graduation picture. Ah well, everything’s back to normal. Ah, the power of Enishi… Is it fate for them all to be together? At least, they’re all one big happy family.
 
In the last scene we hear Aoi narrating how that though everyone will be living in the mansion, but there’ll come a day when everybody has to leave too, but the wonderful times that they’ll spend together will never fade away. And how she’s grateful and will forever cherish this moment with Kaoru and the rest. How touching and appropriate. The final few scenes see how everyone doing their best like Mayu performing one of recitals, Chika and her friends doing well in swimming competitions, and… what’s this, Miyabi and Mayu’s driver-cum-butler having tea together. Could it be that some chemistry is starting to brew between them? Miyabi finally found her true love? She like so shy shy lah. But I guess that’s another story.
 
Overall, I kinda like the ending of the series where it turned out good for everyone. Yeah, recently somehow I’ve been watching anime series with endings that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. So such an ending is quite timely for me. Though, I felt that the storyline isn’t anything new nor did it have any major impact. I just like how the relationship between the characters developed and the lessons that touched on human bonding and relationships.
 
The drawing and animation is consistent with the 1st season. Thus, as mentioned before, you couldn’t tell any difference. If it does, well then, you wouldn’t be really able to tell. I know I didn’t. Another thing is that the mid-intermissions seemed a bit longer and they put up some nice and calming sceneries.
 
Though I consider it to be one of those harem series genre (hey, one guy, lots of girls around him, and they like him one way or another. Harem right?) at least they didn’t go to extreme lengths to get Kaoru’s affections. Yeah, they’re all so good friends. All they want is to show their gratitude and spend time with him that’s all. Nothing so serious. People with love triangle problems should learn from them. Yup, and that Kaoru-Aoi’s real relationship still remains an intact secret.
 
So a third season? Not likely. What else is there. Even so, it may be the same old thing. Or probably they’ll show Kaoru and Aoi married and having their own life. Probably. But at this rate things are going, I’m sure their love will last till the end of time, if not through eternity. If only there were more of such kind of love in this world. Then maybe the world would be a better place. If only movie star celebrities could be like Kaoru and Aoi. But I guess such fairytale endings only happen in the movies, so they say. But I’m thinking, this may be a good reference point and model too. It may come in handy for me when my time comes. Hehehe.

First Kiss Story

November 24, 2006

Here’s another 1 episode OVA, First Kiss Story. Recently I’ve been watching short OVAs mainly because… it’s short. Yup, you don’t need to maintain a fixed schedule for a duration of several months trying to keep up with the development of the storyline and the characters. Just like watching it once and you don’t have to think too much about it.
 
As usual, if there’s only 1 episode worth 30 minutes of show time, would there be much? Would it be worthwhile to watch? Well, you’ll have to watch it yourself to decide. After all, it is only 1 episode. Probably the producers don’t have any long run ideas to make it like a continuing series and maybe dump all they want to portray in just 1 show. Don’t you think so? At least, I felt that way.
 
So the story starts off as we see a girl named Kana Orikura, watching her boyfriend, Yoshihiko Mizusawa, going away. Well, it’s not like they’re just fresh from a fight. It’s just that he’s going away to study in some college. As Yoshihiko’s walking away, Kana’s mom, Yayoi, told her if her feelings were true, then she should tell him right away or else she’ll regret it.
 
Thus, heeding her mom’s advice, Kana ran towards him before he’s gone forever. Yeah, that usual please don’t go away, because if you do my life will be so lonely therefore I can’t go on living without you, because I love you, bla bla bla. I guess Kana’s a lucky girl. That’s because Yoshihiko seems to be quite understanding too. Saying the typical ‘because I love you very much too’, much to Kana’s happiness. And they share a brief moment of kiss. And I guess that’s where the story starts from, huh?
 
Next morning, Kana is awaken by the ringing tone of her handphone. Who could it be calling her at such a time in the morning. Okay, maybe it’s late morning, not that I can tell. Anyway, the call is something about Yoshihiko being too busy at college and that he had to apologize and cancel any outings with Kana this coming weekend. Not only that, any future ones too are put on hold as he explained that his professor seems to be ‘depending’ on him on some big project. That’s a good thing and a bad thing, right? Of course, Kana’s being reasonable and modest too, saying she has some college entrance exam and that she wouldn’t mind of their date is put on hold for a while. After the conversation ends, we see how gloomy she is and she said to herself how she’s not being true to her feelings and lying to him. Ah… she actually really wants to go out with him then.
 
Her mom spots her gloominess when Kana comes down for breakfast. And as a caring mother, of course she’ll ask what’s wrong and is there any boyfriend problems. Kana told her the conversation earlier on and have that girl to girl talk. As Kana’s mom tried to suggest to her what to do, Kana replied that it’s not her business. Wah… can say like that to your mother wan ah? But her mom didn’t scold her back. Just then, Kana’s little sister, Manami, came in and Kana just left abruptly. Maybe little sis thought she said something wrong. Nope she didn’t. Just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
 
While on her way to school, even Kana’s gloominess is easily spot by her friend, Ayaka. She makes a joke that Kana had a fight with her boyfriend. However, Kana just said sorry and just went ahead. She’s in serious depression. Meanwhile in class, their homeroom teacher introduces a student teacher, Shougo Hayakawa, who’ll be learning along with the class for 2 weeks. And Ayaka is getting all excited. Yeah, she’s taken in by his handsomeness and decided to make him her boyfriend. While Shougo’s introducing himself, Kana, thinking to herself, heard how nostalgic and familiar that voice is. As she looked up, and the moment she saw Shougo’s face, it immediately reminded her of her late dad. Oh, how could this be? Someone looking like her dad is gonna be a teacher and a student in the same class as her as well? Anyway, she’s spacing out.
 
During recess as Kana and Ayaka rush to get lunch, Kana bumps into Shougo. Oh oh. Another spacing out from Kana. And that Shougo guy quipped that by looking at her face, she’s got boyfriend problems. Well, he’s half right. But Kana denied and quickly runs off. Shougo doesn’t seem worried that he said the wrong thing. He seems cool.
 
Later at class as Ayaka’s bragging about Shougo’s coolness, they overheard a nearby conversation from their classmates saying how one of their friend’s boyfriend has been cheating on her since they had a long distance relationship. This made Kana even more spaced out and thinking about her own situation. Luckily Ayaka manage to lift Kana’s spirits with some comforting words. Like how you must believe in him even though he didn’t say anything. Also Ayaka decides to help support Kana.
 
During after school at some cafe. The 2 had some talk about their future, how Kana’s trying to get into the same college as Yoshihiko. And again, they overheard some next table conversation. Another one of those boyfriend-girlfriend problems with one of their seniors. Yup, more spacing out from Kana. And before you know it, Kana just left in a hurry. Poor Ayaka. She tried her best to look after her but in the end she too gets worried.
 
A depressed Kana finally reaches home to discover there’s a guest at a home. And to her surprise, it’s Shougo! And he’s been waiting for her the whole time. Of course Kana would ask why is he here, that sort of thing. Yayoi explained to Kana that she wanted to tell her about this this morning but she left in a hurry. Plus, he’s gonna stay at their place for 2 weeks. Actually the apartment he rented got demolished. So no choice though. In addition as Manami mentioned, Shougo is actually a relative of their deceased dad. Now that explains why he looked so much like his dad.
 
But Kana’s not too impressed, saying that she doesn’t know anything about him coming and things like that and that he came in the wrong time as she’s having an exam coming up. Just then her mom suggested that Shougo could help her with her studies, since her grades are getting bad recently. But Kana yelled that leave-me-alone line and leaves the room. Ah… must be those raging hormones that make teenagers filled with angst and rebellion.
 
Later that night as Kana gets up to go to the toilet, she spots a light coming out from a room and thought it was her father as she runs over there and calls him out. Too bad it isn’t. Well, it certainly looked like him. Must be imaginating things. Probably she’s still sleepy. But Shougo manage to notice Kana watching from behind. And they had some chit chat over things here and there. Like how the room makes Kana feel so calm, bla bla bla. And before you knwo it, the 2 become like friends. Yayoi, who just happen to pass by, is glad that everything’s okay.
 
Next morning, Kana overslept. And as Manami was just about to leave for school, Kana ‘scolded’ her for not waking her up. Over the next few scenes we see how Kana and her family enjoyed her moments with Shougo. Then at home, Kana’s thinking about Yoshihiko and decides to give him a call. Only thing is, the answering machine took up the call, much to her disappointment. The next morning, Manami had a little chat with her mom as she noticed how Kana has turned back to her usual energetic self. Yayoi says it’s probably Shougo’s presence. Just then Manami replied that at this rate, Kana may be taken away by Shougo. And her mom said with a grin that it may not be a joke. And she’s okay with it. Hmmm…
 
Just then Shougo came in and Manami told them what they’re talking about earlier on. Also Shougo found out that it’ll be soon the anniversary of their dad’s passing. In the end, Shougo suggests that they all take a holiday to somehwere during Kana’s next break. An eager Manami suggests that she wants to go to the pool. The phone rings as Manami went to pick it up. It’s Yoshihiko! Out of the blue, somehow he’s got a break on the same day they planned to got to the pool. Too much of a coincidence, huh? Thus, Manami decides to invite him as well and will tell Kana about it.
 
Next holiday at the pool park, it seems everybody is there, and it’s quite crowded too. We see the girls having fun. Then we see Yoshihiko having that uneasy feeling. Yup, earlier on, he was introduced by a happy Kana to Shougo and his current condition. And when Ayaka went about saying that Yoshihiko’s isn’t Kana’s senpai, but her boyfriend as well, Kana got embarrassed and quickly denied it and said it isn’t something like that, much to Yoshihiko’s surprise. Has Kana already… Nah, don’t jump to conclusions yet.
 
Yoshihiko’s flashback is interupted when Shougo calls his name and said that he shouldn’t stare at him with that scary face. Don’t worry it’s just a joke. The 2 had some chat and some subtle hints like "if you don’t hold on to them, they’ll slip away". I guess this guy’s quite aware of his surroundings.
 
Then Yoshihiko met one of his old high school friend, Yukiko, who’s just happened to pass by and also taking a break. Is it just coincidence? And Yukiko’s asking about things between him and Kana. Kana saw the 2 chatting from across the pool has that gloomy mood again and decides to go somewhere else. Meanwhile, Yoshihiko denies anything going on between him and Kana. And we find out that Yukiko’s has got a boyfriend too and going steady. So much for that ‘stealing him away’ thought from me. Well, the end their conversation as she leaves.
 
At the end of the day, while Manami feel so refreshed, Ayako saw how Kana and Yoshihiko had that ‘uneasy’ talk like how they’ve never been talking for so long. Then Yoshihiko mentioned something about how Kana may be well suited with Shougo since he’s an adult and he himself isn’t. This made Kana sad as she thinks that Shougo has got nothing to do with this. Then she said maybe they need some space between them. Oh well, early signs of cracks in the relationship. Soon, Yoshihiko leaves instead of going back to Kana’s place for a while as Manami invited him. Ah well, Kana’s back to her gloomy self again.
 
Back in her room, Kana’s thinking what she said earlier on and how did it turned out to be this way. And before you know it, it’s been 2 weeks already and Shougo’s packing his stuff and ready to leave. Not before thanking everybody and say how he’ll come by again in the future. Before Shougo leaves, he and Kana’s family went to visit her late dad’s grave only to find that someone has been there earlier before them. Yeah, I don’t know what’s that burning thing (I think it’s a joss stick) in front of the grave. But I suppose that indicates that someone has paid their respects. Kana thinks it must be Yoshihiko, since she remembered him saying something how he’ll come and visit next year too.
 
Back at the front door of their home, they have another round of goodbyes. Yeah, goodbye seems to be the hardest word. Manami quipped that if he ever needs a girlfriend, he can come by anytime, much to Kana’s surprise. Shougo’s response is that maybe he would because Kana, Manami and even Yayoi are very charming. Oops… looks like Yoshihiko has arrived and overheard things. Is that a tear or sweat dripping from his side forehead? Anyway, he leaves. As he’s walking away, Kana caught a glimpse of him and tries to go after him. Since calling his name doesn’t make him stop and turn around, Kana’s a little worried. Yeah, is that a tear or sweat dripping down her side forehead? Then she looks back at her mom and Shougo. With a nod and smile from both of them, Kana knew what she had to do and ran after Yoshihiko.
 
This time, Yoshiko manage to stop and turn around. It’s that deja vu feeling again just like in the beginning of the show. That feeling, that face to face meeting. As Yoshihiko gladly opened his arms, Kana realized that she really does love him as they both hugged. The 2 then apologized to each other for being stubborn and things like that. Then some talk of ‘reassuring love’. What do I mean? It means stuffs like ‘if you’re not here, I can’t do anything’. Get it? More hugging before they kissed. Well, I guess that’s Shougo’s cue to go as he waves goodbye.
 
Then this part I don’t get. As Shougo walks pass some guy in the street, that guy looked back as though he’s seen Shougo before and Shougo just acknowledges him with the guy smiling back. Huh? Another one of those old acquaintances? Perhaps that will be another story.
 
In the final scene, Kana and Yoshihiko have the time of their lives, having fun at some amusement park. Hey, a cameo appearance of Dejiko of Di Gi Charat! She’s such a famous character, appearing here and there in certain animes. And in the ferris wheel we hear that Kana has passed her entrance exam and will be attending the same college with Yoshihiko. A happy ending for the lovers as they have another round of kiss. And as the story starts with a kiss, so it must end with one too.
 
Overall, the story’s pretty decent and nothing too evident. I felt that all of the characters didn’t play such an important role nor did they have an impact. Just mediocre. Yeah, even Shougo’s appearance didn’t do much. He’s just there for a while and then the next thing you know, he’s on his way. And that little tension between Kana and Yoshihiko doesn’t seem to leave any serious impression at all. Then some characters just come and go like Yukiko, and some just played a little role in the beginning then towards the end, nil, like Ayako. But what do you expect if it’s just 1 episode.
 
Plus, somehow I find the characters to have ‘high forehead area’. Don’t you notice? Maybe it’s because of that they have a ‘higher’ front part of their hair. Looks weird at first. But I got used to it in the end. What? Got used to it just after 1 epsiode? And what’s with that ending credits showing sketches of random girls. Maybe they’re girl characters in the anime, just that I didn’t recognize them. Maybe.
 
In the end, I felt that this was another one of those watch-and-forget animes as it didn’t have a lasting impression on me. Everything is just average. But I’m not saying that it’s a waste of time. If you like shows where there’re little teenage relationship problems and in the end it’ll all work out just fine, then I suppose, you can have a go at this one.

Excel Saga

November 18, 2006

Hahaha! Another one of my favourite ultimate nonsensical comedy of all time is Excel Saga. The action comedy here is so bizarre, so outrageous, so out-of-this-world, so in-your-face, so goofy, so… nonsensical, that it never ceases to keep me from laughing all the way. Well, at least most of the time, that is. Also, because of that, nearly every movie genre gets mocked, spoofed or ripped-off. And I think that’s the series’ ‘trademark’, if you know what I mean.
 
So let’s just get right down to the storyline to why is it so darn funny. We’ve got this guy called Lord Ilpalazzo, a member of some secret ideological organization ACROSS, who thinks the whole wide world is corrupt and is gone to the dogs. So in order to rid the world of this corruption, he plans to take over the world. However, unlike most megalomaniacs who start off big by trying to take over the entire world, Lord Ilpalazzo decides to start small, by trying to take over a small prefecture of Japan first, that is, prefecture F. Yes, that’s what it’s called. Maybe ‘F’ here stands for funny. Well, at least this guy’s being realistic and not being too greedy at first.
 
Of course, he can’t do it alone, as he has an over-enthusiastic, hyperactive, Ilpalazzo-infatuated assistant named Excel. But this high pitched, fast-talking/yapping (AKA chicken backside) lady is somewhat incompetent. Yup, no doubt, she’s 200% loyally devoted to her lord but due to unfortunate circumstances (whether by her fault or outside factors), she usually fails. Makes you wonder why would Lord Ilpalazzo hire someone like that. Later on, Excel gets a new assistant, Hyatt. More explanations on her later on.
 
As seen in the first episode, Excel has been instructed to eliminate all manga artistes and animators in the world. And the first target is the series’ creator, Koishi Rikudo. Can she do it? Can she accomplish the mission? Nope. Your guess is as good as mine. She fails. But before that with lots and lots of hilariousness ensuing.
 
Basically, you can expect the rest of the episodes of the series to follow in this sort of manner. In the beginning, we see Koishi Rikudo giving his permission to let Excel Saga be a particular theme for that particular episode, by stamping his permission stamp. Then we see an over-genki Excel ready and awaiting Lord Ilpalazzo’s orders for her next mission. Since Ilpalazzo isn’t too fond of Excel’s rantings, he’ll usually pull some string and Excel will fall into some bottomless pit trap door, and still ranting. And of course there’re other characters thrown into the fray as well. Much more on that later.
 
Then during the episode, we see Excel and Hyatt trying to complete their mission, and sometimes what they ended up doing isn’t related to their mission. Read: get involved in other people’s businesses. Then there’s this short side show of some foreigner named Pedro. With a lot of humour, slip-ups, bloopers and blunders, they head back to base with their report. And at the end of the series, we’ll get to see that episode’s title (yeah, which is at the end), and a remark stating about today’s experiment/mission… failed. Except for the last episode. I wonder how is that a success. And also, the ending theme is sang by Excel’s pet dog (AKA food emergency supply) Menchi, with a window of her voice actress translating what she said (except for the last episode too, where it’s the other way round).
 
Okay, now to blog on the interesting and uniquely weird bunch of zany characters. First of all, let’s start of with Hyatt. She made her appearance in episode 2 as some sleeping princess in some cryogenic tube in some space ship, bla bla bla. Well actually, in that episode, some alien race called Puchuus decide to take over Earth. Yeah, they’re cute looking creatures but when being hit, bashed or punched, their face changes into some very weird expression. So funny.
 
Anyway, of course as the Puchuus try to invade Earth, Excel, who’s misunderstanding the whole situation, accidentily saves the world and destroys the Puchuus’ space ship, thus crash landing on Earth. Yup, now the Puchuus are stuck here and you’ll get to see their appearance here and there throughout the series. So as a sleeping Hyatt finally awakens in Lord Ilpalazzo’s lair, the latter instantly takes a liking for her. Yeah, he seems to favour her more than Excel and always congratulates her for her effort even though she did nothing. And this Hyatt has a habit of dying. Uh-huh, we some blood coming out of her mouth, then she falls flat to the ground. Though she can still talk. And usually at times when Excel needs her help most or in a tight pinch. And her recovery time is not fixed. Meaning sometimes she might take a long time to get back to her usual health and sometimes an instant revival. And that poor doctor and nurse who sometimes attend to Hyatt, usually gets really freaked out due to her miraculous recovery.
 
Next is a foreigner named Pedro. As he first appeared in episode 1, he meets Excel in some construction site. Always thinking about his wife and son, after some encouraging words (and action like punching him) from Excel, he became more enegertic about going about in his life. Unfortunately, the site caught fire and he died in it. So he’s become some sort of a wandering spirit. And throughout the series, he’ll face obstacles trying to get back to his wife and son, Sandora, and that Ms Will… Some mini universe with 2 hands sticking out, who can revive the dead (and one of them whom she revived is Excel, who died after the first 15 seconds in the first episode). The 2 had an affair (a weird one) and Pedro has been marked for death by some bad guy whom is called That Guy, who still claims Ms Will as his girl. And his favourite line, as said at least once in every episode is "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!". Pity him. Things just don’t go his way. Oh yeah, I notice that the only other time that Excel and Pedro will ever meet again is in the last episode. Yeah, some fateful reunion to tie up things.
 
The producer of the series, Wantanabe Shinichi, also made his appearance here and there. Under the name of Nabeshin, his afro hairstyle reminds me of a cross between that guy in Cowboy Bebop and Lupin III. Popping up here and there to help with the flow of the storyline. I like the part where he’s being chased by some waitress called Kumiko, who’d go all the way after him just to let him taste her soup. Yeah, and Nabeshin would always be reluctant to do so and run away. At least, you’ll see this in the early episodes. Most of Nabeshin’s appearance would be somewhere at the end where he helped out Pedro in his training to defeat That Guy. Also, in the the beginning of the some later episodes where he and other production members, forcefully gets Koishi Rikudo to approve certain genre that the latter doesn’t want. Nabeshin’s got some order comrades such as Space Butler, Tetsuko, and Antonio, whom he encountered earlier in the series, but somehow died. Yup, at the end they unite their powers with Nabeshin to defeat That Guy.
 
Then there’s that head of the Department Of City Security, Kabapu. Yeah, he has some sort of a ‘fake’ moustache. Meaning, that you can see it spinning round sometimes. I foind that a little amusing. Though he’s the boss, most of the times, his subordinates doesn’t respect him, subjecting him to riducule. Though later in the series, you’ll find that he has that devotion to the city and will sacrifice his life to protect it.
 
Since Kabapu’s the boss, he must have some subordinates under him, right? A few of them in fact. Tooru Watanabe, Norikuni Iwata, and Daimaru Sumiyoshi are 3 ‘friends’ living in the same apartment neighbouring Excel’s. Watanabe the seemingly more ‘rational and mature’ among the 3 (though at times, he can be as dumb), decides to take up this job in hopes of winning Hyatt’s heart (whom he’s referred to as Ms Ayasugi throughout the series due to some misunderstanding). The other 2, I guess just tagged along. Uh-huh, Iwata’s that sometimes lecherous guy and Sumiyoshi, the fat ‘voice of reasoning’ who’s ‘voice’ and lines are just texts you see on the screen.
 
Also part of the team is Misaki Matsuya. Beautiful, tough and dangerous, I guess she’s the group’s unofficial leader. At first, being hounded by Iwata’s advances (but she manage to hit him away all the time), later on Kabapu adds 2 new android colleagues to the team, Ropponmatsu 1 and Ropponmatsu 2, whom Iwata falls head over heals for the former. Ropponmatsu 2 seems like a child version of the first one and seems to treat Misaki as her older sister and hangs around her. And of course, Dr Gojyou Shioji, the creator of the Ropponmatsus, who posses some lolita complex infatuation, and something about always being on time…??!!
 
Anyway, this team is also known as Daitenzin (some sort of Power Rangers spoof look-a-like). Yeah, even donning unremovable costumes, they help to keep the city safe from any threats and usually unknowingly stop and thwarts Excel and Hyatt’s world dominating schemes. And towards the end of the series, they play quite a role in saving the world from destruction. Well, maybe not so obvious.
 
Also, there’s that emergency food supply that Excel keeps. Yup, it’s a dog named Menchi. And that’s all Excel sees her as, nothing more. Everytime Excel contemplates of using her as emergency food, Menchi will usually get frightened and panic, thinking her end is near. And usually, in the end Excel abandons her plans to do so, much to Menchi’s relief. Poor dog, she’s gonna have heart attack sooner if this keeps up. And some of the episodes, see her trying desparately to escape from Excel’s apartment. And everytime she does so, some unfortunate events and circumstances will lead her back to Excel’s arms. Fated to be together? Much to her distress. But there’re some episodes where we can see how happy, blissful and carefree Menchi is. That’s because that particular episode doesn’t involve her in one of Excel’s mission. Guess she better enjoy the moment while she still can.
 
As mentioned, the episodes are themed so that a particular genre can be ridiculed and mocked (I guess those words are too strong) to its utmost funniness (hope that sentence sounds correct). Like in episode 3 where it’s like a Rambo spoof with Excel getting lost in the jungle and being held as a prisoner while a frequently dropping dead Hyatt tries to locate her. Yeah, and that Nabeshin too has his share of Rambo action.
 
Episode 4 is some dating simulation skit. Uh-huh, didn’t know Lord Ilpalazzo was into this. Maybe he’s taking out his frustrations here as you could see him being so one-sided by ill-treating Excel while being gentle to Hyatt. Wait a minute. Seems that what Lord Ilpalazzo does in the game seems to have a real affect on the outcome of Watanabe’s attempts to court Hyatt. Oh well, it didn’t end well and Lord Ilpalazzo got fed up by the end of it.
 
It’s horror style parody with Resident Evil styled theme in episode 5 and gun blasting Aliens in episode 7. In episode 5, Excel and Hyatt are supposed to infiltrate the city hall building where the Department Of City Security is located. I remember something to do with Hyatt’s food cooking made those who ate it become zombie-like. And there’re lots of green ooze coming out from the walls! Meanwhile in episode 8, it’s Kabapu’s turn to send his team to investigate in some underground sewers, which is pretty close to the ACROSS’s hidden lair. Yeah, and what’s that secret lair filled with weapons as said by Excel, located right smack in the middle of the underground sewers. Anyway, the Department Of City Security team found out that there’re Aliens in the form of Puchuus! So the team had to battle their way out for survival and stop the menacing cuteness from taking over the city.
 
It’s an all-girl episode in episode 8. Meaning that all the guys’ face here are not shown and are somehow blocked by something. In this episode too, Excel and Hyatt befriend a cute little girl named Cosette, who’s a child assassin. I’m not sure how they foil her plans but they manage to do so. Then there’s one funny scene where there’s some adult talk between a man and a woman. What they said on-screen (in a badly dubbed English) and what the on-screen Japanese subtitles are total different and off. It’s so hilarious. And the guy said something to do with a chewing gum, which it isn’t. And poor Pedro too. By the end of the episode, he got chased by all the men because they felt jealous that somehow he got his face shown in this episode (all their faces still not showing).
 
It’s sports themed episode 9, and the sport that’ll be featuring here is bowling. Yeah, something about Lord Ilpalazzo’s idea of controlling the world through the most popular current sport. How did they end up with bowling? Also, the girls are faced with some mad bowler in Robocop like suit along with his group of bowling fanatics. Also a couple of irritating interviewers dressing up like Excel and Hyatt and claiming to be them. Yeah, Excel manage to defeat that Robocop guy after some silly dream-like lesson from Nabeshin she got in the ladies’ room. How’s that helpful in any way?
 
Menchi gets her 1 episode worth of fame. Well, actually 2 episodes. The first one in episode 10 and the second one in episode 19. In the former animal themed episode, Menchi manage to break free wanted to go back to his kind hearted owner, some old looking geezer, before she met Excel. And on her journey she met a pack of outlaw dogs who helped her in her quest. Some backstab and betrayal here and there as Menchi found out her previous owner has turned rotten, and is gonna shoot Menchi. Yeah, chain gun looked too heavy for him to carry around. But when the tables are turned, it isn’t pretty clear whether Menchi shot him back or not.
 
But he’s still alive as you’ll see in the episode 19 and now his body is being fully replaced with metal. And he’s out to get revenge on Menchi. Yeah, in that episode too, Menchi befriended some rich kind little girl (too bad she died in the end while protecting Menchi) and that old geezer needs her fortune in order to repay his body rebuilding operation. But in the end, some unfortunate events (read: unknowing intervention by Excel and Hyatt) caused that old geezer to be blown away, and propelling Menchi right back into the arms of Excel. Is he gone for sure? Fortunately, that’s the last we’ll see of him.
 
It’s a youth themed episode 11. Lord Ilpalazzo thinks the state of the world’s education is hopeless, thus ACROSS must act now to save the future generation. Yup, that means, Excel and Hyatt are to infiltrate some delinquent school as teachers. But instead, they had to help some poor school baseball team and get back their confidence. Yeah, there’s that punk with a very very very long ‘irritating’ front portion of hair (longer and worse than Ryu of Shaman King) jutting out and that big headed guy supposedly to be some parody of some famous Japanese celebrity, I think.
 
While Excel and Hyatt explores America in episode 17 (yeah, they took some really long short cut through Lord Ilpalazzo’s pit) and ran into some communication problems (uh-huh, Excel wrongly translates her replies and the thugs are out for their blood), this episode also focuses on Sandora and his attempts to be some future manga artist. Yeah, back home, it seems that Gomez is ill-treating his mom and Sandora’s gotta work hard to pull them out of it. Hey, isn’t that Puni Puni Poemy that Sandora’s drawing? The sequel of Excel Saga. I guess the producers couldn’t wait for it’s sequel and therefore had to preview it here, huh?
 
Anyway, Sandora realized that he’s being used and duped, and in some twist of events, Excel and Hyatt manage to foil some illegal exchange taking place and in a way save Sandora. Yeah, they show it like those chase and action scenes like in those voiceless movies during its early years, American cartoon style. Hmmm… it’s so different from Japanese anime, come to think of it now. And for the first time the "NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!" from Sandora.
 
As mentioned before, somewhere 2/3 in the series, the in-series producers including Nabeshin ran out of ideas for what theme Excel Saga should spoof, ;P. So they had to resort to some episode recaps. Well, episode 13 isn’t exactly a recap episode, but more like some New Year Talent Show pitting Excel and Hyatt against each other (and all the audiences are either clones of them, haha). Showing some previous clips with some editing here and there. And in order to improve on the dropping ratings of the show (I think it’s part of the script and on purpose to say that the show’s ratings are plunging), the decided to introduce a new character, Ropponmatsu, in episode 14. And because she died in that episode, some merchandising team was furious about her one-episode appearance (I also felt this was on purpose just for the show), thus the series producers had to ‘revive’ her in episode 15 and make her a regular appearance along with the Department Of City Security team (though she died again in the end of episode 15, but was revived in the next and at the same time introducing Ropponmatsu 2). And what’s with that yuri shoujo-ai innuendo with Excel, Hyatt and the 2 Ropponmatsus when they got cornered in some building with all the police surrounding it? Oh well, I guess it’s just Excel’s wild imagination. And yes, Hyatt still has that habit of dying.
 
And in episode 18, Nabeshin and the rest of the production crew again stole one of Koishi Rikudo’s story and introduced and spoofed it in this series as Daitenzin. It’s so funny to see them trying to restrain Koishi Rikudo as Nabeshin steals his seal of approval and approves it on his own. Hahaha.
 
Even Pedro has his own episode recap, that is, in episode 20. As stated earlier on, Pedro’s side adventures are more like his misadventures. Yeah, after being working away for so long, died in a fire, got revived, he decided to return to his homeland back into the arms of his sexy wife (as said by him) and son, Sandora. Only to his horror to discover that his wife is now in the arms of another man, Gomez, who’s also Pedro’s best friend. And his attempts to persuade his wife that he’s Pedro seems futile. In his depression, he seek solace in Ms Will. Yeah, they bumped into each other at some bar. Before you know it, one thing led to another and they had some affair. And that cheeky remark from Ms Will saying how ‘innocent’ Pedro is. Naughty naughty.
 
And before you know it too, That Man comes in and accuses him for having an affair with his girl. He sure got some weird taste. And that Ms Will seems to be reluctant to be by That Man’s side. He must be that powerful, huh? And so That Man decides to kill off Pedro by drowning him under the ocean with some pudding as weights…?! Anyway, a pitiful Ms Will revives him again. And this time Pedro goes back to his homeland to confront Gomez. I like the part where they’re gonna have a showdown, wasting a few seconds here and there, and having some masculine macho talk in between. And because of this, Ms Will and Pedro’s wife who’re suppose to be watching their showdown said hurry up and get on with it! I guess they really want to see the men fight.
 
During the match, Pedro’s being beaten and in some sick twist of events, it is revealed that Gomez is actually That Man. Soon That Man proceeds to kidnap Ms Will and Pedro’s wife. Yeah, he said something about the same voice thingy. And what do you know, it’s revealed too that Ms Will and Pedro’s wife are the same being too. Some twisted twist. And before That Man leaves, Nabeshin suddenly appears to help Pedro and Sandora by giving some super special power… his afro hairstyle??!! Anyway, they still lost and thus the 3 embarked on a mission to train themselves to become more powerful (yeah, that usual sitting under waterfall purification thingy and things like that).
 
Episode 21 is the prelude of things to come. In this rock themed episode, ACROSS top officials send a handsome young rockstar, Key, to deliver a message to Lord Ilpalazzo. And since Key is some rockstar artiste, he can’t just blurt out his singing telegram and must be ‘in the mood’ to do so. Yeah, some rock concert here and there. And the message is about Lord Ilpalazzo’s lack of progress. And Key even went on to sing how he plays with dating simulation games over national television with Lord Ilpalazzo eventually suddenly blasting the tv screen. Guess he’s heard enough, huh? And there’s one funny part where Key’s temporarily staying at Excel and Hyatt’s apartment. When one night he got up behind some sheet with the lights focusing on it, his hands were going up and down on his guitar fingerboard which looked like some lower male anatomy, if you know what I mean, much to Excel’s shock at first. Hahaha. Also there’s that spoof cameo appearances of Doraemon characters with their names slightly altered. We won’t get to see their faces, just their limbs as they somehow kick Menchi away.
 
In episode 22, the Puchuus are ready for their revenge on planet Earth in this Captain Harlock spoofed anime. Yeah, there’s some rebel Puchuu which looked like Captain Harlock. Meanwhile, Lord Ilpalazzo who got ACROSS’s message sends Hyatt to prepare for the take over of prefecture F, ignoring Excel totally. Uh-huh, she’s real dejected. Anyway, as Excel and Hyatt team up with the rebel Puchuu and manage to bring down the Puchuus mothership. Yeah, bring down as in, it’s gonna crash into planet Earth! What’s more the exact crash spot is prefecture F. And we see an emotional Kabapu trying to protect the city with a machine gun??!! How’s he gonna stop it? Anyway his subordinates just ran away for their lives. It may sound selfish, but hey, isn’t it the most appropriate thing to do. And we see a huge explosion at the end.
 
The world’s in a post apocalyptic scenario in episode 23 after the events that happened at the end of the previous episode. So you might guess that this episode’s theme is supposedly some century violence and Mad Max spoof. Excel who’s wandering through the desert, meets and befriends some survivors of the explosion. Of course, they’re rebelling against the ACROSS organization who’re now seemingly dominating the prefecture. The funny part is where Excel using her ACROSS martial art skill whereby if she hit at the right places, the enemy will turn into Di Gi Charat (with permission from Broccoli)!!! How cutely ugly! Yeah, she manage to defeat and turn the whole bunch of ACROSS henchmen bullies into that. But they’ll be back.
 
Later Excel managed to find Lord Ilpalazzo and she’s so happy and excited. Yup, Lord Ilpalazzo’s taking off in his huge flying ACROSS base. But the sad part is instead of taking back Excel, Lord Ilpalazzo shot Excel right at her heart! Oh, how cruel. Even though she’s such an annoying and bungling assistant, this is way too much. As the base hovers her and Excel lie unconscious, we see a tear drop from her eye. I felt sad and pity for her for the first time.
 
And also for the first time, episode 24 is a no nonsense, no gags, serious episode. Excel has been rescued by the members of the Department Of City Security. Not only that she has partially lost her memory. So in this episode you can see some deep serious thinking from her. So different lah. So weird. So not use to it. The gang are planning to launch some assault on the griping powers of ACROSS. Ah… Kabapu’s still alive but he looked so weak and frail. Meanwhile, Lord Ilpalazzo seems to be having some identity crisis. Yeah, a darker part of him wants him to go on and conquer the world. But the current him is trying to tolerate and ignore all that. Looks like he’s in pain and in a dilemma. In the end, Excel manage to regain her memories once more (and her hyperactive goofy self) when she finally remembers Lord Ilpalazzo. Ah well, I guess she’s really devoted to him. Manage to recall back everything with such faint memories of him lying in the back of her consciousness. I hope that sentence feels right.
 
Koishi Rikudo’s really fed-up with the series’ insanity as he gives his approval to end Excel Saga in episode 25. In this episode we see how the Department Of City Security team beat a whole lot of crap out of ACROSS minions while Excel beat the crap out of Lord Ilpalazzo and knock some sense into him. Yeah, at least he’s back to his old self and not that meanie version. Meanwhile Pedro, Sandora along with Nabeshin and his 3 dead buddies (all with afro hairstyle) manage to combine their power and blast That Man (he’s one of the boss for ACROSS??!!) away and save Pedro’s wife. Also, Watanabe learns Hyatt’s true identity. But he still refuse to believe so as he tries to convince her to turn from the dark side. As Hyatt’s gonna shoot him, she goes into her usual dying habit again. Saved! As the ACROSS base is gonna crash (yeah, Dr Shioji pressed some self-destructing button), and the others make their escape (Watanabe carrying Hyatt in his arms), the funny thing is Excel together with Lord Ilpalazzo escaped through that trap door he always used on Excel. See, a trap door can be useful at times. And another big explosion to end things. Hey, Ms Will gave birth to a baby mini universe as the ending credits roll (which’s actually the opening theme)???!!!
 
Well, that wasn’t actually the last episode. Episode 26 is. And I don’t see how this episode is supposed to be a musical themed one except in the beginning. This episode is the most nonsensical one as the producers try to tie up all the loose ends (which I see wasn’t that good and maybe it was on purpose). Besides hiring Cosette as their 3rd agent, here Excel and Hyatt switch bodies. Hyatt has never felt so healthy before while Excel has never felt so sickly before. Now that’s really the ultimate experience for the saying ‘to be in one’s shoes’. And unfortunately, Watanabe is gonna make his move on Hyatt (which is really Excel in her body) in some love hotel. Unfortunately Excel manage to arrive in time and poor Watanabe got ‘ejected’ out of the hotel just when things are gettting hot for him. Also, Cosette and Dr Shioji’s gonna ‘do it’ too at that love hotel. Unfortunately, he lost interest and walked away when he found out that she’s actually not a little kid but has a developed woman’s body. Yeah, I didn’t like this hentai part in particular. They show Cosette’s developed breasts. Meanwhile Nabeshin and Kumiko gets married only to be interrupted by Koishi Rikudo as the 2 battle it out in the chapel.
 
Fortunately, Excel and Hyatt manage to switch back to your original bodies. While walking on the streets they meet Pedro and his family. And Cosette’s now looking and clinging on to Pedro as his new ‘play thing’, much to Pedro’s reluctance. Then, Hyatt has one of her most ‘bloodiest’ death, literally. Yeah, she’s bleeding so much that the world is soon flooded by her blood. As Excel looks up to the moon and asks her Lord Ilpalazzo to save her, we see him giving a thumbs up with a grin on his face. Really the end. So what happened to the other members of the Department Of City Security and other characters as well? Not important, maybe.
 
Overall, I really really really love this series with all sorts of wackiness and craziness thrown into it. Even the next episode preview where Excel narrates the next episode is so darn hilarious. She’s talking so fast without fullstop or rest and though I don’t even understand what she’s blabbing about, it’s so funny just to hear the way she talk. I think she can beat the world record as the fastest nonsensical talker in the world.
 
The voice acting is superb and is fits well to all the characters, especially Excel’s. I really like her voice acting. As for the drawing and animation, I guess it meets the usual expectation of a typical Japanese anime. Well, not that it’s not good, but I didn’t have that sense of being overawed by its breathtaking sceneries and things like that. I felt it was just okay good, that’s it.
 
The producers seem to do a good job on pairing Excel and Hyatt together. Though, their characters are quite contrasting, but it seems oddly fitting. So are the entire Department Of City Security team. A bunch of misfits I must say. Maybe that’s why they couldn’t take over the world or save the world (the latter) in the first place. And the outcome that happened are probably all just flukes (and on purpose by the producers, of course). Yup, every turn of events I felt it was done on purpose to make the series excitingly funny.
 
In conclusion, I would definitely recommend to people to watch this anime just for laughs. And you won’t be disappointed. Each time you’re feeling lousy or down, just think about the crazy antics and you’re spirits will be lifted! At least, that worked for me. Okay, maybe sometimes only. But be warned, do not try and attempt any or all of the stunts in the show as they’re for entertainment purposes only. Not because you may end up getting hurt (actually you will), but more of getting yourself embarrassed.
 
So, would there be a continuation to this series (nope, I’m not taling about Puni Puni Poemy. Strictly Excel Saga) or Lord Ilpalazzo’s conquest? Perhaps not. Since the world is over-corrupted and there’s no hope for mankind. Or maybe Lord Ilpalazzo’s retired along with his assistants and lived happily together ever after and decided to join the fray of being corrupted. And maybe Hyatt’s really dead. And probably Menchi’s finally been ‘utilized’ and the Department Of City Security has been disbanded and… Well, too much possibilty. That’s what happens if you don’t properly tie things up in the end. You’ll have some people’s imagination running wild.
 
But this is certainly a great anime! A true classic. King of wackiness. Therefore, I, Chua Tek Ming, give my absolute permission to everyone out there to watch Excel Saga and laugh like idiots!!! :) *Stamp thud*. Now stop whatever you’re doing and go watch the show.

Baby Love

November 17, 2006

Amazingly, how much can one put into a series that has only 1 episode and spans approximately 30 minutes long. Well, that’s the case for the OVA, Baby Love. Yeah, you know me, the reason I wanted to watch this was because, it’s short. Really short. So in a way I got my wish and more than what I bargained for, huh?
 
So is there really much one can get from just 1 episode from a love-comedy genre? Well, also that depends. It’s kinda like watch-and-forget since there’re won’t be any serious or long term character developments. And since, it’s only 1 episode, everything that the producers wants has been cramped into 1 episode. Maybe.
 
Okay, the show starts off with that usual flashback when the protagonist, Seara Arisugawa and Shuhei Seto, when they’re much younger. Actually there’s some age difference between the 2. She’s only 3 years his junior (okay, maybe it’s not that bad). Seara looked like some elementary school kid while Shuhei probably some junior high student. We first see Seara, who’s watching Shuhei playing some lone-basketball, decided that she’d be Shuhei’s future bride. But Shuhei isn’t too amused, much to Seara’s disappointment at first. However, Shuhei told her that he might consider it if she grows up to be a beautiful lady. And you know what that means? Yup, she’s all determined to do grow up fast and win his heart. Ah… young innocent pure love.
 
Fast forward 4 years later, seems that Seara really did grow up fast and is no more that kiddie looking girl like before. As mentioned by her too, that Shuhei doesn’t remember her, was because of that. And she’s more determined than ever. She’s even moved into Shuhei’s household since her parents are moving to America and bunking in the same room as Shuhei’s little sister, Koharu (same age as Seara), much to her displeasure. At first I thought Koharu’s a boy, with that ambiguous look and voice. Then I thought, why would Seara share a room with a guy? And also, Koharu’s got a boy, Wataru Nikaido, whom she has a crush on. Plus, since I’m guessing it isn’t going to be yaoi type of relationship, therefore, she’s gotta be a girl, don’t you think?
 
Of course, there’ll be some quarrel between the 2 at first. Who wouldn’t if some stranger takes half of your room. Oh well, but I guess Koharu’s got no choice as Seara uses some blackmail tactics (a pic of Wataru) to keep her at bay. I guess she’s really into making Shuhei hers.
 
Later that night, Seara decides to ask Shuhei to bring her to some amusement park called Ribbon Land. Good news is, he agrees. Bad news is, he decides to bring others as well. So much for her date plan. Then there’s that funny part where Seara and Koharu had some ‘confrontation’ where they’re saying different things out loud (like Seara says how happy she’d let Koharu come along and Koharu said she couldn’t because she had something to do) but in their minds meant a totally different thing about going to the park (which Seara meant don’t interfere and Koharu’s I’m not afraid of you).
 
Next day, at the amusement park, the 2 had their fun here and there. Out of the blue while they’re resting, Shuhei asked her if he’s met her somewhere before. Though Seara gave him some subtle hints, she didn’t want him to remember her just yet. And Shuhei didn’t. Seara seems down with that reaction. Well, isn’t that what you wanted? So some talk here and there and we see how determined Seara is in her quest. As Seara goes off to get some juice, Shuhei bumps into his datinas-couple-friends, Kou Sekiue and Ayano Nishina, who couldn’t believe Shuhei’s going out on a date with a girl who’s only in elementary school. But Shuhei explains he’s just acting as a guardian.
 
Later when the 2 are having their meal, Seara comments how good looking the couple is and went on saying something like how heartbreaking it is for other people when they got together. Then Shuhei said jokingly that he was one of them. This made Seara a little worried and decided to confess. However, as she’s confessing she noticed Shuhei ogling at some ladies walking pass outside. *Smack*. Oh well, he isn’t listening, much to her frustration.
 
Later back at home, Koharu mockingly said to Seara that she knows the look of being rejected when she comes into her room. But Seara disagreed and said the confession is only being delayed. Thus, she came to conclusion that Shuhei may like women with large breasts and she has bought some breast enhancement device to turn her A-cup into an F-cup. I guess that’s a long way to go from A to F, but since she grew up so fast within the last 4 years, this might just work.
 
Next day as Seara and Koharu walks to school, Koharu caught a glimpse of Wataru and their eyes met. The usual blushing, but then the brush-off. Ah, the signs are there but they just couldn’t admit it. Later, Seara sneaks into Shuhei’s junior high school by dressing as one and goes about asking details and information about Ayano. Yeah, a lot of good comments like how she’s a good listener, smart pretty, bla bla bla. I guess Seara’s not too amused. Then she heard that the other girls at that time thought Shuhei and Ayano were in love with each other. Shock! I guess that’s it for today.
 
As Seara is leaving the school building, she caught a glimpse of Shuhei staring at Ayano from afar. Oh no. She must be thinking that what the girls said were true. Could it be that Shuhei still harbours some feelings for Ayano? As a teary Seara runs away, she bumped into Shuhei’s classmate, Rai Shido, but quickly ran off. And that Rai guy has pretty much fallen for her. Yeah, those blushes. So typical. And since Rai’s on cloud nine, when he bumps into Shuhei telling him how he’s fallen in love at first sight with some ‘angel’. Of course, Shuhei wouldn’t know what he’s talking about. Meanwhile Seara’s crying at some corner.
 
Later back at home that night, Seara just stayed in bed, not coming down for dinner. Even Shuhei’s parents noticed something wrong with her but didn’t take any action. Most probably they think it’s some normal teenage girly problem. But Koharu suspects something as she later goes to chat with her. Soon a gloomy Seara told her everything. She even told her that Ayano is a C-cup. Haih. Koharu thought that she may have given up. Suddenly, Seara became energetic and her gloominess lifted and strive to become a perfect person like Ayano. But Seara after looking at Koharu, decides to do something first.
 
Yup, the next day, she went to obtain information on Wataru’s background. And she seems like a stalker. Following everywhere Wataru goes, from P.E. class to his shoe locker. Must be getting on his nerves. Wataru friends are thinking that there might be a love triangle between him, Seara and Koharu, but Wataru denies it, saying he’s not even in love with Koharu. So obvious, you’re not good at lying, aren’t you? Also, why is Seara doing all this? As she explains to Koharu that she’s gonna play cupid for the both of them. Yeah, she felt a need to help Koharu out on her first love, even though it’s none of her business.
 
So Seara finally moves in for the ‘kill’ as she confronts Wataru and gets tough with him to tell her who he really likes. Well, I think he bowed to pressure and confessed out loud that he likes Koharu. And Koharu’s listening nearby. Oh this must be embarrassing. But the 2 manage to hit off, though the occassional shy-shy attitude. Aww… And now it’s Seara’s turn as she proclaimed.
 
Next day, Seara’s thinking that this was supposed to be a private date with Shuhei. Then we see how all of Shuhei’s friends together with them at some ice skating rink. Yeah, Seara’s also thinking how did it end up like this, so is Wataru. Haha. Skate skate skate. And during that Ayano bumped into Seara and said that she’s not good with sports. This made Seara think that Ayano may not be so perfect afterall, and then they both had some chat together.
 
We find out that Ayano had previously confessed to Shuhei but he rejected her by saying that he doesn’t see them both more than just friends. It was a huge shocker for Ayano as she liked him too. And then later it was Kou who confessed to her and lifted her out of her depression. Thus the 2 started dating. What a big relief it must be for Seara. But it seems that Ayano knows that Seara’s in love with Shuhei, giving her that wink and saying not to worry about her.
 
Rai arrives late and caught a glimpse of his dream girl. Yeah, he’s getting all excited and he’s decided to talk to her. Unfortunately, he slipped in his hurry and bumped Seara from behind. Some misunderstanding as Seara thought he’s a pervert. Just then Shuhei happened to notice them. He quickly went there and punched the guy, only realizing too late that is was Rai. And when he comes to, Rai and Shuhei came to know of each other’s circumstances and as Rai’s gonna tell Shuhei about the time where Seara sneaked in to Shuhei’s school, Seara kicked his sheen. She took him away and pretend to get some medical attention. She’s asking Rai to forget about that school incident. But it seems that Rai’s always saying "how cute, how cute". Is he listening? Yeah he is. And in exchange to keep it a secret, Rai wants her to date him. She must’ve agreed. No choice though. And Rai’s telling it to Shuhei the next day in school. And when he says that he might ‘get lucky’ on his first date, Shuhei got made and pulled his shirt. Is Shuhei? But he soon calmed down. And back home, Shuhei’s having some deep thoughts about Seara on the things she said on love. Looks like he’s getting closer to the truth… after so long. And he seems pretty concerned too about Seara but makes it as though he didn’t care. Another obvious case.
 
Next day, Rai and Seara are seemingly dating. Have some fun here and there. Then Rai started to notice that Seara may be in love with Shuhei afterall, since that talk about giving Shuhei some sweater for Christmas. But Rai’s still in denial. And what’s this? Shuhei coming downtown to look for them. Okay, this is downright obvious he has feelings for her. And while Rai and Seara were having lunch, Rai seems spaced out about Seara-Shuhei thing and wasn’t even listening to what Seara asked him. Actualy she’s asking him about Shuhei’s younger days. Since Rai wanted to make Seara like him, he decided to lie to her saying that Shuhei was popular among many girls when he’s young.
 
Then Rai even mentioned about some weird little girl who’s always following him. And Seara later realized and told Rai that that weird little girl was actually her. Talk about coincidence. Looks like his plan has backfired. Uh-huh, he heard how determined she was to be with Shuhei. Just then, Rai saw Shuhei watching them from across the road. He decides to make him jealous by hugging Seara from behind, much to her surprise. Is Rai’s plan gonna work? Well, Shuhei seems pretty cool about it. He wasn’t that angry. As Shuhei approaches, Seara pushes Rai off, bumping into somebody else’s table. As she went to apologize, Shuhei then told her to come back with him. Well, though reluctant to leave Rai like that, but I guess if Shuhei wants her to, then probably she has to. As they leave, everybody else thought that Rai’s being dumped and rejected, much to his embarrassment. Too bad. Well, serves you right, since it was his fault, right?
 
As Shuhei and Seara walked back together, Shuhei explained that he probably wasn’t himself was probably because of Seara. A long pause and stare from the both of them. Could this be a confession? Well, it isn’t a direct one. But I guess you could tell from his body language. This made Seara very happy, and that flashback when they’re young, how she asked for him to wait for her, how she’ll do anything for the one she love most, since then from now and for always. You know that kind of stuff. End of the story. But it’s just the beginning for them.
 
Overall, this one off OVA is rather okay. Staying true to the saying ‘love conquers all’ and ‘the power of love’, I’m glad that with all those obstacles, I felt that Shuhei and Seara managed to be together in the end. Though it wasn’t that obvious. And that ending theme tune reminded me of one of that Rocky theme songs. At least it sounded that close. Maybe it’s to indicate the ‘fight’ will go on? Hahaha. Just made that up. The comedy is straight-forward simple, enough to make me laugh at times.
 
Since this is quite an old production, the drawing and animation isn’t that high-tech. The colouring too seems old and worn out. Probably animes from that age looked like that. Must be lah. The few characters in the series manage to play a little important role in Seara’s development in her ultimate quest. Though, I felt it wasn’t that much, but I guess it’s enough if it’s gonna be just for 1 episode. Oh well, ganbatte ne, Seara-chan!

Azumanga Daioh

November 11, 2006

This has gotta be one of my favourite gag animes of all time. Yup, I’m talking about Azumanga Daioh. I felt that one needs to have some basic knowledge about Japanese culture and language first before watching this series. That’s because most of the puns and jokes are somewhat associated with it, though some are more direct. Even with the help of fansub notes explaining certain things here and there, I’m still a little lost. But at lease it made me aware of what it’s suppose to mean (though I didn’t really get it at times nor should I have really laugh out loud instead of just meak out a meagre smile).
 
As mentioned in most reviews, this anime basically doesn’t have a plot. Meaning, you don’t have to worry about following every single episode just to understand the storyline. Although, it would be good to watch every episode in chronological order as there’re some developments here and there as the story progresses.
 
If the series doesn’t have a plot, then what is it all about, then? In short, it’s just about the lives of 6 ordinary (maybe not so ordinary) high school girls and how they go through 3 years of their lives there along with their teachers. That’s it. Yeah, just their daily experiences and adventures during their high school years. Mix it with lots of havoc and insanity, especially the unique personality of the characters, you know the outcome already, right?
 
Speaking of characters, let’s have a look at them first. First off, we have the super filthy rich squeaky-voiced Chiyo Mihama. Don’t let her small body size fool you. She’s actually a 10 year old genius. Yeah, she’s too smart for elementary school and therefore has to start at high school level. But sometimes I look at it, she may be a little ‘dumb’. In order words, too smart for her own good. Though, she’s quite a lovable character, she always seem to get bullied, especially by Tomo and Yukari. And because of her small stature, she often feels as though she’s burden to the group, thus having low self-confidence at times, usually during physical activities. But with her other friends around (well, at least some of them) she manages to pull through with their support and encouragement. Chiyo also has a pet dog named Tadakichi, which is bigger than her, if you compare it side by side.
 
Next up is Tomo Takino. As many would describe her as the loose canon. Yeah, in the series, she’s mainly the troublemaker and instigater of many unwanted events that could be avoided. Because of that too, she’s loud, hyper, outgoing and crazily insane, sometimes saying things which doesn’t make sense, and doing things without considering its consequences (most probably for the heck of it). So basically, her role and job is to irritate everyone around her and get on their nerves. Can I consider her to be sadistic? Maybe that’s how she gets her kick. She loves to challenge people just to make a point but usually ends up at the losing end. Also, she’s not very good in studying and is often trying to take the easy way out. Slacker.
 
In my opinion, I think Yomi Mizuhara is the most ‘normal’ and ‘mature’ one among the bunch, though, she may have some weird personality herself. Like she’s very concern about her weight and would go to any lengths to try different diet programmes for it. Unfortunately, she never gets to stick to them as she’s always tempted by her favourite foods. She and Tomo are childhood friends and are quite close to each other. It’s really ironic though that these 2 are close buddies in this love-hate relationship. Uh-huh, Tomo seems to enjoy teasing her and usually gets on her nerves. Sometimes she might just yell back or ignore her totally. Also, she’s quite a horrible singer.
 
Then there is Ayumu Kasuga. I have a hard time remembering this name (just like the other characters in the series). That’s because, I remember her by her nickname, Osaka. A transfer student from there, she got her nickname on her first day in class by Tomo. And everybody agrees unanimously to call her that without question. To best describe her in 1 word, ‘slow’. Yeah, one of those blur case kind. And sometimes she may be too slow to know what’s going on and by the time she realized or reacts, it’s already over. Easily distracted, absent-minded, daydreams a lot, you wonder how her mind functions. And there’s one part where she answered all those trick riddle questions so smoothly and correctly. Makes you really wonder. Simple-minded and her dreamy voice makes her quite a lovable character.
 
I guess when there’s a group, I’m sure there must be one who’s taciturn-like. Yup, that’s the case for Sakaki. Being the tallest and bustier one in the bunch, she’s quite athlethic, shy and doesn’t talk much. Because of this, she sometimes get drawn into things she doesn’t want to do just because she’s too shy to voice her objections or disagreement. So no choice, she has to do it lah. Underneath that serious looking face, Sakaki actually love cute stuffs, especially cats! Yeah, she gets all soft whenever she sees them, real ones or even pictures or stuff toys. However, cats don’t seem to like her and always bite her hand whenever she reaches out to pet them. How ironic. However, in the end, she manages to befriend some mountain cat and manage to keep it as her pet.
 
The final one in the group is Kagura. Also another athlethic one, the tomboyish Kagura only joins the gang later in the series, that is, during the start of the second year of the school term (actually it was part of Yukari’s scheme to put her in the same class with her for some school athletic competition). Initially views Sakaki as her rival, but eventually that rivalry simmers down when she becomes part of the group. Just like Tomo, she’s quite competitive and isn’t good in her studies. But at least she has her physical attributes to make up for it.
 
Also, there seems to be another girl, though not officially part of the group, but I felt that her presence could’ve been so. Yup, she’s Kaorin, an avid admirer of Sakaki. She gets excited easily whenever Sakaki’s near her or even when she’s daydreaming about her. Unfortunately, Sakaki’s oblivious to Kaorin’s affections and only sees her as a normal friend. Not that she shrugs her, but rather not aware of it. Kaorin only got to be in the same class with Sakaki during her second year. After that, her final year, she’s transferred to a different class from Sakaki, much to her horror. Why isn’t Kaorin part of the official 6? That’s mainly because she’s always missing out on joining the 6 in their activities. Yeah, like how the gang invited her to Chiyo’s summer house only to her disappointment that she’s got some other compulsory activity she must attend to. So sad. Or else it could’ve been The Magnificent Seven or The Seven Samurais. I’m having a weird depiction/fantasy of them in western cowboy outfits and Japanese samurai outfits. Okay, maybe it’ll be better off with just the 6 of them.
 
The series doesn’t really focus entirely on those girls, but at times, their teachers as well. The homeroom teacher for the 6 girls over the 3 years is Yukari Tanizaki. As an English teacher, I find her character quite appalling. For instance, in the first episode how she steals a student’s bicycle to get to school just because she’s running late. And yeah, she’s got this must-win attitude and is a typical sore loser whenever she loses. Uh-huh, ‘kiasu’ type. But so funny lah everytime like that happens. She’s always trying to challenge (and even freeloads) her other friend, Minamo, who’s also a teacher, just to be better than her. Usually, Yukari loses most of the time, and if she wins, she’s got bragging rights so big that I think you could hear it all the way across the galaxy. I love her when she gets all angry and argues with that high speed squeaky voice. So amusing.
 
As contrast to Yukari, the gentle and rational Minamo Kurosawa is a much better and nicer person as compared to her. Nicknamed Nyamo by Yukari, she is the P.E. teacher in the school. And oddly enough, she and Yukari are something like childhood friends too, having attended the same high school together during their younger years. Because of her easy going nature, many students like her, much to Yukari’s jealousy, of course.
 
And the only recurring male character in the show, another teacher in the school, is Kimura. He’s always having his mouth agaped wide open. Also, he’s quite a pervert himself. But he does his perverted ways in a rather ‘zombie-like’ manner. Not that the active and desparate kind you see in Green Green. And surprisingly, he has a beautiful wife and daughter. How did this ever happen? Beats me. Also surprisingly, later in the series, he becomes obsessed with Kaorin when she’s in his class in her final year, much to Kaorin’s horror. Well, things never do change for some people.
 
Also, there’s this weird looking orange cat. You can catch a glimpse of it in the opening and ending credits. And at times will be randomly floating/flying/drifting for some unknown reasons in some random scenes. Besides that, this orange cat, has been nicknamed Chiyo’s dad. Why? That’s because Sakaki has some weird dream about visiting Chiyo’s home and in that dream she meets him. And ever since, any reference made to that orange cat would be refered to as Chiyo’s dad. However, since he only appears in Sakaki’s dreams, the rest of the gang doesn’t really understand or confused whenever Sakaki says so.
 
Of course, I can’t blog on the entire episode of the series. Mainly that’s because I’ve forgotten some of them. Hehehe. So what I’ll do is that I’ll blog on those memorable and enjoyable ones. The ones which made me laugh and also some important points of the show. And maybe some really weird ones too. Each episode may span several minutes long or just a short one, and the subject of the current scene may also end quickly and changed to the next one.
 
There’s this part in episode 2 where Osaka is having hiccups. So the gang (especially Tomo, who’s all geared up for it) tries to cure Osaka of this problem such as scaring her. In the end, the good news is, she’s cured. The bad news is, somehow her hiccups were passed on to Chiyo. Is it mere coincidence? Then there’s this weird part in this episode where Osaka’s daydreaming about Chiyo’s pigtails. Yeah, she took off and put back on her pigtails and thought that she’s some sort of robot. And Chiyo’s flying using her pigtails in the dream. Weird.
 
It’s summer vacation time in episode 5. Chiyo invites the other girls along with Yukari and Nyamo to her summer house near a beach. The funny part is where they need to split themselves into 2 cars to arrive there. It is here that Chiyo is ’emotionally scared’ by Yukari’s terrible and reckless driving manner. Poor thing. Though, we don’t get to see how amazingly fast or reckless she drives, but with Chiyo’s body language, you can pretty much guess how bad it is.
 
Yukari promised her students that she’ll buy them some juice if they win the school sports festival in episode 6. Yeah, you can see her hyper ‘win-or-else’ attitude. Also, this is where Kagura makes her first appearance. In the final lap of the race, it was between Sakaki and Kagura, though the former won. And when the girls asked Yukari about their juice, she changed the subject and ran away. *Smack*. Actually, she and Nyamo made a bet earlier on. When Yukari collected the money from her, Nyamo quickly took it back as some repayment of debt. Back to square one. Oh boy.
 
Then there’s that weird dream episode 8. Like Osaka is dreaming about Chiyo’s pigtails, Sakaki visiting Chiyo an Chiyo’s dad, Tomo as some beauty queen hero, and Kaorin being rescued by Sakaki on a white horse. Real weird.
 
As the second school term starts in episode 10, all the 6 girls (and even Kaorin, much to her joy) are in the same class with Yukari. Yeah, she’s the mastermind behind this. Also, Osaka was panicking because she didn’t see her name along with the others in the same class at first. That’s because, it was written in her nickname rather than her real name as what Osaka’s been looking for. Blur girl.
 
In episode 13, some big test is coming up. Tomo harrasses Yomi for information, much to her annoyance. But Tomo’s not alone, she’s also got Osaka and Kagura, who’re also ‘useless’ when it comes to studying for the exams. The 3 formed a study group, called ‘The Bonklers’ for the test but ended up debating about the name of ‘Bruce Lee’ into ‘Blue Three’. And probably Jackie Chan too if they had the time. As expected, the 3 failed when the test results were announced. Yeah, a jealous Tomo decided to combine all 3 of The Bonklers marks to beat Chiyo’s 100 marks, and boast how much 3 heads are better than 1.
 
Another summer vacation trip to Chiyo’s summer house in episode 14. This time Chiyo pretty much knows the experience of being in the same care with Yukari, and the thought of that renders her in shock. Brings back bad memories, huh? And Kaorin’s joining in too. Her first time experience with the group. Beside the girls having fun, it is this episode where Nyamo gets drunk and lecture the girls about some ‘adult’ tales and experiences. Nyamo initially didn’t want to let Yukari drunk in the first place so she had to finish the whole alcohol herself. And how the girls listens in astonishment! We won’t get to hear what she’s talking as the background music’s being played and there’s just showing off her lips moving. Must be very intriguing stories, huh? Except for Chiyo who’s still too young to understand what’s going on, the next day the other girls ‘respected’ her, though Nyamo didn’t remember what had happened the night before.
 
Tomo is extremely jealous of Yomi in episode 18. Because Yomi had just returned from her Hokkaido trip. Yeah, she keeps hitting Yomi. Then this is the funny part that I liked. At the canteen, Tomo got into one of her jealousy fits as usual and is gonna hit a panicking Yomi with a tray. Just as she’s about to hit her, Yukari came in and Tomo hit her face. Then in a slo-mo part as Tomo removes the tray from Yukari’s face, revealing a pair of evil glowing red eyes, Yukari then took 2 trays and incessantly whack Tomo. Hahaha. And for the girls to make for Yomi’s Hokkaido trip, they decided to visit some amusement park called Magical Land. Unfortunately, Yomi fell sick and can’t go along with them, much to Tomo’s delight and ‘revenge’.
 
As the girls head into their 3rd year of high school in episode 20, they are now seriously thinking about their future. Well, I guess this episode is a little more serious than the rest. Like how Chiyo decides to go study abroad in America, Sakaki wanting to become a veterinarian, and Kagura wanting to excel under sports field. Also, in this episode, Kaorin’s 1 year bliss of being in the same class with Sakaki is over. Uh-huh, she’s in a different class now with Kimura and though she tries to have good thoughts about him, but he’s still the same. Oh, Kaorin, you’re really in vain and in pain.
 
Another weird behaviour from Osaka in episode 19. Yeah, she seems to be fond of yawning and even teaches Tomo and Chiyo how to yawn. I guess they must be bored, aren’t they? Hahaha. In episode 21, the class went on a school trip to Okinawa. There’s this funny part where Tomo tries to throw Chiyo off the cliff. As Chiyo’s screaming frantically, Osaka tries to come to her rescue, but being path being blocked by Yomi (yeah, she ‘bumped’ into her). But she was too slow, even though Chiyo’s out of danger, she’s still trying to save her. It’s over already lah. Also, it is here where Sakaki befriends a mountain cat. I like this funny part too where they’re visiting a museum. At a section where it’s exhibiting on mountain cats, Chiyo explains to Sakaki how a mountain cat will look like when it grows up. Then Osaka point to some boney exhibit of a mountain cat and says "And this is how it will look like after that". Chiyo and Sakaki looked on in shock. Hahaha.
 
Oh yeah, I don’t remember which later episode is it. But the one where Tomo is asking some trick questions and Osaka got it all correct. After she answered them all, Chiyo suggests that Osaka could be a teacher. When Yukari heard of this from Tomo, she became angry and frantic, ran down and confront Chiyo yelling at her that if she thinks that all teacher (it’s her actually) are like Osaka, then she’s really off the mark. I think Yukari really got the wrong idea. She thinks Chiyo is associating Osaka’s blurness with her. Yup, she does. Misconstrued. Hahaha.
 
Another school sports festival in episode 23. I love the part where Osaka has been practicing so hard for some bread eating contest. But when the day comes, she’s so prepared but to her horror, she found out that it was a bread with a different filling that she had to eat. And she thought all her efforts were wasted. Oh well, seems she’s slowly nibbling it anyway. Yeah, another one of Yukari’s attempts to beat Nyamo. This time promising the class Korean BBQ. And the funny part was how she shouted "KOREAN BBQ!" suddenly as a reminder for her class to win. Another hilarious part is where Yukari and Nyamo were racing together, as Nyamo overtook Yukari, Yukari then purposely jumped and collided with Nyamo, thus they both went out of the race, all in chibi form and still frameshot action.
 
Sakaki had a showdown with Kamineko (that grey cat who’s always bitting her hands whenever she tries to pet it) and its horde of followers in episode 24. Fortunately, that mountain cat from Okinawa manage to save Sakaki from it all. In the end Sakaki decides to keep it as her pet. But since her parents are allergic to cats, Chiyo offers to keep it with her at her house until Sakaki becomes independant and has a place of her own to stay. And what’s with Osaka’s obsession with the kotatsu.
 
In episode 25, all the girls are taking the entrance exam, except for Chiyo because since she’s planning to go overseas and study, she’s exempted from it. And then there’s that strange good luck charm ritual from Osaka saying that one will have good luck and pass the entrance exam if one manage to break the chopsticks equally…?! Well, while the rest were in the exam hall, Chiyo broke many of them in hopes for them to pass their exams. I guess she believed in Osaka. But the funny part is, when the exam results were announced, Yomi was the only one who didn’t pass. Even Tomo and Osaka manage to make the grade. How ironic! Yomi must be real shock and depressed as she has to try again. Or else she may be left behind.
 
In the final episode, it’s graduation day for the girls. It was a heartbreaking scene to see Chiyo crying at the graduation ceremony. As the other girls try to comfort her, I couldn’t help felt sad for her. Well, even Yukari seems to be heartbroken too. At least, that was my impression when she entered her classroom dejectedly. But actually she’s feeling so because she lost her wallet! Much to the shock of her students (some things do never change). Later when someone returns her wallet, her gloominess is lifted and she ran all the way to Nyamo’s class to brag about it. It looks like Nyamo’s having a better thank you and farewell from her students, much to Yukari’s jealousy. And poor Kaorin still has to put up with Kimura’s perverted antics. As usual, Osaka has another of that weird behaviour. This time some sneezing allergy.
 
But there’s some good news. Yomi finally passed her entrance exam. Yay! As the girls realized that they’re no longer high school students, but they’re always together and will continue to do so, as they decide to make a visit to Magical Land once more. I guess it’s official then. Kaorin won’t be part of the group. Oh well, off the 6 of them goes to have fun.
 
Overall, I kinda enjoyed this anime with all its crazyness and hallariousness. Throw in a bunch of interesting, zany, wacky, weird and bizarre characters, and you’ve got a perfect combination for a gag comedy. Though there’re some points where I didn’t really get it. But generally it’s okay.
 
Another thing I like about this series is the background music. Yup, most of the background music has that fun type of mood, which perfectly suits the scenes in the series. Though there’re some slow and sombre ones, and some really fast paced ones, the fun ones are the ones that made me go bubbly and lively each time they’re being played. Also, the opening and ending themes are really weird. I mean real weird. Not only the tune, the voice and the way they sing it, but also the animation in the sense of what the characters are doing in the opening and ending sequence. Though, didn’t find the music attractive nor did it caught my attention and made me go ‘I-must-have-that-song-no-matter-what’.
 
The animation and drawing I could say is just okay. I don’t know, but I felt that the characters in the series look ‘one kind’. What I mean is that somehow I find that the general facial attributes for the characters are the same, they just have different hairstyles and accessories. Because of this, the girls here aren’t as cute as compared to my treshold of pretty kawaii bishoujos. But this isn’t a big thing.
 
My favourite characters in the series are Tomo, Yukari and Osaka. Each time when they appear, I would be greatly anticipating some funny antics from them without fail. I guess without them, the series won’t be as half as funny or crazy as it should be. And probably the lives of the other girls would be better off, but that would be very boring, don’t you think. So think of them as the spice in life.
 
Hey, wait a minute. I’m having this strange feeling that the odd pair of Sakaki and Chiyo has a uncanny and peculiar resemblance to Mori and Honey of Ouran High School Host Club, and Sachiko and Yumi of Maria-sama Ga Miteru. Don’t you think they’re ‘similar’ in a way?
 
In conclusion, I would recomend those people new to the anime genre to watch this series. It’s definitely worthwhile and you won’t regret it. You’ll certainly be laughing all the way (okay, most of the time anyway) and in time when you think back about this, you’ll surely crack into a smile or laugh to yourself like an idiot (I know I did). Also it may offer you life lessons, like how NOT to be like Tomo, Yukari or Osaka. Hehehe.

Guardian Hearts

November 10, 2006

What more can I say about Guardian Hearts. It’s your usual hentai-cum-comedy-cum-harem anime. Be warned, though. The hentai scenes here are a little bit ‘extreme’. Not only you could see the girl’s breasts, but you could also see the lower anatomy. Albeit the latter part isn’t drawn in detail, but it’s enough to make you notice it… ahem ahem. I was a little shocked (no, not the happy kind of shock, mind you) when I first saw it. So I would say that it’s short of being a hardcore hentai.
 
It’s a good thing that it has only 6 episodes. Well, more like 3 episodes, meaning the series airs 2 episodes at 1 go. Which means, each episode is worth approximately 15 minutes of all those crap. Well, not to say that I really really really enjoy the series, but I find it fun to watch because of the comedy, though some of it may contain some hentai elements.
 
In the opening of the first episode, we see this girl, Hina, who’s being sent off by her sisters to planet Earth as a last chance to do her duty as a Guardian Heart. Well, it’s some sort of people who champions justice and righteousness. However, Hina is being reminded that during her stay on planet Earth, she cannot reveal her true identity to anybody or else, she’ll be considered as a failure.
 
The moment she arrives, she’s already been spotted by some guy called Wataru Kazuya. Actually, this guy doesn’t know what’s going on, though he witnessed that whole ‘arrival’ thing from Hina. A shocked and desparate Hina then pleads to Kazuya to take her in as she’s afraid of setting the record as the fastest failure. Meaning that, she needs to be part of Kazuya’s family in order not to be deemed a failure. And that means, Hina’s suggesting to be Kazuya’s bride. Yeah, she somehow rubbed her breasts on his face in her desparation. Would Kazuya accept her suggestion? Not at first.
 
Just then, Kazuya’s mom, Tosaki, came by and chided him for not taking responsibility of being a man after ‘seeing a girl’s private places’. Uh-huh, you’ll think of Tosaki as the scheming kinda of mom at first glance. And before you know it, she accepts Hina as her daughter in law and vice versa for Hina too. Yay! Now Hina’s happy that her ‘failure’ problem is solved. But as for Kazuya, this is the start of his nightmare. Also, the start of his harem. You’ll see what I mean.
 
To cut things short, here’s who’s who in Kazuya’s unofficial harem. Why unofficial? That’s because Kazuya didn’t exactly approve of their stay but since he’s such a nice guy, he doesn’t shoo them away either. Plus, I think his mom loves it when there’re many girls by his son’s side. Some mother.
 
Let’s start off with Hina first. Yup, we know she’s a member of the Guardian Hearts team. And because she’s unofficially proclaimed herself as Kazuya’s fiancee, she’ll get jealous easily and will try to stop any other girls who’re trying to hit on her beloved Kazuya. Plus, unknown to the some of the other girl’s in Kazuya’s harem, they hold a grudge to the Guardian Hearts without knowing that Hina is one. So it’s sometimes that sticky situation where Hina has to play both parts. And sometimes too, due to her save-the-weak duty, she has to transform and go somewhere half way round the world to do her job. Also, when she’s in a pinch or dissatisfaction, she ends her sentences with ‘-hinya’.
 
Then we have Maya, some sort of a ninja spy. Also like in Hina’s case, her identity’s busted when Kazuya accidentily spots her in her ninja outfit, thus she has to kill him to keep her identity safe. However, her plans were disrupted when Hina (in Guardian Hearts outfit) tries to stop her from harming Kazuya. And in a way, Kazuya protected Maya from Hina’s attacks, thus Maya felt that uneasy gratitude towards him. But the thing which made Maya had to stay with Kazuya is the fact that she strongly believes in her clan’s oath of having to become the wife of the first man who sees her body naked. Yup, you’ve guessed it. Kazuya’s the (un)lucky guy (by accident, of course).
 
Another weirdo is Kurusu. Why is she weirdo. Firstly, she’s an alien. Secondly she collects (steals, according to Hina) all sorts uniforms to become more powerful. Yeah, some sort of uniform thief. And thirdly, she gains whatever powers associated with that uniform when she dons it. Unlike in Maya’s case, Kurusu is in love with him rather than in some circumstances to be Kazuya’s wife.
 
Next, we have Chelsea. She’s some sort of a magical girl with magical powers from some magical planet. The reason she’s living with Kazuya because she believes in some Japanese person saying that if someone bumps into a transfer student and sees her panties, then they’re fated to be together. What the?! And you’ve guessed it too, Kazuya is that first guy to bump into her and experience that unfortunate event.
 
Since Chelsea is a magical girl, she has a magical pet called Daisy, who looks like a miniature and a lot more meaner version than Dejiko of Di Gi Charat. Anyway Daisy and Chelsea don’t really get along very well as the former always despise and tease the latter. Some kind of a love-hate relationship, huh? Unlike the other 3 and Hina, she isn’t in love nor wants to marry Kazuya. Probably just part of his harem. Can I even consider her to be part of it? Well, since she’s living in his house, I suppose I can safely assume that Daisy’s part of the gang.
 
Another girl living with Kazuya but doesn’t harbour any lovey-dovey relationship is Kotono, who looked like some shrine priestess. Though, I’m not sure why she’s living with him in the first place. There isn’t any explanation at all. Maybe just to make up for the numbers, huh? She excorsice things whenever she has the chance, but often it doesn’t go all too well. Oh yeah, she has a large appetite and likes to eat. How ironic for a such a little girl.
 
Finally, there’s this bird-girl, Powawa. She sometimes transform into some round yellow bird. Also a monotonous-sounding girl  (reminds me of Guu of Jungle Wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu) with her sentences ending with ‘-tori’, narrates the story. Also at times, she comments or explains certain things during the show to let viewers know what’s going on. And nope, she’s not part of Kazuya’s harem. At least, it seems that way.
 
So the 3 girls who really harbours a grudge against Guardian Hearts are Maya, Kurusu and Chelsea. In a way, they see her as an ‘obstruction’ in their attempts to steal Kazuya’s hearts. Yeah, we see them telling some short back story how everytime Guardian Hearts interrupts their ‘moment’ with Kazuya. And the ‘fight’ for Kazuya’s attention is usually among these 4 girls.
 
Thus the 3 decides to cooperate together to defeat Guardian Hearts. Thing is, they decided to use Hina to lure Guardian Hearts out as part of their plan. Looks like she’s in a pinch. But on the day of their plan, Hina manage to give them the slip and transform into Guardian Hearts and a battle among them ensued. Then this is the weird part, during the battle, dunno how some UFO got involved, got zapped by them, felt angry and blasted them back with some transparent beam. Yup, the girls are naked. Maya, Kurusu and Chelsea felt embarrassed by their nakedness but Guardian Hearts wasn’t. Not until she realized it later and started to feel so. I guess that battle ends in a draw. Since this isn’t a pay-per-view show, I guess the girls wouldn’t go on fighting naked. And that’s what Daisy quipped at the end… "And we don’t give any discounts"… If you know what I/she mean.
 
In the second episode, Kazuya fell sick and the girls take turns to try and take care of him. Like how Kurusu transforms into a nurse and tries to inject Kazuya with a BIG needle to cure his illness. Or how Maya tries to give Kazuya some poison and non-poison soup. Er… She says something like how people in her clan will be able to make life or death decisions when they’re pushed to the limit…?! Also, how Chelsea decides to use her love magic to heal him but flops instantly. All of this of course made Hina jealous as she tries to thwart them.
 
Hina gets her turn to make Kazuya feel better later that night. Yeah, she decided to strip to her undies and sleep with Kazuya. Why? Because earlier on, Chelsea tries to do the same too but Daisy barges in with a sack, tie and wraps her with it and kidnaps her off to somehere…?! What in the world?! Anyway, I guess Kazuya felt a little better when Hina does so. Though, I’m not sure he’s enjoying as a pervert or is he too kind to refuse Hina’s efforts.
 
Well, just then Hina receives some message from the headquarters of the Guardian Hearts asking her to return for some medal award ceremony presentation. Looks like they recognize her progress and hard work. But Hina declined and said that there’s something more important than the medal right now. And the both go back to sleep. Aww…
  
Episode 3 is just when Tosaki brings the whole gang including Kazuya to some hot spring. There the girls get involved in some contest because the winner get to be ‘in love’ with Kazuya. Fight some monsters here and there. In the end, the winner’s decided by Tosaki by pointing her bat at Maya, much to Daisy’s delight. Where’s the logic in that? Maya’s seem to be daydreaming, shy and that kinda stuff. Anyway, suddenly Guardian Hearts crashed into the male section of the hot spring where Kazuya is (somewhere during the battle she got blown away). As the gang rushes there they saw Hina and Kazuya unconscious together. And Maya became angry and jealous. But Tosaki said something like "we’ve got to keep what we promised". What does that mean?
 
In episode 4, we see how mean Daisy is to Chelsea. Yeah, things like filling her shoe locker with lots of blackmail letter when Chelsea thought it was love letters, screwing up her maths solutions on the blackboard, switch the spotlight to another person in some swimsuit contest and make it look like that person won when the real winner is actually Chelsea. Poor girl. Furthermore, Chelsea’s birthday is coming soon. And she’s all excited. She thinks everyone is secretly preparing her a birthday bash by ignoring her. But actually everybody doesn’t realize it’s her birthday. In the end, Chelsea was sad and shocked to hear this. And though, it may seem like Daisy’s fault (I felt that it was hers), she still didn’t admit it, though she was softer to her towards to end. Finally, Kazuya shares a cake with Chelsea (who’s sitting all alone on a swing at the park) and cheers her up, much to Hina’s jealousy. But luckily, the other girls manage to keep her at bay while Kazuya and Chelsea have their moment together.
 
The school has rumours about some ghost in the girls’ toilet in episode 5. So Kazuya and the gang went to check it out. Well, actually it wasn’t really a ghost and is one of Maya’s childhood friend ninja clan member, Aya (she ends her sentences with ‘-na no’). Yeah, something like she’s a runaway ninja like Maya too and according to her clan, all runaway ninjas must be exterminated. So it’s a showdown between the 2. However, Maya found out that Aya wasn’t the one sent to hunt her down but another ninja lady called Remu. She even took Kazuya as a hostage (hanging from some giant kite). So as the 2 fought, thoughts of Maya being together with Kazuya flow through her mind and because of that she had that ‘extra’ power to finish off Remu. Unfortunately, Maya’s power was too great that it cut the kite’s strings and caused Kazuya to fall. Luckily, Kazuya landed first and in a way caught Maya.
 
Maya got a little injured and is carried away by Kazuya. Uh-huh, some moment of intimacy between the 2 (in fact this whole episode there’re accidental moments of intimacy between those 2), but it’s nothing much. And while Aya pack her stuffs and leave school, she didn’t think Maya would be in the same school as the place she made her new home recently. Well, I think she’s off to find a new place to stay. And yeah, that’s the only screen time you’ll get (she complains that she doesn’t have enough screen time in the end. Is that suppose to be a joke?). Hey, no interception from Guardian Hearts this time. I guess this is a Maya-Kazuya episode.
 
The last episode sees Kazuya and the girls working as some waitresses during the school cultural festival. During Hina’s shifts, she met her senior, Ren, who’s supposed to be on a mission to locate and retrieve an enemy’s weapon of mass destruction. Hina seems pretty ‘respectfully afraid’ of her.
 
Suddenly, Daisy who wanted to ‘make her appearance’ gets ready to pound on Ren. This is the funny part. Ren then ‘slashes’ Daisy. As Daisy falls ‘dead’ to the ground, we can see a lot of blood oozing out. Hina was shocked to see it. But eventually it’s revealed that Ren only used some tomato ketchup bottle to slash and stain Daisy’s dress. Yeah, and Daisy got up in a surprise too. Hahaha.
 
Then Ren proceeds to ask what Hina truly wants. Hina enthusiastically replied that she wants Kazuya’s heart. And with that, Ren sets this as a test for Hina to achieve it by the end of the day… or else, she fails and must return back to headquarters. Shock for Hina! Oh well, I suppose she has to get it done then.
 
As Hina’s looking for Kazuya, she spots him with Maya, much to her horror. She sneakily snatched Kazuya away from her by telling Maya that she’s got some self-destructing device in her body which’ll activate if she steps of of the school area. And poor Maya believed her 100%. And off Hina and Kazuya go, on their not-so-perfect date. Yeah, somehow Hina fainted and Kazuya had to take her to some hotel to cool things down.
 
Just then, Chelsea saw them entering the hotel and misunderstood the situation and thought that they’re gonna ‘do it’. So she decides to play the ‘hero’ and rescue Kazuya from Hina’s evil by transforming into some magical girl. Also, at the same time her transformation has caused her to hit Ren, who just happened to walk by, unconscious. Yup, Ren dropped some Anti-planet Heavy Armour Power Monster Mobile Doll suitcase in Chelsea’s hands. And Chelsea’s already hatching some devilish plot to use it in her plans.
 
Meanwhile, Kazuya accidentily pressed some button on the bed which made them ‘bounced’ into a really ‘compromising position’. But Hina says it’s okay and at the same time confesses to Kazuya that she loves him, that she doesn’t want to be separated from him. Well, their mood is interrupted with Chelsea, now in that giant rabbit mobile power suit, terrorizing and destroying the surroundings of the festival… by unleashing explosive cans…?!
 
Hina who’s still wanting to complete her test, is then told by Ren to complete her final test as Guardian Hearts by putting a stop to that rampaging monster. Now that rabbit has tons of missiles as its arsenal from nearly every part of its body. And Chelsea is shooting missles like rain. Hina seems to be losing to Chelsea, now AKA The Goddess Of Destruction, with all those missiles and laser beams pounding on her. Hey, Maya’s still standing there waiting to be diffused by Daisy. Oh well, they didn’t manage to finish it as the missiles blow them away first.
 
Then this part I don’t get. As one Hina tries to protect Kazuya using her body, one of the missile’s impact was so great that it caused Hina and Kazuya to locked lips. And then Powawa used her powers to turn Kazuya into… a Guardian Hearts?! I guess this is Powawa’s most prominent part. And together with Hina, they both combined their powers to blast away The Goddess Of Destruction. Thing is, the canon that the 2 used is somewhat of a wedding parody. Yeah, they pulled the lever of the canon just like cutting a wedding cake. Is this the premonition of things to come? Maybe. With that wedding chapel and Guardian Hearts in her bridal gown. Just maybe.
 
As things settle down, we see the place in a real mess. Kazuya lost his memory of what happened today due to the canon blast, as mentioned by Ren, much to Hina’s horror. But Ren told Hina she passed her test and can therefore stay on Earth with Kazuya, at the same time giving her blessings. A delighted Hina then hugs Kazuya. Even back at home, Hina hugs Kazuya like nobody’s business. She must really really really like him. What about the others, then? I guess they’d sit this one out for now.
 
The final scene as narrated by Powawa, sees how Chelsea’s being blown away to another dimension. Yeah, she’s deliriously happy and scattering flower petals on some weird floating flower bed in space. Will Chelsea be back? Will she be normal and okay again? Well, let’s just leave it there.
 
Overall, I guess the comical and funny parts made this hentai anime a little enjoyable to watch. Though, I’m not quite fond of the naked and chest baring moments especially when the animators made them go all ‘exaggerately bouncy’ at times. Well, also the girls here are just averagely cute, nothing more than that. And that’s all I’ve got to say. Nothing much really. Haih…

Magipoka

November 4, 2006

I had a hard time trying to remember and pronounce the anime title Renkin 3-kyuu Magical? Pokahn. Well, at first looks I even felt that the title itself is weird. Luckily this anime series is also known as its short form, Magipoka. Ah, now isn’t that easier to remember. For me at least.
 
So with such a weird title, you must be thinking that this show is gonna be a weird one, right? Well, close. Magipoka is more of the comedy genre mixing some supernatural and ecchi elements in it. The thing is, the supernatural part isn’t scary at all. It’s all plain funny and it’s one of those shows where it’s suppose to make you laugh all the way. Okay, maybe not all the way, but generally seems like that.
 
The series has only 24 episodes in total. Actually some may want to argue that it’s actually 12 episodes. That’s because each episode is only 15 minutes long and since the normal viewing time is 30 minutes, it’s enough to cramp in 2 episodes at once. And the episode title is also quite unique in the sense that each of the episode titles have the word ‘spell’ in it. For instance, the first episode’s title is ‘The First Spell Is An Easy Trap’ and other episode titles include ‘The Spell Of Happiness Is An Ideal Man’, ‘A Tiring Spell Is A Trip To The Beach’, and ‘Tonight’s Spell Is A Vampire’. Seems in line and fitting with that magic thing in the series’ title, right?
 
Basically, the series revolves around 4 young Netherworld princesses. The quartet has decided to move and live in the human world and experience the happenings of every day life there. Yeah, they seem to reside in one big tree with each of them having their own house on the tree’s branches. Reminds you of that tree house that kids use to build and play. And since they’re not used to it at first, you might say that they’re quite naive of the human world and they’ll encounter lots of comical errors, slip-ups and blunders. Yup, that’s where the funny parts mainly come from.
 
So who are these 4 princesses, you may ask? Firstly, we have Pachira, who’s a vampire. Just like a real vampire, she has their common characteristics and weaknesses like unable to stand sunlight or garlic. Though she also hungers for human blood, but the way I see it, she seems to substitute tomato juice for it. Do tomato juice and human blood taste the same and have the same ‘nutritional’ values? By the way, she seems to mind about her small chests. Haih…
 
Secondly, we have the outgoing and energetic Liru, who is a werewolf. Also just like a werewolf, she turns into one during full moon (actually she looks more like a yellow puppy) and dislike anything that is made of silver. Plus, she has a humongous appetite for meat.
 
Next, there is the android Aiko. She is the one who does all the chores and the cooking in the household. It’s obvious isn’t it? And android doesn’t get tired. But this android isn’t just a mere android. She has feelings as well. And she’s pretty concern about her weight since she weighs over 300kg. What do you expect? She’s all metal and iron isn’t she? I just wonder why the tree branch just didn’t break. Plus, I feel that she’s the gentler one (and probably shy one) among the others and the prettiest one of the lot. Hey, I’m not into robot shoujos but I think Aiko’s cuter than the rest.
 
Lastly, a childlike amateurish witch named Yuma. She’s that happy-happy kinda character who’s always intersted in exploring more about the human world. Though she can use magic, but usually when she does, it goes awry and doesn’t end up too well. Yup, there’re some unwanted results or after effects. Plus, everytime she casts her spell, her skirt seems to flip open showing her kiddie undies. And all those perverted guys who saw it, really enjoy seeing it. Perverts! And no, I’m not like them!
 
These 4 ladies too have a pair of onigiri-rabbit looking pets, Tan and Jun. I’m not really sure what they really are, but they don’t speak much except that occassional "Usa, usa" lines. And those 2 seems to be so lovey-dovey with each other.
 
As mentioned, the story in each episode is just that. However, I felt that some of the episodes were left hanging. No doubt that most of the episodes of the series can serve as stand alones and are independent from one another, But there’re some which just ended abruptly and there’s no continuation to what happens thereafter that event. Reminds me of Dexter’s Laboratory.
 
Like there’s one episode where the gang head to the beach to relax. Yuma found a good looking hunk. Of course, Pachira and Liru wants a piece of him too. But eventually it’s Yuma that gets to go out with that guy. In the end, as Yuma and that guy dates, we see a strange thing about him. He’s actually dead! A spirit. And they both happily walked towards to ocean. Huh? Subsequent episodes didn’t tell what happen after that.
 
Then there’s this one episode of some voltron spoof. Aiko has been captured by Dr K-Ko and the rest of them including a mysterious character in green suit always (that character’s identity is never revealed) tries their best to co-operate and save her. But since they’re always bickering among each other that their methods are better than the other, Dr K-Ko eventually released Aiko and the latter felt mocked by it. Some mecha fights here and there. The episode ends with the 5 of them promising to come back with a plan and put Dr K-Ko out of commission. Uh-huh. This episode also just ends there. No further continuation.
 
Speaking of which, who is this Dr K-Ko? Actually she’s a woman who’s bent on exposing the existance of vampires, werewolfs and androids. But not witches? Yeah, Yuma gets mad when her type isn’t ‘recognize’. As seen in the first episode, she manages to trap Liru, Pachira and Aiko with her assistant Congo. But with Yuma’s appearance and her flop magical powes, she manage to ‘save’ her pals. I guess she got lucky.
 
But Dr K-Ko’s part isn’t that prominent either. Her other appearances were just an episode where Yuma ‘goes to hell’ and the other hell workers who’re suppose to torment her but instead got tormented by Yuma were Aiko, Liru, Pachira and Dr K-Ko. The other one is the last episode where she’s gathered all the scientist and conducting some tv interview, ready to expose their existance. But her topic lost focus when viewers suddenly found something else interesting on tv (can’t remember what was it). Thus their identities were safe in a way.
 
Other episodes just left me scratching my head and wondering what is this episode all about, just like the Yuma ‘goes to hell’ episode. There’s this one episode where Liru seemingly fell head over heals over another werewolf guy in human form. Then donno what happen (I think he was about to ‘do it’ with her), some gust of swirling vortex wind, Liru bites the guy’s crotch, and in the end, we see her just standing somewhere alone just smiling. What the? I don’t get it.
 
Then there’s this episode where the 4 ladies were stuck in an elevator. You wouldn’t know it’s an elevator shaft till the end of the episode and you’d be going what the hell are they doing in there. Yup, since it’s getting stuffy, they all had to strip their clothes. And they even force strip Aiko! Much to her embarrassment. And after stripping, they pass the time telling each other what their ideal kind of guy are. Then there’s this donno who security guard watching them the whole time in the lift in the security video room. Once some rescue team manage to open the elevator and pull them out, that security guard is no longer in his seat. Who is he? What the?
 
But there’re other funny and memorable episodes as well. One where the gang decides to go to the beach but since it’s heavily raining outside, they decide to make their beach experience inside some inn. Boy, the inn owner sure got mad when she saw them trying to set up the mat, umbrella and other stuffs. Who wouldn’t they’re ruining the room. What’s more, they did it a second time in the bath place. Hehehe. Also there’s a part too where the gang asked Yuma to make it bright and sunny, at least for the spot where they were. But her hopeless magic made that spot somewhere else, and the gang had to tread over there. Once they’ve arrived, that sunny spot disappeared. And they tried it several times! Pity them. The last straw came when that sunny spot appeared at some island across the ocean. Are you going to swim across there? Didn’ think so.
 
Another funny episode is where the gang were eating outside at some restaurant. As Japanese have a habit of shortening and abbreviating words, most of the dishes in the shop with long names were abbreviated as Yuma were being told by the others. So as she tries her best to abbreviate other dishes, this last dish she abbreviated was the mother of all. Yuma tried to abbreviate the dish called ‘kin tamago’ (golden eggs), she shortened it to ‘kintama’ (testicles). Hahaha. And all the men who heard her said that in the shop, felt ‘paradise’. With those angelic voices, hallelujahs and blue clouds in the background. Those perverts!
 
Then there’s an episode where the 4 of them visiting some skiing resort. They found a mysterious hot spring in some snowy forest and took a dip in it. They’re not alone, though. There’re 4 ‘women’, 3 of them with over-sized breasts getting all friendly with them. Actually those ‘women’ are men! And they found out the hard way, when they felt a weird lower body anatomy touching them when those guys were leaving the hot spring. Hahaha. A lot of metaphorical depictions of it like an elephant, among such things. By the way, those guys stole and ran off with their clothes. Oh… Stranded.
 
An episode where Yuma decides to put on a magical performance but wasn’t attracting too much crowd. But as she uses her magic, she notices more and more people coming to watch her. Actually it’s her panties they all saw when she uses her magic and that’s what keeps them coming back for more. So much so, on the real day of her ultimate performance, Yuma lost interest and decided not to go. Oh, how disappointed those perverts are gonna be when she’s not gonna show up, since they’ve bought along their digital cameras this time.
 
My favourite episode is the one where they’re all playing some weird game. Actually, they’re having some kind of English lesson. By taking turns, they each have to converse in English at all times. If they fail to do so, and one word of Japanese, that girl is punished and must drink some awfully tasting health can drink. Hahaha. It’s so funny. And everyone here is a sadist. When it’s somebody’s turn to drink it, the others will forcefully force and watch the other’s misery. Even if that person has previously drank it, if somebody else’s turn to drink it, instant recovery and revival from that person and she’s all smiles to see the new ‘victim’.
 
So one of them came out with a smart or scheming idea to pass her turn. I don’t remember who, but when it’s her turn, she’ll say "What is this?". By the rules, that’s still legitimate, right? And the next person will have to answer it in English. Sometimes successful, sometimes replying back in Japanese. Hehehe. And the rest will soon follow suit with "What is this?" line. I guess it’s safer playing that way.
 
By the way, there’s this character called Cammy, introduced in this episode. She’s actually an invisible girl and she’s the one conducting the English lesson and playing executioner. I read about her in the anime’s synopsis and was waiting for her debut. Didn’t think she would make one so late and what more invisible. Saves time on her design, huh? But the last part of this episode I don’t understand. It was Aiko’s turn to drink as she made the mistake, but instead Cammy blamed herself and something like that and she drank it. What the?! Is she playing on behalf for Aiko? Are androids still unable to come in contact with water? Can’t be. She does the cooking, right? Anyway, we see something Aiko ordered some hundreds of those health can drink and I suppose they all have to finish it.
 
The last episode sees how Yuma tries to make happy a sick girl in hospital. I couldn’t remember much of this episode, but I remember her magic finally got it right with the help of Aiko, Liru and Pachira, making the sakura tree in full bloom again, much to that little girl’s delight. So lesson learned: Try, try, try again and never give up; Practice makes perfect; Every cloud has a sliver lining. Well, there could be more, but let’s just stick to these few.
 
Overall, though this anime is rather short, but I still find some of the episodes to be quite enjoyable and entertaining. The ecchi part isn’t that flashy and most probably serves as a comical factor. The ending themes are sung by the voice actors of the 4 princesses, so you have 4 different versions of it. Plus, it’s quite cute to see the wind-up toy of that character as it moves while the song is being played. Speaking of which, there’s one line in the song with some lines that doesn’t make sense, maybe it’s just the words (garbage of words), which I find rather amusing.
 
The drawing, animation and voice acting is all okay. Nothing that spectacular, I must say. Just meeting that usual expectation of your typical Japanese anime. So if you’re a bishoujo and those magical girl genre fan, perhaps this anime is worthwhile watching. Okay, maybe no so much of those 2 elements. But there are, right? At least in Yuma’s case.

Here’s another anime that I didn’t really get it. This time it’s Hunter X Hunter OVA: Greed Island. Yup, it’s the sequel to that OVA and it continues right where the OVA left off. With only 8 episodes for this OVA, you must be thinking, hey, it couldn’t be that bad, right? Unfortunately it is THAT bad for me.
 
So what’s so bad that I didn’t really understand the whole thing? The producers of the anime seems to have decided that the Hunter X Hunter series be made into a card playing anime!!! Well, they some sort of infused card playing with role playing here. Okay, maybe that’s not the bad part. The worse part is trying to understand how it all works. Yeah, even the in-anime explanations seem alien to me. And I’ll be going my usual ‘Erm…’, ‘Huh…’, ‘What the, come again’, among others.
 
So I figure out that if you really really really want to understand what’s going on here, you have to fit into either of these 2 criteria. One, you must be a real die hard Hunter X Hunter fan obsessed freak, and two, you must be a real card game fan obsessed freak. Or both. Since I’m neither, I’ll be scratching my head even though I don’t have any dandruff problems.
 
But the good thing I like about this OVA compared to the previous one is that, everything here is much more brighter! Yes, much much brighter. Now I can really see how Killua, Kurapica and Gon really looked like. Those insy tiny little details on their face, now I can see. Not that I notice or care. But it’s better than the previous gloomy and dark one. It’s like we’ve come out of a long dark tunnel and it’s refreshing to see the light again.
 
As the first episode starts off with Kurapica recuperating from his exhaustion from his previous encounter with Kuroro. He still isn’t in good shape, though. But he manages to get up and walk eventually. Then this is the thing which bugs me. After when Kurapica gets a little better, he and Melodies decides to go back to his old teacher. Something like that. So somewhere in the early episode, they both took a flight back home. And that’s it. You won’t ever get to see them for the rest of the OVA. And the thing is, why is Kurapica’s face shown right in the opening and ending themes? I mean, he’s not gonna play a part in this Greed Island OVA but he hogs the limelight there. Maybe the producers are reluctant to leave him out completely and at least have his appearance there. *Eyes rolling*.
 
Then you’ll guess that this is gonna be a Gon-Killua’s anime as shortly after Kurapica’s departure, Leorio also leaves. Yeah, after some goodbye words here and there, I guess he got his inspiration from Melodies to further his studies to pursue his dream as a doctor. And there you have it, Kurapica and Leorio gone.
 
With that, what will those 2 kids do? Well, they have their own plan. As far as I can remember, Gon wanted to continue to look for his father. Something like that. So this is what I understand. There’s this auction to buy the most terror-merror super video game console simulation. And some rich old guy has bought them all. Well, Gon and Killua were there too in hopes of finding some clues to Gon’s dad. Well, what do you know, they bumped into 2 Genei Ryodan as well, Phinx and Fei. But don’t worry, they’re not here to attack them. Just witnessing the auction too.
 
Ah… the Genei Ryodan. Looks like they’re still at that same abandoned building. But it’s much brighter to see things there now. And they’ve made a grave for Pakunoda, who died in the last OVA. Yeah, some of them are just gonna sit there and do nothing. Then somewhere later in the series, we see Hisoka and Kuroro meeting up. What the?! I thought the 2 severed their ties. But it looks like Kuroro wants a favour from Hisoka. What could it be. Well, for the both of them, the series ended with just there.
 
Anyway, back at the auction. After the old geezer manage to buy that video game console, he’s been approached by Gon and Killua. Those 2 kids wanna participate in the game. But they’re being stopped and cautioned first. He mentions that not just anybody can enter the game and play it. You’ve gotta have a really strong mind and body to do so. That’s because the gameplay is so real that if you die in the game, you will also die in reality! And several players have already met with such fate. Plus, when you enter the game, your physical body disappears. Somewhere later in the series, one of the Genei Ryodan derives a theory that the body has actually been teleported somewhere. Also, in order to leave the game, one must finish the whole thing. It’s a really really tough game. Makes you think why would some crazy guy come up with some crazy idea. Ultimate thrill and challenge? Perhaps.
 
Anyway, the Genei Ryodan won’t meet with Gon and Killua face to face nor directly since then. Shal along with Cotolpi and Shizuku soon entered the video game world later. Yeah, I don’t even know what Shal is trying to explain. He’s got his theories about this and that trying to understand the game and its workings. Looks like he has a plan. But we won’t get to see it in action for this OVA.
 
But the 2 aren’t gonna be put down by those words. So they’ll train hard so that they can participate in it. You see, that old guy is having some sort of screen test over the next few weeks to see who is eligible to participate. So some training of Killua and Gon here and there. In the meantime, Phinx and Fei intercepted the newly bought video game console and stole it. Yeah, they brought it back to their base and was curious to play, so those 2 Genei Ryodan heads into the game first, wanting to check things out.
 
So the day of the test came, to save time, Gon and Killua pass. They and the rest of those candidates who pass have their final briefing from that old man and off they go. This is the start of my misery. We see Gon as the first one to venture into the video game, come across another in-video game character who even further explains the rules. I don’t know what she’s blabbing about.
 
Something that you must collect cards, keep them in the book. And there’re several type of cards, some normal, some special, some can be turned into weapons, some have limited amount of use. Bla bla bla. What the?! Even Yugioh wasn’t that bad. And throughout the rest of the series, you’ll hear explanations of certain cards and its uses at certain times.
 
Anyway, when Gon and Killua first arrived in the new world, they need to quickly accustomized themselves with their surroundings. So it’s your typical RPG gameplay too. Go round talk to people, obtain clues and information, work if you must to get money which will enable you to buy stuffs. Bla bla bla.
 
However, the newcomers to the game are in for a surprise. You see, previously too, there’re other gamers who’ve been ‘stuck’ in this world for some time. So they’re out to kill those inexperience new comers. That’s because the more players, the more competition. And that means their chances to get that limited or special cards will be slim. Careful Gon and Killua. So a lot of new characters introduced, but their roles and purposes are left hanging just there. What do I mean? That’s because there’s a sequel OVA. So I guess that’s why the producers wanna drag it into the next one.
 
Anyway, one of the characters who will soon join Gon and Killua is a cutie girl named Biscuit. Actually, she’s a 57 year old woman and she’s taken a form of a young girl in this game. Why would she want to join them? At first she saw how beautiful and smooth their relationship were and thus decides to ruin it. What the?! But later she found out how strong their ties were and I suppose she wanted to train and develop them and their skills instead of breaking them up. Yeah, breaking up is hard to do. Plus, she doesn’t like Killua much because he teases and calls her a granny. Punching him away after those comments. Haha.
 
As I mentioned why she’d want to train them to be stronger is because during their journey, she notice their strong but unrefined powers. And the last few episodes see how she setup a match between those 2 and a mad scissors psycho. Yeah some time frame for about a week for the psycho to beat them both or else she will have him killed (yeah, earlier on that psycho ambushed her but was overpowered by her). Fight fight fight. Eventually Gon and Killua manage to become stronger and defeat the psycho. But in the end they just let him go since he too realized.
 
And that’s where the 8 episode OVA ends. So hanging. I guess the producers were already thinking of making another OVA to continue this. Why bother in the first place? I mean, they could just continue with this OVA since it’s till Greed Island, right? And most probably we’ll get all those final answers to those questions about the other characters and other stuffs there. Perhaps the Genei Ryodan, especially.
 
Overall, I thought that this OVA would help me understand what happened in the last one. It didn’t. It just starts off fresh after tying up those little loose ends in the beginning. And those card game thingy, I didn’t like them either. Since I didn’t understand anything, it was as good as I never watched them at all. The other only thing I like besides the brightness, is how the Gon-Killua relationship develops (sorry, not into a yaoi one). Other than that it’s just okay, even that cutie, Biscuit, is just okay too.
 
Therefore if the Greed Island Final OVA is to be shown, there’s a slim chance that I’ll be watching it, given that since I don’t understand the workings here, what more in its sequel. I suppose more complicated stuffs that dumb people like me couldn’t grasp.