Midori No Hibi

January 27, 2007

Have you ever wanted a girlfriend so bad or have you ever wished you could be together with the girl of your dreams all the time, wherever and whenever? Well literally, that’s possible if you’re connected, as in completely stuck to some body part together. Just like Siamese twins. Same thing here in this anime, Midori No Hibi, but it’s not like the couple really wanted it to turn out that way. Who would anyway.
 
So how are the couple ‘stuck’, you ask? The girl is fused to the guy’s right hand. Yes. That’s how they’re connected together. It’s like as though you’re doing a puppet show but the puppet is permanently stuck as your right hand and can move, think and feel just like a normal miniaturized person. Thus, it’s quite amusing to see how the 2 try to accept and go on living a normal life throughout this 13 episode series with approximately 30 minutes of air time. Yup, it’s gonna be filled with lots of near misses of comedy, love and romance.
 
In the first episode, we’re introduced to this 17 year old high school student Seiji ‘Mad Dog’ Sawamura who is the school’s delinquent. He’s such a tough bad ass so much so that it’s either other people fear him or want to pick a bone with him. But Seiji always wins because of his trademark ‘Devil’s Right Hand’. Yup, his right hand does pack a punch and does who got a taste of it wouldn’t want to experience such pain again. Even though Seiji’s a delinquent, he isn’t the kind go round picking fights or causing trouble. In fact, the reason why he fights with other delinquents is to protect the weak. Well, I suppose you have to fight fire with fire.
 
Unfortunately, being such a strong delinquent has its drawbacks. All of the girls stay as far away from him. And as a growing teenager who’s supposed to be experiencing love and dates at his age, Seiji is quite desperate to have a girlfriend of his own. But all his proposals were rejected by as much as 20 girls! Well, he does have a reputation. Which girl would want to be the girl of a well known delinquent. Think of all the threats and the kidnapping she’ll face because of the other guy’s ego to get even with Seiji. Better not.
 
Fearing that he would end up with his right hand as his faithful companion, Seiji wishes for a girlfriend. I suppose you must have been quite familiar with the ‘be careful what you wish for or else’ line. Yeah, maybe Seiji wasn’t being specific enough. The next morning when he wakes up, he is in shock and surprise to find a girl named Midori Kasugano, fused to his right hand. Is he still dreaming? Don’t think so. As Seiji tries to come to terms with this new found weirdness, it seems that we learn that Midori too has a secret crush on Seiji, always observing him taking the train to school. So this must be a dream come true for Midori, huh? Well, it would’ve been better if she wasn’t his right hand.
 
But the reason or how they were fused together wasn’t really clear. Maybe it was explained but I couldn’t remember it. Because of that, another thing is, I wonder how the fused part looks like. Hmmm… I know I may sound like a pervert but aren’t you curious to know and see how? Besides, this series has a little of that breast baring scenes, which took me by surprise at first because I thought it was gonna be some innocent harmless fun. Isn’t Seiji curious to know that part too? Well, that said part is always covered by either Seiji’s sleeves or Midori’s miniature dress. Bummer. Also, another funny thing is that, Midori can seem to drag Seiji if she wants to go somewhere. It’s like Seiji’s flying like his right hand being tied to a rocket as he bumps into things while Midori makes her way. Though it’s quite illogical, but it’s funny at the same time. Where did she get all that strength to move and pull Seiji? Haih… mustn’t think so much.
 
Of course, Seiji decides to investigate as he heads down to Midori’s residence. My, it’s a bloody big mansion she’s got there. Yeah, a rich girl. And in order not to let other people find out about their weird situation, Seiji bandages Midori to make it as though his right hand is injured. However upon reaching Midori’s house, to his dismay he was told that he can’t see Midori nor her parents because the latter had gone to find a cure for Midori’s disease.
 
Meanwhile, Seiji’s best buddy and underclassman Osamu Miyahara, telling him those 2 lovely ladies, Miyoko and Yuka are waiting for him back home. Of course, Seiji’s so happy to find out that there’re girls wanting to see him as he rushes home. To cut things short, those 2 girls wanted to take revenge on Seiji because he beat up their boyfriends. While Yuka seduces an unsuspecting Seiji, Miyoko’s gonna hit him with a stick from behind. Midori saw what was happening but couldn’t inform Seiji or else they’ll be found out. Just as Miyoko’s gonna strike, Midori moves and blocks her attack, which hit her head. It may seem like a superb reflex action. And when Seiji realized what was happening, the girls ran away in fear when Seiji took a knife. Actually he’s gonna cut the bandage open to see if Midori’s okay, nothing else. Partly maybe because of his scary facial expressions.
 
Then some talk between the 2 like are you okay, you shouldn’t do such a thing next time and that kind of stuffs. Though Seiji’s touched by her kindness, he told her that he doesn’t mind them being found out, so long as she doesn’t get hurt. And in her appreciation she hugs and kisses him. Aww… So it’s the start of a weird relationship. People may think you’re mad because you’re having one with your right hand! They may say desperate case too. And you’ll probably guessed it too that though Seiji’s uncomfortable with Midori and treats her coldly sometimes at first, but gradually, he’ll come to like her and the 2 will become quite ‘attached’ to each other. Hahaha. Literally.
 
Also, I noticed that there’s that grinning fat cat walking here and there at certain scenes in each episode sometimes doing funny stuffs. Though, it has nothing to do with the storyline or the characters, but it’s quite funny to see it such as when it sometimes gets hit (or nearly) by something and things like that.
 
Episode 2 begins with Midori waking Seiji up and cooking breakfast. Why, she even knitted a dress with the words ‘I Love Seiji’. Of course Seiji isn’t too amused by it and prefers to cover Midori as a bandage and giving an excuse that his right hand was injured in a fight as they leave for school.
 
We’re then introduced to another character, Shiori Tsukishima (who sounds like Sakura of Da Capo). You’ll also guess that this 10 year old genki kid has that older brother kinda crush on Seiji. She does things to gain his attention but Seiji only views her the most as her little sister. Though she keeps trying still. And that cheeky little brat asked something about Seiji hiding his porn books. Naughty girl.
 
At school Seiji’s injured right hand has become a hot topic among the students. Yeah, the invincible Devil’s Right Hand has become vulnerable. Another character introduced is Seiji’s class rep, Ayase Takako. That tough girl detests Seiji for his gang life and getting involved in fights and proceeds to tell him off like how he deserves it. But Seiji just ignored her and went to the rooftop. But his quiet time alone there is interrupted when some delinquents appeared at the school’s main gate asking for Seiji to come and fight them.
 
Ayase who’s happened to be there, thinks she can handle the situation as she told them off. Unfortunately, she’s dealing with delinquents and they’re not easily put off by her words. Instead, they proceed to bully her, slapping and teasing her, much to Ayase’s shock. And to her horror as she’s pleading for other students for help, they all just looked away making donno, like as though they’re afraid of the consequence, which is also true. Suddenly, some cool kick from Seiji on the attacker grabbing Ayase and a fight ensued. Of course Seiji won as they all ran away. And after that incident, you’ll notice that Ayase’s perception of Seiji will change and before you know it, she’ll gradually develop feelings for him!
 
But Seiji’s trouble isn’t over yet. Those gang members kidnapped Miyahara as a bait to lure Seiji to come fight with them. Ayase, still reeling from that incident, discovers the letter of that said kidnapping and decides to head there to confront Seiji. Upon reaching the place, she is shocked to find that Seiji’s not fighting back but instead getting beat up by those guys. But the gang leader eventually told his cronies to stop as it was no fun to beat up people who’s not fighting back as they leave. Miyahara asked why didn’t Seiji fight back. He replied that if he does, then the next time they’ll kidnap other people to do the same thing. Violence begets violence. Ayase’s impressed by Seiji’s words. Oh, you can tell that she’s falling for him. That’s because the next day, she moves her desk closer and next to Seiji’s. You see, though Seiji sits at the back of the class, there’s quite a gap between his seat and the rest. The other students moved their seats away from Seiji fearing his reputation, but he doesn’t care less about it. At the same time, Midori notices that Ayase has a crush on Seiji and looks worried.
 
Later Seiji heads over to Midori’s house again but meets up with Midori’s childhood friend, Kouta Shingyoji, and this time he manages to get when Midori’s mom, Haruka, invites him in. Seiji is a little surprised to know that Midori’s mom knew his name because she knows Midori has a crush on him. And as she proceeds to take Seiji into Midori’s room, we can see lots of Seiji’s photos next to her bed. We also see Midori in a comatose like state, lying motionless on her bed. Haruka’s weeping as she told Seiji stuffs but Midori seems not wanting to let her mom know of her situation because she wants to continue being with Seiji like this, even if it’s in this weird form.
 
Then this is the funny part. As Haruka went out to get tea, Seiji opens the blanket of the comatose Midori. To his shock (and mine) he saw the naked body of Midori! What the? Why was she naked in the first place? Couldn’t somebody put some pyjamas on her? Just then, Haruka and their maid came in and saw what was happening. They’re thinking that Seiji’s a pervert and chased him out. Big misunderstanding. Now not only he has that delinquent reputation, but a perverted one as well. Back at Seiji’s home, some talk about Midori sad to see her mom like that. And at the end of most of the episodes, we can see Midori writing in her diary and reflecting on things that has happened for the day.
 
In episode 3, Seiji gets an unexpected visitor, his elder sister Rin. She’s quite a wacky character. A former leader of some biker gang (yeah, she still commands a fleet of loyal and ‘dumb’ bikers), this loud mouth sister loves bullying, embarrassing Seiji, making his life a real hell, and also stealing his allowances. Though she may seem so, but actually she’s quite protective of him. Well, I guess she does show her love to her little bro in a different way.
 
Rin’s unexpected return causes Seiji to panic a little. Plus, Rin’s suspecting that Seiji may have a girl living in the house. So Seiji tries his best to hide Midori from being found out. Unfortunately, during some struggle to take Seiji’s allowance, Rin saw Midori and freaked out. And as Rin find out more about Midori, it seems like the 2 can click. Soon, Rin’s biker gang arrives to greet her and Rin thinks it’s a perfect time to go to the hot springs. And it’s on Seiji’s. Bummer.
 
So at the hot spring inn, the usual having fun, eating, getting drunk (Rin in particular). With Rin getting bored, her biker members do silly antics to entertain her, but Rin doesn’t seem amused. Then suddenly, Rin decides to show Midori to them all by revealing Seiji’s hand, much to Seiji and Midori’s shock. Oh no. Is their secret’s gonna be discovered. But those guys are real idiots, thinking that it’s only a doll, even though it’s so life like, pinching and pressing her. Be still Midori, be still.
 
Then Midori and Rin had some time together in the hot spring. I guess it can’t be help since Seiji’s attached to her. So the barriers quite close. Midori finds out more about Seiji’s childhood like how Rin taught Seiji to fight. Some flashbacks of how Seiji stands up for the weak. His fighting improved so much so that other people start fearing him. But knowing this, Midori loves Seiji even more.
 
As the gang head back after that refreshing bath, Rin assures Midori that Seiji will be all right since Midori’s around. Back at home, while taking a bath, Seiji laments that nothing has changed since that hot spring incident. But Midori disagrees, saying that she now knew Seiji’s other side which she didn’t before. Then another funny part. As Seiji hurries away, his towel drop, revealing his lower half to Midori. She screams and says how that part of Seiji she didn’t want to know. Well, I guess, since Seiji saw hers earlier on, I guess it’s okay to see his, right?
 
Seiji decides to buy some miniature dress for Midori after some ice cream they were having fell on the latter’s only dress in episode 4. It was such a weird situation. A tough delinquent within a store filled with otaku geeks. Better get out fast before anybody mistakes you for being a sissy. Uh-huh, a lot of those miniature clothes and stuffs to cater for those miniature dolls. This is really obsessed and freaky. But too bad, some guy recognizes Seiji and is glad that he is here. Who’s he? He’s Shuuichi Takamizawa (Takky for short), Seiji’s classmate. But the thing is, Seiji doesn’t really remember him as his classmate, much to Takamizawa’s chagrin.
 
Seiji found out even more scarier stuffs on Takamizawa. He’s a real doll obsessed freak and is particularly obsessed with a doll named Marin-chan. Then a funny part where Seiji imagines some ‘horror’ scene of ‘Takky No Hibi’ (hahaha). Throughout the series, there’re several of this short film-like imagination whereby it’s like a bit of horror and the ‘film’ is left hanging in the end (with the suspense indicating that the ‘inevitable’ may happen). Then you could see the credits rolling really fast and the most hilarious part is that the director, editor, producer and all its other production are done by the same person! HAHAHA! So funny.
 
And because Seiji becomes paranoid by that imagination, he accidentally knocked Takamizawa out cold and he’s scoffing at all the other otakus who saw them. Meanwhile back at Midori’s home, Haruka and Kouta engaged in some conversation about how Kouta notices Midori likes Seiji. Next day during class, Seiji’s a little surprised that Takamizawa’s ignoring him and like making donno of that incident yesterday. But later, he finds a note from Takamizawa asking him to meet him at the school’s rooftop. And what’s with that Ayase daydreaming about giving Seiji her lunch. Oops. Too late. He’s gone.
 
At the rooftop, Takamizawa tells Seiji that he wants to see the doll on his right hand. Seiji refuses but Midori says she can act like one for a while. As Takamizawa inspects and is complementing the life-like doll, Midori suddenly sneezes. Of course Takamizawa would sense something amiss. Seiji tries to cover up but fails. Eventually Seiji flees. So the next few scenes see how Takamizawa tries to find out more about Midori such as sending her some new clothes so that he could see ‘the doll’s’ manufacturer when Seiji changes its clothes. But too bad Seiji shuts the curtains close.
 
Until Seiji and Takamizawa bumps into each other again causing Midori to scream. Now Takamizawa knows that ‘the doll’ isn’t actually a doll. He threatens to expose Seiji this unless he allows him to take some photos of Midori. A reluctant Seiji agrees. And at the park as Midori tries some outfit for the photo shoot, Takamizawa notices how happy she is and asked her to be with him so that he can give her more clothes to wear. But Midori declines and says that she only wants to be with Seiji (and you know the other reason why cannot lah). Takamizawa felt depressed (dumped!) but Seiji cheered him up by saying that he could be Midori’s friend. A revived and happy Takamizawa decides to show his gratefulness by letting Midori wear some lingerie outfit, much to Seiji’s anger, after which Seiji pounded him so much so Takamizawa had a little amnesia of what has happened. What a way to lose your short term memory. Maybe people who want to forget some recent embarrassment can do what Seiji does. But then again, it isn’t guaranteed. Hehe.
 
In episode 5, Seiji seems to be the target of his P.E. teacher, Nishida’s wrath. That’s because he’s late for school and jumped over the school gate and landed on Nishida’s face. Seiji’s day is gonna take a turn for the worst when he’s sleeping in class and Midori’s trying to wake him up, only to find an annoyed Seiji scolding her. Because of that, the teacher asked him to stand outside the class. Then in the toilet, Seiji complains how he has to use his left hand to do things when Midori says she’ll help him pee (so daring!). Just then, somebody knocks on the cubicle Seiji’s in. Though Seiji says he’s still using it, the persistent knocking made Seiji curious to know who is it. Why, it’s Nishida as he kicks him out and uses the cubicle himself. This means war.
 
During P.E. class, Seiji decides to sit out in order not to let other people discover his right hand. What’s this? A different personality Takamizawa who’s so good at volleyball. Looks like he’s back to his old self when the volleyball hits his face. Meanwhile, Nishida told Seiji that he won’t get credit P.E. class if he doesn’t participate. But Seiji says his right hand’s injured. Nishida doesn’t care saying that he still has his left as Seiji proceeds to do push-ups with only his left hand. Wah. Can match Bruce Lee liao.
 
Back at home, Seiji mistakenly drinks one of Rin’s tequila and passes out, forcing Midori to do lots of stuffs herself, which is quite taxing. It’s quite funny to see her ‘lame puppet show’ as she tries to move an unconscious Seiji in front of the pizza delivery guy, freaking the latter out eventually. The next day, Midori’s sick having exert herself previously. Seiji in a panic tries to take care of her because Midori insists of going to the hospital like buying groceries and stuffs.
 
Ayase is thinking of using that excuse of bringing him notes for the class he missed as a chance to get closer to Seiji. Yeah, another hilarious perfect couple daydreaming. Unfortunately, she’s lost and can’t find his house. Till she meets Shiori and asked her for directions to his house. But after Shiori heard and presumes that Ayase may be Seiji’s girlfriend, she got jealous and took those notes from Ayase and says she’ll deliver it to him himself before running off, much to Ayase’s dismay. And before you know it, Shiori’s gone and Ayase’s still lost. But when Shiori passes the notes to him, Seiji immediately took the notes and asked her to go home. No time to talk, he needs to nurse Midori.
 
Even though Midori’s recovered the next day, at school Nishida isn’t too impressed of Seiji missing yesterday’s P.E. class and decides to punish him by forcing him to do 100 chin-ups with his left hand. We see a determined Seiji, not giving up easily. Midori’s worried but knew Seiji could do it. As Seiji’s going for the last one, his weakened left hand slips. Is it going to be over? Not yet, Midori manages to grab the bar. It may seem normal to other people using your right hand to do so. Some talk of determination and persistence. Eventually, Seiji completes his punishment, much to Nishida’s surprise but still not impressed. He tells Seiji that he’s very reliant on his right hand, which Seiji agrees in his mind. The next day, as Seiji’s running late again for school and since it’s raining, Midori offers to carry the umbrella so he could run easily, which Seiji happily accepts. See the power of teamwork.
 
Episode 6 focuses on Shiori. And I felt that this was her only most prominent appearance and role throughout the entire series. After that, I felt that her role was reduced to less than a side character. In this episode, Shiori’s not too happy and causing her fuss about her step mom. Yeah, her biological mom had passed away some time ago and her dad remarried again. But unlike most step moms, this one is quite responsible, caring and sweet. So why doesn’t Shiori like her? She’s got this perception that no one could replace her actual mom. Though she even admits all her step mom’s good points. Haih, kids these days.
 
Seiji felt a little sympathy for Shiori decides to accompany her. And what a surprise it must be for Ayase when he saw Seiji with Shiori together. Does he like little girls? Anyway, part of Seiji’s day with Shiori included some embarrassing loss to her in some Street Fighter video game. But when Shiori thought Seiji got better when he finally beat her, she realized that it was actually Rin. And after mocking and teasing Seiji for losing to girls not only in dating but this as well, she decides to make his life even miserable by telling Shiori about her crush on Seiji, much to Shiori’s dismay. Yup, Rin decides to ‘tutor’ Shiori so that she could win Seiji’s heart, in which Shiori agrees.
 
Soon, as Shiori’s parents came to pick her up, Shiori caused a fuss by showing that rude behaviour of hers even though her step mom’s trying to reason and be kind to her. The next day in class, Ayase decides to go wake up Seiji so that she could give him a ticket to watch a movie together. But due to some weird unintentional ‘scaring’ towards Midori, Ayase decides to put off her plan when Seiji awakes.
 
Back at home, Seiji is surprised to find Shiori in his house in a traditional Japanese housewife outfit. It’s actually part of Rin’s scheme to have a good laugh at it all (Seiji doesn’t know his sis in the house). But with failed attempts, Shiori desperately heads to where Rin is hiding and asked her for more advice. Yeah, some change into several silly cosplay costumes. When Seiji has had enough of it, Midori thinks that it might be Rin’s doing, finds and confronts her in her room. But Rin played dumb. Some argument about Seiji telling her Shiori’s depressing situation but Rin replies that what Seiji’s doing may be breaking her heart. Seiji pretends that he doesn’t care and decides to go take a bath, only to find Shiori there with only a towel. He takes her out and rushes to Rin’s room and they both started arguing.
 
Shiori cries when they did so and told them to stop. Then she wonders if Seiji would like little girls since he always see her that way. Then Rin says that isn’t true as she says that Seiji likes a girl even smaller than her and proceeds to take Seiji’s right hand, showing Midori. To Shiori’s shock, she fainted. Rin then satisfied with her last laugh casually walks out, letting Seiji to deal with the ‘aftermath’. But good thing is, Seiji manages to convince that it was all a dream once Shiori wakes up.
 
Just then Shiori’s step mom arrives to pick her home for dinner. Shiori again displays her rude and cold behaviour saying how she wants to stay here and not go home and how she’s doing this just to please her dad. Some irrational and harsh words from Shiori as her step mom’s try to patiently reason with her. In the end, her step mom slaps Shiori and cried why is she doing this to her. Seiji steps in and tells Shiori that if she didn’t really care for her, she wouldn’t have cried like that. Shiori realizes her mistake that she has gone overboard and soon apologizes and repents. Before you know it, the 2 made up and went home to start things anew. That’s so much for Shiori’s part. Later at the school park, Ayase decides to ask Seiji out to a movie since she has an extra ticket. Of course Seiji wanted to see the movie and accepts, much to Midori’s horror.
 
So episode 7 is more on how Ayase tries her best to date (yup, some ‘Get Seiji’ plan) an unsuspecting Seiji while Midori tries to sabotage Ayase from getting closer without blowing her identity. She must be real desperate, putting up all those make-up, much to Midori’s horror when they met at the train station. Also, in this episode, we’ll see lots of Ayase’s wild imaginations and there’d be that glittering star shining in her eyes after that. So funny. Part of Ayase’s efforts include faking her fall so that Seiji could catch her. But instead Colonel Sanders of KFC did. Haha. Also Ayase has memorised the movie that they’re gonna watch so that she could scream and grab Seiji. You know lah, Midori screamed first, causing her plan to backfire. And the part where Ayase’s rubbing Seiji’s right hand and when Seiji found out, he replaced it with an old man’s sitting nearby.
 
Then there’s that stroll in the park which resembles that movie Sleepless In Seattle. Only thing is, the reason for Seiji staring her that way was because there’s a spider on Ayase’s shoulder. She freaked out. Anyway, Ayase asked Seiji to come over to her place since her parents are not in. Why did Seiji agreed? Because it means free food! This guy. Hang in there Midori. Back in Ayase’s room, Seiji notices a picture of Ayase and himself in the background, causing Ayase to feel a little panic and say it was just a coincidence he was in it.
 
Ayase then told Seiji that she’ll be taking a bath. The reason being, she wants Seiji to peek at her nice body and in hopes that one thing will lead to another. Desperate case. But Seiji’s reading and enjoying Ayase’s manga collections and he only went to call her because he smell something burning. That’s right. She’s cooking something and totally forgotten about it. In her hurry and panic, she ran out naked and bumped into Seiji. Before you know it, Ayase faints. Can’t take the ‘pressure’?
 
When Ayase comes to, she finds herself alone and clothed. Seiji left a note saying how he enjoyed his stay and that he brought her unconscious body back to her room and put some clothes on. I’m surprised he didn’t do anything hentai. Maybe Midori’s there. As Seiji and Midori walked home, Midori tells Seiji how kind-hearted he was in helping Ayase, causing Seiji to blush. Looks like you need to tell this dumb guy straight and direct rather than to go through all these to express one’s love. And I think because of that Midori’s pretty satisfied with how the way things turned out.
 
Both Seiji and Midori get a taste of what’s like to be in the other’s shoes in episode 8. What do I mean? They both somehow mysteriously trade places. Seiji wakes up one morning to find that he has become a miniature self and Midori’s right hand! Is this a dream? Nope. So the usual helter-skelter as the 2 try to come to terms of what has just happened. Yup, Seiji experiences first hand like how he himself is being bandaged by Midori so that they won’t be found out. Also, the breakfast that Seiji cooks looks way disastrous than before.
 
Plus, since it’s a cold day, Midori needs to quickly find a suitable sized shirt before Seiji freezes. Too bad, up till now they only have Midori’s miniature clothes. Seiji suggests to go to that otaku figurine shop. But in the meantime, he has to wear that "I Love Seiji" dress. At the shop while Midori lets Seiji tries various outfits, some perverted guy is gonna use his handphone to take some perverted pictures on an unsuspecting Midori. Seiji saw this coming but is afraid that their position will be known if he takes action. In addition, Midori is too caught up in the excitement to notice Seiji’s warnings.
 
After the pervert too a panty snapshot, he is grabbed by Takamizawa who caught him in the act. Takamizawa manages to delete that picture. The pervert felt embarrassed and flees. Soon Takamizawa collapsed and that was just an act which he mustered up all his courage to do so. Yeah, previously he was scared of doing it but eventually decides to because it was the right thing. Midori thanked him and leaves the shop. Then Takamizawa remembers faintly about Midori’s secret.
 
The next day, Midori and Seiji returned to the over crowded otaku shop. When Midori suggests that they make a shirt of their own rather than buy one, Seiji felt annoyed because he doesn’t want to wear one of those lovey-dovey message shirts she make. But they’re being interrupted by Midori’s classmate, Iwasaki, who’s glad to see Midori healthy again since she’s being absent from school for quite a while. Soon the 2 had some ‘catch-up’ conversations like how Iwasaki telling her which classmates of theirs got a boyfriend already and such. Midori realized then how the world is moving forward while her comatose body lay still in her room. Seiji felt guilty about obstructing Midori’s future as Midori cries.
 
Unfortunately, the next time they wake up, the whole thing has been reverted back to Midori being Seiji’s right hand. Midori’s wondering if it was a dream, but Seiji says that he’d experienced the same thing too. So some talk about how they realized lots of things and how they get to know and understand each other better. In the end, Midori felt that she shouldn’t feel that she’s a bother to Seiji as that would be a bother to him.
 
The next episode is a Takky’s episode. Takamizawa is really trying hard to remember Midori in episode 9. He manages to restore those memories back when he bumps into a cupboard which drops out several photo shots of Midori previously taken in the park. On the streets, Seiji sensed that he’s being followed and finds out that it’s Takamizawa, who then shows them an official website for Midori. And Takamizawa blackmails Seiji that he’ll close the website down only if he helps him out.
 
Yup, looks like Seiji and Midori has been dragged to some local anime convention and Takamizawa has a booth of his own. Not only that, he has also created Midori dolls to be sold! Though Seiji isn’t impressed and kicks him, eventually Midori decides to help him out. It seems the sales of the Midori dolls are hot. So much so that it is sold out and there are still people who wants to buy them.
 
Then they spot the real Midori and decides to bid to buy ‘the most exclusive Midori doll’ version. As the bidding increases, Seiji gets mad and told off the crowd that this one isn’t for sale. Then some famous otaku guy, who’s also the highest bidder, was so impressed by Seiji’s determination of being a true otaku and stuffs like that, ends up just taking a group photo with Seiji and Midori.
 
Later as Seiji and Midori were shopping for food, Takamizawa bumped into them and asked them for their help again. He says that there’s a seemingly kind and gentle girl he likes but don’t know how to approach her. Seiji doesn’t care nor does he wants to get involve but reluctantly agrees after some persuasion from Midori. In the city, they saw the girl Takamizawa has a crush on, and noticed how she looked so similar to Marin-chan. Then another hilarious ‘Takky No Hibi’ imagination where they imagined Takamizawa kidnaps her and dresses her up as Marin-chan and other anime costumes. Hahaha. So Seiji decides to help Takamizawa so that he can sabotage his plans of getting to know her.
 
Thus, Seiji dresses up Takamizawa like a gangster in order to show that girl that he can impress her if he looks tough. But actually he’s hoping that the girl would get scared and run away. As Takamizawa approaches and get to know her, she suddenly seems to enjoy his company. Seiji, worried that the worse may soon happen, decides to dress himself up as a gangster to show how Takamizawa’s a wimp and a coward by scaring him. And during the ‘act’, as Seiji confronts Takamizawa, that girl suddenly became violent and starts beating up Seiji, asking him not to lay a finger on Takamizawa, much to Seiji’s shock. Still waters run deep. But after Takamizawa witnessed it, he has second thoughts about the girl, becomes afraid of her and decides to run away. Looks like she’s a completely different girl from Takamizawa’s view. Yup, his Marin-chan is still the best. And that girl’s really fallen for him. Poor Seiji. A delinquent getting beat up.
 
Kouta is having those childhood flashback of himself and Midori in episode 10. Uh-huh, some Snow White fairytale whereby a sleeping Midori is awaken by Prince Seiji. Meanwhile back in reality, Miyahara and Seiji are in some karaoke room with some girls. Seiji doesn’t know that one of the girls there is Ayase in disguise. Plus Ayase thinks that it’s best not to let Seiji know that it is her since she doesn’t want him to come to a conclusion that she likes to flirt. Then Ayase’s friends force her to play some game whereby she and Seiji would have to eat some Pocky stick at their ends until their mouths meet. Uh-huh. And looks like Seiji’s scary perverted face scared Ayase too much that she punched him away and left the place.
 
The next day, Seiji sensed that he’s being followed. Nope, no Takamizawa this time. It’s actually Kouta. But because Seiji looked tough, Kouta’s scared to go talk to him. But after school, Kouta manages to face Seiji at the train station and end up having some chat at a cafe. Something on how Midori has a crush on Seiji and she was too shy to express herself, bla bla bla. Kouta then asked Seiji to come to Midori’s house. But Seiji says he can’t right now after Midori refused. Seiji asked if Kouta likes Midori. He denies and says that he is only concerned for her. Er… doesn’t that amount to a crush in a way? And there’s that ‘complementary insult’ from Kouta when says how different Seiji is as he thought that he would’ve bashed him up and do all those gangster stuffs to him if he said something offensive.
 
Then some flashback about Midori and Iwasaki about how the latter ask if Midori has anyone she likes but Midori just blushes. Some ‘lecture’ like if you don’t do it will never happen. Also we see Midori’s hesitation in confessing to Seiji at the train station. Back to present time, we see Midori reflects on things like how she’s thankful to have a friend like Kouta who’s concerned for her. I felt that this episode was a little boring at the end. But I supposed it’s a build-up towards the storyline since we’re pretty close the end.
 
Seiji’s having a tough time studying for the upcoming exams in episode 11. Yup, he even asked Midori to take the exams for him. Of course she refused. Then Seiji suggests to play some rock, scissors, paper game whereby the loser must do what ever the winner says. Unfortunately, Seiji can’t seem to beat Midori. And according to the rules, he can’t back out now. Plus, Midori wants him to tell her that he likes her, even if he doesn’t mean it. Seiji’s got a hard time saying it. Sounds like somebody stammering "Su… su… su…". Of course he didn’t manage to do it, much to Midori’s disappointment. And since he can’t say it, Midori just said it herself that she likes Seiji, causing him to be embarrassed.
 
Back at Midori’s house, we see Haruka hiring lots of shamans and bomohs to try and cure her daughter’s disease, but to no avail. Yeah, it’s a multi-cultural gathering, from China to Native America. Also at the same time, Ayase’s spacing out over that ‘near-kiss’ incident at the karaoke room. Seiji’s face still looked funnily scary. Anyway, as part of her new plan to get close to Seiji, she decides to give him her notebook so that she could help him study. Unfortunately, Seiji just took it and nothing much happens. He didn’t even ask her for help. So much for that elaborate imagination of hers.
 
Kouta has an idea to make Seiji visit Midori. Since he can’t find him, Kouta assumes that a group of gangsters at the school gate are Seiji’s pals and approached them. Yeah, those 3 gangsters are actually sworn enemies of Seiji. And when they asked Kouta what made him think that they’re Seiji’s friends, Kouta said that it’s because of their gangster looks, which he prematurely associates with Seiji. Those gangsters then decides to kidnap Kouta in order to make Seiji come and fight them.
 
In the meantime, Seiji and Midori are having some delicious meal at some restaurant when Miyahara comes rushing in, saying that Kouta has been kidnapped. Seiji decides to go help. At the abductor’s place, Kouta seems to be sneering them when they decided to shut him up by duct taping his mouth and stripping him to his underwear. As Seiji arrives and fights them, because he can’t use his right hand, he’s easily overpowered by them. Until Midori decides to help by hitting them with bowling pins. Seiji then managed to knock those guys out flat. Unfortunately, Kouta saw the whole thing. Yeah, the whole thing whereby Midori’s fused to Seiji’s right hand. In his horror and shock, he fainted.
 
Episode 12 begins with Midori apologizing to Kouta for getting involved in that gangster fight. But Kouta doesn’t mind all that. He’s worried about Haruka who’s quite worried about Midori. Though Kouta wants Midori to tell her mom about her condition, Seiji suggests that he keep this a secret. Back in Midori’s room, a native American Shaman tells Haruka that Midori’s spirit doesn’t want to come back yet. Only when Midori knows what she wants, would her spirit returned to her body. So they have no choice but to just wait for her spirit to return. And at some cafe, Ayase is having some outing with her friends. She’s still denying to them about liking ‘that guy’ in that near-kissing incident. Not being true to her feelings, huh.
 
Meanwhile, Midori knits a scarf for Seiji, who’s quite delighted to receive it. But Midori realized that no matter how long she stays with him this way, Seiji will only see her as his right hand. Later that night when she wants to show Seiji her completed scarf, only to find Seiji sleeping. So more of those reflections and realizations from Midori as she writes in her diary. When she realized that the reason that she became Seiji’s right hand was because she doesn’t want to leave him, she wonders if it’s okay to stay like this forever. Before she goes to sleep, she take a look at Seiji’s sleeping face. Then, Midori disappears…
 
In the middle of the night, Seiji wakes up because he felt the warmth of Midori’s knitted scarf. Then it hit him. Midori’s gone and his right hand is back to normal. In his frenzy, he searched high and low in his house for Midori, but she wasn’t anywhere to be found. The next day, Seiji’s trying to convince himself that having his right hand back isn’t so bad. You’ll feel that there’s this ‘reluctant-for-Midori-to-leave’ kinda feeling and spacing out. And looks like back at Midori’s house, Midori has awaken in her real body with her mom very happy about it.
 
Seiji decides to forget distract his mind on that by looking at some porn stuffs with Miyahara. He even yelled at Ayase when she told him that his right hand seemed better. After the duo came out of the shop, it seems that the gangsters who abducted Kouta are back, this time they brought more friends of theirs along to beat up Seiji. He tells Miyahara to run away and proceeds to beat up all of them. While Miyahara’s running away, he bumped into Ayase and told her about Seiji’s location and situation.
 
Although, Seiji managed to beat everyone flat with the return of his ‘Devil’s Right Hand’, he seems upset when he saw it bruised and bleeding. Ayase arrives and asked Seiji if he’s okay. But Seiji’s in bad mood and tells her it’s none of her business. Then Ayase proceeds to hug Seiji and confesses that she loves him and wants to know what he thinks. Seiji’s really in the shock of his life. Back at Midori’s room, she’s looking out her window forlornly.
 
So the final episode 13 starts off with a shock Seiji after hearing Ayase’s confession. But Seiji says sorry to her. Ayase then asks if there’s someone else he likes. Seiji denies but mentions that how he’s always with a certain person and since now that the person is gone, it’s kinda annoying. Ayase then tells him straight that he’s actually in love. Yeah, more of those ‘lecturing’ which will make Seiji realized things. In a way, Ayase’s been ‘dumped’ but she felt satisfied that things between her and Seiji have cleared. Looks like she’s given up.
 
Kouta visits Midori in her room but is surprised to hear from Haruka that Midori doesn’t remember anything during her unconsciousness. Initially Kouta wanted to tell the whole thing to her but decides not to. Midori believed she went to some place happy but regrets that while she was in coma, she has caused her mother to worry so much.
 
Back at Seiji’s home, more of that ‘I’m-used-to-Midori-as-my-right-hand’ situation as he’s also gotten used to using his left hand to do things as he goes through objects Midori used to use in his house. Rin then comes in with some buns that she bought for Midori. However to Rin’s surprise, she beats up Seiji to get more information about Midori’s disappearance when she gets to know Seiji got his right hand back. Then that usual ‘you should go after her’ but that indecisive and uncertainty show of attitude, which pisses of Rin as she continues to pound Seiji. So Seiji decides to go upstairs to his room. There he read Midori’s diary and began to understand things from her point of view when she was his right hand.
 
The next day, Seiji’s at Midori’s front gate and was unsure whether to talk to Midori or not when Kouta arrives. Upon seeing him, Kouta tells him that Midori has awaken in her real body but lost her memory. Knowing this, Seiji decides not to give Midori’s diary to Kouta as he thought it would be better for her to move on and not remember what has happened. At the same time, Midori and her maid was standing on the balcony when Midori caught a glimpsed of Seiji but can’t seem to remember him though she keeps staring at him like as though she’s seen and met him somewhere before.
 
Midori’s like gonna collapse into a coma again when Haruka comes in, much to her horror. Looks like Midori’s gonna lose it when she says how lonely she was and how she wants to go back to that happy place again. Then her mother tried to talk some sense into her which made Midori realized things and proceed to go after Seiji. Haruka and the maid tried to stop her but Kouta tells them that it’s best to let Midori solve this problem on her own.
 
Midori can’t seem to find Seiji while she’s running about through town and can’t find him at his usual places. Meanwhile Seiji’s at some park sulking and after hearing some nearby kids about some banana ice-cream made him remembered about the times he spent with Midori. He sat near the fountain and began to read Midori’s diary. Yup, it’s like what she and Seiji have been doing all this while from that hot spring to that chin-up punishment. Later when Midori arrives at the fountain, Seiji’s no longer there. But Seiji returns to get some drink from the vending machine and the 2 met for the first time face to face as 2 different bodies. While Midori tries to muster all her courage to confess her feelings, Seiji just stood there dumbfounded, unable to say anything.
 
Soon Midori manages to confess to Seiji but the latter says he already knew, that he has been watching her instead of how he knew it before hand, much to Midori’s surprise. And it’s quite a beautiful scene as the 2 watch over the city while it started snowing. And it ended with the next day, Seiji and Midori walking together as a couple to school with the rest of their family and friends looking on.
 
Overall, this is quite a nice anime. But I heard that since it was adapted from the manga, there’re quite a few differences. Therefore, some viewers didn’t like the way how the anime cramped several chapters into 1 episode and also left out several others. Which means, that the character developments for other characters besides Seiji and Midori in this anime has been ‘cast aside’. Yeah, once you think about it, there isn’t much for the rest. Well, I guess it couldn’t be help if it’s such a short anime. It was a good thing that Seiji and Midori manage to be true to their feelings and be with each other. In the end of it, a loser would somehow win at least once.
 
So this is another case of ‘getting use to’ and ‘adapting’ to things which may seem troublesome at first. And as you spend too much time with some time, there’s this invisible bond created. It was quite an amusing thing to see Seiji being the ‘oddly paired’ with Midori. Not what they both wanted exactly, but we see how they learn and accept things from each other. Maybe life should just be like that too.
 
I love those humourous parts especially those short theatrical imaginations. And the they used ‘Days’ instead of ‘Episodes’ in reference to the episode number, just like how the chapters are referred to in the manga. The drawing, art, animation and voice acting are all okay. Just like the storyline too, if you don’t mind a little exaggerated and nude parts, then this anime is quite worthwhile to watch.
 
One thing I’d like to note is that initially, I thought Midori’s name meant green. But when I saw the writing, it’s actually 2 words meaning ‘beautiful bird’. Yeah, some verbal conjugation there which turned ‘tori’ into ‘dori’. See, this is what happens when you’re illiterate or not well informed/knowledgeable. You tend to assume things. At least now I know.
 
So the one thing that still bugs me was how did Midori ended up as Seiji’s right hand. But I suppose some things are best left unexplained. And next time if you really wish to be 24/7 with your loved one, you’d better think twice or else. But even so if it ever happens, I think it’s better to have it as your hand rather than on your shoulder or any other parts. That’ll be just plain weird.

Samurai Champloo

January 26, 2007

There are quite a number of samurai themed animes out there. One of the few popular ones would be Samurai Champloo. Since it was created by the same people who made Cowboy Bebop, those who have watched it may have noticed a few similarities such as the drawing between these 2 animes.
 
Although this anime is set during those feudal times in Japan, however the producers blend the series with some hip hop flavour. What does it mean? It means that you can see samurais rapping and warriors doing some fighting techniques which resemble break dancing. It’s really quite awkward at first but I got used to its ‘uniqueness’. Why, I read that they even enlisted the help of some real life Japanese rappers in the production of this show.
 
But I suppose that’s the main reason why I decided to watch the series in the first place. Yup, it’s the fighting which incorporates some break dancing moves. That short trailer clip was enough for me to watch the entire 26 episode series with approximately 30 minutes of running time. Unfortunately, in my opinion, there isn’t much of those break dancing fighting moves throughout the show. Just a few bits here and there as far I could remember. Bummer.
 
Besides having some action, comedy, adventure and drama element in it, there are some historical elements in it too. Yup, the fansubs have done quite a good and detailed job to pinpoint certain events which took place during a certain period and at a certain place in Japan that time. It’s like taking history classes but only thing is that you’re watching an anime at the same time. But even so, I didn’t remember nor understand most of it (heck, all of them), since my history sucks. Plus, even though the adventures in this series are fictional, some of the settings which it is based on are true and probably revolves around it.
 
Basically, the storyline revolves between these 3 people. We have Fuu Kasumi, a 15 year old girl working at some tea shop of her relative at first. She has a flying squirrel, Momo, who seems to inhabit in her clothes (?!) and sometimes helps her out when she’s in trouble. Then there’s Mugen (who looks like that guy in Cowboy Bebop), the rash, unrefined, loud mouth, ‘I-don’t-give-a-damn-about-anything-else’ kinda guy who wields some double edge katana. Mugen is the one with the break dancing moves which he incorporates into his fighting. Most enemies who fought him would be surprised at first of his unique battle style. Finally, Jin, a ronin samurai who posses a typical samurai sword and samurai code. Unlike Mugen, Jin is more stoic, quiet and calm. Thus, I wouldn’t say which of those 2 I prefer the most. That’s because I like Mugen’s break dancing fighting manoeuvres whereas I like Jin’s cool and enigmatic looks and character.
 
In the first episode, we see how these 3 characters are brought together. You can call it fate or coincidence. Fuu, as usual, doing her waitress job at the tea house, gets into trouble with the magistrate’s son who’s bothering her. Then Mugen comes in and offers Fuu to help get her out of her sticky situation for 50 dumplings. Though Fuu was reluctant at first, eventually she agreed.
 
And so Mugen starts off by cutting off the magistrate son’s arm and killing his bodyguards. Wow. It’s pretty gruesome and violent here. I admit I really enjoyed all that action there. He even broke 4 of his fingers and demands him to find some real challenge for him! This guy’s scary. Just then, Jin comes in and saw what was happening. Of course, Jin doesn’t approve of what Mugen’s doing and before you know it, the 2 started fighting each other. So far, I felt that this was the best fight scene in the entire series.
 
And during their fight, the tea house caught fire. Unfortunately, the magistrate’s son died during the fire and the magistrate himself is gonna hold Mugen and Jin responsible for it. Locking them up and deciding to execute them the next day. Fuu, then decides to go on a journey to find ‘the samurai which smells like sunflowers’. If you’re thinking about the anime Himawari, then you’re greatly mistaken. But anyway, she decides that she would need some help on her journey. I suppose she saw Jin and Mugen’s fighting ability and spirit. Most probably why she would choose them. Though, those 2 aren’t aware nor do they agree on it yet.
 
So we see how Fuu tries to come up with a plan to help Mugen and Jin escape from prison as she sneaks in there herself. She makes a condition for the both of them, that is, in exchange for their freedom and helping them escape, they must follow her on her journey. And those 2, unenergetically still want to settle their unfinished business with ‘that talk’ as they both languishing in jail. What a way to get to know your enemy. But they didn’t give an answer as some guards were coming and Fuu had to flee.
 
But I felt that Fuu really didn’t do much in helping them escape as it was mainly the both of them who did the job. You see, on the day of their execution, your usual blabbings from the magistrate, and as the executioners were gonna behead them, some slick move made them avoid the sharp blades and at the same time freed the both of them. Then it’s a killing spree. Yup, Jin and Mugen hack and slashed all of their opponents including the magistrate himself. Yeah, how ironic he died on execution day, which is supposed to be somebody else’s.
 
Just then, Fuu arrived and let loose some explosives which cause some distraction which allowed Mugen and Jin to slip away as more guards arrived. Once they’ve manage to get to some place quieter, Mugen and Jin decides to finish their unsettled business. A fight to the death. But Fuu interrupts them and decides to resolve things with a coin flip. Tails they stop fighting each other and follow her on her journey to find the sunflower samurai or heads they can continue what ever they’re doing. As she flips the coin, sound of the guards are coming closer to them. Looks like it’s tails then, as Fuu drags them as they ran away from the incoming guards and the start of their adventure.
 
So most of the episodes are like this, we have this uneasy tension between Mugen and Jin who wants to settle their score but due to some certain circumstances, they can’t. Like how Fuu always reminds them about their promise to be with her until she finds the sunflower samurai. So the are 2 like strange bedfellows and odd pair, following Fuu around on her quest. Unfortunately, Fuu doesn’t have anymore information on the sunflower samurai making their journey tougher. The only clue she has is a mini skull pendant that she carries. And as they go from one town to another to gather clues on the sunflower samurai, they somehow inadvertently got involve in other people’s businesses. Yeah, like ‘kay-poh-chi’, but it’s not like they wanted too. More like they’re drawn into it. And probably they would’ve gotten involved either way. That’s because they always have that money and food problem, so they have to work to get food for their stomachs.
 
Also, I find that after that particular episode finishes, the next episode starts off like as though nothing serious had happened in the previous. I mean, yes something did happened. But the way they start things off as though as there’s a gap between those episodes which may seem to suggest whatever problems unsolved at the end of that previous episode has been solved and we’re ready to start anew. So it leaves me wondering ‘hey, what happened to that’ or ‘hey, I thought he was like that so how did he turn out like that’.
 
In addition, I noticed in most episodes, there is at least a character who will die in the end, whether that character is the villain or some side character for that particular episode. Well, at least that way, you don’t have to worry what will happen to that character later on. Saves a lot of things. Maybe it’s not a bad idea killing off such characters. Plus, I find some of the sword fighting and action a little bit bloody and gory. So it may not be so suitable for younger audiences.
 
Like in episode 2 where Fuu gets kidnapped by some guy called Hotaru and his ugly ogre-looking henchmen Oniwakamaru. While Jin takes on a assassin hired by Hotaru, Mugen got poisoned and the poison is taking its effect on him during his duel with Hotaru. The episode ended with a sad tone when both Hotaru and Oniwakamaru died and the hired assassin backed out since he knew his employer was dead. So how did Mugen get cured? Dunno. Nothing in the next episode suggests that.
 
Uh-huh same thing in the double episode 3 and 4 where the trio got involved in some clan thingy which involves some debt and gambling. Uh-huh. Some guy, has his debts increasing and can’t pay them off. So the other gang leader who wants to get ultimate control then device some gambling thingy, either way he wins. So some drama unfolding, fight fight fight, the baddies dies, that guy and his family can live in peace, and Mugen having that squaring off with one of those reformed bad guys, but killing him in the end with the latter looking quite satisfied while he goes to the other world. See, it just ends there, nothing more than that.
 
I’m not sure whether or not whatever those historical notes involving some Vincent Van Gough paintings of sunflowers were actual or not. But in episode 5, some painter wants to use Fuu as his model. But actually it’s just some cover up as women who become his models usually disappear. That’s because they’re being kidnapped and sold off in some slave trade. Yup, Fuu nearly got sold off again, that is until Jin and Mugen arrived in time to save the day and exposed some old man and elderly women’s ploy (they’re running the slave trade under the guise of some painting and art display shop). Though that painter was reluctant and was actually forced into doing it. In the end he leaves the country to pursue his career in art.
 
Also introduced in this episode is some chubby weird looking detective called Manzou Nokogiri AKA The Saw. Appearing in certain episodes (and also narrating that episode) as a detective investigating certain cases, he doesn’t really meet the trio nor gets involved with them. Even if so, it was probably for a short while. I’m not sure what his real purpose is (other than his detective work lah) other than to provide some comical relief. Yup, that’s what his results usually end up, humourous results. And because of that, his role wasn’t really tied up at the end of the series. I felt that he was just cast aside. Not that important, huh?
 
Episode 6 is the real start of their search. Yeah, the trio met some gay Dutch politician official named Jouji who wants to experience Japanese lifestyle by disguising as a commoner. They met him during an all-you-can-eat-competition. This part is quite funny. Mugen entered the competition by using his sword as a collateral and forces the same thing on Jin. The winner is the last one who hasn’t throw up or do the traditional gochisou-sama signal when they’re done. Of course the over confident Mugen now has to eat his words (haha) as he and both Jin couldn’t go on. So it’s down to Fuu (surprise surprise. This gal’s got a huge appetite) and Jouji. Just then, a fly was irritating Fuu and as she’s gonna squash it, she does so and the judges thinks it’s that gochisou-sama signal. Hahaha. So Jouji won the competition and got all those prizes other contestants gave as collateral, including Mugen and Jin’s swords.
 
Of course Jin and Mugen can’t live without their swords as they pleaded with Jouji to hand their swords back to them. Jouji said he would, that is, after they take him on a sight-seeing tour of the place. Bummer. Oh, this guy seems to fall in love with some opera actor who’s playing a role as a women. Wow, even gays do exists back at that time. In the end Jouji’s cover’s blown when officials surrounded the gang with some official documents asking Isaac Kitching (Jouji’s real name), the head of the Dutch East India Trading Company, to come back. Well, I suppose he reluctantly agreed.
 
So before he leaves, Fuu asked him if he knew anything about the samurai which smells like sunflowers as she lets him see her skull pendant. He then tells her to let only a few people see it and not show it around so freely. And if she wants to know the real reason or answer, she’ll have to go to Nagasaki to find out. Why, couldn’t he just tell her straight? It would save a lot of time (and probably lots of episodes. Haha. Just kidding). Yeah, or else maybe they won’t learn, huh? Like the saying, it’s what you learn on your journey that counts, not the destination.
 
Then I felt that the following few episodes (if not until right up before the last few episodes) were like the usual getting into other people’s businesses and doesn’t move an inch closer to finding out more about the sunflower samurai. Like how Mugen and Jin decides to track down some pickpocket who stole Fuu’s winnings in episode 7, or some hip hop style samurai named Nagamitsu wants to kill Jin because the latter killed their master Mariya Enshirou (who is also Jin’s master)in episode 8. At the same time, Fuu flirts with him with her new found popularity while Mugen and Jin too flirts with some sexy women, who happens to be Nagamitsu’s wife, whom she drags him away back home.
 
Episode 9 is one of the funniest and possibly one of my favourites. This episode is narrated by some old man who worked at some checkpoint 30 years ago as he told the story through a flashback when the trio arrived there then. Because they had no passport and in their haste bought a fake one, they’re detained by those checkpoint officials. And since it’s a serious crime, they’ll be executed. Of course, they made a deal with the checkpoint boss, Kinumasa, that they’ll be freed if they bring in the most wanted criminal. But Kinumasa sent Mugen to so the job with Jin and Fuu left behind as collateral, in case he runs away, they’ll both be executed. They’re doomed!
 
Of course, Mugen doesn’t care and in a way ‘escapes’. Until he stumbled upon some marijuana fields and some militant priest’s hideout. He got captured but manage to free himself before setting the hut he was in on fire, which spread to the marijuana fields. Yup, this is the funny part. We see some distorted psychedelic visions of Mugen fighting one of those guys while the field is on fire. They’re all high! And the winds blew the marijuana scent towards the checkpoint nearby and everybody there excluding Jin and Fuu became so high and merry that some even ‘did it’ with animals and among themselves! Orgy! Outrageously funny. Jin and Fuu used this opportunity to escape. I wonder why they didn’t get high? I mean, since the scent of the marijuana scent spread to almost the entire checkpoint. Can’t be that prison cell they’re in was so air-tight? Anyway, Jin and Fuu then found Mugen and the military priest happily sitting and smiling together. Hmmm… Come to think of it, don’t you think this is an effective way of stopping wars and make peace among each other. No doubt drugs are bad, but hey, everybody’s so happy. And they’re all so high! Hehehe.
 
Back to the usual stuffs in episode 10 with Mugen battling some terror samurai killer named Shouryuu, and managed to kill him in the end after a gruelling life and death battle. And in episode 11, Jin pities and helps a women named Shino from her brothel life. Is he in love with her? Dunno. But in the end, he puts her on a boat to escape somewhere while killing her unfaithful husband. And what’s with that episode 12, which is a recap of the trio’s adventures up to now from Fuu’s point of view recorded in her diary. It’s quite funny to see Jin and Mugen criticizing it. I guess this is the only thing which I enjoy in this episode. And since Mugen’s illiterate, Jin has to read it out.
 
But it’s all not just getting involve in other people’s businesses. You see, Jin and Mugen too had a dark past of their own, and it’s catching up to them. So some of the second half of the series see how these 2 face up to their past and how they have to deal with the inevitable once more.
 
Like in episode 13 and 14 where Mugen’s brother (not blood related), Mukuro and Kouza (Mukuro’s little sister). We now know why Mugen’s character’s such. Yup, he’s an ex-pirate along with Mukuro and the rest of his gang back then. Long ago, their forefathers were criminals and they’re sent to some island where all hardcore criminals are placed. Uh-huh, Mugen was breed and grew up there. It’s like hell on Earth. Of course some fight between the 2, you know that kind of love-hate relationship. Soon Mukuro then forces Mugen to join him to raid some ship containing large amounts of gold after Mugen lost out to some chicken match (?!).
 
True to Mukuro’s nature, he betrayed Mugen during the raid and left him to die by blowing up some raft Mugen’s in. But Mugen’s a survivor and a tough one too. Yeah, that near death experience must have given him some will power to come back to life. Plus, he hasn’t settle things with Jin yet. Meanwhile, Jin confronts Mukuro and decides to kill him because Jin told him that he was the only one who is allowed to kill Mugen (his whereabouts are still unknown) and killed Mukuro. Only then Jin and Mukuro realized that it was all a setup and ploy by Kouza as she used him to get rid of her brother. Yup, Kouza and one of Mukuro’s accomplice, Shiren, who’s also a Shogunate official, planned it all along.
 
As the 2 walk along happily, they met an injured Mugen. Shiren was surprised to see Mugen’s till alive as he prepares to attack him with his sword. Just then, some terror slicing and hacking from Mugen which leaves Shiren dead instantly. Too fast to see anything happening. I was like ‘wow’. But Mugen didn’t kill Kouza as he just limped pass her, though she’s begging for him to kill her. Now she’s left with nothing as Shiren’s the last person left who knows the hidden location of the gold they raided from that ship. As good as dead.
 
It’s Jin’s turn in episode 16 and 17. The trio had an argument and decided to split, each heading their own way. While Mugen meets and American Indian dressing guy named Okuru (too bad, Okuru vanished before Mugen could ask him to apologize for mistakenly shooting an arrow which misses Mugen by a few inches earlier on), Jin squares off with a young samurai named Yukimaru. He is another one of Mariya’s students hunting down Jin because the latter had killed is master. Some sword fighting skills between the 2 as they trade some blows here and there. But Jin is reluctant to kill him, saying that he isn’t worth killing, that it would only make his sword rusty. So their battle ends when Jin dives down a cliff into the waterfall stream below.
 
Meanwhile, Fuu fell off a cliff as she tries to catch Momo and is picked up by Okuru who found her floating in the river. Some dream of the sunflower samurai by Fuu but it isn’t too clear either. When she comes 2, the both of them had some chat. At the same time, Mugen’s got his own problems when some government troops cornered him and thought he’s their wanted man. Some cool break dancing moves there before they realized they’ve got the wrong guy. The guy they’re looking for is of course Okuru who has killed one of their officials and they’re hunting him down. The reason why Okuru did that was because his village was reduced to a pile of corpse while he was away. An epidemic swept his village leaving no one alive, which is supposedly caused by that government official, fearing that the epidemic might spread, they burned down the whole village too.
 
More fighting between Jin and Yukimaru before the former lands a final killing blow on the latter. Meanwhile, Mugen finally meets Okuru as the 2 fight each other. But their fight’s interrupted when those government troops found them and launches some flaming arrow attack on them. Jin and Fuu were also there. It ended when Okuru managed to kill the government troop’s leader as he too was engulfed in flames, before diving down into the waterfall below. So is he alive? Well, that’s up to viewers to think. And before you know it, the trio are reunited once again and returned back to their original journey.
 
Then there’re those really weird and wacky episodes. Like in episode 15, Fuu gets really really fat after eating too much (I wonder how she slim down after that. And also, why didn’t she bloat up like this in that all-you-can-eat-contest?), while Mugen inadvertently gets involved with a female ninja, Yatsuha, who’s under-covering as a geisha, in exposing some counterfeiting operation masked under the guise of a brother. Yeah, we could see how perverted Mugen is too. And he always seem to fall for that naked women line. Pervert. Funny thing is, Yatsuha in the end says how she fell in love in with Mugen and decides to make him her husband. Funny taste she’s got. But that’s the last we’ll ever hear from her for the rest of the series. 
 
Or that scribbling or graffiti episode 18 with the ever squabbling Niwa brothers who’re trying to outdo each other by using calligraphy and drawing and painting on the buildings and homes in town. So graffiti originates from Japan? Don’t think so. But the Niwa brothers seem to look up to Jin as their older brother. Yeah, some flashback about the Niwa brother’s dad asking Jin to take care of his idiotic sons before committing suicide. So as a final competition to settle things once and for all, they decided to see who can draw the best graffiti on some castle. Unfortunately, Mugen beats them as he draws that infinity symbol (which is also the meaning of his name). So that’s how the infinity symbol came about. Don’t think so either.
 
And that comical baseball episode 23 with the trio and some Japanese villagers (even Manzou’s there) team up to play baseball against some American navy. Yeah, a lot of comical moments here and there. Is this why baseball is so popular in Japan these days? Don’t think so. And there’re moments of those Americans speaking in English and I even heard them say the F word! Really! Maybe Japanese viewers don’t really know that word. But then again. In the end, Mugen delivers the winning blow for the Japanese side with some super-dooper fastball destroying the entire American team, forcing them to leave Japan.
 
The crapiest and really-make-no-sense episode 22 is about the trio meeting some guy, Shige, at some mine shaft, who’s been digging for 5 years for his forefather’s hidden treasure. You’ll noticed that they’re all zombies as their limbs keep getting loose or they still act like normal when they lose one. Then in the final few moments as those zombies were overwhelming them and eventually Shige himself (after finding out that Shige’s not really a descendant and that they all may have been on a wild goose chase) some giant comet crashes into the site and causes a huge explosion. The end of them? What the?! Is this all real? And it seems nothing of this aftermath really affected the trio in the next episode. Crap. 
 
And that cult episode 19 where some fake Japanese guy disguising as a typical European looking priest, cons the villagers that the way to Heaven is by making more weapon and arms for them. Well, I guess people at that time were quite naive. As usual, the trio got involved and exposed their scam and that priest guy died with a heavy slab of concrete falling on him. Ouch. Besides that, a little information about the sunflower samurai from one of the Christian followers, Yuri. Like the sunflower samurai’s name is Seizou Kasumi (at least that’s what everybody’s assuming) and they need to go to an island called Ikitsuki Island near Nagasaki to find him. That island is supposed to be a place where Christians take refuge. Back at that time, Christianity and those practising it were persecuted, therefore Christians had to practice their religion in secrecy. Plus, the sunflower samurai is supposed to be Fuu’s father and the reason why she wants to find him is to find out why he left her and her mom alone and went away.
 
Mugen and Jin met their match in episode 20 and 21. The trio met a blind but beautiful musician, Sara, on their journey. Sara requests one of them to accompany her to claim her son. Fuu sends Jin knowing that Mugen may do something perverted on her. But it seems that Sara isn’t what she seems to be. She’s a highly skilled assassin and has been ordered by the government to take out Mugen and Jin. Furthermore, they are holding Sara’s son as a collateral, and if she fails, her son too will die. No choice. Sara manage to ambush and critically injured Jin while they’re crossing the bridge as they both fell towards the stream below. Fuu and Mugen found out through a passer by and saw Sara in the river before pulling her out from the water.
 
While Jin is recuperating at some fisherman’s hut, Mugen and Sara have a fierce battle as the former realized Sara’s true identity. Yup, even Mugen’s no match for her. He too got wounded and fell into the stream. I guess streams are convenient for escaping fights and not letting a character die, don’t you think? Later when Sara finds out that her son had already died (when her contractor asks her to continue finishing her job but the way he said things indicate that her son has been done for), during the second battle with Mugen, Sara allowed Mugen to kill her as she has no reason to live. And Mugen’s regretting it? This guy, regretting that he killed someone?
 
So in the final 3 episodes, the trio have finally reached Nagasaki and have to take a boat to Ikitsuki Island. Unfortunately, there’re gonna be some obstacles as there’re are assassins closing in on their tail. Fuu decides to head to the island herself first, leaving Jin and Mugen back on land. To cut things short, those 2 encountered an assassin Kariya Kagetoki as he fights them both at the same time. Looks like another tough opponent for them. And looks like Kariya’s having the upper hand. Realizing that Fuu may be in danger the way Kariya says things, Jin asks Mugen to head for the island and asked him not to die as Jin takes on a one-on-one duel with Kariya.
 
Meanwhile, Fuu who is already on the island and wandering through the sunflower fields, got kidnapped and is being taken hostage by a guy wearing an eye-patch, Umanosuke, one of the 3 brothers who’re plotting some revenge on Mugen. So Fuu’s the bait to lure Mugen. Meanwhile, as Mugen takes a boat ride to Ikitsuki Island, he is ambushed by the ferrymen, Denkibou (reminds you of Toad from X-Men), who’s also one of the 3 brothers. He looks like the crazy kind who wants to kill people for the thrills. Anyway, Mugen manage to kill him when they both fell off the boat and fighting underwater.
 
So as Jin and Kariya are still at each other (some flashback of why Jin killed his master, but I couldn’t remember the reason. But it wasn’t that Jin had any bad intentions), then a final blow from Kariya which sends Jin falling off the dock and into the sea. Is Jin dead? I wouldn’t bet on it. At the same time, Mugen manages to swim ashore towards Ikitsuki Island. Still recovering from that fight, Mugen gathers up his strength and climbs the rocks up to a ruin church where Fuu is being held captive. As Mugen fights Umanosuke, the latter says that he wouldn’t want to kill Mugen straight away as he wants him to suffer real badly first. By the way, that chain sickle scythe of Umanosuke’s quite deadly but quite cool too.
 
Then we hear the reason why the 3 brothers want their revenge on Mugen so badly. Something like back then, Mugen and Mukuro raided their ship and crippled one of the brother’s, Toube’s legs. And their hopes of promotion was ruined, so were their lives. Ever since, Toube’s been confined to a wheel chair and looks senile. Thus, their reason to live was nothing more than to seek revenge on Mugen. But Umanosuke got real mad when he found out that Mugen had killed Denkibou. During the fight, Mugen manage to cut loose Fuu’s bounds and told her to run. As Fuu escapes, the 2 continue their battle. While an exhausted Fuu reaches a cabin on a cape and stumbles upon an old man there, Kariya is rowing his way to Ikitsuki Island.
 
In the cabin, Fuu finally meets with Seizou, who seems to be weak, partially blind and lying on his death bed. Some talk here and there. And the reason why he left Fuu and her mom was because he didn’t want them to be hunted and persecuted because of their religion, that’s why he came here alone though he wanted to bring them both along at first. And after hearing him out, Fuu just said to him that they won’t be able to see each other again and wishes him goodbye before rushing out of the cabin.
 
Just then Kariya arrives calmly and enters the cabin. He told Seizou that he’s gonna kill him and asks if he has any last request. Seizou says he can kill him and that he doesn’t have any regrets. Yup, Kariya has been given an order to eliminate Seizou, his entire family and his followers as he slashed Seizou. Fuu watched in horror as Seizou said his final words how he didn’t deserve forgiveness but he never forgot about the 2. Then Kariya turns to Fuu, which is his next target. She ran away. Oh well, what a way to go after just making a short appearance. I felt that his role was just to explain and tie up things, and nothing more. Swoosh. He’s gone.
 
Meanwhile, back to the action between Mugen and Umanosuke. A lot of fighting here and there. But Mugen doesn’t seem to use his break dancing moves. Probably too tired. The fight ends when the 2 were struggling, Mugen bit Umanosuke’s crotch. Yes, that’s what he did! As Umanosuke manages to break free and is on top of Mugen (no perverted thoughts here), Mugen grabs the scythe which then retracts, cutting off Umanosuke’s head. Gross. What a way to die.
 
Kariya catches up with Fuu, who is now cornered on the edge of the cliff. He tells her that the reason why he’d followed her here was to lead him to Seizou and kill him. But before Kariya could proceed, he’s surprised to see an unkempt Jin slowly emerging from behind. See, told ya Jin’s not dead yet. Some flashback of some final technique thingy and some talk. As the 2 clashed swords again, Jin used that final technique of letting his opponent stab him first from behind as a decoy before Jin stabs him back with his other sword. The 2 fell down the cliff then.
 
Meanwhile Mugen heads towards the Toube but the latter lits up a dynamite he has on his wheelchair. Mugen, seeing this, kicks the bottom panel of the wheelchair which dozens of dynamite fell out. Mugen lurched back as all the dynamite goes off with one big explosion. What a way for that Toube guy to die too.
 
When it’s all over and Mugen and Jin comes to, only to find Fuu sitting next to them on the beach. Would you believe it, after all those stabbing, fights and injuries, these 2 guys are still breathing. Some tough cookie they are. But they’re less energetic, a little exhausted from their battles. Oh well, but you know these 2, it isn’t over yet as they draw their swords to settle their business. But as they rushed towards each other and their swords broke into 2 when it clashed. Looks like they have to postpone their match again as the 2 pass out.
 
The 2 opened their eyes again and found themselves wrapped in bandages in the cabin while Fuu and that old guy prayed at Seizou’s grave. Yeah, and they’re still talking about wanting to kill each other. Haih… Well, it’s been a week they’ve slept already and they must be real hungry. But if you think about it, the 2 are quite similar in a way to each other.
 
In the final scenes we see the trio standing at a crossroad (how ironic, just like their lives now) and Jin asked if they should meet again. Just then Fuu confessed that she had lied to them about the coin flip back in episode 1. It was actually heads, much to the other 2’s disbelief and shock. With that Fuu walks away. As Jin says that they’re tricked into it, Mugen asks what was that journey all about then? But they both just smiled and head their own separate ways. Nothing much as the ending credits were rolling as you could just see them individually walking along. So Mugen and Jin decided not to kill each other anymore? Yeah, maybe they’ve seen to much blood and gore and killed too much enough to last for a lifetime. And they didn’t want to stick with each other after all these times? Probably they had enough of each other too? What will they do? Beats me. Since Fuu has already achieved her goal, I suppose she doesn’t need those 2 around anymore.
 
Overall, I find this anime to be quite okay. If you don’t mind all those gory action and blood, that is. Also, most of the scenes here are quite grim and dark. Sometimes, you can’t see anything. Perhaps during that era, there isn’t much to light up. Just kidding. As I have mentioned before, I like those break dancing moves by Mugen. Unfortunately, there weren’t too many of them. The other fight scenes are okay which is enough to keep me glued to the screen.
 
I didn’t particularly like the music of the series, even the opening and the ending themes. That’s because it’s rap and all those kind of music. It was just one kind to mix rap with such a feudalistic theme but funny too in a way. The voice acting is nicely done. The voices perfectly suit the characters and their personality well, especially Mugen’s.
 
Of course, as the story progresses, so did the character development for Jin and Mugen. Though there are many other characters in the series, I felt that each encounter brought them closer to knowing themselves and how they break free of their past. I guess the producers did a good job pairing the trio together. With such weird and contrasting personalities and the obstacles they faced, who would’ve thought that they would stick with each other right till the end (whether they like it or not).
 
And probably because of that, that’s why they could expand the storyline and perfectly mix it with all sorts of crazy stuffs which sometimes don’t make sense. Or else it could’ve been over after several episodes. The way they place certain humourous antics was probably to get your mind off the grim violence once in a while. Some of them are quite memorable, though. I’ve glimpsed the manga art of the series which is shown at the end after each episode is finished. Looks like I like the anime drawing better. Mugen just looked horrible in that manga drawing.

Girl’s High

January 20, 2007

Hehehe. Here’s another one of my favourite comedy animes. Yup, it’s Girl’s High or also known as Joshi Kousei. In a way this anime reminds me a little bit of Azumanga Daioh. We have 6 high school girls and their adventures during their time there. Only difference is that the girls here seem more prettier and bishoujo as compared to Azumanga Daioh and the duration of the school year which this series is focused on is much shorter.
 
With only 12 episodes worth approximately 30 minutes of air time, this high school teenage comedy cum slice of life is sure to tickle your funny bones. I wouldn’t really say it’s 100% a no-brainer as it isn’t as extreme as Excel Saga, but there are some of those moments in the series. There are also a few ecchi moments but nothing too extreme either.
And every start of each episode, shows the 6 girls on some spoof on a certain theme, which has nothing to do with the current episode, such as Journey To The West, pirates, a rockstar concert, some samurai group, a dating simulation game, and even a parody of Maria-sama Ga Miteru (which is my favourite one). It’s quite amusing and funny to see it.
 
As seen in episode 1, we’re introduced to Eriko Takahashi who is very eager to start the new term as a high school student. But it isn’t a co-ed school as she’s entering an all-girl’s high school. So she and her 2 friends, Yuma Suzuki and Ayano Sato, decides to check out their new school surroundings by sneaking in there a day before their school term officially starts.
 
And during their exploration, to their horror they found out certain ‘unwanted’ things such as used tampoons and shaved pubic hair lying around in the locker room. There goes all the good and innocent perception. They even think that having shorter skirts would look cute on them. So they use a pair of scissors and trim Eriko’s skirt short first. Only thing it’s too short. Yeah, so Eriko decides to take ‘revenge’ and cut Yuma and Ayano’s skirt short as well. Revealing the lower half of their… ahem ahem.
 
While they continue doing their rounds, they bumped into another 3 junior high students who seem to be as eager as them to explore their new school surroundings. They’re Akari Kouda, Kyoko Himeji and Ikue Ogawa. Those 3 even thought that Eriko and her pals were high school students and looked up to them as Eriko decides to play high school student and bluffed them with their high school myths such as that menstruation and period thingy when girls attend high school. And they believed it, especially Kouda.
 
Some warning by Yuma, though but Eriko’s pretty confident that even if they start school tomorrow, they’d probably won’t recognize them or be in a different class. Funny how fate works and be careful of what you say because the next day, we see Kouda, Himeji and Ogawa in the same class as them. And they don’t look too happy, even standing beside them with those eyes during the opening assembly. Grrr… Eriko’s sweating a little.
 
And because of that, during class, Eriko and Kouda locked horns together and argued. Especially those myths part. Seems that Kouda told other girls what Eriko had told her. So it’s gonna be an embarrassing thing for her if they ever find out that it was all untrue. And as their argument heated up, they’re gonna punch each other, but instead hit their homeroom teacher, the dashing Yuuichiro Odagiri. Looks like his pretty face has taken quite a little damage. And as punishment the 2 are sent to clean the storeroom.
 
You might have guessed that the 2 would eventually locked themselves inside it. Even when it’s after school hours, their other friends head back they seemed not to notice Eriko and Kouda missing, not even the school’s security guard (that’s what you get when you pay peanuts. Just kidding). So the 2 instead of fighting need to find a way out soon or else they’ll forever be trapped in there and they’ll die without anyone knowing their whereabouts. But before that, some usual chat here and there as the 2 get to know each other like how Kouda wants to become an actress when she grows up. Since the storeroom’s quite high up, jumping out of the window is out of the question. So the only solution is through the ventilation unit in the ceiling. But it’s rather high up. No choice, they had to stand on each other’s shoulders to do so.
 
By the time it’s nightfall, their other friends seem to notice that those 2 haven’t come back yet and decided to go look for them at school. Meanwhile, Kouda’s standing on Eriko’s shoulders and is trying her best to reach the ventilation door when suddenly Eriko can’t take it anymore causing Kouda to fall. Just then their friends arrived and opened the storeroom door, in shock only to find Eriko and Kouda in a 69 position. Yeah, they got their face in each other’s panties. Haha. No yuri here. But soon, the gang made up and before you know it, they become friends. What a nice way to start things off the new school term.
 
By the way, I need to mention that Odagiri teacher is quite a vain person. Looking himself in the mirror and saying all those vain stuffs to himself. And when Eriko and friends saw these, all their good and favourable perceptions of him went down the drain. Yeah, their hand stood on ends when they saw him doing that. So over the series, they won’t be too fond of him whenever he’s around. Plus, they nicknamed him Idol Odagiri.
 
In episode 2, it’s the physical exams. Uh-huh. I guess most animes need to have this as part of their comedy in their storyline. Well, it seems that there are several tests that one has to take and because of that, the whole school has become somewhat of a designated physical exam centre with the height test in this wing and the eye test in that wing as such.
 
Thus, the girls decide to challenge each other by forming into pairs. The last team to get their physical exams done will have to treat the rest. So it’s on, Eriko and Yuma in the first group, followed by Kouda and Himeji in the second and the final group made out of Ayano and Ogawa. The thing is, all the girls have to wear that loose hospital dress while they take their physical exams. Sexy. You guessed it too, some ecchi viewing moments here and there.
 
Seems that Eriko and Yuma are having a hard time trying to complete their first test because there seems to be a crowd wherever they go and they couldn’t wait in line. Thus, they run here and there, back and forth, only to find the same thing. While the rest are having a hard time as well, failing certain tests like how Ayano failed her eye test and Ogawa failing her height test (obviously, one wears specs and the other too short). And Kouda tries to make her breasts bigger (need I say more about girls wanting to have bigger breasts) but she failed to when she got ‘assaulted’ by the examining nurse with her measuring rope for faking it. Haha.
 
Soon, the physical exam is gonna be over and Eriko and Yuma still have yet to complete their tests. Kouda warns them of a punishment if they fail to do so. What could it be? In short those 2 were the last ones left and has 1 more test to go. They’re gonna take their last test outside the school in some trailer. Then it hit them. Since all of the other students have completed their tests, they realized they’re the only ones being ‘naked’ as the others have dressed back into their school uniforms. Feeling embarrassed and ‘violated’, just like Eriko said, she can’t become a bride now, as everyone who walks by stares at them. Too bad. But don’t worry, you girls have great bodies. Hehehe. And to make matters worse, they have to treat their other 4 friends to some dessert.
 
In episode 3, the girls wants Himeji to get them some guys for their next outing since they know she has a boyfriend. That’s what you get for being in an all-girl’s high school. Desparate case? Anyway, the time comes when Himeji introduces them to a couple of guys. And it looks like Ayano and one of the guys, Takanori Shimotakatani (I’m still having a hard time trying to pronounce and remember his name) fell in love at first sight. So it’s like this throughout the series. Whenever Ayano and Shimotakatani gets into one of their lovey-dovey mode, Eriko, Kouda and Yuma would get annoyed (probably fueled by jealousy) and punch her or subject her to other forms of torture. Poor Ayano. She gets bullied everytime when this happens. But their love is still going strong despite those ‘obstructions’.
 
Here the girls decided to have their dates at some karaoke outlet. Somehow the guys aren’t too amuse of them. Yeah, it seems like it’s just the girls having fun and the guys want out but has no choice but to stay and listen, especially Eriko’s horrible singing. And during that karaoke session, Himeji and her boyfriend slipped out. Then another one of those guys, seems to have ‘bad’ look and intention, is targeting Ogawa as he manages to persuade her to go out somewhere with him.
 
So he took Ogawa to some Love Hotel. But you would’ve guessed it by now since Ogawa’s petite size, she would also have a mentality and characteristic of a child. Being the innocent little girl, she agrees to go inside with that guy, not knowing what his true intentions are. Himeji found out from her boyfriend about what that guy’s gonna do to Ogawa and dumps him. No doubt he needed to have the numbers for the outing, but promising ‘to do as he pleases’ to one of her friends isn’t acceptable. At the same time Eriko and the others realized that Ogawa is missing and decides to go look for her, dragging along those reluctant guys too.
 
The girls arrived at the Love Hotel and decides to book a room next to the room they think Ogawa is in. And while they’re waiting in the next room, they forced the other guys to eavesdrop next door through the wall using a glass (pity them as they got no choice but to oblige) while they ‘experiment’ with Shimotakatani to kill time, tormenting him and as Ayano could only watch in horror. Naughty naughty girls. Too bad, Ayano’s got no choice watching her beloved one ‘suffer’. So pitiful. But so funny lah.
 
Meanwhile, it seems that Ogawa is rather having fun of her own in the room as the guy prepares to ‘do it’. But each time gets into some blooper as each atttempt is being unconsciously thwarted by Ogawa. Finally Himeji arrives to find Ogawa safe and sound and that guy sleeping like a baby. Must be tired from all that. She’s glad Ogawa’s safe and nothing serious has happened to her. At the same time, those guys are still with that glass, eavesdropping the next room (which obviously isn’t the correct room), crying and saying why them. And those girls seem to be quite satisfied with their ‘experiment’. Poor guy. Life’s a living hell from him. Hey, why not access the Jigoku Tsuushin and call Enma Ai for revenge? Yeah, Ayano’s voice actress is Mamiko Noto who also the voice of Enma Ai. Hahaha.
 
It’s the school sports festival in episode 4. I’m getting a feeling that such theme is a must if it involves schooling teenagers. Uh-huh, and Eriko’s panties are sticking out out because her bloomers were too short. Ecchi. But before that, I need to mention that during somewhere in this episode we see some yuri and lovey-dovey moments between Nao Mouri and Sayaka Koshiba. First I thought that one of them’s a guy because of the way she look and sound. Then come to think of it, this is an all-girl’s school and there isn’t possibly a male student. So, they both have to be girls! Oh gawd! Lesbians! And they’re in Eriko’s class too. So most of the time, you’ll see time in that lovey-dovey mode with that lovey-dovey talk before they embraced each other and do stuffs like that. Funny thing is, Eriko and Kouda didn’t punch them away. Maybe they got shivers up their spine and decide it’s best to leave them alone. Yeah, they mentioned and referred to them as some Takarazuka combo. Whatever that means.
 
Also, the introduction of Kouda’s long rival, Mari Saionji. Yeah, Saionji sounds like your typical arrogant and stuck up b**ch, challenging Kouda to almost anything eversince middle school. And it continues here too. But Kouda’s not gonna give up and goes up against her in every sporting event. A lot of hilarious moments as the 2 try to outdo each other. Speaking of which, some of the sporting events are just plain weird. Like throwing as many balls into some high up net (?!). Then there’s one where one has to eat a banana hanging on a string. And the way they show it, seems like Ayano’s gonna… And it looked it… ahem ahem. Simotakatani who’s there to support here gets a large nosebleed. You know what I mean. And what’s with that rolling some giant ball race thingy? And that 3 legged race with a reluctant Eriko pairing up with Odagiri was bloody hilarious when they tripped and Odagiri accidentally pulled down Eriko’s shorts. It’s gonna be one big misunderstanding.
 
But at the same time there’s a pervert on the loose in the school grounds. Snapping away pictures of those high school girls. And when Eriko rushes to tell the teacher that a pervert is loose on the loose, they thought it was Shimotakatani. Yeah, this guy’s taking photos of Ayano only but oh well, wrong place wrong time. But that pervert’s act was halted when he was run over by that carnage of Kouda and Saionji’s giant ball race. And in the end, Eriko’s class lost just by 1 point to Saionji’s class, though Kouda beat Saionji in that giant ball race. Yet so close yet so far. By the way, several of those pictures with the girls in embarrassing ecchi shots that the pervert took, managed to be published in some magazine. "High School Girls Moron Corps" the heading says as the girls dread over it.
 
In the first half of episode 5, we’re introduced to another weird teacher for the girls. It’s their PE teacher, whom the girls call Macho Matsuo. Yeah, this guy seems to like to flex his biceps most of the time and he seems so happy showing it off. Besides that ambigous yuri scene where Yuma is shaving Ayano’s bikini line (yeah, Ayano looked and sounded like she enjoyed it), the girls changed into their swimsuits for a swimming lesson from Macho Matsuo. He’s quite hyped up and energetic for their swimming class, going in a few laps himself first. And the girls were thinking with all that male contact in the water, they’ll get pregnant! Yup, they don’t have the stomach to go into the water.
 
Then Eriko who doesn’t really know how to swim, gets a personal tutoring from Macho Matsuo himself. Eriko must be having an emotional trauma. Who wouldn’t if you felt some guy’s lower anatomy touching both your hips from behind (her imagination must be running really wild) and with all those male hair on his chest, hands and legs. Must be the longest lesson in her life.
 
The second half introduces Yuma’s little sister, Momoka. She may look like an angel on the outside, but bewarned though, she’s actually EVIL! Sorry if I spoiled you readers so early. Who wouldn’t think of her as Yuma’s cute and sweet little innocent sister when Momoka’s acting was damn good, complimenting them with her politeness and such. Yup, so much so the actress-wannabe Kouda can’t even smell a rat. And that Yuma just ran away angrily without saying anything to her friends. Of course lah. If you don’t say anything, those friends of yours wouldn’t know what’s going on between you sisters.
 
So you get to see Momoka’s evil doing as she tries to sabotage Ayano and Shimotakatani’s relationship and at the same time frame Yuma for it. And when Ayano found out that it was ‘Yuma’ who’s behind it, she confronted her and slapped her furiously the next day at school! Oh oh. Cracks in the friendship. But Yuma didn’t hit back or say anything. She just ran away without saying anything. Why don’t his girl try to explain things? Maybe she has something else in mind. Before this episode ends, we see Momoka with her checklist of Yuma’s friends she’s gonna sabotage as she grins and crosses out Ayano’s name. Better beware you girls. Like the saying ‘musuh di bawah selimut‘.
 
And in the slightly-tensed episode 6, you’ll see some flashback of Yuma and Momoka when they’re young and why the latter hates the former and wants to make her life miserable though they both still live under the same roof. Something like Yuma’s always protecting her little sister when she’s being bullied. And because of that Momoka thinks that her sister thinks of her as weak. Thus, in a way, doesn’t approve of her nor wanting her big sis to protect her just because she’s weak. So much so she don’t even want to attend the same high school as her.
 
But Momoka didn’t manage to sabotage Yuma’s other friends on her list as she herself got into some trouble. But it seems that later Momoka’s cornered by some high school girls as well. Yup, they called her and set up some meeting with her at school, then they accused her of trying to hit with one of their boyfriends but Momoka denies and says that it was their boyfriend who’s hitting on her. They didn’t believe Momoka and are gonna teach her a lesson by cutting her hair (?!). But Kouda and Eriko manage to arrive in time. And what’s with that lame (but funny) stand-up comedy between Eriko and Kouda?
 
Yuma then came dashing into the scene and gives her little sister a good slap on the face, much to everyone’s suprise. Yuma says that she’ll punish whatever wrong Momoka has done on their behalf. With that those high school girl bullies said okay and left. Maybe they don’t want to get entangled with such a weird and scary sister. In the end, the 2 sisters had some chat, manage to kiss and make up. Even though the way they talk, it sounded like they’re still not on level terms. But as Ayano said, no matter how much Momoka says she hates her sis, she always calls her ‘onee-chan’. Yeah, a love-hate relationship. It’s that deep down inner love that counts.
 
Before you know it, Momoka became friends with Yuma and her buddies as well and are having their usual outing at a fast food chain. Since Momoka’s true nature is revealed, Momoka didn’t hesitate to mention how bad Kouda an actress she was and that she would have no future to become one, much to Kouda’s annoyance. I felt that this episode was a little boring and there wasn’t much of that ‘craziness’ as I’ve come to expect after watching several episodes of the series. Most probably this episode serves as a little build-up for some character development.
 
Eriko, Yuma and Ayano hit the pool amusement park in episode 7 while Kouda enters a talent contest. At the park, the 3 girls bumped into Odagiri and Macho Matsuo, much to their dismay. And what what comedy ecchi series would be complete without that swimsuit top coming off. That’s what happened to Eriko when she’s sliding down the water slide and she got her boobs in Odagiri’s face after that. Because of that incident, the girls sees this as an opportunity to bully and ‘blackmail’ them. Poor Odagiri, he’s got to oblige, paying for everything.
 
In the later part, Eriko and Yuma uses this blackmail tactic to enter some game show whereby they only allow couples to participate. Uh-huh, Ayano’s got her beloved Shimotakatani while Eriko ended up being paired with Odagiri (again) and Yuma with Macho Matsuo (still flexing his muscles). Looks like Ogawa and Himeji wants to enter too. But since they’re both girls, how did they solve this problem? Yeah, Himeji drew some fake moustache on her face. The person who let them enter must be real blind. But why would they want to participate? Why not, if the winning prize is a plasma screen television.
 
So some really really weird events like carrying the girl over some obstacle. Weird. Eriko and Odagiri along with Yuma and Macho Matsuo managed to enter the final round which involves driving around some weird car that can shoot laser beams at each other. Huh? Anyway, the last couple standing wins. Guess who? It’s Eriko and Odagiri. But first, to win the tv, they have to kiss each other on stage in front of everyone! Oh the horror!
 
Remember Kouda doing her talent contest? Yeah, dressed up in some weird costume, when it’s her turn to perform, she got electrocuted because of her costume filled with lights. Glad and luckily she didn’t die. What an electrifying performance, literally. Hahaha. Anyway, this caused a short circuit and blackout the surrounding area, including the game show area. Eriko and Odagiri took the opportunity to run away. And when the lights came back on, the announcer’s wondering where they’ve been.
 
Though they didn’t win the tv, but at least they’re spared a lifetime of embarrassement and teasing. Yeah, it could be a lot worse if your friends and the entire school finds out about a teacher-student relationship, even if it’s for this purpose and not anything else. So as they all head home that night, Odagiri’s tears because he’s spent quite a lot while he’s ruing the fact that Macho Matsuo didn’t even help contribute though he was in it. Haih, that guy’s still flexing his muscles, smiling all the way.
 
Episode 8 is somewhat of a flashback episode as it sees how some of the girls come to be. The first half is between Eriko and Yuma. At first they didn’t really like each other, always at each other’s throat, like tripping each other in class. Then this is my favourite part. The 2 decides to challenge each other through some eating competition. That’s a really huge bowl of ramen there. Can you girls finish it? Even the chef of the restaurant’s gonna time them.
 
As the competition starts, Yuma is devouring the ramen while Eriko just sat there not touching her bowl a bit. Yuma’s thinking that Eriko’s given up as she continues eating till the last strand. By the end, Yuma claims victory but Eriko doesn’t think so yet. Why? Because the next day at school, it’s the physical exams. And oh the horror it must’ve been for Yuma as she’s weighing herself. Yeah, she’s thinking she must’ve planned all of this along as Yuma drops to her knees as a sign of defeat while Eriko walks away in style, flaunting her perfect body shape. Haha.
 
But the thing which made them friends is just a CD. Yeah, Eriko didn’t have a particular music CD which Yuma had. So the latter lend it to her and the former was overjoyed. Looks like that was all it took to become friends. Fast forward to the current situation, looks like Eriko and Yuma are in some petty squabbling as Yuma accuses Eriko of not returning her CD to her eversince.
 
In the second half, it is Himeji’s turn. She looked so different when she was during her younger days. Why? That’s because she’s fat! Sorry girl, if it sounds insulting. But hey, don’t deny it, you WERE fat and chubby. So how did a fat girl like her suddenly become such a voluptuous sexy maiden? Did she took some slimming courses or weight lost programmes? Well, not really actually.
 
You see, back then, Himeji has a crush on her teacher then who is no other than Odagiri. Yes, that dashing and vain Odagiri. Well, who wouldn’t. He’s quite good looking (though his character still hasn’t change since then) she on the other hand is going through that growing up stage. But Himeji knowing that she’s being fat and all that realized that she wouldn’t have a chance with Odagiri. As she’s crying in the toilet cubicle, the person in the next door cubicle heard her problem and gave some ‘advice’. And because of that Himeji was very determined to slim down in order to win the heart of Odagiri. As we find out that the person in the next cubicle was Eriko and her pals. And they’re just joking about the ‘advice’ they gave Himeji and was just playing around.
 
So during the school holidays, Himeji took some journey cross the mountains through the forest, that kind of stuff and slowly she achieved her beautiful posture that she has got this day. Wow. All you slim-wannabe ladies, maybe you should try what this girl does rather than the ‘easy way out’ of going to the beauty parlour and such. And all her friends were in real shock to see the all new Himeji. Impressive.
 
As Himeji returns and was going to confess to Odagiri, he spots him posing and admiring himself through the mirror, saying to himself all those vain things. Perasan betul. With that, Himeji’s perception of him shatters and realized his true nature. I wonder what’s wrong with that. Bragging how good one looks, is it that bad? Maybe if you love yourself more, you tend to give more attention to yourself rather than any other person, even if she’s your girlfriend. Also, Himeji realized her crush on her teacher was just a schoolgirl crush and she got over it very quickly. What a fast way to get over it. And back at present time, Himeji still thanked that mysterious ‘angel’s’ advice from the next cubicle that if not for them, she wouldn’t have such a pretty body. Eriko and her pals just smiled in acknowledgement. Hmmm… Is this the power of fate?
 
Is Kouda gonna die in episode 9? It seems that she’s suffering from some terminal illness. At least that’s what her friends think. Actually, Kouda’s practicing for an audition to play a role as a nurse. In order for her to ‘get the feel’ of her character, she decides to rehearse her lines in a hospital. So poor Eriko who overheard Kouda’s conversation with the doctor (which is actually a tape recorder), felt devastated and told her friends about it. Of course they too were devastated. Wah. Kouda’s acting must be real good. Her future as an actresses sure good wan.
 
As they find out about Kouda’s illness and they decided to maker her ‘last days’ to be a memorable one. Kouda on the other hand thought her pals were so into it on helping her get the audition part that she don’t mind whatever they’re doing and played along. So over this episode, it was quite hilarious to see Kouda talking one thing and the rest talking another thing. Both have different thoughts and impressions about the other. I was snickering to myself most of the time thinking from the back of my head that what they’re doing are totally off from what the other really meant. Hehe.
 
So on Kouda’s ‘last day’, the gang decides to throw her the most memorable party at Yuma’s place. Even Momoka’s there. She’s also quite sad to see Kouda ‘go’. Well, to Kouda her ‘last day’ means the day before the audition whereas to the rest it’s going over to the next world. See all the funny miscommunications here. Though they’re some serious and dramatic moments, like how the girls hugged Kouda as they’re sad to see her go, I couldn’t help the fact and laugh that it’s all just one big misinterpretation. Yeah, funnily emotional scenes.
 
On the early morning of Kouda’s last day as everyone’s asleep after last nights great party, Kouda got up and prepares to leave for her audition. But not before leaving a ‘farewell note’ to her friends behind. Because of the party, Kouda hasn’t has much sleep as she dozes off in the train. Meanwhile, when her friends have awoken and found the note, they rushed down to the audtion place. Obviously, Kouda has missed her audition.
 
At the audition, the girls were frantically searching for Kouda when she was no where to be found. And in front of the stage and those audition production team, the girls put up some ‘convincing performance’ on Kouda’s demise. Though the audition crew don’t know what’s going on, but they felt that those girl’s acting were good. Haha. So outside, the girls got some letter that they passed the audition, but they looked up to the sky and will always remember Kouda, even if they didn’t know what was happening.
 
I was waiting for the moment where the girls realized the truth and that their efforts were ‘wasted’ and would then bash and pound Kouda up properly. But it didn’t happen. It would have been real funny if that were to be shown. Most probably, I would be laughing like mad and rolling on the ground.
 
But it seems like there isn’t any aftermath effects on Kouda in episode 10. Yeah, she’s back in the group as though as nothing happened. Well, yeah, it was mentioned a little by Eriko saying something like "are you supposed to be dead or something?". I guess it wasn’t that serious. Perhaps they’re glad Kouda’s back and alive, which is the most important of course.
 
But this episode is more on Ayano and Shimotakatani. We see Shimotakatani visiting Ayano’s house and we find Ayano’s one kind family members like her cigarette smoking mom (who just like me, can’t seem to remember and pronounce his name correctly) Taeko, and her unattractive elder sister, Fumino. Because both of them are unlucky in love, they couldn’t believe that Ayano’s got a boyfriend. Yeah, really one kind. You wonder if Ayano’s really part of the family, the way she turned out so different from the 2. Maybe not, as Taeko gave hints (rather didn’t answer back) that Ayano and her sis may be fathered by different dads, much to Ayano’s horror.
 
Some ‘interrogation’ here and there. Eventually, Taeko and Fumino seems to want make Ayano and Shimotakatani ‘do it’ as her mom found out that they’re still virgins. Haih. But Ayano and Shimotakatani ran and sneak out of the house to meet up with Ayano’s friends. Well, either way it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire. You know what I mean. The usual whack from Eriko and Kouda whenever Ayano gets into that lovey-dovey mode.
 
As Kouda tries her ‘acting’ on Shimotakatani to hit on her as a practice so that he could be more proactive with Ayano, Kouda then realized the reason that Shimotakatani’s in love with Ayano is may be because of her glasses. Uh-huh, a glasses obsession person. So funny when Kouda put on and off her fake glasses and Shimotakatani swooning one moment over it and back to normal the next. Then Himeji and Ogawa put on some glasses too. But it seems that Shimotakatani’s trying to hold back his nosebleed.
 
As Shimotakatani tries his best to dismiss that he likes girls with glasses, the other girls told Ayano about Shimotakatani’s obsession and asks her to take off her glasses in front of him as a test. In the end, Ayano, then knew that what Kouda and the rest said earlier on wasn’t true as Shimotakatani still loves Ayano, even though she doesn’t have her glasses on. But looks like that was just a temporary relief.
 
You see, earlier on Eriko and Yuma tried to draw glasses on Ayano’s face with a marker pen but Ayano slipped out which means Eriko accidentally drew lines on Yuma’s face. And as retaliation she drew back some lines on hers, which resembled a pair of glasses and a few badly drawn doodles. And while things for Ayano and Shimotakutani were just about to get better, those 2 arrive and when Shimotakatani saw them, he has that stare over them. Ayano then pushes him away and calls him an idiot, now thinking (and probably convinced) that he’s really a glasses freak. So is it a misunderstanding? Yeah, and those marker lines are really hard to wash and come off too. You both deserve it.
 
In episode 11, there’s this reunion of Eriko’s old school and she’s thinking of attending it because the boy that she has a crush on long ago, Miyazaki, is gonna attend it. But before that a hilarious moment at school when Eriko spots a different hairstyle and puts on a very strong perfume. Yuma smacks her and calls her a traitor. Yup, looks like it’s Eriko’s turn. And just like Ayano said, "let’s be splendid characters who always get bullied". One bad turn deserves another. But Eriko says not to put her in the same boat as Ayano.
 
So of course when they found out the truth, the girls with the help of Momoka, went to great lengths to beautify Eriko.  The reason being that they all think that he’s grown up to be a handsome looking and charming guy and they want Eriko to look her best when she conveys her feelings to him. So at the reunion, Eriko realized she forgot to take along the muffler she knitted for Miyazaki the night before as an extra measure to win his heart. When Eriko rushed back, Momoka said she accidentally threw it away because she doesn’t know what a muffler is. So some hilarious moments as Eriko desparately tries to retrieve her muffler. Meanwhile, I’m not sure what Kouda’s doing with that weird performance to attract Miyazki’s attention. But he seems not to amused by it and thinks they’re a bunch of weirdos as he decides to go home.
 
You know Himeji and Ogawa’s spending too much time being together when one of those guys at the reunion approached Himeji and probably trying to get to know her and hit on her, when suddenly he saw Ogawa and thinks that Himeji’s married and Ogawa’s her child. He then apologizes and walks away, much to Himeji’s disappointment. Hahaha. Big misunderstanding there.
 
When Eriko finally manage to retrieve her muffler and arrived at the reunion in time to meet Miyazaki face to face and confess her feelings, unfortunately, it wasn’t him, though he manage to ‘fit’ into some of Eriko’s assumptions of how he may look like in the future. He’s actually Nakamura from her next class. Instead, the real Miyazaki guy is actually his friend and he looks uglier. Big, fat, thick lips, messy hair, wearing specs and has pimples over his face. Yeah, and that guy’s so happy to hear it from Eriko that she actually liked him and proceeds to take her on a date, much to Eriko’s horror. And he mentions that they’re gonna have fun all night long together. Eriko must be screaming real hard inside her shattered heart. Her life must be flashing before her eyes. Not only you have to be careful for what you wish for, but also be specific and certain of what you wished for. Too bad, her friends could only watch. I suppose would this give rise to some emotional trauma for Eriko?
 
In the final episode 12, it’s the school cultural festival. See, another important element not to be left out if it involves school students. And to end the series with a bang, they even named the title "Baka, Hateshinaku Baka" (Stupidity, Endless Stupidity). Ah… So true.
 
Here the girls are up against Kouda’s rival Saionji as they compete to see who can attract the most customers to their cafe. Like how the girls try various outfits, even suggesting and putting that hospital dress on Ayano as their uniform. What’s this? Kouda dressed as some funny tree outfit? Didn’t get it. And what’s this too? Mouri and Koshiba getting lovey-dovey with each other instead of doing some work? Weird. By now they must’ve been very ‘close’. Yeah, I guess it’s best to leave them alone.
 
Then as a last ditch attempt, the girls then decide to do a massage parlour. Of course, they blackmailed Macho Matsuo to use the pool area. As they get dressed into their swimsuits, they got their first customer, who is no other than Odagiri. Yeah, Eriko did some rubbing here and there with her certain parts. Ahem ahem. And all the perverted males keep streaming in wanting a piece of it too. Of course Odagiri’s a little embarrassed that Eriko’s so ‘forward’ and ‘daring’ but I guess it’s for the competition. And what’s this? Mouri and Koshiba, in their swimsuits, are still lovey-dovey with each other? Are they serious on working? Maybe they have no time for other stuffs than themselves.
 
Saionji realized that Kouda’s class is gaining ground as they try to attract more customers to their cafe. Then, this is the hilarious part. Nakamura comes in and confronts Eriko saying that how he was sorry for the last time things turn out and wanted to be his girlfriend. Of course Eriko was happy and was gonna give the okay signal when suddenly he turned to Kouda and asked her to be his girlfriend. Hahaha. Red faced. Malunya… And I guess Nakamura really loved Kouda’s weird acting from back then, huh? Yeah, looks like he likes weirdos too.
 
And soon Eriko’s class is facing shortage of workers as the disgruntled long line of perverted men becomes restless. Let’s see Kouda, who earlier on said men are useless and all those stuffs decides to go back on her word and go date that guy because she says the most important thing is men. Haih… And Ogawa’s still a little kid as she needs to take her nap time. Yeah, if you don’t grow in size and mind, most likely you won’t grow out of your kiddie characteristics. Shimotakutani doesn’t let Ayano massage anyone but him and Himeji has ran off dating with her new boyfriend while Yuma is slightly injured. All that’s left is Eriko. Can she handle all of this.
 
Then Momoka arrives to save the day. Yeah, some lecturing from that little girl and this is the quote of the series "High school girls are Japan’s number one brand". Wow! Can I consider that to be an eye opener? So how did Momoka solved the problem? She asked all the men to lie down on their stomachs in a row, then Momoka hops and steps on each of their backs like playing hop-scotch or like that story where Sang Kancil crossed the Sang Buaya infested river. And the thing is, all of the men felt good to be stepped over by a little girl. What the? Those losers. Like that also can ah.
 
But in the end Eriko’s class still lost out to Saionji’s and they all got their heads written with some dumb remarks, even Momoka (though she’s thinking what has this got to do with her). What a way to get through the year. And so in the ending we see the start of the next school term, with Momoka now attending the same school as her sister as a freshman. At the same time those 6 ladies are now in their second year and in the same class too. As they gather for a group photo, Kouda removes her top shirt, revealing some weird butterfly outfit, much to the other’s shock. And there’s that writing on the blackboard behind saying ‘Baka Gundan’ (Stupid Army Troops). So true.
 
Overall, I love how funny and hilarious this anime is. Though there are a lot of panty shots (which is being called fan service) but the nudity isn’t extreme so much so that you could clearly see the girl’s breasts. It’s just harmless ecchi fun, that’s all. If you like to watch such animes, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a pervert. Okay, maybe a little. But that’s why the series is so funny and silly which makes it quite entertaining to watch (at least to me).
 
The girls here are quite pretty which is consistent with anyone’s expectation of a typical Japanese anime in terms of drawing and art. Though there are several zany and interesting characters, there isn’t much character development. Most probably the series is too short for any long term developments, plus probably because of the wacky antics of the characters made it ‘not worth’ for some real character development. I mean, the main purpose is to laugh and not think so much, isn’t it?
 
The ending theme, Incl, sung by Meg Rock is quite a catchy tune and during the ending credits you can see the girls do some cute little jiggle of their own. And they end it with Macho Matsuo flexing his muscles. Haih… And oh, did you notice that the girls in Eriko’s group, they call each other using their first names but as for those in Kouda’s group they call each other using their surnames. Funny, isn’t it?
 
So what happened to Mouri and Koshiba? Did they get expelled for being too yuri? Though I had several questions that still boggles in my mind, but like I’ve earlier said, don’t think so much. Yeah, if I do that, it’ll take away all the fun. Uh-huh, ignorance is bliss in a way. Hopefully, our girls will go through another school year filled with… lots of ecchi, ‘ambiguous’ situations, cheesy phrases, lines and philosophies and boke antics. Hey, what do you expect? It’s their nature and destiny. Hahaha.

Honey And Clover

January 19, 2007

Wow! The amazing thing is that I somehow managed to finish watching the entire first season of Honey And Clover in just over 3 weeks! Isn’t that amazing? Well, finishing fast is one thing, but the problem is, I can’t really remember all those storyline and details of the series! Darn it. See, another lesson learned is that you shouldn’t really rush things when watching an anime series.
 
One reason why I decided to watch this series was because of my usual reading and research. What do I mean? You see, before I start watching an anime series, I usually try and look up on details of what the anime is really about. So, because of the way the review was written, I had that impression that this series is gonna be bloody good. Uh-huh, everyone is saying how every anime lover should have watched this and not miss it, things like that.
 
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for me after I completely watched it. Yeah, maybe it was because I’ve watched it too fast in the first place to understand anything. Thus, in a way, I felt a little ‘conned’ by the way the write those sweet and smooth reviews. In short, I find it a little boring. Fans of the series may scoff at me for this, but that’s what I felt overall. But hey, even so, I guess that this isn’t such a bad anime after all.
 
The first season of the series, aired somewhere in early 2005 has a total of 26 episodes worth approximately 30 minutes of show time. Well, the 24 episodes actually. The remaining 2 episodes are somewhat like special episodes and are not broadcast on tv as it is released on some DVD volume. Yup, those 2 special episodes I felt are like something ‘extra’ to satisfy hardcore fans of the series. Not that it is really related in terms of the flow of the storyline, but somewhat takes place in between the 24 episode series like some sort of ‘side adventure’.
 
Though there are some comedy elements in it, but it isn’t the main driving force here. Another reason why I decided to watch this series. Maybe next time, reviewers should put a percentage of how much comedy or any other type of genres just to give viewers an idea of what the anime is all about and its feel. This series is more of drama and slice of life blend in with some romance here and there.
 
Basically, it’s about the life of 5 art college art students and one their professors. So we’re introduced to 3 young art college students living in some small and cramped apartment, which looks like a run down place. They are Yuuta Takemoto, Takumi Mayama and Shinobu Morita. Yeah, who would’ve thought that students could be living here in such a place. But I guess art students are really poor and have no choice, though.
 
Then one day, their teacher, Shuuji Hanamoto, introduces a new student, the 18 year old child prodigy in art, Hagumi AKA Hagu in short, which is Shuuji’s niece. Yup, she looks so petite that one could have mistaken her for an elementary school kid. Plus, she has that cute and angelic look. Which is most probably why Takemoto and Morita fell in love with her at first sight. But it’s quite amusing to see how the 2 of them ‘express’ their love to Hagu. Maybe not.
 
Let’s go briefly over the few characters first. The main narrator for the series is Takemoto. He is 19 years old and a second year student in the arts college. Looks like your ‘normal’ average guy with nothing too flashy or obvious. Unless you can count that he has his own family problems (who doesn’t). Like how his dad died when he was young and his mom has a new boyfriend and Takemoto doesn’t agree with it. But his mom’s boyfriend’s pretty cool and mature, as oppose to those heartless ones as you usually see. Soon, Takemoto accepts him. As mentioned he as a crush on Hagu but he doesn’t seem to express them openly and keeps his feelings hidden in his heart.
 
Then we have Morita, and possibly my favourite character in the series. Yeah, he’s somewhat of a ‘troublemaker’ but his intentions are good actually. Just that because of his outgoing behaviour which may seem annoying at times. Okay, so maybe he is quite annoying and irresponsible. He’s 24 years old and is in his 6th semester! Uh-huh, this guy keeps repeating his semester because he failed to wake up on the day of his final exams. Even his mentor got fed-up and in a way ‘scared’ of him. Yeah, too long buddy.
 
Besides doing crazy stuffs, Morita seems to ‘pick on’ Hagu as his way of expressing his love to her. Poor Hagu, she gets intimidated by him everytime. Who wouldn’t. Snapping random pictures of her then posting it on the web. Calling and teasing her ‘Hagustar’, which is because to him she looks very close to s hamster (hamusutaa in Japanese). Wah, that child’s gonna have serious psychological problems when she grows up. Also, he seems to be rushing off and doing and accepting some mysterious money making job (yes, it’s really really that much money) proposed by his older brother Kaoru, which isn’t really revealed. I wonder what it is? But I guess that’s probably why he sleeps heavily. I suppose that cash he receives is enough for whatever expenses he and the others need to cover.
 
A 4th year student in the arts college is the bespectacled 22 year old Mayama. He treats Takemoto as his underclassman and vice versa. He has a crush on Rika Harada, who is the manager of Harada Design company. Maybe this guy likes older women. Because her husband died in a car crash many years ago and Rika herself was injured (you should see that horrible scar on her back), Mayama in a way sees this opportunity to get close to her by tending her wounds and injuries. Not only physically, but emotionally as well.
 
Though, not really that obvious in a way that you know Mayama really confesses that he likes her, but Rika too does seem to subtly know about this. However, pushing away each time as she doesn’t want to hurt him. Mayama isn’t a bad guy really. Though, there’s that ‘stalking’ everytime he passes by her house, just standing out there and watching from afar before leaving.
 
But Mayama has an admirer. She is Ayumi Yamada, the 21 year old arts college student dubbed the ‘Iron Lady’ (no Margaret Thatcher here) because of her extraordinary skills in pottery. Yeah, she’s damn good in it and she ceases to amaze her professor. Though Ayumi loves Mayama very much, but the latter only sees her as a friend and nothing more. This could be very emotionally heartbreaking for a young girl. Her family runs a liquor store and it seems because of her good looks there’re many other guys after her. But she has her mind set only on Mayama. Looks like she isn’t giving up yet.
 
Ayumi seems to be pretty close with Hagu throughout the series. She even treats her like her younger sister. Though Hagu is quite talented in her field, she is quite shy when meeting people, except for her uncle Shuuji. That’s probably because she was raised in a sheltered environment in the countryside by her grandma. And the way I see it, when she does things, it’s like she’s doing it cutely. Aww…
 
The cigarette smoking Shuuji seems quite overprotective of Hagu. Yeah, who wouldn’t if you see your own students trying to be funny with her. Also, it seems that Shuuji’s part of some trio group which comprises of Rika and her late husband. Yeah, best of friends kinda thing. So why didn’t Shuuji look after Rika after her husband died? Well, he thinks that Mayama’s doing a perfect job and he himself isn’t fit to do so.
 
But the most prominent thing about this anime is the life lessons that one can learn from it. Yeah, there are lots of them which would make you go "hey, he’s right", or "that’s so true" and maybe "why didn’t I think of that". Makes you realize a lot of things in life and that life isn’t really a bed of roses. And that’s my main problem. I can’t seem to remember a single one of them! *Long sigh*. That’s what I get for watching too fast. By the time I watch the next episode, I’d already forgotten those lessons in the previous episode. So theoretically, I didn’t learn a single thing! Bad me.
 
So the first half of the story introduces things as you get to know the characters, the situation, their problems they face. Stuff and things like that. Then, halfway through the series, Morita suddenly left without saying goodbye for another mysterious money making job in USA. I felt that’s when the funny part of the series died down a little. Yup, without Morita, the whole thing seems to be a drag and probably why the whole series is funny is mainly because of him. The gang found out some weird high tech machines in his room that seemed like those used in spy headquarters. Uh-huh, they’ve never been into Morita’s room before. They tried to go after him, especially Takemoto, but he already left. Though, nothing much is really revealed about those machines and Morita and his job as explained by Kaoru to Takemoto.
 
And with Morita’s absence, the series then shifts its focus more on Mayama and the company where he worked, Fujiwara Design. Yup, by this time, Mayama has already graduated from the arts college and decides to look for a job. So some friendship bonding and stuffs like that between him and his colleagues like the boss of the company, Takumi Nomiyama, who is considered by Mayama to be some sort of a playboy. To make things a little worse, Nomiyama seems to have fallen for Ayumi over time. And the weird thing is, whenever Nomiyama approaches Ayumi (his intentions are always good), Mayama seems to get a little jealous and tries to steer her away from him. I though this guy isn’t in love with Ayumi. Perhaps he just wants to protect her from that ‘playboy’ boss of his. Plus, Mayama thinks that Ayumi is quite innocent and that he needs to guard it against Nomiyama.
 
Other colleagues of Mayama at Fujiwara Design include Miwako Teshigawara (who has a dog named Leader) and Kazushi Yamazaki, who seems to have a crush on Miwako but the latter seems oblivious to it, ignoring them or treating it as a joke. Also, Mayama and Rika thingy. He still can’t get over her while Ayumi still isn’t giving up yet. Dunno. I kinda find it a little boring here.
 
Then when Fujiwara Design broke up because of the 2 feuding brothers of the company, Nomiyama had no choice but to split his group into 2. As Nomiyama arranges Mayama to one of the group, the latter quits. Mayama then joins Harada Design alongside Rika. Yeah, more of those Mayama-Rika kind of situation. And later towards the end of the series, as Ayumi decides to stay on as a graduate student, she also seems to do pottery work for both Fujiwara Design and Harada Design. Yeah, those companies seem to admire her work very much.
 
And somewhere in 2/3 of the series, Morita finally returns! Yay. Funny days are back again. Yeah, while Takemoto seems to be recuperating in hospital due to some stomach ulcer, the gang watched some tv and found out that a blond-dyed Morita have won some Mocademy Awards (some spoof thingy) because of his contributions to some special effects for some movie. They’re all shock to see him win an award. Plus, they found Morita in the bed next to Takemoto’s! Yeah, that telecast was delayed and Morita has came back since.
 
Even though he has came back, I felt he wasn’t that funny as before. Sure, he did those crazy stuffs again like how his professor is trying to make him take his final exam and to pass it because he’s already fed-up of waiting so long. Wait until he die, literally. After all that pushing finally Morita took the exam and passed. Now his professor can rest in peace. Unfortunately, he decided to apply for another course and re-enters the arts college as a 2nd-3rd grader. Oh oh. That professor is gonna have a hard time and long day.
 
But the main focus towards the end of the series is on Takemoto. Because he is unsure of what to do in life, feeling lost and those sort of stuffs, he decided to take a bike expedition somewhere. It’s like some soul-searching trip. Yup, it’s Takemoto’s turn to leave the gang as they all found out he’s gone. Amazingly, his biking trip took him to Hokkaido. That’s a long way from Tokyo on a bicycle. And during that journey he met some construction workers where he worked and lived with them when his bicycle’s flat out. Yeah, he’s working there so he could earn enough money to repair his bike. Well, it’s a good thing. He gets to meet people while learning and realizing lots of stuffs throughout his journey. In the end he has to leave and I suppose he’s found out what he wanted (which I forgot).
 
And when he returned to Tokyo and his group of friends, he finally confesses to Hagu that he loves her. But Hagu didn’t really give him an on-the-spot answer as she cries and just feel glad that Takemoto’s back. So as usual, Mayama vowed to himself he should try harder to make Ayumi give up on him while Nomiyama goes away for some work for 6 months with Ayumi still keeping in touch with him. With that the usual gang have another round of celebrations as they eat and drink, something about life goes on and be happy with what you have now. Yup, at least they all learned a bit more about themselves. But life’s a never ending journey. You can’t stop learning. And with each little progress every day, you’ll be a better person than before.
 
As mentioned there are those 2 special episodes with episode 25 (nicknamed episode L) is about Takemoto, Mayama and Morita’s old housemate Lohmeyer. Those guys loved him because that tall guy usually brings back meat to them (yeah, those college students are meat deprived) but he has to go back to his family farm after working as some part timer at an amusement park in some cat dog costumeEpisode 26 (nicknamed episode F) is on Nomiyama, Miwaka and Yamazaki, before Mayama joined the Fujiwara Design company.
 
Ah well, that wasn’t such a detailed episode by episode blog, due to the fact I can’t remember most of it *slapping myself*. One thing I’d like to note are the ferris wheels in this series. Yup, the ferris wheels has become some sort of trademark for this show as they appear here and there. Someone in the gang mentioning something about where love begins and all that. I also read that those ferris wheel landmarks are supposed to be real and they do exists in Japan. Next time when I see a ferris wheel, it always reminds me of this series. Now that’s real conditioning.
 
I find the drawing and art to be somewhat bleached. No, not that anime named Bleach, but the drawing is quite white-ish and like I said, bleached. Maybe it’s another ‘trademark’ of the series as it tries to steer away from the norm of not to be that usual rich and bright colours. Speaking of which, whenever the characters are in shock or in disbelief, their eyes will go all white and there’re those black doodle rings around their eyes and their mouth agaped. Kinda funny lah. Also, maybe their mouth lines are a little bit long. If you know what I mean.
 
If you listen closely during the show, you’ll notice that there are lots of those insert songs. And if you’re a fan of those kind of music, this is quite an ear candy. Almost each episode has an insert song. But for me, they all sound kinda okay. By the way, if you happen to notice the first 12 episodes, the opening credits uses that clay animation. It’s kinda freaky. Don’t be freaked out when the song finishes and the lobsters which is supposed to depict some hand suddenly explodes and stretches out. Scary. Though the balance 12 episodes they changed the opening credits to a more pleasurable viewing video (some flying photos and ferris wheels aren’t that bad), though it’s the same opening song still, Dramatic. You should hear the first ending song, Waltz. It’s quite a catchy tune (and a ferris wheel for a view too).
 
The character developments are great and are done quite properly. You could see how people change with time to become a better person and then, of course those who don’t really change. You could also see the problems that they face and somewhat reflect them in your own life. Who says all college students are rich and have everything they want at their fingertips. Okay, maybe in today’s world and society.
 
There’s a second season of 12 episodes which has just recently concluded its run in Japan in late 2006. But somehow I felt that I didn’t want to watch this one because of my stereotypical mindset that this series is overall boring and the fact I can’t remember a single life lesson. Maybe it has the answers to certain questions like Morita’s mysterious money making job, or on the Mayama and Ayumi relationship, or even Takemoto-Morita-Hagu relationship. Oh well, opportunity lost. But I guess I could live with it. Hey, there’s even a live action series! Wow. Fans certainly do get their wish.
 
Thus, just like all other reviewers who have watched and reviewed this anime, I would also like to recommend those to watch the series, despite my opinion of being boring (okay, enough with that word already. Sorry if I said it too much). If you’re asking me to watch it as a re-run so that I could refresh myself on those life lessons, I think I’d prefer to go watch something else. Because it’s… *yawn* boring (STOP IT, THAT"S ENOUGH!)… Just watch it first.

Zero No Tsukaima

January 13, 2007

One thing I like to mention when I’m watching Zero No Tsukaima is that I seem to have a hard time remembering or pronouncing most of the character’s names. Yeah, it seems that the name of the characters are very ‘terror’ sounding like and would give one an impression that this anime genre is going to be one of those magical fantasy and medieval European type like The Lord Of The Rings or even Harry Potter.
 
And that’s exactly what the setting of this anime. There may be some historical influences from the old European world as I read a little about it here and there regarding the origins of some of the character’s names and even the kingdoms of this world that this series is set in. And since my history isn’t that good, I guess I would probably go ‘uh-huh…’, ‘I see…’ and all those other confusing facial expressions, wondering what’s going on. Oh well, history does repeat itself, in my case, that is.
 
But with only 13 episodes and around 30 minutes of show time, I guess it’s pretty much okay, if I don’t mind the minor and specific details. Of course, this anime isn’t just about magic, fantasy and adventure. One main reason why I decided to watch this series because it’s simply… a comedy genre with some love-romance element in it. See, I’m so predictable.
 
Okay, as in the first episode, we’re introduced to several characters and other terms. Not that I can remember them all, but the main protagonist, Louise Francoise Le Blanc De La Valliere, is a second year student attending the prestigious Tristein School Of Magic in the kingdom of Tristania. Before I move on, notice how long Louise name is? Yeah, I’m having serious tongue twister problems trying to pronounce with my unauthentic and fake French accent. Loo-ee-ss Fu-ran-swuah.. Dey Lah Vah-li-ere… This is going to take some time. In the mean time, let’s just call her Louise, so much shorter and simpler.
 
Besides that, Louise seems to be the teased among her classmates and dubbed Louise The Zero because of her zero success in casting magic. Yup, whenever she tries to cast a spell, it goes awry in a way. Like how she tries to turn some rock into brass but instead caused an explosion in Ms Chevreuse class. Miss Cheh-roooz… Ah, forget it. And also there’s that usual 4 elements which make up magic like fire, water, earth and wind, in which a student has magical affinity to 1 of them. Actually there’s a fifth one, called the void, which will be revealed and explain later in the series.
 
Also, in this world, not everybody can use magic. Those who can use magic are called nobles and are deemed to be the higher class of society. Those who can’t are called commoners and are treated like lower class citizens. Wah, even in this world, there’s discrimination too.
 
Anyway, later on, those second year students are deemed fit to summon a Familiar as their live long servant on Summoning Ceremony Day. Yup, that’s the term they used for Tsukaima, though I’m not pretty sure if it’s a direct translation or made up. As a Familiar’s job is to be a servant to his/her master, and so a master’s job is to take care of his/her Familiar. Thus, we see everybody successfully summoning their own Familiars. Like the busty and flirtatious Kirche Augusta Frederica von Anhalt Zerbst (nearly made it there) who summoned a salamander called Flame, her best friend, the quiet and always-seen-reading-a-book Tabitha (looks a bit like Kokoru of Petite Princess Yucie) who has Sylphid, a winged dragon as her Familiar, the ‘playboy’ and self-proclaimed ladies man and sweet talker, Guiche D Gramont (this one isn’t so bad) has a giant mole named Belldandy, and Guiche’s so called girlfriend, the prideful Montmorency Margarita la Fere de Montmorency (I’m really losing it) who has Robin, the frog.
 
So now it’s Louise’s turn. What will her Familiar be? Everyone around her seems to anticipate what she’s going to summon. Yeah, they’re hoping for another failure and round of laughter. Bad kids. Summoning her courage and power, she then wished for something ‘devoted, beautiful and powerful’. After all that terror explosion and stuffs, was it a failure? Not a totally failure. She actually summoned a human named Hiraga Saito, much to her disappointment. And since the rules don’t allow her to try a second time, I guess she’s stuck with this ordinary boy and so she has to seal the contract by kissing him! Weird. Then some inscribed runes appeared on the back Saito’s hands as he faints.
 
Later that night when Saito regains his consciousness, we see that there’s some language barrier between them. Obviously, then out of convenience, Louise attempts some magic which manage to remove the language barrier and they both began understanding each other, not before some series of explosions. So is this her first successful magic attempt? Nah. Anyway, Saito, being new and unknown in his surroundings, decides to run away with Louise chasing him. Who wouldn’t, everything seems so alien. Even if you get absorbed or sucked into a fantasy RPG world, it isn’t that bad. Okay, maybe it is that bad. Louise, asking the help of Guiche (who’s flirting) to stop him. And he manages to stop Saito by levitating him. That Saito guy’s going to be in real shock when he saw 2 moons in the sky.
 
In episode 2, we see how Saito gets sucked into this world. Yup, as he was walking he seemed to notice some green oval portal. Like they say, curiosity kills the cat. And his nightmare begins when he just touches it. He can’t seem to let go. He’s shouting for help but everyone’s ignoring him. Brings the ‘mind your own business’ to a new level for both Saito and those ignorant passer-bys. Before you know it, he’s Louise’s Familiar. Bummer. So we see that uneasy tension between the 2, how they both hate each other and said that they’re both better off without each other as both of them didn’t wish for this. But since I’ve watched many of this kind of animes, my guess is that such hatred would turn into love and the next thing you know, they’ll become an item. Am I right?
 
Though Saito’s Louise’s Familiar, he is still reluctant to do things as he is told, that is until she threatens not to feed him. See, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, literally. Also, Louise seems not to be embarrassed to strip naked in front of Saito (much to his shock at first) because she views him as just a Familiar and nothing more.
 
Before I move on, I’d like to note a few things about a few characters. Though Kirche is quite flirtatious herself (she’s got several guys going after her), she seems to take quite a liking towards Saito and always tries to seduce him. Then you’d probably notice that it’s out of jealousy rather than he-is-my-Familiar reason that Louise drags him back. Also, I find Kirche and Tabitha to be quite strange bedfellows. Yeah, their personalities are totally different but yet they stick to each other like glue and together most of the time. Even when Kirche asked her to come along whether it’s kay-po-chi business or not, Tabitha usually says she isn’t interested, but donno how always ended up following her. Huh? Can’t leave her to do things all by herself, maybe. Also, Kirche and Louise are natural enemies and hate each other. But I see this as a comical factor rather than anything serious.
 
Then there’s that lecherous headmaster Osmond. He looks like your typical good wizard with those long white beards. Yeah, he’s quite a pervert and usually targets his secretary Ms Longueville, even using his mouse to see her panties. Haih… But he isn’t a pervert all times as he too can be quite useful sometimes. Sometimes. Then there’s that kind hearted and soft spoken maid Siesta who seems to like Saito. And Louise seems to get jealous whenever she sees them together. And when Louise gets mad at Saito and decides to punish him, she’ll take out a horse whip and whips him (ouch!) and calls him a dog. Poor guy. But funny lah.
 
Anyway, besides the Louise-Saito squabbling as they ‘get to know each other’ and that explanation of Saito’s runes and its probable impact (which I didn’t get it) with Osmond, Saito decides to get his revenge on Guiche for levitating him. Yup, Saito tries to instigate things between Guiche and Montmorency. It’s revealed then that Guiche is two-timing her by also dating some first year student named Katie. And when Montmorency found out, she slapped him in front of everybody and left. Yeah, Katie also left when she found out. Of course, Guiche’s red faced in public would also mean that he challenges Saito to a duel, which the latter accepts.
 
Later as everyone converges for the much anticipated duel, Louise tries to plead to Guiche to stop the duel as a match between a noble and a commoner has never happened before. Do you think Guiche would back down? Didn’t think so. Would Saito on the other hand listen? Well, you know that male ego pride thingy. Plus, is Louise having feelings for Saito? Anyway she denies it. Another thing to note is that, in addition to the character’s long twisted names, they too have runic nicknames as we find out Guiche’s is Bronze (I didn’t bother to ask why or think further *eyes rolling*).
 
At first, it seems Saito’s getting bashed properly but his determination amazes everyone as he still gets on his feet to fight even though all hopes seems lost. Then Guiche materializes a sword from his rose and gives it to Saito so as to make the match not seemed one-sided. As Saito picks up the sword, his rune starts to glow and suddenly his fighting skills become so ‘terror’ as he cuts through all those earth valkyries Guiche made. Guiche admits defeat when Saito brings the sword close to his face. Coward. Bully. But the crowd goes wild as Saito’s glowing rune dims back to normal and faints. 3 days later he wakes up to find himself sleeping on Louise’s bed rather on his usual haystack on the floor, and is being nursed by Siesta. Saito also notices how cute Louise is when she’s sleeping. Ah-ha… Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
 
More Louise-Saito squabbling and seduction from Kirche in episode 3. But that isn’t the main point. Besides gaining reputation as the commoner who beat a noble and probably that entire legion in the school’s chef department, led by the chief cook, Marteau, admiring him and looking up to him after that incident, Louise and Saito went to town to shop for a sword for the latter, with Kirche and Tabitha tagging close behind. But since Louise can’t afford the expensive one, she gets him an old and rusty looking sword, much to Saito’s disappointment. But he has no say since he remembered she used quite a lot of money to save his life earlier on. Meanwhile, Kirche uses her bodily charm to bargain and get that expensive gold sword Saito wanted at a lower price. Men here are the same too.
 
Back at the school, Kirche decides to give this expensive sword to Saito as part of her plans to win him over. But of course Louise doesn’t approve of it and the both have their ‘little girl fight’, which includes swinging of their wands. However, they’re stopped by Tabitha. This girl should’ve stopped them earlier rather than wait last minute. Maybe not, since we did enjoy that ‘catfight’, didn’t we? Anyway, Louise and Kirche then told Saito to choose which sword he wants. But he can’t just simply choose as he is in a bind. To cut things short, he decided to go with the rusty sword because it could talk!!! Yeah, Saito’s pretty excited when it did. And so, that sarcastic old rusty sword name Derflinger, becomes Saito’s ‘companion’.
 
By episode 4, we know that Saito’s main job is to wash Louise’s panties. Yeah, he seems quite good at it after all that practice. Also Kirche decides to give that sword to Saito for free. And as usual, Kirche’s advances have to be put on hold when Louise comes in to find them in a nearly compromised situation. Well, Saito has no choice but to follow Louise back, or else is the horse whip. Oh, too late. She whips him when he tried to tell her how Kirche lured her into her room but Louise doesn’t believe him.
 
However, that isn’t the main point of this episode. Basically, Siesta has seemingly left the school to serve under a different master called Count Mott, and will soon be his bride. Of course Saito didn’t approve of it when he heard it from Marteau and decides to go rescue Siesta. This guy’s probably has a crush on Siesta too the way he does and says things. Plus, he went there alone to rescue her. Upon reaching the Count’s mansion, he tried to talk the Count into returning Siesta to the school. Would an arrogant noble like him give up such a cute little girl? Of course, Saito angered him by saying that he wanted to make Siesta one of his mistresses, which is true.
 
Count Mott decides to punish Saito when Siesta enters and pleads for him not to do so and will take any form of punishment on his behalf. But Saito said he’ll do anything do get Siesta back. This made Count Mott think a little. He then told Saito that since he’s an avid book collector, he wants Saito to get some rare book which’s accidentally summoned by a wizard long ago from a Germanian family, which is Kirche’s family. Saito rushes back to get it, only to bump into Louise on a horse who came searching for him.
 
Back at the school, Saito makes his way to Kirche’s room and asked for the book, but she says she doesn’t know how to open the locked chest. She further says it’s a book that supposedly ‘stimulates men’s desire for women’, which she says it’s of no use to her. And before you know it, off Saito goes off angrily and in a hurry. That guy’s either desperate or really determined. The others realized that Saito’s gone and the fact that if a commoner draws a sword against a noble in his house would mean that the latter has the right to kill him, they head off to stop and warn Saito.
 
Too late, Saito’s already there and has a confrontation with Count Mott. But Saito notices his runes are not glowing and he’s not in that super combative mode. Thus, Count Mott is going to kick Saito’s butt when the 3 girls manage to arrive and stop his attacks in time. Kirche manages to bribe him and in turn Count Mott releases Siesta. It is revealed then that the book is actually some porn magazine from Saito’s world. Hmm… Men here are really all the same too. Back at the school, Siesta thanks Saito but you know that blush blush I-didn’t-do-it-all-on-my-own speech. Anyway, Siesta pecks Saito on his cheeks and left in a jiffy, leaving him in a little shock and blushing. I see… so it’s like this.
 
In episode 5, it’s the Annual Evaluation Fair whereby the students of Tristein School Of Magic show how far they’ve come to with their Familiars. It’s like a dog talent competition. Just kidding. And Louise is trying hard to make Saito act formal and do normal things but each one seems like a failure. Finally, Saito says that there’s one thing he could do normal, which is to wash her panties. Hahaha. Whip time. Also everyone seems to be practising hard because the princess of Tristein kingdom, Princess Henrietta is coming to watch this event. Yeah, she seems to be the people’s princess. Everyone seems to adore her. Just like Princess Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle.
 
In the meantime, the staffs of the school are getting prepared to fend off any attacks from Fouquet The Crumbling Dirt. Fuu-Kaay… Who? Anyway, she’s a thief who’s planning to steal The Staff Of Destruction, some terror-merror super powerful weapon, which is kept safely within the walls of the school. Yup, in the beginning of the episode, we see her stealing some jewels smoothly like taking candy from a baby as though it was all a child’s play. Does casting a few spells is enough to stop Fouquet? At least that’s what they think.
 
We then find out that Princess Henrietta and Louise were once playmates (no yuri here) during their younger days and they’re quite close as the former sneaks in to the latter’s room and they both hugged each other like they’ve never seen each other for a long time. Well, yeah, since she’s so busy of course they haven’t seen each other quite a while. And no yuri here also, please. Saito realized that probably that’s why Louise wanted to perform well so badly.
 
On the day itself, everyone puts on a magnificent show except for Louise and Saito, of course. Flops. The even was anyway won by Tabitha. Unfortunately, at the same time, Fouquet launches her attack on one of the school’s buildings where the Staff Of Destruction is kept. Yes, she summoned some giant earth golem to do it. No, no Lord Of The Rings’ golem here. So happened that Louise and Saito encountered her when they’re leaving the fair.
 
So a battle between them ensued. As usual, Louise’s magic didn’t turn out all too well and Saito’s in the palm of the giant golem. As Tabitha arrives to counter attack the golem, Fouquet managed to weaken the wall, breaks it and steals the Staff Of Destruction before fleeing with it. As the school’s staff assessing the building’s damage, Princess Henrietta after knowing that Louise is all right, tells her that she has to go back to the Royal Court immediately. Louise worries that Princess Henrietta may be held responsible for it. Later Saito asked why didn’t Louise ran when he told him to during the battle. Her response was that a mage who abandons his/her Familiar isn’t a true mage. Saito’s a little taken aback from Louise’s answer.
 
Osmond sends Louise, Saito, Kirche and Tabitha on a mission to retrieve the Staff Of Destruction with the help of Ms Longeuville in episode 6. Osmond believes that it’s better for the school to retrieve it back themselves rather than to ask for help from the Royal Court since it was their responsibility. With Ms Longeuville help and information about a suspicious person coming in and out from an abandoned hut in the forest, the fab four along with Ms Longueville began their journey there.
 
The gang managed to reach the hut and Tabitha found the Staff Of Destruction there unguarded. Strange. Just then, the giant golem appears and prepares to attack them as they try to stave off the golem’s attack. But it seems the golem is stronger than before and their magic seems futile. That usual I-mustn’t-run-away, I-must-stand-up-before-my-enemy and I-must-protect-the-ones-I-love kinda talk between Louise and Saito, causing the former to be a little injured. Well, that was enough to make Saito mad as he uses that gold sword on the golem. Unfortunately, it broke into 2. Just then Derflinger asked Saito to use him. And when he does, his hand rune began to glow and Saito felt that same super power he had when he fought with Guiche before. Though with increased speed and strength, the golem reassembles itself everytime Saito rips him apart.
 
Louise then took the Staff Of Destruction and was going to used it but doesn’t know how. To Saito’s surprise (and mine) the Staff Of Destruction is actually a ROCKET LAUNCHER!!! Yeah, you’ll notice that there’ll be several things from our current world, accidentally summoned to this alternate world. Like Fullmetal Alchemist, huh. Maybe. Anyway, without hesitation, Saito grabs it from her and fires a shell from it, sending the golem crumbling down. Everyone’s amazed at how Saito could use such a weapon. Then it is revealed that Fouquet is actually Ms Longueville herself! And the reason why she help them and did all this was because she didn’t know how to use the Staff Of Destruction and wanted to see how Saito used it. Why Saito? She believed that he’s a Gandalf (no, no Lord Of The Rings here). Don’t ask me why. It’s explained earlier on what a Gandalf is, but I couldn’t remember. And now that she does, she picks it up and aims at them.
 
Of course it didn’t work. Because as Saito said, it’s just enough for 1 shot as Saito jabs her with his sword’s blunt end. Back at the school’s office, we hear some explanation from Osmond that some commando got summoned to this world and used that Staff Of Destruction on some dragon. So one was buried along with him and the other kept as memento. Saito’s mad that he didn’t get any answer of returning to his own world. The last part I guess, sees how Louise and Saito ‘accepts’ each other (or getting closer) as Louise offered him to dance with her. Yup, for that moment, she doesn’t see him as a Familiar as they danced happily while the crowd watches.
 
In a light-hearted episode 7, we see Princess Henrietta rewarding Louise and Saito for their efforts in capturing Fouquet. The funny part was when Princess Henrietta offers her hand to Saito, he misinterprets as he pulls her in his arms and kissed her on her lips! SHOCKING! Yup, it’s to Louise’s horror too (more of jealousy rather than you-can’t-do-such-a-thing-to-a-princess). The thing is, Princess Henrietta wasn’t in shock nor did she scream for help, instead she just fainted. Hmm… Maybe Princess Henrietta loves it after all. Never been kissed before like that, huh. Hehehe. I suppose Louise used this opportunity to bash Saito up properly.
 
When the princess comes to, she said she doesn’t mind and then asks them for a favour. She’s asking Louise and Saito to go undercover as a commoner to see if there’re any nobles abusing their powers. They accepted. So they ended up at some inn run by some gay-pondan-French-mime-looking guy, Scarron. Louise gets to be the waitress while Saito works in the kitchen alongside with Scarron’s daughter, the beautiful Jessica. Yeah, you know what that means. More of those Louise’s jealousy but she won’t admit it. Plus she finds it hard to live a life as a commoner, sleeping on some uncomfortable bed at the place where they work and getting irritated for receiving comments on how small her breasts are (I’ve said this too many times, what’s with girls wanting to have larger breasts). Also, since Jessica’s bustier, you also know what that means, right? Also, they can’t reveal their real positions either.
 
Then there’s that Tip Competition as announced by Scarron whereby the waitress who gets to earn the most tip by the end of the week gets to wear some special waitress outfit for one day. Why so special? Because whoever wears it, somehow the magical charm of the outfit would enable her to earn as much money as she desires. Though it isn’t perverted or that sexy, but you know, I guess all the men who see any girl in that outfit would probably drool so much enough to fill a swimming pool. Make that 2 swimming pools. I didn’t. I think it’s just ‘normal’. And this got all the other waitresses excited and motivated to do their best. Even Louise.
 
Anyway, there is a noble who’s abusing his power, some arrogant tax collector comes in and drives other customers out. Only Louise seems to serve him and his men as the others were afraid of him. Yup, Louise thinks this guy’s got enough money to tip her so she can win the competition. But that flat chest comment from him earns Louise’s wrath as she kicks him in the face. Oh to everyone’s horror! Saito wants to help but can’t do anything without Derflinger, up in the room. Some series of magic gone awry before Louise shows them the palace’s approval as they all cower in fear and begs her to forget the incident before leaving tons of bags of gold and fleeing. Looks like Louise won the competition, if you look at it in a way. However, everyone in the inn decides to keep their identity a secret but Saito says they have to go back because their cover’s blown.
 
And the other waitresses don’t seem to be jealous of Louise winning as they even cheered her on. Is Saito falling for Louise when she puts on that special outfit, or is it just the charm of it. Maybe kinda both. Meanwhile in prison where Fouquet is languishing, we see some mysterious man coming to free her. Looks like they know each other. The start of things to come?
 
Another light-hearted episode 8. It’s the summer holidays as most of the students of Tristein School Of Magic head back to their hometowns. Of course, those who don’t have anywhere to go, would obviously stay back. Most of this episodes sees the odd pair of Kirche and Tabitha travelling back to the latter’s hometown and we find out certain secrets about Tabitha as well. Like how her real name’s actually Charlotte as she’s under some sort of direct order from the King (her uncle). Plus, 5 years ago when the previous king passed away, there was some sort of power struggle which resulted in Tabitha’s father being murdered.
 
And to avoid further complications, there’s an intention to wipe out his whole family. And at the ball, Tabitha’s supposed to be poisoned when her mom took it and drank it herself before Tabitha drank it, causing her mom to become insane. Yeah, until today, she’s looking weak and frail and her mind’s really unstable, sitting alone and ranting about some conspiracy that will take Charlotte (the doll in her arms) away. She doesn’t even recognize the real Tabitha as her daughter. Sad. But I wonder why she drank it in the first place, since she could’ve just poured it away. I wonder. Because of that, Tabitha became quiet and emotionless. That explains her character. And the reason why Tabitha stayed at the school was because she’s deemed a nuisance. Yup, all those people who wanted to get rid of her felt that she’s too powerful to be disposed off and thus sent her away. Kirche too felt that her position of staying at the school was rather surprisingly similar to hers. Now we see why they’re always together in a way.
 
Seeing that Tabitha’s in a difficult position, Kirche decides to help her out, since Tabitha’s been given a difficult mission. But I think this is Tabitha’s most prominent appearance in the series. At other parts, not to say she didn’t play any significant parts or impact, but because of her low-profile character, she’s just there to help and do her part and that’s it.
 
Other than that, more of those Louise-Saito squabbling as she makes Saito do more chores for her. More like she’s taking it out on him. I guess she got jealous when she saw him and Siesta having an outdoor bath together in some big tub. Yup, Siesta isn’t shy of getting all naked with Saito. Don’t worry, no hentai scenes here. Also, Montmorency decides to get back at Guiche by planning to give him some spiked love potion she brewed. Her plans were going smoothly (Guiche in his usual sweet talking mode) when Louise appears. Yup, she took that drink intended for Guiche and gulp it all down herself and returns to her room, much to Montmorency’s horror. Still not over that Saito-Siesta thingy?
 
As Saito heads back, Louise who’s going to give her usual scolding, suddenly felt dizzy and hot. Then she stumbles towards Saito and hugs him, saying to him that she loves him! Plus, she’s crying like a little girl being rejected or not wanting to be parted. Saito’s dumbfounded. As Montmorency peeks, the good news is that the potion works. The bad news is, it’s on the wrong person.
 
Continuing from the previous episode, Louise is still in that lovey-dovey mode and is clinging on to Saito like an emotionally unstable little girl in episode 9. It’s quite hilarious to see Louise in that manner but at the same time, dangerous. Like how she gets that ‘innocent jealousy’ when she just see Saito and Siesta talking together and then running away or even trying to attract him in her ‘see-through’ pyjamas. Don’t worry no hentai scenes too even though Louise said some ahem ahem things. Uh-huh, the effects of the potion still hasn’t worn off yet. Maybe in a month or so. Hey, but that’s too long for Saito to wait as he interrupts Montmorency and Guiche’s kiss (looks like they’ve made up) and wants a solution to the problem. Well, since it’s his problem, Montmorency wouldn’t want to, that is, until Saito threatens to expose that Montmorency had used an illegal move by brewing that love potion (as mentioned earlier by Siesta), thus she agrees to help him. Is Guiche relieved or what since he heard that Montmorency’s actually planning to use that love potion on him. And Saito promises to get Louise back to her normal self. Yeah, maybe Saito really loves the sadistic Louise.
 
As Montmorency suggested that probably the tears of the holy spirit of some water guardian at Ragdorian Lake. So the next day, the 4 of them embarked on a journey there. Better get it fast because Louise is acting really really really weird. When they reached there, they noticed that the town’s being flooded by the lake. Montmorency summoned the water guardian and asked for some tears but was rejected. Then Saito says he’d do anything for it and strikes a deal with the water guardian that he’ll help defend the water guardian in exchange for some tears. Looks like recently, some mysterious mages were launching an attack against it.
 
Later that night, those mysterious mages appeared, so Saito and the rest battled them. But during the battle, it is revealed then the mysterious mages were no other than Kirche and Tabitha. Luckily, they stopped in time before they killed each other. Just kidding. Just exaggerated on that. We learn that Kirche and Tabitha has been ordered to attack the water guardian because it’s been flooding towns. So when they asked it why is it doing so, the water guardian replied because some guy named Cromwell took its Ring of Andvari, which can be used to create fake souls. Why would it have such a ring in the first place? Anyway, it thought that by flooding the world, it would help retrieve the ring back. What logic is that? Yeah, something about spirits don’t die so they can take their time, bla bla bla.
 
But Saito promised that he’ll retrieve the ring for it. With that the water guardian believed him and gave some of its tears. Why did it believe him? That’s because it believes a Gandalf can manage such tasks. Haih… that Gandalf thing again. I should really pay attention next time. The gang then heads home.
 
So good news. Saito manages to cure Louise with those tears. Yay! She’s back to her normal self. Bad news number 1. She’s back to her normal self which leads to bad news number 2. She completely remembers everything from the time she drank the potion and getting all lovey-dovey with Saito and whatever she has done to him. Yeah, she’s real mad and embarrassed. Worse than the Incredible Hulk’s. Bad news number 3. She’s going to take everything out on Saito. Oh well, you wanted it that way, didn’t you Saito. Oohh… doesn’t that whipping feel good. Take it like a man. But fortunately, Saito’s saved by Princess Henrietta when she comes in cloaked. Looks like Louise has to delay her revenge. What could it be? Anyway, we also see Fouquet and Cromwell (who looks like your typical evil priest from that era) plotting their move.
 
Anyway, why is Princess Henrietta doing so? Another favour to ask of them. Sort of. In the beginning of episode 10, we find out that she has decided to marry some Germanian royalty in order to protect her Tristania kingdom, much to Louise’s shock. So their job this time is to retrieve a letter from the Prince Of Wales (no, not Prince Charles) from the kingdom of Albion (some floating island kingdom) in order not to throw their alliance into uncertainty. Of course, Louise accept her task. And it would be a threesome since Guiche’s eavesdropping on them.
 
Then there’s that Gandalf thing explanation with Saito and one of the school’s teachers, Colbert. Darn. Didn’t get it either. But something like there isn’t proof that the fifth magic element, void, exists. Though the runes on Saito’s hand seemed to indicate that he is one, but it isn’t anything conclusive yet. Then Saito recognizes a familiar smell. Yeah, looks like Colbert’s concocting some potion to revive some dragon.
 
The next day as the trio begins to set off on their journey, some bearded guy on a griffin, Ward (at first I thought it was warts. Hahaha. Just kidding), who is not only a powerful mage and the captain of the Griffin Squad, but is also Louise’s fiancee! Well, I guess in this world too, young women likes to go out with older men. But Louise doesn’t seem to happy when she sees him. And as usual, it’s Saito’s turn to be jealous, though he doesn’t admit it, giving lots of excuses. So typical. You can see the way he acts and says things.
 
On their journey, the gang took a pitstop at an hotel inn. As they’re having dinner, Ward heard of Saito’s feats such as beating Guiche and recovering the Staff Of Destruction, before he himself proposes a challenge to him. And before you know it, Saito agrees. Ah… men and their ego. Or is it blinded by jealousy. Or both. Hey, Fouquet’s there too, hiding and listening to their conversation. And some conversation between Saito and Derflinger as we find out the latter’s partner was also some sort of Gandalf, but that was 6000 years ago. So theoretically, Saito must be one too. Bet on it. On the other hand, Louise becomes quite indecisive and uncertain about things when Ward talks about those fiancee stuffs.
 
The next day, Saito and Ward had their duel. In short, Saito lost. Looks like that glowing rune isn’t enough to beat Ward after all. Then Ward delivers a crushing blow by saying that he isn’t powerful enough to protect Louise because he can’t even defeat a mage like him. Uh-huh, Saito said something like that to her before they left on their journey.
 
Louise tries to comfort a depressed Saito in episode 11 but instead Saito gets annoyed and is still upset. You know that macho attitude of his so as not to be perceived as weak. Haih… Anyway, Louise decides that she’ll marry Ward after Saito pushes her away, much to Saito’s shock. Louise left.
 
Just then, Fouquet and her golem appears and prepares to attack Saito. Luckily Guiche’s there to help. To make things worse, Ward and Louise have left to continue their journey and Ward told Louise that those 2 guys decided to turn back and return home. Hmm… I’m suspicious of Ward now. Though Saito and Guiche’s attacks doesn’t seem to do much damage to the golem, I guess the arrival of Kirche, Tabitha and the other villagers forces Fouquet to retreat. Numbers do count. Before Fouquet flees, she told Saito that she has delayed them long enough. Oh oh. That means… Could it be… I guess so. It must be. Yup, Ward’s Fouquet’s accomplice, which means he’s aligned with Cromwell. Ward is even trying to get information on the whereabouts of the Prince Of Wales but Louise didn’t tell him as she remembers her promise she made earlier on to Princess Henrietta. But Louise still doesn’t know of Ward’s true nature yet.
 
Once they have arrived at Albion, Ward and Louise entered some church. Some guards didn’t believe that they’re from Tristein or was sent under the orders of Princess Henrietta until Louise shows them her ring that Princess Henrietta gave to her earlier on. And it’s revealed that the Prince Of Wales was under the guise of a guard and soon believed her. The 2 had their time alone together to explain things. Besides giving Louise the letter, he also tells her of a group named Reconquista, who’s leading a rebellion against the royals in the Albion kingdom.
 
The next day, Ward tells Louise that he wants to marry her here at this church right now. But Louise refuses, thinking that this is all too sudden. Then Ward reveals he is from that Reconquista, shocking Louise as she tries to flee. Oh well, with all those tell tale signs, one would’ve guessed that Ward’s on the dark side. However, Louise’s been caught by another Reconquista henchman and Ward uses some spell to mind control her. With that, he proceeds with their wedding.
 
But during the wedding ceremony and before Louise could say "I do", Saito barges in, much to Ward’s shock. How did he find them? Something like Belldandy’s keen sense of smell of Princess Henrietta’s ring which led them to find Ward. That mole’s got a thing for jewellery. And Louise is snapped out of that mind control when Saito calls her name. Looks like she’s got this sub-conscious response to him. But as Saito begins to attack, Ward draws his sword and stabs the Prince Of Wales! Oh how sad. What a way to go after making just 1 short appearance. So sad. Before that he gives Louise his other ring before he dies.
 
The guards of the Prince Of Wales were no match for Ward’s attack, probably still reeling from the shock that their beloved prince is dead. Now that Saito’s really mad (saying something about Louise again), his runes start to glow and Derflinger becomes all new and shiny! Saito’s attack has become much more faster and powerful than before. Ward knew that he’ll lose if he carries on and thus decides to retreat saying that he’s accomplished 2 out of 3 tasks, that is, by retrieving that letter and killing the Prince Of Wales. Though he wanted to take Louise along with him, that seems impossible now as he sets the church on fire and leaves.
 
But Saito and an unconscious Louise are trap and has no where to run since the fire’s spreading fast. Luckily Kirche and Tabitha levitates them back on their Sylph. As they fly back, Saito kisses Louise on her lips. But instead of freaking out, Louise kisses him back! Don’t deny your feelings anymore. So is this just the spur of the moment or something else?
 
The whole gang’s back at Tristein School Of Magic in episode 12. Louise confides with Princess Henrietta on her mission’s failure. But girls will be girls as the 2 hug each other and cries. Aww… Plus, Colbert decides to go on a trip to find the legendary ‘dragon’. Then we hear from Osmond explaining to Louise that she’s some sort of a void user, the reason why she was able to summon Saito as her Familiar. Maybe it’s fate that the other students nicknamed her ‘Zero’ can also mean null or void. Hmmm…
 
So the rest of this episode we see that ‘love tension’ between Saito and Louise. Yeah, still don’t want to admit it. Is it because they don’t know or still in deny? Argh. So frustrating. Yeah, even Kirche still isn’t giving up on Saito yet though her actions of seducing him seems more toned down recently. Uh-huh, she just interrupted some talk between Saito and Siesta. Oh, maybe Saito’s still got his heart with Siesta. Why not. Siesta’s more gentler, patient and understanding if you compare her with Louise. Nothing certain, though.
 
Speaking of which, Saito finds out that Siesta too may have come from his original world. Shocking. It seems that long long ago, there were 2 ‘dragons’. One of them flew into the eclipsed and disappeared while the other stayed behind, which is supposedly Siesta’s great grandfather. I see. So Saito’s really interested in knowing more of how to return home. Ahh… Louise gets that jealousy feeling again when she sees Saito and Siesta talking together and decides not to go apologize to him. Haih…
 
Anyway, the whole gang decides to go look for the ‘dragon’. Looks like their journey has taken them deep into some dark cave. When they reach the end of the cave, they found a building with some Japanese text inscribed on some tablet outside next to it, supposedly left by Siesta’s great grandfather. I guess it’s for the convenience of the story. And that ‘dragon’ is actually an old Japanese war plane from our current world. Another ‘zero’ there to note. So Colbert suggests that Saito may be able to return to his world with that eclipse explanation again and the reason why this one didn’t was because it didn’t manage to do so in time, thus stuck here. Saito’s quite eager and happy to hear this but as for Louise, looks like she has that look on her face which says ‘please-don’t-go-I-want-you-to-stay-here-with-me’. They all brought the plane back to the school.
 
Back at Tristein School Of Magic, everyone is amazed at the ‘dragon’. Remember that familiar smell Saito recognized when he was with Colbert? Yup, it’s actually the plane’s petrol, which is called ‘dragon’s blood’ in their world. What’s this? Saito knows how to pilot the plane when he sits in the cockpit. Is it his natural instinct, the plane’s simple controls whereby an idiot can pilot it at first looks, or his runes, or maybe for the convenience of the storyline.
 
However, Guiche rushes in and told them the bad news. Looks like Albion has declared war on Tristein under the name of Reconquista. Meanwhile, Cromwell along with Ward and Fouquet discuss their attack plans and plans to do so during the solar eclipse because it’s the day the floating island will be closest to the ground. See, is it just convenience of the storyline. At least that’s what I felt.
 
And so the final episode 13 doesn’t begin with that all-out war action battle. Instead, we have that usual indecisive and uncertainty of Saito and Louise wanting to stay or go. I guess even though it’s a strange world, once you’ve got used to it, you’d feel reluctant to leave. A lot of talk here and there. And those 2 are still acting as though they don’t care for each other. Don’t they know that the more they suppress those feelings, one day it’ll all explode and by that time it’ll be too late. Meanwhile Princess Henrietta decides to command an army herself to fend off Albion’s attack seeing that the rest of the Tristania leaders want to surrender peacefully.
 
On the morning of the solar eclipse, as Saito’s preparing to take off in the plane, Colbert tells him that the enemy’s flying battleship, Tarbes, is already looming overhead Siesta’s village, and Siesta back there too. Looks like Saito has no choice but to join in this one. Uh-huh, earlier on he decided not to join the battle as this wasn’t his war and has got nothing to do with him. I guess he’s got that subtle consciousness to protect the ones he loved, if you know what I mean. With a little help from Tabitha’s levitation (not enough room to take off), Saito manage to get the plane in the air with Kirche and Tabitha following closely on Sylph.
 
At the same time, Princess Henrietta and her troops are engaged in battle already. Seems that Guiche’s reluctant in this battle and was drawn into it because his dad’s a military officer. Too bad. But Princess Henrietta’s armies seem to be no match for the Albion side. All hopes seemed lost and the eclipse is about to begin when suddenly they spot the ‘dragon’ coming from afar. Hooray. Saito’s here. At least there’s hope now. Wah. Saito’s shooting down easily every griffin there is as the Tristanians cheered him on. Ward and Fouquet seeing that the legendary Gandalf and his ‘dragon’ have entered the fray, they decided to join in as well.
 
While Ward and Saito engaged in air combat, Fouquet and her golem confronts Kirche, Tabitha and Guiche. With the combined powers of the 3, they manage to destroy the golem which causes Fouquet to flee (again). Yup, Guiche brings out a wave of flower petals, Tabitha spreads them over the golem, Guiche then turns them into oil before Kirche lights it up with her fire spell. That easy, huh.
 
One problem solved and back to Saito and Ward. Saito’s in a pinch because he just ran out of ammo (sorry no cheat code here) and Ward has damaged one of the plane’s wings which causes the plane to leak out petrol. Louise enlists the help of Tabitha and Kirche to bring her on board her Sylph. This girl is doing dangerous and silly things as she jumps down from the Sylph into the plane. That desperate, is it? Yeah, she says she couldn’t let him face all the danger alone. Say lah you want to be with him. Looks like it’s the full solar eclipse now. Ward intends on burying the Gandalf along with the legend. But Saito says he doesn’t care for all that crap and that he only cares for Louise because he is "Zero No Tsukaima" (Louise’s Familiar). Is that a confession? But before Louise can react to his words (probably crying, hugging and kissing him. Just kidding), Saito’s runes began to glow and starts flying out from his hand!
 
Then Derflinger mentioned something like Louise is the void element magic user and is the master of Gandalf. Louise is like in a trance state as she raises her wand towards Ward. Derflinger continues to say that since a void user needs time to activate one’s magic, Saito needs to buy her time in order for her to do so. Better hurry because Ward’s very close on his tail as Saito dodges every shot. When Louise is ready, a bright light covers the entire sky as her super magic blast causes Ward to be vapourized and setting the Tarbes on fire. Yeah, this is the power of a void user. And her first successful attempt too. Everyone watches in awe.
 
Saito safely crash lands the plane. But instead of worrying about the eclipse, which is already over by then, he seems to be more worried about Louise. Meanwhile Kirche and Tabitha inspects the wrecked Tarbes when an injured Cromwell uses the Ring Of Andvari on them, forcefully bringing them both on their knees. But it was just short-lived as Guiche knocked Cromwell’s head from behind with a stick. At least this guy did something useful for once.
 
Meanwhile, we get to see that Louise-Saito moment as the 2 sat with each other before the plane wreckage. Louise calls Saito an idiot because he wasted his chance to go back but Saito said he didn’t mind. And before you know it, Louise quickly kisses him! Saying that this is some sort of proof of their recontracting. So is it as a Familiar or more than that? Either way, glad the 2 could be together.
 
In the ending credits we see Louise, Kirche, Tabitha and Guiche being awarded by the royal court for their bravery. Also, Kirche is back to her old flirting ways with many guys around her. Has she given up on Saito? We also see Tabitha inspecting the Ring of Andvari. Does she intend to keep it? I thought that ring belongs to the water guardian? Maybe on her next trip back she’ll return it. As usual, Guiche and Montmorency arguing. As Louise tries to find Saito to show off her medal, she spots him talking happily with Siesta. In her anger (jealousy, that is) she takes out her whip, calls him a dog and you know the rest. Oh well, back to normal. And does Siesta really enjoy watching how those 2 act among each other. Yeah, she seems to like Saito but doesn’t get worried when Louise whips him or such. Maybe she still thinks that Saito’s her Familiar. Wait a minute, he is.
 
Overall, the ending wasn’t really much to shout about as it could’ve been better. Yup, it left me with lots of questions such as what happened to Fouquet? Was she recaptured? And that Cromwell guy and the Reconquista? Don’t tell me that attack then was the whole army. So is the war and conflict over? Yeah, it seems Saito’s here to stay. And the way they end it seems to give hints that they might do a second season or if ever the need arises. Oh wait a minute. I’ve read that there’s going to BE a second season! shucks.
 
I’m still having problem with the names as mentioned. Some still hard to pronounce and some can’t remember. I had to refer many times in order to spell their names correctly. But I kinda find the relationship between Louise and Saito amusing. Besides, I guess this is what most of the storyline in this anime revolves around. Sometimes it’s quite frustrating to see that usual indecisiveness between them. But hey, if the 2 fell in love at first sight, maybe things would’ve turned out totally different. Or maybe even better. Nah, it’s better the way things are. Sorry Siesta, sorry Kirche, you’re both still second fiddlers.
 
The drawing, art, animation and voice acting are okay to me. Since it’s set in that fantasy medieval world, I guess you’ll see lots of those fantasy medieval kinda stuffs. The only ‘real’ character development is between Louise and Saito. The rest not so. Yeah, there’s a variety of interesting characters but you’d probably guess their kind of character in the early episodes already. As said, especially Tabitha’s. But I guess it’s pretty much okay for a short series.
 
It’s funny to see the mid-intermissions whereby Louise uses her magic only to end up in smokes (along with Saito) and not too well, all in chibi form. The ending theme has Louise and Saito in some weird theatrical play. Don’t remember what it’s all about, but it looked like those figures drawn on and cut out from a cardboard. The only background music which I like is Louise’s theme whereby they mix it with violin strings and electric guitar. It’s quite catchy and fast paced as it always made me shuffle my feet each time I hear it play.
 
Though I’m a little disappointed with the ending, but nevertheless this is quite a good anime. Not to say the very best, but at least it’s worth your time. So give this anime a chance like how we’ll give Louise and Saito another chance. Hmm… Okay, maybe they’re better off with the former whipping and calling him a dog rather than being in a very lovey-dovey mode. Besides come to think of it, doesn’t having such relationship with one’s Familiar conflicts with that master-student relationship? Yeah, even if they do, it’s the end of the world!
 
Hmmm… I wonder how many things from our world have been summoned to theirs. Like the entire Mayan civilization? Hey, those people vanished without a trace, didn’t they? No, not because Predators wiped them out when they lost to those Aliens during some ritual. And perhaps even that toy that I lost many many many years ago when I was still a kid. Hey, it’s a possibility, isn’t it?

Muteki Kanban Musume

January 12, 2007

Hahaha. Another one of my favourite martial arts action comedy is Muteki Kanban Musume. Okay, I’m not pretty sure whether I should classify it under martial arts and action genre but it’s definitely a comedy. There are martial arts and action in this series but for the most of it, that’s what make the series funny. And I love it.
 
With 12 episodes for this entire series with an average air time of approximately 30 minutes, or should I say 26 episodes worth 15 minutes each. Yup, so for each 30 minute time slot, you’ll get to watch 2 instalments of hilariousness. Sometimes both parts may be related to each other in terms of theme and storyline that is set for that particular episode.
 
Well, no doubt that even though this anime in my opinion is quite funny and humourous, but it’s still more ‘down to earth’ and not so nonsensical and overboard like Excel Saga. Yeah, it seems that the latter series has somewhat set a certain benchmark and threshold of funniness for any anime which are deemed ‘more-than-your-average-comedy-anime’. I suppose that’s the case for this series when I watched it. It’s not bad or anything like that, actually.
 
Basically, the story is quite simple. We have this teenage girl Miki Onimaru who works as some poster girl for her mother, Makiko’s Chinese ramen shop. And don’t let her looks deceive you. That’s because no doubt that she’s quite pretty on the outside, but on the inside, she has a maturity level that’s worse than a 10 year old. What do I mean. If I can say it in 1 word, that would be ‘violent’. You mean she likes to bash people up? Well, it’s not like that. It’s more like she easily likes to take up challenges (usually fights) and hops right into it without thinking further (easily provoked, that is) when other people offers her one or vice versa. And during those challenges she’ll use her martial arts and skills and gets violent. The good news is she always wins. The bad news is she always wins. Is that a bad thing? You’ll see why.
 
Yeah, instead of really working for her mother, she picks fights with others or even get involved in other people’s businesses which isn’t really of her concern. In a way, she’s not really helping with her mom’s business, isn’t she? To make things worse, such events usually drops or breaks the freshly made ramen for delivery or to be served. And she’s even got the cheek and guts to ask her mom to make her a new one! Not before her mom gets angry and pounds her. Plus, since it’s her job to attract customers, picking fights would somehow chase away customers, don’t you think?
 
Wow, with such daughter around, she’d be running a losing business. But don’t worry, the only person that Miki can never beat is her mom. It’s quite hilarious to see her stepping in and stopping whatever matches or fights Miki are involved in (like that super punch on the head) and then sometimes dragging her back or away. Hehehe. Although she’s quite a caring and patient mom but I guess even she has her own limits too. Who wouldn’t if you had such a daughter which could make your blood boil and make a Tibetan monk lose his temper in an instant.
 
Also introduced in episode 1 is the Onimaru’s next door vegetable store seller, Akihiko Outa. Maybe he’s got too much free time on his hands since I’ve always noticed him hanging around the ramen shop and inadvertently gets involved with Miki’s challenges. Plus, he can’t really fight. He may be concern about the girl (sometimes just disgust with her, but I think it’s that most of the time) and trying to calm the situation down. Outa is also some hardcore fan of some Power Rangers spoof called Super Battle Team Space Star Rangers. Yeah, he seems to know each and every detail about it and has no qualms into changing into one if the situation is in need of such ‘help’. Well, there’s a kid in all of us.
 
Right across the ramen shop lies a bakery store run by Megumi Kannazuki, who is also Miki’s eternal rival both in business and non-business related challenges (though it seems more of the latter). She holds a deep grudge against Miki and wants to beat her. Why? Because when she was young, she and Miki attended the same school and class. There, Miki always bullied her. And Megumi can never seem to get even, not even come close to touching her. Wah, so young already a bully. No wonder Megumi hates her. Then she got that inspiration from her class teacher then (the teacher has no eyes??!!) when he threw a chalk at Miki who’s not paying attention. Ever since, Megumi trained herself using sharp bamboo sticks as darts as her weapon against Miki. Though Megumi is quite good with it, Miki is always able to avoid it them no matter how fast and how many. And sometimes, those bamboo darts hit Outa in the head. Poor guy. Wrong place wrong time. Besides her bamboo dart throwing techniques, Megumi usually often lays subtle and stealthy traps (just like her cunning and sly personality) to defeat Miki, but each time Miki manage to overcome them, thus ruining her plans.
 
In the second part of the first episode, you’ll see more of Miki and Megumi’s battles as the rivalry heats up. Yup, it’s some battle to see who can attract more customers to their store. While Megumi uses her charm and beauty (hmm.. now that I think of it, Megumi does look kawaii *fantasizing*), Miki gets into a… clown dress?! Of course cannot work lah. And it seems Megumi’s gonna win this one. Is Miki recording her first loss and on the first episode too? Not until some bunch of kids and their teacher decided to go to the Onimaru’s because they saw how funny the clown was. And Miki even thought them how to make ramen. What an educational trip for those youngsters. This in turn attracted other onlookers as well.
 
Megumi, not wanting to lose, gets into more sexy outfits but the crowd just got disgusted with it. Just then Makiko came out and thinks Miki’s up to one of her usual useless stint and proceeds to whack her. Well, the teacher didn’t want those students of hers to watch any sort of violence and took them out of there. Since there’s no winner in this challenge, Megumi issues Miki another challenge but the latter was soon hauled away by her mom into their shop and pounds her ‘cukup cukup’. I guess that’s enough violence and action for today, huh? Yup, Megumi and Outa agreed.
 
In episode 2, Miki sensed that someone’s been watching her, though she can’t put her finger on it. To save time, it’s actually Outa’s old friend, Kankuro Nishiyama who has returned to this town after 4 years. Yup, he’s another loser who has this grudge against Miki. Why? Because when he was young, he was bullied and tormented by Miki too. Wah, another bully case. Miki could start her own bully team. And since then he has vowed to get revenge on her. By the way, if you notice, Kankuro ends his sentences with the word ‘~nya’. Maybe he’s got this ‘speech impairment’ after all those torture from Miki. No lah, just kidding. Plus, unlike Megumi, he’s more inclined to use direct brute force because he believes in that ‘true warrior code’ thing. I think.
 
So his first challenge with Miki is when she decides to help out some kids playing baseball instead of continuing her ramen delivery. No doubt Miki’s in a way kind hearted and wants to help, but for all the wrong reasons. So as Miki throws the baseball, Kankuro bats it… with his arm? Anyway, he thinks he’s won but he broke his arm. What a price to pay. But since it’s a draw, Kankuro wants to issue another challenge but Outa reminds Miki of her delivery and off she goes, ignoring Kankuro and much to his annoyance.
 
Later once Miki’s done with her delivery, she comes back to help those kids when she sees them losing. And Kankuro’s there too. So some martial arts mixed with baseball as those kids watch in awe. In the end, Miki uses some terror technique against Kankuro to win the match. But this time, Kankuro’s other arm is broken too, much to his shock. So it’s like this over the next few episodes. Kankuro issues some challenge letter to Miki but she always cannot remember his name (hahaha) which annoys Kankuro very much. Then she gets into the challenge and uses some ‘Onimaru burial technique’ and beats him (or any other challengers). And Miki still doesn’t know who he is. Haha. Poor Kankuro.
 
Kankuro isn’t giving up yet as he decides to observe what is Miki’s weakness rather than jumping into a fight blindly. He observed how Miki took out a group of cocky gangsters who thinks that they can defeat her because she’s a girl. They’re very wrong as they found out the hard way. What a scary girl as she just ran pass a baseball, a pot plant, a terrorist (?!), a cow, and an alien spaceship with aliens in it (???!!!!), all with ease. Kankuro must be thinking it’s gonna be tough to beat her. Then he realized Miki’s weakness when he saw Miki diving down towards the rail tracks to save a boy from an incoming train.
 
So Miki’s weakness is her kind heart to help others in need? That’s what I thought. But this Kankuro confirms that Miki’s weakness is… trains! TRAINS???!!! He’s really off the mark here. So later he issues another challenge letter which Miki accepted immediately and Kankuro’s got his inner strength and mind all set, imitating like a bullet train. The fight starts as Outa and Megumi watches. And this hilarious part where Miki and Kankuro are advancing to punch each other, is depicted as 2 bullet trains in high speed and on a collision course. Choo! Choo! Who’s gonna win this one? Just then a comet than comes crashing down on one of the trains (Miki’s that is) as we see a magnificent explosion, causing a huge crater on the tracks. It is revealed then that the comet is actually Makiko giving her super fist, pounding Miki on her head, as she crashes into the ground. The impact must be real great, you could see cracks on the ground and Miki’s face immersed in it. With that Makiko drags her in and I guess Kankuro and the rest too said that it’s probably enough for today. Yeah, they could take on Miki anytime and lose to her, but her mom, better think twice dudes.
 
Miki gains another formidable foe in episode 3 when she tries to deliver ramen to the Endou’s residence. But ignoring the sign outside of the house which says ‘to call out loudly and they’ll come out and get it’, Miki enters the residence ringing the front door bell. Then an unseen enemy pounds on her, catches her off guard, making her spill her delivery. Because Miki’s unsatisfied with the outcome, everytime she has to go back to her mom’s place and replace a new ramen, much to her mom’s annoyance, and later Makiko beats her up after awhile. Haih. This girl, why don’t she put the delivery somewhere first and then fight? Maybe she gets the thrill of not spilling it during fights.
 
Megumi who’s wondering what enemy could be possibly giving Miki a hard time, decides to follow her and watch herself. So, the unseen enemy is actually a bulldog named Toshiyuki. Err… that dog looks kinda weird. I mean, its face looked like some sort of fake opera or battle mask, don’t you think. And it’s like this too, like Megumi and Kankuro, Toshiyuki doesn’t hesitate to attack Miki whenever it gets the chance to do so. Anyway, there’re some twists and turns in the match between Miki and Toshiyuki as Miki gets smarter and not letting Toshiyuki ruin her delivery such as putting up empty delivery boxes when Toshiyuki attacks. In the end, as Miki’s gonna use her ultimate technique, guess what? Her mom arrives and delivers her usual blow, dragging her back. I guess it’s timely since she’s been redoing the same order the whole day only to find her daughter ‘playing’ with some dog. Hey, even Toshiyuki’s afraid of Makiko as it backs down.
 
We’ll get to see Outa’s Star Ranger in play in the second part. Outa saw a young girl, Wakana, who’s crying because she can’t find her Toshiyuki. At this point, nobody knows that the strange looking bulldog is Toshiyuki yet. I just say it first for easier reference. And a little funny part here as Outa gets struck in the head by one of Megumi’s bamboo darts. Hehehe. Looks like another war between Miki and her. Outa picks himself up and with the power of Star Rangers (in his mind actually) he decides to help Wakana after hearing her story.
 
Somehow he managed to enlist the help of Kankuro, Megumi and Miki. So they split up in search of Toshiyuki by asking people here and there. Outa spots a boy with a bulldog (Toshiyuki, that is) and fought with it (as if he were a Star Ranger) but lost out each time. Why is Outa fighting the dog? He thinks that boy is Toshiyuki and that dog’s threatening him. With such a scary face, who wouldn’t. And that line from Kankuro saying that Outa’s not a Star Ranger, did it made him realized that he isn’t one? Anyway, Wakana along with Miki and Megumi arrived. She’s delighted to see Toshiyuki’s alright. Yup, everybody now knows who Toshiyuki is. Just then, Toshiyuki is suddenly going to pounce on Miki and Miki sees this as another challenge and accepts, holding of her ‘strong opponents’. Another funny part is, Miki’s ability to remember and call out the dog’s name (she says she remember names of strong people) annoyed Kankuro so much, that he thinks he’s got to be lower than a dog and a weakling. Yup, Miki still can’t remember Kankuro’s name nor who her is. Bummer. Meanwhile at night, Outa’s watching his Star Rangers episode happily and in bandages. Looks like he still haven’t gave up on them yet.
 
In episode 4, Miki receives a call from a customer, Tomoka Kayahara, who wants to order her ‘last ramen’. A concerned Outa tags along. But before that, they bumped into a delinquent who’s skipping school, drawing graffiti on the walls and acting tough. Well, Miki could’ve pounded the guy only to be reminded by Outa of her delivery. As they reached their destination, which is a high school, they asked around for that Tomoka person, only to receive freaking out reactions by students when her name is mentioned. Of course the 2 were puzzled at first. But they managed to find her sitting all alone in the gym. They thought she was a student who got bullied and wants to commit suicide, but to their surprise, she’s actually a teacher. She has such a scary face! Yeah, she can play all those ghost parts you see in horror movies.
 
She tells them she wants to quit teaching because of her scary looks, which is ‘disturbing’ her students. Well, the 2 try to give some words of encouragement like how she could try smiling. Hahaha. Better not, she looks even scarier! Because the ramen’s gotten pastry, Miki and Outa heads back to get a replacement only to be bashed by Makiko for taking so long (as expected). Before that, they saw that delinquent guy and Miki pounded him for not heeding her words and drags him back to her store. We find out that he’s skipping school because school’s boring. Just then Tomoka comes in, causing that delinquent to hide under the table. Then we hear Tomoka’s story of how one of her students, which is that delinquent skips school and she’s worried that it may ruin his future, thus she wants to commit suicide. Miki then asks that delinquent to talk to her. Reluctant at first, he then agrees, only to be scared all over again once he saw her freaky face. And I think he said he wants to go back to school not because he wants to, it must be because of her scary face.
 
Then suddenly, we see the nicest smile ever from Tomoka. Wah… it’s so beautiful that the delinquent fell instantly in love with her and decides to go to class. But when she finishes her ramen, Tomoka’s face returns to that ghostly looking one. Yup, it’s the ramen (and the only thing!) which makes her look so beautiful and pretty. So the next day in class, she eats ramen there from now on. Oh well, it’s better to eat ramen while teaching and show a beautiful face than showing a freaky one while teaching.
 
The second part sees how Megumi tries to get another one of her revenge on Miki. But as she’s hammering a nail into a straw doll at a shrine, she saw Tomoka’s face and really got freaked out. Yeah, Megumi thinks it’s the ‘vengeful spirit’ and she’ll always refer to Tomoka as it. When Megumi calmed down and told Tomoka about how she’s being bullied by Miki, Tomoka agrees to ‘punish’ Miki, much to Megumi’s happiness.
 
Meanwhile, Miki gets an order and goes off with her delivery to that shrine, only to be attacked by Megumi’s bamboo darts. Miki thinks this order was her doing. Then Tomoka asked Miki to have a chat with her and stopped bullying Megumi. But Miki refutes her claims and says that she herself is the one being bullied, showing those bamboo darts on her shoes. Oh oh, the tables are turned as Megumi now feels panic and scared that the ‘vengeful spirit’ may punish her. Uh-huh, she still believes that Tomoka’s a ghost. So over the next few scenes we see how Megumi is very afraid of Tomoka and tries to keep her away from herself. In the end when Tomoka managed to dodge Megumi’s attacks and grabbed her hand, Megumi felt how warm it was. Tomoka then said that she’s still alive and isn’t a ghost. Instead of believing her words, Megumi came to a conclusion that Tomoka’s just recently departed as she faints. Haih… Must be the face.
 
In episode 5, Miki and Megumi fought over a pig stuffed toy which in turns lead to some ‘facial sumo’ competition. Outa explains that since last year’s competition many contestants got injured by Miki, there may not be one locally, but at a district level. But it will be one where no one will get injured even if Miki enters. What could it be? Yup, it’s just a staring contest. The first one who laughs loses. See, no physical contact. On match day itself, the feature match was between Miki and Megumi. In addition to not laughing, they had to hold water in their mouths too. As Miki was having a hard time trying to keep it, Megumi found it so funny that she laughed. Thus, Megumi lost to Miki, again. Then the finals it was between Miki and Tomoka. Guess who won. Tomoka won. That’s because of her scary no-smiling face. Miki lost her fight? Nope, this doesn’t count because there isn’t any fists flying in the air. And Tomoka’s watching her new tv she’d won all alone in her empty room with that stuffed toy pig she also won.
 
The second part is one of my favourite episodes. Miki’s chasing Megumi through the streets and buildings because the latter has spread rumours (but they’re all so true!) about Miki on how she skips work and plays during her shift. So as during the chase, both of them somehow got stuck in an opened air but enclosed space with only a broken ladder placed too high as an exit. So the 2 fought and tried to use each other as a springboard to grab on to that ladder. Just then Kankuro drops in and issues his usual challenge to Miki, followed by Outa who found Miki and was worried where she might have wondered off too, and finally Toshiyuki enters the ‘ring’.
 
Because of their haste to get out, they became trapped down there. And so the only way to get out is to use the other’s body as a platform to get on to that ladder. Thus, it starts, the battle royale to see who outlasts who! Outa and Kankuro were defeated easily by Miki and it was a showdown between her and Toshiyuki. But Toshiyuki faints due to exhaustion. Just then a cunning Megumi who’s been watching them fight each other decides to deliver the final blow on a nearly exhausted Miki. As Megumi’s going in for the kill, she spots Tomoka and gets freaked out and faints. Haha, so easy. Looks like Miki’s the winner!
 
So Miki approached Tomoka and ask her for help to get out of here. Then I’m not sure how Tomoka does it, she scales up the wall without any ropes or equipment, just like Spider-man. Huh?! On top, she shouts to the people below for help, but they all got freaked out after seeing her face. A depressed Tomoka then climbs down and sits there sulking. Oh well, looks like nobody’s going anywhere for awhile. At the meantime, Makiko’s wondering where everybody’s gone to, especially Miki. Perhaps she could join in the fray too?
 
The first part of episode 6 is how Outa notices how the same things happen every day. Yeah, that usual Miki and Megumi fight with Megumi’s bamboo darts always hitting Outa’s forehead. Then there’s the part where Kankuro comes rushing in with his challenge letter but gets easily mowed down by Miki. Also, Toshiyuki wants a piece of Miki as you could always see Wakana having a tough time trying to control it even though it’s on a leash. And by the end of it all, Makiko will use her fists on Miki for being naughty and all that before dragging her in. Ah, your typical day in life.
 
Kankuro, who is still annoyed by the fact that Miki can’t remember his name but is able to remember Toshiyuki’s. So he confronts Wakana and Toshiyuki and pretends to ask Wakana that he’ll take Toshiyuki for a walk. She agrees. But actually, Kankuro wants to fight with it. So during their walk, Kankuro and Toshiyuki tries to settle their business but Miki always come into the scene and they both have to put their match on hold and take on Miki. But the matches here usually ends in a draw as the fight caused Miki to spill her ramen and she has to go back and get a new one.
 
Then one part where Wakana saw a dragonfly and goes after it that she got in the path on an incoming truck. The 2 who’re still fighting saw what’s gonna happen. Toshiyuki’s stuck in some tree during the fight and can’t rescue Wakana in time. So it’s up to Kankuro as he dives and grabs her. But since he can’t stop in time, luckily Miki’s ramen delivery container was able to do so as she smacks it in his face. Is Kankuro gonna die with all that blood. While Miki returns to get a ramen replacement and Wakana rushes off to call an ambulance, Toshiyuki who’s free from the tree now then approaches Kankuro. He thought he’s gonna be defeated when suddenly Toshiyuki licks him. Yup, Toshiyuki’s grateful that he saved Wakana’s life. From now on, these 2 are like buddies and in a way, they allied themselves against Miki.
 
And later when Kankuro decides to fight Miki after thinking that he has fought the toughest of adversaries, Wakana and Toshiyuki comes by. Yup, looks like the dog wants to fight Miki too, but was easily defeated this time. Then Kankuro demands that Miki at least remembers his name. Miki then says he does. Wow, has she finally remembered his name? Yes, she says that his name is ‘Hateshi Jou’ (the challenge letter that Kankuro always shows to Miki). Oh yet so close yet so far. Yup, Kankuro reminded himself to put his real name on the letter next time. You should’ve done it in the first place pal.
 
Wakana thinks Kankuro is in love with Miki in the second part as she’s always seeing how Kankuro ‘goes after’ Miki. Yeah, that’s showing your love in a different way. So Wakana tries to help Kankuro to get closer to Miki but Kankuro thinks that this getting close to Miki thing is just a step for him to catch Miki off guard and defeat her. For instance, Wakana teaching Kankuro how to write a love letter rather than his usual challenge letter and suggesting him to get Miki ‘some wheels’.
 
The next day, Kankuro’s all dressed up and approached Miki. Though she’s shock at first but agrees to go on a date with him. Yup, it really seems like a date as the 2 went to watch a movie, go have lunch together and finally a stroll in the park. But Kankuro’s kicking himself because he could not have taken down Miki during those ‘vulnerable moments’. Yeah, looks like he was into the moment as well. And finally, as he buys Miki and ice cream and shouts a passionate ‘I love you’ as suggested earlier on by Wakana, he swings his fists towards her (I guess he doesn’t know the meaning of those words or misinterpret it differently). Miki avoids it. Then Kankuro’s gonna give her some ‘wheels’ and asks her to choose between a unicycle or a pogo stick. Wakana’s who’s watching them from afar must be confused what’s going on. As Miki chose the pogo stick and Kankuro on a unicycle, their battle resumes with of course, Miki the winner in the end. And Wakana still thinks that Kanuro’s still in love with Miki. Oh well, young love…
 
Miki decides to expose Megumi’s true devilish personality in episode 7. That’s because Miki caught one of customers eating a piece of bread in their ramen store. And she would’ve bashed him up if not for her mom turning up. Plus, she heard that the owner of bakery store is giving quite an excellent service to its customers, making them feel like they want to come back for more. Hmm… I also want to go to her store and see her beautiful smile of hers which warms my heart *long sigh of love and swooning*.
 
So Miki decides to take the afternoon off and visit the bakery. Upon entering, Megumi who spots her eternal nemesis starts to attack her. But Miki say she’s here as a customer. However, Megumi doesn’t believe her and continues attacking her until a customer comes in. Then Megumi puts on her angelic face and smile. And it’s like this, Miki tries to be some fussy customer and Megumi will try to ‘serve’ her but all those stuffs has some hidden traps. Then Miki would kick up some fuss about her service and such and Megumi will try to look pitiful as though it’s Miki’s fault.
 
Then, Makiko comes into the bakery store looking for Miki who’s not supposed to be taking the afternoon off (ah… I see, naughty girl), much to Miki’s horror as she hid under some table. But surprisingly, Megumi didn’t tell Makiko of her daughter’s position but she rearranges the table and made Miki’s cramped position even more unbearable. She has too, since her mom’s gonna be there for a long time. Bertahanlah Miki… And later at night as a weary Miki heads back to her place, only to see her mom waiting there. Oh well, she’ll get it one way or another.
 
In the second part, Megumi wonders why during noon, her business seems to drop and all the customers would go over to Onimaru’s shop. So Megumi decides to investigate herself. Yeah, she’s gonna be Onimaru’s customer this time. Of course Miki upon seeing Megumi would want to pick a fight, but you know lah… her mom’s there. Megumi observes that there’re lots of customers whispering among themselves like as though making comments on what Miki and her mom does, especially the part when Makiko gets mad and punches her daughter.
 
I like the part where Megumi ordered some special servings of fried rice and Miki served some poisoned fried rice. Haha. Even the fly landed on it died. Uh-huh, some pun in the words of ‘toku~’ (special serving) and ‘doku~’ (poison). When everyone’s about to leave, Kankuro comes in with his challenge letter which made everyone sit back at their place. But that fight would have to be on hold as Makiko orders Miki to go on a delivery, much to everyone’s disappointment. Then Toshiyuki arrives driving up everyone’s excitement once again. However, Toshiyuki backs down when it saw Makiko. Once everything settles down, everyone then leaves the store. Megumi who’s watching and clueless until now then realized that the reason why people patron the store at this hour is to see Miki fight. Did you notice? Yeah, sadistic bunch of people. I think they want to get their money’s worth.
 
Episode 8 is the most boring episode. Yeah, it’s a Star Rangers episode and Outa seems to be very hyped up. The first part sees Outa role playing as some Star Ranger to some kids and since Megumi looked like the new villain of the show, Hell’s Bunny, she also plays a part. Plus, Outa’s having some conflict of loving the evil Hell’s Bunny or the good Star Rangers. Thus, Miki decides to help Outa return to his normal self and in a way lets Outa ‘defeat’ her. Kankuro who saw that unbelievable scene then rushes to challenge her but gets easily beaten anyway.
 
The second part sees how Outa’s quite disappointed with one of the Star Rangers, which is Pink Ranger’s knee attack. Meanwhile Megumi uses her Hell’s Bunny costume to attract customers. A little girl thinks that Megumi’s the real Hell’s Bunny and Megumi even lied to say that she’s one. However the real actress of Hell’s Bunny and Pink Ranger were passing by and heard this but decides not to take action or their cover will be blown. Megumi hears out the little girl’s problem. She explains that her brother is gonna have surgery and wants her to help give him encouragement.
 
Yeah, so at the hospital as Megumi and Miki role play, I felt that those 2 were trying at each other’s throat as the 2 young siblings watch in awe. Then the real actresses came in and also role played and that Pink Ranger actress uses her knee attack on Miki with more power and determination. Soon the nurses came in and asked them to be quiet. Although the fight has ended, the little boy now doesn’t worry so much about the surgery. Meanwhile, Outa watching his usual Star Rangers episode notices how violent Pink Ranger’s knee attack has gotten. It reminded so much like the violent girl next door. Could it be? It’s closer than you think.
 
Miki, Megumi and Kankuro are having their usual bout at Onimaru’s shop in episode 9 when Makiko comes out and pounds Miki which in turn hit the other 2. Outa then says Makiko is the strongest and that no one can beat her. So the 3 decides to form a temporary alliance to see what Makiko’s weakness is. So we have Megumi who tried to use her pet scorpion and scare Makiko but the latter isn’t afraid and is gonna use it as some soup material when Megumi comes in to save it, only to be stung. Then Kankuro cooked up some dumplings and buns filled with chillies and custards but Makiko just ate them all without reaction. So Kankuro left on a training journey to ‘improve’ himself.
 
So Miki decides to ask Outa. Though Outa said that there’s something which makes Makiko scared when it fell on her face many years ago, Makiko pulls him away and tells him not to reveal it even if it costs his life. Miki must be smiling now as she’s eavesdropping. But she gets that usual pounding later. Then this is another funny part. As Tomoka’s passing by, she heard Outa crying and being whipped. As she checks it out, we see Miki whipping one of Outa’s Star Ranger figurines. What do you think it was? Tomoka left them alone.
 
Next day, Miki comes in with several sacks of insects and tosses them at her mom. But she manages to dodge them all and land a punch on Miki’s face. But before Miki could toss the next sack, it rips and everything in it falls on her face. She then saw how terrified her mom’s facial expression was. So what is it that’s on her face which freaks her out? A spider, caterpillar or worm? Then Makiko whacks Miki’s head and says it’s her face that she’s terrified. HAHAHA! But in the end, we find out it’s the spider she’s afraid off, but after seeing Miki’s terrifying face, she isn’t afraid anymore. What a way to overcome your fear.
 
In the second part, Makiko after watching a tv programme of how to raise good children, decides to change her ways because she’s thinking that probably her head hitting action on Miki is the cause of why Miki’s acting like that. When Miki comes back with those spoiled deliveries, Miki’s expecting the usual punishment when suddenly Makiko is acting all nice and kind towards her. Is this her mom? Something’s wrong as Miki’s still in disbelief and walks away confused. And I think Miki decides to behave just to get her mom back to her normal self.
 
Meanwhile Tomoka who noticed Makiko’s weird behaviour, talks to her and find out the truth, as well as Outa. But Outa says that without those punishments, Miki may have been worst off. Tomoka then suggests that Makiko pretends to be sick as any child will be responsible when their parent’s ill. She agreed. Outa went to find Miki who’s beating up more gangsters (I think she really really enjoys it) and told her about her mom’s ‘illness’. Miki then rushed back, Makiko told her that she’s too weak to take care of the shop and needs Miki to help her. Of course, Miki told her to leave everything to her. It seems Miki’s doing pretty well. Has she reformed? Not until you see how she forced and enslaved Megumi, Kankuro and Outa in doing the cooking at the back (you should see those angry facial expressions they had, hahaha). From a bully to a slave driver, this girl could make a good dictator. But as usual they got into a fight with Miki as the customers watched with great interests. Just then Makiko decides to take a peek to see how her daughter’s doing, only to find the usual mayhem. Thus, Makiko decides to use her fists and whacks Miki again in the head and decides that the fists are the only thing to discipline her. Looks like everything is back to normal.
 
Kankuro’s still trying to challenge Miki in episode 10. But since Miki’s got lots of deliveries to do, their duel has to be put on hold until Miki’s done with them. So Kankuro waited all day long at the shop and when Miki comes back, Kankuro sprung into action, ready for their duel. But Makiko tells Miki that since she’s gone for so long, her other deliveries are piling up. Yup, looks like their battle is on hold again.
 
However, Kankuro’s tired of waiting and thus he decides to help out with Miki’s deliveries. The faster they’re done, the faster they can fight. Simple isn’t it? And in a way, Kankuro seems to be doing a much better job than Miki. Making speedy deliveries after deliveries, and even help doing some chores like cooking and cleaning the shop. Makiko’s even thinking of hiring him and replace that Miki of hers.
 
Not wanting to lose her job, Miki challenges Kankuro whereby the winner gets to keep this job. First time, Miki issues a challenge order to Kankuro. And during that battle, Kankuro dressed like a poster girl (so hilariously disgusting) because he needs to fight the match fairly and he seems like he’s winning because the short skirt isn’t restricting his movement. That is until the he reaches the door of the customer who ordered the ramen. Upon seeing such girly man, that woman got freaked out and thus Miki won that race as she managed to deliver the ramen. I guess it’s better for some jobs to be taken up by women. At the end of the day, Makiko convinces Miki to fight with Kankuro because he’s worked so hard for it. But when they do, Kankuro’s easily beaten… again.
 
Kankuro and Megumi teamed up in order to beat Miki and went on a special training in the second part. What special training? Kankuro is using the combined techniques of a train conductor and a unicycle as the ultimate technique to beat Miki. That’s because he thinks that he lost using both techniques separately and can win if he combines them. Huh? Not the brightest, is he. But the thing is, Megumi too believes him ‘bulat-bulat’. She’s that desperate too, huh? During match day, Kankuro even made a boxing ring for Megumi and Miki to slug it out. Megumi tries to use that special training method, but flops because she’s not used to it. Furthermore, since she’s wearing boxing gloves, she can’t use her bamboo darts.
 
Megumi then got into an argument with Kankuro saying that she shouldn’t have listen to his dumb idea in the first place. Just then, Miki told them to fight each other (instigator!) and if Kankuro wins, she’ll accept his challenge anytime. But if Megumi wins, Miki will shave her head and apologize to her. With such tempting offers, the 2 then began to fight each other. But Miki soon realized that she’d still be worse off if one of them wins and decides to beat them both. So the 2 joined forces again and try to beat Miki. Unfortunately, Makiko appears and stopped them with both her palms in Kankuro and Megumi’s face and her foot on Miki’s head (we’ve seen this scene many times, don’t we. But we don’t get bored or tired of it) and proceeds to drag her back. Meanwhile, Kankuro and Megumi then continues their argument over their fighting styles, the direct brute and honourable way or the sly, cunning and underhanded method.
 
Miki tries to ride on Toshiyuki in episode 11. Well, obviously since the both are enemies, the latter wouldn’t allow the former to do so. But Miki wants to as she has seen every other people ride on Toshiyuki’s back. Even the scary face Tomoka has her ride. She can’t lose out to this one now, can’t she. But it seems her efforts were futile.
 
Then while Wakana’s riding on Toshiyuki, she passed by a shop and saw something she liked and told Toshiyuki to stop, in which it comes to a grinding halt. Why didn’t this worked before, I mean, she’s always been dragged and doesn’t listen to her. But why now? Anyway, because of that, Wakana’s being flung into some rubbish truck and it’s going to the dumpsters already. To Toshiyuki’s horror, it then decides to go back and get Miki’s help. Looks like it knows that Miki’s the only person capable of saving Wakana. Well, Miki didn’t think that Wakana’s in trouble when Toshiyuki’s tugging her apron. But Outa realized something must have happened to Wakana, which then made Miki realized it too. And so off Miki and Toshiyuki went to rescue Wakana.
 
Then this part I don’t get. How can the bulldog run and catch up with the truck? In the first place, how does it know where it’s headed for? Yeah, I mean it’s headed for the dumps but how does it know where the truck is exactly at that point? Anyway, Toshiyuki allows Miki to ride on it (like in a surfing position!!!) and in time manages to leap onto it and save Wakana. Hey, how can that dog run as fast as the truck. Well, initially but later it falls behind due to exhaustion. Once back home safely, Miki blabs how she has that beautiful soul and that’s why Toshiyuki allows her to let her ride on it. Just then, Megumi crushes that believe when she herself who has the ‘purest soul’ (yeah, right) rode on Toshiyuki’s back. Hey, why didn’t Toshiyuki become friends with Miki since she helped saved Wakana?
 
In the second part, Miki and Megumi are outdoing each other and trying to smile their best for a smiling photo contest. Yup, it’s quite hilarious to see them trying to smile. Plus, since the contest is open to females of a certain age only, Makiko gets discouraged. Uh-huh, you won’t see her with that fake smile of hers anymore. Which is a good thing. In addition, the photo contest is some sort of like smiling while eating a bowl of ramen. Well, it has to be like that since some food company is sponsoring for it.
 
Also Megumi tries to crush Miki’s confidence by telling her that she doesn’t have what it takes to win this photo contest such as stance, smile and walk. But that doesn’t matter anymore as the closing date for the competition is today. So a lot of hilariousness ensuing as Miki and Megumi tries to get their sample photo taken by Outa while eating ramen only to be sabotaged and interrupted by the other, rendering the photo ‘ugly’. So when the judges were making their decision, they saw 1 good picture of Miki but they also saw the violent side of Miki in other pictures. Same goes for Megumi. Too bad, rejected. Then they say Tomoka’s heavenly face and was gonna award her as the winner. But soon as they saw her freakish and ghost-like face in the other photos, they withdrew their decision, thinking that she’s a ghost. Thus, they decided that the winner should go to… Wakana! And meanwhile Miki and Megumi aren’t happy about the results, continues to fight each other. I guess it’s better this way.
 
So in the final episode 12, the first half sees how Miki drinks the whole bottle of alcohol because the customers persuaded her to. At first she’s reluctant because when her mom’s drunk she gets very violent and thus Miki’s thinking it may have the same effect on her, but gave in eventually. Her mom caught her in the act and was gonna pound her when Miki suddenly becomes so gentle, obedient and kind. Wow! Talk about change in character. She becomes that shy girl and thinks her skirt’s too short as she runs off in embarrassment to get a longer one. What the? Shocking. Is this what Miki’s like when she’s drunk. Don’t you think it’s better?
 
Outa’s even having this weird feeling over Miki’s strange behaviour. Yeah, not used to it. And when he asked about that long skirt, Miki thinks he’s a pervert and runs away embarrassed. So innocent like that! Even when Kankuro comes in for his usual challenge, Miki refuses to fight saying she hates violence. But her mom orders her to do so as the customers were getting edgy. Not wanting to defy her mom, she just softly slaps him! Kankuro in a shock then, runs out of the store crying like a little girl saying how he hates Miki. Wow, that really had an chain effect on him. And when it’s Toshiyuki’s turn, Miki just gave him a bone, much to it’s surprise.
 
The next day, when the effects have worn off, Miki’s back to her violent self when Kankuro comes in dressed like a full-fledged woman and thinks of using such strategy that Miki used last night to beat her. See what psychological effects can do. Anyway, Miki got so disgusted (I think everyone else does) that she pulverized him ‘betul-betul’.
 
In the final half, Miki wants to secure some spot with her mom to watch the cherry blossoms. But her mom’s sick and is unable to go. Plus she has the store to run. So Miki decides to ask Outa to do it. Later when Outa and Megumi arrives, Outa’s afraid that Miki may have been drinking, while Megumi can’t detect her ‘killing intent’. Then they saw Miki serving alcohol to a group of people. And she’s drunk! Megumi sees this as an opportunity to take advantage of her and proceeds to ask Miki to serve her. It seems that Megumi got drunk too. But this time, Megumi’s true colours are revealed. Yeah, she’s kinda aggressive, pushy and dominative.
 
She even asked Miki to strip! Oh yes! No I’m not a pervert! Don’t worry, you won’t see any clothes coming off. Megumi even bribes Tomoka with ramen to get her do her bidding. But before anything could happen, Miki vomits and is back to herself. She then punches Megumi in the stomach and the latter too vomits. And Outa’s so glad to see the old Miki back. As Miki and Megumi were gonna fight, Kankuro and Toshiyuki joins in the fray. And no matter how happy Outa is, he’s calling out loud for Makiko to stop the fight, as Makiko enjoys a warm tea in bed. In a way, she’s got the ‘best position’ to be in right now. Yeah, what do you want buddy, now that things have turned back to normal. What lah you guys. It seems all of them prefer the old Miki and get beaten up by her rather than the soft and gentle side. *Shaking head*. Poor Outa. His head still gets targeted with those bamboo darts. Maybe his head has that homing device for it.
 
Overall, I love this series. Too bad it’s just this short. With all the comedy and action ensuing, I caught myself laughing non-stop at certain times. Though, not all the way. It’s amazing that how they could just take a simple storyline and turned it into something good like this. Although if you look at it in a way, there isn’t much character development here, but hey, who needs one in this kind of genre. It may seem repetitive and predictable since the characters and the plot is so, but they manage to present it in a different and refreshing manner. Which in turned, kept me engrossed to the screen.
 
Plus, I think it’s these wacky characters which make the series quite entertaining and interesting. My favourite 2 characters are still Miki and Megumi. I think Megumi’s hot and the prettiest among the bunch! Only thing is her devilish and scheming malicious character and intent which seems to stop me from fully daydreaming of her. Poof! Each time I go just after I thought about her personality.
 
Though it’s some scenes are action-packed, most of it are exaggerated and seems ‘unreal’. But they are not excessively violent so much so that you would want to hurl up or feel uncomfortable. Remember, all this in the name of comedy. And don’t try any of those Onimaru’s techniques. Plus, the mid-intermissions, those before the title of that episode is displayed, depicts Miki with that staring look and shark-like teeth and that roar she made. Quite amusing, though. There are some trivia and parodies here but I don’t remember if I ever spot them or not.
 
The drawing, art and colouring seems pretty okay. So is the voice acting. The voice of each characters seems to fit perfectly into their personality. And I was to surprise to find Megumi’s voice actress is Ami Koshimizu. Why? Because she’s the voice actress for Tenma Tsukamoto of School Rumble! If I can remember clearly, those 2 character’s voice are totally different. Yes, totally different. And I couldn’t imagine her doing the voice for Megumi. Surprise surprise.
 
So one final word. Will Miki be defeated? Not likely. Not at this rate. And just like what she says at the end that she’s invincible. More ‘torturings’ those losers will have to endure, and I guess they love it and will have it no other way. Plus, you might want to stay out of Miki’s way (or any other girls that you know in life) for your own good and safety. Oh, it’s that some ramen delivery box or plates breaking I hear? Yay. The match is about to start. Can’t miss this one. I’m starting to get addicted to their battles just like those customers. Who says internal fighting are bad for business? ~NYAAA!!!

ToHeart2

January 6, 2007

There must be really lots of harem animes these days. And if you don’t know what a harem in anime means, it simply means that there’s usually 1 guy and several girls around him. It doesn’t matter that girl is really in love with him or not, as long as there’s some sort of interaction, communication and reaction between them. Okay, maybe it will be better and clearer if there’s some sort of chemistry or romance. ToHeart2 falls under this category.
 
Based on a dating simulation game of the same name, I’m not sure how close the anime version follows the pc version, since of course I’ve never played it before. But you must be thinking that if there’s ToHeart2, then there must be a prequel to it, right? Yup, you’re right. Even though I’ve never seen the prequel before, I’ve read in the synopsis that there is really no relation between the 2. That’s right, no relation at all. In the storyline, that is. Other than that, the prequel one is also a harem genre.
 
As you probably could have guessed, the storyline is pretty much simple. We’ve got this protagonist guy, Kono Takaaki, who’ve just graduated from middle school and is gonna start high school soon. His parents are away and instead of following them, he decides to school here. So throughout this half-hour 13 episode series is about Takaaki meeting and interacting with different kinds of girls as he goes about. Nothing to it, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it is just that.
 
Somehow, I felt that the whole series was boring. Yeah, I really cut my blog real short this time. If you notice (or even read!) my blogs are getting longer and longer. But the amazing thing is that I managed to sit through the whole series without skipping any episodes. So you must be asking, it must be that interesting, then? Well, I couldn’t say yes, but I couldn’t say no either.
 
With a lot of yawns and short-term distractions which diverted my attention from the screen for a little moment, I guess I could say that it is pretty much dull from the looks of it. However, I never seem to fall asleep during the show. So is that a good thing or a bad thing? Plus, I was interested to find out what kind of girls that Takaaki would meet, so I guess this is the most motivating part for me to watch this series. And no, I’m not a pervert. I’m not expecting Takaaki to get into ecchi or hentai situations (though there are some but it’s toned down and nothing too serious) and have him drooling or happy over it. Good thing that didn’t happen too.
 
So for this blog, I would like to keep things real short by just blogging on the girls Takaaki met and their adventures in general rather than the usual detailed episode by episode blog which seemed to take like forever. Now that I look back at it. It does seem to take forever. And I wonder how I sit and type and type all those stuffs and could go on and on and on, much better than an Energizer battery. Thus, I’m not gonna really blog on the explicit details of who what when why because I don’t really mind it all here. And mainly because… I’ve forgotten most of it already… Hehehe. Gomenasai ne. ;p
 
Of course, the first girl to be introduced in episode 1 is Konomi Yuzuhara. She is Takaaki’s childhood friend. Yup, you know what that means. There’s that saying that if a boy and a girl have been childhood friends, it is very likely that when they grow up, those pure innocent mutual feelings would turn into a romantic more-than-just-a-friend kinda feelings. And it would be even more possible if they made that yubikiri (a promise using one’s pinky fingers) when they were young. Okay, so I made that saying up. But hey, isn’t it true? Must be lah. Since I’ve watched so many of those kind of animes.
 
And as expected, Konomi enters the same high school as Takaaki. Can’t remember the real reason (or if there were one) why Konomi decides to enter the same school since her 2 best friends, the orange-hair bespectacled Michiru Yamada, and the green-haired and the one wearing a hair band, Chie Yoshioka, decides to study in a different high school. Is it because of Takaaki or is it because it’s close to her home?
 
So the rest of the first episode see how Takaaki and Konomi spend their time at the latter’s home, how Konomi tries to overcome her graduation blues and looking forward to high school. Stuffs like that. Though not obvious, but I suppose you can see that Konomi likes Takaaki, just that she doesn’t express it to him yet. One reason being since Takaaki and Konomi are childhood friends, Takaaki treats Konomi as his little sister and nothing more than that. Ah, see. But this too isn’t that obvious yet in the early episodes of the series.
 
And that Takaaki guy seems to be oblivious when it comes to girls and all those romantic stuffs. You’ll notice it throughout the series, that he’s that kind of ‘on the fence’ guy. Just obliging the girls because he’s a nice and helpful guy who doesn’t like to see the girls having a hard time but at the same time doesn’t really show or decide which girl he wants to be with. Okay, maybe it’s not so bad. Because somewhere in the series, Takaaki mentions he himself has ‘problems’ communicating with girls and thus he’s not good with them. Come on, there’re girls around you. Err… maybe I do sound a little flirtatious there. Probably that’s why the girls do want to be near him. Good thing too Takaaki isn’t a pervert. Or else you know why lah.
 
So the next girl making her entry into Takaaki’s unofficial harem is Tamaki Kousaka in episode 2. And just like Takaaki and Konomi’s case, she’s also their childhood friend. But being 1 year older than them both, the 2 view her as their older sister. I’m starting to think that close friends in Japanese society can become part of the family too. You see, older people tend to treat the younger ones as though as they’re related and vice versa. Don’t they have other blood-related siblings? Or are they the only child in the family that their usual playmate is their neighbour or the one sitting in the same class. And I thought only China had a one-child policy. That doesn’t really have anything to do with this anime, actually.
 
In this episode we see how Tamaki returns from an all-female boarding school to fulfil a childhood promise to be with Takaaki in his high school years. See, what did I tell you about making childhood promises. I kinda like Tamaki’s character the best among the other girls. That’s because she has that confident, assertive and dominative (in a good way) personality. She’s quite mature in her talk or when making decisions and I like the way she giggles or laughs. It’s like, how should I say, very sporting and ‘nice to the ears’.
 
By the way, Tamaki has a younger brother named Yuji. He is Takaaki’s classmate and best friend as he is that supporting male character that you always see in harem animes. He is in a way opposite of Takaaki. In what way? In a perverted way, that is. Such harem animes would be meaningless if there were no ecchi or hentai stuffs. No matter how much he yearns to be with a girl, he doesn’t get it in the end and because of that in a way he’s quite envious of Takaaki for having so many girls around him and yet he doesn’t do anything. Oh, you can imagine his frustration. But good thing is, since Yuji is Takaaki’s pal, so such jealousy won’t escalate into a full-fledged hatred. Just play play only. Oh yes, Yuji also seems to be the receiving end of his sister’s fist. And that too probably it’s mainly because he deserves it. Haha.
 
I’ve got this feeling that it’s gonna be 1 girl is going to be introduced per episode as the harem builds up. Yup, that’s the case. Because in episode 3, another girl named Manaka Komaki is introduced. And unlike the previous 2 girls, she isn’t Takaaki’s childhood friend. She’s Takaaki’s classmate and the class rep.
 
And I think it’s because of her kind and helpful nature she became a class rep. Just my guessing only. I mean because of such personality, don’t you think it’s a better role model for such post? Also because of this, she burdens herself with other people’s work, especially as a voluntary librarian. Because the school’s got a huge collection of books, what Manaka does is archiving and barcoding them so that they can be easily referred to. Of course, since Takaaki’s a nice guy too, and helps Manaka a little.
 
Also, Manaka has that secret private room of hers somewhere in the library. Only she can access there as she has the key to it. What’s in there? Actually it’s just her personal ‘get-away’ where she goes there to relax and drink tea. Uh-huh, she likes making tea too. And she shared this secret place with Takaaki too because in a way she’s similar to him. That is, she’s not good with ‘communicating’ with boys. I see. I suppose both of them can ‘click’, huh.
 
Unfortunately, the arrogant and obnoxious library chief wants to get rid of her by giving excuses at the club’s meeting like since she isn’t a real member of the library club, she should not get involved at all and hand back the key to him. Well, why didn’t Manaka join the club in the first place? If there was a reason, I sure wasn’t listening and probably yawning and distracted when they explained it.
 
To cut things short, all the other library club members still love to have Manaka around as she did nothing wrong. I think it’s probably they’re all lazy that they need someone else do the archiving. So Manaka snubs the chief and heads off and she still has that key to her secret place with her and she can go on sipping her favourite tea. Yay. Too bad chief, it’s the people’s power and you can’t do anything about it.
 
The next girl introduced in episode 4 is quite an interesting one. Interesting in what way, you say? Well, this girl, Yuma Tonami, if I can summarize her in one word, then that word would be, she’s a psycho. Huh?! Yup, if you ask me, this girl’s a real psycho, but in an amusing way of course.
 
She has a fiery and aggressive temper and that one moment where she bumped into Takaaki on her bicycle sets the trend of her ‘long battle’ with Takaaki. Yeah, ever since that incident, she blames Takaaki for just about anything! Even though Takaaki’s not at fault. Uh-huh, she even has that mentality that Takaaki is on to her after that baseball thingy whereby the ball hit the tap which in turn got Yuna all wet.
 
So everytime she challenges Takaaki to a duel, she always ended up being the loser and worse off than she started, like that bowling challenge in the canteen. And just like a sore loser (but I find it amusing everytime she losses) she always say something like don’t think that he’s already won this and she’ll beat him the next time. Haih, this girl. And the thing is, even though Takaaki’s pretty much clueless about what’s going on or bother to know why she’s so mad at him, Takaaki’s like so casual and lenient in accepting and obliging what she challenges. Haih, this boy. How can he tolerate all this? If it was me, I would’ve whacked her ‘cukup cukup’ already, don’t care whether she’s a girl or not. And you know what, it’s so ironic that Yuma is Manaka’s best friend! And Manaka too is quite lenient and casual about the whole situation.
 
Because Yuma’s so worked up thinking about beating Takaaki, she’s even daydreaming and got distracted in her personal economics class, that she’s not paying attention. Yeah, Yuma’s one of those daughter to a wealthy family and is supposed to take over her family’s hugely successful business and operations. So is Yuma indirectly in love with Takaaki? Well, the actions may not seem to indicate so, but the always-want-to-get-even-and-revenge attitude may indicate love, doesn’t it? You know, love works in mysterious ways.
 
So one final challenge from Yuma against Takaaki playing some air hockey at some game outlet, sees them both engaging in a ‘terror’ battle. Wow. It must be a real crowd puller because everybody there was captivated by their playing. The funny part was when the game lasted too long and got less exciting, everybody left. What?! No sportsmanship. Anyway, in the end, Yuma managed to beat Takaaki and she’s so happy about it. Good thing Takaaki isn’t a sore loser and has quite a good sportsmanship behaviour, much to Yuma’s suspicion still. She goes home smiling. But I don’t think it will be the end of it.
 
Another weirdo girl in episode 5. Why is the orange-haired egg sandwich lover Karin Sasamori weird? You’ll see why. As the only member of her Mystery Club, she’s desperate to get other students to join her club. So viewing Takaaki as a potential member, she puts on a play by purposely bumping into him and dropping all those club registration forms. Takaaki feeling that it’s his fault, somehow signed those papers and thus he is officially a member of the Mystery Club. Later he found out that it was all just an act. And Karin’s got that dominative attitude and proceeds to ask Takaaki to meet her for their first club meeting. Looks like Takaaki’s in a bind. Yeah, in a binding contract. And we know why he can’t back out right?
 
By the way, her Mystery Club’s name is somewhat misleading as it isn’t into those mystery or detective-like novels or work. It’s some sort of a paranormal, UFO investigating and supernatural occult kind of club. Hmm… maybe that’s why other students decide to pass this one.
 
Later when Takaaki goes for the meeting, some place at the back of the gym and wants to back out after seeing another one of Karin’s act. But this time, he tripped and he’s on top of her with one of his hands on her breast! Since Karin’s sly, cunning and an opportunist, instead of screaming and bashing him up, she uses this as a blackmail to make Takaaki do whatever she wants. What would the whole school think if they knew Takaaki, a nice and decent guy doing such sexual harassment on a poor girl (yeah right). Dangerous girl. And nobody would believe him because of her ‘act’. I guess the whole school can be really fooled like that, huh?
 
So the rest of the episode sees how Karin and Takaaki on their first UFO or UMA (unidentified mysterious animal…?!) hunt. And Karin’s got that UFO detecting device which she made herself to help in their hunt. Donno whether it really works or not. But some occasional signals which lighted up here and there. Makes you think that maybe it’s just some sort of glitch. Anyway they got lost in the forest. But in the end, the device helped them find a way out of the forest by detecting some faint mysterious light as the 2 followed it. Karin must be thinking it’s a UFO. But I’m thinking it may be a firefly, though it wasn’t mentioned. Good thing they manage to find their way back.
 
If you think Karin is weird, wait till you see Lucy Maria Misora AKA Ruuko Kireinasora. So how much more weird is Ruuko? Well, she’s an alien! At least that’s what she claims to be. And not those little green men from Mars. Takaaki met her after seeing her lying on the ground without food. Yup, he can’t just leave her like that. After giving her some food we see how strange Ruuko is, explaining lots of those alien terms (like all humans are called ‘Uu’) and things as though as she’s here to observe the human race. Yeah, and with that dull voice of hers, you may be thinking that she’s got a screw loose in her head or it’s some kind of accent from a different province in Japan.
 
To makes things worse, she’s the new transfer student in Takaaki’s class. And the funny part is that she has this strange greeting procedure whereby she raises both hands high up and says "Ruuuu". Anybody’s initial reaction would be thinking that this is totally weird. But the whole class seems to think otherwise and it’s some form of greeting from where she came from and they all also do they same thing! Haih… And it looks like they’re having fun.
 
Takaaki didn’t want to believe that Ruuko’s an alien but after witnessing strange events like drawing crop circle symbols in the school field and using matchsticks as currency to buy food in the canteen, Takaaki’s having second thoughts but still isn’t believing it 100% yet. Of course, since Ruuko’s a suspected alien, Karin’s interested to find out more about her. And she uses her usual blackmail to get Takaaki to do it. Poor guy.
 
He’s supposed to put some UFO detector device (self-made I presume) onto Ruuko’s cat. Yup, Ruuko’s got a cat companion. But as he’s chasing the cat, it fell into the river when Takaaki caught a glimpse of Ruuko. Just then Ruuko did her arms raising "Ruuuu" thing to summon some lightning which struck a nearby tree which serves as a platform to save the cat. I think after this, Takaaki pretty much believes that Ruuko’s an alien as he spilled the beans of what he’s trying to do earlier on. But Ruuko isn’t mad because she trusts him (or is it in love? Maybe not).
 
The whole introduce-a-girl-per-episode thing takes a little breather for a while in episode 7. But instead this episode fits all the girls that has been introduced, even minor ones like Michiru and Chie, and unknown ones who’re just there just to make up for the numbers.
 
So what’s this episode all about with so many girls? Actually, Karin is organizing some star gazing event for the Mystery Club and she’s asking Takaaki to spread the word and bring along other people as well. The thing is, it’s not a star gazing event. It’s a UFO calling event! Haih, that girl would go to great lengths just for this. Though Takaaki knows about this, he can’t really tell the truth as he sees how happy, especially Konomi is and doesn’t want to ruin it. That’s the down part of trying to be a nice guy.
 
So the day comes where a considerable amount of crowd gathers. Karin must be really happy. Hey, even Yuma’s there. And Yuma’s there too (yeah, earlier on another Takaaki-getting-hit-by-her-bicycle incident). Yeah, she still won’t admit she’ll lose to him. Uh-huh, that perverted Yuji’s there too and it must be heaven on Earth for him if not for his sister’s receiving end. But soon as it started to rain and Karin’s a little worried. Finally she let the cat out of the bad, much to everyone’s surprise. She’s doing this because if she doesn’t, her plan will not succeed as her club’s unpopular and no one would come. Everyone else’s thinking of leaving.
 
Konomi then saves her by starting some conversation related to UFOs which gets everyone a little interested. Short attention span people. Then Ruuko appears and they all form a circle and started some UFO calling chant. Just then, the sky is suddenly lit up with streams of shooting stars and meteor showers. It’s quite a beautiful sight. In the end, everyone felt that this outing wasn’t such a waste after all.
 
We’re introduced to 2 girls at one shot in episode 8. That’s because it’s the Himeyuri twins, Ruri and Sango. You can’t have it one per episode right? And probably because so, this encounter with the twins lasted for 2 episodes, that is until episode 9. Surprisingly, both twins have totally opposite characteristics. Takaaki first met Sango when she’s stuck on top of some wall as she was trying to save Ruuko’s cat (but got stuck herself instead). Takaaki happened to pass by when Sango jumps and fell onto him. Takaaki decides to give Sango a piggy-back ride to school. When they reached school, Sango told Ruri about that incident but she isn’t too happy about it and accuses that guy of being a pervert.
 
So Sango’s the dreamy lovey-dovey kind, soft spoken technically inclined twin whereas Ruri’s the fiercely full-of-angst overprotective sister and is jealous and gets hostile whenever Takaaki and Sango are close by each other but is the better cook. Yeah, Ruri’s attitude can match Yuma’s. Another psycho. But the thing is, Sango isn’t embarrassed of showing her affections towards Takaaki and even kissed him in public! Yeah, she goes into lovey-dovey mode by hugging him and those sort of stuffs, much to Takaaki’s clueless-ness and this event angers Ruri even further. And that blow on Takaaki’s crotch, man, that’s really got to hurt. Yeah, love hurts. And so most of the time it’s like this, Ruri tries to separate Sango from Takaaki.
 
And there’s little bit of tension and quarrel from the twins at the end of episode 8. When Ruri tries to shoot Takaaki with a water gun (that serious, is it?), Sango stops her and there’s some talk about how Ruri’s ‘getting along’ with Takaaki because Sango’s afraid she hasn’t been mixing with anybody except her. But Ruri ran off crying and said that Sango doesn’t understand anything.
 
Besides the slight sisterly tension and sulking and spacing out from Ruri in episode 9, this episode also sees the twins go on a double date with Takaaki and Yuji at some amusement park. Ruri at first didn’t want to go, but after thinking that Takaaki may pull off some perverted tricks on her sister, she then decides to tag along. And at the amusement park, it seemed like a conspiracy since Sango and Yuji are like ‘together’ leaving Ruri behind with Takaaki. Oh the horror for Ruri. As Sango and Yuji enjoyed their rides, it seems Ruri is having a hard time as she’s afraid of them and trying her best to hide her fear from Takaaki. But each time, Takaaki tries to comfort and calm her down. His intentions were good though Ruri still hates him.
 
The climax of the episode is when Ruri tried to get a stuffed penguin toy for Sango when the latter wanted it so much but failed to get it in some machine. Well, she sucked too, spending all her money on it. Just then Takaaki came in and had some chat with her. Ruri reveals that she loves her sister very much and anybody else who loves her is her enemy. What logic is that? Yeah, afraid of her sis being taken away and left all alone. Takaaki manages to get that stuffed penguin toy and gives it to Ruri, though she says it’s useless because it’s not of her own efforts. Then Sango and Yuji arrived and Ruri proceeded to give Sango the stuffed penguin toy. But Sango gives it to her back saying that the toy is for Ruri as a promised that she’ll make friends for her. A touched Ruri then cries and the twins embraced. Well, at least it’s over for now.
 
The last of the girls is finally introduced in episode 10. And it’s HMX-17a Ilfa. From the name you’ve guessed that she’s a robot. To top things, she’s a maid as well. Ah… what harem wouldn’t be complete without a robot and a maid. See, we’ve got the childhood friend, the classmate, the brute and violent one, an alien, a pair of twins, all checked. So what is missing. Oh no! They forgot to put one with glasses in it! Wait a minute, doesn’t Michiru wears glasses? But she’s not part of the harem. I guess it’s better than nothing.
 
In this episode, Ilfa is the latest creation from Sango and since it’s Ilfa’s new body, she wants to go meet Ruri. From looks of it, this looks like another Himeyuri twins episode. And basically the rest of the episode sees how Ilfa tries to get along with a stubborn Ruri who still thinks that the only person she needs is her twin sister. No matter what Ilfa does, it doesn’t seems to please Ruri. Thus, she enlists the help of Takaaki. It wouldn’t be a harem anime if it doesn’t involve the main guy, doesn’t it?
 
So some drama here and there. Since Ilfa is doing the cooking now, this makes Ruri a little annoyed as Ruri doesn’t even want to taste her cooking. Also some flashback here and there. To cut things short, because of Ilfa’s previous memories, she has an unfavourable perception of the outside world and what lurks outside beyond the house. But thanks to Ruri who dragged Ilfa out (Ruri claims she’s doing it because Sango asked her to) and her perception of it changed more favourably. In the end, though Ilfa thanked Ruri and the latter’s still doesn’t really accept Ilfa as her friend, but you could see Ruri’s body language that in a way she does and it’s a start.
 
With all the girls introduced, what’s left is to put them all together in one adventure with Takaaki, right? Sort of. In episode 11, Tamaki organizes some formal event but doesn’t say what it is. She gives an invitation to all the girls except Ilfa to come to that formal event at her home. Oh yes, speaking of Ilfa, the previous episode is the only episode in which she’ll make her appearance throughout this series. And I thought she’s part of Takaaki’s harem. Oh wait, if I head count that official ToHeart2 picture, Ilfa’s missing! And probably the previous episode was mainly about Ilfa and Ruri rather than with Takaaki.
 
So the day of the event as everyone gathers there, we see Tamaki in her Japanese kimono. What could it be? Besides the usual reminiscence of the good times they had with Takaaki and how they met him, Tamaki announced and thanked everyone for taking care of her Takaaki. Wait a minute. Her Takaaki? Does this mean she’s engaged to him? SHOCKER!!! What?! Does Takaaki know about this? Or is she just play play only. But Konomi looked a little worried there. So is this gathering just to indirectly tell the other girls to back off and don’t touch my Takaaki? But the other girls gladly accepted this fact that Takaaki IS HERS. Soon Konomi too accepted it as they started their tea ceremony. I guess it’s not so much the event then.
 
Episode 12 focuses back on Konomi. I’m not sure whether she took what Tamaki said in the previous episode seriously, but here Konomi has that spaced out and indecisive look of whether or not she’s in love. Of course she is. You can tell by the way she does things. Even after all that ‘teasing’ and ‘lecturing’ from Michiru and Chie and even ‘concerned’ about the ‘growth of her body’, she’s still hesitating. Some blushing situations from Konomi here and there. Well, that’s also what happens when you spend too much time with 1 guy. Yeah, that guy seems to be a ‘regular’ at Konomi’s house, having dinner with Konomi and her mom and even sleeping on the couch.
 
But the turning point for Konomi came when Konomi was lagging behind Takaaki, Yuji and Tamaki when they’re heading for school. On their way, they bumped into Michiru and Chie. While Konomi eavesdropped on them, she heard Chie asked if Takaaki has gotten real close to Konomi. Takaaki denies it and after several ‘teasers’ which try to lead him to say yeah-we’re-an-item-and-real-hot-now, Takaaki then told them that Konomi is just a close friend and she’s just like a little sister to him. Well, nothing wrong with that statement actually. Unless you’re a girl in love with him and heard those ‘detrimental’ words which could have a detrimental effect.
 
And that’s what Konomi felt. After all these years how dare he say such a thing. Well, it’s her fault to begin with, since she’s never given him any ‘signals’. So a teary Konomi ran off in an opposite direction. By then the gang saw her and wonder what’s wrong with her. Takaaki tries to call her but Konomi just kept running. I felt that this part is the most ‘tensed’ one though it wasn’t that serious. But if you look at the mood and tone of this series, I guess you could say that it’s quite okay.
 
In the final episode 13, it begins with Takaaki trying to go after Konomi but was stopped by Tamaki telling him that he shouldn’t go after her as he doesn’t know what to say. So over this episode we see how Takaaki bumps into the rest of the girls and in a way ‘gets some indirect advice’ from them. Yeah, he’s still thinking of what to say to Konomi. And it felt like one big individual ‘reunion’ and meeting before the final scene.
 
Then we have that flashback of Takaaki’s whereby during his younger days, he experienced a similar incident. Yup, another girl who’s a childhood friend thing. Wah, this guy has really got lots of childhood friends. Anyway, an orphaned girl named Yuuki Kusakabe had to be transferred somewhere and else and she’s so sad that she can’t be with Takaaki as she always wants to be with him. And in a way, I guess Takaaki felt that it was his fault for making her cry. Is history gonna repeat itself? By the way, I wouldn’t consider this Yuuki girl as part of Takaaki’s harem even though they introduced a new face in the last episode. Yeah, it’s already happened, long gone too. And nothing much is heard about this after that.
 
As Takaaki’s still unsure of what to say, he’ll still meet up with Konomi. And you know what happened to make Takaaki know what to say? He met Tamaki and told her that he’s afraid of making the same mistakes he did to Yuuki. Then Tamaki slapped him and say that he should just go and talk to Konomi so that the past mistake would not be repeated again. With that, Takaaki thanked her and off he went in search for Konomi. What? He realized it all in a slap? And what about that indirect engagement thingy?
 
Takaaki found Konomi taking her pet dog, Genjimaru out for a walk near the riverside. Hey, don’t they remind you of Chiyo and Tadakichi of Azumanga Daioh. Anyway, Konomi tries to ‘run away’ but Genjimaru refused to move, enabling Takaaki to catch up. So a lot of shy shy, apologizing talk, bla bla bla. Finally, as they walk home, Konomi asked him if he would like to watch the cherry blossoms next year, Takaaki replied that it will be nice to watch them bloom together with her as she says she’ll always be around for him. And the next day, they both happily go to school together. The end. What? That’s it? No confession or anything else? I was anticipating something and even it was a little one. But nope, nothing much happens
 
Overall, like I’ve said, I find this series to be boring. The ending was just left ‘hanging’ like that. And oh my, bad habits do die hard. Looks like I’ve blogged longer than I’ve thought. So it’s got to be interesting in a way, huh. Yeah, maybe. Without those parts I guess it wouldn’t be so complete and I’ve even done it episode by episode when I’ve earlier said I wouldn’t do one in detail. Is it that detailed?
 
The art, drawing, animation, voice acting are all pretty decent. What you would expect from a typical Japanese anime production these days. So a total of 9 girls Takaaki has met (including Ilfa and excluding Yuuki). Their characters I could say are varied and interesting in a way and it doesn’t go as far as they’d all fight over each other for his affections. They all just loved him in their own ways. I guess that’s good. So no cat fights and fist fights with plates and objects flying around. Though it’s a harem anime, but there isn’t much hentai or ecchi stuffs nor the girls would consider looking ‘sexy’. Not even Tamaki. I couldn’t say much for the character development as you’d pretty guess much what kind of personalities those characters are and some didn’t play any major significant role and really just stick to their side role.
 
So if you want to watch an anime where you’d feel good with no shocking surprises or twists then I suppose this show is quite okay then. Nothing really extraordinary. Just your run of the mill, average Joe harem anime. Even that nothing more. Regular, typical, normal, and all those similar words. And I’m still yawning…
 
Oh wait, I’ve read that there’s gonna be an OVA sequel for this series somewhere in February 2007. Hmmm… from first looks, the drawing seemed a little bit different and there’s a new girl on the pic! So perhaps this OVA may answer several questions to this series to satisify all those ‘what happened to this or that’ queries. Also, maybe they’ll come up with some new plot which will lead the production of a 3rd season. But I’m still contemplating if I should watch it. I mean, if it’s gonna be boring again then it’s better not to waste my time doing so. But the girls… oh the girls he’ll meet with… Nah. I’ll think about it.

Coyote

January 5, 2007

  Hokori mamire no BONNETTO,
  Yubi de kyou wo kizamu,
  Toori ame ga sugiru koro,
  Ai no you ni kieta
 
Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve blog on an anime song. Uh-huh, too much anime series to blog that’s what left me to ‘neglect’ this section for a little while. Blog backlog, if I should say. Plus, recently I haven’t been singing much either. So for the first song to blog of the year will be Coyote, the opening theme from the anime series Coyote Ragtime Show.
 
  Kokoro no naka suterenu mono aru kara,
  Mienai tobira koji akete
 
This song seems to be quite fitting for an action anime series like this one. You know, with some electric guitars here and there, and at the same time, several trumpet and horns blowing away. In a way, I was ‘attracted’ to it the first time I heard this song.
 
  Kore temo katto fuku kaze ni mukai uchi,
  Yuruginai kimochi de tachimukatte iku no sa GO!
 
Sung by Naoki With Power Sound, at first when I tried singing this song, I was a little out of breath because the tone of the voice was a little low. But after several practice, it seems I’m getting the hang of it. Yeah, I may even say that I sound very closely to the singer himself. Hehehe.
 
  Akogarete ita michi ni awaremi wo,
  Subete nomikonde shimau sekai to shite temo
 
Since this song doesn’t have any background vocals (not that I know of nor is it that obvious), so whenever I sing this song, it doesn’t have that ‘void’ feeling whereby you’re just singing all by yourself and it may sound ‘hollow’ because it’s just your voice alone. Good thing or bad thing? Well, good thing is you don’t have to call other people to sing with you. Bad thing is, if your voice sucks, you won’t have those other vocals to ‘cover up’ a little.
 
  Sunabokori mau yakusoku no basho,
  Ore tachi wa hashiri tzuzukete yuku
 
Lyrics wise, it isn’t that tough to remember them. No parts which need me to sustain my voice for a long time except for the last line of the song. But even that is quite managable. No need to worry there. And since this song is my recent ‘craze’, I’m off singing it twice.
 
  Konya koso, koete yaru, ano saki made…

Happy New Year! It’s been an eventful year for animes and hopefully it will be an even more eventful year too. So what better way than to kick things of with an anime blog.
 
If this show reminds you of Ranma 1/2, then most probably it’s because of the gender-bender cross-dressing thingy. Yup, it’s I My Me – Strawberry Eggs that I’m talking about. Not so much on the love triangles, actually. Though, I’m not sure how the title is related to the storyline. Maybe it’s just for fun and to sound cute, that’s all.
 
So it’s your typical 13 episode approximately half hour series filled with drama, comedy, school-life and some romance. So it’s not so Ranma 1/2 like since it doesn’t last to over 100 episodes coupled in with several OVAs. Plus, there won’t be any of that confusing love triangle mayhem and various bunch of zany and wacko characters. And no martial arts too.
 
To start things off, it’s about this young guy called Amawa Hibiki, who’s just fresh out of college under the field of physical education. Yup, he’s quite energetic in a way that his quite positive and motivated and looks forward to life. I suppose that’s the kind of attitude all fresh grads should display, huh? Thus, he decides to be some sort of athletics teacher.
 
Of course it’s not easy to find a job. I mean, it’s not like where you apply and get the job all in one go. Yes, he’s been rejected several times. But this doesn’t damper his spirits. However, getting a job isn’t Hibiki’s only problem. He has to find a place to sleep, eat and all those other stuffs. And so for the time being, he’s renting a room at an inn called Gochisou, which is runned by an old lady named Lulu Sanjo. But since I’ve always heard people calling her oba-san (meaning grandma), which I’ll refer to her as such throughout the rest of this blog.
 
This grandma is quite and interesting character. No doubt she may look frail and short but you shouldn’t mess with her because she is one tough lady! Yeah, she carries a pistol with her and is quite a sharp shooter. Plus, she rides a Harley bike, making her look cool and macho for her age. Hey, I wonder who she can ride such a bike since she’s so short. If you know what I mean.
 
Also, she’s quite strict about her rental collection. Yup, never be late on that. As seen in the opening scenes of episode 1, grandma goes round collecting her usual monthly rent from her tenants. By the way, including Hibiki, there’re only 3 of them. Yeah, we see the other 2 tenants, Mori Koji, who’s some salaryman who’s always carrying his camera and… large mirror (??!!!) with him, and an old retired guy Tofu ‘Kochi’ Kofuchi, trying to make their escape or cook up with some excuse and scene (like pretend to commit suicide) in order to avoid paying. But grandma isn’t that stupid as she manage to catch them both and ‘retrieve’ their payments for the month. How sad for them. But like grandma says, meals are included too. Is that suppose to be a good thing?
 
But unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to get her payment from the new tenant Hibiki yet because he’s out already looking for a job as an athletics teacher. But throughout the series, she seems to be lenient to him in collecting his rent unlike from the other 2. Okay, maybe not that lenient. Yup, she’s holding Hibiki’s dog, Kura-ge, as some sort of a collateral. Failing which, she’ll turn it into some dog nabe. See, told ya’ don’t mess with this grandma.
 
Anyway, Hibiki gets his first rude shock in life when he applies for a teacher’s job at a high school Seitou Sannomiya Private High School, which is located quite nearby to Gochisou. Yeah, just walking distance. What’s so shocking? He finds out that the school’s headmistress, Chieko Sannomiya, is some sort of a female chauvinist. Yup, she really dislikes men and sees them as ‘useless’. Because of that, all the teachers in this school are females. Soon, she’ll be making this an all-girls school by slowly phasing out the boys by taking in less of the male gender year by year. And she’s got that bitchy (sorry for the language) and arrogant vice-principal Reiko Mukogawa to help her do things, who’s also another female chauvinist type.
 
Well, at first Hibiki got discouraged by it and of course went to have some talk with grandma. But grandma decides to help Hibiki out with his problem and has an idea. Yup, that is to cross-dress as a woman in order to get into that school. The thing is, why would she want to help him? That’s because, so that he can pay her what’s due to her. Ah, I knew there’s gonna be something done in return. Like they say, there’s no free lunch in this world. And wow. Grandma really did quite an impressive make-over on him. Dying his hair a different colour, putting on some female clothes, and even a neck choker so that he would sound like a she. Well, Hibiki does look like a women. I mean, if you take into fact that Japanese drawings have boys which looked like girls and vice versa. Plus, Hibiki’s hasn’t got that manly structure so I suppose nobody would notice that he’s a guy when he dresses up as a female. And does dying one’s hair too many times can have a detrimental effect on one’s health? Dunno. He does it several times and the dye can easily come off once he takes a shower or washes it off.
 
In the first episode too, we’re introduced to a bunch of students who we’re gonna see quite often throughout the series. They are the clumsy and slow but has a heart of gold girl, Fuuko Kuzuha, your typical tomboy and tough girl (okay, maybe not that tough) Fujio Himejima, the ‘one-with-boyfriend’ and typical ‘girl-talk’ Miho Umeda, and the rich but shy and conservative girl Seiko Kasuganomichi. As for the boys, they are Akira Fukae (he’s got this secret crush on Fuuko), who’s the quiet type, Kyosuke Aoki, the mischievous type and Iwaya Shyoyichi (to me who sounds like a girl at first! And I find his skin colour tone strange). Yup, and they’re all in the same class.
 
Meanwhile, Hibiki now dressed as a female, tries to apply for the post once again. In order not to be confused, I’ll refer to Hibiki as a he unless mentioned. But the headmistress told him that in order to get the job as an athletic teacher, he has to pass a test she sets for him. And that is to make the clumsiest student in school to run a full 50 metres. Who is that clumsiest student? You’ve guessed it. It’s Fuuko, of course. But the thing is, it’s the PE uniform is a long skirt right down to the feet. How could anyone possibly run in those. Yeah, it’s the headmistress’s idea to cover them up so as not to arouse those perverted male hormones. Hey, wait a minute. If it’s like that, then why are the girl’s skirt so short as to reveal their thighs? Hypocrisy or she didn’t really notice. Or both.
 
So Hibiki tries his best to motivate Fuuko to run the distance in that long skirt but she trips everytime in each try. So after the usual words of encouragement from Hibiki, Fuuko gets her confidence, rolls and tucks up her skirt and manage to run further than before. She was nearly going to falter again as she approaches the finish line, but jumped and landed in the arms of Hibiki. She succeeded. And in a way. Hibiki also passed the test. And what’s this, Fuuko starting to have that crush on Hibiki? I felt a bit awkward here. Not because of the teacher-student relationship thing, but rather under Fuuko’s view, could it give rise to a lesbian relationship? But Hibiki’s a guy so… could it be… erm…  well, let’s just leave it there. But Fuuko doesn’t know that her feelings towards Hibiki is actually that ‘crush’ kinda feeling. Oh, by the way, Hibiki also becomes the homeroom teacher for those students mentioned above.
 
A perverted peeping-tom is on the loose in episode 2. Fuuko thought it was a ghost but the other girls doesn’t think so. To cut things short, there isn’t actually a peeping-tom, but instead TWO peeping-toms. Who could it be? It’s no other than Mori and Tofu! What the? Yeah, you’ll notice that from now on that these 2 guys are perverted. That’s what that Mori guy uses his camera for. And that Tofu guy has some sort of fetish on Fuuko because there’s lots of her pics (as well as other girls) in their rooms!
 
But before the culprits are discovered, the headmistress orders Hibiki to stay over at the girl’s dorm in case the perverts showed up again. Of course Hibiki’s in a bind. What if the students find out that Hibiki’s a guy. No choice though. To make things worse, Fuuko wants him to sleep with her because she still thinks it’s a ghost. Well, Fuuko managed to sleep well, but as for Hibiki, a lot must be going through his mind, all those worries and uneasiness. But that pervert showed up and when Hibiki saw him to be that Tofu guy, he ran away. But this time all the girls were alerted and they head down to Gochisou to face those culprits.
 
Hibiki dashes back and manages to reach back there first before the mob girls arrive and changed back into his male self. Yeah, this is to protect his identity. Can’t be at 2 places at once, huh. So as the girls arrive and found out about all those pictures, they proceeded to chase those 2 guys. Just then Hibiki walked out from that pretend sleepy look to see what’s going on when Fuuko saw something horrible on him. What is it? She saw him wearing a bra! Oh oh. Looks like he forgot to take off that one thing while changing. Identity busted? Nope, she calls him another pervert and dubs him bra-man and slams him to the wall. Yup, that’s what she’ll refer to the male Hibiki for the rest of the series. Tough luck now.
 
In episode 3, Fuuko bumps into that male Hibiki and still has that unfavourable perception about him. Yeah, she’s still freaking out about that incident. Who wouldn’t. The girls must be thinking all those males residing at Gochisou must be perverts. Meanwhile in class, the female Hibiki divides the class to do class chores but found out that Fuuko’s being volunteering to do them all. She ticks off the whole class for their selfish behaviour and soon enough after that, Fuuko’s classmates begins helping her in her chores.
 
Besides that, in this episode too, Hibiki tries to get her female students to wear bloomers, those shorts used in gyms and other sports. But the girls refused, giving that usual male pervertness excuse. Yeah, it seems they have a hard time trying to jump over that pommel horse too. Hibiki went to see the headmistress over this but the latter’s not giving in, much to Hibiki’s disappointment. But eventually, it’s Fuuko who tries to give it a shot as she trusts the female Hibiki. Soon she’s doing quite well in all her sports activities and after some convincing by her, all the other girls too tried it out and found out that it wasn’t that bad after all. Soon, the bloomers became the school’s official PE uniform for the girls, much to the headmistress’s and the vice-principal’s reluctance. But they had to accept it since the girls looked so much happier in them and enjoying it as well. Well, isn’t it practical too?
 
Episode 4 is that parents-teacher meeting kinda episode. No, not that sit and talk in the boardroom all day long with boring topics. The headmistress is dreading the moment to see ‘that horrible man’, which is supposed to be some director of the school. He’s expected to be blown away by work that men are useless at, much to the ire of the headmistress. And this time, the director’s gonna visit Hibiki’s class.
 
Well, Hibiki’s doing fine as a teacher as she’s distributing school chores evenly among the boys and girls. Especially that cleaning the swimming pool one. The girls are fretting that they have to clean the pool because they think it’s the boys’ job. But Hibiki mentioned that since they both used the pool then both parties should also help in cleaning it up. Besides that, this episode sees also how Fuuko pretty much spaces out and feeling depressed of this event because her mom died when she’s young and her dad’s working far away. Hibiki felt pity and tries to help her out.
 
Meanwhile Mori and Tofu are contemplating to go to the parents-teacher meeting. Why? Yeah, their usual perverted ideas. But it’s gonna be like this all the time. Mori will take some leave from his company. Then he and Tofu will plan to some perverted schemes. But grandma always intercepted their plans and leaving them high and dry and in you-deserve-that kinda situation. Yeah, in a way, grandma’s helping Hibiki’s in his cause, and partly because of his rent too. It’s quite funny to see Mori and Tofu ended up such situations in the end, but that provides some comic relief for the series.
 
On the day itself, as the parents and their child gather, Hibiki wants them all to put on their gym clothes as they’re gonna have some sort of work out with their kid, much to the annoyance of the headmistress. And it’s gonna be some jogging as the parents and their child jogged through the trek, through the city, some slow, some already out of breath, some managing it coolly and some just hanging in there. Yeah, you can see all kinds of characters there. Some like parent and child, and some just the total opposite.
 
By the end of the day, the director was very pleased of this parent-teacher meeting and views it as a unique way for a parent to bond with their child. But the headmistress and vice-principal isn’t too pleased, though they’re shock to see how happy the director was. Wow. Did they all jog till sunset? Anyway, Hibiki and Fuuko had their private moment together when Hibiki brought Fuuko to her mom’s grave where she ‘showed’ her what she learned during PE class. She seems quite happy. And in the end, Hibiki piggy-backs a sleeping Fuuko on his back as they head back home.
 
It’s the physical exams in episode 6. Yup, all the girls are going to undergo it but are worried because last year somebody posted their ‘personal data’ on the bulletin board. Besides having that worry of having large breasts (what is it with girls and having to want large breasts) and whose is bigger (see, didn’t I told you. I thought they didn’t like boys ogling at them), the vice-principal is explaining to them how they’ll take their physical exam in private and without their privacy being invaded by the boys.
 
But if you leave it to the boys, they’ll definitely find a way to do so. Kyosuke and Iwaya are using some sort of walkie-talkie and spy-like hearing gadgets placed in the room where the girls are going to take their physical exam. Yup, they borrowed those gadgets from Akira, since his dad is some detective. But as the 3 boys were plotting their scheme, Hibiki who saw them from above while she’s in the female restroom, decides to play a prank on them. Yeah, she takes off her voice choker and yells below what they’re doing. Of course the boys got a little frightened and wondered where the voice came from. As Hibiki puts it back on and leaves, we see that the vice-principal coming out from the cubicle and wondering that Hibiki’s a man. Yup, throughout the series she’ll be suspicious of Hibiki and will try to expose Hibiki as a man, though she isn’t really that sure.
 
While the girls are taking their physical exams and the boys overhearing those ‘juicy’ details in joy (yeah, some ‘nice body contest’), except Akira, when it’s Fuuko’s turn, he switched the device off. Oh this guy, he seems to ‘care’ for Fuuko in a way, though he doesn’t show it openly. Meanwhile, the vice-principal orders Hibiki to take a physical exam herself, much to Hibiki’s horror. Yeah, her first attempt into exposing Hibiki as a man. So as Hibiki undresses, a doctor comes in to examine. Later when the doctor reveals to the headmistress and the vice-principal that Hibiki’s a fine woman with a nice body, the vice-principal’s in shock and couldn’t believe what she’s just heard. It’s later revealed that the doctor is one of grandma’s friends and he told the doctor the situation so as not to get Hibiki fired. You know why lah. So a close call there for Hibiki. And as for those 2 perverts, yeah, they’ve been planning to watch the girls taking their physical exam. But you also know what happened lah. They arrived too late after misinterpreting the time of the exam.
 
Hibiki’s students are fighting among themselves in episode 6. No, it hasn’t escalated into that boys vs girls thing yet. But more like the guys fighting among themselves over some disagreement as well as the girls (about that boyfriend and jealousy thing). Of course Hibiki tries to calm the situation and one of them by hearing each and everyone of them out. Hmm… it’s like a one-to-one interrogation but the students are voicing their displeasure over the other person they don’t like about his/her bad habits. But the situation didn’t improve as you could feel the tension even during class.
 
Meanwhile since Hibiki’s class is gonna have their first PE lesson using the pool, the vice-principal sees this as another opportunity to expose Hibiki and allows him to take both the boys and girls in 1 class. And initially, she was against this. Because so, Hibiki has to get into a swimsuit. Would that be too revealing? Yeah, earlier on, Hibiki’s shopping by himself when he noticed himself staring and admiring at women’s lingerie and swimsuits. Is he turning into a woman or becoming a pervert? Or both? Anyway, with some help from grandma, I’m not sure how all that padding helps to conceal Hibiki’s a man. But it did the job.
 
At the pool, Hibiki instructs his students to take out all their frustrations as this would be the perfect chance. And that’s what they did. So some fighting here and there but nothing really serious. Some blurting out such as ‘you’re such a ~’ and such. The vice-principal who’s watching didn’t approve of the situation but Hibiki says it’s okay for them to take out their frustrations. In her fury as she’s gonna expose Hibiki’s fake boobs, she slipped and fell into the pool. Because it ruined her make-up she got out and ran away. Well, I guess her plans been delayed again.
 
The whole bunch stopped fighting when Fuuko grabs everyone’s swimming caps and says she’d one because she’s the last one standing as everyone breaks into laughter. But Aoki accidentally got knocked off and doesn’t seem to resurfaced. It’s revealed that Aoki doesn’t know how to swim as Akira dives down to grab and rescue him. Once over, we see them all apologizing to each other and admitting their faults and mistakes and they all become friends again. What a relief.
 
Oh yes. Mori and Tofu were up to their no good again as they tried to dig their way from the beach to the school’s swimming pool. But grandma misled them using some magnetic thing to lead them astray. And the funny part was when the 2 thought they’ve reached the school’s pool area, they realized and found grandma in her bathing suit in some inflatable pool bathing at some construction site with that cheeky look. Yeah, they both fainted. Hahaha. Another failure.
 
Fuuko’s devastated in Episode 7. Why? Because she heard that her beloved Hibiki is gonna get engaged! What the? Who, what, when, where, why. It seems that the director has arranged some sort of omiai (a formal arrangement where 2 people who’re gonna get engaged and married meet) between Hibiki and his nephew, Yoshio Tokugawa. Though Hibiki says he isn’t looking for a husband (it’s kinda awkward position for him, isn’t it) but the director really insists and so Hibiki’s got no choice though.
 
So there’s a lot of spacing out and uncertainty from Fuuko as well as Hibiki. And this time grandma doesn’t seem to be interested to help Hibiki with his problems because you know why lah. And she even thinks that the director’s nephew has lots of money and if Hibiki marries him, he could use that money and pay his dues. Uh-huh.
 
Meanwhile Fuuko plans on spying on Yoshio as her other friends tag along. As they hid and spy on his every move, at the park, Yoshio met the male Hibiki and had a chat. Actually the former was driving his car when he nearly collided with Hibiki. And at first you might that’s blood on his shirt, actually it’s just the juice he spilled from the vending machine. Then Fuuko and the rest may be thinking that he is gay because he’s talking with that bra-man. Well, their fears confirmed as Yoshio hugs Hibiki in joy after their chat. Oh no! More misinterpretation. And Fuuko’s feeling bad for the female Hibiki that Yoshio is cheating on ‘her’ with this male Hibiki (don’t you just feel the weirdness).
 
On the day of the omiai, not only the director, Yoshio and the female Hibiki were there but the headmistress and the vice-principal as well. Okay, so are Hibiki’s ‘concerned’ students, who’re in the next room spying and eavesdropping their conversation. Another one of vice-principal’s scheme to expose Hibiki as a man by asking Hibiki to take off his voice choker as it is rude to wear such accessories during an omiai. No choice he has to take it off. Now he can’t speak or else. So he’s stuffing his mouth with food so as not to say a single word.
 
Meanwhile, because those kids were eavesdropping so intensely that the wall barrier between the room collapsed and they all fell onto the lunch. Aww man, wasted food. What do you expect if everybody’s leaning against the wall. Just then Hibiki puts back his choker and says whose idea was it to ruin ‘her’ omiai. Fuuko admits and apologizes but Hibiki wasn’t mad at her and just smiles. Looks like he’s grateful in a way. And it seems that Yoshio admits that he has fallen in love with another girl and wants to marry her (yeah, that talk in the park earlier on was something about this and be true to his feelings kinda thing). Well, I supposed that the director felt since if his nephew was going to be happy that way, so be it.
 
What about Mori and Tofu, you asked? And since grandma didn’t intervene in this one, do you think they got away scot-free? Nope. They made a blunder by themselves. They’re supposed to watch Hibiki’s omiai as window cleaners but they got the wrong building instead. Hahaha.
 
In episode 8, one of Hibiki’s male students, Naruo Shiro, is being accused of taking one of the teacher’s pay. Well, since this isn’t your high-tech school so the salary isn’t really credited into their accounts. And I suppose they don’t know what a cheque is so they didn’t write one. And even if they did it’ll be tiring and long, don’t you think? So the teacher’s salary is paid in cash. Yes, cold hard cash. And Hibiki’s always relishing this moment.
 
How did it happened? Well, Hibiki forgot to take her attendance book to class so he sent Naruo to go get it. But in the teacher’s room (nobody’s there except him) after Naruo retrieved it, he saw that envelope with money in it on one of the teacher’s desk, lying there. Oh those eyes and the way they portray the scene. Makes you think that Naruo was the one that did it. Or did he not. Well, we won’t find out so soon because the scene changed right after that. Plus, the vice-principal saw Naruo walking out from that room and she became suspicious.
 
Later, the vice-principal calls Naruo to her office and accuses him of stealing the money, but Naruo say he’s not aware of what’s going on. Hibiki tries to reason with them but it seems that the headmistress and the vice-principal isn’t going to listen any further. Aoki who overheard this, rushes back to class and told the boys about it. But the girls think that it’s the boys fault since they’re being mischievous. Yup, earlier on too the boys accidentally left some rag on some statue of the headmistress’s grandma and the latter ticked them off for not showing respect. Hmm… Probably no wonder why the headmistress wants to accuse the boys. Yeah, you know her character.
 
So there’s lots of resistance from the boys as they defend Naruo. No doubt that they’re not sure he did it or not but they felt that the female teacher’s actions and the way they treat Naruo isn’t fair. Yeah, so much so that the boys formed some sort of protest group. You know that typical, wear the headband, lots of banners and signs of protest and shouting words of equality and such. Firstly they want the headmistress to stop suspecting Naruo and apologize to him and secondly they want equality between the boys and girls. Uh, it’s quite rare to see guys fighting for gender equality as it’s always the other way round.
 
But the headmistress is threatening to call the police and take those boys into custody. But what’s stopping her? Looks like the boys has taken that statue ‘hostage’. And the headmistress faints when they use a red marker and draw on it. To her horror, she has no choice but to back down for now. And the boys are pretty adamant and they’re not quitting until they get what they’ve achieved. Looks like the school’s been temporarily closed. And Fuuko felt a little pity and went to the school at night to give the boys some food.
 
Later Naruo meets Hibiki at the teacher’s room and apologizes for everything. Is this what I think it is? Yeah, he admitted he wanted to give the vice-principal a hard time but says he didn’t stole it as he just hid it nearby. Unfortunately, the place he hid it was sent to the garbage incinerator. Akira and Fuuko who happened to pass by and heard this of course felt mad since the truth is out. But it’s no use. So how? Hibiki went home to get some help from grandma.
 
The next day, the vice-principal along with the director has brought many policemen to arrest the boys. And what do you know. Mori and Tofu in some Ultraman mask launches some fake attack on the policemen and a huge brawl ensues. Fuuko calls everybody she knows and asks them to come to school. Yeah, everybody just did that. Meanwhile Hibiki uses his salary and pretends that it’s the stolen money and admits that it’s her male students that has taken them and gives it back to the headmistress. So would she forgive them? Of course not but Hibiki blames her male-hating character and says that it’s her fault.
 
At the same time, once the brawl is over, the policemen along with the vice-principal and the director head to where the protest is only to find the place being cleaned up and all the students sitting nicely in their class room, as though a protest never took place. So those adults got confused and the vice-principal thinks she’s really getting old. While Hibiki’s glad that nobody got punished, we see Mori and Tofu sitting in prison crying. Hahaha. Looks like the 2 are paying their dues of what they owed to grandma.
 
Episode 9 is a little light-hearted. The whole school takes some camping trip to Hokkaido. This episode is mainly on the love and crushes of some of the characters in this series. Actually, there’ve been hints of certain characters who like a certain boy/girl through their body language and the way they talk when they’re near their loved one. Things like that. But I didn’t bother to blog them because it may seem trivial for that particular episode. However, such small trivial matters help in the build-up of the storyline.
 
So it’s like this. Aoki likes Hibiki and plans to confess to ‘her’ during the trip. Yeah, he looked like a mad psycho perverted bull, trying to confess to Hibiki. And Hibiki’s frantically running away from Aoki’s ‘advances’. Other love-birds include Iwaya and Seiko, and Fujio having a crush on Akira though the latter doesn’t realize it. And just like in this case, we know deep down in Akira’s heart, he likes Fuuko but she doesn’t know of it either. I wonder why would such a guy like such a clumsy girl. Maybe it’s her selflessness. In addition, Fujio doesn’t know Fuuko’s the person that Akira has his eyes on, though she knows that he likes somebody else other than her. Well, Miho’s got her own boyfriend already so no need to think further than that.
 
Thus, a lot of that blush blush, shy shy, talking in riddles, want to say but cannot say kinda situation. Makes you feel frustrated. But I’ve got to learn to be patient, this things take time. Other than some private moments between Akira and Fujio, there were also some between Fuuko and Hibiki. Yeah, it’s kinda awkward a student trying to tell her teacher how much she loves her and it’s not that student-teacher kinda love. But the thing is, Hibiki too seems to take a liking for Fuuko. Yeah, he’s starting to fall for her but didn’t realized it. And they’re about to kiss when grandma comes busting in with her bike and interrupted them. What the? It seems she there’s a branch of Gochisou in the mountains too and she owns the whole area!
 
At the same time it’s starting to rain, Akira and Fujio took refuge in a hut near the lake. Well, they had to spend the night there since it’s dark and they may get lost if they try to find their way back to camp. The next morning when the 2 finally does, the vice-principal is mad at them for doing such a shameful thing. But Hibiki told her that it’s a natural thing to do when 2 people are in love, much to her shock.
 
The next morning at some assembly, the vice-principal’s giving her speech on the camping trip and mentioned nothing has happened. But Hibiki quickly took the microphone from her and starts talking about love and all those kinda stuffs. Yeah, some love realizing lecture like sharing your dreams, be true to your feelings. We’ve all heard this many times before, right? I think Hibiki’s trying to do this because he thinks the vice-principal is trying to control the student’s love life and making them hate each other. I think. And everyone in the hall seems to be confused. What’s the sudden outburst of this topic? And it seems the vice-president frantically tries to get back to microphone but her efforts were in vain.
 
Then grandma comes in by saying that Akira and Fujio are innocent and that they did nothing suspicious or wrong. Oh well, in a way the good news is that at least there’s a witness to clear their name. But the bad news is, it’s confirmed everybody knew that they’re together. Why would everyone believed that grandma? I guess it’s better than believing some arrogant bitchy (sorry again) vice-principal. Soon they packed their bags and prepared to leave for home. And there’s some spacing out and sad look from Fujio. And Akira’s still got his mind on Fuuko. Though, Fuuko finally wanted to confess to Hibiki in the end, but she didn’t manage to finish her sentence as that near-kissing flashback stopped her.
 
Oh yeah, what happened to those 2 perverted blokes, you ask? Well, at first they decided to hitch a ride to Hokkaido. And several pretty girls picked them up in some convertible. But because those 2 were enjoying their company so much that they forgot where they were headed and they ended up somewhere else far far away. Dumb guys. They should’ve just stayed with those pretty ladies. Unless… don’t tell me they like school girls. Oh, those paedophile perverts.
 
Episode 10 is a little grim. Well, at least at the end of it. This episode mainly focuses on Akira and Fujio. Well, I’ve said it before, blush blush, shy shy and all those other I-want-to-say-it-but-I-can’t kinda body language. To cut things real short, Miho decides to set up Akira and Fujio together by writing some note saying to meet at the school’s rooftop.
 
Once the 2 met they had some chat here and there. You don’t want to hear all those lovey-dovey details. Well, actually I wasn’t paying attention either. Looks like Miho instead of being a busybody decided to just leave those 2 alone to settle things themselves. So finally Fujio confesses to Akira that she loves him. Finally. She also asked that would it be all right if he’d become her boyfriend. But Akira told her he’s sorry because there’s another person that he’s in love with and left. Fujio’s been dumped! Oh, the heartbreak. It must be very painful. Of course lah. Quite sad to just see her standing there with those tears in her eyes, staring blankly.
 
As Akira made his way downstairs, he bumps into Fuuko. And it’s deja vu again. Yup, it’s Akira’s turn. He confessed to her that he loves her and wonders if she could be his girlfriend. Fuuko’s in a shock to hear those words from Akira. But to make things worse, Fujio who’s coming downstairs too, overheard this. And now she knows that the person Akira likes is no other than her friend. Oh the double shock! How many of us have been through the same similar situation like this? Fujio runs back upstairs to find another exit.
 
As Miho was waiting outside and getting ready for her big success reaction and treat, instead it was Fujio in tears. Oh well, so much for the treat. Miho comforts Fujio as she hugged her. While Akira and Fuuko are still staring at each other, Hibiki, who just happen to come out of the teacher’s room and saw them both. And it looks like as if Hibiki’s got that shocking reaction whereby it’s saying something like ‘the one I like has somebody else in mind’ as Hibiki also ran off. Haih… But as Akira presses Fuuko for an answer, she told him that she’s sorry. You know what that means. Yup, one bad/good deed deserves another. So Akira, it means you’re being dumped too.
 
The beginning of episode 11 sees that uneasy tension and spacing out between Fuuko and Fujio. Yup, those 2 couldn’t see each other eye to eye, though they haven’t really talked about that incident. I guess they’re assuming it like that. Yeah, ASS-U-ME. Hahaha. Also, Hibiki seems spaced out and uncertain about his feelings. As for Mori, he seems to be sad because he lost his job as he took too many leaves. Serves him right. He’s also sad because he won’t get to see his female colleagues in short skirts. But Tofu comforts him and says that there’ll be plenty of other girls around. Yeah, even at such times those 2 can be so care-free.
 
Other than that, at the school assembly, the vice-principal is making an announcement to all the students to take extra precaution as there’s a kidnapping spree going on recently. Thus, Hibiki forms and divides his class into groups. Meaning when the students come and leave school, they have to come in a group of 3 or so.
 
But one day, Fuuko didn’t manage to arrive for the first period of Hibiki’s class. According to Miho, she told Hibiki that she had something to do first and went ahead. Of course, Hibiki told her that would defeat the meaning of having the group system. As time passes, Fuuko didn’t turn up and those who noticed it are starting to get worried. When thoughts that Fuuko may have been kidnapped, they pushed the panic button and started frantically to search for her. Hibiki then asks grandma for her help too.
 
A change of scene sees Fuuko sitting on a chair in some dark room filled with candles and a guy dressed like KKK approaches her, telling her not to be afraid. Meanwhile, grandma sends Kura-ge to help Hibiki, much to his disappointment. I wonder how the taxi driver knows where to go. Yeah, grandma send that dog through a cab. Huh? Anyway, Hibiki lets Kura-ge smell Fuuko’s keychain that he found in some alley. And after some sniffing, off they go as Hibiki follows Kura-ge.
 
At the same time, Fujio and Akira noticed some black van and heard rumours about it stalking women. But when they opened the doors, to their surprise it’s Mori and Tofu! Ah, those 2 are up to no good again. But the thing is, they didn’t kidnap Fuuko as she’s no where to be seen.
 
Finally when Kura-ge arrived at some building and starts barking at it, Hibiki rushes in to see Fuuko and that KKK man there. Hibiki, thinking that he’s the kidnapper starts to grab him. As confused and surprised Fuuko was to see Hibiki there, she eventually explained that she wasn’t kidnapped. She came here on her own to seek advice over her fortune. Yup, there’s a sign in front of the building saying ‘House Of Psychic Reading’. Therefore, Fuuko didn’t meant to be late as she tried to wake up that man earlier on. Huh? That desperate is it? But during the tussle, that man dropped some candle and the tent inside caught fire.
 
But as the fire spread rapidly, a ceiling plank is threatening to drop on Fuuko. Hibiki grabs her, and used his body to protect Fuuko, as he soon passes out. Outside, Akira and Fujio as well as Mori and Tofu arrived to see the building in flames. And then here’s the exaggerated part. Grandma arrives in her bike and then just like Transformers, her bike transformed into some sort of mecha and gushes water to put out the flames. What the?! Okay, at least it did put the fire out. Then to everyone’s relief, they saw Fuuko coming out carrying an unconscious Hibiki. Yup, looks like she saved him as she’s smiling. Yup, she affirmed herself that she’s in love with her teacher, and it doesn’t matter if she’s a female.
 
In episode 12, while Hibiki (who’s still in female dress) is recuperating in hospital gets a visit by Fuuko. But before that, the vice-principal is up again with another one of her schemes, holding a camera in hand. Just as she arrived at Hibiki’s room, Mori and Tofu sweeps her away and locks her in another room far far away. Looks like now they’re on Hibiki’s side. But this isn’t the end yet. The vice-principal noticed that she can see Hibiki’s room across from where she is now. Oh oh.
 
So Fuuko’s visit has some of that ‘hesitating talk’ with Hibiki. Then as Fuuko tries to reach out to Hibiki and her hand touches his, Hibiki moved and caused Fuuko to drop on top of him on the bed. Some staring there before Hibiki raises his hand to Fuuko’s face and leans forward. Yup, they’re gonna KISS AGAIN!!! But before that could happen, Akira comes in. Has he ever heard of knocking first? But did he saw that? Maybe. He looks kinda shocked as Fuuko and Hibiki pulled away from each other quickly and recomposed themselves. And after some short chat, Akira and Fuuko walked home together. Another round of those ‘hesitating talk’.
 
Back at the hospital, while Hibiki reflects over things like being in love with one of his students and that awkward position of being a man and a women, we see the vice-principal happily snapping her photographs. Oh no. The start of things to come. Yup, you can say that this is the turning point.
 
That’s because the next day when Hibiki’s been discharged, back at school the vice-principal calls the entire school and even the director himself for a special announcement. She then invites Hibiki up to the stage to make her speech. But before Hibiki could say a word, the vice-principal then starts saying about that all-female teacher’s philosophy and points out that Hibiki isn’t qualified to teach because ‘she’ IS A MAN!!! Everyone’s in real shock. But they think that she’s joking. The vice-principal then lowers a large screen and proceeds to show the assembly of the photos she took whereby Hibiki removes his make-up. Now the crowd is starting to sweat.
 
The vice-principal continues saying that Hibiki’s doing all this so that he can perform filthy acts on his students, as she shows the photo where Hibiki and Fuuko nearly kissed. DOUBLE SHOCKER!!! Fuuko’s devastated as she drops the cookies she baked for Hibiki. Oh dear. The person she loves is also the person she hates. It’s like loving the angel who’s the devil and vice versa. And those who know the bra-man now knows it’s the female Hibiki teacher as well. Oh, please stop, please stop. Hibiki then unplugs the power to the screen and says that Fuuko has got nothing to do with it.
 
As the director says that Hibiki really does sound like a female, the vice-principal then snatches away Hibiki’s choker and asks him to speak through the mike. Now he’s really in a pinch as everyone watched in great unbelievability (if there’s such a word). Then from the rooftop, Hibiki saw grandma putting up some banner saying that the mike has got that voice choker in it too. But Hibiki didn’t say a word. Instead he just bowed and left the stage. Everyone is still stunned except for the vice-principal who’s smiling as though as she’d won.
 
So there’s this tension and doubtfulness between the students especially those in Hibiki’s class. They’re all saying how if they thought that if they knew ‘she’s’ a he that they won’t probably go near him. Yeah, it seems that a gender war is about to ensue as the girls now doesn’t trust the boys and back to the thinking that they’re nothing but perverts, much to the boys anger.
 
Back at the headmistress’s office, now her ideals of forming an all-girls school will soon be realized as she proposed it to the director. Looks like even the director has no choice after witnessing such event, though he seems reluctant. While Fuuko’s picking up those cookies, several boys came along and teased her. But Fuuko didn’t do anything and continues picking up the crumbs. Akira got mad at them and started to bash them properly but Fujio tries to stop him. And then he said something like how they don’t know what it feels like when your love is not returned and why Hibiki has to betray Fuuko like this, surprising Fujio a little. Fuuko’s still picking up her cookies like as though her feeling’s numb already. Akira then runs off.
 
Back at Gochisou, Hibiki is packing his bags and decides he’ll leave town soon. Grandma asks why he didn’t use the mike, he says that he couldn’t deceive them anymore. Looks like he’s overcome with guilt. You could see it through his eyes and body language. Maybe in a way too, it’s all wrong.
 
So the grim final episode 13 starts off with Fuuko and Hibiki summarizing how it ended up like this. While the school is handling lots of incoming calls about a male dressed as a female teacher, a lot of that uneasy atmosphere too even though school is going on normally. Mostly, the students are still reeling from that shock. And they give ‘that look’ to Hibiki everytime they pass or see him.
 
The tension between the boys and girls are starting to heat up but it’s all just lip service and doesn’t turn into a fist fight. They all couldn’t believe it. They all couldn’t forgive for what has happened. A demoralized Hibiki’s packing the last of his stuff as grandma tries to talk to him. Grandma even asked him to at least go collect his final payment. Can’t she think anything else other than money? However, I’m sure she has some other plans when she said that. Yeah, later she went over to the headmistress’s office to collect the payment on his behalf and at the same time had some chat with her. But Hibiki’s quite adamant on his decision not to go as her feels he doesn’t deserve it. And then some last farewell celebration with Mori and Tofu which doesn’t seem like a celebration at all to Hibiki.
 
The next day as the headmistress calls each and every parent and the students for a special assembly, she’s gonna make the school into an all-girls school now and replays that photo scene again and goes over what silly things Hibiki has introduced during her term like asking the girls to wear bloomers. All the parents seem to agree and may even pass a unanimous vote to turn the school into that. But then, grandma came in and interrupted the vice-principal’s speech and tells the crowd that even though Hibiki has deceived them as a female, have they forgotten about the lessons that he thought them, was his lessons all lies? It made the students realized that they’re wrong to just judge him by his outlook. I mean look at it this way too. If the entire school was made into an all-girls school, who’d do all those chores, right?
 
Fuuko then stood up and heads for the stage and grabs the mike and goes on telling them all how much she has achieved because of Hibiki, how she wouldn’t got this far if not for him. As the vice-principal tries to take the mike back from Fuuko, all the students and parents in the hall stood up in agreement over Fuuko’s speech. Yeah, they all finally realized all the good Hibiki’s done for them and that they’ve let this gender thing blinded them and prejudiced him. All of Hibiki’s class then rush up on stage and tries to have their say. It’s like a mad scramble for the mike as they poured out their true thoughts and feelings.
 
The vice-principal then instructs the policemen to stop and remove them. But before they can do it, they heard a female Hibiki voice like from a far away PA system thanking them for everything and such. They all rushed out to the rooftop and saw from the direction of Gochisou, Hibiki with the help of Mori and Tofu delivering her message there. The students seemed quite sad and repent as Hibiki delivers his last speech and proceeds to remove all those female make-up and clothing and revealing his male self. Then he goes off. Even Mori and Tofu were so sad and crying.
 
With that the students then try to go after Hibiki and think that they can still catch him. What’s this. Akira taking Fuuko’s hand as they ran with Fujio looking on happily. Did she accept him? Or is it just a friendly gesture thing? Anyway, as they raced down through the streets, Hibiki’s already boarding the train. Wah so fast reached there already ah. Fujio stops an old man on his bicycle and says that she needs to borrow it for awhile. She gives it to Akira as he peddles with all his might with Fuuko sitting behind.
 
How can a bicycle run as fast as a train? But it’s good to know the shortcuts in the city because you can get ahead of the train at certain points when needed. Well, that’s what Akira did but in the last stretch, the bike tripped and they both fell off and tumbled. Akira asked Fuuko to run as the train’s passing the bridge soon. As Fuuko rushes there, the train passes by and Hibiki manage to catch a glimpse of Fuuko, who suddenly tripped. But they smiled to each other before the train leaves town and her sight.
 
Then as the director leaves the school, we see grandma talking to the headmistress that long ago there’s a male teacher who was like that too, the one that abandoned her and left school and says that one who’s been watching over her all these years in a disguise. The headmistress was taken aback a little with those words. Could it mean that? Could it be that grandma’s A HE TOO???!!! Oh my, another cross-dresser. And I would never have guessed it. But looks like that all-girls school thing has been put off. Finally as Fuuko stood there smiling she mentions that one day Hibiki will definitely come back. And when he does, he’ll come back in his true form. Well, I certainly hope he will.
 
Overall, I kinda like this series. It’s quite a heart warming one especially towards the end. I was having goosebumps and I nearly felt like crying while watching the last episode. It was sad that it didn’t turn out the way that I wanted but I suppose it’s for the best. Not to say that the ending is bad, but I wished that Hibiki could stay on and continue teaching his fellow students.
 
As usual, the drawing, art and animation are pretty okay. Not the best drawing in the world, but it’s not like that all of the characters here looked super pretty nor do they look super ugly. Just in between. The voice acting too is kinda ok. So probably it’s the storyline and the character developments which drives me to watch the series. Yeah, with some few comical moments here and there, maybe there isn’t much for some of the other characters to develop in this short series but at least I could say there are for the main ones. I felt that the love triangles weren’t the main focus of the series and it just serves as a build-up to the storyline.
 
As for the characters, I would say that grandma’s character and her role is quite the coolest one. Especially when she shoots with her pistols, though she rarely uses them. I also like Mori and Tofu’s character not because they’re perverted but because they’re funny (okay, maybe it’s because of the pervertness, but that’s not the point). The headmistress and the vice-principal are characters that I you would love to hate.
 
I kinda find that the mid-intermissions a little weird, though there’s nothing wrong with it actually. It’s just the series’ logo rotating and some voice saying "I My Me, Strawberry Eggs". And I still don’t know how the title’s related. Also the titles of each episode are somewhat named after women’s make-up or accessories or things like that, making it in a way, unique and ‘fitting’.
 
But the main thing are the lessons that you could learn from this series. Such as the usual, do not judge a book by its cover and forgiveness. It’s amazing that if a person does 100 good deeds, nobody remembers them. But it just take 1 bad deed for that person to be remembered and probably for a long time too. Just like in real life. Also the series touched a little bit on homosexuality and cross-dressing, which I don’t think it’s a big thing here. But remember it’s still the inside that counts.
 
So I would surely recommend those of you to watch this series mainly for those life lessons and maybe for some laughs here and there. Hmmm… Maybe the ending isn’t that bad after all.