NHK Ni Youkoso

April 28, 2007

Have you ever wondered or felt why certain things don’t go as the way it should? Especially those where it involves certain procedures. Maybe it’s because you’re not smart enough. Or is it because there’s a conspiracy surround it all. You must be a paranoid person to think that everyone has something up against you. Well, it’s something like that in NHK Ni Youkoso or AKA Welcome To NHK.
But whatever conspiracies from the government or the media body isn’t the case here in this 24 episode series. This is more like a psychological thriller and drama mix it with some elements of comedy and a little teensy weensy bit of ecchi. Ecchi? Don’t worry, it isn’t serious. But there are.
So the main protagonist is the 21 year old Tatsuhiro Satou who is a hikikomori (a Japanese term for a recluse) because he thinks that there is a conspiracy against him. As explained in the first episode, he’s strongly into his 3rd year and running as a hikikomori and also a NEET (Not currently engaged in Employment, Education or Training). Yeah, he just stay locked up in his room day and night all year round. So his apartment is a pig sty. Messy and unkempt.
How did he come to be like this? Something like hearing voices in his head and because of this, he quit college 3 years and all cut connections with the outside world. Also he had a bad experience then like how he tried to save a fellow student from being bullied but ends up getting beaten up real bad. No doubt that bully victim was grateful, I guess this was too much for Satou. Perhaps he wanted to impress his sempai, Hitomi Kashiwa, the president of the 2 member literature club (guess who is the other member) who also believed that there’s a conspiracy going on in this world. Didn’t turn out too well for him.
Uh-huh, so you’ll see his wild imaginations of the conspiracies against him. And throughout the series, you’ll see him having some analysis over things, psycho-ing himself with all that negative stuffs that might happen and such. You’ll also think that he’s a crazy guy when you see his furniture and appliances start talking back to him and trying to convince him about the conspiracies against him. Plus, the conspiracy is represented by some odd looking monkeys with odd sounding laughters which reminds me of those in Dr Seuss’s children story books. Furthermore, he thinks that the TV broadcasting organization NHK (Nippon Housou Kyoukai) is actually an abbreviation for Nippon Hikikomori Kyoukai (Japanese Recluse Organization) and is also part of the conspiracy thing.
But Satou isn’t having the time of his life as a hikikomori. Yeah, his neighbour is blasting away some magical girl song all day all night like some marathon. Purupurupuru rin… Purupurupuru rin… It really gets to you. Soon the door bell rings and Satou at first thinks of not answering it. But he thought that it’s the electricity man and doesn’t want his power to be cut, so he has no choice but to answer it. He saw a cute girl, Misaki Nakahara, who’s rather shock to see Satou’s condition as well. But Misaki’s aunt bumps in and hands over some info pertaining to hikikomori. Of course Satou freaks out because he hasn’t contacted anybody for a long time and wonders if this woman knows anything about him.
After they’ve left and the ‘meeting’ with Misaki, this prompts Satou to clean himself up a bit and decides to go look for a part time job. That’s a big step for a hikikomori. He walks by a manga cafe and thinks he should apply for one here. To his horror, he saw Misaki at the counter there. Fate? Because he was nervous, he went on lying about bikes instead of applying for the job and soon heads back home, accidentally dropping his letter there.
Back home, more of those ecchi imaginations and Misaki as a nun…?! But the doorbell rings and Satou saw Misaki through the peephole much to his surprise. By the time he opens the door, she’s gone. But she leaves a letter saying that he’s been selected for a project and tells him to meet her at the nearby park at 9pm tonight. Later that night, Satou’s at the park with his usual pessimistic analyzing of things when Misaki shows up. It seems she knows Satou is suffering from hikikomori and tells him that she can help him recover from it.
So what is Misaki’s cure for Satou? Throughout the entire series, it wasn’t so much of what Misaki’s cure is, but rather Satou’s misadventures with the other characters and how he came to realize it all. At first it all seemed so simple. I mean, it’s like a one on one tutor/counselling class at night at the park with Misaki lecturing to Satou certain points here and there from her notebook. Satou of course, he’s like he has to listen all this. Not that I really understand what she says, though. I thought there was gonna be some twist to this tutor thing, like perhaps a prelude to something much bigger. But in the end, if you think about it, Misaki’s cure is actually just her notes and lecture to Satou! Nothing more than that. But that’s not the important thing throughout the series.
So like in episode 2, Satou’s life takes a turn for the worse (or better if you look at it in the very long run) when Misaki tries to persuade him to sign some contract between them. Of course Satou denies he’s a hikikomori and refuses to sign the contract. This is the first series of lies that will lead Satou from one thing to another. See, how bug a little lie can get. Satou’s lying continues when he even try to further deny that he’s a hikikomori by saying that he works from home and is a game creator. But the cool and patient Misaki doesn’t really believe him and asks him to bring the contract tomorrow.
Satou’s panicking of what to do back at home when he got fed up of his neighbour’s loud blasting song and barges in there to tell him off. To his surprise, Satou recognizes him as Kaoru Yamazaki, that school bully victim he saved years ago. Yamazaki too recognizes him and is happy to see him. So some catching up like how we find out Yamazaki’s an otaku bishoujo freak and is currently studying in some course to make pc games. Uh-huh, Yamazaki’s room is filled with posters, figurines, CDs and mangas right to the brim. After all that chat, Satou has an idea to make Misaki believe that he’s a game creator.
The next night, he ‘borrows’ some Game Product Introduction book and badly explains some terms. Though Misaki still doesn’t believe him, she asks him to show the product of his work. Oh oh. Satou’s now in a new mess. But he covers up by saying that it’s currently in progress and would be finish next month. Misaki agrees. Later, Yamazaki’s mad to find out all of this from Satou. But he’s not going to create a game for him, instead he’s asking him to help him make an eroge (erotic games) or galge (erotic girl games) together and asks him to write scenarios for it since he has no programming background. Now this is another find mess he’s gotten into.
So episode 3 sees how Satou got ‘addicted’ to porn. Yeah, that guy has no clue what to do and was suggested by Yamazaki to look up for some material references on the internet. He spend so much time playing hentai games and collecting porn pics that he hasn’t even started work on his scenario yet. Yeah, 120GB worth of porn pics!!! Satou even tries to take photos of high school girls because thinks he looks like an ugly pathetic filthy pervert. And to his horror, when he’s hiding behind some bushes and snapping away, Misaki was standing behind him! Oh the misconception and humiliation. But even with all the misunderstood perverted stuffs (like he managed to snap a pic of a girl’s undies when the wind blew her skirt up), Misaki still calmly thinks that Satou’s perfect for her project.
And in episode 4, Satou’s getting lazy in completing his scenario so with some little threatening from Yamazaki, he has no choice but to continue. Also, Yamazaki decides to bring Satou to several places to let him experience this anime thing like to a maid cafe and a doujinshi shop. It must be an eye opener for Satou. And that Yamazaki’s infatuated in buying all those Pururin stuffs. Also, Satou bumped into Kashiwa earlier on and they both had some catching up chat over a drink. Finally, Satou gets some inspiration and weird ideas by coming up with a character who’s a childhood friend, next door neighbour, maid, robot, ghost, alien and a reincarnation of a fox and some other outrageous scenarios, which Yamazaki got excited about and draws as it as Satou speaks. But since it look horrible, Satou refuses to come up with a scenario for her. Yeah, your all-in-one girl for a galge.
Besides some flashback and talk between Satou and Kashiwa in episode 5, Satou finally admits to Misaki that he’s a hikikomori and signs the contract. So the counselling starts tomorrow and if either fails to keep to the contract, a fine of 1 million Yen on the defaulter. I guess, Satou has no choice because he has no money like that too. And in episode 6, Satou becomes ‘jealous’ when he finds out from Misaki that Yamazaki may have a girlfriend and may be lying to him about his geek appearance and all that. So Satou decides to ‘visit’ the college where Yamazaki studies. Unfortunately, he accidentally got enrolled in one of the classes but pressed the panic button when he mistook the teacher’s laugh at his proposal as a mockery as Satou ran out of the classroom screaming conspiracy. Later, he saw Yamazaki talking casually with his supposed girlfriend, Nanako, and thinks that Yamazaki has been hiding things from him all this while when he soon finds out that Nanako said to her girlfriends that there is no way that such an otaku geek could become her boyfriend. Plus, Nanko’s in love with somebody else. Satou felt bad and later relates the whole thing to Yamazaki back at home. And when Satou informs Misaki about this, it seems that it was part of Misaki’s ‘experiment’ to use him and confirm her queries about it, much to Satou’s dismay. But if you look at it in a way, hasn’t Satou improved a little of his situation as a hikikomori as Misaki said. Yeah, he went out to public places without fear. More like jealousy at first.
Because of that, in episode 7, Satou fakes he has a flu and refuses to leave his home. But he got a call from his mom saying that she’ll come visit him and discuss about his future. So another big lie from Satou. He tells her that he has a big job and has a fiancee. Of course his mom wants to come down and see it all still. Big trouble. And to cover it all up, he asks Yamazaki’s help to create the fake company he’s working at and Misaki later volunteers to be his girlfriend. So Satou and Misaki had an ‘experimental date’ as Satou finds out a little more about Misaki so that he could know certain things about her when his mom asks. But he has trouble remembering (so do I) that her grandpa is French and all that. Much to Satou’s dismay, it seems Misaki knows a lot about him even though he never tells her like his phone number. Hmm…
Thus in episode 8, Satou’s mom, Shizue, comes and the big act begins. Later, Satou and Misaki brings Shizue to some Chinese restaurant and we find out a little about Satou’s childhood background. Even Misaki still try to convince that she’s Satou’s girlfriend, Shizue knows that everything is fake from the start because of Satou’s obvious nervous and irritated attitude accompanied with that guilty look. Seems he never change. Yeah, because Satou’s always causing mischief when he was young and getting scolded, he tries to shift the blame to someone else and find an excuse for himself. Bad boy. But I guess it can’t be help. Satou eventually admits all this but Shizue just told Misaki to take care of his son and might as well go on a real date since they’re here. And you know the inevitable, while the 2 are walking at some lover’s park, Misaki trips, falls into Satou’s arms, ahem ahem, embarrassed and blushing. Before you know it, they’re like gonna kiss when Satou’s handphone rings and spoils the mood and everyone around is annoyed. It seems it’s from Yamazaki and he’s furious that he waited at home and wasted an entire day for pretending to be Satou’s employee if Shizue ever calls the ‘company’. But it never happened. Satou apologizes and promises to make up for him.
So Satou’s tormented on his feelings towards Misaki in episode 9 so much so he can’t concentrate on writing the scenario. By the way, the female protagonist of the galge that Satou models after, Rei, looks so much like Misaki. Yeah, he can’t get her out of his head, literally. Meanwhile, Yamazaki asks Nanako to watch the fireworks with him but turns him down saying she has an audition. This prompts a crushed Yamazaki to remember something similar that happened to him when he was young. Only thing was instead of that girl visiting her grandpa, Yamazaki caught her with another boy who beat him up. Devastated and not wanting history to repeat itself, Yamazaki then drags Satou into this ‘problem’ by proclaiming that all women are their enemies. Thus, Yamazaki’s suspicious of Misaki and thinks that she may be trapping Satou. But Yamazaki’s view of women changed when Nanako calls him to say that her audition’s cancelled and they could go watch the fireworks together. So fast change. And Satou too watched the fireworks with Misaki, who looks ‘different’ and cute in her yukata.
Thus, in episode 10, Satou and Yamazaki decides to find out more about the mysterious Misaki by following her back to her home from the manga cafe where she works. To their surprise, she lives in a huge mansion on the hilltop. And what’s even shocking that the mansion overlooks the park where Satou has his counselling and has even a clear view shot of Satou’s apartment! Satou’s thinking that the reason why Misaki knows a lot about him was because she may be spying and observing him all along. Just then, Misaki came out and follows her aunt and a bunch of other people to some building. Since he got sick of it, Satou decides to go home. His hatred of Misaki’s betrayal must be burning. Because later that night, he showed up late at the counselling and angrily tells her that he’s quitting the session and doesn’t want to see her face anymore before running off.
Satou’s misadventures takes another turn in episodes 11-13. Besides Misaki wondering what went wrong with her counselling and Yamazaki thinking that they should only make a trial version of their game for the Natsucomi, we see Kashiwa, who’s working as a public servant, under stress. Yeah, she’s got a lecturing from her employer about just looking pretty. To make things worse, Kashiwa’s boyfriend, Jougasaki, has to put off their date because he’s got an important job. This causes Kashiwa to be depressed and be dependant on drugs. Kashiwa later calls Satou for a drink. The usual flashback and chat. Kashiwa really looking very depressed and down. As they both relate each other’s miseries, Kashiwa hands Satou some forms of the ‘Offline Meeting’ and says this is the only way out for all the conspiracies. Satou decides to follow Kashiwa, whether to heaven or hell (be careful of what you say). Yeah, he has a crush on her too and it goes way back to when they’re students but he never confessed. He follows her into her car. Misaki saw what’s going on from the hilltop but is too far to stop them.
To cut things short, the Offline Meeting is actually a suicidal meeting! Satou’s a little disappointed to find out that he’s not going to spend time alone with his sempai but there’re 3 other fellas who’s part of this meeting tagging along as well. Nomura, some failed doctor, Kusano, a kid who seems to be playing with his handheld game most of the time, and an elderly guy Minegishi, who owns a boat which took them all to a desolated island. Everybody here’s so lifeless and lethargic like as though it’s their last day on Earth. Why it is. Satou doesn’t realize what’s going on still as he tries to strike up a conversation with the rest but they seem uninterested and so ‘dead’. He realizes it all later that the gang came to this island to die and ‘enjoy’ their last day on Earth. Satou’s horrified but it’s too late to back out now. He can’t. Everytime he tries to make it seem to ‘delay’ their suicide, they have some sort of excuse. And that Satou ruined a perfect chance when he panics and pours all the boat fuel on the campfire. *Smack*. We also here their sad story why they decide to kill themselves. Meanwhile Misaki finds Yamazaki and relates the entire story to him when their conversation is overheard by Jougasaki.
So the trio that night with Jougasaki manage to rent a boat and head for the island. Better hurry because those people are going to jump off a cliff. Satou’s really worrying as he still tries to delay as they’re walking slowly towards to cliff top. A lot of that ‘no hope’ kinda talk. Finally, it’s time to jump! Is Satou’s gonna do it too? He’s really hesitating and reluctant. It’s really gloomy. Just as they’re about to jump, Kashiwa heard her fiancee calling her name. Looks like the trio arrived in time. And he manage to talk to them and bring them to their senses. Jougasaki even told Kashiwa that he wants to marry her. Kashiwa breaks down in joy. The words that she longed to hear.
Then this is the sad-funny part. When Satou realized that Kashiwa never really had feelings for him all this while, he now decides to kill himself. Then Misaki I think decides to play some reverse psychology or what by saying "You’re the first person that I’ve ever met who’s worse than the garbage of the person I am. A hikky lower than a stray dog. So please Satou, don’t die. I need you". Woah! Isn’t that just mocking him and those are just crocodile tears? But it seems Misaki’s emotions and feelings are true as she breaks down. Even Yamazaki told him that losers like them aren’t fit for such a dramatic death and his death would only be in vain. Just as Satou is about to walk away from the edge, he slips. But luckily the others manage to catch hold of him. Satou screams. I wonder is that scream a relief or disappointment. Well, at least nobody died.
So in the aftermath episode 14, Satou and Misaki at the beach when Satou is still angry at her and raises his fists. Unexpectedly, Misaki cringes and cowers in fear and shivering with her head under her protecting arms. Satou doesn’t know what it means but cools down and walks away. We also see them ‘recuperating’ from last night’s incident at some inn. Of course, the family members of the other trio were mad at them for doing such a crazy thing but if you look at it, they’re actually concerned and worried for them. Thus, each of them decided to use their capabilities to help solve and work out each of their problems. Well, at least a little hope there to carry on living. Before they left, Kusano told Satou about some online fantasy game, Ultimate Fantasy, whereby one could play and make money from it using RMT (real money trading) to trade the in-game money into real currency, which is perfect for Satou’s hikikomori state.
Later, Satou receives a letter from Misaki to meet her. And because Satou tried to kill himself, Yamazaki blames him for the Natsucomi failure. However, Satou’s thinking about the letter. And when he meets Misaki that night, she intends to fine him 1 million Yen but since she too had lied, she forgives him and they’re both even. Though Satou agrees to come back to the counselling, that night he receives a shocking phone call from his mom. What’s so shocking? His mom decides to cut his allowance because his dad’s ill. And the disgusting part was, I thought Satou’s horrified facial expression was towards his dad’s condition. But then later on, he’s actually horrified that it’s because he won’t be getting his usual allowance! What the?! What an ungrateful idiot! You deserve it.
Because of that in episodes 15-16, Satou decides to try the online RPG game Kusano suggested. In short, Satou became addicted and obsessed with it as he becomes skilful. So much so he didn’t do anything on his galge scenario, much to Yamazaki’s ire, nor did he attend his counselling. Yeah, it’s like as though he wants to live in this world. Probably that’s because he met and forms a party with another player, a catgirl named Mia, and the 2 go on adventuring, slaying monsters and collecting stuffs. He also met some mysterious little Monchichi-like creature giving him some ‘advice’ during the game. Satou really enjoys her company and looks forward to go adventuring with her and doesn’t give a damn about anything else. As the days pass by, Satou looks like a filthy unkempt loser! And his room is full of garbage bags. Even when Misaki tried to help him overcome his addiction by dressing up as a catgirl, Satou scolds her not to make fun of Mia. That @$$hole.
But all that and Satou’s fantasy world comes crashing down when Mia told him she wants to meet him and is coming over to his place now. To Satou’s horror, Mia is actually Yamazaki! OOOUUCCHHH!!! Yamazaki’s pretty cool telling him the facts of reality like how it all isn’t as easy as it looks. Satou freaks out and tells Yamazaki to get out of his room as he cries. He must be confused and upset. Yeah, it’s probably all a conspiracy buddy. Didn’t think of that, did ya. While Satou’s thinking of what to do next, he receives a phone call. No, not from his mom, but his ex-class rep, Megumi Kobayashi. She tells him that she has a surprise for him and wants him to meet her. Satou soon leaves just when Misaki arrives but to find nobody in.
So episodes 17-19 basically how Satou gets ‘conned’ by Kobayashi into a pyramid selling scheme! Yeah, Kobayashi claims she has a cure for Satou’s hikikomori. Before you know it, she takes him to some dilapidated house, supposedly some marketing company called Mouse Road, and some old fart starts preaching the good about his product and how it saves him. All those people there must be real gullible. Of course Satou knows that this is a bloody pyramid scheme and tries to back out but Kobayashi relates her sad story like how she can’t find a decent job after college and got tricked into doing some waitress job but that company closed down before she could receive any payment, leaving her in a lurch. Because Satou felt pity, he bought a few of those boxes from her. Yeah, her acting’s pretty good.
When Yamazaki and Misaki knew about this, they try to help Satou to return the products to get Satou out of debt too and call of the deal. They met at a restaurant but Kobayashi manage to change the subject and brainwash them into buying more of the products. She must a real good salesperson/conman or those 3 must be real dumb. I think it’s the latter. When Misaki later realized that they’ve been duped again, they decided to go to her house and return the products. Kobayashi’s reluctant to let them in until they threaten to call the police. While Satou’s signing the contract to get his refund, they heard some stomping from above. The 3 curiously went upstairs as Kobayashi tries to stop them. The moment they open the door, some guy at the pc freaks out runs and hides under the chair and at the same time scolds Kobayashi that he has told her countless times not to let anyone in. Satou and Yamazaki realized is that Monchichi guy in the RPG world. Well, it must be really shocking for Satou to see a hikikomori worse than him, huh?
So that sad story Kobayashi told earlier on had some truth in it. Her dad passed away and her bro just locked himself away playing his pc games. Thus she has no choice but to work like a dog. Soon Satou had some talk with her bro to make him realize things. Pretty ironic for his situation, huh? However, he’s just afraid of breaking the pattern or try something new. Satou and the rest then left the house. So things are back to normal with Satou and Yamazaki trying to complete their game when they saw on tv the Mouse Road company has been busted, its leaders arrested along with its members which includes Kobayashi. Because of that, her brother is starving back at home and no one answers when he calls out. With no alternative and hungry, he panics and crawls out to a nearby ramen shop begging to work for food. Once Kobayashi is released, she comes home to find him but isn’t there. We then see him doing some ramen delivery. See, a man can change. Kobayashi then thinks of going back to college. This is quite a heart warming episode. And I like the funny part where Misaki accidentally spilled some soup on Satou pants and proceeds to wipe it. And when Yamazaki comes in and saw the scenario, you know what lah. Hehehe.
I felt that the series is ‘killing off’ certain characters one by one. First it was Kashiwa, then Kobayashi, and now Yamazaki in episode 20. His dad’s sick and hospitalized and Yamazaki’s family wants him to go back and take over their farm business. Thus he has to quit college too. So those 2 guys spend their last nights together. Also before he leaves, Yamazaki decides to confess to Nanako about his otaku geek life. With Satou filming behind the curtains, to Yamazaki’s shock, Nanako seems to like him for his straightforwardness. What the? I thought she liked somebody else. Since Yamazaki’s going back, he doesn’t want to start anything with her and makes fun of her. Nanako felt infuriated and punches him before running away! Sometimes I don’t know how this people think.
So in episode 21, the duo manage to finish their game but their sales at Fuyucomi was a failure. Yeah, only sold 5 copies. Soon Yamazaki packs his bags and leaves for the train station. Well, that’s it from him. It’s Satou and Misaki now. And Misaki told him during that night’s counselling that there’ll be a test to see if he has learned anything. But the test involves hanging around in a crowded area. At the crowded area, Satou is panicking and his mind is going wild. Because of that he lost sight of Misaki and frantically searches for her, only to bump into Kashiwa. Hey, haven’t seen her for a while.
Satou and Kashiwa catch up on lost times in episode 22. Does Satou still have a crush on her? I mean those visits to the love hotel and Kashiwa getting all nude for him. Good thing that’s just his imagination. We also find out that Kashiwa’s gonna be a mom soon. Misaki manages to find Satou but in Kashiwa’s company saying farewell to her at the train station and spies on them. And I think Misaki’s rather jealous as she’s acting very cold towards Satou after that and lots of spacing out. She’s thinking that Satou may not need her anymore. And something about God and defeating Him. My perception of Misaki changed a little when she said something at the end of the episode "I’ve got Satou in my palms. Satou is my prisoner…". Woah. Misaki’s true colours are surfacing.
The penultimate episode 23 gets a little grim with Misaki quizzing Satou phrases of famous people and something about going back to one’s birthplace to die. Gasp! Misaki tells him his final exam is tomorrow whereby if he passes, he’ll graduate. Satou asks why, Misaki replies that she’s going far away. Gasp! Am I thinking what it is? But that exam seems like a date. So Satou graduates, gets a certificate, signs it and it says something like he’ll be with her for the rest of his life…?! It seems like a ‘forced love contract’ to me. Satou asks what’s it suppose to mean when Misaki says hasn’t he fallen for her since he’s lonely and that she’s all he’s got. Satou denies it all which causes Misaki to yell back that he’s a liar and that she’s lonely and he’s all she’s got before running away. Oh my.
Back at Satou’s apartment he’s seeing visions of Kashiwa, Yamazaki and Kobayashi asking him to give in to Misaki. Soon the events that follow like Satou’s dad seriously ill so his allowance is completely stopped, and Yamazaki too stopped sending food over to him from his farm, prompts a starving Satou to go look for a job. Yeah, no Misaki to come over all this while to bring him food too. Just like in Kobayashi’s brother’s case, Satou finally got a job as a traffic controller.
Then one night while walking home, he saw an ambulance heading towards Misaki’s mansion. There he saw Misaki being carried away on a stretcher. What’s happening? The next day he bumps into the mansion’s caretaker, supposedly Misaki’s uncle, and he explained things to Satou as he drives and bring him to the hospital where Misaki is. It seems that Misaki’s mom committed suicide when Misaki’s young by falling off some cliff. Thing is, Misaki saw that whole incident. Why did she do it? Misaki’s abusive step-dad use to hit her and her mom. Her mom couldn’t take the abuse anymore and killed herself. No wonder Misaki cowers in fear when Satou raises his fist. Plus, she dropped out of school and is living with her uncle and aunt at the mansion to save her from her abusive step dad. Satou must’ve realized it all now as things fell into place. And to think that his hikikomori condition was bad, Misaki’s even worse and she even kept quite and not make a fuss about it. Yeah, he’s been taking his hikikomori condition for granted and even admitted that being one is a luxury. See, one should not complain because there are others which are much more worse off than you.
At the hospital, they find Misaki’s missing but a note on her bed. With the way things were written on it, Satou to his horror thinks Misaki’s gonna go back to her hometown to die! Oh no! He frantically tries to get on the next train to catch her and even withdraws all his money to do whatever he can. Now at least it’s his turn to do some good. Hurry Satou, hurry! My heart sank when I watched this last scene. Is Misaki gonna be okay?
The final episode 24 has Satou finally arriving at the cliff where Misaki is supposedly gonna kill herself, just like her mom. According to the taxi driver, that cliff also attracted many suiciders though some cautionary works has been done to prevent further suicides. Satou finds Misaki sitting there and some emotional talk like how Misaki felt nobody needed her hence the reason she started this hikikomori project. Satou tries to convince her not to kill herself by saying he still needs her and even loves her! Desperate. Yeah, I understand. But Misaki still went ahead and jump only Satou manage to catch her and pull her to safety.
Then Satou uses his wild imagination to defeat the ‘final boss’ of NHK. Yeah, some poltergeist thing which reminded me of those in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Even Misaki’s seeing it. Satou tells Misaki about NHK and its conspiracies and says it’s all his fault for making Misaki wanting to kill herself and that he’s gonna sacrifice himself by destroying the final boss as he charges towards the cliff. He jumps off, Misaki’s watching in horror. Luckily, there’s a safety net just below the cliff, which means Satou’s still alive. As Satou climbs back up, an emotional Misaki slaps him and says that he shouldn’t do such a thing either. Once everything cools down, Misaki tells more about herself when she was young like how she use to live in the house nearby here and how she her real dad named her after the cape/cliff there. Yup, that’s what Misaki means in Japanese.
In the end, Satou moves out of his old apartment and into a slightly better looking one while continuing his traffic controlling job. He has also started to go back to college and Misaki attending high school. Ironically, Satou now becomes her tutor too. We also see Yamazaki quite happy with his farm life and currently engaged to a girl which look so much like Nanako. Also, Kashiwa gives birth to a healthy baby boy and is doing well. Finally, Misaki gives Satou another contract which she calls Nihon Hitojichi Koukankai (Japanese Hostage Exchange Meeting) whereby if one dies, the other will die as well. So it’s a way to keep them both alive. Though Satou doesn’t know how long it’ll all last, but at least he’s taking things in a positive step gradually and signs the contract. And finally Misaki says "Welcome to NHK".
Overall, I’m quite please with how everything turns out in the end. A good ending nevertheless and they tie up many things pretty nicely. I also like how they weave all the other characters and the plot into the series. Though I’m not sure if Satou’s really cured of his hikikomori, but I’m glad he made lots of progress during the series and is a better person now. And with Misaki by his side, what else more does he need. Nice character development from the main and side characters of the series. You could learn a lot from them.
So one of the important thing about all this is the true enemy within us. Yeah, it’s all in our mind. Also we should be happy and grateful with what we have and not complain so much. Though the drawing, art and animation seems pretty okay but at times, you’ll notice a drop in quality. But it isn’t that bad. I like the Satou and Misaki’s voice acting played by Yutaka Koizumi and Yui Makino respectively. It gives a ‘fitting’ feeling to their character roles. There may be a little nude scenes and dark scenes (scenes at night or dark places, that is. So you may have to strain your eye to see some details), but it isn’t anything serious.
One of the unique thing about this show is that each of the title of the series has ‘~ Ni Youkoso’ meaning ‘Welcome to ~’. Plus, the episode titles are shown at the end of the episode rather than in the beginning. If you’re a fan of insert songs, there are quite a in the series. Though some of them sound like some shaggy coarse roadside hermit singing. Just kidding. That’s at least what I thought when I first heard them.
The opening credits has that little psychedelic view and reminded me like it was from those flower power 70’s scene. The first ending theme, Odoru Akachan Ningen, is a really wild song. Yes, really really wild and weird. The singer’s screaming some whatever words and making weird monkey noises. The second ending, Modokashii Sekai No Ue De, sung by Yui Makino, is much better and I prefer this one.
In a nutshell, this series is for everyone. Yeah, I’d recommend it. Suitable from drama lovers to extreme recluse cases to otaku geeks to losers too. Plus, with cutie Misaki, it’s an all-in-one package. What?! Misaki a cutie. Well, if you ask me. Yeah… Oh no! It’s the end of my long-winded blog. IT’S A CONSPIRACY!!!


April 27, 2007

I call this show, ‘The Panty Showing Show’. Why? Based on the title that I’ve just given, you could have guessed that the anime series Ikkitousen, has lots of those fan service ecchi elements. Uh-huh. I felt that the producers did it on purpose just to satisfy those perverted fans (no, I’m not one of them). In every episode you can see a little slip, if not most of it, of the girl’s panties. And the way they show at a certain angle, makes it even obvious that it was ‘meant to be seen’.
But the main reason why I decided to watch this 13 episode series was because that there’re gonna be some cool fights. Of course, the usual comedy element which attracts me as well. Though there are some fight scenes, it wasn’t as grand as I thought it should be. Most of them have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the fan service thingy. Yeah, even in those fight scenes, lots of those too. Intentionally. In addition to it all, the girls here have oversized busty bouncy breasts. Uh-huh. No further explanations needed.
Also, there are some historical aspects in this series. I didn’t really study the classical Chinese literature, Romance Of The Three Kingdoms (ROTK), but it seems that this series the characters are supposed to be a reflection of those in ROTK. Yeah, at first it was kinda weird and confusing that those Japanese school kids have this Chinese ROTK names in addition to their Japanese names and I don’t know how true it is but by the end of each episode, you can hear the narrator narrating about their role in ROTK and its outcome. Not that I understand anything.
The basic storyline is something like this. In Japan, there’re 7 rival high schools who’re always battling each other for whatever supremacy. So much so the students have become highly skilled fighters. Gives you an impression that those delinquents don’t study and would rather fight one another. In addition, their lives, fate and destinies are controlled by some strange looking earpiece jewels called magatama. Yeah, another something which has got to do with ROTK. No not the magatama, but the destiny thing.
So we focused on 1 of the 7 schools, Nanyou Academy, that is. Why? Because there’s this destiny sh*t thing again that this busty energetic air-headed girl Hakufu Sonsaku, who recently moved to Japan, has been fated to unite all the 7 schools. Nicknamed the Junior Lords of Lords, this girl somewhat reminds me of Excel of Excel Saga. Yeah, she’s as goofy and incompetent as her but a more ecchi version. At one point she even admits that she’s dumb and dim-witted. Yeah, all that fighting must have numbed her skull. And that’s what she only cares about or enjoys doing, not giving a damn about that destiny thing. More like blur case. Ignorance is bliss. But her fighting skills are exceptional and has some latent powers though she hasn’t realized it yet.
As seen in episode 1, her first day at Nanyou Academy starts off on a fighting note. Yeah, she wants to fight. Is that all she ever thinks. I think it’s because those guys are gawking at her sexiness which enables Hakufu to beat them all up so easily. Maybe. Then comes along some big muscle ripping guy, Gakushuu, whom Hakufu nicknames the hair-band guy. This guy wants to test and see if this is the rumoured reincarnation of that legendary guy. Hakufu lands him 1 kick but with no effect, in which Gakushuu easily disposes her off and concludes that’s it’s all a false alarm. But that kick Hakufu landed on him earlier on seems to have a delayed effect. Uh-huh, only much later did Gakushuu felt the pain and have second thoughts about Hakufu.
It may seem that Gakushuu looks big, but he’s actually the weakest among ‘The Big 4 Gods’ of Nanyou Academy. These 4 fighters are supposed to be the toughest fighters in their school under the mysterious never-seen-his-face-before leader of the whole academy, Enjutsu Kouro. The other 3 include, Saji Genpou, who is a basically a womanizer and is nicknamed lingerie salesman by Hakufu (he groped her when she first confronted Gakushuu but she didn’t mind it…?!), Ryomou Shimei, a tough girl who wears an eyepatch though she isn’t blind (and nicknamed by Hakufu, sty person), and the blood crazy violent, tongue sticking out dishonourable guy Kannei Kouha who wields a pair of tonfas.
I just want to note that everytime when Hakufu gets into a fight, you’ll notice that her school uniform will always be ripped and torn apart! Makes you wonder how many uniform she has. Maybe it’s part of her strategy to distract her opponents or move better. But it’s not that she know or cares. Yeah, fan service thing. The same thing goes when she kicks (or any other girls with short skirt), flashing her undies.
Since Hakufu is new in town, she needs a place to live, that is, at her cousins house, Shuuyu Koukin. Though he isn’t much of a fighter (even so a weak one) he is quite concern for Hakufu and tries to look out for her. Furthermore, Hakufu’s mom, Goei, has come down to live with them too. She looks kinda young to be Hakufu’s mom. Plus, she may be a little flirtatious at times. And sometimes she and Hakufu gets into arguments. Goei despises being called an ‘old lady’ and when Hakufu calls her one, Goei uses her secret weapon to counter her attack, that is, to tell her no food for her. And this will send Hakufu apologizing on her knees desperately. So funny. Haih… At least besides fighting, Hakufu likes to eat and sleep. I wonder how she got that busty shape with such an appetite. Must be all those fighting that slims her down. But girls at home, don’t try this method too.
Anyway, because of Hakufu’s hidden power, in episode 2, Enjutsu sends an imperial rescript through SMS to kill Hakufu. Besides some flashback between Hakufu and Koukin, and that molesting act from Saji, Kannei’s taking this opportunity to satisfy his crave for blood when Hakufu returned to school as she forgot something. Koukin found out when a bunch of Nanyou students show him the SMS. Since Koukin’s job is to protect Hakufu, he has no choice but to take on all of them. Not bad for a person who’s not much of a fighter. Or perhaps all those bunch aren’t up to par.
While Hakufu gladly took on a wild Kannei, Koukin rushed to school only to find Saji in his path. Do you think Saji’s gonna let him pass even if Koukin asks nicely? You guessed it. But Hakufu’s fight was interrupted when Ryomou intercepted and finishes off Kannei with her grappling move and then uses Kannei’s tonfa and smack him! Violent. Bloody. Meanwhile, Koukin too gets beaten real badly, though we didn’t see how. Then Gakushuu, with lots of bandage on his face, seems to have become ‘soft’. Yeah, he’s telling Saji about Hakufu and all that crap which I don’t understand.
The reason why Ryomou beats up Kannei was so that she could fight Hakufu herself and see if she’s really the Junior Lord Of Lords. After a few kicks and punches, Ryomou felt disappointed when she downed Hakufu. But it seems Hakufu just got up each time Ryomou uses her strongest attack against her. While Saji’s just watching the match and giving lip service, just when Ryomou thought she had finally finish Hakufu, Hakufu suddenly gets up and uses a grappling move on Ryomou, shocking her and knocking her out. Koukin was barely conscious when he saw what Hakufu did and told her not to let the soul eat her before fainting. Yeah, reminds me of Tenjou Tenge. Because Hakufu too has got some sort of dragon inside her which will make her go wild when unleashed. I suppose Ryomou’s pretty convinced after that.
So episode 3 just see how Hakufu and Koukin recuperating at their home. Some flashbacks of that previous night’s battle. Even Ryomou too is sorta hospitalized but she looks okay. That Saji guy… though he’s a little injured, he’s molesting that cute nurse. The thing is, even though that the nurse says not to do it, I think she actually likes it. I mean, she just stood there and let him molest her! Then back at some dark place, Gakushuu confronts Kannei who still intends to kill Hakufu and Ryomou, to tell him that the order from Enjutsu has been withdrawn.
Later during Hakufu’s outing, because of her sexiness, 2 guys decided to ‘date’ her and then… you know. But of course, Hakufu’s the blur case and accepts because the treats on them. Before they could make their final move, those guys are being beaten up by a dark skinned girl, Ukitsu. But I thing this girl has some hidden agenda, making friends fast with Hakufu. And as the 2 walk along the bridge, they caught a glimpse of another fighter, Kakouton Genjou of Kyosho Academy, taking several other fighters at once. He’s an honourable fighter who affectionately loves using the basics of combat. Soon those baddies too saw Hakufu and wants a piece of her but Hakufu gave them a kick in the face. So Hakufu and Genjou teamed up to bash those losers. The funny thing about Genjou is that after a match, he patches up all the damages that has been caused during the battle. Strange but at least his intentions are good. And he and Hakufu soon become friends.
Meanwhile at Yoshuu Gakuen, another fighter, Taishiji Shigi, has been given orders by his elders to take out Hakufu. Also, Saji goes to visit Rakuyou Academy and meets a real busty Ryofu Housen who proceeds to tell him that her leader, Toutaku Chuuhei is in the orchid room. Though Toutaku has lots of bandages around him, he’s quite powerful, evil and cruel and likes spending his time in his flower garden. I don’t know what those 2 talk about, but it seems Saji is shivering a little with Toutaku saying "Welcome back, Saji".
In episode 4, Koukin finds out from Gakushuu that Rakuyou may be targeting Hakufu and will most likely crush her and Nanyou. Also, something about several schools teaming up for an anti-Toutaku movement. Later when Koukin walks home, he’s being kidnapped as a bait by fighters from Yoshuu. They then called Hakufu in which she hurried there to save Koukin. Meanwhile, the Yoshuu fighters are gonna beat Koukin up for his big mouth at some dump area when Tashiji arrives and tells them off for being dishonourable. Then Koukin tries to take on Tashiji himself when Hakufu arrives in a bicycle, but her jump overshot (haha) and crashed into the dumpster opposite. With that, Tashiji lands Koukin 1 good punch which sends him reeling. When Hakufu recovers, she’s mad that Tashiji has hurt him. But Tashiji said some honourable words like how Koukin used his life to stand up for her and such. Soon, Hakufu and Tashiji fights.
But during the fight, Hakufu unleash some super power pack punch which sends Tashiji flying. Of course as the 2 continue their battle seriously this time, even though Hakufu lost, Tashiji admits that she’s a strong warrior and told his men to retreat, much to their dismay, because they thought they’re supposed to finish her. And later on, those men stabbed Tashiji in the back with a knife and calls him a betrayer. And back at Rakuyou, it seems the way Toutaku said things, he wants Saji eliminated. Well, we don’t get to see how, but Ryofu did the job as we see her clothes ripped and Saji just lying there motionless in his pool of blood. And finally, Toutaku receiving an SMS from Yoshuu that they’ve ‘taken care’ of Tashiji and something about the upcoming Great Fighter’s Tournament.
In episode 5, we find out certain things before the start of the tournament like how the tournament is about to see who will hold true authority over the rest with The Mark Of Emperor, a seal as some sort of its proof. And it seems 2 years ago, the last tournament ended ugly with Toutaku winning and crushing everyone else. Each school can have a maximum of 5 fighters representing them and it seems the mysterious Enjutsu has ordered Gakushuu, Koukin and Hakufu to take part since Kannei’s gone mad and Saji’s gone missing. What about Ryomou? She’s talking to some wheel chair ridden guy in casts at some home. I don’t really understand what or how is it related to Ryomou even when the series ended.
Also, Hakufu learns about Tashiji’s conditions and visits him at the hospital. Looks like Tashiji’s case is serious as he’s in a coma. Because of that, she heads over to Yoshuu Academy to confront those responsible. And those guys think that they’re up against with just a busty girl. In her rage, Hakufu wipes out the entire fighters of Yoshuu there. And because of that, Yoshuu won’t be participating in the upcoming tournament even before it starts. Yeah, a total wipe out. We also see all the other potential fighters from other schools and Ryomou confronts Ryofu and some talk like as though they’re his girlfriend and are so ‘concern’ about him. Okay I’m just guessing about that one. In the end, you’ll know a catfight will soon ensue.
So episode 6 starts off with that fight between Ryomou and Ryofu. The former humiliatingly lost and I think Ryofu did something hentai to her. We won’t get to really see what it is. So the tournament begins with Nanyou up against Yoshuu at some underground parking lot and the match will be referee-ed by a neutral school Keishu Academy. Hey, I thought Yoshuu’s been eliminated? I later find out that it’s another school. Though it’s a different writing, but the pronunciation is the same. The trio of Nanyou thought they’re short in numbers when Yoshuu sends only 2 fighters. Is this a trick? But the duo seems to be quite dominating and when Nanyou is on the verge of losing, Ryomou shows up and defeats them. Thus, Nanyou advances to the next round. Looks like Gakushuu’s pretty beaten up real bad again.
Meanwhile, Seito Academy sends only 1 fighter, a girl named Kan-u Unchou to take on 5 fighters of some school in some train. They think Seito’s looking down on them and will win this one easily. But it seems that they’re the ones getting beaten up as Kan-u dominates the match and wins. Which means the next match is between Nanyou and Seito. But before that could happen, Kannei appears and is going crazy and about to kill Hakufu. To Koukin’s horror, Kannei shows an SMS that Enjutsu has given new orders to kill Hakufu as Kannei chases her. At the same time, it seems Ryomou can only make it for the next fight. So it’s a one on one battle.
That’s what episode 7 is mainly about. Ryomou and Kan-u exchanging blows and pulling off some manoeuvres. I’m not sure about this but Ukitsu seems to be watching them. Then the climax of the match is when Ryomou’s got Kan-u in one of her grappling moves and Kanwu sacrifices one of her arms to get out of her situation. But in the end, Kan-u admits defeat, admires Ryomou’s skills and leaves. Another win notched up for Nanyou. Also, Kyosho seems to be doing pretty well too with Genjou again doing his basics thingy as they enter the finals and Koukin getting hurt because of Kannei and ends up unable to participate with the final match between Nanyou and Kyosho.
The beginning of episode 8 starts of with Ryofu sleeping naked with another girl, Chinkyuu Koudai, who’s Ryofu’s best friend too. I think those 2 are lesbians. Must be. But there’s gonna be a twist to the story. That’s because, Toutaku’s second in command, the bespectacled Kaku Bunwa, wants to take Ryofu to see Toutaku but she refused and said to try if she can. Must be some betrayal thing. Yeah, earlier on it seems that Ryofu just put up an act in disposing of Saji. He’s actually still alive and they even bedded with each other! Is Ryofu in love with him? Maybe she’s bisexual too, huh? Anyone also can.
Meanwhile, the finals between Nanyou and Kyosho starts and Hakufu is glad to meet Genjou there. It seems that Goei is there too. But she seems to be supporting Kyosho because of the bishounen there. Haih… And this Hakufu, she lost the match with Genjou when the latter just trips her leg many times. It’s like they’re not serious nor do they want to hurt each other. Then when Ryomou confronts Genjou, she ‘suffocated’ him with her usual thigh locking manoeuvre. But in the end, it was too much for Ryomou as Nanyou lost. Oh well, their challenge ends here as Kyosho advances to the final to meet the seeded Rakuyo Academy.
So while those Gakushuu finds out they have lost, but he isn’t all mad. I guess they just accept it as they eat and drink at some restaurant. Ryomou goes missing for a while but encounters with Saji. Back at Toutaku’s orchid room, looks like he’s planning something. Yeah, when it’s time for the final fight, Kaku tells the Kyosho fighters that Rakuyo has withdrawn. At first Genjou thought that they won and could have the seal. But Kaku said that Rakuyo’s keeping the seal since they didn’t lose, incurring the wrath of Kyosho fighters. Looks like it’s some dirty underhanded trick to end the tournament and perhaps a prelude to something big.
The usual hotspring vacation in episode 9 as Goei takes Hakufu and Koukin there. But Goei is planning to try and prevent that destiny thing on her daughter. Yeah, something like if Hakufu follows her destiny, she’ll die tragically at the end. There she meets an old person, Choukou Shikou, Hakufu’s grandpa, and discuss things like destiny and those crap. We learn that Goei’s husband, Sonkan, lost his life too while abiding the magatama’s destiny. Maybe that’s why Goei wants to prevent history from repeating itself. Hmmm… Looks like Ryofu and Ukitsu are at that area too.
Meanwhile, Kaku and Toutaku are making out in the orchid room while talking things… I’m thinking that sex is the main drive of this series. Also, Gakushuu tries to find out about Enjutsu since it’s been months they haven’t seen him and he’s been contacting them through SMS. But Gakushuu got ambushed from behind. Back at the hotsprings, some fun, some flashback, Goei meets Ryofu and talks with her, Ryomou and Hakufu meets Choukou with Choukou giving Ryomou some training lessons. So Ryomou and Hakufu teams up to fight against Choukou and it seems Choukou is pleased with the outcome.
Later on, Ryomou and Hakufu bumps into Ryofu but the latter thought and was getting ready for a rematch. However, Ryomou wasn’t interested as she and Hakufu walks away. Also that night, Choukou asking Ukitsu to return to the city and awaken the dragon within Hakufu. Yeah, more of those hotspring baths. Enjoy it while you can girls.
Though in episode 10, Koukin and Hakufu are enjoying themselves at the pool (I like the funny part where Hakufu just slams dunk the beach ball on a poor Koukin several times), Toutaku visits an unsuspecting Hakufu and brings her some watermelons and asks her to come visit him if she wants more. Yeah, seems that Hakufu doesn’t realize who he is yet and is quite excited about it. Before Toutaku left, he pats his hand on Hakufu’s left shoulder. Must be something they way they show it. Also Ukitsu arrives at Hakufu’s home but only to find Goei there. Goei realizes to late when Ukitsu left but she couldn’t do anything. She’s so sad that her daughter’s gonna die. Yeah, something like according to that ROTK destiny, Hakufu’s supposed to be killed by Ukitsu. Luckily Ryomou’s passing by and heard from Goei about it and decides to go after Ukitsu.
Meanwhile Kaku and her subordinates faces Chinkyuu and is gonna teach her a lesson. After those subordinates bashed her up, they proceeded to rape her! Oh, the horror! What’s this? Kaku too having a hidden agenda of her own as we see her with the seal and something not wanting to follow that destiny crap. Ryofu at some bar finds out to her horror what has happened to Chinkyuu and rushes over there and beats up those subordinates in her rage. Don’t underestimate this girl. At the same time, Ukitsu arrives at the pool and is going to bring out the dragon in Hakufu as the 2 prepares to fight. In this crowded area? Though Koukin tries to stop them, but eventually he could only watch. Oh oh. Is that an evil look in Hakufu’s eyes?
But that fight never materialized in episode 11. That’s because Hakufu fainted from that venomous touch Toutaku gave her earlier on. Because of that Ukitsu leaves and Ryomou arrives just too late. Back at home, Koukin and Ryomou hear some explanations from Goei as Hakufu lies in bed unconscious, something about the dragon inside her is burning bla bla bla. And there seems to be a dark shadow dragon mark on her body. If it reaches her heart, Hakufu will die. A funny part was when Goei decides to wake up Hakufu by screaming to her "Wake up or else there’ll be no dinner for you!". Hakufu then instantly gets up and says her usual apologetic stuffs. Something like Pavlov’s Bell, isn’t it. Then at Toutaku’s place, he’s telling Kaku and thinking of inviting Hakufu over, much to Kaku’s surprise. And probably because Kaku raised her voice (though she apologized), Toutaku strips her naked and does… you know.
Back at Nanyou, Koukin notices that Gakushuu is missing and has some chat with Saji. Saji mentions that Gakushuu may be at Enjutsu’s place and takes him there. Then at some dark underground, before Koukin knows it, Saji knee kicks his stomach and crazy Kannei whacks his head from behind. Before Koukin passes out, he saw Gakushuu badly beaten up and tied up. Hmm.. Something fishy is really going on.
At the hospital where Ryofu’s by Chinkyuu’s side, some emotional talk before Chinkyuu passes away. Now Ryofu’s real mad that her best buddy has died before her. She wants Toutaku’s head now. Speaking of which, Ryomou and Hakufu has arrived at the orchid place and managed to dispose all of those low level fighters easily before finally confronting Toutaku. It seems Toutaku is pretty strong. He’s got Ryomou by her neck. And that venom thing in Hakufu is taking its effect and speeding it everytime she starts to fight, weakening her. Toutaku says that he’ll kill Ryomou unless Hakufu kills a girl on his behalf. And he’s talking about Ryofu, who’s also on her way here.
Back at the dark passageway, Koukin comes to and finds out that the real Enjutsu has died sitting! Woah! His face looks horrible! And it is Saji’s who’s been manipulating and playing as Enjutsu all this while. Yeah, and in Kannei’s mind Enjutsu’s still alive as Kannei proceeds to bash Gakushuu only to be given a kick by Saji. Later, Saji mentions that his real name is Ouin Shishi. Looks like he too has plans of his own. The plot thickens…
Episode 12 begins with a flashback of Kannei and Saji of how Saji isn’t satisfy with Enjutsu and Saji suggests that he ‘overthrow’ him. Of course, Kannei accidentally killed him and was shocked over what he has done. But Saji psychos Kannei that Enjutsu’s still alive. Back at the orchid room, Hakufu battles with Toutaku but that venom mark is nearly reaching her heart. Toutaku threatens to kill a weakened Ryomou so Hakufu has no choice but to accept the deal. Meanwhile, Kaku plans to align herself with Kyosho Academy and has took the seal as a gift to them. Maybe too much sexual harassment from Toutaku, huh?
Ryofu then arrives and looks like Hakufu has to dispose of her and even told Ryofu nicely that she’s sorry that she has to do this to save her friend. Unfortunately when Hakufu charged, Ryofu blows Hakufu away in 1 blow. Then Ryomou decides to help and Toutaku allows her. Soon Hakufu comes to but it seems that it’s that dragon inside her that’s awakening. And the 2 traded powerful kicks so much so that the glass of the orchid room shatters. They both downed each other.
Some last words by Hakufu before she faints in Ryomou’s arms. Yeah, the venom has reached her heart. And Ryofu’s too weak to do anything. Toutaku heads over to Ryofu to finish her. Ryomou tries to stop him but was easily disposed off. Then Ryofu decides to do something to end this once and for all. She’s gonna kill herself together with Toutaku! Toutaku’s really afraid. She grabs onto him and unleashes some powerful blast. Wow! That’s a lot of blood gushing out. You know when you’re dying, you can see flashbacks of your past when you’re little. Uh-huh, that’s what Ryofu saw. Herself and Chinkyuu. Before Toutaku really dies, he decides to heal Hakufu. And with a tap on her shoulder, the venom mark disappears and Hakufu opened her eyes. Yeah, looks like Toutaku knows that even if he’s going down, he’s gonna bring Saji along with him as he explains to those 2.
Goei is really glad to see her daughter alive when the 2 arrive back home. As Hakufu recuperates at home. Ryomou confronts Saji at school and he tells her to meet them some place somewhere. Later at some mountainous cliffs, Hakufu and Ryomou arrives to see Gakushuu and Koukin being held prisoner by Saji and Kannei. So Saji explains to them how everything up till now was part of his plan. Yeah, flashbacks of certain points of the show. Also something about how Saji knew he couldn’t control Hakufu’s power in its current state so he went to Toutaku’s place and make it seem like he’s gonna assassinate him to get Ryofu. And how he avoided Hakufu and Kanwu to fight and crush each other by sending that order to Kannei to ‘kill’ Hakufu.
So Hakufu has to take on Saji or else he won’t release Gakushuu and Koukin. As usual Hakufu gets a lot of blows and seem like losing to a more powerful Saji. And then her inner dragon awakens and charges towards him. But this is what Saji wants. He wants to control Hakufu and use her as a puppet to control the country. Uh-huh, he’s hypnotizing her to come to his side. Ryomou has her hands full as she’s taking on Kannei. Koukin then notices Hakufu’s magatama is a different colour but that of Toutaku’s. What does it mean? Looks like that tap on the shoulder to heal Hakufu wasn’t just a heal. It was also to transfer part of Toutaku’s mind and soul into her. Toutaku then took over Hakufu’s body and grabs Saji’s throat with both hands and asking him to come die with him. Now Saji’s really afraid.
The final episode 13 continues from where the previous left off. And it seems Kannei interrupts a possessed Hakufu. But Hakufu easily beats the crap out of Kannei and she’s enjoying it. Pounding him even after he’s down. And all that blood splattering, makes you wonder if Kannei’s dead. Koukin tries to stop her but got bashed instead. Gakushuu then tries to intervene but was told by Saji that he didn’t awaken her dragon but Toutaku’s vengeful spirit disguised as a dragon. Ukitsu arrives and thanks Saji for nurturing the dragon as she starts to fight Hakufu. During the fight, Hakufu’s inner dragon responded to Ukitsu and swallows up Toutaku, returning her magatama back to her own colour.
Hakufu returns to normal and weeps as she tells how that ‘watermelon guy’ kept telling her to kill everyone but she doesn’t want to do so. Then Saji realizes something and brags something about obsessed about the destiny crap and how sick he was about it and wants to break the chain as he walks towards the edge of the cliff. Yeah, Saji’s trying to kill himself but Hakufu manages to grab his hand before he completely falls into the ravine and tells him not to act so cool. Saji tries to push himself down but Ryomou and Gakushuu helps Hakufu to prevent him from doing so.
The next day, everything seems to be back to normal. Choukou and Goei having some chat back at their home. Hakufu and Koukin visits Gakushuu in hospital. Gakushuu tells Koukin to protect the future leader of Nanyou, in which Koukin felt honoured. And what’s this?! Saji lying in the hospital bed molesting that cute nurse again cukup-cukup shock shock. He’s really doing it extremely this time. Molesting her breasts and her private part!!! And she’s just standing there ‘enjoying it’ even though she’s saying not to and how his wounds aren’t healed yet. Yeah, I think his wounds are after that. Well, until Ryomou comes in. Some chat here and there.
Also at Kyosho Academy, it seems that Kaku really wants to align herself and asks that they put Rakuyou Academy under their control. Yeah, that slut even now decides to be with Kyosho’s leader, the seemingly sleepy but eccentric Sousou Moutoku. And back at Nanyou, Ukitsu and Hakufu continued their bloody fight. They seem to be enjoying it this time with all the other students looking on. Looks like the fight has awakened Hakufu’s dragon and she’s going wild. Her punch are so powerful that it ripped Ukitsu’s clothes and she’s close to being naked. And she’s gonna turn on Koukin as well. As she’s about to punch him, she stop short right in front of his face. Tears streaming down her eyes before screaming then collapsing.
Has Hakufu controlled the dragon within her? I mean, she’s back to normal when she opened her eyes. She mentions about wanting to continue fighting and takes off her magatama. Ukitsu agrees and does the same and they continue fighting. And it seems it’s gonna be a daily affair. Everyday Ukitsu visits Nanyou and Hakufu looks forward to it. Haih… And the rest of her pals just let her. Then some end narration about ROTK which I didn’t get and some blabbings from Choukou to Goei about it. Yup, it ends there.
That’s it?! Another open ended ending. Well, that’s because currently in Japan they’re showing the second season called Ikkitousen: Dragon Destiny. I’m guessing there’s gonna be more ecchi stuffs and fights in this continuation. The drawing for the second season looks a little different however. But I’m not sure about the storyline and plot.
So back to the first season. Everything from the drawing, art, animation and the voice acting seems pretty decent to me. Nothing much to shout about. Perhaps the main drive is the ecchiness. Even the mid-intermission is ecchi. You could see the kanji words of ‘Ikkitousen’ written on Hakufu’s butt as the wind flips her back portion of her skirt. Even the still pic scene changer, albeit not many, has certain ladies in sexy positions. I wonder what’s that sword that we see Hakufu holding in those still pic scenes. She never use it nor do we see it in the series. Not that I really care actually.
If you really want to know and learn more about ROTK, it’s best to read the original Chinese works and not something embedded scantily (like the girl’s dressing) into an anime series. Besides, I read that some viewers didn’t like it at all because of the silly ecchi stuffs. So if you want to watch this, you have to be an ecchi fan if not watch for the pure silly entertainment. Or else you may feel disgusted and a complete waste of time.


April 21, 2007

Imagine a world full of conflict, strife and power stuggle. Seems pretty much like the world we live in, huh? Well, that’s the same case too in Grenadier – Hohemi No Senshi. Basically, the dark side humans never did change throughout all these centuries. But of course, there are a few who still have hope in humanity and try to advocate peace throughout the land.
In this half hour 12 episode series, you’ll see that. Okay, maybe not so obvious but that’s the underlying principal of the series. Couple in with some comedy and adventure, and you’ve got another one of those gun slinging action. But beware a little because there is a little ecchi element in this series. Don’t worry. It won’t amount to hentai.
Foremost, you’ll notice that the ecchi element comes in the form of the beautiful and busty blonde-haired main female protagonist of the series, Rushuna Tendo. She is one of the 10 Heavenly Enlightened, supposedly to best warriors and bodyguards under the ruler of this world, Tenshi. Currently, she is on a dangerous journey to spread Tenshi’s teachings by taking away their will to fight by smiling or even getting naked! But that means she just hugs them in her bosoms! Theoratically, those perverted guys would feel ‘good’ and lose their will to fight, right? Yeah, in a nutshell, Rushuna is every perverts dream come true. She’s so lenient and would allow any guy to sleep on her breasts or hug her without getting mad. Of course, it just stops there and nothing further than that. So Bachi-Guu of Green Green, Saji of Iketeru Futari, Keita of Inukami and Yuji of Tonagura… You guys are in the wrong series! Hey, I also want a hug from Rushuna!
But the thing which amazes me most about Rushuna is her superb and amazing gun and shooting skills. Armed with only a six-shooter pistol, the way she reloads amuzes me very much. Here’s how she does it when she runs out of bullets. Firstly, she keep her bullets in her cleavage. Yes, right there. Then when it’s time to reload, she’ll flip her breasts and the exact number of bullets required will leap out of her cleavage into the air. Then in just one swing, all of the bullets will exactly fit into the chambers of her pistol and she’s ready to go. WOOOOW!!!! Ngam ngam ho! AMAZING!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes at first and watched this amusing part several times. Is this the advantage of having big bouncy breasts?
Then Rushuna has another superb skill. With her enemies having gatling/machine guns and guns that fire several rounds of bullets at rapid speed, she can evade and dodge them all by just spinning around as though she’s dancing! DOUBLE WOW!!! So precise! So terror! And then she can disarm them all in just one shot of bullet each missing exactly their vital points and make them pass out, thus not killing them. All this seems very exaggerating. But I like it lah. This girl should’ve got numerous offers for this kind of job if she ever exists in our world. So you see, it’s not the gun. It’s the skill.
Of course, Rushuna would try not to use violence to disarm her enemies at first. However, due to circumstances, she’ll eventually have to use her gun. And you won’t want to make her mad. That’s because she won’t give you her smile anymore and you know what that means. Also, Rushuna has a peculiar liking for taking baths. Yeah, she enjoys soaking herself in them. One reason as she quoted was that she gets all sweaty too fast and ends up dirtying her clothes. Uh-huh. She has no qualms of asking anybody of any gender to join her in a bath. And even in the next episode preview, she always asks viewers if they would like to join her in one too.
Anyway, back to the story. As seen in the first episode, another one of those struggles led by a mercenary samurai Yajiro Kojima AKA Rear Guard Tiger, who posses a very long samurai sword, leading a small band of warriors to launch an assault and rescue mission on a fort occupied by a large sized bandit Nagou. He has sezied a castle belonging to the rebel’s leader, Lord Kanetsugu, and taken him prisoner as well. What do you expect if it’s swords against high tech machine guns. You’d know the outright winner already. Thus, Yajiro calls for a retreat but Nagou’s men are going after him to eliminate all future threats.
As Yajiro escapes, he’s cornered by the enemy at the cliff and has no choice but to jump down. Below, he is shocked to find his face in the bosoms of Rushuna! His pursuers arrived but ‘Rushuna’ hid him well. I suppose those guys would like to join her too but they’ve got a more important mission and left. So Yajiro’s thankful for what Rushuna did and they both find out about each other’s mission and stuff.
Soon, Yajiro decides to try and penetrate the castle again but it seems Rushuna tags along, much to Yajiro’s dismay. Of course then Yajiro was awed by Rushuna’s magnificent display of gun shooting skills and manages to quell the threat even from long distance. And inside the castle, Rushuna even nicely asking Nagou to release the lord. Do you think a guy with a machine gun stuck to his left hand (though not much accuracy but at least it hits everything!) would listen to a nice girl? Nope. So another round of magnificent gun fight ensued. Must be shameful for a big guy to lose like that.
But Nagou ain’t giving up yet even though all his henchmen are down. He did a cowardly thing by taking along the lord as he escapes. He’s climbing up the hilly mountain when Rushuna shoots another long distance shots which made Nagou’s clothes come loose. WAH! Nagou then just dropped the lord and ran away in embarrassment covered only his loincloth. In the end everything ends well and Yajirou then decides to follow Rushuna on her travels. I guess this guy forsee that he could learn a thing or two with this gal.
The journey continues in episode 2 and 3 which starts off with the duo being attacked by some mob who mistakenly thinks that Rushuna is a wanted criminal. Well, close enough. At least the hair, but that demonic face? Anyway Rushuna manages to dispose them off. Soon she finds that the wanted criminal is that monster who’s been killing and causing terror in the kingdom of Tara. And so happen that they’ve just arrived there. Furthermore that monster in a hug armour suit appears and kills one of the mobs running away. The monster than attacks Rushuna and in the midst of the battle, Rushuna unmasks the monster and to her surprise to find a face of a child. Because Rushuna can’t kill a child (at least his child-like face), the monster attacks her causing her to fall off the cliff and into the stream below.
Later, Rushuna’s being found by a girl, Koto, who brings her back to the inn where she works. While Yajiro decides to help to earn money for their stay, Rushuna comes to and came downstairs to find some grub when she saw a pic of the child she recently battled. Koto tells her that child, Furon, is the king of this kingdom and everyone respects and loves him. Because of that, nobody would believe Rushuna when she says that the kid had attacked her.
Meanwhile, back at the palace, Furon is confiding with his aide, The Jester, who also look like an jester but an evil one. Yeah, you’ll figure that he’ll be the main baddie of the series. And he’s got this gun which reminded me like one of those weapon in the pc game Half-Life. So looks like Furon’s that monster too. He’s telling The Jester how he can’t kill Rushuna even though she saw his face. So The Jester decides to finish the job. What the? He can fly and disappear too? Meanwhile Rushuna’s having her usual bath at the inn when The Jester attacks her with his Half-Life gun. Wow it can create so many holes. Reminds you of a Swiss cheese. Good news is that Rushuna can dodge all his blasts. Bad news is, one of the blasts hit and injures Koto. The Jester than decides to lure Rushuna to the palace by taking Koto with him before disappearing. Darn. Now Rushuna’s really mad because he got an innocent Koto involved as she heads to the palace to settle this once and for all.
And of course some cool battle manoevres from Rushuna as she tries to reach Furon. Once she meets him, she tries to persuade him rather than using the gun. Well, not just yet. Then we hear Furon’s story as told by The Jester like how when the king of Tara died when Furon was really young. Since Furon wanted to protect his people and needed some kind of power to do so, The Jester gave him that armour suit in which because of some effect renders him to look like a young kid when he should be looking like a teen now. Yeah, you could say The Jester manipulated this kid for 10 years to get whatever he wants.
In addition to Rushuna’s normal bullets, she’s got a special chamber of bullets called High Explosive Piercing Bullet. Well, it’s supposed to pierce through that hard armour suit but it didn’t. Rushuna then concludes that maybe with all that thick armour, her words aren’t getting through Furon’s heart (or head. Hehe). So she shoot at the same spot multiple times which then suceeded in breaking the armour. Furon then turned into a teenager. Though he’s weak without the armour, he still refuses to listen to Rushuna. After some heart to heart talk like he’s not alone and the all important bosom embracing, Furon goes soft and soon realizes his mistake and cries on it. See, a woman’s breasts can do wonders! And that’s what I felt in Furon’s case rather than Rushuna’s words.
As for Yajiro, he arrived too late. Looks like Rushuna has taken care of stuffs. So everything ends well for the people of Tara with Furon realizing that he has the people’s strength and doesn’t need the armour or any strength boosting devices. As for The Jester, all those years he put into building up Furon for whatever reasons has been wasted. Disappointed? Of course. But he has to move on and find a new plan. Then this part I don’t get. Back at the capital, we see Tenshi not quite pleased with the news that Rushuna had defeated The Jester and foiled his plans. Hmm…
Another one of those ‘arrive in a new town and save the town people from an oppressive mob leader’ in episode 4. Yup, Rushuna and Yajiro seems to be doing some street entertainment to earn money for food but the town people doesn’t seem too fond of it. That’s because the baddie leader, the ruthless Master Enlightened doesn’t allow the people to smile or laugh except himself. Not even a bit. And if they did, he’ll not hesitate to kill them! Uh-huh, Master Enlightened looks like your typical bad guy and he has a bloody long nose, like as though he’s taken off from some cartoon show.
The usual, he sees Rushuna and Yajirou doing their performance and didn’t like it. The duo of course isn’t going to listen to him and stood up to him which made him mad and a gunfight ensues. In the end, machine gun vs six shooter pistol. Who wins? Yeah, just one bullet from Rushuna will do and send that Master Enlightened running away in shame. Though the town people are grateful and wants them to stay and help protect them from future baddies, Rushuna declined their offer and goes on preaching to them about smiles and other stuff which boosts their confidence.
But Yajiro doesn’t seem to like it when Rushuna mentions Tenshi’s name. Looks like he has some sort of bad experience in the past with her. He tells Rushuna that Tenshi’s the cause of this unrest in the first place but Rushuna disagrees. Before you know it, Master Enlightened and his croonies return to attack Rushuna but was again easily defeated. Why would that loser come back to attack Rushuna for a second time? That’s because, to Rushuna’s horror, she finds that Tenshi has placed a bounty on her head. Yeah, she’s a wanted criminal now. What’s going on?
In episode 5 and 6, Rushuna and Yajiro save a couple of girls being attacked by some male mobs. To show their gratitude, they invited them to stay at the inn called Peach Blossom Tower, where they worked too. Okay, so it’s not just an inn. It’s actually a red light district or rather pleasure house which serves men. There, they met a young girl, Mikan Kurenai who seems to be interested in Rushuna’s gun so much so that she wants to steal it. Yeah, it seems that she’s an orphan and her parents were killed by that mob’s leader, Tenma Ganzo, who refused to pay the gang some protection money. Thus, she harbours a deep grudge and wants revenge on him. Also, Rushuna tells Mikan why her gun feels heavy because of the ‘weight of life’ whenever she pulls the trigger. It makes sense since you’re responsible of taking somebody’s life when you pull the trigger.
Of course they also tried to hide the fact that they’re wanted criminals as they took some bath and change their clothes at the inn. Unfortunately, the owner of the inn, Touka Kurenai (no relation to Mikan. Just that she took Mikan under her care just like the other abandoned girls of the inn) knew of this already and proceeds to attack Rushuna. Furthermore, Touka is one of the 10 Heavenly Enlightened, so her skills are evenly matched with Rushuna’s. Wielding a staff with an exploding ball tied to a chain, Touka seems to be able to deflect each and every bullet that Rushuna shoots with precision. Just when Touka seems to have the upperhand, Rushuna notices that there’s something wrong with Touka and immediately stops to help her rather than finish her off. This prompts Touka to confirm that Rushuna’s still holding strong to Tenshi’s beliefs and her attack was just a test and hugs her. We also hear from Touka that she’s suffering from some weird illness and that not even her employees know and she wants Rushuna to keep it a secret.
Before things can settle down, Tenma and his mobs arrive at the inn and wants revenge on Rushuna for what she did earlier on. Some tough talk before Touka easily disposes them all. Well, if you look it from the current situation’s point of view, with all the wars going on, I guess setting up brothels to ‘make peace and love’ isn’t such a bad idea, isn’t it?Though Tenma and co ran away but you haven’t seen the last of them yet. That’s because Tenma, with the help of some invention master, Banmaru Zoushi, fires from a distance a large cannonball hurling towards the inn.
Everyone saw it coming from the distance. After some flashback from Mikan, she snaps and decides to get her revenge as she rushes out of the inn. Touka tried to stop her but was hurt when the cannonball smashed into the place. So Rushuna and Yajiro has to go look for her. Of course, Mikan’s no match for Tenma but luckily Rushuna arrives and saves the day. Just goes to show that that Tenma guy’s just a big bully. But Rushuna soon has to put up with Banmaru’s robot tank. The funny part was during the battle, Rushuna’s panties snapped and she got so embarrassed about it and told Banmaru to stop the fight for a while. Of course Banmaru’s thinking that it’s all just a ploy to catch him off guard. I wonder why would Rushuna get embarrassed with just that and not when other men grabs and rub their faces on her breasts. Ironic. Anyway, Rushuna’s out of bullets too.
Just her luck, Yajiro brings her some bullets (Rushuna asking him that he should brought her some panties…?!) and we see Mikan, the balloon user, using her balloon skills to help Rushuna foil Banmaru and his robot tank. Balloon skills? Well, you see, Mikan has an uncanny ability to use inflated balloons and turn it into any kind of shapes and sizes for whatever purpose. Yeah, reminds you like a circus performer. And don’t think about condoms, please. Nothing to do with it. Anyway, once the battle ended, some heart to heart talk between Rushuna and Mikan with the former saying the usual stuffs like revenge doesn’t get you anywhere, bla bla bla. Good thing is Mikan believes in her. Another good thing is that Tenma, Banmaru and co realizes their wrongdoings too and now helps Touka fix her inn.
So in episode 7, Mikan joins the duo on a trip to the capital. Yeah, it seems that Rushuna decided to go see Tenshi and seek some explanations on why she’s after her head. And looks like Tenshi is real serious in getting rid of Rushuna as she sends one of her 10 Heavenly Enlightened, Souma Sanzo AKA Blade Bard to stop her. Souma uses the sound of his accordian lodged in his armour suit to give off sound which causes Rushuna to lose her balance. But after some encouragement from Mikan, Rushuna calms herself and spots Souma’s weakness and uses her High Explosive Piercing Bullet to disarm Souma. Now that Souma’s unarmed, the trio then left. But it seems The Jester has his own plans and isn’t too fond of wanting Yajiro to travel with Rushuna. On top of that, The Jester kills Souma himself after the latter fails to do his job. Also we see something back at the capital that the current Tenshi may be a fake one and that the real one seems to be imprisoned somewhere. So things are making sense a little.
The fastest route to the capital is the most dangerous route. In episode 8, the trio have to scale a dangerous mountain top to reach the capital fast. Why is it so dangerous? That’s because of the very strong winds which can even send heavy rocks flying in the air, so much so it’s like a swirling projection. A rock was gonna squash Rushuna when some bespectacled spikey haired guy, Teppa Aizen saves her. This Teppa guy is an interesting one. Yeah, he’s a pervert! He loves rubbing his face on Rushuna’s breasts and Rushuna seems unperturbed.
We see a flashback and find out that Teppa’s actually Rushuna’s childhood friend and has a liking for woman’s bodies… Yeah, so young already a pervert. But he isn’t that bad. Furthermore, Teppa comes from a family who has created the Aizen Style Armour Cloth Skill. What’s that? The cloths and fabrics are fitted with special kind of metal and steel so much so that they can make the cloth soft as paper or as hard as iron at their will. Now that isn’t really possible in our world. Since Teppa’s dad was an ex-Heavenly Enlightened who protected Tenshi, there’s a burden and high expectation of him doing well and living up to it as well.
To cut things short, Teppa’s also one of the 10 Heavenly Enlightened and has orders to take out Rushuna, as Yajiro and Mikan found out too late (besides that stack of perverted girl photos). So another battle takes place. Teppa easily protects himself with his special cloth and as usual it seems Rushuna has no chance to defeat him. But in the end, Rushuna’s superb gun skills as defence managed to repel Teppa’s attack and defeat him. Since Teppa lost, he became discouraged that he has failed his dad and couldn’t live up to his expectations. Of course Rushuna comforts him and hugs him. I guess that’s what it takes to cheer Teppa up again. Though Rushuna asks Teppa to join them on their journey, Teppa declines and the trio then continued their trip. Just then The Jester appears and is gonna eliminate another Heavenly Enlightened failure when all of a sudden Teppa disappears. What the?! Can he do that? But The Jester thinks he’s dead and goes off too.
It’s Yajiro’s turn of flashback in episode 9. Yeah, it seems that scaling up this mountain has brought back some memories. Like how he and his comrades trudged along this mountain to counter some resistance but all of his comrades died because of the strong winds, making him the only survivor. But Yajiro soon spots his old comrade in the snow, Fuuka Shirato (because of her face mask, she looked like the assassin Freesia of Jubei Chan 2). Isn’t she supposed to be dead? At least that’s what Yajiro thought when he was unable to save her. But before Yajiro could get a clearer picture of what’s happening, Fuuka attacks him.
Meanwhile, Mikan inflated a warm bunny suit balloon for Rushuna to wear. So funny. She reminds me of that Pootan character from Cromartie High School. But she loves it! Weird girl. But Rushuna was soon attacked by Fuuka. And we learn that the reason why Fuuka’s still alive because of The Jester. Yeah, he used his armour suit just like in Furon’s case to keep her alive. Without it, she’ll die. Furthermore, Fuuka’s now also part of the Heavenly Enlightened and is sent to kill Rushuna. And it seems The Jester’s there too. Yeah, probably after a few failures from the previous Heavenly Enlightened, he wants to be there to make sure that this one does the job.
Yajiro, a little injured from Fuuka’s earlier attack, arrives to stop the fight between the 2 ladies. We hear that Fuuka’s doing this because she believed in Tenshi’s ideals (the fake Tenshi, that is) and after some more explanations from The Jester, Rushuna gets mad and shoots at him. But she missed and only managed to shoot off his mask. Yup, The Jester’s face and identity is revealed. Who is he? Yajiro and Fuuka recognizes him as their fomer rebel leader, Kaizan Doushi AKA Mountain Templar! And we hear his sick theory that the rebellion he led with Yajiro years ago was just some sick test to see who’s the strongest and that the rebellion was never intended. Yajiro’s really mad that the person he used to trust has turned out like this and all those innocent lives perished to his power crazy ex-boss was like nothing. Just to note that I’ll be referring to this Kaizan guy as The Jester still because it sounds much shorter. ;p
The Jester wants Yajiro to join him since he’s the stongest but of course Yajiro declines. With that, The Jester decides to kill them both since he has no use of them anymore. At least Fuuka too realized that she has been used and shields Yajiro from The Jester’s impending attack. But the blast caused them to hang on dearly on the edge of the cliffs. Just like deja vu, huh? And just like history repeating itself, Fuuka told Yajiro to fulfill his goal and lets go of his hand plunging to her death. Only this time, Fuuka really died. And if it weren’t for Mikan’s floating balloon, Yajiro would’ve plunged himself down to save her. Though Yajiro’s sad, but he’s more determined now. Finally, the capital is in sight.
In episode 10, while traversing a river, the trio got ambushed by another Heavenly Enlightened, Suirou. The trio may have a disadvantage because Suirou’s a water expert and the river is some sort his homeground. After blowing up the boat they’re riding in and dragging Rushuna underwater, Suirou seems to be winning until Mikan gives Rushuna some oxygen tank and with some special underwater bullets, she easily defeats Suirou. Now that has got to be the fastest battle with a Heavenly Enlightened ever. As usual as the trio continues their journey, Suirou just laze around floating on the water’s surface, thinking about his defeat when The Jester arrives and blasts him and sends Suirou to his watery grave.
Once they arrived at the capital, the trio are surprised to find Teppa there. Looks like he’s on their side now. I thought he didn’t want to join them. Oh well, must be for Rushuna’s… um… you know. Yajiro wants Teppa to distract Rushuna so that he could confront Tenshi himself. So I suppose this is Teppa’s chance of getting close to Rushuna as he took her to some bath house and then to dinner. Yeah, it’s so odd to see them dress so nicely. Meanwhile, Yajiro meets up with an old acquaintance and ex-rebel comrade (not from the mountain incident but a more recent one) Kasumi, as she takes him to a secret passage into the palace. Mikan tries to follow them but got lost in the sewer maze.
And during the journey into the palace, Yajiro guessed right that Kasumi too is on The Jester’s side from the way she said things. I mean, using a bamboo mat to hide her shotgun, isn’t that a little suspicious and obvious? Anyway, Yajiro manages to knock Kasumi unconscious and went to see Tenshi himself. At the same time, just when Teppa thought his ‘date’ with Rushuna is gonna be perfect, Rushuna realizes her mission to come to the capital, that is to see Tenshi. She apologizes to him and rushed to the palace. Yeah, you could say that he was ‘dumped’ but I suppose he’s not gonna let Rushuna go off that easy and accompanies her to the palace. At the palace gates, the guards recognizes her as the wanted criminal. But The Jester appears and welcomes her in and tells Rushuna that she has been given the title of Grenadier, the Annihilator Senshi. The highest title which a senshi can achieve, much to Rushuna’s horror. And since Teppa’s under some cloak, The Jester didn’t recognize him. What a blur guy.
So in episode 11, Rushuna unarms herself in order to meet Tenshi. I think this is part of The Jester’s ploy so that she won’t be able to use her superb gun skills whenever the need arises. Also, Yajiro got lost in the maze but accidentally found the chambers where the real Tenshi is being held. There she told Yajiro that about 3 years ago, The Jester confronted her and wanted to convince her of his ideals but was rejected. Because of that, The Jester replaces her with someone else. Meanwhile, Rushuna is seeking some explanations from the fake Tenshi in the palace garden and Rushuna’s still confused about her current method of uniting the kingdom because it conflicts with her previous teachings. But soon Rushuna knew she wasn’t the real Tenshi when the latter snapped a tree twig. Yeah, I guess that’s all it took. Because Rushuna believes the real Tenshi would never harm even a fly. She also realizes that the imposter is Setsuna Oumido. She is Rushuna’s ex-colleague and one of the Ten Heavenly Enlightened and underwent the same training as Rushuna. Because she’s trained to be Tenshi’s double, she got sick of it and decides to rule the world by taking over the capital with The Jester and imprisoned the real Tenshi.
So Setsuna orders her guards to take her down, crying wolf that Rushuna’s gonna attack her. But even without her gun, Rushuna can still dodge all those bullets. Teppa arrives in time to save Rushuna and returns her gun. Then outside the palace, this may seem a little exaggerated or illogical, but Touka arrives by riding a rocket!!! Yes, she’s even standing on it! Ah, just enough hands to take on the palace guards along with Mikan. Rushuna then asks The Jester where the real Tenshi is but he told her that she’s dead. But that isn’t so when Yajiro appears with the real Tenshi, surprising him. But Kasumi appears from behind and takes Tenshi as hostage. So while Rushuna and Yajiro chased after them, Touka and Mikan handled the palace guards.
The final episode 12 begins with Mikan deciding not to use any violence against those guards. So how she won? She threw up several balloons in the air and as the guards shoot it, lots of 4 days 3 nights free stay at the inn coupons fell. All those guards are so happy. And looks like Touka’s glad that Mikan has matured. Yajiro decides to take on The Jester himself and asks Rushuna to go on. So lots of those talk while fighting and when Touka decides to help Yajiro, the latter insists that he finish this one on his own, in which Touka agrees and steps back.
In the tower, Rushuna finds Tenshi but knows that this is Setsuna still in disguise. So some talk of how Setsuna tries to convince that she’s the real Tenshi but Rushuna just smiled and told her to stop her act and give up. Fed-up, Setsuna orders Kasumi (hidden behind some exit) to shoot her. But before Kasumi could properly aim, the real Tenshi pushes her and Kasumi missed but got roughly pushed back by her. Luckily, Teppa arrives and wraps Kasumi in his cloth. Then he said this ‘doomed’ line to her, "Once you’ve embraced my Armour Cloth, you can never get away again". With that, Kasumi instantly fell in love with him. Teppa’s gonna regret having said that later on. Rushuna then asks Teppa to take care of Tenshi as Teppa unties her as well.
Then this is the funny part. Setsuna asks Rushuna how did she still know that she’s the fake Tenshi after her acting was so perfect. Rushuna then says, it’s because her breasts are too big to be the real Tenshi’s. WOAH!!! The real Tenshi must be embarrassed as she covers hers with her little palms. HAHAHA! Well, actually that’s not what Rushuna really meant. She noticed something Setsuna’s hiding in her breasts. Yeah, Setsuna then took out a gun from there and points it at her. What the? She could hide a gun so perfectly there and the way I see it, there weren’t any odd looking shapes sticking out. And I’m not a pervert! So for the first time, we see Setsuna’s real face as she drops her disguise. Woah, another busty figure there.
Soon the 2 engage in some cool exciting gun battle manoeuvres. Yes, this part is really awesome. Setsuna can even do that breast flip bullet reloading thingy. And as Tenshi explains how those 2 underwent similar training to be her double and that they’re actually fighting a mirror image of themselves, the only thing which Rushuna has an advantage over Setsuna was the things she learned during her journey. And besides more of that reasoning talk, I like the choreographic fight scene whereby they shoot-dodge-punch-dodge action. It’s like so synchronized and yet so cool. So it ended when they pointed the gun at each other’s face. Setsuna says she doesn’t have any bullets left but after a slick move and the usual reloading, they’re back to that position again. But this time, Rushuna’s injured and drops slightly to her knees. Setsuna then realizes that this is the difference between them, that she has to guts to kill her and Tenshi. As Setsuna points the gun at Rushuna’s head, Rushuna still could tell her that ideal of taking away the enemies will to fight, angrying Setsuna.
Meanwhile Yajiro is having a tough time battling The Jester but he manages to cut his Half-Life weapon into 2 before the 2 crashed down onto another palace rooftop. But The Jester still isn’t giving up yet as he unsheathes his sword and contiunes fighting. Then Yajiro realizes Rushuna’s words when he wonders why his sword wasn’t able to defeat The Jester. Yeah, remember something having to be all ‘bare’. So Yajiro puts back his sword and hugs The Jester!!! Yes! That’s what he did! And they both went crashing down into the palace garden. I guess The Jester’s weaken not so much of the fall but the shock that Yajiro did to him. As Yajiro collapses after explaining it to him, it seems The Jester still wants to finish him off as he tries to reach for his gun. But Touka tells him off and destroys the gun. With that, The Jester faints.
So Rushuna did the same thing to Setsuna. First Rushuna drops many of her bullets from her cleavage then she flips the remaining ones into the air to distract Setsuna. And as quick as a lightning, Rushuna grabs and hugs Setsuna. But not only that, she even ripped the top portion of her dress! WAH!!!! Setsuna must be really shocked and embarrassed. And after a heart to heart talk, Rushuna collapses into Setusna’s arms because of her injuries. Since Setsuna realizes and admits that she had lost, she gives Rushuna a hug on her bosom. Awww… I ALSO WANT!!!
Yajiro then awakes to find himself in Rushuna’s bosoms and in the same bath too! And after a short chat, Rushuna thanks him for being around and hugs him on her bosom again. I guess Yajiro decides to sleep on it this time. Don’t complain. Touka, Tenshi and Mikan seems very pleased at the way things turned out. Meanwhile, Teppa is regretting because that Kasumi girl is sticking to him like a leech. And all the other girls there are jealous to see Teppa being ‘hogged by an old lady’. Kasumi even wraps themselves in his Armour Cloth and goes on bragging about that fate thingy. Yeah, she wants to be tied up with him in his Armour Cloth forever. Too bad Teppa, Rushuna can’t save you now.
Back at the palace, we see Rushuna telling Tenshi that she decides to continue her journey to calm the chaotic times while Touka decides to expand her Peach Blossom Tower and bring more smiles. Tenshi is impressed and believes that they can do it. Soon, Tenshi bestows Rushuna the title of Grenadier – Hohemi No Senshi (the smiling warrior), much to Rushuna’s delight. So Rushuna along with Yajiro and Mikan set off on another journey to spread Tenshi’s teachings.
Overall, I kinda like this anime. Not because of the perverted stuffs but because I find it amusing and funny whenever Rushuna reloads her gun and especially the final fight between her and Setsuna. By the way, I’m not too sure what happened to her or The Jester after that. Maybe they got arrested? Did they turn over a new leaf? But that isn’t important. More importantly, it ended well and good. I find the mid-intermission a little amusing because there’s a short Mexican or flamenco style guitar strumming then followed by several bullet shots. Well, nothing to it actually.
Though the drawing, art and animation are standard, I like the voice acting especially Rushuna’s. Since this is a short series, the character development is enough just to cover the main ones. Certain parts maybe far-fetched or ecchi but it isn’t so much that you’d feel awful about. Though there are 10 Heavenly Enlightened, not all were shown or even known. I can’t actually help wonder who the remaining ones are. Nothing to it actually. Also, the mid-intermission has that Mexican or Spanish flamenco guitar strumming followed by a few gunshots, which I find a little amusing.
I also thought that the way they show the in-show notices, messages or statements by making the entire screen black and then in kanji written in white. Furthermore, the writing is big enough and fits entirely into the whole screen. This is good in the sense that you don’t have to strain your eye unlike in other series to read such notices. Also, in this way, it makes viewers concentrate on it rather than being distracted by other on-screen distractions.
So the key issue of this series is that violence begets violence and that we should try and solve our problems more amicably. And DO NOT attempt to even think about trying out Rushuna’s amazing gun skills. Tempting, but that such manouevres can only happen in the anime world. Thank goodness it doesn’t in ours. So make peace and love and not war. Just like Rushuna’s classic line "If there’re many clumsy, perverted and fun people like you, the world would be a better place". How true to a certain extend. So just keep on smiling. That’ll be enough. See what a little smile can do. Service with a smile. :)

Pretty Cure

April 20, 2007

Yay! I finally got my wish when the local tv stations finally decided to air the anime series Futari Wa Pretty Cure over a year ago. Ever since then, I have faithfully and nearly watched all of the 49 episodes of the series. Okay, so I do miss a few because it’s shown quite early in the morning. Yeah, probably the target audience are young children. And yes, I’m still a young kid who refuses to grow up! Hahaha.
The reason why I was so enthusiastic about watching the series because of the 2 cute and kawaii bishoujos, Nagisa Misumi and Honoka Yukishiro, who’re also the main protagonists and heroines of the show. I’m not sure if I could really classify this series as another one of those magical girl genres as most sites classify it as one. I mean, yeah there’s magic, some clothing transformation, some little helper creatures and it’s your typical good versus evil. Just short of that magical wand. Okay, maybe it does fit into that genre but I felt that it’s more like a mix of action, adventure, comedy, fantasy and drama. Hmm… that’s a lot. And it seems there’s a little amendment from my initial blog of the series.
So basically the premise of the story is about this 2 high school girls of Verone High School, who one day got bestowed by some magical powers to become defenders of the light called Pretty Cure. Well, you see the forces of darkness, the Dusk Zone (aurally heard as Dotsukuzon and I initially thought it was some poison zone) is encroaching the Garden of Light. This prompts the 2 weird little gerbil-looking creatures, Mipple and Mepple, who’re lovey-dovey with each other and end their sentences using their names (okay, it’s ‘mipo’ and ‘mepo’ actually), fled to find suitable protectors for their land. So call it Nagisa or Honoka’s fate, lucky day or bad luck as their being chosen, thus their lives will never be the same again. Yeah, especially with those weird and sometimes irritating creatures around, who’d be annoyed, especially Nagisa who has Mepple and the 2 usually get into arguments frequently, while Honoka and Mipple seem to be calm and get along with each other. So it’s gonna be quite a challenge for the girls to juggle with their superhero life along with their school and social life.
Because the big bad boss of the forces of darkness, King Jaaku, a large shadowy humanoid figure who is chained to some volcano in the Dusk Zone, can’t obtain heart shaped Prism Stones (7 of them) to free himself and rule the world by spreading darkness, he has his 5 minions to do his biddings. King Jaaku must be real patient as you’d guess that his minions would fail to do so in each episode. I mean, even if they’re incompetent in a way, but hey, somebody’s got to do the job.
And so for most of the episodes is gonna be like this. A little theme or setting for the particular episode like at the art gallery, a family vacation, summer camp or even working part time at a farm, then of course 1 minion will appear and trouble them (I don’t understand why not all 5 of them go one shot instead of 1 by 1. Maybe it’s to see whether that minion is competent or not. But then…), asking them to give their Prism Stones or else and of course the duo wouldn’t. Yeah, those minions have a habit of interrupting or coming in at the most crucial time when Nagisa or Honoka have an important task, whether it’s school or family related. Then the minion would call upon the dark powers of Zakenna which could transform any person (like the girl’s school jerk teacher or worms) or thing (like vacuum cleaner or tractor) into an evil hideous looking creature to attack the heroines. And the sky will turn all dark because of the powers of Zakenna.
And because Nagisa and Honoka have no powers they have to whip out their handphones (source of their transformation power and Mipple and Mepple’s other form) and swipe some card (I thought maybe the producers wanted to implement some card system here too) which will transform them into Cure Black and Cure White respectively. After a lengthy transformation which I felt serves as a cost cutting feature because in every episode they show the same repetitive scene, though some episodes they shorten it. The duo would then do and say a systematic and co-ordinated speech and moves with that typical hyped transformation music in the background. Once in their superhero outfit, they can do twists, spins, aerial sommersaults and other cool fighting manoeuvres to counter the Zakenna threat. Sometimes the surroundings and buildings get smashed because of the impact and the 2 may seem like losing at first, but it’ll all work out well in the end.
Then they should have do this in the first place to save all that punching and kicking by using their Marble Screw weapon (yeah, another systematic and co-ordinated speech and move) and blast the Zakenna and/or minion away, who can’t endure the superb power of the light. Then you can see the Zakenna disintegrate into little cute dark five pointed stars as they scatter and run away and the sky will turn bright again and the surroundings back to normal. Of course that minion will do like a terminator and will be back. Sometimes the girls will use their Rainbow Cure Theraphy to heal and cure humans or animals influenced by the Zakenna powers. And if there’re some activities or tasks left unfinished because they got disrupted by those minions, our 2 girls will make it back in time and complete it, thus a happy ending for all. Yay. Typical.
Since there’re 5 minions at first, they only have a ‘limited’ number of episodes to make their appearances, or rather, defeat the Pretty Cure. And when they lose for good, they’ll become a Prism Stone, which Nagisa and Honoka can place in some heart shaped device called Prism Hopeish, which is guarded by another weird little creature called Stonekeeper and by collecting all 7 rainbow coloured Prism Stones would allow to take them to the Garden of Light and repair the damage done by the Dusk Zone. Let me see, if the 5 minions are holding a Prism Stone each, then the remainder 2 must be with the Pretty Cure. Once a particular minion is gone, you won’t see him/her ever again. Well, most of them that is.
The first minion to start things off is Pisard, who looks like a KISS rock group member but he lasted for only 5 episodes. Then it is Gekidrago‘s turn, the big and muscular (but his strength seems so so only in his battles with Pretty Cure) guy in gym attire complete with suspenders. Well, since he’s the ‘brawniest’ of the bunch, I guess he lasted for around 6 episodes. Then the only female of the 5 is Poisonee, a vampiress look-a-like who’s much more cautious and subtle in her job as I notice she doesn’t get a direct blast from the Marble Screw like those previous 2, but evades it and disappears when she’s losing. Because of that, she appeared for 9 episodes before taking her final bow.
Then probably the youngest one, Kiriya, at first his job was to spy and infiltrate the school the Pretty Cure were studying in as a transfer student. He got close to Honoka and I think Honoka likes him. Because Kiriya mixed around with them, he has this uncertain and indecisiveness of which side he’s on, though he mentions that he’s on the dark side. Though he’s been introduced during Poisonee’s appearance, his time to fight arrived an episode soon after Poisonee’s defeat but even after revealing his true nature to Pretty Cure, instead of fighting back he willingly gave up and hand over his Prism Stone to them. Honoka must be sad but as Nagisa mentions they have to fight on so as not to waste his efforts.
I guess that leaves the last and most powerful of the minions, Ilkubo, who looks like a bald alien, to make his move. Though he has appeared in earlier episodes, he didn’t actually seriously start fighting them as he’s just watching. So his actual fight with the duo lasts for 4 episodes. Why so short for a strong sub-boss? Well, maybe it’s because the series has reached its halfway mark and they want to put in something new? Just kidding. Okay, at first Pretty Cure seems to have trouble defeating Ilkubo with his power orb. But Ilkubo managed to beat Pretty Cure and took their Prism Stones. But it’s power was too much for him and was defeated by it.
Before Ilkubo is really gone for good, he managed to suck the Pretty Cure into the Dusk Zone and there they had their confrontation with King Jaaku. With their combined powers and some help from the Queen of the Garden of Light, they manage to defeat the evil king. Is he really gone for good? His chains breaking and him disappearing to who knows where. Well, it’s only halfway of the series. Anything could happen.
And so, our heroines have managed to defeat the forces of darkness and collect all 7 Prism Stones. Just when things are about to settle down for them, we’re introduced to a new character, Polun. He’s another weird creature from the Garden of Light, supposedly the prince there and is selfish and spoilt. Oh oh. Another weird creature who also ends it sentences with ‘popo’ coming to stay with them. We also see some elder old fart which I think is a close aide of the Queen and the Queen herself, which I notice sometimes doesn’t move at all, sitting on her throne and like as though she’s a giant glowing statue. Uh-huh, seems like a statue talking back (yeah, her lips aren’t moving too). So the Pretty Cure visits the Garden of Light and finds it very awesome but decided to have their feet back on the ground and go back to live in their own world. Now there’s lots of catching up to do.
So besides the girls saving the world or any other theme or settings related to them, there are certain episodes which involve other characters too. Like how in one episode there’re a couple of classmates of theirs impersonating themselves as the real Pretty Cure, or helping one of their classmates, Shiho get her confidence back for some relay race, or Nagisa having to secretly watch over her little brother Ryota as he run an errand by bringing some documents to his dad’s office, or their teacher Yoshimi-sensei getting married with the class wanting to give her a present. There are other minor characters in the series from their friends to relatives but I’m not going into all that.
And of course the girls themselves go through friendship bonding and understanding episodes, like how in an early episode they couldn’t accept this save the world stuff and couldn’t get along and thought of breaking up, the time when Mipple got snatched by a teacher because he thought Nagisa brought a handphone to school, Nagisa’s lacrosse tournament, Honoka’s busy parents return for her birthday, how the 2 teamed up as a duet to represent their class and school in an inter-school choir competition, and Nagisa’s crush on the school’s football player, Fuji, but seems to get all nervous whenever he’s nearby. Lots of close encounters and near-misses. Well, better confess fast because there’s an episode near the end whereby there seems to be another girl who’s interested in Fuji and even asks Nagisa’s help to what attracts him! Some indecisive moments there but I think Nagisa’s glad to have Fuji around and the way things are now even if he’s oblivious to her feelings. And of course, those baddies having ideas of separating them because they noticed that their powers work only when they’re together. But eventually, the Pretty Cure still manage to reunite in the end and give those baddies a taste of their own medicine.
Anyway, just when Nagisa and Honoka are gonna take a break from get back to their life, suddenly new faces of the forces of darkness appears to continue and torment them. Yeah, I don’t remember or know how, but somehow King Jaaku was revived back to his original imprisoned position back in the Dusk Zone. This time he has 3 minions which randomly appeared 1 by 1 from the human world. I don’t know what it means either since they’re normal looking humans at first and then it’s like they’re trying to remember something but can’t seem to do so until finally they realized their true nature and transformed themselves into meaner looking baddies in full body hugging suits. The trio are Juna, a tall office worker in his non-transforming form, the red head female Regine who has funny perm curls as her hairstyle (shocking Nagisa when she first saw her) and the leader of the trio, Belzei, a former doctor before he was ‘awakened’. Are they in some sort of ‘slumber’? At first I thought it was the 5 original minions reincarnated, but later on it wasn’t so. Yeah, they’re much more powerful too and they don’t summon Zakenna as often as their predecessors because their own powers are good enough to take on the Pretty Cure, though they still lose out in the end.
Yup, so it’s the same thing with the new baddies. Some theme or setting, baddies interrupt asking them to hand over the Prism Stones and as usual the duo won’t and they fight. But this time, Polun indirectly joins the fight by giving or upgrading the Pretty Cure’s powers. In the sense that because he’s such a spoilt brat, whenever he sees the Pretty Cure in a pinch or difficult position, he would let loose a blood curling scream (and a very looooong one), which will then somehow fire to them some bracelets which look like some wrist gadget. Now powered up and with a new weapon, accompanied with a new synchronized, systematic and co-ordinated speech and moves (I wonder how they now what to say and do. Must be natural for them, huh? Yeah, Nagisa was surprised at this at first too), they easily blast away their enemy with an all-new Rainbow Storm. Just like Marble Screw but more colourful and powerful.
So during the second half of the series, in a desparate attempt to get the Prism Stones, those 3 baddies kidnapped Stonekeeper. But before that, Stonekeeper transferred all the 7 Prism Stones into Polun, the main reason why the Pretty Cure could get such a cool upgrade during their battles. And ever since then, Stonekeeper has been kept prisoner in a bird cage along with the baddies talkative pet macaw. Yeah, it seems they operate in some big mansion hidden deep within the forests. Pretty Cure managed to find their base in 1 episode but their mansion and the forests ‘moved’ making the place unrecognizeable and hard to locate again. Plus, in their mansion they have 2 clumsy, short-fused and incompetant butlers who end their sentences with ‘zakenna’. Those useless and bungling butlers serve as comic relief for the series. Otherwise their roles can really do without.
As the series progresses, those 3 baddies aren’t the usual faithful subordinates they are to King Jaaku. Yup, Belzei realized something important and schemes with the other 2. He realized that the power of the darkness will soon consume them if they don’t get the Prism Stones soon. And even if they get it all, would King Jaaku have any further use of them? Uh-huh, that’s real typical bad guy scheming to the core. And so they decided to get the Prism Stone for themselves. Even when King Jaaku found out about it, he’s like still calm and questions them back like even if they had obtained the powers, would they be able to handle it or defeat him. As for our Pretty Cure, whatever the reason, it’s still a no no.
Soon the trio baddies figure out that Polun might be having all the Prism Stones and made their move on that little creature. Once they have done so, the trio then merged into 1 super powerful being. Yeah, it reminds you like the Oscars statue. Only thing he’s muscular, grey and covered with electrical current. Besides, since that happened in the Dusk Zone, Pretty Cure has no choice but to venture there again and put a stop to it once and for all. The usual battle ensues.
But even if the Pretty Cure were temporarily ‘defeated’ by him, that Oscar-look-alike then decides to face King Jaaku himself as the 2 forces of darkness battle it out for ultimate supremacy. Looks like King Jaaku still has some powers even though he’s chained. What’s this? Kiriya appears out from no where and pulls the Prety Cure to safety? I thought he’s gone. Well, probably he wasn’t directly defeated at the Pretty Cure’s hands. Honoka must be a little happy. Kiriya’s like giving them some ‘advice’ or rather the realistic chances of defeating the darkness. But the duo are pretty adamant and will fight to the death and try their best.
Suddenly King Jaaku sucks and absorbs the Oscar-look-alike’s powers, devouring him in the process and freeing himself. Yeah, those baddies are gone for good. One bad turn deserves another. Now King Jaaku has become more powerful so much so it ripped a hole open onto Earth and the darkness is fast covering the Garden of Light. I can’t believe the Queen was a little pessimistic and said something like all they could do now is hope and pray for everything is in the hands of the Pretty Cure. Well true.
The final battle has lots of power and blasting and the battle zone took place on a desolated planet Earth whereby King Jaaku’s powers has somehow ‘vanish’ the Earthlings. And you’d probably guessed it that the only way to have things back to normal is to defeat him. With lots of self-believe, optimisim and I-won’t-give-up attitude, the Pretty Cure manage to blast away King Jaaku. Yeah, he couldn’t believe that he lost and did a terminator by saying he’ll be back. Is he really gone for good this time?
So your usual good ending where good finally triumphs over evil and everybody is happy and the girls can go back to their normal school lives. Oh wait, it’s already graduation day already. Oh well, it’s really been a long year. And what’s this? Kiriya got fascinated by the unbeliveable act of the Pretty Cure and says to himself he now knows what to do and disappears. What does that mean? And since the forces of darkness has been defeated, Mipple and Mepple dishearteningly told the girls that they’re going to ‘sleep’. Of course, since they’ve been so long together, no matter how annoying or irritating they are, it’s difficult to part as the girls weep uncontrollably. Erm… Seriously, are that those 2 ‘going away’? And in the final scene, we see Nagisa and Honoka walking back after school and Honoka spots a Kiriya look-alike! Though their eyes met, that Kiriya boy just stared at her as though he’d seen her somewhere before but couldn’t remember as he soon walk away with his parents. I guess Honoka’s happy to know that Kiriya’s well and hope that they’ll meet again some day.
Overall, I would say that this series is quite okay. Though I have felt and noticed that as each passing episode, my interest and enthusiasm in the series has waned or diminished. Uh-huh. I wonder where has all that ‘magic’ gone too. Probably that’s because I’ve seen too much of the same thing. But this isn’t the end of the series. Why, there’s a sequel even after that called Futari Wa Pretty Cure Max Heart. Yeah, I saw there’s a third additional member to the team (actually the Queen herself who lost her memories and came to Earth) and probably more of those good versus evil themes with cute girly stuffs and of course new villains, new characters and new moves.
And if you really can’t get enough of it, there’s a third season which is a spin-off of the original series called Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star. Lots of resemblance to the original series but with a different theme (a bird theme?). Plus, to satisfy harcore fans, there’re 3 movies up to date and currently a 4th season is being aired in Japan, called Yes! Precure 5. And the numeral ‘5’ doesn’t indicate the season number, but the number of members in the Pretty Cure team. Hmm… It seems the number of team members just keep increasing. Sort of. But because I’ve had too much of a Pretty Cure dose, I’m thinking I should pass these sequels and spin-offs.
So back to the original first season series. The drawing, art and animation seems pretty okay. I mean, since it’s targeted for younger audience, it’s filled with lots of cute and girly stuffs and the colouring is quite bright, though of course it will be dark and grim whenever they show the Dusk Zone or things pertaining to the forces of darkness. Since it’s a quite a long series, I guess I could say that there’s enough character development especially between Nagisa and Honoka, and certainly a little from their family members and school friends too.
From the opening theme song, you’ll know that the exciting and fast beat theme, Danzen! Futari Wa Precure, sung by Mayumi Gojo, will get you in the mood (at least it does for me). While the ending theme, Gecchu! Rabu Rabu?!, sounds like a cheerleading song at first, which is also sounds exciting and quite ‘cute’. And it’s amusing to see the characters doing some synchronized slow walk in a row as they walk across the screen. Even those 5 minions and Zakenna had their share. But the later 3 baddies did something like a Russian dance. Funny.
I guess the moral of the series is about friendship and teamwork besides the good will always triumph evil. So people, if you ever need a team of superheroes to save the day against the forces of evil, forget Superman, Batman or the X-Men. We have 2 cute teenage girls who can do just as good. Powerpuff Girls you say? Why, it’s way past their bedtime already.

Trinity Blood

April 14, 2007

Even though I have known the anime Trinity Blood previously, at that time I had never any intention of watching it. But because since it is the first anime to be shown locally in original Japanese audio and Malay subtitles, I decided to give it a try. Well, I guess I was right about not wanting to watch it in the first place. But if I haven’t watch it, I wouldn’t know, would I?
One main reason why I initially didn’t want to watch it was because it’s that usual human vs vampire storyline. Which means, 24 episodes of dark horror supernatural drama and such. Okay, maybe it’s not so much the horror, but since there’re vampires here, it can’t be romantic comedy genre, right? Because so, probably that’s why the local tv decide to air the series at around midnight.
And as usual, the setting is during the post-apocalyptic world in the distant future (ironically the town and cities seemed like during Victorian times or anything during that era) whereby 2 races are constantly at feud. Namely the humans AKA Terrans and the vampires AKA Methuselah. Currently, there’s an uneasy peace between them and of course, some really have that hope of co-existing together and others who just want to wipe each other out.
Before I proceed, I’d like to mention that some of the name of the certain characters can be quite hard to pronounce and have that ‘old European’ feel. Yeah, reminds me like in Zero No Tsukaima’s case. Tongue twisting. And those high ranking characters have second titles such as Duke, Duchess, Earl or Count of some old European or Middle East kingdom like Tigris, Florence, Milan, Moldova, Memphis, Luxor or Kiev. But since I got confused trying to remember them, I’ll just leave it there. In addition, some of the character’s names have a meaning in a different language to their role in the series. So you need to be widely read and be knowledgeable. Of course, if you’re a blur case like me, then it won’t matter lah.
Also in the future, the Vatican has become some sort of a military offenssive base to counter the threat of the Methuselah. So you’ll notice quite a heavy Christianity theme and setting here for this anime. Led by Pope Alessandro XVIII, he’s actually quite nervous, low self-esteem and indecisive. At first, you may think how could such a young guy become a Pope. Later on, you’ll find out that it wasn’t that he really wanted to but due to circumstances he has to be one. So you can see he’s like a puppet ruler.
Yup, that’s because the one really pulling the strings are his assistance and half siblings, the show-no-mercy and all-Methuselah-must-be-wiped-out tough standing Cardinal Francesco Di Medici, and Cardinal Catherina Sforza who’s strong willed and more determined to make peace with the Methuselah rather than destroying them. And under Catherina, she heads a group of special AX forces. A sub-group of the Department Of Foreign Affairs and each members has some sort of special ability and go around under her command to solve cases and issues pertaining to Methuselah which sometimes include eradicating them. By the way, I notice that the dressing of some of the Pope’s subjects are like KKK. Um… Nevermind.
Let’s briefly go over some of the AX agents. The main one for the series is Father Abel Nightroad (looks a bit like Lord Illpalazzo from Excel Sage). He is quite an amusing and interesting character. That’s because he’s the main reason for the little comic relief of the series. At first looks, he’s clumsy, goofy, absent-minded, always poor (not given enough allowance, that is) and have a sweet tooth (17 cubes of sugar in a cup of tea?!), which actually… he is! And I think Abel’s voice actor, Hiroki Touchi, did quite a good job making him sound so goofy. But besides his goofy self, his quite righteous in his beliefs like not killing his enemies outright and he uses his gun loaded with silver bullets just to disarm or weaken them. By the way, Abel is really a skinny person as you’ll see later in the series. Yeah, all those clothing and uniform must have magnified his appearance, doesn’t it? Like that saying, clothes maketh a man. Hmm… I wonder about the other AX members’ case…
Abel isn’t actually a human. He’s a Crusnik. What’s that? A vampire which feeds on the blood of other vampires and is more powerful than the latter. Uh-huh. Maybe at least someone to keep the vampire population in check. And when Abel transforms into his Crusnik form, he’s like saying to himself as though he’s some computer, activating the nanomachine in his body, and he looks and sounds really scary this time, no more goofy. With his white hair now all standing up which resembles the cream of an ice cream cone, a pair of red eyes and black angel wings (or devil, which ever way you look at it) and wields a very sharp skeletal scythe which looks like a boney sting ray (I think that’s what it looks like) that can cut through almost anything. Though he mentioned that his Crusnik form is his ‘mark of sins’, I’m not sure what he really meant or what sins he has committed since there isn’t anything conclusive about it throughout the series.
You’ll see all this in the first episode when some airship that Abel’s riding in got hijacked by a vampire. The vampire manage to kill everyone except Abel and an airstewardess Jessica, but met his doom when he took on Abel in his Crusnik form (how can they stand up and fight so stable on top of the airship at that altitude?). I seem to notice that all vampires have some sort of blade which they can unsheath from their arms. Are they born with it? No doubt that vampires are faster, stronger, have longer a life span than humans, probably that’s why they want to wipe the other weaker race out. It is also here that we’ll find out that there’s a secret terrorist organization called the Rosen Kreuz Order which consists of vampires operating in the shadows who wants world domination by destroying the Terrans so that they can start a new order.
Other AX agents include Tres Iqus, an efficient battle robot which look so human that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. But because of his emotionless and limited vocab, you may think otherwise. I like it when he whips out his double guns and shoots away at his enemies. Looks cool. Then there’s William Walter Wordsworth AKA Professor who invents bizarre inventions, some worthless, some resulting in failure, and some… which I felt was just out of the convenience of the storyline. Also, Leon Garcia (first appears in episode 7) who uses throwing disks during battles and dislikes being called ‘uncle’. And always close to Catherina and her most trusted is Vaclav Havel, who can camouflage (at first I thought he could turn invinsible). Then the mysterious Hugue De Watteau AKA Sword Dancer, whose most prominent episode is in episode 6 only whereby he’s tracking down vampires who murdered his family and the only episode where Abel doesn’t appear, is a highly skilled warrior who wields a staff-like sword.
At first I thought Kate Scott AKA Iron Maiden is just a hologram. Then I found out that she could project herself anywhere to give information and such. I wonder if she could see her surroundings since sometimes I notice she reacts to it. Operating from the airship, you’ll never see her in person throughout the series. Also, I kinda notice that the airships of the future have sharp thorns sticking out and in weird shapes. Reminds me of an oversized virus or even a coffin! Finally, there’s that voluptuous and flirtatious looking Noelle Bor. Forgive me, but the way they draw Noelle so sexy, that one might think that she could actually land a job in the world’s oldest profession. I mean, outfits that men consider to be sexually attracted to are usually nurses, maids and probably school girls, but sister or nun? No ‘unholy’ thoughts please. Anyway, Noelle has hinted that she may like Abel (he’s oblivious and blur of course) but unfortunately, she died early. More on that later.
The other main reason why I continued watching this series was Esther Blanchett. Yup, she’s a bishoujo and real cutie (no ‘unholy’ thoughts from me too). She’s the latest recruit (got officially recruited in episode 5, that is) to the AX forces making her first appearance in episode 3 where Abel travels to Ishtvan to meet her. Esther is an orphan with a mysterious link to the kingdom of Albion and was brought up by a nun Sister Laura. And because Sister Laura got murdered by some vampire named Count Gyula, she really hates them and teams up with Dietrich seeks evenge on him. Before that could happen, Count Gyula’s men attacked them and killed Dietrich Von Lohengrin before arresting Esther and Abel.
Then in episode 4, we hear Count Gyula’s side of the story of how his beloved wife died and that he plans to use some Star Of Sorrow to bring apocalypse to the world again. Another twist when Dietrich is found alive and is actually a member of the Order and manipulating them so that he could use it to destroy the Vatican and bring both races to war. Of course, our heroes save the day (I wonder how Abel knows the password to self destruct the Star) but not before Count Gyula realizes his mistake and stabs himself and Dietrich manage to make his escape.
I felt that some of the episodes are like fillers and the end of it seems like ‘what does it all mean’ kinda feeling. Like in episode 2 where Abel and Tres finds a young girl, Elise, who seems to have the mysterious power to turn humans and vampires against each other with just a mere touch. Of course they had to protect her since some vampires are after her too. But eventually Elise got kidnapped and Abel sets out to rescue her. Because earlier on Abel had broken some rules, Tres has orders to eliminate them both. I didn’t really get the last part whereby after Abel saved Elise, Tres was gonna eliminate them both but says he ran out of ammo. Just then the vampire kidnapper leader was gonna pound on them when Tres gun that vampire down. So what does it all mean? Anyway, that’s the last you’ll ever see of Elise as she walks happily back with them.
Or in episode 7 whereby Abel and Leon visited some island called Never Land. Yeah, you’ll notice that Peter Pan theme here. There’s a kid named Peter and Wendy here too. Some children used as experiments by Professor Barret. Something about artificial vampires and why they don’t really grow up (except for Peter) and that experiment ended in failure. Then there’s that Tinkerbell system which Wendy uses to control the other kids but the system was eventually disabled and they took them down. Instead of disposing them, they put them on a boat to Albion. And the funny part was, because of the high cost, Catherina refuse to take it as the company’s expense, much to Abel’s horror. Yeah, he’s acting all goofy again.
Also, some episodes have a ‘gap’ between them meaning, what happened at the end of the last episode doesn’t really continue off in the beginning of the next. Uh-huh, it made me go "what happened to that part?". My usual blur answer. Anway in episode 8 where Abel and Noelle were sent to investigate the collapsing of buildings in Barcelona. To cut things short another member of the Order, Isaak Fernand Von Kampfer, is using some oversized organ called Silent Noise to do so. Yeah, I guess the sound must be so horrible that buildings will collapse. But I wonder why only buildings. Maybe we should ask Professor Barret as he help Isaak invented it. Oops, wait. He’s dead. Isaak hanged him.
So while Abel try to stop Isaak, the building that Noelle’s in collapsed and sadly she died! Not before she found some blueprint of the Silent Noise and possibly it’s next attack. And because of that Abel became so discouraged. I can’t believe he got put off so easily by that event. Well, I mean of course it’s sad to lose a comrade but hey, he’s acting like he’s not interested to save the world anymore and even came to see Catherina to give up his badge after gone missing for a while. Probably why he got so discouraged was that he couldn’t protect the ones he loved as he previously promised to himself. A failure? Don’t think so.
As in episode 9-10, the Order infiltrates the Vatican to destroy Rome using the Silent Noise as some obelisk outside. And I knew all along that Alfonse d’Este, Alessandro’s uncle and the one who lost to his nephew over the Pope’s position, was the culprit behind it. Yeah he’s in cahoots with the Order. Even though he said that he doesn’t hold a grudge against his nepew after 5 long years, it’s all just a lie. That grudge never went away. I wonder how this man with an evil heart can serve God all this while? He even nicely ‘framed’ Catherina when the latter accuses him of going to activate the Silent Noise, which is of course a fake and a diversion, which placed Catherina under house arrest.
In the end, the other AX agents manage to stop the Silent Noise from activating, not before putting up a fight with some purple monster (?!) Alfonse unleashed. Meanwhile, Abel returns and takes on Isaak in his Crusnik form to protect Catherina but was unable to kill him because of his belief. Uh-huh, there’s some chip in Isaak’s heart in which Abel has to kill him in order to stop the Silent Noise. Yeah, Isaak must be mentally psychoing Abel with his words and playing with his mind. Abel manages to injure Isaak but the latter retreats when he finds out that Alfonse’s has been arrested and their plans gone awry. By this point I’m wondering if Abel’s a space alien vampire because of that flashback where he vowed to protect a young Catherina after she witness the massacre of her family by a group of vampires.
The number characters of the series seems to be growing as we’re introduced to Astharoshe Asran in episode 11. She’s one of the few Methuselah who still has contact with the outside The Empire (a kingdom where Methuselah dwells). She has a stripe of red hair on her head. I wonder if it’s natural or dyed? With a low opinion on Terrans, she was reluctantly partnered with Abel in Venice to hunt down a vampire, Endre, who has recently massacred a bunch of humans. She has to do this because from the order of her beloved Empress Augusta Vradica. Empress Augusta’s words are absolute and every Methuselah in The Empire loves and respects her and will without question do what she says even if it costs their lives. Also, since Empress Augusta wears a veil and voice choker, nobody really know how she looks like.
But it looks like Astharoshe has some personal vendetta on her mind as we see a flashback of her loved one being killed by Endre. No wonder she wants to take him out badly and doesn’t mind the safety of the innocent by standers around. Though, Abel is goofy most of the time in this episode (like how he calls her Astha-san much to her objections), he managed to ring her to her senses. Finally, when Endre decides to kill the Pope to start a war between Terrans and Methuselah only to discover that it’s a set up as Astharoshe’s dressed as a Pope. I guess this Endre guy likes to take hostages when he fights, but with some slick moves from the duo, this time they manage to overpower him and save the hostage. After this though not obvious, Ashtaroshe has a more favourable view of Abel and Terrans.
The things to come starts off in episode 12-14, whereby Empress Augusta sends a messenger envoy, Ion Fortuna and his assistant-cum-friend, Radu Barvon, to Catherina. But a premature blast at a building where Catherina is staying prompts that someone is there to assassinate her. Unfortunately, Ion’s there at the same time and has become a suspect. No choice he has to flee. Besides, who’d believe him if he’d try to explain, especially if Tres is around. But Catherina who believes that The Empire indeed send a messenger and wants to cement ties with The Empire. So she sends Abel and Esther to escort him safely back to her. Hey, it’s been some time since Esther appeared or played an important role.
While Ion is recuperating from his injuries and having some talk with Radu at some secret hideout, Esther comes in and is gonna attack Ion (yeah, she still holds a grudge over vampires) but Radu swiftly sticks a knife at her neck from behind. And it looks like Ion too doesn’t have favourable view of Terrans and has doubts of whether to proceed with his mission. But he has to because it’s a direct order from the Empress. Abel manage to arrive in time before slapping Esther because she acted so rashly and explained to Ion about things.
Before you know it, members of the Department of Inquisition, led by Brother Petros AKA Knight Of Destruction, who has a jetpack in built to his heavy armour and wields a huge mechanical lance which looked like an oversized duster, and Sister Paula AKA Sister Of Death, the second in command who wields twin blades. They’ve discovered Ion’s hideout and are under Francesco’s orders to protect Catherina since that incident. You know what that means. Abel instructs Esther to take Ion and Radu to escape under some secret passage while Abel takes on Petros one-on-one. Still trying to reason with a behemoth like him, huh Abel? Thing is, Petros defeated Abel as the latter plunges into the sea below. And as usual, he assumed that he died. Haih…
So as Esther leads the duo, we find out that Radu is the betrayer and actually plans the blasts earlier on, shocking Ion. Yeah, something like he doesn’t believe in that Terran-Methuselah co-existance and is gonna kill Ion. Remember the saying, keep your enemies close but your friends closer? Esther tries to protect Ion. But Paula arrives and kills Radu. Ion’s sad and confused. Then I don’t know how Abel got that speedboat to help them escape. But Abel’s existance shocked Petros (of course lah, it’s your fault for not really making sure in the first place) as he chased them using his jetpack. But soon as he stepped onto the speedboat, he loses his balance after some macho talk and decides to give them a chance to take Ion to see Catherina.
Back in town while Abel, Esther, Ion and Petros take refuge and find a way to see Catherina as the city is on full alert, Paula stays by Catherina’s side. We can see that Ion certainly gradually develop some feelings for Esther there after that heart-to-heart talk. It’s all written over your face boy. Unfortunately, Dietrich decides to stop the meeting between Ion and Catherina and controls the Inquisition’s airships and attacks the city. Plus, he unleashes dead corpses of axe wielding hooded warriors wearing facial gas masks, called Death Hunters, as footsoldiers. Time is running out and they need to go see Catherina in a jeep. Guess who’s behind the wheel? Esther of course! And she’s got no licence! Wahhh!!! I guess she pretty handle the vehicle very well in such situation.
But before they could reach there, the gang has been stopped by a familar face. Why, it’s Radu! I thought he’s dead. But some fight here and there as he tries to stop them. Then a moment where Esther and Ion embraced but more like they’re protecting each other but you know lah… Soon, Radu is gonna use his final canon blast in the tank he’s in but fails and the whole thing explodes with him in it. So is he really gone for good? Maybe not. Since his body was never found and it was ASSUMED that Radu’s body got disintergrated during the blast. Finally Ion and Catherina met the next day as Ion relays the message from the Empress, that they must destroy the Order and its leader, Contra Mundi, if they’re to realize their dream of co-existing both races together, in which Catherina agrees.
So in episodes 15-19, Catherina sends Abel and Esther to escort Ion back to The Empire’s capital, Byzantium. But it isn’t smooth sailing. Upon reaching home, to Ion’s horror, he found that his whole mansion’s servants and grandma, Mirka, has been brutally murdered by Death Hunters. To make things worse, the Empress’s soldiers have arrived at the right moment when a bomb blast occured (which meant to take out Ion and co but Abel spotted it and managed to bring them all to safety by leaping out of the window). This means that Ion is now a suspect and deemed as a betrayer also because he returned silently rather than announcing his return. By the way, I just want to note that Esther seems to call Ion ‘Kakka’ (Sir/Your Excellency) too many times until I felt ‘irritated’. It’s like, "Oh, there she goes again saying that". Nothing to it actually. And she doesn’t mean that Brazilian footballer either.
While Esther and Ion goes in into hiding, the 2 forge a bond of friendship and become somewhat close to each other as Abel went to find Astharoshe and talk things out with her and her childhood friend, Suleyman, who’s also the head of the Imperial Secret Council. Abel even went to see the Empress but notices that she isn’t the real one. How would he know. I mean, nobody’s seen her face before right? Meanwhile, Ion and Esther tours the city and got lost trying to find some place called Mimars and met a little tea seller girl, Seth, who thinks those 2 are a couple. Ion’s blushing but Esther seems oblivious. Unfortunately for Ion, once they reached their destination only to find that the person is being murdered with blood splattered all around. While Ion gets a shocking discovery from that person’s last breath that Radu was the one that murdered his grandma (I thought he’s dead. But then again), a Death Hunter is gonna slash him when Esther uses her back to protect Ion and take out the Death Hunter but slashed in the process and fainted. Seth then suddenly appears to with her medical kit and to heal Esther.
And later while Esther recuperates with Seth in a room, Ion seeks out to find Radu, in which he did. In their encounter, he tells Ion that he’s planning to assassinate the Empress and the other Terrans as he stabbed Ion and instigates things by saying how Esther’s family was killed by vampires and that she’s just waiting for a chance to avenge her grudge. Luckily, Astharoshe came by which made Radu flee. Furthermore, since the Empress is gonna attend Mirka’s funeral, it is likely, the assassination attempt is to take place there. And since Ion’s a suspect, he’s sad that he can’t attend it.
While Astharoshe and Abel leaves to find Radu, they left Ion and Esther in a room together. But being the stubborn kid he is, Ion decides to go find and stop them, even if Esther told him not to. And Esther’s in shock when Ion told her what Radu had earlier told him. She tried to go after him but bumped into Seth. While walking together, they saw Suleyman entering a building and having a chat with Radu about their plans. Oh oh, looks like this guy’s too an accomplice. But Esther and Seth’s presence were found out. Seth told Esther to find Astharoshe and Abel and tell them about the assassination plot as Seth takes on Suleyman. In the end, Suleyman cornered Seth and cut off the cliff’s edge and sends Seth plunging into the ocean below. As usual, he was so sure she’s dead and never checked. But what happened to Seth in the next episode seems a mystery because it didn’t tell what exactly happened to her after that.
Ion managed to find Radu who’s heading to attend the funeral and attacks him. I guess his emotions took over him. He’s not really thinking. Yeah, nobody’s gonna believe from a suspect that Radu’s the assassin. But before Radu could kill him, Radu’s experiencing a short change in character. What the? For that short moment he turned back into the old Radu and tells Ion to stop the assassination plot before he changes back to his evil self. Well to cut things short, actually Dietrich is controlling him. You see, Dietrich is a puppet master and his ability is to control the mind and body, dead or alive, of both humans and vampires. I see. Now that explains why Radu was ‘revived’. Anyway, the Empress arrives and tells that Ion and Esther should be kept alive for questioning and orders them to be taken to the palace.
Astharoshe and Abel may have arrived too late as they saw a smoke of an explosion coming from the direction of the funeral. Astharoshe’s in disbelief that the Empress is now gone. What will happen to The Empire. Yup, looks like the citizens are unsure an insecure about it too. I can’t believe that the Empress really died. Because of this, Suleyman now installs himself as the new leader of The Empire while Radu has a plan to make it as though Ion and Esther, who’re locked up in the palace dungeon’s, kill each other. After some talk and revealing himself as Dietrich to them, he shoots Ion with some dehydration bullet which makes Ion wants to crave for blood badly. And Dietrich even throws in a silver knife to Esther to say that there’s one way for her to get out alive, that is to kill Ion, before leaving. Esther’s in a dilemma and Ion can’t seem to hold much longer. Meanwhile, Astharoshe and Abel are on a boat in some underground passageway when Death Hunters emerge to stop them. Astharoshe asks Abel to go rescue Ion and Esther as she uses herself as a decoy.
Back at the cell, some emotionally charged talk as Esther decides not to kill Ion but allowed him to suck her blood. I was wondering why Ion didn’t just take the knife and stab himself but asked Esther to do it. But that’s not the point. Since Ion can’t suck Esther’s blood, he stabbed his leg instead. Well luckily, Abel arrived in time to with some vial to cure Ion’s condition. Hey, how does he know Ion’s in that state?
Suleyman’s in the main palace when Astharoshe brands him a traitor and says that Esther and Ion are witnesses for his crime. Suleyman thinks they’re dead, that is, until they both showed up, surprising him very much. The Empress than appears with another mysterious woman. Okay, so the Empress can’t die that easily. She explains that she wasn’t at the funeral when the blast occured and that it was all just a set up to see if the Order has made their move with Ion’s return. Even Mirka’s murder was a set up as it is revealed that she’s the mysterious woman standing next to her. All this must be shocking to hear. What’s even shocking is that the Empress reveals her face… IT’s SETH!!!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness!!!! I can’t believe that little kid’s the Empress. No wonder nobody has seen her before. I guess it’ll make a perfect cover up and people would least suspect it when their Empress’s a little girl. Err… So what happened when she got ‘defeated’ by Suleyman earlier on?
Then I’m not sure whether Suleyman killed himself or Astharoshe did it. But before he died, some emotionally charged talk between him and Seth like why she’d expected so much from him or who is she to them bla bla bla. Close your eyes buddy and take a trip to eternity. Meanwhile, Abel confronts Dietrich at some control room and advices him to give up. His answer. Of course not lah. Abel in Crusnik form tries to take Dietrich down when Seth suddenly appears in her Crusnik form too and destroys Dietrich (Radu’s body actually)! What the? She’s a Crusnik too? Yeah, she explained it all at the end when Abel and Esther prepares to leave The Empire. Looks like Seth’s just the same as with Abel and Cain (Contra Mundi, that is. But I’ll refere to him as Cain from now onwards) as she tells Abel that Cain is still alive, surprising Abel a little. Yeah, Abel wants that guy dead so much and looks like now he has to start hunting him down. Besides, it’s been 900 years since Seth and Abel met. Wow. And Seth didn’t age a little. Must be Botox. Just kidding. Well also, we see Ion reluctantly wanted Esther to go. Yeah, looks like he’s in love with her. But Esther says she has things to do and will come back and visit, much to Ion’s joy.
The final arc of the series from episodes 20-24, starts off with the passing of the Queen Of Albion. To make things worse, the rightful heir to the throne passed away 15 years ago leaving the kingdom with no ruler. And the most eligible ruler would be from outside the kingdom, which the Vatican doesn’t want to happen. So, Esther and Alessandro visits the kingdom to also strengthen their ties. So the duo has been greeted by Colonel Mary Spencer of Albion’s Navy, and Virgil Walsh, a noble and owner of a factory in Londinium.
At the factory, Esther and Alessandro also finds out a secret underground factory, whereby a group of Methuselahs born and bred there are providing Terrans of the kingdom with Lost Technology. Well, it’s not like these vampires want to do it on their own free will but they have no where else to go either. Suddenly several explosion goes off. It looks like a rebellion from those underground vampires, led by Vanessa, who’s also Virgil’s sister. She’s taking this opportunity to free themselves from the Terran’s clutches since the Queen Of Albion has already passed away, which renders the situation a little less stable. And part of their plan is to kidnap the Pope. Luckily Esther takes him to safety.
Meanwhile, news of the explosion has reached the Vatican. Though, the Pope’s whereabouts and status are unconfirmed Catherina wants a more peaceful solution instead of Francesco’s extreme brute force to wipe out the vampires. So Catherina despatches her AX agents there. Abel, Leon and Professor are already there when they’re meet up by Petros and Paula. Though Petros is reluctant, but for now they have to work together to save Alessandro as Abel shows them a secret passage into the underground factory. How does he know these things? Convenience?
So to cut things short, Alessandro got lost, meets up with a little girl, Angelica, from the underground factory, the both chat, she looks up to him but he tells her his own shortcomings and low self-esteem. Vanessa finds him and forcefully wants to take him, that is until Angelica pleads to her with her innocent face and talk, so Vanessa just asks Alessandro to follow her but she got ambushed by Petros and Paula. During her fight with Petros (she reminds me of Medusa using her hair as weapon) she lost and Petros was about to kill her but Alessandro pleads him not to. Yeah, that guy has to listen to the Pope even though it’s not what he wanted. Petros spares her as Alessandro and the Inquisition duo tries to head out of the place when they’ve been cornered by Death Hunters. With no way out, Petros is thinking of using his life to defend Alessandro till the end, that is until Vanessa appears and dispose all the Death Hunters. See, a good deed deserves another. They manage to get Alessandro to safety. At this point, I felt that Alessandro isn’t as ‘weak’ as he use to be.
Meanwhile the other AX agents are disposing hordes of Death Hunters themselves with Leon meeting up with Peter and Wendy for a brief moment. Earlier on, Esther got trapped in one of Dietrich’s traps and was left there alone when a Death Hunter comes by ready to chop her into half. Luckily, God’s on her side as Abel shoots it down an unties her and asks her to take the elevator up for her safety. Meanwhile Cain finally makes his appearance (unless you count that short appearance after that Silent Noise incident as one. But I guess viewers won’t remember him much then) as he blasts all the hapless guards in front of the building with ease. Cain seems to be heading towards the underground factory as Esther tends to an injured Mary. But soon, Esther decides to follow Cain and took another route down there.
Abel confronts Dietrich who’s planning to activate something at some control room. Abel transforms into his Crusnik form and a battle ensues. Soon, Cain shows up and kills Dietrich! Well, so much for him. Looks like he could control dead bodies except his own. It’s a showdown as Abel charges towards Cain. But because Abel saw Esther coming up from Cain’s rear, he hesitated which allowed Cain to easily kill Abel. Woah! Abel, the main hero dies?! I think the producers took it off from the Bible where Cain killed Abel. Esther’s screaming in disbelief.
Yup, Abel did really died as we see Esther crying beside his coffin and blaming herself for his death in episode 23. I can’t believe it too. But I’m thinking there’s gonna be some twist to this whole thing. Ion and Astheroshe heard that Abel has died and no doubt that they want to head over to Albion, Astharoshe says they have to meet the Pope as ordered. What’s this? Catherina giving something to Tres and sending him off on some mission. Hmm…
And after a long time, we see Isaak again. Yeah, he’s controlling some spaceship, Aegis, and causing havoc over the city. We also see him having a chat with Cain through the screen like how Cain ‘scolded’ him for not fixing his body up properly. To cut things short, Cain’s body was damage when he descended to Earth long time ago and he wants to merge with Abel’s body so that he could continue to bring a new order to the world. So as Cain destroys the city, Cain goes looking for Abel’s corpse.
Here’s another news. Virgil is convinced that Esther is the ‘Star Of Hope’. Meaning, that Esther is actually the rightful heir to the throne of Albion! And I found out that her name means star in Persian. Is that shocking? Before her dad died 15 years ago, he hid his baby princess in another country and that princess is Esther. Well, if you put things together, it does make sense. So that’s her mysterious link to Albion. Virgil wants Esther to help him calm the people of the city. Though Esther didn’t believe it all at first but eventually she has to do what she has to do. When she arrived at the main building, she addressed her subjects and gave some form of hope to her people in her speech. I guess, she’s really fit to be the future Queen Of Albion. After her speech, she left to to be by Abel’s side.
The rest of the AX agents gear up to combat against Isaak and whatever those mini balls he released from Aegis. I didn’t know that Professor could invent a flying rocket car! Yeah, it switched from land to air with just a click of a switch. Out of convenience, isn’t it? We also see some sword slashing skills from Hugue and the Inquisition duo chips in to help take down the hovering menace. But their action seems futile because Aegis is being protected by some force shield. I don’t know what the Professor’s blabbing about the workings of the force shield. But somehow they manage to disable it and then with everybody’s combined power, they blasted Aegis and fry Isaak along with it.
Meanwhile, at Abel’s coffin, Esther arrives to find Tres pouring some chemicals into it and saying mission complete. Then Cain comes in as Tres whips out his pistols and starts shooting but with no effect on him. And in one blow, he blasts Tres away. Before you know it, Abel revives but now is all black like a devil with electrical current over him. Is that Catherina’s plot earlier on? Convenience, maybe. So Abel and Cain have their duel match in the sky. And we see a flashback that Abel, Cain, Seth and their mom Lilith were actually some experiments for some Mars exploration thingy! What crap is that?! Abel seems grumpy and negative until a cool and calm Cain tells him about future, destiny and all that stuffs. Probably that’s where he changed. But that’s just about it for the flashbacks. Nothing more. Back at the Vatican, Catherina and Astharoshe met and discussed things for the future. Looks like Ion has ran off somewhere.
So back to the ariel battle. Some zapping here and there so much so I don’t know who actually won the match. Really. That’s because the scene changes to the coronation of Queen Esther as we see her being crowned and watched by everybody. Yeah, looks like she’s gonna take on her destiny as the future ruler of Albion. And lastly, we see Abel. He seems to have got his memory back and sounds more serious this time. Yup, looks like Ion wants to join him in search of Cain and bring an end to the Order, even if it’s dangerous and will cost his life. Uh-huh. Looks like that last battle didn’t end with a winner and Cain is still on the loose.
And THAT’S IT!!! The ending was so open-ended that it raises more question than answers. You could say that I’m bloody dissatisfied with how it all ended. But all that dissatisfaction toned down when I found out that the author of the series, Sunao Yoshida, died shortly after the anime was announced. Thus, the storyline was never finished. I see. So that’s what that line ‘Dedicated to Sunao Yoshida’ at the end of the last episode meant. Though I’m still dissatisfied with the ending, but I could say that the reason for such unpleasant ending is now much more justified and I felt less ‘bitter’.
Because of the unfinished storyline, probably I guess that’s why the anime was left hanging like that too. Which means the character developments for the anime are only so so. Yeah, I notice that there isn’t much background about them especially some of the AX agents but if you want to know them, you’ll still have to read the manga, at least for what has been told by it. People say that there’s some chemistry between Abel and Esther. But as far as I can see, there isn’t. Unless you consider one those blushing moments from Esther when she chats with Abel in one of the earlier episodes. To me, nah.
Since the series deals with vampires, there are some scenes which are dark and grim. Though there aren’t many vampire sucking blood scenes, because of the fight action sequence, it may be a little gory, bloody and gruesome. Not for the weak-hearted or younger viewers. Though the review says that the fight sequences are awesome and non-repetitive (meaning, no ‘recycled’ bits of the same action scene), I just felt that they were okay and nothing that spectacular, since I only like those action sequences with Tres firing his double pistols away and the last episode where everybody teams up to take on Isaak.
Therefore, theoratically I was ‘naturally right’ that I initially decided not to watch this. However, if I haven’t done so, then I wouldn’t have known a handful of nice BGMs. Yes, there are a variety of them and I like those soft and slow ballads which may range from piano solo to easy guitar picking. At first I thought that there was some mistake when the name of some of the soundtrack goes something like TB No. XX (number) then followed by its name. Then I realized that that is its actual name because that name appeared in all other soundtrack listing sites as well! Strange.
There are also several soundtrack albums. I want to note that there’s a soundtrack whereby some instrumental music is playing in the background with the characters of the series talking (not sure whether they’re lines from the series or not). You should here Abel’s one. It’s really weird, goofy and amusing. The opening theme song, Dress, by Buck-Tick, sounds kinda ‘drowsy’. No, it’s not a cure for insomnia, but I felt it rather fits with the dark vampire theme of the series. Meanwhile the ending theme, Broken Wings, by Tomoko Tane is totally sung in English and sounds a little ‘broken’. More like poor diction actually.
So for those who can’t get enough of vampire genre series, you can add this one to your list since the characters are drawn to appeal to bishie fans alike. Uh-huh, even vampires are pretty and handome looking rather than your typical scary and horror looking blood sucking creatures. Probably the hidden message of the series is getting along with each other is a long and slow frustrating process but a beneficial one in the end. But good thing that there isn’t any vampires in the real world. Not so much because they threaten our safety. More of because we can’t even get along with each other of the same kind in the first place! Maybe that’s why the aliens decide to give our planet a pass. But that’s a different story.

Final Approach

April 13, 2007

Do you know why some people hate or dislike the government? Is it because of how they execute their policies or use their arm twisting tactics to execute whatever they want? Well, maybe. But that’s not what it’s mainly about in Final Approach. This series isn’t about why the people hate the government but the government does have a hand in it.
This is a short series with only 13 episodes. And it’s even made shorter wth each episode has only about 12-13 minutes of running time. But nevertheless, this comedy, romance and drama is quite fun to watch. And of course, it’ll be better if a harem anime involves high school bishie teenagers.
Basically, we’ve got this teenage guy Ryo Mizuhara who lives a mundane life in an apartment along with his younger sister Akane. What about their parents? Sorry, they passed away several years ago. Case close. Even so it may seem harsh at times, at least the 2 siblings are happy with the way things are.
But all that is about to change one day as we see in episode 1 whereby several government troops storm and gatecrashes Ryo’s apartment like some sort of military offensive takeover. And in the midst of the confusion and to their sudden surprise, a girl named Shizuka Masuda then suddenly proclaims herself to be Ryo’s bride. And she manage to wear such beautiful kimono under that jumpsuit.
Of course, Ryo got mad (like anybody else would) when some stranger gatecrashes herself and proposes herself to be your fiancee without considering your feelings first. Ryo’s asking Shizuka to leave his apartment (and life) immediately but Shizuka seems pretty unfazed and cool. Yeah, she’s like so patient and genki like all this was expected. But it’s better than having 2 angry loggerheads, right?
Soon, Shizuka calls her government MIB (men in black) which then proceed to elaborately set up a film projector to explain the situation. By the way, I happen to notice that all the MIB look the same. Clones? Probably done on purpose. Anyway, the funny part was when Shizuka started rolling the film, before anything could start, she fast forwarded it all and then decided to explain it all herself, much to Ryo’s dismay.
It seems that Japan is currently experiencing a low birth rate. And at this rate, you’ll know what will happen to the future of Japan, right? So to counter this problem, the government has been experimenting with a programme by choosing and ‘forcing’ 2 people of a certain age group to get married. Think of it as an arranged marriage or matchmaking at a National level. Failure to cooperate will land one in jail and it will be a National offence (read: you’re a criminal). Furthermore, this programme must be kept secret too so Ryo and Akane can’t really tell anybody else. Or else… Akane’s already shivering. But Ryo still isn’t amused by all this. Hey, doesn’t all this seem similar to Rizelmine?
So Ryo tries to shoo Shizuka and her MIBs but to no avail. See, getting mad doesn’t get you anywhere as Shizuka’s still very patient (or rather turning a deaf ear to his pleas). Uh-huh, really like Rizelmine’s case. Even when Ryo decided to pick up the phone to call the police, he found out that his phone line has been ‘reorganized’. Even the tv set! Uh-huh, looks like it’s the government’s doing too. And when all the MIBs left to leave them alone, Ryo lied about accepting Shizuka and wants to remove her physically. How unfortunate for him, Shizuka knows her judo well and throws him over before choking him in her arms. And Shizuka’s still pretty optimistic about Ryo accepting her in their lives as she pecks an unconscious Ryo on his cheek. Looks like their life now will never be the same. Yeah, it’s all turning upside down inside out.
And it’s gonna be something like this for the rest of the episodes. Ryo isn’t too fond nor does he accept the fact that he is engaged while Shizuka eagerly tries her best to perform her duties as a housewife, much to Ryo’s objections. Then with other characters getting thrown into the fray and the obstacles and misadventures they go through, life sure is getting much more interesting for Ryo and Akane. And by the end of most episodes, we’ll see a chibi person of one of the characters appearing and narrating so far what has happened and then wondering what will happen based on the events that has happened so far as they say quickly ‘tsudzuku’ (continue).
So in episode 2, we see the power of the government once more as Shizuka transfers to Ryo’s school and class, much to his dismay as usual. But before Shizuka made her debut at school, we’re introduced to 2 of Ryo’s classmates, Emiho Mutsu and Miki Moriya. I’m sure Ryo didn’t care about the consequences as he relates his previous night’s ordeal to the 2. Well, even the 2 girls believed him, I’m not really sure whether they really believe it as there’s no really shocking reaction from them. And the trio proceed to discuss things on such marriage and the likes of it.
During their conversation at the school park, suddenly a row of trailers come by and a red carpet rolls out. Uh oh. You know what this means. That’s right. Shizuka’s here. The headmaster and teachers seem to ‘welcome’ her and Ryo’s classmates are thinking how cute she is. Why, they think that she and Ryo may be related when Shizuka introduces herself by using the same surname as Ryo’s! And the teacher even told them that they’re both engaged and their marriage has been approved by both families! This is really an elaborate plan. Could anything get worse for Ryo?
That’s just the beginning. Shizuka made an adjoining table next to Ryo’s and sat beside him. And we find out that she’s a year younger than Ryo but because of political power, she’s been able to get into the same class as him. And all the guys in class are ‘knocked-out’ after finding out such cute girl has been ‘taken’. As Emiho grasps the situation, Miki wonders how this will affect Akane. Well, Miki and Akane are best friends and the former is always concerned about the latter and doesn’t want anything unpleasant to happen to her. Even if it means pounding Ryo.
Back at the apartment, the trio are having dinner and Ryo’s still not accepting it all. Until Shizuka said something like she’ll stay until she changes his mind and if she can’t then she’ll leave. Shizuka’s still pretty steadfast with her words, attitude and all. And because of that, I guess Ryo reluctantly allowed her to stay for a certain period of time, much to Shizuka’s happiness and she’ll try her best (and all those busybody MIBs outside the window must be real happy to hear that too). And the funny part was, when Ryo drank the miso soup, he fell unconscious because Shizuka confessed that earlier on she put some sleeping substance in it as a precaution that she might get kicked out that night. Hehe. The devil is the angel, vice versa.
In episode 3, we find out that Ryo and Akane works part time at a cafe called Plavi. We’re also introduced to a character Hazuki Mukasa AKA Haru who seems to be doing his job through a laptop while sipping coffee at his designated sit in the cafe. Haru seems to be like guardians to Ryo and Akane since their parents’ demise. And probably it’s because of Haru, the cafe received some business. Yeah, all the girls there are just swooning over him. But Haru has just 1 girl on his mind. She is Yurika Menou who’s operating the cafe. Though Haru and Yurika are dating, their relationship is kept a secret so as to protect the business.
Of course, Shizuka then comes in. While Yurika is thrilled to meet Ryo’s fiancee, it seems that Shizuka and Haru don’t get along. Why, when she introduced herself, all the other girl customers there are whispering among themselves "Who is this b*tch?" and aren’t too fond seeing her talking to their beloved Haru. Why doesn’t Haru like Shizuka much? That’s because Shizuka asked Akane to go take a rest while she replaces her job as a waitress. Of course Haru isn’t too amused and proceeds to lecture her. And so it starts. You could see ‘deadly’ auras coming out from the 2 as they try to out talk each other in a nice sarcastic way.
Then one of the customer’s teasing Akane when Ryo steps in to protect her but gets shoved instead. This made Shizuka to whistle and call her MIBs as they come crashing in surrounding that jerk. And the funny remark from him was "Who are you guys?! Everyone has the same face?!". Hahaha. So true as the MIBs ‘escorted’ him out. Usual, Haru doesn’t seem too fond of it and another round of deadly auras from the 2 and macho talk. What’s this? Shizuka’s aura turned into a red tiger while Haru’s a blue dragon. But looks like Haru won when he threw some paper at Akane, something about bill of indemnification about damages Shizuka must monetarily compensate Haru because Shizuka’s act has made Haru lost his chance of showing his coolness to the ladies. What the?
As Shizuka gracefully admits her defeat she also mentions that it was her method that helped protect Akane and the shop. Because Haru felt that she was sincere in her defeat, he decided that she should receive a sincere thanks from Ryo, much to Ryo’s dismay. Shizuka wants to have dinner with Ryo alone, in which Haru agrees. Ryo must’ve felt really ‘betrayed’ by someone he has been looking up all this time. Yeah, Shizuka even proceeds to call Haru ‘brother’. Oh, brother.
Ryo’s really had it with Shizuka’s persistancy in episode 4. Yeah, Shizuka followed to wherever Ryo went, even when he’s taking a leak in the men’s! And Ryo’s conveying his frustration to Emiho and Miki during lunch. But Emiho seems to understand Ryo’s feelings. Why? That’s because Emiho admitted that she too has a total stranger as her fiancee, shocking Ryo and Miki. So later the trio discussed about it over at Plavi. And it looks like Emiho seems to have accepted her fate of her arranged marriage rather than object to it, much to Ryo’s disbelief. He even wanted to help her turn it down but Emiho seems resigned to that fact. So much so Emiho gave a reverse psychology back at Ryo about his case.
This guy could learn a thing or two about Emiho’s positive approach. I mean, from her point of view, she thinks it’s better to try and get along and know her other counterpart better rather than being hostile. More of those kind of talk even as Ryo and Emiho walked together in the streets until it’s time to part. I hope you realize something there, boy. And back at Ryo’s apartment, Shizuka’s still as genki as ever. Though Ryo still isn’t too fond of it all but because of Emiho’s words, he toned down a little. But maybe Shizuka’s pushing her luck as she tried to kiss Ryo but he just stuff his hands in her face pushing her away.
Ryo seems to have a lot on his mind as he’s thinking about the events that has happened and the possibility that if they had met differently. In the end, he’s still not convinced. So the next day at school, Ryo wants to have a word with Emiho alone. To cut things short, before Emiho gets into all that arrange marriage crap, he boldy told her that he wants to date her! Shock! That’s what Emiho felt (and me). Is this guy thinking of two-timing Shizuka so that he could get her of his back? Even that chibi narration from Akane at the end said something like how shocking it was that news to her even after living with him for 15 years. Hehe.
Episode 5 is just about Ryo, Akane, Shizuka, Emiho and Miki going on a ski trip. But because there’s a heavy blizzard, the gang got stranded. So taking refuge under the snow, we find out that Shizuka seems to accept Ryo’s fling with Emiho because she believes that if he wants to flirt, it’s better to do it before they get married. Wah. Then some weird contraption Shizuka brought, which is supposed to be a light turned out to be some explosive device which blew the gang out of their snow refuge.
But luckily there’s an abandon hut nearby. The cold must be getting to them as they’re acting weird, especially Miki (going yuri on Emiho?). Then to the other’s surprise, Shizuka whips out a sophisticated tracker device laptop but threw it away, shocking Ryo. But the laptop landed in a hotspring nearby. Before you know it, everybody gets in and are enjoying it. When Ryo tried to get out of the hotspring after being too long in it, he immediately froze. This prompts Emiho to conclude that they’re trapped in a hot steam hell. Like they can check in but can’t check out. Just like Hotel California.
Soon morning arrives and thankfully the blizzard’s gone. Then Shizuka asks if everybody had their fun already as she prepares to activate a transmitter hidden in her ribbon. It’s actually a tracking device. Everybody’s in shock and real mad! They think that she should’ve done it in the first place to save them the trouble. And they’re ‘punishing’ her by spounting water and throwing her up in the air? Just like a geyser. But Shizuka seems to enjoy it too. Also I think why Shizuka does this was to spend ‘quality time’ with them. Soon a bunch of helicopters arrive. Hey, was this supposed to be part of Ryo’s date plan with Emiho as the end narration by the latter suggests?
So Ryo and Emiho are sort of dating in episode 6 and Emiho made bento for Ryo, much to his happiness. Shizuka, Miki and Akane are eating nearby too and Shizuka seems not too bothered by the couple as she doesn’t want to interrupt them. Back at Ryo’s apartment, he receives a call from Emiho. What’s this? Shizuka and her MIBs eavesdropping on their conversation with some hi-tech sophisticated system and network? Anyway, Ryo and Emiho continue their date at the zoo the next day. Looks like they really like each other.
Later, Ryo comes back and finds Shizuka only at home since Akane has gone out. As the 2 chat and because it’s raining, this prompts Ryo to wonder who his little sis and Emiho are doing. Then Shizuka told him not to worry and goes up to her pc and track their whereabouts. Woah. Like a spy camera thingy. We can see them do anything from her pc. Ryo is in shock and angry as he pushes Shizuka away from the pc. As Ryo demanded for an explanation, Shizuka tells him that it’s natural for her to ensure the safety and well-being. Even Ryo’s earlier date with Emiho, Shizuka had a hand in it. Of course, Ryo’s still pretty mad about that privacy intrusion thingy and has had enough. Ryo looks pretty scary too. From then on, Ryo gave Shizuka the cold shoulder and ignores her presence completely. Oh, so cruel. Pity Shizuka lah.
Ryo’s coldness continues in episode 7. But Ryo got some warning from an angry Miki as she told him that his ‘dumping’ of Shizuka may have affected Akane and if he makes Akane cry, she’ll beat him up. Miki’s so cute when she’s angry especially in her chibi form. As Shizuka and Akane chats, Ryo seek some advice from Haru and Yurika but it seems the way they said things indicate that they side with Shizuka, much to Ryo’s dismay. And even back at home while he chats with Akane, he lost a little of himself and raised his voice towards her though he was directing his anger towards Shizuka actually, making Akane shed a little tear. Of course he felt sorry and the next day an angry Miki is giving Ryo some grappling moves. Hehe. He deserves that.
So lots of spacing out from Shizuka and Ryo reminiscencing the words and advice from his friends. Shizuka must be really hurt inside as she decides to take a long walk home in the snow after school instead of being chauffeurred. Really pity her seeing her like this. An MIB comes up to Ryo and gestures him to take a small umbrella, which Ryo refused before walking off. Is Shizuka losing it? A little. But soon she noticed an umbrella over her head. It’s Ryo! Shizuka’s happy as Ryo uses his umbrella to shield her from the snow. And even though Ryo just said "Let’s go home", Shizuka must be relieved and thrilled (so are the MIBs watching from afar) as they both head home together. Looks like Ryo forgives Shizuka. Hey no chibi narration at the end.
Looks like everything’s back to normal in episode 8. It’s quite funny to see Shizuka trying to get a kiss and hug from Ryo but the sleepy head latter somehow manages to avoid them all. But in this episode, Akane caught a cold. Some flashbacks when the siblings were young and how Ryo always took care of Akane and even after their parents’ demise. Yeah, he really cares for his little sis so much so that in class he got so freaked out worrying about her. But at home, Akane’s got the feeling that she’s becoming distant from her bro.
Ryo’s really panicking when he calls home but nobody answers so much so that he told his teacher that he’s not feeling well and is going home early. And he’s even psychoing himself as he rushes home. He manages to reach home and luckily nothing serious happened. Good news is that Akane’s on the recovery path as Ryo feeds her some porridge in bed, just like in the old times. She whisper to herself that she’s glad Ryo came home.
Just then Miki, Emiho and Shizuka arrived at their doorstep, surprising the 2. Since Ryo was acting pretty strange in school, they thought they’d come over to check things out. Disappointed that nothing big happened but relieved too because nothing big happened. Miki even had the cheek to ask Emiho if she wants to fall sick *wink wink*. Just then Shizuka feigns to have a cold and asks him to nurse her too. But Ryo shrugs her off as Shizuka says kawaii-ly why he’s being so kind to Akane only. He says Akane is her sister therefore he’s kind to her. And as usual, Shizuka is still that genki optimist as she still pesters him as his ‘cute fiancee’ and hugs him still.
Emiho’s gonna get married soon in episode 9. So much so her brother, Naohiro, came to have a chat with Ryo at Plavi and told him to forget about Emiho. This is serious. Meanwhile Emiho gets prepared in her wedding gown and the wedding is taking place on board a ship at Tokyo Bay. And Ryo along with Shizuka are watching their preparations through that tv. I thought Ryo was against that idea. Maybe since Emiho’s future on the line. But he looks determined to stop it.
So on board the ship as both families feast on and chat happily about their future and all, when suddenly Ryo and Shizuka in a full-face jumpsuit crashes down into the party from above. I guess those jetpacks are provided by the government as well. What’s this?! As Shizuka removes her jumpsuit to reveal herself wearing a swimsuit?! She says she’s here to pick her up as Emiho’s fiancee’s having a nosebleed after seeing her sexy body. Another pervert. Of course, Shizuka realized her dressing faux pax and swiftly changes into a commando outfit, and proclaims herself as the warrior of love…?!
As Shizuka tries to take care of things, Ryo grabs Emiho’s hands and made a run for it but only to be stopped by muscle bound sailors (why are they happily flexing their muscles?). Wah! Shizuka unleashing her bazooka and firing away at them. This is also her signal for her MIBs to move in. Swarm of helicopters flew in with the MIBs parachuting down onboard the ship. So it’s MIBs vs sailormen. And that Emiho’s fiancee jerk is swooning over Shizuka in action. And he’s clinging on to her and asking her to marry him!
Ryo and Emiho are cornered at the tip of the ship’s deck when Akane and Miki arrive in time in their speedboat. Ryo then uses his jetpack and fly onto the speedboat carrying Emiho in his arms. Hey, wait a minute! Why didn’t Ryo use the jetpack to escape in the first place? Anyway, Naohiro orders his sailors to get on their speedboats and chase them but is blasted away by Shizuka’s bazooka. However, Naohiro manage to get onboard one himself. But the thing is, he spotted several speedboats with Ryo and Emiho clones. He’s really confused. Hehe. What a nice way to escape.
Anyway, the real Ryo and Emiho actually took a dive into the ocean and discarded their scuba suits once they reached the shore. Emiho seems pretty convince of Ryo’s words now, since he has gone this far to help her. Furthermore, Emiho still wants to stay with everybody else and how she’s glad to see him there. As their hands met and were about to kiss each other, their moment of intimacy got interrupted when Shizuka, who now controls the ship, flashed its bright spotlights at them and told them that’s enough, catching them by surprise. They should’ve done it faster. Yeah, it spoils the mood.
Of course, Shizuka beached the ship and hurriedly hop down to get her promised kiss from Ryo for asking her to help. Ryo denied but I suppose Emiho now has her doubts as she thought he hated her previously and now his feelings for her has changed while walking away ‘merajuk’. I think Emiho’s a little jealous, don’t you think? As Shizuka tries to peck Ryo on his cheek, Emiho’s ex-fiancee now wants a piece of Shizuka’s kiss too as he and his sailormen chase them around the beach. See Shizuka, you’re too cute. At least Emiho’s free now.
It gets a little tense in episode 10. Why? Shizuka’s got 1 week to be with them before she returns home. But before that, a flashback of a young Shizuka and her grandpa. She seems to be quite attached to him. Then back to present time, everything’s back to normal after that Emiho-saving incident. Then at home, Shizuka tells Ryo and Akane that she’ll be leaving to return to her original school to take some test there. But soon MIBs come knocking at their door and handed a CD over to them.
It looks like Shizuka’s dad! He looks like your typical mean evil arrogant guy. He doesn’t care about the declining birthrate thing as he chides Shizuka for getting married to a stranger without his consent. So he gives her the ultimatum of 1 week grace period to settle things and come home. In addition, Shizuka’s grandpa has fallen ill as he’s one of the people leading this secret programme. Mainly the reason why her busy dad got to know about it. Shizuka’s in a pinch. Uh-huh, your typical evil laughter from that guy.
So some talk among the trio as Shizuka explain things. Ryo then told her to go back for her grandpa, much to Akane’s dismay at first. But Shizuka mentions that once she return, her dad will never let her go again and she won’t be able to see him anymore. Of course Shizuka would agree to explain everything if Ryo promise to mary her, which he still refuse. As they’re both being loggerheads, Ryo then told Shizuka to do as her wish and that since her father’s asking her to come home, they have no right to interfere with their family problems. But even having said so, I think Ryo has feelings for Shizuka from the looks of it. And the week passed by normally with nothing extraordinary for them.
Judment day arrives in episode 11. So the night before, Shizuka reached home to get a pleasant surprise and thought that Ryo had setup her favourite dishes, apple pie and milk tea. But actually Ryo mentions that it’s Akane who bought it. Anyhow the 2 had a romantic candlelit dinner and chat over things. Shizuka gave Ryo some Hina Dolls, some girls’ festival whereby they display such dolls. Then Shizuka proceeds to tell Ryo her story. That long ago, her grandpa was some heir to a prestigious family but fell in love with a girl of a lower caste. And to preserve their reputation, they were being kept apart and eventually he married the girl of his parent’s choice. Though his wife is amicable, her death 2 years ago brought back memories of his first love and he went searching for her. Only thing is, she too has passed away. But she left behind 2 grandchildren, which is Ryo and Akane. Wow, the twists and turns of the storyline. Shizuka didn’t tell Ryo initially because she thought he might think that she’s doing it in a manipulative way and make him unhappy.
So some more sad talk on belief, hope and love. Wow, this must be the longest gloomy scene in this series. Shizuka wants Ryo to take the Hina Dolls as a token that they’ve met and also so that he won’t find any other love and will come back to her someday. You might think that she’s selfish. But her sad tone of her voice, she really does love him. And then they embraced. It seems like a pretty long one too. More of those lovers getting separated but don’t wanna leave kinda talk. It’s so disheartening to see Shizuka in tears. Because of Ryo’s hesitation to answer Shizuka’s question if he hates her, she screams "I hate you" to him before running off. No chibi narration at the end too for this sad episode *sniff sniff*.
Shizuka’s gone in episode 12 as Ryo’s life has become more peaceful, though he feels refreshed but that dark cloud hovering over his head doesn’t indicate so. Even Emiho and Miki misses her extravagant bentos. Meanwhile Shizuka’s back at her old school and is flanked by her friends who are giving her gifts and wishing her to get well soon. Though Shizuka says she’s okay, but that black cloud hovering over her head doesn’t indicate so. Hehe. Even Ryo’s having trouble sleeping, thinking about her. His strange behaviour is even noticed by Yurika while at work as she and Haru gave him some advice.
Then back home, this empty feeling of Ryo’s must be getting to her head when Akane made him a cup of coffee and Ryo seems to see visions of Shizuka before thanking Shizuka (which is Akane actually) for the coffee. He became embarrassed when he realized what has happened as he denies it and apologizes to Akane. Then later as he picks up the Hina Doll and reads a message saying "Thank you Ryo-sama", he suddenly realized all the wrongs he has done. Yeah, it took you some time, buster. How he was bloody cold and stubborn fool till the end and wondering why Shizuka thanked him for things that he has never done.
With a teardrop from Ryo, he is determined and knows what to do now. He tells Akane that he’ll be skipping school tomorrow. The next day Ryo heads for Shizuka’s old school. Meanwhile, Akane, Miki and Emiho are overjoyed by the fact that ‘that idiot has finally won’. Miki even teases Emiho what she’s gonna do now since her ‘rival’ has made a comeback. Also, Yurika and Haru seemed pleased with it when the latter gets a phone call.
At the school gates, Ryo is being obstructed by the MIBs, but he just easily charge through them. But it looks like the MIBs seem satisfied too. Then when Ryo asks the passing girls about Shizuka, they got thrilled and proceed to bring him in and the news spread so fast that one of the girls told Shizuka about it as she rushes to the front gates. She’s elated to see Ryo there as the two rush to each other and embrace. The other girls must be really excited to see such classic romance story unfolding before their eyes. And as they kiss, several jets in the sky made a heart shaped love, the MIBs threw confetti like as though they’re newly weds and the onlooker girls clap in delight. Yay. Finally, Ryo and Shizuka together. A little late but it’s better than he never realized it at all.
The final episode 13 starts off with Haru and Yurika getting married. Ryo teases Haru by making a sad funny face and saying how he was like that earlier on. But that cool Haru just gave him that look and said "You too". And that lovey-dovey Shizuka is saying how it’s gonna be Ryo and her turn next. Then back at home while Ryo and Akane are chatting, when they heard some commotion next door and think that somebody new is moving in. To Ryo’s horror, he saw the MIBs moving in furnitures big time. His worse fear has been realized when an explosion rips his apartment wall and Shizuka appears in her kimono saying that she’ll be their new neighbours from today onwards.
Of course, Akane is thrilled of this fact but Ryo isn’t as he’s worried that her dad might find out about it again. But Shizuka assured him that since her grandpa’s condition wasn’t serious, they both conspired to ‘shut him up’. Yeah, it was sp darn funny to see Shizuka’s dad waking up from his bed in the middle of South Pole with all the penguins surrounding him. Hahaha. Serves him right. And about that hole between their rooms, Shizuka had her MIBs instantly made a door to it to respect their privacy. But Ryo still isn’t too fond of it and preferes to live alone with Akane conservatively.
Just then, Emiho and Miki showed up to pick the trip up to visit some new shopping mall. Actually, it’s Naohiro who invited them because he wanted Emiho and Ryo to help work as models for a wedding commercial with the catch phrase "Steal The Love". And he’s bragging how this commercial’s gonna be a hit with Emiho as the perfect bride. Then Shizuka says that there’s only 1 person that is qualified to be Ryo’s bride, which is her, and she’s gonna ‘steal the love’. Miki then butts in and says she wanna do it too because it’s a tv commercial while Akane always wanted to wear a wedding dress. And since Emiho’s not the kind to give up easily, she’s joining in too. It’s a foursome! Shizuka then suggests a Pick-The-Bride Contest.
And before you know it, they start off with a swimsuit contest, attracting the crowd. Then followed by a cooking contest (with MIBs and sailormen as judges?), in which Shizuka won. Next, the cuteness appeal contest. Ryo can’t believe all this is happening. Then as Miki gets excited for an event which she’s good at, the showing vitality by surviving household chores contest, Shizuka decides it will be skipped, much to Miki’s frustration and surprise. Then it’s the sweet voice attack contest (Akane seems to be a hit) and finally the ultimate love making contest. Woah! The crowd is rushing to the girls in pyjamas on the bed on stage. Ryo thinks this is too much and hits Shizuka on her head but she hugs him and gets lovey-dovey. Chaos ensues when Naohiro thinks that all this is perfect. Miki then starts to do what she thinks she’s good at, singing that is. But the the reaction from the other girls indicate otherwise. As Naohiro starts filming, we see Ryo and Shizuka in their wedding outfit. Soon the other 3 girls too appear in their wedding dress. They all look stunning and pretty. Naohiro gets excited and changes the catch phrase to "Hog The Love".
While Ryo’s still not amuse by all this, the 4 girls flanks around him with Shizuka proclaiming how happy she was, Miki saying don’t blame her if he gets stabbed by her fans in the future, Akane quotes how it feels like getting married to her brother and Emiho telling Ryo not to look so disappointed because everyone’s enjoying this. While Ryo calms down, he finally realized that this was what Haru meant earlier on. Right back at ‘cha. And the final chibi narration by Shizuka, she says that Ryo’s days of love and suffering will continue. Of course, Ryo wanted this misery to end instead of the usual ‘tsudzuku’. Unfortunately, it’s ‘mata ne’ (see you again). Looks like Ryo’s in for the ride.
Overall, I really enjoyed this series. I love it when the characters go all chibi. Those funny moments never ceased to make me laugh. Plus, they all look so cuuuuuute. Kawaii desu yo. Thus, the drawing, art and animation is your standard Japanese anime bishies. The storyline may be short and may not amount to anything much but because of the way things went, it was enough to keep me occupied, ooh the drama, the romance, the suspense. And more importantly, the comedy.
Though it isn’t anything, I happen to notice that the ending theme, Love Fate Love, sung by Hashimoto Miyuki is only 1 minute long (or maybe just 59 seconds). That’s because ending themes usually last longer than that, probably around a minute and 20-30 seconds or so. Anyway, that song is quite nice to listen and it’s quite amusing to see a chibi Shizuka slowly walking across the screen as we see the headshot of the characters in the series.
So the important thing here is the power of love. Even if the government (or traditional thinking old school parents) come up with some kind of scheme, it’s ultimately the true love of the lovers which will prevail. Of course, acceptance, tolerance, understanding and all those stuff comes in as well. It may seem a lot but it really pays off and such wonderful feeling and experience can’t be bought, transferred or stolen. Yeah, love does work in mysterious ways too. So Ryo, ganbatte ne!

Bakuretsu Tenshi

April 2, 2007

I was skeptical at first whether to watch Bakuretsu Tenshi or not. One reason being was that I wasn’t much of a mecha fan. Even when I read that there’s some comedy element in it, I was still unsure. Then I said to myself, what the heck, I’ll give it a try. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the main drive of the series. I mean, most animes has that sort of comic relief no matter how tense or serious, right? I felt ‘conned’ in a way.
Also known as Burst Angel, I wouldn’t really say that those babes too attracted me to watch the show. To me, they just look normal and didn’t fall into my bishoujo books. So I can purely say, that it’s the comedy element which motivates me to watch. Yeah, how simple-minded of me. But speaking of the babes, I would like to also mention that some of the ladies here have big (but not oversize) breasts! So much so that when they wear their tight body hugging suits, you could actually see their tits sticking out. Mind you, I’m not a pervert. I just happen to notice it most of the time.
With 24 episodes, the setting of this anime is your typical futuristic crime-ladden Tokyo city. Is this what the future of mankind has become? Even though technology has advanced but humans sure did not. They’re still the same as they were back in primitive times. Crime at every nook and corner with almost everybody including grannies possessing at least a firearm. So much so, that the future police of the city known as RAPT, has the power and their robocop mecha, to exterminate criminals on the spot rather than arrest them and go through all that legal sh*t and waste the taxpayers’ money. Good thing, right? Not if you’re a human rights activist, in which there isn’t any too in this series. But still, criminals are like cockroaches. They’re still abundant and everywhere!
The story starts off with this young teenager boy named Kyohei Tachibana who has a dream of going overseas to study culinary arts in France so that he could be a pattisier. At least there’re still good kids like him in the future. Unfortunately for him, he can’t afford it. Thus, he has to work part time and save lots of money so that he could achieve his dream. I wonder if inflation is terribly high in the future too.
Call it coincidence or fate, before Kyohei arrived at his so called employment agency, he has a short encounter with his would be employers. That is, he saw some violent criminal-taking-down scene while riding on his scooter. Kyohei managed to escape it. And later to his surprise, he has been employed by them to be their private cook. The reason being, the leader of the quartet, Sei, thinks that her team aren’t eating anything decent and with all the junk food that they’re consuming, it’s high time that they get some real food. See, eating right and staying healthy too is important in the future.
Sure, no problem. Looks like this is Kyohei’s chance to hone his skills and save enough money for his dream. Unfortunately, the girls aren’t seem what they are. To cut things short, they’re actually a team of mercenaries. Yeah, things may get violent and rough. Better stay away from the line of fire. Don’t wanna mess with them too. Well, all he has to do is cook for them, right? Though it isn’t easy as it seems but that’s what Kyohei’s role in the entire series does besides chipping in a little to help the ladies. But even so, that’s not much. He’s like a side character as most of the focus would be on these ladies. And I thought he would actually make an impact. Sorry, he didn’t. Yeah, he’s just a cook.
Anyway a short intro on the 4 ladies first. As mentioned, Sei is the leader of the group who works for the mysterious boss, Barron (I don’t believe I have heard him say anything before nor see him. Even so, it’s probably for a short while), seems to be the ‘nicest’ and most ‘understanding’ one towards Kyohei. Coming from a chinese background, I find that she likes to reveal her lower half of her breasts as the outfits she wear are… ahem ahem. You know. Then there’s Amy, the youngest in the group, who’s actually a computer whizz. She’s pretty good (damn good actually) with all those stuffs at her age. She may display her child-like behaviour at times (duh!) and is a number 1 fan of Kyohei’s cooking and enjoys them.
Next we have Jo, the one Kyohei coincidentally met earlier on. Jo is the main action girl of the team. Whenever there’re fights or battles, there’s no doubt that Jo would jump into it. Uh-huh, fight fire with fire. She’s quite cool with her superhuman manoevres and abilities especially when she whips out her double Desert Eagle pistols and fires away. Watch out Lara Croft. Initially, Jo isn’t that talkative nor is she the kind which opens up to others, but with Kyohei around, she gradually does, although it isn’t that obvious. Jo also has weird tatoos on her body and dresses scantily because she mentions that it’s easier to move about without all those fabrics on. She’s got a point. And no dirty thoughts here so don’t go messin’ with this gal. Plus, when the action gets too big for Jo, she would then call and operate their mini mecha, Jango, who also whips a mean double pistols as well.
Finally, there’s Meg, who is best friends with Jo. An uncanny friendship there (not sure if it’s a yuri one). There is an episode about how Jo and Meg came to be, in episode 14, that is. Something like Meg who’s the leader of a group of orphans and an orphan herself finds Jo unconscious and tends to her. Though Jo has amnesia but soon after a series of events, the 2 become partners and friends as the other orphans under Meg’s care found a suitable home while she and Jo went on an adventure of their own. Meg dresses in a cowgirl outfit and I seem to notice that she’s the one who’s always getting kidnapped. I mean, let’s look at this way. Those baddies can’t kidnap Jo because she’ll rip them apart in no time. Sei is a no no because she’s always working behind the scene. And they can’t take Amy too because she’s still a kid and if you want to kidnap somebody, might as well be some hot looking chic so that while waiting you can gawk or even do funny stuffs to her. Just kidding. So that leaves… Meg. Fortunately, Jo is always there to save the day and rescue Meg. No knight in shining armour, but hey, at least that’s what best friends are for too.
The quartet too has an engineer which fixes and maintains Jango from time to time. He is Leo Jinno and I’m not really sure if he’s officially part of the team. But the good thing is, he’s on their side. By the way, the ladies live and operate in an oversized mobile trailer, which is supposed to be their base as well. I guess, since duty calls, they’ll have to be ready to spring into action.
So most of the episodes of the series are something like this. The team are being informed about some weird occurances and such and go on a mission to accomplish it. And in most of the episodes, we see that there’re weird mechas being operated by some glowing brain, giving the mecha some mind of its own. Yeah, you’ll probably figure out that some bad guy or organization is messing with some technology here. But in the end, I still don’t really get it. So lots of mecha action, stuffs getting destroyed and blown up and such.
Like how in episode 1 and 2 where Meg gets kidnap and Jo brings along Kyohei to save her because the former thinks that it’s all the latter’s fault. Yeah, initially Kyohei got kidnapped first and when they went to rescue him some mecha kidnaps Meg in the process. But in the end, Jango whups up the mecha and saves the damsel in distress and the gang go back and live happily ever. Not. There’s still more to come.
Meg and Jo follows a guy named Wong and in a way got involved in some secret experiment done by some company called Hinode Pharmaceuticals along with Wong’s brother, Liang, as well in episodes 3 and 4. Anyway, Wong and Meg got kidnapped and are on board some train to some warehouse. Then Wong turned into some monster which looked like one from the movie Aliens and is going berserk. Then a funny part whereby Meg was describing to Jo how ooey goey dark and creepy it was downright scary and how there’re brains splattered, blood oozing everywhere. Of course Jo didn’t understand what Meg’s blabbing about and said "What’s that again?". Meg’s reply… "Just hurry up and save me!". Hahaha. So Jo managed to arrive on time to save Meg before Wong with his last sense of humanity decides to kill himself and every darn experiment related to it by crashing the train into that warehouse. Boom.
Or in episode 5 and 6 where Jo and Meg infiltrate some all-girls high school by posing as high school students themselves when Barron’s daughter goes nuts. Uh-huh, you guessed it. The girls in this school are subject to some sort of experiment too as it is in the food they eat. Be careful of what you eat these days. Unfortunately, one of the girls turned into a mindless violent monster and fights with Jo. It was quite gross to see the monster’s brain sticking onto Jo’s head before Meg has to blast it off using Jo’s guns, splattering it all over the ground. Eww…
Then in episode 7 and 8 some giant crow robot injected Kyohei with some virus and if he doesn’t get an antidote soon, he’ll die. But at the same time, because Jo wanted to go after the crow (because it kidnapped Meg that’s why) rather than follow Sei’s orders to guard somebody of Barron’s, Jo becomes a fugitive and takes Kyohei as her hostage as Sei and Barron’s men track them down. In the end, they manage to solve their differences, destroy the crow and most importantly, save Kyohei or else they won’t be having anything to eat tonight.
But not all of the episodes focuses on that glowing brain thingy and concentrates a little on the characters. Like Sei’s in episode 9 where her grandpa decides to marry her off to some guy, Jay, of the opposite clan in an arranged marriage. But Jay is only after for her grandpa’s Seal and that this whole thing was just a setup. But Sei (and Meg using some chinese kung fu chi of hers…?!) managed to thwart their schemes. Yay! Sei’s single and available again. Any takers? Just kidding. And that episode 10 is Amy’s episode as she brings Kyohei along to some electronic shopping area to counterattack some cult who’re obsessed with her after posting multiple superimposed pics of her. Some weird looking robots with computer monitors as their heads as they want Amy to join them. But she and Kyohei entered cyberspace, like in those video games and beat the crap out of those weirdos. Yeah, she’s not joining you guys. Even Kyohei has his own (sort of) in episode 18 when he bumped into an ex-classmate, Akio who’s now half cyborg (like Kano of Mortal Kombat) and working for the yakuza. To save any further character development on this Akio guy, I think they decided to kill him off when his boss betrayed him and they both killed each other in the end. Sad for Kyohei but at least we don’t have to worry about this guy in the future. Sorry.
But the girls get an unofficial ally by their side. She’s Takane Katsu, an ex-leader of an all-female motorcycle gang and now a police personnel from Osaka who wields a pistol and carries a wooden sword around with her while riding her motorcycle and in that trenchcoat outfit of hers makes her look cool. In episode 11, Jo’s supposed to guard some wrestler-cum-sentai of some famous wrestling kind of show. It was a little funny to see that the ‘bad guy’ of the show who has turned into a monster because of that glowing brain, beating the crap out of the supposedly hero of the show. And that guy thinks it’s all out of the script. Yeah, he realized too late that the monster is real! Then it’s action time as Jo confronts with the monster and this is where she also bumps into Takane as they take out the monster.
Of course those 2 didn’t get along very well as in episode 12, Takane arrested Jo and is having some mock interrogation (Takane being mocked, that is) at the police station. Luckily Sei came to bail Jo out. And before you know it, some mad guy wants to take over the Osaka police force and unleashes glowing brain mechas to attack the city. As usual, Meg gets kidnapped and more mecha gun busting action from Jango to save the day which stretches up till episode 13. Also, Leo fitted Jango with wings so that it could fly. Maybe he should add laser beam eyes as well. Anyway, Takane recalled all her ex-female motorcycle gang members to find that bad guy’s hideout. And with a little team work, more mecha fights, crashes and explosions as Osaka is gonna need all the rebuilding and reconstruction funds allocation very badly and everything goes well in the end for our girls with Takane having a more favourable view of the team and would gladly come and assist them if they ever need her help. But so sad that a good cop that Takane looks up to has to perish in it. *Sniff sniff*.
I wonder if Takane’s helping them since it looked like she’s needing the girls’ help like in episode 19 where she and Leo visited some filming of a television series when Takane goes insane because some glowing brain is controlling the minds of children including Takane (I think Takane’s a kid too despite her teenager looks. Just kidding on that) and attacked our heroes. But once the glowing brain is destroyed, everybody returned back to normal. Then in episode 20, Takane gets attacked by another of those glowing brain mechas controlling a RAPT vehicle on the freeway and it even called on several mechas to take her out and endangering innocent people in the process. Don’t worry, Takane won’t go down that easily and it’s a long highway too. And with the help of our usual lovely quartet heroines, all those mechas are obliterated.
And there’s the filler episode or what most people would say fanservice episode 15. That’s because the gang heads to the seaside amusement park in their swimsuits. Yeah, you can imagine them in it already, huh? Unfortunately, some giant mecha glowing brain squid threatens to ruin it all and destroy the park. And you might have guessed it already… Jo pilots Jango to save the day. Whopee! Just like Osaka, this amusement park will have to be shut down indefinitely for repair works and I wonder who’s footing the bill?
Then it gets a little illogical in episode 16 and 17 when Jo gets separated from the gang while chasing a mysterious mecha and meets with a mute samurai warrior. Since that mecha destroyed that village the mute samurai’s protecting, he’s seeking revenge on it. Then they got transported to another dimension and we find out that the mecha is being piloted by Jo’s ex-experimental comrade, Maria, who also posses superhuman abilities like Jo. Things get a little illogical when the mute samurai’s actually a dead spirit unable to rest in peace until he defeats that mecha. Uh-huh, with some magic sword kinda aura resemblance, he managed to defeat that mecha and finally gets to rest in peace with the other ladies manage to arrive and bring back Jo. I suppose this is a prelude of things to come about Jo’s past.
Yup, that’s what happened in episodes 22-23. We get to see Jo and Maria’s past when the the former is kidnapped by those experiment scientists. Well, at least it isn’t Meg. Maybe the producers decided to give her a little rest. So we see Jo and Maria were supposed to be the results of some terror-merror ultimate killing machine bio-tech weapon. And the 2 were the only survivors of the death game to decide which of those several experiments would be the strongest. But then, true to Meg’s nature, Maria then kidnaps both Jo and Meg and decides to finish their battle to see who’s the strongest on some abandon ship. But before Maria can kill Jo (probably because of her inner humanity and consciousness which made her hesitate) those RAPT mechas blasted the ship killing Maria in the process as Jo and Meg managed to escape by diving into the ocean.
But before all that in episode 21, it seems that Barron has joined forces with the RAPT police force and thus the quartet has been disbanded. So we see some flashback of how Sei assembled the team as she gathers them all for 1 last mission and that is to assassinate some mutated governor.
And in the last episode 24, Jo and Meg survived those RAPT attack and were washed ashore. Jo’s thinking of going to settle things once and for all but Meg wants to tag along because of that we’ll-always-be-together friendship thingy. Unfortunately, for Meg’s own safety, Jo apologizes and knocks her out, leaving her behind. Meanwhile, Sei too decides to settle things. I’m not really sure but the bad guy behind that glowing brain thingy all this while is some high level position guy in the RAPT force. I don’t remember his idea for doing it too. But I think it was some sick idea.
While Sei confronts that baddie in some high rise tower, Jo enlists the help of Leo, Amy and even Takane to help her get there. So lots of explosions and action as the RAPT mechas try to stop them. Then the trailer that Leo, Amy and Takane crashed during the attack but not before managing to send Jo right into that high rise tower. So the thing is, did those 3 died? It wasn’t clear in the end either. So in the building, Jo and Sei meet up to take down the baddie with Sei getting a little injured. Then finally they blew up the whole damn building. And the thing is, did those 2 died too? Not sure either.
Later when Meg comes to, she heads back to the city only to find the place real demolished. Maybe Jo’s really dead when Meg saw her scarf fluttering around. Then this part I don’t get. The last scene shows Meg replacing Jo and a red Jango behind her and saying "Goodbye Jo". What the? What does it all mean? Can she be and live up to Jo’s level and not be that kidnap victim anymore?
And what about Kyohei? I mean, Sei releases Kyohei before she disbanded the team and after that we just see Kyohei looking out from the employment agency, having that reluctant I-wish-I’m-still-with-those-girls feeling and nothing more. Yup, he’s really just a side character.
Overall, as I said, I’m not much of a mecha fan. And the way they end things like that leaves an even worse bad aftermouth taste. It’s like so unfulfilling and unsatisfying. So much so that it made me feel that if the producers ever wanted to make a second season, with such an ending, they could do so. But so far, no there’s no word about the second season. There’s an OVA for it, Bakuretsu Tenshi – Infinity, announced long ago but as usual nothing much has been said about its release or whatsoever.
Because of the glowing brain thingy and mutated monsters, some may find that the series to be a little gruesome at times. Also, since it’s not your happy futuristic show, there are scenes which are dark and gloomy. So this may not be intended for younger audiences. Not to mention sexy looking babes.
Though the mid-intermission is quite short, probably about 1 second or less, I noticed that the sound effect that they used for the mid-intermission is supposed to be gunshots, but somehow it sounded like firecrackers to me. At first, I thought it was popcorn popping out from the oven or somebody slapping his/her own tighs or clapping their hands. And at one time, a cacophony of people farting! Oops. Nothing to it actually.
So did I regret watching this series? Not really. If I’ve never watch this series, then I would never have known a handful of cool BGM soundtracks. Yeah, there’re a few catchy tunes although majority of it doesn’t appeal to me. The one I like most are those that sounded like Latin or Spanish flamenco guitar style playing. Which is usually played when Jo is firing away with her double pistols (which is the action scene that I like most). And for the next episode preview, the BGM sounded like some traditional cowboy one-on-one gun face-off showdown. You should listen to it if you want to know what I mean.
Thus, if you like buildings being demolished by mechas, I suppose this one is okay as there are better mecha series out there. Plus, I felt that the storyline here is rather thin and doesn’t amount to anything much. I still wonder why buildings are a must when giant robots or monsters clash? Can’t they fight somewhere more barren? Maybe the fun is in destroying things that took ages to plan and build, then down it all goes in just a few seconds.

Green Green OVA

April 1, 2007

The first thing that hit me when I watched Green Green OVA is the horrible drawing and art of the show. Yes, after watching the tv series, the drawing and art here seemed so unrefined, unpolished, unappealing, choppy, so much so that I felt that it was like a rush job when they made it.
Also because of the drawing, the characters too look weird and one kind. I mean, you can still recognize those characters if you have watched the tv series previously. But when you look at them here, it made me feel ‘disgusted’. Yeah, they’re downright ‘ugly’ in a way. I still prefer the original one 100 times more.
But this OVA isn’t a direct sequel of the tv series. In fact, it’s actually some sort of an alternate retelling of the story. Instead of the girls coming to Kanenone Gakuen, it’s the boys who’re gonna visit the all-girl’s school, Hananoka Gakuen, this time. And since there is only 1 episode of around 30 minutes, I also felt that this OVA isn’t as funny as the tv version, though there are still some ecchi and comedy elements, but a little more toned down.
The OVA starts of with some Hananoka Foundation Festival and the girls of the school are pretty much excited about tomorrow. That’s because tomorrow’s the day that the experimental transfer boys of Kanenone Gakuen will arrive. And they’re wondering what kind of guys they are. Oh, if you girls only knew… They’ll be studying beside the girls for 1 week. Is that enough time. Well, maybe that’s more than enough time, thinking about some of the boy’s nature, if you know what I mean.
The scene changes as we see Yuusuke walking around the festival when he saw a girl, Sanae, cowering a little because she got frigthened of that puppet dracula. Yuusuke asked if she’s alright. Sanae replied she’s just a little surprised and would be okay if she took her medication. Then, Midori comes by, her hands cupped with some water. But Midori tripped and spilled it. She apologized and asked Sanae to hold on a little longer as she intends of doing it all over again. This girl… But Yuusuke told her that he’ll carry her to the drinking fountain instead of Midori bringing it here. Now that makes a lot of sense and saves time.
Just when they left, Bachi-Guu and Ichibanboshi arrived and noticed some crow and talking something about it when they heard a girl’s scream. Then what’s this? That Arisa girl is part of the Public Morals Committee? I wouldn’t have guessed it. Plus, she looked serious than goofy. And I didn’t know Futaba and her little sister Wakaba are that close to her. Yeah, Wakaba’s still carrying that pet cactus of hers around. Anyway, they’re making their rounds inside the horror house. Arisa isn’t too fond of the horror house thing as she mentions about guys using the darkness as an opportunity to hug girls. Look who’s talking. Arisa’s so different here!
Just then a dracula monster springs up to scare them. Of course, only Wakaba is afraid. After some chiding from Arisa that there’s no such thing as ghosts, that dracula figure proceeds to grab and grob Arisa’s breasts! She then proceeded to rip of the dracula’s mask revealing… Bachi-Guu! Oh, he’s in real trouble.
Meanwhile, Yuusuke and Midori managed to get Sanae who’s now resting in the infirmary. The school nurse, Chigusa, thanks them for their efforts and brings them some tea as Yuusuke and Midori introduces themselves. Well, in this OVA, it seems that Midori doesn’t know who Yuusuke is and doesn’t seem to be that over genki person. Then Yuusuke spots outside the window that Bachi-Guu and Ichibanboshi being chased by an angry Arisa and her 2 assistants (Futaba and Wakaba lah) and Yuusuke then rushes out of the room.
Bachi-Guu and Ichibanboshi than spots their male comrades, Soccho, Tenjin, Dokugasu Kuyasu and a new guy that we’ve never seen in the tv series, Itsuki Kobayashi. They think those guys are gonna save them when Arisa shouted that they’ve touched her breast. Yup, Soccho is still that non-pervert justice guy as he proceeds to give his ‘affection’ to those 2 idiots, which is an uppercut to the chin. AIJOU!!! Yeah, affection alright. Those 2 were knocked out cold. I guess Yuusuke arrived too late.
So in class, we here that announcement over the PA system about the boys being here as an experimental thingy and such, so treat them nice bla bla bla. Hey, is smoking allowed in school? I mean, there’s a cigarette in Soccho’s mouth and he’s doing it in class! Oh well, maybe the teachers are afraid of his gangster looking face and decides to leave him alone. And it seems that Arisa and Futaba still haven’t forgiven Bachi-Guu and Ichibanboshi about that incident as they threaten them not to do it once more or else they’ll inform the teacher and them expelled. But why is Yuusuke sweating? It’s not his fault to begin with. Are they supposed to be under his care?
At the boy’s bunker, Itsuki and Yuusuke are so happy they get to sleep on dry beds instead of on the floors back at their own school. That bad, huh? Then Tenjin comes and the 2 asked him where Bachi-Guu and Ichibanboshi had gone. Yup, it seems that in this OVA, Tenjin isn’t part of The Baka Trio. So it’s The Baka Duo now. Tenjin told them that those 2 went out exploring. Yuusuke probably knew what they’re up to. So do I.
Yup, they’re doing something hentai like trying to peep on the girl’s panties while they’re playing tennis. And they’re so enjoying it. Hey! Back in the tv series, those guys never liked Arisa and would ‘vomit’ when they just caught a glimpse of her. But now, it seems they’re all over her. Yeah, maybe as long as she’s a girl. But an approaching tennis ball hit the fence which bounced onto their faces. Ouch. Arisa’s not too fond of it.
Back at the boys dorm, Midori and Sanae are thanking Yuusuke for what he has done earlier on and offers to show him around school. Then Tenjin spots Sanae and instantly fell in love with her and pesters Yuusuke to take him along on their trip as well. Meanwhile, Bachi-Guu and Ichibanboshi are peeping the girls doing gymnast. And their faces got hit by one of the gymnast tools when one of the girls spots them and threw it and them. Serves them right. I guess they’ll never learn. What’s this, Soccho impressing the girls with his brick breaking karate chop? Midori, who’s watching then asks Yuusuke if he has any special skills like judo. Tenjin then says that they have something like that when Midori whisks Yuusuke away to follow her somewhere.
Midori must have taken that judo thing seriously as I wonder how she managed to convince Yuusuke to get dress in that judo outfit as he takes on a female judo student. Because Yuusuke saw that girl’s ‘top part’, he got embarrassed and lost a little focus there which the girl then managed to overthrow him. Some words of encouragement from Midori. Even Midori thinks that he lost focus because he saw the girl’s breasts. Yuusuke of course denied but blushing. Midori than whispers "Ecchi". Well, you won’t see that from Midori in the tv series, right?
That night back at the boy’s dorm, Tenjin’s still swooning over Sanae. But looks like he’s serious. That’s because he’s mentioned to the other guys that he’ll kill them if they try to get his girl. Don’t mess with this oversize monkey. The boys then decided to take a bath together and Bachi-Guu has his usual fantasizing that the bath place has girls’ scent in the waters as he soak his face in the tub and saying how delicious it is retaining a mouthful of the tub’s water. But he spit it out when he found out the the guys are already in it. Yucks. By the way, I’m thinking that Itsuki may be a girl. Yeah, earlier on before the bath, Tenjin said something like they’ve never get into a bath with him. Meaning they’ve never seen him naked. But if he’s from the all-boys Kanenone Gakuen, then… I’m confused. Nah.
But it seems the next day, we see Itsuki being flanked by several girls asking him if he has a girlfriend and what type of girls he like. He says he likes the kind which that doesn’t talk a lot. And the girls were all saying how cool it is. *Eyes rolling*. Then we see Bachi-Guu doing some analysis over the other guys who have hit it with girls like Soccho, Tenjin and even Dokugasu! That zombie-faced guy even has girls around him! Unbelievable. And in the tv series all these guys were losers! What a turn around. Of course, Yuusuke told him that probably why he doesn’t have one was because of his own doing that day and more importantly asked him if he has apologized to Arisa.
Bachi-Guu then announces out loud in class to his ‘female comrades’ let’s wash away what happened back then and be friendly as he did a little jiggle. But Futaba and Arisa aren’t too fond of it, chides him and soon all the other girls starts calling him pervert and the likes. Midori then comes in and wishes good morning to the guys, one of them being Ijuin. The other girls are wondering is there a guy by that name. Are you too? Well, that’s Bachi-Guu’s real name, much to the girls surprise. Futaba thinks that a pervert like him doesn’t deserve a name. Before Futaba and Bachi-Guu can get into a brawl, Midori pleaded for them to get along but Arisa said that there’s no way that they would get along with such kind of guys. Midori then says that these such guys seems pretty nice to her. Then Ichibanboshi seems to be making his move on Futaba by saying that the earlier perverted act was just a joke and they’re really sorry for it as he’s gonna hug her. Of course, Futaba gave him a good kick. But I guess that pain must be worth it because Ichibanboshi managed to get a peek of Futaba’s panties when she lifted her leg.
Back at the boy’s dorm, it seems that Bachi-Guu and Ichibanboshi are going to sneak out to see Midori. Yeah, Bachi-Guu thinks that for a girl from a different class to come to their class to talk to them, she must have a crush… Yuusuke then blushes (perasan!). On Bachi-Guu himself! Lagi perasan! Yuusuke must be real shock. As for Ichibanboshi, he wants to make Futaba his. That kick must’ve got to his head. So the 2 are on their way. When Itsuki told Yuusuke that they’re nightcrawling, Yuusuke wanted to go after them but Itsuki says that there’ll be tight securities around the girl’s dorm.
And before you know it, the sirens are sounding and the usual patrol watchdogs barking with those spotlights trying to find the culprits. With the girls screaming perverts in the midst, we see Bachi-Guu and Ichibanboshi running away trying to hide from being detected. The next day, the girls are accusing Bachi-Guu, Ichibanboshi and Yuusuke (why is he there and where’s the rest of the guys?) with Chigusa being the mediator. Ichibanboshi wants them to show evidence of it. Futaba mentions the plaster on their faces. Yeah, those 2 blokes have multiple plaster on their faces. And they still want to implicate Yuusuke by saying that they’re in the dorm that time and all those and they claimed that they’re being framed. Some sad pathetic performance those 2 put up there.
The girls proceed to tell them that Midori’s lingerie got stolen last night, much to the guys’ surprise as they said they didn’t do such a thing because they never had time to do such a thing. *Smack*. I guess the girls are pretty much convinced that it’s them then as they’re gonna teach them a lesson. But Bachi-Guu then told them that they’ll have to catch the underwear thief to prove their innocence.
Later that night, the boys are on patrol. Hey, Dokugasu has some lines (although a short one) and he’s peeping girls from a treetop! Can that be considered as standing guard too? Meanwhile, Yuusuke gets paired up with Bachi-Guu and Ichibanboshi and some little complains here and there like how hot it is in the city at night. Bachi-Guu asked for a handkerchief but nobody seems to have one. Ichibanboshi then spots one (a panty actually!) on the ground and gives it to Bachi-Guu which he wipes his face with it! It must be too dark to see things. And they can still brag about finding the criminal and all the girls would be so sorry and swooning over them and such. Just then Yuusuke trips and the other 2 just teased him to be careful of traps and walks ahead. Then somebody threw a pebble at Yuusuke’s head. It’s Midori!
Yuusuke and Midori then have a little private chat and Midori even prepared some onigiris for him. She’s apologizing for all the trouble she has caused just because her lingerie went missing. But Yuusuke that it’s nothing as they’re trying to clear their name. Then Midori nicely asked Yuusuke to tell her that the real nightcrawler who took her lingerie was him and she promise to keep it a secret. Of course, Yuusuke would deny it as he didn’t stole her lingerie, disappointing Midori a little. Yuusuke then asked why is she being so nice to them but she replies she wasn’t exactly being kind to them when she decided to ask why Yuusuke covered up for her at the infirmary that day and didn’t tell Chigusa that she spilled water on his shirt but his sweat instead. Yuusuke said he didn’t know why either. Yeah, I didn’t notice it too.
When Yuusuke asked why she asked about that, Midori just blushed and stammers and says for no particular reason. Midori then lies back and stares at the sky and says she has never seen so many stars before. Yuusuke then told her that there are many more stars in the sky and that back in his school in the countryside, the air is cleaner and the stars shine brighter. Midori then mentions how she wanted to see more stars and asks if she could come to his place the next time, which Yuusuke says she’s welcome to do so. Midori then says "Let’s make a promise" and brings her face close to Yuusuke’s. Are they gonna kiss? Well, that part wasn’t show clearer. But maybe they did.
Soon the it’s sunrise and Yuusuke abruptly woke up and apologizes for dozing off. He’s wondering if it’s all a dream. Well, you’re still sitting next to Midori at the tree spot from last night. Maybe you’re referring to the kiss, right? Midori says nevermind and asks him to do his best before getting up and leave. Just then, Yuusuke receives a kick on his head from Bachi-Guu and Ichibanboshi. Those 2 don’t seem happy as they think he was slacking his guard duty and making love with a girl under the stars. I wonder what’s that synchronized performance from the 3 before Bachi-Guu and Ichibanboshi grabbed Yuusuke. The other boys arrived and was told by the 2 of what he did. Yuusuke tries to deny but Soccho gave him his ‘affection’.
When Yuusuke landed, the boys caught a glimpse of a crow flying above. And it seems that the real underwear thief is the crow as they snap some photos as proof. That crow is making a nest using several lingeries! Is that crow perverted? I mean, naturally they would use twigs and the likes, right? Anyway, the boys’ name are cleared and luckily they’ve manage to do it just before the day they’re supposed to leave. Phew. What’s this? Tenjin giving some insights and explanations about a crow’s life cycle? And Sanae’s impressed with him. Well, you’ll never see this happening in the tv series as she’s always afraid of him and Tenjin is more brawns than (if not nil) brains. But Futaba seems unimpressed, though.
As Yuusuke brings Midori to have a private chat with her, but was interrupted when Arisa then saw Bachi-Guu wiping his face with her panties, the one she claims to have lost last night (the one they picked up last night in the dark). Futaba’s ready to give him a beating when Arisa asks her to hold her horses. What’s this?! Arisa’s starting to fall for Bachi-Guu and thinks that all those perverted times was an act of love, much to Bachi-Guu’s horror. She’s even started to call him darling! I thought any girl would do for this guy? Now that she’s chasing him, Bachi-Guu’s freaking out and running away from her. So ironic. Yeah, that’s just how it is in the tv series.
Meanwhile, Midori asks what Yuusuke had wanted to say earlier on. Well, Yuusuke was just wondering if she could come to his place to watch the stars. That’s it? I thought you said that earlier on. Besides, I think this guy wanted to confess to her. But then Bachi-Guu pulls him away and wants him to quickly go home already. However, Arisa’s in her lovey-dovey mood and wants her darling to touch her breasts like before! Poor Bachi-Guu. Arisa’s all over him now, kissing, licking, biting… hey, that’s what he said. Don’t this, don’t that, somebody help me. Well, you reap what you sow right? Take it like a man.
Overall, for a short spin-off of the tv series, I would still say it’s a little enjoyable. Though, I still can’t get over the terrible drawing. Yeah, even the colouring is a little ‘bleached’ in the sense that it’s not as bright and colourfully sharp and smooth like the tv series. Also, I find that the animation part a little ‘imbalance’. Like how when they’re walking through the forest but at that speed the forest in the background seems to zoom past them so fast. Or when Futaba kicked Ichibanboshi, the action was like ‘slow and lame’. And hey! Now I noticed. There’s no Reika in this OVA. Maybe she didn’t want to mess with the fate and destiny of this alternate story telling universe.
As mentioned, the ecchi part has been toned down quite a lot here and there are no hentai scenes as well. Most probably it’s because of the different storyline. Even some of the characters didn’t play such a prominent role here as compared to the tv series, such as Tenjin. He’s on his own here. Then again, different storyline.
The opening and ending theme song are the same and it still has that beach surfers kinda electric guitar playing. Well, that’s about the only part of the song that I like, even though the song sounds lively. And there’re are pics in the opening and the ending themes which I believe aren’t from the screenshots in the show though the drawing still sucks. So unless you’re a hardcore fan of the series (which many also complained about this unsatisfying production), then you might just want to pass this one.

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