Ai Yori Aoshi VS Love Hina

September 29, 2007

Yahoo! It’s that time again. Another versus between 2 harem animes. Which ones? It’s Ai Yori Aoshi and Love Hina of course. For those of you who don’t know the meaning of harem animes, let me explain briefly. A usual harem anime has 1 guy, yes 1 lucky male, who is being surrounded and being loved one way or another by several girls or female characters around him. In other words, those gals would usually compete with each other, in a friendly way or hostile manner, so as to get the attention of that sole male protagonist. Sounds like a dream come true for that guy? That depends. As usual, both the mentioned animes have their similarities and differences. Read on to find out more…
 
Male protagonist
Refers to that main lucky guy who is being swamped/surrounded by a bevy of beauties
Ai Yori Aoshi: Kaoru Hanabishi
Love Hina: Keitarou Urashima
 
The harem
Refers to the group of ladies surrounding our male protagonist
Ai Yori Aoshi: Aoi Sakuraba, Tina Foster, Taeko Minazuki, Chika Minazuki, Mayu Miyuki
Love Hina: Naru Narusegawa, Mutsumi Otohime, Shinobu Maehara, Motoko Aoyama, Kaolla Su, and Mitsune Konno AKA Kitsune
 
Storyline
The basic premise of the series. Enough said.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Kaoru is a college student who one day stumbles upon a girl named Aoi at the train station. He later finds out that Aoi is supposed to be his fiance and she has come in search of him. They face challenges and obstacles with other characters as they try to go through life happily and without the rest finding out their actual relationship with Kaoru trying to come to terms with his painful past.
Love Hina: Keitarou has been kicked out by his parents and forced to live and become a manager at an inn (much to the protest of the other female residence) when he fails to enter the Tokyo University. There he goes through challenges and obstacles with the other characters as he tries to adjust life at his new home and at the same time, once again try to gain entry into Tokyo University.
 
Supporting male characters
Other guys in the series so as not to make this a 100% harem anime. I think.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Erm… Not many that I can think of. They are the cosplay fanatic Satou and the train loving Suzuki (what the?). Even so, they only make a seldom appearance. And that what’s-his-name Mayu’s driver? Okay, so the other male characters aren’t so prominent.
Love Hina: Several guys which include Kentaro Sakata (originally in competition with Naru but drops out later), the archaelogist professor Seta Noriyasu, Keitarou’s buddies Haitani and Shirai who always seem to tease Keitarou.
 
Love interest
Sure in a harem anime the girls just love that guy. But a harem anime wouldn’t be complete if there isn’t any chemistry between the main male protagonist with 1 of the girls.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Kaoru and Aoi
Love Hina: Keitarou and Naru
 
Love support
Do the other girls except the one that the male protagonist have a heart for really knows about their relationship?
Ai Yori Aoshi: In order to avoid a family scandal, both Kaoru and Aoi tries to keep their relationship a secret from the rest and  expose themselves as tenant-owner relationship. So far so good.
Love Hina: Because both Keitarou and Naru aren’t true to their feelings and won’t admit that they have feelings for each other, the rest of the other girls knows about their relationship and tries to set them up together with whatever tactics and antics they could come up with.
 
Love triangle
Besides our male protagonist and that girl as mentioned above, there are other love triangles and first crush involving them (or not). But ultimately, it doesn’t really work out. You could say they give up, accept the way it is or status quo. And oni-chan complex AKA big brother complex doesn’t count.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Mainly it’s Mayu and Kaoru, and Tina and Kaoru. But in the latter’s case it isn’t so straightforward or clear cut. Hmm… What about Miyabi and Mayu’s driver?
Love Hina: Kentaro and Naru, Naru and Seta, Seta and Haruka (not really obvious. But the way Seta indicate things, perhaps. However Haruka isn’t really that interested now though she onced loved him), Shinobu and Keitarou, and Kanako and Keitarou.
 
Residence
Well, these people have to live somewhere, right? Or at least the ‘base’ where the gang have most of their fun.
Ai Yori Aoshi: The Sakuraba’s large summer mansion.
Love Hina: The girl’s domitory called Hinata Inn.
 
Caretaker
I wouldn’t really consider these ladies to be part of the harem as they are more mature (better sounding than older, if you know what I mean) and would look in a way out for our little ones besides running the ‘base’.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Miyabi Kagurazaki is actually Aoi’s caretaker and mentor. In order to conceal the fact that both Kaoru and Aoi are engaged to each other, this strict no nonsense lady acts as Aoi’s manager under the eyes of the other residence.
Love Hina: Haruka Urashima is Keitarou’s aunt. Though she has that stoic look and always have a cigarette in her mouth, at times she provides advice to those in need.
 
Pet animal
It isn’t just the homo sapiens which sometimes steal the limelight of the show.
Ai Yori Aoshi: A white ferret named Uzume. Miyabi once feared Uzume as she doesn’t like pets as opposed to the other residence but as the series progresses, Miyabi fears less of it and accepts it.
Love Hina: A turtle named Tama. And this turtle can fly! I’m not kidding! Tama is given by Mutsumi to Keitarou as a pet and it seems most of the characters can understand what it says (!) even though Tama doesn’t really have a proper dialogue.
 
Exaggeration
Though this is a love comedy genre, how far would the producers go just to make viewers rolling on their tummy laughing.
Ai Yori Aoshi: The antics here are not so exaggerated and are more down to earth.
Love Hina: The antics here are crazy out-of-this-world and of course exaggerated.
 
Undergraduate
Refers to the male protagonist who are still studying.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Kaoru is studying at the Meiritsu University and though not much is known on his studies but he fairly does well in them and in the end, Kaoru graduates.
Love Hina: Keitarou is doing his best to enter Tokyo University because of his childhood promise to a girl he barely remembers. Unfortunately he flops so much so he is in his 3rd year trying to enter the prestigious university. Though in the end, he finally manage to pass and gains entry to it.
 
Abuse
Refers to the male protragonist’s mistreatment, harm or physical torture. What? You’r expecting that these lucky guys go through life like a bed of roses? Get real.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Because Kaoru is an illegitimate son of the Hanabishi (since the Hanabishi is supposed to be married with the Sakurabas in order to strengthen their ties and social position), he has been abused and mistreated since young by his grandfather and has a visibly vicious scar across his back. Since he can’t take the beatings anymore, he runs away.
Love Hina: You could say that Keitarou leads a ‘peaceful’ life before he comes to Hinata Inn but things take a turn when Keitarou usually unintentionally gets into a perverted situation like accidentally steps into the hotspring area whereby the girls are soaking in it. With that, Naru will usually land him a super punch and sends him flying high in the sky. You’ll see this trademark abuse in every episode.
 
Siblings
Refers to the male protagonist if they have any younger/older brother or sisters.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Kaoru is the only child has no other siblings.
Love Hina: It is revealed later on that Keitarou has an adopted younger sister named Kanako and has a talking black cat, Kuro. 
 
Household chores
Refers to who mainly does chores like cleaning and cooking, though everybody else does lend a hend once in a while.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Aoi usually does the cooking and Taeko the cleaning but the latter is so clumsy that… you know the rest.
Love Hina: Shinobu usually does the cooking to show her gratitude for allowing her to live with them at Hinata Inn.
 
Chika vs Kaolla
In a way I find those 2 little kids similar yet different in many ways. Though they both are of petite size, see the male protagonist as their ‘oni-chan’ (big brother) and are tanned (read: dark skin colour), Chika of Ai Yori Aoshi seems to be much ‘gentler’ and innocent as compared to Kaolla of Love Hina. Chika is Taeko’s younger cousin whereas Kaolla is the younger sister of Ramba Ru, the ruler of the fictionous kingdom of Molmol. Though they are both cheeky, but due to the exaggerative nature of Love Hina, it seems Kaolla is more hyperactive and genki (read: troublemaker) and has a weird knack of inventing weird inventions which causes the others trouble and frustration. Oh yeah, Kaolla is a great eater too. But Chika doesn’t transform into an adult self when the moon glows red like Kaolla. Chika has 2 school buddies, Natsuki and Chizuru whereas Kaolla is first seen to be best friends with Shinobu but later on she and Sarah become terrible twins. If these 2 girls are to be put together, I think Kaolla would beat Chika flat. Really. That girl’s wild.
 
Tina vs Kitsune
Well urm… Besides the fact that I find that these 2 are the most flirtatious as compared to the rest of the other girls when it comes to the male protagonist, another similarity between Tina of Ai Yori Aoshi and Kitsune of Love Hina is that both girls too do like to party and get drunk with Tina with her beer cans and Kitsune with her sake. Tina is a little more brute because of her American lineage and has her sick trademark greeting of squeezing a female’s breasts from behind. Kitsune on the other hand is more sly and scheming though her intentions are good.
 
Blur cases
Controversial. I somehow find them at first glance to be dreamy and well… blur.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Taeko (due to her clumsiness).
Love Hina: Mutsumi (warning: don’t judge a book by its cover because later on she’s actually smarter than she looks).
 
Brats
Little girls with snobbish obnoxious attitudes. At least that’s what I thought when they first made their appearance.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Mayu. Likes Kaoru because of his words that once cheered her lonely life up (her real parents are always away busy working overseas) and gave her encouragement but is always loggerheads with Tina because she sees her in the way of her beloved Kaoru.
Love Hina: Sarah. The adopted American daughter of Seta. Doesn’t like Keitarou and tries to make his life miserable because she thinks Keitarou will take her only daddy away, leaving her all alone, which she doesn’t want to. But ultimately, she too comes to accept him.
 
Terrible drivers
One wonders how they get their kopi-o driving licence. Don’t ever get into a vehicle with them on the wheel. It’ll be more than just the ride of your life.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Taeko. She gets her ‘superb’ driving skills from the video arcade and thinks she can handle it on the real road as well.
Love Hina: Seta. He has a habit of crashing his van into just about anything. Yeah, this habit of his is somewhat passed down to Keitarou later when he decides to follow in Seta’s footsteps. I guess Keitarou took that too literally.
 
Hotsprings
Both series have the gang soaking in hotsprings. However, you’ll see more of the gang in Love Hina dipping themselves in the hotsping because Hinata Inn itself has one. Yeah, the girls there love spending their time talking things out there. Whereas the gang in Ai Yori Aoshi don’t have a hotspring at the Sakuraba’s mansion and has to go to a public one to enjoy it. It won’t be frequent since there’s only 1 episode whereby the try out the different types of hotsprings.
 
Beach episode
Would a harem anime be complete without a beach episode? An excuse so that our ladies can flaunt their stuffs by getting into their swimsuits. So okay, nothing ecchi there. The one thing in common for both series for this particular beach theme is that the gang heads to the beach to help work there. In Aoi Yori Aoshi, the gang works at Taeko’s aunt’s beach cafe whereas in Love Hina, the gang works at Haruka’s tea house at the beach.
 
Character development
There has to be some character development among the characters in such animes, right? I think.
Ai Yori Aoshi: Though there are less characters as compared to Love Hina, most of the drama sees how the characters interact among themselves as they help each other out. Thus this contributes very much to the character bonding. I feel that the character developments are pretty stagnant and don’t change much as you could pretty much guess what kind of personality the characters have from the start right till the end.
Love Hina: Though there are more characters as compared to Ai Yori Aoshi, there is gonna be more wacky and crazy adventures from the gang from love triangles to helping each other out with their personal problems. In a way, the characters do bond with each other. Thus, the characters do grow and develop as the series progresses as they change for the better, though the character’s core personality and traits still remain.
 
Number of episodes
Ai Yori Aoshi: There are 2 seasons for this series, the first season spanning 24 episodes and the second season sequel entitled Ai Yori Aoshi ~ Enishi has a further 12 episodes.
Love Hina: Though there are 24 episodes, the 25th episode is more like a DVD special and there are 2 movie length episodes as well as a 26th episode which is a recap of the 25 tv series episodes. Can’t get enough of it? Finally there’s a 3 episode OVA called Love Hina Again.
 
Opening and ending themes
Ai Yori Aoshi: Towa No Hana is the opening theme for the 1st season with Namo Shirenu Hana as its ending theme. Whereas in the 2nd season Takaramono is the opening theme while I Do! and Presence is the ending theme. In both seasons, the opening themes are sung by Yoko Ishida while the ending themes are performed by The Indigo.
Love Hina: The tv series’s opening theme is Sakura Saku and the ending theme is Kimi Sae Ireba. Both are sung by Megumi Hayashibara. In Love Hina Again, both the opening and ending themes are sung by Yui Horie, which is Kirari Takaramono and Be For You, Be For Me, respectively.
 
Conclusion
Though it’s hard to say which is the better one, if you like your animes where there isn’t anything shocking or surprising and ultimately a feel good story, then Ai Yori Aoshi should fit to your taste. Plus, there are lessons in life and love that you could observe and learn. On the other hand if you like wacky zany crazy and exaggerated adventures, Love Hina should suit you. But for me, it’s still hard to say which one. I like the way things went and turned out in the end for Kaoru and Aoi and at the same time I prefer those silly antics from the Love Hina gang. Tough choice, isn’t it?

Waltz

September 28, 2007

  Akanai mabuta kosutte mieru,
  PASUTERU moyou no mirai ni,
  Chiribamerareta kigou wo tadoru,
  Taguriyoseta hyoujou
 
There are songs which one would instantly fall in love with when heard for the first time. This ending theme song of the anime Honey And Clover is no exception too. Yes, it’s Waltz which is sung by Suneohair. Yeah, the name may sound funny but the song sounds fantastic.
 
  Nee nan dake, Sagashite ita mono,
  Are wa sou ne itsu dake,
  Bokura ga inryoku ni,
  Sakarai nagara deatta koro
 
With a nice mix of guitar playing, piano pounding and synthesizers, this song is definitely more than your average pop song. Sure the synthesizers do sound one kind at first but you’ll find that it does fit nicely into the song. The beat isn’t that heavy and you could say that in a way the song is quite soothing to hear. Not too fast and not too slow. Just right.
 
  Sore wa WARUTSU no you da ne suteki sa,
  Tsubuyaku you na saezuri kikinagara,
  Marude WARUTSU no you ni ne futari ga,
  Egakidashite yuku mono
 
The tone of the song and the voice of the singer is relatively easy on my vocal chords. Meaning that unlike most other songs, there isn’t any long strenuous taxing sustaining high pitched lines for me to negotiate. However, there is a change to a higher octave in the chorus part. Sometimes I manage to accomplish that feat with ease but usually most of the time, I sound like somebody drowning (!). True. Downright horrible.
 
  Aa toketa genjitsu mo genshoku de nurikaete shimae,
  Hikiyosete ageru kara ne,
  Soko kara odori tsudzukeyou,
  Futari dake no WARUTSU
 
And during those early times when I sang this song, the timing of the lyrics is a little different at some parts (the beginning of each verse and the bridge) and I was thrown a little off. It took a little time for me to get use to it and now I’m okay. The guitar plucking solo part is incredible as it makes you want to get up and dance. Yup, it’s very catchy.
 
  Sore wa WARUTSU no you da ne fushigi sa,
  Sasayaku you na komorebi no kousaten de,
  Futari WARUTSU no you ni ne mawari nagara,
  Egakidashite yuku mono
 
Though the version that I’m singing is more of an instrumental, but I suppose it’s pretty okay too since the background vocals are not that obvious. Now if only I can find a way to perfect that higher octave switching part. Ah well. Practice makes perfect. But then, nobody’s that perfect, right? Perhaps it’s just me.

Narue No Sekai

September 22, 2007

Have you ever thought of having a girlfriend who is out of this world. And I don’t only mean she’s just fantastic or superb but an alien. No, I don’t mean a foreigner but an extra-terrestrial life form from another planet. Uh-huh, sounds cool, isn’t it? But that’s what Narue No Sekai or also known as The World Of Narue is.
 
Now, one reason why I decided to watch this series besides the love-comedy genre is because of the voice actress, Mamiko Noto. I’d be lying if I say I’m not a fan of her voice acting. When I found out that she’s playing the main role as Narue Nanase, it didn’t take me long to decide to watch this. However, I was really suprised when I heard Mamiko Noto’s voice. Why? Because it wasn’t what I expected. I’ve always had that perception of her unique dry-hard-to-come-out-husky voice after watching her roles as Enma Ai in Jigoku Shoujo and other animes but when I heard hers in here, it’s totally different but it’s still recognizable. She sounds more lively and cute! Wow. I even had doubts if it was her or not.
 
Aside that, this is another short series with only 12 episodes and mostly you’ll see our main male protagonist, the 14 year old Kazuto Iizuka who falls in love with Narue Nanase and the stuffs that they do together. Sounds like nothing much isn’t it? Well, I won’t really say that this is a boring show but if you like teenage love comedy and romance genre at a moderate pace, I suppose this one is quite okay.
 
So as seen in episode 1, our Narue isn’t actually 100% alien. Uh-huh, she’s only 50% alien and the remainder is human. You’ll find out later in the series that her dad’s an alien and her mom’s a human. So what happens when both parents of different species get married? The result of their offspring would of course be 50-50. Don’t worry, somehow these aliens look so human-like so much so you’ll think they’re Earthlings. Besides, they speak Japanese too (aside from the fact that they’ve lived in Japan) and they hail from a world called Planet Japan! Serious! Convenience? I find it amusing. I suppose there’s Mount Fuji and Sakura blooming event there too.
 
Kazuto’s first encounter with Narue is when he’s walking back 1 rainy afternoon and he spots a box with a lost puppy in it. But it’s not just a puppy. Kazuto approaches it and suddenly the puppy turns into a vicious plant-like alien and is gonna attack him when Narue comes out from no where and hits it away with her baseball bat. After finding out Kazuto’s alright and even telling him cooly that that was a space alien, Narue leaves in a jiffy. Thus is love at first sight for Kazuto as he wants to find out more about her.
 
So in class, Kazuto with the help of his best buddy, Masaki Maruo (your typical hyped up loud mouth bugger but is dependable when the time comes), finds out that Nanase is just in the next class and is a member of the… Galactic Federation?! Maruo thinks she’s a space invader while Kazuto thinks she’s an astronaut. So they decide to check her out. But it seems that Naruo has ‘enemies’ of her own. Firstly, the braided bespectacled Hajime Yagi, a sci-fi freak who despises Narue because she claims that she’s an alien and vows to expose that she’s a fake. This gal really do sound angry. Then there’s the typically snobbish and b*tchy Kyoko Kudo and her 2 buddies who not only loves mocking Narue but Yagi as well. But Narue just ignores them all.
 
Later Maruo decides to play love mediator and gives tips on how to approach her. Kazuto’s not ready yet when Maruo lets him face Narue when she’s passing by on the streets. Kazuto’s blushing and finally asks her if she wants to have tea with him. Narue tries to discourage him but Kazuto is adamant. So Kazuto doesn’t mind if she’s poor, gloomy, read weekly magazines for women, or an alien (he realized the last one too late). With that, Narue gets really happy and takes Kazuto’s hand and rushes back to her home. Yeah, something about it’s cheaper to have tea back at her place. Aliens may have hi-tech technology but that doesn’t mean they’re wealthy.
 
Back at her small apartment, Narue is shocked to find that her dad, Tadashi, is being tied up and some space alien terrorist is in the midst of getting rid of him. So he mentions that the puppy yesterday was a trap set by him. Though Kazuto doesn’t know what’s going on, his instincts made him want to protect Narue. In a little panic, Kazuto screams and is gonna hit that alien with the baseball bat when Narue trips him. She then uses her teleporter in her headband and teleports herself between the alien and her dad before knocking him out cold with 1 hit. Must be a hard one. You could see his blood gushing out from his nose. She unties her dad and he soon leaves to get an Inspector to investigate. So after witnessing all these events with his own eyes, Kazuto’s love for Narue didn’t waver at all. In fact, he’s more in love with her, making Narue very happy. With that, she proceeds to teleport and show Kazuto a fleet of spaceships orbiting outside Earth! I wonder what’s the implication of this but I think he’s pretty surprised by it all. Narue says "Welcome to our world". I didn’t really understand that last part but I think this is the start of their beautiful relationship.
 
Kazuto and Narue start their relationship off with a date in episode 2. Yup, and Kyoko is teasing Narue but is made to eat her words when Kazuto comes to her class to see her. Because this is Kazuto’s first time, Maruo is giving him some tips on dating. Well, it seems the other boys in the class to are writing down what he says. He must be damn good. So the night before the date, we see Yagi and Maruo are actually childhood friend-cum-neighbours and Yagi leaves alone because her parents are always working away and that she enjoys watching the stars with her telescope.
 
So on the day Kazuto is supposed to go on a date with Narue, he tries to follow each and every advice that Maruo has given to him like being punctual (but Narue was there earlier at the meeting spot), no playing video games at the arcade (but Narue was so taken into and is enjoying herself), and paying food on behalf (but Narue paid her portion). Well, it doesn’t really seem to go as planned but Narue seems happy. Then at the shopping centre, Maruo seems to be spying on them when Yagi appears. Yeah, she finds out that the ‘alien’ is on a date and proceeds to confront Narue, though Maruo tried to stop her. While Yagi is blabbing about exposing her, it seems Narue and Kazuto had already left. They’re here not to listen to you girl.
 
Narue and Kazuto are going to watch a movie but it seems Kazuto has lost the tickets. So they trace back their steps and manage to find it at the video game arcade where he unknowingly dropped it. They manage to catch the movie in time. Thing is, Narue fell asleep. Couldn’t be that boring, couldn’t it? Well, actually Narue didn’t get much sleep the night before, just like Kazuto. Meanwhile Maruo and Yagi are still spying on them and Yagi is still bent on exposing Narue as a fake because she thinks Narue is pretending to be an alien so that she could be Miss Popular. If only she’d know the whole truth. So back at Yagi’s place we see her having a little chat with Maruo and she plans to discover a real alien, make friends with them and show Narue the real thing. Yeah… it’s right under her nose. Kazuto is walking back with Narue and thanks her for a lovely outing. Narue too thanks him and would gladly walk him back again, making Kazuto happy. So the whole day wasn’t as bad.
 
It seems that it’s Narue’s turn to visit Kazuto’s home in episode 3. Kazuto’s mom is delighted that her son brought back a girl for the first time and of course his sis is initially surprised to hear another girl’s voice in their abode. So Kazuto’s a typical teenager with some playboy magazines in his slightly messy room but he isn’t so much a pervert. I suppose Narue’s not used to some human technology because when she asked for permission to use Kazuto’s computer, she then tried to speak and give instructions to the computer through the mouse! Erm… I thought aliens are supposed to be hi-tech and at least be knowledgeable about ‘obsolete and primitive’ technologies. Oops. That sexy wallpaper in Kazuto’s pc, which he manages to hide it from Narue in time. Also Kazuto’s mom and sis are a little ‘busybody’ trying to ‘get in’ Kazuto’s room and Kazuto’s pretty annoyed and having a hard time shutting them out. Besides having tea and chatting in his room, Kazuto tells Narue that he’s quite a big fan of the mahou shoujo series called Magical Canon Girl Yongou. Yeah, he’s got a huge collection of DVDs and they even watched it. Kazuto really loves it. And it’s evening already. Finally mom and sis comes in and says it’s rude to watch animes when a friend is visiting. As usual Kazuto tries to shut them out, which he manages to do so.
 
With that, Narue decides to show Kazuto a precious place of hers and teleports themselves to some quiet plains at night. It’s quite calming as Narue tells him that she likes Earth because she was born here. And when she lie down and close her eyes, it makes her feel that only she and the Earth exists. She asks Kazuto to try and he did. After some time, she thought he had fallen asleep but realized they’re in some time stasis shield, meaning time has stopped for the moment. A spaceship from the Inspection Department arrives and a guy named Tale Messer appears and tells Narue about her situation and possibly may have given too much information of themselves to Kazuto. Don’t worry, he isn’t a bad guy. It seems the Galactic Federation doesn’t have a favourable view of aliens living on Earth as a good thing and wants Narue and Tadashi to come back to Planet Japan. But he’s not gonna force Narue to come back and prefers her to come back on her own will before leaving. Soon the time stasis shield is over and the spaceship disappears. But I don’t think Narue will go home so soon since Earth is somewhat special to her. Next morning, Kazuto wakes up in his bedroom to find a mountain rock as a gift from Narue to him on his table. He remebers Narue’s words earlier on "What’s important is not the object given, but who gave it to you". How true. Cherish it buddy. By the way, this is the only episode you’l’ ever get to see Kazuto’s mom and sis.
 
Narue tells Kazuto that she has an older sister in episode 4. While they’re walking to school, some little rude obnoxious brat zooms pass by them causing Kazuto to fall down. It seems this girl, Kanaka, is looking for a place and it looks like she has reached Narue’s apartment. She saw a sign ‘Tadashi and Narue’ and opens the door to find Tadashi getting into his pants with Narue there and wants to know who this Narue woman is. Yup, she won’t accept this Narue woman to be her mom and teleports away. Back in a starship, Kanaka orders her starship Bathyscaphe (which also takes a form of an elderly woman) to gather all the info on Narue. In the end, Kanaka realizes that Narue is her younger sister! And that her father has remarried when he came to Earth. I guess the information is quite up to date because they even can tell that Narue is currently dating Kazuto, which Kanaka bumped into this morning. I’m not sure why but Kanaka seems to like calling Kazuto old man. Yeah, seems older than her. And so does everybody else. Kanaka summons and teleports Kazuto to her starship and proceeds to interrogate him and even kicks him in the stomach when he didn’t answer her questions! She even points her stungun at him! Of course all this is too sudden for Kazuto.
 
So why is Kanaka Narue’s older sister even though she’s only 12 years old? Sounds confusing? Back at Narue’s place, Tadashi explains something about the Urashima Effect. I’m not really sure how it works but it seems 15 years ago, Tadashi took some starship to Earth through some teleport stargate gateway to save time and reach anywhere no matter the distance but Kanaka decides to follow her dad and be a stowaway on another cargo ship. That ship didn’t take the stargate and instead travelled in light speed to reach its destination, which is Earth. So time slowed down inside that cargo ship which means when time goes by normally on Earth, say several years, it’s only been several weeks for Kanaka. Thus, Narue’s older sister is younger than her now. Get it? Sort of. Yeah, Narue too doesn’t really comprehend.
 
Soon Kanaka calls Narue and tells her that she has her boyfriend. Narue and Tadashi head outside to see the Bathyscaphe hovering above. The starship then transforms itself into a large traditional-like house and parks itself just opposite Narue’s apartment in that empty plot of land. Convenience I’d say. Wouldn’t anybody living there notice that something that big just propped up overnight. Kanaka tells Narue that she’ll exchange Kazuto for her daddy. Bathyscaphe lets Kazuto go and tells him that he’ll be able to untangle the strings of time. Back down, Narue is relieved and a little embarrassed to what has happened over Kazuto but the guy doesn’t mind. So a little chat about how Narue’s mom is like and in the meantime, Kanaka spends some lost time with Tadashi but notices that his hands aren’t as smooth as before. Kanaka is upset and throws a tantrum before running away. Tadashi tried to chase after her but tripped and injured himself a little.
 
Outside the house, Kanaka bumps into Narue and the former isn’t too happy because she’s sad that she doesn’t know anybody anymore and that nobody is living in the same time with her. During her struggle, Kanaka accidentally fires her stungun at Narue, causing her to collapse. Later, Narue is resting and Bathyscaphe tells that she’s just having a fever as a result of that and will naturally heal without using any medicine. So Kazuto and Kanaka had a little chat and Bathyscaphe shows Kanaka some hologram message from her mother. Sounds sad (like how due to her busy work, she and Tadashi got divorced) but Kanaka realized it all. Soon Narue recovers and is back to her normal self. Not only that, Kanaka doesn’t seem to hate her now as Narue hugs her and do certain sisterly stuffs together (not yuri, please) which Kazuto finds a little embarrassing. At least they’re on good terms now.
 
Since Kanaka is gonna live with Narue (but in different homes), she has to go to school in episode 5. Though Kanaka’s not really too amused that she has to be a lower grade than Narue since Kanaka is her elder sister. Yagi is still trying to get Narue as she deliberately tries to hit her with multiple balls during P.E. class but only to be scolded by the teacher. Later that night back at home, Bathyscaphe detects that someone is spying on them (yeah, her top portion of her hair stood up). With that, Kanaka decides to go see who it is. At a playground nearby, it seems Yagi is waiting for a chance there in the cold of the night with her high end camera when Kanaka comes by and asks her what she’s doing. Yagi says she wants to find a UFO but of course Kanaka can’t really reveal it all to her. But those 2 manage to click and since Kanaka felt pity for her she asks Bathyscaphe to just display a random light in the sky, which she did. Yagi saw and got excited and took some photos. But by the time it’s over, Kanaka’s gone.
 
Next day while walking to school, Yagi is showing off her photo (that light looked like a fish!) to Maruo and subsequently to Kazuto. It seems from the way Kazuto said things, Yagi is interested to know more about his UFOs knowledge and experience. Since Yagi’s pestering and clinging close to him, Kyoko and co spots this and thinks they’re together. Yeah, a possible rumour spreader and gossip. Yeah, they even teased Yagi after that, even though Yagi tried to tell the truth. Kanaka’s the new buzz in her class so much so her classmates are eager to ask her lots of questions like where she’s from. Because she can’t really reveal lots of things, she just reply "I don’t know". Her pals felt let down and walk away. What the? This kind of people also got.
 
But the main thing about this episode is about Kanaka and Yagi and how they became friends. The latter invites Kanaka to her home and they chat. Narue wonders why Kanaka isn’t back yet when Bathyscaphe tells her that she’s at Yagi’s place. Narue then in her surprise, hurriedly teleports herself there. Kanaka thinks Narue is here to pick her up when Narue launches a scathing verbal attack on her (okay, maybe not so scathing) like how she thinks Yagi is going to ‘sink her teeth’ in Kanaka. Though Yagi tries to calm the situation down and says that the rumours of her and Kazuto isn’t true, Narue didn’t listen and hurriedly takes Kanaka home. Back at home, Kanaka is furious though Narue tells her that Yagi’s intention is to expose them (wait a minute. If Narue didn’t previously claim herself as an alien, why did Yagi try to expose Narue as a fake?). Eventually Kanaka slaps her and says that there’s nothing bad between them and that Yagi didn’t even know she’s related to Narue before running into her room. This caused Narue to be in a little shock and she had a long thought and reflection about the events that happened. Since Narue isn’t the kind to keep a grudge, the next day, Narue heads over to Yagi’s house with Kanaka and Kazuto, and apologizes to her. Yagi too apologized and before you know it, Narue and Yagi became good friends as they walk to school together. However, Yagi still isn’t really aware that Narue is a real alien.
 
Episode 6 starts off with Tale Messer getting reports from 2 battle androids (who also look and move so human-like) Ran Tendo and Rei Otonashi, after their successful interception of space terrorists. But they also mention that as long as the Nanases are living on Earth, those space terrorists will continue to attack Earth. I wonder what the Nanases has done. They need to remove them from Earth but can’t do it by force or harm them physically either. If the Nanases leave Earth, then the space terrorists will stop attacking. Meanwhile, Kazuto wakes up to find a blonde girl, Rin Asakura waking him up. Yeah, it’s like he’s got a little sister suddenly. But it seems Kazuto’s family is treating her like as though Rin is really their child or are they blur cases. Anyway, Kazuto too suspect something amiss but when he tried to ask Rin, she uses some hypnotizing spell to control him. So probably why his family is acting like that. Narue is taking out the garbage and spots Kazuto but to her horror saw how he’s lovey-dovey with another girl and runs away. The spell seems to wear off when Tadashi spots Kazuto and asks if he isn’t going to school with Narue. Kazuto chases after Narue.
 
In school, Narue is feeling the pangs of love. Kyoko and her buddies spot this and continues to tease and mock her. Luckily Yagi is there to stand up for her. Later at the rooftop, Yagi and Narue had a heart to heart talk. We find out Yagi has always been alone and therefore occupies herself in books especially those in astronomy. Thus, space gives her a piece of mind and is something special to her. That’s why when Narue says that she’s an alien, Yagi got mad as she felt it’s like taking the space away from her. Yagi tells Narue to ask Kazuto himself if she wants to be sure. Meanwhile, Rin and Kazuto are sitting together at a bench and are surrounded by boys who have been taken by Rin’s charms. Yeah, they all want to give her their lunch. This pisses off Kyoko very much and as usual, she and her friends start teasing those losers. So an argument ensues before it turns into a free for all. Rin stops all this by using her mind control before she and Kazuto walk away. Narue saw this too and looks like her emotions is getting the better of her. Luckily Kanaka’s there to stop her. By the way, this is the last you’ll ever see Kyoko and her buddies. After this, not really sure of her appearance anymore. Did she ‘disappear’ somewhere or have the producers forgotten about her.
 
At the park, Rin tells Kazuto her true identity and about Narue. Kazuto wonders if he’s the right guy for her. Narue then gets info from Bathyscaphe that Rin is a battle starship just like her because she detected some mind control pulses this morning. Rin then calls Narue and tells her to meet her at the park, in which Narue quickly teleports herself there and tells Rin to get away from her beloved Kazuto. What is Rin gonna do? She tells Narue to be quiet and watch as she freezes her. Uh-huh. Rin tells Kazuto to kiss her! Can he snap out of that mind control of hers? Because of Kazuto’s inner willpower, he manage to break the spell which causes Rin to overload. Then some flashback about Tale Messer reminding Rin about 3 rules. One, protect yourself. Two, obey orders. And three, protect life. Because of the overloading, Rin falls back bringing Kazuto along. A speeding truck is heading their way. Is this the end for Kazuto? By observing the 3 rules, Rin uses all her strength and speed to stop the truck with her bare hands and then uses her mind control to erase the driver’s memories. When everything is settled down, Rin tells them both that she is sent to break up their relationship. So some last words of realization and explanation like how the feelings from Kazuto to Rin isn’t true because of her mind control and that Kazuto is a special person before Ran and Rei appears to retrieve their pretty scratched up Rin. Why did they fly away instead of teleporting? Of course Narue is still a little jealous and thinks he really had fallen for Rin and is gonna give him a punishment by asking Kazuto to close his eyes and clench his teeth. Kazuto is preparing for the worse as he does so when surprisingly Narue kissed him! Wah. What was that all about? Anyway, Narue just said to go home together as she runs ahead with Kazuto not far behind. This’ll be the only kiss for the entire series.
 
Your usual pool episode in episode 7. The gang, including Maruo and Yagi head for the public pool during the hot summer but it’s bloody overcrowded. Previously, Kanaka has received some weird package, which resembles like a bowling ball and decides to solve this problem by asking the gang to follow her into some storeroom. You’ll guess that it’s Kanaka’s package that’s causing all this illusion and the likes. So as the gang steps in, they’re pretty surprised to see a rainforest and a pool all for themselves. I suppose that they decide to have fun first and do the thinking later like where has everybody else gone to. It seems Kazuto isn’t a good swimmer and Kanaka decides to help out by using some Wonder Protect X. Thing is, Kazuto can’t stop swimming till he’s tired out. Next, Kanaka proceeds to show them another place through the waterfalls. They’ve arrived at a prehistoric place and it’s near the beach. Yagi’s going psycho saying how this couldn’t be the public pool but Maruo just takes whatever comes along. Then Yagi and Maruo got chased by a mammoth and ran for their lives. Kazuto and Narue are happily making sand castles when they saw the commotion. They too ran for their lives. What’s this? Kanaka on top of the mammoth and is having fun scaring them all. But Kanaka soon fell off and damaged that bracelet thingy which is connected to that weird package.
 
While the rest are running, they got separated in pairs in some underground stream. While Narue and Kazuto have a little moment of their own before continuing their search for the others, Yagi is still going crazy over the weird happenings. Yeah, how come life forms that should’ve been extinct are here. Narue and Kazuto are crossing a wooden bridge when the plank broke, causing Narue to fall into the river below. Kazuto sums up his courage and dives down to save her. Maruo and Yagi are passing by when they saw what’s happening. Maruo dives in but his head got knocked with a seal. So much for that. Narue and Kazuto manage to hold on to a plank as Narue notes how Kazuto came to save her even though he doesn’t know how to swim. And they are heading towards the falls. Too late, they went over it. Are they gonna drown? Some brachiosaurus creature saves them and when it emerges from the water… it’s a huge face of Bathyscaphe! She’s pissed off at Kanaka. While Yagi faints at the sight, Kanaka is trembling in fear. Soon the whole place reverts back to that storeroom and everyone is just sleeping. Later Bathyscahpe explains that what they experienced is just something virtual and confiscates that weird package, which Kanaka reveals she won as a prize, away from her. Yagi comes to and wonders where has all that weird creatures gone to. But Maruo didn’t care because they all had fun. This guy’s too casual. Narue and Kazuto just looked at each other and smiled.
 
Epsiode 8 is a flashback of how Tadashi met Narue’s late mom Narumi Mutsuki (erm… look so much like Kanaka). We see Tadashi visiting the grave of Narumi and Tale Messer’s there. Meanwhile Narue and Kazuto pays a visit to Kanaka’s home. Bathyscaphe receives a mail from Tale Messer which is some brochure of an intergalactic school. Narue isn’t too fond of it and asks Bathyscaphe to turn it off. Since Narue is a halfie, this prompts Kanaka to ask her what Narue’s mom is really like. 15 years ago, Tadashi quit his government job. At that time, Earth was a recently discovered planet and Tadashi was assigned as an investigator. He looks like a wandering cowboy. But during his assignment, Tale Messer appears and tells him that the mission is complete and that he should return immediately. Something about taking a non-aggressive and non-interfering stand on Earth. I guess it’s better than declare war and take over for control and dominance like most other aliens would. Thus the mission is also cancelled. Because Tadashi didn’t want to go home yet, Tale Messer puts his hand in his coat and Tadashi thinks he’s gonna take out a gun and shoot him. So a surprised Tadashi falls backwards into the river and drops his transmitter. But it’s revealed that it’s not a gun, but a coffee can drink?!
 
Tadashi is being washed up unconscious near a river bank and is taken in by a woman named Narumi. She even lets him stay in her house. So of course the 2 got along and Tadashi listened to her problems as well. Meanwhile, Rei and Ran are having a hard time finding Tadashi because his transmitter isn’t with him. Eventually Tadashi reveals that he’s an alien (why are these people taking it so casually. I guess it’s better than to go into shock mode and run away) and to repay his gratitude, he toil and works at Narumi’s farm. This explains why his hands are rough. Soon Tale Messer finds Tadashi’s location and confronts him and the other house occupants. He still wants Tadashi to return and because Tadashi doesn’t want any trouble, he decides to follow him back. Narumi just walked off.
 
Okay, it’s like the aliens didn’t really care if their identity is found out or not because a starship comes down from the sky just like that to pick the 2 guys up. Before Tadashi could return, Narumi swiftly arrives in her red car to pick him up. Are they gonna run away? Looks like it because Tadashi got in the car. But can they outrun a starship?! That’s some wild driving there from Narumi as she tries to evade Rei and Ran. But soon Tale Messer calls them back and abandon their mission because since it’s a decision of 2 adults, he wants to see what they do for awhile. Another observation case. Don’t worry, he’s got no ulterior or evil motives. So in the car, you can tell Narumi likes Tadashi because he’s the only one who listened to her problems and complaints. See, it’s good to be a listener sometimes. Maybe because Tadashi didn’t really know what’s going on so he that’s why he decided to just listen to her. With that, they started to live together and Tale Messer in a way supports their decision. Back to present time, Bathyscape quotes how similar Narue and Kazuto are to Narumi and Tadashi. So Tadashi and Tale Messer have a little chat and the latter tells how the Galactic Federation’s decision is still the same and the space terrorists threats are still there. On the lighter note, Narue tells Kazuto that though she felt a little bad for Kanaka, eventually she mentions that she got worried over nothing because after all, they’re family.
 
Another beach outing in episode 9 but this time Maruo and Yagi didn’t tag along. This episode however isn’t so much on Narue and Kazuto as they go find some clams in the ocean on their inflatable raft. It focuses instead more on Kanaka and Bathyscaphe who finds another starship Haruna working at a stall there. Haruna’s pretty devastated to see Bathyscaphe because she thinks she’s gonna bring her back. Another case who wants to stay on Earth. Though Bathyscaphe assures her that she isn’t here to take her back to the army, Haruna remains suspicious (and scared) so much so that she’s nervously spying on them (and quite obvious too). Finally when Haruna can’t take the suspense anymore, she’s gonna kill herself with… a ladle?! Desparate case. Of course Kanaka kicks it away and tells her that she can’t really die with that. So the trio had a little chat and soon Bathyscaphe and Kanaka goes off. But Haruna remains suspicious because she thinks they’ll tell her owner, Akio Shimada, her real identity. Again she gets worried all for nothing. She heads back to the store only to find Akio having a chat with them. But he allows Haruna to go on a break with them. So they manage to break the ice as they do certain stuffs together. Soon Haruna tells them how she arrived on this planet one night and Akio found her and took her in and even gave her a job. You could say she fell for his kindness. Thus, Haruna doesn’t want him to find out her true identity as she’s afraid to lose him and this lifestyle. Kanaka gives her some assuring words to make her feel better.
 
Meanwhile Kazuto and Narue has really got themselves a huge catch. Yeah, right to the brim so much so you might think it’s one of those junk tugboats. However, back onshore, a guy comes rushing in to Akio’s place and tells him about an impending tsunami caused by an earthquake over the ocean. Since the PA announcement isn’t enough, Haruna decides to transform herself to help spread the message, though Akio tells her to evacuate. The tsunami arrives and Narue and Kazuto’s raft is riding it. However Kazuto falls off but hangs on dearly to Narue’s headband. The beach goers are running away in frenzy. Suddenly hovering over the sky is a large starship named Haruna as she uses some super power projection blast and erm… turns the tsunami into many droplets in the sky? Okay, maybe I’ll leave it just there and accept that it’s alien technology. Even the sea is much calmer. Bathyscaphe manages to teleport and rescue Kazuto. At the same time, Haruna confronts Akio and says that now that he has seen her true form that she’s not human. But Akio says otherwise that he wants to be with her forever, making Haruna very happy as they embrace. Looks like another guy with an alien girlfriend. Back at Kanaka’s place, they’re watching tv and find out that the people there seem to have no recollection of the tsunami during a live interview and thought Bathyscaphe has erased their memories. Bathyscaphe mentions that she has no such powers when Rin pops out who says that she’s the one who did it. In addition, Rin is searching for Haruna on the military’s behalf but after what has happened, the military decide to wait patiently till Haruna comes back on her own. So is it a happy ending. Well not entirely. Narue is complaining that all the clams and abalones she got has sink under the ocean. There goes all her effort.
 
Another date outing in episode 10 but this one is a bit different. Why? Because Kazuto’s first stop is at some otaku convention, more specifically, Magical Canon Girl Yongou. Then there’s meet Yongou session in person and it’s a bloody long line just to get in. All those geeks there are fawning over her, even Kazuto. This prompts Narue to be a little jealous so much so she tells him off why not he go on a date with Yongou instead. I mean she’s right. Of all the places a guy brings a girl out on a date, this would be on the number 1 spot not to take her, especially if there’s another cute girl. Since Narue started arguing, this has attracted Yongou who quips how she has broken up another couple. With a few more mockery from Yongou, Narue gets pissed off and walks out. Though Kazuto wanted to go after her, but I suppose that guy can’t resist shaking hands with the cute Yongou. Haih. Once done, he tries to find Narue (duh! She’s already long gone by then) and is stopped by Yongou’s assistant as she wants him to do her a favour.
 
Meanwhile, Yagi comes out of a bookstore only to spot a depress Narue. This time Narue can’t hold back her tears and even says how she lost to a magical girl! That’s right. An alien lost to a magical girl. Aww… So pitiful to see Narue in tears. Yagi comforts Narue and suggests her to try cosplay to win back Kazuto’s heart. So they bought some reference materials of Yongou to get to know more about the genre. And if you’re thinking where that line "I’ll strike directly at your heart" (I think in Japanese it’s "Anata no mune ni icchau geki yo". Not sure. I think) that Narue says at the end of the next episode preview, it’s taken from this line of Yongou’s. Narue’s pretty awkward after watching a video of Yongou. Can she pull through. Why, Narue and Yagi even bumped into Yongou and her assistant on the streets and as usual she launches more obnoxious b*tchy remarks. She also tells them that there’s an upcoming Yongou cosplay contest this Saturday and thinks Narue won’t stand a chance. Because of that, Narue and Yagi are determined to do their best and burn the midnight oil to complete their Yongou outfit. So much so Narue didn’t turn up for class and Kazuto thinks she’s still mad at him. Kazuto even tried calling her but she’s not in. Kazuto even got some advice from Maruo about it.
 
Though the dress is finished, they’re still missing that big canon, which is Yongou’s accessory. So Yagi enlists the help of Maruo to make it and he too burns the midnight oil and manages to complete it by daybreak. With that, Yagi tells Narue to get Kazuto back. The day of the contest arrives and we see lots of Yongou enthusiasts-look-a-like-clones on stage. Some even bragging how much they spend in buying the outfit but the judges aren’t impressed as they feel that nobody has put in their blood, sweat and tears in making them anymore. It seems Kazuto is also 1 of the judges and Yongou’s pretty happy that Narue didn’t turn up. Don’t count your chickens first because Narue manages to show up at the last minute. Her acting and cosplaying is so accurate and convincing that everybody and the judges instantly fell in love with ‘the passion’. Even Yongou admits defeat. Kazuto has fainted due to the ‘surprises’. Once he comes to, Kazuto finds out everything from Narue, that she’s doing it because she thought he’d like her in this outfit but Kazuto says that he still likes Narue the way she is best. Narue felt happy and hugs him. Just when the judges is gonna announce Narue as the winner, it seems she has dropped out and no where to be found. Oh it must be heartbreak for all the judges. Back home while the gang are talking about it, Yagi comes in with her own cosplay outfit. Maruo didn’t like it and asks her to take it off as the 2 start arguing. Kazuto then mentions how cute Narue is in her Yongou outfit and would like to see her in it again when Narue blushes and hits him too hard in the back. Knocked out again?
 
The gang are having a group study at Narue’s place in episode 11 and Kazuto accidentally read a diary of Narue’s dream while she was in 6th grade when he’s trying to find the dictionary. Yagi sounds like a slave driver. But the test isn’t the main thing in this episode. Narue and co receives a letter from Haruna inviting the gang to Akio’s Okuyamada hotspring inn as gratitude for their help on that day (even though Yagi and Maruo aren’t there, Narue brings them along because as a ‘gift’ for helping them out in the test). Kazuto wonders if Narue had warned Haruna that Yagi’s a UFO freak but Kanaka says that Haruna isn’t so dumb to give her identity away that easily. Okay maybe not. When Narue and co arrives, Haruna greets them with her starship hovering over them with a welcome sign. Yagi’s freaking out but got a little distracted by an old lady. When she look back up, she only say a cloud shape of it. Is her mind playing tricks? Kanaka then tells Haruna not to reveal her identity like that.
 
What else is there to do at the hotsprings? Besides soaking themselves in it (Maruo trying to be a pervert and peep at the girls but luckily the girl’s section is way higher than the boys) and having great food, Yagi wonders when will Haruna and Akio get married. Of course, there’s a slight uneasiness in the air after she said that. But Akio said that due to some ‘problems’, they can’t have an official wedding. Later when Akio and Haruna are alone, they reassure their love for each other. Meanwhile the rest are pondering about this. You know, 2 people in love but of 2 different backgrounds. We’ve heard this kind of story many times. Narue then suggests to put up a wedding for them even if it’s just for the atmosphere as they get prepared for operation Make-Haruna-A-Bride. Kazuto and Narue are finding some flowers in the area and since there isn’t any, Narue thinks that they may find some at the mountains. It seems Akio’s mom (also the hostess for the inn) is watching them from afar. Kazuto and Narue manages to find the flowers they want but it seems Kazuto wants to do it on his own and pick the flowers rather than use Narue’s teleport. They go back and decides to put some ribbons on it when Akio’s mom spots them again and asks what are they doing. She will gladly supply the ribbons but wants to know what she and her friends are doing.
 
Meanwhile, Kanaka seems depressed and isn’t helping out because she thinks that such marriage wouldn’t guarantee them happiness just like her own dad and mom. Bathyscaphe manages to reassure Kanaka about her parents being happy as proof that Kanaka herself is here. Later that night, Maruo and Kazuto ‘kidnaps’ Akio who’s sleeping and dresses him up in a suit. Then as he walks into a room only to find Haruna in a stunning wedding dress. It’s a mock wedding ceremony. Akio’s mom has heard the whole story from Narue and doesn’t mind if Haruna’s from a different race because it’s their love that matters most. Yup, she’s given her blessings. So the mock wedding ceremony begins with Maruo as the priest. Narue is watching with ecstacy and we see a flashback of her dream is to be a bride like her mom because she sacrificed her life to save her in a car accident so that Narue could have a future. Haruna tosses the bouquet and Narue gets it. Yay! Everyone is so happy.
 
The final episode 12 starts off with Rei and Ran assisting a clutter of starships (yeah, too many of them) against 3 coming terrorists. Isn’t that overkill? But it seems the space terrorists are faster and 1 of them manage to evade their shots and bit Ran. Back down on Earth, it’s the festivals as our ladies get into their yukatas and head for the festival place. There, Narue and Kazuto bumps into Maruo and Yagi. Are those 2 a couple? Not really. Maruo thinks Yagi’s in love with her since she asks him to accompany him to the festival but Yagi says otherwise. Her body language too doesn’t indicate any chemistry for him. Anyway they plan to watch the fireworks in a shrine up on a hill and will meet there later. At the same time, Kanaka and Tadashi are just starting to go to the festival and we see that space terrorist from episde 1 is back to get his revenge. And he has brought along 2 of his buddies as well. They can’t make a move yet since a starship is there and will try to get Narue first. While Kazuto and Narue are praying, Narue hears a familiar voice, which is that space terrorist. Narue and Kazuto then ran away but the space terrorist uses his time stasis shield to freeze time and only Narue and Kazuto can move in it. Not only that, the shield is blocking Narue’s ability to teleport too. Yeah, he wants to kill them both slowly and enjoy it.
 
Just before the terrorists could strike them, Rin arrives and blocks their attack and buys some time for the 2 to escape. Also, Kanaka, Bathyscaphe and Tadashi has arrived at the festival but notices everyone frozen and that it could be the work of the space terrorists. At a safe distance, Rin tells Narue and Kazuto about how the space terrorists forced its way through a stargate and is targeting them. Rin faced some delays but managed to warn them in time. She then gave them some weird white looking mouse (in a way may look like Mokona from Tsubasa Chronicle) in which they can transform it to any weapon that they imagine. Wow. We Earthlings need such a contraption too. The space terrorists have found them and strikes again. Narue changes her weapon into a baseball bat (she really is infatuated with that, isn’t she?) whereas Kazuto uses his… water balloons? Okay, maybe that should work too since he got it from the festival and shouldn’t let it go to waste. With that, they manage to temporarily beat him. However, they are mocking Rin because they know she’s bound by the 3 rules and can’t kill them. Kazuto tries to protect her and changes his weapon into Yongou’s magical canon! He even said her trademark lines. But it’s just a toy and it didn’t work as he pushes the weapon aside. Even Narue’s intense bat swinging didn’t help as he too hits her weapon away.
 
Meanwhile Bathyscaphe spots a round device in the sky and thinks it’s causing the time statis shield. While the space terrorists are frying/electrocuting Rin, they sense someone messing with the round device and 1 of them volunteered to go take care of the problem. But that space terrorist got into Bathyscaphe’s trap as she traps him in some metal cage. Bathyscaphe’s really let her hair go wild and loose when she unleash such power. She apologizes if she has scared Kanaka. At the same time, Rin is down and the space terrorist is targeting Narue next when Ran and Rei appear just in time to trap them in their energy projection net. But it isn’t over yet. Since Ran has been bitten earlier on, she turns evil now and turns on Rin and the rest. Those space terrorists mention something about some Berserker Virus they injected into her, meaning they’re under their control and is able to kill. It’s quite irritating to hear Ran saying "Kill Nanase…" over and over again. If she had stopped repeating those lines, probably she could’ve achieved her goal. Before Ran can fire, Rin fires first and immobilizes Ran. Rin then runs to her side. By that time the Inspection Department starship has arrived and beams up the captured space terrorists as well as the 3 battle androids.
 
Tale Messer comes down and for the first time introduces himself to Kazuto. Some chit chat here and there. Before he leaves, he asks Kazuto that after all that he has seen, does he want to continue to be by Narue’s side. Kazuto answered yes without a doubt. Before he leaves, he says that Rin and the rest will be alright and soon he zooms off in his starship. Time returns back to normal at the festival and as though all those events didn’t happen at all. Maruo and Yagi meets Narue and Kazuto at the shrine just in time for the fireworks. Narue narrates how Kazuto is a wonderful person because he still smiles at her after those scary incidents. And though Narue still feels uneasy, she hopes for the people she loves and around them to be protected as they all watch the magnificent fireworks display in the night sky.
 
Overall even though the ending felt like there’s gonna be a sequel, it ended on a happy note. However no word has been said if there’s gonna be one. So this is your typical feel good anime though I won’t really say it’s for the whole family. Why? Because there is a little ecchi element in it. Albeit not much, but the series would go as far as just showing the girl’s slip and at a point, changing their clothes with their bra on. Even I find the mid-intermissions to be a little ecchi. Also it looks like as though they are fanart works of the series with some of the art with a hint of ecchi pose. But aside that, this series is generally clean good fun.
 
I particularly like the ending theme song, Ice Cream, which is sung by Saeko Chiba. It’s a nice pop ballad and it makes you want to lie down, close your eyes and let your mind wander and never return on a hot summer spell. The opening theme song, Shooting Star, by CooRie is your typical pop song for a series and those who have heard CooRie’s other songs could expect it to sound just like that. Though, the opening theme doesn’t sound appealing to me. Oh yes, there are a handful of nice background musics too.
 
There are several trivias to spot in this series. One of them being several famous lines from the actor-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger movies like Terminator, Predator and Total Recall while Kazuto and Narue are watching in the cinema. Also, the video game that Narue is playing/dancing to during their date is an actual video game machine called Dance Dance Revolution.
 
The drawing and animation is pretty standard and would meet any anime fans threshold unless of course you’re the kind who wants to see breathtaking, jaw dropping and visually stunning graphics, then go look somewhere else. Besides Mamiko Noto, there are a bunch of talented voice actors and actresses who lend their voices to the series like Daisuke Sakaguchi who voices Kazuto (also as Kazuki in Maburaho, Yamazaki in NHK Ni Youkoso, Tasuke in Mamotte Shugogetten and Jack in MAR),  Jun Fukuyama as Maruo (also as Keita in Inukami and Juuna in W~Wish), Saeko Chiba as Yagi (also as Natsuki in Mai-HiME, Chika in Ichigo Mashimaro, Dokuro in Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan and Ajimu in Ajimu – Kaigan Monogatari), Tomomichi Nishimura as Tale Messer (also as Anzai in Slam Dunk). But the most ‘surprising’ one for me is Junko Minagawa as Kanaka (also as Ryoma in Prince Of Tennis, Khamshin in Shakugan No Shana and Ion in Trinity Blood). I couldn’t recognize her voice because most of roles as mentioned are usually as little boys! And when she sound like a little girl brat, she really does sound different.
 
Speaking of the characters, I felt that they’re just sufficient for this short series. I suppose Yagi’s still in the dark about the real existance of aliens. After all, it’s mainly about Narue and Kazuto. If only people in this world are like them, how wonderful it would be. Okay, they may not be perfect but at least they are happy being together. And I hope they’ll continue this way forever. So people, it doesn’t really matter if your love is of a different background, species or whatever category. The most important thing here is love and it’s the thing that matters most. Erm… that too depends on what kind of love you’re talking about. So don’t go marry your pet crocodile okay.

Iketeru Futari

September 21, 2007

Even though this is an old school anime production (around year 1999, that is), Iketeru Futari is another one of those ecchi romance comedy animes. So ecchi fans out there should want to take a look at this title. As for the rest, even if a little ecchi seems to disgust you, stay away from this.
 
Though ecchi is the main theme of this series, however it doesn’t go as far as hentai as you’ll just see the girl’s breasts being bared, that’s all. Nothing more than that. Besides that, it’s filled with lots of panty shots and perverted moments. I suppose that’s what makes this anime funny.
 
This series has only 16 episodes. But each episode is only 5 minutes long! Which means that you could actually finish watching the entire series in 1 sitting as it would take approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes to do so. I’d say that’s equivalent to a movie length but I think it’s better to cut and put those ecchi bits into several parts and episodes.
 
Our main male protagonist is a 16 year old student which goes by the name os Keisuke Saji. He may look like a monkey at first and because this is an ecchi series, expect this guy to be a pervert. Yes, he is actually one typical lecherous dirty old pervert. Must be those hormones for boys at that age to ‘feel the urge’. Though he’s a pervert, I kinda find him not as extreme or desparate case as Bachi-Guu of Green Green fame. But a pervert is still a pervert.
 
In episode 1, we see Saji playing some ecchi dating simulation game when he receives a message from his handphone from a girl named Alice. She’s saying that if anybody wants to get something for her, she’ll be waiting at Shibuya tomorrow evening. Alice further describes her ‘bios and stats’ and says she’ll repay them in ecchi and that any kind of play is fine with her. As expected, Saji really gets excited and hyped up about it.
 
The next day at school, Saji is showing off to his pals the new handphone he ‘stole’ from his dad. Of course his friends wanna take a look at it but Saji tries to avoid them. He inadvertantly bumps into a petite girl, Akira Koizumi, who looks a little bit like Akane from Ranma 1/2. They both fall down and he saw her panties before apologizing. She gives back the handphone and walks away. Yup, it’s love at first sight for Saji and he wants to get to know her more.
 
That night at Shibuya, Saji is looking around for Alice and noticed that there are other men looking for Alice too. Saji spots Koizumi sitting near a fountain and snickering to herself. He calls her and asks what she’s doing here as she explains how she’s watching in amusement those ‘dirty old men’ calling for Alice. Saji realizes the same voice as the phone message last night. Koizumi continues that they’re all fools and there’s no Alice actually. When Saji says that Koizumi’s the Alice, he thought he had make her mad. That’s because she stood up and before Saji knew it, she took his hands and the 2 went on a date and had their fun. In the end, Koizumi says "I promised didn’t I? So I’ll be your Alice. Alice doesn’t lie". The 2 stared at each other then.
 
Episode 2 starts off with Saji fantasizing ‘doing it’ with Koizumi through… Saji Vision?! What the? Yeah, he’s even saying how good it was fantasizing about her. The next morning, Saji is greeted by his big-breasted-childhood-friend-who-has-a-secret-crush-on-him, Yuki Umemiya. She’s commenting that Saji’s ‘playing with himself’ since he gots those bags under his eyes, much to his annoyance. Yuki then leaves for her club meeting. You know, Yuki’s breasts are so big it really makes you wonder how they defy gravity.
 
In the bus, Koizumi is being paged ‘good morning’ by Saji, much to her annoyance and wonders how he got her number. Her 2 friends, Maki Amakasu and Ryoko Arigase, are teasing her when Koizumi replies that Saji’s just stupid. When the bus stops, Koizumi saw Saji waiting there, again to her dismay. Saji’s following her to school and some lovers talk from him like "I’ll be there for you" and such. Koizumi denies and don’t understand what he’s talking about and walks off with her friends. Saji is in shock. Of course Saji’s buddies came and teased him like how he’s being dumped. This causes Saji to go into a frenzy about that fantasizing being just a dream. Koizumi then gets another pager message from Saji saying "I love you" this time. She gets mad and bashes him up. Meanwhile, Yuki’s hearing from her friend how Saji’s all over Koizumi even though the latter keeps rejecting him but the former’s still adamant. Yuki looking a little worried and spacing out. So typical.
 
In the hallway, Koizumi is carrying a stack of books and bumps into Yuki from the back. Yuki turns around suddenly with her oversized breasts hitting the top portion of the books away as she apologizes. Yuki notices that this girl is Koizumi and proceeds to ask her what she thinks of Saji and is it true she gets around. Koizumi then says she wouldn’t mind doing it if it’s with Yuki and proceeds to rub her face on Yuki’s breasts. Yuki is caught by surprise and ran away in embarrassment. Koizumu picks up her books and walks away cooly. It seems all the guys there who have saw and heard their conversation, misinterpreted the situation as something yuri. Haha.
 
Episode 3 sees Saji in one of his perverted modes as he’s crawling around looking at girl’s panties until he spots Koizumi and hugs her. Somebody call the police and arrest this sicko please. Of course Koizumi didn’t like it and bashes him up. Is pain his pleasure? After Saji finishes his daydreaming, he follows her around, much to her chagrin. Just then, Saji lifts and carries her off and Koizumi thought he’s kidnapping her. Saji then ‘forces’ her to take a photo with him at a photo booth and a pic came out with Koizumi bitting Saji’s hand. Koizumi’s pals are laughing so hard and mad at it and asks her why is she so foraward with Saji. She replies that he has no brain and continues pounding him. Then Koizumi receives a pager message from a friend. She apologizes as she has to leave. Saji finds out from Koizumi’s 2 friends that even though they don’t know much about her like where she lives, but they know she’s a good girl and not the kind that sells her body. Plus, Koizumi’s the kind where she doesn’t like boys much so Saji must be something in a way. Saji thanks them and calls them Friend A and Friend B but they hit him and introduced themselves.
 
In the bathtub, Yuki is thinking about that incident with Koizumi and saying though she’s cute but it scares her even more. She wonders if Saji would choose her but is confident that she’ll win him over with her boobs. Meanwhile, Saji is daydreaming and fantasizing about Koizumi being his wife and doing ecchi things when he is brought back to reality when Koizumi punches him away at the school canteen. She then walks away furiously leaving Saji in a little daze. Saji and friends later are peeking at Koizumi and other classmate girls playing basketball when Koizumi suddenly faints. Saji rushes in the speed of light and provides his body as a soft cushion. Now that’s really fast. Koizumi is lying there unconscious and not responding as Saji shouting and telling her to get a hold of herself.
 
Looks like Koizumi has a cold as said by the nurse in the infirmary in episode 4. She also suggest someone take her home. Saji barges in and volunteers. Saji gives Koizumi a piggyback ride with Arigase accompanying them to find Koizumi’s home but it seems Saji’s playing with Koizumi’s butt as he carries her. So that’s his intention. They finally reached her place. It looks huge but it’s empty and her room is situated at the highest level of the apartment. Inside, Saji suggests Arigase to go back to school while he takes care of Koizumi, much to her dismay. Arigase agrees and leaves. Koizumi is devastated and is saying to herself how this is probably part of her plan and that she’s enjoying all of this.
 
Saji tries cooking but is causing more ruckus than ever. Besides, does he really know how to cook? Saji then asks Koizumi if she wanna do whatever to make the night fly by. She says okay and strips! Saji is bloody surprised. Didn’t see that one coming, huh. He’s asking her to stop as her temperature may increase. Koizumi just say she’ll change and go to sleep and tells him to go home as she’s used to living all alone. Koizumi soon collapses but Saji manages to catch her. She then asks him to take her to her bed and asks him to come along and take off his clothes. Is this for real? The next thing you know, they’re sleeping together naked and Koizumi is sleeping calmly. Is she doing it for real or is it because she isn’t feeling well?
 
Koizumi and Saji are walking to school together the next day in episode 5. Saji is annoying her with his talk like going on a date, etc. Koizumi then borrows his handphone to make some arrangement to meet some client of hers tonight. She tells Saji now that he knows what kind of a school girl she is. Some teaser she made like licking her fingers to get Saji all excited. But she soon wishes goodbye and leaves. But Saji is determined to find out who the client is as he saw Koizumi getting in a taxi. Just then, Saji’s classmate passes by him in his bike and Saji ‘stole’ it from him (something about friendship thingy) so that he could follow Koizumi.
 
At the hotel lobby, Koizumi is waiting as Saji is hiding and spying on her. A lady comes in and Koizumi walks up to her. Saji saw that lady’s just a girl and thought Koizumi’s just waiting for her friend when the lady kissed Koizumi on her lips! Yeow! Saji’s freaking out and confused what’s going on. That lady, Misa, says to go somewhere fun but Koizumi stops her and says that they should stop seeing each other. Misa asks if she’s dumping her but Koizumi replies that for the 1st time in her life she had a great night with a guy. Misa doesn’t believe. Koizumi then shows that photo to her she took the other day and Misa too laughed like mad when she saw it. Saji then appears and say how touched he is that she cares for him but Koizumi denies and say it’s just a ploy to convince Misa. Saji is gonna jump on Koizumi in his happiness but she kicks him away as Misa’s wondering what’s going on.
 
In episode 6, Saji desparately wants Koizumi to teach her… maths. You’re expecting something ecchi, weren’t you? And he’s clinging on to her. Of course Koizumi is bloody annoyed and kicks him away. Because of that he saw her panties and this time she really kicks him away and sends him flying back only to bounce of Yuki’s breasts. Yuki asks him if he wants to come over to her place and study. So that Saji fantasizes about Yuki in a sexy pose and voice tone teaching him maths when his daydreaming has been intercepted by Koizumi when she kicks his head and says that he’s got a good tutor before walking away. This guy can stand lots of abuse. Arigase and Amakasu enjoying the ‘show’ and saying how easy not it is to understand Koizumi.
 
Saji is studying at the park calls Koizumi, who’s at home, with his handphone and still wants her to teach him. She asks what about Yuki but he says no point doing work he doesn’t like it if he isn’t with her. This made Koizumi to pause for a while. Is her heart going a little soft? Because of that, she invites him to her place to study. Saji arrives and she tells him she’ll kill him if he touches anything. Probably that guy isn’t listening because he’s opening her underwear drawer and continues to fantasize. Koizumi punches him and warns him again. Saji then saw a glass ball accessory case with the ring inside (the ring which he bought for her while they’re dating back in the 1st episode). He mentions how this ring was the beginning of their relationship when he don’t really know her yet. He’s glad she’s still having it. Koizumi smiled a little before the 2 went to study. Later as Koizumi is seeing off Saji and tells him to do his best, Saji is gonna kiss her when the elevator door opens. Koizumi kicks him in and sticks out her tongue at him. Hehe. While walking back, Saji wonders what the ring means to her and takes out from his pocket… Koizumi’s panties! This guy… He’s in ecstacy when a policeman stops him and thinks he’s a perverted underwear thief. We see Saji apologizing at the police station. Sometimes such lessons are good for him, but will he learn?
 
Apparently not as Saji continues his fantasizing of doing something hentai on Koizumi in episode 7 when she punches his face and wakes him up. Saji goes crashing into the classroom’s chairs and tables. But he still hugs her in front of his buddies and tells them they’ve got things going. Koizumi lands another punch and sends him flying to his buddies. She denies it and says she’s never gonna talk to him again and walks off coldly. Arigase and Amakasu says that if Saji doesn’t think before he talks, Koizumi is gonna hate him. Saji is in a frenzy and clings tightly to Amakasu’s leg as he pleads for them to help him. When everything’s settled down, Amakasu’s leg is red and swollen.
 
As the trio head out of school, they discuss about things like why Koizumi is attracted and talks to him. Saji says it’s his hot passion and sexual energy (yeah right) but Arigase says it’s more of his toughness, nerve and character. At Koizumi’s home, she’s stitting alone and thinking conversation with Misa whereby she asks her about her feelings on Saji, which she reply she doesn’t care. Soon she receives a phone call from Amakasu to meet her at some place at a certain time. Koizumi is walking out of the apartment and we see Saji and the 2 girls are hiding behind some bush. Saji confronts Koizumi but before he could say anything, Koizumi says it’s useless to use her friends to get her. Saji then changes story and say she shouldn’t blame Amakasu as they couldn’t leave him all depressed. Amakasu’s pissed off but Arigase’s holding her back. Saji gets on his knees and is asking for forgiveness pathetically. You know that ‘don’t leave me, can’t live without you’ kinda talk.
 
Saji then says how he rather die than go on a day without her. Koizumi says then go and die. Be careful what you say next time. So Saji has to eat his words as he agrees and runs off, shocking the girls. He heads for the fountain and is going to drown himself but it’s too shallow so he didn’t make an appointment with death. Saji says before he dies, he wants to know if it’s embarrassing to her to let other people know that they’re together. Koizumi looking pretty concerned but she answered yes. Now that’s adding salt to the wounds. Saji is in shock but Koizumi continues that the way everyone’s saying this and that, she’s getting more embarrassed. Saji then say it’s okay being embarrassed and yells happily that she doesn’t really hate him, much to his relief. Arigase and Amakasu too felt relieved. Suddenly Saji sneezes and catches a cold. Well there’s Japanese saying that idiots don’t catch cold, if you know what I mean.
 
More dreaming and fantasizing from Saji in episode 8 about Koizumi giving him a ‘present’ for Valentine’s Day. But this time his dream isn’t interrupted by Koizumi’s punch, but rather, he fell out of bed. At school, Saji asks Koizumi about 14th of February but she replies that it’s a Sunday and don’t have to see him, much to Saji’s sadness. He is determined to get Koizumi’s sweetheart Valentine special as his fantasy’s running wild again. Koizumi is alone at a cafe and saw Saji and Yuki walked passed by. She’s feeling a little concerned before she realizes that it isn’t really of her concern and walks away embarrassed. Later Saji rings the door bell at Koizumi’s place, much to her dismay. She called the cops and say there’s a stalker at her door. But later it seems Saji is crying and saying how mean she is to do it as she lets him in. Saji then says he’ll give his as he makes chocolate in her kitchen. But that useless guy cut his own fingers so much so Koizumi eventually helps.
 
When they’re finished, Saji is gonna eat the chocolates when he said how he eventually got to eat chocolates made by Koizumi. Koizumi is in a little shock and realized she has been duped and blushed. She snatches the chocolates from him and is gonna eat the whole thing herself. Saji trying to grab the chocolates back but as they struggle they fell and Saji is on top of Koizumi. She blushes again and apologizes. Saji says he doesn’t want the chocolates but her and wants to eat her! Koizumi breaks down and cries. She asks him not to do it as he’s always messing with her head and went on saying how defenceless she is everytime she’s with him. Thus she doesn’t want to lose the Saji she trusts right now. Saji getting happy and thought he’s got her heart as he flips up her skirt. She gets annoyed and kicks him away. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
 
Koizumi and Misa are having their usual chat in episode 9. Koizumi plays that Alice prank again when Saji comes rushing in and manages to find Koizumi and scolds her about doing it. He gives her some ‘lecture’ about guys are like wolves and would do stuffs to her. He’s the one to talk. Because Saji’s exaggerating so much, Koizumi just kicks him away. Later Saji finds out that Koizumi lost her keycard to her apartment. Koizumi says she needs a place to stay and asks Saji to let her stay at his place. Saji is surprised and in ecstacy.
 
At Saji’s home, Koizumi’s surprised to see his room in a mess. Soon they both argue and Koizumi hits him. Later she even helps to clean up his room. Suddenly after watching her, Saji propose that they get married. Koizumi taken aback and says how can he come up with such stuff like this when she’s just cleaning his room. She pushes him onto his bed and is on top of him. Before you know it, they both kissed! Koizumi realized what she’s doing and says that she didn’t mean it and asks him to forget about it as she quickly go to sleep. At night while Koizumi’s sleeping, Saji crawls on top of her and is gonna do something hentai when Koizumi manages to catch him in the act and hits him away. Saji’s neighbour is annoyed by the commotion and tells him to be quiet when she saw a shooting star. Well, it’s actually Saji flying away through the orbit while saying "Alright! Fly me away, my cosmos!". Quote of the series.
 
Episode 10 introduces another character. A 1st year boy named Sakurai (looks a bit like the female Ranma of Ranma 1/2), which is the same height as Koizumi approaches her and wants to talk to her about something. Saji appears and asks if there’s anything troubling him. Looks like he’s being overprotective and giving Sakurai that look. Poor kid, he gets frightened and says no. Koizumi elbows Saji as Sakurai runs away, dropping a letter. Koizumi picks it up and keeps it. Arigase and Amakasu are talking about Koizumi being approached by a pretty young boy and Koizumi seems spaced out. Then Saji thinking that Koizumi could be into that. Her 2 friends also think the same thing but Koizumi denies. As Saji is in shock, his buddies tease him about that pretty boy and Koizumi being lovey-dovey together, making Saji angry.
 
At the park, Sakurai is confessing to Koizumi that he likes her and that he’s still a virgin. Then she take his hands and say something like he’s silly to worry about things like that. Then in the storeroom, Koizumi is on top of Sakurai and they’re both semi-naked! Sakurai is a little hesitant and indecisive but Koizumi says not to be afraid and it’s okay. Some moaning from the 2 then a loud scream from Saji in the middle of the class. Aww, looks like it’s his imagination only. Later Saji calls Koizumi to meet him at the school rooftop about Sakurai. Saji is worried about her that she may like that junior student. Koizumi asks if he really likes her that much. Some pausing and staring before Saji says he loves her and is crazy about her. Koizumi than passed that letter to Saji with his name on it. Saji reads it happily and thought it’s a love letter from her. He then saw Sakarai’s name at the bottom of the letter and froze.
 
Sakurai appears in a girl’s uniform and notices that Saji has read his letter and winks at him. Saji is feeling uneasy as Sakurai mentions that since that they’re both guys, he fell in love with him and was curious about Saji and Koizumi’s relationship, therefore he came to talk with Koizumi. Koizumi pushes Saji to Sakurai and Saji inadvertantly hugs Sakurai making the latter happy. Koizumi walks off and leaves them both alone as Saji’s asking her to help him out. But soon Saji asks Sakurai what’s underneath that skirt as he flips it up. Sakurai saying how ecchi he is while Saji replies it’s okay since they’re both guys. Koizumi felt disgusted by that and gets mad before hitting him away and says he’s the worse. Looks like anything is okay for this guy as long as on the outside he/she looks like a girl.
 
It’s a cold day in episode 11 as Saji and Koizumi are walking together when Saji begs her to let him come in. He clings on to her thighs and is fantasizing as he’s smelling her panties. Real sicko. As usual, she gets annoyed and hits him with a rock and tells him to go and die. Back at Koizumi’s place, her central heating breaks down, much to her horror. Meanwhile Saji is sitting outside still fantasizing about messing ‘some place warmer’ of Koizumi’s when she lands him a super kick. Saji asks why he did that (he should know better) when she replied that she’s bored. The 2 of them sat at the park bench and Koizumi is freezing. Saji asks her to go home since she’s cold and she tells what really happened. Saji scolds her for not telling him earlier. But Koizumi looked and sounded quite pitiful. Saji fantasizing a hentai scene whereby the 2 huddled each other naked in some igloo. Koizumi pours cold water on him and tells him to cool off.
 
At Saji’s home, the 2 had to climb up a ladder to enter his room through his window since Saji lost his key. Since Koizumi went up first, Saji is having a nice view at the bottom and he’s enjoying it. Koizumi kicks him down. Inside the room, Koizumi is enjoying the kotatsu. Saji comes up with another perverted scheme whereby he goes underneath the kotatsu and touches Koizumi here and there. Koizumi tries to get away and just when Saji is gonna pound on her, Saji’s mom opens the door and yells at him, freaking him out. Soon his mom politely asks Koizumi to stay for the night and take a hot shower. Koizumi asks if Saji’s gonna be okay and Saji’s mom (with that sly look) says he won’t die. Saji seems to be stuck in some snow on the rooftop yelling "My cosmos is going to freeze!". Koizumi enjoys a hot bath as Saji’s yelling can be heard in the background. She quips that he hasn’t frozen yet and that’s too bad. It’s better to leave things the way as it is now.
 
Arigase and Amakasu invites Koizumi for a pyjama party in episode 12 when Saji sneaks up behind Koizumi and squeeze her breasts, asking her to go. She pounds him and tells him not to do it. He replies that he’s just making them bigger and with that she continues kicking him. At the hallway, Saji’s trying to persuade Koizumi to go, which is annoying her very much. He asks why she’s against it. Koizumi says that since she’s never been to one, she’s kinda scared. Saji then mentioned about the time she spent at his place but before he could finish, she punched him in the mouth. Koizumi adds that she doesn’t like people to know much about her and her 2 friends stick close to her without asking much. So if they get too close and find out too much, they might leave her. Saji says doesn’t she trust them. Koizumi gets up and says she doesn’t know their place. The 2 friends say they’ll wait for her and go together.
 
At the train station, Amakasu picks up Koizumi, who’s waiting there when the latter felt like someone is watching them before leaving. She’s right alright. Saji’s behind the bench snickering to himself and saying how Koizumi can become a normal girl and goes on fantasizing. Just then, Sakurai pops up and suggests why not the 2 organize a sleepover. Saji runs away. In Arigase’s room, Arigase and Amakasu dressed themselves in sexy lingerie pyjamas, surprising Koizumi. Amakasu then strips Koizumi and thinks they should get ‘acquainted’. Some talk like how they want to know more about her, asking her to open her heart a little, we’re best friends, bla bla bla. Koizumi starts crying but her pals say how cute she is when she’s crying. Koizumi denies and says how they had all this planned as they hug her. Then they carry Koizumi off to take a bath together. Looks like they’re not giving any breathing space to her. Saji is hiding and eavesdropping behind the closet and is overjoyed and fantasizing excitedly. He picks up Koizumi’s clothes and gets excited when he smells it. Just then, Koizumi and Amakasu came out naked playfully when they spot Saji. He gets a nosebleed and the 2 girls got very angry. Saji says a pun "Pajama de o jama" meaning "Am I disturbing your pyjama party?". The girls give him a super kick as Saji flies out through the window and onto the road below. Is he gonna be okay? Well, Sakurai in a nurse outfit drags him away.
 
It gets a little serious (not entirely) in episode 13 as we see Koizumi taking a train to somewhere. Saji and Amakasu are sneakily following her. It’s raining as Koizumi enters a hotel as the 2 busybodies continue to spy and follow her while wondering why Koizumi’s meeting her dad at such place. Inside the hotel, Amakasu complains how her clothes are all wet and can’t go around walking like this. Saji like his perverted self, stares and fantasizes at Amakasu. Of course she punches him. Amakasu then spots an equipment room and has an idea. The 2 dressed themselves as hotel staffs so that no one will suspect them. Saji is admiring her short skirt. They then went into hiding and eavesdropping when they heard a couple mentioning about Koizumi’s name whether she has arrived or not. Saji isn’t really concentrating as he is more focused on Amakasu’s panties and is getting really excited to touch it and hopes Koizumi would forgive him (don’t count on it buddy). When the elevator door opens and the couple get in, Amakasu tells Saji to follow them and gets up, accidentally her knee hits Saji face. Haha. That’s what you get.
 
The duo tried many ways to follow the couple like in the laundry cart and through the ventilation. Of course some ‘playful’ and tempting moments from Amakasu but it’s just all an act to catch Saji off guard. They finally arrive when they heard how Koizumi’s protesting to go back and live with her dad in Los Angeles because there’re lots of people whom she doesn’t want to part with now. Koizumi then runs off crying passes by Saji and Amakasu who’re hiding there. The duo are shocked to hear what they’ve just heard. Can it be true?
 
At school, Saji is thinking and spacing out in episode 14 about what if Koizumi’s gonna follow her dad to L.A. when Yuki spots him. A flashback from Yuki on how Saji comforts her when a guy dumps her because she’s too tall and how Saji asked her to join a basketball club due to her height. Meanwhile a basketball member, Noburu Hitachi, is chiding Saji how he never turns up for basketball practices and calls him a ghost member. The 2 then started to argue. Just then, Koizumi and her 2 pals arrive and ask if Saji plays basketball. Amakasu says how cool basketball is with Koizumi nodding in agreement. This made Saji to be very happy as he shows off his basketball skills but is interrupted by Hitachi as the 2 are still at it. Yuki interrupted and ask them to stop, hitting them both. She scolds them for never practising and always pretend to do amazing things. Saji refutes and tells her the same thing as he ‘fondles’ with her breasts, much to her embarrassment. Saji gets his usual punishment when Koizumi punches him.
 
Hitachi is depressed that Saji caught Koizumi’s heart and tells how he was rejected by her when he confessed that time. Saji teases him and went on bragging how Koizumi had slept in his room. Hitachi and Yuki in shock, so is Arigase and Amakasu. Koizumi gets very mad when Saji grabs her thighs and asks her for forgiveness. Hitachi then challenges Saji over Koizumi to a 3 on 3 basketball match this Sunday and Saji accepts. Koizumi tries to stop them but the guys aren’t listening and walks away. Saji thinking that if Koizumi accepts him through basketball, maybe she won’t move to L.A. and that he’ll bet everything on it.
 
In episode 15, Yuki confronts Saji and asks if he likes ‘big ones’. She says how it’s a burden in practice and embarrassing it is when the other boys comment on it. Sometimes big isn’t necessarily beautiful. Yuki even puts Saji’s face in it and asks does it feel good. As usual, that pervert is fantasizing as Yuki goes on saying she’ll ‘give it’ to him and do lots of things for him. But when she mentions to stop chasing that weird girl, Saji gets up and tells her how serious he is to win this game so Koizumi won’t have to go to L.A. as he walks away.
 
At a cafe, Koizumi and Misa are chatting when the latter says how she’s gonna go live with her dad in L.A. and that Koizumi should come too so that they can have fun over there and asks her to think about it. Koizumi asks what’s the time now and Misa asks if she’s to go on a date but Koizumi denies it isn’t something like that. It’s the basketball match day and Saji’s team is losing and Yuki is on Hitachi’s team since she’s his classmate so it’s natural she can’t turn him down. Then some words by Yuki like how she’s gonna show Koizumi his ‘powerplay’ and if he loses, he has to withdraw. Then Hitachi’s saying how he’ll use this chance to attack again. Saji’s pals thinks it’s unfair since Hitachi’s team members are all basketball players.
 
Meanwhile Misa learns that Koizumi is the prize for that basketball match and asksif she loves him and the reason why she won’t go to L.A. However Koizumi sounds sad and saying it doesn’t matter. Back to the match, Saji’s team is still losing and Hitachi is confident of winning while Yuki is spacing out. Amakasu and Arigase cheering Saji on and mentions how they can’t imagine anyone else but Saji as Koizumi’s boyfriend. Then a funny hentai panty showing cheering part from Sakurai which disgusts Saji’s pals as they say don’t show them that. At the same time, Saji is frustrated and says if only Koizumi is watching this. You mean, he could do better if she’s here. Probably. Such cases works most of the time.
 
Everytime Saji tries to intercept, he gets blocked and bounced off by Yuki’s enormous breasts in the final episode 16. Hitachi is fantasizing how he’ll get his chance again when he’s being hit on the head by the basketball and Yuki telling him they’re still in the game. Arigase and Amakasu found Koizumi at the cafe with Misa and tells her Saji’s team is losing but Koizumi says it’s too bad. They asks if she’s gonna go and Koizumi replies it’s stupid and a waste of time. Misa mentions even though she said that, she’s the one most afraid of the results. Koizumi still denies and says she won’t fall in love with anyone, that men are weak and cold and hates them. Arigase puts her hand on Koizumi’s shoulder and says she knows Saji is different. Maybe his pervertness is the thing which makes him different.
 
At the match, Hitachi’s teasing how Koizumi has given up and abandoned Saji but Saji is very focused and thinking about Koizumi when she arrives. Speak of the devil. Looks like she decides to come after all. Saji immediately jumps and grabs her, much to her surprise and embarrassment. With that, Hitachi sinks into depression and Saji goes on babbling when Misa hits him and tells him to get back in the game. Saji gets up and returned to the game. Amakasu says how red Koizumi’s face is but Misa isn’t amused. Koizumi gives an excuse that she’s suffocating from Saji’s earlier hug. Just before the match resumes, Koizumi makes a request for a player switch in Saji’s team. Oh, she’s gonna play and help Saji too. Hitachi looking worried. Saji approaches Koizumi and before he could say anything, she pulled his ears and tells him to do as she says because if he loses, she’s gonna kill him. Hitachi is in tears as the match continues. Yuki looking happy and satisfied with the outcome. Has she given up on Saji and accepted Koizumi as his girlfriend? Looks like it.
 
Next day at school, Arigase and Amakasu telling how cool Saji was playing the game but he lost. Yup, he lost. Saji thinking back after the match, he asked Koizumi if she’s going back to L.A. but she didn’t give an answer. As Saji pleads for her not to go, she just ran off. Just then, Saji is surprised and saw Koizumi outside through his classroom window. Arigase and Amakasu gave Saji their double panty showing kick and sends him crashing outside in front of Koizumi. In Saji’s joy, he’s gonna hug her when she punches him and reminds him that since he lost, in her heart he died yesterday and wishes goodbye before leaving. Saji’s making a fuss and asks her not to do this to him and says "Where will my cosmos go". Koizumi says "Baka" and tells him how she hate guys but figure out that Saji’s okay. Then Saji says that she should’ve said that sooner when Koizumi replies on second thought he should just die with his cosmos and gives him a super kick. Everything is back to normal.
 
Overall I wouldn’t really say it’s decent. Besides, there’s nothing decent being a pervert. So it’s your typical love-hate relationship betweem 2 teenagers though Koizumi didn’t really admit out loud that she likes Saji but judging from her character, I’m sure deep down in her heart, Saji’s special to her. I’m sure Saji’s a tough guy, withstanding all those beatings from Koizumi. But he deserves it. Won’t Koizumi get tired of doing the same ol’ thing to him? Maybe it’s her way of taking out her frustrations. Since Saji won’t learn from his pervertness, I guess he’ll have to live with it as well. And with her buddies watching from the sidelines, it’s really gonna get livelier and interesting.
 
The drawing, art and colouring may not really appeal to anime fans these days because it really looks old school and worn out. As mentioned that there are too many ecchi scenes and girls baring their breasts. Even the short next episode preview is ecchi. You’ll hear a single gun shot sound and a sexy/ecchi pose of one of the female characters in the series. And then there’s that dog with huge round perverted eyes, which I believe is to be some mascot of the series as you could see it in the title screen and sometimes making its cameo appearance in the series but it doesn’t do much.
 
After watching this series, I didn’t turn into a pervert or feel horny. Please, I’m better than that. So why I watched the show? Because it’s short and I was curious to find out what it’s about. At moments I caught myself laughing at Saji’s antics and at times felt a bit disgusted by the naked scenes. So I would say that I enjoyed the series mainly is because of the funny and comedy stuffs and not the naked part. For those who are still curious to find out and watch what the series is about, you have been warned. Let’s just hope that in this world, there won’t be any people like Saji around. One is already bad enough, don’t you think?

Basilisk

September 15, 2007

Previously, I wasn’t really interested in watching Basilisk when it was released in year 2005. But when the local tv station decided to air the 4th anime to be in original Japanese audio with Malay subtitles, somehow I got all excited to watch it and was looking forward with great anticipation. Partly I think it’s because of the preview that was done on the series before it was aired. Yeah, something like how everybody kills each other which attracted me. Okay, so I may sound like a blood thirsty sadist but there’re some cool fighting action sequence here.
 
Albeit not much and to my little disappointment in the sense that the action part is short, nevertheless it’s still quite awesome seeing the characters fight using their ninpou (special ninja abilities). But when they’re not fighting, there’s gonna be lots of drama. It may sound boring at first but it helps in the development of the storyline and ultimately the characters. Besides, this is a tragic love story.
 
Based on the novel of the same name, the anime version has 24 episodes and there are some historical elements in it as well. Like the shogun in this anime do really exists at that time but of course do not really play such a role like this. This means that it isn’t totally made up.
 
The basic premise of the story is between 2 feuding ninja clans, the Kouga Manjidani and Iga Tsubagakure clan. For whatever reasons, they have been fighting each other with deep hatred with one another for over 400 years. Only with a hard fought pact by Hattori Hanzo the 1st, the shogun at that time, managed to make forge a cease fire peace treaty between both sides, though the peace is still uneasy. Why didn’t they just break the pact and secretly kill each other. Well, I suppose all ninjas have their honour thingy and won’t lose their dignity through such cowardice. But even so, their hatred for each other never disappeared.
 
There are certain points in the anime which I did not understand at first, so I had to do a lot of reading up before and after an episode is aired. In a way, it helps me understand things a lot better why a certain event turned out like that or why a particular character is like this. Or else I’m really really lost.
 
So as seen in the very start of episode 1, viewers are treated to an awsome exhibition match between Kouga’s Shogen Kazamachi and Iga’s Yashamaru at Sunpu. The former being the ‘Spider-man’ with spider like limbs (so he has only a pair of hands and legs not 8) and shoots sticky phlegm-like substance which resembles those that make a spider’s web. The latter’s ninpou being able to use and control fine strands of hair which in turn looks like a deadly wire weapon. It seems that the retired shogun, Ieyasu, who seems to have some horrible looking cancer growing goiter on his neck, accompanied with Hattori Hanzo the 4th, Yagyu Munenori, Kouga’s Danjo and Iga’s Ogen, are watching the match.
 
The catch is, Ieyasu, even though he’s retired, still has power to influence things and currently there is a problem arising of who should succeed as the next shogun. Between the grandsons of the current shogun, Takechiyo or Kunichiyo, the succession dispute is throwing the shogunate into disaray and on the verge of tearing itself apart. At first I thought that Hattori and Yagyu guy are the grandsons but found out it isn’t so and those grandchildren are still little toddlers. Then some flashback of a young and handsome/beautiful Danjo and Ogen, whom I initially thought it was their respective grandchildren, Gennosuke and Oboro. Danjo’s really got thick black eyebrows. It seems Danjo and Ogen were both very much in love with each other and plans to wed each other. But a surprise attack on Iga left Ogen to think otherwise. No matter how much Danjo tried to tell her that he’s against it all, eventually the 2 lovers became bitter enemies and clash their swords. It’s quite cool to see Danjo throwing his poison needles and slashing his enemies with his sword. Shortly after that, the ceasefire pact was made.
 
Back in current time, after witnessing the battle and stopping them short before they really kill themselves, Ieyasu then decides to dissolve the pact (after permissions from Danjo and Ogen, and since Hattori Hanzo the 4th’s loyalty to Ieyasu, he too gives the green light for the pact to be dissolved even though he’s not too fond of the idea) and let 1 clan represent 1 grandson, namely Kunichiyo is represented by Kouga and Takechiyo by Iga. In addition, Ieyasu’s got this idea from some political advisor called Tenkai who has very very long eyebrows. They’re both handed a scroll with a list of 20 warriors, 10 from each side, to face off in a death duel whereby the last clan standing would not only determine the heir to the shogun but that winning clan will also gain the favour of the shogun for the next 1000 years. Wow that’s a good deal. Plus, it’s a good excuse now to take each other out. So off Shogen and Yashamaru goes to bring the scroll back to their clan village. But as Yashamaru goes off, unknown to him, Danjo starts the deadly game by stealing Iga’s scroll. Which means, Yashamaru won’t have the scroll when he gets back.
 
As the 2 messenger boys head off, Danjo and Ogen are alone and are talking to themselves, reminiscing the good ol’ days as Danjo asks if Ogen knows who the Kouga 10 with Ogen asking likewise. Danjo then quips it’s more like Iga 9 as he quickly stabs Ogen with his poison needle in her throat. Ouch! Violent. While Ogen lies bleeding on the ground, a happy Danjo then takes out the scroll he had just stolen and crosses off Ogen’s name with her blood. But then Ogen’s hawk came swooping down, distracting Danjo. With her last ounce of strength, Ogen took the opportunity to take out that needle imbeded in her throat and stabbed Danjo in the heart. One bad deed deserves another. After Ogen crosses off Danjo’s name from the scroll, her hawk then took the scroll back and off it flies. In the end, Danjo and Ogen lay in each other arms as their bodies flow through the river. Yeah, I guess, those 2 still love each other in the end. Wow. Already at the end of the 1st episode, it’s 2 down already. This is getting interesting. So if you want to know who has really died, at the beginning of each episode, you’ll see that scroll with the names of warriors from both sides and those with their names crossed out in blood red have moved on the next world. So to save time, the names mentioned from Kouga or Iga will be those under the list unless mentioned otherwise.
 
Thus in episode 2, it seems history is repeating itself in the sense that Gennosuke of Kouga and Oboro of Iga, both leaders of their respective clans, are having a secret tryst with each other in the woods. Okay, maybe not so secret. They really love each other and they plan to marry in order to diffuse the tension between their clans. If only their clan members are like them. Gennosuke still thinks that there’s hope for the 2 clans to live peacefully together. At the same time, Kouga’s fat guy Jousuke Udono, spots Ogen’s hawk with a scroll and proceeds to attack it. He succeeds in taking the scroll but Iga’s Rousai Azuki spots him and demands he hand over Iga’s property. Before you know it, those 2 battle it out with their ninpou. As one might have guessed it, Jousuke’s fat rubbery body allows him to ‘bounce’ and repel most attacks while Rousai reminds you of Dhalsim of Street Fighter fame because he can extend his arms and legs real long during his attacks. Jousuke escapes with the scroll with Rousai giving chase.
 
Meanwhile our lovebirds accidentally runs into 4 of Iga’s clan members, Akeginu, Hotarubi, Nenki and Jingoro, who’re worried about Ogen and are searching for her. Of course they’re not really too fond of Gennosuke there when Jousuke arrives tumbling and rolling. Rousai soon follows and tells his members not to let that fatty get away. Gentleman Gennosuke tells Jousuke to give back Iga’s what’s theirs as Jousuke does. The Iga members (except Oboro) then have a look at the scroll themselves and are shocked to see its contents. They later report and show this scroll back to another Iga member, Tenzen Yakushiji, who seems happy about it and has a plan of his own. Yup, Tenzen is your typical evil scheming guy and the real person who’s wielding power and calling the shots in the Iga clan instead of Oboro, who seems more gentle and lenient. Yes, Tenzen’s the real puppet master. Tenzen decides to intercept Shogen so that Iga could get a head start. At the same time as not to arouse the suspicion of Gennosuke and Oboro, Akeginu decides to accompany them along with Jousuke back to Iga village. I suppose that perverted Jousuke couldn’t resist following them back to Iga because Akeginu’s being a little flirty with him. However, Gennosuke remains suspicious though he’s not jumping the gun yet.
 
Thus in episode 3 while Gennosuke and the rest arrive at the gates of Iga and being greeted by Jingoro, Tenzen and the rest, including another Iga member, Koshiro Chikuma, hunts down Shogen. But back at Kouga, the others are worried about Danjo and one of them, Jubei Jimushi, some sort of a fortune teller of the clan decides to go look for him. So Tenzen and co found the carriage that Jubei’s riding in and killed those subordinates of his! Their heads sliced into half! THe Igas decide to call Jubei out but slashed open the carriage only to their surprise to find a limbless Jubei! Yup, this guy has no limbs. Tenzen thinks he can handle him himself and orders the rest to continue hunting Shogen. After they’re gone, Tenzen as usual says some of his insulting remarks before preparing himself to strike Jubei. But before he knows it, Jubei fishes out a short dagger in his throat and stabs Tenzen in the heart in his surprise attack. With that over, Jubei then using his special body scales, crawls away. Hmmm… Now that’s really fast.
 
At the same time, Rousai, Nenki, Hotarubi and Koshiro have found Shogen and soon another battle begins. So just a brief mention about the other Iga’s ninpou powers. Nenki is the monkeyman of the clan and probably the lost link between man and ape (just kidding). He’s got so much hair covering all over his body so much so that he can actually control and use them like additional limbs (not kidding). Hotarubi, in addition to her albino snake as her bodyguard, she can summon pink glowing butterflies to blind her opponents or in some cases, make their escape. Koshiro on the other hand uses a kama, a mini hand scythe but his real ninpou is the ability to create little destructive tornados with his breath. Hmm… The reason why Shogen glued his mouth when the match begins. Shogen manages to trap the 3 guys in his sticky web and is going to kill them slowly 1 by 1. Hotarubi who’s not entangled summons her butterflies to distract Shogen. With that, Nenki uses his hair to throw Koshiro’s kama right into Shogen’s forehead. But before Shogen collapses, he throws his scroll to Jubei, who seems to be hiding behind the bushes, leaps out and grabs the scroll with his mouth. The guys break free from the web and gave chase to Jubei while Hotarubi decides to kill Shogen. Before she does that, she’s asking him about Yashamaru and what he has done to him. Yup, Hotarubi and Yashamaru are lovers as you’ll find out later in the series. But Shogen replies by spitting phelgm at her. This pisses her off as she stabs Shogen several times in a rage.
 
How can something with no limbs travel and outpace those who has? Well, Jubei seems to be outrunning those guys when to his surprise saw Tenzen standing right in front of him. You thought he’s dead, right? Well, Tenzen’s ninpou is a super regenerative ability, meaning he can’t really die that easily. So Jubei’s in a pinch because Tenzen mocks him that he can’t use his secret throat dagger attack with that scroll in his mouth. Jubei decides to take a chance as he swiftly drops the scroll and surges at Tenzen. But Tenzen already anticipated that as he draws his sword and slices Jubei into 2! Eww! Tenzen then regroups with the rest and burns Kouga’s scroll before crossing out Jubei and Shogen’s name from the list. Another 2 down and looks like Iga’s in the lead.
 
Gennosuke is still at Iga in episode 4. Akeginu and Jingoro try their best not to arouse any suspicion. Oboro’s quite cute when she’s looking all blur and naive. Really. Gennosuke has a flute as he plays it while Oboro dances during dinner with the other Iga members, who’re looking at Gennosuke with an uneasy stare. Later that night, Jingoro decides to kill Gennosuke while Akeginu does with Jousuke. How is Jingoro gonna do it? His ninpou is that he’s able to turn into liquid form once he comes in contact with salt. This is quite useful especially for sneak and stealth attacks. However, if he’s to maintain in this form, he’ll be vulnerable to dehydration. But don’t you think Jingoro looks like a leper victim? Anyway, Gennosuke can sense someone with great hatred in him and ‘lectures’ Jingoro who’s hiding in the shadows of the attic. Meanwhile Akeginu goes to some storeroom supposedly where Jousuke’s sleeping but that fat guy seems to be able to squeeze out from just about any hole big or small. Akeginu’s surprised to find Jousuke waiting outside and before you know it, the both of them engage in ninpou battle. I suppose Jousuke’s a little naughty because if he wins, he gets to sleep with Akeginu. So what’s Akeginu’s ninpou? This beautiful lady can squirt and control blood out from her pores and create a blood like mist during her battles. Yeah, it’s real bloody there. Luckily Oboro spots them and stops them with Jousuke giving and covering their act by saying how he enraged her modesty which caused her to get upset. Luckily Oboro believed him.
 
Back at Gennosuke’s room before Jingoro could make his move, Oboro had spot a trail from the salt storeroom and fears the worse as she runs to find him. When Oboro spots him, she uses her ninpou, Mystic Eyes, which is able to nullify any sort of ninpou on Jingoro, leaving him in a semi-liquid state. Though Oboro posses minimal fighting skills, these eyes of hers are enough to make her enemies and allies fear her. As punishment, Oboro orders Akeginu not to help Jingoro as he crawls to a nearby lake so that he can return to his normal state. Jousuke is cleaning himself up there when he spots Jingoro. Jousuke then decides to torment Jingoro by holding him in his hands while telling him that he’ll give him water if he spill the beans on what’s going on. But Jousuke got careless as the water droplets are enough to return Jingoro back to normal as he tells that the pact has been dissolved. Jousuke’s in a little shock as Jingoro uses this opportunity to attack him. Jingoro enters Jousuke’s mouth and because of that, Jousuke suffocated and drowned. Oh well, another Kouga member down.
 
Before all this would turn into an Iga series, episode 5 shifts back a little to the Kouga village and we see the rest of the Kouga members, Hyouma Muroga, Saemon Kisaragi, Gyoubu Kasumi and Kagerou waiting anxiously for Gennosuke’s return. But it seems Tenzen and co decide to pay a visit to Kouga under the pretext that they’ve been sent here due to Gennosuke’s orders, but in actual fact decides to slay the rest of the Kouga whose names are in the list. Though Hyouma, who’s Gennosuke’s teacher, may be blind, but he’s got a really sharp sense of hearing. I mean, he could even sense killing intent with those footsteps far away. Because of that, he warns the village to be on alert. So when Tenzen and co arrive, it seems a little quiet. Suddenly something invisible grabs Rousai as he tries to break free. Then it’s revealed it’s actually Gyoubu, with his ability to meld into his surroundings. One thing I find amusing about Gyoubu is that whenever he merges with his surroundings, he has to be naked. So when he unmerges, it’s like… you know. Yeah, and when he’s running around after that too. Don’t worry, this big bald muscular man at least got the body. Note, all the necessary parts are strategically blocked.
 
Well, Gyoubu orders the rest of the other low-level ninjas (that’s what I view them) to attack the Iga. So another display of cool battling between Iga and Kouga. Yeah, somehow I figured those lowly Kouga ninjas are meant to be slaughtered as they’re being taken out so easily even though they outnumbered the 5 Iga members. When Hyouma finally shows up, they stop and Tenzen tells them that they’ll receive such warm welcome if they ever visit Iga before leaving. Tenzen even said that they killed those ninjas out of self defence. After they’ve left, Saemon sends his younger sister, Okoi, to check on Gennosuke on Iga as she leaves by herself. Back at Iga, Gennosuke wonders about Jousuke’s whereabouts. As Akeginu pleaded to Oboro not to tell Gennosuke about their ninpou encounter, Akeginu makes up an excuse saying that Jousuke had gone back to Kouga after she rejected him by saying how she dislike fat people. Gennosuke just laughed and says how it’ll be good for Jousuke, but still keeps his suspicions.
 
On her journey there, Okoi meets Tenzen and co in episode 6. The Igas didn’t know her at first but notices her name on the list when she introduces herself. Of course they try to bluff Okoi into getting her to follow her but she refuses and escapes. Nenki gave chase and manages to wound her as they take an unconscious Okoi back to Iga. Back at Kouga, Hyouma analyzes things. Gyoubu and Saemon decides to find out whether Shogen’s alive or not by backtracking the path that he might take. Along the way, it seems Yashamaru has realized he has lost his scroll as he’s running in the rain. But a voice which sounds like Tenzen stops him. Actually it’s Saemon, who’s ninpou is not only to imitate a person’s voice but a person’s look as well. So as they’re talking, Yashamaru didn’t suspect anything and tells him that the pact has been dissolved, catching Saemon by surprise. With that, Yashamaru realizes that this isn’t the real Tenzen and uses his fine haris to locate the culprit. Luckily Saemon uses his sword to hold them off or else he would’ve been sliced to pieces. Just then, a hand emerges from the wall and grabs Yashamaru by the neck. Yup, it’s Gyoubu. Though Gyoubu didn’t want to kill him at first but a struggling Yashamaru is going to use his fine hairs on Gyoubu so that guy has no choice but to break his neck. So the 2 decides to go to Iga as Saemon copies Yashamaru’s face and wears his clothes. Back at Iga, Gennosuke is told by one of Oboro’s messenger that Jousuke has returned safely to Kouga, which is a lie of course. All the Igas have returned, delighting Oboro who’s waiting for them. But Hotarubi, she’s waiting in the rain. Waiting for her beloved Yashamaru to return, unknown to her that he has already died. Koshiro wonders if Oboro too would be like that if Gennosuke dies.
 
Okoi has been captured and tied up in the salt storeroom in episode 7 as Rousai decides to interrogate her. Of course she’s mocking that old man but Rousai made a wrong move when he moves up to her and touches her shoulder. You see, Okoi’s ninpou is the ability to drain out her victim’s blood through just a mere touch. Yeah, like a leech. And Rousai can’t let go. He desparately tries to get away but Okoi surrounds him and the more skin contact, the faster the blood drainage. Yup, Rousai dies and becomes a dried octopus (hahaha. Couldn’t resist making that joke. By the way, doesn’t he look like an octopus with that buldging head of his?). Since Okoi can’t keep all the excess blood, she throws up all of them, making her a little sick. After that she takes a look at the scroll in Rousai’s hands. Meanwhile Saemon and Gyoubu have arrived at Iga and is going to infiltrate it. Saemon is at the gates when Hotarubi comes running to him. Saemon thinks it might be a trap but Hotarubi hugs him with love. She’s glad that her Yashamaru’s back as she embraced him. Saemon of course doesn’t know what’s going on and decides to play along. Yeah, his answers are like ‘on the fence’. Wouldn’t that arouse any suspicion. But Hotarubi’s snake can sense that he’s not the real Yashamaru and bit his finger. Hotarubi quickly throws her snake away and apologizes. Saemon is a little confused. Saemon says even how the snake couldn’t recognize him. Jingoro’s wondering where Rousai is when he enters the salt storeroom only to be attacked by Okoi. Yup, she’s draining his blood too but since there’s salt, Jingoro manages to slip away. Also, Tenzen confronts Oboro and tells her the truth that the pact between Kouga and Iga has been dissolved.
 
In episode 8, it’s Nenki’s turn to enter the salt storeroom and once again Okoi attacks him. But she can’t really drain his blood because Nenki’s too hairy! Yeah, she’s feeling for some skin and I hope she didn’t ‘feel’ that part ‘down there’. Nenki eventually got Okoi trapped in his hairs and what’s this? Nenki uses his body hair to pierce through Okoi’s body! I also hope he didn’t use his part ‘down there’ to pierce through her. Because Hotarubi tells ‘Yashamaru’ that they’ve captured a girl named Okoi, Saemon wants Hotarubi to take him to see her. There, Saemon is horrified to see his sister lying with a pool of blood. I’m not sure how they do it, but it seems Saemon communicates with Okoi by just tapping her palms like as though it’s like morse code. So they tell each other things like how Okoi hid the scroll somewhere in the room before Jingoro arrives before she breathes her last breath. Saemon’s sad but he has to control his emotions. But as Saemon takes the hidden scroll, Oboro comes in and he stared right into her eyes. Which means, Saemon’s disguise is nullified. Everyone looked in horror especially Hotarubi. Saemon tosses the scroll outside. But as Jingoro is gonna grab it, Gyoubu emerges and beats him to it. The Igas realized that there’re some Kougas in their village as they try to pursue Gyoubu (who’s running around naked) while Saemon disappears during that commotion. As the Igas and the low-level Iga ninjas (yup, low level ninjas meant to be slaughtered later) gather at the room where Gennosuke is, it seems Gennosuke is reading the scroll with Saemon and Gyoubu by his side. With that, Gennosuke keeps the scroll and decides to head back to Kouga.
 
But it seems the Igas are not gonna let Gennosuke and co leave Iga alive in episode 9. Tenzen still doesn’t know what Gennosuke’s ninpou is and tells Nenki not to be hasty. And I’ve guessed it, those low level Iga ninjas are like guinea pigs as they charge and attack Gennosuke. So what is his ninpou? Gennosuke posses the Doujutsu Eyes. Unlike the Mystic Eyes, the Doujutsu Eyes makes its enemies with killing intent go crazy and they will kill each other or themselves. Yeah, those Iga ninjas find it out the hard way as they slash one another beyond their control. Then there’s one who even sliced his own head in half! Gross out! No choice, the Igas make way for the trio to leave. However, poor Oboro calls out to Gennosuke and tells him not to leave. At this point my perception of Gennosuke changed a little. I mean, I thought this guy’s quite wise and matured thinking and I respected this guy. But he didn’t say anything and acting as though this whole thing is Oboro’s fault because he leaves the place just like that. So where did all his love for Oboro and that vision of Kouga and Iga to live in harmony gone to? But I shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions yet. Sometimes silence isn’t golden but I felt that he should at least not give Oboro the cold shoulder. Poor Oboro still loves him and pleads for him not to go.
 
However, Tenzen thinks that he still has an ace up his sleeves as he orders Koshiro to attack them. Though Saemon and Gyoubu easily wards off Koshiro’s kama’s but Koshiro soon starts to initiate his hurricane breath. Oboro comes in front of Koshiro and blocks him telling him to stop. Tenzen is slightly mad at what Oboro’s doing and tells Oboro to get behind Koshiro and look Gennosuke in the eye. Yup, it’s the ultimate technique. With Oboro’s Mystic Eyes nullifying Gennosuke’s Doujutsu Eyes, Koshiro’s hurricane breath will shred anything it comes into contact with. But Oboro is still pleading them to stop. Koshiro is distracted by Oboro’s actions when suddenly he saw Gennosuke’s Doujutsu Eyes. Because of that, Koshiro bore the devastating impact of his own hurricane breath. It’s really a bloody one, he didn’t die though. Gennosuke and his companions leave soon without saying a word. I really pity Oboro. Yeah, that guy even left his flute there as a parting gift. Damn him. Later, though Koshiro’s still alive, but he has been blinded and is resting. Tenzen chides Oboro for her traitorness and discuss their next moves. But it seems Oboro remembers a flashback when grandma Ogen tells her that if ever her Mystic Eyes becomes to much of a trouble, she must swipe it with some cream over her eyes and not open it for several days. This is what Oboro has done. Yup, she’s sealing her Mystic Eyes, much to the shock of the rest.
 
I was getting a little worried because an average 1 fighter dies per episode. So much so I counted that since there are 24 episodes and at that rate, nobody will be left even before the 20th episode. Then there’s this recap episode 10 whereby Hattori Hanzo the 4th’s adopted son, Kyohachiro (who’s the actual son of Hattori Hanzo the 2nd. Confusing isn’t it) reports to them about the progress of the battle so far to Ieyasu at his palace. Besides most of the episode being a recap, we see a little insight of the 2 grandsons and how their nannies hate each other and would do anything for their beloved child. One in particular is Ofuku, a cold and scheming woman, who takes care of Takechiyo and Oeyo on the other hand favours Kunichiyo more. Don’t ever get in between these 2 women. Plus, this is the last episode you’ll ever see that Ieyasu guy.
 
Back to the action in episode 11. It seems Iga has received something from Kouga. Gennosuke has returned the scroll to them! Gennosuke even writes a note telling them his plans of going to Sunpu to find out why the pact has been dissolved and he’s bringing along the remaining Kouga members on the list. He even tells them the route that they’re taking and warns that if they’re to attack, they’ll retaliate too. Of course Tenzen takes this opportunity to wipe out the Kouga as he orders Nenki and Hotarubi to scout their location. Meanwhile, the Kougas are on their way and Gyoubu decides to leave the group to attend to something personal. So while the 4 Kouga members are resting at some inn, Nenki and Hotarubi are spying on them. Kagerou, who’s Gennosuke’s cousin, wants to die along with him as she releases her posion breath. Yup, that’s her ninpou. Whoever inhales it dies instantly. Now this gives a whole new meaning to killer breath. The thing is, I found out that she can only use her ninpou when she’s sexually aroused! I thought she could use it at her own will. I guess if it was so, then anybody she talked with could’ve died. Anyway, Gennosuke used his Doujutsu Eyes a little to back her down. Then Gennosuke said something about how he got no qualms about killing Oboro. What the?
 
Hotarubi sends her snake to attack but before Gennosuke decapitated it, the snake had unleashed it’s venom which seals his Doujutsu Eyes. So our 2 (ex)lovers now have their eyes sealed and are temporarily blind. Saemon and Kagerou kick into action to find the culprit. Nenki suggests Hotarubi to go back and report to Tenzen what has happened while he stays back to finish off the rest. Nenki is pleased to find 2 blind men in the room and is gonna attack when Hyouma opened his eyes and… Oh another Doujutsu Eyes! Nenki suffocates and strangles himself with his own hair. What a way to die. Don’t ever underestimate blind people.
 
Episode 12-13 continues with Saemon giving Hotarubi a chase and manages to wound her a little. After telling Kagerou to go back to Gennosuke, Saemon realizes that he has been chasing Hotarubi’s decoy butterflies. Also the other Iga members are resting at some inn with Akeginu and Koshiro talking things out. Hotarubi is trudging slowly in the rain because of her wounds and is thinking with deep hatred about how Saemon and Gyoubu killed her beloved Yashamaru and is vowing revenge. She then comes up to a broken bridge when Nenki (Saemon in disguise as he has a grudge against this hairy guy for killing his sister) approaches her and tells her that he has killed Gennosuke but how Saemon got away. After some talk, Hotarubi realizes that she may have fallen into Saemon’s trap again because she saw his bandaged finger, which was bitten by her snake earlier on. With that, Saemon changes back to his normal face and a battle ensue. In the end, Saemon killed Hotarubi by chopping off both her arms (Oh my God!) so that she’s unable to summon her butterflies. Before Hotarubi falls to her death she envisions her beloved Yashamaru and seemed happy. Saemon of course doesn’t know what’s going on as he watches a pair of butterflies dancing with each other ascending to the skies. Meanwhile Tenzen decides to beat Kouga to their destination by taking a boat there and it seems Oboro’s yearning for Gennosuke is pissing him off very much. So much so he decides to get tough with her as he confronts Oboro sitting alone in a cabin. By the way, if you notice how afraid Jingoro is with the sea water, it’s because he’s afraid that if he’s ever thrown overboard he may be dissolved. I thought this guy could control his transformation but it seems that if there’s too much salt, then I guess he’ll be completely be 1 with the ocean and won’t be able to return back to normal. So he’s sticking with Akeginu like a leech.
 
True to his evil self, that bastard Tenzen decides to rape Oboro in episode 14 in an attempt to make her forget about Gennosuke. Yeah, he’s forcing himself on her as Oboro screams for him to stop. Koshiro can’t do anything about it even though he’s Oboro’s childhood friend but he too is torn between following orders from her and Tenzen. If you’ve guessed that there’s a guy on the boat which resembles Gyoubu so much, then you’re right. Jingoro suspect there is a passenger less and thinks it might be Gyoubu. I wonder how he knows. But before Tenzen could start what he’s doing, Gyoubu’s hands appeared and crushed Tenzen’s neck. So Tenzen’s temporarily out. So you could say Oboro’s saved by Gyoubu. Jingoro and Akeginu comes in to the room to find Tenzen lying on the board and Jingoro goes crazy and thinks Gyoubu is on board as he slashes madly his sword on the walls and floorboard of the room, asking for Gyoubu to come out. Finally Gyoubu emerges and he tosses Jingoro overboard. Looks like his fears have come true. I felt that he died due to flaws of his own ninpou. Akeginu dives in to try and save him but is too late and vows revenge.
 
Gyoubu’s victory is short-lived in episode 15 that’s because he’s surprised to find Tenzen back on his feet. Mainly this episode is a flashback of Gyoubu’s past and comes to see how he really hates the Iga clan when his father was ambushed by one. Gyoubu looked so different when he was a kid. I mean, it must be all that hatred which turned Gyoubu from an innocent looking kid into a huge muscle ripping guy. So he’s planning to get some revenge on Iga and as usual while he duels Tenzen, the latter makes scathing and insulting remarks to him and Tenzen even slash an innocent by-stander just to draw Gyoubu out. Yup, Gyoubu’s playing hide and seek with his ninpou. What’s the significance of the father-son flautists on this boat. It’s because when Gyoubu’s gonna land Tenzen the final killing blow, Tenzen all in good timing calculates all this and avoids Gyoubu’s attack so that it all seemed like Gyoubu is the one who killed that little boy’s father. This scene reminded Gyoubu so much like himself when he was little. Yeah, what goes around comes around. And that boy is staring at Gyoubu with eyes full of hatred, just like he once had. With that short distraction, Akeginu manages to climb back abooard and uses her ninpou to mark Gyoubu. Which means even though Gyoubu tries to hide and merge there’ll be a trail of blood to indicate where he is. Tenzen uses this opportunity to stab Gyoubu deep within his body over the cabin wall. Gyoubu dies as he watches that kid still staring at him with hatred. Tenzen then updates the scroll by crossing out those recently departed, including Nenki and Hotarubi because he assumes that they’re dead since they have no contact with them. When the ship reached its destination, the 4 Kouga members saw a board with a human-like body embeded in it and recognizes it as Gyoubu’s. Of course the other by-standers couldn’t stand that horrible sight. With another member down, they put some flowers on Gyoubu’s death board and let it sail adrift to sea.
 
If there’s a recap episode, then there’s a flashback episode, right? That’s what episode 16 is all about. We see how a young Gennosuke (must have got those thick eyebrows from grandpa Danjo) and Oboro met and are supposedly engaged to get married to strengthen the ties between Kouga and Iga. Since they’re little kids, I suppose those innocent feelings are mutual and they hit it off on the right note. Plus, it’s bloody cute to see Oboro who’s all over Tenzen (who looks the same now and then) playing with his spikey hair. Hahaha. Yeah, this episode is light-hearted in an otherwise a totally grim and bloody series. Besides, I also felt that it’s an episode to make viewers remember the fallen ninjas before we forget they actually existed in the first place. It’s the only episode whereby all the 20 characters are shown in 1 single episode. And no, the opening credits don’t count. Yeah, we also see a grown up Gennosuke wanting to visit Oboro just before the pact was dissolved and since Oboro is quite nervous, she got hiccups. Hehehe. Rousai and Nenki decides to make her hiccups go away by scaring her. Oboro’s so cute when she’s scared like that. Also, we see Jousuke’s pervertness as he does a little molesting on Okoi, much to her chagrin. Jubei doing some fortune telling to Kagerou but the latter didn’t like the outcome and runs away in tears. Yashamaru and Hotarubi are lovey-dovey with each other and the latter is grateful for the peace pact because he doesn’t have to go to war so that he could be with her. Though Gennosuke visited Oboro and the latter accidentally trips and spilled some tea on his head, it seems Gennosuke still wants to come back and visit and doesn’t hate Oboro. Yup, that believe of his that Kouga and Iga can still live peacefully together. Makes you think what went wrong then, huh.
 
Back to the storyline in episode 17, it seems Tenzen and the rest are watching Kouga laying Gyoubu adrift to sea and Tenzen saying how he’s gonna marry Oboro and let Gennosuke watch. The Igas are resting at an inn and mainly Oboro felt ‘dirty and violated’ and requests Akeginu to help her bath. So while the 2 are at it, Tenzen takes Koshiro to intercept Kouga. At night while walking through some field, the Kougas spot Ogen’s hawk with Saemon and Kagerou chasing it. Of course this leaves the 2 blind men alone. Tenzen uses this opportunity to attack them but as usual he starts off by mocking and insulting them first. So in the end, Tenzen finally finds out Hyouma’s powers and slits his own throat. That’s the 3rd time this guy’s dead. But he won’t stay that way for long. Saemon and Kagerou realized that they’ve fallen under one of Iga’s traps and soon regroups back with Gennosuke and Hyouma. Saemon learns of Tenzen’s demise and decides to head back to his corpse to copy his face. Meanwhile Koshiro’s there too but without Tenzen to lead the way, he’s rather lost, shouting his Tenzen’s name out. Finally, Koshiro cross paths with Gennosuke, Hyouma and Kagerou. Gennosuke recognizes that voice.
 
It’s a showdown between Koshiro and Hyouma between episode 18. I dub it the battle of the blind men. Hehe. Before that, Hyouma tells Kagerou to take Gennosuke away so that they may continue their journey. And the way Hyouma said things is as though he’s not gonna live very long. At first I thought Hyouma may have the upper hand in this battle because of his keen sense of hearing. But Hyouma didn’t know Koshiro is blind when he attempted to use his Doujutsu Eyes. Not only that Koshiro has toss his kama and at the same time initiating his hurricane breath. Hyouma is coming in for the attack but is in a dilemma because he has to decide which attack he should block from, Koshiro’s kama from the back or his hurricane breath from the front. He chose the former because it came first. Hyouma notes he made a mistake and though he successfully blocks Koshiro’s kama, the hurricane breath hit directly at Hyouma’s face. Yeah, another bloody sight. You won’t get to see how messed up Hyouma’s face is but while Hyouma is standing there he is reminiscing the good days he was Gennosuke’s teacher. Yup, another flashback episode. We see how Gennosuke could actually walk around with his eyes close, which explains why he doesn’t trip, fall or need any help when his eyes were sealed. Though initially a young Gennosuke sounds like an impatient obnoxious kid, Hyouma teaches him the eyes of the heart and ultimately how to control his Doujutsu Eyes by walking through their valley with their eyes closed so much so he knows the entire place like the back of his hand. Hyouma knows he doesn’t have much time left and he wishes for Gennosuke to live and dies standing. Yes, he died standing.
 
Koshiro isn’t hearing anything from Hyouma and wonders if he’s dead or not. But in episode 19, he hears the voice of Akeginu who comes up to him and tells him that Iga has lost and that Oboro is dead. Koshiro is overcome with guilt that he’s unable to protect Oboro. Akeginu tells him to punish her and that to kill each other as they embraced. Soon Akeginu locked lips with Koshiro and the latter falls dead to the ground. Because Koshiro’s blind, he’s unable to see that Akeginu is actually Kagerou who has exhaled into him her poison breath and that Akeginu’s voice is being impersonated by Saemon who’s under the guise of Tenzen. Also in this episode, Ofuku decides to make a move when her Takechiyo is poisoned but survived. Oboro and Akeginu got ‘word’ from Ogen’s hawk that something may have happened to Tenzen and Koshiro as they rushed there. While the 3 Kougas are hiding nearby, Akeginu is shocked to see Koshiro dead and proceeds to stab Hyouma who has died standing. Well, actually it’s part of Kouga’s plan to use Hyouma’s corpse as a decoy (though they didn’t want to) so that they could finish off the remaining Iga members. Even at that point, Oboro still has kind words for both the fallen Kouga and Iga members. You heard that Gennosuke? Now, do you still want to kill her?
 
But then their plan is cut short when Ofuku and her men arrived. She is delighted to hear that they’re from Iga and indirectly she decides to help the 2 Iga woman win this battle. So this is the first time that they find out from Ofuku that another reason they’re fighting each other is to decide the successor to the throne. I thought they knew it all along, but it looks like it isn’t so. Appalled? Well, there’s no turning back now. Meanwhile, we all know Tenzen can’t be really dead. We also get a glimpse of how his regenerative process works. What’s this? A pair of little eyes and a mouth appearing and ‘eating’ up the wound?! Is this guy a demon or what?! I can’t believe this. Even if the wound heals by itself, it’s not so bad. But some creature in him, gobbling and mending back his wounds? This is too far fetched.
 
Oboro and Akeginu are resting with Ofuku with her men at some inn in episode 20. Ofuku is determined not to let those 2 die. At the same time, Tenzen comes in and meets a little resistance from Ofuku’s men before Akeginu comes and tell them that Tenzen is on their side. But Tenzen seems more lenient here as he discovers that Oboro is still holding on to Gennosuke’s flute as Akeginu begs for him not to throw it away, which he agrees. Tenzen then tells that he notices Kagerou waiting at a bridge for somebody and plans to intercept her. Akeginu agrees and comes along with him. Soon Akeginu and Tenzen confronts Kagerou who mentions that she’s actually waiting for Akeginu herself. Well, no ninpou fight here because as Akeginu gets ready to stab Kagerou, Tenzen holds her hand back which allows Kagerou to stab Akeginu in the chest. So this Tenzen is actually Saemon in disguise. Why didn’t I see it coming. And the real Tenzen has come up to Ofuku’s place and they’re surprised to see him. So while he’s telling them the real deal, Saemon and Kagerou lets Akeginu’s body fall off from the bridge and drift towards the sea. Then after a short talk, they heard some footsteps coming as Kagaerou heads back to where Gennosuke is currently residing. It looks like it’s Ofuku’s men and they’re surrounding Saemon. Of course Saemon tries to play along by passing off as Tenzen by saying how he has killed Kagerou and that Akeginu has died because of her injuries. But of course unknown to Saemon yet, Tenzen is part of those men and he says he wants to verify if he’s the real Tenzen because he mentions that Tenzen cannot die.
 
So Saemon figures that he’s in a tight spot in episode 21 as the real Tenzen shows himself. Not before all those men impaled their weapon right into Saemon. Before Saemon dies, he managed to slit Tenzen’s cheek and watch himself how his wound heal. They then just left Saemon’s body over the bridge as they head back to Ofuku’s place. As part of Tenzen’s plan, she tells Ofuku a woman named Kagerou will come here as she has defect from from Kouga and let her in. As predicted, Kagerou comes in to finish Oboro off but sees Tenzen and still thinks it’s Saemon in disguise. Tenzen proceeds to tell her that he has to make love with her in order to prove that she’s defected from Kouga. Though Kagerou’s hesitant but that Tenzen guy once again becomes evil immoral baddie as he forces himself on her. Kagerou realizes too late that he’s the real Tenzen so she imagined his face as Gennosuke’s and with that her sexual arousement enables her to breath her posion breath into Tenzen. This guy has a habit of dying. But I think it’s all part of his plan. Ofuku’s men who are peeping charges into the room once Tenzen falls dead to the ground. Though Ofuku wants Kagerou dead, Oboro then comes in and says to keep her alive so that she can be used as a bait to lure Gennosuke. I suppose it’s really getting to her this love-hate thing. The next day, Ofuku, Oboro and a tied-up Kagerou are travelling in a carriage and at the same time, Gennosuke begins his lone journey as he takes a boat across. I wonder if he knows the well-being of his comrades. Also, he meets that flautist boy. Gennosuke demonstrates his flute skills which impresses him and brings back memories of him and Oboro together. But that’s much about it.
 
Ofuku and her men arrived yet another pitstop in episode 22 as they make their journey towards Sunpu. Kagerou has manage to break free from her tied-up situation and kills 2 of Ofuku’s men with her poison breath. With that, Kagerou leaves the room to find Oboro and kill her. At the same time, Tenzen seems to have resurrected and is in the next carriage to Kagerou’s. Kagerou spots Oboro sleeping in a room and proceeds to stab her but it was just a decoy. Soon Tenzen comes in and captures Kagerou. What happens next is very disturbing. Because at a temple, Tenzen ties Kagerou up to a pillar and uses his needles to write the word ‘Iga’ on her naked body. That evil bastard. And Kagerou’s scream of pain is so disheartening yet pitiful. It gives shivers down my spine. Kagerou’s eerie screams can be heard as far away so much so Oboro can’t take it anymore as she rushes to the temple and begs for Tenzen to stop. Meanwhile Gennosuke on his lone journey, heard some passer-bys reading some note put up by Tenzen telling how Gennosuke must come to this place or else Kagerou will be killed and such. While Oboro’s pleading for Tenzen to stop, Tenzen once again decides to do things his way. Yup, he’s gonna rape Oboro again and is all over her! Why that S.O.B! I can’t imagine the trauma Oboro’s going through. Probably it was Kagerou’s screams. Why? Because Gennosuke arrived in time to cut Kagerou loose and the much anticipated final showdown between Gennosuke and Tenzen looms. Oboro seems relieved.
 
You won’t be disappointed with the sword clash of Gennosuke and Tenzen in episode 23, though we find out Tenzen’s real intent and form. Besides still mocking Gennosuke and ‘blaming’ him for being born a Kouga, it seems Tenzen is an immortal and has been around for 200 years! So we see some short flashback supposedly Tenzen’s mom who’s pregnant with him at that time, meeting some guy but was cornered by baddies who bludgeoned her and left her for dead. And that a short glimpse of baby (Tenzen I believe) jutting out from his mommy’s belly, barely alive. Ugh. Though I’m not sure if it’s mentioned or not, but I read that Tenzen shares his body with some devil symbiote during his birth. Let’s just leave it there. Plus, it seems Tenzen is the one who has planned and calculated all that has happened between Kouga and Iga so far. Meaning, he takes joy to see the 2 sides wipe each other out and is partly responsible for it. Maybe he’s bored after living for so long. Though Gennosuke’s still blind, he can still put up a fight but Tenzen has got the upper hand and manages to wound Gennosuke’s arms. Oboro’s worried and is wondering what’s going on so much so she got the strength to open her eyes. Yes, after a long time, she can see, but it’s not a lovely sight. Gennosuke’s injured. But in the end with sheer determination, Gennosuke sliced and decapitated Tenzen’s head! Now I’d like to see that being reattached. Gennosuke collapses due to his wounds and Kagerou who’s barely alive decides to kill themselves as she throws the scroll to Oboro.
 
Kagerou is gonna use her poison breath to take an unconscious Gennosuke when Oboro uses her Mystic Eyes to nullify her ninpou. So much for that. Though it won’t be obvious, but Kagerou soon will die due to the needle injuries she sustained from Tenzen. At the same time, Ofuku and her men approached the temple. What kept the men from entering the place? Kagerou’s scream of course. Those cowards. But with Ofuku’s orders they have no choice. Oboro hides Gennosuke’s body underneath the stairs when she hears footsteps. Oboro hears Gennosuke whispering how he doesn’t want to kill anyone anymore (though earlier on he told Oboro that he has to kill her and she has to kill him in order to end all this). I guess after all that he has ‘seen’, it’s probably enough to last a lifetime. Upon arrival, they’re shock to see Tenzen’s decapitated head and since they know of his ninpou Ofuku orders her men to put his head back in place. Oh well, it really seems that the demon is trying to heal and reattached Tenzen’s head. Everyone is watching in fear, and Oboro is witnessing Tenzen’s true horror for the first time from the stairs. Then Oboro with all her determination uses her Mystic Eyes to nullify Tenzen’s ninpou. Yeah, his head just blasted away, unable to reattached. But before Tenzen is really gone for good, he managed to tell Ofuku Gennosuke’s whereabouts. Ofuku approaches Oboro and tells her to kill Gennosuke but of course she doesn’t want to. With that, Ofuku decides to call Hattori Hanzo the 4th so that the final match can begin. But at least good grief that Tenzen guy is now gone for good.
 
The final episode 24 has lots of flashbacks between Gennosuke and Oboro together. Kyohachiro has a talk with Oboro before the battle and Oboro gives him the flute for remembrance. Kyohachiro gives Oboro a sword for the battle. So it’s evening and the remaining 2 ninjas are standing face to face near the river bank. Hattori Hanzo the 4th, Kyohachiro and Ofuku are watching the match. While Ofuku is delighted because she’s seeing how Gennosuke is injured and that she thinks all Oboro needs to do is to slash him quickly and it’ll be over, the other 2 are disgusted of what has happened so far. Yeah, it’s only been 10 days and it has turned out so bloody and gruesome. Hattori must be regretting his action to undo the pact. So when it’s time for the match to start, neither Gennosuke nor Oboro made the first moves. This pisses off Ofuku very much. Soon Oboro raises her sword towards Gennosuke. She confesses how she loves him before stabbing herself in the heart! While Ofuku is devastated, finally the effects of the snake venom which has sealed Gennosuke’s eyes has wore off. He opened his eyes and to his horror only to see his beloved Oboro lying motionless next to him. Ofuku panics and orders her men to take out Gennosuke but Gennosuke uses his Doujutsu Eyes on them. Don’t mess with this guy. Gennosuke approaches the scroll, takes it along with Oboro in his arms and walks into the river. He then wrote something on the scroll.
 
Kyohachiro uses his super eye to read what it is. To their surprise, Gennosuke wrote that Oboro was the last person to write in the scroll (meaning handing the victory to Iga) as he crossed out both names before stabbing himself! Oh dear, so in the end nobody is left standing. Gennosuke throws the scroll to Ogen’s hawk who’s flying above and tells it to head to Sunpu castle. Though Ofuku is devastated with it, Hattori notes how evil this woman is and decides not to tell her that Iga had won and let her wallow in her sorrows. We see Gennosuke floating down the river with Oboro in his arms, just like Danjo and Ogen did. I felt so sad but in the end I suppose this is the only way out for the both of them. In the final scenes, I’m not sure whether the results of this whole thing worked or not because we see Hattori and Kyohachiro chatting about how peaceful it is now between Kouga and Iga. Whether Takechiyo will become the next successor or not isn’t clear but that’s not important. And that Ieyasu guy has passed away so much so Hattori keeps that scroll in his house as a reminder of the gruesome battle that took place and the lives of those who have perished. So a few lives have to be perished before such peace can be attained. It would’ve been so easy and all this could be avoided if they’ve gotten along well in the first place.
 
Overall, I must say that I’m glad to have watched this series. Though the ending was a bit depressing but I’m sure that even all those times where Gennosuke said how he wanted to get rid of Iga when it comes to that, his love for her still remains true right till the end. And even if they don’t get to be together in this world, I’m sure that they’ll be reunited in the afterlife.
 
This series is definitely for the mature audience because of the amount of violence, blood and gore. Yes, people get some of their body parts chopped off just like that so much so there are some scenes censored by the local tv station. But overall, I still like those fighting sequences. Not only that, some of the scenes are quite dark and you really need to strain your eye just to look at what’s going on. Oh, did I mention that as the series progress, you’ll notice the ladies to be more ‘exposed’ though the necessary parts are still strategically covered. I read that the manga has less censorships than the anime. Basically, the animation, drawing and art are quite nicely done but sometimes it’s too dark to see anything but nevertheless when it’s bright and sunny, some of the scenaries are breathtaking.
 
One thing I would like to point out is that some of the characters, main or minor, have really odd and weird looking body parts. Really. I mean take for instance Rousai’s buldging head and Shogen’s back hump which reminds you of that freak from Notre Dame although Shogen’s supposed to resemble a spider. Then there are others like with such a long nose and such which makes you think that is this some horror freak kind of show.
 
The opening and ending theme songs seems to sound very rock-like with wild and heavy electric guitar and drum beats as it gets viewers in the mood of the action though there’ll be solemn times like the opening theme sung by Onmyouza, Kouga Ninpouchou, may sound wild but I prefer the ending theme Wild Eyes, which is sung by Nana Mizuki, who is also the voice actress for Oboro. There’s another ending theme also sung by Nana Mizuki, Hime Murasaki, which is more of a slow rock ballad. But it’s a lovely piece nevertheless.
 
I won’t say that the character developments are very deep, but there are especially between Gennosuke and Oboro. There are some characters who made such a brief appearance so much so I felt that the series could’ve been done without them, like Jubei. I mean, he’s here today, gone today, if you know what I mean. And there are those which you’ll love to hate especially the despicable Tenzen. But nevertheless, all the main characters are quite unique in their own way.
 
After I finished watching this anime, I can’t help think that in a way this series resembles a little like that Shakespeare’s play Romeo And Juliet. Well there are several similarities don’t you think? Two warring factions who hate each other so much but each side has got a member who’s in love with the other on the other side. The conflict between the 2 sides are putting a strain on their love relationship so how will they fare? For their love or their clan? And both stories too are set in the olden times and it ends on a tragic note. But ultimately it’s the power of love which eventually triumphs in the end.
 
If you’re wondering how the name Basilisk is related to this anime, it’s because it’s taken from the Greek mythical creature of the same name. Just like Medusa, a single glance into this creature’s eyes can cause instant death. So this death gaze can be attributed to Gennosuke’s Doujutsu Eyes and Oboro’s Mystic Eyes, which in a way is the most powerful and ultimate ninpou among the rest.
 
Perhaps people all over the world should watch this anime and learn from themselves that hatred and bloodsheds will only escalate and worsen things further. It’s an endless spiral. But with so many selfish egos around, I’m not sure if people in general really do learn from it all. I mean we’ve been fighting each other for centuries over whatever reasons, big or small, irrational or justified. But I’m sure in all that there’s a little hope and love in all of us somewhere. Okay, maybe most of us.

Kimi Ga Sora Datta

September 14, 2007

  Mayowanaide to ienakatta,
  Todokanai omoi mo aru,
  Samishi sugiru egao ga yurete,
  Kizu wo nazotta lonely goodbye
 
This song brings back memories during my hey-days when I was watching the anime series Mai-HiME. So naturally when I fell in love with the anime, I also fell in love with the song. This one in particular is the ending theme song for the series entitled Kimi Ga Sora Datta or losely translated as You Were My Sky.
 
  Jounetsu sae itamu yo,
  Eien no kakera oikakete,
  Kimi ga sora datta yume datta,
  Moete tokeru hibi wo
 
This is quite a slow and lovely ballad. It makes you feel like you want to lie back on the green grass under the shady tree on a sunny day with clear blue skies as you close your eyes. I dunno. That’s my first impression when I heard this song. But it isn’t that slow until it’ll make you fall asleep.
 
  Miagereba kimi ga sora datta,
  Mau hane ga yume datta yo
  Wishing for my love utsukushiku tobu kara,
  Kakenuketa ao no jidai wo
 
Sung by Aki Misato, this song has that high-pitched sustaining part at certain lines. Uh-huh. Which means at first I sound real horrible. Don’t make me describe it. But because I love this song so much, I kept singing it until that tough part becomes managable. Yup, it sounds better now though it’s not perfect. Well, it’s not that I can pull it off always. It depends on my ‘voice mood’ as well. Sometimes successful, sometimes otherwise. But I can’t really complain since I did make a little progress.
 
  Wasurenai omoide ni shite,
  Sono mune wo kazareba ii,
  Searching for my life mata itsuka aeru ne,
  Toumei no me wo aishiteta yo
 
The song generally has no background vocals (not that I can hear) so it doesn’t make me feel like I’m singing a solo job. Lyrics wise, this sounds like a simple love song so the lyrics isn’t so hard to remember. I know since I’ve been singing this several times so naturally it has been ’embeded’ into my head. Okay, maybe the lyrics isn’t such a simple love song after all. But it is still a love song.
 
  Ima wa sorezore no michi,
  Susumu restarting…
 
And 1 more thing. Mai Tokiha wo mada mada aishiteru zo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Who says I’ve forgotten about her already.

Ping Pong Club

September 8, 2007

Even though this anime is a year 1995 production and is an old-school anime, don’t be fooled by the fact that Ping Pong Club sounds like a sports genre anime. Well, it’s true that if you look at it generally it does fall under the sports category but after I’ve finished watching the series, most of the episodes have really nothing to do with the ping pong sport.
 
Yeah, it’s about a bunch of members in the male ping pong club of the Inaho Junior High School. To cut things short, they’re all losers. Losers with the capital L. Magnify that a million times. Hahaha. You might have guessed that this is a comedy genre too but be warned, though. The humour and comedy here is sick. Yes, real sick and wacky humour. I don’t think that’s even enough to describe it. How about gross-out, offensive and outrageous?
 
It is strongly advice that those who can’t stand ecchi, stay far and away from this anime as possible. Though I won’t really go far into classifying it as a hentai genre, but it’s more than just ecchi. In addition to seeing the girl’s bare breasts, at times you can also the guy’s anatomy! It’s true. Of course that’s what partly make the whole series sickly humourous and some may even feel disgusted about it. At times I too feel that but most of the time I’d be laughing my head off. And don’t worry, the producers didn’t go as far as to show the female’s lower anatomy, just the top part only.
 
There are only 26 episodes in this weird and zany series and each episode is divided into 2 parts. So you could say that there are 52 episodes in total. The parts in a particular episode may or may not relate to each other. But 1 thing is for sure, you’re gonna have to expect the unexpected. Be prepared for sick surprises.
 
Let’s go through briefly the losers of this ping pong club. First we have the club captain Takeda. Okay, so he may not be a loser but as the series progresses, you’ll find he’s the lesser loser among the rest. In general, Takeda seems to be your average nice guy but is full of angst. Don’t blame him for bursting and blowing from the top of his lungs that’s because he always has to make sure his other loser members keep in line.
 
Then there’s the ladies’ man and also just like Takeda, the lesser loser, the handsome looking Kinoshita. Though he is a hit with the ladies at school but don’t worry, he isn’t a pervert. Another nice guy. Hey, that’s 2 nice guy already. And you thought the whole ping pong club were losers. Wait, you haven’t heard about the rest just yet. It goes downhill from here.
 
Which club would be complete without the foreigner student (okay maybe not). That’s the tall and huge Tanabe (I think his full name is Goro Mitchel Tanabe) and he isn’t a 100% foreigner but has some Japanese blood as well. Probably that explains why he could speak fluent Japanese. Besides, his Japanese accent doesn’t sound too foreign. The thing about Tanabe is that he’s got a protruding belly which is quite unsightly. But that’s just the sight, what about the smell? Yup, Tanabe’s got some really stinky body odour in which he himself isn’t aware of. Everybody close your noses tightly because here comes the stink! But I’m not sure when his body odour occurs. Sometimes it occurs sometimes it doesn’t.
 
Then there’s the short little Tanaka. His head seems proportionately bigger and rounder than his body so much so it reminds me of some cartoon character. In short (no pun intended), Tanaka is a pervert. Yup, he spend most of his time daydreaming about naked girls and loves reading porn magazines. He also easily fantasizes about naked girls and such whenever he sees ‘turned on’ stuffs like condoms. Need I say anything more about this guy?
 
But Tanaka’s a passive pervert. Which means most of the sick antics are done by the remaining duo of the ping pong club, Maeno and the boxer Izawa (makes you wonder why the latter is in such a club). These 2 are the terrible twins not only in their club but the entire school as well. They’re like partners in crime and would go to great and extreme lengths to do comical one-kind cross-dressing plays, silly dirty gags, fart jokes and other stuffs which could make us go laughing on our stomachs very hard and cringe at the same time. But that’s what make the entire series funny in the first place. In addition, Maeno’s got his trademark serve called protruding pecker. It’s like this. When he serves, Maeno would jump up and then show his little slip protruding out of his shorts (yup! You could really see it. It’s amazing how he does it). And his opponents can’t return it because they’re more shock and disgusted of what they saw! Uh-huh, even I was shocked at first. But Maeno usually ends up getting the receiving end. Other than that, he’s got other serves which doesn’t serve it’s purpose of serving like breaking chopsticks with his butt. Disgusting distractions, I’d say. Though in the earlier episodes, most of the mischieves are caused by Maeno and Izawa, later in the series, Tanaka joins them and they become the terrible trio. As if 2 weren’t bad enough already.
 
Then there’s the school teacher who’s in charge of the ping pong club, Shibazaki. He’s an old guy who’s like a ‘dog’ and succumbs to whatever wimps and fancies of the other teachers. In other words, gets bullied. Though he tries to be tough and stamp his authority on his ping pong club students, sometimes they turn the tables on him. That’s because sometimes he’s got an ulterior motive and ‘uses’ them for it. So when those ping pong club pals find out about it, they’re not gonna go easy on him. Like in episode 12 where he tells his ping pong club members to pick up trash to improve the club’s image but in actual fact is doing it because another female teacher promises him sex. Men will be men.
 
And because his ping pong club is a bunch of weirdos having nothing better to do, Shibazaki decides to bring in a manager for the club in episode 3, Kyoko Iwashita. Kyoko is your typical tough girl and her presence didn’t actually improve the ping pong club. Yup, she just sits around all day long doing nothing like reading a book or enjoying a glass of cool drink. Kyoko is also Takeda’s childhood friend and you’ll see some love-romance between them, though they’ll be quarreling most of the time and won’t admit their feelings at first. Another thing I want to mention is that sometimes Kyoko tough girl personality is inconsistent. I mean, at times, she won’t hesitate to pound Maeno and Izawa for their pervertness or when they do anything funny on her. And at other times, she’s the helpless-can’t-do-anything-damsel-in-distress girl letting those terrible duo get the better of her. Weird.
 
The club too has an unofficial member. Well, not really a member of the ping pong club. Appearing in episode 10, she’s Chiyoko Kamiya and is actually an admirer of Kinoshita at first but too shy to confess her feelings. Though this girl may seem a little huge in size, Izawa gets an idea to ‘train’ her so that she could become Kinoshita’s type of girl but of course Izawa has his perverted motive. In the end, Kinoshita ‘rejected’ her confessions because he and the others thought Kamiya belongs to Izawa. Bummer. So since then, not only Kamiya calls Izawa her instructor, she also hangs out at the ping pong club from time to time and as the series progresses, you’ll notice she’ll have some feelings for Izawa, though it’s not confirmed. Wonder why she doesn’t join the ping pong club. Firstly, this is a boy’s ping pong club. So she could join a girl’s one, right? Well, I figure that if she does that, then she’ll have no time to hang out with the gang. Yeah, even she herself said that one day she’ll consider joining the ping pong club. Consider only.
 
So you’re wondering why the ping pong club has only 6 members (not counting Kyoko)? That’s because in this school, that’s the minimum requirement members in order for a club to exist. Anything less than that, the club will be disbanded. So we can see that the ping pong club is just merely existing on the edge. And there’s a teacher by the name of Tachikawa who’s in charge of the girl’s ping pong club, wants to really get rid of the boy’s team. He looks like your typical evil scheming guy and the reason why he wants to do so is that the guys have quite a nice room for their ping pong club and Tachikawa wants to take it away from them so that his girls can do their training there.
 
As seen in episodes 1-2, because Shibazaki is the ‘dog’ as he is mentioned earlier, Shibazaki accidentally gives the okay sign to handover the club room to him. With that, our loser boys have to move out. Of course the ping pong club girls are a little sympathetic and pleads for at least Takeda and Kinoshita to train with them, which Tachikawa reluctantly agrees to do so. As for the rest, they’ve been ‘dumped’ and felt betrayed. No choice for Takeda and Kinoshita though they still ‘love’ their old members but had to do it as the quartet decides to challenge Tachikawa to a ping pong duel whereby if they win, they’ll get back their room or else.
 
It’s do or die. Can the outcast losers do it? In short, Izawa lost the first match because he’s too pumped up saying how he’s gonna win with his boxing ways. Before he knows it, the girl team scores. Then it’s the doubles pair Tanabe-Tanaka and they won by default because of Tanabe’s foul body odour. Isn’t that a foul? So the score is tied 1-1. Finally it’s Maeno’s turn. Can he do it? As expected he did his protruding pecker specialty and because the girls were disgusted by it, he got disqualified. Uh-huh, they lost. But it’s not over yet, the quartet is thinking of a way to win back their club room as they set out to find Tachikawa’s weakness.
 
They notice that Tachikawa seems to have a crush on another teacher Tachibana. They found out while they’re at the storeroom and when Tachikawa’s ‘lecturing’ the losers, Tachibana came by and asks them what they’re doing. Yeah, Maeno gets cheeky and says they’re finding ‘worms’ and shows her his ‘worm’ and says that if she nurtures it by putting it in her mouth with love, it’ll grow big. Is your imagination running wild? Of course this embarrasses Tachikawa and pisses him off at the same time. But in the end, Tachikawa’s the same pervert as those losers because Maeno struck a deal with him. In exchange for the club room, Maeno gives him a porn video of Tachibana, which Maeno forces Tanaka to video tape her while she strips herself and gets wild and violent when she’s drunk. Scary. But Tachikawa soon realizes he’s being duped when he starts rolling the tape only to see a sexy back of…. Maeno! Hahaha. Bamboozled. But at least those losers got their club back. Don’t think you’ve heard the last of Tachikawa just yet.
 
That’s because in episode 17, Tachikawa’s back into scheming how to take the boy’s ping pong club room. Tachikawa caught a former student, Rika, shoplifting and makes a deal with her. In exchange not to tell on her, she has to date with Maeno and make him leave the club. With that, the club has less than the minimum requirements and will be disbanded. Rika’s acting is good and also partly because of Maeno’s pervertness which caused him to decide and leave the club. But unknown to Maeno, the ping pong club has got another member, Minamida, some zombie looking guy. They don’t mind Maeno leaving because he’s always playing a fool and Minamida seems to have more talent. So in a way, the club still have 6 members. Tachikawa’s pissed off that his plans didn’t work. Because of that, Maeno feels down and Rika felt pity for him and allows him to do anything on. Maeno then tells her to forget about him. Suddenly Izawa, who’s been spying from the bush behind pops out and says how cool Maeno was. Maeno does think the same too. So that was all an act? But Rika didn’t feel surprise as she walks away happy. I’m not sure if Maeno knew Rika’s act all along but it seems Maeno is back with the club because Minamida has decided to drop out after 2 days joining the club. Back to square 1 again.
 
So you’d probably guess that in almost every episode there’s gonna be some weird hanky-panky being pulled off by Maeno and Izawa. However, there are some episodes which don’t really make sense and are inconsistent in the sense that after the episode has ended, the aftermath of what happened in that episode seems to bear no consequences or results on the next. Makes you go "What happened to that…".
 
Like in episode 8 whereby Takeda secretly ditches the ping pong club just to go on a date with Kyoko. Of course Maeno and Izawa are suspicious and trails Takeda. The duo eventually finds out about this and gets ‘annoyed’ because they don’t want this anime to be some love-comedy kinda show and tries to ‘capture them’ as Takeda and Kyoko tries to flee. I love the funny part whereby they’re watching some movie and it’s so hilarious to see the wolves ‘doing it’ and that Maeno shouting and howling from his seat how this is Oscar material. Anyway, this episode also sees how Maeno and Izawa stole some panda car from the shopping centre and this panda car will be part of their future pranks if they ever need to pull one. And what’s with that white cat suit as well. Yeah, they’ll go ‘Pepo pepo pepo pepo’ everytime. But the weird part is at the end, whereby Maeno and Izawa does another one of their usual sick play. Then they tied up Kyoko and brought her with them on their panda car as Takeda just stood there. What the? I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because of their stupidity that Takeda and Kyoko are too shocked to do anything.
 
Or in episode 4 whereby Maeno has been chosen to buy some new ping pong balls for the club. After pooling their money and passing to Maeno, Izawa made the rest realized that Maeno may have ran off with the money. So they had no choice but to follow him. Of course when they confronted Maeno, he tells them some that some gangsters were threatening him and that he tried his best to fend them off by being a stand-up comedian. Relief that Maeno still has the money, they all then decided to go buy the balls together. In the end, Maeno just commented to himself how they’re on to them. So looks like he indeed has plans to steal the money. But it just ended there. Huh? Just like that?
 
Shibazaki plans a survival camp in episode 12 and with the help of the fierce swimming instructor Ms Kito, she dumped the motley crew into the wilderness and they have to fend for themselves for 3 days and survive by eating wild mushrooms. The weird part is everybody ate the wild mushrooms and suddenly got paralysed except for Maeno and Izawa. With that, they decided to use this opportunity to do something hentai on Kyoko. Before they could make their move, Ms Kito arrived since the 3 day period is up. Kyoko is saved in a way but the reason why Maeno and Izawa wasn’t poisoned like the rest still remains a mystery.
 
Then in episode 13 whereby Maeno and Izawa accidentally decapitated an old ventriloquist’s puppet, Tsutomu. Maeno has to reluctantly become Tsutomu because the old man’s doing some puppet show for some kindergarten kids and if they don’t that old man’s gonna do some eenie-meenie-miney-moe on how to die. So during the show, of course Maeno gets pissed off and then he suddenly transforms into some monster spider and attacks everyone. What the? Then before he could land the final blow he turned back to normal. So was it all a dream or hallucination? But in the end, they gave that old man some sexy female puppet and that old guy started off some new form of ventriloquism from there.
 
Also in episode 13 whereby Tanabe found out that Tanaka had been stealing the club’s funds and was in a dilemma to tell on him or not. Then Tanabe found out that the reason why Tanaka stole the money was because he saw him buying some food for some poor puppies. With that, he decided to take the blame. When Tanabe tells everyone that he stole the money, everyone beats him up, even Tanaka himself. Poor Tanabe. Then it’s revealed that Tanaka actually bought those food so that he could put it on himself. In other words, Tanaka gets a sick kick from the puppies licking him here and there. Sick. But I’m not sure if Tanabe has been forgiven or not because the next episode don’t really continue off from here.
 
So besides all that inconsistent stuff, the first few episodes has a little plot. That is, the Inaho ping pong club is up against Kishige in an upcoming ping pong tournament. Speaking of which, this is the first of only 2 ping pong tournaments you’ll ever see for this series. The rest are just practising among themselves which don’t amount to anything much. It’s gonna be a tough battle not only because Kishige is favoured to advance to the next round, with Inaho’s incompetant losers, they don’t even stand a chance. So as motivation, Kyoko decides to give them a sukebe pass (translated as sex licence) to the winner, whereby the winner gets to do anything with her anywhere to their wild imaginations for 1 week. Now who wouldn’t get all fired up. Except for Takeda of course. Since she’s his childhood friend, I guess he has to do it so that nobody else can touch his gal, especially if it’s Maeno or Izawa. But even so, with the practice they’ve been doing, Maeno and Izawa gets distracted with some other things and don’t usually practice with the gang.
 
Also to boost their training, Shibazaki then decides to bring the gang to some inn in the mountains in episode 5. Yeah, Shibazaki’s got a monkey friend who runs that inn. So once again do you think Maeno and Izawa are being serious? Besides Takeda getting temporarily possessed by some jilted love ghost, to up the challenge, Shibazaki tells the gang that they’ll be playing a friendly match against ‘grown up girls’. They guys are rejoicing at first but to their disappointment when they finds out that they’re just elderly old horribly ugly ladies. The ‘highlight’ match was the one between Maeno and Kishimoto. This is the disgusting and weird part about Kishimoto, during the match, she decided to play some stand-up comedian thing and used her sagging long breasts as a telephone receiver and puts it next to her ears! ARGH!!! Disgusting! Of course the rest of the guys laughed like mad (didn’t they find it disgusting?) and causes Maeno to lose. At the end of the day when the gang leaves the place, Maeno still isn’t satisfied since his pride is hurt and rushes back into the inn to find Kishimoto for a rematch, only to find her long sagging breasts stuck in some drainage hole. Disgusting! With that, he laughs back at her real hard. What the? End of episode. What the?
 
But before the day of the tournament, Maeno decides to enlist the help of Kishimoto as he steps into her house after Kyoko chides him for his laziness and his attitude is bringing the whole team down. Yeah, even the sukebe pass has been extended to a whole month after those losers lost interest because of the rigourous training. So when the day of the tournament arrives in episode 7, Maeno seems like a different person. The Inaho ping pong members pesters Kyoko to give them some motivation before the match and that is to show them her tits, which she reveals just a little. I suppose that’s enough for the guys to go on. So it’s a best out of 5 match with the usual Tanabe-Tanaka as the doubles pair and the rest as singles. It seems Izawa has turned into some coward and is prancing nonsensically in some silly animal outfit, hoping that he doesn’t have to play. Surprisingly, Maeno did perfectly well, winning his match and surprising everyone. It’s like he’s been totally transformed. But Tanabe-Tanaka lost because Tanaka’s just standing there daydreaming about Kyoko’s tits. Dumb pervert. Because of that, they’re out of the running for the sukebe pass. In the end, Inaho wins 3-1 and Izawa’s relieved that he doesn’t have to play.
 
So our Inaho boys managed to reach the finals and are up against Dokubana Junior High School (literally translated as Poison Flower Junior High School). But before that, Izawa and Kinoshita are also out of the running for the sukebe pass because of their carelessness. So it’s down to Maeno and Takeda. Kyoko is a little worried because even though she doesn’t mind if Takeda wins but if it’s with Maeno… Oh the horror. So in the end, Takeda lost! But because Maeno won, Inaho wins the championship! Yes, they actually won. But that’s about much the glory they’ll get. After this, it’s like nothing as though as they’ve put their win behind them or like as though it has never happened before. Since Maeno won, Kyoko has no choice but to give hand him the sukebe pass. But Izawa and the gang smell something fishy. They eventually found out that it’s Kishimoto who’s disguising as Maeno and the latter’s enjoying himself in some hotspring. When the real Maeno returns the next day to claim his sukebe pass, he’s been greeted with some punches and rues the fact that Kishimoto may have spilled the beans. So I guess Kyoko’s relieved that nobody gets the sukebe pass. And that’s it too for that pass. You’ll never hear of it again.
 
The other ping pong tournament takes place in episodes 18-19 whereby it’s a doubles ping pong tournament and to qualify, a team has to be a couple, lovers or such. Why would those Inaho losers enter it? That’s because the grand prize is 500,000 Yen and a 6 day trip to Guam. Wow! Better start practising. Yeah, everybody including Takeda is fantasizing about ‘doing their first time’ there. So Takeda pairs up with Kyoko, Izawa with Kamiya (yeah, Izawa ditched his partner Maeno), Kinoshita and a girl from the girl’s ping pong club. What about Tanabe and Tanaka? Since they’re unable to find a partner with a ‘killer body’, they ended up pairing up with themselves. Yup, Tanabe’s dressed as a woman and he looks horrible with all those body hair. What about Maeno? Initially he paired up with a ladybug but when the ladybug flew away, he later decides to tie up Kinoshita and hid him in some rubbish bin and takes his place. I can’t believe Kinoshita’s partner believed Maeno who bluffs her that Kinoshita’s gone away for some chance in a lifetime thingy. Yeah, and I like that imagining part where they imagine Kinoshita doing a Michael Jackson dance on a girl lying spread out over a ravine like a bridge. Hahaha.
 
Since there are too many applicants, the organizer decides to have a preliminary round by asking a true or false question! So good thing is our Inaho gang got the right answer. And when it’s Tanabe and Tanaka’s turn to play, they got disqualified because Tanabe’s so obvious. During the game, Maeno stumbles upon a poor brother-sister pair (so poor that they’re just wearing an underwear wearing bodypaint as clothes) who claims that they have to win the money or else they’ll commit suicide. I didn’t know Maeno had a conscious because he decides to help them win the money. Well, Maeno and the rest aren’t really interested in the money but the trip because of that ‘first time’ thingy. In the end, though those siblings lost to Takeda-Kyoko in the finals, Maeda then has an idea. He teams up with the siblings and tries to take the winnings from Takeda and Kyoko by force. They succeeded in tying them up but the siblings only took the money to show their gratitude. And off they go wherever there is. We’ll never hear of them after this. And I was hoping to see that they’re fakes. Didn’t turn out that way. As for the Guam trip, Maeno stole it from Takeda after the latter fails some ‘erection’ test as Izawa instructed Kamiya to do some molestation on him. Can anybody not get ‘steamed’? So in the end, Maeno and Izawa themselves head for Guam and when they got back, the rest are pretty pissed off to find out that they’ve been relaxing in the sun instead of a cold. What gave them away? Their sunburn of course. Pay back time.
 
Other than that, the rest of the episodes as mentioned have nothing to do with the sport of ping pong, or so to speak. Like in episode 1 whereby Takeda manages to regain ‘control’ over his ping pong club members when Maeno and Izawa are wrecking havoc through the school hallways. How? Maeno thinks Takeda is so big and decides to pull down his pants to see if that ‘thing’ is as big as he is. Though we won’t get to see it, but the gang’s initial reaction made them have renewed respect for him. By the way, I happen to notice that why these guys don’t wear underwear. Sometimes they do but most of the episodes they don’t because when their pants come down, you can already see ahem ahem.
 
Then a hilarious episode 3 whereby a girl comes looking for Maeno and confesses that she likes him. What the? A loser and troublemaker like him also has an admirer? What makes me then? Anyway, Izawa isn’t too fond of it because he thinks that the girl will snatch Maeno away from him and so Izawa cross-dresses as a female and ‘seduces’ him back. Of course Maeno could see through Izawa’s act but that poor girl believed it ‘bulat-bulat’. Since Maeno’s pissed off, he’s vowing revenge. And he nearly got his when another girl comes in the next time asking for Izawa this time. So Maeno does the same thing and tries to ‘seduce’ Izawa. It’s so funny when Maeno’s saying "Stuck it in me, baby". You know what that means. But in the end, it’s revealed that that girl actually likes Maeno and since she doesn’t know how to confront him, she decides to ask his pal Izawa. With that, the girl gets disgusted by Maeno and changes her mind about him. Hahaha. Back right where he started. And the narrator said something about how this became known as The Maeno Germ.
 
In episode 9, Maeno and Izawa thinks Kinoshita is so pretty that they decided to dress him up as a girl. Kinoshita’s against it at first but I think he got attracted to his own beauty and doesn’t mind it as he goes round showing off his new found beauty in disguise. So much so, Tanaka falls in love with him and wants to marry him! Even though Kinoshita tries to reveal his true self, Tanaka though disappointed at first, eventually boy or not, he wants to marry him! That pervert. I wonder why Kinoshita didn’t mind Maeno and Izawa rubbing his fake breasts? Also in this episode, Maeno and Tanaka are the fearsome duo in their class because they have a set of rules that everyone has to follow and become part of the ‘Loser’s Community’. So when some big headed high spirited teacher comes in and changes things and liven things up, Maeno and Tanaka feels threatened and is gonna teach him a lesson.
 
Don’t ever tell Tanabe that he stinks. That’s because in episode 10, those who did (especially some of the ping pong club members) felt the pain of his wrath. Yup, Tanabe turned into that green Incredible Hulk and goes on a rampage. Tanabe smash! Maeno was the most unfortunate one because he was stripped naked and was crucified in front of the school building. Yeah, even Tanabe’s best pal and doubles partner Tanaka eventually gets a piece of him. In episode 11, because Maeno accidentally saved 2 of a rich man Ichijou’s daughters from being sexually assaulted, he has taken a liking for him and even adopts him as his own son! Of course Izawa feels jealous and tries to ruin Maeno by sabotaging and making Ichijou see Maeno’s bad habits. But it seems he took likes Maeno’s weird and sick way of thinking. Yeah, Izawa tries to put up a goody-two-shoes act in front of him, but it’s all futile. Then Ichijou asks Maeno to construct some sculpture and the latter did a giant poop sculpture and it was unveiled during the party among Ichijou’s elites. Though Ichijou says how he likes it at first, but I’m not sure why later he changes his mind because we see Maeno been send back naked to the ping pong club room in a sack. Izawa thinks it’s his chance to be Ichijou’s son but he just scoffs him off and tells him that he has had enough of all this nonsense that will ruin the family. So was he putting up an act all this while? At least now he knows how sh*tty this kid can be. Better not get involve anymore.
 
It’s pretty normal for a guy to have a crush on a girl. It seems in episode 14, Izawa has a crush on a cute girl at school, Rie Hojo. But he gets a little pissed off when he finds out that Kinoshita too likes her when the gang asks Kinoshita if there is any girl he likes. Because of that, Maeno decides to train Izawa so that he could confess his feelings to her before Kinoshita. Of course due to Izawa’s nervousness, he flops. And that Hojo girl has an ugly looking friend who’s always beside her. In the end, we see that some rugby guy confesses his love to her first and probably her feelings are mutual. Oh the heartbreak. Also in this episode, Takeda and Kyoko gets into a quarrel but in the end, Takeda is his usual wimp self and succumbs to Kyoko’s orders.
 
In episode 15, Maeno thinks the rest of the gang are planning a surprise birthday party for him as they’re acting pretty suspicious. But it turns out that a group of 5 ping pong girls had invited them to play ping pong with them at an amusement park. Maeno wasn’t there when the rest made the arrangement, so they thought he’d be pretty mad. However, the girls called the game off last minute, in a way making Maeno happy. Also, Shibazaki brings his best pal’s son, Kota Takenaka, to live with him. Since he’s as short as Tanaka, their personalities are quite contrasting because Kota is more innocent and kind. At first Tanaka despises him but soon they become friends and they do things together. Yeah, that’s dangerous because Tanaka teaches him the pleasures of being a pervert! So when Kota goes back to his dad, his dad is bloody shocked to see his son looking and getting excited at porn mags. Oh oh. Another sicko in the making. The end of the innocence.
 
Maeno and Izawa impersonate themselves as some famous chinese doctor so that they could peep and record their physical check-up on the girls at Inaho in episode 16. This is quite an ecchi episode as you’ll see the girls strip naked in front of that bogus doctor. I’m wondering why the girls would gladly do so without questioning him as Maeno and Izawa had their fill of different breast shapes and sizes. If it’s in today’s world, they’ll be getting lawsuits after lawsuits. So when it’s Kyoko’s turn, they decide to play a prank to get back at her. Yeah, I’m wondering why she didn’t suspect anything amiss about their weird methodology. Only Takeda knew of their plans but had a hard time stopping them because nobody believed him. Eventually Takeda manages to steal the video tape and with all their hard work on the line, Maeno and Izawa chased after him. However, at the zoo, the tape fell out from Takeda’s hands and the walrus crushed it. Yeah, luckily the anime is set in a time whereby CDs are uncommon and expensive or else they could’ve made copies of it and sell or even post it on a video sharing website.
 
Tanabe saves a boy from drowning in episode 20. Due to that, Tanabe’s knocked out cold and it’s up to Maeno, Izawa and Tanaka to give a mouth to mouth CPR. Not only that, Tanabe had previously ate some super bun, which means Tanabe really stinks. Oh who’s gonna do it? Maeno and Izawa teams up to get Tanaka to do it but some slip up caused Tanaka to get injured and faints. So now it’s down to Maeno and Izawa. Before anything could happen, Kyoko arrives and hears from them what happened. She then says just to call an ambulance. Now why didn’t they think of that. Dumb. Also in this episode, Izawa gets to talk with Hojo for the first time (Kamiya a little jealous there) but her ugly friend made some comments about Izawa’s hair, which Hojo agrees. Because of that, Izawa decides to shave away his hair. Yup, Izawa has a new hairstyle now and over the remaining episodes, you’ll see Izawa’s hair gradually growing back to its normal state. I find it weird for Izawa to have that new hairstyle since I’m so used to his old style.
 
The ping pong club fund has been stolen once again in episode 21. Well, actually it’s Kyoko who did it to buy some new high heel shoes. When Maeno and Izawa found out about it, they decide to make her pay back. I wonder why Kyoko didn’t fight back. Must ber her guilty conscience. Yeah, anyway they’ve got some sick silly idea by forcing passing male students to come in and watch some ‘live porn’ like ‘watch me shower’ (Tanaka posing as a girl while showering in the locker), ‘a tall lady with exposed pubes’ (Tanabe posing as a foreign girl in the locker taking on/off his undies) and ‘a babe after a bath’ (Kyoko sitting in the locker her bath robe). So that unlucky customer has to choose which of the 3 lockers he wants to watch and then pay. But each time, all the clients either chose Tanaka’s or Tanabe’s and ran away in horror and disgust. Though Maeno and Izawa managed to rake in 16,000 Yen, Kyoko sat and slept there the whole time with no client peeping at her. But the next day, Kyoko has divine retribution as her high heels made her feet sore.
 
Also in episode 21, Maeno and Izawa got some love making pills from their fatty bespectacled mad scientist pal. In exchange for this, they lend him their panda car. Maeno decides to test it out on Kyoko while Izawa on Kamiya. Though Maeno and Izawa seems to enjoy the fact that they’re gonna ‘do it’ on them, in the end, it seems the tables are turned when the girls turned violent, naughty and nasty on them. Hey, I thought this is what they wanted. So in the end, though the girls aren’t sure what really happen and felt quite refreshed afterwards, Maeno and Izawa claims that they’ve been raped by them. Nobody’s gonna believe them even though they’re naked and are a little bruised. Looks like that pills work after all. But that fatty crashed that panda car, causing him to forget the formula of the pill he has slugged on for many years. I think it’s better that such formula is forever lost.
 
Maeno, Izawa and Tanaka decides to sleepover at Kinoshita’s house in episode 22, much to the latter’s chagrin. Kinoshita has to be on the watch 24/7 because those 3 stooges can pull off anything undesirable. Yup, the trio found out that Kinoshita has a pretty elder sister and decides to peep on her while she’s bathing. But not if Kinoshita could help it as he tries to keep them at bay. When Kinoshita couldn’t hold them off much longer, the trio are gonna take a peep when his sis just came out finished from the bathroom. I guess they took too long. Then deep in the night, the trio decides to go sneak and peek at Kinoshita’s sister’s undies in her room. And we hear some sick flashback on how Tanaka’s ancestor was some great panty thief and has a super skill of taking off a ladies’ undies while they’re sleeping without interrupting their beauty sleep and at the same time admire the ‘beautiful scenary’. So Maeno and Izawa are putting their hopes on Tanaka. Yeah, Tanaka’s taking an awfully long time. But the narrator said something about the sleeping rhythm and timing not to wake the victim up. Tanaka finally manages to do so but it’s dawn already. Then as the trio are gonna peek, they saw a male’s anatomy and freaked out. It’s Kinoshita! And he already knows those blokes are gonna do something like this and switched places with his sis. So a disappointing sleepover for the trio. But 1 thing still bugs me, that is, how come Tanaka didn’t notice the ‘bulging thing’ (you know what I mean) when he’s pulling off the undies. Maybe he’s too focused. What about Kinoshita’s sis? Where did she sleep? Maybe that’s not important. Yeah, the trio could’ve save all the trouble if they had just take a look at the face of their victim first.
 
In episode 23, Izawa learns that he must have guts to join the club of Maeno and Tanaka. So they decided to do some gutsy hentai thing on Kyoko but Tanaka and Izawa got wallop real badly. And when they ask it’s Maeno’s turn, he became a coward. This prompts Izawa to make a bet that he’s got no guts even to ‘do it’ with Kishimoto. I donno but it’s really disgusting as Maeno, hesistant at first (under the watchful eye of Izawa and Tanaka) but in the end goes wild and… Okay, let your imagination run wild here. So much so Izawa and Tanaka had to butt in and stop him. It ends with a cliffhanger as the narrator said how Maeno has light up Kishimoto’s life. What will happen to him? Dunno. The second part tells of how Maeno and Izawa took nasty and embarrassing photos of an unlucky kid named Junpei. Not only that, they did it in the eyes of the public. Because of that, Junpei decides to practice his photo skills and get his revenge. But he accidentally took a shot of Kyoko’s ahem ahem while she was walking and she slipped on a banana peel and she’s not wearing any panties that day! Actually Junpei saw how pretty Kyoko was and decides to snap a pic of her when the inevitable happened. So it’s a 1 in a lifetime view for Junpei as he makes a run for it but in the end Kyoko’s rage managed to catch up to him and Kyoko in turn took an embarrassing photo of him. Yeah, she even showed it to those ping pong club guys as they wonder why Junpei has bruises all over him too.
 
Maeno gets cocky in episode 24 when he tells the gang that he can drink hard liquour. So they take him to task and as expected he can’t do it and we hear some sick flashback whereby a young Maeno accidentally ate some pickles with alcohol and he started ‘doing it’ with a cow. So Izawa forgives him and they all go back to be fans of some cola drink. And Kyoko’s dangerous once she’s drunk as she’s all over Takeda. What happens when you’re the first person to arrive in the club room? Maeno had some sick ideas of his in this second part. Thinking he’s the earliest and has time before the rest arrives, he strips naked and does the unthinkable on the ping pong table. Sick. Maeno then heard footsteps of someone approaching as he hid in the locker. No time to put on his clothes. It’s Izawa. He’s thinking the same thing too as he strips naked and happily rubs himself with Kamiya’s jumpsuit. Same thing. Izawa hid in the same locker when he heard someone coming. It’s Tanaka this time and he’s got the same sick idea too. But he just stripped naked and put his crotch on the ping pong table.
 
Finally Takeda and Kyoko comes in. They find nobody there. Yeah, Tanaka too is hiding in the same locker. It’s getting real crowded in there. After a little practice, and since nobody’s around, they decided to confess what they want to do with each other. Though Kyoko says kissing, Takeda’s thinking of touching her boobs (remember that drunk incident?). I suppose there’s a pervert in everyone, even normal guys. So some lovey-dovey moments before Kyoko allows him to do so. Wah! The trio who’re watching decides to stop them and Maeno took the initiative by coming out of the locker naked, doing some silly antic before heading back into the locker. Maeno comments how Takeda has become a man but I suppose the 2 just sat there in shock, wondering what happened. And Takeda… he’s happy that he got to touch Kyoko’s boobs. Pervert. But don’t worry, he won’t turn into 1 even after this.
 
It’s that time in school again in episode 25 whereby the school clubs are trying to get newcomers to join their club. Of course Tachikawa thinks that their club is doomed and couldn’t even get 1 new member. Takeda and the rest tried their utmost best to recruit but those newbies had second thoughts when they saw Maeno and Izawa’s revolting ideas and antics. Better not join this club and stay far far away from it. Yeah, poor thing all their efforts are in vain. Then some girl, Yuki, got serious in joining the club but Maeno instructs her to undergo some training test to pass the screening test. While she’s at it, some short funny looking guy, Toshihiko, comes by and wants to join the club but Maeno and co laughed so hard because of his funny face. When Yuki saw Toshihiko, they both then embraced and those losers look in shock. Yeah, they’re wondering how such a funny looking guy got such a hot babe. Because Yuki found out that the club won’t take him, they decided to try at some other places. Then Toshihiko told them off how their faces are funny enough without other hanky-panky stuffs before leaving. This pissed Maeno, Izawa and Tanaka as they’re gonna beat him up. But they saw him sucking Yuki’s tits and froze in shock. What the? So it must be true that those trio are real losers then. Kyoko then told Takeda that she could pull off the same thing too but Takeda gets embarrassed and says not to do it because they’re in public. Because of that, Takeda trips and Kyoko laughs at his clumsiness.
 
The final episode 26 sees the principal of Inaho retiring and is replaced by another called Hoshino. Though all the students love him, rumours have it that once you’ve been marked by him, there’ll be trouble for him/her. Even though Maeno has been forewarned about it, he still caused some trouble for Hoshino by crashing his panda car while he’s talking with his students. Because of the ruckus, Hoshino losses his fake toupee. Not only that, Maeno mocks him and doodles his bald head in front of everyone. What’s the repercussion? The next day, there’s a big notice (more like threat) saying how the ping pong club has been terminated! Even Shibazaki was called into Hoshino’s office and got slapped and abused. The gang finds out when Maeno confessed what he has done and beats him up. Not only that. Tachikawa is extremely happy now that the boy’s ping pong club is going. With that, the rugby players decide to whisk Takeda and Kinoshita into their club. Erm… They don’t really have the body for it but I guess it must be their looks and character. Yeah, they left those quartet losers all alone. Takeda and Kinoshita has no choice but to oblige.
 
But the foursome seem to have a ‘saviour’. At first, they’re suspicious of the principal’s daughter, Junko, when she came up to them. She tells them that her daddy will do anything she says and will help reinstate their club back on 1 condition. That is, if they work for her. Well, she does seem nicer and gentler as compared to the violent Kyoko. Why not give it a try. Plus, all she wants them to do is to come to her class every reccess and entertain her. That’s gotta be an easy job seeing that Maeno and Izawa are good ‘entertainers’. Yeah, the foursome snubbed Kyoko and called her the Demon Of Darkness. Meanwhile Tachikawa is temporarily occupying the boy’s ping pong club room when Takeda and Kinoshita decides to go to the principal’s office and beg for him to return their room. But Hoshino shows them the doodle Maeno drew on his head and the 2 shrivels in shock and fear. Hahaha.
 
If you’re wondering what’s the connection of the quartet losers wearing some weird dresses and doing weird stuffs in the first opening theme song, then here it is. The 4 guys come into Junko’s class in that outfit doing those gags. Why, they even played that theme song too. Junko isn’t too amused and told them off. All she wanted was regular friends as she shed a tear and walked away. The next day, the quartet comes to Junko class in their normal way. Note that, normal means in their school uniform attire and they lose their one-kind attitude. Yeah, this may seem abnormal but I guess these guys are serious. Soon Junko invites them to play some games like kick the can and skipping ropes and they all have a great fun time. Takeda and Kinoshita can only watch from afar in their rugby club. Then 1 day, Junko didn’t turn up and Shibazaki came running to tell the guys some news. It seems that Hoshino has resigned and decided to move to another district. Then a letter from Junko addressing the 4 guys saying how whenever word of his fake toupee gets out, he’ll resign and transfer to another school which is not in the same district immediately and will never set foot in that place again. Junko thanked the guys for everything. With that, the ping pong club escape nullification and is revived once again. For the first time, those 4 losers are heroes and they did something good for once. So in the end, everything’s back to normal in the ping pong club room. Everyone (almost) is doing their practice, Tanaka still reading his porn mags and Takeda-Kyoko… will their love for each other take a step further? Not if Maeno and Izawa can help it as they ram them with their panda car and say "Down with love comedies". Things don’t change, do they.
 
Overall, I couldn’t say that I’m not disgusted at some of the antics but on the other hand, I quite like some of those funny moments. They really made me laugh, even though it’s absolutely disgusting and ecchi. I really never thought it was possible. It’s really daring for an anime at that time and some viewers even said that it’s comparable to the American cartoons such as South Park or Beavis And Butthead. However even so, I didn’t turn into a perverted troublemaker. So those of you who want to watch this series, be strongly warned again. Watch this with an open mind and heart. And please do not ever imitate any of their acts. Especially putting ping pong balls in places where it should not be :O. I think the manga in which the series is based on is just as perverted.
 
As mentioned before, some parts may seem far fetched and illogical like the part whereby Maeno farts in his hand and releases his stink bomb in his palms right on his victims face. I mean, is that possible? Of course not. Logic doesn’t really work here. Then when they spit in disgust, it’s like there’s lots of saliva coming out. Yucks. Since the anime is from that era, the drawing, art and animation too looks old. Uh-huh, even the colouring looks ‘worn out’. But I guess those were the days when anime is still at an infant age. Thus the character designs are just average and at certain point, they may seem simple.
 
The voice acting of the characters fit their personalities well like the loud mouth and nonsensical Maeno played by Kousuke Okano. His voice can be brash and vulgar one minute and then soft and innocent the next. And Takeda’s voice is really full of angst at times whenever he yells from the top of his lungs. Though Tanaka may sound like a sissy most of the time, whenever he gets angry or pissed off, his voice really changes into something mean. Tanabe’s voice actor is totally a Japanese guy, Masato Amada. I thought that it’s a foreigner trying to speak Japanese but probably it’s just his accent or the way he speaks. And since this is quite an old anime, some of the voice actors don’t have a long list of animes that they voiced to their resumes. In other words, they’re like nobody. Sorry if it sounds offensive, just like the anime.
 
Also, the music of the opening and ending credits too sound like they’re from that era. The first opening theme song, Shanimuni Shake! Shake! by Switch is catchy enough to make anyone get up and do a little jiggle. Yeah, as mentioned earlier, it’s filled with weird act and stuffs from the ping pong club members and is a little wild. Not to mention that dance of theirs. The second opening song, Man-in Densha Hitomebore, also sung by Switch, sounds more rock and this time it’s filled with more ecchi animation. But I like the second ending theme song, Booing, by Sakura Uehara (who is also the voice for Kyoko), which is quite a nice pop ballad and mostly the animation is on Takeda and Kyoko. There are several insert songs too, just to note.
 
So next time if you see a bunch of misfits or weirdos, don’t be too fast to jump into a conclusion that they’re from the ping pong club. I think every club in the world has their own bunch of weirdos. That’s what makes life interesting, or so to speak. I wonder if Maeno’s got a new serve style. Yeah, he may beat the world champs at their own game. Not. Dream on guys. But I’m sure you’ll never see a ping pong club the same way again.

Aishiteruze Baby

September 7, 2007

I’m sure every high school kid at that age wants to enjoy their youth. Like hanging out with their buddies, getting a boyfriend/girlfriend and wear the trendiest fashion clothes or have the latest gadgets/gizmos. So what happens to all that if ‘parenthood’ comes early for him/her? Will you stop doing those things you love or will you carry on and don’t give a damn (soooorry) or will you try to juggle them both?
 
Don’t worry, Aishiteruze Baby isn’t an anime about young teenagers who get pregnant during their high school years. In this 26 episode series filled with slice of life lessons, drama, a little romance and comedy, you’ll get to see the main protagonist, Kippei Katakura, whose normal high school life gets a dramatic turn when he is entrusted into taking care of his 5 year old cousin, Yuzuyu Sakashita.
 
But here is the funny thing about Kippei. You see, Kippei is the high school playboy and would not miss the chance to flirt with any girls he sees. In addition, Kippei himself is quite lanky and good looking, thus it’s no wonder most of the girls don’t mind flirting around with him too. They also think that he isn’t serious in having a serious relationship. But if you think Kippei is the perverted kind of guy, then think again. Good thing is he isn’t like those desperate perverted losers who can’t seem to control their sexual urges and outrage that poor girl’s modesty. No doubt he likes to flirt, he is quite the easy-going type and at times I notice that he can be quite densed.
 
So as seen in the first episode Kippei comes back home to his surprise to find that his big sister, Reiko, had turned into a 5 year old kid! Of course, Reiko is the dominant and controlling type of gal and wouldn’t hesitate to give her bro a whack on the head or some other kind of beating/abuse. So the Katakura family had a meeting as they told Kippei about Yuzuyu and how her single parent mom, Miyako, had disappeared. The funny part is that the family members decide to hand Yuzuyu under Kippei’s care. What the? Don’t they know Kippei’s a playboy? But even if it’s to turn him into a more responsible guy, shouldn’t they at least share the burden of taking care of Yuzuyu? Yeah, something about what Reiko said about having a responsibility and a normal life.
 
Well, let’s see. I’m sure their grandpa and grandma are too old to take responsible of Yuzuyu because they may have a hard time keeping up with the energetic little girl and may even hurt themselves. I’m guessing their dad and mom are busy with their work so they can’t dedicate their time for Yuzuyu. Then they have a younger 12 year old brother, Satsuki, who looks and sounds emotionless, claims that he isn’t good with children in his typical monotonous ominous sounding voice. Okay, at least he’s honest in a way. I suppose it’s better than saying I don’t want to share the responsibility of taking care of a 5 year old. What about Reiko herself? I’m sure this cosmetologist doesn’t want the perception of other people to think of her as old because they might misinterpret the situation that Yuzuyu’s her child. So all that’s left is Kippei. Too bad boy. Before he knows what hit him, he has to take care of his 5 year old cousin. But the ironic thing is that though they entrust Yuzuyu to Kippei, Reiko is always ‘concern’ about what Kippei would do to Yuzuyu and keeps an eye on them sometimes. So like I said, if you want something done, better do it yourself. I guess in this way if something wrong happens to Yuzuyu, they have somebody to point their finger at. Just speculating.
 
Yuzuyu on the other hand though she knows that her mom is missing, she looks like she’s handling the whole thing pretty well. I mean, any 5 year old kid who’s quite close to his/her mother would cry inconsolably asking for his/her mom. But for Yuzuyu, she seems bubbly though deep down in her heart she still misses her mom. Thus, Yuzuyu has to live under the roof of the Katakura household. Not only that, she sleeps in Kippei’s bedroom too! I though at least bedtime she would go sleep in Reiko’s room but nope. I suppose they took the meaning of entrusting Yuzuyu totally to Kippei seriously. But don’t worry, Kippei isn’t a pervert as mentioned nor he has lolita fetish. He’s a good guy.
 
By the way, I happen to notice something about Yuzuyu’s voice acting. The way her voice sound, it’s like an authentic 5 year old kid as compared to your typical and usual grown up female voice who’s trying to make a high pitched squeaky and childish voice. Yup, and I was right, Yuzuyu’s voice actress, Miyu Tsuzuruhara, is actually only 10 years old around the time this anime was created. Now isn’t that refreshing? Plus, don’t you think Yuzuyu herself look so cuuuuuuute and adorable? Okay, so maybe her big innocent eyes did the trick.
 
Thus, over the course of the series, you’ll get to see how Kippei and Yuzuyu interact with each other so much so that a bond is created between them. Yeah, Kippei is like Yuzuyu’s mother-cum-father-cum-brother-cum-friend. All in one. You’ll also notice how Kippei’s character gradually changes over time, not that he’s being that different from the beginning, but you’ll see that he has become more mature and responsible by the end of the series. Plus, in order not to make this entire series a Kippei-Yuzuyu show, there are other characters thrown in which will bring some tension and test the relationship between Kippei and Yuzuyu. What? People who don’t want Kippei and Yuzuyu to be together? You might be surprised.
 
Since Yuzuyu has started living with the Katakuras, she has to transfer to a new kindergarten near their home, Asou Kindergarten. So once again it’s Kippei’s job to send Yuzuyu there and pick her up once it’s over. Man, it’s gonna be a busy schedule since he himself has to attend school. Yuzuyu has her first heartbreak when she overhears her kindergarten teachers talking about her dead father and recently gone missing mother. Because of that, Yuzuyu runs away from the kindergarten. When news of Yuzuyu had run away reached Kippei, he has to search all over the place for her. Firstly, he’s concern about her. Secondly, she’s his responsibility and if something happens to her, Kippei knows that he’s gonna get something worse than divince retribution. Okay, just kidding on the last part. Anyway Kippei finally finds Yuzuyu crying alone at the playground. As the series progresses, you’ll notice that this playground becomes some sort of their ‘refuge’ and meeting place. Kippei tries to comfort Yuzuyu and finds out something about Yuzuyu thinks her mom went missing because she’s mad at her for not finishing her onigiri. I guess those playboy charms come in handy (just kidding) as Kippei manages to comfort Yuzuyu and promises to make some onigiri for her lunch tomorrow, making Yuzuyu all smiles again. And that’s just the start of a beautiful erm… friendship?
 
So episode 2 sees Kippei making Yuzuyu’s onigiri’s lunch. Of course everybody else has their doubts but since Kippei put his heart and sould into it, no doubt it looks awkward but the taste isn’t compromised. Because of the weird looking onigiri, 1 of Yuzuyu’s kindy pals, Ken, made fun of it before Yuzuyu slaps him! Natural reaction is that he cried like a baby. Which kid wouldn’t. Of course Yuzuyu’s keeping silent about the whole thing but is acting strangely when Kippei walks her home. But soon Yuzuyu confesses what she has done but Kippei understands and comforts her once more with words of encouragement.
 
Since Yuzuyu’s back to her genki self in episode 3, her relationship with Kippei seems to be jealousy of a chubby female named Kyoko Onda is stalking them. Not like the 2 notices her but to cut things short, Kyoko thinks Yuzuyu is a competitor for Kippei! And she’s planning to do something onto that little girl. Oh the horror! But before that, let me just introduce the other notable characters first. In Yuzuyu’s class, there’s this stuck-up, obnoxious, b*tchy little girl, Marika (so young already like that. Haih…), who doesn’t like Yuzuyu much at first. That’s because she got jealous when she saw how handsome Kippei is and wants to be his bride! She even tells her mom that she wants to have a brother like him tomorrow! So mostly Marika may say some nasty things to Yuzuyu just to take her jealousy out on her but as the series progresses, they along with Ken, become like good friends. Remember how a girl magnet Kippei is. Yeah, it seems that nearly all the girls in school has fallen for his charms except the quiet and lonely looking Kokoro Tokunaga and her close (and sometimes busybody) girl pals, Aki Kagami and Mai Motoki, who’re in the same class with Kippei. You probably could’ve guessed that Kokoro and Kippei will become an item somewhere in the series due to the way they show things, though at first Kokoro doesn’t portray any love interests towards Kippei. Hmm… Maybe Kippei prefers to play hard to get.
 
Yuzuyu wants a new set of crayons in episode 4 so much so she tries to steal but is stopped by Kippei in time. Why? Because that fat ugly stalker girl (sorry but I prefer calling her this than her name) confronts Yuzuzyu at the park and throws away her old set of crayons. Poor Yuzuyu. Since Yuzuyu’s keeping silent about it, Kippei can’t help wonder something’s wrong with her but don’t know what’s really bothering her. Thus in episode 5, because Kippei got stopped by some grandma asking for directions and good ol’ Kippei has to oblige, Yuzuyu is waiting at the kindergarten when she sees a guy which looks like Kippei and rushes towards him. But after she found out it wasn’t him, she tries to go back to the kindergarten but instead meets that fat ugly stalker girl. Yuzuyu’s paralyzed in fear as fat ugly stalker girl is gonna slap her when Kippei shows up in time and asks her if she’s seen anybody who’s bothering Yuzuyu (what dense guy). Of course fat ugly stalker girl backs off and goes away. Next day in school, Kippei gets help by Kokoro (surprise surprise) who tells him the person who may be bothering Yuzuyu. Eventually Kippei confronts fat ugly stalker girl and tells her to leave Yuzuyu alone. Even though she confessed that she loved him, Kippei just thanked her for her feelings as she promised she won’t bother Yuzuyu again. Soon they parted ways and that’s the last you’ll see of her. Yipee! I was hoping to read between the lines what Kippei said and meant was "Get out of here! Don’t show your face ever again!". Haha. Just kidding. And to show his gratitiude to Kokoro, Kippei hugs her from behind. Erm… Can he do that? Well, I suppose he still didn’t get rid of his playboy attitude.
 
It’s Marika’s turn to poke a little fire in Yuzuyu’s life in episode 6 as she mentions why Yuzuyu’s kindy uniform is different from the rest. Though Kippei and Reiko soon notices about this and went shopping with Yuzuyu to get her a new uniform, it seems Yuzuyu is quite fond of her old one as they find out that this old uniform was bought by her mom and since mummy is lost, Yuzuyu thinks that wearing her uniform would make it easier for her to look for Yuzuyu, especially that trademark yellow hat she’s always wearing. But in the end, Yuzuyu manages to banish the ghost of her past (with a little help from Kippei’s persuasion) as she puts on her new uniform the next day and becomes to her bubbly self once again. Episode 7 is Yuzuyu’s sports day and it’s quite funny and ironic to see the family members who initially declined to follow Kippei this coming Sunday at first, but changed their mind when they find out that Kippei’s accompanying Yuzuyu to her school sports festival. So some weird games as everybody has their fun and Reiko is even recording the whole event on her camcorder. In the end everybody had a good time and enjoyed themselves. Yeah, especially Marika who still wants to get a piece of Kippei but somehow flunked at the final race.
 
Looks like Miyako’s still around as Yuzuyu receives a letter from her in episode 8. Miyako is walking around in some town and while she’s doing so, she spots a teddy bear in a shop which brings back memories of her and Yuzuyu. While Yuzuyu reads the letter which says how her mom won’t see her until she becomes much stronger, Yuzuyu silently prays for her mom to return. She’s really hoping for her to come back because she’s afraid she’ll forget how she look like. Poor girl. Meanwhile Kippei actually asks Kokoro to be his girlfriend. Well, Kokoro didn’t really give an answer but it didn’t seem like she rejected him either. As usual her concerned buddies moved in before Kippei could ask anymore questions. Soon another drama unfolds. Kippei finds out why Kokoro has always looked so lonely. That’s because Kokoro’s dad is getting remarried again since Kokoro’s mom has passed away. Because of that, Kokoro has to move and live alone in some apartment because she may be seen as ‘intruding’ her dad, though her father would still send her some money to support herself. This case also got. Not only that, Kokoro’s dad seems to think that since she’s always been doing things alone, she would be better off living by herself. What the?
 
So episode 9 though still has that Kippei-Yuzuyu moments (what’s with Kippei’s family members still trying to criticize his cooking. It doesn’t taste that bad doesn’t it?), it takes a little breather as it focuses more on Kokoro as she moves in to her new apartment. Kippei and Yuzuyu bumps into Kokoro right outside her new apartment when they’re returning from shopping and wants to help her unpack and unload her stuffs. But Kokoro just tells them to go away as she walks back into her apartment. Next day, Kippei’s supposed to pick up Yuzuyu from kindy but overslept (what the? He’s missing lessons and the teachers couldn’t be bothered with Kippei missing?). As he comes back to class to take his bag, he meets Kokoro sitting alone and the 2 chat. So some sad story about Kokoro’s past. Bla bla bla. It’s a little disheartening to see Kokoro breaking down. Before you know it, Kippei locked lips with Kokoro! And I suppose she likes it because she didn’t slap him or pushed him away but obliges him. At the same time, Yuzuyu is waiting at the kindy for Kippei when some stranger appears to pick her up.
 
Lucky it’s no stranger. In episode 10, it’s acutally Kippei’s mom who came to pick Yuzuyu since Kippei’s so busy doing you know what lah. So when Kippei gets back, he gets some lecture from Reiko. See, it’s easy to point the finger at him, right? But the main thing about this episode is that Yuzuyu feels a little jealous after coming to know that Kippei may be want to be with his girlfriend Kokoro more than her now. Yeah, a lot of spacing out from the little girl. I guess Kokoro really does like Kippei as she confess to him that she feels calm around him and even lets Kippei’s hand go under her shirt! WOAH! He could’ve got even creative than that if not for her buddies who showed up. Well, Kokoro gives the green light for Kippei to be his girlfriend but with 1 condition. That is, to love and look only at her and no other girls. That’s gonna be hard but he’ll manage. Later Yuzuyu and Kokoro met at the playground and Yuzuyu confirms Kokoro’s relationship with Kippei. Because of that, the next day Yuzuyu doesn’t want to get between them and decides to walk home alone.
 
Due to that, Yuzuyu gets lost in episode 11. And the Katakuras are getting worried so much so they all go out to search for her in the middle of the night. Kokoro even lends a helping in finding Yuzuyu. Finally Kippei manages to find Yuzuyu alone at the playground and have their usual chat. Good thing nothing happened to Yuzuyu as they head back. In a way Kokoro ‘breaks up’ with Kippei because she thinks the person he needs right now is Yuzuyu. Is she admitting defeat to a little girl? Don’t worry, it won’t stay that way for long. Like time heals all wounds, you’ll notice that Kippei and Kokoro’s relationship will gradually get back on track. I felt that episode 12 is a filler episode because since it’s Yuzuyu’s day off, Kippei’s mom suggests her to make and bring a bento for Kippei at school. Of course they can’t let her really go alone as Reiko watches her from behind as she follows her. As usual Yuzuyu gets lost but manages to find her way to Kippei’s school. Once there, everybody’s surprised and in shock to know that this is the cute little girl that Kippei’s been taking care of. I guess this also scores with the other girls. Yeah, it increases the credibility of a playboy. Kippei has a taste of Yuzuyu’s hand-made onigiris and loves it, making Yuzuyu quite happy.
 
Miyako did make a brief comeback in episode 13 but since she didn’t want her little baby to know her presence, she’s just watching for afar. It must be heartbreaking for a mother to see her child playing so happy and she can’t do anything about it. Because so, the kindergarten teachers notice a strange person watching over the kids and thinks it’s a stalker or kidnapper. You know, Kippei isn’t just a hunk and a hit with school girls but with the kindergarten teachers as well. Yeah, they really like him too. I suppose they’re using this opportunity to get close to him and in a way ‘recruits’ him to investigate that mysterious female stalker. Eventually Kippei bumps into her and realizes that she’s his aunt Miyako. So they had some chat like how Miyako doesn’t want Kippei to tell anybody about her presence, especially Yuzuyu as she’s just here to watch her and some story about how she hit Yuzuyu before after her husband passed away and she doesn’t want it to happen again. Also, she plans to work and get some money so that she could raise Yuzuyu properly. With that, Kippei says that he’ll wait for her return, like how Yuzuyu has always. After they’ve parted, it seems Kippei wants to let Yuzuyu have a look at his mom as he rushes and brings Yuzuyu along with him. I’m not sure how Kippei knew the train Miyako was taking but all in good timing, the train that Miyako’s in passed the crossings Kippei and Yuzuyu stood waiting and for the first time the eyes of the mother and daughter met. I thought Miyako said not to let Yuzuyu know about her presence. Maybe Kippei couldn’t resist it, couldn’t he? I wonder how this will emotionally affect Yuzuyu now that she has seen her mom.
 
It seems in episode 14, a girl named Nattsu wants to flirt with Kippei but gets a surprised that Kippei isn’t really interrested in her. Well yeah, at first it seems to piss off Kokoro because Nattsu is hugging Kippei and the likes. But eventually, Nattsu backs down and accepts the fact that Kippei has become more responsible. And there’s 1 part where Kippei and Kokoro hugged each other so openly right in front of their classmates! Woah. Besides that, Yuzuyu seems to have a soft spot on another kid, Shouta, who’s in the same kindergarten but a different class. Uh-huh, they’re having quite some fun there in kindergarten especially playing with the drinking water fountain. Remember people, don’t waste water.
 
No doubt Shouta seems to be quite a happy looking kid, but her mom seems to be totally opposite. In episode 15, it’s parent’s day and we see Shouta’s mom is the gloomy kind of lady and seems to get angry at Shouta for every little thing he does even though it’s not his fault. Makes you feel like you want to slap her in the face. But you can’t blame her, she’s under a lot of stress as her husband is unemployed and people are talking behind her back. So Kippei and Reiko comes to Yuzuyu’s kindergarten and her class put on some dance. But the shocking part is that when Shouta showed his mom some origami thing he made, the other moms laughed and this made Shouta’s mom angry that her son is doing something silly. With that she slaps Shouta and Yuzuyu saw it! Yuzuyu cries in horror as Kippei and Reiko tries to calm the situation but instead, Shouta’s mom chides back at Kippei like saying how he’s taking this babysitting thing as a game. If your’ve noticed, Shouta does have some bruise marks over his body but he lied and says that he just fell down.
 
Thus Kippei decides to have a little chat with Shouta’s mom in episode 16 as he visits her apartment. It’s ironic to have a teenager telling her stuffs but Kippei does make some sense as he himself has been taking care of Yuzuyu. Later when Shouta’s mom came back from grocery shopping, Shouta rushes out and decides to help her but dropped the groceries. His mom snapped and slapped him. Unfortunately, Shouta fell down the stairs. In her horror, she then began to realize what she’s doing. So lots of flashbacks as we see how Shouta’s mom became a woman full of hatred. Something like how Shouta’s always crying when he was a baby and the other people criticized her upbringing ways. I guess in a way this accident made her realize how much she still loves her boy. Though in the end the doctor said Shouta is okay and nothing serious, later Shouta tells Yuzuyu that he and his family are gonna move to the countryside so that they could start all over again. Though Yuzuyu’s sad but they promise to keep in touch with each other.
 
After that sad Shouta story which ended well, episode 17 is another short filler episode because it’s the summer vacation and Kippei is taking Yuzuyu to the pools. Yup, you’ll get to see the girls in their swimsuits. Unfortunately, Yuzuyu doesn’t like pools very much as she’s putting up her I-don’t-wanna-go attitude. Anyway, Kippei manages to bring Yuzuyu there. It seems Kokoro and her pals are at the pools too. It’s quite funny to hear Kippei gowing gah-gah and making that funny noise when he saw Kippei in her swimsuit. Is it because he’s surprised or is he lovin’ it? So Kippei tries to give swimming lessons but Yuzuyu is still protesting to it. Kippei finds out her fear of pools was because she fell into 1 while she was younger and because of that water entered her nose and was quite painful. These events can be quite traumatic for a little kid. Then there’s this funny part where 2 guys are gonna hit on Kokoro. She then asks Yuzuyu to come to her and claims that Yuzuyu’s her daughter. Those guys then backed off as they don’t wanna mess with a married woman. Hahaha. That should work. So Yuzuyu and Kokoro had a little chat and the former is thinking that if Kippei and Kokoro could be together, then she don’t have to go through the torment of those swimming lessons. But Kokoro told Yuzuyu how her mummy would be proud if she could go underwater. With that, Yuzuyu doesn’t fear the pool anymore and heads straight into the pool. Kippei must be wondering what happened. At the end of the day, Kippei and Yuzuyu heads home only to find a red haired girl pointing a water gun at Kippei. Yuzuyu recognizes her as her cousin, Miki Sakashita. Miki claims that she’s here to take Yuzuyu home. Oh the plot thickens.
 
Back at the Katakuras home, Miki tells them that her parents sent her here to pick Yuzuyu home at the start of episode 18. I’m not sure how Miki’s related to them but Reiko eventually quips her as an outsider ;). While discussing about Yuzuyu, Reiko wonders why Miki has come by herself. And Miki is the tough girl type. Yeah, she’s got some burn marks on her wrist and she wields some sort of a chain which she claims is just used as part of her key chain. Of course Kippei confiscates it since such dangerous things are not allowed in the house. Not only that, since the family isn’t gonna hand over Yuzuyu to her just like that, Miki’s planning to stay at their place until they do. Okay, I’m not sure if Miki has fallen for Kippei’s charms because that night she’s on top of him while Kippei’s asleep. Gasp! Nope, just toying with him. Of course Yuzuyu tells Miki that Kippei’s got Kokoro as his girlfriend and Miki wants to see her herself.
 
The next day, Miki’s parents arrived at the Karakura’s doorstep and it’s like they barged in to find Miki. Miki’s dad proceeds to slap her in front of everybody. Poor Yuzuyu. Another slapping incident. Miki’s dad furious that Miki came here on her on but soon Miki ran away in tears. Kippei goes after her. Of course Miki’s dad realized that it’s just wrong to barge in and raise his voice in someone else’s house so he apologized and received some lecturing from Reiko. Kippei finds Miki sitting defectedly at the playground. The 2 chat as we find Miki is actually running away from home and that the burn marks on her hand are done by herself to see what it’s like hurting someone else. Huh? I mean some flashback in school whereby she gets bullied by her classmates, who’re asking her to try dying! What the? Those sadist! I think Miki should try getting the Jigoku Tsuushin and get Enma Ai. Yuzuyu soon arrives and chats with Miki as Kippei heads of to buy some ice cream. Miki then said some words a 5 year old shouldn’t hear. She’s saying that she doesn’t want to go home and that she wants to die! Gasp! Because of that, she intends bringing back Yuzuyu as a replacement of herself to her parents. I wonder if Yuzuyu understood all that.
 
To cut things short, Miki plans to kidnap Yuzuyu in episode 19. Oh great. Now what is this delinquent up to. But before all that, we see a flashback of Miki and he she came to be a bad apple. Back then her hair was her original black colour and she was your typical happy and do-your-best student who wants to make her parents proud. Then of course all that changed when her classmates give her that try dying line. But mainly the rest of this episode is filled with nothing much ado as we see Kippei, Yuzuyu and Miki doing some summer chores and stuffs as Miki ponder about things. In the end when Miki decides to go ahead with her kidnapping plan, she enters Kippei’s room to find and take back her confiscated chain and tells Yuzuyu to come with her because she’s gonna bring Yuzuyu to her mother.
 
Of course that’s just a lie. In episode 20, Miki brings Yuzuyu back to her family but Miki saw from outside how happy her family is without her. This got Miki to think that they don’t need a substitute Miki. Little Yuzuyu asks where’s her mom as Miki confesses that she had lied to her and that Yuzuyu doesn’t need her mom because she’s got Kippei before breaking down. Yuzuyu feels something wrong and wants to go home. Meanwhile, Kippei notices Miki’s chain is missing and concludes that she may have already taken Yuzuyu along with her. The Katakuras soon receive a phone call from Miki asking Kippei to come get Yuzuyu as they’re waiting atop some building. So more flashbacks from Miki as we see back then she saw how a teacher beat up a student mercilessly for cheating on an exam. When Miki approached the teacher and questioned his method, he retaliated by ignoring her like putting her seat in 1 corner and left her name out of the attendance list. It’s like Miki never existed. Soon everyone starts ignoring her too. Miki couldn’t tell her parents her miserable life and it’s no wonder her parents got mad everytime something goes wrong and Miki didn’t tell them what really happened as she’s keeping silent. That’s when she dyed her hair red and got herself a chain as her protection.
 
Back to reality, Kippei arrives as Yuzuyu rushes to his side. Miki now is unstable as she’s starting to climb the building fence. Oh no. She’s gonna jump! She feels so lonely that no one cares of her existance that she thinks it’s okay to die. Poor Yuzuyu. Another thing a 5 year old shouldn’t witness. But thanks to Kippei’s words (and charms ;p), Miki aborted her plan but breaks down once again. Soon Kippei brings Miki back to her own home and tells her to smile instead of getting mad everytime her parents gets furious. Well it seems to work and with that a teary Miki confesses her wrongdoings and everything to them seeing they too are hurt by the fact that Miki tried to commit suicide. In the end, the family reconciles. But another good thing is that Yuzuyu mentions that she doesn’t understand what’s going on all this while (even when Miki tried to kill herself), but she’s glad everything turned out okay. Phew.
 
So after Miki’s story arc, it’s back to Kokoro’s in episode 21. Besides that funny part where tough girl Reiko gets freaked out because of a cockroach in the house (Kippei to the rescue once again), Kokoro is a little pissed because Kippei forgot to call her at all during the whole of summer. I can understand her feelings. Of course Kippei tries to make it up because he was busy with other girls like Yuzuyu and Miki. Also some art club guy wants Kokoro to model for him but Kokoro says she’ll think about it. It’s so obvious that guy has a crush on Kokoro. Anyway, Miki makes a brief appearance as she comes by the Katakuras. Her has is back to her original black and she’s happier now. Kippei and Yuzuyu then decides to accompany Miki to the train station as she’s heading back. On their way, Miki spots Kokoro and recognizes her. Yeah, a few episodes ago, Miki spots Kippei kissing his girlfriend in the infirmary. So Miki decides to follow her.
 
At some park, Kokoro and that art club guy had a little chat. Not only Miki’s spying from behind the bushes but Aki and Mai as well! The art club guy confesses he likes Kokoro but she gave him 2 rejections. One for his feelings and the other to be his model. Uh-huh. Kokoro tells him straight in the face that she likes Kippei. Luckily he’s understanding and so he let bygones by bygones. After the 2 parted, Miki follows Kokoro a little while when Kokoro dropped some card and Miki picked it up and returned it to her. They didn’t really have a conversation. After thanking Miki, Miki rejoins Kippei and Yuzuyu to the train station as she said her goodbye. In the train, Miki’s thinking how Kippei, Yuzuyu and Kokoro’s honesty made her happy. Yeah, Kippei and Yuzuyu once again spot Miki in the passing train as their on the bridge. Miki’s happy facial expression seems hilariously weird when she saw that swallow flying by. Ugh. On the way back, Aki and Mai decides to make things interesting as they tell Kippei that he’s got a love rival now from the art department as a plan so that Kippei won’t neglect Kokoro and give his full attention to her. But that Kippei guy is densed.
 
Episode 22 is Satsuki’s episode. I suppose they want to at least give this guy a little spotlight or else viewers may have forgotten about him and think he’s just a side character. Anyway, Kippei’s sick so Satsuki has to temporarily do Kippei’s chores like sending and picking up Yuzuyu. Why, that Marika girl now is in love with Satsuki too! I guess this girl’s heart sways everytime she sees a good looking guy. But in this episode, Satsuki’s classmate, Ayumi Kubota, has a secret crush on him but can’t say it. Typical. Furthermore, Ayumi’s quite pretty and is doing a modelling job as part time after school. Ayumi can’t confess in fear of rejection by Satsuki because she heard rumours from her pals that Satsuki may not like tall girls (yes, she’s taller than him) and girls who have long hair. Ayumi has a chance to be with Satsuki 1 evening as the 2 are paired to do some clean up. But due to Ayumi’s modelling, she arrived late and it seems Satsuki has finished even her part and gives her the log book so that she could hand it to the teacher in charge. Ayumi can’t take all the credit though Satsuki doesn’t mind it as she goes to find Satsuki so that she could return the log book to him and finds him playing with Yuzuyu at the playground. Ayumi confesses she like Satsuki but that guy’s like a zombie with no reaction or surprise to her words. Though he didn’t give an answer but I guess Ayumi’s glad that at least Satsuki’s her friend and doesn’t mind her being tall and all that (though he’s not sure what that is all about). You can look at Satsuki in 2 ways. Either he’s very ‘chin chai’ or casual about everything or just don’t give a damn.
 
Kippei’s cured of his sickness and is back on track or else Satsuki may take away another episode from him. So okay no more Ayumi but in episode 23, more of those lovey-dovey Kippei-Kokoro moments. And they’re doing it right in front of their classmates! Have they got no shame? Besides I think everybody enjoyed it. So Kippei and Kokoro’s relationship starts to mend as they trade their bentos. Also Kokoro heads back to her old house to get some stuff when she saw her father tending to his garden and the 2 had a little chat. Something about her late mom but I can’t quite remember. But mainly here, a kindy girl named Namiko is giving Yuzuyu a hard time as she’s disturbing and annoying her. So much so Yuzuyu storms out of the classroom and Marika soon follows. I wonder why the kindergarten teacher didn’t stop them and just let them leave. So outside Marika has her funny way of renewing her friendship with Yuzuyu. Yeah, Marika’s saying that would Yuzuyu be her friend even though she is stuck up, a show off and get mad easily, and Yuzuyu honestly answered yes to all of them. Haha. So weird but they’re friends.
 
Kokoro is feeling down in episode 24 which is affecting her emotionally. Because of this, Kippei too feels sad that he can’t do anything. So Reiko suggests that he writes a letter to convey his feelings. He left the letter in Kokoro’s mailbox that night but the next day Kokoro didn’t turn up at school. We see Kokoro looking through pictures of her mom and she’s breaking down everytime she looks at it. The next night, Kippei gets an idea about some magic mirror from Yuzuyu as he heads over to Kokoro’s place and talk things with her. A lot of talk, drama, you know that stuff. Until Kippei shows her the mirror in which Kokoro saw herself crying. Kippei tells her that it’s okay to cry and with that, Kokoro doesn’t hold back anymore. I guess you could say Kokoro’s free from her past and in the end as expected the 2 lock lips. Looks like they’re a couple now. The next day, Kokoro writes a thank you letter back to Kippei and she seems to have a happier expression now.
 
You know Yuzuyu’s spending and enjoying lots of time with Kippei when she’s starting to forget how her mummy looks like in episode 25. Also, since Yuzuyu’s growing, her little pyjamas ripped. No, she didn’t turn into an Incredible Hulk. She’s just outgrowned it. Besides, Kippei accidentally had a hand in it when he tugged the sleeves. While Kippei shops for a new one, Yuzuyu insists that she wants to wear the one which her mother made and still thinks she can fit in her torn pyjamas. Reiko thinks that if her pyjamas can be replaced, does it mean the same thing for Yuzuyu’s mom? Kippei then tries to repair it but sewing isn’t his forte as he has a little chat with Kokoro at school. Kippei than feigns stomach pains so that Kokoro have to go pick Yuzuyu up. And that Marika is still all over Kippei but gets frustrated when she sees that ‘dark girl’ instead. Even the kindergarten teachers are in no mood because they saw Kokoro as Kippei’s girlfriend so they’re feeling quite ‘depressed’. At the playground, Kokoro and Yuzuyu chat about the latter’s mom. In the end, Yuzuyu gets teary when she mentions that she already forgot how her mom looked like. I hope that there are pictures of her back home. Say, shouldn’t there be any? What’s this? Reiko taking an airplane trip to somewhere.
 
So the final episode 26 starts off with Kokoro and Yuzuyu continuing about their chat on sadness, lonliness and such as they walk back to Kippei’s home. Upon arrival, of course this is the first time everyone has seen Kippei’s girlfriend and are quite ‘surprised’ to see her. Yeah, Kokoro must be thinking that Kippei’s family must be weird, since they’re acting a little weird, much to Kippei’s embarrassment. And if Reiko’s here, I couldn’t imagine what would happen because in the earlier episodes, she couldn’t believe that Kippei has a girlfriend of his own. Speaking of which, it seems Reiko is paying a visit to where Miyako currently lives. I’m not sure about how she got the address about the last letter she received (ages ago) from her was somewhere in this area. Anyway Miyako seems surprised to see Reiko at her doorstep. As expected, some chat why Reiko can’t come to pick up and raise Yuzuyu, bla bla bla. Perhaps in a way you could say she’s irresponsible for leaving her daughter just like that but she has a reasons. Miyako also kept a record in a book the number of days she went by without crying. I was wondering what’s the implication of that. Maybe it’s to keep track of her getting stronger or something. More flashbacks and explanations. But Miyako says once she’s ready to face Yuzuyu without crying, she’ll come back for her.
 
Meanwhile Kokoro makes an oversized neck pendant for Yuzuyu with a picture of Yuzuyu and her mom together. In that way, she won’t forget how her mom looks like. But it looks kinda a bulky. Also, Yuzuyu decides to wear her new pyjamas but requests Kippei not to throw the old fixed one. For memories, I’d say. Finally, since it’s quite late, Kokoro has to sleepover. Yup, Kippei’s in the same bed as Yuzuyu and Kokoro. Don’t worry, he isn’t a pervert in the first place. Plus, he’s got permission from his mom. So some last words like don’t be sad, don’t lose hope, and don’t forget that you’re not alone as we see all the characters having a good night sleep or being happy with their family or what they’re doing. Satsuki and Ayumi chatting over the internet? Well, that’s a start. Miki and her family are having a good meal together. So is Shouta and her mom. Goodnight everybody. Sweet dreams. I suppose for now Yuzuyu’s gonna be with Kippei a little longer.
 
Overall, I just felt that this anime was just okay and average. Don’t get me wrong that this is a bad series. I kinda notice that the flow of the story at times could be draggy and slow so much so I’m yawning more than I should. Yup, in short, I felt a little bored while watching the series. But thank goodness, I managed to finish it. Even the storyline or suspense isn’t that shocking or surprising. No doubt like the part where Miki tries to commit suicide or those slapping parts, but I didn’t feel the impact of it and it was just the spur of the moment and brief little surprise. Even the comical part I felt this way.
 
The drawing, art and animation too is average. No doubt there are good looking bishies and some of the girls look pretty and cute like Ayumi. Yes, I think Ayumi is pretty cute. Got a problem with that? And I seem to notice that the young mothers look more like high school teenage girls. The elderly men too don’t look to old. Perhaps the producers want to convey the meaning of youth here. And there’s something about the way the drawing is so much so that I feel that the characters look-a-like and similar in a way but can’t put my finger on it. Is it the eyes? The nose? The mouth? Dunno.
 
As for the voice acting, there’s nothing spectacular about it. Just plain normal. But again, I felt that there’s something missing in the voice acting of the characters so much so it felt like it’s ‘monotonous’. Both the opening and ending songs are sung by Yo Hitoto and the ballad sounds kinda ‘sleepy’. No, it’s not a boring song nor a lullaby that puts you to sleep (okay maybe the latter one might work), but I guess it’s rather fitting for this series. You don’t expect it to be a rock song with some loud beating drums or screeming voices, don’t you? And when the end credits roll, don’t go away just yet because there’s a little more at the end of it, albeit a short one and not much, just before the next episode preview.
 
Besides the main characters, I felt that the other characters didn’t do much nor do they have any impact on the series. Even so, it’s just for a little while for that particular story arc. But I’m glad the way things turned out especially between Kippei, Kokoro and Yuzuyu. Especially Yuzuyu who’s still her bubbly self after witnessing and experiencing so many ‘unfortunate’ events. I hope she continues to be like this till she grows up. Besides, Yuzuyu’s changed quite abit since she came to the Katakuras, for instance, her stubborness of not wanting to change to something new.
 
But something about Kippei still bugs me. I noticed that at times during school hours, he likes to take a nap. What’s wrong with that? Of course there’s something wrong skipping classes just to catch 40 winks. But the thing is, he can actually sleep on the stairways! Yes. As though the school is like his own house or something. Don’t the students who pass by trip or trample on him? Maybe the girls think he’s too handsome and try not to wake him up from his beauty sleep. As for the teachers, probably they don’t bother with him since they don’t place much hope on him. Just kidding.
 
I’m sure after watching the series I myself have learned a lesson or two. It’s about responsibility and in this case we see how a person matures after he/she is thrust into such a situation. Of course there are those who really don’t care but that’s not the point. There are painful times that we are being separated from our loved ones but being with other family and friends, you don’t need to feel lonely as you have the support of everyone.
 
Since I’ve watched this series, I’m still not pretty sure that I’m ready to face such a situation yet. Maybe I don’t have Kippei’s good looks or charms so it may be hard for me to get around (yeah right). But as usual, I’ll try my utmost and best and do whatever I can. How typical of me. But I’m sure I’ll manage just fine. And thank goodness that all my cousins and relatives are grown up. Hehehe. Wait a minute. Unless they have kids, which means… there’s a possibility…