Yumeria

October 27, 2007

Life would be a bliss if one could live like the way according to one’s dreams. So some people really do live out their dream, some just living in a dream world, whereas some just keep on dreaming… Like me. But anyway, dreams are special and can be interpreted in many ways depending on how one sees it. For instance the anime series, Yumeria, is another one of your dream harem animes. Not.
 
Sure, the series falls under the harem category. You know, one typical average male loser. Flanking him are a bunch of pretty girls who somehow see something in him worth fighting over for his attention. Depending on that guy’s attitude, he can be a total pervert or the kind who doesn’t give a sh*t (oops, sorry). Fortunately, this series though has that, but I somehow feel that it isn’t that extreme. Why, everybody here gets along fine. Well, most of the times.
 
This is a year 2004 production series with only 12 episodes of around 30 minutes of ‘dream’ time. Umm… I mean air time. Not that I’m so into harem animes nor those Ultraman-super-power kinda genres, but rather the comedy factor. So I’m thinking, a harem genre, pretty high school students mix with comedy, it couldn’t be that bad, couldn’t it. Thus I decided to check it out.
 
Well, I wouldn’t say that this series would top my personal list of all time favourite animes, nor would it even come close to the top 10 spot of my favourite harem animes (if I ever had one, that is), but if I’m not too picky then this series is just okay and average (just like the sole harem guy). Woah. So fast I’ve already said that. I should’ve at least wait till the end of my blog. But what the heck. Since it’s not like the series ‘stole my heart’ nor made me ‘fall in love with it at first sight’, I’m gonna try to keep my blog brief. You might’ve guessed it that from that line of mine, in another words, I don’t really remember that much. True. But then again, I did a little rewatching to refresh my memory a little further.
 
So getting down to the series, on the first episode, we’re introduced to this average guy whom viewers will accurately guess that he’ll be the centre of attraction of the opposite sex, Tomokazu Mikuri. Ironically, as narrated by him, his 16th birthday is coming up soon and for his entire life he has no girlfriend. It’s all about to change now. Plus, Tomokazu’s parents have died some time ago and is currently living with his bespectacled and dreamy-looking elder cousin, Nanase Senjou, who also seem to have oversized boobs that defy gravity. She’s like a big sister to him. Also you’ll find that Tomokazu is just like any other teenage boy his age, a little perverted. Luckily for him, he doesn’t have an extreme case of pervertness so much so that he can’t control his lust and has to pound on the girls to satisfy his lecherous craving (Bachi-Guu of Green Green has set this benchmark). Okay, maybe some perverted thoughts from time to time.
 
On the night before his 16th birthday, Tomokazu finds himself in some sort of dream world alone. The place looks like some deserted wasteland but the sky is filled with flying blocks of… whatever you should call those. Hmm… Reminds me of those things where you could only find in platform games. Then some giant flying virus-looking like spaceship is seen attacking a purple haired girl as it blows her out of the sky. Tomokazu manages to catch her. The next thing he know, he finds himself waking up from a bad dream. Or is it really a dream? That’s because he finds that purple haired girl sleeping next to him on his bed! When did she get here? And when Nanase comes in, big cousin sis seems to be taking it very cooly. Maybe she’s thrilled by the fact that Tomokazu’s got a girl even though she seems too young for him.
 
Since Tomokazu’s got school, he can’t hang around to figure things out. Plus, he’s running late. At school, Tomokazu’s classmate, Mizuki Agatsuma, is waiting to give him a present. Obviously, this girl has a crush on Tomokazu but that guy is too blur to notice it and she is too shy to confess her feelings. Have we heard of this case many times before? In class, Tomokazu notes how different his homeroom teacher Ishikari is. Yeah, he’s the kind of loud mouth hyped up guy which is particularly against whatever Tomokazu say or does but when it comes to a pretty girl, his attitude changes all of a sudden. Just then, that purple haired girl arrives in school and in Tomokazu’s class. Everybody is taken in by her cuteness, even that lecherous Ishikari. Everyone calls this girl Mone because that’s the only thing she could say. I thought there would be some implications of her very limited vocabulary but after watching this series I find that this is indeed the only line she could say over the entire series. Though the voice actress who voices Mone has her script relatively easy, I wonder after the series, that’s the only thing she could say. Too much mone mone mone mone. Besides Tomokazu, everyone else seems to understand what Mone says with her mone lines. Or is it it’s what they want her to say or feel/think that she’s saying? Yeah, everybody’s quite receptive of her. Can Tomokazu take all of this anymore? Please pinch him to wake him up. Oops sorry. This isn’t a dream. Eventually, Tomokazu himself will understand what Mone says (though I myself couldn’t).
 
Anyway, Mone is here to send a letter from Nanase asking Tomokazu to return home immediately because she’s preparing a birthday party for him. Can’t do that, can’t he? So after school, he walks back with Mone only to find a little girl in some yellow cat cap (I think so), Neneko, with her pet cat, Koneko, watching them. Mone then suddenly disappears and before Tomokazu could ask anything, Neneko and Koneko runs off. Tomokazu tries to find Mone but in the end decides to go home, only to his surprise finds Mone back there with Nanase and Mizuki. Since it’s his birthday, they all party to their hearts content. After the party, since Mone has no place to go and they have no idea about her parents or where she lives, they decide to let her stay at their place. Mizuki too has to stay overnight since it’s too late already.
 
Tomokazu wakes up and finds himself in that wasteland dream world again. But this time, Mizuki is there too. Mizuki is afraid of her sudden unfamiliar surroundings. Tomokazu tries to comfort her but when he touches her, Mizuki clothes transforms into some futuristic sexy tight fitting outfit (just like Mone’s in earlier on). No time to figure out what’s happening because there a couple of those spaceships targeting them as they flee. Mone the appears in time to help them but is taken down easily. Tomokazu grabs both girls to escape but his contact with them seems to further change their outfit into something more complex and even his own. It seems that they possess some powers now as they blast those spaceships into smithereens.
 
Episode 2 begins with Tomokazu waking up in his room the next morning. It seems all those that happened last night wasn’t just a dream though it happened in a dream world. That’s because Mizuki comes rushing in to Tomokazu’s room to verify what happened. On their way to school, they meet that cheeky little Neneko and Koneko. I don’t really remember what she said about Tomokazu, but as usual she took off in a flash after that.
 
It seems Mone has officially become a transfer student in Tomokazu’s class. Yeah, everybody loves her and assumes that she is Tomokazu’s sister. Other than that, the test results are out and Tomokazu flops. He did real great. How great? He got a perfect zero. Maybe the teacher really doesn’t like him. Because of that he has to do a retake. I remember this classic line said from Tomokazu towards Mone, "Tests are an evil system created by society to judge a person’s ability based on numbers". How true. So back home, even though Tomokazu’s that lazy guy who wishes tests never existed and such, Mizuki comes to his place to tutor him so that he could do well in his retake. Partly I think she wants to be with this no-brainer. What does she really see in him.
 
On the day of the retake, Ishikari bursts into the classroom where Tomokazu is waiting, and starts accusing Tomokazu of destroying the tests papers. Well, Tomokazu’s a likely suspect because he’s the only one doing the retake. The 2 argued until they see smoke outside the window. Why, it’s Mone and she’s burning the test papers! Tomokazu is outraged and wonders why she does so. Remember this girl can only say mone so I don’t think he’ll get more than that. Tomokazu reflected the words he said last night to her like how he wish all those tests and text books would disappear. Yeah, Mone is just helping him and poor Mone is crying in confusion. He tries to chase after her but Tomokazu bumps into Ishikawa and is knocked out cold.
 
So it seems that Tomokazu doesn’t have to go to sleep to enter this weird dream world. Being unconscious too will do. Oh, Mizuki’s there too. A little reflection and repentance on Tomokazu’s part before they see Mone being chased by those spaceships again. The duo transform and help Mone but the spaceship’s power is overwhelming. Then another lady in green, wearing some head visor, calling herself Silk, appears and tells Tomokazu to ‘charge her up’. Uh-huh, she caresses him and somehow Silk powers up and blows away the spaceship. Wasn’t that nice, Tomokazu? After that, Silk explains that this dream world is called Moera (darn. I thought it would be Yumeria) and those spaceship attackers are called Faydoom. To cut things short, Faydoom is trying to invade the real world. But throughout the series, we won’t see any beings or alien races piloting these ships. They’re just like evil ships, with a mission, for our heroes to destroy. Nothing much than that. While the gang are confused over Silk’s explanations, suddenly out of no where, Neneko appears walking pass by them. This dream is getting weirder and weirder. By the way (spoiler alert), if you kinda notice that Silk is actually Nanase because that’s the only girl left out and if you remember her voice, it all makes sense. But for now, I’ll refer to her as Silk in this world as she seems like a pro on the things that are happening in this world.
 
If you think that’s all the girls there are to Tomokazu’s harem, think again, that’s because there’s 1 more. She’s Kuyou Senjou and is Nanase’s younger green haired sister moving back from USA and making her appearance in episode 3. You might have guessed it too, Kuyou likes Tomokazu too and… well, you know the rest. Silk on the other hand is giving a crash course of our newbies at Moera. Like how this is a place where human’s memories reorganize when they sleep and that Tomokazu is some sort of a recharger in the sense that he’s supposed to power up the girls when they come into contact, making them more powerful to fight against Faydoom. Soon Tomokazu awakens in his bedroom, and this time he finds Kuyou sleeping next to him. Is this guy lucky or what. Waking up to find that he has slept with a different girl each time.
 
Ishikari is really getting jealous of Tomokazu when he finds out that he’s got another pretty girl around him, Kuyou that is. So during P.E. class, Ishikari decides to ‘punish’ Tomokazu for it in some dodgeball game. Thing is, the players on Ishikari’s side looks brutal and mean whereas on Tomokazu’s side… Well, he’s the only one! How unfair. Because of that, Tomokazu’s harem decides to join in so that the playing field is level. But it only made things worse because the pretty girls are with Tomokazu. Yeah, even Nanase decides to join in. That P.E. outfit is way too tight for her, if you know what I mean. Distraction? Anyway, some super explosive dodgeball knocks everyone out and Tomokazu finds himself in Moera again. This time Kuyou is with him. Is this gonna happen everytime a new girl appears? Welcome to Moera, Kuyou.
 
Silk appears before them and says that Mizuki and Mone are engaged in battle (already?) and she wants them to go over to help them. It seems Kuyou has a little knowledge about this place and what’s happening. With that, Kuyou decides to join in the battle and asks Tomokazu to transform her. With teamwork and concentrating their power on the spaceship’s weak point, they manage to defeat it and save the day once more.
 
Thus, the harem is complete with Neneko joining them. Something about how she’s saying that Tomokazu saw or did ‘something’ on her so much so that Neneko decides that Tomokazu would be her future husband and calls him darling. So we have 2 lolita girls, 1 with a single word vocab and the other cheeky little one. Then 2 cousins, with one being a voluptious one and finally a classmate-cum-childhood friend. Well, not a perfect harem, but I suppose this will do.
 
A harem anime wouldn’t be complete without a swimsuit episode. That’s what episode 4 is mainly about. It seems the girls are getting used to their fighting abilities and gaining more experience each time, so much so that they even had time to come up with a pose! Since Tomokazu is lagging behind, they decide to make him go through some training. Hell begins for him everytime he comes to Moera. I suppose Tomokazu’s perverted side got a little better of him since he’s suggesting to charge up the ladies by touching ‘certain places’. Do you think the girls would allow him to? Didn’t think so. Plus, it’s a hot summer and when not in Moera, they have to bear the heat of the summer sun.
 
Kuyou wants Tomokazu to teach her how to swim but obviously that guy is dead tired (more like lazy) from all that training. Thus he isn’t in the mood. Mone and Neneko manage to convince Tomokazu to take them to the pools by whispering the magic words… Extreme hotties. Perverted drive kicking in. Better check out the place. So the pool isn’t what Tomokazu expected, so much so he fell asleep on the deck chair. You know what that means. It’s back to Moera. Things is, Kuyou is there too and she continues with his training. Because of that, Tomokazu is really really weary but Mone and Neneko who wants to do stuff to cheer him up, seems to make him worse than before. It’s better to leave him alone. Nanase saves the day by making some pudding for the little ones. Plus, Tomokazu’s not the kind of guy who goes back on his word, so that night he teaches Kuyou how to swim at the school pool. As usual, another attack from Faydoom in Moera on the gang. Then Tomokazu’s power increased tremendously when that guy is thinking about seeing Nanase in a swimsuit. Oh the power of pervertness. With that, another super powerful blasts gives the gang another victory.
 
With that, comes a beach episode in episode 5. More swimsuits as Tomokazu gets his fair share of oogling and beating up. That’s to be expected right. Before Tomokazu goes to bed (so that he could visit that beach in Moera with the other girls), he gets a call from Mizuki’s sister. In short, Mizuki’s family is moving away! Oh the horror, if Mizuki goes, there’ll be less 1 girl in his harem. Wait a minute, I shouldn’t be thinking about that! Mizuki’s pretty worried that she won’t be able to join in all the action with the rest because she’ll be probably to far. Huh? So does that mean if you’re sleeping nearby, you can enter someone’s dreams? Because of that, Tomokazu asks her out for a date tomorrow. A dream come true for Mizuki?
 
I think those lolita twins are jealous. That’s because the next day when Tomokazu gets ready for his date, they knocked him out with a giant mallet! He wakes up in Moera and is pissed off with what they have done. Obviously, they want some attention from him. It seems Mizuki is there too and has eavesdropped on their conversation and comforts them by saying "Hey, this is a harem anime, so we girls have to share 1 guy, okay. Besides sharing is a good value". Hahaha. Just kidding. She didn’t really say that. But she said something to clam them down. Before anything else could happen, a Faydoom appears out of the ocean and is having Kuyou in its grasped. So that girl is here too. So some more charging and power up as they blast that spaceship and save Kuyou. The day arrives when Mizuki and family has to leave. It seems so lonely without her. Then what do you know? It’s Mizuki at their doorstep. Why? How? What? When? It seems that Mizuki realized how much Tomokazu and the rest cared for her that with her family’s permission, she decided to stay back while her family moves. Which means, Mizuki is staying at Tomokazu’s place. Yahoo! Now all the girls are staying at his place. Except Neneko of course.
 
Though episode 6 is another one of those festival nights with the girls getting into their yukatas, basically this episode is a flashback episode which sees how Nanase becomes a big sis for Tomokazu after the latter parents’ demise. Erm… I can partly see how Tomokazu becomes a little perverted. Nanase’s quite lenient and allows a young Tomokazu to rub his face in her breasts! Indirectly, that’s teaching a little kid that it’s okay to be a pervert, right? Maybe Nanase’s too lonely and she needs a guy to shower her affections with. But I suppose with those large ones, it won’t be hard to attract the guys, right? Maybe she prefers Tomokazu. He’s always special to her. Hmm… Doesn’t that doll resemble like Silk?
 
So it seems that those 2 have a special bond created between them. At the night of the festival, as usual Tomokazu has to keep company his harem when he notices Nanase isn’t with them. He finds out she injured her foot when she tripped and carries her back to where everyone is to watch the fireworks. One good turn deserves another.
 
Tomokazu has to make some sort of a movie with Ishikari and Mone in episode 7 but Tomokazu is having a hard time trying to keep Ishikari at bay from his lecherous ways. And if you notice that movie script, all the lines from Mone are only… You’ve guessed it… Mone mone mone. I wonder why she needs a script in the first place. But that’s not the main plot of this episode. Here, Tomokazu and Mone wonders about Neneko since they hardly knows where she lives or her family. Thus they decide to follow her. Seems pretty boring (or weird if you look at it in a way) Neneko’s routine going here and there, wandering randomly.
 
Tomokazu and Mone decides to split up to look for Neneko when they lost track of her. Mone finds Neneko on top of the school roof but notices that this isn’t Neneko herself. Meanwhile Tomokazu spots something on the school roof and heads over only to find Mone lying unconscious there. Suddenly, Neneko’s voice change and it seems she has a split personality. She introduces herself as Nate and is from the future where Faydoom has destroyed everything. Koneko is wary each time Neneko turns into Nate. Okay, let me get this straight. Nate has reincarnated herself back in time and partially taken over Neneko’s body. Not only that, after showing the apocalyptic future, Nate tells Tomokazu that he’s the one who can change destiny bla bla bla yada yada yada. So the reason why the other ladies were drawn into Moera was partly because of his power that draw them in. Therefore if Tomokazu wins the fight against Faydoom, the future of Earth will be saved. Isn’t this a bit like Terminator? Nate does one when she ‘goes away’, Neneko comes back. Not that Nate said "I’ll be back". But I kinda felt that way. It won’t be the last you’ll see of Nate too.
 
At the same time, the other girls are trying their best to fend off and advancing Faydoom army but their efforts are futile because the main guy isn’t here. Not because he’s the hero (okay, maybe partly) but because they can’t get any power up charge. Mone decides to go back to the real world and bring Tomokazu to help them. Eventually, Tomokazu and Neneko arrives in time to provide the necessary support and also joins them in attacking their enemies as the gang notched up another victory.
 
Faydoom is closer into invading planet Earth in episode 8 as we could see some aurora lights in the sky. Everyone else thinks otherwise about this phenomena but Nate is a little worried because Earth has not much time left. Nate decides to play grandma by reminding Tomokazu about that destiny crap thing again but Tomokazu is more concerned about something else. Tomokazu promises Mone that he’ll do what it takes to find her parents. However, the next day, Mone disappears and is no where to be found. Though everyone tries to find her, Tomokazu realized that Mone could be in Moera as everyone heads there.
 
They find her trying to stop an army of Faydoom spaceships by herself. As they help blast and take out the Faydoom army, but their numbers are just too many. Then Nate appears and tell Kuyou something about her being a priestess. Kuyou realize that this isn’t Neneko. Nate is telling Kuyou not to unleash some super power of hers because she might be killed. But Kuyou being the stubborn girl is more concerned about saving Mone as she charges up through Tomokazu and in a single powerful blast, blows away the horde of Faydoom in the sky. Kuyou soon collapses as with Mone. In the end, they’re both alright and everyone is glad.
 
Tomokazu is keen on finding out Mone’s parents in episode 9 but he said some things that he shouldn’t have said, making Mone a little upset. Mone thinks that Tomokazu doesn’t want her anymore but Tomokazu’s intentions are true as he didn’t want a little girl like Mone to grow up in an environment without her parents, just like him. Thus Tomokazu decides to make things up by saying that he would do anything for her. With that, Mone and the rest goes on a mail order spree and when the goods arrive, Tomokazu can’t pay them all. Better be careful and think ahead next time.
 
In order to pay off his debts, Tomokazu has to find a job. Mizuki’s classmate, Megumi Saito, found 1 for him, Mizuki and Mone. Some sort of a live cosplay show and it seems the audiences are some crazed otaku freaks oogling and drooling at the sight of Mizuki and Mone in their sexy outfits. Even Ishikari’s there! It’s even better when he finds out it’s Mone. Another classic line from Tomokazu "Perverts are like cockroaches. They’re just everywhere and too many of them even though you try and get rid of them". He’s the one to talk. By the way, Tomokazu’s job is some sort of a security guy in a bunny suit…?!
 
Tomokazu’s having a hard trying to keep those perverts at bay so that nothing unwanted could happen to Mizuki or Mone while they and Megumi strut their stuff on stage. I’m thinking he doesn’t want anybody else touching his harem. In the end, the funny part is that when the event promoter comes up to him and fires him for being too restrictive. Didn’t see that one coming. But at least Mizuki is appreciative of what Tomokazu has done and because of that, she gets to be a little closer to him. However, we see a taste of things to come when a girl looking so much like Mone is seen sleeping in some chamber.
 
Nanase heads out early to do some errands in episode 10. Because Tomokazu doesn’t want to do his summer homework, he decides to do some errand of his own with Mizuki and Mone. On their way back, Tomokazu finds out that some stranger men in black (MIB) is asking Mone to get into the car. Tomokazu rushes over to protect Mone but it seems that MIB knows Tomokazu. If you notice, this MIB has been spying from the shadows on them ever since Kuyou got back from America. He further tells him that they have Nanase with them and wants Tomokazu to come along. Since Mizuki and Mone don’t want him to go alone, they decide to tag along too. Hehe, Mizuki’s easily taken in by his flattery.
 
They arrive at some large mansion and are being greeted by an old man known as Destiny Transformer. Some title. This guy also knows who Tomokazu is but Tomokazu wants to see Nanase. He gets his wish but to his surprise, Kuyou is there too, sitting there garbed in some traditional priestess uniform. Hey, Neneko’s there too. Not. It’s Nate. She tells Tomokazu about the Senjou sisters are supposed to watch Tomokazu’s family and all these while Nanase has given false report on Tomkokazu’s progress in his powers. Destiny Transformer wants Tomokazu’s powers for the upcoming and inevitable battle with Faydoom.
 
Tomokazu is being kept in a room separated from the rest in the mansion when that MIB comes in and tells Tomokazu about his late mom, how she was the previous Destiny Transformer. Though she wasn’t able to completely destroy them, at least she managed to hold them back. All of this must be too sudden for Tomokazu. He must’ve felt that he’s being used and betrayed all this while but I think the Senjou sisters had no choice. When Tomokazu fell asleep, he encounters Silk and I’m not sure how, he knows that she is Nanase as Silk takes off her visor and reveals her face. Tomokazu is then determined to bring everyone home. Kuyou must be thinking the same thing too as she slip a key to let Tomokazu escape with Mizuki and Mone. However, Tomokazu decides to confront Destiny Transformer first. Why didn’t he run away with the rest when he has a chance to? That’s because he wants him to return Nate/Neneko to them too. Ah, the harem thing again. Won’t be complete without her, can’t it? Tomokazu then mentions that he’s gonna fight Faydoom but without their help. Destiny Transformer then tells his men to let them go. It can’t be that easy too, can’t it? That’s because he mentions about having a trump card up his sleeve. And it looks like it’s that sleeping Mone. Don’t be too happy yet Tomokazu and co.
 
The aurora is getting bigger in episode 11. But it’s having some effect on Mone as she falls ill. However, she does a David Copperfield and vanishes in front of everyone’s eyes. With that, everyone tries to find her in the real world and Moera but to no avail. It seems that Mone’s spirit has gone back to her sleeping body. So does this mean that all this while Mone’s walking aroung as a spirit/ghost? Not to sure in the end too. In Moera, Tomokazu and the rest are continuing their battle with Faydoom but their numbers are too great and at this rate, they’ll tire out.
 
Then some holy ray of light comes annihilating a large number of Faydoom spaceships. Why, it’s Mone and she’s in a traditional miko priestess outfit. Tomokazu tries to call out for her but she’s not listening and is being protected by some black spheric force shield. Then some explanation about Mone as the sleeping miko whereby she is to be kept in slumber in order to maximise her powers for this battle. Not only that, she has to sacrifice herself by absorbing Faydoom! Tomokazu tries to call her once again. Though it reaches Mone, but the spaceships she destroyed too are returning. Destiny Transformer orders Kuyou to use her ultimate attack, the Arrow Of Destiny, to hit Mone so that Faydoom will be destroyed once and for all. But I don’t think Kuyou is gonna sacrifice the life of her harem rival, erm, I mean friend just to end it all as she fires her one shot super arrow at the other Faydoom spaceships. The whole world goes blank…
 
The start of the final episode 12 sees how the gang defeat the Faydoom threat and releases Mone from her force shield. After some thoughts about how a new world would be reborn, Tomokazu awakes to find himself sleeping in the middle of class. So was it really all just a dream? Okay, Ishikari seems to be more serious and no more that idiotic character. Mizuki is just well… ‘ignoring’ him. And Mone, that seat next to him where she’s previously sitting is vacant. So what’s really going on? Tomokazu goes round trying to recollect his memories. It seems no one remembers who Mone is. A lot of spacing out and drama before Nate pops out from Tomokazu’s drawer (what the?) and tells him to regain his memories by himself or else there’s no point at all. Then after some showing around by Nate, Tomokazu goes home and sees Mone standing there. He finally remembers her and tells her to go retrieve their world. With that Mone transforms and we’re back to where they were fighting against the Faydoom army. So it was just an illusion?
 
More fighting and determination to win as we see that black sphere as some sort of the ‘boss’. Tomokazu and Mone are soon joined by the other girls. They all get to power up and combine their weapons to unleash another super terror mind blowing power projection blast to defeat Faydoom once and for all. So what happens next isn’t a dream or an illusion. We see Mizuki’s (I think) parents being lovey-dovey with each other. Mizuki and Tomokazu heads for school and meets Nanase and Kuyou on their way. What’s this? Neneko is split into 2! Yeah, twins I’d say. She and Nate are doing some tv auditions to become some twin idol when Tomokazu’s dad shows up on his bike and decides to give the twins a lift there. Wait a minute! I thought Tomokazu’s parents are dead? Tomokazu did call them ‘oraji’ (old man which may mean his dad), right? Haiyah, don’t want to think too much. Oh, that Destiny Transformer’s there too but he seems so harmless.
 
Then at school, Megumi wonders if Mizuki has ‘crossed the line’ with Tomokazu during summer, making her blush. This of course earns Tomokazu the wrath of Ishikari. He’s back to his old ways. But Ishikari announces a new transfer student. As she takes her step in, it’s revealed that the new transfer student is Mone! Tomokazu is glad to see her as Mone goes to hug him. Wait a minute. So did everybody else remember who Mone is? How come there’s no such reaction from Mizuki either? Therefore, who exactly is Mone? Besides that sleeping miko thing, I’m still clueless about her.
 
Overall, though the ending is a happy one, but I can’t help feel a little dissatisfied with the way things ended. Sure, Tomokazu got his harem back again but that last Mone bit somehow puts a damper on it all for me. For now the Earth is safe so which means, the girls will turn their attention to Tomokazu. Just speculating. I mean, throughout the series it’s not like they really duke it out with each other over him (probably the world is at stake then and it’s more important) but we see a little tugging here and there. Eventually they all still love him and want to be with him. Likewise, Tomokazu too cherish this togetherness and friendship so it’s a 2 way thing. What about Moera? Will the gang be heading back there everytime they fall asleep? I guess some things are better left to one’s imagination.
 
If you like your anime drawing and art to be those bishies, then this one is just somewhat average. Sure, there are pretty looking chics with different hair colours and wide eyed, but I’m sure there are better looking series out there. Besides, every episode somehow feels the same. The gang gets together, a little drama, fight some Faydoom, in the end all ends well. My favourite voice acting is still for the character Neneko. She sounds quite genki and cheeky. Voiced by Tamaki Nakanishi, she’s also the voice of Nagatsuki of Happy Lesson Advanced, Tomoe of Memories Off 2nd and Itsuki of I”s Pure. Kikuko Inoue who voices Nanase is also the voice behind Belldandy of Aa! Megami-sama, Mizuho of Onegai Teacher, Kasumi of Ranma 1/2, Goei of Ikkitousen and Yayoi of Happy Lesson. Wataru Hatano voices Tomokazu and you can recognize him in roles such as Koshiro of Basilisk and Kasanoda of Ouran High School Host Club. Masumi Asano who does Mizuki also does Hakufu for Ikkitousen, Yukari of Shakugan No Shana, Aoi of Rizelmine, Izumi of He Is My Master and Yuma of Girl’s High. Tetsu Inada plays Ishikari and previously does the voice of Kurogane of Tsubasa Chronicle, Gorobei of Samurai 7, Maeda of Cromartie High School and Petros of Trinity Blood. What about Mone’s voice actress, Moyu Arishima? Her resume isn’t even half a page and I see that her roles are from animes which I’ve never watched before. Even so, not the character isn’t the main one. Perhaps people think that she could only say mone. Sorry, just kidding.
 
Though the music isn’t appealing to me, the opening theme song 24 Jikan Aishiteru, is sung by Tamaki Nakanishi and Moyu Arishima. So is this the idol part for Neneko and also proof that Moyu Arishima can say more than just mone mone. Another thing I find amusing about the opening credits is the girls doing some hand gesture dance, like making their palms like a gun and then tapping to the beat of the music while they smile. Never ceases to make me smile too. The verse sounds okay but the chorus was enough to send a little shiver down my spine. Hear it if you want to know what I mean.
 
So eventually a loser and average guy like Tomokazu ends up being the hero and winner in the end. Not bad, huh? Next time you have a bad dream, pay proper attention to it as it may be some sign of an alien invasion or the end of the world. For me, I keep dreaming about anime reruns, which isn’t that bad. It’s my Yumeria! Yeah, I’ll keep on dreaming…
 
Yumeria

Ikkitousen: Dragon Destiny

October 26, 2007

Something must have made me decide to watch the sequel Ikkitousen: Dragon Destiny. No, it can’t be those oversized bouncy boobs. Definitely I’m not into all those fanservice, panty shots or ecchi scenes. How about the storyline? Me, a person who looks for animes with storyline? Please, I can’t believe it myself. I suppose it was the comedy factor. Don’t get me wrong here. The second season to the Ikkitousen series is somewhat less funnier than the first.
 
Having said so, I don’t really remember if the sequel has more fanservice and panty shots as compared to the first one but fans of the series can still expect to see them here. There’s no shortage of them in each episode. Plus, there is a storyline and more drama as it continues off (though not directly) after the end of the first season. The drawing and art looks different and more refined than its prequel so most probably that’s why I thought of having to check it out. I could also say that the fight scenes are more choreographed and well, exaggerated as usual as you’ll see the characters flying, twisting and sommersaulting in mid-air as their fists connect and trade blows while the surrounding takes a substantial damage due to the intensity of their power. I guess I’m amused by this part. Be warned though. The fight may be a little violent and bloody.
 
At least now they put the words ‘loosely based on the Chinese classic novel Romance Of The Three Kingdoms (ROTK)’. So which means it’s an excuse to deviate from the what actually happened in the real history and not follow it accordingly. I suppose it’s alright seeing that it’s ‘loosely based’. You see, each of the main characters in the series are somewhat a reincarnation of the ROTK famous and legendary characters. So it’s like their destiny (because they’re bound to it anyway) to live and die like their ROTK characters.
 
This second season has only 12 episodes. I was wondering why it’s short 1 episode than the first season. Maybe there’s not much of a storyline to tell and drag it on? Besides this season introduces several new characters. Maybe not just several but many of them. So much so I can’t really remember all their names and some even had their appearance so short and brief it made me go like "Hey, wait a minute. He/She’s a newbie and now he/she is gone just like that?". Talk about easy come easy go. Besides, when they introduce a character, the screen will display some large kanji writings of that character’s name, school and grade. Nice but I still can’t remember some of them.
 
A short recap of what happened at the end of the first season. Throughout dunno how long, there has been 7 schools who’re always fighting each other for supremacy. The advent of Nanyou Academy’s Junior Lord of Lords, Hakufu, is supposed to bring the schools together. But that dimwit, densed and not too bright girl is more interested in getting her usual fix of thrill by fighting instead of that destiny crap thing. So the Rakuyou Academy’s main antagonist Toutaku, who’s masterminding some evil scheme of his through some tournament, died alongside with his ex-comrade turned traitor, Ryofu. Nanyou’s counterpart, and 1 of the 4 Devas, Saji, is also part of the mastermind to change his destiny crap but failed and tried to commit suicide but was stopped by Hakufu. In the end, Hakufu herself managed to defy her destiny to be killed by the hands of Ukitsu and continues to live and fight happily. Also, Kaku of Rakuyou defected and aligned herself with Kyosho Academy’s side as they won the tainted tournament by default.
 
Since I don’t really remember much of the second season, I’m planning to keep my blog brief and not go into extreme bit by bit details like how many strands of hair each characters have on their head (hahaha. Just kidding about the exaggeration). I mean, while watching the series, it wasn’t like I was totally glued to the screen so much so I lost track of time.
 
Thus we begin in episode 1 whereby we see Nanyou’s Ryomou, that eye-patched lady who sometimes dresses like a French maid (but this time she spots a purple cheongsam), entering some temple in Hong Kong to retrieve some round golden Dragon Jade. Of course it’s not like she could just walk in and take it like as though it’s her home as she meets some resistance (supposedly the guardians of the temple guarding the Dragon Jade). This is also a chance for her to strut her stuff and give viewers their first taste of fanservice. Then another rival comes in a challenges her for the Dragon Jade. She is Kakouen Myousai, a lady in a white cheongsam. Fight fight fight. Some grappling moves here and there some panty shots here and there.
 
In the end, Ryomou manages to get away but she is slightly injured as she takes a shower back at the hotel where she is temporarily staying. But Kakouen isn’t giving up yet and is still hot on her heels as she makes her way to ambush Ryomou in that hotel. Luckily for Ryomou, she has already finished her shower and now is in her maid costume. Another round of fight but Ryomou escapes once more.
 
If the previous season was more on Hakufu and Nanyou Academy, this particular season focuses more on Kanwu of Seito Academy. That’s at least how I felt. Back at Seito Academy, we see Kanwu doing some practice and her master chatting with her. Also new characters for Seito Academy are introduced. Firstly, the brute and crude Chouhi Eitoku and the ‘weak’ bookworm Ryuubi Gentoku. Unlike Hakufu, Ryuubi prefers to spend her time reading rather than fight and her shy and low self-esteem isn’t really something what their academy needs as a leader. A leader? Yeah, how ironic and contrasting that Ryuubi is the leader for Seito Academy, just like Hakufu for Nanyou. Ryuubi looks more like a sissy at first glance. So if you’ve read ROTK you’ll notice that these 3 close friends Ryuubi, Kanwu and Chouhi resembles Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei respectively. As for Kyosho Academy we see that their leader Sousou Moutoku and that basics guy Kakouton Genjou are quite close to each other. What’s this, Kaku is having an affair and sex with one of Moutoku’s close aids, Kakuka Houkou. That woman is really a slut. I don’t really remember what information they’re exchanging but I guess I was more ‘stunned’ into what those 2 are doing at the moment. Not that you can really see it but at that sort of angle and reaction, you pretty much could guess it.
 
Okay, let me just go on to episode 2 then. The main focus of this episode is how Kakouton got his eyepatch. No, not that he wanted to follow Ryomou but while he and Moutoku are at some alley, they’re being ambushed by some other schools who think that they need to get rid of Kyosho’s Academy supremacy before anything could happen. So there’s this 1 brief appearance of some white haired assassin girl who’s gonna take out Moutoku and his buddy after the rest of those ‘useless’ guys lost and got beaten up so badly. Since Moutoku is a little injured, Kakouton steps in to defend him but a slight mistake allows that girl assassin to pierce a sharp needle blinding his left eye. Ouch. Motouko watches in fury and suddenly some super red aura (something awakening in his body) emits and in his rage as he wallop that girl without mercy. Yeah, he smashed her head on to the wall! Won’t be seeing her anymore.
 
Another focus of this episode is about a group of students who dress up like Shinto monks (I’m guessing they’re from Kyosho Academy) decides to ambush Seito Academy. So we see Kanwu in action and if you like big boobs, you can gawk at how ‘delicious’ Kanwu’s one are (note that delicious quote is actually one of the lines said by one of those monks and not from me, okay). If you remember in the previous season, Kanwu’s arm has been injured due to her battle with Ryomou but I suppose now it’s all healed. Kanwu shows them that she’s still a fighther to be reckon with as she protects them from reaching Ryuubi and soon the enemy retreats. I can’t believe that Ryuubi is still that weak. But I shouldn’t jump to conclusions yet.
 
After their enemies left, it seems Ryomou arrives at Seito Academy in episode 3. Kanwu recognizes her and tells Chouhi that she isn’t one of Kyosho’s (wo)men. To cut things short, Ryomou is here to test that Dragon Jade. Because just like Hakufu, Ryuubi has some sleeping dragong hibernating within her and Ryomou uses that Dragon Jade to awaken it. So we see how scary when Ryuubi’s inner dragon awakens. She’s overwhelming powerful and is going berserk. So Ryomou retreats and Kanwu has to calm a possessed Ryuubi down. So much so, Ryuubi has to be chained and locked up deep within some dark dungeon within the academy (not to mention naked too! I suppose they got no time to put some clothes on her).
 
But the main part of this episode is how Kakuka is assassinated. Yup, back at Kyosho Academy, Moutoku unleashes some super power clothes ripping punishment for those monks failure. Then Kakuka has his last bedding with Kaku and after he left that night, he bumps into some girl while walking down the street. He knows she’s no ordinary girl and so a brief struggle there before she pierces him right through his heart! What a way to die. You won’t be seeing him anymore. Because of that, Kyosho is focusing on targeting Nanyou because they find out that the sharp object that had pierced Kakuka originates from Nanyou. So it’s a setup and frame job from my perspective. While Kakouton reminisces the good old days when the trio are together, finally at the end, Hakufu makes her long awaited appearance (okay, maybe not that long). Yeah, she’s still as goofy as ever. Some things never change. Even her mom, Goei, is there too. Remember, just don’t call Goei an old lady if you know what’s good for you.
 
So episode 4 Moutoku orders Kakouton to avenge their buddies death but Kakouton is a warrior with chivalry and will do it his own way and not stoop to low dirty tactics. Primarily, Koukin and Hakufu notices Ryomou is missing from their school for quite some time and decides to go to Seito Academy to look for her. Well of course their arrival would naturally raise a little suspicion, especially Chouhi, as why would a rival school come to theirs. Definitely not to say hi. Okay, maybe in Hakufu’s case. Also, Ryuubi is back to normal. Kanwu tells them that Ryomou was at their place earlier on but had already left.
 
Back at Hakufu’s place, a little more fanservice (heck, the entire episodes past and future will be filled with them) we see some crow guy and his henchmen ambushing them in the middle of the night. It’s so dark, I wonder why he wear sunglasses. Maybe he thinks he looks cool or something. Thing is, that crow guy didn’t get a sound beating from Hakufu nor Koukin, but Goei instead! Remember my warning earlier on. Well, I don’t remember if he really said that, but it seems Goei taught him a lesson properly. Soon Kakouton arrives and doesn’t like the way that crow guy cowardly handles this. Before they retreat, Kakouton tells them briefly about their current situation, Kakuka’s assassination and such. I suppose because of last season, Kakouton has some kind of ‘bond’ with Hakufu and this feels like a ‘warning in advance’.
 
More characters introduced in episode 5 to start the ball rolling. At Kyosho Academy, we see some wheelchair ridden lady, Shiba-I, who seems to have some plan of her own even though she’s under Moutoku. While Ryomou is visiting Ryofu’s grave, she’s been attacked by some goth loli girl, Teni, who uses some crossbow as her weapon. She’s been sent by Shiba-I to take the Dragon Jade from her. So lots of fighting and explosive action here. Yeah, first thing you’ll notice besides the substantial environmental damage (no respect to those graves) is that their clothes getting ripped off (sounds familiar isn’t it?) right down to their undies. You wonder why their undies are the only thing not scratched a little (besides that fanservice and to cover necessary parts). The same reason why the entire airplane isn’t made out of the same materials used to make the black box. So some flashback from Teni on how Shiba-I took her away from her abusive life and brought her up in some Christian nun kind of environment. Not that interested. However, their superb fight is being interrupted by a third party. Another girl with long white hair and wields a katana, Chouun Shiryuu. She’s from Seito Academy and in the end, Chouun takes the Dragon Jade from Ryomou. As for Teni, though this won’t be the last time you’ll see her, the rest of the episodes make you wonder where she went after this.
 
Ryomou comes to and finds herself resting at Hakufu’s place. Even Gakushuu’s there. Thing is, why is he dressed in Kannei’s clothes? Did he miss that guy. In the last season, Kannei has been hospitalized due to the injuries he sustained and mainly because he went crazy. So in this season, you won’t see Kannei around. Of course this is the first time the Nanyou guys see Ryomou since her disappearance as she relates where she has been all this while. So a little flashback how she got word from some weird dressing monk guy who tells her about the Dragon Jade that she must get it before something bad really happens. I don’t remember except for the fact it’s to save Hakufu. But it seems important enough for Ryomou to take his advice.
 
Other developments in this episode is that we see another dragon awakening power from Motouku. Remember that crow guy? I don’t know what he said to piss off Motouku that’s because Motouku unleashes his power and rips that side character into half! Uh-huh. Into half. Kakouton is a little worried and wonders if this is the same Motouku he knows. Also, Shiba-I and her assistant Chouryou Bunen tells slut Kaku that she’s no longer needed and reliefs her of her duties and position with a usual clothes ripping power blast. Though it won’t be the last you’ll see of Kaku, but I feel that her presence from now on is somewhat redundant.
 
Back to Seito Academy in episode 6. We see the Dragon Jade in their possession. So Kanwu’s master tells them some long guest story/explanation which as usual I’m so blur at. Anyway what I do remember is that the trio Kanwu, Chouhi and Ryuubi need to go and get some super terror genius advisor named Shokatsutyou Koumei, so that she could properly guide their leader Ryuubi during battle. She’s the Zhuge Liang of ROTK fame if you notice. Thus the trio set out on foot to some forest and there they encounter some weird looking old man (may remind you of Rousai of Basilisk). Looks like an alien. Must be his eyes. Kanwu thinks it’s some test so she and that old geezer had some fight and looks like that old man is having the upper hand. Likewise, Chouhi takes on a stout monk, Kouchu Kanshou, and Ryuubi… she wandered off somewhere. Unknowingly, Ryuubi bumps into Koumei and saw how the latter is fishing when suddenly a blue dragon emerges from the lake. What a big catch. But that dragon is too strong as it pulls Koumei into the lake. Ryuubi is guided by her instincts to save that little girl even though she herself doesn’t know how to swim.
 
I suppose they all pass the whatever test as we see them resting at that old man’s hut (partly because I can’t remember what happened too ;P). Some talking, drama and more importantly fanservice as the ladies take a hot bath. You get the idea. I’m not sure if Koumei is really into yuri as she wants Ryuubi all to herself. I suppose Kanwu should admit defeat here otherwise. So in the end, the trio head back to the city along with Koumei and Kouchu whereas that old geezer decides to stay back. That’s the last you’ll see of him. Back at Nanyou Academy, as expected they’ve been framed for Kakuka’s death and that we see that Kaku girl once more who’s trying to order Kakouen to attack Nanyou. I think she’s trying to do things her way after that last incident.
 
Kakouen’s lone assault on Nanyou Academy begins in episode 7 as each of those ‘weak and useless’ Nanyou students try to stop her but failed miserably. Even that Gakushuu had a go but he’s just big size for show. Koukin too had a hand and gets a little wounded before Kakouen withdraws. Besides that diagnose Ryomou got from her doctor (something about her eye under that eyepatch), Moutoku orders Kakouton and his armies to invade Seito. His main objective is to capture Kanwu.
 
At the night of the festival, the Seito Academy protagonists are having their time (at least for Ryuubi). Kanwu isn’t with the gang (I think she wants time for herself after seeing how close Ryuubi and Koumei are) when she’s being attacked by those 3 monks of Kyosho Academy. At the same time, Kakouton and his henchmen surround the other Seito Academy warriors. So after Kanwu and the monks duke it out, Kanwu is in a dilemma because if she doesn’t surrender to them, 1 word from them and Ryuubi and co will be relentlessly crushed. What will Kanwu do now? How will she decide?
 
In order to save her leader, Kanwu decides to surrender herself to Kyosho Academy in episode 8. Of course before that we see more fighting from Kanwu and the Seito Academy gang. When word reached the Kyosho group surrounding the Seito warriors, Kakouton tells his men to withdraw since their objective has been met. So we hear the narrator saying like how in the ROTK that Guan Yu’s loyalty to Liu Bei is still true despite his crossover to Cao Cao’s side (Moutoku in this case). Also, it seems Moutoku has been wanting to get Kanwu’s loyalty for a long time and has finally done so. Moutoku may have Kanwu now, but her actual heart is with Ryuubi.
 
So the Seito Academy gang are in a dilemma as they can’t really go all out and attack Kyosho Academy for a rescue attempt either. Meanwhile that ever fight loving Hakufu decides to go to Kyosho Academy to have a duel with Moutoku but is instead faced with Kanwu. Of course Hakufu doesn’t really know what’s going on or why she really switch sides but what the heck, she’s just here for the fight. During the fight Hakufu’s inner dragon awakens and unleashes her usual latent super power. Though Hakufu and Kanwu are on par with each other. Just then Moutoku shows up and decides to interrupt Kanwu’s battle and takes over for her against Kanwu’s will. In short, Moutoku’s inner dragon power is more powerful than Hakufu’s as he blasts Hakufu into smithereens. Oh no. Is this the end of Hakufu? Is this a heroine’s end? Well, since she’s one of the heroines for the series, she won’t die that easily, right? This is just to add to the suspense.
 
Remember 1 of the 4 Devas of Nanyou Academy, Saji? Yeah, he finally makes his real appearance in episode 9. A bit late don’t you think? And no, the opening credits or that flashback in the first episode don’t count. Saji’s saying something like he’s meditating in the woods all these while. Not too sure if he actually said that. Okay, Saji’s back and the 4 Devas are now a whole. Looks like Koukin has taken Kannei’s place obviously. Saji is still that lecherous self as the gang have heard that Hakufu have died during her lone battle with Moutoku at Kyosho Academy. While the rest are in shock, Saji thinks otherwise. Then Saji proceeds to show them why Hakufu may not be dead at some shrine temple. Can’t remember anything here accept that some girl from Seito Academy showed up to go meet Koumei. I don’t know about Saji’s explanations but Saji revealed that this girl was the one who assassinated Kakuka under the orders of Koumei.
 
So the 4 Devas of Nanyou head to Seito Academy and Saji is making his advances on Ryuubi. Luckily Ryuubi isn’t that kind of girl who would fall for such ‘charms’ as she calls Saji a pervert. But that aside, the main thing here is that the reason why Koumei wants to meet her Nanyou counterparts is that she is thinking of making a Seito-Nanyou alliance against the Kyosho threat. Just like in ROTK whereby Shu Han and Eastern Wu team up to defeat a strong and advancing Cao Wei state. Also, it seems Koumei is planning to reenact that great final Battle Of Chibi again and says it’s inevitable. Nightfall back at Kyosho Academy, it seems Kakouton is planning to set Kanwu free because he knows of her loyalty to Ryuubi and also this isn’t the fair and square way of how he do things. Kanwu admires Kakouton as a great warrior and leaves the school grounds. However, Moutoku is watching Kakouton and isn’t too fond of his actions. We see some ROTK warrior spirit emerging out from Moutoku’s body and is as though he possessed Moutoku. Soon the 2 engage in a short fight but that possessed Moutoku is much stronger. Holy #&*#!!! Kakouton’s fingers are one bloody messed up &*@#!!! Moutoku goes in for the killing blow. Is this the end of him?
 
More drama in episode 10 as we further see Moutoku being further possessed by that ROTK warrior ghost. Therefore, Shiba-I, acting as though it’s like Motouku’s orders, commands the Kyosho warriors to hunt and exterminate warriors which are not alligned with Kyosho. Which means Seito and Nanyou are their likely targets. And since Moutoku is dangerously powerful, Shiba-I kept him chained up in some dark room. Is that enough to keep him at bay? Also, Koumei has entrusted that Dragon Jade to the Nanyou side. And more of those fighting from Seito-Nanyou against the weaker Kyosho warriors.
 
As I’ve mentioned earlier on, Hakufu won’t die easily as we see her unconscious near a waterfall cave deep in the forest. So if you’re wondering when will that Ukitsu girl show up, it’s right here. Another late appearance. So is that old Choukou guy. Also another new character introduced, Rikuson Hakugen, a bespectacled Nanyou Academy girl who supposedly found Hakufu floating in the river after her battle with Moutoku and is a student of Choukou. I felt that this Hakugen girl didn’t pretty do much even though there are a few more episodes left in the series. Choukou plans on reviving Hakufu though he only successfully awakened her inner dragon. You should see that elaborated revival method as that inner dragon took over Hakufu and goes on a rampage. But in order to revive Hakufu’s body, that is Ukitsu’s job, since in history she was the one supposed to kill Hakufu so theoratically, the one who could also revive her. Besides, Hakufu’s water dragon is needed so that she could be combined with Ryuubi’s lightning dragon in order to douse Moutoku’s fire dragon. I think it’s something like that. Meanwhile Kanwu is back at Seito Academy but decides not to let Ryuubi know that she’s back with them just yet, though she met Koukin there.
 
The final battle between Seito-Nanyou against Kyosho is set to be at a place which look somewhat like an abandoned oil refinery in episode 11. So some words from Koumei about that destiny crap thing as the Dragon Jade is now at stake. Meanwhile Shiba-I is talking to a chained up Moutoku when that ROTK ghost in a way possesses her to prove her loyalty and borrows her powers. While the Seito-Nanyou gang are waiting for the Kyosho warriors to arrive, we see Ukitsu trying to revive Hakufu as the latter have some weird flashbacks. Hakufu’s dragon is going wild (yeah, it’s really causing waves) when Chouun is gonna take her out (she’s under Koumei’s orders to kill Hakufu if the dragon consumes her. I think) but Ukitsu stops her in time. Kinda reminds you of Ichigo’s case from Bleach when he nearly transformed into a Hollow, huh? Ukitsu mentions that she finally manage to revive Hakufu’s body as she collapsed.
 
Sunset, and the Kyosho warriors have arrived. But Moutoku isn’t there and Shiba-I says that she’s here in place of him rather than being a coward as what Koumei suggested. As the battle begins, Koumei and Ryuubi stick together and watch just like spectators (actually to watch over the Dragon Jade) as with the same with Shiba-I. So it’s a one-on-one battle with Ryomou continuing her duel with Kakouen, Chouryou taking on Saji, whereas Gakushuu, Chouhi and Koukin fights a Kyosho monk each. I kinda feel that the fights are somewhat short (maybe they need to show how each of them fared) and didn’t amount to anything spectacular. Of course the Seito-Nanyou warriors win their respective matches except for Chouhi who’s struggling with hers. Because Chouhi is down, Ryuubi has to step in for her but she’s just defending. Just then Kanwu appears and says it’s gonna be a fair six-on-six battle. Oh yeah, I just remembered, there’s a big-sized girl from Kyosho whose name I can’t seem to remember. I think Chouhi was taking on her initially and then that monk. So it’s a 1 on 2. Anyway, Ryuubi’s glad to see Kanwu back on their side.
 
It isn’t necessarily over yet even though we see the other fallen Kyosho warriors badly beaten, brusied an unconscious at the start of the final episode 12. Kanwu gets to defeat the remaining ones and this pisses off Shiba-I. I find this part funny because she drove the car she was sitting in right to the top of the refinery where Koumei and Ryuubi are. So much so the refinery caught fire because of the broken pipes the car caused. I thought she’s wheelchair ridden. Maybe she just like to sit and be pushed around. Haha. Yeah, that woman can now stand. Kanwu in a flash goes to the top and slashes Shiba-I. But it isn’t over yet. Shiba-I’s body glow with a red radiance so much so it awakens Moutoku back at Kyosho, as he breaks his chains and flies to the battle place. Everyone is surprised at Moutoku and it seems his dragon is trying to awake Ryuubi’s inner dragon as well as the latter goes into a trance. Since Ryuubi’s control over her dragon isn’t good, in no time, she’ll be engulfed by Moutoku’s. Thus Koumei says that they need the wind in order to change their current situation. I suppose this is the only part which is simiar to the ROTK Battle Of Chibi, using the wind factor to achieve victory. Kanwu pleads to Moutoku that she’ll join his army in exchange for Ryuubi’s release. But I don’t think that guy’s listening.
 
However, it isn’t the wind that saved the day, but rain water. Rain water? Uh-huh. It’s Hakufu! She’s back and she spots a new outfit but still that same old character. With renewed determination and hope from both Hakufu and Ryuubi, they both combined their strength together with the Dragon Jade, eventually that possessed ROTK warrior in Moutoku is defeated. What happens to Moutoku himself, I don’t really know whether he’s dead for sure or just vanished somewhere. Next we see the aftermath of the event 1 month later. Ukitsu has already died with Choukou and Hakugen praying at her grave. Come to think of it, those 2 people didn’t meet anybody else in this series. Koumei and that girl she sent to assassinate Kakuka are attracting a large crowd with their fishing. Chouhi is digging in Kouchu’s dish while Gakushuu is working at some convenient store. However he broke the store’s window glass when he tried to quell some small fry troublemaker who’s harrassing some lady (yeah, that lady is in love with him now). Kyosho’s 3 monks are doing some meditation of their own, which is some tourist attraction. Big-sized Kyosho girl is playing some power volleyball. Teni and Chouryou attend to some horses while Chouun tries her luck at flower arrangement. Meanwhile Saji is still flirting with girls at a fast food outlet and Koukin is trying to study for his exams. Has the schools ever been into that since all the students are concerned with fighting and supremacy all this while. Hakufu and Ryomou gets into some sexy cat maid outfit for their waitressing job. Ryuubi is seen doing what she loves most, reading, as she suggests and hands a book for Kanwu to read. A book on Ikkitousen? I think ROTK would be better. Plus, if she had read this in the first place, all this could’ve been avoided, right? Finally we see Kaku wandering around in the city as she spots Kakouton sitting dejectedly. This guy’s still alive but has some sort of amnesia as he’s wondering where his buddies Moutoku and Kakuka are now.
 
Overall, I think the whole anime is just average though I feel that it’s somewhat a little better than the first one. Although with the way things ended I still felt a little let down, especially some of the characters like Kaku and Kakouton. Like as though there may be another sequel. For now, if there’s one, I’m not planning to continue watching. Still if you’re planning on watching this series (most likely recommended not to unless you’re an ecchi and/or fanservice addict), then you should go watch the previous season first rather than jump straight right into this one. Unless of course, you don’t really want to follow the plot. And if you still can’t get enough, there’s still the manga and the video game to satisfy your craving.
 
As mentioned, the drawing and art seems a little better. So some of the characters may look a little different from the first season, like Saji and Koukin. It took me a while to recognize them and even so it was because according to common sense he’s the only one left due to certain criteria and such.
 
But this time the opening theme song is quite nice and resembles like a dance song to get viewers into the mood of the show. It’s called Heart & Soul, sung by Mai Kariyuki, and the chorus has a catchy line which goes something like "Ba ba baning (I found out later it’s actually ‘burning’). I think it’ll sound better if you enhance the bass sound. The ending theme, Garasu No Hana by IORI is a slower ballad.
 
Later I came to a conclusion why the second season has only 12 episodes is probably because there are 3 OVA episodes after that. What I read is just a 3 minute episode an is filled with nakedness and bouncy boobs. Yeah, female warriors in the flesh. They really go bare all out here. I’m not so interested in watching it. Speaking on the topic of ecchiness, you can already tell how much of it from the opening credits itself. Also, the mid-intermission has the ladies posing in sexy outfits with some heavy and fierce but short rock music in the background.
 
While even there is an anime series on ROTK itself, it’s still best to read the classic literature (couldn’t say the same for myself). Watch this just for the sake of fun and amusement. If those ROTK warriors ever see this, I think they’ll shake their heads and moan. I wouldn’t say they’re rewriting history but the future and destiny of Japan is in the hand of a bunch of teens. I can see how it is all gonna turn out. At least the female clothing industry will still be around the way those girls rip their clothes everytime they go into a fist fight.
 
Ikkitousen Dragon Destiny

Ueki No Housoku

October 20, 2007

Okay, I take back last week’s blog on Gakuen Alice that it was the longest duration that I’ve watched for a short series anime. Likewise, I could safely say that The Law Of Ueki also took me around that duration to complete watching the entire series. If my memory serves me well, it’s more than a year an a half. And my last blog on it was on 25th February 2006. That feels like a long time in blog sense.
 
But unlike Gakuen Alice, this series didn’t have subbing problems in the sense that the fansubbers decided to drop subbing it half way. So why did I stop watching this action adventure comedy of 51 episodes? Mainly, when I watched this series more than a year ago, the series was currently running in Japan and sadly I think I wasn’t that patient to wait for the subs to come out yet and I had several other animes I intended to watch at that time. Thus, I decided to ‘leave’ this anime and watch the other more ‘priority’ animes and keep this one at the back of my head.
 
Over time, I must’ve forgotten all about it and even when the series has ended its run. So what prompt me to watch this series again? Well, the local tv station just aired this series several weeks ago and instantly it brought back some memories about the show. Thus, I made it a point to complete the once forgotten series. And I finally did. Phew.
 
So just a short recap of what the show is about. We have this God, whom is known as and we shall refer to as Kamisama, who decides to select the next candidate to become God through some kind of battle royale style tournament involving high school students and those students, AKA Power Users, represent a candidate to become God. Kamisama’s personality makes you think how this guy could get such a position in the first place. The interesting thing about the fights is that the Power Users have the ability to change or materialize something into something else like beads into bombs or towels into steel. During Power User fights, the loser will lose his/her power changing ability and his/her candidate is out of the running whereas the winner moves 1 step closer to achieve a blank zai. What’s that? Well, the last standing person not only has his/her God candidate become God but as a reward, gets a blank zai, in which he/she is able to write the skill that he/she desires most. Sounds like an easy way to achieve one’s skill. Of course that there are other rules too like how a God candidate cannot help nor interfere with a Power User’s battle and if a Power User uses his/her power on a non-Power User (read: normal humans not involved in the tournament), he/she loses 1 zai and if a person has zero zais, that person will vanish from the face of the Earth.
 
Thus our main hero of the show, Kousuke Ueki, is your typical densed, not-so-smart kid but his sense of justice and friendship stands tall above anything else. With his power of changing trash into trees, and along with his friends, Ai Mori, Seiichiro Sano, Rinka Jerad, Hideyoshi Souya and Tenko (some Heavenly Beast who somewhat becomes Ueki wrist band), the gang manages to pass the first round and qualify for the second. They’re not doing it for the blank zai but to save Ueki’s God candidate, Kobayashi, who has been sent to hell for interfering in a Power User battle, and Sano’s God candidate, Inumaru, who was also sent to hell for the same reason.
 
At the same time, Margarette, Robert’s father with a girl’s name, decides that his son has no longer use after Robert’s battle with Ueki causes Robert to come to his senses a little, and uses his other son, Anon to devour and hence disguise as Robert. Just like Anon, Ueki isn’t a normal human being and is a Heavenly Being, meaning he’s born in Heaven. Therefore, Ueki is able to use the 10 Sacred Treasures in addition to his usual power. If you want more information on this, I think wikipedia has a comprehensive explanation about this.
 
However, Ueki and co didn’t get pass round 2 because Ueki chose the wrong ice cream stick?! Gasp! Don’t worry it isn’t the end of the world yet. Those who don’t pass the second round go into the third round like most of the other Power Users. Those who did, skips this round and automatically qualify for the fourth round. Albeit only Rihou and Anon are the only ones successful. At this point, only Ueki and co only knows Anon is disguising himself as Robert and to everyone else, Anon is Robert. But to avoid confusion, I will refer to Anon as Anon.
 
So round 3 takes place in Heaven and has the remaining Power Users split into groups of 4 or 5 members and in this round, every team fights each other in 1 round robin. Thus Ueki Team’s first match is with Gurono Team and the former wins after a hard fought battle. Of course throughout the course of the series, Ueki has his chance to power up and use his 10 Sacred Treasures more effectively like how he gets another ‘lesson’ from Rihou. Ueki Team’s next opponents are the battle-hardened Marilyn Team. This was where I stopped at somewhere halfway during the battle story arc of Ueki Team and Marilyn Team.
 
Each Power User is given a necklace which holds 1 point but unknown to everyone, 1 member on each team hold a 10 point necklace. Meaning by the end of the match, the team with the most points win. With Rinko taken out very early in the match and Marilyn Team seems to be having the upper hand, Ueki Team is in a pinch. Plus, with Marilyn Team’s Barron holding off Ueki while the rest goes after the ‘weak’ members of Ueki Team, can Ueki finish his match and come rescue them all in time? After seeing lots of this kind of animes, the answer is of course yes. You just need to be patient. Besides, Ueki’s pals aren’t that useless. They manage to cooperate and bring out the best of their powers.
 
Kamisama decides to make things more interesting when he reveals which member is having the 10 point necklace. For Marilyn Team it is Marilyn herself and for Ueki Team it is… Ai! Oh no. Now this Power User who hardly knows what her special power is will be the new target. Though Ueki manages to reach the gang in time, Marilyn decides to take him on as she orders the rest to capture Ai. Yeah, Hideyoshi has been taken out by this time. During the fight with Marilyn, Ueki notices how Marilyn doesn’t want to fight and proceeds to walk away to go to his friends, pissing her off, as she hits a weakened Ueki to make him fight her but to no avail. Ueki just kept walking. In the end, though Marilyn remembered her painful past and fainted because she used up too much of her power, that Ueki still decides to bring her along with him and he didn’t take the 10 point necklace. Viewers may go "Hey! He’s so dumb for not taking the necklace" but I don’t think that’s the most important thing Ueki is thinking right now.
 
Meanwhile Sano confronts with Matthew and this is where Sano powers up to Level 2. You see, each Power User has the chance to power up into Level 2 to enhance their special power even further. I don’t really remember how one could power up to Level 2, but I guess Sano’s strong will and determination allows him to do so. Thus Sano’s Level 2 is super magnetism. Yeah, he’s having lots of creative ideas and fun while battling Matthew and eventually wins. At the same time, a helpless Ai is confronted by Marilyn Team’s Memory. Also here, Ai figures out what her special power is. I kinda felt how in the world could there be such a special power like this. Could you guess it? It’s the power to make people fall in love with glasses! That’s right. You’ll turn into a megane freak. And Memory is her first victim. I’m not really sure how those clues during the flashback made Ai discover this power by chance. Something to do with a profiteer and mice. I’m not sure how they are connected to the glass loving power as I don’t recall any explanation on it. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention. Though Ai manages to make Memory knock herself out, she was unable to Memory’s necklace because time had ran out. But in the end of the battle round, Ueki Team wins with the scoreline 3-2.
 
Buoyed with their second consecutive victory, Ueki Team are pretty happy facing their next opponents, Caption Team. That’s because a victory will ensure them they’ll go through the next round. However, Anon decides to bring them back to the ground by beating up all of Ueki Team. Because Ueki Team couldn’t make it in time, Caption Team wins by default. Ueki Team are pretty sore by the fact that Anon played dirty but Anon’s intention is to make them stronger this way. Before their final match, Ueki Team is granted some time to go back home on Earth and some moments between Ueki and his ‘fake/substitute’ Earthly father and real Heavenly dad. But let’s leave the drama aside.
 
The final match for Ueki Team is Ballow Team. However, they are not just any ordinary team members. Just like Ueki, the members of Ballow Team are Heavenly Beings too! Which means they can use the 10 Sacred Treasures. Looks like Team Ueki is at disadvantage. Ballow Team’s goal is to let Anon win the tournament at any cost, which is unlike Robert’s 10 whose goal is to reduce the number of Power Users. This match is a best out of 5 and the first side to achieve 3 wins will win this battle. The members are picked at random and when a match is over, that member has a potential of getting picked again unless he/she is unconscious. Plus there’s a spot in the ring which nullifies all special powers but staying in it for 10 seconds will mean the opponent team’s victory. That’s good news and bad news.
 
First up is Rinka and Ban Dicoot (yes, that animal name but he doesn’t look like it. More like a punk) or Ban for short. Ban’s power is to change his Sacred Treasures into living objects. Since Rinka loves animals, she can’t lay a finger on it. I suppose everyone has their limits because after much mocking and teasing from Ban, Rinka snaps and goes into some sort of scary ‘trance’. She’s slapping Ban and his living Sacred Treasure like nobody’s business with her super power gloves. Rinka wins in the end but has no recollection of what has happened and is back to her genki self. So Ueki and co, be careful of what you say to her. Ballow knocks Ban unconscious as punishment for losing the match.
 
Next up is Sano against Diego (no relation to that Argentine footballer), whose power is to change his Sacred Treasure invisible, therefore Sano can’t see what’s coming nor does he know what hit him. After some power exchanging blows, Sano lost because he stayed too long in that nullification area. He can’t get out either because Diego will pummel him with his Sacred Treasure. No choice. Then it’s Ai against Kilnorton (do the producers have something against that anti-virus programme?). That bespectacled guy thinks he’s got an IQ of 179 but I think he’s the dumbest one (obviously). Why, he even allow Ai to use that glass loving power on him and tells her all his theories about how he’s got each area covered of not falling into her control like gluing his specs to his face! Ai wins in the end, partly because of his stupidity as Ai not only carry 1 pair of glasses, but a whole bunch of them in her backpack. Besides, Kilnorton’s special power is never revealed nor known throughout the rest of the show. He should get his IQ score rechecked again.
 
Since Ballow is the only 1 left on his team, obviously he’s the next one but who is it gonna be for Ueki Team? It’s Sano. To cut things short, Sano lost but not before he vows to reveal Ballows special power. What could it be? I’ll get to the point it’s a deja vu Sacred Treasure, meaning he can make past visions of the Sacred Treasures into reality once more, hence like a deja vu. With the score now tied at 2-2, the final match is set to be between Ballow and Ueki. As usual some sad flashback from Ballow on how he came to be but more importantly, Ueki now powers up into Level 2. Yes! His Level 2 power is recycle! Which means he can undo the Power User’s power back into its original form. Not only that, this also applies to his own power from garbage to trees to garbage. It’s like a recycling process. In the end, Ueki wins the match and the overall battle. Now that all the times have fought, Ueki Team and Ballow Team qualifies for the fourth round with each having 3 wins and a lost. Marilyn Team has 2 wins, 2 losses (they forfeited the match with Ballow Team), the same as Caption Team while Guroro Team occupies bottom spot with no wins.
 
While our heroes are relaxing before the final round, another back story of how Kamisama got the idea of organizing this tournament in the first place. It was some girl he met while he’s on Earth. That girl’s Haruko and is Ueki’s mom. Haruko is quite positive and energetic as she always look towards the future. It’s quite ironic to see this girl, a mere mortal, teach God about the future. Haruko ‘forces’ Kamisama to be with her because she’s gratitude towards him after he saves her from a couple of thugs. Later, she even disregarded her own safety and life to save an old grandma who’s stuck while crossing the railroad tracks. With that Kamisama’s eyes opened. Haruko died in an accident shortly after giving birth to Ueki. Another main reason for holding this tournament is that he wants to teach those Protector Clan from Hell about the future. It seems that they’ve been dwelling on the past and is using this tournament to take over Heaven. I’m not sure about the details, but I think it’s like that.
 
Thus before the next round begins, Kamisama and Margarette have a face-off between themselves. With Kamisama representing the future and Margarette representing the past. Both different points of view in time. Can Margarette really whack Kamisama like that? Well, it seems Margarette notices Kamisama isn’t serious because he isn’t unleashing his full powers during their bout. But before anything further could happen, Anon decides to move in. Yup, he stabs Kamisama and devours him! Just like being the true evil devil, Anon tells his dad that he’s gonna do things his way. So much for Margarette’s plans. Oh well, he did brought up a monster. Anon then decides to start the final round now and reveals himself as Anon and no longer as Robert. Since he has become God after devouring Kamisama, he has the right to make or change the rules too.
 
The final round rules are simple. The final Power Users need to get onto the raised platform where Anon is and beat him within a 12 hour time limit. They can team up and stop other teams from reaching him first or they all can gang up and beat the crap out of him, whichever is fine. As long as nobody wins in that time frame, Anon wins and will bring his wish of a world without obstacles, that is, by destroying the current world. Typical evil baddies intention. So the first to confront Anon is Rihou but to cut things short, Rihou lost. And he even stood by his words of not using his special powers to defeat him. Once Rihou is unconscious, it’s Sano and Rinko who’re teaming up with Ban and Diego. The Ballow Team members felt betrayed by Anon’s words and Ban and Diego wants to go beat Anon while Kilnorton decides to withdraw because he thinks they’ve got no chance of winning (chicken!) while Ballow himself is indecisive.
 
Meanwhile, Margarette confronts Ueki and decides to help him power up so that he can use all his 10 Sacred Treasures. While doing so, Ai is heading towards the platform only to be confronted with Kilnorton. She thinks he’s a pervert. But what Kilnorton wants is Ai to make him fall in love with her glasses so that he could follow her orders to fight alongside with his companions. But it’s later revealed that Kilnorton did it on his own accord and not because he was under Ai’s glass controlling spell. He really should have his IQ checked. The duo finally made it and it’s time for Ban, Diego and Kilnorton to unleash their super Sacred Treasure combo. Unfortunately, Anon took Kilnorton out on the first blow and everyone is shocked to find that Kilnorton is already out just when he arrived. Then there’s this funny part when Sano is gonna unleash some super never seen before move. The aftermath of it indicates that it didn’t work as Diego quotes how cool that move was. Then a note on the screen appeared and says "Please imagine that move yourself". Hahaha! A lot of viewers felt they were ripped off (in a funny way of course) but I think that’s the best punch line I’ve heard so far in this series.
 
The quintet are trying their best to defeat Anon, but even their combined attacks are no match for a superior Anon. Finally Anon decides to finish of Ai by dropping her straight down to her death. Is this the end? As expected, Ueki arrives just in time to catch Ai from her impending doom. Yay! Ueki’s powered up and now he can use 1 of the Sacred Treasures flight ability, the 9-Star Seikku. Thus begans the much anticipated final battle between Ueki and Anon. Prior to that, we see Hideyoshi actually chickening out as he thinks it’ll be okay if Ueki handles it. Not that he’s being selfish, it’s just that with his useless powers, he thinks he’ll be in the way. But Hideyoshi met Ballow and well it seems the latter too is running away. Hideyoshi is good at bluffing people and bluffs Ballow that he’s here to pick him up to fight alongside his pals (also to save his ego). And they’re both on their way.
 
So a lot of action, fighting and also talking as the 2 heavyweights try to outdo each other. The duo also by this time has unleashed their 10-Star Sacred Treasure called Maoh, believed to be the ultimate weapon. While Anon’s resembles a deadly giant ram, Ueki’s one is… Kobayashi! Looks pathetic at first sight because the form is based on the user’s will. However, Ueki’s Maoh is not as powerful as Anon’s. Not only that, Anon has spit out Robert and the effect is that since Anon takes over whatever attributes for those he devours, Anon is no longer a Power User and if Ueki uses his powers on him, he’ll lose 1 zai. At last count, Ueki has 18 zais left. You might think Ueki’s being reckless, firing his Kurogane, Picks and other Sacred Treasures at Anon just to try to find a way to take him down. Ueki’s losing zai like as fast as the flow of a tap water! Then Anon mentioning something about 1 can only use the Maoh 6 times. Since Anon has used up all of his and Ueki has 1 more turn left (not to mention 1 zai left!), Ueki is gonna give it all, even if it means disappearing from the face of the Earth. No Ueki! Don’t!!! Ai and the rest could only watch in horror as Ueki lands his final Maoh blow on Anon.
 
As the gang recovers from the shocking and dusty aftermath, everyone is fearing the worst that Ueki may be gone when Ballow arrives carrying an unconscious Hideyoshi on his back. Though they’re skeptical about Barrow at first because they thought he knocked Hideyoshi out, Barrow then mentioned that they went up the wrong entrance of the platform when a stray Kurogane hit Hideyoshi right on, knocking him out. Ai then realizes what Ballow has said and there’s a possibilty that Ueki may still be alive. Why? Because 1 of the rules of the tournament is that if a Power User defeats another Power User, the winner gains a zai. Which means, Ueki has 2 zais before that last blow. And true enough, Ueki emerges from the smoke and wonders why he hasn’t vanished yet. Hooray! Ai is so happy and relieved. So in the end, the most ‘useless’ person turned out to be the real hero. With that, Ueki wins the overall tournament and gets the blank zai. Well, Anon even admits he lost.
 
I felt that even though the ending was good but it seems that it was as though they’re trying to do a rush job in tying up what happened to all the main characters. Thus, it wasn’t that satisfying. For instance as narrated by Ai like how each of them went their own way, Rinko and Robert ended up together but it’s a short-lived one because they broke up soon after, Rihou goes back to train himself further, how Marilyn and co writes to Ueki and the rest from time to time, and how the 4 Ballow Team members got along well with each other. Also, Kamisama is recuperating in the Heavenly hospital and the next God as agreed by Ueki and co, would be Inumaru. So are Inumaru and Kobayashi’s pardoned of their ‘sin’? Anon and Margarette were sent back straight to hell and without a human body, chances are that they won’t be returning so soon, and probably never. Tenko returns to Heaven and I felt that this little guy didn’t turn into his big self ever since I resumed watching this series. And once it’s all over, Ai thinks back and sometimes felt that it was all just a dream. I think that single zai Ueki has left is to be good in maths because he answered the question damn well, though he’s still his sleepy self in class (tired from all that fighting maybe). Then the class gets a new transfer teacher. Why, it’s Kobayashi! Why is Kobayashi here? I’m thinking it’s because of what Ueki wrote on his blank zai. The zai of reunion. So which means, Ueki gets to meet all his old buddies in time? Oh well. Kobayashi’s a start.
 
Overall, I’m glad to have finished watching the series. Many thanks to the local tv station which serves as a ‘timely reminder’ for me to go watch the series. In some ways, the series reminded me a little like Shaman King in which the good guys enter a tournament, fight their rivals, made friends and triumphs over evil. But this one is a little different in the sense that there really is a winner (and I expected Ueki to win too).
 
Though the drawing, art and animation seems pretty standard, I somehow can’t help find that the character’s facial features at times are somewhat ‘simple’. Uh-huh. Sometimes they remind me of pac-man. Hmm… Must be their mouths. While the cast of characters are colourful, Ueki’s selflessness is something one should admire but my favourite character is still Ai because she’s usually the voice of rebuking in comical situations which may seem contrasting to what they actually are. Yeah, even the next episode preview is narrated by her in a ‘distressful’ voice. Quite amusing.
 
Speaking of characters, there’re quite a number of star-studded voice actors and actresses for this series. For instance, Ueki is voiced by Romi Paku who also did Edward in Fullmetal Alchemist and Tao Ren in Shaman King. Mamiko Noto voices Rinko who also did Enma Ai in Jigoku Shoujo and Yakumo in School Rumble. Kappei Yamaguchi who voices Hideyoshi is well known as the male Ranma in Ranma 1/2, Shinichi Kudou of Detective Conan, and Inuyasha of Inuyasha fame. Souichiro Hoshi who voices Sano also voices Kaoru of Ai Yori Aoshi, Kei of Onegai Teacher and Son Goku of Saiyuki. Tomoko Kawakami who voices Ai also does Athena in Aria The Animation, Sayuri of Kanon and Fuyuki of Keroro Gunso.
 
There are several opening and ending themes songs in this sereis but the one I still like best is the first opening theme song, Falco, sung by Hitomi Shimatani. It may sound like an Egyptian song, but it’s quite catchy and upbeat. The rest were just okay and didn’t appeal to me like the first ending song Little Planets by Aiko Kayo is a slow ballad just like the theme on the last episode by Hitmoi Shimatani also, True Blue. The second opening theme, No Regrets, by Kumi Koda sounds like a comeback song whereby the good guys are gonna win while the fourth ending song, Bokutachi Ni Aru Mono sounds like a tropical song. The third ending theme has the title so long that I forgot how the song like. Something like Kono Machi De… Erm… Ah… Ah, forget it. (It’s Kono Machi De Wa Dare Mo Minna Jibun Igai No Nani Ka Ni Naritagaru. Phew!).
 
The title of each episode has the lines ‘~no housoku’ meaning ‘The law of~’, though not necessarily that particular subject’s law is like that. I also kinda notice that whenever the Power User activates his/her power, they must say that long line of "The power to turn ~ into ~" and swoosh. Here it is. Maybe it’s part of the process like how all magical girls go through their henshin. Plus if you notice that there are some green and environment friendly themes in this anime like how the characters Ueki, Mori and Kobayashi means planting tree, forest and small woods. Even Ueki’s power and recycling Level 2 power are eco-friendly. So remember to properly recycle your trash and plant more trees. But I kinda notice that during the battles, they caused some environmental damage to the surroundings. Maybe that’s not so important.
 
Oh yeah, in my previous blog of the series, I did a little comparison of how some characters look like characters in other animes. Let me add to that list, albeit is just a short one. Rihou looks like Kai of Yakitate! Japan and likewise, Adachi too resembles Kazuma of Yakitate! Japan. Kilnorton looks like Abiko of Mamoru-kun Ni Megami No Shukufuku Wo, Matthew a bit like Kenpachi of Bleach and Ban looks like a delinquent from Cromartie High School. That’s it. You’re expecting a longer list? And my special power to change faces into smiles and laughter… I think my own face is funny (perasan!) enough without having to pull any stuffs. And that’s the law of Chua Tek Ming after watching too much animes.

Driver’s High

October 19, 2007

  Atsuku natta gin no METARIKKU HAATO,
  Doukasen ni hi wo tsukete ageru,
  Fushigi na hodo HAI na kibun sa,
  Sunabokori wo maki agete yukou
 
Here is another opening anime theme that I instantly like when I first heard it a couple of years ago. This is the first opening theme song from the anime Great Teacher Onizuka AKA GTO, which is Driver’s High sung by the group called L’arc~en~ciel. Though the group name does sound like French but they’re Japanese actually.
 
  Himei wo majirase bosou suru kedo,
  Me no mae ni wa MISAIRU no ame
 
This rock song definitely fits the anime genre of the show and the lyrics isn’t about your typical boy-girl love relationship (heck, the song title should have given you a hint). Yup, it’s about speed and racers, seeing that the anime’s main character Onizuka is an ex-biker gang (I think. I could be wrong. But I’m pretty certain he’s a delinquent).
 
  Machi wo oikoshite kono yo no hate made,
  Buttobashite shinjuu shiyou saa te wo nobashite
 
Unfortunately for me, this song doesn’t have any karaoke or instrumental versions of it. Likewise, I kinda notice anime songs which are sung by L’arc~en~ciel don’t usually have karaoke or instrumental versions. So I have the honours of doing a ‘duet’ with the group, though it’s been a long time since I sang this song. Brings back memories.
 
  Chiheisen ni todoku you ni,
  Genkai made furikitte kure,
  Woh! Clash! Into the rolling morning,
  Flash! I’m in the coolest driver’s high,
  Saikou no FINARE wo, Yeah!
 
Although this song doesn’t have that high pitched long sustaining lines, somehow I find it rather difficult to sing at times. I think it’s because of the lower tone that the group is singing, especially the verses. Therefore, I really sound horrible in comparison. Isn’t it the same old story?
 
  Kakenukete yo jikangire made,
  Umaretsuki no SUPIIDO Kyou na no sa,
  Woh! Clahs! Into the rolling morning,
  Flash! I’m in the coolest driver’s high,
  Raise de mata aou, Yeah!
 
Maybe I’m just better off listening to the real pros singing. But it won’t hurt (how unlikely) if I keep trying, won’t it?
 
Great Teacher Onizuka

Gakuen Alice

October 13, 2007

Finally. This has got to be the longest duration for me to watch a short anime series. Yeah, it took me about close to a year and a half to finish watching the entire series. Which series am I talking about? It’s Gakuen Alice of course. So much so, I don’t think I can remember what happened in the earlier episodes (keeping my fingers crossed).
 
So why did it take so long for me to finish this series? Firstly, it’s my fault for not understanding Japanese. Therefore I had to wait for the subs to come out. Though this series has only 26 episodes of 30 minutes each, for some unknown reasons, the people who were subbing the series stopped somewhere at episode 15. For all those faithfuls who have been following the series then, must be really frustrated and their patience running thin (like me). Fortunately, early this year, another fansub group decided to pick up and continue subbing from where the previous one left off, and yahoo! Gakuen Alice fans were able to complete finish watching the series, though they did take their time on subbing the remaining episodes. But many thanks anyway.
 
The series at first look may seem to appeal to younger audience because the main characters of the series are 10 year old children with your typical wide-eye cute and kawaii looking kiddies. But for those who enjoy some magical and comedy genre, this would also appeal to older audiences.
 
The basic premise of this story is about this little girl, Mikan Sakura, who considers Hotaru Imai, the bestest friend in the whole wide world. Unfortunately, the personalities of these 2 individuals are somewhat contrasting. Mikan is a scatterbrain (AKA chicken backside), crybaby, clumsy, energetic but is very good natured. On the other hand, Hotaru is the smarter but more quiet type, expressionless, cold and at times scheming. Hotaru doesn’t really consider Mikan to be her best buddy but deep down in her heart she does care for Mikan. You wonder how they ended up together. But like they say, opposites do attract.
 
One day, the intelligent Hotaru is set to be transferred to a school in Tokyo called Gakuen Alice or Alice Academy, for geniuses and prodigies. Mikan is devastated to find out about it and of course tries to protest and stop her. You’ll notice Mikan never really wins against Hotaru and there’s even a scoreboard outside the school to keep that school. I don’t remember Hotaru’s score but Mikan’s is definitely a zero. Some time has passed and Mikan receives a postcard letter from Hotaru but Mikan also heard rumours about the place being like a prison and that even one’s parents can’t see their child after graduation. Thus, Mikan can’t stand being separated from her best pal, decides to go rescue her herself. I think that’s the only thing she’s thinking at that time because Mikan didn’t really think about the consequences of running away just like that. Isn’t she worried about herself a little girl setting foot in the large and dangerous Tokyo city?
 
See how dangerous it is because Mikan is being approached by 2 strangers upon her arrival outside the academy gates as they asks her to get into their car. Before anything could happen, a blonde man, Narumi, uses some kind of powers to let Mikan go before they left. Narumi also seems to use his powers to make Mikan go home but it seems it doesn’t work. Because of that, he decides to take Mikan into Gakuen Alice, much to her delight. But an explosion soon occurs and caused a big hole in the nearby wall. A kid in a cat mask appears. Narumi tells Mikan that kid is 1 of the academy’s students, Hyuuga Natsume. It seems Natsume is trying to escape from the academy but Narumi manages to stop him and by knocking off his mask, revealing his face. Some warnings about using his ‘Alice’ to further escape because Narumi will do something ’embarrassing’ to him before Natsume passes out. Mikan on the other hand is in shock to see all this happening.
 
So the rest of the series will see how Mikan gets use to life in the academy and her cheery and energetic self either gets people to like her or loath her. Since there are quite a number of characters and terms here, I’ll just blog on the few important points. Like Alice. What is is actually? Well, it’s a term to refer to those with special powers. Why is it called Alice? Dunno. Can’t call them ‘mutants’ because it’s been used as a term in an American comic book. Plus, the name doesn’t go hand in hand with cute innocent looking children. What about ‘special powers’? Nah, that’s sounds too ordinary. What about ‘magic powers’? Erm… Not an RPG game here. So probably Alice sounds cuter and mysteriously filled with mystifying magic just like Lewis Carroll’s book or perfect as the Rozen Maidens. Yeah, it may stand for All Little Innocent Children’s Extraordinaire. Just kidding. Made that last bit one up.
 
There are several types of Alices. Some ranging from really dangerous ones to those which are just plain farcical. Yeah, in other words, useless and just for laughs. The academy has classified Alices into 5 categories. The first being Latent Ability, which are super power Alices which include flying and mind reading. Second, Technical Ability, which involves the usage of technology and invention. Third, Somatic Ability which is based on bodies of living things which include pheromones. Fourth, Dangerous Ability which like is name suggests can cause damage like fire and summoning of spirits. Lastly, Special Ability (in which Mikan always refers to as Useless Class) are Alices which don’t fit into the above categories.
 
Furthermore, each Alice is categorized into ‘shapes’ which determines the length and power of a particular Alice. There are 4 categories with Childhood Alice are Alices that disappear once the child grows into an adult, Diffuse Alice whereby the Alice is always available but has relatively low power, Intermittent Alice have really high power but can only be sustained for a short period of time, and Limitless Alice which is the most powerful one but there’s a catch. Such Alice can be used as much as the user wants and for how long they desire but its after effect could reduce the longevity of the user and could kill him/her outright if it’s overused.
 
While Narumi wants to make Mikan part of the academy, there are those who aren’t too fond of his idea. For instance, the cold-hearted teacher Jinno. He doesn’t hesitate to punish those who misuse their Alices and doesn’t like Mikan much. Mikan manages to get enrolled in the academy and is under the same class as Narumi’s. Good news is that Hotaru is there too. Yay! Now they can be together. Well, Hotaru isn’t too amused and wonders how Mikan can really get into this place. Yeah, Hotaru seems to be ignoring Mikan and acting as though she doesn’t know her. But another bad thing is, Natsume too is in the same class! And her seat is beside him! Mikan and Natsume don’t really get along with each other well because of that incident earlier on in the infirmary. Since Natsume’s the bad boy of the class (and possibly the enitire school), either everyone else fears him or adores him. Yeah, Natsume has his own group of followers. Plus, Natsume isn’t the kind of guy who goes round picking on fights. He’s more towards ‘I-don’t-care’ and ignoring attitude. But as the series progress, you’ll see how Mikan indirectly changes Natsume with her bubbly self. Doesn’t it remind you of Kodocha in a way?
 
Other classmates of Mikan include Ruka Nogi, Natsume’s best friend and is always concern and looking out for him. Then there’s the class president, Yuu Tobita (whom I shall refer to as Inchou because that’s what they always call him). At first I thought he’s a girl because of the way he looks and sound. Then I realize why is ‘she’ wearing shorts just like the other guys and not skirts. Upon further reading, I confirmed that Inchou is a boy. Haih… Then there’s Sumire Shoda who Mikan always calls her Perma because of her hair curls. Since it’s like this, I also have the tendency to call her Perma. Perma has a crush on Natsume and with Mikan’s appearance, she considers her to be somewhat a rival. Though, Natsume isn’t really interested in all that and seems oblivious to it. Dream on girl. Others include Kokoroyomi, Anna Umenomiya and Nonoko Ogasawara.
 
Wonder what are the Alices of those characters? Narumi’s Alice is human pheromones, which means he can make anyone like him easily. Gay thoughts come to mind. Moving on… Hotaru’s Alice is to create and invent all sort of weird stuffs easily. Some interestingly innovative and some just really make you go "What in the world is that for". But don’t worry, each time Hotaru comes up with a weird invention, she’ll explain it using a diagram of how it works and such (not that I really get it too). Natsume belongs to the Dangerous Ability and can produce fire at will. Just like Narumi, Ruka’s Alice is animal pheromones and naturally he is good in communicating with them and is always seen holding a rabbit. While Perma’s Alice is to become part dog and part cat so that her sense of smell is heightened, Inchou’s is to create illusions and Kokoroyomi is to read minds. What about Mikan’s?
 
Because nobody knows what Mikan’s Alice is, the obnoxious Perma throws a challenge to Mikan to prove that she has an Alice or else she must leave the academy. So Mikan tries to figure out her Alice while wondering in the woods but to no avail. So she also meets other interesting characters like Mr Bear, who doesn’t really have any dialogue or lines, and also one of those characters who doesn’t like Mikan too much. Yeah, you can see Mr Bear always trying to beat up Mikan and poor Mikan always get into whatever beating. Then there’s a giant chick named Piyo. No not a hot lady, but that yellow chicken offspring lah! It’s really really really huge. And because it’s too large to live in an ordinary chicken shed, it sleeps in the forest. Since Ruka can only calm it down with his Alice, it’s kinda funny to see Hotaru blackmailing Ruka with that photo or video with Ruka and Piyo coming together lovey-dovey. Hahaha.
 
Mikan and Ruka had some talk as the former finds out a little more about Natsume but didn’t understand why Natsume’s being so cold either. Soon Mikan bumps into Natsume who says that her time is up and is disqualified. Natsume doesn’t like the idea of her trying to use Ruka to cheat on the challenge (though it isn’t so) and starts to get violent. Hotaru and Inchou tries to make a situation to let Mikan escape but Natsume engulfs the area in flames. Mikan gets pissed off to see him use his Alice endangering her friends and because of that some ray of light appears and envelops them light an atomic explosion just before Natsume could fry Mikan. Once over, Narumi uses his powers to subdue Natsume and explains that Mikan’s Alice is nullification. Meaning, Mikan has the ability to nullify all Alices so that Alice users cannot use their powers around her. Cool. Sounds like Basilik’s Oboro’s Mystic Eyes, huh. However, Mikan doesn’t like her Alice because she thinks of it as a ‘useless’ Alice. But over time, she’ll learn how to appreciate it and use it during times of need.
 
So it’s now official that Mikan is now a student of the academy. Well, I suppose she has to start living (like living like a poor church mouse in Hotaru’s dorm atic) and learning about the harshness of reality that’s because even though she’s a student of the elite academy, depending on their star ranking, each student are given their allowances based on it. So it ranges from the highest 3 star to lowest no star. And you’ve probably guessed Mikan’s ranking, right? Yup, Jinno gives her a zero star. Much to Mikan’s dismay. Who wouldn’t. Since the academy is like a city/country of its own, it has its own currency called Rabbits. Erm… Don’t ask me why but I think the producers love those furry little mammals or is it because of Lewis Carroll’s book. So a no star Alice gets a meagre 5 Rabbits whereas a 3 star Alice gets a fat 100 Rabbits. Oh wait, there’s a higher star ranking which gets a whopping allowance of 300 Rabbits and it’s called Special Star, which Natsume is in. But as they say, money isn’t everything (okay maybe not) as you’ll see how Mikan and her cheery self goes about helping others even though she hasn’t has much. Pity she always has to borrow from that money-faced Hotaru and her debts accumulated each time. Always promising she’ll be paying back the next time, but at the rate she’s going, I don’t think so. A potential bankrupt if it was in the real world. Oh by the way, if you’re wondering why the academy seals itself from the outside world just like China did back then with its bamboo curtains, that’s because what happens if ordinary humans finds out about Alice? They’ll freak out as first reaction, right? So to protect and nurture these little kids with Alices, this school is set up for that purpose. Thus the when 1 has the ability to really control his/her Alice or in some cases, lose their Alice ability, they’ll leave the academy grounds. Thus it’s like a prison in the sense that nobody gets in and nobody gets out. And the campus is really really large and spacious, spanning dunno how many acres or so. You might get lost in there.
 
Along the way, Mikan gets to mix with a group of high school students of the same Special Ability class. That’s because there’s a period whereby students of the same class will get together in addition to normal classes by their age. Mikan befriends Tsubasa Andou (able to manipulate shadows) and Misaki Harada (able to clone herself) who in a way saves Mikan from being bullied (because she’s a no star. I discrimination here is well and alive too). Mikan’s senpai’s helps her feel at home and not being alienated and because of that, Mikan gains more confidence. Uh-huh, Mikan accepts the fact that she’s a weirdo like them all. Not that she says it. But I kinda felt it that way. You know the saying birds of the same feathers…
 
Other than that, Mikan’s other (mis)adventures include trying to cope with Hotaru’s weird inventions (yeah, she has one which looks like Mikan herself probably to take out her frustrations when the real one wasn’t here), playing some Alice dodgeball (it’s a wacky one but Mikan lost when it’s between her and Natsume. However, Natsume is still puzzled by her happy nature even though she lost), missing her grandpa and wants to go back but nearly gets kidnapped (because Mikan is mad that Narumi didn’t send all those letters she wrote to grandpa and lied to say that he had. You know why right?) that is until Narumi gets injured while trying to rescue her (yeah, Mikan wants to call Narumi her grandpa. I think Narumi still prefers to be called father in such circumstances), Hotaru facing off with her jealous senpai, Tashiro who thinks Hotaru is taking away the spotlight from him and challenges her to a duel but as expected he lost because he was caught cheating. Also a trip to the town centre within the academy as Mikan tries to earn more Rabbits by putting up some play in the streets so that she could taste some super sweet candy called Howaloon. In the end she manages to buy a box and even shares it with everyone including Natsume. Everyone should follow Mikan’s example. Then of course a little confrontation between Mikan and Jinno but Hotaru disrupts and defies Jinno for treating Mikan like dirt (isn’t she herself no difference). Because of that, Jinno is gonna teach Hotaru a lesson when Mikan nullifies his Alice (to produce electricity).
 
But the turning point of the series came in episode 12 when the academy is organizing a school festival. We see Natsume is being ‘kidnapped’ and doing things and assignments against his will by some organization led by a man in some mask named Persona. Maybe that’s why Natsume has always been cold. De to his last duty, Natsume gets injured and is recuperating in the infirmary. At the same time, the organizing a concert in which an ex-Alice student and now celebrity, Leo Mori, to perform at the opening ceremony. It seems Leo and Narumi knows each other and the latter is quite wary about Leo. To cut things short, Leo is part of some group which is against the academy because on the surface the academy may look like goody-two shoes but it hides something more sinister. Not only that, Leo’s job is to kidnap Natsume. Because Leo has human pheromones as his Alice, making all those who hear his voice fall under his control, he wears some sort of device to prevent that. No matter how tight the security measures were, Leo and his members manage to kidnap Natsume. Though Mikan knows about it but she is powerless. Finally, she and Perma decides to save Natsume. The other gang too wants to save Natsume but has to keep the other teachers at bay and allow Mikan and Perma to follow the car in which Leo and Natsume are in.
 
But during the chase, Mikan and Perma got captured by Leo’s henchmen and they woke up in some warehouse tied up with Natsume lying unconscious next to them. The girls eavesdropped about Leo explaining about Natsume’s past like how he burned the entire town he lived in when he was young, and that he’s known as Black Cat (nothing to do with Train Heartnet, mind you) and the academy is being used to train kids with Alices to be used in secretive missions and such. Once Natsume comes to, they decide to escape but there’s a barrier blocking the use of their Alice. Fortunately the barrier isn’t that strong as Natsume uses his fire to burn the ropes but it causes him some pain. Unfortunately, their escape is foiled when Leo spots them and soon he finds out Mikan’s nullification Alice, the reason why she wasn’t under his spell during the concert.
 
So some struggle here and there before Natsume makes a path for the 2 girls to escape and some of the henchmen chasing them. Because the ladies are gone, Natsume is thinking of burning down the warehouse filled with gunpowder. Is he going to kill himself? Mikan reflects her true objective while running away and turns back before Natsume can start the fireworks. But Natsume isn’t too amused and because of that, Leo uses this opportunity to mind control Natsume. But Mikan’s Alice just rendered them powerless as she throws some dirt on to Leo’s face as they make their escape. Meanwhile Perma is cornered by several henchmen but Tsubasa and Misaki showed up in time to rescue her. At the same time, Mikan and a weak Natsume is cornered by Leo and his henchmen. Mikan vows to face them all alone to protect Natsume when Tsubasa and Misaki arrived just in time to save the day. With that Leo decides to retreat not before 1 of his henchmen grabs Natsume and knocks over Mikan who’s trying to save him. Natsume then gets very mad and releases a super flame engulfing the warehouse and the surrounding. When Mikan comes to, she finds herself in the infirmary of the academy and her pals beside her. As for Natsume, he’s safe and is resting well in the next room. While Mikan and Perma went on their rescuing operation, it seems the academy has continued preparations with the festival and is completed. But a surprise awaits Mikan. And it’s a good one. Jinno comes in and upgrades Mikan to a 1 star Alice as reward for her bravery. Way to go girl.
 
With the main arc over, the next few episodes are about the academy’s cultural festival underway. Each ability class has been assigned to do a theme or something for the festival in episode 16. So Mikan and co go round checking out each of them. As for Mikan’s Special Ability class, they did some Magic Lamp RPG kinda thingy. Okay, I’m not sure how it really works but participants go through some sort of an elaborate maze and defeat ‘evil spirits’ along their way to reach their goal. Which is Mikan, the final boss. The reward for getting pass her is that the winner gets to choose from 1 of the lamps with a person’s name of it, and that person must do the winner’s bidding. So we see some hilariousness of how everyone falters to get pass and some weird Alices in play. Though Narumi got to Mikan but her nullification Alice means, he lose. So it ended with Natsume winning because Mikan’s scared of a little cockroach. And just like fate itself, Natsume picks a lamp with Mikan’s name in it. Though Natsume wanted Tsubasa’s name as revenge for an earlier stunt he pulled on him and asks Kokoroyomi to mind read which of the lamp has his name, Kokoroyomi reads the one with Mikan’s name because he thought that was what he read and Natsume was thinking at that time. Bummer.
 
Because of that, Mikan has to follow Natsume and Ruka throughout the festival. However, Mikan can’t seem to hold back her happiness and is being her genki self so much so he puts a leash on her! But mainly this episode 17 isn’t about Mikan or Natsume as we discover Hotaru has an older brother in the academy itself. And to confirm that this academy is really huge, this is the first time they’ve met and previously they’ve only heard rumours about each other. It all started when Mikan takes a ride on one of Hotaru’s inventions and it goes out of control and endangering one of the little kids there. Mikan manages to control and save the kid before anything bad could happen but this made other people question Hotaru’s safety of her inventions. So some guy, Subaru, comes up to Mikan and heals her wounds with his Alice. It took a little long before Mikan could figure out this guy is Hotaru’s bro. Probably Hotaru gets her cold expressionless characteristics from her bro because he’s like one too, only more extreme. They don’t see other as your typical siblings who have good relationships with each other. But aside from the drama here and some backstory telling (bla bla bla), in the end, Hotaru felt grateful for Mikan because of her, Hotaru didn’t turn out as cold and emotionless as her brother. Erm… Don’t see any difference there. Okay, maybe just a little. Even if Mikan’s an idiot, she’s Hotaru’s idiot. Hahaha. Just kidding.
 
After that it’s back to more Mikan-Natsume time. Don’t get me wrong, no official feelings between them yet. At least not for Natsume. While Natsume, Ruka and Mikan are at a cafe, Natsume splashes coffee on Mikan’s face, preventing her from eating her cake. Though Mikan’s pissed off, later she finds out from Ruka saying that he did it because he didn’t want to eat that rotten cake (yeah, the bacteria was doing a doo-wah!) and at the same time didn’t want to hurt that waitress’s feelings. But I suppose you could say that this episode 18 is where you could see the ‘feelings’ of Natsume. The trio decides to check out the haunted house and of course Perma is kinda jealous that Mikan gets to go in with Natsume but ends up going in with Jinno. Well well. It seems a tough teacher like Jinno is afraid of ghosts. But anyway since Mikan is scared and clinging on the Ruka, this made Natsume a little jealous. But Ruka got separated from them when Mikan gets freaked out after seeing a ghostly old lady. So much so Mikan passes out when she sees some scary statue and the statue starts to fall on her. Natsume uses his body to protect her but injures his leg. Since Jinno’s so afraid, his electricity causes a short circuit and black out. So Mikan and Natsume are alone together and some ‘moments’ between the 2 as they try to find their way out. In the end just when Mikan feels appreciative of Natsume’s effort of saving her, Natsume pisses her off by saying how he saw her strawberry panties (in which Mikan unknowingly exposed to him earlier). Mikan is gonna pound him when Hotaru and Ruka shows up only to see Mikan on top of Natsume. Gasp! Sorry for the intrusion. Though Mikan says it’s not what they think, Natsume tells them otherwise that Mikan tried to molest him while no one is looking. Hehehe. He just didn’t cry rape, didn’t he? Poor Mikan, always the wrong place, the wrong time. However, Mikan felt the day was enjoyable despite how things turned out.
 
The festival continues in episode 19 with a play this time. It’s somewhat a cross between Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. The main lead who’s playing the prince is actually a girl but because she has pheromones of making girls fall hopelessly in love with her… you know lah. I’m sure most guys would like to have this kind of pheromone. Anyway, Kokoroyomi is playing with some sticky balls when an accident occurs, making some of the players stuck. So Mikan and co have no choice but to fill in those roles. I suppose Ruka gets to the Snow White role because I think everyone thinks he’s so pretty in that role. As for Mikan… she gets to play the prince role. What is this gender swapping thing? Well it seems interesting because Perma is playing as Sleeping Beauty but she really seems more like an evil stepmother. Some weird play with Natsume dressing up as a role of a cat. Since Sleeping Beauty lost to Snow White the prince has to kiss the latter after some hilarious aftermaths. Can Mikan do it? Just before Mikan could kiss Ruka, somebody threw an apple at her and at the same time the lights all went out. Looks like the guilty people are Hotaru, who switched off the lights and Natsume who threw the apple. I think Natsume’s getting to be pretty jealous about Ruka being so close with Mikan. As for Hotaru, I think she couldn’t stand seeing her scatterbrain pal getting to kiss before her. Just kidding on that last one. I think it’s because probably she wants to see it between Mikan and Natsume.
 
Typically when the festival ends, there is to be some kind of ball dance in episode 20. Something like a prom night but it isn’t graduation yet. While the ball too has some kind of award ceremony (not too sure about it. One of them being Hotaru’s class winning a prize money of 10,000 Rabbits!) there are some drama moments between Mikan, Natsume and Ruka. Obviously Natsume looks so jealous so much so he pushed Ruka towards Mikan and leaves them both alone. He thinks his pal likes her since they’re seen spending more time together recently. It seems Hotaru knows Ruka has a crush on Mikan and seems to ‘blackmail’ him to do her biddings or else she’ll spill the beans. Later Mikan meets Natsume sitting alone in the woods and they both had a little chat. For the first time, Natsume calls Mikan by her name (previously he always calls her polka dot because that’s the first thing he saw her in in one of the earlier episodes) which causes Mikan to blush and walks away. Ruka who is eavesdropping, approaches and chats with Natsume once Mikan is gone. So they’re telling each other that the other one is better suited for Mikan when Hotaru says she’s willing to step in and take Mikan from them. True enough, the announcement of the Last Dance is between Hotaru and Mikan. Ah well, that’s life. The 2 boys then decide to go watch the 2 ladies dance.
 
The fun is over which means it’s the year end exams in episode 21. Mikan is obviously dreading it because she isn’t good at studying but her motivation and determination to see her grandpa is what made her burn the midnight oil. Some of the exams are really weird. For instance, Narumi’s exam is to… write a love letter! I suppose a guy with human pheromones is only good with such stuffs. Then we see Mikan offering to help teach some cooking skills to Perma. Mikan is so selfless and would even sacrifice her own study time to help others. Yeah, another burning of the midnight oil. Hehehe. Mikan and Perma hugging each other. Now that’s a sight you don’t see everyday. Though they both manage to take the exam and make a wonderful fried rice dish, but I guess they took too long because the rest of the students went on to take the next exam. In the end, Mikan did quite well scoring a B overall. Not bad, I’d say. Of course Mikan continues to do her best and gets some encouragement from Perma. Are they friends now? Well, let’s say they’re keeping it at a distance. Also, Persona makes a brief appearance and has a little chat with Natsume and the former even disguises himself as 1 of the teachers as a substitute teachers. A sign of things to come.
 
Episode 22 is more on Mr Bear and how his existance came to be. It seems there is a sickly student, Kaname Sonou, whose Alice is to put souls into stuffed toys and is Tsubasa’s friend. Hence, the reason why Mr Bear is alive. There are other stuffed toys too are alive and can talk. Just like Natsume, Kaname’s Alice shape is the Limitless Alice, hence the reason why he is in hospital. Kaname too is just like Mikan, wanting to help others regardless of his own safety and life. Because Kaname doesn’t want to be alone, he created Mr Bear and vows always to be together with it. So lots of drama and moments as we see between Kaname and Mr Bear as the latter puts Kaname’s favourite rape blossom flowers next to the window of Kaname’s room. Though in the end, Kaname has to leave the academy, Mikan offers to take care of Mr Bear while he is away. Okay, so Mr Bear still isn’t too fond of Mikan. As usual giving her its usual beating. Hasn’t it been like this all the time? But I’m sure it’s their way of ‘getting along’. Then they’ll be just fine.
 
If you don’t suceed at first, try try again. Well, that’s what they say because Leo is back in episode 23 to try another attempt to bring down the academy. It won’t be obvious at first but if you remember Leo’s voice, you could guess that it’s him. Anyway, Leo and his gang comes into the academy under the guise of a travelling circus this time. So Mikan and the gang get to watch the spectacular trapeze and animal acts of any typical circus show. So backstage, animal lover Ruka spots the ringmaster whipping a young lion cub because it’s afraid to jump through the fire loop. Ruka and Natsume proceeds to show that ringmaster what’s it like to be in its shoes with their Alice. But Leo isn’t aiming for Natsume this time. It’s Ruka he’s after. One of the circus performer, who is also an ex-Alice student (because he has the Childhood Alice) brings him to see Leo. Though Ruka isn’t impressed and wouldn’t want to be part of Leo’s schemes, Leo proceeds to tell the dark, sinister and actual purpose of the academy and in a way says that if he doesn’t do it, then it will be Natsume’s. Plus, a little back story of him and Narumi and a girl which look so much like Mikan. Supposedly her mom I think. Don’t really remember much. Ruka is thinking of not wanting to put Natsume into anymore danger or hurt him further as he is now and is feeling indecisive.
 
So the ball starts rolling in episode 24 as Ruka is determined not to let Persona and his henchmen get Natsume because he doesn’t want to let the academy make Natsume do their dirty work. So much so Ruka suggests that the class put up a barricade to prevent authorities from coming in. It’s a mutiny! Such acts will not be tolerated within the academy as the authorities are trying to break down the door. I’m not sure if Ruka is under Leo’s control or acting on his own will. Narumi suggests to go talk to his students and even tells them that he’ll take care of Natsume. Finally the students gave in but Narumi had no choice but to let the authorities take Natsume away. Everyone thinks Narumi has betrayed them but he’s in a pinch and has no choice but to do so. While Jinno thinks Mikan is the leader of the uprising (yeah right), Ruka can’t take the whole thing anymore and is going to do things his way. Yeah, Ruka is the real leader if you notice.
 
Ruka uses his animal pheromones and causes the circus animals to create havoc within the campus in episode 25. The animals are running wild and endangering other innocent students as well. It’s up to Mikan and the rest to save the day and restore order to the academy. Soon Ruka and Natsume bump into each other but instead of being greeted, Natsume gives Ruka a slap across his face. Even though Natsume doesn’t like the way things are nor the missions that the academy entrusts him, Natsume never hurts an innocent person with his Alice. In a way, Ruka comes to his senses and realizes things as he apologizes. There’s 1 thing which I can’t help think, that is, during the time when the animals went on a rampage, I wonder why Mikan didn’t use her nullification Alice. Does it only work on another Alice user? If so, shouldn’t she just nullify Ruka’s Alice? Anyway, Leo is gonna make the whole academy fall under his control as he takes control of the P.A. room and is gonna broadcast it throughout the academy. Narumi tries to stop him but is being held back by Leo’s henhmen. Our little heroes arrive in time and Kokoroyomi reads what’s on Leo’s mind, pissing him off. It seems when Leo was a student at this academy, Narumi was his senpai and when they find out he truth about the academy, Leo felt betrayed by Narumi. I don’t remember what he did. Though Narumi tries to make Leo realize things but Leo is using the pheromones and brain washing himself. But before anything further could happen, Leo escapes through the window with his henchmen on a hot air balloon. I think Narumi has made Leo realized a little as you could see the reaction on his face. Though I think Leo still believes strongly in his own ideals. As for everyone else, they feel that there’s still hope for the academy to change things and more importantly, keep on smiling.
 
The final episode 26 feels more like a filler episode. The exam results are out and well… Mikan has to do a retake. Bummer. But the main thing about this episode is that Mikan finds out that her best buddy Hotaru is gonna move again. Oh the horror! Mikan tries to find Hotaru and talk to her but it seems Hotaru seems money-minded even with that encounter. Mikan didn’t get get the answer she wanted and also she just couldn’t say the right words to stop her. So it’s graduation day and Narumi gives his speech about the possibilities of Alice, do their best and such. Now I remember the academy has 3 headmasters. Some fierce military looking guy, a fortune teller gypsy looking lady and a kid. Yes, I’m not kidding. Mikan is obviously indecisive but after a few ‘encounters’ with her friends, including Natsume, Mikan is determined to follow Hotaru to the ends of the Earth, even if it means they’re old and hagged. Just when Mikan is gonna give Hotaru a letter, Hotaru’s place is already cleared and it seems she has already left. Too late. But it isn’t over till the fat lady sings because Inchou and the rest are determined to help Mikan find Hotaru to say her last words. Yeah, some flashback about how Hotaru tells her to keep smiling because it makes Hotaru forget her troubles as it his Mikan’s best feature.
 
During the retake, Perma lets Mikan know that they’ve found Hotaru. Even Jinno allows Mikan to go. Yeah, seems he has become more lenient and is following Narumi’s teachings. During Mikan’s journey to meet Hotaru, we see lots of her buddies are trying to stall Hotaru from moving. Even Natsume and Piyo. This part reminds me like the first episode because as an emotional Mikan is gonna hug Hotaru, Mikan suddenly changes her character and calls her an idiot for leaving her but Hotaru swats her away with her giant fly swatter. Mikan, you’re still a long way from victory. Anyway Mikan emotionally tells her last words to Hotaru and the latter finally tells Mikan to come to her after some ‘soft scolding’. Mikan thought it’s gonna be a hug but Hotaru smacks her with her swatter and it seems Hotaru isn’t changing schools but is gonna live at the lab for the time being and is in the process of packing her bags there due some exposition to some foreigners interested in her studies. See, that’s what happens when you jump to conclusions. But I guess Mikan couldn’t be happier even if she’s gonna work her butt off to repay her debts, she’s happy to be with Hotaru and even though lots have happened, there’s no place she wants to be right now than Gakuen Alice.
 
Overall, even with the long duration over time to finish watching the series, I still rather enjoy the whole thing. Though I felt as though the ending is a little open so that they could make way for a second season. For instance there are still a few unanswered questions like who is that Persona guy anyway and how Mikan’s mom is connected to all of this. So if you really want to know, I think it’s best to read the manga. Even if they do make a second season, I’m hoping to see the relationship between Mikan-Natsume. Not that I’d like to see them as a couple but how Mikan opens him up further.
 
As such, Mikan still is my favourite character. With her squeaky high pitched voice, she provides most of the comic relief. Another good aspect about her is her selflessness and her never-give-up and try your best attitude. That’s good for a girl her age. And of course, I think she’s the most kawaii one ;). Above all, her ability to keep smiling most of the time. People should be more like her. No, not her clumsiness but her genkiness.
 
There are some life lessons that one could learn from watching this series. Of course, Mikan’s personality as mentioned. Also, one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and that you don’t really need super powers to be heroes. With the power of friendship and cooperation, that’s good enough.
 
The drawing, art and animation seems to appeal to bishie fans and the colouring is quite bright. Cute looking kids and handsome/pretty looking adults. Yeah, you could say it’s eye candy. The mid-intermission is kinda cute as we see Mr Bear, Piyo and a rabbit doing a little dance with a lazy-sounding music in the background. Kana Ueda voices Mikan and you could recognize her in other anime roles like Yumi of Maria-sama Ga Miteru, Hazumu of Kashimashi, Megumi of Kyo No Go No Ni, Sakuya of Hayate No Gotoku and Anna of He Is My Master. Rie Kugimiya fans should know her as Hotaru’s voice actress and also as Shana of Shakugan No Shana, Miyabi of 2×2=Shinobuden and Al of Fullmetal Alchemist. Likewise, Romi Paku voices Natsume and fits her role perfectly as with her other little boys role like Edward of Fullmetal Alchemist, Ueki of The Law Of Ueki, Hitsugaya of Bleach, Katsushiro of Samurai 7 and Tao Ren of Shaman King. Likewise, you may recognize Narumi’s voice actor, Akira Ishida from Naruto’s Gaara and Saiyuki’s Cho Hakkai.
 
I didn’t like both the opening theme song, Pikapika No Taiyou, and the ending song, Shiawase No Niji, both sung by Kana Ueda with Rie Kugimiya doing a duet for the ending song. I dunno. I just find them unappealing but the animation for them are quite cute and amusing. Yeah, the opening credits has a little hint of Alice In Wonderland in it. Speaking of music, though to me there isn’t any background music I like, but I can’t help notice that 1 of them has that jazzy wild helter-skelter horn/trumpet fanfare and I kinda noticed it being played in scenes which are ‘not appropriate’ like those in the episodes near the end of the series. It made me raise my eyebrow.
 
Hehe. If I were to think what kind of Alice I should like to have, I think it’s to be able to make money out of thin air! Hahaha. Then I would say money doesn’t grow on trees, but you could pluck them right out from the air. Then probably I don’t have to get enrolled at Gakuen Alice and probably live a happy life. But each time I can’t help thinking about Mikan whenever I think about Alices. Maybe it’s good I don’t have any Alice at all.

Kyo No Go No Ni

October 12, 2007

You know, I actually didn’t really expect that Kyo No Go No Ni had more episodes after the last time I blogged this series way back in 8th December 2006. I thought there were only 2 episodes in this OVA but now it seems there has been an additional 2 more, making a total of 4 episodes. But nevertheless I checked it out because I really find this series funny.
 
As a recap, we have this 5th grader kid Ryota who seems to get into ecchi situations with his classmate girls Chika, Natsumi, Megumi, Kazumi and Yuuki. Yup, there’s a little hint of ecchiness here and if you’re the kind with loli-fetish, you should like something about this series. However, after watching the 2 new episodes, I find that it is somewhat less ecchi and funny as compared to the first 2. But it isn’t really that bad either.
 
The new 2 episodes also follows the same format as the previous 2 in the sense that there are 5 story arcs in each episode worth 30 minutes of show time. Even the opening and ending theme songs are the same and so are the voice actors and actresses too. Of course they are the same lah. It’s not like it’s a second sequel nor is it a spin-off sequel.
 
So to start things off with the first part of episode 3, sees Ryota and his 2 buddies, Tsubasa and Kouji, at the library. While Ryota and Kouji are real bored, Tsubasa seems to be really into reading a book of the mysteries of the cosmos. Meanwhile, Chika is trying to reach some book on a bookshelf which is too high for her and there isn’t any stepstool nearby. Chika spots Ryota walking pass by and is surprised to see him setting foot in the library. I guess Ryota has a reputation of not being the studious kind. Anyway Chika calls him and wants him to give her a piggy ride on his shoulders so that she could get the book. Ryota of course wouldn’t do it, that is until Chika calls him a weakling. So this typical guy has got an ego to protect too. Thus Chika is on Ryota’s shoulders and the latter is having a hard time keeping his balance and blames it on Chika’s weight while Chika herself is having fun and even asks Kazumi to have a look. Chika then felt something tickling her… ahem ahem and thinks Ryota is being a pervert. Soon Ryota can’t keep his balance as he tumbles. Ryota felt something soft and realizes that he just felt Chika’s butt! Not only that. Because his head was underneath her skirt and it was so dark, he flips her skirt over revealing her panties. It seems when the duo fell over, they collided into Kazumi who’s lying there too with her undies exposed. Must be a nice scene for Ryota. Later as Chika and Ryota apologizes to Kasumi, they saw how Kouji and Tsubasa used one of the library chairs to get a book from the top shelf. Now why didn’t they think of that. As usual after their ‘shocking’ find, they resume arguing and blaming each other.
 
In part 2, we see the 5 girls in the infirmary together and it seems Yuuki has a ‘naughty’ idea of wanting to do some physical measurements. Yeah, she’s thinking of taking Megumi’s stats as the other girls hold her down. At the same time, Ryota has a cold and decides to head to the infirmary. Since the nurse has left to do some errands, it means that the girls have the room all to themselves. So Ryota arrives and wonders why the infirmary is so noisy. He opens the door to see the girls holding and stripping Megumi. Okay, Megumi’s not really being stripped. She’s just got her shirt pulled up just revealing her lower portion of her breasts right down to her tummy. With that, Yuuki throws the measuring tape at Ryota and bullseye. Ryota heads back to his class and soon once the girls are done with Megumi, they move on to Natsumi next. Yeah, she’s pretty reluctant just like Megumi earlier on. In order to prevent what happened earlier on, Chika volunteers to keep watch. Meanwhile Ryota decides to go back there after thinking the girls may be gone. All in good timing, when Chika goes out of the infirmary, Ryota goes in. Yup, because they slide open the door halfway, they step forward without meeting each other. While Chika guards, Ryota comes up to the bed and it’s deja vu. This time on Natsumi. And another deja vu as the girls call him a pervert while Ryota gets thrown by that measuring tape again and Chika wondering what is that ruckus all about.
 
Natsumi wonders how a chalk tastes like in part 3. Yeah, she’s thinking it’s strawberry if it’s pink and banana if it’s yellow. Therefore she concludes it’s edible. As the girls debate, Chika spots Ryota playing with his buddies and asks him if he knows chalks are tasty. Ryota didn’t believe her at first but after Chika says how chalk these days are designed to be edible as precaution for young children who accidentally ate it, in addition to it has zero calories, Ryota then takes the chalk and sucks it! Everyone watches in surprise. As expected Ryota spits it out and says how yucky it is. The girls laugh and Chika teasing him how she didn’t think he would fall for it so easily. Ryota then retaliates by saying it’s better than the Valentine Chocolates she gave him. With that, Chika throws the duster at him. Ever since, Chika has avoided talking to Ryota. Ryota talks to his buddies and they said how stupid it was. We see Kouji telling Natsumi how her Valentine Chocolates she gave her was good even though it really sucked. Is that really what it means to be a man? Later during gym, Ryota approaches Chika who’s drinking at the tap and says her chocolate were good but she ignored him. Ryota grabs her hand and asks her what would it take to forgive him. Chika says to kiss her. Though reluctant, Ryota eventually does. After a short stare at each other, Chika asks Ryota if he rinsed his lips after he ate the chalk. He didn’t. Chika quickly washes her lips and says that she won’t forgive him. But it seems they’re back to becoming friends again when Chika says depends on what Ryota gives her on White Day as they both smiled.
 
In part 4, while Chika and Yuuki are chatting in the hallway, a couple of naughty lower grade boys ran pass them and flips up their skirt. Of course the duo aren’t too fond of it but since they’re younger than them, it’s forgiveable because they look ‘cute’. Is it? With that, they decide to ask the other girls opinion. After getting their opinions, they decide to asks the boys. Chika starts off by saying how old were they when they flip skirts. Of course the guys are a little embarrassed and seemingly unnatural when they try to answer the question. Yeah, Yuuki’s taking down notes too. So they better be careful of what and how they say it. Ryota on the other hand says he has never flip a girl’s skirt before, incurring the wrath of Kouji who wants him to confess that he has done it before because it’s natural for guys to do so. So does this mean I’m not a natural guy? As Kouji pushes Ryota, the latter fell backwards as his feet flips up Chika and Yuuki’s skirt in the process. Even though it isn’t really Ryota’s fault, the 2 girls helped him up and pounded him before walking away furiously. With that, Kouji with passion, notes that that was the legendary overhead skirt flip. What the?
 
Chika, Yuuki and Kazumi are talking about how cute cats are in part 5. Your typical ‘eeee-so-cute’ kinda girly talk. Ryota isn’t too amused about their conversation and wonders what’s so good about a cat and proceeds to tell them about the bad habits of one. So a short debate ensues before Yuuki says how nice a feeling cat paws are. Since Ryota isn’t familiar with this, Yuuki wants somebody to bring a cat and show its greatness to him. As Yuuki tries to explain the greatness of a cat’s paw, Kazumi grabs and pinches Yuuki’s ear. Soon Chika pinches Yuuki’s other ear and says this is how a cat’s paw feels like. Ryota then had a go by pinching Yuuki’s ear but still doesn’t get it. Then Kazumi presses softly Chika’s lips with her fingers. But when Yuuki did her turn, Chika gets a little annoyed and says it should be like this as she pinched Yuuki’s cheek. Yuuki retaliates by grabbing and squezzing Chika’s butt with her palms while saying it’s like this. So what is Chika’s retaliation? I didn’t see this one coming. That’s because, Chika squeezed Yuuki’s breasts from behind. The duo then tries to do one on Kazumi but she avoided them so fast so much so that they think she has cat-like reflexes. Just when they’re about to give up on the topic, a stray cat comes in. Chika then gives the cat to Ryota and asks him to feel its paws. Later as Kouji and Tsubasa comes and asks Ryota if he prefers cats or dogs. Ryota replies he’s a dog person. Yeah, all that cat scratches on his face must have helped him made up his mind.
 
The fun continues in part 1 of episode 4 whereby it’s Megumi’s turn to have her fair share of air time after I felt that the previous episode has more on Chika and Yuuki. Anyway, Megumi’s in a little panic because her bloomers are missing. She was sure that she put it in her bag and wore it during gym class. Ryota then turns into a detective and says that there might be robbery in this class and tell the girls that it’s their chance to give it back to Megumi now. Kouji then says that a guy might have taken it and Kazumi continues that the criminal may be one of their own classmates since there was no signs of foreign intrusion, Chika suggests that all the boys to be checked thoroughly. Yeah, a first internal affairs for the class. After checking and clearing all the boys, there is still 1 guy left, Ryota. He’s clutching his bag closely and won’t allow anyone near it. They are thinking he may the one behind it all as they try to snatch the bag away but during the struggle, Ryota’s bag opened and it’s revealed that there are several pudding cups in it. The secret’s out of the bag as the guys then says how Ryota was hiding all this from them and wants him to share his extra puddings with them. Yeah, the guys had a little tussle over it as Ryota’s still pretty adamant of not handing them over. Meanwhile, the girls are still pondering where have Megumi’s bloomers gone to when Natsumi comes in and hears the whole thing. She then flips up Megumi’s skirt, and tada! Megumi’s wearing them! Uh-huh. She just forgot to take them off after gym. Silly girl. Can’t she feel the difference of wearing one. By the way, the guys are still fighting over the pudding. I suppose it’s best to let them be.
 
In part 2, Chika and Megumi are comparing heights as Yuuki quotes how they are as tall as each other. Later during gym class, Natsumi is hanging upside down on the vertical bar and since her shirt isn’t tugged in, it drops nearly revealing her breasts. The other girls are trying to cover it up. At the nearby vertical bar, Ryota is seen hanging on it. To cut things short, Ryota thinks he’ll get taller this way though he says he’s just testing his limits. Soon they decide to see who’s taller, Ryota or Chika. Though Ryota doesn’t want to do it, Chika teases him saying that is his mouth the only thing big. Ryota then throws down the challenge in which the taller one will be king and the shorter one will be the servant and must obey whatever the king says. It’s on. As Chika and Ryota stood back to back and Yuuki taking their measurement, finally the results are out. Ryota is taller! He’s bragging and is in ecstacy. While Ryota’s laughing, Kouji notices how Ryota has short legs. Thus another challenge to sit on the vertical bar to verify this. Ryota is reluctant but Chika seems to be trying to tempt him and ‘take on her’. I guess it must be true because later in class, Ryota isn’t feeling good as Chika rubs his head while in a cheerful mood saying what are the short-legged king’s orders though she admits she lost out on height.
 
In part 3, Ryota and Kouji are engaged in a ‘heated battle’ by hitting each other using towels? Anyway, Kouji further challenges Ryota to a 3-legged match to settle this match in their gym class later. Also they’re gonna be paired up with a girl. Kouji seems passionate about explaining the manly stuffs about the 3-legged race and in the end, Ryota can’t stand it as they continue whacking each other with their towel. Hahaha. So funny to see them in their chibi form. So the pairings are Tsubasa with Natsume, Ryota with Yuuki and Kouji with Chika. Yuuki teases how Ryota wants to be with Chika as Ryota starts pinching her cheeks. Kouji seems to be in sync with Chika and mocks how Ryota and his partner has started fighting and that there’ll be no contest at all as Kouji walks away confidently. So over the next few scenes, we see how Ryota is determined to practice walking 3-legged with Yuuki. The only ecchi part here is when they walked down the flight of stairs, they tripped and you can see Yuuki’s undies. But that’s about it. Though Yuuki is through, Ryota pleads to her to cooperate with him just a little longer. Ah well, I’m not sure how they end up facing in different directions while tying their heels together. On race day, as expected, the Ryota-Yuuki team tripped on their first step while Tsubasa-Chika makes a flying start. Ryota lost.
 
Part 4 and 5 are actually the same story arc but it’s just split into 2 parts. This part has more drama in it as it starts off with a yubikiri (pinky swear) between Ryota and Chika while they were younger. At the toilet, Ryota overhears Chika talking to her friends in the adjacent toilet about how Ryota may have forgotten about something from long time ago. Ryota runs away when other girls caught him trying to get closer to hear the conversation in the ladies’. Even back in class, Ryota saw how the other girls are snickering and laughing to themselves as they try to control their ‘whispering volume’. Later during the evening, Ryota helps Kazumi put up some notices in their classroom. Kazumi says she has heard it from Chika about Ryota and her during kindergarten with Ryota replying that’s in the past. Kazumi adds does he have any lingering feelings but Ryota says he’s not completely over it. Then Kazumi says "Don’t tell me you still…", a slight pause before she continues "How sad for you". Ryota is taken aback and is a little mad as he confronts her so much so he pushed her. But they both fall down and Ryota is on top of her. You’ll guess this is one of those cliches because Ryota notices that Chika has just walked in and she saw and misunderstood the situation. Typical.
 
While Chika walks back in a gloomy mood, Kazumi catches up with her and the 2 chat. Kazumi tells Chika that it isn’t Ryota’s fault but Chika just says that she’s just mad about Ryota’s attitude for getting violent and jumpy. Thus Chika finds out how their argument started. The next day, Ryota is surprised to see a cheery Chika apologizing to him. Soon the 2 talked about their yubikiri they made back then. Chika still remembers Ryota’s teary face when they made that promise. Ryota realized something different and asks what she’s talking about. Chika mentions about the time he wet his bed. So that was the promise made. Not to tell anyone that Ryota still did something that embarrassing. Ryota then reflects back Kazumi’s words. Another misinterpreted situation. But Chika soon blushes and says how Ryota still remembers that promise, the one whereby they’ll get married when they grow up. Later after class, Chika asks Ryota if he has stop wetting his bed because she doesn’t intend to marry a bed-wetter. She continues and says since it’s just a memory and too simple for him, she wants him to work hard to be a better man for her. But she soon says she was just kidding as she goes off in a good mood. Ryota has a flashback of the moment then. How he’s crying and Chika’s trying to console him. Soon Ryota spots Chika trying to put her shoes on. Because she’s doing it with 1 feet, Chika lost her balance but Ryota manages to grab hold of her arm in time. He lends his hand as a support while Chika puts on her shoes as she thanks him. The 2 smiled and stared at each other.
 
Overall, though I find it less funny than the previous 2 episodes, but nevertheless I still enjoy this one. And no, I don’t have lolita-fetish, mind you. It didn’t turn me into one either. But I once mentioned that this series may seem like kiddie porn to some. So if you really want to watch this, just be aware of this a little. Though the ecchiness is toned down in these 2 episodes.
 
So if they’re gonna make a 5th episode, I won’t be surprise (or maybe I would) since initially I thought they stopped at 2. Well, even so I’m sure they’ll be trying to fill in the remaining chapters that weren’t featured in these 4 episodes. Uh-huh, the series is based on a 1 volume manga and so far all the episodes that have appeared originated from there. Hmm… By the way, I seem to notice the way they draw the characters’ ear lobes. It’s like as though they’re being ‘bitten’. Oh well.
 
And even though it may seem harmless, don’t try any of the antics here. I know, boys will be boys and girls will be girls. It’s all part of the process of growing up. I’m just glad in the end Ryota and Chika made good with each other. Hopefully if they ever make more future episodes of the series, I’d like to see how these 2 turn out.

REC

October 6, 2007

Being a seiyuu or a voice actor/actress isn’t really a glamourous job. I mean, long working hours, low pay (hey, have you ever heard of a voice actor/actress living a glamorous and luxurious lifestyle), and nobody really knows how you look like. I suppose most jobs are like this too. On the positive side, you don’t really need to have good looks (who am I kidding) but a good voice to fit the character that one plays.
 
This particular series, REC, doesn’t really follow the ups and downs of a seiyuu but about an aspiring rookie seiyuu named Aka Onda. Note that she’s not a real life person. Just a made up character made for this anime. Based on the manga of the same name, this series has only 9 episodes. I wonder why it has such a weird number of episodes. Probably the only reason I can think of is the cat mascot. A cat has 9 lives. So 1 life 1 episode. Get it? Erm… Maybe not. In addition, each episode is only 12 minutes long. Take away the opening and ending credits and wah lah… you’ve got a 9-10 minute show. Nothing much to see or say, huh?
 
One thing about this show is that I think the producers favourite idol is Audrey Hepburn because each of the titles of the series are named after the movies Audrey Hepburn starred in. Yeah, even in the show, Aka inspires to be like her and in each episode too, you’ll hear her say some Audrey Hepburn movie lines in a different voice tone. Funny thing is, she says her lines in Japanese. Must be a translation of the English lines. Not that I’m a fan of her nor do I know anything about Audrey Hepburn, the opening sequence too has some shots of Aka in Audrey Hepburn’s classic dress and pose. Anyway just check it out if you’re interested to know what I mean.
 
Episode 1
Matsumaru Fumihiko is having a bad day. Waiting outside the cinema, a signboard fell on his feet and the car splashes a puddle of water on him. He’s gonna throw away the movie ticket when a little girl, Aka Onda, pleads to him not to do so and says to give it to her if he doesn’t want it, which he does. But since there are 2 tickets and not wanting to let the other one go to waste, Aka brings Matsumaru along too. So they watch the movie and Matsumaru’s feeling weird about her weird behaviour because Aka is reading the subtitles out loud.
 
Later as they finish and head out, Matsumaru asks why she did so and she replied that she wants to be Audrey Hepburn. Just then, Matsumaru’s girlfriend, Tanaka, comes in and he realizes that she didn’t forget about their date. See, don’t jump to conclusions yet. And things will come to those who wait. Thus Matsumaru asks Aka to give him back the tickets. Aka changes her voice tone and says "No, no, I’m not here, I only live once". Matsumaru runs towards Tanaka but to his horror he saw that she’s got a boyfriend of her own already and she’s waiting for him. Since that new boyfriend of hers looks big, mean, lean, tough, rough, strong and macho, I’m sure Matsumaru doesn’t want anything unfortunate to happen to him and backs off. Yeah, Tanaka and her beau entered the cinema as Matsumaru is overwhelmed with sadness. Aka tries to cheer him up by treating him in return for giving her the tickets.
 
At the bar, Matsumaru is drunk and depressed as Aka continues cheering him up. She tells him she’s a voice actress in training for an anime and foreign film dubbing. Some talk about dreams but Matsumaru seems pessimistic as opposed to Aka’s persistance. Later when they finished, she thanks him again for paying most of the items and they went home. Looks like she forget that she doesn’t have that much money too. On the way, they found out that they both live in the same neighbourhood before parting ways. Matsumaru is sleeping and having a bad dream about Tanaka having fun with her new boyfriend. He wakes up breathing heavily and to add to his bad day, he fell out of bed and a glass cup broke when he held it.
 
Later he went out in the rain to see a nearby apartment on fire. He saw Aka sitting alone on a swing and staring into space. He asks if she’s okay and did she save anything or have any friends in the building. She replies no unenergetically as Matsumaru asks her to come back to his place. He says this is to make up for the items she paid on his behalf earlier on. Back at Matsumaru’s place, she takes a shower and is still quite depressed. He asks her to sleep on his bed and comforts her with nice words. Aka replies not to treat her so good or it will make her cry. He says it’s alright to cry since she had a bad day. As he switches off the lights and asks her to go to sleep, Aka breaks down and cries, saying all her stuffs were burned away. He says he’ll pay for those stuffs as she thanks him. Aka felt a little better as they hugged each other. Before you know it, they both kissed! Aka then says that they forgot to introduce themselves. So Aka says her name means red, like the sunset and she’s 20 years old while Matsumaru tells her he’s 26 years old and works for a sweets company. The next morning, Matsumaru wakes up and Aka is nowhere to be found. He saw a ntoe on his computer that she’s gone back to the agency and thanks him for everything and wishes farewell.
 
Episode 2
Matsumaru leaving for work and at the same time has those flashback of events with Aka. He’s saying to himself like he made her stay just for the sex. At his workplace, he meets Tanaka as she’s apologizing about yesterday and didn’t mean to stand up on him and totally forgot about the previous engagement (read: he’s been dumped). Matsumaru says it’s okay and that he’s given up before rushing back to work energetically saying "WORK IS LIFE!". While working, one of his colleague, Hatakeda, tells him that the chief wants to see him.
 
Matsumaru enters the chief’s office and immediately apologizes for whatsoever reason. But the chief looked so casual and relaxed and tells him that they made a commercial for some snacks based on his proposal and they’re holding auditions for voice actresses. Therefore, the chief wants him to be there for it. Matsumaru now looking very happy and is in ecstasy. See, again don’t jump the gun.
 
At the audtion place, the place is brimming with audition hopefuls and a woman named Yoshioka from Genepro comes in and apologizes for arriving late as she introduces Aka (who’s still in Matsumaru clothes whom he lend her when she stayed over). Aka is saying something about eating that snack in 1 sitting because it’s so good, making everyone laugh. The chief then introduces everyone to Matsumaru as the commercial’s planner and says that the voice actress is gonna be for a part of a 1/2 tree 1/2 cat character called Nekoki (literally meaning cat tree) and they’re looking for a voice actress who sounds like Audrey Hepburn. What are the odds now. The chief then directs them all to the studio.
 
The applicants are auditioning and it’s Aka’s turn. Hatakeda is telling Matsumaru that she must’ve slept at her boyfriend’s place since she’s wearing men’s clothes. Matsumaru is sweating. Just then Aka starts her audition and to Matsumaru, she sounds perfect and felt happy. Later before closing, the producers tell the applicants that someone will be contacting their offices as soon as the results are out. After it’s done, Matsumaru rushes out of the building looking for Aka but can’t seem to find her. He’s saying to himself that he can’t believe that she treated like as though she doesn’t know him.
 
Back at the office, Matsumaru excitedly asks his chief if they’ve already selected the voice for Nekoki. The chief says that it’s unanimous and the part goes to Aka. Matsumaru is over the top. As he is walking back home that night, to his surprise, he saw Aka sitting by his doorstep and wishing "Welcome back". He asks what she’s doing here and she replies that is to celebrate her successful audition and his first accepted proposal. In his room, they celebrated and congratulated each other. Then Aka says that they need to keep their relationship a secret from her agency and his company or else they might suspect that the commercial voice actress and planner had some weird relationship and would be in trouble. Yeah, people might think she got the part because she slept with him. While Matsumaru agrees, Aka goes on talking about some line from the movie Sabrina Fair. She then says she may need to stay a bit longer here. Matsumaru with that grin, gets behind Aka and says now she don’t have to be so reserved with him as he hugs her. Unfortunately, she throws him away and tells him not to get the wrong idea that last night she’s in shock and staying here until things get straightened out. Just because they did it once doesn’t mean that they’re together as she blushes while saying that. it’s always the spur of the moment. Aka sleeps soundly but Matsumaru’s eyes are open wide as he says to himself how can he sleep after hearing something like that. Dream on pal.
 
Episode 3
Aka wakes up from her dream about her with her 2 friends hoping to see her become a famous voice actress. Meanwhile Matsumaru wakes up from a dream with his 2 friends telling him Tokyo girls are easy to get into bed with. He realized that Aka’s living with him and comments how she gurgles like an old man. But Aka replies that she needs to take care of her voice so she can work. Soon the 2 shop for some stuffs and breakfast. Aka tells him that she’s working for and OVA in the background as an extra. Matsumaru saying to himself the awkward position he’s in like if Aka’s his girlfriend, living together isn’t a problem but he hardly knows her.
 
At home, they’re making breakfast when Hatakeda calls Matsumaru and heard Aka’s voice in the background. He’s surprised when did Matsumaru bring a girl home. Matsumaru tries to cover up by saying that she’s his aunt. Hatakeda then tells him that there’s gonna be a mixer tonight and that he’s coming. Aka and Matsumaru continue to have their breakfast with a little chat and looks like Aka is enjoying it. Matsumaru recalls the flashback of Hatakeda saying that she slept over. He asks Aka if she has any other clothes so that other people won’t get the wrong idea. Aka replies that it’s a different studio today so it doesn’t matter. Aka then heads off first while Matsumaru do the dishes. Suddenly he remembers he has to complete his proposal by Monday.
 
Aka meanwhile is doing her voice acting as a background OVA. Later that night, Matsumaru is engrossed with work that he didn’t hear AKA knocking on the door till she calls his name. He apologizes and lets her in. He continues with his work while Aka makes tea. She then tells him that she’s going out a bit. Just then, Matsumaru receives a call from Hatakeda again who’s reminding him about the mixer. Matsumaru sounds annoyed and tells him that he’ll pass but is a little surprised when he heard the chief’s voice asking him to hurry come over.
 
No choice at the mixer, they’re introducing to the ladies there about Nekoki when Matsumaru remembers Aka doesn’t have the key to his apartment and hurries back. He didn’t find her there and goes searching for her. Finally he spots her practising her lines at the park. When Aka spots him, she says welcome back and Matsumaru replies the usual "I’m home" line. Back in the apartment, Aka shares some takoyaki and gives her support for his proposal. Matsumaru then says some people who saw the commercial wanna compliment her voice and says she’ll be a famous voice actress in no time. But Aka mentions though it isn’t that easy because she rarely pass auditions. Matsumaru then leaves for work and asks her to watch some tv. As he ons the tv, she saw that Nekoki commercial and says it’s her voice in it. Aka tells him that back at graduation day, her friends told her when she becomes a voice actress, they hope they’ll hear her voice on tv someday. He replies that she’ll become a popular voice someday. Aka off the lights and begins her voice acting from some Audrey Hepburn movie. As Matsumaru approaches Aka and is gonna kiss her, she quickly smacks him away and says she’s not his girlfriend, much to his disappointment. Then that flashback of Aka’s and Matsumaru’s in the beginning of this episode but it ends with Matsumaru in the end replying "Absolutely not" in reference to Tokyo girls aren’t that easy to get in bed. Is this what this guy is really hoping for?
 
Episode 4
Matsumaru is late for work and he needs to use the toilet but Aka is occupying it. She calls him a pervert and beats him up and starts throwing things at him. Later Matsumaru saying how Nekoki’s campaign is starting today and they’re looking forward to it. He says he needs to depend on new product sales and mentions how carefree Aka is. But she says that her job isn’t all play and voice actresses rely on their ability, so it’s tough. The 2 are running late but finally arrives as Aka says she’ll go in after him as it’ll be weird to see them both enter together at same time. But Hatakeda saw them and greets them. Matsumaru is in a little panic and says it’s just coincidence that he and she met here.
 
At the stall, they’re promoting the product as Matsumaru is in Nekoki’s suit and ‘dances’ like mad. Funny suit. Funny dance. The whole thing just seems funny. To his disappointment, there isn’t a single customer. Aka gives him a drink and thanks him for his hard work and cheers for him to try harder. The next day, they try promoting again but Matsumaru tells Aka it’s enough for today because her voice is hoarse. She says she can still go on but he’s calling it a day and mentions that they’ve chosen the wrong place. Aka looking sad that the response is bad but Matsumaru comforts her by saying how good her voice is.
 
Later as the 2 walk home, Aka says she wants to stop by at the production company first. He says he wants to come and greet them but Aka says that she hasn’t told them about the 2 of them living together. Matsumaru says he’ll be greeting them as the head of the campaign. There, the 2 bumped into Yoshioka as she’s coming out. Aka asks if there’s anything new on the schedule but Yoshioka says if anything comes up, she’ll email her. Matsumaru introduces himself and Yoshioka thanks him for taking care of Aka before leaving. The 2 continue to walk home. Matsumaru buys some bread and saw Aka looking into a jewelry shop. He gives her a piece of his bread and Aka says how similar their situation is to one of Audrey Hepburn’s movies as Aka once again imitates her voice and line from that particular movie. Matsumaru asks her to try their best tomorrow as they eat the bread.
 
The next day, the promotion of the product continues. Matsumaru does his usual ‘dance’ in that Nekoki suit when a little girl comes up to play with Nekoki. Then her mom comes and decides to buy some, much to his delight. That little girl also gets excited when she recognizes Aka’s voice from the commercial. Matsumaru introduces himself as the one who plans the commercial and thanks the little girl’s mom. She gives some snack to Matsumaru to eat and plays with him saying "Umaki" several lines. In the end, the little girl leaves in a very happy mood. Later Matsumaru heads backstage to find Aka crying because she’s happy that the little girl remembered her voice and lines. Then another voice impersonation from Aka as the 2 walk home together. Matsumaru says she found that sparkling happiness today as Aka looked very happy.
 
Episode 5
Matsumaru is awakened by Aka doing some voice rehearsal practice. She’s saying "It’s big…". Of course he asks her why she’s saying that for and Aka seems embarrassed while replying it’s for a job. At the studio, Aka is doing a voice for some ecchi game. She’s still quite embarrassed and nervous, knocking things like the microphone during her lines. The producers say they’ll continue this another day since it’s not going smoothly. Aka then apologizes. Later Yoshioka comforts Aka as the latter says she can’t do this job and requests for a better one. Yoshioka asks her to continue the conversation somewhere else. Later at a cafe, Yoshioka tells Aka that 10,000 people graduate from the voice acting school yearly. Aka seems surprised and some words of realization made her that some jobs aren’t real jobs in this world.
 
Later Yoshioka sends Aka home and says she’ll tell the producers about it. But Aka says she’s got no choice and will go through with it. Yoshiaka then asks her to let her boyfriend help. Aka blushes and responds that she’s got no boyfriend. At the adult video store, Aka is wearing some mask and nervously looking through adult references and decides to rent 1. Back at the apartment, Aka is watching a video when Matsumaru comes in. Aka quickly hides the tapes as Matsumaru wonders why the apartment is so dark and the lights not on. When he asks what she’s doing in the dark, Aka says it’s nothing. He then decides to take a shower as Aka felt relieved. Aka is breathing heavily when she recalls that let your boyfriend help you part.
 
Matsumrau jokes with Aka if she wants to sleep with him when he decides to turn in for the day. He is surprised when she said yes. Can this be happening? Is this the moment that he’s been waiting for? Aka asks him to get on the bed and of course Matsumaru’s mind is running wild and wonders is this an okay signal. Well, both of them are thinking about different things as they hesitate. Matsumaru then found that video under the blanket and thought if Aka is sexually deprived. The 2 simultaneously face each other. Aka says "I want you to do something with me". Later he realized that she was talking about practising acting. Too good to be true. As the 2 voice practice, it seems unnatural. She asks how was it but he says it was good. Aka don’t believe him because it won’t be good if it doesn’t sound like her emotions are behind it. She continues that she’s embarrassed and couldn’t let her voice out and in a way give those producers and staff trouble in the sense that that part has to be retaped again and she wants to finish this job. As usual, Matsumaru offers her some words of comfort. Then when she says "Sensitive…" which Matsumaru thinks it’s good, Aka says it’s some movie line from Audrey Hepburn’s movie and explains the same situation that they’re in. With that, the 2 are motivated to continue practising.
 
The next day, Aka does the retape. Though it’s better, she still feels that it isn’t good enough. The staff comes in and she apologizes. But they said it was great and added something like the embarrassment side came out because she’s embarrassed kinda thingy. In other words, since Aka was embarrassed, she portrayed the embarrassed part and role perfectly. Later Aka and Yoshioka had a little chat as Aka says she’ll continue to study. Yoshioka then asks her if she had got some help from her boyfriend, which made Aka blush as she still denies about having a boyfriend. Yoshioka just smiled. Back at the apartment, Matsumaru shows Aka the newly released ecchi game she does her voice with. Aka gets embarrassed and snatches it away from him and says he can’t play it. Matsumaru is making a fuss as Aka does more of her Audrey Hepburn impersonating movie lines. But Matsumaru still isn’t happy. I suppose if he can’t have the real thing, probably a virtual one would do too. Not.
 
Episode 6
The company is doing their usual promotion for the snack when Aka asks Matsumaru to come backstage for a while. Another crew is asking them to be quiet for 10 minutes because he’s gonna do a 1 shot live filming for a popular show God’s Brunch nearby. A crowd gathers, Matsumaru in his Nekoki suit jumping up and down to see what’s going on. Aka asks him to stop screwing around. The 2 of them playfully pushing each other around when they crash into the live filming.
 
Back at the office, Matsumaru apologizes to his chief. But I guess it’s no use because there’re many phone calls to their office complaining about that ugly incident. But Hatakeda says it isn’t complaints but large orders of the Ha snacks. We see loads of trucks doing their delivery. Matsumaru is in disbelief and going "Ha, ha, ha, ha…". Hatakeda saying thanks to Aka, Ha’s popularity has sky rocketed and there’s so much on her on the internet. Plus, the commercial is gonna be played 5 times a day. Isn’t that overkill? Matsumaru is surprised but happy.
 
Meanwhile Yoshioka is telling Aka’s next job schedule but the latter is spacing out. Yoshioka mentions that she isn’t getting more jobs because of her underwear revealing incident and if even so, she’ll be evaluated accordingly and tells her to do her best. Matsumaru is taking a taxi home when he heard Aka’s voice over the radio in an interview. Back home, Matsumaru notices Aka isn’t back yet. When she does, he’s already sleeping as Aka quietly creeps into bed. She says to herself how she wants to tell the jobs she got but can’t because she can’t seem to spend time alone with him lately.
 
Next morning, Matsumaru wakes up to find Aka getting ready to leave for a guest event. Matsumaru grabs Aka and gets on top of her and says that they haven’t spend any time together. She pushes him off and tells him she has to go to work. Plus, she has told him this before. Well, if you don’t succeed at first… Matsumaru says how troublesome it is and is making a fuss but Aka says he’s the one who says she can stay. He says so it’s his fault then. Aka notes that she’ll leave after she earns more money from working. The 2 then realized and back down. Aka grabs her stuffs and rushes out. Later, Aka reflects on what she said earlier on. She says she took advantage of Matsumaru’s kindness and allowed her to stay when her apartment was destroyed in the fire.
 
At the studio, Aka doing some emotionless voice overs and is spacing out. Later she and Yoshioka had a little talk during her break. She asks if Aka has fought with her boyfriend (still insisting, isn’t she?) and says the way she live her life will be portrayed in her acting. Aka still denies it. This time it’s Yoshioka’s turn to say some Audrey Hepburn lines from some movie in which it’s the same situation as Aka is in. Aka says she has never watched that one before. Some more words of help from Yoshioka. Once done, Aka then continues her job but is spacing out still and reflecting how happy she was when Matsumaru comes home before saying "Welcome home". The producer comments Aka for her good job and thanks her. But Aka starts to cry. Matsumaru looking through his window as Aka is still crying in the toilet and wonders if she could go back. You know, Matsumaru has the same thinking too as he ponders whether Aka’s coming back or not.
 
Episode 7
Aka receives word from Yoshioka of a campaign in Niigata. Meanwhile Matsumaru is at office with his chief, thinking about that previous spat with Aka. Hatakeda talking to Matsumaru saying how lucky he is to get a hot bath vacation campaign with Aka, which he’d want to do it anytime. Yoshioka says Aka can stay at her place but the latter replies she’ll be fine. Back at the apartment, Matsumaru thinking how lonely it is without Aka. Aka is sleeping at the production company saying how it’s been 1 week since she left Matsumaru’s place but can’t see him right now.
 
In the train, Hatakeda seems to be enjoying himself over beer but Aka and Matsumaru just sit there being quiet while Yoshioka reads a book. When they arrive at the inn, Hatakeda does the promotion and gets into the Nekoki suit. He takes a break and asks Matsumaru to help but he says the campaign only starts tomorrow. While the quartet are having a meal, Aka excuses herself while Hatakeda decides go take a bath. With Yoshioka and Matsumaru alone together, the former asks where Aka is staying and says she’ll find a place within a month but mentions maybe Aka doesn’t want to find a new place, Matsumaru is a surprised. Yoshioka then gets a call from the audition company telling her how she got chosen. Matsumaru notes to himself how popular she has gotten.
 
Aka is alone dipping in the hot spring and wonders if it’s alright to move of out Matsumaru’s apartment. Some flashback of the times spent with him. Meanwhile Matsumaru is along in the opposite hotspring thinking how his mind was at ease with Aka around. He then swims over to the other side and his eyes met with Aka’s. They’re quite surprised to see each other. Aka asking what is he doing in the women’s area as he replies that the area is mixed after 10pm. So the 2 chat as they heard Hatakeda coming in, Matsumaru tells Aka to quickly get out. Hatakeda seems disappointed to see Matsumaru and that he has to be in a mixed bath with him.
 
Soon Aka gets word from Yoshioka that her voice is gonna be used for all the Inoue Confectionery campaigns because she passed the tv series auditions. Aka says to herself that she won’t get a chance to see Matsumaru. Later Matsumaru leaves the room to get some beer but bumps into Yoshioka and tells him about it. He understood what she said. At the same time, we see Aka crying. She’s really sad. I wonder how many tissue papers she has used up. Erm… Probably not the best time to say please save the environment. Matsumaru comes into Aka’s room and tells her they need to talk about work. He says the company would like to use her voice recordings in their campaign from now on. Aka is still crying when she asks if it’s okay but he didn’t give an answer. She continues that he doesn’t care about her and it could’ve been any girl for him because they won’t be able to see each other again if they do the recordings. He says she has got a better job and doesn’t want to interfere with her dream as he wants to support her as well.
 
So another Audrey Hepburn voice impersonation with Aka telling him how he could turn sorrow into happiness. Matsumaru mentions it couldn’t be any other girl and it has to be her and only her and asks her to come back as it doesn’t matter if there are recordings because she can still see him and won’t have to give up working. Aka agrees. As they’re gonna shake hands, Yoshioka opens the door and says "Looks like the problem has been solved". Matsumaru and Aka blushed. Yoshioka adds that the 2 can live live together like they always have but Matsumaru says that there isn’t anything going on between them, which Aka also agrees. Well, Yoshioka seems disappointed. Maybe she was hoping to see something between them. The next day, the gang proceed with their campaign which went smoothly without any problems. As Aka stood outside Matsumaru’s apartment, he welcomes her back as she says "I’m home".
 
Episode 8
Matsumaru wakes up to find Aka taking a shower and gets a little excited when she sees her undies but manages to control himself. Is everything back to normal? Later during breakfast, Aka asks him to eat out tonight because she’s getting paid today and it’ll be her treat this time. At the office, chief rejects Matsumaru’s proposal for a turban Nekoki for a curry flavour snack. Isn’t it stereotypical, curry and India? Aka gets word that she’s playing a leading voice actress for the ecchi game she voiced which has turned into an anime. Matsumaru on the other hand is having difficulty designing a new Nekoki feature when Hatakeda shows him the radio programme of Aka getting more famous. He receives an SMS from Aka telling him she got the lead role. Matsumaru quite happy but Hatakeda suspects that he’s Aka’s… fanclub member. Phew. Matsumaru felt a little relieved.
 
Aka is doing her voice job at the studio as is doing quite well. Meanwhile the chief still rejects Matsumaru latest works but seems to be accepting Hatakeda’s. Matsumaru feeling sad and left out. The world is like that. You’re in at 1 point and you’re out the next. Matsumaru then remembers the promise to meet with Aka but currently she’s in some interview with Yoshioka. While Matsumaru waits at the restaurant with a bouquet of flowers and daydreaming how happy Aka will be when he congratulates her, he’s thinking that Aka may be working overtime since she didn’t show up. As Aka finishes her interview amd notices it’s way past her time to meet Matsumaru, the production manager arrives and is thinking of introducing Aka to the world’s renowned anime director over dinner. Aka apologizes that she’s got a date but Yoshioka asks her to think again so as not to let this chance slip away. Aka is feeling indecisive.
 
Poor Matsumaru is still waiting at the restaurant when he asks the waiter to cancel their order. Aka tries to contact him but the phone is out of range. Matsumaru then has bad luck as he walks home in the heavy rain, a car splashes a puddle of water on him (deja vu, isn’t it?) and his project papers are soaked. Not only that, another car went over his flower bouquet. Aka is then seen having dinner with that renowned director.
 
Back at the apartment, Matsumaru is sitting dejectedly after coming out from the bath when Aka returns home. She apologizes and tells him the inevitable things that happened earlier on. Matsumaru raises his voice and seems to say things like he’s jealous. Uh-huh. He thinks that now she’s a popular voice actress and isn’t fulfilling promises she made. He soon realizes his outburst and backs down. Aka tries to remain cheery and says she bought him some beer and asks to have a toast together but Matsumaru doesn’t feel like it. Aka asks if there’s something wrong (obviously) and is it his work. He just stood there silently without saying anything. With that, Aka does a short voice impersonation and Matsumaru answers that he isn’t a great man and asks Aka to stop it with those movie lines as he head into his room looking very depressed.
 
Episode 9
Aka is spacing out during an interview and not paying attention. A flashback of what happened last night and what Matsumaru has said. Matsumaru meanwhile is eating along and thinking why does eating alone feel so lonesome (duh!) that he never had this feeling before he lived with Aka. Aka comes back to the apartment and they both unenergetically greet each other. Matsumaru’s thinking how he should start apologizing to her when Aka says that she’s going to a post recording session for her 1st lead role tomorrow. But the way Matsumaru says things seems to be filled with tension and he noticed why he’s acting like this that he’s hurting her again.
 
Next morning, he wakes up to find Aka had made breakfast for him as she’s going off. Still that agitating talk from him though he realized he’s just pushing Aka to a corner. Aka says is that what he is honestly thinking and Matsumaru replies yes. She understood and left. He then hears Aka shouting fomr outside the apartment that he’s an idiot, attracting many onlookers. At the office, Matsumaru can’t concentrate and is thinking that Aka is probably better off without him. Hatakeda tries to cheer him up but Matsumaru tells him to go away. Hatakeda mentions that Nekokoi is his idea and without him, he himself won’t be anywhere and invites him to a drink tonight. Matsumaru felt a little better and later that night, the 2 guys indulge themselves and gets drunk.
 
Aka and the production company are drinking cheers to start off the series. They’re all commending Aka’s good work and effort. The producer asks Aka to giver her final words when Matsumaru overheard her voice and peeps into the next section. He’s surprised to see her there. Hatakeda is also surprised but the barrier toppled as they fell through. Yoshioko recognizes them and Hatakeda introduces themselves. It seems the 2 guys are joining this party. Aka notices how depressed Matsumaru is and everybody starts talking about their difficulties in their line of work, how they got through it and that they’re glad to have done so because it gave them confidence. Then Aka says though she likes her voice acting job, there are other jobs that she didn’t want to do. At first, she didn’t like this game and anime thing and how it turned out but after thinking back, it’s a great job which led her to another job. Something doesn’t go your way and you might be worried or depressed but it isn’t wasteful. Everyone claps and cheers at her speech.
 
Matsumaru then says he’d like to thank everyone but was depressed about how he took out his frustrations on a girl he likes (Aka looking surprised) and was so pathetic and obnoxious. Everyone then says it’s okay but Aka mentions that girl isn’t mad anymore because she thinks Matsumaru’s worried for a long time. He apologizes but she says he doesn’t have to. Quite funny to see them referring to themselves in 3rd person but I guess at least nobody would suspect it’s them. Hatakeda, who is still drunk, says Matsumaru should apologize to his real girlfriend as everyone cheers. With that Matsumaru feels a little better.
 
Later on as they’re leaving, Aka asks Matsumaru to go home together with her. He runs over to her and hugs her. Hatakeda is watching in disbelief of their relationship when Yoshioka takes him away and says she’s her manager and she’ll give him a ride back. Matsumaru and Aka embraced each other for a very long while. Once done, they walk home holding hands. Matsumaru says how amazing she is and asks why him. Aka replies that the time he wore the Nekoki costume during the campaigning, the time she was worried about the ecchi game and the time which she cried and they couldn’t be able to see each other because of the switch to recordings, he always gave her kindness and happiness. He then says he wants to say a line. But when Aka asks from which movie, he says the line is original, that is, he wants to be his girlfriend. Aka is surprised and blushes at first but soon accepts his proposal as they both kissed. They then return to the apartment whereby Matsumaru says "Welcome back" and Aka’s reply "I’m back" before heading inside. By the way, if you notice, this final episode has no movie lines from Audrey Hepburn.
 
Voice out
Okay, what I can see after finish watching the series is that this is just another typical love drama. A guy and a girl, can’t really admit their feelings for each other at first but in the end eventually ends up being together. So that voice acting part isn’t really the main focus of the series. I thought at least it would give me an insight about life being a seiyuu. Perhaps I was hoping to much. But I think this series is just kinda okay.
 
Since this is a series about a seiyuu, I think I need to comment on the voice acting as well. In short, it’s all just average. I mean, there isn’t anything to shout about and the cast is well, relatively unknown to me (at this point in time). I suppose Kanako Sakai, who is the voice actress for Aka, did quite an okay job to portray Aka as a little girl and then her voice impersonation of Audrey Hepburn. Not that I know how Audrey Hepburn sound like too. Yeah, she sings the opening song of the series, Cheer ~Makka Na Kimochi~ too. Besides, Kanako Sakai doesn’t play much roles in other animes. The number of her voice acting roles are quite small and not much. Though I notice she played in roles such as Chiaki of Magikano and Kikuri of Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori. But that’s just about it.
 
As contrast to Kanako, Matsumaru’s voice actor, Makoto Yasumura, has a longer list of anime roles, though some of them I noticed are just side and minor characters in Mai-HiME, 2×2=Shinobuden, Initial D, Honey And Clover, Galaxy Angel, Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan and Azumanga Daioh. Ironically, side character Hatakeda, played by Daisuke Ono, did play lead roles like Enju of Rozen Maiden Traumend and Koizumi of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. As for Yoshioka’s voice actress, Megumi Toyoguchi, you may recognize her as the voice of Nishino of Ichigo 100%, Sei of Maria-sama Ga Miteru and Winry of Fullmetal Alchemist.
 
So not really much I could say but if you like short animes with a good ending (meaning no suspense or left hanging) then I suppose you could try watching this one. Maybe for cutie Aka as well. Matsumaru’s just an average guy. Or else there are many other animes out there with better voice acting (not to say that this one sucks). Yeah, even the drawing and art is just pretty standard too. I still find that Nekoki suit to be real amusing and especially when Aka does its voice over going "Umaki…". At least it’s better than my voice. And that Nekoki dance…

FLCL

October 5, 2007

Weird. Really weird. At least that’s what I thought when I finished watching FLCL or also known as Fooly Cooly or Furi Kuri in Japanese. I was wondering and curious to know about this show because I read somewhere that this series got some top spot in some whatever-that-award-name-is in the USA and Japan. It seems a lot of people really do like it. So I had to really see it for myself to find out what it’s all about.
 
Yes there is a comedy element but it’s in a weird sense just like Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Probably weird and funny go hand in hand and mean the same thing. Plus, there’s a mecha factor in this series. I’m not to fond of the mecha genre but I suppose decided to go ahead and watch because it’s only 6 episodes long. Yup, that’s right. Only half a dozen episodes. Even so, at some points (maybe most at points), I find the story a little hard to understand what’s going on and had to replay that scene over again just to grasp a little. Because there’s this mecha factor in it, this series has a little science fiction element and the rest are of course, drama. Be wary though. It’s not for little kids because there are a few sexual innuendos but short of what I could classify it as being ecchi.
 
The storyline is about this unlucky kid, Naota Nandaba. His big bro has left for America to become some baseball player and because of that, his bro’s girlfriend, Mamimi Saejima (has that uncanny resemblance to Osaka of Azumanga Daioh), is ‘left behind’. Thus she’s sending mix signals and advances on Naota who’s younger than her. Since Naota isn’t the perverted type (because he’s a bit cynical), he doesn’t really know what to do with her and she really does stick to him (but not like a leech). And well, his life takes another turn for the worse when something weird happens to him. So what is the weird thing? Continue reading the spoilers…
 
Episode 1
Naota and Mamimi under some bridge with the former doing his homework (at such a place?) while Mamimi practices her baseball swings when she then send some mix signals to Naota like hugging him from the back and kissing/blowing his cheeks. Okay, so it starts off like this already. But it isn’t so bad. Mamimi says that she needs to do it or else she’ll overflow. Okay, sounds that bad. We then see some huge strange factory which looks like a giant iron, and Naota narrating "Smoke that’s blown out everyday at the same time seems like an ominous signal. That smoke disperses out and covers the town".
 
Later, Mamimi passes Naota a can drink when suddenly a mad girl riding a vespa, Haruko Haruhara (looks a bit like Sakura of Naruto), collides into Naota. Of course at that impact, Naota’s unconscious. As Mamimi approaches him, Haruko warns not to touch him. Haruko calls him Taro while Mamimi denies everytime she calls him that. Haruko’s in a panic and thought she had killed him and decides to revive him through mouth-to-mouth CPR. Mamimi is in shock. I like this slo-mo camera angles for this part when Mamimi’s in shock, zooming in and out. Reminds you of like The Matrix. When Naota comes to, Haruko saying it’s a good thing he isn’t Taro because if he was, it would’ve been dangerous and be dead for sure. I don’t really get it. Now Haruko’s got a weird personality and probably why the series is weirdly funny.
 
Haruko then uses her electric guitar and hits it on Naota before shaking him! Pass out round 2. She wants to hit him again when Mamimi grabs him away. Naota comes to again and asked what she has done. But Haruko says goodbye and left on her vespa quickly. What a way to make an exit. But they’ll be meeting again.
 
At home, Naota notices a bump on his head and puts a band aid on it. Next day at school, his friends, Gaku Manabe, Masashi Masamune and Eri Ninamori, are bugging him and saying about some vespa woman that if you get stung by her, an evil sign will appear if you do bad things. They think Naota did something perverted as they want to see what’s underneath that band aid. As usual, Naota denies everything. After school, Naota decides to go to hospital and on his way, he met Haruko at the crossroad. Remembering his previous encounter with her, Naota runs away before she finishes blabbing about the bump on his head.
 
At the hospital, Naota is being attended by a nurse who says that it’s Flictonic Cliple Weber Syndrome (AKA FLCL), a stress induced skin condition (I wonder if it’s true). If a child pushes himself too hard, he’ll grow a horn. Naota says he never heard of such thing (so do I) when he looked up only to see Haruko! Yeah, she’s impersonating as the nurse. She’s gonna smash him with the guitar again! Whoops. She barely misses as the bed and the surroundings gets destroyed. Naota runs out of the hospital.
 
Back at home and during dinner time, Naota is surprised to find Haruko with his dad and grandpa. So now she knows where he lives. She’s better than a stalker! So this next scene is a bit messy because it’s like a manga storytelling scene with lots of blabbing and words in it which I didn’t get. Eventually, Naota’s dad too gets hit by Haruko. Some talk of fooly cooly as they find out about that mouth-to-mouth incident. Before you know it, Naota’s dad hires Haruko as their housemaid for grandpa. Great. That’s what Naota just needs.
 
In Naota’s room, Naota and Haruko talked about what’s under the band aid and some other talk which annoys Naota. Since he has no place to sleep (Haruko’s sleeping on his bed because Naota earlier said she can’t touch his big bro’s bed), he heads downstairs. He finds his dad there and chats with him. Naota realized that Mamimi has been at his place earlier on and rushes off to the bridge. I’m thinking that Mamimi’s homeless and her dwelling place is under that bridge. Like a troll. I wonder why Naota or his dad wants to take her in. What about her own family? Dunno.
 
Anyway Naota finds her smoking there (another bad habit picked up during those younger days) and they had some talk. As usual some mixed signals and moves from Mamimi. Meanwhile Haruko’s going through Naota’s personal things and jokingly says how she got no respect for people’s privacy. Now the weird part begins. Mamimi is in pain and says she’s gonna overflow and collapses. At the same time, Naota’s horn grows into a mecha and a… robot hand?! Haruko then leaves on her vespa.
 
That mecha, Kanchi and that robot hand battle it out mecha style. Naota is confused on what’s going on when Haruko arrives and smashes Kanchi with her guitar. Naota saying to himself that for a second there, Haruko resembled his brother. The next day, Naota’s bump is gone and so is the horn. He and Mamimi meets as she hands him a can drink and he tells her how he doesn’t like sour drinks. So if you find this episode is weird, wait till you see the rest.
 
Episode 2
Mamimi waits outside Naota’s school as the latter asks what she’s doing. Looks like she’s trying to look at something at him but Naota keeps avoiding. Naota’s buddies watching and teasing him like saying how that older girl is his wife. Eri then says how uncool it was and isn’t too amused by it. Later, Naota is being diagnosed by Haruko as she says there’s nothing unusual. Nothing unusual? Now there’s a horn sticking out from the back of Naota’s head! Yeah, he’s blaming her too with that vespa and guitar smashing incident. Some blabbings like how the robot can take x-ray of his skull. Haruko seems to be toying with Naota by playfully poking him with his guitar.
 
Next morning, Naota’s dad is using Kanchi to move things and Naota isn’t too amused by it. Soon they both argue. Dad goes on blabbing about all those technical stuffs. Then Naota spots Mamimi under the bridge playing a portable video game. Naota asks her what she’s doing when she’s supposed to be in high school. She says she’s playing with Ta-kun the black cat when her shoes floated away in the river. With that Naota leaves.
 
Haruko riding her vespa when her scarf covered her face. When she manages to see again, she crashes into the big factory. Two policemen investigates her vespa as Haruko just sits there watching them do their stuffs. A perverted officer examining the vespa is looking under Haruko’s short skirt when Naota arrives and steps on him and tells him isn’t he embarrassed to act like that. That officer is annoyed and asks if Naota is Haruko’s brother. Naota denies and mentions that he’s just her guardian. He then asks Naota to get lost as they’re working here but Haruko says this isn’t a place to work because there are no doors to get in and out. Must be referring to the factory. She took her tools and proceeded to fix her vespa. Haruko says Naota came here for her (with that smirk on her face) and says she’ll give him a reward better than CPR.
 
Mamimi under that bridge spots Kanchi and follows him to dilapidated house. As Kanchi climbs on top of the house filled with crows perching on it, while stretching its arms and some small power blast (?!), scaring the crows away. Kanchi then flies to the sky as Mamimi watches in awe and says it’s a God. Meanwhile, Naota riding with Haruko on her vespa and she’s riding it real recklessly and dangerously, weaving in and out. Don’t ever imitate this. Of course it’s natural for Naota to be scared and worried.
 
At night at Naota’s place, Mamimi telling about that Kanchi incident. Then a blazing bright light from above which is actually Kanchi, landing. Mamimi is like in ‘receiving God’ pose and in total awe. Seems that Kanchi’s actually running some chores for Haruko because the latter got annoyed when it bought her the wrong can drink. Looks like grandpa is dissatisfied too with the wrong stuffs Kanchi got. Haruko saying it’s useless and Naota mentioning how she broke it in the first place. Mamimi then tells Haruko that she shouldn’t do that because Kanchi’s a God. Haruko wondering what she’s talking about. Naota explains that it’s a video game that Mamimi played and how Kanchi resembles so much like it.
 
We then see Kanchi digging and finds a piece of red thing at that dilapidated place when Naota and his 3 friends arrive. They’re talking about some abandoned school being burned down. While walking across the bridge, Naota’s friend spots Mamimi drying herself. Naota looked in shock as the big factory gives off steam in the background. At night, Naota is walking behind Mamimi on the bridge when she dropped her portable video game. She then lights up a cigarette and continues walking. Naota narrating something about that game, Firestarter. Not that I really understand anything here.
 
Soon Naota spots a big fire across the river bank and notices Mamimi is missing. He remembers 6 years ago when a fire broke out at his elementary school and probably that’s how Naota’s brother saved Mamimi from the inferno. It’s the day they first met. Naota then finds Mamimi sitting in the middle of a ring of candles in front of that dilapidated house, which I think is that burnt school. Naota decides to return Mamimi’s dropped video game but she says she doesn’t need it anymore. She continues how she hates this place though it’s burned down, the wreckage and ash still remains. Kanchi is there too searching for something. Mamimi stands up and walks toward Kanchi and asks it to bless her with its kiss.
 
Haruko is riding her vespa when Naota suddenly feels pain because the horn grows out from his head once again. And it’s bigger than before! Another giant robot emerges as it swings Naota towards Haruko, who arrived just in time. Naota crashes into her. Kanchi then engages in battle with that robot. Haruko is gonna smash that robot with her guitar but its long tentacles hits her away. She tries again but is being blasted away each time. Naota comes to and pushes Mamimi out of harm’s way. The robot is gonna smash them again when Kanchi revives and hits it away. Kanchi grabs Naota and eats him! What the? But it seems that devouring made Naota ‘merged’ with Kanchi and now he has powered up. Some terror transformation as seen here into a giant canon as he blasts that robot. Haruko takes her guitar and hits it when a large explosion occurs. Kanchi spits Naota out when it’s over. The police soon arrives and Haruko tells them to get out of here but Naota and Mamimi staring at each other. You know that take a picture because it lasts longer saying? Naota narrates how he decided to stay by Mamimi’s side forever, what he could do for her as he doesn’t care where the lies end or the truth begins anymore. So another robot growing out from Naota and I find it amusing that Haruko likes to use her guitar as her weapon. It must be really tough and indestructable, don’t you think?
 
Episode 3
We see Eri in some car driven by her dad’s secretary. From the look of things, it seems her parents are in some sort of scandal and trouble. The secretary seems to like Eri’s maturity in handling such matter. Naota wakes up due to Haruko noisily fixing her vespa. Yeah, lots of exhaust fumes. He’s annoyed when she doesn’t respond when he calls her. She finally does when Naota calls her an alien and tells her to clean up the mess in his room. The vespa backfires emitting more smoke. Kanchi is seen doing housework. Boy, this robot is useful. It can do chores and fight evil robots too. Naota’s gonna leave when Haruko grabs him from behind and holding on to him. He tries to get away desparately as Haruko’s teasing him. She says she’s gonna buy him curry for supper, which Naota hates. Naota breaths a heave of sigh.
 
At school, Naota being ticked off by Eri when he’s late for some rehearsal. She tells him that he’s got the role of playing as a cat (?!) and warns him not to be late again. Some lecture of cats in class amd spacing out from Naota. The teacher is causing some funny fuss when some students aren’t paying attention and being noisy (she looked like a psycho when she saw that magazine). Later, Mamimi in a cat costume, is taking pictures of herself with Naota under the bridge. Some blabbing about school plays when Mamimi accidentally knocks off Naota’s hat. Uh oh. You know what. Now there are 2 cat-like ears on his head. First horns, now cat ears. Mamimi couldn’t resist playing with it and saying how cute it is. I suppose Naota just let her do what she please because he’s just sitting there and letting her fiddle with his cat ears.
 
Meanwhile Kanchi putting together that red piece, hidden in some closet when Haruko asks it to do some laundry as she leaves on her vespa. At the same time, many reporters seem to be waiting for somebody outside a house. It must be Eri’s because she’s watching them from afar behind a post. At the subway station steps, Eri is sitting alone and saying to herself how she’s got no home to go back to when Naota spots her, much to her surprise. He asks her about if there’s anything major happening at her house since there’re lots of reporters there. Eri says she doesn’t care as Naota tells her not to worry and also that he’s waiting for someone. When Eri asks who, he replies his housekeeper. You know who lah. Haruko arrives in high speed, toppling all the vehicles she zooms pass. Exaggerated. But a cat appears in front of her path as she swerves to avoid it. She loses control and once again her vespa hits Naota as he flies away towards Eri. And all in good timing and position, Naota’s lips met with Eri’s! Wah! So you could still consider that Naota kissed Eri and then bumps her head. Eri comes to and saw Naota’s cat ears. Curiosity kills the cat as Eri is gonna touch it when Haruko tells her not to but too late. Eri asks what’re those and obviously Haruko is toying with her like saying that could possible be cat ears. Yeah. Then Eri’s stomach becomes painful and soon faints. Haruko then teases her by saying how she told her not to touch it and thus this isn’t her fault.
 
At Naota’s home, everyone including Kanchi is having a curry meal. Naota and grandpa don’t really like it while dad is eating everything like a glutton. What about Eri? She’s eating it cooly. Eri then saw Kanchi and asks what it is as dad replies it’s their tv. Eri wonders why it’s walking and dad has another answer. It’s their tv walkman. Uh-huh. Dad finds out from Naota that Eri too got run over by Haruko’s vespa, much to his surprise but Eri says it isn’t a big deal. Dad offers Eri to stay over at their place because of her parent’s scandal. Another no big deal answer from Eri. I think it must be the curry because Eri experiences stomach discomfort as she rushes to the toilet.
 
Looks like Eri is staying here for the night and is wearing Naota’s pyjamas in his room, which are too short for her. Naota finds out she wears glasses but she tells him it’s contacts and this will be their secret and to keep it that way from everyone in school. He agrees and asks her not to hang around him for awhile starting tomorrow. Eri asks if tonight is okay then as she sits close to him. Naota getting embarrassed but Eri says what she meant wasn’t in that way. Naota asks her to go home as this this is weird. Eri responds that the weird things are his cat ears. Naota is surprised and asks if she had seen them as Eri relates that earlier incident. We find out that Eri rigged the votes to play the lead role and Naota got the cat because people won’t suspect that the class president (Eri) did it. Looks like Haruko’s eavesdropping on their conversation from the top bunker all this while but says she doesn’t care what they say. Then it seems Haruko and Eri are engaging in some catty argument like Haruko saying how Eri had blackmailed Naota into making him play the cat role and doing such a thing isn’t nice. Haruko then pats and scratches Naota’s cat ears, much to his annoyance.
 
Naota is awakened by Haruko’s kiss (gasp!) at their school rehearsal and Kanchi’s there too. He doesn’t want to do the play and wants to go home. Eri doesn’t allow him and the 2 argue. Naota knocks off Eri’s hat and in retaliation, she knocks off his too, revealing his cat ears. Everyone is surprised when Naota shouted how Eri cheated to get the lead role. Suddenly, Naota’s cat ears disappear and they grow instead on Eri’s head. Not only that, they grow into yet another mecha and it possesses Eri. Okay, remains me like some creature from Half-Life. As usual Kanchi fights with this new mecha and Haruko whacks it with her ukelele but it broke. Yeah, Haruko saying it in a funny tone that the ukelele’s no good. I suppose it’s better to stick with her usual guitar. Haruko then tells Kanchi to let’s get out of here and whistles for her vespa. Okay, so now her vespa is like a horse and responds to her calling too. Haruko and Kanchi runs to the rooftop with that mecha holding on to Naota as it chases them. Haruko takes her electric guitar and whacks that mecha as they battle further. Naota gets flung away during the heated battle and crashes into somebody’s parked car. Kanchi then eats Naota and once again he powers up into that red canon. That mecha got a tummy ache and is rushing to the restroom (Naota’s curry lunch spilled into it earlier on. The curry’s that bad, huh?). With that the canon blasts it away as Mamimi watches the explosion afar from that bridge.
 
Later, Naota narrating how Eri’s dad wasn’t prosecuted and didn’t get a divorce. We see Eri doing her play when her classmates asks her about her glasses at the backstage. Eri turns to them and says that they are fake. Is she saying that she’s a megane freak then? Dunno. So this episode is mainly on Eri and Mamimi didn’t make much of an appearance here. Plus, I wonder if everybody remembers about that mecha incident which grew out of Eri instead of Naota this time. Maybe they thought it was just a bad dream after all.
 
Episode 4
Haruko is playing baseball and beating some team flat. Of course that team isn’t too happy about it and is dreading about the whole thing. It’s Naota’s turn. He just stood there not hitting the ball once. With that, he gets hit by Haruko’s dead ball. Kanchi is seen picking up balls and is also playing. The team is impressed with Kanchi and thinks that they’ve got a chance. Before Haruko leaves on her vespa, she tells Naota that he must hit the ball before anything happens. Naota looking puzzled at what Haruko just said.
 
Back home, Naota spots his dad giving Haruko a body massage. Well, it looked like some ahem ahem… I mean those ambiguous sounds with all that moaning. Makes your imagination go wild. But Naota just leaves the room. Outside, he’s hitting some vending machine with a bat when some guy, Amaro told him not to hit it with a bat, but a bagel if he were to do so. The 2 have some chat at a bakery but Naota’s being silent. Before he leaves, He told him to quit fooling around with older women. Naota saying to himself grown ups here are really stupid. Be careful. You’ll be one too in the future.
 
After a short meeting with Mamimi at that bridge, Naota heads home and it seems Haruko offers to coach baseball to him. Then at some secret HQ, members of the department of interstellar immigration, one of them being Kitsurubami, seems to be reporting on some damage after some attack. Looks like a satelite coming down. Naota wakes up in the middle of the night to find Haruko’s not in her bed. He peaks into a a room where sounds of Haruko and his dad are coming from. Yup, some ambiguous talk there. When Haruko’s eyes met with Naota’s, a beam appears on his forehead (as though like he’s been shot) and he felt pain. That department then picks up a marker beacon and supervisor Amaro seems to know of something happening there. Umm… this Amaro guy has got such thick eyebrows and his department staffs can’t help stare at it or be disgust at it.
 
Next day, Naota and Mamimi together at that bridge when Haruko comes by and tells Naota the game is about to start. Natota says he’s not playing but when Haruko mentions that some Lord Canthi is playing, Mamimi gets excited and eager to go see the game as she hitch a ride on Haruko’s vespa. Naota goes back home and has a word with his dad. He heard that his dad and Haruko are like in a ‘mouth to mouth’ relationship. And then there’s some weird happenings and distorted visions which I don’t really get. Naota’s dad seems drunk and/or insane. Then Naota whacks his head with a bad and we see a pool of blood on the floor. Naota in shock over what he has done. Did he just killed his dad?
 
At the baseball match, Haruko is playing the match cooly when a blimp passes over them and announces a state of emergency for the entire area and directs all citizens to evacuate immediately. Meanwhile Naota is being interrogated by Amaro as he’s spelling out all the details about Naota, his family and records. Naota says he didn’t hit anyone and only accidentally hit the tv. Some more interrogating talk as Naota keeps mentioning how Haruko’s not involved in all this. Amaro says he’s jealous of them being so close.
 
At home, Naota’s dad still unconscious and Naota is shocked to find a dead person in his closet as he runs for his life. Yeah, some more weird scenes. We then see Mamimi is sitting on top of Kanchi’s head on some electrical grid chanting some weird stuffs. So some back and forth between the scenes of Naota’s interrogation and him back home with his dad who is now conscious and telling him how Haruko just wanted to use his head, literally. Just then, Haruko bursts in on her vespa and runs over his dad and at the same time, decapitated his head. Bloody violent. Naota’s initially in total shock but it’s revealed that his dad is just a mechanical puppet. When Naota asks what is she, Haruko says she’s the illusion of youth in the heart of his childhood days (whatever that means). He tells her that a satelite is approaching (just like that Amaro guy asked him to tell her so).
 
Back at the HQ, some talk about Haruko by those staffs like how she engineered this situation to disrupt negotiations between them and some Medical Mechanica and she’d destroy this town to achieve her goals. So it’s getting complicated as well. Haruko brings Naota on her vespa to the top of that factory and it seems Naota’s forehead is blinking. There, she reaches into Naota’s forehead and pulls out a giant red guitar. What the?! Then a satelite is seen entering the atmosphere. Mamimi watching it in awe. Kitsurubami is also watching it and saying how Naota’s got no chance at all. Naota is holding the guitar and is being hugged from behind by Haruko as she tells him just do it the way she taught him.
 
Then the satelite transforms (more like mutating) into a giant baseball and is approaching real fast. Naota is still indecisive when he hits it with the guitar. The giant baseball seems like it’s gonna explode when Haruko arrives and helps by hitting it with her guitar as the department people and Mamimi are still watching in awe. The giant baseball exploded like a nuclear blast so powerful that it was sent flying back into outer space. The next thing you know, Naota is sleeping as Haruko rides him back on her vespa. Yeah, Haruko’s laughing like mad. Back at the HQ, Kitsurubami seems to confirm that the bomb has achieved escape velocity and is entering satelite orbit. Amaro isn’t too happy as 1 of his thick eyebrows drops off and Kitsurubami saw that and gets the shock of her life. Too disgusting. I suppose with the introduction of Amaro and this department, things will get further complicated. Looks like they have something to do with Haruko.
 
Episode 5
This episode starts off with Haruko and Naota playing some survival game in a field with long grass. Reminds you like one of those war movies. Then a change of scene whereby Naota and grandpa are watching tv when Naota’s dad comes crashing in causing havoc and mayhem to the place. He says he and Haruko are playing as the latter shoots him with fake bullets. Naota gets irritated and goes to his room only to find Haruko in a towel. Some weird blabbings about boyfriends and guitars, and Haruko occassionally shooting at Naota with her guitar like a machine gun.
 
Not sure how during the mayhem, Haruko ends up on top of Naota on his bed and she’s asking him to show her how he used the guitar like before, though he says he isn’t interested. Suddenly a guitar-like horn grows out from the back of Naota’s head, jacking him up so much so his lips met with Haruko’s. Didn’t see that one coming. Naota’s dad saw this and is in shock. Yeah, you could see his face change into many different colours. Naota denies everything and says it’s a misunderstanding but Haruko seems to be saying ambiguous things. Dad can’t tolerate it anymore and screams as he can’t believe his son did those things behind his back (what’s the difference with himself, right?). Thus he challenges Naota to a duel, which Haruko gladly accepts.
 
So that’s how the gun survival game came to as the scene shifts back to it. Haruko saying and rubbing on Naota ambiguously so much so it made Naota’s dad jealous as he fires on him. Mamimi on the other hand is watching from the bridge above. Then, Kitsurubami takes out some gun from her car and aims at them while Amaro blabs. Naota seems to get hit by all the traps and he’s asking Haruko to help him but she seems uninterested as she’s just lying there. Kanchi, who is on dad’s team, engages in a gun battle with Naota. Kitsurubami then starts firing as Haruko takes her guitar and hits it back at her till her car exploded. Such precision. A truck appears and bangs Naota and Kanchi as the latter got Naota cornered when Naota says time out and he’s got no ammo left. Naota finds out that it’s his 3 buddies that is driving the truck and they’re doing deliveries as part time job. When they ask what Naota’s doing, he replies it isn’t what they think and tells Kanchi to get some drink, in which it flies away to do so. So did the game end there?
 
Naota’s friends tell him if he’s heard of the rumour of him saving town from the satelite and that he’s also controlling robots. Naota blushes but his body language seems to indicate a yes. His friends are in awe when Haruko jumps on him. Naota’s friends thought he’s kissing her. Meanwhile Naota’s friend gives Eri a water gun as a prize he bought for her. She says it’s beautiful while she looks at it, she spots Mamimi at a distance on a bridge. Haruko waves to Mamimi but the latter don’t look impressed. Naota looking worried.
 
Later, Naota’s 3 friends are discussing whether Naota’s in line with Mamimi. Then at the bridge, Mamimi and Naota are talking like she’s asking if he likes strong stuffs and Haruko. Why is she asking that? Because she said she saw it. Must be the kissing part. Naota replies that he’s not interested in Haruko and just how things got carried away. Meanwhile, Kitsurubami reports back to Amaro through her walkie-talkie that she has lost target (she’s in the river). Kanchi arrives and freaks her out. Amaro at some saloon also getting freaked out as some shampoo girl pours cold water on him. But when shampoo girls mentions about fooly cooly, a slight moment of pause between the 2 before Amaro kicks into high gear as he points his gun at her. It’s revealed that the shampoo girl is Haruko! What the? How did she? When did she? So some big talk here and there before a big gunfire ensued. Yeah, real messy gunfight.
 
Mamimi is pointing her gun on Naota, saying things like as though she’s jealous like when Haruko arrived, she can’t figure out when he got to be like this. Naota depicted like Kenny of South Park and asks if it’s bothering her and takes her hand and asks her to come with him. Kitsurubami meanwhile is still freaking out and telling Kanchi to stay away and is firing endlessly at it. At the same time, Amaro is still duking out with Haruko and the former saying that robot’s too dangerous and needs to take it out quickly or Medical Mechanica will take action. Amaro’s many clone henchmen-in-black appears and they all fire at Haruko making the entire scene messy and clutter with bullets. Amazingly, Haruko must have watched the Matrix because she dodges all of them and even manages to fire back. More henchmen comes in as she fires using her guitar. Lots of exaggerated gunfight and explosive action so much so in the end, all the henchmen are down and Amaro and Haruko are the only ones left standing. Those guys are useless.
 
Natota is taking Mamimi’s hands running towards somewhere. Some talk about if Naota likes Haruko which of course he denies. Naota tries to prove this as he attempts to kiss Mamimi but she avoids. He then says why is she doing this and thought she liked him. Mamimi in a little shock. Back at Amaro-Haruko showdown, more gunfight action as Haruko is firing like mad. Also, it seems Kitsurubami isn’t afraid of Kanchi anymore when it offers her a helping hand. See, not all robots are evil.
 
Suddenly Naota’s forehead juts out a horn, just missing Mamimi by inches like a gunshot. As expected, it grows into a big monster. Everyone in town watched in horror. Amaro (who’s lost his eyebrows) saying to Haruko how they’re all doomed and it’s her fault. She chides him and says it has nothing to do with her. A small horn than grows out of Amaro’s forehead as Haruko plucks it out and tells him Naota is more manly than him and leaves. Amaro looking sad and says what’s so great about that kid and is he still a loser. Haruko flying and riding her guitar in a bunny playboy suit while she attacks the monster. Mamimi is scared and is calling for Naota’s brother to come rescue her. Naota then says that it’s gonna be him who’s gonna save her as he calls for Kanchi. Naota gets swallowed by Kanchi and powers up.
 
Haruko is still battling with the monster and soon rides on the red Kanchi as it transforms into a canon as it blasts the monster. During that, Mamimi falls off. Kanchi swoops down to save her and drops her off on Naota’s friends’ truck. Some more blasting which wrecks havoc on the town. But then Haruko runs out of ammo and the monster is heading towards the factory and is gonna activate it. Amaro could only watch in horror when Kanchi pulls out some 1961 Gibson electric guitar from his head and smacks the monster. Another smack sends it flying. Soon the town is shrouded in pink smoke. Parts of the monster is scattered as it falls here and there over the town. One of them fell on Naota’s dad who is coming out of the river (poor guy). Another one just right at the Mamimi and Naota’s 3 friends’ feet. That piece soon transforms back into Naota. Haruko steps on him and is staring with those lovey-dovey eyes at Kanchi saying "Atomsk". And about that monster, it becomes a giant hand next to the factory.
 
So I suppose this episode sees the relationship between Naota and Mamimi getting a little strained. Is that boy having feelings for Haruko even though he doesn’t admit it? I thought he wants to stay be Mamimi’s side forever. Maybe that’s in the past. However, I find that the drawing quality in this particular episode isn’t really good as it the lines are too simple and felt like a rush job. But I like the South Park parody drawing part, especially Amaro’s part. It’s hilarious. Oh, I also find that wanted poster of Haruko and Kanchi to be funny because it is a picture of Haruko smiling and sticking her finger in her nose! Hahaha.
 
Episode 6
In class, the teacher is teaching how to use chopsticks to her students (?!) and she herself is having a hard time using it. Naota is spacing out, looking depressed and leaves the classroom. He’s narrating since that day where that monster hand covered the town in white smoke, people can’t see the sky or stars. He further adds "Can’t go anywhere… Giant hand telling them to stay here forever". He also wonders if Haruko and Kanchi managed to get out into the outside world after they’ve disappeared from this place.
 
At HQ, Amaro and Kitsurubami are talking about the hand and wonders if it’ll grab it among other blabbings. Amaro then says that they need to find it before the factory starts up. At the same time, Kitsurubami chokes on some… poison water?! Or maybe she heard something surprising from Amaro. Meanwhile, Mamimi is calling out Naota’s name and searching for him when a bike zooms by and splashes a puddle of water on her. Naota and his 3 friends are passing by when they saw Mamimi down at the bridge. Naota just left depressed without saying anything as his pals are wondering why. Mamimi is smoking and spacing out when she spot some weird 4 legged mechanical creature as it appears out from the river. It started moving when Mamimi approaches close to it and comments it’s an energetic one.
 
Naota bumps into Amaro at the construction site amd the latter tries to talk some sense into him. He tells him Haruko’s real name is Rahal and she wants a man named Atomsk who posses fantastic powers so much so that he can steal planets. Therefore, he’s also known as Pirate Lord. Atomsk had fallen into Medical Mechanica’s clutches so Rahal has come to this planet to rescue him because she’s in love with him. Over to Mamimi, she’s playing with her handphone when that 4 legged creature stole it and plays with it. Mamimi tells it to stop and it listens. She then changed her mind and allows it to go ahead and eat it, which it does. She then says that it must do her a favour in return, that is, to become her Ta-kun.
 
Back home, Naota (with thick eyebrows?!) is sitting forlornly on his bed. Later as he heads down for dinner, the scene changes into that messy manga style just like in episode 1 as Naota spots Haruko sitting there with dad and grandpa. They both argue on some topic about taking a vacation and other stuffs and more fooly cooly terms. Haruko takes her guitar and smackes Naota. Soon all of them starts fighting and the house is in havoc. Later that night while sleeping, Naota asks who is she really and where is she from. Haruko teases him and asks if he’s in love with her. Naota isn’t too amused though he’s blushing (must be true). Haruko tells him she came back to see him and that’s the truth. He asks if she’s going away and she replies if he wants to come with her. Naota wonders why she’s being awfully nice to him today and Haruko responds because he’s still a kid. Naota gets teary and hugs her. He seems worried from the way he says things.
 
At an abandoned building, Mamimi brings something to eat for her Ta-kun while Haruko giving Naota a ride on her vespa.  At school, Naota’s 3 friends discussing that Naota may have eloped with Haruko. Amaro and Kitsurubami in a car discussing about the outcome of Earth, Pirate Lord, etc. A lot is going on in this final episode. Mamimi is giving Ta-kun stolen handphones of other students as food. Haruko and Naota takes a break from their ride, eating some ramen and chats. Haruko says she’s got something she really wants badly from Medical Mechanica and they took it from her. Thus she is gonna get it back with Naota’s help. Mamimi now has Ta-kun on a leash and is searching for that bike who splashed the puddle of water on her. When she does, she orders Ta-kun to rip it apart real bad. Ta-kun gets a little bigger after devouring the bike. Then they’re off to find another one.
 
Eri spots the vespa and caught glimpse of Haruko and Naota sleeping on the street bench together. She leaves them alone and goes away. Gaku and Masashi are telling each other about motorcycles and bicycles getting trashed when they saw Mamimi. Ta-kun is giant size now and is starting to attack the 2 guys but actually went for their truck. They could only watch in horror as Ta-kun devours their truck. I hope he has insurance. Then Naota’s teacher is seen talking to Naota’s dad at his home about his absence but dad blabs about some hamster thing. Hamtaro? Didn’t get this part.
 
Amaro and Kitsurubami are driving when suddenly Ta-kun appears and it’s going out of control, causing havoc over the town. Kanchi in some uniform disguise was there too. He merges with Ta-kun as they become monstrous and causing more havoc. Haruko is woken by that sound and instantly took Naota there. We see Amaro and Kitsurubami shooting their pee-shooter guns at Ta-kun but to no avail. Because of that Amaro is slightly injured from the attack. He then spots the vespa arriving and shoots them down. A confrontation between Amaro with Haruko and Naota. Amaro lectures Naota on things like not to trust Haruko, that he wants to save his family, friends and girlfriend, don’t let Haruko manipulate him, bla bla bla. But Naota turns away and walks toward Haruko. No use buddy. Naota’s on Haruko’s side. She hugs him and tells him to get her what she wants as she flings him into the air and whacks him with her guitar. Naota flies into Ta-kun’s mouth as it becomes a crop circle symbol, activating something. Amaro watching in horror and saying they’re done for. Haruko tells him that she doesn’t care what happens to this planet because she just wants Atomsk. Soon the giant hand grabs the factory and Amaro is being squashed…?!
 
Naota comes out from Kanchi’s mouth, now crimson red as he blasts that giant hand upwards, sending Mamimi flying in the air. Apparently Amaro isn’t really squashed yet because he’s watching and wonders has he give over the Pirate Lord’s power. Haruko gets furious and says Naota can’t have that power because that’s what she wants and it belongs to her. She repeatedly whacks super Naota with her guitar and the 2 begin to fight. As Naota’s gonna deliver the final blow, he stops and transforms back to his normal self. Naota confesses that he loves Haruko and kisses her! So it’s confirmed, this boy is in love with the weird alien girl. Amaro is crying (not sure by jealousy or that we’re doomed thing). A giant Atomsk with wings grows out of Naota’s forehead and starts sucking everything. Just like the Wind Tunnel of Miroku’s from Inu Yasha. Soon it becomes a round red light and blasts away into space. Everything that was sucked fell back into place. Haruko then saying to Naota that thanks to him, she’s lost that bastard again (yes she did said that). She asks if he wants to come with her then says maybe not because it wouldn’t work out as he’s still a kid. Naota looking spaces out and depressed as Haruko flies off in her vespa chasing after Atomsk. So now that bike can fly.
 
Naota picks up the guitar from the rubble as he stares into the sky. Mamimi who came out from underneath the rubble saw Naota in that pose and took a photo of him. In the end, Naota narrates how Mamimi left school to become some pro photographer and he doesn’t know what became of her as she bid him farewell. Looks like Mamimi has decided to move on with her life. Naota and his 3 friends are having their usual chat amd Eri is saying how Naota’s still a kid when he says he still can’t drink bitter stuff. Finally, Naota says "Nothing out of the ordinary ever happens. It’s all just the same old, same old. I cross the bridge everyday, same as always, and seasons change in their time". We see Kanchi becoming Naota’s housekeeper doing some chores and a view of that guitar in Naota’s room. A parting gift left behind from Haruko?
 
Final Last Commenting Lines
Okay, I can’t believe I actually thought of that title as my overall conclusion. I still find the ending and the whole series to still be weird. I suppose they tied up and explained everything in the last episode, though I felt a little dissatisfied with the way things turned out. I mean, everything is back to normal as though as all of this has never happened at all. But generally, the ending’s quite okay though it feels a little sombre. I really didn’t expect Haruko to be some galactic Silver Surfer-like mission to find her love and I still don’t really know Atomsk true identity. Unless that last bit where Naota transforms is his true form. Why Haruko sees or choses Naota remains a mystery. Probably because of that first encounter with her vespa. As for the rest of the side and supporting characters of the series, I felt that they were just sufficient. Not that they really had an impact on the entire show, but just enough to lead the story to how it is.
 
Aside that, the drawing, art and animation seems old school since it’s a year 2000 production. In the sense that the colouring looks kinda mundane and sometimes the scenes are cluttered with whatever is is. But I suppose animes at that time are like that and it doesn’t seem to put the series down because it was a hit. Though there are only 6 episodes, there are tons and tons of trivias in each episode from mecha rip offs to other old anime parodies. So you really need to have a wide knowledge base and keep your eyes and ears peeled. Since I’m a blur case, I didn’t really spot that much. Only after when I read the trivia section of the series, then it made me go "Ah, I see. Why didn’t I noticed it before" or "Is it? I didn’t know that". With the latter being more obvious.
 
I’ve watched the versions without the opening theme songs and I later found out that each of the episodes have a different opening theme. However, all of the opening theme and the ending theme, Ride On The Shooting Star (the animation is a mix of real time and 2D animation riding through the view of a vespa), are sung by the group called The Pillows. They may sound like a sleepy group but rest assured, most of their songs are rock-like. Even the entire series’ soundtrack is sung by them. Speaking of which, out of the many insert songs, I like the one called Little Busters best. Yeah, it’s usually played when Naota or the mechas do battle. It really fits the atmosphere.
 
So the next time if you see a woman riding a vespa, think twice especially if she’s having a guitar in hand. Besides, I don’t think that there are many vespas in the world nowadays (though I could be wrong). And if you’re wondering what Furi Kuri really means, I too later found out that it’s an old Japanese slang and term which refers to the fondling of a woman’s breasts and butt. I’m not kidding!